Chap. I. - The Salutation. Praise of the Corinthians Before the Breaking Forth of Schism Among Them.
The church of God which sojourns at Rome, to the church of God sojourning at Corinth, to them that are called and sanctified by the will of God, through our Lord Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, from Almighty God through Jesus Christ, be multiplied.
Owing, dear brethren, to the sudden and successive calamitous events2 which have happened to ourselves, we feel that we have been somewhat tardy in turning our attention to the points respecting which you consulted us; and especially to that shameful and detestable sedition, utterly abhorrent to the elect of God, which a few rash and self-confident persons have kindled to such a pitch of frenzy, that your venerable and illustrious name, worthy to be universally loved, has suffered grievous injury.3 For who ever dwelt even for a short time among you, and did not find your faith to be as fruitful of virtue as it was firmly established?4 Who did not admire the sobriety and moderation of your godliness in Christ? Who did not proclaim the magnificence of your habitual hospitality? And who did not rejoice over your perfect and well-grounded knowledge? For ye did all things without respect of persons, and walked in the commandments of God, being obedient to those who had the rule over you, and giving all fitting honour to the presbyters among you. Ye enjoined young men to be of a sober and serious mind, ye instructed your wives to do all things With a blameless, becoming, and pure conscience, loving their husbands as in duty bound; and ye taught them that, living in the rule of obedience, they should manage their household affairs becomingly, and be in every respect marked by discretion.
Chap. II. - Praise of the Corinthians Continued.
Moreover, ye were all distinguished by humility, and were in no respect puffed up with pride, but yielded obedience rather than extorted it, (Eph_5:21; 1Pe_5:5) and were more willing to give than to receive. (Act_20:35) Content with the provision which God5 had made for you, and carefully attending to His words, ye were inwardly filled6 with His doctrine, and His sufferings were before your eyes. Thus a profound and abundant peace was given to you all, and ye had an insatiable desire for doing good, while a full outpouring of the Holy Spirit was upon you all. Full of holy designs, ye did, with true earnestness of mind and a godly confidence, stretch forth your hands to God Almighty, beseeching Him to be merciful unto you, if ye had been guilty of any involuntary transgression. Day and night ye were anxious for the whole brotherhood, (1Pe_2:7) that the number of God’s elect might be saved with mercy7 and a good conscience. 8 Ye were sincere and uncorrupted, and forgetful of injuries between 230 one another. Every kind of faction and schism was abominable in your sight. Ye mourned over the transgressions of your neighbours: their deficiencies you deemed your own. Ye never grudged any act of kindness, being “ready to every good work.” (Tit_3:1) Adorned by a thoroughly virtuous and religious life, ye did all things in the fear of God. The commandments and ordinances of the Lord were written upon the tablets of your hearts. (Pro_7:3)
Chap. III. - The Sad State of the Corinthian Church After Sedition Arose in It from Envy and Emulation.
Every kind of honour and happiness9 was bestowed upon you, and then was fulfilled that which is written, “My beloved did eat and drink, and was enlarged and became fat, and kicked.” (Deu_32:15) Hence flowed emulation and envy, strife and sedition, persecution and disorder, war and captivity. So the worthless rose up against the honoured, those of no reputation against such as were renowned, the foolish against the wise, the young against those advanced in years. For this reason righteousness and peace are now far departed from you, inasmuch as every one abandons the fear of God, and is become blind in His faith,10 neither walks in the ordinances of His appointment, nor acts a part becoming a Christian,11 but walks after his own wicked lusts, resuming the practice of an unrighteous and ungodly envy, by which death itself entered into the world. (Wisdom of Solomon 2:24)
Chap. IV. - Many Evils Have Already Flowed from This Source in Ancient Times.
