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Optatus of Milevis, Against the Donatists (1917) Book 2. pp.57-119.


Which is the One True Catholic Church and Where is it to be found? The Five Endowments of the Church belong to Catholicism, not to the schism. The donatists have been guilty of shamelessly scraping the heads of Priests, and of Murders, of giving the Eucharist to Dogs, and of casting away the Holy Chrism.

I. Which and where is the Catholic Church? It is spread all over the world.

We have shown who were the Betrayers, and have pointed out the origin of the Schism in such a manner that we have almost seen it take place before our eyes.1 The difference between heresy and schism has also been explained. It is now our business to show (as we promised that we would do in the second place) which is the One Church, called by Christ His Dove and His Bride.2

The Church, then, is One, and her holiness is not measured by the pride of individuals,3 but is derived |58 from the Sacraments. It is for this reason that she alone is called by Christ His Dove and His own beloved Bride.

The Church cannot be amongst all the heretics and schismatics.4 It follows that [according to you] she must be in one place only.5

You, my brother Parmenian, have said that she is with you alone. This, I suppose, can only be because, in your pride, you strive to claim some special holiness for yourselves, so that the Church may be where it pleases you, and may not be where it pleases you not. And so, in order that she may be with you in a little piece of Africa, in a corner of one small region, is she not to be with us in another part of Africa? Is she not to be in Spain, in Gaul, in Italy, where you are not? If you maintain that she is with you only, is she not to be in Pannonia, in Dacia, Moesia, Thrace, Achaia, Macedonia and in all Greece, where you are not? In order that you may be able to argue that |59 she is with you, is she not to be in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Pamphylia, Phrygia, Cilicia and in the three Syrias, and in the two Armenias, and in all Egypt and in Mesopotamia, where you are not? And is she not to be throughout innumerable islands and so many other provinces which can hardly be counted, where you are not? 6

Where in that case will be the application of the Catholic Name,7 since on this very account was the Church called Catholic, because she is in accordance with reason, and is scattered all over the world? 8 |60 

For if you limit the Church just as it may please you, into a narrow corner, if you withdraw whole peoples from her communion, where will that be which the Son of God has merited, where will that be which the Father has freely granted Him, saying, in the second Psalm:

'I will give to Thee the nations for Thine inheritance; and the ends of the earth for Thy possession'? 9

To what purpose do you break so mighty a promise, so that the breadth of all the kingdoms is compressed by you into a sort of narrow prison? Why do you strive to stand in the way of so great a largesse? Why do you fight against the Saviour's Merits? Permit the Son to possess that which has been granted to Him; permit the Father to fulfil that which He has promised.

Why do you put bounds, why set limits? There is nothing in any part of the earth which has been withheld from His dominion, since the whole earth has been promised by God the Father to the Saviour. The whole earth has been granted to Him together |61 with its nations. The whole world is Christ's as His undivided possession.10 God proves this when he says:

'I will give unto Thee the nations for Thine inheritance, and for Thy possession the bounds of the earth.' 11

And in the seventy-first Psalm, it has been written of the Saviour Himself,

'He shall reign from sea to sea, and from the waters to the bounds of the world.' 12

When the Father gives, He makes no exception; you, that you may give Him one fraction, endeavour to take away the whole measure. And, still, you endeavour to persuade men that the Church is amongst you alone, taking away from Christ that which He has won----denying that God has performed His promises. What ingratitude! What folly! What presumption is yours! Christ invites you, with all others, into the company of the Heavenly Kingdom and exhorts you to be co-heirs with Him; and you strive to rob Him of the inheritance given Him by the Father, allowing Him a part of Africa and refusing Him the whole world, which the Father has bestowed upon Him.

Why do you desire to make the Holy Ghost appear a liar, who in the forty-ninth Psalm tells of the goodness of Almighty God, saying:

'The Lord, the God of Gods has spoken and has called the earth from the rising of the sun to the going down thereof'? 13 |62 

Therefore the earth has been called to become flesh.14 And, as it has been written, so has it been done, and the earth owes praises to its Creator.

Once more this is mentioned, where the Holy Spirit exhorts us in the hundred and twelfth Psalm with the words:

'The Name of the Lord must be praised from the rising of the sun even to its going down.' 15

And again, in the ninety-fifth Psalm: 

'Sing ye to the Lord a new song.' 16

If this were the only verse, you might say that the Holy Ghost had exhorted you alone. But that He might show that this has been said not to you alone, but to the Church which is everywhere, He continued:

'Sing to the Lord, all the earth; declare amongst the nations His glory, His wonderful works amongst all peoples.' 17

He said:

'Declare amongst the nations.' 18

He did not say, 'in a small part of Africa, where you are'; He did say 'Declare amongst all peoples.' 19

He who said 'all peoples' excepted no man. Yet |63 you are proud to be alone and separated from 'all peoples,' though to them this command was given; and you maintain that you, who are not in any part of the whole,20 are yet yourselves alone the whole.

He has said:

'The name of the Lord must be praised,' and 'by all the earth from the rising of the sun to the going down thereof.' 21

Can then the Pagans, who are outside the covenant of Christ,22 either sing to God or praise the name of the Lord? Is it not His Church alone, which is within the covenant,23 that may praise Him? 24 Therefore, if you say that the Church is with you only, you are defrauding God's ear of its due. If you alone are praising Him, 'the whole world,' 25 which is from the |64 rising of the sun to its going down, will be keeping silence. You have shut the mouths of all the Christian nations. You have imposed silence on all the peoples who desire to praise God from moment to moment. If then God waits for the praise which is His due, and if the Holy Spirit exhorts men to sound His praises,26 if 'the whole world' is prepared to render to God His due, lest God be robbed----then should you also praise Him, together with all, or, (since you have refused to be with all,) in your isolation, hold your tongues.

II. He proves from the Cathedra Petri that the Cathedra which is the first endowment of the Church belongs to Catholics, not to Donatists.

So we have proved that the Catholic Church is the Church which is spread throughout the world.

We must now mention its Adornments,27 and see where are its five Endowments (which you have said to be six 28), amongst which the CATHEDRA is the first; |65 and, since the second Endowment, which is the 'Angelus,' cannot be added unless a Bishop has sat on |66 the Cathedra,29 we must see who was the first to sit on the Cathedra, and where 30 he sat. If you do not know this, learn. If you do know, blush. Ignorance cannot be attributed to you----it follows that you know.31 For one who knows, to err is sin. Those who do not know may sometimes be pardoned.32

You cannot then deny that you do know 33 that upon Peter first 34 in the City of Rome 35 was bestowed the Episcopal Cathedra,36 on which sat Peter, the Head of all the Apostles (for which reason he was called Cephas 37), |67 that, in this one Cathedra, unity should be preserved by all,38 lest the other Apostles might claim----each for himself----separate Cathedras, so that he who should set up a second Cathedra against the unique Cathedra 39 would already be a schismatic and a sinner. |68 

Well then, on the one Cathedra, which is the first of the Endowments, Peter was the first to sit.40

III. The Succession of Bishops of Rome.

To Peter succeeded Linus, to Linus succeeded Clement, to Clement Anacletus, to Anacletus Evaristus, to Evaristus 41 Sixtus, to Sixtus Telesphorus, to Telesphorus Hyginus, to Hyginus Anacetus, to Anacetus Pius, to Pius Soter, to Soter Alexander, to Alexander Victor, to Victor Zephyrinus, to Zephyrinus Calixtus, to Calixtus Urban, to Urban Pontianus, to Pontianus Anterus, to Anterus Fabian, to Fabian Cornelius, to Cornelius Lucius, to Lucius Stephen, to Stephen Sixtus, to Sixtus Dionysius, to Dionysius Felix, to Felix Marcellinus, to Marcellinus Eusebius, to Eusebius Miltiades, to Miltiades Silvester, to Silvester Marcus, |69 to Marcus Julius, to Julius Liberius, to Liberius Damasus, to Damasus Siricius,42 who to-day is our colleague, with whom 'the whole world,' 43 through the intercourse of letters of peace,44 agrees with us in one bond of communion.45

Now do you show the origin of your Cathedra,46 you who wish to claim the Holy Church for yourselves!

IV. The Donatist Bishops and their meetinghouses in Rome.

But 47 you allege that you too have some sort of a party in the City of Rome.48 |70 

It is a branch of your error growing out of a lie, not from the root of truth. In a word, were Macrobius 49 to be asked where he sits in the City, will he be able to say on Peter's Cathedra? I doubt whether he has even set eyes upon it, and schismatic that he is, he has not drawn nigh to Peter's 'Shrine,' 50 against the precept of the Apostle who writes:

'Communicating with the "Shrines" of the Saints.' 51 |71 

Behold, in Rome are the 'Shrines' of the two Apostles. Will you tell me whether he has been able to approach them, or has offered Sacrifice in those places, where----as is certain----are these 'Shrines' of the Saints.

So it follows that your colleague Macrobius must confess that he sits where once sat Encolpius; and if Encolpius himself could be questioned, he would say that he sat where before him sat Bonifacius of Balla; and if Bonifacius could be asked, he would in his turn reply that he sat where Victor of Garba sat, whom some time ago your people sent from Africa to a few wanderers.52

How do you explain that your party has not been able to possess a Roman citizen as Bishop in Rome? How is it that in that City they were all Africans 53 and strangers who are known to have succeeded one another? Is not craft here manifest? Is this not the spirit of faction----the mother of schism?

This Victor of Garba was sent first, I will not say as a stone into a fountain (for he could not ruffle the pure waters of the Catholic people), but because some Africans who belonged to your party, having gone to Rome, and wishing to live there, begged that someone should be sent from Africa to preside over their public worship. So Victor was sent to them. He was there as a son without a father, as a beginner without a master, as a disciple without a teacher, |72 as a follower without a predecessor,54 as a lodger without a home, as a guest without a guest-house, as a shepherd without a flock, as a Bishop without a people. For neither flock nor people can that handful be termed, who amongst the forty and more Basilicas in Rome, had not one place in which to assemble.

Accordingly they closed up 55 a cave outside the City with trellis-work,56 where they might have a meeting-house at once,57 and on account of this were called Mountaineers.58

Since then, Claudian has succeeded to Lucian, Lucian to Macrobius, Macrobius to Encolpius, Encolpius to Boniface, Boniface to Victor. Victor would not have been able, had he been asked where he sat,59 to show that anyone had been there 60 before him, nor could he have pointed out that he possessed any Cathedra save the Cathedra of pestilence 61; |73 for pestilence sends down its victims, destroyed by diseases, to the regions of Hell which are known to have their gates----gates against which we read that Peter received the saving Keys----Peter, that is to say, the first of our line,62 to whom it was said by Christ:

'To thee will I give the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven,' 

and these keys

'the gates of Hell shall not overcome.' 63

How is it, then, that you strive to usurp for yourselves the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, you who, with your arguments, and audacious sacrilege, war against the Chair of Peter? 64 |74 

V. The Donatist Authors of Schism, Foes of Peace.

Thus do you repudiate the blessedness deserved by him who walked not in the counsel of the wicked, and did not stand in the way of sinners, and sat not on the Chair of Pestilence.65 Your fathers walked in the counsel of the ungodly, to divide the Church. They also walked in the way of sinners, when they strove to divide Christ, whose garments not even the Jews would rend, though the Apostle Paul cries out and says:

'Is then Christ divided?' 66

Would that your fathers, after having already walked in the evil way, had recognised their sin, and turned back upon themselves; would that they had set right their wicked deeds; would that they had recalled the Peace 67 which they had put to flight.

That would have been to turn back on their way, for on the way we have to walk, not stand still. But, since your fathers would not come back, it is certain that they stood in the way of sinners. They, whose steps had been impelled by mad wickedness, were held back, bound and benumbed by the spirit of strife; and, that they might not be able to return to better things, themselves placed the shackles of schism upon themselves, so that with obstinacy they stood in their error, and were not able to come back to the Peace which they had deserted. Nor |75 did they listen to the Holy Spirit speaking in the thirty-third Psalm:

'Turn away from evil and do good; seek Peace and pursue it' 68;

but they stood in the way of their sins.

Your fathers also sat on the Chair of Pestilence, which, as we have said above, sends down to death those whom it has beguiled. But you, whilst by your zealous defence you pay homage to your fathers' error, have made yourselves the heirs of their wickedness, when you might have been, though late, the sons of Peace. For it has been written in the Prophet Ezekiel:

'Raise thy voice over the son of the sinner, that he follow not in his father's footsteps, since the soul of the father is Mine and Mine is the soul of the son. The soul which sins, alone shall be punished.' 69

If you would disown your fathers' sin, they alone would have to give an account of their own deed.70 By acting thus, even you might be blessed and receive praise from the mouth of the Prophet, who says in the first Psalm:

'Blessed is the man who hath not walked in the counsel of the ungodly nor stood in the way of sinners, and has not sat in the Chair of Pestilence, but has his will in the Law of the Lord.' 71

What does it mean to have the 'will in the Law,' |76 unless both to learn the divine precepts with piety, and fulfil them with fear----to have the will set on that Law in which it has been written (in the Gospel):

'Peace on earth to men of good will,' 72  

and in another place (in Isaiah the Prophet 73):

'I will lay the foundations of peace in Sion,' 

and in another (the eighty-fourth Psalm):

'Let us see what the Lord shall say, for He shall speak peace to His people,' 74

and in yet another (the seventy-fifth Psalm):

'The Son of God has come, and His place has been set in peace,' 75

and again (in the seventy-first Psalm):

'Let the mountains receive peace for the. people, and the hills justice,' 76

and in the Gospel:

'My peace I give to you, My peace I leave to you' 77

and Paul says:

'He who sows peace, peace also shall he reap,' 78 |77 

and in all his epistles 79:

'Let peace abound amongst you in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost' 80;

and in the thirty-third Psalm:

'Seek peace and thou shalt obtain it.' 81

Peace had been put to flight 82 by your fathers and departed. You ought to seek it as God has commanded, though, until now, you have neither been willing to seek it yourselves, nor to accept it, when it was freely offered to you.

