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Optatus of Milevis, Against the Donatists (1917) Book 1. pp. 1-56.



Who were the Betrayers at the Time of the Persecution. The Causes of the Schism. Where and by whom the Schism was made.

I.  The Divine Gift of Peace, bestowed upon all Christians.

One Faith,1 most honoured brethren,2 commends 3 |2 us all, who are Christians, to the keeping of Almighty God. To this Faith it appertains to believe that the Son of God, the Lord,4 shall come to judge the world----that He, who has already come, has been born, according to His Human Nature, through 5 Mary a Virgin, that He has suffered, died, and (after having been buried) has risen from the grave. |3 

Also, before ascending to Heaven, whence He had descended,6 He left behind, through His Apostles, as His parting gift,7 to all Christians, Peace.8 |4 And, lest it should seem that to His Apostles only He had left this Peace, He said:

'That which I say to you, I say to all.' 9 

And He also said:

'My peace I give unto you, My peace I leave unto you.' 10

Thus we see that Peace has been given to all Christians..

That it is God's Peace, we know, inasmuch as He says 'My Peace.' But when He says 'I give to you,' we know that He willed that it should belong not only to Himself, but to all those as well who should believe in Him,

II. This Peace was disturbed by the Schism.

If this Peace had remained whole and inviolate 11 as it was given, and had not been disturbed by the authors of the schism, there would not be any disagreement to-day between us and our brethren, nor would they be causing God inconsolable tears (as Isaiah the prophet bears witness 12), nor would they deserve the |5 name, and do the deeds, of false prophets 13; nor would they have built a crumbling and whitened wall 14; nor would they overturn simple but too credulous minds; nor would they, by wickedly imposing hands 15 upon the heads of all, place upon them the veils of destruction 16; nor would they speak evil things to God 17; nor would they re-baptise the Faithful; nor should we now be grieving for the souls which they have either destroyed or slain,----souls of the innocent, for whom God was the first to grieve, saying by the mouth of Ezekiel the prophet:

'Woe to you who place a veil over every head and over every age, for the destruction of souls. The souls of My people have been destroyed; and they spoke evil things to Me amongst My people, that they might slay souls which ought not to die, whilst they proclaim to My people their empty deceits.' 18 |6 

III.  Why Schismatics should be called Brethren.

Lest any one should say, that without thought I call them brethren, I would reply that such they are, for we cannot escape from the words of the prophet Isaiah 19; and, although they would not deny (as all men know well) that they hold us in abhorrence, and ban us utterly and are unwilling to be called our brethren,20 still we may not depart from the fear of God, for the Holy Spirit exhorts us by Isaiah the prophet, saying:

'You who fear the Word of the Lord, hear ye the Word of the Lord.
'To those who detest and curse you, and are unwilling to be called your brethren,21 say ye nevertheless:
' "You are our brethren." ' 22

They therefore are without doubt brothers, though not good brothers. Wherefore let no one marvel that I term those brothers, who are unable to escape being our brethren.23 They and we have one spiritual birth, though widely differing is our conduct.

For even Ham, who mocked undutifully at his father's shame,24 was the brother of the innocent. In |7 accordance with his deserts, he incurred the yoke of slavery, so that he----their brother----was assigned in bondage to his brethren. From this we see that, even where there is sin, the name of brotherhood is not lost.

Concerning the sins of these our brethren, I will speak in another place. For they, sitting over against us, speak 25 evil things about us.26 They consort with that Thief 27 who robs God, and share their lot with adulterers 28 (that is, with heretics), and make their sins an object of praise,29 and plan reproachful words against us Catholics.

IV. Why Optatus thought it well to undertake the task of refuting Parmenian's book.

They all----each in his own district----make a great noise with wicked words. To some of their statements I may reply when opportunity arises.30 But we have found only one with whom it is possible to discuss these matters either by correspondence, or by the exchange of treatises----Parmenian our brother, if indeed he will allow us to call him brother. Since they are unwilling to be in communion, as we are, with |8 the whole body of Bishops,31 let it be freely granted that they are not colleagues, if they refuse so to be, but (as we have already said), brothers they are.

Now, my brother Parmenian, in order that he might not speak like the rest, in a windy 32 and unconvincing manner, has not only given utterance to his opinions in speech, but has also set them down in writing. Since, then, love of truth compels us 33 to answer what he has said, we may still have some sort of conference ----even though we cannot meet together.34

By this means also the wishes of certain people will be satisfied. For many have often expressed a desire for a public discussion between champions drawn from both sides, in order to elicit the truth. And this might well have been done. At any rate, though the Donatists forbid their people to come to us, and close the way to any approach to us, and avoid a meeting,35 and refuse to speak with us, let there be a conference, my brother Parmenian, between us two in this way, that, as I have not thought little of, nor |9 despised, your treatises, which you have wished to be read and quoted by many, but on the contrary have patiently listened to everything that you have brought forward,----so do you, in your turn, attend to the reply which, with humility, I make to you.

V. The Nature of Parmenian's book.

Now I understand well, and you do not deny,----and every man, who is not a fool, will quite plainly see for himself----that you never would have written at such a length for any other purpose, excepting that you might, by your writings, strike an undeserved blow at the Catholic Church. But (as it has been given me to discover) whilst your wishes say one thing, your arguments shout another. Moreover, I perceive that not all that you have written is an argument against Catholicism.36

Indeed, though you are not a Catholic, what you say often tells in favour of the Catholic Church.37 Therefore it will only be necessary for us to answer you when through wrong information you write, not of what you have yourself seen,38 but of what you have heard from others speaking falsely (although we have read in the Epistle of Peter:

'Be ye unwilling to judge your brother without certainty ' 39). |10 

For instance, amongst other things which have no reference to us (that they have no such reference I shall prove), you say that we asked for armed troops to be employed against you.

But in other parts of your treatise there are some things which tell in our favour, and against you----such are the analogy of the Flood, and that of Circumcision.40

Some things there are which tell both for us and for you. For example, what you have written in praise of Baptism (excepting that you have said untrue things concerning the Flesh of Christ) tells in your favour 41 as well as in ours, because, although you are outside, still, from us you went forth.

It would also be in favour of both sides----if you had not joined yourselves to those who are certainly schismatics 42----that you have proved that heretics are strangers to Catholic Sacraments.43

Some things are arguments for us alone. Such is your reference to the One Church.

Some things that you have mentioned tell the wrong way for you, in consequence of your ignorance, |11 as a foreigner,44 [of the facts]----for instance, your indictment of 'Betrayers' 45 and schismatics.

The way in which you have written concerning the Sacraments and Sacrifice,46 offered by one who is in sin, also goes against you.

So, when we investigate, we discover that in reality you have brought nothing against us except your mistaken charge, that we asked to have troops employed against you. That this is a calumny we shall be able to prove to absolute demonstration. Take this calumny out of your book, and you are ours.

For what can be more to our purpose than your argument from the fact that there was only one Flood ----the type of Baptism? And, in maintaining that the one 47 Circumcision availed for the salvation of the people of the Jews, you have written in defence of our doctrine, as though you were one of us. For this is our argument, who defend the Unity of Baptism conferred in [the Name of] the Trinity.48 It is not an argument in favour of you, who dare to repeat, against |12 the laws,49 that Baptism, of which the one Flood and one Circumcision are typical. And this, although you yourselves would not deny that what has been commanded to be done once only, ought not to be repeated. But whilst you have praised with acuteness that which is worthy of all praise,50 you have by a quibble introduced your own persons, as if----since it is only lawful once [to baptise]----for you it were lawful, for others unlawful.51

If it be unlawful for Betrayers to baptise, it cannot be lawful for you, for we can prove that your first fathers were Betrayers.

If it be unlawful for schismatics to baptise, it must therefore be unlawful for you, for you originated the Schism.

If it be unlawful for sinners to baptise, we can prove from divine testimony that you are sinners also.

Finally, since the validity of Baptism does not depend upon the character of the man who has been chosen to baptise, but upon an act which lawfully is done but once, for this reason we do not set right 52 baptisms which have been administered by you, |13 because both amongst us and amongst you the Sacrament is one.53

The whole nature of this Sacrament we shall set forth in our fifth book.

VI. The arguments set forth in Parmenian's treatise.

My brother Parmenian, you have indeed treated of many things, but I see that I must not answer you point by point, in the same order as that which you have employed. For you have written in the first place of the figures and praise of Baptism. Here (with the exception of your error concerning the Flesh of Christ) you have written well. But this, however, tells in our favour, as we shall show in its proper place.

Secondly, you have maintained that there is only One Church, from which heretics are shut out. You have, however, been unwilling to recognise where this One Church is to be found.

Thirdly, you have denounced the 'Betrayers' without fixing names or describing persons.

Fourthly, you have attacked the makers of Unity.54

Fifthly (to pass over matters of but trifling |14 importance), you have written about the Sacraments and Sacrifice of a sinner.

VII. The division of this work and the contents of its several books.

But it seems to me that in the first place the cities, positions, and names of the Betrayers and schismatics should be pointed out.55 In this way the true authors of the crimes, concerning which you have written, may be convicted of their certain guilt.

Secondly,56 I shall have to say which is the Church, or where is to be found the One Church----which is the Church----because, besides the One Church, there is no other.

Thirdly, I shall prove that we did not ask for the troops and that what is said to have been done by the makers of Unity does not concern us.

In the fourth place, I shall show who is the sinner whose sacrifice God repudiates, or from whose Sacraments 57 we must flee.

Fifthly, I shall treat of Baptism; and in the sixth place of your ill-considered assumptions and mistakes.

VIII. The Flesh of Christ is not sinful.

But before I say anything of these subjects separately, I shall show briefly that you have spoken wrongfully 58 of the Flesh of Christ, for you have said that the Flesh which was drowned by the floods of |15 the Jordan, and was thus cleansed from all stains, was the Flesh of Sin. You might have said this with reason if the Baptism of the Flesh of Christ had sufficed for all, so that it were not necessary for any man to be baptised for himself. Had this been so, the whole human family would have been in the Jordan, and all that which is born in the flesh would have been there. In that case there would have been no difference between the Faithful and any one of the heathen, for flesh belongs to them all; and since there is no man who is without flesh, if, according to your mode of expression, the Flesh of Christ was drowned in the waters of the Jordan, the flesh of all men would have gained this benefit. But the Flesh of Christ is one thing in Christ----quite another is the flesh of each man in himself. What came over you to call the Flesh of Christ sinful? Would that you had said 'the flesh of men in the Flesh of Christ.' But even thus, you would have spoken without reason,59 since each believer is baptised in the Name of Christ, not in the Flesh of Christ, which belonged to Himself exclusively. I may add that His Flesh, which was conceived by the Holy Ghost, could not be washed, amongst others, for the remission of sins, for It was without any sin.60 You have gone on to say that It was drowned in the floods of the Jordan.61 This word drowned, you have used inadvisedly enough, for it is a word which should be used only of Pharaoh and his people, who were so drowned by the weight |16 of their offences, as to remain, like lead, beneath the waters. But the Flesh of Christ, when It went down into and came up from the Jordan, ought not to have been spoken of by you as drowned. His Flesh was found to be more holy than the very Jordan, so that rather did It cleanse the water by Its entrance, than Itself was cleansed.

IX. Mention of Heretics made by Parmenian to no good purpose.

Moreover, I cannot pass over a matter in which I think you have acted craftily. In order that you might lead the minds of your readers off the point, or deceive them, after you had described Circumcision and the Flood, and after you had praised Baptism, you thought fit to raise, as it were from the dead, heretics who were already dead and, together with their heresies, buried in oblivion----and this although not only their errors, but even their names, were unknown throughout Africa----Marcion, Praxeas, Sabellius, Valentinus, and the rest up to the Cataphrygae, all of whom were confuted in their time by Victorinus of Pettau,62 by Zephyrinus of Rome,63 by Tertullian of Carthage, and by other champions of the Catholic Church.64 Why, then, do you wage a war with the dead, who have nothing to do with the affairs |17 of our time? For no reason, excepting that you, who are a schismatic of to-day, having nothing that you can prove against Catholics, have been pleased to enumerate so many heretics and their heresies, to spin out your somewhat wordy treatise.

