THE EPISTLE OF S. CLEMENT
Translated by J. B. Lightfoot
The Church of God which sojourneth in Rome to the Church of God which sojourneth in Corinth, to them which are called and sanctified by the will of God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Grace to you and peace from Almighty God through Jesus Christ be multiplied.
1. By reason of the sudden and repeated calamities and reverses which are befalling us, brethren, we consider that we have been somewhat tardy in giving heed to the matters of dispute that have arisen among you, dearly beloved, and to the detestable and unholy sedition, so alien and strange to the elect of God, which a few headstrong and self-willed persons have kindled to such a pitch of madness that your name, once revered and renowned and lovely in the sight of all men, hath been greatly reviled. For who that had sojourned among you did not approve your most virtuous and stedfast faith? Who did not admire your sober and forbearing piety in Christ? Who did not publish abroad your magnificent disposition of hospitality? Who did not congratulate you on your perfect and sound knowledge? For ye did all things without respect of persons, and ye walked after the ordinances of God, submitting yourselves to your rulers and rendering to the older men among you the honour which is their due. On the
young too ye enjoined modest and seemly thoughts: and the women ye charged to perform all their duties in a blameless and seemly and pure conscience, cherishing their own husbands, as is meet; and ye taught them to keep in the rule of obedience, and to manage the affairs of their household in seemliness, with all discretion.
2. And ye were all lowly in mind and free from arrogance, yielding rather than claiming submission, more glad to give than to receive, and content with the provisions which God supplieth. And giving heed unto His words, ye laid them up diligently in your hearts, and His sufferings were before your eyes. Thus a profound and rich peace was given to all, and an insatiable desire of doing good. An abundant outpouring also of the Holy Spirit fell upon all; and, being full of holy counsel, in excellent zeal and with a pious confidence ye stretched out your hands to Almighty God, supplicating Him to be propitious, if unwillingly ye had committed any sin. Ye had conflict day and night for all the brotherhood, that the number of His elect might be saved with fearfulness and intentness of mind. Ye were sincere and simple and free from malice one towards another. Every sedition and every schism was abominable to you. Ye mourned over the transgressions of your neighbours: ye judged their shortcomings to be your own. Ye repented not of any well-doing, but were ready unto every good work. Being adorned with a most virtuous and honourable life, ye performed all your duties in the fear of Him. The commandments and the ordinances of the Lord were written on the tables of your hearts.
3. All glory and enlargement was given unto you, and that was fulfilled which is written; My beloved ate and drank and was enlarged and waxed fat and kicked. Hence come jealousy and envy, [and] strife and sedition, persecution and tumult, war and captivity. So men were stirred up, the mean against the honourable, the ill-reputed against the highly-reputed, the foolish against the wise, the young against the elder. For this cause righteousness and peace stand aloof, while each
man hath forsaken the fear of God, and become purblind in the faith of Him, neither walketh in the ordinances of His commandments nor liveth according to that which becometh Christ, but each goeth after the lusts of his evil heart, seeing that they have conceived an unrighteous and ungodly jealousy, through which also death entered into the world.
4. For so it is written, And it came to pass after certain days that Cain brought of the fruits of the earth a sacrifice unto God, and Abel he also brought of the firstlings of the sheep and of their fatness. And God looked upon Abel and upon his gifts, but unto Cain and unto his sacrifices He gave no heed. And Cain sorrowed exceedingly, and his countenance fell. And God said unto Cain, Wherefore art thou very sorrowful? and wherefore did thy countenance fall? If thou hast offered aright and hast not divided aright, didst thou not sin? Hold thy peace. Unto thee shall he turn, and thou shalt rule over him. And Cain said unto Abel his brother, Let its go over unto the plain. And it came to pass, while they were in the plain, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and slew him. Ye see, brethren, jealousy and envy wrought a brother's murder. By reason of jealousy our father Jacob ran away from the face of Esau his brother. Jealousy caused Joseph to be persecuted even unto death, and to come even unto bondage. Jealousy compelled Moses to flee from the face of Pharaoh king of Egypt, while it was said to him by his own countryman, Who made thee a judge or a decider over us? Wouldest thou slay me, even as yesterday thou slewest the Egyptian? By reason of jealousy Aaron and Miriam were lodged outside the camp. Jealousy brought Dathan and Abiram down alive to hades, because they made sedition against Moses the servant of God. By reason of jealousy David was envied not only by aliens, but was Persecuted also by Saul [king of Israel].
5. But, to pass from the examples of ancient days, let us come to those champions who lived very near to our time. Let us set before us the noble examples which belong to our generation. By reason of jealousy and envy the greatest and
S. CLEMENT OF ROME
most righteous pillars of the Church were persecuted, and contended even unto death. Let us set before our eyes the good Apostles. There was Peter who by reason of unrighteous jealousy endured not one nor two but many labours, and thus having borne his testimony went to his appointed place of glory. By reason of jealousy and strife Paul by his example pointed out the prize of patient endurance. After that he had been seven times in bonds, had been driven into exile, had been stoned, had preached in the East and in the West, he won the noble renown which was the reward of his faith, having taught righteousness unto the whole world and having reached the farthest bounds of the West; and when he had borne his testimony before the rulers, so he departed from the world and went unto the holy place, having been found a notable pattern of patient endurance.
6. Unto these men of holy lives was gathered a vast multitude of the elect, who through many indignities and tortures, being the victims of jealousy, set a brave example among ourselves. By reason of jealousy women being persecuted, after that they had suffered cruel and unholy insults †as Danaids and Dircae†, safely reached the goal in the race of faith, and received a noble reward, feeble though they were in body. Jealousy hath estranged wives from their husbands, and changed the saying of our father Adam, This now is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. Jealousy and strife have overthrown great cities and uprooted great nations.
7. These things, dearly beloved, we write, not only as admonishing you, but also as putting ourselves in remembrance. For we are in the same lists, and the same contest awaiteth us. Wherefore let us forsake idle and vain thoughts; and let us conform to the glorious and venerable rule which hath been handed down to us; and let us see what is good and what is pleasant and what is acceptable in the sight of Him that made us. Let us fix our eyes on the blood of Christ and understand how precious it is unto His Father, because being shed for our salvation it won for the whole world the grace
of repentance. Let us review all the generations in turn, and learn how from generation to generation the Master hath given a place for repentance unto them that desire to turn to Him. Noah preached repentance, and they that obeyed were saved. Jonah preached destruction unto the men of Nineveh; but they, repenting of their sins, obtained pardon of God by their supplications and received salvation, albeit they were aliens from God.
8. The ministers of the grace of God through the Holy Spirit spake concerning repentance. Yea and the Master of the universe Himself spake concerning repentance with an oath; For, as I live, saith the Lord, I desire not the death of the sinner, so much as his repentance; and He added also a merciful judgment: Repent ye, O house of Israel, of your iniquity; say unto the sons of My people, Though your sins reach from the earth even unto the heaven, and though they be redder than scarlet and blacker than sack-cloth, and ye turn unto Me with your whole heart and say Father, I will give ear unto you as unto an holy people. And in another place He saith on this wise, Wash, be ye clean. Put away your iniquities from your souls out of My sight. Cease from your iniquities; learn to do good; seek out judgment; defend him that is wronged: give judgment for the orphan, and execute righteousness for the widow; and come and let us reason together, saith He; and though your sins be as crimson, I will make them white as snow; and though they be as scarlet, I will make them white as wool. And if ye be willing and will hearken unto Me, ye shall eat the good things of the earth ; but if ye be not willing, neither hearken unto Me, a sword shall devour you; for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken these things. Seeing then that He desireth all His beloved to be partakers of repentance, He confirmed it by an act of His almighty will.