For who is there in so many Provinces that has heard of whom you have been born,83 and (if there be anyone who had heard this) who is there that does not marvel at your error? Who is there that does not condemn your wickedness? Wherefore, since it is clear, yea, clearer than the light itself, that we are with so many peoples who cannot be numbered, and that so many countries are with us; whilst you see that you are to be found only in a portion of one country; and that you, by your errors, are separated from the Church; in vain do you claim for yourselves alone this name of the Church with her Endowments, which are rather with us than with you.

Now these Endowments are connected one with another, and are distinct, but in such a way, that it |78 may be understood that one cannot be separated from another. For they are numerically distinct, but with one act of the mind we see them joined in their Body,84 as are the fingers on the hand----each of which we perceive to be removed by spaces from the others. Therefore he who possesses one, must possess them all, since not one of them can be apart from its fellows.85

We may add that we possess----and that in the strictest sense----not one Endowment alone, but all.

VI. The second Endowment of the Church, 'The Angelus,' or Bishop, is not with the Donatists.

So, of the above-mentioned Endowments, the Cathedra is, as we have said, the first, which we have proved to be ours, through Peter, and which draws to itself the ANGEL 86 ----unless, perchance, you claim him for yourselves, and have him shut up somewhere or other.87 Send him out if you can, and let him exclude from his communion seven angels, our colleagues in Asia, to whose churches wrote the Apostle John----churches with which 88 you cannot prove that you have any intercourse whatsoever.89

On what ground, then, can you maintain that you |79 possess an Angel able to move the Fountain,90 or one who, as such, can be numbered among the other Endowments of the Church?

Whatever is without the Seven Churches is alien.91 |80 Supposing then that you really had even one Angel who belongs to the Church, through that one Angel you would be in communion with other Angels too, and through them with the above-mentioned Churches, and through these Churches 92 with us also. |81 

If these things be as I have stated them, you have lost your case.93

VII. The third Endowment, Spiritus, the Holy Spirit, is in the Church, not with the Donatists.

Now perhaps you will see that the Endowments of the Church cannot be with you, for you cannot claim for yourselves alone the SPIRIT of God,94 nor can you shut up 95 (in a small corner of Africa) Him |82 whose Presence we recognise though we see it not.96 For so has it been written in the Gospel:

'God is a Spirit,' and 'breatheth where He willeth, but you hear not His voice, nor do you know whence He cometh and whither He goeth.' 97

Permit God to come whence He willeth, and allow Him freedom to go where He pleaseth. He can be heard, but He cannot be seen. And yet, through your lust for calumny, you have been pleased to blaspheme and say:

'What Spirit can there be in that Church,98 excepting one which should give birth to sons of Hell?' 99

Thou 100 hast vomited forth thine invective and hast thought that thou mightest thus be able to strengthen thyself by producing testimony from the Gospel, where we read:

'Woe to you, hypocrites, who compass seas and lands to make one proselyte, and when you have found him, make him a son of Hell twofold worse than yourselves.' 101 |83 

If this accusation----unjust and groundless though it be----had to be made at all, would that it had been made by any other of your party than yourself.102 Indeed I am lost in wonder that you, of all men, should have dared falsely to bring against another a charge, the very thought of which might well make you blush, were you but to consider your own Consecration. For you have reminded us that we read in the Gospel:

'Woe to you, hypocrites, who compass seas and lands to make one proselyte '----

that is, to change his sect. As for you personally, I have no idea to what sect you previously belonged. But your quotation was unfortunate. I think that perhaps you are already sorry that you made it.103 Is it we who have travelled through any lands? Is it we who have compassed any seas? Is it we who have set sail to foreign ports? Is it we who have brought in a Spaniard or a Gaul? Have we consecrated a foreigner, not known to our people? 104 |84 

VIII. Concerning the Fons, the Sigillum and the Umbilicus.

It is certain that the FOUNTAIN 105 also is one of the Endowments, from which heretics can neither drink themselves, nor give others to drink. For, as they alone 106 do not possess the SEAL, that is to say the Catholic Creed, in its integrity, they cannot open the true Fountain.

*         *         *         *         * 

For 107 since it has been written in the Canticle of Canticles:

'Thy Navel is as a round goblet,' 108

you have tried to say that the Navel is the Altar. If the Navel be a member of the body, from the fact that it is a member, it cannot be amongst the Endowments. To be an Ornament, it must not be part of the body.109 |85  

IX. The Endowments of the Church are with Catholics; not with Donatists.

The Endowments then are seen to be Five. Since these Endowments belong to the Catholic Church (which is in so many countries already mentioned by us), they cannot be wanting to us here in Africa.

Understand, however late, that you are disobedient sons, that you are boughs broken off from the tree, that you are branches cut off from the vine, that you are a river separated from its source. For that stream which is small and which is derived from another cannot be the source. Nor can the tree be cut off from the branch,110 since the tree, which has been planted and is alive, has its own roots; whereas the branch, which has been cut off, withers and dies.

Now do you see, my brother Parmenian, now |86 do you recognise, now do you understand, that by your arguments you have fought against yourself?

For it has been proved that we are in the Holy Catholic Church, who have too the Creed of the Trinity 111; and it has been shown that, through the Chair of Peter which is ours----through it 112 ----the other Endowments also belong to us.

Again, ours is the Sacerdotium, which you have affected to regard as in our case of no account 113----by way of some excuse for your error and hatred in re-baptising after us----though this you do not after your own people, even when they have been proved guilty of sin; for you have maintained that, if the priest be in sin,114 the Endowments are able to work alone.115

So----to answer you----we have shown what is heresy, and what is schism, and which is the Holy Church, and that of this Holy Church there has been constituted a Representative,116 and that the Catholic |87 Church is the Church which is scattered over the whole world (of which we amongst others are members), and that her Endowments are with her everywhere.117 We have also shown in our first Book that we cannot justly be reproached with the crime of Betrayal, |88 and that this crime has been condemned not only by you, but by us also.118

X. Catholics possess the Sacraments.

Now I should like you to tell me this. Why have you thought well to speak only of the Endowments of the Church, and have said nothing about her holy members and her inward organs,119 which without doubt are in the Sacraments and in the Names of the Trinity 120? These Names are met by Faith and its profession, recorded upon the Acts of the Angels 121; here are sown heavenly and spiritual seeds, so that, for those who are born again, a new nature 122 may be procreated from a holy germ, and he who had once been born to the world may, where the Trinity meets Faith, be spiritually new-born 123 to God.  |89  

In this way does God become the Father of men, thus does the Holy Church become their Mother.

I perceive that all these things have been left unmentioned by you, on purpose, lest in them all, the true principles of Baptism 124 might be recognised, in which there is nothing that the human minister may, after your fashion, claim for himself.

For this reason you determined to occupy yourself with the Endowments alone, which you have denied to Catholics, vainly striving to claim them for yourselves exclusively, having clutched them, as it were in your hand, or shut them up in a box.125 Although the question is about regeneration, and man's renovation, you have made no mention either of Faith or of its profession by the Faithful. You determined rather to speak of the Endowments alone, and have passed over in silence all these things without which spiritual faith and reparation cannot exist. And although the Endowments belong to the Spouse, not the Spouse to the Endowments, you dealt with the Endowments as if life were given by them, not by the inward organs, which we understand to be rather in the Sacraments than in the Ornaments.

XI. The Church is rightly called Paradise, but it belongs to the wide world.

Nor do I pass over the fact that you have said openly that the Church is (as we believe) a Paradise----a thing which without doubt is true----a garden in which God sets His little trees. And yet you have denied to God His rich possessions by compressing His garden |90 into a narrow corner,126 claiming without reason everything for yourselves alone. Surely the plantations of God, through different precepts, have different seeds. The just, the continent, the merciful, the virgins are spiritual seeds. Of these seeds God raises little plants in His Paradise. Grant to God that His garden be spread far and wide. Why do you deny to Him the Christian peoples of East and North, also those of all the provinces of the West and of innumerable islands ----with whom you share no fellowship of communion----against whom you----few in number and rebels----are ranged, in isolation?

XII. From the prayer of Oblation we gather that the One Church is Everywhere.

It is now time to condemn, as is only right, your falsehood, with which each day you season your Sacrifices.127 For who can doubt that you dare not pass over what is prescribed in the Mystery of the Sacraments? 128 You say that you offer the Sacrifice to God on behalf of the Church, which is One. This |91 in itself is part of your falsehood, to call that One, of which you have made Two. You proclaim that you sacrifice to God on behalf of the One Church, which has been spread throughout the whole world.

But what reply would you make were God to say to any one of you:

'Why dost thou offer sacrifice for the Whole----thou who art not in the Whole? '

If we are displeasing to you, what wrong has the City of Antioch done you, or the Province of Arabia 129?

Yet we are able to prove that those who come from Antioch and Arabia have been rebaptised by you.

XIII. The praise bestowed upon the Church by Parmenian belongs to Catholics.

In one thing alone we cannot be ungrateful to you, my brother Parmenian. You have praised our Church 130 (that is the Catholic, which is contained throughout the entire world)----although you do not belong to her 131 ----by enumerating her Endowments (mistaken though you are as to their number) and by teaching that she is a garden enclosed and a fountain sealed up, and the only Bride.132 |92 

This we say of that which is our own; you have said, it of that which does not belong to you.133 Whatever you have been able to say in praise of the Church, we, before you, have said the same. We too, with you, condemn the Betrayers----those men whom, if you remember, we have shown up in our first Book.

And although we are in communion with the whole [Catholic] world, and all the Provinces are in communion with us, you for some time past have thought well to provide two churches,134 as if Africa alone had Christian people----that Africa in which, through your fault, two parties have been made! And you----not remembering Christ, who says that His Spouse is One----have said, not that there are two parties in Africa, but two Churches. Without doubt that Church is One, to which it has been granted to be pointed out by the Word of Christ, who says:

'One is My dove; My spouse is One.' 135

XIV. The Catholics have done nothing with cruelty.

But you, having forgotten this, have used these words in order to stir up hatred against Catholics:

'That,' you have said, 'cannot rightly be called a Church which battens on bloody morsels, and is fattened on the blood and the flesh of the Saints.'

The Church has her own determinate members----Bishops, priests, deacons, clerics,136 and the mass of |93 the faithful.137 Tell us against which class of men in our Church 138 the charge that you have thought well to bring can be proved. Name some cleric individually, point out some deacon by his name; show that this evil thing has been done by some priest; prove the guilt of Bishops. Make us see that any one of our people has plotted against any man. Who of us has persecuted any one? Who is there on your side, of whom you can either say or prove that he has been persecuted by us?

Unity displeases you.

So----if you deem it to be a crime, convict us of being in communion with Thessalonians, Corinthians, Galatians and the Seven Churches which are in Asia.

If it seems to you wicked or a proof of guilt to communicate with the 'shrines' 139 of the Apostles and of all the Saints, far from denying this, we make it our boast.

XV. The Peace and Happiness of the Church before it was disturbed by the Donatists.

But that I may show that----to quote your words 140 ----it was your party which

'has battened on bloody morsels, and has been fattened on the blood and flesh of Christians,'

your rabid madness must now be described from its beginning; now the story of your wickedness must be related anew; now your folly must be proved.

First we have to show that the cause of your gladness ought to be your shame, and how wicked is |94 your joy at having received 141 liberty to return to your original wrongdoing.

Go over again the times that are past, enter into the sequence of events,142 consider how different were the persons concerned, and how different were their aims.143

Recall Constantine 144 the Christian Emperor to your memory. Think of the service which he rendered to God, and remember his ardent desire that schism should be removed, and all dissension die away, so that Holy Mother Church might see, rejoicing, her children throughout the world living in unity. He restored the unity of communion; he gave back wives to husbands, children to parents, brothers to brothers.

These are the things concerning which God bears witness that He is well pleased, when He says in the hundred and thirty-second Psalm:

'Behold how good and how pleasant a thing it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.' 145

For Peace in unity 146 joined together the peoples of Africa and of the East, and the rest beyond the sea,147 and this unity itself,148 through the representation |95 of all its members, made the Body of the Church solid. And then over this the Devil, whom it always tortures to see brethren living in peace, was sorely vexed.

