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Ante-Nicene Christian library : translations of the writings of the Fathers down to A. D. 325 (Volume 17) online

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tihvary of t:he theological ^tminaxy


R.L. and A. Smart






DOWX TO A.D. 325.
















M D C C L X X.







Epistle of Peter to James, ..... 1

Epistle of Clement to James, ..... C

The Clementine Homilies —

Homily L, ....... 17

Homily ii.,



Homily iiL,



Homily iv.,



Homily v..

. 101

Homily Yi.,

. 115

Homily vii..

. 130

Homily viii.,

. 137

Homily ix.,


Homily x.,


Homily XL,


Homily XIL,


Homily xiii.,


Homily xiv.,


Homily xv.,


Homily xvi.,


Homily xvii., .


Homily xviii., .


Homily xix.,


Homily xx..




E have already given an account of the Clementines
in the Introductory Notice to the Recognitions.
All that remains for us to do here, is to notice
the principal editions of the Homilies. The first
edition was published by Cotelerius in his collection of the
Apostolic Fathers, from a manuscript in the Royal Library
at Paris, the only manuscript of the work then known to
exist. He derived assistance from an epitome of the work
which he found in the same library. The text of Cotelerius
was revised by Clericus in his edition of Cotelerius, but
more carefully by Schwegler, Stuttgart 1847. The Paris
MS. breaks off in the middle of the fourteenth chapter of the
nineteenth book.

In 1853 (Gottingen) Dressel published a new recension
of the Homilies^ having found a complete manuscript of the
twenty Homilies in the Ottobonian Library in Eome. In
1859 (Leipzig) he pubHshed an edition of two Epitomes of
the Homilies, — the one previously edited by Turnebus and
Cotelerius being given more fully, and the other appearing
for the first time. To these Epitomes were appended notes
by Frederic Wieseler on the Homilies. The last edition of
the Clementines is by Paul de Lagarde (Leipzig, 1865),
which has no new sources, is pretentious, but far from


lETER to James, the lord and bishop of the holy
church, under the Father of all, through Jesus
I Christ, wishes peace always.

Chap. i. — Doctrine of reserve.

Knowing, my brother, your eager desire after that wliicii
is for the advantage of us all, I beg and beseech you not to
communicate to any one of the Gentiles the books of my
preachings which I sent to you, nor to any one of our own
tribe before trial ; but if any one has been proved and found
worthy, then to commit them to him, after the manner in
which Moses delivered [liis books] to the Seventy who suc-
ceeded to his chair. Wherefore also the fruit of that caution
appears even till now. For his countrymen keep the same
rule of monarchy and polity ever^^where, being unable in
any way to think otherwise, or to be led out of the way of
the much-indicating Scriptures. For, according to the rule
delivered to them, they endeavour to correct the discordances
of the Scriptures, if any one, haply not knowing the traditions,
is confounded at the various utterances of the prophets.
Wherefore they charge no one to teach, unless he has first
learned how the Scriptures must be used. And thus they
have amongst them one God, one law, one hope.

Chap. ii. — Misrepresentation of Peter s doctrine.

In order, therefore, that the like may also happen to those
among us as to these Seventy, give the books of my preachings
to our brethren, with the like mystery of initiation, that they


may indoctrinate those who wish to take part in teaching; for
if it be not so done, our word of truth will be rent into many
opinions. And this I know, not as being a prophet, but as
already seeing the beginning of this very evil. For some
from among the Gentiles have rejected my legal preaching,
attaching themselves to certain lawless and trifling preaching
of the man who is my enemy. And these things some have
attempted while I am still alive, to transform my w^ords by
certain various interpretations, in order to the dissolution of
the law ; as though I also myself were of such a mind, but did
not freely proclaim it, which God forbid ! For such a thing
were to act in opposition to the law of God which was spoken
by Moses, and was borne witness to by our Lord in respect
of its eternal continuance ; for thus He spoke : " The heavens
and the earth shall pass away, but one jot or one tittle shall
in no wise pass from the law." ^ And this He has said, that
all things might come to pass. But these men, professing,
I know not how, to know my mind, undertake to explain my
words, which they have heard of me, more intelligently than
I who spoke them, telling their catechumens that this is my
meaning, which indeed I never thought of. But if, while I
am still alive, they dare thus to misrepresent me, how much
more will those who shall come after me dare to do so !

