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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. IV:
Writings in Connection with the Donatist Controversy.: Chapter 29

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 29.—55. Cassius of Macomades 1695 said:  "Since there cannot be two baptisms, he who grants baptism unto heretics takes it away from himself.  I therefore declare my judgment that heretics, those objects for our tears, those masses of corruption, 1696 should be baptized when they begin to come to the Church, and that so being washed by the sacred and divine laver, and enlightened with the light of life, they may be received into the Church,—as being now made not enemies, but peaceful; not strangers, but of the household of the faith of the Lord; not bastards, 1697 but sons of God; partaking not of error, but of salvation,—with the exception of those who, being believers transplanted from the Church, had gone over to heresy, and that these should be restored by the laying on of hands." 1698

56.  Another might say:  Since there cannot be two baptisms, he who grants baptism to the unrighteous takes it away from himself.  But even our opponents would join us in resisting such a man when he says that we grant baptism to the unrighteous, which is not of the unrighteous, like their unrighteousness, but of Christ, of whom is righteousness, and whose sacrament, even among the unrighteous, is not unrighteous.  What, therefore, they would join us in saying of the unrighteous, that let them say to themselves of heretics.  And therefore he should rather have said as follows:  I therefore give my judgment that heretics, those objects for our tears, those masses of corruption, should not be baptized when they begin to come to the Church, if they already have the baptism of Christ, but should be corrected from their error.  For we may similarly say of the unrighteous, of whom the heretics are a part:  I therefore give p. 493 my judgment that the unrighteous, those objects for our tears, and masses of corruption, if they have been already baptized, should not be baptized again when they begin to come to the Church, that is, to that rock outside which are all who hear the words of Christ and do them not; but being already washed with the sacred and divine laver, and now further enlightened with the light of truth, should be received into the Church no longer as enemies but as peaceful, for the unrighteous have no peace; no longer as strangers, but of the household of the faith of the Lord, for to the unrighteous it is said, "How then art thou turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine unto me?" 1699 no longer as bastards, but the sons of God, for the unrighteous are the sons of the devil, partaking not of error but of salvation, for un-righteousness cannot save.  And by the Church I mean that rock, that dove, that garden enclosed and fountain sealed, which is recognized only in the wheat, not in the chaff, whether that be scattered far apart by the wind, or appear to be mingled with the corn even till the last winnowing.  In vain, therefore, did Cassius add, "With the exception of those who, being believers transplanted from the Church, had gone over to heresy."  For if even they themselves had lost baptism by seceding, to themselves also let it be restored; but if they had not lost it, let what was given by them receive due recognition.


Footnotes

492:1695

Macomades [in ecclesiastical province of Numidia.]  Bp. Cassius is probably to be identified with the one in Cypr. Ep. lxx.

492:1696

Flebiles et tabidos.  This is otherwise taken of the repentant heretics "Melting with the grief and wretchedness of penitence;" but Bishop Fell points out that the interpretation in the text is supported by an expression in c. 33, 63:  Mens hæretica, quæ diuturna tabe polluta est.  Routh Rel. Sac. iii. p. 199.

492:1697

Adulteros.  So all the Mss. of Augustin, though in Cyprian is sometimes found "adulterinos."  In classical Latin, however "adulterit" is sometimes used in the sense of "adulterinus."  Cassius seems to have had in mind Heb. xii. 8, "Then are ye bastards, and not sons."

492:1698

Conc. Carth. sec. 22.

493:1699

Jer. ii. 21.


Next: Chapter 30

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