Miscellanies by Clement of Alexandria
(Stromata)

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Synopsis

THE UTILITY OF WRITTEN COMPOSITIONS. [ Wants the beginning] ……….that you may read them under your hand, and may be able to preserve them. Whether written compositions are not to be left behind at all; or if they are, by whom? And if the former, what need there is for written compositions? and if the latter, is the composition of them to be assigned to earnest men, or the opposite? It were certainly ridiculous for one to disapprove of the writing of earnest men, and approve of those, who are not such, engaging in the work of composition. Theopompus and Timaeus, who composed fables and slanders, and Epicurus the leader of atheism, and Hipponax and Archilochus, are to be allowed to write in their own shameful manner. But he who proclaims the truth is to be prevented from leaving behind him what is to benefit posterity. It is a good thing, I reckon, to leave to posterity good children. This is the case with children of our bodies. But words are the progeny of the soul. Hence we call those who have instructed us, fathers. Wisdom is a communicative and philanthropic thing. Accordingly, Solomon says, “My son, if thou receive the saying of my commandment, and hide it with thee, thine ear shall hear wisdom.” He points out that the word that is sown is hidden in the soul of the learner, as in the earth, and this is spiritual planting. Wherefore also he adds, “And thou shall apply thine heart to understanding, and apply it for the admonition of thy son.” For soul, me thinks, joined with soul, and spirit with spirit, in the sowing of the word, will make that which is sown grow and germinate. And every one who is instructed, is in respect of subjection the son of his instructor. “Son,” says he, “forget not my laws.” And if knowledge belong not to all (set an ass to the lyre, as the proverb goes), yet written compositions are for the many. “Swine, for instance, delight in dirt more than in clean water.” “Wherefore,” says the Lord, “I speak to them in parables: because seeing, they see not; and hearing, they hear not, and do not understand; “ not as if the Lord caused the ignorance: for it were impious to think so. But He prophetically exposed this ignorance, that existed in them, and intimated that they would not understand the things spoken. And now the Saviour shows Himself, out of His abundance, dispensing goods to His servants according to the ability of the recipient, that they may augment them by exercising activity, and then returning to reckon with them; when, approving of those that had increased His money, those faithful in little, and commanding them to have the charge over many things, He bade them enter into the joy of the Lord. But to him who had hid the money, entrusted to him to be given out at interest, and had given it back as he had received it, without increase, He said, “Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou oughtest to have given my money to the bankers, and at my coming I should have received mine own
 

About Clement of Alexandria

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Published October 22, 2011 by Beloved Publishing LLC. 484 pages
Genres: Religion & Spirituality, History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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