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The Early Church

WHO CAN HEAR?

Clement gives an account of how the Apostle Peter would witness to a crowd of mixture. Concerned for throwing his pearls before swine, which are people of unworthy ears to hear these teachings, he uses a form of speech that only those who were worthy to hear it could understand the teaching. The church guarded the revelation dearly.

I. — PEARLS BEFORE SWINE.

Meantime Peter, rising at the crowing of the cock, and wishing to rouse us, found us awake, the evening light still burning; and when, according to custom, he had saluted us, and we had all sat down, he thus began. “Nothing is more difficult, thy brethren, than to reason concerning the truth in the presence of a mixed multitude of people. For that which is may not be spoken to all as it is, on account of those who hear wickedly and treacherously; yet it is not proper to deceive, on account of those who desire to hear the truth sincerely. What, then, shall he do who has to address a mixed multitude? Shall he conceal what is true? How, then, shall he instruct those who are worthy? But if he set forth pure truth to those who do not desire to obtain salvation, he does injury to Him by whom he has been sent, and from whom he has received commandment not to throw the pearls of His words before swine and dogs, (Mat_7:6) who, striving against them with arguments and sophisms, roll them in the mud of carnal understanding, and by their barking’s and base answers break and weary the preachers of God’s word. Wherefore I also, for the most part, by using a certain circumlocution, endeavor to avoid publishing the chief knowledge concerning the Supreme Divinity to unworthy ears.” Then, beginning from the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, he briefly and plainly expounded to us, so that all of us hearing him wondered that men have forsaken the truth, and have turned themselves to vanity.

~Clement- Book III Vol. 8


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