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Optatus of Milevis, Against the Donatists (1917) Book 7. pp.275-310.


In this last Book it is shown that the Children of the Betrayers, whose Names were given in the First Book, may now, for the Sake of Unity, be received back into the Catholic Communion.

I. That the Donatists can be received back into the Communion of the Church more easily than could have been their fathers who were guilty of Betrayal.

Having shown up the Betrayers and having pointed out the holy Church----having refuted the calumnies which you were wont to utter against us, and having exposed your sins----which have merited to be chidden by God----and your repetition of the Sacraments, and your gratuitous claims 1 and your violence, we ought now to finish our answers and statements 2; but, since I perceive that, though the wood of malice has been cut down by the axes of truth, challenges are still sprouting 3 forth from you or from your friends, in which, as I hear, you maintain that, in consequence of your being known as the children of Betrayers, you ought not to be invited to the communion of unity 4 ----to this let me say a few words in reply.

It is most true that the Catholic Church was sufficient for herself with her countless peoples in all |276 countries 5; she was sufficient for herself also in Africa, although here she is but in few places. But God was not pleased with your separation, for the members of one body had been torn asunder, and, against the Will of God, you, who are our brothers, wandered away from your brethren. Sentence had been passed at home 6 upon your fathers, that they who ought to have been expelled in consequence of their confession of Betrayal, should go forth of their own accord. No [formal] judgement was pronounced,7 yet the effect of the sentence was obtained. They should have been cast off after the Betrayal, to which they owned in the Council in Numidia. But, not to give an opportunity for the display of their malice,8 the severity of judgement was refrained from, and your ancestors of their own accord made their plans, in consequence of their guilt, to cover up their crime and depart with the appearance of pride----when they should have grieved and blushed for shame. For if at that time they had thought it right, for the sake of Peace, to enter into unity,9 {Passage A  is found here in the manuscripts} and had come to the Catholic Church of their own accord----unlike you, who are known to have been drawn 10 by the Will of |277 God 11 to return whence you had wandered (though you are wandering still)----if, as I have said, they had come of their own accord to the Catholic Church, perhaps our fathers would have hesitated about receiving them, because they had been Betrayers; but we have cause for rejoicing, that none guilty of Betrayal have lived down to our times.

So to-day we find quite a new state of affairs, since we have to deal, not with them, but with you. Although it appears that a stain has passed from them to you by inheritance, nevertheless you cannot on this ground be held guilty together with your fathers, according to the Judgement of God, who has spoken by Ezekiel the prophet, saying:

'The soul of the father is Mine, and Mine is the soul of the son. The soul that sinneth, shall be punished alone.' 12

And this was proved even in ancient times----at the very beginning of the world,13 in that his father's sin did not belong to Seth, the son of Adam.14 And |278 that no one might say that in another place it was written by the Lord that He would

'punish the sins of the fathers even unto the fourth generation' 15 ----

----these are undoubtedly both words 16 of God, but both do not refer to one people. The first was said through Moses to a definite set of men, the second through Ezekiel to a different class. God, since He knew that the Jews would declare to Pontius Pilate:

'His Blood be upon us, and upon our children,' 17

in His foreknowledge saw that what they would say, was, in comparison with the greatness of their sin, but little, and threatened the Jews themselves, in order that their crime might be expiated by adequate 18 penalties, saying that He would punish the offences of the fathers even to the fourth generation. So this word 19 belongs in a particular way to the Jews, and to them alone; but the other, in which God has deigned |279 to promise not to punish in sons any sins of their fathers, nor in fathers any faults perchance committed by their sons, belongs to Christians. 20

{Passage B is found here in the manuscripts}

Your fathers, who are proved to have done these things in the days of Unity, have fallen away from the number of the living, leaving you as it were an inherited stain, which God has already washed away by His Providence, when He made a distinction (as we have said above) between fathers and their sons. Accordingly, since Betrayal is a sin, your fathers must see to it, as to what answer they may make in the Judgement of God; but your sin it cannot be, since you are living in other times.

II. That good and evil will be found in the Church of God, and must be borne with to the Day of Judgement.

So it is that for long past we have desired to receive you into our Communion, because it was not you that sinned at that time, but your fathers. 21

{Passage C is found here in the manuscripts}

Nor ought any man to judge concerning another man, as though he were himself wholly without sin, since it has been written in the Gospel that Christ says:

'Judge not, that you be not judged.' 22

And this above all, because it will not be possible to find one who is absolutely holy. For should any such there be, who are unable to sin, they are guilty of lying in the Lord's Prayer, if without reason they beg for pardon and say to God the Father: |280 

'Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive them that trespass against us.'

So the Apostle John both shows the consciences of all men and discloses 23 his own with these words:

'If we shall say that we have not sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us,' 24 ----

a saying the reason of which we have explained more clearly in our Fourth Book. But grant that there are some who have been made perfect with complete sanctity, it is not lawful for them to be without brethren, whom they are taught not to repel by the precepts of the Gospel, wherein we find described a field----that is the whole world, in which is the Church 25 and Christ the Sower, who gives wholesome precepts.26 On the other hand there is an evil man----that is the Devil,27 who sows cruel 28 sins not in the light, but in the |281 darkness.29 Different kinds of seeds come to birth 30 in one field. Similarly, in the Church there is not a mass of souls all alike.31 The field receives good seeds or bad----the seeds are different. But there is One Creator of all souls----one Lord of the field. There are Two who sow seeds where the tares are born, but the field has one Lord, the Lord God Himself. His is the earth; His are the good seeds; His is also the rain. Accordingly, we have consented to receive in unity you, who have been drawn 32 [to the Catholic Church], for we are not free either to separate or to reject even sinners who have been born with us in one field [and] have received nourishment 33 from one water 34----that is from the one Baptism; even as the Apostles were not free to separate the tares from the wheat (since separation is impossible without destruction35), lest, whilst pulling up what ought to be pulled up, that which ought |282 not to be, should be, trodden down. In like manner Christ has commanded that both His own seeds, and those which belong to the other,36 should grow in His field throughout the entire world, in which there is the One Church.37

After all have ripened 38 together, shall come the Day of Judgement, which is the harvest of souls. Then there shall sit the Judge, the Son of God, who recognises what is His own and what is the other's.39 His it shall be to choose what He may gather in His barn,40 and what deliver over to the burning----whom He shall condemn 41 to torments that know no end,42 and upon whom He may bestow 43 the rewards which He has promised.

Let us recognise that we all are men; let no one usurp to himself the power of Judgement that belongs to God. For if any Bishop were to claim it all for himself,44 pray, what will there be for Christ to do in Judgement? It should be enough for a man not to be guilty of sins of his own, without wishing to be judge of the sins of another. |283 

So it is our declaration 45 [not only] that we do not reject you, [but even that for the sake of Peace we would not have rejected your fathers, if it had come to pass in their day that unity was accomplished].46 For it would be a sin for us Bishops to do now, that which was not done by the Apostles, who were not permitted either to separate seeds or to pluck up the tares from the wheat.

