translation by Rev. S. Thelwall, in The Ante-Nicene Fathers, ed. by Rev. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. Vol. 3, pp. 707-717. Excerpt taken from pp. 709-711. American reprint of the Edinburgh edition, Buffalo: The Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1887. I have transcribed exactly from the text, following the actual usage of punctuation, italics, captitalization. I have omitted the notes, except where the translator has identified biblical citations, and in one instance to note the translation of "homo" as "creature." I have added tags to mark citation of Gen. 3:1-6 by Tertullian. These tags are not present in the text transcribed here.
Nevertheless, the proceeding of a discussion on the necessaries of faith is not idle, because it is not unfruitful. In edification no loquacity is base, if it be base at any time. And so, if the discourse be concerning some particular good, the subject requires us to review also the contrary of that good. For you will throw more light on what is to be pursued, if you first give a digest of what is to be avoided.
Let us therefore consider, concerning Impatience, whether just as patience in God, so its adversary quality have been born and detected in our adversary, that from this consideration may appear how primarily adverse it is to faith. For that which has been conceived by God's rival, of course is not friendly to God's things. The discord of things is the same as the discord of their authors. Further, since God is best, the devil on the contrary worst, of beings, by their own diversity they testify that neither works for the other; so that anything of good can no more seem to be effected for us by the Evil One, than anything of evil by the Good. Therefore I detect the nativity of impatience in the devil himself, at that very time when he impatiently bore that the Lord subjected the universal works which He had made to His own image, that is, to man. [see Ps. 8:4-6] For if he had endured (that), he would not have grieved; nor would he have envied man if he had not grieved. Accordingly he deceived him, because he had envied him; but he had envied because he had grieved: he had grieved because, of course he had not patiently borne. What that angel of perdition first was--malicious or impatient--I scorn to inquire: since manifest it is that either impatience took its rise together with malice, or else malice from impatience; that subsequently they conspired between themselves: and that they grew up indivisible in one paternal bosom. But, however, having been instructed, by his own experiment, what an aid unto sinning was that which he had been the first to feel, and by means of which he had entered on his course of delinquency, he called the same to his assistance for the thrusting of man into crime. The woman, immediately on being met by him--I may say so without rashness--was, through his very speech with her, breathed on by a spirit infected with impatience: so certain is it that she would never have sinned at all, if she had honouredthe divine edict by maintaining her patience to the end.[see Gen. 3:1-6] What (of the fact) that she endured not to have been met alone; but in the presence of Adam, not yet her husband, not yet bound to lend her his ears [see I Cor. 7:3, I Pet. 3:7>], she is impatient of keeping silence, and makes him the transmitter of that which she had imbibed from the Evil One? [see Gen. 3:6] Therefore another human being, too, perishes through the impatience of the one; presently, too, perishes of himself, through his own impatience committed in each respect, both in regard of God's premonition and in regard of the devil's cheatery; not enduring to observe the former nor to refute the latter. Hence, whence (the origin) of delinquency, arose the first origin of judgment; hence, whence man was first induced to offend, God began to be wroth. Whence (came) the first indignation in God, thence (came) His first patience; who, content at that time with malediction only, retained in the devil's case form the instant infliction of punishment. Else what crime, before this guilt of impatience, is imputed to man? Innocent he was, and in intimate friendship with God, and the husbandman of paradise.[Gen 2:15] But when once he succumbed to impatience, he quite ceased to be of sweet savour to God; he quite ceased to be able to endure things celestial. Thenceforward, a creature