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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol III:
Tertullian: Part II: Holy Scripture Magnifies the Flesh, as to Its Nature and Its Prospects.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter X.—Holy Scripture Magnifies the Flesh, as to Its Nature and Its Prospects.

You hold to the scriptures in which the flesh is disparaged; receive also those in which it is ennobled. You read whatever passage abases it; direct your eyes also to that which elevates it. “All flesh is grass.” 7352 Well, but Isaiah was not content to say only this; but he also declared, “All flesh shall see the salvation of God.” 7353 They notice God when He says in Genesis, “My Spirit shall not remain among these men, because they are flesh;” 7354 but then He is also heard saying by Joel, “I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh.” 7355 Even the apostle ought not to be known for any one statement in which he is wont to reproach the flesh. For although he says that “in his flesh dwelleth no good thing;” 7356 although he affirms that “they who are in the flesh cannot please God,” 7357 because “the flesh lusteth against the Spirit;” 7358 yet in these and similar assertions which he makes, it is not the substance of the flesh, but its actions, which are censured. Moreover, we shall elsewhere 7359 take occasion to remark, that no reproaches can fairly be cast upon the flesh, without tending also to the castigation of the soul, which compels the flesh to do its bidding. However, let me meanwhile add that in the same passage Paul “carries about in his body the marks of the Lord Jesus;” 7360 he also forbids our body to be profaned, as being “the temple of God;” 7361 he makes our bodies “the members of Christ;” 7362 and he exhorts us to exalt and “glorify God in our body.” 7363 If, therefore, the humiliations of the flesh thrust off its resurrection, why shall not its high prerogatives rather avail to bring it about?—since it better suits the character of God to restore to salvation what for a while He rejected, than to surrender to perdition what He once approved.


Footnotes

552:7352

Isa. xl. 7.

552:7353

Isa. xl. 5.

552:7354

Gen. vi. 3, Sept.

552:7355

Joel iii. 1.

552:7356

Rom. viii. 18.

552:7357

Rom. viii. 8.

552:7358

Gal. v. 17.

552:7359

Below, in ch. xvi.

552:7360

Gal. vi. 17.

552:7361

1 Cor. iii. 16.

552:7362

1 Cor. vi. 15.

552:7363

1 Cor. 6.20.


Next: The Power of God Fully Competent to Effect the Resurrection of the Flesh.

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