The Prescription Against Heretics - Tertullian
Translated by the Rev. Peter Holmes, D.D., F.r.a.s., Etc., Etc.
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.
Chapter I. Introductory. Heresies Must Exist, and Even Abound; They are a
Probation to Faith.
The character of the times in which we live is such as to call forth from us
even this admonition, that we ought not to be astonished at the heresies
(which abound)  neither ought their existence to surprise us, for it
was foretold that they should come to pass;  nor the fact that they
subvert the faith of some, for their final cause is, by affording a trial to
faith, to give it also the opportunity of being "approved." 
Groundless, therefore, and inconsiderate is the offence of the many 
who are scandalized by the very fact that heresies prevail to such a degree.
How great (might their offence have been) if they had not existed. 
When it has been determined that a thing must by all means be, it receives
the (final) cause for which it has its being. This secures the power through
which it exists, in such a way that it is impossible for it not to have
Chapter II. Analogy Between Fevers and Heresies. Heresies Not to Be Wondered
At: Their Strength Derived from Weakness of Men's Faith. They Have Not the
Truth. Simile of Pugilists and Gladiators in Illustration.
Taking the similar case  of fever, which is appointed a place amongst
all other deadly and excruciating issues (of life) for destroying man: we
are not surprised either that it exists, for there it is, or that it
consumes man, for that is the purpose of its existence. In like manner, with
respect to heresies, which are produced for the weakening and the extinction
of faith, since we feel a dread because they have this power, we should
first dread the fact of their existence; for as long as they exist, they
have they have their power; and as long as they have their power, they, have
their existence. But still fever, as being an evil both in its cause 
and in its power, as all know, we rather loathe than wonder at, and to the
best of our power guard against, not having its extirpation in our power.
Some men prefer wondering at heresies, however, which bring with them
eternal death and the heat of a stronger fire, for possessing this power,
instead of avoiding their power when they have the means of escape: but
heresies would have no power, if (men) would cease to wonder that they have
such power. For it either happens that, while men wonder, they fall into a
snare, or, because they are ensnared, they cherish their surprise, as if
heresies were so powerful because of some truth which belonged to them. It
would no doubt be a wonderful thing that evil should have any force of its
own, were it not that heresies are strong in those persons who are not
strong in faith. In a combat of boxers and gladiators, generally speaking,
it is not because a man is strong that he gains the victory, or loses it
because he is not strong, but because he who is vanquished was a man of no
strength; and indeed this very conqueror, when afterwards matched against a
really powerful man, actually retires crest-fallen from the contest. In
precisely the same way, heresies derive such strength as they have from the
infirmities of individuals'having no strength whenever they encounter a
really powerful faith.
Chapter III. Weak People Fall an Easy Prey to Heresy, Which Derives Strength
from the General Frailty of Mankind. Eminent Men Have Fallen from Faith;
Saul, David, Solomon.the Constancy of Christ.
It is usual, indeed, with persons of a weaker character, to be so built up
(in confidence) by certain individuals who are caught by heresy, as to
topple over into ruin themselves. How comes it to pass, (they ask), that
this woman or that man, who were the most faithful, the most prudent, and
the most approved  in the church, have gone over to the other side?
Who that asks such a question does not in fact reply to it himself, to the
effect that men whom heresies have been able to pervert  ought never
to have been esteemed prudent, or faithful, or approved? This again is, I
suppose, an extraordinary thing, that one who has been approved should
afterwards fall back? Saul, who was good beyond all others, is afterwards
subverted by envy.  David, a good man "after the Lord's own
heart,"  is guilty afterwards of murder and adultery. 
Solomon, endowed by the Lord with all grace and wisdom, is led into
idolatry, by women.  For to the Son of God alone was it reserved to
persevere to the last without sin.  But what if a bishop, if a
deacon, if a widow, if a virgin, if a doctor, if even a martyr, 
have fallen from the rule (of faith), will heresies on that account appear
to possess  the truth? Do we prove the faith  by the
persons, or the persons by the faith? No one is wise, no one is faithful, no
one excels in dignity,  but the Christian; and no one is a Christian
but he who perseveres even to the end.  You, as a man, know any
other man from the outside appearance. You think as you see. And you see as
far only as you have eyes. But says (the Scripture), "the eyes of the Lord
are lofty."  "Man looketh at the outward appearance, but God looketh
at the heart."  "The Lord (beholdeth and) knoweth them that are His;
"  and "the plant which (my heavenly Father) hath not planted, He
rooteth up; "  and "the first shall," as He shows, "be last; "
 and He carries "His fan in His hand to purge His threshing-floor."
 Let the chaff of a fickle faith fly off as much as it will at every
blast of temptation, all the purer will be that heap of corn which shall be
laid up in the garner of the Lord. Did not certain of the disciples turn
back from the Lord Himself,  When they were offended? Yet the rest
did not therefore think that they must turn away from following Him,
 but because they knew that He was the Word of Life, and was come from
God,  they continued in His company to the very last, after He had
gently inquired of them whether they also would go away.  It is a
comparatively small thing,  that certain men, like Phygellus, and
Hermogenes, and Philetus, and Hymenæus, deserted His apostle:  the
betrayer of Christ was himself one of the apostles. We are surprised at
seeing His churches forsaken by some men, although the things which we
suffer after the example of Christ Himself, show us to be Christians. "They
went out from us," says (St. John, ) "but they were not of us. If they had
been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us." 
Chapter IV. Warnings Against Heresy Given Us in the New Testament. Sundry
Passages Adduced. These Imply the Possibility of Falling into Heresy.
But let us rather be mindful of the sayings of the Lord, and of the letters
of the apostles; for they have both told us beforehand that there shall be
heresies, and have given us, in anticipation, warnings to avoid them; and
inasmuch as we are not alarmed because they exist, so we ought not to wonder
that they are capable of doing that, on account of which they must be
shunned. The Lord teaches us that many "ravening wolves shall come in
sheep's clothing."  Now, what are these sheep's clothing's, but the
external surface of the Christian profession? Who are the ravening wolves
but those deceitful senses and spirits which are lurking within to waste the
flock of Christ? Who are the false prophets but deceptive predictors of the
future? Who are the false apostles but the preachers of a spurious gospel?
 Who also are the Antichrists, both now and evermore, but the men who
rebel against Christ?  Heresies, at the present time, will no less
rend the church by their perversion of doctrine, than will Antichrist
persecute her at that day by the cruelty of his attacks,  except
that persecution make seven martyrs, (but) heresy only apostates. And
therefore "heresies must needs be in order that they which are approved
might be made manifest,  both those who remained stedfast under
persecution, and those who did not wander out of their way  into
heresy. For the apostle does not mean  that those persons should be
deemed approved who exchange their creed for heresy; although they
contrariously interpret his words to their own side, when he says in another
passage, "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good; "  as if,
after proving all things amiss, one might not through error make a
determined choice of some evil thing.
Chapter V. Heresy, as Well as Schism and Dissension, Disapproved by St.
Paul, Who Speaks of the Necessity of Heresies, Not as a Good, But, by the
Will of God, Salutary Trials for Training and Approving the Faith of
Moreover, when he blames dissensions and schisms, which undoubtedly are
evils, he immediately adds heresies likewise. Now, that which he subjoins to
evil things, he of course confesses to be itself an evil; and all the
greater, indeed, because he tells us that his belief of their schisms and
dissensions was grounded on his knowledge that "there must be heresies
also."  For he shows us that it was owing to the prospect of the
greater evil that he readily believed the existence of the lighter ones; and
so far indeed was he from believing, in respect of evils (of such a kind),
that heresies were good, that his object was to forewarn us that we ought
not to be surprised at temptations of even a worse stamp, since (he said)
they tended "to make manifest all such as were approved; "  in other
words, those whom they were unable to pervert.  In short, since the
whole passage  points to the maintenance of unity and the checking
of divisions, inasmuch as heresies sever men from unity no less than schisms
and dissensions, no doubt he classes heresies under the same head of censure
as he does schisms also and dissensions. And by so doing, he makes those to
be "not approved," who have fallen into heresies; more especially when with
reproofs he exhorts  men to turn away from such, teaching them that
they should "all speak and think the selfsame thing,"  the very
object which heresies do not permit.
Chapter VI. Heretics are Self-Condemned. Heresy is Self-Will, Whilst Faith
is Submission of Our Will to the Divine Authority. The Heresy of Apelles.
On this point, however, we dwell no longer, since it is the same Paul who,
in his Epistle to the Galatians, counts "heresies" among "the sins of the
flesh,"  who also intimates to Titus, that "a man who is a
heretic" must be "rejected after the first admonition," on the ground that
"he that is such is perverted, and committeth sin, as a self-condemned
man."  Indeed, in almost every epistle, when enjoining on us (the
duty) of avoiding false doctrines, he sharply condemns  heresies. Of
these the practical effects  are false doctrines, called in Greek
heresies,  a word used in the sense of that choice which a man makes
when he either teaches them (to others)  or takes up with them (for
himself).  For this reason it is that he calls the heretic
self-condemned,  because he has himself chosen that for which he is
condemned. We, however, are not permitted to cherish any object 
after our own will, nor yet to make choice of that which another has
introduced of his private fancy. In the Lord's apostles we possess our
authority; for even they did not of themselves choose to introduce anything,
but faithfully delivered to the nations (of mankind) the doctrine 
which they had received from Christ. If, therefore, even "an angel from
heaven should preach any other gospel" (than theirs), he would be called
accursed  by us. The Holy Ghost had even then foreseen that there
would be in a certain virgin (called) Philumene  an angel of deceit,
"transformed into an angel of light,"  by whose miracles and
illusions  Apelles was led (when) he introduced his new heresy.
Chapter VII. Pagan Philosophy the Parent of Heresies. The Connection Between
Deflections from Christian Faith and the Old Systems of Pagan Philosophy.
These are "the doctrines" of men and "of demons"  produced for
itching ears of the spirit of this world's wisdom: this the Lord called
"foolishness,"  and "chose the foolish things of the world" to
confound even philosophy itself. For (philosophy) it is which is the
material of the world's wisdom, the rash interpreter of the nature and the
dispensation of God. Indeed  heresies are themselves instigated
 by philosophy. From this source came the Æons, and I known not what
infinite forms,  and the trinity of man  in the system of
Valentinus, who was of Plato's school. From the same source came Marcion's
better god, with all his tranquillity; he came of the Stoics. Then, again,
the opinion that the soul dies is held by the Epicureans; while the denial
of the restoration of the body is taken from the aggregate school of all the
philosophers; also, when matter is made equal to God, then you have the
teaching of Zeno; and when any doctrine is alleged touching a god of fire,
then Heraclitus comes in. The same subject-matter is discussed over and over
again  by the heretics and the philosophers; the same arguments
 are involved. Whence comes evil? Why is it permitted? What is the
origin of man? and in what way does he come? Besides the question which
Valentinus has very lately proposed'Whence comes God? Which he settles with
the answer: From enthymesis and ectroma.  Unhappy Aristotle! who
invented for these men dialectics, the art of building up and pulling down;
an art so evasive in its propositions,  so far-fetched in its
conjectures, so harsh, in its arguments, so productive of
contentions'embarrassing  even to itself, retracting everything, and
really treating of  nothing! Whence spring those "fables and endless
genealogies,"  and "unprofitable questions,"  and "words
which spread like a cancer? "  From all these, when the apostle
would restrain us, he expressly names philosophy as that which he would have
us be on our guard against. Writing to the Colossians, he says, "See that no
one beguile you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of
men, and contrary to the wisdom of the Holy Ghost."  He had been at
Athens, and had in his interviews (with its philosophers) become acquainted
with that human wisdom which pretends to know the truth, whilst it only
corrupts it, and is itself divided into its own manifold heresies, by the
variety of its mutually repugnant sects. What indeed has Athens to do with
Jerusalem? What concord is there between the Academy and the Church? what
between heretics and Christians? Our instruction comes from "the porch of
Solomon,"  who had himself taught that "the Lord should be sought in
simplicity of heart."  Away with  all attempts to produce a
mottled Christianity of Stoic, Platonic, and dialectic composition! We want
no curious disputation after possessing Christ Jesus, no inquisition after
enjoying the gospel! With our faith, we desire no further belief. For this
isour palmary faith, that there is nothing which we ought to believe
Chapter VIII. Christ's Word, Seek, and Ye Shall Find, No Warrant for
Heretical Deviations from the Faith. All Christ's Words to the Jews are for
Us, Not Indeed as Specific Commands, But as Principles to Be Applied.
I come now to the point which (is urged both by our own brethren and by the
heretics). Our brethren adduce it as a pretext for entering on curious
inquiries,  and the heretics insist on it for importing the
scrupulosity (of their unbelief).  It is written, they say, "Seek,
and ye shall find."  Let us remember at what time the Lord said
this. I think it was at the very outset of His teaching, when there was
still a doubt felt by all whether He were the Christ, and when even Peter
had not yet declared Him to be the Son of God, and John (Baptist) had
actually ceased to feel assurance about Him.  With good reason,
therefore, was it then said, "Seek, and ye shall find," when inquiry was
still be to made of Him who was not yet become known. Besides, this was said
in respect of the Jews. For it is to them that the whole matter  of
this reproof  pertains, seeing that they had (a revelation) where
they might seek Christ.
