He commends them for their excellent order and piety in Christ, before their schism broke out.
1. The Church of God which sojourns at Rome, to the Church of God which is at Corinth, called and sanctified in the will of God through Jesus Christ our Lord: grace and peace from the Almighty God, by Jesus Christ, be multiplied to you.
Irenaeus writes in the late second century: "The blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, having founded and established the Church of Rome, handed over the office of bishop to Linus -- of whom Paul makes mention in his second letter to Timothy" (2 Timothy 4:21). Eusebius, writing his History of the Church in the fourth century, says the same. Linus (A.D. 67-76) was succeeded by Anacletus (76-88), then by Clement (88- 97), a disciple of Peter.
Clemens Alexandrinus called Clement an apostle. Jerome said he was an apostolical man, and Rufinus that he was almost an apostle.
2. [New paragraph in the original]
Brethren, the sudden and unexpected dangers and calamities that
have fallen upon us have, we fear, made us the more slow in our
consideration of those things which you inquired of us:
3. And also of that wicked and detestable sedition, so unbecoming the elect of God, which a few heady and self-willed men have fomented to such a degree of madness that your venerable and renowned name, so worthy of all men to be beloved, is greatly blasphemed by it.
The word "elect" has the meaning of called or chosen.
4. For who that has lodged as a stranger
among you has not experienced the firmness of your faith and its
fruitfulness in all good works, adorned with all manner of
virtues; and admired the temper and moderation of your religion
in Christ; and published abroad the magnificence of your
hospitality and thought you happy in your perfect and certain
knowledge of the Gospel?
5. For you did all things without respect of persons and walked according to the laws of God; being subject to those who had the rule over you and giving the honor that was fitting to the presbyters among you.
6. You commanded the young men to think those things that were modest and grave.
7. You exhorted the women to do all things with an unblamable and seemly and pure conscience, loving their own husbands as was fitting, and that keeping themselves within the bounds of a due obedience, they should order their houses gravely with all discretion.
The phrase "order their houses gravely" may be translated "themselves do their own business." "Discretion" may be translated "temperance" or "sobriety."
8. All of you were humble minded, not proudly boasting of anything, desiring rather to be subject that to govern, and to give than receive, being contented with the portion God has dispensed to you;
Compare with: "Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all [of you] be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble." (1 Peter 5:5); "...remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive." (Acts 20:35); "But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into [this] world, [and it is] certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content." (1 Timothy 6:6-8)
9. And hearkening diligently to his word, you were enlarged in your bowels, [embraced it in your very bowels] having his suffering always before your eyes.
The several words in both the Old and New Testaments translated "bowels" are used literally and figuratively. In the Old Testament they may refer to the heart, the womb, or to feelings of pity.
Translations in modern English clarify this usage; compare the King James Version with the New King James Version in the following New Testament examples: "He burst...and all his bowels (entrails) gushed out." (Acts 1:18); "...ye are straitened (restricted) in your own bowels ( by your own affections)" (2 Corinthians 6:12); "I long after you in all the bowels of Jesus (with the affection of Jesus Christ)" (Philippians 1:8); "...if any bowels and mercies (if any affection or consolation and mercy)..." (Philippians 2:1); "Put on therefore...bowels of mercies (tender mercies)" (Colossians 3:12); "...the bowels (hearts) of the saints are refreshed by..." (Philemon 7); "...receive him that is mine own bowels (that is, my own heart)" (Philemon 12); "...refresh my bowels (heart) in the Lord." (Philemon 20)
However amusing the word "bowels" in early English translations, we should be aware that we commonly use "heart" in a figurative sense, and we have expressions such as "gut feelings," etc.
What the seemingly quaint use of "bowels" may have meant is that we should hold our faith and virtues not only cerebrally, but viscerally. That is to say, we should feel them in our very guts.
10. Thus a firm and blessed and profitable
peace was given to you, and an insatiable desire for doing good,
and a plentiful effusion of the Holy Spirit was upon all of you.
11. And being full of good designs, with great good readiness of mind and with a religious confidence you stretched forth your hands to God Almighty and beseeched him to be merciful to you, if in anything you had unknowingly sinned against him.