At that time, under a Christian Emperor, Satan, as if shut up in the idols, lay abandoned in his temples. Your leaders too and first fathers had been sent, as they deserved; into banishment. In the Church there were no schisms. Pagans were not allowed their sacrilegious rites. Peace, beloved by God, dwelt amongst all Christian peoples. The devil mourned in his temples; you mourned in foreign lands.

XVI. The Edict of Julian.

Next, as is known to all men, there followed another Emperor, who, in conjunction with you, devised evil plans, and from the servant of God became the tool of God's enemy. His edicts bore him witness that he was an apostate. Yet this was the man whom you entreated to be allowed to return.149 If you deny that you sent such entreaties, we reply that we have read them. Nor did he whom you entreated make difficulties. He commanded you to come back,150 as you asked. For he knew well that you would come, with fierceness, to break up Peace.151

If you have any shame, blush.

The same decree, which gave freedom to you, ordered the temples to be opened to their idols.152

XVII. The madness and cruelty of the Donatists.

You returned, in your madness, to Africa almost |96 at the moment when the devil was loosed from his dungeons.

Still you do not blush----you who, at the same time as the Enemy, have reasons for rejoicing, which you share with him.

You came raging; you came full of wrath, rending the members of the Church; subtle in your deceits; savage in your slaughters, provoking the children of Peace to war. A large number you banished from their homes. Approaching with a hired band, you rushed upon the Basilicas. Many of your party throughout numerous districts (which it would be too long to mention by their names) worked massacres so bloody, that the judges of the time sent a report to the Emperor 153 concerning deeds of such atrocity.

But the Judgement of God intervened and came to our aid, so that the Emperor who had already long ago ordered you to come back,154 and who, at your instigation, had arranged, or was even then arranging, for our persecution, died in the midst of his profanity and sacrileges.

XVIII. The Donatists' murderous deeds.

Catholics were slaughtered in the above-mentioned districts. You remember how your people ran to and fro from place to place. Were not Felix of Zaba and Januarius of Flumenpiscinum of your party, and the others who rushed all together as swiftly as they could, to a fortified place called Lemella 155 ? |97 So soon as they saw that the Basilica, notwithstanding their clamours, was closed against them, they commanded their followers to climb to the top, strip the roof, and throw down the tiles. These orders were executed without delay. In the defence of the altar, a number of Catholic deacons were wounded with tiles----of whom two were killed----Primus the son of Januarius, and Donatus the son of Ninus. Your fellow-Bishops, whose names I have just given, were present and urged them on, so that, without doubt, of your party has it been said:

'Their feet are swift to shed blood.' 156

Primosus, the Catholic Bishop of the place, complained of all this----whilst you listened disingenuously to his complaints----at your Council held in the City of Theneste.

See then how you did the things, of which you have said:

'That is not the Church which battens on bloody morsels';

and again you have said:

'Soldiers sent to war are one thing, consecrated Bishops are another.'

What in your hatred you bring as a charge against us was done by others, not by us; that which you say ought not to have been done, has been done by you. |98 

You have recalled how the most blessed Apostle Paul has said that the Church ought to be 157 without wrinkle and without stain.158 In the presence, and at the order, of your Bishops, Catholic deacons were slain over the altar.159

The same things happened also at Carpi.160 Do not such deeds appear to you indelible stains? When you came into the cities of Mauritania, the people were overwhelmed with dread, so that children who were near to birth died in their mothers' wombs. Does not this seem to you to be a 'wrinkle' such as cannot be stretched or made smooth 161 by any reparation whatsoever? What have we done of such a character as this? We wait for the vengeance of God.

And yet you create a prejudice against Macarius, although anything that he may have done with harshness on behalf of unity may well be regarded as of light account, when compared with these monstrous, bitter, bloodstained acts of war done by you on behalf of dissension. Why should I mention Tipasa, a city of Mauritania Caesariensis, whither rushed from Numidia Urban of Forma and Felix of Idicra, two burning torches, set on fire by hatred 162? These men upset the minds of quiet people, who were established in unity,163 and, aided by the favour and fury of certain officials, in the very presence of Athenias |99 the magistrate, with colours flying,164 broke up the Catholic assemblies, with bloodshed. Catholics were driven out from their homes. Their men were wounded. Their women were dragged into captivity. Their infants were slain. Mothers miscarried.

Look now at your church. Under the guidance of its Bishops it

'battened on bloody morsels.'

After all this, you have gone on to say:

'Let the greed of vultures consume whatever it will; still the number of doves is greater.' 165

What, then, has happened to the common saying that a liar should have his memory in due keeping? Have you forgotten what you said a moment before, that in the Canticle of Canticles

'The Church is Christ's one Dove' 166?

If yours is the One Church, the Dove is One. What then did you mean by saying that

'the number of doves is greater'?

XIX. The Eucharist was given by the Donatists to dogs. An Ampulla of Chrism was thrown away. Their other sacrileges.

Moreover, a hideous crime (which seems to you something of little importance) 167 was committed, in such a fashion that your above-mentioned fellow-Bishops profaned everything which is most holy. They commanded the Eucharist to be cast to the dogs. This did not pass without evidence of the |100 Divine Judgement, for these same dogs were inflamed with madness, and tore their own masters in pieces as though they had been murderers,168 and attacked with avenging teeth those guilty of the Holy Body,169 as if they had been strangers and enemies.

They also threw a phial of chrism out of a window, in order to break it, and although its fall was precipitated by violence, an angel's hand was there to bring it down gently to earth, with the support that is from heaven. Though thrown away, it was not allowed to feel its fall, but, by the protection of God, found its home unbroken amongst the rocks.170 |101 

You never could have done such things as these, if you had borne in mind the Commands of Christ, who has said:

'Give not that which is holy to dogs, and cast not your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet and turning rend you.' 171

Could the makers of Unity have done anything of a like nature, out of which you might labour to create a baseless prejudice against us Catholics? 172

Urban of Forma and Felix of Idicra, when they came back, found that nuns whom they had seduced from their state of chastity had become mothers. Such, my brother Parmenian, is the character of the Bishops, whose deeds you cover up; and, when you ought to be blushing for your own sins, you bring charges against innocent Catholics.

At this time the above-mentioned Bishop Felix, amongst his other crimes and horrible misdeeds, seized a young maiden to whom he himself had given the veil 173 ----by whom he had a short time before been called by the name of Father----and did not hesitate in the least to be guilty of shameless incest. And, as if, through his sin, he had been made holy, he went with haste to Tysedis! There he ventured to rob of the episcopal name and office and honour Donatus, a Bishop seventy years of age, against whom no charge could be brought. The Catholic Bishop was approached by the schismatic, the innocent by the |102 guilty, the priest of God by one steeped in sacrilege, the chaste by the incestuous. The Bishop was attacked by one no longer a Bishop, who, relying upon the decrees and conspiracy of your party, and armed by your laws and your commands, cast those hands which a short time before had been made heavy by sins, upon the head of the innocent, and dared to let judgement fall from that tongue of his, which was not now worthy even to be allowed to do penance. See, my brother Parmenian, the sort of persons whom you defend; see the kind of men they are, on whose behalf you have, this long while, maintained that the Endowments of the Church are working.

XX. It is proved against the Donatists, who call themselves saints, that no man can be free from sin.

Will you then----you who wish men to think you holy and innocent----tell me this----whence comes this sanctity of yours, which you too freely claim for yourselves----a sanctity which the Apostle John does not dare to profess, when he writes:

'If we shall say that we are without sin we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.' 174

He who spoke thus kept himself, with wisdom, prepared for the grace of God.175 For it belongs to a Christian man to will what is good, and to run the course which he has rightly willed. But it is not given to man to bring to perfection; so that after the stages, which a man can go, there remains something for God with which He may meet man's deficiency. For He alone is perfection; and perfect alone is Christ, the Son of |103 God. We, the others, are all half-perfect 176; for it is ours to will,177 it is ours to run, but it is God's to make perfect. So the most blessed Apostle Paul has written:

'It is not of him that willeth nor of him that runneth, but of him that reacheth to the grace of God.' 178

For perfect sanctity has not been given, but promised, by Christ our Saviour. Thus He says:

'You shall be holy, because I am holy.' 179

So that He alone is perfect and holy. He did not say 'You are holy' but He did say

'You shall be holy.'

With what reason then do you, in your pride, claim for yourselves perfect holiness, except it be to make it clear that you deceive yourselves, and that the truth is not in you?

You have been unwilling to live in the school of John,180 for, when you lead some astray, you promise them that you will grant them forgiveness of their sins; and, when you are pleased to forgive sins, you |104 profess your own innocence and bestow forgiveness of sins, in such a manner as though you had no sin yourselves.181 This in you is not presumption [merely]; it is deception. This is not truth; it is a falsehood.182 For it is only a moment after 183 you have laid your hands upon the heads of others and pardoned their crimes, that you turn to the altar, and are unable to pass over the Lord's Prayer. Then no doubt you say:

'Our Father who art in Heaven, forgive us our debts 184 and sins.'

What ought you to be called when you confess your own sins, if you are holy when you forgive the sins of others? In this way do you deceive yourselves, and the truth is not in you.

But it is clear that this is dictated to you by your nursing mother Pride, as Christ bears witness in the Gospel. Although He did not mention your names, still He pointed out your character by a parable. For thus has it been written:

'Jesus spoke this parable on account of those who consider themselves holy and despise others.' 185

The evidence itself clearly shows that, when you puff yourselves up as holy, and plainly and openly despise us, this has been said of you. Two men, He |105 said, went up into the Temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a Publican. The Pharisee swollen out, proud, puffed up, such as we see you too to be, his body not humbled, his neck not bent, but with raised countenance and swelling breast----cried aloud:

'I give Thee thanks, my God, because in nothing have I sinned.'

This is to say to God:

'I have nothing for Thee to pardon.'

O wildness of a madman! O pride that must be punished and condemned! 186 God is prepared to pardon and the guilty one hastens to reject forgiveness. The Publican in his humility, recognising that he was a man, besought in this manner:

'Have mercy, O Lord, on me a sinner.'

Thus did he 187 deserve to be justified; thus did pride go down from the Temple, condemned in the Pharisee ----your teacher.

More tolerable is it to find sins where there is humility, than innocence where there is pride.

But you, though you are burdened with the heavy sins of Betrayal and Schism, take credit to yourselves that you are proud as well!

XXI. The sin of the Donatists in stripping Bishops of their dignity and submitting them to Penance.

Now that we have proved that you ought to blush with shame for those things at which you rejoice, and have shown with what mad rage you conducted yourselves in so many places, something should be said about the depth of your impiety. For who |106 ever will be able to explain the crimes that have been done, or those that are being actually done, by you? It is clear that, with a certain wicked ingenuity, you arranged all your plans in such a way as by one bad action to accomplish different results. For example, when a priest or a Bishop was removed by you from his post,188 you saw to it that you might capture all his flock. How could a mass of men stand firm when they saw you tear their ruler from them? In this manner is it always that, after the shepherd has by some misfortune been killed, wolves set upon the sheep. You exorcised the Faithful, and without reason washed the walls of the churches, that by wickedness of this kind you might undermine the minds of very simple people.189 By such evil designs as these you throttled the intelligence of not a few,190 and having disguised the light of your cunning by covering it all under a cloud 191 of feigned simplicity, you shot arrows from your quiver, to lay low the miserable by the seductions that your hearts contrived. Even as the Holy Ghost foretold of you, through David the Prophet, in the Psalm:

'For lo the wicked have bent their bow, they have prepared the arrows in their quiver to shoot the upright of heart when the moon is dark.' 192  |107 

In what way have your deeds fallen short of your plans? You have shot the innocent, you have disarmed the faithful. Bishops have been stripped of the office belonging to their title. O unheard-of impiety, upon whom have you laid your cut-throat hands, to keep them amongst the torments of Penance 193?

The savagery of highway robbers is seen to be a thing of less account, when compared with the deeds that you have done. The robber gives those whom he murders a quick death; you slay your victim, yet leave him amongst the living.194 Those whom you have succeeded in deceiving have been entrapped through the weakness of their understanding,195 for they 196 who had been ordained in the Name of God had, by God's own work, been made perfect [in their office]. And you fight fiercely against the work of God, destroying His work by the engines of your wickedness.197

It is clear, therefore, that of you it has been written in the tenth Psalm:

'That which Thou hast made perfect they have destroyed.' 198 

Your impiety has filled you with pride, but

'Justice looking down from heaven' 199

accuses you; whilst on earth men praise you with |108 mistaken praise for doing wickedness, so that of you the Holy Ghost has said in the ninth Psalm:

'Whilst the wicked man is proud, the poor man is set on fire; they are caught in the counsels which they devise. The sinner is praised in the desires of his soul and he who does iniquity shall be blessed.' 200

What greater iniquity than yours can there be found to be praised? What is there more iniquitous than to exorcise the Holy Ghost, to break down altars, to cast the Eucharist to animals? Yet your people praise you and----thus do they plunge you into folly----call you fortunate, and name you for good luck, 201 and swear by your name, and so are seen already to treat your persons as though you were God.