For thus it is written: “And it came to pass after certain days, that Cain brought of the fruits of the earth a sacrifice unto God; and Abel also brought of the firstlings of his sheep, and of the fat thereof. And God had respect to Abel and to his offerings, but Cain and his sacrifices He did not regard. And Cain was deeply grieved, and his countenance fell. And God said to Cain, Why art thou grieved, and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou offerest rightly, but dost not divide rightly, hast thou not sinned? Be at peace: thine offering returns to thyself, and thou shalt again possess it. And Cain said to Abel his brother, Let us go into the field. And it came to pass, while they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.”12 Ye see, brethren, how envy and jealousy led to the murder of a brother. Through envy, also, our father Jacob fled from the face of Esau his brother. (Gen_27:41, etc) Envy made Joseph be persecuted unto death, and to come into bondage. (Gen_37:1-36) Envy compelled Moses to flee from the face of Pharaoh king of Egypt, when he heard these words from his fellow-countryman, “Who made thee a judge or a ruler over us? Wilt thou kill me, as thou didst kill the Egyptian yesterday?” (Exo_2:14) On account of envy, Aaron and Miriam had to make their abode without the camp. (Num_12:14, Num_12:15) Envy brought down Dathan and Abiram alive to Hades, through the sedition which they excited against God’s servant Moses. (Num_16:33) Through envy, David not only underwent the hatred of foreigners, but was also persecuted by Saul king of Israel. (1Ki_18:8, etc)
Chap. V. - No Less Evils Have Arisen from the Same Source in the Most Recent Times. The Martyrdom of Peter and Paul.
But not to dwell upon ancient examples, let us come to the most recent spiritual heroes.13 Let us take the noble examples furnished in our own generation Through envy14 and jealousy the greatest and most righteous pillars [of the church] have been persecuted and put to death. 15 Let us set before our eyes the illustrious16 apostles. Peter, through unrighteous envy, endured not one or two, but numerous labours; and when he had at length suffered martyrdom, departed to the place of glory due to him. Owing to envy, Paul also obtained17 the reward of patient endurance, after being seven times thrown into captivity,18 compelled19 to flee, and 231 stoned. After preaching both in the east and west, he gained the illustrious reputation due to his faith, having taught righteousness20 to the whole world, and come to the extreme limit of the west, 21 and suffered martyrdom under the prefects.22 Thus was he removed from the world, and went into the holy place, having proved himself a striking example of patience.
Chap. VI. - Continuation. Several Other Martyrs.
To these men who spent their lives in the practice of holiness, there is to be added a great multitude of the elect, who, having through envy endured many indignities and tortures, furnished us with a most excellent example. Through envy, those women, the Danaids23 and Dircae, being persecuted, after they had suffered terrible and unspeakable torments, finished the course of their faith with stedfastness,24 and though weak in body, received a noble reward. Envy has alienated wives from their husbands, and changed that saying of our father Adam, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh.” (Gen_2:23) Envy and strife have overthrown25great cities, and rooted up mighty nations.
Chap. VII. - An Exhortation to Repentance.
These things, beloved, we write unto you, not merely to admonish you of your duty, but also to remind ourselves. For we are struggling on the same arena, and the same conflict is assigned to both of us. Wherefore let us give up vain and fruitless cares, and approach to the glorious and venerable rule of our holy calling.26 Let us attend to what is good, pleasing, and acceptable in the sight of Him who formed us. Let us look stedfastly to the blood of Christ, and see how precious that blood is to God27 which, having been shed for our salvation, has set the grace of repentance before the whole world.28Let us turn to29 every age that has passed, and learn that, from generation to generation, the Lord has granted a place of repentance to all such as would be converted unto Him. Noah preached repentance, and as many as listened to him were saved. (Gen_7:1-24; 1Pe_3:20; 2Pe_2:5) Jonah proclaimed destruction to the Ninevites; (Jon_3:1-10) but they, repenting of their sins, propitiated God by prayer, and obtained salvation, although they were aliens [to the covenant] of God.
Chap. VIII. - Continuation Respecting Repentance.
