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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol VIII:
Pseudo-Clementine Literature.: Chapter III

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter III.—The Work of the Good One and of the Evil One.

“But of these two, the one 1484 acts violently towards the other by the command of God.  Moreover, each man has power to obey whichever of them he pleases for the doing of good or evil.  But if any one chooses to do what is good, he becomes the possession of the future good king; but if any one should do evil, he becomes the servant of the present evil one, who, having received power over him by just judgment on account of his sins, and wishing to use it 1485 before the coming age, rejoices in punishing him in the present life, and thus by gratifying, as it were, his own private passion, he accomplishes the will of God.  But the other, being made to rejoice in power over the righteous, when he finds a righteous man, is exceedingly glad, and saves him with eternal life; and he also, as if gratifying himself, traces the gratification which he feels on account of these to God.  Now it is within the power of every unrighteous man to repent and be saved; and every righteous man may have to undergo punishment for sins committed at the end of his career.  Moreover, p. 340 these two leaders are the swift hands of God, eager to anticipate Him so as to accomplish His will.  But that this is so, has been said even by the law in the person of God:  ‘I will kill, and I will make alive; I will strike, and I will heal.’ 1486   For, in truth, He kills and makes alive.  He kills through the left hand, that is, through the evil one, who has been so composed as to rejoice in afflicting the impious.  And he saves and benefits through the right hand, that is, through the good one, who has been made to rejoice in the good deeds and salvation of the righteous.  Now these have not their substances outside of God:  for there is no other primal source.  Nor, indeed, have they been sent forth as animals from God, for they were of the same mind with Him; nor are they accidental, 1487 arising spontaneously in opposition to His will, since thus the greatest exercise of His power would have been destroyed.  But from God have been sent forth the four first elements—heat and cold, moist and dry.  In consequence of this, He is the father of every substance, but not of the disposition 1488 which may arise from the combination of the elements; for when these were combined from without, disposition was begotten in them as a child.  The wicked one, then, having served God blamelessly to the end of the present world, can become good by a change in his composition, 1489 since he assuredly is not of one uniform substance whose sole bent is towards sin.  For not even more does he do evil, although he is evil, since he has received power to afflict lawfully.”



“One” is supplied by Dressel’s conjecture.


The words in italics are supplied by Dressel’s conjecture.


Deut. xxxii. 39.


We have adopted an obvious emendation of Wieseler’s.


We have changed οὔσης into οὐ τῆς.


We have given a meaning to μετασυγκριθείς not found in dictionaries, but warranted by etymology, and demanded by the sense.

Next: Chapter IV

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