AN ANCIENT HOMILY BY AN UNKNOWN AUTHOR
OTHERWISE KNOWN AS SECOND CLEMENT
Translated by J.B. Lightfoot.
Adapt. and mod. (c) 1990. ATHENA DATA PRODUCTS
Brethren, we ought so to think of Jesus Christ, as of God, as of the
Judge of quick and dead.
And we ought not to think mean things of our Salvation: for when we
think mean things of Him, we expect also to receive mean things. And
they that listen as concerning mean things do wrong; and we ourselves
do wrong, not knowing whence and by whom and unto what place we were
called, and how many things Jesus Christ endured to suffer for our
What recompense then shall we give unto Him? Or what fruit worthy of
His own gift to us? And how many mercies do we owe to Him!
For He bestowed the light upon us; He spake to us, as a father to his
sons; He saved us, when we were perishing.
What praise then shall we give to Him? Or what payment of recompense
for those things which we received?
We who were maimed in our understanding, and worshipped stocks and
stones and gold and silver and bronze, the works of men; and our
whole life was nothing else but death. While then we were thus
wrapped in darkness and oppressed with this thick mist in our vision,
we recovered our sight, putting off by His will the cloud wherein we
For He had mercy on us, and in His compassion saved us, having beheld
in us much error and perdition, even when we had no hope of
salvation, save that which came from Him.
For He called us, when we were not, and from not being He willed us
Rejoice, thou barren that barest not. Break out and cry, thou that
travailest not; for more are the children of the desolate than of
her that hath the husband. In that He said Rejoice, thou barren
that barest not, He spake of us: for our Church was barren, before
that children were given unto her.
And in that He said, Cry aloud, thou that travailest not, He
meaneth this; Let us not, like women in travail, grow weary of
offering up our prayers with simplicity to God.
Again, in that He said, For the children of the desolate are more
than of her that hath the husband, He so spake, because our people
seemed desolate and forsaken of God, whereas now, having believed, we
have become more than those who seemed to have God.
Again another scripture saith, I came not to call the righteous,
He meaneth this; that it is right to save them that are perishing.
For this indeed is a great and marvelous work, to establish, not
those things which stand, but those which are falling.
So also Christ willed to save the things which were perishing And He
saved many, coming and calling us when we were even now perishing.
Seeing then that He bestowed so great mercy on us; first of all,
that we, who are living, do not sacrifice to these dead gods, neither
worship them, but through Him have known the Father of truth. What
else is this knowledge to Himward, but not to deny Him through whom
we have known Him?
Yea, He Himself saith, Whoso confesseth Me, Him will I confess
before the Father.
This then is our reward, if verily we shall confess Him through whom
we were saved.
But wherein do we confess Him? When we do that which He saith and are
not disobedient unto His commandments, and not only honor Him
with our lips, but with our whole heart and with our whole
Now He saith also in Isaiah, This people honoreth me with their
lips, but their heart is far from Me.
Let us therefore not only call Him Lord, for this will not save us:
for He saith, Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, shall be
saved, but he that doeth righteousness.
So then, brethren, let us confess Him in our works, by loving one
another, by not committing adultery nor speaking evil one against
another nor envying, but being temperate, merciful, kindly. And we
ought to have fellow-feeling one with another and not to be covetous.
By these works let us confess Him, and not by the contrary.
And we ought not rather to fear men but God.
For this cause, if ye do these things, the Lord said, Though ye be
gathered together with Me in My bosom, and do not My commandments,
I will cast you away and will say unto you, Depart from Me, I know
you not whence ye are, ye workers of iniquity.
Wherefore, brethren, let us forsake our sojourn in this world and do
the will of Him that called us, and let us not be afraid to depart
out of this world.
For the Lord saith, Ye shall be as lambs in the midst of wolves.
But Peter answered and said unto Him, What then, if the wolves
should tear the lambs?
Jesus said unto Peter, Let not the lambs fear the wolves after they
are dead; and ye also, fear ye not them that kill you and are not
able to do anything to you; but fear Him that after ye are dead
hath power over soul and body, to cast them into the Gehenna of
And ye know, brethren, that the sojourn of this flesh in this world
is mean and for a short time, but the promise of Christ is great and
marvelous, even the rest of the kingdom that shall be and of life
What then can we do to obtain them, but walk in holiness and
righteousness, and consider these worldly things as alien to us, and
not desire them?
For when we desire to obtain these things we fall away from the
But the Lord saith, No servant can serve two masters. If we
desire to serve both God and mammon, it is unprofitable for us:
For what advantage is it, if a man gain the whole world and forfeit
Now this age and the future are two enemies.
