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ANF03. Latin Christianity: Its Founder, Tertullian
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Chapter XIII.—Of Bodily Patience.

Thus far, finally, of patience simple and uniform, and as it exists merely in the mind:  though in many forms likewise I labour after it in body, for the purpose of “winning the Lord;”91509150    Phil. iii. 8. inasmuch as it is a quality which has been exhibited by the Lord Himself in bodily virtue as well; if it is true that the ruling mind easily communicates the gifts91519151    “Invecta,” generally = "movables", household furniture. of the Spirit with its bodily habitation. What, therefore, is the business of Patience in the body? In the first place, it is the affliction91529152    Or, mortification, “adflictatio.” of the flesh—a victim91539153    i.e. fleshly mortification is a “victim,” etc. able to appease the Lord by means of the sacrifice of humiliation—in making a libation to the Lord of sordid91549154    Or, “mourning.” Comp. de Pæn. c. 9. raiment, together with scantiness of food, content with simple diet and the pure drink of water91559155    [The “water vs. wine” movement is not a discovery of our own times. “Drink a little wine,” said St. Paul medicinally; but (as a great and good divine once remarked) “we must not lay stress on the noun, but the adjective; let it be very little.”] in conjoining fasts to all this; in inuring herself to sackcloth and ashes.  This bodily patience adds a grace to our prayers for good, a strength to our prayers against evil; this opens the ears of Christ our God,91569156    Christi dei. dissipates severity, elicits clemency.  Thus that Babylonish king,91579157    Dan. iv. 33–37. Comp. de Pæn. c. 12. [I have removed an ambiguity by slightly touching the text here.] after being exiled from human form in his seven years’ squalor and neglect, because he had offended the Lord; by the bodily immolation of patience not only recovered his kingdom, but—what is more to be desired by a man—made satisfaction to God. Further, if we set down in order the higher and happier grades of bodily patience, (we find that) it is she who is entrusted by holiness with the care of continence of the flesh: she keeps the widow,91589158    1 Tim. v. 3, 9, 10; 1 Cor. vii. 39, 40. and sets on the virgin the seal91599159    1 Cor. vii. 34, 35. and raises the self-made eunuch to the realms of heaven.91609160    Matt. xix. 12. That which springs from a virtue of the mind is perfected in the flesh; and, finally, by the patience of the flesh, does battle under persecution.  If flight press hard, the flesh wars with91619161    Ad. It seems to mean flesh has strength given it, by patience, to meet the hardships of the flight. Compare the πρὸς πλησμονὴν τῆς σαρκὸς, of St. Paul in Col. ii. 23. [Kaye compares this with the De Fuga, as proof of the author’s freedom from Montanism, when this was written.] the inconvenience of flight; if imprisonment overtake91629162    Præveniat: “prevent” us, before we have time to flee. us, the flesh (still was) in bonds, the flesh in the gyve, the flesh in solitude,91639163    Solo. and in that want of light, and in that patience of the world’s misusage.91649164    [Elucidation III.] When, however, it is led forth unto the final proof of happiness,91659165    i.e. martyrdom. unto the occasion of the second baptism,91669166    Comp. Luke xii. 50. unto the act of ascending the divine seat, no patience is more needed there than bodily patience. If the “spirit is willing, but the flesh,” without patience, “weak,”91679167    Matt. xxvi. 41. where, save in patience, is the safety of the spirit, and of the flesh itself?  But when the Lord says this about the flesh, pronouncing it “weak,” He shows what need there is of strengthening, it—that is by patience—to meet91689168    “Adversus,” like the “ad” above, note 21, p. 713. every preparation for subverting or punishing faith; that it may bear with all constancy stripes, fire, cross, beasts, sword; all which prophets and apostles, by enduring, conquered!


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