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VIII - On Fasting. In Opposition to the Psychics 
[Translated by the Rev. S. Thelwall.]
(Written circa A.D. 208)
(in Vol IV, ANF)
Chapter I.     - Connection of Gluttony and Lust. Grounds of Psychical Objections Against the 
Chapter II.    - Arguments of the Psychics, Drawn from the Law, the Gospel, the Acts, the
                       Epistles, and Heathenish Practices.
Chapter III.   -The Principle of Fasting Traced Back to Its Earliest Source.
Chapter IV.   -The Objection is Raised, Why, Then, Was the Limit of Lawful Food Extended 
                       After the Flood? the Answer to It.
Chapter V.    -Proceeding to the History of Israel, Tertullian Shows that Appetite Was as 
                       Conspicuous Among Their Sins as in Adam's Case. Therefore the Restraints 
                       of the Levitical Law Were Imposed.
Chapter VI.   -The Physical Tendencies of Fasting and Feeding Considered. The Cases of 
                       Moses and Elijah.
Chapter VII.  -Further Examples from the Old Testament in Favour of Fasting.
Chapter VIII. -Examples of a Similar Kind from the New.
Chapter IX.    -From Fasts Absolute Tertullian Comes to Partial Ones and Xerophagies.
Chapter XV.  - Of the Apostle's Language Concerning Food.
Chapter XVI. - Instances from Scripture of Divine Judgments Upon the Self-Indulgent; And 
                        Appeals to the Practices of Heathens.
Chapter XVII -Conclusion.

Chapter I.-Connection of Gluttony and Lust. Grounds of Psychical Objections Against the Montanists.

I should wonder at the Psychics, if they were enthralled to voluptuousness alone, which leads them to repeated marriages, if they were not likewise bursting with gluttony, which leads them to hate fasts. Lust without voracity would certainly be considered a monstrous phenomenon; since these two are so united and concrete, that, had there been any possibility of disjoining them, the pudenda would not have been affixed to the belly itself rather than elsewhere. Look at the body: the region (of these members) is one and the same. In short, the order of the vices is proportionate to the arrangement of the members. First, the belly; and then immediately the materials of all other species of lasciviousness are laid subordinately to daintiness: through love of eating, love of impurity finds passage. I recognise, therefore, animal2 faith by its care of the flesh (of which it wholly consists)-as prone to manifold feeding as to manifold marrying-so that it deservedly accuses the spiritual discipline, which according to its ability opposes it, in this species of continence as well; imposing, as it does, reins upon the appetite, through taking, sometimes no meals, or late meals, or dry meals, just as upon lust, through allowing but one marriage.

It is really irksome to engage with such: one is really ashamed to wrangle about subjects the very defence of which is offensive to modesty. For how am I to protect chastity and sobriety without taxing their adversaries? What those adversaries are I will once for all mention: they are the exterior and interior botuli of the Psychics. It is these which raise controversy with the Paraclete; it is on this account that the New Prophecies are rejected: not that Montanus and Priscilla and Maximilla preach another God, nor that they disjoin Jesus Christ (from God), nor that they overturn any particular rule of faith or hope, but that they plainly teach more frequent fasting than marrying. Concerning the limit of marrying, we have already published a defence of monogamy.3 Now our battle is the battle of the secondary (or rather the primary) continence, in regard of the chastisement of diet. They charge us with keeping fasts of our own; with prolonging our Stations generally into the evening; with observing xerophagies likewise, keeping our food unmoistened by any flesh, and by any juiciness, and by any kind of specially succulent fruit; and with not eating or drinking anything with a winey flavour; also with abstinence from the bath, congruent with our dry diet. They are therefore constantly reproaching us with Novelty; concerning the unlawfulness of which they lay down a prescriptive rule, that either it must be adjudged heresy, if (the point in dispute) is a human presumption; or else pronounced pseudo-prophecy, if it is a spiritual declaration; provided that, either way, we who reclaim hear (sentence of) anathema.

Chapter II.-Arguments of the Psychics, Drawn from the Law, the Gospel, the Acts, the Epistles, and Heathenish Practices.

