Chap. XXXI. – Let Us See by What Means We May Obtain the Divine Blessing.
Let us cleave then to His blessing, and consider what are the means90 of possessing it. Let us think91 over the things which have taken place from the beginning. For what reason was our father Abraham blessed? Was it not because he wrought righteousness and truth through faith? Isaac, (Jam_2:21) with perfect confidence, as if knowing what was to happen,92 cheerfully yielded himself as a sacrifice. (Gen_22:6-10) Jacob, through reason93 of his brother, went forth with humility from his own land, and came to Laban and served him; and there was given to him the sceptre of the twelve tribes of Israel.
Chap. XXXII. – We Are Justified Not by Our Own Works, but by Faith.
Whosoever will candidly consider each particular, will recognise the greatness of the gifts which were given by him.94 For from him95 have sprung the priests and all the Levites who minister at the altar of God. From him also [was descended] our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh. (Rom_9:5) From him [arose] kings, princes, and rulers of the race of Judah. Nor are his other tribes in small glory,96 inasmuch as God had promised, “Thy seed shall be as the stars of heaven.” (Gen_22:17, Gen_28:4) All these, therefore, were highly honoured, and made great, not for their own sake, or for their own works, or for the righteousness which they wrought, but through the operation of His will. And we, too, being called by His will97 in Christ Jesus, are not Justified by ourselves, nor by our own wisdom, or understanding, or godliness, or works which we have wrought in holiness of heart; but by that faith through which, from the beginning, Almighty God has justified all men; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Chap. XXXIII. – But Let Us Not Give Up the Practice of Good Works and Love. God Himself Is an Example to Us of Good Works.
What shall we do,98 then, brethren? Shall we become slothful in well-doing, and cease from the practice of love? God forbid that any such course should be followed by us! But rather let us hasten with all energy and readiness of mind to perform every good work. For the Creator and Lord of all Himself rejoices in His works. For by His infinitely great power He established the heavens, and by His incomprehensible wisdom He adorned them. He also divided the earth from the water which surrounds it, and fixed it upon the immovable foundation of His own will. The animals also which are upon it He commanded by His own word99 into existence. So likewise, when He had formed100 the sea, and the living creatures which are in it, He enclosed them [within their proper bounds] by His own power. Above all101 with His holy and undefiled hands He formed man, the most excellent [of His creatures], and truly great through the understanding given him – the express likeness of His own image. For thus says God: “Let us make man in our image, and after our likeness. So God made man; male and female He created theme,” (Gen_1:26, Gen_1:27) Having thus finished all these things, He approved them, and blessed them, and said, “Increase and multiply.” (Gen_1:28) We see,102 then, how all righteous men have been adorned with good works, and how the Lord Himself, adorning Himself with His works, rejoiced. Having therefore such an example, let us without delay accede to His will, and let us work the work of righteousness with our whole strength.
Chap. XXXIV. – Great Is the Reward of Good Works with God. Joined Together in Harmony, Let Us Implore That Reward from Him.
The good servant108 receives the bread of his labour with confidence; the lazy and slothful cannot look his employer in the face. It is requisite, therefore, that we be prompt in the practice of well-doing; for of Him are all things. And thus He forewarns us: “Behold, the Lord [cometh], and His reward is before His face, to render to every man according to his work.” (Isa_40:10, Isa_47:11; Rev_22:12) He exhorts us, therefore,109 with our whole heart to attend to this,105 that we be not lazy or slothful in any good work. Let our boasting and our confidence be in Him. Let us submit ourselves to His will. Let us consider the whole multitude of His angels, how they stand ever ready to minister to His will. For the Scripture saith, “Ten thousand times ten thousand stood around Him, and thousands of thousands ministered unto Him, (Dan_7:10) and cried, Holy, holy, holy, [is] the Lord of Sabaoth; the whole creation106 is full of His glory.” (Isa_6:3) And let us therefore, conscientiously gathering together in harmony, cry to Him earnestly, as with one mouth, that we may be made partakers of His great and glorious promises. For [the Scripture] saith, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which He hath prepared for them that wait for107 Him.” (1Co_2:9)
Chap. XXXV. – Immense Is This Reward. How Shall We Obtain It?
How blessed and wonderful, beloved, are the gifts of God! Life in immortality, splendour in righteousness, truth in perfect confidence,108 faith in assurance, self-control in holiness! And all these fall under the cognizance of our understandings [now]; what then shall those things be which are prepared for such as wait for Him? The Creator and Father of all worlds,109 the Most Holy,110 alone knows their amount and their beauty. Let us therefore earnestly strive to be found in the number of those that wait for Him, in order that we may share in His promised gifts. But how, beloved, shall this be done? If our understanding be fixed by faith towards God; if we earnestly seek the things111 which are pleasing and acceptable to Him; if we do the things which are in harmony with His blameless will; and if we follow the way of truth, casting away from us all unrighteousness and inquity,112 along with all covetousness,113 strife, evil practices, deceit, whispering, and evil-speaking, all hatred of God, pride and haughtiness, vain glory and ambition.114 For they that do such things are hateful to God; and not only they that do them, but also those that take pleasure in them that do them. (Rom_1:32) For the Scripture saith, “But to the sinner God said, Wherefore dost thou declare my statutes, and take my covenant into thy mouth, seeing thou hatest instruction, and castest my words behind thee? When thou sawest a thief, thou consentedst with115 him, and didst make thy portion with adulterers. Thy month has abounded with wickedness, and thy tongue contrived116 deceit. Thou sittest, and speakest against thy brother; thou slanderest117 thine own mother’s son. These things thou hast done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest, wicked one, that I should be like to thyself. But I will reprove thee, and set thyself before thee. Consider now these things, ye that forget God, lest He tear you in pieces, like a lion, and there be none to deliver.118 The sacrifice of praise will glorify me, and a way is there by which I will show him the salvation of God.”119
Chap. XXXVI. – All Blessings Are Given to Us Through Christ.
