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CHAPTER LXXIThat a man who sins after the Grace of the Sacraments may be converted to Grace992992This is proved here by seven arguments, having been already argued in B. III, Chap. CLVII.

HEREBY is excluded the error of the Novatians, who denied pardon to sinners after baptism.993993Socrates, Hist. Eccl. iv, 28, quotes the Novatians as saying: “It is forbidden to admit to Communion him who has denied Christ. He should be exhorted to repent, but must look for his pardon from God, who alone is competent to give it.” They took occasion of their error from the text: It is impossible for those who have been once enlightened [φωτισθέντας, baptised], and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have been made partakers of the Holy Ghost . . . . and have fallen, to be again renewed [ἀνακαινίζειν, renovari, Vulg.] unto penance (Heb. vi, 4, 6). But the sense is plain from the immediate context: crucifying to themselves again the Son of God, and making him a mockery. There is denied to them then that renewal unto penance, whereby a man is crucified along with Christ, which is by baptism: for as many of us as have been baptised in Christ Jesus, have been baptised in his death (Rom. vi, 3, 6: Gal. ii, 19, 20: v, 24). As then Christ is not to be crucified again, so he who sins after baptism is not to be baptised again. Hence the Apostle does not say that it is impossible for such persons to be reclaimed, or converted, to penance, but that it is impossible for them to be renewed [ἀνακαινίζειν], renovation being the effect usually ascribed to baptism, which is called the laver of regeneration and renewal [ἀνακαινώσεως] (Titus iii, 5).


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