"They have," says He, "Moses and Elias,"  'in other words, the law
and the prophets, which preach Christ; as also in another place He says
plainly, "Search the Scriptures, in which ye expect (to find) salvation; for
they testify of me; "  which will be the meaning of "Seek, and ye
shall find." For it is clear that the next words also apply to the Jews:
"Knock, and it shall be opened unto you."  The Jews had formerly
been in covenant with  God; but being afterwards cast off on account
of their sins, they began to be  without God. The Gentiles, on the
contrary, had never been in covenant with God; they were only as "a drop
from a bucket," and "as dust from the threshing floor,  and were
ever outside the door. Now, how shall he who was always outside knock at the
place where he never was? What door does he know of, when he has passed
through none, either by entrance or ejection? Is it not rather he who is
aware that he once lived within and was thrust out, that (probably) found
the door and knocked thereat? In like manner, "Ask, and ye shall receive,"
 is suitably said  to one who was aware from whom he ought to
ask,'by whom also some promise had been given; that is to say, "the God of
Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob." Now, the Gentiles knew nothing either of
Him, or of any of His promises. Therefore it was to Isreal that he spake
when He said, "I am not sent but to the lost sheep of the house of
Isreal."  Not yet had He "cast to the dogs the children's bread; "
 not yet did He charge them to "go into the way of the Gentiles."
 It is only at the last that He instructs them to "go and teach all
nations, and baptize them,"  when they were so soon to receive "the
Holy Ghost, the Comforter, who should guide them into all the truth."
 And this, too, makes towards the the same conclusion. If the
apostles, who were ordained  to be teachers to the Gentiles, were
themselves to have the Comforter for their teacher, far more needless
 was it to say to us, "Seek, and ye shall find," to whom was to come,
without research,  our instruction  by the apostles, and
to the apostles themselves by the Holy Ghost. All the Lord's sayings,
indeed, are set forth for all men; through the ears of the Jews have they
passed on to us. Still most of them were addressed to Jewish persons;
 they therefore did not constitute instruction properly designed
 for ourselves, but rather an example. 
Chapter IX. The Research After Definite Truth Enjoined on Us. When We Have
Discovered This, We Should Be Content.
I now purposely  relinquish this ground of argument. Let it be
granted, that the words, "Seek, and ye shall find," were addressed to all
men (equally). Yet even here one's aim is  carefully to
determine  the sense of the words  consistently with
 (that reason),  which is the guiding principle  in
all interpretation. (Now) no divine saying is so unconnected  and
diffuse, that its words only are to be insisted on, and their connection
left undetermined. But at the outset I lay down (this position) that there
is some one, and therefore definite, thing taught by Christ, which the
Gentiles are by all means bound to believe, and for that purpose to
"seek," in order that they may be able, when they have "found" it, to
believe. However,  there can be no indefinite seeking for that
which has been taught as one only definite thing. You must "seek" until you
"find," and believe when you have found; nor have you anything further to do
but to keep what you have believed provided you believe this besides, that
nothing else is to be believed, and therefore nothing else is to be sought,
after you have found and believed what has been taught by Him who charges
you to seek no other thing than that which He has taught.  When,
indeed, any man doubts about this, proof will be forthcoming,  that
we have in our possession  that which was taught by Christ.
Meanwhile, such is my confidence in our proof, that I anticipate it, in the
shape of an admonition to certain persons, not "to seek" anything beyond
what they have believed'that this is what they ought to have sought, how to
avoid  interpreting, "Seek, and ye shall find," without regard to
the rule of reason.
Chapter X. One Has Succeeded in Finding Definite Truth, When He Believes.
Heretical Wits are Always Offering Many Things for Vain Discussion, But We
are Not to Be Always Seeking.
Now the reason of this saying is comprised in three points: in the matter,
in the time, in the limit.  In the matter, so that you must
consider what it is you have to seek; in the time, when you have to seek; in
the limit, how long. What you have "to seek," then, is that which Christ has
taught,  (and you must go on seeking) of course for such time as
you fail to find,  'until indeed you find  it. But you
have succeeded in finding  when you have believed. For you would
not have believed if you had not found; as neither would you have sought
except with a view to find. Your object, therefore, in seeking was to find;
and your object in finding was to believe, All further delay for seeking and
finding you have prevented  by believing. The very fruit of your
seeking has determined for you this limit. This boundary  has He
set for you Himself, who is unwilling that you should believe anything else
than what He has taught, or, therefore, even seek for it. If, however,
because so many other things have been taught by one and another, we are on
that account bound to go on seeking, so long as we are able to find
anything, we must (at that rate) be ever seeking, and never believe anything
at all. For where shall be the end of seeking? where the stop  in
believing? where the completion in finding? (Shall it be) with Marcion? But
even Valentinus proposes (to us the) maxim, "Seek, and ye shall find." Then
shall it be) with Valentinus? Well, but Apelles, too, will assail me with
the same quotation; Hebion also, and Simon, and all in turn, have no other
argument wherewithal to entice me, and draw me over to their side. Thus I
shall be nowhere, and still be encountering  (that challenge),
"Seek, and ye shall find," precisely as if I had no resting-place; 
as if (indeed) I had never found that which Christ has taught'that which
ought  to be sought, that which must needs  be believed.
Chapter XI. After We Have Believed, Search Should Cease; Otherwise It Must
End in a Denial of What We Have Believed. No Other Object Proposed for Our
There is impunity in erring, if there is no delinquency; although indeed to
err it is itself an act of delinquency.  With impunity, I repeat,
does a man ramble,  when he (purposely) deserts nothing. But yet,
if I have believed what I was bound to believe, and then afterwards think
that there is something new to be sought after, I of course expect that
there is something else to be found, although I should by no means entertain
such expectation, unless it were because I either had not believed, although
I apparently had become a believer, or else have ceased to believe. If I
thus desert my faith, I am found to be a denier thereof. Once for all I
would say, No man seeks, except him who either never possessed, or else has
lost (what he sought). The old woman (in the Gospel)  had lost one
of her ten pieces of silver, and therefore she sought it;  when,
however, she found it, she ceased to look for it. The neighbour was without
bread, and therefore he knocked; but as soon as the door was opened to him,
and he received the bread, he discontinued knocking.  The widow
kept asking to be heard by the judge, because she was not admitted; but when
her suit was heard, thenceforth she was silent.  So that there is a
limit both to seeking, and to knocking, and to asking. "For to every one
that asketh," says He, "it shall be given, and to him that knocketh it shall
be opened, and by him that seeketh it shall be found."  Away with
the man  who is ever seeking because he never finds; for he seeks
there where nothing can be found. Away with him who is always knocking
because it will never be opened to him; for he knocks where there is none
(to open). Away with him who is always asking because he will never be
heard; for he asks of one who does not hear.
Chapter XII. A Proper Seeking After Divine Knowledge, Which Will Never Be
Out of Place or Excessive, is Always Within the Rule of Faith.
As for us, although we must still seek, and that always, yet where ought our
search to be made? Amongst the heretics, where all things are foreign
 and opposed to our own verity, and to whom we are forbidden to draw
near? What slave looks for food from a stranger, not to say an enemy of his
master? What soldier expects to get bounty and pay from kings who are
unallied, I might almost say hostile'unless forsooth he be a deserter, and a
runaway, and a rebel? Even that old woman  searched for the piece
of silver within her own house. It was also at his neighbour's door that the
persevering assailant kept knocking. Nor was it to a hostile judge, although
a severe one, that the widow made her appeal. No man gets instruction
 from that which tends to destruction.  No man receives
illumination from a quarter where all is darkness. Let our "seeking,"
therefore be in that which is our own, and from those who are our own: and
concerning that which is our own,'that, and only that,  which can
become an object of inquiry without impairing the rule of faith.
Chapter XIII. Summary of the Creed, or Rule of Faith. No Questions Ever
Raised About It by Believers. Heretics Encourage and Perpetuate Thought
Independent of Christ's Teaching.
Now, with regard to this rule of faith'that we may from this point 
acknowledge what it is which we defend'it is, you must know, that which
prescribes the belief that there is one only God, and that He is none other
than the Creator of the world, who produced all things out of nothing
through His own Word, first of all sent forth;  that this Word is
called His Son, and, under the name of God, was seen "in diverse manners" by
the patriarchs, heard at all times in the prophets, at last brought down by
the Spirit and Power of the Father into the Virgin Mary, was made flesh in
her womb, and, being born of her, went forth as Jesus Christ; thenceforth He
preached the new law and the new promise of the kingdom of heaven, worked
miracles; having been crucified, He rose again the third day; (then) having
ascended  into the heavens, He sat at the right hand of the Father;
sent instead of Himself  the Power of the Holy Ghost to lead such
as believe; will come with glory to take the saints to the enjoyment of
everlasting life and of the heavenly promises, and to condemn the wicked to
everlasting fire, after the resurrection of both these classes shall have
happened, together with the restoration of their flesh. This rule, as it
will be proved, was taught by Christ, and raises amongst ourselves no other
questions than those which heresies introduce, and which make men
Chapter XIV. Curiosity Ought Not Range Beyond the Rule of Faith. Restless
Curiosity, the Feature of Heresy.
So long, however, as its form exists in its proper order, you may seek and
discuss as much as you please, and give full rein to  your
curiosity, in whatever seems to you to hang in doubt, or to be shrouded in
obscurity. You have at hand, no doubt, some learned  brother gifted
with the grace of knowledge, some one of the experienced class, some one of
your close acquaintance who is curious like yourself; although with
yourself, a seeker he will, after all,  be quite aware 
that it is better for you to remain in ignorance, lest you should come to
know what you ought not, because you have acquired the knowledge of what you
ought to know.  "Thy faith," He says, "hath saved thee" 
not observe your skill  in the Scriptures. Now, faith has been
deposited in the rule; it has a law, and (in the observance thereof)
salvation. Skill,  however, consists in curious art, having for its
glory simply the readiness that comes from knack.  Let such curious
art give place to faith; let such glory yield to salvation. At any rate, let
them either relinquish their noisiness.  or else be quiet. To know
nothing in opposition to the rule (of faith), is to know all things.
(Suppose) that heretics were not enemies to the truth, so that we were not
forewarned to avoid them, what sort of conduct would it be to agree with men
who do themselves confess that they are still seeking? For if they are still
seeking, they have not as yet found anything amounting to certainty; and
therefore, whatever they seem for a while  to hold, they betray
their own scepticism,  whilst they continue seeking. You therefore,
who seek after their fashion, looking to those who are themselves ever
seeking, a doubter to doubters, a waverer to waverers, must needs be "led,
blindly by the blind, down into the ditch."  But when, for the sake
of deceiving us, they pretend that they are still seeking, in order that
they may palm  their essays  upon us by the suggestion of
an anxious sympathy,  'when, in short (after gaining an access to
us), they proceed at once to insist on the necessity of our inquiring into
such points as they were in the habit of advancing, then it is high time for
us in moral obligation  to repel  them, so that they may
know that it is not Christ, but themselves, whom we disavow. For since they
are still seekers, they have no fixed tenets yet;  and being not
fixed in tenet, they have not yet believed; and being not yet believers,
they are not Christians. But even though they have their tenets and their
belief, they still say that inquiry is necessary in order to discussion.
 Previous, however, to the discussion, they deny what they confess not
yet to have believed, so long as they keep it an object of inquiry. When
men, therefore, are not Christians even on their own admission, 
how much more (do they fail to appear such) to us! What sort of truth is
that which they patronize,  when they commend it to us with a lie?
Well, but they actually  treat of the Scriptures and recommend
(their opinions) out of the Scriptures! To be sure they do.  From
what other source could they derive arguments concerning the things of the
faith, except from the records of the faith?
Chapter XV. Heretics Not to Be Allowed to Argue Out of the Scriptures. The
Scriptures, in Fact, Do Not Belong to Them. 
We are therefore come to (the gist of) our position; for at this point we
were aiming, and for this we were preparing in the preamble of our address
(which we have just completed),'so that we may now join issue on the
contention to which our adversaries challenge us. They put forward 
the Scriptures, and by this insolence  of theirs they at once
influence some. In the encounter itself, however, they weary the strong,
they catch the weak, and dismiss waverers with a doubt. Accordingly, we
oppose to them this step above, all others, of not admitting them to any
discussion of the Scriptures. 
If in these lie their resources, before they can use them, it ought to be
clearly seen to whom belongs the possession of the Scriptures, that none may
be admitted to the use thereof who has no title at all to the privilege.
Chapter XVI. Apostolic Sanction to This Exclusion of Heretics from the Use
of the Scriptures, Heretics, According to the Apostle, are Not to Be
Disputed With, But to Be Admonished.
