Andrew Fulford Archive Natural Law Sacred Doctrine

Natural Law in Clement of Rome

Written by the associate of the apostle Paul, Clement to Corinth focuses largely on trying to restore order to a church suffering from disharmony. Along the way, Clement makes what is essentially an appeal to natural law:

19. Accordingly, the humility and subordination of so many and such great men of renown have, through their obedience, improved not only us but also the generations before us, and likewise those who have received his oracles in fear and truth. (2) Seeing, then, that we have a share in many great and glorious deeds, let us hasten on to the goal of peace, which has been handed down to us from the beginning; let us fix our eyes upon the Father and Maker of the whole world, and hold fast to his magnificent and excellent gifts and benefits of peace. (3) Let us see him in our mind, and let us look with the eyes of the soul on his patient will. Let us note how free from anger he is toward all his creation.

20. The heavens move at his direction and obey him in peace. (2) Day and night complete the course assigned by him, neither hindering the other. (3) The sun and the moon and the choirs of stars circle in harmony within the courses assigned to them, according to his direction, without any deviation at all. (4) The earth, bearing fruit in the proper seasons in fulfillment of his will, brings forth food in full abundance for both men and beasts and all living things which are upon it, without dissension or altering anything he has decreed. (5) Moreover, the incomprehensible depths of the abysses and the indescribable judgments of the underworld are constrained by the same ordinances. (6) The basin of the boundless sea, gathered together by his creative action “into its reservoirs,” does not flow beyond the barriers surrounding it; instead it behaves just as he ordered it. (7) For he said: “Thus far shall you come, and your waves shall break within you.” (8) The ocean – impassable by men – and the worlds beyond it are directed by the same ordinances of the Master. (9) The seasons, spring and summer and autumn and winter, give way in succession, one to the other, in peace. (10) The winds from the different quarters fulfill their ministry in the proper season without disturbance; the everflowing springs, created for enjoyment and health, give without fail their life-sustaining breasts to mankind. Even the smallest living things come together in harmony and peace. (11) All these things the great Creator and Master of the universe ordered to exist in peace and harmony, thus doing good to all things, but especially abundantly to us who have taken refuge in his compassionate mercies through our Lord Jesus Christ, (12) to whom be the glory and the majesty for ever and ever. Amen.1

  1. Michael William Holmes, The Apostolic Fathers: Greek Texts and English Translations, updated ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1999), 51–53.

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