Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol III:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Tertullian: Part II: All Portions of Creation Attest the Excellence of the Creator, Whom Marcion Vilifies. His Inconsistency Herein Exposed. Marcion's Own God Did Not Hesitate to Use the Creator's Works in Instituting His Own Religion.
Chapter XIV.—All Portions of Creation Attest the Excellence of the Creator, Whom Marcion Vilifies. His Inconsistency Herein Exposed. Marcions Own God Did Not Hesitate to Use the Creators Works in Instituting His Own Religion.
Now, when you make merry with those minuter animals, which their glorious Maker has purposely endued with a profusion of instincts and resources, 2488 —thereby teaching us that greatness has its proofs in lowliness, just as (according to the apostle) there is power even in infirmity 2489 —imitate, if you can, the cells of the bee, the hills of the ant, the webs of the spider, and the threads of the silkworm; endure, too, if you know how, those very creatures 2490 which infest your couch and house, the poisonous ejections of the blister-beetle, 2491 the spikes of the fly, and the gnats sheath and sting. What of the greater animals, when the small ones so affect you with pleasure or pain, that you cannot even in their case despise their Creator? Finally, take a circuit round your own self; survey man within and without. Even this handiwork of our God will be pleasing to you, inasmuch as your own lord, that better god, loved it so well, 2492 and for your sake was at the pains 2493 of descending from the third heaven to these poverty-stricken 2494 elements, and for the same reason was actually crucified in this sorry 2495 apartment of the Creator. Indeed, up to the present time, he has not disdained the water which the Creator made wherewith he washes his people; nor the oil with which he anoints them; nor that union of honey and milk wherewithal he gives them the nourishment 2496 of children; nor the bread by which he represents his own proper body, thus requiring in his very sacraments the “beggarly 2497 elements” of the Creator. You, however, are a disciple above his master, and a servant above his lord; you have a higher reach of discernment than his; you destroy what he requires. I wish to examine whether you are at least honest in this, so as to have no longing for those things which you destroy. You are an enemy to the sky, and yet you are glad to catch its freshness in your houses. You disparage the earth, although the elemental parent 2498 of your own flesh, as if it were your undoubted enemy, and yet you extract from it all its fatness 2499 for your food. The sea, too, you reprobate, but are continually using its produce, which you account the more sacred diet. 2500 If I should offer you a rose, you will not disdain its Maker. You hypocrite, however much of abstinence you use to show yourself a Marcionite, that is, a repudiator of your Maker (for if the world displeased you, such abstinence ought to have been affected by you as a martyrdom), you will have to associate yourself with 2501 the Creators material production, into what element soever you shall be dissolved. How hard is this obstinacy of yours! You vilify the things in which you both live and die.
De industria ingeniis aut viribus ampliavit.281:2489
2 Cor. xii. 5.281:2490
Tertullian, it should be remembered, lived in Africa.281:2491
Paupertina. This and all such passages are, of course, in imitation of Marcions contemptuous view of the Creators work.281:2495
[The use of fish for fasting-days has no better warrant than Marcions example.]281:2501
Next: The Lateness of the Revelation of Marcion's God. The Question of the Place Occupied by the Rival Deities. Instead of Two Gods, Marcion Really (Although, as It Would Seem, Unconsciously) Had Nine Gods in His System.
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