14 September 2012

Tertullian: All Creation is Instinct with Renewal

sunriseSometimes the writing of the early fathers becomes poetic, almost psalm-like.
Day dies into night, and is buried everywhere in darkness.
The glory of the world is obscured in the shadow of death; its entire substance is tarnished with blackness; all things become sordid, silent, stupid; everywhere business ceases, and occupations rest.
And so over the loss of the light there is mourning.
But yet it again revives, with its own beauty, its own dowry, is own sun, the same as ever, whole and entire, over all the world, slaying its own death, night—opening its own sepulchre, the darkness—coming forth the heir to itself, until the night also revives—it, too, accompanied with a retinue of its own.
For the stellar rays are rekindled, which had been quenched in the morning glow; the distant groups of the constellations are again brought back to view, which the day’s temporary interval had removed out of sight. Re-adorned also are the mirrors of the moon, which her monthly course had worn away.
Winters and summers return, as do the spring-tide and autumn, with their resources, their routines, their fruits. Forasmuch as earth receives its instruction from heaven to clothe the trees which had been stripped, to colour the flowers afresh, to spread the grass again, to reproduce the seed which had been consumed, and not to reproduce them until consumed. …In a word, I would say, all creation is instinct with renewal. Resurrection of the Flesh, Chapter XII