Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. IV:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Writings in Connection with the Donatist Controversy.: Chapter 38
Chapter 38.—44. For, to pass over others dwelling in different quarters of the earth,—p. 615 for you will scarcely find any place in which this kind of men is not represented, from whom it may appear that overseers and ministers are wont to be condemned even in the Catholic Church,—we need not look far to find the example of Honorius of Milevis. But take the case of Splendonius, whom Petilianus ordained priest after he had been condemned in the Catholic Church, and rebaptized by himself, whose condemnation in Gaul, communicated to us by our brethren, our colleague Fortunatus caused to be publicly read in Constantina, and whom the same Petilianus afterwards cast forth on experience of his abominable deceit. From the case of this Splendonius, when was there a time when he might not have been reminded after what fashion wicked men are degraded from their office even in the Catholic Church? I wonder on what precipice of rashness his heart was resting when he dictated those words in which he ventured to say, "No one of you is free from guilt, where no one that is guilty is condemned." Wherefore the wicked, being bodily intermingled with the good, but spiritually separated from them in the Catholic Church, both when they are undetected through the infirmity of human nature, and when they are condemned from considerations of discipline, in every case bear their own burden. And in this way those are free from danger who are baptized by them with the baptism of Christ, if they keep free from share in their sins either by imitation or consent; seeing that in like manner, if they were baptized by the best of men, they would not be justified except by Him that justifieth the ungodly: since to those that believe on Him that justifieth the ungodly their faith is counted for righteousness.
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