"كتابات الآباء "
THE STROMATA, OR
MISCELLANIES: REST OF BOOK V
XIII.--THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD A DIVINE GIFT, ACCORDING TO THE
Everything, then, which falls under a name, is originated, whether
they will or not. Whether, then, the Father Himself draws to Himself
everyone who has led a pure life, and has reached the conception of
the blessed and incorruptible nature; or whether the free-will which
is in us, by reaching the knowledge of the good, leaps and bounds
over the barriers, as the gymnasts say; yet it is not without
eminent grace that the soul is winged, and soars, and is raised
above the higher spheres, laying aside all that is heavy, and
surrendering itself to its kindred element.
Plato, too, in Meno, says that virtue is God-given, as the following
expressions show: "From this argument then, O Meno, virtue is shown
to come to those, in whom it is found, by divine providence." Does
it not then appear that "the gnostic disposition" which has come to
all is enigmatically called "divine providence?" And he adds more
explicitly: "If, then, in this whole treatise we have investigated
well, it results that virtue is neither by nature, nor is it taught,
but is produced by divine providence, not without intelligence, in
those in whom it is found." Wisdom which is God-given, as being the
power of the Father, rouses indeed our free-will, and admits faith,
and repays the application of the elect with its crowning
And now I will adduce Plato himself, who clearly deems it fit to
believe the children of God. For, discoursing on gods that are
visible and born, in Timaoeus, he says: "But to speak of the other
demons, and to know their birth, is too much for us. But we must
credit those who have formerly spoken, they being the offspring of
the gods, as they said, and knowing well their progenitors, although
they speak without probable and necessary proofs." I do not think it
possible that clearer testimony could be borne by the Greeks, that
our Saviour, and those anointed to prophesy (the latter being called
the sons of God, and the Lord being His own Son), are the true
witnesses respecting divine things. Wherefore also they ought to be
believed, being inspired, he added. And were one to say in a more
tragic vein, that we ought not to believe,
"For it was not Zeus that told me these things," yet let him know
that it was God Himself that promulgated the Scriptures by His Son.
And he, who announces what is his own, is to be believed. "No one,"
says the Lord, "hath known the Father but the Son, and he to whom
the Son shall reveal Him." This, then, is to be believed,
according to Plato, though it is announced and spoken "without
probable and necessary proofs," but in the Old and New Testament.
"For except ye believe," says the Lord, "ye shall die in your
sins." And again: "He that believeth hath everlasting life."
"Blessed are all they that put their trust in Him." For trusting
is more than faith. For when one has believed that the Son of God
is our teacher, he trusts that his teaching is true. And as
"instruction," according to Empedocles, "makes the mind grow," so
trust in the Lord makes faith grow.
We say, then, that it is characteristic of the same persons to
vilify philosophy, and run down faith, and to praise iniquity and
felicitate a libidinous life. But now faith, if it is the voluntary
assent of the soul, is still the doer of good things, the foundation
of right conduct; and if Aristotle defines strictly when he teaches
that <greek>poiein</greek> is applied to the irrational creatures
and to inanimate things, while <greek>prattein</greek> is applicable
to men only, let him correct those who say that God is the maker
(<greek>poihths</greek>) of the universe. And what is done
(<greek>prakton</greek>), he says, is as good or as necessary. To do
wrong, then, is not good, for no one does wrong except for some
other thing; and nothing that is necessary is voluntary. To do
wrong, then, is voluntary, so that it is not necessary. But the good
differ especially from the bad in inclinations and good desires. For
all depravity of soul is accompanied with want of restraint; and he
who acts from passion, acts from want of restraint and from
I cannot help admiring in every particular that divine utterance:
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not in by the door
into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a
thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the
shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth." Then the Lord
says in explanation, "I am the door of the sheep."  Men must then
be saved by learning the truth through Christ, even if they attain
philosophy. For now that is clearly shown "which was not made known
to other ages, which is now revealed to the sons of men." For
there was always a natural manifestation of the one Almighty God,
among all right-thinking men; and the most, who had not quite
divested themselves of shame with respect to the truth, apprehended
the eternal beneficence in divine providence. In fine, then,
Xenocrates the Chalcedonian was not quite without hope that the
notion of the Divinity existed even in the irrational creatures. And
Democritus, though against his will, will make this avowal by the
consequences of his dogmas; for he represents the same images as
issuing, from the divine essence, on men and on the irrational
animals.  Far from destitute of a divine idea is man, who, it is
written in Genesis, partook of inspiration, being endowed with a
purer essence than the other animate creatures. Hence the
Pythagoreans say that mind comes to man by divine providence, as
Plato and Aristotle avow; but we assert that the Holy Spirit
inspires him who has believed. The Platonists hold that mind is an
effluence of divine dispensation in the soul, and they place the
soul in the body. For it is expressly said by Joel, one of the
twelve prophets, "And it shall come to pass after these things, I
will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your
daughters shall prophesy."  But it is not as a portion of God
that the Spirit is in each of us. But how this dispensation takes
place, and what the Holy Spirit is, shall be shown by us in the
books on prophecy, and in those on the soul. But "incredulity is
good at concealing the depths of knowledge," according to
Heraclitus; "for incredulity escapes from ignorance."
CHAP. XIV.--GREEK PLAGIARISM FROM THE HEBREWS.
Let us add in completion what follows, and exhibit now with greater
clearness the plagiarism of the Greeks from the Barbarian
Now the Stoics say that God, like the soul, is essentially body and
spirit.. You will find all this explicitly in their writings. Do not
consider at present their allegories as the gnostic truth presents
them; whether they show one thing and mean another, like the
dexterous athletes, Well, they say that God pervades all being;
while we call Him solely Maker, and Maker by the Word. They were
misled by what is said in the book of Wisdom: "He pervades and
passes through all by reason of His purity; "  since they did not
understand that this was said of Wisdom, which was the first of the
creation of God.
So be it, they say. But the philosophers, the Stoics, and Plato, and
Pythagoras, nay more, Aristotle the Peripatetic, suppose the
existence of matter among the first principles; and not one first
principle. Let them then know that what is called matter by them, is
said by them to be without quality, and without form, and more
daringly said by Plato to be non-existence. And does he not say very
mystically, knowing that the true and real first cause is one, in
these very words: "Now, then, let our opinion be so. As to the first
principle or principles of the universe, or what opinion we ought to
entertain about all these points, we are not now to speak, for no
other cause than on account of its being difficult to explain our
sentiments in accordance with the present form of discourse." But
undoubtedly that prophetic expression, "Now the earth was invisible
and formless," supplied them with the ground of material essence.
And the introduction of "chance" was hence suggested to Epicurus,
who misapprehended the statement, "Vanity of vanities, and all is
vanity." And it occurred to Aristotle to extend Providence as far as
the moon from this psalm: "Lord, Thy mercy is in the heavens; and
Thy truth reacheth to the clouds."  For the explanation of the
prophetic mysteries had not yet been revealed previous to the advent
of the Lord.