III. The Donatists might have appealed to the example of the Apostle Peter to ask pardon for themselves.

But even if the Catholic Church should hesitate about receiving you, ought you not to have striven to attain the pattern of unity 47? But you have shrunk from bringing forward the examples to be found in the Gospel, as for instance what has been written concerning the person of the most blessed Peter, where we may read a description of the way in which unity is to be retained or procured.48 Without doubt it is evil to do anything against a prohibition, but it is worse not to have unity when you may. We see that this unity was preferred to punishment 49 by Christ Himself, who chose that all His disciples should be in unity rather than punish 50 a sin against Himself. For, as He did |284 not wish to be denied, He declared that whosoever should deny Him before men him would He deny before His Father,51 [but He did not declare that He would punish one who should give up any Scripture, since it is more serious to deny Him who spoke, than to give up the words which He has spoken].52 And though this has been thus written, nevertheless, for the sake of unity, blessed Peter (for whom it would have been enough if after his denial he had obtained pardon only) both deserved to be placed over all the Apostles, and alone received the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, which he was to communicate to the rest.53 So from |285 this example it is given us to understand that for the sake of unity sins should be buried, since the most blessed Apostle Paul says that charity 54 can cover a multitude of sins:

'Bear your burdens together,' 55  

he says; and in another place:

'Charity is high-souled,56 charity is kind, charity envieth not, charity is not puffed up, charity seeketh not the things that are her own.' 57  |286 

And he has said well. For he had seen all these things in the other Apostles, who for the sake of unity, through charity, would not withdraw from the communion of Peter----of the man, that is to say, who had denied Christ.58 But if their love of innocence had been greater than the gain 59 of peace and unity, they would have said that they ought not to hold communion with Peter, who had denied his Master and the Son of God, the Lord. They might, as has been said, not have held communion with the most blessed Peter; it would have been possible for them to quote against him the words of Christ, who had declared that He would deny before His Father whosoever should have denied Him before men. We ought industriously 60 to pay attention to the inward meaning of this.61 Whilst I say a few words concerning it, may the blessed Saint Peter himself pardon me,62 if I mention that which we read and know that he did. I hesitate to say that so great holiness as his has sinned, but he himself proved this fact, when he grieved bitterly and wept copiously, since he would neither have grieved nor wept, had he not committed any offence. Now the Head of the Apostles might surely have so governed himself, as to have done nothing, on account of which |287 he should grieve. But many faults 63 are seen in this one case of his,64 for this reason, that it might be shown that for the sake of unity all things should be reserved for God.65 And I know not whether in any other man this kind of sin could be of such weight, as was clearly the case in blessed Peter. For whoever during some persecution perchance denied the Son of God, will be seen, when compared with blessed Peter, to have sinned more lightly, if he denied Him whom he had not seen, if he denied Him whom he had not recognised, if he denied Him to whom he had made no promise, if he denied but once. For in blessed Peter this kind of sin was broadened out 66 ----in the first place, when Christ asked of all, whom did men say that He was, one said 'Elias,' another said 'the Prophet'; then we read that Christ said: 

'Whom do you say that I am?'

and Peter said to Him:

'Thou art the Son of the Living God' 67 ----

on account of which recognition 68 he deserved to be praised by Christ, [because this he had said through the prompting 69 of God the Father 70 ]. Behold, when the others did not recognise the Son of God, He was recognised by Peter alone.

In the second place, when Christ said on the eve of His Passion: |288 

'Behold I am bound, and you all flee,' 71

when the others kept silence, he alone promised that he would not go back.72 Out of His Foreknowledge, the Son of God said:

'O Peter, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny Me thrice.' 73

Something else was added to the weight of his sin----a promise, which he would not fulfil. After Christ was brought into the house of Caiaphas, out of so great a number no one was questioned----to fill up the measure of his transgression ---- save blessed Peter. When questioned, at first he denies; when questioned, he denies a second time; thirdly, he said that he knew Christ not at all; and the cock crew, not to mark the time by his crowing, but that blessed Peter might recognise how he had sinned. At last he grieved bitterly and wept copiously.

Behold (as we have said above), when the others did not recognise he alone recognised, when the others made no promises he alone promised, when the others did not deny once he alone denied and that three times, but yet, for the sake of unity, he was not to be separated from the number of the Apostles.74 From which we understand that all things were ordered by the Providence of the Saviour, that Peter should receive the Keys. The way of malice was stopped up, that the Apostles might not conceive in their minds that they were free to judge, and condemn with severity, him who had denied Christ. So many guiltless ones |289 are standing upright,75 and the sinner receives the Keys, that the work of unity 76 might receive its pattern.77 It was provided that the sinner should open for the guiltless,78 lest the guiltless might close [the gates] against sinners, and thus the unity which is necessary could not be.79

If you had mentioned these things, and asked for communion, how 80 could the Catholic Church, our Mother, have hesitated to receive you in her Bosom,81 since it is certain that you are not Betrayers, but the sons of Betrayers?

IV. That Eccles. x, 1 should be referred to Donatists rather than to Catholics.

Now some of your party in their desire to point us out to their people as worthy of contempt, mix up in their discourses that which was said by the Prophet Solomon concerning 'the flies that are soon to die':

'Flies that are soon to die banish the sweetness of oil,' 82

and call us 'flies that are soon to die.' That liquid 83 which is seasoned by 84 the Name of Christ, and, after |290 it has been seasoned is called Chrism, they call 'Oil.' 85 Before consecration 86 it is still by nature simple oil; it becomes sweet, when it is seasoned from 87 the Name of Christ.

There are then three things, of which the Prophet Solomon has made mention----the oil, the sweetness and the flies that are soon to die which destroy the sweetness. These three things have their places in due order. In the first place is the oil, in the second is the sweetness that has been produced,88 in the third the dying flies which banish the sweetness. Let then whoever amongst you brings forward such an argument 89 prove why he calls us 'flies that are soon to die.' You think that you have the power of consecration 90 which gives its sweetness to the oil----you have then both the oil and its sweetness. Do we 'banish' your oil,91 so that you may with reason 92 call us 'flies which are soon to die'? That which is yours remains with you. And if anyone passes over from you to us, he is left by us, as he was sent away by you.93 So how can |291 you say that we are 'flies soon to die, which corrupt the sweetness of the oil,' when, [coming] after you, we do no such deed? 94

Again if you say that the sweetness of the oil can be corrupted by us, either we can effect something, and give sweetness to the oil, or if, as you maintain, we are not able to effect anything, then the oil still remains such as it was by nature.95 How then do you say that we are 'flies soon to die, which corrupt the sweetness of the oil'?

Accordingly, the oil, before it is consecrated by us, is such as it was by nature.96 After it has been consecrated,97 it is able to receive sweetness from the Name of Christ. How can we by the same action both consecrate and corrupt? 98

It follows that, if the oil be sweet of its own nature, there is nothing more left for men to effect, when it is consecrated in the Name of Christ.

The same workman cannot at the same time make two things which are repugnant and opposite to each other.