X. The distinction between heretics and schismatics.

Now there is another question: For what purpose have you mentioned those who have not the Sacraments which you and we alike possess? 65 Sound health does not clamour for medicine; strength which is secure in itself does not need outside help; truth has no lack of arguments; it is the mark of a sick man to seek remedies; it is the sign of a sluggard and a weakling to run in search of auxiliaries; it belongs to a liar to rake up arguments.66 |18 To return to your book, you have said 67 that the Endowments 68 of the Church cannot be with heretics, and in this you have said rightly,69 for we know that the churches of each of the heretics have no lawful Sacraments, since they are adulteresses, without the rights of honest wedlock,70 and are rejected by Christ, who is the Bridegroom of One Church,71 as strangers.72 This He Himself makes clear in the Canticle of Canticles. When He praises One,73 He condemns the others because, besides the One which is the true Catholic Church, the others amongst the heretics are thought to be churches, but are not such.74 Thus He declares in the Canticle of Canticles (as we have already pointed out) that His Dove is One, and that |19 she is also 75 the chosen Spouse, and again 76 a garden enclosed, and a fountain sealed up.77

Therefore none of the heretics possess either the Keys, which Peter alone received,78 or the Ring,79 with which we read that the Fountain 80 has been sealed 81; nor is any heretic one of those to whom that Garden |20 belongs in which God plants His young trees.82 Concerning these men, that which you have written at length (although it has nothing to do with our present business) is abundantly sufficient.

But to my surprise you have thought good to attach yourselves to those who certainly are schismatics, for in denying the Endowments of the Church both to those who are heretics, and also to schismatics, you have denied them to yourselves.

Amongst other things you have said that schismatics have been cut off, like branches, from the Vine, and that they have been reserved, marked off for punishment, like dried wood, for the fires of Hell.

But I see that you do not yet know that the Schism at Carthage was begun by your fathers. Search out the beginning of these affairs, and you will find that in associating heretics with schismatics, you have pronounced judgement against yourselves.

For it was not Caecilian 83 who went forth from Majorinus, your father's father,84 but it was Majorinus who deserted Caecilian; nor was it Caecilian who separated himself from the Chair of Peter,85 or from |21 the Chair of Cyprian 86 ----but Majorinus,87 on whose Chair you sit----a Chair which had no existence 88 before Majorinus himself. Since then there can be no possible doubt that these things have thus happened, and that you are the heirs of Betrayers and schismatics, I am, my brother Parmenian, sufficiently surprised----seeing that you are yourself a schismatic----that you should have thought it advisable to join schismatics to heretics. If, however, these are your principles, and you wish to do so, heap up together 89 what you have laid down only a little before. For you have said that 'It could not be that one who was stained should wash away sins in a baptism-that-is-not-Baptism,90 that one who is unclean should cleanse, that one who trips men up 91 should raise them, that one who is lost should free, |22 that one who is guilty should give pardon, that one who has been condemned should absolve.' 92

All these things might well be true of heretics alone, since they have falsified the creed,93 for amongst them one has said that there are two Gods,94 though God is One; another wishes the Father to be recognised in the Person of the Son 95; another robs the Son of God of His Flesh,96 through which the world has been reconciled to God, and there are yet others of the same kind, who admittedly are separated from Catholic Sacraments.97 Wherefore you should regret that you have coupled schismatics with such men as these, for, when you thought that you were attacking others, you failed to observe how wide is the gulf between schismatics and heretics, and turned the sword of judgement upon yourself. |23

This is the reason that you do not see which is the Holy Church,98 and have in this way made confusion of everything.99

XI. The marks of the Catholic Church, and of Schism.

Catholicism is constituted by a simple and true understanding in the law,100 by an unique and most true mystery,101 and by unity of minds. But schism, after the bond of peace has been broken, is brought into existence through passion, is nourished by hatred, is strengthened by envy and dissensions, so that the Catholic Mother is abandoned, whilst her unfilial children go forth outside and separate themselves (as you have done) from the root of Mother Church----cut off by the shears of their hatred----and wickedly depart in rebellion. They are not able, however, to do anything new, or different 102 from that which long ago they learned from their Mother. |24 

XII. To return to the difference between heretics and schismatics.

But heretics, exiles from the truth, deserters of the sound and most true Creed,103 corrupted by their wicked opinions and led astray from the bosom of Holy Church, reckoning nothing of their noble birth, in order to deceive the ignorant and ill-informed, have been pleased to be born of themselves. And they, who for a long time had been nourished on living food----which not assimilated has turned to corruption 104 ----have by impious disputations vomited forth deadly poisons, to the destruction of their wretched dupes.

You see, then, my brother Parmenian, that none but heretics only----who are cut off from the home of truth----possess 'various kinds of false Baptisms with which he, who is stained, cannot wash, nor the unclean cleanse, nor the destroyer raise, nor he, who is lost, free, nor the guilty man give pardon, nor the condemned man absolve.' 105

Rightly hast thou closed the Garden to heretics; rightly hast thou claimed the Keys for Peter 106; rightly hast thou denied the right of cultivating the young trees to those who are certainly shut out 107 from the |25 garden and from the paradise of God 108; rightly hast thou withdrawn the Ring from those to whom it is not allowed to open the Fountain. But to you schismatics, although you are not in the Catholic Church,109 these things 110 cannot be denied, since you have shared true Sacraments with us.111

Wherefore, since all these things are justly denied to heretics, why did you think well to deny them to yourselves as well, who clearly are schismatics, for you have gone outside? For our part we were willing that in this matter heretics alone should be condemned, but so far as lies with you, you have chosen to strike yourselves, together with them, in one condemnation.112

XIII. The originators of the Donatist schism were Betrayers.

But now (to return to the order upon which we have determined), in the first place listen to the names of those who were Betrayers and learn more distinctly who were the originators of the schism. It is certain that two evil things have been perpetrated in Africa----even the worst of all 113 ----the first----Betrayal, the second----Schism. Both these crimes were committed, in one period of time, by the same wicked men. |26 

You ought, therefore, my brother Parmenian, to learn that of which you are understood to be ignorant; for sixty years and more have passed since the storm of persecution spread abroad throughout the whole of Africa 114 ----a persecution which made some Martyrs, others Confessors, whilst not a few it laid low in a terrible death,115 leaving unharmed those who lay in hiding.

Why should I make mention of laymen who at that time were supported by no ecclesiastical dignity? Why name a host of clerics 116? Or deacons in the third,117 or priests in the second degree of the sacerdotium, when the heads and chiefs of all,118 some Bishops of that |27 period,119 in order to purchase for themselves, at the loss of Life Eternal, some very short prolongation of this uncertain day, impiously betrayed the records 120 of the law of God? Amongst whom were Donatus of Mascula, Victor of Rusicca, Merinus from the Baths of Tibilis, Donatus of Calama, and Purpurius of Limata, the murderer 121 ----who, when he was questioned on the charge of having killed his sister's sons in the prison of Mileum,122 confessed it with the words: 'Yes, I did kill them, and not them alone do I kill, but whoever shall act against me.' And Menalius who pretended that he had a pain in his eyes, and trembled at the idea of meeting his own people,123 for fear lest it should be proved against him by his fellow-citizens that he had offered incense to idols.

XIV. The acts of the Council of Cirta.

After the persecution, these Bishops and others whom we shall soon show to have been the first leaders of your schism, gathered together on the thirteenth of |28 May 124 at the town of Cirta 125 ----in the house of Urbanus Carisius----for the Basilicas had not yet been restored. This is attested by the writings of Nundinarius,126 then a deacon, and is proved by the age of the parchments, which I can show to anyone really in doubt, for in the Appendix to these books I have subjoined the whole number 127 of these documents to certify the truth of my statements. These Bishops, on being questioned by Secundus of Tigisis, acknowledged that they had been Betrayers.128 And, as Secundus 129 himself was taunted by Purpurius not for having escaped, but for having been set free after he had remained for a long time amongst the soldiers, they all stood up 130 |29 and began to mutter that he had been set free only because he betrayed the sacred books. Then Secundus, fearing their temper, received advice from his brother's son, Secundus the Less, to remit an affair of this character to God. 131 The others, who had not been accused, that is to say, Victor of Garba, Felix of Rotarium and Nabor of Centurio, were then consulted. They said that a case of this kind ought to be reserved to the Lord. Then said Secundus 'Sit down all.' They all replied 'Thanks be to God,' and sat down. You see, therefore, my brother Parmenian, that it is quite clear who were the Betrayers.

XV. The schism took its rise from the consecration of Majorinus.

It was not long after this, that these very persons whom I have mentioned, of the character I have described, Betrayers, men who had offered incense to idols, and murderers,132 proceeded to Carthage, and there, although Caecilian was already the Bishop, made the Schism by consecrating Majorinus----on whose Chair, Parmenian, you sit. And since I have shown, that men who were guilty of Betrayal were your first fathers, it follows that Betrayers were also the originators of your Schism. |30 

In order to make this matter clear and beyond doubt to all, we shall have to prove from what root the branches of error have stretched themselves forth to the present day, and from what fountain this your rivulet of noxious water,133 creeping stealthily along, has flowed down even to our times. We shall have to point out whence, and where, and from whom this evil of schism has arisen; what were the causes which met together 134 to produce it; who were the persons who effected it 135; who were the authors of this wicked thing; who fostered it; by whom appeal was made to the Emperor, that he should judge between the parties; who were they that sat in judgement; where the Council was held; what were its decrees.

The question is about a Division. Now in Africa, as in other parts of the world, the Church was One, before it was divided by those who consecrated Majorinus----whose Chair you have inherited, and now occupy.136 We shall have to see who has remained in the root, with the whole world 137; who went forth; who sits on a second chair, which had no existence before the Schism 138; who has raised altar against altar; who has consecrated a Bishop when another was in undisturbed possession; who it is that lies under the judgement of John, the Apostle, when he declared that many Anti-Christs should go forth without,

'because they were not of us, for if they had been of us they would have remained with us.' 139 |31 

Therefore, he who was unwilling to remain with his brethren in unity 140 has followed the heretics, and gone forth without, as an Anti-Christ.

XVI. The quarrel of Lucilla against Caecilian.

No one is unaware that the Schism, after the consecration of Caecilian, was effected at Carthage through a certain mischief-making woman named Lucilla. When the Church was still in tranquillity, before her Peace had been disturbed by the storms of persecution, this woman could not put up with the rebuke which she received from the archdeacon Caecilian. It was said that she kissed a bone of some martyr or other----if he was a martyr----before she received the spiritual Food and Drink. Having then been corrected for thus touching----before she touched the Sacred Chalice----the bone of a dead man (if he was a martyr, at least he had not yet been acknowledged as such 141), she went away in confusion, full of wrath. This was the woman upon whom, whilst she was angry and afraid that she might fall under the discipline of the Church, on a sudden, the storm of persecution broke.

XVII. Mensurius when summoned to the court entrusted the ornaments of the Church to certain seniors.

It was at this time also that a deacon called Felix who had been summoned before the tribunals on account of a much spoken-of letter which he had |32 written concerning the usurping Emperor, 142 fearing his danger, is said to have lain hidden in the house of Bishop Mensurius. When Mensurius publicly refused to give him up, an account of the matter was despatched. A rescript came back that unless Mensurius would surrender the deacon Felix, he should be himself sent to the palace.143 On receiving this summons 144 he found himself in no small difficulty, for the Church possessed very many gold and silver ornaments, which he could neither hide under ground, nor take away with him. So he confided them to the care of some of the seniors, whom he believed to be worthy of trust, not, however, before he had made an inventory, which he is said to have given to a certain old woman. He charged her, that, when peace was restored to Christians, she should hand this over, if he himself did not return home, to whomsoever she found sitting on the Bishop's Chair. He went away and pleaded his cause; he was commanded to return, but was not able to reach Carthage.145

XVIII. The Consecration of Caecilian as Bishop of Carthage. The cause and the beginning of the Schism.

The storm of persecution passed over, and subsided. By the disposition of God, Maxentius sent pardon, and liberty was restored to Christians. Botrus and Celestius----so it is said----wishing to be consecrated Bishops at Carthage, arranged that, without inviting 146 |33 the Numidians, only the neighbouring bishops should be asked to perform the ceremony at Carthage.147 Then, by the vote of the whole people, Caecilian was chosen, and was consecrated Bishop, Felix of Autumna laying his hand upon him. Botrus and Celestius were disappointed of their hope. The inventory of the gold and silver, as had been ordered by Mensurius, was handed over, in the presence of witnesses, to Caecilian, who was now in possession of the See. The above-mentioned seniors were summoned; but they had swallowed up in the jaws of their avarice, as booty, that which had been entrusted to their keeping. When they were commanded to make restitution, they withdrew from communion with Caecilian. The ambitious intriguers, who had failed to obtain their consecration, did likewise. Lucilla, too, that influential, mischief-making woman,148 who had before been unwilling to brook discipline, together with all her retainers, separated herself from her Bishop. Thus wickedness produced its effect through the meeting together 149 of three different causes and sets of persons. |34 

XIX. The unlawful consecration by Numidian bishops of Majorinus against Caecilian.

In this way it came to pass, that at that time the Schism was brought to birth by the anger of a disgraced woman, was fed by ambition, and received its strength from avarice.150

It was by these three that the accusations were concocted against Caecilian, so that his Consecration might be declared void. They sent to Secundus of Tigisis 151 to come to Carthage, whither the Betrayers, of whom we have already made mention, proceeded. They received hospitality----not from Catholics, at whose request Caecilian had been consecrated 152 ----but |35 from the avaricious, from the ambitious, from those who had been unable to govern their tempers. Not one of them went to the Basilica, where all the people of Carthage had assembled with Caecilian.153 Then Caecilian demanded:

'If there is anything to be proved against me, let the accuser come out and prove it.'

