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SermonIndex.net : Christian Books : Chapter XXVI.--From St. Luke's Eleventh Chapter Other Evidence that Christ Comes from the Creator The Lord's Prayer and Other Words of Christ. The Dumb Spirit and Christ's Discourse on Occasion of the Expulsion. The Exclamation of the Woman in the Crowd.

The Five Books Against Marcion by Tertullian

Chapter XXVI.--From St. Luke's Eleventh Chapter Other Evidence that Christ Comes from the Creator The Lord's Prayer and Other Words of Christ. The Dumb Spirit and Christ's Discourse on Occasion of the Expulsion. The Exclamation of the Woman in the Crowd.

When in a certain place he had been praying to that Father above, looking up with insolent and audacious eyes to the heaven of the Creator, by whom in His rough and cruel nature he might have been crushed with hail and lightning -- just as it was by Him contrived that he was (afterwards) attached to a cross at Jerusalem -- one of his disciples came to him and said, |Master, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.| This he said, forsooth, because he thought that different prayers were required for different gods! Now, he who had advanced such a conjecture as this should first show that another god had been proclaimed by Christ. For nobody would have wanted to know how to pray, before he had learned whom he was to pray to. If, however, he had already learned this, prove it. If you find nowhere any proof, let me tell you that it was to the Creator that he asked for instruction in prayer, to whom John's disciples also used to pray. But, inasmuch as John had introduced some new order of prayer, this disciple had not improperly presumed to think that he ought also to ask of Christ whether they too must not (according to some special rule of their Master) pray, not indeed to another god, but in another manner. Christ accordingly would not have taught His disciple prayer before He had given him the knowledge of God Himself. Therefore what He actually taught was prayer to Him whom the disciple had already known. In short, you may discover in the import of the prayer what God is addressed therein. To whom can I say, |Father?| To him who had nothing to do with making me, from whom I do not derive my origin? Or to Him, who, by making and fashioning me, became my parent? Of whom can I ask for His Holy Spirit? Of him who gives not even the mundane spirit; or of Him |who maketh His angels spirits,| and whose Spirit it was which in the beginning hovered upon the waters. Whose kingdom shall I wish to come -- his, of whom I never heard as the king of glory; or His, in whose hand are even the hearts of kings? Who shall give me my daily bread? Shall it be he who produces for me not a grain of millet-seed; or He who even from heaven gave to His people day by day the bread of angels? Who shall forgive me my trespasses? He who, by refusing to judge them, does not retain them; or He who, unless He forgives them, will retain them, even to His judgment? Who shall suffer us not to be led into temptation? He before whom the tempter will never be able to tremble; or He who from the beginning has beforehand condemned the angel tempter? If any one, with such a form, invokes another god and not the Creator, he does not pray; he only blasphemes. In like manner, from whom must I ask that I may receive? Of whom seek, that I may find? To whom knock, that it may be opened to me? Who has to give to him that asks, but He to whom all things belong, and whose am I also that am the asker? What, however, have I lost before that other god, that I should seek of him and find it. If it be wisdom and prudence, it is the Creator who has hidden them. Shall I resort to him, then, in quest of them? If it be health and life, they are at the disposal of the Creator. Nor must anything be sought and found anywhere else than there, where it is kept in secret that it may come to light. So, again, at no other door will I knock than at that out of which my privilege has reached me. In fine, if to receive, and to find, and to be admitted, is the fruit of labour and earnestness to him who has asked, and sought, and knocked, understand that these duties have been enjoined, and results promised, by the Creator. As for that most excellent god of yours, coming as he professes gratuitously to help man, who was not his (creature), he could not have imposed upon him any labour, or (endowed him with) any earnestness. For he would by this time cease to be the most excellent god, were he not spontaneously to give to every one who does not ask, and permit every one who seeks not to find, and open to every one who does not knock. The Creator, on the contrary, was able to proclaim these duties and rewards by Christ, in order that man, who by sinning had offended his God, might toil on (in his probation), and by his perseverance in asking might