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The sources of Tertullian’s ethics: (a) His theological views; (b) His eschatological outlook; (c) His Stoicism; (d) His interpretation of Scripture; (e) His character—‘Nature’ the fundamental ground—Reason— Tradition—Scripture—The Paraclete—The relation of these grounds to one another—The legal nature of this view—Faith and obedience— Two wills in God—The doctrine of merit—The development of that doctrine in the West—Freedom of the will—Virtues and Vices—Patience—Charity—Modesty—Asceticism—Idolatry—The pronounced asceticism of his later days.

THE sources of Tertullian’s ethical teaching are to be found in his theological views, his eschatological outlook, his predilection for Stoicism, his interpretation of Scripture, and his own austere character. These all have combined to produce a view of life, and a conception of virtue, which is at once Christian and un-Christian. It is Christian in the sense that it derives its force from its relation to the traditional Rule of Faith; it is un-Christian in the sense that it departs from the Christian conception of virtue and life as manifested in Christ and in the New Testament. Some inconsistencies in such a system, if system it can be called, derived from so many and so different sources, may be expected, and a variation in point of view in earlier and later writings is an inevitable result of a changing attitude towards the Church.

The dogmatic background of Tertullian’s theology colours his ethical teaching. Christianity is to him little more in theory, at any rate, than the acceptance of, and adhesion to, the theological tenets contained in the traditional Rule of Faith. He who accepts these is a Christian, without further ado; while he who rejects them can have no virtue. That is the theory which underlies his polemical attitude. But he is not without misgivings on the point, and can speak of virtue in the heathen, and insist upon goodness of life in Christians. 

His eschatology has given his ethical teaching something of  |p220 the character of an interimsethik. In a world that is fast approaching its end, the ordinary sanctions of morality are reinforced, and indeed replaced, by others whose immediacy gives them transcendent importance. Celibacy, asceticism, and other-worldliness are emphasized. The world is doomed; separation from it is salvation. Patience is the supreme virtue, martyrdom the greatest glory. There is no possibility of a vision in which the building of a temple over a circus may become a figure of the pleasures of the world being brought under the sway of the religion of Jesus Christ.1

In the contrary direction tends the influence of the Stoic view of the natural world as a rational creation, in which the goodness of God is revealed. But Tertullian’s dark belief— not unjustifiable in view of the current immorality—that the devil and his angels have corrupted a large part of the creation of God precluded him from developing the full consequences of this view, and enabled him to hold at once that the world is good, and that worldliness is the essence of evil.

Tertullian found in the Scriptures an ally of great power. He made much of their eschatological teaching, and pressed them into the service of his anti-worldly view of life. But he accepted, too, the moral teaching as exemplified in the Sermon on the Mount, though that led him into considerable difficulty, especially in relation to war. The real master motive of the New Testament—love to God and man—he never quite appreciated.

Lastly, his own austere character determined, in a measure, his ethical teaching. There is nothing of the grace of Irenaeus, or the tolerance of Clement of Alexandria, in his composition. Fiery and zealous, just without mercy, and righteous without love, he drew from Scripture, and tradition, and philosophy, just what blended with his own character, and moulded his ethics after the pattern of his own ideals. It is not without reason that his ethics have been called ‘Tertullianish.’

The ethical ideal of life, as such, is not discussed by Tertullian, but several points of view come to expression incidentally, and indicate in which direction his thoughts on this subject ran. One very important aspect of the subject is found in his view of nature. Faced with a question of Christian |p221 conduct, he goes back to this as the fundamental ground. ‘The argument for Christian practices becomes all the stronger when also Nature, which is the first rule of all, supports them.’2 Similarly, his objection to the shows arises, in part, from the fact that in them ‘unnatural’ things are done. The faces and forms of men and women were disfigured. ‘That disfiguration of the face, which is nothing less than the disfiguration of God’s own image’3; ‘Will God be pleased with him, who applies the razor to himself, and completely changes his features? ’4 It is the devil’s work to instigate actors to wear high shoes in order to make them look taller.5 Hence it would appear that the ideal of life is to live according to Nature.