When we, in your absence, consecrate, we do not corrupt. But if we do corrupt, who had before us consecrated anything for us to corrupt? Wherefore ----that the saying of the Prophet (if it be such) may not remain without application----understand that you are the flies that are soon to die. For you have |292 banished what it had not by nature, but by consecration, since we read that what is sweet is not capable of corruption by nature,99 for oil is simple and has its own one and distinctive name. Once it has been consecrated it is called Chrism, in which there is the sweetness which, having shut out 100 the hardness of sins, softens the outward skin of the conscience,101 which renews a gentle mind, which prepares a habitation for the Holy Spirit, so that He may be hither invited and, after bitterness has been put to flight, may deign here gladly to dwell. This 102 is the sweetness of the oil which flies that are soon to die are able to corrupt. If we were to banish the oil which you had consecrated, with reason might you call us flies that are soon to die, but so long as we preserve that which you have anointed even as we find it, we cannot be flies that are soon to die; but whilst you, driven by the storms of jealousy, falling, as it were, [like flies] into the oil, banish (by rebaptising) the sweetness of that oil, which has been consecrated in the Name of Christ----from which good morals should be seasoned,103 and the light of the mind be enkindled to a health-giving 104 and true understanding----you are banishing the reality in which was the oil and sweetness.105

But how have we been able to corrupt a sweetness, which no man before us produced by consecration? You have led men astray. You have rebaptised. |293 You have anointed a second time.106 Oh for shame! To your own destruction have you----like flies, which destroy even whilst they are dying----banished that which had been consecrated in the Name of Christ. Now, sin which has no pardon is death. It has been written that:

'he who shall have sinned against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven unto him, either in this world or in the world to come.' 107

Wherefore, inasmuch as you untruly call us flies, and hasten to annul 108 all that we have done, and say that we ought to be rejected or despised, claiming sanctity for yourselves alone, you put forward your innocence, as the ground for promising that you can forgive the sins of others. You see therefore that it was not of us, as you argue, but of yourselves that the most blessed Apostle Paul has said:

'There shall be men, lovers of themselves, covetous, praising themselves, proud, blasphemers, not obeying |294 parents, ungrateful, wicked; not guarding peace, without affection, detractors, not gentle, without kindness, 109 and the rest.'

V. That the Donatists and not the Catholics resembled Jamnes and Mambres.

Now, to turn to the fact that you have thought fit to take upon yourself the character of Moses, who, as the Apostle Paul tells us, was opposed by Jamnes and Mambres 110 ----if this be so, what is the truth, that may be found with you, which the Catholic Church opposes?

Or, what is there with us which you can prove to be a lie? Is it that we are in one communion with the whole world? Will you be able to prove that this is a lie? Is it that we keep and defend the true and one Creed? Will you be able to prove that this is a lie? Will you be able to prove that the Chair of Peter is a lie----and the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, which were granted him by Christ, with which we are in communion? 111 |295 

In the very passage of Scripture which you have mentioned, consider the order of the actions of the persons themselves, and pay attention as to which was the first. Yes, surely, Jamnes and Mambres who by their false artifices strove to fight against Moses and the truth, are in the second place. Moses, whose miracles they attempted in vain to impugn, was before them.112

As Moses is the first, so also is the Catholic Church; the first.113 As Jamnes and Mambres fought against and opposed Moses, so also do you in rebellion fight against the true Catholic Church.114 Why, then, is it that you 115 have wished to change names between yourselves and us excepting that thou 116 mightest prove thyself on a level with thy colleagues? For there are some of your party, who, having forgotten, or being |296 ignorant of past times, say against us things which belong of right to those men who, having already fallen away from the Catholic Church,117 consecrated Majorinus----that is to say to the authors of Schism and Betrayal. Because they still preserved Peace, before they banished unity,----well-pleasing to God----they were the light of the world, and with reason were they termed the salt of the earth. So long as they taught Peace, they were still called the sons of Peace. Before they were puffed up, they were blessed in their poverty of spirit, and were part of the savour. Whilst they were meek, they were blessed----they were part of the savour. Whilst they were just, they were blessed----they were part of the savour. Whilst they were sons of Peace, they were blessed----they were the whole of the savour. After they bestowed the riches of error upon their breath and lungs 118 and made the schism, they were seen to be cruel and without mercy; whilst they impiously tore asunder the members of the Church following after wickedness, they held the Kingdom of God in contempt, and, dividing the Church, were unwilling to be in Peace, they became salt that has been spoiled,119 from which nothing could be seasoned to please God with its sweetness.120 And since your first leaders were thus wicked, some of your colleagues |297 argue in a wrong-headed way,121 so that they say that those were foolish, who, quitting the Schism, having, however late, recognised the truth and their Mother the Catholic Church, followed after Peace. Some of your party think that these men made a mistake; they consider that, as it were having lost their savour,122 they departed from wisdom. From which it is clear that you all make the same mistake in your application of names. For you have compared both Jamnes and Mambres to peace-loving Catholics, and yourselves, who are schismatics, you have compared to Moses----something very far removed from the truth. And some of your foolish colleagues have thought well to pass judgement on the wise, so as to say that the lovers of Peace have become fools and have refused to understand that their own fathers have, through their dissension, lose their savour 123. 124 |298 

Pseudo-Optatus, Passage A (see p. 276, l. 21).

If at that time they had thought it right, for the sake of Peace, to enter into unity, even they would not have been repelled by the Church, since in their case dire straits 125 made excuse for the will. For not any of them had been voluntarily Betrayers; otherwise, this sin of theirs might have been likened to other transgressions.

Whatever God has willed not to be done, He has forbidden by His Mouth----even as He has said:

'Thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not commit adultery,' 126

and the rest. He might have also forbidden what was done by your fathers. But since that which the mind does is one thing, whereas that which circumstances bring about is quite another, whatever is within the power of man to effect is fit matter for prohibition, but whatever evil deeds are brought about through necessity may not be blamed with much violence. Therefore wilful sins receive punishment, those done through necessity receive pardon.

The murderer, who is not compelled to his crime by any man, is free to do the deed; he is also free to leave it undone; the adulterer, who is compelled by no one from outside, can commit adultery or not, as he chooses. Similarly with other matters of like nature, where free choice exists.

Accordingly, when those things are done, which have been forbidden, they are destined for judgement; when things which have not been forbidden are done through some sort of necessity, perchance He who was unwilling |299 to forbid them, may deign easily to pardon. So with regard to this crime 127 which might have been brought against your fathers as a deadly 128 offence----if at that time they had been exposed, or brought to judgement concerning it, they might have come to their own rescue by alleging more than one example. For we read that in the first times 129 the Tables of the Law were broken,130 also that Books were given up or cut and burned,131 but that no one was condemned.

