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CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA AND HIS WRITINGS. 233
der to escape the violence of it; and, to vindicate his conduct in this particular, he drew up a discourse, to prove the lawfulness of flying in times of persecution—an expedient which; though explicitly allowed, and even enjoined by the Saviour, had been rejected by some early converts as a base desertion of the cause of their divine master. Clement went to Jerusalem, and took up his abode for some time with Alexander, who was soon afterwards made bishop of the church there. During his residence at Rome, Clement was of great service to the church, as appears from a letter of Alexander to the church in Antioch, of which Clement was the bearer, and in which it is said, “ Clemens is a man of great virtue, as the church of Antioch knew already (probably from report]; but would know better when he came among them; and that hav. ing been at Jerusalem, he had, through the blessing of God, greatly confirmed and strengthened the church.” From Antioch he returned to Alexandria, probably when the storm was over; but we do not know how long he lived. All that is certainly known is that he survived Pantænus, at least some years, and that he was not old when he composed his learned treatise, entitled “Stromata ;" for he is explicit in stating that he had made that collection with a view of its serving him in his old age, when his memory should come to fail him. History says nothing of his death; but his character appears to have been highly reverenced at Alexandria, as we learn from an extract of a letter written by Alexander to Origen, which letter Eusebius has preserved. Among several works, of which Clement was the author, there are only three considerable ones remaining: viz. 1.“ Protrepticon ad Gentes,” or an Exhortation to the Pagans; in which he refutes the error and falsehood of their religion, and exhorts them to embrace Christianity: 2. “ Pædagogus, or the Schoolmaster,” in which he lays down a regular plan of duty for the Christian convert : and 3, “The Stromata," of which mention has been already made, and from which work, on account of the vast variety and profundity of learning displayed in it, he obtained the name of Stromateus.
The celebrated Spanheim, speaking of him, says, that he was a man of wonderful learning, as his Stromata evidently proves; and, though he is not without blemishes, yet a few Theological
errors and literary mistakes ought to be pardoned in so great a man.,'*
* As no English translation has yet been given of any part of Clement's works, (which is much to be regretted) it may be desirable to follow up this brief notice of him, by a few cursory remarks for the information of the general reader.
In his “ Protrepticon," or Exhortation to the Gentiles, after a masterly exposure of the absurd system of Polytheism, he thus rallies them :-" These are the symbols of your voluptuousness! These your insulting Theologies ! These the instructions of your co-fornicating gods !--your Satyrs, and your naked Nymphs, and contests of Buffoons, exposed naked in your Scriptures! Your ears are defiled—your eyes incontinent—your look adulterous, ye debasers of mankind ! devoting to disgrace the first fruits of the divine particle of your frame!”
In his book, entitled “The Pædagogue, or Preceptor," he undertakes to sketch the “ conduct of a genuine Christian," gives him directions concerning his appetites ; declaims against gluttony and luxury, and strongly recommends a vegetable diet. He draws a most odious picture of a glutton, hanging over every dish, peeping into, and tasting every thing, and cramming his belly like a wallet !-strongly recommends temperance and moderation in the use of wine, which, in general, should be mingled with water, and is of opinion that no more drink should be taken with food than what is sufficient to moisten it, in order to assist digestion-condemns sumptuous household furniture, and shows that utility, and not magnificence, should regulate our choice. He describes how Christians should behave themselves during their repasts--prohibits vain songs, and instruments of music, unless used to praise God. On this subject there is much curious information concerning the use of mu. sical instruments among different nations. He forbids immoderate laughter and ridicule, and pronounces immoderate laughter among females “the laugh of a harlot.” He is a most decided enemy to effeminacy in men--condemns the use of soft and costly beds-advises them to sleep sparingly if they wish for long life, and to take light suppers, that the body may be refreshed, and the mind undisturbed by idle visions and distracting phantoms, &c. He treats of beauty, which he resolves into the mind (viz, the faculty of reason), and of love_contends that the soul, not the body, should be adorned, and God, the supreme object of beauty, should be contemplated. When treating of riches, he shows that no person is truly rich but the genuine Christian, and insists on frugality, and the proper use of wealth. His book contains a variety of counsels, concerning the regulation of life-condemns games of chance, and theatrical entertainments-gives many directions to females concerning their decent behaviour-objects to plaiting the hair, but allows them to wear gold rings as a badge of their domestic life, and concludes the chapter with directions concerning “ salutations in the church,” particularly in reference to the “ Kiss of Charity,” which was then in common practice.
