Early Church Fathers Quotes on Faith
Clement of Rome
Let us cleave then to His blessing, and consider what are the means of possessing it. Let us think over the things which have taken place from the beginning. For what reason was our father Abraham blessed? was it not because he wrought righteousness and truth through faith? Isaac, with perfect confidence, as if knowing what was to happen, cheerfully yielded himself as a sacrifice. Jacob, through reason of his brother, went forth with humility from his own land, and came to Laban and served him; and there was given to him the sceptre of the twelve tribes of Israel. – First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians
Paul also obtained the reward of patient endurance, after being seven times thrown into captivity, compelled to flee, and stoned. After preaching both in the east and west, he gained the illustrious reputation due to his faith, having taught righteousness to the whole world, and come to the extreme limit of the west, and suffered martyrdom under the prefects. Thus was he removed from the world, and went into the holy place, having proved himself a striking example of patience. – First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians
Now the faith which is in Christ confirms all these [admonitions]. For He Himself by the Holy Ghost thus addresses us: “Come, you children, listen to Me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. What man is he that desires life, and loves to see good days? Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking guile. Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it. The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and His ears are [open] to their prayers. The face of the Lord is against those who do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth. The righteous cried, and the Lord heard him, and delivered him out of all his troubles.” “Many are the stripes [appointed for] the wicked; but mercy shall compass those about who hope in the Lord.” – First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians
Ignatius: to the Ephesians
None of these things is hidden from you, if you be perfect in your faith and love toward Jesus Christ, for these are the beginning and end of life – faith is the beginning and love is the end – and the two being found in unity are God, while all things else follow in their train unto true nobility. No man professing faith sins, and no man possessing love hates. “The tree is manifest from its fruit;” so they that profess to be Christ’s shall be seen through their actions. For the Work is not a thing of profession now, but is seen then when one is found in the power of faith unto the end.
Shepherd of Hermas
And the second, that is girded about and looks like a man, is called Self-Control; she is the daughter of Faith. Whosoever then shall follow her, becomes happy in his life, for he shall refrain from all evil deeds, believing that, if he refrain from every evil desire, he shall inherit eternal life.
And not merely in works, but also in faith, has God preserved the will of man free and under his own control, saying, “According to your faith be it unto you;” thus showing that there is a faith specially belonging to man, since he has an opinion specially his own. And again, “All things are possible to him that believes;” and, “Go your way; and as you has believed, so be it done unto you.” Now all such expressions demonstrate that man is in his own power with respect to faith. And for this reason, “He that believes in Him has eternal life while he who believes not the Son has not eternal life, but the wrath of God shall remain upon him.” In the same manner therefore the Lord, both showing His own goodness, and indicating that man is in his own free will and his own power, said to Jerusalem, “How often have I wished to gather your children together, as a hen [gathers] her chickens under her wings, and you would not! Wherefore your house shall be left unto you desolate.”
Clement of Alexandria
“The subject of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen,” according to the divine apostle. “For hereby,” pre-eminently, “the elders obtained a good report. But without faith it is impossible to please God.”… And since choice is the beginning of action, faith is discovered to be the beginning of action, being the foundation of rational choice in the case of any one who exhibits to himself the previous demonstration through faith. Voluntarily to follow what is useful, is the first principle of understanding. – The Stromata, or Miscellanies — Book II
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. –The Stromata, or Miscellanies — Book II
Happy is he who speaks in the ears of the hearing. Now faith is the ear of the soul. And such the Lord intimates faith to be, when He says, “He that has ears to hear, let him hear;” so that by believing he may comprehend what He says, as He says it.
So that when we hear, “Your faith has saved you”, we do not understand Him to say absolutely that those who have believed in any way whatever shall be saved, unless also works follow. But it was to the Jews alone that He spoke this utterance, who kept the law and lived blamelessly, who wanted only faith in the Lord. –The Stromata, or Miscellanies — Book VI
But how can a man say that he believes in Christ, who does not do what Christ commanded him to do? Or whence shall he attain to the reward of faith, who will not keep the faith of the commandment? He must of necessity waver and wander, and, caught away by a spirit of error, like dust which is shaken by the wind, be blown about; and he will make no advance in his walk towards salvation, because he does not keep the truth of the way of salvation. – Treatises of Cyprian – Treatise I
“That salvation has this day come to this house, for that he also is a son of Abraham.” For if Abraham believed in God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness, certainly he who gives alms according to God’s precept believes in God, and he who has the truth of faith maintains the fear of God; moreover, he who maintains the fear of God considers God in showing mercy to the poor. For he labors thus because he believes – because he knows that what is foretold by God’s word is true, and that the Holy Scripture cannot lie – that unfruitful trees, that is, unproductive men, are cut off and cast into the fire, but that the merciful are called into the kingdom. – Treatises of Cyprian – Treatise VIII
That the Jews could understand nothing of the Scriptures unless they first believed in Christ. In Isaiah: And if you will not believe, neither will you understand. Isaiah 7:9 Also the Lord in the Gospel: For if you believe not that I am He, you shall die in your sins. John 8:24 Moreover, that righteousness should subsist by faith, and that in it was life, was predicted in Habakkuk: Now the just shall live by faith of me. Habakkuk 2:4 Hence Abraham, the father of the nations, believed; in Genesis: Abraham believed in God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Genesis 15:6 In like manner, Paul to the Galatians: Abraham believed in God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. You know, therefore, that they which are of faith, the same are children of Abraham. But the Scripture, foreseeing that God justifies the heathens by faith, foretold to Abraham that all nations should be blessed in him. Therefore they who are of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham. Galatians 3:6-9 – Treatises of Cyprian – Treatise XII, BOOK I, Three Books of Testimonies Against the Jews.
Wherefore He says, “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” And this He said, not as holding before us any contest proper only to a God, but as showing our own flesh in its capacity to overcome suffering, and death, and corruption, in order that, as sin entered into the world by flesh, and death came to reign by sin over all men, the sin in the flesh might also be condemned through the selfsame flesh in the likeness thereof; and that that overseer of sin, the tempter, might be overcome, and death be cast down from its sovereignty, and the corruption in the burying of the body be done away, and the first-fruits of the resurrection be shown, and the principle of righteousness begin its course in the world through faith, and the kingdom of heaven be preached to men, and fellowship be established between God and men.
In behalf of this grace let us glorify the Father, who has given His only begotten Son for the life of the world. Let us glorify the Holy Spirit that worketh in us, and quickeneth us, and furnisheth the gifts meet for the fellowship of God; and let us not intermeddle with the word of the Gospel by lifeless disputations, scattering about endless questionings and logomachies, and making a hard thing of the gentle and simple word of faith; but rather let us work the work of faith, let us love peace, let us exhibit concord, let us preserve unity, let us cultivate love, with which God is well pleased. – TWELVE TOPICS ON THE FAITH