The Mission and Expansion of Christianity in the First Three Centuries

by Adolph (von) Harnack
translated and edited by James Moffatt
Second, enlarged and revised English edition;
London: Williams and Norgate / New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1908 (from the 2nd German edition)..
Theological Translation Library, volumes 19-20

From the German, Die Mission und Ausbreitung des Christentums in den ersten drei Jahrhunderten (1902, revised 1906, 1915, and finally 1924)

[[in addition to the 1908 ET in electronic form, an updated version is being prepared which incorporates changes in the 4th German edition and other revisions by RAK for use in 2004 America; see the end of the Table of Contents file  for editing instructions and stages; this 1908 version of "book 2" has been scanned and edited largely by Amna Khawar, with chapter 7 edited by Virginia Wayland, and final standardizing and editing by Francisco Lameiro (for English materials) and RAK (for Greek and Latin); remaining tasks include resolving queries noted by "[[[" markers, and updating identification systems for such authors as Hippolytus, Hermas, Josephus, and the like. Also, decide how to display footnotes. Simplify things for the English reader!]]



The unity and the variety which characterized the preaching of Christianity from the very first constituted the secret of its fascination and a vital condition of its success. On the one hand, it was so simple that it could be summed up in a few brief sentences and understood in a single crisis of the inner life; on the other hand, it was so versatile and rich, that it vivified all thought and stimulated every emotion. It was capable, almost from the outset, of vying with every noble and worthy enterprise, with any speculation, or with any cult of the mysteries. It was both new and old; it was alike present and future. Clear and transparent, it was also profound and full of mystery. It had statutes, and yet rose superior to any law. It was a doctrine and yet no doctrine, a philosophy and yet something different from philosophy. Western Catholicism, when surveyed as a whole, has been described as a complexio oppositorum, but this was also true of the Christian propaganda in its earliest stages. Consequently, to exhibit the preaching and labors of the Christian mission with the object of explaining the amazing success of Christianity, we must try to get a uniform grasp of all its component factors.

We shall proceed then to describe:--

1. The religious characteristics of the mission-preaching.

2. The gospel of salvation and of the Savior.

3. The gospel of love and charity. [[85]]

4. The religion of the Spirit and power, of moral earnestness and holiness.

5. The religion of authority and of reason, of mysteries and transcendentalism.

6. The message of a new People and of a Third race (or the historical and political consciousness of Christendom).

7. The religion of a Book, and of a historical realization.

8. The conflict with polytheism and idolatry.

In the course of these chapters we hope to do justice to the wealth of the religion, without impairing or obscuring the power of its simplicity.\1/ One point must be left out, of course: that is, the task of following the development of Christian doctrine into the dogmas of the church's catechism, as well as into the Christian philosophy of religion propounded by Origen and his school. Doctrine, in both of these forms, was unquestionably of great moment to the mission of Christianity, particularly after the date of its earliest definition (relatively speaking) about the middle of the third century. But such a subject would require a book to itself. I have endeavored, in the first volume of my History of Dogma (third edition)  to deal with it, and to that work I must refer any who may desire to see how the unavoidable gaps of the present volume are to be filled up.\2/

\1/ At the Scilitan martyrdom the proconsul remarks; "Et nos religiosi sumus, et simplex est religio nostra" ("We also are religious, and our religion is simple"). To which Speratus the Christian replies: "Si tranquillas praebueris aures tuas, dico mysterium simplicitatis" ("If you give me a quiet hearing, I shall tell you the mystery of simplicity").

\2/ Cp. my Grundriss der Dogmengeschichte (4th ed., 1905).




"Missionary Preaching" is a term which may be taken in a double sense. Its broader meaning covers all the forces of influence, attraction, and persuasion which the gospel had at its command, all the materials that it collected and endowed with life and power as it developed into a syncretistic religion during the first three centuries. The narrower sense of the term embraces simply the crucial message of faith and the ethical requirements of the gospel. Taking it in the latter sense, we shall devote the present chapter to a description of the fundamental principles of the missionary preaching. The broader conception has a wide range. The Old Testament and the new literature of Christianity, healing and redemption, gnosis and apologetic, myth and sacrament, the conquest of demons, forms of social organization and charity -- all these played their part in the mission-preaching and helped to render it impressive and convincing. Even in the narrower sense of the term, our description of the mission-preaching must be kept within bounds, for the conception of the crucial message of faith and its ethical requirements is bound up naturally with the development of dogma, and the latter (as I have already remarked) cannot be exhibited without over-stepping the precincts of the present volume. At the same time, these limitations are not very serious, since, to the best of our knowledge, mission-preaching (in the narrower sense of the term) was fairly extinct after the close of the second century. Its place was taken by the instruction of catechumens, by the training of the household in and for the Christian faith, and by the worship of the church. Finally, we must eschew the error of imagining that everyone who came over to Christianity was won [[87]] by a missionary propaganda of dogmatic completeness. So far as our sources throw light on this point, they reveal a very different state of things, and this applies even to the entire period preceding Constantine. In countless instances, it was but one ray of light that wrought the change. One person would be brought over by means of the Old Testament, another by the exorcising of demons, a third by the purity of Christian life; others, again, by the monotheism of Christianity, above all by the prospect of complete expiation, or by the prospect which it held out of immortality, or by the profundity of its speculations, or by the social standing which it conferred. In the great majority of cases, so long as Christianity did not yet propagate itself naturally, one believer may well have produced another, just as one prophet anointed his successor; example (not confined to the case of the martyrs) and the personal manifestation of the Christian life led to imitation. A complete knowledge of Christian doctrine, which was still a plant of very tender growth in the second century, was certainly the attainment of a small minority. "Idiotae, quorum semper maior pars est," says Tertullian [where??] ("The uneducated are always in a majority with us"). Hippolytus bewails the ignorance even of a Roman bishop [where??]. Even the knowledge of the Scriptures, though they were read in private, remained of necessity the privilege of an individual here and there, owing to their extensiveness and the difficulty of understanding them.\1/