The phrase "good designs" may also be translated as holy counsel, or purpose, or will.
12. You contended with compassion and a
good conscience day and night for the whole brotherhood so that
the number of his elect might be saved.
13. You were sincere and without offence towards each other, unmindful of injuries, and all sedition and schism was an abomination to you.
14. You bewailed every one his neighbor's sins, esteeming their defects your own.
15. You were kind one to another without grudging, you were without repentance in all well-doing, being ready to do every good work. And being adorned with a manner of life altogether virtuous and religious, you did all things in the fear of God, whose commandments were written upon the tables of your heart.
Compare with: "Keep my commandments... write them upon the table of thine heart." (Proverbs 7:2, 3)
How their divisions began.
1. All honor and enlargement was given to you, and so was fulfilled that which is written, My beloved did eat and drink, he was enlarged and waxed fat, and he kicked.
Compare with: "But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked: thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou are covered [with fatness]; then he forsook God [which] made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation." (Deuteronomy 32:15)
2. From hence came emulation, and envy, and
strife, and sedition; persecution and disorder, war and captivity.
3. So they who were of no renown lifted up themselves against the honorable; those of no reputation, against those who were in respect; the foolish against the wise, the young men against the aged.
4. Therefore righteousness and peace are departed from you, because everyone has forsaken the fear of God and is grown blind in his faith, neither walking by the rule of God's commandments nor living as is fitting in Christ:
5. But every one follows his own wicked lusts, having taken up an unjust and wicked envy by which death first entered into the world.
The following indicate this is a reference to Cain's envy of Abel, in Genesis 4:5.
nvy and emulation the origin of all strife and disorder. Examples of the mischiefs they have occasioned.
1. For thus it is written, And in process
of time it came to pass that Cain brought of the fruit of the
ground an offering to the Lord. And Abel also brought of the
firstlings of his flock and of their fat.
2. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering, but he did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very sorrowful and his countenance fell.
3. And the Lord said to Cain, Why are your sorrowful? And why is your countenance fallen? If you will offer aright, but not divide aright, have you not sinned? Hold your peace: to you shall be his desire, and you shall rule over him.
This quote is from Genesis 4:7, in the Septuagint version: "Hast thou not sinned if thou hast brought it rightly, but not rightly divided it? Be still, to thee shall be his submission, and thou shalt rule over him."
4. And Cain said to his brother Abel, Let
us go down into the field. And it came to pass as they were in
the field, that Can rose up against Abel his brother and slew him.
5. You see, brethren, how envy and emulation wrought the death of a brother. For this [envy] our father Jacob fled from the face of his brother Esau.
The story of Jacob's envy and swindle of Esau is in Genesis 27:6-45.
6. It was this that caused Joseph to be persecuted even to death and to come into bondage. Envy forced Moses to flee from the face of Pharaoh king of Egypt when he heard his own countrymen ask him, Who made you a judge and a ruler over us? Will you kill me as you did the Egyptian yesterday?
This story of Joseph is in Genesis 37:3-11, 18-28. This story of Moses is in Exodus 2:11-15, but it does not assign envy to him. (Clement seems to use "ambition" as a synonym of envy.)
7. Through envy Aaron and Miriam were shut out of the camp from the rest of the congregation for seven days.
See Numbers 12:1-15, but it is not said Aaron was shut out with Miriam. However, Aaron was excluded from entering the promised land (Numbers 20:12, 24).
8. Emulation sent Dathan and Abiram alive into the grave because they raised up a sedition against Moses the servant of God.
See Numbers 16:1, 12, 24-32.
9. For this David was not only hated of
strangers, but was persecuted even by Saul the king of Israel.
10. But not to insist upon ancient examples, let us come to those worthies that have been nearest to us and take the brave examples of our own age.
The word "worthies" also can be translated "combatants, wrestlers," and is an analogy to stadium athletes.
11. Through zeal and envy, the most
faithful and righteous of the church have been persecuted even to
the most grievous deaths.
