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ANF02. Fathers of the Second Century: Hermas, Tatian, Athenagoras, Theophilus, and Clement of Alexandria (Entire)
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Chapter I.—Order of Contents.

It will follow, I think, that I should treat of martyrdom, and of who the perfect man is. With these points shall be included what follows in accordance with the demands of the points to be spoken about, and how both bond and free must equally philosophize, whether male or female in sex. And in the sequel, after finishing what is to be said on faith and inquiry, we shall set forth the department of symbols; so that, on cursorily concluding the discourse on ethics, we shall exhibit the advantage which has accrued to the Greeks from the barbarian philosophy. After which sketch, the brief explanation of the Scriptures both against the Greeks and against the Jews will be presented, and whatever points we were unable to embrace in the previous Miscellanies (through having respect necessarily to the multitude of matters), in accordance with the commencement of the poem, purposing to finish them in one commentary. In addition to these points, afterwards on completing the sketch, as far as we can in accordance with what we propose, we must give an account of the physical doctrines of the Greeks and of the barbarians, respecting elementary principles, as far as their opinions have reached us, and argue against the principal views excogitated by the philosophers.

It will naturally fall after these, after a cursory view of theology, to discuss the opinions handed down respecting prophecy; so that, having demonstrated that the Scriptures which we believe are valid from their omnipotent authority, we shall be able to go over them consecutively, and to show thence to all the heresies one God and Omnipotent Lord to be truly preached by the law and the prophets, and besides by the blessed Gospel. Many contradictions against the heterodox await us while we attempt, in writing, to do away with the force of the allegations made by them, and to persuade them against their will, proving by the Scriptures themselves.

On completing, then, the whole of what we propose in the commentaries, on which, if the Spirit will, we ministering to the urgent need, (for it is exceedingly necessary, before coming to the truth, to embrace what ought to be said by way of preface), shall address ourselves to the true gnostic science of nature, receiving initiation into the minor mysteries before the greater; so that nothing may be in the way of the truly divine declaration of sacred things, the subjects requiring preliminary detail and statement being cleared away, and sketched beforehand. The science of nature, then, or rather observation, as contained in the gnostic tradition according to the rule of the truth, depends on the discussion concerning cosmogony, ascending thence to the department of theology. Whence, then, we shall begin our account of what is handed down, with the creation as related by the prophets, introducing also the tenets of the heterodox, and endeavouring as far as we can to confute them. But it shall be written if God will, and as He inspires; and now we must proceed to what we proposed, and complete the discourse on ethics.

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