Writings of Augustine. On Baptism, Against the Donatists

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The Seven Books of Augustin, Bishop of Hippo,

On Baptism, Against the Donatists

[de Baptisimo contra Donatistas.]

Circa A.D. 400.

Translated by the Rev. J. R. King, M.A., Vicar of St. Peter's in the East, Oxford; and late Fellow and Tutor of Merton College, Oxford

Published in 1886 by Philip Schaff, New York: Christian Literature Publishing Co.

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Book VI.


In which is considered the Council of Carthage, held under the authority and presidency of Cyprian, to determine the question of the baptism of heretics.


Chapter 1.

--1. It might perhaps have been sufficient, that after the reasons have been so often repeated, and considered, and discussed with such variety of treatment, supplemented too, with the addition of proofs from holy Scripture, and the concurrent testimony of so many passages from Cyprian himself, even those who are slow of heart should thus understand, as I believe they do, that the baptism of Christ cannot be rendered void by any perversity on the part of man, whether in administering or receiving it. And when we find that in those times, when the point in question was decided in a manner contrary to ancient custom, after discussions carried on without violation of saving charity and unity, it appeared to some even eminent men who were bishops of Christ, among whom the blessed Cyprian was specially conspicuous, that the baptism of Christ could not exist among heretics or schismatics, this simply arose from their not distinguishing the sacrament from the effect or use of the sacrament; and because its effect and use were not found among heretics in freeing them from their sins and setting their hearts right, the sacrament itself was also thought to be wanting among them. But if we turn our eyes to the multitude of chaff within the Church, since these also who are perverse and lead an abandoned life in unity itself appear to have no power either of giving or retaining remission of sins, seeing that it is not to the wicked but the good sons that it was said, "Whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whosesoever sins ye retain, they are retained," [1582] yet that such persons both have, and give, and receive the sacrament of baptism, was sufficiently manifest to the pastors of the Catholic Church dispersed over the whole world, through whom the original custom was afterwards confirmed by the authority of a plenary Council; so that even the sheep which was straying outside, and had received the mark of the Lord from false plunderers outside, if it seek the salvation of Christian unity, is purified from error, is freed from captivity, is healed of its wound, and yet the mark of the Lord is recognized rather than rejected in it; since the mark itself is often impressed both by wolves and on wolves, who seem indeed to be within the fold, but yet are proved by the fruits of their conduct, in which they persevere even to the end, not to belong to that sheep which is one in many; because, according to the foreknowledge of God, as many sheep wander outside, so many wolves lurk treacherously within, among whom the Lord yet knoweth them that are His, which hear only the voice of the Shepherd, even when He calls by the voice of men like the Pharisees, of whom it was said, "Whatsoever they bid you observe that observe and do." [1583]

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2. For as the spiritual man, keeping "the end of the commandment," that is, "charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned," [1584] can see some things less clearly out of a body which is yet "corruptible and presseth down the soul," [1585] and is liable to be otherwise minded in some things which God will reveal [1586] to him in His own good time if he abide in the same charity, so in a carnal and perverse man something good and useful may be found, which has its origin not in the man himself, but in some other source. For as in the fruitful branch there is found something which must be purged that it may bring forth more fruit, so also a grape is often found to hang on a cane that is barren and dry or fettered. And so, as it is foolish to love the portions which require purging in the fruitful branch, while he acts wisely who does not reject the sweet fruit wherever it may hang, so, if any one cuts himself off from unity by rebaptizing, simply because it seemed to Cyprian that one ought to baptize again those who came from the heretics, such a man turns aside from what merits praise in that great man, and follows what requires correction, and does not even attain to the very thing he follows after. For Cyprian, while grievously abhorring, in his zeal for God, all those who severed themselves from unity, thought that thereby they were separated from baptism itself; while these men, thinking it at most a slight offense that they themselves are severed from the unity of Christ, even maintain that His baptism is not in that unity, but issued forth with them. Therefore they are so far from the fruitfulness of Cyprian, as not even to be equal to the parts in him which needed purging.

Footnotes

[1582] John xx. 23. [1583] Matt. xxiii. 3. [1584] 1 Tim. i. 5. [1585] Wisd. ix. 15. [1586] Phil. iii. 15.


Chapter 2.

--3. Again, if any one not having charity, and walking in the abandoned paths of a most wicked life, seems to be within while he really is without, and at the same time does not seek for the repetition of baptism even in the case of heretics, it in no wise helps his barrenness, because he is not rendered fruitful with his own fruit, but laden with that of others. But it is possible that some one may flourish in the root of charity, and may be most rightly minded in the point in which Cyprian was otherwise minded, and yet there may be more that is fruitful in Cyprian than in him, more that requires purging in him than in Cyprian. Not only, therefore, do we not compare bad Catholics with the blessed Cyprian, but even good Catholics we do not hastily pronounce to be on an equality with him whom our pious mother Church counts among the few rare men of surpassing excellence and grace, although these others may recognize the baptism of Christ even among heretics, while he thought otherwise; so that, by the instance of Cyprian, who saw one point less clearly, and yet remained most firm in the unity of the Church, it might be shown more clearly to heretics what a sacrilegious crime it was to break the bond of peace. For neither were the blind Pharisees, although they sometimes enjoined what was right to be done, to be compared to the Apostle Peter, though he at times enjoined what was not right. But not only is their dryness not to be compared to his greenness, but even the fruit of others may not be deemed equal to his fertility. For no one now compels the Gentiles to judaize, and yet no one now in the Church, however great his progress in goodness, may be compared with the apostleship of Peter. Wherefore, while rendering due reverence, and paying, so far as I can, the fitting honor to the peaceful bishop and glorious martyr Cyprian, I yet venture to say that his view concerning the baptism of schismatics and heretics was contrary to that which was afterwards brought to light by a decision, not of mine, but of the whole Church, confirmed and strengthened by the authority of a plenary Council: just as, while paying the reverence he deserves to Peter, the first of the apostles and most eminent of martyrs, I yet venture to say that he did not do right in compelling the Gentiles to judaize; for this also, I say, not of my own teaching, but according to the wholesome doctrine of the Apostle Paul, retained and preserved through out the whole Church. [1587]

4. Therefore, in discussing the opinion of Cyprian, though myself of far inferior merit to Cyprian, I say that good and bad alike can have, can give, can receive the sacrament of baptism,--the good, indeed, to their health and profit; the bad to their destruction and ruin,--while the sacrament itself is of equal perfectness in both of them; and that it is of no consequence to its equal perfectness in all, how much worse the man may be that has it among the bad, just as it makes no difference how much better he may be that has it among the good. And accordingly it makes no difference either how much worse he may be that confers it, as it makes no difference how much better he may be; and so it makes no difference how much worse he may be that receives it, as it makes no difference how much better he may be. For the sacrament is equally holy, in virtue of its own excellence, both in those who are unequally just, and in those who are unequally unjust.

Footnotes

[1587] Gal. ii. 14.


Chapter 3.

--5. But I think that we have sufficiently shown, both from the canon of Scripture, and from the letters of Cyprian himself, that bad men, while by no means converted to a better mind, can have, and confer, and receive baptism, of whom it is most clear that they do not belong to the holy Church of God, though they seem to be within it, inasmuch as they are covetous, robbers, usurers, envious, evil thinkers, and the like; while she is one dove, [1588] modest and chaste, a bride without spot or wrinkle, [1589] a garden enclosed, a fountain sealed, an orchard of pomegranates with pleasant fruits, [1590] with all similar properties which are attributed to her; and all this can only be understood to be in the good, and holy, and just,--following, that is, not only the operations of the gifts of God, which are common to good and bad alike, but also the inner bond of charity conspicuous in those who have the Holy Spirit, to whom the Lord says, "Whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whosesoever sins ye retain, they are retained." [1591]

Footnotes

[1588] Cant. vi. 8, 9. [1589] Eph. v. 27; Cp. Aug. Retract. ii. 18. [1590] Cant. iv. 12, 13. [1591] John xx. 23.


Chapter 4.

--6. And so it is clear that no good ground is shown herein why the bad man, who has baptism, may not also confer it; and as he has it to destruction, so he may also confer it to destruction,--not because this is the character of the thing conferred, nor of the person conferring, but because it is the character of him on whom it is conferred. For when a bad man confers it on a good man, that is, on one in the bond of unity, converted with a true conversion, the wickedness of him who confers it makes no severance between the good sacrament which is conferred, and the good member of the Church on whom it is conferred. And when his sins are forgiven him on his true conversion to God, they are forgiven by those to whom he is united by his true conversion. For the same Spirit forgives them, which is given to all the saints that cling to one another in love, whether they know one another in the body or not. Similarly when a man's sins are retained, they are assuredly retained by those from whom he, in whom they are retained, separates himself by dissimilarity of life, and by the turning away of a corrupt heart, whether they know him in the body or not.


Chapter 5.

--7. Wherefore all bad men are separated in the spirit from the good; but if they are separated in the body also by a manifest dissension, they are made yet worse. But, as it has been said, it makes no difference to the holiness of baptism how much worse the man may be that has it, or how much worse he that confers it: yet he that is separated may confer it, as he that is separated may have it; but as he has it to destruction, so he may confer it to destruction. But he on whom he confers it may receive it to his soul's health, if he, on his part, receive it not in separation; as it has happened to many that, in a catholic spirit, and with heart not alienated from the unity of peace, they have, under some pressure of impending death, turned hastily to some heretic and received from him the baptism of Christ without any share in his perversity, so that, whether dying or restored to life, they by no means remain in communion with those to whom they never passed in heart. But if the recipient himself has received the baptism in separation, he receives it so much the more to his destruction, in proportion to the greatness of the good which he has not received well; and it tends the more to his destruction in his separation, as it would avail the more to the salvation of one in unity. And so, if, reforming himself from his perverseness and turning from his separation, he should come to the Catholic peace, his sins are remitted through the bond of peace and the same baptism under which his sins were retained through the sacrilege of separation, because that is always holy both in the just and the unjust, which is neither increased by the righteousness nor diminished by the unrighteousness of any man.

8. This being the case, what bearing has it on so clear a truth, that many of his fellow-bishops agreed with Cyprian in that opinion, and advanced their own several opinions on the same side, except that his charity towards the unity of Christ might become more and more conspicuous? For if he had been the only one to hold that opinion, with no one to agree with him, he might have been thought, in remaining, to have shrunk from the sin of schism, because he found no companions in his error; but when so many agreed with him, he showed, by remaining in unity with the rest who thought differently from him, that he preserved the most sacred bond of universal catholicity, not from any fear of isolation, but from the love of peace. Wherefore it might indeed seem now to be superfluous to consider the several opinions of the other bishops also in that Council; but since those who are slow in heart think that no answer has been made at all, if to any passage in any discourse the answer which might be brought to bear on the spot be given not there but somewhere else, it is better that by reading much they should be polished into sharpness, than that by understanding little they should have room left for complaining that the argument has not been fairly conducted.


Chapter 6.

--9. First, then, let us record for further consideration the case proposed for decision by Cyprian himself, with which he initiates the proceedings of the Council, and by which he shows a peaceful spirit, abounding in the fruitfulness of Christian charity. "Ye have read," he says, "most beloved colleagues, what Jubaianus, our fellow-bishop, has written to me, consulting my poor ability about the unlawful and profane baptism of heretics, and what I have written back to him, expressing to him the same opinion that I have expressed once and again and often, that heretics coming to the Church ought to be baptized, and sanctified with the baptism of the Church. Another letter also of Jubaianus has been read to you, in which, agreeably to his sincere and religious devotion, in answer to our epistle, he not only expressed his assent to it, but also gratefully acknowledged that he had received instruction. It remains that we should individually express our opinions on this same subject, judging no one, and removing no one from the right of communion if he should entertain a different opinion. For neither does any one of us set himself up as a bishop of bishops, or by tyrannical terror force his colleagues to the necessity of obeying, since every bishop, in the free use of his liberty and power, has the right of free judgment, and can no more be judged by another than he can himself judge another. But we are all awaiting the judgment of our Lord Jesus Christ who alone has the power both of preferring us in the government of His Church, and of judging of our actions." [1592]

Footnotes

[1592] Conc. Carth., the seventh under Cyprian, A.D. 256. Introduction.


Chapter 7.

--10. I have already, I think, argued to the best of my power, in the preceding books, in the interests of Catholic unanimity and counsel, in whose unity these continued as pious members, in reply not only to the letter which Cyprian wrote to Jubaianus, but also to that which he sent to Quintus, and that which, in conjunction with certain of his colleagues, he sent to certain other colleagues, and that which he sent to Pompeius. Wherefore it seems now to be fitting to consider also what the others severally thought, and that with the liberty of which he himself would not deprive us, as he says, "Judging no one, nor removing any from the right of communion if he entertain different opinions." And that he did not say this with the object of arriving at the hidden thoughts of his colleagues, extracted as it were from their secret lurking-places, but because he really loved peace and unity, is very easily to be seen from other passages of the same sort, where he wrote to individuals as to Jubaianus himself. "These things," he says, "we have written very shortly in answer to you, most beloved brother, according to our poor ability, not preventing any one of the bishops by our writing or judgment, from acting as he thinks right, having a free exercise of his own judgment." [1593]And that it might not seem that any one, because of his entertaining different opinions in this same free exercise of his judgment, should be driven from the society of his brethren, he goes on to say, "We, so far as lies in us, do not strive on behalf of heretics against our colleagues and fellow-bishops, with whom we maintain godly unity and the peace of our Lord;" [1594] and a little later he says, "Charity of spirit, respect for our fraternity, the bond of faith, the harmony of the priesthood, are by us maintained with patience and gentleness." [1595]And so also in the epistle which he wrote to Magnus, when he was asked whether there was any difference in the efficacy of baptism by sprinkling or by immersion, "In this matter," he says, "I am too modest and diffident to prevent any one by my judgment from thinking as he deems right, and acting as he thinks." [1596]By which discourses he clearly shows that these subjects were being handled by them at a time when they were not yet received as decided beyond all question, but were being investigated with great care as being yet unrevealed. We, therefore, maintaining on the subject of the identity of all baptisms what must be acknowledged everywhere to be the custom [1597] of the universal Church, and what is confirmed by the decision of general Councils, [1598] and taking greater confidence also from the words of Cyprian, which allowed me even then to hold opinions differing from his own without forfeiting the right of communion, seeing that greater importance and praise were attached to unity, such as the blessed Cyprian and his colleagues, with whom he held that Council, maintained with those of different opinions, disturbing and overthrowing thereby the seditious calumnies of heretics and schismatics in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, who, speaking by His apostle, says, "Forbearing one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace;" [1599] and again, by the mouth of the same apostle, "If in anything ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you," [1600] --we, I say, propose for consideration and discussion the opinions of the holy bishops, without violating the bond of unity and peace with them, in maintaining which we imitate them so far as we can by the aid of the Lord Himself.

Footnotes

[1593] Cypr. Ep. lxxiii. 26. [1594] Cypr. Ep. lxxiii. 26. [1595] Cypr. Ep. lxxiii. 26. [1596] Cypr. Ep. lxix. 12. [1597] De baptismi simplicitate ubique agnoscendam consuetudinem. The Benedictines give the reading of some Mss.: "De baptismi simplicitate ubique agnoscenda," etc., "maintaining the custom of the universal Church to acknowledge everywhere the identity of baptism." [1598] Conciliis universalibus. [1599] Eph. iv. 2, 3. [1600] Phil. iii. 15.


Chapter 8.

--11. Cæcilius of Bilta [1601] said: "I know of one baptism in the one Church and of none outside the Church. The one will be where there is true hope and sure faith. For so it is written, `One faith, one hope, one baptism.' [1602]Not among heretics, where there is no hope and a false faith; where all things are done by a lie; where one possessed of a devil exorcises; the question of the sacrament is asked by one from whose mouth and words proceeds a cancer; the faithless gives faith; the guilty gives pardon for sins and Antichrist baptizes in the name of Christ; one accursed of God blesses; the dead promises life; the unpeaceful gives peace; the blasphemer calls on God; the profane administers the priesthood; the sacrilegious sets up the altar. To all this is added this further evil that the servant of the devil dares to celebrate the eucharist. If this be not so, let those who stand by them prove that all of it is false concerning heretics. See the kind of things to which the Church is compelled to assent, being forced to communicate without baptism or the remission of sins. This, brethren, we ought to shun and avoid, separating ourselves from so great a sin, and holding to the one baptism which is granted to the Church alone." [1603]

12. To this I answer, that all who even within the Church profess that they know God, but deny Him in their deeds, such as are the covetous and envious, and those who, because they hate their brethren, are pronounced to be murderers, not on my testimony, but on that of the holy Apostle John, [1604] --all these are both devoid of hope, because they have a bad conscience; and are faithless, because they do not do what they have vowed to God; and liars, because they make false professions; and possessed of devils, because they give place in their heart to the devil and his angels; and their words work corruption, since they corrupt good manners by evil communications; and they are infidels, because they laugh at the threats which God utters against such men; and accursed, because they live wickedly; and antichrists, because their lives are opposed to Christ; and cursed of God, since holy Scripture everywhere calls down curses on such men; and dead, because they are without the life of righteousness; and unpeaceful, because by their contrary deeds they are at variance with God's behests; and blasphemous, because by their abandoned acts despite is done to the name of Christian; and profane, because they are spiritually shut out from that inner sanctuary of God; and sacrilegious, because by their evil life they defile the temple of God within themselves; and servants of the devil, because they do service to fraud and covetousness, which is idolatry. That of such a kind are some, nay very many, even within the Church, is testified both by Paul the apostle and by Cyprian the bishop. Why, then, do they baptize? Why also are some, who "renounce the world in words and not in deeds," baptized without being converted from a life like this, and not rebaptized when they are converted? And as to what he says with such indignation, "See the kind of things to which the Church is compelled to assent, being forced to communicate without baptism or the remission of sins," he could never have used such expressions had there not been the other bishops who elsewhere forced men to such things. Whence also it is shown that at that time those men held the truer views who did not depart from the primitive custom, which is since confirmed by the consent of a general Council. [1605]But what does he mean by adding, "This, brethren, we ought to shun and avoid, separating ourselves from so great a sin?" For if he means that he is not to do nor to approve of this, that is another matter; but if he means to condemn and sever from him those that hold the contrary opinion, he is setting himself against the earlier words of Cyprian, "Judging no man, nor depriving any of the right of communion if he differ from us."