Chap. hi. — Initiation,

Therefore, that no such thing may happen, for this end
I have prayed and besought you not to communicate the
books of my preaching which I have sent you to any one,
whether of our own nation or of another nation, before
trial ; but if any one, having been tested, has been found
worthy, then to hand them over to him, according to the
initiation of Moses, by which he delivered [his books] to the
Seventy who succeeded to his chair; in order that thus
they may keep the faith, and everywhere deliver the rule of
truth, explaining all things after our tradition; lest being
themselves dragged down by ignorance, being drawn into
error by conjectures after their mind, they bring others into
1 Mark xiii. 31 ; Matt. v. 18.


the like pit of destruction. Now the things that seemed
good to me, I have fairly pointed out to you ; and what seems
good to you, do you, my lord, becomingly perform. Fare-

Chap. iv. — An adjuration concerning the receivers of

the hook.

1. Therefore James, having read the epistle, sent for the
elders ; and having read it to them, said : " Our Peter has
strictly and becomingly charged us concerning the establish-
ing of the truth, that we should not communicate the books
of his preachings, which have been sent to us, to any one at
random, but to one who is good and religious, and who
wishes to teach, and who is circumcised, and faithful. And
these are not all to be committed to him at once ; that, if
he be found injudicious in the first, the others may not be
entrusted to him. AYherefore let him be proved not less than
six years. And then according to the initiation of Moses,
he [that is to deliver the books] should bring him to a river
or a fountain, which is living water, where the regeneration
of the righteous takes place, and should make him, not swear
— for that is not lawful — but to stand by the water and ad-
jure, as we ourselves, when we were regenerated, were made
to do for the sake of not sinning.

2. " And let him say : ' I take to witness heaven, earth,
water, in which all things are comprehended, and in addition to
all these, that air also which pervades all things, and without
which I cannot breathe, that I shall always be obedient to
him who gives me the books of the preachings ; and those
same books which he may give me, I shall not communicate
to any one in any way, either by writing them, or giving them
in writing, or giving them to a writer, either myself or by
another, or through any other initiation, or trick, or method,
or by keeping them carelessly, or placing them before [any
one], or granting him permission [to see them], or in any
way or manner whatsoever communicating them to another ;
unless I shall ascertain one to be worthy, as I myself have
been judged, or even more so, and that after a probation of


not less than six years ; but to one who is reh'glous and good,
chosen to teach, as I have received them, so I will commit
them, doing these things also according to the will of my

3. " ^ But otherwise, though he were my son or my brother,
or my friend, or otherwise in any way pertaining to me by
kindred, if he be unworthy, that I will not vouchsafe the
favour to him, as is not meet ; and I shall neither be terrified
by plot nor mollified by gifts. But if even it should ever
seem to me that the books of the preachings given to me are
not true, I shall not so communicate them, but shall give them
back. And when I go abroad, 1 shall carry them with me,
whatever of them I happen to possess. But if I be not
minded to carry them about with me, I shall not suffer them
to be in my house, but shall deposit them with my bishop,
having the same faith, and setting out from the same persons
[as myself].^ But if it befall me to be sick, and in expecta-
tion of death, and if I be childless, I shall act in the same
manner. But if I die having a son who is not worthy, or not
yet capable, I shall act in the same manner. For I shall
deposit them with my bishop, in order that if my son, when
he grows up, be worthy of the trust, he may give them to
him as his father's bequest, according to the terms of this

