Written after the year 404. It is put in the Retractations immediately after the De Actis cure Felice Manichaeo, which was written about the end of the year 404. It is one of the most argumentative of the Anti-Manichaean treatises, and so one of the most abstruse and difficult. The lines of argument here pursued have already been employed in part in the earlier treatises. The most interesting portions of the contents of the treatise, and the most damaging to the Manichaeans, are the long extracts from Mani's Thesaurus, and his Fundamental Epistle.--A. H. N.


THE highest good, than which there is no higher, is God, and consequently He is unchangeable good, hence truly eternal and truly immortal. All other good things are only from Him, not of Him. For what is of Him, is Himself. And consequently if He alone is unchangeable, all things that He has made, because He has made them out of nothing, are changeable. For He is so omnipotent, that even out of nothing, that is out of what is absolutely non-existent, He is able to make good things both great and small, both celestial and terrestrial, both spiritual and corporeal. But because He is also just, He has not put those things that He has made out of nothing on an equality with that which He begat out of Himself. Because, therefore, no good things whether great or small, through whatever gradations of things, can exist except from God; but since every nature, so far as it is nature, is good, it follows that no nature can exist save from the most high and true God: because all things even not in the highest degree good, but related to the highest good, and again, because all good things, even those of most recent origin, which are far from the highest good, can have their existence only from the highest good. Therefore every spirit, though subject to change, and every corporeal entity, is from God, and all this, having been made, is nature. For every nature is either spirit or body. Unchangeable spirit is God, changeable spirit, having been made, is nature, but is better than body; but body is not spirit, unless when the wind, because it is invisible to us and yet its power is felt as something not inconsiderable, is in a certain sense called spirit.


But for the sake of those who, not being able to understand that all nature, that is, every spirit and every body, is naturally good, are moved by the iniquity of spirit and the mortality of body, and on this account endeavor to bring in another nature of wicked spirit and mortal body, which God did not make, we determine thus to bring to their understanding what we say can be brought. For they acknowledge that no good thing can exist save from the highest and true God, which also is true and suffices for correcting them, if they are willing to give heed.


For we Catholic Christians worship God, from whom are all good things whether great or small; from whom is all measure great or small; from whom is all form great or small; from whom is all order great or small. For all things in proportion as they are better measured, formed, and ordered, are assuredly good in a higher degree; but in proportion as they are measured, formed, and ordered in an inferior degree, are they the less good. These three things, therefore, measure, form, and order,--not to speak of innumerable other things that are shown to pertain to these three,--these three things, therefore, measure, form, order, are as it were generic goods in things made by God, whether in spirit or in body. God is, therefore, above every measure of the creature, above every form, above every order, nor is He above by local spaces, but by ineffable and singular potency, from whom is every measure, every form, every order. These three things, where they are great, are great goods, where they are small, are small goods; where they are absent, there is no good. And again where these things are great, there are great natures, where they are small, there are small natures, where they are absent, there is no nature. Therefore all nature is good.


When accordingly it is inquired, whence is evil, it must first be inquired, what is evil, which is nothing else than corruption, either of the measure, or the form, or the order, that belong to nature. Nature therefore which has been corrupted, is called evil, for assuredly when incorrupt it is good; but even when corrupt, so far as it is nature it is good, so far as it is corrupted it is evil.


But it may happen, that a certain nature which has been ranked as more excellent by reason of natural measure and form, though corrupt, is even yet better than another incorrupt which has been ranked lower by reason of an inferior natural measure and form: as in the estimation of men, according to the quality which presents itself to view, corrupt gold is assuredly better than incorrupt silver, and corrupt silver than incorrupt lead; so also in more powerful spiritual natures a rational spirit even corrupted through an evil will is better than an irrational though incorrupt, and better is any spirit whatever even corrupt than any body whatever though incorrupt. For better is a nature which, when it is present in a body, furnishes it with life, than that to which life is furnished. But however corrupt may be the spirit of life that has been made, it can furnish life to a body, and hence, though corrupt, it is better than the body though incorrupt.


But if corruption take away all measure, all form, all order from corruptible things, no nature will remain. And consequently every nature which cannot be corrupted is the highest good, as is God. But every nature that can be corrupted is also itself some good; for corruption cannot injure it, except by taking away from or diminishing that which is good.


But to the most excellent creatures, that is, to rational spirits, God has offered this, that if they will not they cannot be corrupted; that is, if they should maintain obedience under the Lord their God, so should they adhere to his incorruptible beauty; but if they do not will to maintain obedience, since willingly they are corrupted in sins, unwillingly they shall be corrupted in punishment, since God is such a good that it is well for no one who deserts Him, and among the things made by God the rational nature is so great a good, that there is no good by which it may be blessed except God. Sinners, therefore, are ordained to punishment; which ordination is punishment for the reason that it is not conformable to their nature, but it is justice because it is conformable to their fault.


But the rest of things that are made of nothing, which are assuredly inferior to the rational soul, can be neither blessed nor miserable. But because in proportion to their fashion and appearance are things themselves good, nor could there be good things in a less or the least degree except from God, they are so ordered that the more infirm yield to the firmer, the weaker to the stronger, the more impotent to the more powerful; and so earthly things harmonize with celestial, as being subject to the things that are pre-eminent. But to things falling away, and succeeding, a certain temporal beauty in its kind belongs, so that neither those things that die, or cease to be what they were, degrade or disturb the fashion and appearance and order of the universal creation; as a speech well composed is assuredly beautiful, although in. it syllables and all sounds rush past as it were in being born and in dying.


What sort of punishment, and how great, is due to each fault, belongs to Divine judgment, not to human; which punishment assuredly when it is remitted in the case of the converted, there is great goodness on the part of God, and when it is deservedly inflicted, there is no injustice on the part of God; because nature is better ordered by justly smarting under punishment than by rejoicing with impunity in sin; which nature nevertheless, even thus having some measure, form, and order, in whatever extremity there is as yet some good, which things, if they were absolutely taken away, and utterly consumed, there will be accordingly no good, because no nature will remain.


All corruptible natures therefore are natures at all only so far as they are from God, nor would they be 'corruptible if' they were of Him; because they would be what He himself is. Therefore of whatever measure, of whatever form, of whatever order, they are, they are so because it is God by whom they were made; but they are not immutable, because it is nothing of which they were made. For it is sacrilegious audacity to make nothing and God equal, as when we wish to make what has been born of God such as what has been made by Him out of nothing.


Wherefore neither can God's nature suffer harm, nor can any nature under God suffer harm unjustly: for when by sinning unjustly some do harm, an unjust will is imputed to them; but the power by which they are permitted to do harm is from God alone, who knows, while they themselves are ignorant, what they ought to suffer, whom He permits them to harm.


All these things are so perspicuous, so assured, that if they who introduce another nature which God did not make, were willing to give attention, they would not be filled with so great blasphemies, as that they should place so great good things in supreme evil, and so great evil things in God. For what the truth compels them to acknowledge, namely, that all good things are from God alone, suffices for their correction, if they were willing to give heed, as I said above. Not, therefore, are great good things from one, and small good things from another; but good things great and small are from the supremely good alone, which is God.


Let us, therefore, bring before our minds good things however great, which it is fitting that we attribute to God as their author, and these having been eliminated let us see whether any nature will remain. All life both great and small, all power great and small, all safety great and small, all memory great and small, all virtue great and small, all intellect great and small, all tranquillity great and small, all plenty great and small, all sensation great and small, all light great and small, all suavity(1) great and small, all measure great and small, all beauty great and small, all peace great and small, and whatever other like things may occur, especially such as are found throughout all things, whether spiritual or corporeal, every measure, every form, every order both great and small, are from the Lord God. All which good things whoever should wish to abuse, pays the penalty by divine judgment; but where none of these things shall have been present at all, no nature will remain.


But in all these things, whatever are small are called by contrary names in comparison with greater things; as in the form of a man because the beauty is greater, the beauty of the ape in comparison with it is called deformity. And the imprudent are deceived, as if the former is good, and the latter evil, nor do they regard in the body of the ape its own fashion, the equality of members on both sides, the agreement of parts, the protection of safety, and other things which it would be tedious to enumerate.


But that what we have said may be understood, and may satisfy those too slow of comprehension, or that even the pertinacious and those repugnant to the most manifest truth may be compelled to confess what is true, let them be asked, whether corruption can harm the body of an ape? But if it can, so that it may become more hideous, what diminishes but the good of beauty? Whence as long as the nature of the body subsists, so long something will remain. If, accordingly, good having been consumed, nature is consumed, the nature is therefore good. So also we say that slow is contrary to swift, but yet he who does not move at all cannot even be called slow. So we say that a heavy voice is contrary to a sharp voice, or a harsh to a musical; but if you completely remove any kind of voice, there is silence where there is no voice, which silence, nevertheless, for the simple reason that there is no voice, is usually opposed to voice as something contrary thereto. So also lucid and obscure are called as it were two contrary things, yet even obscure things have something of light, which being absolutely wanting, darkness is the absence of light in the same way in which silence is the absence of voice.


Yet even these privations of things are so ordered in the universe of nature, that to those wisely considering they not unfittingly have their vicissitudes. For by not illuminating certain places and times, God has also made the darkness as fittingly as the day. For if we by restraining the voice fittingly interpose silence in speaking, how much more does He, as the perfect framer of all things, fittingly make privations of things? Whence also in the hymn of the three children, light and darkness alike praise God,(1) that is, bring forth praise in the hearts of those who well consider.


No nature, therefore, as far as it is nature, is evil; but to each nature there is no evil except to be diminished in respect of good. But if by being diminished it should be consumed so that there is no good, no nature would be left; not only such as the Manichaeans introduce, where so great good things are found that their exceeding blindness is wonderful, but such as any one can introduce.


For neither is that material, which the ancients called Hyle, to be called an evil. I do not say that which Manichaeus with most senseless vanity, not knowing what he says, denominates Hyle, namely, the former of corporeal beings; whence it is rightly said to him, that he introduces another god. For nobody can form and create corporeal beings but God alone; for neither are they created unless there subsist with them measure, form, and order, which I think that now even they themselves confess to be good things, and things that cannot be except from God. But by Hyle I mean a certain material absolutely formless and without quality, whence those qualities that we perceive are formed, as the ancients said. For hence also wood is called in Greek <greek>ulh</greek>, because it is adapted to workmen, not that itself may make anything, but that it is the material of which something may be made. Nor is that Hyle, therefore, to be called an evil which cannot be perceived through any appearance, but can scarcely be thought of through any sort of privation of appearance. For this has also a capacity of forms; for if it cannot receive the form imposed by the workman, neither assuredly may it be called material. Hence if form is some good, whence those who excel in it are called beautiful,(2) as from appearance they are called handsome,(3) even the capacity of form is undoubtedly something good. As because wisdom is a good, no one doubts that to be capable of wisdom is a good. And because every good is from God, no one ought to doubt that even matter, if there is any, has its existence from God alone.


Magnificently and divinely, therefore, our God said to his servant: "I am that I am," and "Thou shalt say to the children of Israel. He who is sent me to you."(1) For He truly is because He is unchangeable. For every change makes what was not, to be: therefore He truly is, who is unchangeable; but all other things that were made by Him have received being form Him each in its own measure. To Him who is highest, therefore nothing can be contrary, save what is not; and consequently as from Him everything that is good has its being, so from Him is everything that by nature exists; since everything that exists by nature is good. Thus every nature is good, and everything good is from God; therefore every nature is from God.


But pain which some suppose to be in an especial manner an evil, whether it be in mind or in body, cannot exist except in good natures. For the very fact of resistance in any being leading to pain, involves a refusal not to be what it was, because it was something good; but when a being is compelled to something better, the pain is useful, when to something worse, it is useless. Therefore in the case of the mind, the will resisting a greater power causes pain; in the case of the body, sensation resisting a more powerful body causes pain. But evils without pain are worse: for it is worse to rejoice iniquity than to bewail corruption; yet even such rejoicing cannot exist save from the attainment of inferior good things. But iniquity is the desertion of better things. Likewise in a body, a wound with pain is better than painless putrescence, which is especially called the corruption which the dead flesh of the Lord did not see, that is, did not suffer, as was predicted in prophecy: "Thou shall not suffer Thy Holy one to see corruption."(2) For who denies that He was wounded by the piercing of the nails, and that He was stabbed with the lance?(3) But even what is properly called by men corporeal corruption, that is, putrescence itself, if as yet there is anything left to consume, increases by the diminution of the good. But if corruption shall have absolutely consumed it, so that there is no good, no nature will remain, for there will be nothing that corruption may corrupt; and so there will not even be putrescence, for there will be nowhere at all for it to be.


Therefore now by common usage things small and mean are said to have measure, because some measure remains in them, without which they would no longer be moderate-sized, but would not exist at all. But those things that by reason of too much progress are called immoderate, are blamed for very excessiveness; but yet it is necessary that those things themselves be restrained in some manner under God who has disposed all things in extension, number, and weight.(5)


But God cannot be said to have measure, lest He should seem to be spoken of as limited. Yet He is not immoderate by whom measure is bestowed upon all things, so that they may in any measure exist. Nor again ought God to be called measured, as if He received measure from any one. But if we say that He is the highest measure, by chance we say something; if indeed in speaking of the highest measure we mean the highest good. For every measure in so far as it is a measure is good; whence nothing can be called measured, modest, modified, without praise, although in another sense we use measure for limit, and speak of no measure where there is no limit, which is sometimes said with praise as when it is said: "And of His kingdom there shall be no limit."(6) For it might also be said, "There shall be no measure," so that measure might be used in the sense of limit; for He who reigns in no measure, assuredly does not reign at all.


Therefore a bad measure, a bad form, a bad order, are either so called because they are less than they should be, or because they are not adapted to those things to which they should be adapted; so that they may be called bad as being alien and incongruous; as if any one should be said not to have done in a good measure because he has done less than he ought, or because he has done in such a thing as he ought not to have done, or more than was fitting, or not conveniently; so that the very fact of that being reprehended which is done in a bad measure, is justly reprehended for no other cause than that the measure is not there maintained. Likewise a form is called bad either in comparison with something more handsome or more beautiful, this form being less, that greater, not in size but in comeliness; or because it is out of harmony with the thing to which it is applied, so that it seems alien and unsuitable. As if a man should walk forth into a public place naked, which nakedness does not offend if seen in a bath. Likewise also order is called bad when order itself is maintained in an inferior degree. Hence not order, but rather disorder, is bad; since either the ordering is less than it should be, or not as it should be. Yet where there is any measure, any form, any order, there is some good and some nature; but where there is no measure, no form, no order, there is no good, no nature.


Those things which our faith holds and which reason in whatever way has traced out, are fortified by the testimonies of the divine Scriptures, so that those who by reason of feebler intellect are not able to comprehend these things, may believe the divine authority, and so may deserve to know. But let not those who understand, but are less instructed in ecclesiastical literature, suppose that we set forth these things from our own intellect rather than what are in those Books. Accordingly, that God is unchangeable is written in the Psalms: "Thou shalt change them and they shall be changed; but Thou thyself art the same."(1) And in the book of Wisdom, concerning wisdom: "Remaining in herself, she renews all things."(2) Whence also the Apostle Paul: "To the invisible, incorruptible, only God."(3) And the Apostle James: "Every best giving and every perfect gift is from above, descending from the Father of light, with whom there is no changeableness, neither obscuring of influence."(4) Likewise because what He begat of Himself is what He Himself is, it is said in brief by the Son Himself: "I and the Father are one."(5) But because the Son was not made, since through Him were all things made, thus it is written "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God was the Word; this was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him was made nothing;"(6) that is, without Him was not anything made.


