XCVI. — That Curse Was a Prediction of the Things Which the Jews Would Do.

It is astounding the love that Christ taught us to have. Even as there was intense persecution by the Jews at that time, the true Christians loved their enemies and prayed that God would have mercy on them. They would rather face death than deny Jesus Christ.

FULL TEACHING

“For the statement in the law, ‘Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree,’ (Deu_21:23) confirms our hope which depends on the crucified Christ, not because He who has been crucified is cursed by God, but because God foretold that which would be done by you all, and by those like to your, who do not know that this is He who existed before all, who is the eternal Priest of God, and King, and Christ. And you clearly see that this has come to pass. For you curse in your synagogues all those who are called from Him Christians; and other nations effectively carry out the curse, putting to death those who simply confess themselves to be Christians; to all of whom we say, You are our brethren; rather recognize the truth of God. And while neither they nor you are persuaded by us, but strive earnestly to cause us to deny the name of Christ, we choose rather and submit to death, in the full assurance that all the good which God has promised through Christ He will reward us with. And in addition to all this we pray for you, that Christ may have mercy upon you. For He taught us to pray for our enemies also, saying, ‘Love your enemies; be kind and merciful, as your heavenly Father is.’ (Luk_6:35) For we see that the Almighty God is kind and merciful, causing His sun to rise on the un-thankful and on the righteous, and sending rain on the holy and on the wicked; all of whom He has taught us He will judge.

LIII. — The Love of Moses Towards His People.

He who is full of love will incur every loss, That peace may be restored to the church.

FULL TEACHING

Ye understand, beloved, ye understand well the Sacred Scriptures, and ye have looked very earnestly into the oracles of God. Call then these things to your remembrance. When Moses went up into the mount, and abode there, with fasting and humiliation, forty days and forty nights, the Lord said unto him, “Moses, Moses, get thee down quickly from hence; for thy people whom thou didst bring out of the land of Egypt have committed iniquity. They have speedily departed from the way in which I commanded them to walk, and have made to themselves molten images.” (Exo_32:7, etc.; Deu_9:12, etc.) And the Lord said unto him, “I have spoken to thee once and again, saying, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiff-necked people: let Me destroy them, and blot out their name from under heaven; and I will make thee a great and wonderful nation, and one much more numerous than this.” (Exo_32:9, etc.) But Moses said, “Far be it from Thee, Lord: pardon the sin of this people; else blot me also out of the book of the living.” (Exo_32:32) O marvelous love! O insuperable perfection! The servant speaks freely to his Lord, and asks forgiveness for the people, or begs that he himself might perish along with them.

 


 

LIV. — He Who Is Full of Love Will Incur Every Loss, That Peace May Be Restored to the Church.

 

Who then among you is noble-minded? who compassionate? who full of love? Let him declare, “If on my account sedition and disagreement and schisms have arisen, I will depart, I will go away whithersoever ye desire, and I will do whatever the majority commands; only let the flock of Christ live on terms of peace with the presbyters set over it.” He that acts thus shall procure to himself great glory in the Lord; and every place will welcome him. For “the earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof.” (Psa_24:1; 1Co_10:26, 1Co_10:28) These things they who live a godly life, that is never to be repented of, both have done and always will do.

 


 

LV.— Examples of Such Love.

 

To bring forward some examples from among the heathen: Many kings and princes, in times of pestilence, when they had been instructed by an oracle, have given themselves up to death, in order that by their own blood they might deliver their fellow-citizens [from destruction]. Many have gone forth from their own cities, that so sedition might be brought to an end within them. We know many among ourselves who have given themselves up to bonds, in order that they might ransom others. Many, too, have surrendered themselves to slavery, that with the price which they received for themselves, they might provide food for others. Many women also, being strengthened by the grace of God, have performed numerous manly exploits. The blessed Judith, when her city was besieged, asked of the elder’s permission to go forth into the camp of the strangers; and, exposing herself to danger, she went out for the love which she bare to her country and people then besieged; and the Lord delivered Holofernes into the hands of a woman. (Judith 8:30) Esther also, being perfect in faith, exposed herself to no less danger, in order to deliver the twelve tribes of Israel from impending destruction. For with fasting and humiliation she entreated the everlasting God, who sees all things; and He, perceiving the humility of her spirit, delivered the people for whose sake she had encountered peril. (Est_7:1-10, Est_8:1-17)

