Ante-Nicene Fathers/Volume III/Anti-Marcion/The Prescription Against Heretics/Chapter XLIII

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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,[1] 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.”[2] Where the fear of God is, there is seriousness, an honourable and yet thoughtful[3] diligence, as well as an anxious carefulness and a well-considered admission (to the sacred ministry)[4] and a safely-guarded[5] communion, and promotion after good service, and a scrupulous submission (to authority), and a devout attendance,[6] and a modest gait, and a united church, and God in all things.


Footnotes[edit]

  1. Scilicet.
  2. Ps. cxi. 10; Prov. i. 7.
  3. Attonita, as if in fear that it might go wrong (Rigalt.).
  4. In contrast to the opposite fault of the heresies exposed above.
  5. Deliberata, where the character was well weighed previous to admission to the eucharist.
  6. Apparitio, the duty and office of an apparitor, or attendant on men of higher rank, whether in church or state.