The ministers of the grace of God have, by the Holy Spirit, spoken of repentance; and the Lord of all things has himself declared with an oath regarding it, “As I live, saith the Lord, I desire not the death of the sinner, but rather his repentance;” (Eze_33:11) adding, moreover, this gracious declaration, “Repent, O house of Israel, of your iniquity.” (Eze_18:30) Say to the children of my people, Though your sins reach from earth to heaven, and though they be redder (Isa_1:18) than scarlet, and blacker than sack-cloth, yet if ye turn to me with your whole heart, and say, Father! I will listen to you, as to a holy31 people. And in another place He speaks thus: “Wash you and become clean; put away the wickedness of your souls from before mine eyes; cease from your evil ways, and learn to do well; seek out judgment, deliver the oppressed, judge the fatherless, and see that justice is done to the widow; and come, and let us reason together. He declares, Though your sins be like crimson, I will make them white as snow; though they be like scarlet, I will whiten them like wool. And if ye be willing and obey me, ye shall eat the good of the land; but if ye refuse, and will not hearken unto me, the sword shall devour you, for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken these things.” (Isa_1:16-20) Desiring, therefore, that all His beloved should be partakers of repentance, He has, by His almighty will, established [these declarations].
Chap. IX. - Examples of the Saints.
Wherefore, let us yield obedience to His excellent and glorious will; and imploring His mercy and loving-kindness, while we forsake all fruitless labours? and strife, and envy, which leads to death, let us turn and have recourse to His compassions. Let us 232 stedfastly contemplate those who have perfectly ministered to his excellent glory. Let us take for instance Enoch, who, being found righteous in obedience, was translated, and death was never known to happen to him.32 Noah, being found faithful, preached regeneration to the world through his ministry; and the Lord saved by him the animals which, with one accord, entered into the ark.
Chap. X. - Continuation of the Above.
Abraham, styled “the friend,” (Isa_8:1-22; 2Ch_20:7; Judith 8:19; Jam_2:23) was found faithful, inasmuch as he rendered obedience to the words of God. He, in the exercise of obedience, went out from his own country, and from his kindred, and from his father’s house, in order that, by forsaking a small territory, and a weak family, and an insignificant house, he might inherit the promises of God. For God said to him, “Get thee out from thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, into the land which I shall show thee. And I will make thee a great nation, and will bless thee, and make thy name great, and thou shalt be blessed. And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curse thee; and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed.” (Gen_12:1-3) And again, on his departing from Lot, God said to him, “Lift up thine eyes, and look from the place where thou now art, northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward; for all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever. And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth, [so that] if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered.” (Gen_13:14-16) And again [the Scripture] saith, “God brought forth Abram, and spake unto him, Look up now to heaven, and count the stars if thou be able to number them; so shall thy seed be. And Abram believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness.” (Gen_15:5, Gen_15:6; Rom_4:3) On account of his faith and hospitality, a son was given him in his old age; and in the exercise of obedience, he offered him as a sacrifice to God on one of the mountains which He showed him. (Gen_22:12; Heb_11:17)
Chap. XI. - Continuation. Lot.
On account of his hospitality and godliness, Lot was saved out of Sodom when all the country round was punished by means of fire and brimstone, the Lord thus making it manifest that He does not forsake those that hope in Him, but gives up such as depart from Him to punishment and torture. (Gen_19:1-38; comp. 2Pe_2:6-9) For Lot’s wife, who went forth with him, being of a different mind from himself, and not continuing in agreement with him [as to the command which had been given them], was made an example of, so as to be a pillar of salt unto this day.33 This was done that all might know that those who are of a double mind, and who distrust the power of God, bring down judgment on themselves34 and become a sign to all succeeding generations.
Chap. XII. - The Rewards of Faith and Hospitality. Rahab.
