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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. IV:
Writings in Connection with the Donatist Controversy.: Chapter 9

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 9.—12.  Let them see how many things, and what important things, are of no avail, if a certain single thing be wanting, and let them see what that one thing is.  And herein let them hear not my words, but those of the apostle:  "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.  And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing." 1166   What does it profit them, therefore, if they have both the voice of angels in the sacred mysteries, and the gift of prophecy, as had Caiaphas 1167 and Saul, 1168 that so they may be found prophesying, of whom Holy Scripture testifies that they were worthy of condemnation?  If they not only know, but even possess the sacraments, as Simon Magus did; 1169 if they have faith, as the devils confessed Christ (for we must not suppose that they did not believe when they said, "What have we to do with Thee, O Son of God?  We know Thee who Thou art" 1170 ; if they distribute of themselves their own substance to the poor, as many do, not only in the Catholic Church, but in the different heretical bodies; if, under the pressure of any persecution, they give their bodies with us to be burned for the faith which they like us confess:  yet because they do all these things apart from the Church, not "forbearing one another in love," nor "endeavoring to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace,"  1171 insomuch as they have not charity, they cannot attain to eternal salvation, even with all those good things which profit them not.


Footnotes

417:1166

1 Cor. 13:1, 2.

417:1167

John xi. 51.

417:1168

1 Sam. xviii. 10.

417:1169

Acts viii. 13.

417:1170

Mark i. 24.

417:1171

Eph. 4:2, 3.


Next: Chapter 10

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