Chapter 50.—60. But if it is clear that Petilianus has made no answer to those first words of my epistle, and that, when he has endeavored to make an answer, he has shown all the more clearly how incapable he was of answering, what shall I say in respect of those portions of my writings which he has not even attempted to answer, on which he has not touched at all? And yet if any one shall be willing to review their character, having in his possession both my writings and those of Petilianus, I think he will understand by what confirmation they are supported. And that I may show you this as shortly as I can, I would beg you to call to mind the proofs that were advanced from holy Scripture, or refresh your memory by reading both what he has brought forward as against me, and what I have brought forward in my answer as against you, and see how I have shown that the passages which he has brought forward are antagonistic not to me, but rather to yourselves; whilst he has altogether failed to touch those which I brought forward as especially necessary, and in that one passage of the apostle which he has endeavored to make use of as though it favored him, you will see how he found himself without the means of making his escape.
61. For the portion of this epistle which he wrote to his adherents—from the beginning down to the passage in which he says, p. 622 "This is the commandment of the Lord to us, When they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another; 2429 and if they persecute you in that also, flee ye to a third"—came first into my hands, and to it I made a reply; and when this reply of ours had fallen, in turn, into his hands, he wrote in answer to it this which I am now refuting, showing that he has made no reply to mine. In that first portion, therefore, of his writings to which I first replied, these are the passages of Scripture which he conceives to be opposed to us: "Every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. Do men gather grapes of thorns?" 2430 And again: "A good man, out of the good treasure of his heart, bringeth forth good things: and an evil man, out of the evil treasure, bringeth forth evil things." 2431 And again: "When a man is baptized by one that is dead, his washing profiteth him nothing." 2432 From these passages he is anxious to show that the man who is baptized is made to partake of the character of him by whom he is baptized; I on the other hand, have shown in what sense these passages should be received, and that they could in no wise aid his view. But as for the other expressions which he has used against evil and accursed men, I have sufficiently shown that they are applicable to the Lords wheat, dispersed, as was foretold and promised, throughout the world, and that they might rather be used by us against you. Examine them again, and you will find it so.
62. But the passages which I have advanced to assert the truth of the Catholic Church, are the following: As regards the question of baptism, that our being born again, cleansed, justified by the grace of God, should not be ascribed to the man who administered the sacrament, I quoted these: "It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man:" 2433 and "Cursed be every one that trusteth in man;" 2434 and that, "Salvation belongeth unto the Lord;" 2435 and that, "Vain is the help of man;" 2436 and that, "Neither is he that planteth anything, neither he that watereth, but God that giveth the increase;" 2437 and that He in whom men believe justifieth the ungodly, that his faith may be counted to him for righteousness. 2438 But in behalf of the unity of the Church itself, which is spread abroad throughout all the world, with which you do not hold communion, I urged that the following passages were prophesied of Christ: that "He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth;" 2439 and, "I shall give Thee the heathen for Thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for Thy possession;" 2440 and that the covenant of God made with Abraham may be quoted in behalf of our, that is, of the Catholic communion, in which it is written, "In thy seed shall all nations of the earth be blessed;" 2441 which seed the apostle interprets, saying, "And to thy seed, which is Christ." 2442 Whence it is evident that in Christ not only Africans or Africa, but all the nations through which the Catholic Church is spread abroad, should receive the blessing which was promised so long before. And that the chaff is to be with the wheat even to the time of the last winnowing, that no one may excuse the sacrilege of his own separation from the Church by calumnious accusations of other mens offenses, if he shall have left or deserted the communion of all nations; and to show that the society of Christians may not be divided on account of evil ministers, that is, evil rulers in the Church, I further quoted the passage, "All whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works; for they say and do not." 2443 With regard to these passages of holy Scripture which I advanced to prove my points, he neither showed how they ought to be otherwise interpreted, so as to prove that they neither made for us nor against you, nor was he willing to touch them in any way. Nay, his whole object was could it have been achieved, that by the tumultuous outpouring of his abuse, it might never occur to any one at all, who after reading my epistle might have been willing to read his as well, that these things had been said by me.
Ecclus. xxxiv. 25. See Book I. c. 9, 10.622:2433 622:2434 622:2435 622:2436 622:2437 622:2438 622:2439 622:2440 622:2441 622:2442 622:2443
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