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Chapter V.—Proceeding to the History of Israel, Tertullian Shows that Appetite Was as Conspicuous Among Their Sins as in Adam’s Case.  Therefore the Restraints of the Levitical Law Were Imposed.

At length, when a familiar people began to be chosen by God to Himself, and the restoration of man was able to be essayed, then all the laws and disciplines were imposed, even such as curtailed food; certain things being prohibited as unclean, in order that man, by observing a perpetual abstinence in certain particulars, might at last the more easily tolerate absolute fasts.  For the first People had withal reproduced the first man’s crime, being found more prone to their belly than to God, when, plucked out from the harshness of Egyptian servitude “by the mighty hand and sublime arm”10261026    Comp. Ps. cxxxvi. 12 (in LXX. cxxxv. 12). of God, they were seen to be its lord, destined to the “land flowing with 105milk and honey;”10271027    See Ex. iii. 8. but forthwith, stumbled at the surrounding spectacle of an incopious desert sighing after the lost enjoyments of Egyptian satiety, they murmured against Moses and Aaron:  “Would that we had been smitten to the heart by the Lord, and perished in the land of Egypt, when we were wont to sit over our jars of flesh and eat bread unto the full!  How leddest thou us out into these deserts, to kill this assembly by famine?”10281028    See Ex. xvi. 1–3.  From the self-same belly preference were they destined (at last) to deplore10291029    Comp. Num. xx. 1–12 with Ps. cvi. 31–33 (in LXX. cv. 31–33). (the fate of) the self-same leaden of their own and eye-witnesses of (the power of) God, whom, by their regretful hankering after flesh, and their recollection of their Egyptian plenties, they were ever exacerbating:  “Who shall feed us with flesh? here have come into our mind the fish which in Egypt we were wont to eat freely, and the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlic.  But now our soul is arid:  nought save manna do our eyes see!”10301030    See Num. xi. 1–6.  Thus used they, too, (like the Psychics), to find the angelic bread10311031    See Ps. lxxviii. 25 (in LXX. lxxvii. 25). of xerophagy displeasing:  they preferred the fragrance of garlic and onion to that of heaven.  And therefore from men so ungrateful all that was more pleasing and appetizing was withdrawn, for the sake at once of punishing gluttony and exercising continence, that the former might be condemned, the latter practically learned.


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