XVIII. - On Love, and the Repressing of Our Desires.

Love is manifest in our suffering martyrdom, works, and teachings (oral and written). We are to love God through our obedience, we cannot just simply profess our love, as Jesus said there are those who worship with their lips. The fulfillment of the Torah is love. There are those who will walk it out of fear of punishment, there are those who will fulfill the Torah out of love.

FULL TEACHING

“The decorous tendency of our philanthropy, therefore,” according to Clement, “seeks the common good;” whether by suffering martyrdom, or by teaching by deed and word, – the latter being twofold, unwritten and written. This is love, to love God and our neighbor. “This conducts to the height which is unutterable. ‘Love covers a multitude of sins. (Jam_5:20; 1Pe_4:8) Love beareth all things, suffereth all things.’ (1Co_13:7) Love joins us to God, does all things in concord. In love, all the chosen of God were perfected. Apart from love, nothing is well pleasing to God.” “Of its perfection there is no unfolding,” it is said. “Who is fit to be found in it, except those whom. God counts worthy?” To the point the Apostle Paul speaks, “If I give my body, and have not love, I am sounding brass, and a tinkling cymbal.” (1Co_13:1, 1Co_13:3) If it is not from a disposition determined by Gnostic love that I shall testify, he means; but if through fear and expected reward, moving my lips in order to testify to the Lord that I shall confess the Lord, I am a common man, sounding the Lord’s name, not knowing Him. “For there is the people that loveth with the lips; and there is another which gives the body to be burned.” “And if I give all my goods in alms,” he says, not according to the principle of loving communication, but on account of recompense, either from him who has received the benefit, or the Lord who has promised; “and if I have all faith so as to remove mountains,” and cast away obscuring passions, and be not faithful to the Lord from love, “I am nothing,” as in comparison of him who testifies as a Gnostic, and the crowd, and being reckoned nothing better.

 

“Now all the generations from Adam to this day are gone. But they who have been perfected in love, through the grace of God, hold the place of the godly, who shall be manifested at the visitation of the kingdom of Christ.” Love permits not to sin; but if it fall into any such case, by reason of the interference of the adversary, in imitation of David, it will sing: I will confess unto the Lord, and it will please Him above a young bullock that has horns and hoofs. Let the poor see it, and be glad.” For he says, “Sacrifice to God a sacrifice of praise, and pay to the Lord thy vows; and call upon me in the day of trouble, and I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.” (Psa_50:14, Psa_50:15) For the sacrifice of God is a broken spirit.” (Psa_51:17)

 

“God,” then, being good, “is love,” it is said. (1Jo_4:8, 1Jo_4:16) Whose “love worketh no ill to his neighbor,” (Rom_13:10) neither injuring nor revenging ever, but, in a word, doing good to all according to the image of God. “Love is,” then, “the fulfilling of the law;” (Rom_13:10) like as Christ, that is the presence of the Lord who loves us; and our loving teaching of, and discipline according to Christ. By love, then, the commands not to commit adultery, and not to covet one’s neighbor’s wife, are fulfilled, [these sins being] formerly prohibited by fear.

 

The same work, then, presents a difference, according as it is done by fear, or accomplished by love, and is wrought by faith or by knowledge. Rightly, therefore, their rewards are different. To the Gnostic “are prepared what eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor hath entered into the heart of man;” but to him who has exercised simple faith He testifies a hundredfold in return for what he has left, – a promise which has turned out to fall within human comprehension.