Punishments after death, on the other hand, and penal retribution by
fire, were pilfered from the Barbarian philosophy both by all the
poetic Muses and by the Hellenic philosophy. Plato, accordingly, in
the last book of the Republic, says in these express terms: "Then
these men fierce and fiery to look on, standing by, and hearing the
sound, seized and took some aside and binding Aridaeus and the rest
hand, foot, and head, and throwing them down, and flaying them,
dragged them along the way, tearing their flesh with thorns." For
the fiery men are meant to signify the angels, who seize and punish
the wicked. "Who maketh," it is said, "His angels spirits; His
ministers flaming fire."  It follows from this that the soul is
immortal. For what is tortured or corrected being in a state of
sensation lives, though said to suffer. Well! Did not Plato know of
the rivers of fire and the depth of the earth, and Tartarus, called
by the Barbarians Gehenna, naming, as he does prophetically, 
Cocytus, and Acheron, and Pyriphlegethon, and introducing such
corrective tortures for discipline? But indicating "the angels" as
the Scripture says, "of the little ones, and of the least, which see
God," and also the oversight reaching to us exercised by the
tutelary angels? he shrinks not from writing, "That when all the
souls have selected their several lives, according as it has fallen
to their lot, they advance in order to Lachesis; and she sends along
with each one, as his guide in life, and the joint accomplisher of
his purposes, the demon which he has chosen." Perhaps also the demon
of Socrates suggested to him something similar.
Nay, the philosophers. having so heard from Moses, taught that the
world was created.  And so Plato expressly said, "Whether was it
that the world had no beginning of its existence, or derived its
beginning from some beginning? For being visible, it is tangible;
and being tangible, it has a body." Again, when he says, "It is a
difficult task to find the Maker and Father of this universe," he
not only showed that the universe was created, but points out that
it was generated by him as a son, and that he is called its father,
as deriving its being from him alone, and springing from
non-existence. The Stoics, too, hold the tenet that the world was
And that the devil so spoken of by the Barbarian philosophy, the
prince of the demons, is a wicked spirit, Plato asserts in the tenth
book of the Laws, in these words: "Must we not say that spirit which
pervades the things that are moved on all sides, pervades also
heaven? Well, what? One or more? Several, say I, in reply for you.
Let us not suppose fewer than two--that which is beneficent, and
that which is able to accomplish the opposite." Similarly in the
Phoedrus he writes as follows: "Now there are other evils. But some
demon has mingled pleasure with the most things at present."
Further, in the tenth book of the Laws, he expressly emits that
apostolic sentiment,  "Our contest is not with flesh and blood,
but principalities, with powers, with the spiritual things of those
which are in heaven;" writing thus: "For since we are agreed that
heaven is full of many good beings; but it is also full of the
opposite of these, and more of these; and as we assert such a
contest is deathless, and requiring marvellous watchfulness."
Again the Barbarian philosophy knows the world of thought and the
world of sense--the former archetypal, and the latter the image of
that which is called the model; and assigns the former to the Monad,
as being perceived by the mind, and the world of sense to the number
six. For six is called by the Pythagoreans marriage, as being the
genital number; and he places in the Monad the invisible heaven and
the holy earth, and intellectual light. For "in the beginning," it
is said, "God made the heaven and the earth; and the earth was
invisible." And it is added, "And God said, Let there be light; and
there was light."  And in the material cosmogony He creates a
solid heaven (and what is solid is capable of being perceived by
sense), and a visible earth, and a light that is seen. Does not
Plato hence appear to have left the ideas of living creatures in the
intellectual world, and to make intellectual objects into sensible
species according to their genera? Rightly then Moses says, that the
body which Plato calls "the earthly tabernacle" was formed of the
ground, but that the rational soul was breathed by God into man's
face. For there, they say, the ruling faculty is situated;
interpreting the access by the senses into the first man as the
addition of the soul.
Wherefore also man is said "to have been made in [God's] image and
likeness." For the image of God is the divine and royal Word, the
impassible man; and the image of the image is the human mind. And if
you wish to apprehend the likeness by another name, you will find it
named in Moses, a divine correspondence. For he says, "Walk after
the Lord your God, and keep His commandments."  And I reckon all
the virtuous, servants and followers of God. Hence the Stoics say
that the end of philosophy is to live agreeable to nature; and
Plato, likeness to God, as we have shown in the second Miscellany.
And Zeno the Stoic, borrowing from Plato, and he from the Barbarian
philosophy, says that all the good are friends of one another. For
Socrates says in the Phoedrus, "that it has not been ordained that
the bad should be a friend to the bad, nor the good be not a friend
to the good;" as also he showed sufficiently in the Lysis, that
friendship is never preserved in wickedness and vice. And the
Athenian stranger similarly says, "that there is conduct pleasing
and conformable to God, based on one ancient ground-principle, That
like loves like, provided it be within measure. But things beyond
measure are congenial neither to what is within nor what is beyond
measure. Now it is the case that God is the measure to us of all
things." Then proceeding, Plato  adds: "For every good man is
like every other good man; and so being like to God, he is liked by
every good man and by God." At this point I have just recollected
the following. In the end of the Timoeus he says: "You must
necessarily assimilate that which perceives to that which is
perceived, according to its original nature; and it is by so
assimilating it that you attain to the end of the highest life
proposed by the gods to men,  for the present or the future
time." For those have equal power with these. He, who seeks, will
not stop till he find; and having found, he will wonder; and
wondering, he will reign; and reigning, he will rest. And what? Were
not also those expressions of Thales derived from these? The fact
that God is glorified for ever, and that He is expressly called by
us the Searcher of hearts, he interprets. For Thales being asked,
What is the divinity? said, What has neither beginning nor end. And
on another asking, "If a man could elude the knowledge of the Divine
Being while doing aught?" said, "How could he who cannot do so while
Further, the Barbarian philosophy recognises good as alone
excellent, and virtue as sufficient for happiness, when it says,
"Behold, I have set before your eyes good and evil, life and death
that ye may choose life."  For it calls good, "life," and the
choice of it excellent, and the choice of the opposite "evil." And
the end of good and of life is to become a lover of God: "For this
is thy life and length of days," to love that which tends to the
truth. And these points are yet clearer. For the Saviour, in
enjoining to love God and our neighbour, says, "that on these two
commandments hang the whole law and the prophets." Such are the
tenets promulgated by the Stoics; and before these, by Socrates, in
the Phoedrus, who prays, "O Pan, and ye other gods, give me to be
beautiful within." And in the Theoetetus he says expressly, "For he
that speaks well (<greek>kalws</greek>) is both beautiful and good."
And in the Protagoras he avers to the companions of Protagoras that
he has met with one more beautiful than Alcibiades, if indeed that
which is wisest is most beautiful. For he said that virtue was the
soul's beauty, and, on the contrary, that vice was the soul's
deformity. Accordingly, Antipatrus the Stoic, who composed three
books on the point, "That, according to Plato, only the beautiful is
good," shows that, according to him, virtue is sufficient for
happiness; and adduces several other dogmas agreeing with the
Stoics. And by Aristobulus, who lived in the time of Ptolemy
Philadelphus, who is mentioned by the composer of the epitome of the
books of the Maccabees, there were abundant books to show that the
Peripatetic philosophy was derived from the law of Moses and from
the other prophets. Let such be the case.
Plato plainly calls us brethren, as being of one God and one
teacher, in the following words: "For ye who are in the state are
entirely brethren (as we shall say to them, continuing our story).
But the God who formed you, mixed gold in the composition of those
of you who are fit to rule, at your birth, wherefore you are most
highly honoured; and silver in the case of those who are helpers;
and steel and brass in the case of farmers and other workers."