For no attention should be paid to the ravings of men who think that nothing should be understood to mean something, and moreover think to compel any one to vanity of this kind on the ground that nothing is placed at the end of the sentence. Therefore, they say, it was made, and because it was made, nothing is itself something. They have lost their senses by zeal in contradicting, and do not understand that it makes no difference whether it be said: "Without Him was made nothing," or "without Him nothing was made." For even if the order were the last mentioned, they could nevertheless say, that nothing is itself something because it was made. For in the case of what is in truth something, what difference does it make if it be said "Without him a house was made," so long as it is understood that something was made without him, which something is a house? So also because it is said: "Without Him was made nothing," since nothing is assuredly not anything, when it is truly and properly spoken, it makes no difference whether it be said: "Without Him was made nothing or Without Him nothing was made," or "nothing was made." But who cares to speak with men who can say of this very expression of mine "It makes no difference," "Therefore it makes some difference, for nothing itself is something?" But those whose brains are not addled, see it as a thing most manifest that this something is to be understood when it says "It makes no difference," as when I say "It matters in no respect." But these, if they should say to any one, "What hast thou done?" and he should reply that he has done nothing, would, according to this mode of disputation, falsely accuse him saying, "Thou hast done something, therefore, because thou hast done nothing; for nothing is itself something." But they have also the Lord Himself placing this word at the end of a sentence, when He says: "And in secret have I spoken nothing."(7) Let them read, therefore, and be silent.(8)


Because therefore God made all things which He did not beget of Himself, not of those things that already existed, but of those things that did not exist at all, that is, of nothing," the Apostle Paul says: "Who calls the things that are not as if they are."(9) But still more plainly it is written in the book of Maccabees: "I pray thee, son, look at the heaven and the earth and all the things that are in them; see and know that it was not these of which the Lord God made us."(1) And from this that is written in the Psalm: "He spake, and they were made."(2) It is manifest. that not of Himself He begat these things, but that He made them by word and command. But what is not of Himself is assuredly of nothing. For there was not anything of which he should make them, concerning which the apostle says most openly: "For from Him, and through Him, and in Him are all things."(3)


But "from Him" does not mean the same as "of Him."(4) For what is of Him may be said to be from Him; but not everything that is from Him is rightly said to be of Him. For from Him are heaven and earth, because He made them; but not of Him because they are not of His substance. As in the case of a man who begets a son and makes a house, from himself is the son, from himself is the house, but the son is of him, the house is of earth and wood. But this is so, because as a man he cannot make something even of nothing; but God of whom are all things, through whom are all things, in whom are all things, had no need of any material which He had not made to assist His omnipotence.


But when we hear: "All things are from Him, and through Him, and in Him," we ought assuredly to understand all natures which naturally exist. For sins, which do not preserve but vitiate nature, are not from Him; which sins, Holy Scripture in many ways testifies, are from the will of those sinning, especially in the passage where the apostle says: "But dost thou suppose this, O man, that judgest those who do such things, and doest them, that thou shall escape the judgment of God? Or dost thou despise the riches of His goodness, and patience, and long-suffering, not knowing that the patience of God leadeth thee to repentance? But according to the hardness of thy heart and thy impenitent heart, thou treasurest up for thyself wrath against the day of wrath and of the revelation of the just judgment of God, who will render unto every one according to his works."(5)


And yet, though all things that He established are in Him, those who sin do not defile Him, of whose wisdom it is said: "She touches all things by reason of her purity, and nothing defiled assails her."(6) For it behooves us to believe that as God is incorruptible and unchangeable, so also is He consequently undefilable.


But that God made even the least things, that is, earthly and mortal things, must undoubtedly be understood from that passage of the apostle, where, speaking of the members of our flesh: "For if one member is glorified, all the members rejoice with it, and if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it;" also this he then says: "God has placed the members each one of them in the body as he willed;" and "God has tempered the body, giving to that to which it was wanting greater honor, that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care one for another."(7) But what the apostle thus praises in the measure and form and order of the members of the flesh, you find in the flesh of all animals, alike the greatest and the least; for all flesh is among earthly goods, and consequently is esteemed among the least.


Likewise because it belongs to divine judgment, not human, what sort of punishment and how great is due to every. fault, it is thus written: "O the height of the riches of the wisdom and the knowledge of God! how inscrutable are His judgments and his ways past finding out!"(8) Likewise because by the goodness of God sins are forgiven to the converted, the very fact that Christ was sent sufficiently shows, who not in His own nature as God, but in our nature, which He assumed from a woman, died for us; which goodness of God with reference to us, and which love of God, the apostle thus sets forth: "But God commendeth His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us; much more now being justified in His blood we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more being reconciled we shall be saved in His life."(1) But because even when due punishment is rendered to sinners, there is no unrighteousness on God's part, he thus says: "What shall we say? Is God unrighteous who visiteth with wrath?"(2) But in one place he has briefly admonished that goodness and severity are alike from Him, saying: "Thou sceNt then the goodness and severity of God; toward them that have fallen, severity, but towards thee goodness, if thou shouldst continue in goodness.(3)


Likewise because the power even of those that are hurtful is from God alone, thus it stands written, Wisdom speaking: "Through me kings reign and tyrants hold the land through me."(4) The apostle also says: "For there is no power but of God."(5) But that it is worthily done is written in the book of Job: "Who maketh to reign a man that is a hypocrite. on account of the perversity of the people."(6) And concerning the people of Israel God says: "I gave them a king in my wrath."(7) For it is not unrighteous, that the wicked receiving the power of being hurtful, both the patience of the good should be proved and the iniquity of the evil punished. For through power given to the Devil both Job was proved so that he might appear righteous,(8) and Peter was tempted lest he should be presumptuous,(9) and Paul was buffeted lest he should be exalted,(10) and Judas was damned so that he should hang himself.(11) When, therefore, through the power which He has given the Devil, God Himself shall have done all things righteously, nevertheless punishment shall at last be rendered to the Devil not for these things justly done, but for the unrighteous willing to be hurtful, which belonged to himself, when it shall be said to the impious who persevered in consenting to his wickedness, "Go ye into everlasting fire which my God has prepared for the Devil and his angels."(12)


But because evil angels also were not constituted evil by God, but were made evil by sinning, Peter in his epistle says: "For if God spared not angels when they sinned, but casting them down into the dungeons of smoky hell, He delivered them to be reserved for punishment in judgment."(13) Hence Peter shows that there is still due to them the penalty of the last judgment, concerning which the Lord says: "Go ye into everlasting fire, which has been prepared for the Devil and his angels." Although they have already penally received this hell, that is, an inferior smoky air as a prison, which nevertheless since it is also called heaven, is not that heaven in which there are stars, but this lower heaven by the smoke of which the clouds are conglobulated, and where the birds fly; for both a cloudy heaven is spoken of, and flying things are called heavenly. As when the Apostle Paul calls those evil angels, against whom as enemies by living piously we contend, "spiritual things of wickedness in heavenly places."(14) That this may not be understood of the upper heavens, he plainly says elsewhere: "According to the presence of the prince of this air, who now worketh in the sons of disobedience."(15)


Likewise because sin, or unrighteousness, is not the striving after evil nature but the desertion of better, it is thus found written in the Scriptures: "Every creature of God is good."(16) And accordingly every tree also which God planted in Paradise is assuredly good. Man did not therefore strive after an evil nature when he touched the forbidden tree; but by deserting what was better, he committed an evil deed. Since the Creator is better than any creature which He has made, His command should not have been deserted, that the thing forbidden, however good, might be touched; since the better having been deserted, the good of the creature was striven for, which was touched contrary to the command of the Creator. God did not plant an evil tree in Paradise; but He Himself was better who prohibited its being touched.


For besides, He had made the prohibition, in order to show that the nature of the rational soul ought not to be in its own power, but in subjection to God, and that it guards the order of its salvation through obedience, corrupting it through disobedience. Hence also He called the tree, the touching of which He forbade, the tree "of the knowledge of good and evil;"(1) because when man should have touched it in the face of the prohibition, he would experience the penalty of sin, and so would know the difference between the good of obedience, and the evil of disobedience.


For who is so foolish as to think a creature of God, especially one planted in Paradise, blameworthy; when indeed not even thorns and thistles, which the earth brought forth, according to the judiciary judgment of God, for wearing out the sinner in labor, should be blamed? For even such herbs have their measure and form and order, which whoever considers soberly will find praiseworthy; but they are evil to that nature which ought thus to be restrained as a recompense for sin. Therefore, as I have said, sin is not the striving after an evil nature, but the desertion of a better, and so the deed itself is evil, not the nature which the sinner uses amiss. For it is evil to use amiss that which is good. Whence the apostle reproves certain ones as condemned by divine judgment, "Who have worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator."(2) He does not reprove the creature, which he who should do would act injuriously towards the Creator, but those who, deserting the better, have used amiss the good.


Accordingly, if all natures should guard their own proper measure and form and order, there would be no evil: but if any one should wish to misuse these good things, not even thus does he vanquish the will of God, who knows how to order righteously even the unrighteous; so that if they themselves through the iniquity of their will should misuse His good things, He through the righteousness of His power may use their evil deeds, tightly ordaining to punishment those who have perversely ordained themselves to sins.


For neither is eternal fire itself, which is to torture the impious, an evil nature, since it has its measure, its form and its order depraved by no iniquity; but it is an evil torture for the damned, to whose sins it is due. For neither is yonder light, because it tortures the blear-eyed, an evil nature.


without beginning; but God is also without beginning. Then, although it may be employed perpetually for the punishment of sinners, yet it is mutable nature. But that is true eternity which is true immortality, that is that highest immutability, which cannot be changed at all. For it is one thing not to suffer change, when change is possible, and another thing to be absolutely incapable of change. Therefore, just as man is called good, yet not as God, of whom it was said, "There is none good save God alone;"(3) and just as the soul is called immortal, yet not as God, of whom it was said, "Who alone hath immortality;"(4) and just as a man is called wise, yet not as God, of whom it was said, "To God the only wise;"(5) so fire is called eternal, yet not as God, whose alone is immortality itself and true eternity.


Since these things are so, according to the Catholic faith, and wholesome doctrine, and truth perspicuous to those of good understanding, neither can any one hurt the nature of God, nor can the nature of God unrighteously hurt any one, or suffer any one to do hurt with impunity. "For he that doeth hurt shall receive," says the apostle, "according to the hurt that he has done; and there is no accepting of persons with God."(6)


But if the Manichaeans were willing, without pernicious zeal for defending their error, and with the fear of God, to think, they would not most criminally blaspheme by supposing two natures, the one good, which they call God, the other evil, which God did not make: so erring, so delirious, nay so insane, are they that they do not see, that even in what they call the nature of supreme evil they place so great good things: life, power safety, memory, intellect, temperance, virtue, plenty, sense, light, suavity, extensions, numbers, peace, measure, form, order; but in what they call supreme good, so many evil things: death, sickness, forgetfulness, foolishness, confusion, impotence, need, stolidity, blindness, pain, unrighteousness, disgrace, war, intemperance, deformity, perversity. For they say that the princes of darkness also have been alive in their own nature, and in their own kingdom were safe, and remembered and understood. For they say that the Prince of Darkness harangued in such a manner, that neither could he have said such things, nor could he have been heard by those by whom he was said to have been heard, without memory and understanding; and to have had a temper suitable to his mind and body, and to have ruled by virtue of power, and to have had abundance and fruitfulness with respect; to his elements, and they are said to have perceived themselves mutually and the light as near at hand, and to have had eyes by which they could see the light afar off; which eyes assuredly could not have seen the light without some light (whence also they are rightly called light); and they are said to have enjoyed exceedingly the sweetness of their pleasures, and to have been determined by measured members and dwelling-places. But unless there had been some sort of beauty there, they would not have loved their wives, nor would their bodies have been steady by adaptation of parts; without which, those things could not have been done there which the Manichaeans insanely say were done. And unless some peace had been there, they would not have obeyed their Prince. Unless measure had been there, they would have done nothing else than eat or drink, or rage, or whatever they might have done, without any society: although not even those that did these things would have had determinate forms, unless measure had been there. But now the Manichaeans say that they did such things that they cannot be denied to have had in all their actions measures suitable to themselves. But if form had not been there, no natural quality would have there subsisted. But if there had been no order there, some would not have ruled, others been ruled; they would not have lived harmoniously in their element; in fine, they would not have that the Manichaeans vainly fable. But if they say that God's nature does not die, what according to their vanity does Christ raise from the dead? If they say that it does not grow sick, what does He cure? If they say that it is not subject to forgetfulness, what does He remind? If they say that it is not deficient in wisdom, what does He teach? If they say that it is not confused, what does He restore? If they say that it was not vanquished and taken captive, what does He liberate? If they say that it was not in need, to what does He minister aid? If they say that it did not lose feeling, what does He animate? If they say that it has not been blinded,what does He illuminate? If it is not in pain, to what does He give relief? If it is not unrighteous, what does He correct through precepts? If it is not in disgrace, what does He cleanse? If it is not in war, to what does He promise peace? If it is not deficient in moderation, upon what does He impose the measure of law? If it is not deformed, what does He reform? If it is not attributed not to that thing which was made by God, and which has become depraved by its own free choice in sinning, but to the very nature, yea to the very substance of God, which is what God Himself is.


What can be compared to those blasphemies? Absolutely nothing, unless the errors of other sectaries be considered; but if that error be compared with itself in another aspect, of which we have not yet spoken, it will be convicted of far worse and more execrable blasphemy. For they say that some souls, which they will have to be of the substance of God and of absolutely the same nature, which have not sinned of their own accord, but have been overcome and oppressed by the race of darkness, which they call evil, for combating which they descended not of their own accord, but at the command of the Father, are lettered forever in the horrible sphere of darkness. So according to their sacrilegious vaporings, God liberated Himself in a certain part from a great evil, but again condemned Himself in another part, which He could not liberate, and triumphed over the enemy itself as if it had been vanquished from above. O criminal, incredible audacity, to believe, to speak, to proclaim such things about God! Which when they endeavor to defend, that with their eyes shut they may rush headlong into yet worse things, they say that the commingling of the evil nature does these things, in order that the good nature of God may suffer so great evils: for that this good nature were lauded as incorruptible, because it does not hurt itself, and not because it cannot suffer hurt from another. Then if the nature of God hurt the nature of darkness, and the nature of God, there are therefore two evil things which hurt each other in turn, and the race of darkness was the better disposed, because if it committed hurt it did it unwillingly; for it did not wish to commit hurt, but to enjoy the good which belonged to God. But God wished to extinguish it, as Manichaeus most openly raves forth in his epistle of the ruinous Foundation. For forgetting that he had shortly before said: "But His most resplendent realms were so founded upon the shining and happy land, that they could never be either moved or shaken by any one;" he afterwards said: "But the Father of the most blessed light, knowing that great ruin and desolation which would arise from the darkness, threaten his holy worlds, unless he should send in opposition a deity excellent and renowned, mighty in strength, by whom he might at the same time overcome and destroy the race of darkness, which having been extinguished, the inhabitants of light would enjoy perpetual rest." Behold, he feared ruin and desolation that threatened his worlds! Assuredly they were so founded upon the shining and happy land that they never could be either moved or shaken by any one? Behold, from fear he wished to hurt the neighboring race, which he endeavored to destroy and extinguish, in order that the inhabitants of light might enjoy perpetual rest. Why did he not add, and perpetual bondage? Were not these souls that he fettered forever in the sphere of darkness, the inhabitants of light, of whom he says plainly, that "they have suffered themselves to err from their former bright nature?" when against his will he is compelled to say, that they sinned by free will, while he wishes to ascribe sin only to the necessity of the contrary nature: everywhere ignorant what to say, and as if he were himself already in the sphere of darkness which he invented, seeking, and not finding, how he may escape. But let him say what he will to the seduced and miserable men by whom he is honored far more highly than Christ, that at this price he may sell to them such long and sacrilegious fables. Let him say what he will, let him shut up, as it were, in a sphere, as in a prison, the race of darkness, and let him fasten outside the nature of light, to which he promised perpetual rest on the extinction of the enemy: behold, the penalty of light is worse than that of darkness; the penalty of the divine nature is worse than that of the adverse race. But since although the latter is in the midst of darkness it pertains to its nature to dwell in darkness; but souls which are the very same thing that God is, cannot be received, he says, into those peaceful realms, and are alienated from the life and liberty of the holy light, and are fettered in the aforesaid horrible sphere: whence he says, "Those souls shall adhere to the things that they have loved, having been left in the same sphere of darkness, bringing this upon themselves by their own deserts." Is not this assuredly flee voluntary choice? See how insanely he ignores what he says, and by making self-contradictory statements wages a worse war against himself than against the God of the race of darkness itself. Accordingly, if the souls of light are damned, because they loved darkness, the race of darkness, which loved light, is unjustly damned. And the race of darkness indeed loved light from the beginning, violently, it may be, but yet so as to wish for its possession, not its extinction: but the nature of light wished to extinguish in war the darkness; therefore when vanquished it loved darkness. Choose which you will: whether it was compelled by necessity to love darkness, or seduced by free will. If by necessity, wherefore is it damned? if by free will, wherefore is the nature of God involved in so great iniquity? If the nature of God was compelled by necessity to love darkness, it did not vanquish, but was vanquished: if by free will, why do the wretches hesitate any longer to attribute the will to sin to the nature which God made out of nothing, lest they should thereby attribute it to the light which He begat?


