On Fasting - Tertullian
Translated by the Rev. S. Thelwall.
Text edited by Rev. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson and
first published by T&T Clark in Edinburgh in 1867. Additional
introductionary material and notes provided for the American
edition by A. Cleveland Coxe, 1886.
VIII. On Fasting.  In Opposition to the Psychics.
Chapter I. Connection of Gluttony and Lust. Grounds of Psychical Objections
Against the Montanists.
I should wonder at the Psychics, if they were enthralled to voluptuousness
alone, which leads them to repeated marriages, if they were not likewise
bursting with gluttony, which leads them to hate fasts. Lust without
voracity would certainly be considered a monstrous phenomenon; since these
two are so united and concrete, that, had there been any possibility of
disjoining them, the pudenda would not have been affixed to the belly itself
rather than elsewhere. Look at the body: the region (of these members) is
one and the same. In short, the order of the vices is proportionate to the
arrangement of the members. First, the belly; and then immediately the
materials of all other species of lasciviousness are laid subordinately to
daintiness: through love of eating, love of impurity finds passage. I
recognise, therefore, animal  faith by its care of the flesh (of which
it wholly consists)'as prone to manifold feeding as to manifold marrying'so
that it deservedly accuses the spiritual discipline, which according to its
ability opposes it, in this species of continence as well; imposing, as it
does, reins upon the appetite, through taking, sometimes no meals, or late
meals, or dry meals, just as upon lust, through allowing but one marriage.
It is really irksome to engage with such: one is really ashamed to wrangle
about subjects the very defence of which is offensive to modesty. For how am
I to protect chastity and sobriety without taxing their adversaries? What
those adversaries are I will once for all mention: they are the exterior and
interior botuli of the Psychics. It is these which raise controversy with
the Paraclete; it is on this account that the New Prophecies are rejected:
not that Montanus and Priscilla and Maximilla preach another God, nor that
they disjoin Jesus Christ (from God), nor that they overturn any particular
rule of faith or hope, but that they plainly teach more frequent fasting
than marrying. Concerning the limit of marrying, we have already published a
defence of monogamy.  Now our battle is the battle of the secondary
(or rather the primary) continence, in regard of the chastisement of diet.
They charge us with keeping fasts of our own; with prolonging our Stations
generally into the evening; with observing xerophagies likewise, keeping our
food unmoistened by any flesh, and by any juiciness, and by any kind of
specially succulent fruit; and with not eating or drinking anything with a
winey flavour; also with abstinence from the bath, congruent with our dry
diet. They are therefore constantly reproaching us with Novelty; concerning
the unlawfulness of which they lay down a prescriptive rule, that either it
must be adjudged heresy, if (the point in dispute) is a human presumption;
or else pronounced pseudo-prophecy, if it is a spiritual declaration;
provided that, either way, we who reclaim hear (sentence of) anathema.
Chapter II. Arguments of the Psychics, Drawn from the Law, the Gospel, the
Acts, the Epistles, and Heathenish Practices.
For, so far as pertains to fasts, they oppose to us the definite days
appointed by God: as when, in Leviticus, the Lord enjoins upon Moses the
tenth day of the seventh month (as) a day of atonement, saying, "Holy shall
be to you the day, and ye shall vex your souls; and every soul which shall
not have been vexed in that day shall be exterminated from his people."
 At all events, in the Gospel they think that those days were
definitely appointed for fasts in which "the Bridegroom was taken away; "
 and that these are now the only legitimate days for Christian fasts,
the legal and prophetical antiquities having been abolished: for wherever it
suits their wishes, they recognise what is the meaning of" the Law and the
prophets until John."  Accordingly, (they think) that, with regard to
the future, fasting was to be indifferently observed, by the New Discipline,
of choice, not of command, according to the times and needs of each
individual: that this, withal, had been the observance of the apostles,
imposing (as they did) no other yoke of definite fasts to be observed by all
generally, nor similarly of Stations either, which (they think) have withal
days of their own (the fourth and sixth days of the week), but yet take a
wide range according to individual judgment, neither subject to the law of a
given precept, nor (to be protracted) beyond the last hour of the day, since
even prayers the ninth hour generally concludes, after Peter's example,
which is recorded in the Acts. Xerophagies, however, (they consider) the
novel name of a studied duty, and very much akin to heathenish superstition,
like the abstemious rigours which purify an Apis, an Isis, and a Magna
Mater, by a restriction laid upon certain kinds of food; whereas faith, free
in Christ,  owes no abstinence from particular meats to the Jewish Law
even, admitted as it has been by the apostle once for all to the whole range
of the meat-market  '(the apostle, I say), that detester of such as,
in like manner as they prohibit marrying, so bid us abstain from meats
created by God.  And accordingly (they think) us to have been even
then prenoted as "in the latest times departing from the faith, giving heed
to spirits which seduce the world, having a conscience inburnt with
doctrines of liars."  (Inburnt?) With what fires, prithee? The
fires, I ween, which lead us to repeated contracting of nuptials and daily
cooking of dinners! Thus, too, they affirm that we share with the Galatians
the piercing rebuke (of the apostle), as "observers of days, and of months,
and of years."  Meantime they huff in our teeth the fact that Isaiah
withal has authoritatively declared, "Not such a fast hath the Lord
elected," that is, not abstinence from food, but the works of righteousness,
which he there appends:  and that the Lord Himself in the Gospel has
given a compendious answer to every kind of scrupulousness in regard to
food; "that not by such things as are introduced into the mouth is a man
defiled, but by such as are produced out of the mouth; "  while
Himself withal was wont to eat and drink till He made Himself noted thus;
"Behold, a gormandizer and a drinker: "  (finally), that so, too,
does the apostle teach that "food commendeth us not to God; since we neither
abound if we eat, nor lack if we eat not." 
By the instrumentalities of these and similar passages, they subtlely tend
at last to such a point, that every one who is somewhat prone to appetite
finds it possible to regard as superfluous, and not so very necessary, the
duties of abstinence from, or diminution or delay of, food, since "God,"
forsooth, "prefers the works of justice and of innocence." And we know the
quality of the hortatory addresses of carnal conveniences, how easy it is to
say, "I must believe with my whole heart;  I must love God, and my
neighbour as myself:  for 'on these two precepts the whole Law
hangeth, and the prophets, 'not on the emptiness of my lungs and
Chapter III. The Principle of Fasting Traced Back to Its Earliest Source.
Accordingly we are bound to affirm, before proceeding further, this
(principle), which is in danger of being secretly subverted; (namely), of
what value in the sight of God this "emptiness" you speak of is: and, first
of all, whence has proceeded the rationale itself of earning the favour of
God in this way. For the necessity of the observance will then be
acknowledged, when the authority of a rationale, to be dated back from the
very beginning, shall have shone out to view.
Adam had received from God the law of not tasting "of the tree of
recognition of good and evil," with the doom of death to ensue upon
tasting.  However, even (Adam) himself at that time, reverting to
the condition of a Psychic after the spiritual ecstasy in which he had
prophetically interpreted that "great sacrament"  with reference to
Christ and the Church, and no longer being "capable of the things which were
the Spirit's,"  yielded more readily to his belly than to God,
heeded the meat rather than the mandate, and sold salvation for his gullet!