 

Come to this point, I recollect one who called himself a Gnostic. For, expounding the words, “But I say unto you, he that looketh on a woman to lust after, hath committed adultery,” (Mat_5:28) he thought that it was not bare desire that was condemned; but if through the desire the act that results from it proceeding beyond the desire is accomplished in it. For dream employs phantasy and the body. Accordingly, the historians relate the following decision, of Bocchoris the just. A youth, falling in love with a courtesan, persuades the girl, for a stipulated reward, to come to him next day. But his desire being unexpectedly satiated, by laying hold of the girl in a dream, by anticipation, when the object of his love came according to stipulation, he prohibited her from coming in. But she, on learning what had taken place, demanded the reward, saying that in this way she had sated the lover’s desire. They came accordingly to the judge. He, ordering the youth to hold out the purse containing the reward in the sun, bade the courtesan take hold of the shadow; facetiously bidding him pay the image of a reward for the image of an embrace.

 

Accordingly one dreams, the soul assenting to the vision. But he dreams waking, who looks so as to lust; not only, as that Gnostic said, if along with the sight of the woman he imagine in his mind intercourse, for this is already the act of lust, as lust; but if one looks on beauty of person (the Word says), and the flesh seem to him in the way of lust to be fair, looking on carnally and sinfully, he is judged because he admired. For, on the other hand, he who in chaste love looks on beauty, thinks not that the flesh is beautiful, but the spirit, admiring, as I judge, the body as an image, by whose beauty he transports himself to the Artist, and to the true beauty; exhibiting the sacred symbol, the bright impress of righteousness to the angels that wait on the ascension; I mean the unction of acceptance, the quality of disposition which resides in the soul that is gladdened by the communication of the Holy Spirit. This glory, which shone forth on the face of Moses, the people could not look on. Wherefore he took a veil for the glory, to those who looked carnally. For those, who demand toll, detain those who bring in any worldly things, who are burdened with their own passions. But him that is free of all things which are subject to duty, and is full of knowledge, and of the righteousness of works, they pass on with their good wishes, blessing the man with his work. “And his life shall not fall away” – the leaf of the living tree that is nourished “by the water-courses.” (Psa_1:3) Now the righteous is likened to fruit-bearing trees, and not only to such as are of the nature of tall-growing ones. And in the sacrificial oblations, according to the law, there were those who looked for blemishes in the sacrifices. They who are skilled in such matters distinguish propension (ὄρεξις) from lust (ἐπιθυμία); and assign the latter, as being irrational, to pleasures and licentiousness; and propension, as being a rational movement, they assign to the necessities of nature.

~Clement- Stromata Book IV Vol. 2

XV. - Different Degrees Of Knowledge. Knowledge and love.

Instruction is how the word Torah is defined. By understanding the true Torah we wil gain a desire for knowledge of Him. By walking out the Torah, or instruction, it produces the love of knowledge. Love is keeping the commandments, and by keeping them it will lead us to immortality.

FULL TEACHING

Now, discoursing on knowledge, Solomon speaks thus: “For wisdom is resplendent and fadeless, and is easily beheld by those who love her. She is beforehand in making herself known to those who desire her. He that rises early for her shall not toil wearily. For to think about her is the perfection of good sense. And he that keeps vigils for her shall quickly be relieved of anxiety. For she goes about, herself seeking those worthy of her (for knowledge belongs not to all); and in all ways, she benignly shows herself to them.” (Wisd_6:12-15) Now the paths are the conduct of life, and the variety that exists in the covenants. Presently he adds:And in every thought, she meets them,” (Wisd. 2:16) being variously contemplated, that is, by all discipline. Then he subjoins, adducing love, which perfects by syllogistic reasoning and true propositions, drawing thus a most convincing and true inference, “For the beginning of her is the truest desire of instruction,” that is, of knowledge; “prudence is the love of instruction, and love is the keeping of its laws; and attention to its laws is the confirmation of immortality; and immortality causes nearness to God. The desire of wisdom leads, then, to the kingdom.” (Wisd_6:17-20) For he teaches, as I think, that true instruction is desire for knowledge; and the practical exercise of instruction produces love of knowledge. And love is the keeping of the commandments which lead to knowledge. And the keeping of them is the establishment of the commandments, from which immortality results. “And immortality brings us near to God.”