On account of her faith and hospitality, Rahab the harlot was saved. For when spies were sent by Joshua, the son of Nun, to Jericho, the king of the country ascertained that they were come to spy out their land, and sent men to seize them, in order that, when taken, they might be put to death. But the hospitable Rahab receiving them, concealed them on the roof of her house under some stalks of flax. And when the men sent by the king arrived and said, “There came men unto thee who are to spy out our land; bring them forth, for so the king commands” she answered them, “The two men whom ye seek came unto me, but quickly departed again and are gone,” thus not discovering the spies to them. Then she said to the men, “I know assuredly that the Lord your God hath given you this city, for the fear and dread of you have fallen on its inhabitants. When therefore ye shall have taken it, keep ye me and the house of my father in safety.” And they said to her, “It shall be as thou hast spoken to us. As soon, therefore, as thou knowest that we are at hand, thou shalt gather all thy family under thy roof, and they shall be preserved, but all that are found outside of thy dwelling shall perish.” (Jos_2:1-24; Heb_11:31) Moreover, they gave her a sign to this effect, that she should hang forth from her house a scarlet thread. And thus they made it manifest that redemption should flow through the blood of the Lord to all them that believe and hope in God.35 Ye see, beloved, that there was not only faith, but prophecy, in this woman. 233
Chap. XIII. - An Exhortation to Humility.
Let us therefore, brethren, be of humble mind, laying aside all haughtiness, and pride, and foolishness, and angry feelings; and let us act according to that which is written for the Holy Spirit saith, “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, neither let the rich man glory in his riches; but let him that glorieth glory in the Lord, in diligently seeking Him, and doing judgment and righteousness”, (Jer_9:23, Jer_9:24; 1Co_1:31; 2Co_10:17) being especially mindful of the words of the Lord Jesus which He spake teaching us meekness and long-suffering. For thus He spoke: “Be ye merciful, that ye may obtain mercy; forgive, that it may be forgiven to you; as ye do, so shall it be done unto you; as ye judge, so shall ye be judged; as ye are kind, so shall kindness be shown to you; with what measure ye mete, with the same it shall be measured to you.” (Mat_7:12-15, Mat_7:2; Luk_6:36-38) By this precept and by these rules let us stablish ourselves, that we walk with all humility in obedience to His holy words. For the holy word saith, “On whom shall I look, but on him that is meek and peaceable, and that trembleth at my words?” (Isa_56:2)
Chap. XIV. - 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,36 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.” (Pro_2:21, Pro_2:22) And again [the Scripture] saith, “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.37
Chap. XV. - 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] saith in a certain place, “This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.” (Isa_29:13; Mat_15:8; Mar_7:6) And again: “They bless with their mouth, but curse with their heart.” (Psa_62:4) And again it saith, “They loved Him with their month, and lied38 to Him with their tongue; but their heart was not right with Him, neither were they faithful in His covenant.” (Psa_78:36, Psa_78:37) “Let the deceitful lips become silent, (Psa_31:18) [and “let the Lord destroy all the lying lips,39] 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, saith the Lord: I will place him in safety; I will deal confidently with him.” (Psa_12:3-5)
Chap. XVI. - Christ as an Example of Humility.
For Christ is of those who are humble-minded, and not of those who exalt themselves over His flock. Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Sceptre of the majesty of God, did not come in the pomp of pride or arrogance, although He might have done so, but in a lowly condition, as the Holy Spirit had declared regarding Him. For He says, “Lord, who hath believed our report, and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? We have declared [our message] in His presence: He is, as it were, a child, and like a root in thirsty ground; He has no form nor glory, yea, we saw Him, and He had no form nor comeliness; but His form was without eminence, yea, deficient in comparison with the [ordinary] form of men. He is a man exposed to stripes and suffering, and acquainted with the endurance of grief: for His countenance was turned away; He was despised, and not esteemed. He bears our iniquities, and is in sorrow for our sakes; yet we supposed that ion His own account] He was exposed to labour, and stripes, and affliction. But He was wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities. 234 The chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we were healed. All we, like sheep, have gone astray; [every] man has wandered in his own way; and the Lord has delivered Him up for our sins, while He in the midst of His sufferings openeth not His mouth. He was brought as a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before her shearer is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth. In His humiliation His judgment was taken away; who shall declare His generation? for His life is taken from the earth. For the transgressions of my people was He brought down to death. And I will give the wicked for His sepulchre, and the rich for His death,40 because He did no iniquity, neither was guile found in His mouth. And the Lord is pleased to purify him by stripes.41 If ye make42 an offering for sin, your soul shall see a long-lived seed. And the Lord is pleased to relieve Him of the affliction of His soul, to show Him light, and to form Him with understanding,43 to justify the Just One who ministereth well to many; and He Himself shall carry their sins. On this account He shall inherit many, and shall divide the spoil of the strong; because His soul was delivered to death, and He was reckoned among the transgressors, and He bare the sins of many, and for their sins was He delivered.”44 And again He saith, “I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people. All that see me have derided me; they have spoken with their lips; they have wagged their head, [saying] He hoped in God, let Him deliver Him, let Him save Him, since He delighteth in Him.” (Psa_22:6-8) Ye see, beloved, what is the example which has been given us; for if the Lord thus humbled Himself, what shall we do who have through Him come under the yoke of His grace?
