Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol III:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Tertullian: Part II: Other Proofs from the Same Chapter, that Jesus, Who Preached at Nazareth, and Was Acknowledged by Certain Demons as Christ the Son of God, Was the Creator's Christ. As Occasion Offers, the Docetic Errors of Marcion are Exposed.
Chapter VIII.—Other Proofs from the Same Chapter, that Jesus, Who Preached at Nazareth, and Was Acknowledged by Certain Demons as Christ the Son of God, Was the Creators Christ. As Occasion Offers, the Docetic Errors of Marcion are Exposed.
The Christ of the Creator had 3677 to be called a Nazarene according to prophecy; whence the Jews also designate us, on that very account, 3678 Nazerenes 3679 after Him. For we are they of whom it is written, “Her Nazarites were whiter than snow;” 3680 even they who were once defiled with the stains of sin, and darkened with the clouds of ignorance. But to Christ the title Nazarene was destined to become a suitable one, from the hiding-place of His infancy, for which He went down and dwelt at Nazareth, 3681 to escape from Archelaus the son of Herod. This fact I have not refrained from mentioning on this account, because it behoved Marcions Christ to have forborne all connection whatever with the domestic localities of the Creators Christ, when he had so many towns in Judæa which had not been by the prophets thus assigned 3682 to the Creators Christ. But Christ will be (the Christ) of the prophets, wheresoever He is found in accordance with the prophets. And yet even at Nazareth He is not remarked as having preached anything new, 3683 whilst in another verse He is said to have been rejected 3684 by reason of a simple proverb. 3685 Here at once, when I observe that they laid their hands on Him, I cannot help drawing a conclusion respecting His bodily substance, which cannot be believed to have been a phantom, 3686 since it was capable of being touched and even violently handled, when He was seized and taken and led to the very brink of a precipice. For although He escaped through the midst of them, He had already experienced their rough treatment, and afterwards went His way, no doubt 3687 because the crowd (as usually happens) gave way, or was even broken through; but not because it was eluded as by an impalpable disguise, 3688 which, if there had been such, would not at all have submitted to any touch.
“Tangere enim et tangi, nisi corpus, nulla potest res,” 3689
is even a sentence worthy of a place in the worlds wisdom. In short, He did himself touch others, upon whom He laid His hands, which were capable of being felt, and conferred the blessings of healing, 3690 which were not less true, not less unimaginary, than were the hands wherewith He bestowed them. He was therefore the very Christ of Isaiah, the healer of our sicknesses. 3691 “Surely,” says he, “He hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.” Now the Greeks are accustomed to use for carry a word which also signifies to take away. A general promise is enough for me in passing. 3692 Whatever were the cures which Jesus effected, He is mine. We will come, however, to the kinds of cures. To liberate men, then, from evil spirits, is a cure of sickness. Accordingly, wicked spirits (just in the manner of our former example) used to go forth with a testimony, exclaiming, “Thou art the Son of God,” 3693 —of what God, is clear enough from the case itself. But they were rebuked, and ordered not to speak; precisely because 3694 Christ willed Himself to be proclaimed by men, not by unclean spirits, as the Son of God—even that Christ alone to whom this was befitting, because He had sent beforehand men through whom He might become known, and who were assuredly worthier preachers. It was natural to Him 3695 to refuse the proclamation of an unclean spirit, at whose command there was an abundance of saints. He, however, 3696 who had never been foretold (if, indeed, he wished to be acknowledged; for if he did not wish so much, his coming was in vain), would not have spurned the testimony of an alien or any sort of substance, who did not happen to have a substance of his own, 3697 but had descended in an alien one. And now, too, as the destroyer also of the Creator, he would have desired nothing better p. 355 than to be acknowledged by His spirits, and to be divulged for the sake of being feared: 3698 only that Marcion says 3699 that his god is not feared; maintaining that a good being is not an object of fear, but only a judicial being, in whom reside the grounds 3700 of fear—anger, severity, judgments, vengeance, condemnation. But it was from fear, undoubtedly, that the evil spirits were cowed. 3701 Therefore they confessed that (Christ) was the Son of a God who was to be feared, because they would have an occasion of not submitting if there were none for fearing. Besides, He showed that He was to be feared, because He drave them out, not by persuasion like a good being, but by command and reproof. Or else did he 3702 reprove them, because they were making him an object of fear, when all the while he did not want to be feared? And in what manner did he wish them to go forth, when they could not do so except with fear? So that he fell into the dilemma 3703 of having to conduct himself contrary to his nature, whereas he might in his simple goodness have at once treated them with leniency. He fell, too, into another false position 3704 —of prevarication, when he permitted himself to be feared by the demons as the Son of the Creator, that he might drive them out, not indeed by his own power, but by the authority of the Creator. “He departed, and went into a desert place.” 3705 This was, indeed, the Creators customary region. It was proper that the Word 3706 should there appear in body, where He had aforetime, wrought in a cloud. To the gospel also was suitable that condition of place 3707 which had once been determined on for the law. 3708 “Let the wilderness and the solitary place, therefore, be glad and rejoice;” so had Isaiah promised. 3709 When “stayed” by the crowds, He said, “I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also.” 3710 Had He displayed His God anywhere yet? I suppose as yet nowhere. But was He speaking of those who knew of another god also? I do not believe so. If, therefore, neither He had preached, nor they had known, any other God but the Creator, He was announcing the kingdom of that God whom He knew to be the only God known to those who were listening to Him.
Ipso nomine, or by His very name.354:3679
Nazaræos; or, Nazarites. [Christians were still so called by the Jews in the Third Century. Kaye, 446.]354:3680
Lam. iv. 7.354:3681
Descendit apud, see Luke iv. 16-30.354:3682
Luke iv. 23.354:3684
Luke iv. 29.354:3685
Luke iv. 24.354:3686
A rebuke of Marcions Docetic views of Christ.354:3687
“For nothing can touch and be touched but a bodily substance.” This line from Lucretius, De Rerum Natura, i. 305, is again quoted by Tertullian in his De Anima, chap. v. (Oehler).354:3690
Luke iv. 40.354:3691
See Isa. liii. 4.354:3692
Luke iv. 41.354:3694
Propriæ non habebat.355:3698
See above, book i. chap. vii. xxvi. and xxvii.355:3700
In aliam notam.355:3705
Luke iv. 42.355:3706
Sermonem. [Nota Bene, Acts vii. 38.]355:3707
The law was given in the wilderness of Sinai; see Ex. xix. 1.355:3709
Isa. xxxv. 1.355:3710
Luke 4:42, 43.
Next: Out of St. Luke's Fifth Chapter are Found Proofs of Christ's Belonging to the Creator, E.g. In the Call of Fishermen to the Apostolic Office, and in the Cleansing of the Leper. Christ Compared with the Prophet Elisha.
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