Nothing could at that time be got up against him by all these enemies of his; they imagined, however, that he might be blackened by his Consecrator being falsely alleged to have been a Betrayer. So Caecilian gave a second demand----that, since----so they thought ----Felix had bestowed nothing upon him, they should themselves ordain him, as if he were still a deacon.154 |36 

Then Purpurius, relying upon his usual ribaldry, thus spoke, as though Caecilian had been his sister's son 155:

'Let him stand forth as if he were to be consecrated Bishop, and let his head be well smacked in Penance.' 156

When the bearing of all this was seen, the whole Church [of Carthage] retained Caecilian, in order not to hand itself over to murderers. 157

The alternatives were, either that he should be expelled from his See as guilty, or that the Faithful should communicate with him as innocent.

The church was crowded with people; Caecilian was sitting in his episcopal Chair; the altar was set up in its own place 158 ----that very altar upon which |37 Bishops acknowledged by all 159 had in past times offered sacrifice----Cyprian, Carpophorius,160 Lucian and the rest.

In this manner they went forth,161 and altar was raised against altar; and there was an unlawful consecration; and Majorinus, who had been lector when Caecilian was archdeacon 162 ----Majorinus, a member of the household of Lucilla----at her instigation, and through her bribes----was consecrated Bishop by Betrayers, who in the Numidian Council had (as we have already said) acknowledged their crimes and granted pardon to one another. It is, therefore, clear that both the Betrayers who consecrated, and Majorinus who was consecrated, went forth from the Church.163

XX. The letter of the Numidiau Bishops against Felix, the consecrator of Caecilian.

Meanwhile, out of the fountain of their own crimes, which had gushed forth amongst them in channels 164 of many kinds of wickedness, they thought that a single one----that of Betrayal----might be spared 165 with which to calumniate the consecrator of Caecilian. For, since, as they foresaw, slander would not be able to occupy herself at the same time with two charges of a similar |38 nature, they endeavoured to blacken the life of another man, that by this means they might consign their own crimes to silence. And, through fear that they should themselves be convicted by the innocent, they strove to convict the innocent instead. To this end they distributed on all sides a letter,166 inspired by their hatred.167 (This letter we have placed, together with the other Acts, in the Appendix.168)

As they were still at Carthage, they sent their letters before them,169 that by untruthful reports they might plant their falsehood in the ears of all. Rumour spread the lie broadcast amongst the people. Thus, whilst these calumnies were noised abroad about one man only, their own most certain crimes were hidden away in silence.

It often comes to pass that sin is blushed for, but at that period there was no one for whom to blush, since, with the exception of a few Catholics, all had sinned,170 so the wickedness which had been committed by many wore the cloak of innocence. The shame of Betrayal, which admittedly had been committed by Donatus of Mascula and the others whom we have mentioned, seemed but of small account. To this Betrayal they added the enormous wickedness of schism.171

XXI. How grave is the evil of Schism, of which the Donatists are guilty.

Therefore, my brother Parmenian, you see these two accusations----so evil, so terrible----of Betrayal and |39 Schism proved against your chiefs. Acknowledge, though late, that you, in attacking others, have fallen upon your own people. And whilst it is certain that those who went before you worked this second abomination, you too strive to follow them in their sin-stained footsteps, so that you also have been doing for long, and are even now doing, that of which your Fathers were guilty in the beginning of the Schism.172 They in their day broke peace; you now banish unity.173 It can be said with reason of your Fathers as well as of yourselves, that, if the blind lead the blind, both fall into the ditch.174 A raging malice blinded your Fathers' eyes; envy has robbed yours of sight. Even you will not by any means be able to deny that schism is the supreme evil.175

Yet, without fear, you have imitated Dathan, Abiram and Koran, your shameless teachers,176 and you have been unwilling to keep before your eyes the fact that God has both forbidden this wickedness, and gravely punished it when it has been committed. Moreover, remember that the way in which sins are either forgiven or punished shows that there are degrees of guilt.

Now, by the Commandments of God, three things are, amongst others, forbidden by Him. Thou shalt |40 not kill; thou shalt not go after 177 strange gods, and summing up the commands,178 thou shalt not commit schism.

Let us see concerning these three, what should be punished, and what it may be lawful to pardon.

Murder of kith is the chief sin.179 Nevertheless, God did not strike Cain dead in his guilt, but declared that He would punish any man who might be his murderer. In the city of Nineve one hundred and twenty thousand inhabitants sacrilegiously followed after strange gods, but when, by the preaching of Jonah the prophet, God had declared His anger, a short period of fasting, together with prayer, obtained their pardon. Let us see whether any such forgiveness was granted to those who first of all ventured to divide the people of God.180

God had placed over so many thousands of children of Israel, from whose necks His Divine Providence had cast away the yoke of servitude, one Priest, holy Aaron. But his ministers, coveting and lawlessly usurping a priesthood to which they had no right, and |41 leading astray a part of the people, imitated the sacred rites, and placed more than two hundred of their followers (who were to perish with them)----censers in their hands----before the people whom they had led astray. God, to whom schism is displeasing, could not see this and let it pass; they had, after a certain fashion, declared war against God, as if there were a second God,181 who would accept a second sacrifice. Therefore God was wrathful with a mighty wrath, on account of the schism which had been made, and what He had not done in punishment of the sacrilegious and the fratricide,182 that He did do in punishment of schismatics. The army of ministers stood in array, and the sacrilegious host that (together with its forbidden sacrifices) was to perish in an instant. The opportunity for penance was denied them and withdrawn, for this was not the kind of sin that should deserve pardon. The earth was commanded to hunger after its food. Forthwith it opened its jaws for those who had divided the people, and with eager mouth swallowed them up that had despised the commandments of God. Within the space of one moment the earth opened to devour them, seized her victims, was shut once again, and, so that they might not appear to reap any benefit from the suddenness of their death, it was not allowed these men who were unworthy to live even to die. Of a sudden they were shut in the prison of Hell, and were buried there before they died.

And yet you wonder that something of similar severity has been done against you----you who either cause or approve schism, although you see here what |42 they, who compassed the first schism, deserved to suffer! Or is it because punishment of this kind has now ceased, that on this account you claim innocence for yourself and for your party? In each of these occurrences, God has set forth a model by examples 183 of the punishment that will come to their imitators. The first sins He has put an end to with punishment, as an example for all time. The sins that come after He will reserve for His Judgement. What have you to say to this, you, who having usurped the name of the Church, both secretly foster and without shame defend the schism?

XXII. The Letter of the Donatist Bishops to the Emperor Constantine, in which they ask for judges of their case.

I hear that some of your party, in their love of disputation, produce documents. But we have to ask which of these are worthy of trust, which are in accordance with reason, which agree with the truth 184? It may be that your documents----if indeed you have any----will be found to be stained with falsehoods. Our documents are proved to be true by the rival arguments and pleadings of the parties, by the final judgements, and by the letters of Constantine.

With regard to that which you ask of us:

'What have Christians to do with kings, or Bishops with the palace?'

If it be a crime 185 to be acquainted with kings, the whole of the odium falls upon you, for your |43 fathers Lucianus, Dignus, Nasutius, Capito, Fidentius and the rest, when the Emperor Constantine was still without any knowledge of these affairs, addressed a petition to him, of which I will transcribe a copy 186:

'O Constantine, most excellent Emperor, since thou dost come of a just stock, and thy father (unlike other Emperors) did not persecute Christians,187 and Gaul is free from this wickedness, we beseech thee that thy piety may command that we be granted judges from Gaul; for between us and other Bishops in Africa disputes have arisen; Given by Lucianus, Dignus, Nasutius, Capito, Fidentius and the rest of the Bishops who adhere to Donatus.' 188 |44 

XXIII. The answer of Constantine. He appointed Judges to meet at Rome.

After having read this letter, Constantine replied with much anger. And in his rescript he testified to the matter of their petition in the words:

'You ask a judgement from me in this world, although I myself am waiting for the Judgement of Christ in the next.' 189 |45 

Nevertheless, he granted them judges----Maternus from the city of Cologne, Reticius from the city of Autun, Marinus of Aries. These three Bishops from Gaul and fifteen others, who were Italians, arrived in Rome. They met in the House of Fausta on the Lateran, on the second of October which was a Friday, in the year when Constantine for the fourth, and Licinius for the third time, were Consuls.190

There were present Miltiades,191 Bishop of the city of Rome, and Reticius, Maternus and Marinus, Bishops from Gaul, and Merocles of Milan, Florianus of Sinna, Zoticus of Quintianum, Stennius of Ariminum, Felix from Florence of the Tuscans, Gaudentius of Pisa, Constantius of Faenza, Proterius of Capua, Theophilus of Beneventum, Sabinus of Terracina, Secundus of Preneste, Felix of the Three Taverns, Maximus of Ostium, Evandrus of Ursinum and Donatianus of Criolo.

XXIV. The acquittal of Caecilian by the Roman Council.

When these nineteen Bishops had taken their seats together, the case of Donatus and that of Caecilian were brought forward. This judgement was passed against Donatus 192 ----by each of the Bishops----that he |46 acknowledged having both rebaptised, and laid his hand in Penance upon Bishops who had fallen away---- |47 a thing foreign to the Church.193 Donatus brought forth his witnesses; they admitted that they had nothing of which they could accuse Caecilian. Caecilian was pronounced innocent by the sentence of all the above-named Bishops; also by the sentence of Miltiades, by which the matter was closed, and judgement pronounced in these words 194: |48 

'Since it is certain that those who came with Donatus have failed to accuse Caecilian in accordance with their undertaking, and since it is also certain that Donatus has not proved him guilty on any count, I judge that, according to his deserts, he be maintained in the |49 communion of the Church, continuing to hold his position unimpaired.' 195

XXV. How Constantine received the appeal of Donatus from the Roman judgement.

It is, therefore, sufficient, that Donatus was condemned by the verdict of so many Bishops, and that Caecilian was cleared by the judgement of so great an authority.196 Yet Donatus thought well to appeal. To this appeal the Emperor Constantine replied in these words:

'Oh, mad daring of their fury! A Bishop has thought fit to appeal to us, as is done in the lawsuits of the Pagans.' 197

XXVI. What took place in Africa after the Roman Synod.

At the same time Donatus also asked that he might be allowed to return, and promised that he would not go to Carthage.198 Then it was suggested to the Emperor |50 by Filuminus his advocate,199 that, for peace' sake, Caecilian should be detained at Brescia----and so it was done.200 Then two Bishops were sent to Africa, Eunomius and Olimpius, to do away with the dual Bishops and establish a single one.201 They came, and remained at Carthage forty days, that they might declare where was the Catholic Church.202 The seditious party of Donatus could not endure this, and every day noisy uproars were made through party spirit.

Eventually these Bishops, Eunomius and Olimpius, delivered their final decree to the effect that the Catholic Church 203 was that which was dispersed all over |51 the world, and that the Judgement of the nineteen |52 Bishops which had already been delivered could not be upset.204 Accordingly they communicated with the |53 clergy of Caecilian, and went their way. All this we can prove from the written Acts which any who please may read in our Appendix.205 When these things had taken place, Donatus was the first to return to Carthage, unasked. Caecilian, on hearing this news, hastened back to his own people. In this way the schism was planted anew. But the fact remains that so many Bishops had by their Judgement condemned Donatus, and had also pronounced the innocence of Caecilian.