He ate, in short, and perished; saved (as he would) else (have been), if he
had preferred to fast from one little tree: so that, even from this early
date, animal faith may recognise its own seed, deducing from thence onward
its appetite for carnalities and rejection of spiritualities. I hold,
therefore, that from the very beginning the murderous gullet was to be
punished with the torments and penalties of hunger. Even if God had enjoined
no preceptive fasts, still, by pointing out the source whence Adam was
slain, He who had demonstrated the offence had left to; my intelligence the
remedies for the offence. Unbidden, I would, in such ways and at such times
as I might have been able, have habitually accounted food as poison, and
taken the antidote, hunger; through which to purge the primordial cause of
death'a cause transmitted to me also, concurrently with my very generation;
certain that God willed that whereof He nilled the contrary, and confident
enough that the care of continence will be pleasing to Him by whom I should
have understood that the crime of incontinence had been condemned. Further:
since He Himself both commands fasting, and calls "a soul  wholly
shattered "'properly, of course, by straits of diet'" a sacrifice; "who will
any longer doubt that of all dietary macerations the rationale has been
this, that by a renewed interdiction of food and observation of precept the
primordial sin might now be expiated, in order that man may make God
satisfaction through the self-same causative material through which he had
offended, that is, through interdiction of food; and thus, in emulous wise,
hunger might rekindle, just as satiety had extinguished, salvation,
contemning for the sake of one unlawful more lawful (gratifications)?
Chapter IV. The Objection is Raised, Why, Then, Was the Limit of Lawful Food
Extended After the Flood? the Answer to It.
This rationale was constantly kept in the eye of the providence of
God'modulating all things, as He does, to suit the exigencies of the
times'lest any from the opposite side, with the view of demolishing our
proposition, should say: "Why, in that case, did not God forthwith institute
some definite restriction upon food? nay, rather, why did He withal enlarge
His permission? For, at the beginning indeed, it had only been the food of
herbs and trees which He had assigned to man: 'Behold, I have given you all
grass fit for sowing, seeding seed, which is upon the earth; and every tree
which hath in itself the fruit of seed fit for sowing shall be to you for
food.'  Afterwards, however, after enumerating to Noah the
subjection (to him) of 'all beasts of the earth, and fowls of the heaven,
and things moving on earth, and the fish of the sea, and every creeping
thing, 'He says, 'They shall be to you for food: just like grassy vegetables
have I given (them) you universally: but flesh in the blood of its own soul
shall ye not eat.'  For even by this very fact, that He exempts from
eating that flesh only the 'soul' of which is not out-shed through 'blood,
'it is manifest that He has conceded the use of all other flesh." To this we
reply, that it was not suitable for man to be burdened with any further
special law of abstinence, who so recently showed himself unable to tolerate
so light an interdiction'of one single fruit, to wit; that, accordingly,
having had the rein relaxed, he was to be strengthened by his very liberty;
that equally after the deluge, in the reformation of the human race, (as
before it), one law'of abstaining from blood'was sufficient, the use of all
things else being allowed. For the Lord had already shown His judgment
through the deluge; had, moreover, likewise issued a comminatory warning
through the "requisition of blood from the hand of a brother, and from the
hand of every beast."  And thus, preministering the justice of
judgment, He issued the materials of liberty; preparing through allowance an
undergrowth of discipline; permitting all things, with a view to take some
away; meaning to "exact more" if He had "committed more; "  to
command abstinence since He had foresent indulgence: in order that (as we
have said) the primordial sin might be the more expiated by the operation of
a greater abstinence in the (midst of the) opportunity of a greater licence.
Chapter V. Proceeding to the History of Israel, Tertullian Shows that
Appetite Was as Conspicuous Among Their Sins as in Adam's Case. Therefore
the Restraints of the Levitical Law Were Imposed.
At length, when a familiar people began to be chosen by God to Himself, and
the restoration of man was able to be essayed, then all the laws and
disciplines were imposed, even such as curtailed food; certain things being
prohibited as unclean, in order that man, by observing a perpetual
abstinence in certain particulars, might at last the more easily tolerate
absolute fasts. For the first People had withal reproduced the first man's
crime, being found more prone to their belly than to God, when, plucked out
from the harshness of Egyptian servitude "by the mighty hand and sublime
arm"  of God, they were seen to be its lord, destined to the "land
flowing with milk and honey;  but forthwith, stumbled at the
surrounding spectacle of an incopious desert sighing after the lost
enjoyments of Egyptian satiety, they murmured against Moses and Aaron "Would
that we had been smitten to the heart by the Lord, and perished in the land
of Egypt, when we were wont to sit over our jars of flesh and eat bread unto
the full! How leddest thou us out into these deserts, to kill this assembly
by famine? "  From the self-same belly preference were they destined
(at last) to deplore  (the fate of) the self-same leaden of their
own and eye-witnesses of (the power of) God, whom, by their regretful
hankering after flesh, and their recollection of their Egyptian plenties,
they were ever exacerbating: "Who shall feed us with flesh? here have come
into our mind the fish which in Egypt we were wont to eat freely, and the
cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlic.
But now our soul is arid nought save manna do our eyes see!"  Thus
used they, too, (like the Psychics), to find the angelic bread  of
xerophagy displeasing: they preferred the fragrance of garlic and onion to
that of heaven. And therefore from men so ungrateful all that was more
pleasing and appetizing was withdrawn, for the sake at once of punishing
gluttony and exercising continence, that the former might be condemned, the
latter practically learned.
Chapter VI. The Physical Tendencies of Fasting and Feeding Considered. The
Cases of Moses and Elijah.
Now, if there has been temerity in our retracing to primordial experiences
the reasons for God's having laid, and our duty (for the sake of God) to
lay, restrictions upon food, let us consult common conscience. Nature
herself will plainly tell with what qualities she is ever wont to find us
endowed when she sets us, before taking food and drink, with our saliva
still in a virgin state, to the transaction of matters, by the sense
especially whereby things divine are, handled; whether (it be not) with a
mind much more vigorous, with a heart much more alive, than when that whole
habitation of our interior man, stuffed with meats, inundated with wines,
fermenting for the purpose of excremental secretion, is already being turned
into a premeditatory of privies, (a premeditatory) where, plainly, nothing
is so proximately supersequent as the savouring of lasciviousness. "The
people did eat and drink, and they arose to play."  Understand the
modest language of Holy Scripture: "play," unless it had been immodest, it
would not have reprehended. On the other hand, how many are there who are
mindful of religion, when the seats of the memory are occupied, the limbs of
wisdom impeded? No one will suitably, fitly, usefully, remember God at that
time when it is customary for a man to forget his own self. All discipline
food either slays or else wounds. I am a liar, if the Lord Himself, when
upbraiding Israel with forgetfulness, does not impute the cause to "fulness:
"" (My) beloved is waxen thick, and fat, and distent, and hath quite
forsaken God, who made him, and hath gone away from the Lord his Saviour."
 In short, in the Self-same Deuteronomy, when bidding precaution to be
taken against the self-same cause, He says: "Lest, when thou shalt have
eaten, and drunken, and built excellent houses, thy sheep and oxen being
multiplied, and (thy) silver and gold, thy heart be elated, and thou be
forgetful of the Lord thy God."  To the corrupting power of riches
He made the enormity of edacity antecedent, for which riches themselves are
the procuring agents.  Through them, to wit, had "the heart of the
People been made thick, lest they should see with the eyes, and hear with
the ears, and understand with a heart"  obstructed by the "fats" of
which He had expressly forbidden the eating,  teaching man not to be
studious of the stomach. 
