On Baptism, Against The Donatists

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

NPNF (V1-04)


Philip Schaff

not alone baptized with it, lest He should show His own to be inferior to this, with which none but
He Himself had deserved to be baptized; and He did not allow it to continue longer, lest the one
baptism with which He baptizes might seem to need the other to precede it.

Chapter 10.—12. I ask, therefore, if sins were remitted by the baptism of John, what more
could the baptism of Christ confer on those whom the Apostle Paul desired to be baptized with the
baptism of Christ after they had received the baptism of John? But if sins were not remitted by the
baptism of John, were those men in the days of Cyprian better than John, of whom he says himself
that they "used to seize on estates by treacherous frauds, and increase their gains by accumulated
usuries,"1488 through whose, administration of baptism the remission of sins was yet conferred? Or
was it because they were contained within the unity of the Church? What then? Was John not
contained within that unity, the friend of the Bridegroom, the preparer of the way of the Lord, the
baptizer of the Lord Himself? Who will be mad enough to assert this? Wherefore, although my
belief is that John so baptized with the water of repentance for the remission of sins, that those who
were baptized by him received the expectation of the remission of their sins, the actual remission
taking place in the baptism of the Lord,—just as the resurrection which is expected at the last day
is fulfilled in hope in us, as the apostle says, that "He hath raised us up together, and made us sit
together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus;"1489 and again, "For we are saved by hope;"1490 or as
again John himself, while he says, "I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, for the remission
of your sins,"1491 yet says, on seeing our Lord, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the
sin of the world,"1492—nevertheless I am not disposed to contend vehemently against any one who
maintains that sins were remitted even in the baptism of John, but that some fuller sanctification
was conferred by the baptism of Christ on those whom Paul ordered to be baptized anew.1493

Chapter 11.—13. For we must look at the point which especially concerns the matter before
us (whatever be the nature of the baptism of John, since it is clear that he belongs to the unity of
Christ), viz., what is the reason for which it was right that men should be baptized again after
receiving the baptism of the holy John, and why they ought not to be baptized again after receiving


Cypr. Serm. de Lapsis, c. vi.


Eph. ii. 6.


Rom. viii. 24.


Matt. iii. 11.


John i. 29.


Acts xix. 3-5.