Matt. 5:13-16 (Part 3)

CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA: But we ought to have works that cry aloud, as becoming “those who walk in the day.” “Let your works shine,” and behold a man and his works before his face. “For behold God and His works.” For the Christian must, as far as is possible, imitate God.
The Stromata, 2.441.

CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA: Do you not realize, my worthy friends (I speak as if you were present with me) that by conflict with these excellent commandments you fight against your own salvation? You overturn yourselves, not these beneficial instructions. The Lord said, “Let your good works shine out.” But you make your licentiousness manifest to all. Besides, if your aim is to destroy the lawgiver's commands, why is it the commands, “You shall not commit adultery,” and, “You shalt not corrupt boys,” and all the commandments enjoining purity, which through your lack of self-restraint you seek to destroy? On Marriage.

TERTULLIAN: But “let your works shine,” He says. On Idolatry, 3.70.

TERTULLIAN: Perhaps some woman will say: “To me it is not necessary to be approved by men; for I do not require the testimony of men: God is the inspector of the heart.” We all know that; provided, however, we remember what the same God has said through the apostle: “Let your integrity appear before men.” For what purpose, except that malice may have no access at all to you, or that you may be an example and testimony to the evil? Else, what is that: “Let your works shine?” Why does the Lord call us the light of the world; why has He compared us to a city built upon a mountain; if we do not shine in the midst of darkness, and stand eminent amid them who are sunk down? If you hide your lamp beneath a bushel, you must necessarily be left quite in darkness, and be run against by many. The things which make us luminaries of the world are these— our good works. On the Apparel of Women, 4.25.

ORIGEN: “There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead.” It was not therefore in harmony to reason that those who had been taught sublimely to ascend above all created things, and to hope for the enjoyment of the most glorious rewards with God on account of their virtuous lives, and who had heard the words, “You are the light of the world,” and, “Let your light so shine before men, that they, seeing your good works, may glorify your Father who is in heaven,” and who possessed through practice this brilliant and unfading wisdom, or who had secured even the “very reflection of everlasting light,” should be so impressed with the mere visible light of sun, and moon, and stars, that, on account of that sensible light of theirs, they should deem themselves . . . to be somehow inferior to them, and to bow down to them; seeing they ought to be worshipped, if they are to receive worship at all, not for the sake of the sensible light which is admired by the multitude, but because of the rational and true light, if indeed the stars in heaven are rational and virtuous beings, and have been illuminated with the light of knowledge by that wisdom which is the “reflection of everlasting light.” For that sensible light of theirs is the work of the Creator of all things, while that rational light is derived perhaps from the principle of free will within them. Against Celsus, 4.547

ORIGEN: If we fail to walk as the sons of light and sons of God, if we do not behave as God's people, “so that men who see our good works may glorify our Father in heaven,” it has to be feared lest we fall upon that word of the Apostle when he says, “For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you.” Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans.

ORIGEN: Let everyone in the Church consider these same things in relation to himself so that in whatever position he stands, whether in the clergy or among the people, he should make the ministry of his faith illustrious and do such deeds “that men, by seeing his good works, will glorify the Father who is in heaven.” Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans.

ORIGEN: “Let your light shine before men and when they see your good works may they glorify your Father in heaven.” Through this surely he is not exhorting the disciples to seek glory from men, but that, as they live honestly and uprightly, they should bestow edification to those who see, and God, who has disclosed to men the way of amendment and salvation, may be glorified. Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans.

CYPRIAN: For as the Jews were alienated from God, as those on whose account “the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles,” so on the other hand those are dear to God through whose conformity to discipline the name of God is declared with a testimony of praise, as it is written, the Lord Himself forewarning and saying, “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” The Epistles of Cyprian, 5.284.

CYPRIAN: “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Also Paul to the Philippians: “Shine as lights in the world.” The Treatises of Cyprian, 5.542.

METHODIUS: “The kingdom of heaven is likened to ten virgins, which took their lamps and went forth to meet the bridegroom.” . . . By profession they had equally proposed the same end, and therefore they are called ten, since, as I have said, they chose the same profession; but they did not, for all that, go forth in the same way to meet the bridegroom. For some provided abundant future nourishment for their lamps which were fed with oil, but others were careless, thinking only of the present. . . . For whether, on the one hand, we do right, or, on the other, do wrong through these senses, our habits of good and evil are confirmed. . . . Now the oil represents wisdom and righteousness; for while the soul rains down unsparingly, and pours forth these things upon the body, the light of virtue is kindled unquenchably, making its good actions to shine before men, so that our Father which is in heaven may be glorified. The Banquet of the Ten Virgins, 6.329-330.

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