The Restoration Principle, Alfred T. DeGroot, Clement, Exhortation to the Heathen - Rejecting TraditionAlfred T. DeGroot rejects a Restoration Movement and denounces non-instrumental churches as sects. Clement calls for a restoration movement by rejecting pagan or human-composes songs and invented instruments and returning to the Word of Christ as our only song as we are His instrument.
Quotes are from The Restoration Principle, Alfred T. DeGroot, p. 39, Bethany Press
Clement of Alexander is one of the proof-text persons used to prove that there was no interest in a pattern for Christian Worship.
DeGroot identifies two ways of seeing "church." One way, the way of ancient and modern Catholicism, depended upon tradition or custom which gained "authority" if practiced long enough.
If, say, the Disciples of Christ decide to create a new sect by adding instrumental music in the face of Biblical and historical testimony against it, and sure and certain sowing of discord among brethren, then the "living" church has the authority to declare, "from the chair," that it has the God given authority to do so.
Those who object and are forced to leave are then changed by a miracle into the "sect" which created the division. Even John Calvin understood that ploy.
The second view of "church" is based upon the belief that Jesus was (is) Full Deity to our minds (Col. 2:9) and what He said and inspired through the Apostles was the Holy Spirit or the Mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2). This view trims away the "fat" of traditionalism so that there are a minimum of "institutional tenets" to its "creed" making a broader fellowship theoretically possible.
If someone wants to, say, sacrifice a pig on the Lord's Table he is rejected because it would violate the view that with the death of Christ animal sacrifices have ceased. And if sacrifices have ceased, the instrumental music ceases because it had a "traditional" rationale only in Jerusalem and in connection with animal sacrifices for certain dedicatory or purification rituals.
"This is why Thomas Campbell could say:
"The New Testament is as perfect a constitution for the worship, discipline, and government of the New Testament church, and as a perfect a rule for particular duties of its members, as the Old Testament was for the worship, discipline, and government of the Old Testament Church, and the particular duties of its members."
"Thus there came to be, very early in the career of this movement, interest not only in
(1) Christian unity in a new freedom, but also (defined as 'church')
(2) a return to the doctrine, ordinances, and discipline of the New Testament church." (p. 153) (defined as 'sect')
In 1932, A. W. Fortune says, "The controversies through which the Disciples have passed from the beginning to the present time have been the result of two different interpretations of their mission.
There have been those who believed it is the spirit of the New Testament Church that should be restored, and
in our method of working the church must adapt itself to changing conditions.
There have been those who regarded the New Testament Church as a fixed pattern for all time, and our business is to hold rigidly to that pattern regardless of consequences.
Because of these two attitudes conflict were inevitable."
The Stone Campbell Movement has shown that its interest is in confiscating non-instrumental churches (a congenital propensity) and NOT in unity based on rejecting instrumental music or being governed in faith and practice by the Bible.
"Broadly speaking, it may be said that number
1. above generated the present fellowship called Disciples of Christ, and that number (church)
2. gave rise to the Churches of Christ. (sect)
According to Troeltsch,
Disciples would be among the 'church' type and
Churches of Christ among the 'sect' type.
"By 'church' is meant that body of conceptions which says "From the beginning they have been 'high churchmen'...
because they 'never ceased to stress the visible and corporate character of the Church as the Divine Society,' (with bylaws, a head and ability to adapt to the culture)
and rejected 'legalized methods and structural forms which are a contradiction of the living nature of the church.'
See the High Church Background. The High Church movement was never adopted by any religious group.
The church "Fathers" such as Clement of Alexandria are called to the witness stand to prove that the church depended upon the Old Testament and the "gospels" and put little credence in the Epistles of the Apostles. Furthermore, the "evidence" is that the historical church was a living church which changed in time. That certainly defines the Catholic view of things but not of the Apostolic Fathers.
Rather than new methods which DeGroot justifies based upon their ability to keep the "living" church alive, the urge to introduce human invention:
"is symptomatic of structures that have lost their elasticity, becoming too rigid to accommodate further development,
to intensify the semantics of self-reference as a sort of final act of self-reassurance.
The patterns of self-reference by drama to drama as we see them in The Bacchae of Euripides reflect a crisis in the very genre of tragedy, in the context of drastic changes in Athenian society toward the end of the fifth century;
the prospect is one of abrupt confrontation and loss." -- Nagy, Pindar's Homer p. 388 Click For More
In another article we noted that in his Exhortation to the Heathen Clement made it clear that you could not even see the kingdom or church until you first eleminated all of the "traditions" or customs which, when added, tended to add pagan practices such as music rather than to eleminate those things which were not Scriptural and which created division.
Now, in chapter 10 and beyond, Clement destroys DeGroot's premise that the church has his permission to neglect the Word and depend on becoming like the world using custom and tradition:
Exhortation to the HeathenChapter X.-Answer to the Objection of the Heathen, that It Was Not Right to Abandon the Customs of Their Fathers.
But you say it is not creditable to subvert the customs handed down to us from our fathers.And why, then, do we not still use our first nourishment, milk, to which our nurses accustomed us from the time of our birth?Why do we increase or diminish our patrimony, and not keep it exactly the same as we got it?Why do we not still vomit on our parents' breasts, or still do the things for which, when infants, and nursed by our mothers, we were laughed at,but have corrected ourselves, even if we did not fall in with good instructors?
Then, if excesses in the indulgence of the passions, though pernicious and dangerous, yet are accompanied with pleasure, why do we not in the conduct of life abandon that usage which is evil, and provocative of passion, and godless,
even should our fathers feel hurt, and betake ourselves to the truth, and seek Him who is truly our Father,
rejecting custom as a deleterious drug?
For of all that I have undertaken to do, the task I now attempt is the noblest, viz., to demonstrate to you how inimical this insane and most wretched custom is to godliness.
For a boon so great, the greatest ever given by God to the human race, would never have been hated and rejected, had not you been carried away by custom, and then shut your ears against us; and just as unmanageable horses throw off the reins, and take the bit between their teeth,
you rush away from the arguments addressed to you, in your eager desire to shake yourselves clear of us, who seek to guide the chariot of your life, and, impelled by your folly, dash towards the precipices of destruction,
and regard the holy word of God as an accursed thing.
The reward of your choice, therefore, as described by Sophocles, follows:-
"The mind a blank, useless ears, vain thoughts."And you know not that, of all truths, this is the truest, that the good and godly shall obtain the good reward, in as much as they held goodness in high esteem; while, on the other hand, the wicked shall receive meet punishment.
For the author of evil, torment has been prepared; and so the prophet Zecharias threatens him: "He that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee; lo, is not this a brand plucked from the fire? [ Zech. iii. 2.]
What an infatuated desire, then, for voluntary death is this, rooted in men's minds!
Why do they flee to this fatal brand, with which they shall be burned, when it is within their power to live nobly according to God, and not according to custom?