12. Let us set before our eyes the holy Apostles: Peter by unjust envy underwent not one or two, but many sufferings; and so at last being martyred, he went to the place of glory that was due to him.
According to Church tradition, Peter was crucified, head downward, at Rome during Nero's reign about A.D. 67, the same year Paul was martyred.
13. For the same cause Paul in the same way received the reward of his patience. Seven times he was in bonds; he was whipped and was stoned; he preached both in the East and in the West, leaving behind him the glorious report of his faith:
Compare with Paul's own account: "Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I [am] more; in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty [stripes] save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; [In] journeyings often, [in] perils of waters, [in] perils of robbers, [in] perils by [mine own] countrymen, [in] perils by the heathen, [in] perils in the city, [in] perils in the wilderness, [in] perils in the sea, [in] perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness." (2 Corinthians 11:23-27)
14. And so, having taught the whole world righteousness, and for that end travelled even to the utmost bounds of the West, he at last suffered martyrdom by the command of the governors,
Paul had two confinements in Rome. During the first he was under house arrest for two years "in his own hired house" (Acts 28:30 and continued teaching. It was then he wrote Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon. He mentions in 2 Timothy 4:17 that he successfully defended himself and "was delivered out of the mouth of the lion."
After his acquittal in about A.D. 63, he may have visited Spain as he had planned (Romans 15:28), so perhaps Clement refers to Spain, not Rome, as "the utmost bounds of the West." He and Titus went to Crete (Titus 1:5), and when Paul moved on, he appointed Titus as overseer of the church there. According to tradition, Titus became Bishop of Crete and died there in old age.
Paul was re-arrested, possibly at Troas, and sent to Rome a second time, perhaps around A.D. 65. This time he was kept in chains knowing he would be executed (2 Timothy 4:6-8). He sent Titus on a mission to Dalmatia in Illyricum, present-day Yugoslavia (2 Timothy 4:10). That Epistle contains the last recorded words of Paul.
Historians believe that Emperor Nero himself set the fire that burned Rome in A.D. 64 and accused the Christians to cover his own crimes. His persecution of Christians is the background of 1 Peter and 2 Timothy. Paul was beheaded in Rome in A.D. 66 or 67.
15. And departed out of the world and went
to his holy place after having become a most eminent pattern of
patience to all ages.
16. To these Holy Apostles were joined a very great number of others who, having through envy undergone in like manner many pains and torments, have left a glorious example to us.
See Hebrews 11:36-38.
17. For this [envy] not only men but women
have been persecuted, and after suffering very grievous and cruel
punishments, they have finished the course of their faith with
firmness. Though weak in body, yet they received a glorious
18. This has alienated the minds even of women from their husbands; and changed what was once said by our father Adam, This is now bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh.
See Genesis 2:23.
19. In a word, envy and strife have overturned whole cities and rooted out great nations from off the earth.
He exhorts them to live by the rules and repent of their divisions, and they shall be forgiven.
1. These things, beloved, we write to you
not only for your instruction, but also for our own remembrance.
2. For we are all in the same lists [place of encounter], and the same combat is prepared for us all.
3. Wherefore let us lay aside all vain and empty cares, and let us come up to the glorious and venerable rule of our holy calling.
4. Let us consider what is good, and acceptable, and well- pleasing in the sight of him that made us.
5. Let us look steadfastly to the blood of Christ and see how precious his blood is in the sight of God: it has been shed for our salvation and has obtained the grace of repentance for all the world.
6. Let us search into all the ages that have gone before us, and let us learn that our Lord has in every one of them still given place for repentance to all such as would turn to him.
7. Noah preached repentance, and as many as paid attention to him were saved. Jonah denounced destruction against the Ninevites:
For New Testament references to the Genesis 6-9 story of Noah, see Matthew 24:37, 1 Peter 3:20, 2 Peter 2:5, Hebrews 11:7; for Jonah, see Matthew 12:39 and 16:4, and Luke 11:29.
8. However, they repented of their sins and
appeased God by their prayers, and were saved though they were
strangers to the covenant of God.