What if we should also show that before the commingling of evil, which stupid fable they have most madly believed, great evils were in what they call the nature of light? what will it scum possible to add to these blasphemies? For before the conflict, there was the hard and inevitable necessity of fighting: here is truly a great evil, before evil is commingled with good. Let them say whence this is, when as yet no commingling had taken place? But if there was no necessity, there was therefore free will: whence also this so great evil, that God himself should wish to hurt his own nature, which could not be hurt by the enemy, by sending it to be cruelly commingled, to be basely purged, to be unjustly damned? Behold, the great evil of a pernicious, noxious, and savage will, before any evil from the contrary nature was mingled with it! Or perchance he did not know that this would happen to his members, that they should love darkness and become hostile to holy light, as Manichaeus says, that is, not only to their own God, but also to the Father from whom they had their being? Whence therefore this so great evil of ignorance, before any evil from the nature of darkness was mingled with it? But if he knew that this would happen, either there was in him everlasting cruelty, if he did not grieve over the contamination and damnation of his own nature that was to take place, or everlasting misery, if he did so grieve: whence also this so great evil of your supreme good before any commingling with your supreme evil? Assuredly that part of the nature itself which was fettered in the eternal chain of that sphere, if it knew not that this fate awaited it, even so was there everlasting ignorance in the nature of God, but if it knew, then everlasting misery: whence this so great evil before any evil from the contrary nature was commingled? Or perchance did it, in the greatness of its love (charity), rejoice that through its punishment perpetual rest was prepared for the residue of the inhabitants of light? Let him who sees how abominable it is to say this, pronounce an anathema. But if this should be done so that at least the good nature itself should not become hostile to the light, it might be possible, perchance, not for the nature of God indeed, but for some man, as it were, to be regarded as praiseworthy, who for the sake of his country should be willing to suffer something of evil, which evil indeed could be only for a time, and not forever: but now also they speak of that fettering in the sphere of darkness as eternal, and not indeed of a certain thing but of the nature of God; and assuredly it were a most unrighteous, and execrable, and ineffably sacrilegious joy, if the nature of God rejoiced that it should love darkness, and should become hostile to holy light. Whence this so monstrous and abominable evil before any evil from the contrary nature was commingled? Who can endure insanity so perverse and so impious, as to attribute so great good things to supreme evil, and so great evils to supreme good, which is God?


But now when they speak of that part of the nature of God as everywhere mixed up in heaven, in earth, in all bodies dry and moil, in all sorts of flesh, in all seeds of trees, herbs, men, and animals: not as present by the power of divinity, for administering and ruling all things, undefilably, inviolably, incorruptibly, without any connection with them, which we say of God; but fettered, oppressed, polluted, to be loosed and liberated, as they say, not only through the running to and fro of the sun and the moon, and through the powers of light, but also through their Elect: what sacrilegious and incredible turpitudes this kind of error recommends to them even if it does not induce them to accept, it is horrible to speak of. For they say that the powers of light are transformed into beautiful males and are set over against the women of the race of darkness; and that the same powers again are transformed into beautiful females and are set over against the males of the race of darkness; that through their beauty they enkindle the foulest lust of the princes of darkness, and in this manner vital substance, that is, the nature of God, which they say is held lettered in their bodies, having been loosed from their members relaxed through lust, flies away, and when it has been taken up or cleansed, is liberated. This the wretches read, this they say, this they hear, this they believe, this they put as follows, in the seventh book of their Thesaurus (for so they call a certain writing of Manichaeus, in which these blasphemies stand written): "Then the blessed Father, who has bright ships, little apartments, dwelling-places, or magnitudes, according to his in dwelling clemency, brings the help by which he is drawn out and liberated from the impious bonds, straits, and torments of his vital substance. And so by his own invisible nod he transforms those powers of his, which are held in this most brilliant ship, and makes them to bring forth adverse powers, which have been arranged in the various tracts of the heavens. Since these consist of both sexes, male and female, he orders the afore said powers to bring forth partly in the form of beardless youths, for the adverse race of females, partly in the form of bright maidens, for the contrary race of males: knowing that all these hostile powers on account of the deadly and most foul lust innate in them, are very easily taken captive, delivered up to these most beautiful forms which appear, and in this manner they are dissolved. But you may know that this same blessed Father of ours is identical with his powers, which for a necessary reason he transforms into the undefiled likeness of youths and maidens. But these he uses as his own arms, and through them he accomplishes his will. But there are bright ships full of these divine powers, which are stationed after the likeness of marriage over against the infernal races, and who with alacrity and ease effect at the very moment what they have planned. Therefore, when reason demands that these same holy powers should appear to males, straightway also they show by their dress the likeness of most beautiful maidens. Again when females are to be dealt with, putting aside the forms of maidens, they show the forms of beardless youths. But by this handsome appearance of theirs, ardor and lust increase, and in this way the chain of their worst thoughts is loosed, and the living soul which was held by their members, relaxed by this occasion escapes, and is mingled with its own most pure air; when the souls thoroughly cleansed ascend to the bright ships, which have been prepared for conveying them and for ferrying them over to their own country. But that which still bears the stains of the adverse race, descends little by little through billows and fires, and is mingled with trees and other plants and with all seeds, and is plunged into divers fires. And in what manner the figures of youths and maidens from that great and most glorious ship appear to the contrary powers which live in the heavens and have a fiery nature; and from that handsome appearance, par of the life which is held in their members having been released is conducted away through fires into the earth: in the same manner also, that most high power, which dwells in the ship of vital waters appears in the likeness of youths and holy maidens to those powers whose nature is cold and moist, and which are arranged in the heavens. And indeed to those that are females, among these the form of youths appears, but to the males, the form of maidens. By his changing and diversity of divine and most beautiful persons, the princes male and female of the moist and cold race are loosed, and what is vital in them escapes; but whatever should remain, having been relaxed, is conducted into the earth through cold, and is mingled with all the races of darkness" Who can endure this? Who can believe, not indeed that it is true, but that it could even be said? Behold those who fear to anathematize Manichaeus teaching these things, and do not fear to believe in a God doing them and suffering them!


But they say, that through their own Elect that same commingled part and nature of God is purged, by eating and drinking forsooth, (because they say that it is held lettered in all foods); that when they are taken up by the Elect for the nourishment of the body in eating and drinking, it is loosed, sealed, and liberated through their sanctity. Nor do the wretches pay heed to the fact that this is believed about them not without good reason, and they deny it in vain, so long as they do not anathematize the books of Manichaeus and cease to be Manichaeans. For if, as they say, a part of God is fettered in all seeds, and is purged by eating on the part of the Elect; who may not properly believe, that they do what they read in the Thesaurus was done among the powers of heaven and the princes of darkness; since indeed they say that their flesh is also from the race of darkness, and since they do not hesitate to believe and to affirm that the vital substance fettered in them is a part of God? Which assuredly if it is to be loosed, and purged by eating, as their lamentable error compels them to acknowledge; who does not see, who does not shudder at the greatness and the unspeakableness of what follows?


For they even say that Adam, the first man, was created by certain princes of darkness so that the light might be held by them test it should escape. For in the epistle which they call Fundamental, Manichaeus wrote as follows respecting the way in which the Prince of Darkness, whom they represent as the father of the first man, spoke to the rest of his allied princes of darkness, and how he acted: "Therefore with wicked inventions he said to those present: What does this huge light that is rising seem to you to be? See how the pole moves, how it shakes most of the powers. Wherefore it is right for me rather to ask you beforehand for whatever light you have in your powers: since thus I will form an image of that great one who has appeared in his glory, through which we may be able to rule, freed in some measure from the conversation of darkness. Hearing these things, and deliberating for a long time among themselves, they thought it most just to furnish what was demanded of them. For they did not have confidence in being able to retain the light that they had forever; hence they thought it better to offer it to their Prince, by no means without hope that in this way they would-rule. It must be considered therefore how they furnished the light that they had. For this also is scattered throughout all the divine scriptures and the heavenly secrets; but to the wise it is easy enough to know how it was given: for it is known immediately and openly by him who should truly and faithfully wish to consider. Since there was a promiscuous throng of those who had come together, females and males of course, he impelled them to copulate among themselves: in Which copulation the males emitted seed, the females were made pregnant. But the offspring were like those who had begotten them, the first obtaining as it were the largest portion of the parents' strength. Taking these as a special gift their Prince rejoiced. And just as even now we see take place, that the nature of evil taking thence strength forms the fashioner of bodies, so also the aforesaid Prince, taking the offspring of his companions, which had the senses of their parents, sagacity, light, procreated at the same time with themselves in the process of generation, devoured them; and very many powers having been taken from food of this kind, in which there was present not only fortitude, but much more astuteness and depraved sensibilities from the ferocious race of the progenitors, he called his own spouse to himself, springing from the same stock as himself, emitted, like the rest the abundance of evils that he had devoured, himself also adding something from his own thought and power, so that his disposition became the former and arranger of all the things that he had poured forth; whose consort received these things as soil cultivated in the best way is accustomed to receive seed. For in her were constructed and woven together the images of all heavenly and earthly powers, so that what was formed obtained the likeness, so to speak, of a full orb."


O abominable monger! O execrable perdition and ruin of deluded souls! I am not speaking of the blasphemy of saying these things about the nature of God which is thus fettered. Let the wretches deluded and hunted by deadly error give heed to this at least, that if a part of their God is fettered by the copulation of males and females which they profess to loose and purge by eating it, the necessity of this unspeakable error compels them not only to loose and purge the part of God from bread and vegetables and fruits, which done they are seen publicly to, partake of, but also from that which might be fettered through copulation, if conception should take place. That they do this some are said to have confessed before a public tribunal, not only in Paphlagonia, but also in Gaul, as I heard in Rome from a certain Catholic Christian; and when they were asked by the authority of what writing they did these things, they betrayed this fact concerning the Thesaurus that I have just mentioned. But when this is cast in their teeth, they are in the habit of replying, that some enemy or other has withdrawn from their number, that is from the number of their Elect, and has made a schism, and has founded a most foul heresy of this kind. Whence it is manifest that even if they do not themselves practise this thing, some who do practise it do it on the basis of thor books. Therefore let them reject the books, if they abhor the crime, which they are compelled to commit, if they hold to the books; or if they do not commit them, they endeavor in opposition to the books to live more purely. But what do they do when it is said to them, either purge the light from whatever seeds you can, so that you cannot refuse to do that which you assert that you do not do; or else anathematize Manichaeus, when he says that a part of God is in all seeds, and that it is fettered by copulation, but that whatever of light, that is, of the aforesaid part of God, should become the food of the Elect, is purged by being eaten. Do you see what he compels you to believe, and do you still hesitate to anathematize him? What do they do, I say, when this is said to them? To what subterfuges do they betake themselves, when either so nefarious a doctrine is to be anathematized, or so nefarious a turpitude committed, in comparison with which all those intolerable evils to which I have already called attention, seem tolerable, namely, that they say of the nature of God that it was pressed by necessity to wage war, that it was either secure by everlasting ignorance, or was disturbed by everlasting grief and fear, when the corruption of com-mingling and the chain of everlasting damnation should come upon it, that finally as a result of the conflict it should be taken captive, oppressed, polluted, that after a false victory it should be fettered forever in a horrible sphere and separated from its original blessedness, while if considered in themselves they cannot be endured?


O great is Thy patience, Lord, full of compassion and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy, and true;(1) who makest Thy sun to rise upon the good and the evil, and who sendest rain upon the just and the unjust;(2) who willest not the death of the sinner, so much as that he return and live;(3) who reproving in parts, dost give place to repentance, that wickedness having been abandoned, they may believe on Thee, O Lord;(1) who by Thy patience dost lead to repentance, although many according to the hardness of their heart and their impenitent heart treasure up for themselves wrath against the day of wrath and of the revelation of Thy righteous judgment, who wilt render to every man according to his works;(2) who in the day when a man shall have turned from his iniquity to Thy mercy and truth, wilt forget all his iniquities:(3) stand before us, grant unto us that through our ministry, by which Thou hast been pleased to refute this execrable and too horrible error, as many have already been liberated, many also may be liberated, and whether through the sacrament Of Thy holy baptism, or through the sacrifice of a broken spirit and a contrite and humbled heart,(4) in the sorrow of repentance, they may deserve to receive the remission of their sins and blasphemies, by which through ignorance they have offended Thee. For nothing is of any avail, save Thy surpassing mercy and power, and the truth of Thy baptism, and the keys of the kingdom of heaven in Thy holy Church; so that we must not despair of men as long as by Thy patience they live on this earth, who even knowing how great an evil it is to think or to say such things about Thee, are detained in that malign profession on account of the use or the attainment of temporal or earthly convenience, if rebuked by Thy reproaches they in any way flee to Thy ineffable goodness, and prefer to all the enticements of the carnal life, the heavenly and eternal life have left it to God; if definable, he should have addressed the transmarine bishops, after finding that his peers at home could not adjust the difficulty; disobedience on the part of Caecilian to such an order, would have made him the author of the schism; but now the Donatist altar is set up against the Universal Church. It may be well to note that throughout the survey of these acts, there appears a manifest contradiction as to the beginning of the appellations. In the next place, the Donatists are held guilty of schism, rebaptism, and resistance to civil correction; of non-communion with those churches concerning whom they read in their lections; and of the demand for purism against the Lord's parable. The angels of the churches in the apocalypse are ecclesiastical powers, not heavenly messengers. The Church cannot be charged with the crimes of the evil men in it. Toleration is the only practice by which unity can be conserved; Moses bore with murmurers, David with Saul, Samuel with the sons of Eli, Christ with Judas. They themselves forbear with Circumcelliones, with Optatus bishop of Thamugada. The emphasis, however, is not so much upon those matters as upon schism. He would rather leave the archives and elucidate the doctrine, in which he claims to have the book of the world; that the Catholics are the Lord's inheritance; that they stand in fellowship with the churches of the New Testament; they are the light of the world. A divine rebuke has befallen Donatism in all the tenets of its particularity, by the schism and return of the Maximianists.