Footnotes

[1601] Bilta (Biltha, Vilta) was in Africa Proconsularis. This Cæcilius is probably the same as the one addressed by Cyprian in Ep. lxiii., and who unites with Cyprian and other bishops in letters addressed to others. Epp. iv. (to Pomponius), lvii., lxvii., lxx. [1602] Eph. iv. 4, 5. [1603] Conc. Carth. sec. 1. [1604] 1 John iii. 15. [1605] Concilii universitate.


Chapter 9.

--13. The elder Felix [1606] of Migirpa said: "I think that every one coming from heresy should be baptized. For in vain does any one suppose that he has been baptized there, seeing that there is no baptism save the one true baptism in the Church; for there is one Lord, and one faith, and one Church, in which rests the one baptism, and holiness, and the rest. For the things that are practised without have no power to work salvation."

14. To what Felix of Migirpa said we answer as follows. If the one true baptism did not exist except in the Church, it surely would not exist in those who depart from unity. But it does exist in them, since they do not receive it when they return, simply because they had not lost it when they departed. But as regards his statement, that "the things that are practised without have no power to work salvation," I agree with him, and think that it is quite true; for it is one thing that baptism should not be there, and another that it should have no power to work salvation. For when men come to the peace of the Catholic Church, then what was in them before they joined it, but did not profit them, begins at once to profit them.

Footnotes

[1606] This section is wanting in the Mss. and in the edition of Amerbach, so that it has been supposed to have been added by Erasmus from Cyprian (Conc. Carth. sec. 2),--the name of Felix (really Primus), which is not found in Cyprian, being derived from the following section of Augustin. So Hartel: Primas a Misgirpa dixit. Migirpa or Misgirpa, was in Zeugitana. This Primus is seemingly identical with the Primus of Cypr. Epp. 67 (following Cæcilius), and 70 (preceding Cæcilius).


Chapter 10.

--15. To the declaration of Polycarp of Adrumetum, [1607] that "those who declare the baptism of heretics to be valid, make ours of none effect," we answer, if that is the baptism of heretics which is given by heretics, then that is the baptism of the covetous and murderers which is given by them within the Church. But if this be not their baptism, neither is the other the baptism of heretics; and so it is Christ's, by whomsoever it be given.

Footnotes

[1607] Adrumetum (Hadrumetum) was an ancient Phoenician settlement, made a Roman colony by Trajan, on the coast of the Sinus Neapolitanus, some ninety miles south-east of Carthage, capital of Byzacium. Cyprian writes to Bp. Cornelius, Ep. xlviii., vindicating Polycarp: his name occurs also in the titles of Cypr. Epp. lvii., lxvii. (after Primus), and lxx. (after Cæcilius).


Chapter 11.

--16. Novatus of Thamugadis [1608] said: "Though we know that all Scripture gives its testimony respecting saving baptism, yet we ought to express our belief that heretics and schismatics, coming to the Church with the semblance of having been baptized, ought to be baptized in the unfailing fountain; and that therefore, according to the testimony of the Scriptures, and according to the decree of those most holy men, our colleagues, [1609] all schismatics and heretics who are converted to the Church ought to be baptized; and that, moreover, all that seemed to have received ordination should be admitted as simple laymen."

17. Novatus of Thamugadis has stated what he has done, but he has brought forward no proofs by which to show that he ought to have acted as he did. For he has made mention of the testimony of the Scriptures, and the decree of his colleagues, but he has not adduced out of them anything which we could consider.

Footnotes

[1608] Thamugadis (Thamogade), a town in Numidia, on the east side of Mount Aurasius. The whole opinion of Novatus (Conc. Carth. sec. 4), is omitted in the Mss. [1609] The words in Cyprian are, "secundum decretum collegarum nostrorum sanctissimæ memoriæ virorum." The decree referred to is one of the Council held by Agrippinus.


Chapter 12.

--18. Nemesianus of Tubunæ [1610] said: "That the baptism which is given by heretics and schismatics is not true is everywhere declared in the holy Scriptures, inasmuch as their very prelates are false Christs and false prophets, as the Lord declares by the mouth of Solomon, `Whoso trusteth in lies, the same feedeth the winds; he also followeth flying birds. For he deserteth the ways of his own vineyard, and hath strayed from the paths of his own field. For he walketh through pathless and dry places, and a land destined to thirst; and he gathereth fruitless weeds in his hands.' [1611]And again, `Abstain from strange water, and drink not of a strange fountain, that thou mayest live long, and that years may be added to thy life.' [1612]And in the gospel our Lord Jesus Christ spake with His own voice, saying, `Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.' [1613]This is the Spirit which from the beginning `moved upon the face of the waters.' [1614]For neither can the Spirit act without the water, nor the water without the Spirit. Ill, therefore, for themselves do some interpret, saying that by imposition of hands they receive the Holy Ghost, and are received into the Church, when it is manifest that they ought to be born again by both sacraments in the Catholic Church. For then indeed will they be able to become the sons of God, as the apostle says, `Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God.' [1615]All this the Catholic Church asserts. And again he says in the gospel, `That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit; for the Spirit is God, and is born of God.' [1616]Therefore all things whatsoever all heretics and schismatics do are carnal, as the apostle says, `Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, seditions, heresies, 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.' [1617]The apostle condemns, equally with all the wicked, those also who cause divisions, that is, schismatics and heretics. Unless therefore they receive that saving baptism which is one, and found only in the Catholic Church, they cannot be saved, but will be condemned with the carnal in the judgment of the Lord."

19. Nemesianus of Tubunæ has advanced many passages of Scripture to prove his point; but he has in fact said much on behalf of the view of the Catholic Church, which we have undertaken to set forth and maintain. Unless, indeed, we must suppose that he does not "trust in what is false" who trusts in the hope of things temporal, as do all covetous men and robbers, and those "who renounce the world in words but not in deeds," of whom Cyprian yet bears witness that such men not only baptize, but even are baptized within the Church. [1618]For they themselves also "follow flying birds," [1619] since they do not attain to what they desire. But not only the heretic, but everyone who leads an evil life "deserteth the ways of his own vineyard, and hath strayed from the paths of his own field. And he walketh through pathless and dry places, and a land destined to thirst; and he gathereth fruitless weeds in his hands;" because all justice is fruitful, and all iniquity is barren. Those, again, who "drink strange water out of a strange fountain," are found not only among heretics, but among all who do not live according to the teaching of God, and do live according to the teaching of the devil. For if he were speaking of baptism, he would not say, "Do not drink of a strange fountain," but, do not wash thyself in a strange fountain. Again, I do not see at all what aid he gets towards proving his point from the words of our Lord, "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." [1620]For it is one thing to say that every one who shall enter into the kingdom of heaven is first born again of water and the Spirit, because except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven, which is the Lord's saying, and is true; another thing to say that every one who is born of water and the Spirit shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, which is assuredly false. For Simon Magus also was born of water and of the Spirit, [1621] and yet he did not enter into the kingdom of heaven; and this may possibly be the case with heretics as well. Or if only those are born of the Spirit who are changed with a true conversion, all "who renounce the world in word and not in deed" are assuredly not born of the Spirit, but of water only, and yet they are within the Church, according to the testimony of Cyprian. For we must perforce grant one of two things,--either those who renounce the world deceitfully are born of the Spirit, though it is to their destruction, not to salvation, and therefore heretics may be so born; or if what is written, that "the Holy Spirit of discipline will flee deceit," [1622] extends to proving as much as this, that those who renounce the world deceitfully are not born of the Spirit, then a man may be baptized with water, and not born of the Spirit, and Nemesianus says in vain that neither the Spirit can work without the water, nor the water without the Spirit. Indeed it has been already often shown how it is possible that men should have one baptism in common who have not one Church, as it is possible that in the body of the Church herself those who are sanctified by their righteousness, and those who are polluted through their covetousness, may not have the same one Spirit, and yet have the same one baptism. For it is said "one body," that is, the Church, just as it is said "one Spirit" and "one baptism." The other arguments which he has adduced rather favor our position. For he has brought forward a proof from the gospel, in the words, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit; for the Spirit is God, and born of God;" [1623] and he has advanced the argument that therefore all things that are done by any heretic or schismatic are carnal, as the apostle says, "The works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: fornication, uncleanness;" and so he goes through the list which the apostle there enumerates, amongst which he has reckoned heresies, since "they who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God." [1624]Then he goes on to add, that "therefore the apostle condemns with all wicked men those also who cause division, that is, schismatics and heretics." And in this he does well, that when he enumerates the works of the flesh, among which are also heresies, he found and declared that the apostle condemns them all alike. Let him therefore question the holy Cyprian himself, and learn from him how many even within the Church live according to the evil works of the flesh, which the apostle condemns in common with the heresies, and yet these both baptize and are baptized. Why then are heretics alone said to be incapable of possessing baptism, which is possessed by the very partners in their condemnation?

Footnotes

[1610] Tubunæ, a town in Mauritania Cæsariensis. Nemesianus probably same with one of that name in Cypr. Epp. lxii., lxx., lxxvi., lxxvii. [1611] Prov. ix. 12, LXX., the passage being altogether absent in the Hebrew, and consequently in the English version. Probably in N. Afr. version. The text in Erasmus is somewhat different, and was revised by the Louvain editors to bring it into harmony with the answer of Augustin and the text of Cyprian (Conc. Carth. sec. 5). [1612] Prov. ix. 18, LXX., possibly N. Afr. version also. [1613] John iii. 5. [1614] Gen. i. 2. [1615] Eph. iv. 3-6. [1616] Quoniam Spiritus Deus est, et de Deo natus est. These words are found at the end of John iii. 6, in the oldest Latin Ms. (in the Bodleian Library), and their meaning appears to be, as given in the text, that whatsoever is born of the Spirit is spirit, since the Holy Ghost, being God, and born of, or proceeding from God, in virtue of His supreme power makes those to be spirits whom He regenerates. If the meaning had been (as Bishop Fell takes it), that "he who is born of the Spirit is born of God," the neuter "de Deo natum est" would have been required. To refer "Spiritus Deus est," with the Benedictines, to John iv. 24, "God is a Spirit," reverses the grammar and destroys the sense of the passage. The above explanation is taken from the preface to Cyprian by the monk of St. Maur (Maranus), p. xxxvi., quoted by Routh, Rel. Sac. iii. 193. [1617] Gal. v. 19-21. [1618] Cypr. Ep. xi. 1. [1619] Prov. ix. 12, cp. LXX. [1620] John iii. 5. [1621] Acts viii. 13. [1622] Wisd. i. 5. [1623] John iii. 6. [1624] Gal. v. 19-21.


Chapter 13.

--20. Januarius of Lambæse [1625] said: "Following the authority of the holy Scriptures, I pronounce that all heretics should be baptized, and so admitted into the holy Church." [1626]

21. To him we answer, that, following the authority of the holy Scriptures, a universal Council of the whole world decreed that the baptism of Christ was not to be disavowed even when found among heretics. But if he had brought forward any proof from the Scriptures, we should have shown either that they were not against us, or even that they were for us, as we proceed to do with him who follows.

Footnotes

[1625] Lambæse (Lambese) was one of the chief cities in southern Numidia. This Januarius is not unlikely identical with the first of that name in Cypr. Ep. lxvii., and with the one of Epp. lxii. and lxx. For an opponent of Cyprian in Lambese, see Cypr. Epp. xxxvi. and lix. [1626] Conc. Carth. sec. 6.


Chapter 14.

--22. Lucius of Castra Galbæ [1627] said: "Since the Lord hath said in His gospel, `Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savor, that which is salted from it shall be thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men;' [1628] and seeing that again, after His resurrection, when sending forth His apostles, He commanded them, saying, `All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth: go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost,' [1629] --since then it is plain that heretics, that is, the enemies of Christ, have not the full confession of the sacrament, also that schismatics cannot reason with spiritual wisdom, since they themselves, by withdrawing when they have lost their savor from the Church, which is one, have become contrary to it, [1630] let that be done which is written, `The houses of those that are opposed to the law must needs be cleansed;' [1631] and it therefore follows that those who have been polluted by being baptized by men opposed to Christ should first be cleansed, and only then baptized." [1632]

23. Lucius of Castra Galbæ has brought forward a proof from the gospel, in the words of the Lord, "Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savor, that which is salted from it shall be good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men;" just as though we maintained that men when cast out were of any profit for the salvation either of themselves or of any one else. But those also who, though seeming to be within, are yet of such a kind, not only are without spiritually, but will in the end be separated in the body also. For all such are for nothing. But it does not therefore follow that the sacrament of baptism which is in them is nothing. For even in the very men who are cast out, if they return to their senses and come back, the salvation which had departed from them returns; but the baptism does not return, because it never had departed. And in what the Lord says, "Go therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost," He did not permit any to baptize except the good, inasmuch as He did not say to the bad, "Whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whosesoever sins ye retain, they are retained." [1633]How then do the wicked baptize within, who cannot remit sins? How also is it that they baptize the wicked whose hearts are not changed, whose sins are yet upon them, as John says, "He that hateth his brother is in darkness even until now?" [1634]But if the sins of these men are remitted when they join themselves in the close bonds of love to the good and just, through whom sins are remitted in the Church, though they have been baptized by the wicked, so the sins of those also are remitted who come from without and join themselves by the inner bond of peace to the same framework of the body of Christ. Yet the baptism of Christ should be acknowledged in both, and held invalid in none, whether before they are converted, though then it profit them nothing, or after they are converted, that so it may profit them, as he says, "Since they themselves, by withdrawing when they have lost their savor from the Church, which is one, have become contrary to it, let that be done which is written, `The houses of those that are opposed to the law must need be cleansed.' And it therefore follows," he goes on to say, "that those who have been polluted by being baptized by men opposed to Christ should first be cleansed, and only then baptized." What then? Are thieves and murderers not contrary to the law, which says, "Thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not steal?" [1635]"They must therefore needs be cleansed." Who will deny it? And yet not only those who are baptized by such within the Church, but also those who, being such themselves, are baptized without being changed in heart, are nevertheless exempt from further baptism when they are so changed. So great is the force of the sacrament of mere baptism, that though we allow that a man who has been baptized and continues to lead an evil life requires to be cleansed, we yet forbid him to be any more baptized.

Footnotes

[1627] Castra Galbæ was most likely in Numidia. Lucius as bishop occurs in Cypr. Epp. lxvii., lxx., lxxvi.and lxxvii., but it is doubtful to which of the four of this name attendant on this council these references may apply. [1628] Matt. v. 13. "Id quod salietur ex eo, ad nihilum valebit." [1629] Matt. xxviii. 18, 19. [1630] Recedendo infatuati contrarii facti sunt. Dr. Routh from a Ms. in his own possession, inserts "et" after "infatuati."--"have lost their savor and become contrary to the Church." Rel. Sac. iii. p. 194. [1631] Prov. xiv. 9, cp. LXX. [1632] Conc. Carth. sec. 7. [1633] John xx. 23. [1634] 1 John ii. 9. [1635] Ex. xx. 13, 15.


Chapter 15.

--24. Crescens of Cirta [1636] said: "The letters of our most beloved Cyprian to Jubaianus, and also to Stephen, [1637] having been read in so large an assembly of our most holy brethren in the priesthood, containing as they do so large a body of sacred testimony derived from the Scriptures that give us our God, [1638] that we have every reason to assent to them, being all united by the grace of God, I give my judgment that all heretics or schismatics who wish to come to the Catholic Church should not enter therein unless they have been first exorcised and baptized; with the obvious exception of those who have been originally baptized in the Catholic Church, these being reconciled and admitted to the penance of the Church by the imposition of hands." [1639]

25. Here we are warned once more to inquire why he says, "Except, of course, those who have been originally baptized in the Catholic Church." Is it because they had not lost what they had before received? Why then could they not also transmit outside the Church what they were able to possess outside? Is it that outside it is unlawfully transmitted? But neither is it lawfully possessed outside, and yet it is possessed; so it is unlawfully given outside, but yet it is given. But what is given to the person returning from heresy who had been baptized inside, is given to the person coming to the Church who had been baptized outside,--that is, that he may have lawfully inside what before he had unlawfully outside. But perhaps some one may ask what was said on this point in the letter of the blessed Cyprian to Stephen, which is mentioned in this judgment, though not in the opening address to the Council,--I suppose because it was not considered necessary. For Crescens stated that the letter itself had been read in the assembly, which I have no doubt was done, if I am not mistaken, as is customary, in order that the bishops, being already assembled, might receive some information at the same time on the subject contained in that letter. For it certainly has no bearing on the present subject; and I am more surprised at Crescens having thought fit to mention it at all, than at its having been passed over in the opening address. But if any one thinks that I have shrunk from bringing forward something which has been urged in it that is essential to the present point, let him read it and see that what I say is true; or if he finds it otherwise, let him convict me of falsehood. For that letter contains nothing whatsoever about baptism administered among heretics or schismatics, which is the subject of our present argument. [1640]

Footnotes

[1636] Cirta, an inland city of the Massylii in Numidia, was rebuilt by Constantine, and called Constantina. [1637] See below, on sec. 25. [1638] Ex Scripturis deificis. [1639] Conc. Carth. sec. 8. [1640] There are two letters extant from Cyprian to Stephen, No. 68, respecting Marcianus of Arles, who had joined Novatian, and No. 72, on a Council concerning heretical baptism. It is clear, however, from Ep. lxxiv. 1, that this Council, and consequently the letter to Stephen, was subsequent to the Council under consideration; and consequently Augustin is right in ignoring it, and referring solely to the former. Dr. Routh thinks the words an interpolation, of course before Augustin's time; and they may perhaps have been inserted by some one who had Cyprian's later letter to Stephen before his mind. Rel. Sac. iii. p. 194.


Chapter 16.

--26. Nicomedes of Segermi [1641] said: "My judgment is that heretics coming to the Church should be baptized, because they can obtain no remission of sins among sinners outside." [1642]

27. The answer to which is: The judgment of the whole Catholic Church is that heretics, being already baptized with the baptism of Christ, although in heresy, should not be rebaptized on coming to the Church. For if there is no remission of sins among sinners, neither can sinners within the Church remit sins; and yet those who have been baptized by them are not rebaptized.

Footnotes

[1641] Segermi church province of Byzacium. A Nicomedes occurs in Cypr. Epp. lvii., lxvii., lxx. [1642] Conc. Carth, sec. 9.


Chapter 17.

--28. Monnulus of Girba [1643] said: "The truth of our mother, the Catholic Church, hath continued, and still continues among us, brethren, especially in the threefold nature [1644] of baptism, as our Lord says, `Go, baptize all nations in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.' [1645]Since, therefore," he goes on to say, "we know clearly that heretics have neither Father, Son, nor Holy Ghost, they ought, on coming to our mother, the Church, to be truly regenerated and baptized, that the cancer which they had, and the wrath of condemnation, and the destructive energy of error [1646] may be sanctified by the holy and heavenly laver." [1647]

29. To this we answer, That all who are baptized with the baptism that is consecrated in the words of the gospel have the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost in the sacrament alone; but that in heart and in life neither do those have them who live an abandoned and accursed life within.

