Saturday, February 4, 2012

Clement of Alexandria's Use of Ousia in the Stromata

I am really, really busy with my real job this month.  Yet I found some time to go through all the references to ousia in Clement's Stromata.  The reason this is important is that I want to demonstrate that Jesus was the ousia (= yesh).  Let's see if some of you can see where I am going with this from the evidence:

For it is not possible to know the parts without the essence (οὐσίας) of the whole; and one must study the genesis of the universe, that thereby we may be able to learn the nature of man. [Strom 1.14]

Dialectics, according to Plato, is, as he says in The Statesman, a science devoted to the discovery of the explanation of things. And it is to be acquired by the wise man, not for the sake of saying or doing aught of what we find among men (as the dialecticians, who occupy themselves in sophistry, do), but to be able to say and do, as far as possible, what is pleasing to God. But the true dialectic, being philosophy mixed with truth (μικτὴ δὲ φιλοσοφίᾳ οὖσα τῇ ἀληθεῖ ἡ ἀληθὴς διαλεκτικὴ), by examining things, and testing forces and powers, gradually ascends in relation to the most excellent essence of all (ἐπὶ τὴν πάντων κρατίστην οὐσίαν) and essays to go beyond to the God of the universe, professing not the knowledge of mortal affairs, but the science of things divine and heavenly; in accordance with which follows a suitable course of practice with respect to words and deeds, even in human affairs. Rightly, therefore, the Scripture, in its desire to make us such dialecticians, exhorts us: "Be ye skilful money-changers" rejecting some things, but retaining what is good. For this true dialectic is the science which analyses the objects of thought, and shows abstractly and by itself the individual substratum of existences, or the power of dividing things into genera, which descends to their most special properties, and presents each individual object to be contemplated simply such as it is. [ibid 1.28]

And so it is said in the book of Wisdom: "For He hath given me the unerring knowledge of things that exist, to know the constitution of the word," and so forth, down to "and the virtues of roots." Among all these he comprehends natural science, which treats of all the phenomena in the world of sense. And in continuation, he alludes also to intellectual objects in what he subjoins: "And what is hidden or manifest I know; for Wisdom, the artificer of all things, taught me." You have, in brief, the professed aim of our philosophy; and the learning of these branches, when pursued with right course of conduct, leads through Wisdom, the artificer of all things, to the Ruler of all, -- a Being difficult to grasp and apprehend, ever receding and withdrawing from him who pursues. But He who is far off has -- oh ineffable marvel! -- come very near. "I am a God: that draws near," says the Lord. He is in essence remote (πόρρω μὲν κατ'οὐσία); "for how is it that what is begotten can have approached the Unbegotten?" But He is very near in virtue of that power which holds all things in its embrace. "Shall one do aught in secret, and I see him not?" For the power of God is always present, in contact with us, in the exercise of inspection, of beneficence, of instruction. [ibid 2.2]

Now, inasmuch as there are four things in which the truth resides -- Sensation, Understanding, Knowledge, Opinion, -- intellectual apprehension is first in the order of nature; but in our case, and in relation to ourselves, Sensation is first, and of Sensation and Understanding the essence of Knowledge is formed (τῆς ἐπιστήμης συνίσταται οὐσί); and evidence is common to Understanding and Sensation. Well Sensation is the ladder to Knowledge; while Faith, advancing over the pathway of the objects of sense, leaves Opinion behind, and speeds to things free of deception, and reposes in the truth. [ibid 2.4]