This is the way, beloved, in which we find our Saviour,120 even Jesus Christ, the High Priest of all our offerings, the defender and helper of our infirmity. By Him we look up to the heights of heaven. By Him we behold, as in a glass, His immaculate and most excellent visage. By Him are the eyes of our hearts opened. By Him our foolish and darkened understanding blossoms121 up anew towards His marvellous light. By Him the Lord has willed that we should taste of immortal knowledge,122 “who, being the brightness of His majesty, is by so much greater than the angels, as He hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.” (Heb_1:3, Heb_1:4) For it is thus written, “Who maketh His angels spirits, and His ministers a flame of fire.” (Psa_104:4; Heb_1:7) But concerning His Son123 the Lord spoke thus: “Thou art my Son, to-day have I begotten Thee. Ask of me, and I will give Thee the heathen for Thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for Thy possession.” (Psa_2:7, Psa_2:8; Heb_1:5) And again He saith to Him, “Sit Thou at my right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool.” (Psa_110:1; Heb_1:13) But who are His enemies? All the wicked, and those who set themselves to oppose the will of God.124
Chap. XXXVII. – Christ Is Our Leader, and We His Soldiers.
Let us then, men and brethren, with all energy act the part of soldiers, in accordance with His holy commandments. Let us consider those who serve under our generals, with what order, obedience,125 and submissiveness they perform the things which are commanded them. All are not prefects, nor commanders of a thousand, nor of a hundred, nor of fifty, nor the like, but each one in his own rank performs the things commanded by the king and the generals. The great cannot subsist without the small, nor the small without the great. There is a kind of mixture in all things, and thence arises mutual advantage.126 Let us take our body for an example. (1Co_12:12, etc.) The head is nothing without the feet, and the feet are nothing without the head; yea, the very smallest members of our body are necessary and useful to the whole body. But all work127 harmoniously together, and are under one common rule128or the preservation of the whole body.
Chap. XXXVIII. – Let the Members of the Church Submit Themselves, and No One Exalt Himself Above Another.
Let our whole body, then, be preserved in Christ Jesus;129 and let every one be subject to his neighbour, according to the special gift130 bestowed upon him. Let the strong not despise131 the weak, and let the weak show respect unto the strong. Let the rich man provide for the wants of the poor; and let the poor man bless God, because He hath given him one by whom his need may be supplied. Let the wise man display his wisdom, not by [mere] words, but through good deeds. Let the humble not bear testimony to himself, but leave witness to be borne to him by another. (Pro_27:2) Let him that is pure in the flesh not grow proud132 of it, and boast, knowing that it was another who bestowed on him the gift of continence. Let us consider, then, brethren, of what matter we were made, – who and what manner of beings we came into the world, as it were out of a sepulchre, and from utter darkness. (Psa_139:15) He who made us and fashioned us, having prepared His bountiful gifts for us before we were born, introduced us into His world. Since, therefore, we receive all these things from Him, we ought for everything to give Him thanks; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Chap. XXXIX. – There Is No Reason for Self-Conceit.
Foolish and inconsiderate133 men, who have neither wisdom134 nor instruction, mock and deride us, being eager to exalt themselves in their own conceits. For what can a mortal man do, or what strength is there in one made out of the dust? For it is written, “There was no shape before mine eyes, only I heard a sound,135 and a voice [saying], What then? Shall a man be pure before the Lord? Or shall such an one be [counted] blameless in his deeds, seeing He does not confide in His servants, and has charged136 even His angels with perversity? The heaven is not clean in His sight: how much less they that dwell in houses of clay, of which also we ourselves were made! He smote them as a moth; and from morning even until evening they endure not. Because they could furnish no assistance to themselves, they perished. He breathed upon them, and they died, because they had no wisdom. But call now, if any one will answer thee, or if thou wilt look to any of the holy angels; for wrath destroys the foolish man, and envy killeth him that is in error. I have seen the foolish taking root, but their habitation was presently consumed. Let their sons be far from safety; let them be despised137 before the gates of those less than themselves, and there shall be none to deliver. For what was prepared for them, the righteous shall eat; and they shall not be delivered from evil.” (Job_4:16-18, Job_4:19-21, Job_5:1-5, Job_15:15)
Chap. XL. – Let Us Preserve in the Church the Order Appointed by God.
These things therefore being manifest to us, and since we look into the depths of the divine knowledge, it behoves us to do all things in [their proper] order, which the Lord has commanded us to perform at stated times.138 He has enjoined offerings [to be presented] and service to be performed [to Him], and that not thoughtlessly or irregularly, but at the appointed times and hours. Where and by whom He desires these things to be done, He Himself has fixed by His own supreme will, in order that all things, being piously done according to His good pleasure, may be acceptable unto Him.139 Those, therefore, who present their offerings at the appointed times, are accepted and blessed; for inasmuch as they follow the laws of the Lord, they sin not. For his own peculiar services are assigned to the high priest, and their own proper place is prescribed to the priests, and their own special ministrations devolve on the Levites. The layman is bound by the laws that pertain to laymen.
