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On Fasting.10011001    [Written, say, circa a.d. 208.]

In Opposition to the Psychics.

[Translated by the Rev. S. Thelwall.]


Chapter I.—Connection of Gluttony and Lust.  Grounds of Psychical Objections Against the Montanists.

I should wonder at the Psychics, if they were enthralled to voluptuousness alone, which leads them to repeated marriages, if they were not likewise bursting with gluttony, which leads them to hate fasts.  Lust without voracity would certainly be considered a monstrous phenomenon; since these two are so united and concrete, that, had there been any possibility of disjoining them, the pudenda would not have been affixed to the belly itself rather than elsewhere.  Look at the body:  the region (of these members) is one and the same.  In short, the order of the vices is proportionate to the arrangement of the members.  First, the belly; and then immediately the materials of all other species of lasciviousness are laid subordinately to daintiness:  through love of eating, love of impurity finds passage.  I recognise, therefore, animal10021002    i.e., Psychic. faith by its care of the flesh (of which it wholly consists)—as prone to manifold feeding as to manifold marrying—so that it deservedly accuses the spiritual discipline, which according to its ability opposes it, in this species of continence as well; imposing, as it does, reins upon the appetite, through taking, sometimes no meals, or late meals, or dry meals, just as upon lust, through allowing but one marriage.

It is really irksome to engage with such:  one is really ashamed to wrangle about subjects the very defence of which is offensive to modesty.  For how am I to protect chastity and sobriety without taxing their adversaries?  What those adversaries are I will once for all mention:  they are the exterior and interior botuli of the Psychics.  It is these which raise controversy with the Paraclete; it is on this account that the New Prophecies are rejected:  not that Montanus and Priscilla and Maximilla preach another God, nor that they disjoin Jesus Christ (from God), nor that they overturn any particular rule of faith or hope, but that they plainly teach more frequent fasting than marrying.  Concerning the limit of marrying, we have already published a defence of monogamy.10031003    [Which is a note of time, not unimportant.]  Now our battle is the battle of the secondary (or rather the primary) continence, in regard of the chastisement of diet.  They charge us with keeping fasts of our own; with prolonging our Stations generally into the evening; with observing xerophagies likewise, keeping our food unmoistened by any flesh, and by any juiciness, and by any kind of specially succulent fruit; and with not eating or drinking anything with a winey flavour; also with abstinence from the bath, congruent with our dry diet.  They are therefore constantly reproaching us with novelty; concerning the unlawfulness of which they lay down a prescriptive rule, that either it must be adjudged heresy, if (the point in dispute) is a human presumption; or else pronounced pseudo-prophecy, if it is a spiritual declaration; provided that, either way, we who reclaim hear (sentence of) anathema.

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