XXVII. The clearing of Felix, the Consecrator of Caecilian.

But since two persons on the Catholic side had been for some time accused in this matter----the consecrated and the Consecrator----even after the consecrated had been acquitted at Rome, it still remained for the Consecrator to be declared guiltless. Then Constantine wrote to Aelianus, the pro-consul, to lay |54 aside his public duties and make public inquiry into the life of Felix of Autumna.206

The appointed officer took his seat. The witnesses were Claudius Saturianus,207 a state commissioner, who had been in the city of Felix all through the time of the persecution, and had been a commissioner when he was impeached, Callidius Gratianus and Alfius Caecilianus the magistrate; also Superius the Warder was summoned, and Ingentius the public notary, who was in constant fear of the torture with which he was threatened. By the evidence of all it was ascertained that there was nothing that could disgrace the life of Felix the Bishop.208

The Volume of Acts is in existence in which are recorded the names of those who had been present at the trial, Claudius Saturianus the official, and Caecilianus the Magistrate, and Superius the Warder, and Ingentius the Notary, and Solon a public official of the time. After they had given their replies, the above-mentioned pro-consul gave his Judgement, of which this is a part: |55 

'That Felix, the holy Bishop, is guiltless of having burned the divine Books,209 is clear from the fact that no one was able to prove anything against him----neither that he had given up nor burned the most sacred Scriptures. For all the above-mentioned witnesses proved clearly that none of the divine Writings had been either discovered, or injured or burned. It is shown by the Acts that the holy Bishop Felix was not present at that time, and that he was neither privy to any such crime, nor commanded it to be done.'

And so he left the court, cleared of every stain upon his reputation and wonderfully praised. Up to that time men did not know what to think of him, and he had walked under a dark cloud, caused by the breath of hatred and jealousy, whilst truth lay hid. And besides, every document, mentioned either in the Acts or in the letters which we have mentioned or read, was disclosed.210

XXVIII. The end of this First Book.

You see, my brother Parmenian, that you have assaulted Catholics to no purpose----falsely nicknaming them Betrayers, changing the names of those who were concerned, and transferring their deeds. You have shut your eyes, that you might not recognise the guilt of your fathers; you have opened them to cast accusations upon the innocent and blameless.211 You have stated everything according to what is opportune, |56 nothing according to what is true; so that it was of you that the most Blessed Apostle Paul said:

'Some have turned aside to vain-speaking, desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor of whom they say it.' 212

We have just now proved that your fathers 213 were Betrayers and schismatics; yet you, who are their heir, have not wished to spare either schismatics or Betrayers, so that by the proofs which we have alleged, all the darts which you mistakenly wished to hurl against others have glanced back----warded off by the shield of truth----to strike your fathers. Everything, then, which you have been able to say against Betrayers and schismatics, belongs to yourselves, for we have nothing to do with any of it,----we who both remain in the Root, and are joined, with all, in the whole [Catholic] 214 world.

[Footnotes moved to the end and renumbered]

1. 1 Cunctos nos Christianos, clarissimi fratres, Omnipotenti Deo fides una commendat. With these striking words St. Optatus opens his work against the Donatists. Fides una----the One Faith, untainted by any specific heresy. St. Optatus insists more than once, with emphasis, that he does not charge those against whom he writes with heresy (sin against faith), but with schism (sin against unity) (cf. i, 9; i, 12; iii, 9; v, i), and complains (i, 10) that Parmenian paid no attention to this essential distinction. St. Augustine, however, in his second Book against Cresconius explains the reasons why the Donatists of his time deserved to be called heretics, and in his Book on Heresies he hardly ever gives them any other name, explaining at length that their schism had now become a heresy. In this it did but follow a usual law. 'Haeresis scisma inveteratum.' These are the words of St. Augustine, and St. Jerome writes to the same effect: (Ep. ad Tit. iii) 'An erroneous doctrine constitutes heresy; schism is separation from, the Church, through the departure of a Bishop (or of Bishops). But there is no schism which fails to frame for itself some heresy, that it may form a pretext for having departed from the Church.' St. Augustine tells us further that Donatus the Great was heretical about the Trinity, though the fact was generally unknown to his followers. He also writes (Ep. clxiii) that he had heard that the Arians had endeavoured to make common cause with Donatists in Africa.

2. 2  fratres. St. Optatus will proceed immediately to justify himself at considerable length for terming the Donatists his brethren, notwithstanding the fact that they were schismatics, and therefore his 'separated brethren' (i, 3; cf. iv, 1; iv, 2). So also St. Augustine: 'Quotidie enim quibusdam non nobiscum in una Ecclesia, nec in iisdem Sacramentis constitutis, dicimus, Frater. Sodomitis etiam dixit Loth, Fratres (Gen. xix, 7), utique ad leniendum eorum animositatem, non ad cognitam fraternitatem, quasi unius haereditate consortium.' (Gesta Collationis Carthag. diei iii, ccxlii). Cf. Aug. cont. Parm. iii, 2.

3. 3  commendat. Ziwsa says that commendat here = tutelae Dei mandat (cf. the prayer of the Church, e.g. in Fest. S. Antonii, 'Intercessio nos, quaesumus Domine, beati Antonii Abbatis commendet'). Casaubon thinks that it means either: 'One Faith approves us all, who are Christians, to Almighty God' (i.e. makes us pleasing to Him); or 'One Faith proves that, in the sight of Almighty God, we all are Christians.' (Cf. S. August. Brev. Coll. iii, 10: 'Donatistae Scripturarum testimonio unam Ecclesiam commendaverant.' The Donatists had proved by the witness of the Scriptures that the Church is One.) It must, however, be admitted that it is not possible to produce a passage, at least from the works of St. Augustine, in which commendare is vised in this sense with the Dative, as above Omnipotenti Deo.)

4. 1 Ziwsa following G reads Filium Dei Dominum. PRBvb have Filium Dei Deum.

5. 2 G reads ex. All the other MSS. have per.

6. 1  Cf. John iii, 13.

7. 2  Itoriam P. Storiam RB. Victricem G. This last reading is evidently a desperate, though brilliant guess ('He bequeathed victorious peace'). It is, however, adopted by Du Pin, who observes that it seems impossible to translate storiam. Ziwsa reads storiam, and tells us that it here means not as usually, a carpet, but a breastplate (Schutzwehr) (' He left peace as a breastplate'). Du Pin (not knowing P) did not see Itoriam. Evidently Ziwsa put it aside as a hopeless corruption. Yet without doubt it is the true reading, for, as Dom John Chapman O.S.B. has pointed out to me, this word has been discovered with its explanation by the learned Dom Germain Morin O.S.B. in an unpublished sermon of St. Augustine (see Revue Bénéd. 1895 xii, p. 388). 'Loquebatur cum Apostolis suis ascensurus. Videamus qualia illis reliquit, sicut dici solet ITORIA. Humanae conditionis est quod dico, ut quando ab amicis amici deducuntur (are conducted a little way on their departure), quando ille qui deducitur discedere caeperit, quia necesse est ut relinquat in animo diligentium se nonnullam tristitiam, dat eis aliquid pecuniae, unde illis eadem dies, sicut dicitur, bene sit, id est, unde convivant, simrd laetentur et iucundentur. Et haec quantulacunque pecunia quae datur, hilari nomine ITORIA nuncupatur (This small sum of money is jokingly called 'Journey Money'). Quid dimisit Dominus Ihesus discipulis suis? Exultate, adtentite, quia ITORIA illa non solum illos inebriavit, sed ad nos usque manebit . . . (and further on) Eritis Mihi testes in Ierusalem. Primo ibi, ubi sum occisus, ibi ero gloriosus. In Ierusalem et in totam Iudaeam et Samariam. Et adhuc parum est. Et usque in totam terram. O! ITORIA! ' Thus we have two forms of Itoria (1) neuter plural with qualia and by itself, (2) feminine singular itoria illa . . . inebriavit. Evidently it is an adjectival form, in popular use (sicut dici solet, itoria), and doubtful number (1) as a substantive = neuter plural, (2) in feminine illa itoria, (sc. pecunia). St. Augustine makes Our Lord's itoria (parting gift) to His disciples and to His Church (ad nos usque manebit) the right of preaching throughout the world; St. Optatus (in accordance with the purpose of his treatise) makes it Peace. 'He left us Peace as His parting gift----to all of us, in the person of His Apostles.'

8. 3 St. Optatus throughout his work continually uses the word Pax, to express the visible unity and communion of the Faithful in the Catholic Church; of course it also denotes their invisible union with God through grace.

9. 1 Mark xiii, 37.

10. 2 John xiv, 27.

11. 3  Quae Pax . . . integra inviolataque. It is an interesting coincidence----but probably a coincidence only----that these last two words, applied by St. Optatus to God's Peace (by which he designates the Catholic Unity), are used in the Athanasian Creed of the Catholic Faith: 'Catholicam Fidem, quam nisi quisque integram inviolatamque servaverit.'

12. 4  The reference is to Isaiah xxii, 4: 'Therefore have I said: Depart from Me: I will weep bitterly: labour not to comfort Me for the devastation of the daughter of My people.' Optatus uses the same strong figure twice in iii, 2: 'In dolore Dei amare plorantis,' and again: 'Indicat Deus lacrymas suas quas vos fecistis, quas testatur nulla posse consolatione siccari,' with a reference to the same passage in Isaiah.

13. 1  vatum is in all the MSS. It has been suggested that it should be fratrum (cf. 2 Cor. xi, 27). But cf. iii, 10: 'parietem fecisse dicuntur falsi vales.'

14. 2  nec ruinosum ac dealbatum extruerent parietem. For the full meaning of this reference to Ezekiel xiii, 10, see iii, 10.

15. 3  In Penance.

16. 4  Cf. Ez. xiii, 18. It was strictly forbidden to impose the Veil of Penance upon the innocent, thus withdrawing them from the Communion of the Body of Christ, or, under any circumstances, upon Bishops or clergy, even though they might have been guilty of such a serious sin as that of apostasy.

17. 5  nec maledicerent Deo, i.e. by the exorcisms used by the Donatists when they rebaptised Catholics or subjected them to Penance. These Donatists are said by St. Optatus profanely to rail at, or speak evil things to,the Spirit of God, Optatus develops this thought in iv, 6 where he accuses the Donatists of saying to God----dwelling in the soul of the Catholic: 'Maledicte, exi foras.' In both passages he refers to Ez. xiii, 19, where he reads 'maledicebant Mihi.' (The Vulgate has 'violabant Me.') Cf. also ii, 21: 'Quid iniquius quam exorcizare Spiritum Sanctum? '

18. 6  Ez. xiii, 18.

19. 1 Is. lxvi, 5.

20. 2  St. Augustine also bears witness (con. Gaudent. iii; con. Parm. iii, 2) that the Donatists repudiated the name of Brothers in their dealings with Catholics.

21. 3  et nolunt se dici fratres vestros. These words are interpolated by Optatus in the midst of his quotation, to make his sense clear.

22. 4  St. Optatus quotes here from the Septuagint Version; the same passage (also from the Septuagint) is quoted by Tertullian, con. Marc. iv, 16, and by St. Augustine Lib. post Coll. The Vulgate (from the Hebrew) conveys quite a different sense: dixerunt fratres vestri odientes vos et abiicientes propter Nomen Meum.

23. 5  They could not escape this, because by Baptism they had become Sons of God, and therefore brethren of all the brothers of Christ.

24. 6  Gen. ix, 22.

25. 1  denotant. Literally 'they brand us with infamy.' This is the reading of PG and gains added probability from the fact that St. Optatus twice (iv, 3; iv, 5) quotes Ps. xlix, 20 thus: 'Sedens adversus fratrem tuum denotabas.' Du Pin says of Denotant 'legunt sed male.' But we must never forget that Du Pin did not see P, and therefore looked upon denotant merely as an emendation of G, destitute of authority. The other MSS. have detrahunt.

26. 2  Ps. xlix, 19 et seq. (cf. iv, 5, where Optatus discusses this passage at length).

27. 3  Satan (cf. iv, 6).

28. 4  moechis. Optatus argues that moechi = haeretici in iv, 6. (Cf. i, 10.)

29. 5 peccata sua laudant.

30. 6 This sentence is not in PRBvb. It is only to be found in G.

31. 1  Collegium episcopate nolunt nobiscum habere commune. 'Collegium episcopate, 'the whole College of Bishops throughout the Catholic world.

32. 2  ventose. R has venenose.

33. 3  veritate cogente compellimur. We shall often find St. Optatus, as here, joining two synonyms together, (I suppose for strength of expression,) without a shade of difference in meaning.

