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be considered obnoxious to censure or deserving of praise, by those rightly considering, if there be any preceding natural necessity originating in Him, who is all-powerful to work His will.
For where would then be remission of sins for him who was formerly incredulous ? There is no more a baptism consentaneous with reason, no more the sanctifying sign, nor the Son, nor the Father, but a distribution of natures, cruel and unjust, as I must hold, to those, who are to be saved or to be lost: voluntary faith ceasing to be the foundation of man's salvation. But we, who have received from the Scriptures, that a free and absolute power of rejecting and choosing has been given to men by the Lord, which cannot be taken away or abrogated by perverse judgment, acquiesce in the true faith, manifesting the spirit of zeal and gladness in obeying, since we have made choice of life, and believed in God through His own word, which whosoever has believed, knoweth that which is the very truth. Faith is, therefore, to know God; and what, next to belief, is the first thing taught by the Saviour ? To do no manner of injustice, and deem this alone the worthy fruit of that knowledge of Him.
THE CALLING OF THE GENTILES. It is Christ who has also bestowed philosophy upon the Greeks, through the subordinate angels, since these have been assigned their office among the Gentiles, by divine and immemorial appointment. But the office of the Lord himself is the imparting conviction to them that believe. For the Lord either does not superintend the affairs of men, because that He is wanting in power—which it were sinful to suppose, being an evidence of weakness,—or, possessing the power, that He wants the will, which were to ascribe to Him an unworthy affection. He cannot be abandoned to inactivity and luxurious ease, who, for our sakes, took suffering flesh on himself, but careth for all as becometh Him who is Lord of all; for He is the Saviour, not of this particular people only, to the exclusion of all others, but distributes his mercy and grace on the Greeks, and on the Barbarians, as on those predestined, according to His own time, to be of the faithful and chosen
THE HERB OF BASILIDES. They do not well who persecute the creature, and vilify their own bodies, not considering that the constitution of the body is rightly framed to be a vehicle for the contemplation of Heaven; and the organs of the senses so constructed as to be auxiliary to the attainment of knowledge; the members and their several parts, aptly joined together for the service of virtue, not of voluptuousness. Therefore this habitation has been deemed worthy to receive the soul, of all things most precious to God and the Holy Spirit, through the sanctification both of the soul and body,—as that which shall be made perfect by the perfectness of the Saviour.* The fundamental doctrine of Basilides affirms, that the soul which has before sinned in another life, suffers punishment in this; that the elect are appointed to the glory of martyrdom, as the consummation of that punishment; and the rest are to inflict it on themselves. But in what manner can this be true, since it is placed in our own power to make confession and submit to suffer for it, or to do otherwise.
THE TRUE GNOSTIC. To him who, by the exercises of the gnosis (the divine science), has
* Two opposite heresies are reputed by St. Clement with equal force—that assuming the inherence of evil in the carnal, apart from the spiritual nature, and the duty of eradicating it thence, by bodily austerities ; and that assuming the veniality of every sin, in whatever degree, to which the carnal nature consents, on the plea, that faith being seated in the soul, the flesh may subject itself to the pollution of sin, without risking salvation, since the elect have been appointed to eternal life irrespectively of their own merits. These fatal errors, particularly that of absolute predestination, are powerfully combated; and the impossibility of arriving at divine knowledge, being enabled to behold the face of Deity, as powerfully proved on the evidence of Scripture. The operation of the Logos within our hearts is to release from the slavery of sin, otherwise we have no part in Him. Death may be the greatest desideratum to the Christian ; but whilst he is in the body, the body is to be cherished, as the habitation Providence bestows upon him; and the Stoics, who, St. Clement acknowledges, taught the necessity of a new birth, in a manner assimilating with the doctrine of the Gospel, were guilty of presumptuousness in teaching that a man might deprive himself of life, in the idea that his life could no longer be useful to others. Those Christians, who entertained a slavish dread of death, and those who rushed to meet it, courting martyrdom, which might have been avoided without apostacy, are equally reproved.
† The above version of Platonism seems to have been another prevailing heresy in the second century, from the pains taken by St. Clement to refute it. He shows the doctrine of the pre-existing state to be untenable, and argues, “ That the soul is not banished here from Heaven, descending from a higher to a lower stage, since the Deity leads on all things to amelioration : but that soul which has made choice of the life perfect in God and His righteousness, changes for itself earth into attained that virtue which never can be cast away, it becomes a natural habit; and as weight inheres in the stone, so this science, not involuntarily, but with the operation of the will, with the power of the Logos, the Gnosis, and Providence (conjoined), is immediately established. Through reverential care of never losing it, it becomes impossible that it ever should be lost; but he will be not the less vigilant, lest he fall into any sin, and prudently thoughtful, that virtue may be strengthened beyond the possibility of change. The Gnosis indeed seems to impart the true prudence of reason, for discerning whatever may assist in securing the immutability of virtue. Most important of all, then, is the knowledge of God, because this alone preserves virtue from amissibility.
As the physician procures sanity for those co-operating with him to obtain it, thus the Deity confers eternal salvation on those who co-operate with Him for wisdom and good works.
But he (the Gnostic) prays with angels also, as being already equal to the angels, nor is ever destitute of their holy guard around him and though he pray alone, has the assisting chorus of the Holy Ones in attendance. In spirit he converses amongst the companies of the saints, who are of his own species, even though he be yet detained on earth ; all day and night declaring and acting the commandments of God; he rejoices exceedingly, not only when he rises in the morning, and at mid-day, but in walking, sleeping, clothing and unclothing himself, instructing his son, if a son be born him; ever inseparable from the commandment and from hope; ever rendering thanks unto God.
