Fathers of the Church
Against the Letters of Petilian
by Augustine of Hippo in 398-401 | translated by J. R. King; Rev. Chester D. Hartranft
[Written in the form of a letter addressed to the Catholics, in which the first portion of the letter which Petilian had written to his adherents is examined and refuted.]
Augustin, to the well-beloved brethren that belong to the care of our charge, greeting in the Lord:
CHAP. 1.—1. Ye know that we have often wished to bring forward into open notoriety, and to confute, not so much from our own arguments as from theirs, the sacrilegious error of the Donatist heretics; whence it came to pass that we wrote letters even to some of their leaders,—not indeed for purposes of communion with them, for of that they had already in times past rendered themselves unworthy by dissenting from the Church; nor yet in terms of reproach, but of a conciliatory character, with the view that, having discussed the question with us which caused them to break off from the holy communion of the whole world, they might, on consideration of the truth, be willing to be corrected, and might not defend the headstrong perversity of their predecessors with a yet more foolish obstinacy, but might be reunited to the Catholic stock, so as to bring forth the fruits of charity. But as it is written, "With those who have hated peace I am more peaceful," so they rejected my letters, just as they hate the very name of peace, in whose interests they were written. Now, however, as I was in the church of Constantina, Absentius being present, with my colleague Fortunatus, his bishop, the brethren brought before my notice a letter, which they said that a bishop of the said schism had addressed to his presbyters, as was set forth in the superscription of the letter itself. When I had read it, I was so amazed to find that in his very first words he cut away the very roots of the whole claims of his party to communion, that I was unwilling to believe that it could be the letter of a man who, if fame speaks truly, is especially conspicuous among them for learning and eloquence. But some of those who were present when I read it, being acquainted with the polish and embellishment of his composition, gradually persuaded me that it was undoubtedly his address. I thought, however, that whoever the author might be, it required refutation, lest the writer should seem to himself, in the company of the inexperienced, to have written something of weight against the Catholic Church.
2. The first point, then, that he lays down in his letter is the statement, "that we find fault with them for the repetition of baptism, while we ourselves pollute our souls with a layer stained with guilt." But to what profit is it that I should reproduce all his insulting terms? For, since it is one thing to strengthen proofs, another thing to meddle with abusive words by way of refutation, let us rather turn our attention to the mode in which he has sought to prove that we do not possess baptism, and that therefore they do not require the repetition of what was already present, but confer what hitherto was wanting. For he says: "What we look for is the conscience of the giver to cleanse that of the recipient." But supposing the conscience of the giver is concealed from view, and perhaps defiled with sin, how will it be able to cleanse the conscience of the recipient, if, as he says, "what we look for is the conscience of the giver to cleanse that of the recipient?" For if he should say that it makes no matter to the recipient what amount of evil may lie concealed from view in the conscience of the giver, perhaps that ignorance may have such a degree of efficacy as this, that a man cannot be defiled by the guilt of the conscience of him from whom he receives baptism, so long as he is unaware of it. Let it then be granted that the guilty conscience of his neighbor cannot defile a man so long as he is unaware of it, but is it therefore clear that it can further cleanse him from his own guilt?
CHAP. 2. —3. Whence, then, is a man to be cleansed who receives baptism, when the conscience of the giver is polluted without the knowledge of him who is to receive it? Especially when he goes on to say, "For he who receives faith from the faithless receives not faith, but guilt." There stands before us one that is faithless ready to baptize, and he who should be baptized is ignorant of his faithlessness: what think you that he will receive? Faith, or guilt? If you answer faith, then you will grant that it is possible that a man should receive not guilt, but faith, from him that is faithless; and the former saying will be false, that "he who receives faith from the faithless receives not faith, but guilt." For we find that it is possible that a man should receive faith even from one that is faithless, if he be not aware of the faithlessness of the giver. For he does not say, He who receives faith from one that is openly and notoriously faithless; but he says, "He who receives faith from the faithless receives not faith, but guilt;" which certainly is false when a person is baptized by one who hides his faithlessness. But if he shall say, Even when the faithlessness of the baptizer is concealed, the recipient receives not faith from him, but guilt, then let them rebaptize those who are well known to have been baptized by men who in their own body have long concealed a life of guilt, but have eventually been detected, convicted, and condemned.
CHAP. 3. —For, so long as they escaped detection, they could not bestow faith on any whom they baptized, but only guilt, if it be true that whosoever receives faith from one that is faithless receives not faith, but guilt. Let them therefore be baptized by the good, that they may be enabled to receive not guilt, but faith.
4. But how, again, shall they have any certainty about the good who are to give them faith, if what we look to is the conscience of the giver, which is unseen by the eyes of the proposed recipient? Therefore, according to their judgment, the salvation of the spirit is made uncertain, so long as in opposition to the holy Scriptures, which say, "It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man," and, "Cursed be the man that trusteth in man," they remove the hope of those who are to be baptized from the Lord their God, and persuade them that it should be placed in man; the practical result of which is, that their salvation becomes not merely uncertain, but actually null and void. For "salvation belongeth unto the Lord," and "vain is the help of man." Therefore, whosoever places his trust in man, even in one whom he knows to be just and innocent, is accursed. Whence also the Apostle Paul finds fault with those who said they were of Paul saying, "Was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?"
CHAP. 4. —5. Wherefore, if they were in error, and would have perished had they not been corrected, who wished to be of Paul, what must we suppose to be the hope of those who wished to be of Donatus? For they use their utmost endeavors to prove that the origin, root, and head of the baptized person is none other than the individual by whom he is baptized. The result is, that since it is very often a matter of uncertainty what kind of man the baptizer is, the hope therefore of the baptized being of uncertain origin, of uncertain root, of uncertain head, is of itself uncertain altogether. And since it is possible that the conscience of the giver may be in such a condition as to be accursed and defiled without the knowledge of the recipient, it results that, being of an accursed origin, accursed root, accursed head, the hope of the baptized may prove to be vain and ungrounded. For Petilian expressly states in his epistle, that "everything consists of an origin and root; and if it have not something for a head, it is nothing." And since by the origin and root and head of the baptized person he wishes to be understood the man by whom he is baptized, what good does the unhappy recipient derive from the fact that he does not know how bad a man his baptizer really is? For he does not know that he himself has a bad head, or actually no head at all. And yet what hope can a man have, who, whether he is aware of it or not, has either a very bad head or no head at all? Can we maintain that his very ignorance forms a head, when his baptizer is either a bad head or none at all? Surely any one who thinks this is unmistakeably without a head.
CHAP. 5. —6. We ask, therefore, since he says, "He who receives faith from the faithless receives not faith, but guilt," and immediately adds to this the further statement, that "everything consists of an origin and root; and if it have not something for a head, it is nothing;"—we ask, I say, in a case where the faithlessness of the baptizer is undetected: If then, the man whom he baptizes receives faith, and not guilt; if, then, the baptizer is not his origin and root and head, who is it from whom he receives faith? where is the origin from which he springs? where is the root of which he is a shoot? where the head which is his starting-point? Can it be, that when he who is baptized is unaware of the faithlessness of his baptizer, it is then Christ who gives faith, it is then Christ who is the origin and root and head? Alas for human rashness and conceit! Why do you not allow that it is always Christ who gives faith, for the purpose of making a man a Christian by giving it? Why do you not allow that Christ is always the origin of the Christian, that the Christian always plants his root in Christ, that Christ is the head of the Christian? Do we then maintain that, even when spiritual grace is dispensed to those that believe by the hands of a holy and faithful minister, it is still not the minister himself who justifies, but that One of whom it is said, that "He justifieth the ungodly?" But unless we admit this, either the Apostle Paul was the head and origin of those whom he had planted, or Apollos the root of those whom he had watered, rather than He who had given them faith in believing; whereas the same Paul says, "I have planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase: so then neither is he that planteth anything, nor he that watereth, but God that giveth the increase.' Nor was the apostle himself their root, but rather He who says, "I am the vine, ye are the branches." How, too, could he be their head, when he says, that "we, being many, are one body in Christ," and expressly declares in many passages that Christ Himself is the head of the whole body?
CHAP. 6. —7. Wherefore, whether a man receive the sacrament of baptism from a faithful or a faithless minister, his whole hope is in Christ, that he fall not under the condemnation that "cursed is he that placeth his hope in man." Otherwise, if each man is born again in spiritual grace of the same sort as he by whom he is baptized, and if when he who baptizes him is manifestly a good man, then he himself gives faith, he is himself the origin and root and head of him who is being born; whilst, when the baptizer is faithless without its being known, then the baptized person receives faith from Christ, then he derives his origin from Christ, then he is rooted in Christ, then he boasts in Christ as his head,—in that case all who are baptized should wish that they might have faithless baptizers, and be ignorant of their faithlessness: for however good their baptizers might have been, Christ is certainly beyond comparison better still; and He will then be the head of the baptized, if the faithlessness of the baptizer shall escape detection.
CHAP. 7. —8. But if it is perfect madness to hold such a view (for it is Christ always that justifieth the ungodly, by changing his ungodliness into Christianity; it is from Christ always that faith is received, Christ is always the origin of the regenerate and the head of the Church), what weight, then, will those words have, which thoughtless readers value by their sound, without inquiring what their inner meaning is? For the man who does not content himself with hearing the words with his ear, but considers the meaning of the phrase, when he hears, "What we look to is the conscience of the giver, that it may cleanse the conscience of the recipient," will answer, The conscience of man is often unknown to me, but I am certain of the mercy of Christ: when he hears, "He who receives faith from the faithless receives not faith, but guilt," will answer, Christ is not faithless, from whom I receive not guilt, but faith: when he hears, "Everything consists of an origin and root; and if it have not something for a head, is nothing," will answer, My origin is Christ, my root is Christ, my head is Christ. When he hears, "Nor does anything well receive second birth, unless it be born again of good seed," he will answer, The seed of which I am born again is the Word of God, which I am warned to hear with attention, even though he through whom I hear it does not himself do what he preaches; according to the words of the Lord, which make me herein safe, "All whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not." When he hears, "What perversity must it be, that he who is guilty through his own sins should make another free from guilt!" he will answer, No one makes me free from guilt but He who died for our sins, and rose again for our justification. For I believe, not in the minister by whose hands I am baptized, but in Him who justifieth the ungodly, that my faith may be counted unto me for righteousness.
CHAP. 8. —9. When he hears, "Every good tree bringeth good fruit, but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit: do men gather grapes of thorns?" and, "A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things;" he will answer, This therefore is good fruit, that I should be a good tree, that is, a good man, that I should show forth good fruit, that is, good works. But this will be given to me, not by him that planteth, nor by him that watereth, but by God that giveth the increase. For if the good tree be the good baptizer, so that his good fruit should be the man whom he baptizes, then any one who has been baptized by a bad man, even if his wickedness be not manifest, will have no power to be good, for he is sprung from an evil tree. For a good tree is one thing; a tree whose quality is concealed, but yet bad, is another. Or if, when the tree is bad, but hides its badness, then whosoever is baptized by it is born not of it, but of Christ; then they are justified with more perfect holiness who are baptized by the bad who hide their evil nature, than they who are baptized by the manifestly good.
CHAP. 9. —10. Again, when he hears, "He that is washed by one dead, his washing profiteth him nought," he will answer, "Christ, being raised from the dead, dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over Him:" of whom it is said, "The same is He which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost." But they are baptized by the dead, who are baptized in the temples of idols. For even they themselves do not suppose that they receive the sanctification which they look for from their priests, but from their gods; and since these were men, and are dead in such sort as to be now neither upon earth nor in the rest of heaven, they are truly baptized by the dead: and the same answer will hold good if there be any other way in which these words of holy Scripture may be examined, and profitably discussed and understood. For if in this place I understand a baptizer who is a sinner, the same absurdity will follow, that whosoever has been baptized by an ungodly man, even though his ungodliness be undiscovered, is yet washed in vain, as though baptized by one dead. For he does not say, He that is baptized by one manifestly dead, but absolutely, "by one dead." And if they consider any man to be dead whom they know to be a sinner, but any one in their communion to be alive, even though he manages most adroitly to conceal a life of wickedness, in the first place with accursed pride they claim more for themselves than they ascribe to God, that when a sinner is unveiled to them he should be called dead, but when he is known by God he is held to be alive. In the next place, if that sinner is to be called dead who is known to be such by men, what answer will they make about Optatus, whom they were afraid to condemn though they had long known his wickedness? Why are those who were baptized by him not said to have been baptized by one dead? Did he live because the Count was his faith?—an elegant and well-turned saying of some early colleagues of their own, which they themselves are wont to quote with pride, not understanding that at the death of the haughty Goliath it was his own sword by which his head was cut off.
CHAP. 10. —11. Lastly, if they are willing to give the name of dead neither to the wicked man whose sin is hidden, nor to him whose sin is manifest, but who has yet not been condemned by them, but only to him whose sin is manifest and condemned, so that whosoever is baptized by him is himself baptized by the dead, and his washing profits him nothing; what are we to say of those whom their own party have condemned "by the unimpeachable voice of a plenary Council," together with Maximianus and the others who ordained him,—I mean Felicianus of Musti, and Praetextatus of Assura, of whom I speak in the meantime, who are counted among the twelve ordainers of Maximianus, as erecting an altar in opposition to their altar at which Primianus stands? They surely are reckoned by them among the dead. To this we have the express testimony of the noble decree of that Council of theirs which formerly called forth shouts of unreserved applause when it was recited among them for the purpose of being decreed, but which would now be received in silence if we should chance to recite it in their ears; whereas they should rather have been slow at first to rejoice in its, eloquence, test they should afterwards come to mourn over it when its credit was destroyed. For in it they speak in the following terms of the followers of Maximianus, who were shut out from their communion: "Seeing that the shipwrecked members of certain men have been dashed by the waves of truth upon the sharp rocks, and after the fashion of the Egyptians, the shores are covered with the bodies of the dying; whose punishment is intensified in death itself, since after their life has been wrung from them by the avenging waters, they fail to find so much as burial." In such gross terms indeed, do they insult those who were guilty of schism from their body, that they call them dead and unburied; but certainly they ought to have wished that they might obtain burial, if it were only that they might not have seen Optatus Gildonianus advancing with a military force, and like a sweeping wave that dashes beyond its fellows, sucking back Felicianus and Praetextatus once again within their pale, out of the multitude of bodies lying unburied on the shore.
CHAP. 11. —12. Of these I would ask, whether by coming to their sea they were restored to life, or whether they are still dead there? For if still they are none the less corpses, then the layer cannot in any way profit those who are baptized by such dead men. But if they have been restored to life, yet how can the layer profit those whom they baptized before outside, while they were lying without life, if the passage, "He who is baptized by the dead, of what profit is his baptism to him," is to be understood in the way in which they think? For those whom Praetextatus and Felicianus baptized while they were yet in communion with Maximianus are now retained among them, sharing in their communion, without being again baptized, together with the same men who baptized them—I mean Felicianus and Praetextatus: taking occasion by which fact, if it were not that they cherish the beginning of their own obstinacy, instead of considering the certain end of their spiritual salvation, they would certainly be bound to vigilance, and ought to recover the soundness of their senses, so as to breathe again in Catholic peace; if only, laying aside the swelling of their pride, and overcoming the madness of their stubbornness, they would take heed and see what monstrous sacrilege it is to curse the baptism of the foreign churches, which we have learned from the sacred books were planted in primitive times, and to receive the baptism of the followers of Maximianus, whom they nave condemned with their own lips.
CHAP. 12. —13. But our brethren themselves, the sons of the aforesaid churches, were both ignorant at the time, and still are ignorant, of what has been done so many years ago in Africa: wherefore they at any rate cannot be defiled by the charges which have been brought, on the part of the Donatists, against the Africans, without even knowing whether they were true. But the Donatists having openly separated and divided themselves off, although they are even said to have taken part in the ordination of Primianus, yet condemned the said Primianus, ordained another bishop in opposition to Primianus, baptized outside the communion of Primianus, rebaptized after Primianus, and returned to Primianus with their disciples who had been baptized by themselves outside, and never rebaptized by any one inside. If such a union with the party of Maximianus does not pollute the Donatists, how can the mere report concerning the Africans pollute the foreigners? If the lips meet together without offense in the kiss of peace, which reciprocally condemned each other, why is each man that is condemned by them in the churches very far removed by the intervening sea from their jurisdiction, not saluted with a kiss as a faithful Catholic, but driven forth with a blast of indignation as an impious pagan? And if, in receiving the followers of Maximianus, they made peace in behalf of their own unity, far be it from us to find fault with them, save that they cut their own throats by their decision, that whereas, to preserve unity in their schism, they collect together again what had been parted from themselves, they yet scorn to reunite their schism itself to the true unity of the Church.
CHAP. 13. —14. If, in the interests of the unity of the party of Donatus, no one rebaptizes those who were baptized in a wicked schism, and men, who are guilty of a crime of such enormity as to be compared by them in their Council to those ancient authors of schism whom the earth swallowed up alive, are either unpunished after separation, or restored again to their position after condemnation; why is it that, in defence of the unity of Christ, which is spread throughout the whole inhabited world, of which it has been predicted that it shall have dominion from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the, earth,—a prediction which seems from actual proof to be in process of fulfillment; why is it that, in defence of this unity, they do not acknowledge the true and universal law of that inheritance which rings forth from the books that are common to us all: "I shall give Thee the heathen for Thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for Thy possession?" In behalf of the unity of Donatus, they are not compelled to call together again what they have scattered abroad, but are warned to hear the cry of the Scriptures: why will they not understand that they meet with such treatment through the mercy of God, that since they brought false charges against the Catholic Church, by contact as it were with which they were unwilling to defile their own excessive sanctity, they should be compelled by the sovereign authority of Optatus Gildonianus to receive again and associate with themselves true offenses of the greatest enormity, condemned by the true voice, as they say, of their own plenary Council? Let them at length perceive how they are filled with the true crimes of their own party, after inventing fictitious crimes wherewith to charge their brethren, when, even if the charges had been true, they ought at length to feel how much should be endured in the cause of peace, and in behalf of Christ's peace to return to a Church which did not condemn crimes undiscovered, if on behalf of the peace of Donatus they were ready to pardon such as were condemned.
CHAP. 14. —15. Therefore, brethren, let it suffice us that they should be admonished and corrected on the one point of their conduct in the matter of the followers of Maximianus. We do not ransack ancient archives, we do not bring to light the contents of time honored libraries, we do not publish our proofs to distant lands; but we bring in, as arbiters betwixt us, all the proofs derived from our ancestors, we spread abroad the witness that cries aloud throughout the world.
CHAP. 15. —16. Look at the states of Musti and Assura: there are many still remaining in this life and in this province who have severed themselves, and many from whom they have severed themselves; many who have erected an altar, and many against whom that altar has been erected; many who have condemned, and many who have been condemned; who have received, and who have been received; who have been baptized outside, and not baptized again within: if all these things in the cause of unity defile, let the defiled hold their tongues; if these things in the cause of unity do not defile, let them submit to correction, and terminate their strife.
CHAP. 16. —17. As for the words which follow in his letter, the writer himself could scarcely fail to laugh at them, when, having made an unlearned and lying use of the proof in which he quotes the words of Scripture, "He who is washed by the dead, what profiteth him his washing?" he endeavors to show to us "how far a traditor being still in life may be accounted dead." And then he goes on further to say: "That man is dead who has not been worthy to be born again in true baptism; he is likewise dead who, although born in genuine baptism, has joined himself to a traditor." If, therefore, the followers of Maximianus are not dead, why do the Donatists say, in their plenary Council, that "the shores are covered with their dying bodies?" But if they are dead, whence is there life in the baptism which they gave? Again, if Maximianus is not dead, why is a man baptized again who had been baptized by him? But if he is dead why is not also Felicianus of Musti dead with him, who ordained him, and might have died beyond the sea with some African colleague or another who was a traditor? Or, if he also is himself dead, how is there life with him in your society in those who, having been baptized outside by him who is dead, have never been baptized again within?
CHAP, 17. —18. Then he further adds: "Both are without the life of baptism, both he who never had it at all, and he who had it but has lost it." He therefore never had it, whom Felicianus, the follower of Maximianus or Praetextatus, baptized outside; and these men themselves have lost what once they had When, therefore, these were received with their followers, who gave to those whom they baptized what previously they did not have? and who restored to themselves what they, had lost? But they took away with them the form of baptism, but lost the veritable excellence of baptism by their wicked schism. Why do you repudiate the form itself, which is holy at all times and all places, in the Catholics whom you have not heard, whilst you are willing to acknowledge it in the followers of Maximianus whom you have punished?
19. But whatever he seemed to himself to say by way of accusation about the traitor Judas, I see not how it can concern us, who are not proved by them to have betrayed our trust; nor, indeed, if such treason were proved on the part of any who before our time have died in our communion, would that treason in any way defile us by whom it was disavowed, and to whom it was displeasing. For if they themselves are not defiled by offenses condemned by themselves, and afterwards condoned, how much less can we be defiled by what we have disavowed so soon as we have heard of them! However weighty, therefore, his invective against traditors, let him be assured that they are condemned by me in precisely the same terms. But yet I make a distinction; for he accuses one on my side who has long been dead without having been condemned in any investigation made by me. I point to a man adhering closely to his side, who had been condemned by him, or at least had been separated by a sacrilegious schism, and whom he received again with undiminished honor.
CHAP. 18. —20. He says: "You who are a most abandoned traditor have come out in the character of a persecutor and murderer of us who keep the law." If the followers of Maximianus kept the law when they separated from you, then we may acknowledge you as a keeper of the law, when you are separated from the Church spread abroad throughout the world. But if you raise the question of persecutions, I at once reply: If you have suffered anything unjustly, this does not concern those who, though they disapprove of men who act in such a way, yet endure them for the peace that is in unity, in a manner deserving of all praise. Wherefore you have nothing to bring up against the Lord's wheat, who endure the chaff that is among them till the last winnowing, from whom you never would have separated yourself, had you not shown yourself lighter than chaff by flying away under the blast of temptation before the coming of the Winnower. But not to leave this one example, which the Lord hath thrust back in their teeth, to close the mouths of these men, for their correction if they will show themselves to be wise, but for their confusion if they remain in their folly: if those are more just that suffer persecution than those who inflict it, then those same followers of Maximianus are the more just, whose basilica was utterly overthrown, and who were grievously maltreated by the military following of Optatus, when the mandates of the proconsul, ordering that all of them should be shut out of the basilicas, were manifestly procured by the followers of Primianus. Wherefore, if, when the emperors hated their communion, they ventured on such violent measures for the persecution of the followers of Maximianus, what would they do if they were enabled to work their will by being in communion with kings? And if they did such things as I have mentioned for the correction of the wicked, why are they surprised that Catholic emperors should decree with greater power that they should be worked upon and corrected who endeavor to rebaptize the whole Christian world, when they have no ground for differing from them? seeing that they, themselves bear witness that it is right to bear with wicked men even where they have true charges to bring against them in the cause of peace, since they received those whom they had themselves condemned, acknowledging the honors conferred among themselves, and the baptism administered in schism. Let them at length consider what treatment they deserve at the hands of the Christian powers of the world, who are the enemies of Christian unity throughout the world. If, therefore, correction be bitter, yet let them not fail to be ashamed; lest when they begin to read what they themselves have written, they be overcome with laughter, when they do not find in themselves what they wish to find in others, and fail to recognize in their own case what they find fault with in their neighbors.
CHAP. 19. —21. What, then, does he mean by quoting in his letter the words with which our Lord addressed the Jews: "Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes; and some of them ye shall kill and crucify, and some of them shall ye scourge?" For if by the wise men and the scribes and the prophets they would have themselves be understood, while we were as it were the persecutors of the prophets and wise men, why are they unwilling to speak with us, seeing they are sent to us? For, indeed, if the man who wrote that epistle which we are at this present moment answering, were to be pressed by us to acknowledge it as his own, stamping its authenticity with his signature, I question much whether he would do it, so thoroughly afraid are they of our possessing any words of theirs. For when we were anxious by some means or other to procure the latter part of this same letter, because those from whom we obtained it were unable to describe the whole of it, no one who was asked for it was willing to give it to us, so soon as they knew that we were making a reply to the portion which we had. Therefore, when they read how the Lord says to the prophet, "Cry aloud, spare not, and write their sins with my pen," these men who are sent to us as prophets have no fears on this score, but take every precaution that their crying may not be heard by us: which they certainly would not fear if what they spoke of us were true. But their apprehension is not groundless, as it is written in the Psalm, "The mouth of them that speak lies shall be stopped." For if the reason that they do not receive our baptism be that we are a generation of vipers—to use the expression in his epistle—why did they receive the baptism of the followers of Maximianus, of whom their Council speaks in the following terms: "Because the enfolding of a poisoned womb has long concealed the baneful offspring of a viper's seed, and the moist concretions of [conceived iniquity have by slow heat flowed forth into the members of serpents"? Is it hot therefore of themselves also that it is said in the same Council, "The poison of asps is under their lips, their mouth is full of cursing and bitterness, their feet are swift to shed blood; destruction and unhappiness is in their ways, and the way of peace have they not known"? And yet they now hold these men themselves in undiminished honor, and receive within their body those whom these men had baptized without.
CHAP. 20. —22. Wherefore all this about the generation of vipers, and the poison of asps under their lips, and all the other things which they have said against those which have not known the way of peace, are really, if they would but speak the truth, more strictly applicable to themselves, since for the sake of the peace of Donatus they received the baptism of these men, in respect of which they used the expressions quoted above in the wording of the decree of the Council; but the baptism of the Church of Christ dispersed throughout the world, from which peace itself came into Africa, they repudiate, to the sacrilegious wounding of the peace of Christ. Which, therefore, are rather the false prophets, who come in sheep's clothing, while inwardly they are ravening wolves,—they who either fail to detect the wicked in the Catholic Church, and communicate with them in all innocence, or else for the sake of the peace of unity are bearing with those whom they cannot separate from the threshing-floor of the Lord before the Winnower shall come, or they who do in schism what they censure in the Catholic Church, and receive in their own separation, when manifest to all and condemned by their own voice, what they profess that they shun in the unity of the Church when it calls for toleration, and does not even certainly exist?
CHAP. 21. —23. Lastly, it has been said, as he himself has also quoted, "Ye shall know them by their fruits:" let us therefore examine into their fruits. You bring up against our predecessors their delivery of the sacred books. This very charge we urge with greater probability against their accusers themselves. And not to carry our search too far, in the same city of Constantina your predecessors ordained Silvanus bishop at the very outset of his schism. He, while he was still a subdeacon, was most unmistakeably entered as a traditor in the archives of the city. If you on your side bring forward documents against our predecessors, all that we ask is equal terms, that we should either believe both to be true or both to be false. If both are true, you are unquestionably guilty of schism, who have pretended that you avoid offenses in the communion of the whole world, which you had commonly among you in the small fragment of your own sect. But again, if both are false, you are unquestionably guilty of schism, who, on account of the false charges of giving up the sacred books, are staining yourselves with the heinous offence of severance from the Church. But if we have something to urge in accusation while you have nothing, or if our charges are true whilst yours are false, it is no longer matter of discussion how thoroughly your mouths are closed.
CHAP. 22. —24. What if the holy and true Church of Christ were to convince and overcome you, even if we held no documents in support of our cause, or only such as were false, while you had possession of some genuine proofs of delivery of the sacred books? what would then remain for you, except that, if you would, you should show your love of peace, or otherwise should hold your tongues? For whatever, in that case, you might bring forward in evidence, I should be able to say with the greatest ease and the most perfect truth, that then you are bound to prove as much to the full and catholic unity of the Church already spread abroad and established throughout so many nations, to the end that you should remain within, and that those whom you convict should be expelled. And if you have endeavored to do this, certainly you have not been able to make good your proof; and being vanquished or enraged, you have separated yourselves, with all the heinous guilt of sacrilege, from the guiltless men who could not condemn on insufficient proof. But if you have not even endeavored to do this, then with most accursed and unnatural blindness you have cut yourselves off from the wheat of Christ, which grows throughout His whole fields, that is, throughout the whole world, until the end, because you have taken offense at a few tares in Africa.
CHAP. 23. —25. In conclusion, the Testament is said to have been given to the flames by certain men in the time of persecution. Now let its lessons be read, from whatever source it has been brought to light. Certainly in the beginning of the promises of the Testator this is found to have been said to Abraham: "In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed;" and this saying is truthfully interpreted by the apostle: "To thy seed," he says, "which is Christ." No betrayal on the part of any man has made the promises of God of none effect. Hold communion with all the nations of the earth, and then you may boast that you have preserved the Testament from the destruction of the flames. But if you will not do so, which party is the rather to be believed to have insisted on the burning of the Testament, save that which will not assent to its teaching when it is brought to light? For how much more certainly, without any sacrilegious rashness, can he be held to have joined the company of traditors who now persecutes with his tongue the Testament which they are said to have persecuted with the flames! You charge us with the persecution: the true wheat of the Lord answers you, "Either it was done justly, or it was done by the chaff that was among us." What have you to say to this? You object that we have no baptism: the same true wheat of the Lord answers you, that the form of the sacrament even within the Church fails to profit some, as it did no good to Simon Magus when he was baptized, much more it fails to profit those who are without. Yet that baptism remains in them when they depart, is proved from this, that it is not restored to them when they return. Never, therefore, except by the greatest shamelessness, will you be able to cry out against that wheat, or to call them false prophets clad in sheep's clothing, whilst inwardly they are ravening wolves; since either they do not know the wicked in the unity of the Catholic Church, or for the sake of unity bear with those whom they know.
CHAP. 24. —26. But let us turn to the consideration of your fruits. I pass over the tyrannous exercise of authority in the cities, and especially in the estates of other men; I pass over the madness of the Circumcelliones, and the sacrilegious and profane adoration of the bodies of those who had thrown themselves of their own accord over precipices, the revellings of drunkenness, and the ten years' groaning of the whole of Africa under the cruelty of the one man Optatus Gildonanius: all this I pass over, because there are certain among you who cry out that these things are, and have ever been displeasing to them. But they say that they bore with them in the cause of peace, because they could not put them down; wherein they condemn themselves by their own judgment: for if indeed they felt such love for peace, they never would have rent in twain the bond of unity. For what madness can be greater, than to be willing to abandon peace in the midst of peace itself, and to be anxious to retain it in the midst of discord? Therefore, for the sake of those who pretend that they do not see the evils of this same faction of Donatus, which all men see and blame, ignoring them even to the extent of saying of Optatus himself, "What did he do?" "Who accused him?" "Who convicted him?" "I know nothing," "I saw nothings" "I heard nothing,"—for the sake of these, I say, who pretend that they are ignorant of what is generally notorious, the party of Maximianus has arisen, through whom their eyes are opened, and their mouths are closed: for they openly sever themselves; they openly erect altar against altar; they are openly in a Council called sacrilegious and vipers, and swift to shed blood, to be compared with Dathan and Abiram and Korah, and are condemned in cutting terms of abhorrence; and are as openly received again with undiminished honors in company with those whom they have baptized. Such are the fruits of these men, who do all this for the peace of Donatus, that they may clothe themselves in sheep's clothing, and reject the peace of Christ throughout the world that they may be ravening wolves within the fold.
CHAP. 25. —27. I think that I have left unanswered none of the statements in the letter of Donatus, so far at least as relates to what I have been able to find in that part of which we are in possession. I should be glad if they would produce the other part as well, in case there should be anything in it which does not admit of refutation. But as for these answers which we have made to him, with the help of God, I admonish your Christian love, that ye not only communicate them to those who seek for them, but also force them on those who show no longing for them. Let them answer anything they will; and if they shrink from sending a reply to us, let them at any rate send letters to their own party, only not forbidding that the contents should be shown to us. For if they do this, they show their fruits most openly, by which they are proved to demonstration to be ravening wolves disguised in sheep's clothing, in that they secretly lay snares for our sheep, and openly shrink from giving any answer to the shepherds. We only lay to their charge the sin of schism, in which they are all most thoroughly involved,—not the offenses of certain of their party, which some of them declare to be displeasing to themselves. If they, on the other hand, abstain from charging us with the sins of other men, they have nothing they can lay to our charge, and therefore they are wholly unable to defend themselves from the charge of schism; because it is by a wicked severance that they have separated themselves from the threshing-floor of the Lord, and from the innocent company of the corn that is growing throughout the world, on account of charges which either are false, and invented by themselves, or even if true, involve the chaff alone.
CHAP 26. —28. But it is possible that you may expect of me that I should go on to refute what he has introduced about Manichaeus. Now, in respect of this, the only thing that offends me is that he has censured a most pestilent and pernicious error—I mean the heresy of the Manichaeans— in terms of wholly inadequate severity, if indeed they amount to censure at all, though the Catholic Church has broken down his defenses by the strongest evidence of truth. For the inheritance of Christ, established in all nations, is secure against heresies which have been shut out from the inheritance; but, as the Lord says, "How can Satan cast out Satan?" so how can the error of the Donatists have power to overthrow the error of the Manichaeans?
CHAP. 27. —29. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, though that error is exposed and overcome in many ways, and dare not oppose the truth on any show of reason whatsoever, but only with the unblushing obstinacy of impudence; yet, not to load your memory with a multitude of proofs, I would have you bear in mind this one action of the followers of Maximianus, confront them with this one fact, thrust this in their teeth, to make them their treacherous tongues, destroy their calumny with this, as it were a three-pronged dart destroying a three-headed monster. They charge us with betrayal of the sacred books; they charge us with persecution; they charge us with false baptism: to all their charges make the same answer about the followers of Maximianus. For they think that the proofs are lost which show that their predecessors gave the sacred volumes to the flames; but this at least they cannot hide, that they have received with unimpaired honors those who were stained with the sacrilege of schism. Also they think that those most violent persecutions are hidden, which they direct against any who oppose them whenever they are able; but whilst spiritual persecution surpasses bodily persecution, they received with undiminished honors the followers of Maximianus, whom they themselves persecuted in the body, and of whom they themselves said, "Their feet are swift to shed blood;" and this at any rate they cannot hide.
CHAP. 28. Finally, they think that the question of baptism is hidden, with which they deceive wretched souls. But whilst they say that none have baptism who were baptized outside the communion of the one Church, they received with undiminished honors the followers of Maximianus, with those whom they baptized in schism outside the Donatist communion, and this at least they cannot hide.
30. "But these things," they say, "bring no pollution in the cause of peace; and it is well to bend to mercy the rigor of extreme severity, that broken branches may be grafted in anew." Accordingly, in this way the whole question is settled, by defeat in them, by the impossibility of defeat for us; for if the name of peace be assumed for even the faintest shadow of defense to justify the bearing with wicked men in schism, then beyond all doubt the violation of true peace itself involves detestable guilt, with nothing to be said in its defence throughout the unity of the world.
CHAP. 29.—31. These things, brethren, I would have you retain as the basis of your action and preaching with untiring gentleness: love men, while you destroy errors; take of the truth without pride; strive for the truth without cruelty. Pray for those whom you refute and convince of error. For the prophet prays to God for mercy upon such as these, saying, "Fill their faces with shame, that they may seek Thy name, O Lord." And this, indeed, the Lord has done already, so as to fill the faces of the followers of Maximianus with shame in the sight of all mankind: it only remains that they should learn how to blush to their soul's health. For so they will be able to seek the name of the Lord, from which they are turned away to their utter destruction, whilst they exalt their own name in the place of that of Christ. May ye live and persevere in Christ, and be multiplied, and abound in the love of God, and in love towards one another, and towards all men, brethren well beloved.
[In which Augustin replies to all the several statements in the letter of Petilianus, as though disputing with an adversary face to face.]
CHAP. 1. —1. That we made a full and sufficient answer to the first part of the letter of Petilianus, which was all that we had been able to find, will be remembered by all who were able to read or hear what we replied. But since the whole of it was afterwards found and copied by our brethren, and sent to us with the view that we should answer it as a whole, this task was one which our pen could not escape,—not that he says anything new in it, to which answer has not been already made in many ways and at various times; but still, on account of the brethren of slower comprehension, who, when they read a matter in any place, cannot always refer to everything that has been said upon the same subject, I will comply with those who urge me by all means to reply to every point, and that as though we were carrying on the discussion face to face in the form of a dialogue. I will set down the words of his epistle under his name, and I will give the answer under my own name, as though it had all been taken down by reporters while we were debating. And so there will be no one who can complain either that I have passed anything over, or that they have been unable to understand it for want of distinction between the parties to the discussion; at the same time that the Donatists themselves, who are unwilling to argue the question in our presence, as is shown by the letters which they have circulated among their party, may thus not fail to find the truth answering them point by point, just as though they were discussing the matter with us face to face.
2. In the very beginning of the letter PETILIANUS said: "Petilianus, a bishop, to his well-beloved brethren, fellow-priests, and deacons, appointed ministers with us throughout our diocese in the gospel, grace be to you and peace, from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ."
3. AUGUSTIN answered: I acknowledge the apostolic greeting. You see who you are that employ it, but see from what source you have learned what you say. For in these terms Paul salutes the Romans, and in the same terms the Corinthians, the Galatians, the Ephesians, the Colossians, the Philippians, the Thessalonians. What madness is it, therefore, to be unwilling to share the salvation of peace with those very Churches in whose epistles you learned its form of salutation?
CHAP. 2. —4. PETILIANUS said: "Those who have polluted their souls with a guilty laver, under the name of baptism, reproach us with baptizing twice,—than whose obscenity, indeed, any kind of filth is more cleanly, seeing that through a perversion of cleanliness they have come to be made fouler by their washing."
5. AUGUSTIN answered: We are neither made fouler by our washing, nor cleaner by yours. But when the water of baptism is given to any one in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, it is neither ours nor yours, but His of whom it was said to John, "Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, the same is He which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost."
CHAP. 3. —6. PETILIANUS said: "For what we look to is the conscience of the giver, to cleanse that of the recipient."
7. AUGUSTIN answered: We therefore need have no anxiety about the conscience of Christ, But if you assert any man to be the giver, be he who he may, there will be no certainty about the cleansing of the recipient, because there is no certainty about the conscience of the giver.
CHAP. 4. —8. PETILIANUS said: "For he who receives faith from the faithless, receives not faith but guilt."
9. AUGUSTIN answered: Christ is not faithless, from whom the faithful man receives not guilt but faith. For he believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, that his faith may be counted for righteousness.
CHAP.5. —10. PETILIANUS said: "For everything consists of an origin and root; and if it have not something for a head, it is nothing: nor does anything well receive second birth, unless it be born again of good seed."
11. AUGUSTIN answered: Why will you put yourself forward in the room of Christ, when you will not place yourself under Him? He is the origin, and root, and head of him who is being born, and in Him we feel no fear, as we must in any man, whoever he may be, lest he should prove to be false and of abandoned character, and we should be found to be sprung from an abandoned source, growing from an abandoned root, united to an abandoned head. For what man can feel secure about a man, when it is written, "Cursed be the man that trusteth in man?" But the seed of which we are born again is the word of God, that is, the gospel. Whence the apostle says, "For in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel." And yet he allows even those to preach the gospel who were preaching it not in purity, and rejoices in their preaching; because, although they were preaching it not in purity, but seeking their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's, yet the gospel which they preached was pure. And the Lord had said of certain of like character, "Whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not yet after their works: for they say, and do not. If, therefore, what is in itself pure is preached in purity, then the preacher himself also, in that he is a partner with the word, has his share in begetting the believer; but if he himself be not regenerate, and yet what he preaches be pure, then the believer is born not from the barrenness of the minister but from the fruitfulness of the word.
CHAP. 6. —12. PETILIANUS said: "This being the case, brethren, what perversity must it be, that he who is guilty through his own sins should make another free from guilt, when the Lord Jesus Christ says, 'Every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit: do men gather grapes of thorns?' And again: 'A good man, out of the good treasure of the heart, bringeth forth good things: and an evil man, out of the evil treasure, bringeth forth evil things.'"
13. AUGUSTIN answered: No man, even though he be not guilty through his own sins, can make his neighbor free from sin, because he is not God. Otherwise, if we were to expect that out of the innocence of the baptizer should be produced the innocence of the baptized, then each will be the more innocent in proportion as he may have found a more innocent person by whom to be baptized; and will himself be the less innocent in proportion as he by whom he is baptized is less innocent. And if the man who baptizes happens to entertain hatred against another man, this will also be imputed to him who is baptized. Why, therefore, does the wretched man hasten to be baptized,—that his own sins may be forgiven him, or that those of others may be reckoned against him? Is he like a merchant ship, to discharge one burden, and to take on him another? But by the good tree and its good fruit, and the corrupt tree and its evil fruit, we are wont to understand men and their works, as is consequently shown in those other words which you also quoted: "A good man, out of the good treasure of his heart, bringeth forth good things: and an evil man, out of the evil treasure, bringeth forth evil things." But when a man preaches the word of God, or administers the sacraments of God, he does not, if he is a bad man, preach or minister out of his own treasure; but he will be counted among those of whom it is said, "Whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works:" for they bid you observe what is God's, but their works are their own. For if it is as you say, that is, if the fruit of those who baptize consist in the baptized persons themselves, you declare a great woe against Africa, if a young Optatus has sprung up for every one that Optatus baptized.
CHAP. 7. —4. PETILIANUS said: "And again, 'He who is baptized by one that is dead, his washing profiteth him nothing.' He did not mean that the baptizer was a corpse, a lifeless body, the remains of a man ready for burial, but one lacking the Spirit of God, who is compared to a dead body, as He declares to a disciple in another place, according to the witness of the gospel. For His disciple says, 'Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. But Jesus said unto him, Follow me, and let the dead bury their dead.' The father of the disciple was not baptized. He declared him as a pagan to belong to the company of pagans; unless he said this of the unbelieving, The dead cannot bury the dead. He was dead, therefore, not as smitten by some death, but as smitten even during life. For he who so lives as to be doomed to eternal death is tortured by a death in life. To be baptized, therefore, by the dead, is to have received not life but death. We must therefore consider and declare how far the traditor is to be accounted dead while yet alive. He is dead who has not deserved to be born again with a true baptism; he is ikewise dead who, having been born again with a true baptism, has become involved with a traditor. Both are wanting in the life of baptism,—both he who never had it at all, and he who had it and has lost it. For the Lord Jesus Christ says, 'There shall come to that man seven spirits more wicked than the former one, and the last state of that man shall be worse than the first.'"
15. AUGUSTIN answered: Seek with greater care to know in what sense the words which you have quoted from Scripture in proof of your position were really uttered, and how they should be understood. For that all unrighteous persons are wont to be called dead in a mystical sense is clear enough; but Christ, to whom true baptism belongs, which you say is false because of the faults of men, is alive, sitting at the right hand of the Father, and He will not die any more through any infirmity of the flesh: death will no more have dominion over Him. And they who are baptized with His baptism are not baptized by one who is dead. And if it so happen that certain ministers, being deceitful workers, seeking their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's, proclaiming the gospel not in purity, and preaching Christ of contention and envy, are to be called dead because of their unrighteousness, yet the sacrament of the living God does not die even in one that is dead. For that Simon was dead who was baptized by Philip in Samaria, who wished to purchase the gift of God for money; but the baptism which he had lived in him still to work his punishment.
16. But how false the statement is which you make, that "both are wanting in the life of baptism, both he who never had it at all, and he who had it and has lost it," you may see from this, that in the case of those who apostatize after having been baptized, and who return through penitence, baptism is not restored to them, as it would be restored if it were lost. In what manner, indeed, do your dead men baptize according to your interpretation? Must we not reckon the drunken among the dead (to say nothing of the rest, and to mention only what is well known and of daily experience among all), seeing that the apostle says of the widow, "But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth?" In the next place, in that Council of yours, in which you condemned Maximianus with his advisers or his ministers, have you forgotten with what eloquence you said, "Even after the manner of the Egyptians, the shores are full of the bodies of the dying, on whom the weightier punishment falls in death itself, in that, after their life has been wrung from them by the avenging waters, they have not found so much as burial?" And yet you yourselves may see whether or no one of them, Felicianus, has been brought to life again; yet he has with him within the communion of your body those whom he baptized outside. As therefore he is baptized by One that is alive, who is clothed with the baptism of the living Christ, so he is baptized by the dead who is wrapped in the baptism of the dead Saturn, or any one like him; that we may set forth in the meanwhile, with what brevity we may, in what sense the words which you have quoted may be understood without any cavilling on the part of any one of us. For, in the sense in which they are received by you, you make no effort to explain them, but only strive to entangle us together with yourselves.
CHAP. 8. —17. PETILIANUS said: "We must consider, I say, and declare how far the treacherous traditor is to be accounted dead while yet in life. Judas was an apostle when he betrayed Christ; and the same man was already dead, having spiritually lost the office of an apostle, being destined afterwards to die by hanging himself, as it is written: 'I have sinned,' says he, 'in that I have betrayed the innocent blood; and he departed, and went and hanged himself.' The traitor perished by the rope: he left the rope for others like himself, of whom the Lord Christ cried aloud to the Father, 'Father, those that Thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the Scripture might be fulfilled.' For David of old had passed this sentence on him who was to betray Christ to the unbelievers: 'Let another take his office. Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow.' See how mighty is the spirit of the prophets, that it was able to see all future things as though they were present, so that a traitor who was to be born hereafter should be condemned many centuries before. Finally, that the said sentence should be completed, the holy Matthias received the bishopric of that lost apostle. Let no one be so dull, no one so faithless, as to dispute this: Matthias won for himself a victory, not a wrong, in that he carried off the spoils of the traitor from the victory of the Lord Christ. Why then, after this, do you claim to yourself a bishopric as the heir of a worse traitor? Judas betrayed Christ in the flesh to the unbelievers; you in the spirit madly betrayed the holy gospel to the flames of sacrilege. Judas betrayed the Lawgiver to the unbelievers; you, as it were, betraying all that he had left, gave up the law of God to be destroyed by men. Whilst, had you loved the law, like the youthful Maccabees, you would have welcomed death for the sake of the laws of God (if indeed that can be said to be death to men which makes them immortal because they died for the Lord); for of those brethren we learn that one replied to the sacrilegious tyrant with these words of faith 'Thou like a fury takest us out of this present life; but the King of the world (who reigns for ever, and of His kingdom there shall be no end) shall raise us up who have died for His laws, unto everlasting life.' If you were to burn with fire the testament of a dead man, would you not be punished as the falsifier of a will? What therefore is likely to become of you who have burned the most holy law of our God and Judge? Judas repented of his deed even in death; you not only do not repent, but stand forth as a persecutor and butcher of us who keep the law, whilst you are the most wicked of traditors."
18. AUGUSTIN answered: See what a difference there is between your calumnious words and our truthful assertions. Listen for a little while. See how you have exaggerated the sin of delivering up the sacred books, comparing us in most odious terms, like some sophistical inventor of charges, with the traitor Judas. But when I shall have answered you on this point with the utmost brevity,—I did not do what you assert; I did not deliver up the sacred books; your charge is false; you will never be able to prove it,—will not all that smoke of mighty words presently vanish away? Or will you perchance endeavor to prove the truth of what you say? This, then, you should do first; and then you might rise against us, as against men who were already convicted, with whatever mass of invective you might choose. Here is one absurdity: behold again a second.
