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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. IV:
Writings in Connection with the Donatist Controversy.: Chapter 69

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 69.—153.  Petilianus said:  "‘Blessed are the peacemakers; for they shall be called the children of God.’ 2162   You make a pretence of peace by your wickedness, and seek unity by war."

154.  Augustin answered:  We do not make a pretense of peace by wickedness, but we preach peace out of the gospel; and if you were at peace with it, you would be at peace also with us.  The risen Lord, when presenting Himself to the disciples, not only that they should gaze on Him with their eyes, but also that they should handle Him with their hands, began His discourse to them with the words, "Peace be unto you."  And how this peace itself was to be maintained, He disclosed to them in the words which followed.  For "then opened He their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures, and said unto them, Thus is it written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day; and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem." 2163   If you will keep peace with these words, you will not be at variance with us.  For if we seek unity by war, our war could not be praised in more glorious terms, seeing that it is written, "Thou shall love thy neighbor as thyself." 2164   And again it is written, "No man ever yet hated his own flesh." 2165   And yet the flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh. 2166   But if no man ever yet hated his own flesh, and yet a man lusteth against his own flesh, here you have unity sought by war, that the body, being subject to correction, may be brought under submission.  But what the spirit does against the flesh, waging war with it, not in hatred but in love, this those who are spiritual do against those who are carnal, that they may do towards them what they do towards themselves, because they love their neighbors as neighbors indeed.  But the war which the spiritual wage is that correction which is in p. 567 love:  their sword is the word of God.  To such a war they are aroused by the trumpet of the apostle sounding with a mighty force:  "Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all long-suffering and doctrine." 2167   See then that we act not with the sword, but with the word.  But you answer what is not true, while you accuse us falsely.  You do not correct your own faults, and you bring against us those of other men.  Christ bears true witness concerning the nations of the earth; you, in opposition to Christ, bear false witness against the nations of the earth.  If we were to believe you rather than Christ, you would call us peacemakers; because we believe Christ rather than you, we are said to make a pretense of peace by our wickedness.  And while you say and do such things as this, you have the further impudence to quote the words, "Blessed are the peacemakers; for they shall be called the children of God."


Footnotes

566:2162

Matt. v. 3-9.

566:2163

Luke 24:36, 45.

566:2164

Matt. xxii. 39.

566:2165

Eph. v. 29.

566:2166

Gal. v. 17.

567:2167

2 Tim. iv. 2.


Next: Chapter 70

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