Chap. XVII. - The Saints As Examples of Humility.
Let us be imitators also of those who in goat-skins and sheep-skins (Heb_11:37) went about proclaiming the coming of Christ; I mean Elijah, Elisha, and Ezekiel among the prophets, with those ethers to whom a like testimony is borne [in Scripture]. Abraham was specially honoured, and was called the friend of God; yet he, earnestly regarding the glory of God, humbly declared, “I am but dust and ashes.” (Gen_18:27) Moreover, it is thus written of Job, “Job was a righteous man, and blameless, truthful, God-fearing, and one that kept himself from all evil.” (Job_1:1) But bringing an accusation against himself, he said, “No man is free from defilement, even if his life be but of one day. (Job_14:4, Job_14:5) Moses was called faithful in all God’s house; (Num_12:7; Heb_3:2) and through his instrumentality,45 God punished Egypt with plagues and tortures. Yet he, though thus greatly honoured, did not adopt lofty language, but said, when the divine oracle came to him out of the bush, “Who am I, that Thou sendest me? I am a man of a feeble voice and a slow tongue.” (Exo_3:11, Exo_4:10) And again he said, “I am but as the smoke of a pot.”46
Chap. XVIII. - David As An Example of Humility.
But what shall we say concerning David, to whom such testimony was borne, and of whom47 God said, “I have found a man after mine own heart, David the son of Jesse; and in everlasting mercy have I anointed him?” (Psa_89:21) Yet this very man saith to God, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, according to Thy great mercy; and according to the multitude of Thy compassions, blot out my transgression.48 Wash me still more from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge mine iniquity, and my sin is ever before me. Against Thee only have I sinned, and done that which is evil in Thy sight; that Thou mayest be justified in Thy sayings, and mayest overcome when Thou49 art judged. For, behold, I was conceived in transgressions, and in sins did my mother conceive me. For, behold, Thou hast loved truth; the secret and hidden things of wisdom hast Thou shown me. Thou shall sprinkle me with hyssop, and I shall be cleansed; Thou shall wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Thou shalt make me to hear joy and gladness; my bones, which have been humbled, shall exult. Turn away Thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and 235 renew a right spirit within me.50 Cast me not away from Thy presence, and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Thy salvation, and establish me by Thy governing Spirit. I will teach transgressors Thy ways, and the ungodly shall be converted unto Thee. Deliver me from blood-guiltiness,51 O God, the God of my salvation: my tongue shall exult in Thy righteousness. O Lord, Thou shalt open my mouth, and my lips shall show forth Thy praise. For if Thou hadst desired sacrifice, I would have given it; Thou wilt not delight in burnt-offerings. The sacrifice [acceptable] to God is a bruised spirit; a broken and a contrite heart God will not despise.” (Psa_51:1-17)
Chap. XIX. - Imitating These Examples, Let Us Seek After Peace.
Thus the humility and godly submission of so great and illustrious men have rendered not only us, but also all the generations before us, better; even as many as have received His oracles in fear and truth. Wherefore, having so many great and glorious examples set before us, let us turn again to the practice of that peace which from the beginning was the mark set before us;52 and let us look stedfastly to the Father and Creator of the universe, and cleave to His mighty and surpassingly great gifts and benefactions of peace. Let us contemplate Him with our understanding, and look with the eyes of our soul to His long-suffering will. Let us reflect how free from the wrath He is towards all His creation.
