On Baptism, Against The Donatists

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

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Philip Schaff

just as the gospel can be common to us, whatever difference there may be between our faith and
their error,—whether they think otherwise than the truth about the Father, or the Son, or the Holy
Spirit; or, being cut away from unity, do not gather with Christ, but scatter abroad,1446—seeing that
the sacrament of baptism can be common to us, if we are the wheat of the Lord, with the covetous
within the Church, and with robbers, and drunkards, and other pestilent persons of the same sort,
of whom it is said, "They shall not inherit the kingdom of God,"1447 and yet the vices by which they
are separated from the kingdom of God are not shared by us.

Chapter 18.—26. Nor indeed, is it of heresies alone that the apostle says "that they which do
such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God." But it may be worth while to look for a moment
at the things which he groups together. "The works of the flesh," he says "are manifest, which are
these; fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations,
wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the
which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall
not inherit the kingdom of God."1448 Let us suppose some one, therefore, chaste, continent, free
from covetousness, no idolater, hospitable, charitable to the needy, no man’s enemy, not contentious,
patient, quiet, jealous of none, envying none, sober, frugal, but a heretic; it is of course clear to all
that for this one fault only, that he is a heretic, he will fail to inherit the kingdom of God. Let us
suppose another, a fornicator, unclean, lascivious, covetous, or even more openly given to idolatry,
a student of witchcraft, a lover of strife and contention, envious, hot-tempered, seditious, jealous,
drunken, and a reveller, but a Catholic; can it be that for this sole merit, that he is a Catholic, he
will inherit the kingdom of God, though his deeds are of the kind of which the apostle thus
concludes: "Of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do
such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God?" If we say this, we lead ourselves astray. For
the word of God does not lead us astray, which is neither silent, nor lenient, nor deceptive through
any flattery. Indeed, it speaks to the same effect elsewhere: "For this ye know, that no whoremonger,
nor unclean person, nor covetous man, which is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom
of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words."1449 We have no reason, therefore,
to complain of the word of God. It certainly says, and says openly and freely, that those who live
a wicked life have no part in the kingdom of God.

1446

Matt. xii. 30.

1447

1 Cor. vi. 10.

1448

Gal. v. 19-21.

1449

Eph. v. 5, 6.

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