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considerations will set aside any difficulty that may be occa sioned by these words: first, that as it would be unwarrantable to base a doctrine of justification by faith on any single passage, in face of a number of other passages of a different tendency, some very clear and some indistinct; so in the present instance. Secondly, Clement never uses the strong and decided language regarding love that he uses regarding faith. Thirdly, his experience, we do not say his conception, of faith was not of that dead thing to which Roman Catholics oppose love; to him, faith was the root of love, love the ripe outcome of faith. Fourthly, the idea of love as a source of merit before God would clash with the passages quoted above, and with the present context. Fifthly, di άуáns here signifies, probably, "through love," i.e. in God or Christ, and not "on account of love," which would be di aуány. This meaning is suggested to an unprejudiced reader by the very next words: "for it is writ ten, Blessed are they whose sins are covered." And, lastly, as we have observed in another connection, Clement's practical tendency led him to lay strong emphasis on each spiritual principle or virtue as it presented itself to his view. In short, the foundation supplied to Catholics by Clement is as feeble as that supplied by the writers of the New Testament.
10. The Resurrection.
On this point Clement's testimony is more clear and precise than on any other. He devotes to it three entire chapters, cc. 24, 25, and 26, and alludes to it in cc. 27 and 42. He assumes, first, the fact of the resurrection of Christ; speaks of his resurrection as the first-fruits, to be followed by ours; and refers, in illustrative support thereof, to the fable of the phoenix and to various analogies of nature. In c. 26 he quotes the words of Job xix.: "Thou shalt wake up my flesh again," in confirmation of the resurrection. Into the mode and time of our resurrection, and other questions connected therewith, he does not enter at
all. From his use of the words of Job, however, he would appear to have assumed the resurrection of the body. So that his references to this point, though clearer than usual, contain little or nothing of a properly doctrinal character. That his allusions to the resurrection should be unusually distinct, is plainly attributable to its being something tangible and objective; besides, that was most probably (see c. 42 where the apostles are said to have been inspired with confidence by the resurrection of Christ) the chief support of Christian belief, and the main argument in the conviction of heathen.
Such, then, are the main features of the theology of Clement, so far as we may speak of his having a theology at all. The question next to be considered is: What relation does the theology of Clement's epistle bear to the theological views current in the Christian circles of his day? Does Clement here fairly represent the state of theological thought, both as to form and substance? Our answer is, Yes; and on the following grounds:
§ 11. The Position and Character of Clement.
1. Clement occupied a position which gave him ample opportunity of becoming directly conversant with the theological thought of the church of his day. He was acquainted with the apostle Paul (Phil. iv. 3), even if he did not accompany him on his journeys, as some have supposed. Origen, Eusebius, Epiphanius, Jerome, and other early writers testify to his being the same as the one mentioned in the pas sage just quoted. He was probably a citizen of Philippi, and after his conversion to Christianity labored there, in conjunction with others. This must have been prior to A.D. 63 or 64; and from that time onwards till about A.D. 92 to 101 he continued, so far as we know, to serve Christ, either in Philippi or other cities. Between A. D. 92 and 101 he held the office of bishop of Rome, and, as the high value set on the epistle which bears his name sufficiently proves,
was greatly esteemed by the Christian churches in general. Now a man of his age and intellectual and moral character, even though he had held no prominent official positions, must have contracted a wide acquaintance with the belief of his contemporaries; much more if he had held the posi tions commonly ascribed to Clement.
2. His intellectual and moral qualities fitted him for reflecting the general average thought of his contemporaries. So far as we can judge from his epistle, and it reads like a true expression of his inner being, Clement's mind was precisely of that order from which we expect and receive the most accurate testimony.
He was of a practical, unspeculative turn; his judgment was sober and well balanced; he evinces culture and susceptibility to beauty in nature and style; and while not possessed of striking force, cannot by any means be charged with feebleness.
To his predominantly practical turn of mind, we have had frequent occasion to refer. The entire epistle bears testimony thereto : there is not a single feature of an opposite character.