9. Wherefore let us be obedient unto His excellent and glorious will; and presenting ourselves as suppliants of His mercy and goodness, let us fall down before Him and betake ourselves unto His compassions, forsaking the vain toil and the strife and the jealousy which leadeth unto death. Let us fix
our eyes on them that ministered perfectly unto His excellent glory. Let us set before us Enoch, who being found righteous in obedience was translated, and his death was not found. Noah, being found faithful, by his ministration preached regeneration unto the world, and through him the Master saved the living creatures that entered into the ark in concord.
10. Abraham, who was called the 'friend,' was found faithful in that he rendered obedience unto the words of God. He through obedience went forth from his land and from his kindred and from his father's house, that leaving a scanty land and a feeble kindred and a mean house he might inherit the promises of God. For He saith unto him Go forth from thy land and from thy kindred and from thy father's house unto the land which I shall show thee, and I will make thee into a great nation, and I will bless thee and will magnify thy name, and thou shalt be blessed. And I will bless them that bless thee, and I will curse them that curse thee; and in thee shall all the tribes of the earth be blessed. And again, when he was parted from Lot, God said unto him Look up with thine eyes, and behold from the place where thou now art, unto the north and the south and the sunrise and the sea; for all the land which thou seest, I will give it unto thee and to thy seed for ever; and I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth. If any man can count the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be counted. And again He saith; God led Abraham forth and said unto him, Look up unto the heaven and count the stars, and see whether thou canst number them. So shall thy seed be. And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned unto him for righteousness. For his faith and hospitality a son was given unto him in old age, and by obedience he offered him a sacrifice unto God on one of the mountains which He showed him.
11. For his hospitality and godliness Lot was saved from Sodom, when all the country round about was judged by fire and brimstone; the Master having thus fore shown that He forsaketh not them which set their hope on Him, but appointeth unto punishment and torment them which swerve aside. For when his wife had gone forth with him, being otherwise minded and not in accord, she was appointed for a sign hereunto, so that she became a pillar of salt unto this day, that it might be known unto all men that they which are double-minded and they which doubt concerning the power of God are set for a judgment and for a token unto all the generations.
12. For her faith and hospitality Rahab the harlot was saved. For when the spies were sent forth unto Jericho by Joshua the son of Nun, the king of the land perceived that they were come to spy out his country, and sent forth men to seize them, that being seized they might be put to death. So the hospitable Rahab received them and hid them in the upper chamber under the flax stalks. And when the messengers of the king came near and said, The spies of our land entered in unto thee: bring them forth, for the king so ordereth: then she answered, The men truly, whom ye seek, entered in unto me, but they departed forthwith and are sojourning on the way; and she pointed out to them the opposite road. And she said unto the men, Of a surety I perceive that the Lord your God delivereth this city unto you; for the fear and the dread of you is fallen upon the inhabitants thereof. When therefore it shall come to pass that ye take it, save me and the house of my father. And they said unto her, It shall be even so as thou hast spoken unto us. Whensoever therefore thou perceivest that we are coming, thou shalt gather all thy folk beneath thy roof and they shall be saved; for as many as shall be found without the house shall perish. And moreover they gave her a sign, that she should hang out from her house a scarlet thread, thereby showing beforehand that through the blood of the Lord there shall be redemption unto all them that believe and hope on God. Ye see, dearly beloved, not only faith, but prophecy, is found in the woman.
13. Let us therefore be lowly minded, brethren, laying aside all arrogance and conceit and folly and anger, and let us do that which is written. For the Holy Ghost saith, Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, nor the strong in his strength, neither the rich in his riches; but he that boasteth let
him boast in the Lord, that he may seek Him out, and do judgment and righteousness; most of all remembering the words of the Lord Jesus which He spake, teaching forbearance and long-suffering : for thus He spake; Have mercy, that ye may receive mercy; forgive that it may be forgiven to you. As ye do, so shall it be done to you. As ye give, so shall it be given unto you. As ye judge, so shall ye be judged. As ye show kindness, so shall kindness be showed unto you. With what measure ye mete, it shall be measured withal to you. With this commandment and these precepts let us confirm ourselves, that we may walk in obedience to His hallowed words, with lowliness of mind. For the holy word saith, Upon whom shall I look, save upon him that is gentle and quiet and feareth Mine oracles?
14. Therefore it is right and proper, brethren, that we should be obedient unto God, rather than follow those who in arrogance and unruliness have set themselves up as leaders in abominable jealousy. For we shall bring upon us no common harm, but rather great peril, if we surrender ourselves recklessly to the purposes of men who launch out into strife and seditions, so as to estrange us from that which is right. Let us be good one towards another according to the compassion and sweetness of Him that made us. For it is written: The good shall be dwellers in the land, and the innocent shall be left on it; but they that transgress shall be destroyed utterly from it. And again He saith; I saw the ungodly lifted up on high and exalted as the cedars of Lebanon. And I passed by, and behold he was not; and I sought out his place, and I found it not. Keep innocence and behold uprightness; for there is a remnant for the peaceful man.
15. Therefore let us cleave unto them that practise peace with godliness, and not unto them that desire peace with dissimulation. For He saith in a certain place; This people honoureth Me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; and again, They blessed with their mouth, but they cursed with their heart. And again He saith, They loved Him with their mouth, but they cursed tongue they lied unto Him; and their heart was not
upright with Him, neither were they stedfast in His covenant. For this cause Let the deceitful lips be made dumb, which speak iniquity against the righteous. And again; May the Lord utterly destroy all the deceitful lips, the tongue that speaketh proud things, even them that say, Let us magnify our tongue; our lips are our own; who is lord over us? For the misery of the needy and for the groaning of the poor I will now arise, saith the Lord. I will set him in safety; I will deal boldly by him.
16. For Christ is with them that are lowly of mind, not with them that exalt themselves over the flock. The sceptre [of the majesty] of God, even our Lord Jesus Christ, came not in the pomp of arrogance or of pride, though He might have done so, but in lowliness of mind, according as the Holy Spirit spake concerning Him. For He saith; Lord, who believed our report? and to whom was the arm of the Lord revealed? We announced Him in His presence. As a child was He, as a root in a thirsty ground. There is no form in Him, neither glory. And we belield Him, and He had no form nor comeliness, but His form was mean, lacking more than the form of men. He was a man of stripes and of toil, and knowing how to bear infirmity: for His face is turned away. He was dishonoured and held of no account. He beareth our sins and suffereth pain for our sakes: and we accounted Him to be in toil and in stripes and in affliction. And He was wounded for our sins and hath been afflicted for our iniquities. Ttte chastisement of our peace is upon Him. With His bruises we were healed. We all went astray like sheep, each man went astray in his own path: and the Lord delivered Him over for our sins. And He openeth not His mouth, because He is afflicted. As a sheep He was led to slaughter; and as a lamb before his shearer is dumb, so openeth He not His mouth. In His humiliation His judgment was taken away. His generation who shall declare? For His life is taken away from the earth. For the iniquities of my people He is come to death. And I will give the wicked for His burial, and the rich for His death; for He wrought no iniquity, neither was guile found in His mouth. And the Lord desireth to cleanse Him from
His stripes. If ye offer for sin, your soul shall see a long-lived seed. And the Lord desireth to take away from the toil of His soul, to show Him light and to mould Him with understanding, to justify a Just One that is a good servant unto many. And He shall bear their sins. Therefore He shall inherit many, and shiall divide the spoils of the strong; because His soul was delivered unto death, and He was reckoned among the transgressors; and He bare the sins of many, and for their sins was He delivered up. And again He Himself saith; But I am a worm and no man, a reproach of men and an outcast of the people. All they that beheld me mocked at me; they spake with their lips; they wagged their heads, saying, He hoped on the Lord; let Him deliver him, or let Him save him, for He desireth him. Ye see, dearly beloved, what is the pattern that hath been given unto us; for, if the Lord was thus lowly of mind, what should we do, who through Him have been brought under the yoke of His grace?