Footnotes

[1643] Girba, formerly Meninx (Lotophagitis), an island to the south-east of the Lesser Syrtis belonged to church province of Tripolis. For Bp. Monnulus, see Cypr. Ep. lvii. [1644] In baptismi trinitate. "Quia trina immersione expediebatur, in nomine Patris, Filii, et S. Spiritus."--Bishop Fell. [1645] Matt. xxviii. 19. [1646] Erroris offectura. Other readings are "offensa" and "effectura." [1647] Conc. Carth. sec. 10.


Chapter 18.

--30. Secundinus of Cedias [1648] said: "Since our Lord Christ said, `He that is not with me is against me,' [1649] and the Apostle John declares those who go out from the Church to be antichrists, [1650] without all doubt the enemies of Christ, and those who are called antichrists, cannot minister the grace of the baptism which gives salvation; and therefore my judgment is that those who take refuge in the Church from the snares of heresy should be baptized by us, who of His condescension are called the friends of God." [1651]

31. The answer to which is, That all are the opponents of Christ, to whom, on their saying, "Lord, have we not in Thy name done many wonderful things?" with all the rest that is there recorded, He shall at the last day answer, "I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity," [1652] --all which kind of chaff is destined for the fire, if it persevere to the last in its wickedness, whether any part of it fly outside before its winnowing, or whether it seem to be within. If, therefore, those heretics who come to the Church are to be again baptized, that they may be baptized by the friends of God, are those covetous men, those robbers, murderers, the friends of God, or must those whom they have baptized be baptized afresh?

Footnotes

[1648] Cedias (Cedia) has been identified, but without sufficient reason, with Quidias, or Quiza, in Mauritania Cæsariensis for both places have bishops at the Collation of 411. A Bp. Secundinus is mentioned in Cypr. Epp. lvii., lxvii., but whether these refer to him of Cedias or him of Carpos (ch. 31) cannot be decided. [1649] Matt. xii. 30. [1650] 1 John ii. 18. [1651] Conc. Carth. sec. 11. [1652] Matt. vii. 22, 23.


Chapter 19.

--32. Felix of Bagai [1653] said: "As when the blind leads the blind, both fall into the ditch, [1654] so when a heretic baptizes a heretic, both fall together into death."

33. This is true, but it does not follow that what he adds is true. "And therefore," he says, "the heretic must be baptized and brought to life, lest we who are alive should hold communion with the dead." [1655]Were they not dead who said, "Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die?" [1656] for they did not believe in the resurrection of the dead. Those then who were corrupted by their evil communications, and followed them, were not they likewise falling with them into the pit? And yet among them there were men to whom the apostle was writing as being already baptized; nor would they, therefore, if they were corrected, be baptized afresh. Does not the same apostle say, "To be carnally-minded is death?" [1657] and certainly the covetous, the deceivers, the robbers, in the midst of whom Cyprian himself was groaning, were carnally-minded. What then? Did the dead hurt him who was living in unity? Or who would say, that because such men had or gave the baptism of Christ, that it was therefore violated by their iniquities?

Footnotes

[1653] Bagai, in church province of Numidia. See on I. 5. 7. Among the many of the name of Felix in the letters of Cyprian, lvi., lvii., lxvii; title 1, 6, lxx., lxxvi. bis, lxxvii., lxxix., title and text, it would be unsafe to decide a sure reference to distinguish between this and the other bishops of the same cognomen in this council. [1654] Matt. xv. 14. [1655] Conc. Carth. sec. 12. [1656] 1 Cor. xv. 32. [1657] Rom. viii. 6.


Chapter 20.

--34. Polianus of Mileum [1658] said: "It is right that a heretic should be baptized in the holy Church." [1659]

35. Nothing, indeed, could be expressed more shortly. But I think this too is short: It is right that the baptism of Christ should not be depreciated in the Church of Christ.

Footnotes

[1658] Mileum, Milevis, Mileve, in ecclesiastical province of Numidia, noted as the seat of two Councils 402 A.D. and 416 A.D.; also as the See of Optatus. Polianus is most likely to be identified with the one in Cypr. Epp. lxxvi., lxxix. [1659] Conc. Cath. sec. 13.


Chapter 21.

--36. Theogenes of Hippo Regius [1660] said: "According to the sacrament of the heavenly grace of God which we have received, we believe in the one only baptism which is in the holy Church." [1661]

37. This may be my own judgment also. For it is so balanced, that it contains nothing contrary to the truth. For we also believe in the one only baptism which is in the holy Church. Had he said, indeed, We believe in that which is in the holy Church alone, the same answer must have been made to him as to the rest. But as it is, since he has expressed himself in this wise, "We believe in the one only baptism which is in the holy Church," so that it is asserted that it exists in the holy Church, but not denied that it may be elsewhere as well, whatever his meaning may have been, there is no need to argue against these words. For if I were questioned on the several points, first, whether there was one baptism, I should answer that there was one. Then if I were asked, whether this was in the holy Church, I should answer that it was. In the third place, if it were asked whether I believed in this baptism, I should answer that I did so believe; and consequently I should answer that I believed in the one baptism which is in the holy Church. But if it were asked whether it was found in the holy Church alone, and not among heretics and schismatics, I should answer that, in common with the whole Church, I believed the contrary. But since he did not insert this in his judgment, I should consider that it was mere wantonness if I added words which I did not find there, for the sake of arguing against them. For if he were to say, There is one water of the river Euphrates, which is in Paradise, no one could gainsay the truth of what he said. But if he were asked whether that water were in Paradise and nowhere else, and were to say that this was so, he would be saying what was false. For, besides Paradise, it is also in those lands into which it flows from that source. But who is rash enough to say that he would have been likely to assert what is false, when it is quite possible that he was asserting what is true? Wherefore the words of this judgment require no contradiction, because they in no wise run counter to the truth.

Footnotes

[1660] Hippo Regius, the see of Augustin himself, in ecclesiastical province of Numidia. [1661] Conc. Carth. sec. 14.--C.D.H.


Chapter 22.

--38. Dativus of Badiæ [1662] said "We, so far as lies within our power, refuse to communicate with a heretic, unless he has been baptized in the Church, and received remission of his sins." [1663]

39. The answer to this is: If your reason for wishing him to be baptized is that he has not received remission of sins, supposing you find a man within the Church who has been baptized, though entertaining hatred towards his brother, since the Lord cannot lie, who says, "If ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses," [1664] will you bid such an one, when corrected, to be baptized afresh? Assuredly not; so neither should you bid the heretic. It is clear that we must not pass unnoticed why he did not briefly say, "We do not communicate with a heretic," but added, "so far as lies within our power." For he saw that a greater number agreed with this view, from whose communion, however, he and his friends could not separate themselves, lest unity should be impaired, and so he added, "so far as lies within our power,"--showing beyond all doubt that he did not willingly communicate with those whom he held to be without baptism, but that yet all things were to be endured for the sake of peace and unity; just as was done also by those who thought that Dativus and his party were in the wrong, and who held what afterwards was taught by a fuller declaration of the truth, and urged by ancient custom, which received the stronger confirmation of a later Council; yet in turn, with anxious piety, they showed toleration towards each other, though without violation of Christian charity they entertained different opinions, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, [1665] till God should reveal to one of them, were he otherwise minded, even this error of his ways. [1666]And to this I would have those give heed, by whom unity is attacked on the authority of this very Council by which it is declared how much unity should be loved.

Footnotes

[1662] Badiæ (Vada) in ecclesiastical province of Numidia. For Dativus see Cypr. Epp. lxxvi., lxxvii. [1663] Conc. Carth. sec. 15. [1664] Matt. vi. 15. [1665] Eph. iv. 3. [1666] Phil. iii. 15.


Chapter 23.

--40. Successus of Abbir Germaniciana [1667] said: "Heretics may either do nothing or everything. If they can baptize, they can also give the Holy Spirit; but if they cannot give the Holy Spirit, because they do not possess the Holy Spirit, then can they not either spiritually baptize. Therefore we give our judgment that heretics should be baptized." [1668]

41. To this we may answer almost word for word: Murderers may either do nothing or everything. If they can baptize, they can also give the Holy Spirit; but if they cannot give the Holy Spirit, because they do not possess the Holy Spirit, then can they not either spiritually baptize. Therefore we give our judgment that persons baptized by murderers, or murderers themselves who have been baptized without being converted, should, when they have corrected themselves, be baptized. Yet this is not true. For "whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer;" [1669] and Cyprian knew such men within the Church, who certainly baptized. Therefore it is to no purpose that words of this sort are used concerning heretics.

Footnotes

[1667] Abbir Germaniciana was in ecclesiastical province of Zeugitana, or Africa Proconsularis. Successus probably identical with one mentioned in Cypr. Epp. lvii., lxvii., lxx., lxxx. [1668] Conc. Carth. sec. 16. [1669] 1 John iii. 15.


Chapter 24.

--42. Fortunatus of Thuccabori [1670] said: "Jesus Christ our Lord and God, the Son of God the Father and Creator, built His Church upon a rock, not upon heresy, and gave the power of baptizing to bishops, not to heretics. Wherefore those who are outside the Church, and stand against Christ, scattering His sheep and flock, cannot baptize outside." [1671]

43. He added the word "outside" in order that he might not be answered with a like brevity to Successus. For otherwise he might also have been answered word for word: Jesus Christ our Lord and God, the Son of God the Father and Creator, built His Church upon a rock, not upon iniquity, and gave the power of baptizing to bishops, not to the unrighteous. Wherefore those who do not belong to the rock on which they build, who hear the word of God and do it, [1672] but, living contrary to Christ in hearing the word and not doing it, and hereby building on the sand, in this way scatter His sheep and flock by the example of an abandoned character, cannot baptize. Might not this be said with all the semblance of truth? and yet it is false. For the unrighteous do baptize, since those robbers are unrighteous whom Cyprian maintained to be at unity with himself. [1673]But for this reason, says the Donatist, he adds "outside." Why therefore can they not baptize outside? Is it because they are worse from the very fact that they are outside? But it makes no difference, in respect of the validity of baptism, how much worse the minister may be. For there is not so much difference between bad and worse as between good and bad; and yet, when the bad baptizes, he gives the selfsame sacrament as the good. Therefore, also, when the worse baptizes, he gives the selfsame sacrament as the less bad. Or is it that it is not in respect of man's merit, but of the sacrament of baptism itself, that it cannot be given outside? If this were so, neither could it be possessed outside, and it would be necessary that a man should be baptized again so often as he left the Church and again returned to it.

44. Further, if we inquire more carefully what is meant by "outside," especially as he himself makes mention of the rock on which the Church is built, are not they in the Church who are on the rock, and they who are not on the rock, not in the Church either? Now, therefore, let us see whether they build their house upon a rock who hear the words of Christ and do them not. The Lord Himself declares the contrary, saying, "Whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock;" and a little later, "Every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand." [1674]If, therefore, the Church is on a rock, those who are on the sand, because they are outside the rock, are necessarily outside the Church. Let us recollect, therefore, how many Cyprian mentions as placed within who build upon the sand, that is, who hear the words of Christ and do them not. And therefore, because they are on the sand, they are proved to be outside the rock, that is, outside the Church; yet even while they are so situated, and are either not yet or never changed for the better, not only do they baptize and are baptized, but the baptism which they have remains valid in them though they are destined to damnation.

45. Neither can it be said in this place, [1675] Yet who is there that doeth all the words of the Lord which are written in the evangelic sermon itself, [1676] at the end of which He says, that he who heard the said words and did them built upon a rock, and he who heard them and did them not built upon the sand? For, granting that by certain persons all the words are not accomplished, yet in the same sermon He has appointed the remedy, saying, "Forgive, and ye shall be forgiven." [1677]And after the Lord's prayer had been recorded in detail in the same sermon, He says, "For I say unto you, if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: but if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." [1678]Hence also Peter says, "For charity shall cover the multitude of sins;" [1679] which charity they certainly did not have, and on this account they built upon the sand, of whom the same Cyprian says, that within the Church they held conversation, even in the time of the apostles, in unkindly hatred alien from Christian charity; [1680] and therefore they seemed indeed to be within, but really were without, because they were not on that rock by which the Church is signified.

Footnotes

[1670] Thuccabori, Tucca or Terebrinthina, in ecclesiastical province of Africa Proconsularis or Zeugitana. For Bp. Fortunatus, see Cypr. Epp. xlviii., lvi., lvii. (the first), lxvii., lxx. [1671] Conc. Carth. sec. 17. [1672] Matt. vii. 24. [1673] Cypr. Serm. de Laps. [1674] Matt. vii. 24, 26. [1675] It is pointed out by the Louvain editors that this passage shows that Augustin considered our Lord's precept to comprehend everything contained in the Sermon on the Mount. [1676] It is pointed out by the Louvain editors that this passage shows that Augustin considered our Lord's precept to comprehend everything contained in the Sermon on the Mount. [1677] Luke vi. 37. [1678] Matt. vi. 14, 15. [1679] 1 Pet. iv. 8. [1680] Cypr. Ep. lxxiii. 14.


Chapter 25.

--46. Sedatus of Tuburbo [1681] said: "Inasmuch as water, sanctified by the prayer of the priest in the Church, washes away sins, just so much does it multiply sins when infected, as by a cancer, with the words of heretics. Wherefore one must strive, with all such efforts as conduce to peace, that no one who has been infected and tainted by heretical error should refuse to receive the one true baptism, with which whosoever is not baptized shall not inherit the kingdom of heaven." [1682]

47. To this we answer, that if the water is not sanctified, when through want of skill the priest who prays utters some words of error, many, not only of the bad, but of the good brethren in the Church itself, fail to sanctify the water. For the prayers of many are corrected every day on being recited to men of greater learning, and many things are found in them contrary to the Catholic faith. Supposing, then, that it were shown that some persons were baptized when these prayers had been uttered over the water, will they be bidden to be baptized afresh? Why not? Because generally the fault in the prayer is more than counterbalanced by the intent of him who offers it; and those fixed words of the gospel, without which baptism cannot be consecrated, are of such efficacy, that, by their virtue, anything faulty that is uttered in the prayer contrary to the rule of faith is made of no effect, just as the devil is excluded by the name of Christ. For it is clear that if a heretic utters a faulty prayer, he has no good intent of love whereby that want of skill may be compensated, and therefore he is like any envious or spiteful person in the Catholic Church itself, such as Cyprian proves to exist within the Church. Or one might offer some prayer, as not unfrequently happens, in which he should speak against the rule of faith, since many rush into the use of prayers which are composed not only by unskillful men who love to talk, but even by heretics, and in the simplicity of ignorance, not being able to discern their true character, use them, thinking they are good; and yet what is erroneous in them does not vitiate what is right, but rather it is rendered null thereby, just as in the man of good hope and approved faith, who yet is but a man, if in anything he be otherwise minded, what he holds aright is not thereby vitiated until God reveal to him also that in which he is otherwise minded. [1683]But supposing that the man himself is wicked and perverse, then, if he should offer an upright prayer, in no part contrary to the Catholic faith, it does not follow that because the prayer is right the man himself is also right; and if over some he offer an erroneous prayer, God is present to uphold the words of His gospel, without which the baptism of Christ cannot be consecrated, and He Himself consecrates His sacrament, that in the recipient, either before he is baptized, or when he is baptized, or at some future time when he turns in truth to God, that very sacrament may be profitable to salvation, which, were he not to be converted, would be powerful to his destruction. But who is there who does not know that there is no baptism of Christ, if the words of the gospel in which consists the outward visible sign be not forthcoming? But you will more easily find heretics who do not baptize at all, than any who baptize without those words. And therefore we say, not that every baptism (for in many of the blasphemous rites of idols men are said to be baptized), but that the baptism of Christ, that is, every baptism consecrated in the words of the gospel, is everywhere the same, and cannot be vitiated by any perversity on the part of any men. [1684]

48. We must certainly not lightly pass over in this judgment that he here inserted a clause, and says, "Wherefore we must strive, with all such efforts as conduce to peace, that no one who has been infected," etc. For he had regard to those words of the blessed Cyprian in his opening speech, "Judging no man, nor depriving any of the right of communion if he entertain a different view." See of what power is the love of unity and peace in the good sons of the Church, that they should choose rather to show tolerance towards those whom they called sacrilegious and profane, being admitted, as they thought, without the sacrament of baptism, if they could not correct them as they thought was right, than on their account to break that holy bond, lest on account of the tares the wheat also should be rooted out, [1685] --permitting, so far as rested with them, as in that noblest judgment of Solomon, that the infant body should rather be nourished by the false mother than be cut in pieces. [1686]But this was the opinion both of those who held the truer view about the sacrament of baptism, and of those to whom God, in consideration of their great love, was purposing to reveal any point in which they were otherwise minded.

Footnotes

[1681] Tuburbo (Thuburbo) was in the ecclesiastical province of Zeugitana. Sedatus is not unlikely the same as the one mentioned in Cypr. Epp. iv., lxvii., lxx. [1682] Conc. Carth sec. 18. [1683] Phil. iii. 15. [1684] See above, III. cc. 14, 15. [1685] Matt. xiii. 29. [1686] 1 Kings iii. 26.


Chapter 26.

--49. Privatianus of Sufetula [1687] said: "He who says that heretics have the power of baptizing should first say who it was that founded heresy. For if heresy is of God, it may have the divine favor; but if it be not of God, how can it either have or confer on any one the grace of God?" [1688]

50. This man may thus be answered word for word: He who says that malicious and envious persons have the power of baptizing, should first say who was the founder of malice and envy. For if malice and envy are of God, they may have the divine favor; but if they are not of God, how can they either have or confer on any one the grace of God? But as these words are in the same way most manifestly false, so are also those which these were uttered to confute. For the malicious and envious baptize, as even Cyprian himself allows, because he bears testimony that they also are within. So therefore even heretics may baptize, because baptism is the sacrament of Christ; but envy and heresy are the works of the devil. Yet though a man possesses them, he does not thereby cause that if he have the sacrament of Christ, it also should itself be reckoned in the number of the devil's works.

Footnotes

[1687] Sufetula was a town in ecclesiastical province of Byzacene, twenty-five miles from Sufes (same province), of which the name is a diminutive. Bp. Privatianus is mentioned in Cypr. Epp. lvi., lvii. [1688] Conc. Carth. sec. 19.


Chapter 27.

