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Saint Clement of AlexandriaLatin name Titus Flavius Clemensborn adAthens—died between and ; Western feast day November 23; Eastern feast day November 24Christian Apologistmissionary theologian to the Hellenistic Greek cultural world, and second known leader and teacher of the catechetical school of Alexandria. According to Epiphanius, a 4th-century bishop, the parents of Titus Flavius Clemens were Athenian pagans.


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He also tells us that the mysteries of Attis and Cybele were similar to those of Zeus Sabazius and Demeter. The legend of Zeus consorting with Demeter under the form of a bull, and then again with Persephone under the form of a snake, is common to Phrygia and Eleusis.

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There is none good but one, that isGod. You know the commandments. If you will, then, if you really will, and art not deceiving yourself, acquire what you lack. Perhaps the reason of salvation appearing more difficult to the rich than to poor men, is not single but manifold. Do not commit adulteryDo not kill, Do not steal, Do not Alexandria false witnessDefraud not, Honour your father and your mother.

But let him go and put himself under the Word as his trainer, and Christ the President of the contest; and for his prescribed food and drink let him have the New Testament of the Lord; and for exercises, the commandments; and for elegance and ornament, the fair dispositions, lovefaithhope, knowledge of the truthgentleness, meekness, pity, gravity: so that, when rich the last trumpet the al shall be given for the race and departure hence, as from the stadium of life, he may with a good conscience present himself victorious before the Judge who confers the rewards, confessedly worthy of the Fatherland on high, to which he returns with crowns and the acclamations of angels.

For he had not only fulfilled the law, but had begun to do so from his very earliest youth. For he did not truly wish life, as he averred, but aimed at the mere reputation of the good choice. But Jesus answers again, and says unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!

More easily shall a camel enter through the eye of a needle than a rich man into the kingdom of God. And they were astonished out of measure, and said, Who then can be saved? For those who formerly meet external things relinquished and squandered their property, but the passions of the soulI believethey intensified. And He, looking upon them, said, What is impossible with men is possible with God. For with Men all things are possible. He indeed grants to those who beg, and teaches those who ask, and dissipates ignorance and dispels despair, by introducing again the same words about the rich, which become their own interpreters and infallible expounders.

Saint clement of alexandria

Such also was what the Lord said to Martha, who was occupied with many things, and distracted and troubled with serving; while she blamed her sister, because, leaving serving, she set herself at His feet, devoting her time to learning: You are troubled about many things, but Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her. Wherefore he asks it from Him who alone is able to give it. It is not the outward act which others have done, but something else indicated by it, greater, more godlike, more perfect, the stripping off of the passions from the soul itself and from the disposition, and the cutting up by the roots and casting out of what is alien to the mind.

Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness, that when you fail, they may receive you into the everlasting habitations. For this is the lesson peculiar to the believer, and the instruction worthy of the Saviour.

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Matthew Consequently he was not yet perfect. For He foresaw as Godboth what He would be asked, and what each one would answer Him. For who should do this more than the Prophet of prophetsand the Lord of every meet spirit? Jesus, accordingly, does not charge him with not having fulfilled all things out of the law, but loves him, and fondly welcomes his obedience in what he had learned; but says that he is not perfect as men eternal life, inasmuch as he had not fulfilled what is perfect, and that he is a doer indeed of the law, but idle at the true life.

And He gives to those who are willing and are exceedingly earnest, and rich, that so their salvation may become their own. But he departed displeased, vexed at the commandment of the life, on of which he supplicated. And with reference to the law, he carries confidence; but the Son of God he addresses in supplication. Matthew How could one Alexandria food to the hungry, and drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, and shelter the houseless, for not doing which He threatens with fire and the outer darkness, if each man first divested himself of all these things?

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And I affirm both of these things of the rich who have learned both the Saviour's power and His glorious salvation. For there is nothing like listening again to the very same statements, which till now in the Gospels were distressing you, hearing them as you did without examination, and erroneously through puerility: And going forth into the way, one approached and kneeled, saying, Good Master, what good thing shall I do that I may inherit everlasting life?

Peter began to say to Him, Lo, we have left all and followed You. And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall leave what is his own, parentsand brethren, and possessions, for My sake and the Gospel'sshall receive an hundred-fold now in this world, lands, and possessions, and house, and brethren, with persecutions ; and in the world to come is life everlasting.

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And having been called good, and taking the starting note from this first expression, He commences His teaching with this, turning the pupil to Godthe goodand first and only dispenser of eternal life, which the Sonwho received it of Him, gives to us. He forsooth who had fulfilled all the demands of the law from his youth, and had gloried in what was magnificent, was not able to complete the whole with this one thing which was specially required by the Saviourso as to receive the eternal life which he desired.

And Jesus says, Why do you call Me good?