9. [New paragraph in the original] As a result we find how all the ministers of the grace of God have spoken by the Holy Spirit of repentance. And even the Lord of all has himself declared with an oath concerning it;
10. As I live, says the Lord, I desire not the death of a sinner, but that he should repent. Adding further this good sentence, saying: Turn from your iniquity, O house of Israel.
See Ezekiel 33:11.
11. Say to the children of my people, Though your sins should reach from earth to heaven, and though they be redder than scarlet and blacker than sackcloth, yet if you will turn to me with all your heart and call me Father, I will hearken to you as though to a holy people.
See Isaiah 1:18 and Jeremiah 3:19.
12. And in another place he says in this manner: Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; put away the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.
See Isaiah 1:16, 17.
13. Come now and let us reason together,
says the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they will be as
white as snow; though they be red as crimson, they will be as
14. If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good of the land; but if you refuse and rebel, you will be devoured with the sword, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it.
See Isaiah 1:18, 19.
15. These things has God established by his Almighty will, desiring that all his beloved should come to repentance.
He sets before them the examples of holy men whose piety is recorded in the Scriptures.
1. For this reason let us obey his
excellent and glorious will; and imploring his mercy and
goodness, let us fall down upon our faces before him and cast
ourselves upon his mercy, laying aside all vanity, and
contention, and envy which leads to death.
2. Let us look up to those who have the most perfectly ministered to his excellent glory. Let us take Enoch for our example, who being found righteous in obedience, was translated, and his death was not known.
See Genesis 5:24.
3. Noah proved to be faithful and by his ministry preached regeneration to the world, and the Lord saved by him all the living creatures that went with one accord into the ark.
See Genesis 6-8.
4. Abraham, who was called God's friend, was likewise found faithful because he obeyed the commands of God.
See James 2:23.
5. By obedience he went out of his own
country, and from his own kindred, and from his father's house:
that by so forsaking a small country, and a weak affinity, and a
little house, he might inherit the promises of God.
6. For thus God said to him, Get out of your country, and from your kindred, and from your father's house, to a land that I shall show you.
7. And I shall make you a great nation and shall bless you, and make your name great, and you will be blessed. And I shall bless them that bless you, and curse them that curse you; and all the families of the earth will be blessed in you.
See Genesis 12:1-3.
8. And again when he separated himself from
Lot, God said to him: Lift up now your eyes, and look from the
place where you are northward and southward and eastward and
westward [toward the sea], for all the land you see, I will give
it to you and to your descendants forever.
9. And I shall make your descendants as the dust of the earth, so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then will your descendants also be numbered.
See Genesis 13:14-16.
10. And again he says: And God brought forth Abraham and said to him, Look now toward heaven and count the stars; if you could be able to number them, so will your descendants be.
See Genesis 15:5.
11. And Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness.
See Genesis 15:6.
12. Through faith and hospitality, he had a son given him in his old age; and through obedience he offered him up in sacrifice to God upon one of the mountains which God showed to him.
See Genesis 22:6-13.
He exhorts them particularly about those who have been eminent for their kindness and charity to their neighbors.
1. By hospitality and godliness Lot was
saved out of Sodom, when all the country round about was
destroyed by fire and brimstone:
2. By this the Lord made it clear that he will not forsake those that trust in him, but will bring the disobedient to punishment and correction.
3. For his wife who went out with him, being of a different mind and not continuing in the same obedience, was for that reason set forth for an example to this day by being turned into a pillar of salt.
For the story of Lot and his wife, see Genesis 19:1-26. In contrast to most sermons about Lot, the New Testament judgment calls him a just and righteous man (2 Peter 2:7, 8). Perhaps the mention of "hospitality" in regard to Lot refers to Genesis 19:2, 3; compare with: "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. (Hebrews 13:2)
4. So that all men may know that those who
are double minded and distrustful of the power of God, are
prepared for condemnation, and to be a sign to all succeeding
5. By faith and hospitality Rahab the harlot was saved. For when the spies were sent by Joshua the son of Nun to search out Jericho, and the king of Jericho knew that they had come to spy out his country, he sent men to take them so they might be put to death.
