On Baptism, Against The Donatists

The Seven Books of Augustin, Bishop of Hippo, On Baptism, Against the Donatists

NPNF (V1-04)

Philip Schaff

every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity,"1430 that he may not in the last day,
with the chaff, whether with that which has already been driven from the threshing-floor, or with
that which is to be separated at the last, hear the command, "Depart from me, ye that work
iniquity."1431 Whence it appears, indeed, as Cyprian says, that "we are not at once to admit and
adopt whatsoever is professed in the name of Christ, but only what is done in the truth of Christ."1432
But it is not an action done in the truth of Christ that men should "seize on estates by fraudulent
pretenses, and increase their gains by accumulated usury,"1433 or that they should "renounce the
world in word only;"1434 and yet, that all this is done within the Church, Cyprian himself bears
sufficient testimony.


Chapter 15.—23. To go on to the point which he pursues at great length, that "they who
blaspheme the Father of Christ cannot be baptized in Christ,"1435 since it is clear that they blaspheme
through error (for he who comes to the baptism of Christ will not openly blaspheme the Father of
Christ, but he is led to blaspheme by holding a view contrary to the teaching of the truth about the
Father of Christ), we have already shown at sufficient length that baptism, consecrated in the words
of the gospel, is not affected by the error of any man, whether ministrant or recipient, whether he
hold views contrary to the revelation of divine teaching on the subject of the Father, or the Son, or
the Holy Ghost. For many carnal and natural men are baptized even within the Church, as the
apostle expressly says: "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God;"1436 and after
they had received baptism, he says that they "are yet carnal."1437 But according to it carnal sense,
a soul given up to fleshly appetites cannot entertain but fleshly wisdom about God. Wherefore
many, progressing after baptism, and especially those who have been baptized in infancy or early
youth, in proportion as their intellect becomes clearer and brighter, while "the inward man is renewed
day by day,"1438 throw away their former opinions which they held about God while they were
mocked with vain imaginings, with scorn and horror and confession of their mistake. And yet they
are not therefore considered not to have received baptism, or to have received baptism of a kind


2 Tim. ii. 19.


Matt. vii. 23.


Cypr. Ep. lxxiii. 16.


Ib. de Laps. c. vi.


Ib. Ep. xi. 1.


Ib. Ep. lxxiii. 17.


1 Cor. ii. 14.


1 Cor. iii. 3.


2 Cor. iv. 16.