19. You yourself, when speaking of the foretelling of the condemnation of Judas, used these expressions: "See how mighty is the spirit of the prophets, that it was able to see all future things as though they were present, so that a traitor who was to be born hereafter should be condemned many centuries before;" and yet you did not see that in the same sure prophecy, and certain and unshaken truth, in which it was foretold that one of the disciples should hereafter betray the Christ; it was also foretold that the whole world should hereafter believe in Christ. Why did you pay attention in the prophecy to the man who betrayed Christ, and in the same place give no heed to the world for which Christ was betrayed? Who betrayed Christ? Judas. To whom did he betray Him? To the Jews. What did the Jews do to Him? "They pierced my hands and my feet," says the Psalmist. "I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me. They part my garments among them, and cast tots upon my vesture." Of what importance, then, that is which is bought at such a price, I would have you read a little later in the psalm itself: "All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord; and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before Thee. For the kingdom is the Lord's; and He is the governor among the nations." But who is able to suffice for the quotation of all the other innumerable prophetic passages which bear witness to the world that is destined to believe? Yet you quote a prophecy because you see in it the man who sold Christ: you do not see in it the possession which Christ bought by being sold. Here is the second absurdity: behold again the third.
20. Among the many other expressions in your invective, you said: "If you were to burn with fire the testament of a dead man, would you not be punished as the falsifier of a will? What therefore is likely to become of you who have burned the most holy law of our God and Judge?" In these words you have paid no attention to what certainly ought to have moved you, to the question of how it might be that we should burn the testament, and yet stand fast in the inheritance which was described in that testament; but it is marvellous that you have preserved the testament and lost the inheritance. Is it not written in that testament, "Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession"? Take part in this inheritance, and you may bring what charges you will against me about the testament. For what madness is it, that while you shrank from committing the testament to the flames, you should yet strive against the words of the testator! We, on the other hand, though we hold in our hands the records of the Church and of the State, in which we read that those who ordained a rival bishop in opposition to Caecilianus were rather the betrayers of the sacred books, yet do not on this account insult you, or pursue you with invectives, or mourn over the ashes of the sacred pages in your hands, or contrast the burning torments of the Maccabees with the sacrilege of your fear, saying, "You should deliver your own limbs to the flames rather than the utterances of God." For we are unwilling to be so absurd as to excite an empty uproar against you on account of the deeds of others, which you either know nothing of, or else repudiate. But in that we see you separated from the communion of the whole world (a sin both of the greatest magnitude, and manifest to all mankind, and common to you all), if I were desirous of exaggerating, I should find time failing me sooner than words. And if you should seek to defend yourself on this charge, it could only be by bringing accusations against the whole world, of such a kind that, if they could be maintained, you would simply be furnishing matter for further accusation against yourself; if they could not be maintained, there is in them no defence for you. Why therefore do you puff yourself up against me about the betrayal of the sacred books, which concerns neither you nor me if we abide by the agreement not to charge each other with the sins of other men: and which, if that agreement does not stand, affects you rather than me? And, yet, even without any violation of that agreement, I think I may say with perfect justice that he should be deemed a partner with him who delivered up Christ who has not delivered himself up to Christ in company with the whole world. "Then," says the apostle, "then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." And again he says, "Heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ." And the same apostle shows that the seed of Abraham belongs to all nations from the promise which was given to Abraham, "In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed." Wherefore I consider that I am only making a fair demand in asking that we should for a moment consider the testament of God, which has already long been opened, and that we should consider every one to be himself an heir of the traitor whom we do not find to be a joint-heir with Him whom he betrayed; that every one should belong to him who sold Christ who denies that Christ has bought the whole world. For when He showed Himself after His resurrection to His disciples, and gave His limbs to those who doubted, that they should handle them, He says this to them, "For thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise again from the dead the third day: and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem." See from what an inheritance you estrange yourselves! see what an Heir you resist! Can it really be that a man would spare Christ if He were walking here on earth who speaks against Him while He sits in heaven? Do you not yet understand that whatever you allege against us you allege against His words? A Christian world is promised and believed in: the promise is fulfilled, and it is denied. Consider, I entreat of you, what you ought to suffer for such impiety. And yet, if I know not what you have suffered,—if I have not seen it, have not wrought it,—then do you to-day, who do not suffer the violence of my persecution, render to me an account of your separation. But you are likely to say over and over again what, unless you prove it, can affect no one, and if you prove it, has no bearing upon me.
CHAP. 9. —21. PETILIANUS said: "Hemmed in, therefore, by these offenses, you cannot be a true bishop."
22. AUGUSTIN answered: By what offenses? What have you shown? What have you proved? And if you have proved charges on the part of I know not whom, what has that to do with the seed of Abraham, in which all the nations of the earth are blessed?
CHAP. 10. —23. PETILIANUS said: "Did the apostle persecute any one? or did Christ betray any one?"
24. AUGUSTIN answered: I might indeed say that Satan himself was worse than all wicked men; and yet the apostle delivered a man over to him for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit might be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. And in the same way he delivered over others, of whom he says, "Whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme." And the Lord Christ drove out the impious merchants from the temple with scourges; in which connection we also find advanced the testimony of Scripture, where it says, 'The zeal of Thine house hath eaten me up." So that we do find the apostle delivering over to condemnation, and Christ a persecutor. All this I might say, and put you into no small heat and perturbation, so that you would be compelled to inquire, not into the complaints of those who suffer, but into the intention of those who cause the suffering. But do not trouble yourself about this; I do not say this. But I do say that it has nothing to do with the seed of, Abraham, which is in all nations, if anything has been done to you which ought not to have been done, perhaps by the chaff among the harvest of the Lord, which in spite of this is found among all nations. Do you therefore render an account of your separation. But first, consider what kind of men you have among you, with whom you would not wish to be reproached; and see how unjustly you act, when you cast in our teeth the acts of other men, even if you proved what you assert. Therefore it will be found that there is no ground for your separation.
CHAP. 11. —25. PETILIANUS said: "Yet some will be found to say, We are not the sons of a traditor. Any one is the son of that man whose deeds he imitates. For those are most assuredly sons, and at the same time bear a strong resemblance to their parents, who are born in the likeness of their parents, not only as being of their flesh and blood, but in respect of their characters and deeds."
26. AUGUSTIN answered: A little while ago you were saying nothing contrary to us, now you even begin to say something in our favor. For this proposition of yours binds you to as much as this, that if you shall fail to-day to convict us, with whom you are arguing, of being traditors and murderers, and anything else with which you charge us, you will then be wholly powerless to hurt us by any charge of the kind which you may prove against those who have gone before us. For we cannot be the sons of those to whose deeds our actions bear no resemblance. And see to what you have committed yourself. If you should be so successful as to convict some man, even of our own times, and living with us, of any guilt of the kind, that is in no way to the prejudice of all the nations of the earth who are blessed in the seed of Abraham, by separating yourself from whom you are found to be guilty of sacrilege. Accordingly, unless (as is altogether impossible) you are acquainted with all men that exist throughout the world, and have not only made yourself familiar with all their characters and deeds, but have also proved that they are as bad as you describe, you have no ground for reproaching all the world, which is among the saints, with parentage of I know not what description, to whom you prove that they are like. Nor will it help you at all, even if you are able to show that those who are not of the same character take the holy sacraments in common with those who are. In the first place, because you ought yourselves to look at those with whom you celebrate those sacraments, to whom you give them, from whom you receive them, and whom you would be unwilling to have cast up against you as a reproach. And again, if all those are the sons of Judas, who was the devil among the apostles, who imitate his deeds, why do we not call those of the sons of the apostles who make such men partakers, not in their own deeds, but in the sacraments of the Lord, as the apostles partook of the supper of the Lord in company with that traitor? and in this way they are very different from you, who cast in the teeth of men who are striving for the preservation of unity the very thing that you do to the rending asunder of unity.
CHAP. 12. —27. PETILIANUS said: "The Lord Jesus said to the Jews concerning Himself, 'If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not.'"
28. AUGUSTIN answered: I have already answered above, This is both true, and makes for us against you.
CHAP. 13. —29. PETILIANUS said: Over and over again He reproaches the false speakers and liars in such terms as these: 'Ye are the children of the devil, for he also was a slanderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth.'"
30. AUGUSTIN answered: We are not wont to say, "He was a slanderer," but "He was a murderer." But we ask how it was that the devil was a murderer from the beginning; and we find that he slew the first man, not by drawing a sword, nor by applying to him any bodily violence, but by persuading him to sin, and thus driving him from the happiness of Paradise. What, then, was Paradise is now represented by the Church. Therefore those are the sons of the devil who slay men by withdrawing them from the Church. But as by the words of God we know what was the situation of Paradise, so now by the words of Christ we have learned where the Church is to be found: "Throughout all nations," He says, "beginning at Jerusalem." Whosoever, therefore, separates a man from that complete whole to place him in any single part, is proved to be a son of the devil and a murderer. But see, further, what is the application of the expression which you yourself employed in saying of the devil, "He was a slanderer, and abode not in the truth." For you bring an accusation against the whole world on account of the sins of others, though even those others themselves you were more able to accuse than to convict; and you abode not in the truth of Christ. For He says that the Church is "throughout all nations, beginning at Jerusalem;" but ye say that it is in the party of Donatus.
CHAP. 14. —31. PETILIANUS said: "In the third place, also, He calls the madness of persecutors in like manner by this name, 'Ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes; and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.' Are they then really the sons of vipers according to the flesh, and not rather serpents in mind, and three-tongued malice, and deadliness of touch, and burning with the spirit of poison? They have truly become vipers, who by their bites have vomited forth death against the innocent people."
32. AUGUSTIN answered: If I were to say that this is said of men of character like unto ourselves, you would reply, "Prove it." at then, have you proved it? Or if you think that it is proved by the mere fact of its being uttered, there is no need to repeat the same words. Pronounce the same judgment against yourselves as coming from us to you. See you not that I too have proved it, if this amounts to proof? And yet I would have you learn what is really meant by proof. For indeed I do not even seek for evidence from without to enable me to prove you vipers. For be well assured that this very fact marks in you the nature of vipers, that you have not in your mouth the foundation of truth, but the poison of slanderous abuse, as it is written, "The poison of asps is under their lips." And because this might be said indiscriminately by any one against any one, as though it were asked, Under whose lips? he immediately adds, "Their mouth is full of cursing and bitterness." When, therefore, you say such things as this against men dispersed throughout the whole world, of whom you know nothing whatsoever, and many of whom have never heard the name either of Caecilianus or of Donatus, and when you do not hear them answering amid silence, Nothing of what you say has reference to us; we never saw it; we never did it; we are totally at a loss to understand what you are saying,— seeing that you desire nothing else than to say what you are entirely powerless to prove, how can you help allowing that your mouth is full of cursing and bitterness? See, therefore, whether you can possibly show that you are not vipers, unless you show that all Christians throughout all nations of the world are traditors, and murderers, and anything but Christians. Nay, in very truth, even though you should be able to know and set before us the lives and deeds of every individual man throughout the world, yet before you can do that, seeing that you act as you do without any consideration, your mouth is that of a viper, your mouth is full of cursing and bitterness. Show to us now, if you can, what prophet, what wise man, what scribe we have slain, or crucified, or scourged in our synagogues. Look how much labor you have expended without in any way being able to prove that Donatus and Marculus were prophets, or wise men, or scribes, because, in fact, they were nothing of the sort. But even if you could prove as much as this, what progress would you have made towards proving that they had been killed by us, when even we ourselves did not so much as know them? and how much less the whole world, whom you calumniate with poisonous mouth? Or whence will you be able to prove that we have a spirit like that of those who murdered them, when you actually cannot show that they were murdered by any one at all? Look carefully to all these points, see whether you can prove any single one of them either about the whole world, or to the satisfaction of the whole world,—in your persevering calumnies against which you show that the charges are true in you, which you falsely propagate against the world.
33. Further, even if we should desire to prove you to be slayers of the prophets, it would be too long a task to collect the evidence through all the several instances of the slaughter which your infuriated leaders of the Circumcelliones, and the actual crowd of men inflamed by wine and madness, not only have committed since the beginning of your schism, but even continue to commit at the present time. To take the case nearest at hand. Let the divine utterances be produced, which are commonly in the hands of both of us. Let us consider those to be murderers of the prophets whom we find contradicting the words of the prophets. What more learned definition could be given? What could admit of speedier proof? You would be acting less, cruelly in piercing the bodies of the prophets, with a sword, than in endeavoring to destroy the words of the prophets with your tongue. The prophet says, "All the ends of the world l shall remember and turn unto the Lord." Behold and see how this is being done, how it is being fulfilled. But you not only close your ears in disbelief against what is said, but you even thrust out your tongues in madness to speak against what is already being done. Abraham heard the promise, "In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed," and "he believed, and it was counted unto him for righteousness." You see the fact accomplished, and you cry out against it; and you will not that it should be counted unto you for unrighteousness, as it fairly would be counted, even if your refusal to believe was not on the accomplishment, but only on the utterance of the prophecy. Nay, not only are you not willing that it should be counted unto you for unrighteousness, but even what you suffer as the punishment of this impiety you would fain have counted unto you for righteousness. Or if your conduct is not a persecution of the prophets, because your instrument is not the sword but the tongue, what was the reason of its being said trader divine inspiration, "The sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword"? But what time would suffice me to collect from all the prophets all the testimonies to the Church dispersed throughout the world, all of which you endeavor to destroy and render nought by contradicting them? But you are caught; for "their sound is gone out into all lands, and their words to the end of the world." I will, however, advance this one saying from the mouth of the Lord, who is the Witness of witnesses. "All things must be fulfilled," He says, "which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning me." And what these were let us hear from Himself: "Then opened He their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures, and said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem." See what it is that is written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning the Lord. See what the Lord Himself revealed about Himself and about the Church, making Himself manifest, uttering promises about the Church. But for you, see that you resist such manifest proofs as these, and as you cannot destroy them, endeavor to pervert them, what would you do, if you were to come across the bodies of the prophets, when you rage so madly against the utterances of the prophets, as not even to hearken to the Lord when He is fulfilling, and making manifest, and expounding the prophets? For do you not, to the utmost of your power, strive to slay the Lord Himself, since even to Himself you will not yield?
CHAP. 15. —34. PETILIANUS said: "David also spoke of you as persecutors in the following terms: 'Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues have they deceived; the poison of asps is under their lips. Their mouth is full of cursing and bitterness; their feet are swift to shed blood. Destruction and unhappiness is in their ways, and the way of peace have they not known: there is no fear of God before their eyes. Have all the workers of wickedness no knowledge, who eat up my people as they eat bread?'"
35. AUGUSTIN answered: Their throat is an open sepulchre, whence they breathe out death by lies. For "the mouth that belieth slayeth the soul." But if nothing is more true than that which Christ said, that His Church should be throughout all nations, beginning at Jerusalem, then there is nothing more false than that which you say, that it is in the party of Donatus. But the tongues which have deceived are the tongues of those who, whilst they are acquainted with their own deeds, not only say that they are just men, but that they are justifiers of men, which is said of One only "that justifieth the ungodly," and that because "He is just and the justifier." As regards the poison of asps, and the mouth full of cursing and bitterness, we have said enough already. But you have yourselves said that the followers of Maximianus had feet swift to shed blood, as is testified by the sentence of your plenary Council, so often quoted in the records of the proconsular province and of the state. But they, so far as we hear, never killed any one in the body. You evidently, therefore, understood that the blood of the soul was shed in spiritual murder by the sword of schism, which you condemned in Maximianus. See then if your feet are not swift to shed blood, when you cut off men from the unity of the whole world, if you were right in saying it of the followers of Maximianus, because they cut off some from the party of Donatus. Are we again without the knowledge of the way of peace, who study to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace? and yet do you possess that knowledge, who resist the discourse which Christ held with His disciples after His resurrection, of so peaceful a nature that He began it with the greeting, "Peace be unto you;" and that so strenuously that you are proved to be saying nothing less to Him than this, "What Thou saidst of the unity of all nations is false; what we say of the offense of all nations is true"? Who would say such things as this if they had the fear of God before their eyes? See, therefore, if in daily saying things like this you are not trying to destroy the people of God dispersed throughout the world, eating them up as it were bread.
CHAP. 16. —36. PETILIANUS said: "The Lord Christ also warns us, saying, 'Beware of false prophets, which come unto you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves; and ye shall not know them by their fruits.'"
37. AUGUSTIN answered: If I were to inquire of you by what fruits you know us to be ravening wolves, you are sure to answer by charging us with the sins of other men, and these such as were never proved against those who are said to have been guilty of them. But if you should ask of me by what fruits we know you rather to be ravening wolves, I bring against you the charge of schism, which you will deny, but which I will straightway go on to prove; for, as a matter of fact, you do not communicate with all the nations of the earth, nor with those Churches which were founded by the labor of the apostles. Hereupon you will say, "I do not communicate with traditors and murderers." The seed of Abraham answers you, "These are those charges which you made, which are either not true, or have no reference to me." But these I set aside for the present; do you meanwhile show me the Church. Now that voice will sound in my ears which the Lord showed was to be avoided in the false prophets who made a show of their several parties, and strove to estrange men from the Catholic Church, "Lo, here is Christ, or there." But do you think that the true sheep of Christ are so utterly destitute of sense, who are told, "Believe it not," that they will hearken to the wolf when he says, "Lo, here is Christ," and will not hearken to the Shepherd when He says, "Throughout all nations, beginning at Jerusalem?"
CHAP. 17. —38., PETILIANUS said: "Thus, thus, thou wicked persecutor, under whatsoever cloak of righteousness thou hast concealed thyself, under whatsoever name of peace thou wagest war with kisses, under whatsoever title of unity thou endeavorest to ensnare the race of men—thou, who up to this time art cheating and deceiving, thou art the true son of the devil, showing thy parentage by thy character."
39. AUGUSTIN answered: Consider in reply that these things have been said by us against you; and that you may know to which of us they are more appropriate, call to mind what I have said before.
CHAP. 18. —40. PETILIANUS said: "Nor is it, after all, so strange that you assume to yourself the name of bishop without authority. This is the true custom of the devil, to choose in preference a mode of deceiving by which he usurps to himself a word of holy meaning, as the apostle declares to us: 'And no marvel,' he says: 'for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness.' Nor is it therefore a marvel if you falsely call yourself a bishop. For even those fallen angels, lovers of the maidens of the world, who were corrupted by the corruption of their flesh, though, from having stripped themselves of divine excellence, they have ceased to be angels, yet retain the name of angels, and always esteem themselves as angels, though, being released from the service of God, they have passed from the likeness of their character into the army of the devil, as the great God declares, 'My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh.' To those guilty ones and to you the Lord Christ will say, 'Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.' If there were no evil angels, the devil would have no angels; of whom the apostle says, that in the judgment of the resurrection they shall be condemned by the saints: 'Know ye not,' says he, 'that we shall judge angels?' If they were true angels, men would not have authority to judge the angels of God. So too those sixty apostles, who, when the twelve were left alone with the Lord Christ, departed in apostasy from the faith, are so far yet considered among wretched men to be apostles, that from them Manichaeus and the rest entangle many souls in many devilish sects which they destroyed that they might take them in their snares. For indeed the fallen Manichaeus, if fallen he was, is not to be reckoned among those sixty, if it be that we can find his name as an apostle among the twelve, or if he was ordained by the voice of Christ when Matthias was elected into the place of the traitor Judas, or another thirteenth like Paul, who calls himself the last of the apostles, expressly that any one who was later than himself might not be held to be an apostle. For these are his words: 'For I am the last of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the Church of God.' And do not flatter yourselves in this: he was a Jew that had done this. You too, as Gentiles, may work destruction upon us. For you carry on war without license, against whom we may not fight in turn. For you desire to live when you have murdered us; but our victory is either to escape or to be slain."
41. AUGUSTIN answered: See how you have quoted the testimony of holy Scripture, or how you have understood it, when it has no bearing at all upon the present point at issue. For all that you have brought forward was simply said to prove that there are false bishops, just as there are false angels and false apostles. Now we too know quite well that there are false angels and false apostles, and false bishops, and, as the true apostle says, false brethren also; but, seeing that charges such as yours may be brought by either side against the other, what is required is a certain degree of proof, and not mere empty words. But if you would see to which of us the charge of falseness more truly applies, recall to mind what we have said before, land you will see it there set forth, that we may not become tedious to our readers by repeating the same thing over and over again. And yet how is the Church dispersed throughout the world affected either by what you may have found to say about its chaff, which is mixed with it throughout the whole world; or by what you said of Manichaeus and the other devilish sects? For if the wheat is not affected by anything which is said even about the chaff which is still mingled with it, how much less are the members of Christ dispersed throughout the whole world affected by monstrosities which have been so long and so openly separated from it?
CHAP. 19. —42. PETILIANUS said: "The Lord Jesus Christ commands us, saying, 'When they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another; and if they persecute you in that, flee yet into a third; for verily I say unto you, ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.' If He gives us this warning in the case of Jews and pagans, you who call yourself a Christian ought not to imitate the dreadful deeds of the Gentiles. Or do you serve God in such wise that we should be murdered at your hands? You do err, you do err, if you are wretched enough to entertain such a belief as this. For God does not have butchers for His priests."
43. AUGUSTIN answered: To flee from one state to another from the face of persecution has not been enjoined as precept or permission on heretics or schismatics, such as you are; but it was enjoined on the preachers of the gospel, whom you resist. And this we may easily prove in this wise: you are now in your own cities, and no man persecutes you. You must therefore come forth, and give an account of your separation. For it cannot be maintained that, as the weakness of the flesh is excused when it yields before the violence of persecution, so truth also ought to yield to falsehood. Furthermore, if you are suffering persecution, why do you i not retire from the cities in which you are, that you may fulfill the instructions which you quote out of the gospel? But if you are not suffering persecution, why are you unwilling to reply to us? Or if the fact be that you are afraid lest, when you should have made reply, you then should suffer persecution, in that ease how are you following the example of those preachers to whom it was said, "Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves?" To whom it was also further said "Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul." And how do you escape the charge of acting contrary to the injunction of the Apostle Peter, who says, "Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the faith and hope that is in you?" And, lastly, wherefore are you ever eager to annoy thee Catholic Churches by the most violent disturbances, whenever it is in your power, as is proved by innumerable instances of simple fact? But you say that you must defend your places, and that you resist with cudgels and massacres and with whatever else you can. Wherefore in such a case did you not hearken to the voice of the Lord, when He says, "But I say unto you, that ye resist not evil"? Or, allowing that it is possible that in some cases it should be right for violent men to be resisted by bodily force, and that it does not violate the precept which we receive from the Lord, "But I say unto you, that ye resist not evil," why may it not also be that a pious man should eject an impious man, or a just man him that is unjust, in the exercise of duly and lawfully constituted authority, from seats which are unlawfully usurped, or retained to the despite of God? For you would not say that the false prophets suffered persecution at the hands of Elijah, in the same sense that Elijah suffered persecution from the wickedest of kings? Or that because the Lord was scourged by His persecutors, therefore those whom He Himself drove out of the temple with scourges are to be put in comparison with His sufferings? It remains, therefore, that we should acknowledge that there is no other question requiring solution, except whether you have been pious or impious in separating yourselves from the communion of the whole world. For if it shall be found that you have acted impiously, you would not be surprised if there should be no lack of ministers of God by whom you might be scourged, seeing that you suffer persecution not from us, but as it is written, from their own abominations.
CHAP. 20. —44. PETILIANUS said: "The Lord Christ cries again from heaven to Paul, 'Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.' He was then called Saul, that he might afterwards receive his true name in baptism. But for you it is not hard so often to persecute Christ in the persons of His priests, though the Lord Himself cries out, 'Touch not mine anointed.' Reckon up all the deaths of the saints, and so often have you murdered Christ, who lives in each of them. Lastly, if you are not guilty of sacrilege, then a saint cannot be a murderer."
45. AUGUSTIN answered: Defend yourselves from the charge of the persecution which those men suffered at the hands of your party who separated themselves from you with the followers of Maximianus, and therein you will find our defence. For if you say that you committed no such deeds, we simply read to you the records of the pro-consular province and the state. If you say that you were right in persecuting them, why are you unwilling to suffer the like yourselves? If you say, "But we caused no schism," then let this be inquired into, and, till it is decided whether it be so or not, let no one make accusation against persecutors. If you say that even schismatics ought not to have suffered persecution, I ask whether it is also the case that they ought not to have been driven out of the basilicas, in which they lay snares for the leading astray of the weak, even though it were done by duly constituted authorities? If you say that this also should not have been done, first restore the basilicas to the followers of Maximianus, and then discuss the point with us. If you say that it was right, then see what they ought to suffer at the hands of duly constituted authority, who, in resisting it, "resist the ordinance of God." Wherefore the apostle expressly says, "For he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath on him that doeth evil." But even if this had been discovered after the truth had been searched out with all diligence, that not even after public trial ought schismatics to undergo any punishment, or be driven from the positions which they have occupied, for their treachery and deceit; and if you should say that you are vexed that the followers of Maximianus should have suffered such conduct at the hands of some of you,—why does not the wheat of the Lord cry out with the more freedom from the whole field of the Lord, that is, from the world, and say, Neither are we at all affected by what the tares and the chaff amongst us do, seeing that it is contrary to our wish? If you confess that it is sufficient to clear you of responsibility, that all the evil that is done by men of your party is done in opposition to your wishes, why then have you separated yourselves? For if your reason for not separating from the unrighteous among the party of Donatus is that each man bears his own burden, why have you separated yourselves from those throughout the world whom you think, or profess to think, to be unrighteous? Is it that you might all share equally in bearing the burden of schism?
46. And when we ask of you which of your party you can prove to have been slain by us, I indeed can remember no law issued by the emperors to the effect that you should be put to death. Those indeed whose deaths you quote most frequently to bring us into odium, Marculus and Donatus, present a great question,—whether they threw themselves down a precipice, as your teaching does not hesitate to encourage by examples of daily occurrence, or whether they were thrown down by the true command of some authority. For if it is a thing incredible that the leaders of the Circumcelliones should have wrought upon themselves a death in accordance with their custom, how much more incredible it is that the Roman authorities should have been able to condemn them to a punishment at variance with custom! Accordingly, in considering this matter, which you think excessive in its hatefulness, supposing what you say is true, what is there in it which bears upon the Lord's wheat? Let the chaff which flew away outside accuse the chaff which yet remained within for it is not possible that it should all be separated till the winnowing at the last day. But if what you say is false, what wonder is it if, when the chaff is carried away as it were by a light blast of dissension, it even attacks the wheat of the Lord with false accusations? Wherefore, on the consideration of all such odious accusations, the wheat of Christ, which is ordered to grow together with the tares throughout the field, that is, throughout the whole world, makes this answer to you with a free and fearless voice: If you cannot prove what you say, it has no application to any one; and if you prove it, it yet does not apply to me. The result of which is, that whosoever has separated himself from the unity of the wheat on account of the offenses chargeable against the tares, or against the chaff, is unable to defend himself from the charge of murder which is involved in the mere offense of dissension and schism, as the Scripture says, "Whoso hateth his brother is a murderer."
CHAP. 21. —47. PETILIANUS said: "Accordingly, as we have said, the Lord Christ cried, 'Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And he said, Who art Thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Christ of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest. And he, trembling and astonished, said, Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.' And so presently it goes on, 'But Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man,' See here how blindness, coming in punishment of madness, obscures the light in the eyes of the persecutor, not to be again expelled except by baptism! Let us see, therefore, what he did in the city. 'Ananias,' it is said, 'entered into the house to Saul, and putting his hands on him, said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales; and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.' Seeing therefore that Paul, being freed by baptism from the offense of persecution, received again his eyesight freed from guilt, why will not you, a persecutor and traditor, blinded by false baptism be baptized by those whom you persecute?"
48. AUGUSTIN answered: You do not prove that I, whom you wish to baptize afresh, am either a persecutor or a traditor. And if you prove this charge against any one, yet the persecutor and traditor is not to be baptized afresh., if he had been baptized already with the baptism of Christ. For the reason why it was necessary that Paul should be baptized was that he had never been washed in any baptism of the kind. Therefore what you have chosen to insert about Paul has no point of resemblance with the case which you are arguing with us. But if you had not inserted this, you would have found no place for your childish declamation, "See how blindness comes in punishment of madness, not to be again expelled except by baptism!" For with how much more force might one exclaim against you, See how blindness comes in punishment of madness, which, finding its similitude in Simon, not in Paul, is not expelled from you even when you have received baptism? For if persecutors ought to be batpized by those whom they persecute, then let Primianus be baptized by the followers of Maximianus, whom he persecuted with the utmost eagerness.
CHAP. 22. —49. PETILIANUS said: "It may be urged that Christ said to His apostles, as you are constantly quoting against us, 'He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit.' Now if you discuss those words in all their fullness, you are bound by what immediately follows. For this is what He said, in His very words: 'He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whir: and ye are clean, but not all. But this he said on account of Judas, who should betray Him; therefore said He, Ye are not all clean.' Whosoever, therefore, has incurred the guilt of treason, has forfeited, like you, his baptism. Again, after that the betrayer of Christ had himself been condemned, He thus more fully confirmed His words to the eleven apostles: 'Now are ye clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you.' And again He said to these same eleven, 'Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you.' Seeing, then, that these things were said to the eleven apostles, when the traitor, as we have seen, had been condemned, you likewise, being traditors, are similarly without both peace and baptism."
50. AUGUSTIN answered: If therefore every traditor has forfeited his baptism, it will follow that every one who, having been baptized by you, has afterwards become a traditor, ought to be baptized afresh. And if you do not do this, you yourselves sufficiently prove the falseness of the saying, "Whosoever therefore has incurred the guilt of treason, has forfeited, like you, his baptism." For if he has forfeited it, let him return and receive it again; but if he returns and does not receive it, it is clear that he had not forfeited it. Again, if the reason why it was said to the apostles, "Now are ye clean," and "My peace I give unto you," was that the traitor had already left the room, then was not that supper of so great a sacrament clean and able to give peace, which He distributed to all before his going out? And if you venture to say this with your eyes closed against the truth, what can we do save exclaim the more, See how blindness comes in punishment of the madness of those who wish to be, as the apostle says, "teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm?" And yet, unless blindness came in the way of their pertinacity, it was not a very difficult matter that you should understand and see that the Lord did not say in the presence of Judas, Ye are not yet clean, but "Now are ye clean." He added, however, "But not all," because there was one there who was not clean; yet if he had been polluting the others by his presence, it would not have been declared to them, "Now are ye clean," but, as I said before, Ye are not yet clean. But, after Judas had gone out, He said to them, "Now are ye clean," and did not add the words, But not all, because he had now departed in whose presence indeed, as had been said to them, they were already clean, but not all, because there was one there unclean. Wherefore in these words the Lord rather declared that in the one company of men receiving the same sacraments, the uncleanness of some members cannot hurt the clean. Certainly, if you think that there are among us men like Judas, you might apply to us the words, "Ye are clean, but not all." But this is not what you say; but you say that because of the presence of some who are unclean, therefore we are all unclean. This the Lord did not say to the disciples in the presence of Judas, and therefore whoever says this has not learned from the good Master what He says.
CHAP. 23. —51. PETILIANUS said: "But if you say that we give baptism twice over, truly it is rather you who do this, who slay men who have been baptized; and this we do not say because you baptize them, but because you cause each one of them, by the act of slaying him, to be baptized in his own blood. For the baptism of water or of the Spirit is as it were doubled when the blood of the martyr is wrung from him. And so our Saviour also Himself, after being baptized in the first instance by John, declared that He must be baptized again, not this time with water nor with the Spirit, but with the baptism of blood, the cross of suffering, as it is written, 'Two disciples, the sons of Zebedee, came unto Him, saying, Lord, when thou comest into thy kingdom grant that we may sit, one on Thy right hand, and the other on Thy left hand. But Jesus said unto them, Ye ask a difficult thing: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They said unto Him, We are able. And He said unto them, Ye can indeed drink of the cup that I drink of; and with the baptism that I am baptized withal shall ye be baptized,' and so forth. If these are two baptisms, you commend us by your malice, we must needs confess. For when you kill our bodies, then we do celebrate a second baptism; but it is that we are baptized with our baptism and with blood, like Christ. Blush, blush, ye persecutors. Ye make martyrs like unto Christ, who are sprinkled with the baptism of blood after the water of the genuine baptism."
52. AUGUSTIN answered: In the first place, we reply without delay that we do not kill you, I but you kill yourselves by a true death, when you cut yourselves off from the living root of unity. In the next place, if all who are killed are baptized in their own blood, then all robbers, all unrighteous, impious, accursed men, who are put to death by the sentence of the law, are to be considered martyrs, because they are baptized in their own blood. But if only those are baptized in their own blood who are put to death for righteousness' sake, since theirs is the kingdom of heaven, you have already seen that the first question is why you suffer, and only afterwards should we ask what you suffer. Why therefore do you puff out your cheeks before you have shown the righteousness of your deeds? Why, does your tongue resound before your character is approved? If you have made a schism, you are impious; if you are impious, you die as one guilty of sacrilege, when you are punished for impiety; if you die as one guilty of sacrilege, how are you baptized in your blood? Or do you say, I have not made a schism? Let us then inquire into this. Why do you make an outcry before you prove your case?
53. Or do you say, Even if I am guilty of sacrilege, I ought not to be slain by you? It is one question as to the enormity of my action, which you never prove with any truth, another as to the baptism of your blood, from whence you derive your boast. For I never killed you, nor do you prove that you are killed by any one. Nor even if you were to prove it would it in any way affect me, whoever it was that killed you, whether he did it justly in virtue of power lawfully given by the Lord, or committed the crime of murder, like the chaff of the Lord's harvest, through some evil desire; just as you are in no way concerned with him who in recent times, with an intolerable tyranny, attended even by a company of soldiers, not because he feared any one, but that he might be feared by all, oppressed widows, destroyed pupils, betrayed the patrimonies of other men, annulled the marriages of other men, contrived the sale of the property of the innocent, divided the price of the property when sold with its mourning owners. I should seem to be saying all this out of the invention of my own head, if it were not sufficiently obvious of whom I speak without the mention of his name. And if all this is undoubtedly true, then just as you are not concerned with this, so neither are we concerned with anything you say, even though it were true. But if that colleague of yours, being really a just and innocent man, is maligned by a lying tale, then should we also learn in no way to give credit to reports, which have been spread abroad of innocent men, as though they had delivered up the sacred books, or murdered any of their fellow-men. To this we may add, that I refer to a man who lived with you, whose birthday you were wont to celebrate with such large assemblies, with whom you joined in the kiss of peace in the sacraments, in whose hands you placed the Eucharist, to whom in turn you extended your hands to receive it from his ministering, whose ears, when they were deaf amid the groanings of all Africa, you durst not offend by free speech; for paying to whom, even indirectly, a most witty compliment, by saying that in the Count he had a god for his companion, some one of your party was extolled to the skies. But you reproach us with the deeds of men with whom we never lived, whose faces we never saw, in whose lifetime we were either boys, or perhaps as yet not even born. What is the meaning, then, of your great unfairness and perversity, that you should wish to impose on us the burdens of those whom we never knew, whilst you will not bear the burdens of your friends? The divine Scriptures exclaim: "When thou sawest a thief, then thou consentedst with him." If he whom you saw did not pollute you, why do you reproach me with one whom I could not have seen? Or do you say, I did not consent with him, because his deeds were displeasing to me? But, at any rate, you went up to the altar of God with him. Come now, if you would defend yourself, make a distinction between your two positions, and say that it is one thing to consent together for sin, as the two elders consented together when they laid a plot against the chastity of Susannah, and another thing to receive the sacrament of the Lord in company with a thief, as the apostles received even that first supper in company with Judas. I am all in favor of your defense. But why do you not consider how much more easily, in the course of your defense, you have acquitted all the nations and boundaries of the earth, throughout which the inheritance of Christ is dispersed? For if it was possible for you to see a thief, and to share the sacraments with the thief whom you saw, and yet not to share his sin, how much less was it possible for the remotest nations of the earth to have anything in common with the sins of African traditors and persecutors, supposing your charges and assertions to be true, even though they held the sacraments in common with them? Or do you say, I saw in him the bishop, I did not see in him the thief? Say what you will. I allow this defense also, and in this the world is acquitted of the charges which you brought against it. For if it was permitted you to ignore the character of a man whom you knew, why is the whole world not allowed to be ignorant of those it never knew, unless, indeed, the Donatists are allowed to be ignorant of what they do not wish to know, while the nations of the earth may not be ignorant of what they cannot know?
54. Or do you say, Theft is one thing, delivery of the sacred books or persecution is another? I grant there is a difference, nor is it worth while now to show wherein that difference consists. But listen to the summary of the argument. If he could not make you a thief, because his thieving was displeasing in your sight, who can make men traditors or murderers to whom such treachery or murder is abhorrent? First, then, confess that you share in all the evil of Optatus, whom you knew, and even so reproach me with any evil which was found in those whom I knew not. And do not say to me, But my charges are serious, yours but trifling. You must first acknowledge them, however trifling they may be in your case, not before I on my side confess the charges against me, but before I can allow you to say these serious things about me at all. Did Optatus, whom you knew make you a thief by being your colleague, or not? Answer me one or the other. If you say he did not, I ask why he did not,—because he was not a thief himself? or because you do not know it? or because you disapprove of it? If you say, Because he himself was not a thief, much more ought we not to believe that those with whom you reproach us were of such a character as you assert. For if we must not believe of Optatus what both Christians and pagans and Jews, ay, and what both our party and yours assert, how much less should we believe what you assert of any one? But if you say, Because you do not know it, all the nations of the earth answer you, Much more do we not know of all that you reproach us with in these men. But if you say, Because you disapproved of it, they answer you with the same voice, Although you have never proved the truth of what you say, yet acts like these are viewed by us with disapproval. But if you say, Lo, Optatus, whom I knew, made me a thief because he was my colleague, and I was in the habit of going to the altar with him when he committed those deeds; but I do not greatly heed it, because the fault was trivial, but your party made you a traditor and a murderer,—I answer that I do not allow that I too am made a traditor and a murderer by the sins of other men, just because you confess that you are made a thief by the sin of another man; for it must be remembered that you are proved a thief, not by our judgment, but by your own confession. For we say that every man must bear his own burden, as the apostle is our witness. But you, of your own accord, have taken the burden of Optatus on your own shoulders, not because you committed the theft, or consented to it, but because you declared your conviction that what another did applied to you. For, as the apostle says, when speaking of food, "I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean;" by the same rule, it may be said that the sins of others cannot implicate those who disapprove of them; but if any one thinks that they affect him, then he is affected by them. Wherefore you do not convict us of being traditors or murderers, even though you were to prove something of the sort against those who share the sacraments with us; but the guilt of theft is fastened on you, even if you disapprove of everything that Optatus did, not in virtue of our accusation, but by your own decision. And that you may not think this a trivial fault, read what the apostle says, "Nor shall thieves inherit the kingdom of God." But those who shall not inherit the kingdom of God will certainly not be on His right hand among those whom it shall be said, "Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.' If they are not there, where will they be except on the left hand? Therefore among those to whom it shall be said, "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels." In vain, therefore, do you indulge in your security, thinking it a trivial fault which separates you from the kingdom of God, and sends you into everlasting fire. How much better will you do to betake yourself to true confusion, saying, Every one of us shall bear his own burden, and the winnowing fan at the last day shall separate the chaff from the wheat!
55. But it is evident that you are afraid of its being forthwith said to you, "Why then, whilst you attempt to place on some men's backs the burdens of their neighbors, have you dared to separate yourselves from the Lord's corn, dispersed throughout the world, before the winnowing at the last day?" Accordingly, you who disapprove of the deeds of your party, whilst you are taking precautions against being charged with the schism which you all have made, are involving yourselves also in their sins which you did not commit; and while the shrewd Petilianus is afraid of my being able to say that am I not such as he thinks Caecilianus was, he is obliged to confess that he himself is such as he knows Optatus to have been. Or are you not such as the common voice of Africa proclaims him to have been? Then neither are we such as those with whom you reproach us are either suspected to have been by your mistake, or calumniously asserted to have been by your madness, or proved to have been by the truth. Much less is the wheat of the Lord in all the nations of the earth of such a character, seeing that it never heard the names of those of whom you speak. There is therefore no reason why you should perish in such sin of separation and such sacrilege of schism. And yet, if you are made to suffer for this great impiety by the judgment of God, you say that you are even baptized in your blood; so that you are not content with feeling no remorse for your division, but you must even glory. in your punishment.
CHAP. 24. —56. PETILIANUS said: "But you will answer that you abide by the same declaration, 'He that is once washed needeth not save to wash his feet.' Now the 'once' is once that has authority, once that is confirmed by the truth."
57. AUGUSTIN answered: Baptism in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost has Christ for its authority, not any man, whoever he may be; and Christ is the truth, not any man.
CHAP. 25. —58. PETILIANUS said: "For when you in your guilt perform what is false, I do not celebrate baptism twice, which you have never celebrated once."
59. AUGUSTIN answered: In the first place, you do not convict us of guilt. And if a guilty man baptizes with a false baptism, then none of those have true baptism who are baptized by men in your party, that are, I do not say openly, but even secretly guilty. For if he who gives baptism gives something that is God's, if he is already guilty in the sight of God, how can he be giving something that is God's if a guilty man cannot give true baptism? But in reality you wait till he is guilty in your sight as well, as though what he proposes to confer were something that belonged to you.
CHAP. 26. —60. PETILIANUS said: "For if you mix what is false with what is true, falsehood often imitates the truth by treading in its steps. Just in the same way a picture imitates the true man of nature, depicting with its colors the false resemblance of truth. And in the same way, too, the brilliancy of a mirror catches the countenance, so as to represent the eyes of him who gazes on it. In this way it presents to each comer his own countenance, so that the very features of the comer meet themselves in turn; and of such virtue is the falsehood of a clear mirror, that the very eyes which see themselves recognize themselves as though in some one else. And even when a shadow stands before it, it doubles the reflection, dividing its unity in great part through a falsehood. Must we then hold that anything is true, because a lying representation is given of it? But it is one thing to paint a man, another to give birth to one. For does any one represent fictitious children to a man who wishes for an heir? or would any one look for true heirs in the falsehood of a picture? Truly it is a proof of madness to fall in love with a picture, letting go one's hold of what is true."
61. AUGUSTIN answered: Are you then really not ashamed to call the baptism of Christ a lie, even when it is found in the most false of men? Far be it from any one to suppose that the wheat of the Lord, which has been commanded to grow among the tares throughout the whole field, that is, throughout the whole of this world, until the harvest, that is, until the end of the world, can have perished in consequence of your evil words. Nay, even among the very tares themselves, which are commanded not to be gathered, but to be tolerated even to the end, and among the very chaff, which shall only be separated from the wheat by the winnowing at the last day, does any one dare to say that any baptism is false which is given and received in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost? Would you say that those whom you depose from their office, whether as your colleagues or your fellow-priests, on the testimony of women whom they have seduced (since examples of this kind are not wanting anywhere), were false or true before their crime was proved against them? You will certainly answer, False. Why then were they able both to have and to give true baptism? Why did not their falseness as men corrupt in them the truth of God? Is it not most truly written, "For the Holy Spirit of discipline will flee deceit?" Seeing then that the Holy Spirit fled from them, how came it that the truth of baptism was in them, except because what the Holy Spirit fled from was the falseness of man, not the truth of the sacrament? Further, if even the deceitful have the true baptism, how do they have it who possess it in truthfulness? Whence you ought to observe that it is rather your conversation which is colored with childish pigments; and accordingly, he who neglects the living Word to take pleasure in such coloring is himself loving the picture in the place of the reality.
CHAP. 27. —62. PETILIANUS said: "It will be urged against us, that the Apostle Paul said, 'One Lord, one faith, one baptism.' We profess that there is only one; for it is certain that those who declare that there are two are mad."
63. AUGUSTIN replied: These words of yours are arguments against yourselves; but in your madness you are not aware of it. For the men who say there are two baptisms are those who declare their opinion that the just and the unjust have different baptisms; whereas it belongs neither to one party nor the other, but in both of them is one, being Christ's, although they themselves are not one: and yet the baptism, which is one, the just have to salvation, the unjust to their destruction.
CHAP. 28. —64. PETILIANUS said: "But yet, if I may be allowed the comparison, it is certain that the sun appears double to the insane, although it only be that a dark blue cloud often meets it, and its discolored surface, being struck by the brightness, while the rays of the sun are reflected from it, seems to send forth as it were rays of its own. So in the same way in the faith of baptism, it is one thing to seek for reflections, another to recognize the truth."
65. AUGUSTIN answered: What are you saying, if I may ask? When a dark blue cloud reflects the rays of the sun with which it is struck, is it only to the insane, and not to all who look on it, that there appear to be two suns? But when it appears so to the insane as such, it appears to them alone. But if I may say so without being troublesome, I would have you take care test saying such things and talking in such a way should be itself a sign of madness. I suppose, however, that what you meant to say was this,— that the just had the truth of baptism, the unjust only its reflection. And if this be so, I venture to say that the reflection was found in that man of our party, to whom not God, but a certain Count, was God; but that the truth was either in you or in him who uttered the witty saying against Optatus, when he said that "in the Count he had a god for his companion." And distinguish between those who were baptized by either of these, and in the one party approve the true baptism, in the others exclude the reflection, and introduce the truth.
CHAP. 29. —66. PETILIANUS said: "But to pass rapidly through these minor points: can he be said to lay down the law who is not a magistrate of the court? or is what he lays down to be considered law, when in the character of a private person he disturbs public rights? Is it not rather the case that he not only involves himself in guilt, but is held to be a forger, and that which he composes a forgery?"
67. AUGUSTIN answered: What if your private person, whom you deem a forger, were to set forth to any one the law of the emperor? Would not the man, when he had compared it with the law of those who have the genuine law, and found it to be identically the same, lay aside all care about the source from which he had obtained it, and consider only what he had obtained? For what the forger gives is false when he gives it of his own falseness; but when something true is given by any person, even though he be a forger, yet, although the giver be not truthful, the gift is notwithstanding true.
CHAP. 30. —68. PETILIANUS said: "Or if any one chance to recollect the chants of a priest, is he therefore to be deemed a priest, because with sacrilegious mouth he publishes the strain of a priest?"
