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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. IV:
Writings in Connection with the Donatist Controversy.: Chapter 81

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 81.—177.  Petilianus said:  "But I answer you, on the other hand, that Jesus Christ never persecuted any one.  And when the apostle found fault with certain parties, and suggested that He should have recourse to persecution (He Himself having come to create faith by inviting men to Him, rather than by compelling them), those apostles say, ‘Many lay on hands in Thy name, and are not with us:’  but Jesus said, ‘Let them alone; if they are not against you, they are on your side.’"

178.  Augustin answered:  You say truly that you will bring forth out of your store with greater abundance things which are not written in the Scriptures.  For if you wish to bring forth proofs from holy Scripture, will you bring forth even those which you cannot find therein?  But it is in your own power to multiply your lies according to your will.  For where is what you quoted written? or when was that either suggested to our Lord, or answered by our Lord?  "Many lay on hands in Thy name, and are not with us," are words that no one of the disciples ever uttered to the Son of God; and therefore neither could the answer have been made by Him, "Let them alone:  if they are not against you, they are on your side."  But there is something somewhat like it which we really do read in the gospel,—that a suggestion was made to the Lord about a certain man who was casting out devils in His name, but did not follow Him with His disciples; and in that case the Lord does say, "Forbid him not:  for he that is not against us is for us." 2190   But this has nothing to do with pointing out parties whom the Lord is supposed to have spared.  And if you have been deceived by an apparent resemblance of sentiment, this is not a lie, but merely human infirmity.  But if you wished to cast a mist of falsehood over those who are unskilled in holy Scripture, then may you be pricked to the heart, and covered with confusion and corrected.  Yet there is a point which we would urge in respect of this very man of whom the suggestion was made to our Lord.  For even as at that time, beyond the communion of the disciples, the holiness of Christ was yet of the greatest efficacy, even so now, beyond the communion of the Church, the holiness of the sacraments is of avail.  For neither is baptism consecrated save in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.  But who will be so utterly insane as to declare that the name of the Son may be of avail even beyond the communion of the Church, but that this is not possible with the names of the Father and of the Holy Ghost? or that it may be of avail in healing a man, but not in consecrating baptism?  But it is manifest that outside the communion of the Church, and the most holy bond of unity, and the most excellent gift of charity, neither he by whom the devil is cast out nor he who is baptized obtains eternal life; just as those do not obtain it, who through communion in the sacraments seem indeed to be within, and through the depravity of their character are understood to be without.  But that Christ persecuted even with bodily chastisement those whom He drove with scourges from the temple, we have already said above.


Footnotes

571:2190

Luke 9:49, 50.


Next: Chapter 82

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