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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. IV:
Writings in Connection with the Donatist Controversy.: Chapter 21

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 21.—23.  Lastly, it has been said, as he himself has also quoted, "Ye shall know them by their fruits:" 1956   let us therefore examine into their fruits.  You bring up against our predecessors their delivery of the sacred books.  This very charge we urge with greater probability against their accusers themselves.  And not to carry our search too far, in the same city of Constantina your predecessors ordained Silvanus bishop at the very outset of his schism.  He, while he was still a subdeacon, was most unmistakeably entered as a traditor in the archives of the city.  1957   If you on your side bring forward documents against our predecessors, all that we ask is equal terms, that we should either believe both to be true or both to be false.  If both are true, you are unquestionably guilty of schism, who have pretended that you avoid offenses in the communion of the whole world, which you had commonly among you in the small fragment of your own sect.  But again, if both are false, you are unquestionably guilty of schism, who, on account of the false charges of giving up the sacred books, are staining yourselves with the heinous offence of severance from the Church.  But if we have something to urge in accusation while you have nothing, or if our charges are true whilst yours are false, it is no longer matter of discussion how thoroughly your mouths are closed.



Matt. vii. 16.


See below, III. 57, 69; 68, 70; and Contra Cresc. III. 29, 33, IV. 56, 66.

Next: Chapter 22

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