In today’s post we continue to go through Saint Clement’s Letter to the Corinthians. I’ll begin where I left off last time. Once again, I’m only quoting from selections. The whole letter itself is too long to trek through in a reasonable way. Continuing on:
Chapter 14. We Should Obey God Rather Than the Authors of Sedition.
It is right and holy therefore, men and brethren, rather to obey God than to follow those who, through pride and sedition, have become the leaders of a detestable emulation. For we shall incur no slight injury, but rather great danger, if we rashly yield ourselves to the inclinations of men who aim at exciting strife and tumults, so as to draw us away from what is good. Let us be kind one to another after the pattern of the tender mercy and benignity of our Creator. For it is written,The kind-hearted shall inhabit the land, and the guiltless shall be left upon it, but transgressors shall be destroyed from off the face of it.Proverbs 2:21-22 And again [the Scripture] says,I saw the ungodly highly exalted, and lifted up like the cedars of Lebanon: I passed by, and, behold, he was not; and I diligently sought his place, and could not find it. Preserve innocence, and look on equity: for there shall be a remnant to the peaceable man.
Chapter 15. We Must Adhere to Those Who Cultivate Peace, Not to Those Who Merely Pretend to Do So.
Let us cleave, therefore, to those who cultivate peace with godliness, and not to those who hypocritically profess to desire it. For [the Scripture] says in a certain place,This people honours me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.And again:They bless with their mouth, but curse with their heart.And again it says,They loved Him with their month, and lied to Him with their tongue; but their heart was not right with Him, neither were they faithful in His covenant.Let the deceitful lips become silent, [andlet the Lord destroy all the lying lips, ] and the boastful tongue of those who have said, Let us magnify our tongue: our lips are our own; who is lord over us? For the oppression of the poor, and for the sighing of the needy, will I now arise, says the Lord: I will place him in safety; I will deal confidently with him.
Chapter 21. Let Us Obey God, and Not the Authors of Sedition.
Take heed, beloved, lest His many kindnesses lead to the condemnation of us all. [For thus it must be] unless we walk worthy of Him, and with one mind do those things which are good and well-pleasing in His sight. For [the Scripture] says in a certain place,The Spirit of the Lord is a candle searching the secret parts of the belly.Proverbs 20:27 Let us reflect how near He is, and that none of the thoughts or reasonings in which we engage are hid from Him. It is right, therefore, that we should not leave the post which His will has assigned us. Let us rather offend those men who are foolish, and inconsiderate, and lifted up, and who glory in the pride of their speech, than [offend] God. Let us reverence the Lord Jesus Christ, whose blood was given for us; let us esteem those who have the rule over us; let us honour the aged among us; let us train up the young men in the fear of God; let us direct our wives to that which is good. Let them exhibit the lovely habit of purity [in all their conduct]; let them show forth the sincere disposition of meekness; let them make manifest the command which they have of their tongue, by their manner of speaking; let them display their love, not by preferring one to another, but by showing equal affection to all that piously fear God. Let your children be partakers of true Christian training; let them learn of how great avail humility is with God— how much the spirit of pure affection can prevail with Him— how excellent and great His fear is, and how it saves all those who walk in it with a pure mind. For He is a Searcher of the thoughts and desires [of the heart]: His breath is in us; and when He pleases, He will take it away.
Chapter 22. These Exhortations are Confirmed by the Christian Faith, Which Proclaims the Misery of Sinful Conduct.
Now the faith which is in Christ confirms all these [admonitions]. For He Himself by the Holy Ghost thus addresses us:Come, you children, hearken unto me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. What man is he that desires life, and loves to see good days? Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking guile. Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it. The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and His ears are [open] unto their prayers. The face of the Lord is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth. The righteous cried, and the Lord heard him, and delivered him out of all his troubles.Many are the stripes [appointed for] the wicked; but mercy shall compass those about who hope in the Lord.
Chapter 23. Be Humble, and Believe that Christ Will Come Again.
The all-merciful and beneficent Father has bowels [of compassion] towards those that fear Him, and kindly and lovingly bestows His favours upon those who come to Him with a simple mind. Wherefore let us not be double-minded; neither let our soul be lifted up on account of His exceedingly great and glorious gifts. Far from us be that which is written,Wretched are they who are of a double mind, and of a doubting heart; who say, These things we have heard even in the times of our fathers; but, behold, we have grown old, and none of them has happened unto us;You foolish ones! compare yourselves to a tree; take [for instance] the vine. First of all, it sheds its leaves, then it buds, next it puts forth leaves, and then it flowers; after that comes the sour grape, and then follows the ripened fruit. You perceive how in a little time the fruit of a tree comes to maturity. Of a truth, soon and suddenly shall His will be accomplished, as the Scripture also bears witness, saying,Speedily will He come, and will not tarry;and,The Lord shall suddenly come to His temple, even the Holy One, for whom you look.Malachi 3:1
Chapter 24. God Continually Shows Us in Nature that There Will Be a Resurrection.