That his judgment was sober and well balanced appears from his mode of treating the entire dispute in question; from the absence of extravagant ascetical ideas and exaggerated notions about martyrdom; from his abstinence from allegory and from his treatment, to single out one matter, of the fable of the phoenix. There is scarcely an exhortation, a practical judgment, a general observation, that is not as applicable now as it was then. With what wisdom does he commence his exhortations! With what mingled severity and tenderness does he treat the offenders! In praise he is not too full; in blame, not too harsh. And he seeks throughout to accomplish his design rather by warning examples of contention and encouraging examples of concord and obedience than by direct exhortation and reproof. How wise and discriminating are the following words from c. 38: "Let not the strong man neglect the weak, but let the weak
esteem the strong; let the rich give to the poor, and let the poor thank God that he hath given him one through whom his wants are supplied. Let the wise evince his wisdom, not in words, but in good works. He who is humble should not bear testimony to himself, but should leave testimony to be borne by others. He who is chaste as to the flesh, let him not be puffed up, knowing that another hath given him the gift of continence."
Who that reads his praise of the Corinthians, in c. 2; his description of the concord and harmony of the universe, in c. 20; his impassioned encomium of charity, in c. 49; and notes the spirit of love and harmony which breathes through many other passages, can call in question his culture and his sense of beauty?
And, finally, though not distinguished for force, his mind is by no means chargeable with weakness. Sometimes he exhibits considerable energy, as, for example, in c. 46; his mode of treating the matters he touches, though in a formal respect very loose, is substantially firm and self-consist ent; sometimes, through sheer, earnest common sense, he approaches to a broad philosophical view, as for example, of faith as a spiritual force, in c. 32; in c. 49 we have an independent expansion of a thought derived from the apostle Paul.
In short, an unprejudiced examination of the epistle reveals an author whose mind is marked by the sobriety, practicalness, harmony, freedom from idiosyncracies, which warrant the expectation that his references to matters of belief and life, will be a fair reflection of the spirit of his
§ 12. The Circumstances and Character of the Epistle.
1. The epistle is addressed, according to the salutation in chapter 1, by the church in Rome to the church in Corinth; and, according to Eusebius,1 was written by Clement in his official capacity as bishop of Rome. Here, then, 1 Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. III., 16, 38.
we have a double testimony: 1. to the authority enjoyed by Clement; 2. to the authority of the epistle itself.
An official communication from one church to another would naturally touch only such points and urge such considerations as were generally accepted. Whatever, therefore, occurs in it, may be safely assumed to have been commonly recognized as constituent elements of Christian belief.
2. Throughout the epistle there is no attempt whatever to demonstrate any doctrine, or prove any fact; all is taken for granted. And further, doctrines and facts are introduced in the way of allusion-two peculiarities, which consist alone with the supposition that the Epistle reflects truly the substance and form of theological thought in Clement's day. As to substance, anything new or peculiar would have demanded proof, even between churches; especially when written by one individual in the name of a community. As to form, had it been customary to employ a more ratiocinative form, we must surely have found traces thereof even in an official letter. In similar letters written at a later period there is a marked difference in this respect, due unquestionably to the different character of the thought of the age.
This character of Clement himself, and of his epistle, viewed in connection with other considerations, is further a strong testimony to his having labored and written at the era we have supposed. Had he lived later, from the prominent position he occupied, we should have expected a tone and turn of mind more after the type of later writers, such as Justin Martyr, Clemens Alexandrinus, Tertullian, and others. And a few years later, an epistle that abstains so completely from theological controversy, that is occupied so exclusively with the practical aspects of Christianity, and that breathes so convinced, so harmonious, so peaceful a
1 Roman Catholic writers might say that this was because Clement wrote authoritatively, as the head of the Church on earth. But there is no trace whatever of such authority in the epistle. Clement writes as a brother to brethren, and all his reproofs and appeals bear this character.