Wherefore also the Word says, "Call no man master on earth." For knowledge is a state of mind that results from demonstration; but faith is a grace which from what is indemonstrable conducts to what is universal and simple, what is neither with matter, nor matter, nor under matter. But those who believe not, as to be expected, drag all down from heaven, and the region of the invisible, to earth, "absolutely grasping with their hands rocks and oaks," according to Plato. For, clinging to all such things, they asseverate that that alone exists which can be touched and handled, defining body and essence to be identical (ταὐτὸν σῶμα καὶ οὐσίαν ὁριζόμενοι): disputing against themselves, they very piously defend the existence of certain intellectual and bodiless forms descending somewhere from above from the invisible world, vehemently maintaining that there is a true essence (τὴν ἀληθινὴν οὐσίαν εἶνα). "Lo, I make new things," saith the Word, "which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor hath it entered into the heart of man." With a new eye, a new ear, a new heart, whatever can be seen and heard is to be apprehended, by the faith and understanding of the disciples of the Lord, who speak, hear, and act spiritually. For there is genuine coin, and other that is spurious; which no less deceives unprofessionals, that it does not the money-changers; who know through having learned how to separate and distinguish what has a false stamp from what is genuine. So the money-changer only says to the unprofessional man that the coin is counterfeit. But the reason why, only the banker's apprentice, and he that is trained to this department, learns. [ibid]

"For the very rich to be also good is impossible -- those, I mean, whom the multitude count rich. Those they call rich, who, among a few men, are owners of the possessions worth most money; which any bad man may possess." "The whole world of wealth belongs to the believer," Solomon says, "but not a penny to the unbeliever." Much more, then, is the Scripture to be believed which says, "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man " to lead a philosophic life. But, on the other hand, it blesses "the poor;" as Plato understood when he said, "It is not the diminishing of one's resources (τὴν οὐσίαν ἐλάττω ποιεῖ), but the augmenting of insatiableness, that is to be considered poverty; for it is not slender means that ever constitutes poverty, but insatiableness, from which the good man being free, will also be rich." 

From these remarks the greatest prayer evidently is to have peace, according to Plato. And faith is the greatest mother of the virtues. Accordingly it is rightly said in Solomon, "Wisdom is in the mouth of the faithful." Since also Xenocrates, in his book on "Intelligence," says "that wisdom is the knowledge of first causes and of intellectual essence (τῆς νοητῆς οὐσίας)." He considers intelligence as twofold, practical and theoretical, which latter is human wisdom. Consequently wisdom is intelligence, but all intelligence is not wisdom. And it has been shown, that the knowledge of the first cause of the universe is of faith, but is not demonstration. [ibid 2.5]

Whence "the fear of God" is divinely said to be the beginning of wisdom. Here the followers of Basilides, interpreting this expression, say, "that the Prince, having heard the speech of the Spirit, who was being ministered to, was struck with amazement both with the voice and the vision, having had glad tidings beyond his hopes announced to him; and that his amazement was called fear, which became the origin of wisdom, which distinguishes classes, and discriminates, and perfects, and restores. For not the world alone, but also the election, He that is over all has set apart and sent forth."  And Valentinus appears also in an epistle to have adopted such views. For he writes in these very words: "And as terror fell on the angels at this creature, because he uttered things greater than proceeded from his formation, by reason of the being in him who had invisibly communicated a germ of the supernal essence (ἐν αὐτῷ σπέρμα δεδωκότα τῆς ἄνωθεν οὐσίας καὶ παρρησιαζόμενον), and who spoke with free utterance; so also among the tribes of men in the world, the works of men became terrors to those who made them, -- as, for example, images and statues. And the hands of all fashion things to bear the name of God: for Adam formed into the name of man inspired the dread attaching to the pre-existent man, as having his being in him; and they were terror-stricken, and speedily marred the work." [ibid 2.8]