17. Let us be imitators also of them which went about in goatskins and sheepskins, preaching the coming of Christ. We mean Elijah and Elisha and likewise Ezekiel, the prophets, and besides them those men also that obtained a good report. Abraham obtained an exceeding good report and was called the friend of God; and looking stedfastly on the glory of God, he saith in lowliness of mind, But I am dust and ashes. Moreover concerning Job also it is thus written; And Job was righteous and unblameable, one that was true and honoured God and abstained from all evil. Yet he himself accuseth himself saying, No man is clean from filth; no, not though his life be but for a day. Moses was called faithful in all His house, and through his ministration God judged Egypt with the plagues and the torments which befel them. Howbeit he also, though greatly glorified, yet spake no proud words, but said, when an oracle was given to him at the bush, Who am I, that Thou, sendest me? Nay, I am feeble of speech and slow of tongue. And again he saith, But I am smoke from the pot.
18. But what must we say of David that obtained a good
report? of whom God said, I have found a man after My heart, David the son of Jesse: with eternal mercy have I anointed him. Yet he too saith unto God; Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Thy great mercy; and according to the multitude of Thy compassions, blot out mine iniquity. Wash me yet more from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge mine iniquity, and my sin is ever before me. Against Thee only did I sin, and I wrought evil in Thy sight; that Thou mayest be justified in Thy words, and mayest conquer in Thy pleading. For behold, in iniquities was I conceived, and in sins did my mother bear me. For behold Thou hast loved truth: the dark and hidden things of Thy wisdom hast Thou showed unto me. Thou shalt sprinkle me with hyssop, and I shall be made clean. Thou shalt wash me, and I shall become whiter than snow. Thou shalt make me to hear of joy and gladness. The bones which have been humbled shall rejoice. Turn away Thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Make a clean heart within me, O God, and renew a right spirit in mine inmost parts. Cast me not away from Thy presence, and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation, and strengthen me with a princely spirit. I will teach sinners Thy ways, and godless men shall be converted unto Thee. Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, the God of my salvation. My tongue shall rejoice in Thy righteousness. Lord, Thou shalt open my mouth, and my lips shall declare Thy praise. For, if Thou hadst desired sacrifice, I would have given it: in whole burnt-offerings Thou wilt have no pleasure. A sacrifice unto God is a contrite spirit; a contrite and humbled heart God will not despise.
19. The humility therefore and the submissiveness of so many and so great men, who have thus obtained a good report, hath through obedience made better not only us but also the generations which were before us, even them that received His oracles in fear and truth. Seeing then that we have been partakers of many great and glorious doings, let us hasten to return unto the goal of peace which hath been handed down to
us from the beginning, and let us look stedfastly unto the Father and Maker of the whole world, and cleave unto His splendid and excellent gifts of peace and benefits. Let us behold Him in our mind, and let us look with the eyes of our soul unto His long-suffering will. Let us note how free from anger He is towards all His creatures.
20. The heavens are moved by His direction and obey Him in peace. Day and night accomplish the course assigned to them by Him, without hindrance one to another. The sun and the moon and the dancing stars according to His appointment circle in harmony within the bounds assigned to them, without any swerving aside. The earth, bearing fruit in fulfilment of His will at her proper seasons, putteth forth the food that supplieth abundantly both men and beasts and all living things which are thereupon, making no dissension, neither altering anything which He hath decreed. Moreover, the inscrutable depths of the abysses and the unutterable statutes of the nether regions are constrained by the same ordinances. The basin of the boundless sea, gathered together by His workmanship into its reservoirs, passeth not the barriers wherewith it is surrounded; but even as He ordered it, so it doeth. For He said, So far shalt thou come, and thy waves shall be broken within thee. The ocean which is impassable for men, and the worlds beyond it, are directed by the same ordinances of the Master. The seasons of spring and summer and autumn and winter give way in succession one to another in peace. The winds in their several quarters at their proper season fulfil their ministry without disturbance; and the everflowing fountains, created for enjoyment and health, without fail give their breasts which sustain the life of men. Yea, the smallest of living things come together in concord and peace. All these things the great Creator and Master of the universe ordered to be in peace and concord, doing good unto all things, but far beyond the rest unto us who have taken refuge in His compassionate mercies through our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory and the majesty for ever and ever. Amen.
21. Look ye, brethren, lest His benefits, which are many, turn unto judgment to all of us, if we walk not worthily of Him, and do those things which are good and well-pleasing in His sight with concord. For He saith in a certain place, The Spirit of the Lord is a lamp searching the closets of the belly. Let us see how near He is, and how that nothing escapeth Him of our thoughts or our devices which we make. It is right therefore that we should not be deserters from His will. Let us rather give offence to foolish and senseless men who exalt themselves and boast in the arrogance of their words, than to God. Let us fear the Lord Jesus [Christ], whose blood was given for us. Let us reverence our rulers; let us honour our elders; let us instruct our young men in the lesson of the fear of God. Let us guide our women toward that which is good: let them show forth their lovely disposition of purity; let them prove their sincere affection of gentleness; let them make manifest the moderation of their tongue through their silence; let them show their love, not in factious preferences, but without partiality towards all them that fear God, in holiness. Let our children be partakers of the instruction which is in Christ: let them learn how lowliness of mind prevaileth with God, what power chaste love hath with God, how the fear of Him is good and great and saveth all them that walk therein in a pure mind with holiness. For He is the searcher out of the intents and desires; whose breath is in us, and when He listeth, He shall take it away.
22. Now all these things the faith which is in Christ confirmeth: for He Himself through the Holy Spirit thus inviteth us: Come, my children, hearken unto me, I will teach you the fear of the Lord. What man is he that desireth life and loveth to see good days? Make thy tongue to cease from evil, and thy lips that they speak no guile. Turn aside from evil and do good. Seek peace and ensue it. The eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and His ears are turned to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is upon them that do evil, to destroy their memorial from the earth. The righteous cried out, and the Lord heard him, and delivered him from all his troubles.
Many are the troubles of the righteous, and the Lord shall deliver him from them all. Then again; Many are the stripes of the sinner, but them that set their hope on the Lord mercy shall compass about.
