Table of Contents
By What Course of Reasoning the Error of the Manichæans Concerning Two Souls, One of Which is Not from God, is Refuted. Every Soul, Inasmuch as It is a Certain Life, Can Have Its Existence Only from God the Source of Life.
Whether Even Vices Themselves as Objects of Intellectual Apprehension are to Be Preferred to Light as an Object of Sense Perception, and are to Be Attributed to God as Their Author. Vice of the Mind and Certain Defects are Not Rightly to Be Counted Among Intelligible Things. Defects Themselves Even If They Should Be Counted Among Intelligible Things Should Never Be Put Before Sensible Things. If Light is Visible by God, Much More is the Soul, Even If Vicious, Which in So Far as It Lives is an Intelligible Thing. Passages of Scripture are Adduced by the Manichæans to the Contrary.
The Manichæans Inquire Whence is Evil and by This Question Think They Have Triumphed. Let Them First Know, Which is Most Easy to Do, that Nothing Can Live Without God. Consummate Evil Cannot Be Known Except by the Knowledge of Consummate Good, Which is God.
Augustin Deceived by Familiarity with the Manichæans, and by the Succession of Victories Over Ignorant Christians Reported by Them. The Manichæans are Likewise Easily Refuted from the Knowledge of Sin and the Will.
From the Definitions Given of Sin and Will, He Overthrows the Entire Heresy of the Manichæans. Likewise from the Just Condemnation of Evil Souls It Follows that They are Evil Not by Nature But by Will. That Souls are Good By Nature, to Which the Pardon of Sins is Granted.
From Deliberation on the Evil and on the Good Part It Results that Two Classes of Souls are Not to Be Held to. A Class of Souls Enticing to Shameful Deeds Having Been Conceded, It Does Not Follow that These are Evil by Nature, that the Others are Supreme Good.
The Doctrine of Manichæus Not Only Uncertain, But False. His Absurd Fancy of a Land and Race of Darkness Bordering on the Holy Region and the Substance of God. The Error, First of All, of Giving to the Nature of God Limits and Borders, as If God Were a Material Substance, Having Extension in Space.
The Beauty of the Straight Line Might Be Taken from the Region of Darkness Without Taking Anything from Its Substance. So Evil Neither Takes from Nor Adds to the Substance of the Soul. The Straightness of Its Side Would Be So Far a Good Bestowed on the Region of Darkness by God the Creator.
Faustus objects to the incarnation of God on the ground that the evangelists are at variance with each other, and that incarnation is unsuitable to deity. Augustin attempts to remove the critical and theological difficulties.
Faustus claims that the Manichæans and not the Catholics are consistent believers in the Gospel, and seeks to establish this claim by comparing Manichæan and Catholic obedience to the precepts of the Gospel. Augustin exposes the hypocrisy of the Manichæans and praises the asceticism of Catholics.
Faustus avows his disbelief in the Old Testament and his disregard of its precepts, and accuses Catholics of inconsistency in neglecting its ordinances, while claiming to accept it as authoritative. Augustin explains the Catholic view of the relation of the Old Testament to the New.
Faustus maintains that to hold to the Old Testament after the giving of the New is putting new cloth on an old garment. Augustin further explains the relation of the Old Testament to the New, and reproaches the Manichæans with carnality.
Faustus argues that if the apostles born under the old covenant could lawfully depart from it, much more can he having been born a Gentile. Augustin explains the relation of Jews and Gentiles alike to the Gospel.
Faustus quotes passages to show that the Apostle Paul abandoned belief in the incarnation, to which he earlier held. Augustin shows that the apostle was consistent with himself in the utterances quoted.
Faustus asserts that even if the Old Testament could be shown to contain predictions, it would be of interest only to the Jews, pagan literature subserving the same purpose for Gentiles. Augustin shows the value of prophesy for Gentiles and Jews alike.
Faustus rejects the Old Testament because it leaves no room for Christ. Christ the one Bridegroom suffices for His Bride the Church. Augustin answers as well as he can, and reproves the Manichæans with presumption in claiming to be the Bride of Christ.
Faustus willing to believe not only that the Jewish but that all Gentile prophets wrote of Christ, if it should be proved; but he would none the less insist upon rejecting their superstitions. Augustin maintains that all Moses wrote is of Christ, and that his writings must be either accepted or rejected as a whole.
