But he who obeys the mere call, as he is called, neither for fear, nor for enjoyments, is on his way to knowledge (Gnosis). For he does not consider whether any extrinsic lucrative gain or enjoyment follows to him; but drawn by the love of Him who is the true object of love, and led to what is requisite, practices piety.
So that not even were we to suppose him to receive from God leave to do things forbidden with impunity; not even if he were to get the promise that he would receive as a reward the good things of the blessed; but besides, not even if he could persuade himself that God would be hoodwinked with reference to what he does (which is impossible), would he ever wish to do aught contrary to right reason, having once made choice of what is truly good and worthy of choice on its own account, and therefore to be loved.
For it is not in the food of the belly, that we have heard good to be situated. But he has heard that “meat will not commend us,” nor marriage, nor abstinence from marriage in ignorance; but virtuous Gnostic conduct. For the dog, which is an irrational animal, may be said to be continent, dreading as it does the uplifted stick, and therefore keeping away from the meat. But let the predicted promise be taken away, and the threatened dread cancelled, and the impending danger removed, and the disposition of such people will be revealed. ~Clement of Alexandria; The Stromata; Circa 190 AD.
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