Chap. XLI. – Continuation of the Same Subject.
Let every one of you, brethren, give thanks140 to God in his own order, living in all good conscience, with becoming gravity, and not going beyond the rule of the ministry prescribed to him. Not in every place, brethren, are the daily sacrifices offered, or the peace-offerings, or the sin-offerings and the trespass-offerings, but in Jerusalem only. And even there they are not offered in any place, but only at the altar before the temple, that which is offered being first carefully examined by the high priest and the ministers already mentioned. Those, therefore, who do anything beyond that which is agreeable to His will, are punished with death. Ye see,141 brethren, that the greater the knowledge that has been vouchsafed to us, the greater also is the danger to which we are exposed.
Chap. XLII. – The Order of Ministers in the Church.
The apostles have preached the gospel to us from142 the Lord Jesus Christ; Jesus143 Christ [has done so] from God. Christ therefore was sent forth by God,144 and the apostles by Christ. Both these appointments,145 then, were made in an orderly way, according to the will of God. Having therefore received their orders, and being fully assured by the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, and established146 in the word of God, with full assurance of the Holy Ghost, they went forth proclaiming that the kingdom of God was at hand. And thus preaching through countries and cities, they appointed the first fruits [of their labours], having first proved them by the Spirit,147 to be bishops and deacons of those who should afterwards believe. Nor was this any new thing, since indeed many ages before it was written concerning bishops and deacons. For thus saith the Scripture in a certain place, “I will appoint their bishops148 in righteousness, and their deacons149 in faith.”150
Chap. XLIII. – Moses of Old Stilled the Contention Which Arose Concerning the Priestly Dignity.
And what wonder is it if those in Christ who were entrusted with such a duty by God, appointed those [ministers] before mentioned, when the blessed Moses also, “a faithful servant in all his house,” (Num_12:10; Heb_3:5) noted down in the sacred books all the injunctions which were given him, and when the other prophets also followed him, bearing witness with one consent to the ordinances which he had appointed? For, when rivalry arose concerning the priesthood, and the tribes were contending among themselves as to which of them should be adorned with that glorious title, he commanded the twelve princes of the tribes to bring him their rods, each one being inscribed with the name151 of the tribe. And he took them and bound them [together], and sealed them with the rings of the princes of the tribes, and laid them up in the tabernacle of witness on the table of God. And having shut the doors of the tabernacle, he sealed the keys, as he had done the rods, and said to them, Men and brethren, the tribe whose rod shall blossom has God chosen to fulfil the office of the priesthood, and to minister unto Him. And when the morning was come, he assembled all Israel, six hundred thousand men, and showed the seals to the princes of the tribes, and opened the tabernacle of witness, and brought forth the rods. And the rod of Aaron was found not only to have blossomed, but to bear fruit upon it. (Num_17:1-13) What think ye, beloved? Did not Moses know beforehand that this would happen? Undoubtedly he knew; but he acted thus, that there might be no sedition in Israel, and that the name of the true and only God might be glorified; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Chap. XLIV. – The Ordinances of the Apostles, That There Might Be No Contention Respecting the Priestly Office.
Our apostles also knew, through our Lord Jesus Christ, that there would be strife on account of the office152 of the episcopate. For this reason, therefore, inasmuch as they had obtained a perfect fore-knowledge of this, they appointed those [ministers] already mentioned, and afterwards gave instructions,153 that when these should fall asleep, other approved men should succeed them in their ministry. We are of opinion, therefore, that those appointed by them,154 or afterwards by other eminent men, with the consent of the whole church, and who have blamelessly served the flock of Christ, in a humble, peaceable, and disinterested spirit, and have for a long time possessed the good opinion of all, cannot be justly dismissed from the ministry. For our sin will not be small, if we eject from the episcopate155 those who have blamelessly and holily fulfilled its duties.156 Blessed are those presbyters who, having finished their course before now, have obtained a fruitful and perfect departure [from this world]; for they have no fear lest any one deprive them of the place now appointed them. But we see that ye have removed some men of excellent behaviour from the ministry, which they fulfilled blamelessly and with honour.
Chap. XLV. – It Is the Part of the Wicked to Vex the Righteous.
Ye are fond of contention, brethren, and full of zeal about things which do not pertain to salvation. Look carefully into the Scriptures, which are the true utterances of the Holy Spirit. Observe157 that nothing of an unjust or counterfeit character is written in them. There158 you will not find that the righteous were cast off by men who themselves were holy. The righteous were indeed persecuted, but only by the wicked. They were cast into prison, but only by the unholy; they were stoned, but only by transgressors; they were slain, but only by the accursed, and such as had conceived an unrighteous envy against them. Exposed to such sufferings, they endured them gloriously. For what shall we say, brethren? Was Daniel (Dan_6:16) cast into the den of lions by such as feared God? Were Ananias, and Azarias, and Michael shut up in a furnace (Dan_3:20) of fire by those who observed159 the great and glorious worship of the Most High? Far from us be such a thought! Who, then, were they that did such things? The hateful, and those full of all wickedness, were roused to such a pitch of fury, that they inflicted torture on those who served God with a holy and blameless purpose [of heart], not knowing that the Most High is the Defender and Protector of all such as with a pure conscience venerate160 His all-excellent name; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. But they who with confidence endured [these things] are now heirs of glory and honour, and have been exalted and made illustrious161 by God in their memorial for ever and ever. Amen.