Whence, of necessity, some embrace and love those things to which
knowledge pertains; and others matters of opinion. Perchance he
prophesies of that elect nature which is bent on knowledge; if by
the supposition he makes of three natures he does not describe three
politics, as some supposed: that of the Jews, the silver; that of
the Greeks, the third; and that of the Christians, with whom has
been mingled the regal gold, the Holy Spirit, the golden. 
And exhibiting the Christian life, he writes in the Theoetetus in
these words: "Let us now speak of the highest principles. For why
should we speak of those who make an abuse of philosophy? These know
neither the way to the forum, nor know they the court or the
senate-house, or any other public assembly of the state. As for laws
and decrees spoken or written, they neither see nor hear them.
But party feelings of political associations and public meetings,
and revels with musicians [occupy them]; but they never even dream
of taking part in affairs. Has any one conducted himself either well
or ill in the state, or has aught evil descended to a man from his
forefathers?--it escapes their attention as much as do the sands of
the sea. And the man does not even know that he does not know all
these things; but in reality his body alone is situated and dwells
in the state,  while the man himself flies, according to Pindar,
beneath the earth and above the sky, astronomizing, and exploring
all nature on all sides.
Again, with the Lord's saying, "Let your yea be yea, and your nay
nay," may be compared the following: "But to admit a falsehood, and
destroy a truth, is in nowise lawful." With the prohibition, also,
against swearing agrees the saying in the tenth book of the Laws:
"Let praise and an oath in everything be absent."
And in general, Pythagoras, and Socrates, and Plato say that they
hear God's voice while closely contemplating the fabric of the
universe, made and preserved unceasingly by God. For they heard
Moses say, "He said, and it was done," describing the word of God as
And founding on the formation of man from the dust, the philosophers
constantly term the body earthy. Homer, too, does not hesitate to
put the following as an imprecation:--
"But may you all become earth and water."
As Esaias says, "And trample them down as clay." And Callimachus
"That was the year in which Birds, fishes, quadrupeds, Spoke like
And the same again:--
"If thee Prometheus formed, And thou art not of other clay."
Hesiod says of Pandora:--
"And bade Hephaestus, famed, with all his speed, Knead earth with
water, and man's voice and mind Infuse."
The Stoics, accordingly, define nature to be artificial fire,
advancing systematically to generation. And God and His Word are by
Scripture figuratively termed fire and light. But how? Does not
Homer himself, is not Homer himself, paraphrasing the retreat of the
water from the land, and the clear uncovering of the dry land, when
he says of Tethys and Oceanus:--
"For now for a long time they abstain from Each other's bed and
Again, power in all things is by the most intellectual among the
Greeks ascribed to God; Epicharmus--he was a Pythagorean--saying:--
"Nothing escapes the divine. This it behoves thee to know.
He is our observer. To God nought is impossible."
And the lyric poet:--
"And God from gloomy night
Can raise unstained light,
And can in darksome gloom obscure
The day's refulgence pure."
He alone who is able to make night during the period of day is God.
In the Phoenomena Aratus writes thus:--
"With Zeus let us begin; whom let us ne'er,
Being men, leave unexpressed. All full of Zeus,
The streets, and throngs of men, and full the sea,
And shores, and everywhere we Zeus enjoy."
"For we also are
His offspring; ...."
that is, by creation.
"Who, bland to men,
Propitious signs displays, and to their tasks
Arouses. For these signs in heaven He fixed,
The constellations spread, and crowned the year
With stars; to show to men the seasons' tasks,
That all things may proceed in order sure.
Him ever first, Him last too, they adore:
Hail Father, marvel great--great boon to men."
And before him, Homer, framing the world in accordance with Moses on
the Vulcan-wrought shield, says:--
"On it he fashioned earth, and sky, and sea,
And all the signs with which the heaven is crowned." 
For the Zeus celebrated in poems and prose compositions leads the
mind up to God. And already, so to speak, Democritus writes, "that a
few men are in the light, who stretch out their hands to that place
which we Greeks now call the air. Zeus speaks all, and he hears all,
and distributes and takes away, and he is king of all." And more
mystically the Boeotian Pindar, being a Pythagorean, says:--
"One is the race of gods and men,
And of one mother both have breath;"
that is, of matter: and names the one creator of these things, whom
he calls Father, chief artificer, who furnishes the means of
advancement on to divinity, according to merit.
For I pass over Plato; he plainly, in the Epistle to Erastus and
Coriscus, is seen to exhibit the Father and Son somehow or other
from the Hebrew Scriptures, exhorting in these words: "In invoking
by oath, with not illiterate gravity, and with culture, the sister
of gravity, God the author of all, and invoking Him by oath as the
Lord, the Father of the Leader, and author; whom if ye study with a
truly philosophical spirit, ye shall know." And the address in the
Timoeus calls the creator, Father, speaking thus: "Ye gods of gods,
of whom I am Father; and the Creator of your works." So that when he
says, "Around the king of all, all things are, and because of Him
are all things; and he [or that] is the cause of all good things;
and around the second are the things second in order; and around the
third, the third," I understand nothing else than the Holy Trinity
to be meant; for the third is the Holy Spirit, and the Son is the
second, by whom all things were made according to the will of the
And the same, in the tenth book of the Republic, mentions Eros the
son of Armenius, who is Zoroaster. Zoroaster, then, writes: "These
were composed by Zoroaster, the son of Armenius, a Pamphylian by
birth: having died in battle, and been in Hades, I learned them of
the gods." This Zoroaster, Plato says, having been placed on the
funeral pyre, rose again to life in twelve days. He alludes
perchance to the resurrection, or perchance to the fact that the
path for souls to ascension lies through the twelve signs of the
zodiac; and he himself says, that the descending pathway to birth is
the same. In the same way we are to understand the twelve labours of
Hercules, after which the soul obtains release from this entire
I do not pass over Empedocles, who speaks thus physically of the
renewal of all things, as consisting in a transmutation into the
essence of fire, which is to take place. And most plainly of the
same opinion is Heraclitus of Ephesus, who considered that there was
a world everlasting, and recognised one perishable--that is, in its
arrangement, not being different from the former, viewed in a
certain aspect. But that he knew the imperishable world which
consists of the universal essence to be everlastingly of a certain
nature, he makes clear by speaking thus: "The same world of all
things, neither any of the gods, nor any one of men, made. But there
was, and is, and will be ever-living fire, kindled according to
measure,  and quenched according to measure." And that he taught
it to be generated and perishable, is shown by what follows: "There
are transmutations of fire,--first, the sea; and of the sea the half
is land, the half fiery vapour." For he says that these are the
effects of power. For fire is by the Word of God, which governs all
things, changed by the air into moisture, which is, as it were, the
germ of cosmical change; and this he calls sea. And out of it again
is produced earth, and sky, and all that they contain. How, again,
they are restored and ignited, he shows clearly in these words: "The
sea is diffused and measured according to the same rule which
subsisted before it became earth." Similarly also respecting the
other elements, the same is to be understood. The most renowned of
the Stoics teach similar doctrines with him, in treating of the
conflagration and the government of the world, and both the world
and man properly so called, and of the continuance of our souls.