6. Because Rahab was hospitable, she received them and hid them under the stalks of flax on the top of her house.
7. And when the messengers sent by the king came and asked her, saying, Men came to you to spy out the land; bring them forth, for so the king has commanded. She answered, The two men whom you seek came to me, but presently they departed and are gone.
8. Then she said to the spies, I know that the Lord your God has given this city into your hands, for the fear of you is fallen upon all that dwell therein. When, therefore, you will have taken it, you will save me and my father's house.
9. And they answered her, saying, It will be as you have spoken to us. Therefore, when you will know that we are near, you will gather all your family together upon the house-top, and they will be saved; but all that will be found outside your house will be destroyed.
10. And they gave her a signal: that she should hang out of her house a scarlet rope; signifying that by the blood of our Lord, there would be redemption to all that believe and hope in God. You see, beloved, how there was not only faith, but prophecy too in this woman.
For the story of Rahab the harlot, see Joshua 2. Many of the Church Fathers have applied this symbolic significance of the scarlet rope (or thread) to the same purpose as Clement. See also Hebrews 11:31 and James 2:25.
What rules are given for this purpose.
1. Let us therefore humble ourselves,
brethren, laying aside all pride and boasting, and foolishness
and anger. Let us do as it is written.
2. For thus says the Holy Spirit: Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, nor the strong man in his strength, nor the rich man in his riches; but let him that glories, glory in the Lord, to seek him, and to do judgment and justice.
See Jeremiah 9:23.
3. Above all, remember the words of the
Lord Jesus, which he spoke concerning equity and long-suffering,
4. Be merciful and you will obtain mercy; forgive, and you will be forgiven; as you do, so will it be done to you; as you give, so will it be given to you; as you judge, so will you be judged; as you are kind to others so will God be kind to you: with what measure you give others, the same will be measured to you again.
See Luke 6:35-38.
5. By this command, and by these rules, let
us establish ourselves, so that we may always walk obediently to
his holy words and be humble minded:
6. For so says the Holy Word: Upon whom shall I look? Even upon him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and that trembles at my word.
See Isaiah 66:2.
7. [New paragraph in the original] It is
therefore just and righteous, men and brethren, that we should
become obedient to God rather than follow such as through pride
and sedition have made themselves the ring-leaders of a
8. For it is not an ordinary harm that we shall do ourselves, but rather a very great danger that we shall run if we shall rashly give up ourselves to the wills of men who promote strife and seditions to turn us aside from that which is right.
9. But let us be kind to one another, according to the compassion and sweetness of him who made us.
Compare with: "And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." (Ephesians 4:32)
10. For it is written, The merciful will inherit the earth; and they that are without evil will be left upon it, but the transgressors will perish from off the face of it.
Compare with: "For the upright shall dwell in the land, and the perfect shall remain in it. But the wicked shall be cut off from the earth, and the transgressors shall be rooted out of it." (Proverbs 2:10); "For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth." (Psalm 37:9)
11. And again he says, I have seen the wicked in great power and spreading himself like the cedar of Libanus. I passed by, and lo! he was not; I sought his place, but it could not be found.
The reference is Psalm 37:35, 36: "I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree. Yet he passed away, and, lo, he [was] not: yea, I sought him, but he could not be found." However, the Septuagint reads: "I saw the ungodly very highly exalting himself, and lifting himself up like the cedars of Libanus. Yet I passed by, and lo! he was not: and I sought him, but his place was not found."
12. Keep yourselves innocent and do the
thing that is right, for there will be a remnant to the peaceable
13. Let us therefore hold fast to those who religiously follow peace instead of to such as only pretend to desire.
14. For he says in a certain place, This people honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.
See Isaiah 29:13.
15. And again, They bless with their mouths, but curse in their hearts.
Compare with: "But the tongue can no man tame; [it is] an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be." (James 3:8- 10)
16. And again he says, They loved him with their mouths, and with their tongues they lied to him. For their heart was not right with him, neither were they faithful in his covenant.
Compare with: "Nevertheless they did flatter him with their mouth, and they lied unto him with their tongues. For their heart was not right with him, neither were they steadfast in his covenant." (Psalm 78:36, 37)
17. Let all deceitful lips and the tongue
that speaks proud things become mute, that have said, With our
tongue will we prevail; our own lips are Lord over us.