But the most valuable of the works of this very learned and judicious writer is what he calls his Stromata, or Miscellany, which contains a vast variety of subjects without any particular order or connexion. It is divided into eight books; the first of which treats of the utility of philosophy to a Christian. He mentions the origin of arts and sciences, and gives the bistory of philosophy among the Greeks and other nations, and shows that the Hebrews were the source whence all these excellences sprang. The second treats of faith and repentance, combats the errors of the Basilidians and Valentinians, and shows that frequent relapses into sin, though fol
SOME ACCOUNT OF MINUCIUS FELIX.
MINUCIUS Felix, of whom it still remains to give you some account, is sometimes placed before and at others after Tertullian; it is, however, acknowledged by all that he was contemporary with him; that he lived at the end of the second and beginning of the third century. Lardner places him as a writer A. D. 210; but says, “ It is difficult to determine with exactness the age of Minucius.” He was by birth an African, and brought up to the profession of the law, as we learn from both
lowed by penitence, differ nothing from Heathenism, except that such backsliders in Christianity possess more knowledge. He treats of marriage in such a manner as to prove that the celibacy of the clergy was not then thought of. He adduces a variety of reasons in favour of it (marriage), and shows that in old age or sickness there is no earthly comfort or support equal to that which a man receives from his wife and children ; and refutes the heretics who condemned marriage, and this he does by the words of the apostle Paul, that those who forbid marriage propagate “ the doctrine of devils," 1 Tim, iv. 1-3, and also by the example of Peter and Philip, who were both married men, In the fourth book he treats of martyrdom, showing that the genuine martyr does not give up his life for his religion, because he either hopes for a recompense or fears endless perdition, but solely for the love of God and truth. He answers the objections of those who said, “If God love you, why does he permit you to be persecuted ?" And this he does by showing that God permits it for the trial of their faith, and to manifest their steadfastness. He explains the love we should have for our enemies, by distinguishing between sin and the sinner, and insists that enmity and sin are nothing when separated from enemy and sinner. In the fifth book he contends that the Greeks had derived all their wisdom and information from those whom they termed barbarians, particularly the Hebrews. He observes that in speaking concerning God there is the greatest difficulty, because he is the first and principle of all things, and that in every thing the principle is difficult to be found how then can He be described who is neither genus nor species, nor difference, nor individual, nor number, nor accident, nor subject, nor parts, nor limits? On this subject he makes a great variety of quotations from the ancient Greek writers, which greatly enliven and diversify the book, The sixth book resumes the description of the true Christian, whose character he describes at large by his knowledge of God and things sacred, and by his redemption from every irregular appetite and passion. This subject is continued in the seventh book, where he defends him from the attacks of those who charged him with atheism. A long description is given of the Christian's piety to God, and benevolence to men; the errors of heretics and their methods of supporting them are refuted ; and, in the conclusion, he describes the method he had pursued in writing his “ Stromata." He tells us that his books “ do not resemble a well planted and correctly arranged garden, where every plant and shrub is placed in the most proper manner to please and delight the eye, but rather a thick and shady mountain, in which the cypress and plane tree, the laurel and ivy, the apple, the olive, and the fig, are indiscriminately mingled together; and from which materials may be taken by the experienced husbandman to make a beautiful grove, or a pleasant and delightful garden ;''-than wbich a more apt comparison could not easily have been devised.