On the other hand, he whose "heart" was habitually found "lifted up"
 rather than fattened up, who in forty days and as many nights
maintained a fast above the power of human nature, while spiritual faith
subministered strength (to his body),  both saw with his eyes God's
glory, and heard with his ears God's voice, and understood with his heart
God's law: while He taught him even then (by experience) that man liveth not
upon bread alone, but upon every word of God; in that the People, though
fatter than he, could not constantly contemplate even Moses himself, fed as
he had been upon God, nor his leanness, sated as it had been with His
glory!  Deservedly, therefore, even while in the flesh, did the Lord
show Himself to him, the colleague of His own fasts, no less than to
Elijah.  For Elijah withal had, by this fact primarily, that he had
imprecated a famine,  already sufficiently devoted himself to fasts:
"The Lord liveth," he said, "before whom I am standing in His sight, if
there shall be dew in these years, and rain-shower."  Subsequently,
fleeing from threatening Jezebel, after one single (meal of) food and drink,
which he had found on being awakened by an angel, he too himself, in a space
of forty days and nights, his belly empty, his mouth dry, arrived at Mount
Horeb; where, when he had made a cave his inn, with how familiar a meeting
with God was he received!  "What (doest) thou, Elijah, here? "
 Much more friendly was this voice than, "Adam, where art thou? "
 For the latter voice was uttering a threat to a fed man, the former
soothing a fasting one. Such is the prerogative of circumscribed food, that
it makes God tent-fellow  with man'peer, in truth, with peer! For if
the eternal God will not hunger, as He testifies through Isaiah, 
this will be the time for man to be made equal with God, when he lives
Chapter VII. Further Examples from the Old Testament in Favour of Fasting.
And thus we have already proceeded to examples, in order that, by its
profitable efficacy, we may unfold the powers of this duty which reconciles
God, even when angered, to man.
Israel, before their gathering together by Samuel on occasion of the drawing
of water at Mizpeh, had sinned; but so immediately do they wash away the sin
by a fast, that the peril of battle is dispersed by them simultaneously
(with the water on the ground). At the very moment when Samuel was offering
the holocaust (in no way do we learn that the clemency of God was more
procured than by the abstinence of the people), and the aliens were
advancing to battle, then and there "the Lord thundered with a mighty voice
upon the aliens, and they were thrown into confusion, and felt in a mass in
the sight of Israel; and the men of Israel went forth out of Mizpeh, and
pursued the aliens, and smote them unto Bethor,"'the unfed (chasing) the
fed, the unarmed the armed. Such will be the strength of them who "fast to
God."  For such, Heaven fights. You have (before you) a condition
upon which (divine) defence will be granted, necessary even to spiritual
Similarly, when the king of the Assyrians, Sennacherib, after already taking
several cities, was volleying blasphemies and menaces against Israel through
Rabshakeh, nothing else (but fasting) diverted him from his purpose, and
sent him into the Ethiopias. After that, what else swept away by the hand of
the angel an hundred eighty and four thousand from his army than Hezekiah
the king's humiliation? if it is true, (as it is), that on heating the
announcement of the harshness of the foe, he rent his garment, put on
sackcloth, and bade the elders of the priests, similarly habited, approach
God through Isaiah'fasting being, of course, the escorting attendant of
their prayers.  For peril has no time for food, nor sackcloth any
care for satiety's refinements. Hunger is ever the attendant of mourning,
just as gladness is an accessory of fulness.
Through this attendant of mourning, and (this) hunger, even that sinful
state, Nineveh, is freed from the predicted ruin. For repentance for sins
had sufficiently commended the fast, keeping it up in a space of three days,
starving out even the cattle with which God was not angry.  Sodom
also, and Gomorrah, would have escaped if they had fasted.  This
remedy even Ahab acknowledges. When, after his transgression and idolatry,
and the slaughter of Naboth, slain by Jezebel on account of his vineyard,
Elijah had upbraided him, "How hast thou killed, and possessed the
inheritance? In the place where dogs had licked up the blood of Naboth,
thine also shall they lick up,"'he "abandoned himself, and put sackcloth
upon his flesh, and fasted, and slept in sackcloth. And then (came) the word
of the Lord unto Elijah, Thou hast seen how Ahab hath shrunk in awe from my
face: for that he hath shrunk in awe I will not bring the hurt upon (him) in
his own days; but in the days of his son I will bring it upon (him)"'(his
son), who was not to fast.  Thus a God-ward fast is a work of
reverential awe: and by its means also Hannah the wife of Elkanah making
suit, barren as she had been beforetime, easily obtained from God the
filling of her belly, empty of food, with a son, ay, and a prophet. 
Nor is it merely change of nature, or aversion of perils, or obliteration of
sins, but likewise the recognition of mysteries, which fasts will merit from
God. Look at Daniel's example. About the dream of the King of Babylon all
the sophists are troubled: they affirm that, without external aid, it cannot
be discovered by human skill. Daniel alone, trusting to God, and knowing
what would tend to the deserving of God's favour, requires a space of three
days, fasts with his fraternity, and'his prayers thus commended'is
instructed throughout as to the order and signification of the dream;
quarter is granted to the tyrant's sophists; God is glorified; Daniel is
honoured; destined as he was to receive, even subsequently also, no less a
favour of God in the first year, of King Darius, when, after careful and
repeated meditation upon the times predicted by Jeremiah, he set his face to
God in fasts, and sackcloth, and ashes. For the angel, withal, sent to him,
immediately professed this to be the cause of the Divine approbation: "I am
come," he said, "to demonstrate to thee, since thou art pitiable" 
'by fasting, to wit. If to God he was "pitiable," to the lions in the den he
was formidable, where, six days fasting, he had breakfast provided him by an
Chapter VIII. Examples of a Similar Kind from the New.
We produce, too, our remaining (evidences). For we now hasten to modern
proofs. On the threshold of the Gospel,  Anna the prophetess,
daughter of Phanuel, "who both recognised the infant Lord, and preached many
things about Him to such as were expecting the redemption of Israel," after
the pre-eminent distinction of long-continued and single-husbanded
widowhood, is additionally graced with the testimony of "fastings" also;
pointing out, as she does, what the duties are which should characterize
attendants of the Church, and (pointing out, too, the fact) that Christ is
understood by none more than by the once married and often fasting.
By and by the Lord Himself consecrated His own baptism (and, in His own,
that of all) by fasts;  having (the power) to make "loaves out of
stones,"  say, to make Jordan flow with wine perchance, if He had
been such a "glutton and toper."  Nay, rather, by the virtue of
contemning food He was initiating "the new man" into "a severe handling" of
"the old,"  that He might show that (new man) to the devil, again
seeking to tempt him by means of food, (to be) too strong for the whole
power of hunger.
Thereafter He prescribed to fasts a law'that they are to be performed
"without sadness: "  for why should what is salutary be sad? He
taught likewise that fasts are to be the weapons for battling with the more
direful demons:  for what wonder if the same operation is the
instrument of the iniquitous spirit's egress as of the Holy Spirit's
ingress? Finally, granting that upon the centurion Cornelius, even before
baptism, the honourable gift of the Holy Spirit, together with the gift of
prophecy besides, had hastened to descend, we see that his fasts had been
heard,  I think, moreover, that the apostle too, in the Second of
Corinthians, among his labours, and perils, and hardships, after "hunger and
thirst," enumerates "fasts" also "very many" 
Chapter IX. From Fasts Absolute Tertullian Comes to Partial Ones and
This principal species in the category of dietary restriction may already
afford a prejudgment concerning the inferior operations of abstinence also,
as being themselves too, in proportion to their measure, useful or
necessary. For the exception of certain kinds from use of food is a partial
fast. Let us therefore look into the question of the novelty or vanity of
xerophagies, to see whether in them too we do not find an operation alike of
most ancient as of most efficacious religion. I return to Daniel and his
brethren, preferring as they did a diet of vegetables and the beverage of
water to the royal dishes and decanters, and being found as they were
therefore "more handsome" (lest any be apprehensive on the score of his
paltry body, to boot!), sides being spiritually cultured into the bargain.