\1/ Bishops and theologians, in the West especially, are always bewailing the defective knowledge of the Bible among the laity, and even among the clergy. Cp. also Clement of Alexandria [where??].

The earliest mission-preaching to Jews ran thus: "The kingdom of God is at hand; repent."\2/ The Jews thought they knew what was the meaning of the kingdom of heaven and of its advent; but they had to be told the meaning of the repentance that secured the higher righteousness, so that "God's kingdom" also acquired a new meaning. [[88]]

\2/ The earliest mission-preaching (Matt.10.7 f.) with which the disciples of Jesus were charged, ran: κηρύσσετε λέγοντες ὅτι ῎Ηγγικεν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν. Although repentance is not actually mentioned, it is to be supplied from other passages. The prospect of power to do works of healing is also held out to them (ἀσθενοῦντας θεραπεύετε, νεκροὺς ἐγείρετε, λεπροὺς καθαρίζετε, δαιμόνια ἐκβάλλετε).

The second stage in the mission-preaching to Jews was determined by this tenet: "The risen Jesus is the Messiah [cp. Matt.10.32], and will return from heaven to establish his kingdom."\3/

\3/ Cp. the confession of the resurrection common to primitive Christianity, in 1 Cor. 15.4 f.

The third stage was marked by the interpretation of the Old Testament as a whole (i.e., the law and the prophets) from the standpoint of its fulfillment in Jesus Christ, along with the accompanying need of securing and formulating that inwardness of disposition and moral principle which members of the Messianic church, who were called and kept by the Holy Spirit, knew to be their duty.\4/ This must have made them realize that the observance of the law, which had hitherto prevailed, was inadequate either to cancel sin or to gain righteousness; also that Jesus the Messiah had died that sins might be forgiven (γνωστὸν ἔστω ὑμῖν,  ὅτι διὰ τούτου ὑμῖν ἄφεσις ἁμαρτιῶν καταγγέλλεται ἀπὸ πάντων ὧν οὐκ ἠδυνήθητε ἐν νόμῳ Μωϋσέως δικαιωθῆναι).\5/ [[89]]

\4/ To "imitate" or "be like" Christ did not occupy the place one would expect among the ethical counsels of the age. Jesus had spoken of imitating God and bidden men follow himself, whilst the relationship of pupil and teacher readily suggested the formula of imitation. But whenever he was recognized as Messiah, as the Son of God, as Savior, and as Judge, the ideas of imitation and likeness had to give way, although the apostles still continued to urge both in their epistles, and to hold up the mind, the labors, and the sufferings of Jesus as an example. In the early church the imitation of Christ never became a formal principle of ethics (to use a modern phrase) except for the virtuoso in religion, the ecclesiastic, the teacher, the ascetic, or the martyr; it played quite a subordinate role in the ethical teaching of the church. Even the injunction to be like Christ, in the strict sense of the term, occurs comparatively seldom. Still, it is interesting to collect and examine the passages relative to this point; they show that whilst a parallel was fully drawn between the life of Christ and the career and conduct of distinguished Christians such as the confessors, the early church did not go the length of drawing up general injunctions with regard to the imitation of Christ. For one thing, the Christology stood in the way, involving not imitation but obedience; for another thing, the literal details of imitation seemed too severe. Those who made the attempt were always classed as Christians of a higher order (though even at this early period they were warned against presumption), so that the Catholic theory of "evangelic counsels" has quite a primitive root.

\5/ Acts 13.38; up to this point, I think, the Jewish Christian view is clearly stated in the address of Paul at Antioch, but the further development of the idea ἐν τούτῳ πᾶς ὁ πιστεύων δικαιοῦται  ("by whom everyone who believes is justified ") is specifically Pauline. Taken as a whole, however, the speech affords a fine example of missionary preaching to the Jews. From 1 Cor. 15.3 it follows that the tenet, "Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures," was not simply Pauline, but common to Christianity in general. Weizsacker (op. cit,, [[89b]] pp. 60 f.; Eng. trans., 1.74 f.) rightly lays great stress on the fact that previous to Paul and alongside of him, even within Jewish Christian circles (as in the case of Peter), the view must have prevailed that the law and its observance were not perfectly adequate to justification before God, and that a sotereological significance attached to Jesus the Messiah or to his death.