receive, and in seeking might find, and in knocking might enter. Accordingly, the preceding similitude represents the man who went at night and begged for the loaves, in the light of a friend and not a stranger, and makes him knock at a friend's house and not at a stranger's. But even if he has offended, man is more of a friend with the Creator than with the god of Marcion. At His door, therefore, does he knock to whom he had the right of access; whose gate he had found; whom he knew to possess bread; in bed now with His children, whom He had willed to be born. Even though the knocking is late in the day, it is yet the Creator's time. To Him belongs the latest hour who owns an entire age and the end thereof. As for the new god, however, no one could have knocked at his door late, for he has hardly yet seen the light of morning. It is the Creator, who once shut the door to the Gentiles, which was then knocked at by the Jews, that both rises and gives, if not now to man as a friend, yet not as a stranger, but, as He says, |because of his importunity.| Importunate, however, the recent god could not have permitted any one to be in the short time (since his appearance). Him, therefore, whom you call the Creator recognise also as |Father.| It is even He who knows what His children require. For when they asked for bread, He gave them manna from heaven; and when they wanted flesh, He sent them abundance of quails -- not a serpent for a fish, nor for an egg a scorpion. It will, however, appertain to Him not to give evil instead of good, who has both one and the other in His power. Marcion's god, on the contrary, not having a scorpion, was unable to refuse to give what he did not possess; only He (could do so), who, having a scorpion, yet gives it not. In like manner, it is He who will give the Holy Spirit, at whose command is also the unholy spirit. When He cast out the |demon which was dumb| (and by a cure of this sort verified Isaiah), and having been charged with casting out demons by Beelzebub, He said, |If I by Beelzebub cast out demons, by whom do your sons cast them out?| By such a question what does He otherwise mean, than that He ejects the spirits by the same power by which their sons also did -- that is, by the power of the Creator? For if you suppose the meaning to be, |If I by Beelzebub, etc., by whom your sons?| -- as if He would reproach them with having the power of Beelzebub, -- you are met at once by the preceding sentence, that |Satan cannot be divided against himself.| So that it was not by Beelzebub that even they were casting out demons, but (as we have said) by the power of the Creator; and that He might make this understood, He adds: |But if I with the finger of God cast out demons, is not the kingdom of God come near unto you?| For the magicians who stood before Pharaoh and resisted Moses called the power of the Creator |the finger of God.| It was the finger of God, because it was a sign that even a thing of weakness was yet abundant in strength. This Christ also showed, when, recalling to notice (and not obliterating) those ancient wonders which were really His own, He said that the power of God must be understood to be the finger of none other God than Him, under whom it had received this appellation. His kingdom, therefore, was come near to them, whose power was called His |finger.| Well, therefore, did He connect with the parable of |the strong man armed,| whom |a stronger man still overcame,| the prince of the demons, whom He had already called Beelzebub and Satan; signifying that it was he who was overcome by the finger of God, and not that the Creator had been subdued by another god. Besides, how could His kingdom be still standing, with its boundaries, and laws, and functions, whom, even if the whole world were left entire to Him, Marcion's god could possibly seem to have overcome as |the stronger than He,| if it were not in consequence of His law that even Marcionites were constantly dying, by returning in their dissolution to the ground, and were so often admonished by even a scorpion, that the Creator had by no means been overcome? |A (certain) mother of the company exclaims, Blessed is the womb that bare Thee, and the paps which Thou hast sucked;' but the Lord said, Yea, rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.'| Now He had in precisely similar terms rejected His mother or His brethren, whilst preferring those who heard and obeyed God. His mother, however, was not here present with Him. On that former occasion, therefore, He had not denied that He was her son by birth. On hearing this (salutation) the second time, He the second time transferred, as He had done before, the |blessedness| to His disciples from the womb and the paps of His mother, from whom, however, unless He had in her (a real mother) He could not have transferred it.
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