Optatus of Milevis, Against the Donatists (1917) Book 5. pp.203-245.
In this Fifth Book it is shown that though Men are the Ministers of Baptism, it is God Who cleanses, and that it is his Christ who gives what is received in baptism, and that the rebaptised cannot possess the kingdom of God, and that they have lost the Wedding Garment.
I. From Parmenian's own principles it follows that Baptism is One.
In our First Book we have shown by the clearest proofs who were the Betrayers of the Law 1 and the originators of the schism; in the Second we have pointed out that with us is the One True Catholic Church, whilst in the Third we have proved that whatever is said to have been done with severity cannot rightfully be in any way ascribed to us. We have also maintained 2 that there is divine warrant for saying that it is you,3 rather than we, who are 'sinners.' 4
We must now 5 in this place speak of Baptism. In the matter at present to be considered the whole |204 question consists in this, that you have dared to do violence 6 to Baptism----that you have repeated what Christ has commanded to be done but once.
And this, my brother Parmenian, you do not deny, since at the beginning of your treatise you have said many things which are on our side, and tell for us, but against you.7 Thus with reference to Baptism, you have mentioned that there was only one Flood, and only one Circumcision for the people of the Jews. But although you dealt with these subjects at the beginning of your oration,8 as the sermon was developed 9 you soon forgot all about them, and introduced two waters; so you made a silly commencement to your argument, for you knew that you were going on to discuss the true water and the false.10
You strengthen the oneness of Holy Baptism, when trying to weaken it 11; for you have wished to lay as it were a foundation, with regard to the Jewish Circumcision, that the Baptism of Christians had been foreshadowed in the Circumcision of the Hebrews. In this way you have defended, whilst attacking, the Catholic Church. As your treatise progressed, you claimed to empty of value one kind of Baptism,12 that you might fill the other to the full.13 By saying |205 that (apart from the Baptism of heretics14), there is one Baptism and yet a second,15 you could not deny----although you have tried to show that they are different 16 ----that they are two; when you endeavoured to remove one of these,17 you laboured to treat the second 18 as though it were the first.19 But before the coming of Baptism, Circumcision was sent forward in advance in a figure. Yet you have maintained that there are amongst Christians two waters. Show then that there are also two Circumcisions amongst the Jews----of which one was the better, the other the worse. If you search for this, you will not be able to find it. The family 20 of Abraham----by descent from whom men are judged to be Jews----glory in being marked with this seal. Therefore the truth ought afterwards to follow, like in character to its figure,21 which was sent on before. For God too, who wished to show that the reality to come (when the truth should follow the type) must be something unique,22 |206 willed not that anything should be removed from the ear, nor from the finger; but that part of the body was chosen where what had been once cut away 23 should leave them with a sign that is to our point, because it cannot be removed a second time. For when this is done once it preserves health; if done again it may do harm. Similarly, Christian Baptism, effected by the Trinity,24 confers grace; if it be repeated it causes loss of life.
What then has come over you,25 my brother Parmenian, to bring forward a thing which is one,26 and over against it 27 to compare two Baptisms (even though you allege that they are different)----the one true, the other false? For in this way you have proceeded to argue that there are two waters, and claiming one as true for yourselves, wished to ascribe the other to us as false.28
After this you have made mention also of the Flood.29 This was indeed a figure of Baptism, inasmuch as the whole sin-stained world, after the sinners had been drowned, was, through the intervention of washing,30 restored----cleansed----to its former appearance.31 But since you were going to say that (besides 32 the muddy 33 fountains of the heretics) there was another water----that is a lying 34 water in opposition to the |207 true----to what purpose have you thought well to refer to the Flood, which happened but once? But as you will have it so,35 show first two Arks unlike one another, and two dissimilar doves, bearing different branches in their mouth----that is, if you are to prove that there is a true water and another which is false.
That water alone is true which has been sanctified 36 not from any place, nor by any [human] person,37 but by the Trinity. And, as you have said that there is a water which is lying,38 learn where you may find such----with Praxeas, the Patripassian, who totally 39 denies the Son, and maintains that the Father has suffered.
Since the Son of God is Truth----as He Himself bears witness, saying:
'I am the Door, and the Way and the Truth' 40 -----
therefore----if the Son of God is Truth----where He is not, there is a lie. And as the Son is not with the Patripassian, there the Truth is not, and where the Truth is not, there the water is lying. So, though late, cease now to concoct accusations,41 and do not transfer to Catholics that which was said against Patripassians.
It has, then, been clearly demonstrated that what you have said of the Flood and of Circumcision might |208 have been said just as well by us as in support of your side.42
It remains to show that you have praised Baptism in such a way as to bring forward many things which tell both for you and for us, but something that tells against you. Whatever we share with you is in favour of both. For this reason does it favour you, because from us you went out. Thus, for example, you and we have one ecclesiastical discipline,43 we read from the same Scriptures,44 we possess the same Faith, the same Sacraments of Faith, the same Mysteries. With reason, therefore, have you praised Baptism, for who amongst the Faithful is unaware that the one Baptism 45 is life for virtues, death to evil deeds,46 birth to immortality, the attainment of the heavenly kingdom, the harbour of innocence, and (as you too have said) the shipwreck of sins 47? These are the blessings conferred upon every believer, not by the minister of this Sacrament, but by the Faith of him who believes and by the Trinity.
II. That in Baptism the work is done by the Trinity, not by the person of the Minister.
Then you will ask what you have, when praising Baptism, said against yourselves. Listen! But first you must acknowledge something which not one of |209 you will be able to deny.48 You say that the Trinity counts for nothing,49 unless you be present.50
If you think little of us,51 at least reverence the Lord, who is First in the Trinity,52 who with His Son and the Holy Ghost effects and completes all things,53 even when no human person is present.
But, my brother Parmenian, you have said in praise of the water, of which we read in the Book of Genesis, that the waters first gave forth living beings'.54 Could they have given them birth of their own instance 55? Was not the whole Trinity there as well? Surely God the Father was there----He who had deigned to command:
'Let the waters bring forth swimming things, birds and the rest.' 56
But if that which was then done were to be done without any to effect it,57 God would have said:
'O waters, bring forth.' |210
So the Son of God----who effected it 58 ----was there. The Holy Ghost was there, as it has been written:
'And the Spirit of God was borne over the waters.' 59
I see nothing there which is a fourth----nothing less than the Three.60 Yet that which the Trinity effected came to birth, although you were not there. If then it be not allowed to the Trinity to do anything without you, call back the fishes to their first beginning 61; if in your absence the Trinity may not effect anything, drown in the waters the birds as they fly.
III. That Baptism is not to be repeated.
Since then you have said that there was only one Deluge and that Circumcision could not be repeated, whilst we have taught that the heavenly gift is bestowed upon every believer by the Trinity, not by man----why have you thought it right to repeat 62 Baptism not after us, bat after the Trinity?
Concerning this Sacrament, no small contention has been engendered, and the question is discussed 63 whether it be lawful to do this a second time after the Trinity, in the Name of the same Trinity. You say:
'It is lawful,'
whilst we say:
'It is not lawful.'
'It is lawful,' |211
'It is not lawful,'
the souls of the multitude hesitate and sway backwards and forwards.64 Let no one believe either you or us. We are all like litigants in a suit.65 Judges must be sought for. If they are to be Christians, they cannot be provided by either side, because truth is impeded by party spirit.66 A judge must be sought for from outside. If he is to be a Pagan, he cannot know the Christian secrets.67 If he is to be a Jew, he is an enemy of Christian Baptism. Therefore, concerning this matter no judgement can be found on earth; we have to seek a Judge from heaven. But why need we knock at heaven's gate, when we have at hand in the Gospel a testament?