"You know that when you were pagans you were led away to dumb idols" (1 Cor. 12.2). "You turned to God from idols, to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, who delivers us from the wrath to come''' (1 Thess. 1.9-10). Here we have the mission-preaching to pagans in a nutshell. The "living and true God" is the first and final thing; the second is Jesus, the Son of God, the judge, who secures us against the wrath to come, and who is therefore "Jesus the Lord." To the living God, now preached to all men, we owe faith and devoted service; to God's Son as Lord, our due is faith and hope.\6/

\6/ When questioned upon the "dogma" of Christians, Justin answered: ῞Οπερ εὐσεβοῦμεν εἰς τὸν τῶν Χριστιανῶν θεόν, ὃν ἡγούμεθα ἕνα τούτων ἐξ ἀρχῆς ποιητὴν καὶ δημιουργὸν τῆς πάσης κτίσεως, ὁρατῆς τε καὶ ἀοράτου, καὶ κύριον ᾿Ιησοῦν Χριστὸν παῖδα θεοῦ, ὃς καὶ προκεκήρυκται ὑπὸ τῶν προφητῶν μέλλων παραγίνεσθαι τῷ  γένει τῶν ἀνθρώπων σωτηρίας κῆρυξ καὶ διδάσκαλος καλῶν μαθημάτων (Acts of Justin 2.5 [B recension] = "It is that whereby we worship the God of the Christians, whom we consider to be One from the beginning, the maker and fashioner of the whole creation, visible and invisible, and also the Lord Jesus Christ the Son of God, whom the prophets foretold would come to the race of men, a herald of salvation and a teacher of good disciples").

The contents of this brief message -- objective and subjective, positive and negative -- are inexhaustible. Yet the message itself is thoroughly compact and complete. It is objective and positive as the message which tells of the only God, who is spiritual, omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent, the creator of heaven and earth, the Lord and Father of men, and the great disposer of human history;\7/ furthermore, it is the message which tells of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who came from heaven,[[90]] made known the Father, died for sins, rose, sent the Spirit hither, and from his seat at God's right hand will return for the judgment;\8/ finally, it is the message of salvation brought by Jesus the Savior, that is, freedom from the tyranny of demons, sin, and death, together with the gift of life eternal.

\7/ In this respect the speech put by Luke (Acts 17.22-30) into the mouth of Paul at the Areopagus is typical and particularly instructive. It exhibits, at the same time, an alliance with the purest conceptions of Hellenism. We must combine this speech with First Thessalonians, in order to understand how the fundamentals of mission-preaching were laid before pagans, and also in order to get rid of the notion that Galatians and Romans are a model of Paul's preaching to pagan audiences. The characteristic principles of the mission-preaching (both negative and positive) are also preserved, with particular lucidity, in the fragmentary Kerugma Petri, an early composition which, as the very title indicates, was plainly meant to be a compendium of doctrine for missionary purposes.

\8/ Thaddaeus announces to Abgar a missionary address for  the next day, and gives the following preliminary outline of its contents (Eus. H.E. 1.13.20): κηρύξω καὶ σπερῶ ἐν αὐτοῖς τὸν λόγον τῆς  ζωῆς, περί τε τῆς ἐλεύσεως τοῦ ᾿Ιησοῦ καθὼς ἐγένετο, καὶ περὶ τῆς ἀποστολῆς αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἕνεκα τίνος ἀπεστάλη ὑπὸ τοῦ πατρός, καὶ περὶ τῆς δυνάμεως καὶ τῶν ἔργων αὐτοῦ καὶ μυστηρίων ὧν ἐλάλησεν ἐν κόσμῳ, καὶ ποίᾳ δυνάμει ταῦτα  ἐποίει, καὶ περὶ τῆς καινῆς αὐτοῦ κηρύξεως, καὶ περὶ τῆς  μικρότητος καὶ περὶ τῆς ταπεινώσεως, καὶ πῶς ἐταπείνωσεν  ἑαυτὸν καὶ ἀπέθετο καὶ ἐσμίκρυνεν αὐτοῦ τὴν θεότητα, καὶ ἐσταυρώθη, καὶ κατέβη εἰς τὸν ῎Αιδην, καὶ διέσχισε φραγμὸν τὸν ἐξ αἰῶνος μὴ σχισθέντα, καὶ ἀνήγειρεν νεκροὺς καὶ κατέβη μόνος, ἀνέβη δὲ μετὰ πολλοῦ ὄχλου πρὸς τὸν πατέρα αὐτοῦ ("I will preach and sow the word of God, concerning the advent of Jesus, even the manner of his birth: concerning his mission, even the purpose for which the Father sent him: concerning the power of his works and the mysteries he uttered in the world, even the nature of this power: concerning his new preaching and his abasement and humiliation, even how he humbled himself and died and debased his divinity and was crucified and went down to Hades and burst asunder the bars which had not been severed from all eternity, and raised the dead, descending alone but rising with many to his Father").

Then it is objective and negative, since it announces the vanity of all other gods, and forms a protest against idols of gold and silver and wood, as well as against blind fate and atheism.

Finally, it is subjective, as it declares the uselessness of all sacrifice, all temples, and all worship of man's devising, and opposes to these the worship of God in spirit and in truth, assurance of faith, holiness and self-control, love and brotherliness, and lastly the solid certainty of the resurrection and of life eternal, implying the futility of the present life, which lies exposed to future judgment.