4. " ' And that I shall thus do, I again call to witness
heaven, earth, water, in which all things are enveloped, and
in addition to all these, the all-pervading air, without which
I cannot breathe, that I shall always be obedient to him who
giveth me these books of the preachings, and shall observe in
all things as 1 have engaged, or even something more. To me,
therefore, keeping this covenant, there shall be a part with the
holy ones ; but to me doing anything contrary to what I have
covenanted, may the universe be hostile to me, and the all-
pervading ether, and the God who is over all, to v/hom none
is superior, than whom none is greater. But if even I should
come to the acknovdedgment of another God, I now swear

1 Unless the reading be corrupt here, I suppose the reference must be
to episcopal succession.


by lilm also, be be or be he not, that I shall not do otherwise.
And in addition to all these things, if I shall lie, I shall be
accursed living and dying, and shall be punished with ever-
lasting punishment.'

"And after this, let him partake of bread and salt with
him who commits them to him."

Chap. v. — The adjuration accepted.

James having thus spoken, the elders were in an agony of
terror. Tlierefore James, perceiving that they were greatly
afraid, said : " Hear me, brethren and fellow-servants. If w^e
should give the books to all indiscriminately, and they should
be corrupted by any daring men, or be perverted by interpre-
tations, as you have heard that some have already done, it will
remain even for those who really seek the truth, always to
wander in error. Wherefore it is better that thev should
be with us, and that we should communicate them with all
the fore-mentioned care to those who wish to live piously,
and to save others. But if any one, after taking this adjura-
tion, shall act otherwise, he shall with good reason incur
eternal punishment. For why should not he who is the cause
of the destruction of others not be destroyed himself ? " The
elders, therefore, being pleased with the sentiments of James,
exclaimed, " Blessed be He who, as foreseeing all things, has
graciously appointed thee as our bishop;" and when they
had said this, we all rose up, and prayed to the Father and
God of all, to whom be glory for ever. Amen.


LEMENT to James, the lord/ and the bishop of
bishops, who rules Jerusalem, the holy church
of the Hebrews, and the churches everywhere
excellently founded by the providence of God,

with the elders and deacons, and the rest of the brethren,

peace be always.

Chap. i. — Peter s martyrdom.

Be it known to you, my lord, that Simon, who, for the
sake of the true faith, and the most sure foundation of his
doctrine, was set apart to be the foundation of the church, and
for this end was by Jesus Himself, with His truthful mouth,
named Peter, the first-fruits of our Lord, the first of the
apostles ; to whom first the Father revealed the Son ; whom
the Christ, with good reason, blessed ; the called, and elect,
and associate at table and in the journeyings [of Christ] ; the
excellent and approved disciple, who, as being fittest of all,
was commanded to enlighten the darker part of the world,
namely the West, and was enabled to accomplish it, — and
to what extent do I lengthen my discourse, not wishing to
indicate what is sad, which yet of necessity, though reluc-
tantly, I must tell you, — he himself, by reason of his im-
mense love towards men, having come as far as Rome, clearly
and publicly testifying, in opposition to the wicked one who
withstood him, that there is to be a good King over all
the world, while saving men by his God-inspired doctrine,

^ More probably " the Lord's brother." So it must have been in the
text from -which Rufinus translated.



himself, bj violence, exchanged this present existence for

Chap. ii. — Ordination of Clement,

But about that time, when he was about to die, the
brethren being assembled together, he suddenly seized my
hand, and rose up, and said in presence of the church :
^' Hear me, brethren and fellow-servants. Since, as I have
been taught by the Lord and Teacher Jesus Christ, whose
apostle I am, the day of my death is approaching, I lay hands
upon this Clement as your bishop ; and to him I entrust my
chair of discourse, even to him v/ho has journeyed with me
from the beginning to the end, and thus has heard all my
homilies — who, in a word, having had a share in all my
trials, has been found stedfast in the faith ; whom I have
found, above all others, pious, philanthropic, pure, learned,
chaste, good, upright, large-hearted, and striving generously
to bear the ingratitude of some of the catechumens. Where-
fore I communicate to hiui the power of binding and loosing,
so that with respect to everything which he shall ordain in
the earth, it shall be decreed in the heavens. For he shall
bind what ouirht to be bound, and loose what oufrht to be
loosed, as knowing the rule of the church. Tberefore hear
him, as knowing that he who grieves the president of the
truth, sins against Christ, and offends the Father of all.
Wherefore he shall not live ; and therefore it becomes him
who presides to hold the place of a physician, and not to
cherish the rage of an irrational beast."