Here earthly things may with reason be compared with heavenly.68 For example, in the case of any man who has many 69 sons, so long as the father is present, he himself gives his orders to each, nor is any testament necessary. Thus Christ, so long as He was present |212 on earth (although even now He is not absent), gave His orders to the Apostles with regard to whatever was necessary for the time. But just as an earthly father, who feels himself to be on the borderland of death, and fears lest his sons may break peace after his death, and go to law, calls in witnesses and transfers his will from his breast, so soon to pass away, to a record which will last for a long time 70 ----and should any dispute arise amongst the brothers, they do not go to the grave, but the testament is looked for, and he who rests in the grave silently speaks from the record; in the same manner He, to whom the testament belongs, is in heaven----therefore let His Will be sought in the Gospel as in His testament. 71
For through His foreknowledge Christ had foreseen the things which you do now, but which were |213 then yet to come. Accordingly, when the Son of God washed the feet of His disciples, He spoke thus to Peter:
'That which I do, thou knowest not now, but thou shalt know afterwards.' 72
By saying 'thou shalt know afterwards' He pointed out these present times. In this way amongst other prescriptions of His testament, 73 He gave this prescription 74 concerning the Water. If, when He washed the feet of His disciples, and the others were silent, Peter had also been silent, He would have set the example of humility only,75 and would have made no declaration respecting the Sacrament of Baptism. But when Peter refuses, and does not allow his feet to be washed, Christ refuses him the Kingdom, unless he should accept this service.76 But so soon as there is mention of the heavenly Kingdom----whereas part of his body was demanded to have service rendered unto it----he offered his whole body to be cleansed.77
Now come, be present, ye crowds and all Christian peoples,78 and learn what is lawful. When Peter makes his appeal,79 Christ teaches. Let him who doubts learn. For it is the Voice of Christ:
'He, who has once been washed, has no need of being washed again, for he is altogether clean.' 80 |214
And thus did He make His declaration concerning that washing 81 which he had commanded to be done through the Trinity 82----not concerning that of Jews or heretics, who, whilst they wash, defile,83 but concerning the holy water which flows from the fountains of the Three Names.84
For thus the Lord Himself commanded, when He said:
'Go, baptise all nations in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.' 85
This was the washing 86 of which He said:
'He that has been washed once has no need of being washed a second time.'
In saying once He forbade it to be done again, and spoke of the thing, not of the person.87 For if there had been a difference 88 [to be considered between persons], He would have said:
'He that has been rightly 89 washed once,'
but by not adding the word rightly, He points out that whatever has been done in the [Name of the] Trinity is done rightly. This is the reason why we receive without rebaptising 90 those who come [to us] from you. When Christ says: |215
'He has no need of being washed a second time,'
this is a general, not a particular declaration,91 for if these things had been said to Peter [only], Christ would have said:
'Because thou hast been once washed, thou hast no need of being washed a second time.'
Wherefore, whenever anyone who has been baptised by you wishes to pass over to us, we, taught by this command and example, receive him with all simplicity.92 For far be it from us 93 ever to exorcise one of the Faithful who has been made whole 94; far be it from us to bring back to the font one who has been already washed,95 far from us to sin against the Holy Ghost----an offence for which forgiveness is denied in this world and in the world to come 96; far from us to repeat 97 that which is [to be done] only once,98 or to make twofold 99 that which is one. For thus has it been written by the Apostle:
'One God, one Christ, one Faith, one Baptism.100'
Do you then, who seem to take delight101 in striving |216 to make Baptism twofold, if you give a second Baptism, give a second Faith; if you give a second Faith, give also a second Christ; if you give a second Christ, give a second God?
You cannot deny that God is one----unless indeed you would fall into the traps of Marcion.102 God then is one. Of one God there is one Christ.103 He who is rebaptised had before been made a Christian. How can he be said to become a Christian a second time? 104
The one Faith is thus separated from the errors of the heretics, and the one only Faith from their varying faith.105 It has also a prescriptive right over against you,106 who reject that which is for once only, attributing everything to the [external] Endowments, nothing to the [hidden] Sacraments 107; though this quality of Faith 108 belongs to the. believer, not to the 'Minister.' 109 For he who has believed in God at the interrogation |217 of any person whomsoever,110 has believed. Yet after his one Credo thou dost exact a second Credo.111
It follows then that Baptism is one, and, as, through the very fact that it is one, it is holy, so also, through the very fact that it is one, not only that it should be separated from the profane and sacrilegious baptisms of heretics, but also that what is one should not be made twofold, and that what is for once only should not be repeated.
IV. That it is God, not the Minister, who cleanses in the Sacrament of Baptism.
It is clear that in the celebration of this Sacrament of Baptism there are three elements,112 which you will not be able either to decrease or diminish, or put on one side. The first is in the Trinity, the second in the believer,113 the third in him who operates.114 But they must not all be weighed by the same measure.115 For I perceive that two are necessary, and that one is quasi-necessary.116 The Trinity holds the chief place, without whom the work itself cannot be done. The faith of the believer follows next. Then comes the office of the 'Minister,' 117 which cannot be of equal |218 authority. The first two remain always unchangeable and unmoved. For the Trinity is always Itself; and the Faith is the same in everyone.118 Both [the Trinity and Faith] always preserve their own efficacy. It will be seen, therefore, that the office of the minister 119 cannot be equal to the other two elements 120 [in the Sacrament of Baptism], because it alone is liable to change.
You will have it that between you and us there is a distinction, though the office is the same,121 and, judging yourselves to be more holy than we, you do not hesitate to place your pride higher than the Trinity,122 although the person of the 'Minister' can be changed, but the Trinity cannot be changed. And, whereas it is Baptism which should be longed for by those who receive it, you put yourselves forward as the persons to be eagerly sought after.
Since you are----amongst others----' Ministers' of the Sacrament, show what is the nature of the place that you occupy in this Mystery, and whether you can belong to its 'body'!
The Name of Baptism is but one.123 It possesses |219 its own body 124----a body which has its own well-defined members,125 to which nothing can be added, in which nothing can be taken away. If the 'Minister' who has to be chosen is counted as one of these members,126 then the whole body belongs to the 'Minister.' All these members are both at all times and once for all with this 'body,' and cannot be changed, whereas the 'Ministers' are changed every day, both as to place and time, and in their own persons.127 For it is not one man only, who baptises always or everywhere. This work is now done by different men from those who did it of old. In the time to come it will be done by yet others. The 'Ministers' can be changed; the Sacraments cannot be changed. Since therefore you see that all who baptise are labourers, not lords,128 |220 and that the Sacraments are holy through themselves, not through men,129 why do you claim so much for yourselves? Why is it that you try to shut God out from His own gifts? Allow Him to bestow those things, which are His own. For that gift, which belongs to God, cannot be given by man. If you think otherwise, you are endeavouring to make of no effect the words of the Prophets and the promises of God, by which it is proved that it is God, not man, who cleanses. Here David the Prophet is against you, for he says in the fiftieth Psalm:
'Thou shalt wash me, and I shall be cleansed beyond the snow' 130;
and again in the same Psalm:
'O God, wash me from my wickedness and cleanse me from my sin.' 131 |221
He said: 'Wash me.' He did not say:
'Choose for me one by whom I may be washed.'
And the Prophet Isaiah also has written that
'the Lord shall wash away the defilement of the sons and daughters of Sion.' 132
We have proved in our Third Book that Sion is the Church 133; it follows that God washes the sons and daughters of the Church. He did not say:
'They shall wash who judge themselves to be holy.'
Admit then that the Prophets overcome you, or, with them, recognise that it is not man who washes, but God.
As long as you ask:
'How can he give, who has not anything to give?' 134
understand that it is the Lord who is the giver,135 understand that it is God who cleanses each man, whoever he may be; for no one can wash away the defilement and stains of the mind, but God alone, who is also the Maker of the mind.136 Or, if you think that |222 it is your washing 137 [that cleanses], tell us what is the nature of this mind, 138 which is washed through the body, or what 'form' 139 it has, or in what part of a man it dwells. To know this has not been granted to any. How, then, do you think that it is you who cleanse, when you do not know the nature of that which you cleanse? It belongs not to man, but to God to cleanse, for He has Himself promised that He will cleanse, through the Prophet Isaiah, when He said:
'Even though your sins are like scarlet, I will make you white as snow.' 140
'I will make you white,'
'I will cause you to be made white.'
If this has been promised by God, why do you wish to give that which it is not permitted to you either to promise, or to give, or to have? Behold by Isaiah God has promised Himself to wash those stained by sin, not through a man. 141
Go back to the Gospel, and see what Christ has promised for the salvation of the human race. When |223 the Samaritan woman refused water to the Son of God, then He said that which gives His answer to your contentions 142:
'He who shall drink the water which I give shall not thirst for ever.' 143
'the water which I give.'