This new kind of preaching excited extraordinary fears and hopes: fears of the imminent end of the world and of the great reckoning, at which even the just could hardly pass muster; hopes of a glorious reign on earth, after the denouement, and of a paradise which was to be filled with precious delights and overflowing with comfort and bliss. Probably no religion had ever proclaimed openly to men such terrors and such happiness.

To wide circles this message of the one and almighty God no [[91]] longer came as a surprise. It was the reverse of a surprise. What they had vaguely divined, seemed now to be firmly and gloriously realized. At the same time, as "Jesus and the Resurrection" were taken for new daemons in Athens (according to Acts 17.18), and considered to be utterly strange, this doctrine must have been regarded at first as paradoxical wherever it was preached. This, however, is not a question into which we have here to enter. What is certain is, that "the one living God, as creator," "Jesus the Savior,"\9/ "the Resurrection"  (ἡ ἀνάστασις), and ascetic "self-control"  (ἡ ἐγκρατεία)  formed the most conspicuous articles of the new propaganda. Along with this the story of Jesus must have been briefly communicated (in the statements of Christology), the resurrection was generally defined as the resurrection of the flesh, and self-control primarily identified with sexual purity, and then extended to include renunciation of the world and mortification of the flesh.\10/ [[92]]

\9/ One of the distinctive ideas in Christianity was the paradox that the Savior was also the Judge, an idea which gave it a special pre-eminence over other religions. -- "Father and Son," or "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit": the dual and the triple formula interchange, but the former is rather older, though both can be traced as far back as Paul. Personally I should doubt if it was he who stamped the latter formula. Like the "Church," "the new People," "the true Israel," "apostles, prophets, and teachers," "regeneration," etc., it was probably created by the primitive circle of disciples. -- The preaching of Jesus was combined with the confession of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and with the church, the forgiveness of sins, and the resurrection of the body. The Roman symbol is our earliest witness to this combination, and it was probably the earliest actual witness; it hardly arose out of the work of missions, in the narrower sense of the term, but out of the earlier catechetical method.

\10/ Hermas 26.1 (Mand. 1):  Πρῶτον πάντων πίστευσον ὅτι εἷς ἐστιν ὁ θεός, ὁ τὰ πάντα κτίσας καὶ καταρτίσας, κτλ.  ("First of all, believe that God is one, even he who created and ordered all things," etc.), is a particularly decisive passage as regards the first point (viz., the one living God); see Praedic. Petri in Clem., Strom. 5.6.48, 6.5.39, 6.6.48 (the twelve disciples dispatched by Jesus with the charge to preach to all the inhabitants of the world, that they may know God is one;  εὐαγγελίσασθαι τοὺς κατὰ τὴν οἰκουμένην ἀνθρώπους, γινώσκειν ὅτι εἷς θεός ἐστιν). In Chap. 2 of his Apology, Aristides sets forth the preaching of Jesus Christ; but when he has to summarize Christianity, he is contented to say that "Christians are those who have found the one true God." Cp., e.g., Chap. 15: "Christians . . . have found the truth. . . . They know and trust in God, the creator of heaven and earth, through whom and from whom are all things, beside whom there is none other, and from whom they have received commandments which are written on their hearts and kept in the faith and expectation of the world to come." (Cp. also the Apology of pseudo-Melito.) The other three points are [[92b]] laid down with especial clearness in the Acta Theclae, where Paul is said (1.5) to have handed down πάντα τὰ λόγια κυρίου καὶ τῆς γεννήσεως καὶ τῆς ἀναστάσεως τοῦ ἠγαπημένου ("all the sayings of the Lord and of the birth and resurrection of the Beloved"), and where the contents of his preaching are described as λόγος θεοῦ περὶ ἐγκρατείας καὶ ἀναστάσεως ("the word of God upon self-control and the resurrection"). The last-named pair of ideas are to be taken as mutually supplementary; the resurrection or eternal life is certain, but it is conditioned by ἐγκρατεία, which is therefore put first. Cp., for example, Vita Polycarpi 14: ἔλεγεν τὴν ἁγνείαν πρόδρομον εἶναι τῆς μελλούσης ἀφθάρτου βασιλείας  ("he said that purity was the precursor of the incorruptible kingdom to come").

The most overwhelming element in the new preaching was the resurrection of the flesh, the complete "restitutio in integrum," and the kingdom of glory. Creation and resurrection were the beginning and the end of the new doctrine. The hope of resurrection which it aroused gave rise to a fresh estimate of the individual value, and at the same time to quite inferior and sensuous desires. Faith in the resurrection of the body and in the millennium soon appeared to pagans to be the distinguishing feature of this silly religion. And the pagans were right. It was the distinguishing feature of Christianity at this period. Justin explains that all orthodox Christians held this doctrine and this hope. "Fiducia christianorum resurrectio mortuorum, illa credentes sumus," Tertullian writes (de Resurr. 1 [[[ET??]]), adding (in ch. 21) that this must not be taken allegorically, as the heretics allege, since "verisimile non est, ut ea species sacramenti, in quam fides tota committitur, in quam disciplina tota conititur, ambigue annuntiata et obscura proposita videatur" ([[[ET??]] the gospel is too important to be stated ambiguously; see further what follows). The earliest essays of a technical character by the teachers of the Catholic church were upon the resurrection of the flesh. It was a hope, too, which gave vent to the ardent desires of the oppressed, the poor, the slaves, and the disappointed upon earth: "We want to serve no longer, our wish is to reign soon" (Tert., de Orat. 5). "Though the times of this hope have been determined by the sacred pen, lest it should be fixed previous, I think, to the return of Christ, yet our prayers pant for the close of this age, for the passing of this world to the great day of the Lord, for the day of wrath and retribution" (Cum et tempora totius spei fida sunt sacrosancto stilo, ne liceat eam ante constitui quam in adventum, opinor, Christi, vota [[93]] nostra suspirant in saeculi huius occasum, in transitum mundi quoque ad diem domini magnum, diem irae et retributionis.-- Tert., de Resurr. 22). "May grace come and this world pass away! The Lord comes!" is the prayer of Christians at the Lord's Supper (Did. 10). In many circles this mood lasted even after the beginning of the third century, but it reached its height during the reign of Marcus Aurelius.\11/

