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Three Millennia of Greek Literature


Clement of Alexandria : O THE PERFECT CHILD!

from Clement's Instructor (Paedagogus), * 1.5, translated by A. Roberts and J. Donaldson.
Text in <angle brackets> added by Elpenor.

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The prophetic spirit also distinguishes us as children. "Plucking," it is said, "branches of olives or palms, the children went forth to meet the Lord, and cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord; " light, and glory, and praise, with supplication to the Lord: for this is the meaning of the expression Hosanna when rendered in Greek. And the Scripture appears to me, in allusion to the prophecy just mentioned, reproachfully to upbraid the thoughtless: "Have ye never read, Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings Thou hast perfected praise?" In this way the Lord in the Gospels spurs on His disciples, urging them to attend to Him, hastening as He was to the Father; rendering His hearers more eager by the intimation that after a little He was to depart, and showing them that it was requisite that they should take more unsparing advantage of the truth than ever before, as the Word was to ascend to heaven. Τοὺς παῖδας ἡμᾶς καὶ τὸ προφητικὸν ἐκδέχεται πνεῦμα· δρεψάμενοι͵ φησί͵ κλάδους ἐλαίας ἢ φοινίκων οἱ παῖδες ἐξῆλθον εἰς ὑπάντησιν κυρίῳ καὶ ἐκέκραγον λέγοντες͵ ὡσαννὰ τῷ υἱῷ Δαβίδ͵ εὐλογημένος ὁ ἐρχόμενος ἐν ὀνόματι κυρίου͵ φῶς καὶ δόξα καὶ αἶνος μεθ΄ ἱκετηρίας τῷ κυρίῳ· τουτὶ γὰρ ἐμφαίνει ἑρμηνευόμενον Ἑλλάδι φωνῇ τὸ ὡσαννά. Καί μοι δοκεῖ ἡ γραφὴ ταύτην αἰνιττομένη τὴν προφητείαν τὴν προειρημένην ἐν ὀνείδους μέρει τοῖς ῥᾳθύμοις ἐγκαλεῖν· Οὐδέποτε ἀνέγνωτε ὅτι ἐκ στόματος νηπίων καὶ θηλαζόντων κατηρτίσω αἶνον. Τοῦτό τοι καὶ ὁ κύριος ἐν τῷ εὐαγγελίῳ μυωπίζει τοὺς γνωρίμους͵ προσέχειν αὐτῷ παρορμῶν ὡς ἤδη σπεύδων πρὸς τὸν πατέρα͵ ὀρεκτικωτέρους παρασκευάζων τοὺς ἀκροατὰς μετ΄ ὀλίγον ἀπεῖναι προμηνύων͵ ὡς δέον αὐτοῖς ἀποκαρπίζεσθαι τῆς ἀληθείας ἀφειδέστερον δηλῶν ὅσον οὐδέπω ἀπαίροντος εἰς οὐρανὸν τοῦ λόγου.
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