69. AUGUSTIN answered: In this question you are speaking just as though we were at present inquiring what constituted a true priest, not what constituted true baptism. For that a man should be a true priest, it is requisite that he should be clothed not with the sacrament alone, but with righteousness, as it is written, "Let thy priests be clothed with righteousness." But if a man be a priest in virtue of the sacrament alone, as was the high priest Caiaphas, the persecutor of the one most true Priest, then even though he himself be not truthful, yet what he gives is true, if he gives not what is his own but what is God's; as it is said of Caiaphas himself, "This spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied." And yet, to use the same simile which you employed yourself: if you were to hear even from any one that was profane the prayer of l the priest couched in the words suitable to the mysteries of the gospel, can you possibly say to him, Your prayer is not true, though he himself may be not only no true priest, but not a priest at all? seeing that the Apostle Paul said that certain testimony of I know not what Cretan prophet was true, though he was not reckoned among the prophets of God for he says, "One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said the Cretians are always liars, evil beasts, slow bellies: this witness is true." If, therefore, the apostle even himself bore witness to the testimony of some obscure prophet of a foreign race, because he found it to be true, why do not we, when we find in any one what belongs to Christ, and is true even though the man with whom it may be found be deceitful and perverse, why do not we in such a case make a distinction between the fault which is found in the man, and the truth which he has not of his own but of God's? and why do we not say, This sacrament is true, as Paul said, "This witness is true'"? Does it at all follow that we say, The man himself also is truthful, because we say, This sacrament is true? Just as I would ask whether the apostle counted that prophet among the prophets of the Lord, because he confirmed the truth of what he found to he true in him. Likewise the same apostle, when he was at Athens, perceived a certain altar among the altars of the false gods, on which was this inscription, "To the unknown God." And this testimony he made use of to build them up in Christ, to the extent of quoting the inscription in his sermon, and adding, "Whom, therefore, ye ignorantly worship, Him declare I unto you." Did he, because he found that altar among the altars of idols, or set up by sacrilegious hands, therefore condemn or reject what he found in it that was true? or did he, because of the truth which he found upon it, therefore persuade them that they ought also to follow the sacrilegious practices of the pagans? Surely he did neither of the two; but presently, when, as he judged fitting, he wished to introduce to their knowledge the Lord Himself unknown to them, but known to him, he says among other things, that "He is not far from every one of us: for in Him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said." Can it be said that here also, because he found among the sacrilegious, the evidence of truth, he either approved their wickedness because of the evidence, or condemned the evidence because of their wickedness? But it is unavoidable that you should be always in the wrong, so long as you do despite to the sacraments of God because of the faults of men, or think that we take upon ourselves the sacrilege even of your schism, for the sake of the sacraments of God, to which we are unwilling to do despite in you.
CHAP. 31. —70. PETILIANUS said: "For there is no power but of God,'" none in any man of power; as the Lord Jesus Christ answered Pontius Pilate, 'Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above.' And again, in the words of John, 'A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.' Tell us, therefore, traditor, when you received the power of imitating the mysteries."
71. AUGUSTIN answered: Tell us rather thyself when the power of baptizing was lost by the whole world through which is dispersed the inheritance of Christ, and by all that multitude of nations in which the apostles rounded the Churches. You will never be able to tell us,—not only because you have calumniated them, and do not prove them to be traditors, but because, even if you did prove this, yet no guilt on the part of any evil-doers, whether they be unsuspected, or deceitful, or be tolerated as the tares or as the chaff, can possibly overthrow the promises, so that all the nations of the earth should not be blessed in the seed of Abraham; in which promises you deprive them of their share when you will not have the communion of unity with all nations of the earth.
CHAP. 32. —72. PETILIANUS said: "For although there is only one baptism, yet it is consecrated in three several grades. John gave water without the name Of the Trinity, as he declared himself, saying, 'I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but He that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear; He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.' Christ gave the Holy Spirit, as it is written, 'He breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost,' And the Comforter Himself came on the apostles as a fire burning with rustling flames. O true divinity, which seemed to blaze, not to burn! as it is written, 'And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where the apostles were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues, like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.' But you, O persecutor, have not even the water of repentance, seeing that you hold the power not of the murdered John, but of the murderer Herod. You therefore, O traditor, have not the Holy Spirit of Christ; for Christ did not betray others to death, but was Himself betrayed. For you, therefore, the fire in the spirit in Hades is full of life,—that fire which, surging with hungry tongues of flame, will be able to burn your limbs to all eternity without consuming them, as it is Written of the punishment of the guilty in hell, 'Neither shall their fire be quenched.'"
73. AUGUSTIN answered: You are the calumnious slanderer, not the truthful arguer. Will you not at length cease to make assertions of a kind which, if you do not prove them, can apply to nobody; and even if you prove them, certainly cannot apply to the unity of the whole world, which is in the saints as in the wheat of God? If we too were pleased to return calumnies for calumnies, we too might possibly be able to give vent to eloquent slanderers. We too might use the expression, "With rustling flames;" but to me an expression never sounds in any way eloquent Which is inappropriate in its use. We too might say, "Surging with hungry tongues of flame;" but we do not wish that the tongues of flame in our writings, when they are read by any one in his senses, should be judged hungry for want of the sap of weightiness, or that the reader himself, while he finds in them no food of useful sentiments, should be left to suffer from the hunger of excessive emptiness. See, I declare that your Circumcelliones are burning, not with rustling but with headlong flames. If you answer, What is that to us? why do not you, when you reproach with any one whom you will, not listen in turn to our answer, We too know nothing of it? If you answer, You do not prove the fact, why may not the whole word answer you in turn, Neither do you prove it? Let us agree, therefore, if you please, that you should not charge us with the guilt of the wicked men whom you consider to belong to us, and that we should abstain from similar charges against you. So you will see, by this just agreement, confirmed and ratified, that you have no charge which you can bring against the seed of Abraham, as found in all the nations of the earth. But I find without difficulty a grievous charge to bring against you: Why have you impiously separated yourselves from the seed of Abraham, which is in all nations of the earth? Against this charge you certainly have no means whereby you may defend yourselves. For we each of us clear ourselves of the sins of other men; but this, that yon do not hold communion with all the nations of the earth, which are blessed in the seed of Abraham, is a very grievous crime, of which not some but all of you are guilty.
74. And yet you know, as you prove by your quotation, that the Holy Spirit descended in such wise, that those who were then filled with it spake with divers tongues: what was the meaning of that sign and prodigy? Why then is the Holy Spirit given now in such wise, that no one to whom it is given speaks with divers tongues, except because that miracle then prefigured that all nations of the earth should believe, and that thus the gospel should be found to be in every tongue? Just as it was foretold in the psalm so long before: "There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard." This was said with reference to those men who were destined, after receiving the Holy Spirit, to speak with every kind of tongue. But because this passage itself signified that the gospel should be found hereafter in all nations and languages, and that the body of Christ should sound forth throughout all the world in every tongue, therefore he goes on to say, "Their sound is gone out throughout all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world." Hence it is that the true Church is hidden from no one. And hence comes that which the Lord Himself says in the gospel, "A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid." And therefore David continues in the same psalm, "In the sun hath He placed His tabernacle," that is, in the open light of day; as we read in the Book of Kings, "For thou didst it secretly; but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun." And He Himself is "as a bridegroom coming out of His chamber, and rejoiceth as a giant to run His race. His going forth is from the end of heaven:" here you have the coming of the Lord in the flesh. "And His circuit unto the ends of it:" here you have His resurrection and ascension. "And there is nothing hid from the heat thereof:" here you have the coming of the Holy Spirit, whom He sent in tongues of fire, that He might make manifest the glowing heat of charity, which he certainly cannot have who does not keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace with the Church, which is throughout all languages.
75. Next, however, with regard to your statement that there is indeed one baptism, but that it is consecrated in three several grades, and to your having distributed the three forms of it to three persons after such fashion, that you ascribe the water to John, the Holy Spirit to the Lord Jesus Christ, and, in the third place, the fire to the Comforter sent down from above,—consider for a moment in how great an error you are involved. For you were brought to entertain such an opinion simply from the words of John: "I indeed baptize you with water: but He that cometh after me is mightier than I: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire." Nor were you willing to take into consideration that the three things are not attributed to three persons taken one by one,—water to John, the Holy Spirit to Christ, fire to the Comforter,—but that the three should rather be referred to two persons—one of them to John, the other two to our Lord. For neither is it said, I indeed baptize you with water: but He that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost: and the Comforter, who is to come after Him, He shall baptize you with fire; but "I indeed," He says, "with water: but He that cometh after me with the Holy Ghost, and with fire." One he attributes to himself, two to Him that cometh after him. You see, therefore, how you have been deceived in the number. Listen further. You said that there was one baptism consecrated in three stages— water, the Holy Spirit, and fire; and you assigned three persons to the three stages severally—John to the water, Christ to the Spirit, the Comforter to the fire. If, therefore, the water of John bears reference to the same baptism which is commended as being one, it was not right that those should have been baptized a second time by the command of the Apostle Paul whom he found to have been baptized by John. For they already had water, belonging, as you say, to the same baptism; so that it remained that they should receive the Holy Spirit and fire, because these were wanting in the baptism of John, that their baptism might be completed, being consecrated, as you assert, in three stages. But since they were ordered to be baptized by the authority of an apostle, it is sufficiently made manifest that that water with which John baptized had no reference to the baptism of Christ, but belonged to another dispensation suited to the exigencies of the times.
76. Lastly, when you wished to prove that the Holy Spirit was given by Christ, and had brought forward as a proof from the gospel, that Jesus on rising from the dead breathed into the face of His disciples, saying, "Receive ye the Holy Ghost;" and when you wished to prove that that last fire which was named in connection with baptism was found in the tongues of fire which were displayed on the coming of the Holy Ghost, how came it into your head to say, "And the Comforter Himself came upon the apostles as a fire burning with rustling flames," as though there were one Holy Spirit whom He gave by breathing on the face of His disciples, and another who, after His ascension, came on the apostles? Are we to suppose, therefore, that there are two Holy Spirits? Who will be found so utterly mad as to assert this? Christ therefore Himself gave the same Holy Spirit, whether by breathing on the face of the disciples, or by sending Him down from heaven on the day of Pentecost, with undoubted commendation of His holy sacrament. Accordingly it was not that Christ gave the Holy Spirit, and the Comforter gave the fire, that the saying might be fulfilled, "With the Holy Spirit, and with fire;" but the same Christ Himself gave the Holy Spirit in both cases, making it manifest while He was yet on earth by His breathing, and when He was ascended into heaven by the tongues of flame. For that you may know that the words of John, "He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost," were not fulfilled at the time when He breathed on His disciples face, so that they should require to be baptized, when the Comforter should come, not with the Spirit any longer, but with fire, I would have you remember the most outspoken words of Scripture, and see what the Lord Himself said to them when He ascended into heaven: "John truly baptized you with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost, whom ye shall receive not many days hence at Pentecost. What could be plainer than this testimony? But according to your interpretation, what He should have said was this: John verily baptized you with water; but ye were baptized with the Holy Spirit when I breathed on your faces; and next in due order shall ye be baptized with fire, which ye shall receive not many days hence;—in order that by this means the three stages should be completed, in which you say that the one baptism was consecrated. And so it proves to be the case that you are still ignorant of the meaning of the words, "He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire;" and you are rash enough to be williing to teach what you do not know yourselves.
CHAP. 33. —77. PETILIANUS said: "But that I may thoroughly investigate the baptism in the name of the Trinity, the Lord Christ said to His apostles: 'Go ye, and baptize the nations, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I command you.' Whom do you teach, traditor? Him whom you condemn? Whom do you teach, traditor? Him whom you slay? Once more, whom do you teach? Him whom you have made a murderer? How then do you baptize in the name of the Trinity? You cannot call God your Father. For when the Lord Christ said, 'Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God,' you who have not peace of soul cannot have God for your Father. Or how, again, can you baptize in the name of the Son, who betray that Son Himself, who do not imitate the Son of God in any of His sufferings or crosses? Or how, again, can you baptize in the name of the Holy Ghost, when the Holy Ghost came only on those apostles who were not guilty of treason? Seeing, therefore, that God is not your Father, neither are you truly born again with the water of baptism. No one of you is born perfectly. You in your impiety have neither father nor mother. Seeing, then, that you are of such a kind, ought I not to baptize you, even though you wash yourselves a thousand times, after the similitude of the Jews, who as it were baptize the flesh?"
78. AUGUSTIN answered: certainly you had proposed thoroughly to investigate the baptism in the name of the Trinity, and you had set us to listen with much attention; but following, as it would seem, what is the easiest course to you, how soon have you returned to your customary abuse! This you carry out with genuine fluency. For you set before yourself what victims you please, against whom to inveigh with whatsoever bitterness you please: in the midst of which last latitude of discourse you are driven into the greatest straits if any one does lint use the little word, Prove it. For this is what is said to you by the seed of Abraham; and since in him all nations of the earth are blessed, they care but little when they are cursed by you. But yet, since you are treating of baptism, which you consider to be true when it is found in a just man, but false when it is found in the unjust, see how I too, if I were to investigate baptism in the name of the Trinity, according to your rule, might say, with great fullness, as it seems to me, that he has not God for his father who in a Count has God for his companion, nor believes that any is his Christ, save him for whose sake he has endured suffering; and that he has not the Holy Ghost who burned the wretched Africa in so very different a fashion with tongues of fire. How then can they have baptism, or how can they administer it in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost? Surely you must now perceive that baptism can exist in an unrighteous man, and be administered by an unrighteous man, and that no unrighteous baptism, but such as is just and true,—not because it belongs to the unrighteous man, but because it is of God. And herein I am uttering no calumny against you, as you never cease to do, on some pretense or other, against the whole world; and, what is even more intolerable, you do not even bring any proof about the very points on which you found your calumnies. But I know not how this can possibly be endured, because you not only bring calumnies against holy men about unrighteous men, but you even bring a charge against the holy baptism itself, which must needs be holy in any man, however unrighteous he may be, from a comparison with the infection arising from the sins of wicked men, so that you say that baptism partakes of the character of him by whom it is possessed, or administered, or received. Furthermore, if a man partakes of the character of him in whose company he approaches sacred mysteries, and if the sacraments themselves partake of the character of the men in whom they are, holy men may well be satisfied to find consolation in the thought that they only fare like holy baptism itself in hearing false accusations from your lips. But it would be well for you to see how you are condemned out of your own mouths, if both the sober among you are counted as drunken from the infection of the drunken in your ranks, and the merciful among you become robbers from the infection of the robbers, and whatever evil is found among you in the persons of wicked men is perforce shared by those who are not wicked; and if baptism itself is unclean in all of you who are unclean, and if it is of different kinds according to the varying character of uncleanness itself, as it must be if it is perforce of the same character as the man by whom it is possessed or administered. These suppositions most undoubtedly are false, and accordingly they in no wise injure us, when you bring them forward against us without looking back upon yourselves. But they do injure you, because, when you bring them forward falsely, they do not fall on us; but since you imagine them to be true, they recoil upon yourselves.
CHAP. 34. —79. PETILIANUS said: "For if the apostles were allowed to baptize those whom John had washed with the baptism of repentance, shall it not likewise be allowed to me to baptize men guilty of sacrilege like yourselves?"
80. AUGUSTIN answered: Where then is what you said above, that there was not one baptism of John and another of Christ, but that there was one baptism, consecrated in three stages, of which three stages John gave the water, Christ the Spirit, and the Comforter the fire? Why then did the apostles repeat the water in the case of those to whom John had already administered water belonging to the one baptism which is consecrated in three stages? Surely you must see how necessary it is that every one should understand the meaning of what he is discussing.
CHAP. 35. —81. PETILIANUS said: "Nor indeed will it be possible that the Holy Spirit should be implanted in the heart of any one by the laying on of the hands of the priest, unless the water of a pure conscience has gone before to give him birth."
82. AUGUSTIN answered: In these few words of yours two errors are involved; and one of them, indeed, has no great bearing on the question which is being discussed between us, but yet it helps to convict you of want of skill. For the Holy Spirit came upon a hundred and twenty men, without the laying on of any person s hands, and again upon Cornelius the centurion and those who were with him, even before they were baptized. But the second error in these words of yours entirely overthrows your whole case. For you say that the water of a pure conscience must necessarily precede to give new birth, before the Holy Spirit can follow on it. Accordingly, either all the water consecrated in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is water of a pure conscience, not for the merits of those by whom it is administered, or by whom it is received, but in virtue of the stainless merits of Him who instituted this baptism; or else if only a pure conscience on the part both of the ministrant and the recipient can produce the water of a pure conscience, what do you make of those whom you find to have been baptized by men who bore a conscience stained with as yet undiscovered guilt, especially if there exist among the said baptized persons any one that should confess that he at the time when he was baptized had a bad conscience, in that he might possibly have desired to use that opportunity for the accomplishment of some sinful act? When, therefore, it shall be made clear to you that neither the man who administered baptism, nor the man who received it, had a pure conscience, will you give your judgment that he ought to be baptized afresh? You will assuredly neither say nor do anything of the sort. The purity therefore of baptism is entirely unconnected with the purity or impurity of the conscience either of the giver or the recipient. Will you therefore dare to say that the deceiver, or the robber, or the oppressor of the fatherless and widows, or the sunderer of marriages, or the betrayer, the seller, the divider of the patrimony of other men, was a man of pure conscience? Or will you further dare to say that those were men of pure conscience, whom it is hard to imagine wanting in such times, men who made interest with the man I have described, that they might be baptized, not for the sake of Christ, nor for the sake of eternal life, but to conciliate earthly friendships, and to satisfy earthly desires? Further, if you do not venture to say that these were men of pure conscience, then if you find any of their number who have been baptized, give to them the water of a pure conscience, which they as yet have not received; and if you will not do this, then leave off casting in our teeth a matter which you do not understand, lest you should be forced to answer in reply to us about a matter which you know full well.
CHAP. 36. —83. PETILIANUS said: "Which Holy Spirit certainly cannot come on you, who have not been washed even with the baptism of repentance; but the water of the traditor, which most truly needs to be repented of, does but work pollution."
84. AUGUSTIN answered: As a matter of fact, not only do you not prove us to be traditors, but neither did your fathers prove that our fathers were guilty of that sin; though, even if that had been proved, the consequence would have been that they would not be our fathers, according to your earlier assertion, seeing that we had not followed their deeds: vet neither should we on their account be severed from the companionship of unity, and from the seed of Abraham, in which all nations of the earth are blessed. However, if the water of Christ be one thing, and the water of the traditor another, because Christ was not a traditor, why should not the water of Christ be one thing, and the water of a robber another, since certainly Christ was not a robber? Do you therefore baptize again after baptism by your robber, and I will baptize again after the traditor, who is neither mine nor yours; or, if one must believe the documents which are produced, who is both mine and yours; or, if we are to believe the communion of the whole world rather than the party of Donatus, who is not mine, but yours. But, by a better and a sounder judgment, because it is according to the words of the apostle, every one of us shall bear his own burden; nor is either that robber yours, if you are not yourselves robbers; nor does any traditor belong to any one either of us or you, who is not himself a traditor. And yet we are Catholics, who, following the spirit of that judgment, do not desert the unity of the Church; but you are heretics, who, on account of charges, whether true or false, which you have brought against certain men, are unwilling to maintain Christian charity with the seed of Abraham.
CHAP. 37. —85. PETILIANUS said: "But that the truth of this may be made manifest from the apostles, we are taught by their actions, as it is written: 'It came to pass that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul, having passed through the upper coasts, came to Ephesus; and finding certain disciples, he said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on Him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. And all the men were about twelve.' If, therefore, they were baptized that they might receive the Holy Ghost, why do not you, if you wish to receive the Holy Ghost, take measures to obtain a true renewing, after your falsehoods? And if we do ill in urging this, why do you seek after us? or at any rate, if it is an offense, condemn Paul in the first instance; the Paul who certainly washed off what had already existed, whereas we in you give baptism which as yet does not exist. For you do not, as we have often said before, wash with a true baptism; but you bring on men an ill repute by your empty name of a false baptism."
86. AUGUSTIN answered: "We bring no accusation against Paul, who gave to men the baptism of Christ because they had not the baptism of Christ, but the baptism of John, according to their own reply; for, being asked, Unto what were ye baptized? they answered, Unto John's baptism; which has nothing to do with the baptism of Christ, and is neither a part of it nor a step towards it. Otherwise, either at that time the water of the baptism of Christ was renewed a second time, or if the baptism of Christ was then made perfect by the two waters, the baptism is less perfect which is given now, because it is not given with the water which was given at the hands of John. But either one of these opinions it is impious and sacrilegious to entertain. Therefore Paul gave the baptism of Christ to those who had not the baptism of Christ, but only the baptism of John.
87. But why the baptism of John, which is not necessary now, was necessary at that time, I have explained elsewhere; and the question has no bearing on the point at issue between us at the present time, except so far as that it may appear that the baptism of John was one thing, the baptism of Christ another,—just as that baptism was a different thing with which the apostle says that our fathers were baptized in the cloud and in the sea, when they passed through the Red Sea under the guidance of Moses. For the law and the prophets up to the time of John the Baptist had sacraments which foreshadowed things to come; but the sacraments of our time bear testimony that that has come already which the former sacraments foretold should come. John therefore was a foreteller of Christ nearer to Him in time than all who went before him. And because all the righteous men and prophets of former times desired to see the fulfillment of what, through the revelation of the Spirit, they foresaw would come to pass,— whence also the Lord Himself says, "That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them,"—therefore it was said of John that he was more than a prophet, and that among all that were born of women there was none greater than he; because to the righteous men who went before him it was only granted to foretell the coming of Christ, but to John it was given both to foretell Him in His absence and to behold His presence, so that it should be found that to him was made manifest what the others had desired. And therefore the sacrament of his baptism is still connected with the foretelling of Christ's coming, though as of something very soon to be fulfilled, seeing that up to his time there were still foretellings of the first coming of our Lord, of which coming we have now announcements, but no longer predictions. But the Lord, teaching the way of humility, condescended to make use of the sacraments which He found here in reference to the foretelling of His coming, not in order to assist the operation of His cleansing, but as an example for our piety, that so He might show to us with what reverence we ought to receive those sacraments which bear witness that He is already come, when He did not disdain to make use of those which foreshadowed His coming in the future. And John, therefore, though the nearest to Christ in point of time, and within one year of the same age with Him, yet, while he was baptizing, went before the way of Christ who was still to come; for which reason it was said of him, "Behold, I send my messenger before Thy face, which shall prepare Thy way before Thee." And he himself preached, saying, "There cometh one mightier than I after me." In like manner, therefore, the circumcision on the eighth day, which was given to the patriarchs, foretold our justification, to the putting away of carnal lusts through the resurrection of our Lord, which took place after the seventh day, which is the Sabbath-day, on the eighth, that is, the Lord's day, which fell on the third day after His burial; yet the infant Christ received the same circumcision of the flesh, with its prophetic signification. And as the Passover, which was celebrated by the Jews with the slaying of a lamb, prefigured the passion of our Lord and His departure from this world to the Father, yet the same Lord celebrated the same Passover with His disciples, when they reminded Him of it, saying, Where wilt Thou that we prepare for Thee to eat the Passover? so too He Himself also received the baptism of John, which formed a part of the latest foretelling of His coming. But as the Jews' circumcision of the flesh is one thing, and the ceremony which we observe on the eighth day after persons are baptized is another; and the Passover which the Jews still celebrate with the slaying of a lamb is one thing, and that which we receive in the body and blood of our Lord is another,—so the baptism of John was one thing, the baptism of Christ is another. For by the former series of rites the latter were foretold as destined to arrive; by these latter the others are declared to be fulfilled. And even though Christ received the others, yet are they not necessary for us, who have received the Lord Himself who was foretold in them. But when the coming of our Lord was as yet recent, it was necessary for any one who had received the former that he should be imbued with the latter also; but it was wholly needless that any one who had been so imbued should be compelled to go back to the former rites.
88. Wherefore do not seek to raise confusion out of the baptism of John, the source and intention of which was either such as I have here set forth; or if any other better explanation of it can be given, this much still is clear, that the baptism of John and the baptism of Christ are two distinct and separate things, and that the former was expressly called the baptism of John, as is clear both from the answer of those men whose case yon quoted, and from the words of our Lord Himself, when he says, "The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men?" But the latter is never called the baptism of Caecilianus, or of Donatus, or of Augustin, or of Petilianus, but the baptism of Christ. For if you think that we are shameless, because we will not allow that any one should be baptized after baptism from us, although we see that men were baptized again who had received the baptism of John, who certainly is incomparably greater than ourselves, will you maintain that John and Optatus were of equal dignity? The thing appears ridiculous. And yet I fancy that you do not hold them to be equals, but consider Optatus the greater of the two. For the apostle baptized after baptism by John: you venture to baptize no one after baptism by Optatus. Was it because Optatus was in unity with you? I know not with what heart a theory like this can be maintained, if the friend of the Count, who had in the Count a god for his companion, is said to have been in unity, and the friend of the Bridegroom to have been excluded from it. But if John was preeminently in unity, and far more excellent and greater than all of us and all of you, and yet the Apostle Paul baptized after him, why do you then not baptize after Optatus? Unless indeed it be that your blindness brings you into such a strait that you should say that Optatus had the power of giving the Holy Spirit, and that John had not! And if you do not say this, for fear of being ridiculed for your madness even by the insane themselves, what answer will you be able to make when you are asked why men should have required to be baptized after receiving baptism from John, while no one needs to be baptized after receiving it from Optatus, unless it be that the former were baptized with the baptism of John, while, whenever any one is baptized with the baptism of Christ, whether he be baptized by Paul or by Optatus, there is no difference in the nature of his baptism, though there is so great a difference between Paul and Optatus? Return then, O ye transgressors, to a right mind, and do not seek to weigh the sacraments of God by considerations of the characters and deeds of men. For the sacraments are holy through Him to whom they belong; but when taken in hand worthily, they bring reward, when unworthily, judgment. And although the men are not one who take in hand the sacrament of God worthily or unworthily, yet that which is taken in hand, whether worthily or unworthily, is the same; so that it does not become better or worse in itself, but only turns to the life or death of those who handle it in either case. And in respect of what you said, that "in those whom Paul baptized after they had received the baptism of John, he washed off what had already existed," you certainly would not have said it had you taken a moment to consider what you were saying. For if the baptism of John required washing off, it must, beyond all doubt, have had some foulness in it. Why then should I press you further? Recollect or read, and see whence John received it, so shall you see against whom you have uttered that blasphemy; and when you have discovered this, your heart will surely be beaten, if a rein be not set on your tongue.
89. To come next to what you think you say against us with so much point: "If we do ill in urging this, why do you seek after us?" cannot you even yet call to mind that only those are sought after who have perished? Or is the incapacity for seeing this an element in your ruin? For the sheep might say to the shepherd with equal absurdity, If I do wrong in straying from the flock, why do you search after me? not understanding that the very reason why it is being sought is because it thinks there is no need for seeking it. But who is there that seeks for you, either through His Scriptures, or by catholic and conciliatory voices, or by the scourgings of temporal afflictions, save only Him who dispenses that mercy to you in all things? We therefore seek you that we may find you; for we love you that you should have life, with the same intensity with which we hate your error, that it might be destroyed which seeks to ruin you, so long as it is not itself involved in your destruction. And would to God that we might seek you in such a manner as even to find, and be able to say with rejoicing of each one of you, "He was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found!"
CHAP. 38. —90. PETILIANUS said: "If you declare that yon hold the Catholic Church, the word 'catholic' is merely the Greek equivalent for entire or whole. But it is clear that you are not in the whole, because you have gone aside into the part."
91. AUGUSTIN answered: I too indeed have attained to a very slight knowledge of the Greek language, scarcely to be called knowledge at all, yet I am not shameless in saying that I know that ko'lon means not "one," but "the whole;" and that kath' ho'lon means "according to the whole:" whence the Catholic Church received its name, according to the saying of the Lord, "It is not for you to know the times, which the Father hath put in His own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in Judea, and in Samaria, and even in the whole earth." Here you have the origin of the name "Catholic." But you are so bent upon running with your eyes shut against the mountain which grew out of a small stone, according to the prophecy of Daniel, and filled the whole earth, that you actually tell us that we have gone aside into a part, and are not in the whole among those whose communion is spread throughout the whole earth. But just in the same way as, supposing you were to say that I was Petilianus, I should not be able to find any method of refuting you unless I were to laugh at you as being in jest, or mourn over you as being mad, so in the present case I see that I have no other choice but this; and since I do not believe that you are in jest, you see what alternative remains.
CHAP. 39. —92.—PETILIANUS said: "But there is no fellowship of darkness with light, nor any fellowship of bitterness with the sweet of honey; there is no fellowship of life with death, of innocence with guilt, of water with blood; the lees have no fellowship with o? though they are related to it as being its dregs, but everything that is reprobate will flow away. It is the very sink of iniquity; according to the saying of John, They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us.' There is no gold among their pollution: all that is precious has been purged away. For it is written, 'As gold is tried in the furnace, so also are the just tried by the harassing of tribulation.' Cruelty is not a part of gentleness, nor religion a part of sacrilege; nor can the party of Macarius in any way be part of us, because he pollutes the likeness of our rite. For the enemy's line, which fills up an enemy's name, is no part of the force to which it is opposed; but if it is truly to be called a part, it will find a suitable motto in the judgment of Solomon, 'Let their part be cut off from the earth.'"
93. AUGUSTIN answered: What is it but sheer madness to utter these taunts without proving anything? You look at the tares throughout the world, and pay no heed to the wheat, although both have been bidden to grow together throughout the whole of it. You look at the seed sown by the wicked one, which shall be separated in the time of harvest, and you pay no heed to the seed of Abraham, in which all nations of the earth shall be blessed. Just as though you were already a purged mass, and virgin honey, and refined oil, and pure gold, or rather the very similitude of a whited wall. For, to say nothing of your other faults, do the drunken form a portion of the sober, or are the covetous reckoned among the portion of the wise? If men of gentle temper appropriate the term of light, where shall the madness of the Circumcelliones be esteemed to be, excepting in the darkness? Why then is baptism, given by men like these, held valid among you, and the same baptism of Christ not held valid, by whatsoever men it may be administered throughout the world? You see, in fact, that you are separated from the communion of the whole world in so far as this, that you are not indeed all drunk, nor alI of you covetous, nor all men of violence, but that you are all heretics, and, in virtue of this, are all impious and all sacrilegious,
94. But as to your saying that the whole world that rejoices in Christian communion is the party of Macarius, who with any remnant of sanity in his brain could make such a statement? But because we say that you are of the party of Donatus, you therefore seek for a man of whose party you may say we are; and, being in a great strait, you mention the name of some obscure person, who, if he is known in Africa, is certainly unknown in any other quarter of the globe. And therefore hearken to the answer made to you by all the seed of Abraham from every corner of the earth: Of that Macarius, to whose party you assert us to belong, we know absolutely nothing. Can you reply in turn that you know nothing of Donatus? But even if we were to say that you are the party of Optatus, which of you can say that he is unacquainted with Optatus, unless in the sense that he does not know him personally, as perhaps he does not know Donatus either? But you acknowledge that you rejoice in the name of Donatus, do you also take any pleasure in the name of Optatus? What then can the name of Donatus profit you, when all of you alike are polluted by Optatus? What advantage can you derive from the sobriety of Donatus, when you are defiled by the drunkenness of the Circumcelliones? What, according to your views, are you profiled by the innocence of Donatus, when you are stained by the rapacity of Optatus? For this is your mistake, that you think that the unrighteousness of a man has more power in infecting his neighbor than the righteousness of a man has in purifying those around him. Therefore, if two share in common the sacraments of God, the one a just man, the other an unrighteous one, but so that neither the former should imitate the unrighteousness of the latter, nor the latter the righteousness of the former, you say that the result is not that both are made just, but that both are made unrighteous; so that also that holy thing, which both receive in common, becomes unclean and loses its original holiness. When does unrighteousness find for herself such advocates as these, through whose madness she is esteemed victorious? How comes it then that, in the midst of such mistaken perversity, you congratulate yourselves upon the name of Donatus, when it shows not that Petilianus deserves to be what Donatus is, but that Donatus is compelled to be what Optatus is? But let the house of Israel say, "God is my portion for ever;" let the seed of Abraham say in all nations "The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance." For they know how to speak through the gospel of the glory of the blessed God. For you, too, through the sacrament which is in you, like Caiaphas the persecutor of the Lord, prophesy without being aware of it. For what in Greek is expressed by the word Maka'rios is in our language simply "Blessed;" and in this way certainly we are of the party of Macarius, the Blessed One. For what is more blessed than Christ, of whose party we are, after whom alI the ends of the earth are called, and to whom they all are turned, and in whose sight all the countries of the nations worship? Therefore the party of this Macarius, that is to say, of this Blessed One, feels no apprehension at your last curse, distorted from the words of Solomon, lest it should perish from the earth. For what is said by him of the impious you endeavor to apply to the inheritance of Christ, and you strive to prove that this has been achieved with inexpressible impiety; for when he was speaking of the impious, he says, "Let their portion perish from off the earth." But when you say, with reference to the words of Scripture, "I shall give Thee the heathen for Thine inheritance," and" all the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord," that the promise contained in them has already perished from the earth, you are seeking to turn against the inheritance of Christ what was foretold about the lot of the impious; but so long as the inheritance of Christ endures and increases, you are perishing in saying such things. For you are not in every case prophesying through the sacrament of God, since in this case you are merely uttering evil wishes through your own madness. But the prophecy of the true prophets is more powerful than the evil speaking of the false prophets.
CHAP. 40. —95. PETILIANUS said: "Paul the apostle also bids us, 'Be ye not unequally yoked with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? and what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?"
96. AUGUSTIN answered: I recognize the words of the apostle; but how they can help you I cannot see at all, For which of us says that there is any fellowship between righteousness and unrighteousness, even though the righteous and the unrighteous, as in the case of Judas and Peter, should be alike partakers of the sacraments? For from one and the same holy thing Judas received judgment to himself and Peter salvation, just as you received the sacrament with Optatus, and, if you were unlike him, were not therefore partakers in his robberies. Or is robbery not unrighteousness? Who would be mad enough to assert that? What fellowship was there, then, on the part of your righteousness with his unrighteousness, when you approached together to the same altar?
CHAP. 41. —97. PETILIANUS said: "And, again, he taught us that schisms should not arise, in the following terms: 'Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul, and I of Apollos, and I of Cephas, and i of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?'"
98. AUGUSTIN answered. Remember all of you who read this, it was Petilianus who quoted these words from the apostle. For who could have believed that he would have brought forward words which tell so much for us against himself?
CHAP. 42. —99. PETILIANUS said: "If Paul uttered these words to the unlearned and to the righteous, I say this to you who are unrighteous, Is Christ divided, that you should separate yourselves from the Church?"
100. AUGUSTIN answered: I am afraid lest any one should think that in this work of mine the writer has made a mistake, and has written the heading Petilianus said, when he ought to have written Augustin answered. But I see what your object is: you wished, as it were, to preoccupy the ground, lest we should bring those words in testimony against you. But what have you really done, except to cause them to be quoted twice? If, therefore, you are so much pleased with hearing the words which make against you, as to render it necessary that they should be repeated, hear, I pray you, these words as coming from me, Petilianus: Is Christ divided, that you should separate yourselves from the Church?
CHAP. 43. —101. PETILIANUS said: "Can it be that the traitor Judas hung himself for you, or did he imbue you with his character, that, following his deeds, you should seize on the treasures of the Church, and sell for money to the powers of this world us who are the heirs of Christ?"
102. AUGUSTIN answered: Judas did not die for us, but Christ, to whom the Church dispersed throughout the world says, "So shall I have wherewith to answer him that reproacheth me: for I trust in Thy word." When, therefore, I hear the words of the Lord, saying, "Ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and even in the whole earth," and through the voice of His prophet, "Their sound is gone out through all the earth, and their words into the ends of the world," no bodily admixture of evil ever is able to disturb me, if I know how to say, "Be surety for Thy servant for good: let not the proud oppress me." I do not, therefore, concern myself about a vain calumniation when I have a substantial promise. But if you complain about matters or places appertaining to the Church, which you used once to hold, and hold no longer, then the Jews also may say that they are righteous, and reproach us with unrighteousness, because the Christians now occupy the place in which of old they impiously reigned. What then is there unfitting, if, according to a similar will of the Lord, the Catholics now hold the things which formerly the heretics used to have? For against all such men as this, that is to say, against all impious and unrighteous men, those words of the Lord have force, "The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and be given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof;" or is it written in vain, "The righteous shall eat of the labors of the impious"? Wherefore you ought rather to be amazed that you still possess something, than that there is something which you have lost. But neither need you wonder even at this, for it is by degrees that the whitened wall falls down. Yet look back at the followers of Maximianus, see what places they possessed, and by whose agency and under whose attacks they were driven from them, and do you venture, if you can, to say that to suffer things like these is righteousness, while to do them is unrighteousness. In the first place, because you did the deed, and they suffered them; and secondly, because, according to the rule of this righteousness, you are found to be inferior. For they were driven from the ancient palaces by Catholic emperors acting through judges, while you are not even driven forth by the mandates of the emperors themselves from the basilicas of unity. For what reason is this, save that you are of less merit, not only than the rest of your colleagues, but even than those very men whom you assuredly condemned as guilty of sacrilege by the mouth of your plenary Council?
CHAP. 44. —103. PETILIANUS said: "For we, as it is written, when we are baptized, put on Christ who was betrayed; you, when you are infected, put on Judas the betrayer."
104. AUGUSTIN answered: I also might say, You when you are infected put on Optatus the betrayer, the robber, the oppressor, the separater of husband and wife; but far be it from me that the desire of returning an evil word should provoke me into any falsehood: for neither do you put on Optatus, nor we Judas. Therefore, if each one who comes to us shall answer to our questions that be has been baptized in the name of Optatus, he shall be baptized in the name of Christ; and if you baptized any that came from us and said that they had been baptized in the name of the traitor Judas, in that case we have no fault to find with what you have done. But if they had been baptized in the name of Christ, do you not see what an error you commit in thinking that the sacraments of God can undergo change through any changeableness of human sins, or be polluted by defilement in the life of any man?
CHAP. 45. —105. PETILIANUS said: "But if these are the parties, the name of member of a party is no prejudice against us. For there are two ways, the one narrow, in which we walk; the other is for the impious, wherein they shall perish. And yet, though the designations be alike, there is a great difference in the reality, that the way of righteousness should not be defiled by fellowship in a name. "
106. AUGUSTIN answered: You have been afraid of the comparison of your numbers with the multitude throughout the world; and therefore, in order to win praise for the scantiness of your party, you have sought to bring in the comparison of yourself walking in the narrow path. Would to God that you had betaken yourself not to its praise, but to the path itself! Truly you would have seen that there was the same scantiness in the Church of all nations; but that the righteous are said to be few in comparison with the multitude of the unrighteous, just as, in comparison with the chaff, there may be said to be few grains of corn in the most abundant crop, and yet these very grains of themselves, when brought into a heap, fill the barn. For the followers of Maximianus themselves will surpass you in this scantiness of number, if you think that righteousness consists in this, as well as in the persecution involved in the loss of places which they held.
CHAP. 46. —107. PETILIANUS said: "In the first Psalm David separates the blessed from the impious, not indeed making them into parties, but excluding all the impious from holiness. 'Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners.' Let him who had strayed from the path of righteousness, so that he should perish, return to it again. 'Nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.' When he gives this warning, O ye miserable men, why do you sit in that seat? 'But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in His law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season: his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.' He blindeth their eyes, so that they should not see. 'Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.'"
108. AUGUSTIN answered: Who is there in the Scriptures that would not distinguish between these two classes of men? But you slanderously charge the corn with the offenses of the chaff; and being yourselves mere chaff, you boast yourselves to be the only corn. But the true prophets declare that both these classes have been mingled together throughout the whole world, that is, throughout the whole corn-field of the Lord, until the winnowing which is to take place on the day of judgment. But I advise you to read that first Psalm in the Greek version, and then you will not venture to reproach the whole world with being of the party of Macarius; because you will perhaps come to understand of what Macarius there is a party among all the saints, who throughout all nations are blessed in the seed of Abraham. For what stands in our language as "Blessed is the man," is in Greek Maka'rios anh'r. But that Macarius who offends you, if he is a bad man, neither belongs to this division, nor is to its prejudice. But if he is a good man, let him prove his own work, that he may have glory in himself alone, and not in another.
CHAP. 47. —109. PETILIANUS said: "But the same Psalmist has sung the praises of our baptism. 'The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in the green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,—though the persecutor, he means, should slay me,—'I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff comfort me.' It was by this that it conquered Goliath, being armed with the anointing oil. 'Thou hast prepared a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.'"
110. AUGUSTIN answered: This psalm speaks of those who receive baptism aright, and use as holy what is so holy. For those words have no reference even to Simon Magus, who yet received the same holy baptism; and because he would not use it in a holy way, he did not therefore pollute it, or show that in such cases it should be repeated. But since you have made mention of Goliath. listen to the psalm which treats of Goliath himself, and see that he is portrayed in a new song; for there it is said, "I will sing a new song unto Thee, O God: upon a psaltery, and an instrument, of ten strings, will I sing praise unto Thee." And see whether he belongs to this song who refuses to communicate with the whole earth. For elsewhere it is said, "O sing unto the Lord a new song; sing unto the Lord, all the earth." Therefore the whole earth, with whom you are not in unity, sings the new song. And these too are the words of the whole earth, "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want," etc. These are not the words of the tares, though they be endured until the harvest in the same crop. They are not the words of the chaff, but of the wheat, although they are nourished by one and the same rain, and are threshed out on the same threshing-floor at the same time, till they shall be separated the one from the other by the winnowing at the last day. And yet these both assuredly have the same baptism, though they are not the same themselves. But if your party also were the Church of God, you would certainly confess that this psalm has no application to the infuriated bands of the Circumcelliones. Or if they too themselves are led through the paths of righteousness, why do you deny that they are your associates, when you are reproached with them, although, for the most part, you console yourselves for the scantiness of your section, not by the rod and staff of the Lord, but by the cudgels of the Circumcelliones, with which you think that you are safe even against the Roman laws,—to bring oneself into collision with which is surely nothing less than to walk through the valley of the shadow of death? But he with whom the Lord is, fears no evils. Surely, however, you will not venture to say that the words which are sung in this song belong even to those infuriated men, and yet you not only acknowledge, but ostentatiously set forth the fact that they have baptism. These words, therefore, are not used by any who are not refreshed by the holy water, as are all the righteous men of God; not by those who are brought to destruction by using it, as was that magician when baptized by Philip: and yet the water itself in both kinds of men is the same, and of the same degree of sanctity. These words are not used except by those who will belong to the right hand; but yet both sheep and goats feed in the same pasture under one Shepherd, until they shall be separated, that they may receive their due reward. These words are not used except by those who, like Peter, receive life from the table of the Lord, not judgment, as did Judas; and yet the supper was itself the same to both, but it was not of the same profit to both, because they were not one. These words are not used except by those who, by being anointed with the sacred oil, are blessed in spirit also, as was David; not merely consecrated in the body only, as was Saul: and yet, as they had both received the same outward sign, it was not the sacrament, but the personal merit that was different in the two cases. These words are not used except by those who, with converted heart, receive the cup of the Lord unto eternal life; not by those who eat and drink damnation to themselves, as the apostle says: and yet, though they are not one, the cup which they receive is one, exerting its power on the martyrs that they should obtain a heavenly reward, not on the Circumcelliones, that they should mark precipices with death. Remember, therefore, that the characters of bad men in no wise interfere with the virtue of the sacraments, so that their holiness should either be destroyed, or even diminished; but that they injure the unrighteous men themselves, that they should have them as witnesses of their damnation, not as aids to health. For beyond all doubt you should have taken into consideration the actual concluding words of this psalm, and have understood that, on account of those who forsake the faith after they have been baptized, it cannot be said by all who receive holy baptism that "I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever:" and yet, whether they abide in the faith, or whether they have fallen away, though they themselves are not one, their baptism is one, and though they themselves are not both holy, yet the baptism in both is holy; because even apostates, if they return, are not baptized as though they had lost the sacrament, but undergo humiliation, because they have done a despite to it which remains in them.
CHAP. 48. —111. PETILIANUS said: "Yet that you should not call yourselves holy, in the first place, I declare that no one has holiness who has not led a life of innocence."
112. AUGUSTIN answered: Show us the tribunal where you have been enthroned as judge, that the whole world should stand for trial before you, and with what eyes you have inspected and discussed, I do not say the consciences, but even the acts of all men, that you should say that the whole world has lost its innocence. He who was carried up as far as the third heaven says, "Yea, I judge not mine own self;" and do you venture to pronounce sentence on the whole world, throughout which the inheritance of Christ is spread abroad? In the next place, if what you have I said appears to you to be sufficiently certain, I that "no one has holiness who has not led a life of innocence," I would ask you, if Saul had not the holiness of the sacrament, what was in him that David reverenced? But if he had innocence, why did he persecute the innocent? For it was on account of the sanctity of his anointing that David honored him while alive, and avenged him after he was dead; and because he cut off so much as a scrap from his garment, he trembled with a panic-stricken heart. Here you see that Saul had not innocence, and yet he had holiness,—not the personal holiness of a holy life (for that no one can have without innocence), but the holiness of the sacrament of God, which is holy even in unrighteous men.
CHAP. 49. —113. PETILIANUS said: "For, granting that you faithless ones are acquainted with the law, without any prejudice to the law itself, I may say so much as this, the devil knows it too. For in the case of righteous Job he answered the Lord God concerning the law as though he were himself righteous, as it is written, "And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a man without malice, a true worshipper of God abstaining from every evil; and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause?" And Satan answered the Lord, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life. Behold he speaks in legal phrase, even when he is striving against the law. And a second time he endeavored thus to tempt the Lord Christ with his discourse, as it is written, 'The devil taketh Jesus into the holy city, and setteth Him on a pinnacle of the temple, and saith unto Him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give His angels charge Concerning thee; and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shall not tempt the Lord thy God." You know the law, I say, as did the devil, who is conquered in his endeavors, and blushes in his deeds."
114. AUGUSTIN answered: I might indeed ask of you in what law the words are written which the devil used when he was uttering calumnies against the holy man Job, if the position which I am set to prove were this, that you yourself are unacquainted with the law which you assert the devil to have known but as this is not the question at issue between us, I pass it by. But you have endeavored in such sort to prove that the devil is skilled in the law, as though we maintained that all who know the law are just. Accordingly, I do not see in what manner you are assisted by what you have chosen to quote concerning the devil,—unless, indeed, it may be that we should be thereby reminded how you imitate the devil himself. For as he brought forward the words of the law against the Author of the law, so you also out of the words of the law bring accusation against men whom you do not know, that you may resist the promises of God which are made in that very self-same law. Then I should be glad if you would tell me in whose honor do those confessors of yours achieve their martyrdom, when they throw themselves over precipices,—in honor of Christ, who thrust the devil from Him when he made a like suggestion, or rather in honor of the devil himself, who suggested such a deed to Christ? There are two especially vile and customary deaths resorted to by those who kill themselves,—hanging and the precipice. You assuredly said in the earlier part of this epistle, "The traitor hung himself: he left this death to all who are like him" This has no application whatever to us; for we refuse to reverence with the name of martyr any who have strangled themselves. With how much greater show of reason might we say against you, That master of all traitors, the devil, wished to persuade Christ to throw Himself headlong down, and was repulsed! What, therefore, must we say of those whom he persuaded with success? What, indeed, except that they are the enemies of Christ, the friends of the devil, the disciples of the seducer, the fellow-disciples of the traitor? For both have learned to bill themselves from the same master,—Judas by hanging himself, the others by throwing themselves over precipices.
CHAP. 50. —115. PETILIANUS said: "But that we may destroy your arguments one by one, if you call yourselves by the name of priests, it was said by the Lord God, through the mouth of His prophet, 'The vengeance of the Lord is upon the false priests.'"
116. AUGUSTIN answered: Seek rather what you may say with truth, not whence you may derive abusive words; and what you may teach, not what reproaches you may cast in our teeth.
CHAP. 51. —117. PETILIANUS said: "If you wretched men claim for yourselves a seat, as we said before, you assuredly have that one of which the prophet and psalmist David speaks as being the seat of the scornful For to you it is rightly left, seeing that the holy cannot sit therein.'
