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Three Millennia of Greek Literature

Clement of Alexandria: STROMATA (MISCELLANIES), Part III, Complete

Translated by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson.

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Page 78

For, in fine, the agreement and harmony of the faith of both [2945] contribute to one end--salvation. We have in the apostle an unerring witness: "For I desire to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, in order that ye may be strengthened; that is, that I may be comforted in you, by the mutual faith of you and me." [2946] And further on again he adds, "The righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith." [2947] The apostle, then, manifestly announces a twofold faith, or rather one which admits of growth and perfection; for the common faith lies beneath as a foundation. [2948] To those, therefore, who desire to be healed, and are moved by faith, He added, "Thy faith hath saved thee." [2949] But that which is excellently built upon is consummated in the believer, and is again perfected by the faith which results from instruction and the word, in order to the performance of the commandments. Such were the apostles, in whose case it is said that "faith removed mountains and transplanted trees." [2950] Whence, perceiving the greatness of its power, they asked "that faith might be added to them;" [2951] a faith which salutarily bites the soil "like a grain of mustard," and grows magnificently in it, to such a degree that the reasons of things sublime rest on it. For if one by nature knows God, as Basilides thinks, who calls intelligence of a superior order at once faith and kingship, and a creation worthy of the essence of the Creator; and explains that near Him exists not power, but essence and nature and substance; and says that faith is not the rational assent of the soul exercising free-will, but an undefined beauty, belonging immediately to the creature;--the precepts both of the Old and of the New Testament are, then, superfluous, if one is saved by nature, as Valentinus would have it, and is a believer and an elect man by nature, as Basilides thinks; and nature would have been able, one time or other, to have shone forth, apart from the Saviour's appearance. But were they to say that the visit of the Saviour was necessary, then the properties of nature are gone from them, the elect being saved by instruction, and purification, and the doing of good works.

[2945] Teacher and scholar.

[2946] Rom. i. 11, 12.

[2947] Rom. i. 17.

[2948] ["The common faith" (he koine pistis) is no "secret," then, and cannot be in its nature.]

[2949] Matt. ix. 22.

[2950] Matt. xvii. 20; Luke xvii. 6; 1 Cor. xiii. 2.

[2951] Luke xvii. 5.

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