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CONFLICTS 53

was permitted inside their community. They denied that those who had weakened during a persecution could rightfully become bishops, and they maintained as Tertullian had maintained in his time that the priestly office was valid only when held by men of stainless moral purity. In their opinion the Church was holy, not in itself, not as God's gift and Christ's foundation, but only in so far as it was a com- munion of holy men. The Catholic synods of Rome and Aries con- demned the Donatists, whom Constantine later deprived of their churches while exiling their bishops. Yet even then the movement was not curbed. On the contrary: the Emperor's sternness fanned the fanaticism of these "soldiers of Christ," who proceeded to belabour Catholics with robbery, murder and arson. This attempt by a na- tionalistically minded mass-feeling to build a free, regional church sundered from Rome, lasted a hundred years. Egypt and Armenia had soon followed the example given. Then, about 400 A.D., Au- gustine, who as Bishop of Hippo was a proximate witness of their lawless conduct, opened his literary attack on the Donatists. He saw in the world-embracing community of the Church the result of an historical development which blended good with evil as a net contains good and bad fish, as a herd consists of sheep and goats, as a field is sown with wheat and weeds, but which is holy none the less because God is its Founder and its Shepherd. With a heavy heart, and also after a tragic farewell to his own convictions, the most illustrious teacher of the Church abandoned his former view that one must not make honest heretics Catholics by force. He now adopted what seemed to him the unavoidable conclusion that unity must be achieved by force when words no longer avail. Men bind the insane with fetters and drive stampeding cattle back to the herd with whips; and so also must heretic and schismatic come under the dictum of the giver of the feast in the Gospel: "Go ye out into the highways and into the fields and force them to come." In thus issuing the first summons to the power of the state for aid in behalf of the unity of the Church, Augustine, the greatest student and confessor of the human heart, gave the next thousand years a sword to wield against freedom of worship and conscience. His solution of the problem was not dictated by Rome, but breathed its spirit, and never faded from the memory of the Church and its Popes. After the religious debates of 411 in


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