--51. Privatus of Sufes [1689] said: "What can be said of the man who approves the baptism of heretics, save that he communicates with heretics?" [1690]

52. To this we answer: It is not the baptism of heretics which we approve in heretics, as it is not the baptism of the covetous, or the treacherous, or deceitful, or of robbers, or of envious men which we approve in them; for all of these are unjust, but Christ is just, whose sacrament existing in them, they do not in its essence violate. Otherwise another man might say: What can be said of the man who approves the baptism of the unjust, save that he communicates with the unjust. And if this objection were brought against the Catholic Church herself, it would be answered just as I have answered the above.

Footnotes

[1689] See n. 6. p. 475. [1690] Conc. Carth. sec. 20.


Chapter 28.

--53. Hortensianus of Lares [1691] said: "How many baptisms there are, let those who uphold or favor heretics determine. We assert one baptism of the Church, which we only know in the Church. Or how can those baptize any one in the name of Christ whom Christ Himself declares to be His enemies?" [1692]

54. Giving answer to this man in a like tenor of words, we say: Let those who uphold or favor the unrighteous see to it: we recall to the Church when we can the one baptism which we know to be of the Church alone, wherever it be found. Or how can they baptize any one in the name of Christ whom Christ Himself declares to be His enemies? For He says to all the unrighteous, "I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity;" [1693] and yet, when they baptize, it is not themselves that baptize, but He of whom John says, "The same is He which baptizeth." [1694]

Footnotes

[1691] Lares, in ecclesiastical province of Numidia. Hortensianus is very likely the same as the one in Cypr. Epp. lvii., lxx. [1692] Conc. Carth. sec. 21. [1693] Matt. vii. 23. [1694] John i. 33.


Chapter 29.

--55. Cassius of Macomades [1695] said: "Since there cannot be two baptisms, he who grants baptism unto heretics takes it away from himself. I therefore declare my judgment that heretics, those objects for our tears, those masses of corruption, [1696] should be baptized when they begin to come to the Church, and that so being washed by the sacred and divine laver, and enlightened with the light of life, they may be received into the Church,--as being now made not enemies, but peaceful; not strangers, but of the household of the faith of the Lord; not bastards, [1697] but sons of God; partaking not of error, but of salvation,--with the exception of those who, being believers transplanted from the Church, had gone over to heresy, and that these should be restored by the laying on of hands." [1698]

56. Another might say: Since there cannot be two baptisms, he who grants baptism to the unrighteous takes it away from himself. But even our opponents would join us in resisting such a man when he says that we grant baptism to the unrighteous, which is not of the unrighteous, like their unrighteousness, but of Christ, of whom is righteousness, and whose sacrament, even among the unrighteous, is not unrighteous. What, therefore, they would join us in saying of the unrighteous, that let them say to themselves of heretics. And therefore he should rather have said as follows: I therefore give my judgment that heretics, those objects for our tears, those masses of corruption, should not be baptized when they begin to come to the Church, if they already have the baptism of Christ, but should be corrected from their error. For we may similarly say of the unrighteous, of whom the heretics are a part: I therefore give my judgment that the unrighteous, those objects for our tears, and masses of corruption, if they have been already baptized, should not be baptized again when they begin to come to the Church, that is, to that rock outside which are all who hear the words of Christ and do them not; but being already washed with the sacred and divine laver, and now further enlightened with the light of truth, should be received into the Church no longer as enemies but as peaceful, for the unrighteous have no peace; no longer as strangers, but of the household of the faith of the Lord, for to the unrighteous it is said, "How then art thou turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine unto me?" [1699] no longer as bastards, but the sons of God, for the unrighteous are the sons of the devil, partaking not of error but of salvation, for un-righteousness cannot save. And by the Church I mean that rock, that dove, that garden enclosed and fountain sealed, which is recognized only in the wheat, not in the chaff, whether that be scattered far apart by the wind, or appear to be mingled with the corn even till the last winnowing. In vain, therefore, did Cassius add, "With the exception of those who, being believers transplanted from the Church, had gone over to heresy." For if even they themselves had lost baptism by seceding, to themselves also let it be restored; but if they had not lost it, let what was given by them receive due recognition.

Footnotes

[1695] Macomades [in ecclesiastical province of Numidia.] Bp. Cassius is probably to be identified with the one in Cypr. Ep. lxx. [1696] Flebiles et tabidos. This is otherwise taken of the repentant heretics "Melting with the grief and wretchedness of penitence;" but Bishop Fell points out that the interpretation in the text is supported by an expression in c. 33, 63: Mens hæretica, quæ diuturna tabe polluta est. Routh Rel. Sac. iii. p. 199. [1697] Adulteros. So all the Mss. of Augustin, though in Cyprian is sometimes found "adulterinos." In classical Latin, however "adulterit" is sometimes used in the sense of "adulterinus." Cassius seems to have had in mind Heb. xii. 8, "Then are ye bastards, and not sons." [1698] Conc. Carth. sec. 22. [1699] Jer. ii. 21.


Chapter 30.

--57. Another Januarius of Vicus Cæsaris [1700] said: "If error does not obey truth, much more does truth refuse assent to error; and therefore we stand by the Church in which we preside, so that, claiming her baptism for herself alone, we baptize those whom the Church has not baptized." [1701]

58. We answer: Whom the Church baptizes, those that rock baptizes outside which are all they who hear the words of Christ and do them not. Let all, therefore, be baptized again who have been baptized by such. But if this is not done, then, as we recognize the baptism of Christ in these, so should we recognize it in heretics, though we either condemn or correct their unrighteousness and error.

Footnotes

[1700] Vicus Cæsaris, probably of ecclesiastical province of Byzacium. This Bp. Januarius may be the second of that name in Cypr. Ep. lxvii., and is to be distinquished from Bp. Januarius of Lambæse, ch. xiii. 20. [1701] Conc. Carth. sec. 23.


Chapter 31.

--59. Another Secundinus of Carpis [1702] said: "Are heretics Christians or not? If they are Christians, why are they not in the Church of God? If they are not Christians, let them be made so. [1703]Else what will be the reference in the discourse of the Lord, in which He says, `He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad?' [1704]Whence it is clear that on strange children and the offspring of Antichrist the Holy Spirit cannot descend by the laying on of hands alone, since it is clear that heretics have not baptism." [1705]

60. To this we answer: Are the unrighteous Christians or not? If they are Christians, why are they not on that rock on which the Church is built? for they hear the words of Christ and do them not. If they are not Christians, let them be made so. Else what will be the reference in the discourse of our Lord, in which He says, "He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad?" For they scatter His sheep who lead them to the ruin of their lives by a false imitation of the Lord. Whence it is clear that upon strange children (as all the unrighteous are called), and upon the offspring of Antichrist (which all are who oppose themselves to Christ), the Holy Spirit cannot descend by the laying on of hands alone, if there be not added a true conversion of the heart; since it is clear that the unrighteous, so long as they are unrighteous, may indeed have baptism, but cannot have the salvation of which baptism is the sacrament. For let us see whether heretics are described in that psalm where the following words are used of strange children: "Deliver me, O Lord, from the hand of strange children, whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood: whose sons are like young shoots well established, and their daughters polished after the similitude of the temple. Their garners are full, affording all manner of store; their sheep are fruitful, bringing forth plenteously in their streets; their oxen are strong: there is no breaking down of their fence, no opening of a passage out, no complaining in their streets. Men deemed happy the people that is in such a case; rather blessed is the people whose God is the Lord." [1706]If, therefore, those are strange children who place their happiness in temporal things, and in the abundance of earthly prosperity, and despise the commandments of the Lord, let us see whether these are not the very same of whom Cyprian so speaks, transforming them also into himself, that he may show that he is speaking of men with whom he held communion in the sacraments: "In not keeping," he says, "the way of the Lord, nor observing the heavenly commandments given us for our salvation. Our Lord did the will of His Father, and we do not do the will of the Lord, being eager about our patrimony or our gains, following after pride, and so forth." [1707]But if these could both have and transmit baptism, why is it denied that it may exist among strange children, whom he yet exhorts, that, by keeping the heavenly commandments conveyed to them through the only-begotten Son, they should deserve to be His brethren and the sons of God?

Footnotes

[1702] Carpis (Carpos) was in ecclesiastical province of Zeugitana. See for Secundinus, note on chap. 18. [1703] Fiant. Another reading in some Mss. of Cyprian (not found in those of Augustin) is, "quomodo Christianos faciunt," which is less in harmony with the context. [1704] Matt. xii. 30. [1705] Conc. Carth. sec. 24. [1706] Ps. cxliv. 11-15, so LXX. cp. Hieron. Ps. cxliii. 11-15. [1707] Cypr. Presbyteris et diaconibus fratribus, Ep. xi. 1.


Chapter 32.

--61. Victoricus of Thabraca [1708] said: "If heretics may baptize, and give remission of sins, why do we destroy their credit, and call them heretics?" [1709]

62. What if another were to say: If the unrighteous may baptize, and give remission of sins, why do we destroy their credit, and call them unrighteous? The answer which we should give to such an one concerning the unrighteous may also be given to the other concerning heretics,--that is, in the first place, that the baptism with which they baptize is not theirs; and secondly, that it does not follow that whosoever has the baptism of Christ is also certain of the remission of his sins if he has this only in the outward sign, and is not converted with a true conversion of the heart, so that he who gives remission should himself have remission of his sins.

Footnotes

[1708] Thabraca was on the coast of Numidia, in ecclesiastical province of that name, the frontier town towards Zeugitana, at the mouth of the Tucca. The name of a Victoricus occurs in Cypr. Epp. lvii., lxvii. [1709] Conc. Carth. sec. 25.


Chapter 33.

--63. Another Felix of Uthina [1710] said: "No one can doubt, most holy brethren in the priesthood, that human presumption has not so much power as the adorable and venerable majesty of our Lord Jesus Christ. Remembering then the danger, we ought not only to observe this ourselves, but to confirm it by our general consent, that all heretics who come to the bosom of our mother the Church be baptized, that the heretical mind, which has been polluted by long-continued corruption, may be reformed when cleansed by the sanctification of the laver." [1711]

64. Perhaps the man who has placed the strength of his case for the baptizing of heretics in the cleansing away of the long-continued corruption, would spare those who, having fallen headlong into some heresy, had remained in it a brief space, and presently being corrected, had passed from thence to the Catholic Church. Furthermore, he has himself failed to observe that it might be said that all unrighteous persons who come to that rock, in which is understood the Church, should be baptized, so that the unrighteous mind, which was building outside the rock upon the sand by hearing the words of Christ and not doing them, might be reformed when cleansed by the sanctification of the laver; and yet this is not done if they have been baptized already, even if it be proved that such was their character when they were baptized, that is, that they "renounced the world in words and not in deeds."

Footnotes

[1710] Uthina was in ecclesiastical province of Zeugitana. This Felix is to be distinguished from the bishop of Bagai, ch. 19: A reference to a bishop of Utina is made by Tert. de Monog. ch. xii., but he cannot have been this Felix, as some assume. [1711] Conc. Carth. sec. 26.


Chapter 34.

--65. Quietus of Burug [1712] said: "We who live by faith ought with believing observance to obey what has been before foretold for our instruction. For it is written in Solomon, `He that is washed by one dead, what availeth his washing?' [1713]Which assuredly he says of those who are washed by heretics, and of those who wash. For if they who are baptized among them receive eternal life through the remission of their sins, why do they come to the Church? But if no salvation is received from a dead person, and they therefore, acknowledging their former error, return with penance to the truth, they ought to be sanctified with the one life-giving baptism which is in the Catholic Church." [1714]

66. What it is to be baptized by the dead, we have already, without prejudice to the more careful consideration of the same scripture, sufficiently declared before. [1715]But I would ask why it is that they wish heretics alone to be considered dead, when Paul the apostle has said generally of sin, "The wages of sin is death;" [1716] and again, "To be carnally minded is death." [1717]And when he says that a widow that liveth in pleasure is dead, [1718] how are they not dead "who renounce the world in words and not in deeds"? What, therefore, is the profit of washing in him who is baptized by them, except, indeed, that if he himself also is of the same character, he has the laver indeed, but it does not profit him to salvation? But if he by whom he is baptized is such, but the man who is baptized is turned to the Lord with no false heart, he is not baptized by that dead person, but by that living One of whom it is said, "The same is He which baptizeth." [1719]But to what he says of heretics, that if they who are baptized among them receive eternal life through the remission of their sins, why do they come to the Church? we answer: They come for this reason, that although they have received the baptism of Christ up to the point of the celebration of the sacrament, yet they cannot attain to life eternal save through the charity of unity; just as neither would those envious and malicious ones attain to life eternal, who would not have their sins forgiven them, even if they entertained hatred only against those from whom they suffered wrong; since the Truth said, "If ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses," [1720] how much less when they were hating those towards whom they were rewarding evil for good? [1721]And yet these men, though "renouncing the world in words and not in deeds," would not be baptized again, if they should afterwards be corrected, but they would be made holy by the one living baptism. And this is indeed in the Catholic Church, but not in it alone, as neither is it in the saints alone who are built upon the rock, and of whom that one dove is composed. [1722]

Footnotes

[1712] Burug (Buruc) or Burca was in ecclesiastical province of Numidia. Quietus may be identical with the one mentioned in Cypr. Ep. lxvii. [1713] In the English version this is, "He that washeth himself after touching a dead body, if he touch it again, what availeth his washing?"--Ecclus. xxxiv. 25. [1714] Conc. Carth. sec. 27. [1715] Contra Parmenianum, II. 10. 22. [1716] Rom. vi. 23. [1717] Rom. viii. 6. [1718] 1 Tim. v. 6. [1719] John i. 33. [1720] Matt. vi. 15. [1721] Ps. xxxv. 12. [1722] Cant. vi. 9.


Chapter 35.

--67. Castus of Sicca [1723] said: He who presumes to follow custom in despite of truth is either envious and evilly disposed towards the brethren to whom the truth is revealed, or else he is ungrateful towards God, by whose inspiration His Church is instructed." [1724]

68. If this man proved that those who differed from him, and held the view that has since been held by the whole world under the sanction of a Christian Council, were following custom so as to despise truth, we should have reason for fearing these words; but seeing that this custom is found both to have had its origin in truth and to have been confirmed by truth, we have nothing to fear in this judgment. And yet, if they were envious or evilly disposed towards the brethren, or ungrateful towards God, see with what kind of men they were willing to hold communion; see what kind of men, holding different opinions from their own, they treated as Cyprian enjoined them at the first, not removing them from the right of communion; see by what kind of men they were not polluted in the preservation of unity; see how greatly the bond of peace was to be loved; see what views they hold who bring charges against us, founded on the Council of bishops, their predecessors, whose example they do not imitate, and by whose example, when the rights of the case are considered, they are condemned. If it was the custom, as this judgment bears witness, that heretics coming to the Church should be received with the baptism which they already had, either this was done rightly, or the evil do not pollute the good in unity. If it was rightly done, why do they accuse the world because they are so received? But if the evil do not pollute the good in unity, how do they defend themselves against the charge of sacrilegious separation?

Footnotes

[1723] Sicca was in ecclesiastical province of Zeugitana. This is certainly not the Castus of Cypr. de Laps. c. xiii. [1724] Conc. Carth. sec. 28.


Chapter 36.

--69. Eucratius of Theni [1725] said: "Our God and Lord Jesus Christ, teaching the apostles with His own mouth, fully laid down our faith, and the grace of baptism, and the rule of the law of the Church, saying, `Go ye, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.' [1726] Therefore the false and unrighteous baptism of heretics is to be repudiated by us, and contradicted with all solemnity of witness, seeing that from their mouth issues not life, but poison, not heavenly grace, but blaspheming of the Trinity. And so it is plain that heretics coming to the Church ought to be baptized with perfect and Catholic baptism, that, being purified from the blasphemy of their presumption, they may be reformed by the grace of the Holy Spirit." [1727]

70. Clearly, if the baptism is not consecrated in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, it should be considered to be of the heretics, and repudiated as unrighteous by us with all solemnity of witness; but if we discern this name in it, we do better to distinguish the words of the gospel from heretical error, and approve what is sound in them, correcting what is faulty.

Footnotes

[1725] Theni was in ecclesiastical province of Byzacene. A Eucratius occurs in Cypr. Ep. ii. [1726] Matt. xxviii. 19. [1727] Conc. Carth. sec. 29.


Chapter 37.

--71. Libosus of Vaga [1728] said: "The Lord says in the gospel, `I am the truth;' [1729] He did not say, I am custom. Therefore, when the truth is made manifest, let custom yield to truth; so that, if even in time past any one did not baptize heretics in the Church, he may now begin to baptize them." [1730]

72. Here he has in no way tried to show how that is the truth to which he says that custom ought to yield. But it is of more importance that he helps us against those who have separated themselves from unity, by confessing that the custom existed, than that he thinks it ought to yield to a truth which he does not show. For the custom is of such a nature, that if it admitted sacrilegious men to the altar of Christ without the cleansing of baptism, and polluted none of the good men who remained in unity, then all who have cut themselves off from the same unity, in which they could not be polluted by the contagion of any evil persons whatsoever, have separated themselves without reason, and have committed the manifest sacrilege of schism. But if all perished in pollution through that custom, from what cavern do they issue without the original truth, and with all the cunning of calumny? If, however, the custom was a right one by which heretics were thus received, let them abandon their madness, let them confess their error; let them come to the Catholic Church, not that they may be bathed again with the sacrament of baptism, but that they may be cured from the wound of severance.

Footnotes

[1728] Vaga was in ecclesiastical province of Byzacium. The name of a Libosus occurs in Cypr. Ep. lxvii. [1729] John xiv. 6. [1730] Conc. Carth. sec. 30.


Chapter 38.

--73. Lucius of Thebaste [1731] said: "I declare my judgment that heretics, and blasphemers, and unrighteous men, who with various words pluck away the sacred and adorable words of the Scriptures, should be held accursed, and therefore exorcised and baptized." [1732]

74. I too think that they should be held accursed, but not that therefore they should be exorcised and baptized; for it is their own falsehood which I hold accursed, but Christ's sacrament which I venerate.

Footnotes

[1731] Thebaste (Thebeste) in ecclesiastical province of Numidia. For Lucius, cp. c. 14. [1732] Conc. Carth. sec. 31.


Chapter 39.

--75. Eugenius of Ammedera [1733] said: "I too pronounce this same judgment, that heretics should be baptized." [1734]

76. To him we answer: But this is not the judgment which the Church pronounces, to which also God has now revealed in a plenary Council the point in which ye were then still otherwise minded, [1735] but because saving charity was in you, ye remained in unity.

