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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol III:
Tertullian: Part II: Truth First, Falsehood Afterwards, as Its Perversion. Christ's Parable Puts the Sowing of the Good Seed Before the Useless Tares.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter XXXI.—Truth First, Falsehood Afterwards, as Its Perversion. Christ’s Parable Puts the Sowing of the Good Seed Before the Useless Tares.

Let me return, however, from this digression 2177 to discuss 2178 the priority of truth, and the comparative lateness 2179 of falsehood, deriving support for my argument even from that parable which puts in the first place the sowing by the Lord of the good seed of the wheat, but introduces at a later stage the adulteration of the crop by its enemy the devil with the useless weed of the wild oats.  For herein is figuratively described the difference of doctrines, since in other passages also the word of God is likened unto seed. From the actual order, therefore, it becomes clear, that that which was first delivered is of the Lord and is true, whilst that is strange and false which was afterwards introduced. This sentence will keep its ground in opposition to all later heresies, which have no consistent quality of kindred knowledge 2180 inherent in them—to claim the truth as on their side.


Footnotes

258:2177

Ab excessu.

258:2178

Disputandam. Another reading has deputandam, i.e., “to attribute.”

258:2179

Posteritatem.

258:2180

Nulla constantia de conscientia, “no conscientious ground of confidence” (Dodgson).


Next: None of the Heretics Claim Succession from the Apostles. New Churches Still Apostolic, Because Their Faith is that Which the Apostles Taught and Handed Down. The Heretics Challenged to Show Any Apostolic Credentials.

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