34. 4  St. Augustine (Ep. clxvi) reminds the Donatists that their Bishops had always refused any conference with Catholics, (with whom as sinners they refused to speak,) and also (Ep. lxviii) not only that Paul had dealings with the Epicureans, but that Christ had conversed with Satan himself concerning the Law. Many years after the death of St. Optatus, the Donatists, though most unwillingly, were compelled by the Edict of the Emperor Honorius to have the great Conference with the Catholics at Carthage (A.D. 411).

35. 5 consessum.

36. 1  contra Catholicam. Tertullian (Praescr. 30) was the first Father to use Catholica as a substantive. This use ceases after the seventh century. We find it 240 times in St. Augustine.

37. 2  immo multa pro Catholica, cum Catholicus non sis.

38. 3  Cf. iii, 12: 'Veritas perspecta oculis dulcedinem suam in se habens a falsae opinionis limitibus separata est' etc.

39. 4 We have here probably a paraphrase of James iv, 11. St. Optatus (no doubt quoting by heart) must have written Petri instead of Jacobi by a lapse either of pen or of memory.

40. 1  Parmenian had argued that the Flood was a type, and Circumcision the forerunner, of Baptism. But this told in favour of Catholics and against the Donatists (who rebaptised) since there was only one Flood and only one Circumcision.

41. 2  Since Catholics admitted the validity of Baptism administered by Donatists.

42. 3  The Donatists, though not yet heretics, had by making or joining a schism, lost their right to the Sacraments of the Church.

43. 4  extraneos esse Catholicis Sacramentis = the Sacraments of the Catholic Church; cf. iii, 9 'de unitate Catholica' = the unity of the Catholic Church.

44. 1  quia peregrinus es (cf. iii, 3).

45. 2  Traditorum. The crime of Traditio was the betraying of the Sacred Books and Vessels under the stress of persecution. I have throughout translated Traditores 'Betrayers' and Traditio 'Betrayal.'

46. 3  de oleo et sacrificio peccatoris. Oleum is here used for the Sacraments, since Unction has from very early times been used in Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Order (cf. note 3, p. 109) and the Last Anointing. The reference is to Ps. cxl, 5: 'Oleum autem peccatoris non impinguet caput Meum.' (Cf. iv, 7, etc.)

47. 4  singularem. Cf. Singulare Baptisma (iii, 2; v, 1), Singulare Sacramentum (i, 11), Singularis Cathedra (ii, 2), and Res singularis (bis) (v, 10).

48. 5 Cf. ii, 10.

49. 1  sc. Baptismatis. (Cf. v, 4: 'Apostolorum, quibus leges baptismatis dedit,' and 'certo tempore dedit leges baptismatis Filius Dei.')

50. 2  sc. the Oneness of Baptism.

51. 3  The crafty argument of the Donatists was this: 'There is only one Baptism, it is true, but the right to baptise is lost by the crime of 'Traditio'----and the Catholics were Traditores. Therefore Baptism administered by Catholics was no Baptism. It was 'unlawful,' null and void from the beginning.

52. 4  emendamus. Literally correct, sc. by rebaptising.

53. 1  This is the enunciation of the true Catholic principle. Whether Peter baptises, or John, or James, or Judas Iscariot, it is truly Christ who baptises. (Cf. S. Aug. Tract. vi in Joannem: 'Nam si pro diversitate meritorum Baptisma sanctum est, quia diversa sunt merita, diversa erunt baptismata; et tanto quisque aliquid melius putatur accipere, quanto a meliore videtur accepisse.')

54. 2  operarii Unitatis. St. Optatus uses this phrase in very many places. Ziwsa says that it = administri Unitatis (officers or servants of Unity). I think, however, that it also carries with it the idea that these 'workmen' (Leontius, Macarius, Paulus, Taurinus and others of whom we shall hear so often in the course of this work----iii, i, 3, etc.) achieved the task at which they laboured, no doubt, in an official capacity. Operari est opus facere (cf. note 3, p. 30). So I have translated it throughout simply makers.

55. 1  The public records of each city, if searched, would show in which of these any persons had been guilty of the crime of Traditio, the names of the offenders, and whatever offices they might have held.

56. 2  St. Optatus thinks it well to deal first with the quaestio facti. Having done this (in Book I), he will come secondly (in Book II) to the quaestio iuris.

57. 3 oleum. (Cf. note 3, p. 11.) 

58. 4 male.

59. 1  nec sic probabiliter dixeras.

60. 2  quae nullum videbatur admisisse peccatum = quae nullum admittebat peccatum. This pleonastic use of videor is very common in Optatus.

61. 3  addidisti et Iordanis diluvio demersam.

62. 1  St. Jerome tells us that Victorinus, Bishop of Pettau, (who was martyred under Diocletian,) published many writings. His notes on the Apocalypse and a fragment on the Creation are extant.

63. 2  urbico. Cf. 'urbica commoratio' (ii, 4), 'in Urbe' (i, 27). Zephyrinus was Pope cir. 201-218.

64. 3  et aliis adsertoribus Ecclesiae Catholicae. It may, perhaps, at first sight seem somewhat strange that St. Optatus should mention Tertullian amongst 'the champions of the Catholic Church'; yet, before his apostasy to Montanism, no one ever defended the Catholic Faith with more zeal, energy and ability than the great Tertullian.

Erratum Page 17, note 1, line 9, for v, 13 read v, 3.

65. 1  Mr. Sparrow Simpson, professing to paraphrase St. Optatus, writes as follows: 'Plainly these Donatists are schismatics. Although they are not in the Catholic Church, yet they are in possession of the same two Sacraments as the Catholics. They are not heretics. Heretics could not be in possession of true Sacraments, so Optatus teaches.' St. Optatus teaches (1) that Baptism in the Name of the Trinity is valid (v, 3); (2) that Baptism by heretics who falsified the Creed (and consequently the Baptismal Formula) is 'varium et falsum' (i, 12; cf. v, 13); (3) that certain heretics of this character, whom he specifies, 'have not the Sacraments,' also that they are 'separated from Catholic Sacraments' (i, 10); (4) that heretics in general are without 'Sacramenta legalia' (id.), and 'are strangers to the Sacraments of the Catholic Church' (i, 5). This exhausts the teaching of Optatus on this subject: Mr. Sparrow Simpson would himself call Nestorians and Eutychians heretics; he would say rightly that though they possess true Sacraments, they cannot use them lawfully; Mr. Sparrow Simpson allows himself to slip in the word two before Sacraments. St. Optatus nowhere writes of 'two' or of 'the same two Sacraments.' (St. Augustine and the African Church Divisions, by the Rev. W. S. Sparrow Simpson, B.D., p. 44.)

66. 2  If Parmenian had been in good faith, he would have confined himself to dealing with his living quarrel with Catholics. He was merely beating the air by arguing with dead heretics, none of whom were to be found at the time in Africa. All this was a virtual admission of the weakness of his cause, and a sign of intellectual dishonesty.

67. 1  dixisti.

68. 2  Dotes. Parmenian had maintained that there were six Notes or Endowments of the Church: Cathedra, Angelus, Spiritus, Fons, Sigillum and Umbilicus. St. Optatus recognises them all, except the last, and discourses on them in his second Book. (Cf. note 3, p. 64.)

69. 3  et rede dixisti.

70. 4  scimus enim haereticorum ecclesias singulorum, prostitutas, nullis legalibus Sacramentis, et sine iure honesti matrimonii esse. (Ziwsa has 'prostitutas, i.q. adulteras.') The whole analogy is from valid marriage, in contrast with, and opposed to, an irregular union. Cf. iv, 8: 'de haereticis apud quos sunt sacramentorum falsa connubia'; iv, 6: 'haereticos dicit moechos et moechas Ecclesias illorum.' The True Church is the only Bride of Christ, who is 'the Bridegroom of One Church.'

71. 5 qui est Sponsus Unius Ecclesiae.

72. 6 non necessarias. Cf. iii, 1: 'Basilicas fecerunt non necessarias' (where see note 3, p. 121).

73. 7  Canticles vi, 8.

74. 8  ceterae apud haereticos putantur esse sed non sunt.

75. 1 eandem.

76. 2 eandem (so PGb) hortum conclusum. RBv read here eundem. This reading is----as I venture to think somewhat strangely----followed by Ziwsa. Du Pin has eandem and omits any reference to the variant.

77. 3 Canticles iv, 12.

78. 4 Ut haeretici omnes neque claves habeant, quas solus Petrus accepit. These are no doubt Parmenian's own words, a quotation from his book. They depend not upon what immediately precedes them, but upon dixisti . . . et recte dixisti, and are in the text adopted and endorsed by St. Optatus. This is made clear in i, 12: 'Bene revocasti claves ad Petrum.' It is hardly necessary to say that Peter received the Keys in the name of the Church.

79. 5 This is exceedingly obscure, and means of illustrating it from other writings of the Fathers are so scanty as to be practically nonexistent. What is meant by the Ring? Albaspinaeus understands it of Absolution, and quotes a passage, which he claims to be relevant, from Tertullian (De Pudicitia). Casaubon will not have this at all. He understands it, though with hesitation, of the Ring with which, at certain fixed periods of the year, the baptisteries were sealed. Du Pin understands it either of baptism, for which he also quotes from Tertullian (De Poenitentia), or of the Creed. For the last interpretation Optatus himself may perhaps be quoted. He writes (ii, 8): 'Sigillum integrum (id est Symbolum Catholicum) non habentes ad fontem verum aperire non possunt,' and (i, 12): 'Bene subdixisti anulum iis, quibus aperire non licet ad fontem.' If, as is at least, highly probable, anulus = sigillum, this settles the question. (Cf. Aug. in Ioan. lxxx, 2: 'Accedit verbum ad elementum et fit sacramentum.' The Baptismal Formula is as it were the compendium of the Creed.)

80. 6 Du Pin understands the Fountain to be the Catholic Faith. More probabiy, however, it signifies the Baptismal Font, where that Faith was professed. (Cf. Note 3; p. 64, and Note 1, p. 84.)

81. 7 The reference is to Canticles iv, 12: 'My spouse is a garden enclosed, a fountain sealed up.' We search, however, in vain for any reference to the Mystic Ring, with which it is said by Optatus that 'we read that the Fountain has been sealed.'

82. 1  arbusculas (cf. i, 12; ii, 11).

83. 2  Caecilian was the Catholic Bishop of Carthage, whose consecration----as we shall soon see----was the occasion of the beginning of the Schism.

84. 3 avo tuo. The line of the first Donatist Bishops of Carthage was Majorinus, Donatus, Parmenian.

85. 4 Cathedra Petri. The manner in which St. Optatus goes first to the See of Peter and only in the second place to the local See of Carthage, in order to prove that the Donatists were in schism, is a fact of the greatest significance. It is quite clear that, in the eyes of Optatus, any bishop out of communion with the See of Rome was ipso facto schismatic. Otherwise, the reference to the Chair of Peter in this connection is utterly meaningless and unintelligible. Moreover, it is evident that Optatus expects the Donatists immediately to recognise the force of this argument. Without hesitation he appeals to them as follows: Cum haec ita gesta esse manifestissime constet. Now the facts which are here stated to be 'most clearly certain' are that Caecilian did not desert either the Apostolic See of Peter or the local See of Cyprian, and that consequently Majorinus, his rival, though consecrated by an influential party to the See of Carthage, 'began with himself.' Parmenian would no doubt have angrily denied that Majorinus was out of communion with the See of Cyprian; he could not possibly deny that Majorinus was out of communion with the See of Peter. This, in the eyes of Optatus, was decisive.

86. 1  In Cathedra Petri vel Cypriani. Cf. ii, 4: 'In Cathedra Petri quam nescio si vel oculis novit [Macrobius].' For the distinction between the Chair of Peter and that of Cyprian, cf. Augustine (II. De Baptismo cont. Donat. i, 2): 'Et si distat Cathedrarum gratia, una est tamen Martyrum gloria [Petri et Cypriani].'

87. 2  Majorinus was the first Donatist bishop. He was, however, merely a figurehead, whose personality was lost very early in that of his successor, Donatus the Great, the immediate predecessor of Parmenian.

88. 3  originem.

89. 4 cumula illa. RBv read cum illa. 

90. 5 in falso baptismate. G omits in.

91. 6 subplantator.

92.  1  Cf. i, 12; ii, 20.

