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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. IV:
Writings in Connection with the Donatist Controversy.: Chapter 54

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 54.—66.  Finally, again, a little afterwards, when he resolved and was firmly purposed, as it were, to reconsider once more the words of the apostle which he had brought up against him, he was unwilling to set down this that I had said, preferring something else in which by some means or other the swelling of human pride might find means to breathe.  "For to reconsider," he says, "those words of the apostle, on which you founded an argument against us; he said, ‘What is Apollos, what is Paul, save only ministers of Him in whom ye have believed?’ 2448   What else for example, does he say to all of us than this, What is Donatus of Carthage, what is Januarius, what is Petilianus, save only ministers of Him in whom ye have believed?"  I did not bring forward this passage of the apostle, but I did bring forward that which he has been unwilling to quote, "Neither he that planteth is anything, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase."  But Petilianus was willing to insert those words of the apostle, in which he asks what is Paul, and what is Apollos, and answers that "They are ministers of Him in whom ye have believed."  This the muscles of the heretic’s neck could bear; but he was wholly unable to endure the other, in which the apostle did not ask and answer what he was, but said that he was nothing.  But now I am willing to ask whether it be true that the minister of Christ is nothing.  Who will say so much as this?  In what sense, therefore, is it true that "Neither is he that planteth anything, neither he that watereth, but God that giveth the increase," except that he who is something in one point of view may be nothing in another?  For ministering and dispensing the word and sacrament he is something, but for purifying and justifying he is nothing, seeing that this is not accomplished in the inner man, except by Him by whom the whole man was created, and who while He remained God was made man,—by Him, that is, of whom it was said, "Purifying their hearts by faith;"  2449 and "To him that believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly." 2450   And this testimony Petilianus has been willing to set forth in my words, whilst in his own he has neither handled it nor even touched it.



Ministri ejus cui credidistis.  See 1 Cor. 3:4, 5.


Acts xv. 9.


Rom. iv. 5.

Next: Chapter 55

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