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ANF03. Latin Christianity: Its Founder, Tertullian
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Chapter XXV.—St. John, in the Apocalypse, Equally Explicit in Asserting the Same Great Doctrine.

In the Revelation of John, again, the order of these times is spread out to view, which “the souls of the martyrs” are taught to wait for beneath the altar, whilst they earnestly pray to be avenged and judged:74557455    Rev. vi. 9, 10. (taught, I say, to wait), in order that the world may first drink to the dregs the plagues that await it out of the vials of the angels,74567456    Rev. xvi. and that the city of fornication may receive from the ten kings its deserved doom,74577457    Rev. xviii. and that the beast Antichrist with his false prophet may wage war on the Church of God; and that, after the casting of the devil into the bottomless pit for a while,74587458    Rev. xx. 2. the blessed prerogative of the first resurrection may be ordained from the thrones;74597459    Vers. 4–6. and then again, after the consignment of him to the fire, that the judgment of the final and universal resurrection may be determined out of the books.74607460    Vers. 12–14. Since, then, the Scriptures both indicate the stages of the last times, and concentrate the harvest of the Christian hope in the very end of the world, it is evident, either that all which God promises to us receives its accomplishment then, and thus what the heretics pretend about a resurrection here falls to the ground; or else, even allowing that a confession of the mystery (of divine truth) is a resurrection, that there is, without any detriment to this view, room for believing in that which is announced for the end. It moreover follows, that the very maintenance of this spiritual resurrection amounts to a presumption in favour of the other bodily resurrection; for if none were announced for that time, there would be fair ground for asserting only this purely spiritual resurrection. Inasmuch, however, as (a resurrection) is proclaimed for the last time, it is proved to be a bodily one, because there is no spiritual one also then announced. For why make a second announcement of a resurrection of only one character, that is, the spiritual one, since this ought to be undergoing accomplishment either now, without any regard to different times, or else then, at the very conclusion of all the periods? It is therefore more competent for us even to maintain a spiritual resurrection at the commencement of a life of faith, who acknowledge the full completion thereof at the end of the world.


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