18. For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now will I arise says the Lord; I will set him in safety, and I will deal confidently with him.
Compare with: "The Lord shall cut off all flattering lips, [and] the tongue that speaketh proud things: Who have said, With our tongue will we prevail; our lips [are] our own: who [is] lord over us? for the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now will I arise, saith the Lord; I will set [him] in safety [from him that] puffeth at him." (Psalm 12:3, 4)
He advises them to be humble, taking the examples of Jesus and of holy men in all ages.
1. For Christ is theirs who are humble, and
do not who exalt themselves over his flock. The scepter of the
majesty of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, came not in the show of
pride and arrogance, though he could have done so, but with
humility as the Holy Spirit had before spoken concerning him.
2. For thus he says, Lord, who has believed our report, and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? For he will grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground.
3. He has no form or attractiveness, and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
4. He is despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
5. And we hid, as it were, our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
6. Surely he has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
7. But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
8. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way, and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
9. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter; and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he opens not his mouth.
10. He was taken from prison and from judgment; and who will declare his generation? For he was cut off out of the land of the living, for the transgressions of my people was he stricken.
11. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
12. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he has put him to grief; when you will make his soul an offering for sin, he will see his descendants; he will prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord will prosper in his hand.
13. He will see of the suffering of his soul and will be satisfied; by his knowledge will my righteous servant justify many, for he will bear their iniquities.
14. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he will divide the spoil with the strong; because he has poured out his soul to death, he was numbered with the transgressors, and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
Verses 2-14 are from Isaiah 53.
15. And again he himself says, I am a worm and no man, a reproach of men, and despised of the people. All they that see me laugh me to scorn; they shoot out their lips, they shake their heads, saying: He trusted in the Lord that he would deliver him, let him deliver him, seeing that he delighted in him.
See Psalm 22:6-8.
16. You see, beloved, what the pattern is
that has been given to us. For if the Lord thus humbled himself,
what should we do who are brought by him under the yoke of his
17. Let us be followers of those who went about in goat- skins and sheep-skins, preaching the coming of Christ.
18. Such were Elias, and Elisaeus, and Ezekiel the prophets. And let us add to these such others as have received similar testimony.
That is, Elijah and Elisha.
19. Abraham has been greatly witnessed of, having been called the friend of God. And yet he, steadfastly beholding the glory of God, said with all humility, I am dust and ashes.
See Genesis 18:27.
20. Again of Job it is written that he was true and just and without blame; one who served God and abstained from all evil. Yet he accused himself and said, No man is free from pollution, no, not though he should live but one day.
See Job 1:1 and "Man [that is] born of a woman [is] of few days, and full of trouble.... Who can bring a clean [thing] out of an unclean? not one. Seeing his days [are] determined, the number of his months [are] with thee, thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass..." (Job 14:1,4, 5)
The Septuagint reading of Job 14:4,5 is: "For who shall be pure from uncleanness? not even one; if even his life should be [but] one day upon the earth: and his months are numbered by him: thou hast appointed [him] for a time, and he shall by no means exceed [it]."
21. Moses was called faithful in all God's
House, and by his conduct the Lord punished Israel by scourges
22. And even this man, though thus greatly honored, spoke not greatly of himself; but when the oracle of God was delivered to him out of the bush, he said, Who am I, that you send me? I am of a slender voice and a slow tongue.
Compare with: "And Moses said unto the Lord, O my Lord, I [am] not eloquent, neither heretofore, not since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I [am] slow of speech, and of a slow tongue." (Exodus 4:10)
23. And again he says, I am as the smoke of the pot.
This could be taken to mean either a smoke- blackened pot or the steam arising from a boiling pot, but the reference is unclear and cannot be found in that form. Clement may have been confused: "For I am become like a bottle in the smoke..." (Psalm 119:83), but this has nothing to do with Moses, or, "...For what [is] your life? It is even a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away." (James 4:14)
24. And what shall we say of David, so highly testified of in the Holy Scriptures? To whom God said, I have found a man after my own heart, David the son of Jesse, and with my holy oil have I anointed him.