Chap. hi. — Nolo cpiscopari.

While he thus spoke, I knelt to him, and entreated him,
declining the honour and the authority of the chair. Bat he
answered : " Concerning this matter do not ask me ; for it
has seemed to me to be good that thus it be, and all the more
if you decline it. For this chair has not need of a pre-
sumptuous man, ambitious of occupying it, but of one pious
in conduct and deeply skilled in the word [of God]. But show
me a better [than yourself], who has travelled more with


me, and has heard more of my discourses, and has learned
better the regulations of the church, and I shall not force you
to do well against your will. But it will not be in your power
to show me your superior ; for you are the choice first-fruits
of the multitudes saved through me. However, consider this
further, that if you do not undertake the administration of
the church, through fear of the danger of sin, you may be
sure that you sin more, when you have it in your power to
help the godly, who are, as it were, at sea and in danger,
and will not do so, providing only for your ov/n interest, and
not for the common advantage of all. But that it behoves
you altogether to undertake the danger, while I do not cease
to ask it of you for the help of all, you well understand.
The sooner, therefore, you consent, so much the sooner will
you relieve me from anxiety.

Chap. iv. — The recompense of the reward,

" But I myself also, O Clement, know the griefs and
anxieties, and dangers and reproaches, that are appointed you
from the uninstructed multitudes ; and these you will be
able to bear nobly, looking to the great reward of patience
bestowed on you by God. But also consider this fairly with
me : AYhen has Christ need of your aid ? Now, when the
wicked one has sworn war against His bride ; or in the time
to come, when He shall reign victorious, having no need of
further help ? Is it not evident to any one who has even
the least understanding, that it is now ? Therefore with all
good-will hasten in the time of the present necessity to do
battle on the side of this good King, whose character it is to
give great rewards after victory. Therefore take the over-
sight gladly; and all the more in good time, because you
have learned from me the administration of the church, for
the safety of the brethren who have taken refuge with us.

Chap. v. — A charge,

" However, I wish, in the presence of all, to remind you, for
the sake of all, of the thino-s belonixinfx to the administration.
It becomes you, living without reproach, with the greatest


earnestness to shake off all the cares of life, being neither a
surety, nor an advocate, nor involved in any other secular
business. For Christ does not wish to appoint you either
a judge or an arbitrator in business, or negotiator of the
secular affairs of the present life, lest, being confined to
the present cares of men, you should not have leisure by the
word of truth to se23arate the good among men from the bad.
But let the disciples perform these offices to one another, and
not withdraw [you] from the discourses which are able to
save. For as it is wicked for you to undertake secular cares,
and to omit the doing of what you have been commanded to
do, so it is sin for every layman, if they do not stand by one
another even in secular necessities. And if all do not under-
stand to take order that you be without care in respect of the
thino-s in which vou oucrht to be, let them learn it from the
deacons ; that you may have the care of the church always,
in order both to your administering it well, and to your hold-
ing forth the words of truth.

Chap. yi. — The duty of a hisJiop.

