Pseudo-Clementine Literature (Cont.)The Clementine Homilies. Part 1

The Clementine Homilies.

Homily I.

Chap. I. – Boyish Questionings.

I Clement, being a Roman citizen,1 even from my earliest youth was able to live chastely, my mind from my boyhood drawing away the lust that was in me to dejection and distress. For I had a habit of reasoning – how originating I know not – making frequent cogitations concerning death: When I die, shall I neither exist, nor shall any one ever have any remembrance of me, while boundless time bears all things of all men into forgetfulness? and shall I then be without being, or acquaintance with those who are; neither knowing nor being known, neither having been nor being? And has the world ever been made? and was there anything before it was made? For if it has been always, it shall also continue to be; but if it has been made, it shall also be dissolved. And after its dissolution, shall there ever be anything again, unless, perhaps, silence and forgetfulness? Or perhaps something shall be which is not possible now to conceive.


Chap. II. – Good out of Evil.

As I pondered without ceasing these and such like questions – I know not whence arising – I had such bitter grief, that, becoming pale, I wasted away; and, what was most terrible, if at any time I wished to drive away this meditation as unprofitable, my suffering became all the more severe; and I grieved over this, not knowing that I had a fair inmate, even my thought, which was to be to me the cause of a blessed immortality, as I afterwards knew by experience, and gave thanks to God, the Lord of all. For it was by this thought, which at first afflicted me, that I was compelled to come to the search and the finding of things; and then I pitied those whom at first, through ignorance, I ventured to call blessed.


Chap. III. – Perplexity.

From my boyhood, then, being involved in such reasonings, in order to learn something definite, I used to resort to the schools of the philosophers. But nought else did I see than the setting up and the knocking down of doctrines, and strifes, and seeking for victory, and the arts of syllogisms, and the skill of assumptions; and sometimes one opinion prevailed, – as, for example, that the soul is immortal, and sometimes that it is mortal. If, therefore, at any time the doctrine prevailed that it is immortal, I was glad; and when the doctrine prevailed that it is mortal, I was grieved. And again, I was the more disheartened because I could not establish either doctrine to my satisfaction. However, I perceived that the opinions on subjects under discussion are taken as true or false, according to their defenders, and do not appear as they really are. Perceiving, therefore, now that the acceptance does not depend on the real nature of the subjects discussed, but that opinions are proved to be true or false, according to ability of those who defend them, I was still more than ever at a loss in regard of things. Wherefore I groaned from the depth of my soul. For neither was I able to establish anything, nor could I shake off the consideration of such things, though, as I said before, I wished it. For although I frequently charged myself to be at peace, in some way or other thoughts on these subjects, accompanied with a feeling of pleasure, would come into my mind.


Chap. IV. – More Perplexity.

And again, living in doubt, I said to myself, Why do I labour in vain, when the matter is clear, that if I lose existence when I die, it is not fitting that I should distress myself now while I do exist? Wherefore I shall reserve my grief till that day, when, ceasing to exist, I shall not be affected with grief. But if I am to exist, what does it profit me now to distress myself gratuitously? And immediately after this another reasoning assailed me; for I said, Shall I not have something worse to suffer then than that which distresses me now, if I have not lived piously; and shall I not be delivered over, according to the doctrines of some philosophers, to Pyriphlegethon and Tartarus, like Sisyphus, or Tityus, or Ixion, or Tantalus, and be punished for ever in Hades? But again I replied, saying: But there are no such things as these. Yet again I said: But if there be? Therefore, said I, since the matter is uncertain, the safer plan is for me rather to live piously. But how shall I be able, for the sake of righteousness, to subdue bodily pleasures, looking, as I do, to an uncertain hope? But I am neither fully persuaded what is that righteous thing that is pleasing to God, nor do I know whether the soul is immortal or mortal. Neither can I find any well-established doctrine, nor can I abstain from such debatings.


Chap. V. – A Resolution.

What, then, am I to do, unless this? I shall go into Egypt, and I shall become friendly with the hierophants of the shrines, and with the prophets; and I shall seek and find a magician, and persuade him with large bribes to effect the calling up of a soul, which is called necromancy, as if I were going to inquire of it concerning some business. And the inquiry shall be for the purpose of learning whether the soul is immortal. But the answer of the soul that it is immortal shall not give me the knowledge from its speaking or my hearing, but only from its being seen; so that, seeing it with my very eyes, I may have a self-sufficient and fit assurance, from the very fact of its appearing, that it exists; and never again shall the uncertain words of hearing be able to overturn the things which the eyes have made their own. However, I submitted this very plan to a certain companion who was a philosopher; and he counselled me not to venture upon it, and that on many accounts. “For if,” said he, “the soul shall not listen to the magician, you will live with an evil conscience, as having acted against the laws which forbid the doing of these things. But if it shall listen to him, then, besides your living with an evil conscience, I think that matters of piety will not be promoted to you on account of your making this attempt. For they say that the Deity is angry with those who disturb souls after their release from the body.”2 And I, when I heard this, became indeed more backward to undertake such a thing, but I did not abandon my original plan; but I was distressed, as being hindered in the execution of it.


Chap. VI. – Tidings from Judæa.

And, not to discuss such matters to you in a long speech, while I was occupied with such reasonings and doings, a certain report, taking its rise in the spring-time,3 in the reign of Tiberius Cæsar, gradually grew everywhere, and ran through the world as truly the good tidings of God, being unable to stifle the counsel of God in silence. Therefore it everywhere became greater and louder, saying that a certain One in Judæa, beginning in the spring season, was preaching to the Jews the kingdom of the invisible God, and saying that whoever of them would reform his manner of living should enjoy it. And in order that He might be believed that He uttered these things full of the Godhead, He wrought many wonderful miracles and signs by His mere command, as having received power from God. For He made the deaf to hear, the blind to see, the lame to walk, raised up the bowed down, drove away every disease, put to flight every demon; and even scabbed lepers, by only looking on Him from a distance, were sent away cured by Him; and the dead being brought to Him, were raised; and there was nothing which He could not do. And as time advanced, so much the greater, through the arrival of more persons, and the stronger grew – I say not now the report, but – the truth of the thing; for now at length there were meetings in various places for consultation and inquiry as to who He might be that had appeared, and what was His purpose.