 For God gave to the young men knowledge and understanding in every
kind of literature, and to Daniel in every word, and in dreams, and in every
kind of wisdom; which (wisdom) was to make him wise in this very thing
also,'namely, by what means the recognition of mysteries was to be obtained
from God. Finally, in the third year of Cyrus king of the Persians, when he
had fallen into careful and repeated meditation on a vision, he provided
another form of humiliation. "In those days," he says, "I Daniel was
mourning during three weeks: pleasant bread I ate not; flesh and wine
entered not into my mouth; with oil I was not anointed; until three weeks
were consummated: "which being elapsed, an angel was sent out (from God),
addressing him on this wise: "Daniel, thou art a man pitiable; fear not:
since, from the first day on which thou gavest thy soul to recogitation and
to humiliation before God, thy word hath been heard, and I am entered at thy
word."  Thus the "pitiable" spectacle and the humiliation of
xerophagies expel fear, and attract the ears of God, and make men masters of
I return likewise to Elijah. When the ravens had been wont to satisfy him
with "bread and flesh,"  why was it that afterwards, at Beersheba of
Judea, that certain angel, after rousing him from sleep, offered him, beyond
doubt, bread alone, and water?  Had ravens been wanting, to feed him
more liberally? or had it been difficult to the "angel" to carry away from
some pan of the banquet-room of the king some attendant with his
amply-furnished waiter, and transfer him to Elijah, just as the breakfast of
the reapers was carried into the den of lions and presented to Daniel in his
hunger? But it behoved that an example should be set, teaching us that, at a
time of pressure and persecution and whatsoever difficulty, we must live on
xerophagies. With such food did David express his own exomologesis; "eating
ashes indeed as it were bread," that is, bread dry and foul like ashes:
"mingling, moreover, his drink with weeping"'of course, instead of wine.
 For abstinence from wine withal has honourable badges of its own: (an
abstinence) which had dedicated Samuel, and consecrated Aaron, to God. For
of Samuel his mother said: "And wine and that which is intoxicating shall he
not drink: "  for such was her condition withal when praying to
God.  And the Lord said to Aaron "Wine and spirituous liquor shall
ye not drink, thou and thy son after thee, whenever ye shall enter the
tabernacle, or ascend unto the sacrificial altar; and ye shall not die."
 So true is it, that such as shall have ministered in the Church,
being not sober, shall "die." Thus, too, in recent times He upbraids Israel:
"And ye used to give my sanctified ones wine to drink." And, moreover, this
limitation upon drink is the portion of xerophagy. Anyhow, wherever
abstinence from wine is either exacted by God or vowed by man, there let
there be understood likewise a restriction of food fore-furnishing a formal
type to drink. For the quality of the drink is correspondent to that of the
eating. It is not probable that a man should sacrifice to God half his
appetite; temperate in waters, and intemperate in meats. Whether, moreover,
the apostle had any acquaintance with xerophagies'(the apostle) who had
repeatedly practised greater rigours, "hunger, and thirst, and fists
many," who had forbidden "drunkennesses and revellings"  'we have a
sufficient evidence even from the case of his disciple Timotheus; whom when
he admonishes, "for the sake of his stomach and constant weaknesses," to use
"a little wine,"  from which he was abstaining not from rule, but
from devotion'else the custom would rather have been beneficial to his
stomach'by this very fact he has advised abstinence from wine as "worthy of
God," which, on a ground of necessity, he has dissuaded.
Chapter X. Of Stations, and of the Hours of Prayer.
In like manner they censure on the count of novelty our Stations as being
enjoined; some, moreover, (censure them) too as being prolonged habitually
too late, saying that this duty also ought to be observed of free choice,
and not continued beyond the ninth hour,'(deriving their rule), of course,
from their own practice. Well: as to that which pertains to the question of
injunction, I will once for all give a reply to suit all causes. Now,
(turning) to the point which is proper to this particular cause'concerning
the limit of time, I mean'I must first demand from themselves whence they
derive this prescriptive law for concluding Stations at the ninth hour. If
it is from the fact that we read that Peter and he who was with him entered
the temple "at the ninth (hour), the hour of prayer," who will prove to me
that they had that day been performing a Station, so as to interpret the
ninth hour as the hour for the conclusion and discharge of the Station? Nay,
but you would more easily find that Peter at the sixth hour had, for the
sake of taking food, gone up first on the roof to pray;  so that the
sixth hour of the day may the rather be made the limit to this duty, which
(in Peter's case) was apparently to finish that duty, after prayer. Further:
since in the self-same commentary of Luke the third hour is demonstrated as
an hour of prayer, about which hour it was that they who had received the
initiatory gift of the Holy Spirit were held for drunkards;  and the
sixth, at which Peter went up on the roof; and the ninth, at which they
entered the temple: why should we not understand that, with absolutely
perfect indifference, we must pray  always, and everywhere, and at
every time; yet still that these three hours, as being more marked in things
human'(hours) which divide the day, which distinguish businesses, which
re-echo in the public ear'have likewise ever been of special solemnity in
divine prayers? A persuasion which is sanctioned also by the corroborative
fact of Daniel praying thrice in the day;  of course, through
exception of certain stated hours, no other, moreover, than the more marked
and subsequently apostolic (hours)'the third, the sixth, the ninth. And
hence, accordingly, I shall affirm that Peter too had been led rather by
ancient usage to the observance of the ninth hour, praying at the third
specific interval, (the interval) of final prayer.
These (arguments), moreover; (we have advanced) for their sakes who think
that they are acting in conformity with Peter's model, (a model) of which
they are ignorant: not as if we slighted the ninth hour, (an hour) which, on
the fourth and sixth days of the week, we most highly honour; but because,
of those things which are, observed on the ground of tradition, we are bound
to adduce so much the more worthy reason, that they lack the authority of
Scripture, until by some signal celestial gift they be either confirmed or
else corrected. "And if," says (the apostle), "there are matters which ye
are ignorant about, the Lord will reveal to you."  Accordingly,
setting out of the question the confirmer of all such things, the Paraclete,
the guide of universal truth,  inquire whether there be not a
worthier reason adduced among its for the observing of the ninth hour; so
that this reason (of ours) must be attributed even to Peter if he observed a
Station at the time in question. For (the practice) comes from the death of
the Lord; which death albeit it behoves to be commemorated always, without
difference of hours yet are we at that time more impressively commended to
its commemoration, according to the actual (meaning of the) name of Station.
For even soldiers, though never unmindful of their military oath, yet pay a
greater deference to Stations. And so the "pressure" must be maintained up
to that hour in which the orb'involved from the sixth hour in a general
darkness'performed for its dead Lord a sorrowful act of duty; so that we too
may then return to enjoyment when the universe regained its sunshine.
 If this savours more of the spirit of Christian religion, while it
celebrates more the glory of Christ, I am equally able, from the self-same
order of events, to fix the condition of late protraction of the Station;
(namely), that we are to fast till a late hour, awaiting the time of the
Lord's sepulture, when Joseph took down and entombed the body which he had
requested. Thence (it follows) that it is even irreligious for the flesh of
the servants to take refreshment before their Lord did.
But let it suffice to have thus far joined issue on the argumentative
challenge; rebutting, as I have done, conjectures by conjectures, and yet
(as I think) by conjectures more worthy of a believer. Let us see whether
any such (principle) drawn from the ancient times takes us under its
In Exodus, was not that position of Moses, battling against Amalek by
prayers, maintained as it was perseveringly even till "sunset," a "late
Station? "  Think we that Joshua the son of Nun, when warring down
the Amorites, had breakfasted on that day on which he ordered the very
elements to keep a Station?  The sun "stood" in Gibeon, and the moon
in Ajalon; the sun and the moon "stood in station until the People was
avenged of his enemies, and the sun stood in the mid heaven." When,
moreover, (the sun) did draw toward his setting and the end of the one day,
there was no such day beforetime and in the latest time (of course, (no day)
so long), "that God," says (the writer), "should hear a man"'(a man,) to be
sure, the sun's peer, so long persistent in his duty'a Station longer even
At all events, Saul himself, when engaged in battle, manifestly enjoined
this duty: "Cursed (be) the man who shall have eaten bread until evening,
until I avenge me on mine enemy; "and his whole people tasted not (food),
and (yet) the whole earth was breakfasting! So solemn a sanction, moreover,
did God confer on the edict which enjoined that Station, that Jonathan the
son of Saul, although it had been in ignorance of the fast having been
appointed till a late hour that he had allowed himself a taste of honey, was
both presently convicted, by lot, of sin, and with difficulty exempted from
punishment through the prayer of the People:  for he had been
convicted of gluttony, although of a simple kind. But withal Daniel, in the
first year of King Darius, when, fasting in sackcloth and ashes, he was
doing exomologesis to God, said: "And while I was still speaking in prayer,
behold, the man whom I had seen in dreams at the beginning, swiftly flying,
approached me, as it were, at the hour of the evening sacrifice." 
