On Baptism, Against The Donatists

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

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NPNF (V1-04)


Philip Schaff

Chapter 19.—27. Let us therefore not flatter the Catholic who is hemmed in with all these
vices, nor venture, merely because he is a Catholic Christian, to promise him the impunity which
holy Scripture does not promise him; nor, if he has any one of the faults above mentioned, ought
we to promise him a partnership in that heavenly land. For, in writing to the Corinthians, the apostle
enumerates the several sins, under each of which it is implicitly understood that it shall not inherit
the kingdom of God: "Be not deceived," he says: "neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers,
nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards,
nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God."1450 He does not say, those who
possess all these vices together shall not inherit the kingdom of God; but neither these nor those:
so that, as each is named, you may understand that no one of them shall inherit the kingdom of
God. As, therefore, heretics shall not possess the kingdom of God, so the covetous shall not inherit
the kingdom of God. Nor can we indeed doubt that the punishments themselves, with which they
shall be tortured who do not inherit the kingdom of God, will vary in proportion to the difference
of their offences, and that some will be more severe than others; so that in the eternal fire itself
there will be different tortures in the punishments, corresponding to the different weights of guilt.
For indeed it was not idly that the Lord said, "It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in
the day of judgment than for thee."1451 But yet, so far as failing to inherit the kingdom of God is
concerned, it is just as certain, if you choose any one of the less heinous of these vices, as if you
choose more than one, or some one which you saw was more atrocious; and because those will
inherit the kingdom of God whom the Judge shall set on His right hand, and for those who shall
not be found worthy to be set at the right hand nothing will remain but to be at the left, no other
announcement is left for them to hear like goats from the mouth of the Shepherd, except, "Depart
into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels;"1452 though in that fire, as I said before,
it may be that different punishments will be awarded corresponding to the difference of the sins.

Chapter 20.—28. But on the question whether we ought to prefer a Catholic of the most
abandoned character to a heretic in whose life, except that he is a heretic, men can find nothing to
blame, I do not venture to give a hasty judgment. But if any one says, because he is a heretic, he
cannot be this only without other vices also following,—for he is carnal and natural, and therefore
must be also envious, and hot-tempered, and jealous, and hostile to truth itself, and utterly estranged
from it,—let him fairly understand, that of those other faults of which he is supposed to have chosen
some one less flagrant, a single one cannot exist by itself in any man, because he in turn is carnal
and natural; as, to take the case of drunkenness, which people have now become accustomed to


1 Cor. vi. 9, 10.


Matt. xi. 24.


Matt. xxv. 41.