Chap. VII. – The Gospel in Rome.

And then in the same year, in the autumn season, a certain one, standing in a public place, cried and said, “Men of Rome, hearken. The Son of God is come in Judæa, proclaiming eternal life to all who will, if they shall live according to the counsel of the Father, who hath sent Him. Wherefore change your manner of life from the worse to the better, from things temporal to things eternal; for know ye that there is one God, who is in heaven, whose world ye unrighteously dwell in before His righteous eyes. But if ye be changed, and live according to His counsel, then, being born into the other world, and becoming eternal, ye shall enjoy His unspeakable good things. But if ye be unbelieving, your souls, after the dissolution of the body, shall be thrown into the place of fire, where, being punished eternally, they shall repent of their unprofitable deeds. For every one, the term of repentance is the present life.” I therefore, when I heard these things, was grieved, because no one among so great multitudes, hearing such an announcement, said: I shall go into Judæa, that I may know if this man who tells us these things speaks the truth, that the Son of God has come into Judæa, for the sake of a good and eternal hope, revealing the will of the Father who sent Him. For it is no small matter which they say that He preaches: for He asserts that the souls of some, being themselves immortal, shall enjoy eternal good things; and that those of others, being thrown into unquenchable fire, shall be punished for ever.


Chap. VIII. – Departure from Rome.

While I spoke thus concerning others, I also lectured myself, saying, Why do I blame others, being myself guilty of the very same crime of heedlessness? But I shall hasten into Judæa, having first arranged my affairs.4 And when I had thus made up my mind, there occurred a long time of delay, my worldly affairs being difficult to arrange. Therefore, meditating further on the nature of life, that by involving5 men in hope it lays snares for those who are making haste, yea, and how much time I had been robbed of while tossed by hopes, and that we men die while thus occupied, I left all my affairs as they were, and sped to Portus;6 and coming to the harbour, and being taken on board a ship, I was borne by adverse winds to Alexandria instead of Judæa; and being detained there by stress of weather, I consorted with the philosophers, and told them about the rumour and the sayings of him who had appeared in Rome. And they answered that indeed they knew nothing of him who had appeared in Rome; but concerning Him who was born in Judæa, and who was said by the report to be the Son of God, they had heard from many who had come from thence, and had learned respecting all the wonderful things that He did with a word.


Chap. IX. – Preaching of Barnabas.

And when I said that I wished I could meet with some one of those who had seen Him, they immediately brought me to one, saying, “There is one here who not only is acquainted with Him, but is also of that country, a Hebrew, by name Barnabas, who says that he himself is one of His disciples; and hereabouts he resides, and readily announces to those who will the terms of His promise.” Then I went with them; and when I came, I stood listening to his words with the crowd that stood round him; and I perceived that he was speaking the truth not with dialectic art, but was setting forth simply and without preparation what he had heard and seen the manifested Son of God do and say. And even from the crowd who stood around him he produced many witnesses of the miracles and discourses which he narrated.


Chap. X. – Cavils of the Philosophers.

But while the multitudes were favourably disposed towards the things that he so artlessly spoke, the philosophers, impelled by their worldly learning, set upon laughing at him and making sport of him, upbraiding and reproaching him with excessive presumption, making use of the great armoury of syllogisms. But he set aside their babbling, and did not enter into their subtle questioning, but without embarrassment went on with what he was saying. And then one of them asked, Wherefore it was that a gnat, although it be so small, and has six feet, has wings also; while an elephant, the largest of beasts, is wingless, and has but four feet? But he, after the question had been put, resuming his discourse, which had been interrupted, as though he had answered the question, resumed his original discourse, only making use of this preface after each interruption: We have a commission only to tell you the words and the wondrous doings of Him who sent us; and instead of logical demonstration, we present to you many witnesses from amongst yourselves who stand by, whose faces I remember, as living images. These sufficient testimonies it is left to your choice to submit to, or to disbelieve.7 But I shall not cease to declare unto you what is for your profit; for to be silent were to me a loss, and to disbelieve is ruin to you. But indeed I could give answers to your frivolous questions, if you asked them through love of truth. But the reason of the different structure of the gnat and elephant it is not fitting to tell to those who are ignorant of the God of all.”


Chap. XI. – Clement’s Zeal.

When he said this, they all, as in concert, set up a shout of laughter, trying to silence him and put him out, as a barbarous madman. But I, seeing this, and seized, I know not how, with enthusiasm, could no longer keep silence with righteous indignation, but boldly cried out, saying, “Well has God ordained that His counsel should be incapable of being received by you, foreseeing you to be unworthy, as appears manifestly to such of those who are now present as have minds capable of judging. For whereas now heralds of His counsel have been sent forth, not making a show of grammatical art, but setting forth His will in simple and inartificial words, so that whosoever hear can understand what is spoken, and not with any invidious feeling, as though unwilling to offer it to all; you come here, and besides your not understanding what is for your advantage, to your own injury you laugh at the truth, which, to your condemnation, consorts with the barbarians, and which you will not entertain when it visits you, by reason of your wickedness and the plainness of its words, lest you be convicted of being merely lovers of words, and not lovers of truth and lovers of wisdom. How long will you be learning to speak, who have not the power of speech?8 For many sayings of yours are not worth one word. What, then, will your Grecian multitude say, being of one mind, if, as he says, there shall be a judgment? “Why, O God, didst Thou not proclaim to us Thy counsel?” Shall you not, if you be thought worthy of an answer at all, be told this? “I, knowing before the foundation of the world all characters that were to be, acted towards each one by anticipation according to his deserts without making it known;9 but wishing to give full assurance to those who have fled to me that this is so, and to explain why from the beginning, and in the first ages, I did not suffer my counsel to be publicly proclaimed; I now, in the end of the world,10 have sent heralds to proclaim my will, and they are insulted and flouted by those who will not be benefited, and who wilfully reject my friendship. Oh, great wrong! The preachers are exposed to danger even to the loss of life,11 and that by the men who are called to salvation.


Chap. XII. – Clement’s Rebuke of the People.