Plato, again, in the seventh book of the Republic, has called "the
day here nocturnal," as I suppose, on account of "the world-rulers
of this darkness; "  and the descent of the soul into the body,
sleep and death, similarly with Heraclitus. And was not this
announced, oracularly, of the Saviour, by the Spirit, saying by
David, "I slept, and slumbered; I awoke: for the LORD will sustain
me? "  For He not only figuratively calls the resurrection of
Christ rising from sleep; but to the descent of the Lord into the
flesh he also applies the figurative term sleep. The Saviour Himself
enjoins, "Watch; "  as much as to say, "Study how to live, and
endeavour to separate the soul from the body."
And the Lord's day Plato prophetically speaks of in the tenth book
of the Republic, in these words: "And when seven days have passed to
each of them in the meadow, on the eighth they are to set out and
arrive in four days."  By the meadow is to be understood the
fixed sphere, as being a mild and genial spot, and the locality of
the pious; and by the seven days each motion of the seven planets,
and the whole practical art which speeds to the end of rest. But
after the wandering orbs the journey leads to heaven, that is, to
the eighth motion and day. And he says that souls are gone on the
fourth day, pointing out the passage through the four elements. But
the seventh day is recognised as sacred, not by the Hebrews only,
but also by the Greeks; according to which the whole world of all
animals and plants revolve. Hesiod says of it:--
"The first, and fourth, and seventh day were held sacred."
"And on the seventh the sun's resplendent orb." And Homer:--
"And on the seventh then came the sacred day."
"The seventh was sacred." And again:--
"It was the seventh day, and all things were accomplished."
"And on the seventh morn we leave the stream of Acheron."
Callimachus the poet also writes:--
"It was the seventh morn, and they had all things done."
"Among good days is the seventh day, and the seventh race."
"The seventh is among the prime, and the seventh is perfect."
"Now all the seven were made in starry heaven,
In circles shining as the years appear."
The Elegies of Solon, too, intensely deify the seventh day.
And how? Is it not similar to Scripture when it says, "Let us remove
the righteous man from us, because he is troublesome to us?" 
when Plato, all but predicting the economy of salvation, says in the
second book of the Republic as follows: "Thus he who is constituted
just shall be scourged, shall be stretched on the rack, shall be
bound, have his eyes put out; and at last, having suffered all
evils, shall be crucified." 
And the Socratic Antisthenes, paraphrasing that prophetic utterance,
"To whom have ye likened me? saith the Lord,"  says that "God is
like no one; wherefore no one can come to the knowledge of Him from
Xenophon too, the Athenian, utters these similar sentiments in the
following words: "He who shakes all things, and is Himself
immoveable, is manifestly one great and powerful. But what He is in
form, appears not. No more does the sun, who wishes to shine in all
directions, deem it right to permit any one to look on himself. But
if one gaze on him audaciously, he loses his eyesight."
"What flesh can see with eyes the Heavenly, True,
Immortal God, whose dwelling is the poles?
Not even before the bright beams of the sun
Are men, as being mortal, fit to stand,"--
the Sibyl had said before. Rightly, then, Xenophanes of Colophon,
teaching that God is one and incorporeal, adds:--
"One God there is 'midst gods and men supreme;
In form, in mind, unlike to mortal men."
"But men have the idea that gods are born,
And wear their clothes, and have both voice and shape."
"But had the oxen or the lions hands,
Or could with hands depict a work like men,
Were beasts to draw the semblance of the gods,
The horses would them like to horses sketch,
To oxen, oxen, and their bodies make
Of such a shape as to themselves belongs."
Let us hear, then, the lyric poet Bacchylides speaking of the
"Who to diseases dire  never succumb,
And blameless are; in nought resembling men."
And also Cleanthes, the Stoic, who writes thus in a poem on the
"If you ask what is the nature of the good, listen--
That which is regular, just, holy, pious,
Self-governing, useful, fair, fitting,
Grave, independent, always beneficial,
That feels no fear or grief, profitable, painless,
Helpful, pleasant, safe, friendly,
Held in esteem, agreeing with itself: honourable,
Humble, careful, meek, zealous,
Perennial, blameless, ever-during."
And the same, tacitly vilifying the idolatry of the multitude,
"Base is every one who looks to opinion,
With the view of deriving any good from it."
We are not, then, to think of God according to the opinion of the
"For I do not think that secretly,
Imitating the guise of a scoundrel,
He would go to thy bed as a man,"
says Amphion to Antiope. And Sophocles plainly writes:--
"His mother Zeus espoused,
Not in the likeness of gold, nor covered
With swan's plumage, as the Pleuronian girl
He impregnated; but an out and out man."
He further proceeds, and adds:--
"And quick the adulterer stood on the bridal steps."
Then he details still more plainly the licentiousness of the fabled
"But he nor food nor cleansing water touched,
But heart-stung went to bed, and that whole night Wantoned."
But let these be resigned to the follies of the theatre.
Heraclitus plainly says: "But of the word which is eternal men are
not able to understand, both before they have heard it, and on first
hearing it." And the lyrist Melanippides says in song:--
"Hear me, O Father, Wonder of men,
Ruler of the ever-living soul."
And Parmenides the great, as Plato says in the Sophist writes of God
"Very much, since unborn and indestructible He is,
Whole, only-begotten, and immoveable, and unoriginated."
Hesiod also says:--
"For He of the immortals all is King and Lord.
With God  none else in might may strive."
Nay more, Tragedy, drawing away from idols, teaches to look up to
heaven. Sophocles, as Hecataeus, who composed the histories in the
work about Abraham and the Egyptians, says, exclaims plainly on the
"One in very truth, God is One,
Who made the heaven and the far-stretching earth,
The Deep's blue billow, and the might of winds.
But of us mortals, many erring far
In heart, as solace for our woes, have raised
Images of gods--of stone, or else of brass,
Or figures wrought of gold or ivory;
And sacrifices and vain festivals
To these appointing, deem ourselves devout."
And Euripides on the stage, in tragedy, says:--
"Dost thou this lofty, boundless Ether see,
Which holds the earth around in the embrace
Of humid arms? This reckon Zeus,
And this regard as God."
And in the drama of Pirithous, the same writes those lines in tragic
"Thee, self-sprung, who on Ether's wheel
Hast universal nature spun,
Around whom Light and dusky spangled Night,
The countless host of stars, too, ceaseless dance."
For there he says that the creative mind is self-sprung. What
follows applies to the universe, in which are the opposites of light
AEschylus also, the son of Euphorion, says with very great solemnity
"Ether is Zeus, Zeus earth, and Zeus the heaven;
The universe is Zeus, and all above."
I am aware that Plato assents to Heraclitus, who writes: "The one
thing that is wise alone will not be expressed, and means the name
of Zeus." And again, "Law is to obey the will of one." And if you
wish to adduce that saying, "He that hath ears to hear, let him
hear," you will find it expressed by the Ephesian to the
following effect: "Those that hear without understanding are like
the deaf. The proverb witnesses against them, that when present they
But do you want to hear from the Greeks expressly of one first
principle? Timaeus the Locrian, in the work on Nature, shall testify
in the following words: "There is one first principle of all things
unoriginated. For were it originated, it would be no longer the
first principle; but the first principle would be that froth which
it originated." For this true opinion was derived from what follows:
"Hear," it is said, "0 Israel; the LORD thy God is one, and Him only
shalt thou serve."