\11/ Origen (de Princ. 2.11.2) has described in great detail the views of the chiliasts, whom he opposed as, even in his day, a retrograde party. His description proves that we cannot attribute too [[[ie overemphasize??]] sensuous opinions to them. They actually reckoned upon "nuptiarum conventiones et filiorum procreationes." [[[ET??]] Compare the words of Irenaeus in the fifth book of his large work upon the millennium, where he follows "apostolic tradition" and attaches himself to Papias. ***

From the outset "wisdom," "intelligence," "understanding," and "intellect" had a very wide scope. Indeed, there was hardly mission propaganda of any volume which did not over-flow into the "gnostic" spirit, i.e., the spirit of Greek philosophy. The play of imagination was at once unfettered and urged to its highest flights by the settled conviction (for we need not notice here the circles where a different view prevailed) that Jesus, the Savior, had come down from heaven. It was, after all, jejune to be informed, "We are the offspring of God" (Acts 17.28); but to be told that God became man and was incarnate in order that men might be divine -- this was the apex and climax of all knowledge. It was bound up with the speculative idea (1) that, as the incarnation was a cosmic and divine event, it must therefore involve a reviving and heightened significance for the whole creation; and (2) that the soul of man, hitherto divided from its primal source in God by forces and barriers of various degrees, now found the way open for its return to God, while every one of those very forces which had formerly barred the path was also liberated and transformed into a step and intermediate stage on the way back. Speculations upon God, the world, and the soul were inevitable, and they extended to the nature of the church. Here, too, the earthly and historical was raised to the level of the cosmic and transcendental.

At first the contrast between a "sound" gnosis and a heretical only emerged by degrees in the propaganda, although from the very outset it was felt that certain speculations seemed to imperil [[94]] the preaching of the gospel itself.\12/ The extravagances of the "gnosis" which penetrated all the syncretistic religion of the age, and issued in dualism and docetism, were corrected primarily by a "sound" gnosis, then by the doctrine of Christian freedom, by a sober, rational theology and ethics, by the realism of the saving facts in the history of Jesus, by the doctrine of the resurrection of the body, but ultimately and most effectively by the church prohibiting all "innovations" and fixing her tradition. From this standpoint Origen's definition of gospel preaching (Hom. in Joh. 32.9) is extremely instructive. After quoting Hermas 26 = Mand. 1 (the one God, the Creator), he adds: "It is also necessary to believe that Jesus Christ is Lord, and to believe all the truth concerning his deity and humanity, also to believe in the Holy Spirit, and that as free agents we are punished for our sins and rewarded for our good actions."

\12/ One of the most remarkable and suggestive phenomena of the time is the fact that wherever a ''dangerous" speculation sprang up, it was combated in such a way that part of it was taken over. For example, contrast Ephesians and Colossians with the "heresies" which had emerged in Phrygia (at Colosse); think of the "heresies" opposed by the Johannine writings, and then consider the Gnostic contents of the latter; compare the theology of Ignatius with the "heresies attacked in the Ignatian epistles"; think of the great gnostic systems of the second century, and then read their opponent Irenseus. "Vincendi vincentibus legem dederunt"! Such was the power of these Hellenistic, syncretistic ideas! It looks almost as if there had been a sort of disinfectant process, the "sound" doctrine being inoculated with a strong dilution of heresy, and thus made proof against virulent infection.

By the second century Christianity was being preached in very different ways. The evangelists of the Catholic church preached in one way throughout the East, and in another throughout the West, though their fundamental position was identical; the Gnostics and Marcionites, again, preached in yet another way. Still Tertullian was probably not altogether wrong in saying that missions to the heathen were not actively promoted by the latter; the Gnostics and the Marcionites, as a rule, confined their operations to those who were already Christians. After the gnostic controversy, the anti-gnostic rule of faith gradually became the one basis of the church's preaching. The ethical and impetuous element retreated behind [[95]] the dogmatic, although the emphasis upon self-control and asceticism never lost its vogue.

