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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol III:
Tertullian: Part I: The Charge of Worshipping the Sun Met by a Retort.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

p. 123 Chapter XIII. 672 —The Charge of Worshipping the Sun Met by a Retort.

Others, with greater regard to good manners, it must be confessed, suppose that the sun is the god of the Christians, because it is a well-known fact that we pray towards the east, or because we make Sunday a day of festivity.  What then? Do you do less than this? Do not many among you, with an affectation of sometimes worshipping the heavenly bodies likewise, move your lips in the direction of the sunrise? It is you, at all events, who have even admitted the sun into the calendar of the week; and you have selected its day, 673 in preference to the preceding day 674 as the most suitable in the week 675 for either an entire abstinence from the bath, or for its postponement until the evening, or for taking rest and for banqueting. By resorting to these customs, you deliberately deviate from your own religious rites to those of strangers. For the Jewish feasts on the Sabbath and “the Purification,” 676 and Jewish also are the ceremonies of the lamps, 677 and the fasts of unleavened bread, and the “littoral prayers,” 678 all which institutions and practices are of course foreign from your gods. Wherefore, that I may return from this digression, you who reproach us with the sun and Sunday should consider your proximity to us. We are not far off from your Saturn and your days of rest.


Footnotes

123:672

Comp. The Apology, c. xvi.

123:673

Sunday.

123:674

Saturday.

123:675

Ex diebus.

123:676

On the “Cœna pura,” see our Anti-Marcion, p. 386, note 4.

123:677

See Lev. xxiv. 2; also 2 Chron. xiii. 11. Witsius (Ægyptiaca, ii. 16, 17) compares the Jewish with the Egyptian “ritus lucernarum.”

123:678

Tertullian, in his tract de Jejun. xvi., speaks of the Jews praying (after the loss of their temple, and in their dispersion) in the open air, “per omne litus.”


Next: The Vile Calumny About Onocoetes Retorted on the Heathen by Tertullian.

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