"Lo He all sure and all unerring is."
says the Sibyl.
Homer also manifestly mentions the Father and the Son by a happy hit
of divination in the following words:--
"If outis, alone as thou art, offers thee violence,
And there is no escaping disease sent by Zeus,
For the Cyclopes heed not Aegis-bearing Zeus."
And before him Orpheus said, speaking of the in hand:--
"Son of great Zeus, Father of Aegis-bearing Zeus."
And Xenocrates the Chalcedonian, who mentions the supreme Zeus and
the inferior Zeus, leaves an indication of the Father and the Son.
Homer, while representing the gods as subject to human passions,
appears to know the Divine Being, whom Epicurus does not so revere.
He says accordingly:--
"Why, son of Peleus, mortal as thou art,
With swift feet me pursuest, a god
Immortal? Hast thou not yet known
That I am a god?"
For he shows that the Divinity cannot be captured by a mortal, or
apprehended either with feet, or hands, or eyes, or by the body at
all. "To whom have ye likened the Lord? or to what likeness have ye
likened Him?" says the Scripture. Has not the artificer made the
image? or the goldsmith, melting the gold, has gilded it, and what
The comic poet Epicharmus speaks in the Republic clearly of the Word
in the following terms:--
"The life of men needs calculation and number alone,
And we live by number and calculation, for these save mortals."
He then adds expressly:--
"Reason governs mortals, and alone preserves manners."
"There is in man reasoning; and there is a divine
Reason. Reason is implanted in man to provide for life and
But divine Reason attends the arts in the case of all,
Teaching them always what it is advantageous to do.
For it was not man that discovered art, but God brought it;
And the Reason of man derives its origin from the divine Reason."
The Spirit also cries by Isaiah: "Wherefore the multitude of
sacrifices? saith the LORD. I am full of holocausts of rams, and the
fat of lambs and the blood of bulls I wish not;" and a little after
adds: "Wash you, and be clean. Put away wickedness from your
souls," and so forth.
Menander, the comic poet, writes in these very words:--
"If one by offering sacrifice, a crowd
Of bulls or kids, O Pamphilus, by Zeus.
Or such like things; by making works of art,
Garments of gold or purple, images
Of ivory or emerald, deems by these
God can be made propitious, he does err,
And has an empty mind. For the man must prove
A man of worth, who neither maids deflowers,
Nor an adulterer is, nor steals, nor kills
For love of worldly wealth, O Pamphilus.
Nay, covet not a needle's thread. For God
Thee sees, being near beside thee."...
"I am a God at hand," it is said by Jeremiah, "and not a God afar
off. Shall a man do aught in secret places, and I shall not see him
And again Menunder, paraphrasing that Scripture, "Sacrifice a
sacrifice of righteousness, and trust in the Lord," thus
"And not a needle even that is
Another's ever covet, dearest friend;
For God in righteous works delights, and so
Permits him to increase his worldly wealth,
Who toils, and ploughs the land both night and day.
But sacrifice to God, and righteous be,
Shining not in bright robes, but in thy heart;
And when thou hear'st the thunder, do not flee,
Being conscious to thyself of nought amiss,
Good sir, for thee God ever present sees."
"Whilst thou art yet speaking," says the Scripture, "I will say, Lo,
here I am." 
Again Diphilus, the comic poet, discourses as, follows on the
"Think'st thou, O Niceratus, that the dead,
Who in all kinds of luxury in life have shared,
Escape the Deity, as if forgot?
There is an eye of justice, which sees all.
For two ways, as we deem, to Hades lead--
One for the good, the other for the bad.
But if the earth hides both for ever, then
Go plunder, steal, rob, and be turbulent.
But err not. For in Hades judgment is,
Which God the Lord of all will execute,
Whose name too dreadful is for me to name,
Who gives to sinners length of earthly life.
If any mortal thinks, that day by day,
While doing ill, he eludes the gods keen sight,
His thoughts are evil; and when justice has
The leisure, he shall then detected be
So thinking. Look, whoe'er you be that say
That there is not a God. There is, there is.
If one, by nature evil, evil does,
Let him redeem the time; for such as he
Shall by and by due punishment receive."
And with this agrees the tragedy in the following lines:--
"For there shall come, shall come that point of time,
When Ether, golden-eyed, shall ope its store
Of treasured fire; and the devouring flame,
Raging, shall burn all things on earth below,
And all above."...
And after a little he adds:--
"And when the whole world fades,
And vanished all the abyss of ocean's waves,
And earth of trees is bare; and wrapt in flames,
The air no more begets the winged tribes;
Then He who all destroyed, shall all restore."
We shall find expressions similar to these also in the Orphic hymns,
written as follows: --
"For having hidden all, brought them again
To gladsome light, forth from his sacred heart,
And if we live throughout holily and righteously, we are happy here,
and shall be happier after our departure hence; not possessing
happiness for a time, but enabled to rest in eternity.
"At the same hearth and table as the rest
Of the immortal gods, we sit all free
Of human ills, unharmed,"
says the philosophic poetry of Empedocles. And so, according to the
Greeks, none is so great as to be above judgment, none so
insignificant as to escape its notice.
And the same Orpheus speaks thus:--
"But to the word divine, looking, attend,
Keeping aright the heart's receptacle
Of intellect, and tread the straight path well,
And only to the world's immortal King
Direct thy gaze."
And again, respecting God, saying that He was invisible, and that He
was known to but one, a Chaldean by race--meaning either by this
Abraham or his son--he speaks as follows:--
"But one a scion of Chaldean race;
For he the sun's path knew right well,
And how the motion of the sphere about
The earth proceeds, in circle moving
Equally around its axis, how the winds
Their chariot guide o'er air and sea."
Then, as if paraphrasing the expression, "Heaven is my throne, and
earth is my footstool," he adds :--
"But in great heaven, He is seated firm
Upon a throne of gold, and neath His feet
The earth. His right hand round the ocean's bound
He stretches; and the hills' foundations shake
To the centre at His wrath, nor can endure
His mighty strength. He all celestial is,
And all things finishes upon the earth.
He the Beginning, Middle is, and End.
But Thee I dare not speak. In limbs
And mind I tremble. He rules from on high."
And so forth. For in these he indicates these prophetic utterances:
"If Thou openest the heaven, trembling shall seize the mountains
from Thy presence; and they shall melt, as wax melteth before the
fire;" and in Isaiah, "Who hath measured the heaven with a span,
and the whole earth with His fist ?Again, when it is said :--
"Ruler of Ether, Hades, Sea, and Land,
Who with Thy bolts Olympus' strong-built home
Dost shake. Whom demons dread, and whom the throng
Of gods do fear. Whom, too, the Fates obey,
Relentless though they be. O deathless One,
Our mother's Sire I whose wrath makes all things reel;
Who mov'st the winds, and shroud'st in clouds the world,
Broad Ether cleaving with Thy lightning gleams,--
Thine is the order 'mongat the stars, which run
As Thine unchangeable behests direct.
Before Thy burning throne the angels wait,
Much-working, charged to do all things, for men.
Thy young Spring shines, all prank'd with purple flowers;
Thy Winter with its chilling clouds assails;
Three Autumn noisy Bacchus distributes."