This will be a "late" Station which, fasting until the evening, sacrifices a
fatter (victim of) prayer to God! 
Chapter XI. Of the Respect Due to "Human Authority; "And of the Charges of
"Heresy" And "Pseudo-Prophecy."
But all these (instances) I believe to be unknown to those who are in a
state of agitation at our proceedings; or else known by the reading alone,
not by careful study as well; in accordance with the greater bulk of "the
unskilled"  among the overboastful multitude, to wit, of the
Psychics. This is why we have steered our course straight through the
different individual species of fastings, of xerophagies, of stations: in
order that, while we recount, according to the materials which we find in
either Testament, the advantages which the dutiful observances of abstinence
from, or curtailment or deferment of, food confer, we may refute those who
invalidate these things as empty observances; and again, while we similarly
point out in what rank of religious duty they have always had place, may
confute those who accuse them as novelties: for neither is that novel which
has always been, nor that empty which is useful.
The question, however, still lies before us, that some of these observances,
having been commanded by God to man, have constituted this practice legally
binding; some, offered by man to God, have discharged some votive
obligation. Still, even a vow, when it has been accepted by God, constitutes
a law for the time to come, owing to the authority of the Acceptor; for he
who has given his approbation to a deed, when done, has given a mandate for
its doing thenceforward. And so from this consideration, again, the
wrangling of the opposite party is silenced, while they say: "It is either a
pseudo-prophecy, if it is a spiritual voice which institutes these your
solemnities; or else a heresy, if it is a human presumption which devises
them." For, while censuring that form in which the ancient economies ran
their course, and at the same time drawing out of that form arguments to
hurl back (upon us) which the very adversaries of the ancient economies will
in their turn be able to retort, they will be bound either to reject those
arguments, or else to undertake these proven duties (which they impugn):
necessarily so; chiefly because these very duties (which they impugn), from
whatsoever institutor they are, be he a spiritual man or merely an ordinary
believer, direct their course to the honour of the same God as the ancient
economies. For, indubitably, Both heresy and pseudo-prophecy will, in the
eyes of us who are all priests of one only God the Creator and of His
Christ, be judged by diversity of divinity: and so far forth I defend this
side indifferently, offering my opponents to join issue on whatever ground
they choose. "It is the spirit of the devil," you say, O Psychic. And how is
it that he enjoins duties which belong to our God, and enjoins them to be
offered to none other than our God? Either contend that the devil works with
our God, or else let the Paraclete be held to be Satan. But you affirm it is
"a human Antichrist: "for by this name heretics are called in John. 
And how is it that, whoever he is, he has in (the name of) our Christ
directed these duties toward our Lord; whereas withal antichrists have
(ever) gone forth (professedly teaching) towards God, (but) in opposition to
our Christ? On which side, then, do you think the Spirit is confirmed as
existing among us; when He commands, or when He approves, what our God has
always both commanded and approved? But you again set up boundary-posts to
God, as with regard to grace, so with regard to discipline; as with regard
to gifts, so, too, with regard to solemnities: so that our observances are
supposed to have ceased in like manner as His benefits; and you thus deny
that He still continues to impose duties, because, in this case again, "the
Law and the prophets (were) until John." It remains for you to banish Him
wholly, being, as He is, so far as lies in you, so otiose.
Chapter XII'Of the Need for Some Protest Against the Psychics and Their
For, by this time, in this respect as well as others, "you are reigning in
wealth and satiety"  'not making inroads upon such sins as fasts
diminish, nor feeling need of such revelations as xerophagies extort, nor
apprehending such wars of your own as Stations dispel. Grant that from the
time of John the Paraclete had grown mute; we ourselves would have arisen as
prophets to ourselves, for this cause chiefly: I say not now to bring down
by our prayers God's anger, nor to obtain his protection or grace; but to
secure by premunition the moral position of the "latest times; " 
enjoining every species of of , since the prison must be
familiarized to us, and hunger and thirst practised, and capacity of
enduring as well the absence of food as anxiety about it acquired: in order
that the Christian may enter into prison in like condition as if he had
(just) come forth of it,'to suffer there not penalty, but discipline, and
not the world's tortures, but his own habitual observances; and to go forth
out of custody to (the final) conflict with all the more confidence, having
nothing of sinful false care of the flesh about him, so that the tortures
may not even have material to work on, since he is cuirassed in a mere dry
skin, and cased in horn to meet the claws, the succulence of his blood
already sent on (heavenward) before him, the baggage as it were of his
soul,'the soul herself withal now hastening (after it), having already, by
frequent fasting, gained a most intimate knowledge of death!
Plainly, your habit is to furnish cookshops in the prisons to untrustworthy
martyrs, for fear they should miss their accustomed usages, grow weary of
life, (and) be stumbled at the novel discipline of abstinence; (a
discipline) which not even the well-known Pristinus'your martyr, no
Christian martyr'had ever come in contact with: he whom'stuffed as he had
long been, thanks to the facilities afforded by the "free custody" (now in
vogue, and) under an obligation, I suppose, to all the baths (as if they
were better than baptism!), and to all the retreats of voluptuousness (as if
they were more secret than those of the Church!), and to all the allurements
of this life (as if they were of more worth than those of life eternal!),
not to be willing to die'on the very last day of trial, at high noon, you
premedicated with drugged wine as an antidote, and so completely enervated,
that on being tickled'for his intoxication made it feel like tickling'with a
few claws, he was unable any more to make answer to the presiding officer
interrogating him "whom he confessed to be Lord; "and, being now put on the
rack for this silence, when he could utter nothing but hiccoughs and
belchings, died in the very act of apostasy! This is why they who preach
sobriety are "false prophets; "this why they who practise it are
"heretics!" Why then hesitate to believe that the Paraclete, whom you deny
in a Montanus, exists in an Apicius?
Chapter XIII. Of the Inconsistencies of the Psychics.