For God bestows life freely; but evil custom, after our departure from this world, brings on the sinner unavailing remorse with punishment. By sad experience, even a child knows how superstition destroys and piety saves.
Let any of you look at those who minister before the idols, their hair matted, their persons disgraced with filthy and tattered clothes; who never come near a bath, and let their nails grow to an extraordinary length, like wild beasts;
many of them castrated, who show the idol's temples to be in reality graves or prisons.
These appear to me to bewail the gods, not to worship them, and their sufferings to be worthy of pity rather than piety.
And seeing these things, do you still continue blind, and will you not look up to the Ruler of all, the Lord of the universe? And will you not escape from those dungeons, and flee to the mercy that comes down from heaven?
For God, of His great love to man, comes to the help of man, as the mother-bird flies to one of her young that has fallen out of the nest; and if a serpent open its mouth to swallow the little bird, "the mother flutters round, uttering cries of grief over her dear progeny; [lliad, ii. 315.] and God the Father seeks His creature, and heals his transgression, and pursues the serpent, and recovers the young one, and incites it to fly up to the nest.
Thus dogs that have strayed, track out their master by the scent; and horses that have thrown their riders, come to their master's call if he but whistle. "The ox," it is said, "knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib; but Israel hath not known Me. [ Isa. i. 3.] What, then, of the Lord? He remembers not our ill desert; He still pities, He still urges us to repentance.
And I would ask you, if it does not appear to you monstrous, that you men who are God's handiwork, who have received your souls from Him, and belong wholly to God, should be subject to another master, and, what is more, serve the tyrant instead of the rightful King-the evil one instead of the good? For, in the name of truth, what man in his senses turns his back on good, and attaches himself to evil?
What, then, is he who flees from God to consort with demons? Who, that may become a son of God, prefers to be in bondage? Or who is he that pursues his way to Erebus,
when it is in his power to be a citizen of heaven, and to cultivate Paradise,
and walk about in heaven and partake of the tree of life and immortality,
and, cleaving his way through the sky in the track of the luminous cloud, behold, like Elias, the rain of salvation?
Some there are, who, like worms wallowing in marshes and mud in the streams of pleasure, feed on foolish and useless delights-swinish men. For swine, it is said, like mud better than pure water; and, according to Democritus, "dote upon dirt."
Let us not then be enslaved or become swinish; but, as true children of the light, let us raise our eyes and look on the light, lest the Lord discover us to be spurious, as the sun does the eagles. Let us therefore repent,
- and pass from ignorance to knowledge,
- from foolishness to wisdom,
- from licentiousness to self-restraint,
- from unrighteousness to righteousness,
- from godlessness to God.
It is an enterprise of noble daring to take our way to God; and the enjoyment of many other good things is within the reach of the lovers of righteousness, who pursue eternal life, specially those things to which God Himself alludes, speaking by Isaiah: "There is an inheritance for those who serve the Lord.[Isa. liv. 17.] Noble and desirable is this inheritance: not gold, not silver, not raiment, which the moth assails, and things of earth which are assailed by the robber, whose eye is dazzled by worldly wealth;
but it is that treasure of salvation to which we must hasten, by becoming lovers of the Word.
Thence praise-worthy works descend to us, and fly with us on the wing of truth. This is the inheritance with Which the eternal covenant of God invests us, conveying the everlasting gift of grace; and thus our loving Father-the true Father-ceases not to exhort, admonish, train, love us.
For He ceases not to save, and advises the best course: "Become righteous," says the Lord. [Isa. liv. 17, where Sept.reads, "ye shall be righteous."] Ye that thirst, come to the water; and ye that have no money, come, and buy and drink without money. [Isa. lv. 1.] He invites to the laver, to salvation, to illumination, all but crying out and saying, The land I give thee, and the sea, my child, and heaven too; and all the living creatures in them I freely bestow upon thee. Only, O child, thirst for thy Father;
God shall be revealed to thee without price; the truth is not made merchandise of. He gives thee all creatures that fly and swim, and those on the land. These the Father has created for thy thankful enjoyment.
What the bastard, who is a son of perdition, foredoomed to be the slave of mammon, has to buy for money,
He assigns to thee as thine own,
even to His own son who loves the Father; for whose sake He still works, and to whom alone He promises, saying, "The land shall not be sold in perpetuity," for it is not destined to corruption. "For the whole land is mine; "and it is thine too, if thou receive God.
In a modern sense God has given us the Water of the Word without price (Isaiah 55:1f). Little by little we, like the Jews, have sold, bartered or had stolen our free "lands" as our inheritance. In the literal Jubilee, every 50 years God demanded that dominant men who had wrestled the free lands away as big landholder and took away the food supply, like a wolf having stolen a lamb, had to "cough up" and let the lamb go free.
In its modern incarnation, the Jubilee and all such religious festivals have turned the trumpet (jubal) blast into the voice of the Shepherd to call in the lambs to collect them into their big "landholding" so that all of the lambs belong to him.
This is the truth overcome by custom and tradition and Clement would call us all to a true "Jubilee" by telling the dispensers of scarce "food" to give up their ill-gotten gains.
Wherefore the Scripture, as might have been expected, proclaims good news to those who have believed. "The saints of the Lord shall inherit the glory of God and His power." What glory, tell me, O blessed One, which "eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor hath it entered into the heart of man; [ 1 Cor. ii. 9.] and "they shall be glad in the kingdom of their Lord for ever and ever! Amen."
- You have, O men, the divine promise of grace;
- you have heard, on the other hand, the threatening of punishment:
- by these the Lord saves, teaching men by fear and grace.
Why do we delay? Why do we not shun the punishment? Why do we not receive the free gift? Why, in fine. do we not choose the better part, God instead of the evil one, and prefer wisdom to idolatry, and take life in exchange for death?
"Behold," He says, "I have set before your face death and life. [Deut. xxx. 15.] The Lord tries you, that "you may choose life." He counsels yon as a father to obey God. "For if ye hear Me," He says, "and be willing, ye shall eat the good things of the land: [ Isa. i. 19.]
this is the grace attached to obedience.
"But if ye obey Me not, and are unwilling, the sword and fire shall devour you: [Isa. i. 20, xxxiii. 11. ] this is the penalty of disobedience. For the mouth of the Lord-the law of truth, the word of the Lord-hath spoken these things.
Are you willing that I should be your good counsellor? Well, do you hear. I, if possible, will explain. You ought, O men, when reflecting on the Good, to have brought forward a witness inborn and competent, viz, faith, which of itself, and from its own resources, chooses at once what is best, instead of occupying yourselves in painfully inquiring whether what is best ought to be followed.
For, allow me to tell you, you ought to doubt whether you should get drunk,
but you get drunk before reflecting on the matter; and whether you ought to do an injury, but you do injury with the utmost readiness.