For, so far as pertains to fasts, they oppose to us the definite days appointed by God: as when, in Leviticus, the Lord enjoins upon Moses the tenth day of the seventh month (as) a day of atonement, saying, "Holy shall be to you the day, and ye shall vex your souls; and every soul which shall not have been vexed in that day shall be exterminated from his people."4 At all events, in the Gospel they think that those days were definitely appointed for fasts in which "the Bridegroom was taken away; "5 and that these are now the only legitimate days for Christian fasts, the legal and prophetical antiquities having been abolished: for wherever it suits their wishes, they recognise what is the meaning of" the Law and the prophets until John."6 Accordingly, (they think) that, with regard to the future, fasting was to be indifferently observed, by the New Discipline, of choice, not of command, according to the times and needs of each individual: that this, withal, had been the observance of the apostles, imposing (as they did) no other yoke of definite fasts to be observed by all generally, nor similarly of Stations either, which (they think) have withal days of their own (the fourth and sixth days of the week), but yet take a wide range according to individual judgment, neither subject to the law of a given precept, nor (to be protracted) beyond the last hour of the day, since even prayers the ninth hour generally concludes, after Peter's example, which is recorded in the Acts. Xerophagies, however, (they consider) the novel name of a studied duty, and very much akin to heathenish superstition, like the abstemious rigours which purify an Apis, an Isis, and a Magna Mater, by a restriction laid upon certain kinds of food; whereas faith, free in Christ,7 owes no abstinence from particular meats to the Jewish Law even, admitted as it has been by the apostle once for all to the whole range of the meat-market8 -(the apostle, I say), that detester of such as, in like manner as they prohibit marrying, so bid us abstain from meats created by God.9 And accordingly (they think) us to have been even then prenoted as "in the latest times departing from the faith, giving heed to spirits which seduce the world, having a conscience inburnt with doctrines of liars."10 (Inburnt?) With what fires, prithee? The fires, I ween, which lead us to repeated contracting of nuptials and daily cooking of dinners! Thus, too, they affirm that we share with the Galatians the piercing rebuke (of the apostle), as "observers of days, and of months, and of years."11 Meantime they huff in our teeth the fact that Isaiah withal has authoritatively declared, "Not such a fast hath the Lord elected," that is, not abstinence from food, but the works of righteousness, which he there appends:12 and that the Lord Himself in the Gospel has given a compendious answer to every kind of scrupulousness in regard to food; "that not by such things as are introduced into the mouth is a man defiled, but by such as are produced out of the mouth; "13 while Himself withal was wont to eat and drink till He made Himself noted thus; "Behold, a gormandizer and a drinker: "14 (finally), that so, too, does the apostle teach that "food commendeth us not to God; since we neither abound if we eat, nor lack if we eat not."15 

By the instrumentalities of these and similar passages, they subtlely tend at last to such a point, that every one who is somewhat prone to appetite finds it possible to regard as superfluous, and not so very necessary, the duties of abstinence from, or diminution or delay of, food, since "God," forsooth, "prefers the works of justice and of innocence." And we know the quality of the hortatory addresses of carnal conveniences, how easy it is to say, "I must believe with my whole heart;16 I must love God, and my neighbour as myself:17 for `on these two precepts the whole Law hangeth, and the prophets, 'not on the emptiness of my lungs and intestines."

Chapter III.-The Principle of Fasting Traced Back to Its Earliest Source.

Accordingly we are bound to affirm, before proceeding further, this (principle), which is in danger of being secretly subverted; (namely), of what value in the sight of God this "emptiness" you speak of is: and, first of all, whence has proceeded the rationale itself of earning the favour of God in this way. For the necessity of the observance will then be acknowledged, when the authority of a rationale, to be dated back from the very beginning, shall have shone out to view.

Adam had received from God the law of not tasting "of the tree of recognition of good and evil," with the doom of death to ensue upon tasting.18 However, even (Adam) himself at that time, reverting to the condition of a Psychic after the spiritual ecstasy in which he had prophetically interpreted that "great sacrament"19 with reference to Christ and the Church, and no longer being "capable of the things which were the Spirit's,"20 yielded more readily to his belly than to God, heeded the meat rather than the mandate, and sold salvation for his gullet! He ate, in short, and perished; saved (as he would) else (have been), if he had preferred to fast from one little tree: so that, even from this early date, animal faith may recognise its own seed, deducing from thence onward its appetite for carnalities and rejection of spiritualities. I hold, therefore, that from the very beginning the murderous gullet was to be punished with the torments and penalties of hunger. Even if God had enjoined no preceptive fasts, still, by pointing out the source whence Adam was slain, He who had demonstrated the offence had left to; my intelligence the remedies for the offence. Unbidden, I would, in such ways and at such times as I might have been able, have habitually accounted food as poison, and taken the antidote, hunger; through which to purge the primordial cause of death-a cause transmitted to me also, concurrently with my very generation; certain that God willed that whereof He nilled the contrary, and confident enough that the care of continence will be pleasing to Him by whom I should have understood that the crime of incontinence had been condemned. Further: since He Himself both commands fasting, and calls "a soul21 wholly shattered "-properly, of course, by straits of diet-" a sacrifice; "who will any longer doubt that of all dietary macerations the rationale has been this, that by a renewed interdiction of food and observation of precept the primordial sin might now be expiated, in order that man may make God satisfaction through the self-same causative material through which he had offended, that is, through interdiction of food; and thus, in emulous wise, hunger might rekindle, just as satiety had extinguished, salvation, contemning for the sake of one unlawful more lawful (gratifications)?

Chapter IV.-The Objection is Raised, Why, Then, Was the Limit of Lawful Food Extended After the Flood? the Answer to It.