Chap. XLVI. – Let Us Cleave to the Righteous: Your Strife Is Pernicious.
Such examples, therefore, brethren, it is right that we should follow;162 since it is written, “Cleave to the holy, for those that cleave to them shall [themselves] be made holy.”163 And again, in another place, [the Scripture] saith, “With a harmless man thou shalt prove164 thyself harmless, and with an elect man thou shalt be elect, and with a perverse man thou shalt show165 thyself perverse.” (Psa_18:25, Psa_18:26) Let us cleave, therefore, to the innocent and righteous, since these are the elect of God. Why are there strifes, and tumults, and divisions, and schisms, and wars166 among you? Have we not [all] one God and one Christ? Is there not one Spirit of grace poured out upon us? And have we not one calling in Christ? (Eph_4:4-6) Why do we divide and tear in pieces the members of Christ, and raise up strife against our own body, and have reached such a height of madness as to forget that “we are members one of another?” (Rom_12:5) Remember the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, how167 He said, “Woe to that man [by whom167 offences come]! It were better for him that he had never been born, than that he should cast a stumbling-block before one of my elect. Yea, it were better for him that a millstone should be hung about [his neck], and he should be sunk in the depths of the sea, than that he should cast a stumbling-block before one of my little ones.” (Mat_18:6, Mat_26:24; Mar_9:42; Luk_17:2) Your schism has subverted [the faith of] many, has discouraged many, has given rise to doubt in many, and has caused grief to us all. And still your sedition continueth.
Chap. XLVII. – Your Recent Discord Is Worse than the Former Which Took Place in the Times of Paul.
Take up the epistle of the blessed Apostle Paul. What did he write to you at the time when the gospel first began to be preached?168 Truly, under the inspiration169 of the Spirit, he wrote to you concerning himself, and Cephas, and Apollos, (1Co_3:13, etc.) because even then parties170 had been formed among you. But that inclination for one above another entailed less guilt upon you, inasmuch as your partialities were then shown towards apostles, already of high reputation, and towards a man whom they had approved. But now reflect who those are that have perverted you, and lessened the renown of your far-famed brotherly love. It is disgraceful, beloved, yea, highly disgraceful, and unworthy of your Christian profession,171 that such a thing should be heard of as that the most stedfast and ancient church of the Corinthians should, on account of one or two persons, engage in sedition against its presbyters. And this rumour has reached not only us, but those also who are unconnected172 with us; so that, through your infatuation, the name of the Lord is blasphemed, while danger is also brought upon yourselves.
Chap. XLVIII. – Let Us Return to the Practice of Brotherly Love.
Let us therefore, with all haste, put an end173 to this [state of things]; and let us fall down before the Lord, and beseech Him with tears, that He would mercifully174 be reconciled to us, and restore us to our former seemly and holy practice of brotherly love. For [such conduct] is the gate of righteousness, which is set open for the attainment of life, as it is written, “Open to me the gates of righteousness; I will go in by them, and will praise the Lord: this is the gate of the Lord: the righteous shall enter in by it.” (Psa_118:19, Psa_118:20) Although, therefore, many gates have been set open, yet this gate of righteousness is that gate in Christ by which blessed are all they that have entered in and have directed their way in holiness and righteousness, doing all things without disorder. Let a man be faithful: let him be powerful in the utterance of knowledge; let him be wise in judging of words; let him be pure in all his deeds; yet the more he seems to be superior to others [in these respects], the more humble-minded ought he to be, and to seek the common good of all, and not merely his own advantage.
Chap. XLIX. – The Praise of Love.
Let him who has love in Christ keep the commandments of Christ. Who can describe the [blessed] bond of the love of God? What man is able to tell the excellence of its beauty, as it ought to be told? The height to which love exalts is unspeakable. Love unites us to God. Love covers a multitude of sins. (Jam_5:20; 1Pe_4:8) Love beareth all things, is long-suffering in all things. (1Co_13:4, etc.) There is nothing base, nothing arrogant in love. Love admits of no schisms: love gives rise to no seditions: love does all things in harmony. By love have all the elect of God been made perfect; without love nothing is well-pleasing to God. In love has the Lord taken us to Himself. On account of the love He bore us, Jesus Christ our Lord gave His blood for us by the will of God; His flesh for our flesh, and His soul for our souls.
Chap. L. – Let Us Pray to Be Thought Worthy of Love.
Ye see, beloved, how great and wonderful a thing is love, and that there is no declaring its perfection. Who is fit to be found in it, except such as God has vouchsafed to render so? Let us pray,175 therefore, and implore of His mercy, that we may live176 blameless in love, free from all human partialities for one above another. All the generations from Adam even unto this day have passed away; but those who, through the grace of God, have been made perfect in love, now possess a place among the godly, and shall be made manifest at the revelation177 of the kingdom of Christ.178 For it is written, “Enter into thy secret chambers for a little time, until my wrath and fury pass away; and I will remember a propitious179 day, and will raise you up out of your graves.” (Isa_26:20) Blessed are we, beloved, if we keep the commandments of God in the harmony of love; that so through love our sins may be forgiven us. For it is written, “Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not impute to him, and in whose mouth there is no guile. (Psa_32:1, Psa_32:2) This blessedness cometh upon those who have been chosen by God through Jesus Christ our Lord; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Chap. LI. – Let the Partakers in Strife Acknowledge Their Sins.
