He could only make use of it precario, for if He had used it ex dominio, it would be necessary to make Him responsible for the existence of evil in the world, since He would not have permitted matter, an attribute of Himself, to spread abroad the evil which it holds within itself. We know nothing of the beginnings of the Church in Africa. In chapter xxxviii, he makes a preliminary flourish with vigorous invective against the theatre, which he is to thunder forth in the de Spectaculis. Derive your white vesture from simplicity, from modesty your red, paint your eyes with reserve, your lips with silence, hang on your ears the words of God, bind on your neck the yoke of Christ. A muffled threat here rumbles.
Polycarp, the Bishop of Smyrna, yielding to the entreaties of his friends, had taken refuge in a small house in the country in the outskirts of the town. It is an aggressive and violent work in which he no longer extends any compromise. Inasmuch as he knows that he the Emperor is established by his God, he necessarily must cherish him, must respect and honour him and must desire his welfare, as well as that of the whole Roman Empire so long as the world shall last, for the Empire will last so long as the world. Without troubling to excuse his inconsistency, he and his new associates set themselves to denounce as unlawful every attempt to elude persecution. Negatio est etiam martyrii recusatio.
Tertullian in his relations to the Pagans. A period of calm seems to have followed this short persecution and during this respite the Christian communities swelled rapidly in Africa, especially at Carthage. Pierre de Labriolle, History and Literature of Christianity from Tertullian to Boethius. Montanism put his temperament at ease, long held in check by the fear of saying too much, and by certain scruples which were henceforth to vanish. Filling a significant gap in the scholarship, she looks at Christian self definition and self representation in the context of pagan-Christian conflict. Réville's mistake is clear, and springs from the following considerations: 1 St Cyprian did, in fact, study Tertullian much.
Custom was considered by the Roman jurists as expressing the tacit consent of the people, the source of all law. He disdained these lawful pilferings. Such were the fundamental conceptions of the sect to which Tertullian gave his intellectual adhesion and the support of his rugged talent. They considered themselves as the habitation of the Holy Spirit, or rather that they were identical with the Holy Spirit, the state of ecstasy being considered to have annihilated in them all that appertained to their own personality. With what abusive irony does Tertullian turn into ridicule the proud language of the Pontiff and to him the cunning hypocrisy of his allocution! In his theory of ecstasy, as we have seen, he guards against legitimatising the physical excesses whereof the protagonists of the sect had given a rather scandalous exhibition in the East; with knowing hand he shaded off all that savoured of irregularity, incoherency, and morbidity in the Phrygian cult of prophesying.
Irenaeus, I, vi, 2 P. He is not one of those moralists who suppose that the spirit alone is sufficient to vivify everything. His discussion is one of most rare insolence. His Montanism, which had not yet been declared but was already in full religious effervescence, is likewise betrayed the text must have been written shortly after the years 202-3, the date of the martyrdom. But his Catholic sense of tradition, of things to be respected on account of their long continuity, or of the source whence they derived, restrained this individualistic craving. There were very few in ancient times I will say pagan as well as Christian who had any doubts as to the religious signification of such warnings.
The Christian note is discernible especially in § ii, iv, v and towards the end of the opusculum. To-day the problem appears to be without much interest; it is curious to have to state that during several centuries eminent minds were preoccupied----and doubtless as many souls were tortured----with moral difficulties which are nothing more than a matter of individual delicacy. Montanism was not merely a movement, a simple guidance in the moral order, an aspiration towards a more rigid and purer life: it was belief in the mission of the Paraclete incarnate in the person of Montanus and in a lesser degree in that of his prophetesses, and in the absolute character of his precepts. The great event in his life as a Christian was his going over to Montanism. In very truth they were rending asunder the Roman Empire.
One is struck by a certain soothing solicitude and benevolence in the tone which he adopts. But he was not the kind of man to confine his efforts to the pursuit of a perfection purely egoistical. Two of them, nevertheless, he has laid under large contribution, namely, St Justin, whose Apologies and his Dialogue with Tryphon he exploited, and Tatian, who provided him with some important notions on the theory of the Logos and on Christology. He was equally familiar with the work of Melito of Sardis whose mental equipment was not without analogy to his own. More respectful towards public authority, as the precepts of St Paul enjoin as a duty, he claims however for his brethren the right to shun the orgies for which the name-days of the Emperors provided occasion, and to avoid all deification of the Caesars. He is never content with stating general principles. Schuerer's die aellesten Christengemeinden in roemischen Seiche, Kiel, 1894, p.
A contradiction like this reveals how far Tertullian remained a man of his time, and how profoundly its profane learning, which in all other respects he affects to hold in distrust, had set its mark on him. He is content to sum up en bloc and in a somewhat scornful manner at the beginning of his de Testimonio Animae the methods of his forerunners, their unfruitful efforts at conciliation between the wisdom of the pagans, and the truths of Christianity. The Passion, which is very attractive of itself, becomes still more so in so far as it reveals to us the state of mind of Tertullian in the first phase of his adhesion to Montanism. These are some of the stern limitations which he exalts, and with what merciless harshness, with what resolute, brutal acceptance of all the consequences involved in the principles which he sets forth! And this wrathful and passionate soul breathed itself forth still more freely in that he believed that he was representing the true religious ideal in face of the lapses which dishonoured it in bringing it down to their level. We do not know the details of this quarrel. Tradition, even without this point d'appui of origin, was perfectly admissible.