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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol III:
Tertullian: Part I: Chapter XIV.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter XIV.

Much less may the Christian put the service of idolatry on his own head—nay, I might have said, upon Christ, since Christ is the Head of the Christian man—(for his head) is as free as even Christ is, under no obligation to wear a covering, not to say a band. But even the head which is bound to have the veil, I mean woman’s, as already taken possession of by this very thing, is not open also to a band. She has the burden of her own humility to bear. If she ought not to appear with her head uncovered on account of the angels, 437 much more with a crown on it will she offend those (elders) who perhaps are then wearing crowns above. 438 For what is a crown on the head of a woman, but beauty made seductive, but mark of utter wantonness,—a notable casting away of modesty, a setting temptation on fire?  Therefore a woman, taking counsel from the apostles’ foresight, 439 will not too elaborately adorn herself, that she may not either be crowned with any exquisite arrangement of her hair.  What sort of garland, however, I pray you, did He who is the Head of the man and the glory of the woman, Christ Jesus, the Husband of the church, submit to in behalf of both sexes? Of thorns, I think, and thistles,—a figure of the sins which the soil of the flesh brought forth for us, but which the power of the cross removed, blunting, in its endurance by the head of our Lord, death’s every sting. Yes, and besides the figure, there is contumely with ready lip, and dishonour, and infamy, and the ferocity involved in the cruel things which then disfigured and lacerated the temples of the Lord, that you may now be crowned with laurel, and myrtle, and olive, and any famous branch, and which is of more use, with hundred-leaved roses too, culled from the garden of Midas, and with both kinds of lily, and with violets of all sorts, perhaps also with gems and gold, so as even to rival that crown of Christ which He afterwards obtained. For it was after the gall He tasted the honeycomb 440 and He was not greeted as King of Glory in heavenly places till He had been condemned to the cross as King of the Jews, having first been made by the Father for a time a little less than the angels, and so crowned with glory and honour. If for these things, you owe your own head to Him, repay it if you can, such as He presented His for yours; or be not crowned with flowers at all, if you cannot be with thorns, because you may not be with flowers.


Footnotes

102:437

1 Cor. xi. 10. [Does he here play on the use of the word angels in the Revelation? He seems to make it = elders.]

102:438

Rev. iv. 4.

102:439

1 Tim. 2:9, 1 Pet. 3:3.

102:440

[A very striking collocation of Matt. 27:34, Luke 24:42.]


Next: Chapter XV.

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