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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol III:
Tertullian: Part II: From St. Luke's Eleventh Chapter Other Evidence that Christ Comes from the Creator. The Lord's Prayer and Other Words of Christ.  The Dumb Spirit and Christ's Discourse on Occasion of the Expulsion. The Exclamation of the Woman in the Crowd.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter XXVI.—From St. Luke’s Eleventh Chapter Other Evidence that Christ Comes from the Creator. The Lord’s Prayer and Other Words of Christ.  The Dumb Spirit and Christ’s Discourse on Occasion of the Expulsion. The Exclamation of the Woman in the Crowd.

When in a certain place he had been praying to that Father above, 4528 looking up with insolent and audacious eyes to the heaven of the Creator, by whom in His rough and cruel nature he might have been crushed with hail and lightning—just as it was by Him contrived that he was (afterwards) attached to a cross 4529 at Jerusalem—one of his disciples came to him and said, “Master, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.”  This he said, forsooth, because he thought that different prayers were required for different gods! Now, he who had advanced such a conjecture as this should first show that another god had been proclaimed by Christ. For nobody would have wanted to know how to pray, before he had learned whom he was to pray to. If, however, he had already learned this, prove it. If you find nowhere any proof, let me tell you 4530 that it was to the Creator that he asked p. 392 for instruction in prayer, to whom John’s disciples also used to pray.  But, inasmuch as John had introduced some new order of prayer, this disciple had not improperly presumed to think that he ought also to ask of Christ whether they too must not (according to some special rule of their Master) pray, not indeed to another god, but in another manner. Christ accordingly 4531 would not have taught His disciple prayer before He had given him the knowledge of God Himself. Therefore what He actually taught was prayer to Him whom the disciple had already known. In short, you may discover in the import 4532 of the prayer what God is addressed therein.  To whom can I say, “Father?” 4533 To him who had nothing to do with making me, from whom I do not derive my origin? Or to Him, who, by making and fashioning me, became my parent? 4534 Of whom can I ask for His Holy Spirit? Of him who gives not even the mundane spirit; 4535 or of Him “who maketh His angels spirits,” and whose Spirit it was which in the beginning hovered upon the waters. 4536 Whose kingdom shall I wish to come—his, of whom I never heard as the king of glory; or His, in whose hand are even the hearts of kings? Who shall give me my daily 4537 bread? Shall it be he who produces for me not a grain of millet-seed; 4538 or He who even from heaven gave to His people day by day the bread of angels? 4539 Who shall forgive me my trespasses? 4540 He who, by refusing to judge them, does not retain them; or He who, unless He forgives them, will retain them, even to His judgment? Who shall suffer us not to be led into temptation? He before whom the tempter will never be able to tremble; or He who from the beginning has beforehand condemned 4541 the angel tempter? If any one, with such a form, 4542 invokes another god and not the Creator, he does not pray; he only blasphemes. 4543 In like manner, from whom must I ask that I may receive? Of whom seek, that I may find? To whom knock, that it may be opened to me? 4544 Who has to give to him that asks, but He to whom all things belong, and whose am I also that am the asker? What, however, have I lost before that other god, that I should seek of him and find it.  If it be wisdom and prudence, it is the Creator who has hidden them. Shall I resort to him, then, in quest of them? If it be health 4545 and life, they are at the disposal of the Creator. Nor must anything be sought and found anywhere else than there, where it is kept in secret that it may come to light. So, again, at no other door will I knock than at that out of which my privilege has reached me. 4546 In fine, if to receive, and to find, and to be admitted, is the fruit of labour and earnestness to him who has asked, and sought, and knocked, understand that these duties have been enjoined, and results promised, by the Creator. As for that most excellent god of yours, coming as he professes gratuitously to help man, who was not his (creature), 4547 he could not have imposed upon him any labour, or (endowed him with) any earnestness. For he would by this time cease to be the most excellent god, were he not spontaneously to give to every one who does not ask, and permit every one who seeks not to find, and open to every one who does not knock. The Creator, on the contrary, 4548 was able to proclaim these duties and rewards by Christ, in order that man, who by sinning had offended his God, might toil on (in his probation), and by his perseverance in asking might receive, and in seeking might find, and in knocking might enter. Accordingly, the preceding similitude 4549 represents the man who went at night and begged for the loaves, in the light of a friend and not a stranger, and makes him knock at a friend’s house and not at a stranger’s. But even if he has offended, man is more of a friend with the Creator than with the god of Marcion. At His door, therefore, does he knock to whom he had the right of access; whose gate he had found; whom he knew to possess bread; in bed now with His children, whom He had willed to be born. 4550 Even though the knocking is late in the day, it is yet the Creator’s time. To Him belongs the latest hour who owns an entire age 4551 and the end thereof. As for the new god, however, no one could have knocked at his door late, for he has hardly yet 4552 seen the light of morning. It is the Creator, who once shut the door to the Gentiles, which was then knocked at by the Jews, that both rises and gives, if not now to man as a friend, yet not as a stranger, but, as He says, “because p. 393 of his importunity.” 4553 Importunate, however, the recent god could not have permitted any one to be in the short time (since his appearance). 4554 Him, therefore, whom you call the Creator recognise also as “Father.” It is even He who knows what His children require.  For when they asked for bread, He gave them manna from heaven; and when they wanted flesh, He sent them abundance of quails—not a serpent for a fish, nor for an egg a scorpion. 4555 It will, however, appertain to Him not to give evil instead of good, who has both one and the other in His power. Marcion’s god, on the contrary, not having a scorpion, was unable to refuse to give what he did not possess; only He (could do so), who, having a scorpion, yet gives it not. In like manner, it is He who will give the Holy Spirit, at whose command 4556 is also the unholy spirit. When He cast out the “demon which was dumb” 4557 (and by a cure of this sort verified Isaiah), 4558 and having been charged with casting out demons by Beelzebub, He said, “If I by Beelzebub cast out demons, by whom do your sons cast them out?” 4559 By such a question what does He otherwise mean, than that He ejects the spirits by the same power by which their sons also did—that is, by the power of the Creator?  For if you suppose the meaning to be, “If I by Beelzebub, etc., by whom your sons?”—as if He would reproach them with having the power of Beelzebub,—you are met at once by the preceding sentence, that “Satan cannot be divided against himself.” 4560 So that it was not by Beelzebub that even they were casting out demons, but (as we have said) by the power of the Creator; and that He might make this understood, He adds: “But if I with the finger of God cast out demons, is not the kingdom of God come near unto you?” 4561 For the magicians who stood before Pharaoh and resisted Moses called the power of the Creator “the finger of God.” 4562 It was the finger of God, because it was a sign 4563 that even a thing of weakness was yet abundant in strength. This Christ also showed, when, recalling to notice (and not obliterating) those ancient wonders which were really His own, 4564 He said that the power of God must be understood to be the finger of none other God than Him, under 4565 whom it had received this appellation. His kingdom, therefore, was come near to them, whose power was called His “finger.”  Well, therefore, did He connect 4566 with the parable of “the strong man armed,” whom “a stronger man still overcame,” 4567 the prince of the demons, whom He had already called Beelzebub and Satan; signifying that it was he who was overcome by the finger of God, and not that the Creator had been subdued by another god.  Besides, 4568 how could His kingdom be still standing, with its boundaries, and laws, and functions, whom, even if the whole world were left entire to Him, Marcion’s god could possibly seem to have overcome as “the stronger than He,” if it were not in consequence of His law that even Marcionites were constantly dying, by returning in their dissolution 4569 to the ground, and were so often admonished by even a scorpion, that the Creator had by no means been overcome? 4570 “A (certain) mother of the company exclaims, ‘Blessed is the womb that bare Thee, and the paps which Thou hast sucked;’ but the Lord said, ‘Yea, rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.’” 4571 Now He had in precisely similar terms rejected His mother or His brethren, whilst preferring those who heard and obeyed God. 4572 His mother, however, was not here present with Him. On that former occasion, therefore, He had not denied that He was her son by birth. 4573 On hearing this (salutation) the second time, He the second time transferred, as He had done before, 4574 the “blessedness” to His disciples from the womb and the paps of His mother, from whom, however, unless He had in her (a real mother) He could not have transferred it.