The only thing you make the subject of question is, whether God should be worshipped, and whether this wise God and Christ should be followed: and this you think requires deliberation and doubt, and know not what is worthy of God. Have faith in us, as you have in drunkenness, that you may be wise; have faith in us, as you have in injury, that you may live. But if, acknowledging the conspicuous trustworthiness of the virtues, you wish to trust them, come and I will set before you in abundance, materials of persuasion respecting the Word.
But do you-for your ancestral customs, by which your minds are preoccupied, divert you from the truth,-do you now hear what is the real state of the case as follows.
And let not any shame of this name preoccupy you, which does great harm to men, and seduces them from salvation.For 'tis no insignificant prize, the guerdon of immortality which is set before us.
- Let us then openly strip for the contest,
- and nobly strive in the arena of truth,
- the holy Word being the judge,
- and the Lord of the universe prescribing the contest.Pay no more regard, then, if you are rated by some of the low rabble who lead the dance of impiety,
and are driven on to the same pit by their folly and insanity, makers of idols and worshippers of stones.
For these have dared to deify men,-Alexander of Macedon, for example, whom they canonized as the thirteenth god, whose pretensions Babylon confuted, which showed him dead. I admire, therefore, the divine sophist. Theocritus was his name. After Alexander's death, Theocritus, holding up the vain opinions entertained by men respecting the gods, to ridicule before his fellow-citizens, said: "Men, keep up your hearts as long as you see the gods dying sooner than men."
And, truly, he who worships gods that are visible, and the promiscuous rabble of creatures begotten and born, and attaches himself to them, is a far more wretched object than the very demons. For God is by no manner of means unrighteous, as the demons are, but in the very highest degree righteous; and nothing more resembles God than one of us when he becomes righteous in the highest possible degree:-
- "Go into the way, the whole tribe of you handicrafts-men,
- Who worship Jove's fierce-eyed daughter, [Minerva.] the working goddess,
- With fans duly placed, fools that ye are"
-fashioners of stones, and worshippers of them. Let your Phidias, and Polycletus, and your Praxiteles and Apelles too,
- come, and all that are engaged in mechanical arts,
- who, being themselves of the earth, are workers of the earth.
"For then," says a certain prophecy, "the affairs here turn out unfortunately, when men put their trust in images." Let the meaner artists, too-for I will not stop calling-come.
None of these ever made a breathing image, or out of earth moulded soft flesh. Who liquefied the marrow? or who solidified the bones? Who stretched the nerves? who distended the veins? Who poured the blood into them?
Or who spread the skin? Who ever could have made eyes capable of seeing?
Who breathed spirit into the lifeless form? Who bestowed righteousness? Who promised immortality?
The Maker of the universe alone; the Great Artist and Father has formed us, such a living image as man is.
But your Olympian Jove, the image of an image, greatly out of harmony with truth, is the senseless work of Attic hands.
For the image of God is His Word, the genuine Son of Mind,
the Divine Word, the archetypal light of light;
and the image of the Word is the true man,
the mind which is in man, who is therefore said to have been made "in the image and likeness of God," [Gen. i. 26]
assimilated to the Divine Word in the affections of the soul, and therefore rational;
but effigies sculptured in human form, the earthly image of that part of man which is visible and earth-born, are but a perishable impress of humanity, manifestly wide of the truth.
That life, then, which is occupied with so much earnestness about matter, seems to me to be nothing else than full of insanity.
And custom, which has made you taste bondage and unreasonable care, is fostered by vain opinion; and ignorance, which has proved to the human race
the cause of unlawful rites and delusive shows, and also of deadly plagues and hateful images,
has, by devising many shapes of demons, stamped on all that follow it the mark of long-continued death.
Receive, then, the water of the word; wash, ye polluted ones; purify yourselves from custom, by sprinkling yourselves with the drops of truth.
[Immersion was surely the form of primitive baptism, but these words, if not a reference to that sacrament, must recall Isa. lii. 15.]
The pure must ascend to heaven. Thou art a man, if we look to that which is most common to thee and others-seek Him who created thee; thou art a son, if we look to that which is thy peculiar prerogative-acknowledge thy Father. But do you still continue in your sins, engrossed with pleasures?
To whom shall the Lord say, "Yours is the kingdom of heaven? "Yours, whose choice is set on God,
if you will; yours, if you will only believe, and comply with the brief terms of the announcement;
which the Ninevites having obeyed, instead of the destruction they looked for, obtained a signal deliverance.
How, then, may I ascend to heaven, is it said? The Lord is the way; a strait way, but leading from heaven, strait in truth, but leading back to heaven, strait, despised on earth; broad, adored in heaven.
Then, he that is uninstructed in the word, has ignorance as the excuse of his error; but as for him into whose ears instruction has been poured, and who deliberately maintains his incredulity in his soul,
the wiser he appears to be, the more harm will his understanding do him; for he has his own sense as his accuser for not having chosen the best part.
For man has been otherwise constituted by nature, so as to have fellowship with God. As, then, we do not compel the horse to plough, or the bull to hunt, but set each animal to that for which it is by nature fitted;
so, placing our finger on what is man's peculiar and distinguishing characteristic above other creatures, we invite him-born, as he is,
for the contemplation of heaven, and being, as he is, a truly heavenly plant-to the knowledge of God, counselling him to furnish himself with what is his sufficient provision for eternity, namely piety.
Practise husbandry, we say, if you are a husbandman; but while you till your fields, know God. Sail the sea, you who are devoted to navigation, yet call the whilst on the heavenly Pilot. [Stromata, on prayer. Book vii. vol. ii. p. 432] Has knowledge taken hold of you while engaged in military service? Listen to the commander, who orders what is right.
As those, then, who have been overpowered with sleep and drunkenness, do ye awake; and using your eyes a little,
consider what mean those stones which you worship, and the expenditure you frivolously lavish on matter.
Your means and substance you squander on ignorance, even as you throw away your lives to death, having found no other end of your vain hope than this.
Not only unable to pity yourselves, you are incapable even of yielding to the persuasions of those who commiserate you; enslaved as you are to evil custom, and, clinging to it voluntarily till your last breath,
you are hurried to destruction: "because light is come into the world, and men have loved the darkness rather than the light, [John iii. 19.] while they could sweep away those hindrances to salvation, pride, and wealth, and fear, repeating this poetic utterance:-
"Whither do I bear these abundant riches? and whither
Do I myself wander? [ Odyss., xiii. 203.]
If you wish, then, to cast aside these vain phantasies, and bid adieu to evil custom, say to vain opinion:-
"Lying dreams, farewell; you were then nothing."
For what, think you, O men, is the Hermes of Typho, and that of Andocides, and that of Amyetus? Is it not evident to all that they are stones, as is the veritable Hermes himself? As the Halo is not a god, and as the Iris is not a god, but are states of the atmosphere and of the clouds; and as, likewise, a day is not a god, nor a year, nor time, which is made up of these, so neither is sun nor moon, by which each of those mentioned above is determined.