It is, however, very obvious that Tertullian is not prepared to commend everything that is natural. It is but a small step with him from Nature to Reason. In fact, he uses the two terms interchangeably, and passes imperceptibly from the one to the other. 6  The ideal is, accordingly, narrowed. To live in conformity with Reason is to impose greater limitations upon action than to live according to Nature. When Tertullian thinks of Nature and Reason as synonymous, he thinks of Nature as it was originally created by God. As such it was rational. But that rational created Nature was corrupted by the devil and by man, and it is only the uncorrupted remainder that is still rational; it is living according to Reason and Nature in this sense that constitutes true living.

Besides, even this limitation is not rigorous enough for Tertullian. Reason itself must be further strictly confined. It may be exercised only within the limits of the Rule of Faith. Thus tradition, orally communicated from the apostles, and confined to the Churches, is the guide as to what may be done and what may not. And side by side with tradition is custom, which is tradition hardened into conduct. ‘And how long shall we draw the saw to and fro through this line, when we have an ancient practice which by anticipation has made for us the state of the question? If no passage of Scripture has prescribed it, assuredly custom, which has flowed from tradition has confirmed it.’7 ‘In short, what patriarch, what prophet, what Levite, or priest, or ruler, or, at a later period, what |p222 apostle, or preacher of the gospel, or bishop, do you ever find the wearer of a crown?’8 Tradition itself is sufficient without the support of Scripture, but not as an opponent of Scripture. In Tertullian’s view Scripture and tradition cannot clash. ‘If for these, and other such rules, you insist upon having positive Scripture injunction, you will find none. Tradition will be held forth to you as the originator of them, custom as their strengthener, and faith as their’ supporter.’ Tradition is the basis of much that is done in baptism, and the eucharist, in fasting and worship, and in tracing upon the forehead the sign of the cross.

A still further limitation is found in the teaching of Scripture. This is the firm and immutable foundation. If the Scripture enjoins, it must be obeyed; if it forbids, its dictates are final. In his earlier writings Tertullian accepted the Scriptures in an unscientific manner and adopted fanciful exegesis, but in the later writings a better sense of proportion is manifested. After his break with the Roman Church he accepted the view that the true interpretation of the Scriptures was given by the Paraclete, but was careful to show that even the activity of the Paraclete and his prophets was confined to the subject-matter of the Rule of Faith. What was confirmed by the Paraclete, however, was authoritative and final.

The relation of these grounds to one another as a basis of authority appears to be that they are not a group of heterogeneous elements, but a structure made up of a series of steps superimposed upon one another, or even, in some sense, a genetic growth, developing from the seed to the mature plant. ‘Look how creation itself advances little by little to fructification. First comes the grain, and from the grain arises the shoot, and from the shoot struggles out the shrub; thereafter boughs and leaves gather strength, and the whole that we call a tree expands; then follows the swelling of the germen, and from the germen bursts the flower, and from the flower the fruit opens; that fruit itself, rude for a while, and unshapely, little by little, keeping the straight course of its development, is trained to the mellowness of its flavour. So, too righteousness—for the God of righteousness and of creation is the same—was first in a rudimentary stage, having a natural fear of God; from that stage it advanced, through the Law and the |p223 Prophets, to infancy; from that stage it passed, through the gospel, to the fervour of youth; now, through the Paraclete it is settling into maturity.’9

Thus the lowest stage is that of nature, where the natural fear of God is the ground of ethical conduct; the highest stage is the discipline of the Paraclete, leading on to the better things. ‘What, then, is the Paraclete’s administrative office but this—the direction of discipline, the revelation of the Scriptures, the re-formation of the intellect, the advancement towards the better things?’10  Between these stages are Reason, Tradition, Custom, and Scripture. There is no opposition between them. The teaching of the Paraclete affords guidance in the highest realms of conduct. That is based upon Scripture, Custom, and Tradition; and Scripture, Custom, and Tradition in turn upon Reason; and Reason upon Nature; and Nature upon God. Thus the source of all moral law is God, and He speaks through all these stages. The highest certitude as to His will is found in the teaching of the Paraclete: ‘ He has now accordingly dispersed all the perplexities of the past . . . by the open and perspicuous explanation of the whole mystery through the New Prophecy, which descends in copious streams from the Paraclete.’11 Where this is not given, we must fall back in turn upon Scripture, Tradition, Custom, Reason, and Nature, which are all reliable as far as their content goes.