Chap. XX. - The Peace and Harmony of the Universe.
The heavens, revolving under His government, are subject to Him in peace. Day and night run the course appointed by Him, in no wise hindering each other. The sun and moon, with the companies of the stars, roll on in harmony according to His command, within their prescribed limits, and without any deviation. The fruitful earth, according to His will, brings forth food in abundance, at the proper seasons, for man and beast and all the living beings upon it, never hesitating, nor changing any of the ordinances which He has fixed. The unsearchable places of abysses, and the indescribable arrangements of the lower world, are restrained by the same laws. The vast unmeasurable sea, gathered together by His working into various basins,53 never passes beyond the bounds placed around it, but does as He has commanded. For He said, “Thus far shalt thou come, and thy waves shall be broken within thee.” (Job_38:11) The ocean, impassable to man and the worlds beyond it, are regulated by the same enactments of the Lord. The seasons of spring, summer, autumn, and winter, peacefully give place54 to one another. The winds in their several quarters55 fulfil, at the proper time, their service without hindrance. The ever-flowing fountains, formed both for enjoyment and health, furnish without fail their breasts for the life of men. The very smallest of living beings meet together in peace and concord. All these the great Creator and Lord of all has appointed to exist in peace and harmony; while He does good to all, but most abundantly to us who have fled for refuge to His compassions through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom be glory and majesty for ever and ever. Amen.
Chap. XXI. - 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] saith in a certain place, “The Spirit of the Lord is a candle searching the secret parts of the belly.” (Pro_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,56 whose blood was given for us; let us esteem those who have the rule over us; (Heb_13:17; 1Th_5:12, 1Th_5:13) let us honour the aged57 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 236 manifest the command which they have of their tongue, by their manner58 of speaking; let them display their love, not by preferring59 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 in60 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.
Chap. XXII. - 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, ye children, hearken unto me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord.61 What man is he that desireth life, and loveth to see good days? Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy 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.” (Psa_34:11-17) “Many are the stripes [appointed for] the wicked; but mercy shall compass those about who hope in the Lord.” (Psa_32:10)
Chap. XXIII. - 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 lifted62 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;”63 Ye foolish ones! compare yourselves to a tree; take [for instance] the vine. First of all, it sheds its leaves,64 then it buds, next it puts forth leaves, and then it flowers; after that comes the sour grape, and then follows the ripened fruit. Ye 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; (Hab_2:3; Heb_10:37) and, “The Lord shall suddenly come to His temple, even the Holy One, for whom ye look.” (Mal_3:1)
Chap. XXIV. - 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 Christ65 the first-fruits (1Co_15:20; Col_1:18) by raising Him from the dead. Let us contemplate, beloved, the resurrection which is at all times66 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 behold67 the fruits [of the earth], how the sowing of grain takes place. The sower (Luk_8:5) goes forth, and casts it into the ground,68 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.
Chap. XXV. - The Phoenix an Emblem of Our Resurrection.
Let us consider that wonderful sign [of the resurrection] which takes place in eastern lands, that is, in Arabia and the countries round about. There is a certain bird which is called a phoenix. This is the only one of its kind, and lives five hundred years. And when the time of its dissolution draws near that it must die, it builds itself a nest of 237 frankincense, and myrrh, and other spices, into which, when the time is fulfilled, it enters and dies. But as the flesh decays a certain kind of worm is produced, which, being nourished by the juices of the deed bird, brings forth feathers. Then, when it has acquired strength, it takes up that nest in which are the bones of its parent, and bearing these it passes69 from the land of Arabia into Egypt, to the city called Heliopolis. And, in open day, flying70 in the sight of all men, it places them on the altar of the sun, and having done this, hastens back to its former abode. The priests then inspect the registers of the dates, and find that it has returned exactly as the five hundredth year was completed.71
Chap. XXVI. - We Shall Rise Again, Then, as the Scripture, also Testifies.