He did not say:
'which they shall give, who deem themselves holy,'
as you think yourselves to be; but He did say that He would give. He Himself, therefore, it is who gives, and that which is given is His own. What, therefore, is it which you strive, with absolute unreasonableness,144 to vindicate for yourselves?
V. Why and when the Baptism of Christ was conferred.
To give the final proof concerning this matter, John the Baptist, the forerunner of the Saviour, when he was baptising many to repentance and the remission of their sins,145 declared that the Son of God was about to come. These are his words:
'Behold, He cometh to baptise you.' 146
Yet we do not read that Christ rebaptised anyone after John. With regard, therefore, to these words:
'He cometh to baptise you,'
Christ coming after John baptised no one. This |224 promise was made for our times, that He might give what is given to-day, according to His Word:
'He who shall drink the water which I give shall not thirst for ever.'
And although the disciples of John said to their master:
'Behold He, whom thou hast baptised, baptises.' 147
He baptised indeed, but by the hands of His Apostles, to whom He had given the laws of Baptism. As it has been written in another place:
'For He Himself baptised no one, but His disciples baptised.' 148
In this matter we are all His disciples, so that we should work,149 in order that He may give, who promised that He would give. Still, when John was baptising many 150 thousands of men, even in the presence of Christ, the servant worked, and the Lord did nothing 151 until He gave the Form of Baptism.152 After the lapse of a considerable period,153 thousands of men were washed in repentance and forgiveness of sins. But no one was washed in the Trinity, no one yet knew Christ, no one had heard that there was a Holy Ghost. But when there came the fullness of time, at a fixed moment, the |225 Son of God gave the laws of Baptism. He gave also the way by which we might go to the Kingdom of Heaven, for He then commanded:
'Go ye, teach all nations, baptising them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.' 154
From that day what He had commanded had to be done. It was not His will to amend that which had been done before that time, lest He might [seem to] give permission to rebaptise----although the Baptism of John was one thing, and the Baptism of Christ is another. Before His law [was given] He willed the Baptism of John, which was not full, to be held for full. And yet with regard to the thousands of men mentioned above, although they knew not the Son of God and the Holy Ghost, He could not refuse them the Kingdom of Heaven, because they had believed in God. So it is the Voice of the Son of God, who says:
'From the days of John to this day the Kingdom of Heaven suffereth violence, and they who do violence bear it away.' 155
For this reason does He say:
'They who do violence,' 156
because John was still baptising. So, because the time before His commandments 157 was different from the time after His commandments, they who have been baptised in the Name of the Saviour after the commandments,158 have entered the Kingdom, through |226 the laws 159 [of Baptism], whilst those who were before the commandments did violence,160 without the law, but were not shut out. Therefore, though before the commandments,161 the Baptism of John was imperfect, it was judged by Him, in whose place no man judges,162 as though it were perfect,163 because a certain line of division 164 was placed between the times that preceded and those that followed His command.165
When the most blessed Paul saw some at Ephesus who had been baptised, after the commandments 166 [of Christ], in the Baptism of John, he asked them whether they had received the Holy Ghost.167 They replied that they did not know whether there was a Holy Ghost, and he said to them that, after the Baptism of John, they must receive the Holy Ghost.
They had been baptised, in the same manner 168 as had been the many whom John had baptised. But those who had been baptised before the law,169 belonged to the time of exemption,170 for He had been present who could give exemption. Those who were not bound |227 by the laws 171 were altogether not guilty.172 But those who, as we read, were baptised at Ephesus with the Baptism of John after the law,173 had after the laws 174 erred in the Sacrament,175 because the Baptism of the Lord had now been introduced and the Baptism of the servant had been abrogated.176 And so it is that, after the divine commands,177 men had to go into the Kingdom by laws,178 not by violence.179 For Christ had already fixed the limit of time by saying:
'From the days of John until to-day.' 180
After 'to-day' that which was lawful yesterday was lawful no longer. Wherefore do not deceive yourselves 181 with the saying of the Apostle Paul,182 for he did not ask about the person of the 'Minister,' but about the thing.183 With the fact, not with the person, he was dissatisfied. So he commanded the Baptism of the Saviour, that they who did not know might learn, for this 184 they had not received, but something different. But what do you change? If you have been able to change things,185 you will have |228 done well, provided you have acted according to the Law.186 Paul said:
'In what Baptism have you been baptised?' 187
and they said to him:
'The Baptism of John.'
He persuaded them to receive the Baptism of Christ. You do not say:
'What have you received?
'From whom have you received it? '
and you inveigh against the characters of men, and wish to repeat what is for once only. They who had been baptised at Ephesus, had believed in repentance and the forgiveness of sins. Rightly was it said to them, that they should be baptised in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. But what is there for you to change in men, who have already made profession 188 that they believe in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost? 189 Whether you ask them this again, or |229 something else, be convinced that you must sin----if you either interrogate concerning that which has not been commanded, or wish to do something which has been done already.
VI. An answer to the argument, that a man cannot give that which he has not.
I return now to that question of yours:
'How is he, who has not anything to give, able to give?'
Whence comes this saying? Where can it be found? It has not been read in a book, but has been brought in from the street.190
'How is he, who has not anything to give, able to give?'
These words have not been written in the Law, for if (as you will have it) it is man who gives, God does nothing----and if God does nothing, and if everything that has to be given is in your hands, then [the baptised] are converted to you. Let those whom you baptise be washed in your name. Blush at the most blessed Paul, who cries out and expresses his thanksgiving:
'Have you been baptised in my name?' 191
He rejoices that he baptised only two persons and one household, but you strive to rebaptise whole peoples, and are contented 192 both to have sinned in the past, and to go on sinning, saying:
'What does he give, who has not anything to give?' |230
He, in whom we believe, is Himself the giver of that in which we believe, not another through whose instrumentality we are brought to believe.193 Besides, under John a vast 194 multitude of men were baptised. Prove (if you can) that John either received, or possessed, anything to give.
He was the 'Minister' 195; the gift was from God, who does not fail in giving. And now whilst we all are Ministers of Baptism, the works are man's, but the gifts are from God.196
VII. That the Grace of Baptism is the gift of God, not of man, who is shown to be only the Minister.
So consider how ridiculous is that saying, which is always heard to come from you, as though for your glorification:
'This gift of Baptism belongs to him who gives, not to him who receives.' 197
And would that you should say this of God, who is the true Giver.198 But----a stupid thing----you say that you are the givers. If this be so, suppose that both you and we are dealing with two Pagans.199 Do you, who say that you are holy, ask the one whom you have in your hands,200 whether he renounces the Devil and believes the Lord, and we will suppose that he says:
'I will not.' 201 |231
On the other hand, let us who, as you will have it, are sinners, ask the other Pagan, whether he renounces the Devil, and believes God and the other questions, and we will suppose that he says:
'I do renounce and I do believe, and the rest' 202 ----
will you tell me when you baptise the one who is unwilling, and we baptise the other who is willing, which of these two can arrive at the grace of God?
Surely, without doubt, it is acquired by the one who believes, not by him, in whose case, as you say, your holiness takes the place of his own will.203 Recognise, though late, that you are only ministers. Or if (you say that) the work is in the workmen, and not in itself, find some who will claim this for themselves in their arts, so that we may, according to your challenge, compare human arts with things that are divine.
When something is dyed with a precious colour, its nature is often changed. A white fleece is dyed, and becomes purple.204 Even as the white wool passes into the royal purple, so the catechumen passes into the Christian.205 Surely, whilst he begins to be that which he was not, he ceases to be that which he was. The wool changes both its colour and its name, and the man changes both his appellation and his |232 disposition.206 We have to think of the results that have been effected, and must consider once more what it is that has effected those results.207 You say that it is your gift that has made that man a Christian.
If this is all your doing, then the workman also who makes the purple, may say that he has the precious colour in his own hands, and has no need to procure from the Ocean precious dyes----unknown to many----that the fleeces may be promoted to a marvellous dignity,208 and is free to assert that he can make the purple, merely by his touch, without admixture from the blood of the fish.
But if on the contrary this workman is unable to give the colour by his touch alone, then neither is the workman in Baptism able to give anything of himself without the Trinity.