That is the basis of the ethics of Tertullian, and it is worthy of note that it is essentially legal in character. It is a ‘rule’ of nature, which is the first ‘rule’ of all. Reason is a ground for law. ‘It is the same thing whether it depends on writing or on reason, since reason is, in fact, the basis of law. But, moreover, if reason is the ground of law, all will now have to be counted law, whoever brings it forward, which shall have reason as its ground.’12 It is as a support for ‘rules’ that tradition and custom are of value. ‘If for these and other such rules you insist,’ &c. (see p. 221). Scripture is of value as containing commands and prohibitions, laws and discipline, and the main work of the Paraclete is to administer discipline. All these sources are of importance, in a word, because they are expressions of the law of God. |p224

Regarding the will of God, Tertullian introduced a distinction which was destined to have far-reaching consequences in the moral teaching of the Church, i.e. the distinction between the secret, or higher, will of God, and the manifest, or lower, will in Him. ‘Deeply and anxiously must the will of God be pondered again and again, I say, to see what even in secret He may will. For what things are manifest we all know.’13

The secret, or higher, will in God is His pure volition; that is to say, it is not unwilling volition, constrained in view of the imperfections of men. ‘God wills us to do some acts decreed by Himself, in which it is not indulgence which patronizes but discipline which lords it.’14 His higher will concerns the acts which He more wills to be done. It is His ‘superior volition.’

The manifest, or lower, will in God is concerned, on the other hand, with the indulgence to which He is constrained in view of the weakness of men. It is not the mere and absolute will of God, but the constrained volition, which permits and allows acts without really willing them. So that, indeed, it ceases to be, in truth, the will of God, ‘For by showing what He more wills, He has effaced the lesser volition by the greater.’

The theory of two wills, or the voluntas and the indulgentia, in God is at the root of Tertullian’s doctrine of merit. Since there is, on God’s part, a double standard of good, i.e. what He permits or allows as’ good ‘and what He desires as’ better,’ so it follows that there is a double standard of obedience on man’s part, i.e. what is demanded of him as just and what may be rendered by him as a gift to God.

Corresponding to law on the part of God is faith and obedience on the part of man. Faith ,is no more than unquestioning acceptance of the contents of the Rule of Faith. The proper attitude towards the rule of the Christian life is not that of an inquirer, after the truth in the spirit of debate, but that of one who seeks advice. ‘For it is from this desire that a true inquiry always proceeds, and I praise the faith which has believed in the duty of complying with the rule before it has learned the reason of it.’15 Obedience, too, is the expression of that faith, in doing what is commanded and abstaining from what is prohibited. ‘Let us, however, according to |p225 our narrow abilities, inculcate one point, namely, that what God enjoins is good and best. I hold it audacity to dispute about the good of a divine precept, for, indeed, it is not the fact that it is good which binds us to obey, but the fact that God has enjoined it.’16 ‘To exact the rendering of obedience, the majesty of divine power has the prior right; the authority of him who commands is prior to the utility of him who serves.’17

Obedience has nothing of the stability of character arising out of submission of the self to God, and consolidated by the habit of doing what is right. It is an unending compliance with rules, positive and negative.

The grace of God is almost absent from the thought of Tertullian. Some mention there is of the Fatherhood of God, and some slight intimation of His mercy, and a partial and undeveloped view of the grace of the cross of Christ. ‘You belong to Him, for you have been enrolled in the book of life. There the blood of the Lord serves for your purple robe, and your broad stripe is His own cross; there the axe is already laid to the trunk of the tree; there is the branch out of the root of Jesse. Never mind the State horses, with their crown. These put their trust in chariots, and these in horses, but we will seek our help in the name of the Lord our God.’ ‘For18 some things there are, which are of the divine liberality, some of our own workings.’19 ‘The Lord walked in humility and obscurity, with no definite home. . . He exerted no right of power even over His own followers.’20