You lay down a prescription that this faith has its solemnities
"appointed" by the Scriptures or the tradition of the ancestors; and that no
further addition in the way of observance must be added, on account of the
unlawfulness of innovation. Stand on that ground, if you can. For, behold, I
impeach you of fasting besides on the Paschal-day, beyond the limits of
those days in which "the Bridegroom was taken away; "and interposing the
half-fasts of Stations; and you, (I find), sometimes living on bread and
water, when it has seemed meet to each (so to do). In short, you answer that
"these things are to be done of choice, not of command." You have changed
your ground, therefore, by exceeding tradition, in undertaking observances
which have not been "appointed." But what kind of deed is it, to permit to
your own choice what you grant not to the command of God? Shall human
volition have more licence than Divine power? I am mindful that I am free
from the world,  not from God. Thus it is my part to perform,
without external suggestion thereto, an act of respect to my Lord, it is His
to enjoin. I ought not merely to pay a willing obedience to Him, but withal
to court Him; for the former I render to His command, the latter to my own
But it is enough for me that it is a customary practice for the bishops
withal to issue mandates for fasts to the universal commonalty of the
Church; I do not mean for the special purpose of collecting contributions of
alms, as your beggarly fashion has it, but sometimes too from some
particular cause of ecclesiastical solicitude. And accordingly, if you
practise at the bidding of a man's edict, and all
unitedly, how is it that in our case you set a brand upon the very unity
also of our fastings, and xerophagies, and Stations?'unless, perhaps, it is
against the decrees of the senate and the mandates of the emperors which are
opposed to "meetings" that we are sinning! The Holy Spirit, when He was
preaching in whatsoever lands He chose, and through whomsoever He chose, was
wont, from foresight of the imminence either of temptations to befall the
Church, or of plagues to befall the world, in His character of Paraclete
(that is, Advocate for the purpose of winning over the judge by prayers), to
issue mandates for observances of this nature; for instance, at the present
time, with the view of practising the discipline of sobriety and abstinence:
we, who receive Him, must necessarily observe also the appointments which He
then made. Look at the Jewish calendar, and you will find it nothing novel
that all succeeding posterity guards with hereditary scrupulousness the
precepts given to the fathers. Besides, throughout the provinces of Greece
there are held in definite localities those councils gathered out of the
universal Churches, by whose means not only all the deeper questions are
handled for the common benefit, but the actual representation of the whole
Christian. name is celebrated with great veneration. (And how worthy a thing
is this, that, under the auspices of faith, men should congregate from all
quarters to Christ! "See, how good and how enjoyable for brethren to dwell
in unity!"  This psalm you know not easily how to sing, except when
you are supping with a goodly company!) But those conclaves first, by the
operations of Stations and fastings, know what it is "to grieve with the
grieving," and thus at last "to rejoice in company with the rejoicing."
 If we also, in our diverse provinces, (but) present mutually in
spirit,  observe those very solemnities, whose then celebration our
present discourse has been defending, that is the sacramental law.
Chapter XIV. Reply to the Charge of "Galaticism."
Being, therefore, observers of "seasons" for these things, and of "days, and
months, and years,"  we Galaticize. Plainly we do, if we are
observers of Jewish ceremonies, of legal solemnities: for those the apostle
unteaches, suppressing the continuance of the Old Testament which has been
buried in Christ, and establishing that of the New. But if there is a new
creation in Christ,  our solemnities too will be bound to be new:
else, if the apostle has erased all devotion absolutely "of seasons, and
days, and months, and years," why do we celebrate the passover by an annual
rotation in the first month? Why in the fifty ensuing days do we spend our
time in all exultation? Why do we devote to Stations the fourth and sixth
days of the week, and to fasts the "preparation-day? "  Anyhow, you
sometimes continue your Station even over the Sabbath,'a day never to be
kept as a fast except at the passover season, according to a reason
elsewhere given. With us, at all events, every day likewise is celebrated by
an ordinary consecration. And it will not, then, be, in the eyes of the
apostle, the differentiating principle'distinguishing (as he is doing)
"things new and old"  'which will be ridiculous; but (in this case
too) it will be your own unfairness, while you taunt us with the form of
antiquity all the while you are laying against us the charge of novelty.
Chapter XV. Of the Apostle's Language Concerning Food.
The apostle reprobates likewise such as "bid to abstain from meats; but he
does so from the foresight of the Holy Spirit, precondemning already the
heretics who would enjoin perpetual abstinence to the extent of destroying
and despising the works of the Creator; such as I may find in the person of
a Marcion, a Tatian, or a Jupiter, the Pythagorean heretic of to-day; not in
the person of the Paraclete. For how limited is the extent of our
"interdiction of meats!" Two weeks of xerophagies in the year (and not the
whole of these,'the Sabbaths, to wit, and the Lord's days, being excepted)
we offer to God; abstaining from things which we do not reject, but defer.
But further: when writing to the Romans, the apostle now gives you a
home-thrust, detractors as you are of this observance: "Do not for the sake
of food," he says, "undo  the work of God." What "work? "That about
which he says,  "It is good not to eat flesh, and not to drink
wine: ""for he who in these points doeth service, is pleasing and
propitiable to our God." "One believeth that all things may be eaten; but
another, being weak, feedeth on vegetables. Let not him who eateth lightly
esteem him who eateth not. Who art thou, who judgest another's servant?
""Both he who eateth, and he who eateth not, giveth God thanks." But, since
he forbids human choice to be made matter of controversy, how much more
Divine! Thus he knew how to chide certain restricters and interdicters of
food, such as abstained from it of contempt, not of duty; but to approve
such as did so to the honour, not the insult, of the Creator. And if he has
"delivered you the keys of the meat-market," permitting the eating of "all
things" with a view to establishing the exception of" things offered to
idols; "still he has not included the kingdom of God in the meat-market:
"For," he says, "the kingdom of God is neither meat nor drink; " 
and, "Food commendeth us not to God"'not that you may think this said about
dry diet, but rather about rich and carefully prepared, if, when he
subjoins, "Neither, if we shall have eaten, shall we abound; nor, if we
shall not have eaten, shall we be deficient," the ring of his words suits,
(as it does), you rather (than us), who think that you do "abound" if you
eat, and are "deficient if you eat not; and for this reason disparage these
How unworthy, also, is the way in which you interpret to the favour of your
own lust the fact that the Lord "ate and drank" promiscuously! But I think
that He must have likewise "fasted" inasmuch as He has pronounced, not "the
full; "but "the hungry and thirsty, blessed: "  (He) who was wont
to profess "food" to be, not that which His disciples had supposed, but "the
thorough doing of the Father's work; "  teaching "to labour for the
meat which is permanent unto life eternal; "  in our ordinary
prayer likewise commanding us to request "bread,"  not the wealth
of Attalus  therewithal. Thus, too, Isaiah has not denied that God
"hath chosen" a "fist; "but has particularized in detail the kind of fast
which He has not chosen: "for in the days," he says, "of your fasts your own
wills are found (indulged), and all who are subject to you ye stealthily
sting; or else ye fast with a view to abuse and strifes, and ye smite with
the fists. Not such a fast have I elected; "  but such an one as He
has subjoined, and by subjoining has not abolished, but confirmed.
Chapter XVI. Instances from Scripture of Divine Judgments Upon the
Self-Indulgent; And Appeals to the Practices of Heathens.
For even if He does prefer "the works of righteousness," still not without a
sacrifice, which is a soul afflicted with fasts.  He, at all
events, is the God to whom neither a People incontinent of appetite, nor a
priest, nor a prophet, was pleasing. To this day the "monuments of
concupiscence" remain, where the People, greedy of "flesh," till, by
devouring without digesting the quails, they brought on cholera, were
buried. Eli breaks his neck before the temple doors,  his sons fall
in battle, his daughter-in-law expires in child-birth:  for such
was the blow which had been deserved at the hand of God by the shameless
house, the defrauder of the fleshly sacrifices.  Same as, a "man of
God," after prophesying the issue of the idolatry introduced by King
Jeroboam'after the drying up and immediate restoration of that king's
hand'after the rending in twain of the sacrificial altar,'being on account
of these signs invited (home) by the king by way of recompense, plainly
declined (for he had been prohibited by God) to touch food at all in that
place; but having presently afterwards rashly taken food from another old
man, who lyingly professed himself a prophet, he was deprived, in accordance
with the word of God then and there uttered over the table, of burial in his
fathers' sepulchres. For he was prostrated by the rushing of a lion upon him
in the way, and was buried among strangers; and thus paid the penalty of his
breach of fast. 