No open door was passed by. On a journey to Cirta, possibly about the beginning of 398 A.D., he visited with clerical friends the aged Donatist, bishop Fortunius, at Tibursi. A great company gathered who interrupted the debate; all attempts at taking notes were finally given up. In a letter (Ep. xliv.) to the Donatists, Eleusius, Glorius, and the two Felixes, who were of the number of those addressed in the previous epistle, he speaks of their witness to the conciliatory disposition of Fortunius, and recounts the substance of the interview, with the desire that it may be submitted to that bishop for correction. The discussion had opened with the question of the Church. Fortunius regretted that Augustin was not in it; the latter reversed the wish. What is the Church? Is it diffused throughout the whole world, or is it confined to Africa? Can the Donatists send letters of communion to any of the apostolic churches? Thence they dissected the Donatist claim to be the people of God, on account of their subjection to persecution; in which it appears that they recorded the schism of the whole world from themselves as the true Church as due to sympathy with the Macarian persecution; up to that time they had held fellowship with the whole world, and as proof thereof brought forward a letter of a council of Sardica addressed to them. From the condemnation of Athanasius and Julius by this document, Augustin, to whom it was new, concluded that this was an Arian council, and was only the more damaging to their theory. The note of persecution being resumed, he maintained that there was no approved suffering unless for a just cause, and hence the justice of the cause must first be established. Though Ambrose had endured violence at the hand of the soldiery, they would deny him to be a Christian, for they would rebaptize even him. Maximianists on the other hand were confessed to be just, although they had been dispossessed of their basilicas by the Primianist appeal to the state. As an offset, Fortunius urged the curious fact that before the election of Majorinus, an interventor had been chosen, whom the Caecilianists put out of the way. On the following day Augustin had to confess that there was no example in the New Testament to justify compulsion in matters of faith. The next topic was Discipline. Augustin pleaded for toleration in order to keep unity. A point as to Johannic baptism sprang up, but was not pressed. From this time the debate became miscellaneous and repetitious; in its progress Fortunius confessed reluctantly that rebaptism was a fixed practice among them, and that even a Catholic bishop so highly esteemed among the Donatists for his non-persecuting spirit as was Genethlius, would have to submit to the rite before he could be recognized by their body. Augustin proposes a further examination of matters, with a view to peace, but the pacific Fortunius doubts whether many of the so-called Catholics really desire concord, to which Augustin replies that he can find ten men who would heartily enter into such a conference.

On the next day the venerable Donatist calls upon his opponent to resume their talk, until an ordination called Augustin away; we also obtain information of the Coelicolae as professing a new sort of baptism, with whose leader he desired to confer. The letter closes with a proposition to meet in the little village of Titia, near Tibursi, where there was no church, and the population pretty equally divided, and where no crowd could disturb the progress of the investigation; thither all documents should be brought and the whole subject canvassed for as long a time as it might take to terminate the discussion.

During the year Augustin issued a weighty work, which stands closely related to these visits to Fortunius. It was in two books named by himself: Contra partem Donati. Unhappily it is lost, but in the Retractations (II. v.), he says, that in the first book he had opposed the use of the secular power for compelling the schismatics to return to the communion of the State Church, a form of discipline which experience afterwards persuaded him was necessary and wholesome.

Possibly it was at the close of the year 398 that a hint from the Donatist bishop Honoratus was brought by Herotes to Augustin, to the effect that they carry on a correspondence on the questions in dispute between them, and avoid the uproar of public debates. Augustin acquiesces heartily, and at once plunges (Ep. xlix. ) into the doctrinal aspect of the matter. He begins with the note of Universality, the Church is diffused through the whole world, to establish which he brings forward some of his key passages, Ps. ii. 7, 8, Matt. xxiv. 14, Rom. i. 5. With all the apostolic churches Catholics communicate, Donatists do not. How then can this universality be limited? Why call the Catholic church Macarian, when the name of Macarius or Donatus is not known in any of these gospel regions? It rests with Donatists to prove how the Church is lost from the whole world and is confined to them. Catholics can rely on the Scriptures only for their theory. Correspondence seems to him also the better plan for discussion. Whether this mutual approach went further is not known.

It may have been in 399 A.D. that the Donatist presbyter Crispinus had met Augustin at Carthage; the two joined words, and both seem to have become heated; the former made promise to resume the parley at a later date, to the fulfillment of which the bishop had occasionally urged him. When Crispinus was elevated to the see of Calama, c. 400 A.D., and was not far from Augustin's diocese, the latter addressed him a letter (Ep. li.) rehearsing these facts. A new rumor credited Crispinus with being ready to enter the arena once more. All salutation is avoided in Augustin's letter, because the Donatists had accused him of servility. For the sake of accuracy and instruction he proposes simply to correspond, whether by one interchange of letters or by many. He pleads that present interests alone may be touched upon. Schism according to the Old Testament was more severely punished than idolatry or the burning of the sacred scroll. The charge of traditorship is set off by the acceptance of the Maximianists, whom the council of Bagai had condemned in such severe terms. If a mistake was made with regard to them why not in Caecilian's case? If these were really guilty, you consulted the wider duties of unity and toleration, and why not carry these principles farther and apply them to communion with the Catholics? As to the charge of persecution, Augustin will not enter into the merits of the matter theoretically, nor stop to plead the mildness of the measures used, but at once asks why the Donatists used the State to dislodge the Maximianists, and to deny the Catholics the possession of genuine baptism is made foolish by the recognition of the rite as existing among the Maximianists who had been cut off, and were restored without a renewal of the ceremony. The whole world had been condemned by the Donatists without an opportunity of being heard, and yet they accept the sacrament of the condemned Felicianus and Praetextatus. While they deny the validity of the symbol as administered by apostolic communions, and by the missionary churches which brought the light to Africa, they maintain that their little fraction alone is its possessor. Summarizing these arguments as a weight for the bishop to stagger under, he invokes the peace of Christ to conquer his heart. In this same year one of his relatives, Severinus, who was a Donatist, sent a communication to him at Hippo by a special messenger, with a view of reopening friendly intercourse with his kinsman; and Augustin seizes it as a way to reestablish as well the higher kinship in Christ (Ep. lii.). The Church is an unconcealable city set on a hill; it is Catholic, being diffused throughout the whole world. The party of Donatus is cut off from the historic root of the Oriental churches, and therefore cannot bring forth the fruits of peace and love; indeed it suppresses Christ by its rebaptism. Had their charges been genuine the transmarine bishops would have supported them; at any rate they should not have withdrawn from the Unity, but rather have practiced toleration. He hopes that the bonds of custom may be broken by Severinus, and that both may find their truest relationship in Christ, since the state of schism is a despising of the eternal heritage and of perpetual salvation.

Further along in the year, a Donatist presbyter had sent to Generosus an ordo Christianitatis, or episcopal succession of Constantina, his native city, asserting that it had been delivered by an angel from heaven. About nothing were the church externalists of every camp so eager as the preservation of the succession in proof of antiquity. Generosus had only laughed at the man's stupidity, but nevertheless wrote to the bishop of Hippo about it. Fortunatus, Alypius and Augustin combine in a reply, undeniably written by the latter, commending him (Ep. liii.). The ordo Christianitatis of the whole world is theirs, from which the Donatists do not hesitate to separate themselves. This presbyter's fiction would have to be rejected at any rate, even had it come from an angel, since all other gospels than that which teaches the universality of the Church are anathema. That doctrine is in Matt. xxiv. 14, Gen. xii. 3, Gal. iii. 16. The true ordo is the Roman, which he gives from Peter to Anastasius, the cotemporary pope; no Donatist is found in this list; yet as Montenses and Cutzupitae, they have intruded into Rome. Had there been an actual tradition, or any wicked man in the Church, that would not have vitiated the ordo, or the Church, for the law of Christ is plain, Matt. xxiii. 3, a passage again and again quoted by Augustin to substantiate this thought. They are separated from the peace of these very churches, concerning which they read in their codices, and sing pax tecum. There follows a very full and notable summary of the acts, as a refutation of the schism. He prefers the Scriptural proofs, which certify to the worldwide reach of Christ's inheritance, and its existence among all nations; from this they are separated by a nefarious schism, and charge upon the Catholics the crimes of the chaff on the threshing-floor, which must be mixed with the grain until the winnowing; these accusations do not affect the wheat which grows with the tares in the field until the end. Their divinely appointed retribution is in the history of the Maximianists, with whom they now commune, and affirm that they are not stained thereby; let them apply that lenity of judgment to the inheritance of Christ. The angel then was either Satan, or the man is Satanic, yet his salvation is desired; the sharp writing concerning him is without odium, and seeks only his correction.

Celer was a Donatist, a man of middle age and of considerable estate and civil position. He afterwards rose to the proconsulship. Augustin expresses (Ep. lvi.) a peculiar, respect and affection for him, as a man of integrity and seriousness. He had desired direct instruction from the bishop, both in a matter of Christian culture and in the controversies between the two parties. Weighed down with the cares of visitation, Augustin had to delegate his presbyter Optatus to the reading and explanations of the bishop's works and views in Celer's leisure hours. The superior claims of the life beyond are set before him, together with the overwhelming force of the proofs against the schism, so that the dullest with patience and attention can get correction. The sundering of the bonds of custom and of a perversity that has become familiar, is a matter requiring great strength of character, for which step, however, he, under God, would be readily capable.

But Celer was not persuaded to change his church connection by this first endeavor. On the contrary, Augustin thought he saw a laxity in the enforcement of the repressive measures ordered by the government, and so wrote a second time (Ep. lvii.). He affirms that there is no just cause for separation from that Catholic church which prophets and evangelists have declared should be diffused through the whole world. A long retained codex of Augustin, which had been loaned to Celer through Caecilian, his own son, who seems to have been under the special tutelage of the bishop, was designed to convince the state official on this very point (we do not know which writing it may have been), should inclination or leisure lead him to its perusal, and whatever difficulties might occur, Augustin was ready to answer. He desires him also to stir up his subordinates tO greater care in restoring the Catholic unity in the region of Hippo; indeed he cautions him to diligence on his own estates; a friend there, who fears to be strict in the carrying out of the statutes, could have his position alleviated by a word from Celer his patron. From this point we notice a decided sympathy with the effort to break up Donatism by force. Parmenian, the successor of Donatus the Great in the see of Carthage, was one of the brightest disputants on their side. Against him Optatus of Milevis had directed his review of the schism, full indeed of grave historical blunders, but not lacking in that suavity which those who think they have the keys of heaven sometimes affect. When Tychonius had exposed some of the inconsequences and weaknesses of the Donatist theory of the Church, Parmenian undertook a reply, whose main object was to fortify the propositions,(1) that the evil defile the good in the Church, and must therefore be cut off; and(2) that puristic folly, that the Donatist community was absolutely pure in its membership and priesthood. To this much-esteemed work, Augustin replies (c. 400 A.D.) in three books: Contra Epistolam Parmeniani.

In Book I. the main question is, who really incurred the guilt of schism, and initiated the appeal to the State? He opens with the praise of Tychonius as man and author, but misses the acute drift of that great man's argument. He seeks to answer the data of the origin of the separation as given by Parmenian, who attributes it to the joint movement of Gaul, Spain and Italy in seeking to make their views universal, and to the influence of Hosius over Constantine, in winning him to tacit opinion; nor does Parmenius cease to deprecate the imperial intervention Augustin defends this use of the secular arm, but accuses the Donatists by their history of beginning it in the appeal to Constantine, in the treatment of the Rogatists and Maximianists, in the abuses of the Circumcelliones, in their petition to Julian. Book II. discusses the texts alleged by the Donatists in support of the purity of the Church, the need of discipline, the sole validity of their baptism and ordination, the blamelessness of their members and clergy. While both fail in exegetical principles, Parmenian, after the manner of his school, is aggravatingly guilty of using mere catch-words, without regard to text or context. He quotes indiscriminately whatever sounds favorable to his cause. Some of the passages are: Is. v. 20, Prov. xvii. 15, Is. lix. x-8, Ecclus. x. 2, Is. lxvi. 3, Prov. xxi. 27, and others. Augustin gives his interpretations, and does not fail to prod his opponent with barbs of Optatus, Maximianists, and Circumcelliones.

Book III. handles further the theory of purism in the light of Scriptural proofs. The first part is mainly an endeavor to give the true significance of 1 Cor. v. 12, 13. (Compare his correction in the Retractt. II. xvii.). Augustin is constrained to confess the need of some internal discipline, and then enforces with wider range the notes of universality, unity and toleration, especially as illustrated by Cyprian. [Cp. Retractt. II. xvii.].

In the work against Parmenian, he had promised to write more fully on this subject of baptism, the frequent persuasions of the brethren also moved him so that in this same year (400 A.D.) he issued the seven books De Baptismo: Contra Donatistas. The double purpose is to define that sacrament as the property of Christ, and to overthrow the Donatist appeal to the authority of Cyprian and the famous council of Carthage, with its eighty-seven deliverances in favor of the repetition of the rite. Since this is one of the works translated in the accompanying volume any further analysis may be passed by. [Cp. Retractt. II. xviii.].

In this period of frequent and heated controversy, a Donatist layman, Centurius by name, brought some of their quotations and writings, and supported with Scriptural proofs to the Church in Hippo. It seems to have begun with an exposition of Prov. ix. 17. (N. Afr. version and LXX). Augustin answered them briefly in a tractate, which he entitles: Contra quod attulit Centurius a Donatistis. It is however not extant. In the Retractations (II. xix.) it is placed immediately after the work on Baptism. Meanwhile, and as the Retractations tell us, before he had finished his work on the Trinity, and his literal commentary on Genesis, he found it desirable to reply to the pastoral letter of Petilian, Donatist bishop of Constantina; unfortunately only a part of the epistle came into his hand, so strenuous and vigilant were the efforts to hide their literature from the eyes of this ardent foe. He replied with one book to so much as he had received, c. 400 A.D. Some of his clergy subsequently obtained and wrote out a complete copy, so that he composed the second book, c. 401 A.D. Meanwhile Petilian responded to the first issue, and this necessitated a third book, c. 401 or 402 A.D. The three books were collected into one treatise, and are known under the title Contra Litteras Petiliani. The main object of the series is the refutation of Petilian's proposition: "Conscientia namque (sancte) dantis attenditur, quae (qui) abluat accipientis." "Nam qui fidem (sciens) a perfido sumpserit, non fidem percipit, sed reatum." "What we look for is the conscience of the giver (him who gives in holiness), to cleanse that of the recipient." "For he who (wittingly) receives faith from the faithless receives not faith, but guilt." Since the work is also a part of this volume, we need not dwell on it farther. [Cp. Retractt. II. xxv.] The civil restraints were applied with vigor on the one side and resented on the other by the retaliatory Circumcelliones. To Pammachius, a man of senatorial rank, Augustin, in 401 A.D., sends a letter [Ep. lviii.] of exuberant congratulations and flatteries, because he had compelled some of his Numidian tenants to return to the mother Church; a converting agency which he condemns unmercifully when practised by the Donatists. The plan, he says, would have been urged upon other landholders, had the clergy not been afraid of the scornful finger of the Donatists, who were in such favor with the proprietors, that an effort like this might have failed. He desires the senator to circulate this letter wherever there was promise of effect. The bishop. now thoroughly committed to these arbitrary procedures, was in some trepidation lest the plausible arguments which the Donatists were urging, might shake the resolution of Pammachius himself, and so he sends a secret commission of instruction.