If (as I have just said) your fathers' deeds had then been laid bare----if they could have been brought to judgement----without doubt they might have pleaded that they had done no more than was done by Moses the Lawgiver. Although necessity and free will have no resemblance, but are contrary to one another, [yet] since (so far as the legal name is concerned) there was the same case for your fathers as for Moses, your fathers might have said 132 that they, through necessity, did what Moses had of his free will done first. In his indignation with the people, he did not consider that God had written with His own finger----and what has been written in heaven is more than what has been written on earth----nor did he reflect that what the Finger of God has written is not the same 133 as that which has been written with a pen made by the hand of a man. Moses carried what he had received in the Cloud, and your fathers gave up what they had made for payment. With reason, then, might your fathers have defended themselves, arguing that it was not a deadly 134 offence, if anyone of them had done, when |300 terrified by an excessive fear, what Moses had done through anger. Neither do we read that the Lord was wroth with Moses, nor that He avenged those broken Tables which He had written with His own Hand, nor that Moses was termed a sinner or punished. The Law came from God in the same way that water comes from a fountain, or that fruit 135 is cut from a tree without injury to its root. That which has been used 136 is not lost, provided that it is safely preserved in its source.137 Similarly, Moses was not condemned after he had scattered and broken to pieces 138 the Tables of the Law. And subsequently he was called back, went up Mount Sinai,139 was permitted to speak with God, and received a second time the Law now renewed, as has been disclosed by the title of the book, which in Greek is called Deuteronomy.140 You see that in the Law that which had been preserved safe in its Source was not lost. But lest anyone should suppose that Moses had merit in a certain boldness with God due to his converse with Him, and that it was for this cause that God was not displeased with him, and that, this being so, it was fitting for friendship always to demand and receive its |301 reward and fruit----why then was he afterwards punished for another offence? Was it not to show that what he had done in his wrath was a venial 141 offence? The Law was safe in God,142 even after it, together with the Tables of Stone, had been broken by man; whereas [on the other occasion] through not rendering that reverence which was due from man, Moses deserved the penalty of dying in the midst of his journey, so that he entered not into the Land of Promise 143----from which it is clear that something, which, as in the present example,144 could escape without punishment,145 cannot be looked upon as a very great sin.

If this had been pleaded by your fathers, who could have refused them communion? And again, if they had put forward instances, which followed afterwards, in which we read of what happened when the renewed 146 Law was kept in the Ark, and the people of Israel were conquered in battle. The Law, which by the advice of the people 147 was borne in the Ark against the enemy, could not be guarded by the priests themselves and by the rest of the children of Israel, but far from being carried away [in safety] was given up 148 to the enemy.149 When the Law had been given up,148 those who had urged its being brought forward fled away in panic, and we do not read that they suffered any punishment in consequence. If this example had been alleged 150 by your fathers, who would have been able to repel them from his communion? Again, (what would have happened) if your leaders had not kept silence concerning those cases in which we read that Baruch gave up to Judin the Scribe the book of the |302 Law which he had received from the lips of Jeremiah the Prophet, and that the king's chief men commanded both Baruch himself, who had received the book, and Jeremiah, through whom God had spoken, to escape and lie hid? Jeremiah dictated, Baruch surrendered----both fled. The book was brought to Joachim the king. Now the king, in consequence of the coldness of the season, had a brazier 151 burning before him----so, as he was not pleased to hear the book recited by Judin the Scribe, he at once tore it up into small fragments 152 and consigned it to the flames. And God was wroth neither with Jeremiah who fled, nor with Baruch who fled with him and surrendered the book. For if God had been wroth with them, He would have spoken to some other Prophet. He did not speak to any other, but to Jeremiah himself, for thus do we read:

'The Word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, after the King burned the chapter of the book 153 and the words, which Baruch wrote from the mouth of Jeremiah. God said to Jeremiah: " Take to thyself another paper and write all thy words, which were formerly written in the book, that was burned by Joachim, king of Judah."' 154

So we see that neither was God wroth, nor did the book which had been burned perish, nor was Baruch punished, nor was Jeremiah disowned by God.155 From this it is clear that something, which no punishment ever followed, was at no time a serious fault.156 If your fathers had alleged these examples, who could have rejected them from communion? So when God saw that the Tables of the Law had been broken by Moses, and that the Ark had been abandoned to its foes, and that the book of the Law, after it had been given up by Baruch, was both cut up and burned, He showed His Providence and promised |303 that He would write the Law henceforward neither on Tables nor in Books, but in the very inward parts of man 157 ----that is, on the mind and heart of each believer, even as He had written it in the heart of Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and the other Patriarchs, who, without the Law, certainly lived according to the Law.158 This is proved by the blessed Apostle Paul, when he says:

'Written not with ink, but by the Spirit of the Living God, not on Tables of Stone, but on the fleshy tablets of the heart.' 159

After the Law had been broken by Moses, and abandoned by the children of Israel to their enemies, and torn up and burned (when offered by Baruch to Joachim the king)----before the Christian times in which later on God would write in a better way----God pointed out a law through the Prophet, when He said:

'For this is My Covenant, which I will provide for the house of Israel and for the house of Judah, and after those days, saith the Lord, I will give My Laws and will write them in their heart and in their minds.' 160

This He promised long ago and has last of all fulfilled in Christian times. Therefore the Book is now in the second place; in the second place are the parchments.161 If God wrote the Law there, where it could not be betrayed ----so that your fathers, who had already believed in the Trinity, although they gave up the books, gave up neither their own hearts nor minds, in which God, according to His Promise, had already written His Law----on what ground, my brother Parmenian, have you said that the Law was completely burned by the Betrayers? Behold, neither has it been completely burned, nor has it been wholly taken away, so long as it both remains in the |304 hearts of the Faithful, and thousands of books are everywhere read aloud.162 From these considerations it is evident that you have, though in ignorance, taken on you to accuse your fathers in vain. If, therefore, it would have been impossible to repel even your fathers from communion, had they at the time of Unity brought forward so many examples which might have been reasonably alleged, how much more impossible is it to reject you, who are certainly not Betrayers, but the sons of Betrayers; since a distinction has to be made between both the persons and the names of fathers and sons, and where the sin has not been shared, there the same judgement cannot be passed?

Although if they had been brought into unity,163 and had come to the Catholic Church of their own accord  .... etc.164 |305 

Pseudo-Optatus Passage B (see p. 279, line 3).

Nor would he have visited upon the fathers any offences perchance committed by the sons. Since, therefore, the Law was renewed in the times of Moses without any man being punished, and the Ark of the Covenant was freely restored by the enemy, and at God's command a second book was written by Jeremiah,165 why is it thought that your fathers alone committed a deadly 166 sin, when they did something, on account of which, in so many instances, no one was condemned?

For if the Law was given for this purpose, that men should be taught, not that the Law itself should be as it were worshipped in the place of God, then, after your fathers' sin, though individuals 167 lost their volumes 168 under the pressure of fear, yet the mass of the Faithful 169 suffered no loss. For the Law, which had been necessary, 170 still has its force 171 amongst the teachers of the people and the worshippers of God. The libraries are filled with books. Nothing is wanting to the Church. In different places 172 the divine praises are everywhere proclaimed. The mouths of the lectors keep not silence. The hands of all are full of volumes 173 [of Scripture]. Nothing is lacking to the people who wish to be taught----although the law would not seem to have been written more for the sake of teaching, than for that of the judgement to |306 come, in order that the sinner may know what may befall him, should he not live rightly. Thus has it been written, and thus do we read, that

'the Law has not been given for the just,'


'every just man is himself a law unto himself.' 174

And in another place the blessed Apostle Paul also says that the Law does not make men just, but itself loves justice.175 It is results which are always looked for in all those things that produce results.176 The Law, which produces results, is not needed,177 when the result is obtained in a quicker way.178 It was not said to Abraham: 'Believe,' but he believed of his own accord 179 ----so in him the result of the Law was made complete without the Law. We do not read:

'Abraham heard the Law and believed,' 

but we do read:

'Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for justice.' 180

And in the earliest times the Patriarch Noah did nothing by which he might become just, yet he as a just man was chosen to build the Ark, in which during the Deluge 181 he might navigate the waters with success. It were a long task to go through all the cases individually of all who, without the Law, were found to be just. |307 

If these things had been pleaded by your fathers, who would then have rejected them from his communion? Again, [what would have happened] if they had asserted that what the Apostle says of those who are outside the Law 182 ought not to be passed over in silence?