Such is this question, about which we have our present contention. For in Whom the nations should be baptised has been ordained by the Saviour. Through whom they should be baptised was appointed without the making of any exception. He did not say to the Apostles:
'Do it you! Let not others do it.'
Whosoever has baptised in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, has discharged the Apostles' work.
And so it has been written in the Gospel.209 When John said: |233
'O Master, we have seen one casting out devils in Thy Name, and we have forbidden him, because he followeth not with us,'
'Forbid him not, for he that is not against you is for you.' 210
For to them the command had been given that their work should be sanctification by the Trinity,211 and that they should not baptise in their own name, but in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Therefore it is the Name which sanctifies, not the work.212
Understand, though late in the day, that you are labourers not lords.213 And, if the Church is the Vineyard, and men are the vines, and those who are to attend to the vines have been duly appointed, why do you rush upon that which appertains to the dominion of the Father of the Family? Why do you claim for yourselves what belongs to God? Why do you wish that something of which you cannot have even a part, should be yours altogether? For on account of swelling pride----yours----with which you are swollen against us 214 ----the most blessed Paul chides the |234 Corinthians. In himself and Apollo he gives a picture of that which happens in our time.215
'Let not one,' he said, 'be puffed up against another.' 216
And, that he may show how all this Sacrament of Baptism belongs to God, so that there is nothing here that the 'Minister' may claim for himself, he speaks as follows: 217
'I indeed have planted '----
'of a pagan I have made a catechumen'----'Apollo has watered'----
that is, he has baptised the catechumen, but God has given that which had been planted, or watered, the power to grow. In like manner anyone to-day, who wishes to dig up and loosen the ground in his vineyard,218 hires a labourer 219 for an agreed sum, to make holes in the ground, in which----with bent back, the sweat running down his sides----he may place the little vines that have been selected,220 and (after he has trodden the ridges under his feet) pour water upon them. He is able to dig at the trenches and plant the vines. He is able to bring them water, but he is not able to command the water to hold them 221; it is in the power of God |235 alone from the pith of vine-branches to bring forth roots which assimilate themselves to the soil, and the budding eyelets, out of which leaves burst forth.222
Even as the blessed Apostle Paul, to tame your presumption and pride, and that the workman 223 may not think either that he has any dominion over Baptism, or claim any share for himself----however small----in so great a gift, writes as follows, showing that all belongs to God:
'Neither he that plants nor he that waters is anything, but God alone, who leads to the attainment of the increase 224.'
You are workmen amongst others. When the sun goes in,225 that is to say, when the world has come to an |236 end----on the Judgement Day 226 ----you may argue with us about reward.227
Do not wish to claim for yourself that which belongs to the supreme authority of God.228 For if this is your due, then the servants who wait at the Lord's table should claim to be thanked by His guests for the courtesies which their Lord has rendered.229 It is the Voice of Christ, who gives the invitation:
'Come, ye blessed of My Father, receive the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.' 230
The nations flock to receive His grace. He, who deigned to invite, is the giver thereof. A crowd of His servants exercise their ministry. Thanks must be rendered, not to those who serve, but to Him who provides the repast. Since you are the ministers, it is shameless in you to claim for yourselves the entire ownership of the banquet,231 though the most blessed Paul confesses with humility that he and the others are servants----in order that no one may imagine that he ought to place his hope in Apostles or Bishops alone. On this account says the Apostle:
'For what is Paul, or what Apollo? Surely the ministers of Him, in whom you have believed?' 232
Accordingly, in all those who serve there is not ownership but service.233 Now, therefore, my brother Parmenian, you see that of the three elements [in |237 Baptism] which I have mentioned above,234 the one which is threefold 235 comes first, is immovable, is supreme and unchangeable, but that the person of any individual minister remains only for a time.
VIII. Concerning the faith of him who receives Baptism.
It remains 236 now to say something of the merit of the believer, to whom belongs the faith, which the Son of God placed before both His Sanctity and Majesty. For you cannot be more holy than is Christ. When that woman, whose daughter was dead, came to Him, and besought that she should be restored to life, He promised nothing of His own Power,237 but asked about the faith of another, so that if the woman believed, her daughter should be raised up, in view of her mother's faith 238; but that if she believed not, the Power of the Son of God would be idle, with nothing to do.239 The woman is questioned. She replies that she believed that what she had asked for could be accomplished. She is ordered to depart. She returns to her house, and finds the daughter alive whom she had left dead. She does not rush to kisses, she does not hasten to embraces, but returns to render thanks to the Saviour. And the Son of God, that He might show that He had stood by,240 and that her faith alone had worked, said to her:
'O woman, depart in peace. Thy faith hath made thee whole.' 241 |238
What comes of your saying:
'It is of the giver, not of the receiver' 242?
And what think you of the centurion's faith? He besought the Saviour to ward off death from his son, when he was ill. Christ then went to the dying boy. In such estimation did the centurion hold Him, that he acknowledged the unworthiness of his house, and begged that the Son of God would not enter it in person,243 but that He should send His Power, by which death might be put to flight, and the lad be restored to life. It was not the valour of the centurion, nor his wisdom that was praised, but his faith:
'And his son was cured at that hour.' 244
Of a truth it is 'of the giver,' not of him that receives! 245 There are many things of this kind in the Gospel about perfect faith, but we must finish the story of at least three witnesses to Faith.246 |239
What think you of that woman, who, after she had been ill for twelve years of a hidden malady, belonging to women, and had spent all her substance upon doctors,247 on beholding so many wonderful works 248 performed by the Son of God, went into the crowd, saw the physician, saw also the people? Her pain 249 urged her on to ask for medicine, shame hindered her from disclosing, in the presence of men, the cause of her complaint. Her silent faith told her what to do.250
'I will send forth my hand,' [she said] 'and I will touch the hem of His garment and I shall be healed.'
When no one observed her, in the midst of the crowd she put forth her hand. She touched and was healed. But she did not venture to tell aloud that for which she had not ventured to ask. However, that the fruit of her faith might not be hidden from those who were unaware of it, the Saviour asked:
'Who has touched Me?'
His disciples marvelled and said:
'The crowds press on Thee, yet Thou dost ask, "Who has touched Me?"'
and Christ asked:
'Who, I say, has touched Me? I have felt that virtue has gone forth from Me.'
So the woman acknowledged that she it was who had touched Him and been healed. In the other cases the mother had asked for her daughter, the centurion |240 had asked for his son. Here neither did the woman ask, nor did Christ promise, but faith obtained all that it anticipated.251 Without doubt 'it is of him that gives, not of him that receives.' 252
IX. That the example of Naaman the Syrian was brought by Parmenian without relevance.
In order to add to the bulk of your treatise, you have thought well, my brother Parmenian, to describe Naaman the Syrian at length as some kind of unripe mass of hardest wounds just coming to their birth.253 What has this to do with our present business? You might bring it forward relevantly, and might well have employed a long discourse about it, had you |241 come across some catechumen of rudest morals 254 and hardest heart, who should refuse to receive the most gentle grace of the saving Water.255 With relevance in that case would your words have shown how man may be renewed 256; with relevance might you then have pointed out that an inveterate 257 hardness of nature may be changed and softened into the flesh of an infant. But, with regard to this business, which we are at present discussing together, to what purpose have you recalled such a history as this 258? For we do hot read here 259 that anyone had washed that leprous Syrian before the word or at the command 260 of Elisha, in such a way that he might be duly washed again to his greater advantage.261 But even if it were so, still, it would not serve your purpose,262 as something which you might lawfully imitate. For we do not read that he had first washed in the waters of Syria, or that he had been washed by anyone, without gaining thereby any advantage. But if it had been so, this would not appertain to the praise of Elisha (who did not wash him, but gave him advice); rather would it redound to the glory of the Jordan that the first 263 grace came to the Syrian 264 ----in that river wherein afterwards, in the time of John, |242 through confession unto repentance, the sins of a multitude 265 were to die.