Footnotes

[1733] Ammedera, probably in ecclesiastical province of Proconsularis Africa. [1734] Conc. Carth. sec. 32. [1735] Phil. iii. 15.


Chapter 40.

--77. Also another Felix of Ammacura [1736] said: "I too, following the authority of the holy Scriptures, give my judgment that heretics should be baptized, and with them those also who maintain that they have been baptized among schismatics. For if, according to the warning of Christ, our fountain is sealed to ourselves, [1737] let all the enemies of our Church understand that it cannot belong to others; nor can He who is the Shepherd of our flock give the water unto salvation to two different peoples. And therefore it is clear that neither heretics nor schismatics can receive anything heavenly, who dare to accept from men that are sinners and aliens from the Church. When the giver has no ground to stand upon, surely neither can the receiver derive any profit." [1738]

78. To him we answer, that the holy Scriptures nowhere have enjoined that heretics baptized among heretics should be baptized afresh, but that they have shown in many places that all are aliens from the Church who are not on the rock, nor belong to the members of the dove, and yet that they baptize and are baptized and have the sacrament of salvation without salvation. But how our fountain is like the fountain of Paradise, in that, like it, it flows forth even beyond the bounds of Paradise, has been sufficiently set forth above; [1739] and that "He who is the Shepherd of our flock cannot give the water unto salvation to two different peoples," that is, to one that is His own, and to another that is alien, I fully agree in admitting. But does it follow that because the water is not unto salvation it is not the identical water? For the water of the deluge was for salvation unto those who were placed within the ark, but it brought death to those without, and yet it was the same water. And many aliens, that is to say, envious persons, whom Cyprian declares and proves from Scripture to be of the party of the devil, seem as it were to be within, and yet, if they were not without the ark, they would not perish by water. For such men are slain by baptism, as the sweet savor of Christ was unto death to those of whom the apostle speaks. [1740] Why then do not either heretics or schismatics receive anything heavenly, just as thorns or tares, like those who were without the ark received indeed the rain from the floods of heaven, but to destruction, not to salvation? And so I do not take the pains to refute what he said in conclusion: "When the giver has no ground to stand upon, surely neither can the receiver derive any profit," since we also say that it does not profit the receivers while they receive it in heresy, consenting with the heretics; and therefore they come to Catholic peace and unity, not that they may receive baptism, but that what they had received may begin to profit them.

Footnotes

[1736] Ammacura (Bamacorra) in ecclesiastical province of Numidia. [1737] Cant. iv. 12. [1738] Conc. Carth. sec. 33. [1739] Ch. 21, 37. [1740] 2 Cor. ii. 15.


Chapter 41.

--79. Also another Januarius of Muzuli [1741] said: "I wonder that, while all acknowledge that there is one baptism, all do not understand the unity of the same baptism. For the Church and heresy are two distinct things. If heretics have baptism we have it not; but if we have it, heretics cannot have it. But there is no doubt that the Church alone possesses the baptism of Christ, since it alone possesses both the favor and the truth of Christ." [1742]

80. Another might equally say, and say with equal want of truth: I wonder that, while all confess there is one baptism, all do not understand the unity of baptism. For righteousness and unrighteousness are two distinct things. If the unrighteous have baptism, the righteous have it not; but if the righteous have it, the unrighteous cannot have it. But there is no doubt that the righteous alone possess the baptism of Christ, since they alone possess both the favor and the truth of Christ. This is certainly false, as they confess themselves. For those envious ones also who are of the party of the devil, though placed within the Church, as Cyprian tells us, and who were well known to the Apostle Paul, had baptism, but did not belong to the members of that dove which is safely sheltered on the rock.

Footnotes

[1741] Muzuli is perhaps the same as Muzuca in ecclesiastical province of Byzacium. [1742] Conc. Carth. sec. 34.


Chapter 42.

--81. Adelphius of Thasbalte [1743] said: "It is surely without cause that they find fault with the truth in false and invidious terms, saying that we rebaptize, since the Church does not rebaptize heretics, but baptizes them." [1744]

82. Truly enough it does not rebaptize them, because it only baptizes those who were not baptized before; and this earlier custom has only been confirmed in a later Council by a more careful perfecting of the truth.

Footnotes

[1743] Thasbalte (Thasvalthe) was in ecclesiastical province of Byzacene. An Adelphius is mentioned in Cypr. Ep. lxvii. [1744] Conc. Carth. sec. 35.


Chapter 43.

--83. Demetrius of the Lesser Leptis [1745] said: "We uphold one baptism, because we claim for the Catholic Church alone what is her own. But those who say that heretics baptize truly and lawfully are themselves the men who make, not two, but many baptisms; for since heresies are many in number, the baptisms, too, will be reckoned according to their number." [1746]

84. To him we answer: If this were so, then would as many baptisms be reckoned as there are works of the flesh, of which the apostle says "that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God;" [1747] among which are reckoned also heresies; and so many of those very works are tolerated within the Church as though in the chaff, and yet there is one baptism for them all, which is not vitiated by any work of unrighteousness.

Footnotes

[1745] Leptis the Lesser was in ecclesiastical province of Byzacene, the Greater being in that of Tripolis. A Demetrius occurs in Cypr. Epp. lvii., lxx. [1746] Conc. Carth. sec. 36. [1747] Gal. v. 21.


Chapter 44.

--85. Vincentius of Thibari [1748] said: "We know that heretics are worse than heathens. If they, being converted, wish to come to God, they have assuredly a rule of truth, which the Lord by His divine precept committed to the apostles, saying, `Go ye, lay on hands in my name, cast out devils;' [1749] and in another place, `Go ye, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.' [1750]Therefore, first by the laying on of hands in exorcism, secondly by regeneration in baptism, they may come to the promises of Christ; but my judgment is that in no other way should this be done." [1751]

86. By what rule he asserts that heretics are worse than heathens I do not know, seeing that the Lord says, "If he neglect to hear the Church, let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican." [1752] Is a heretic worse even than such? I do not gainsay it. I do not, however, allow that because the man himself is worse than a heathen, that is, than a Gentile and pagan, therefore whatever the sacrament contains that is Christ's is mingled with his vices and character, and perishes through the corruption of such admixture. For if even those who depart from the Church, and become not the followers but the founders of heresies, have been baptized before their secession, they continue to have baptism, although, according to the above rule, they are worse than heathens; for if on correction they return, they do not receive it, as they certainly would do if they had lost it. It is therefore possible that a man may be worse than a heathen, and yet that the sacrament of Christ may not only be in him, but be not a whit inferior to what it is in a holy and righteous man. For although to the extent of his powers he has not preserved the sacrament, but done it violence in heart and will, yet so far as the sacrament's own nature is concerned, it has remained unhurt in its integrity even in the man who despised and rejected it. Were not the people of Sodom heathens, that is to say, Gentiles? The Jews therefore were worse, to whom the Lord says, "It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for thee;" [1753] and to whom the prophet says, "Thou hast justified Sodom," [1754] that is to say, in comparison with thee Sodom is righteous. Shall we, however, maintain that on this account the holy sacraments which existed among the Jews partook of the nature of the Jews themselves,--those sacraments which the Lord Himself also accepted, and sent the lepers whom He had cleansed to fulfill them, [1755] of which when Zacharias was administering them, the angel stood by him, and declared that his prayer had been heard while he was sacrificing in the temple? [1756] These same sacraments were both in the good men of that time, and in those bad men who were worse than are the heathens, seeing that they were ranked before the Sodomites for wickedness, and yet those sacraments were perfect and holy in both.

87. For even if the Gentiles themselves could have anything holy and right in their doctrines, our saints did not condemn it, however much the Gentiles themselves were to be detested for their superstitions and idolatry and pride, and the rest of their corruptions, and to be punished with judgment from heaven unless they submitted to correction. For when Paul the apostle also was saying something concerning God before the Athenians, he adduced as a proof of what he said, that certain of them had said something to the same effect, [1757] which certainly would not be condemned but recognized in them if they should come to Christ. And the holy Cyprian uses similar evidence against the same heathens; for, speaking of the magi, he says, "The chief of them, however, Hostanes, asserts both that the form of the true God cannot be seen, and also that true angels stand beside His seat. In which Plato also agrees in like manner, and, maintaining the existence of one God, he calls the others angels or demons. Hermes Trismegistus also speaks of one God, and confesses that He is incomprehensible, and past our powers of estimation." [1758]If, therefore, they were to come to the perception of salvation in Christ, it surely would not be said to them, This that ye have is bad, or false; but clearly it would deservedly be said, Though this in you is perfect and true, yet it would profit nothing unless ye came to the grace of Christ. If, therefore, anything that is holy can be found and rightly approved in the very heathens, although the salvation which is of Christ is not yet to be granted to them, we ought not, even though heretics are worse than they, to be moved to the desire of correcting what is bad in them belonging to themselves, without being willing to acknowledge what is good in them of Christ. But we will set forth from a fresh preface to consider the remaining judgments of this Council.

Footnotes

[1748] Thibari, perhaps the same as Tabora, in ecclesiastical province of Mauritania Cæsariensis. A Bp. Vincentius is mentioned in Cypr. Ep. lxvii. [1749] Mark xvi. 15-18. [1750] Matt. xxviii. 19. [1751] Conc. Carth. sec. 37. [1752] Matt. xviii. 17. [1753] Matt. xi. 24. [1754] Ezek. xvi. 51. [1755] Luke xvii. 14. [1756] Luke i. 11, 13. [1757] Acts xvii. 28. [1758] Cypr. de Idol. Vanitate, c. vi. .


Book VII.


In which the remaining judgments of the Council of Carthage are examined.


Chapter 1.

--1. Let us not be considered troublesome to our readers, if we discuss the same question often and from different points of view. For although the Holy Catholic Church throughout all nations be fortified by the authority of primitive custom and of a plenary Council against those arguments which throw some darkness over the question about baptism, whether it can be the same among heretics and schismatics that it is in the Catholic Church, yet, since a different opinion has at one time been entertained in the unity of the Church itself, by men who are in no wise to be despised, and especially by Cyprian, whose authority men endeavor to use against us who are far removed from his charity, we are therefore compelled to make use of the opportunity of examining and considering all that we find on this subject in his Council and letters, in order, as it were, to handle at some considerable length this same question, and to show how it has more truly been the decision of the whole body of the Catholic Church, that heretics or schismatics, who have received baptism already in the body from which they came, should be admitted with it into the communion of the Catholic Church, being corrected in their error and rooted and grounded in the faith, that, so far as concerns the sacrament of baptism, there should not be an addition of something that was wanting, but a turning to profit of what was in them. And the holy Cyprian indeed, now that the corruptible body no longer presseth down the soul, nor the earthly tabernacle presseth down the mind that museth upon many things, [1759] sees with greater clearness that truth to which his charity made him deserving to attain. May he therefore help us by his prayers, while we labor in the mortality of the flesh as in a darksome cloud, that if the Lord so grant it, we may imitate so far as we can the good that was in him. But if he thought otherwise than right on any point, and persuaded certain of his brethren and colleagues to entertain his views in a matter which he now sees clearly through the revelation of Him whom he loved, let us, who are far inferior to his merits, yet following, as our weakness will allow, the authority of the Catholic Church of which he was himself a conspicuous and most noble member, strive our utmost against heretics and schismatics, seeing that they, being cut off from the unity which he maintained, and barren of the love with which he was fruitful, and fallen away from the humility in which he stood, are disavowed and condemned the more by him, in proportion as he knows that they wish to search out his writings for purposes of treachery, and are unwilling to imitate what he did for the maintainance of peace,--like those who, calling themselves Nazarene Christians, and circumcising the foreskin of their flesh after the fashion of the Jews, being heretics by birth in that error from which Peter, when straying from the truth, was called by Paul [1760] persist in the same to the present day. As therefore they have remained in their perversity cut off from the body of the Church, while Peter has been crowned in the primacy of the apostles through the glory of martyrdom, so these men, while Cyprian, through the abundance of his love, has been received into the portion of the saints through the brightness of his passion, are obliged to recognize themselves as exiles from unity, and, in defence of their calumnies, set up a citizen of unity as an opponent against the very home of unity. Let us, therefore, go on to examine the other judgments of that Council after the same fashion.

Footnotes

[1759] Wisd. ix. 15. [1760] Gal. ii. 11.


Chapter 2.

--2. Marcus of Mactaris [1761] said: "It is not to be wondered at if heretics, being enemies and opponents of the truth, claim to themselves what has been entrusted and vouchsafed to other men. What is marvellous is that some of us, traitors to the truth, uphold heretics and oppose Christians; therefore we decree that heretics should be baptized." [1762]

3. To him we answer: It is indeed much more to be wondered at, and deserving of expressions of great praise, that Cyprian and his colleagues had such love for unity that they continued in unity with those whom they considered to be traitors to the truth, without any apprehension of being polluted by them. For when Marcus said, "It is marvellous that some of us, traitors to the truth, uphold heretics and oppose Christians," it seemed natural that he should add, Therefore we decree that communion should not be held with them. This he did not say; but what he does say is, "Therefore we decree that heretics should be baptized," adhering to what the peaceful Cyprian had enjoined in the first instance, saying, "Judging no man, nor removing any from the right of communion if he entertain a different opinion." While, therefore, the Donatists calumniate us and call us traditors, I should be glad to know, supposing that any Jew or pagan were found, who, after reading the records of that Council should call both us and them, according to their own rules, traitors to the truth, how we should be able to make our joint defense so as to refute and wash away so grave a charge. They give the name of traditors to men whom they were never able in times past to convict of the offense, and whom they cannot now show to be involved in it, being themselves rather shown to be liable to the same charge. But what has this to do with us? What shall we say of them who, by their own showing, are unquestionably traitors? For if we, however falsely, are called traditors, because, as they allege, we took part in the same communion with traditors, we have all taken part with the traditors in question, seeing that in the time of the blessed Cyprian the party of Donatus had not yet separated itself from unity. For the delivery of the sacred books, from which they began to be called traditors, occurred somewhat more than forty years after his martyrdom. If, therefore, we are traditors, because we sprang from traditors, as they believe or pretend, we both of us derive our origin from those other traitors. For there is no room for saying that they did not communicate with these traitors, since they call them men of their own party. In the words of the Council which they are most forward to quote, "Some of us," it declares, "traitors to the truth, uphold heretics." To this is added the testimony of Cyprian, showing clearly that he remained in communion with them, when he says, "Judging no man, nor removing any from the right of communion if he entertain a different opinion." For those who entertained a different opinion were the very persons whom Marcus calls traitors to the truth because they upheld heretics, as he maintains, by receiving them into the Church without baptism. That it was, moreover, the custom that they should be so received, is testified both by Cyprian himself in many passages, and by some bishops in this Council. Whence it is evident that, if heretics have not baptism, the Church of Christ of those days was full of traitors, who upheld them by receiving them in this way. I would urge, therefore, that we plead our cause in common against the charge of treason which they cannot disavow, and therein our special case will be argued against the charge of delivering the books, which they could not prove against us. But let us argue the point as though they had convicted us; and what we shall answer jointly to those who urge against both of us the general treason of our forefathers, that we will answer to these men who urge against us that our forefathers gave up the sacred books. For as we were dead because our forefathers delivered up the books, which caused them to divide themselves from us, so both we and they themselves are dead through the treason of our forefathers, from whom both we and they are sprung. But since they say they live, they hold that that treason does not in any way affect them, therefore neither are we affected by the delivery of the books. And it should be observed that, according to them, the treason is indisputable: while, according to us, there is no truth either in the former charge of treason, because we say that heretics also may have the baptism of Christ; nor in the latter charge of delivering the books, because in that they were themselves beaten. They have therefore no reason for separating themselves by the wicked sin of schism, because, if our forefathers were not guilty of delivering up the books, as we say, there is no charge which can affect us at all; but if they were guilty of the sin, as these men say, then it is just as far from affecting us as the sin of those other traitors is from affecting either us or them. And hence, since there is no charge that can implicate us from the unrighteousness of our forefathers, the charge arising against them from their own schism is manifestly proved.

Footnotes

[1761] Mactaris (Macthari) was in ecclesiastical province of Byzacium. This bishop is probably the Marcus of Cypr. Ep. lxx. [1762] Conc. Carth. sec. 38.


Chapter 3.

--4. Satius of Sicilibba [1763] said: "If heretics receive forgiveness of their sins in their own baptism, it is without reason that they come to the Church. For since it is for sins that men are punished in the day of judgment, heretics have nothing to fear in the judgment of Christ if they have obtained remission of their sins." [1764]

5. This too might also have been our own judgment; but let its author beware in what spirit it was said. For it is expressed in terms of such import, that I should feel no compunction in consenting and subscribing to it in the same spirit in which I too believe that heretics may indeed have the baptism of Christ, but cannot have the remission of their sins. But he does not say, If heretics baptize or are baptized, but "If heretics," he says, "receive forgiveness of their sins in their own baptism, it is without reason that they come to the Church." For if we were to set in the place of heretics those whom Cyprian knew within the Church as "renouncing the world in words alone and not in deeds," we also might express this same judgment, in just so many words, with the most perfect truth. If those who only seem to be converted receive forgiveness of their sins in their own baptism, it is without reason that they are afterwards led on to a true conversion. For since it is for sins that men are punished in the day of judgment, "those who renounce the world in words and not in deeds" have nothing to fear in the judgment of Christ if they have obtained remission of their sins. But this reasoning is only made perfect by some such context as is formed by the addition of the words. But they ought to fear the judgment of Christ, and to lose no time in being converted in the truth of their hearts; and, when they have done this, it is certainly not necessary that they should be baptized a second time. It was possible, therefore, for them to receive baptism, and either not to receive remission of their sins, or to be burdened again at once with the load of sins which were forgiven them; and so the same is the case also with the heretics.

Footnotes

[1763] Sicilibba was in ecclesiastical province of Zeugitana. In the text of this Council the bishop's name is Sattius, and the name occurs in Cypr. Epp. lvii., lxvii., lxx. [1764] Con. Carth. sec. 39.


Chapter 4.