118. AUGUSTIN answered: Here again you do not see that this is no kind of argument, but empty abuse. For this is what I said a little while ago, You utter the words of the law, but take no heed against whom you utter them; just as the devil uttered the words of the law, but failed to perceive to whom he uttered them. He wished to thrust down our Head, who was presently to ascend on high; but you wish to reduce to a small fraction the body of that same Head which is dispersed throughout the entire world. Certainly you yourself said a little time before that we know the law, and speak in legal terms, but blush in our deeds. Thus much indeed you say without a proof of anything; but even though you were to prove it of some men, you would not be entitled to assert it of these others. However, if all men throughout all the world were of the character which you most vainly charge them with, what has the chair done to you of the Roman Church, in which Peter sat, and which Anastasius fills to-day; or the chair of the Church of Jerusalem, in which James once sat, and in which John sits today, with which we are united in catholic unity, and from which you have severed yourselves by your mad fury? Why do you call the apostolic chair a seat of the scornful? If it is on account of the men whom you believe to use the words of the law without performing it, do you find that our Lord Jesus Christ was moved by the Pharisees, of whom He says, "They say, and do not," to do any despite to the seat in which they sat? Did He not commend the seat of Moses, and maintain the honor of the seat, while He convicted those that sat in it? For He says, "They sit in Moses' seat: all therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not." If you were to think of these things, you would not, on account of men whom you calumniate, do despite to the apostolic seat, in which you have no share. But what else is conduct like yours but ignorance of what to say, combined with want of power to abstain from evil-speaking?
CHAP. 52. —119. PETILIANUS said: "If you suppose that you can offer sacrifice, God Himself thus speaks of you as most abandoned sinners: 'The wicked man,' He says, 'that sacrificeth a calf is as if he cut off a dog's neck; and he that offereth an oblation, as if he offered swine's blood.' Recognize herein your sacrifice, who have already poured out human blood. And again He says, 'Their sacrifices shall be unto them as the bread of mourners; all that eat thereof shall be polluted.'"
120. AUGUSTIN answered: We say that in the case of every man the sacrifice that is offered partakes of the character of him who approaches to offer it, or approaches to partake of it; and that those eat of the sacrifices of such men. who in approaching to them partake of the character of those who offer them. Therefore, if a bad man offer sacrifice to God, and a good man receive it at his hands, the sacrifice is to each man of such character as he himself has shown himself to be, since we find it also written that "unto the pure all things are pure." In accordance with this true and catholic judgment, you too are free from pollution by the sacrifice of Optatus, if you disapproved of his deeds. For certainly his bread was the bread of mourners, seeing that all Africa was mourning under his iniquities. But the evil involved in the schism of all your party makes this bread of mourners common to you all. For, according to the judgment of your Council, Felicianus of Musti was a shedder of man's blood. For you said, in condemning them, "Their feet are swift to shed blood." See therefore what kind of sacrifice he offers whom you hold to be a priest, when you have yourselves convicted him of sacrilege. And if you think that this is in no way to your prejudice, I would ask you how the emptiness of your calumnies can be to the prejudice of the whole world?
CHAP. 53. —121. PETILIANUS Said: "If you make prayer to God, or utter supplication, it profits you absolutely nothing whatsoever. For your blood- stained conscience makes your feeble prayers of no effect; because the Lord God regards purity of conscience more than the words of supplication, according to the saying of the Lord Christ, 'Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.' The will of God unquestionably is good, for therefore we pray as follows in the holy prayer, 'Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven,' that, as His will is good, so it may confer on us whatever may be good. You therefore do not do the will of God, because you do what is evil every day."
122. AUGUSTIN answered: If we on our side were to utter against you all that you assert against us, would not any one who heard us consider that we were rather insane litigants than Christian disputants, if he himself were in his senses? We do not, therefore, render for railing. For it is not fitting that the servant of the Lord should strive; but he should be gentle unto all men, willing to learn, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves. If, therefore, we reproach you with those who daily do what is evil among you, we are guilty of striving unbefittingly, accusing one for the sins of another. But if we admonish you, that as you are unwilling that these things should be brought against yourselves, so you should abstain from bringing against us the sins of other men, we then in meekness are instructing you, solely in the hope that some time you will return to a better mind.
CHAP. 54. —123. PETILIANUS said: "But if it should so happen, though whether it be so I cannot say, that you cast out devils, neither will this in you do any good; because the devils themselves yield neither to your faith nor to your merits, but are driven out in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ."
124. AUGUSTIN answered: God be thanked that you have at length confessed that the invocation of the name of Christ may be of profit for the salvation of others, even though it be invoked by sinners! Hence, therefore, you may understand that when the name of Christ is invoked, the sins of one man do not stand in the way of the salvation of another. But to determine in what manner we invoke the name of Christ, we require not your judgment, but the judgment of Christ Himself who is invoked by us; for He alone can know in what spirit He is invoked. Yet from His own words we are assured that He is invoked to their salvation by all nations, who are blessed in the seed of Abraham.
CHAP. 55. —125. PETILIANUS said: "Even though you do very virtuous actions, and perform miraculous works, yet on account of your wickedness the Lord does not know you; even so, according to the words of the Lord Himself, 'Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? and in Thy name have cast out devils? and in Thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity.'"
126. AUGUSTIN answered: We acknowledge the word of the Lord. Hence also the apostle says, "Though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing." Here therefore we must inquire who it is that has charity: you will find that it is no one else but those who are lovers of unity. For as to the driving out of devils, and as to the working of miracles, seeing that very many do not do such things who yet belong to the kingdom of God, and very many do them who do not belong to it, neither our party nor your party have any cause for boasting, if any of them chance to have this power, since the Lord did not think it right that even the apostles, who could truly do such things both to profit and salvation, should boast in things like this, when He says to them, "In this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven." Wherefore all those things which you have advanced from the writings of the gospel I also might repeat to you, if I saw you working the powerful acts of signs and miracles; and so might you repeat them to me, if you saw me doing things of a like sort. Let us not, therefore, say one to another what may equally be said on the other side as well; and, putting aside all quibbles, since we are inquiring where the Church of Christ is to be found, let us listen to the words of Christ Himself, who redeemed it with His own blood: "Ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and even in the whole earth." You see then who it is with whom a man refuses to communicate who will not communicate with this Church, which is spread throughout all the world, if at least you hear whose words these are. For what is a greater proof of madness than to hold communion with the sacraments of the Lord, and to refuse to hold communion with the words of the Lord? Such men at any rate are likely to say, In Thy name have we eaten and drunken, and to hear the words, "I never knew you," seeing that they eat His body and drink His blood in the sacrament, and do not recognize in the gospel His members which are spread abroad throughout the earth, and therefore are not themselves counted among them in the judgment.
CHAP. 56. —127. PETILIANUS said: "But even if, as you yourselves suppose, you are following tile law of the Lord in purity, let us nevertheless consider the question of the most holy law itself in a legal form. The Apostle Paul says, 'The law is good, if a man use it lawfully.' What then does the law say? 'Thou shalt not kill.' What Cain the murderer did once, you have often done in slaying your brethren."
128. AUGUSTIN answered: We do not wish to be like you: for there are not wanting words which might be uttered, as you too utter these; and known also, for you do not know these; and set forth in the conduct of a life, as these are not set forth by you.
CHAP. 57. —129. PETILIANUS said: "It is written, 'Thou shalt not commit adultery.' Each one of you, even though he be chaste in his body, yet in spirit is an adulterer, because he pollutes his holiness."
130. AUGUSTIN answered: These words also might be spoken with truth against certain both of our number and of yours; but if their deeds are condemned by us and you alike, they belong to neither us nor you. But you wish that what you say against certain men, without proving it even in their especial case, should be taken just as if you had established it,— not in the case of some who have fallen away from the seed of Abraham, but in reference to all the nations of the earth who are blessed in the seed of Abraham.
CHAP. 58. —131. PETILIANUS said: "It is written, 'Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.' When you falsely declare to the kings of this world that we hold your opinions, do you not make up a falsehood?"
132. AUGUSTIN answered: If those are not our opinions which you hold, neither were they your opinions which you received from the followers of Maximianus. But if they were therefore yours, because they were guilty of a sacrilegious schism in not communicating with the party of Donatus, take heed what ground you occupy, and with whose inheritance you refuse communion, and consider what answer you can make, not to the kings of this world, but to Christ your King. Of Him it is said, "He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth." From what river does it mean, save that where He was baptized, and where the dove descended on Him, that mighty token of charity and unity? But you refuse communion with this unity, and occupy as yet the place of unity; and you bring us into disfavor with the kings of this world in making use of the edicts of the proconsul to expel your schismatics from the place of the party of Donatus. These are not mere words flying at random through the empty void: the men are still alive, the states bear witness to the fact, the archives of the proconsuls and of the several towns are quoted in evidence of it. Let then the voice of calumny be at length silent, which would bring up against the whole earth the kings of this world, through whose proconsuls you, yourselves a fragment, would not spare the fragment which was separated from you. When then we say that you hold our opinions, we are not shown to be bearing false witness, unless you can show that we are not in the Church of Christ, which indeed you never cease alleging, but never will be able to establish; nay, in real truth, when you say this, you are bringing a charge of false witness no longer against us, but against the Lord Himself. For we are in the Church which was foretold by His own testimony, and where He bore witness to His witnesses, saying, 'Ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and even in the whole earth." But you show yourselves to be false witnesses not only from this, that you resist this truth, but also in the very trial in which you joined issue with the schism of Maximianus. For if you were acting according to the law of Christ, how much more consistently do certain Christian emperors frame ordinances in accordance with it, if even pagan proconsuls can follow its behests in passing judgment? But if you thought that even the laws of an earthly empire were to be summoned to your aid, we do not blame you for this. It is what Paul did when he bore witness before his adversaries that he was a Roman citizen. But I would ask by what earthly laws it is ordained that the followers of Maximianus should be driven from their place? You will find no law whatever to this effect. But, in point of fact, you have chosen to expel them under laws which have been passed against heretics, and against yourselves among their number. You, as though by superior strength, have prevailed against the weak. Whence they, being wholly powerless, say that they are innocent, like the wolf in the power of the lion. Yet surely you could not use laws which were passed against yourselves as instruments against others, except by the aid of false witness. For if those laws are founded on truth, then do you come down from the position which you occupy; but if on falsehood, why did you use them to drive others from the Church? But how if they both are founded on truth, and could not be used by you for the expulsion of others except with the aid of falsehood? For that the judges might submit to their authority, they were willing to expel heretics from the Church, from which they ought first to have expelled yourselves; but you declared yourselves to be Catholics, that you might escape the severity of the laws which you employed to oppress others. It is for you to determine what you appear to yourselves among yourselves; at any rate, under those laws you are not Catholics. Why then have you either made them false, if they are true, by your false witness, or made use of them, if they are false, for the oppression of others?
CHAP. 59. —133. PETILIANUS said: "It is written, 'Thou shalt not covet anything that is thy neighbor's.' You plunder what is ours, that you may have it for your own."
134. AUGUSTIN answered: All things of which unity was in possession belong to none other than ourselves, who remain in unity, not in accordance with the calumnies of men, but with the words of Christ, in whom all the nations of the whole earth are blessed. Nor do we separate ourselves from the society of the wheat, on account of the unrighteous men whom we cannot separate from the wheat of the Lord before the winnowing at the judgment; and if there are any things which you who are cut off begin already to possess, we do not, because the Lord has given to us what has been taken away from you, therefore covet our neighbors' goods, seeing that they have been made ours by the authority of Him to whom all things belong; and they are rightly ours, for you were wont to use them for purposes of schism, but we use them for the promotion of unity. Otherwise your party might reproach even the first people of God with coveting their neighbors' goods, seeing that they were driven forth before their face by the power of God, because they used the land amiss; and the Jews in turn themselves, from whom the kingdom was taken away, according to the words of the Lord, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof, may bring a charge against that nation, of coveting their neighbors' goods, because the Church of Christ is in possession where the persecutors of Christ were wont to reign. And, after all, when it has been said to yourselves, You are coveting the goods of other men, because you have driven out from the basilicas the followers of Maximianus. you are at a loss to find any answer that you can make.
CHAP. 60. —135. PETILIANUS said: "Under what law, then, do you make out that you are Christians, seeing that you do what is contrary to the law?"
136. AUGUSTIN answered: You are anxious for strife, and not for argument.
CHAP. 61. —137. PETILIANUS said: "But the Lord Christ says, 'Whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.' But He condemns you wretched men as follows: 'Whosoever shall break one of these commandments, he shalt be called the least in the kingdom of heaven.'"
138. AUGUSTIN answered: When you happen to quote the testimony of Scripture as other than it really is, and it does not bear on the question which is at issue between us, I am not greatly concerned; but when it interferes with the matter on hand, unless it is quoted truly, then I think that you have no right to find fault if I remind you how the passage really stands. For you must be aware that the verse which you quoted is not as you quoted it, but rather thus: "Whosoever shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven; but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven." And immediately He continues, "For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven." For elsewhere He shows and proves of the Pharisees that they say and do not. It is these, therefore, to whom He is referring also here, when He said, "Whosoever shall break one of these commandments, and shall teach men so,"—that is, shall teach in words what he has violated in deeds; whose righteousness He says that our righteousness must excel, in that we must both keep the commandments and teach men so. And yet not even on account of those Pharisees, with whom you compare us,—not from any motives of prudence, but from malice,—did our Lord enjoin that the seat of Moses should be deserted, which seat He doubtless meant to be a figure of His own; for He said indeed that they who sat in Moses' seat were ever saying and not doing, but warns the people to do what they say, and not to do what they do, lest the chair, with all its holiness, should be deserted, and the unity of the flock divided through the faithlessness of the shepherds.
CHAP. 62. —139. PETILIANUS said: "And again it is written, 'Every sin which a man shall sin is without the body; but he that sinneth in the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.'"
140. AUGUSTIN answered: This too is not written as you have quoted it, and see how far it has led you astray. The apostle, writing to the Corinthians, says, "Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body." But this is one thing, and that is another which the Lord said in the gospel: "All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come." But you have begun a sentence from the writing of the apostle, and ended it as though it were one from the gospel, which I fancy you have done not with any intention to deceive, but through mistake; for neither passage has any bearing on the matter in hand. And why you have said this, and in what sense you have said it, I am wholly unable to perceive, unless it be that, whereas you had said above that all were condemned by the Lord who had broken any one of His commandments, you have considered since how many there are in your party who break not one but many of them; and lest an objection should be brought against you on that score, you have sought, by way of surpassing the difficulty, to bring in a distinction of sins, whereby it might be seen that it is one thing to break a commandment in respect of which pardon may easily be obtained, another thing to sin against the Holy Ghost, which shall receive no forgiveness, either in this world or in the world to come. In your dread, therefore, of infection from sin, you were unwilling to pass this over in silence; and again, in your dread of a question too deep for your powers, you wish to touch cursorily on it in passing, in such a state of agitation, that, just as men who are setting about a task in haste, and consequent confusion, are wont to fasten their dress or shoes awry, so you have not thought fit either to see what belongs to what, or in what context or what sense the passage which you quote occurs. But what is the nature of that sin which shall not be forgiven, either in this world or in the world to come, you are so far from knowing, that, though you believe that we are actually living in it, you yet promise us forgiveness of it through your baptism. And yet how could this be possible, if the sin be of such a nature that it cannot be forgiven, either in this world or in the world to come?
CHAP. 63. —141. PETILIANUS said: "But wherein do you fulfill the commandments of God? The Lord Christ said, 'Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.' But you by your malice in persecution breathe forth the riches of madness."
142. AUGUSTIN answered: Address that rather to your own Circumcelliones.
CHAP. 64. —143. PETILIANUS said: "'Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.' You therefore, not being meek, have lost both heaven and earth alike."
144. AUGUSTIN answered: Again and again you may hear the Lord saying, "Ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and even in the whole earth." How is it, then, that those men have not lost heaven and earth, who, in order to avoid communicating with all the nations of the earth, despise the words of Him that sitteth in heaven? For, in proof of your meekness, it is not your words but the cudgels of the Circumcelliones which should be examined. You will say, What has that to do with us? Just as though we were making the remark with any other object except to extract that answer from you. For the reason that your schism is a valid charge against you is that you do not allow that you are chargeable with another's sin, whereas you have separated from us for no other reason but that you charge us with the sins of other men.
CHAP. 65. —145. PETILIANUS said: "'Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.' You, our butchers, are the cause of mourning in others: you do not mourn yourselves."
146. AUGUSTIN answered: Consider for a short space to how many, and with what intensity. the cry of "Praises be to God," proceeding from your armed men, has caused others to mourn. Do you say again, What is that to us? Then I too will rejoin again m your own words, What is that to us? What is it to all the nations of the earth? What is it to those who praise the name of the Lord from the rising of the sun to the setting of the same? What is it to all the earth, which sings a new song? What is it to the seed of Abraham, in which all the nations of the earth are blessed? And so the sacrilege of your schism is chargeable on you, just because the evil deeds of your companions are not chargeable on you; and because you are from this that the deeds of those on whose account you separated from the world, even if you proved your charges to be true, do not involve the world in sin.
CHAP. 66. —147. PETILIANUS said: "'Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.' To you it seems to be righteousness that you thirst after our blood."
148. AUGUSTIN answered: What shall I say unto thee, O man, except that thou art calumnious? The unity of Christ, indeed, is hungering and thirsting after all of you; and I would that it might swallow you up, for then would you be no longer heretics.
CHAP. 67. —149. PETILIANUS said: "'Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.' But how shall I call you merciful when you inflict punishment on the righteous? Shall not rather call you a most unrighteous communion, so long as you pollute souls?"
150. AUGUSTIN answered: You have proved neither point,—neither that you yourselves are righteous, nor that we inflict punishment on even the unrighteous; and yet, even as false flattery is generally cruel, so just correction is ever merciful. For whence is that which you do not understand: "Let the righteous smite me, it shall be a kindness; and let him reprove me"? For while he says this of the severity of merciful correction, the Psalmist immediately went on to say of the gentleness of destructive flattery, "But the oil of sinners shall not break my head." Do you therefore consider whither you are called, and from what you are summoned away. For how do you know what feelings he entertains towards you whom you suppose to be cruel? But whatever be his feelings, every one must bear his own burden both with us and with you. But I would have you cast away the burden of schism which you all of you are bearing, that you may bear your good burdens in unity; and I would bid you mercifully correct, if you should have the power, all those who are bearing evil burdens; and, if this be beyond your power, I would bid you bear with them in peace.
CHAP. 68. —151. PETILIANUS said: "'Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.' When will you see God, who are possessed with blindness in the impure malice of your hearts?"
152. AUGUSTIN answered: Wherefore say you this? Can it be that we reproach all nations with the dark and hidden things which are declared by men, and do not choose to understand the manifest sayings which God spake in olden time of all the nations of the earth? This is indeed great blindness of heart; and if you do not recognize it in yourselves, that is even greater blindness.
CHAP. 69. —153. PETILIANUS said: "'Blessed are the peacemakers; for they shall be called the children of God.' You make a pretence of peace by your wickedness, and seek unity by war."
154. AUGUSTIN answered: We do not make a pretense of peace by wickedness, but we preach peace out of the gospel; and if you were at peace with it, you would be at peace also with us. The risen Lord, when presenting Himself to the disciples, not only that they should gaze on Him with their eyes, but also that they should handle Him with their hands, began His discourse to them with the words, "Peace be unto you." And how this peace itself was to be maintained, He disclosed to them in the words which followed. For "then opened He their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures, and said unto them, Thus is it written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day; and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem." If you will keep peace with these words, you will not be at variance with us. For if we seek unity by war, our war could not be praised in more glorious terms, seeing that it is written, "Thou shall love thy neighbor as thyself." And again it is written, "No man ever yet hated his own flesh." And yet the flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh. But if no man ever yet hated his own flesh, and yet a man lusteth against his own flesh, here you have unity sought by war, that the body, being subject to correction, may be brought under submission. But what the spirit does against the flesh, waging war with it, not in hatred but in love, this those who are spiritual do against those who are carnal, that they may do towards them what they do towards themselves, because they love their neighbors as neighbors indeed. But the war which the spiritual wage is that correction which is in love: their sword is the word of God. To such a war they are aroused by the trumpet of the apostle sounding with a mighty force: "Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all long-suffering and doctrine." See then that we act not with the sword, but with the word. But you answer what is not true, while you accuse us falsely. You do not correct your own faults, and you bring against us those of other men. Christ bears true witness concerning the nations of the earth; you, in opposition to Christ, bear false witness against the nations of the earth. If we were to believe you rather than Christ, you would call us peacemakers; because we believe Christ rather than you, we are said to make a pretense of peace by our wickedness. And while you say and do such things as this, you have the further impudence to quote the words, "Blessed are the peacemakers; for they shall be called the children of God."
CHAP. 70. —155. PETILIANUS said: "Though the Apostle Paul says, 'I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you, brethren, that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.'"
156. AUGUSTIN answered: If you would not only say these words, but hearken to them as well, you would put up even with known evils for the sake of peace, instead of inventing new ones for the sake of quarreling, if it were only because you subsequently learned, for the sake of the peace of Donatus, to put up with the most flagrant and notorious wickedness of Optatus. What madness is this that you display? Those who are known are borne with, that a fragment may not be further split up; those of whom nothing is known are defamed, that they themselves may not remain in the undivided whole.
CHAP. 71. —157. PETILIANUS said: "To you the prophet says, 'Peace, peace; and where is there peace?'"
158. AUGUSTIN answered: it is you that say this to us, not the prophet. We therefore answer you: If you ask where peace is to be found, open your eyes, and see of whom it is said, "He maketh wars to cease in all the world." If you ask where peace is to be found, open your eyes to see that city which cannot be hidden, because it is built upon a hill; open your eyes to see the mountain itself, and let Daniel show it to you, growing out of a small stone, and filling the whole earth. But when the prophet says to you, "Peace, peace; and where is there peace?" what will you show? Will you show the party of Donatus, unknown to the countless nations to whom Christ is known? It is surely not the city which cannot be hid; and whence is this, except that it is not founded on the mountain? "For He is our peace, who hath made both one,"—not Donatus, who has made one into two.
CHAP. 72. —159. PETILIANUS said: "'Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.' You are not blessed; but you make martyrs to be blessed, with whose souls the heavens are filled, and the earth has flourished with their memory. You therefore do not honor them yourselves, but you provide us with objects of honor."
160. AUGUSTIN answered: The plain fact is, that if it had not been said, "Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake," but had been said instead, Blessed are they who throw themselves over precipices, then heaven would have been filled with your martyrs. Of a truth we see many flowers on the earth blooming from their bodies; but, as the saying goes, the flower is dust and ashes.
CHAP. 73. —161. PETILIANUS said: "Since then you are not blessed by falsifying the commands of God, the Lord Christ condemns you by His divine decrees: 'Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint, and anise, and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.'"
162. AUGUSTIN answered: Tell me whether you have said anything which may not equally be said against you in turn by any slanderous and evil- speaking tongue. But from what has been said by me before, any one who wishes may find out that these things may be said against you, not by way of empty abuse, but with the support of truthful testimony. As, however, the opportunity is presented to us we must not pass this by. There is no doubt that to the ancient people of God circumcision stood in the place of baptism. I ask, therefore, putting the case that the Pharisees against whom those words you quote are spoken, had made some proselyte, who, if he were to imitate them, would, as it is said, become twofold more the child of hell than themselves, supposing that he were to be converted, and desire to imitate Simeon, or Zacharias, or Nathanael, would it be necessary that he should be circumcised again by them? And if it is absurd to put this case why, although in empty fashion and with empty sounds you compare us to men like this, do you nevertheless baptize after us? But if you are really men like this, how much better and how much more in accordance with truth do we act in not baptizing after you, as neither was it right that those whom I have mentioned should be circumcised after the worst of Pharisees! Furthermore, when such men sit in the seat of Moses, for which the Lord preserved its due honor, why do you blaspheme the apostolic chair on account of men whom, justly or unjustly, you compare with these?
CHAP. 74. —163. PETILIANUS said: "But these things do not alarm us Christians; for of the evil deeds which you are destined to commit we have before a warning given us by the Lord Christ. 'Behold,' He says, 'I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves.' You fill up the measure of the madness of wolves, who either lay or are preparing to lay snares against the Churches in precisely the same way in which wolves, with their mouths wide open against the fold, even with destructive eagerness, breathe forth panting anger from their jaws, suffused with blood."
164. AUGUSTIN answered: I should be glad to utter the same sentiment against you, but not in the words which you have used: they are too inappropriate, or rather mad. But what was required was, that you should show that we were wolves and that you were sheep, not by the emptiest of evil-speaking, but by some distinct proofs. For when I too have said, We are sheep, and you are wolves, do you think that there is any difference caused by the fact that you express the idea in swelling words? But listen whilst I prove what I assert. For the Lord says in the gospel, as you know full well, whether you please it or not, "My sheep hear my voice, and follow me." There are many sayings of the Lord on different subjects; but supposing, for example, that any One were in doubt whether the same Lord had risen in the body, and His words were to be quoted where He says, "Handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have;"—if even after this he should be unwilling to acquiesce in the belief that His body had risen from the dead, surely such a man could not be reckoned among the sheep of the Lord, because he would not hear His voice. And so too now, when the question between us is, Where is the Church? whilst we quote the words that follow in the same passage of the gospel, where, after His resurrection, He gave His body even to be handled by those who were in doubt, in which He showed the future wide extent of the Church, saying, "Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day; and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name throughout all nations, beginning at Jerusalem;" whereas you will not communicate with all nations, in whom these words have been fulfilled, how are you the sheep of this Shepherd, whose words you not only do not obey when you have heard them, but even fight against them? And so we show to you from this that you are not sheep. But listen further whence we show you that, on the contrary, you are wolves. For necessarily, when it is shown by His own words where the Church is to be found, it is also clear where we must look for the fold of Christ. Whenever, therefore, any sheep separate themselves from this fold, which is expressly pointed out and shown to us by the unmistakeable declaration of the Lord,—and that, I will not say because of charges falsely brought, but on account of charges brought, as no one can deny, with great uncertainty against their fellow-men, and consequently slay those sheep which they have torn and alienated from the life of unity and Christian love—is it not evident that they are ravening wolves? But it will be said that these very men themselves praise and preach the Lord Christ. They are therefore those of whom He says Himself, "They come unto you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. By their fruits ye shall know them." The sheep's clothing is seen in the praises of Christ; the fruits of their wolfish nature in their slanderous teeth.
CHAP. 75. —165. PETILIANUS said: "O wretched traditors! Thus indeed it was fitting that Scripture should be fulfilled. But in you I grieve for this, that you have shown yourselves worthy to fulfill the part of wickedness."
166. AUGUSTIN answered: I might rather say, O wretched traditors! if I were minded, or rather if justice urged me to cast up against all of you the deeds of some among your number. But as regards what hears on all of you, O wretched heretics, I on my part will quote the remainder of your words; for it is written, "There must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you." Therefore "it was fitting thus that Scripture should be fulfilled. But in you I grieve for this, that you have shown yourselves worthy to fulfill the part of wickedness."
CHAP. 76. —167. PETILIANUS said: "But to us the Lord Christ, in opposition to your deadly commands, commanded simple patience and harmlessness. For what says He? 'A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.' And again, 'By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.'"
168. AUGUSTIN answered: If you did not transfer these words, so widely differing from your character, to the surface of your talk, how could you be covering yourselves with sheep's clothing?
CHAP. 77. —169. PETILIANUS said: "Paul also, the apostle, whilst he was suffering fearful persecutions at the hands of all nations, endured even more grievous troubles at the hands of false brethren, as he bears witness of himself, being oftentimes afflicted: 'In perils by the heathen, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils among false brethren.' And again he says, 'Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.' When, therefore, false brethren like yourselves assault us, we imitate the patience of our master Paul under our dangers."
170. AUGUSTIN answered: Certainly those of whom you speak are false brethren, of whom the apostle thus complains in another place, where he is extolling the natural sincerity of Timothy: "I have no man," he says, "like-minded, who will naturally care for your state. For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's." Undoubtedly he was speaking of those who were with him at the time when he was writing that epistle; for it could not be that all Christians in every quarter of the earth were seeking their own, and not the things which were Jesus Christ's. It was of those, therefore, as I said, who were with him at the time when he was writing the words which you have quoted, that he uttered this lamentation. For who else was it to whom he referred, when he says in another place, "Without were fightings, within were fears," except those whom he feared all the more intensely because they were within? If, therefore, you would imitate Paul, you would be tolerant of false brethren within, not a slanderer of the innocent without.
CHAP. 78. —171. PETILIANUS said: "For what kind of faith is that which is in you which is devoid of charity? when Paul himself says, 'Though I speak with the tongues of men, and have the knowledge of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.'"
172. AUGUSTIN answered: This is what I said just now, that you were desirous to be clad in sheep's clothing, that, if possible, the sheep might feel your bite before it had any consciousness of your approach. Is it not that praise of charity in which you indulge that commonly proves your calumny in the clearest light of truth? Will you bring it about that those arms shall be no longer ours, because you endeavor to appropriate them first? Furthermore, these arms are endowed with life: from whatever quarter they are launched, they recognize whom they should destroy. If they have been sent forth from our hands, they will fix themselves in you; if they are aimed by you, they recoil upon yourselves. For in these apostolic words, which commend the excellence of charity, we are wont to show to you how profitless it is to man that he should be in possession of faith or of the sacraments, when he has not charity, that, when you come to Catholic unity, you may understand what it is that is conferred on you, and how great a thing it is of which you were at least to some extent in want; for Christian charity cannot be preserved except in the unity of the Church: and that so you may see that without it you are nothing, even though you may be in possession of baptism and faith, and through this latter may be able even to remove mountains. But if this is your opinion as well, let us not repudiate and reject in you either the sacraments of God which we know, or faith itself, but let us hold fast charity, without which we are nothing even with the sacraments and with faith. But we hold fast charity if we cling to unity; while we cling to unity, if we do not make a fictitious unity in a party by our own words, but recognize it in a united whole through the words of Christ.
CHAP. 79. —173. PETILIANUS said: "And again, 'Charity suffereth long, and is kind charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own.' But you seek what belongs to other men. 'Is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth.' This is to say, in short, Charity does not persecute, does not inflame emperors to take away the lives of other men; does not plunder other men's goods; does not go on to murder men whom it has spoiled."
174. AUGUSTIN answered: How often must I tell you the same thing? If you do not prove these charges, they tell against no one in the world; and if you prove them, they have no bearing upon us; just as those things have no bearing upon you which are daily done by the furious deeds of the insane, by the luxury of the drunken, by the blindness of the suicides, by the tyranny of robbers. For who can fail to see that what I say is true? But now if charity were in you, it would rejoice in the truth. For how neatly it is said under covering of the sheep's clothing, "Charity beareth all things, endureth all things!" but when you come to the test, the wolf's teeth cannot be concealed. For when, in obedience to the words of Scripture, "forbearing one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace," charity would compel you, even if you knew of any evils within the Church, I do not say to consent to them, but yet to tolerate them if you could not prevent them, test, on account of the wicked who are to be separated by the winnowing-fan at the last day, you should at the present time sever the bond of peace by breaking off from the society of good men, you, resisting her influence, and being cast out by the wind of levity, charge the wheat with being chaff, and declare that what you invent of the wicked holds good through the force of contagion even in the righteous. And when the Lord has said, "The field is the World, the harvest is the end of the world," though He said of the wheat and of the tares, "Let both grow together until the harvest," you endeavor by your words to bring about a belief that the wheat has perished throughout the main portion of the field, and only continued to exist in your little corner,—being desirous that Christ should be proved a liar, but you the man of truth. And you speak, indeed, against your own conscience; for no one who in any way looks truly at the gospel will venture in his heart to say that in all the many nations throughout which is heard the response of Amen, and among whom Alleluia is sung almost with one single voice, no Christians are to be found. And yet, that it may not appear that the party of Donatus, which does not communicate with the several nations of the world, is involved in error, if any angel from heaven, who could see the whole world, were to declare that outside your communion good and innocent men were nowhere to be found, there is little doubt that you would rejoice over the iniquity of the human race, and boast of having told the truth before you had received assurance of it. How then is there in you that charity which rejoices not in iniquity? But be not deceived. Throughout the field, that is, throughout the world, there will be found the wheat of the Lord growing till the end of the world. Christ has said this: Christ is truth. Let charity be in you, and let it rejoice in the truth. Though an angel from heaven preach unto you another gospel contrary to His gospel, let him be accursed.
CHAP. 80. —175. PETILIANUS said: "Lastly, what is the justification of persecution? I ask you, you wretched men, if it so be that you think that your sin rests on any authority of law."
176. AUGUSTIN answered: He who sins, sins not on the authority of the law, but against the authority of the law. But since you ask what is the justification of persecution, I ask you in turn whose voice it is that says in the psalm, "Whoso privily slandereth his neighbor, him will I cut off." Seek therefore the reason or the measure of the persecution, and do not display your gross ignorance by finding fault in general terms with those who persecute the unrighteous.
CHAP. 81. —177. PETILIANUS said: "But I answer you, on the other hand, that Jesus Christ never persecuted any one. And when the apostle found fault with certain parties, and suggested that He should have recourse to persecution (He Himself having come to create faith by inviting men to Him, rather than by compelling them), those apostles say, 'Many lay on hands in Thy name, and are not with us:' but Jesus said, 'Let them alone; if they are not against you, they are on your side.'"
178. AUGUSTIN answered: You say truly that you will bring forth out of your store with greater abundance things which are not written in the Scriptures. For if you wish to bring forth proofs from holy Scripture, will you bring forth even those which you cannot find therein? But it is in your own power to multiply your lies according to your will. For where is what you quoted written? or when was that either suggested to our Lord, or answered by our Lord? "Many lay on hands in Thy name, and are not with us," are words that no one of the disciples ever uttered to the Son of God; and therefore neither could the answer have been made by Him, "Let them alone: if they are not against you, they are on your side." But there is something somewhat like it which we really do read in the gospel,—that a suggestion was made to the Lord about a certain man who was casting out devils in His name, but did not follow Him with His disciples; and in that case the Lord does say, "Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us." But this has nothing to do with pointing out parties whom the Lord is supposed to have spared. And if you have been deceived by an apparent resemblance of sentiment, this is not a lie, but merely human infirmity. But if you wished to cast a mist of falsehood over those who are unskilled in holy Scripture, then may you be pricked to the heart, and covered with confusion and corrected. Yet there is a point which we would urge in respect of this very man of whom the suggestion was made to our Lord. For even as at that time, beyond the communion of the disciples, the holiness of Christ was yet of the greatest efficacy, even so now, beyond the communion of the Church, the holiness of the sacraments is of avail For neither is baptism consecrated save in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. But who will be so utterly insane as to declare that the name of the Son may be of avail even beyond the communion of the Church, but that this is not possible with the names of the Father and of the Holy Ghost? or that it may be of avail in healing a man, but not in consecrating baptism? But it is manifest that outside the communion of the Church, and the most holy bond of unity, and the most excellent gift of charity, neither he by whom the devil is cast out nor he who is baptized obtains eternal life; just as those do not obtain it, who through communion in the sacraments seem indeed to be within, and through the depravity of their character are understood to be without. But that Christ persecuted even with bodily chastisement those whom He drove with scourges from the temple, we have already said above.
CHAP. 82. —179. PETILIANUS said: "But the holy apostle said this: 'In any way, whatsoever it may be,' he says, 'let Christ be preached.'"
180. AUGUSTIN answered: You speak against yourself; but yet, since you speak on the side of truth, if you love it, let what you say be counted for you. For I ask of you of whom it was that the Apostle Paul said this? Let us, if you please, trace this a little further back. "Some," he says, "preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will, some of love, knowing that I am set for the defense of the gospel. But some indeed preach Christ even of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds. What then? notwithstanding every way, whether in pretense, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice." We see that they preached what was in itself holy, and pure, and true, but yet not in a pure manner, but of envy and contention, without charity, without purity. Certainty a short time ago you appeared to be urging the praises of charity as against us, according to the witness of the apostle, that where there is no charity, whatever there is is of no avail; and yet you see that in those there is no charity, and there was with them the preaching of Christ, of which the apostle says here that he rejoices. For it is not that he rejoices in what is evil in them, but in what is good in the name of Jesus Christ. In him assuredly there was the charity which "rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth." The envy, moreover, which was in them is an evil proceeding from the devil, for by this he has both killed and cast down. Where then were these wicked men whom the apostle thus condemns, and in whom there was so much that was good to cause him to rejoice? Were they within, or without? Choose which you will. If they were within, then Paul knew them, and yet they did not pollute him. And so you would not be polluted in the unity of the whole world by those of whom you make certain charges, whether these be true, or falsehoods invented by yourselves. Wherefore do you separate yourself? Why do you destroy yourself by the criminal sacrilege of schism? But if they were without, then you see that even in those who were without, and who certainly cannot belong to everlasting life, since they have not charity, and do not abide in unity, there is yet found the holiness of the name of Christ, so that the apostle joyfully confirms their teaching, on account of the intrinsic holiness of the name, although he repudiates them. We are right, therefore, in not doing wrong to the actual name, when those come to us who were without; but we correct the individuals, while we do honor to the name. Do you therefore take heed, and see how wickedly you act in the case of those whose acts as it seems you condemn, by treating as naught the sacrament of the name of Christ, which is holy in them. And you, indeed, as is shown by your words, think that those men of whom the apostle spoke were outside the limits of the Church. Therefore, when you fear persecution from the Catholics, of which you speak in order to create odium against us, you have confirmed in heretics the name of Christ to which you do despite by rebaptizing.
CHAP. 83. —181. PETILIANUS said: "If then there are not some to whom all this power of faith is found to be in Opposition, on what principle do you persecute, so as to compel men to defile themselves:?"
182. AUGUSTIN answered: We neither persecute you, except so far as truth persecutes falsehood; nor has it anything to do with us if any one has persecuted you in other ways, just as it has nothing to do with you if any of your party do likewise; nor do we compel you to defile yourselves, but we persuade you to be cured.
CHAP. 84. —183. PETILIANUS said: "But if authority had been given by some law for persons to be compelled to what is good, you yourselves, unhappy men, ought to have been compelled by us to embrace the purest faith. But far be it, far be it from our conscience to compel any one to embrace our faith."
184. AUGUSTIN answered: No one is indeed to be compelled to embrace the faith against his will; but by the severity, or one might rather say, by the mercy of God, it is common for treachery to be chastised with the scourge of tribulation. Is it the case, because the best morals are chosen by freedom of will, that therefore the worst morals are not punished by integrity of law? But yet discipline to punish an evil manner of living is out of the question, except where principles of good living which had been learned have come to be despised. If any laws, therefore, have been enacted against you, you are not thereby forced to do well, but are only prevented from doing ill. For no one can do well unless he has deliberately chosen, and unless he has loved what is in free will; but the fear of punishment, even if it does not share in the pleasures of a good conscience, at any rate keeps the evil desire from escaping beyond the bounds of thought. Who are they, however, that have enacted adverse laws by which your audacity could be repressed? Are they not those of whom the apostle says that "they bear not the sword in vain; for they are the ministers of God, revengers to execute wrath upon them that do evil?" The whole question therefore is, whether you are not doing ill, who are charged by the whole world with the sacrilege of so great a schism. And yet, neglecting the discussion of this question, you talk on irrelevant matters; and while you live as robbers, you boast that you die as martyrs. And, through fear either of the laws themselves, or of the odium which you might incur, or else because you are unequal to the task of resisting, I do not say so many men, but so many Catholic nations, you even glory in your gentleness, that you do not compel any to join your party. According to your way of talking, the hawk, when he has been prevented by flight from carrying off the fowls, might call himself a dove. For when have you ever had the power without using it? And hence you show how you would do more if you only could. When Julian, envying the peace of Christ, restored to you the churches which belonged to unity, who could tell of all the massacres which were committed by you, when the very devils rejoiced with you at the opening of their temples? In the war with Firmus and his party, let Mauritania Caesariensis itself be asked to tell us what the Moor Rogatus suffered at your hands. In the time of Gildo, because one of your colleagues was his intimate friend, let the followers of Maximianus be our witnesses to their sufferings. For if one might appeal to Felicianus himself, who is now with you, on his oath, whether Optatus did not compel him against his will to return to your communion, he would not dare to open his lips, especially if the people of Musti could behold his face, who were witnesses to everything that was done. But let them, as I have said, be witnesses to what they have suffered at the hands of those with whom they acted in such wise towards Rogatus. The Catholic Church herself, though strengthened by the assistance of Catholic princes ruling by land and sea, was savagely attacked by hostile troops in arms under Optatus. It was this that first made it necessary to urge before the vicar Seranus that the law should be put in force against you which imposes a fine of ten pounds of gold, which none of you have ever paid to this very day, and yet you charge us with cruelty. But where could you find a milder course of proceeding, than that crimes of such magnitude on your part should be punished by the imposition of a pecuniary fine? Or who could enumerate all the deeds which you commit in the places which you hold, of your own sovereign will and pleasure, each one as he can, without any friendship on the part of judges or any others in authority? Who is there of our party, among the inhabitants of our towns, who has not either learned something of this sort from those who came before him, or experienced it for himself? Is it not the case that at Hippo, where I am, there are not wanting some who remember that your leader Faustinus gave orders, in the time of his supreme power, in consequence of the scanty numbers of the Catholics in the place, that no one should bake their bread for them, insomuch that a baker, who was the tenant of one of our deacons, threw away the bread of his landlord unbaked, and though he was not sentenced to exile under any law, he cut him off from all share in the necessaries of life not only in a Roman state, but even in his own country, and not only in his own country, but in his own house? Why, even lately, as I myself recall with mourning to this day, did not Crispinus of Calama, one of your party, having bought a property, and that only copy-hold, boldly and unhesitatingly immerse in the waters of a second baptism no less than eighty souls, murmuring with miserable groans under the sole influence of terror; and this in a farm belonging to the Catholic emperors, by whose laws you were forbidden even to be in any Roman city? But what else was it, save such deeds as these of yours, that made it necessary for the very laws to be passed of which you complain? The laws, indeed, are very far from being proportionate to your offenses; but, such as they are, you may thank yourselves for their existence. Indeed, should we not certainly be driven on all sides from the country by the furious attacks of your Circumcelliones, who fight under your command in furious troops, unless we held you as hostages in the towns, who might well be unwilling to endure under any circumstances the mere gaze of the people, and the censure of all honorable men. from very shame, if not from fear? Do not therefore say, "Far be it, far be it from our conscience, to force any one to embrace our faith." For you do it when you can; and when you do not do it, it is because you are unable, either from fear of the laws or the odium which would accompany it, or because of the numbers of those who would resist.
CHAP. 85. —185. PETILIANUS said: "For the Lord Christ says, 'No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him.' But why do we not permit each several person to follow his free will, since the Lord God Himself has given free will to men, showing to them, however, the way of righteousness, lest any one by chance should perish from ignorance of it? For He said, 'I have placed before thee good and evil. I have set fire and water before thee; choose which thou wilt.' From which choice, you wretched men, you have chosen for yourselves not water, but rather fire. 'But yet,' He says, 'choose the good, that thou mayest live.' You who will not choose the good, have, by your own sentence, declared that you do not wish to live."
186. AUGUSTIN answered: If I were to propose to you the question how God the Father draws men to the Son, when He has left them to themselves in freedom of action, you would perhaps find it difficult of solution. For how does He draw them to Him if He leaves them to themselves, so that each should choose what he pleases? And yet both these facts are true; but this is a truth which few have intellect enough to penetrate. As therefore it is possible that, after leaving men to themselves in free will, the Father should yet draw them to the Son, so is it also possible that those warnings which are given by the correction of the laws do not take away free will. For whenever a man suffers anything that is harsh and unpleasing, he is warned to consider why it is that he is suffering, so that, if he shall discover that he is suffering in the cause of justice, he may choose the good that consists in the very act of suffering as he does in the cause of justice; but if he sees that it is unrighteousness for which he suffers, he may be induced, from the consideration that he is suffering and being tormented most fruitlessly, to change his purpose for the better, and may at the same time escape both the fruitless annoyance and the unrighteousness itself, which is likely to prove yet more hurtful and pernicious in the mischief it produces. And so you, when kings make any enactments against you, should consider that you are receiving a warning to consider why this is being done to you. For if it is for righteousness' sake, then are they truly your persecutors; but you are the blessed ones, who, being persecuted for righteousness' sake, shall inherit the kingdom of heaven: but if it is because of the iniquity of your schism, what are they more than your correctors; while you, like all the others who are guilty of various crimes, and pay the penalty appointed by the law, are undoubtedly unhappy both in this world and in that which is to come? No one, therefore, takes away from you your free will. But I would urge you diligently to consider which you would rather chooses—whether to live corrected in peace, or, by persevering in malice, to undergo real punishment under the false name of martyrdom. But I am addressing you just as though you were suffering something proportionate to your sin, whereas you are committing sins of such enormity and reigning in such impunity. You are so furious, that you cause more terror than a war trumpet with your cry of "Praise to God;" so full of calumny, that even when you throw yourselves over precipices without any provocation, you impute it to our persecutions.
187. He says also, like the kindest of teachers, "You who will not choose the good, have, by your own sentence, declared that you do not wish to live." According to this, if we were to believe your accusations, we should live in kindness; but because we believe the promises of God, we declare by our own sentence that we do not wish to live. You remember well, it seems to me, what the apostles answered to the Jews when they were desired to abstain from preaching Christ. This therefore we also say, that you should answer us whether we ought rather to obey God or man. Traditors, offerers of incense, persecutors: these are the words of men against men. Christ remained only in the love of Donatus: these are the words of men extolling the glory of a man under the name of Christ, that the glory of Christ Himself may be diminished. For it is written, "In the multitude of people is the king's honor: but in the want of people is the destruction of the prince:" these, therefore, are the words of men. But those words in the gospel, "It behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day; and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem," are the words of Christ, showing forth the glory which He received from His Father in the wideness of His kingdom. When we have heard them both, we choose in preference the communion of the Church, and prefer the words of Christ to the words of men. I ask, who is there that can say that we have chosen what is evil, except one who shall say that Christ taught what was evil?
CHAP. 86. —188. PETILIANUS said: "Is it then the case that God has ordered the massacre even of schismatics? and if He were to issue such an order at all, you ought to be slain by some barbarians and Scythians, not by Christians."
189. AUGUSTIN answered: Let your Circumcelliones remain quiet, and let me entreat you not to terrify us about barbarians. But as to whether we or you are schismatics, let the question be put neither to you nor to me, but to Christ, that He may show where His Church is to be found. Read the gospel then, and there you find the answer, "In JerusaIem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria and even in the whole earth." If any one, therefore, is not found within the Church, let not any further question be put to him, but let him either be corrected or converted, or else, being detected, let him not complain.
CHAP. 87. —190. PETILIANUS said: "For neither has the Lord God at any time rejoiced in human blood, seeing that He was even willing that Cain, the murderer of his brother, should continue to exist in his murderer's life."
