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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol II:
TATIAN: Chapter IV. The Christians Worship God Alone.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter IV.—The Christians Worship God Alone.

For what reason, men of Greece, do you wish to bring the civil powers, as in a pugilistic encounter, into collision with us? And, if I am not disposed to comply with the usages of some of them, why am I to be abhorred as a vile miscreant? 426 Does the sovereign order the payment of tribute, I am ready to render it. Does my master command me to act as a bondsman and to serve, I acknowledge the serfdom. Man is to be honoured as a fellow-man; 427 God alone is to be feared,—He who is not visible to human eyes, nor comes within the compass of human art. Only when I am commanded to deny Him, will I not obey, but will rather die than show myself false and ungrateful. Our God did not begin to be in time: 428 He alone is without beginning, and He Himself is the beginning of all things. God is a Spirit, 429 not pervading matter, but the Maker of material spirits, 430 and of the forms that are in matter; He is invisible, impalpable, being Himself the Father of both sensible and invisible things. Him we know from His creation, and apprehend His invisible power by His works. 431 I refuse to adore that workmanship which He has made for our sakes. The sun and moon were made for us: how, then, can I adore my own servants? How can I speak of stocks and stones as gods? For the Spirit that pervades matter 432 is inferior to the more divine spirit; and this, even when assimilated to the soul, is not to be honoured equally with the perfect God. Nor even ought the ineffable God to be presented with gifts; for He who is in want of nothing is not to be misrepresented by us as though He were indigent. But I will set forth our views more distinctly.

p. 67



[Dear Christians of those times; so Justin and all the rest appeal against this odium. Their name an offence, “cast out as evil,” but fragrant with unrequited love. Matt. x. 22-39.]


[1 Pet. ii. 17. This claim for man as man is the inspiration of Christianity. Terence breathes it from his wounded soul in slavery; and his immortal line, “Homo sum: humani nihil a me alienum puto” (Hæuntontimor., act. i. sc. 1, verse 25), looks as if it had been written in the second century of illumination.]


[Kaye’s Justin, pp. 56, 158.]


John iv. 24.


[Over again Tatian asserts spirits to be material, though not fleshly; and I think with reference to 1 Cor. xv. 44.]


Rom. i. 20.


[Over again Tatian asserts spirits to be material, though not fleshly; and I think with reference to 1 Cor. xv. 44.]

Next: Chapter V. The Doctrine of the Christians as to the Creation of the World.

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