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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. IV:
Writings in Connection with the Donatist Controversy.: Chapter 16

Early Church Fathers  Index     

p. 525

Chapter 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?

Next: Chapter 17

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