191. AUGUSTIN answered: If God was unwilling that death should be inflicted on him who slew his brother, preferring that he should continue to exist in his murderer's life, see whether this be not the cause why, seeing that the heart of the king is in the hand of God, whereby he has himself enacted many laws for your correction and reproof, yet no law of the king has commanded that you should be put to death, perhaps with this very object, that any one of you who persists in the obstinate self-will of his sacrilegious madness should be tortured with the punishment of the fratricide Cain, that is to say, with the life of a murderer. For we read that many were slain in mercy by Moses the servant of the Lord; for in that he prayed thus in intercession to the Lord for their wicked sacrilege, saying, "O Lord, if Thou wilt forgive their sin—; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of the book which Thou hast written," his unspeakable charity and mercy are plainly shown. Could it be, then, that he was suddenly changed to cruelty, when, on descending from the mount, he ordered so many thousands to be slain? Consider, therefore, whether it may not be a sign of greater anger on the part of God, that, whilst so many laws have been enacted against you, you have not been ordered by any emperor to be put to death. Or do you think that you are not to be compared to that fratricide? Hearken to the Lord speaking through His prophet: "From the rising of the sun, even unto the going down of the same, my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering; for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the Lord of hosts." On this brother's sacrifice you show that you look with malignant eyes, over and above the respect which God pays to it; and if ye have ever heard that "from the rising of the sun, unto the going down of the same, the Lord's name is to be praised," which is that living sacrifice of which it is said, "Offer unto God thanksgiving," then will your countenance fall like that of yonder murderer. But inasmuch as you cannot kill the whole world, you are involved in the same guilt by your mere hatred, according to the words of John, "Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer." And I would that any innocent brother might rather fall into the hands of your Circumcelliones, to be murdered by their weapons, than be subjected to the poison of your tongue and rebaptized.
CHAP. 88. —192. PETILIANUS said: "We advise you, therefore, if so be that you will hear it willingly, and even though you do not willingly receive it, yet we warn you that the Lord Christ instituted for Christians, not any form of slaying, but one of dying only. For if He loved men who thus delight in battle, He would not have consented to be slain for us."
193. AUGUSTIN answered: Would that your martyrs would follow the form that He prescribed! they would not throw themselves over precipices, which He refused to do at the bidding of the devil. But when you persecute our ancestors with false witness even now that they are dead, whence have you received this form? In that you endeavor to stain us with the crimes of men we never knew, while you are unwilling that the most notorious misdeeds of your own party should he reckoned against you, whence have you received this form? But we are too much yielding to our own conceit if we find fault about ourselves, when we see that you utter false testimony against the Lord Himself, since He Himself both promised and made manifest that His Church should extend throughout all nations, and you maintain the contrary. This form, therefore, you did not receive even from the Jewish persecutors themselves, for they persecuted His body while He was walking on the earth: you persecute His gospel as He is seated in heaven. Which gospel endured more meekly the flames of furious kings than it can possibly endure your tongues; for while they blazed, unity remained, and this it cannot do amid your words. They who desired that the word of God should perish in the flames did not believe that it could be despised if read. They would not, therefore, set their flames to work upon the gospel, if you would let them use your tongues against the gospel. In the earlier persecution the gospel of Christ was sought by some in their rage, it was betrayed by others in their fear; it was burned by some in their rage, it was hidden by others in their love; it was attacked, but none were found to speak against its truth. The more accursed share of persecution was reserved for you when the persecution of the heathen was exhausted. Those who persecuted the name of Christ believed in Christ: now those who are honored for the name of Christ are found to speak against His truth.
CHAP. 89. —194. PETILIANUS said: "Here you have the fullest possible proof that a Christian may take no part in the destruction of another. But the first establishing of this principle was in the case of Peter, as it is written, "Simon Peter having a sword, drew it, and smote the high priest's servant, and cut off his right ear. Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath. For all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.'"
195. AUGUSTIN answered: Why then do you not restrain the weapons of the Circumcelliones with such words as these? Should you think that you were going beyond the words of the gospel if you should say, All they that take the cudgel shall perish with the cudgel? Withhold not then your pardon, if our ancestors were unable to restrain the men by whom you complain that Marculus was thrown down a precipice; for neither is it written in the gospel, He that useth to throw men down a precipice shall be cast therefrom. And would that, as your charges are either false or out of date, so the cudgels of those friends of yours would cease! And yet, perhaps, you take it ill that, if not by force of law, at any rate in words, we take away their armor from your legions in saying that they manifest their rage with sticks alone. For that was the ancient fashion of their wickedness, but now they have advanced too far. For amid their drunken revellings, and amid the free license of assembling together, wandering in the streets, jesting, drinking, passing the whole night in company with women who have no husbands, they have learned not only to brandish cudgels, but to wield swords and whirl slings. But why should I not say to them (God knows with what feelings I say it and with what feelings they receive it!), Madmen, the sword of Peter, though drawn from motives not yet free from fleshly impurity, was yet drawn in defence of the body of Christ against the body of His persecutor, but your arms are portioned out against the cause of Christ; but the body of which He is the head, that is, His Church, extends throughout all nations. He Himself has said I this, and has ascended into heaven, whither the fury of the Jews could not follow Him; and it is your fury which attacks His members in the body, which on His ascension He commended to our care. In defense of those members all men rage against you, all men resist you, as many as being in the Catholic Church, and possessing as yet but little faith, are influenced by the same motives as Peter was when he drew his sword in the name of Christ. But there is a great difference between your persecution and theirs. You are like the servant of the Jews' high priest; for in the service of your princes you arm yourselves against the Catholic Church, that is, against the body of Christ. But they are such as Peter then was, fighting even with the strength of their bodies for the body of Christ, that is, the Church. But if they are bidden to be still, as Peter then was bidden, I how much more should you be warned that, laying aside the madness of heresy, you should join the unity of those members for which they so fight? But, being wounded by such men as these, you hate us also; and, as though you had lost your right ears, you do not hear the voice of Christ as He sits at the right hand of the Father. But to whom shall I address myself, or how shall I address myself to them, seeing that in them I find no time wherein to speak? for even early in the morning they are reeking with wine, drunk, it may be already in the day, it may be still from overnight. Moreover, they utter threats, and not they only, but their own bishops utter threats concerning them, being ready to deny that what they have done has any bearing on them. May the Lord grant to us a song of degrees, in which we may say, "When I am with those who hate peace, I am peaceful. When I would speak with them, they are wont to fight me without cause." For thus says the body of Christ, which throughout the whole world is assailed by heretics, by some here, by others there, and by all alike wherever they may be.
CHAP. 90. —196. PETILIANUS said: "Therefore I say, He ordained that we should undergo death for the faith, which each man should do for the communion of the Church. For Christianity makes progress by the deaths of its followers. For if death were feared by the faithful, no man would be found to live with perfect faith. For the Lord Christ says, 'Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.'"
197. AUGUSTIN answered: I should be glad to know which of your party it was who first threw himself over a precipice. For truly that grain of corn was fruitful from which so great a crop of similar suicides has sprung. Tell me, when you make mention of the, words of the Lord, that He says a grain of wheat shall die and bring forth much fruit, why do you envy the real fruit, which has most truly sprung up throughout the whole world, and bring up against it all the charges of the tares or chaff which you have ever either heard of or invented?
CHAP. 91. —198. PETILIANUS said: "But you scatter thorns and tares, not seeds of corn. so that you ought to be burned together with them at the last judgment. We do not utter curses; but every thorny conscience is bound under this penalty by the sentence which God has pronounced."
199. AUGUSTIN answered: Surely, when you mention tares, it might bring to your minds the thought of wheat as well; for both have been commanded to grow together in the field until the harvest. But you fix the eye of malice fiercely on the tares, and maintain, in opposition to the express declaration of Christ, that they alone have grown throughout the earth, with the exception of Africa alone.
CHAP. 92. —200. PETILIANUS said: "Where is the saying of the Lord Christ, 'Whosoever shall smite thee on the right cheek, turn to him the other also'? Where is the patience which He displayed when they spat upon, His face, who Himself with His most holy spittle opened the eyes of the blind? Where is the saying of the Apostle Paul, 'If a man smite you in the face?' Where is that other saying of the same apostle, 'In stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft'? He makes mention of the sufferings which he underwent, not of the deeds which he performed. It had been enough for the Christian faith that these things should be done by the Jews: why do you, wretched men, do these others in addition?"
201. AUGUSTIN answered: Is it then really so, that when men smite you on the one cheek, you turn to them the other? This is not the report that your furious bands won for you by wandering everywhere throughout the whole of Africa with dreadful wickedness. I would fain have it that men should make a bargain with you, that, in accordance with the old law, you should seek but "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth," instead of bringing out cudgels in return for the words which greet your ears.
CHAP. 93. —202. PETILIANUS said: "But what have you to do with the kings of this world, in whom Christianity has never found anything save envy towards her? And to teach you shortly the truth of what I say, A king persecuted the brethren of the Maccabees. A king also condemned the three children to the sanctifying flames, being ignorant what lie did, seeing that he himself was fighting against God.' A king sought the life of the infant Saviour. A king exposed Daniel, as he thought, to be eaten by wild beasts. And the Lord Christ Himself was slain by a king's most wicked judge. Hence it is that the apostle cries out, 'We speak wisdom among them that are perfect; yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: but we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, which was hidden, which God ordained before the world unto our glory; which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.' But grant that this was said of the heathen kings of old. Yet you, rulers of this present age, because you desire to be Christians, do not allow men to be Christians, seeing that, when they are believing in all honesty of heart, you draw them by the defilement and mist of your falsehood wholly over to your wickedness, that with their arms, which were provided against the enemies of the state, they should assail the Christians, and should think that, at your instigation, they are doing the work of Christ if they kill us whom you hate, according to the saying of the Lord Christ: 'The time cometh,' He says, 'that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.' It makes no matter therefore to you, false teachers, whether the kings of this world desire to be heathens, which God forbid, or Christians, so long as you cease not in your efforts to arm them against the family of Christ. But do you not know, or rather, have you not read, that the guilt of one who instigates a murder is greater than the guilt of him who carries it out? Jezebel had excited the king her husband to the murder of a poor and righteous man, yet husband and wife alike perished by an equal punishment. Nor indeed is your mode of urging on kings different from that by which the subtle persuasion of women has often urged kings on to guilt. For the wife of Herod earned and obtained the boon by means of her daughter, that the head of John should be brought to table in a charger. Similarly the Jews forced on Pontius Pilate that he should crucify the Lord Jesus, whose blood Pilate prayed might remain in vengeance upon them and on their children. So therefore you also overwhelm yourselves with our blood by your sin. For it does not follow that because it is the hand of the judge that strikes the blow, your calumnies therefore are not rather guilty of the deed. For the prophet David says, speaking in the person of Christ, 'Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against His Anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and east away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall He speak unto them in His wrath, and vex them in His sore displeasure. Yet have I set my King upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten Thee. Ask of me, and I shall give Thee the heathen for Thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts, of the earth for Thy possession. Thou shalt rule them with a rod of iron; Thou shalt dash I them in pieces like a potter's vessel.' And he warned the kings themselves in the following precepts, that they should not, like ignorant men devoid of understanding, seek to persecute the Christians, lest they should themselves be destroyed,—which precepts I would that we could teach them, seeing that they are ignorant of them; or, at least, that you would show them to them, as doubtless you would do if you desired that they should live; or, at any rate; if neither of the other courses be allowed, that your malice would have permitted them to read them for themselves. The first Psalm of David would certainly have persuaded them that they should live and reign as Christians; but meanwhile you deceive them, so long as they entrust themselves to you. For you represent to them things that are evil, and you hide from them what is good. Let them then at length read this, which they should have read already long ago. For what does he say, 'Be wise now therefore, O ye kings; be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Lay hold of instruction lest the Lord be angry, and ye perish from the right way. Since how quickly has His wrath kindled over you? Blessed are all they that put their trust in Him.' You urge on emperors, I say, with your persuasions, even as Pilate, whom, as we showed above, the Jews urged on, though he himself cried aloud, as he washed his hands before them all, 'I am innocent of the blood of this just person,'—as though a person could be clear from the guilt of a sin who had himself committed it. But, to say nothing of ancient examples, observe, from instances taken from your own party, how very many of your emperors and judges have perished in persecuting us. To pass over Nero, who was the first to persecute the Christians, Domitian perished almost in the same way as Nero, as also did Trajan, Geta, Decius, Valerian, Diocletian; Maximian also perished, at whose command that men should burn incense to their gods, burning the sacred volumes, Marcellinus indeed first, but after him also Mensurius of Carthage, and Caecilianus, escaped death from the sacrilegious flames, surviving like some ashes or cinders from the burning. For the consciousness of the guilt of burning incense involved you all, as many as agreed with Mensurius. Macarius perished, Ursacius perished, and all your counts perished in like manner by the vengeance of God. For Ursacius was slain in a battle with the barbarians, after which birds of prey with their savage talons, and the greedy teeth of dogs with their biting, tore him limb from limb. Was not he too a murderer at your suggestion, who, like king Ahab, whom we showed to have been persuaded by a woman, slew a poor and righteous man? So you too do not cease to murder us, who are just and poor (poor, that is, in worldly wealth; for in the grace of God no one of us is poor). For even if you do not murder a man with your hands, you do not cease to do so with your butcherous tongues. For it is written, 'Death and life are in the power of the tongue.' All, therefore, who have been murdered, you the instigator of the deed, have slain. Nor indeed does the hand of the butcher glow save at the instigation of your tongue; and that terrible heat of the breast is inflamed by your words to take the blood of others,—blood that shall take a just vengeance upon him who shed it."
203. AUGUSTIN answered: If I were to answer adequately, and as I ought, to this passage, which has been exaggerated and arranged at such length by you, where you speak in invidious terms against us concerning the kings of this world, I am much afraid that you would accuse me too of having wished to excite the anger of kings against you. And yet, whilst you are borne after your own fashion by the violence of this invective against all Catholics, you certainly do not pass me by. I will endeavor, however, to show, if I can, that it is rather you who have been guilty of this offense by speaking as you have done, than myself by answering as I shall do. And first of all, see how you yourself oppose your self; for certainly you prefaced the passage which you quoted with the words, "What have you to do with the kings of this world, in whom Christianity has never found anything save envy towards her?" In these words you certainly cut off from us all access to the kings of this world. And a little later you say, "And he warned the kings themselves in the following precepts, that they should not, like ignorant men devoid of understanding, seek to persecute the Christians, lest they should be themselves destroyed,—which precepts I would that we could teach them, seeing that they are ignorant of them; or, at least, that you would show them to them, as doubtless you would do if you desired that they should live." In what way then do you wish us to be the instructors of kings? And indeed those of our body who have any friendship with Christian kings commit no sin if they make a right use of that friendship; but if any are elated by it, they yet sin far less grievously than you. For what had you, who thus reproach us,—what had you to do with a heathen king, and what is worse, with Julian, the apostate and enemy of the name of Christ, to whom, when you were begging that the basilicas should be restored to you as though they were your own, you ascribed this meed of praise, "that in him justice alone was found to have a place"?—in which words (for I believe that you understand the Latin tongue) both the idolatry and the apostasy of Julian are styled justice. I hold in my hands the petition which your ancestors presented; the memorial which embodied their request; the chronicles, where they made their representation. Watch and attend. To the enemy of Christ, to the apostate, the antagonist of Christians, the servant of the devil, that friend, that representative, that Pontius of yours, made supplication in such words as these: "Go to then, and say to us, What have you to do with the kings of this world?" that as deaf men you may read to the deaf nations what you as well as they refuse to hear;" Thou beholdest the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye."
204. "What," say you, "have you to do with the kings of this world, in whom Christianity has never found anything save envy towards her?" Having said this, you endeavored to reckon up what kings the righteous had found to be their enemies, and did not consider how many more might be enumerated who have proved their friends. The patriarch Abraham was both most friendly treated, and presented with a token of friendship, by a king who had been warned from heaven not to defile his wife. Isaac his son likewise found a king most friendly to him. Jacob, being received with honor by a king in Egypt, went so far as to bless him. What shall I say of his son Joseph, who, after the tribulation of a prison, in which his chastity was tried as gold is tried in the fire, being raised by Pharaoh to great honors, even swore by the life of Pharaoh,—not as though puffed up with vain conceit, but being not unmindful of his kindness. The daughter of a king adopted Moses. David took refuge with a king of another race, compelled thereto by the unrighteousness of the king of Israel. Elijah ran before the chariot of a most wicked king,—not by the king's command, but from his own loyalty. Elisha thought it good to offer of his own accord to the woman who had sheltered him anything that she might wish to have obtained from the king through his intercession. But I will come to the actual times when the People of God were in captivity, in which, to use a mild expression, a strange forgetfulness came over you. For, wishing to prove that Christianity has never found anything in kings saving envy towards her, you made mention of the three children and Daniel, who suffered at the hands of persecuting kings, and you could not derive instruction from circumstances not occurring near, but in the very same passages, viz., from the conduct of the king himself after the miracle of the flames which did no hurt, whether as shown in praising and setting forth the name of God, or in honoring the three children themselves, or from the esteem in which the king held Daniel, and the gifts with which he honored him, nothing loth to receive them, when he, rendering the honor that was due to the king's power, as sufficiently appears from his own words, did not hesitate to use the gift with which he was endowed by God, in interpreting the king's dream. And when, in consequence, the king was compelled by the men who envied the holy prophet, and heaped calumnies upon him with sacrilegious madness, most unwillingly to cast him into the den of lions, sadly though he did it, yet he had the conviction that he would be safe through the help and protection of his God. Accordingly, when Daniel, by the miraculous repression of the lions' rage, had been preserved unhurt, when the friendly voice of the king spoke first to him, in accents of anxiety, he himself replied with benediction from the den, "O king, live for ever!" How came it that, when your argument was turning on the very same subject, when you were yourself quoting the examples of the servants of God in whose case these things were done, you either failed to see, or were unwilling to see, or seeing and knowing, were silent, in a manner which I know not how you will defend, about those instances of friendship felt by kings for the saints? But if it were not that, as a defender of the basest cause, you are hindered by the desire of building up falsehood, and thereby turned away either as unwilling or as ignorant from the light of truth, there can be no doubt that you could, without any difficulty, recall some good kings as well as some bad ones, and some friendly to the saints as well as some unfriendly. And we cannot but wonder that your Circumcelliones thus throw themselves from precipices. Who was running after you, I pray? What Macarius, what soldier was pursuing you? Certainly none of our party thrust you into this abyss of falsehood. Why then did you thus run headlong with your eyes shut, so that when you said, "What have you to do with the kings of this world?" you did not add, In whom Christianity has often found envy towards herself, instead of boldly venturing to say, "In whom Christianity has never found anything save envy towards her?" Was it really true that you neither thought yourself, nor considered that those who read your writings would think, how many instances of kings there were that went against your views? Does he not know what he says?
205. Or do you think that, because those whom I have mentioned belonged to olden times, therefore they form no argument against you, because you did not say, In whom righteousness has never found anything save envy towards her, but "In whom Christianity has never found anything saving envy towards her,"—meaning, perhaps, that it should be understood that they began to show envy towards the righteous from the time when they began to bear the name of Christians? What then is the meaning of those examples from olden times, by which you even more imprudently wished to prove what you had so imprudently ventured to assert? For was it not before Christ was born in the world that the Maccabees, and the three children, and Daniel, did and suffered what you told of them? And again, why was it, as I asked just now, that you offered a petition to Julian, the undoubted foe of Christianity? Why did you seek to recover the basilicas from him? Why did you declare that only righteousness found a place with him? If it is the foe of Christianity that hears such things as these, what then are they from whom he hears them? But it should be observed that Constantine, who was certainly no foe to the name of Christian, but rather rendered glorious by it, being mindful of the hope which he maintained in Christ, and deciding most justly on behalf of His unity, was not worthy to be acknowledged by you, even when you yourselves appealed to him. Both these were emperors in Christian times, but yet not both of them were Christians. But if both of them were foes of Christianity, why did you thus appeal to one of them? why did you thus present a petition to the other? For on your ancestors making their petition, Constantine had given an episcopal judgment both at Rome and at Aries; and yet the first of them you accused before him, from the other you appealed to him. But if, as is the case, one of them had believed in Christ, the other had apostatized from Christ, why is the Christian despised while furthering the interests of unity, the apostate praised while favoring deceit? Constantine ordered that the basilicas should be taken from you, Julian that they should be restored. Do you wish to know which of these actions is conducive to Christian peace? The one was done by a man who had believed in Christ, the other by one who had abandoned Christ. O how you would wish that you could say, It was indeed ill done that supplication should so be made to Julian, but what has that to do with us? But if you were to say this, the Catholic Church would also conquer in these same words, whose saints dispersed throughout the world are much less concerned with what you say of those towards whom you feel as you may be disposed to feel. But it is beyond your power to say, It was ill done that supplication should so be made to Julian. Your throat is closed; your tongue is checked by an authority close at home. It was Pontius that did it. Pontius presented the petition; Pontius declared that the apostate was most righteous; Pontius set forth that only righteousness found a place with the apostate. That Pontius made a petition to him in these Words, we have the express evidence of Julian himself, mentioning him by name, without any disguise. Your representations still exist. It is no uncertain rumor, but public documents that bear witness to the fact. Can it be, that because the apostate made some concession to your prayer, to the detriment of the unity of Christ, you therefore find truth in what was said, that only righteousness found a place with him? but because Christian emperors decide against your wishes, since this appears to them most likely to contribute to the unity of Christ, therefore they are called the foes of Christianity? Such folly may all heretics display; and may they regain wisdom, so that they should be no longer heretics.
206. And when is that fulfilled, you will say, which the Lord declares, "The time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service"? At any rate neither can this be said of the heathen, who persecuted Christians, not for the sake of God, but for the sake of their idols. You do not see that if this had been said of these emperors who rejoice in the name of Christian, their chief command would certainly have been this, that you should have been put to death; and this command they never gave at all. But the men of your party, by opposing the laws in hostile fashion, bring deserved punishment on themselves; and their own voluntary deaths, so long as they think that they bring odium on us, they consider in no wise ruinous to themselves. But if they think that that saying of Christ refers to kings who honor the name of Christ, let them ask I what the Catholic Church suffered in the East, when, Valens the Arian was emperor. There indeed I might find what I should understand to be sufficient fulfillment of the saying of the Lord, "The time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service," that heretics should not claim, as conducing to their especial glory, the injunctions issued against their errors by Catholic emperors. But we remember that that time was fulfilled after the ascension of our Lord, of which holy Scripture is known by all to be a witness. The Jews thought that they were doing a service to God when they put the apostles to death. Among those who thought that they were showing service to God was even our Saul, though not ours as yet; so that among his causes for confidence which were past and to be forgotten, he enumerates the following: "An Hebrew," he says, "of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the Church." Here was one who thought that he did God service when he did what presently he suffered himself. For forty Jews bound themselves by an oath that they would slay him, when he caused that this should be made known to the tribune, so that under the protection of a guard of armed men he escaped their snares. But there was no one yet to say to him, What have you to do (not with kings, but) with tribunes and the arms of kings? There was no one to say to him, Dare you seek protection at the hand of soldiers, when your Lord was dragged by them to undergo His sufferings? There were as yet no instances of madness such as yours; but there were already examples being prepared, which should be sufficient for their refutation.
207. Moreover, with what terrible force did you venture to set forth and utter the following: "But to say nothing of ancient examples, observe, from instances taken from your own party, how very many of your emperors and judges have perished in persecuting us." When I read this in your letter, I waited with the most earnest expectation to see what you were going to say, and whom you were going to enumerate, when, lo and behold! as though passing them over; you began to quote to me Nero, Domitian, Trajan, Geta, Decius, Valerian, Diocletian, Maximian. I acknowledge that there were more; but you have altogether forgotten against whom you are arguing. Were not all of these pagans, persecuting generally the Christian name on behalf of their idols? Be vigilant, then; for the men whom you mention were not of our communion. They were persecuting the whole aggregate of unity itself, from which we as you think, or you, as Christ teaches, have gone forth. But you had proposed to show that our emperors and judges had perished in consequence of persecuting you. Or is it that you yourself do not require that we should reckon these, because, in mentioning them, you passed them over, saying, "To pass over Nero;" and with this reservation did you mean to run through all the rest? What then was the use of their being quoted, if they had nothing to do with the matter? But what has it to do with me? I now join with you in leaving these. Next, let that larger number which you promised to us be produced, unless, indeed, it may be that they cannot be found, inasmuch as you said that they had perished.
208. For now you go on to make mention of the bishops whom you are wont to accuse of having delivered up the sacred books, concerning whom we on our part are wont to answer: Either you fail in your proof, and so it concerns no one at all; or you succeed and then it still has no concern with us. For they have borne their own burden, whether it be good or bad; and we indeed believe that it was good. But of whatever character it was, yet it was their own; just as your bad men have borne their own burden, and neither you theirs nor they yours. But the common and most evil burden of you all is schism. This we have already often said before. Show us, therefore, not the names of bishops, but the names of our emperors and judges, who have perished in persecuting you. For this, is what you had proposed, this is what you had promised, this is what you had caused us most eagerly to expect. "Hear," he says, "Macarius perished, Ursacius perished, and all your counts perished in like manner, by the vengeance of God." You have mentioned only two by name, and neither of them was emperor. Who would be satisfied with this, I ask? Are you not utterly dissatisfied with yourself? You promise that you will mention a vast number of emperors and judges of our party who perished in persecuting you; and then, without a word of emperors, you mention two who were either judges or counts. For as to what you add, "And all your counts perished in like manner by the vengeance of God," it has nothing to do with the matter. For on this principle you might some time ago have closed your argument, without mentioning the name of any one at all. Why then have you not made mention of our emperors, that is to say, of emperors of our communion? Were you afraid that you should be indicted for high treason? Where is the fortitude that marks the Circumcelliones? And further, what do you mean by introducing those whom you mentioned above in such numbers? They might with more right say to you, Why did you seek us out? For they did nothing to assist your cause, and yet you mentioned them by name. What kind of man, then, must you be, who fear to mention those by name, who, as you say, have perished? At any rate, you might mention more of the judges and counts, of whom you seem to feel no fear. But yet you stopped at Macarius and Ursacius. Are these two whom you mention the vast number of whom you spoke? Are you thinking of the lesson which we learned as boys? For if you were to ask of me what number two is, singular or plural, what could I answer, except that it was plural? But even so I am still not without the means of reply. I take away Macarius from your list; for you certainly have not told us how he perished. Or do you maintain that any one who persecutes you, unless he be immortal on the face of this earth, is to be deemed when he dies to have died because of you? What if Constantine had not lived to enjoy so long a reign, and such prolonged prosperity, who was the first to pass many decrees against your errors? And what if Julian, who gave you back the basilicas, had not been so speedily snatched away from life? In that case, when would you make an end of talking such nonsense as you do, seeing that even now you are unwilling to hold your tongues? And yet neither do we say that Julian died so soon because he gave back the basilicas to you. For we might be equally prolix with you in this, but we are unwilling to be equally foolish. Well, then, as I had begun to say, from these two we will take away Macarius. For when you had mentioned the names of two, Macarius and Ursacius, you repeated the name of Ursacius with the view of showing us how he deserved his death; and you said, "For Ursacius was slain in a battle with the barbarians, after which birds of prey with their savage talons, and the greedy teeth of dogs with their biting, tore him limb from limb." Whence it is quite clear, since it is your custom to excite greater odium against us on account of Macarius, insomuch that you call us not Ursacians but Macarians, that you would have been sure to say by far the most concerning him, had you been able to say anything of the sort about his death. Of these two, therefore, when you used the plural number, if you take away Macarius, there remains Ursacius alone, a proper name of the singular number. Where is therefore the fulfillment of your threatening and tremendous promise of so many who should support your argument?
209. By this time all men who are in any degree acquainted with the meaning of words must understand, it seems to me, how ridiculous it is that, when you had said, "Macarius perished, Ursacius perished, and all your counts perished in like manner, by the vengeance of God," as though men were calling upon you to prove the fact, whereas, in reality, neither hearer nor reader was calling on you for anything further whatsoever, you immediately strung together a long argument in order to prove that all our counts perished in like manner by the vengeance of God. "For Ursacius," you say, "was slain in a battle with the barbarians, after which birds of prey with their savage talons, and the greedy teeth of dogs with their biting, tore him limb from limb." In the same way, any one else, who was similarly ignorant of the meaning of what he says, might assert that all your bishops perished in prison by the vengeance of God; and when asked how he could prove this fact, he might at once add, For Optatus, having been accused of belonging to the company of Gildo, was put to death in a similar way. Frivolous charges such as these we are compelled to listen to, to consider, to refute; only we are apprehensive for the weak, lest, from the greater slowness of their intellect, they should fall speedily into your toils. But Ursacius, of whom you speak, if it be the case that he lived a good life, and really died as you assert, will receive consolation from the promise of God, who says, "Surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it."
210. But as to the calumnious charges which you bring against us, saying that by us the wrath of the kings of the world is excited against you, so long as we do not teach them the lesson of holy Scripture, but rather suggest our own desire of war, I do not imagine that you are so absolutely deaf to the eloquence of the sacred books themselves as that you should not rather fear that they should be acquainted with it. But whether you so will or no, they gain entrance to the Church; and even if we hold our tongues, they give heed to the readers; and, to say nothing of the rest, they especially listen with the most marked attention to that very psalm which you quoted. For you said that we do not teach them, nor, so far as we can help it, allow them to become acquainted with the words of Scripture: "Be wise now therefore, O ye kings; be instructed ye judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling. Take hold of instruction lest the Lord be angry, etc. Believe that even this is sung, and that they hear it. But, at any rate, they hear what is written above in the same psalm, which you, unless I am mistaken, were only unwilling to pass over, for fear you should be understood to be afraid. They hear therefore this as well "The Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten Thee. Ask of me, and I shall give Thee the heathen for Thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for Thy possession." On hearing which, they cannot but marvel that some should be found to speak against this inheritance of Christ, endeavoring to reduce it to a little corner of the earth; and in their marvel they perhaps ask, on account of what they hear in what follows, "Serve the Lord with fear," wherein they can serve Him, in so far as they are kings. For all men ought to serve God,—in one sense, m virtue of the condition common to them all, in that they are men; in another sense, in virtue of their several gifts, whereby this man has one function on the earth, and that man has another. For no man, as a private individual, could command that idols should be taken from the earth, which it was so long ago foretold should come to pass. Accordingly, when we take into consideration the social condition of the human race, we find that kings, in the very fact that they are kings, have a service which they can render to the Lord in a manner which is impossible for any who have not the power of kings.
211. When, therefore, they think over what you quote, they hear also what you yourself quoted concerning the three children, and hear it with circumstances of marvellous solemnity. For that same Scripture is most of all sung in the Church at a time when the very festal nature of the season excites additional fervor even in those who, during the rest of the year, are more given to be sluggish. What then do you think must be the feelings of Christian emperors, when they hear of the three children being cast into the burning fiery furnace because they were unwilling to consent to the wickedness of worshipping the image of the king, unless you suppose that they consider that the pious liberty of the saints cannot be overcome either by the power of kings, or by any enormity of punishment, and that they rejoice that they are not of the number of those kings who used to punish men that despised idols as though they were guilty of sacrilege? But, further, when they hear in what follows that the same king, terrified by the marvellous sight of, not only the three children, but the very flames performing service unto God, himself too began to serve God in fear, and to rejoice with reverence, and to lay hold of instruction, do they not understand that the reason that this was recorded, and set forth with such publicity, was that an example might be set both before the servants of God, to prevent them from committing sacrilege in obedience to kings, and before kings themselves, that they should show themselves religious by belief in God? Being willing, therefore, on their part, from the admonition of the very psalm which you yourself inserted in your writings, both to be wise, and to receive instruction, and to serve God with fear and to rejoice unto Him with reverence, and to lay hold of instruction, with what attention do they listen to what that king said afterwards! For he said that he would make a decree for all the people over whom he ruled, that whosoever should speak blasphemy against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego should perish, and their house be utterly destroyed. And if they know that he made this decree that blasphemy should not be uttered against the God who tempered the force of the fire, and liberated the three children, they surely go on to consider what decrees they ought to make in their kingdom, that the same God who has granted remission of sins, and given freedom to the whole earth, should not be treated with scorn among the faithful in their realm.
212. See therefore, when Christian kings make any decree against you in defence of Catholic unity, that it be not the case that with your lips you are accusing them of being unlearned, as it were, in holy Scripture, while in your hearts you are grieving that they are so well acquainted with its teaching. For who could put up with the sacrilegious and hateful fallacy which you advance in the case of one and the same Daniel, to find fault with kings because he was cast into the den of lions, and to refuse praise to kings in that he was raised to exalted honor, seeing that, even when he was cast into the den of lions, the king himself was more inclined to believe that he would be safe than that he would be destroyed, and, in anxiety for him, refused to eat his food? And then do you dare to say to Christians, "What have you to do with the kings of the world?" because Daniel suffered persecution at a king's hands, and yet not look back upon the same Daniel faithfully interpreting dreams to kings, calling a king lord, receiving gifts and honors from a king? And so again do you dare, in the case of the aforesaid three children, to excite the flames of odium against kings, because, when they refused to worship the statue, they were cast into the flames, while at the same time you hold your tongue, and say nothing about their being thus extolled and honored by the king? Granted that the king was a persecutor when he cast Daniel into the lions' den; but when, on receiving him safely out again, in his joy and congratulations he cast in his enemies to be torn in pieces and devoured by the same lions, what was he then,—a persecutor, or not? I call on you to answer me. For if he was, why did not Daniel himself resist him, as he might so easily have done in virtue of his great friendship for him, while yet you bid us restrain kings from persecuting men? But if he was not a persecutor, because he avenged with prompt justice the outrage committed against a holy man, what kind of vengeance, I would ask, must be exacted from kings for indignities offered to the sacraments of Christ, if the limbs of the prophet required such a vengeance because they were exposed to danger? Again, I acknowledge that the king, as indeed is manifest, was a persecutor when he cast the three children into the furnace because they refused to worship his image; but I ask whether he was still a persecutor when he set forth the decree that all who should blaspheme against the one true God should be destroyed, and their whole house laid waste? For if he was a persecutor, why do you answer Amen to the words of a persecutor? But if he was not a persecutor, why do you call those persecutors who deter you from the madness of blasphemy? For if they compel you to worship an idol, then they are like the impious king, and you are like the three children; but if they are preventing you from fighting against Christ, it is you who are impious if you attempt to do this. But what they may be if they forbid this with terrible threats, I do not presume to say. Do you find some other name for them, if you will not call them pious emperors.
213. If I had been the person to bring forward these examples of Daniel and the three children, you would perhaps resist, and declare that they ought not to have been brought from those times in illustration of our days; but God be thanked that you yourself brought them forward, to prove the point, it is true, which you desired to establish, but you see that their force was rather in favor of what you least would wish to prove. Perhaps you will say that this proceeds from no deceit of yours, but from the fallibility of human nature. Would that this were true! Amend it, then You will not lose in reputation nay, it marks unquestionably the higher mind to extinguish the fire of animosity by a frank confession, than merely to escape the mist of falsehood by acuteness of the understanding.
CHAP. 94. —214. PETILIANUS said: "Where is the law of God? where is your Christianity, if you not only commit murders and put men to death, but also order such things to be done?"
215. AUGUSTIN answered: In reply to this, see what the fellow-heirs of Christ say throughout the world. We neither commit murders, and put men to death, nor order such things to be done; and you are raging much more madly than those who do such things, in that you put such things into the minds of men in opposition to the hopes of everlasting life.
CHAP. 95. —216. PETILIANUS said: "If you wish that we should be your friends, why do you drag us to you against our will? But if you wish that we should be your foes, why do you kill your foes?"
217. AUGUSTIN answered: We neither drag you to us against your will, nor do we kill our foes; but whatever we do in our dealings with you, though we may do it contrary to your inclination, yet we do it from our love to you, that you may voluntarily correct yourselves, and live an amended life. For no one lives against his will; and yet a boy, in order to learn this lesson of his own free will, is beaten contrary to his inclination, and that often by the very man that is most dear to him. And this, indeed, is what the kings would desire to say to you if they were to strike you, for to this end their power has been ordained of God. But you cry out even when they are not striking you.
CHAP. 96. —218. PETILIANUS said: "But what reason is there, or what inconsistency of emptiness, in desiring communion with us so eagerly, when all the time you call us by the false title of heretics?"
219. AUGUSTIN answered: If we so eagerly desired communion with heretics, we should not be anxious that you should be converted from the error of heresy; but when the very object of our negotiations with you is that you should cease to be heretics, how are we eagerly desiring communion with heretics? For, in fact, it is dissension and division that make you heretics; but peace and unity make men Catholics. When, then, you come over from your heresy to us, you cease to be what we hate, and begin to be what we love.
CHAP. 97. —220. PETILIANUS said: "Choose, in short, which of the two alternatives you prefer. If innocence is on your side, why do you persecute us with the sword? Or if you call us guilty, why do you, who are yourselves innocent, seek for our company?"
221. AUGUSTIN answered: O most ingenious dilemma, or rather most foolish verbosity! Is it not usual for the choice of two alternatives to be offered to an antagonist, when it is impossible that he should adopt both? For if you should offer me the choice of the two propositions, that I should say either that we were innocent, or that we were guilty; or, again, of the other pair of propositions, viz., those concerning you, I could not escape choosing either one or the other. But as it is, you offer me the choice of these two, whether we are innocent or you are guilty, and wish me to say which of these two I choose for my reply. But I refuse to make a choice; for I assert them both, that we are innocent, and that you are guilty. I say that we are innocent of the false and calumnious accusations which you bring against us, so far as any of us, being in the Catholic Church, can say with a safe conscience that we have neither given up the sacred books, nor taken part in the worship of idols, nor murdered any man, nor been guilty of any of the other crimes which you allege against us; and that any who may have committed any such offenses, which, however, you have not proved in any case, have thereby shut the doors of the kingdom of heaven, not against us, but against themselves; "for every man shall bear his own burden." Here you have your answer on the first head. And I further say that you are all guilty and accursed,—not some of you owing to the sins of others, which are wrought among you by certain of your number, and are censured by certain others, but all of you by the sin of schism; from which most heinous sacrilege no one of you can say that he is free, so long as he refuses to hold communion with the unity of all nations, unless, indeed, he be compelled to say that Christ has told a lie concerning the Church which is spread abroad among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And so you have my second answer. See how I have made you two replies, of which you were desirous that we should be reduced to choose the one. At any rate, you should have taken notice that both assertions might be made by us; and certainly, if this was what you wished, you should have asked it as a favor of us that we should choose one or the other, when you saw that it was in our power to choose both.
222. But "if innocence is on your side, why do you persecute us with the sword?" Look back for a moment on your troops, which are not now armed after the ancient fashion of their fathers only with cudgels, but have further added to their equipment axes and lances and swords, and determine for yourselves to which of us the question best belongs, "Why do you persecute us with the sword?" "Or if you call us guilty," say you, "why do you, who are yourselves innocent, seek for our company?" Here I answer very briefly. The reason why you, being guilty, are sought after by the innocent, is that you may cease to be guilty, and begin to be innocent. Here then I have chosen both of the alternatives concerning us, and answered beth of those concerning you, only do you in turn choose one of the two. Are you innocent or guilty? Here you cannot choose to make the two assertions, and yet choose both, if so it pleases you. For at any rate you cannot be innocent in reference to the same circumstances in respect of which you are guilty. If therefore you are innocent do not be surprised that you are invited to be at peace with your brethren; but if you are guilty, do not be surprised that you are sought for punishment by kings. But since of these two alternatives you assume one for yourselves, and the other is alleged of you by us,—for you assume to yourselves innocence and it is alleged of you by us that you are living impiously,—hear again once more what I shall say on either head. If you are innocent, why do you speak against the testimony of Christ? But if you are guilty, why do you not fly for refuge to His mercy? For His testimony, on the one hand, is to the unity of the world, and His mercy, on the other, is in brotherly love.
CHAP. 98. —223. PETILIANUS said: "Lastly, as we have often said before, how great is your presumption, that you should speak as you presume to do of kings, when David says, 'It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man: it is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes?'"
224. AUGUSTIN answered: We put no confidence in man, but, so far as we can, we warn men to place their trust in the Lord; nor do we put confidence in princes, but, so far as we can, we warn princes to put confidence in the Lord. And though we may seek aid from princes to promote the advantage of the Church, yet do we not put confidence in them. For neither did the apostle himself put confidence in that tribune, in the sense in which the Psalmist talks of putting confidence in princes, from whom he obtained for himself that an escort of armed men should be assigned to him; nor did he put confidence in the armed men, by whose protection he escaped the snares of the wicked ones, in any such sense as that of the Psalmist where he speaks of putting confidence in men. But neither do we find fault with you yourselves, because you sought from the emperor that the basilicas should be restored to you, as though you had put your trust in Julian the prince; but we find fault with you, that you have despaired of the witness of Christ, from whose unity you have separated the basilicas themselves. For you received them at the bidding of an enemy of Christ, that in them you should despise the commands of Christ, whilst you find force and truth in what Julian ordained, saying, "This, moreover, on the petition of Rogatianus, Pontius, Cassianus, and other bishops, not without an intermixture of clergy, is added to complete the whole, that those proceedings which were taken to their prejudice wrongly and without authority being all annulled, everything should be restored to its former position;" and yet you find nothing that has either force or truth in what Christ ordained, saying, "Ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and even in the whole earth." We entreat you, let yourselves be reformed. Return to this most manifest unity of the whole world; and let all things be restored to their former position, not in accordance with the words of the apostate Julian, but in accordance with the words of our Saviour Christ. Have pity on your own soul. We are not now comparing Constantine and Julian in order to show how different they are. We are not saying, If you have not placed confidence in a man and in a prince, when you said to a pagan and apostate emperor, that "in him justice only found a place," seeing that the party of Donatus has universally employed the prayers and the rescript in which those words occur, as is proved by the records of the audience; much less ought we to be accused by you, as though we put our confidence in any man or prince, if without any blasphemous flattery we obtained any request from Constantine or from the other Christian emperors; or if they themselves, without our asking for it, but remembering the account which they shall render to the Lord, under whose words they tremble when they hear what you yourself have quoted, "Be wise now therefore, O ye kings," etc., and many other sayings of the sort, make any ordinance of their own accord in support of the unity of the Catholic Church. But I say nothing about Constantine. It is Christ and Julian that we contrast before you; nay, more than this, it is God and man, the Son of God and the son of hell, the Saviour of our souls and the destroyer of his own. Why do you maintain the rescript of Julian in the occupation of the basilicas, and yet not maintain the gospel of Christ in embracing the peace of the Church? We too cry out, "Let all things that have been done amiss be restored to their ancient condition." The gospel of Christ is of greater antiquity than the rescript of Julian; the unity of Christ is of greater antiquity than the party of Donatus; the prayers of the Church to the Lord on behalf of the unity of the Church are of greater antiquity than the prayers of Rogatianus, and Pontius, and Cassianus, to Julian on behalf of the party of Donatus. Are proceedings wrongly taken when kings forbid division? and are they not wrongly taken when bishops divide unity? Is" that wrong action when kings minister to the witness of Christ in defence of the Church? and is it not wrong action when bishops contradict the witness of Christ in order to deny the Church? We entreat you, therefore, that the words of Julian himself, to whom you thus made supplication, may be listened to, not in opposition to the gospel, but in accordance with the gospel, and that "all things which have been done amiss may be restored to their former condition."
CHAP. 99. —225. PETILIANUS said: "On you, yes you, you wretched men, I call, who, being dismayed with the fear of persecution, whilst you seek to save your riches, not your souls, love not so much the faithless faith of the traitors, as the wickedness of the very men whose protection you have won unto yourselves,—just in the same way as sailors, shipwrecked in the waves, plunge into the waves by which they must be overwhelmed, and in the great danger of their lives seek unmistakeably the very object of their dread; just as the madness of a tyrant, that he may be free from apprehension of any person whatsoever, desires to be feared, though this is fraught with peril to himself: so, so you fly for refuge to the citadel of wickedness, being willing to look on the loss or punishment of the innocent if you may escape fear for yourselves. If you consider that you escape danger when you plunge into ruin, truly also it is a faith that merits condemnation to observe the faith of a robber. Lastly, it is trafficking in a madman's gains to lose your own souls in order not to lose your wealth. For the Lord Christ says, 'If a man shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul, what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?'"
226. AUGUSTIN answered: That exhortation of yours would be useful, I cannot but acknowledge, if any one were to employ it in a good cause. It is undoubtedly well that you have tried to deter men from preferring their riches to their souls. But I would have you, who have heard these words, listen also for a time to us; for we also say this, but listen in what sense. If kings threaten to take away your riches, because you are not Jews according to the flesh, or because you do not worship idols or devils, or because you are not carried about into any heresies, but abide in Catholic unity, then choose rather that your riches should perish, that you perish not yourselves; but be careful to prefer neither anything else, nor the life of this world itself, to eternal salvation, which is in Christ. But if kings threaten you with loss or condemnation, simply on the ground that you are heretics, such things are terrifying you not in cruelty, but in mercy; and your determination not to fear is a sign not of bravery, but of obstinacy. Hear then the words of Peter, where he says, "What glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye take it patiently?" so that herein you have neither consolation upon earth, nor in the world to come life everlasting; but you have here the miseries of the unfortunate, and there the hell of heretics. Do you see, therefore, my brother, with whom I am now arguing, that you ought first to show whether you hold the truth, and then to exhort men that in upholding it they should be ready to give up all the blessings which they possess in this present world? And so, when you do not show this, because you cannot,—not that the talent is wanting, but because the cause is bad,—why do you hasten by your exhortations to make men both beggars and ignorant, both in want and wandering from the truth, in rags and contentions, household drudges and heretics, both losing their temporal goods in this world, and finding eternal evils in the judgment of Christ? But the cautious son, who, while he stands in dread of his father's rod, keeps away from the lair of the serpent, escapes both blows and destruction; whereas he who despises the pains of discipline, when set in rivalry with his own pernicious will, is both beaten and destroyed. Do. you not now understand, O learned man, that he who has resigned all earthly goods in order to maintain the peace of Christ, possesses God; whereas he who has lost even a very few coins in behalf of the party of Donatus is devoid of heart?
CHAP. 100. —227. PETILIANUS said: "But we who are poor in spirit are not apprehensive for our wealth, but rather feel a dread of wealth. We, 'as having nothing, and yet possessing all things,' look on our soul as our wealth, and by our punishments and blood purchase to ourselves the everlasting riches of heaven. So again the same Lord says, 'Whosoever shall lose his substance, shall find it again an hundred fold.'"