This rationale was constantly kept in the eye of the providence of God-modulating all things, as He does, to suit the exigencies of the times-lest any from the opposite side, with the view of demolishing our proposition, should say: "Why, in that case, did not God forthwith institute some definite restriction upon food? nay, rather, why did He withal enlarge His permission? For, at the beginning indeed, it had only been the food of herbs and trees which He had assigned to man: `Behold, I have given you all grass fit for sowing, seeding seed, which is upon the earth; and every tree which hath in itself the fruit of seed fit for sowing shall be to you for food.'22 Afterwards, however, after enumerating to Noah the subjection (to him) of `all beasts of the earth, and fowls of the heaven, and things moving on earth, and the fish of the sea, and every creeping thing, 'He says, `They shall be to you for food: just like grassy vegetables have I given (them) you universally: but flesh in the blood of its own soul shall ye not eat.'23 For even by this very fact, that He exempts from eating that flesh only the `soul' of which is not out-shed through `blood, 'it is manifest that He has conceded the use of all other flesh." To this we reply, that it was not suitable for man to be burdened with any further special law of abstinence, who so recently showed himself unable to tolerate so light an interdiction-of one single fruit, to wit; that, accordingly, having had the rein relaxed, he was to be strengthened by his very liberty; that equally after the deluge, in the reformation of the human race, (as before it), one law-of abstaining from blood-was sufficient, the use of all things else being allowed. For the Lord had already shown His judgment through the deluge; had, moreover, likewise issued a comminatory warning through the "requisition of blood from the hand of a brother, and from the hand of every beast."24 And thus, preministering the justice of judgment, He issued the materials of liberty; preparing through allowance an undergrowth of discipline; permitting all things, with a view to take some away; meaning to "exact more" if He had "committed more; "25 to command abstinence since He had foresent indulgence: in order that (as we have said) the primordial sin might be the more expiated by the operation of a greater abstinence in the (midst of the) opportunity of a greater licence.

Chapter V.-Proceeding to the History of Israel, Tertullian Shows that Appetite Was as Conspicuous Among Their Sins as in Adam's Case. Therefore the Restraints of the Levitical Law Were Imposed.

At length, when a familiar people began to be chosen by God to Himself, and the restoration of man was able to be essayed, then all the laws and disciplines were imposed, even such as curtailed food; certain things being prohibited as unclean, in order that man, by observing a perpetual abstinence in certain particulars, might at last the more easily tolerate absolute fasts. For the first People had withal reproduced the first man's crime, being found more prone to their belly than to God, when, plucked out from the harshness of Egyptian servitude "by the mighty hand and sublime arm"26 of God, they were seen to be its lord, destined to the "land flowing with milk and honey;27 but forthwith, stumbled at the surrounding spectacle of an incopious desert sighing after the lost enjoyments of Egyptian satiety, they murmured against Moses and Aaron "Would that we had been smitten to the heart by the Lord, and perished in the land of Egypt, when we were wont to sit over our jars of flesh and eat bread unto the full! How leddest thou us out into these deserts, to kill this assembly by famine? "28 From the self-same belly preference were they destined (at last) to deplore29 (the fate of) the self-same leaden of their own and eye-witnesses of (the power of) God, whom, by their regretful hankering after flesh, and their recollection of their Egyptian plenties, they were ever exacerbating: "Who shall feed us with flesh? here have come into our mind the fish which in Egypt we were wont to eat freely, and the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlic. But now our soul is arid nought save manna do our eyes see!"30 Thus used they, too, (like the Psychics), to find the angelic bread31 of xerophagy displeasing: they preferred the fragrance of garlic and onion to that of heaven. And therefore from men so ungrateful all that was more pleasing and appetizing was withdrawn, for the sake at once of punishing gluttony and exercising continence, that the former might be condemned, the latter practically learned.

Chapter VI.-The Physical Tendencies of Fasting and Feeding Considered. The Cases of Moses and Elijah.

Now, if there has been temerity in our retracing to primordial experiences the reasons for God's having laid, and our duty (for the sake of God) to lay, restrictions upon food, let us consult common conscience. Nature herself will plainly tell with what qualities she is ever wont to find us endowed when she sets us, before taking food and drink, with our saliva still in a virgin state, to the transaction of matters, by the sense especially whereby things divine are, handled; whether (it be not) with a mind much more vigorous, with a heart much more alive, than when that whole habitation of our interior man, stuffed with meats, inundated with wines, fermenting for the purpose of excremental secretion, is already being turned into a premeditatory of privies, (a premeditatory) where, plainly, nothing is so proximately supersequent as the savouring of lasciviousness. "The people did eat and drink, and they arose to play."32 Understand the modest language of Holy Scripture: "play," unless it had been immodest, it would not have reprehended. On the other hand, how many are there who are mindful of religion, when the seats of the memory are occupied, the limbs of wisdom impeded? No one will suitably, fitly, usefully, remember God at that time when it is customary for a man to forget his own self. All discipline food either slays or else wounds. I am a liar, if the Lord Himself, when upbraiding Israel with forgetfulness, does not impute the cause to "fulness: "" (My) beloved is waxen thick, and fat, and distent, and hath quite forsaken God, who made him, and hath gone away from the Lord his Saviour."33 In short, in the Self-same Deuteronomy, when bidding precaution to be taken against the self-same cause, He says: "Lest, when thou shalt have eaten, and drunken, and built excellent houses, thy sheep and oxen being multiplied, and (thy) silver and gold, thy heart be elated, and thou be forgetful of the Lord thy God."34 To the corrupting power of riches He made the enormity of edacity antecedent, for which riches themselves are the procuring agents.35 Through them, to wit, had "the heart of the People been made thick, lest they should see with the eyes, and hear with the ears, and understand with a heart"36 obstructed by the "fats" of which He had expressly forbidden the eating,37 teaching man not to be studious of the stomach.38 