'the nations, that know not the Law, do the things that belong to the Law, for they have the Law written in their hearts.' 183

For many are known to have sinned with the Law,184 and many to have lived well without the Law. The Law and Man are two things, but they cannot be on an equality,185 for Man was not made for the Law, but the Law was given for the sake of men. I do not see that injury has anywhere been done to God, so long as the source 186 of the Law remains with Him. After the Scripture has been given up----so it is said----by your fathers, it wants for nothing, all the members of the Law are sound----are safe, and are read aloud. There is, for those who desire to teach and to be taught, nothing less than there was of the Law. Was it then necessary for man to be slain rather than that any Scripture should be given up? Again, men have not been slain, yet all the Scriptures are here without diminution. The Law and God are not one and the same thing. If they had had to die for God, who can both raise up the dead and give reward, [well and good]; but a book that has not been surrendered cannot do even the second of these two things.187

Therefore, necessity shackles [a man's] own strength of will.188 We often see that carelessness is as disastrous |308 as necessity. For if the parchments or the books, in which the canonical 189 Scripture is contained, must be kept totally unimpaired, why are not some careless people condemned? There is no wide gulf between giving up 190 and placing in a bad situation, or treating badly. One man has placed the book in a house, which has been burned down in a fire. Let him be condemned, who carelessly placed the book in that house, if another is to be condemned who through fear gave up the book that he knew would be demanded of him. Let them also be condemned, who placed neglected parchments, or books, where they might be gnawed by little household animals 191 (that is by mice) in such a way that they could not be read. Let him be condemned, as well, who has placed them in a part of the house, where, in consequence of too great abundance of rain, water has dropped through the eaves from the roof, so that all the writing has been washed away by the wet, and can no longer be read. Let those too be condemned, who have been rash enough to entrust themselves, together with the books of the Law, to the hungry waves of the sea, and in their eagerness to save their lives, when in the water, have let the Scriptures slip from their hands. Accordingly if the Scripture be the same 192 always, and, if he who has not been able to save it, is guilty----then, one has given it up to the waves, another has abandoned it to rodents,193 another has carelessly allowed it to be spoiled by the dropping water, and yet another, terrified by the fear of death, has, as man, given it to man. If all have done the same thing,194 why is one chosen out to be condemned----and this, even though the fault of the Betrayer is lighter than is that of him who has been careless? He who placed it in the way of mice, or left it under the dropping water, with his will was careless, whilst he who lost it in the river, sinned through rashness. He who through the fear of death gave anything up, gave it as a |309 man to a man. It was whole whilst with the giver, it remained whole in the hands of the receiver. If he who received it, gave it up to the flames, this is the sin of the one who burned it, not of him who surrendered it. If these things had been urged by your fathers, how could we have rejected them from our communion? Or if again they had thought well to refer to the times of King Antiochus,195 when all the Jews were compelled to surrender their Books to be burned, and the whole of the Scripture was given up so completely that not a letter 196 remained in any one book? Not one of the Jews was then condemned, nor was any sentence pronounced against any Jew either by God or by some angel, because the sin was his who commanded and threatened, not the people's who surrendered with fearfulness and sorrow. And in order that this Antiochus should do no injury to His people in these early days,197 God immediately provided for one man Esdras,198 who was called a Reader at the time, to dictate the whole as it had been before, to the minutest point.199 In this way the tyrant Antiochus was not able to enjoy the fruit of his wickedness,200 since (with the exception of the Seven Brothers and one old man who refused to eat swine's flesh) 201 he killed no Jew, and yet the Law could not be destroyed.202 In the same way your fathers too in their day were not killed, and yet all the books of the Law of the Lord are read aloud everywhere. If, as I have urged above, your fathers had pointed out these things, who would not have received them into his communion without fear,203 since, as has been said, their sin was a sin of necessity, not of the will 204? Your fathers, who are proved, ....etc.205 |310 

Pseudo-Optatus, Passage C (see p. 279, 1. 16).

. . . for if one who has sinned, as did your ancestors, comes to the Church to plead the necessity of his case, first of all let him be received, and then sheltered 206 in the kindly bosom of Mother Church.

Nor ought any man, etc.207 

[Footnotes moved to the end and renumbered.  The positions of A, B, and C have been indicated in {} in the text as part of the online edition.  The printed copy from which this was made was defective at a couple of points in the footnotes: these are indicated in {} below.]

1. 1  {Note to the online edition: defective printed text here} (cf. i, 7; ii, 5 etc.), i.e. that the effects of Baptism were derived from the sanctity of their recipients, not from God.

2. 2  responsorum dictorumque nostrorum.

3. 3  pullulare.

4. 4 ad unam communionem.

5. 1  revera sufficiebat sibi Ecclesia Catholica habens innumerabiles populos in provinciis universis.

6. 2  domesticum iudicium. At the Council of Cirta in Numidia.

7. 3  Against those who had consecrated Majorinus.

8. 4  ne invidia esset. Du Pin forgets the 'malice' against Secundus (cf. 'et cum ipse Secundus a Purpurio increparetur,' i, 14), when he understands 'ne invidia esset' to mean here 'that they might not be reproached with the expulsion of so many Bishops.'

9. 5 Balduinus in his second Edition inserted here the passage A which I print at the end of the Book (p. 298).

10. 6 adductos (cf. in, 11: 'quem fides adduxerit').

11. 1  non sine voluntate Dei (St. Optatus often uses this phrase, as also its equivalent cum voluntate Dei).

12. 2  Ez. xviii, 4.

13. 3 in ipsis natalibus mundi.

14. 4 dum non pertinuit ad Seth, filium Adae, patris admissum. From the theological point of view this has been considered the most difficult passage to be found in the works of St. Optatus. St. Augustine writes (de Haer. 19): 'Sethiani nomen acceperunt a filio Adae, qui vocatus est Seth. Eum quippe honorant, sed fabulosa et haeretica vanitate.' The Sethitic legend is distinctly African. Julius Africanus is quoted as one of the first Christian writers to extol this Patriarch unduly, and the legend went on growing. Some, therefore, have thought that St. Optatus had received unawares a false tradition from heretical sources about Seth. Thus Casaubon writes with regard to this passage of Optatus: 'Non ego is iam, qui gravius quidquam de viro sancto pronuntiaverim. Id tantum dicam, vereri me, ne imprudenti et incauto illi haec exciderint, quae saevioris examinis acrimoniam aegre sustineant.' All the other commentators pass the passage over in silence. But is it not almost certain that St. Optatus had not the doctrine of original sin before his mind at all? With much probability it may be urged that the question here concerns not Adam qua father of the human race, but Adam considered as any other father. In this sense it is clear that Adam's sins were not attributed to his son Seth any more than are the sins of any other father attributed to any other son. We must always bear in mind that Optatus wrote before the rise of the Pelagian heresy. Still, the difficulty will remain unanswered: Why should Optatus in this connection have mentioned Seth rather than Abel, or even Cain?