23. The Father, who is pitiful in all things, and ready to do good, hath compassion on them that fear Him, and kindly and lovingly bestoweth His favours on them that draw nigh unto Him with a single mind. Wherefore let us not be double-minded, neither let our soul indulge in idle humours respecting His exceeding and glorious gifts. Let this scripture be far from us where He saith; Wretched are the double-minded, which doubt in their soul, and say, These things we did hear in the days of our fathers also, and behold we have grown old, and none of these things hath befallen us. Ye fools, compare yourselves imto a tree; take a vine. First it sheddeth its leaves, then a shoot cometh, then a leaf, then a flower, and after these a sour berry, then a full ripe grape. Ye see that in a little time the fruit of the tree attaineth unto mellowness. Of a truth quickly and suddenly shall His will be accomplished, the scripture also bearing witness to it, saying; He shall come quickly and shall not tarry; and the Lord shall come suddenly into His temple, even the Holy One, whom ye expect.
24. Let us understand, dearly beloved, how the Master continually showeth unto us the resurrection that shall be hereafter; whereof He made the Lord Jesus Christ the firstfruit, when He raised Him from the dead. Let us behold, dearly beloved, the resurrection which happeneth at its proper season. Day and night show unto us the resurrection. The night falleth asleep, and day ariseth; the day departeth, and night cometh on. Let us mark the fruits, how and in what manner the sowing taketh place. The sower goeth forth and casteth into the earth each of the seeds; and these falling into the earth dry and bare decay: then out of their decay the mightiness of the Master's providence raiseth them up, and from being one they increase manifold and bear fruit.
25. Let us consider the marvellous sign which is seen in
the regions of the east, that is, in the parts about Arabia. There is a bird, which is named the phoenix. This, being the only one of its kind, liveth for five hundred years; and when it hath now reached the time of its dissolution that it should die, it maketh for itself a coffin of frankincense and myrrh and the other spices, into the which in the fulness of time it entereth, and so it dieth. But, as the flesh rotteth, a certain worm is engendered, which is nurtured from the moisture of the dead creature and putteth forth wings. Then, when it is grown lusty, it taketh up that coffin where are the bones of its parent, and carrying them journeyeth from the country of Arabia even unto Egypt, to the place called the City of the Sun; and in the day time in the sight of all, flying to the altar of the Sun, it layeth them thereupon; and this done, it setteth forth to return. So the priests examine the registers of the times, and they find that it hath come when the five hundredth year is completed.
26. Do we then think it to be a great and marvellous thing, if the Creator of the universe shall bring about the resurrection of them that have served Him with holiness in the assurance of a good faith, seeing that He showeth to us even by a bird the magnificence of His promise? For He saith in a certain place; And Thou shalt raise me up, and I will praise Thee; and I went to rest and slept, I was awaked, for Thou art with me. And again Job saith; And Thou shalt raise this my flesh which hath endured all these things.
27. With this hope therefore let our souls be bound unto Him that is faithful in His promises and that is righteous in His judgments. He that commanded not to lie, much more shall He Himself not lie: for nothing is impossible with God save to lie. Therefore let our faith in Him be kindled within us, and let us understand that all things are nigh unto Him. By a word of His majesty He compacted the universe; and by a word He can destroy it. Who shall say unto Him, What hast Thou done? or who shall resist the might of His strength? When He listeth, and as He listeth, He will do all things; and
nothing shall pass away of those things that He hath decreed. All things are in His sight, and nothing escapeth His counsel, seeing that The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament proclaimeth His handiwork. Day uttereth word unto day, and night proclaimeth knowledge unto night; and there are neither words nor speeches, whose voices are not heard.
28. Since therefore all things are seen and heard, let us fear Him, and forsake the abominable lusts of evil works, that we may be shielded by His mercy from the coming judgments. For where can any of us escape from His strong hand? And what world will receive any of them that desert from His service? For the holy writing saith in a certain place; Where shall I go, and where shall I be hidden from Thy face? If I ascend into the heaven, Thou art there; if I depart into the farthest parts of the earth, there is Thy right hand; if I make my bed in the depths, there is Thy Spirit. Whither then shall one depart, or where shall one flee, from Him that embraceth the universe?
29. Let us therefore approach Him in holiness of soul, lifting up pure and undefiled hands unto Him, with love towards our gentle and compassionate Father, who made us an elect portion unto Himself. For thus it is written: When the Most High divided the nations, when He dispersed the sons of Adam, He fixed the boundaries of the nations according to the number of the angels of God. His people Jacob became the portion of the Lord, and Israel the measurement of His inheritance. And in another place He saith; Behold, the Lord taketh for Himself a nation out of the midst of the nations, as a man taketh the firstfruits of his threshing-floor; and the holy of holies shall come forth from that nation.
30. Seeing then that we are the special portion of a Holy God, let us do all things that pertain unto holiness, forsaking evil-speakings, abominable and impure embraces, drunkennesses and tumults and hateful lusts, abominable adultery, hateful pride; For God, He saith, resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the lowly. Let us therefore cleave unto those to whom
grace is given from God. Let us clothe ourselves in concord, being lowly-minded and temperate, holding ourselves aloof from all backbiting and evil speaking, being justified by works and not by words. For He saith; He that saith much shall hear also again. Doth the ready talker think to be righteous? Blessed is the offspring of woman that liveth but a short time. Be not thou abundant in words. Let our praise be with God, and not of ourselves: for God hateth them that praise themselves. Let the testimony to our well-doing be given by others, as it was given unto our fathers who were righteous. Boldness and arrogance and daring are for them that are accursed of God; but forbearance and humility and gentleness are with them that are blessed of God.
31. Let us therefore cleave unto His blessing, and let us see what are the ways of blessing. Let us study the records of the things that have happened from the beginning. Wherefore was our father Abraham blessed? Was it not because he wrought righteousness and truth through faith? Isaac with confidence, as knowing the future, was led a willing sacrifice. Jacob with humility departed from his land because of his brother, and went unto Laban and served; and the twelve tribes of Israel were given unto him.
32. If any man will consider them one by one in sincerity, he shall understand the magnificence of the gifts that are given by Him. For of Jacob are all the priests and levites who minister unto the altar of God; of him is the Lord Jesus as concerning the flesh; of him are kings and rulers and governors in the line of Judah; yea, and the rest of his tribes are held in no small honour, seeing that God promised saying, Thy seed shall be as the stars of heaven. They all therefore were glorified and magnified, not through themselves or their own works or the righteous doing which they wrought, but through His will. And so we, having been called through His will in Christ Jesus, are not justified through ourselves or through our own wisdom or understanding or piety or works which we wrought in holiness of heart, but through faith, whereby the Almighty God
justified all men that have been from the beginning; to whom be the glory for ever and ever. Amen.
33. What then must we do, brethren? Must we idly abstain from doing good, and forsake love? May the Master never allow this to befal us at least; but let us hasten with instancy and zeal to accomplish every good work. For the Creator and Master of the universe Himself rejoiceth in His works. For by His exceeding great might He established the heavens, and in His incomprehensible wisdom He set them in order. And the earth He separated from the water that surroundeth it, and He set it firm on the sure foundation of His own will; and the living creatures which walk upon it He commanded to exist by His ordinance. Having before created the sea and the living creatures therein, He enclosed it by His own power. Above all, as the most excellent and exceeding great work of His intelligence, with His sacred and faultless hands He formed man in the impress of His own image. For thus saith God; Let us make man after our image and after our likeness. And God made man; male and female made He them. So having finished all these things, He praised them and blessed them and said, Increase and multiply. We have seen that all the righteous were adorned in good works. Yea, and so the Lord Himself having adorned Himself with works rejoiced. Seeing then that we have this pattern, let us conform ourselves with all diligence to His will; let us with all our strength work the work of righteousness.