But there being but one First Cause, as will be shown afterwards, these men will be shown to be inventors of chatterings and chirpings. But since God deemed it advantageous, that from the law and the prophets, men should receive a preparatory discipline by the Lord, the fear of the Lord was called the beginning of wisdom, being given by the Lord, through Moses, to the disobedient and hard of heart. For those whom reason convinces not, fear tames; which also the Instructing Word, foreseeing from the first, and purifying by each of these methods, adapted the instrument suitably for piety. Consternation is, then, fear at a strange apparition, or at an unlooked-for representation -- such as, for example, a message; while fear is an excessive wonderment on account of something which arises or is. They do not then perceive that they represent by means of amazement the God who is highest and is extolled by them, as subject to perturbation and antecedent to amazement as having been in ignorance. If indeed ignorance preceded amazement; and if this amazement and fear, which is the beginning of wisdom, is the fear of God, then in all likelihood ignorance as cause preceded both the wisdom of God and all creative work, and not only these, but restoration and even election itself. Whether, then, was it ignorance of what was good or what was evil?  Well, if of good, why does it cease through amazement? And minister and preaching and baptism are superfluous to them. And if of evil, how can what is bad be the cause of what is best? For had not ignorance preceded, the minister would not have come down, nor would have amazement seized on "the Prince," as they say; nor would he have attained to a beginning of wisdom from fear, in order to discrimination between the elect and those that are mundane. And if the fear of the pre-existent man made the angels conspire against their own handiwork, under the idea that an invisible germ of the supernal essence ( τοῦ σπέρματος τῆς ἄνωθεν οὐσίας) was lodged within that creation, or through unfounded suspicion excited envy, which is incredible, the angels became murderers of the creature which had been entrusted to them, as a child might be, they being thus convicted of the grossest ignorance. Or suppose they were influenced by being involved in foreknowledge. But they would not have conspired against what they foreknew in the assault they made; nor would they have been terror-struck at their own work, in consequence of foreknowledge, on their perceiving the supernal germ. Or, finally, suppose, trusting to their knowledge, they dared (but this also were impossible for them), on learning the excellence that is in the Pleroma, to conspire against man. Furthermore also they laid hands on that which was according to the image, in which also is the archetype, and which, along with the knowledge that remains, is indestructible.  To these, then, and certain others, especially the Marcionites, the Scripture cries, though they listen not, "He that heareth Me shall rest with confidence in peace, and shall be tranquil, fearless of all evil." [ibid]

But God has no natural relation to us, as the authors of the heresies will have it; neither on the supposition of His having made us of nothing, nor on that of having formed us from matter; since the former did not exist at all, and the latter is totally distinct from God unless we shall dare to say that we are a part of Him, and of the same essence as God. And I know not how one, who knows God, can bear to hear this when he looks to our life, and sees in what evils we are involved. For thus it would turn out, which it were impiety to utter, that God sinned in [certain] portions, if the portions are parts of the whole and complementary of the whole; and if not complementary, neither can they be parts. But God being by nature rich in pity, in consequence of His own goodness, cares for us, though neither portions of Himself, nor by nature His children. And this is the greatest proof of the goodness of God: that such being our relation to Him, and being by nature wholly estranged, He nevertheless cares for us. For the affection in animals to their progeny is natural, and the friendship of kindred minds is the result of intimacy. But the mercy of God is rich toward us, who are in no respect related to Him; I say either in our essence (τῇ οὐσίᾳ ἡμῶν) or nature, or in the peculiar energy of our essence ( τῆς οὐσίας ἡμῶ), but only in our being the work of His will. And him who willingly, with discipline and teaching, accepts the knowledge of the truth, He calls to adoption, which is the greatest advancement of all. "Transgressions catch a man; and in the cords of his own sins each one is bound." And God is without blame. And in reality, "blessed is the man who feareth alway through piety." [ibid 2.16]

What we do not, we do not either from not being able, or not being willing -- or both. Accordingly we don't fly, since we neither can nor wish; we do not swim at present, for example, since we can indeed, but do not choose; and we are not as the Lord, since we wish, but cannot be: "for no disciple is above his master, and it is sufficient if we be as the master:" not m essence (οὐ κατ' οὐσίαν) for it is impossible for that, which is by adoption, to be equal in substance to that, which is by nature; but [we are as Him] only in our having been made immortal, and our being conversant with the contemplation of realities, and beholding the Father through what belongs to Him. [ibid 2.17]