“And this wrongful treatment of my heralds would have been against all from the beginning, if from the beginning the unworthy had been called to salvation. For that which is now done wrongfully by these men serves to the vindication of my righteous foreknowledge, that it was well that I did not choose from the beginning to expose uselessly to public contempt the word which is worthy of honour; but determined to suppress it, as being honourable, not indeed from those who were worthy from the beginning – for to them also I imparted it – but from those, and such as those, unworthy, as you see them to be, – those who hate me, and who will not love themselves. And now, give over laughing at this man, and hear me with respect to his announcement, or let any one of the hearers who pleases answer. And do not bark like vicious dogs, deafening with disorderly clamour the ears of those who would be saved, ye unrighteous and God-haters, and perverting the saving method to unbelief. How shall you be able to obtain pardon, who scorn him who is sent to speak to you of the Godhead of God? And this you do towards a man whom you ought to have received on account of his good-will towards you, even if he did not speak truth.”


Chap. XIII. – Clement Instructed by Barnabas.

While I spake these words, and others to the same effect, there arose a great excitement among the crowd; and some as pitying Barnabas, sympathized with me; but others, being senseless, terribly gnashed their teeth against me. But, as the evening had already come, I took Barnabas by the hand, and by force conducted him, against his will, to my lodging, and constrained him to remain there, lest some one might lay hands on him. And having spent several days, and instructed me briefly in the true doctrine, as well as he could in a few days, he said that he should hasten into Judæa for the observance of the festival, and also because he wished for the future to consort with those of his own nation.


Chap. XIV. – Departure of Barnabas.

But it plainly appeared to me that he was disconcerted. For when I said to him, “Only set forth to me the words which you have heard of the Man who has appeared, and I will adorn them with my speech, and preach the counsel of God; and if you do so, within a few days I will sail with you, for I greatly desire to go to the land of Judæa, and perhaps I shall dwell with you all my life;” – when he heard this, he answered: “If you wish to inquire into our affairs, and to learn what is for your advantage, sail with me at once. But if you will not, I shall now give you directions to my house, and that of those whom you wish to meet, that when you choose to come you may find us. For I shall set out to-morrow for my home?” And when I saw that he could not be prevailed upon, I went with him as far as the harbour; and having learned of him the directions which he had promised to give me for finding the dwellings, I said to him, “Were it not that to-morrow I am to recover a debt that is due to me, I should straightway set sail with you. But I shall soon overtake you.” And having said this, and having given him in charge to those who commanded the ship, I returned grieving, remembering him as an excellent and dear friend. 


Chap. XV. – Introduction to Peter.

But having spent some days, and not having been able to recover the whole debt, for the sake of speed I neglected the balance, as being a hindrance, and myself also set sail for Judæa, and in fifteen days arrived at Cæsarea Stratonis.12 And when I had landed, and was seeking for a lodging, I learned that one named Peter, who was the most esteemed disciple of the Man who had appeared in Judæa, and had done signs and wonders, was going to have a verbal controversy next day with Simon, a Samaritan of Gitthi. When I heard this, I begged to be shown his lodging; and as soon as I learned it, I stood before the door. And those who were in the house, seeing me, discussed the question who I was, and whence I had come. And, behold, Barnabas came out; and as soon as he saw me he embraced me, rejoicing greatly, and weeping. And he took me by the hand, and conducted me to where Peter was, saying to me, “This is Peter, of whom I told you as being the greatest in the wisdom of God, and I have spoken to him of you continually. Therefore enter freely,13 for I have told him your excellent qualities, without falsehood; and, at the same time, have disclosed to him your intention, so that he himself also is desirous to see you. Therefore I offer him a great gift when by my hands I present you to him.” Thus saying, he presented me, and said, “This, O Peter, is Clement.”


Chap. XVI. – Peter’s Salutation.

Then the blessed man, springing forward as soon as he heard my name, kissed me; and making me sit down, straightway said, “You acted nobly in entertaining Barnabas, a herald of the truth, to the honour of the living God, being magnanimously not ashamed, nor fearing the resentment of the rude multitude. Blessed shall you be. For as you thus with all honour entertained the ambassador of the truth, so also truth herself shah constitute you, who are a stranger, a citizen of her own city. And thus you shall greatly rejoice, because you have now lent a small favour; I mean the kindness of good words. You shall be heir of blessings which are both eternal and cannot possibly be taken from you. And do not trouble yourself to detail to me your manner of life; for the veracious Barnabas has detailed to us everything relating to you, making favourable mention of you almost every day. And in order that I may tell to you briefly, as to a genuine friend, what is in hand, travel with us, unless anything hinders you, partaking of the words of truth which I am going to speak from city to city, as far as Rome itself. And if you wish to say anything, speak on.”


Chap. XVII. – Questions Propounded.

Then I set forth my purpose from the beginning, and how I had spent myself upon difficult questions, and all the things that I disclosed to you at the outset, so that I need not write the same things again. Then I said, “I hold myself in readiness to journey with you; for this, I know not how, I gladly wish. However, I wish first to be convinced concerning the truth, that I may know whether the soul is mortal or immortal; and whether, if it is eternal, it is to be judged concerning the things which it hath done here. Also, whether there is anything that is righteous and well-pleasing to God; and whether the world was made, and for what end it was made; and whether it shall be dissolved; and if it shall be dissolved, whether it shall be made better, or shall not be at all.” And not to mention them in detail, I said that I wished to learn these things, and things consequent upon these. And to this he answered: “I shall shortly convey to you, O Clement, the knowledge of the things that are; and even now listen.


Chap. XVIII. – Causes of Ignorance.

“The will of God has been kept in obscurity in many ways. In the first place, there is evil instruction, wicked association, terrible society, unseemly discourses, wrongful prejudice. Thereby is error, then fearlessness, unbelief, fornication, covetousness, vainglory; and ten thousand other such evils, filling the world as a quantity of smoke fills a house, have obscured the sight of the men inhabiting the world, and have not suffered them to look up and become acquainted with God the Creator from the delineation of Himself which He has given, and to know what is pleasing to Him. Wherefore it behoves the lovers of truth, crying out inwardly from their breasts, to call for aid, with truth-loving reason, that some one living within the house14 which is filled with smoke may approach and open the door, so that the light of the sun which is without may be admitted into the house, and the smoke of the fire which is within may be driven out.


Chap. XIX. – The True Prophet.

