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ANF02. Fathers of the Second Century: Hermas, Tatian, Athenagoras, Theophilus, and Clement of Alexandria (Entire)
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Chapter XVII.—Passages from Clement’s Epistle to the Corinthians on Martyrdom.

Moreover, in the Epistle to the Corinthians, the Apostle28332833    [The use of this title is noticeable here, on many accounts, as historic.] Clement also, drawing a picture of the Gnostic, says:28342834    [See vol. i. p. 5–11, et seqq. S.] “For who that has sojourned among you has not proved your perfect and firm faith? and has not admired your sound and gentle piety? and has not celebrated the munificent style of your hospitality? and has not felicitated your complete and sure knowledge? For ye did all things impartially, and walked in the ordinances of God;” and so forth.

Then more clearly: “Let us fix our eyes on those who have yielded perfect service to His magnificent glory. Let us take Enoch, who, being by his obedience found righteous, was translated; and Noah, who, having believed, was saved; and Abraham, who for his faith and hospitality was called the friend of God, and was the father of Isaac.” “For hospitality and piety, Lot was saved from Sodom.” “For faith and hospitality, Rahab the harlot was saved.” “From patience and faith they walked about in goat-skins, and sheep-skins, and folds of camels’ hair, proclaiming the kingdom of Christ. We name His prophets Elias, and Eliseus, and Ezekiel, and John.”

“For Abraham, who for his free faith was called ‘the friend of God,’ was not elated by glory, but modestly said, ‘I am dust and ashes.’28352835    Gen. xviii. 27. And of Job it is thus written: ‘Job was just and blameless, true and pious, abstaining from all evil.’”28362836    Job i. 1. He it was who overcame the tempter by patience, and at once testified and was testified to by God; who keeps hold of humility, and says, “No one is pure from defilement, not even if his life were but for one day.”28372837    Job xvi. 4, 5, Sept. “Moses, ‘the servant who was faithful in all his house,’ said to Him who uttered the oracles from the bush, ‘Who am I, that Thou sendest me? I am slow of speech, and of a stammering tongue,’ to minister the voice of God in human speech. And again: ‘I am smoke from a pot.’” “For God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble.”28382838    Jas. iv. 6; 1 Pet. v. 5.

“David too, of whom the Lord, testifying, says, ‘I found a man after my own heart, David the son of Jesse. With my holy oil I anointed him.’28392839    Ps. lxxxix. 21. But he also says to God, ‘Pity me, O God, according to Thy mercy; and according to the multitude of Thy tender mercies, blot out my transgression. Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgression, and my sin is ever before me.’”28402840    Ps. li. 1–4. Then, alluding to sin which is not subject to the law, in the exercise of the moderation of true knowledge, he adds, “Against Thee only have I sinned, and done evil in Thy sight.”28412841    Ps. li. 6. For the Scripture somewhere says, “The Spirit of the Lord is a lamp, searching the recesses of the belly.”28422842    Prov. xx. 27. And the more of a Gnostic a man becomes by doing right, the nearer is the illuminating Spirit to him. “Thus the Lord draws near to the righteous, and none of the thoughts and reasonings of which we are the authors escape Him—I mean the Lord Jesus,” the scrutinizer by His omnipotent will of our heart, “whose blood was consecrated28432843    ἡγιάσθη. Clemens Romanus has ἐδόθη. [Vol. i. p. 11, this series.] for us. Let us therefore respect those who are over us, and reverence the elders; let us honour the young, and let us teach the discipline of God.” For blessed is he who shall do and teach the Lord’s commands worthily; and he is of a magnanimous mind, and of a mind contemplative of truth. “Let us direct our wives to what is good; let them exhibit,” says he, “the lovable disposition of chastity; let them show the guileless will of their meekness; let them manifest the gentleness of their tongue by silence; let them give their love not according to their inclinations, but equal love in sanctity to all that fear God. Let our children share in the discipline that is in Christ; let them learn what humility avails before God; what is the power of holy love before God, how lovely and great is the fear of the Lord, saving all that walk in it holily; with a pure heart: for He is the Searcher of the thoughts and sentiments, whose breath is in us, and when He wills He will take it away.”

“Now all those things are confirmed by the faith that is in Christ.‘Come, ye children,’ says the Lord, ‘hearken to me, and I will teach you the fear of the Lord. Who is the man that desireth life, that loveth to see good days? ’28442844    Ps. xxxiv. 12. Then He subjoins the gnostic mystery of the numbers seven and eight.‘Stop thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile. Depart from evil, and do good. Seek peace, and pursue it.’28452845    Ps. xxxiv. 13, 14. For in these words He alludes to knowledge (gnosis), with abstinence from evil and the doing of what is good, teaching that it is to be perfected by word and deed. ‘The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are to their prayer. But the face of God is against those that do evil, to root out their memory from the earth. The righteous cried, and the Lord heard, and delivered him out of all his distresses.’28462846    Ps. xxxiv. 15–17. ‘Many are the stripes of sinners; but those who hope in the Lord, mercy shall compass about.’”28472847    Ps. xxxii. 10. “A multitude of mercy,” he nobly says, “surrounds him that trusts in the Lord.”

For it is written in the Epistle to the Corinthians, “Through Jesus Christ our foolish and darkened mind springs up to the light. By Him the Sovereign Lord wished us to taste the knowledge that is immortal.” And, showing more expressly the peculiar nature of knowledge, he added: “These things, then, being clear to us, looking into the depths of divine knowledge, we ought to do all things in order which the Sovereign Lord commanded us to perform at the appointed seasons. Let the wise man, then, show his wisdom not in words only, but in good deeds. Let the humble not testify to himself, but allow testimony to be borne to him by another. Let not him who is pure in the flesh boast, knowing that it is another who furnishes him with continence. Ye see, brethren, that the more we are subjected to peril, the more knowledge are we counted worthy of.”


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