XXII. The Impiety of the Donatists, who were accustomed to swear by their Bishops.

Men are accustomed to use the Name of God when they swear, as a pledge of their truthfulness, but your party, when they swear by you, keep silence about God and Christ. If the worship due to God has passed from Heaven to you (as would seem from the fact that men swear by you), then let none of you or your party fall sick! Then refuse to die; give orders to the clouds: draw down the rain, if you can, that they may swear even more freely in your name, and may keep silence about God. For what could the Devil effect more by the hands of your people, than he did in the ages that are past, when |109 he caused his temples to be built and his idols to be fashioned----excepting this, that silence should be kept about God, whilst men in their foolishness speak of him alone.

XXIII. The wickedness of the Donatists in scraping the heads of anointed priests.

O sacrilege heaped upon impiety! You gladly listen to men swearing by you, but refuse your ears to the voice of God in the hundred and fourth Psalm, when He says:

'Touch not Mine Anointed and cast not your hands on My prophets.' 202

That both kings and priests are God's Anointed is shown by the books of Kings and also by David, saying in the hundred and thirty-second Psalm:

'As the precious ointment on the head, that ran down unto the beard of Aaron.' 203

You, on the contrary, have striven against God to despise His precepts, as earnestly as they who fear God strive to keep His Commandments. Tell us, where is your authority for scraping the heads of priests,204 when there are so many examples to the contrary, showing that this may not be done? |110 Saul, before he sinned, received the grace of being anointed.205 After his anointing, he sinned grievously. God, when He saw this, wishing to give us an example |111 not to touch the Oil, professed His repentance. For we read that the Lord spoke thus:

'It repenteth Me to have anointed Saul to be a king.' 206

Yet surely God might have taken away the Oil which He had bestowed; but, since He wished to teach that the Oil should not be touched even in a sinner, He who had given it, declared that it repented Him. If then God, in order to teach you, could not (because He would not) take away that which He had given, who are you to take away what you did not give?

And when you ought to have opened your ears to listen, you prepared your razor for sin. When you ought to have been the sons of God, you preferred to be the sons of men, and, in order to bite into other men's offices, turned your teeth into arrows and arms. You sharpened your tongues into swords; you fulfilled that which was written of you in the fifty-sixth Psalm:

'Sons of men----their teeth are arms and arrows; their tongue is a sharp sword.' 207

XXIV. The wrong done by the Donatists to men of every degree and age by laying hands upon them in Penance.

So you have sharpened your tongues into swords with which you slew not the bodies of men, but their dignities; you have destroyed not their members, but their titles. What boots it for those to live, who have been slain by you in their office? Their members are indeed whole and sound, but they carry about the corpse of the dignity which you have scratched away. For you stretched forth your hand and placed the death-bearing Veils upon every head; so that |112 whilst there are (as I have said above) four kinds of heads in the Church----Bishops, priests, deacons, and the Faithful, yon have not spared one.

You have overturned the souls of men.208 God holds these actions of yours up to detestation in Ezekiel the Prophet, when He says:

'Woe to you who make a Veil,' 209

that is, who place your hands 

'upon every head 210 and upon every age, to overturn souls.'

You have found boys, you have wounded them with Penance, so that none of them might be ordained. 

Recognise that you have 'overturned souls.' 

You have found old men amongst the Faithful,211 you have made them do Penance.

Recognise that you have 'overturned souls.' 

You have found deacons, priests, Bishops, you have made them as laymen.

Recognise that you have 'overturned souls.'

He, upon whose head thou hast now endeavoured to lay thine hands,212 had, for a long time, been thy fellow and companion.213 You were once wont to run together.214 Guilty he was not----but let us assume his guilt. |113 

In that case, as thou thinkest, he has fallen. See then (if thou hast read the Apostle) to Whom thou dost stand, and let him see, to Whom he has fallen. If thou art a servant, recognise thy Lord, and understand that he who, a short time ago, ran together with thee, to thee has not fallen. Why dost thou invade Another's power, why dost thou in thy rashness ascend the tribunal of God? And though thyself art guilty, darest to pass judgement upon another? Yet thou hast read:

'He who stands, stands to his own Lord, and who falls, to his own Lord he falls. But his Lord is powerful to raise him up.' 215

Who then art thou to judge Another's servant?

That you 216 have no right to touch the Oil bestowed by God upon a Bishop, you ought to have learnt from David the servant of God, who was anointed by Samuel, with the condition that what had already been given to Saul, should by no means be taken away.217 When, through the command, or the providence, of God, they were shut up together in one cave, Saul, who had sinned, came into the power of the youth David. Saul, although he sees not, is seen, because (as usually happens to one that passes from the light of day) he was not able, in the darkness of the shut-in-air,218 to see the other who was near him. A great |114 army followed the old king. Still he had fallen into the power of another. David had the chance of victory in his hands. Without effort he might have slain his incautious adversary who was wrapt in security. Without bloodshed, and the clash of arms, he might have summarily changed war into slaughter. The opportunity was there. His soldiers were in favour of this course. The situation urged him on to snatch a victory. Already he commenced to draw his sword. His armed hand was now reaching for his enemy's throat. But the remembrance of the divine commands completely blocked the way. He fought against the persuasion of his soldiers, and resisted the fitness of the circumstances, as if he had said:

'To no purpose, O Victory, dost thou tempt me; in vain, O opportunity, dost thou lure me on to triumphs!'

He wished to conquer his foe, but desired even more to keep the commands of the Lord.

'I will not,' he said, 'lay my hands upon the Lord's anointed.' 219

He checked his hand and his sword----he feared to violate the Oil; he saved his enemy; and, that he might accomplish his duty towards his King to the end, after his death took up his defence. 220

You neither fear God, nor regard those who are your brethren. You have sharpened the razors of your tongue upon the whetstone of your malice, |115 and, trampling underfoot the precepts of Heaven, have rushed upon the heads of miserable men, that, after you had slain their leaders, you might drag them in their blindness and ignorance into bondage. You hunger after the dignities of innocent priests, with a hunger so furious that you have made open sepulchres of your throats. For each separate sepulchre one funeral is enough, and then it is closed. For your throats many funerals of many dignities have not by any means been enough. They still remain open, seeking whom they may devour. So that with reason was it said of you:

'Their throat is an open sepulchre';221

for with cursing you are beforehand, though it has been written:

'Bless ye and curse not.' 222

If any man has done anything against your will, you threaten him with horrors and foul menaces; and then, since some there are who deserve more evil than good, you attribute to your bitter curses whatever has befallen them from the Judgement of God, or is the just result of their sins. With reason was it said of you in the thirteenth Psalm:

'Their mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.' 223

You boast that some men have been known to die after you have cursed them.

It is certain that it is not lawful to kill. On this account do you hold yourselves innocent, merely |116 because you have not used cold steel? If there be no murder without steel, the poisoner, also, may judge himself to be innocent; and a man need not deem himself guilty who has killed another by withdrawing his food; he also, then, may claim to be guiltless who smothers his victim----still clinging to life----by stifling his breath. Of murders there are many kinds, but the name of Death is one. Thou dost declare with confidence that a man has died through thy curses. What difference does it make whether thou smitest him with the sword, or dost strike him with the tongue? Beyond doubt thou art a murderer, if a man, who was alive, has met his death through thee.

Whoever of thy party has thus acted professes in vain that he is a Christian, or a priest of God, for he takes no care to imitate the Mildness of God, though it is written in Solomon 224:

'God hath not made death, nor doth He rejoice in the destruction of the living.' 225

I do not believe that you are able to forget the crimes that you have committed throughout several districts, where you set to work to slay those who were preaching the Law of God, that is to say, His Prophets, contrary to His command, who says:

'Lay not your hands upon My Prophets.' 226

Deuterius, Partenius, Donatus and Getulicus, Bishops of God, you slew with the sword of your tongue. |117 You shed the blood, not of their body, but of their dignity. Afterwards they still lived, but were slain by you in their dignities----they who were Priests of God.

It is known to many (and has been proved) that in the time of persecution some Bishops fell away through cowardice from the confession of the Name of God, and offered incense to idols. But never did any one of those who remained faithful either place his hand [in Penance] upon the fallen, or command them to bend their knees 227 [as penitents]. Yet you to-day do to those who preserved Unity 228 that which was never done by any man to those who offered incense to idols.229 For it has been written;

'Touch not Mine Anointed, and lay not your hand upon My prophets.'

God avenges the Oil which is His own, for the sin belongs to man, but the unction to God. 'Touch not,' He says, 'Mine Anointed,' in order that when the sin of man is punished, the Oil, which is God's, be subjected to no indignity.230 God has reserved to His own Judgement that which is His own, but you everywhere rush upon that which is Another's, and destroy the happiness of all. For, what greater unhappiness, than for priests of God to live, and not be what they once had been?

XXVI. Matrons, boys and virgins were compelled by the Donatists to do Penance.

Matrons, together with boys and virgins, although they had committed no sin, were compelled by you to |118 learn to do Penance, with you for their instructors, whilst they still remained in possession of their innocence and modesty. Is this a small unhappiness? You have destroyed both sexes; you have harassed all ages. Truly of you has it been said in the thirteenth Psalm:

'Destruction and unhappiness are in their ways, and the way of peace they have not known, the fear of God is not before their eyes.' 231

You have prescribed Penance for the people. It was not performed voluntarily by any man, but it was enforced by you, nor did you inflict it equally, for the same periods of time, but arranged everything with respect of persons. By your command one person did Penance for a whole year, another for a month, yet another for hardly a day.

If to consent to unity is (as you will have it) a sin, if it is the same fault in all, why is there not the same Penance for the same guilt?

There is no doubt that the people who believe have been called Israel, and that the Faithful, one by one, are the daughters of Israel, that is, those who see God with their mind,232 and have faith in God. Yet you |119 have compelled these people to bend and incline their necks, have joined their heads in a row, and made of them a crowd of penitents.

These are the Faithful over whom God grieves, saying, by the mouth of Ezekiel the Prophet: 'Woe to you, daughters of Israel who mend pillows,' 233 appurtenances of the neck, to place them under the elbow and under the hand----that is, under your elbows and under your hands, when you stretch the veils of Penance over the heads of these men and women.

The extent of your wickedness and rage I have now set forth, and I have pointed out your pride.

It remains to make clear your folly also, but this I will do in my Sixth Book.

[Footnotes moved to the end and renumbered]

1. 1  ut paene oculis perspecta videatur. St. Augustine may have had these words before his mind, when he wrote of the martyrdom of St. Stephen: 'Hanc passionem modo de libro Actuum Apostolorum cum legitur, non solum audivimus sed etiam oculis spectavimus' (Sermo ii de Sancto Stephano)

2. 2  In the Canticle of Canticles.

3. 3  The Donatists, like the Cathari, the Puritans and many other sectaries, prided themselves (without the slightest justification in fact) upon their  sanctity. According to their teaching, the true Church was to be exclusively the Church of 'the Saints.' There were to be no unclean beasts in the Ark of Noah. The tares were not to be allowed to grow up with the wheat unto the harvest; nor were the bad fish to remain with the good in Peter's net. Furthermore, they made the validity of the sacraments depend upon the supposed holiness of the minister, not upon the operation of the Holy Ghost.

4. 1  Evidently the idea of Comprehensiveness----that the One Church could be Catholic (Universal)----in the sense of comprehending various kinds of religious bodies, varying in belief and without any external bond of union (cf. ii, 3)----never occurred to St. Optatus even as a possibility. Any 'branch' theory in which the branches were separated from the trunk or from one another (cf. ii, 9 etc.) would have seemed to him unthinkable. He agrees with Parmenian in ruling it out ab initio.

5. 2  Because no heretics or schismatics were to be found as an organised body in more than one territory.

6. 1  In some of the countries mentioned by Optatus as belonging to the Catholic Unity, Christianity has almost disappeared as an energising force. Others of those lands, such as 'Thrace, Achaia, Macedonia, and all Greece,' are now unhappily in schism. Still, his argument has been enormously strengthened by the lapse of centuries. The Catholic of to-day is in full communion not only, as was St. Optatus, with the See of Rome where Peter sat, with the See of Lyons where Irenaeus sat, with the See of Barcelona where Pacian sat, with the See of Tours where Martin sat, with the See of Verona where Zeno sat, with the See of Milan where Ambrose was soon to sit, with the direct successors of 'Maternus from the city of Cologne, of Reticius from the city of Autun, of Marinus of Aries, of Felix from Florence of the Tuscans, of Gaudentius of Pisa, of Proterius of Capua,' and of every other of the nineteen Bishops who sat in the Synod of the Lateran with Miltiades the Pope (i, 23)----this is surely a great and striking thing----but also with Churches of which Optatus never dreamed, in islands and continents of which he had never heard.

7. 2  ubi ergo erit proprietas Catholici Nominis?

