Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol III:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Tertullian: Part III: The Third Clause.
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 Gods 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 Gods 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 Fathers will, without doubt those things which He used to do were the Fathers 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 ones 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 fleshs 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 Fathers 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.682:8784
We learn from this and other places, that the comparative adverb was wanting in some ancient formulæ of the Lords Prayer. [See Routh, Opuscula I. p. 178.]682:8785
See note 3.682:8786
John vi. 38.682:8787
For this use of the word “provoke,” see Heb. x. 24, Eng. ver.683:8788
[Something we might think other than good.]683:8789
Luke xxii. 42.
Next: The Fourth Clause.
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