X. The Parable of the Marriage Feast was wrongly brought forward by Parmenian.
Lastly what is to be said with regard to that part of your treatise concerning the heavenly nuptials, in which----taking away hope of future things----you have applied it all to the present time, saying that he, who escaped your doorkeepers and ministers,266 has been cut off from your fellowship, in such a way as to be cast outside,267 with contumely, far from the communion of the Faithful? If the parable mean this,268 nothing is left for faith to hope, nothing for the resurrection to restore,269 nothing further in heaven to be awaited, nothing 270 for God, the King 271 and Father of the Family, to recognise at His own Banquet, when He shall rejoice over the presence of many and grieve over the absence of some,272 and shall say that many have been called, but few chosen.273 |243 In that case there will be no occasion for Him to be wrath with the man who is without the Wedding Garment.
For the Son of God, Christ Himself, is the Bridegroom; He is also the Garment and the Tunic, that floats in the water, to clothe many,274 yet awaits others innumerable 275 and is never used up.276
And before anyone say that I have been rash in calling the Son of God the Garment, let him read the words of the Apostle who says:
'As many of you as have been baptised in the Name of Christ, have put on Christ.' 277
O tunic ever one and unchangeable, which fitly 278 clothes all ages and forms, which is not too loose 279 in infants, nor stretched in youth, nor changed in women!
Assuredly the day will come, when the heavenly nuptials begin to be celebrated. There without anxiety shall they sit down, who have preserved |244 the one Baptism.280 For with regard to any who has allowed himself to be rebaptised by you----resurrection is not denied him, for he has believed in the resurrection of the Flesh.281 He shall rise indeed, but naked. But because he has allowed you to spoil him of his wedding garment, he shall hear the Father of the Family speak thus:
'My friend,' that is to say----'I recognise thee----once thou didst renounce the devil, and wert converted to Me, and I gave thee a wedding garment. Why hast thou come thus, without that which I gave thee?'----that is to say, 'why hast thou not what I gave thee?'
For no one can be angry with one who has not something, which has not been given him.
'Thou didst receive a wedding garment, together with these others, and thou alone art without one. Why hast thou come naked and doleful 282? Who has torn his spoils from thee? What thieves' doors hast thou entered 283? What murderous robbers 284 hast thou met on the way?'
However many they are who come thus, they shall have no place at that banquet.285 |245
XI. As the Donatists could not rebaptise children who were dead, why should they rebaptise the living?
And to make an end, however late,286 I think that even this is enough. Still, although we may be making a mistake in bringing forward so many proofs, let me give this one more. Let us suppose that, in your absence, a thousand have been baptised. Of these say that a hundred have chanced to die. For a little while keep your hands off this wickedness.287 Let your 'holiness' (as you call it) first raise again those who have been buried, let it cleanse the dead if it can, and let them be brought back to the living.288 If you are not able to raise the dead, to what purpose do you endeavour to lay hands upon the living, excepting to fulfil that which God spoke of you through the Prophet Ezekiel,289 saying:
'that they might kill souls, which ought not to die'?
[Footnotes moved to the end and renumbered]
1. 1 Legis, id est, of the Holy Scriptures.
2. 2 docuimus.
3. 3 vos esse divino indicio.
4. 4 peccatores----i.e. in the matter of the schism (cf. iv, 3 etc.).
5. 5 It will be noticed that in this summary of the preceding Books, there is no express reference to the Fourth. For this reason Casaubon thinks that the two lines which are now printed at the end of the Fourth ought to be placed at the beginning of this Fifth Book; Probatum est ergo te non contra nos, sed contra vos dixisse, quod a te dictum est de oleo et sacrificio peccatoris.
6. 1 quod Baptisma vestra violavit audacia.
7. 2 multa contra vos pro nobis, quae sunt nostra, dixisti (cf. i, 5).
8. 3 dictionis tuae. (Dictio is a formal piece of rhetoric.)
9. 4 in processu tractatus tui. Tractatus is usually a sermon (cf. p. 176, note 2).
10. 5 de aqua vera et falsa.
11. 6 infirmando confirmas.
12. 7 That administered by Catholics.
13. 8 alterum te inanire professus es, ut alterum replere videreris. Videor is again used pleonastically.
14. 1 extra haereticorum Baptisma. By heretics St. Optatus here understands heretics such as Marcion, Praxeas and Valentinus (cf. iv, 5), who denied the doctrine of the Trinity. As they did not baptise in the Name of the Trinity, baptism administered by them was certainly invalid (cf. notes i,p. 17; 2, p. 22). Of such varia et falsa baptismata (i, 12) there was to be no question in this Book. They lay outside its scope.
15. 2 Baptisma alterum et alterum.
16. 3 diversa, in the same way that Catholic Baptism differs from any baptism not administered in the Name of the Trinity.
17. 4 auferre alterum, id est, to deny the validity of Baptism by Catholics.
18. 5 id est, rebaptism by Donatists.
19. 6 laborasti ut de secundo quasi primum facere videreris. We have here once more a pleonastic use of videor.
20. 7 prosapia.
21. 8 eius imago.
22. 9 rem singularem post esse debere.
23. 1 peritomen semel ablatum.
24. 2 Trinitate confectum.
25. 3 quid tibi igitur placuit, frater Parmeniane?
26. 4 rem singularem.
27. 5 contra hanc.
28. 6 mendacem.
29. 7 Cataclysmi.
30. 8 lavacro interveniente.
31. 9 in faciem pristinam mundaretur.
32. 10 extra.
33. 11 morbidos.
34. 12 mendacem. The epithet applied by Donatists to Catholic Baptism.
35. 1 si ita est.
36. 2 condita est.
37. 3 non de persona, that is not (as the Donatists maintained) from the sanctity of the baptiser.
38. 4 mendacem.
39. 5 ex toto.
40. 6 John xiv, 6.
41. 7 configere crimina.
42. 1 a nobis et pro vobis. G reads pro nobis. No doubt an emendation, to make the text less difficult.
43. 2 conversatio = manner of life.
44. 3 communes lectiones (St. Optatus, however, seems to contradict this in vi, 3, where he accuses the Donatists of having 'furtivas et alienas lectiones ').
45. 4 singulare baptisma.
46. 5 criminum mortem.
47. 6 peccatorum naufragium.
48. 1 quod omnes negare minime poteritis.
49. 2 In Baptism.
50. 3 The Donatists held that the Invocation of the Trinity effected nothing in Baptism unless the Minister of the Sacrament was pure (mundus). But, as they taught that all the Catholics were impure (inmundi), it followed that they held practically that the Trinity could do nothing in Baptism unless they were present.
51. 4 si nobis derogatis.
52. 5 qui in Trinitate prior est. The reference is to Psalm cix, 1: 'Dixit Dominus Domino meo.'
53. 6 omnia operatur et complet.
54. 7 aquas primum vivas animas edidisse. Parmenian no doubt had before his mind the following words of Tertullian (De Baptismo): 'Primus liquor quod viveret edidit; nec mirum sit in Baptismo, si aquae animare noverunt.'
55. 8 numquid sua sponte.
56. 9 Gen. i, 20.
57. 10 sine operante.
58. 1 qui operabatur (cf. John i, 3).
59. 2 Gen. i, 2.
60. 3 nihil minus a Tribus.
61. 4 revocate pisces in originem.
62. 5 geminare (cf. vi. 2: inmane facinus a vobis geminatum est; vi. 8: geminata fraude; vii. 6: salutatione geminata).
63. 6 non leve certamen innatum est et dubitatur, an . . .
64. 1 nutant et remigant animae populorum.
65. 2 omnes contentiosi homines sumus.
66. 3 studiis veritas impeditur. Cf. i, 26: 'de studio partium strepitus cotidiani sunt habiti.'
67. 4 non potest Christiana nosse secreta.
68. 5 Obviously this comparison cannot be unduly pressed. The Gospels cannot strictly be called Christ's Will, since not one word of them had been written at the time of His Death. St. Optatus, and St. Augustine after him (see note 2, p. 212), took advantage, for the purpose of their argument, of the word Testamentum (διαθήκη), which was already in use, though in a quite different sense, for the Sacred Books of the New Covenant. Dean Swift in his Tale of a Tub (Section II) is thought by some to have had this passage in his mind.
69. 6 numerosos.
70. 1 de pectore morituro transfert in tabulas diu duraturas.
