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called it, that "Wonderful Epistle of St. Clement to the Corinthians';" which he wrote, not in his own name, but in the name of the whole Church of Rome, to them ;-an epistle so highly esteemed by the Primitive Church, that we are told it was wont to be publickly read in the assemblies of it; and, if we may credit one of the ancient Collections of the Canon of Scripture', was placed among the sacred and inspired writings. Nor is it any small evidence of the value which in those days was put upon this epistle, that in the only copy which, for aught we know, at this day remains of it, we find it to have been written in the same volume with the books of the New Testament: which seems to confirm what was before observed concerning it, that it was heretofore wont to be read in the congregations together with the Holy Scriptures of the Apostles and Evangelists.
2. But of the epistle itself, I shall take occasion to speak more particularly by and by. It will now be more proper to inquire a little into the author of it; and consider when, and upon what occasion, it was written by him.
3. And, first, for what concerns the person who wrote this epistle, it is no small commendation which the Holy Ghost, by St. Paul, has left us of him; Phil. iv. 3. where the Apostle mentions him, not only as his fellow-labourer in the work of the Gospel, but as one whose name was written in the Book of Life;-a character which, if we will allow our Saviour to be the judge, far exceeds that of the highest power and dignity, and who therefore, when his Disciples began to rejoice upon
1 Euseb. Hist. Eccles. lib. iii. cap. 16.
2 Idem. lib. iii. cap. 12.
Canon. Apostol. Can. ult.
4 MS. Alexan.
the account of that authority which he had bestowed upon them, insomuch that even the devils were subject unto them, Luke x. 17. though he seemed to allow that there was a just matter of joy in such an extraordinary power, yet bade them Not to rejoice so much in this, that those spirits were subject unto them; but rather (says he) rejoice that your names are written in the Book of Life. 4. It is indeed insinuated by a late very learned critic', as if this were not that Clement of whom we are now discoursing, and whose Epistle to the Corinthians I have here subjoined. But, besides that, he himself confesses that the person of whom St. Paul there speaks was a Roman. Both Eusebius, and Epiphanius, and St. Hierome,' expressly tell us, that the Clement there meant was the same that was afterwards Bishop of Rome : nor do we read of any other to whom either the character there mentioned, of being the fellowlabourer of that Apostle, or the elogy given of having his name written in the Book of Life, could so properly belong, as to him; whom therefore the generality of learned men, both of the ancient and present times, without scruple conclude to have been referred to in that passage.
5. I shall not say any thing of what is reported by some concerning his noble birth and family; of his studies at Athens; and of the occasion and manner of his conversion to Christianity; which they tell us was wrought by St. Peter, whom he met with Barnabas at Cæsarea, and who there first declared to him the doctrine of Christ, and
1 Grot. Annot. in Phil. iv. 3.
2 Euseb. Hist. Eccles: lib. iii. cap. 12. Epiph. lib. i. adv. Carpocr. n. 6. Hieronym. de Script. Eccles. Et Comment. in loc. Item, lib. i. adv. Jovin. Photii Cod. tmem. 113, &c.
3 Vid. Eucher. Lugd. de Contempt. Mundi, et Chron. Albert. Stad. inter Testimonia a Junio citata.
inclined him to a good opinion of it all which is very uncertain, and justly doubted of by many. I shall choose rather to observe, that whatever his condition was before he became a Christian, he was held in no small reputation after, but merited such a character from the ancient Fathers as is hardly given to any besides the Apostles. Nay, some of them doubt not in plain terms to call him an Apostle': and though St. Hierome durst not go so far as that, yet he gives him another title but little short of it; he tells us that he was an "apostolical man," and, as Ruffinus adds, "almost an apostle."
6. To declare more particularly how he spent the first part of his life, after his conversion, is neither necessary to the design I have now in hand, nor can any certain account be given of it: only, as we are told in the general that he was St. Peter's disciple, so it may not be improbable that for some time he attended his motions, and was subject to his direction.