On the other hand, he whose "heart" was habitually found "lifted up"39 rather than fattened up, who in forty days and as many nights maintained a fast above the power of human nature, while spiritual faith subministered strength (to his body),40 both saw with his eyes God's glory, and heard with his ears God's voice, and understood with his heart God's law: while He taught him even then (by experience) that man liveth not upon bread alone, but upon every word of God; in that the People, though fatter than he, could not constantly contemplate even Moses himself, fed as he had been upon God, nor his leanness, sated as it had been with His glory!41 Deservedly, therefore, even while in the flesh, did the Lord show Himself to him, the colleague of His own fasts, no less than to Elijah.42 For Elijah withal had, by this fact primarily, that he had imprecated a famine,43 already sufficiently devoted himself to fasts: "The Lord liveth," he said, "before whom I am standing in His sight, if there shall be dew in these years, and rain-shower."44 Subsequently, fleeing from threatening Jezebel, after one single (meal of) food and drink, which he had found on being awakened by an angel, he too himself, in a space of forty days and nights, his belly empty, his mouth dry, arrived at Mount Horeb; where, when he had made a cave his inn, with how familiar a meeting with God was he received!45 "What (doest) thou, Elijah, here? "46 Much more friendly was this voice than, "Adam, where art thou? "47 For the latter voice was uttering a threat to a fed man, the former soothing a fasting one. Such is the prerogative of circumscribed food, that it makes God tent-fellow48 with man-peer, in truth, with peer! For if the eternal God will not hunger, as He testifies through Isaiah,49 this will be the time for man to be made equal with God, when he lives without food.

Chapter VII.-Further Examples from the Old Testament in Favour of Fasting.

And thus we have already proceeded to examples, in order that, by its profitable efficacy, we may unfold the powers of this duty which reconciles God, even when angered, to man.

Israel, before their gathering together by Samuel on occasion of the drawing of water at Mizpeh, had sinned; but so immediately do they wash away the sin by a fast, that the peril of battle is dispersed by them simultaneously (with the water on the ground). At the very moment when Samuel was offering the holocaust (in no way do we learn that the clemency of God was more procured than by the abstinence of the people), and the aliens were advancing to battle, then and there "the Lord thundered with a mighty voice upon the aliens, and they were thrown into confusion, and felt in a mass in the sight of Israel; and the men of Israel went forth out of Mizpeh, and pursued the aliens, and smote them unto Bethor,"-the unfed (chasing) the fed, the unarmed the armed. Such will be the strength of them who "fast to God."50 For such, Heaven fights. You have (before you) a condition upon which (divine) defence will be granted, necessary even to spiritual wars.

Similarly, when the king of the Assyrians, Sennacherib, after already taking several cities, was volleying blasphemies and menaces against Israel through Rabshakeh, nothing else (but fasting) diverted him from his purpose, and sent him into the Ethiopias. After that, what else swept away by the hand of the angel an hundred eighty and four thousand from his army than Hezekiah the king's humiliation? if it is true, (as it is), that on heating the announcement of the harshness of the foe, he rent his garment, put on sackcloth, and bade the elders of the priests, similarly habited, approach God through Isaiah-fasting being, of course, the escorting attendant of their prayers.51 For peril has no time for food, nor sackcloth any care for satiety's refinements. Hunger is ever the attendant of mourning, just as gladness is an accessory of fulness.

Through this attendant of mourning, and (this) hunger, even that sinful state, Nineveh, is freed from the predicted ruin. For repentance for sins had sufficiently commended the fast, keeping it up in a space of three days, starving out even the cattle with which God was not angry.52 Sodom also, and Gomorrah, would have escaped if they had fasted.53 This remedy even Ahab acknowledges. When, after his transgression and idolatry, and the slaughter of Naboth, slain by Jezebel on account of his vineyard, Elijah had upbraided him, "How hast thou killed, and possessed the inheritance? In the place where dogs had licked up the blood of Naboth, thine also shall they lick up,"-he "abandoned himself, and put sackcloth upon his flesh, and fasted, and slept in sackcloth. And then (came) the word of the Lord unto Elijah, Thou hast seen how Ahab hath shrunk in awe from my face: for that he hath shrunk in awe I will not bring the hurt upon (him) in his own days; but in the days of his son I will bring it upon (him)"-(his son), who was not to fast.54 Thus a God-ward fast is a work of reverential awe: and by its means also Hannah the wife of Elkanah making suit, barren as she had been beforetime, easily obtained from God the filling of her belly, empty of food, with a son, ay, and a prophet.55 

Nor is it merely change of nature, or aversion of perils, or obliteration of sins, but likewise the recognition of mysteries, which fasts will merit from God. Look at Daniel's example. About the dream of the King of Babylon all the sophists are troubled: they affirm that, without external aid, it cannot be discovered by human skill. Daniel alone, trusting to God, and knowing what would tend to the deserving of God's favour, requires a space of three days, fasts with his fraternity, and-his prayers thus commended-is instructed throughout as to the order and signification of the dream; quarter is granted to the tyrant's sophists; God is glorified; Daniel is honoured; destined as he was to receive, even subsequently also, no less a favour of God in the first year, of King Darius, when, after careful and repeated meditation upon the times predicted by Jeremiah, he set his face to God in fasts, and sackcloth, and ashes. For the angel, withal, sent to him, immediately professed this to be the cause of the Divine approbation: "I am come," he said, "to demonstrate to thee, since thou art pitiable"56 -by fasting, to wit. If to God he was "pitiable," to the lions in the den he was formidable, where, six days fasting, he had breakfast provided him by an angel.57 

Chapter VIII.-Examples of a Similar Kind from the New.

