In that dispute about the observance or non-observance of the Law, Peter was the first of all to be...

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 In that dispute about the observance or non-observance of the Law, Peter was the first of all to be...

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In that dispute about the observance or non-observance of the Law, Peter was the first of all to be endued with the Spirit, and, after making preface touching the calling of the nations, to say, "And now why are you tempting The Lord, concerning the imposition upon the brethren of a yoke which neither we nor our fathers were able to support? But however, through the Grace of Jesus we believe that we shall be saved in the same way as they." This sentence both loosed those parts of the Law which were abandoned, and bound those which were reserved. Hence the power of loosing and of binding committed to Peter had nothing to do with the capital sins of believers; and if The Lord had given him a precept that he must grant pardon to a brother sinning against him even seventy times sevenfold, of course He would have commanded him to bind— that is, to retain — nothing subsequently, unless perchance such as one may have committed against The Lord, not against a brother. For the forgiveness of (sins) committed in the case of a man is a prejudgment against the remission of sins against God.

What, now, (has this to do) with the Church, and your (church), indeed, O Psychic? For, in accordance with the person of Peter, it is to Spiritual Men that this power will correspondently appertain, either to an apostle or else to a prophet. For the very Church itself is, properly and principally, The Spirit Himself, in whom is The Trinity of the One Divinity — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. (The Spirit) combines that Church which The Lord has made to consist in Three. And thus, from that time forward, every number (of persons) who may have combined together into this faith is accounted a Church, from the Author and Consecrator (of the Church). And accordingly the Church, it is true, will forgive sins: but (it shall be) the Church of the Spirit, by means of a Spiritual Man; not the Church which consists of a number of bishops. For the right and arbitrament is The Lord's, not the servant's; God's Himself, not the priest's.

- Tertullian, On Modesty, 21.

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