Do we then deem it any great and wonderful thing for the Maker of all things to raise up again those that have piously served Him in the assurance of a good faith, when even by a bird He shows us the mightiness of His power to fulfil His promise?72 For [the Scripture] saith in a certain place, “Thou shalt raise me up, and I shall confess unto Thee”;73 and again, “I laid me down, and slept”; “I awaked, because Thou art with me;” (Psa_3:6) and again, Job says, “Thou shalt raise up this flesh of mine, which has suffered all these things.” (Job_19:25, Job_19:26)
Chap. XXVII. - In the Hope of the Resurrection, Let Us Cleave to the Omnipotent and Omniscient God.
Having then this hope, let our souls be bound to Him who is faithful in His promises, and just in His judgments. He who has commanded us not to lie, shall much more Himself not lie; for nothing is impossible with God, except to lie. (Tit_1:2; Heb_6:18) Let His faith therefore be stirred up again within us, and let us consider that all things are nigh unto Him. By the word of His might74 He established all things, and by His word He can overthrow them. “Who shall say unto Him, What hast thou done? or, Who shall resist the power of His strength?” (Wisdom of Solomon 11:21, 12:12) When, and as He pleases, He will do all things, and none of the things determined by Him shall pass away. (Mat_24:35) All things are open before Him, and nothing can be hidden from His counsel. “The heavens75 declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth His handy-work.76 Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge. And there are no words or speeches of which the voices are not heard.”77
Chap. XXVIII. - 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 evil78 desires;79 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 saith in a certain place, “Whither shall I go, and where shall I be hid from Thy presence? If I ascend into heaven, Thou art there; if I go away even to the uttermost parts of the earth, there is Thy right hand;80 if I make my bed in the abyss, there is Thy Spirit.” (Psa_139:7-10) Whither, then, shall anyone go, or where shall he escape from Him who comprehends all things?
Chap. XXIX. - Let Us also Draw Near to God in Purity of Heart.
Let us then draw near to Him with holiness of spirit, lifting up pure and undefiled hands unto Him, loving our gracious and merciful Father, who has made us partakers in the blessings of His elect.81 For thus it is written, “When the Most High divided the nations, when He scattered82 the sons of Adam, He fixed the bounds of the nations according to the number of the angels of God. His people Jacob became the portion of the Lord, and Israel the lot of His inheritance. (Deu_32:8, Deu_32:9) And in another place [the Scripture] saith, 238 “Behold, the Lord taketh unto Himself a nation out of the midst of the nations, as a man takes the first-fruits of his threshing-floor; and from that nation shall come forth the Most Holy.”83
Chap. XXX. - Let Us Do Those Things That Please God, and Flee from Those He Hates, That We May Be Blessed.
Seeing, therefore, that we are the portion of the Holy One,84 let us do all those things which pertain to holiness, avoiding all evil-speaking, all abominable and impure embraces, together with all drunkenness, seeking after change,85 all abominable lusts, detestable adultery, and execrable pride. “For God,” [saith the Scripture], “resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble.” (Pro_3:34; Jam_4:6; 1Pe_5:5) Let us cleave, then, to those to whom grace has been given by God. Let us clothe ourselves with concord and humility, ever exercising self-control, standing far off from all whispering and evil-speaking, being justified by our works, and not our words. For [the Scripture] saith, “He that speaketh much, shall also hear much in answer. And does he that is ready in speech deem himself righteous? Blessed86 is he that is born of woman, who liveth but a short time: be not given to much speaking.”87 Let our praise be in God, and not of ourselves; for God hateth those that commend themselves. Let testimony to our good88 deeds be borne by others, as it was in the case of our righteous forefathers. Boldness, and arrogance, and audacity belong to89 those that are accursed of God; but moderation, humility, and meekness to such as are blessed by Him.
1 According to I, the title is “Clement’s Epistle to the Corinthians.” A includes in a Table of Contents of the New Testament after the Apocalypse:
“Clement’s Epistle I.”
“Clement’s Epistle II.”
The space for the title for the 1st Epistle is mutilated, and we find only “…Corinthians I.;” the 2d Epistle has no title.
