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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol III:
Tertullian: Part II: After We Have Believed, Search Should Cease; Otherwise It Must End in a Denial of What We Have Believed.  No Other Object Proposed for Our Faith.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter XI.—After We Have Believed, Search Should Cease; Otherwise It Must End in a Denial of What We Have Believed. No Other Object Proposed for Our Faith.

There is impunity in erring, if there is no delinquency; although indeed to err it is itself an act of delinquency. 1981 With impunity, I repeat, does a man ramble, 1982 when he (purposely) deserts nothing. But yet, if I have believed what I was bound to believe, and then afterwards think that there is something new to be sought after, I of course expect that there is something else to be found, although I should by no means entertain such p. 249 expectation, unless it were because I either had not believed, although I apparently had become a believer, or else have ceased to believe. If I thus desert my faith, I am found to be a denier thereof. Once for all I would say, No man seeks, except him who either never possessed, or else has lost (what he sought). The old woman (in the Gospel) 1983 had lost one of her ten pieces of silver, and therefore she sought it; 1984 when, however, she found it, she ceased to look for it. The neighbour was without bread, and therefore he knocked; but as soon as the door was opened to him, and he received the bread, he discontinued knocking. 1985 The widow kept asking to be heard by the judge, because she was not admitted; but when her suit was heard, thenceforth she was silent. 1986 So that there is a limit both to seeking, and to knocking, and to asking. “For to every one that asketh,” says He, “it shall be given, and to him that knocketh it shall be opened, and by him that seeketh it shall be found.” 1987 Away with the man 1988 who is ever seeking because he never finds; for he seeks there where nothing can be found. Away with him who is always knocking because it will never be opened to him; for he knocks where there is none (to open). Away with him who is always asking because he will never be heard; for he asks of one who does not hear.



Quamvis et errare delinquere est.




Anus illa.


Luke xv. 8.


Luke xi. 5.


Luke 18:2, 3.


Luke xi. 9.



Next: A Proper Seeking After Divine Knowledge, Which Will Never Be Out of Place or Excessive, is Always Within the Rule of Faith.

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