--6. Victor of Gor [1765] said: "Seeing that sins are forgiven only in the baptism of the Church, he who admits heretics to communion without baptism is guilty of two errors contrary to reason; for, on the one hand, he does not cleanse the heretics, and, on the other, he defiles the Christians." [1766]

7. To this we answer that the baptism of the Church exists even among heretics, though they themselves are not within the Church; just as the water of Paradise was found in the land of Egypt, though that land was not itself in Paradise. We do not therefore admit heretics to communion without baptism; and since they come with their waywardness corrected, we receive not their sins, but the sacraments of Christ. And, in respect of the remission of their sins, we say again here exactly what we said above. And certainly, in regard of what he says at the end of his judgment, declaring that he "is guilty of two errors contrary to reason, seeing that on the one hand he does not cleanse the heretics, and on the other he defiles the Christians," Cyprian himself is the first and the most earnest in repudiating this with the colleagues who agreed with him. For neither did he think that he was defiled, when, on account of the bond of peace, he decreed that it was right to hold communion with such men, when he used the words, "Judging no one, nor removing any from the right of communion if he entertain a different opinion." Or, if heretics defile the Church by being admitted to communion without being baptized, then the whole Church has been defiled in virtue of that custom which has been so often recorded here. And just as those men call us traditors because of our forefathers, in whom they were able to prove nothing of the sort when they laid the charge against them, so, if every man partakes of the character of those with whom he may have held communion, all were then made heretics. And if every one who asserts this is mad, it must be false that Victor says, when he declares that "he who admits heretics to communion without baptism, not only fails to cleanse the heretics, but pollutes the Christians as well." Or if this be true, they were then not admitted without baptism, but those men had the baptism of Christ, although it was given and received among heretics, who were so admitted in accordance with that custom which these very men acknowledged to exist; and on the same grounds they are even now rightly admitted in the same manner.

Footnotes

[1765] Gor (Gorduba) is variously supposed to be Garra in ecclesiastical province of Mauritania Cæsariensis, or Garriana in ecclesiastical province of Byzacium. The name of a bishop Victor occurs in Cypr. Epp. iv., lvii., lxii., lxvii. In Ep. lxx. the names of three. [1766] Conc. Carth. sec. 40.


Chapter 5.

--8. Aurelius of Utica [1767] said: "Since the apostle says that we ought not to be partakers with the sins of other men, [1768] what else does he do but make himself partaker with the sins of other men, who holds communion with heretics without the baptism of the Church? And therefore I pronounce my judgment that heretics should be baptized, that they may receive remission of their sins, and so communion be allowed to them." [1769]

9. The answer is: Therefore Cyprian and all those bishops were partakers in the sins of other men, inasmuch as they remained in communion with such men, when they removed no one from the right of communion who entertained a different opinion. Where, then, is the Church? Then, to say nothing for the moment of heretics,--since the words of this judgment are applicable also to other sinners, such as Cyprian saw with lamentation to be in the Church with him, whom, while he confuted them, he yet tolerated,--where is the Church, which, according to these words must be held to have perished from that very moment by the contagion of their sins? But if, as is the most firmly established truth, the Church both has remained and does remain, the partaking of the sins of others, which is forbidden by the apostle, must be considered only to consist in consenting to them. But let heretics be baptized again, that they may receive remission of their sins, if the wayward and the envious are baptized again, who, seeing that "they renounced the world in words and not in deeds," were indeed able to receive baptism, but did not obtain remission of their sins, as the Lord says, "If ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." [1770]

Footnotes

[1767] Utica, the well-known city in ecclesiastical province of Zeugitana. The Aurelius of Cypr. Epp. xxvii. 4, lvii. and lxvii. (the first) are more likely to be identical with the bishop of Utica, than with the Aurelius of Chullabis, who delivers his opinion the 81st in order. [1768] 1 Tim. v. 22. [1769] Conc. Carth. sec. 41. [1770] Matt. vi. 15.


Chapter 6.

--10. Iambus of Germaniciana [1771] said: "Those who approve the baptism of heretics disapprove ours, so as to deny that such as are, I will not say washed, but defiled outside the Church, ought to be baptized within the Church." [1772]

11. To him we answer, that none of our party approves the baptism of heretics, but all the baptism of Christ, even though it be found in heretics who are as it were chaff outside the Church, as it may be found in other unrighteous men who are as chaff within the Church. For if those who are baptized without the Church are not washed, but defiled, assuredly those who are baptized outside the rock on which the Church is built are not washed, but defiled. But all are without the said rock who hear the words of Christ and do them not. Or if it be the case that they are washed indeed in baptism, but yet continue in the defilement of their unrighteousness, from which they were unwilling to be changed for the better, the same is true also of the heretics.

Footnotes

[1771] Germaniciana Nova was in ecclesiastical province of Byzacium, and so called after the German veterans settled there. An Iambus is mentioned as bishop in Cypr. Epp. lvii., lxvii. [1772] Conc. Carth. sec. 42.


Chapter 7.

--12. Lucianus of Rucuma [1773] said: "It is written, `And God saw the light that it was good, and God divided the light from the darkness.' [1774]If light and darkness can agree, then can there be something in common between us and heretics. Therefore I give my judgment that heretics should be baptized." [1775]

13. To him the answer is: If light and darkness can agree, then can there be something common between the righteous and unrighteous. Let him therefore declare his judgment that those unrighteous should be baptized afresh whom Cyprian confuted within the Church itself; or let him who can say if those are not unrighteous "who renounce the world in words and not in deeds."

Footnotes

[1773] Rucuma was in ecclesiastical province of Zeugitana. This Lucianus is probably the same with the one mentioned in Cypr. Epp. lvii., lxx. [1774] Gen. i. 4. [1775] Conc. Carth. sec. 43.


Chapter 8.

--14. Pelagianus of Luperciana [1776] said: "It is written, `Either the Lord is God, or Baal is God.' [1777]So now either the Church is the Church, or heresy is the Church. Further, if heresy be not the Church, how can the baptism of the Church exist among heretics?" [1778]

15. To him we may answer as follows: Either Paradise is Paradise, or Egypt is Paradise. Further, if Egypt be not Paradise, how can the water of Paradise be in Egypt? But it will be said to us that it extends even thither by flowing forth from Paradise. In like manner, therefore, baptism extends to heretics. Also we say: Either the rock is the Church, or the sand is the Church. Further, since the sand is not the Church, how can baptism exist with those who build upon the sand by hearing the words of Christ and doing them not? [1779]And yet it does exist with them; and in like manner also it exists among the heretics.

Footnotes

[1776] The position of Luperciana in unknown. [1777] See 1 Kings xviii. 21. [1778] Con. Carth. sec. 44. [1779] Matt. vii. 24-27.


Chapter 9.

--16. Jader of Midila [1780] said: "We know that there is but one baptism in the Catholic Church, and therefore we ought not to admit a heretic unless he has been baptized in our body, lest he should think that he has been baptized outside the Catholic Church." [1781]

17. To him our answer is, that if this were said of those unrighteous men who are outside the rock, it certainly would be falsely said. And so it is therefore also in the case of heretics.

Footnotes

[1780] Midila (Midili) was in ecclesiastical province of Numidia. Jader is Punic name. Occurs as bishop in Cypr. Epp. lxxvi., lxxix. [1781] Conc. Carth. sec. 45.


Chapter 10.

--18. Likewise another Felix of Marazana [1782] said: "There is one faith, one baptism, [1783] but of the Catholic Church, to which alone is given authority to baptize." [1784]

19. What if another were to say as follows: One faith, one baptism, but of the righteous only, to whom alone authority is given to baptize? As these words might be refuted, so also may the judgment of Felix be refuted. Do even the unrighteous who are not [1785] changed in heart in baptism, while "they renounce the world in words and not in deeds" yet belong to the members of the Church? Let them consider whether such a Church is the actual rock, the very dove, the bride herself without spot or wrinkle. [1786]

Footnotes

[1782] Marazana was in ecclesiastical province of Byzacene. On Felix, see Bk. VI. c. 19. note 2. [1783] Eph. iv. 5. [1784] Conc. Carth. sec. 46. [1785] Nec...mutati. "Nec" is restored by the Benedictines from the Mss. [1786] Eph. v. 27. See Retract. ii. 18, quoted on I. 17, 26.


Chapter 11.

--20. Paul of Bobba [1787] said: "I for my part am not moved if some fail to uphold the faith and truth of the Church, seeing that the apostle says `For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid: yea let God be true, but every man a liar.' [1788]But if God be true, how can the truth of baptism be in the company of heretics, where God is not?" [1789]

21. To him we answer: What is God among the covetous? And yet baptism exists among them; and so also it exists among heretics. For they among whom God is, are the temple of God. "But what agreement hath the temple of God with idols?" [1790]Further, Paul considers, and Cyprian agrees with him, that covetousness is idolatry; and Cyprian himself again associates with his colleagues, who were robbers, but yet baptized, with great reward of toleration.

Footnotes

[1787] Bobba (Obba) was in ecclesiastical province of Mauritania Cæsariensis, including Tingitana. A bishop Paul is mentioned in Cypr. Ep. lxvii. [1788] Rom. iii. 3, 4. [1789] Conc. Carth. sec. 47. [1790] 2 Cor. vi. 16.


Chapter 12.

--22. Pomponius of Dionysiana [1791] said: "It is manifest that heretics cannot baptize and give remission of sins, seeing that no power is given to them that they should be able either to loose or bind anything on earth." [1792]

23. The answer is: This power is not given to murderers either, that is, to those who hate their brothers. For it was not said to such as these, "whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whosesoever sins ye retain, they are retained." [1793]And yet they baptize, and both Paul tolerates them in the same communion of baptism, and Cyprian acknowledges them.

Footnotes

[1791] Dionysiana was in ecclesiastical province of Byzacium. The name of Pomponius occurs in Cypr. Epp. iv., lvii., lxvii., lxx. [1792] Conc. Carth. sec. 48. [1793] John xx. 23.


Chapter 13.

--24. Venantius of Tinisa [1794] said: "If a husband, going on a journey into foreign countries, had entrusted the guardianship of his wife to a friend, he would surely keep her that was entrusted to his care with the utmost diligence, that her chastity and holiness might not be defiled by any one. Christ our Lord and God, when going to the Father, committed His bride to our care: do we keep her uncorrupt and undefiled, or do we betray her purity and chastity to adulterers and corrupters? For he who makes the baptism of Christ common with heretics betrays the bride of Christ to adulterers." [1795]

25. We answer: What of those who, when they are baptized, turn themselves to the Lord with their lips and not with their heart? do not they possess an adulterous mind? Are not they themselves lovers of the world, which they renounce in words and not in deeds; and they corrupt good manners through evil communications, saying, "Let us eat and drink; for to-morrow we die?" [1796]Did not the discourse of the apostle take heed even against such as these, when he says, "But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds [also] should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ?" [1797]When, therefore, Cyprian held the baptism of Christ to be in common with such men, did he therefore betray the bride of Christ into the hands of adulterers, or did he not rather recognize the necklace of the Bridegroom even on an adulteress?

Footnotes

[1794] Tinisa (Thinisa) was in ecclesiastical province of Zeugitana. In Cypr. Ep. lxvii. the name Venantius is found. [1795] Conc. Carth. sec. 49. [1796] 1 Cor. xv. 33, 32. [1797] 2 Cor. xi. 3.


Chapter 14.

--26. Aymnius [1798] of Ausuaga [1799] said: "We have received one baptism, which same also we administer; but he who says that authority is given to heretics also to baptize, the same makes two baptisms." [1800]

27. To him we answer: Why does not he also make two baptisms who maintains that the unrighteous also can baptize? For although the righteous and unrighteous are in themselves opposed to one another, yet the baptism which the righteous give, such as was Paul, or such as was also Cyprian, is not contrary to the baptism which those unrighteous men were wont to give who hated Paul, whom Cyprian understands to have been not heretics, but bad Catholics; and although the moderation which was found in Cyprian, and the covetousness which was found in his colleagues, are in themselves opposed to one another, yet the baptism which Cyprian used to give was not contrary to the baptism which his colleagues who opposed him used to give, but one and the same with it, because in both cases it is He that baptizes of whom it is said, "The same is He which baptizeth." [1801]

Footnotes

[1798] Ahymmus. See Cypr. Ep. lvi. [1799] Ausuaga was in ecclesiastical province of Zeugitana. [1800] Conc. Carth. sec. 50. [1801] John i. 33.


Chapter 15.

--28. Saturninus of Victoriana [1802] said: "If heretics may baptize, they are excused and defended in doing unlawful things; nor do I see why either Christ called them His adversaries, or the apostle called them antichrists." [1803]

29. To him we answer: We say that heretics have no authority to baptize in the same sense in which we say that defrauders have no authority to baptize. For not only to the heretic, but to the sinner, God says, "What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth?" To the same person He assuredly says, "When thou sawest a thief, then thou consentedst with him." [1804]How much worse, therefore, are those who did not consent with thieves, but themselves were wont to plunder farms with treacherous deceits? Yet Cyprian did not consent with them, though he did tolerate them in the corn-field of the Catholic Church, lest the wheat should be rooted out together with it. And yet at the same time the baptism which they themselves conferred was the very selfsame baptism, because it was not of them, but of Christ. As therefore they, although the baptism of Christ be recognized in them, were yet not excused and defended in doing unlawful things, and Christ rightly called those His adversaries who were destined, by persevering in such things, to hear the doom, "Depart from me, ye that work iniquity," [1805] whence also they are called antichrists, because they are contrary to Christ while they live in opposition to His words, so likewise is it the case with heretics.

Footnotes

[1802] Victoriana was in ecclesiastical province of Byzacium. [The name Saturninus is found in Cypr. Epp. xxi. 4, xxii. 3, xxvii. 1, 11, lvii. ter. lxvii. bis, lxx. quinquies. [1803] Conc. Carth. sec. 51. [1804] Ps. l. 16, 18. [1805] Matt. vii. 23.


Chapter 16.

--30. Another Saturninus of Tucca [1806] said: "The Gentiles, although they worship idols, yet acknowledge and confess the supreme God, the Father and Creator. Against Him Marcion blasphemes, and some men do not blush to approve the baptism of Marcion. [1807] How do such priests either maintain or vindicate the priesthood of God, who do not baptize the enemies of God, and hold communion with them while they are thus unbaptized?" [1808]

31. The answer is this: Truly when such terms as this are used, all moderation is passed; nor do they take into consideration that even they themselves hold communion with such men, "judging no one, nor removing any from the right of communion if he entertain a contrary opinion." But Saturninus has used an argument in this very judgment of his, which might furnish materials for his admonition (if he would pay attention to it), that in each man what is wrong should be corrected, and what is right should be approved, since he says, "The Gentiles, although they worship idols, yet acknowledge and confess the supreme God, the Father and Creator." If, then, any Gentile of such a kind should come to God, would he wish to correct and change this point in him, that he acknowledged and confessed God the Father and Creator? I trow not. But he would amend in him his idolatry, which was an evil in him; and he would give to him the sacraments of Christ, which he did not possess; and anything that was wayward which he found in him he would correct; and anything which had been wanting he would supply. So also in the Marcionist heretic he would acknowledge the perfectness of baptism, he would correct his waywardness, he would teach him Catholic truth.

Footnotes

[1806] Tucca was in ecclesiastical province of Numidia. For Saturninus, see c. 15-28, n. 2. [1807] He is alluding to Stephen, bishop of Rome, of whom Cyprian says in his Ep. lxxiv. 7 (to Pompeius): "Why has the perverse obstinacy of our brother Stephen burst out to such a point, that he should even contend that sons of God are born of the baptism of Marcion, also of Valentinus and Apelles, and others who blaspheme against God the Father?" [1808] Conc. Carth. sec. 52.


Chapter 17.

--32. Marcellus of Zama [1809] said: "Since sins are remitted only in the baptism of the Church, he who does not baptize a heretic holds communion with a sinner." [1810]

33. What, does he who holds communion with one who does this not hold communion with a sinner? But what else did all of them do, "in judging no one, or removing from the right of communion any one who entertained a different opinion"? Where, then, is the Church? Are those things not an obstacle to those who are patient, and tolerate the tares lest the wheat should be rooted out together with them? I would have them therefore say, who have committed the sacrilege of schism by separating themselves from the whole world, how it comes that they have in their mouths the judgment of Cyprian, while they do not have in their hearts the patience of Cyprian. But to this Marcellus we have an answer in what has been said above concerning baptism and the remission of sins, explaining how there can be baptism in a man although there be in him no remission of his sins.

Footnotes

[1809] Zama was in ecclesiastical province of Numidia. For Marcellus, see Cypr. Ep. lxvii. [1810] Conc. Carth. sec. 53.


Chapter 18.

--34. Irenæus of Ululi [1811] said: "If the Church does not baptize a heretic, because it is said that he has been baptized already, then heresy is the greater." [1812]

35. The answer is: On the same principle it might be said, If therefore the Church does not baptize the covetous man, because it is said that he has been baptized already, then covetousness is the greater. But this is false, therefore the other is also false.

Footnotes

[1811] Ululi (Ullita, Vallita) in ecclesiastical province of Numidia. [1812] Conc. Carth. sec. 54.


Chapter 19.

--36. Donatus of Cibaliana [1813] said: "I acknowledge one Church, and one baptism that appertains thereto. If there is any one who says that the grace of baptism exists among heretics, he must first show and prove that the Church exists with them." [1814]

37. To him we answer: If you say that the grace of baptism is identical with baptism, then it exists among heretics; but if baptism is the sacrament or outward sign of grace, while the grace itself is the abolition of sins, then the grace of baptism does not exist with heretics. But so there is one baptism and one Church, just as there is one faith. As therefore the good and bad, not having one hope, can yet have one baptism, so those who have not one common Church can have one common baptism.

Footnotes

[1813] [Cibaliana (Cybaliana), most probably in ecclesiastical province of Africa Proconsularis.] Donatus, as contemporary bishop, occurs in Cypr. Epp. lvii. bis. lxx. bis. [1814] Conc. Carth. sec. 55.


Chapter 20.

--38. Zozimus of Tharassa [1815] said: "When a revelation has been made of the truth, error must give way to truth; inasmuch as Peter also, who before was wont to circumcise, gave way to Paul when he declared the truth." [1816]

39. The answer is: This may also be considered as the expression of our judgment too, and this is just what has been done in respect of this question of baptism. For after that the truth had been more clearly revealed, error gave way to truth, when that most wholesome custom was further confirmed by the authority of a plenary Council. It is well, however, that they so constantly bear in mind that it was possible even for Peter, the chief of the apostles, to have been at one time minded otherwise than the truth required; which we believe, without any disrespect to Cyprian, to have been the case with him, and that with all our love for Cyprian, for it is not right that he should be loved with greater love than Peter.

Footnotes

[1815] Tharassa was in ecclesiastical province of Numidia. [1816] Gal ii. 11; Conc. Carth. sec. 56.


Chapter 21.

--40. Julianus of Telepte [1817] said: "It is written, `A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven;' [1818] if heresy is from heaven, it can give baptism." [1819]

41. Let him hear another also saying: If covetousness is from heaven, it can give baptism. And yet the covetous do confer it; so therefore also may the heretics.

