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The First Sunday after Easter

ALMIGHTY Father, who hast given thine only Son to die for our sins, and to rise again for our justification; Grant us so to put away the leaven of malice and wickedness, that we may always serve thee in pureness of living and truth; through the merits of the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

1 St. John v. 4.; Psalms 110, 111 | 2, 57; John xx. 19

Homily of Tertullian

 As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. 
And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, 
Receive ye the Holy Ghost



Chapter xxv. Against Praxeas

Chapter XXV. The Paraclete, or Holy Ghost. He is Distinct from the Father and the Son as to Their Personal Existence. One and Inseparable from Them as to Their Divine Nature. Other Quotations Out of St. John's Gospel. 

What follows Philip's question, and the Lord's whole treatment of it, to the end of John's Gospel, continues to furnish us with statements of the same kind, distinguishing the Father and the Son, with the properties of each. Then there is the Paraclete or Comforter, also, which He promises to pray for to the Father, and to send from heaven after He had ascended to the Father. He is called "another Comforter," indeed; [8089] but in what way He is another we have already shown, [8090] "He shall receive of mine," says Christ, [8091] just as Christ Himself received of the Father's. Thus the connection of the Father in the Son, and of the Son in the Paraclete, produces three coherent Persons, who are yet distinct One from Another. These Three are, one [8092] essence, not one Person, [8093] as it is said, "I and my Father are One," [8094] in respect of unity of substance not singularity of number. Run through the whole Gospel, and you will find that He whom you believe to be the Father (described as acting for the Father, although you, for your part, forsooth, suppose that "the Father, being the husbandman," [8095] must surely have been on earth) is once more recognised by the Son as in heaven, when, "lifting up His eyes thereto," [8096] He commended His disciples to the safe-keeping of the Father. [8097] We have, moreover, in that other Gospel a clear revelation, i.e. of the Son's distinction from the Father, "My God, why hast Thou forsaken me? " [8098] and again, (in the third Gospel, ) "Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit." [8099] But even if (we had not these passages, we meet with satisfactory evidence) after His resurrection and glorious victory over death. Now that all the restraint of His humiliation is taken away, He might, if possible, have shown Himself as the Father to so faithful a woman (as Mary Magdalene) when she approached to touch Him, out of love, not from curiosity, nor with Thomas' incredulity. But not so; Jesus saith unto her, "Touch me not, for I am not yet ascended to my Father; but go to my brethren" (and even in this He proves Himself to be the Son; for if He had been the Father, He would have called them His children, (instead of His brethren), "and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God." [8100] Now, does this mean, I ascend as the Father to the Father, and as God to God? Or as the Son to the Father, and as the Word to God? Wherefore also does this Gospel, at its very termination, intimate that these things were ever written, if it be not, to use its own words, "that ye might believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God? " [8101] Whenever, therefore, you take any of the statements of this Gospel, and apply them to demonstrate the identity of the Father and the Son, supposing that they serve your views therein, you are contending against the definite purpose of the Gospel. For these things certainly are not written that you may believe that Jesus Christ is the Father, but the Son. [8102]

Let us reflect on Tertullian "On Prayer"

We are the true worshippers and the true priests: praying in spirit, we make our sacrifice of prayer in spirit, an offering which is God's own and acceptable to him. This is the offering which he has asked for, and which he has provided for himself. This is the sacrifice, offered from the heart, fed on faith, prepared by truth; unblemished in innocence, pure in chastity, garlanded with love, which we must bring to God's altar, in a procession of good works, to the accompaniment of psalms and hymns. It will obtain for us from God all that we ask. Amen


Today, we have introduced a new Church Father to the Order's homilies: Tertullian (160-220AD). We will look at a section of his apology Against Praxeas and his defense of the orthodox faith as it touches on the appointed ancient lessons for this Sunday, the Gospel and Epistle of John which speak of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.  A Brother commented on his blog this week concerning Tertullian and of his battle against heretics. These days one of those old heresies is raising its head again.  Peter Toon wrote , "Modalism, which is common today, is the doctrine that there is one Person who is God and that this One Person reveals himself as Father, Son and Spirit, that is as three Modes of Being ."   You may read more of this ancient heresy in this article  on the History of Modalism.

I would encourage all readers to take a moment, after reading today's scripture and Tertullian's apology, to reflect on the nature of the Trinity. If there are any questions in your mind as to the orthodox and catholic faith, consider the  Nicene-Constantinople Creed of the first two councils written a century after Tertullian, and a century later still, the Quicunque vult

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, Amen


Released by Primus Pilus
Legio Christi-Ecclesia Militans
"Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another" [St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans 14:19]


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