Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Faithful Assembly Fears God

Heretics chase after the latest ideas and fads, thus promoting human wisdom above God's.  A faithful assembly has at its core the fear of God in all things.

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, that they are men who devote themselves to curious questions.  “Seek, and you shall find,” is everywhere in their minds.  Thus, the quality of their faith may be estimated from the very nature of their conduct.  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.  However, where 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.”  Where the fear of God is, there is seriousness, an honorable and yet thoughtful diligence, as well as an anxious carefulness and a well-considered admission [to the sacred ministry] and a safely-guarded* communion, and promotion after good service, and a scrupulous submission [to authority], and a devout attendance, and a modest gait, and a united church, and God in all things.

Tertullian, The Prescription Against Heretics, 43

* Deliberata – where the character was well-weighed previous to admission to the eucharist.

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