These will be warnings both to people and to bishops, even spiritual ones,
in case they may ever have been guilty of incontinence of appetite. Nay,
even in Hades the admonition has not ceased to speak; where we find in the
person of the rich feaster, convivialities tortured; in that of the pauper,
fasts refreshed; having'(as convivialities and fasts alike had)'as
preceptors "Moses and the prophets."  For Joel withal exclaimed:
"Sanctify a fast, and a religious service; "  foreseeing even then
that other apostles and prophets would sanction fasts, and would preach
observances of special service to God. Whence it is that even they who court
their idols by dressing them, and by adorning them in their sanctuary, and
by saluting them at each particular hour, are said to do them service. But,
more than that, the heathens recognise every form of . When
the heaven is rigid and the year arid, barefooted processions are enjoined
by public proclamation; the magistrates lay aside their purple, reverse the
fasces, utter prayer, offer a victim. There are, moreover, some colonies
where, besides (these extraordinary solemnities, the inhabitants), by an
annual rite, clad in sackcloth and besprent with ashes, present a suppliant
importunity to their idols, (while) baths and shops are kept shut till the
ninth hour. They have one single fire in public'on the altars; no water even
in their platters. There is, I believe, a Ninevitan suspension of business!
A Jewish fast, at all events, is universally celebrated; while, neglecting
the temples, throughout all the shore, in every open place, they continue
long to send prayer up to heaven. And, albeit by the dress and ornamentation
of mourning they disgrace the duty, still they do affect a faith in
abstinence, and sigh for the arrival of the long-lingering evening star to
sanction (their feeding). But it is enough for me that you, by heaping
blasphemies upon our xerophagies, put them on a level with the chastity of
an Isis and a Cybele. I admit the comparison in the way of evidence. Hence
(our xerophagy) will be proved divine, which the devil, the emulator of
things divine, imitates. It is out of truth that falsehood is built; out of
religion that superstition is compacted.Hence you are more irreligious, in
proportion as a heathen is more conformable. He, in short, sacrifices his
appetite to an idol-god; you to (the true) God will not. For to you your
belly is god, and your lungs a temple, and your paunch a sacrificial altar,
and your cook the priest, and your fragrant smell the Holy Spirit, and your
condiments spiritual gifts, and your belching prophecy.
"Old" you are, if we will say the truth, you who are so indulgent to
appetite, and justly do you vaunt your "priority: "always do I recognise the
savour of Esau, the hunter of wild beasts: so unlimitedly studious are you
of catching fieldfares, so do you come from "the field" of your most lax
discipline, so faint are you in spirit.  If I offer you a paltry
lentile dyed red with must well boiled down, forthwith you will sell all
your "primacies: "with you "love" shows its fervour in sauce-pans, "faith"
its warmth in kitchens, "hope" its anchorage in waiters; but of greater
account is "love," because that is the means whereby your young men sleep
with their sisters! Appendages, as we all know, of appetite are
lasciviousness and voluptuousness. Which alliance the apostle withal was
aware of; and hence, after premising, "Not in drunkenness and revels," he
adjoined, "nor in couches and lusts." 
To the indictment of your appetite pertains (the charge) that "double
honour" is with you assigned to your presiding (elders) by double shares (of
meat and drink); whereas the apostle has given them "double honour" as being
both brethren and officers.  Who, among you, is superior in
holiness, except him who is more frequent in banqueting, more sumptuous in
catering, more learned in cups? Men of soul and flesh alone as you are,
justly do you reject things spiritual. If the prophets were pleasing to
such, my (prophets) they were not. Why, then, do not you constantly preach,
"Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we shall die? "  just as we do
not hesitate manfully to command, "Let us fast, brethren and sisters, lest
to-morrow perchance we die." Openly let us vindicate our disciplines. Sure
we are that "they who are in the flesh cannot please God; "  not,
of course, those who are in the substance of the flesh, but in the care, the
affection, the work, the will, of it. Emaciation displeases not us; for it
is not by weight that God bestows flesh, any more than He does "the Spirit
by measure."  More easily, it may be, through the "strait gate"
 of salvation will slenderer flesh enter; more speedily will lighter
flesh rise; longer in the sepulchre will drier flesh retain its firmness.
Let Olympic cestus-players and boxers cram themselves to satiety. To them
bodily ambition is suitable to whom bodily strength is necessary; and yet
they also strengthen themselves by xerophagies. But ours are other thews and
other sinews, just as our contests withal are other; we whose "wrestling is
not against flesh and blood, but against the world's  power,
against the spiritualities of malice." Against these it is not by robustness
of flesh and blood, but of faith and spirit, that it behoves us to make our
antagonistic stand. On the other hand, an over-fed Christian will be more
necessary to bears and lions, perchance, than to God; only that, even to
encounter beasts, it will be his duty to practise emaciation.
Greater licence, p. 104.
In this treatise, which is designed to justify the extremes of Montanistic
fasts, Tertullian's genius often surprises us by his ingenuity. This is one
of the instances where the forensic orator comes out, trying to outflank and
turn the position of an antagonist who has gained an advantage. The fallacy
is obvious. Kaye cites, in comparison, a passage  from "The Apparel
of Women," and another  from "The Exhortation to Chastity." He
remarks, "Were we required to produce an instance [i.e. to prove the
tendency of mankind to run into extremes], we should without hesitation
refer the reader to this treatise."
Fasting was ordained of Christ Himself as a means to an end. It is here
reduced from its instrumental character, and made an excuse for dividing the
household of faith, and for cruel accusations against brethren.
In our age of an entire relaxation of discipline, the enthusiast may
nevertheless awaken us, perhaps, to honest self-examination as to our manner
of life, in view of the example of Christ and His apostles, and their holy
Provinces of Greece, p. 111.
We have here an interesting hint as to the to which the
Council of Nice  refers in one of her most important canons.
Provinces, synods, and the charges or pastoral letters of the bishops are
referred to as established institutions. And note the emphasis given to
"Greece" as the mother of churches, and of laws and customs. He looks
Eastward, and not by any means to the West, for high examples of the
Catholic usages by which he was endeavouring to justify his own.
An over-fed Christian, p. 114.
"Are we not carnal" (psychics) in our days? May not the very excesses of
Tertullian sting and reproach us with the charge of excessive indulgence
(Matt. ix. 15)? The "over-fed Christians" whom he here reproaches are proved
by this very treatise to have observed a system of fasting which is little
practised anywhere in our times'for a mere change to luxurious fish-diet is
the very mockery of fasting. We learn that the customary fasts of these
psychics were as follows: (1) the annual Paschal fast,  from Friday
till Easter-Day; (2) Wednesdays and Fridays (stationary days 
)every week; and (3) the "dry-food days,"  'abstinence from
"pleasant bread" (Dan. x. 2),'though some Catholics objected to these
Practise emaciation, p. 114.
Think of our Master's fast among the wild beasts! Let us condescend to go
back to Clement, to Origen, and to Tertullian to learn the practical laws of
the Gospel against avarice, luxury, and "the deceitfulness of sin." I am
emboldened to say this by some remarkable words which I find, to my
surprise, thrown out in a scientific work  proceeding from Harvard
University. It is with exceeding gratitude that I quote as follows: "It is
well to go away at times, that we may see another aspect of human life which
still survives in the East, and to feel that influence which led even the
Christ into the wilderness to prepare for the struggle with the animal
nature of man.  We need something of the experience of the
Anchorites of Egypt, to impress us with the great truth that the distinction
between the spiritual and the material remains broad and clear, even if with
the scalpel of our modern philosophy we cannot completely dissect the two;
and this experience will give us courage to cherish our aspirations, keep
bright our hopes, and hold fast our Christian faith until the consummation
 [Written, say, circa a.d. 208.]
 i.e., Psychic.
 [Which is a note of time, not unimportant.]
 Lev. xvi. 29, xxiii. 26-29.
 Matt. ix. 14, 15; Mark ii. 18-20; Luke v. 33-35.
 Luke xvi. 16; Matt. xi. 13.