The adherents of Basilides are in the habit of calling the passions appendages: saying that these are in essence (οὐσίαν) certain spirits attached to the rational soul, through some original perturbation and confusion; and that, again, other bastard and heterogeneous natures of spirits grow on to them, like that of the wolf, the ape, the lion, the goat, whose properties showing themselves around the soul, they say, assimilate the lusts of the soul to the likeness of the animals. [ibid 2.20]

Similarly, they cite the dictum "The children of this age do not marry and are not given in marriage." But if anyone ponders over this answer about the resurrection of the dead, he will find that the Lord is not rejecting marriage, but is purging the expectation of physical desire in the resurrection.  The words "The children of this age" were not spoken in contrast with the children of some other age. It is like saying, "Those born in this generation," who are children by force of birth, being born and engendering themselves, since without the process of birth no one will pass into this life. But this process of birth is balanced by a process of decay, and is no longer in store for the person who has once been cut off from life here.  "You have one single Father in heaven" – and he is also, as creator, Father of all. "Do not call anyone on earth Father," he says. That is like saying that you are not to think of the man who sowed you by a physical process as responsible for your essence (τῆς οὐσίας ὑμῶν), but as a fellow worker, or rather a subordinate, in bringing you to birth. [ibid 3.12]

But if it was nature that guided them, like the animals without reason, to the production of children, and they were sexually aroused before they should have been, while they were still new and young because they were deceived and led astray, then God’s judgment upon those who did not wait for his will was a just judgment. At the same time, birth is holy. It was through birth that the universe was constituted; so too the substances (οὐσίαι), the creatures, the angels, the powers, the souls, the commandment, the Law, the gospel, the revealed knowledge of God. [ibid 3.17]

We must, then, as is fit, in investigating the nature of the body and the soul essence (τῆς ψυχῆς οὐσίαν), apprehend the end of each, and not regard death as an evil. "For when ye were the servants of sin," says the apostle, "ye were free from righteousness. What fruit had ye then in those things in which ye are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now, being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death: but the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord." The assertion, then, may be hazarded, that it has been shown that death is the fellowship of the soul in a state of sin with the body; and life the separation from sin. And many are the stakes and ditches of lust which impede us, and the pits of wrath and anger which must be overleaped, and all the machinations we must avoid of those who plot against us, -- who would no longer see the knowledge of God "through a glass." [ibid 4.3]

Wherefore the Lord was not prohibited from this sanctification of ours. if, then, one of them were to say, in reply, that the martyr is punished for sins committed before this embodying, and that he will again reap the fruit of his conduct in this life, for that such are the arrangements of the [divine administration], we shall ask him if the retribution takes place by Providence. For if it be not of the divine administration, the economy of expiations is gone, and their hypothesis falls to the ground; but if expiations are by Providence, punishments are by Providence too. But Providence, although it begins, so to speak, to move with the Ruler, yet is implanted in substances along with their origin by the God of the universe ( ταῖς οὐσίαις σὺν καὶ τῇ
τῶν οὐσιῶν γενέσει πρὸς τοῦ θεοῦ τῶν ὅλων). Such being the case, they must confess either that punish-merit is not just, and those who condemn and persecute the martyrs do right, or that persecutions even are wrought by the will of God. Labour and fear are not, then, as they say, incident to affairs as rust to iron, but come upon the soul through its own will. And on these points there is much to say, which will be reserved for future consideration, taking them up in due course. [ibid 4.12]

Let not the above-mentioned people, then, call us, by way of reproach, "natural men" (yukikoi), nor the Phrygians either; for these now call those who do not apply themselves to the new prophecy "natural men" (yukikoi), with whom we shall discuss in our remarks on "Prophecy." The perfect man ought therefore to practise love, and thence to haste to the divine friendship, fulfilling the commandments from love. And loving one's enemies does not mean loving wickedness, or impiety, or adultery, or theft; but the thief, the impious, the adulterer, not as far as he sins, and in respect of the actions by which he stains the name of man, but as he is a man, and the work of God. Assuredly sin is an activity, not an existence (οὐκ οὐσίᾳ): and therefore it is not a work of God. [ibid 4.13]