" Xow, if you were occupied with secular cares, you should
deceive both yourself and your hearers. For not being able,
on account of occupation, to point out the things that are
advantageous, both you should be punished, as not having
taught what was profitable, and they, not having learned,
should perish by reason of ignorance. Wherefore do you
indeed preside over them without occupation, so as to send
forth seasonably the words that are able to save them; and so
let them listen to you, know^ing that whatever the ambassador
of the truth shall bind upon earth is bound also in heaven,
and what he shall loose is loosed. But you shall bind what
ought to be bound, and loose what ought to be loosed. And
these, and such like, are the things that relate to you as

Chap. yii. — Duties of presbyters,

"And with respect to the presbyters, take these [instructions].
Above all things, let them join the young betimes in marriage,


anticipating the entanglements of youthful lusts. But neither
let them neglect the marriage of those who are already old ;
for lust is vigorous even in some old men. Lest, therefore,
fornication find a place among you, and bring upon you a
very pestilence, take precaution, and search, lest at any time
the fire of adultery be secretly kindled among you. For
adultery is a very terrible thing, even such that it holds the
second place in respect of punishment, the first being assigned
to those who are in error, even although they be chaste.
Wherefore do you, as elders of the church, exercise the
spouse of Christ to chastity (by the spouse I mean the body
of the church) ; for if she be apprehended to be chaste by
her royal Bridegroom, slie shall obtain the greatest honour ;
and you, as wedding guests, shall receive great commenda-
tion. But if she be caught havino; sinned, she herself indeed
shall be cast out ; and you shall suffer punishment, if at any
time her sin has been through your negligence.

Chap. viii. — " Do good unto alU*

*' Wherefore above all things be careful about chastity ; for
fornication has been marked out as a bitter thing in the
estimation of God. But there are many forms of fornica-
tion, as also Clement himself will explain to you. The first
is adultery, that a man should not enjoy his own wife alone,
or a woman not enjoy her own husband alone. If any one
be chaste, he is able also to be philanthropic, on account of
which he shall obtain eternal mercy. For as adultery is a
great evil, so philanthropy is the greatest good. Wherefore
love all your brethren with grave and compassionate eyes,
performing to orphans the part of parents, to widows that
of husbands, affording them sustenance with all kindliness,
arranging marriages for those who are in their prime, and
for those who are without a profession the means of necessary
support through employment; giving work to the artificer,
and alms to the incapable.

Chap. ix. — " Let hrothevly love continued
" But I know that ye will do these things if you fix love into


your minds ; and for its entrance there is one only fit means,
viz. the common partaking of food.^ Wherefore see to it that
ye be frequently one another's guests, as ye are able, that
you may not fail of it. For it is the cause of well-doing,
and well-doing of salvation. Therefore all of you present
your provisions in common to all your brethren in God,
knowing that, giving temporal things, you shall receive eter-
nal things. Much more feed the hungry, and give drink to
the thirsty, and clothing to the naked ; visit the sick ; show-
ing yourselves to those who are in prison, help them as ye
are able, and receive strangers into your houses with all
alacrity. However, not to speak in detail, philanthropy will
teach you to do everything that is good, as misanthropy
suggests ill-doing to those who will not be saved.

Chap. x. — " Whatsoever things are honest."

" Let the brethren who have causes to be settled not be
judged by the secular authorities; but let them by all means be
reconciled by the elders of the church, yielding ready obedi-
ence to them. Moreover, also, flee avarice, inasmuch as it is
able, under pretext of temporal gain, to deprive you of eternal
blessings. Carefully keep your balances, your measures,
your weights, and the things belonging to your traffic, just.
Be faithful with respect to your trusts. Moreover, you will
persevere in doing these things, and things similar to these,
until the end, if you have in your hearts an ineradicable remem-
brance of the judgment that is from God. For who would
sin, being persuaded that at the end of life there is a judg-
ment appointed of the righteous God, who only now is long-
suffering and good,^ that the good may in future enjoy for
ever unspeakable blessings ; but the sinners being found as
evil, shall obtain an eternity of unspeakable punishment.
And, indeed, that these things are so, it would be reasonable
to doubt, were it not that the Prophet of the truth has said
and sworn that it shall be.

1 Literally, " of salt."

2 The common reading would give " •ff'ho alone is now long-snffering ;"
but the change of a letter gives the reading which we have adopted.


Online LibraryAlexander RobertsAnte-Nicene Christian library : translations of the writings of the Fathers down to A. D. 325 (Volume 17) → online text (page 1 of 54)