Compare with Samuel's words to King Saul: "But thy kingdom shall not continue: the Lord hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the Lord hath commanded him [to be] captain over his people, because thou hast not kept [that] which the Lord commanded thee." (1 Samuel 13:14); "But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature, because I have refused him: for [the Lord seeth] not as man seeth, for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.... And Saul sent to Jesse, saying, Let David, I pray thee, stand before me; for he hath found favor in my sight." (1 Samuel 16:7, 22); "I have found David my servant; with my holy oil have I anointed him" (Psalm 89:20); "And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the [son] of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will." (Acts 13:22)
25. Yet he himself said to God, Have mercy
upon me, O God, according to your loving kindness; according to
the multitude of your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions.
26. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.
27. Against you only have I sinned, and done this evil in your sight, that you might be justified when you speak, and be clear when you judge.
28. Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.
29. Behold, you desire truth in the inward parts; and in the hidden part you will make me to know wisdom.
30. Purge me with hyssop and I shall be clean, wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.
31. Make me to hear joy and gladness, that the bones which you have broken may rejoice.
32. Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.
33. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
34. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your holy spirit from me.
35. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with your free spirit.
36. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will be converted to you.
37. Deliver me from blood-guiltiness, O God, you God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.
38. O Lord, open you my lips, and my mouth will show forth your praise.
39. For you desire not sacrifice, else would I give it; you delight not in burned offerings.
40. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
Verses 25-40 are quoted from Psalm 51:1-17.
He again persuades them to compose their divisions.
1. Thus has the humility and godly fear of
these great and excellent men recorded in the Scriptures, through
obedience made not only us, but also the generations before us
better; even as many as have received his holy oracles with fear
2. Having therefore so many, and such great and glorious examples, let us return to that peace which was the mark that from the beginning was set before us;
3. Let us look up to the Father and Creator of the whole world, and let us hold fast to his glorious and exceeding gifts and benefits of peace.
4. Let us consider and behold with the eyes of our understanding his long-suffering will, and think how gentle and patient he is towards his whole creation.
5. The heavens, moving by his appointment, are subject to him in peace.
6. Day and night accomplish the courses that he has allotted to them, not disturbing one another.
7. The sun and moon, and all the several companies and constellations of the stars, run the courses that he has appointed to them in concord, without departing in the least from them.
8. The fruitful earth yields its food plentifully in due season both to man and beast, and to all animals that are upon it, according to his will; not disputing, nor altering any thing of what was ordered by him.
9. So also the unfathomable and unsearchable floods of the deep are kept in by his command;
10. And the conflux of the vast sea is brought together by his order into its several collections, and does not pass the limits that he has set to it;
11. But as he appointed it, so it remains. For he said, This far you will come, and your floods will be broken within you.
Compare with: "Hitherto shalt thou come but no further: and here shall thy proud waves be stayed" (Job 38:11); the Septuagint reads: "And I said to it, Hitherto shalt thou come, but thou shalt not go beyond, but thy waves shall be confined within thee."
12. The ocean, impassable to mankind, and the worlds that are beyond it are governed by the same commands of their great master.
Photius, patriarch of Constantinople, in the ninth century, objected to the genuiness of this Epistle on the grounds (among others) that Clement speaks of worlds beyond the ocean.
13. Spring and summer, autumn and winter,
give place peaceably to each other.
14. The several quarters of the winds fulfil their work in their seasons without offending one another.
15. The ever-flowing fountains, made both for pleasure and health, never fail to reach out their breasts to support the life of men.
16. Even the smallest creatures live together in peace and concord with each other.
17. All these the great Creator and Lord of all, being good to all, has commanded to observe peace and concord.
18. But especially to us who flee to his mercy through our Lord Jesus Christ; to whom be glory and majesty forever and ever. Amen.
He exhorts them to obedience, from the consideration of the goodness of God, and his presence in every place.
1. Take heed, beloved, that his many
blessings be not to us to condemnation; unless we shall walk
worthy of him, doing with one consent what is good and pleasing
in his sight.