Let us therefore implore forgiveness for all those transgressions which through any [suggestion] of the adversary we have committed. And these who have been the leaders of sedition and disagreement ought to have respect180 to the common hope. For such as live in fear and love would rather that they themselves than their neighbours should be involved in suffering. And they prefer to bear blame themselves, rather than that the concord which has been well and piously181 handed down to us should suffer. For it is better that a man should acknowledge his transgressions than that he should harden his heart, as the hearts of those were hardened who stirred up sedition against Moses the servant182 of God, and whose condemnation was made manifest [unto all]. For they went down alive into Hades, and death swallowed them up.183 Pharaoh with his army and all the princes of Egypt, and the chariots with their riders, were sunk in the depths of the Red Sea, and perished, Exo_14:1-31 for no other reason than that their foolish hearts were hardened, after so many signs and wonders had been wrought in the land of Egypt by Moses the servant of God.
Chap. LII. – Such a Confession Is Pleasing to God.
The Lord, brethren, stands in need of nothing; and He desires nothing of any one except that confession be made to Him. For, says the elect David, “I will confess unto the Lord; and that will please Him more young bullock184 that hath horns and than a hoofs. Let the poor see it, and be glad.” (Psa_69:31, Psa_69:32) And again he saith, “Offer185 unto God the sacrifice of praise, and pay thy vows unto the Most High. And call upon me in the day of thy trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.”186 For “the sacrifice of God is a broken spirit.” (Psa_51:17)
Chap. LIII. – The Love of Moses Towards His People.
Ye understand, beloved, ye understand well the sacred Scriptures, and ye have looked very earnestly into the oracles of God. Call then these things to your remembrance. When Moses went up into the mount, and abode there, with fasting and humiliation, forty days and forty nights, the Lord said unto him, “Moses, Moss, get thee down quickly from hence; for thy people whom thou didst bring out of the land of Egypt have committed iniquity. They have speedily departed from the way in which I commanded them to walk, and have made to themselves molten images.” (Exo_32:7, etc.; Deu_9:12, etc.) And the Lord said unto him, “I have spoken to thee once and again, saying, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiff-necked people: let me destroy them, and blot out their name from under heaven; and I will make thee a great and wonderful nation, and one much more numerous than this.” (Exo_32:9, etc.) But Moses said, “Far be it from Thee, Lord: pardon the sin of this people; else blot me also out of the book of the living.” (Exo_32:32) O marvellous187 love! O insuperable perfection! The servant188 speaks freely to his Lord, and asks forgiveness for the people, or begs that he himself might perish189 along with them.
Chap. LIV. – He Who Is Full of Love Will Incur Every Loss, That Peace May Be Restored to the Church.
Who then among you is noble-minded? who compassionate? who full of love? Let him declare, “If on my account sedition and disagreement and schisms have arisen, I will depart, I will go away whithersoever ye desire, and I will do whatever the majority190 commands; only let the flock of Christ live on terms of peace with the presbyters set over it.” He that acts thus shall procure to himself great glory in the Lord;191 and every place will welcome192 him. For “the earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof. (Psa_24:1; 1Co_10:26, 1Co_10:28) These things they who live a godly life that is never to be repented of, both have done and always will do.
Chap. LV. – Examples of Such Love.
To bring forward some examples193 from among the heathen: Many kings and princes, in times of pestilence, when they had been instructed by an oracle, have given themselves up to death, in order that by their own blood they might deliver their fellow-citizens [from destruction]. Many have gone forth from their own cities, that so sedition might be brought to an end within them. We know many among ourselves who have given themselves up to bonds, in order that they might ransom others. Many, too, have surrendered themselves to slavery, that with the price194 which they received for themselves, they might provide food for others. Many women also, being strengthened by the grace of God, have performed numerous manly exploits. The blessed Judith, when her city was besieged, asked of the elders permission to go forth into the camp of the strangers; and, exposing herself to danger, she went out for the love which she bare to her country and people then besieged; and the Lord delivered Holofernes into the hands of a woman. (Judith 8:30) Esther also, being perfect in faith, exposed herself to no less danger, in order to deliver the twelve tribes of Israel from impending destruction. For with fasting and humiliation she entreated the everlasting195 God, who seeth all things; and He, perceiving the humility of her spirit, delivered the people for whose sake she had encountered peril. (Est_7:1-10, Est_8:1-17)
Chap. LVI. – Let Us Admonish and Correct One Another.
