Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol III:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Tertullian: Part I: Of Sacrifices.
Chapter V.—Of Sacrifices.
So, again, we show that sacrifices of earthly oblations and of spiritual sacrifices 1197 were predicted; and, moreover, that from the beginning the earthly were foreshown, in the person of Cain, to be those of the “elder son,” that is, of Israel; and the opposite sacrifices demonstrated to be those of the “younger son,” Abel, that is, of our people. For the elder, Cain, offered gifts to God from the fruit of the earth; but the younger son, Abel, from the fruit of his ewes. “God had respect unto Abel, and unto his gifts; but unto Cain and unto his gifts He had not respect. And God said unto Cain, Why is thy countenance fallen? hast thou not—if thou offerest indeed aright, but dost not divide aright—sinned? Hold thy peace. For unto thee shalt thy conversion be and he shall lord it over thee. And then Cain said unto Abel his brother, Let us go into the field: and he went away with him thither, and he slew him. And then God said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: am I my brothers keeper? To whom God said, The voice of the blood of thy brother crieth forth unto me from the earth. Wherefore cursed is the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive the blood of thy brother. Groaning and trembling shalt thou be upon the earth, and every one who shall have found thee shall slay thee.” 1198 From this proceeding we gather that the twofold sacrifices of “the peoples” were even from the very beginning foreshown. In short, when the sacerdotal law was being drawn up, through Moses, in Leviticus, we find it prescribed to the people of Israel that sacrifices should in no other place be offered to God than in the land of promise; which the Lord God was about to give to “the people” Israel and to their brethren, in order that, on Israels introduction thither, there should there be celebrated sacrifices and holocausts, as well for sins as for souls; and nowhere else but in the holy land. 1199 Why, accordingly, does the Spirit afterwards predict, through the prophets, that it should come to pass that in every place and in every land there should be offered sacrifices to God? as He says through the angel Malachi, one of the twelve prophets: “I will not receive sacrifice from your hands; for from the rising sun unto the setting my Name hath been made famous among all the nations, saith the Lord Almighty: and in every place they offer clean sacrifices to my Name.” 1200 Again, in the Psalms, David says: “Bring to God, ye countries of the nations”—undoubtedly because “unto every land” the preaching of the apostles had to “go out” 1201 —“bring to God fame and honour; bring to God the sacrifices of His name: take up 1202 victims and enter into His courts.” 1203 For that it is not by earthly sacrifices, but by spiritual, that offering is to be made to God, we thus read, as it is written, An heart contribulate and humbled is a victim for God;” 1204 and elsewhere, “Sacrifice to God a sacrifice of praise, and render to the Highest thy vows.” 1205 Thus, accordingly, the spiritual “sacrifices of praise” are pointed to, and “an heart contribulate” is demonstrated an acceptable sacrifice to God. And thus, as carnal sacrifices are understood to be reprobated—of which Isaiah withal speaks, saying, “To what end is the multitude of your sacrifices to me? saith the Lord” 1206 —so spiritual sacrifices are predicted 1207 as accepted, as the prophets announce. For, “even if ye shall have brought me,” He says, “the finest wheat flour, it is a vain supplicatory gift: a thing execrable to me;” and again He says, “Your holocausts and sacrifices, and the fat of goats, and blood of bulls, I will not, not even if ye come to be seen by me: for who hath required these things from your hands?” 1208 for “from the rising sun unto the setting, my Name hath been made famous among all the nations, p. 157 saith the Lord.” 1209 But of the spiritual sacrifices He adds, saying, “And in every place they offer clean sacrifices to my Name, saith the Lord.” 1210
This tautology is due to the author, not to the translator: “sacrificia…spiritalium sacrificiorum.”156:1198
See Gen. iv. 2-14. But it is to be observed that the version given in our author differs widely in some particulars from the Heb. and the LXX.156:1199
See Lev. 17:1, Deut. 12:1.156:1200
See Mal. 1:10, 11, in LXX.156:1201
Comp. Matt. 28:19, 20, Mark 16:15, 16, Luke 24:45, with Ps. xix. 4 (xviii. 5 in LXX.), as explained in Rom. x. 18.156:1202
Tollite = Gr. ἄρατε. Perhaps ="away with.”156:1203
See Ps. 96:7, Ps. 29:1, 2.156:1204
See Ps. li. 17 (in LXX. l. 19).156:1205
Isa. i. 11.156:1207
Comp. Isa. i. 11-14, especially in the LXX.157:1209
See Mal. i. as above.157:1210
See Mal. i. as above.
Next: Of the Abolition and the Abolisher of the Old Law.
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