34. The good workman receiveth the bread of his work with boldness, but the slothful and careless dareth not look his employer in the face. It is therefore needful that we should be zealous unto well-doing, for of Him are all things: since He forewarneth us saying, Behold, the Lord, and His reward is before His face, to recompense each man according to his work. He exhorteth us therefore to believe on Him with our whole heart, and to be not idle nor careless unto every good work. Let our boast and our confidence be in Him: let us submit ourselves to His will; let us mark the whole host of His angels, how they
stand by and minister unto His will. For the scripture saith, Ten thousand times ten thousands stood by Him, and thousands of thousands ministered unto Him: and they cried aloud, Holy, Jioly, holy is the Lord of Sabaoth; all creation is full of His glory. Yea, and let us ourselves then, being gathered together in concord with intentness of heart, cry unto Him as from one mouth earnestly that we may be made partakers of His great and glorious promises. For He saith, Eye hath not seen, and ear hath not heard, and it hath not entered into the heart of man, what great things He hath prepared for them that patiently await Him.
35. How blessed and marvellous are the gifts of God, dearly beloved! Life in immortality, splendour in righteousness, truth in boldness, faith in confidence, temperance in sanctification! And all these things fall under our apprehension. What then, think ye, are the things preparing for them that patiently await Him? The Creator and Father of the ages, the All-holy One Himself knoweth their number and their beauty. Let us therefore contend, that we may be found in the number of those that patiently await Him, to the end that we may be partakers of His promised gifts. But how shall this be, dearly beloved? If our mind be fixed through faith towards God; if we seek out those things which are well pleasing and acceptable unto Him; if we accomplish such things as beseem His faultless will, and follow the way of truth, casting off from ourselves all unrighteousness and iniquity, covetousness, strifes, malignities and deceits, whisperings and backbitings, hatred of God, pride and arrogance, vainglory and inhospitality. For they that do these things are hateful to God; and not only they that do them, but they also that consent unto them. For the scripture saith; But unto the sinner said God, Wherefore dost thou declare Mine ordinances, and takest My covenant upon thy mouth? Yet thou didst hate instruction, and didst cast away My words behind thee. If thou sawest a thief, thou didst keep company with him, and with the adulterers thou didst set thy portion. Thy mouth multiplied wickedness, and thy tongue wove deceit. Thou sattest and spakest against thy brother, and against the son of thy mother thou didst lay a stumbling-block.
These things thou hast done, and I kept silence. Thou thoughtest, unrighteous man, that I should be like unto thee. I will convict thee, and will set thee face to face with thyself. Now understand ye these things, ye that forget God, lest at any time He seize you as a lion, and there be none to deliver. The sacrifice of praise shall glorify Me, and there is the way wherein I will show him the salvation of God.
36. This is the way, dearly beloved, wherein we found our salvation, even Jesus Christ the High-priest of our offerings, the Guardian and Helper of our weakness. Through Him let us look stedfastly unto the heights of the heavens; through Him we behold as in a mirror His faultless and most excellent visage; through Him the eyes of our hearts were opened; through Him our foolish and darkened mind springeth up unto [His marvellous] light; through Him the Master willed that we should taste of the immortal knowledge; Who being the brightness of His majesty is so much greater than angels, as He hath inherited a more excellent name. For so it is written; Who maketh His angels spirits and His ministers a flame of fire; but of His Son the Master said thus; Thou art My Son, 1 this day have begotten Thee. Ask of Me, and I will give Tim the Gentiles for Thine inheritance, and the ends of the earth for Thy possession. And again He saith unto Him ; Sit Thou on My right hand, until I make Thine enemies a footstool for Thy feet. Who then are these enemies ? They that are wicked and resist His will.
37. Let us therefore enlist ourselves, brethren, with all earnestness in His faultless ordinances. Let us mark the soldiers that are enlisted under our rulers, how exactly, how readily, how submissively, they execute the orders given them. All are not prefects, nor rulers of thousands, nor rulers of hundreds, nor rulers of fifties, and so forth; but each man in his own rank executeth the orders given by the king and the governors. The great without the small cannot exist, neither the small without the great. There is a certain mixture in all things, and therein is utility. Let us take our body as an example. The head
without the feet is nothing; so likewise the feet without the head are nothing: even the smallest limbs of our body are necessary and useful for the whole body: but all the members conspire and unite in subjection, that the whole body may be saved.
38. So in our case let the whole body be saved in Christ Jesus, and let each man be subject unto his neighbour, according as also he was appointed with his special grace. Let not the strong neglect the weak; and let the weak respect the strong. Let the rich minister aid to the poor; and let the poor give thanks to God, because He hath given him one through whom his wants may be supplied. Let the wise display his wisdom, not in words, but in good works. He that is lowly in mind, let him not bear testimony to himself, but leave testimony to be borne to him by his neighbour. He that is pure in the flesh, let him be so, and not boast, knowing that it is Another who bestoweth his continence upon him. Let us consider, brethren, of what matter we were made; who and what manner of beings we were, when we came into the world; from what a sepulchre and what darkness He that moulded and created us brought us into His world, having prepared His benefits afore-hand ere ever we were born. Seeing therefore that we have all these things from Him, we ought in all things to give thanks to Him, to whom be the glory for ever and ever. Amen.
39. Senseless and stupid and foolish and ignorant men jeer and mock at us, desiring that they themselves should be exalted in their imaginations. For what power hath a mortal? or what strength hath a child of earth? For it is written; There was no form before mine eyes; only I heard a breath and a voice. What then? Shall a mortal be clean in the sight of the Lord; or shall a man be unblameable for his works? seeing that He is distrustful against His servants, and noteth some perversity against His angels. Nay, the heaven is not clean in His sight. Away then, ye that dwell in houses of clay, whereof, even of the same clay, we ourselves are made. He smote them like a moth, and from morn to even they are no more. Because
they could not succour themselves, they perished. He breathed upon them and they died, because they had no wisdom. But call thou, if perchance one shall obey thee, or if thou shalt see one of the holy angels. For wrath killeth the foolish man, and envy slayeth him that is gone astray. And I have seen fools throwing out roots, but forthwith their habitation was eaten up. Far be their sons from safety. May they be mocked at the gates of inferiors, and there shall be none to deliver them. For the things which are prepared for them, the righteous shall eat; but they themselves shall not be delivered from evils.
40. Forasmuch then as these things are manifest beforehand, and we have searched into the depths of the Divine knowledge, we ought to do all things in order, as many as the Master hath commanded us to perform at their appointed seasons. Now the offerings and ministrations He commanded to be performed with care, and not to be done rashly or in disorder, but at fixed times and seasons. And where and by whom He would have them performed, He Himself fixed by His supreme will: that all things being done with piety according to His good pleasure might be acceptable to His will. They therefore that make their offerings at the appointed seasons are acceptable and blessed: for while they follow the institutions of the Master they cannot go wrong. For unto the high-priest his proper services have been assigned, and to the priests their proper office is appointed, and upon the levites their proper ministrations are laid. The layman is bound by the layman's ordinances.