Let us then also pray for those who have fallen into any sin, that meekness and humility may be given to them, so that they may submit, not unto us, but to the will of God. For in this way they shall secure a fruitful and perfect remembrance from us, with Sympathy for them, both in our prayers to God, and our mention of them to the saints.196 Let us receive correction, beloved, on account of which no one should feel displeased. Those exhortations by which we admonish one another are both good [in themselves], and highly profitable, for they tend to unite197 us to the will of God. For thus saith the holy Word: “The Lord hath severely chastened me, yet hath not given me over to death.” (Psa_118:18) “For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth.” (Pro_3:12; Heb_12:6) “The righteous,”198 saith it, “shall chasten me in mercy, and reprove me;” but let not the oil of sinners make fat my head. (Psa_141:5) And again he saith, “Blessed is the man whom the Lord reproveth, and reject not thou the warning of the Almighty. For He causes sorrow, and again restores [to gladness]; He woundeth, and His hands make whole. He shall deliver thee in six troubles, yea, in the seventh no evil shall touch thee. In famine He shall rescue thee from death, and in war He shall free thee from the power199 of the sword. From the scourge of the tongue will He hide thee, and thou shalt not fear when evil cometh. Thou shalt laugh at the unrighteous and the wicked, and shalt not be afraid of the beasts of the field. For the wild beasts shall be at peace with thee: then shalt thou know that thy house shall be in peace, and the habitation of thy tabernacle shall not fail.200 Thou shalt know also that thy seed shall be great, and thy children like the grass of the field. And thou shalt come to the grave like ripened corn which is reaped in its season, or like a heap of the threshing-floor which is gathered together at the proper time.” (Job_5:17-26) Ye see, beloved, that201 “protection is afforded to those that are chastened of the Lord; for since God is good,202 He corrects us, that we may be admonished”203 by His holy chastisement.
Chap. LVII. – Let the Authors of Sedition Submit Themselves.
Ye therefore, who laid the foundation of this sedition, submit yourselves to the presbyters, and receive correction so as to repent, bending the knees of your hearts. Learn to be subject, laying aside the proud and arrogant self-confidence of your tongue. For it is better for you that ye should occupy204 a humble but honourable place in the flock of Christ, than that, being highly exalted, ye should be cast out from the hope of His people.205 For thus speaketh all-virtuous Wisdom: “Behold, I will bring forth to you the words of my Spirit, and I will teach you my speech. Since I called, and ye did not hear; I held forth my words, and ye regarded not, but set at naught my counsels, and yielded not at my reproofs; therefore I too will laugh at your destruction; yea, I will rejoice when rum cometh upon you, and when sudden confusion overtakes you, when overturning presents itself like a tempest, or when tribulation and oppression206 fall upon you. For it shall come to pass, that when ye call upon me, I will not hear you; the wicked shall seek me, and they shall not find me. For they hated wisdom, and did not choose the fear of the Lord; nor would they listen to my counsels, but despised my reproofs. Wherefore they shall eat the fruits of their own way, and they shall be filled207 with their own ungodliness. (Pro_1:22-33)… For, in punishment for the wrongs which they practised upon babes, shall they be slain, and inquiry will be death to the ungodly; but he that heareth me shah rest in hope and be undisturbed by the fear of any evil.”
Chap. LVIII. – Submission the Precursor of Salvation.
Let us, therefore, flee from the warning threats pronounced by Wisdom on the disobedient, and yield submission to His all-holy and glorious name, that we may stay our trust upon the most hallowed name of His majesty. Receive our counsel, and ye shall be without repentance. For, as God liveth, and as the Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost live, – both the faith and hope of the elect, he who in lowliness of mind, with instant gentleness, and without repentance hath observed the ordinances and appointments given by God – the same shall obtain a place and name in the number of those who are being saved through Jesus Christ, through whom is glory to Him for ever and ever. Amen.
Chap. LIX. – Warning Against Disobedience. Prayer.
If, however, any shall disobey the words spoken by Him through us, let them know that they will involve themselves in transgression and serious danger; but we shall be innocent of this sin, and, instant in prayer and supplication, shall desire that the Creator of all preserve unbroken the computed number of His elect in the whole world through His beloved Son Jesus Christ, through whom He called us from darkness to light, from ignorance to knowledge of the glory of His name, our hope resting on Thy name which is primal cause of every creature, – having opened the eyes of our heart to the knowledge of Thee, who alone “dost rest highest among the highest, holy among the holy,” (Isa_57:15) who “layest low the insolence of the haughty,” (Isa_13:11) who “destroyest the calculations of the heathen,” (Psa_33:10) who “settest the low on high and bringest low the exalted;” (Job_5:11; Eze_17:24) who “makest rich and makest poor,” (1Sa_2:7) who “killest and makest to live,” (Deu_32:39) only Benefactor of spirits and God of all flesh, (Num_16:22, Num_27:16; Jer_32:27) who beholdest the depths, the eye-witness of human works, the help of those in danger, the Saviour of those in despair, the Creator and Guardian of every spirit, who multipliest nations upon earth, and from all madest choice of those who love Thee through Jesus Christ, Thy beloved Son, through whom Thou didst instruct, sanctify, honour us. We would have Thee, Lord, to prove our help and succour. Those of us in affliction save, on the lowly take pity; the fallen raise; upon those in need arise; the sick208 heal; the wandering ones of Thy people turn; fill the hungry; redeem those of us in bonds; raise up those that are weak; comfort the faint-hearted; let all the nations know that Thou art God alone and Jesus Christ Thy Son, and we are Thy people and the sheep of Thy pasture.
Chap. LX. – Prayer Continued.
Thou didst make to appear the enduring fabric of the world by the works of Thy hand; Thou, Lord, didst create the earth on which we dwell, – Thou, who art faithful in all generations, just in judgments, wonderful in strength and majesty, with wisdom creating and with understanding fixing the things which were made, who art good among them that are being saved209 and faithful among them whose trust is in Thee; O merciful and Compassionate One, forgive us our iniquities and offences and transgressions and trespasses. Reckon not every sin of Thy servants and handmaids, but Thou wilt purify us with the purification of Thy truth; and direct our steps that we may walk in holiness of heart and do what is good and well-pleasing in Thy sight and in the sight of our rulers. Yea, Lord, make Thy face to shine upon us for good in peace, that we may be shielded by Thy mighty hand and delivered from every sin by Three uplifted arm, and deliver us from those who hate us wrongfully. Give concord and peace to us and all who dwell upon the earth, even as Thou gavest to our fathers, when they called upon Thee in faith and truth, submissive as we are to Thine almighty and all-excellent Name.