We produce, too, our remaining (evidences). For we now hasten to modern proofs. On the threshold of the Gospel,58 Anna the prophetess, daughter of Phanuel, "who both recognised the infant Lord, and preached many things about Him to such as were expecting the redemption of Israel," after the pre-eminent distinction of long-continued and single-husbanded widowhood, is additionally graced with the testimony of "fastings" also; pointing out, as she does, what the duties are which should characterize attendants of the Church, and (pointing out, too, the fact) that Christ is understood by none more than by the once married and often fasting.

By and by the Lord Himself consecrated His own baptism (and, in His own, that of all) by fasts;59 having (the power) to make "loaves out of stones,"60 say, to make Jordan flow with wine perchance, if He had been such a "glutton and toper."61 Nay, rather, by the virtue of contemning food He was initiating "the new man" into "a severe handling" of "the old,"62 that He might show that (new man) to the devil, again seeking to tempt him by means of food, (to be) too strong for the whole power of hunger.

Thereafter He prescribed to fasts a law-that they are to be performed "without sadness: "63 for why should what is salutary be sad? He taught likewise that fasts are to be the weapons for battling with the more direful demons:64 for what wonder if the same operation is the instrument of the iniquitous spirit's egress as of the Holy Spirit's ingress? Finally, granting that upon the centurion Cornelius, even before baptism, the honourable gift of the Holy Spirit, together with the gift of prophecy besides, had hastened to descend, we see that his fasts had been heard,65 I think, moreover, that the apostle too, in the Second of Corinthians, among his labours, and perils, and hardships, after "hunger and thirst," enumerates "fasts" also "very many"66 

Chapter IX.-From Fasts Absolute Tertullian Comes to Partial Ones and Xerophagies.

This principal species in the category of dietary restriction may already afford a prejudgment concerning the inferior operations of abstinence also, as being themselves too, in proportion to their measure, useful or necessary. For the exception of certain kinds from use of food is a partial fast. Let us therefore look into the question of the novelty or vanity of xerophagies, to see whether in them too we do not find an operation alike of most ancient as of most efficacious religion. I return to Daniel and his brethren, preferring as they did a diet of vegetables and the beverage of water to the royal dishes and decanters, and being found as they were therefore "more handsome" (lest any be apprehensive on the score of his paltry body, to boot!), sides being spiritually cultured into the bargain.67 For God gave to the young men knowledge and understanding in every kind of literature, and to Daniel in every word, and in dreams, and in every kind of wisdom; which (wisdom) was to make him wise in this very thing also,-namely, by what means the recognition of mysteries was to be obtained from God. Finally, in the third year of Cyrus king of the Persians, when he had fallen into careful and repeated meditation on a vision, he provided another form of humiliation. "In those days," he says, "I Daniel was mourning during three weeks: pleasant bread I ate not; flesh and wine entered not into my mouth; with oil I was not anointed; until three weeks were consummated: "which being elapsed, an angel was sent out (from God), addressing him on this wise: "Daniel, thou art a man pitiable; fear not: since, from the first day on which thou gavest thy soul to recogitation and to humiliation before God, thy word hath been heard, and I am entered at thy word."68 Thus the "pitiable" spectacle and the humiliation of xerophagies expel fear, and attract the ears of God, and make men masters of secrets.

I return likewise to Elijah. When the ravens had been wont to satisfy him with "bread and flesh,"69 why was it that afterwards, at Beersheba of Judea, that certain angel, after rousing him from sleep, offered him, beyond doubt, bread alone, and water?70 Had ravens been wanting, to feed him more liberally? or had it been difficult to the "angel" to carry away from some pan of the banquet-room of the king some attendant with his amply-furnished waiter, and transfer him to Elijah, just as the breakfast of the reapers was carried into the den of lions and presented to Daniel in his hunger? But it behoved that an example should be set, teaching us that, at a time of pressure and persecution and whatsoever difficulty, we must live on xerophagies. With such food did David express his own exomologesis; "eating ashes indeed as it were bread," that is, bread dry and foul like ashes: "mingling, moreover, his drink with weeping"-of course, instead of wine.71 For abstinence from wine withal has honourable badges of its own: (an abstinence) which had dedicated Samuel, and consecrated Aaron, to God. For of Samuel his mother said: "And wine and that which is intoxicating shall he not drink: "72 for such was her condition withal when praying to God.73 And the Lord said to Aaron "Wine and spirituous liquor shall ye not drink, thou and thy son after thee, whenever ye shall enter the tabernacle, or ascend unto the sacrificial altar; and ye shall not die."74 So true is it, that such as shall have ministered in the Church, being not sober, shall "die." Thus, too, in recent times He upbraids Israel: "And ye used to give my sanctified ones wine to drink." And, moreover, this limitation upon drink is the portion of xerophagy. Anyhow, wherever abstinence from wine is either exacted by God or vowed by man, there let there be understood likewise a restriction of food fore-furnishing a formal type to drink. For the quality of the drink is correspondent to that of the eating. It is not probable that a man should sacrifice to God half his appetite; temperate in waters, and intemperate in meats. Whether, moreover, the apostle had any acquaintance with xerophagies-(the apostle) who had repeatedly practised greater rigours, "hunger, and thirst, and fists many," who had forbidden "drunkennesses and revellings"75 -we have a sufficient evidence even from the case of his disciple Timotheus; whom when he admonishes, "for the sake of his stomach and constant weaknesses," to use "a little wine,"76 from which he was abstaining not from rule, but from devotion-else the custom would rather have been beneficial to his stomach-by this very fact he has advised abstinence from wine as "worthy of God," which, on a ground of necessity, he has dissuaded.

