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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. IV:
Writings in Connection with the Donatist Controversy.: Chapter 25

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 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.


Next: Chapter 26

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