It is quite in accord with Tertullian’s view of God as Law-giver and Judge that the favour of God should be the outcome of merit on the part of man. ‘For a judge is a rewarder in every cause. Well, since God as Judge presides over the exacting and maintaining of justice, which to Him is most dear, and since it is with an eye to justice that He appoints all the sum of His discipline, is there room for doubting that, just as in all our acts universally, so also in the case of repentance, justice must be rendered to God?’21 Since God has given a law, man must obey it. If he fails he deserves punishment, which he will receive here or hereafter; if he succeeds in doing all that is commanded, and in abstaining from all that is forbidden, he satisfies God, and so obtains the reward |p226 of eternity. ‘But as there are some things which He forbids, against which He denounces even eternal punishment—for of course things which He forbids (and) by which withal He is offended, He does not will—so, too, on the contrary, what He does will He enjoins and sets down as acceptable, and repays with the reward of eternity.’22

It is possible, however, for man to take upon himself voluntarily the punishment which his sins have deserved. This may be done by repentance and confession. ‘Inasmuch as by confession satisfaction is settled, of confession repentance is born, by repentance God is appeased.’23 It may also be done by castigation of one’s self. ‘What, therefore, is the business of patience in the body? In the first place, her business is the affliction of the flesh, a victim able to appease the Lord by means of the sacrifice of humiliation.’24 ‘Thus that Babylonish king, by the immolation of the patience of his body . . . made satisfaction to God.’25 Above all, it may be done by suffering the death of martyrdom. ‘This victory of ours gives us the glory of pleasing God, and the spoil of life eternal.’26 ‘For who that contemplates it is not excited to inquire what is at the bottom of it all? who after inquiring does not embrace our doctrines? and when he has embraced them desires not to suffer, that he may become partaker of the fullness of God’s grace, that he may obtain from God complete forgiveness, by giving in exchange his blood?’27

Not that all these are exacted for every sin. The punishment is strictly proportioned to the wrong done. If more is rendered to God than is strictly due, it becomes a merit which deserves a reward. It actually puts God in a man’s debt. ‘A good deed has God as its debtor.’28

This doctrine was further developed by Cyprian, and through him affected deeply the ethical teaching of the Church in the West in later times. We must be careful, however, not to attribute to Tertullian himself all the developments of the theory which found a place in the later theology of the Western Church. It is necessary to bear in mind that:

(1) What Tertullian has to say on this matter applies only to professed Christians. He holds that in baptism all sins |p227 are washed away, and the baptized commences with a clean sheet. From that time onwards he must do what is commanded, and must abstain from what is prohibited, in order to satisfy God.

(2) The law which must so be kept is not the absolute will of God, but the lower standard which is allowed by His indulgence.

(3) After he became a Montanist, Tertullian took a stricter view of the requirements of Christian discipline. The position that he took up was that the absolute will of God should be the standard at which Christians should aim, and that the ‘better’ should be chosen rather than the ‘good.’ ‘If, however, He has given a preference over these to some other acts— (acts), of course, which He more wills—is there a doubt that the acts which we are to pursue are those which He more wills; since those which He less wills, (because He wills others more,) are to be similarly regarded as if He did not will them.’29 Indeed, a ‘good’ which can only be described as good when compared with evil is no real ‘good.’ ‘Good is worthy of the name, if it continue to keep that name without comparison, I say, not with evil, but even with some second good, so that, even if it is compared to some other good, and is by some other cast into the shade, it do nevertheless remain in possession of the name good. If, however, it is the nature of an evil, which is the means which compels the predicating good, it is not so much good as a species of inferior evil, which, by being obscured by a superior evil, is driven to the name of good.’30 It is from this standpoint that Tertullian opposes the psychics or carnal Christians.

The means whereby man is able to keep the law is his free will. Tertullian was a firm believer in the freedom of the will. It may be that here again his legal training has influenced his thought. The theory of Roman law is a simple one. Men are expected to obey the laws. If they do not obey them they deserve punishment. Subject to that condition, they are free to choose whether they will obey or not. This is precisely the view of Tertullian. ‘And so, when we have learnt from his precepts each class of actions, what He does not will and what He does, we still have a volition, and an arbitrating power, of electing the one; just as it is written, “Behold, I have set |p228 before thee good and evil; for thou hast tasted of the tree of knowledge.” ’31 ‘Thus it is a volition of our own when we will what is evil, in antagonism to God’s will, who wills what is good. Further, if you ask, Whence comes that volition whereby we will anything in antagonism to the will of God? I shall say, It has its source in ourselves.’32