“Now the Man who is the helper I call the true Prophet; and He alone is able to enlighten the souls of men, so that with our own eyes we may be able to see the way of eternal salvation. But otherwise it is impossible, as you also know, since you said a little while ago that every doctrine is set up and pulled down, and the same is thought true or false, according to the power of him who advocates it; so that doctrines do not appear as they are, but take the appearance of being or not being truth or falsehood from those who advocate them.15 On this account the whole business of religion needed a true prophet, that he might tell us things that are, as they are, and how we must believe concerning all things. So that it is first necessary to test the prophet by every prophetic sign, and having ascertained that he is true, thereafter to believe him in every thing, and not to sit in judgment upon his several sayings, but to receive them as certain, being accepted indeed by seeming faith, yet by sure judgment. For by our initial proof, and by strict inquiry on every side, all things are received with right reason. Wherefore before all things it is necessary to seek after the true Prophet, because without Him it is impossible that any certainty can come to men.”


Chap. XX. – Peter’s Satisfaction with Clement.

And, at the same time, he satisfied me by expounding to me who He is, and how He is found, and holding Him forth to me as truly to be found, showing that the truth is more manifest to the ear by the discourse of the prophet than things that are seen with the eye; so that I was astonished, and wondered that no one sees those things which are sought after by all, though they lie before him. However, having written this discourse concerning the Prophet by his order, he caused the volume to be despatched to you from Cæsarea Stratonis, saying that he had a charge from you to send his discourses and his acts year by year.16 Thus, on the very first day, beginning only concerning the prophet of the truth, he confirmed me in every respect; and then he spoke thus: “Henceforth give heed to the discussions that take place between me and those on the other side; and even if I come off at a disadvantage, I am not afraid of your ever doubting of the truth that has been delivered to you, knowing well that I seem to be beaten, but not the doctrine that has been delivered to us by the Prophet. However, I hope not to come off in our inquiries at a disadvantage with men who have understanding – I mean lovers of truth, who are able to know what discourses are specious, artificial, and pleasant, and what are unartificial and simple, trusting only to the truth that is conveyed through them.”


Chap. XXI. – Unalterable Conviction.

When he had thus spoken, I answered: “Now do I thank God; for as I wished to be convinced, so He has vouchsafed to me. However, so far as concerns me, be you so far without anxiety that I shall never doubt; so much so, that if you yourself should ever wish to remove me from the prophetic doctrine, you should not be able, so well do I know what I have received. And do not think that it is a great thing that I promise you that I shall never doubt; for neither I myself, nor any man who has heard your discourse concerning the Prophet, can ever doubt of the true doctrine, having first heard and understood what is the truth of the prophetic announcement. Wherefore have confidence in the God-willed dogma; for every art of wickedness has been conquered. For against prophecy, neither arts of discourses, nor tricks of sophisms, nor syllogisms, nor any other contrivance, can prevail anything; that is, if he who has heard the true Prophet really is desirous of truth, and does not give heed to aught else under pretext of truth. So that, my lord Peter, be not disconcerted, as though you had presented the greatest good to a senseless person; for you have presented it to one sensible of the favour, and who cannot be seduced from the truth that has been committed to him. For I know that it is one of those things which one wishes to receive quickly, and not to attain slowly. Therefore I know that I should not despise, on account of the quickness with which I have got it, what has been committed to me, what is incomparable, and what alone is safe.”


Chap. XXII. – Thanksgiving.

When I had thus spoken, Peter said: “I give thanks to God, both for your salvation and for my satisfaction. For I am truly pleased to know that you apprehend what is the greatness of prophecy. Since, then, as you say, if I myself should ever wish – which God forbid – to transfer you to another doctrine, I shall not be able to persuade you, begin from to-morrow to attend upon me in the discussions with the adversaries. And to-morrow I have one with Simon Magus.” And having spoken thus, and he himself having partaken of food in private, he ordered me also to partake;17 and having blessed the food, and having given thanks after being satisfied, and having giving me an account of this matter, he went on to say: “May God grant you in all things to be made like unto me, and having been baptized, to partake of the same table with me.” And having thus spoken, he enjoined me to go to rest; for now indeed my bodily nature demanded sleep. 





1 [The first six chapters agree closely with the corresponding passage in the Recognitions. – R.]

2 This rendering is from the text in the corresponding passage of the Epitome de gestis S. Petri.

3 [This clause is represented in the Recognitions as follows; “which took its rise in the regions of the East.” – R.]

4 [The narrative here varies from that of the Recognitions; comp. book book i. chaps. 7-11. – R.]

5 For ἐκπλοκῶν Wieseler proposes ἐκκλέπτων, “that deceiving by hopes it lays snares,” etc.

6 Portus, the port of Rome. One ms. reads πόντον, “the sea.”

7 We have here adopted a conjectural reading of Davis. The common text is thus translated: “whose faces I remember, and who as being living images are satisfactory testimonies. These it is left,” etc.

8 The Vatican ms. and Epit. have “the power of speaking well.”

9 Lit., “I met each one beforehand secretly.” The Latin has, “unicusque praevius occurri.”

10 The Greek is βίου, “life.”

11 The Paris ms. reads φθόνου, “envy,” instead of φόνου, “murder.”

12 [Here the two accounts become again closely parallel. – R.]

13 The text is corrupt. Dressel’s reading is adopted in the text, being based on Rufinius’s translation. Some conjecture, “as you will know of your own accord.”

14 A conjectural reading, “being without the house,” seems preferable.

15 [Comp. Recognitions, book i. 16, where the discourse is more fully given. – R.]

16 The text is probably corrupt or defective. As it stands, grammatically Peter writes the discourse and sends it, and yet “by his order” must also apply to Peter. The Recognitions make Clement write the book and send it. The passage is deemed important, and is accordingly discussed in Schliemann, p.83; Hilgenfeld, p.37; and Uhlhorn, p.101. [See Recognitions, book i. 17.] Both passages, despite the variation, may be urged in support of the existence of an earlier document as the common basis of the Clementine literature. – R.]

17 [Comp. Homily XIII. 4 and Recognitions, book i. 19. – R.]


Homily II.

Chap. I. – Peter’s Attendants.