Chap. LXI. – Prayer Continued – for Rulers and Governors. Conclusion.
To our rulers and governors on the earth – to them Thou, Lord, gavest the power of the kingdom by Thy glorious and ineffable might, to the end that we may know the glory and honour given to them by Thee and be subject to them, in nought resisting Thy will; to them, Lord, give health, peace, concord, stability, that they may exercise the authority given to them without offence. For Thou, O heavenly Lord and King eternal, givest to the sons of men glory and honour and power over the things that are on the earth; do Thou, Lord, direct their counsel according to that which is good and well-pleasing in Thy sight, that, devoutly in peace and meekness exercising the power given them by Thee, they may find Thee propitious. O Thou, who only hast power to do these things and more abundant good with us, we praise Thee through the High Priest and Guardian of our souls Jesus Christ, through whom be glory and majesty to Thee both now and from generation to generation and for evermore. Amen.
Chap. LXII. – Summary and Conclusory – Concerning Godliness.
Concerning the things pertaining to our religious observance which are most profitable for a life of goodness to those who would pursue a godly and righteous course, we have written to you, men and brethren, at sufficient length. For concerning faith and repentance and true love and continence and soberness and patience, we have touched upon every passage, putting you in mind that you ought in righteousness and truth and long-suffering to be well-pleasing210 to Almighty God with holiness, being of one mind – not remembering evil – in love and peace with instant gentleness, even as also our fathers forementioned found favour by the humility of their thoughts towards the Father and God and Creator and all mankind. And of these things we put you in mind with the greater pleasure, since we were well assured that we were writing to men who were faithful and of highest repute and had peered into the oracles of the instruction of God.
Chap. LXIII. – Hortatory, Letter Sent by Special Messengers.
Right is it, therefore, to approach examples so good and so many, and submit the neck and fulfil the part of obedience, in order that, undisturbed by vain sedition, we may attain unto the goal set before us in truth wholly free from blame. Joy and gladness will ye afford us, if ye become obedient to the words written by us and through the Holy Spirit root out the lawless wrath of your jealousy according to the intercession which we have made for peace and unity in this letter. We have sent men faithful and discreet, whose conversation from youth to old age has been blameless amongst us, – the same shall be witnesses between you and us. This we have done, that ye may know that our whole concern has been and is that ye may be speedily at peace.
Chap. LXIV. – Blessings Sought for All That Call Upon God.
May God, who seeth all things, and who is the Ruler of all spirits and the Lord of all flesh – who chose our Lord Jesus Christ and us through Him to be a peculiar (Tit_2:14) people – grant to every soul that calleth upon His glorious and holy name, faith, fear, peace, patience, long-suffering, self-control, purity, and sobriety, to the well-pleasing of His name, through our High Priest and Protector, Jesus Christ, by whom be to Him glory, and majesty, and power, and honour, both now and for evermore. Amen.
Chap. LXV. – The Corinthians Are Exhorted Speedily to Send Back Word That Peace Has Been Restored. The Benediction.
Send back speedily to us in peace and with joy these our messengers to you: Claudius Ephebus and Valerius Bito, with Fortunatus; that they may the sooner announce to us the peace and harmony we so earnestly desire and long for [among you], and that we may the more quickly rejoice over the good order re-established among you. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you, and with all everywhere that are the called of God through Him, by whom be to Him glory, honour, power, majesty, and eternal dominion,211 from everlasting to everlasting.212 Amen.
90 Literally, “what are the ways of His blessing.”
91 Literally, “unroll.”
92 Some translate, “knowing what was to come.”
93 So Jacobson: Wotton reads, “fleeing from his brother.”
94 The meaning here is very doubtful. Some translate, “the gifts which were given to Jacob by Him,” i.e. God.
95 ms. αὐτῶν, referring to the gifts: we have followed the emendation αὐτοὔ, adopted by most editors. Some refer the word to God, and not to Jacob.
