Ante-Nicene Fathers/Volume IV/Tertullian: Part Fourth/On Modesty/Chapter 11

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Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. IV, Tertullian: Part Fourth, On Modesty
by Tertullian, translated by Sydney Thelwall
Chapter 11
155837Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. IV, Tertullian: Part Fourth, On Modesty — Chapter 11Sydney ThelwallTertullian

Chapter XI.—From Parables Tertullian Comes to Consider Definite Acts of the Lord.

From the side of its pertinence to the Gospel, the question of the parables indeed has by this time been disposed of.  If, however, the Lord, by His deeds withal, issued any such proclamation in favour of sinners; as when He permitted contact even with his own body to the “woman, a sinner,”—washing, as she did, His feet with tears, and wiping them with her hair, and inaugurating His sepulture with ointment; as when to the Samaritaness—not an adulteress by her now sixth marriage, but a prostitute—He showed (what He did show readily to any one) who He was;[1]—no benefit is hence conferred upon our adversaries, even if it had been to such as were already Christians that He (in these several cases) granted pardon.  For we now affirm:  This is lawful to the Lord alone:  may the power of His indulgence be operative at the present day![2]  At those times, however, in which He lived on earth we lay this down definitively, that it is no prejudgment against us if pardon used to be conferred on sinners—even Jewish ones.  For Christian discipline dates from the renewing of the Testament,[3] and (as we have premised) from the redemption of flesh—that is, the Lord’s passion.  None was perfect before the discovery of the order of faith; none a Christian before the resumption of Christ to heaven; none holy before the manifestation of the Holy Spirit from heaven, the Determiner of discipline itself.


  1. John iv. 1–25.
  2. Comp. c. iii. above.
  3. Comp. Matt. xxvi. 28, Mark xiv. 24, Luke xxii. 21, with Heb. ix. 11–20.