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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol II:
CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA: Chapter I.—The Object of Philosophical and Theological Inquiry—The Discovery of Truth.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter I.—The Object of Philosophical and Theological Inquiry—The Discovery of Truth. 3703

But the most ancient of the philosophers were not carried away to disputing and doubting, much less are we, who are attached to the really true philosophy, on whom the Scripture enjoins examination and investigation. For it is the more recent of the Hellenic philosophers who, by empty and futile love of fame, are led into useless babbling in refuting and wrangling. But, on the contrary, the Barbarian philosophy, expelling all contention, said, “Seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you; ask, and it shall be given you.” 3704

Accordingly, by investigation, the point proposed for inquiry and answer knocks at the door of truth, according to what appears. And on an opening being made through the obstacle in the process of investigation, there results scientific contemplation. To those who thus knock, according to my view, the subject under investigation is opened.

And to those who thus ask questions, in the Scriptures, there is given from God (that at which they aim) the gift of the God-given knowledge, by way of comprehension, through the true illumination of logical investigation. For it is impossible to find, without having sought; or to have sought, without having examined; or to have examined, without having unfolded and opened up the question by interrogation, to produce distinctness; or again, to have gone through the whole investigation, without thereafter receiving as the prize the knowledge of the point in question.

But it belongs to him who has sought, to find; and to him to seek, who thinks previously that he does not know. Hence drawn by desire to the discovery of what is good, he seeks thoughtfully, without love of strife or glory, asking, answering, and besides considering the statements made. For it is incumbent, in applying ourselves not only to the divine Scriptures, but also to common notions, to institute investigations, the discovery ceasing at some useful end.

For another place and crowd await turbulent people, and forensic sophistries. But it is suitable for him, who is at once a lover and disciple of the truth, to be pacific even in investigations, advancing by scientific demonstration, without love of self, but with love of truth, to comprehensive knowledge.



[This book is a mere fragment, an imperfect exposition of logic, and not properly part of the Stromata. Kaye, 22.]


Matt. vii. 7.; Luke xi. 9. [Elucidation I.]

Next: Chapter II.—The Necessity of Perspicuous Definition.

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