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Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus
On prayer

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VI. THE FIFTH CLAUSE.

But how gracefully has the Divine Wisdom arranged the order of the prayer; so that after things heavenly--that is, after the "Name" of God, the "Will" of God, and the "Kingdom" of God--it should give earthly necessities also room for a petition! For the Lord had withal issued His edict, "Seek ye first the kingdom, and then even these shall be added:" albeit we may rather understand, "Give us this day our daily bread," spiritually. For Christ is our Bread; because Christ is Life, and bread is life. "I am," saith He, "the Bread of Life;"and, a little above, "The Bread is the Word of the living God, who came down from the heavens." Then we find, too, that His body is reckoned in bread: "This is my body.'' And so, in petitioning for "daily bread," we ask for perpetuity in Christ, and indivisibility from His body. But, because that word is admissible in a carnal sense too, it cannot be so used without the religious remembrance withal of spiritual Discipline; for (the Lord) commands that bread be prayed for, which is the only food necessary for believers; for "all other things the nations seek after." The like lesson He both inculcates by examples, and repeatedly handles in parables, when He says, "Doth a father take away bread from his children, and hand it to dogs?" and again, "Doth a father give his son a stone when he asks for bread?" For He thus shows what it is that sons expect from their father. Nay, even that nocturnal knocker knocked for "bread." Moreover, He Justly added, "Give us this day," seeing He had previously said, "Take no careful thought about the morrow, what ye are to eat." To which subject He also adapted the parable of the man who pondered on an enlargement of his barns for his forthcoming fruits, and on seasons of prolonged security; but that very night he dies.




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