The coercive measures yielded fruit, and the question about the status of recedent Donatist clergy now became pressing. Augustin had already met with a certain Theodore on this subject, and in a letter addressed to him [Ep. lxi.] c. 401, recapitulated the proposition then agreed upon, to be used as a basis for treatment with all who wanted to come over. The Catholic church opposed only the schism and the rebaptism among the Donatists; what was good she was ready to acknowledge. Baptism itself, ordination, self-denial, celibacy, doctrinal views, especially as to the Trinity, these were confessedly right, only to reap the profit of them, it was essential for Donatists to be in the unity and in the root.

The Council of Carthage of September 13, 401, adopted this view, Can. 2. There had also been a remarkable scarcity of Catholic clergy, so that application had been made to Rome and Milan for relief; probably this had its influence upon so charitable a view of schismatic ordination.

It was alleged that Crispinus, the bishop of Calama, had bought a state farm at Mappalia, and had rebaptized the tenants. Augustin was roused by this counter-irritant and wrote him a letter, c. 402 A.D. [Ep. lxvi.], wondering what he would do if the authorities were to impose the fine for every offense. He pleads for an answer to Christ, whose was all the world, because bought with his blood, while the Donatist would affirm that Christ had lost all the world save Africa. He urges a public discussion of the mooted points before these converts, which should be reported and done into Punic as a test of their freedom in this conversion, and frankly enough offers to do the same for any case of coercion on his side. Unless Crispinus and his helpers acquiesce, he will hold them guilty.

The uppermost talk of those times was the extraordinary charity of the Donatists toward the Maximianists. One form of apology for such a seeming vacation of all their tenets was to say, e.g., of Felicianus of Musti, that he was ignorantly condemned when innocent and absent, so in his absence, he was reinstated. This statement was made by a Donatist bishop, Clarentius, in reply to the inquiries of Naucelio. Alypius and Augustin, who were made aware of this defense, urged in criticism [Ep. lxx.] that the Council of Bagai was therefore guilty in condemning Felicianus unheard, and all the more in that they afterwards found him to be innocent. Either he ought not to have been condemned if he was innocent, or if guilty, he ought not to have been received back. If the council erred, why not apply such a liability to error to the origin of the schism; might not Caecilian, unheard, have been condemned although innocent? But, as a matter of fact, Felicianus was found guilty while in thorough and declared sympathy with Maximian, and the state was called upon to enforce his ejection. If he was welcomed without rebaptism, why not treat the Church diffused through the whole world with the same consideration?

It was probably in the year 402 that he addressed a general appeal to the Donatists [Ep. lxxvi.], not to endanger their salvation by continuance in schism. If they counted the surrender of the sacred books so great a sin, how much more grievous a transgression ought the refusal to obey the plain commands of these books as to unity be considered. He brings forward the usual array of passages to demonstrate the universality of the Church, and that any limitation of this note, can only be at the end of the world. The attempt to separate the wheat from the tares before the harvest, is only a proof that they are of the tares. A rapid survey of the origin of the schism follows, and all the archives are made to tell against them. He asks how they can hold any theory of purism while they regard Optatus as a martyr and welcome the excommunicated Maximianists? Schism in the Scriptures is punished more severely than the burning of the books. Why complain about traditorship when Maximianists are received? Why abuse the imperial laws directed against them, when they had invoked the same against the Maximianists? If theirs is the only baptism, what is the baptism of these Maximianists, which is without question validated? He challenges the Donatist bishops to discuss these matters with their laity, if they persist in declining to meet the Catholics, and bids the sheep beware of the wolves and their den.

The ad Catholicos Epistola, popularly known as de Unitate Ecclesioe, is pretty generally attributed to Augustin, and is addressed to the brethren of his charge; it may be taken as a contrast to the previous letter directed to the Donatists, and not unlikely saw the light in 402 A.D. This book is designed as a continuance of the controversy with Petilian, and indeed a further correspondence is proposed, so that the work must have appeared before that bishop's death, which is generally placed in this year. The chief question between the two parties is, Where is the Church? Is it with Catholic or Donatist? The Church is one and Catholic: it is the body of Christ, consisting of Him as its Head and those in Him as members. The historical issue in any of four possibilities of truth or falsity does not justify separation from this body. The point is, What does the Lord say? The Donatist should believe in the books, which he says were delivered up, and put aside all other documents except the divine canons. Do the Scriptures say that the Church is in Africa only, and in the few Cutzupitanae or Montenses at Rome, and in the house or patrimony of one woman in Spain, or is it in the whole world? A second time does he start out with a definition of the Church, as having for its head the Only Begotten Son, and for its body the members in Him; as bridegroom and bride, two in one flesh. Any divergence from the Head or the body, whether caused by difference in doctrine or government, is tier se outside of the Church. He meets the two favorite Donatistic comparisons of the divine institution with the ark and Gideon's fleece, and then enlarges upon the note of universality, with included unity, by Scripture texts from the Law, the Prophets, especially Isaiah, and the Psalms. From the Donatist position these are not fulfilled, because, say they, men are unwilling. Men were created with free will; they believe or disbelieve according to that. When the Church began to increase in the world, men refused to persevere, and the Christian religion was lost from all the nations with the exception of the Donatists. All this, replies Augustin, as if the Spirit of God did not know the future volitions of men. But Christ, after the resurrection, said that the Law, the Prophets and the Psalms testified of Him, and that the fulfillment of his kingdom should begin from Jerusalem. He then follows out the expansion of the Church as given in the Acts, and the foundation of Christian communities as mentioned in the Epistles and the Revelation. The Donatists reply to this theory of development that the Church perished save among them in North Africa. It is among the few: for which they cite a similar state of things under Enoch, Noah, Lot, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the Kingdom of Judah. The spread of the Church did indeed begin from Jerusalem, but afterwards an apostasy befell it, in the progress of which the communion of the Donatists alone remained faithful. Augustin says the fact that there are evil persons in the Church is simply a proof of the fulfillment of those parables of our Lord, which illustrate the mixed characters in his kingdom. There is indeed a paucity of the good, but within that communion. Then follows a discussion of the geographical limitation, the Donatists maintaining that the Oriental churches and the rest mentioned in the sacred canon had receded from the faith. Especially is their favorite paragraph, a passage from Cant. i. 7, commented upon. He presses the continuous preaching among all nations, after which event the end is to come; there must be such a universal growth to that end. Let us cease drawing from the acts and sayings of men about this great matter, and take the simple testimony of the Scriptures. But the Donatists object: If the Church be among you why do you compel us by force to enter its peace? Or if we are evil why do you desire us? and if we are tares why hinder us from growing until the harvest? Augustin then justifies the system of correction adopted in loving care for their salvation, not failing to remind them of the Circumcelliones and their own action with regard to the Maximianists. Another inquiry of the Donatists was, How will you recognize us if we come to you? Augustin says, as the universally rounded Church is wont to receive, put away all hatred and your sacraments are acknowledged. This leads to the discussion of baptism and of that related topic, the effect, of the celebrant's character, upon the recipient. He returns finally to the note of universality as essential to the unity, with the one Head and the one body.

Somewhere about 404 A.D. two official cases of discipline had occurred in Augustin's monasterium, which had grieved the pride of the clergy, because they had boasted of their establishment as really purer than the puristic body gathered about the Donatist bishop Proculeianus. They were more troubled about this than about the sins of the suspected brethren, one of whom, however, seemed to have considerable injustice done him. While discussing this matter [in Ep. lxxviii.] he incidentally mentions the lapse of two Donatists, who had been received into Augustin's communion, and whose conduct the clergy had regarded as a proof of the laxity of discipline under Proculeianus.

A sermon on the 95th Ps. (96) may have been preached in the year 404 or thereabouts, in which he rebukes the Donatists for their pride in claiming either that they, the few in Africa, are the ones bought by Christ, or that they are so great because this large gift was bestowed on them alone.

And in commenting on v. 10, dicite in nationibus, Dominus regnavit a ligno, etc., he twits them with seeking this reign by the wood through the cudgels of the Circumcelliones; and enlarges too upon the theme of universality, against their undiscoverable here and there.

Caeciliantus, whose exact civil office, whether vicar or praefectus annoae is yet undetermined, Augustin addresses as praeses in Ep. lxxxvi., which is ascribed to 405 A.D. The severer edicts of Honorius had just been published. This official had carried them out with telling earnestness. His administration in the greater part of Africa is particularly commended; the bishop begs of him to restore the Catholic unity also in Hippo and the frontiers of Numidia. The ill-success of his own work is not due to lack of episcopal duty, and he asks Caecilianus to inquire of the clergy, or of the bearer, a commissioned presbyter, about the true state of matters; he would have the State begin with monitions in the hope of preventing a resort to severer remedies. Emeritus, the bishop of Julia Caesarea, one of the seven Donatist disputants at the later conference, did not shun correspondence or association with his opponents. He is described as a man of parts and character. Augustin had written a letter to him, which is not preserved, and it had received no reply. He once more seeks to win him to a friendly discussion or correspondence [Ep. lxxxvii.], in this time of general return to the mother Church. He would have all men of culture come back to the true fellowship. What Emeritus's particular ground for continuing in separation may be he does not know. He proceeds to discuss universality, purism, the validity of the documents, the heinousness of schism, the paucity of numbers, and the right of coercion.

The enforcement of the civil edicts was followed by violent outbreaks of the Circumcelliones, especially in Augustin's diocese. The clergy united in a protest [Ep. lxxxviii.] addressed to the venerable Bishop Januarius, a Donatist, probably in 406 A.D. They claim (1) that they are receiving evil for good. (2) The appeal to the state was begun by the Majorinists, and two full documents are given in proof. (3) All decrees of the empire since, are the simple execution of the edict of Constantine against the party of Donatus, which these had wanted to be issued against Caecilian. (4) The acts of the Circumcelliones; were the real occasion for sharper efforts at suppression; instances of their cruelty are mentioned. (5) The Catholics have pursued a conciliatory policy by conferences and by desiring a mitigation of the penalties, which were frustrated the one by refusals, the other by a gross assault on the Catholic bishop of Bagai; all who come into the hands of the state clergy, are treated with merciful persuasion. (6) Various proposals for peace are suggested.

Festus, a government official and a landed proprietor apparently in Hippo, had written a letter urging a return of the Donatists to the mother Church. It bore little fruit, and he asks Augustin first to instruct him and also to give him a tractate for general use. Augustin, c. 406. [Ep. lxxxix.], enforces the duty of perseverance in the civil reclamation of the Donatists; their claim of persecution as a note attesting them to be the true people of God is folly, because it is not the mere suffering but the cause for which one suffers that makes a martyr. He exhorts him to read the archives and see how the schismatics initiated the appeal to the secular power, and how all things that have befallen them through that arm would have been the just fate of the Caecilianists, had the Donatist course been approved. Besides, why this unjust treatment of the Church universal in condemning it unheard, and rebaptizing its members, who have done them no wrong? The theory that baptism alone is valid when administered by the just, is putting a trust in man which the Scriptures condemn; the sacrament is not man's but Christ's; further, one would prefer to be baptized by a bad man, for then he would receive grace from Christ directly, according to their subterfuge. He is vexed with their active and passive opposition; the mother has to correct, although her obstinate child may not like it. They aver that the Catholics accept them without requiring any change in them, but the change required is great, no less a one than from error to truth. The bishop proposes as a substitute for Festus's plan, the sending of an authorized messenger secretly to himself, and they would devise together a method for the correction of the Donatists. In the second sermon on Ps. cii. (ci.) preached about this time, when enlarging upon the unity he ridicules the Donatist assertion that the Church which was among all the nations had perished, as the impudent voice of those who are not in it declares. So is their affirmation that Scripture prophecies about the spread of the kingdom have been fulfilled; all nations have believed, but this diffused communion apostatized and perished. He rebukes the conceit that the Lord's saying, I am with you, even to the end of the world, was designed for them alone, the Lord foreseeing that the party of Donatus would be in the earth. If emperors have propounded laws against heretics, it is a part of the predictions which foretold how kings would serve the Lord. Thence he expands the notes of universality and perpetuity. Cresconius, a layman and philologist, read Augustin's first book in answer to Petilian, and wrote a reply, which, however, was circulated among the Donatists only. Augustin at last secured a copy, and wrote (406 A.D., some say as late as 409) Contra Cresconium Grammaticum Partis Donati, libri IV Three of these books controvert the arguments of Cresconius; part of the third and the fourth entire is a detailed polemic history of the Maximian schism.

In Book I. he alludes to the occasion of the writing, and hesitates between being regarded as contumelious if he declined an answer, and arrogant, should he reply. Cresconius had attacked eloquence, which Augustin defends as simply the art of speaking, and as not to be condemned because it has been abused. You do not condemn military armament for your country because others have taken up arms against the country; the physician does not refuse to use all drugs because some are baneful; because there are sophists one is not to deny the value of eloquence. Cresconius seemed to regard its cultivation as injurious to the simplicity of Christian law and teaching. He also had accused Augustin of persistent arrogance in his pertinacious pursuit of the Donatists. Augustin claims to do a good work with good ends in view, and says its fruit has been a rich harvest for the Church. So the discussion passes on to the use of dialectics, which Cresconius assails, but Augustin defends as nothing else than a demonstration of results, either the true from the true or the false from the false. He justifies not disputatiousness, but the arguments by which truth is built up, for Christ employed it, and St. Paul wielded its weapons not only with the Jews but with Epicureans and Stoics. In all this we have an illustration of that unfortunate tendency to undervalue culture whenever a puristic community passes into the fires. Augustin applies the art to one of the points which Cresconius had discussed, viz., rebaptism. He had endeavored to prove that it was solely among them. Augustin concedes that the rite is there, but not its profit; in order to enjoy its profit, it must be administered lawfully. The oneness of baptism as a ceremony is not dependent on the oneness of the Church, whereas its profit is. A reprobate society of heretics can have a good baptism, but it is not properly and not profitably administered among them; the proper and profitable administration is solely in the Church to salvation; the rite outside is to judgment.