I might be thought to have laid down this position to remedy distrust in my
case,  or from a desire of entering on the contest  in
some other way, were there not reasons on my side, especially this, that our
faith owes deference  to the apostle, who forbids us to enter on
"questions," or to lend our ears to new-fangled statements,  or to
consort with a heretic "after the first and second admonition," 
not, (be it observed, ) after discussion. Discussion he has inhibited in
this way, by designating admonition as the purpose of dealing with a
heretic, and the first one too, because he is not a Christian; in order that
he might not, after the manner of a Christian, seem to require correction
again and again, and "before two or three witnesses,"  seeing that
he ought to be corrected, for the very reason that he is not to be disputed
with; and in the next place, because a controversy over the Scriptures can,
clearly,  produce no other effect than help to upset either the
stomach or the brain.
Chapter XVII. Heretics, in Fact, Do Not Use, But Only Abuse, Scripture. No
Common Ground Between Them and You.
Now this heresy of yours  does not receive certain Scriptures; and
whichever of them it does receive, it perverts by means of additions and
diminutions, for the accomplishment of it own purpose; and such as it does
receive, it receives not in their entirety; but even when it does receive
any up to a certain point  as entire, it nevertheless perverts even
these by the contrivance of diverse interpretations. Truth is just as much
opposed by an adulteration of its meaning as it is by a corruption of its
text.  Their vain presumptions must needs refuse to acknowledge the
(writings) whereby they are refuted. They rely on those which they have
falsely put together, and which they have selected, because of 
their ambiguity. Though most skilled  in the Scriptures, you will
make no progress,  when everything which you maintain is denied on
the other side, and whatever you deny is (by them) maintained. As for
yourself, indeed, you will lose nothing but your breath, and gain nothing
but vexation from their blasphemy.
Chapter XVIII. Great Evil Ensues to the Weak in Faith, from Any Discussion
Out of the Scriptures. Conviction Never Comes to the Heretic from Such a
But with respect to the man for whose sake you enter on the discussion of
the Scriptures,  with the view of strengthening him when afflicted
with doubts, (let me ask) will it be to the truth, or rather to heretical
opinions that he will lean? Influenced by the very fact that he sees you
have made no progress, whilst the other side is on an equal footing
 (with yourself) in denying and in defence, or at any rate on a like
standing  he will go away confirmed in his uncertainty  by
the discussion, not knowing which side to adjudge heretical. For, no doubt,
they too are able  to retort these things on us. It is indeed a
necessary consequence that they should go so far as to say that
adulterations of the Scriptures, and false expositions thereof, are rather
introduced by ourselves, inasmuch as they, no less than we 
maintain that truth is on their side.
Chapter XIX. Appeal, in Discussion of Heresy, Lies Not to the Scriptures.
The Scriptures Belong Only to Those Who Have the Rule of Faith.
Our appeal, therefore, must not be made to the Scriptures; nor must
controversy be admitted on points in which victory will either be
impossible,  or uncertain, or not certain enough.  But
even if a discussion from the Scriptures  should not turn out in
such a way as to place both sides on a par, (yet) the natural order of
things would require that this point should be first proposed, which is now
the only one which we must discuss: "With whom lies that very faith to which
the Scriptures belong.  From what and through whom, and when, and
to whom, has been handed down that rule,  by which men become
Christians? "For wherever it shall be manifest that the true Christian rule
and faith shall be, there will likewise be the true Scriptures and
expositions thereof, and all the Christian traditions.
Chapter XX. Christ First Delivered the Faith. The Apostles Spread It; They
Founded Churches as the Depositories Thereof. That Faith, Therefore, is
Apostolic, Which Descended from the Apostles, Through Apostolic Churches.
Christ Jesus our Lord (may He bear with me a moment in thus expressing
myself!), whosoever He is, of what God soever He is the Son, of what
substance soever He is man and God, of what faith soever He is the, teacher,
of what reward soever He is the Promiser, did, whilst He lived on earth,
Himself declare what He was, what He had been, what the Father's will was
which He was administering, what the duty of man was which He was
prescribing; (and this declaration He made, ) either openly to the people,
or privately to His disciples, of whom He had chosen the twelve chief ones
to be at His side,  and whom He destined to be the teachers of the
nations. Accordingly, after one of these had been struck off, He commanded
the eleven others, on His departure to the Father, to "go and teach all
nations, who were to be baptized into the Father, and into the Son, and into
the Holy Ghost."  Immediately, therefore, so did the apostles, whom
this designation indicates as "the sent." Having, on the authority of a
prophecy, which occurs in a psalm of David,  chosen Matthias by lot
as the twelfth, into the place of Judas, they obtained the promised power of
the Holy Ghost for the gift of miracles and of utterance; and after first
bearing witness to the faith in Jesus Christ throughout Judæa, and rounding
churches (there), they next went forth into the world and preached the same
doctrine of the same faith to the nations. They then in like manner rounded
churches in every city, from which all the other churches, one after
another, derived the tradition of the faith,  and the seeds of
doctrine, and are every day deriving them,  that they may become
churches. Indeed, it is on this account only that they will be able to deem
themselves apostolic, as being the offspring of apostolic churches. Every
sort of thing  must necessarily revert to its original for its
classification.  Therefore the churches, although they are so many
and so great, comprise but the one primitive church, (rounded) by the
apostles, from which they all (spring). In this way all are primitive, and
all are apostolic, whilst they are all proved to be one, in (unbroken)
unity, by their peaceful communion,  and title of brotherhood, and
bond  of hospitality,'privileges  which no other rule
directs than the one tradition of the selfsame mystery. 
Chapter XXI. All Doctrine True Which Comes Through the Church from the
Apostles, Who Were Taught by God Through Christ. All Opinion Which Has No
Such Divine Origin and Apostolic Tradition to Show, is Ipso FactoFalse.
From this, therefore, do we draw up our rule. Since the Lord Jesus Christ
sent the apostles to preach, (our rule is) that no others ought to be
received as preachers than those whom Christ appointed; for "no man knoweth
the Father save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him."
 Nor does the Son seem to have revealed Him to any other than the
apostles, whom He sent forth to preach'that, of course, which He revealed to
them. Now, what that was which they preached'in other words, what it was
which Christ revealed to them'can, as I must here likewise prescribe,
properly be proved in no other way than by those very churches which the
apostles rounded in person, by declaring the gospel to them directly
themselves, both vivG voce, as the phrase is, and subsequently by their
epistles. If, then, these things are so, it is in the same degree 
manifest that all doctrine which agrees with the apostolic churches'those
moulds  and original sources of the faith must be reckoned for
truth, as undoubtedly containing that which the (said) churches received
from the apostles, the apostles from Christ, Christ from God. Whereas all
doctrine must be prejudged  as false  which savours of
contrariety to the truth of the churches and apostles of Christ and God. It
remains, then, that we demonstrate whether this doctrine of ours, of which
we have now given the rule, has its origin  in the tradition of the
apostles, and whether all other doctrines do not ipso facto 
proceed from falsehood. We hold communion with the apostolic churches
because our doctrine is in no respect different from theirs. This is our
witness of truth.
Chapter XXII. Attempt to Invalidate This Rule of Faith Rebutted. The
Apostles Safe Transmitters of the Truth. Sufficiently Taught at First, and
Faithful in the Transmission.
But inasmuch as the proof is so near at hand,  that if it were at
once produced there would be nothing left to be dealt with, let us give way
for a while to the opposite side, if they think that they can find some
means of invalidating this rule, just as if no proof were forthcoming from
us. They usually tell us that the apostles did not know all things: (but
herein) they are impelled by the same madness, whereby they turn round to
the very opposite point,  and declare that the apostles certainly
knew all things, but did not deliver all things to all persons,'in either
case exposing Christ to blame for having sent forth apostles who had either
too much ignorance, or too little simplicity. What man, then, of sound mind
can possibly suppose that they were ignorant of anything, whom the Lord
ordained to be masters (or teachers),  keeping them, as He did,
inseparable (from Himself) in their attendance, in their discipleship, in
their society, to whom, "when they were alone, He used to expound" all
things  which were obscure, telling them that "to them it was given
to know those mysteries,"  which it was not permitted the people to
understand? Was anything withheld from the knowledge of Peter, who is called
"the rock on which the church should be built,"  who also obtained
"the keys of the kingdom of heaven,"  with the power of "loosing
and binding in heaven and on earth? "  Was anything, again,
concealed from John, the Lord's most beloved disciple, who used to lean on
His breast  to whom alone the Lord pointed Judas out as the
traitor,  whom He commended to Mary as a son in His own stead?
 Of what could He have meant those to be ignorant, to whom He even
exhibited His own glory with Moses and Elias, and the Father's voice
moreover, from heaven?  Not as if He thus disapproved  of
all the rest, but because "by three witnesses must every word be
established."  After the same fashion,  too, (I suppose, )
were they ignorant to whom, after His resurrection also, He vouchsafed, as
they were journeying together, "to expound all the Scriptures."  No
doubt  He had once said, "I have yet many things to say unto you,
but ye cannot hear them now; "but even then He added, "When He, the Spirit
of truth, shall come, He will lead you into all truth."  He (thus)
shows that there was nothing of which they were ignorant, to whom He had
promised the future attainment of all truth by help of the Spirit of truth.
And assuredly He fulfilled His promise, since it is proved in the Acts of
the Apostles that the Holy Ghost did come down. Now they who reject that
Scripture  can neither belong to the Holy Spirit, seeing that they
cannot acknowledge that the Holy Ghost has been sent as yet to the
disciples, nor can they presume to claim to be a church themselves 
who positively have no means of proving when, and with what
swaddling-clothes  this body was established. Of so much importance
is it to them not to have any proofs for the things which they maintain,
lest along with them there be introduced damaging exposures  of
those things which they mendaciously devise.
Chapter XXIII. The Apostles Not Ignorant. The Heretical Pretence of St.
Peter's Imperfection Because He Was Rebuked by St. Paul. St. Peter Not
Rebuked for Error in Teaching.
Now, with the view of branding  the apostles with some mark of
ignorance, they put forth the case of Peter and them that were with him
having been rebuked by Paul. "Something therefore," they say, "was wanting
in them." (This they allege, ) in order that they may from this construct
that other position of theirs, that a fuller knowledge may possibly have
afterwards come over (the apostles, ) such as fell to the share of Paul when
he rebuked those who preceded him. I may here say to those who reject The
Acts of the Apostles: "It is first necessary that you shows us who this Paul
was,'both what he was before he was an apostle, and how he became an
apostle,"'so very great is the use which they make of him in respect of
other questions also. It is true that he tells us himself that he was a
persecutor before he became an apostle,  still this is not enough
for any man who examines before he believes, since even the Lord Himself did
not bear witness of Himself.  But let them believe without the
Scriptures, if their object is to believe contrary to the Scriptures.
 Still they should show, from the circumstance which they allege of
Peter's being rebuked by Paul, that Paul added yet another form of the
gospel besides that which Peter and the rest had previously set forth. But
the fact is,  having been converted from a persecutor to a
preacher, he is introduced as one of the brethren to brethren, by
brethren'to them, indeed, by men who had put on faith from the apostles'
hands. Afterwards, as he himself narrates, he "went up to Jerusalem for the
purpose of seeing Peter,"  because of his office, no doubt,
 and by right of a common belief and preaching. Now they certainly
would not have been surprised at his having become a preacher instead of a
persecutor, if his preaching were of something contrary; nor, moreover,
would they have "glorified the Lord,"  because Paul had presented
himself as an adversary to Him They accordingly even gave him "the right
hand of fellowship,"  as a sign of their agreement with him, and
arranged amongst themselves a distribution of office, not a diversity of
gospel, so that they should severally preach not a different gospel, but
(the same), to different persons,  Peter to the circumcision, Paul
to the Gentiles. Forasmuch, then, as Peter was rebuked because, after he had
lived with the Gentiles, he proceeded to separate himself from their company
out of respect for persons, the fault surely was one of conversation, not of
preaching.  For it does not appear from this, that any other God
than the Creator, or any other Christ than (the son) of Mary, or any other
hope than the resurrection, was (by him) announced.
Chapter XXIV. St. Peter's Further Vindication. St. Paul Not Superior to St.
Peter in Teaching. Nothing Imparted to the Former in the Third Heaven
Enabled Him to Add to the Faith. Heretics Boast as If Favoured with Some of
the Secrets Imparted to Him.
I have not the good fortune,  or, as I must rather say,  I
have not the unenviable task,  of setting apostles by the ears.
 But, inasmuch as our very perverse cavillers obtrude the rebuke in
question for the set purpose of bringing the earlier  doctrine into
suspicion, I will put in a defence, as it were, for Peter, to the effect
that even Paul said that he was "made all things to all men'to the Jews a
Jew," to those who were not Jews as one who was not a Jew'"that he might
gain all."  Therefore it was according to times and persons and
causes that they used to censure certain practices, which they would not
hesitate themselves to pursue, in like conformity to times and persons and
causes. Just (e.g.) as if Peter too had censured Paul, because, whilst
for-bidding circumcision, he actually circumcised Timothy himself. Never
mind  those who pass sentence on apostles! It is a happy fact that
Peter is on the same level with Paul in the very glory  of
martyrdom. Now, although Paul was carried away even to the third heaven, and
yet these cannot possibly seem to have qualified him for (teaching) another
doctrine, seeing that their very nature was such as to render them
communicable to no human being.  If, however, that unspeakable
mystery  did leak out,  and become known to any man, and
if any heresy affirms that it does itself follow the same, (then) either
Paul must be charged with having betrayed the secret, or some other man must
actually  be shown to have been afterwards "caught up into
paradise," who had permission to speak out plainly what Paul was not allowed
(even) to mutter.