Who, then, in his right senses, can imagine Correction, and Punishment, and Justice, and Retribution to be gods? For neither the Furies, nor the Fates, nor Destiny are gods, since neither Government, nor Glory, nor Wealth are gods, which last [as Plutus] painters represent as blind. But if you deify Modesty, and Love, and Venus, let these be followed by Infamy, and Passion, and Beauty, and Intercourse. Therefore Sleep and Death cannot reasonably any more be regarded as twin deities, being merely changes which take place naturally in living creatures; no more will you with propriety call Fortune, or Destiny, or the Fates goddesses. And if Strife and Battle be not gods, no more are ArÍs and Enyo. Still further, if the lightnings, and thunderbolts, and rains are not gods, how can fire and water be gods? how can shooting stars and comets, which are produced by atmospheric changes? He who calls Fortune a god, let him also so call Action. If, then, none of these, nor of the images formed by human hands, and destitute of feeling, is held to be a God,
while a providence exercised about us is evidently the result of a divine power, [or "While a certain previous conception of divine power is nevertheless discovered within us." ]
it remains only to acknowledge this, that He alone who is truly God, only truly is and subsists.
But those who are insensible to this are like men who have drunk mandrake or some other drug.
May God grant that you may at length awake from this slumber, and know God; and that neither Gold, nor Stone, nor Tree, nor Action, nor Suffering, nor Disease, nor Fear, may appear in your eyes as a god. For there are, in sooth, "on the fruitful earth thrice ten thousand" demons, not immortal, nor indeed mortal; for they are not endowed with sensation, so as to render them capable of death,
but only things of wood and stone, that hold despotic sway over men insulting and violating life through the force of custom.
"The earth is the Lord's," it is said, "and the fulness thereof. [ Ps. xxiv. 1; 1 Cor. x. 26,28. ] Then why darest thou, while luxuriating in the bounties of the Lord, to ignore the Sovereign Ruler? "Leave my earth," the Lord will say to thee. "Touch not the water which I bestow. Partake not of the fruits of the earth produced by my husbandry"
Give to God recompense for your sustenance; acknowledge thy Master. Thou art God's creature. What belongs to Him, how can it with justice be alienated? For that which is alienated, being deprived of the properties that belonged to it, is also deprived of truth. For, after the fashion of Niobe, or, to express myself more mystically, like the Hebrew woman called by the ancients Lot's wife, are ye not turned into a state of insensibility? This woman we have heard, was turned into stone for her love of Sodom. And those who are godless, addicted to impiety, hard-hearted and foolish are Sodomites. Believe that these utterances are addressed to you from God.
For think not that stones, and stocks, and birds, and serpents are sacred things, and men are not; but, on the contrary, regard men as truly sacred, [[1 Pet. ii. 17. This appeal in behalf of the sanctity of man as man, shows the workings of the apostolic precept.]
and take beasts and stones for what they are. For there are miserable wretches of human kind, who consider that God utters His voice by the raven and the jackdaw, but says nothing by man; and honour the raven as a messenger of God.
But the man of God, who croaks not, nor chatters, but speaks rationally and instructs lovingly, alas, they persecute; and while he is inviting them to cultivate righteousness,
they try inhumanly to slay him, neither welcoming the grace which, comes from above, nor fearing the penalty.
For they believe not God, nor understand His power, whose love to man is ineffable; and His hatred of evil is inconceivable. His anger augments punishment against sin; His love bestows blessings on repentance.
It is the height of wretchedness to be deprived of the help which comes from God. Hence this blindness of eyes and dulness of hearing are more grievous than other inflictions of the evil one; for the one deprives them of heavenly vision, the other robs them of divine instruction.
But ye, thus maimed as respects the truth, blind in mind, deaf in understanding, are not grieved, are not pained,
have had no desire to see heaven and the Maker of heaven, nor, by fixing your choice on salvation,
have sought to hear the Creator of the universe, and to learn of Him; for no hindrance stands in the way of him who is bent on the knowledge of God.
Neither childlessness, nor poverty, nor obscurity, nor want, can hinder him who eagerly strives after the knowledge of God; nor does any one who has conquered by brass or iron the true wisdom for himself choose to exchange it, for it is vastly preferred to everything else.
Christ is able to save in every place. For he that is fired with ardour and admiration for righteousness,
- being the lover of One who needs nothing,
- needs himself but little,
having treasured up his bliss in nothing but himself and God, where is neither moth, [Matt. vi. 20,21.] robber, nor pirate, but the eternal Giver of good. With justice, then, have you been compared to those serpents who shut their ears against the charmers.
For "their mind," says the Scripture, "is like the serpent, like the deaf adder, which stoppeth her ear, and will not hear the voice of the charmers. [Ps. lviii. 4,5] But allow yourselves to feel the influence of the charming strains of sanctity, and receive that mild word of ours, and reject the deadly poison, that it may be granted to you to divest yourselves as much as possible of destruction, as they [sanctity and Word] have been divested of old age.
Hear me, and do not stop your ears; do not block up the avenues of hearing, but lay to heart what is said. Excellent is the medicine of immortality!
Stop at length your grovelling reptile motions. "For the enemies of the Lord," says Scripture, "shall lick the dust. [Ps. lxii. 9.]
Raise your eyes from earth to the skies, look up to heaven, admire the sight, cease watching with outstretched head the heel of the righteous, and hindering the way of truth. Be wise and harmless.
Perchance the Lord will endow you with the wing of simplicity (for He has resolved to give wings to those that are earth-born), that you may leave your holes and dwell in heaven.
Only let us with our whole heart repent, that we may be able with our whole heart to contain God.
"Trust in Him, all ye assembled people; pour out all your hearts before Him. [ Ps. lxii. 8.]
He says to those that have newly abandoned wickedness, "He pities them, and fills them with righteousness."Believe Him who is man and God; believe, O man. Believe, O man, the living God, who suffered and is adored.Let us then seek, in order that we may live. The reward of seeking is life with God. "Let all who seek Thee be glad and rejoice in Thee; and
Believe, ye slaves, [The impact of the Gospel on the slavery and helotism of the Pagans.] Him who died; believe, all ye of human kind, Him who alone is God of all men.
Believe, and receive salvation as your reward. Seek God, and your soul shall live.He who seeks God is busying himself about his own salvation. Hast thou found God?-then thou hast life.let them say continually, God be magnified. [Ps. lxx. 4. ]
- A noble hymn of God
- is an immortal man,
- established in righteousness,
- in whom the oracles of truth are engraved.
For where but in a soul that is wise can you write truth? where love? where reverence? where meekness? Those who have had these divine characters impressed on them, ought, I think,
to regard wisdom as a fair port whence to embark, to whatever lot in life they turn; and likewise to deem it the calm haven of salvation:
Wisdom, by which those who have betaken themselves to the Father, have proved good fathers to their children; and good parents to their sons, those who have known the Son; and good husbands to their wives, those who remember the Bridegroom; and good masters to their servants, ["thou shalt love thy neighbor."] those who have been redeemed from utter slavery.