15. 1 Ex. xx, 5.

16. 2 voces.

17. 3 Matt. xxvii, 25.

18. 4 conpetentibus.

19. 5 vox.

20. 1  Here Balduinus inserted B, the second doubtful passage. I have printed it immediately after A (p. 305).

21. 2 And here C; it may be found on page 310.

22. 3  Matt. vii, 1; Luke vi, 37.

23. 1 resignet. CGv designet.

24. 2 I John i, 8.

25. 3  ager, qui est totus orbis, in quo est Ecclesia. If St. Augustine at the Conference at Carthage had remembered and employed these careful words of St. Optatus----'the field in which is the Church,' he would have been saved a tiresome discussion with his Donatist adversaries. The Donatists naturally and triumphantly replied to the argument of the Catholics that the tares had to grow up with the wheat in the Field, and that the Field is the Church: 'Oh no, on the contrary, the Maker of the world Himself has said that the Field is the world. Now "the world has not known the Father." But if (as you say) the Church is the Field, it is also the world, for "the Field is the world." Therefore the Church has not known the Father! Which is absurd.' To this ingenious syllogism St. Augustine had to rely upon a long explanation as to the different meaning of the word 'world' in Holy Scripture (Gesta Coll. Carthag. Diei iii, cclxv-cclxxxi; Brev. Coll. iii, 10). No exception could have been taken to the statement of Optatus 'the Church is in the world.' Had it been used, the Donatists would have been deprived of one of their many opportunities of wasting time.

26. 4  praecepta salutaria.

27. 5 homo est malus, id est diabolus.

28. 6 inportuna peccata. In contrast with the wholesome precepts ('praecepta salutaria') of Christ, concerning which Optatus has just written. (Christ's precepts save us; sins harm us cruelly.) Inportunitas has been used in the sense of inmanitas in ii, 18 (cf. however iii, 7, where inportune is used for unseasonably, which may perhaps be the meaning here----'unseasonable sins').

29. 1  per tenebras.

30. 2  nascuntur diversa semina.

31. 3  in Ecclesia non est similis turba animarum.

32. 4  adductos, sc. ad Ecclesiam Catholicam (cf. last chapter: 'ad Ecclesiam Catholicam . . . non sine voluntate Dei adductos').

33. 5 nutritos.

34. 6 una pluvia nutritos. Thus Du Pin. Ziwsa places a comma after pluvia, making una pluvia depend not upon nutritos, but upon preceding natos = 'born with us from one water----that is to say, nourished from the one Baptism.' It must be admitted that, strictly speaking, not nourishment but birth comes from Baptism, but on the other hand seeds are not born from rain. For this reason I prefer on the whole Du Pin's punctuation, and have translated accordingly.

35. 7 sine exterminio.

36. 1  aliena.

37. 2  in agro Suo per totum orbem terrarum, in quo est Una Ecclesia.

38. 3  post crementa communia. Crementum (literally increase) is an unusual Low Latin variant of incrementum.

39. 4 quid est Suum et quid alienum.

40. 5 in horreo.

41. 6 destinet.

42. 7 interminata.

43. 8 repraesentet.

44. 9 si sibi totum vindicet. The context tells us that the totum here refers to the power of judgement and especially of separation. If any Bishop were now to separate all sinners from the Visible Church, there could not be that separation by Christ, on the Day of Judgement, of the tares from the wheat, and of the goats from the sheep, of which we read in the Gospels. It is hardly necessary to say that the Church has never at any time claimed to judge in foro interno, that is, concerning the conscience or interior state and fixture lot of any man.

45. 1  professio.

46. 2  The words in square brackets are only to be found in C and Codex Tilianus.

47. 3  unitatis adsequi formam. Unitatis forma = the idea of unity presented by Christ and externally realised in the Visible Church. It is very difficult to translate forma, as used by St. Optatus, into English (cf. v, 5 formam baptizandi; i, 21 exemplorum formam; v, 3 formam humilitatis; vii, 6 iudicandi formam; v, 14 quam formam habet mens). It is obviously impossible to render forma in these passages by the same English word, though the idea is the same in all of them----a rule or concept, clothed, as it were, before our eyes, in order that we may adhere to it.

48. 4  forma unitatis retinendae vel faciendae.

49. 5 vindictae suae.

50. 6 vindicare.

51. 1 Cf. Matt. x, 33; Luke xii, 9.

52. 2 The passage in square brackets is a clumsy interpolation. It is, however, to be found in C and Codex Tilianus.

53. 3 bono unitatis beatus Petrus . . . et praeferri Apostolis omnibus meruit et claves regni caelorum communicandas ceteris solus accepit. After communicandas some Gallican and Anglican authorities have supplied a Christo. Thus Dr. Pusey (Note R to Tertullian, Oxford Translation of the Fathers). Similarly Mr. Denny (op. cit., n. 1165) writes 'that is, as Bossuet says, that Peter first received the keys which were afterwards to be imparted to the Apostles (Matt, xviii and John xx), but to be imparted not by Peter, but by Christ, as is clear.' Dr. Pusey sends us to Du Pin. Now it is curious that in his edition of St. Optatus Du Pin has no note whatsoever on this passage. Dr. Pusey, however, refers to his De Antiqua Ecclesiae disciplina Dissertationes historicae, where we read as follows (Diss. iv, cap. i): 'communicandas ceteris (id est quod Christus commendaturus erat ceteris).' But it should be noted that neither Du Pin nor Bossuet nor Denny say one single word in support of their view that a Christo should be understood after the word communicandas in this passage of Optatus. It is simple assertion, to which Bossuet adds the words 'as is clear' (Defensio Decl. Cleri Gallicani, pars III, lib. viii, cap. xii, tom. ii, p. 90); on the other hand, it should be observed that we nowhere read either in Matt. xviii or in John xx----the passages referred to by Bossuet----that Christ gave the Keys to the other Apostles. With regard to the words of St. Optatus we may note in the first place that we shall search in vain for any passage where he states that Christ gave the Keys to 'the other Apostles'; on the contrary Optatus says expressly, both here and in i, 10 ('ut haeretici omnes neque claves habeant, quas solus Petrus accepit'), that Peter alone received them; so that for the Gallican interpretation of this passage to be possible we should have to change the word solus to primus----the alone of Optatus for the first of Bossuet; secondly that, though Optatus uses the verb communicare in eighteen places, in every other case it is used intransitively----twice absolutely and fifteen times with the dative----in the technical sense of ecclesiastical communion (to be in communion with). Here however we find the usual classical construction, communicare aliquid (here claves) cum aliquo or alicui (here ceteris). Communicare aliquid alicui always means in Latin to give something (e.g. information, power, here the Keys) to someone else, without ceasing to possess it oneself----to make it a common possession shared between oneself and the other (cf. Liv. Lib. xxiii, 5: 'Civitatem nostram magnae parti vestrum dedimus communicavimusque vobiscum,' and Cicero De Inv. ii, 39: 'Praemia virtutis non oportet cum improbis communicari'). This is undeniable and forces us to see that the gloss a Christo is impossible----apart from the exigencies of controversy----and does violence to the text, to which indeed it is in direct opposition. The meaning is clea beyond all doubt----'the Keys which he was to communicate to the rest.' St. Peter had to impart to the other Apostles, for them to use also, the Keys which, as their 'Head' (cf. infra), he had himself alone received from Christ.