Footnotes

[1817] Telepte (Thelepte) or Thala, was in ecclesiastical province of Byzacium. [1818] John iii. 27. [1819] Conc. Carth. sec. 57.


Chapter 22.

--42. Faustus of Timida Regia [1820] said: "Let not these persons flatter themselves who favor heretics. He who interferes with the baptism of the Church on behalf of heretics makes them Christians, and us heretics." [1821]

43. To him we answer: If any one were to say that a man who, when he received baptism had not received remission of his sins, because he entertained hatred towards his brother in his heart, was nevertheless not to be baptized again when he dismissed that hatred from his heart, does such a man interfere with the baptism of the Church on behalf of murderers, or does he make them righteous and us murderers? Let him therefore understand the same also in the case of heretics.

Footnotes

[1820] Timida Regia was in ecclesiastical province of Zeugitana. A Faustus is mentioned in Cypr. Ep. lxvii. [1821] Conc. Carth. sec. 58.


Chapter 23.

--44. Geminius of Furni [1822] said: "Certain of our colleagues may prefer heretics to themselves, they cannot prefer them to us: and therefore what we have once decreed we hold, that we should baptize those who come to us from heretics." [1823]

45. This man also acknowledges most openly that certain of his colleagues entertained opinions contrary to his own: whence again and again the love of unity is confirmed, because they were separated from one another by no schism, till God should reveal to one or other of them anything wherein they were otherwise minded. [1824]But to him our answer is, that his colleagues did not prefer heretics to themselves, but that, as the baptism of Christ is acknowledged in the covetous, in the fraudulent, in robbers, in murderers, so also they acknowledged it in heretics.

Footnotes

[1822] Furni was in ecclesiastical province of Zeugitana. For Geminius as bishop, see Cypr. Ep. lxvii. [1823] Conc. Carth. sec. 59. [1824] Phil. iii. 15.


Chapter 24.

--46. Rogatianus of Nova [1825] said: "Christ established the Church, the devil heresy: how can the synagogue of Satan have the baptism of Christ?" [1826]

47. To him our answer is: Is it true that because Christ established the well-affectioned, and the devil the envious, therefore the party of the devil, which is proved to be among the envious, cannot have the baptism of Christ?

Footnotes

[1825] Nova was in ecclesiastical province of Mauritania Cæsariensis. For Rogatianus as bishop, see Cypr. Epp. lvii., lxvii., lxx., bis. [1826] Conc. Carth. sec. 60.


Chapter 25.

--48. Therapius of Bulla [1827] said: "If a man gives up and betrays the baptism of Christ to heretics, what else can he be said to be but a Judas to the Bride of Christ?" [1828]

49. How great a condemnation have we here of all schismatics, who have separated themselves by wicked sacrilege from the inheritance of Christ dispersed throughout the whole world, if Cyprian held communion with such as was the traitor Judas, and yet was not defiled by them; or if he was defiled, then were all made such as Judas; or if they were not, then the evil deeds of those who went before do not belong to those who came after even though they were the offspring of the same communion. Why, therefore, do they cast in our teeth the traditores, against whom they did not prove their charge, and do not cast in their own teeth Judas, with whom Cyprian and his colleagues held communion? Behold the Council in which these men are wont to boast! We indeed say, that he who approves the baptism of Christ even in heretics, does not betray to heretics the baptism of Christ; just in the same way as he does not betray to murderers the baptism of Christ who approves the baptism of Christ even in murderers: but inasmuch as they profess to prescribe to us from the decrees of this Council what opinions we ought to hold, let them first assent to it themselves. See how therein were compared to the traitor Judas, all who said that heretics, although baptized in heresy, should not be baptized again. Yet with such Cyprian was willing to hold communion, when he said, "Judging no man, nor depriving any of the right of communion if he entertain a contrary opinion." But that there had been men of such a sort in former times within the Church, is made clear by the sentence in which he says: "But some one will say, What, then, shall be done with these men who in times past were admitted into the Church without baptism?" [1829]That such had been the custom of the Church, is testified again and again by the very men who compose this Council. If, therefore, any one who does this "can be said to be nothing else but a Judas to the Bride of Christ," according to the terms in which the judgment of Therapius is couched; but Judas, according to the teaching of the gospel, was a traitor; then all those men held communion with traitors who at that time uttered those very judgments, and before they uttered them they all had become traitors through that custom which at that time was retained by the Church. All, therefore--that is to say, both we and they themselves who were the offspring of that unity--are traitors. But we defend ourselves in two ways: first, because without prejudice to the right of unity, as Cyprian himself declared in his opening speech, we do not assent to the decrees of this Council in which this judgment was pronounced; and secondly, because we hold that the wicked in no way hurt the good in Catholic unity, until at the last the chaff be separated from the wheat. But our opponents, inasmuch as they both shelter themselves as it were under the decrees of this Council, and maintain that the good perish as by a kind of infection from communion with the wicked, have no resource to save them from allowing both that the earlier Christians, whose offspring they are, were traitors, inasmuch as they are convicted by their own Council; and that the deeds of those who went before them do reflect on them, since they throw in our teeth the deeds of our ancestors.

Footnotes

[1827] Bulla (Vulla) was in ecclesiastical province of Africa Proconsularis. For Therapius cp. Cypr. Ep. lxiv. 1. [1828] Conc. Carth. sec. 61. [1829] Cypr. Ep. lxxiii. 23.


Chapter 26.

--50. Also another Lucius of Membresa [1830] said: "It is written, `God heareth not sinners.' [1831]How can he who is a sinner be heard in baptism?" [1832]

51. We answer: How is the covetous man heard, or the robber, and usurer, and murderer? Are they not sinners? And yet Cyprian, while he finds fault with them in the Catholic Church, yet tolerates them.

Footnotes

[1830] Membresa was in ecclesiastical province of Zeugitana. For Lucius, see Bk. VI. c. 38. [1831] John ix. 31. [1832] Conc. Carth. sec. 62.


Chapter 27.

--52. Also another Felix of Buslaceni [1833] said: "In admitting heretics to the Church without baptism, let no one place custom before reason and truth; for reason and truth always exclude custom." [1834]

53. To him our answer is: You do not show the truth; you confess the existence of the custom. We should therefore do right in maintaining the custom which has since been confirmed by a plenary Council, even if the truth were still concealed, which we believe to have been already made manifest.

Footnotes

[1833] Buslaceni (Cussaceni) is probably Byzacium, the capital of province of Byzacium, since we know that it was also called Bizica Lucana; others place it in Africa Proconsularis. For Felix, cp. Bk. VI. cc. 19 and 23. [1834] Conc. Carth. sec. 63.


Chapter 28.

--54. Another Saturninus of Abitini [1835] said: "If Antichrist can give to any one the grace of Christ, then can heretics also baptize, who are called Antichrists." [1836]

55. What if another were to say, If a murderer can give the grace of Christ, then can they also baptize that hate their brethren who are called murderers? For certainly he would seem in a way to speak the truth, and yet they can baptize; in like manner, therefore, can the heretics as well.

Footnotes

[1835] Abitini (Avitini) was in ecclesiastical province of Africa Proconsularis. For Saturninus, cp. cc. 15, 16. [1836] Conc. Carth. sec. 64.


Chapter 29.

--56. Quintus of Aggya [1837] said: "He who has a thing can give it; but what can the heretics give, who are well known to have nothing?" [1838]

57. To him our answer is: If, then, any man can give a thing who has it, it is clear that heretics can give baptism: for when they separate from the Church, they have still the sacrament of washing which they had received while in the Church; for when they return they do not again receive it, because they had not lost it when they withdrew from the Church.

Footnotes

[1837] Aggya, probably the same as Aggiva and the Aga in ecclesiastical province of Proconsular Africa. The name Quintas as bishop occurs in Cypr. Epp lvii., lxvii., lxx., lxxi., but this one is of Mauritania, as appears from Epp lxxii. 1, lxxiii. 1. [1838] Conc. Carth. sec. 65.


Chapter 30.

--58. Another Julianus of Marcelliana [1839] said: "If a man can serve two masters, God and mammon, [1840] then baptism also can serve two, the Christian and the heretic." [1841]

59. Truly, if it can serve the self-restrained and the covetous man, the sober and the drunken, the well-affectioned and the murderer, why should it not also serve the Christian and the heretic?--whom, indeed, it does not really serve; but it ministers to them, and is administered by them, for salvation to those who use it right, and for judgment to such as use it wrong.

Footnotes

[1839] Marcelliana (Gyrnmarcelli) in ecclesiastical province of Numidia. [1840] Matt. vi. 24. [1841] Conc. Carth. sec. 66.


Chapter 31.

--60. Tenax of Horrea Celiæ [1842] said: "There is one baptism, but of the Church; and where the Church is not, there baptism also cannot be." [1843]

61. To him we answer: How then comes it that it may be where the rock is not, but only sand; seeing that the Church is on the rock, and not on sand?

Footnotes

[1842] Horrea Celiæ (Cæliæ) was a village of ecclesiastical province of Byzacium, ten miles north of Hadrumetum. A Tenax is mentioned as bishop in Cypr. Ep. lxvii. [1843] Conc. Carth. sec. 67.


Chapter 32.

--62. Another Victor of Assuras [1844] said: "It is written, that `there is one God and one Christ, one Church and one baptism.' [1845]How then can any one baptize in a place where there is not either God, or Christ, or the Church?" [1846]

63. How can any one baptize either in that sand, where the Church is not, seeing that it is on the rock; nor God and Christ, seeing that there is not there the temple of God and Christ?

Footnotes

[1844] Assuras was in ecclesiastical province of Zeugitana. For Victor, cp. c. 4. [1845] See Eph. iv. 4-6. [1846] Conc. Carth. sec. 68.


Chapter 33.

--64. Donatulus of Capse [1847] said: "I also have always entertained this opinion, that heretics, who have gained nothing outside the Church, should be baptized when they are converted to the Church." [1848]

65. To this the answer is: They have, indeed, gained nothing outside the Church, but that is nothing towards salvation, not nothing towards the sacrament. For salvation is peculiar to the good; but the sacraments are common to the good and bad alike.

Footnotes

[1847] Capse was in ecclesiastical province of Byzacene. This Donatulus is probably to be identified with the one mentioned Cypr. Ep. lvi. [1848] Conc. Carth. sec. 69.


Chapter 34.

--66. Verulus of Rusiccade [1849] said: "A man that is a heretic cannot give that which he has not; much more is this the case with a schismatic, who has lost what he had." [1850]

67. We have already shown that they still have it, because they do not lose it when they separate themselves. For they do not receive it again when they return: wherefore, if it was thought that they could not give it because they were supposed not to have it, let it now be understood that they can give it, because it is understood that they also have it.

Footnotes

[1849] Rusiccade was at the mouth of the Thapsus, in ecclesiastical province of Numidia. [1850] Conc. Carth. sec. 70.


Chapter 35.

--68. Pudentianus of Cuiculi [1851] said: "My recent ordination to the episcopate induced me, brethren, to wait and hear what my elders would decide. For it is plain that heresies have and can have nothing; and so, if any come from them, it is determined righteously that they should be baptized." [1852]

69. As, therefore, we have already answered those who went before, for whose judgment this man was waiting, so be it understood that we have answered himself.

Footnotes

[1851] Cuiculi was in ecclesiastical province of Numidia. [1852] Conc. Carth. sec. 71.


Chapter 36.

--70. Peter of Hippo Diarrhytus [1853] said: "Since there is one baptism in the Catholic Church, it is clear that a man cannot be baptized outside the Church; and therefore I give my judgment, that those who have been bathed in heresy or in schism ought to be baptized on coming to the Church." [1854]

71. There is one baptism in the Catholic Church, in such a sense that, when any have gone out from it, it does not become two in those who go out, but remains one and the same. What, therefore, is recognized in those who return, should also be recognized in those who received it from men who have separated themselves, since they did not lose it when they went apart into heresy.

Footnotes

[1853] Hippo Diarrhytus (Hippozaritus) was on the coast in ecclesiastical province of Zeugitana. For Petrus, cp. Cypr. Ep. lxvii. [1854] Conc. Carth. sec. 72.


Chapter 37.

--72. Likewise another Lucius of Ausafa [1855] said: "According to the motion of my mind and of the Holy Spirit, since there is one God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and one Christ, and one hope, one Spirit, one Church, there ought also to be only one baptism. And therefore I say, both that if anything has been set on foot or done among the heretics, that it ought to be rescinded; and also, that they who come out from among the heretics should be baptized in the Church." [1856]

73. Let it therefore be pronounced of no effect that they baptize, who hear the words of God and do them not, when they shall begin to pass from unrighteousness to righteousness, that is, from the sand to the rock. And if this is not done, because what there was in them of Christ was not violated by their unrighteousness, then let this also be understood in the case of heretics: for neither is there the same hope in the unrighteous, so long as they are on the sand, as there is in those who are upon the rock; and yet there is in both the same baptism, although as it is said that there is one hope, so also is it said that there is one baptism.

Footnotes

[1855] Ausafa was in ecclesiastical province of Zeugitana. For Lucius, cp. Bk. VI. cc. 14 and 38, and Bk. VII. c. 26. [1856] Conc. Carth. sec. 73.


Chapter 38.

--74. Felix of Gurgites [1857] said: "I give my judgment, that, according to the precepts of the holy Scriptures, those who have been unlawfully baptized outside the Church by heretics, if they wish to flee to the Church, should obtain the grace of baptism where it is lawfully given." [1858]

75. Our answer is: Let them indeed begin to have in a lawful manner to salvation what they before had unlawfully to destruction; because each man is justified under the same baptism, when he has turned himself to God with a true heart, as that under which he was condemned, when on receiving it he "renounced the world in words alone, and not in deeds."

Footnotes

[1857] Gurgites was in ecclesiastical province of Byzacium. For Felix, cp. Bk. VI. cc. 19, 33, 40; Bk. VII. cc. 10, 28. [1858] Conc. Carth. sec. 74.


Chapter 39.

--76. Pusillus of Lamasba [1859] said: "I believe that baptism is not unto salvation except within the Catholic Church. Whatsoever is without the Catholic Church is mere pretense." [1860]

77. This indeed is true, that "baptism is not unto salvation except within the Catholic Church." For in itself it can indeed exist outside the Catholic Church as well; but there it is not unto salvation, because there it does not work salvation; just as that sweet savor of Christ is certainly not unto salvation in them that perish, [1861] though from a fault not in itself, but in them. But "whatsoever is without the Catholic Church is mere pretense," yet only in so far as it is not Catholic. But there may be something Catholic outside the Catholic Church, just as the name of Christ could exist outside the congregation of Christ, in which name he who did not follow with the disciples was casting out devils. [1862]For there may be pretense also within the Catholic Church, as is unquestionable in the case of those "who renounce the world in words and not in deeds," and yet the pretense is not Catholic. As, therefore, there is in the Catholic Church something which is not Catholic, so there may be something which is Catholic outside the Catholic Church.

Footnotes

[1859] Lamasba was in ecclesiastical province of Numidia. [1860] Conc. Carth. sec. 75. [1861] 2 Cor. ii. 15. [1862] Mark ix. 38.


Chapter 40.

--78. Salvianus of Gazaufala [1863] said: "It is generally known that heretics have nothing; and therefore they come to us, that they may receive what previously they did not have." [1864]

79. Our answer is: On this theory, the very men who founded heresies are not heretics themselves, because they separated themselves from the Church, and certainly they previously had what they received there. But if it is absurd to say that those are not heretics through whom the rest became heretics, it is therefore possible that a heretic should have what turns to his destruction through his evil use of it.

Footnotes

[1863] Gazaufala (Gazophyla) was in ecclesiastical province of Numidia. [1864] Conc. Carth. sec. 76.


Chapter 41.

--80. Honoratus of Tucca [1865] said: "Since Christ is the truth, we ought to follow the truth rather than custom; that we may sanctify by the baptism of the Church the heretics who come to us, simply because they could receive nothing outside." [1866]

81. This man, too, is a witness to the custom, in which he gives us the greatest assistance, whatever else he may appear to say against us. But this is not the reason why heretics come over to us, because they have received nothing outside, but that what they did receive may begin to be of use to them: for this it could not be outside in any wise.

Footnotes

[1865] Tucca (Thucca) was in ecclesiastical province of Numidia. Honoratus occurs as bishop's name in Cypr. Epp. lvii., lxii., lxvii., lxx. bis. The attempts to distinguish or to identify these are hazardous. [1866] Conc. Carth. sec. 77.


Chapter 42.

--82. Victor of Octavus [1867] said: "As ye yourselves also know, I have not been long appointed a bishop, and therefore I waited for the counsel of my seniors. This therefore I express as my opinion, that whosoever comes from heresy should undoubtedly be baptized." [1868]

83. What, therefore, has been answered to those for whom he waited, may be taken as the answer also to himself.

Footnotes

[1867] Octavus was in ecclesiastical province of Numidia. For Victor, cp. cc. 4, 32. [1868] Conc. Carth. sec. 78.


Chapter 43.

--84. Clarus of Mascula [1869] said: "The sentence of our Lord Jesus Christ is manifest, when He sent forth His apostles, and gave the power which had been given Him of His Father to them alone, whose successors we are, governing the Church of the Lord with the same power, and baptizing those who believe the faith. And therefore heretics, who, being without, have neither power nor the Church of Christ, cannot baptize any one with His baptism." [1870]

85. Are, then, ill-affectioned murderers successors of the apostles? Why, then, do they baptize? Is it because they are not outside? But they are outside the rock, to which the Lord gave the keys, and on which He said that He would build His Church. [1871]

Footnotes

[1869] Mascula was in ecclesiastical province of Numidia. [1870] Conc. Carth. Ibid. sec. 79. [1871] Matt. xvi. 18, 19.


Chapter 44.

--86. Secundianus of Thambei [1872] said: "We ought not to deceive heretics by our too great forwardness, that not having been baptized in the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ, and having therefore not received remission of their sins, they may not impute to us, when the day of judgment comes, that we have been the cause of their not being baptized, and not having obtained the indulgence of the grace of God. On which account, since there is one Church and one baptism, when they are converted to us, let them receive together with the Church the baptism also of the Church." [1873]

87. Nay, when they are transferred to the rock, and joined to the society of the Dove, let them receive the remission of their sins, which they could not have outside the rock and outside the Dove, whether they were openly without, like the heretics, or apparently within, like the abandoned Catholics; of whom, however, it is clear that they both have and confer baptism without remission of sins, when even from themselves it is received by men, who, being not changed for the better, honor God with their lips, while their heart is far from Him. [1874]Yet it is true that there is one baptism, just as there is one Dove, though those who are not in the one communion of the Dove may yet have baptism in common.