Oh, happier far the beasts than men involved in error! who live in ignorance as you, but do not counterfeit the truth. There are no tribes of flatterers among them.
Fishes have no superstition: the birds worship not a single image; only they look with admiration on heaven, since, deprived as they are of reason, they are unable to know God. So are you not ashamed for living through so many periods of life in impiety, making yourselves more irrational than irrational creatures?
You were boys, then striplings, then youths, then men, but never as yet were you good. If you have respect for old age, be wise, now that you have reached life's sunset; and albeit at the close of life, acquire the knowledge of God, that the end of life may to you prove the beginning of salvation.
You have become old in superstition; as young, enter on the practice of piety. God regards you as innocent children. Let, then, the Athenian follow the laws of Solon, and the Argive those of Phoroneus, and the Spartan those of Lycurgus:
but if thou enrol thyself as one of God's people, heaven is thy country, God thy lawgiver. And what are the laws? "Thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not commit adultery; thou shalt not seduce boys; thou shalt not steal; thou shalt not bear false witness; thou shalt love the Lord thy God. [Ex. xx. 13-16; Deut. vi. 5.]
And the complements of these are those laws. of reason and words of sanctity which are inscribed on men's hearts: "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself; to him who strikes thee on the cheek, present also the other; [ Luke vi. 29.] "thou shalt not lust, for by lust alone thou hast committed adultery. [Matt. v. 28.]
How much better, therefore, is it for men from the beginning not to wish to desire things forbidden, than to obtain their desires!
But ye are not able to endure the austerity of salvation; but as we delight in sweet' things, and prize them higher for the agreeableness of the pleasure they yield,
while, on the other hand, those bitter things which are distasteful to the palate are curative and healing, and the harshness of medicines strengthens people of weak stomach,
- thus custom pleases and, tickles;
- but custom pushes into the abyss,
- while truth conducts to heaven.
Harsh it is at first, but a good nurse of youth; and it is at once the decorous place where the household maids and matrons dwell together, and the sage council-chamber.
Nor is it difficult to approach, or impossible to attain, but is very near us in our very homes; as Moses, endowed with all wisdom, says, while referring to it, it has its abode in three departments of our constitution-in the hands, the mouth, and the heart: a meet emblem this of truth, which is embraced by these three things in all-will, action, speech.And be not afraid lest the multitude of pleasing objects which rise before you withdraw you from wisdom.
You yourself will spontaneously surmount the frivolousness of custom, as boys when they have become men throw aside their toys.
For with a celerity unsurpassable, and a benevolence to which we have ready access, the divine power, casting its radiance on the earth, hath filled the universe with the seed of salvation.
For it was not without divine care that so great a work was accomplished in so brief a space by the Lord, who,
- though despised as to appearance,
- was in reality adored,
- the expiator of sin,
- the Saviour,
- the clement,
- the Divine Word,
He that is truly most manifest Deity, He that is made equal to the Lord of the universe;because He was His Son, and the Word was in God, not disbelieved in by all when He was first preached, nor altogether unknown
when, assuming the character of man, and fashioning Himself in flesh,
He enacted the drama of human salvation: for He was a true champion and a fellow-champion with the creature.
And being communicated most speedily to men, having dawned from His Father's counsel quicker than the sun, with the most perfect ease He made God shine on us.
Whence He was and what He was, He showed by what He taught and exhibited, manifesting Himself as
- the Herald of the Covenant,
- the Reconciler,
- our Saviour,
- the Word,
- the Fount of life,
- the Giver of peace,
- diffused over the whole face of the earth;
by whom, so to speak, the universe has already become an ocean of blessings. [Good will to men made emphatic. Slavery already modified, free-schools established, and homes created. As soon as persecution ceased, we find the Christian hospital. Forster ascribes the first foundation of this kind to Ephraim Syrus. A friend refers me to his Mohammedanism Unveiled, vol. i. p. 283.]
Contemplate a little, if agreeable to you, the divine beneficence. The first man, when in Paradise, sported free, because he was the child of God;
but when he succumbed to pleasure (for the serpent allegorically signifies pleasure crawling on its belly, earthly wickedness nourished for fuel to the flames), was as a child seduced by lusts, and grew old in disobedience; and by disobeying his Father, dishonoured God. Such was the influence of pleasure. Man, that had been free by reason of simplicity, was found fettered to sins.
The Lord then wished to release him from his bonds, and clothing Himself with flesh-O divine mystery!-vanquished the serpent, and enslaved the tyrant death; and, most marvellous of all, man that had been deceived by pleasure, and bound fast by corruption, had his hands unloosed, and was set free. O mystic wonder!
The Lord was laid low, and man rose up; and he that fell from Paradise receives as the reward of obedience something greater [than Paradise]-namely, heaven itself. Wherefore, since the Word Himself has come to us from heaven, we need not, I reckon, go any more in search of human learning to Athens and the rest of Greece, and to Ionia.
For if we have as our teacher Him that filled the universe with His holy energies in creation, salvation, beneficence, legislation, prophecy, teaching, we have the Teacher from whom all instruction comes; and the whole world, with Athens and Greece, has already become the domain of the Word. [The Catholic instinct is here; and an all-embracing benevolence is its characteristic, not worldly empire
If the Lord or Spirit Who called Himself "Jesus of Nazareth whom thou persecutest" is still the Lord of the universe, how will modern philosophers determine what part of an evolving culture "of the world" is suitable to introduce into the "pattern" of the church? Is it by denominational vote? Are their prophets or apostles or new "christs" to make God's will known to mankind. Clement would say No.
The false prophet pretends to know something from the Lord but in the end he insists that we not mention the revealed Word but must accept the words of the self-proclaimed prophet:For you, who believed the poetical fable which designated Minos the Cretan as the bosom friend of Zeus, will not refuse to believe that
"When these people, or a prophet or a priest, ask you, 'What is the oracle of the LORD?' say to them, 'What oracle? I will forsake you, declares the LORD.' if a prophet or a priest or anyone else claims, 'This is the oracle of the LORD,' I will punish that man and his household.Jer 23:33-34
This is what each of you keeps on saying to his friend or relative: 'What is the Lord's answer?' or 'What has the LORD spoken?' Jer 23:35
But you must not mention 'the oracle of the LORD' again, because every man's own word becomes his oracle and so you distort the words of the living God, the LORD Almighty, our God. Jer 23:36
"As for you, son of man, your countrymen are talking together about you by the walls and at the doors of the houses, saying to each other, 'Come and hear the message that has come from the LORD.' Ezek 33:30My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to listen to your words, but they do not put them into practice. With their mouths they express devotion, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain. Ezek 33:31
Indeed, to them you are nothing more thanone who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well,
for they hear your words but do not put them into practice. Ezek 33:32we who have become the disciples of God have received the only true wisdom;
and that which the chiefs of philosophy only guessed at, the disciples of Christ have both apprehended and proclaimed.