Chapter XV.-Of the Apostle's Language Concerning Food.

The apostle reprobates likewise such as "bid to abstain from meats; but he does so from the foresight of the Holy Spirit, precondemning already the heretics who would enjoin perpetual abstinence to the extent of destroying and despising the works of the Creator; such as I may find in the person of a Marcion, a Tatian, or a Jupiter, the Pythagorean heretic of to-day; not in the person of the Paraclete. For how limited is the extent of our "interdiction of meats!" Two weeks of xerophagies in the year (and not the whole of these,-the Sabbaths, to wit, and the Lord's days, being excepted) we offer to God; abstaining from things which we do not reject, but defer. But further: when writing to the Romans, the apostle now gives you a home-thrust, detractors as you are of this observance: "Do not for the sake of food," he says, "undo101 the work of God." What "work? "That about which he says,102 "It is good not to eat flesh, and not to drink wine: ""for he who in these points doeth service, is pleasing and propitiable to our God." "One believeth that all things may be eaten; but another, being weak, feedeth on vegetables. Let not him who eateth lightly esteem him who eateth not. Who art thou, who judgest another's servant? ""Both he who eateth, and he who eateth not, giveth God thanks." But, since he forbids human choice to be made matter of controversy, how much more Divine! Thus he knew how to chide certain restricters and interdicters of food, such as abstained from it of contempt, not of duty; but to approve such as did so to the honour, not the insult, of the Creator. And if he has "delivered you the keys of the meat-market," permitting the eating of "all things" with a view to establishing the exception of" things offered to idols; "still he has not included the kingdom of God in the meat-market: "For," he says, "the kingdom of God is neither meat nor drink; "103 and, "Food commendeth us not to God"-not that you may think this said about dry diet, but rather about rich and carefully prepared, if, when he subjoins, "Neither, if we shall have eaten, shall we abound; nor, if we shall not have eaten, shall we be deficient," the ring of his words suits, (as it does), you rather (than us), who think that you do "abound" if you eat, and are "deficient if you eat not; and for this reason disparage these observances.

How unworthy, also, is the way in which you interpret to the favour of your own lust the fact that the Lord "ate and drank" promiscuously! But I think that He must have likewise "fasted" inasmuch as He has pronounced, not "the full; "but "the hungry and thirsty, blessed: "104 (He) who was wont to profess "food" to be, not that which His disciples had supposed, but "the thorough doing of the Father's work; "105 teaching "to labour for the meat which is permanent unto life eternal; "106 in our ordinary prayer likewise commanding us to request "bread,"107 not the wealth of Attalus108 therewithal. Thus, too, Isaiah has not denied that God "hath chosen" a "fist; "but has particularized in detail the kind of fast which He has not chosen: "for in the days," he says, "of your fasts your own wills are found (indulged), and all who are subject to you ye stealthily sting; or else ye fast with a view to abuse and strifes, and ye smite with the fists. Not such a fast have I elected; "109 but such an one as He has subjoined, and by subjoining has not abolished, but confirmed.

Chapter XVI.-Instances from Scripture of Divine Judgments Upon the Self-Indulgent; And Appeals to the Practices of Heathens.

For even if He does prefer "the works of righteousness," still not without a sacrifice, which is a soul afflicted with fasts.110 He, at all events, is the God to whom neither a People incontinent of appetite, nor a priest, nor a prophet, was pleasing. To this day the "monuments of concupiscence" remain, where the People, greedy of "flesh," till, by devouring without digesting the quails, they brought on cholera, were buried. Eli breaks his neck before the temple doors,111 his sons fall in battle, his daughter-in-law expires in child-birth:112 for such was the blow which had been deserved at the hand of God by the shameless house, the defrauder of the fleshly sacrifices.113 Same as, a "man of God," after prophesying the issue of the idolatry introduced by King Jeroboam-after the drying up and immediate restoration of that king's hand-after the rending in twain of the sacrificial altar,-being on account of these signs invited (home) by the king by way of recompense, plainly declined (for he had been prohibited by God) to touch food at all in that place; but having presently afterwards rashly taken food from another old man, who lyingly professed himself a prophet, he was deprived, in accordance with the word of God then and there uttered over the table, of burial in his fathers' sepulchres. For he was prostrated by the rushing of a lion upon him in the way, and was buried among strangers; and thus paid the penalty of his breach of fast.114 

