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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol II:
CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA: Chapter XVIII—The Distinction Between Clean and Unclean Animals in the Law Symbolical of the Distinction Between the Church, and Jews, and Heretics.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter XVIII—The Distinction Between Clean and Unclean Animals in the Law Symbolical of the Distinction Between the Church, and Jews, and Heretics.

After showing a little peep-hole to those who love to contemplate the Church from the law of sacrifices respecting clean and unclean animals (inasmuch as thus the common Jews and the heretics are distinguished mystically from the divine Church), let us bring the discourse to a close.

For such of the sacrifices as part the hoof, and ruminate, the Scripture represents as clean and acceptable to God; since the just obtain access to the Father and to the Son by faith. For this is the stability of those who part the hoof, those who study the oracles of God night and day, and ruminate them in the soul’s receptacle for instructions; which gnostic exercise the Law expresses under the figure of the rumination of the clean animal. But such as have neither the one nor the other of those qualities it separates as unclean.

Now those that ruminate, but do not part the hoof, indicate the majority of the Jews, who have indeed the oracles of God, but have not faith, and the step which, resting on the truth, conveys to the Father by the Son. Whence also this kind of cattle are apt to slip, not having a division in the foot, and not resting on the twofold support of faith. For “no man,” it is said, “knoweth the Father, but he to whom the Son shall reveal Him.” 3694

And again, those also are likewise unclean that part the hoof, but do not ruminate. 3695 For these point out the heretics, who indeed go upon the name of the Father and the Son, but are incapable p. 556 of triturating and grinding down the clear declaration of the oracles, and who, besides, perform the works of righteousness coarsely and not with precision, if they perform them at all. To such the Lord says, “Why will ye call me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” 3696

And those that neither part the hoof nor chew the cud are entirely unclean.

“But ye Megareans,” says Theognis, “are neither third, nor fourth,
Nor twelfth, neither in reckoning nor in number,”

“but as chaff which the wind drives away from the face of the earth,” 3697 and as a drop from a vessel.” 3698

These points, then, having been formerly thoroughly treated, and the department of ethics having been sketched summarily in a fragmentary way, as we promised; and having here and there interspersed the dogmas which are the germs 3699 of true knowledge, so that the discovery of the sacred traditions may not be easy to any one of the uninitiated, let us proceed to what we promised.

Now the Miscellanies are not like parts laid out, planted in regular order for the delight of the eye, but rather like an umbrageous and shaggy hill, planted with laurel, and ivy, and apples, and olives, and figs; the planting being purposely a mixture of fruit-bearing and fruitless trees, since the composition aims at concealment, on account of those that have the daring to pilfer and steal the ripe fruits; from which, however, the husbandmen, transplanting shoots and plants, will adorn a beautiful park and a delightful grove.

The Miscellanies, then, study neither arrangement nor diction; since there are even cases in which the Greeks on purpose wish that ornate diction should be absent, and imperceptibly cast in the seed of dogmas, not according to the truth, rendering such as may read laborious and quick at discovery. For many and various are the baits for the various kinds of fishes.

And now, after this seventh Miscellany of ours, we shall give the account of what follows in order from another commencement. 3700


Footnotes

555:3694

Luke x. 22.

555:3695

[The swine, e.g., has the parted hoof, but does not ruminate; hence he is the hypocrite,—an outward sign with no inward quality to correspond, the foulest of the unclean.]

556:3696

Luke vi. 46.

556:3697

Ps. i. 4.

556:3698

Isa. xl. 15.

556:3699

[Clement regards dogma as framing practical morals. The comment is found in the history of nations, nominally Christian.]

556:3700

[The residue is lost, for the eighth book has little conection with the Gnostic as hitherto developed.]


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