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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. IV:
Writings in Connection with the Donatist Controversy.: Chapter 107

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 107.—242.  Petilianus said:  "And that none who is a layman may claim to be free from sin, they are all bound by this prohibition:  ‘Be not partakers of other men’s sins.’"

243.  Augustin answered:  You are mistaken toto cælo, as the saying is, by reason of your pride, whilst, by reason of your humility, you are unwilling to communicate with the whole world.  For, in the first place, this was not spoken to a layman; and, in the second place, you are wholly ignorant in what sense it was spoken.  The apostle, writing to Timothy, gives this warning to none other than Timothy himself, to whom he says in another place, "Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery." 2310   And by many other proofs it is made clear that he was not a layman.  But in that he says, "Be not partaker of other men’s sins," 2311 he means, Be not partaker voluntarily, or with consent.  And hence he immediately subjoins directions how he shall obey the injunction, saying, "Keep thyself pure."  For neither was Paul himself partaker of other men’s sins, because he endured false brethren, over whom he groans, in bodily unity; nor did the apostles who preceded him partake of the thievery and crime of Judas, because they partook of the holy supper with him when he had already sold his Lord, and been pointed out as the traitor by that Lord.



1 Tim. iv. 14.


1 Tim. v. 22.

Next: Chapter 108

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