Commandment Third- On Avoiding Falsehood, and on the Repentance of Hermas for His Dissimulation

We are to have a love of the truth, if we have a love for the truth we will refrain from speaking any falsehoods. Hermas being a man of God was releasing lies that were going without challenge, no one tested him but took all the lies that he spoke as truth and began to lament the falsehoods that he spoke and was worried if he could even be saved. The way he could correct the falsehoods that he spoke by speak the truth that the angel of repentance was teaching him.

FULL TEACHING

Again he said to me, “Love the truth, and let nothing but truth proceed from your mouth, (Eph 4:25, Eph 4:29) that the spirit which God has placed in your flesh may be found truthful before all men; and the Lord, who dwelleth in you, will be glorified, because the Lord is truthful in every word, and in Him is no falsehood. They therefore who lie deny the Lord, and rob Him, not giving back to Him the deposit which they have received. For they received from Him a spirit free from falsehood. If they give him back this spirit untruthful, they pollute the commandment of the Lord, and become robbers.” On hearing these words, I wept most violently. When he saw me weeping, he said to me, “Why do you weep?” And I said, “Because, sir, I know not if I can be saved.” “Why?” said he. And I said, “Because, sir, I never spake a true word in my life, but have ever spoken cunningly to all, and have affirmed a lie for the truth to all; and no one ever contradicted me, but credit was given to my word. How then can I live, since I have acted thus?” And he said to me, “Your feelings are indeed right and sound, for you ought as a servant of God to have walked in truth, and not to have joined an evil conscience with the spirit of truth, nor to have caused sadness to the holy and true Spirit.”  And I said to him, “Never, sir, did I listen to these words with so much attention.” And he said to me, “Now you hear them, and keep them, that even the falsehoods which you formerly told in your transactions may come to be believed through the truthfulness of your present statements. For even they can become worthy of credit. If you keep these precepts, and from this time forward you speak nothing but the truth, it will be possible for you to obtain life. And whosoever shall hear this commandment, and depart from that great wickedness falsehood, shall live to God.”

~Hermas- The Pastor of Hermas Book II Vol. 2

XVIII. - On Love, and the Repressing of Our Desires.

Love is manifest in our suffering martyrdom, works, and teachings (oral and written). We are to love God through our obedience, we cannot just simply profess our love, as Jesus said there are those who worship with their lips. The fulfillment of the Torah is love. There are those who will walk it out of fear of punishment, there are those who will fulfill the Torah out of love.

FULL TEACHING

“The decorous tendency of our philanthropy, therefore,” according to Clement, “seeks the common good;” whether by suffering martyrdom, or by teaching by deed and word, – the latter being twofold, unwritten and written. This is love, to love God and our neighbor. “This conducts to the height which is unutterable. ‘Love covers a multitude of sins. (Jam_5:20; 1Pe_4:8) Love beareth all things, suffereth all things.’ (1Co_13:7) Love joins us to God, does all things in concord. In love, all the chosen of God were perfected. Apart from love, nothing is well pleasing to God.” “Of its perfection there is no unfolding,” it is said. “Who is fit to be found in it, except those whom God counts worthy?” To the point the Apostle Paul speaks, “If I give my body, and have not love, I am sounding brass, and a tinkling cymbal.” (1Co_13:1, 1Co_13:3) If it is not from a disposition determined by gnostic love that I shall testify, he means; but if through fear and expected reward, moving my lips in order to testify to the Lord that I shall confess the Lord, I am a common man, sounding the Lord’s name, not knowing Him. “For there is the people that loveth with the lips; and there is another which gives the body ,to be burned.” “And if I give all my goods in alms,” he says, not according to the principle of loving communication, but on account of recompense, either from him who has received the benefit, or the Lord who has promised; “and if I have all faith so as to remove mountains,” and cast away obscuring passions, and be not faithful to the Lord from love, “I am nothing,” as in comparison of him who testifies as a Gnostic, and the crowd, and being reckoned nothing better.

