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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. IV:
Writings in Connection with the Donatist Controversy.: Chapter 55

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 55.—125.  Petilianus said:  "Even though you do very virtuous actions, and perform miraculous works, yet on account of your wickedness the Lord does not know you; even so, according to the words of the Lord Himself, ‘Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? and in Thy name have cast out devils? and in Thy name done many wonderful works?  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity.’" 2144

126.  Augustin answered:  We acknowledge the word of the Lord.  Hence also the apostle says, "Though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing." 2145   Here therefore we must inquire who it is that has charity:  you will find that it is no one else but those who are lovers of unity.  For as to the driving out of devils, and as to the working of miracles, seeing that very many do not do such things who yet belong to the kingdom of God, and very many do them who do not belong to it, neither our party nor your party have any cause for boasting, if any of them chance to have this power, since the Lord did not think it right that even the apostles, who could truly do such things both to profit and salvation, should boast in things like this, when He says to them, "In this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven." 2146   Wherefore all those things which you have advanced from the writings of the gospel I also might repeat to you, if I saw you working the powerful acts of signs and miracles; and so might you repeat them to me, if you saw me doing things of a like sort.  Let us not, therefore, say one to another what may equally be said on the other side as well; and, putting aside all quibbles, since we are inquiring where the Church of Christ is to be found, let us listen to the words of Christ Himself, who redeemed it with His own blood:  "Ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and even in the whole earth." 2147   You see then who it is with whom a man refuses to communicate who will not communicate with this Church, which is spread throughout all the world, if at least you hear whose words these are.  For what is a greater proof of madness than to hold communion with the sacraments of the Lord, and to refuse to hold communion with the words of the Lord?  Such men at any rate are likely to say, In Thy name have we eaten and drunken, and to hear the words, "I never knew you,"  2148 seeing that they eat His body and drink His blood in the sacrament, and do not recognize in the gospel His members which are spread abroad throughout the earth, and therefore are not themselves counted among them in the judgment.


Footnotes

562:2144

Matt. 7:22, 23.

562:2145

1 Cor. xiii. 2.

562:2146

Luke x. 20.

562:2147

Acts i. 8.

562:2148

Matt. 7:22, 23.


Next: Chapter 56

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