Page:Dictionary of Christian Biography and Literature (1911).djvu/200

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182

CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA

CLEMENTINE LITERATURE

gnostic becomes in perfect unity in himself (μοναδικός), and as far as possible like God (id. iv. 154, p. 633; vii. 13, p. 835). Definite outward observances cease to have any value for one whose whole being is brought into an abiding harmony with that which is eternal: he has no wants, no passions; he rests in the contemplation of God, which is and will be his unfailing blessedness (id. vii. 35, p. 851, 84, p. 883; vi. 71, p. 776; vii. 56, p. 865). In this outline it is easy to see the noblest traits of later mysticism; and if some of Clement's statements go beyond subjects which lie within the powers of man, still he bears impressive testimony to two essential truths, that the aim of faith through knowledge perfected by love is the present recovery of the divine likeness; and that formulated doctrine is not an end in itself, but a means whereby we rise through fragmentary propositions to knowledge which is immediate and one.

(2) The character of the gnostic, the ideal Christian, the perfect philosopher, represents the link between man, in his earthly conflict, and God: it represents also the link between man and men. The gnostic fulfils through the gospel the destiny and nature of mankind, and gathers together the fruit of their varied experience. This thought of the Incarnation as the crown and consummation of the whole history of the world is perhaps that which is most characteristic of Clement's office as an interpreter of the faith. It rests upon his view of human nature, of the providential government of God, of the finality of the Christian dispensation. Man, according to Clement, is born for the service of God. His soul (ψυχή) is a gift sent down to him from heaven by God (Strom. iv. 169, p. 640), and strains to return thither (id. 9, p. 567). For this end there is need of painful training (Strom. i. 33, p. 335; vi. 78, p. 779); and the various partial sciences are helps towards the attainment of the true destiny of existence (Strom. vi. 80 ff. pp. 780 ff.). The "image" of God which man receives at his birth is slowly completed in the "likeness" of God (Strom. ii. 131, p. 499; cf. Paed. i. 98, p. 156). The inspiration of the divine breath by which he is distinguished from other creatures (Gen. ii. 7) is fulfilled by the gift of the Holy Spirit to the believer, which that original constitution makes possible (Strom. v. 87 f.; p. 698: cf. Strom. iv. 150, p. 632). The image of God, Clement says elsewhere, is the Word (Logos), and the true image of the Word is man, that is, the reason in man (Cohort. 98, p. 79). It flows necessarily from this view of humanity, as essentially related to God through the Word, that Clement acknowledged a providential purpose in the development of Gentile life. He recognized in the bright side of Gentile speculation many divine elements. These he regarded as partly borrowed from Jewish revelation, and partly derived from reason illuminated by the Word (Λόγος), the final source of reason. Some truths, he says, the Greek philosophers stole and disfigured; some they overlaid with restless and foolish speculations; others they discovered, for they also perhaps had "a spirit of wisdom" (Ex. xxviii. 3) (Strom. i. 87, p. 369). He distinctly recognized the office which Greek philosophy fulfilled for the Greeks as a guide to righteousness, and a work of divine providence (Strom. i. 176 ff. pp. 425 ff.; 91 ff. pp. 372 ff.). He regarded it as a preparation for justifying faith (Strom. i. 99, p. 377; vi. 44, p. 762; id. 47 ff. pp. 764 ff.), and in a true sense a dispensation, a covenant (Strom. vi. 42, p. 761; id. 67, p. 773; id. 159, p. 823; i. 28, p. 331).

The training of Jews and of the Greeks was thus in different ways designed to fit men for the final manifestation of the Christ. The systems were partial in their essence, and by human imperfection were made still more so. The various schools of philosophy, Jewish and heathen, are described by Clement under a memorable image, as rending in pieces the one truth like the Bacchants who rent the body of Pentheus, and bore about the fragments in triumph. Each, he says, boasts that the morsel which it has had the good fortune to gain is all the truth. Yet by the rising of the light all things are lightened, and he who again combines the divided parts and unites the exposition (λόγος) in a perfect whole will look upon the truth without peril (Strom. i. 57, p. 349).

Towards this great unity of all science and all life Clement himself strove; and by the influence of his writings kept others alive to the import of the magnificent promises in the teaching of St. Paul and St. John. He affirmed, once for all, upon the threshold of the new age, that Christianity is the heir of all past time, and the interpreter of the future. Sixteen centuries have confirmed the truth of his principle, and left its application still fruitful.

Clement of Alexandria's works are in Migne's Patr. Gk. vols. viii. ix.; and an ed. of his Opera ex rec. Guil. Dindorfii in 4 vols. with Latin notes is pub. by the Clarendon Press. A full enumeration of the MSS. of Clement's works will be found in D. C. B. (4-vol. ed.).

Besides the chief Church Histories, the following works are important for the study of Clement: Le Nourry, Appar. ad Bibliothecam Patrum, lib. iii. (reprinted in Dindorf's edition); Moehler, Patrologie, 1840; Mansel, The Gnostic Heresies, lect. xvi.; and the histories of the Alexandrine School, by Guericke, Matter, J. Simon, Vacherot. Interesting summaries of Clement's teaching, besides those in the general works of Lumper, Maréchal, and Schramm, are given by bp. Kaye (Some Account of the Writings and Opinions of Clement of Alexandria, Lond. 1835); abbé Freppel (Clément d’Alexandrie, cours à la Sorbonne, Paris, 1866); Ch. Bigg (The Christian Platonists of Alexandria, Oxf. 1886); F. J. A. Hort (Six Lectures on the Ante-Nicene Fathers, Lond. 1895). A cheap popular Life is pub. by S.P.C.K. in their Fathers for Eng. Readers; an Eng. trans. of the Homily on the Rich Man by P. M. Barnard (S.P.C.K.), text by the same in Texts and Studies, vol. v. No. 2 (Camb. Univ. Press), who has also collected Clement's Biblical text for the gospel and Acts (ib. vol. v. No. 4). A valuable ed. of the 7th book of the Miscellanies, with translation, introduction and notes, was pub. in 1902 at Cambridge by the late Prof. Hort and Prof. J. B. Mayor. Translations of most of his works are contained in the Ante-Nicene Lib. vol. ii. (T. & T. Clark).

[B.F.W.]

Clementine Literature. Among the spurious writings attributed to Clement of Rome, the