71. 2 Catholics have always appealed in domestic dissensions amongst themselves on theological questions, concerning which the Church has not spoken authoritatively, to the testimony of (1) Holy Scripture, (2) Apostolic Tradition. In dissensions with heretics they have appealed to the testimony of Scripture, which heretics profess at least to accept. So St. Augustine in controversy with the Donatists makes the same appeal, and indeed uses the same words as St. Optatus: 'Fratres sumus; quare litigamus? Non intestatus mortuus est Pater; fecit testamentumet sic mortuus est . . . Sedet Christus in caelo, et contradicitur Eius testamento' (in Ps. xxi). But St. Augustine makes this appeal with greater caution than did St. Optatus. St. Optatus in the text appeals to John xiii, 7, in order to prove that Baptism may not be repeated; whereas St. Augustine, who no doubt felt that this was a forced application (cf. con. Petil. ii, 22) of the text, prefers to press the appeal to Scripture in order to prove thereby that the Catholic Church is the one Church of Christ. This he does without ceasing, urging the authority of the Catholic Church as decisive. When the discussion concerns any particular question (e.g. the repetition of Baptism) St. Augustine prefers to appeal to Apostolic Tradition rather than to Holy Scripture (cf. De Unit. xix; De Bapt. ii, 7, iv, 6, v, 23).
72. 1 John xiii, 8.
73. 2 inter ceteros Testamenti titulos.
74. 3 hunc titulum.
75. 4 solam formam humilitatis.
76. 6 obsequium.
77. 6 quo pars corporis petebatur ad obsequium, totum corpus obtulit ad lavacrum.
78. 7 nunc adestote, omnes turbae et singuli Christiani populi.
79. 8 dum provocat Petrus.
80. 9 mundus totus, John xiii, 10.
81. 1 de eo lavacro.
82. 2 de Trinitate.
83. 3 qui dum lavant, sordidant.
84. 4 quo de Trium Nominum fontibus inundat. Cf. note 3, p. 88,
85. 5 Matt. xxviii, 19.
86. 6 de hoc lavacro dixit
87. 7 de re locutus est non de persona (sc. the Minister of the Sacrament) .
88. 8 distantia. (Cf. v, 4 infra: 'vos vultis eiusdem personae esse distantiam.')
89. 9 bene.
90. 10 simpliciter.
91. 1 haec sententia generalis est non specialis.
92. 2 venientem hoc magisterio et exemplo tota simplicitate suscipimus.
93. 3 absit.
94. 4 sanum fidelem.
95. 5 ut iam lotum revocemus ad fontem. It may be noted that in the Catholic Church to-day, whenever a convert has to be conditionally baptised, in consequence of some doubt as to the 'Matter' and 'Form' of his Ba.ptism outside the Church (e.g. as to whether it was in Trinitate), this ceremony does not take place at the font, but elsewhere in privacy.
96. 6 Cf. Matt. xii, 31-32; Mark iii, 28-29; Luke xii, 10.
97. 7 iteremus.
98. 8 quod semel est.
99. 9 duplicemus.
100. 10 una tinctio (cf. Eph. iv, 5).
101. 11 quasi libenter duplicare contenditis.
102. 1 in Marcionis foveas (cf. iv, 5; i, 9).
103. 2 De uno Deo unus est Christus.
104. 3 A man who has been born once, either in the natural or supernatural order, cannot be born again in the same order of things.
105. 4 una fides ab haereticorum erroribus, et ab eorum varia fide fides unica separatur.
106. 5 etiam vobis praescribitur, i.e. the first Baptism is 'in possession.' Cf. infra: quod praescribat praesumptionibus vestris.
107. 6 totum ponendo in dotibus, nihil in Sacramentis (cf. ii, 10, where the thought is more fully developed: 'Cur de solis ecclesiae dotibus loqui voluisti et iam illud respondeas et de sanctis eius membris ac visceribus tacuisti, quae sunt procul dubio in Sacramentis et in Nominibus Trinitatis?').
108. 7 hoc nomen fidei. St. Optatus writes of Nomen Christianum (iii, 8); Catholicum (iii, 1); Ecclesiae (i, 21; iii, 5); Baptismatis (v, 4); Traditorum (i, 28); Legis (vii, 1); fraternitatis (i, 3); pietatis (iii, 10); communionis (vii, 6).
109. 8 pertineat ad credentem, non ad operantem (i.e. minister of the Sacrament).
110. 1 quocumque enim interrogante, qui credidit Deo, credidit.
111. 2 post illius unum 'Credo,' tu exigis alterum 'Credo.' The reference is to the baptismal interrogatories.
112. 3 species. Literally aspects, points of view.
113. 4 in credente (the subject of the Sacrament).
114. 5 in operante (the minister of the Sacrament).
115. 6 non pari libramine ponderandae sunt singulae.
116. 7 quasi necessaria. Cf. 'quasi ecclesia '(iii, 10). 'Contingently necessary' is Mr. Sparrow Simpson's translation (op. cit. p. 47). It conveys the idea that the appointment of a Minister in Baptism is not absolutely necessary in itself, but contingent on the Will of God. I doubt, however, whether this thought was before the mind of Optatus. His argument proceeds, as we shall see immediately, on somewhat different lines.
117. 8 persona operantis. Persona from the part played by an actor = here the duty which the 'minister' has to perform----the official work assigned to him.
118. 1 fides in singulis una est.
119. 2 persona operantis.
120. 3 duabus prioribus speciebus par esse non posse.
121. 4 eiusdem personae esse distantiam. Persona, sc. operantis (v. supra). In the administration of Baptism, whether Peter baptises or Judas, there can be no real distantia. For distantia, as used by Optatus, cf. v, 3: Nam si esset distantia (i.e. personae, as here); i, 10 (inter schismaticos et haereticos); i, 21 (delictorum, i.e. inter delicta).
122. 5 For they attributed the efficacy of Baptism, not to the work of the Trinity, but to their own sanctity.
123. 6 Baptismatis unicum nomen est. There is only one Baptism. (Cf. Singulare Baptisma, passim.)
124. 1 cui subest proprium corpus.
125. 2 cui corpori certa sunt membra. That which we now call the Matter and Form of the Sacrament.
126. 3 i.e. of the 'body' of Baptism. The 'Minister' has to be chosen, and consequently is external to the 'body' of Baptism. This reminds us of the converse argument that Umbilicus cannot be reckoned as one of the Endowments, because it is not external to the Body of the Church, but is a member (membrum) of that Body (ii, 8). Evidently St. Optatus looked on the Minister in Baptism as a sort of 'Dos Baptismatis.'
127. 4 The water, the invocation of the Trinity, the Trinity Itself, the Faith never change. They are always one everywhere and are always necessary---- from the first Christian Baptism to the last that shall be administered before the coming of our Lord. Everything else admits of change----the place, the time, the person of the 'Minister.'
128. 5 operarios esse non dominos. The reference clearly is to Luke x, 2: 'Rogate Dominum messis ut mittat operarios in messem suam,' where Challoner's N.T. and both the A.V. and R.V. translate operarios 'labourers' (the old Rheims has workmen). Consequently I think it better to employ the word labourers here in order to recall the gospel text, though elsewhere, for the sake of lucidity, I translate operarius with reference to Baptism by the theological word Minister.
129. 1 Sacramenta per se esse sancta, non per homines. Harnack writes of these words (History of Dogma, v, p. 42): 'This is the famous principle of the objectivity of the Sacraments, which became so fundamental for the development of the dogmatics of the Western Church, although it could not be carried out in all its purity in the Roman Church, because in that case it would have destroyed the prerogatives of the clergy.' It is difficult to see what Harnack had in his mind when he wrote this last qualifying sentence. Nothing can be more certain than that the Roman Church has always taught, without any limitation or qualification whatsoever, that the efficacy of the Sacraments is always and everywhere independent of the virtues or vices of those who administer them. Harnack in this passage probably used the words Roman Church as synonymous with Western Church (although this would not appear to be the case at first reading), since he would not wish to suggest that there is any difference in doctrine or practice between any Catholic Church in the West and the Church in Rome. But whilst recognising this, we are none the nearer to a comprehension of his real meaning.
130. 2 Ps. 1, 9.
131. 3 Ps. 1, 4.
132. 1 Is. iv, 4.
133. 2 iii, 2.
134. 3 'qui non habet quod det, quomodo dat?' This was the great argument of St. Cyprian and his school against the validity of Baptism outside the Church. 'How,' they asked, 'can a man give the Faith which he has not got? No one can give what he has not.' In like manner the Donatists went on to argue that Baptism by a sinner was invalid, for----so they urged----by true Baptism grace is given; but the sinner without grace, cannot give what he has not. To this St. Optatus answers that it is God, not man, who bestows gifts in Baptism.