96 I. τάξει (rank).
97 I. omits.
98 I. ἐροῦμιν (shall we say).
99 Or, commandment.
100 I. προετοιμάσας (having previously prepared).
101 Or, “in addition to all.”
102 Or, “let us consider.”
103 Or, “labourer.”
104 I. πιστεύοντας (believing).
105 The text here seems to be corrupt. Some translate, ‘He warns us with all His heart to this end, that,” etc.
106 I. γῆ(earth).
107 I. ἀγαπῶσιν (love).
108 Some translate, “in liberty.”
109 Or, “of the ages.”
110 I. ὁ δημιοῦργος τῶν αὶώνων καὶ πστὴρ πανάγιος (the Creator Eternal and Father All-Holy).
111 I. τὰ ἀγαθά (good things) added.
112 I. πονηρίαν (wickedness).
113 I. omits πλεονεξια (covetousness).
114 The reading is doubtful: some have ἀφιλοξενιαν, “want of a hospitable spirit.”
115 Literally, “didst run with.”
116 Literally, “did weave.”
117 Or, “layest a snare for.”
118 I. omit “σὺ δὲ ὲμίσεσας … ὁ ῥυόμενος Psa_50:17-22, and connects by ἐν τῶ τέλει (in the end).
119 Psa_50:16-23. The reader will observe how the Septuagint followed by Clement differs from the Hebrew.
120 Literally, “that which saves us.”
121 Or, “rejoices to behold.”
122 Or, “knowledge of immortality.”
123 Some render, “to the Son.”
124 Some read, “who oppose their own will to that of God.”
125 I. ἑκτικῶς (habitually).
126 Literally, “in these there is use.”
127 Literally, “all breathe together.”
128 Literally, “use one subjection.”
129 I. omits “Jesus.”
130 Literally, “according as he has been placed in his charism.”
132 I. τημελείτω (attend to).
132 The ms. is here slightly torn, and we are left to conjecture.
133 I. omits καί ἀσύνετοι (and without understanding).
134 Literally, “and silly and uninstructed.
135 Literally, “a breath.”
136 Or, “has perceived.”
137 Some render, “they perished at the gates.”
138 Some join κατὰ καιροὺς τεταγμένους, “at stated times,” to the next sentence.
139 Literally, “to His will.”
140 I. εὺαραστείτω (be well-pleasing).
141 Or, “consider.”
142 Or, “by the command of.’’
143 A “the Christ,” I. “Christ.”
144 I. Omits.
145 Literally, “ both things were done.”
146 Or “confirmed by.”
147 Or “having tested them in spirit.”
148 “Or, “ overseers.”
149 Or, “servants.”
150 Isa_60:17, Septuagint; but the text is here altered by Clement. The LXX. have, “I will give thy rulers in peace, and thy overseers in righteousness.”
151 Literally, “every tribe being written according to its name.”
152 Literally, “on account of the title of the oversight.” Some understand this to mean, “in regard to the dignity of the episcopate;” and others simply, “on account of the oversight.” I. for ὲπινομή gives ἐπιδομή. Bryennius conjectures ὲπιδοχή, which perhaps, may be rendered “Succession” (διαδοχἠ).
153 The meaning of this passage is much controverted. Some render, “left a list of other approved persons;” while others translate the unusual word έπινομὴ, which causes the difficulty, by “testamentary direction,” and many others deem the text corrupt We have given what seems the simplest version of the text as it stands.
154 i.e. the apostles.
155 Or, “oversight.”
156 Literally, “presented the offerings.”
157 Or, “Ye perceive.”
158 Or, “For.”
159 Literally, “worshipped.”
160 Literally, “serve.”
161 Or, “lifted up.” I. ἔγγραφοι. (inscribed).
162 Literally, “to such examples it id right that we should cleave.”
163 Not found in Scripture.
164 Literally, “be.”
165 Or, “thou wilt overthrow.”
166 Or, “war.” Comp. Jam_4:1.
167 This clause is wanting in the text.
168 Literally, “in the beginning of the gospel.”
169 Or, “spiritually.”
170 Or, “inclinations for one above another.” I. προσκλήσεις (summonses) throughout for προσκλίσεις.
171 Literally, “of conduct in Christ.” I. ἀγάπη (love).
172 Or, “aliens from us,” i.e. the Gentiles.
173 Literally, “remove.”
174 Literally, “becoming merciful.”
175 I. gives indicative mood.
176 εὺρεθῶμεν (may be found).
177 Literally, “visitation.”
178 I. θεοῦ(God).
179 Or, “good”
180 Or “look to.”
181 Or “righteously”
182 I. ἄνθρωπον (man).
183 Num_16:1-50. I. θάνατος ποιμανεῖ αὐτούς – “Death shall feed on them,” Psa_49:14 A, V. – should be, “ Death shall tend them.”
184 I. omits from Psa_69:31, Psa_69:32 the words following “bullock.”
185 Or, “sacrifice.”
186 Psa_50:14, Psa_50:15. I. omits Psa_50:15
187 Or, “mighty.”
188 I. δεσπότης (master).
189 Literally, “be wiped out.”
190 Literally, “the multitude.”
191 I. ἐν Χριστῶ (in Christ).
192 Or, “receive.”
193 I. ὑπομνήματα (memorials).
194 Literally, “and having received their prices, fed others.”
195 I. omits δεσπότην (Lord).
196 Literally, “there shall be to them a fruitful and perfect remembrance with compassions both towards God and the saints.”
197 Or, “they unite.”
198 I. κύριος Lord.
199 Literally, “hand.”
200 Literally, “err” or “sin.”
201 I. βλέπετε πόσος (ye see how great).
202 I. (δεσπότου) πατὴρ γὰπ ὰγαθὸς ὠν (on being a good father).
203 I. ὲλεηθῆναι (be pitied).
204 Literally, “to be found small and esteemed.”
205 Literally, “His hope.”
206 I. adds στενοχωρία straits.
207 Here begins the lacuna in the old text referred to in the Introduction. The newly discovered portion of the Epistle extends from this point to the end of Chap. lxiii.
208 I. gives ἀσεβεῖς (ungodly); where ἀσθενεῖς (sick) is substituted.
209 σωζομένοις is the emendation of Harnack for ὁρωμένοις seen.
210 εὺαριστεῖν is emendation for εὐχαριστεῖν (give thanks).
211 Literally, “an eternal throne.”
212 Literally, “from the ages to the ages of ages.”