228. AUGUSTIN answered: It is not beside the purpose to inquire into the true meaning of this passage also. For where my purpose is not interfered with by any mistake which you make, or any false impression which you convey in quoting from the Scriptures, I do not concern myself about the matter. It is not then written, "Whosoever shall lose his substance," but "Whosoever shall lose his life for my sake." And the passage about substance is not, "Whosoever shall lose," but "Every one that hath forsaken;" and that not only with reference to substance of money, but many other things besides. But you meanwhile have not lost your substance; but whether you have forsaken it, in that you so boast of poverty, I cannot say. And if by any chance my colleague Fortunatus may know this, being in the same city with you, he never told me, because I had never asked him. However, even if you had done this, you have yet yourself quoted the testimony of the apostle against yourself in this very epistle which you have written: "Though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth. me nothing." For if you had charity, you would not bring charges against the whole world, which knows nothing of you, and of which you know no more,—no, not even such charges as are rounded on the proved offenses of the Africans. If you had charity, you would not picture to yourself a false unity in your calumnies, but you would learn to recognize the unity that is most clearly set forth in the words of the Lord: "even in the whole earth." But if you did not do this, why do you boast as though you had done it? Are you really so filled with fear of riches, that, having nothing, you possess all things? Tell that to your colleague Crispinus, who lately bought a farm near our city of Hippo, that he might there plunge men into the lowest abyss. Whence I too know this all too well. You perhaps are not aware of it, and therefore shout out in security, "We stand in fear of riches." And hence I am surprised that that cry of yours has been allowed to pass Crispinus, so as to reach us. For between Constantina, where you are, and Hippo, where I am, lies Calama, where he is, nearer indeed to our side, but still between us. I wonder, therefore, how it was that he did not first intercept this cry, and strike it back so that it should not reach to our ears; and that he did not, in opposition to you, recite in much more copious phrase a eulogy on riches. For he not only stands in no fear of riches, but he actually loves them. And certainly, before you utter anything about the rest, you should rehearse such views to him. If he makes no corrections, then we have our answer ready. But for yourself, if it be true that you are poor, you have with you my brother Fortunatus. You will be more likely with such sentiments to please him, who is my colleague, than Crispinus, who is your own.
CHAP. 101. —229. PETILIANUS said: "Inasmuch as we live in the fear of God, we have no fear of the punishments and executions which you wreak with the sword; but the only thing which we avoid is that by your most wicked communion you destroy men's souls, according to the saying of the Lord Himself: 'Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.'"
230. AUGUSTIN answered: You do the destruction which you speak of, not with a visible sword, but with that of which it is said, "The sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword." For with this sword of accusation and calumny against the world of which you are wholly ignorant, you destroy the souls of those who lack experience. But if you find fault with a most wicked communion, as you term it, I would bid you presently, not with my words, but with your own, to ascend, descend, enter, turn yourself about, change sides, be such as was Optatus. But if you return to your senses, and shall find that you are not such as he, not because he refused to partake of the sacraments with you, but because you took offense at what he did, then you will acquit the world of crimes which do not belong to it, and you will find yourself involved in the sin of schism.
CHAP. 102. —231. PETILIANUS said: "You, therefore, who prefer rather to be washed with the most false of baptisms than to be regenerate, not only do not lay aside your sins, but also load your souls with the offenses of criminals. For as the water of the guilty has been abandoned by the Holy Spirit, so it is clearly filled full of the offenses of the traditors. To any wretched man, then, who is baptized by one of this sort, we would say, If you have wished to be free from falsehood, you are really drenched with falsity. If you desired to shut out the sins of the flesh, you will, as the conscience of the guilty comes upon you, be partakers likewise of their guilt. If you wished to extinguish the flames of avarice, you are drenched with deceit, you are drenched with wickedness, you are drenched also with madness. Lastly, if you believe that faith is identical in the giver and the receiver, you are drenched with the blood of a brother by him who slays a man. And so it comes to pass that you, who had come to baptism free from sin, return from baptism guilty of the sin of murder."
232. AUGUSTIN answered: I should like to come to argument with those who shouted assent when they either heard or read those words of yours. For such men have not ears in their hearts, but their heart in their ears. Yet let them read again and again, and consider, and find out for themselves, not what the sound of those words is, but what they mean. First of all, to sift the meaning of the last clause, "So it comes to pass," you say, "that you who had come to baptism free from sin, return from baptism guilty of the sin of murder:" tell me, to begin with, who there is i that comes to baptism free from sin, with the single exception of Him who came to be baptized, not that His iniquity should be purged away, but that an example of humility might be given us? For what shall be forgiven to one free from sin? Or are you indeed endowed with such an eloquence, that you can show to us some innocence which yet committeth sin? Do you not hear the words of Scripture saying, "No one is clean from sin in Thy sight, not even the infant whose life is but of a single day upon the earth?" For whence else is it that one hastens even with infants to seek remission of their sins? Do you not hear the words of another Scripture, "In sin did my mother conceive me?" In the next place, if a man returns a murderer, who had come without the guilt of murder, merely because he receives baptism at a murderer's hands, then all they who returned from receiving baptism at the hands of Optatus were made partakers with Optatus. Go now, and see with what face you cast in our teeth that we excite the wrath of kings against you. Are you not afraid that as many satellites of Gildo will be sought for among you, as there are men who may have been baptized by Optatus? Do you see at length how that sentence of yours, like an empty bladder, has rattled not only with a meaningless sound, but on your own head?
233. To go on to the other earlier arguments which you have set before us to be refuted, they are of such a nature that we must needs allow that every one returns from baptism endued with the character of him by whom he is baptized; but God forbid that those whom you baptize should return from you infected with the same madness as possesses you when you make such a statement! And what a dainty sound there was in your words, "You are drenched with deceit, you are drenched with wickedness, you are drenched also with madness!" Surely you would never pour forth words like this unless you were, not drenched, but filled even to repletion with madness. Is it then true, to say nothing of the rest, that all who come untainted with covetousness to receive baptism at the hands of your covetous colleagues, or the priests of your party, return guilty of covetousness, and that those who run in soberness to the whirlpool of intoxication to be baptized return in drunkenness? If you entertain and teach such views as this, you will have the effrontery even to quote, as making against us, the passage which you advanced some little time ago: "It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes." What is the meaning of your teaching, I would ask, save only this, that we should put our confidence not in the Lord, but in man, when you say that the baptized person is made to resemble him who has baptized him? And since you assume this as the fundamental principle of your baptism, are men to place their trust in you? and are those to place their trust in princes who were disposed to place it in the Lord? Truly I would bid them hearken not to you, but rather to those proofs which you have urged against ourselves, ay, and to words more awful yet; for not only is it written, "It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man," but also, "Cursed be the man that trusteth in man."
CHAP. 103. —234. PETILIANUS said: "Imitate indeed the prophets, who feared to have their holy souls deceived with false baptism. For Jeremiah says of old that among impious men water is as one that lies. 'Water,' he says, 'that lies has not faith.'"
235. AUGUSTIN answered: Any one that hears these words, without being acquainted with the Scriptures, and who does not believe that you are either so far astray as not to know what you are saying, or deceiving in such wise that he whom you have deceived should not know what he says, would believe that the prophet Jeremiah, wishing to be baptized, had taken precautions not to be baptized by impious men, and had used these words with this intent. For what was your object in saying, previous to your quotation of this passage, "Imitate indeed the prophets, who feared to have their holy souls deceived with false baptism?" Just as though, in the days of Jeremiah, any one were washed with the sacrament of baptism, except so far as the Pharisees almost every moment bathed themselves, and their couches and cups and platters, with the washings which the Lord condemned, as we read in the gospel. How then could Jeremiah have said this, as though he desired to be baptized, and sought to avoid being baptized by impious men? He said it, then, when he was complaining of a faithless people, by the corruption of whose morals he was vexed, not wishing to associate with their deeds; and yet he did not separate himself bodily from their congregation, nor seek other sacraments than those which the people received as suitable to that time, according to the law of Moses. To this people, therefore, in their evil mode of life, he gave the name of "a wound," with which the heart of the righteous man was grievously smitten, whether speaking thus of himself, or fore-shadowing in himself what he foresaw would come to pass. For he speaks as follows: "O Lord, remember me, and visit me; make clear my innocence before those who persecute me in no spirit of long-suffering: know that for Thy sake I have suffered rebuke from those that scorn Thy words. Make their portion complete; and Thy word shall be unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by Thy name, O Lord God of hoists. I sat not in the assembly of the mockers, but was afraid of the presence of Thy hand; I sat alone, because I was filled with bitterness. Why do those who make me sad prevail against me? My wound is grievous; whence shall I be healed? It is become unto me as lying water, that has no faith." In all this it is manifest what the prophet wished to be understood, but manifest only to those who do not wish to distort to their own perverse cause the meaning of what they read. For Jeremiah says that his wound has become unto him as lying water, which cannot inspire faith; but he wished that by his wound those should be understood who made him sad by the evil conduct of their lives. Whence also the apostle says, "Without were fightings, within were fears;" and again, "Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not?" And because he had no hopes that they could be reformed, therefore he said, "Whence shall I be healed?" as though his own pain must needs continue so long as those among whom he was compelled to live continued what they were. But that a people is commonly understood under the appellation of water is shown in the Apocalypse, where we understand "many waters" to mean "many peoples," not by any conjecture of our own, but by an express explanation in the place itself. Abstain then from blaspheming the sacrament of baptism from any misunderstanding, or rather error, even when found in a man of most abandoned character; for not even in the lying Simon was the baptism which he received a lying water, nor do all the liars of your party administer a lying water when they baptize in the name of the Trinity. For neither do they begin to be liars only when they are betrayed and convicted, and so forced to acknowledge their misdeeds; but rather they were already liars, when, being adulterers and accursed, they pretended to be chaste and innocent.
CHAP. 104. —236. PETILIANUS said: "David also said, 'The oil of the sinner shall not anoint my head.' Who is it, therefore, that he calls a sinner? Is it I who suffer your violence, or you who persecute the innocent?"
237. AUGUSTIN answered: As representing the body of Christ, which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and mainstay of the truth, dispersed throughout the world, on account of the gospel which was preached, according to the words of the apostle, "to every creature which is under heaven:" as representing the whole world, of which David, whose words you cannot understand, has said, "The world also is stablished, that it cannot be moved;" whereas you contend that it not only has been moved, but has been utterly destroyed: as representing this, I answer, I do not persecute the innocent. But David said, "The oil of the sinner," not of the traditor; not of him who offers incense, not of the persecutor, but "of the sinner." What then will you make of your interpretation? See first whether you are not yourself a sinner. It is nothing to the point if you should say, I am not a traditor, I am not an offerer of incense, I am not a persecutor. I myself, by the grace of God, am none of these, nor is the world, which cannot be moved. But say, if you dare, I am not a sinner. For David says, "The oil of the sinner." For so long as any sin, however light, be found in you, what ground have you for maintaining that you are not concerned in the expression that is used, "The oil of the sinner"? For I would ask whether you use the Lord's prayer in your devotions? For if you do not use that prayer, which our Lord taught His disciples for their use, where have you learned another, proportioned to your merits, as exceeding the merits of the apostles? But if you pray, as our great Master deigned to teach us, how do you say, "Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us?" For in this petition we are not referring to those sins which have already been forgiven us in baptism. Therefore these words in the prayer either exclude you from being a petitioner to God, or else they make it manifest that you too are a sinner. Let those then come and kiss your head who have been baptized by you, whose heads have perished through your oil. But see to yourself, both what you are and what you think about yourself. Is it really true that Optatus, whom pagans, Jews, Christians, men of our party, men of your party, all proclaim throughout the whole of Africa to have been a thief, a traitor, an oppressor, a contriver of schism; not a friends not a client, but a tool of him whom one of your party declared to have been his count, companion, and god,-is it true that he was not a sinner in any conceivable interpretation of the term? What then will they do whose heads were anointed by one guilty of a capital offense? Do not those very men kiss your heads, on whose heads you pass so serious a judgment by this interpretation which you place upon the passage? Truly I would bid you bring them forth, and admonish them to heal themselves. Or is it rather your heads which should be healed, who run so grievously astray? What then, you will ask, did David really say: Why do you ask me: rather ask himself. He answers you in the verse above: "The right-eons shall smite me in kindness, and shall reprove me; but let not the oil of the sinner anoint my head." What could be plainer? what more manifest? I had rather, he says, be healed by a rebuke administered in kindness, than be deceived and led astray by smooth flattery, coming on me as an ointment on my head. The self-same sentiment is found elsewhere in Scripture under other words: "Better are the wounds of a friend than the proffered kisses of an enemy."
CHAP. 105. —238. PETILIANUS said: "But he thus praises the ointment of concord among brethren: 'Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard; that went down to the skirts of his garments; as the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.' Thus, he says, is unity anointed, even as the priests are anointed."
239. AUGUSTIN answered: What you say is true. For that priesthood in the body of Christ had an anointing, and its salvation is secured by the bond of unity. For indeed Christ Himself derives His name from chrism, that is, from anointing. Him the Hebrews call the Messiah, which word is closely akin to the Phoenician language, as is the case with very many other Hebrew words, if not with almost all. What then is meant by the head in that priesthood, what by the beard, what by the skirts of the garments? So far as the Lord enables me to understand, the head is none other than the Saviour of the body, of whom the apostle says, "And He is the head of the body, the Church." By the beard is not unsuitably understood fortitude. Therefore, on those who show themselves to be brave in His Church, and cling to the light of His countenance, to preach the truth without fear, there descends from Christ Himself, as from the head, a sacred ointment, that is to say, the sanctification of the Spirit. By the skirts of the garments we are here given to understand that which is at the top of the garments, through which the head of Him who gives the clothing enters. By this are signified those who are perfected in faith within the Church. For in the skirts is perfection. And I presume you must remember what was said to a certain rich man: "If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shall have treasure in heaven; and come and follow me." He indeed went away sorrowful, slighting what was perfect, choosing what was imperfect. But does it follow that there were wanting those who were so made perfect by such a surrender of earthly things, that the ointment of unity descended upon them, as from the head upon the skirts of the garments? For, putting aside the apostles, and those who were immediately associated with those leaders and teachers of the Church, whom we understand to be represented with greater dignity and more conspicuous fortitude in the beard, read in the Acts of the Apostles, and see those who "brought the prices of the things that were sold, and laid them down at the apostles' feet. Neither said any of them that aught of the things which he possessed was his own: but they had all things common: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need. And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul." I doubt not that you are aware that it is so written. Recognize, therefore, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity. Recognize the beard of Aaron; recognize the skirts of the spiritual garments. Search the Scriptures themselves, and see where those things began to be done; you will find that it was in Jerusalem. From this skirt of the garment is woven together the whole fabric of unity throughout all nations. By this the Head entered into the garment, that Christ should be clothed with all the variety of the several nations of the earth, because in this skirt of the garment appeared the actual variety of tongues. Why, therefore, is the Head itself, whence that ointment of unity descended, that is, the spiritual fragrance of brotherly love,—why, I say, is the Head itself exposed to your resistance, while it testifies and declares that "repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem"? And by this ointment you wish the sacrament of chrism to be understood, which is indeed holy as among the class of visible signs, like baptism itself, but yet can exist even among the worst of men, wasting their life in the works of the flesh, and never destined to possess the kingdom of heaven, and having therefore nothing to do either with the beard of Aaron, or with the skirts of his garments, or with any fabric of priestly clothing. For where do you intend to place what the apostle enumerates as "the manifest works of the flesh, which," he says, "are these: fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, poisonings, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, heresies, envyings, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God?" I put aside fornications, which are committed in secret; interpret uncleanness as you please, I am willing to put it aside as well. Let us put on one side also poisons, since no one is openly a compounder or giver of poisons. I put aside also heresies, since you will have it so. I am in doubt whether I ought to put aside idolatry, since the apostle classes with it covetousness, which is openly rife among you. However, setting aside all these, are there none among you lascivious, none covetous, none open in their indulgence of enmities, none fond of strife, or fond of emulation, wrathful, given to seditions, envious, drunken, wasting their time in revellings? Are none of such a character anointed among you? Do none die well known among you to be given to such things, or openly indulging in them? If you say there are none, I would have you consider whether you do not come under the description yourself, since you are manifestly telling lies in the desire for strife. But if you are yourself severed from men of this sort, not by bodily separation, but by dissimilarity of life, and if you behold with lamentation crowds like these around your altars, what shall we say, since they are anointed with holy oil, and yet, as the apostle assures us with the clearness of truth, shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Must we do such impious despite to the beard of Aaron and to the skirts of his garments, as to suppose that they are to be placed there? Far be that from us. Separate therefore the visible holy sacrament, which can exist both in the good and in the bad,—in the former for their reward, in the latter for judgment; separate it from the invisible unction of charity, which is the peculiar property of the good. Separate them, separate them, ay, and may God separate you from the party of Donatus, and call you back again into the Catholic Church, whence you were torn by them while yet a catechumen, to be bound by them in the bond of a deadly distinction. Now are ye not in the mountains of Zion, the dew of Hermon on the mountains of Zion, in whatever sense that be received by you; for you are not in the city upon a hill, which has this as its sure sign, that it cannot be hid. It is known therefore unto all nations. But the party of Donatus is unknown to the majority of nations, therefore is it not the true city.
CHAP. 106. —240, PETILIANUS said: "Woe unto you, therefore, who, by doing violence to what is holy, cut away the bond of unity; whereas the prophet says, 'If the people shall sin, the priest shall pray for them: but if the priest shall sin, who will pray for him?'"
241. AUGUSTIN answered: I seemed too a little while ago, when we were disputing about the oil of the sinner, to anoint your forehead, in order that you might say, if you dared, whether you yourself were not a sinner. You have had the hardihood to say as much. What a portentous sin! For in that you assert yourself to be a priest, what else have you maintained by quoting this testimony of the prophet, save that you are wholly without sin? For if you have sin, who is there that shall pray for you, according to your understanding of the words? For thus you blazon yourselves among the wretched people, quoting from the prophet: "If the people shall sin, the priest shall pray for them: but if the priest shall sin, who will pray for him? to the intent that they may believe you to be without sin, and entrust the wiping away their sins to your prayers. Truly ye are great men, exalted above your fellows, heavenly, godlike, angels indeed rather than men, who pray for the people, and will not have the people pray for you! Are you more righteous than Paul, more perfect than that great apostle, who was wont to commend himself to the prayers of those whom he taught? "Continue," he says, "in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds; that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak." See how prayer is made for an apostle, which you would have not made for a bishop. Do you perceive of how devilish a nature your pride is? Prayer is made for an apostle, that he may make manifest the mystery of Christ as he ought to speak. Accordingly, if you had a pious people under you, you ought to have exhorted them to pray for you, that you might not give utterance as you ought not. Are you more righteous than the evangelist John, who says, "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us?" Finally, are you more righteous than Daniel, whom you yourself quoted in this very epistle, going so far as to say, "The most righteous king cast forth Daniel, as he supposed, to be devoured by wild beasts?"—a thing which he never did suppose, since he said to Daniel himself, in the most friendly spirit, as the context of the lesson shows, "Thy God, whom thou servest continually, He will deliver thee." But on this subject we have already said much. With regard to the question now before us, viz., that Daniel was most righteous, it is proved not by your testimony, though that might be sufficient for me in the argument which I hold with you, but by the testimony of the Spirit of God, speaking also by the mouth of Ezekiel, where he named three men of most eminent righteousness, Noah, Daniel, and Job, who, he said, were the only men that could be saved from a certain excessive wrath of God, which was hanging over all the rest. A man, therefore, of the highest righteousness, one of three conspicuous for righteousness, prays, and says, "While I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin, and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the Lord my God." And you say that you are without sin, because forsooth you are a priest; and if the people sin, you pray for them: but if you sin, who shall pray for you? For clearly by the impiety of such arrogance you show yourself to be unworthy of the mediation of that Priest whom the prophet would have to be understood in these words, which you do not understand. For now that no one may ask why this was said, I will explain it so far as by God's grace I shall be able. God was preparing the minds of men, by His prophet, to desire a Priest of such a sort that none should pray for Him. He was Himself prefigured in the times of the first people and the first temple, in which all things were figures for our ensample. Therefore the high priest used to enter alone into the holy of holies, that he might make supplication for the people, which did not enter with the priest into that inner sanctuary; just as our High Priest is entered into the secret places of the heavens, into that truer holy of holies, whilst we for whom He prays are still placed here. It is with this reference that the prophet says, "If the people shall sin, the priest shall pray for them: but if the priest shall sin, who will pray for him?" Seek therefore a priest of such a kind that he cannot sin, nor need that one should pray for him. And for this reason prayer is made for the apostles by the people; but for that Priest who is the Master and Lord of the apostles is prayer not made. Hear John confessing this, and saying, "My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous, and He is the propitiation for our sins." "We have," he says; and "for our sins." I pray you, learn humility, that you may not fall, or rather, that in time you may arise again. For had you not already fallen, you never would have used such words.
CHAP. 107. —242. PETILIANUS said: "And that none who is a layman may claim to be free from sin, they are all bound by this prohibition: 'Be not partakers of other men's sins.'"
243. AUGUSTIN answered: You are mistaken toto caelo, as the saying is, by reason of your pride, whilst, by reason of your humility, you are unwilling to communicate with the whole world. For, in the first place, this was not spoken to a layman; and, in the second place, you are wholly ignorant in what sense it was spoken. The apostle, writing to Timothy, gives this warning to none other than Timothy himself, to whom he says in another place, "Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery." And by many other proofs it is made clear that he was not a layman. But in that he says, "Be not partaker of other men's sins," he means, Be not partaker voluntarily, or with consent. And hence he immediately subjoins directions how he shall obey the injunction, saying, "Keep thyself pure." For neither was Paul himself partaker of other men's sins, because he endured false brethren, over whom he groans, in bodily unity; nor did the apostles who preceded him partake of the thievery and crime of Judas, because they partook of the holy supper with him when he had already sold his Lord, and been pointed out as the traitor by that Lord.
CHAP. 108. —244. PETILIANUS said: "By this sentence, again, the apostle places in the same category those who have fellowship in the consciousness of evil. 'Worthy of death,' he says, 'are both those who do such things, and those who consent with those that do them.'"6
245. AUGUSTIN answered: I care not in what manner you have use these words, they are true. And this is the substance of the teaching of the Catholic Church, that there is a great difference between those who consent because they take pleasure in such things, and those who tolerate while they dislike them. The former make themselves chaff, while they follow the barrenness of the chaff; the latter are the grain. Let them wait for Christ, who bears the winnowing-fan, that they may be separated from the chaff.
CHAP. 109. —246. PETILIANUS said: "Come therefore to the Church, all ye people, and flee the company of traditors, if you would not also perish with them. For that you may the more readily know that, while they are themselves guilty, they yet entertain an excellent opinion of our faith, let me inform you that I baptize their polluted ones; they, though may God never grant them such an opportunity, receive those who are made mine by baptism,—which certainly they would not do if they recognized any defects in our baptism. See therefore how holy that is which we give, when even our sacrilegious enemy fears to destroy it."
247. AUGUSTIN answered: Against this error I have said much already, both in this work and elsewhere. But since you think that in this sentence you have so strong a confirmation of your vain opinions, that you deemed it right to end your epistle with these words, that they might remain as it were the fresher in the minds of your readers, I think it well to make a short reply. We recognize in heretics that baptism, which belongs not to the heretics but to Christ, in such sort as in fornicators, in unclean persons or effeminate, in idolaters, in poisoners, in those who retain enmity, in those who are fond of contention, in the credulous, in the proud, given to seditions, in the envious, in drunkards, in revellers; and in men like these we hold valid the baptism which is not theirs but Christ's. For of men like these, and among them are included heretics also, none, as the apostle says, shall inherit the kingdom of heaven. Nor are they to be considered as being in the body of Christ, which is the Church, simply because they are materially partakers of the sacraments. For the sacraments indeed are holy, even in such men as these, and shall be of force in them to greater condemnation, because they handle and partake of them unworthily. But the men themselves are not within the constitution of the Church, which increases in the increase of God in its members through connection and contact with Christ. For that Church is founded on a rock, as the Lord says, "Upon this rock I will build my Church." But they build on the sand, as the same Lord says, "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." But that you may not suppose that the Church which is upon a rock is in one part only of the earth, and does not extend even to its furthest boundaries, hear her voice groaning from the psalm, amid the evils of her pilgrimage. For she says, "From the end of the earth have I cried unto Thee; when my heart was distressed Thou didst lift me up upon the rock; Thou hast led me, Thou, my hope, hast become a tower of courage from the face of the enemy." See how she cries from the end of the earth. She is not therefore in Africa alone, nor only among the Africans, who send a bishop from Africa to, Rome to a few Montenses, and into Spain to the house of one lady. See how she is exalted on a rock. All, therefore, are not to be deemed to be in her which build upon the sand, that is, which hear the words of Christ and do them not, even though both among us and among you they have and transmit the sacrament of baptism. See how her hope is in God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost,—not in Peter or in Paul, still less in Donatus or Petilianus. What we fear, therefore, to destroy, is not yours, but Christ's; and it is holy of itself, even in sacrilegious hands. For we cannot receive those who come from you, unless we destroy in them whatsoever appertains to you. For we destroy the treachery of the deserter, not the stamp of the sovereign. Accordingly, do you yourself consider and annul what you said: "I," say you, "baptize their polluted ones; they, though may God never grant them such an opportunity, receive those who are made mine by baptism." For you do not baptize men who are infected, but you rebaptize them, so as to infect them with the fraud of your error. But we do not receive men who are made yours by baptism; but we destroy that error of yours whereby they are made yours, and we receive the baptism of Christ, by which they are baptized. Therefore it is not without significance that you introduce the words, "Though may God never grant them such an opportunity." For you said, "They, though may God never grant them such an opportunity, receive those who are made mine by baptism." For while you in your fear that we may receive your followers desire to be understood, "may God never give them the opportunity of receiving such as are mine," I suppose that, without knowing what it meant, you said, "May God never make them mine that you should receive them." For we pray that those may not be really yours who come over at the present moment to the Catholic Church. Nor do they come over so as to be ours by right of baptism, but by fellowship with us, and that with us they may belong to Christ, in virtue of their baptism.
[In this book Augustin refutes the second letter which Petilianus wrote to him after having seen the first of Augustin's earlier books. This letter had been full of violent language; and Augustin rather shows that the arguments of Petilianus had been deficient and irrelevant, than brings forward arguments in support of his own statements.]
CHAP. 1. —1. Being able to read, Petilianus, I have read your letter, in which you have shown with sufficient clearness that, in supporting the party of Donatus against the Catholic Church, you have neither been able to say anything to the purpose, nor been allowed to hold your tongue. What violent emotions did you endures what a storm of feelings surged within your heart, on reading the answer which I made, with all possible brevity and clearness, to that portion of your, letter which alone at that time had come into, my hands! For you saw that the truth which we maintain and defend was confirmed with such strength of argument, and illustrated with such abundant light, that you could not find anything which could be said against it, whereby the charges which we make might be refuted. You observed, also, that the attention of many who had read it was fixed on you, since they desired to know what you would say, what you would do, how you would escape from the difficulty, how you would make your way out of the strait in which the word of God had encompassed you. Hereupon you, when you ought to have shown contempt for the opinion of the foolish ones, and to have gone on to adopt sound and truthful sentiments, preferred rather to do what Scripture has foretold of men like you: "Thou hast loved evil more than good, and lying rather than to speak righteousness." Just as if I in turn were willing to recompense unto you railing for railing; in which case, what should we be but two evil speakers, so that those who read our words would either preserve their self-respect by throwing us aside with abhorrence, or eagerly devour what we wrote to gratify their malice? For my own part, since I answer every one, whether in writing or by word of mouth, even when I have been attacked with insulting accusations, in such language as the Lord puts in my mouth, restraining and crushing the stings of empty indignation in the interests of my hearer or reader, I do not strive to prove myself superior to my adversary by abusing him, but rather to be a source of health in him by convicting him of his error.
2. For if those who take into consideration what you have written have any feelings whatsoever, how did it serve you in the cause which is at issue between us respecting the Catholic communion and the party of Donatus, that, leaving a matter which was in a certain sense of public interest, you should have been led by private animosity to attack the life of an individual with malicious revilings, just as though that individual were the question in debate? Did you think so badly, I do not say of Christians, but of the whole human race, as not to suppose that your writings might come into the hands of some prudent men, who would lay aside all thoughts of individuals like us, and inquire rather into the question which was at issue between us, and pay heed, not to who and what we were, but to what we might be able to advance in defense of the truth or against error? You should have paid respect to these men's, judgment, you should have guarded yourself against their censure, lest they should think that you could find nothing to say, unless you set before yourself some one whom you might abuse by any means within your power. But one may see by the thoughtlessness and foolishness of some men, who listen eagerly to the quarrels of any learned disputants, that while they take notice of the eloquence wherewith you lavish your abuse, they do not perceive with what truth you are refuted. At the same time, I think your object partly was that I might be driven, by the necessity of defending myself, to desert the very cause which I had undertaken; and that so, while men's attention was turned to the words of opponents who were engaged not in disputation, but in quarrelling, the truth might be obscured, which you are so afraid should come to light and be well known among men. What therefore was I to do in opposing such a design as this, except to keep strictly to my subject, neglecting rather my own defense, praying withal that no personal calumny may lead me to withdraw from it? I will exalt the house of my God, whose honor I have loved, with the tribute of a faithful servant's voice, but myself I will humiliate and hold of no account. "I had rather be a door- keeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of heretics." I will therefore turn my, discourse from you, Petilianus, for a time, and direct it rather to those whom you have endeavored to turn away from me by your revilings, as though my endeavor rather were that men should be converted unto me, and not rather with me unto God.
CHAP. 2. —3. Hear therefore, all ye who have read his revilings, what Petilianus has vented against me with more anger than consideration. To begin with, I will address you in the words of the apostle, which certainly are true, whatever I myself may be: "Let a man so account of us as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man's judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self." With regard to what immediately follows, although I do not venture to apply to myself the words, "For I am conscious of nothing in myself," yet I say confidently in the sight of God, that I am conscious in myself of none of those charges which Petilianus has brought against my life since the time when I was baptized in Christ; "yet am I not hereby justified, but He that judgeth me is the Lord. Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts; and then shall every man have praise of God. And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another." "Therefore let no man glory in men: for all things are yours; and ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's." Again I say, "Let no man glory in men;" nay, oftentimes I repeat it, "Let no man glory in men." If you perceive anything in us which is deserving of praise, refer it all to His praise, from whom is every good gift and every perfect gift; for it is "from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." For what have we which we did not receive? and if we have received it, let us not boast as though we had not received it. And in all these things which you know to be good in us, be ye our followers, at any rate, if we are Christ's; but if, on the other hand, you either suspect, or believe, or see that any evil is in us, hold fast to that saying of the Lord's, in which you may safely resolve not to desert His Church because of men's ill deeds.. Whatsoever we bid you observe, that observe and do; but whatsoever evil works you think or know to be in us, those do ye not. For this is not the time for me to justify myself before you, when I have undertaken, neglecting all considerations of self, to recommend to you what is for your salvation, that no one should make his boast of men. For "cursed be the man that trusteth in man." So long as this precept of the Lord and His apostle be adhered to and observed, the cause which I serve will be victorious, even if I myself, as my enemy would fain have thought, am faint and oppressed in my own cause. For if you cling most firmly to what I urge on you with all my might, that every one is cursed who places his trust in man, so that none should make his boast of man, then you will in no wise desert the threshing-floor of the Lord on account of the chaff which either is now being dispersed beneath the blast of the wind of pride, or will be separated by the final winnowing; nor will you fly from the great house on account of the vessels made to dishonor; nor will you quit the net through the breaches made in it because of the bad fish which are to be separated on the shore; nor will you leave the good pastures of unity, because of the goats which are to be placed on the left when the Good Shepherd shall divide the flock; nor will you separate yourselves by an impious secession, because of the mixture of the tares, from the society of that good wheat, whose source is that grain that dies and is multiplied thereby, and that grows together throughout the world until the harvest. For the field is the world,—not only Africa; and the harvest is the end of the world,—not the era of Donatus.
CHAP. 3. —4. These comparisons of the gospel you doubtless recognize. Nor can we suppose them given for any other purpose, except that no one should make his boast in man, and that no one should be puffed up for one against another, or divided one against another, saying, "I am of Paul," when certainly Paul was not crucified for you, nor were you baptized in the name of Paul, much less in that of Caecilianus, or of any one of us, that you may learn, that so long as the chaff is being bruised with the corn, so long as the bad fishes swim together with the good in the nets of the Lord, till the time of separation shall come, it is your duty rather to endure the admixture of the bad out of consideration for the good, than to violate the principle of brotherly love towards the good from any consideration of the bad. For this admixture is not for eternity, but for time alone nor is it spiritual, but corporal. And in this the angels will not be liable to err, when they shall collect the bad from the midst of the good, and commit them to the burning fiery furnace. For the Lord knoweth those which are His. And if a man cannot depart bodily from those who practise iniquity so long as time shall last, at any rate, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity itself. For in the meantime he may separate himself from the wicked in life, and in morals, and in heart and will, and in the same respects depart from his society; and separation such as this should always be maintained. But let the separation in the body be waited for till the end of time, faithfully, patiently, bravely. In consideration of which expectation it is said, "Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart; wait, I say, upon the Lord." For the greatest palm of toleration is won by those who, among false brethren that have crept in unawares, seeking their own, and not the things of Jesus Christ, yet show that they on their part seek not to disturb the love which is not their own, but Jesus Christ's, by any turbulent or rash dissension, nor to break the unity of the Lord's net, in which are gathered together fish of every kind; till it is drawn to the shore, that is, till the end of time, by any wicked strife fostered in the spirit of pride: whilst each might think himself to be something, being really nothing, and so might lead himself astray, and wish that sufficient reason might be found for the separation of Christian peoples in the judgment of himself or of his friends, who declare that they know beyond all question certain wicked men unworthy of communion in the sacraments of the Christian religion: though whatever it may be that they know of them, they cannot persuade the universal Church, which, as it was foretold, is spread abroad throughout all nations, to give credit to their tale. And when they refuse communion with these men, as men whose character they know, they desert the unity of the Church; whereas they ought rather, if there really were in them that charity which endureth all things, themselves to bear what they know in one nation, lest they should separate themselves from the good whom they were unable throughout all nations to fill with the teaching of evil alien to them. Whence even, without discussing the case, in which they are convicted by the weightiest proofs of having uttered calumnies against the innocent, they are believed with greater probability to have invented false charges of giving up the sacred books, when they are found to have themselves committed the far more heinous crime of Wicked division in the Church. For even, if whatever imputations they have cast of giving up the sacred books were true, yet they in no wise ought to have abandoned the society of Christians, who are commended by holy Scripture even to the ends of the world, on considerations which they have been familiar with, while these men showed that they were not acquainted with them.
CHAP. 4. —5. Nor would I therefore be understood to urge that ecclesiastical discipline should be set at naught, and that every one should be allowed to do exactly as he pleased, without any check, without a kind of healing chastisement, a lenity which should inspire fear, the severity of love. For then what will become of the precept of the apostle, "Warn them that are unruly, comfort the feeble-minded, support the weak, be patient toward all men; see that none render evil for evil unto any man?" At any rate, when he added these last words, "See that none render evil for evil unto any man," he showed with sufficient clearness that there is no rendering of evil for evil when one chastises those that are unruly, even though for the fault of unruliness be administered the punishment of chastising. The punishment of chastising therefore is not an evil, though the fault be an evil. For indeed it is the steel, not of an enemy inflicting a wound, but of a surgeon performing an operation. Things like this are done within the Church, and that spirit of gentleness within its pale burns with zeal towards God, lest the chaste virgin which is espoused to one husband, even Christ. should in any of her members be corrupted from the simplicity which is in Christ, as Eve was beguiled by the subtilty of the serpent. Notwithstanding, far be it from the servants of the father of the family that they should be unmindful of the precept of their Lord, and be so inflamed with the fire of holy indignation against the multitude of the tares, that while they seek to gather them in bundles before the time, the wheat should be rooted up together with them. And of this sin these men would be held to be guilty, even though they showed that those were true charges which they brought against the traditors whom they accused; because they separated themselves in a spirit of impious presumption, not only from the wicked, whose society they professed to be avoiding, but also from the good and faithful in all nations of the world, to whom they could not prove the truth of what they said they, knew; and with themselves they drew away into the same destruction many others over whom they had some slight authority, and who were not wise enough to understand that the unity of the Church dispersed throughout the world was on no account to be forsaken for other men's sins. So that, even though they themselves knew that they were pressing true charges against certain of their neighbors, yet in this way a weak brother, for whom Christ died, was perishing through their knowledge; whilst, being offended at other men's sins, he was destroying in himself the blessing of peace which he had with the good brethren, who partly had never heard such charges, partly had shrunk froth giving hasty credence to what was neither discussed nor proved, partly, in the peaceful spirit of humility, had left these charges, whatsoever they might be, to the cognizance of the judges of the Church, to whom the whole matter had been referred, across the sea.
CHAP. 5. —6. Do you, therefore, holy scions of our one Catholic mother, beware with all the watchfulness of which you are capable, in due submission to the Lord, of the example of crime and error such as this. With however great light of learning and of reputation he may shine, however much he may boast himself to be a precious stone, who endeavors to lead you after him, remember always that that brave woman who alone is lovely only to her husband, whom holy Scripture portrays to us in the last chapter of the Book of Proverbs, is more precious than any precious stones. Let no one say, I will follow such an one, for it was even he that made me a Christian; or, I will follow such an one, for it was even he that baptized me. For "neither is he that planteth anything, neither he that watereth, but God that giveth the increase." And "God is love; and he that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and God in him." No one also that preaches the name of Christ, and handles or administers the sacrament of Christ, is to be followed in opposition to the unity of Christ. "Let every man prove his own work; and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For every man shall bear his own burden,"— the burden, that is, of rendering an account; for "every one of shall give an account of himself. Let us not therefore judge one another any more." For, so far as relates to the burdens of mutual love, "bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself." Let us therefore "forbear one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace;" for no one who gathers outside that peace is gathering with Christ; but "he that gathering not with Him scattereth abroad."
CHAP. 6. —7. Furthermore, whether concerning Christ, or concerning His Church, or any other matter whatsoever which is connected with your faith and life, to say nothing of ourselves, who are by no means to be compared with him who said, "Though we," at any rate, as he went on to say, "Though an angel from heaven preach any other gospel unto you than that which" ye have received in the lawful and evangelical Scripture, "let him be accursed." While carrying out this principle of action in our dealings with you, and with all whom we desire to gain in Christ, and, amongst other things, while preaching the holy Church which we read of as promised in the epistles of God, and see to be fulfilled according to the promises in all nations of the world, we have earned, not the rendering of thanks, but the flames of hatred, from those whom we desire to have attracted into His most peaceful bosom; as though we had bound them fast in that party for which they cannot find any defense that they should make; or as though we so long before had given injunctions to prophets and apostles that they should insert in their books no proofs by which it might be shown that the party of Donatus was the Church of Christ. And we indeed, dear brethren, when we hear false charges brought against us by those whom we have offended by preaching the eloquence of truth, and confuting the vanity of error, have, as you know, the most abundant consolation. For if, in the matters which they lay to my charge, the testimony of my conscience does not stand against me in the sight of God, where no mortal eye can reach, not only ought I not to be cast down, but I should even rejoice and be exceeding glad, for great is my reward in heaven. For in fact I ought to consider, not how bitter, but how false is what I hear, and how true He is in defense of whose name I am exposed to it, and to whom it is said, "Thy name is as ointment poured forth." And deservedly does it smell sweet in all nations, though those who speak evil of us endeavor to confine its fragrance within one corner of Africa. Why therefore should we take amiss that we are reviled by men who thus detract from the glory of Christ, whose party and schism find offense in what was foretold so long before of His ascent into the heavens, and of the pouring forth of His name, as of the savor of ointment: "Be Thou exalted, O God, above the heavens: let Thy glory be above all the earth"?
CHAP. 7. —8. Whilst we bear the testimony of God to this and the like effect against the vain speaking of men, we are forced to undergo bitter insults from the enemies of the glory of Christ. Let them say what they will, whilst He exhorts us, saying, "Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake." What He says in the first instance, "for righteousness' sake," He has repeated in the words that He uses afterwards, "for my sake;" seeing that He "is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption, that, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord." And when He says, "Rejoice, and be exceeding glad, for great is your reward in heaven," if I hold in a good conscience what is said "for righteousness' sake," and "for my sake," whosoever willfully detracts from my reputation is against his will contributing to my reward. For neither did He only instruct me by His word, without also confirming me by His example. Follow the faith of the holy Scriptures, and you will find that Christ rose from the dead, ascended into heaven, sitteth at the right hand of the Father. Follow the charges brought by His enemies, and you will presently believe that He was stolen from the sepulchre by His disciples. Why then should we, while defending His house to the best of the abilities given us by God, expect to meet with any other treatment from His enemies? "If they have called the Master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of His household?" If, therefore, we suffer, we shall also reign with Him. But if it be not only the wrath of the accuser that strikes the ear, but also the truth of tile accusation that stings the conscience, what does it profit me if the whole world were to exalt me with perpetual praise? So neither the eulogy of him who praises has power to heal a guilty conscience, nor does the insult of him, who reviles wound the good conscience. Nor, however, is your hope which is in the Lord deceived, even though we chance to be in secret what our enemies wish us to be thought; for you have not placed your hope in us, nor have you ever heard from us any doctrine of the kind. You therefore are safe, whatever we may be, who have learned to say, "I have trusted in the Lord; therefore I shall not slide;" and "In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me." And to those who endeavor to lead you astray to the earthly heights of proud men, you know how to answer, "In the Lord put I my trust: how say ye to my soul, Flee as a bird to your mountain?"
CHAP. 8. —9. Nor is it only you that are safe, whatever we may be, because you are satisfied with the very truth of Christ which is in us, in so far as it is preached through us, and everywhere throughout the world, and because, listening to it willingly, so far as it is set forth by the humble ministry of our tongue, you also think well and kindly of us,—for so your hope is in Him whom we preach to you out of His loving-kindness, which extends over you,—but further, all of you, who also received the sacrament of holy baptism from our ministering, may well rejoice in the same security, seeing that you were baptized, not into us, but into Christ. You did not therefore put on us, but Christ; nor did I ask you whether you were converted unto me, but unto the living God; nor whether you believed in me, but in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. But if you answered my question with truthful hearts, you were placed in a state of salvation, not by the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but by the answer of a good conscience towards God; not by a fellow-servant, but by the Lord; not by the herald, but by the judge. For it is not true, as Petilianus inconsiderately said, that "the conscience of the giver," or, as he added "the conscience of him who gives in holiness is what we look for to wash the conscience of the recipient." For when something is given that is of God, it is given in holiness, even by a conscience which is not holy. And certainly it is beyond the power of the recipient to discern whether the said conscience is holy or not holy; but that which is given he can discern with clearness. That which is known to Him who is ever holy is received with perfect safety, whatever be the character of the minister at whose hands it is received. For unless the words which are spoken from Moses' seat were necessarily holy, He that is the Truth would never have said, "Whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do." But if the men who uttered holy words were themselves holy, He would not have said, "Do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not." For it is true that in no way do men gather grapes of thorns, because grapes never spring from the root of a thorn; but when the shoot of the vine has entwined itself in a thorn hedge, the fruit which hangs upon it is not therefore looked upon with dread, but the thorn is avoided, while the grape is plucked.
CHAP. 9. —10. Therefore, as I have often said before, and am desirous to bring home to you, whatsoever we may be, you are safe, who have God for your Father and His Church for your mother. For although the goats may feed in company with the sheep, yet they shall not stand on the right hand; although the chaff may be bruised together with the wheat, it shall not be gathered into the barn; although the bad fish may swim in company with the good within the Lord's nets, they shall not be gathered into vessels. Let no man make his boast even in a good man: let no man shun the good gifts of God even in a bad man.
CHAP. 10. —11. Let these things suffice you, my beloved Christian brethren of the Catholic Church, so far as the present business is concerned; and if you hold fast to this in Catholic affection, so long as you are one sure flock of the one Shepherd, I am not too much concerned with the abuse that any enemy may lavish on me, your partner in the flock, or, at any rate, your watch-dog, so long as he compels me to bark rather in your defense than in my own. And yet, if it were necessary for the cause that I should enter on my own defense, I should do so with the greatest brevity and the greatest ease, joining freely with all men in condemning and bearing witness against the whole period of my life before I received the baptism of Christ, so far as relates to my evil passions and my errors, lest, in defending that period, I should seem to be seeking my own glory, not His, who by His grace delivered me even from myself. Wherefore, when I hear that life of mine abused, in whatever spirit he may be acting who abuses it, I am not so thankless as to be grieved. However much he finds fault with any vice of mine, I praise him in the same degree as my physician. Why then should I disturb myself about defending those past and obsolete evils in my life, in respect of which, though Petilianus has said much that is false, he has yet left more that is true unsaid? But concerning that period of my life which is subsequent to my baptism, to you who know me I speak unnecessarily in telling of those things which might be known to all mankind; but those who know me not ought not to act with such unfairness towards me as to believe Petilianus rather than you concerning me. For if one should not give credence to the panegyrics of a friend, neither should one believe the detraction of an enemy. There remain, therefore, those things which are hidden in a man, in which conscience alone can bear testimony, which cannot be a witness before men. Herein Petilianus says that I am a Manichaean, speaking of the conscience of another man; I, speaking of my own conscience, aver that I am not. Choose which of us you had sooner believe. Notwithstanding, since there is not any need even of this short and easy defense on my part, where the question at issue is not concerning the merits of any individual, whoever he may be, but concerning the truth; of the whole Church, I have more also to say to any of you, who, being of the party of Donatus, have read the evil words which Petilianus has written about me, which I should not have heard from him if I had had no care about the loss of your salvation; but then I should have been wanting in the bowels of Christian love.
CHAP. 11. —12. What wonder is it then, if, when I draw in the grain that has been shaken forth from the threshing-floor of the Lord, together with the soil and chaff, I suffer injury from the dust that rebounds against me; or that, when I am diligently seeking after the lost sheep of my Lord, I am torn by the briars of thorny tongues? I entreat you, lay aside for a time all considerations of party feeling, and judge with some degree of fairness between Petilianus and myself. I am desirous that you should be acquainted with the cause of the Church; he, that you should be familiar with mine. For what other reason than because he dares not bid you disbelieve my witnesses, whom I am constantly citing in the cause of the Church,—for they are prophets and apostles, and Christ Himself, the Lord of prophets and apostles,—whereas you easily give him credit in whatever he may choose to say concerning me, a man against a man, and one, moreover, of your own party against a stranger to you? And should I adduce any witnesses to my life, however important the thing he might say would be, it would not be believed by them, and of this Petilianus would quickly persuade you; especially when any one would bring forward a plea for me. Since he is an enemy of the Donatist party, in virtue of this fact he would also continually be considered your enemy. Petilianus therefore reigns supreme. Whenever he aims any abuse at me, of whatever character it may be, you all applaud and shout assent. This cause he has found wherein the victory is possible for him, but only with you for judges. He will seek for neither proof nor witness; for all that he has to prove in his words is this, that he lavishes most copious abuse on one whom you most cordially hate. For whereas, when the testimony of divine Scripture is quoted in such abundance and in such express terms in favor of the Catholic Church, he remains silent amidst your grief, he has chosen for himself a subject on which he may speak amidst applause from you; and though really conquered, yet, pretending that he stands unmoved, he may make statements concerning me like this, and even worse than this. It is enough for me, in respect of the cause which I am now pleading, that whatsoever I may be found to be, yet the Church for which I speak unconquered.