Tertullian does expressly reject two other explanations. The first is the view that whatever exists does so by the permission of God, and so is in accordance with His will. This would refer all evil to God, or would at least do away with the moral responsibility of men. But ‘it is not the part of good and solid faith to refer all things to the will of God in such a manner as that; and that each individual should flatter himself by saying that nothing is done without His permission, as to make us fail to understand that there is a something in our own power.’33

The second is that which attributes the blame to the devil. But, says Tertullian, the devil did not impose the volition to sin upon Adam, ‘but subministered material to the volition.’ And it is the same with those who think that they have been subverted by the devil. The devil did will that they should disobey God’s will, but still did not make them disobey, ‘inasmuch as he did not reduce those our protoplasts to the volition of sin.’34 ‘Thus the work of the devil is one to make trial, whether you do will that which it rests with you to will.’35

There is some recognition of the connexion between the sin of Adam and that of his descendants. They all spring from him, and he willed the sin that he committed. ‘You must needs correspond to the seed whence you spring—if, indeed, it be true (as it is) that the originator of our race and our sin, Adam, willed the sin which he committed.’ But the emphasis is certainly upon the individual will.

The freedom of that individual will is nothing more than arbitrary choice. The relation of will to motive and to character is not considered at all. No investigation is made into the reason for the choice of good or evil. No recognition is made of the influence of character in determining the choice in particular instances. All is free, unconditioned choice. Every act is willed individually, without any relation to what |p229 had been done or willed before. The result is, that while the freedom of the will is emphasized, as against the Gnostic theory of determinism, the reliability of character, which may be depended upon to act in a definite way in a given situation, is lost.

VIRTUE.—But while that is the logical result of Tertullian’s theory of free will, he does not press it to such a conclusion. He rather holds that there is such a thing as Christian virtue, which is built up into a definite character. Its ideal is likeness to God. ‘The will of God is our sanctification, for He wishes His “image”—us——to become likewise His “likeness,” that we may be “holy” just as Himself is “holy” ’36 Its nature is obedience to the will of God. That will of God is in accord with perfect goodness, and it is revealed perfectly in Christ, and kept perfectly by Christians. ‘Taught of God Himself what goodness is, we have both a perfect knowledge of it, as revealed to us by a perfect Master, and faithfully we do His will, as enjoined upon us by a Judge we dare not despise.’37 As such, Christian virtue is superior to virtue whose authority is mere human opinion.

Virtue is built up by hardships. ‘We, with the crown eternal in our eye, look upon the prison as our training-ground, that at the goal of final judgement we may be brought forth well disciplined by many a trial; since virtue is built up by hardships, as by voluptuous indulgence it is overthrown.’38

THE VIRTUES AND VICES.—It remains to consider the virtues which Tertullian extols, and the vices which he denounces. Of the virtues, patience is the chief. It lies at the foundation of human conduct. ‘So is patience set over the things of God that one can obey no precept, fulfil no work well-pleasing to. the Lord, if estranged from it.’39 Patience is not cynical equanimity or insensibility, but an emulation of a divine quality, which has been manifested in creation and providence, but in more imitable form it is revealed in Christ. Patience is to be exercised in enduring the loss of earthly possessions, in receiving personal violence, in bereavement. It is the basis of non-resistance to evil—a doctrine which Tertullian is fond of preaching. But it is interesting to note the casuistical point he makes when he says that patience finds pleasure in |p230 the discomfiture of the one who would injure the patient man if he could, but fails. The patient man is gratified by the violent man’s pain. The praise of patience arouses Tertullian to eloquence.

‘What honour is granted to patience to have God as her Debtor! And not without reason: for she keeps all His decrees; she has to do with all His mandates. She fortifies faith; is the pilot of peace; assists charity; establishes humility; waits long for repentance; sets her seal upon confession; rules the flesh; preserves the spirit; bridles the tongue; restrains the hand; tramples temptations underfoot; drives away scandals; gives their grace to martyrdoms; consoles the poor; teaches the rich moderation; overstrains not the weak; exhausts not the strong; is the delight of the believer; invites the Gentile; commends the servant to his lord, and his lord to God; adorns the woman; makes the man approved; is loved in childhood, praised in youth, looked up to in age; is beauteous in every sex, in every time of life.’40

But the Christian patience is not the same as the heathen. The latter is but a counterfeit, contemptible, inspired by the desire for the patronage of men; the former is the patience of God, a patience which Christ laid down for us, and which we must lay down for Him.

