Page:Tracts for the Times Vol 1.djvu/545

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(Ad Scholas.)


TRACTS FOR THE TIMES.




RECORDS OF THE CHURCH,

No. XVII.




THE HOLY CHURCH THROUGHOUT ALL THE WORLD DOTH ACKNOWLEDGE THEE.


Tertullian's account of the Rule of Faith.


Tertullian was born at Carthage, in Africa, a heathen; but when he grew up he was converted to Christianity. At length he became a priest, either of the Church of Carthage, or of Rome; it is uncertain which. That is, it is uncertain whether, as we now speak, he took orders in Carthage or Rome; whether he was ordained by the Bishop of Carthage or of Rome. For at that blessed time the whole extent of Christendom was as closely united as the different parts of England are; so that it was all one from which of the bishops of the Church Catholic a Christian was ordained for the ministry. Rome was at that time not more divided from Carthage, or from Corinth, or from Ephesus, or from Jerusalem, than Winchester from London, or Durham, or Oxford, or Norwich. It was natural, indeed, for many reasons, that a man should receive orders from the Church in which he lived; but on fitting reasons a Carthaginian, like Tertullian, might receive his commission from the Bishop of Rome, just as now a native of London, for instance, may become a priest of the Church of Oxford.

This one Christian body, called sometimes Christendom, (which means the kingdom of Christ,) sometimes the Church Catholic, (which means the incorporate society of Christians in all lands, as descended from the Apostles, and governed by the bishops, their representatives,) consisted in the early times of two great portions, those who spoke Greek, and those who spoke Latin, which are sometimes familiarly called the Greek and the Latin Churches. Not that they were really divided, more than