The one speaketh of adultery and defilement and avarice and deceit,
but the other biddeth farewell to these.
We cannot therefore be friends of the two, but must bid farewell to
the one and hold companionship with the other.
Let us consider that it is better to hate the things which are here,
because they are mean and for a short time and perishable, and to
love the things which are there, for they are good and imperishable.
For, if we do the will of Christ, we shall find rest; but if
otherwise, then nothing shall deliver us from eternal punishment, if
we should disobey His commandments.
And the scripture also saith in Ezekiel, Though Noah and Job and
Daniel should rise up, they shall not deliver their children in
But if even such righteous men as these cannot by their righteous
deeds deliver their children, with what confidence shall we, if we
keep not our baptism pure and undefiled, enter into the kingdom of
God? Or who shall be our advocate, unless we be found having holy
and righteous works?
So then, my brethren, let us contend, knowing that the contest is
nigh at hand, and that, while many resort to the corruptible
contests, yet not all are crowned, but only they that have toiled
hard and contended bravely.
Let us then contend that we all may be crowned.
Wherefore let us run in the straight course, the incorruptible
contest. And let us resort to it in throngs and contend, that we may
also be crowned. And if we cannot all be crowned, let us at least
come near to the crown.
We ought to know that he which contendeth in the corruptible contest,
if he be found dealing corruptly with it, is first flogged. and then
removed and driven out of the race course.
What think ye? What shall be done to him that hath dealt corruptly
with the contest of incorruption?
For as concerning them that have not kept the seal, He saith, Their
worm shall not die, and their fire shall not be quenched, and they
shall be for a spectacle unto all flesh.
While we are on earth then, let us repent: for we are clay under the
For in like manner as the potter, if he be making a vessel, and it
get twisted or crushed in his hands, reshapeth it again; but if he
have once put it into the fiery oven, he shall no longer mend it: so
also let us, while we are in this world, repent with our whole heart
of the evil things which we have done in the flesh, that we may be
saved by the Lord, while we have yet time for repentance.
For after that we have departed out of the world, we can no more make
confession there, or repent any more.
Wherefore, brethren, if we shall have done the will of the Father and
kept the flesh pure and guarded the commandments of the Lord, we
shall receive life eternal.
For the Lord saith in the Gospel, If ye kept not that which is
little, who shall give unto you that which is great? For I say unto
you that he which is faithful in the least, is also faithful in
So then He meaneth this, Keep the flesh pure and the seal unstained,
to the end that we may receive life.
And let not any one of you say that this flesh is not judged neither
Understand ye. In what were ye saved? In what did ye
recover your sight? if ye were not in this flesh.
We ought therefore to guard the flesh as a temple of God:
for in like manner as ye were called in the flesh, ye shall come also
in the flesh.
If Christ the Lord who saved us, being first spirit, then became
flesh, and so called us, in like manner also shall we in this flesh
receive our reward.
Let us therefore love one another, that we all may come unto the
kingdom of God.
While we have time to be healed, let us place ourselves in the hands
of God the physician, giving Him a recompense.
What recompense? Repentance from a sincere heart.
For He discerneth all things beforehand and knoweth what is in our
Let us therefore give unto Him eternal praise, not from our lips
only, but also from our heart, that He may receive us as sons.
For the Lord also said, These are my brethren, which do the will of
Wherefore, my brethren, let us do the will of the Father which
called us, that we may live; and let us the rather pursue virtue, but
forsake vice as the forerunner of our sins, and let us flee from
ungodliness, lest evils overtake us.
For if we be diligent in doing good, peace will pursue us.
For this cause is a man unable to *attain happiness*, seeing that
they call in the fears of men, preferring rather the enjoyment which
is here than the promise which is to come.
For they know not how great torment the enjoyment which is here
bringeth, and what delight the promise which is to come bringeth.
And if verily they were doing these things by themselves alone, it
had been tolerable: but now they continue teaching evil to innocent
souls, not knowing that they shall have their condemnation doubled,
both themselves and their hearers.
Let us therefore serve God in a pure heart, and we shall be
righteous; but if we serve Him not, because we believe not the
promise of God, we shall be wretched.
For the word of prophecy also saith: Wretched are the
double-minded, that doubt in their heart and say, These things we
heard of old in the days of our fathers also, yet we have waited
day after day and seen none of them.
Ye fools! compare yourselves unto a tree; take a vine. First it
sheds its leaves, then a shoot cometh, after this a sour berry,
then a full ripe grape.