8. 3  rationabilis et ubique diffusa. Thus in all the MSS. Two emendations have been suggested, Non nationalis et &c, and Rationabiliter ubique diffusa. Probably, however, St. Optatus wrote it as we find it in the MSS., Rationabilis et ubique diffusa. If so, through his ignorance of Greek, he is linking together two different derivations of the word καθολικός. From κατὰ and ὅλον, = 'throughout the whole' (i.e. scattered throughout the world), and from κατὰ and λόγον = 'in accordance with reason.' We know that, in consequence of this last meaning of the word, Procurators fiscal in Roman law were often called Rationales or καθολικοί. St. Optatus was probably in his first derivation thinking of heretics, in his second of schismatics. The Church is Catholic or rationabilis (according to right reason) in contradistinction to heretics, who have strayed from the truth (against the due exercise of their reason); she is Catholic or ubique diffusa (spread everywhere) in contradistinction to schismatics, who are confined within clearly defined, very often within national, bounds and limits. Cf. St. Augustine, Gesta Collationis Carthagiensis diei iii, ci: 'Christiani Afri, et appellantur et merito sunt Catholici, ipsa sua communione nomen testantes. Catholon enim secundum totum dicitur. Qui autem a toto separatus est, partemque defendit ab universo praecisam, non sibi usurpet hoc nomen, sed nobiscum teneat veritatem.'

9. 1 Ps. ii, 8.

10. 1 Christo una possessio est.

11. 2 Ps. ii, 8.

12. 3 Ps. lxxi, 8.

13. 4 Ps. xlix, 1.

14. 1   Vocata est ergo terra ut caro fieret. Cf. 'I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh and will give you a heart of flesh' (Ez. xxxvi, 26).

15. 2  Ps. cxii, 3.

16. 3  Ps. xcv, 1.

17. 4  Ps. xcv, 1-3: 'Cantate Domino omnis terra, pronuntiate in gentibus gloriam Ipsius, in omnibus populis mirabilia Eius.'

18. 5  'pronuntiate,' inquit, 'inter gentes.'

19. 6  'pronuntiate,' inquit, 'in omnibus populis.'

20. 1  qui in omni toto non estis. This remains to-day the great Catholic argument against the pretensions of the 'Orthodox' Easterns. It is as effectual now as when St. Optatus first wrote the words. Like the Donatists before them, the 'Orthodox' are not 'in any part of the whole' (they are not in that Church, which is visibly Catholic----spread throughout the world); yet, like the Donatists again, the 'Orthodox' claim to be the whole. But St. Optatus teaches that only those constitute 'the whole,' who are visibly united 'in the whole,' that is who are 'everywhere' (ubique).

21. 2  Ps. cxii, 3.

22. 3  Pagani extralegales.

23. 4  sola Ecclesia, quae in lege est, as opposed to the 'Pagani extralegales,' of whom he has just written. Lex, as so often elsewhere in Optatus, means 'Lex Christi,' 'Lex Catholica' (cf. v, 5 etc.).

24. 5  St. Optatus gives us no hint of the great teaching about the Soul (or Heart) of the Church, which is clearly expressed by St. Augustine.

25. 6  Totus orbis. By this phrase St. Optatus and St. Augustine always mean the whole Catholic world. Cf. the saying of St. Augustine: 'Securus iudicat orbis terrarum' (see note i, p. 52)----by which he means, of course, not the world separated from the Catholic Church ----even less the non-Christian world----but the Catholic world. The Catholic world is the Judge, and judges free from anxiety, for this very reason that it is, and knows itself to be, the Catholic world.

26. 1  ut sonent. Cf. vii, 1: 'per loca singula divinum sonat ubique praeconium.'

27. 2  St. Optatus has given us a summary proof that the Catholic Church is not merely local, but claims to be everywhere. He proceeds, in answer to Parmenian, to discuss the Adornments (Ornamenta) or Endowments (Dotes) of the Church. The figure is that of a Dowry bestowed by our Lord upon His Bride, the Church. There is no other reference to these Dotes in patristic literature.

28. 3 It is not difficult to reconstruct Parmenian's argument from the pages of Optatus. We see that Parmenian had argued that the Endowments were six in number, and had maintained that they were all distinctive of Donatism and lacking to the Catholic Church.

(1)  Cathedra (the expression for See so well known in Africa from the writings of St. Cyprian).

(2)  Angelus (from Apoc. ii, 3).

(3)  Spiritus.

(4)  Fons signatus (from Cant. iv, 1).

(5)  Sigillum (quo fons signatur).

(6)   Umbilicus (from Cant. vii, 2).

It was common ground between Optatus and his opponent that the hortus conclusus (enclosed garden) of Cant. iv, 12-13 (' Hortus conclusus mea sponsa, hortus conclusus, fons signatus, emissiones tuae paradisus') signified the Church (cf. ii, 11: 'Quod ore tuo et sensu nostro ecclesiam paradisum esse dixisti'). Accordingly the fons signatus (sealed fountain) is the baptismal font, which (according to Parmenian) is sealed to all outside the true Church, so that Baptism by schismatics as well as by heretics is invalid. The sigillum (seal) is the baptismal creed.

The font is only made a saving fountain, if it is blessed by the true Bishop or angelus. Only thus is the third Endowment, the Spirit, in the water of Baptism. Parmenian proves this by quoting John v, 4, whence St. Optatus' words (ii, 6): 'Unde vobis angelum, qui apud vos possit fontem movere aut inter ceteras dotes Ecclesiae numerari?' We see that Parmenian had evidently taken the 'Angel' in the Apocalypse (without identifying him with any particular Bishop) in order to prove that only a true Bishop was able so 'to move the water,' that the Spirit should be there for valid Baptism. By Umbilicus Parmenian understood the altar. We can thus follow what no doubt was his argument. 'The true Church has,' he will have said to the Catholics, 'six Endowments.' (1) Cathedra, a lawful right to the See. But Caecilian had no such right, for the Numidian Bishops were not called to his election, and a Council of seventy Bishops deposed him. (2) Angelus, or a Bishop sent by God, but Caecilian was ordained by a Traditor. (3) Spiritus, the Spirit of adoption, who makes sons of God in Baptism. (4) This Spirit will only work by means of the water in the Fons, which is moved by the Angelus. Hence all those persons who have been baptised by others than Donatists must be rebaptised. (5) For the Fountain is signatus sigillo (Symboli) ,and all but Donatists are heretical. (6) And the Umbilicus (altar) must also belong to the true Angelus. On this pretext they scraped, broke down and even utterly destroyed Catholic altars (cf. vi, 1). Such is the argument that St. Optatus had to meet. He denied (on what seems to us to be a technicality only) that Umbilicus was one of these Endowments, but proceeded (2-9) to argue against Parmenian that the first five belonged to Catholics, and were marks of the Catholic Church exclusively, and in no way shared by the Donatists. In the first place, he takes Cathedra and Angelus together, and shows that the Donatists could have neither the one nor the other unless they were in union with the See of Peter. For the Cathedra Petri pre-eminently is the Cathedra.

29. 1 St. Cyprian was the first Father to use the term Cathedra (Chair). He applied it (as a word in common use at the time) to the See of Rome which he termed the Cathedra Petri. Parmenian, evidently, had claimed the Cathedra, stating that it belonged to him through the Angelus or Bishop (in other words 'We have valid Orders, and therefore we are in the Church'). St. Optatus replies to this in the text by making direct appeal to Rome. No man can possess a Cathedra, argues Optatus, who is not in communion with the one Cathedra, which, in all but successive sentences, he calls 'una Cathedra,' 'singularis Cathedra' and 'Cathedra unica.' Balduinus, in the course of a long letter which he addressed to Calvin on the occasion of bringing out his first edition of Optatus, remarked as follows: 'Locutus est, ut scis, Christus de iis, qui sedent in Cathedra Mosis; veteres Christiani de iis, qui in Petri.'

30. 2  quis et ubi prior Cathedram sederit?

31. 3  Cf. vii, 5 (p. 294).

32. 4 This is what we are now accustomed to call 'Invincible Ignorance' (cf. John ix, 40).

33. 5 Evidently St. Optatus had no fear that any objection should be taken to what he was about to urge, as to something new. On the contrary, it was well known and recognised by all. 'You cannot deny that you do know.'

34. 6 Petro primo. This in answer to who it was who first sat on the Cathedra (quis?). The answer is Peter.

35. 7 in urbe Roma. This in answer to the question where was he the first to sit (ubi?). The answer is Rome.

36. 8  Cathedram episcopalem esse conlatam.

37. 9  Evidently this is an instance of paronomasia or play upon words (Cephas from κεφαλή). It is so atrocious etymologically to derive an Aramaic from a Greek word that Balduinus thinks that Unde et Cephas appellatus est was not written by St. Optatus, but was introduced by some librarian from a marginal note of an ignorant commentator. But we must remember that neither Optatus nor any of the ancients knew anything of etymology. In vii, 3, St. Optatus simply calls St. Peter Caput Apostolorum, without any further comment.

38. 1  in qua unica Cathedra unitas ab omnibus servaretur. This is the doctrine so often and so clearly expressed by St. Cyprian, cf. e.g. 'Una ecclesia a Christo Domino nostro super Petrum, origine unitatis et ratione fundata' (Ep. lxx, 3), and 'Petro primum Dominus, super quern aedificavit Ecclesiam, et unde unitatis originem instituit et ostendit, potestatem istam dedit' (Ep. lxxiii, 3), and 'Deus unus est et Christus unus, et una Ecclesia, et Cathedra una, super Petrum Domini voce fundata' (xliii, 5). We should always bear in mind that St. Cyprian was at this time the great authority in Christian Africa, not only in the eyes of Catholics, but also in those of Donatists. Thus St. Augustine writes (Brev. Coll. iii, 10): 'Repetierunt Catholici testimonium Cypriani . . . Contra quod testimonium omnino nihil ausi fuerunt respondere, cum auctoritatem Cypriani tanti habeant, ut per illam conentur defendere, quod male de iterando Baptismo sentiunt et faciunt.'

39. 2  ne ceteri Apostoli singulas sibi quisque defenderent, ut iam scismaticus et peccator esset, qui contra singularem Cathedram alteram conlocaret. This perfectly plain doctrine of St. Optatus was never once challenged amongst Christians (the Albigenses were Manichees rather than Christians) until the days of Hus and Wycliffe, some nine hundred years later. We know that the work of St. Optatus was the great authority and handbook of St. Augustine in his arguments against the Donatists. He constantly echoes the teaching of St. Optatus, concerning the Chair of Peter, and, in his controversy with the Donatists, applied the famous promise 'Upon this Rock I will build my Church' to this Holy See. 'Sedes Petri . . . ipsa est Petra' (Ps. con. Donat. St. xiv). Dr. Sparrow Simpson, however, writes as follows with reference to this passage of St. Optatus: 'Optatus illustrates this succession from the case of Rome, because St. Peter as the chief Apostle, represents the principle of unity. No Apostle was to arrogate to himself the Apostolic powers in separation from the other Apostles' (St. Augustine and African Church Divisions, Chapter on St. Optatus' Reply to the Donatists, p. 45). Unfortunately for Dr. Sparrow Simpson's accuracy, St. Optatus has not (either here or elsewhere) written one syllable about 'no Apostle' separating from 'the other Apostles.' He has, however, explained (vii, 3) that the Apostles were not free, on account of Peter's denial of Christ, to separate from the one Apostle 'who alone received the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, to be shared with the rest.' He has also written with all possible emphasis concerning the unlawfulness of separating from the Cathedra Petri, which he here calls 'the unique Cathedra.' Of all this, we regret to say that Dr. Sparrow Simpson gives not even a hint in his in some respects useful analysis of the argument of Optatus.

40. 1 Cf. St. Cyprian, Ep. ad Antonian. i, 8: 'cum Fabiani [Romani Episcopi] locus, id est cum locus Petri et gradus Cathedrae sacerdotalis vacaret.'

41. 2 St. Augustine copied this list of Popes given by St. Optatus. Yet it is incomplete and in one case inaccurate. The name Alexander should come after Evaristus, Eutychian and Gaius should come after Felix, Marcellus (probably) after Marcellinus, and where Optatus places Alexander (after Soter), he should have placed Eleutherius. It may also be mentioned that in the list given by Irenaeus (Adv. Haer. iii, 3) Pius precedes Anacetus.

42. 1 In the first edition of St. Optatus written about 370 a.d. the list of Popes ended with Damasus. The name of Siricius who became Pope in 383 was added in the second edition (cf. Preface to Book VII).

43. 2 Totus orbis (cf. note 1, p. 52).

44. 3 Commercio formatarum. As is well known, the Catholic world in the early centuries was kept in touch with its various parts through the communication of litterae formatae, or 'letters of peace,' which passed at stated times between the Bishop of Rome and all Catholic Bishops, and were also often sent from these Bishops to one another. (Cf. Aug. Ep. xliv, 3; con.Cresc. iii, 34.) Formatae ----τετυπωμέναι. τυποῦν = sigillare. (Cf. Du Cange, iii, 565.)

45. 4 in una communionis societate concordat.

46. 5 Dr. Darwell Stone (The Christian Church, p. 143) quotes this passage, but translates Cathedra 'Episcopal See.' This is to miss the point. There is no question here of the origin of the Donatist See at Carthage, or as to whether that See was rightly claimed by Caecilian and Restitutus (the Catholic Bishops) on the one hand, or by Majorinus and Parmenian (the Donatists) on the other----a matter which has already been discussed in i, 10. The present question is what have the Donatists to set against the Unica ac singularis Cathedra Petri. To this Optatus replies in the next sentence (we must remember that he knew nothing of the present division into chapters) by suggesting that they might allege their Bishops of Rome. 'But you allege, etc' St. Optatus is engaged exclusively with the See of Rome in the present chapters ii to vi, from the time, that is, when he begins, until he ceases, to deal with the Cathedra as an Endowment of the Church.

