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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 XIX.

And if, further, temples are to be compared with temples, that we may prove to those who accept the opinions of Celsus that we do not object to the erection of temples suited to the images and altars of which we have spoken, but that we do refuse to build lifeless temples to the Giver of all life, let any one who chooses learn how we are taught, that our bodies are the temple of God, and that if any one by lust or sin defiles the temple of God, he will himself be destroyed, as acting impiously towards the true temple.  Of all the temples spoken of in this sense, the best and most excellent was the pure and holy body of our Saviour Jesus Christ.  When He knew that wicked men might aim at the destruction of the temple of God in Him, but that their purposes of destruction would not prevail against the divine power which had built that temple, He says to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it again.…This He said of the temple of His body.”48784878    John ii. 19, 21.  And in other parts of holy Scripture where it speaks of the mystery of the resurrection to those whose ears are divinely opened, it says that the temple which has been destroyed shall be built up again of living and most precious stones, thereby giving us to understand that each of those who are led by the word of God to strive together in the duties of piety, will be a precious stone in the one great temple of God.  Accordingly, Peter says, “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ;”48794879    1 Pet. ii. 5. and Paul also says, “Being built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ our Lord being the chief cornerstone.”48804880    Eph. ii. 20.  And there is a similar hidden allusion in this passage in Isaiah, which is addressed to Jerusalem:  “Behold, I will lay thy stones with carbuncles, and lay thy foundations with sapphires.  And I will make thy battlements of jasper, and thy gates of crystal, and all thy borders of pleasant stones.  And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children.  In righteousness shalt thou be established.”48814881    Isa. liv. 11–14.


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