For I will dare aver that it is not because he wishes to be saved that he, who devotes himself to knowledge for the sake of the divine science itself, chooses knowledge. For the exertion of the intellect by exercise is prolonged to a perpetual exertion. And the perpetual exertion of the intellect is the essence of an intelligent being (οὐσία τοῦ γινώσκοντος), which results from an uninterrupted process of admixture, and remains eternal contemplation, a living substance. [ibid 4.22]

On this wise it is possible for the Gnostic already to have become God. "I said, Ye are gods, and sons of the highest." And Empedocles says that the souls of the wise become gods, writing as follows: "At last prophets, minstrels, and physicians, And the foremost among mortal men, approach; Whence spring gods supreme in honours."  Man, then, genetically considered, is formed in accordance with the idea of the connate spirit. For he is not created formless and shapeless in the workshop of nature, where mystically the production of man is accomplished, both art and essence being common (κοινῆς οὔσης καὶ τῆς τέχνης καὶ τῆς οὐσίας). But the individual man is stamped according to the impression produced in the soul by the objects of his choice. Thus we say that Adam was perfect, as far as respects his formation; for none of the distinctive characteristics of the idea and form of man were wanting to him; but in the act of coming into being he received perfection. And he was justified by obedience; this was reaching manhood, as far as depended on him. And the cause lay in his choosing, and especially in his choosing what was forbidden. God was not the cause. [ibid 4.23]

For production is twofold -- of things procreated, and of things that grow. And manliness in man, who is subject to perturbation, as they say, makes him who partakes of it essentially fearless and invincible (κατὰ τὴν οὐσίαν ἄφοβον καὶ ἀήττητον); and anger is the mind's satellite in patience, and endurance, and the like; and self-constraint and salutary sense are set over desire. But God is impassible, free of anger, destitute of desire. And He is not free of fear, in the sense of avoiding what is terrible; or temperate, in the sense of having command of desires. For neither can the nature of God fall in with anything terrible, nor does God flee fear; just as He will not feel desire, so as to rule over desires. [ibid]

Now God, who is without beginning, is the perfect beginning of the universe, and the producer of the beginning. As, then, He is being (οὖν ἐστιν οὐσία), He is the first principle of the department of action, as He is good, of morals; as He is mind, on the other hand, He is the first principle of reasoning and of judgment. Whence also He alone is Teacher, who is the only Son of the Most High Father, the Instructor of men. [ibid 4.25]

Now the soul of the wise man and Gnostic, as sojourning in the body, conducts itself towards it gravely and respectfully, not with inordinate affections, as about to leave the tabernacle if the time of departure summon. "I am a stranger in the earth, and a sojourner with you," it is said. And hence Basilides says, that he apprehends that the election are strangers to the world, being supramundane by nature. But this is not the case. For all things are of one God. And no one is a stranger to the world by nature, their essence being one (τῆς οὐσίας οὔσης), and God one. But the elect man dwells as a sojourner, knowing all things to be possessed and disposed of; and he makes use of the things which the Pythagoreans make out to be the threefold good things. [ibid 4.26]