2. The spirit of the Lord is a candle, searching out the inward parts of the belly.
Compare and contrast with: "The spirit of man [is] the candle of the Lord, searching all the inward parts of the belly." (Proverbs 20:27); and the Septuagint translation: "The spirit of man is a light of the Lord, who searches the inmost parts of the belly."
3. Let us therefore consider how near he is
to us; and how that none of our thoughts, or reasonings which we
frame within ourselves, are hid from him.
4. It is therefore just that we should not forsake our rank by doing contrary to his will.
5. Let us choose to offend a few foolish and inconsiderate men, lifted up and glorying in their own pride, rather than God.
6. Let us reverence our Lord Jesus Christ whose blood was given for us.
7. Let us honor those who are set over us; let us respect the aged that are among us; and let us instruct the younger men in the discipline and fear of the Lord.
8. Our wives let us correct to do that which is good.
9. Let them show forth a lovely habit of purity in all their conversation, with a sincere affection of meekness.
10. Let the moderation of their tongues be made evident by their silence.
11. Let their charity be without respect of persons towards all such as religiously fear God.
12. Let your children be bred up in the instruction of Christ:
13. And especially let them learn how great a power humility has with God; how much a pure and holy charity avails with him; how excellent and great his fear is; and how it will save those who turn to him with holiness in a pure mind.
14. For he is the searcher of the thoughts and counsels of the heart; his breath is in us, and when he pleases he can take it from us.
Of faith, and particularly what we are to believe as to the resurrection
1. But all these things must be confirmed by the faith [The faith confirms] which is in Christ; for so he himself speaks us by the Holy Spirit.
Or, "the faith confirms all these things..."
2. Come you children and hearken to me, and
I will teach you the fear of the Lord. What man is there that
desires life, and loves to see good days?
3. Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips that they speak no guile.
4. Depart from evil and do good; seek peace and develop it.
5. The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayers.
6. But the face of the Lord is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.
7. The righteous cried, and the Lord heard him, and delivered him out of all his troubles.
8. Many are the troubles of the wicked; but they that trust in the Lord, mercy will encircle them.
Verses 2-8 are from Psalm 34:11-19.
9. Our all-merciful and beneficent Father
has bowels of compassion towards them that fear him, and he
kindly and lovingly bestows his graces upon all who come to him
with a simple mind.
10. Wherefore let us not waver, neither let us have any doubt in our hearts, of his excellent and glorious gifts.
11. Let that be far from us which is written, Miserable are the double-minded, and those who are doubtful in their hearts.
See James 1:8
12. Who say, These things have we heard, and our fathers have told us these things. But behold we are grown old, and none of them has happened to us.
See 2 Peter 3:4.
13. O you fools! Consider the trees and
take the vine for an example. First it sheds it leaves, then it
buds; after that it spreads its leaves, then it flowers; then
come the sour grapes, and after them follows the ripe fruit. You
see how in a little time the fruit of the tree comes to maturity.
14. Of a truth, yet a little while and his will will suddenly be accomplished.
15. The Holy Scripture itself bearing witness, He will quickly come and not tarry, and that the Lord will suddenly come to his temple, even the holy angels whom you look for.
Compare with: "For the vision [is] yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry." (Habakkuk 2:2); "Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts." (Malachi 3:1)
16. Let us consider, beloved, how the Lord continually shows us that there will be a future resurrection; of which he has made our Lord Jesus Christ the first fruits, by raising him from the dead.
Compare with: "But now is Christ risen from the dead, [and] become the firstfruits of them that slept." (1 Corinthians 15:20)
17. Let us contemplate, beloved, the
resurrection that is continually made before our eyes.
18. Day and night manifest a resurrection to us. The night lies down, and the day arises: again the day departs, and the night comes on.
19. Let us behold the fruits of the earth. Everyone sees how the seed is sown. The sower goes forth, and casts it upon the earth; and the seed, which is sown falls upon the earth dry and naked, in time dissolves.
20. And from the dissolution, the great power of the providence of the Lord raises it again; and of one seed many arise and bring forth fruit.
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Chapters 12 to 24
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