In Book II. after a résume of the previous he notices first the criticism as to the true construction of the name Donatistae; it should rather be Donatiani as Cresconius claimed. He is ready to concede this, and in his controversy with the philologist will use that form, but on all other occasion he would prefer the more familiar termination. Cresconius also protests against the term heretic as applied to them, which he regards as a divergence of views from the Christian faith; while a schism has sprung up among those for whom the same Christ was born, died and rose again, who have one religion, the same sacraments, and no diversity in Christian observance. Augustin, however, while not particularly dwelling on these agreements, presses upon him the articles of divergence, and asks why they rebaptize? The recognition of Donatist ordination concerning which Cresconius had asked, Augustin declares to be a matter of charity. As to the question of Cresconius, Why, if the Donatists are such heretics and so sacrilegious, if they are indeed guilty of a nefarious and inexpiable crime, some purification is not adopted when they come over to the Catholic church? Augustin answers: We do not regard it as inexpiable, and baptism is not to be repeated, it is Christ's; on coming to us the Donatist receives the Spirit signified by that rite; he begins to have healthfully what he previously had hurtfully and unworthily. The relation of the celebrant to the symbol as presented by Cresconius is a modification of Petilianism. "Regard is had," says he, "to the conscience of the giver, not according to its actuality, which cannot be perceived, but according to his reputation, whether that be true or false." Augustin does not fail to crowd him for the change of base. The favorite passages of Ps. cxli. 5, Jer. xv. 18, and Ecclus. xxxiv. 31, are gone over. Then he answers the charge made by Cresconius, as to the right of any sinner to baptize among the Catholics. Finally, he reviews Cyprian's relation to rebaptism, who is not a canonical authority for him; the Scriptures alone are such; but the Donatists ought to consider that decision of his to remain in unity from the fact that the mixed nature of its membership requires toleration. Book III. Augustin contends that the Donatists by their schism from especially the Eastern churches had violated the principle of toleration, which their boasted leader had so strenuously enforced. There follows then a seriatim consideration of the points made by Cresconius, similar to those maintained by Petilian, as to the importance of the origin and the head and root in baptism, or the character of the celebrant, and the rebaptism by Paul of John's disciples. The case of Optatus and the Maximianists next come under review, as witnesses against their testimonies. Cresconius says he will neither absolve nor condemn Optatus, and as to the Maximianists, he professes to have made special inquiry into the whole history. The Synod had granted a season of delay during which all who returned should be held innocent. Of this very many availed themselves; the baptism of these was valid; those who remained outside lost both baptism and the church. Augustin refutes the statement from its inherent contradictions and from the language of the Synod against the Maximianists. Cresconius also brings forward the Sardican council's letter to Donatus as a proof of sustained fellowship. Augustin declares it to be an Arian council; and he insists on paralleling all Cresconius would say about Caecilianism with the career of the Maximianists. With reference to persecution, he cites in extenso their own persecutions, the case of Severus, bishop of Thubursicubur; the acts of Optatus; his own treatment at a collation by the Circumcelliones; the case of Crispinus, the Donatist bishop of Calama; their own invocation of the state against the Maximianists. Thence he returns to the doctrine of the unity as universal with many of the familiar Scripture texts, and asserts by the documents that the Donatists were the occasion of the rupture.

Book IV. is a review of Cresconius's work by the light of the Maximianist records. Beginning with a pleasantry as to their eloquence and dialectic spirit, he follows in detail the points of Cresconius whether doctrinal or historical as to Caecilian, mainly with Maximianist data as offsets. Cresconius charges Augustin with having called Petilian Satan, and so violating the peace he professes. Augustin claims that he only compared the error not the person, to Satan. Nor bad Cresconius forgotten to bring out the Manichaeism of his opponent. Augustin reminds him both of what he had written against them and also of what sins were forgiven in the return of Maximian, who was an old man when Augustin was but young; these were the sins of his youth. The theories of fellowship, of persecution, of baptism, are all considered in the light of their own council of Bagai and its sequences. [Cp. Retractt. II. xxvi.].

After concluding his work against Cresconius, he issued, probably in this same year, a little treatise he had promised, containing a collection of proofs both for Donatist and Catholic popular use. To the pledge itself an unknown Donatist replied, which led to the production of a second book, whose title Augustin designed to be: Contra nescio quem Donatistam. The original promise was fulfilled in the publication of the Probationes et Testimonia contra Donatistas, embracing all the ecclesiastical and public acts and Scripture proofs bearing on the questions between them. It was designed mainly for public reading in the basilicas. Both were joined in one book, although apparently afterwards separated. In each he confesses to the error of placing the purgation of Felix after instead of before the vindication of Caecilian. At this writing he still regarded the Donatists as psychics and babes, but in his old age corrects his application of the words to them, since he came to consider them rather as dead and lost.Unfortunately neither treatise has been preserved. [Cp. Retractt. II. xxvii. and xxviii.].

He also conceived the plan of preparing a polemic for the people who had little time extended reading, by refuting the entire theory of the schism through the story of the excision and restoration of the Maximianists. It appeared c. 406 A.D. under the name of Admonitio Donatistarum de Maximianistis: this too is lost. [Cp. Retractt. II. xxix.].

An acquaintance of earlier days in Carthage, Vincentius, had become bishop of the little Rogatist fragment as the immediate successor of Rogatus himself at Cartenna. He, or some one of that little band, had written a letter to Augustin with a pretty strong plea against persecution. This was not unlikely in c. 408 A.D., and Augustin answers in one of his most weighty epistles (Ep. xciii.), under the supposition that Vincentius was the author, and vindicates the help of the State. Evidently a change had come over Numidia, for he boasts of the multitudes who had been converted, and rejoices in the fruitful use of the secular arm for their salvation. Even Circumcelliones had become steadfast Catholics. Coercion stimulates the thoughtless and those bound by custom, and delivers these held back by fear; it is like a wholesome medicine, or the wounds inflicted by a friend. God chastens in order to better the life and to bring men to repentance. The householder instructs us to compel them to come in. Sarah and Hagar are types; so the mother Church corrects her children. Everything depends on the aim in persecution, whether it be done for oppression or for good; it is the difference between Pharaoh and Moses in their treatment of Israel. The Father gave up the Son, and the Son gave Himself up; while Judas betrayed Him. The righteousness of the end for which one suffers alone constitutes martyrdom. The Rogatist is not suffering for righteousness but for unrighteousness. Augustin is constrained to confess that there are no persecutions recorded in the New Testament as inflicted by Christians, but explains the omission as due to the fact that rulers were not yet members of the Church. He thinks, too, that the moderate and discriminating form of the correction employed, helps to justify a resort thereto. If the Rogatists have nothing to do with the violence of the Circumcelliones, and use no force as the rest of the Donatists do, it is because they are so few and feeble. The Donatists, however, did use the secular arm against the Maximianists, and in the appeal to Julian. He will not allow a distinction between resort to law for the recovery of property and for the coercion of the conscience. He claims that to regain one's own in this way has no apostolic warrant. The Donatists, too, sought imperial aid to coerce Caecilianus. Why shall not Catholics return in kind? The very edict of confiscation which had hit them they had hoped might fall on the head of Caecilian and his followers. What Tychonius said describes the very essence of Donatist arbitrariness: quod volumus sanctum est. The sin of separation from the whole world followed; the universal church was condemned unheard, and the toleration which Cyprian urged disregarded. He traces his own change of views from the non-coercive to the coercive policy, the success of the method in hastening conversions won him wholly as an enthusiastic and persistent supporter. He bids Vincentius flee from the wrath to come. What is his little handful compared with the universal Church? This note of universality he develops in extenso against their limitation, and especially their new definition of Catholic, as obedience to all the laws and the sacraments, and to their childish allegory of Cant. i. 7. He hints that in the ancient times there might have been a little schism which anticipated the Rogatists, and which had called itself exclusively the Church. He thinks it is also the duty of the State to suppress idolatry. The passage quoted from Hilary by Vincentius, as to the few who in Asia in his day were believers in spite of the spread of the Church, Augustin softens into an excited picture of the dark times of persecution. Next, he discusses the position of Cyprian. All patristic testimony, however, is of no final value; the only authority is the Word of God. Moreover, if Cyprian be quoted, why not on the side of his love for unity and toleration? The averment that the Church, with the exception of the Rogatists, perished by fellowship with the unbaptized, is met with the fact that in Cyprian's time men had been received without rebaptism into the Church, and therefore the Church, according to their theory, must have perished before their day; if it, however, survived that condition, then there is no excuse left for a schism on that ground. One is not of higher merit than Cyprian simply because he may abhor that father's error, any more than they who did not fall into Peter's mistake are above him in worth on that account. Indeed Cyprian may have rectified his fault before death; and some say that those passages are interpolations. Augustin, however, concedes their authenticity. Cyprian, in his Epistle to Antonianus, shows how the African bishops maintained unity in spite of the corrupt lives of some colleagues; variations of opinion were allowed; neither were they contaminated by such a fellowship, nor was the Church destroyed. Tychonius states the result of a Donatist council which granted fellowship to those in their own body who had been guilty of tradition, and that without rebaptism, in case the restored should oppose such a repetition of the rite. Deuterius, bishop of Macriana, had admitted traditors to his communion without renewing the sacrament, and many witnesses of both facts were living in Tychonius's own day. Parmenian had indeed replied to the arguments, but could not gainsay the facts. Augustin professes in all sincerity his anxiety for the salvation of the jeopardized Donatists; the Church acknowledges the Sacrament which they have administered, and desires them to have the profit thereof. In defence of rebaptism Vincentius had alleged the case of Paul, repeating the ceremony after John. Augustin asks was John then a heretic? If not, it is for you to say why the ordinance was iterated. Christ's baptism is always the same and must not be iterated; it has nothing to do with the merit or demerit of the individual, or else Paul would not have declined its continuous administration. He begs him to put no confidence in the accident of their being a little company, and not to arrogate to themselves the title of Catholic, in the sense of being keepers of the entire law and all the sacraments, nor to peculiar sanctity as the few who were to have faith at the coming of the Son of Man. The Church does not take pleasure in correction, save for conversion; she abhors those who seek Donatist property out of sheer covetousness, yet all property does belong to the true Church. She has also no delight in any who disregard Donatist discipline, by receiving members who have been ejected from that body for sin. The Catholic Church sustains the unity, and recognizes the mixture of chaff and wheat, good and bad fish, the goats and the sheep. He bids him come to that Church into whose fellowship Vincentius had described Augustin as entering. He closes with reflections on the aggravations in the sin of schism and on the need of repentance.

Olympius had recently been elevated to the dignity of magister officiorum. He had written to Augustin soliciting his advice on the best way for the civil authority to help the Church. Augustin, c. 408 [Ep. xcvii.], welcomes his elevation, commends his devotion to the body of Christ, and is glad to have his own timidity relieved by this invitation to lay before the highest official the exacting needs of the hour. These had become grave; the very success of coercion had precipitated new commotions among the Circumcelliones and their clerical abettors. A commission had sailed in mid-winter to solicit imperial help against their fury. The first point he would suggest, but without having had the opportunity of consultation, save probably with bishop Severus, is to declare by proclamation that the imperial edicts were not the invention of Stilicho, as the Donatists and heathen boasted. As to further plans, the episcopal commission would doubtless consult with him on their return from court.He invites Olympius to rejoice with him on the practical benefits of coercion thus far.

It may bare been a little later (c. 408 or 409) that Augustin writes to Donatus the proconsul (Ep. c.) regretting indeed that the Church must avail herself of the State, but he is gratified that so devoted a son is wielding the sword for her. The crimes against the Church are greater than all other crimes, but in her discipline he deprecates any spirit of revenge, and pleads most beseechingly against the infliction of capital punishment; that would be a deterrent to the bringing in of any charges against the guilty. He asks for a republication of the repressive laws, since the enemy is boasting of their repeal.

Augustin wrote a general letter to the Donatist people in c. 409 [Ep. cv.], in which he declares that the Catholic effort at their conversion is the work of peacemakers. Some Donatist presbyters had ordered the Catholics to let their people alone, if they did not want to be killed, but Augustin would all the rather ask the people to recede from the schismatics because they were separated from that body for which Christ died. Catholics must seek for the stolen sheep that had on them the mark of Christ. The charge of being traditors, says he, we meet with a like accusation against you, and then you bid us leave. You claim to be the Church on this unproved charge, unmindful of what law, prophecy, Psalms, Apostles and Gospels say as to its universality beginning at Jerusalem. You are not in communion with that universal body, and you prevent the escape of others from a similar perdition. The objection as to persecution he meets with an invitation to look at the deeds of clergy and Circumcelliones, and cites instances of grievous ill-treatment toward voluntary converts: Marcus, presbyter of Casphalia, Restitutus of Victoria, Marcianus of Urga, Maximinus and Possidius, and then protests against their general violence and robberies, and especially against attributing martyrdom to those who had only been punished for their crimes. all this compulsion we oppose the State, he affirms, and many of your own people rejoice in deliverance from your oppressions. You have filled Africa with false charges as to Caecilian, Felix, etc., and though we do not place our hope in man, yet we do recognize the State as the servant of the Church. Nebuchadnezzar is an example both of the persecutor and the correctionist. You despise the baptism of Christ; ought this not to be punished? He then reviews the history of the case in the light of the documents; commenting on them as forms of their own appeal to the State. The liberty of error is most deadly to the soul. Christ and the Apostles command unity, and this command the Emperors seek to enforce. Only Julian and the heathen emperors were persecutors; the only martyrs are those who suffer for Catholic truth. The whole imperial legislation against Donatism is the outcome of the original statute of Constantine and sprang after all from their appeal. He next discusses their view of baptism and insists that the rite is independent of the character of the celebrant; were it dependent, then, according to their notion, we should rather desire to be baptized by a bad man, in order to receive the grace directly from Christ. The appeal to unity follows. Make concord with us, he urges; we love you and desire to serve you, even by the aid of the temporal laws; we do not want you to perish as aliens from your Catholic mother. Your charges you are unable to substantiate, and yet you avoid all conference with us, as if to shun fellowship with sinners; a false pride, which is rebuked by Paul's conduct, by the Lord's in his treatment of Judas; the Lord held conference even with the devil. This be follows with extended Scriptural proofs of the universality of the Church. He reminds them again of the unproved charges which apply rather to themselves; but he has no desire for the historical argument, rather for the doctrinal. The Catholic aim is their conversion, whether by the persuasion of argument or the correction of laws. They should remember the mixed nature of the Church, and that mere contact with evil does not defile. If you hold to Christ, hold also to His Church; you kill us who seek to tell you the truth, and do not want you to perish in evil. May God vindicate us and his cause by slaying your errors and making you rejoice with us in the truth.

On the death of Proculeianus, Macrobius succeeded to the see of Hippo Regius. Augustin hears that he is about to rebaptize a subdeacon (Rusticianus) who under discipline left the Catholics. Augustin urges him [Ep. cvi.], c. 409, not to do this by his desire to have life in God, and to please God by not making the sacraments vain, and by his hope of not being separated from the body of Christ eternally. The Donatists have admitted the validity of baptism as administered by Felicianus and Primianus, why then rebaptize others? and begs him to search that case as a test of the whole matter.

Maximus and Theodore had been commissioned to deliver the previous letter to Bishop Macrobius. He at first declined to listen to its reading, but was at last persuaded to attend, and in reply said: It was his duty to receive all who came, and to give faith to those who asked it. Into the question about Primian he would not enter, because of his own recent ordination; he was not a judge of his father, and he would remain in what his predecessors had accepted. These replies were conveyed to Augustin in the letter cvii. (c. 409) by the two commissioners.

In still further hope of reaching Bishop Macrobius, Augustin addressed another epistle, (cviii.) c. 409, to him in answer to the objections offered by him at the interview with the commissioners. 1. As to the point that he must receive those who come and give them the faith they ask: Augustin proposes the case of some one who has received the rite in their communion, but had been separated from it for a time, and having returned, conscientiously desires to be rebaptized; Macrobius, according to his objection, could not repeat the rite, but would proceed to instruct him. Why repeat it when Augustin administers it? May be you will quote, "keep thyself from strange water and do not drink from a strange fountain." How then will you explain the reception of Felicianus? 2. As to the second conclusion, that you would remain in the faith of your predecessors: It is a pity for a young man of good parts to say so; nothing compels you to remain in evil; you had better be in the Church which began in Jerusalem and spread thence through the world. 3. And if you will not judge your fathers why judge my fathers? If not Primian, why Caecilian? Why deny us to be brethren? why rend the body? why extinguish the baptism of Christ, who baptizes with the Spirit, and who gave Himself for the Church? Yet your colleagues in effect do yield to the truth in their recognition of the Maximianists. Judge not the evil but do judge what was good in Primian. That act of his, the reception of the Maximianists, absolves the nations who are ignorant of what you accuse us. He then traces the whole development of that schism and its overthrow, to show that those schismatics were not rebaptized at their return. That history Augustin considers a divinely appointed refutation of all the Donatist tenets. He proceeds to criticise their Scripture proofs, Prov. ix. 18, Jet. xv. 18, Eccl. xxxiv. 30, Ps. cxli. 5, which he turns against them through the story of the schism. He next addresses himself to their theory of fellowship, and discusses their proof texts, 1 Tim. v. 22, Is. lii. 11, 1 Cor. v. 6; Ezekiel, Daniel, the Apostles, Christ and Paul all rebuke this purism. Cyprian's authority for rebaptism is reviewed. Augustin repeats the doubts of very many as to the authenticity of those parts of his works which favor this view; but granted that they are valid, Cyprian, nevertheless, maintained unity and toleration, and by martyrdom purged his mistake. There is, however, no martyrdom outside of the unity, as that father also testified. Cyprian acknowledged as well the presence of many evil persons in the ministry and in the Church, but stood to it that unity must not be sacrificed on that account. The Church is a mixed society; this is Christ's law. Had Macrobius's associates remembered the parable of the wheat and tares they would not have separated. This argument is concluded with a sort of summary of the points traversed before. As to the note of persecution: that alone is a martyrdom which surrenders the life for a good cause. The Donatists too used the State in the case of the Maximianists, and to them belong the Circumcelliones. The matter of unity and the connected points of toleration and fellowship are again enlarged upon.

