Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. IV:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Writings in Connection with the Donatist Controversy.: Chapter 24
Chapter 24.—28. Whatever, therefore, he finds in these two words,—whether he brings calumnious accusations about their suppression, or boasts of their being added,—you perceive that it in no way hinders my question, to which he can find no answer that he can make; and therefore, not wishing to remain silent, he takes the opportunity of making an attack upon my character,—retiring, I should have said, from the discussion, except that he had never entered on it. For just as though the question were about me, and not about the truth of the Church, or of baptism, therefore he says that I, by suppressing these two words, have argued as though it were no stumblingblock in the way of my conscience, that I have ignored what he calls the sacrilegious conscience of him who polluted me. But if this were so, the addition of the word "wittingly," which is thus introduced, would be in my favor, and its suppression would tell against me. For if I had wished that my defense should be urged on the ground that I should be supposed to have been unacquainted with the conscience of the man that baptized me, then I would accept Petilianus as having spoken in my behalf, since he does not say in general terms, "He that has received his faith from one that is faithless," but "He that has wittingly receivp. 608 ed his faith from one that is faithless, receives not faith but guilt;" so that hence I might boast that I had received not guilt, but faith, since I could say I did not receive it wittingly from one that was faithless, but was unacquainted with the conscience of him that gave it. See, therefore, and reckon carefully, if you can, what an amount of superfluous words he wastes on the one phrase, "I was unacquainted with" which he declares that I have used; whereas I never used it at all,—partly because the question under discussion was not concerning me, so that I should need to use it; partly because no fault was apparent in him that baptized me, so that I should be forced to say in my defense that I had been unacquainted with his conscience.
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