Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Series I/Volume IV/Donatist Controversy/On Baptism/Book VI/Chapter 17

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Chapter 17.—28.  Monnulus of Girba[1] said:  "The truth of our mother, the Catholic Church, hath continued, and still continues among us, brethren, especially in the threefold nature[2] of baptism, as our Lord says, ‘Go, baptize all nations in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.’[3]  Since, therefore," he goes on to say, "we know clearly that heretics have neither Father, Son, nor Holy Ghost, they ought, on coming to our mother, the Church, to be truly regenerated and baptized, that the cancer which they had, and the wrath of condemnation, and the destructive energy of error[4] may be sanctified by the holy and heavenly laver."[5]

29.  To this we answer, That all who are baptized with the baptism that is consecrated in the words of the gospel have the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost in the sacrament alone; but that in heart and in life neither do those have them who live an abandoned and accursed life within.


  1. Girba, formerly Meninx (Lotophagitis), an island to the south-east of the Lesser Syrtis belonged to church province of Tripolis.  For Bp. Monnulus, see Cypr. Ep. lvii.
  2. In baptismi trinitate.  "Quia trina immersione expediebatur, in nomine Patris, Filii, et S. Spiritus."—Bishop Fell.
  3. Matt. xxviii. 19.
  4. Erroris offectura.  Other readings are "offensa" and "effectura."
  5. Conc. Carth. sec. 10.