A sermon attributed to Augustin, De Rusticiano subdiacono a Donatistis rebaptizato et in diaconum ordinato, falls in the same year, 409, with the letter to Bishop Macrobius. There is an outburst of deep grief over the act. It would appear that Rusticianus had been a special favorite of Augustin, on whom he had expended much care; but he had become involved in scurrilous deeds, in feasting and intemperance, day and night, and was plunged in debt, and at last was excommunicated by his presbyter, and so fled to the Donatists, by whom he was rebaptized and made a deacon; this defection happened in the diocese of the bishop Valerius(?); so Augustin interposed through Maximius and Theodorus with Bishop Macrobius, but in vain. He deplores the disgrace done to the sacrament, as dishonor done to the sign of the King. The repetition is contradicted by the procedure with regard to the returning Maximianists. He corrects the misinterpretation of Ecclus. xxxiv. 30. He wishes for the Donatists the experience of the prodigal, that they may be forgiven by return to the Church and so attain to the profit of charity.

Great calamities were befalling the Church in all parts of the world. Victorianus, a presbyter, wrote to Augustin for relief from doubts as to the office of such afflictions; in the bishop's reply, [Ep. cxi.] possibly of Nov., 409, he mentions the cruelties of the Donalists at Hippo exceeding those of the barbarians, especially in the resort to acidified lime, clubbing, robberies, and other destructive measures to compel rebaptism; forty-eight in one place were thus forced to a repetition. The coercion policy, in other words, had stimulated some of the Donatists to retaliation.

Donatus had resigned his proconsulship. Augustin writes [Ep. cxii.] at the end of 409 or beginning of 410 A.D., to express his regrets at not meeting him on his visit to Tibilis; his retirement would now give leisure for a larger development in graces, and would lead him to esteem the superiority of eternal things. He praises him for his official worth, which indeed was in everybody's mouth, but he urges him not to defer to that popularity, but to seek the higher approbation. After reminding him of the duty of Christian progress, he asks for a reply and an exhortation to be addressed to all his dependents at Sinitis and Hippo to return to the Church. Greetings are sent to his father, whom the son had been instrumental in converting to the faith.

Petilian of Constantina had written a treatise, de unico baptismo, which Constantinus had come into possession of through some Donatist presbyter, and then gave it to Augustin while they were in the country, imploring him to answer it. He did so, c. 410, in the book bearing the same title. He scorns those who desire secrecy in such matters; when the deeds are public let the discussion be. Petilian claims that the only true baptism is theirs: and therefore it is not repeated by the sacrilegious theorists. Yes, replies Augustin, baptism is indeed one, but it is Christ's, not yours; yours is only a repetition of the rite. We correct what is yours and recognize what is Christ's. Therefore we do not repeat it. So Christ corrected what was evil and recognized what was good among the Jews. So Paul exposed the sin of the heathen world but acknowledged what truth it had. Moreover you perform the ceremony, but it is to destruction: there is no real advantage in baptism outside of the Church. Petilian pleads for rebaptism because Paul rebaptized John's disciples; but, says Augustin, that is to declare John a heretic. These are two different things, as indeed Petilian himself suggests, some might say, and then gives two irrelevant passages, Matt. xii. 30, and vii. 21-23, us if the Catholics had no fellowship with Christ and were not recognized by Him. Augustin, after considering the import of these passages, avers the readiness of the Church to recognize the baptism of Christ as administered by Donatists when they return to the Church; for to deny Christ's baptism because it is administered by heretics, is to say Christ Himself should be denied, when even demons confess Him. There is a belief in God outside of the Church; the devils believe in Him outside of the Church. So there is one baptism of Christ which may exist also outside of the Church. Petilian's declaration that true baptism is where the true faith is, Augustin disproves by citing the case of the unbelieving and schismatic, yet baptized Corinthians. So all the ages of the kingdom bear witness to a like state of things. The action of Agrippinus and Cyprian on the one side, and of Stephen on the other, as to rebaptism is reviewed; differing in this, they yet maintained unity, especially Cyprian. Further, if the contact of evil men within the fellowship really defiles the good, then the Church perished in Cyprian's time; where could Donatus then have been spiritually born? If there is no such pollution, then there is no occasion to rage for separation. The origin of the schism is then denied from documentary testimony, and the charges declared to be not sustained; on the other hand, these archives prove the schismatics to have been traditors. A summary of the main points concludes his plea for the sole baptism as that of Christ. [Cp. Retractt. II. xxxiv.].

After this book against Petilian just mentioned had been finished, he wrote another work of larger proportions and with more thoroughness, in refutation of their schism, by the data of the Maximian schism, which he considered a full surrender of all their particularism. This has been styled: De Maximianistis contra Donatistas.It is lost, but noticed in the Retractations (II. xxxv.) immediately after de unica Baptismo.

At Carthage, about May 15, 411, he preached in praise of peace (Sermo ccclvii.). After its eulogy, he summons his hearers to the love of that peace; and recalls Donatists as alienated from the unity unto the concord which exists in the Church only. Patience and prayer are better means to their conquest than reproof. After the pentecostal fast he bade them exercise hospitality toward the guests who should attend the Conference.

The two edicts concerning the great Conference had been issued by Marcellinus. The Donatists had sent in their protest to the second, while the Catholic bishops sent in their acquiescence in a letter [Ep. cxxviii.], which is ascribed to Augustin's hand. It was of course written before June 1, 411, the day appointed for the opening. They agree to all the provisions for maintaining an orderly discussion; to the time and place of meeting; to the numbers to be present; to the requirement that all the delegated disputants sign their deliverances; to the countersignatures; to the order prohibiting the people from access to the Conference. If the Donatists prove the Church universal to have been lost and to be solely with them, the Catholic bishops will resign their sees; if, however, the collation prove the universality of the Church, then they suggest the recognition of the ordination and office of the Donatist clergy, and propose details for the succession in case of any jointure. The conciliatory example of Christ persuades them to this step; the peace of Christ in the Church is higher than the episcopate. The Donatist use of the civil authority against the Maximianists, and their gladness in receiving the returning schismatics without rebaptism, and without any diminution of their honors, give hope of a return to the root.

Before the meeting of the Conference, Augustin preached a sermon (No. ccclviii.) in Carthage, on peace and love, of which the main thoughts were the peace to which the Catholics cling and which they love under the persuasion of the divine testimonies; the victory of truth is love. He presents the Scripture proofs of charity and universality; the inheritance should not be divided. Donatus and Caecilian were but men, but baptism is Christ's and not man's. The charity spread abroad in the heart is a broad commandment. He invites the Donatists to share in the Church's possessions, and to be bishops along with the Catholics, and pleads for a joint fraternal recognition; the Catholics seek peace and want to build up the Church. He finally requests the people to keep aloof from the place of dispute, but invokes their prayers in its behalf.

The objection to the second edict on the part of the Donatists respecting the restriction upon the number to be present at the collation, led the Catholics to write a second letter to Marcellinus, which is most likely also from the pen of Augustin. [Ep. cxxix.]. Solicitude over the opposition is expressed; some seem disposed to present a hindrance to the peaceful progress of the Conference; and yet the writers hope that the thought and suspicion may not prove true, but that the desire of the whole body may after all be to press into the unity of the Catholic Church. Then they go on, very wrongfully in such a document, to discuss their favorite note of the universality of the Church, as the body of Christ was not stolen, so neither are His members outside of the few in Africa, dead. From Jerusalem outward was to be its progress and thence it filled the whole world. The fact that the Donatists have the very same Scriptures as the Catholics which contain these proofs of universality, fills the complainants with grief for them. The Jews who denied the resurrection rejected also the New Testament; but the Donatists receive it, and yet they deny the note of universality, and accuse the Catholics of being traditors of the sacred books. Now at the collation probably they wish to be in full numbers, in order to search completely the Scriptures; and through their innumerable testimonies they long to come en masse, not to create a tumult, but to put an end to the old discord. It is true that they have found fault with our use of the State; and yet the Scriptures vindicate such a recourse, and the Donatists themselves appealed to Constantine. The Scriptures too show the mixed character of the Church, wheat and chaff, good and bad fish, to the final harvest, the winnowing, and the further shore. Perhaps they see the wrong of their opposition to the Church. The case of the Maximianists has shown their willingness to use the power of the State and to ignore rebaptism; and probably moved by these things, they want to come in such large numbers in the interest not of tumult but of peace. They desire to show that they are not so few as their enemies report them to be. The Catholic numbers exceed in proconsular Africa, and, except in Numidia, are more numerous than in the rest of the African provinces; and most of all when one comes to compare the whole world with the few Donatists. Why, however, could not the number be just as well certified by the subscription? Even though quiet be preserved, yet at such a Conference the murmur of such a crowd will impede the progress of the work. If they are allowed to be present, the writers, nevertheless, will limit themselves to the delegation suggested by the Judge, and then no blame for disorder can attach to them. If, however, the protest has been made in behalf of unity, they all will be present joyfully to welcome the Donatists as brethren.

The Mandatum Catholicorum, a sort of voucher and letter of instruction for the disputants on the side of the State Church, was undoubtedly the product of Augustin's pen. After a preamble which attests the sufficiency of the Church through her divine proofs against all heretics and schismatics, and the desire of Church and State to settle the long pending controversy in Africa, and the duty to enlighten men as to the eternal salvation, which things had induced them to convene and to select defenders, there follows the note of the universality, which, as the great proposition, is expanded with many proof texts from the Old and the New Testament. This truth is to be defended against the Donatist assertion that the universal Church had perished through contamination with Caecilian; for the Church is a mixed society of good and evil, and not to be condemned on this account, but its unity is to be preserved by toleration. If they maintain this view, the documents concerning Caecilian's character must be examined. The contestants must prove that the Church was thus defiled, or else the evil do not defile the good in this unity. The mandate then gives Scriptural and also post-apostolic proofs on this point, especially from Cyprian, and quotes the Donatist action concerning the Maximianists. The next topic is baptism as a sacrament of Christ and not of man, and as independent of the character of the celebrant: the Maximian schism again affords material for the confutation of this Donatistic tenet. They are instructed also to use the archives to show that their opponents initiated civil appellation.

In the session of the second day, Augustin is the speaker, mainly on the matter of delay and adjournment.

In the third session, he appears as the chief disputant on the doctrinal and historical points, and also as answering the letter of the Donatists in reply to the mandate.

In a sermon preached after the close of the Conference, (Sermo ccclix. on Ecclus. xxv. 2), he exhorted all Christians to be brethren; the Catholics desire to have the Donatists unite with them in worship in the universal Church. The history of Caecilian should not affect the doctrine of the body. He claims a triumph indeed for his side and rejoices over the many who are returning to the mother Church, but candidly confesses that many harden themselves in their opposition. His exordium appeals for a restoration of brotherly harmony.

A little later in the year, probably, Augustin preached from Gal. vi. 2-5 (Sermo clxiv.), in which he rebukes those who say: "We are saints, we do not carry your burdens, therefore we do not communicate with you;" and says: "your ancestors carry burdens of separation, burdens of schism, burdens of heresy, burdens of dissension, burdens of animosity, burdens of false proofs, burdens of calumnious accusations." In your boast of non-participation in other's sins, you desert the flock, the threshing-floor and the net. The traditors who had condemned the absent Caecilian dissolved connection with the whole world. He reminds them of the Maximianists; he charges them with breaking the parables, and yet inculcates patience. The whole sermon indicates that the effect of the conference had been to embitter both sides.

Another sermon (xcix.) on Luke vii. 36, 50, was also preached about this time, in which he conceives that the Puristic noli me tangere may develop into a system for sin-pardoning, and justification and sanctification; the men of the Gesta Callationis are likely to bring about such a machine religion. Already do they say: if men do not remit sins, then what Christ says is false as to loosing on earth and in heaven. With this conception of the tendency of their tenets he further says against them, that the cleansing in baptism does not depend on the man.

In a fragment of another sermon (ccclx.), preached on the vigils of Maximian, he personates a Donatist, who has returned to the unity, thanking the Lord that the lost is found, and expressing his joy in the vine, the unity, the baptism and peace of Christ.

The authorized acts of the council of 411 were too unwieldy for either general or popular use, and a compendium framed from them was too obscure; so Augustin, about the close of 411, determined to make a digest, called the Breviculus collationis cum Donatistis. It gives the collations of the three days, but it is thoroughly disconnected without the official account, for too many links known to the actors alone are not apparent to the uninitiated; too much of what would throw light on the animus of the parties in power is passed over, and a considerable deal of the minor business necessary to the understanding of the spirit of the debate does not appear. A reader would certainly get a still more one-sided and intolerant idea of the Conference from the digest than from the Gesta. The analysis of the order of business would require a comparison with the Gesta Collationis, and that lies outside of our present purpose. [Cp. Retractt. II. xxxix.].

The decision of the Conference again stirred up a counter movement by the Circumcelliones, especially in Augustin's diocese, during which some terrible outrages were perpetrated; the presbyter Restitutus was killed; the presbyter Innocentius was clubbed and mutilated. A trial was instituted by Marcellinus and the crimes confessed. Augustin hastens to write to him [Ep. cxxxiii.], somewhere about the opening of 412 A.D., imploring that the punishment be not capital or retaliatory; restraint and labor would be just. He commends the tribune-notary's moderation in the examination, in that he did not resort to torture for extorting evidence, but only to whipping. He commands him, as bishop, not to proceed to extremity, which would be an injury to the Church, or at least to the diocese of Hippo. Since the pronouncing of the sentence presumably belonged to the proconsul, he had also indicted a letter to him.

Apringius, the proconsul, was a brother of Marcellinus. To him Augustin addressed a letter in the same interest, and at the same date. [Ep. cxxxiv.] For the use of his newly gained authority, he was accountable to God; he was also a Christian, so that Augustin felt a greater confidence in petitioning and in warning, and begs that he may regard his interference as a part of a bishop's zeal for the welfare of the Church. He repeats the story of the arrest of the Circumcelliones and Donatist clergy, the trial by Apringius's own brother, the tribune-notary, Marcellinus, and the gentleness of the hearing, in which the accused confessed their crime, especially as to the copresbyters. He now begs for a mild punishment; in the one case it cannot be strictly retaliatory; in that of the homicide he fears it may be capital punishment. Apringius must not only consider the State, but the Church, and respect her clemency. He is not only a ruler of exalted power but a son of Christian piety. Our enemies boast of persecution; we must give them no occasion for it. These acts should be read for the cure of the minds which have been perverted. If the extreme penally has to fall, spare at least the children. He implores him to imitate the patience and mildness of the Church and of Christ.

