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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol III:
Tertullian: Part II: Book II

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter I
The True Doctrine of God the Creator. The Heretics Pretended to a Knowledge of the Divine Being, Opposed to and Subversive of Revelation. God's Nature and Ways Past Human Discovery. Adam's Heresy.
God Known by His Works.  His Goodness Shown in His Creative Energy; But Everlasting in Its Nature; Inherent in God, Previous to All Exhibition of It. The First Stage of This Goodness Prior to Man.
The Next Stage Occurs in the Creation of Man by the Eternal Word. Spiritual as Well as Physical Gifts to Man. The Blessings of Man's Free-Will.
Marcion's Cavils Considered. His Objection Refuted, I.e., Man's Fall Showed Failure in God. The Perfection of Man's Being Lay in His Liberty, Which God Purposely Bestowed on Him. The Fall Imputable to Man's Own Choice.
This Liberty Vindicated in Respect of Its Original Creation; Suitable Also for Exhibiting the Goodness and the Purpose of God. Reward and Punishment Impossible If Man Were Good or Evil Through Necessity and Not Choice.
If God Had Anyhow Checked Man's Liberty, Marcion Would Have Been Ready with Another and Opposite Cavil. Man's Fall Foreseen by God. Provision Made for It Remedially and Consistently with His Truth and Goodness.
Man, Endued with Liberty, Superior to the Angels, Overcomes Even the Angel Which Lured Him to His Fall, When Repentant and Resuming Obedience to God.
Another Cavil Answered, I.e., the Fall Imputable to God, Because Man's Soul is a Portion of the Spiritual Essence of the Creator. The Divine Afflatus Not in Fault in the Sin of Man, But the Human Will Which Was Additional to It.
Another Cavil Met, I.e., the Devil Who Instigated Man to Sin Himself the Creature of God. Nay, the Primeval Cherub Only Was God's Work.  The Devilish Nature Superadded by Wilfulness. In Man's Recovery the Devil is Vanquished in a Conflict on His Own Ground.
If, After Man's Sin, God Exercised His Attribute of Justice and Judgment, This Was Compatible with His Goodness, and Enhances the True Idea of the Perfection of God's Character.
The Attributes of Goodness and Justice Should Not Be Separated. They are Compatible in the True God. The Function of Justice in the Divine Being Described.
Further Description of the Divine Justice; Since the Fall of Man It Has Regulated the Divine Goodness.  God's Claims on Our Love and Our Fear Reconciled.
Evil of Two Kinds, Penal and Criminal. It is Not of the Latter Sort that God is the Author, But Only of the Former, Which are Penal, and Included in His Justice.
The Severity of God Compatible with Reason and Justice. When Inflicted, Not Meant to Be Arbitrary, But Remedial.
To the Severity of God There Belong Accessory Qualities, Compatible with Justice. If Human Passions are Predicated of God, They Must Not Be Measured on the Scale of Human Imperfection.
Trace God's Government in History and in His Precepts, and You Will Find It Full of His Goodness.
Some of God's Laws Defended as Good, Which the Marcionites Impeached, Such as the Lex Talionis. Useful Purposes in a Social and Moral Point of View of This, and Sundry Other Enactments.
The Minute Prescriptions of the Law Meant to Keep the People Dependent on God. The Prophets Sent by God in Pursuance of His Goodness.  Many Beautiful Passages from Them Quoted in Illustration of This Attribute.
The Marcionites Charged God with Having Instigated the Hebrews to Spoil the Egyptians. Defence of the Divine Dispensation in that Matter.
The Law of the Sabbath-Day Explained. The Eight Days' Procession Around Jericho. The Gathering of Sticks a Violation.
The Brazen Serpent and the Golden Cherubim Were Not Violations of the Second Commandment.  Their Meaning.
God's Purposes in Election and Rejection of the Same Men, Such as King Saul, Explained, in Answer to the Marcionite Cavil.
Instances of God's Repentance, and Notably in the Case of the Ninevites, Accounted for and Vindicated.
God's Dealings with Adam at the Fall, and with Cain After His Crime, Admirably Explained and Defended.
The Oath of God:  Its Meaning. Moses, When Deprecating God's Wrath Against Israel, a Type of Christ.
Other Objections Considered. God's Condescension in the Incarnation. Nothing Derogatory to the Divine Being in This Economy. The Divine Majesty Worthily Sustained by the Almighty Father, Never Visible to Man. Perverseness of the Marcionite Cavils.
The Tables Turned Upon Marcion, by Contrasts, in Favour of the True God.
Marcion's Own Antitheses, If Only the Title and Object of the Work Be Excepted, Afford Proofs of the Consistent Attributes of the True God.

Next: Chapter I

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