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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol III:
Tertullian: Part II: Why Christ's Coming Should Be Previously Announced.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter II.—Why Christ’s Coming Should Be Previously Announced.

Coming then at once to the point, 3103 I have to encounter the question, Whether Christ ought to have come so suddenly? 3104 (I answer, No.) First, because He was the Son of God His Father. For this was a point of order, that the Father should announce 3105 the Son before the Son should the Father, and that the Father should testify of the Son before the Son should testify of the Father. Secondly, because, in addition to the title of Son, He was the Sent. The authority, 3106 therefore, of the Sender must needs have first appeared p. 322 in a testimony of the Sent; because none who comes in the authority of another does himself set it forth 3107 for himself on his own assertion, but rather looks out for protection from it, for first comes the support 3108 of him who gives him his authority. Now (Christ) will neither be acknowledged as Son if the Father never named Him, nor be believed in as the Sent One if no Sender 3109 gave Him a commission: the Father, if any, purposely naming Him; and the Sender, if any, purposely commissioning Him. Everything will be open to suspicion which transgresses a rule. Now the primary order of all things will not allow that the Father should come after the Son in recognition, or the Sender after the Sent, or God after Christ. Nothing can take precedence of its own original in being acknowledged, nor in like manner can it in its ordering. 3110 Suddenly a Son, suddenly Sent, and suddenly Christ! On the contrary, I should suppose that from God nothing comes suddenly, because there is nothing which is not ordered and arranged by God. And if ordered, why not also foretold, that it may be proved to have been ordered by the prediction, and by the ordering to be divine? And indeed so great a work, which (we may be sure) required preparation, 3111 as being for the salvation of man, could not have been on that very account a sudden thing, because it was through faith that it was to be of avail. 3112 Inasmuch, then, as it had to be believed in order to be of use, so far did it require, for the securing of this faith, a preparation built upon the foundations of pro-arrangement and fore-announcement. Faith, when informed by such a process, might justly be required 3113 of man by God, and by man be reposed in God; it being a duty, after that knowledge 3114 has made it a possibility, to believe those things which a man had learned indeed to believe from the fore-announcement. 3115


Footnotes

321:3103

Hinc denique.

321:3104

As Marcion makes Him.

321:3105

Profiteretur.

321:3106

Patrocinium.

322:3107

Defendit, “insist on it.”

322:3108

Suggestu.

322:3109

Mandator.

322:3110

Dispositione, “its being ordered or arranged.”

322:3111

Parabatur.

322:3112

Per fidem profuturum.

322:3113

Indiceretur.

322:3114

Agnitione.

322:3115

Prædicatione, “prophecy.”


Next: Miracles Alone, Without Prophecy, an Insufficient Evidence of Christ's Mission.

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