SELECTIONS FROM EARLY CHRISTIAN WRITERS: ILLUSTRATIVE OF CHURCH HISTORY TO THE TIME OF CONSTANTINE by Henry Melvill Gwatkin, M.A. First Edition, Macmillan & Co., Ltd., 1893. Reprinted with additions and corrections, 1897, 1902, 1905. Prepared for katapi by Paul Ingram, 2013.
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XXXV. TERTULLIAN, Apol. 17.


Testimony of the Soul


Vultis ex operibus ipsius tot ac talibus, quibus continemur, quibus sustinemur, quibus oblectamur, etiam quibus exterremur, vultis ex animae ipsius testimonio comprobemus? Quae licet carcere corporis pressa, licet institutionibus pravis circumscripta, licet libidinibus ac concupiscentiis evigorata, licet falsis diis exancillata, cum tarnen resipiscit, ut ex crapula, ut ex somno, ut ex aliqua valetudine, et sanitatem suam patitur, deum nominat, hoc solo nomine, quia proprio dei veri: deus magnus, deus bonus, et quod deus dederit, omnium vox est. Iudicem quoque contestatur illum, deus videt, et deo commendo, et deus mihi reddet. O testimonium animae naturaliter Christianae! Denique pronuntians haec, non ad Capitolium, sed ad coelum respicit. Novit enim sedem dei vivi; ab illo, et inde descendit.

Will you have our proof from his works in all their magnitude and number, which contain or sustain us, which delight us or again dismay us; or will you have it from the witness of the soul itself? Though it be shut up in the prison of the body, though it be limited by evil customs, though it be enervated by lusts and longings, though it be a slave to false gods, yet when it comes to itself as after a debauch or after sleep or after a sickness, and feels its proper health, it makes mention of God, and by that name only, for it is peculiar to the true God. 'God is great,' 'God is good,' 'which may God grant,' are all men's words. It appeals also to Him as judge – 'God sees,' 'I commend to Him,' and 'God will repay me.' O testimony of the soul by nature Christian! Finally, in using these words, it looks up not to the Capitol but to heaven, for it recognizes the throne of the living God. From Him it is, and thence came down.

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