Augustin, in 412, writes to Marcellinus [Ep. cxxxix.] expressing his delight that the proceedings connected with the trial are in preparation, and for the intention of having them read in the churches of the city, and, if possible, in all the churches of his diocese. The crimes mentioned are the same as before, with added confessions of many who were in some degree abettors. These are the men who refuse to commune with the Catholic Church for fear of pollution from wicked men, and yet refuse to leave a schism debased by such a fellowship. It was a question in Marcellinus's mind whether the Gesta should be read in the Donatist church of Theoprepia in Carthage. Augustin urges it, and if it be too small, then in some other quarter, in that region of the city. Augustin pleads for a mild punishment in imitation of the clemency of the Church; however weak it may seem at the outset, men will afterward regard it with favor, and the reading of the Gesta will be more welcome and more effective by the contrast between Donatist cruelty and Catholic moderation. He speaks of the commission of the bishop Bonifacius and the bearer Peregrinus, who were empowered to treat upon some new measures for the benefit of the Church. The Donatist Bishop Macrobius was busy reopening the churches of his sect, followed by a band of both sexes. In the absence of Celer, a Donatist, his procurator, Spondeus, a Catholic, had broken their audacity. He is commended to the favorable notice of Marcellinus. While Spondeus was on a visit to Carthage, Macrobius had actually reopened the Donatist churches on the estates of Celer. He was assisted by Donatus, a rebaptized deacon and a leader in the slaughter; from which fact other outrages might be expected. Should the plea for mildness not be granted, Augustin asks that his letters urging clemency [cxxxiii. and cxxxiv.] be read along with the Gesta. At least let a remission be granted to give time for an appeal to the Emperors, for no martyrs desire their blood to be avenged by death. In apologizing for his inability to complete his work on the baptism of infants, he urges the variety of his labors; among other things he had completed the Breviculus Collationis, as a compend for those who had not the leisure to read the entire proceedings of the Conference; also a letter addressed to the Donatist laity.

The Donatists were charged with circulating the story of the bribery of the cognitor or judge of the Conference. The letter from the council of Zerta, June 14, 412, in refutation of this was written by Augustin, [Ep. cxli.] in which it is said that they had become acquainted with this rumor so easily credited by the common people. The vote of the council was to authorize a refutation of it as a falsehood. The Donatists had been convicted of mendacity in the charge which they had made and signed against the Catholics as traditors; they had also invented stories to account for the signature of an absent bishop. How can they be believed in such a charge against the cognitor? Since the acts of the Collation are so voluminous we present herewith a digest. The meeting, the election of disputants and scribes, the matter of the subscriptions, are then recapitulated. In the attempt at discussion, the whole aim of the Donatist disputants was to avoid coming to the point to be debated, while the Catholic representatives exerted themselves to reach just that goal and nothing else. When at last the Donatists were forced to the issue, they were vanquished by the clear testimony of the Scriptures to the universality of the Church. Any one separated from this unity has not life; the wrath of God abides upon him. The communion with the wicked does not defile any one by the mere participation in the sacraments, but only by agreement with their deeds. All these truths they had to acknowledge. The Catholics had prevented a confusion between the doctrinal and historical sides of the question. In the discussion of the documents, the chief offset to all the points was found in the case of the Maximianists, although the Donatists plead that a case should not be prejudged by a case, nor a person by a person. All the accusations which had been concentrated against Cæcilian they were unable to meet with proofs. Defeated men are wont to suggest such a defense as the corruption of the judge. Then says the paper in effect: If you will believe us, let us hold fast to the unity which God commands and loves. But if you are unwilling to believe us, read the proceedings themselves, or allow them to be read to you, and do you yourselves test whether what we have written to you be true. If you decline all these, and will still cleave to the Donatists, we are clear from your judgment. If you will renounce the schism, we will welcome you to the peace of Christ, and you will have the profit of that sacrament which was administered among you to judgment.

The Donatist presbyters Saturninus and Eufrates had joined the Catholic Church and maintained their rank. Augustin writes [Ep. cxlii.], c. 412 A.D., to express his joy at their arrival and bids them not to grieve at his absence, for they are now in the one Church whose note of universality he expands as the one Body of the one Head, and as the one house in all the earth; in the unity of this house we rejoice as embracive of those transmarine churches, to whom the appeal had vainly been made by the Donatists. He who lives evilly in this Church eats and drinks condemnation to himself, but whoever lives correctly, another case and another person cannot prejudge him. The Donatists had protested against the parallel proofs drawn from the Maximianists, on the ground that a case should not be prejudged by a case nor a person by a person. On the Lord's threshing-floor the chaff must be tolerated. He exhorts them to a faithful discharge of their clerical duties, especially in mercifulness and also in prayer for the removal of the schism.

The hostility of the Donatists was increased by the Collation. Their clergy charged the judge with bribery, and protested against the unfairness of the trial, the compulsion of the meeting, the unjust decision. Augustin felt compelled to write, c. 412 A.D., to the people in order to stay the fury of their leaders. The treatise is known as Ad Danatistas post Collationem. Why make such a charge? Why does Primian say, it is unworthy for the sons of the martyrs to meet in the same place with the offspring of traditors? Why did they come? Why were they unable to prove the old accusations? And how are they the sons of martyrs? The universality of the Church was demonstrated at the Conference. Donatists do not commune with the churches addressed in those epistles which they read at their services, because they say these perished by communion with the African Cæcilians, and yet they put in the plea that a case should not be prejudged by a case nor a person by a person. He meets the Cæcilian charge by the Maximianists in spite of this caveat. He represents all the New Testament churches and the East as expostulating on the basis of this very plea with the Donatists for separation from them. So the case and the person of the bad does not prejudice the case and the person of the good; they must abide together until the end. He condemns their arrogant pretense to holiness. The wicked must be tolerated in the Church, but their deeds are not to be participated in. Cyprian would not destroy the unity because bad people were in it; frequent are the examples of such forbearance in the Scriptures, and the principle was not changed after the resurrection of Christ; it continued in force in the New Testament Church; the winnowing and severance come at the end of the world. They would perhaps deny their own words as uttered in the Conference were they not written; that was the beauty of requiring subscription. They charge too that the sentence against them was pronounced in the night. Augustin playfully speaks of many good things which have been said and done in the night. He subsequently reminds them of the days in which they tried to prove the origin of heresy, and their defeat at every point of the Cæcilian history. It appears here again that the Donatists had a considerable body of acts of their own. The plea of persecution as a note of the Church and as an experience of the Donatists was one of the points urged at the conference in the Donatist reply to the Catholic mandate, and by Primian, to which we have the usual answer. Another complaint of the Donatists was that they were tried by those who had been condemned by themselves, and were compelled to unite with sinners; to which Augustin gives a little Maximianist parallel and then considers the questions of purism, the paucity of believers, the need of discipline, the fellowship of a mixed community which ought not to degenerate into a participation in the deeds of the wicked therein. These are discussed with considerable detail of quotations from the Old and New Testaments. Some who thought Cæcilian guilty would not break the unity; they imitated Cyprian. He charges their clergy with duplicity. He reminds them of the deception practiced in presenting the signature of a Donatist, who was already dead; so with regard to the show of numbers in attendance and the alleged multitude absent, and also the means adopted for securing delay, the interruptions and turnings of the debate from the true object in view. He vindicates the cognitor's method and rulings. He then renews the discussion concerning the archival origin of the schism. In conclusion he addresses them as brethren and exhorts them to love peace and unity.

The Donatists of Cirta, clergy and people, had returned to the Catholic Church and had written a letter of thanks to Augustin for his preaching, under which they had been persuaded to renounce the schism. Augustin in reply [Ep. cxliv.], probably at end of 412 A.D., says that this is not man's work, but God's. Their allusion to the conversion of the drunken and luxurious Polemo by Xenocrates, draws from him the reflection, that such a change of character, though not a Christian repentance, is, nevertheless, a work of God. So he bids them not to give thanks to himself but to God, for their return to the unity. Those who still are alienated, whether from love or fear, he charges to remember the undeceived scrutiny of God; to weigh Scripture testimony as to the universality of the Church; and the documents as to the origin of the schism. The case has been tried or not been tried by the transmarine churches; if not, then there is no existing ground for the separation; if it has, the defeated ones are the separatists. But alas! the obstacles to their persuasion are well-nigh insuperable. He hopes that the mutual desire for his visit to them may be fulfilled.

About the beginning of the year 413, appeared the book De Fide et Operibus. In Chap. iv. 6, he speaks of the need of coercion against the Donatists as disturbers of the peace of the Church, as separaters of the tares from the wheat before the time, as those who have blindly preferred to cut themselves off from the unity; commixture of evil and good is a necessity, and we ought to remain in that fellowship which is not at all destitute of discipline. [Cp. Retractt. II. xxxviii.]

Donatus, a Donatist presbyter, and another person connected with that body, had been arrested by order of Augustin about the beginning of 416 A.D. Mounted upon a beast against his will, he dashed himself to the ground and so received injuries which his less obstinate companion escaped Augustin writes [Ep. clxxiii.] to vindicate himself as concerned about the salvation of the recusants, and puts the blame of the wounds upon the offender. Donatus urged in opposition to this style of conversion that no one should be compelled to be good. Augustin claims on the other hand that many are compelled to take the good office of a bishop against their will. Donatus argues that God had given us free will, therefore a man should not be compelled even to be good. Augustin replies that the effort of a good will is to restrain and change the evil will, because of the awful results which follow a vitiated will. Why were the Israelites compelled to go to the land of promise? Why was Paul forced to turn from persecution to the embrace of the truth? Why do parents correct children? Why are negligent shepherds blamed? You are an errant sheep, with the Lord's mark upon you, and I as shepherd must save you from perishing. Of your own will you threw yourself into a well, but it would have been wicked to leave you there where you had cast yourself according to your will, and hence the attendants took you out; how much more is it a duty to save you from eternal death. Besides, it is unlawful to inflict death upon yourself. He reminds him that the Scriptures do not allow suicide; and controverts his use of I. Cor. xiii. 3, "though I give my body to be burned." Severed from charity and unity, nothing can profit, not even the surrender of the body to burning. The points of the recent joint Conference are then dwelt upon. Donatus was understood to have criticized the saying of his party as to the Maximianist parallel: do not prejudge a case by a case or a person by a person. Augustin twits him in this wise: If you object to this, then you are deceived concerning it, because you oppose your authority to theirs, and if you say it is not true, the hope of vindicating the great schism falls through entirely. He presses him to weigh all the proceedings. But Donatus objects also that the Lord did not cause the seventy to come back, and did not put a barrier in the way of the twelve when he asked, "Will ye also go away?" Augustin says that was in the beginning of Christianity; kings were not yet converted; now the State helps the Church. Our Lord said prophetically, Compel them to come in. So we hunt you in the hedges; the unwilling sheep is brought to the true pasture.

The series of Tractatus on the Gospel of John, which are ascribed to 416 A.D., contain many reflections on Donatism. We can only notice the passages:

In the Retractations, II. xlvi., we read of a book addressed to Emeritus, the Donatist bishop of Cæsarea, in the province of Mauritania Cad of a Caesariensis. [See Ep. lxxxvii.] He speaks of him as the best of the seven Donatist disputants at the Conference. The work marked briefly the lines on which the Donatists were defeated. Its title is: Ad Emeritum Donatist-arum Episcopum, post collationem, liber unus. Since the Retractations place it before De Gestis Pelagii, and De Correctione Donatistarum, it was most likely written in the beginning of 417.

Boniface had requested from Augustin a letter of instructions on the relation of the Donatists to the Arians. The bishop replies, c. 417 [Ep. clxxxv.], which he himself calls a book de Correctione Donatistarum. [Cp. Retractt. II. xlviii.]. Since this is translated in the present volume, we will omit any further notice.

The above-mentioned Emeritus was present at a Synod of the Catholics, near Deuterius, September 20, 418. At a service held two days after, Augustin preached the Sermo ad Caesariensis Ecclesiae, plebem. Emeritus was present. In the church during a previous colloquy with Augustin he had said: I cannot will what you will, but I can will what I will. Augustin in this sermon (and the writing has all the abruptness and repetition of an extempore address) urges him to will what God wills, viz., peace, and that now, in response to the cry of the people; and if you ask-why I, who call you schismatics and heretics, desire to receive you, it is because you are brethren; because you have the baptism of Christ; because I want you to have salvation: one can have everything outside the Church except salvation; he can have honor, he can have the sacraments, he can sing Allelulia, he can respond Amen, he can hold to the gospels, he can have faith in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and can preach. Persecution after all is rather of you. The failure of the archival evidence as to Cæcilian is alleged as usual, and hence no reason for separation exists. He recites too the story of the seizure, escape, reseizure, compulsory baptism and ordination of Petilian, while at the tithe a Catholic catechumen. This occurred at Constantina, when that city and region were largely Donatist. He was seized unto death, do we not draw him to salvation?Here or nowhere, says Augustin, repeating the voice of the people, is the place for peace.

There was a gathering of clergy (the bishops Alypius, Augustinus, Possidius, Rusticus, Palladius, etc., many presbyters and deacons and a considerable number of people) in the exedra of the larger church at Cæsarea, c. 418 A.D. Emeritus, the Donatist bishop of the city, was also present. Augustin addresses those devoted to the unity, and says that when he came to the city on the day before yesterday he found Emeritus returned from a journey. Augustin met him in the street and invited him to the Church, and Emeritus consented without any demur. The sermon of Augustin is full of the peace, love and related themes of the Church, in hope of winning Emeritus. He alludes to the many conversions in the city and since the collation; if Emeritus has anything new to say in defense of his side, he invites him to state it. Emeritus had been reported as affirming that at the Conference the Donatists were overcome by power rather than by truth. Augustin then addresses inquiries to Emeritus directly: as to why he had come if he was defeated at the council; or if he thought his party had triumphed, then to state the ground for such an opinion. Emeritus said: The acts show whether I am defeated or not, whether I am defeated by truth or oppressed by power. Augustin: Then why do you come? Emeritus: That I might say this very thing which you ask, and so on. Under some taunting and arrogant observations to the brethren, Emeritus keeps quiet. From Augustin's statement it appears that the Acts were read during Lent, at Thagaste, Constantina, Hippo, and all the faithful churches. Part of these Gesta are then read by Alypius, viz., the imperial convocation of the Conference, and comments are made by Augustin. Then follows his application of the lessons afforded by the Maximianist schism, in which he says the Donatists make shipwreck of all their tenets. Emeritus, however, remained a silent hearer. The account of the above meeting is given in the treatise: De Gestis cum Emerito, Caesariensi Donatistarum Episcopo liber unus. [Cp. Retractt. II. li.].

The book de Patientia is assigned to 418 A.D. In Chapter xiii. he contrasts genuine and false martyrdom.

Dulcitius had been appointed Tribune-notary. The effect of his carrying out of the renewed edicts against the Donatists was signalized by many conversions, but also by many suicides. He had written to Augustin requesting directions about how he ought to proceed against the heretics. Augustin replies [Ep. cciv.], c. 420 A.D., that his work had indeed persuaded many to return to their salvation, but others were stirred either to kill the Catholics or themselves. We indeed do desire the return of all to unity, yet some are doubtless predestinated to perish by an occult yet just decree of God. They perish not only in their own fires but in that of Gehenna. The Church grieves over them, as David over his son, although they have met the deserved punishment of rebels. Augustin does not find fault with the notary's edict at Thamugada, only with the phrase: You may know that you are to be given over to the death which you deserve; for that is not.

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