Saturday, October 31, 2015

Tertullian on the Reliability of the Book of Enoch in 198CE

I am aware that the Scripture of Enoch… is not received by some, because it is not admitted into the Jewish canon either. I suppose they did not think that, having been published before the deluge, it could have safely survived that world-wide calamity, the abolisher of all things. If that is the reason (for rejecting it), let them recall to their memory that Noah, the survivor of the deluge, was the great-grandson of Enoch himself.

And he, of course, had heard and remembered from domestic renown and hereditary tradition concerning his own great-grandfather’s “grace in the sight of God,” and concerning all his preachings; since Enoch had given no other charge to Methuselah than that he should hand on the knowledge of them to his posterity. Noah therefore, no doubt, might have succeeded in the trusteeship of (his) preaching; or, had the case been otherwise, he would not have been similarly silent concerning the disposition (of things) made by God, his Preserver, and concerning the particular glory of his own house. …

But since Enoch in the same Scripture has preached likewise concerning the Lord, nothing at all must be rejected by us which pertains to us; and we read that “every Scripture suitable for edification is divinely inspired.” By the Jews it may now seem to have been rejected for that (very) reason, just like all the other (portions) nearly which tell of Christ. … To these considerations is added the fact that Enoch possesses a testimony in the Apostle Jude.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Martyrdom of Carpus and Papylus Around 165CE in Acts of Eusebius

When the proconsul was present in Pergamum [Asia Minor], Carpus and Papylus, joyful martyrs of Christ, were brought to him. The proconsul sat down and asked, “What is your name?”

The one who was questioned answered, “My first and chosen name is Christian. But if you are asking for my name in the world, then I call myself Carpus.”

The proconsul declared, “The decrees of the emperors are known to you, that you must worship the all-controlling gods. Therefore I advise both of you to come forward and sacrifice.”

Carpus replied, “I am a Christian. I honor Christ, the son of God, who has come in the latter times to save us and has delivered us from the madness of the Devil. I will not sacrifice to such idols. Do what you please. It is impossible for me to offer sacrifices to these delusive phantoms, these demons, for they who sacrifice to them become like them.” …

At once the proconsul ordered him to be hung up and had his skin flayed with tools of torture, but he cried out again and again, “I am a Christian! I am a Christian! I am a Christian!” After this torture had gone on for a long time he lost his strength and could not speak any more.

The proconsul therefore turned his attention from Carpus to Papylus… The proconsul said, “You will sacrifice or else! What do you say?”

Papylus answered, “I have served God since my youth. I have never sacrificed to idols. I am a Christian. You cannot learn anything else from me. There is nothing I can say which is greater or more wonderful than this.” Then he also was hung up and his body was flayed with three pairs of iron instruments of torture. He did not utter a sound, but as a courageous fighter he endured the rage of the tempter.

When the proconsul saw their outstanding steadfastness, he ordered them to be burned alive. They descended in to the amphitheater with brisk steps, that they might be freed from this world as quickly as possible. Papylus was the first to be nailed to the stake. When the flames leaped up he prayed quietly and gave up his soul.

Carpus was nailed after him. He was full of joy… When he had spoken and the fire was burning, he prayed, “Praise be to You, O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, that You counted me, a sinner, worthy of this part in You!” After these words he gave up his soul. 

Monday, October 19, 2015

Tertullian on the Divinity of the Holy Spirit in 210CE

Now, what the Holy Spirit is, we are taught in many passages of Scripture, as by David in the fifty-first Psalm when he says, “And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me;” and by Daniel, where it is said, “The Holy Spirit which is in you.” And in the New Testament we have abundant testimonies, as when the Holy Spirit is described as having descended upon Christ, and when the Lord breathed upon His apostles after His resurrection, saying, “Receive the Holy Spirit;” and the saying of the angel to Mary, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you;” the declaration by Paul, that no one can call Jesus Lord, except by the Holy Spirit. In the Acts of the Apostles, the Holy Spirit was given by the imposition of the apostles’ hands in baptism.