Lactantius and Jerome; and, indeed, the fact is acknowledged by himself; for in one of his publications he expressly says, “the vacation of the vintage-time had released him from the business of the bar”-whence we infer that he was not only a lawyer, but that he practised at the bar after he became a convert to Christianity. He wrote a very elegant treatise in defence of Christianity, in the form of dialogue, in which the speakers are Cæcilius, a heathen, and Octavius, a Christian ; Minucius himself sitting as umpire between them. Cæcilius opens the conference, and urges all the topics he could recollect in defence of Paganism and against Christianity. Felix then offers some remarks on what Cæcilius had advanced: after which Octavius enters upon a particular refutation of Paganism, and concludes with supporting and establishing the Christian religion : the result of which is that Cæcilius becomes a convert. The style of Minucius has been said to possess all the graces of Ciceronian eloquence; and the dialogue to be at once sprightly, elegant, and instructive; but, to enable you to form some judgment of it, I will produce a few extracts from it.
Cæcilius, the heathen, accuses the Christians as a desperate and unlawful faction, who poured contempt upon their gods,derided their worship-scoffed at 'their priests—and despised their temples as no better than charnel-houses and heaps of dead men's bones. To this Octavius, the Christian, replies that he shall endeavour to the best of his ability to exonerate his religion from the foul aspersions cast upon it by his opponent. He admits, indeed, that the Christians poured contempt upon the idolatrous objects of heathen worship, and, having admitted this, he proceeds to expose the vanity of their images: “ The mice, the swallows, and the gnats," says he, “ gnaw, insult, and sit upon your gods; and, unless you drive them away, they build their nests in their very mouths, and the spiders weave their webs over their very faces. First you make them; then you clean, wipe, and protect, that you may fear and worship them. Were we to view all your rites, there are many things that justly deserve to be laughed at—others that call for pity and compassion.” He then proceeds to discuss the subject with his opponent, in regular order. He shows that man differs from all the other creatures in this lower world-chiefly in this
APOLOGY OF MINUCIUS FELIX.
that while the beasts of the field are created prone to the earth, bent downward by nature, and formed to seek no other gratification than the satisfying of their bellies, man was created erect and upright, formed for the contemplation of the heavens, susceptible of reason and conscience, adapted to lead him to the knowledge of God and an imitation of his character. Hence he infers the absurdity of Atheism, and the necessity of a great First Cause, as one of the clearest dictates of reason and conscience. “When you lift up your eyes to the heavens,” says he,“ and take a survey of the works of creation around you, what is so clear and undeniable as that there is a God, supremely excellent in understanding, who inspires, moves, supports, and governs all nature. Consider the vast expanse of heaven, and the rapidity of its motion, when studded with stars by night, or enlightened with the sun by day:--contemplate the Almighty hand which poises them in their orbs and balances them in their movement ;-behold how the sun regulates the year by its annual circuit, and how the moon measures round a month by its increase, its decay, and its total disappearance. Why need I mention the constant vicissitudes of light and darkness, for the alternate reparation of rest and labour ? Does not the standing variety of the seasons, proceeding in goodly order, bear witness to its divine author ? The spring with her flowers, the summer with its harvest, the ripening autumn with its grateful fruits, and the moist and unctuous winter, are all equally necessary. What an argument for Providence is this which interposes and moderates the extremes of winter and summer, with the allays of spring and autumn; thus enabling us to pass the year about with security and comfort, between the extremes of parching heat and cold! Observe the sea, and you will find it bounded with a shore, a law which it cannot transgress. "Look into the vegetable world, and see how all the trees draw their life from the bowels of the earth. View the ocean in constant ebb and flow; and the fountains running in full veins, with the rivers perpetually gliding in their wonted channels. Why should I take up time in showing how providentially this spot of earth is cantoned into hills, and dales, and plains ? What need I speak of the various artillery for the defence of every animal ; some armed with horns and hedged about with teeth, or fortified