(Greater licence, p. 104.)
In this treatise, which is designed to justify the extremes of Montanistic fasts, Tertullian's genius often surprises us by his ingenuity. This is one of the instances where the forensic orator comes out, trying to outflank and turn the position of an antagonist who has gained an advantage. The fallacy is obvious. Kaye cites, in comparison, a passage 1 from "The Apparel of Women," and another 2 from "The Exhortation to Chastity." He remarks, "Were we required to produce an instance [i.e. to prove the tendency of mankind to run into extremes], we should without hesitation refer the reader to this treatise."
Fasting was ordained of Christ Himself as a means to an end. It is here reduced from its instrumental character, and made an excuse for dividing the household of faith, and for cruel accusations against brethren.
In our age of an entire relaxation of discipline, the enthusiast may nevertheless awaken us, perhaps, to honest self-examination as to our manner of life, in view of the example of Christ and His apostles, and their holy precepts.