Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol II:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA: Chapter IX.—The Connection of the Christian Virtues.
Chapter IX.—The Connection of the Christian Virtues.
Such a fear, accordingly, leads to repentance and hope. Now hope is the expectation of good things, or an expectation sanguine of absent p. 357 good; and favourable circumstances are assumed in order to good hope, which we have learned leads on to love. Now love turns out to be consent in what pertains to reason, life, and manners, or in brief, fellowship in life, or it is the intensity of friendship and of affection, with right reason, in the enjoyment of associates. And an associate (ἑταῖρος) is another self; 2243 just as we call those, brethren, who are regenerated by the same word. And akin to love is hospitality, being a congenial art devoted to the treatment of strangers. And those are strangers, to whom the things of the world are strange. For we regard as worldly those, who hope in the earth and carnal lusts. “Be not conformed,” says the apostle, “to this world: but be ye transformed in the renewal of the mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” 2244
Hospitality, therefore, is occupied in what is useful for strangers; and guests (ἐπίξενοι) are strangers (ξένοι); and friends are guests; and brethren are friends. “Dear brother,” 2245 says Homer.
Philanthropy, in order to which also, is natural affection, being a loving treatment of men, and natural affection, which is a congenial habit exercised in the love of friends or domestics, follow in the train of love. And if the real man within us is the spiritual, philanthropy is brotherly love to those who participate, in the same spirit. Natural affection, on the other hand, is the preservation of good-will, or of affection; and affection is its perfect demonstration; 2246 and to be beloved is to please in behaviour, by drawing and attracting. And persons are brought to sameness by consent, which is the knowledge of the good things that are enjoyed in common. For community of sentiment (ὁμογνωμοσύνη) is harmony of opinions (συμφωνία γνωμῶν). “Let your love be without dissimulation,” it is said; “and abhorring what is evil, let us become attached to what is good, to brotherly love,” and so on, down to “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, living peaceably with all men.” Then “be not overcome of evil,” it is said, “but overcome evil with good.” 2247 And the same apostle owns that he bears witness to the Jews, “that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For, being ignorant of Gods righteousness, and seeking to establish their own, they have not submitted themselves to the righteousness of God.” 2248 For they did not know and do the will of the law; but what they supposed, that they thought the law wished. And they did not believe the law as prophesying, but the bare word; and they followed through fear, not through disposition and faith. “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness,” 2249 who was prophesied by the law to every one that believeth. Whence it was said to them by Moses, “I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are not a people; and I will anger you by a foolish nation, that is, by one that has become disposed to obedience.” 2250 And by Isaiah it is said, “I was found of them that sought Me not; I was made manifest to them that inquired not after Me,” 2251 —manifestly previous to the coming of the Lord; after which to Israel, the things prophesied, are now appropriately spoken: “I have stretched out My hands all the day long to a disobedient and gainsaying people.” Do you see the cause of the calling from among the nations, clearly declared, by the prophet, to be the disobedience and gainsaying of the people? Then the goodness of God is shown also in their case. For the apostle says, “But through their transgression salvation is come to the Gentiles, to provoke them to jealousy” 2252 and to willingness to repent. And the Shepherd, speaking plainly of those who had fallen asleep, recognises certain righteous among Gentiles and Jews, not only before the appearance of Christ, but before the law, in virtue of acceptance before God,—as Abel, as Noah, as any other righteous man. He says accordingly, “that the apostles and teachers, who had preached the name of the Son of God, and had fallen asleep, in power and by faith, preached to those that had fallen asleep before” Then he subjoins: “And they gave them the seal of preaching. They descended, therefore, with them into the water, and again ascended. But these descended alive, and again ascended alive. But those, who had fallen asleep before, descended dead, but ascended alive. By these, therefore, they were made alive, and knew the name of the Son of God. Wherefore also they ascended with them, and fitted into the structure of the tower, and unhewn were built up together; they fell asleep in righteousness and in great purity, but wanted only this seal.” 2253 “For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things of the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves,” 2254 according to the apostle.
As, then, the virtues follow one another, why need I say what has been demonstrated already, that faith hopes through repentance, and fear through faith; and patience and practice in these along with learning terminate in love, p. 358 which is perfected by knowledge? But that is necessarily to be noticed, that the Divine alone is to be regarded as naturally wise. Therefore also wisdom, which has taught the truth, is the power of God; and in it the perfection of knowledge is embraced. The philosopher loves and likes the truth, being now considered as a friend, on account of his love, from his being a true servant. The beginning of knowledge is wondering at objects, as Plato says is in his Theætetus; and Matthew exhorting in the Traditions, says, “Wonder at what is before you;” laying this down first as the foundation of further knowledge. So also in the Gospel to the Hebrews it is written, “He that wonders shall reign, and he that has reigned shall rest. It is impossible, therefore, for an ignorant man, while he remains ignorant, to philosophize, not having apprehended the idea of wisdom; since philosophy is an effort to grasp that which truly is, and the studies that conduce thereto. And it is not the rendering of one 2255 accomplished in good habits of conduct, but the knowing how we are to use and act and labour, according as one is assimilated to God. I mean God the Saviour, by serving the God of the universe through the High Priest, the Word, by whom what is in truth good and right is beheld. Piety is conduct suitable and corresponding to God.
ἑτερος ἐγώ, alter ego, deriving ἑταῖρος from ἕτερος.357:2244
Rom. xii. 2.357:2245
φέλε κασἰγνητε, Iliad, v. 359.357:2246
ἀπόδεξις has been conjectured in place of ἀπόδειξις.357:2247
Rom. 12:9, 10, 18, 21.357:2248
Rom. 10:2, 3.357:2249
Rom. x. 4.357:2250
Rom. x. 19; Deut. xxxii. 21.357:2251
Isa. xlv. 2; Rom. 10:20, 21.357:2252
Rom. xi. 11.357:2253
Hermas, [Similitudes, p. 49, supra.]357:2254
Rom. ii. 14.358:2255
This clause is hopelessly corrupt; the text is utterly unintelligible, and the emendation of Sylburgius is adopted in the translation.
Next: Chapter X.—To What the Philosopher Applies Himself.
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