Chapter XXV. The Apostles Did Not Keep Back Any of the Deposit of Doctrine
Which Christ Had Entrusted to Them. St. Paul Openly Committed His Whole
Doctrine to Timothy.
But here is, as we have said,  the same madness, in their allowing
indeed that the apostles were ignorant of nothing, and preached not any
(doctrines) which contradicted one another, but at the same time insisting
that they did not reveal all to all men, for that they proclaimed some
openly and to all the world, whilst they disclosed others (only) in secret
and to a few, because Paul addressed even this expression to Timothy: "O
Timothy, guard that which is entrusted to thee; "  and again: "That
good thing which was committed unto thee keep."  What is this
deposit? Is it so secret as to be supposed to characterize  a new
doctrine? or is it a part of that charge of which he says, "This charge I
commit unto thee, son Timothy? "  and also of that precept of which
he says, "I charge thee in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and
before Jesus Christ who witnessed a good confession under Pontius Pilate,
that thou keep this commandment? "  Now, what is (this) commandment
and what is (this) charge? From the preceding and the succeeding contexts,
it will be manifest that there is no mysterious  hint darkly
suggested in this expression about (some) far-fetched  doctrine,
but that a warning is rather given against receiving any other (doctrine)
than that which Timothy had heard from himself, as I take it publicly:
"Before many witnesses" is his phrase.  Now, if they refuse to
allow that the church is meant by these "many witnesses," it matters
nothing, since nothing could have been secret which was produced "before
many witnesses." Nor, again, must the circumstance of his having wished him
to "commit these things to faithful men, who should be able to teach others
also,"  be construed into a proof of there being some occult
gospel. For, when he says "these things," he refers to the things of which
he is writing at the moment. In reference, however, to occult subjects, he
would have called them, as being absent, those things, not these things, to
one who had a joint knowledge of them with himself. 
Chapter XXVI. The Apostles Did in All Cases Teach the Whole Truth to the
Whole Church. No Reservation, Nor Partial Communication to Favourite
Besides which, it must have followed, that, for the man to whom he committed
the ministration of the gospel, he would add the injunction that it be not
ministered in all places,  and without respect to persons,
 in accordance with the Lord's saying, "Not to cast one's pearls
before swine, nor that which is holy unto dogs."  Openly did the
Lord speak,  without any intimation of a hidden mystery. He had
Himself commanded that, "whatsoever they had heard in darkness" and in
secret, they should "declare in the light and on the house-tops." 
He had Himself fore-shown, by means of a parable, that they should not keep
back in secret, fruitless of interest,  a single pound, that is,
one word of His. He used Himself to tell them that a candle was not usually
"pushed away under a bushel, but placed on a candlestick," in order to "give
light to all who are in the house."  These things the apostles
either neglected, or failed to understand, if they fulfilled them not, by
concealing any portion of the light, that is, of the word of God and the
mystery of Christ. Of no man, I am quite sure, were they afraid,'neither of
Jews nor of Gentiles in their violence;  with all the greater
freedom, then, would they certainly preach in the church, who held not their
tongue in synagogues and public places. Indeed they would have found it
impossible either to convert Jews or to bring in Gentiles, unless they "set
forth in order"  that which they would have them believe. Much
less, when churches were advanced in the faith, would they have withdrawn
from them anything for the purpose of committing it separately to some few
others. Although, even supposing that among intimate friends,  so
to speak, they did hold certain discussions, yet it is incredible that these
could have been such as to bring in some other rule of faith, differing from
and contrary to that which they were proclaiming through the Catholic
churches,  'as if they spoke of one God in the Church, (and)
another at home, and described one substance of Christ, publicly, (and)
another secretly, and announced one hope of the resurrection before all men,
(and) another before the few; although they themselves, in their epistles,
besought men that they would all speak one and the same thing, and that
there should be no divisions and dissensions in the church,  seeing
that they, whether Paul or others, preached the same things. Moreover, they
remembered the words): "Let your communication be yea, yea; nay, nay; for
whatsoever is more than this cometh of evil; "  so that they were
not to handle the gospel in a diversity of treatment.
Chapter XXVII. Granted that the Apostles Transmitted the Whole Doctrine of
Truth, May Not the Churches Have Been Unfaithful in Handing It On?
Inconceivable that This Can Have Been the Case.
Since, therefore, it is incredible that the apostles were either ignorant of
the whole scope of the message which they had to declare,  or
failed to make known to all men the entire rule of faith, let us see
whether, while the apostles proclaimed it, perhaps, simply and fully, the
churches, through their own fault, set it forth otherwise than the apostles
had done. All these suggestions of distrust  you may find put
forward by the heretics. They bear in mind how the churches were rebuked by
the apostle: "O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you? "  and,
"Ye did run so well; who hath hindered you? "  and how the epistle
actually begins: "I marvel that ye are so soon removed from Him, who hath
called you as His own in grace, to another gospel."  That they
likewise (remember), what was written to the Corinthians, that they "were
yet carnal," who "required to be fed with milk," being as yet "unable to
bear strong meat; "  who also "thought that they knew somewhat,
whereas they knew not yet anything, as they ought to know."  When
they raise the objection that the churches were rebuked, let them suppose
that they were also corrected; let them also remember those (churches),
concerning whose faith and knowledge and conversation the apostle "rejoices
and gives thanks to God," which nevertheless even at this day, unite with
those which were rebuked in the privileges of one and the same institution.
Chapter XXVIII. The One Tradition of the Faith, Which is Substantially Alike
in the Churches Everywhere, a Good Proof that the Transmission Has Been True
and Honest in the Main.
Grant, then, that all have erred; that the apostle was mistaken in giving
his testimony; that the Holy Ghost had no such respect to any one (church)
as to lead it into truth, although sent with this view by Christ, 
and for this asked of the Father that He might be the teacher of truth;
 grant, also, that He, the Steward of God, the Vicar of Christ,
 neglected His office, permitting the churches for a time to
understand differently, (and) to believe differently, what He Himself was
preaching by the apostles,'is it likely that so many churches, and they so
great, should have gone astray into one and the same faith? No casualty
distributed among many men issues in one and the same result. Error of
doctrine in the churches must necessarily have produced various issues.
When, however, that which is deposited among many is found to be one and the
same, it is not the result of error, but of tradition. Can any one, then, be
reckless  enough to say that they were in error who handed on the
Chapter XXIX. The Truth Not Indebted to the Care of the Heretics; It Had
Free Course Before They Appeared. Priority of the Church's Doctrine a Mark
of Its Truth.
In whatever manner error came, it reigned of course  only as long
as there was an absence of heresies? Truth had to wait for certain
Marcionites and Valentinians to set it free. During the interval the gospel
was wrongly  preached; men wrongly believed; so many thousands were
wrongly baptized; so many works of faith were wrongly wrought; so many
miraculous gifts,  so many spiritual endowments,  were
wrongly set in operation; so many priestly functions, so many ministries,
 were wrongly executed; and, to sum up the whole, so many martyrs
wrongly received their crowns! Else, if not wrongly done, and to no purpose,
how comes it to pass that the things of God were on their course before it
was known to what God they belonged? that there were Christians before
Christ was found? that there were heresies before true doctrine? Not so; for
in all cases truth precedes its copy, the likeness succeeds the reality.
Absurd enough, however, is it, that heresy should be deemed to have preceded
its own prior doctrine, even on this account, because it is that (doctrine)
itself which foretold that there should be heresies against which men would
have to guard! To a church which possessed this doctrine, it was
written'yea, the doctrine itself writes to its own church'"Though an angel
from heaven preach any other gospel than that which we have preached, let
him be accursed." 
Chapter XXX. Comparative Lateness of Heresies. Marcion's Heresy. Some
Personal Facts About Him. The Heresy of Apelles. Character of This Man;
Philumene; Valentinus; Nigidius, and Hermogenes.
Where was Marcion then, that shipmaster of Pontus, the zealous student of
Stoicism? Where was Valentinus then, the disciple of Platonism? For it is
evident that those men lived not so long ago,'in the reign of Antoninus for
the most part,  'and that they at first were believers in the
doctrine of the Catholic Church, in the church of Rome under the episcopate
of the blessed Eleutherus,  until on account of their ever restless
curiosity, with which they even infected the brethren, they were more than
once expelled. Marcion, indeed, [went] with the two hundred sesterces which
which he had brought into the church, and,  when banished at last
to a permanent excommunication, they scattered abroad the poisons of their
doctrines. Afterwards, it is true, Marcion professed repentance, and agreed
to the conditions granted to him'that he should receive reconciliation if he
restored to the church all the others whom he had been training for
perdition: he was prevented, however, by death. It was indeed 
necessary that there should be heresies;  and yet it does not
follow from that necessity, that heresies are a good thing. As if it has not
been necessary also that there should be evil! It was even necessary that
the Lord should be betrayed; but woe to the traitor!  So that no
man may from this defend heresies. If we must likewise touch the descent
 of Apelles, he is far from being" one of the old school," 
like his instructor and moulder, Marcion; he rather forsook the continence
of Marcion, by resorting to the company of a woman, and withdrew to
Alexandria, out of sight of his most abstemious  master. Returning
therefrom, after some years, unimproved, except that he was no longer a
Marcionite, he clave  to another woman, the maiden Philumene (whom
we have already  mentioned), who herself afterwards became an
enormous prostitute. Having been imposed on by her vigorous spirit,
 he committed to writing the revelations which he had learned of her.
Persons are still living who remember them,'their own actual disciples and
successors,'who cannot therefore deny the lateness of their date. But, in
fact, by their own works they are convicted, even as the Lord said.
 For since Marcion separated the New Testament from the Old, he is
(necessarily) subsequent to that which he separated, inasmuch as it was only
in his power to separate what was (previously) united. Having then been
united previous to its separation, the fact of its subsequent separation
proves the subsequence also of the man who effected the separation. In like
manner Valentinus, by his different expositions and acknowledged 
emendations, makes these changes on the express ground of previous
faultiness, and therefore demonstrates the difference  of the
documents. These corrupters of the truth we mention as being more notorious
and more public  than others. There is, however, a certain man
 named Nigidius, and Hermogenes, and several others, who still pursue
the course  of perverting the ways of the Lord. Let them show me by
what authority they come! If it be some other God they preach, how comes it
that they employ the things and he writings and the names of that God
against whom they preach? If it be the same God, why treat Him in some other
way? Let them prove themselves to be new apostles!  Let them
maintain that Christ has come down a second time, taught in person a second
time, has been twice crucified, twice dead, twice raised! For thus has the
apostle described (the order of events in the life of Christ); for thus,
too, is He  accustomed to make His apostles'to give them, (that
is), power besides of working the same miracles which He worked Himself.
 I would therefore have their mighty deeds also brought forward;
except that I allow their mightiest deed to be that by which they perversely
vie with the apostles. For whilst they used to raise men to life from the
dead, these consign men to death from their living state.
Chapter XXXI. Truth First, Falsehood Afterwards, as Its Perversion.
Christ's Parable Puts the Sowing of the Good Seed Before the Useless Tares.
Let me return, however, from this digression  to discuss 
the priority of truth, and the comparative lateness  of falsehood,
deriving support for my argument even from that parable which puts in the
first place the sowing by the Lord of the good seed of the wheat, but
introduces at a later stage the adulteration of the crop by its enemy the
devil with the useless weed of the wild oats. For herein is figuratively
described the difference of doctrines, since in other passages also the word
of God is likened unto seed. From the actual order, therefore, it becomes
clear, that that which was first delivered is of the Lord and is true,
whilst that is strange and false which was afterwards introduced. This
sentence will keep its ground in opposition to all later heresies, which
have no consistent quality of kindred knowledge  inherent in
them'to claim the truth as on their side.