CHAP. 12. —13. For I am a man of the threshing-floor of Christ: if a bad man, then part of the chaff; if good, then of the grain. The winnowing- fan of this threshing-floor is not the tongue of Petilianus; and hereby, whatever evil he may have uttered, even with truth, against the chaff of this threshing-floor, this in no way prejudices its grain. But whereinsoever he has cast any revilings or calumnies against the grain itself, its faith is tried on earth, and its reward increased in the heavens. For where men are holy servants of the Lord, and are fighting with holiness for God, not against Petilianus, or any flesh and blood like him, but against principalities and powers, and the rulers of the darkness of this world, such as are all enemies of the truth, to whom I would that we could say, "Ye were sometime darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord,"—where the servants of God, I say, are waging such a war as this, then all the calumnious revilings that are uttered by their enemies, which cause an evil report among the malicious and those that are rash in believing, are weapons on the left hand: it is with such as these that even the devil is defeated. For when we are tried by good report, whether we resist the exaltation of ourselves to pride, and are tried by evil report, whether we love even those very enemies by whom it is invented against us, then we overcome the devil by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left. For when the apostle had used the expression, "By the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left," he at once goes on to say, as if in explanation of the terms, "By honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report," and so forth,—reckoning honor and good report among the armor on the right hand, dishonor and evil report among that upon the left.
CHAP. 13. —14. If, therefore, I am a servant of the Lord, and a soldier that is not reprobate, with whatever eloquence Petilianus stands forth reviling me, ought I in any way to be annoyed that he has been appointed for me as a most accomplished craftsman of the armor on the left? It is necessary that I should fight in this armor as skillfully as possible in defence of my Lord, and should smite with it the enemy against whom I wage an unseen fight, who in all cunning strives and endeavors, with the most perverse and ancient craftiness, that this should lead me to hate Petilianus, and so be unable to fulfill the command which Christ has given, that we should "love our enemies." But from this may I be saved by the mercy of Him who loved me, and gave Himself for me, so that, as He hung upon the cross, He said, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do;" and so taught me to say of Petilianus and all other enemies of mine like him "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.'
CHAP. 14. —15. Furthermore, if I have obtained from you, in accordance with my earnest endeavors, that, laying aside from your minds all prejudice of party, you should be impartial judges between Petilianus and myself I will show to you that he has not replied to what I wrote, that you may understand that he has been compelled by lack of truth to abandon the dispute, and also see what revilings he has allowed himself to utter against the man who so conducted it that he had no reply to make. And yet what I am going to say displays itself with such manifest clearness, that, even though your minds were estranged from me by party prejudice and personal hatred, yet, if you would only read what is written on both sides, you could not but confess among yourselves, in your inmost hearts, that I have spoken truth.
16. For, in replying to the former part of his writings, which then alone had come into my hands, without taking any notice of his wordy and sacrilegious revilings, where he says, "Let those men cast in our teeth our twice-repeated baptism, who, under the name of baptism, have polluted their souls with a guilty washing; whom I hold to be so obscene that no manner of filth is less clean than they; whose lot it has been, by a perversion of cleanliness, to be defiled by the water wherein they washed;" I thought that what follows was worthy of discussion and refutation, where he says, "For what we look for is the conscience of the giver, that the conscience of the recipient may thereby be cleansed;' and I asked what means were to be found for cleansing one who receives baptism when the conscience of the giver is polluted, without the knowledge of him who is to receive the sacrament at his hands.
CHAP. 15. —17. Read now the most profuse revilings which he has poured forth whilst puffed up with indignation against me, and see whether he has given me any answer, when I ask what means are to be found for cleansing one who receives baptism when the conscience of the giver is polluted, without the knowledge of him who receives the sacrament at his hands. I beg of you to search minutely, to examine every page, to reckon every line, to ponder every word, to sift the meaning of each syllable, and tell me, if you can discover it, where he has made answer to the question, What means are to be found for cleansing the conscience of the recipient who is unaware that the conscience of the giver is polluted?
18. For how did it bear upon the point that he added a phrase which he said was suppressed by me, maintaining that he had written in the following terms: "The conscience of him who gives in holiness is what we look for to cleanse the conscience of the recipient?" For to prove to you that it was not suppressed by me, its addition in no way hinders my inquiry, or makes up the deficiency which was found in him. For in the face of those very words I ask again, and I beg of you to see whether he has given any answer, If "the conscience of him who gives in holiness is what we look for to cleanse the conscience of the recipient," what means are to be found for cleansing the conscience of the recipient when the conscience of the giver is stained with guilt, without the knowledge of him who is to receive the sacrament at his hands? I insist upon an answer being given to this. Do not allow that any one should be prejudiced by revilings irrelevant to the matter in hand. If the conscience of him who gives in holiness is what we look for,—observe that I do not say "the conscience of him who gives," but that I added the words, "of him who gives in holiness,"—if the conscience, then, of him who gives in holiness is what we look for, what means are to be found for cleansing one who receives baptism when the conscience of the giver is polluted, without the knowledge of him who is to receive the sacrament at his hands?
CHAP. 16. —19. Let him go now, and with panting lungs and swollen throat find fault with me as a mere dialectician. Nay, let him summon, not me, but the science of dialectics itself, to the bar of popular opinion as a forger of lies, and let him open his mouth to its widest against it, with all the noisiest uproar of a special pleader. Let him say whatever he pleases before the inexperienced, that so the learned may be moved to wrath, while the ignorant are deceived. Let him call me, in virtue of my rhetoric, by the name of the orator Tertullus, by whom Paul was accused; and let him give himself the name of Advocate, in virtue of the pleading in which he boasts his former power, and for this reason delude himself with the notion that he is, or rather was, a namesake of the Holy Ghost. Let him, with all my heart, exaggerate the foulness of the Manichaeans, and endeavor to divert it on to me by his barking. Let him quote all the exploits of those who have been condemned, whether known or unknown to me; and let him turn into the calumnious imputation of a prejudged crime, by some new right entirely his own, the fact that a former friend of mine there named me in my absence to the better securing of his own defense. Let him read the titles that have been placed upon my letters by himself or by his friends, as suited their pleasure, and boast that he has, as it were, involved me hopelessly in their expressions. When I acknowledge certain eulogies of bread, uttered in all simplicity and merriment, let him take away my character with the absurd imputations of poisonous baseness and madness. And let him entertain so bad an opinion of your understanding, as to imagine that he can be believed when he declares that pernicious love- charms were given to a woman, not only with the knowledge, but actually with the complicity of her husband. What the man who was afterwards to ordain me bishop wrote about me in anger, while I was as yet a priest, he may freely seek to use as evidence against me. That the same man sought and obtained forgiveness from a holy Council for the wrong he thus had done me, he is equally at liberty to ignore as being in my favor,—being either so ignorant or so forgetful of Christian gentleness, and the commandment of the gospel, that he brings as an accusation against a brother what is wholly unknown to that brother himself, as he humbly entreats that pardon may in kindness be extended to him.
CHAP. 17. —20. Let him further go on, in his discourse of many but manifestly empty words, to matters of which he is wholly ignorant, or in which rather he abuses the ignorance of the mass of those who hear him, and from the confession of a certain woman, that she had called herself a catechumen of the Manichaeans, being already a full member of the Catholic Church, let him say or write what he pleases concerning their baptism,—not knowing, or pretending not to know, that the name of catechumen is not bestowed among them upon persons to denote that they are at some future time to be baptized, but that this name is given to such as are also called Hearers, on the supposition that they cannot observe what are considered the higher and greater commandments, which are observed by those whom they think right to distinguish and honor by the name of Elect. Let him also maintain with wonderful rashness, either as himself deceived or as seeking to deceive, that I was a presbyter among the Manichaeans. Let him set forth and refute, in whatever sense seems good to him, the words of the third book of my Confessions, which, both in themselves, and from much that I have said before and since, are perfectly clear to all who read them. Lastly, let him triumph in my stealing his words, because I have suppressed two of them, as though the victory were his upon their restoration.
CHAP. 18. —21. Certainly in all these things, as you can learn or refresh your memory by reading his letter, he has given free scope to the impulse of his tongue, with all the license of boasting which he chose to use, but nowhere has he told us where means are to be found for cleansing the conscience of the recipient, when that of the giver has been stained with sin without his knowing it. But amid all his noise, and after all his noise, serious as it is, too terrible as he himself supposes it to be, I deliberately, as it is said, and to the purpose, ask this question once again:" If the conscience of him who gives in holiness is what we look for, what means are to be found for cleansing one who receives baptism without knowing that the conscience of the giver is stained with sin? And throughout his whole epistle I find nothing said in answer to this question.
CHAP. 19. —22. For perhaps some one of you will say to me, All these things which he said against you he wished to have force for this purpose, that he might take away your character, and through you the character of those with whom you hold communion, that neither they themselves, nor those whom you endeavor to bring over to your communion, may hold you to be of any further importance. But, in deciding whether he has given no answer to the words of your epistle, we must look at them in the light of the passage in which he proposed them for consideration. Let us then do so: let us look at his writings in the light of that very passage. Passing over, therefore, the passage in which I sought to introduce my subject to the reader, and to ignore those few prefatory words of his, which were rather insulting than revelant to the subject under discussion, I go on to say, "He says, 'What we look for is the conscience of the giver, to cleanse that of the recipient.' But supposing the conscience of the giver is concealed from view, and perhaps defiled with sin, how will it be able to cleanse the conscience of the recipient, if, as he says, 'what we look for is the conscience of the giver, to cleanse that of the recipient?' For if he should say that it makes no matter to the recipient what amount of evil may be concealed from view in the conscience of the giver, perhaps that ignorance may have such a degree of efficacy as this, that a man cannot be defiled by the guilt of the conscience of him from whom he receives baptism, so long as he is unaware of it. Let it then be granted that the guilty conscience of his neighbor cannot defile a man so long as he is unaware of it; but is it therefore clear that it can further cleanse him from his own guilt? Whence then is a man to be cleansed who receives baptism, when the conscience of the giver is polluted without the knowledge of him who is to receive it, especially when he goes on to say, 'For he who receives faith from the faithless receives not faith but guilt?'"
CHAP. 20. —23. All these statements in my letter Petilianus set before himself for refutation. Let us see, therefore, whether he has refuted them; whether he has made any answer to them at all. For I add the words which he calumniously accuses me of having suppressed, and, having done so, I ask him again the same question in an even shorter form; for by adding these two words he has helped me much in shortening this proposition. If the conscience of him who gives in holiness is what we look for to cleanse that of the recipient, and if he who has received his faith wittingly from one that is faithless, receives not faith but guilt, where shall we find means to cleanse the conscience of the recipient, when he has not known that the conscience of the giver is stained with guilt, and when he receives his faith unwittingly from one that is faithless? I ask, where shall we find means to cleanse it? Let him tell us; let him not pass off into another subject; let him not cast a mist over the eyes of the inexperienced. To end with, at any rate, after many tortuous circumlocutions have been interposed and thoroughly worked out, let him at last tell us where we shall find means to cleanse the conscience of the recipient when the stains of guilt in the conscience of the faithless baptizer are concealed from view, if the conscience of him who gives in holiness is what we look for to cleanse that of the recipient, and if he who has received his faith wittingly from one that is faithless, receives not faith but guilt? For the man in question receives it from a faithless man who has not the conscience of one who gives in holiness, but a conscience stained with guilt, and veiled from view. Where then shall we find means to cleanse his conscience? whence then does he receive his faith? For if he is neither then cleansed, nor then receives faith, when the faithlessness and guilt of the baptizer are concealed, why, when these are afterwards brought to light and condemned, is he not then baptized afresh, that he may be cleansed and receive faith? But if, while the faithlessness and guilt of the other are concealed, he is cleansed and does receive faith, whence does he obtain his cleansing, whence does he receive faith, when there is not the conscience of one that gives in holiness to cleanse the conscience of the recipient? Let him tell us this; let him make reply to this: Whence does he obtain his cleansing, whence does he receive faith, if the conscience of him that gives in holiness is what we look for to cleanse the conscience of the recipient, seeing that this does not exist, when the baptizer conceals his character of faithlessness and guilt? To this no answer has been made whatever.
CHAP. 21. —24. But see, when he is reduced to straits in the argument, he again makes an attack on me full of mist and wind, that the calm clearness of the truth may be obscured; and through the extremity of his want he becomes full of resources, shown not in saying what is true, but in unbought empty revilings. Hold fast, with the keenest attention and utmost perseverance, what he ought to answer,—that is, where means may be found for cleansing the conscience of the recipient when the stains in that of the giver are concealed,—lest possibly the blast of his eloquence should wrest this from your hands, and you in turn should be carried away by the dark tempest of his turgid discourse, so as wholly to fail in seeing whence he has digressed, and to what point he should return; and see where the man can wander, whilst he cannot stand in the matter which he has undertaken. For see how much he says, through having nothing that he ought to say. He says "that I slide in slippery places, but am held up; that I neither destroy nor confirm the objections that I make; that I devise uncertain things in the place of certainty; that I do not permit my readers to believe what is true, but cause them to look with increased suspicion on what is doubtful." He says "that I have the accursed talents of the Academic philosopher Carneades." He endeavors to insinuate what the Academics think of the falseness or the falsehood of human sensation, showing in this also that he is wholly without knowledge of what he says. He declares that "it is said by them that snow is black, whereas it is white; and that silver is black; and that a tower is round, or free from projections, when it is really angular; that an oar is broken in the water, while it is whole." And all this because, when he had said that "the conscience of him that gives," or "of him that gives in holiness, is what we look for to cleanse the conscience of the recipient," I said in reply, What if the conscience of the giver be hidden from sight, and possibly be stained with guilt? Here you have his black snow, and black silver, and his tower round instead of angular, and the oar in the water broken while yet whole, in that I suggested a state of the case which might be conceived, and could not really exist, that the conscience of the giver might be hidden from view, and possibly might be stained with guilt
25. Then he continues in the same strain, and cries out: "What is that what if? what is that possibly? except the uncertain and wavering hesitation of one who doubts, of whom your poet says'—
'What if I now return to those who say, What if the sky should fall?'"
Does he mean that when I said, What if the conscience of the giver be hidden from sight, and possibly be stained with guilt? that it is much the same as if I had said, What if the sky should fall? There certainly is the phrase What if, because it is possible that it may be hidden from view, and it is possible that it may not. For when it is not known what the giver is thinking of, or what crime he has committed, then his conscience is certainly hidden from the view of the recipient; but when his sin is plainly manifest, then it is not hidden. I used the expression, And possibly may be stained with guilt, because it is possible that it may be hidden from view and yet be pure; and again, it is possible that it may be hidden from view and be stained with guilt. This is the meaning of the What if; this the meaning of the Possibly. Is this at all like "What if the sky should fall?" O how often have men been convicted, how often have they confessed themselves that they had consciences stained with guilt and adultery, whilst men were unwittingly baptized by them after they were degraded by the sin subsequently brought to light, and yet the sky did not fall! What have we here to do with Pilus and Furius, who defended the cause of injustice against justice? What have we here to do with the atheist Diagoras, who denied that there was any God, so that he would seem to be the man of whom the prophet spoke beforehand, "The fool hath said in his heart there is no God?" What have we here to do with these? Why were their names brought in, except that they might make a diversion in favor of a man who had nothing to say? that while he is at any rate saying something, though needlessly, about these, the matter in hand may seem to be progressing, and an answer may be supposed to be made to a question which remains without an answer?
CHAP. 22. —26. Lastly, if these two or three words, What if, and Possibly, are so absolutely intolerable, that on their account we should have aroused from their long sleep the Academics, and Carneades, and Pilus, and Furius, and Diagoras, and black snow, and the falling of the sky, and everything else that is equally senseless and absurd, let them be removed from our argument. For, as a matter of fact, it is by no means impossible to express what we desire to say without them. There is quite sufficient for our purpose in what is found a little later, and has been introduced by himself from my letter: "By what means then is he to be cleansed who receives baptism when the conscience of the giver is polluted, and that without the knowledge of him who is to receive the sacrament?" Do you acknowledge that here there is no What if, no Possibly? Well then, let an answer be given. Give close heed, test he be found to answer this in what follows. "But," says he, "I bind you in your cavilling to the faith of believing, that you may not wander further from it. Why do you turn away your life from errors by arguments of folly? Why do you disturb the system of belief in respect of matters without reason? By this one word I bind and convince you." It was Petilianus that said this, not I. These words are from the letter of Petilianus; but from that letter, to which I just now added the two words which he accuses me of having suppressed, showing that, notwithstanding their addition, the pertinency of my question, to which he makes no answer, remains with greater brevity and simplicity. It is beyond dispute that these two words are, In holiness, and Wittingly: so that it should not be, "The conscience of him who gives," but "The conscience of him who gives in holiness;" and that it should not be, "He who has received his faith from one that is faithless," but "He who has wittingly received his faith from one that is faithless." And yet I had not really suppressed these words; but I had not found them in the copy which was placed in my hands. It is possible enough that it was incorrect; nor indeed is it wholly beyond the possibility of belief that even by this suggestion Academic grudge should be roused against me, and that it should be asserted that, in declaring the copy to be incorrect, I had said much the same sort of thing as if I had declared that snow was black. For why should I repay in kind his rash suggestion, and say that, though he pretends that I suppressed the words, he really added them afterwards himself, since the copy, which is not angry, can confirm that mark of incorrectness, without any abusive rashness on my part?
CHAP. 23. —27. And, in the first place, with regard to that first expression, "Of him who gives in holiness," it does not interfere in the least with my inquiry, by which he is so much distressed, whether I use the expression, "If the conscience of him that gives is what we look for," or the fuller phrase, "If the conscience of him that gives in holiness is what we look for, to cleanse the conscience of the recipient," by what means then is he to be cleansed who receives baptism if the conscience of the giver is polluted, without the knowledge of him who is to receive the sacrament? And with regard to the other word that is added, "wittingly," so that the sentence should not run," He who has received his faith from one that is faithless," but "He who has wittingly received his faith from one that is faithless, receives not faith but guilt," I confess that I had said some things as though the word were absent, but I can easily afford to do without them; for they caused more hindrance to the facility of my argument than they gave assistance to its power. For how much more readily, how much more plainly and shortly, can I put the question thus: "If the conscience of him who gives in holiness is what we look for to cleanse the conscience of the recipient," and "if he who has wittingly received his faith from one that is faithless receives not faith but guilt," by what means is he cleansed, from whom the stain on the conscience of him who gives, but not in holiness, is hidden? and whence does be receive true faith, who is baptized unwittingly by one that is faithless? Let it be declared whence this shall be, and then the whole theory of baptism will be disclosed; then all that is matter of investigation will be brought to light,—but only if it be declared, not if the time be consumed in evil-speaking.
CHAP. 24. —28. Whatever, therefore, he finds in these two words,— whether he brings calumnious accusations about their suppression, or boasts of their being added,—you perceive that it in no way hinders my question, to which he can find no answer that he can make; and therefore, not wishing to remain silent, he takes the opportunity of making an attack upon my character,—retiring, I should have said, from the discussion, except that he had never entered on it. For just as though the question were about me, and not about the truth of the Church, or of baptism, therefore he says that I, by suppressing these two words, have argued as though it were no stumblingblock in the way of my conscience, that I have ignored what he calls the sacrilegious conscience of him who polluted me. But if this were so, the addition of the word "wittingly," which is thus introduced, would be in my favor, and its suppression would tell against me. For if I had wished that my defense should be urged on the ground that I should be supposed to have been unacquainted with the conscience of the man that baptized me, then I would accept Petilianus as having spoken in my behalf, since he does not say in general terms, "He that has received his faith from one that is faithless," but "He that has wittingly received his faith from one that is faithless, receives not faith but guilt;" so that hence I might boast that I had received not guilt, but faith, since I could say I did not receive it wittingly from one that was faithless, but was unacquainted with the conscience of him that gave it. See, therefore, and reckon carefully, if you can, what an amount of superfluous words he wastes on the one phrase, "I was unacquainted with" which he declares that I have used; whereas I never used it at all,—partly because the question under discussion was not concerning me, so that I should need to use it; partly because no fault was apparent in him that baptized me, so that I should be forced to say in my defense that I had been unacquainted with his conscience.
CHAP. 25. —29. And yet Petilianus, to avoid answering what I have said, sets before himself what I have not, and draws men's attention away from the consideration of his debt, lest they should exact the answer which he ought to make. He constantly introduces the expressions, "I have been unacquainted with," "I say," and makes answer, "But if you were unacquainted with;" and, as though convicting me, so that it should be out of my power to say, "I was unacquainted with," he quotes Mensurius, Caecilianus, Macarius, Taurinus, Romanus, and declares that "they had acted in opposition to the Church of God, as I could not fail to know, seeing that I am an African, and already well advanced in years," whereas, so far as I hear, Mensurius died in the unity of the communion of the Church, before the faction of Donatus separated itself therefrom; whilst I had read the history of Caecilianus, that they themselves had referred his case to Constantine, and that he had been once and again acquitted by the judges whom that emperor had appointed to try the matter, and again a third; time by the sovereign himself, when they appealed to him. But whatever Macarius and Taurinus and Romanus did, either in their judicial or executive functions, in behalf of unity as against their pertinacious madness, it is beyond doubt that it was all done in accordance with the laws, which these same persons made it unavoidable should be passed and put in force, by referring the case of Caecilianus to the judgment of the emperor.
30. Among many other things which are wholly irrevelant, he says that "I was so hard hit by the decision of the proconsul Messianus, that I was forced to fly from Africa." And in consequence of this falsehood (to which, if he was not the author of it, he certainly lent malicious ears when others maliciously invented it), how many other falsehoods had he the hardihood not only to utter, but actually to write with wondrous rashness, seeing that I went to Milan before the consulship of Banto, and that, in pursuance of the profession of rhetorician which I then followed, I recited a panegyric in his honor as consul on the first of January, in the presence of a vast assembly of men; and after that journey I only returned to Africa after the death of the tyrant Maximus: whereas the proconsul Messianus heard the case of the Manichaeans after the consulship of Banto, as the day of the chronicles inserted by Petilianus himself sufficiently shows. And if it were necessary to prove this for the satisfaction of those who are in doubt, or believe the contrary, I could produce many men, illustrious in their generation, as most sufficient witnesses to all that period of my life.
CHAP. 26. —31. But why do we make inquiry into these points? Why do we both suffer and cause unnecessary delay? Are we likely to find out by such a course as this what means we are to use for cleansing the conscience of the recipient, who does not know that the conscience of the giver is stained with guilt: whence the man is to receive faith who is unwittingly baptized by one that is faithless?—the question which Petilianus had proposed to himself to answer in my epistle, then going on to say anything else he pleased except what the matter in hand required. How often has he said, "If ignorant you were,"—as though I had said, what I never did say, that I was unacquainted with the conscience of him who baptized me. And he seemed to have no other object in all that his evil-speaking mouth poured forth, except that he should appear to prove that I had not been ignorant of the misdeeds of those among whom I was baptized, and with whom I was associated in communion, understanding fully, it would seem, that ignorance did not convict me of guilt. See then that if I were ignorant, as he has repeated so often, beyond all doubt I should be innocent of all these crimes. Whence therefore should I be cleansed, who am unacquainted with the conscience of him who gives but not in holiness, so that I may be least ensnared by his offenses? Whence then should I receive faith, seeing that I was baptized unwittingly by one that was faithless? For he has not repeated "If ignorant you were" so often without purpose, but simply to prevent my being reputed innocent, esteeming beyond all doubt that no man's innocence is violated if he unwittingly receives his faith from one that is faithless, and is not acquainted with the stains on the conscience of him that gives, but not in holiness. Let him say, therefore, by what means such men are to be cleansed, whence they are to receive not guilt but faith. But let him not deceive you. Let him not, while uttering much, say nothing; or rather, let him not say much while saying nothing. Next, to urge a point which occurs to me, and must not be passed over,—if I am guilty because I have not been ignorant, to use his own phraseology, and I am proved not to have been ignorant, because I am an African, and already advanced in years, let him grant that the youths of other nations throughout the world are not guilty, who had no opportunity either from their race, or from that age you bring against me, of knowing the points that are laid to our charge, be they true, or be they false; and yet they, if they have fallen into your hands, are rebaptized without any considerations of such a kind.
CHAP. 27. —32. But this is not what we are now inquiring. Let him rather answer (what he wanders off into the most irrelevant matters in order to avoid answering) by what means the conscience of the recipient is cleansed who is unacquainted with the stain on the conscience of the giver, if the conscience of one that gives in holiness is what we look for to cleanse the conscience of the recipient? and from what source he receive faith who is unwittingly baptized by one that is faithless, if he that has wittingly received his faith from one that is faithless receives not faith but guilt? Omitting, therefore, his revilings, which he has cast at me without any sound consideration, let us still notice that he does not say what we demand in what follows. But I should like to look at the garrulous mode in which he has set this forth, as though he were sure to overwhelm us with confusion. "But let us return," he says, "to that argument of your fancy, whereby you seem to have represented to yourself in a form of words the persons you baptize. For since you do not see the truth, it would have been more seemly to have imagined what was probable." These words of his own, Petilianus put forth by way of preface, being about to state the words that I had used. Then he went on to quote: "Behold, you say, the faithless man stands ready to baptize, but he who is to be baptized knows nothing of his faithlessness." He has not quoted the whole Of my proposition and question; and presently he begins to ask me in his turn, saying, "Who is the man, and from what corner has he started up, that you propose to us? Why do you seem to see a man who is the produce of your imagination, in order to avoid seeing one whom you are bound to see, and to examine and test most carefully? But since I see that you are unacquainted with the order of the sacrament, I tell you this as shortly as I can: you were bound both to examine your baptizer, and to be examined by him." What is it, then, that we were waiting for? That he should tell us by what means the conscience of the recipient is to be cleansed, who is unacquainted with the stain on the conscience of him that gives but not in holiness, and whence the man is to receive not guilt but faith, who has received baptism unwittingly from one that is faithless. All that we have heard is that the baptizer ought most diligently to be examined by him who wishes to receive not guilt but faith, that the latter may make himself acquainted with the conscience of him that gives in holiness, which is to cleanse the conscience of the recipient. For the man that has filled to make this examination, and has unwittingly received baptism from one that is faithless, from the very fact that he did not make the examination, and therefore did not know of the stain on the conscience of the giver, was incapacitated from receiving faith instead of guilt. Why therefore did he add what he made so much of adding,—the word wittingly, which he calumniously accused me of having suppressed? For in his unwillingness that the sentence should run, "He who has received his faith from one that is faithless, receives not faith but guilt," he seems to have left some hope to the man that acts unwittingly. But now, when he is asked whence that man is to receive faith who is baptized unwittingly by one that is faithless, he has answered that he ought to have examined his baptizer; so that, beyond all doubt, he refuses the wretched man permission even to be ignorant, by not finding out from what source he may receive faith, unless he has placed his trust in the man that is baptizing him.
CHAP. 28. —33. This is what we look upon with horror in your party; this is what the sentence of God condemns, crying out with the utmost truth and the utmost clearness, "Cursed is every one that trusteth in man." This is what is most openly forbidden by holy humility and apostolic love, as Paul declares, "Let no man glory in men." This is the reason that the attack of empty calumnies and of the bitterest invectives grows even fiercer against us, that when human authority is as it were overthrown, there may remain no ground of hope for those to whom we administer the word and sacrament of God in accordance with the dispensation entrusted unto us. We make answer to them: How long do you rest your support on man? The venerable society of the Catholic Church makes answer to them: "Truly my soul waiteth upon God: from Him cometh my salvation. He only is my God and my helper; I shall not be moved." For what other reason have they had for removing from the house of God, except that they pretended that they could not endure those vessels made to dishonor, from which the house shall not be free until the day of judgment? whereas all the time they rather appear, by their deeds and by the records of the time, to have themselves been vessels of this kind, while they threw the imputation in the teeth of others; of which said vessels made unto dishonor, in order that no one should on their account remove in confusion of mind from the great house, which alone belongs to the great Father of our family, the servant of God, one who was good and faithful, or was capable of receiving faith in baptism, as I have shown above, expressly says, "Truly my soul waiteth upon God" (on God, you see, and not on man): "from Him cometh my salvation" (not from man). But Petilianus would refuse to ascribe to God the cleansing and purifying of a man, even when the stain upon the conscience of him who gives, but not in holiness, is hidden from view, and any one receives his faith unwittingly from one that is faithless. "I tell you this," he says, "as shortly as I can: you were bound both to examine your baptizer, and to be examined by him."
CHAP. 29. —34. I entreat of you, pay attention to this: I ask where the means shall be found for cleansing the conscience of the recipient, when he is not acquainted with the stain upon the conscience of him that gives but not in holiness, if the conscience of him that gives in holiness is waited for to cleanse the conscience of the recipient? and from what source he is to receive faith, who is unwittingly baptized by one that is faithless, if, whosoever has received his faith wittingly. from one that is faithless, receives not faith but guilt? and he answers me, that both the baptizer and the baptized should be subjected to examination. And for the proof of this point, out of which no question arises, he adduces the example of John, in that he was examined by those who asked him who he claimed to be, and that he also in turn examined those to whom he says, "O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?" What has this to do with the subject? What has this to do with the question under discussion? God had vouchsafed to John the testimony of most eminent holiness of life, confirmed by the previous witness of the noblest prophecy, I both when he was conceived, and when he was born. But the Jews put their question, already believing him to be a saint, to find out which of the saints he maintained himself to be, or whether he was himself the saint of saints, that is, Christ Jesus. So much favor indeed was shown to him, that credence would at once have been given to whatever he might have said about himself. If, therefore, we are to follow this precedent in declaring that each several baptizer is now to be examined, then each must also be believed, whatever he may say of himself. But who is there that is made up of deceit, whom we know that the Holy Spirit flees from, in accordance with the Scripture, who would not wish the best to be believed of him, or who would hesitate to bring this about by the use of any words within his reach? Accordingly, when he shall have been asked who he is, and shall have answered that he is the faithful dispenser of God's ordinances, and that his conscience is not polluted with the stain of any crime, will this be the whole examination, or will there be a further more careful investigation into his character and life? Assuredly there will. But it is not written that this was done by those who in the desert of Jordan asked John who he was.
CHAP. 30. —35. Accordingly this precedent is wholly without bearing on the matter in hand. We might rather say that the declaration of the apostle sufficiently inculcates this care, when he says, "Let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless." And since this is done anxiously and habitually in both parties, by almost all concerned, how comes it that so many are found to be reprobates subsequently to the time of having undertaken this ministry, except that, on the one hand, human care is often deceived, and, on the other hand, those who have begun well occasionally deteriorate? And since things of this sort happen so frequently as to allow no man to hide them or to forget them, what is the reason that Petilianus now teaches us insultingly, in a few words, that the baptizer ought to be examined by the candidate for baptism, since our question is, by what means the conscience of the recipient is to be cleansed, when the stain on the conscience of him that gives, but not in holiness, has been concealed from view, if the conscience of one that gives in holiness is what we look for to cleanse the conscience of the recipient. "Since I see," he says, "that you are unacquainted with the order of the sacrament, I tell you this as shortly as I can: you were bound both to examine your baptizer, and to be examined by him." What an answer to make! He is surrounded in so many places by such a multitude of men that have been baptized by ministers who, having in the first instance seemed righteous and chaste, have subsequently been convicted and degraded in consequence of the disclosure of their faults: and he thinks that he is avoiding the force of this question, in which we ask by what means the conscience of the recipient is to be cleansed, when he is unacquainted with the stain upon the conscience of him that gives but not in holiness, if the conscience of one that gives in holiness is what we look for to cleanse the conscience of the recipient,—he thinks, I say, that he is avoiding the force of this question, by saying shortly that the baptizer ought to be examined. Nothing is more unfortunate than not to be consistent with truth, by which every one is so shut in, that he cannot find a means of escape. We ask from whom he is to receive faith who is baptized by one that is faithless? The answer is, "He ought to have examined his baptizer." Is it therefore the case that, since he does not examine him, and so even unwittingly receives his faith from one that is faithless, he receives not faith but guilt? Why then are those men not baptized afresh, who are found to have been baptized by men that are detected and convicted reprobates, while their true character was yet concealed?
CHAP. 31. —36. "And where," he says, "is the word that I added, wittingly? so that I did not say, He that has received his faith from one that is faithless; but, He that has received his faith wittingly from one that is faithless, receives not faith but guilt." He therefore who received his faith unwittingly from one that was faithless, received not guilt but faith; and accordingly I ask from what source he has received it? And being thus placed in a strait, he answers, "He ought to have examined him." Granted that he ought to have done so; but, as a matter of fact, he did not, or he was not able: what is your verdict about him? Was he cleansed, or was he not? If he was cleansed, I ask from what source? For the polluted conscience of him that gave but not in holiness, with which he was unacquainted, could not cleanse him. But if he was not cleansed, command that he be so now. You give no such orders, therefore he was cleansed. Tell me by what means? Do you at any rate tell me what Petilianus has failed to tell. For I propose to you the very same words which he was unable to answer. "Behold the faithless man stands ready to baptize; but he who is to be baptized knows nothing of his faithlessness: what do you think that he will receive—faith, or guilt?" This is sufficient as a constant form of question: answer, or search diligently to find what he has answered. You will find abuse that has already been convicted. He finds fault with me, as though in derision, maintaining that I ought to suggest what is probable for consideration, since I cannot see the truth. For, repeating my words, and cutting my sentence in two, he says, "Behold, you say, the faithless man stands ready to baptize; but he who is to be baptized knows nothing of his faithlessness." Then he goes on to ask, "Who is the man, and from what corner has he started up, that you propose to us?" Just as though there were some one or two individuals, and such cases were not constantly occurring everywhere on either side! Why does he ask of me who the man in question is, and from what corner he has started up, instead of looking round, and seeing that the churches are few and far between, whether m cities or in country districts, which do not contain men detected in crimes, and degraded from the ministry? While their true character was concealed, while they wished to be thought good, though really bad, and to be reputed chaste, though really guilty of adultery, so long they were involved in deceit; and so the Holy Spirit, according to the Scripture, was fleeing from them. It is from the crowd, therefore, of these men who hitherto concealed their character that the faithless man whom I suggested started up. Why does he ask me whence he started up, shutting his eyes to all this crowd, from which sufficient noise arises to satisfy the blind, if we take into consideration none but those who might have been convicted and degraded from their office?
CHAP. 32. —37. What shall we say of what he himself advanced in his epistle, that "Quodvultdeus, having been convicted of two adulteries, and cast out from among you, was received by those of our party?" What then (I would speak without prejudice to this man, who proved his case to be a good one, or at least persuaded men that it was so), when such men among you, being as yet undetected, administer baptism, what is received at their hands,—faith, or guilt? Surely not faith, because they have not the conscience of one who gives in holiness to cleanse the conscience of the recipient. But yet not guilt either, in virtue of that added word: "For he that has received his faith wittingly from one that is faithless, receives not faith but guilt." But when men were baptized by those of whom I speak, they were surely ignorant what sort of men they were. Furthermore, not receiving faith from their baptizers, who had not the conscience of one that gives in holiness, and not receiving guilt, because they were baptized not knowing but in ignorance of their faults, they therefore remained without faith and without guilt. They are not, therefore, in the number of men of such abandoned character. But neither can they be in the number of the faithful, because, as they could not receive guilt, so neither could they receive faith from their baptizers. But we see that they are reputed by you in the number of the faithful, and that no one of you declares his opinion that they ought to be baptized, but all of you hold valid the baptism which they have already received. They have therefore received faith; and yet they have not received it from those who had not the conscience of one that gives in holiness, to cleanse the conscience of the recipient. Whence then did they receive it? This is the point from which I make my effort; this is the question that I press most earnestly; to this I do most urgently demand an answer.
CHAP. 33. —38. See now how Petilianus, to avoid answering this question, or to avoid being proved to be incapable of answering it, wanders off vainly into irrelevant matter in abuse of us, accusing us and proving nothing; and when he chances to make an endeavor to resist, with something like a show of fighting for his cause, he is everywhere overcome with the greatest ease. But yet he nowhere gives an answer of any kind to this one question which we ask: If the conscience of one that gives in holiness is what we look for to cleanse the conscience of the recipient, by what means is he to be cleansed who received baptism while the conscience of the giver was polluted, without the knowledge of him who was to receive it? for in these words, which he quoted from my epistle, he set me forth as asking a question, while he showed himself as giving no answer. For after saying what I have just now recited, and when, on being brought into a great strait on every side, he had been compelled to say that the baptizer ought to be examined by the candidate for baptism, and the candidate in turn by the baptizer; and when he had tried to fortify this statement by the example of John, in hopes that he might find auditors either of the greatest negligence or of the greatest ignorance, he then went on to advance other testimonies of Scripture wholly irrelevant to the matter in hand, as the saying of the eunuch to Philip, "See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?" "inasmuch as he knew," says he, "that those of abandoned character were prevented;" arguing that the reason why Philip did not forbid him to be baptized was because he had proved, in his reading of the Scriptures, how far he believed in Christ,—as though he had prohibited Simon Magus. And again, he urges that the prophets were afraid of being deceived by false baptism, and that therefore Isaiah said, "Lying water that has not faith," as though showing that water among faithless men is lying; whereas it is not Isaiah but Jeremiah that says this of lying men, calling the people in a figure water, as is most clearly shown in the Apocalypse. And again, he quotes as words of David, "Let not the oil of the sinner anoint my head," when David has been speaking of the flattery of the smooth speaker deceiving with false praise, so as to lead the head of the man praised to wax great with pride. And this meaning is made manifest by the words immediately preceding in the same psalm. For he says, "Let the righteous smite me, it shall be a kindness; and let him reprove me: but the oil of the sinner shall not break my head." What can be clearer than this sentence? what more manifest? For he declares that he had rather be reproved in kindness with the sharp correction of the righteous, so that he may be healed, than anointed with the soft speaking of the flatterer, so as to be puffed up with pride.
CHAP. 34. —39. Petilianus quotes also the warning of the Apostle John, that we should not believe every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God, as though this care should be bestowed in order that the wheat should be separated from the chaff in this present world before its time, and not rather for fear that the wheat should be deceived by the chaff; or as though, even if the lying spirit should have said something that was true, it was to be denied, because the spirit whom we should abominate had said it. But if any one thinks this, he is mad enough to contend that Peter ought not to have said, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God," because the devils had already said something to the same effect. Seeing, therefore, that the baptism of Christ, whether administered by an unrighteous or a righteous man, is nothing but the baptism of Christ what a cautious man and faithful Christian should do is to avoid the unrighteousness of man, not to condemn the sacraments of God.
40. Assuredly in all these things Petilianus gives no answer to the question, If the conscience of one that gives in holiness is what we look for to cleanse the conscience of the recipient, by what means is he to be cleansed who receives baptism, when the conscience of the giver is polluted without the knowledge of the proposed recipient? A certain Cyprian, a colleague of his from Thubursicubur, was caught in a brothel with a woman of most abandoned character, and was brought before Primianus of Carthage, and condemned. Now, when this man baptized before he was detected and condemned, it is manifest that he had not the conscience of one that gives in holiness, so as to cleanse the conscience of the recipient. By what means then have they been cleansed who at this day, after he has been condemned, are certainly not washed again? It was not necessary to name the man save only to prevent Petilianus from repeating, 'Who is the man, and from what corner has he started up, that you propose to us?" Why did not your party examine that baptizer, as John, in the opinion of Petilianus, was examined? Or was the real fact this, that they examined him so far as man can examine man, but were unable to find him out, as he long lay hid with cunning falseness?
CHAP. 35. —Was the water administered by this man not lying? or is the oil of the fornicator not the oil of the sinner? or must we hold what the Catholic Church says, and what is true, that that water and that oil are not his by whom they were administered, but His whose name was then invoked? Why did they who were baptized by that hypocrite, whose sins were concealed, fail to try the spirit, to prove that it was not of God? For the Holy Spirit of discipline was even then fleeing from the hypocrite? Was it that He was fleeing from him, but at the same time not deserting His sacraments, though ministered by him? Lastly, since you do not deny that those men have been already cleansed, whom you take no care to have cleansed now that he is condemned, see whether, after shedding over the subject so many mists in so many different ways, Petilianus, after all, in any place gives any answer to the question by what means these men have been cleansed, if what we look for to cleanse the conscience of the recipient is the conscience of one that gives in holiness, such as the man who was secretly unclean could not have had.
41. Making then, no answer to this which is so urgently asked of him, and, in the next place, even seeking for himself a latitude of speech, he says, "since both prophets and apostles have been cautious enough to fear these things, with what face do you say that the baptism of the sinner is holy to those who believe with a good conscience?" Just as though I or any Catholic maintained that that baptism was of the sinner which is administered or received with a sinner to officiate, instead of being His in virtue of belief in whose name the candidate is baptized! Then he goes off to an invective against the traitor Judas, saying against him whatever he can, quoting the testimony of the prophets uttered concerning him so long a time before, as though he would steep the Church of Christ dispersed throughout the world, whose cause is involved in this discussion, in the impiety of the traitor Judas,—not considering what this very thing should have recalled to his mind, that we ought no more to doubt that that is the Church of Christ which is spread abroad throughout the world, since this was prophesied with truth so many years before, than we ought to doubt that it was necessary that Christ should be betrayed by one of His disciples, because this was prophesied in like manner.
CHAP. 36. —42. But after this, when Petilianus came to that objection of ours, that they allowed the baptism of the followers of Maximianus, whom they had condemned,—although in the statement of this question he thought it right to use his own words rather than mine; for neither do we assert that the baptism of sinners is of profit to us, seeing that we maintain it to belong not only to no sinners, but to no men whatsoever, in that we are satisfied that it is Christ's alone,—having put the question in this form, he says, "Yet you obstinately aver that it is right that the baptism of sinners should be of profit to you, because we too, according to your statement, maintained the baptism of criminals whom we justly condemned." When he came to this question, as I said before, even all the show of fight which he had made deserted him. He could not find any way to go, any means of escape, any path by which, either through subtle watching or bold enterprise, he could either secretly steal away, or sally forth by force. "Although this," he says, 'I will demonstrate in my second book, how great the difference is between those of our party and those of yours whom you call innocent, yet, in the meantime, first extricate yourselves from the offenses with which you are acquainted in your colleagues, and then seek out the mode of dealing with those whom we cast out." Would any one, any man upon the earth, give an answer like this, save one who is setting himself against the truth, against which he cannot find any answer that can be made? Accordingly, if we too were to use the same words: In the meantime, first extricate yourselves from the offenses with which you are acquainted in your colleagues, and then bring up against us any charge connected with those whom you hold to be wicked amongst us,—what is the result? Have we both won the victory, or are we both defeated? Nay, rather He has gained the victory for His Church and in His Church, who has taught us in His Scriptures that no man should glory in men, and that he that glorieth should glory in the Lord. For behold in our case who assert with the Eloquence of truth that the man who believes is not justified by him by whom he is baptized, but by Him of whom it is written, "To him that believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness," since we do not glory in men, and strive, when we glory, to glory in the Lord in virtue of His own gift, how wholly safe are we, whatever fault or charge Petilianus may have been able to prove concerning certain men of our communion! For among us, whatever wicked men are either wholly undetected, or, being known to certain persons, are yet tolerated for the sake of the bond of unity and peace, in consideration of other good men to whom their wickedness is unknown, and before whom they could not be convicted, in order that the wheat may not be rooted up together with the tares, yet they so bear the burden of their own wickedness, that no one shares it with them except those who are pleased with their unrighteousness. Nor indeed have we any apprehension that those whom they baptize cannot be justified, since they believe in Him that justifieth the ungodly that their faith may be counted for righteousness.
CHAP. 37. —43. Furthermore, according to our tenets, neither he of whom Petilianus said that he was cast forth by us for the sin of the men of Sodom, another being appointed in his place, and that afterwards he was actually restored to our college,—talking all the time without knowing what he was saying,—nor he whom he declares to have been penitent among you, in whatever degree their respective cases do or do not admit of any defense, can neither of them prejudice the Church, which is spread abroad throughout all nations, and increases in the world until the harvest. For if they were really wicked members of it that you accuse, then they were already not in it, but among the chaff; but if they are good, while you defame their character with unrighteous accusations, they are themselves being tried like gold, while you burn after the similitude of chaff. Yet the sins of other men do not defile the Church, which is spread abroad throughout the whole world, according to most faithful prophesies, waiting for the end of the world as for its shore, on which, when it is landed, it will be freed from the bad fish, in company with which the inconvenience of nature might be borne without sin within the same nets of the Lord, so long as it was not right to be impatiently separated from them. Nor yet is the discipline of the Church on this account neglected by constant and diligent and prudent ministers of Christ, in whose province crimes are in such wise brought to light that they cannot be defended on any plea of probability. Innumerable proofs of this may be found in those who have been bishops or clergy of the second degree of orders, and now, being degraded, have either gone abroad into other lands through shame, or have gone over to you yourselves or to other heresies, or are known in their own districts; of whom there is so great a multitude dispersed throughout the earth, that if Petilianus, bridling for a time his rashness in speaking, had taken them into consideration, he would never have fallen into so manifestly false and groundless a misconception, as to think that we ought to join in what he says: None of you is free from guilt, where no one that is guilty is condemned.
CHAP. 38. —44. For, to pass over others dwelling in different quarters of the earth,-for you will scarcely find any place in which this kind of men is not represented, from whom it may appear that overseers and ministers are wont to be condemned even in the Catholic Church,—we need not look far to find the example of Honorius of Milevis. But take the case of Splendonius, whom Petilianus ordained priest after he had been condemned in the Catholic Church, and rebaptized by himself, whose condemnation in Gaul, communicated to us by our brethren, our colleague Fortunatus caused to be publicly read in Constantina, and whom the same Petilianus afterwards cast forth on experience of his abominable deceit. From the case of this Splendonius, when was there a time when he might not have been reminded after what fashion wicked men are degraded from their office even in the Catholic Church? I wonder on what precipice of rashness his heart was resting when he dictated those words in which he ventured to say, "No one of you is free from guilt, where no one that is guilty is condemned." Wherefore the wicked, being bodily intermingled with the good, but spiritually separated from them in the Catholic Church, both when they are undetected through the infirmity of human nature, and when they are condemned from considerations of discipline, in every case bear their own burden. And in this way those are free from danger who are baptized by them with the baptism of Christ, if they keep free from share in their sins either by imitation or consent; seeing that in like manner, if they were baptized by the best of men, they would not be justified except by Him that justifieth the ungodly: since to those that believe on Him that justifieth the ungodly their faith is counted for righteousness.
CHAP. 39. —45. But as for you, when the case of the followers of Maximianus is brought up against you, who, after being condemned by the sentence of a Council of 310 bishops; after being utterly defeated in the same Council, quoted in the records of so many proconsuls, in the chronicles of so many municipal towns; after being driven forth from the basilicas of which they were in possession, by the order of the judges, enforced by the troops of the several cities, were yet again received with all honor by you, together with those whom they had baptized outside the pale of your communion, without any question respecting their baptism,— when confronted, I say, with their case, you can find no reply to make. Indeed, you are vanquished by an expressed opinion, not indeed true, but proceeding from yourselves, by which you maintain that men perish for the faults of others in the same communion of the sacraments, and that each man's character is determined by that of the man by whom he is baptized,— that he is guilty if his baptizer is guilty, innocent if he is innocent. But if these views are true, there can be no doubt that, to say nothing of innumerable others, you are destroyed by the sins of the followers of Maximianus, whose guilt your party, in so large a Council, has exaggerated even to the proportions of the sin of those whom the earth swallowed up alive. But if the faults of the followers of Maximianus have not destroyed you, then are these opinions false which you entertain; and much less have certain indefinite unproved faults of the Africans been able to destroy the entire world. And accordingly, as the apostle says, "Every man shall bear his own burden;" and the baptism of Christ is no one's except Christ's; and it is to no purpose that Petilianus promises that he will take as the subject of his second book the charges which we bring concerning the followers of Maximianus, entertaining too low an opinion of men's intellects, as though they do not perceive that he has nothing to say.
