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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol III:
Tertullian: Part III: The Third Clause.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter IV.—The Third Clause.

According to this model, 8783 we subjoin, “Thy will be done in the heavens and on the earth;” 8784 not that there is some power withstanding 8785 to prevent God’s will being done, and we pray for Him the successful achievement of His will; but we pray for His will to be done in all.  For, by figurative interpretation of flesh and spirit, we are “heaven” and “earth;” albeit, even if it is to be understood simply, still the sense of the petition is the same, that in us God’s will be done on earth, to make it possible, namely, for it to be done also in the heavens. What, moreover, does God will, but that we should walk according to His Discipline? We make petition, then, that He supply us with the substance of His will, and the capacity to do it, that we may be saved both in the heavens and on earth; because the sum of His will is the salvation of them whom He has adopted. There is, too, that will of God which the Lord accomplished in preaching, in working, in enduring: for if He Himself proclaimed that He did not His own, but the Father’s will, without doubt those things which He used to do were the Father’s will; 8786 unto which things, as unto exemplars, we are now provoked; 8787 to preach, to work, to endure even p. 683 unto death. And we need the will of God, that we may be able to fulfil these duties. Again, in saying, “Thy will be done,” we are even wishing well to ourselves, in so far that there is nothing of evil in the will of God; even if, proportionably to each one’s deserts, somewhat other 8788 is imposed on us. So by this expression we premonish our own selves unto patience.  The Lord also, when He had wished to demonstrate to us, even in His own flesh, the flesh’s infirmity, by the reality of suffering, said, “Father, remove this Thy cup;” and remembering Himself, added, “save that not my will, but Thine be done.” 8789 Himself was the Will and the Power of the Father:  and yet, for the demonstration of the patience which was due, He gave Himself up to the Father’s Will.



Mr. Dodgson renders, “next to this clause;” but the “forma” referred to seems, by what Tertullian proceeds to add, to be what he had said above, “not that it becomes us to wish God well,” etc.


We learn from this and other places, that the comparative adverb was wanting in some ancient formulæ of the Lord’s Prayer. [See Routh, Opuscula I. p. 178.]


See note 3.


John vi. 38.


For this use of the word “provoke,” see Heb. x. 24, Eng. ver.


[Something we might think other than good.]


Luke xxii. 42.

Next: The Fourth Clause.

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