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ANF02. Fathers of the Second Century: Hermas, Tatian, Athenagoras, Theophilus, and Clement of Alexandria (Entire)
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Chapter IV.—The Christians Worship God Alone.

For what reason, men of Greece, do you wish to bring the civil powers, as in a pugilistic encounter, into collision with us? And, if I am not disposed to comply with the usages of some of them, why am I to be abhorred as a vile miscreant?426426    [Dear Christians of those times; so Justin and all the rest appeal against this odium. Their name an offence, “cast out as evil,” but fragrant with unrequited love. Matt. x. 22–39.] Does the sovereign order the payment of tribute, I am ready to render it. Does my master command me to act as a bondsman and to serve, I acknowledge the serfdom. Man is to be honoured as a fellow-man;427427    [1 Pet. ii. 17. This claim for man as man is the inspiration of Christianity. Terence breathes it from his wounded soul in slavery; and his immortal line, “Homo sum: humani nihil a me alienum puto” (Hæuntontimor., act. i. sc. 1, verse 25), looks as if it had been written in the second century of illumination.] God alone is to be feared,—He who is not visible to human eyes, nor comes within the compass of human art. Only when I am commanded to deny Him, will I not obey, but will rather die than show myself false and ungrateful. Our God did not begin to be in time:428428    [Kaye’s Justin, pp. 56, 158.] He alone is without beginning, and He Himself is the beginning of all things. God is a Spirit,429429    John iv. 24. not pervading matter, but the Maker of material spirits,430430    [Over again Tatian asserts spirits to be material, though not fleshly; and I think with reference to 1 Cor. xv. 44.] and of the forms that are in matter; He is invisible, impalpable, being Himself the Father of both sensible and invisible things. Him we know from His creation, and apprehend His invisible power by His works.431431    Rom. i. 20. I refuse to adore that workmanship which He has made for our sakes. The sun and moon were made for us: how, then, can I adore my own servants? How can I speak of stocks and stones as gods? For the Spirit that pervades matter432432    [Over again Tatian asserts spirits to be material, though not fleshly; and I think with reference to 1 Cor. xv. 44.] is inferior to the more divine spirit; and this, even when assimilated to the soul, is not to be honoured equally with the perfect God. Nor even ought the ineffable God to be presented with gifts; for He who is in want of nothing is not to be misrepresented by us as though He were indigent. But I will set forth our views more distinctly.


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