41. Let each of you, brethren, in his own order give thanks unto God, maintaining a good conscience, and not transgressing the appointed rule of his service, but acting with all seemliness. Not in every place, brethren, are the continual daily sacrifices offered, or the freewill offerings, or the sin offerings and the trespass offerings, but in Jerusalem alone. And even there the offering is not made in every place, but before the sanctuary in the court of the altar; and this too through the high-priest and the aforesaid ministers, after that the victim to be offered hath
been inspected for blemishes. They therefore who do any thing contrary to the seemly ordinance of His will receive death as the penalty. Ye see, brethren, in proportion as greater knowledge hath been vouchsafed unto us, so much the more are we exposed to danger.
42. The Apostles received the Gospel for us from the Lord Jesus Christ; Jesus Christ was sent forth from God. So then Christ is from God, and the Apostles are from Christ. Both therefore came of the will of God in the appointed order. Having therefore received a charge, and having been fully assured through the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and confirmed in the word of God with full assurance of the Holy Ghost, they went forth with the glad tidings that the kingdom of God should come. So preaching everywhere in country and town, they appointed their first-fruits, when they had proved them by the Spirit, to be bishops and deacons unto them that should believe. And this they did in no new fashion; for indeed it had been written concerning bishops and deacons from very ancient times; for thus saith the scripture in a certain place, I will appoint their bishops in righteousness and their deacons in faith.
43. And what marvel, if they which were entrusted in Christ with such a work by God appointed the aforesaid persons? seeing that even the blessed Moses who was a faithful servant in all His house recorded for a sign in the sacred books all things that were enjoined upon him. And him also the rest of the prophets followed, bearing witness with him unto the laws that were ordained by him. For he, when jealousy arose concerning the priesthood, and there was dissension among the tribes which of them was adorned with the glorious name, commanded the twelve chiefs of the tribes to bring to him rods inscribed with the name of each tribe. And he took them and tied them and sealed them with the signet rings of the chiefs of the tribes, and put them away in the tabernacle of the testimony on the table of God. And having shut the tabernacle he sealed the keys, and likewise also the doors. And he said unto them, Brethren, the tribe whose rod shall bud, this hath God chosen to be
priests and ministers unto Him. Now when morning came, he called together all Israel, even the six hundred thousand men and showed the seals to the chiefs of the tribes, and opened the tabernacle of the testimony, and drew forth the rods. And the rod of Aaron was found not only with buds, but also bearing fruit. What think ye, dearly beloved? Did not Moses know beforehand that this would come to pass? Assuredly he knew it. But that disorder might not arise in Israel, he did thus, to the end that the Name of the true and only God might be glorified: to whom be the glory for ever and ever. Amen.
44. And our Apostles knew through our Lord Jesus Christ that there would be strife over the name of the bishop's office. For this cause therefore, having received complete foreknowledge, they appointed the aforesaid persons, and afterwards they provided a continuance, that if these should fall asleep, other approved men should succeed to their ministration. Those therefore who were appointed by them, or afterward by other men of repute with the consent of the whole Church, and have ministered unblameably to the flock of Christ in lowliness of mind, peacefully and with all modesty, and for long time have borne a good report with allthese men we consider to be unjustly thrust out from their ministration. For it will be no light sin for us, if we thrust out those who have offered the gifts of the bishop's office unblameably and holily. Blessed are those presbyters who have gone before, seeing that their departure was fruitful and ripe: for they have no fear lest any one should remove them from their appointed place. For we see that ye have displaced certain persons, though they were living honourably, from the ministration which they had †respected† blamelessly.
45. Be ye contentious, brethren, and jealous about the things that pertain unto salvation. Ye have searched the scriptures, which are true, which were given through the Holy Ghost; and ye know that nothing unrighteous or counterfeit is written in them. Ye will not find that righteous persons have been thrust out by holy men. Righteous men were persecuted,
TO THE CORINTHIANS.
but it was by the lawless; they were imprisoned, but it was by the unholy. They were stoned by transgressors: they were slain by those who had conceived a detestable and unrighteous jealousy. Suffering these things, they endured nobly. For what must we say, brethren? Was Daniel cast into the lions' den by them that fear God? Or were Ananias and Azarias and Misael shut up in the furnace of fire by them that professed the excellent and glorious worship of the Most High? Far be this from our thoughts. Who then were they that did these things? Abominable men and full of all wickedness were stirred up to such a pitch of wrath, as to bring cruel suffering upon them that served God in a holy and blameless purpose, not knowing that the Most High is the champion and protector of them that in a pure conscience serve His excellent Name: unto whom be the glory for ever and ever. Amen. But they that endured patiently in confidence inherited glory and honour; they were exalted, and had their names recorded by God in their memorial for ever and ever. Amen.
46. To such examples as these therefore, brethren, we also ought to cleave. For it is written; Cleave unto the saints, for they that cleave unto them shall be sanctified. And again He saith in another place; With the guiltless man than shalt be guiltless, and with the elect thou shalt be elect, and with the crooked thou shalt deal crookedly. Let us therefore cleave to the guiltless and righteous: and these are the elect of God. Wherefore are there strifes and wraths and factions and divisions and war among you? Have we not one God and one Christ and one Spirit of grace that was shed upon us? And is there not one calling in Christ? Wherefore do we tear and rend asunder the members of Christ, and stir up factions against our own body, and reach such a pitch of folly, as to forget that we are members one of another? Remember the words of Jesus our Lord: for He said, Woe unto that man. It were good for him if he had not been born, rather than that he should offend one of Mine elect. It were better for him that a mill-stone were about him, and he cast into the sea, than that he should
pervert one of Mine elect. Your division hath perverted many; it hath brought many to despair, many to doubting, and all of us to sorrow. And your sedition still continueth.
47. Take up the epistle of the blessed Paul the Apostle. What wrote he first unto you in the beginning of the Gospel? Of a truth he charged you in the Spirit concerning himself and Cephas and Apollos, because that even then ye had made parties. Yet that making of parties brought less sin upon you; for ye were partisans of Apostles that were highly reputed, and of a man approved in their sight. But now mark ye, who they are that have perverted you and diminished the glory of your renowned love for the brotherhood. It is shameful, dearly beloved, yes, utterly shameful, and unworthy of your conduct in Christ, that it should be reported that the very sted-fast and ancient Church of the Corinthians, for the sake of one or two persons, maketh sedition against its presbyters. And this report hath reached not only us, but them also which differ from us, so that ye even heap blasphemies on the Name of the Lord by reason of your folly, and moreover create peril for yourselves.
48. Let us therefore root this out quickly, and let us fall down before the Master, and entreat Him with tears, that He may show Himself propitious, and be reconciled unto us, and may restore us to the seemly and pure conduct which belongeth to our love of the brethren. For this is a gate of righteousness opened unto life, as it is written; Open me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter in thereby and praise the Lord. This is the gate of the Lord; the righteous shall enter in thereby. Seeing then that many gates are opened, this is that gate which is in righteousness, even that which is in Christ, whereby all are blessed, that have entered in and direct their path in holiness and righteousness, performing all things without confusion. Let a man be faithful, let him be able to expound a deep saying, let him be wise in the discernment of words, let him be strenuous in deeds, let him be pure; for so much the more ought he to be lowly in mind, in proportion as he
seemeth to be the greater; and he ought to seek the common advantage of all, and not his own.