CHAP. 40. —46. For if the baptism which Praetextatus and Felicianus administered in the communion of Maximianus was their own, why was it received by you in those whom they baptized as though it were the baptism of Christ? But if it is truly the baptism of Christ, as indeed it is, and yet could not profit those who had received it with the guilt of schism, what do you say that you could have granted to those whom you have received into your body with the same baptism, except that, now that the offense of their accursed division is wiped out by the bond of peace, they should not be compelled to receive the sacrament of the holy layer as though they had it not, but that, as what they had was before for their destruction, so it should now begin to be of profit to them? Or if this is not granted to them in your communion, because it could not possibly be that it should be granted to schismatics among schismatics, it is at any rate granted to you in the Catholic communion, not that you should receive baptism as though it were lacking in you, but that the baptism which you have actually received should be of profit to you. For all the sacraments of Christ, if not combined with the love which belongs to the unity of Christ, are possessed not unto salvation, but unto judgment. But since it is not a true verdict, but your verdict, "that through the baptism of certain traditors the baptism of Christ has perished from the world in general," it is with good reason that you cannot find any answer to make respecting the recognition of the baptism of the followers of Maximianus.
47. See therefore, and remember with the most watchful care, how Petilianus has made no answer to that very question, which he proposes to himself in such terms as to seem to make it a starting-point from which to say something. For the former question he has dismissed altogether, and has not wished to speak of it to us, because I suppose it was beyond his power; nor is he at any time, up to the very end Of his volume, going to say anything about it, though he quoted it from the first part of my epistle as though it were a matter calling for refutation. For even though he has added the two words which he accused me of having suppressed, as though they were the strongest bulwarks of his position, he yet lies wholly defenseless, unable to find any answer to make when he is asked, If the conscience of one that gives in holiness is what we look for to cleanse the conscience of the recipient, where are we to find means for cleansing the conscience of the man who is unacquainted with the conscience of him gives, but not in holiness? and if it be the case that any one who has received his faith from one that is faithless, receives not faith but guilt, from what source is he to receive not guilt but faith, who is unwittingly baptized by one that is faithless? To this question it has long been manifest from what he says that he has made no answer.
48. In the next place, he has gone on, with calumnious mouth, to abuse monasteries and monks, finding fault also with me, as having been the founder of this kind of life. And what this kind of life really is he does not know at all, or rather, though it is perfectly well known throughout all the world, he pretends that he is unacquainted with it. Then, asserting that I had said that Christ was the baptizer, he has also added certain words from my epistle as though I had set this forth as my own sentiment, when I had really quoted it as his and yours, and it was inveighed against with most copious harshness, as if it were I who had said these things against myself, when what he reprehended was not mine, but his and your sentiment, as I will presently show clearly to the best of my ability. Then he has endeavored to show us, in many unnecessary words, that Christ does not baptize, but that baptism is administered in His name, at once in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; of which Trinity itself he has said, either because it was what he wished, or because it was all that he could say, that "Christ is the centre of the Trinity." In the next place, he has taken occasion of the names of the sorcerers Simon and Barjesus to vent against us what insults he thought fit. Then he goes on, keeping in guarded suspense the case of Optatus of Thamugas, that he might not be steeped in the odium that arose from it, denying that neither he or his party could have passed judgment upon him, and actually intimating in respect of him, that he was crushed in consequence of suggestions from myself.
CHAP. 41. —49. Lastly, he has ended his epistle with an exhortation and warning to his own party, that they should not be deceived by us, and with a lamentation over those of our party, that we had made them worse than they had been before. Having therefore carefully considered and discussed these points, as appears with sufficient clearness from the words of the epistle which he wrote, Petilianus has made no answer at all to the position which I advanced to begin with in my epistle, when I asked, Supposing it to be true, as he asserts, that the conscience of one that gives—or rather, to add what he considers so great a support to his argument—that the conscience of one that gives in holiness is what we look for to cleanse the conscience of the recipient, by what means he who receives baptism is to be cleansed, when, if the conscience of the giver is polluted, it is without the knowledge of the proposed recipient? Whence it is not surprising that a man resisting in the cause of falsehood, pressed hard in the straits of the truth that contradicts it, should have chosen rather to gasp forth mad abuse, than to walk in the path of that truth which cannot be overcome.
50. And now I would beg of you to pay especial attention to the next few words, that I may show you clearly what he has been afraid of in not answering this, and that I may bring into the light what he has endeavored to shroud in obscurity. It certainly was in his power, when we asked by what means he is to be cleansed, who receives baptism when the conscience of the giver is polluted without the knowledge of the proposed recipient, to answer with the greatest ease, From our Lord God; and at any rate to say with the utmost confidence, God wholly cleanses the conscience of the recipient, when he is unacquainted with the stain upon the conscience of him that gives but not in holiness. But when a man had already been compelled by the tenets of your sect to rest the cleansing of the recipient on the conscience of the giver, in that he had said, "For the conscience of him that gives," or "of him that gives in holiness, is looked for to cleanse the conscience of the recipient," he was naturally afraid lest any one should seem to be better baptized by a wicked man who concealed his wickedness, than by one that was genuinely and manifestly good; for in the former case his cleansing would depend not on the conscience of one that gave in holiness, but on the most excellent holiness of God Himself. With this apprehension, therefore, that he might not be involved in so great an absurdity, or rather madness, as not to know where he could make his escape, he was unwilling to say by what means the conscience of the recipient should be cleansed, when he does not know of the stain upon the conscience of him that gives but not in holiness; and he thought it better, by making a general confusion with his quarrelsome uproar, to conceal what was asked of him, than to give a reply to his question, which should at once discomfit him; never, however, thinking that our letter could be read by men of such good understanding, or that his would be read by those who had read ours as well, to which he has professed to make an answer.
CHAP. 42. —51. For what I just now said is put with the greatest clearness in that very epistle of mine, in answering which he has said nothing; and I would beg of you to listen for a few moments to what he there has done. And although you are partisans of his, and hate us, yet, if you can, bear it with equanimity. For in his former epistle, to the first portion of which—the only portion which had then come into our hands—I had in the first instance made my reply, he had so rested the hope that is found in baptism in the baptizer, as to say, "For everything consists of an origin and root; and if anything has not a head, it is nothing." Since then Petilianus had said this, not wishing anything to be understood by the origin and root and head of baptizing a man, except the man by whom he might be baptized, I made a comment, and said "We ask, therefore, in a case where the faithlessness of the baptizer is undetected, if then the man whom he baptizes receives faith and not guilt? if then the baptizer is not his origin and root and head, who is it from whom he receives faith? where is the origin from which he springs? where is the root of which he is a shoot? where the head which is his starting-point? Can it be that, when he who is baptized is unaware of the faithlessness of his baptizer, it is then Christ who is the origin and root and head?" This therefore I say and exclaim now also, as I did there as well: "Alas for human rashness and conceit! Why do you not allow that it is always Christ who gives faith, for the purpose of making a man a Christian by giving it? Why do you not allow that Christ is always the origin of the Christian, that the Christian always plants his root in Christ, that Christ is the Head of the Christian? Will it then be urged that, even where spiritual grace is dispensed to those that believe by the hands of a holy and faithful minister, it is still not the minister himself who justifies, but that One of whom it is said, ' He justifieth the ungodly'? But unless we admit this, either the Apostle Paul was the head and origin of those whom he had planted, or Apollos the root of those whom he had watered, rather than He who had given them faith in briefing; whereas the same Paul says, 'I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So that neither is he that planteth anything, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase." Nor was the apostle himself their root, but rather He who says, 'I am the vine, ye are the branches.' How, too, could he be their head, when he says that 'we, being many, are one body in Christ." and expressly declares in many passages that Christ Himself is the Head of the whole body? Wherefore, whether a man receives the sacrament of baptism from a faithful or a faithless minister his whole hope is in Christ, that he fall not under the condemnation, that ' Cursed is he that placeth his hope in man!"'
CHAP. 43. —52. These things, I think, I put with clearness and truth in my former epistle, when I made answer to Petilianus. These things I have also now quoted, intimating and commending to you the truth that our faith rests on something else altogether than man, and that we believe that the Lord Christ is the cleanser and the justifier of men that believe in Him that justifieth the ungodly, that their faith may be counted unto them for righteousness, whether the man who administers the baptism be righteous, or such an impious and deceitful man as the Holy Spirit flees. Then I went on to point out what absurdity would follow were it otherwise, and I said, as I say now: "Otherwise, if each man is born again in spiritual grace of the same sort as he by whom he is baptized, and if, when he who baptizes him is manifestly a good man, then he himself gives faith, he is himself the origin and root and head of him who is being born; whilst, when the baptizer is faithless without its being known, then the baptized person receives faith from Christ, then derives his origin from Christ, then he is rooted in Christ then he boasts in Christ as his head; in that case all who are baptized should wish that they might have faithless baptizers, and be ignorant of their faithlessness. For however good their baptizers might have been, Christ is certainly beyond comparison better still, and He will then be the Head of the baptized if the faithlessness of the baptizer shall escape detection. But if it be perfect madness to hold such a view (for it is Christ always that justifieth he ungodly, by changing his ungodliness into Christianity; it is from Christ always that faith is received; Christ is always he origin of the regenerate, and he Head of the Church), what weight then will those words have, which thoughtless readers value by their sound, without inquiring what their inner meaning is?" This much I said at that time; this is written in my epistle.
CHAP. 44. —53. Then a little after, as he had said, "This being so, brethren, what perversity must that be, that he who is guilty by reason of his own faults should make another free from guilt, whereas the Lord Jesus Christ says, ' Every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit: do men gather grapes of thorns? and again, 'A good man, out of the good treasure of the heart, bringeth forth good things: and an evil man, out of the evil treasure, bringeth forth evil things,'"3—by which words Petilianus showed with sufficient clearness, that the man who baptizes is to be looked on as the tree, and he who is baptized as the fruit: to this I had answered, If the good tree is the good baptizer, and his good fruit he whom he has baptized, then any one who has been baptized by a bad man, even if his wickedness be not manifest, cannot by any possibility be good, for he is sprung from an evil tree. For a good tree is one thing; a tree whose quality is concealed, but yet bad, is another. What else did I wish to be understood by those words, except what I had stated a little above, that the tree and its fruit do not represent him that baptizes and him that is baptized; but that the man ought to be received as signified by the tree, his works and his life by the fruit, which are always good in the good man, and evil in the evil man, lest this absurdity should follow, that a man should be bad when baptized by a bad man, even though his wickedness were concealed, being, as it were, the fruit of a tree whose quality was unknown, but yet bad? To which he has answered nothing whatsoever.
CHAP. 45. —54. But that neither he nor any one of you might say that, when any one of concealed bad character is the baptizer, then he whom he baptizes is not his fruit, but he fruit of Christ, I went on immediately to point out what a foolish error is consequent also on that opinion; and I repeated, though in other words, what I had said shortly before: If, when the quality of the tree is concealed, but evil, any one who may have been baptized by it is born, no of it butt of Christ, then they are justified with greater holiness who are baptized by wicked men, whose wickedness is concealed, than they who are baptized by men that are genuinely and manifestly good. Petilianus then, being hemmed in by these embarrassing straits, said nothing about the earlier part on which these remarks depended, and in his answer so quoted his absurd consequence of his error as though I had stated it as my own opinion, whereas it was really stated in order that he might perceive the amount of evil consequent on his opinion, and so be forced to alter it. Imposing, therefore, this deceit on those who hear and read his words, and never for a moment supposing that what we have written could be read, he begins a vehement and petulant invective against me, as though I had thought that all who are baptized ought to wish that they might have as their baptizers men who are faithless, without knowing this themselves, since, however good the men might be whom they had to baptize them, Christ is incomparably better, who will then be the head of the person baptized, if the faithless baptizer conceal his true character. As though, too, I had thought that those were justified with greater holiness who are baptized by evil men, whose character is concealed, than those who are baptized by men that are genuinely and manifestly good; when this marvellous piece of madness was only mentioned by me as following necessarily on the opinion of those who think with Petilianus, that a man, when baptized, bears the same relation to his baptizer as fruit does to the tree from which it springs,—good fruit springing from a good tree, evil fruit from an evil tree,—seeing that they, when they are bidden by me to answer whose fruit they think a man that is baptized to be when he is baptized by one of secretly bad character, since they do not venture to rebaptize him, are compelled to answer, that then he is not the fruit of that man of secretly bad character, but that he is the fruit of Christ. And so they are followed by a consequence contrary to their inclination, which none but a madman would entertain,—that if a man is the fruit of his baptizer when he is baptized by one that is genuinely and manifestly good, but when he is baptized by one of secretly bad character, he is then not his fruit, but the fruit of Christ,—it cannot but follow that they are justified with greater holiness who are baptized by men of secretly bad character, than those who are baptized by men who are genuinely and manifestly good.
CHAP. 46. —55. Now, seeing that when Petilianus attributes this to me as though it were my opinion, he makes it an occasion for a serious and vehement invective against me, he at any rate shows, by the very force of his indignation, how great a sin it is in his opinion to entertain such views; and, accordingly, whatever he has wished it to appear that he said against me for holding this opinion will be found to have been really said against himself, who is proved to entertain the view. For he shows heroin by how great force on the side of truth he is overcome, when he cannot find any other door of escape except to pretend that it was I who entertained the views which really are his own. Just as if those whom the apostle confutes for maintaining that there was no resurrection from the dead, were to wish to bring an accusation against the same apostle, on the ground that he said, "Then is Christ not risen," and to maintain that the preaching of the apostle was vain, and the faith of those who believed in it was also vain, and that false witnesses were found against God in those who had said that He raised up Christ from the dead. This is what Petilianus wished to do to me, never expecting that any one could read what I had written, which he could not answer, though very anxious that men should believe him to have answered it. But just as, if any one had done this to the apostle, the whole calumnious accusation would have recoiled on the head of those who made it so soon as the entire passage in his epistle was read, and the preceding words restored, on which any one who reads them must perceive that those which I have quoted depend, in the same way, so soon as the preceding words of my epistle are restored, the accusation which Petilianus brings against me is cast back with all the greater force upon his own head, from which he had striven to remove it.
56. For the apostle, in confuting those who denied that there was any resurrection of the dead, corrects their view by showing the absurdity which follows those who entertain this view, however loth they may be to admit the consequence, in order that, while they shrink in abhorrence from what is impious to say, hey may correct what they have ventured to believe. His argument continues thus: "But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: and if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God: because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ; whom He raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not." in order that, while they fear to say that Christ had not risen, with the other wicked and accursed conclusions which follow from such a statement, they may correct what they said in a spirit of folly and infidelity, that there is no resurrection of the dead. If, therefore, you take away what stands at the head of this argument, "If there be no resurrection of the dead," the rest is spoken amiss, and yet must be ascribed to the apostle. But if you restore the supposition on which the rest depends, and place as the hypothesis from which you start, "There is no resurrection of the dead," then the conclusion will follow rightly, "Then is Christ not risen, and our preaching is vain, and your faith is also vain," with all the rest that is appended to it. And all these statements of the apostle are wise and good, since whatever evil they have in them is to be imputed to those who denied the resurrection of the dead. In the same manner also, in my epistle, take away my supposition, If every one is born again in spiritual grace of the same character as he by whom he is baptized, and if, when the man who baptizes is genuinely and manifestly good, he does of himself give faith, he is the origin and root and head of him who is being born again; but when the baptizer is a wicked man, and undetected in his wickedness, then each man who is baptized receives his faith from Christ, derives his origin from Christ, is rooted in Christ, makes his boast in Christ as his Head:—take away, I say, this hypothesis, on which all that follows depends, and there remains a saying of the worst description which must fairly be ascribed to me, viz., that all who are baptized should desire that they should have faithless men to baptize them, and be ignorant of their faithlessness. For however good men they may have to baptize them, Christ is incomparably better who will then be the Head of the baptized, if the baptizer be a faithless man, but undetected. But let the statements that you make be restored, and then it will forthwith be found that this which depends upon it and follows in close connection from it is not my sentiment, and that any evil which it contains is retorted on the opinion which you maintain. In like manner, take away the supposition, If the good baptizer is the good tree, so that he whom he has baptized is his good fruit, and if, when the character of an evil tree is concealed, then any one that has been baptized by it is born, not of it, but of Christ,—take away this hypothesis, which you were compelled to confess had its origin in your sect and in the letter of Petilianus, and the mad conclusion which follows from it will be mine, to be ascribed to me alone, Then they are justified with greater holiness who are baptized by undetected evil men, than they who are baptized by men that are genuinely and manifestly good. But restore the hypothesis on which this depends, and you will at once see both that I have been right in making this statement for your correction, and that all that with good reason diseases you in this opinion has recoiled upon your own head.
CHAP. 47. —57. Furthermore, in like manner as those who denied the resurrection of the dead could in no way defend themselves from the evil consequences which the apostle proved to follow from their premises, in order to refute their error, saying, "Then is not Christ raised," with the other conclusions of similar atrocity, unless they changed their opinions, and acknowledged that there was a resurrection of the dead; so is it necessary that you should change your opinion, and cease to rest on man the hope of those who are baptized, if you do not wish to have imputed to you what we say for your refutation and correction, that they are justified with greater holiness who are baptized by undetected evil men than those that are baptized by men that are genuinely and manifestly good. For if you make your first assertion, see what I say, unless some one shall suppress this a second time, and make out that I have entertained the opinion which I quote for your refutation and correction. See what I lay down as my premiss, from which hangs the statement which I shall subsequently make: If you rest the hope of those who are to be baptized on the man by whom they are baptized, and if you maintain, as Petilianus wrote, that the man who baptizes is the origin and root and head of him that is baptized; if you receive as the good tree the good man who baptizes, and as his good fruit the man who has been baptized by him; then you put it into our heads to ask from what origin he springs, from what root he shoots up, to what head he is joined, from what tree he is born, who is baptized by an undetected bad man? For to this inquiry, belongs also the following, to which I have over and over again maintained that Petilianus has given no reply: By what means is a man to be cleansed who receives baptism while he is ignorant of the stain upon the conscience of him that gives but not in holiness? for this conscience of him that gives, or of him that gives in holiness, Petilianus wishes to be the origin, root, head, seed, tree from which the sanctification of the baptized has its existence,—springs, begins, sprouts forth, is born.
CHAP. 48. —58. When we ask, therefore, by what means the man is to be cleansed whom you do not baptize again in your communion, even when it has been made clear that he has been baptized by some one who, on account of some concealed iniquity, did not at the time possess the conscience of one that gives in holiness, what answer do you intend to make, except that he is cleansed by Christ or by God, although, indeed, Christ is Himself God over all, blessed for ever, or by the Holy Spirit since He too is Himself God, because this Trinity of Persons is one God? Whence Peter, after saying to a man, "Thou hast dared to lie to the Holy Ghost," immediately went on to add what was the nature of the Holy Ghost, saying, "Thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God." Lastly, even if you were to say that he was cleansed and purified by an angel when he is unacquainted with the pollution in the conscience of him that gives but not in holiness, take notice that it is said of the saints, when they shall have risen to eternal life, that they shall then be equal to the angels of God. Any one, therefore, that is cleansed even by an angel is cleansed with greater holiness than if he were cleansed by any kind of conscience of man. Why then are you unwilling that it should be said to you, If cleaning is wrought by the hands of a man when he is genuinely and manifestly good; but when the man is evil, but undetected in his wickedness, then since he has not the conscience of one that gives in holiness, it is no longer he, but God, or an angel, that cleanses; therefore they who are baptized by undetected evil men are justified with greater holiness than those who are baptized by men that are genuinely and manifestly good? And if this opinion is displeasing to you, as in reality it ought to be displeasing to every one, then take away the source from which it springs, correct the premiss to which it is indissolubly bound; for if these do not precede as hypotheses, the other will not follow as a consequence.
CHAP. 49. —59. Do not therefore any longer say, "The conscience of one that gives in holiness is what we look for to cleanse the conscience of the recipient," lest you be asked, When a stain on the conscience of the giver is concealed, who cleanses the conscience of the recipient? And when you shall have answered, Either God or an angel (since there is no other answer which you possibly can make), then should follow a consequence whereby you would be confounded: Those then are justified with greater holiness who are baptized by undetected evil men, so as to be cleansed by God or by an angel, than those who are baptized by men who are genuinely and manifestly good, who cannot be compared with God or with the angels. But prevail upon yourselves to say what is said by Truth and by the Catholic Church, that not only when the minister of baptism is evil, but also when he is holy and good, hope is still: not to be placed in man, but in Him that justifieth the ungodly, in whom if any man believe, his faith is counted for righteousness. For when we say, Christ baptizes, we do not mean by a visible ministry, as Petilianus believes, or would have men think that he believes, to be our meaning, but by a hidden grace, by a hidden power in the Holy Spirit as it is said of Him by John the Baptist, "The same is He which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost." Nor has He, as Petilianus says, now ceased to baptize; but He still does it, not by any ministry of the body, but by the invisible working of His majesty. For in that we say, He Himself baptizes, we do not mean, He Himself holds and dips in the water the bodies of the believers; but He Himself invisibly cleanses, and that He does to the whole Church without exception. Nor, indeed, may we refuse to believe the words of the Apostle Paul who says concerning Him, "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the Church, and gave Himself for it, that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word." Here you see that Christ sanctifies; here you see that Christ also Himself washes, Himself purifies with the self-same washing of water by the word, wherein the ministers are seen to do their work in the body. Let no one, therefore, claim unto himself what is of God. The hope of men is only sure when it is fixed on Him who cannot deceive, since "Cursed be every one that trusteth in man," and "Blessed is that man that maketh the Lord His trust." For the faithful steward shall receive as his reward eternal life; but the unfaithful steward, when he dispenses his lord's provisions to his fellow-servants, must in no wise be conceived to make the provisions useless by his own unfaithfulness. For the Lord says, "Whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works." And this is therefore the injunction that is given us against evil stewards, that the good things of God should be received at their hands, but that we should beware of their own evil life, by reason of its unlikeness to what they thus dispense.
CHAP. 50. —60. But if it is clear that Petilianus has made no answer to those first words of my epistle, and that, when he has endeavored to make an answer, he has shown all the more clearly how incapable he was of answering, what shall I say in respect of those portions of my writings which he has not even attempted to answer, on which he has not touched at all? And yet if any one shall be willing to review their character, having in his possession both my writings and those of Petilianus, I think he will understand by what confirmation they are supported. And that I may show you this as shortly as I can, I would beg you to call to mind the proofs that were advanced from holy Scripture, or refresh your memory by reading both what he has brought forward as against me, and what I have brought forward in my answer as against you, and see how I have shown that the passages which he has brought forward are antagonistic not to me, but rather to yourselves; whilst he has altogether failed to touch those which I brought forward as especially necessary, and in that one passage of the apostle which he has endeavored to make use of as though it favored him, you will see how he found himself without the means of making his escape.
61. For the portion of this epistle which he wrote to his adherents— from the beginning down to the passage in which he says, "This is the commandment of the Lord to us, 'When they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another;' and if they persecute you in that also, flee ye to a third"—came first into my hands, and to it I made a reply; and when this reply of ours had fallen, in turn, into his hands, he wrote in answer to it this which I am now refuting, showing that he has made no reply to mine. In that first portion, therefore, of his writings to which I first replied, these are the passages of Scripture which he conceives to be opposed to us: "Every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. Do men gather grapes of thorns?" And again: "A good man, out of the good treasure of his heart, bringeth forth good things: and an evil man, out of the evil treasure, bringeth forth evil things." And again: "When a man is baptized by one that is dead, his washing profiteth him nothing." From these passages he is anxious to show that the man who is baptized by one that is dead, his washing profiteth him nothing." From these passages he is anxious to show that the man who is baptized is made to partake of the character of him by whom he is baptized; I on the other hand, have shown in what sense these passages should be received, and that they could in no wise aid his view. But as for the other expressions which he has used against evil and accursed men, I have sufficiently shown that they are applicable to the Lord's wheat, dispersed, as was foretold and promised, throughout the world, and that they might rather be used by us against you. Examine them again, and you will find it so.
62. But the passages which I have advanced to assert the truth of the Catholic Church,, are the following: As regards the question of baptism, that our being born again, cleansed, justified by the grace of God, should not be ascribed to the man who administered the sacrament, I quoted these: "It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man:" and "Cursed beevery one that trusteth in man;" and that, "Salvation belongeth unto the Lord;" and that, "Vain is the help of man;" and that, "Neither is he that planteth anything, neither he that watereth, but God that giveth the increase;" and that He in whom men believe justifieth the ungodly, that his faith may be counted to him for righteousness. But in behalf of the unity of the Church itself, which is spread abroad throughout all the world, with which you do not hold communion, I urged that the following passages were prophesied of Christ: that "He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth;" and, "I shall give Thee the heathen for Thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for Thy possession;" and that the covenant of God made with Abraham may be quoted in behalf of our, that is, of the Catholic communion, in which it is written, "In thy seed shall all nations of the earth be blessed;" which seed the apostle interprets, saying, "And to thy seed, which is Christ." Whence it is evident that in Christ not only Africans or Africa, but all the nations through which the Catholic Church is spread abroad, should receive the blessing which was promised so long before. And that the chaff is to be with the wheat even to the time of the last winnowing, that no one may excuse the sacrilege of his own separation from the Church by calumnious accusations of other men's offenses, if he shall have left or deserted the communion of all nations; and to show that the society of Christians may not be divided on account of evil ministers, that is, evil rulers in the Church, I further quoted the passage, "All whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works; for they say and do not."' With regard to these passages of holy Scripture which I advanced to prove my points, he neither showed how they ought to be otherwise interpreted, so as to prove that they neither made for us nor against you, nor was he willing to touch them in any way. Nay, his whole object was could it have been achieved, that by the tumultuous outpouring of his abuse, it might never occur to any one at all, who after reading my epistle might have been willing to read his as well, that these things had been said by me
CHAP. 51. —63. Next, listen for a short time to the kind of way in which he has tried to use, in his own behalf, the passages which I had advanced from the writings of the Apostle Paul. "For you asserted," he says, "that the Apostle Paul finds fault with those who used to say that they were of the Apostle Paul, saying, 'Was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?' Wherefore, if they were in error, and would have perished had they not been corrected, because they wished to be of Paul, what hope can there possibly be for those who have wished to be of Donatus? For this is their sole object, that the origin, and root, and head of him that is baptized should be none other than he by whom he is baptized." These words, and this confirmation from the writings of the apostle, he has quoted from my epistle, and he has proposed to himself the task of refuting them. Go on then, I beg of you, to see how he has fulfilled the task. For he says, "This assertion is meaningless, and inflated, and childish, and foolish, and something very far from a true exposition of our faith. For you would only be right in asserting this, if we were to say, We have been baptized in the name of Donatus, or Donatus was crucified for us, or we have been baptized in our own name. But since such things as this neither have been said nor are said by us,—seeing that we follow the formula of the holy Trinity,—it is dear that you are mad to bring such accusations against us. Or if you think that we have been baptized in the name of Donatus, or in our own name, you are miserably deceived, and at the same time confess in your sacrilege that you on your part defile your wretched selves in the name of Caecilianus." This is the answer which Petilianus has made to those arguments of mine, not supposing- -or rather making a noise that no one might suppose—that he has made no answer at all which could bear in any way upon the question which is under discussion. For who could fail to see that this witness of the apostle has been adduced by us with all the more propriety, in that you do not say that you were baptized in the name of Donatus, or that Donatus was crucified for you, and yet separate yourselves from the communion of the Catholic Church out of respect to the party of Donatus; as also those whom Paul was rebuking certainly did not say that they had been baptized in the name of Paul, or that Paul has been crucified for them, and yet they were making a schism in the name of Paul. As therefore in their case, for whom Christ, not Paul, was crucified, and who were baptized in the name of Christ, not of Paul, and who yet said, "I am of Paul," the rebuke is used with all the more propriety, "Was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?" to make them cling to Him who was crucified for them, and in whose name they were baptized, and not be guilty of division in the name of Paul; so in your case, also, the rebuke, Was Donatus crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Donatus? is used all the more appositely, because you do not say, We were baptized in the name of Donatus, and yet desire to be of the party of Donatus. For you know that it was Christ who was crucified for you, and Christ in whose name you were baptized; and yet, out of respect to the name and party of Donatus, you show such obstinacy in fighting against the unity of Christ, who was crucified for you, and in whose name you were baptized.
CHAP. 52. —64. But if you wish to see that the object of Petilianus in his writings really was to prove "that the origin, and root, and head of him that is baptized is none other than he by whom he is baptized," and that this has not been asserted by me without meaning, or childishly, or foolishly, review the beginning of the epistle itself to which I made my reply, or rather pay careful attention to me as I quote it. "The conscience," he says, "of one that gives in holiness is what we look for to cleanse the conscience of the recipient; for he who has received his faith from one that is faithless, receives not faith but guilt." And as though some one had said to him, Whence do you derive your proof of this? he goes on to say, "For everything has its existence from a source and root; and if anything has not a head, it is nothing; nor does anything well confer a new birth, unless it be born again of good seed. And this being so, brethren, what perversity must it be to maintain that he who is guilty by reason of his own offenses should make another free from guilt; whereas our Lord Jesus Christ says, 'A good tree bringeth forth good fruit: do men gather grapes of thorns?' And again, 'A good man, out of the good treasure of his heart, bringeth forth good things; and an evil man, out of the evil treasure, bringeth forth evil things.' And again, 'When a man is baptized by one that is dead, his washing profiteth him nothing.'" You see to what end all these things tend, viz., that the conscience of him that gives in holiness (lest any one, by receiving his faith from one that is faithless, should receive not faith but guilt) should be itself the origin, and root, and head, and seed of him that is baptized. For, wishing to prove that the conscience of one that gives in holiness is what we look for to cleanse the conscience of the recipient, and that the receives not froth but guilt, who wittingly receives his faith from one that is faithless, he has added immediately afterwards, "For everything has its existence from a source and root; and if anything has not a head, it is nothing; nor does anything well confer a new birth, unless it be born again of good seed." And for fear that any one should be so dull as still not to understand that in each case he is speaking of the man by whom a person is baptized, he explains this afterwards, and says, "This being so, brethren, what perversity must it be to maintain that he who is guilty by reason of his own offenses should make another free from guilt; whereas our Lord Jesus Christ says, 'A good tree bringeth forth good fruit: do men gather grapes of thorns?'" And lest, by some incredible stupidity of understanding, the hearer or seer should be blind enough not to see that he is speaking of the man that baptizes, he adds another passage, where he actually specifies the man. "And again," he says, "'A good man, out of the good treasure of his heart, bringeth forth good things; and an evil man, out of the evil treasure, bringeth forth evil things;' and again, 'When a man is baptized by one that is dead, his washing profiteth him nothing,'" Certainly it is now plain, certainly he needs no longer any interpreter, or disputant, or demonstrator, to show that the object of his party is to prove that the origin, and root, and head of him that is baptized is none other than he by whom he is baptized. And yet, being overwhelmed by the force of truth, and as though forgetful of what he had said before, Petilianus acknowledges afterwards to me that Christ is the origin and root of them that are regenerate, and the Head of the Church, and not any one that may happen to be the dispenser and minister of baptism. For having said that the apostles used to baptize in the name of Christ, and set forth Christ as the foundation of their faith, to make men Christians, and being fain to prove this, too, by passages and examples from holy Scripture, just as though we were denying it, he says, "Where is now that voice, from which issued the noise of those minute and constant petty questionings, wherein, in the spirit of envy and self- conceit, you uttered many involved sayings about Christ, and for Christ, and in Christ, in opposition to the rashness and haughtiness of men? Lo, Christ is the origin, Christ, in the head, Christ is the root of the Christian." When, therefore, I heard this, what could I do but give thanks to Christ, who had compelled the man to make confession? All those things, therefore, are false which he said in the beginning of his epistle, when he wished to persuade us that the conscience of one that gives in holiness must be looked for to cleanse the conscience of the recipient; and that when one has wittingly received his faith from one that is faithless he receives not faith but guilt. For, wishing as it were to show clearly how much rested in the man that baptizes, he had added what he seems to think most weighty proofs, saying "For everything has its existence from a source and root; and if anything has not a head, it is nothing." But afterwards, when be says what we also say, "Lo, Christ is the origin, Christ is the head, Christ is the root of the Christian," he wipes out what he had said before, "that the conscience of one that gives in holiness is the origin, and root, and head of the recipient." The truth, therefore, has prevailed, so that the man who is desirous to receive the baptism of Christ should not rest his hope upon the man who administers the sacrament, but should approach in all security to Christ Himself, as to the source which is not changed, to the root which is not plucked up, to the head which is not cast down.
CHAP. 53. —65. Then who is there that could fail to perceive from what a vein of conceit it proceeds, that in explaining as it were the declaration of the apostle, he says, "He who said, 'I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase,' surely meant nothing else than this, that 'I made a man a catechumen in Christ, Apollo baptized him; God confirmed what we had done?'" Why then did not Petilianus add what the apostle added, and I especially took pains to quote, "So then neither is he that planteth anything, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase"? And if he be willing to interpret this on the same principle as what he has set down above, it follows beyond all doubt, that neither is he that baptizeth anything but God that giveth the increase. For what matter does it make in reference to the question now before us, in what sense it has been said, "I planted, Apollos watered. "whether it is really to be taken as equivalent to his saying, "I made a catechumen, Apollos baptized him;" or whether there be any other truer and more congruos understanding of it?—for in the mean time, according to his own interpretation of the words, neither is he that makes the catechumen anything, neither he that baptizes, but God that gives the increase. But there is a great difference between confirming what another does, and doing anything oneself. For He who gives the increase does not confirm a tree or a vine, but creates it. For by that increase it comes to pass that even a piece of wood planted in the ground produces and establishes a root; by that increase it comes to pass that a seed cast into the earth puts forth a shoot. But why should we make a longer dissertation on this point? It is enough that, according to Petilianus himself neither he that maketh a catechumen, nor he that baptizes, is anything, but God that gives the increase. But when would Petilianus say this, so that we should understand that he meant, Neither is Donatus of Carthage anything, neither Januarius, neither Petilianus? When would the swelling of his pride permit him to say this, which now causes the man to think himself to be something, when he is nothing, deceiving himself?
CHAP. 54. —66. Finally, again, a little afterwards, when he resolved and was firmly pub posed, as it were, to reconsider once more the words of the apostle which he had brought up against him, he was unwilling to set down this that I had said, preferring something else in which by some means or other the swelling of human pride might find means to breathe. "For to reconsider," he says, "those words of the apostle, on which you founded an argument against us; he said, 'What is Apollos, what is Paul, save only ministers of Him in whom ye have believed?' What else for example, does he say to all of us than this What is. Donatus of Carthage, what is Januarius, what is Petilianus, save only ministers of Him in whom ye have believed?" I did not bring forward this passage of the apostle, but I did bring forward that which he has been unwilling to quote, "Neither he that planteth is anything, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase." But Petilianus was willing to insert those words of the apostle, in which he asks what is Paul, and what is Apollos, and answers that "They are ministers of Him in whom ye have believed." This the muscles of the heretic's neck could bear; but he was wholly unable to endure the other, in which the apostle did not ask and answer what he was, but said that he was nothing. But now I am willing to ask whether it be true that the minister of Christ is nothing. Who will say so much as this? In what sense, therefore, is it true that "Neither is he that planteth anything, neither he that watereth, but God that giveth the increase," except that he who is something in one point of view may be nothing in another? For ministering and dispensing the word and sacrament he is something, but for purifying and justifying he is nothing, seeing that this is not accomplished in the inner man, except by Him by whom the whole man was created, and who while He remained God was made man,—by Him, that is, of whom it was said, "Purifying their hearts by faith;" and "To him that believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly." And this testimony Petilianus has been willing to set forth in my words, whilst in his own he has neither handled it nor even touched it.
CHAP. 55. —67. A minister, therefore, that is a dispenser of the word and sacrament of the gospel, if he is a good man, becomes a fellow-partner in the working of the gospel; but if he is a bad man, he does not therefore cease to be a dispenser of the gospel. For if he is good, he does it of his own free will; but if he is a bad man,—that is, one who seeks his own and not the things of Jesus Christ,—he does it unwillingly, for the sake of other things which he is seeking after. See, however, what the same apostle has said: "For if I do this thing willingly," he says, "I have a reward; but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me;" as though he were to say, If I, being good, announce what is good, I attain unto it also myself; but if, being evil, I announce it, yet I announce what is good. For has he in any way said, If I do it against my will, then shall I not be a dispenser of the gospel? Peter and the other disciples announce the good tidings, as being good themselves. Judas did it against his will, but yet, when he was sent, he announced it in common with the rest. They have a reward; to him a dispensation of the gospel was committed. But they who received the gospel at the mouth of all those witnesses, could not be cleansed and justified by him that planted, or by him that watered, but by Him alone that gives the increase. For neither are we going to say that Judas did not baptize, seeing that he was still among the disciples when that which is written was being accomplished, "Jesus Himself baptized not, but His disciples." Are we to suppose that, because he had not betrayed Christ, therefore he who had the bag, and bare what was put therein, was still enabled to dispense grace without prejudice to those who received it, though he could not be an upright guardian of the money entrusted to his care? Or if he did not baptize, at any rate we must acknowledge that he preached the gospel. But if you consider this a trifling function, and of no importance, see what you must think of the Apostle Paul himself, who said, "For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel." To this we may add, that according to this, Apollos begins to be more important, who watered by baptizing, than Paul, who planted by preaching the gospel, though Paul claims to himself the relation of father towards the Corinthians in virtue of this very act, and does not grant this tire to those who came to them after him. For he says," Though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel." He says, "I have begotten you" to the same men to whom he says in another place, "I thank God that I baptized none of you but Crispus and Gaius, and I baptized also the household of Stephanus." He had begotten them, therefore, not through himself, but through the gospel. And even though he had been seeking his own, and not the things of Jesus Christ, and had been doing this unwillingly, so as to receive no reward for himself, yet he would have been dispensing the treasure of the Lord; and this, though evil himself, he would not have been making evil or useless to those who received it wall.
CHAP. 56. —68. And if this is rightly said of the gospel, with how much greater certainty should it be said of baptism, which belongs to the gospel in such wise, that without it no one can reach the kingdom of heaven, and with it only if to the sacrament be added righteousness? For He who said, "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God," said Himself also, "Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven." The form of the sacrament is given through baptism, the form of righteousness through the gospel Neither one without the other leads to the kingdom of heaven. Yet even men of inferior learning can baptize perfectly, but to preach the gospel perfectly is a task of much greater difficulty and rarity. Therefore the teacher of the Gentiles, that was superior in excellence to the majority, was sent to preach the gospel, not to baptize; because the latter could be done by many, the former only by a few, of whom he was chief. And yet we read that he said in certain places, "My gospel;" but he never called baptism either his, or any one's else by whom it was administered. For that baptism alone which John gave is called John's baptism.6 This that man received as the special pledge of his ministry, that the preparatory sacrament of washing should even be called by the name of him by whom it was administered; whereas the baptism which the disciples of Christ administered was never called by the name of any one of them, that it should be understood to be His alone of whom it is said, "Christ loved the Church, and gave Himself for it, that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word." If, therefore, the gospel, which is Christ's, but so that a minister also may call it his in virtue of his office of administering it, can be received by a man even at the hands of an evil minister without danger to himself, if he does according to what he says, and not after the example of what he does, how much more may any one who comes in good faith to Christ receive without fear of contagion from an evil minister the baptism of Christ, which none of the apostles so administered as to dare to call it his own?
CHAP. 57. —69. Furthermore, if, while I have continued without intermission to prove how entirely the passages of Scripture which Petilianus has quoted against us have against us have failed to hurt our cause, he himself has in some cases not touched at all what I have quoted, and party, when he has endeavored to handle them, has shown that the only thing that he could do was to fail in finding an escape from them, you require no long exhortation or advice in order to see what you ought to maintain, and what you should avoid. But it may be that this has been the kind of show that he has made in dealing with the testimony of holy Scripture, but that he has not been without force in the case of the documentary evidence found in the records of the schism itself. Let us then see in the case of these too, though it is superfluous to inquire into them after testimony from the word of God, what he has quoted, or what he has proved. For, after pouring forth a violent invective against traditors, and quoting loudly many passages against them from the holy books themselves, he yet said nothing which could prove his opponents to be traditors. But I quoted the case of Silvanus of Cirta, who held his own see some little time before himself, who was expressly declared in the Municipal Chronicles to have been a traditor while he was yet a sub-deacon. Against this fact he did not venture to whisper a syllable. And yet you cannot fail to see how strong the pressure was which must have been urging him to reply that he might show a man, who was his predecessor, not only one of his party, but a partner, so to speak, in his see, to have been innocent of the crime of delivering up the sacred books, especially as you rest the whole strength of your cause on the fact that you give the name of traditor to all whom you either pretend or believe to have been the successors of traditors in the path of their communion. Although, then, the very exigencies of your cause would seem to compel him to undertake the defence of a citizen even of Russicadia, or Calama, or any other city of your party, whom I should declare to be a traditor, on the authority of the Municipal Chronicles, yet he did not open his mouth even in defense of his own predecessor. For what reason, except that he could not find any mist dark enough to deceive the minds of even the slowest and sleepiest of men? For what could he have said, except that the charges brought against Silvanus were false? But we quote the words of the Chronicles, both as to the date of the fact, and as to the time of the information laid before Zenophilus the ex-consul. And how could he resist this evidence, being encompassed on every side by the most excellent cause of the Catholics, while yours was bad as bad could be? For which reason I quote these words from my epistle to which he would fain be thought to have replied in this which I am now refuting, that you may see for yourselves how impregnable the position must be against which he has been able to find no safer weapon than silence.
CHAP. 58. —70. For when he quoted a passage from the gospel as making against us, where our Lord says, "They will come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves; ye shall know them by their fruits,"—I answered and said, "Then let us consider their fruits;" and then I at once went on to add the following words: "You bring up against them their delivery of the sacred books. This very charge we urge with greater probability, against their accusers themselves. And not to carry our search too far: in the same city of Constantina, your predecessors ordained Silvanus bishop at the very outset of his schism. He, while he was still a sub-deacon, was most unmistakably entered as a traditor in the archives of the city. If you, on your side, bring forward documents against our predecessors, all that we ask is equal terms, that we should either believe both to be true, or both to be false. If both are true, you are unquestionably guilty of schism, who have pretended that you avoid offenses in the communion of the whole world, though these were common among you in your own fragmentary sect. But again, if both are false, you are unquestionably guilty of schism, who, on account of the false charges of traditors, are staining yourselves with the heinous offense of severance from the Church. But if we have something to urge in accusation, while you have nothing, or if our charges are true, while yours are false, it is no longer matter of discussion how thoroughly your mouths are closed. What if the holy and true Church of Christ were to convince and overcome you, even if we held no documents in support of our cause, or only such as were false, while you had possession of some genuine proof of delivery of the sacred books, what would then remain for you, except that, if you would, you should show your love of peace, or otherwise should hold your tongues? For whatever in that case you might bring forward in evidence, I should be able to say with the greatest ease and with the most perfect truth, that then you are bound to prove as much to the full and Catholic unity of the Church, already spread abroad and established throughout so many nations, to the end that you should remain within, and that those whom you convict should be expelled. And if you have endeavored to do this, certainly you have not been able to make good your proof; and, being vanquished or enraged, you have separated yourselves, with all the heinous guilt of sacrilege, from the guiltless men who could not condemn on insufficient proof. But if you have not even endeavored to do this, then with most accursed and unnatural blindness you have cut yourselves off from the wheat of Christ, which grows throughout His whole fields, that is, throughout the whole world until the end, because you have taken offense at a few tares in Africa." To this, which I have quoted from my former epistle, Petilianus has made no answer whatsoever. And, at all events, you see that in these few words is comprised the whole question which is at issue between us. For what should he endeavor to say, when, whatever course he chose, he was sure to be debated?
71. For when documents are brought forward relating to the traditors, both by us against the men of your party, and by you against the men of our party, (if indeed any really are brought forward on your side, for to this very day we are left in total ignorance of them; nor indeed can we believe that Petilianus would have omitted to insert them in ibis letter, seeing that he has taken so much pain to secure the quotation and insertion of those portions of the Chronicles which bear on the matter in opposition to me),—but still, as I began to say, if such documents are brought forward both by us and by you, documents of whose existence we are wholly ignorant to this very day,—surely you must acknowledge that either both are true, or both false, or ours true and yours false, or yours true and ours false; for there is no further alternative that can be suggested.
CHAP. 59. —But according to all these four hypotheses, the truth is on the side of the communion of the Catholic Church. For if both are true, then you certainly should not have deserted the communion of the whole world on account of men such as you too had among yourselves. But if both are false, you should have guarded against the guilt of most accursed division, which had not even any pretext to allege of any delivery of the sacred books. If ours are true and yours are false, you have long been without anything to say for yourselves. If yours are true and ours are false, we have been liable to be deceived, in common with the whole world, not about the truth of the faith, but about the unrighteousness of men. For the seed of Abraham, dispersed throughout the world, was bound to pay attention, not to what you said you knew, but to what you proved to the judges. Whence have we any knowledge of what was done by those men who were accused by your ancestors, even if the allegations made against them were true, so long as they were held to be not true but false, either by the judges who took cognizance of the case, or at least by the general body of the Church dispersed throughout the world, which was only bound to pay heed to the sentence of the judges? God does not necessarily pardon any human guilt that others in the weakness of human judgment fail to discover; yet I maintain that no one is rightly deemed guilty for having believed a man to be innocent who was not convicted. How then do you prove the world to be guilty, merely because it did not know what possibly was really guilt in the Africans,—its ignorance arising either from the fact that no one reported the sin to it, or from its having given credence, in respect of the information which was given, rather to the judges who took cognizance of the case, than to the murmurers who were defeated? So far then, Petilianus deserves all praise, in that, when he saw that on this point I was absolutely impregnable, he passed it by in silence. Yet he does not deserve praise for his attempts to obscure in a mist of words other points which were equally impregnable, which yet he thought could be obscured; or for having put me in the place of his cause, when the cause left him nothing to say; while even about myself he could say nothing except what was either altogether false, or undeserving of any blame, or without any bearing whatsoever upon me. But, in the meantime, are you, whom I have made judges between Petilianus and myself, possessed of discrimination enough to decide in any degree between what is true and what is false, between what is mere empty swelling and what is solid, between what is troubled and what is calm, between inflammation and soundness, between divine predictions and human assumptions, between bringing an accusation and establishing it, between proofs and fictions, between pleading a cause and leading one away from it? If you have such power of discrimination, well and good; but if you have it not, we shall not repent of having bestowed our pains on you, for even though your heart be not converted unto peace, yet our peace shall return unto ourselves.
Taken from "The Early Church Fathers and Other Works" originally published by Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co. in English in Edinburgh, Scotland, beginning in 1867. (NPNF I/IV, Schaff). The digital version is by The Electronic Bible Society, P.O. Box 701356, Dallas, TX 75370, 214-407-WORD.