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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol III:
Tertullian: Part III: When Praying the Father, You are Not to Be Angry with a Brother.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

p. 685 Chapter XI.—When Praying the Father, You are Not to Be Angry with a Brother.

That we may not be as far from the ears of God as we are from His precepts, 8826 the memory of His precepts paves for our prayers a way unto heaven; of which precepts the chief is, that we go not up unto God’s altar 8827 before we compose whatever of discord or offence we have contracted with our brethren. 8828 For what sort of deed is it to approach the peace of God 8829 without peace? the remission of debts 8830 while you retain them? How will he appease his Father who is angry with his brother, when from the beginning “all anger” is forbidden us? 8831 For even Joseph, when dismissing his brethren for the purpose of fetching their father, said, “And be not angry in the way.” 8832 He warned us, to be sure, at that time (for elsewhere our Discipline is called “the Way” 8833 ), that when, set in “the way” of prayer, we go not unto “the Father” with anger. After that, the Lord, “amplifying the Law,” 8834 openly adds the prohibition of anger against a brother to that of murder. 8835 Not even by an evil word does He permit it to be vented. 8836 Ever if we must be angry, our anger must not be maintained beyond sunset, as the apostle admonishes. 8837 But how rash is it either to pass a day without prayer, while you refuse to make satisfaction to your brother; or else, by perseverance in anger, to lose your prayer?



Oehler divides these two chapters as above. The generally adopted division unites this sentence to the preceding chapter, and begins the new chapter with, “The memory of His precepts;” and perhaps this is the preferable division.


altare. [Heb. xiii. 10.]


Matt. 5:22, 23.


Perhaps there may be an allusion to Phil. 4:6, 7.


See chap. vii. above, and compare Matt. 6:14, 15.


“Ab initio” probably refers to the book of Genesis, the initium, or beginning of Scripture, to which he is about to refer. But see likewise Eph. 4:31, Matt. 5:21, 22, Gen. 4:6, 7


Gen. xlv. 24: so the LXX.


See Acts 9:2, Acts 19:9, 23, in the Greek.


See Matt. v. 17.


Matt. 5:21, 22.


Matt. 5:21, 22, 1 Pet. 3:9, etc.


Eph. iv. 26.

Next: We Must Be Free Likewise from All Mental Perturbation.

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