Chapter XXXII. None of the Heretics Claim Succession from the Apostles. New
Churches Still Apostolic, Because Their Faith is that Which the Apostles
Taught and Handed Down. The Heretics Challenged to Show Any Apostolic
But if there be any (heresies) which are bold enough to plant themselves in
the midst Of the apostolic age, that they may thereby seem to have been
handed down by the apostles, because they existed in the time of the
apostles, we can say: Let them produce the original records  of
their churches; let them unfold the roll of their bishops, running down in
due succession from the beginning in such a manner that [that first bishop
of theirs  ] bishop shall be able to show for his ordainer and
predecessor some one of the apostles or of apostolic men,'a man, moreover,
who continued stedfast with the apostles. For this is the manner in which
the apostolic churches transmit  their registers:  as the
church of Smyrna, which records that Polycarp was placed therein by John; as
also the church of Rome, which makes Clement to have been ordained in like
manner by Peter.  In exactly the same way the other churches
likewise exhibit (their several worthies), whom, as having been appointed to
their episcopal places by apostles, they regard as transmitters of the
apostolic seed. Let the heretics contrive  something of the same
kind. For after their blasphemy, what is there that is unlawful for them (to
attempt)? But should they even effect the contrivance, they will not advance
a step. For their very doctrine, after comparison with that of the apostles,
will declare, by its own diversity and contrariety, that it had for its
author neither an apostle nor an apostolic man; because, as the apostles
would never have taught things which were self-contradictory, so the
apostolic men would not have inculcated teaching different from the
apostles, unless they who received their instruction from the apostles went
and preached in a contrary manner. To this test, therefore will they be
submitted for proof  by those churches, who, although they derive
not their founder from apostles or apostolic men (as being of much later
date, for they are in fact being founded daily), yet, since they agree in
the same faith, they are accounted as not less apostolic because they are
akin in doctrine.  Then let all the heresies, when challenged to
these two  tests by our apostolic church, offer their proof of how
they deem themselves to be apostolic. But in truth they neither are so, nor
are they able to prove themselves to be what they are not. Nor are they
admitted to peaceful relations and communion by such churches as are in any
way connected with apostles, inasmuch as they are in no sense themselves
apostolic because of their diversity as to the mysteries of the faith.
Chapter XXXIII. Present Heresies (Seedlings of the Tares Noted by the Sacred
Writers) Already Condemned in Scripture. This Descent of Later Heresy from
the Earlier Traced in Several Instances.
Besides all this, I add a review of the doctrines themselves, which,
existing as they did in the days of the apostles, were both exposed and
denounced by the said apostles. For by this method they will be more easily
reprobated,  when they are detected to have been even then in
existence, or at any rate to have been seedlings  of the (tares)
which then were. Paul, in his first epistle to the Corinthians, sets his
mark on certain who denied and doubted the resurrection.  This
opinion was the especial property of the Sadducees.  A part of it,
however, is maintained by Marcion and Apelles and Valentinus, and all other
impugners of the resurrection. Writing also to the Galatians, he inveighs
against such men as observed and defend circumcision and the (Mosaic)
law.  Thus runs Hebion's heresy. Such also as "forbid to marry" he
reproaches in his instructions to Timothy.  Now, this is the
teaching of Marcion and his follower Apelles. (The apostle) directs a
similar blow  against those who said that "the resurrection was
past already."  Such an opinion did the Valentinians assert of
themselves. When again he mentions "endless genealogies,"  one also
recognises Valentinus, in whose system a certain Æon, whosoever he be,
 of a new name, and that not one only, generates of his own grace
 Sense and Truth; and these in like manner produce of themselves
Word  and Life, while these again afterwards beget Man and the
Church. From these primary eight  ten other Æons after them spring,
and then the twelve others arise with their wonderful names, to complete the
mere story of the thirty Æons. The same apostle, when disapproving of those
who are "in bondage to elements,"  points us to some dogma of
Hermogenes, who introduces matter as having no beginning,  and then
compares it with God, who has no beginning.  By thus making the
mother of the elements a goddess, he has it in his power "to be in
bondage" to a being which he puts on a par with  God. John,
however, in the Apocalypse is charged to chastise those "who eat things
sacrificed to idols," and "who commit fornication."  There are even
now another sort of Nicolaitans.Theirs is called the Gaian  heresy.
But in his epistle he especially designates those as "Antichrists" who
"denied that Christ was come in the flesh,"  and who refused to
think that Jesus was the Son of God. The one dogma Marcion maintained; the
other, Hebion.  The doctrine, however, of Simon's sorcery, which
inculcated the worship of angels,  was itself actually reckoned
amongst idolatries and condemned by the Apostle Peter in Simon's own person.
Chapter XXXIV. No Early Controversy Respecting the Divine Creator; No Second
God Introduced at First. Heresies Condemned Alike by the Sentence and the
Silence of Holy Scripture.
These are, as I suppose, the different kinds of spurious doctrines, which
(as we are informed by the apostles themselves) existed in their own day.
And yet we find amongst so many various perversions of truth, not one
school  which raised any controversy concerning God as the Creator
of all things. No man was bold enough to surmise a second god. More readily
was doubt felt about the Son than about the Father, until Marcion
introduced, in addition to the Creator, another god of goodness only.
Apelles made the Creator of some nondescript  glorious angel, who
belonged to the superior God, the god (according to him, ) of the law and of
Isreal, affirming that he was fire.  Valentinus disseminated his
Æons, and traced the sin of one Æon  to the production of God the
Creator. To none, forsooth, except these, nor prior to these, was revealed
the truth of the Divine Nature; and they obtained this especial honour and
fuller favour from the devil, we cannot doubt,  because he wished
even in this respect to rival God, that he might succeed, by the poison of
his doctrines, in doing himself what the Lord said could not be done'making
"the disciples above their Master."  Let the entire mass 
of heresies choose, therefore, for themselves the times when they should
appear, provided that the when be an unimportant point; allowing, too, that
they be not of the truth, and (as a matter of course  ) that such
as had no existence in the time of the apostles could not possibly have had
any connection with the apostles. If indeed they had then existed, their
names would be extant,  with a view to their own repression
likewise. Those (heresies) indeed which did exist in the days of the
apostles, are condemned in their very mention.  If it be true,
then, that those heresies, which in the apostolic times were in a rude form,
are now found to be the same, only in a much more polished shape, they
derive their condemnation from this very circumstance Or if they were not
the same, but arose afterwards in a different form, and merely assumed from
them certain tenets, then, by sharing with them an agreement in their
teaching,  they must needs partake in their condemnation, by reason
of the above-mentioned definition,  of lateness of date, which
meets us on the very threshold.  Even if they were free from any
participation in condemned doctrine, they would stand already judged
 on the mere ground of time, being all the more spurious because they
were not even named by the apostles. Whence we have the firmer assurance,
that these were (the heresies) which even then,  were announced as
about to arise.
Chapter XXXV. Let Heretics Maintain Their Claims by a Definite and
Intelligible Evidence. This the Only Method of Solving Their Questions.
Catholics Appeal Always to Evidence Traceable to Apostolic Sources.
Challenged and refuted by us, according to these definitions, let all the
heresies boldly on their part also advance similar rules to these against
our doctrine, whether they be later than the apostles or contemporary with
the apostles, provided they be different from them; provided also they were,
by either a general or a specific censure, precondemned by them. For since
they deny the truth of (our doctrine), they ought to prove that it also is
heresy, refutable by the same rule as that by which they are themselves
refuted; and at the same time to show us where we must seek the truth, which
it is by this time evident has no existence amongst them. Our system
 is not behind any in date; on the contrary, it is earlier than all;
and this fact will be the evidence of that truth which everywhere occupies
the first place. The apostles, again, nowhere condemn it; they rather defend
it,'a fact which will show that it comes from themselves.  For that
doctrine which they refrain from condemning, when they have condemned every
strange opinion, they show to be their own, and on that ground too they
Chapter XXXVI. The Apostolic Churches the Voice of the Apostles. Let the
Heretics Examine Their Apostolic Claims, in Each Case, Indisputable. The
Church of Rome Doubly Apostolic; Its Early Eminence and Excellence. Heresy,
as Perverting the Truth, is Connected Therewith.
Come now, you who would indulge a better curiosity, if you would apply it to
the business of your salvation, run over the apostolic churches, in which
the very thrones  of the apostles are still pre-eminent in their
places,  in which their own authentic writings  are read,
uttering the voice and representing the face of each of them severally.
Achaia is very near you, (in which) you find Corinth. Since you are not far
from Macedonia, you have Philippi; (and there too) you have the
Thessalonians. Since you are able to cross to Asia, you get Ephesus. Since,
moreover, you are close upon Italy,  you have Rome, from which
there comes even into our own hands the very authority (of apostles
themselves).  How happy is its church, on which apostles poured
forth all their doctrine along with their blood! where Peter endures a
passion like his Lord's! where Paul wins his crown in a death like John's
 where the Apostle John was first plunged, unhurt, into boiling oil,
and thence remitted to his island-exile! See what she has learned, what
taught, what fellowship has had with even (our) churches in Africa!
 One Lord God does she acknowledge, the Creator of the universe, and
Christ Jesus (born) of the Virgin Mary, the Son of God the Creator; and the
Resurrection of the flesh; the law and the prophets she unites  in
one volume with the writings of evangelists and apostles, from which she
drinks in her faith. This she seals with the water (of baptism), arrays with
the Holy Ghost, feeds with the Eucharist, cheers with martyrdom, 
and against such a discipline thus (maintained) she admits no gainsayer.
This is the discipline which I no longer say foretold that heresies should
come, but from  which they proceeded. However, they were not of
her, because they were opposed to her.  Even the rough wild-olive
arises from the germ  of the fruitful, rich, and genuine 
olive; also from the seed  of the mellowest and sweetest fig there
springs the empty and useless wild-fig. In the same way heresies, too, come
from our plant,  although not of our kind; (they come) from the
grain of truth,  but, owing to their falsehood, they have only wild
leaves to show. 
Chapter XXXVII. Heretics Not Being Christians, But Rather Perverters of
Christ's Teaching, May Not Claim the Christian Scriptures. These are a
Deposit, Committed to and Carefully Kept by the Church.
Since this is the case, in order that the truth may be adjudged to belong to
us, "as many as walk according to the rule," which the church has handed
down from the apostles, the apostles from Christ, and Christ from God, the
reason of our position is clear, when it determines that heretics ought not
to be allowed to challenge an appeal to the Scriptures, since we, without
the Scriptures, prove that they have nothing to do with the Scriptures. For
as they are heretics, they cannot be true Christians, because it is not from
Christ that they get that which they pursue of their own mere choice, and
from the pursuit incur and admit the name of heretics.  Thus, not
being Christians, they have acquired  no right to the Christian
Scriptures; and it may be very fairly said to them, "Who are you? When and
whence did you come? As you are none of mine, what have you to do with that
which is mine? Indeed, Marcion, by what right do you hew my wood? By whose
permission, Valentinus, are you diverting the streams of my fountain? By
what power, Apelles, are you removing my landmarks? This is my property. Why
are you, the rest, sowing and feeding here at your own pleasure? This (I
say) is my property. I have long possessed it; I possessed it before you. I
hold sure title-deeds from the original owners themselves, to whom the
estate belonged. I am the heir of the apostles. Just as they carefully
prepared their will and testament, and committed it to a trust, and adjured
(the trustees to be faithful to their charge),  even so do I hold
it. As for you, they have, it is certain, always held you as disinherited,
and rejected you as strangers'as enemies. But on what ground are heretics
strangers and enemies to the apostles, if it be not from the difference of
their teaching, which each individual of his own mere will has either
advanced or received in opposition to the apostles? "
Chapter XXXVIII. Harmony of the Church and the Scriptures. Heretics Have
Tampered with the Scriptures, and Mutilated, and Altered Them. Catholics
Never Change the Scriptures, Which Always Testify for Them.
Where diversity of doctrine is found, there, then, must the corruption both
of the Scriptures and the expositions thereof be regarded as existing. On
those whose purpose it was to teach differently, lay the necessity of
differently arranging the instruments of doctrine.  They could not
possibly have effected their diversity of teaching in any other way than by
having a difference in the means whereby they taught. As in their case,
corruption in doctrine could not possibly have succeeded without a
corruption also of its instruments, so to ourselves also integrity of
doctrine could not have accrued, without integrity in those means by which
doctrine is managed. Now, what is there in our Scriptures which is contrary
to us?  What of our own have we introduced, that we should have to
take it away again, or else add to it, or alter it, in order to restore to
its natural soundness anything which is contrary to it, and contained in the
Scriptures?  What we are ourselves, that also the Scriptures are
(and have been) from the beginning.  Of them we have our being,
before there was any other way, before they were interpolated by you. Now,
inasmuch as all interpolation must be believed to be a later process, for
the express reason that it proceeds from rivalry which is never in any case
previous to nor home-born  with that which it emulates, it is as
incredible to every man of sense that we should seem to have introduced any
corrupt text into the Scriptures, existing, as we have been, from the very
first, and being the first, as it is that they have not in fact introduced
it who are both later in date and opposed (to the Scriptures). One man
perverts the Scriptures with his hand, another their meaning by his
exposition. For although Valentinus seems to use the entire volume,
 he has none the less laid violent hands on the truth only with a more
cunning mind and skill  than Marcion. Marcion expressly and openly
used the knife, not the pen, since he made such an excision of the
Scriptures as suited his own subject-matter.  Valentinus, however,
abstained from such excision, because he did not invent Scriptures to square
with his own subject-matter, but adapted his matter to the Scriptures; and
yet he took away more, and added more, by removing the proper meaning of
every particular word, and adding fantastic arrangements of things which
have no real existence. 