And the one whole Christ is not divided: "There is neither barbarian, nor Jew, nor Greek, neither male nor female, but a new man, [Gal. iii. 28, vi. 15.] transformed by God's Holy Spirit. Further, the other counsels and precepts are unimportant, and respect particular things,-
as, for example, if one may marry, take part in public affairs, beget children;
but the only command that is universal, and over the whole course of existence, at all times and in all circumstances, tends to the highest end, viz., life, is piety, [He seems to be thinking of 1 Tim. vi. 6, and 1 Tim. iv. 8.]
all that is necessary, in order that we may live for ever, being that we live in accordance with it.
Philosophy, however, as the ancients say, is "a long-lived exhortation, wooing the eternal love of wisdom;
"while the commandment of the Lord is far-shining, "enlightening the eyes." Receive Christ, receive sight, receive thy light,
"In order that you may know well both God and man. [ Illiad, v. 128.]
"Sweet is the Word that gives us light, precious above gold and gems; it is to be desired above honey and the honey-comb. [ Ps. xix. 10.] For how can it be other than desirable,
- since it has filled with light the mind which had been buried in darkness,
- and given keenness to the "light-bringing eyes" of the soul?
For just as, had the sun not been in existence, night would have brooded over the universe notwithstanding the other luminaries of heaven; so, had we nor known the Word, and been illuminated by Him; we should have been nowise different from fowls that are being fed, fattened in darkness, and nourished for death.
Let us then admit the light, that we may admit God; let us admit the light, and become disciples to the Lord. This, too, He has been promised to the Father:
"I will declare Thy name to my brethren; in the midst of the Church will I praise Thee. [Ps. xxii. 22.]
Praise and declare to me Thy Father God; Thy utterances save; Thy hymn teaches that hitherto I have wandered in error, seeking God. But since Thou leadest me to the light, O Lord, and I find God through Thee, and receive the Father from Thee, I become "Thy fellow-heir, [Rom. viii. 17.] since Thou "wert not ashamed of me as Thy brother. [Heb. ii. 11.]
Let us put away, then, let us put away oblivion of the truth, viz., ignorance; and removing the darkness which obstructs, as dimness of sight,
let us contemplate the only true God, first raising our voice in this hymn of praise:
think of these things
Hail, O light! For in us, buried in darkness, shut up in the shadow of death, light has shone forth from heaven, purer than the sun, sweeter than life here below. That light is eternal life; and whatever partakes of it lives. But night fears the light, and hiding itself in terror, gives place to the day of the Lord. Sleepless light is now over all, and the west has given credence to the east. For this was the end of the new creation. For "the Sun of Righteousness," who drives His chariot over all, pervades equally all humanity, like "His Father, who makes His sun to rise on all men," and distils on them the dew of the truth. He hath changed sunset into sunrise, and through the cross brought death to life; and having wrenched man from destruction, He hath raised him to the skies, transplanting mortality into immortality, and translating earth to heaven-He, the husbandman of God,"Pointing out the favourable signs and rousing the nations To good works, putting them in mind of the true sustenance; [Aratus. ]
having bestowed on us the truly great, divine, and inalienable inheritance of the Father, deifying man by heavenly teaching, putting His laws into our minds, and writing them on our hearts.
What laws does He inscribe? "That all shall know God, from small to great; "and, "I will be merciful to them," says God, "and will not remember their sins. [ Heb. viii. 10-12; Jer. xxxi. 33,34.]
Let us receive the laws of life, let us comply with God's expostulations; let us become acquainted with Him, that He may be gracious.
And though God needs nothing let us render to Him the grateful recompense of a thankful heart and of piety, as a kind of house-rent for our dwelling here below.
- "Gold for brass,
- A hundred oxen's worth for that of nine; [ l., vi. 236. [The exchange of Glaucus.]]
That is, for your little faith He gives you the earth of so great extent to till, water to drink and also to sail on, air to breathe, fire to do your work, a world to dwell in;
and He has permitted you to conduct a colony from here to heaven: with these important works of His hand, and benefits in such numbers, He has rewarded your little faith.
Then, those who have put faith in necromancers, receive from them amulets and charms, to ward off evil forsooth; and will you not allow the heavenly Word, the Saviour, to be bound on to you as an amulet,
and, by trusting in God's own charm, be delivered from passions which are the diseases of the mind, and rescued from sin?-for sin is eternal death.
Surely utterly dull and blind, and, like moles, doing nothing but eat, you spend your lives in darkness, surrounded with corruption.
But it is truth which cries, "The light shall shine forth from the darkness." Let the light then shine in the hidden part of man, that is, the heart; and let the beams of knowledge arise to reveal and irradiate the hidden inner man, the disciple of the Light, the familiar friend and fellow-heir of Christ;
especially now that we have come to know the most precious and venerable name of the good Father, who to a pious and good child gives gentle counsels,
and commands what is salutary for His child.
He who obeys Him has the advantage in all things, follows God, obeys the Father, knows Him through wandering, loves God, loves his neighbour, fulfils the commandment, seeks the prize, claims the promise.
Elsewhere Clement discusses baptism as that which accepts that which is "procured" only by faith. The glad tidings are that we do not have to do the hard work of a life-time of training in order to be able to lead people into the presence with a musical instrument which, we claim, is the dwelling place of the gods and by whose "strings" or "breath" they speak. Clemtn would say "just take advantage" of God by affirming Him:
And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John. Luke 7:29
But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God for themselves, being not baptized of him. Luke 7:30
But it has been God's fixed and constant purpose to save the flock of men: for this end the good God sent the good Shepherd.
And the Word, having unfolded the truth, showed to men the height of salvation,
- that either repenting they might be saved,
- or refusing to obey, they might be judged.
This is the proclamation of righteousness:
- to those that obey, glad tidings (gospel);
- to those that disobey, judgment.
Notice that Clement equated repenting to obeying. Those who refuse to obey have not repented and there is no gospel available:
The grace of Christ is the gospel or good news or glad tidings which says:
And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. Mark 16:15
- He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved;
- but he that believeth not shall be damned. Mark 16:16
The loud trumpet, when sounded, collects the soldiers, and proclaims war.
And shall not Christ, breathing [blowing the trumpet] a strain of peace to the ends of the earth, gather together His own soldiers, the soldiers of peace?
Well, by His blood, and by the word, He has gathered the bloodless host of peace, and assigned to them the kingdom of heaven.
The trumpet of Christ is His Gospel. He hath blown it, and we have heard. "Let us array ourselves in the armour of peace, putting on the breastplate of righteousness, and taking the shield of faith, and binding our brows with the helmet, of salvation; and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, [Eph. vi. 14-17.] let us sharpen. So the apostle in the spirit of peace commands.
