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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. IV:
Writings in Connection with the Donatist Controversy.: Chapter 22

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 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 whit:  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.’ 2041   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.’ 2042   And again He said to these same eleven, ‘Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you.’ 2043   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?" 2044   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.


Footnotes

542:2041

John 13:10, 11.

542:2042

John 15:3, 4.

542:2043

John xiv. 27.

542:2044

1 Tim. i. 7.


Next: Chapter 23

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