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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol II:
CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA: Chapter XII.—The Mysteries of the Faith Not to Be Divulged to All.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter XII.—The Mysteries of the Faith Not to Be Divulged to All.

But since this tradition is not published alone for him who perceives the magnificence of the word; it is requisite, therefore, to hide in a mystery the wisdom spoken, which the Son of God taught. Now, therefore, Isaiah the prophet has his tongue purified by fire, so that he may be able to tell the vision. And we must purify not the tongue alone, but also the ears, if we attempt to be partakers of the truth.

Such were the impediments in the way of my writing. And even now I fear, as it is said, “to cast the pearls before swine, lest they tread them under foot, and turn and rend us.” 1940 For it is difficult to exhibit the really pure and transparent words respecting the true light, to swinish and untrained hearers. For scarcely could anything which they could hear be more ludicrous than these to the multitude; nor any subjects p. 313 on the other hand more admirable or more inspiring to those of noble nature. “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him.” 1941 But the wise do not utter with their mouth what they reason in council. “But what ye hear in the ear,” says the Lord, “proclaim upon the houses;” 1942 bidding them receive the secret traditions 1943 of the true knowledge, and expound them aloft and conspicuously; and as we have heard in the ear, so to deliver them to whom it is requisite; but not enjoining us to communicate to all without distinction, what is said to them in parables. But there is only a delineation in the memoranda, which have the truth sowed sparse 1944 and broadcast, that it may escape the notice of those who pick up seeds like jackdaws; but when they find a good husbandman, each one of them will germinate and produce corn.


Footnotes

312:1940

Matt. vii. 6.

313:1941

1 Cor. ii. 14.

313:1942

Matt. x. 27.

313:1943

[See Elucidation X., infra.]

313:1944

[A word (sparse) hitherto branded as an “Americanism.”]


Next: Chapter XIII.—All Sects of Philosophy Contain a Germ of Truth.

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