Such were the apostles, in whose case it is said that "faith removed mountains and transplanted trees." Whence, perceiving the greatness of its power, they asked "that faith might be added to them;" a faith which salutarily bites the soil "like a grain of mustard," and grows magnificently in it, to such a degree that the reasons of things sublime rest on it. For if one by nature knows God, as Basilides thinks, who calls intelligence of a superior order at once faith and kingship, and a creation worthy of the essence (οὐσίας) of the Creator; and explains that near Him exists not power, but essence (οὐσίαν) and nature and substance (καὶ φύσιν καὶ ὑπόστασιν); and says that faith is not the rational assent of the soul exercising free-will, but an undefined beauty, belonging immediately to the creature; -- the precepts both of the Old and of the New Testament are, then, superfluous, if one is saved by nature, as Valentinus would have it, and is a believer and an elect man by nature, as Basilides thinks; and nature would have been able, one time or other, to have shone forth, apart from the Saviour's appearance. But were they to say that the visit of the Saviour was necessary, then the properties of nature are gone from them, the elect being saved by instruction, and purification, and the doing of good works. Abraham, accordingly, who through hearing believed the voice, which promised under the oak in Mamre," I will give this land to thee, and to thy seed," was either elect or not. But if he was not, how did he straightway believe, as it were naturally? And if he was elect, their hypothesis is done away with, inasmuch as even previous to the coming of the Lord an election was found, and that saved: "For it was reckoned to him for righteousness." For if any one, following Marcion, should dare to say that the Creator (Dhmiourgon) saved the man that believed on him, even before the advent of the Lord, (the' election being saved with their own proper salvation); the power of the good Being will be eclipsed; inasmuch as late only, and subsequent to the Creator spoken of by them in words of be good men, it made the attempt to save, and by instruction, and in imitation of him. [ibid 5.1]

And again, "Don't wear a ring, nor engrave on it the images of the gods," enjoins Pythagoras; as Moses ages before enacted expressly, that neither a graven, nor molten, nor moulded, nor painted likeness should be made; so that we may not cleave to things of sense, but pass to rational beings (τὴν νοητὴν οὐσίαν): for familiarity with the sight disparages the reverence of what is divine; and to worship that which is immaterial by matter, is to dishonour it by sense. [ibid 5.4]

"Cast your eyes round, and see," says Plato, "that none of the uninitiated listen." Such are they who think that nothing else exists, but what they can hold tight with their hands; but do not admit as in the share of essence (ἐν οὐσίας μέρει), actions and processes of generation, and the whole of the unseen. For such are those who keep by the five senses. But the knowledge of God is a thing inaccessible to the ears and like organs of this kind of people. Hence the Son is said to be the Father's face, being the revealer of the Father's character to the five senses by clothing Himself with flesh. "But if we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit." "For we walk by faith, not by sight," the noble apostle says. Within the veil, then, is concealed the sacerdotal service; and it keeps those engaged in it far from those without. [ibid 5.6]

If, then, "the milk" is said by the apostle to belong to the babes, and "meat" to be the food of the full-grown, milk will be understood to be catechetical instruction -- the first food, as it were, of the soul. And meat is the mystic contemplation; for this is the flesh and the blood of the Word, that is, taking hold of the divine power and essence (ληψις τῆς θείας δυνάμεως καὶ οὐσία). "Taste and see that the Lord is Chrestos," it is said. For so He imparts of Himself to those who partake of such food in a more spiritual manner; when now the soul nourishes itself, according to the truth-loving Plato. For the knowledge of the divine essence (ἡ γνῶσίς ἐστι τῆς θείας οὐσίας) is the meat and drink of the divine Word. Wherefore also Plato says, in the second book of the Republic, "It is those that sacrifice not a sow, but some great and difficult sacrifice," who ought to inquire respecting God. And the apostle writes, "Christ our passover was sacrificed for us;" -- a sacrifice hard to procure, in truth, the Son of God consecrated for us. [ibid 5:10]