135. 4 videte Dominum esse datorem. These words are omitted by RBv.
136. 5 qui eiusdem fabricator est mentis.
137. 1 lavacrum vestrum.
138. 2 qualis est ipsa mens.
139. 3 quam habet formam.
140. 4 Is. i, 18.
141. 5 As St. Optatus has said already, man is by God's appointment the necessary (or rather the quasi-necessary) minister of the Sacrament. But God gives His Grace in Baptism directly to the baptised. He does not give it through a man----that is to say, He does not give it first to the 'Minister,' making him holy, so that this 'Minister,' by his own holiness, gives grace----though this would follow logically from Donatist principles.
142. 1 quod praescribat praesumptionibus vestris.
143. 2 John iv, 13.
144. 3 tota inportunitate. For inportunitas see ii, 18.
145. 4 in poenitentia et remissa peccatorum (cf. i, 9: in remissam peccatorum).
146. 5 John i, 33.
147. 1 Cf. John iii, 26.
148. 2 John iv, 2.
149. 3 ut nos operemur.
150. 4 infinita millia (cf. iii, 6: sub Iohanne infmita multitudo hominum baptizata est).
151. 5 operabatur servus et vacabat Dominus. There is a specific distinction between the Baptism of John and the Baptism of Christ. (Cf. v. 5: alterum fuerit baptisma Iohannis et alterum sit Christi.)
152. 6 antequam baptizandi daret formam.
153. 7 peractum est non modicum tempus Gb, per acceptum non modicum tempus RBv. Ziwsa has suggested per actum non modicum tempus.
154. 1 Matt. xxviii, 19.
155. 2 Matt. xi, 12.
156. 3 qui vim faciunt.
157. 4 ante praecepta, sc. de Baptismate.
158. 5 post praecepta.
159. 1 in Regnum legibus intraverunt.
160. 2 vim fecerunt.
161. 3 ante praecepta.
162. 4 cui nemo iudicat.
163. 5 pro perfecto iudicatum est.
164. 6 quasi quidam limes. Ziwsa says that limes = terminus.
165. 7 iussionis inter tempora antecedentia et sequentia. St. Optatus held that the Baptism of John conferred grace before the institution of Christian Baptism, but not afterwards. From this it follows that anyone who had received the Baptism of John after the institution of Christian Baptism had to receive the Baptism of Christ. This he proceeds to deduce from Acts xix, 1 seq.
166. 8 post praecepta.
167. 9 an accepissent Spiritum Sanctum.
168. 10 sic . . . quemadmodum, i.e. even without any knowledge of the Mystery of the Trinity.
169. 11 ante legem, sc. Baptismatis.
170. 12 ad indulgentiam pertinuerunt.
171. 1 legibus (sc. Baptismatis) non occupati.
172. 2 non erant ex ioto rei.
173. 3 post legem, sc. Baptismatis.
174. 4 post leges, sc. Baptismatis.
175. 5 in Sacramento erraverant.
176. 6 exclusum fuerat.
177. 7 post mandata divina, sc. de Baptismate.
178. 8 legibus (sc. Baptismatis) debuerant ire in regnum.
179. 9 non per violentiam.
180. 10 Matt. xi, 12.
181. 11 nolite vobis blandiri.
182. 12 At Ephesus.
183. 13 non post personam operarii interrogavit, sed post rem (cf. v, 3). St. Paul did not enquire as to the character of him who had administered the Sacrament, but as to the fact whether its recipients had received the Holy Ghost.
184. 14 non ipsum, sc. Baptisma Salvatoris.
185. 15 res. With a reference to that which he has just written of St. Paul enquiring not about the persona, but about the res.
186. 1 si tamen de lege aliquid feceritis. By the law is here still meant Christ's Law concerning Baptism. If the Donatists had put right any baptisms, which had not been validly administered, they had done well; e.g. if they had baptised any persons who had received a baptism, but not in the Name of the Trinity. Such, however, was not the case.
187. 2 Acts xix, 3.
188. 3 In their Baptism.
189. 4 Parmenian had urged that Baptism given outside the Church was null and must be repeated, because those baptised by the Baptist were baptised anew by the Apostles. Optatus answers that the cases are not parallel. The same reply is given by Augustine, con. Petil. ii, 37, iii, 56; De Bapt. v, 9, 10 etc.
190. 1 vox est de vico conlecta, non de libro lecta. A mere catchword without any real authority. It is impossible to express in English the verbal antithesis between conlecta and lecta.
191. 2 1 Cor. i, 13.
192. 3 gaudetis.
193. 1 cui creditur ipse dat, quod creditur, non per quem creditur.
194. 2 infinita.
195. 3 illo operante.
196. 4 humana sunt opera, sed Dei sunt munera.
197. 5 hoc munus baptismatis esse dantis, non accipientis.
198. 6 qui huius rei dator est.
199. 7 et nos et vos teneamus singulos gentiles. Cf. i, 8: nihil interesset inter fideles et unumquemque gentilem.
200. 8 quem tenetis.
201. 9 'nolo.'
202. 1 'renuntio et credo' et cetera.
203. 2 non ille, pro cuius voluntate, ut dicitis, sanctitas vestra succedit. For succedit cf. i, 3: 'Petrus, cui successit Linus,' etc. In pro cuius voluntate we have another curious example of Optatus' use of pronouns. Cf. v, 5: 'Qui non post personam operarii interrogavit.'
204. 3 confectione vellus candidum purpurascit. Cf. Cic. in Acad. ap. Non. 2, 717: 'Nonne unda, cum est pulsa remis, purpurascit? '
205. 4 fidelem.
206. 1 et vocabulum mutat et mentem.
207. 2 consideranda sunt effecta, retractanda sunt efficientia.
208. 3 quibus tincta vellera per colorem promoveantur in admirabilem dignitatem.
209. 4 Luke ix, 49.
210. 1 Luke ix, 49, 50.
211. 2 ut opus esset illorum sanctificatio Trinitatis.
212. 3 ergo Nomen est, quod sanctificat, non opus.
213. 4 operarios esse non dominos. Cf. note 2, p. 22.
214. 5 nam propter tumorem vestrum, quo in nos intumescitis. We may notice the verbal alliteration tumorem . . . intumescitis. St. Optatus does not, of course, mean to imply that St. Paul any more than Isaiah or Ezekiel had received a supernatural gift of prophecy, whereby Apostle or Prophet could consciously to himself foresee and provide medicine for the troubles brought on by Donatism. But the lessons given for all time by the Sacred Writers seemed to Optatus especially applicable to his own days.
215. 1 in se et Apollo actus nostri temporis conformat.
216. 2 i Cor. iv, 6.
217. 3 i Cor. iii, 6.
218. 4 vineam suam pastinare.
219. 5 operarium.
220. 6 electa plantaria.
221. 7 aquam inducere potest; imperare, ut teneat, non potest. It is very difficult to understand what is meant here by ut teneat. How can water hold the vines? Possibly he may be the subject of teneat: 'He cannot command the vines, so as to keep them there.' If for teneat we read teneant, we might translate in an intransitive sense: 'He cannot order that they hold' = coalescere in terram (infra). But nothing is really satisfactory. Casaubon thinks that the ut teneat is probably a corrupt gloss due to some scribe who could not understand the imperare standing alone. The meaning is clear. It is God alone who can ripen the vine. Casaubon suggests that if St. Optatus wrote anything between imperare and non potest, it was vineae. On the other hand, cf. iv, 9: Lacus detritos, qui non possunt aquam continere. St. Optatus, who often slightly varies his phrases, may have had this phrase unconsciously lingering in his ear.
222. 1 de medullis palmitum producere radices coalescentes in terram et gemmantes oculos, incrementa frondium provocare. Coalescentes: cf. Plin. xiv. 2: 'Ut nisi pinguissimo solo coalescere non possit.' The little feelers or feeling roots must be one with the soil. Gemmantes oculos: cf. Cicero, De oratore, iii. 38: 'gemmare vites, laetas segetes etiam rustici dicunt,' 'Even rustics understood and used such metaphors as these.' Oculos = the knob from which the bud rises; cf. Columel. iv, 29: 'Interest plures oculos, quibus egerminet inesse.'