7. But whatever he was, or wherever he laboured before, in this I think antiquity is absolutely agreed, that he at last came to be bishop of Rome, and was placed in that See by the express direction of one or both the Apostles, St. Peter and St. Paul. To whom he succeeded, or at what time to fix his entrance on that great charge, is a point that I suppose will never be agreed upon among learned men. If any could have settled this matter beyond dispute, it had without question been done by those of our own nation, who, as they
+ Clem. Alex. Strom. lib. iv.
5 Hieron. in Isaiam, c. 52.
6 De Adulterat. lib. Originis.
7 Pearson Dissert. de Success. prim. RR. PP. cum Append. Hen. Dodwelli. Pearson. Dissert. Posthum. cap. v. num. 7.
have the latest searched with all possible diligence into it, so never were there any better qualified for the determination of it. But, as their mutual disagreement', after all their endeavours to fix this point, shews that one of them must have been mistaken, so I doubt not but it will sufficiently satisfy all such as shall consider the high character they have so justly obtained, both by their learning and judgment in these kind of disquisitions, that they are points not to be determined; and that he who shall do the best upon them, may only be said to have made a good guess, in a subject too hard for any at this distance clearly to decide."
8. Nor is there any less controversy, among learned men, concerning the death of St. Clement, than there has been about the order and time of his succession to his bishopric. That he lived in expectation of martyrdom, and was ready to have undergone it, should it have pleased God to have called him to it, the epistle' we are now speaking of sufficiently shews us. But that he did glorify God by those particular sufferings which some have pretended, is, I confess, to me a matter of some doubt. For, first, it must be acknowledged that Ruffinus is one of the first authors we have that speaks of him as a martyr. Neither Eusebius, (who is usually very exact in his observation of such things), nor any of the Fathers yet nearer his time, as Irenæus, Clemens Alexandrinus, Tertullian, &c. take any notice of it. And for the account which some others have yet
1 Dodwelli Dissert, singul. cap. xv. p. 220.
2 Ibid. cap. xi. p. 151.
3 Clem. Epistle to the Corinth, num. vii.
4 De Adulterat. lib. Orig.
5 Hist. Eccles. lib. iii. c. 34.
more lately given us of the manner of his death, besides that in some parts it is altogether fabulous, it is not improbable but that, as our learned Mr. Dodwell has observed, the first rise of it may have been owing to their confounding Flavius Clemens, the Roman consul, with Clement bishop of Rome; who did indeed suffer' martyrdom for the faith about the time of which they speak, and some other parts of whose character, such as his relation to the Emperor and banishment into Pontus, they manifestly ascribe to him.
9. However, seeing Eusebius' refers his death to the-third year of Trajan, famous for the persecution of the Church, and may thereby seem to insinuate that Clement also then suffered among the rest; and that Simeon Metaphrastes' has given a long and particular account of his condemnation, to the mines first, and then of his death following thereupon; as I shall not determine any thing against it, so they who are desirous to know what is usually said concerning the passion of this holy man, may abundantly satisfy their curiosity in this particular, from the accurate Collection of Dr. Cave, in the Life of this Saint, too long to be transcribed into the present discourse.
10. And this may suffice to have been observed, in short, concerning St. Clement himself. As for the Epistle we are now speaking of to the Corinthians, I have already taken notice how great a value was put upon it in the most primitive ages of the Church, and what a mighty commendation has
6 Dodwelli Addit. ad cap. vi. Dissert. Posthum. Pearson. num. 22. p. 215.
7 Vid. Euseb. Chron. An° xcvii. Et in Euseb. Annot. Scalig. p. 205. b. Euseb. Hist. Eccles. lib. iii. cap. 18.
8 Euseb. Hist. Eccles. lib. iii. cap. 34.
9 Apud Coteler. Patr. Apostol. tom. I.