These are our invulnerable weapons: armed with these,
let us face the evil one; "the fiery darts of the evil one"
let us quench with the sword-points dipped in water, that, have been baptized by the Word, returning grateful thanks for the benefits we have received, and honouring God through the Divine Word.
"For while thou art yet speaking," it is said, "He will say, Behold, I am beside thee." [Isa. lviii. 9. ] O this holy and blessed power, by which God has fellowship with men!
Better far, then, is it to become at once the imitator and the servant of the best of all beings;
for only by holy service will any one be able to imitate God, and to serve and worship Him only by imitating Him.
The heavenly and truly divine love comes to men thus, when in the soul itself the spark of true goodness, kindled in the soul by the Divine Word, is able to burst forth into flame; and, what is of the highest importance,
salvation runs parallel with sincere willingness-choice and life being, so to speak, yoked together.
Wherefore this exhortation of the truth alone, like the most faithful of our friends, abides with us till our last breath, and is to the whole and perfect spirit of the soul the kind attendant on our ascent to heaven.
What, then, is the exhortation I give you? I urge you to be saved. This Christ desires. In one word.
He freely bestows life on you.
And who is He?
Briefly learn. The Word of truth, the Word of incorruption, that regenerates man by bringing him back to the truth-the goad that urges to salvation.
He who expels destruction and pursues death-He who builds up the temple of God in men, that He may cause God to take up His abode in men.
Cleanse the temple; and pleasures and amusements abandon to the winds and the fire, as a fading flower; but wisely cultivate the fruits of self-command,
and present thyself to God as an offering of first-fruits, that there may be not the work alone, but also the grace of God; and both are requisite, that the friend of Christ may be rendered worthy of the kingdom, and be counted worthy of the kingdom.
Chapter XII.-Exhortation to Abandon Their Old Errors and Listen to the Instructions of Christ.
Let us then avoid custom as we would a dangerous headland, or the threatening Charybdis, or the mythic sirens. It chokes man, turns him away from truth, leads him away from life: custom is a snare, a gulf, a pit, a mischievous winnowing fan.
"Urge the ship beyond that smoke and billow. [Odyss., xii. 219.]
Let us shun, fellow-mariners, let us shun this billow; it vomits forth fire: it is a wicked island, heaped with bones and corpses,
and in it sings a fair courtesan [the sirens], Pleasure, delighting with music for the common ear.
- "Hie thee hither, far-famed Ulysses, great glory of the Achaeans;
- Moor the ship, that thou mayest hear a diviner voice. [Odyss., xii. 184.]
She praises thee, O mariner, and calls thee illustrious; and the courtesan tries to win to herself the glory of the Greeks. Leave her to prey on the dead; a heavenly spirit comes to thy help:
- pass by Pleasure, she beguiles.
- Let not a woman with flowing train cheat you of your senses,
- With her flattering prattle seeking your hurt."
- Sail past the song; it works death.
Exert your will only, and you have overcome ruin; bound to the wood of the cross, [the mast of the ship] thou shalt be freed from destruction:
the word of God will be thy pilot,
and the Holy Spirit will bring thee to anchor in the haven of heaven.
Then shalt thou see my God, and be initiated into the sacred mysteries, and come to the fruition of those things which are laid up in heaven reserved for me, which "ear hath not heard, nor have they entered into the heart of any. [ 1 Cor. ii. 9.]
- And in sooth methinks I see two suns,
- And a double Thebes, [Eurip., Bacch., 918.]
said one frenzy-stricken in the worship of idols, intoxicated with mere ignorance. I would pity him in his frantic intoxication, and thus frantic I would invite him to the sobriety of salvation; for the Lord welcomes a sinner's repentance, and not his death.
Come, O madman, not leaning on the thyrsus, not crowned with ivy; throw away the mitre, throw away the fawn-skin; come to thy senses.
The fawn-skin (or leopard skin) flute case is in the left hand of the madman (Judas) leaning on his thyrus or perhaps ox-goad on the left. Always attached to the flute case was the "bag" which is reserved for describing the bag or box in which Judas keep the money--he was a thief like all presumptions performers before God. This Judas bag was derived from "speaking in tongues" and "after the world." However, Judas and his clergy employers could not triumph over Jesus (Psalm 41) as they piped and He refused to join the pagan band in the choral or Greek circle dance of Dionysus or Bacchus.
I will show thee the Word, and the mysteries of the Word, expounding them after thine own fashion.
This is the mountain beloved of God, not the subject of tragedies like Cithaeron, but consecrated to dramas of the truth,
Apollodorus wrote of Cithaeron ("Guitar"). He defined what the clergy tried on Jesus:
Having traversed Thrace and the whole of India and set up pillars there, he came to Thebes, and forced the women to abandon their houses and rave in Bacchic frenzy on Cithaeron. But Pentheus, whom Agave bore to Echion, had succeeded Cadmus in the kingdom, and he attempted to put a stop to these proceedings. And coming to Cithaeron to spy on the Bacchanals, he was torn limb from limb by his mother Agave in a fit of madness; for she thought he was a wild beast. And having shown the Thebans that he was a god,
Dionysus came to Argos, and there again, because they did not honor him, he drove the women mad, and they on the mountains devoured the flesh of the infants whom they carried at their breasts.
As one of the oldest stories, the Cave of Treasures tells how the faithful people fell from the holy mountain of the Word. Satan came into Genun or Jubal in his youth and taught him how to invent and play instruments and lead the women into mixed-sex choirs. In time the mad playing and dancing seduced the holy people down into the dark valley and they could never return to sanity. Click For the Details.
-a mount of sobriety, shaded with forests of purity; and there revel on it not the Maenades (Mad women referred to by Paul in 1 Cor. 14), the sisters of Semele, who was struck by the thunderbolt, practising in their initiator rites unholy division of flesh,
but the daughters of God, the fair lambs, who celebrate the holy rites of the Word, raising a sober choral dance.
- The righteous are the chorus;
- the music is a hymn of the King of the universe.
- The maidens strike the lyre,
- the angels praise,
- the prophets speak;
- the sound of music issues forth,
- they run and pursue the jubilant band;
- those that are called make haste,
- eagerly desiring to receive the Father.
Come thou also, O aged man, leaving Thebes, and casting away from thee both divination and Bacchic frenzy, allow thyself to be led to the truth.
Instead of the ox-goad of the drunken (on pure ignorance) and naked flute-player.
Tiresis saw the goddess, Athene, naked. He was instantly blinded. To console the youth for the loss of his sight the goddess promised to bestow on him the gifts of prophecy and divination, long life, and after death the retention of his mental powers undimmed in the world below.
