Clemens, Titus Flavius

, an eminent father of the church in the end of the second and beginning of the third century, was an Athenian, or according to others an Alexandrian on which account he is usually called Clemens Alexandrines, by way of distinguishing him from Clemens Romanus. When Pantsenus was sent by Demetrius, bishop of Alexandria, to preach the gospel to the Indians, at th6 request of their ambassadors, about the year 191 Clemens | succeeded him in the catechetical school. He acquitted himself admirably well in this employment, and had many eminent pupils, as Origen and Alexander bishop of Jem* salem. Clemens’s method of instructing the catechumens is said to have been this. He pointed out to them, and explained all that was good in the pagan philosophy; and then led them on insensibly to Christianity. In his philosophic character, which he too much preserved, he was an eclectic; that is, not attached to any particular sect of philosophers, but a selector of what he thought good and sound in them all.

After holding the office of catechist, Clemens was raised to the priesthood, probably at the beginning of the emperor Severus’s reign; since Eusebius, in his history of the evert ts of the year 195, gives Clemens the title of priest. About this time he undertook a defence of Christianity against pagans and heretics, in a work entitled “Stromata,” on account of the variety of matter of which it treats— Stromata signifying discourses abounding with miscellaneous matter. In this work he has made so great a collection of heathen learning, for the sake of shewing the conformity there is between some opinions which the Christians and the philosophers held in common, as shews that his reading must have extended to almost everything that had been written. When Severus began a persecution against the Christians, for which he pleaded a rebellion of the Jews (for the pagans had not as yet learned to distinguish Jews and Christians), Clemens left Egypt to escape the violence of it; and upon this occasion drew up a discourse, to prove the lawfulness of flying in times of persecution: for this expedient, though explicitly allowed and even enjoined in the gospel, had been rejected by some early converts, especially Tertullian, as a base desertion of the cause. He then went to Jerusalem, and took up his abode for some time with Alexander, who was soon after bishop of that see. During his stay there he was of great service to the 'church, as appears from a letter of Alexander to the church of Antioch, which Clemens himself carried: in which Alexander says, that “Clemens was a man of great virtue, as the church of Antioch knew already, and would know better when he came among them; and that having been at Jerusalem, he had, by God’s blessing, greatly confirmed and strengthened that church.| From Antioch he returned to Alexandria; but we know not how long he lived. He appears to have survived Pantoenus at least some years, and was not old when he composed his “Stromata;” for he tells us, that he had made that collection with a view of its serving him in his old age, when his faculties should fail him. His memory appears to have been highly reverenced at Alexandria, as we learn from an extract of a letter from Alexander to Origen, preserved by Eusebius. Among several works which Clemens wrote, there are only three considerable ones remaining:

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. “Paedagogus,” or, the schoolmaster: or, a regular plan of duty for the Christian convert. And, 3. The “Stromata.Daniel Heinsius has well enough compared these three works of Clemens to the three different degrees which the heathen mystagogues and philosophers observed, when they introduced a candidate to the knowledge of the jnysteries: the first of which was purgation, the second initiation, and the third intuition. Clemens, he adds, in his “Protrepticon” has laboured to purge his pupil from the filth of heathen idolatry and superstition: in his “Psedagogus” he has initiated him into the rites and duties of a Christian: and in his “Stromata” he has admitted him. to a sight of those mysteries which the adepts only were qualified to contemplate; but it must be allowed that his philosophical opinions frequently tended to obscure his theology, and he is less explicit than most of the fathers on the leading principles of Christianity.

Besides these works, there are preserved some pieces of Clemens, of a smaller kind; as an homily entitled “Quis dives salvetur?” What rich man can be saved? Paris, 1672, and Oxford, 1683, with some other fragments in Greek and Latin. All these have been printed in the latter editions of his works; the best of which is that published in two volumes, folio, by Potter, afterwards archbishop of Canterbury, at Oxford in 1715, a most splendid and elaborate edition. 1

1

Cave. Dupin Fabric. Bibl. Grsec. Mosheim and Milner’s Church Histories. Lardner’s Works. Brucker. Blount’s Censura. —Saxii Onomast.