But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth." Then the Lord says in explanation, "I am the door of the sheep." Men must then be saved by learning the truth through Christ, even if they attain philosophy. For now that is clearly shown "which was not made known to other ages, which is now revealed to the sons of men." For there was always a natural manifestation of the one Almighty God, among all right-thinking men; and the most, who had not quite divested themselves of shame with respect to the truth, apprehended the eternal beneficence in divine providence. In fine, then, Xenocrates the Chalcedonian was not quite without hope that the notion of the Divinity existed even in the irrational creatures. And Democritus, though against his will, will make this avowal by the consequences of his dogmas; for he represents the same images as issuing, from the divine essence, on men and on the irrational animals (τοῖς ἀνθρώποις προσπίπτοντα καὶ τοῖς ἀλόγοις ζῴοις ἀπὸ τῆς θείας οὐσίας). Far from destitute of a divine idea is man, who, it is written in Genesis, partook of inspiration, being endowed with a purer essence (καθαρωτέρας οὐσίας) than the other animate creatures. Hence the Pythagoreans say that mind comes to man by divine providence, as Plato and Aristotle avow; but we assert that the Holy Spirit inspires him who has believed. The Platonists hold that mind is an effluence of divine dispensation in the soul, and they place the soul in the body. For it is expressly said by Joel, one of the twelve prophets, "And it shall come to pass after these things, I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy." But it is not as a portion of God that the Spirit is in each of us. But how this dispensation takes place, and what the Holy Spirit is, shall be shown by us in the books on prophecy, and in those on the soul. But "incredulity is good at concealing the depths of knowledge," according to Heraclitus; "for incredulity escapes from ignorance." [ibid 5.13]

Now the Stoics say that God, like the soul, is essentially body and spirit (καὶ πνεῦμα κατ' οὐσίαν). You will find all this explicitly in their writings. Do not consider at present their allegories as the gnostic truth presents them; whether they show one thing and mean another, like the dexterous athletes, Well, they say that God pervades all being (διὰ πάσης τῆς οὐσίας τὸν θεόν φασιν); while we call Him solely Maker, and Maker by the Word. They were misled by what is said in the book of Wisdom: "He pervades and passes through all by reason of His purity; " since they did not understand that this was said of Wisdom, which was the first of the creation of God. [ibid 5.14]

But undoubtedly that prophetic expression, "Now the earth was invisible and formless," supplied them with the ground of material essence (καὶ ἀκατασκεύαστος ἀφορμὰς αὐτοῖς ὑλικῆς οὐσίας παρέσχητα). [ibid]

I do not pass over Empedocles, who speaks thus physically of the renewal of all things, as consisting in a transmutation into the essence of fire, which is to take place (εἰς τὴν τοῦ πυρὸς οὐσίαν μεταβολῆς). And most plainly of the same opinion is Heraclitus of Ephesus, who considered that there was a world everlasting, and recognised one perishable -- that is, in its arrangement, not being different from the former, viewed in a certain aspect. But that he knew the imperishable world which consists of the universal essence (τῆς οὐσίας ἰδίως ποιὸν κόσμον ᾔδε) to be everlastingly of a certain nature, he makes clear by speaking thus: "The same world of all things, neither any of the gods, nor any one of men, made. But there was, and is, and will be ever-living fire, kindled according to measure, and quenched according to measure."[ibid]

For to him knowledge (γνῶσιν) is the principal thing. Consequently, therefore, he applies to the subjects that are a training for knowledge, taking from each branch of study its contribution to the truth. Prosecuting, then, the proportion of harmonies in music; and in arithmetic noting the increasing and decreasing of numbers, and their relations to one another, and how the most of things fall under some proportion of numbers; studying geometry, which is abstract essence, he perceives a continuous distance, and an immutable essence which is different from these bodies (καὶ οὐσίαν ἀμετάβλητον,  ἑτέραν τῶνδε τῶν σωμά  των οὖσαν).  [ibid 6.10]

Wherefore Solomon also says, that before heaven, and earth, and all existences, Wisdom had arisen in the Almighty; the participation of which -- that which is by power, I mean, not that by essence   (ἡ κατὰ δύναμιν,  οὐ κατ'  οὐσίαν λέγω) -- teaches a man to know by apprehension things divine and human. [ibid 6.16]

