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stand-points, and yet, on the other hand, fell into the same error, and, when it suited their purpose, forsook the New Testament, and went over to the Old. They blared the Montanists for innovations which contradicted the traditions of the church. The Montavists were charged with framing arbitrary, heretical ordinances, and compared to those erroneous teachers whom Paul opposed in his Pastoral Epistles, the teachers of a false abstinence; or if they appealed to the new revelations from which they had received these new doctrines, it was asserted that these revelations were not those of the Holy Spirit, but of the Evil Spirit falsifying the truth; these prophets were false prophets-organs of Satan. As to the latter point,' Tertullian replied, that Montanism announced the same God and the same Christ, embraced the universally received fundamental doctrine of God and Christ, and agreed in all things with the rule of orthodoxy. And in another passage, he says, "Thou sayest, O Psychic, that it is the spirit of the Devil; and how should such an one enjoin services for our God, which are offered to no other 'eing than our God? Either maintain that Satan makes common cause with our God, or that Satan is to be regarded as the Paraclete." The unsatisfactoriness of this vindication may be easily perceived from what we have already remarked. The Montanist ethics might be joined to the generally received Christian doctrines, and yet be at variance with them in their fundamental principles; the Montanist asceticism, for example, by no means harmonized with the right application of the idea of Christ, and the correctly developed consciousness of Redemption. And the spirit of Satan could, indeed, mingle with, and bedarken what proceeded from the Spirit of God, as is sufficiently indicated by what Tertullian himself says of Satan's being (Affen Gottes) a mimic of the Almighty. view of the relation of the new revelations of the Paraclete to tradition, Holy Scripture, and Ratio, as Tertullian expresses it in this book, is remarkable. When tradition cannot appeal to the authority of Scripture, it stands in greater need of "Ratio" for its confirmation, that the ground of such an i institution, as it is handed down by ecclesiastical tradition,
1 Cap. ii. "Novitatem igitur objectant, de cujus illicito præsciebant, aut hæresim judicandam, si humana præsumptio est aut pseudoprophetiam pronuntiandam, si spiritalis indictio est dum quaqua ex parte anathema audiamus, qui aliter adnuntiamus."
2 Cap. i.
may be demonstrated to that rational principle which requires a satisfactory account of everything, until the authority of the new revelations of the Paraclete is added, and the established practice is either confirmed or improved by the divine authority. The "Ratio" is, therefore, only something intermediate in the guidance of the church, until what has been hitherto fluctuating is established by the authority of divine revelation. Tertullian ascribes to the new revelations of the Paraclete an authority equal to that of the declarations of Holy Writ.' It is evident from what he says, that the appearance of the new prophets was psychologically founded in the state of feeling among Christians occasioned by the events of the times. It was the period of the persecutions under the emperor Marcus Aurelius, of various widespread calamities, such as earthquakes and pestilences, which were regarded as omens of the final tribulation and conflict of the church which would precede the second advent of Christ. It was requisite that the church should be prepared by the new admonitions and warnings of the Paraclete to meet that decisive event in a suitable manner. It was the duty of Christians by self-denial, renunciation of the world, and conquest over the flesh, to prepare themselves-by a life of self-mortification, corresponding to repentance, to second their prayers to God for deliverance, and thus to seek to turn away his wrath in the day of visitation; as Tertullian says, "Since the Holy Spirit, in whatever lands, and by whatever men he wills, has announced, so he has ordained, since he saw beforehand the impending trials of the church, or the general calamities of the world, that as Paraclete (that is, as Advocate, in order to reconcile the Judge by prayer) he will employ such events as means for the exercise of sobriety and abstinence." And in another passage he says, that without those extraordinary revelations, Christians, by observing the state of the persecuted church, might learn the necessity of such a strict mode of living. "If," he says, our opponents are really right in asserting that since the days of John the Baptist no new prophetic voice was to be expected, yet we ought to be prophets to ourselves in this respect. I do not say for the purpose of appeasing the wrath of God, nor to win his protection or his favour, but that we may fortify ourselves 1 Cap. x. "Sed quia eorum, quæ cx traditione observantur, tanto magis dignam rationem afferre debemus, quanto carent scripturæ auctori tate, donec aliquo cœlesti charismate aut confirmentur aut corrigantur."