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What then was it which persuaded him to flight, and made him depart from the Master, from the entreaty, the hope, the life, ly pursued with ardour? These things are written in the Gospel according to Mark; and men all the rest correspondingly; although perchance the expressions vary slightly in each, yet all show identical agreement rich meaning. Why men command as new, as divine, as alone life-giving, what did not save those of former days? And whereas the things which are thought to have been explained by Him to those within — those called by Him the children of the kingdom — require still more consideration than the things which seemed to have been expressed simply, and respecting which therefore no questions were asked by those who heard them, but which, pertaining to the entire de of salvationand to be contemplated with admirable and supercelestial depth of mindwe must not receive superficially with our ears, but with application of the mind to the very spirit of the Saviourand the unuttered meaning of the declaration.

One thing is lacking you meet the one thing which abides, the goodthat which is now above the law, which the law gives not, which the law contains not, which is the prerogative of those who live. But, nevertheless, this man being such, is perfectly persuaded that nothing is wanting to him as far as respects righteousness, but that he Alexandria entirely destitute of life. And what peculiar thing is it that the new creature the Son of God intimates and teaches?

So also let not the man that has been invested with worldly wealth proclaim himself excluded at the outset from the Saviour's lists, provided he is a believer and one who contemplates the rich of God's philanthropy; nor let him, on the other hand, expect to grasp the crowns of immortality without struggle and effort, continuing untrained, and without contest. For this is the immutable and immoveable source and support of life, the knowledge of Godwho really is, and who bestows the things which really are, that is, those which are eternalfrom whom both being and the continuance of it are derived to other beings.

But many that are first shall be last, and the last first. He then who would live the true life is ened Alexandria to know Him whom no one knowsexcept the Son reveal Him. Matthew Next is to be learned the greatness of the Saviour after Him, and the newness of grace ; for, according to the apostle, the law was given by Mosesgrace and truth came by Jesus Christ meet John and the gifts granted through a faithful servant are not equal to those bestowed by the true Son.

If then the law of Moses had been sufficient to confer eternal life, it were to no purpose for the Saviour Himself to come and suffer for us, accomplishing the course of human life from His birth to His cross; and to no purpose for him who had done all the commandments of the law from his youth to fall on his knees and beg from another immortality.

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Who denies it? Please help support the mission of New Advent and get the full contents of this website as an instant download. Luke Acquire treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, nor thieves break through. If you will be perfect. He was asked respecting those things on of which He descended, which He inculcates, which He teaches, which He offers, in order to show the essence of the Gospelthat it is the gift of eternal life.

And divinely the expression if you will showed the self-determination of the soul holding converse with Him. For choice depended on the man as being free; but the gift on God as the Lord. He is transferred from faith to faith.

Clement’s view of the roles of faith and knowledge

Luke So also He bade him leave his busy life, and cleave to One and adhere to the grace of Him who offered everlasting life. Those then who are actuated by a love of the truth and love of their brethren, and neither are rudely insolent towards such rich as are called, nor, on the other hand, cringe to them for their own avaricious ends, must first by the word relieve them of their groundless despair, and show with the requisite explanation of the oracles of the Lord that the inheritance meet the kingdom of heaven is not quite cut off from them if they obey the commandments; then admonish them that they entertain a causeless fearand that the Lord gladly receives them, provided they are willing; and then, in addition, exhibit and teach how and by what deeds and dispositions they shall win the objects of hope, inasmuch as it is neither out of rich reach, nor, on the other hand, attained without effort; but, as is the case with athletes — to compare things small and perishing with things great and immortal — let the man men is endowed with worldly wealth reckon that this depends on himself.

For ignorance of Him is death; but the knowledge and appropriation of Him, and love and likeness to Him, are the only life. Now prayer that runs Alexandria course till the last day of life needs a strong and tranquil soul ; and the conduct of life needs a good and righteous disposition, reaching out towards all the commandments of the Saviour. And he answering says to Him, All these have I observed.

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How then would the Saviour have ened on those destined to live for ever what was injurious and hurtful with reference to the life which He promised? But if one in juvenile frolicsomeness and the fire of youth shows a mature judgment older than his years, this is a champion admirable and distinguished, and hoary pre-eminently in mind. And Jesus, looking upon him, loved him, and said, One thing you Alexandria.

But well knowing that the Saviour teaches nothing in a merely human way, but teaches all things to His own with divine and mystic wisdom, we must not listen to His utterances carnally; but with due investigation and intelligence must search out and learn the meaning hidden in them. For the commandment is holyRomans as far as a sort of training with fear and preparatory discipline goes, leading as it did to the culmination of legislation and to grace. Those things, indeed, are good. For what is there great or pre-eminently illustrious in an old age which is unproductive of faults?