Therefore the next day, I Clement, awaking from sleep before dawn, and learning that Peter was astir, and was conversing with his attendants concerning the worship of God (there were sixteen of them,1 and I have thought good to set forth their names, as I subsequently learned them, that you may also know who they were. The first of them was Zacchæus, who was once a publican, and Sophonias his brother; Joseph and his foster-brother Michaias; also Thomas and Eliezer the twins; also Æneas and Lazarus the priests; besides also Elisæus, and Benjamin the son of Saphrus; as also Rubilus and Zacharias the builders; and Ananias and Haggæus the Jamminians; and Nicetas and Aquila the friends), – accordingly I went in and saluted him, and at his request sat down.


Chap. II. – A Sound Mind in a Sound Body.

And he, breaking off the discourse in which he was engaged, assured me, by way of apology, why he had not awakened me that I might hear his discourses, assigning as the reason the discomfort of my voyage. As he wished this to be dispelled,2 he had suffered me to sleep. “For,” said he, “whenever the soul is distracted concerning some bodily want, it does not properly approach the instructions that are presented to it. On this account I am not willing to converse, either with those who are greatly grieving through some calamity, or are immoderately angry, or are turned to the frenzy of love, or are suffering trader bodily exhaustion, or are distressed with the cares of life, or are harassed with any other sufferings, whose soul, as I said, being downcast, and sympathizing with the suffering body, occupies also its own intelligence therewith.


Chap. III. – Forewarned Is Forearmed.

“And let it not be said, Is it not, then, proper to present comforts and admonitions to those who are in any bad case? To this I answer, that if, indeed, any one is able, let him present them; but if not, let him bide his time. For I know (Ecc_3:1) that all things have their proper season. Wherefore it is proper to ply men with words which strengthen the soul in anticipation of evil; so that, if at any time any evil comes upon them, the mind, being forearmed with the right argument, may be able to bear up under that which befalls it: for then the mind knows in the crisis of the struggle to have recourse to him who succoured it by good counsel.


Chap. IV. – A Request.

“However, I have learned, O Clement, how that in Alexandria Barnabas perfectly expounded to you the word respecting prophecy. Was it not so?” I answered, “Yes, and exceeding well.” Then Peter: “Therefore it is not necessary now to occupy with the instructions which you know, the time which may serve us for other instructions which you do not know.” Then said I: “You have rightly said, O Peter. But vouchsafe this to me, who purpose always to attend upon you, continuously to expound to me, a delighted hearer, the doctrine of the Prophet. For, apart from Him, as I learned from Barnabas, it is impossible to learn the truth.”


Chap. V. – Excellence of the Knowledge of the True Prophet.

And Peter, being greatly pleased with this, answered: “Already hath the rectifying process taken its end, as regards you, knowing as you do the greatness of the infallible prophecy, without which it is impossible for any one to receive that which is supremely profitable. For of many and diverse blessings which are in the things which are or which may be, the most blessed of all – whether it be eternal life, or perpetual health, or a perfect understanding, or light, or joy, or immortality, or whatever else there is or that can be supremely good in the nature of things – cannot be possessed without first knowing things as they are; and this knowledge cannot be otherwise obtained than by first becoming acquainted with the Prophet of the truth.


Chap. VI. – The True Prophet.

“Now the Prophet of the truth is He who always knows all things – things past as they were, things present as they are, things future as they shall be; sinless, merciful, alone entrusted with the declaration of the truth. Read, and you shall find that those were deceived3 who thought that they had found the truth of themselves. For this is peculiar to the Prophet, to declare the truth, even as it is peculiar to the sun to bring the day. Wherefore, as many as have even desired to know the truth, but have not had the good fortune to learn it from Him, have not found it, but have died seeking it. For how can he find the truth who seeks it from his own ignorance? And even if he find it, he does not know it, and passes it by as if it were not. Nor yet shall he be able to obtain possession of the truth from another, who, in like manner, promises to him knowledge from ignorance; excepting only the knowledge of morality and things of that sort, which can be known through reason, which affords to every one the knowledge that he ought not to wrong another, through his not wishing himself to be wronged.


Chap. VII. – Unaided Quest of Truth Profitless.

“All therefore who ever sought the truth, trusting to themselves to be able to find it, fell into a snare. This is what both the philosophers of the Greeks, and the more intelligent of the barbarians, have suffered. For, applying themselves to things visible, they have given decisions by conjecture on things not apparent, thinking that that was truth which at any time presented itself to them as such. For, like persons who know the truth, they, still seeking the truth, reject some of the suppositions that are presented to them, and lay hold of others, as if they knew, while they do not know, what things are true and what are false. And they dogmatize concerning truth, even those who are seeking after truth, not knowing that he who seeks truth cannot learn it from his own wandering. For not even, as I said, can he recognise her when she stands by him, since he is unacquainted with her.


Chap. VIII. – Test of Truth.

“And it is by no means that which is true, but that which is pleasing, which persuades every one who seeks to learn from himself. Since, therefore, one thing is pleasing to one, and another to another, one thing prevails over one as truth, and another thing over another. But the truth is that which is approved by the Prophet, not that which is pleasant to each individual. For that which is one would be many, if the pleasing were the true; which is impossible. Wherefore also the Grecian philologers – rather than philosophers4 – going about matters by conjectures, have dogmatized much and diversely, thinking that the apt sequence of hypotheses is truth, not knowing that when they have assigned to themselves false beginnings, their conclusion has corresponded with the beginning.


Chap. IX. – “The Weak Things of the World.”

“Whence a man ought to pass by all else, and commit himself to the Prophet of the truth alone. And we are all able to judge of Him, whether he is a prophet, even although we be wholly unlearned, and novices in sophisms, and unskilled in geometry, and uninitiated in music. For God, as caring for all, has made the discovery concerning Himself easier to all, in order that neither the barbarians might be powerless, nor the Greeks unable to find Him. Therefore the discovery concerning Him is easy; and thus it is: – 


Chap. X. – Test of the Prophet.

“If he is a Prophet, and is able to know how the world was made, and the things that are in it, and the things that shall be to the end, if He has foretold us anything, and we have ascertained that it has been perfectly accomplished, we easily believe that the things shall be which He says are to be, from the things that have been already; we believe Him, I say, as not only knowing, but foreknowing. To whom then, however limited an understanding he may have, does it not appear, that it behoves us, with respect to the things that are pleasing to God, to believe beyond all others Him who beyond all men knows, even though He has not learned? Wherefore, if any one should be unwilling to concede the power of knowing the truth to such an one – I mean to Him who has foreknowledge through the divinity of the Spirit that is in Him – conceding the power of knowing to any one else, is he not void of understanding, in conceding to him who is no prophet, that power of knowing which he would not concede to the Prophet?


