Fasting Meditation 3: A Christian Writing from the Second Century (2 Clement)

Fasting Meditation 3: A Christian Writing from the Second Century (2 Clement)

Although labeled “2 Clement” this excerpt is from a text written by an anonymous author from the second century (A.D. 140-160) and not Clement of Rome (who was from the generation following the apostles).  However, the work was included along with 1 Clement in several Christian collections, one of which (Codex Alexandrinus) dates from the fourth century.

“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 here. 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 of Jesus. 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 should perish! 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.” (2 Clement 15.2–17.3)

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I’m a husband, father, and one of those friends who has a terrible habit of not returning phone calls.  I’m really just trying to figure out what it means to follow Jesus, and I enjoy meeting great people along the way and maybe having a chance to spend time talking about things deep and trivial.

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