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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. IV:
Writings in Connection with the Donatist Controversy.: Chapter 10

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 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," 1942 together with Maximianus and the others who ordained him,—I mean Felicianus of Musti, and Prætextatus 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  1943 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, lest 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 Prætextatus once again within their pale, out of the multitude of bodies lying unburied on the shore.


Footnotes

523:1942

That of Bagai.  See on de Bapt. I. 5, 7.

523:1943

Ore latissimo acclamaverunt.  The Louvain edition has"lætissimo," both here and Contra Crescon. IV. 41, 48.


Next: Chapter 11

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