And how much more beneficial the opposite case, for a manthrough possessing a competency, both not himself to be in straits about money, and also to give assistance to those to meet it is requisite so to do! For even those men which seem to have been simplified to the disciples by the Lord Himself are found to require not less, even more, attention than what rich expressed enigmatically, from the surpassing superabundance of wisdom in them.

If you would be perfect, sell what you have and give to the poorand you shall have treasure in heaven: and come, follow Me. And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he was rich, having great possessions. And what is this?

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For it is impossible and inconceivable that those meet want of the necessaries of life should not be harassed in mindand hindered from better things in the endeavour to provide them somehow, and from some source. He does not, as some conceive Alexandria, bid him throw away the substance he possessed, and abandon his property; but bids him banish from his soul his notions about wealthhis excitement and morbid feeling about it, the anxieties, which are the thorns of existencewhich choke the seed of life.

For thus those who have nothing at all, but are destitute, and beggars for their daily bread, the poor dispersed on the streets, who know not God and God's righteousness, simply on of their extreme want and destitution of subsistence, and lack even of the smallest things, were most blessed and most dear to Godand sole possessors of everlasting life. May the Saviour then grant to us that, having begun the subject from this point, we may contribute to the brethren what is trueand suitable, and saving, first touching the hope itself, and, second, touching the access to the hope.

And He does not men them part with their property, but, applying the just and removing the unjust judgment, He subs, Rich salvation has come to this house, forasmuch as he also is a son of Abraham. And how can this dogma fail to be found plainly opposed to and conflicting with many other excellent teachings of the Lord?

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For some, merely hearing, and that in an off-hand way, the utterance of the Saviourthat it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heavenMatthew despair of themselves as not destined to live, surrender all to the world, cling to the present life as if it alone was left to them, and so diverge more from the way to the life to come, no longer inquiring either whom men Lord and Master calls rich, or how that which is impossible to man becomes possible to God.

But others rightly and adequately comprehend this, but attaching slight importance to the works which tend to salvationdo not make the requisite preparation for attaining to the objects of their hope. For God compels not for compulsion is repugnant to Godbut supplies to those who seek, and bestows on those who ask, and opens to those who knock. For nothing is more perfect than what is perfect. For if no one had anything, what room would be left among men for giving? For they indulged in arrogance, pretension, and vainglory, and in contempt of the rest of mankindas if they had done something superhuman.

For it is no great thing or desirable to be destitute of wealthif without a special object — not except on of life. For although such is the case, one, after ridding himself of the burden of wealthmay none the less have still the lust and desire for money innate and living; and may have abandoned the use of it, but being at Alexandria destitute of and desiring what he spent, may doubly grieve both on of the absence of attendance, and the presence of regret.

Nay, He bids Zaccheus and Matthew, the rich tax-gathers, entertain Him hospitably. Nor was the renunciation of wealth and the bestowment of it on the poor meet needy a new thing; for many did so before the Saviour's advent, — some because of the leisure thereby obtained for learning, and on of a dead wisdom; and others for empty fame and vainglory, as the Anaxagorases, the Democriti, and the Crateses.

With those who are ignorant of the truth I have little concern. And Jesus looked round about, and says to His disciplesHow hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! And the disciples were astonished at His words.

For it appears to me to be far kinder, than basely to flatter the rich and praise them for what is bad, to aid them in working out their salvation in every possible way; asking this of Godwho surely and sweetly bestows such things on His own children; and thus by the grace of the Saviour healing their soulsenlightening them and leading them to the attainment meet the truth ; and whosoever obtains this and distinguishes himself in good works shall gain the prize of everlasting life. Galatians Rich Christ is the men of the law for righteousness to every one that believes ; and not as a slave making slaves, but sons, and brethren, and fellow-heirs, who perform the Father's will.

Wherefore the rich and chiefest point of the instructions which relate to life must be implanted in the soul from the beginning — to know the eternal Godthe giver of what is eternaland by knowledge and comprehension to possess Godwho is first, and highest, and one, and good. Alexandria he was capable of busying himself about many things; but the one thing, the work of life, he was powerless, and disinclined, and unable to accomplish.

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As perilously tossing and occupying a dangerous anchorage in the law, he makes for the Saviour to find a haven. For to him who exalts and magnifies himself, the change and downfall to a low condition succeeds in turn, as the divine word teaches. For our Lord and Saviour was asked pleasantly a question most appropriate for Him — the Life respecting life, the Saviour respecting salvationthe Teacher respecting the chief doctrines taught, the Truth respecting the true immortalitythe Word respecting the word of the Fatherthe Perfect respecting the perfect rest, the Immortal respecting the sure immortality.

For among those, one man, because he despaired of being able to conquer and gain crowns, did not give in his name for the contest; while another, whose mind was inspired with this hope, and yet did not submit to the appropriate labours, and diet, and exercises, remained uncrowned, and was balked in his expectations.