The sensible types of these, then, are the sounds we pronounce. Thus the Lord Himself is called "Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end," " by whom all things were made, and without whom not even one thing was made." God's resting is not, then, as some conceive, that God ceased from doing. For, being good, if He should ever cease from doing good, then would He cease from being God, which it is sacrilege even to say. The resting is, therefore, the ordering that the order of created things should be preserved inviolate, and that each of the creatures should cease from the ancient disorder. For the creations on the different days followed in a most important succession; so that all things brought into existence might have honour from priority, created together in thought, but not being of equal worth. Nor was the creation of each signified by the voice, inasmuch as the creative work is said to have made them at once. For something must needs have been named first. Wherefore those things were announced first, from which came those that were second, all things being originated together from one essence by one power (πάντων ὁμοῦ ἐκ μιᾶς οὐσίας μιᾷ δυνάμει γενομένων). For the will of God was one, in one identity. And how could creation take place in time, seeing time was born along with things which exist. [ibid]

Now the fifth in order is the command on the honour of father and mother. And it clearly announces God as Father and Lord. Wherefore also it calls those who know Him sons and gods. The Creator of the universe is their Lord and Father; and the mother is not, as some say, the essence from which we sprang [ἡ οὐσία ἐξ ἧς γεγόναμεν], nor, as others teach, the Church, but the divine knowledge and wisdom, as Solomon says, when he terms wisdom "the mother of the just," and says that it is desirable for its own sake. And the knowledge of all, again, that is lovely and venerable, proceeds from God through the Son. [ibid]

For the truth in regard to every object of intellect and of sense is thus simply universally declared. For instance, we may distinguish the truth of painting from that which is vulgar, and decorous music from licentious. There is, then, also a truth of philosophy as distinct from the other philosophies, and a true beauty as distinct from the spurious. It is not then the partial truths, of which truth is predicated, but the truth itself, that we are to investigate, not seeking to learn names. For what is to be investigated respecting God is not one thing, but ten thousand. There is a difference between declaring God, and declaring things about God. And to speak generally, in everything the accidents are to be distinguished from the essence (τῆς οὐσίας τὰ συμβεβηκότα διακριτέον). [ibid 6:17]

So shall the Gnostic taste of the will of God. For it is not his ears, but his soul, that he yields up to the things signified by what is spoken. Accordingly, apprehending essences (οὐσίας) and things through the words, he brings his soul, as is fit, to what is essential; apprehending in the peculiar way in which they are spoken to the Gnostic, the commands, "Do not commit adultery, "Do not kill;" and not as they are understood by other people. Training himself, then, in scientific speculation, he proceeds to exercise himself in larger generalizations and grander propositions; knowing right well that "He that teacheth man knowledge," according to the prophet, is the Lord, the Lord acting by man's mouth. So also He assumed flesh. [ibid 7:11]

He, therefore, who has God resting in him will not desire aught else. At once leaving all hindrances, and despising all matter which distracts him, he cleaves the heaven by knowledge. And passing through the spiritual Essences (τὰς πνετματικὰς οὐσίας), and all rule and authority, he touches the highest thrones, hasting to that alone for the sake of which alone he knew. [ibid 7:13]

And now it is only the man of knowledge who recognises all men to be the work of one God, and invested with one image in one nature (καὶ πάντας ἀνθρώπους ἑνὸς ὄντας ἔργον θεοῦ καὶ μίαν εἰκόνα ἐπὶ μίαν οὐσίαν περιβεβλημένους), although some may be more turbid than others; and in the creatures he recognises the operation, by which again he adores the will of God. [ibid 7:14]

The knowledge of the truth among us from what is already believed, produces faith in what is not yet believed; which [faith] is, so to speak, the essence of demonstration (ἥτις οὐσία ὡς εἰπεῖν
ἀποδείξεως καθίσταται). But, as appears, no heresy has at all ears to hear what is useful, but opened only to what leads to pleasure. Since also, if one of them would only obey the truth, he would be healed. [ibid 7:16]

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Stephan Huller's Observations by Stephan Huller
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