Tertullian, or Tertullianus as his name was in its latinized form, was one of the earliest writers who used the latin language in written composition. The exact date of his birth is not certainly known. The best authorities state that it was about 145 or 150 A. D., and that he died about 220 A. D. He was brought up a heathen, but nothing is known of his heathen life further than a statement made in his own writings, that he was licentious in his conduct, and fond of the public shows. It is admitted by writers who were his enemies, that he possessed considerable culture, and was well versed in Roman law, in ancient philosophy, history, and poetry. Being converted to Christianity, he espoused the Saviour's cause and held the office of Presbyter or Bishop. Whether he held this position at Carthage or Rome is a matter of dispute, and there seems to be no data by which the question may be settled. Like Montanus, he beheld the departures and corruptions of many of the churches under the power of despotic rulers, and withdrew from them. Seeing the innovations and corruptions which were fast changing the spiritual character of the churches into semi-Jewish organizations, he protested against the growing tendency, and, at length, with a minority, withdrew from the church at Carthage. This minority continued there, as similar churches did in other places, till the rise of Novatus, and finally, of the Donatists. They were frequently called Tertullianists, but more generally Montanists.

Tertullian and Montanus stood together in pleading for an equality among the presbyters or elders against the growing arrogance of the pastors of large cities. They plead for the purity of the church, and the rejection of all unregenerate persons. Tertullian denied to the churches, the standing of which was being undermined by corruptions, the right to claim to be true churches of Christ, and asserted that "as they do not rightly administer the ordinance, their baptism is the same as none." As we record these facts, we think of the churches, thus protesting against the unscriptural practices of that century, as independent bodies of baptized believers, which would be recognized in this day as Regular (Primitive) Baptist churches. And when we think of the theology of Tertullian presenting the great antithesis of sin and grace, and predestination as Paul had taught, and as Augustine advocated later, we are forced to the conclusion that the churches for which he labored were just such as would now be called Predestinarian Baptist churches.

The second century has been called the age of apologies or defenses of the Christian religion. Paganism, which is but another name for heathenism or Polytheism, was the prevalent religion of the Roman Empire at that time, and Christians were severely persecuted by the emperors. "Men pleading for religious liberty before their rulers, who felt it to be their duty to exterminate the Christian profession, were necessarily in earnest, and this earnestness and devotion to the sacred cause of Christ, inspired them with rhetorical pathos unknown in calmer times;" - Hassell's Church History, page 370. Among these writers were Justin Martyr, and Tertullian. The apology of Tertullian is certainly one of the noblest literary productions of antiquity, and should be read by every one, but is too lengthy for insertion here.

As we study the religious history of the second century of the Christian era, and learn of the zeal of those who then opposed error and published the true gospel of Jesus Christ, our heart is caused to glow with gratitude to God that he is still preserving a people who contend for the same faith.

Venema is quoted by Ford as saying: "Tertullian has no where mentioned Pedo-baptism (infant baptism) among the customs of the church that were publickly received, and usually observed." Thus we learn that in the second century the baptism of infants was unknown as a practice of the church. Mosheim in his Ecclesiastical History says of the first century: "The sacrament of baptism was administered in this century without the public assemblies, in places appointed and prepared for the purpose, and was performed by immersion of the whole body in the baptismal font."

We learn from this Lutheran historian that baptism was performed in the first century just as it is now administered by the Baptists. As the churches were then composed of baptized believers, and as those believers were immersed, and as the doctrine of election and predestination, and sovereign grace, and depravity, were advocated by their ministers, and as they were ever ready to lift their voice against every departure and corruption, and were so zealous as to withdraw from those who departed and sought to introduce such corruptions into the churches, we are sure they would now be called Regular (Primitive) Baptist churches.

- Elder John R. Daily, Primitive Monitor, 1897, pp. 181-184.

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