Footnotes

[1872] Thambei (Thambi, Satambei), was in ecclesiastical province of Byzacium. [1873] Conc. Carth. sec. 80. [1874] Isa. xxix. 13.


Chapter 45.

--88. Also another Aurelius of Chullabi [1875] said: "The Apostle John has laid down in his epistle the following precept: `If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: for he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.' [1876]How can such men be admitted without consideration into the house of God, who are forbidden to be admitted into our private house? Or how can we hold communion with them without the baptism of Christ, when, if we only so much as bid them God speed, we are partakers of their evil deeds?" [1877]

89. In respect of this testimony of John there is no need of further disputation, since it has no reference at all to the question of baptism, which we are at present discussing. For he says, "If any come unto you, and bring not the doctrine of Christ." But heretics leaving the doctrine of their error are converted to the doctrine of Christ, that they may be incorporated with the Church, and may begin to belong to the members of that Dove whose sacrament they previously had; and therefore what previously they lacked belonging to it is given to them, that is to say, peace and charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned. [1878]But what they previously had belonging to the Dove is acknowledged, and received without any depreciation; just as in the adulteress God recognises His gifts, even when she is following her lovers; because when after her fornication is corrected she is turned again to chastity, those gifts are not laid to her charge, but she herself is corrected. [1879]But just as Cyprian might have defended himself if this testimony of John had been cast in his teeth whilst he was holding communion with men like these, so let those against whom it is spoken make their own defense. For to the question before us, as I said before, it has no reference at all. For John says that we are not to bid God speed to men of strange doctrine; but Paul the apostle says, with even greater vehemence, "If any man that is called a brother be covetous, or a drunkard," or anything of the sort, with such an one no not to eat; [1880] and yet Cyprian used to admit to fellowship, not with his private table, but with the altar of God, his colleagues who were usurers, and treacherous, and fraudulent, and robbers. But in what manner this may be defended has been sufficiently set forth in other books already.

Footnotes

[1875] Chullabi, or Cululi, was in ecclesiastical province of Byzacium. For Aurelius, cp. c. 5. [1876] 2 John 10, 11. [1877] Conc. Carth. sec. 81. [1878] 1 Tim. i. 5. [1879] Hos. ii. [1880] 1 Cor. v. 11.


Chapter 46.

--90. Litteus [1881] of Gemelli [1882] said: "`If the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.' [1883]Since, therefore, it is clear that heretics can give no light [1884] to any one, as being blind themselves, therefore their baptism is invalid." [1885]

91. Neither do we say that it is valid for salvation so long as they are heretics, just as it is of no value to those murderers of whom we spoke, so long as they hate their brethren: for they also themselves are in darkness, and if any one follows them they fall together into the ditch; and yet it does not follow that they either have not baptism or are unable to confer it.

Footnotes

[1881] Some read Licteus; not unlikely the bishop of Cypr. Ep. lxxvi. [1882] Gemelli was a Roman colony in ecclesiastical province of Numidia. [1883] Matt xv. 14. [1884] Illuminare; baptism being often called photismos. [1885] Conc. Carth. sec. 82.


Chapter 47.

--92. Natalis of OŽa [1886] said: "It is not only I myself who am present, but also Pompeius of Sabrati, [1887] and Dioga of Leptis Magna, [1888] who commissioned me to represent their views, being absent indeed in body, but present in spirit, who deliver this same judgment as our colleagues, that heretics cannot have communion with us, unless they have been baptized with the baptism of the Church." [1889]

93. He means, I suppose, that communion which belongs to the society of the Dove; for in the partaking of the sacraments they doubtless held communion with them, judging no man, nor removing any from the right of communion if he held a different opinion. But with whatever reference he spoke, there is no great need for these words being refuted. For certainly a heretic would not be admitted to communion, unless he had been baptized with the baptism of the Church. But it is clear that the baptism of the Church exists even among heretics if it be consecrated with the words of the gospel; just as the gospel itself belongs to the Church, and has nothing to do with their waywardness, but certainly retains its own holiness.

Footnotes

[1886] Sabrati, OŽa and Leptis Magna were the three cities whose combination gave its name to Tripolis, an ecclesiastical province. [1887] Sabrati, OŽa and Leptis Magna were the three cities whose combination gave its name to Tripolis, an ecclesiastical province. [1888] Sabrati, OŽa and Leptis Magna were the three cities whose combination gave its name to Tripolis, an ecclesiastical province. [1889] Conc. Carth. sec. 83-85.


Chapter 48.

--94. Junius of Neapolis [1890] said: "I do not depart from the judgment which we once pronounced, that we should baptize heretics on their coming to the Church." [1891]

95. Since this man has adduced no argument nor proof from the Scriptures, he need not detain us long.

Footnotes

[1890] Neapolis was in ecclesiastical province of Zeugitana. The name Junius as bishop appears in Cypr. Epp. lvii., lxx. [1891] Conc. Carth. sec. 86.


Chapter 49.

--96. Cyprian of Carthage said: "My opinion has been set forth with the greatest fullness in the letter which has been written to our colleague Jubaianus, [1892] that heretics being called enemies of Christ and antichrists according to the testimony of the gospel and the apostles, should, when they come to the Church, be baptized with the one baptism of the Church, that from enemies they may be made friends, and that from antichrists they may be made Christians." [1893]

97. What need is there of further disputation here, seeing that we have already handled with the utmost care that very epistle to Jubaianus of which he has made mention? And as to what he has said here, let us not forget that it might be said of all unrighteous men who, as he himself bears witness, are in the Catholic Church, and whose power of possessing and of conferring baptism is not questioned by any of us. For they come to the Church, who pass to Christ from the party of the devil, and build upon the rock, and are incorporated with the Dove, and are placed in security in the garden enclosed and fountain sealed; where none of those are found who live contrary to the precepts of Christ, wherever they may seem to be. For in the epistle which he wrote to Magnus, while discussing this very question, he himself warned us at sufficient length, and in no ambiguous terms, of what kind of society we should understand that the Church consists. For he says, in speaking of a certain man, "Let him become an alien and profane, an enemy to the peace and unity of the Lord, not dwelling in the house of God, that is to say, in the Church of Christ, in which none dwell save those who are of one heart and of one mind." [1894]Let those, therefore, who would lay injunctions on us on the authority of Cyprian, pay attention for a time to what we here say. For if only those who are of one heart and of one mind dwell in the Church of Christ, beyond all question those were not dwelling in the Church of Christ, however much they might appear to be within, who of envy and contention were announcing Christ without charity; by whom he understands, not the heretics and schismatics who are mentioned by the Apostle Paul, [1895] but false brethren holding conversation with him within, who certainly ought not to have baptized, because they were not dwelling in the Church, in which he himself says that none dwell save those who are of one heart and of one mind: unless, indeed, any one be so far removed from the truth as to say that those were of one heart and of one mind who were envious and malevolent, and contentious without charity; and yet they used to baptize: nor did the detestable waywardness which they displayed in any degree violate or diminish from the sacrament of Christ, which was handled and dispensed by them.

Footnotes

[1892] Cypr. Ep. lxxiii. [1893] Conc. Carth. sec. 87. [1894] Cypr. Ep. lxix. 5. [1895] Phil. i. 15, 17.


Chapter 50.

--98. It is indeed worth while to consider the whole of the passage in the aforesaid letter to Magnus, which he has put together as follows: "Not dwelling," he says, "in the house of God--that is to say, in the Church of Christ--in which none dwell save those that are of one heart and of one mind, as the Holy Spirit says in the Psalms, speaking of `God that maketh men to be of one mind in an house.' [1896]Finally, the very sacrifices of the Lord declare that Christians are united among themselves by a firm and inseparable love for one another. For when the Lord calls bread, which is compacted together by the union of many grains, His body, [1897] He is signifying one people, whom He bore, compacted into one body; and when He calls wine, which is pressed out from a multitude of branches and clusters and brought together into one, His blood, [1898] He also signifies one flock joined together by the mingling of a multitude united into one." These words of the blessed Cyprian show that he both understood and loved the glory of the house of God, which house he asserted to consist of those who are of one heart and of one mind, proving it by the testimony of the prophets and the meaning of the sacraments, and in which house certainly were not found those envious persons, those malevolent without charity, who nevertheless used to baptize. From whence it is clear that the sacrament of Christ can both be in and be administered by those who are not in the Church of Christ, in which Cyprian himself bears witness that there are none dwelling save those who are of one heart and of one mind. Nor can it indeed be said that they are allowed to baptize so long as they are undetected, seeing that the Apostle Paul did not fail to detect those of whose ministry he bears unquestionable testimony in his epistle, saying that he rejoices that they also were proclaiming Christ. For he says of them, "Whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice." [1899]

Footnotes

[1896] Ps. lxviii. 6; cp. LXX. and Hieron. [1897] John vi. 51. [1898] Matt. xxvi. 26-29. [1899] Phil. i. 18.


Chapter 51.

--99. Taking all these things, therefore, into consideration, I think that I am not rash in saying that there are some in the house of God after such a fashion as not to be themselves the very house of God, which is said to be built upon a rock, [1900] which is called the one dove, [1901] which is styled the beauteous bride without spot or wrinkle, [1902] and a garden enclosed, a fountain sealed, a well of living water, an orchard of pomegranates with pleasant fruits; [1903] which house also received the keys, and the power of binding and loosing. [1904]If any one shall neglect this house when it arrests and corrects him, the Lord says, "Let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican." [1905]Of this house it is said, "Lord, I have loved the habitation of Thy house, and the place where Thine honor dwelleth;" [1906] and, "He maketh men to be of one mind in an house;" [1907] and, "I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord;" [1908] and, "Blessed are they that dwell in Thy house, O Lord; they will be still praising Thee;" [1909] with countless other passages to the same effect. This house is also called wheat, bringing forth fruit with patience, some thirty-fold, some sixtyfold, and some an hundredfold. [1910]This house is also in vessels of gold and of silver, [1911] and in precious stones and imperishable woods. To this house it is said, "Forbearing one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace;" [1912] and, "For the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are." [1913]For this house is composed of those that are good and faithful, and of the holy servants of God dispersed throughout the world, and bound together by the unity of the Spirit, whether they know each other personally or not. But we hold that others are said to be in the house after such a sort, that they belong not to the substance of the house, nor to the society of fruitful and peaceful justice, but only as the chaff is said to be among the corn; for that they are in the house we cannot deny, when the apostle says, "But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honor, and some to dishonor." [1914]Of this countless multitude are found to be not only the crowd which within the Church afflicts the hearts of the saints, who are so few in comparison with so vast a host, but also the heresies and schisms which exist in those who have burst the meshes of the net, and may now be said to be rather out of the house than in the house, of whom it is said, "They went out from us, but they were not of us." [1915]For they are more thoroughly separated, now that they are also divided from us in the body, than are those who live within the Church in a carnal and worldly fashion, and are separated from us in the spirit.

Footnotes

[1900] Matt. xvi. 18. [1901] Cant. vi. 9. [1902] Eph. v. 27; cp. Retract. ii. 18. [1903] Cant. iv. 12, 13. [1904] Matt. xvi. 19. [1905] Matt. xviii. 17. [1906] Ps. xxvi. 8. [1907] Ps. lxviii. 6; cp. LXX. and Hieron. [1908] Ps. cxxii. 1. [1909] Ps. lxxxiv. 4. [1910] Matt. xiii. 23; Luke viii. 15. [1911] 2 Tim. ii. 20. [1912] Eph. iv. 2, 3. [1913] 1 Cor. iii. 17. [1914] 2 Tim. ii. 20. In Retract. ii. 18, Augustin says that he thinks the meaning of this last passage to be, not as Cyprian took it, Ep. liv. 3, that the vessels of gold and silver are the good, which are to honor; the vessels of wood and earth the wicked, which are to dishonor: but that the material of the vessels refers to the outward appearance of the several members of the Church, and that in each class some will be found to honor, and some to dishonor. This interpretation he derives from Tychonius. [1915] 1 John ii. 19.


Chapter 52.

--100. Of all these several classes, then, no one doubts respecting those first, who are in the house of God in such a sense as themselves to be the house of God, whether they be already spiritual, or as yet only babes nurtured with milk, but still making progress with earnestness of heart, towards that which is spiritual, that such men both have baptism so as to be of profit to themselves, and transmit it to those who follow their example so as to benefit them; but that in its transmission to those who are false, whom the Holy Spirit shuns, though they themselves, so far as lies with them, confer it so as to be of profit, yet the others receive it in vain, since they do not imitate those from whom they receive it. But they who are in the great house after the fashion of vessels to dishonor, both have baptism without profit to themselves, and transmit it without profit to those who follow their example: those, however, receive it with profit, who are united in heart and character, not to their ministers, but to the holy house of God. But those who are more thoroughly separated, so as to be rather out of the house than in the house, have baptism without any profit to themselves; and, moreover, there is no profit to those who receive it from them, unless they be compelled by urgent necessity to receive it, and their heart in receiving it does not depart from the bond of unity: yet nevertheless they possess it, though the possession be of no avail; and it is received from them, even when it is of no profit to those who so receive it, though, in order that it may become of use, they must depart from their heresy or schism, and cleave to that house of God. And this ought to be done, not only by heretics and schismatics, but also by those who are in the house through communion in the sacraments, yet so as to be outside the house through the perversity of their character. For so the sacrament begins to be of profit even to themselves, which previously was of no avail.


Chapter 53.

--101. The question is also commonly raised, whether baptism is to be held valid which is received from one who had not himself received it, if, from some promptings of curiosity, he had chanced to learn how it ought to be conferred; and whether it makes no difference in what spirit the recipient receives it, whether in mockery or in sincerity: if in mockery, whether the difference arises when the mockery is of deceit, as in the Church, or in what is thought to be the Church; or when it is in jest, as in a play: and which is the more accursed, to receive it deceitfully in the Church, or in heresy or schism without deceit, that is to say, with full sincerity of heart: or whether it be worse to receive it deceitfully in heresy or in good faith in a play, if any one were to be moved by a sudden feeling of religion in the midst of his acting. And yet, if we compare such an one even with him who receives it deceitfully in the Catholic Church itself, I should be surprised if any one were to doubt which of the two should be preferred; for I do not see of what avail the intention of him who gives in truth can be to him who receives deceitfully. But let us consider, in the case of some one also giving it in deceit, when both the given and the recipient are acting deceitfully in the unity of the Catholic Church itself, whether this should rather be acknowledged as baptism, or that which is given in a play, if any one should be found who received it faithfully from a sudden impulse of religion: or whether it be not true that, so far as the men themselves are concerned, there is a very great difference between the believing recipient in a play, and the mocking recipient in the Church; but that in regard to the genuineness of the sacrament there is no difference. For if it makes no difference in respect to the genuineness of the sacrament within the Catholic Church itself, whether certain persons celebrate it in truth or in deceit, so long as both still celebrate the same thing, I cannot see why it should make a difference outside, seeing that he who receives it is not cloaked by his deceit, but he is changed by his religious impulse. Or have those truthful persons among whom it is celebrated more power for the confirmation of the sacrament, than those deceitful men by whom and in whom it is celebrated can exert for its invalidation? And yet, if the deceit be subsequently brought to light, no one seeks a repetition of the sacrament; but the fraud is either punished by excommunication or set right by penitence.

102. But the safe course for us is, not to advance with any rashness of judgment in setting forth a view which has neither been started in any regionary Council of the Catholic Church nor established in a plenary one; but to assert, with all the confidence of a voice that cannot be gainsaid, what has been confirmed by the consent of the universal Church, under the direction of our Lord God and Saviour Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, if any one were to press me--supposing I were duly seated in a Council in which a question were raised on points like these--to declare what my own opinion was, without reference to the previously expressed views of others, whose judgment I would rather follow, if I were under the influence of the same feelings as led me to assert what I have said before, I should have no hesitation in saying that all men possess baptism who have received it in any place, from any sort of men, provided that it were consecrated in the words of the gospel, and received without deceit on their part with some degree of faith; although it would be of no profit to them for the salvation of their souls if they were without charity, by which they might be grafted into the Catholic Church. For "though I have faith," says the apostle, "so that I could remove mountains, but have not charity, I am nothing." [1916]Just as already, from the established decrees of our predecessors, I have no hesitation in saying that all those have baptism who, though they receive it deceitfully, yet receive it in the Church, or where the Church is thought to be by those in whose society it is received, of whom it was said, "They went out from us." [1917]But when there was no society of those who so believed, and when the man who received it did not himself hold such belief, but the whole thing was done as a farce, or a comedy, or a jest,--if I were asked whether the baptism which was thus conferred should be approved, I should declare my opinion that we ought to pray for the declaration of God's judgment through the medium of some revelation seeking it with united prayer and earnest groanings of suppliant devotion, humbly deferring all the time to the decision of those who were to give their judgment after me, in case they should set forth anything as already known and determined. And, therefore, how much the more must I be considered to have given my opinion now without prejudice to the utterance of more diligent research or authority higher than my own!

Footnotes

[1916] 1 Cor. xiii. 2. [1917] 1 John ii. 19.


Chapter 54.

--103. But now I think that it is fully time for me to bring to their due termination these books also on the subject of baptism, in which our Lord God has shown to us, through the words of the peaceful Bishop Cyprian and his brethren who agreed with him, how great is the love which should be felt for catholic unity; so that even where they were otherwise minded until God should reveal even this to them, [1918] they should rather bear with those who thought differently from themselves, than sever themselves from them by a wicked schism; whereby the mouths of the Donatists are wholly closed, even if we say nothing of the followers of Maximian. For if the wicked pollute the good in unity, then even Cyprian himself already found no Church to which he could be joined. But if the wicked do not infect the good in unity, then the sacrilegious Donatist has no ground to set before himself for separation. But if baptism is both possessed and transferred by the multitude of others who work the works of the flesh, of which it is said, that "they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God," [1919] then it is possessed and transferred also by heretics, who are numbered among those works; because they could have transferred it had they remained, and did not lose it by their secession. But men of this kind confer it on their fellows as fruitlessly and uselessly as the others who resemble them, inasmuch as they shall not inherit the kingdom of God. And as, when those others are brought into the right path, it is not that baptism begins to be present, having been absent before, but that it begins to profit them, having been already in them; so is it the case with heretics as well. Whence Cyprian and those who thought with him could not impose limits on the Catholic Church, which they would not mutilate. But in that they were otherwise minded we feel no fear, seeing that we too share in their veneration for Peter; yet in that they did not depart from unity we rejoice, seeing that we, like them, are founded on the rock.

Footnotes

[1918] Phil. iii. 15. [1919] Gal. v. 19-21.


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