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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol III:
Tertullian: Part II: The Apostolic Churches the Voice of the Apostles. Let the Heretics Examine Their Apostolic Claims, in Each Case, Indisputable. The Church of Rome Doubly Apostolic; Its Early Eminence and Excellence. Heresy, as Perverting the Truth, is Connected Therewith.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter XXXVI.—The Apostolic Churches the Voice of the Apostles. Let the Heretics Examine Their Apostolic Claims, in Each Case, Indisputable. The Church of Rome Doubly Apostolic; Its Early Eminence and Excellence. Heresy, as Perverting the Truth, is Connected Therewith.

Come now, you who would indulge a better curiosity, if you would apply it to the business of your salvation, run over the apostolic churches, in which the very thrones 2230 of the apostles are still pre-eminent in their places, 2231 in which their own authentic writings 2232 are read, uttering the voice and representing the face of each of them severally. Achaia is very near you, (in which) you find Corinth. Since you are not far from Macedonia, you have Philippi; (and there too) you have the Thessalonians. Since you are able to cross to Asia, you get Ephesus. Since, moreover, you are close upon Italy, 2233 you have Rome, from which there comes even into our own hands the very authority (of apostles themselves). 2234 How happy is its church, on which apostles poured forth all their doctrine along with their blood! where Peter endures a passion like his Lord’s! where Paul wins his crown in a death like John’s 2235 where the Apostle John was first plunged, unhurt, into boiling oil, and thence remitted to his island-exile! See what she has learned, what taught, what fellowship has had with even (our) churches in Africa! 2236 One Lord God does she acknowledge, the Creator of the universe, and Christ Jesus (born) of the Virgin Mary, the Son of God the Creator; and the Resurrection of the flesh; the law and the prophets she unites 2237 in one volume with the writings of evangelists and apostles, from which she drinks in her faith. This she seals with the water (of baptism), arrays with the Holy p. 261 Ghost, feeds with the Eucharist, cheers with martyrdom, 2238 and against such a discipline thus (maintained) she admits no gainsayer. This is the discipline which I no longer say foretold that heresies should come, but from 2239 which they proceeded. However, they were not of her, because they were opposed to her. 2240 Even the rough wild-olive arises from the germ 2241 of the fruitful, rich, and genuine 2242 olive; also from the seed 2243 of the mellowest and sweetest fig there springs the empty and useless wild-fig. In the same way heresies, too, come from our plant, 2244 although not of our kind; (they come) from the grain of truth, 2245 but, owing to their falsehood, they have only wild leaves to show. 2246


Footnotes

260:2230

Cathedræ.

260:2231

Suis locis præsident.

260:2232

Authenticæ. This much disputed phrase may refer to the autographs or the Greek originals (rather than the Latin translations), or full unmutilated copies as opposed to the garbled ones of the heretics. The second sense is probably the correct one.

260:2233

[Note, those near by may resort to this ancient and glorious church; not as any better than Corinth, or Philippi, or having any higher Apostolic throne. See Irenæus, Vol. I. p. 415, (note) and Elucid. p. 460.]

260:2234

Compare our Anti-Marcion, iv. 5, p. 186.

260:2235

The Baptist’s.

260:2236

[Observe—“even with us in Africa.” If this implies noteworthy love, it proves that there was no organic relation requiring such particular fellowship, even in the West.]

260:2237

Miscet.

261:2238

We have taken Oehler’s hint in favour of “martyrio.” The usual reading “martyrium” (meaning “she exhorts to martyrdom”) is stiff, and unsuited to the context.

261:2239

De.

261:2240

Or, “they were not of it, because they were opposed to it,” i.e., the discipline or teaching.

261:2241

Nucleo.

261:2242

Necessariæ.

261:2243

Papavere. “Ego cum aliis papaver ficus interpretor de seminalibus ficus, non de ipso fructu” (Oehler).

261:2244

Frutice.

261:2245

We again follow Oehler’s hint, who would like to read “de grano veritatis.” The texts are obscure, and vary much here.

261:2246

Silvestres.


Next: Heretics Not Being Christians, But Rather Perverters of Christ's Teaching, May Not Claim the Christian Scriptures. These are a Deposit, Committed to and Carefully Kept by the Church.

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