49. Let him that hath love in Christ fulfil the commandments of Christ. Who can declare the bond of the love of God? Who is sufficient to tell the majesty of its beauty? The height, whereunto love exalteth, is unspeakable. Love joineth us unto God; love covereth a multitude of sins; love endureth all things, is long-suffering in all things. There is nothing coarse, nothing arrogant in love. Love hath no divisions, love maketh no seditions, love doeth all things in concord. In love were all the elect of God made perfect; without love nothing is well-pleasing to God: in love the Master took us unto Himself; for the love which He had toward us, Jesus Christ our Lord hath given His blood for us by the will of God, and His flesh for our flesh, and His life for our lives.
50. Ye see, dearly beloved, how great and marvellous a thing is love, and there is no declaring its perfection. Who is sufficient to be found therein, save those to whom God shall vouchsafe it? Let us therefore entreat and ask of His mercy, that we may be found blameless in love, standing apart from the factiousness of men. All the generations from Adam unto this day have passed away: but they that by God's grace were perfected in love dwell in the abode of the pious; and they shall be made manifest in the visitation of the kingdom of God. For it is written: Enter into the closet for a very little while, until Mine anger and My wrath shall pass away, and I will remember a good day, and will raise you from your tombs. Blessed were we, dearly beloved, if we should be doing the commandments of God in concord of love, to the end that our sins may through love be forgiven us. For it is written; Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall impute no sin, neither is guile in his mouth. This declaration of blessedness was pronounced upon them that have been elected by God through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom be the glory for ever and ever. Amen.
51. For all our transgressions therefore which we have committed
through any of the wiles of the adversary, let us entreat that we may obtain forgiveness. Yea and they also, who set themselves up as leaders of faction and division, ought to look to the common ground of hope. For such as walk in fear and love desire that they themselves should fall into suffering rather than their neighbours; and they pronounce condemnation against themselves rather than against the harmony which hath been handed down to us nobly and righteously. For it is good for a man to make confession of his trespasses rather than to harden his heart, as the heart of those was hardened who made sedition against Moses the servant of God; whose condemnation was clearly manifest, for they went down to hades alive, and death shall be their shepherd. Pharaoh and his host and all the rulers of Egypt, their chariots and their horsemen, were overwhelmed in the depths of the Red Sea, and perished for none other reason but because their foolish hearts were hardened, after that the signs and the wonders had been wrought in the land of Egypt by the hand of Moses the servant of God.
52. The Master, brethren, hath need of nothing at all. He desireth not anything of any man, save to confess unto Him. For the elect David saith; I will confess unto the Lord, and it shall please Him more than a young calf that groweth horns and hoofs. Let the poor see it, and rejoice. And again He saith; Sacrifice to God a sacrifice of praise, and pay thy vows to the Most High; and call upon Me in the day of thine affliction, and I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify Me. For a sacrifice unto God is a broken spirit.
53. For ye know, and know well, the sacred scriptures, dearly beloved, and ye have searched into the oracles of God. We write these things therefore to put you in remembrance. When Moses went up into the mountain and had spent forty days and forty nights in fasting and humiliation, God said unto him; Moses, Moses, go down quickly hence, for My people whom thou leddest forth from the land of Egypt have wrought iniquity: they have transgressed quickly out of the way which thou didst command unto them: they have made for themselves molten
images. And the Lord said unto him; I have spoken unto thee once and twice, saying, I have seen this people, and behold it is stiff-necked. Let Me destroy them utterly, and I will blot out their name from under heaven, and I will make of thee a nation great and wonderful and numerous more than this. And Moses said; Nay, not so, Lord. Forgive this people their sin, or blot me also out of the book of the living. O mighty love! O unsurpassable perfection! The servant is bold with his Master; he asketh forgiveness for the multitude, or he demandeth that himself also be blotted out with them.
54. Who therefore is noble among you? Who is compassionate? Who is fulfilled with love? Let him say; If by reason of me there be faction and strife and divisions, I retire, I depart, whither ye will, and I do that which is ordered by the people: only let the flock of Christ be at peace with its duly appointed presbyters. He that shall have done this, shall win for himself great renown in Christ, and every place will receive him: for the earth is the Lord's and the fulness thereof. Thus have they done and will do, that live as citizens of that kingdom of God which bringeth no regrets.
55. But, to bring forward examples of Gentiles also; many kings and rulers, when some season of pestilence pressed upon them, being taught by oracles have delivered themselves over to death, that they might rescue their fellow citizens through their own blood. Many have retired from their own cities, that they might have no more seditions. We know that many among ourselves have delivered themselves to bondage, that they might ransom others. Many have sold themselves to slavery, and receiving the price paid for themselves have fed others. Many women being strengthened through the grace of God have performed many manly deeds. The blessed Judith, when the city was beleaguered, asked of the elders that she might be suffered to go forth into the camp of the aliens. So she exposed herself to peril and went forth for love of her country and of her people which were beleaguered; and the Lord delivered Holophernes into the hand of a woman. To no less
peril did Esther also, who was perfect in faith, expose herself, that she might deliver the twelve tribes of Israel, when they were on the point to perish. For through her fasting and her humiliation she entreated the all-seeing Master, the God of the ages; and He, seeing the humility of her soul, delivered the people for whose sake she encountered the peril.
56. Therefore let us also make intercession for them that are in any transgression, that forbearance and humility may be given them, to the end that they may yield not unto us, but unto the will of God. For so shall the compassionate remembrance of them with God and the saints be fruitful unto them, and perfect. Let us accept chastisement, whereat no man ought to be vexed, dearly beloved. The admonition which we give one to another is good and exceeding useful; for it joineth us unto the will of God. For thus saith the holy word; The Lord hath indeed chastened me, and hath not delivered me over unto death. For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth. For the righteous, it is said, shall chasten me in mercy, and shall reprove me; but let not the †mercy† of sinners anoint my head. And again He saith; Blessed is the man whom the Lord hath reproved, and refuse not thou the admonition of the Almighty. For He causeth pain, and He restoreth again: He hath smitten, and His hands have healed. Six times shall He rescue thee from afflictions: and at the seventh no evil shall touch thee. In famine He shall deliver thee from death, and in war He shall release thee from the arm of the sword. And from the scourge of the tongue shall He hide thee, and thou shalt not be afraid when evils approach, Thou shalt laugh at the unrighteous and wicked, and of the wild beasts thou shalt not be afraid. For wild beasts shall be at peace with thee. Then shalt thou know that thy house shall be at peace: and the abode of thy tabernacle shall not go wrong, and thou shalt know that thy seed is many, and thy children as the plenteous herbage of tJie field. And thou shalt come to the grave as ripe corn reaped in due season, or as the heap of the threshing floor gathered together at the right time. Ye see, dearly beloved, how great
protection there is for them that are chastened by the Master: for being a kind father He chasteneth us, to the end that we may obtain mercy through His holy chastisement.