Chapter XXXIX. What St. Paul Calls Spiritual Wickednesses Displayed by Pagan
Authors, and by Heretics, in No Dissimilar Manner. Holy Scripture Especially
Liable to Heretical Manipulation. Affords Material for Heresies, Just as
Virgil Has Been the Groundwork of Literary Plagiarisms, Different in Purport
from the Original.
These were the ingenious arts of "spiritual wickednesses," 
wherewith we also, my brethren, may fairly expect to have "to wrestle," as
necessary for faith, that the elect may be made manifest, (and) that the
reprobate may be discovered. And therefore they possess influence, and a
facility in thinking out and fabricating  errors, which ought not
to be wondered at as if it were a difficult and inexplicable process, seeing
that in profane writings also an example comes ready to hand of a similar
facility. You see in our own day, composed out of Virgil,  a story
of a wholly different character, the subject-matter being arranged according
to the verse, and the verse according to the subject-matter. In short,
 Hosidius Geta has most completely pilfered his tragedy of Medea from
Virgil. A near relative of my own, among some leisure productions 
of his pen, has composed out of the same poet The Table of Cebes. On the
same principle, those poetasters are commonly called Homerocentones,
"collectors of Homeric odds and ends," who stitch into one piece, patchwork
fashion, works of their own from the lines of Homer, out of many scraps put
together from this passage and from that (in miscellaneous confusion). Now,
unquestionably, the Divine Scriptures are more fruitful in resources of all
kinds for this sort of facility. Nor do I risk contradiction in saying
 that the very Scriptures were even arranged by the will of God in
such a manner as to furnish materials for heretics, inasmuch as I read that
"there must be heresies,  which there cannot be without the
Chapter XL. No Difference in the Spirit of Idolatry and of Heresy. In the
Rites of Idolatry, Satan Imitated and Distorted the Divine Institutions of
the Older Scriptures. The Christian Scriptures Corrupted by Him in the
Perversions of the Various Heretics.
The question will arise, By whom is to be interpreted  the sense of
the passages which make for heresies? By the devil, of course, to whom
pertain those wiles which pervert the truth, and who, by the mystic rites of
his idols, vies even with the essential portions  of the sacraments
of God.  He, too, baptizes some'that is, his own believers and
faithful followers;  he promises the putting away  of sins
by a layer (of his own); and if my memory still serves me, Mithra there, (in
the kingdom of Satan, ) sets his marks on the foreheads of his soldiers;
celebrates also the oblation of bread, and introduces an image of a
resurrection, and before a sword wreathes a crown.  What also must
we say to (Satan's) limiting his chief priest  to a single
marriage? He, too, has his virgins; he, too, has his proficients in
continence.  Suppose now we revolve in our minds the superstitions
of Numa Pompilius, and consider his priestly offices and badges and
privileges, his sacrificial services, too, and the instruments and vessels
of the sacrifices themselves, and the curious rites of his expiations and
vows: is it not clear to us that the devil imitated the well-known 
moroseness of the Jewish law? Since, therefore he has Shown such emulation
in his great aim of expressing, in the concerns of his idolatry, those very
things of which consists the administration of Christ's sacraments, it
follows, of course, that the same being, possessing still the same genius,
both set his heart upon,  and succeeded in, adapting  to
his profane and rival creed the very documents of divine things and of the
Christian saints  'his interpretation from their interpretations,
his words from their words, his parables from their parables. For this
reason, then, no one ought to doubt, either that "spiritual wickednesses,"
from which also heresies come, have been introduced by the devil, or that
there is any real difference between heresies and idolatry, seeing that they
appertain both to the same author and the same work that idolatry does. They
either pretend that there is another god in opposition to the Creator, or,
even if they acknowledge that the Creator is the one only God, they treat of
Him as a different being from what He is in truth. The consequence is, that
every lie which they speak of God is in a certain sense a sort of idolatry
Chapter XLI. The Conduct of Heretics: Its Frivolity, Worldliness, and
Irregularity. The Notorious Wantonness of Their Women.
I must not omit an account of the conduct  also of the heretics'how
frivolous it is, how worldly, how merely human, without seriousness, without
authority, without discipline, as suits their creed. To begin with, it is
doubtful who is a catechumen, and who a believer; they have all access
alike, they hear alike, they pray alike'even heathens, if any such happen to
come among them. "That which is holy they will cast to the dogs, and their
pearls," although (to be sure) they are not real ones, "they will fling to
the swine."  Simplicity they will have to consist in the overthrow
of discipline, attention to which on our part they call brotherly. 
Peace also they huddle up  anyhow with all comers; for it matters
not to them, however different be their treatment of subjects, provided only
they can conspire together to storm the citadel of the one only Truth. All
are puffed up, all offer you knowledge. Their catechumens are perfect before
they are full-taught.  The very women of these heretics, how wanton
they are! For they are bold enough to teach, to dispute, to enact exorcisms,
to undertake  cures'it may be even to baptize.  Their
ordinations, are carelessly. administered,  capricious,
changeable.  At one time they put novices in office; at another
time, men who are bound to some secular employment;  at another,
persons who have apostatized from us, to bind them by vainglory, since they
cannot by the truth. Nowhere is promotion easier than in the camp of rebels,
where the mere fact of being there is a foremost service.  And so
it comes to pass that to-day one man is their bishop, to-morrow another;
to-day he is a deacon who to-morrow is a reader; to-day he is a presbyter
who tomorrow is a layman. For even on laymen do they impose the functions of
Chapter XLII. Heretics Work to Pull Down and to Destroy, Not to Edify and
Elevate. Heretics Do Not Adhere Even to Their Own Traditions, But Harbour
Dissent Even from Their Own Founders.
But what shall I say concerning the ministry of the word, since they make it
their business not to convert the heathen, but to subvert our people? This
is rather the glory which they catch at, to compass the fall of those who
stand, not the raising of those who are down. Accordingly, since the very
work which they purpose to themselves comes not from the building up of
their own society, but from the demolition of the truth, they undermine our
edifices, that they may erect their own. Only deprive them of the law of
Moses, and the prophets, and the divinity of the Creator, and they have not
another objection to talk about. The consequence is, that they more easily
accomplish the ruin of standing houses than the erection of fallen ruins. It
is only when they have such objects in view that they show themselves humble
and bland and respectful. Otherwise they know no respect even for their own
leaders. Hence it is [supposed] that schisms seldom happen among heretics,
because, even when they exist, they are not obvious.  Their very
unity, however,  is schism. I am greatly in error if they do not
amongst themselves swerve even from their own regulations, forasmuch as
every man, just as it suits his own temper, modifies the traditions he has
received after the same fashion as the man who handed them down did, when he
moulded them according to his own will. The progress of the matter is an
acknowledgment at once of its character and of the manner of its birth. That
was allowable to the Valentinians which had been allowed to Valentinus; that
was also fair for the Marcionites which had been done by Marcion'even to
innovate on the faith, as was agreeable to their own pleasure. In short, all
heresies, when thoroughly looked into, are detected harbouring dissent in
many particulars even from their own founders. The majority of them have not
even churches.  Motherless, houseless, creedless, outcasts, they
wander about in their own essential worthlessness. 
Chapter XLIII. Loose Company Preferred by Heretics. Ungodliness the Effect
of Their Teaching the Very Opposite of Catholic Truth, Which Promotes the
Fear of God, Both in Religious Ordinances and Practical Life.
It has also been a subject of remark, how extremely frequent is the
intercourse which heretics hold with magicians, with mountebanks, with
astrologers, with philosophers; and the reason is,  that they are
men who devote themselves to curious questions. "Seek, and ye shall find,"
is everywhere in their minds. Thus, from the very nature of their conduct,
may be estimated the quality of their faith. In their discipline we have an
index of their doctrine. They say that God is not to be feared; therefore
all things are in their view free and unchecked. Where, however is God not
feared, except where He is not? Where God is not, there truth also is not.
Where there is no truth, then, naturally enough, there is also such a
discipline as theirs. But where God is, there exists "the fear of God, which
is the beginning of wisdom."  Where the fear of God is, there is
seriousness, an honourable and yet thoughtful  diligence, as well
as an anxious carefulness and a well-considered admission (to the sacred
ministry)  and a safely-guarded  communion, and promotion
after good service, and a scrupulous submission (to authority), and a devout
attendance,  and a modest gait, and a united church, and God in all
Chapter XLIV. Heresy Lowers Respect for Christ, and Destroys All Fear of His
Great Judgment. The Tendency of Heretical Teaching on This Solemn Article of
the Faith. The Present Treatise an Introduction to Certain Other
Anti-Heretical Works of Our Author.
These evidences, then, of a stricter discipline existing among us, are an
additional proof of truth, from which no man can safely turn aside, who
bears in mind that future judgment, when "we must all stand before the
judgment-seat of Christ,  to render an account of our faith itself
before all things. What, then, will they say who shall have defiled it, even
the virgin which Christ committed to them with the adultery of heretics? I
suppose they will allege that no injunction was ever addressed to them by
Him or by His apostles concerning depraved  and perverse doctrines
assailing them,  or about their avoiding and abhorring the same.
(He and His apostles, perhaps, ) will acknowledge  that the blame
rather lies with themselves and their disciples, in not having given us
previous warning and instruction! They  will, besides, add a good
deal respecting the high authority of each doctor of heresy,'how that these
mightily strengthened belief in their own doctrine; how that they raised the
dead, restored the sick, foretold the future, that so they might deservedly
be regarded as apostles. As if this caution were not also in the written
record: that many should come who were to work even the greatest miracles,
in defence of the deceit of their corrupt preaching. So, forsooth, they will
deserve to be forgiven! If, however, any, being mindful of the writings and
the denunciations of the Lord and the apostles, shall have stood firm in the
integrity of the faith, I suppose they will run great risk of missing
pardon, when the Lord answers: I plainly forewarned you that there should be
teachers of false doctrine in my name, as well as that of the prophets and
apostles also; and to my own disciples did I give a charge, that they should
preach the same things to you. But as for you, it was not, of course, to be
supposed  that you would believe me! I once gave the gospel and the
doctrine of the said rule (of life and faith) to my apostles; but afterwards
it was my pleasure to make considerable changes in it! I had promised a
resurrection, even of the flesh; but, on second thoughts, it struck me
 that I might not be able to keep my promise! I had shown myself to
have been born of a virgin; but this seemed to me afterwards to be a
discreditable thing.  I had said that He was my Father, who is the
Maker of the sun and the showers; but another and better father has adopted
me! I had forbidden you to lend an ear to heretics; but in this I erred!
Such (blasphemies), it is possible,  do enter the minds of those
who go out of the right path,  and who do not defend  the
true faith from the danger which besets it. On the present occasion, indeed,
our treatise has rather taken up a general position against heresies,
(showing that they must) all be refuted on definite, equitable, and
necessary rules, without  any comparison with the Scriptures. For
the rest, if God in His grace permit, we shall prepare answers to certain of
these heresies in separate treatises.  To those who may devote
their leisure in reading through these (pages), in the belief of the truth,
be peace, and the grace of our God Jesus Christ for ever. 
Prescription, Chap. I., p. 243, supra.
In adopting this expression from the Roman Law, Tertullian has simply
puzzled beginners to get at his idea. Nor do they learn much when it is
called a demurrer, which, if I comprehend the word as used in law-cases, is
a rejoinder to the testimony of the other party, amounting to'"Well, what of
it? It does not prove your case." Something like this is indeed in
Tertullian's use of the term præscription; but Dr. Holmes furnishes what
seems to me the best explanation, (though he only half renders it, ) "the
Prescriptive Rule against Heresies." In a word, it means, "the Rule of Faith
asserted against Heresies." And his practical point is, it is useless to
discuss Scripture with convicted (Titus 3:10, 11.) heretics; every one of
them is ready with "his psalm, his doctrine, his interpretation," and you
may argue fruitlessly till Doomsday. But bring them to the test of (Quod
Semper, etc.), the apostolic præscription (1 Corinthians 11:16).'We have no
such custom neither the Churches of God. State this Rule of Faith, viz. Holy
Scripture, as interpreted from the apostolic day: if it proves the doctrine
or custom a novelty, then it has no foundation, and even if it be harmless,
it cannot be innocently professed against the order and peace of the
Semler, cap. x., note 15, p. 248.
The extent to which Bp. Kaye has stretched his notice of this critic is to
be accounted for by the fact that, for a time, the German School of the last
century exerted a sad influence in England. In early life Dr. Pusey came
near to being led away by it, and Hugh James Rose was raised up to resist
it. Semler lived (at Halle and elsewhere) from a.d. 1725 to 1791. Kahnis in
his invaluable manual, named below, thus speaks of his Patristic theories:
"The history of the Kingdom of God became, under his hands, a world of
atoms, which crossed each other as chaotically as the masses of notes which
lay heaped up in the memory of Semler. Under his pragmatical touches the
halo of the martyrs faded, etc." Internal Hist. of German Protestantism
(since circa 1750, ) by Ch. Fred. Aug. Kahnis, D.D. (Lutheran) Professor at
Leipzig. Translated. T. and F. Clark, Edinburgh, 1856.