against the circumstances of the last times, that we may prac tise every kind of lowliness of mind, if any one has to train himself for prison, or to endure hunger and thirst, or to accustom himself to deprivations and meagre fare; that the Christian may enter into prison such as he would wish to come out of it; that he may undergo no punishment there, but only a discipline; that he may find there not the tortures of the world, but his own duties; then he will proceed more confidently from imprisonment to victory, having nothing of the flesh, so that the engines of torture will have no materials to work upon." This passage is peculiarly characteristic of the one-sidedness of Tertullian's ethical stand-point, in its connexion with his peculiar disposition, which was determined by the circumstances of the age. He sees in Christians only combatants with incessant persecutions; the whole of life was only a training for the last conflict, a training for death which met the Christian under these persecutions. It was needful voluntarily to impose that on himself which would ultimately be imposed on him by a power from without. Such views would naturally create a sad and gloomy image of the Christian life. That mode of contemplating the Christian life which is not dependent on temporary circumstances, but founded in the very nature of Christianity, could not make its way as a world-transforming principle along with this onesidedness. It is also evident that the childlike relation to a reconciled God, founded in the consciousness of redemption, must yield to the consciousness of the divine wrath in judgment, which men sought to propitiate by self-torture. This sentiment is expressed, or rather caricatured, by Tertullian when he says, "I must not only comply with God's will, but flatter him." That is, in his opinion, do more than he has commanded me by voluntarily imposing such chastisement on myself. Here we have the false representation which results from the separation of the negative and positive elements, the appropriation of the world, and the conquest over the world in the service of God; as if over and above the service of God in the observance of his præcepta, there was still a perfection, consisting in the voluntary performance of certain proofs of self-denial. But from his own stand-point he sees in his opponents only the predominance of the carnal mind, which made them unreceptive of the divine, unreceptive equally of the new revelations, and of progress in overcoming carnality. It appeared to him perfectly consequential, when they set
limits on ali sides to the agency of the Divine Spirit, both in reference to the new revelations of the prophets, and to the progressive development of the moral element. "But again," he says, "ye place boundary-stakes about God both in reference to his grace and to the discipline of life; both as to spiritual graces, and to religious solemnities, so that the performance of duties has ceased, and the reception of his benefits, and ye deny that he still imposes services, because the law and the prophets were until John." And in another passage Tertullian wishes to prove, that among the Psychics all is of a piece; their rejection of fasts perfectly agrees with the whole of their mental tendency-they do not accuse sin (that is, their judgment is so lax respecting sins of unchastity), and, therefore, they do not require fasts to atone for them; they do not long for the knowledge of revelation, for which they ought to endeavour to prepare themselves by means of the xerophagia; and they do not fear peculiar conflicts, which they ought to avert by the stationes. Tertullian was desirous of convincing his opponents, that in attacking the ascetic severity of the Montanists, they declined into still greater laxity of morals. This gave him occasion to expose many of the shades of the Christian life in those times.
admit that we cannot regard the accusations of so vehement a disputant as unquestionable evidence; yet, as we elsewhere observe one extreme called into action by another—an erroneous contempt of the world by an erroneous secularization of Christianity so it might have happened in the present instance. It may be imagined that if one party erred in an undiscriminating abandonment of the world, the other would err in a too accommodating, self-indulgent conformity of Christianity to the world. It is, indeed, probable that, though Tertullian, from his ascetic stand-point, would be in danger of falling into one-sided exaggerations in his account of the practical aberrations of the other party,-though he might withhold the lights and bring forward the shadows,—yet not everything which he states with so much distinctness could be a fabrication, but must have at least a basis of truth.
In his Apology he had presented the Agapæ of the Christians in a very favourable light; likewise, in his treatise Ad Uxorem, he had made honourable mention of these feasts; but now, regarding them with an ascetic spirit, he finds them quite unworthy of the name. In a sarcastic tone, he alludes to the revelry indulged in at these meetings, and the licen
tions conduct between the sexes that accompanied them.' Whether there was any foundation for these charges, and to what extent, the data are wanting for us to judge; but, at all events from comparing Tertulian's language at an earlier and a later period, it is evident that his judgment, taken in its whole extent, was unjust yet he could with propriety mark it as a disreputable custom that the clergy were distinguished by a double portion, a custom in behalf of which it was usual to adduce 1 Tim. v. 17. We observe the same inconsistency in Tertullian at two different periods of his life, in the manner of his speaking in this treatise of the emulation of the Christians in their demonstrations of love towards the confessors in prison. In his pre-montanist writings, in his exhortation addressed to the martyrs, he was ready to acknowledge the Christian love and the concern for the bodily relief of the sufferers that was shown by their brethren; but in the present treatise, he regards it in quite a different light. The unfairness of a rugged ascetic tendency cannot be concealed ; although it might be that he found cause for just censure when Christians suffered themselves too readily to be fascinated by those who professed to suffer for the cause of the Gospel; when by the manner in which they treated them, and made them presents, they led to the practice of much deception; when they cared for the bodily comfort of the prisoners in such a way as was not suited to prepare them for the last conflict, but might probably injure the souls of many. He says, “It is plainly your employment to provide eating-houses for uncertain martyrs in the prisons, that they may not miss their wonted way of living, that life may not be wearisome, that they may not take offence in the new school of abstinence which your Pristinus (no Christian martyr) never attempted." This is a passage which suggests many inquiries and remarks. Tertullian speaks of "uncertain martyrs" (martyribus incertis). He therefore implies that it was doubtful whether they were really Christian martyrs, or whether they were not imprisoned on some other account, and only pretended that they were suffering for the cause of the Gospel in order to take advantage of the love and benevolence of Christians. What we are
1 Cap. xvii. "Apud te agape in cacabis fervet; fides in culinis calet spes in ferculis jacet. Sed majoris est agape, quia per hunc adolescentes tui cum sororibus dormiunt; appendices scilicet gulæ lascivia atque luxuria est."
What Tertullian says is confirmed by the Apostolic Constitutions, p. 8.