93. 2  quia falsaverunt Symbolum. G reads qui for quia. Heretics who falsified the Creed would also falsify the Baptismal formula. Consequently, Baptism conferred by them would be invalid, since they did not baptise in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. (Cf. note i, p. 17.) Mr. Sparrow Simpson writes (op. cit. p.44): 'Heresy is surrender of the Creed,' and in a footnote gives 'qui falsaverunt Symbolum.' Heresy, according to Optatus, is something worse even than 'surrender.' It is 'falsification,' the substitution of false teaching for true. And so has it ever been with heretics in every age. Luther, for example, was not content with 'surrendering' the doctrines of the supreme authority of the Church in the interpretation of Holy Scripture, and of salvation through 'Faith working by Charity.' He 'falsified' them, substituting the doctrines of 'Private Judgement,' and of 'Justification by Faith only.'

94. 3  This was said by Marcion (cf. iv, 5; v, 3)----also by Cerdon.

95. 4  With confusion of Personality (cf. iv, 5, note on Praxeas, note 2, p. 190).

96. 5 Valentinus (cf. iv, 5; 8) and the other Docetae. 

97. 6 a Sacramentis Catholicis alieni esse noscuntur. Cf. note 4, p. 10, and note 1, p. 17.

98. 1  quae sit Sancta Ecclesia.

99. 2  sic omnia miscuisti.

100. 3  Catholicam facit simplex et verus intellectus in lege. Harnack quotes this passage and understands by lege the two Testaments (History of Dogma, vol. v, p. 43), but states elsewhere that the word lex is used more than 100 years before the time of Optatus, of the Apostolic tradition preserved by the Roman Church, and Lex Catholica is a common expression in the documents placed by St. Optatus in his Appendix, so that the meaning of lege in this passage is not quite certain. Also it is doubtful whether in lege is the true reading here. PG have it, but Bvb give intelligere, R has intellegere. Ziwsa deserts P and prints intellegere ( = 'a true and simple understanding points out' etc.). Casaubon is inclined to reject intelligere. He evidently had not seen in lege. Du Pin, though he had not the advantage of seeing P, has the merit (I think) of printing in lege. He boldly relied on G.

101. 4  singulare ac verissimum sacramentum. Du Pin explains 'sacramentum symboli,' and Albaspinaeus 'unum symbolum, una Fidei regula.'

102. 5 novum aliquid aut aliud, i.e. as long as they remain schismatics only----until they become heretics also.

103. 1  sani et verissimi Symboli desertores. Optatus here terms heretics symboli desertores; later on (iii, 8) he will term schismatics caritatis desertores. For sani cf. vestis sana (iii, 9); lex in Deo sana fuit (vii, 1).

104. 2  corruptela malae digestionis.

105. 3  This is a quotation from Parmenian's own words in his book. (Cf. pp. 21, 22.)

106. 4  Perhaps Parmenian held the view enunciated by Tertullian (De Pud. xxi, 9), after he had fallen into heresy, that the keys had been given to Peter only, not to the Church. Perhaps he held that they had passed from Peter to the Donatist Church. The Donatists, it will be remembered, had their Antipope.

107. 5 alienos. St. Optatus here says that heretics are alieni ab hortulo et a Paradiso Dei; later (ii, 6) he uses the same word (alienum), in the same sense, of schismatics.

108. 1  i.e. the Church. Cf. (ii, 11) ecclesiam paradisum esse dixisti, in quo horto Deus plantat arbusculas. We see that St. Optatus when writing hortulo et paradiso is joining them as synonyms (cf. note 3, p. 8).

109. 2  quamvis in Catholica non sitis.

110. 3  The Ring (= the Creed) and the Fountain ( = the Font). Cf. note 6, p. 19.

111. 4  quia nobiscum vera et communia Sacramenta traxistis.

112. 5  quantum in te est, etiam vos ipsos una sententia ferire voluisti. 

113. 6 duo mala et pessima. Cf. 'Scisma summum malum' (i, 21) and 'Aestimo vos non negare unitatem summum bonum esse' (iii, 4).

114. 1  Optatus refers here to the persecution under Diocletian, which began in the month of February A.D. 303, and ended in the West in 305.

115. 2  prostravit in mortem funestam. Sc. the death of the soul through apostasy.

116. 3  ministros.

117. 4  The application of the term sacerdotium to deacons cannot, I think, be found anywhere in antiquity excepting in this passage. Not many years after the death of St. Optatus, the Fathers at the Council of Carthage made the following distinction: 'When a deacon is ordained, it is the Bishop alone (without the imposition of hands of other priests) who blesses him, placing his hand upon his head, because he is consecrated, not to the sacerdotium, but to the ministry of service (ministerium).' The word sacerdos was used of either bishops or priests, episcopus being reserved for the first degree, and presbyter for the second degree, of the sacred ministry. It is very curious to read these words in the Canon Law (Dist. 31 Can. 14) 'Aliter se Orientalium traditio habet Ecclesiarum, aliter huius Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae. Nam illarum sacerdotes diaconi et subdiaconi matrimonio copulantur. Istius autem Ecclesiae vel Occidentalium nullus sacerdotum a subdiacono usque ad episcopum licentiam habet coniugium sortiendi.' As far as I can discover, this is the only instance of the word sacerdos being applied to subdeacons.

118. 5  ipsi apices et principes omnium. (P omits omnium.) The Episcopate is the apex of the ecclesiastical hierarchy. From the point of view of the Sacrament of Order, the Bishop of Beneventum is the equal of the Bishop of Rome.

119. 1 aliqui Episcopi illius temporis. RBvb read illis temporibus.

120. 2 instrumenta. This word is used by Tertullian and others for a codex containing several books. Thus Instrumentum Ioannis ----a collection of St. John's Epistles. Novum Instrumentum = the New Testament.

121. 3  homicida.

122. 4  Mileum, also called Milevis, the town where St. Optatus was Bishop.

123. 5 ad consessum suorum procedere trepidavit. Cf. 'consessum vitant' (i, 4). Suorum may mean his Brother Bishops, in which case consessum should be here translated a Synod. RBGv read consensum, but this is manifestly a mistake; it is corrected in the margin of G.

124. 1 die iii Iduum Maiarum. St. Augustine tells us that the official Acts of the Council of Cirta had iv Nonas Martii. Du Pin proves that the true date was in Nonas Martii. The year was a.d. 305. These Bishops met to choose and consecrate a successor to Paulus, who had behaved so badly during the persecution under Diocletian two years previously (cf. Appendix, p. 353). Apparently Paulus had died in the interval (cf. S. Aug. c. Cresc. iii, 27-30).

125. 2  At this period the three chief governmental divisions of Africa were (1) 'The Proconsular' or Africa proper, with Carthage for its capital, (2) Numidia, (3) Mauritania. Cirta, soon to be refounded under the name of Constantine, which it still retains, was the capital of Numidia. The ecclesiastical division into provinces was roughly, but not exactly, coincident with the secular.

126. 3  For many references to Nundinarius, see Appendix, Gesta apud Zenophilum, pp. 347-381. Cf. Aug. con. Crescon. iii, 20; Brev. Coll. iii, 17.

127. 4  Harum plenitudinem rerum. The full evidence. Half of this appendix has unfortunately been lost. (Cf. Preface to Appendix, p. 322.) For Acts of Council of Cirta see Appendix, pp. 416-419.

128. 5  See Appendix, p. 417.

129. 6 Secundus was Primate of Numidia and President of the Council of Cirta.

130. 7 iam omnes erecti caeperant murmurare. RBvb have heretici. Casaubon, who had not seen erecti, points out that heretici is contra mentem Optati and suggests: 'haeret ei,' caeperant murmurare = 'they began to mutter "It sticks to him" '----i.e. It fits him. It belongs to him----the charge is true.' This emendation is an example of Casaubon's extraordinary ingenuity. But erecti (PG) is certainly the true reading and would no doubt have been at once accepted by Casaubon (had he known of it) on its own merits, independently of the authority given it by P. So reluctantly we have to sacrifice 'haeret ei.' Du Pin naturally takes erecti from G and observes of heretici 'criticos torsit.' But none of the critics, in his 'torture,' thought of erecti.

131. 1  ut talent caussam Deo servaret. This was the recognised expression when Bishops refused to give judgement, but remitted (or reserved) it to God.

132. 2  homicidae.

133. 1 rivulus iste maligni liquoris.

134. 2 quae convenerint caussae.

135. 3  quae fuerint operatae personae. (Cf. operarii, note 2, p. 13.)

136. 4  cuius tu haereditariam cathedram sederis.

137. 5  cum toto orbe, sc. Catholico.

138. 6 Cf. S. Cyprian. Ep. xliii.

139. 7  1 John ii, 19.

140. 1  in uno (cf. John).

141. 2  necdum vindicati. Catholics in Africa were strictly forbidden to honour with religious worship any martyrs who had not been recognised as such (id est canonised = vindicati). There were some, who in a fit of fanatical enthusiasm had surrendered voluntarily to the persecutors, thus bringing death upon themselves. Those who had been guilty of this practice, which the Church never tolerated, far from being considered martyrs, were looked upon by Catholics as disobedient and self-destroyers.

142. 1  de tyranno imperatore. These events took place in 311, when Maxentius, who had made himself Emperor in Italy in 306, had obtained possession of Africa. Under Constantine he was regularly referred to as tyrannus.

143. 2  ad palatium dirigeretur. Dirigere in late Latin = to send.

144. 3 conventus.

145. 4  He died on the way.

146. 5  operam dederunt ut absentibus Numidis. Literally 'in the absence of the Numidians.' But the point is that Botrus and Celestius chose not to invite them. This was part of what they 'arranged' (operam dederunt).

147. 1  The Bishop of Carthage was not only Metropolitan of the province of Africa Proconsularis, but also Primate of all Africa, including Numidia, Byzacium and the two Mauritanias. As the confines of Numidia came close to Carthage, it was customary for the Bishops of that province to come to Carthage for the election. The other provinces were too far off. On this occasion only the nearest Bishops of Africa Proconsularis were assembled. But the vote of the clergy and people of Carthage, approved by a number of Bishops of the province, sufficed. The absence of the Numidians did not affect the validity of the election.

148. 2  potens et factiosa femina.

149. 3  tribus convenientibus. Cf. 'quae convenerint caussae (' i, 15.)

150. 1  Scisma igitur illo tempore confusae mulieris iracundia peperit, ambitus nutrivit, avaritia roboravit. Here we find in combination the lust of the flesh----(the shameless woman)----the pride of life----(worldly ambition)----the lust of the eyes----(the love of gold)----as the three co-operating causes of the Donatist Schism. Before the mind of an English reader another sad schism will come with extraordinary vividness. History has repeated itself indeed----has shown how the anger of another shameless woman (also potens et factiosa femina, also in the end confusa), co-operating with the ambition of worldly ecclesiastics, together with the lust of the eyes and the lust of gold of a monarch, destroyed that 'parting gift of Peace' from Christ our Lord, which had reigned amongst all English Christians for more than a thousand years, and produced a Division, over which we grieve to-day. If Optatus might, without breach of charity, recall the memory of Lucilla, Majorinus, Botrus and Celestius, we too may, in like manner, without reproach, remember Anne, Cranmer, Henry and Elizabeth.

St. Augustine tells us (Ep. clxii) that a woman like Lucilla was subsequently the cause of a schism within a schism----of a later schism amongst the Donatists themselves.

151. 2  Because he was Primate of Numidia. In the African Provinces (excepting Proconsular Africa) the senior Bishop was Primate, whatever his See.

152. 3  St. Optatus does not mention the fact that Secundus had seventy Bishops in his Council. But St. Augustine (Ep. xliii, 3, 7) points out how hasty was Secundus: 'He should have had all the more fear of violating the peace of unity, on account of the greatness and fame of Carthage. If an evil started there, it would pour itself over the whole of Africa, since it was near Italy, and of great celebrity. For this very reason its Bishop had a very great position (non mediocris utique auctoritatis), nor need he pay attention to the numbers of enemies who conspired against him, when he saw himself in union, by letters of communion, both with the Roman Church, in which the princedom of the Apostolic Chair has always nourished (in qua semper Apostolicae Cathedrae viguit principatus)----and with the rest of the world----whence the Gospel came to Africa, and where he was ready to plead his cause, should his adversaries attempt to alienate those churches from him.' We may observe that here we see once again the two proofs of a position of ecclesiastical security, quite distinct, but actually inseparable, firstly to be in communion with the Apostolic See of Rome, secondly to be in communion with all other Catholic Bishops throughout the world.

153. 1 ad Basilicam, ubi cum Caeciliano tota civica frequentia fuerat.

