Monday, November 1, 2010

Quotes from Second Clement about 95 A.D.

Clement of Rome, 1st Century:  Bishop of the Church of Rome; evidently a personal companion of the apostles Peter and Paul (Philippians 4:3), wrote an epistle to the Corinthians toward the end of the first century.  The below quotes are from what is commonly known as “Second Clement”.  Exerpts are mainly from J.B. Lightfoot's translation, and some from the online Christian Classics Ethereal Library.

Those who listen as though these are small matters do wrong, and we also do wrong, when we fail to acknowledge from where and by whom and to what place we were called, and how much suffering Jesus Christ endured for our sake.  (Chapter 1)

“Whoever acknowledges Me before men, I will acknowledge before My Father.”  This then is our reward, if we acknowledge Him through whom we were saved.  But how do we acknowledge Him?  By doing what He says and not disobeying His commandments, and honoring Him not only with our lips but “With our whole heart and with our whole mind.”  And in Isaiah He also says, “This people honor Me with their lips but their hearts are far from Me.”  So then, brothers, let us acknowledge Him in our actions by loving one another, by not committing adultery or slandering one another or being jealous, but by being self-controlled, compassionate, and kind.  And we ought to have sympathy for one another, and not be avaricious.  By these actions let us acknowledge Him, and not by their opposites.  (Chapters 3 and 4)

Moreover you know, brothers, that our stay in this world is insignificant and transitory, but the promise of Christ is great and marvelous:  Rest in the coming kingdom and eternal life!  What, then, must we do to obtain them, except to live a holy and righteous life, and to regard these worldly things as alien to us, and not desire them?  For when we desire to acquire these things, we fall away from the way of righteousness.  (Chapter 5)

Now the Lord says, “No servant can serve two masters.”  This age and the one that is coming are two enemies…We cannot, therefore, be friends of both; we must renounce this one in order to experience that one.  We think that it is better to hate what is here, because they are insignificant and transitory and perishable, and to love what is there, things which are good and imperishable.  For if we do the will of Christ, we will find rest; but if we do not, if we disobey His commandments, then nothing will save us from eternal punishment.  And the scripture also says in Ezekiel, “Even if Noah and Job and Daniel should rise up, they will not save their children” in the captivity.”  Now if even such righteous men as these are not able, by means of their own righteous deeds, to save their children, what assurance do we have of entering the kingdom of God if we fail to keep our baptism pure and undefiled?  Or who will be our advocate, if we are not found to have holy and righteous works?  (Chapter 6)

For after we have departed this world, we are no longer able to confess or to repent anymore.  So, brothers, if we have done the will of the Father and have kept the flesh pure and have observed the commandments of the Lord, we will receive eternal life.  For the Lord says in the Gospel:  “If you did not guard something small, who will give you something great?  For I say to you, whoever is faithful with very little is also faithful with much.”  Now what He means is this:  Keep the flesh pure and the seal unstained, in order that we may receive eternal life.  (Chapter 8)

Therefore let us love one another that we may all enter into the kingdom of God.  (Chapter 9)

This is the reason why a man is unable to find peace:  They instill human apprehensions, preferring the pleasure of the present to the promise of the future…Now if they alone were doing these things, it could be endured; but now they persist in teaching evil to innocent souls, not knowing that both they and their listeners will incur double punishment.  (Chapter 10)

Let us therefore serve God with a pure heart, and we will, be righteous…Fools!  Compare yourselves to a tree, or perhaps a vine:  First it sheds its leaves, then a shoot comes, and after these a sour grape, and then a full ripe bunch.  So also my people have had turmoil and tribulation, but afterward they will receive good things.  (Chapter 11)

For the Lord says, “My name is continually blasphemed among all the nations,” and again, “Woe to Him on whose account My name is blasphemed.”  When pagans hear from our mouths the oracles of God, they marvel at their beauty and greatness.  But when they discover that our actions are not worthy of the words we speak, they turn from wonder to blasphemy, saying that it is a myth and a delusion.  For when they hear from us that God says, “It is no credit to you if you love those who love you, but it is a credit to you if you love your enemies and those who hate you,” when they hear these things, they marvel at such extraordinary goodness.  But when they see that we not only do not love those who hate us, but do not even love those who love us, they scornfully laugh at us and the Name is blasphemed.  (Chapter 13)

These words bring pleasure to those who do them to the same degree that they bring condemnation to those who disobey.  (Chapter 15)

If we have orders that we should make it our business to tear men away from idols and to instruct them, how much more wrong is it that a soul which already knows God should perish?  (Chapter 17)

And the unbelievers “will see His glory” and might, (Isaiah 66:18) and they will be astonished when they see that the kingdom of the world belongs to Jesus, saying, “Woe to us, because it was You, and we did not realize it, nor did we believe; and we did not obey the elders when they spoke to us about our salvation.”  And “their worm will not die and their fire will not be quenched, and they will be a spectacle for all flesh.”  (Isaiah 66:24)  He means that the Day of Judgment, when people will see those among us who lived ungodly lives and perverted the words of Jesus Christ…But the righteous, having done good and endured torments and hated the pleasures of the soul, when they see how those who have gone astray and denied Jesus by their words or by their actions are being punished with dreadful torments in unquenchable fire, will give glory to their God and as they say, “There will be hope for the one who has served God with his whole heart.”  (Chapter 17)

Moreover, let us not be displeased or indignant, unwise as we are, when someone admonishes us and tries to turn us away from unrighteousness to righteousness…Let us, therefore, practice righteousness, that we may be saved in the end.  Blessed are they who obey these injunctions; though they may endure affliction for a little while in the world, they will gather the immortal fruit of the resurrection.  So, then, the godly person should not be grieved if he is miserable at the present time; a time of blessedness awaits him.  He will live again with the fathers above, and will rejoice in an eternity untouched by sorrow.  (Chapter 19)

Let us have faith, brothers and sisters!  We are competing in the contest of a living God, and are being trained by the present life in order that we may be crowned in the life to come.  None of the righteous ever received his reward quickly, but waits for it.  For if God paid the wages of the righteous immediately, we would soon be engaged in business, not godliness; though we would appear to be righteous, we would in fact be pursuing not piety but profit.  (Chapter 20)

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“Reason dictates that persons who are truly noble and who love wisdom will honor and love only what is true. They will refuse to follow traditional viewpoints if those viewpoints are worthless...Instead, a person who genuinely loves truth must choose to do and speak what is true, even if he is threatened with death...I have not come to flatter you by this written petition, nor to impress you by my words. I have come to simply beg that you do not pass judgment until you have made an accurate and thorough investigation. Your investigation must be free of prejudice, hearsay, and any desire to please the superstitious crowds. As for us, we are convinced that you can inflict no lasting evil on us. We can only do it to ourselves by proving to be wicked people. You can kill us—but you cannot harm us.” From Justin Martyr's first apology 150 A.D. Martyred A.D. 160