Luke xi. 1.










Luke xi. 2.




Mundialis spiritus: perhaps “the breath of life.”


Gen. i. 2.


Luke xi. 3.




Ps. lxviii. 25.


Luke xi. 4.




Hoc ordine.




Luke xi. 9.


Salutem: perhaps salvation.


Unde sum functus. This obscure clause may mean “the right of praying,” or “the right of access, and boldness to knock.”


Ad præstandum non suo homini.




See Luke xi. 5-8.


A sarcastic allusion to the ante-nuptial error of Marcion, which he has exposed more than once (see book i. chap. xxix. and book iv. chap. xxiii. p. 386.).




Tantum quod = vixdum (Oehler).


Luke xi. 8.


Tam cito.


Luke xi. 11-13.


Apud quem.


Luke xi. 14.


Isa. xxix. 18.


Luke xi. 19.


Luke xi. 18.


Luke xi. 20.


Ex. viii. 19.




Vetustatum scilicet suarum.






Luke 11:21, 22.






The scorpion here represents any class of the lowest animals, especially such as stung.  The Marcionites impiously made it a reproach to the Creator, that He had formed such worthless and offensive creatures.  Compare book i. chap. 17, note 5. p. 283.


Luke 11:27, 28.


See above, on Luke viii. 21.





Next: Christ's Reprehension of the Pharisees Seeking a Sign. His Censure of Their Love of Outward Show Rather Than Inward Holiness.  Scripture Abounds with Admonitions of a Similar Purport. Proofs of His Mission from the Creator.

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