Then he adds, naming expressly the Almighty God:--
"Deathless Immortal, capable of being
To the immortals only uttered! Come,
Greatest of gods, with strong Necessity.
Dread, invincible, great, deathless One,
Whom Ether crowns."...
By the expression "Sire of our Mother"
<greek>mhtro</greek>-<greek>patwr</greek> he not only intimates
creation out of nothing, but gives occasion to those who introduce
emissions of imagining a consort of the Deity. And he paraphrases
those prophetic Scriptures-- that in Isaiah, "I am He that fixes the
thunder, and creates the wind; whose hands have rounded the host of
heaven;" and that in Moses, "Behold, behold that I am He, and
there is no god beside me: I will kill, and I will make to live; I
will smite, and I will heal: and there is none that shall deliver
out of my hands."
"And He, from good, to mortals planteth ill,
And cruel war, and tearful woes,"
according to Orpheus.
Such also are the words of the Parian Archilochus.
"O Zeus, thine is the power of heaven, and thou
Inflict'st on men things violent and wrong."
Again let the Thracian Orpheus sing to us:--
"His right hand all around to ocean's bound
He stretches; and beneath His feet is earth."
These are plainly derived from the following: "The Lord will save
the inhabited cities, and grasp the whole land in His hand like a
nest; " "It is the Lord that made the earth by His power," as
saith Jeremiah, "and set up the earth by His wisdom." Further, in
addition to these, Phocylides, who calls the angels demons, explains
in the following words that some of them are good, and others bad
(for we also have learned that some are apostate):--
"Demons there are--some here, some there--set over men;
Some, on rnan's entrance [into life], to ward off ill."
Rightly, then, also Philemon, the comic poet demolishes idolatry in
"Fortune is no divinity to us:
There's no such god. But what befalls by chance
And of itself to each, is Fortune called."
And Sophocles the tragedian says:--
"Not even the gods have all things as they choose,
Excepting Zeus; for he beginning is and end."
And Orpheus: --
"One Might, the great, the flaming heaven, was
One Deity. All things one Being were; in whom
All these revolve fire, water, and the earth."
And so forth.
Pindar, the lyric poet, as if in Bacchic frenzy, plainly says:--
"What is God? The All."
"God, who makes all mortals."
And when he says,--
"How little, being a man, dost thou expect
Wisdom for man? 'Tis hard for mortal mind
The counsels of the gods to scan; and thou
Wast of a mortal mother born,"
he drew the thought from the following: "Who hath known the mind of
the LORD, or who was His counsellor?" Hesiod, too, agrees with
what is said above, in what he writes:--
"No prophet, sprung of men that dwell on earth,
Can know the mind of Aegis-bearing Zeus."
Similarly, then, Solon the Athenian, in the Elegies, following
Hesiod, writes :--
"The immortal's mind to men is quite unknown."
Again Moses, having prophesied that the woman would bring forth in
trouble and pain, on account of transgression, a poet not
"Never by day
From toil and woe shall they have rest, nor yet
By night from groans. Sad cares the gods to men Shall give."
Further, when Homer says,--
"The Sire himself the golden balance held,"
he intimates that God is just.
And Menander, the comic poet, in exhibiting God, says:--
"To each man, on his birth, there is assigned
A tutelary Demon, as his life's good guide.
For that the Demon evil is, and harms
A good life, is not to be thought."
Then he adds:--
"A<greek>panta</greek> <greek>d</greek> <greek>agaqon</greek>
<greek>einai</greek> <greek>ton</greek> <greek>Q?on</greek>,"
meaning either "that every one good is God," or, what is preferable,
"that God in all things is good."
Again, Aeschylus the tragedian, setting forth the power of God, does
not shrink from calling Him the Highest, in these words:--
"Place God apart from mortals; and think not
That He is,, like thyself, corporeal.
Thou know st Him not. Now He appears as fire,
Dread force; as water now; and now as gloom;
And in the beasts is dimly shadowed forth,
In wind, and cloud, in lightning, thunder, rain;
And minister to Him the seas and rocks,
Each fountain and the water's floods and streams.
The mountains tremble, and the earth, the vast
Abyss of sea, and towering height of hills,
When on them looks the Sovereign's awful eye:
Almighty is the glory of the Most High God. "
Does he not seem to you to paraphrase that text, "At the presence of
the Lord the earth trembles?" In addition to these, the most
prophetic Apollo is compelled--thus testifying to the glory of
God--to say of Athene, when the Medes made war against Greece, that
she besought and supplicated Zeus for Attica. The oracle is as
"Pallas cannot Olympian Zeus propitiate,
Although with many words and sage advice she prays;
But he will give to the devouring fire many temples of the
Who now stand shaking with terror, and bathed in sweat; "
and so forth.
Thearidas, in his book On Nature, writes: "There was then one really
true beginning [first principle] of all that exists--one. For that
Being in the beginning is one and alone."
"Nor is there any other except the Great King,"
says Orpheus. In accordance with whom, the comic poet Diphilus says
very sententiously, the
"Father of all,
To Him alone incessant reverence pay,
The inventor and the author of such blessings."
Rightly therefore Plato "accustoms the best natures to attain to
that study which formerly we said was the highest, both to see the
good and to accomplish that ascent. And this, as appears, is not the
throwing of the potsherds; but the turning round of the soul from
a nocturnal day to that which is a true return to that which really
is, which we shall assert to be the true philosophy." Such as are
partakers of this he judges to belong to the golden race, when he
says: "Ye are all brethren; and those who are of the golden race are
most capable of judging most accurately in every respect."
The Father, then, and Maker of all things is apprehended by all
things, agreeably to all, by innate power and without
teaching,--things inanimate, sympathizing with the animate creation;
and of living beings some are. already immoral, working in the light
of day. But of those that are still mortal, some are in fear, and
carried still in their mother's womb; and others regulate themselves
by their own independent reason. And of men all are Greeks and
Barbarians. But no race anywhere of tillers of the soil, or nomads,
and not even of dwellers in cities, can live, without being imbued
with the faith of a superior being. Wherefore every eastern
nation, and every nation touching the western shore; or the north,
and each one towards the south,--all have one and the same
preconception respecting Him who hath appointed government; since
the most universal of His operations equally pervade all. Much more
did the philosophers among the Greeks, devoted to investigation,
starting from the Barbarian philosophy, attribute providence to
the "Invisible, and sole, and most powerful, and most skilful and
supreme cause of all things most beautiful; "--not knowing the
inferences from these truths, unless instructed by us, and not even
how God is to be known naturally; but only, as we have already often
said, by a true periphrasis." Rightly therefore the apostle says,
"Is He the God of the Jews only, and not also of the Greeks ? "--not
only saying prophetically that of the Greeks believing Greeks would
know God; but also intimating that in power the Lord is the God
of all, and truly Universal King. For they know neither what He is,
nor how He is Lord, and Father, and Maker, nor the rest of the
system of the truth, without being taught by it. Thus also the
prophetic utterances have the same force as the apostolic word. For
Isaiah says, "If ye say, We trust in the LORD our God: now make an
alliance with my Lord the king of the Assyrians." And he adds: "And
now, was it without the LORD that we came up to this land to make
war against it?" And Jonah, himself a prophet, intimates the
same thing in what he says: "And the shipmaster came to him, and
said to him, Why dost thou snore? Rise, call on thy God, that He may
save us, and that we may not perish."' For the expression "thy God"
he makes as if to one who knew Him by way of knowledge; and the
expression, "that God may save us," revealed the consciousness in
the minds of heathens who had applied their mind to the Ruler of
all, but had not yet believed. And again the same: "And he said to
them, I am the servant of the LORD; and I fear the LORD, the God of
heaven." And again the same: "And he said, Let us by no means perish
for the life of this man." And Malachi the prophet plainly exhibits
God saying, "I will not accept sacrifice at your hands. For from the
rising of the sun to its going down, My name is glorified among the
Gentiles; and in every place sacrifice is offered to Me." And
again: "Because I am a great King, saith the LORD omnipotent; and My
name is manifest among the nations." What name? The Son declaring
the Father among the Greeks who have believed.
