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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol III:
Tertullian: Part II: Man the Image of the Creator, and Christ the Head of the Man. Spiritual Gifts. The Sevenfold Spirit Described by Isaiah. The Apostle and the Prophet Compared. Marcion Challenged to Produce Anything Like These Gifts of the Spirit Foretold in Prophecy in His God.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter VIII.—Man the Image of the Creator, and Christ the Head of the Man.  Spiritual Gifts. The Sevenfold Spirit Described by Isaiah. The Apostle and the Prophet Compared. Marcion Challenged to Produce Anything Like These Gifts of the Spirit Foretold in Prophecy in His God.

“The head of every man is Christ.” 5529 What Christ, if He is not the author of man? The head he has here put for authority; now “authority” will accrue to none else than the “author.” Of what man indeed is He the head? Surely of him concerning whom he adds soon afterwards: “The man ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image of God.” 5530 Since then he is the image of the Creator (for He, when looking on Christ His Word, who was to become man, said, “Let us make man in our own image, after our likeness” 5531 ), how can I possibly have another head but Him whose image I am? For if I am the image of the Creator there is no room in me for another head. But wherefore “ought the woman to have power over her head, because of the angels?” 5532 If it is because “she was created for the man,” 5533 and taken out of the man, according to the Creator’s purpose, then in this way too has the apostle maintained the discipline of that God from whose institution he explains the reasons of His discipline. He adds:  “Because of the angels.” 5534 What angels?  In other words, whose angels? If he means the fallen angels of the Creator, 5535 there is great propriety in his meaning.  It is right that that face which was a snare to them should wear some mark of a humble guise and obscured beauty.  If, however, the angels of the rival god are referred to, what fear is there for them? for not even Marcion’s disciples, (to say nothing of his angels,) have any desire for women. We have often shown before now, that the apostle classes heresies as evil 5536 among “works of the flesh,” and that he would have those persons accounted estimable 5537 who shun heresies as an evil thing. In like manner, when treating of the gospel, 5538 we have proved from the sacrament of the bread and the cup 5539 the verity of the Lord’s body and blood in opposition to Marcion’s phantom; whilst throughout almost the whole of my work it has been contended that all mention of judicial attributes points conclusively to the Creator as to a God who judges. Now, on the subject of “spiritual gifts,” 5540 I have to remark that these also were promised by the Creator through Christ; and I think that we may derive from this a very just conclusion that the bestowal of a gift is not the work of a god other than Him who is proved to have given the promise. Here is a prophecy of Isaiah: “There shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a flower 5541 shall spring up from his root; and upon Him shall rest the Spirit of the Lord.” After which he enumerates the special gifts of the same: “The spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of religion. 5542 And with the fear of the Lord 5543 shall the Spirit fill Him.” 5544 In this figure of a flower he shows that Christ was to arise out of the rod which sprang from the stem of Jesse; in other words, from the virgin of the race of David, the son of Jesse. In this Christ the whole substantia of the Spirit would have to rest, not meaning that it would be as it were some subsequent acquisition accruing to Him who was always, even before His incarnation, the Spirit of God; 5545 so that you cannot argue from this that the prophecy has reference to that Christ who (as mere man of the race only of David) was to obtain the Spirit of his God. (The prophet says,) on the contrary, that from the time when (the true Christ) should appear in the flesh as the flower predicted5546 rising from the root of Jesse, there would have to rest upon Him the entire operation of the Spirit of grace, which, so far as the Jews were concerned, would cease and come to an end. This result the case itself shows; for after this time the Spirit p. 446 of the Creator never breathed amongst them. From Judah were taken away “the wise man, and the cunning artificer, and the counsellor, and the prophet;” 5547 that so it might prove true that “the law and the prophets were until John.” 5548 Now hear how he declared that by Christ Himself, when returned to heaven, these spiritual gifts were to be sent: “He ascended up on high,” that is, into heaven; “He led captivity captive,” meaning death or slavery of man; “He gave gifts to the sons of men,” 5549 that is, the gratuities, which we call charismata. He says specifically “sons of men,” 5550 and not men promiscuously; thus exhibiting to us those who were the children of men truly so called, choice men, apostles.  “For,” says he, “I have begotten you through the gospel;” 5551 and “Ye are my children, of whom I travail again in birth.” 5552 Now was absolutely fulfilled that promise of the Spirit which was given by the word of Joel:  “In the last days will I pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh, and their sons and their daughters shall prophesy; and upon my servants and upon my handmaids will I pour out of my Spirit.” 5553 Since, then, the Creator promised the gift of His Spirit in the latter days; and since Christ has in these last days appeared as the dispenser of spiritual gifts (as the apostle says, “When the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son;” 5554 and again, “This I say, brethren, that the time is short” 5555 ), it evidently follows in connection with this prediction of the last days, that this gift of the Spirit belongs to Him who is the Christ of the predicters. Now compare the Spirit’s specific graces, as they are described by the apostle, and promised by the prophet Isaiah. “To one is given,” says he, “by the Spirit the word of wisdom;” this we see at once is what Isaiah declared to be “the spirit of wisdom.”  “To another, the word of knowledge;” this will be “the (prophet’s) spirit of understanding and counsel.” “To another, faith by the same Spirit;” this will be “the spirit of religion and the fear of the Lord.” “To another, the gifts of healing, and to another the working of miracles;” this will be “the spirit of might.” “To another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another divers kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues;” this will be “the spirit of knowledge.” 5556 See how the apostle agrees with the prophet both in making the distribution of the one Spirit, and in interpreting His special graces. This, too, I may confidently say: he who has likened the unity of our body throughout its manifold and divers members to the compacting together of the various gifts of the Spirit, 5557 shows also that there is but one Lord of the human body and of the Holy Spirit. This Spirit, (according to the apostle’s showing,) 5558 meant not 5559 that the service 5560 of these gifts should be in the body, 5561 nor did He place them in the human body); and on the subject of the superiority of love 5562 above all these gifts, He even taught the apostle that it was the chief commandment, 5563 just as Christ has shown it to be: “Thou shalt love the Lord with all thine heart and soul, 5564 with all thy strength, and with all thy mind, and thy neighbour as thine own self.” 5565 When he mentions the fact that “it is written in the law,” 5566 how that the Creator would speak with other tongues and other lips, whilst confirming indeed the gift of tongues by such a mention, he yet cannot be thought to have affirmed that the gift was that of another god by his reference to the Creator’s prediction. 5567 In precisely the same manner, 5568 when enjoining on women silence in the church, that they speak not for the mere sake 5569 of learning 5570 (although that even they have the right of prophesying, he has already shown 5571 when he covers the woman that prophesies with a veil), he goes to the law for his sanction that woman should be under obedience. 5572 Now this law, let me say once for all, he ought to have made no other acquaintance with, than to destroy it. But that we may now leave the subject of spiritual gifts, facts themselves will be enough to prove which of us acts rashly in claiming them for his God, and whether it is possible that they are opposed to our side, even if 5573 the Creator promised them for His Christ who is not yet revealed, as being destined only for the Jews, to have their operations in His time, in His Christ, and among His people. Let Marcion p. 447 then exhibit, as gifts of his god, some prophets, such as have not spoken by human sense, but with the Spirit of God, such as have both predicted things to come, and have made manifest 5574 the secrets of the heart; 5575 let him produce a psalm, a vision, a prayer 5576 —only let it be by the Spirit, 5577 in an ecstasy, that is, in a rapture, 5578 whenever an interpretation of tongues has occurred to him; let him show to me also, that any woman of boastful tongue 5579 in his community has ever prophesied from amongst those specially holy sisters of his. Now all these signs (of spiritual gifts) are forthcoming from my side without any difficulty, and they agree, too, with the rules, and the dispensations, and the instructions of the Creator; therefore without doubt the Christ, and the Spirit, and the apostle, belong severally 5580 to my God. Here, then, is my frank avowal for any one who cares to require it.


