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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. IV:
Writings in Connection with the Donatist Controversy.: Chapter 101

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 101.—229.  Petilianus said:  "Inasmuch as we live in the fear of God, we have no fear of the punishments and executions which you wreak with the sword; but the only thing which we avoid is that by your most wicked communion you destroy men’s souls, according to the saying of the Lord Himself: p. 589 ‘Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.’" 2276

230.  Augustin answered:  You do the destruction which you speak of, not with a visible sword, but with that of which it is said, "The sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword." 2277   For with this sword of accusation and calumny against the world of which you are wholly ignorant, you destroy the souls of those who lack experience.  But if you find fault with a most wicked communion, as you term it, I would bid you presently, not with my words, but with your own, to ascend, descend, enter, turn yourself about, change sides, be such as was Optatus.  But if you return to your senses, and shall find that you are not such as he, not because he refused to partake of the sacraments with you, but because you took offense at what he did, then you will acquit the world of crimes which do not belong to it, and you will find yourself involved in the sin of schism.


Footnotes

589:2276

Matt. x. 28.

589:2277

Ps. lvii. 4.


Next: Chapter 102

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