Introductory Notice to the Homily Known as the Second Epistle of Clement.
It is gratifying that our series is marked by tokens of critical progress, and not less cheering tokens of scientific research. The clearing-up of much that has perplexed us about Hermas; the Bryennios discovery; and, not least, the completion of this fragment, which has long been a scandal to patristic inquiry,--are surely such tokens. They enrich the reader with definite ideas on many collateral subjects. May they not stimulate American scholarship and American affluence to fresh enterprises of the same character for the advancement of learning, and the glory of the world's Redeemer and Illuminator?
The very early date to which this homily is now assigned makes its slightest allusions to the New-Testament canon of very great importance. I have ventured to indicate a few such, even where they may be mere allusions, not textual quotations: as, e.g., on p. 517, at notes 20 and 22, slight indications of a reference to the Second Epistle of St. Peter and to the Apocalypse. 1
I shall have occasion to refer to this work in the elucidation of the Liturgies which are to follow. If it be, as Bishop Lightfoot supposes, a homily of the second century, it may lend important retrospective aid to the student of these volumes in other particulars; but, having entrusted this interesting relic to the editorial care of a most competent scholar, I shall not presume to anticipate his judgment in any matter.
If this reference to 2 Pet. iii. 9 be probable, it is one of the earliest testimonies to the genuine character of that Epistle. The true Clement has two references to the same (pp. 8 and 11, vol. i., this series), and Justin also (vol. i. p. 240) is credited with a similar reference to 2 Peter and the Apocalypse. See Lardner, Credib., vol. ii. p. 123 et seq. ↩