Chap. XI. – Ignorance, Knowledge, Foreknowledge.

“Wherefore, before all things, we must test the Prophet with all judgment by means of the prophetic promise; and having ascertained Him to be the Prophet, we must undoubtingly follow the other words of His teaching; and having confidence concerning things hoped for, we must conduct ourselves according to the first judgment, knowing that He who tells us these things has not a nature to lie. Wherefore, if any of the things that are afterwards spoken by Him do not appear to us to be well spoken, we must know that it is not that it has been spoken amiss, but that it is that we have not conceived it aright. For ignorance does not judge knowledge, and so neither is knowledge competent truly to judge foreknowledge; but foreknowledge affords knowledge to the ignorant.


Chap. XII. – Doctrine of the True Prophet.

“Hence, O beloved Clement, if you would know the things pertaining to God, you have to learn them from Him alone, because He alone knows the truth. For if any one else knows anything, he has received it from Him or from His disciples. And this is His doctrine and true proclamation, that there is one God, whose work the world is; who being altogether righteous, shall certainly at some time render to every one according to his deeds.


Chap. XIII. – Future Rewards and Punishments.

“For there is every necessity, that he who says that God is by His nature righteous, should believe also that the souls of men are immortal: for where would be His justice, when some, having lived piously, have been evil-treated, and sometimes violently cut off, while others who have been wholly impious, and have indulged in luxurious living, have died the common death of men? Since therefore, without all contradiction, God who is good is also just, He shall not otherwise be known to be just, unless the soul after its separation from the body be immortal, so that the wicked man, being in hell,5 as having here received his good things, may there be punished for his sins; and the good man, who has been punished here for his sins, may then, as in the bosom of the righteous, be constituted an heir of good things. Since therefore God is righteous, it is fully evident to us that there is a judgment, and that souls are immortal.


Chap. XIV. – Righteousness and Unrighteousness.

“But if any one, according to the opinion of this Simon the Samaritan, will not admit that God is just, to whom then can any one ascribe justice, or the possibility of it? For if the Root of all have it not, there is every necessity to think that it must be impossible to find it in human nature, which, is, as it were, the fruit. And if it is to be found in man, how much more in God! But if righteousness can be found nowhere, neither in God nor in man, then neither can unrighteousness. But there is such a thing as righteousness, for unrighteousness takes its name from the existence of righteousness; for it is called unrighteousness, when righteousness is compared with it, and is found to be opposite to it.


Chap. XV. – Pairs.

“Hence therefore God, teaching men with respect to the truth of existing things, being: Himself one, has distinguished all principles into pairs and opposites,6 Himself being one and sole God from the beginning, having made heaven and earth, day and night, light and fire, sun and moon, life and death. But man alone amongst these He made self-controlling, having a fitness to be either righteous or unrighteous. To him also he hath varied the figures of combinations, placing before him small things first, and great ones afterwards, such as the world and eternity. But the world that now is, is temporary; that which shall be, is eternal. First is ignorance, then knowledge. So also has He arranged the leaders of prophecy. For, since the present world is female, as a mother bringing forth the souls of her children, but the world to come is male, as a father receiving his children from their mother, therefore in this world there come a succession of prophets, as being sons of the world to come, and having knowledge of men. And if pious men had understood this mystery, they would never have gone astray, but even now they should have known that Simon, who now enthralls all men, is a fellow-worker of error and deceit. Now, the doctrine of the prophetic rule is as follows.


Chap. XVI. – Man’s Ways Opposite to God’s.

“As in the beginning God, who is one, like a right hand and a left, made the heavens first and then the earth, so also He constituted all the combinations in order; but upon men He no more does this, but varies all the combinations. For whereas from Him the greater things come first, and the inferior second, we find the opposite in men – the first worse, and the second superior. Therefore from Adam, who was made after the image of God, there sprang first the unrighteous Cain, and then the righteous Abel. Again, from him who amongst you is called Deucalion,7 two forms of spirits were sent forth, the impure namely, and the pure, first the black raven, and then the white dove. From Abraham also, the patriarchs of our nation, two firsts8 sprang – Ishmael first, then Isaac, who was blessed of God. And from Isaac himself, in like manner, there were again two – Esau the profane, and Jacob the pious. So, first in birth, as the first born in the world, was the high priest Aaron, then the lawgiver Moses.


Chap. XVII. – First the Worse, Then the Better.

“In like manner, the combination with respect to Elias, which behoved to have come, has been willingly put off to another time, having determined to enjoy it conveniently hereafter.9 Wherefore, also, he who was among those born of woman came first; then he who was among the sons of men came second It were possible, following this order, to perceive to what series Simon belongs, who came before me to the Gentiles, and to which I belong who have come after him, and have come in upon him as light upon darkness, as knowledge upon ignorance, as healing upon disease. And thus, as the true Prophet has told us, a false prophet must first come from some deceiver; and then, in like manner, after the removal of the holy place, the true Gospel must be secretly sent abroad for the rectification of the heresies that shall be. After this, also, towards the end, Antichrist must first come, and then our Jesus must be revealed to be indeed the Christ; and after this, the eternal light having sprung up, all the things of darkness must disappear.


Chap. XVIII. – Mistake About Simon Magus.

“Since, then, as I said, some men do not know the rule of combination, thence they do not know who is my precursor Simon. For if he were known, he would not be believed; but now, not being known, he is improperly believed; and though his deeds are those of a hater, he is loved; and though an enemy, he is received as a friend; and though he be death, he is desired as a saviour; and though fire, he is esteemed as light; and though a deceiver, he is believed as a speaker of truth.”

Then I Clement, when I heard this, said, “Who then, I pray you, is this who is such a deceiver? I should like to be informed.” Then said Peter: “If you wish to learn, it is in your power to know it from those from whom I also got accurate information on all points respecting him.


Chap. XIX. – Justa, a Proselyte.