"And when Chariclo asked her to restore his sight, she could not do so, but by cleansing his ears she caused him to understand every note of birds; and she gave him a staff of cornel-wood, wherewith he walked like those who see. But Hesiod says that he beheld snakes copulating on Cyllene, and that having wounded them he was turned from a man into a woman, but that on observing the same snakes copulating again, he became a man. Hence, when Hera and Zeus disputed whether the pleasures of love are felt more by women or by men, they referred to him for a decision. He said that if the pleasures of love be reckoned at ten, men enjoy one and women nine. Wherefore Hera blinded him, but Zeus bestowed on him the art of soothsaying.
The staff was for the soothsayer to lean upon when he, usually from being drunk, played and chanted an incantation as a soothsayer.
However, Clement says:
I give thee the staff [of the cross] on which to lean.
Haste, Tiresias; believe, and thou wilt see. Christ, by whom the eyes of the blind recover sight, will shed on thee a light brighter than the sun; night will flee from thee, fire will fear, death will be gone; thou, old man, who saw not Thebes, shalt see the heavens. O truly sacred mysteries! O stainless light! My way is lighted with torches, and I survey the heavens and God; I become holy whilst I am initiated.
The Lord is the hierophant,
and seals while illuminating him who is initiated,
and presents to the Father him who believes, to be kept safe for ever. Such are the reveries of my mysteries.
If it is thy wish, be thou also initiated; and thou shall join the choir along with angels around the unbegotten and indestructible and the only true God, the Word of God, raising the hymn with us. [Here are references to baptism and the Eucharist, and to the Trisagion, "Therefore with angels and archangels," which was universally diffused in the Christian Church. Bunsen, Hippol., iii. 63.]
This Jesus, who is eternal, the one great High Priest of the one God, and of His Father, prays for and exhorts men.
"Hear, ye myriad tribes, rather whoever among men are endowed with reason, both barbarians and Greeks. I call on the whole race of men, whose Creator I am, by the will of the Father. Come to Me, that you may be put in your due rank under the one God and the one Word of God;
and do not only have the advantage of the irrational creatures in the possession of reason;
for to you of all mortals I grant the enjoyment of immortality.
For I want, I want to impart to you this grace, bestowing on you the perfect boon of immortality;
and I confer on you both the Word and the knowledge of God,
My complete self.
This am I, this God wills, this is symphony, this the harmony of the Father, this is the Son, this is Christ, this the Word of God, the arm of the Lord, the power of the universe, the will of the Father;
of which things there were images of old, but not all adequate.
I desire to restore you according to the original model, that ye may become also like Me.
I anoint you with the ungent of faith, by which you throw off corruption, and show you the naked form of righteousness by which you ascend to God.
Come to Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest to your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden light. [Matt. xi. 28,29,30.]
Let us haste, let us run, my fellow-men-us, who are God-loving and God-like images of the Word. Let us haste, let us run, let us take His yoke, let us receive, to conduct us to immortality, the good charioteer of men. Let us love Christ. He led the colt with its parent; and having yoked the team of humanity to God, directs His chariot to immortality,
hastening clearly to fulfil, by driving now into heaven, what He shadowed forth before by riding into Jerusalem.
A spectacle most beautiful to the Father is the eternal Son crowned with victory. ["Who is this that cometh from Edom," seems to be in mind. Isa. lxiii. 1.] Let us aspire, then, after what is good; let us become God-loving men, and obtain the greatest of all things which are incapable of being harmed-God and life.
Our helper is the Word; let us put confidence in Him; and never let us be visited with such a craving for silver and gold, and glory, as for the Word of truth Himself.
For it will not, it will not be pleasing to God Himself if we value least those things which are worth most, and hold in the highest estimation the manifest enormities and the utter impiety of folly, and ignorance, and thoughtlessness, and idolatry.
For not improperly the sons of the philosophers consider that the foolish are guilty of profanity and impiety in whatever they do;
and describing ignorance itself as a species of madness, allege that the multitude are nothing but madmen.
There is therefore no room to doubt, the Word will say, whether it is better to be sane or insane; but holding on to truth with our teeth, we must with all our might follow God, and in the exercise of wisdom regard all things to be, as they are, His; and besides, having learned that we are the most excellent of His possessions, let us commit ourselves to God, loving the Lord God,
and regarding this as our business all our life long. And if what belongs to friends be reckoned common property, and man be the friend of God-for through the mediation of the Word has he been made the friend of God-then accordingly all things become man's, because all things are God's, and the common property of both the friends, God and man.
It is time, then, for us to say that the pious Christian alone is rich and wise, and of noble birth, and thus call and believe him to be God's image, and also His likeness, [Clement here draws a distinction, frequently made by early Christian writers, between the image and the likeness of God. Man never loses the image of God;
but as the likeness consists in moral resemblance, he may lose it, and he recovers it only when he becomes righteous, holy, and wise.] having become righteous and holy and wise by Jesus Christ, and so far already like God. Accordingly this grace is indicated by the prophet, when he says,
"I said that ye are gods, and all sons of the Highest. [Ps. lxxxii. 6.]
For us, yea us, He has adopted, and wishes to be called the Father of us alone, not of the unbelieving. Such is then our position who are the attendants of Christ.
- As are men's wishes, so are their words;
- As are their words, so are their deeds;
- And as their works, such is their life."
- Good is the whole life of those who have known Christ.
Enough, methinks, of words, though, impelled by love to man, I might have gone on to pour out what I had from God, that I might exhort to what is the greatest of blessings-salvation. For discourses concerning the life which has no end, are not readily brought to the end of their disclosures.
To you still remains this conclusion, to choose which will profit you most-judgment or grace. For I do not think there is even room for doubt which of these is the better; nor is it allowable to compare life with destruction.
[Let me quote from an excellent author: "We ought to give the Fathers credit for knowing what arguments were best calculated to affect the minds of those whom they were addressing. It was unnecessary for them to establish, by a long train of reasoning, the probability that a revelation may be made from heaven to man, or to prove the credibility of miracles... The majority, both of the learned and unlearned, were fixed in the belief that the Deity exercised an immediate control over the human race, and consequently felt no predisposition to reject that which purported to be a communication of His will... .
Accustomed as they were, however, to regard the various systems proposed by philosophers as matters of curious speculation, designed to exercise the understanding, not to influence the conduct,
the chief difficulty of the advocate of Christianity was to prevent them from treating it with the same levity, and to induce them to view it in its true light as a revelation declaring truths of the highest practical importance."]
Alfred T. DeGroot in The Restoration Principle denounces churches of Christ as sects for defending the non-introduction of instrumental music because the church Fathers did not suggest the need for a Restoration Movement. We believe that Clement has proven DeGroot wrong.
Clement of Alexandrian calls for the rejection of music which has always said "we don't want to hear any more from God" and the Restoration Movement back to the Word of both the "gospels" and the Epistles.
Therefore, the historical urge of Luther, Calvin, Alexander Campbell, Thomas Campbell and the literate student everywere to have a Restoration Movement back to the church of the New Testament is still valid.
Counter added 11/19/04 1213 6.11.10 5000