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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol III:
Tertullian: Part II: Marcion, Who Would Blot Out the Record of Christ's Nativity, is Rebuked for So Startling a Heresy.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

p. 522 Chapter II.—Marcion, Who Would Blot Out the Record of Christ’s Nativity, is Rebuked for So Startling a Heresy.

Clearly enough is the nativity announced by Gabriel. 6947 But what has he to do with the Creator’s angel? 6948 The conception in the virgin’s womb is also set plainly before us. But what concern has he with the Creator’s prophet, Isaiah? 6949 He 6950 will not brook delay, since suddenly (without any prophetic announcement) did he bring down Christ from heaven. 6951 “Away,” says he, “with that eternal plaguey taxing of Cæsar, and the scanty inn, and the squalid swaddling-clothes, and the hard stable. 6952 We do not care a jot for 6953 that multitude of the heavenly host which praised their Lord at night. 6954 Let the shepherds take better care of their flock, 6955 and let the wise men spare their legs so long a journey; 6956 let them keep their gold to themselves. 6957 Let Herod, too, mend his manners, so that Jeremy may not glory over him. 6958 Spare also the babe from circumcision, that he may escape the pain thereof; nor let him be brought into the temple, lest he burden his parents with the expense of the offering; 6959 nor let him be handed to Simeon, lest the old man be saddened at the point of death. 6960 Let that old woman also hold her tongue, lest she should bewitch the child.” 6961 After such a fashion as this, I suppose you have had, O Marcion, the hardihood of blotting out the original records (of the history) of Christ, that His flesh may lose the proofs of its reality. But, prithee, on what grounds (do you do this)? Show me your authority. If you are a prophet, foretell us a thing; if you are an apostle, open your message in public; if a follower of apostles, 6962 side with apostles in thought; if you are only a (private) Christian, believe what has been handed down to us: if, however, you are nothing of all this, then (as I have the best reason to say) cease to live. 6963 For indeed you are already dead, since you are no Christian, because you do not believe that which by being believed makes men Christian,—nay, you are the more dead, the more you are not a Christian; having fallen away, after you had been one, by rejecting 6964 what you formerly believed, even as you yourself acknowledge in a certain letter of yours, and as your followers do not deny, whilst our (brethren) can prove it. 6965 Rejecting, therefore, what you once believed, you have completed the act of rejection, by now no longer believing:  the fact, however, of your having ceased to believe has not made your rejection of the faith right and proper; nay, rather, 6966 by your act of rejection you prove that what you believed previous to the said act was of a different character. 6967 What you believed to be of a different character, had been handed down just as you believed it. Now 6968 that which had been handed down was true, inasmuch as it had been transmitted by those whose duty it was to hand it down.  Therefore, when rejecting that which had been handed down, you rejected that which was true. You had no authority for what you did. However, we have already in another treatise availed ourselves more fully of these prescriptive rules against all heresies.  Our repetition of them hereafter that large (treatise) is superfluous, 6969 when we ask the reason why you have formed the opinion that Christ was not born.


Footnotes

522:6947

Luke i. 26-38.

522:6948

This is said in opposition to Marcion, who held the Creator’s angel, and everything else pertaining to him, to be evil.

522:6949

A reference to Isa. vii. 14.

522:6950

Marcion.

522:6951

See also our Anti-Marcion, iv. 7.

522:6952

Luke ii. 1-7.

522:6953

Viderit.

522:6954

Luke ii. 13.

522:6955

Luke ii. 8.

522:6956

Matt. ii. 1.

522:6957

Matt. ii. 11.

522:6958

Matt. 2:16, Jer. 31:15.

522:6959

Luke ii. 22-24.

522:6960

Luke ii. 25-35.

522:6961

Luke ii. 36-38.

522:6962

Apostolicus.

522:6963

Morere.

522:6964

Rescindendo.

522:6965

Compare our Anti-Marcion, i. 1, iv. 4 and de Præscr. Hær. c. xxx.

522:6966

Atquin.

522:6967

Aliter fuisse.

522:6968

Porro.

522:6969

Ex abundanti. [Dr. Holmes, in this sentence actually uses the word lengthy, for which I have said large.]


Next: Christ's Nativity Both Possible and Becoming. The Heretical Opinion of Christ's Apparent Flesh Deceptive and Dishonourable to God, Even on Marcion's Principles.

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