47. 6 sed et habere vos in Urbe Roma aliquam partem dicitis.

48. 7 Harnack points out that Donatists realised so clearly the necessity of communion with the See of Peter, that in the early days of their schism they established a line of Anti-Popes, consecrating a Bishop for the purpose and sending him to Rome, to preside over their handful of adherents in the City. He writes as follows: 'The connection with Peter's Chair was of decisive importance, not only for Optatus, but also for his opponent, who had appealed to the fact that the Donatists had also a Bishop in Rome' (Harnack, History of Dogma, v, 155).

49. 1  The Donatist Bishop in Rome at the time. When later on in this chapter St. Optatus comes to give the list of the Donatist Anti-Popes, he evidently added in his second edition the names of Lucian and Claudian, at the same time that he added the name of Siricius to that of the Popes. (See Preface, p. xxii.)

50. 2  ad cuius Memoriam non accedit. Albaspinaeus translates Relics. But Memoria is a chapel or church built over the body of a Saint. Here it refers to the Basilica built by Constantine and destroyed in the sixteenth century, where Macrobius could naturally not say Mass. Over the body of St. Paul a small Basilica was erected by Constantine. The great church, burnt in 1826, was built in the fifth century, later than St. Optatus (cf. Condi. Carthag. 14: 'altaria, quae . . . tanquam Memoriae martyrum constituuntur ').

51. 3  Memoriis Sanctorum communicantes. The reference is to Romans xii, 13. It is quite unintelligible to us until we learn that some ancient MSS. had ταῖς μνείαις instead of ταῖς χρείαις. The reading μνείαις is in the Acts of Pionius (second or third century) and in the bilingual codices D and G; it was therefore the Western and Old Latin reading. It is used, amongst others, by St. Hilary, Ambrosiaster, St. Peter Chrysologus and St. Gregory the Great, who writes (De Verbis Domini exxxvii. 3, 7, last chapter): 'Communicatio Memoriis sanctorum martyrum.' Both readings were known to Chrysostom, Theodore of Mopsuestia, Jerome, Rufinus, Augustine and Pelagius. So we see that in following this reading St. Optatus does not stand alone. There is, however, little, if any, doubt that St. Paul really wrote ταῖς χρείαις.

52. 1  ad paucos erraticos----a few Africans staying in Rome----strangers in the city----out of communion with its Church and Bishop----rebuked by its Cathedra----mere 'wanderers.'

53. 2  toti Africani. For toti = omnes cf. ii, 5: 'digiti, quos . . totos '; vii, 1: 'libri legis dominicae toti ubique recitantur.' Pope Miltiades was an African. The emphasis, therefore, is on the toti.

54. 1  sequens sine antecedente (cf. St. Cypr. Ep. ad Magnum, 3: 'Novatianus in Ecclesia non est, nec episcopus computari potest, quia evangelica et apostolica traditione contempta nemini succedens a se ipso ortus est').

55. 2  saepserunt. RB have serpserunt.

56. 3 cratibus. RBvb have gradibus. Casaubon adopts this, translates saepserunt 'they fortified,' and understands by gradibus steps going down to the cave from above. But cratibus is almost certainly the true reading.

57. 4  ipso tempore conventiculum. For ipso tempore Barthius conjectured pro tempore.

58. 5  Montenses. Mountaineers----from this 'cave,' which was made to look like a little mountain. St. Jerome writes (In Chronico ad annum Christi 336): 'Quidam sectatores Donati etiam Montenses vocant eo quod ecclesiam Romae primum in monte habere caeperunt.'

59. 6 ubi sederet, i.e. on whose Chair (Cathedra) he sat.

60. 7  illic fuisse, i.e. on his Chair.

61. 8  St. Optatus will soon make great play with this Cathedra Pestilentiae (Ps. i, 1), which he declares to belong to the Donatists.

The Chair of Pestilence is ranged by him against the Chair of Peter. For 'Cathedra Pestilentiae' we may compare St. Ambrose (comm. in cap. xxiii Matthaei): 'Quod autem ait super Cathedram Moysis . . . per Cathedram legis doctrinam ostendit. Ergo et illud quod dicitur in Psalmo "In Cathedra Pestilentiae non sedit," . . . doctrinam debemus accipere.'

62. 1 Principem scilicet nostrum, in contrast to Victor, who was the first 'Mountaineer' Bishop of Rome, or perhaps to the originators of the Schism, with whom Optatus often taunts the Donatists as being their Principes.

63. 2 Claves regni coelorum tibi dabo, etportae inferorum non vincent eas.

64. 3 Unde est ergo, quod claves regni coelorum vobis usurpare contenditis, qui contra Cathedram Petri vestris praesumptionibus et audaci sacrilegio militatis? (Rvb have audaciis). It may well be noted that Optatus accused the Donatists of 'audacious sacrilege' (audax sacrilegium) in 'warring against' the Chair of Peter. Their 'warring' consisted, according to Optatus, in claiming the keys argumentatively for themselves----thus justifying themselves in remaining out of communion with the Holy See----and in ignoring the Judgement of Pope Miltiades. Cf. i, 24, 25. Mr. Denny (Papalism, n. 873) quotes this passage, but translates usurpare 'obtain,' and omits altogether vestris praesumptionibus et audaci sacrilegio. (For praesumptionibus cf. i, 7: 'de inconsideratis praesumptionibus et erroribus vestris'; v, 4: 'quod praescribas praesumptionibus vestris'; vii.. 1: 'praesumptiones vestrae.')

65. 1  Ps. i, x.

66. 2  I Cor. i; 13.

67. 3 quam fugaverunt pacem (Pax here as elsewhere = the Unity of the Church. Cf. i, 1; vi, 1 etc.).

68. 1 Ps. xxxiii, 15.

69. 2 Ezek. xviii, 3-20.

70. 3 Cf. vii, 1 where the argument is elaborated, with reference to this passage in Ezekiel, contrasted with Exodus xx, 5.

71. 4 Ps. i, 1.

72. 1 Luke ii, 14.

73. 2 Isaiah lx, 17.

74. 3 Ps. lxxxiv, 9.

75. 4 Ps. lxxv, 3.

76. 5 Ps. lxxi, 3.

77. 6 John xiv, 27.

78. 7 'qui pacem seret, pacem et metet.' The reference is to 2 Cor. ix, 6, where the Vulgate reads: 'Qui parce seminat, parce et metet.' Parce is in accordance both with the Greek φειδομένως and with the context. Evidently, therefore, St. Optatus cannot be quoting from any Latin version, unknown to us, but the mistake is due simply to a slip of his memory. In the same way he will immediately supply the words 'In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost,' which is probably a reminiscence of 2 Cor. iii, 14.

79. 1  St. Optatus is no doubt thinking of St. Paul's epistles in general, but he probably had especially in his mind Col. iii, 15, where the O.L. reading of D and G gives us 'Pax Christi abundet in cordibus vestris.'

80. 2  G alone amongst the MSS omits this sentence.

81. 3  Ps. xxxiii, 15.

82. 4 fugata . . . pax (cf. note 3, p. 74).

83. 5 Cf. note 1, p. 72.

84. 1  suo iungantur corpore (sc. the Church).

85. 2  ut in manu digiti, quos intervallis singnios videmus esse distinctos. Unde qui tenet unum, totos teneat necesse est, cum unus quisque a paribus separari non possit.

86. 3  quae ducit ad se Angelum. St. Optatus, having shown that the Donatists have not the Cathedra, goes on to deny that they have the Angelus either. For it is the Chair of Peter that 'draws to itself the Bishop.'

87. 4 habetis in loculis clausum. Cf. ii, i: 'In angustum coartatis Ecclesiam.'

88. 5 'ad quorum ecclesias . . . cum quibus ecclesiis.

89. 6 The Donatists knew that they neither sent to these churches, nor received from them, Litterae formatae.

90. 1 qui apud vos possit fontem movere----i.e. 'A Bishop able to give grace.' The reference is to John v, 4. It is interesting to see that this text was in the Version used by Parmenian.

91. 2 extra Septem Ecclesias quicquid foris est alienum est. (Cf. vi, 3: 'Orientalibus . . . ubi est septiformis Ecclesia.') Here, as elsewhere, St. Optatus supposes St. Cyprian to be familiar to his readers. St. Cyprian teaches that the Seven Macchabees are the type of the several churches, children of one Mother, and that on this account both St. Paul and St. John wrote to seven churches. (See Ad Fortunatum cap. xi. and Testimonies i, 20.) On the one hand St. Optatus never expected the Seven Churches of Asia to be overrun by the Turk, but on the other hand it is not likely that he supposed them to be infallible or indefectible, for the heresies in some had been sufficiently notorious. But he took the seven apostolic churches then existing in Asia as a real proof of Apostolicity, for one reason because Parmenian evidently had referred to them by mentioning the Angel as one of the Endowments. St. Optatus retorts, 'We are actually in communion with these Seven Churches, but you are not!' Whatever is without the Seven Churches (not, I think, necessarily these particular seven churches mentioned in the Apocalypse, for if Optatus had wished to say this, he would, as elsewhere, have written 'extra quas septem Ecclesias,' (cf. 'ad quorum Ecclesias,' 'cum quibus Ecclesiis,' etc., supra,) but whatever is without Cyprian's mystical Seven) is outside (foris), is alien (alienum). In all probability foris and alienum are used as synonyms (see i, 11,' dum foras exeunt et se separant'; so Cyprian, Ep. ad Anton. i, 8, writes of a schismatic Bishop 'profanus est, alienus est, foris est'), though Ziwsa says that alienum here = diversum. Optatus has already written (i, 12) that heretics are 'ab hortulo et a paradiso Dei alieni'; he now writes simply that' whatever is schismatic' is 'alienum'----is alien, is foreign to, is not within 'God's garden '----the Catholic Church. (We may compare St. Ambrose in Ep. I. Ad Cor. iii, 15, 'Extra Catholicam quicquid est, contrarium est.') St. Augustine takes up and several times uses this appeal to the Apostolic churches of the East. It is sometimes compared by non-Catholic controversialists to the patristic appeal to communion with Rome. But the work of St. Optatus is by itself enough to show the lack of parity. The duty of union with the Cathedra Petri is put forward as of primary and absolute necessity, because it is the Cathedra, because Peter alone received the keys, and the like. There are no parallel statements----evidently none could be made----in any of the Fathers about any other See, save the See of Rome. A Catholic in England before the Reformation might have said with perfect truth: 'Whoever is not in communion with the See of Canterbury is outside the Church '; as a Catholic to-day may say with equal truth: 'Whoever is not in communion with the See of Westminster is outside the Church.' It in no wise follows that the See of Canterbury has not fallen, nor that the See of Westminster may not (quod avertat Deus) fall into schism. Such immunity from schism and heresy can be predicated of One See alone----itself the Centre of Unity----set up for this very purpose, 'that unity might be preserved by all'----the Cathedra Singularis of St. Optatus (cf. note 2, p. 67).

92. 1 et per angelos supra memoratis ecclesiis et per ipsas Ecclesias nobis. As Optatus proceeds immediately to urge, it is an incontrovertible principle of Catholicism that he who is in communion with one member of the Body is thereby ipso facto in communion with the other members, and with the whole Body; whereas he who is out of communion with one member is out of communion with all. The test is of easy application, and is most often made (as Optatus made it) primarily in relation to the See of Peter, but we may apply it with equal certainty to any See which without controversy belongs to the Catholic Church. Thus St. Optatus applied it to the Seven Churches mentioned in the Apocalypse. We can apply it, say, to the Church of Madrid, concerning which there can be no doubt that it is Catholic. So, if any man (or any organised religious body) claims to be Catholic, we may ask at once: 'Are you in communion with the Bishop of Madrid? If so, through the Bishop of Madrid, you are in communion with the whole Catholic Church, and since we (whom perhaps you call "Roman Catholics ") are in communion with the Bishop of Madrid, you must also be in communion with us----which is manifestly untrue and----unless you too are in communion with Rome----ridiculous. But if you are not in communion with the Bishop of Madrid (who is, as you freely acknowledge, a Catholic Bishop), you are thereby convicted of being outside the Church, and are not a Catholic, whatever you may be pleased to call yourself.' This is the argument of St. Optatus, and of Catholics generally in every age. It at once makes the question of the validity of Orders irrelevant to the main issue, and raises the discussion to a higher plane----to the analogy of the mystical Body of Christ with a human body, in which, so long as the eye (or any other member) is in union with the hand (provided only that the hand is in union with the heart), both live; but the moment that separation comes, one, or both, must be out of the body.

