Tertullian’s philosophical writings laid the foundation for Latin Christian literature, establishing a standard for doctrinal and practical writings of the ancient church. This volume contains a number of his practical and disciplinary writings, demonstrating his austere devotions and methods of maintaining self-control. He praised the unmarried state of life, condemned the remarriage of divorcees, insisted against the austentatious display of wealth, but was criticized for being misogynistic and taking asceticism too far in some instances.
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For more of the church fathers, check out the Fathers of the Church: Greek Fathers of the Ante—Nicene Era (23 vols.).
“We ought, indeed, to walk so in holiness and in the total fullness of our faith that we can be confident and sure in our own conscience, desiring that modesty may abide in us to the end, yet not presumptuously relying on it. For, the one who is presumptuous is less likely to feel apprehension, and he who feels less apprehension takes less precaution, and the one who takes less precaution is in the greater danger. Fear is the true foundation of our salvation, whereas presumption is a hindrance to fear. (3) Therefore, it will be more useful for us if we foresee the possibility that we may fall than if we presume that we cannot fall. For in anticipating a fall we will be fearful, and if fearful we will take care, and if we take care we shall be safe.” (Page 131)
“Patience has been given such pre-eminence in matters pertaining to God that no one can fulfill any precept or perform any work pleasing to the Lord without patience.” (Page 194)
“The real cause of the persecution is the act of God’s will, choosing that there be a trial of faith; then there follows evil on the part of the Devil as the chosen instrument of persecution which is the proximate cause of the trial of faith. For, in other respects, too, in so far as evil is the rival of justice, to that extent it provides material to give testimony of that of which it is a rival, and so, justice may be said to be perfected in injustice, as strength is perfected in weakness.1 For the weak things of the world are chosen by God that the strong may be put to shame, and the foolish things of this world to put to shame its wisdom.2 Thus, even evil may be used that justice may be glorified when evil is put to shame.” (Page 278)
Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus (c. 160–c. 220 AD), was a prolific early Christian author from Carthage in the Roman province of Africa. He is the first Christian author to produce an extensive corpus of Latin Christian literature. He also was a notable early Christian apologist and a polemicist against heresy. Tertullian has been called “the father of Latin Christianity” and “the founder of Western theology.”