Another virtue which is closely allied with patience is charity. Charity is ‘the highest sacrament of the faith, the treasure-house of the Christian name.’ The noble description of charity in i Cor. xiii. is used to show how inextricably it is bound together with patience. It is patience which gives quality to charity, makes her long-suffering, not puffed up, not irritable, enables her to endure all things. In fact, patience is blended with faith, hope, and charity—the things which are eternal; ‘Faith which Christ’s patience introduced, hope which man’s patience waits for, charity which, with God as Master, patience accompanies.’41

It is characteristic of Tertullian to over-emphasize the importance of any subject which he is at the moment considering, so that it is not surprising to find that, when he is writing on the topic of ‘Modesty,’ he is ready to affirm that that virtue is ‘the flower of manners, the honour of our bodies, the grace of the sexes, the integrity of the blood, the guarantee |p231 of our race, the basis of sanctity, the pre-indication of every good disposition.’42

Of all sins, idolatry is the worst. ‘The principal crime of the human race, the highest guilt charged upon the world, the whole procuring cause of judgement, is idolatry.’43 Every sin can be traced to idolatry as its šource, is, indeed, nothing more than a species of idolatry. ‘Set aside names, examine works, the idolater is likewise a murderer.’ He is also an adulterer and fornicator. Fraud, drunkenness, lasciviousness, vanity, and mendacity are in idolatry, and idolatry is in them. ‘Thus it comes to pass that in idolatry all crimes are detected, and in all crimes idolatry.’ With idolatry in any form or guise the Christian must not pollute himself. Hence the life of the Christian is narrowly circumscribed. There are trades and professions which are forbidden to him. Military service, among other things, is laid under the ban, and separation from the world is the watchword of Tertullian’s ethics.

There is a curious blend of asceticism and of its opposite in Tertullian. At one time he can say, ‘The Christian . . . has renounced the world,’44 while at another his sentiments are very different. ‘We are not Indian Brahmins, or Gymnosophists, who dwell in woods and exile themselves from ordinary human life.’45 The explanation is to be found in his view of nature, which we have considered before. As the creation of God the world is good, and all that He made for the good of man is to be accepted with gratitude. ‘We do not forget the debt of gratitude we owe to God, our Lord and Creator; we reject no creature of His hands.’ On the other hand, the work of the devil and his angels, and of men, in polluting the good creation of God, was all but complete, and the wickedness of the social life of the time was so obvious that the Christian was bound to renounce all the pleasures which had been polluted. The laws of Christian discipline ‘forbid, among other sins of the world, the pleasures of the public shows.’

In his latest writings,46 however, the asceticism of Tertullian is so pronounced that it affects deeply his teaching on marriage and chastity, and even on the Church. Monceaux says: ‘Le mariage, la famille, l’état, l’intérêt même de l’Eglise, il  |p232 sacrifierait tout a son ideal chrétien de chastité.’47He impugns second marriage more strongly than ever, and even first marriage is a species of fornication. ‘If we look deeply into his (Paul’s) meanings, and interpret them, second marriage will have to be termed no other than a species of fornication.’48  ‘ “Then (says some one) are you by this time destroying first—that is single—marriage, too?” “And not without reason (if I am), inasmuch as it, too, consists of that which is the essence of fornication.” ’49 Whereas he had earlier portrayed in glowing colours the beautiful union of a Christian man and woman engaging in religious exercises together,50 he now speaks of the man who chances to be deprived of his wife as the one who is favourably circumstanced in regard to the religious life. ‘He savours spiritually. If he is making prayer to the Lord, he is near heaven. If he is bending over the Scriptures, he is wholly in them. If he is singing a Psalm, he satisfies himself (placet sibi).’51 Family life is undermined. ‘I am aware of the excuses by which we colour our insatiable carnal appetite. Our pretexts are: the necessities of props to lean on; a house to be managed; a family to be governed, chests and keys to be guarded, the wool-spinning to be dispensed, food to be attended to; cares to be generally lessened. Of course, the houses of none but married men fare well! . . . But Christians concern themselves about posterity, (Christians) to whom there is no to-morrow! Shall the servant of God yearn after heirs who has disinherited himself from the world? The welfare of the commonwealth is no concern of the Christian. ‘Is it, then, perchance in (patriotic) forecast for the commonwealth that such (marriages) are contracted? for fear the estate fail, if no rising generations be trained up? for fear the rights of law, for fear the branches of commerce, sink quite into decay?’52 The Church is not that which consists of a number of bishops, but that which consists of spiritual men. ‘What, now, (has this to do) with the Church, and your (Church), indeed psychic? For, in accordance with the person of Peter, it is to spiritual men that this power will correspondently appertain, either to an apostle or else to a prophet . . . (it will be) the Church of the spirit, by means of a spiritual man; not the Church which consists of a number of bishops.’53