Peter, cap. xxii. note 6, p. 253.
In the treatise of Cyprian, De Unitate, we shall have occasion to speak
fully on this interesting point. The reference to Kaye may suffice, here.
But, since the inveterate confusion of all that is said of Peter with all
that is claimed by a modern bishop for himself promotes a false view of this
passage, it may be well to note (1) that St. Peter's name is expounded by
himself (1 Peter 2:4, 5) so as to make Christ the Rock and all believers
"lively stones"'or Peters'by faith in Him. St. Peter is often called the
rock, most justly, in this sense, by a rhetorical play on his name: Christ
the Rock and all believers "lively stones," being cemented with Him by the
Spirit. But, (2.) this specialty of St. Peter, as such, belongs to him
(Cephas) only. (3.) So far as transmitted it belongs to no particular See.
(4.) The claim of Rome is disproved by Præscription. (5.) Were it otherwise,
it would not justify that See in making new articles of Faith. (6.) Nor in
its Schism with the East. (7.) When it restores St. Peter's Doctrine and
Holiness, to the Latin Churches, there will be no quarrel about
pre-eminence.Meantime, Rome's fallibility is expressly taught in Romans
The Apostles, cap. xxv. p. 254.
Nothing less than a new incarnation of Christ and a new commission to new
apostles can give us anything new in religion. This præscription is our
Catholic answer to the Vatican oracles of our own time. These give us a new
revelation, prefacing the Gospels (1) by defining the immaculate conception
of Mary in the womb of her mother; and (2) adding a new Chapter to the Acts
of the Apostles, in defining the infallibility of a single bishop.
Clearly, had Tertullian known anything of this last dogma of Latin Novelty,
he would not have taken the trouble to write this treatise. He would have
said to heretics, We can neither discuss Scripture nor Antiquity with you.
Rome is the touchstone of dogma, and to its bishop we refer you.
Truth and Peace, cap. xliv. p. 265.
The famous appeal of Bishop Jewel, known as "the Challenge at Paul's
Cross," which he made in a sermon preached there on Passion Sunday, a.d.
1560, is an instance of "Præscription against heresies," well worthy of
being recalled, in a day which has seen Truth and Peace newly sacrificed to
the ceaseless innovations of Rome. It is as follows:'"If any learned man of
all our adversaries, or, if all the learned men that be alive, be able to
bring any one sufficient sentence out of any old Catholic doctor or father;
or out of any old general Council; or out of the Holy Scriptures of God;
 or, any one example of the primitive Church, whereby it may be
clearly and plainly proved, that'
1.There was any private mass in the whole world at that time, for the
space of six hundred years after Christ; or that'
2.There was then any communion ministered unto the people under one kind;
3.The people had their common prayers, then, in a strange tongue that
they understood not; or that'
4.The bishop of Rome was then called an universal bishop, or the head of
the universal Church; or that'
5.The people was then taught to believe that Christ's body is really,
substantially, corporally, carnally or naturally in the Sacrament; or
6.His body is, or may be, in a thousand places or more, at one time; or
7.The priest did then hold up the Sacrament over his head; or that'
8.The people did then fall down and worship it with godly honour; or
9.The Sacrament was then, or now ought to be, hanged up under a canopy;
10. In the Sacrament after the words of consecration there remaineth only
the accidents and shews, without the substance of bread and wine; or that'
11. The priest then divided the Sacrament in three parts and afterwards
received himself, alone; or that'
12. Whosoever had said the Sacrament is a pledge, a token, or a remembrance
of Christ's body, had therefore been judged a heretic; or that'
13. It was lawful, then, to have thirty, twenty, fifteen, ten, or five
masses said in one Church, in one day; or that'
14. Images were then set up in churches to the intent the people might
worship them; or that'
15. The lay people was then forbidden to read the word of God, in
their own tongue:
"If any man alive be able to prove any of these articles, by any one clear
or plain clause or sentence, either of the Scriptures, or of the old
doctors, or of any old General Council, or by any Example of the Primitive
Church; I promise, then, that I will give over and subscribe unto him."
All this went far beyond the concession of præscription which makes little
of any one saying of any one Father, and demands the general consent of
Antiquity; but, it is needless to say that Jewel's challenge has remained
unanswered for more than three hundred years, and so it will be to all
With great erudition Jewel enlarged his propositions and maintained all his
points. See his works, vol. I., p. 20 et seqq. Cambridge University Press,
 Of the various forms of the title of this treatise, de Proescriptione
Hoereticorum, de Proescriptionibus Hoereticorum, de Proescriptionibus
adversus Hoereticos, the first is adopted by Oehler after the oldest
authorities, such as the Liber Argobardinus and the Codex Paterniacensis (or
Seletstadiensis), and the Editio Princeps of Rhenanus. The term praescriptio
is a legal one, meaning a demurrer, or formal objection. The genitive
haereticorum is used in an objective sense, as if adversus haereticos.
Tertullian himself, in de Carne Christi, ii. says, "Sed plenius ejusmodi
praescriptionibus adversus omnes haereses alibi jam usi sumus." The title
therefore means, "On the Church's Prescriptive Rule agains Heresies of all
kinds." [Elucidation I.]
 Matt. vii. 15, xxiv. 4, 11, 24; 1 Tim. iv. 1-3; 2 Pet. ii. 1.
 1 Cor. xi. 19.
 Plerique, "the majority."
 The Holy Ghost having foretold that they should exist. (Rigalt.)
 Denique has in Tertullian sometimes the meaning of proinde.
 Causam "purpose," "final cause."
 Usitatissimi, "most experienced."
 1 Sam. xviii. 8, 9.
 1 Sam. xiii. 14.
 2 Sam. xi.
 1 Kings. xi. 4
 Heb. iv. 15. [See p. 221, supra.]
 [Here the word martyr means no more than a witness or confessor,
and may account for what are called exaggerated statements as to the number
of primitive martyrs. See Kaye p. 128.]
 Fidem, "The Creed."
 Matt. x. 22.
 Jer. xxxii. 19.
 1 Sam. xvi. 7.
 2 Tim. ii. 19.
 Matt. xv. 13.
 Matt. xx. 16.
 Matt. iii. 12.
 John vi. 66.
 A vestigiis ejus.
 John i. 1, vi. 68, and xvi. 30.
 John vi. 67.
 2 Tim. i. 15, ii. 17; 1 Tim. i. 20.
 1 John ii. 19. [i.e., with the Apostolic Churches. See Cap.
 Matt. vii. 15.
 Adulteri evangelizatores, the spurious preachers of the gospel.
[Galat. i 8,9, an example of Apostolic praescription.]
 Hoc scil. "tempore."
 Oehler's "persecutionem" ought of course to be "persecutionum."
 1 Cor. xi. 19.
 1 Thess. v. 21. [But Truth is to be demonstrated as a theorem, not
treated as a problem of which we must seek the solution.]
 1 Cor. xi. 19.
 1 Cor. xi. 18.
 1 Cor. i. 10.
 Gal. v. 20.
 Tit. iii. 10, 11.
 [A remarkable word is subjoined by the Apostle
which signifies turned inside out, and so self-condemned, as exhibiting his
inward contentiousness and pravity.
 Nihil, any doctrine.
 Disciplinam, including both the principles and practice of the
 Anathema. See Gal. i. 8.
 Concerning Philumene, see below, chap. xxv.; Eusebius, Hist. Eccl.
v. 13; Augustine, de Hoeres, chap. xlii. ; Jerome, Epist. adv. Ctesiph.
(Works, ed. Ben.) iv. 477, and in his commentary on Galatians, ii. See also
Tertullian, Against Marcion, p. 139. Edinb. Edition.
 2 Cor. xi. 14.
 1 Tim. iv. I.
 1 Cor. iii. 18 and 25.
 Formeae, "Ideae" (Oehler).
 See Tertullian's treatises, adversus Valentinum, xxv., and de
Anima, xxxi.; also Epiphanius, Hae xxxi . 23.
 "De enthymesi:" for this word Tertullian gives animationem (in his
tract against Valentinus, ix.), which seems to mean, "the mind in
operation." (See the same treatise, x. xi.) With regard to the other word,
Jerome (on Amos. iii.) adduces Valentinus as calling Christ , that
 Tractaverit, in the sense of conclusively settling.
 1 Tim. i. 4.
 Tit. iii. 9.
 2 Tim. ii. 17.
 Col. ii. 8. The last clause, "praeter providentiam Spiritus
Sancti," is either Tertullian's reading, or his gloss of the apostle's ou
"not after Christ."
 Because in the beginning of the church the apostles taught in
Solomon's porch, Acts iii. 5.
 Wisdom of Solomon, i. 1.
 Scrupulositatem, "hair-splitting."
 Matt. vii. 7.
 See our translation of the Anti-Marcion, iv. 18 (infra), and
Tertullian's treatise, de Bapt. x.
 Luke v. 39.
 John v. 39.
 Matt. vii. 7.
 Or, "were for the first time."
 Isa. xl. 15.
 Matt. vii. 7.
 Matt. xv. 24.
 Ver. 26.
 Matt. x. 5.
 Matt. xxviii. 19.
 John xvi. 13.
 Multo magis vacabat.
 In personas, i.e., Judaeorum (Oehler).
 Proprietatem admonitionis.
 "That is, not a specific command" primarily meant for us, but a
principle "to be applied by us" (Dodgson).
 See Oehler's note.
 Gubernaculo. See Irenaeus, ii. 46, for a similar view (Rigalt.).
Surely Dodgson's version, if intelligible in itself even, incorrectly
represents Tertullian's sense.
 [Not to be contented with Truth, once known, is a sin preceding
that against the Holy Spirit, and this state of mind explains the judicial
blindness inflicted on Lapsers, as asserted by St. Paul, 2 Thess. ii. 10,
13, where note '"they received not the love of the truth." They had it and
were not content with it.]
 Penes nos.
 In modo.
 This is, "the matter."
 "The time."
 "The limit."
 Fixisti, "determined."
 Statio, "Resting-place."
 Dum convenero.
 This is the rendering of Oehler's text, "et velut si nusquam.
There are other readings of this obscure passage, of which as wdd the two
most intelligible. The Codex Agobardinus has, "et velim si nunquam:" that
is, "and I would that I were nowhere," with no fixed belief'in such wise as
never to have had the truth; not, as must now be, to have forfeited it.
(Dodgeson). This seems far-fetched, and inferior to the reading of Pamelius
and his mss.: "et velint me sic esse nusquam;" i.e., "and they (the
heretics) would wish me to be nowhere"'without the fixed faith of the
Catholic. This makes good sense. [Semler is here mentioned, and if anybody
wishes to understand what sort of editor he was, he may be greatly amused by
Kaye's examination of some of his positions, pp. 64-84. Elucidation II.]
 Necesse est. Observe these degrees of obligation.
 Quamvis et errare delinquere est.
 Anus illa.
 Luke xv. 8.
 Luke xi. 5.
 Luke xviii. 2,3.
 Luke xi. 9.
 Although Tertullian calls her "anus," St. Luke's word is
 Instrui potest.
 Unde destruitur.
 Idque dumtaxat.
 Jam hinc.
 Primo omnium demissum. Literally, "sent down." See on this
procession of the Son of God to create the world, Bishop Bull's Defence of
the Nicene Creed,etc., by the translator of this work, pp. 445 and
 Ereptum, having been taken away.
 Vicariam. [Scott's Christian Life, Vol. III. p. 64.]
 [See Bunsen (Hippol. III. Notes, etc., p. 129.) for a castigated
form of the Latin Creed, as used in Rom. Observe it lacks the word Catholic.
But a much better study of these formulas may be found in Dupin's
comparative Table. First Cent. pp. 9-12.]
 Omnem libidinem effundas, "pour out the whole desire for."
 Doctor, literally, "teacher." See Eph. iv. 11; also above; chap.
iii. p. 244.
 This seems to be the more probably meaning of novissime in this
rather obscure sentence. Oehler treats it adverbially as "postremo," and
refers to a similar use of the word below in chap. xxx. Dr. Routh (and,
after him, the translator in The Library of the Fathers, Tertullian, p. 448)
makes the word a noun, "thou newest of novices," and refers to Tertullian's
work, against Praxeas, chap. xxvii., for a like use. This seems to us too
harsh for the present context.
 See 1 Cor. xii. 8.
 Luke xviii. 42.
 De peritae studio.
 Non obstrepant.
 Matt. xv. 14.
 Or, "by instilling an anxiety into us" (Dodgson).
 Jam debemus.
 Nondum tenent.
 Ut defendant.
 Nec sibi sunt.
 [See Marcion, B. I. Cap. xxii. infra, note.]
 De Scripturis. But as this preposition is often the sign of the
instrument in Tertullian, this phrase may mean "out of," or "by means of the
Scriptures." See the last Chapter.
 De consilio diffidentiae
 Constitutionis, "prima causarum conflictio,"'a term of the law
 1 Tim. vi. 3,4.
 Tit. Iii. 10.
 Matt. xviii. 16.