At the transition from the second to the third century, theology had extended widely, but the mission-preaching had then as ever to remain comparatively limited. For the "idiotae" it was enough, and more than enough, to hold the four points which we have already mentioned. Scenes like those described in Acts (8.26-38) were constantly being repeated, mutatis mutandis, especially during the days of persecution, when individual Christians suffered martyrdom joyfully; and this, although an orthodox doctrine of considerable range was in existence, which (in theory, at any rate) was essential. For many the sum of knowledge amounted to nothing more than the confession of the one God, who created the world, of Jesus the Lord, of the judgment, and of the resurrection; on the other hand, some of the chief arguments in the proof from prophecy, which played so prominent a part in all preaching to Jews and pagans (see Chapter 8), were disseminated far and wide; and as the apologists are always pointing in triumph to the fact that "among us," "tradesmen, slaves, and old women know how to give some account of God, and do not believe without evidence," the principles of the Christian conception [[96]] of God must have been familiar to a very large number of people.\13/

\13/ Together with the main articles in the proof from prophecy (i.e., a dozen passages or so from the Old Testament), the corresponding parts of the history of Jesus were best known and most familiar. An inevitable result of being viewed in this light and along this line was that the history of Jesus (apart from the crucifixion) represents almost entirely legendary materials (or ideal history) to a severely historical judgment. Probably no passage made so deep an impression as the birth-narratives in Matthew and especially in Luke. The fact that the story of the resurrection did not in its details prove a similar success, was due to a diversity of the narratives in the authoritative scriptures, which was so serious that the very exegetes of the period (and they were capable of almost anything!) failed to give any coherent or impressive account of what transpired. Hence the separate narratives in the gospels relating to the resurrection did not possess the same importance as the birth-narratives. "Raised on the third day from the dead, according to the scripture" : this brief confession was all that rivaled the popularity of Luke 1-2. and the story of the wise men from the East. The notion that the apostles themselves compiled a quintessence of Christian doctrine was widely current; but the greatest difference of opinion prevailed as to what the quintessence consisted of. The Didache marks the beginning of a series of compositions which were supposed to have been written by the apostles collectively, or to contain an authoritative summary of their regulations.

These four points, then -- the one living God, Jesus our Savior and Judge, the resurrection of the flesh, and self-control -- combined to form the new religion. It stood out in bold relief from the old religions, and above all from the Jewish; yet in spite of its hard struggle with polytheism, it was organically related to the process of evolution which was at work throughout all religion, upon the eastern and the central coasts of the Mediterranean. The atmosphere from which those four principles drew their vitality was the conception of recompense -- i.e., the absolute supremacy of the moral element in life on the one hand, and the redeeming cross of Christ upon the other. No account of the principles underlying the mission-preaching of Christianity is accurate, if it does not view everything from the standpoint of this conception : the sovereignty of morality, and the assurance of redemption by the forgiveness of sins, based on the cross of Christ.\14/ "Grace,''' i.e., forgiveness, did play a leading role, but grace never displaced recompense. From the very first, morality was inculcated within the Christian churches in two ways: by the Spirit of Christ and by the conception of judgment and of recompense. Yet both were marked by a decided bent to the future, for the Christ of both was "he who was to return." To the mind of primitive Christianity the "present" and the "future" were sharply opposed to each [[97]] other,  and it was this opposition which furnished the principle of self-control with its most powerful motive.\15/ It became, indeed, with many people a sort of glowing passion. The church which prayed at every service, "May grace come and this world pass away: maranatha," was the church which gave directions like those which we read in the opening parable of Hermas.\16/ "From [[98]] the lips of all Christians this word is to be heard: The world is crucified to me, and I to the world" (Celsus, cited by Origen, 5.64).\17/

\14/ Redemption by the forgiveness of sins was, strictly speaking, considered to take place once and for all. The effects of Christ's death were conferred on the individual at baptism, and all his previous sins were blotted out. Many teachers, like Paul, presented the cross of Christ as the content of Christianity. Thus Tertullian (de Carne 5), protesting against the docetism of Marcion, which impaired the death of Christ upon the cross, calls out, "O spare the one hope of the whole world" (parce unicae spei totius orbis). The cross exerts a protective and defensive influence over the baptized (against demons), but it does not bestow any redeeming deliverance from sin. Speculations on the latter point do not arise till later. As a mystery, of course, it is inexhaustible, and therefore it is impossible to state its influence. Pseudo-Barnabas and Justin are already mystagogues of the cross; cp. Ep. Barn. 11-12, and Justin's Apol. 1.55, where he triumphantly claims that "the wicked demons never imitated the crucifixion, not even in the case of any of the so-called sons of Zeus" (οὐδαμοῦ οὐδ’ ἐπί τινος τῶν λεγομένων υἱῶν τοῦ Διὸς τὸ σταυρωθῆναι ἐμιμήσαντο).  Cp, further Minucius, Octav. 29; Tert, ad. Nat. 1.12, etc.

\15/ Cp. 2 Clem., ad Cor. 6.3-6:  ἔστιν δὲ οὗτος ὁ αἰὼν καὶ ὁ μέλλων δύο ἐχθροί.  (4.)  οὗτος λέγει μοιχείαν καὶ φθορὰν καὶ φιλαργυρίαν καὶ ἀπάτην, ἐκεῖνος δὲ τούτοις ἀποτάσσεται.  (5.)  οὐ δυνάμεθα οὖν τῶν δύο φίλοι εἶναι· δεῖ δὲ ἡμᾶς τούτῳ ἀποταξαμένους ἐκείνῳ χρᾶσθαι. (6.)  οἰόμεθα, ὅτι βέλτιόν ἐστιν τὰ ἐνθάδε μισῆσαι, ὅτι μικρὰ καὶ ὀλιγοχρόνια καὶ φθαρτά, ἐκεῖνα δὲ ἀγαπῆσαι, τὰ ἀγαθὰ τὰ ἄφθαρτα ("This age and the future age are two enemies. The one speaks of adultery, corruption, avarice, and deceit; the other bids farewell to these. We cannot, therefore, be friends of both; we must part with the one and embrace the other. We judge it better to hate the things which are here, because they are small and transient and corruptible, and to love the things that are yonder, for they are good and incorruptible").