So likewise My people had tumults and afflictions: but afterward
they shall receive good things.
Wherefore, my brethren, let us not be double-minded but endure
patiently in hope, that we may also obtain our reward.
For faithful is He that promised to pay to each man the recompense
of his works.
If therefore we shalt have wrought righteousness in the sight of God,
we shalt enter into His kingdom and shall receive the promises which
ear hath not heard nor eye seen, nor eye seen, neither hath it
entered into the heart of man.
Let us therefore await the kingdom of God betimes in love and
righteousness, since we know not the day of God's appearing.
For the Lord Himself, being asked by a certain person when his
kingdom would come, said, When the two shall be one, and the
outside as the inside, and the male with the female, neither male
Now the two are one, when we speak truth among ourselves, and
in two bodies there shall be one soul without dissimulation.
And by the outside as the inside He meaneth this: by the inside he
meaneth the soul and by the outside the body. Therefore in like
manner as they body appeareth, so also let thy soul be manifest by
its good works.
And by the male with the female, neither male nor female, he
meaneth this; that a brother seeing a sister should have no thought
of her as a female, and that a sister seeing a brother should not
have any thought of him as a male.
These things if ye do, saith He, the kingdom of my father shall come.
Therefore, brethren, let us repent forthwith. Let us be sober unto
that which is good: for we are full of much folly and wickedness.
Let us wipe away from us our former sins, and let us not be found to
be men pleasers. Neither let us desire to please one another only,
but also those men that are without, by our righteousness, that the
Name be not blasphemed by reason of us.
For the Lord saith, Every way My Name is blasphemed among all the
Gentiles; and again, Woe unto him by reason of whom My Name is
blasphemed. Wherein is it blasphemed? In that ye do not the things
which I desire.
For the Gentiles, when they hear from our mouths the oracles of God,
marvel at them for their beauty and greatness; then, when they
discover that our works are not worthy of the words which we speak,
forthwith they betake themselves to blasphemy, saying that it is an
idle story and a delusion.
For when they here from us that God saith, It is no thank unto you,
if ye love them that love you, but this is thank unto you, if ye
love your enemies and them that hate you; when they hear these
things, I say, they marvel at their exceeding goodness; but when they
see that we not only do not love us, they laugh us to scorn, and the
Name is blasphemed.
Wherefore, brethren, if we do the will of God our Father, we shall
be of the first Church, which is spiritual, which was created before
the sun and the moon; but if we do not the will of the Lord, we shall
be of the scripture that saith, My house was made a den of
robbers. So therefore let us choose rather to be of the Church of
life, that we may be saved.
And I do not suppose ye are ignorant that the living Church is the
body of Christ: for the scripture saith, God made man, male and
female. The male is Christ and the female is the Church. And the
Books and the Apostles plainly declare that the Church existeth not
now for the first time, but hath been from the beginning: for she was
spiritual, as our Jesus also was spiritual, but was manifested in the
last days that He might save us.
Now the Church, being spiritual was manifested in the flesh of
Christ, thereby showing us that if any of us guard her in the flesh
and defile her not, he shall receive her again in the Holy Spirit:
for this flesh is the counterpart and copy of the spirit. No man
therefore, when he hath defiled the copy, shall receive the original
for his portion. This therefore is what He meaneth, brethren; Guard
ye the flesh, that ye may partake of the spirit.
But if we say that the flesh is the Church and the spirit is Christ,
then he that hath dealt wantonly with the flesh hath dealt wantonly
with the Church. Such and one therefore shall not partake of the
spirit, which is Christ>.
So excellent is the life and immortality which this flesh can receive
as its portion, if the Holy Spirit be joined to it. No man can
declare or tell those things which the Lord hath prepared for His
Now I do not think that I have given any mean council respecting
continence, and whosoever performeth it shall not repent thereof, but
shall save both himself and me his councilor. For it is no mean
reward to convert a wondering and perishing soul, that it may be
For this is the recompense which we are able to pay to God who
created us, if he that speaketh and heareth both speak and hear with
faith and love.
Let is therefore abide in the things which we believed, in
righteousness and holiness, that we may with boldness as of God who
saith, Whiles thou art still speaking I will say, Behold, I am
For this word is the token of a great promise: for the Lord saith of
Himself that He is more ready to give than he that asketh to ask.
Seeing then that we are partakers of so great kindness, let us not
grudge ourselves the obtaining of so many good things. For in
proportion as the pleasure is great which these words bring to them
that have performed them, so also is the condemnation great which
they bring to them that have been disobedient.