93. 1  'If you are not in communion with any Catholic Bishops your position is hopeless; but if you are in communion with any Catholic Bishops you must through them be in communion with us, for we are in communion with them.' (This is, of course; the reductio ad absurdum of which we have spoken in the preceding note.) 'But if you are in communion with us, you cannot have any longer any case against us. You have lost your case.' It is possible that by Angelus, St. Optatus does not in this passage understand the Bishop himself, but the Guardian Angel of the Church, who attends upon the Bishop. In this case his argument will be precisely the same: 'If you have an Angel shut up in a box, send him to Asia, and tell him to treat the Apostolic Churches there as excluded from the true Church,and to cut off their Angels, to whom St. John wrote, from his communion. Your Angel, if you have one, will not do that. So if you are not in communion with those Angels, how can you have an Angel at all? Are not all the Angels in communion with one another? And the Seven Churches are a type of the whole Church. Conversely, if you have an Angel, he must be in communion with the other Angels and therefore with those Apostolic Churches, and (as we are in communion with them) then you must be in communion with us, and so your whole attack upon us breaks down.' Whether Angelus means Angel or Bishop, the argument is the same, and clear.

94. 2  St. Optatus passes to the third Endowment of the Church, the Spirit of adoption, whereby we are the sons of God. Parmenian had claimed this for the Donatists, and had said that it could not belong to the Catholic Church, whose sons he declared (as we shall see in a moment) to be the sons, not of God, but of Hell.

95. 3  includere (cf. 'inclusus in templis,' ii, 15).

96. 1 quod intelligitur et non videtur.

97. 2 This is a combination of John iv, 24 with John iii, 8.

98. 3  in illa Ecclesia, i.e. the Catholic Church. Optatus is quoting from Parmenian's treatise.

99. 4  In reading the history of the Donatists we are reminded again and again of English Puritans and Scotch Covenanters. Sir Walter Scott, in some of the Waverley Novels, puts upon the lips of the soldiers of Cromwell and the disciples of Calvin and John Knox almost the identical words that St. Optatus puts upon the lips of Parmenian and his friends.

100. 5 As in many other places, St. Optatus now passes abruptly, when addressing Parmenian, from the plural to the single number. I have endeavoured throughout to make these transitions as far as possible in the translation, though it is often the case (as here) that they possess no significance.

101. 6 Matt. xxiii, 15.

102. 1  As Parmenian was not an African, he was the one Donatist who should have been most careful not to have said 'you compass sea and land.' This charge had better have been made, if at all, by anyone else.

103. 2  tamen importune a te hoc dictum est. Aestimo quod te iam forte huius dicii poeniteat. So PG. Ziwsa with the other MSS. reads dictum esse aestimo quod, etc. But this is hard to translate, and we do well always to remember in case of any doubt that P is much the best MS.

104. 3  It was against the Canon Law of the time to bring in a foreigner to be consecrated Bishop, as it was considered of great importance that he should be already well-known to the people over whom he was to rule. For this reason Optatus reproaches Parmenian with being a peregrinus (cf. iii, 3).

105. 1  St. Optatus now comes to the consideration of Fons and Sigillum. He passes swiftly over these Endowments, since (as he has said, ii, 3) the Cathedra is the first. That Church which has the Cathedra has them all, and is proved by this very fact----through union with the Chair of Peter----to have the others also (ii, 5-6). As is obvious, Optatus was precluded by his statement that the Donatists were schismatics and not heretics from proving directly that they are without the fourth and fifth Endowments. Therefore he contents himself with having already proved it indirectly and inferentially by his statement that, since they have not the first Endowment, they cannot have the rest, and merely agrees with them that they are right in stating that heretics cannot have either the Fountain or the Seal.

106. 2  soli, in contradistinction to Catholics.

107. 3  nam. This word (for) depends upon nothing to be found in any MS.; moreover, the transition is so abrupt, that it seems almost certain that some connecting passage has been lost. Hence the asterisks. St. Optatus having discussed the nature of the Endowments, and having proved that they belong to the Catholic Church alone, proceeds to discuss their number, and to argue that they are five, not (as Parmenian had alleged) six.

108. 4  Cant. vii, 2.

109. 5  St. Optatus looked upon these Endowments as something external to the Body of Christ. He regarded what we now call the Notes, or Marks, of the Church as two. The true Church is One and Catholic (of world-wide extension). When the Church of Christ has been thus identified, as the Church which is One and is Everywhere (ubique), Optatus agrees with Parmenian as to her five Endowments, but explains them very differently. According to the mind of Optatus they are: (1) First and foremost----Union with the Chair of Peter (Cathedra); (2) Apostolic Succession (Angelus); (3) The Spirit of sonship (Spiritus); (4) The Baptismal Font, or perhaps the True Faith (Fons); (5) The Seal of the Faith----the Creed (Sigillum). These Endowments are distinctive and characteristic of Catholicism. They are gifts from God ab extra bestowed upon His Bride the Church. It can be proved to-day that the One Church, which is not merely local, but is scattered through all the nations, still possesses these 'Endowments,' e.g. is still in union with the See of Peter ('Cathedra Petri quae nostra est'; cf. note 2, p. 86). On the other hand, it will be seen immediately that any religious body out of communion with the Catholic Church is without one at least of these Endowments, e.g. has not the Cathedra Petri, from which unhappily it is severed.

110. 1 non potest arbor a ramo concidi. G has 'non potest esse arbor ramus concisus' ('nor can the branch which has been cut off be the tree'). This reading is adopted by Du Pin, as being ad mentem scriptoris. But we are not free to choose an easy reading in G against an unexpected, and therefore harder, reading in the other MSS.

111. 1 apud quos et Symbolum Trinitatis est. This means the Creed which expresses Faith in the Trinity. St. Optatus has in the preceding chapter written of the 'Sigillum: id est Symbolum Catholicum.' Cf. also St. Augustine's work De Fide et Symbolo.

112. 2 per Cathedram Petri, quae nostra est, per ipsam et ceteras dotes apud nos esse.

113. 3  The Donatists held that Catholic priests who had been guilty of the wickedness of Betrayal, thereby had lost their sacerdotal powers, and especially that their Bishops could not ordain validly. As a result they dared to deny that the Eucharist consecrated by Catholics was the Body of Christ, and were even guilty of the horrible sacrilege of casting It to dogs (cf. ii, 19).

114. 4  Other than the sin of Traditio.

115. 5  quod, si sacerdos in peccato sit, solae possint dotes operari.

116. 6 et huius Sanctae Ecclesiae constituta est Persona. Persona means first a mask, and thence a representative. There can be no doubt that St. Optatus is here referring to St. Peter, or his successor in the See of Rome, as the Representative of the Church. This is made clear by the fact that he is giving a summary of the arguments which he has already brought forward in his book. Now amongst these arguments the representative character of St. Peter and of his Cathedra has, as we have just seen, taken a leading place. Again, no alternative explanation of Persona in this passage has ever been suggested. Further, it is well known that St. Augustine adopted this traditional view, and in several passages has written of St. Peter as representing the whole Catholic Church in his own person: e.g. Gestat enim Petrus Ecclesiae plerumque personam (Sermo de Verb. Evangel. Matt. lxxiv. 10); Petrus a petra cognominatus beatus, Ecclesiae figuram portans, apostolatus principatum tenens etc. (Sermo lxxvi. ut supra); Petrus in multis locis Scripturarum apparet quod personam gestet Ecclesiae (Sermo cxlix. 7 de Verbis Act. cap. x); Nam et ipsum Petrum, cui commendavit oves suas quasi alter alteri, unum Secum facere volebat, ut sic ei oves commendaret, ut esset Ille Caput, ille figuram Corporis portaret, id est, Ecclesiae, et tanquam sponsus et sponsa essent duo in carne una (Sermo de Pastoribus in Ecclesia, xlvi. 30 etc., etc.).

117. 1 cuius dotes apud illam ubique sunt. 'The Endowments of the Church are with her everywhere.' Therefore, the Chair of Peter (according to the expressed mind of Optatus the chief of the Endowments) is with the Catholic Church (as well as the others----the local Bishop, the Holy Spirit, the Faith and the Creed) wherever she may be, in whatever part of the world. This See is the first and typical See, with which all Catholic Bishops are in communion ubique. It was idle then for Parmenian to appeal to his Cathedra. It was not the 'Cathedra unica'; it was not ubique. If in all parts of the world there are Cathedras, if Italy and Asia have succession of Bishops as well as Africa, and if in Africa there are now rival Cathedras, the question arises: 'Which is the true Cathedra? Where is the true Church?' To this Optatus gives the answer: That is the true Cathedra in every place on which is seated a Bishop in communion with the original Cathedra at Rome; there also is the true Church, for 'the Catholic Church is the Church which is scattered over the whole world and her Endowments are with her everywhere.'

118. 1  The Donatist argument may be stated as follows in syllogistic form:

Bishops and Priests guilty of the crime of Betrayal can no longer use validly the power of their Orders;

But you Catholics have been guilty of this crime of Betrayal;

Therefore ...

To this Optatus here replies to the Major Premise, 'Transeat (let it pass, for the sake of argument), but to the Minor Premise, Nego Minorem. We never were Betrayers, and we always condemned the sin of Betrayal.'

119. 2  de sanctis eius membris ac visceribus tacuisti.

120. 3  Nominibus Trinitatis, id est Personis Trinitatis. (Cf. v, 3 'aqua sancta quae de Trium Nominum fontibus inundat.') St. Optatus now passes to the question of the One Baptism conferred in the Name of the Trinity. One of the chief crimes of the Donatists consisted in the repetition of Baptism administered by Catholics.

121. 4  Professio [fidei] quae apud acta conficitur Angelorum. Tertullian had stated that an Angel was present at Baptism (De Baptismo, vii, 5, 6), and St. Augustine has written (De Symbolo ad Catech.) 'Videte, dilectissimi, quia hanc professionem vestram in curiam profertis Angelorum.' These last words are an echo of those of Optatus in the text.

122. 5  nova indoles.

123. 6  The metaphor is of the Marriage of the Trinity with the Profession of Faith, producing a seed, a germ. Cf. S. Leo, Serm. 4 de Nativ. Domini: 'Aqua baptismatis instar est uteri virginalis, eodem Spiritu Sancto replente fontem, qui replevit et Virginem.' 

124. 1 ratio baptismatis.

125. 2 aut area conclusas.

126. 1  cuius hortum in angustias cogitis.

127. 2  mendacium . . . quo cotidie a vobis sacrificia condiuntur.

128. 3  nam quis dubitet vos illud legitimum in sacramentorum mysterio praeterire non posse? The word legitimum is a reference to the prescribed words of the Liturgy. St. Optatus tells us (iv, 6) that the Donatists used the Baptismal Exorcism 'Maledicte, exi foras.' So St. Augustine (De pecc. origin. ii, 40; cf. con. Iul. Pelag. iii, 5) observes that in the Baptism of children the Pelagians replied to the question, 'abrenuntias Satanae?', though they denied that these children were subject to original sin. Similarly, St. Cyprian (Ep. ad Magnum 7) tells us that the Novatians did not venture to pass over in Baptism the solemn words, 'credis remissionem peccatorum?', and continued thus, 'et vitam aeternam per Sanctam Ecclesiam?'; yet they believed not in the Forgiveness of Sins and did not belong to the Holy Church. Throughout history we find heretics employing venerable creeds and solemn prayers, the sense of which they have, often long since, abjured. Thus St. Augustine (De dono Persev. xiii, 33) turned their use of the Preface in the Mass against the Pelagians in these words: 'Quod ergo in Sacramentis Fidelium dicitur, ut sursum habeamus corda ad Dominum, munus est Domini; de quo munere ipsi Domino Deo nostro gratias agere a sacerdote post hanc vocem, quibus hoc dicitur, admonentur, et dignum ac iustum esse respondent.'

129. 1  With whom you are out of communion, just as much as you are out of communion with us.

130. 2  Ecclesiam nostram. Cf. 'Cathedra per Petrum nostra' (ii, 6); 'Cathedra Petri, quae nostra est' (ii, 9).

131. 3  quamvis ab ea sis alienus (cf. ii, 6: 'quicquid foris est, alienum est').

132. 4  unica Sponsa.

133. 1 de alieno locutus es.

134. 2 Optatus complains that Parmenian was content with contrasting the rival churches in Africa, ignoring in his argument the rest of the Catholic world, as though the controversy could be settled solely by reference to what had happened in Africa.

135. 3 Cant. vi, 8.

136. 4 ministros. This word includes all Minor Orders.

137. 1  turbam fidelium.

138. 2  in Ecclesia nostra. Cf. note 2, p. 91.

139. 3  Cf. ii, 4 supra.

140. 4 ut dixisti. RBvbd have ut dixi. But for the words of Parmenian, cf. ii, 14; ii, 18.

141. 1 From Julian the Apostate. 

142. 2 rationem rerum.

143. 3  The contrast is between the Christian and the heathen ruler.

144. 4  All the MSS. have Constantinus. But at the beginning of the next chapter we shall read that, 'as was known to all men,' this Emperor was succeeded by Julian. Therefore, either we must read Constans against the MSS., or it was a slip of the pen on the part of Optatus.

145. 5  Ps. cxxxii, 1.

146. 6 Pax una.

147. 7 Africanos populos et orientates et ceteros transmarinos (Africa, Asia, Europe).

148. 8 ipsa unitas.

149. 1 ut reverti possetis.

150. 2 ire. We should probably read redire, the word found in the next chapter.

151. 3 ad disturbandam Pacem.

152. 4 Cf. S. August. Ep. cxlviii; clxvi; and con. Petil. ii, 92.

153. 1  ut relatio mitteretur. Relatio is a technical term for an official report from the Provinces to the Emperor.

