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The Early Church

LIII. — THE LOVE OF MOSES TOWARDS HIS PEOPLE.

He who is full of love will incur every loss, so that peace may be restored to the church.

Ye understand, beloved, ye understand well the Sacred Scriptures, and ye have looked very earnestly into the oracles of God. Call then these things to your remembrance. When Moses went up into the mount, and abode there, with fasting and humiliation, forty days and forty nights, the Lord said unto him, “Moses, Moses, get thee down quickly from hence; for thy people whom thou didst bring out of the land of Egypt have committed iniquity. They have speedily departed from the way in which I commanded them to walk and have made to themselves molten images.” (Exo_32:7, etc.; Deu_9:12, etc.) And the Lord said unto him, “I have spoken to thee once and again, saying, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiff-necked people: let Me destroy them, and blot out their name from under heaven; and I will make thee a great and wonderful nation, and one much more numerous than this.” (Exo_32:9, etc.) But Moses said, “Far be it from Thee, Lord: pardon the sin of this people; else blot me also out of the book of the living.” (Exo_32:32) O marvelous love! O insuperable perfection! The servant speaks freely to his Lord, and asks forgiveness for the people, or begs that he himself might perish along with them.

LIV. — HE WHO IS FULL OF LOVE WILL INCUR EVERY LOSS, THAT PEACE MAY BE RESTORED TO THE CHURCH.

Who then among you is noble-minded? who compassionate? who full of love? Let him declare, “If on my account seditionand disagreement and schismshave arisen, I will depart, I will go away whithersoever ye desire, and I will do whatever the majority commands; only let the flock of Christ live on terms of peace with the presbyters set over it.” He that acts thus shall procure to himself great glory in the Lord; and every place will welcome him.For “the earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof.” (Psa_24:1; 1Co_10:26, 1Co_10:28) These things they who live a godly life, that is never to be repented of, both have done and always will do.

LV. — EXAMPLES OF SUCH LOVE.

To bring forward some examples from among the heathen: Many kings and princes, in times of pestilence, when they had been instructed by an oracle, have given themselves up to death, in order that by their own blood they might deliver their fellow-citizens [from destruction].Many have gone forth from their own cities, that so sedition might be brought to an end within them. We know many among ourselves who have given themselves up to bonds, in order that they might ransom others. Many, too, have surrendered themselves to slavery, that with the price which they received for themselves, they might provide food for others. Many women also, being strengthened by the grace of God, have performed numerous manly exploits. The blessed Judith, when her city was besieged, asked of the elder’s permission to go forth into the camp of the strangers; and, exposing herself to danger, she went out for the love which she bare to her country and people then besieged; and the Lord delivered Holofernes into the hands of a woman. (Judith 8:30) Esther also, being perfect in faith,exposed herself to no less danger, in order to deliver the twelve tribes of Israel from impending destruction. For with fasting and humiliation she entreated the everlasting God, who sees all things; and He, perceiving the humility of her spirit, delivered the people for whose sake she had encountered peril.(Est_7:1-10, Est_8:1-17)

~St. Clement- First Epistle to The Corinthians Vol. 1


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