Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol III:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Tertullian: Part III: Examples from Scripture to Prove the Lord's Willingness to Pardon.
Chapter VIII.—Examples from Scripture to Prove the Lords Willingness to Pardon.
This if you doubt, unravel 8489 the meaning of “what the Spirit saith to the churches.” 8490 He imputes to the Ephesians “forsaken love;” 8491 reproaches the Thyatirenes with “fornication,” and “eating of things sacrificed to idols;” 8492 accuses the Sardians of “works not full;” 8493 censures the Pergamenes for teaching perverse things; 8494 upbraids the Laodiceans for trusting to their riches; 8495 and yet gives them all general monitions to repentance—under comminations, it is true; but He would not utter comminations to one unrepentant if He did not forgive the repentant. The matter were doubtful if He had not withal elsewhere demonstrated this profusion of His clemency. Saith He not, 8496 “He who hath fallen shall rise again, and he who hath been averted shall be converted?” He it is, indeed, who “would have mercy rather than sacrifices.” 8497 The heavens, and the angels who are there, are glad at a mans repentance. 8498 Ho! you sinner, be of good cheer! you see where it is that there is joy at your return. What meaning for us have those themes of the Lords parables? Is not the fact that a woman has lost a drachma, and seeks it and finds it, and invites her female friends to share her joy, an example of a restored sinner? 8499 There strays, withal, one little ewe of the shepherds; but the flock was not more dear than the one: that one is earnestly sought; the one is longed for instead of all; and at length she is found, and is borne back on the shoulders of the shepherd himself; for much had she toiled 8500 in straying. 8501 That most gentle father, likewise, I will not pass over in silence, who calls his prodigal son home, and willingly receives him repentant after his indigence, slays his best fatted calf, and graces his joy with a banquet. 8502 Why not? He had found the son whom he had lost; he had felt him to be all the dearer of whom he had made a gain. Who is that father to be understood by us to be? God, surely: no one is so truly a Father; 8503 no one so rich in paternal love. He, then, will receive you, His own son, 8504 back, even if you have squandered what you had received from Him, even if you return naked—just because you have returned; and will joy more over your return than over the sobriety of the other; 8505 but only if you heartily repent—if you compare your own hunger with the plenty of your Fathers “hired servants”—if you leave behind you the swine, that unclean herd—if you again seek your Father, offended though He be, saying, “I have sinned, nor am worthy any longer to be called Thine.” Confession of sins lightens, as much as dissimulation aggravates them; for confession is counselled by p. 664 (a desire to make) satisfaction, dissimulation by contumacy.
Evolve: perhaps simply ="read.”663:8490
Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 29, Rev. 3:6, 13, 21.663:8491
Rev. ii. 4.663:8492
Rev. ii. 20.663:8493
Rev. iii. 2.663:8494
Rev. 2:14, 15.663:8495
Rev. iii. 17.663:8496
Jer. viii. 4 (in LXX.) appears to be the passage meant. The Eng. Ver. is very different.663:8497
Hos. 6:6, Matt. 9:13. The words in Hosea in the LXX. are, διότι ἕλεος θέλω ἤ θυσίαν (al. καὶ οὐ θυσίαν).663:8498
Luke 15:7, 10.663:8499
Luke xv. 8-10.663:8500
Luke xv. 3-7.663:8502
Luke xv. 11-32.663:8503
Cf. Matt. 23:9, Eph. 3:14, in the Greek.663:8504
Publicly enrolled as such in baptism; for Tertullian here is speaking solely of the “second repentance.”663:8505
See Luke xv. 29-32.
Next: Concerning the Outward Manifestations by Which This Second Repentance is to Be Accompanied.
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