154. 2  redire.

155. 3  ad castellum Lemellefi P. Lemellensi Rd. Lemellesi G. Ziwsa writes Lemellefense, an emendation which he justifies in his Index. Lemella was in Mauritania Sitifensis. Cf. The Roman Martyrology for Feb. 9: 'In Africa in Castello Lemellensi Sanctorum Martyrum Primi et Donati diaconorum, qui cum altare in Ecclesia tuerentur, a Donatistis occisi sunt.' 

156. 1 Ps, xiii, 2.

157. 1  esse debere.

158. 2 Cf. Eph. v, 27.

159. 3  supra altare (cf. S. Augus. con. Cresc. iii, 43).

160. 4 apud Carpos. A town in Proconsular Africa. Cf. 'Antonius Episcopus plebis Carpitanae' (Coll. Carthag. i, 126). 

161. 5 tendi aut explanari.

162. 6 duae faculae, incensi livoribus.

163. 7 in Pace positorum.

164. 1  cum signis (sc. militaribus).

165. 2  With this reference to the boast of the Donatists that they were 'doves,' we may compare St. Augustine (con. Pet. ii, 83): 'Isto modo et milvus, cum pullos rapere territos non potuerit, columbam se nominat.'

166. 3  Cf. Cant, vi, 8.

167. 4 quod vobis leve videtur, facinus inmane.

168. 1  latrones. Cf. 'Christus percussus est in altari' (vi, 1). For latro see note 9, p. 166.

169. 2  Sancti Corporis reos (cf. 1 Cor. xi, 27). Mr. Sparrow Simpson, giving a summary account of this passage in Optatus, observes (op. cit. p. 39): 'The consecrated elements from the altars were flung to the dogs.' St. Optatus writes nothing concerning 'the consecrated elements.' The very word 'elements' would, have been incomprehensible to him in this connection. He does call the Eucharist 'the Holy Body' and 'the Body of Christ' (Corpus Christi, vi, 1). It is impossible to avoid observing the contrast between Catholic terminology of the fourth, and Anglican terminology of the twentieth, century.

170. 3 We must not forget that Optatus was an eye-witness of many of the scenes which he describes. He does not, however, wish to suggest that the angel's hand was seen, but simply to recall the fact that the vessel containing the Holy Chrism was uninjured by its fall. This he ascribes to the interposition of God, who uses His Angels to guard that which is His own, and to minister to the needs of His servants on earth. Mr. Sparrow Simpson (id.) comments on these events as follows: 'By these fanatical measures' [sic: one of which was throwing the Eucharist to dogs----the 'facinus inmane' of Optatus] 'the Separatists relieved their feelings [sic] and expressed their contempt. Various strange and legendary incidents recall the scandal to the Catholic sense of reverence.' History sometimes repeats herself with minute similarities. In Green's History of the English People (vol. ii, p. 186) we read that in the year 1539 'In one church a Protestant lawyer raised a dog in his hands when the Priest elevated the Host.'

171. 1  Matt, vii, 6.

172. 2  quid tale . . . fieri poluit, unde etc. Du Pin, however, prints with a note of interrogation after potuit, and begins a fresh sentence with Unde.

173. 3  cui ipse mitram imposuerat (cf. vi, 4).

174. 1 1 John i, 8.

175. 2 sapienter se ad Dei gratium reservavit.

176. 1  semi-perfecti (and this only through the grace of God).

177. 2  If St. Optatus had lived after the Semi-Pelagian heresy, he would have expressed himself in a more guarded manner (cf. Tixeront, Histoire des dogmes, ii, 282). But we may be sure that he did not forget Philippians ii, 13: 'For it is God, who works in you both to will, and to make perfect.' St. John Chrysostom, who of course had never heard of Pelagianism, but was much concerned with the defence of free will against Manichaeism, uses such expressions as: 'We must first choose what is right and then God will do His part' (cf. Hom. in Matt. lxix, 2; et in Matt. xxxix, 4)----a phrase which St. Augustine would have repudiated at once.

178. 3  neque volentis, neque currentis, sed ad Dei gratiam pertinentis. The reference is of course to Rom. ix, 16. But here once again one suspects that St. Optatus is trusting to his memory, and quoting by heart. The Vulgate has not ad Dei gratiam pertinentis, but miserentis Dei. This is a literal translation of the Greek.

179. 4  Leviticus xi, 45.

180. 5 Cf. 1 John i, 8 (supra).

181. 1 It was the false boast of the Donatists that they could forgive the sins of other men, because they were themselves without sin.

182. 2 St. Optatus has already told us (cf. i, 10) that Parmenian had asserted that 'the unclean could not cleanse, nor the guilty grant pardon, nor could one who had been condemned absolve from sin.' He now retorts this argument: 'You absolve. On your own principles no sinner can absolve. Therefore you are forced to assert that you are without sin, but if you say that you are without sin, the truth is not in you.'

183. 3 etenim inter vicina momenta.

184. 4 debita. (Cf. iii, 4: 'debita etiam maxima perdere.')

185. 5 Luke xviii, 9 seq.

186. 1  O insanus furor, o punienda et damnanda superbia! For O RBvbd read hoc.

187. 2  Du Pin supplies humilitas, but it is not in the MSS.

188. 1  dum . . . deicitur. Ziwsa says that deicitur here = a loco removetur.

189. 2  When the Donatists seized the churches of the Catholics, they washed down their walls, with grotesque and superstitious ceremonies, thus to impress upon the minds of the ignorant people that the very material buildings had been profaned by Catholic worship (cf. vi, 6).]

190. 3 nonnullorum animi iugulati sunt.

191. 4 sub nube, with reference to 'obscura luna' (in the quotation from Psalm x, that follows immediately).

192. 5 Ps. x, 3: ad sagittandos obscura luna (Vulgate ut sagittent in obscura).

193. 1  inter Poenitentiae tormenta servare.

194. 2  You strip the Catholic Bishops of their office and make them endure a living death amongst those doing Penance.

195. 3 paupertate sensus sui, id; est 'You have made simple people believe, contrary to the truth, that their Bishops were unworthy.'

196. 4 illi = the Bishops.

197. 5  malitiae vectibus.

198. 6  Ps. x, 4.

199. 7 Cf. Ps. lxxxiv, 12.

200. 1  Ps. ix, 23, 24. Verse 23 is only found in PG (in P in a corrupt form----'dum superbium pius . . . conpraehenditur in consiliis quae cogitat'; it is corrected in G).

201. 2  bene nominant.

202. 1  Ps. civ, 15: Ne tetigeritis unctos Meos, neque in prophetas Meos manum miseritis. The Vulgate reads: in prophetas Meos nolite malignari.

203. 2  Ps. cxxxii, 2.

204. 3  ubi vobis mandatum est radere capita sacerdotum? This is really important. From this passage in Optatus it is plain that the Donatist sacrilege was no other than the wrongful use of the Rite of Degradation as it is now prescribed in the Roman Pontifical. 'Cum cultello aut vitro abradit leviter caput degradandi dicens: Consecrationem et benedictionem atque unctionem tibi traditam radendo delemus.' So Optatus, with special reference to an unction bestowed upon priests, here accuses the Donatists of scraping the heads of the Catholic priests whom, without any regard for the sanctity of the Holy Oil, they ventured to degrade. (Cf. ii, 25 ad fin.: 'oleum suum defendit Deus,' etc.)

But until now no one seems ever to have imagined that oil was used in any part of the Catholic world either in the ordination of priests or the consecration of Bishops until the sixth century. Thus Duchesne writes (Origines du culte, x, ad fin.): 'L'onction propre au rit Gallican aura été suggérée par l'Ancien Testament. Elle ne paraît pas très ancienne. Quelques indices porteraient à en chercher l'origine dans les Eglises de Bretagne [in fact Gildas alludes to it] qui la pratiquaient dès le sixième siècle.' Similarly the learned Dr. Hatch writes as follows (Article on Ordination in Smith and Cheetham's Dictionary of Christian Antiquities):----'This rite [anointing of the hands of priests] is mentioned by two French liturgical writers of the ninth century, Amalarius of Metz (837) and Theodulphus of Orleans (821); the earliest canonist who speaks of it is Burchard of Worms (1025), but the recognised body of canon law distinctly disallows it, quoting a response of Pope Nicholas I to the Archbishop of Bourges in 864, who says that it is not a custom of the Roman Church, and that he has never heard of its being practised in the Christian Church. This must be held conclusive, at any rate as to its not being a general practice in the ninth century; but afterwards it no doubt became general, for Innocent III insists upon it, and objects to the Greeks for their omission of it. It is important to note that even the Pseudo-Isidorian authorities for the rite refer only to Bishops; at the same time they clearly show that the origin of the rite was the growing tendency to institute an analogy of ceremonies between the Old and New Testament.' Dr. Hatch proceeds to remark:----' In addition to the anointing of the hands a group of English and Norman pontificals direct the anointing of the head; so Pontif. Ecgb., S. Dunstan, Caturic, Rotom., Becc, but not elsewhere.' In contradiction to this we see clearly from St. Optatus that the heads of Bishops and probably of priests (the word Sacerdotum here----as we may judge from the context----probably includes Presbyteri as well as Episcopi) were universally anointed in Africa in the fourth century (cf. ii, 25: 'Ne tetigeritis, inquit, unctos meos '). 

205. 1 ungi meruit.

206. 1 1 Kings xv, 11.

207. 2 Ps. lvi, 5.

208. 1 hominum. Ziwsa writes 'omnium non inepte anonymus quidam apud Du Pin proposuit.' Casaubon adopts Du Pin's suggestion.

209. 2 velum facientibus, Ez. xiii, 18.

210. 3  super omne caput. These words are not to be found here in RBvbd; but they are in all the MSS. in i, 2, where St. Optatus quotes the same passage from Ezekiel.

211. 4  invenistis fideles antiquos. Ziwsa says that antiquos here = seniores.

212. 5 in Penance.

213. 6 In the Episcopate.

214. 7 pariter currebatis.

215. 1  Rom. xiv, 4.

216. 2  St. Optatus now passes abruptly back from the singular to the plural number and refers to the whole Donatist party.

217. 3  Cf. 1 Kings xxiv.

218. 4 in caligine clausi aeris. So the MSS. An ingenious suggestion is antri for aeris. Barthius suggests oris, meaning that Saul's face was in the darkness. Casaubon seems inclined to accept oris, but will not admit that oris can mean face. He understands oris speluncae (the mouth of the cave).

219. 1  1 Kings xxiv, 7. RBvd omit the non. According to this reading it becomes a question: 'Shall I lay my hands? etc'

220. 2  Cf. 2 Kings i.

221. 1 Pss. v, 11 and xiii, 3.

222. 2 Rom. xii, 14.

223. 3 Ps. xiii, 3.

224. 1 in Salomone, omitted by Pb.

225. 2  Wisdom i, 13. We may note that St. Optatus here (as in iv, 8) quotes the Book of Wisdom as canonical Scripture.

226. 3  Ps. civ, 15.

227. 1  ut genua figerent. A rite belonging to Public Penance. Cf. Tertullian de Poen. ix.

228. 2  post unitatem.

229. 3 post turificationem. 

230. 4 ne . . . Oleum, quod Dei est, feriatur.

231. 1  Ps. xiii, 3.

232. 2  Id est qui mente Deum viderint. St. Jerome tells us that it was commonly thought in his time that Israel signifies vir videns Deum. Great names can be quoted for this opinion, and we see in the text that it was taken for granted by St. Optatus. It persisted even to the days of St. Bernard (cf. serm. 5 ad Fest. Omnium Sanctorum), notwithstanding the fact that it had been rejected by St. Jerome (Liber Hebraic. Quaestionum in Genesim, 357)----and rightly, not only on etymological grounds, but also as being opposed to the words of Scripture, which he quotes in his text as follows:---- 'Vocabitur nomen tuum Israel, quia invaluisti cum Deo, et cum hominibus valebis' (Gen. xxxiii, 28). The mistake probably arose from the next verse but one:----'Vocavitque Jacob nomen loci illius Phanuel dicens: Vidi Deum facie ad faciem.' St. Jerome understands Israel to mean 'Prince with God' (Princeps cum Deo). It seems, however, more likely that the true meaning is 'One who wrestled with God.' (From Hebrew Sarah = to fight, to strive, and El = God.) Thus the LXX ὅτι ἐνίσχυσας μετὰ Θεοῦ. And this sense is in harmony with the context. The late Professor Driver (see Article on Jacob in Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible, vol. ii, p. 530) writes: 'The name Israel, meaning (on the analogy of other names similarly formed) God persists (or perseveres), is interpreted as suggesting the meaning Perseverer with God.' Professor Driver also tells us that Professor 'Sayce's derivation from yashar, to be upright, to direct (!), has nothing to recommend it.' (The note of exclamation is Driver's.)

233. 1 Vae filiabus Israel, quae sarciunt cervicalia. We have here another mystical reference to Ez. xiii, 18 which runs as follows in the Vulgate: 'Vae quae consuunt pulvillos sub omni cubito manus; et faciunt cervicalia sub capite universae aetatis ad capiendas animas: et cum caperent animas populi Mei, vivificabant animas eorum.'

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