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Of Patience by Tertullian

Chapter VI.--Patience Both Antecedent and Subsequent to Faith.

Accordingly it is patience which is both subsequent and antecedent to faith. In short, Abraham believed God, and was accredited by Him with righteousness; but it was patience which proved his faith, when he was bidden to immolate his son, with a view to (I would not say the temptation, but) the typical attestation of his faith. But God knew whom He had accredited with righteousness. So heavy a precept, the perfect execution whereof was not even pleasing to the Lord, he patiently both heard, and (if God had willed) would have fulfilled. Deservedly then was he |blessed,| because he was |faithful;| deservedly |faithful,| because |patient.| So faith, illumined by patience, when it was becoming propagated among the nations through |Abraham's seed, which is Christ,| and was superinducing grace over the law, made patience her pre-eminent coadjutrix for amplifying and fulfilling the law, because that alone had been lacking unto the doctrine of righteousness. For men were of old wont to require |eye for eye, and tooth for tooth| and to repay with usury |evil with evil;| for, as yet, patience was not on earth, because faith was not either. Of course, meantime, impatience used to enjoy the opportunities which the law gave. That was easy, while the Lord and Master of patience was absent. But after He has supervened, and has united the grace of faith with patience, now it is no longer lawful to assail even with word, nor to say |fool| even, without |danger of the judgment.| Anger has been prohibited, our spirits retained, the petulance of the hand checked, the poison of the tongue extracted. The law has found more than it has lost, while Christ says, |Love your personal enemies, and bless your cursers, and pray for your persecutors, that ye may be sons of your heavenly Father.| Do you see whom patience gains for us as a Father? In this principal precept the universal discipline of patience is succinctly comprised, since evil-doing is not conceded even when it is deserved.
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