“There is amongst us one Justa, a Syro-Phoenician, by race a Canaanite, whose daughter was oppressed with a grievous disease.10 And she came to our Lord, crying out, and entreating that He would heal her daughter. But He, being asked also by us, said, ‘It is not lawful to heal the Gentiles, who are like to dogs on account of their using various11 meats and practices, while the table in the kingdom has been given to the sons of Israel.’ But she, hearing this, and begging to partake like a dog of the crumbs that fall from this table, having changed what she was,12 by living like the sons of the kingdom, she obtained healing for her daughter, as she asked. For she being a Gentile, and remaining in the same course of life, He would not have healed had she remained a Gentile, on account of its not being lawful to heal her as a Gentile.13


Chap. XX. – Divorced for the Faith.

“She, therefore, having taken up a manner of life according to the law, was, with the daughter who had been healed, driven out from her home by her husband, whose sentiments were opposed to ours. But she, being faithful to her engagements, and being in affluent circumstances, remained a widow herself, but gave her daughter in marriage to a certain man who was attached to the true faith, and who was poor. And, abstaining from marriage for the sake of her daughter, she bought two boys and educated them, and had them in place of sons. And they being educated from their boyhood with Simon Magus, have learned all things concerning him. For such was their friendship, that they were associated with him in all things in which he wished to unite with them.


Chap. XXI. – Justa’s Adopted Sons, Associates with Simon.

“These men having fallen in with Zacchæus, who sojourned here, and having received the word of truth from him, and having repented of their former innovations, and immediately denouncing Simon as being privy with him in all things, as soon as I came to sojourn here, they came to me with their foster-mother, being presented to me by him, Zacchæus, and ever since they continue with me, enjoying instructions in the truth.” When Peter had said this, he sent for them, and charged them that they should accurately relate to me all things concerning Simon. And they, having called God to witness that in nothing they would falsify, proceeded with the relation.


Chap. XXII. – Doctrines of Simon.

First Aquila began to speak in this wise: “Listen, O dearest brother, that you may know accurately everything about this man, whose he is, and what, and whence; and what the things are which he does, and how and why he does them.14 This Simon is the son of Antonius and Rachel, a Samaritan by race, of the village of Gitthæ, which is six schoeni distant from the city. He having disciplined himself greatly in Alexandria,15 and being very powerful in magic, and being ambitious, wishes to be accounted a certain supreme power, greater even than the God who created the world. And sometimes intimating that he is Christ, he styles himself the Standing One.16 And this epithet he employs, as intimating that he shall always stand, and as not having any cause of corruption so that his body should fall. And he neither says that the God who created the world is the Supreme, nor does he believe that the dead will be raised. He rejects Jerusalem, and substitutes Mount Gerizzim for it. Instead of our Christ, he proclaims himself. The things of the lair he explains by his own presumption; and he says, indeed, that there is to be a judgment, but he does not expect it. For if he were persuaded that he shall be judged by God, he would not dare be impious towards God Himself. Whence some not knowing that, using religion as a cloak, he spoils the things of the truth, and faithfully believing the hope and the judgment which in some way he says are to be, are ruined.


Chap. XXIII. – Simon a Disciple of the Baptist.

“But that he came to deal with the doctrines of religion happened on this wise. There was one John, a day-baptist,17 who was also, according to the method of combination, the forerunner of our Lord Jesus; and as the Lord had twelve apostles, bearing the number of the twelve months of the sun, so also he, John, had thirty chief men, fulfilling the monthly reckoning of the moon, in which number was a certain woman called Helena,18 that not even this might be without a dispensational significance. For a woman, being half a man, made up the imperfect number of the triacontad; as also in the case of the moon, whose revolution does not make the complete cours

e of the month.19 But of these thirty, the first and the most esteemed by John was Simon; and the reason of his not being chief after the death of John was as follows: – 

Chap. XXIV. – Electioneering Stratagems.

“He being absent in Egypt for the practice of magic, and John being killed, Dositheus desiring the leadership,20 falsely gave out that Simon was dead, and succeeded to the seat. But Simon, returning not long after, and strenuously holding by the place as his own, when he met with Dositheus did not demand the place, knowing that a man who has attained power beyond his expectations cannot be removed from it. Wherefore with pretended friendship he gives himself for a while to the second place, under Dositheus. But taking his place after a few days among the thirty fellow-disciples, he began to malign Dositheus as not delivering the instructions correctly. And this he said that he did, not through unwillingness to deliver them correctly, but through ignorance. And on one occasion, Dositheus, perceiving that this artful accusation of Simon was dissipating the opinion of him with respect to many, so that they did not think that he was the Standing One, came in a rage to the usual place of meeting, and finding Simon, struck him with a staff. But it seemed to pass through the body of Simon as if he had been smoke. Thereupon Dositheus, being confounded, said to him, ‘If you are the Standing One, I also will worship you.’ Then Simon said that he was; and Dositheus, knowing that he himself was not the Standing One, fell down and worshipped; and associating himself with the twenty-nine chiefs, he raised Simon to his own place of repute; and thus, not many days after, Dositheus himself, while he (Simon) stood, fell down and died.


Chap. XXV. – Simon’s Deceit.

“But Simon is going about in company with Helena, and even till now, as you see, is stirring up the people. And he says that he has brought down this Helena from the highest heavens to the world; being queen, as the all-bearing being, and wisdom, for whose sake, says he, the Greeks and barbarians fought, having before their eyes but an image of truth;21 for she, who really is the truth, was then with the chiefest god. Moreover, by cunningly explaining certain things of this sort, made up from Grecian myths, he deceives many; especially as he performs many signal marvels, so that if we did not know that he does these things by magic, we ourselves should also have been deceived. But whereas we were his fellow-labourers at the first, so long as be did such things without doing wrong to the interests of religion; now that he has madly begun to attempt to deceive those who are religious, we have withdrawn from him.


Chap. XXVI. – His Wickedness.