Therefore, brethren, since we have found no small opportunity for
repentance, seeing that we have time, let us turn again unto God that
called us, while we have still One that receiveth us.
For if we bid farewell to these enjoyments and conquer our soul in
refusing to fulfill its evil lusts, we shall be partakers of the mercy
But ye know that the day of judgment cometh even now as a burning
oven, and the powers of the heavens shall melt, and all the earth
as lead melting on the fire, and then shall appear the secret and
open works of men.
Almsgiving therefore is a good thing, even as repentance from sin>
Fasting is better than prayer, but almsgiving better than both. And
love covereth a multitude of sins, but prayer out of a good
conscience delivereth from death. Blessed is every man that is found
full of these. For almsgiving lifteth off the burden of sin.
Let us therefore repent with our whole heart, lest any of us perish
by the way. For if we have received commands, that we should make
this our business, to tear men away from idols and to instruct them,
how much more is it wrong that a soul which knoweth God already
Therefore let us assist one another, that we may also lead the weak
upward as touching that which is good, to the end that we all may be
saved: and let us convert and admonish one another.
And let us not think to give heed and believe now only, while we have
departed home, let us remember the commandments of the Lord, and not
suffer ourselves to be dragged off the other way by our worldly
lusts; but coming hither more frequently, let us strive to go forward
in the commandments of the Lord, that we all having the same mind may
be gathered together unto life.
For the Lord said, I come to gather together all the nations,
tribes, and languages. Herein He speaketh of the day of His
appearing, when He shall come and redeem us, each man according to
And the unbelievers shall see His glory and His might: and they
shall be amazed when they see the kingdom of the world given to
Jesus, saying, Woe unto us, for Thou wast, and we knew it not, and
believed not; and we obeyed not the presbyters when they told us of
our salvation. And Their worm shall not die, and their fire shall
not be quenched, and they shall be for a spectacle unto all flesh.
He speaketh of that day of judgment, when men shall see those among
us that live ungodly lives and dealt falsely with the commandments of
But the righteous, done good and endured torments and
hated pleasures of the soul, when they shall behold them that have
done amiss and denied Jesus by their words or by their deeds, how
that they are punished with grievous torments in unquenchable fire,
shall give glory to God, saying, There will be hope for him that hath
served God with his whole heart.
Therefore let us also be found among those that give thanks, among
those that have served God, and not among the ungodly that are
For I myself too, being an utter sinner and not yet escaped from
temptation, but being still amidst the engines of the devil, do my
diligence to follow after righteousness, that I may prevail so far at
least as to come near unto it, while I fear the judgment to come.
Therefore, brothers and sisters, after the God of truth hath been
heard, I read unto you an exhortation to the end that ye may give
heed to the things which are written, for that ye may save both
yourselves and him that readeth in the midst of you. For I ask of
you as a reward that ye repent with your whole heart, and give
salvation and life to yourselves. For doing this we shall set a goal
for all the young who desire to toil in the study of piety and of the
goodness of God.
And let is not be displeased and vexed, fools that we are, whensoever
any one admonish us and turneth us aside from unrighteousness unto
righteousness. For sometimes while we do evil things, we perceive it
not by reason of the double-mindedness and unbelief which is in our
breasts, and we are darkened in our understanding by our vain
Let us therefore practice righteousness that we may be saved unto the
end. Blessed are they that obey these ordinances. Though they may
endure affliction for a short time in the world, they will gather the
immortal fruit of the resurrection.
Therefore let not the godly be grieved, if he be miserable in the
times that now are: a blessed time awaiteth him. He shall live
again in heaven with our fathers, and shall have rejoicing throughout
a sorrowless eternity.
Neither suffer ye this again to trouble your mind, that we see the
unrighteous possessing wealth, and the servants of God straitened.
Let us then have faith, brothers and sisters. We are trained by the
present life, that we may be crowned with the future.
No righteous man hath reaped fruit quickly but waiteth for it.
For if God had paid the recompense of the righteous speedily, then
straightway we should have been training ourselves in merchandise,
and not in godliness; for we should seem to be righteous, though we
were pursuing not that which is godly, but which is gainful. And for
this cause Divine judgment overtaketh a spirit that is not just, and
loadeth it with chains.
To the only God invisible, the Father of truth, who sent forth unto
us the Savior and Prince of immortality, through whom also He made
manifest unto us the truth and the heavenly life, to Him be the glory
for ever and ever. Amen.