Plato in what follows gives an exhibition of free-will: "Virtue owns
not a master; and in proportion as each one honours or dishonours
it, in that proportion he will be a partaker of it. The blame lies
in the exercise of free choice." But God is blameless. For He is
never the author of evil.
"O warlike Trojans," says the lyric poet, --
"High ruling Zeus, who beholds all things,
Is not the cause of great woes to mortals;
But it is in the power of all men to find
Justice, holy, pure,
Companion of order,
And of wise Themis
The sons of the blessed are ye
In finding her as your associate."
And Pindar expressly introduces also Zeus Soter, the consort of
Themis, proclaiming him King, Saviour, Just, in the following
"First, prudent Themis, of celestial birth,
On golden steeds, by Ocean's rock,
The Fates brought to the stair sublime,
The shining entrance of Olympus,
Of Saviour Zeus for aye to be the spouse,
And she, the Hours, gold-diademed, fair-fruited, good, brought
He, then, who is not obedient to the truth, and is puffed up with
human teaching, is wretched and miserable, according to Euripides:--
"Who these things seeing, yet apprehends not God,
But mouthing lofty themes, casts far
Perverse deceits; stubborn in which, the tongue
Its shafts discharges, about things unseen,
Devoid of sense."
Let him who wishes, then, approaching to the true instruction, learn
from Parmenides the Eleatic, who promises:--
"Ethereal nature, then, and all the signs
In Ether thou shall know, and the effects,
All viewless, of the sacred Sun's clear torch
And whence produced. The round-eyed Moon's
Revolving influences and nature thou
Shall learn; and the ensphering heaven shall know;
Whence sprung; and how Necessity took it
And chained so as to keep the starry bounds."
And Metrodorus, though an Epicurean, spoke thus, divinely inspired:
"Remember, O Menestratus, that, being a mortal endowed with a
circumscribed life, thou hast in thy soul ascended, till thou hast
seen endless time, and the infinity of things; and what is to be,
and what has been;" when with the blessed choir, according to Plato,
we shall gaze on the blessed sight and vision; we following with
Zeus, and others with other deities, if we may be permitted so to
say, to receive initiation into the most blessed mystery: which we
shall celebrate, ourselves being perfect and untroubled by the ills
which awaited us at the end of our time; and introduced to the
knowledge of perfect and tranquil visions, and contemplating them in
pure sunlight; we ourselves pure, and now no longer distinguished by
that, which, when carrying it about, we call the body, being bound
to it like an oyster to its shell.
The Pythagoreans call heaven the Antichthon[the opposite Earth]. And
in this land, it is said by Jeremiah, "I will place thee among the
children, and give thee the chosen land as inheritance of God
Omnipotent; " and they who herit it shall reign over the earth.
Myriads on myriads of examples rush on my mind which might
adduce. But for the sake of symmetry the discourse must now stop, in
order that we may not exemplify the saying of Agatho the
"Treating our by-work as work,
And doing our work as by-work."
It having been, then, as I think, clearly shown in what way it is to
be understood that the Greeks were called thieves by the Lord, I
willingly leave the dogmas of the philosophers. For were we 'to go
over their sayings, we should gather together directly such a
quantity of notes, in showing that the whole of the Hellenic wisdom
was derived from the Barbarian philosophy. But this speculation, we
shall, nevertheless, again touch on, as necessity requires, when we
collect the opinions current among the Greeks respecting first
But from what has been said, it tacitly devolves on us to consider
in what way the Hellenic books are to be perused by the man who is
able to pass through the billows in them. Therefore
"Happy is he who possesses the wealth of the divine mind," as
appears according to Empedocles,
"But wretched he, who cares for dark opinion about the Gods."
He divinely showed knowledge and ignorance to be the boundaries of
happiness and misery. "For it behoves philosophers to be acquainted
with very many things," according to Heraclitus;
and truly must
"He, who seeks to be good, err in many things."
It is then, now clear to us, from what has been said, that the
beneficence of God is eternal, and that, from an unbeginning
principle, equal natural righteousness reached all, according to the
worth of each several race,--never having had a beginning. For God
did not make a beginning of being Lord and Good, being always what
He is. Nor will He ever cease to do good, although He bring all
things to an end. And each one of us is a partaker of His
beneficence, as far as He wills. For the difference of the elect is
made by the intervention of a choice worthy of the soul, and by
Thus, then, let our fifth Miscellany of gnostic notes in accordance
with the true philosophy be brought to a close.
I. (Clement's Hebrew, p. 446, note 8.)
On this matter having spoken in a former Elucidation (see
Elucidation VIII. p. 443), I must here translate a few words from
Philo Judaeus. He says, "Before Abram was called, such was his name;
but afterward he was named Abraam, by the simple duplication of one
letter, which nevertheless enfolds a great significance. For Abram
is expounded to mean sublime father, but Abraam means elect father
of sound." Philo goes on to give his personal fancies in explication
of this whim. But, with Clement, Philo was an expert, to whom all
knowledge was to be credited in his specialty. This passage,
however, confirms the opinion of those who pronounce Clement
destitute of Hebrew, even in its elements. No need to say that Abram
means something like what Philo gives us, but Abraham is expounded
in the Bible itself (Gen. xvii. 3, 4, 5). The text of the LXX, seems
to have been dubious to our author's mind, and hence he fails back
on Philo. But this of itself appears decisive as to Clement's Hebrew
II. (The Beetle, cap. iv. p. 449, note 6.)
Cicero notes the scaraboeus on the tongue, as identifying Apis,' the
calf-god of the Egyptians. Now, this passage of our author seems to
me to clear up the Scriptural word gillulim in Deut. xxix. 17, where
the English margin reads, literally enough, dungy-gods. The word
means, things rolled about (Lev. xxvi. 30; Hob. ii. 18, 19; 1 Kings
xv. 12); on which compare Leighton (St. Peter, PP. 239, 746, and
note). Scripture seems to prove that this story of Clement's about
the beetle of the Egyptians, was known to the ancient Hebrews, and
was the point in their references to the gillulim (see Herod., book
iii. cap. 28., or Rawlinson's Trans., vol. ii. 353). The note in
Migne ad loc. is also well-worthy to be consulted.