“For he even began to commit murder,22 as himself disclosed to us, as a friend to friends, that, having separated the soul of a child from its own body by horrid incantations, as his assistant for the exhibition of anything that he pleased, and having drawn the likeness of the boy, he has it set up in the inner room where he sleeps, saying that he once formed the boy of air, by divine arts, and having painted his likeness, he gave him back again to the air. And he explains that he did the deed thus. He says that the first soul of man, being turned into the nature of heat, drew to itself, and sucked in the surrounding air, after the fashion of a gourd;23 and then that he changed it into water, when it was within the form of the spirit; and he said that he changed into the nature of blood the air that was in it, which could not be poured out on account of the consistency of the spirit, and that he made the blood solidified into flesh; then, the flesh being thus consolidated, that he exhibited a man not made from earth, but from air. And thus, having persuaded himself that he was able to make a new sort of man, he said that he reversed the changes, and again restored him to the air. And when he told this to others, he was believed; but by us who were present at his ceremonies he was religiously disbelieved. Wherefore we denounced his impieties, and withdrew from him.”


Chap. XXVII. – His Promises.

When Aquila had thus spoken, his brother Nicetas said: “It is necessary, O Clement our brother, for me to mention what has been left out by Aquila. For, in the first place, God is witness that we assisted him in no impious work, but that we looked on while he wrought; and as long as he did harmless things, and exhibited them, we were also pleased. But when, in order to deceive the godly, he said that he did, by means of godhead, the things that were done by magic, we no longer endured him, though he made us many promises, especially that our statues should be thought worthy of a place in the temple,24 and that we should be thought to be gods, and should be worshipped by the multitude, and should be honoured by kings, and should be thought worthy of public honours, and enriched with boundless wealth.


Chap. XXVIII. – Fruitless Counsel.

“These things, and things reckoned greater than these, he promised us, on condition only that we should associate with him, and keep silence as to the wickedness of his undertaking, so that the scheme of his deceit might succeed. But still we would not consent, but even counselled him to desist from such madness, saying to him: ‘We, O Simon, remembering our friendship towards you from our childhood, and out of affection for you, give you good counsel. Desist from this attempt. You cannot be a God. Fear Him who is really God. Know that you are a man, and that the time of your life is short; and though you should get great riches, or even become a king, few things accrue to the short time of your life for enjoyment, and things wickedly gotten soon flee away, and procure everlasting punishment for the adventurer. Wherefore we counsel you to fear God, by whom the soul of every one must be judged for the deeds that he hath done here.’


Chap. XXIX. – Immortality of the Soul.

“When he heard this he laughed; and when we asked him why he laughed at us for giving him good counsel, he answered: ‘I laugh at your foolish supposition, because you believe that the soul of man is immortal.’ Then I said: ‘We do not wonder, O Simon, at your attempting to deceive us, but we are confounded at the way in which you deceive even yourself. Tell me, O Simon, even if no one else has been fully convinced that the soul is immortal, at all events you and we ought to be so: you as having separated one from a human body, and conversed with it, and laid your commands upon it; and we as having been present, and heard your commands, and clearly witnessed the performance of what was ordered.’ Then said Simon: ‘I know what you mean; but you know nothing of the matters concerning which you reason.’ Then said Nicetas: ‘If you know, speak; but if you do not know, do not suppose that we can be deceived by your saying that you know, and that we do not. For we are not so childish, that you can sow in us a shrewd suspicion that we should think that you know some unutterable things, and so that you should take and hold us in subjection, by holding us in restraint through means of desire.’


Chap. XXX. – An Argument.

“Then Simon said: ‘I am aware that you know that I separated a soul from a human body; but I know that you are ignorant that it is not the soul of the dead person that ministers to me, for it does not exist; but a certain demon works, pretending to be the soul.’ Then said Nicetas: ‘Many incredible things we have heard in our lifetime, but aught more senseless than this speech we do not expect ever to hear. For if a demon pretends to be the soul of the dead person, what is the use of the soul at all, that it should be separated from the body? Were I not we ourselves present and heard you conjuring the soul from the body? And how comes it that, when one is conjured, another who is not conjured obeys, as if it were frightened? And you yourself, when at any time we have asked you why the conferences sometimes cease, did not you say that the soul, having fulfilled the time upon earth which it was to have passed in the body, goes to Hades? And you added, that the souls of those who commit suicide are not easily permitted to come, because, having gone home into Hades, they are guarded.’”





1 [With but two exceptions, these names, or their equivalents, occur in Recognitions, book iii. 68, where importance is attached to the number twelve.] Comp. also Recognitions, book ii. 1. A comparison of these lists favours the theory of a common documentary basis. – R.]

2 Literally, “to be boiled out of me.”

3 “Were deceived” is not in the test, but the sense demands that some such expression should be supplied.

4 φιλόλογι, οὐ φιλόσοφοι, “lovers of words, not lovers of wisdom.”

5 Lit. Hades.

6 Literally, “twofoldly and oppositely.]” [On the doctrine of pairs compare chap. 33, iii. 23, Recognitions, book iii. 61. – R.]

7 Noah.

8 For “first” Wieseler conjectures “different,” – two different persons.

9 In this sentence the text is probably corrupted. The general meaning seems to be, that he does not enter fully at present into the subject of Elias, or John the Baptist, the greatest of those born of woman, coming first, and Christ, the greatest among the sons of men, coming after, but that he will return to the subject on a fitting occasion.

10 [Chaps. 19-21 are peculiar to the Homilies, though in the Recognitions, vii. 32, Justa is named as having purchased and educated Niceta and Aquila. – R.]

11 For διαφόροις Duncker proposes ἀδιαφόροις, “meats without distinction.”

12 That is, having ceased to be a Gentile, by abstaining from forbidden foods.

13 There are several various readings in this sentence, and none of them can be strictly construed; but the general sense is obvious.

14 [For the parallel account of Simon, given also by Aquila, see Recognitions, book ii. 7-15. – R.]

15 The Vatican ms. adds, “which is in Egypt (or, on the Nile), in Greek culture.”

16 [Comp. Recognitions, book i. 72. – R]

17 A day-baptist is taken to mean “one who baptizes every day.”

18 [Called “Luna” in the Recognitions. – R.]

19 [Peculiar, in this detailed form, to the Homilies – R.]

20 [Compare the varied account in Recognitions, book ii. 8. – R.]

21 We have here an allusion to the tradition that it was only an image of Helen that was taken to Troy, and not the real Helen herself.

22 [With the account of Simon’s doings in chaps. 26-32 compare Recognitions, book ii. 9, 10, 13-15; book iii. 47. – R.]

23 Which was used by the ancients as cupping-glasses are now used.

24 The Vatican ms. and Epitome read, “that a shrine and statues should be erected in honour of us.”