Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol VIII:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Pseudo-Clementine Literature.: Chapter XXV
Chapter XXV.—Philanthropy and Friendship.
And when we were arrived and had partaken of food, and given thanks according to our custom, there being still time, 1148 I said to Peter: “My lord Peter, my mother has done a work of philanthropy in remembering the woman her hostess.” And Peter answered, “Have you indeed, O Clement, thought truly that your mother did a work of philanthropy in respect of her treatment of the woman who took her in after her shipwreck, or have you spoken this word by way of greatly complimenting your mother? But if you spoke truly, and not by way of compliment, you seem to me not to know what the greatness of philanthropy is, which is affection towards any one whatever in respect of his being a man, apart from physical persuasion. But not even do I venture to call the hostess who received your mother after her shipwreck, philanthropic; for she was impelled by pity, and persuaded to become the benefactress of a woman who had been shipwrecked, who was grieving for her children,—a stranger, naked, destitute, and greatly deploring her misfortunes. When, therefore, she was in such circumstances, who that saw her, though he were impious, could but pity her? So that it does not seem to me that even the stranger-receiving woman did a work of philanthropy, but to have been moved to assist her by pity for her innumerable misfortunes. And how much more is it true of your mother, than when she was in prosperous circumstances and requited her hostess, she did a deed, not of philanthropy, but of friendship! for there is much difference between friendship and philanthropy, because friendship springs from requital. But philanthropy, apart from physical persuasion, loves and benefits every man as he is a man. If, therefore, while she pitied her hostess, she also pitied and did good to her enemies who have wronged her, she would be philanthropic; but if, on one account she is friendly or hostile, and on another account is hostile or friendly, such an one is the friend or enemy of some quality, not of man as man.”
[The remainder of this Homily has no parallel in the Recognitions. The views presented are peculiar, and indicate a speculative tendency, less marked in the Recognitions.—R.]
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