Matt. 5:1-12 (Part 4)

ORIGEN: “Moreover,” Celsus [a pagan critic] continues, “these persons utter against one another dreadful blasphemies, saying all manner of things shameful to be spoken; nor will they yield in the slightest point for the sake of harmony, hating each other with a perfect hatred.” Now, in answer to this, we have already said that in philosophy and medicine sects are to be found warring against sects. We, however, who are followers of the word of Jesus, and have exercised ourselves in thinking, and saying, and doing what is in harmony with His words, “when reviled, bless; being persecuted, we suffer it; being defamed, we entreat;” and we would not utter “all manner of things shameful to be spoken” against those who have adopted different opinions from ours, but, if possible, use every exertion to raise them to a better condition through adherence to the Creator alone, and lead them to perform every act as those who will (one day) be judged. And if those who hold different opinions will not be convinced, we observe the injunction laid down for the treatment of such: “A man that is a heretic, after the first and second admonition, reject, knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinful, being condemned of himself.” Moreover, we who know the maxim, “Blessed are the peacemakers,” and this also, “Blessed are the meek,” would not regard with hatred the corrupters of Christianity. Against Celsus, 4.570-571..

5:6ff SECOND CLEMENT: If, therefore, we shall do righteousness in the sight of God, we shall enter into His kingdom, and shall receive the promises. 7.520.

CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA: Our holy Savior applied poverty and riches, and the like, both to spiritual things and objects of sense. For when He said, “Blessed are they that are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,” He clearly taught us in every circumstance to seek for the martyr who, if poor for righteousness’ sake, witnesses that the righteousness which he loves is a good thing; and if he “hunger and thirst for righteousness’ sake,” testifies that righteousness is the best thing. Likewise he, that weeps and mourns for righteousness’ sake, testifies to the best law that it is beautiful. As, then, “those that are persecuted,” so also “those that hunger and thirst” for righteousness’ sake, are called “blessed” by Him who approves of the true desire, which not even famine can put a stop to. And if “they hunger after righteousness itself,” they are blessed.
The Stromata, 2.413.

5:7 CLEMENT OF ROME: Let us therefore, brethren, be of humble mind, laying aside all haughtiness, and pride, and foolishness, and angry feelings; and let us act according to that which is written (for the Holy Spirit says, “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, neither let the rich man glory in his riches; but let him that glories glory in the Lord, in diligently seeking Him, and doing judgment and righteousness,”) being especially mindful of the words of the Lord Jesus which He spoke, teaching us meekness and longsuffering. For He spoke: “Be merciful, that you may obtain mercy; forgive, that it may be forgiven to you; as you do, so shall it be done unto you; as you judge, so shall you be judged; as you are kind, so shall kindness be shown to you; with what measure you mete, with the same it shall be measured to you.” By this precept and by these rules let us establish ourselves, that we walk with all humility in obedience to His holy words. For the holy word says, “On whom shall I look, but on him that is meek and peaceable, and that trembles at My words?”
Epistle to the Corinthians, 1.8.

CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA: And “the merciful” He blesses, “for they shall obtain mercy.” The Instructor, 2.293.

CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA: He again says, “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.” And mercy is not, as some of the philosophers have imagined, pain on account of others’ calamities, but rather something good, as the prophets say. For it is said, “I will have mercy, and not sacrifice.” And He means by the merciful, not only those who do acts of mercy, but those who wish to do them, though they are not able; who do as far as purpose is concerned. The Stromata, 2.416.

CYPRIAN: For he shall not be able to deserve the mercy of the Lord, who himself shall not have been merciful; nor shall he obtain aught from the divine pity in his prayers, who shall not have been humane towards the poor man’s prayer. The Treatises of Cyprian, 5.477.

LACTANTIUS: He shows mercy to him whom He sees to be merciful; He is without mercy to him whom He sees to be harsh to those who entreat him. The Epitome of the Divine Institutes, 7.250.

5:8 IRENAEUS: As, therefore, when that which is perfect is come, we shall see Him whom we now desire to see (for “blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God;”) . . . and Him who was born of the Virgin Mary, who also suffered, in whom also we trust, and whom we love. Against Heresies, 1.472.

IRENAEUS: The prophets, then, indicated beforehand that God should be seen by men; as the Lord also says, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” But in respect to His greatness, and His wonderful glory, “no man shall see God and live,” for the Father is incomprehensible; but in regard to His love, and kindness, and as to His infinite power, even this He grants to those who love Him, that is, to see God.
Against Heresies, 1.489.

CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA: And since there are two paths of reaching the perfection of salvation, works and knowledge, He called the “pure in heart blessed, for they shall see God.” And if we really look to the truth of the matter, knowledge is the purification of the leading faculty of the soul, and is a good activity. Some things accordingly are good in themselves, and others by participation in what is good, as we say good actions are good. But without things intermediate which hold the place of material, neither good nor bad actions are constituted, such I mean as life, and health, and other necessary things or circumstantials. Pure then as respects carnal lusts, and pure in respect of holy thoughts, he means those are, who attain to the knowledge of God, when the chief faculty of the soul has nothing spurious to stand in the way of its power. The Stromata, 2.416.

CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA: We find in Moses: “No man shall see My face, and live.” For it is evident that no one during the period of life has been able to apprehend God clearly. But “the pure in heart shall see God,” when they arrive at the final perfection. For since the soul became too enfeebled for the apprehension of realities, we needed a divine teacher. The Savior is sent down— a teacher and leader in the acquisition of the good—the secret and sacred token of the great Providence. The Stromata, 2.446.

CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA: The presence of wealth in these is deadly to all, the loss of it is health-giving. Of which, making the soul pure,—that is, poor and bare,—we must hear the Savior speaking thus, “Come, follow Me.” For to the pure in heart He now becomes the way. But into the impure soul the grace of God finds no entrance. Who is the Rich Man that shall Be Saved?, 2.595.

ORIGEN: Wise men—Moses, the most ancient of them all, and the prophets who followed him,—knowing that the chief good could by no means be described in words, were the first who wrote that, as God manifests Himself to the deserving, and to those who are qualified to behold Him, He appeared to Abraham, or to Isaac, or to Jacob. But who He was that appeared, and of what form, and in what manner, and like to which of mortal beings, they have left to be investigated by those who are able to show that they resemble those persons to whom God showed Himself: for He was not seen by their bodily eyes, but by the pure heart. For, according to the declaration of our Jesus, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Against Celsus, 4.575.

ORIGEN: To see God belongs to the pure heart, out of which no longer proceed “evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies, the evil eye,”or any other evil thing. Therefore it is said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” But as the strength of our will is not sufficient to procure the perfectly pure heart, and as we need that God should create it, he therefore who prays as he ought, offers this petition to God, “Create in me a clean heart, O God.” Against Celsus, 4.624.

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