 Comp. Gal. v. 1.
 Comp. 1 Cor. x. 25.
 Comp. 1 Tim. iv. 3.
 So Oehler punctuates. The reference is to 1 Tim. iv. 1, 2.
 See Gal. iv. 10; the words kai kairous Tertullian omits.
 See Isa. lviii. 3-7.
 See Matt. xv. 11; Mark vii. 15.
 Matt. xi. 19; Luke vii. 34.
 1 Cor. viii. 8.
 Rom. x. 10.
 Comp. Matt. xxii. 37-40, and the parallel passages.
 See Gen. ii. 16, 17.
 Comp. Eph. v. 32 with Gen. ii. 23, 24.
 See 1 Cor. ii. 14.
 The references is to Ps. li. 17 (in LXX. Ps. l. 19).
 Gen. i. 29.
 See Gen. ix. 2-5 (in LXX.).
 See Gen. ix. 5, 6.
 See Luke xii. 48.
 Comp. Ps. cxxxvi. 12 (in LXX. cxxxv. 12).
 See Ex. iii. 8.
 See Ex. xvi. 1-3.
 Comp. Num. xx. 1-12 with Ps. cvi. 31-33 (in LXX. cv. 31-33).
 See Num. xi. 1-6.
 See Ps. lxxviii. 25 (in LXX. lxxvii. 25).
 Comp. 1 Cor. x. 7 with Ex. xxxii. 6.
 See Deut. xxxii. 15.
 See Deut. viii. 12-14.
 Comp. Eccles. vi. 7; Prov. xvi. 26. (The LXX. render the latter
quotation very differently from the Eng. ver. or the Vulg.)
 See Isa. vi. 10; John xii. 40; Acts xxviii. 26, 27.
 See Lev. iii. 17.
 See Deut. viii. 3; Matt. iv. 4; Luke iv. 4.
 See Ps. lxxxvi. 4 (in LXX. lxxxv. 4); Lam. iii. 41 (in LXX. iii.
 Twice over. See Ex. xxiv. 18 and xxxiv. 28; Deut. ix. 11, 25.
 See Ex. xxxiii. 18, 19, with xxxiv. 4-9, 29-35.
 See Matt. xvii. 1-13; Mark ix. 1-13; Luke ix. 28-36.
 See Jas. vi. 17.
 See 1 Kings xvii. 1 (in LXX. 3 Kings ib.).
 See 1 Kings xix. 1-8. But he took two meals: see vers. 6, 7, 8.
 Vers. 9, 13.
 Gen. iii. 9 (in LXX.).
 Comp. Matt. xvii. 4; Mark ix. 5; Luke ix. 33.
 See Ps. xl. 28 in LXX. In E. V., "fainteth not."
 See Zech. vii. 5.
 See 2 Kings xviii. xix.; 2 Chron. xxxii.; Isa. xxxvi. xxxvii.
 See Jonah iii. Comp. de Pa., c. x.
 See Ezek. xvi. 49; Matt. xi. 23, 24; Luke x. 12-14.
 See 1 Kings xxi. (in the LXX. it is 3 Kings xx).
 See 1 Sam. i. 1, 2, 7-20, iii. 20 (in LXX. 1 Kings).
 Dan. ix. 23, x. 11.
 See Bel and the Dragon (in LXX.) vers. 31-39. "Pitiable" appears
to be Tertullian's rendering of what in the E. V. is rendered "greatly
beloved." Rig. (in Oehler) renders: "of how great compassion thou hast
attained the favour;" but surely that overlooks the fact that the Latin is
"miserabilis es," not "sis."
 See Luke ii. 36-38. See de Monog., c. viii.
 Matt. iv. 12; Luke iv. 1, 2; comp. de Bapt., c. xx.
 See Matt. iv. 3; Luke iv. 3.
 See c. ii.
 Comp. Eph. iv. 22, 23; and, for the meaning of sugillationem
("severe handling"), comp. 1 Cor. ix. 27, where St. Paul's word upōpiazō (=
"I smite under the eye," Eng. ver. "I keep under") is perhaps exactly
equivalent in meaning.
 Matt. vi. 16-18.
 See Matt. xvii. 21; Mark ix. 29.
 See Acts x. 44-46, 1-4 and 30.
 2 Cor. xi. 27.
 Dan. i.
 See Dan. x. 1-3, 5, 12.
 See 1 Kings xvii. (in LXX. 3 Kings xvii.) 1-6.
 1 Kings xix. 3-7.
 See Ps. cii. (in LXX. ci.) 9.
 1 Sam. (in LXX. 1 Kings) i. 11.
 1 Sam. i. 15.
 See Lev. x. 9.
 See Rom. xiii. 13.
 1 Tim. v. 23.
 See Acts x. 9.
 Acts ii. 1-4, 13, 15.
 The reference is to Eph. vi. 18; Col. iv. 2; 1 Thess. v. 17; Luke
 See Dan. vi. 10.
 See Phil. iii. 15.
 John xiv. 26, xvi. 13.
 See Matt. xxvii. 45-54; Mark xvi. 33-39; Luke xxiii. 44-47.
 See Ex. xvii. 8-12.
 See Josh. x. 12-14.
 See 1 Sam. (in LXX. 1 Kings) xiv. 24-25.
 See Dan. ix. 1, 3, 4, 20, 21.
 Comp. de Or., c. xxviii.
 Comp. 2 Pet. iii. 16.
 See 1 John ii. 18, 29; 2 John 7-10.
 1 Cor. iv. 8.
 See the Vulg. iv. 1, 2; 2 Tim. iii. 1; and comp. therewith the
Greek in both places.
 1 Cor. ix. 19; saeculo.
 Ps. cxxxiii. (in LXX. and Vulg. cxxxii.).
 See Rom. xii. 15.
 Comp. 1 Cor. v. 3; Col. ii. 5.
 Comp. Gal. iv. 10.
 Comp. Luke xxii. 20; 2 Cor. v. 17, etc.
 Comp. Mark xv. 42.
 Comp. Matt. xiii. 52 ad fin.
 Rom. xiv. 20.
 Ver. 21.
 Rom. xiv. 17.
 Comp. Luke vi. 21 and 25, and Matt. v. 6.
 John iv. 31-34.
 John vi. 27.
 Matt. vi. 11; Luke xi. 3.
 See Hor., Od., i. 1, 12, and Macleane's note there.
 See Isa. lviii. 3, 4, 5, briefly, and more like the LXX. than the
Vulg. or the Eng. ver.
 See Ps. li. (l. in LXX. and Vulg.) 18, 19; see c. iii. above.
 This seems an oversight; see 1 Sam. (in LXX. and Vulg. 1 Kings)
 1 Sam. iv. 17-21.
 1 Sam. ii. 12-17, 22-25.
 See 1 Kings (in LXX. and Vulg. 3 Kings) xiii.
 Luke xvi. 19-31.
 Joel ii. 15.
 Comp. Gen. xxiii. 2, 3, 4, 31, and xxv. 27-34.
 Rom. xiii. 13.
 1 Tim. v. 17.
 Isa. xxii. 13; 1 Cor. xv. 32.
 Rom. viii. 8.
 John iii. 34.
 Matt. vii. 13, 14; Luke xiii. 24.
 Mundi: cf. kosmokratoras, Eph. vi. 12.
 II. cap. 10, p. 23, supra.
 Cap. 8, p. 55, supra.
 See our minor titlepage.
 Capp. 2, 13, 14, supra.
 Cap. 14. See De Orat., cap. 19, p. 687.
 The Xerophagiae, cap. 2, p. 103.
 Scientific Culture, by J. P. Cooke, professor of chemistry, etc.
New York, 1884.
 This is ambiguous, but I merely note it. Heb. iv. 15.
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