III. (The Tetrad, cap. vi. p. 452, note 4.)
It is important to observe that "the patriarchal dispensation," as
we too carelessly speak, is pluralized by Clement. He clearly
distinguishes the three patriarchal dispensations, as given in Adam,
Noah, and Abraham; and then comes the Mosaic. The editor begs to be
pardoned for referring to his venerated and gifted father's division
(sustained by Clement's authority), which he used to insist should
be further enlarged so as to subdivide the first and the last,
making seven complete, and thus honouring the system of sevens which
runs through all Scripture. Thus Adam embraces Paradise, and the
first covenant after the fall; and the Christian covenant embraces a
millennial period. So that we have (1) Paradise, (2) Adam, (3) Noah
(4) Abraham, (5) Moses, (6) Christ (7) a millennial period,
preluding the Judgment and the Everlasting Kingdom. My venerated and
most erudite instructor in theology, the late Dr. Jarvis, in his
Church of the Redeemed, expounds a dispensation as identified by (1)
a covenant original or renewed, (2) a sign or sacrament, and (3) a
closing judgment. (See pp. 4, 5, and elsewhere in the great work I
have named.) Thus (1) the Tree of Life, (2) the institution of
sacrifice, (3) the rainbow, (4) circumcision, (5) the ark, (6) the
baptismal and eucharistic sacraments, and (7) the same renewed and
glorified by the conversion of nations are the symbols. The
covenants and the judgments are easily identified, ending with the
Dr. Jarvis died, leaving his work unfinished; but the Church of the
Redeemed is a book complete in itself, embodying the results of a
vast erudition, and of a devout familiarity with Scripture. It
begins with Adam, and ends with the downfall of Jerusalem (the
typical judgment), which closed the Mosaic dispensation. It is
written in a pellucid style, and with a fastidious use of the
English language; and it is the noblest introduction to the
understanding of the New Testament, with which I am acquainted. That
such a work should be almost unknown in American literature, of
which it should be a conspicuous ornament, is a sad commentary upon
the taste of the period when it was given to the public.
IV. (The Golden Candlestick, cap. vi. p. 452, note 6.)
The seven gifts of the Spirit seem to be prefigured in this symbol,
corresponding to the seven (spirits) lamps before the throne in the
vision of St. John (see Rev. i. 4, iii. 1, iv. 5, and v. 6; also
Isa. xi. 1, 2, and Zech. iii. 9, and iv. 10). The prediction of
Isaiah intimates the anointing of Jesus at his baptism, and the
outpouring of these gifts upon the Christian Church.
V. (Symbols, cap. vi. p. 453, note 3.)
Clement regards the symbols of the divine law as symbols merely, and
not images in the sense of the Decalogue. Whatever we may think of
this distinction, his argument destroys the fallacy of the Trent
Catechism, which pleads the Levitical symbols in favour of images in
"the likeness of holy things," and which virtually abrogates the
second commandment. Images of God the Father (crowned with the Papal
tiara) are everywhere to be seen in the Latin churches, and
countless images of all heavenly things are everywhere worshipped
under the fallacy which Clement rejects. Pascal exposes the
distinctions without a difference, by which God's laws are evacuated
of all force in Jesuit theology; but the hairsplitting distinctions,
about "bowing down to images and worshipping them," which infect the
Trent theology, are equal to the worst of Pascal's instances. It
is with profound regret that I insert this testimony; but it seems
necessary, because garblings of patristic authorities, which begin
to appear in America, make an accurate and intelligent study of the
AnteNicene Fathers a necessity for the American theologian.
VI. (Perfection, cap. x. p. 459, note 2.)
The <greek>teleioi</greek> of the ancient canons were rather the
complete than the perfect, as understood by the ancients. Clement's
Gnostic is "complete," and goes on to moral perfection. Now, does
not St. Paul make a similar distinction between babes in Christ, and
those "complete in Him"? (Col. ii. 10.) The
<greek>peplhrwmenoi</greek> of this passage, referring to the
"thoroughly furnished" Christian (fully equipped for his work and
warfare), has thrown light on many passages of and of the old
canons, in my experience; and I merely make the suggestion for what
it may be worth. See Bunsen's Church and game Book (Hippol., iii.
82, 83, et seqq.) for the rules (1) governing all Christians, and
(2) those called "the faithful," by way of eminence. So, in our
days, not all believers are communicants.
VII. (The Unknown God, cap. xii. p. 464, note
Must we retain "too superstitious," even in the Revised Version?
(Which see ad loc.) Bunsen's rendering of
<greek>deisidaimonia</greek>, by demonfear, is not English; but
it suggests the common view of scholars, upon the passage, and leads
me to suppose that the learned and venerable company of revisers
could not agree on any English that would answer. That St. Paul paid
the Athenians a compliment, as devout in their way, i.e., Godfearing
towards their divinities, will not be denied. Clement seems to have
so understood it, and hence his constant effort to show that we must
recognise, in dealing with Gentiles, whatever of elementary good God
has permitted to exist among them. May we not admit this principle,
at least so far as to believe that Divine Providence led the
Athenians to set up the very inscription which was to prompt
Christ's apostle to an ingenious interpretation, and to an equally
ingenious use of it, so avoiding a direct conflict with their laws?
This they had charged on him (Acts xvii. 18), as before on Socrates.
VIII. (Xenocrates and Democritus, cap. xiii. p. 465, note 3.)
My grave and studious reader will forgive me, here, for a reference
to Stromata of a widely different sort. Dulce est desipere, etc. One
sometimes finds instruction and relief amid the intense nonsense of
"agnostic" and other "philosophies" of our days, in turning to a
healthful intellect which "answers fools according to their folly."
I confess myself an occasional reader of the vastly entertaining and
suggestive Noctes of Christopher North, which may be excused by the
famous example of a Father of the Church, who delighted in
Aristophanes. To illustrate this passage of Clement, then, let me
refer to Professor Wilson's intense sympathy with animals. See the
real eloquence of his reference to the dogs of Homer and of Sir
Walter Scott. "The Ettrick Shepherd" somewhere wondered, whether
some dogs are not gifted with souls; and, in the passage referred
to, it is asked, whether the dog of Ulysses could have been
destitute of an immortal spirit. On another occasion, Christopher
breaks out with something like this: "Let me prefer the man who
thinks so, to the miserable atheist whose creed is dust." He looks
upon his dog "Fro," and continues (while the noble animal seems
listening), "Yes, better a thousand times, O Fro, to believe that
'my faithful dog shall bear me company,' than that the soul of a
Newton perishes at death," etc. How often have I regaled myself with
the wholesome tonic of such dogloving sport, after turning with
disgust from some Godhating and mandestroying argument of "modern
science," falsely so called.
IX. (Plato's Prophecy, cap. xiv. p. 470, note 2.)
My references at this point are worthy of being enlarged upon. I
subjoin the following as additional. On this sublime passage, Jones
of Nayland remarks, "The greatest moral philosopher of the Greeks
declared, with a kind of prescience, that, if a man perfectly just
were to come upon earth, he would be impoverished and scourged, and
bound as a criminal; and, when he had suffered all manner of
indignities, would be put to the shameful death of (suspension or)
crucifixion." "Several of the Fathers," he adds, "have taken notice
of this extraordinary passage in Plato, looking upon it as a
prediction of the sufferings of the JUST ONE, Jesus Christ." He
refers us to Grotius (De Veritate, iv. sec. 12) and to Meric
Casaubon (On Credulity, p. 135). The passage from Plato (Rep., ii.
5) impressed the mind of Cicero. (See his Rep., iii. 17.)