Let us consider, beloved, how the Lord continually proves to us that there shall be a future resurrection, of which He has rendered the Lord Jesus Christ the first-fruits by raising Him from the dead. Let us contemplate, beloved, the resurrection which is at all times taking place. Day and night declare to us a resurrection. The night sinks to sleep, and the day arises; the day [again] departs, and the night comes on. Let us behold the fruits [of the earth], how the sowing of grain takes place. The sower Luke 8:5 goes forth, and casts it into the ground, and the seed being thus scattered, though dry and naked when it fell upon the earth, is gradually dissolved. Then out of its dissolution the mighty power of the providence of the Lord raises it up again, and from one seed many arise and bring forth fruit.
Chapter 28. God Sees All Things: Therefore Let Us Avoid Transgression.
Since then all things are seen and heard [by God], let us fear Him, and forsake those wicked works which proceed from evil desires; so that, through His mercy, we may be protected from the judgments to come. For whither can any of us flee from His mighty hand? Or what world will receive any of those who run away from Him? For the Scripture says in a certain place,Whither shall I go, and where shall I be hid from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; if I go away even to the uttermost parts of the earth, there is Your right hand; if I make my bed in the abyss, there is Your Spirit.Whither, then, shall anyone go, or where shall he escape from Him who comprehends all things?
Chapter 32. We are Justified Not by Our Own Works, But by Faith.
Whosoever will candidly consider each particular, will recognise the greatness of the gifts which were given by him. For from him have sprung the priests and all the Levites who minister at the altar of God. From him also [was descended] our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh. Romans 9:5 From him [arose] kings, princes, and rulers of the race of Judah. Nor are his other tribes in small glory, inasmuch as God had promised,Your seed shall be as the stars of heaven.All these, therefore, were highly honoured, and made great, not for their own sake, or for their own works, or for the righteousness which they wrought, but through the operation of His will. And we, too, being called by His will in Christ Jesus, are not justified by ourselves, nor by our own wisdom, or understanding, or godliness, or works which we have wrought in holiness of heart; but by that faith through which, from the beginning, Almighty God has justified all men; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Chapter 33. But Let Us Not Give Up the Practice of Good Works and Love. God Himself is an Example to Us of Good Works.
What shall we do, then, brethren? Shall we become slothful in well-doing, and cease from the practice of love? God forbid that any such course should be followed by us! But rather let us hasten with all energy and readiness of mind to perform every good work. For the Creator and Lord of all Himself rejoices in His works. For by His infinitely great power He established the heavens, and by His incomprehensible wisdom He adorned them. He also divided the earth from the water which surrounds it, and fixed it upon the immovable foundation of His own will. The animals also which are upon it He commanded by His own word into existence. So likewise, when He had formed the sea, and the living creatures which are in it, He enclosed them [within their proper bounds] by His own power. Above all, with His holy and undefiled hands He formed man, the most excellent [of His creatures], and truly great through the understanding given him— the express likeness of His own image. For thus says God:Let us make man in our image, and after our likeness. So God made man; male and female He created them.Genesis 1:26-27 Having thus finished all these things, He approved them, and blessed them, and said,Increase and multiply.Genesis 1:28 We see, then, how all righteous men have been adorned with good works, and how the Lord Himself, adorning Himself with His works, rejoiced. Having therefore such an example, let us without delay accede to His will, and let us work the work of righteousness with our whole strength.
Chapter 34. Great is the Reward of Good Works with God. Joined Together in Harmony, Let Us Implore that Reward from Him.
The good servant receives the bread of his labour with confidence; the lazy and slothful cannot look his employer in the face. It is requisite, therefore, that we be prompt in the practice of well-doing; for of Him are all things. And thus He forewarns us:Behold, the Lord [comes], and His reward is before His face, to render to every man according to his work.He exhorts us, therefore, with our whole heart to attend to this, that we be not lazy or slothful in any good work. Let our boasting and our confidence be in Him. Let us submit ourselves to His will. Let us consider the whole multitude of His angels, how they stand ever ready to minister to His will. For the Scripture says,Ten thousand times ten thousand stood around Him, and thousands of thousands ministered unto Him, Daniel 7:10 and cried, Holy, holy, holy, [is] the Lord of Sabaoth; the whole creation is full of His glory.Isaiah 6:3 And let us therefore, conscientiously gathering together in harmony, cry to Him earnestly, as with one mouth, that we may be made partakers of His great and glorious promises. For [the Scripture] says,Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which He has prepared for them that wait for Him.1 Corinthians 2:9
Next week we will really get into the heart of the letter, what has been discussed thus far has been building towards it.