1. p.220 n.1. Cf. De Spectaculis, c. 10, where Tertullian takes the opposite view of the Temple of Pompey.

2. p.221 n.1 De Corona Militis, c. 5.

3. p.221 n.2 De Spectaculis, c. 18.

4. p.221 n.3 Ibid., c. 23.

5. p.221 n.4 Ibid. ; cf. also De Cultu Feminarum, I. and II. passim.

6. p.221 n.5 De Corona Militis, cc. 2-5.

7. p.221 n.6 Ibid., c. 3.

8. p.222 n.1 De Corona Militis, c. 9.

9. p.223 n.1 De Virginibus Velandis, c. 1.

10. p.223 n.2 Ibid., c. 1.

11. p.223 n.3 De Resurrectione Carnis, c. 63.

12. p.223 n.4 De Corona Militis, c. 4.

13. p.224 n.1 De Exhortatione Castitatis, c. 2.

14. p.224 n.2 Ibid., c. 3.

15. p.224 n.3 De Corona Militis, c. 2.

16. p.225 n.1 De Poenitentia, c. 4.

17. p.225 n.2 Ibid.

18. p.225 n.3 De Corona Militis, c. 13.

19. p.225 n.4 Ad Uxorem, I., c. 8.

20. p.225 n.5 De Idololatria, c. 18.

21. p.225 n.6 De Poenitentia, c. 2.

22. p.226 n.1 De Exhortatione Castitatis, c. 2.

23. p.226 n.2 De Poenitentia, c. 9.

24. p.226 n.3 De Patientia, c. 13.

25. p.226 n.4 Ibid.

26. p.226 n.5 Apologeticus, c. 50.

27. p.226 n.6 Ibid., c. 5.

28. p.226 n.7 De Poenitentia, c. 2.

29. p.227 n.1 De Exhortatione Castitatis, c. 3.

30. p.227 n.2 Ibid.

31. p.228 n.1 De Exhortatione Castitatis, c. 2.

32. p.228 n.2 Ibid.

33. p.228 n.3 Ibid., c. 2.

34. p.228 n.4 Ibid.

35. p.228 n.5 Ibid.

36. p.229 n.1 De Exhortatione Castitatis, c. 1.

37. p.229 n.2 Apologeticus, c. 45.

38. p.229 n.3 Ad Martyras, c. 3.

39. p.229 n.4 De Patientia, c. 1.

40. p.230 n.1 De Patientia, c. 15.

41. p.230 n.2 Ibid., c. 12.

42. p.231 n.1 De Pudicitia, c. 1.

43. p.231 n.2 De Idololatria, c. 1.

44. p.231 n.3 Ad Martyras, c. 2.

45. p.231 n.4 Apologeticus, c. 42.

46. p.231 n.5 De Exhort. Castitatis, De Monogamia, De Jejunio Adversus Psychisos, and De Pudicitia,

47. p.232 n.1 Vol. I., p. 394.

48. p.232 n.2 De Exhortatione Castitatis, c. 9.

49. p.232 n.3 Ibid.

50. p.232 n.4 Ad Uxorem, I., c. 8.

51. p.232 n.5 De Exhortatione Castitatis, c. 10.

52. p.232 n.6 De Exhortatione Castitatis, c. 10. The question is ironical.

53. p.232 n.7 De Pudicitia, c. 21.


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