223. 2 operarius.
224. 3 qui ad incrementa perducit. Cf. 1 Cor. iii, 7.
225. 4 sole intrante. This is a Hebraism. The Jews spoke of the setting sun as entering (into the heavens), and of the rising sun as coming forth (from the East).
226. 1 in die retributionis.
227. 2 nobiscum de mercede contendere.
228. 3 Maiestatis dominium. Cf. iv. 9: 'in Deo perennis Maiestas exundat.'
229. 4 pro humanitate exhibita.
230. 5 Matt. xxv, 34.
231. 6 totum convivii dominium.
232. 7 1 Cor. iii, 4, 5.
233. 8 in universis servientibus non dominium sed ministerium.
234. 1 The reference is to v, 4: 'In hoc Sacramento baptismatis celebrando tres esse species constat.'
235. 2 ex tribus speciebus illam primo tripartitam esse, sc. the Trinity.
236. 3 Having discussed the part played by the Trinity and the minister (operarius) in Baptism, something must be said of the remaining species, the Faith of the adult recipient.
237. 4 de virtute sua.
238. 5 pro matris credulitate.
239. 6 feriata cessaret.
240. 7 se vacasse.
241. 8 Luke viii, 48. St. Optatus was evidently quoting by heart, and in consequence got strangely mixed. It is hardly necessary to point out that no such incident as that here described is to be found in any of the Gospels. Optatus seems to have been confusing his recollections of Luke viii, 42-48 with Matt. viii, 5 and Luke vii, 2 seq.
242. 1 dantis est, non accipientis was, as we have learned already, a saying of the Donatists. By 'the giver' they meant the Minister of the Sacrament, one of themselves, one of the holy. St. Optatus has already shown, in answer to their argument Nemo dat quod non habet, that the real giver is God. He now proves that God does not 'work' (vacat), but is always ready to give, and lets the recipient receive according to his faith. Unless he who is to be baptised possesses faith, God will not give the grace of Baptism, even as our Lord on earth would not work miracles excepting on behalf of those who believed----their faith He put before His own power.
243. 2 totus = corporeally.
244. 3 Matt. viii, 13.
245. 4 This is evidently sarcasm.
246. 5 vel tria complenda sunt fidei testimonia. Optatus often uses vel in the sense of at least.
247. 1 Luke viii, 43-46; Matt. ix, 20-22; Mark v, 25-34.
248. 2 tantas celebrari virtutes (cf. iv, 9).
249. 3 dolor.
250. 4 invenit consilium tacita fides.
251. 1 fides quantum praesumpsit exegit. Quantum, 'so far as,' = 'all that.' Ziwsa, however, thinks that exegit here = impetravit.
252. 2 dantis est, non accipientis. It is clear that Parmenian had given a series of proofs, concluding at the end of each: Dantis est, non accipientis, and Optatus ironically repeats the words. According to the argument of St. Optatus there are three 'species': (α) The Name of the Trinity by which all the grace is given; (β) the minister of the Sacrament, who is only instrumental----a servant; and (γ) the faith of the recipient, which by the ministry of (γ) impetrates the grace from (α). Finally therefore all depends upon (γ). The Trinity is unchangeable, the minister a mere servant, but the disposition of the recipient all-important. If, then, outside the Church the recipient has faith the Baptism will be valid. Of course this implies that although baptism by heretics (if administered in the Name of the Trinity) is valid, the baptism of a heretic is invalid. But we have to bear in mind that St. Optatus assumes (for such had so far for the most part been the experience of the Church) that a heretic does not believe in the Trinity or in the Catholic Doctrine of the Incarnation (cf. note i, p. 17). His argument, so far as it is here stated (apart from any implications), is good, but incomplete. The doctrine of character handed down by the Greek Fathers was unknown to St. Optatus. He had no idea of character being given without grace, nor of reviviscentia on arriving at true and living Faith.
253. 3 quasi immaturam quandam durissimorum nascentium vulnerum massam. [Note to the online text - the last couple of words were obliterated in the printed copy]
254. 1 scabrosissimis moribus.
255. 2 qui lenissimam gratiam aquae salutaris accipere detractaret.
256. 3 hominis innovationem.
257. 4 veternosam. Cf. 'vetus, vietus, veternosus senex': Ter. Eun. iv, 4, 21.
258. 5 talis commemorata est lectio.
259. 6 Cf. 4 Reg. v.
260. 7 iussione. Casaubon reads with G ante . . . iussionem.
261. 8 ut merito denuo melius lavaretur.
262. 9 nec sic vobis occurreret.
263. 10 primitivum.
264. 11 illi homini.
265. 1 populorum peccata. This use of populi = multitude is not uncommon in Optatus.
266. 2 qui ianitores et ministros fefellerit vestros.
267. 3 foras.
268. 4 si ita est.
269. 5 quod resurrectio repraesentet.
270. 6 sc. the Wedding Garment.
271. 7 Casaubon supplies the word caelestis after Rex, but since the word Deus follows, caelestis (which is not in the MSS.) hardly seems necessary.
272. 8 praesentia multorum gaudeat et de aliquorum absentia contristetur. aliquorum, i.e. the Donatists. Optatus on several occasions already has spoken of God grieving (cf. i, 2 bis; ii, 24; ii, 26; iii, 2 'Deus dolet'). Here he represents Him as grieving over the absence of those first called, and rejoicing over the presence of others from the byways and hedges. St. Optatus evidently leaves the opposition between his praesentia multorum and the pauci electi without noticing it.
273. 9 Cf. Matt, xxii, 14.
274. 1 cum Films Dei Ipse Christus sit Sponsus et vestis et tunica natans in aqua, quae multos vestiat. Casaubon has suggested natos in aqua for natans in aqua. If this suggestion be adopted, we translate 'and the Tunic, wherewith He may clothe many who are born in the water (the baptised).' This, however, has no MS. authority, and is quite unnecessary. The spiritual garment of grace is Christ, whom the baptised 'puts on' (induit), as the water flows over him. But St. Optatus will not identify Christ with the water----so He is the Grace in the water----a spiritual garment invisibly 'floating in the water,' which clothes the baptised, as the water covers him. It is a very beautiful idea. There seems to be no reference here to the i0xqu&j. (Still cf. iii, 2: 'Hic est piscis, qui in baptismate per invocationem fontalibus undis inseritur.')
275. 2 infinitos.
276. 3 nec vestiendo deficiat.
277. 4 Gal. iii, 27.
278. 5 decenter.
279. 6 nec rugatur. Literally 'is not wrinkled.'
280. 1 qui baptisma singulare servaverint.
281. 2 Is it the case that this strange sentence shows that St. Optatus was a Chiliast? It is quite possible that the text as we have it is corrupt; however, the view that St. Optatus held Millennarian tenets in some form or other is at least plausible. We know that, though St. Augustine abandoned Chiliasm, he would by no means have held that its repudiation, even in his time, was a matter of obligation.
282. 3 nudus et lugubris.
283. 4 quas fraudulentas adisti fauces?
284. 5 quos latrones? (cf. i, 19).
285. 6 All the MSS. finish this Book at this point.
286. 1 This chapter is to be found in G at the end of Chapter viii. Though not to be found in RBv, Du Pin thinks on intrinsic grounds that it was written by Optatus, but that it has been dislocated in position. He placed it (and in this Ziwsa follows him) here, at the end of the Book. The words with which the passage begins (Et ut vel sero compendium faciam, credo etiam hoc sufficere etc.) undoubtedly seem to point to this transposition. It is possible that St. Optatus placed it in his first edition and deliberately omitted it in his second. It is certainly very poor and not worthy of the book or of its argument.
287. 2 sc. of rebaptising.
288. 3 If the holiness of the Donatists was great enough, as they claimed, to give the grace of Baptism----the life of the soul, it ought to suffice to restore the life of the body. According to Catholic doctrine God gives the life of the soul in Baptism, but God can also, if it so please Him, raise the dead to renewed earthly life.
289. 4 Ez. xiii, 19.
This text was transcribed by Roger Pearse, Ipswich, UK, 2006. All material on this page is in the public domain - copy freely.
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