Faustus rejects Christ’s declaration that He came not to destroy the law and the prophets but to fulfill them, on the ground that it is found only in Matthew, who was not present when the words purport to have been spoken. Augustin rebukes the folly of refusing to believe Matthew and yet believing Manichæus, and shows what the passage of scripture really means.
Faustus is willing to admit that Christ may have said that He came not to destroy the law and the prophets, but to fulfill them; but if He did, it was to pacify the Jews and in a modified sense. Augustin replies, and still further elaborates the Catholic view of prophecy and its fulfillment.
Faustus repels the charge of sun-worship, and maintains that while the Manichæans believe that God’s power dwells in the sun and his wisdom in the moon, they yet worship one deity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. They are not a schism of the Gentiles, nor a sect. Augustin emphasizes the charge of polytheism, and goes into an elaborate comparison of Manichæan and pagan mythology.
Faustus states his objections to the morality of the law and the prophets, and Augustin seeks by the application of the type and the allegory to explain away the moral difficulties of the Old Testament.
Faustus recurs to the genealogical difficulty and insists that even according to Matthew Jesus was not Son of God until His baptism. Augustin sets forth the Catholic view of the relation of the divine and the human in the person of Christ.
Faustus explains the Manichæan denial that man was made by God as applying to the fleshly man not to the spiritual. Augustin elucidates the Apostle Paul’s contrasts between flesh and spirit so as to exclude the Manichæan view.
Faustus seeks to bring into ridicule the orthodox claim to believe in the infinity of God by caricaturing the anthropomorphic representations of the Old Testament. Augustin expresses his despair of being able to induce the Manichæans to adopt right views of the infinitude of God so long as they continue to regard the soul and God as extended in space.
Faustus insists that Jesus might have died though not born, by the exercise of divine power, yet he rejects birth and death alike. Augustin maintains that there are some things that even God cannot do, one of which is to die. He refutes the docetism of the Manichæans.
Faustus warns against pressing too far the argument, that if Jesus was not born He cannot have suffered. Augustin accepts the birth and death alike on the testimony of the Gospel narrative, which is higher authority than the falsehood of Manichæus.
Faustus recurs to the genealogy and insists upon examining it as regards its consistency with itself. Augustin takes his stand on Scripture authority and maintains that Matthew’s statements as to the birth of Christ must be accepted as final.
Faustus repels the insinuation that the prophecy of Paul with reference to those that should forbid to marry, abstain from meats, etc., applies to the Manichæans more than to the Catholic ascetics, who are held in the highest esteem in the Church. Augustin justifies this application of the prophecy, and shows the difference between Manichæan and Christian asceticism.
The scripture passage: ‘To the pure all things are pure, but to the impure and defiled is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled,’ is discussed from both the Manichæan and the Catholic points of view, Faustus objecting to its application to his party and Augustin insisting on its application.
Faustus fails to understand why he should be required either to accept or reject the New Testament as a whole, while the Catholics accept or reject the various parts of the Old Testament at pleasure. Augustin denies that the Catholics treat the Old Testament arbitrarily, and explains their attitude towards it.
Faustus does not think it would be a great honor to sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, whose moral characters as set forth in the Old Testament he detests. He justifies his subjective criticism of Scripture. Augustin sums up the argument, claims the victory, and exhorts the Manichæans to abandon their opposition to the Old Testament notwithstanding the difficulties that it presents, and to recognize the authority of the Catholic Church.
He proves that baptism can be conferred outside the Catholic communion by heretics or schismatics, but that it ought not to be received from them; and that it is of no avail to any while in a state of heresy or schism.
In which Augustin proves that it is to no purpose that the Donatists bring forward the authority of Cyprian, bishop and martyr, since it is really more opposed to them than to the Catholics. For that he held that the view of his predecessor Agrippinus, on the subject of baptizing heretics in the Catholic Church when they join its communion, should only be received on condition that peace should be maintained with those who entertained the opposite view, and that the unity of the Church should never be broken by any kind of schism.
Augustin undertakes the refutation of the arguments which might be derived from the epistle of Cyprian to Jubaianus, to give color to the view that the baptism of Christ could not be conferred by heretics.
In this book Augustin refutes the second letter which Petilianus wrote to him after having seen the first of Augustin’s earlier books. This letter had been full of violent language; and Augustin rather shows that the arguments of Petilianus had been deficient and irrelevant, than brings forward arguments in support of his own statements.