These will be warnings both to people and to bishops, even spiritual ones, in case they may ever have been guilty of incontinence of appetite. Nay, even in Hades the admonition has not ceased to speak; where we find in the person of the rich feaster, convivialities tortured; in that of the pauper, fasts refreshed; having-(as convivialities and fasts alike had)-as preceptors "Moses and the prophets."115 For Joel withal exclaimed: "Sanctify a fast, and a religious service; "116 foreseeing even then that other apostles and prophets would sanction fasts, and would preach observances of special service to God. Whence it is that even they who court their idols by dressing them, and by adorning them in their sanctuary, and by saluting them at each particular hour, are said to do them service. But, more than that, the heathens recognise every form of tapeinofro/nhsij. When the heaven is rigid and the year arid, barefooted processions are enjoined by public proclamation; the magistrates lay aside their purple, reverse the fasces, utter prayer, offer a victim. There are, moreover, some colonies where, besides (these extraordinary solemnities, the inhabitants), by an annual rite, clad in sackcloth and besprent with ashes, present a suppliant importunity to their idols, (while) baths and shops are kept shut till the ninth hour. They have one single fire in public-on the altars; no water even in their platters. There is, I believe, a Ninevitan suspension of business! A Jewish fast, at all events, is universally celebrated; while, neglecting the temples, throughout all the shore, in every open place, they continue long to send prayer up to heaven. And, albeit by the dress and ornamentation of mourning they disgrace the duty, still they do affect a faith in abstinence, and sigh for the arrival of the long-lingering evening star to sanction (their feeding). But it is enough for me that you, by heaping blasphemies upon our xerophagies, put them on a level with the chastity of an Isis and a Cybele. I admit the comparison in the way of evidence. Hence (our xerophagy) will be proved divine, which the devil, the emulator of things divine, imitates. It is out of truth that falsehood is built; out of religion that superstition is compacted.Hence you are more irreligious, in proportion as a heathen is more conformable. He, in short, sacrifices his appetite to an idol-god; you to (the true) God will not. For to you your belly is god, and your lungs a temple, and your paunch a sacrificial altar, and your cook the priest, and your fragrant smell the Holy Spirit, and your condiments spiritual gifts, and your belching prophecy.

Chapter XVII-Conclusion.

"Old" you are, if we will say the truth, you who are so indulgent to appetite, and justly do you vaunt your "priority: "always do I recognise the savour of Esau, the hunter of wild beasts: so unlimitedly studious are you of catching fieldfares, so do you come from "the field" of your most lax discipline, so faint are you in spirit.117 If I offer you a paltry lentile dyed red with must well boiled down, forthwith you will sell all your "primacies: "with you "love" shows its fervour in sauce-pans, "faith" its warmth in kitchens, "hope" its anchorage in waiters; but of greater account is "love," because that is the means whereby your young men sleep with their sisters! Appendages, as we all know, of appetite are lasciviousness and voluptuousness. Which alliance the apostle withal was aware of; and hence, after premising, "Not in drunkenness and revels," he adjoined, "nor in couches and lusts."118 

To the indictment of your appetite pertains (the charge) that "double honour" is with you assigned to your presiding (elders) by double shares (of meat and drink); whereas the apostle has given them "double honour" as being both brethren and officers.119 Who, among you, is superior in holiness, except him who is more frequent in banqueting, more sumptuous in catering, more learned in cups? Men of soul and flesh alone as you are, justly do you reject things spiritual. If the prophets were pleasing to such, my (prophets) they were not. Why, then, do not you constantly preach, "Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we shall die? "120 just as we do not hesitate manfully to command, "Let us fast, brethren and sisters, lest to-morrow perchance we die." Openly let us vindicate our disciplines. Sure we are that "they who are in the flesh cannot please God; "121 not, of course, those who are in the substance of the flesh, but in the care, the affection, the work, the will, of it. Emaciation displeases not us; for it is not by weight that God bestows flesh, any more than He does "the Spirit by measure."122 More easily, it may be, through the "strait gate"123 of salvation will slenderer flesh enter; more speedily will lighter flesh rise; longer in the sepulchre will drier flesh retain its firmness. Let Olympic cestus-players and boxers cram themselves to satiety. To them bodily ambition is suitable to whom bodily strength is necessary; and yet they also strengthen themselves by xerophagies. But ours are other thews and other sinews, just as our contests withal are other; we whose "wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the world's124 power, against the spiritualities of malice." Against these it is not by robustness of flesh and blood, but of faith and spirit, that it behoves us to make our antagonistic stand. On the other hand, an over-fed Christian will be more necessary to bears and lions, perchance, than to God; only that, even to encounter beasts, it will be his duty to practise emaciation.