154. 2 tanquam adhuc diaconum. Caecilian here argued after this fashion: If you look upon me as still a deacon, on the ground of my ordination as priest and consecration as Bishop having been void, in consequence of Felix being a Betrayer, come and ordain me yourselves. You ought to do this, on your own principles, since you cannot deny that I was duly elected to the See. Needless to say, this was a challenge thrown out in sarcasm, which would never under any circumstances have been acted upon by Caecilian, even though it had been accepted by his adversaries. But of this he knew that there was no danger. Yet then was their opportunity, if they really had possessed any arguments against the validity of the election of Caecilian to the See of Carthage. But they could only take refuge in scurrility and insult.

155. 1  Cf. 'Qui interrogatus de filiis sororis suae, quod eos necasse diceretur' (i, 13).

156. 2  quassetur illi caput de Poenitentia. According to the ancient discipline of the Church hands were laid upon the heads of those who were admitted to Penance, but it was strictly forbidden to lay hands thus upon the clergy, who had received the imposition of hands in Ordination (cf. ii, 24 and Augustine Ep. 1). So now the ribald Bishop is represented as saying: 'Let him come, we will lay hands on him. We will box his ears for him.'

157. 3  latronibus. Latro in Optatus seems always to signify a murderer. (Cf. ii, 19; ii, 21; iii, 5; iii, 10 Latronem aut furem; v, 10, also Tertullian, De Pudicitia:'Omne latrocinium extra silvam homicidium est.')

158. 4  erat altare loco suo. (Altare, sc. Episcopi.) African altars appear to have been in the fourth century in general wooden and moveable (for patterns see Dom Cabrol's Dictionnaire Archéologique, and Smith and Cheetham's Dictionary of Christian Antiquities). 'In its own place '----i.e. in the Cathedral where the Catholic people had been accustomed for generations to see their Bishop say Mass. Optatus gives three visible signs, recognised by all the Faithful, showing that Caecilian was the acknowledged Bishop of Carthage. He was in possession of (a) the Cathedral Church (Basilica), (b) the Episcopal Chair (Cathedra episcopalis), (c) the Altar of his predecessors in the See.

159. 1  pacifici. Bishops when Unity (Pax) prevailed. Cf. vii, 5: 'dum docerent pacem, adhuc pacifici vocabantur . . . dividendo Ecclesiam noluerunt esse pacifici.'

160. 2  Carpophorius. This name is found only in PG.

161. 3  Sic exilum est foras. In this way Majorinus and his party went forth from the Church.

162. 4  qui lector in diaconio Caeciliani fuerat.

163. 5  exisse de Ecclesia.

164. 6 multorum flagitiorum venis. Cf. 'ne male fecundae vena periret aquae.' (Ov. Trist.)

165. 7 de fonte . . . unum traditionis convicium derivandum esse.

166. 1  litter as.

167. 2  livore. RB have liliore, Cochlaeus conjectures suo ore.

168. 3 This letter has been lost (cf. Appendix, p. 322).

169. 4  praecesserunt se epistulis suis.

170. 5  peccaverant, sc. had been guilty of Betrayal. 

171. 6 ingens flagitium scismatis.

172. 1  in titulo scismatis.

173. 2  exterminatis unitatem. This expression is repeated in vii, 5.

174. 3  Matt. xv, 4; Luke vii, 39.

175. 4  scisma summum malum esse et vos negare minime poteritis (cf. i, 13). St. Augustine writes (con. Ep. Parmen. i, 4): 'sacrilegium scismatis quod omnia scelera supergreditur '; and (id. ii, 8): 'Quod autem vos a totius orbis communione separatos videmus ----quod scelus et maximum et manifestum est.' (Cf. note 4, p. 40.)

176. 5 perditos magistros vestros. Perditos ---- abandoned, lost to all sense of shame. Cf. 'perditorum multitudinem' (vi, 1).

177. 1 non ibis post.

178. 2 in capitibus mandatorum. Cf. Romans xiii, 9, where all the sins against our neighbour are summed up as sins against the command to love one's neighbour as oneself. Schism is preeminently a sin against the neighbour from whom the schismatic separates himself.

179. 3 parricidiunt est principale delictum.

180. 4 Cf. S. Aug. (De Baptis. con. Donat. i, 8): 'Itaque illi quos baptizant sanant a vulnere idololatriae, gravius feriunt vulnere scismatis. Idololatras enim in populo Dei gladius interemit, scismaticos autem terrae hiatus absorbuit.' No one can say that the Fathers of the Church underestimated the guilt of schism! It must always be borne in mind that, according to the constant teaching of the Fathers, sin in the Christian, a member of the Body of Christ, is before God far more heinous than sin in the unbaptised. (See St. Thomas, 1, 2, qu. cvi, art. 2 ad. 2; 2, 2, qu. x, art. 3 ad. 3.)

181. 1 Cf. iii, 11; v, 3.

182. 2 in parricidam.

183. 1 exemplorum posuit formam.

184. 2 confibulent. RBG have confabulent, vb confabulentur. Casaubon conjectures confibulentur. Confibulare is a Low Latin word for to buckle to (from Fibula)----literally here, 'buckle on to the truth.'

185. 3 si nota est.

186. 1  precibus rogaverunt, quarum exemplum infrascriptum est. Cf. S. Aug. Ep. lii, 5; lxxvi, 2.

187. 2  Constantine Chlorus had the command of Gaul as Caesar, and, being almost a Christian, did not put the decrees of persecution in force.

188. 3  et ceteris Episcopis partis Donati. Mgr. Duchesne (Le Dossier du Donatisme, p. 25) (who takes for granted the existence of Donatus, Bishop of Black Huts, see note 3, p. 45) thinks that either these words did not belong to the original document and were added by Optatus as a resume of the signatures, or that Optatus deliberately ('se soit cru permis d'y substituer') changed the word Maiorini to Donati, since by the time when Optatus wrote, pars Donati had become the usual and recognised designation of the Donatist party. Du Pin had already made the same suggestion ('ipse Optatus nomen notius substituit in locum antiqui '). But neither Du Pin nor Duchesne can have adverted to the fact that Optatus later on (iii, 3) founds an argument in two separate passages upon the use which he supposed the Donatist clerics to have made of the expression partis Donati in this petition. The difficulty concerning the employment of these words at this period is twofold. (1) The party could hardly have been yet termed pars Donati. We do not hear of any Donatus as in any sense their leader until the Synod under Miltiades. (2) We read in the Gesta Coll. Carthag. (diei iii, ccxxx) that two libelli were sent to Constantine, the first of which was endorsed 'Libellus Ecclesiae Catholicae criminum Caeciliani traditus a parte Maiorini' (cf. also S. Aug. Ep. lxxxviii). For those who believe that Majorinus was dead and Donatus was Bishop of Carthage before the Synod under Miltiades commenced (see note 3, p. 45) the objection raised against the words Partis Donati would at once vanish, were it not for the second difficulty----the difficulty arising from the fact that the Gesta Collationis Carthagiensis and the testimony of St. Augustine prove beyond dispute that this document was presented ex parte Maiorini. 'Quinto loco haec acta sunt. Recitatae sunt duae relationes . . . una quae ostendit Maiores Donatistarum id est de parte Maiorini' (Brev. coll. diei tert. xii). Balduinus falls back on the ingenious hypothesis that the first document was endorsed de parte Maiorini, the second de parte Donati. But unfortunately for this view St. Augustine (id.) gives a brief summary of this second document, which shows that it was by no means identical with that set out by St. Optatus. After everything has been weighed, we can only suppose either that (as seems to me most probable) the copy (exemplum) seen by Optatus really contained the words partis Donati, or that he wrote from memory and through a slip (not unnatural under the circumstances of his time and place) wrote Donati when, if his memory had not played him tricks, or rather if he had scrutinised his original more carefully, he would have written Maiorini. We know that on several occasions he made similar slips when quoting from Holy Scripture.

Dom John Chapman writes as follows: (Donatus the Great and Donatus of Casae Nigrae, Rev. Bénédictine, Janvier 1909): 'The Bishops who appealed to Constantine were Lucian, Dignus, Nasutius, Capito, Fidentius and others. There is no Donatus and no Majorinus among the five whose names are preserved. St. Optatus calls them proleptically the Pars Donati, but the Proconsul in his letter to the Emperor called them the Pars Maiorini [see Appendix, p. 421]. As the name of Majorinus does not occur in the first place, he may have just died, and Donatus will have taken his place before the ten accusers started for Rome. The Council was in that case a trial of the two claimants Donatus and Caecilian. The one was acquitted, the other condemned, This is a natural sequence.'

189. 1 See Appendix, p. 396.

These words were written by Constantine after the Council of Arles. Optatus (who never mentions and probably knew nothing of that Council, cf. Appendix, p. 323) inserts them here in error.

190. 1  Constantino quater et Licinio ter consulibus. St. Augustine, however, writes , (post Coll. xxxiii): 'Melchiades iudicavit Constantino ter et Licinio iterum consulibus.'

191. 2  Often called Melchiades, Pope from 311 to 314.

192. 3  in Donatum. Was this Donatus the Great, or another Donatus, Bishop of Black Huts (de Casis Nigris) in Numidia? It is impossible to answer this question with absolute certainty. On the one hand it was assumed by Optatus, Augustine and Catholic Apologists generally until the Conference in 411 that the Donatus condemned by Pope Miltiades was Donatus the Great, the successor of Majorinus as schismatic bishop of Carthage. The authority of St. Optatus----so at least it seems to me----should go far to settle the controversy, since it is difficult to understand how he could well have confused two distinct Bishops of the same name one with another. Optatus lived, one would think, too near the events which he was chronicling to have made a mistake of this character. On the other hand when the Donatists protested at the Conference of Carthage that the Donatus condemned at Rome was not their protagonist, 'he who was and still is their chief' (Gesta Coll. Carthag. diei iii, xxxii), but another Donatus ('alium Casae,' Gesta Coll. Carthag. dxxxix, dxl), the Catholics at once admitted that Donatus of Casa was clearly designated in the Acts of Miltiades. St. Augustine bears witness to this fact, stating that the Catholics granted (concedebant) the Donatist contention that 'it was not Donatus the Great but Donatus of Casa who pleaded in the Court of Melchiades against Caecilian' (Brev. coll. diei iii, xx). Moreover Augustine writes as follows (Retract. xxi):'In saying that the Donatus whose letter I was answering had asked the Emperor to appoint judges from across the seas between him and Caecilian I was mistaken, for it was not he but another Donatus (who however belonged to the same schism) that will be found more probably to have done this. He was not the Donatist Bishop of Carthage, but of Black Huts, and was the first to make the wicked schism at Carthage.' Until recently this view reigned practically undisputed. Only Albaspinaeus was found to challenge the authority of St. Augustine by conjecturing that Majorinus, of whom we never hear in connection with the Lateran Synod, was dead at the time (this is held to be certain by Dom John Chapman) and that Donatus of Black Huts had been elected Bishop in his place. But the very existence of a Donatus who was ever Bishop of Black Huts has been lately called in question, in the first place by Fr. Chapman, and subsequently by others. Thus Mr. Sparrow Simpson writes (St. Augustine and African Church Divisions, p. 31), referring to Monceaux (Revue de l'Histoire de Religion): 'it has been recently pointed out that the former personage [Donatus of Black Huts] is a highly problematical figure. He appears at the Lateran Synod. While he is called Bishop of Black Huts in Numidia, he is never heard of as residing in his own diocese, but at Carthage. After the Lateran Synod he disappears and is replaced by a Donatus who holds precisely the same position over the party.' The theory of Albaspinaeus, if adopted, would remove these difficulties, but it involves the supposition that there were two Bishops of Carthage, immediately following one another and each named Donatus. For this supposition there is not a scrap of evidence. Moreover such a translation from one See to another as is here supposed would have been directly opposed to the Canons in force at the time, and if it had been effected would certainly have been one of the staple charges against the Donatists. But of this there is not a trace in history. Fr. Chapman solves the whole difficulty with the simplicity of genius by a reasoned argument (La Revue Bénédictine, Janvier 1909) directed to show that Casae Nigrae was not the See, but the birthplace, of the Great Donatus. In the same article he suggests a most interesting explanation of the surprising readiness with which the Catholics at the Conference of Carthage admitted the Donatist contention that their eponymous champion had not been condemned at Rome. However after all has been said, the whole of this matter will remain at least for some minds hidden in obscurity, and it is difficult to see from what quarter we may look for further light. Meanwhile we must all agree with Fr. Chapman that 'the importation of a Bishop of Casae Nigrae only brings confusion into [what would otherwise be] a plain tale.' I myself think that, were Professor Ziwsa still alive, he would gladly bow to Fr. Chapman's authority and arguments and remove the name of Donatus Casensis (at least as a person distinct from Donatus Carthaginis) from the index to any subsequent edition of his Optatus.