Heaven.” The union of the soul with God, through virtue, as Plato taught, is only to be attained through Christianity; and thus, St. Clement argues, his philosophy may be received as practicable, and carried to perfection ; since the soul returning to God, actually partakes of the divine essence, and being absorbed therein, finds itself. The objection, that Christians were only animated by the hope of reward, or fear of punishment, in practising the virtues of the Gospel, is repelled by the argument that he who is really attracted by the love of God, will find no other motive absolutely necessary, than that which love supplies, to sustain him in constancy to his high calling; and that, if the choice of eternal life, or of the knowledge of God, supposing the one could be apart from the other, were offered to a spirit thus sublimed, the latter would be preferred as the highest good. The followers of the heretics, Marcian and Prodicus, founded their theories on exaggerated interpretations of the Platonic and Pythagorean philosophy, which were in no way reconcileable with Christianity, representing man as placed in the tabernacle of the body as a state of exile from his native country ; hence, “ forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats," as if the use of these, as of all belonging to the material, were essentially unlawful.
The Gnostic, such as he is, being subjected to sufferings and infirmities only through the indwelling of the soul in a body-on this account feels hunger, thirst, and the like. Though in the midst of things to be feared, he deems nothing in this life fearful, whom nothing is able to separate from the love of God; nor has he need of encouragement, for he does not fall into sorrow, persuaded that all are ordered graciously and nobly; he is never angered, for there is nothing that can perturb his spirit who ever loveth God, and is to him alone altogether dedicate; who, through this, can hate none of the creatures of God; for neither does he desire or need anght to impel him to become assimilated with the good and beautiful; and the love which he bestows is not of that vulgar order, but the love of the Creator through the created.
The Gnostic honours God, and returns him thanks for the knowledge how to regulate his life, not in any definite place, or in any select temple, but throughout his whole life, in every place, whether he is alone, or in company with those who believe as he does. He is persuaded that God is present everywhere, and not confined within certain appointed places, he does not therefore, to be intemperate either by night or day, as if he thought he could be removed from the view of God. Making his whole life a festival, and persuaded that God is present everywhere, whether he tills the ground, or navigates the ocean, in every transaction of life, he sings psalms of praise and thanksgiving. Being more intiniately united to God, he is at once grave and cheerful in all things; grave, on account of his conversion to the Deity; cheerful, with reference to the worldly goods which God gives him. The Prophet thus commends the excellence of knowledge, “ Teach me goodness, and discipline, and knowledge,” ascending upwards to that wherein perfection principally consists. This is the truly kingly man--this is the holy priest of God. He never mixes with the promiscuous crowds in the theatre; he admits not, even in his dreams, that which is said, or done, or seen, for the sake of pleasure. He neither gratifies his smell with expensive perfumes, nor his taste with exquisite dishes and variety of wines; he refers the virtuous enjoyment of all those gifts to God who gives them, thanking Him for the gift and the use, and for the reason which is given him.
The Gnostic knows sin itself, not merely that particular sin of which he repents (for this is common to all believers), but whatever is sin ; for he does not merely condemn this or that sin, but sin altogether; nor does he know what this or that man has done amiss, but insists that sin is not to be committed. Wherefore there is a twofold repentance: one common, on account of having sinned; the other understands the nature of sin, and persuades us in the first instance to abstain from sin,
The prayer, of the Gnostic, differs from that of the common believer, both as to its manner and its objects. The Gnostic prays only in thought, and obtains that for which he prays. Common believers pray for that which they do not possess, and ask for that which is, seemingly, not really, good. The Gnostic prays for the permanence of that which he possesses, and asks that he may be fitted for that to which he will hereafter be transferred, and that which he shall receive may be permanent. He prays for the permanent possession of that which is really good, the good of the soul.
The Gnostic, through the surpassing greatness of his piety, is better prepared to fail, when he asks, than to obtain, when he does not ask. His whole life is prayer and converse with God; and if he is pure from sin, he will obtain what he wishes. For God saith to the righteous ; “ Ask, and I will give you; think, and I will do it.” If a thing is expedient, he will immediately receive it: if inexpedient, he will not ask for it, and therefore will not receive it: thus what he wishes will always be. The Gnostic alone is truly pious, and worships the true God in a manner worthy of God. He gives to everything the honour justly due; among the objects of sense, to rulers, parents, elders ; among things which are taught, to the most ancient philosophy of Prophecy; among the objects of the understanding, to that which is eldest in origin; to the beginning, or principle, without time and without beginning, the first fruits of things, the Son, from whom we learn the supreme cause, the Father of the Universe, the oldest and most beneficent of all things, no longer delivered to us by the voice, but to be reverenced with awe, and silence, and holy wonder; revealed by the Lord, as far as it is possible for learners to understand, but understood by those who are elected to knowledge by Him—by those of whom the Apostle says that “their senses are exercised.” To the Gnostic, then, the worship of God is a continual watchfulness over the soul, an employment about the Deity through unceasing love. He must pass through a course of probation and discipline, before he can attain perfection. This perfection is attained when he, as it were, hangs upon the Lord, through faith, and knowledge, and love; and ascends with him thither, where is the God and guardian of our faith and love. Knowledge is therefore given to them who are meet and selected for