1 [Written, say, circa a.d. 208.]
2 i.e., Psychic.
3 [Which is a note of time, not unimportant.] 
4 Lev. xvi. 29, xxiii. 26-29.
5 Matt. ix. 14, 15; Mark ii. 18-20; Luke v. 33-35.
6 Luke xvi. 16; Matt. xi. 13.
7 Comp. Gal. v. 1.
8 Comp. 1 Cor. x. 25.
9 Comp. 1 Tim. iv. 3.
10 So Oehler punctuates. The reference is to 1 Tim. iv. 1, 2.
11 See Gal. iv. 10; the words kai kairouj Tertullian omits.
12 See Isa. lviii. 3-7.
13 See Matt. xv. 11; Mark vii. 15.
14 Matt. xi. 19; Luke vii. 34.
15 1 Cor. viii. 8.
16 Rom. x. 10.
17 Comp. Matt. xxii. 37-40, and the parallel passages.
18 See Gen. ii. 16, 17.
19 Comp. Eph. v. 32 with Gen. ii. 23, 24.
20 See 1 Cor. ii. 14. 
21 The references is to Ps. li. 17 (in LXX. Ps. l. 19).
22 Gen. i. 29.
23 See Gen. ix. 2-5 (in LXX.).
24 See Gen. ix. 5, 6.
25 See Luke xii. 48.
26 Comp. Ps. cxxxvi. 12 (in LXX. cxxxv. 12). 
27 See Ex. iii. 8.
28 See Ex. xvi. 1-3.
29 Comp. Num. xx. 1-12 with Ps. cvi. 31-33 (in LXX. cv. 31-33).
30 See Num. xi. 1-6.
31 See Ps. lxxviii. 25 (in LXX. lxxvii. 25).
32 Comp. 1 Cor. x. 7 with Ex. xxxii. 6.
33 See Deut. xxxii. 15.
34 See Deut. viii. 12-14.
35 Comp. Eccles. vi. 7; Prov. xvi. 26. (The LXX. render the latter quotation very differently from the Eng. ver. or the Vulg.)
36 See Isa. vi. 10; John xii. 40; Acts xxviii. 26, 27.
37 See Lev. iii. 17.
38 See Deut. viii. 3; Matt. iv. 4; Luke iv. 4.
39 See Ps. lxxxvi. 4 (in LXX. lxxxv. 4); Lam. iii. 41 (in LXX. iii. 40).
40 Twice over. See Ex. xxiv. 18 and xxxiv. 28; Deut. ix. 11, 25.
41 See Ex. xxxiii. 18, 19, with xxxiv. 4-9, 29-35.
42 See Matt. xvii. 1-13; Mark ix. 1-13; Luke ix. 28-36.
43 See Jas. vi. 17. 
44 See 1 Kings xvii. 1 (in LXX. 3 Kings ib.).
45 See 1 Kings xix. 1-8. But he took two meals: see vers. 6, 7, 8.
46 Vers. 9, 13.
47 Gen. iii. 9 (in LXX.).
48 Comp. Matt. xvii. 4; Mark ix. 5; Luke ix. 33.
49 See Ps. xl. 28 in LXX. In E. V., "fainteth not."
50 See Zech. vii. 5.
51 See 2 Kings xviii. xix.; 2 Chron. xxxii.; Isa. xxxvi. xxxvii.
52 See Jonah iii. Comp. de Pa., c. x.
53 See Ezek. xvi. 49; Matt. xi. 23, 24; Luke x. 12-14.
54 See 1 Kings xxi. (in the LXX. it is 3 Kings xx).
55 See 1 Sam. i. 1, 2, 7-20, iii. 20 (in LXX. 1 Kings). 
56 Dan. ix. 23, x. 11.
57 See Bel and the Dragon (in LXX.) vers. 31-39. "Pitiable" appears to be Tertullian's rendering of what in the E. V. is rendered "greatly beloved." Rig. (in Oehler) renders: "of how great compassion thou hast attained the favour;" but surely that overlooks the fact that the Latin is "miserabilis es," not "sis."
58 See Luke ii. 36-38. See de Monog., c. viii.
59 Matt. iv. 12; Luke iv. 1, 2; comp. de Bapt., c. xx.
60 See Matt. iv. 3; Luke iv. 3.
61 See c. ii.
62 Comp. Eph. iv. 22, 23; and, for the meaning of sugillationem ("severe handling"), comp. 1 Cor. ix. 27, where St. Paul's word upwpiazw (= "I smite under the eye," Eng. ver. "I keep under") is perhaps exactly equivalent in meaning.
63 Matt. vi. 16-18.
64 See Matt. xvii. 21; Mark ix. 29.
65 See Acts x. 44-46, 1-4 and 30.
66 2 Cor. xi. 27.
67 Dan. i.
68 See Dan. x. 1-3, 5, 12. 
69 See 1 Kings xvii. (in LXX. 3 Kings xvii.) 1-6.
70 1 Kings xix. 3-7.
71 See Ps. cii. (in LXX. ci.) 9.
72 1 Sam. (in LXX. 1 Kings) i. 11.
73 1 Sam. i. 15.
74 See Lev. x. 9.
75 See Rom. xiii. 13.
76 1 Tim. v. 23.
101 Rom. xiv. 20.
102 Ver. 21.
103 Rom. xiv. 17.
104 Comp. Luke vi. 21 and 25, and Matt. v. 6.
105 John iv. 31-34.
106 John vi. 27.
107 Matt. vi. 11; Luke xi. 3.
108 See Hor., Od., i. 1, 12, and Macleane's note there.
109 See Isa. lviii. 3, 4, 5, briefly, and more like the LXX. than the Vulg. or the Eng. ver. 
110 See Ps. li. (l. in LXX. and Vulg.) 18, 19; see c. iii. above.
111 This seems an oversight; see 1 Sam. (in LXX. and Vulg. 1 Kings) iv. 13.
112 1 Sam. iv. 17-21.
113 1 Sam. ii. 12-17, 22-25.
114 See 1 Kings (in LXX. and Vulg. 3 Kings) xiii.
115 Luke xvi. 19-31.
116 Joel ii. 15.
117 Comp. Gen. xxiii. 2, 3, 4, 31, and xxv. 27-34.
118 Rom. xiii. 13. 
119 1 Tim. v. 17.
120 Isa. xxii. 13; 1 Cor. xv. 32.
121 Rom. viii. 8.
122 John iii. 34.
123 Matt. vii. 13, 14; Luke xiii. 24.
124 Mundi: cf. kosmokratoraj, Eph. vi. 12.