Tertullian (160 – 230?)
The Prayer of the Animals
Cattle and wild beasts pray, and bend their knees, and in coming forth from their stalls and lairs look up to heaven, their mouths not idle, making the Spirit move in their fashion. Moreover, the birds taking flight lift themselves up to heaven and, instead of hands, spread out the cross of their wings, while saying something which may be supposed to be a prayer.
~ Quoted in Andrew Linzey, Compassion for Animals: Readings and Prayers, SPCK Publ., London, 1988, pg. 7
Discerning the Law of God
If you are looking for the law of God, you have it in that common one prevailing throughout the world, inscribed on tables of nature, to which the Apostle was wont to appeal, as when, speaking of the veiling of women, he says, “Does not nature teach you?”
~ De Corona, circa 200 A.D. Quoted in The World Treasury of Religious Quotations, Ralph E. Woods, Garland Books, 1966, p. 669.
One of the most learned scholars of his age, Tertullian was born in Carthage of North Africa of pagan parents. Eventually he traveled to Rome where he became a legal expert. After disgust at the corruption in the practice of law, and through admiration of the integrity which he witnessed among the Christians, he converted to Christianity and was soon ordained a priest. He was a prolific and original writer who turned his legal and mental skills to the defense of the Church. His contribution to a theology of creation lies in his emphasis upon how every aspect of creation is renewed and sustained by the power of God. In his later years, he criticized what he considered the excessive authority of the clergy and became associated with the Montanist sect. This created what is a continuing shadow over his later writings. Tertullian was the first of the fathers to write in Latin.
God Teaches through Creation
Nature is school-mistress, the soul the pupil; and whatever one has taught or the other has learned has come from God – the Teacher of the teacher.
~ De Testimonio Animae. Quoted in The World Treasury of Religious Quotations, Ralph E. Woods, Garland Books, 1966, p. 675.