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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol I:
MATHETES: Chapter XII.—The importance of...

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter XII.—The importance of knowledge to true spiritual life.

When you have read and carefully listened to these things, you shall know what God bestows on such as rightly love Him, being made [as ye are] a paradise of delight, presenting 325 in yourselves a tree bearing all kinds of produce and flourishing well, being adorned with various fruits. For in this place 326 the tree of knowledge and the tree of life have been planted; but it is not the tree of knowledge that destroys— it p. 30 is disobedience that proves destructive. Nor truly are those words without significance which are written, how God from the beginning planted the tree of life in the midst of paradise, revealing through knowledge the way to life, 327 and when those who were first formed did not use this [knowledge] properly, they were, through the fraud of the Serpent, stripped naked. 328 For neither can life exist without knowledge, nor is knowledge secure without life. Wherefore both were planted close together. The Apostle, perceiving the force [of this conjunction], and blaming that knowledge which, without true doctrine, is admitted to influence life, 329 declares, “Knowledge puffeth up, but love edifieth.” For he who thinks he knows anything without true knowledge, and such as is witnessed to by life, knows nothing, but is deceived by the Serpent, as not 330 loving life. But he who combines knowledge with fear, and seeks after life, plants in hope, looking for fruit. Let your heart be your wisdom; and let your life be true knowledge 331 inwardly received. Bearing this tree and displaying its fruit, thou shalt always gather 332 in those things which are desired by God, which the Serpent cannot reach, and to which deception does not approach; nor is Eve then corrupted, 333 but is trusted as a virgin; and salvation is manifested, and the Apostles are filled with understanding, and the Passover 334 of the Lord advances, and the choirs 335 are gathered together, and are arranged in proper order, and the Word rejoices in teaching the saints,—by whom the Father is glorified: to whom be glory for ever. Amen. 336



Literally, “bringing forth.”


That is, in Paradise.


Literally “revealing life.”


Or, “deprived of it.”


Literally, “knowledge without the truth of a command exercised to life.” See 1 Cor. viii. 1.


The ms. is here defective. Some read, “on account of the love of life.”


Or, “true word,” or “reason.”


Or, “reap.”


The meaning seems to be, that if the tree of true knowledge and life be planted within you, you shall continue free from blemishes and sins.


[This looks like a reference to the Apocalypse, Rev. v. 9., Rev. xix. 7., Rev. xx. 5.]


Here Bishop Wordsworth would read κλῆροι, cites 1 Pet. v. 3, and refers to Suicer (Lexicon) in voce κλῆρος.]


[Note the Clement-like doxology.]


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