193. 1  quod ab Ecclesia alienum est.

194. 2  etiam Miltiadis sententia, qua iudicium clausum est his verbis. These words of St. Optatus remind us of St. Augustine's famous statement (Serm. cxxxi, 10): 'Already two councils have been sent to the Apostolic See concerning this matter [Pelagianism], and thence have come rescripts. The case is concluded (caussa finita est). Would that the error might soon cease also.' St. Augustine's account of the matter with which St. Optatus is concerned in the text is well worth reading, since he (like St. Optatus) had documents which have not come down to us: 'Will you urge that Melchiades, Bishop of the Roman Church, with his colleagues across the seas was not right in arrogating for his own judgement (non debuit . . . sibi usurpare iudicium) a case which had been concluded by seventy African Bishops under the presidency of the primate of Tigisis? But what if it was not he who arrogated it? It was, in fact, because he had been requested, that the Emperor sent Bishops to sit with him, and to decide what they considered to be just with regard to the whole case. This we prove both by the petition of the Donatists and by the Emperor's own words; for you will remember that both these documents were read to you, and you have now permission to inspect them and copy them out' (Ep. xliii, 5, 14). (See Appendix for the Emperor's letters.) St. Augustine is not, of course, suggesting that the Pope had no right to judge the affair, any more than he is implying that the Emperor had a right to appoint judges. The argument is strictly ad hominem. The Donatists could not complain that Melchiades had no right to reverse the judgement of seventy Numidian Bishops, since they had themselves appealed to the Emperor to appoint Bishops to judge the matter anew. They admitted, therefore, that the Numidian judgement was not irreformable. Further on in the same letter St. Augustine continues: 'And yet what a final sentence that was which the blessed Melchiades himself pronounced, how innocent, how honest, how far-sighted and peace-loving, in that he did not venture to remove from their position in the episcopal fellowship those colleagues against whom nothing had been proved, whilst he laid the chief blame upon Donatus alone (whom he had discovered to be the author of all the evil), but gave the free option of recovering communion to the rest, since he was ready to issue letters of communion even to those who were known to have been ordained by Majorinus, in such wise that, wherever, on account of the dissension between the two parties, there were two rival Bishops, the one who had been first ordained should be confirmed in his see, and the other should be provided with another diocese. O admirable man, O son of Christian peace, and father of the Christian people' (Ep. xiii, 5. 16). We may observe that from this time forward the Popes issued their decretal letters from a small council of Bishops.

195. 1  Ziwsa remarks that it is not known from what source St. Optatus derived this summary of the judgement of Pope Melchiades.

196. 2  Of the Pope.

197. 3  Constantine wrote these words in answer to the appeal of the Donatists after the Council of Arles. They are to be found in the same document from which Optatus has already quoted in chapter xxiii (Appendix, p. 397).

198. 4  petiit, ut ei reverti licuisset et nec ad Carthaginem accederet (PG). Ziwsa, however, prints asterisks * * * between licuisset and ad Carthaginem and suggests that Ad ea mandatum, ne should be inserted after licuisset. RBv have revertenti ad Carthaginem contingeret, which cannot be translated. The version read at the Conference at Carthage in 411 was the same as that of PG without the nec. 'Donatus asked that he might return and go to Carthage.' It was this version which afforded the Donatists their opportunity of pretending that Constantine had given Donatus leave to go to Carthage and kept Caecilian at Brescia, but we shall see immediately that when Caecilian heard that Donatus had gone to Carthage, he left Brescia and went there himself. It is this fact that makes it probable either that the nec in PG was in the original text of Optatus, or that some such emendation as that of Ziwsa must be adopted.

199. 1 suffragatore.

200. 2 Cf. S. Aug. Brev. coll. xx, 38.

201. 3 ut remotis duobus unum ordinarent RBvb. P has ut remotis binis singulos ordinarent. Du Pin has removed the sentence from his text, (as I think,) quite unwarrantably in the face of the MSS. authority.

202. 4 ubi esset Catholica.

203. 5 ut dicereni illam esse Catholicam, quae esset in toto orbe terrarum diffusa. This definition is really an etymological one; it became famous in the Donatist controversy, and is frequently cited and referred to by St. Augustine.

(a)  ἡ καθολικὴ Ἐκκλησία or Ecclesia Calholica almost always means, in the Fathers, the Church militant on earth at the time when they wrote. Thus even at the beginning of the second century the word Catholic is used by St. Ignatius (Ep. ad Smyrn. 8) for the true Church throughout the world, in contrast with heretical sects. It is also found four times in The Letter of the Church of Smyrna on the Martyrdom of the holy Polycarp: Τῆς ἁγίας καὶ καθολικῆς Ἐκκλησίας (ad init.); Τῆς κατὰ τὴν οἰκουμένην καθολικῆς Ἐκκλησίας (viii, xix); Τῆς ἐν Σμύρνῃ καθολικῆς Ἐκκλεσίας.

(b)  The word 'Church' is sometimes used in another sense to denote the Church on earth in all times and places, and the epithet Catholic is still strictly in place. For example, later in the second century St. Clement of Alexandria wrote as follows (Strom. VII, xvii, 106, 107):----'It needs no long discourse to prove that the merely human assemblies which they have instituted were later in time than the Catholic Church. . . . We say then that the ancient and Catholic Church stands alone . . . gathering together into the unity of the One Faith, built upon the fitting covenants or rather upon the one Covenant given at different times, all those who have been already therein enrolled' etc.

(c) The Church is also said to include not only her children on earth, but also the holy dead. Thus St. Augustine (De Civ. Dei xx, 9): 'Neither are the souls of the holy dead separated from the Church, which even now is the Kingdom of Christ.' In this most comprehensive sense the epithet Catholic is rarely (if ever) applied to the word 'Church.' Should any case perchance exist where a Father so employs the word Catholic, it would be 'less properly' (as opposed to the general patristic usage)----in the sense that the Blessed souls in Heaven and in Purgatory belonged to the Catholic Church when they were living on earth. It seems well to note this, because there has sometimes been confusion on the point amongst Non-Catholic writers. For example Dr. Darwell Stone (The Christian Church p. 214) philosophises concerning 'two ideas of the unity of the Church which St. Augustine failed to reconcile,' and boldly writes as follows: 'that notion of the nature and unity of the Church which may be illustrated from Clement of Alexandria and from Origen, but also from St. Augustine, which lays stress on the union of the church militant with the departed and with those yet unborn, and which finds points of contact amongst living Christians in the unseen realities, is not really allowed for in the Roman Catholic doctrine.' Of course it is pure imagination to fancy that there were two opposing views in the minds of the Fathers, striving for the mastery, which 'Augustine failed to reconcile,' but which eventually emerged the one in 'Ultramontanism,' the other in some such system as Anglicanism. But there are two ways of looking at the Church, as we regard it from different aspects. We find both of these, as we should naturally expect, in the Fathers. There is the ordinary patristic view, with which St. Optatus for example makes us so familiar, of one Body upon earth, not merely local, but scattered throughout the world, with its members all joined together, one with each other, in an actual, visible, external communion. (This on Anglican theories is admittedly not a necessity, but only a desirable dream-picture.) There is also, no doubt, to be found in the Fathers a conception of the Church as an ideal unity of all the redeemed on earth and in heaven, united by the mystical indwelling of the Holy Spirit. But far from these being mutually exclusive views between which the Fathers oscillate, they are two different entities, each of which represents a great reality, not merely 'allowed for,' but much more----apprehended by 'the Roman Catholic 'as keenly now as in any age of the Church's history. The latter of these, however, is not what the Fathers mean by 'the Catholic Church,' but is the whole Church of the Redeemed----whose 'names are written in heaven '----now in fieri, only to be realised at the Last Day. The former is the Church militant, the Catholic Church, diffused throughout the world (as its name implies) and nowhere else. It is of this visible Catholic Church that the Fathers predicate unity, not merely as a quality, but as an essential quality, and a visible 'note' or characteristic by which (in conjunction with her existence everywhere, or her Catholicity) she is to be instantly recognised. This is the meaning of the definition of Eunomius and Olimpius (as given by St. Optatus), which cut at the root of the Donatist question. On the one side stood a great number of African bishops. On the other side was Caecilian with (probably) but few colleagues in Africa, but in communion with all the rest of the Catholic world. So seventy African Bishops, even with the Primate Secundus, were of no importance, for over against them was 'the Catholic Church.' It is exactly the same touchstone as St. Cyril of Jerusalem had given when he told his hearers to ask in every city not for the kuriakh& (the house of God, or Church), but for 'the Catholic Church,'----the same touchstone that St. Pacian gave against the Novatians, when he said 'Christian is my name, Catholic is my surname.' The visible unity of one visible Church throughout the world is the presupposition and the teaching of all the Fathers. This is seen perhaps with special clearness in this Donatist controversy. But at all times and everywhere the patristic conception of the Church and of Schism is, apart from this presupposition, wholly unintelligible.

(d) There is yet another distinction made by St. Augustine against the Donatists between the Catholic Church on earth, in which good and evil men are living together, and the Church of the Saints after the General Judgement. It is, he writes, One Holy Church, but after a different fashion (aliter). The state of the Church now was typified by the miraculous draught of fishes before the Resurrection when the nets were cast on the left hand as well as on the right----and were broken; the state of the Church hereafter by the draught after the Resurrection, when the nets were cast only on the right side----and remained unbroken. (Cf. Brev. Coll. iii, 9, 10.)

204. 1 St. Augustine (con. Epist. Parmen. iii, 3) summed up the decision of Eunomius and Olimpius in the celebrated words: 'Quapropter securus iudicat orbis terrarum bonos non esse qui se dividunt ab orbe terrarum in quacunque parte orbis terrarum.' 'Wherefore the [Catholic] world judges without anxiety that they are not good who in any part of the world separate themselves from the [Catholic] world.' (Cf. note 6, p. 63.)

205. 1 These Acts have unfortunately been lost (cf. Appendix, p. 321). St. Augustine writes (Brev. coll. xii, 24): 'Atque inde ex ordine coepit etiam episcopale iudicium Melchiadis Romani Episcopi et aliorum cum illo Gallorum et Italorum Episcoporum in eadem Urbe Roma factum, cuius iudicii prima parte, id est gestis primae diei recitatis, ubi accusatores Caeciliani, qui missi fuerant, negaverunt se habere quod in eum dicerent; ubi etiam Donatus a Casis Nigris in praesenti convictus est, adhuc diacono Caeciliano [that is in the days of Mensurius, when Donatus the Great was probably, like Caecilian, still a deacon, and far more likely to cause trouble at Carthage than any Bishop of Casae Nigrae in Numidia] scisma fecisse Carthagine: de Carthaginis enim scismate exorta est adversus Ecclesiam pars Donati.' From this we learn that the Acts of the first session of the Lateran Synod were read at the Conference of 411, but here once more we have to deplore the loss of the full minutes of the latter part of the proceedings.

206. 1  See Appendix, p. 327. We know that Aelianus conducted the inquiry; we know also from St. Augustine (Ep. lxxxviii; con. Cresc. iii, 81) that Constantine wrote a letter to Probianus, the successor of Aelianus. But Duchesne writes (p. 12) that Aelianus in the text is probably a mistake for Aelius Paulinus, the Vicar of Africa, 'qui se mit en mouvement pour exécuter l'ordre impérial.'

207. 2  Called Saturninus by St. Augustine, Ep. lxxxviii. (Cf. p. 426, note 1.)

208. 3  nihil tale inventum est, quod vitam Felicis Episcopi sordidare potuisset P. For sordidare RBGv have ordinare, which evidently must be wrong. Accordingly Cochlaeus conjectured deordinare, and Du Pin in vita Felicis Episcopi, propter quod ordinare non potuisset. If Du Pin had seen P, he would never have hazarded this guess, of which he says: 'Nos restituimus hunc locum partim ex coniectura, partim ex auctoritate MSS,' and explains that all the MSS which he had been able to consult have ordinare.

209. 1  liberum esse ab exustione strumentorum deificorum.

210. 2  revelata. B has renovata.

211. 3  innocentes et indignos criminose pulsares P (so Ziwsa). RBvb read indignos crimini copulares = 'to link with crime those who deserve it not.'

212. 1 i Tim. i, 5, 6.

213. 2 parentes.

214. 3 Cf. illam esse Catholicam, quae esset in toto orbe terrarum diffusa (i, 26).

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