From all which we learn that the person of the Holy Spirit was of such authority and dignity, that saving baptism was not complete except by the authority of the most excellent Trinity of them all, i.e., by the naming of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and by joining to the unbegotten God the Father, and to His only-begotten Son, the name also of the Holy Spirit. Who, then, is not amazed at the exceeding majesty of the Holy Spirit, when he hears that he who speaks a word against the Son of man may hope for forgiveness; but that he who is guilty of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit has not forgiveness, either in the present world or in that which is to come! …

This is most clearly pointed out by the Apostle Paul, when demonstrating that the power of the Trinity is one and the same, in the words, “There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit; there are diversities of administrations, but the same Lord; and there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.” From which it most clearly follows that there is no difference in the Trinity, but that which is called the gift of the Spirit is made known through the Son, and operated by God the Father. “But in all these works that one and the same Spirit, dividing to every one individually as He will.”

Friday, October 9, 2015

Irenaeus on John 14:6 Around 180CE

For no one can know the Father, unless through the Word of God, that is, unless by the Son revealing [Him]; neither can he have knowledge of the Son, unless through the good pleasure of the Father. But the Son performs the good pleasure of the Father; for the Father sends, and the Son is sent, and comes. And His Word knows that His Father is, as far as regards us, invisible and infinite; and since He cannot be declared [by any one else], He does Himself declare Him to us; and on the other hand, it is the Father alone who knows His own Word. And both these truths has our Lord declared.

Therefore the Son reveals the knowledge of the Father through His own manifestation. For the manifestation of the Son is the knowledge of the Father; for all things are manifested through the Word. In order, therefore, that we might know that the Son who came is He who imparts to those believing on Him a knowledge of the Father, He said to His disciples: “No man knows the Son but the Father, nor the Father but the Son, and those to whomsoever the Son shall reveal Him;” thus setting Himself forth and the Father as He [really] is, that we may not receive any other Father, except Him who is revealed by the Son. …

For the Lord taught us that no man is capable of knowing God, unless he be taught of God; that is, that God cannot be known without God: but that this is the express will of the Father, that God should be known. For they shall know Him to whomsoever the Son has revealed Him. And for this purpose did the Father reveal the Son, that through His instrumentality He might be manifested to all, and might receive those righteous ones who believe in Him into incorruption and everlasting enjoyment (now, to believe in Him is to do His will); but He shall righteously shut out into the darkness which they have chosen for themselves, those who do not believe, and who do consequently avoid His light. The Father therefore has revealed Himself to all, by making His Word visible to all; and, conversely, the Word has declared to all the Father and the Son, since He has become visible to all. And therefore the righteous judgment of God [shall fall] upon all who, like others, have seen but have not, like others, believed. …

Him, therefore, I have rightly shown to be known by no man, unless by the Son, and to whomsoever the Son shall reveal Him. But the Son reveals the Father to all to whom He wills that He should be known; and neither without the goodwill of the Father nor without the agency of the Son, can any man know God. Wherefore did the Lord say to His disciples, “I am the way, the truth, and the life and no man comes to the Father but by Me. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also: and from now on you have both known Him, and have seen Him.” From these words it is evident, that He is known by the Son, that is, by the Word.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Irenaeus on the Localized Governmental Role of the Bishop of Rome in 180CE

For the controversy is not merely as regards the day, but also as regards the form itself of the fast. For some consider themselves bound to fast one day, others two days, others still more, while others [do so during] forty: the diurnal and the nocturnal hours they measure out together as their [fasting] day. And this variety among the observers [of the fasts] had not its origin in our time, but long before in that of our predecessors, some of whom probably, being not very accurate in their observance of it, handed down to posterity the custom as it had been [introduced to them] through simplicity or private fancy. And yet nevertheless all these lived in peace one with another, and we also keep peace together.

Thus, in fact, the difference [in observing] the fast establishes the harmony of [our common] faith. … And when the blessed Polycarp was sojourning in Rome in the time of Anicetus, although a slight controversy had arisen among them as to certain other points, they were at once well inclined towards each other [with regard to the matter in hand], not willing that any quarrel should arise between them upon this head.

For neither could Anicetus persuade Polycarp to forego the observance [in his own way], inasmuch as these things had been always [so] observed by John the disciple of our Lord, and by other apostles with whom he had been conversant; nor, on the other hand, could Polycarp succeed in persuading Anicetus to keep [the observance in his way], for he maintained that he was bound to adhere to the usage of the presbyters who preceded him. And in this state of affairs they held fellowship with each other; and Anicetus conceded to Polycarp in the Church the celebration of the Eucharist, by way of showing him respect; so that they parted in peace one from the other, maintaining peace with the whole Church.