Footnotes

445:5529

1 Cor. xi. 3.

445:5530

1 Cor. xi. 7.

445:5531

Gen. i. 26.

445:5532

1 Cor. xi. 10.

445:5533

1 Cor. xi. 9.

445:5534

1 Cor. xi. 10.

445:5535

See more concerning these in chap. xviii. of this book.  Comp. Gen. vi. 1-4.

445:5536

1 Cor. 11:18, 19.

445:5537

Probabiles: “approved.”

445:5538

See above, in book iv. chap. xl.

445:5539

Luke 22:15, 1 Cor. 11:23.

445:5540

1 Cor. xii. 1.

445:5541

Flos: Sept. ἂνθος.

445:5542

Religionis: Sept. εὐσεβείας.

445:5543

Timor Dei: Sept. φόβος Θεοῦ.

445:5544

Isa. xi. 1-3.

445:5545

We have more than once shown that by Tertullian and other ancient fathers, the divine nature of Christ was frequently designated “Spirit.”

445:5546

Floruisset in carne.

446:5547

See Isa. 3:2, 3.

446:5548

Luke xvi. 16.

446:5549

1 Cor. 12:4, Eph. 4:8, Ps. 68:18.

446:5550

He argues from his own reading, filiis hominum.

446:5551

1 Cor. iv. 15.

446:5552

Gal. iv. 19.

446:5553

Joel 2:28, 29, applied by St. Peter, Acts 2:17, 18.

446:5554

Gal. iv. 4.

446:5555

1 Cor. vii. 29. [The verse filled out by the translator.]

446:5556

Comp. 1 Cor. 12:8, Isa. 11:1.

446:5557

1 Cor. 12:12, Eph. 4:16.

446:5558

This seems to be the force of the subjunctive verb noluerit.

446:5559

Noluerit.

446:5560

Meritum.

446:5561

They are spiritual gifts, not endowments of body.

446:5562

De dilectione præferenda.

446:5563

Compare 1 Cor. 12:31, 1 Cor. 13:1, 13.

446:5564

Totis præcordiis.

446:5565

Luke x. 27.

446:5566

“Here, as in John 10:34, John 12:34, John 15:25, ‘the law’ is used for the Old Testament generally, instead of being, as usual, confined to the Pentateuch.  The passage is from Isa. xxviii. 11.” (Dean Stanley, On the Corinthians, in loc.).

446:5567

1 Cor. xiv. 21.

446:5568

Æque.

446:5569

Duntaxat gratia.

446:5570

1 Cor. 14:34, 35.

446:5571

1 Cor. 11:5, 6. [See Kaye, p. 228.]

446:5572

1 Cor. 14:34, Gen. 3:16 is referred to.

446:5573

Et si: These words introduce the Marcionite theory.

447:5574

Traduxerint.

447:5575

1 Cor. xiv. 25.

447:5576

1 Cor. xiv. 26.

447:5577

Duntaxat spiritalem: These words refer to the previous ones, “not spoken by human sense, but with the Spirit of God.” [Of course here is a touch of his fanaticism; but, he bases it on (1 Cor. xiv.) a mere question of fact: had these charismata ceased?]

447:5578

Amentia.

447:5579

Magnidicam.

447:5580

Erit.


Next: The Doctrine of the Resurrection. The Body Will Rise Again. Christ's Judicial Character. Jewish Perversions of Prophecy Exposed and Confuted. Messianic Psalms Vindicated. Jewish and Rationalistic Interpretations on This Point Similar.  Jesus--Not Hezekiah or Solomon--The Subject of These Prophecies in the Psalms. None But He is the Christ of the Old and the New Testaments.

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