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39IV.

To His Wife. 337337    [Written circa a.d. 207.  Tertullian survived his wife; and we cannot date these books earlier than about the time of his writing the De Pallio, in the opinion of some.]

Book I.

[Translated by the Rev. S. Thelwall.]

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Chapter I.—Design of the Treatise.  Disavowal of Personal Motives in Writing It.

I have thought it meet, my best beloved fellow-servant in the Lord, even from this early period,338338    Jam hinc. to provide for the course which you must pursue after my departure from the world,339339    Sæculo. if I shall be called before you; (and) to entrust to your honour340340    Fidei. the observance of the provision.  For in things worldly341341    Sæcularibus. we are active enough, and we wish the good of each of us to be consulted.  If we draw up wills for such matters, why ought we not much more to take forethought for our posterity342342    Posteritati; or, with Mr. Dodgson, “our future.” in things divine and heavenly, and in a sense to bequeath a legacy to be received before the inheritance be divided,—(the legacy, I mean, of) admonition and demonstration touching those (bequests) which are allotted343343    Deputantur. out of (our) immortal goods, and from the heritage of the heavens?  Only, that you may be able to receive in its entirety344344    Solidum; alluding to certain laws respecting a widow’s power of receiving “in its entirety” her deceased husband’s property. this feoffment in trust345345    Fidei commissum. of my admonition, may God grant; to whom be honour, glory, renown, dignity, and power, now and to the ages of the ages!

The precept, therefore, which I give you is, that, with all the constancy you may, you do, after our departure, renounce nuptials; not that you will on that score confer any benefit on me, except in that you will profit yourself.  But to Christians, after their departure from the world,346346    Sæculo. no restoration of marriage is promised in the day of the resurrection, translated as they will be into the condition and sanctity of angels.347347    Luke xx. 36.  Therefore no solicitude arising from carnal jealousy will, in the day of the resurrection, even in the case of her whom they chose to represent as having been married to seven brothers successively, wound any one348348    Nulla…neminem—two negatives. of her so many husbands; nor is any (husband) awaiting her to put her to confusion.349349    See Matt. xxii. 23–33; Mark xii. 18–27; Luke xx. 27–40.  The question raised by the Sadducees has yielded to the Lord’s sentence.  Think not that it is for the sake of preserving to the end for myself the entire devotion of your flesh, that I, suspicious of the pain of (anticipated) slight, am even at this early period350350    Jam hinc.  See beginning of chapter. instilling into you the counsel of (perpetual) widowhood.  There will at that day be no resumption of voluptuous disgrace between us.  No such frivolities, no such impurities, does God promise to His (servants).  But whether to you, or to any other woman whatever who pertains to God, the advice which we are giving shall be profitable, we take leave to treat of at large.


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