On the authority of Eusebius, Jerome, Georgius, Syncellus, the earlier editions give the titles, “First Epistle of Saint Clement, Bishop of Rome, to the Corinthians, written In name of the Church of Rome,” “Second Epistle of Saint Clement, Bishop of Rome, to the Corinthians.”
2 I. περιστάσεις (critical experiences).
3 Literally “is greatly blasphemed.”
4 Literally, “did not prove your all-virtuous and firm faith.”
5 I. Χρῖστοῦ (Christ). In the monophysite controversy, the theologians of Alexandria preferred to call the Lord “God” rather than “Christ.”
6 Literally, “ye embraced it in your bowels.”
7 I. δέους (fear).
8 So in the ms., but many have suspected that the text is here corrupt. Perhaps the best emendation is that which substitutes συναισθήσεως “compassion,” for συνειδήσεως “conscience.”
9 Literally, “enlargement.”
10 It seems necessary to refer αὐτοῦ τοGod, in opposition to the translation given by Abp Wake and others.
11 Literally. “Christ;” comp. 2Co_1:21; Eph_4:20.
12 Gen_4:3-8. The writer here, as always, follows the reading of the Septuagint, which in this passage both alters and adds to the Hebrew text. We have given the rendering approved by the best critics; but some prefer to translate, as in our English version. “unto thee shall he his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.” See, for an ancient explanation of the passage, Irenaeus, Adv. Haer., iv. 18, 3.
13 Literally, “those who have been athletes.”
14 I. ἔριν (strife).
15 I. ἔως θανάτου ηθλησαν (contended unto death).
16 Literally “good.”
17 ἔδειξεν (displayed).
18 Seven imprisonments of St. Paul are not referred to in Scripture.
19 I. φυγαδευθείς (having become a fugitive). Archbishop Wake here reads “scourged.” We have followed the most recent critics in filling up the numerous lacunae in this chapter.
20 I. punctuates ἔλαβε δικαιοσύνην, διδάξας (received righteousness, having taught).
21 Some think Rome, others Spain, and others even Britain, to be here referred to.
22 That is, under Tigellinus and Sabinus in the last year of the Emperor Nero, but some think Helius and Polycletus referred to, and others. both here and in the preceding sentence, regard the words as denoting simply the witness borne by Peter and Paul to the truth of the gospel before the rulers of the earth.
23 Some suppose these to have been the names of two eminent female martyrs under Nero; others regard the clause as an interpolation.
24 Literally. “have reached to the stedfast course of faith.”
25 I. κατέσκαψεν (razed to the ground).
26 I. τῆς παραδόσεως ἡμῶν (of our tradition).
27 I. τῶ πατρι αὐτοῦ τῶ θεῶ (to His Father God).
28 I. ὲπήνεγκεν (conferred).
29 I. διέλθωμεν (traverse, trace).
30 These words are not found in Scripture, though they are quoted again by Clem. Alex. (Paedag. i. 10) as from Ezekiel.
31 Some read ματαιολογιαν, vain talk.
32 Gen_5:24; Heb_11:5. Literally, “and his death was not found.”
33 So Joseph., Antiq. i. 11. 4; Irenaeus, Adv. Haer. iv. 31.
34 Literally, “become a judgment and sign.”
35 Others of the fathers adopt the same allegorical interpretation, e.g., Justin Mar., Dial. c. Tryph n. 111; Irenaeus, Adv. Haer. iv. 20.
36 I. εἰς αἱρέσεις (sects)
37 Psa_37:35-37. “Remnant” probably refers either to the memory or posterity of the righteous.
38 I. ἔψεξαν (blamed).
39 These words within brackets are not found in the ms., but have been inserted from the Septuagint by most editors.
40 The Latin of Cotelerius, adopted by Hefele and Dressel, translates this clause as follows: “I will set free the wicked on account of His sepulchre, and the rich on account of His death.”
41 The reading of the ms., is τῆς πληγῆς. “purify, of free Him, from stripes.” We have adopted the emendation of Junius.
42 Wotton reads, “If He make.”
43 Or, “fill Him with understanding,” if πλῆσαι should read instead of πλάσαι