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ANF04. Fathers of the Third Century: Tertullian, Part Fourth; Minucius Felix; Commodian; Origen, Parts First and Second
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Chapter II.—The Spiritualists Vindicated from the Charge of Novelty.

And so they upbraid the discipline of monogamy with being a heresy; nor is there any other cause whence they find themselves compelled to deny the Paraclete more than the fact that they esteem Him to be the institutor of a novel discipline, and a discipline which they find most harsh:  so that this is already the first ground on which we must join issue in a general handling (of the subject), whether there is room for maintaining that the Paraclete has taught any such thing as can either be charged with novelty, in opposition to catholic tradition,581581    Comp. 1 Cor. xi. 2; 2 Thess. ii. 15; iii. 6.  Comp. the Gr. text and the Vulg. in locis. or with burdensomeness, in opposition to the “light burden”582582    See Matt. xi. 30. of the Lord.

Now concerning each point the Lord Himself has pronounced.  For in saying, “I still have many things to say unto you, but ye are not yet able to bear them:  when the Holy Spirit shall be come, He will lead you into all truth,”583583    John xvi. 12, 13.  Tertullian’s rendering is not verbatim. He sufficiently, of course, sets before us that He will bring such (teachings) as may be esteemed alike novel, as having never before been published, and finally burdensome, as if that were the reason why they were not published.  “It follows,” you say, “that by this line of argument, anything you please which is novel and burdensome may be ascribed to the Paraclete, even if it have come from the adversary spirit.”  No, of course.  For the adversary spirit would be apparent from the diversity of his preaching, beginning by adulterating the rule of faith, and so (going on to) adulterating the order of discipline; because the corruption of that which holds the first grade, (that is, of faith, which is prior to discipline,) comes first.  A man must of necessity hold heretical views of God first, and then of His institution.  But the Paraclete, having many things to teach fully which the Lord deferred till He came, (according to the pre-definition,) will begin by bearing emphatic witness to Christ, (as being) such as we believe (Him to be), together with the whole order of God the Creator, and will glorify Him,584584    See John xvi. 14. and will “bring to remembrance” concerning Him.  And when He has thus been recognised (as the promised Comforter), on the ground of the cardinal rule, He will reveal those “many things” which appertain to disciplines; while the integrity of His preaching commands credit for these (revelations), albeit they be “novel,” inasmuch as they are now in course of revelation, albeit they be “burdensome,” inasmuch as not even now are they found bearable:  (revelations), however, of none other Christ than (the One) who said that He had withal “other many things” which were to be fully taught by the Paraclete, no less burdensome to men of our own day than to them, by whom they were then “not yet able to be borne.”


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