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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol III:
Tertullian: Part II: The Lax and Dangerous Views of This Sect Respecting Good Works. That These are Unnecessary to the Spiritual Man.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter XXX.—The Lax and Dangerous Views of This Sect Respecting Good Works. That These are Unnecessary to the Spiritual Man.

For this reason it is that they neither regard works 6883 as necessary for themselves, nor do they observe any of the calls of duty, eluding even the necessity of martyrdom on any pretence which may suit their pleasure. For this rule, (they say), is enjoined upon the animal seed, in order that the salvation, which we do not possess by any privilege of our state, 6884 we may work out by right 6885 of our conduct. Upon us, who are of an imperfect nature, 6886 is imprinted the mark of this (animal) seed, because we are reckoned as sprung from the loves of Theletus, 6887 and consequently as an abortion, just as their mother was. But woe to us indeed, should we in any point transgress the yoke of discipline, should we grow dull in the works of holiness and justice, should we desire to make our confession anywhere else, I know not where, and not before the powers of this world at the tribunals of the chief magistrates! 6888 As for them, however, they may prove their nobility by the dissoluteness 6889 of their life and their diligence 6890 in sin, since Achamoth fawns on them as her own; for she, too, found sin no unprofitable pursuit. Now it is held amongst them, that, for the purpose of honouring the celestial p. 518 marriages, 6891 it is necessary to contemplate and celebrate the mystery always by cleaving to a companion, that, is to a woman; otherwise (they account any man) degenerate, and a bastard 6892 to the truth, who spends his life in the world without loving a woman or uniting himself to her. Then what is to become of the eunuchs whom we see amongst them?


Footnotes

517:6883

Operationes: the doing of (good) works.”

517:6884

As, forsooth, we should in the spiritual state.

517:6885

Suffragio.

517:6886

Being animal, not spiritual.

517:6887

See above. ch. ix. x. p. 508.

517:6888

See Scorpiace, ch. x. infra.

517:6889

Passivitate.

517:6890

“Diligentia” may mean “proclivity” (Rigalt.).

518:6891

Of the Æons.

518:6892

Nec legitimum: “not a lawful son.”


Next: At the Last Day Great Changes Take Place Amongst the Æons as Well as Among Men. How Achamoth and the Demiurge are Affected Then. Irony on the Subject.

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