Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol II:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA: Chapter XII.—Twofold Faith.
Chapter XII.—Twofold Faith.
Faith as also Time being double, we shall find virtues in pairs both dwelling together. For memory is related to past time, hope to future. We believe that what is past did, and that what is future will take place. And, on the other hand, we love, persuaded by faith that the past was as it was, and by hope expecting the future. For in everything love attends the Gnostic, who knows one God. “And, behold, all things which He created were very good.” 2274 He both knows and admires. Godliness adds length of p. 360 life; and the fear of the Lord adds days. As, then, the days are a portion of life in its progress, so also fear is the beginning of love, becoming by development faith, then love. But it is not as I fear and hate a wild beast (since fear is twofold) that I fear the father, whom I fear and love at once. Again, fearing lest I be punished, I love myself in assuming fear. He who fears to offend his father, loves himself. Blessed then is he who is found possessed of faith, being, as he is, composed of love and fear. And faith is power in order to salvation, and strength to eternal life. Again, prophecy is foreknowledge; and knowledge the understanding of prophecy; being the knowledge of those things known before by the Lord who reveals all things.
The knowledge, then, of those things which have been predicted shows a threefold result—either one that has happened long ago, or exists now, or about to be. Then the extremes 2275 either of what is accomplished or of what is hoped for fall under faith; and the present action furnishes persuasive arguments of the confirmation of both the extremes. For if, prophecy being one, one part is accomplishing and another is fulfilled; hence the truth, both what is hoped for and what is passed is confirmed. For it was first present; then it became past to us; so that the belief of what is past is the apprehension of a past event, and a hope which is future the apprehension of a future event.
And not only the Platonists, but the Stoics, say that assent is in our own power. All opinion then, and judgment, and supposition, and knowledge, by which we live and have perpetual intercourse with the human race, is an assent; which is nothing else than faith. And unbelief being defection from faith, shows both assent and faith to be possessed of power; for non-existence cannot be called privation. And if you consider the truth, you will find man naturally misled so as to give assent to what is false, though possessing the resources necessary for belief in the truth. “The virtue, then, that encloses the Church in its grasp,” as the Shepherd says, 2276 “is Faith, by which the elect of God are saved; and that which acts the man is Self-restraint. And these are followed by Simplicity, Knowledge, Innocence, Decorum, Love,” and all these are the daughters of Faith. And again, “Faith leads the way, fear upbuilds, and love perfects.” Accordingly he 2277 says, the Lord is to be feared in order to edification, but not the devil to destruction. And again, the works of the Lord—that is, His commandments—are to be loved and done; but the works of the devil are to be dreaded and not done. For the fear of God trains and restores to love; but the fear of the works of the devil has hatred dwelling along with it. The same also says “that repentance is high intelligence. For he that repents of what he did, no longer does or says as he did. But by torturing himself for his sins, he benefits his soul. Forgiveness of sins is therefore different from repentance; but both show what is in our power.”
Gen. i. 31.360:2275
i.e., Past and Future, between which lies the Present.360:2276
Pastor of Hermas, book i. vision iii. chap. viii. vol. i. p. 15.360:2277
See Pastor of Hermas, book ii. commandt. iv. ch. ii. [vol. i. p. 22], for the sense of this passage.
Next: Chapter XIII.—On First and Second Repentance.
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