 Plane, ironical.
 Ista haeresis.
 "De" has often the sense of "propter" in our author.
 Literally, "O most skilled.
 Quid promovebis.
 Or, "from the Scriptures."
 Aequo gradu.
 Statu certe pari.
 Parum certa.
 Conlatio scripturarum, or, "a polemical comparison of the
 Quibus conpetat fides ipsa cujus sint Scripturae.
 Disciplina [or, where was the guide-post set?]
 Mark iv. 34.
 Matt. xxviii. 19.
 Ps. cix. 8; comp. With Acts 1. 15-20.
 Traducem fidei.
 Mutuantur "borrowing."
 Omne genus.
 Censeatur or, "for its origin."
 Communicatio pacis.
 Contesseratio. [III. John 8.]
 Jura, "rights."
 That is, of the faith, or Christian creed.
 Matt. xi. 27.
 Praejudicandam. [This then is praescription.]
 De mendacio.
 Ex hoc ipso, "from this very circumstance."
 Susam rursus convertun.
 Mark iv. 34.
 Matt. xiii. 11.
 Matt. xvi. 18. [See Kaye p. 222, also Elucidation II.]
 Ver. 19.
 Ver. 19.
 John xxi. 20.
 John xiii. 25. [N.B. loco suo.]
 John xix. 26.
 Matt. xvii. 1-8.
 Deut. xix. 15, and 2 Cor. xiii. 1.
 Itaque, ironical.
 Luke xxiv. 27.
 John xvi. 12, 13.
 See Tertullian's Anti-Marcion, iv. 5, and v. 2 (Trans. pp. 187
 Nec ecclesiam se dicant defendere.
 Incunabulis, infant nursing.
 Gal. i. 13.
 John v. 31.
 Ut credunt contra Scripturas.
 Gal. i. 18.
 Gal. I. 24.
 Gal. ii. 9.
 The same verse. [Note Peter's restriction to Jews.]
 Vers. 12, 13. See also Anti-Marcion, iv. 3 (Trans. p. 182).
 Non mihi tam bene est.
 Non mihi tam male est.
 Ut committam.
 Superiorem, "that which Peter had preached."
 1 Cor. ix. 20, 22.
 Et in martyrio.
 2 Cor. xii. 4.
 Nulli hominum.
 Nescio quid illud.
 Above, in chap. xxii. [Note the Gnostic madness of such a plea.
Kaye, p. 235 and Elucidation IV.]
 1 Tim. vi. 20.
 2 Tim. i. 14.
 Ut alterius doctrinae deputetur.
 1 Tim. i. 18.
 1 Tim. vi. 13.
 Nescis quid.
 2 Tim. ii. 2.
 2 Tim. ii. 2.
 Apud conscientiam. [Clement of Alexandria is to be interpreted by
Tertullian, with whom he does not essentially differ. For Clement's Esoteric
Doctrine (See Vol. II. pp. 302, 313, etc.) is defined as perfecting the type
of the Christian by the strong meat of Truth, of which the entire deposit is
presupposed as common to all Christians. We must not blame Clement for the
abuse of his teaching by perverters of Truth itself.]
 Matt. vii. 6.
 John xviii. 20.
 Matt. x. 27.
 Luke xix. 20-24.
 Matt. v. 15.
 Literally, "the violence of neither Jew nor Gentile."
 Luke i. 1.
 Domesticos. [All this interprets Clement and utterly deprives the
Trent System of its appeal to a secret doctrine, against our Proescription.]
 Catholice, or, "which they were bringing before the public in
 1 Cor. i. 10.
 Matt. v. 37.
 Plenitudinem praediucationis.
 Gal. iii. 1.
 Gal. v. 7.
 Gal. i. 6.
 1 Cor. iii. 1, and following verses.
 1 Cor. viii. 2.
 John xiv. 26.
 John xv. 26.
 [Tertullian knows no other Vicar of Christ than the Holy Spirit.
They who attribute infalibility to any mortal man become Montanists; they
attribute the Paraclet's voice to their oracle.]
 Utique, ironical.
 Virtutes, "potestatem edendi miracula" (Oehler).
 Miniteria. Another reading has mysteria, "mysteries" or
 Gal. I. 8. [In this Chapter (xxix.) the principle of Prescription
is condesned and brought to the needle-point'Quod semper. If you can't show
that your doctrine was always taight, it is false: and this is
 [Kaye, p. 226.]
 See Adv. Marcion, iv. 4.infra.
 Enim, profecto (Oehler).
 1 Cor. xi. 19.
 Mark. xiv. 21.
 Stemma. The reading of the Cod. Agobard. is "stigma," which gives
very good sense.
 Sanctissimi. This may be an ironical allusion to Marcion's
repudiation of marriage.
 In chap. vi. p. 246 above.
 Energemate. Oehler defines this word, "vis et efficacia daemonum,
quibus agebatur." [But see Lardner, Credib, viii. p. 540.]
 Matt. vii. 16.
 Sine dubio.
 Alterius fuisse. One reading is anterius; i.e., "demonstrates the
priority" of the book he alters.
 Nescio qui.
 Compare de Carn Christi, chap. ii. [Elucidation IV.]
 Christ; so Routh.
 We add Oehler's reading of this obscure passage: "Sic enim
apostolus descripsit, sic enim apostolos solet facere, dare praeterea illis
virtutem eadem signa edendi quae et ipse." ["It is worthy of remark" (says
Kaye, p. 95), "that he does not appeal to any instance of the exercise of
miraculous powers in his own day."]
 Ab excessu.
 Disputandam. Another reading has deputandam, i.e., "to
 Nulla constantia de conscientia, "no conscientious ground of
 Origines, "the originals" (Dodgson).
 Ille. A touch of irony occurs in the phrase "primus ille
 [Linus and Cletus must have died or been martyred, therefore,
almost as soon as appointed. Our author had seen these registers, no doubt.]
 Probabuntur. Another reading is provocabuntur, "will be
challenged." [Not to one particular See, but to all the Apostolic churches:
 Pro consanguinitate doctrinae
 That is, the succession of bishops from the apostles, and the
identity of doctrine with the apostolic.
 Semina sumpsisse.
 1 Cor. xv. 12.
 Comp. Tertull. De Resur. Carnis, xxxvi.
 Gal. v. 2.
 1 Tim. iv. 3.
 Aeque tangit.
 2 Tim. ii. 3.
 1 Tim. i. 4.
 Nescio qui.
 De qua prima ogdoade. [See Irenaeus, Vol. I. p. 316,etc this
 Gal. iv. 9.
 Non natam, literally, "as being unbegotten."
 Deo non nato.
 Rev. ii. 14.
 Gaiana. So Oehler; the common reading being "Caiana."
 1 John iv. 3.
 Comp. Epiphanius, i. 30.
 Referred to perhaps in Col. ii. 18.
 Nescio quem.
 Igneum, "consisted of fire."
 "The ectroma, or fall of Sophia from the Pleroma, from whom to
Creator was fabled to be descended" (Dodgson).
 Luke vi. 40.
 Nominarentur et ipsae
 Nominatione, i.e. by the apostles.
 Praejudicarentur. [i.e. by Proescription.]
 i.e., in the days of the apostles, and by their mouth.
 Indicium proprietatis, a proof of its being their own.
 Suis locis praesident.
 Authenticae This much disputed phrase may refer to the autographs
or the Greek originals (Rather than the Latin translations), or full
unmutilated copies as opposed to the garbled ones of the heretics. The
second sense is probably the correct one.
 [Note, those near by may resort to this ancient and glorious
church; not as any better than Corinth, or Philippi, or having any higher
Apostolic throne. See Irenaeus, Vol. I. p. 415, (note) and Elucid. p. 460.]
 Compare our Anti-Marcion, iv. 5, p. 186.
 The Baptist's.
 [Observe'"even with us in Africa." If this implies noteworthy
love, it proves that there was no organic relation requiring such particular
fellowship, even in the West.]
 We have taken Oehler's hint in favour of "martyrio." The usual
reading "martyrium" (meaning "she exhorts to martyrdom") is stiff, and
unsuited to the context.
 Or, "they were not of it, because they were opposed to it," i.e.,
the discipline or teaching.
 Papavere. "Ego cum aliis papaver ficus interpretor de seminalibus
ficus, non de ipso fructu" (Oehler).
 We again follow Oehler's hint, who would like to read "de grano
veritatis." The texts are obscure, and very much here.
 "That is, in following out their own choice of
opinions, they both receive and admit the name of heretics." ,
"self-choosers" (Dodgson). [In Theology, technically, one must be a baptized
Christian in order to be a heretic. The Mohammedans, e.g., are not heretics
but pagans. But, our author speaks rhetorically.]
 Compare 1 Tim. v. 21, and vi. 13; 2 Tim. ii. 14, and iv. 1-4.
 By the instrumenta doctrinae he here means the writings of the
 [Our author insists on the precise agreement of Catholic
Tradition with Holy Scripture. See valuable remarks on Schleiermacher, in
Kaye, pp. 279-284.]
 We add the original of this sentence, which is obscured by its
terseness: "Quid de proprio intelimus, ut aliquid contrarium ei et in
Scripturis deprehensum detractione vel adjectione vel transmutatione
 That is, teaching the same faith and conversation (De la Cerda).
 Integro instrumento.
 Callidiore ingenio.
 That is, cutting out whatever did not fall in with it (Dodgson).
 Non comparentium rerum. [Note, he says above "of them, the
Scriptures, we, Catholics, have our being." Proescription but supplies a
short and decisive method with innovaters.]
 See Eph. Vi. 12, and 1 Cor. xi. 18.
 Oehler reads "ex Vergilio," although the Codex Agobard. as "ex
 Denique. ["Getica lyra."]
 Nec. Periclitor dicere. [Truly, a Tertullianic paradox; but
compare 2 Pet. iii. 16. N.B. Scripture the test of heresy.]
 1 Cor. xi. 19.
 "Interpretur" is here a passive verb.
 Sacramentorum divinorum. The form, however, of this phrase seems
to point not only to the specific sacraments of the gospel, but to the
general mysteries of our religion.
 Compare Tertullian's treatises, de Bapt. v. and de Corona, last
 "et sub gladio redimit coronam" is the text of this obsncure
sentence, which seems to allude to a pretended martyrdom. Compare
Tertullian's tract, de Corona, last Chapter.
 The Flamen Dialis. See Tertullian's tract, ad Uxorem, i. 7.
 [Corruptio optimi pessima. Compare the surprising parallels of M.
Huc between debased Christianity and the paganism of Thibet, etc. Souvenirs
d'un voyage, etc. Hazlitt's translation, 1867.]
 Morositatem Illam. [He refers to the minute and exactious
ordinances complained of by St. Peter (Acts xiv. 10,) which Latin
Christianity has ten-folded, in his name.]
 i.e., the Scriptures of the New Testament.
 See Matt. vii. 6.
 Lenocinium. "Pandering" is Archdeacon Dodgson's word.
 Compare Tertullian's tract, de Bapt. I. And de Veland. Virg.
viii. [Also, Epiphan. iv. p. 453, Ed. Oehler.]
 They were constantly changing their ministers. It was a saying of
the heretics, "Alius hodie episcopus, cras alius" (Rigalt.).
 Saeculo obstrictos.
 Promereri est.
 Non parent.
 Enim. [e.g. The Trent system of Unity, alas! Is of this sort.]
 Hence the saying, "Wasps make combs, so Marcionites make
churches" (see our Anti-Marcion, p. 187); describing the strangeness and
uselessness of the societies, not (As Gibbon said) their number (Dodgson).
 Sua in vilitate. Another reading, pronounced corrupt by Oehler,
as "quasi sibi latae vagantur," q.d. "All for themselves, as it were, they
wander" etc. (Dodgson).
 Ps. cxi. 10; Prov. i. 7.
 Attonita, as if in fear that it might go wrong (Rigalt.).
 In contrast to the opposite fault of the heresies exposed above.
 Deliberata, where the character was well weighed previous to
admission to the eucharist.
 Apparitio, the duty and office of an apparitor, or attendant on
men of higher rank, whether in church or state.
 2 Cor. v. 10.
 It seems to us, that this is the force of the strong irony,
indicated by the "credo," which pervades this otherwise unintelligible
passage. Dodgson's version seems untenable: "Let them (the heretics)
acknowledge that the fault is with themselves rather than with those who
prepared us so long beforehand."
 Christ and His apostles, as before, in continuation of the strong
 This must be the force of a sentence which is steeped in irony:
"Scilicet cum vos non crederetis." We are indebted to Oehler for restoring
the sentence thus.
 This sense comes from the "repellendas" and the "a collatione
 Specialiter. He did this, indeed, in his treatises against
Marcion, Hermogenes, the Valentinians, Praxeas, and others. [These are to
follow in this Series. Kaye (p. 47) justly considered this sentence as
proving the De Proescript, a preface to all his treatises against particular
 Elucidation V.
 It must be remembered that an appeal to Scripture lies behind
Tertullian's Proescription: only he will not discuss Holy Scripture with
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