 

“Now all the generations from Adam to this day are gone. But they who have been perfected in love, through the grace of God, hold the place of the godly, who shall be manifested at the visitation of the kingdom of Christ.” Love permits not to sin; but if it fall into any such case, by reason of the interference of the adversary, in imitation of David, it will sing: I will confess unto the Lord, and it will please Him above a young bullock that has horns and hoofs. Let the poor see it, and be glad.” For he says, “Sacrifice to God a sacrifice of praise, and pay to the Lord thy vows; and call upon me in the day of trouble, and I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.” (Psa_50:14, Psa_50:15) “For the sacrifice of God is a broken spirit.” (Psa_51:17)

 

“God,” then, being good, “is love,” it is said. (1Jo_4:8, 1Jo_4:16) Whose “love worketh no ill to his neighbor,” (Rom_13:10) neither injuring nor revenging ever, but, in a word, doing good to all according to the image of God. “Love is,” then, “the fulfilling of the law;” (Rom_13:10) like as Christ, that is the presence of the Lord who loves us; and our loving teaching of, and discipline according to Christ. By love, then, the commands not to commit adultery, and not to covet one’s neighbor’s wife, are fulfilled, [these sins being] formerly prohibited by fear.

 

The same work, then, presents a difference, according as it is done by fear, or accomplished by love, and is wrought by faith or by knowledge. Rightly, therefore, their rewards are different. To the Gnostic “are prepared what eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor hath entered into the heart of man;” but to him who has exercised simple faith He testifies a hundredfold in return for what he has left, – a promise which has turned out to fall within human comprehension.

 

Come to this point, I recollect one who called himself a Gnostic. For, expounding the words, “But I say unto you, he that looketh on a woman to lust after, hath committed adultery,” (Mat_5:28) he thought that it was not bare desire that was condemned; but if through the desire the act that results from it proceeding beyond the desire is accomplished in it. For dream employs fantasy and the body. Accordingly, the historians relate the following decision, of Bocchoris the just. A youth, falling in love with a courtesan, persuades the girl, for a stipulated reward, to come to him next day. But his desire being unexpectedly satiated, by laying hold of the girl in a dream, by anticipation, when the object of his love came according to stipulation, he prohibited her from coming in. But she, on learning what had taken place, demanded the reward, saying that in this way she had sated the lover’s desire. They came accordingly to the judge. He, ordering the youth to hold out the purse containing the reward in the sun, bade the courtesan take hold of the shadow; facetiously bidding him pay the image of a reward for the image of an embrace.

 

Accordingly one dreams, the soul assenting to the vision. But he dreams waking, who looks so as to lust; not only, as that Gnostic said, if along with the sight of the woman he imagine in his mind intercourse, for this is already the act of lust, as lust; but if one looks on beauty of person (the Word says), and the flesh seem to him in the way of lust to be fair, looking on carnally and sinfully, he is judged because he admired. For, on the other hand, he who in chaste love looks on beauty, thinks not that the flesh is beautiful, but the spirit, admiring, as I judge, the body as an image, by whose beauty he transports himself to the Artist, and to the true beauty; exhibiting the sacred symbol, the bright impress of righteousness to the angels that wait on the ascension; I mean the unction of acceptance, the quality of disposition which resides in the soul that is gladdened by the communication of the Holy Spirit. This glory, which shone forth on the face of Moses, the people could not look on. Wherefore he took a veil for the glory, to those who looked carnally. For those, who demand toll, detain those who bring in any worldly things, who are burdened with their own passions. But him that is free of all things which are subject to duty, and is full of knowledge, and of the righteousness of works, they pass on with their good wishes, blessing the man with his work. “And his life shall not fall away” – the leaf of the living tree that is nourished “by the water-courses.” (Psa_1:3) Now the righteous is likened to fruit-bearing trees, and not only to such as are of the nature of tall-growing ones. And in the sacrificial oblations, according to the law, there were those who looked for blemishes in the sacrifices. They who are skilled in such matters distinguish propension (ὄρεξις) from lust (ἐπιθυμία); and assign the latter, as being irrational, to pleasures and licentiousness; and propension, as being a rational movement, they assign to the necessities of nature.

~Clement- Stromata Book IV Vol. 2