\16/ Here is the passage (Hermas 50 = Sim. 1); it will serve to represent a large class. "You know that you servants of God dwell in a foreign land, for your city is far from this city. If, then, you know the city where you are to dwell, why provide yourselves here with fields and expensive luxuries and buildings and chambers to no purpose? He who makes such provision for this city has no mind to return to his own city. Foolish, double-minded, wretched man! Seest thou not that all these things are foreign to thee and controlled by another? For the lord of this city shall say, 'I will not have thee in my city; leave this city, for thou keepest not my laws.' Then, possessor of fields and dwellings and much property besides, what wilt thou do with field, and house, and all thine other gains, when thou art expelled by him? For the lord of this land has a right to tell thee, 'Keep my laws, or leave my land.' What then shalt thou do, thou who hast already a law over thee in thine own city? For the sake of thy fields and other possessions wilt thou utterly repudiate thy law and follow the law of this city? Beware! It may be unwise for thee to repudiate thy law. For shouldst thou wish to return once more to thy city, thou shalt not be allowed in: thou shalt be shut out, because thou didst repudiate its law. So beware. Dwelling in a foreign land, provide thyself with nothing more than a suitable competency; and whenever the master of this city expels thee for opposing his law, be ready to leave his city and seek thine own, keeping thine own law cheerfully and unmolested. So beware, you that serve God and have him in your heart; perform his works, mindful of his commandments and of the promises he has made, in the faith that he will perform the latter if the former be observed. Instead of fields, then, buy souls in trouble, as each of you is able; visit widows and orphans, and neglect them not; expend on such fields and houses, which God has given to you [i.e., on the poor], your wealth and all your pains. The Master endowed you with riches that you might perform such ministries for him. Far better is it to buy fields, possessions, houses of this kind; thou wilt find them in thine own city when thou dost visit it. Such expenditure is noble and cheerful; it brings joy, not fear and sorrow. Practise not the expenditure of pagans, then: that ill becomes you, as God's servants. Practise your proper expenditure, in which you may rejoice. Do not stamp things falsely; [[98b]] never touch other people's property, nor lust after it, for it is evil to lust after what belongs to other people. Do thine own task and thou shalt be saved." For all the rigor of his counsel, however, it never occurs to Hermas that the distinction of rich and poor should actually cease within the church. This is plain, if further proof be needed, from the next parable. The progress of thought upon this question in the church is indicated by the tractate of Clement of Alexandria entitled "Quis dives salvetur?" Moreover, the saying already put into the lips of Jesus in John 12.8 ("the poor ye have always with you"), a saying which was hardly inserted without some purpose, shows that the abolition of the distinction between rich and poor was never contemplated in the church.

\17/ The pessimistic attitude of the primitive Christians towards the world cannot be too strongly emphasised. (Marcion called his fellow-confessors συνταλαίπωροι καὶ συμμισούμενοι, "partners in the suffering of wretchedness and of hatred." -- Tert., adv. Marc. 4.9). This is confirmed by the evidence even of Tertullian, and of Origen himself. Let one instance suffice. In Hom. 8 ad. Levit., t. 9 pp. 316 f., Origen remarks that in the Scriptures only worldly men, like Pharaoh and Herod, celebrate their birthdays, whereas "the saints not only abstain from holding a feast on their birthdays, but, being filled with the Holy Spirit, curse that day" (Sancti non solum non agunt festivitatem in die natali suo, sed a spiritu sancto repleti exsecrantur hunc diem). The true birthday of Christians is the day of their death. Origen recalls Job, in this connection; but the form which his pessimism assumes is bound up, of course, with special speculative ideas of his own.

This resolute renunciation of the world was really the first thing which made the church competent and strong to tell upon the world. Then, if ever, was the saying true : "He who would do anything for the world must have nothing to do with it." Primitive Christianity has been upbraided for being too un-worldly and ascetic. But revolutions are not effected with rosewater, and it was a veritable revolution to overthrow polytheism and establish the majesty of God and goodness in the world -- for those who believed in them, and also for those who did not. This could never have happened, in the first instance, had not men asserted the vanity of the present world, and practically severed themselves from it. The rigor of this attitude, however, hardly checked the mission-preaching; on the contrary, it intensified it, since instead of being isolated it was set side by side with the message of the Savior and of salvation, of love and charity. And we must add, that for all its trenchant forms and the strong bias it imparted to the minds of men towards the future, the idea of recompense was saved from harshness and [[99]] inertia by its juxtaposition with a feeling of perfect confidence that God was present, and a conviction of his care and of his providence. No mode of thought was more alien to early Christianity than what we call deism. The early Christians knew the Father in heaven; they knew that God was near them and guiding them; the more thoughtful were conscious that he reigned in their life with a might of his own. This was the God they proclaimed. And thus, in their preaching, the future became already present; hard and fast recompense seemed to disappear entirely, for what further "recompense" was needed by people who were living in God's presence, conscious in every faculty of the soul, aye, and in every sense of the wisdom, power, and goodness of their God? Moods of assured possession and of yearning, experiences of grace and phases of impassioned hope, came and went in many a man besides the apostle Paul. He yearned for the prospect of release from the body, and thus felt a touching sympathy for everything in bondage, for the whole creation in its groans. But it was no harassing or uncertain hope that engrossed all his heart and being; it was hope fixed upon a strong and secure basis in his filial relationship to God and his possession of God's Spirit.\18/