57. Ye therefore that laid the foundation of the sedition, submit yourselves unto the presbyters, and receive chastisement unto repentance, bending the knees of your heart. Learn to submit yourselves, laying aside the arrogant and proud stubbornness of your tongue. For it is better for you to be found little in the flock of Christ and to have your name on God's roll, than to be had in exceeding honour and yet be cast out from the hope of Him. For thus saith the All-virtuous Wisdom; Behold I will pour out for you a saying of My breath, and I will teach you My word. Because I called and ye obeyed not, and I held out words and ye heeded not, but made My counsels of none effect, and were disobedient unto My reproofs; therefore I also will laugh at your destruction, and will rejoice over you when ruin cometh upon you, and when confusion overtakcth you suddenly, and your overthrow is at hand like a whirlwind, or when anguish and beleaguerment come upon you. For it shall be, when ye call upon Me, yet will I not hear you. Evil men shall seek Me, and shall not find Me: for they hated wisdom, and chose not the fear of the Lord, neither would they give heed unto My counsels, but mocked at My reproofs. Therefore they shall eat the fruits of their own way, and shall be filled with their own ungodliness. For because they wronged babes, they shall be slain, and inquisition shall destroy the ungodly. But he that heareth Me shall dwell safely trusting in hope, and shall be quiet from fear of all evil.
58. Let us therefore be obedient unto His most holy and glorious Name, thereby escaping the threatenings which were spoken of old by the mouth of Wisdom against them which disobey, that we may dwell safely, trusting in the most holy Name of His majesty. Receive our counsel, and ye shall have no occasion of regret. For as God liveth, and the Lord Jesus Christ liveth, and the Holy Spirit, who are the faith and the hope of the elect, so surely shall he, who with
lowliness of mind and instant in gentleness hath without regretfulness performed the ordinances and commandments that are given by God, be enrolled and have a name among the number of them that are saved through Jesus Christ, through whom is the glory unto Him for ever and ever. Amen.
59. But if certain persons should be disobedient unto the words spoken by Him through us, let them understand that they will entangle themselves in no slight transgression and danger; but we shall be guiltless of this sin. And we will ask, with instancy of prayer and supplication, that the Creator of the universe may guard intact unto the end the number that hath been numbered of His elect throughout the whole world, through His beloved Son Jesus Christ, through whom He called us from darkness to light, from ignorance to the full knowledge of the glory of His Name.
[Grant unto us, Lord,] that we may set our hope on Thy Name which is the primal source of all creation, and open the eyes of our heart, that we may know Thee, who alone abidest Highest in the high, Holy in the holy; who layest low the insolence of the proud; who scatterest the imaginings of nations; who settest the lowly on high, and bringest the lofty low; who makest rich and makest poor; who killest and makest alive; who alone art the Benefactor of spirits and the God of all flesh; who lookest into the abysses, who scannest the works of man; the Succour of them that are in peril, the Saviour of them that are in despair; the Creator and Overseer of every spirit; who multipliest the nations upon earth, and hast chosen out from all men those that love Thee through Jesus Christ, Thy beloved Son, through whom Thou didst instruct us, didst sanctify us, didst honour us. We beseech Thee, Lord and Master, to be our help and succour. Save those among us who are in tribulation; have mercy on the lowly; lift up the fallen; show Thyself unto the needy; heal the ungodly; convert the wanderers of Thy people; feed the hungry; release our prisoners; raise up the weak; comfort the faint-hearted. Let all the Gentiles know that Thou art God alone, and Jesus
Christ is Thy Son, and we are Thy people and the sheep of Thy pasture.
60. Thou through Thine operations didst make manifest the everlasting fabric of the world. Thou, Lord, didst create the earth. Thou that art faithful throughout all generations, righteous in Thy judgments, marvellous in strength and excellence, Thou that art wise in creating and prudent in establishing that which Thou hast made, that art good in the things which are seen and faithful with them that trust on Thee, pitiful and compassionate, forgive us our iniquities and our unrighteousnesses and our transgressions, and shortcomings. Lay not to our account every sin of Thy servants and Thine handmaids, but cleanse us with the cleansing of Thy truth, and guide our steps to walk in holiness and righteousness and singleness of heart, and to do such things as are good and well-pleasing in Thy sight and in the sight of our rulers. Yea, Lord, make Thy face to shine upon us in peace for our good, that we may be sheltered by Thy mighty hand and delivered from every sin by Thine uplifted arm. And deliver us from them that hate us wrongfully. Give concord and peace to us and to all that dwell on the earth, as Thou gavest to our fathers, when they called on Thee in faith and truth with holiness, [that we may be saved,] while we render obedience to Thine almighty and most excellent Name, and to our rulers and governors upon the earth.
61. Thou, Lord and Master, hast given them the power of sovereignty through Thine excellent and unspeakable might, that we knowing the glory and honour which Thou hast given them may submit ourselves unto them, in nothing resisting Thy will. Grant unto them therefore, O Lord, health, peace, concord, stability, that they may administer the government which Thou hast given them without failure. For Thou, O heavenly Master, King of the ages, givest to the sons of men glory and honour and power over all things that are upon the earth. Do Thou, Lord, direct their counsel according to that which is good and well-pleasing in Thy sight,
that, administering in peace and gentleness with godliness the power which Thou hast given them, they may obtain Thy favour. O Thou, who alone art able to do these things, and things far more exceeding good than these for us, we praise Thee through the High-priest and Guardian of our souls, Jesus Christ, through whom be the glory and the majesty unto Thee both now and for all generations and for ever and ever. Amen.
62. As touching those things which befit our religion and are most useful for a virtuous life to such as would guide [their steps] in holiness and righteousness, we have written fully unto you, brethren. For concerning faith and repentance and genuine love and temperance and sobriety and patience we have handled every argument, putting you in remembrance, that ye ought to please Almighty God in righteousness and truth and long-suffering with holiness, laying aside malice and pursuing concord in love and peace, being instant in gentleness; even as our fathers, of whom we spake before, pleased Him, being lowly-minded towards their Father and God and Creator and towards all men. And we have put you in mind of these things the more gladly, since we knew well that we were writing to men who are faithful and highly accounted and have diligently searched into the oracles of the teaching of God.
63. Therefore it is right for us to give heed to so great and so many examples, and to submit the neck, and occupying the place of obedience to take our side with them that are the leaders of our souls, that ceasing from this foolish dissension we may attain unto the goal which lieth before us in truthfulness, keeping aloof from every fault. For ye will give us great joy and gladness, if ye render obedience unto the things written by us through the Holy Spirit, and root out the unrighteous anger of your jealousy, according to the entreaty which we have made for peace and concord in this letter. And we have also sent faithful and prudent men that have walked among us from youth unto old age unblameably, who shall also be witnesses between you and us. And this we have done that ye might
know that we have had, and still have, every solicitude that ye should be speedily at peace.
64. Finally may the All-seeing God and Master of spirits and Lord of all flesh, who chose the Lord Jesus Christ, and us through Him for a peculiar people, grant unto every soul that is called after His excellent and holy Name faith, fear, peace, patience, long-suffering, temperance, chastity and soberness, that they may be well-pleasing unto His Name through our High-priest and Guardian Jesus Christ, through whom unto Him be glory and majesty, might and honour, both now and for ever and ever. Amen.
65. Now send ye back speedily unto us our messengers Claudius Ephebus and Valerius Bito, together with Fortunatus also, in peace and with joy, to the end that they may the more quickly report the peace and concord which is prayed for and earnestly desired by us, that we also may the more speedily rejoice over your good order.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you and with all men in all places who have been called by God and through Him, through whom is glory and honour, power and greatness and eternal dominion, unto Him, from the ages past and for ever and ever. Amen.
Return to the Table of Contents of J. B. Lightfoot's The Aposstolic Fathers, Part I, Vol. 2
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