54. 1  Once more St. Optatus identifies 'charity' in this famous passage with unity (cf. iii, 8: 'si beatus Paulus . . . pronuntiat se nihil esse, nisi caritatem habuerit, videte an non dicantur martyres . . . caritatis [i.e. unitatis] desertores').

55.  2  onera vestra invicem sustinete. Cf. Gal. vi, 2.

56. 3  magnanimis.

57. 4 1 Cor. xiii, 4, 5.

58. 1  Harnack quotes this sentence and observes: 'That is still a dangerous fundamental thought of Catholicism at the present day.'

59. 2  utilitas.

60. 3 diligenter.

61. 4 ad quam formam.

62. 5 ipsius Sancti Petri beatitudo veniam tribuat. In the same spirit St. Augustine carefully praises St. Cyprian before combating his views as to Rebaptism of heretics (e.g. De Baptis. con. Donat. vii, 1: 'Et beatus Cyprianus quidem iam corpore quod corrumpitur non aggravante animam nec deprimente terrena habitatione sensum multa cogitantem serenius aspicit veritatem quam meruit adipisci per caritatem talem. Adiuvet itaque nos orationibus suis in istius carnis mortalitate' etc.).

63. 1 multa errata.

64. 2 in uno titulo eius.

65. 3 omnia debere Deo servari, sc. for the Judgement of God. (Cf. i, 14: 'Secundus consilium accepit . . . ut talem caussam Deo servaret ... hi dixerunt talem caussam Deo debere reservari.')

66. 4 dilatatum est.

67. 5 Matt. xvi, 15-17.

68. 6 pro qua agnitione.

69. 7 instinctu Dei Patris.

70. 8 The passage in square brackets is to be found only in C and Codex Tilianus.

71. 1 John xvi, 32; Matt. xxvi, 31.

72. 2 non recessurum.

73. 3  Matt. xxvi, 34.

74. 4  de numero apostolorum separari non meruit.

75. 1 stant tot innocentes ---- are standing unfallen (cf. ii, 25). (Possibly stant = are standing by----so Ziwsa in Index s.v. stare.)

76. 2  unitatis negotium.

77. 3 formaretur (cf. p. 283, note 3).

78. 4  It was provided that St. Peter ('the sinner') should open for the other Apostles ('the guiltless').

79. 5  A schismatic or other sinner could not comply with the command of living within the Unity of the Church ('the unity which is necessary'), unless recovery were possible for him on repentance. So Peter holds the Keys, and through his ministry the gates of the Church on earth and of Paradise above are always open for the sinner who will turn from sin and seek the admittance which will never be denied him.

80. 6  quando. Quando in several places is used by St. Optatus to = How (e.g. ii, 21).

81. 7  pio sinu.

82. 8 Eccles. x, 1. 

83. 9 illum scilicet liquorem.

84. 10 ex.

85. 1  Albaspinaeus observes that the heretics of his day in like manner called the holy Chrism 'oil' out of contempt. This fact is familiar to all students of the letters of both the English and foreign Reformers. They habitually wrote of Ordination as 'greasing.'

86. 2  antequam fiat.

87. 3 de.

88. 4  suavitas de confectione, i.e. through consecration.

89. 5  quisquis est talis tractator ex vobis.

90. 6  si apud vos putatis esse confectionem. Catholic writers often use the phrase conficere sacramentum, and even conficere Corpus Domini.

91. 7  Catholics never questioned the validity of Donatist orders. Consequently such an Episcopal act as the consecration of Chrism (however illicitly) was validly performed.

92. 8 merito.

93. 9 The baptised man was regarded as baptised, the priest as a priest, the Bishop as a Bishop, etc.

94. 1  By re-baptising or re-confirming or re-ordaining converts from Donatism.

95. 2  oleum tale esse, quale et natum est. Cf. natus est hoc facere in late Latin (it is his nature to do this), and the classical fruges consumere nati (whose nature it is).

96. 3  conficiatur.

97. 4 confectum.

98. 5 quomodo possumus uno facto et conficere et corrumpere?

99. 1 suavitas enim legitur non natura posse corrumpi (cf. supra). 

100. 2 exclusa.

101. 3 cutem conscientiae.

102. 4 sc. sweetness derived from consecration.

103. 5  unde condirentur mores.

104. 6 salutarem.

105. 7  vos exterminatis rem ubi oleum fuit et suavitas.

106. 1  You have repeated not only Baptism, but also Confirmation.

107. 2  Matt. xii, 22. Casaubon thinks that St. Optatus could not have made this quotation, and that it slipped in from a marginal note. It is quite true that the object of St. Optatus, which was to show that the Donatists were not only muscae (flies) but also muscae moriturae (flies that were about to die), would have been attained without the quotation. It would have been enough for his purpose to have said that their rebaptising was a great sin and that 'sin without pardon----until it is pardoned----is death.' But unhappily he has already said (v, 3) that rebaptising (as involving a certain exorcism of the Holy Ghost) is that sin against the Holy Ghost for which there is no forgiveness in this world, or in the world to come. So hard was it to kill rigorism in the African Church, that we find it even in unexpected places. Still, we rejoice to find that St. Optatus is not always consistent with himself in this terrible severity. We have seen how clear he was that even these rebaptisers should have been reconciled with the Church, had they been willing.

108. 3  dissolvere.

109. 1 2 Tim. iii, 2.

110. 2 Cf. 2 Tim. iii, 8; Ex. vii, 11.

111. 3 Cathedram Petri et claves regni caelorum a Christo concessas, ubi est nostra societas, numquid poteris adprobare mendacium? (cf. ii, 23: 'Negare non potes scire te in urbe Roma . . . societate concordat'). The Donatists claimed that they possessed the truth. To this Optatus opposed the authority of the Catholic Church and set out the grounds of Catholic security in three pertinent questions:

(a)   Is it a lie (a delusion) to appeal to the fact of communion with the Catholic Church throughout the world? 'Is it a delusion that we are in one communion with the whole [Catholic] world,?'

(b)   Is it a delusion that we keep and guard the Creed? 'Is it a delusion that we keep and defend the true and one Creed?'

(c)   Is the Chair of Peter a delusion? 'But you cannot deny that you know that Peter established his Chair at Rome.' Or, is it a delusion that we are in communion with that Chair? Or, is it, perhaps, a delusion that Christ gave the Keys of Heaven to Peter?----the Keys of Heaven which, through our communion with the Chair of Peter, we share ('ubi est nostra societas': cf. i, 12; ii, 4; ii, 9).

Is this all a falsehood----a mere delusion? ('Numquid poteris adprobare mendacium?')

Such is the argument of Optatus. He appealed just as Catholics appeal to-day (and as they always have appealed):

1. To communion with the Catholic Church in other lands, 

2. To the possession of the Creed,

3. To communion with the Chair of Peter.

This is the ultimate assurance of safety for a Catholic that he is in the true Church of Christ----the Soliditas Cathedrae Petri. This is no freak of the imagination (mendacium). Here beyond all doubt we find and here we possess the great reality.

