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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. IV:
Writings in Connection with the Donatist Controversy.: Chapter 3

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 3.—5.  But I think that we have sufficiently shown, both from the canon of Scripture, and from the letters of Cyprian himself, that bad men, while by no means converted to a better mind, can have, and confer, and receive baptism, of whom it is most clear that they do not belong to the holy Church of God, though they seem to be within it, inasmuch as they are covetous, robbers, usurers, envious, evil thinkers, and the like; while she is one dove, 1588 modest and chaste, a bride without spot or wrinkle, 1589 a garden enclosed, a fountain sealed, an orchard of pomegranates with pleasant fruits, 1590 with all similar properties which are attributed to her; p. 481 and all this can only be understood to be in the good, and holy, and just,—following, that is, not only the operations of the gifts of God, which are common to good and bad alike, but also the inner bond of charity conspicuous in those who have the Holy Spirit, to whom the Lord says, "Whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whosesoever sins ye retain, they are retained."  1591


Footnotes

480:1588

Cant. 6:8, 9.

480:1589

Eph. v. 27; Cp. Aug. Retract. ii. 18.

480:1590

Cant. 4:12, 13.

481:1591

John xx. 23.


Next: Chapter 4

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