112. 1  Moses came first, before Pharaoh, and though Jamnes and Mambres worked the same miracles, yet Moses had precedence and prescriptive right. (Cf. Exod. vii, 11.) St. Optatus here passes to another great argument for the Catholic Church. It is 'in possession.'

113. 2  ut Moyses prior est, sic et Catholica prior est.

114. 3  rebelles contra veram Catholicam militatis (cf. 'contra Cathedram Petri sacrilegio militatis,' ii, 5).

115. 4 plural----Donatists in general.

116. 5 singular----Parmenian in particular.

117. 1  iamdudum de Catholica lapsi.

118. 2  erroris divitias dederunt spiritui et pulmonibus suis.

119. 3  sal infatuatum. Cf. S. Aug. De Serm. Dom. i, 6: 'si sal infatuatum fuerit, in quo salietur . . . ergo ad nihilum valet sal infatuatum, nisi ut mittatur foras, et calcetur ab hominibus . . . qui persecutionem timendo infatuatur, calcatur ab hominibus,' and S. Hilar. in Matt. iv: 'si sal infatuatum fuerit, ad nihilum valet id quod salietur.'

120. 4 St. Optatus forgot for a moment that salt does not produce sweetness.

121. 1 aliter.

122. 2 quasi infatuatos (with reference to sal infatuatum supra). 

123. 3 infatuatos esse.

124. 4 Chapters VI and VII have been placed at the end of Book III, to which they belong as an Appendix (v. p. 175-179).

125. 1  necessitas. Here this word does not mean necessity literally, but rather dire straits.

126. 2  Exodus xx, 13, 14.

127. 1  There is here an anacoluthon in the Latin.

128. 2  capitate.

129. 3 primis temporibus.

130. 4 Cf. Ex. xxxii, 19; Deut. ix, 17.

131. 5 vel incisi et incensi.

132. 6  cum eodem nomine legis parentum vestrorum et Moysi una fuerit caussa, possent dicere parentes vestri etc. Both Du Pin and Ziwsa print a full stop after caussa, but this punctuation seems to obscure the sense.

133. 7  unum.

134. 8 capitate.

135. 1  poma.

136. 2  quod erogatum est.

137. 3 si in origine sua salvum est. 

138. 4 post tabulas sparsas legis et comminutas.

139. 5 Cf. Ex. xxxiv, 2; Deut. x, 1.

140. 6 et secundum legem innovatam accepit, quam prodiit titulus libri, qui Graeco vocabulo Deuteronomos scribitur. For prodiit Casaubon conjectured prodidit. I have translated secundum as an adverb = secundo, though for this it is hard to find authority. Ziwsa in his index says that secundum is here a preposition, but it is very difficult thus to get even fair sense. 'He received the renewed Law in accordance with the Law' hardly seems satisfactory. I am much tempted to think that secundum is a mistake for secundam. The reference to Deuteronomy makes this to me almost certain. ('The very title Deuteronomy,' our author seems to say, 'bears witness to the second Law.') But as secundam has no MS. authority, and has occurred to no one else, I have not ventured to translate it in the text. It is hardly necessary to say that in Greek Deuteronomy means 'The Second Law,'

141. 1 leve.

142. 2 Cf. Rom. vii, 12.

143. 3  Cf. Num. xx, 12; Deut. i, 37.

144. 4  in praesenti exemplo. Casaubon suggests in praecepta = against the Commandments. But in praesenti exemplo means as contrasted with the later offence of striking the rock.

145. 5  inpune.

146. 6 innovata lex. Cf, p. 300, note 6.

147. 7 populorum.

148. 8 tradita.

149. 9 Cf. 1 Kings v, 1.

150. 10 haec ratio redderetur.

151. 1 arulam ardentem.

152. 2 concisum minutatim. Cf. Jer. xxxvi, 19, 21.

153. 3 capitulum libri.

154. 4 Jer. xxxvi, 27, 28.

155. 5 nec Hieremias a Deo contemptus est.

156. 6 gravis culpa.

157. 1 in ipso interiori homine.

158. 2 legitime sine lege.

159. 3 2 Cor. iii, 3.

160. 4 Jer. xxxi, 33. (Cf. Heb. x, 16.)

161. 5 secundo loco est charta, secundo loco membranae.

162. 1  librorum milia ubique recitantur.

163. 2  quamquam et si illorum unitas fieret, et si ad Ecclesiam Catholicam sponte venissent, etc. Casaubon suggests that it should be 'etsi illorum unitas fieret,' and that the si in next clause ought to be omitted. If this emendation can be adopted, the translation will be much easier.

164. 3  (See page 276, line 22, for continuation.)

165. 1  Cf. Ex. xxxiv, 28; i Kings vi, 2 seq.; Jer. xxxvi, 27 seq.

166. 2  capitale.

167. 3 unusquisque eorum.

168. 4 codices suos. Codices, according to the original meaning of the word in this connection, were vellum books, which in the course of time had taken the place of rolls.

169. 5  turba credentium.

170. 6 quae necessaria fuerat.

171. 7 valet.

172. 8 per loca singula. 

173. 9 mantis omnium codicibus plenae sunt.

174. 1 2 Tim. i, 9 (cf. Rom. ii, 14). 

175. 2 Cf. Rom. iii, 10; Gal. ii, 16.

176. 3 semper in omnibus rebus efficientibus effect a quaeruntur. 

177. 4 vacat.

178. 5 per compendium paratum est, quod efficitur (paratum est = comparatum est). 

179. 6 ultro.

180. 7  Gen. xv, 6 (cf. Rom, iv, 3; Gal. iii, 6; James ii, 23).

181. 8  Cf. Gen. vi.

182. 1 extralegalibus.

183. 2 Cf. Rom. ii, 14.

184. 3 in lege.

185. 4  Lex et Homo duae res sunt, sed pares esse non possunt.

186. 5  origo.

187. 6 liber non traditus de duobus his nec alterum potest. It seems impossible to imagine that this trivial special pleading should be the work of St. Optatus.

188. 7 impedit igitur necessitas vires suas. This is the reading of the MSS, We understand homini. Casaubon suggests impendit.

189. 1 legitima.

190. 2 tradere.

191. 3 domesticae bestiolae.

192. 4 una.

193. 5 rosoribus bestiis.

194. 6 unum.

195. 1  Cf. 1 Maccab. i, 59.

196. 2  apex. Literally a dot or accent or point.

197. 3  primitivo populo.

198. 4 Cf. 1 Esdr. vii.

199. 5  ad apicem.

200. 6 malignitatis suae.

201. 7   Cf. 2 Maccab. vii, 13.

202. 8 lex perire non potuit. 

203. 9 intrepide.

204. 10 peccaverat necessitas, non voluntas. 

205. 11 (For continuation see p. 279, line 4.)

206. 1  sustinendus.

207. 2  (For continuation see p. 279, line 17.)

For three other probably spurious passages see p. 283, l. 1-4; p. 284, l. 2-5; p. 287, l. 21-22.

[Note to the online edition: pp.311-320, which contain 100 quotations in Latin from Optatus: "A hundred noteworthy sayings of St. Optatus", have been omitted.]

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