\18/ It was only in rare cases that the image of Christ's person as a whole produced what may be termed a "Christ-emotion," which moved people to give articulate expression to their experiences. Ignatius is really the only man we can name alongside of Paul and John. Yet in how many cases of which we know nothing, this image of Christ must have been the dominating power of human life! In some of the dying confessions of the martyrs, and in the learned homilies of Origen, it emerges in a very affecting way.

It is hardly necessary to point out that, by proclaiming repentance and strict morals on the one hand, and offering the removal of sins and redemption on the other hand, the Christian propaganda involved an inner cleavage which individual Christians must have realized in very different ways. If this removal of sins and redemption was bound up with the sacrament or specifically with the sacrament of baptism, then it came to this, that thousands were eager for this sacrament and nothing more, satisfied with belief in its immediate and magical efficacy, and devoid of any serious attention to the moral law. Upon the other hand, the moral demand could weigh so heavily on [[100]] the conscience that redemption came to be no more than the reward and prize of a holy life. Between these two extremes a variety of standpoints was possible. The propaganda of the church made a sincere effort to assign equal weight to both elements of its message; but sacraments are generally more welcome than moral counsels, and that age was particularly afflicted with the sacramental mania. It added to the mysteries the requisite quality of naivete, and at the same time the equally requisite note of subtlety.




\1/ This chapter is based on a fresh revision of Section 6 in my study on "Medicinisches aus der ältesten Kirchengeschichte" (Texte and Unters. 8, 1892).

The gospel, as preached by Jesus; is a religion of redemption, but it is a religion of redemption in a secret sense. Jesus proclaimed a new message (the near approach of God's kingdom, God as the Father, as his Father), and also a new law, but he did his work as a Savior or healer, and it was amid work of this kind that he was crucified. Paul, too, preached the gospel as a religion of redemption.

Jesus appeared among his people as a physician. "The healthy need not a physician, but the sick" (Mark 2.17, Luke 5.31). The first three gospels depict him as the physician of soul and body, as the Savior or healer of men. Jesus says very little about sickness; he cures it. He does not explain that sickness is health; he calls it by its proper name, and is sorry for the sick person. There is nothing sentimental or subtle about Jesus; he draws no fine distinctions, he utters no sophistries about healthy people being really sick and sick people really healthy. He sees himself surrounded by crowds of sick folk; he attracts them, and his one impulse is to help them. Jesus does not distinguish rigidly between sicknesses of the body and of the soul; he takes them both as different expressions of the one supreme ailment in humanity. But he knows their sources. He knows it is easier to say, "Rise up and walk," than to say, "Thy sins are forgiven thee" (Mark 2.9).\2/ [[102]] And he acts accordingly. No sickness of the soul repels him -- he is constantly surrounded by sinful women and tax-gatherers. Nor is any bodily disease too loathsome for Jesus. In this world of wailing, misery, filth, and profligacy, which pressed upon him every day, he kept himself invariably vital, pure, and busy.

\2/Or are we to interpret the passage in another way? Is it easier to say, "Thy sins are forgiven thee"? In that case, "easier" evidently must be taken in a different sense.

In this way he won men and women to be his disciples. The circle by which he was surrounded was a circle of people who had been healed.\3/ They were healed because they had believed on him, i.e., because they had gained health from his character and words. To know God meant a sound soul. This was the rock on which Jesus had rescued them from the shipwreck of their life. They knew they were healed, just because they had recognized God as the Father in his Son. Henceforth they drew health and real life as from a never-failing stream.

\3/ An old legend of Edessa regarding Jesus is connected with his activity as a healer of men. At the close of the third century the people of Edessa, who had become Christians during the second half of the second century, traced back their faith to the apostolic age, and treasured up an alleged correspondence between Jesus and their King Abgar. This correspondence is still extant (cp. Euseb., H.E. 1.13). It is a naïve romance. The king, who is severely ill, writes thus "Abgar, toparch of Edessa, to Jesus the excellent Savior, who has appeared in the country of Jerusalem; greeting. I have heard of thee and of thy cures, performed without medicine or herb. For, it is said, thou makest the blind to see, and the lame to walk; thou cleansest lepers, thou expellest unclean spirits and demons, thou healest those afflicted with lingering diseases, and thou raisest the dead. Now, as I have heard all this about thee, I have concluded that one of two things must be true: either thou art God, and, having descended from heaven, doest these things, or else thou art a son of God by what thou doest. I write to thee, therefore, to ask thee to come and cure the disease from which I am suffering. For I have heard that the Jews murmur against thee, and devise evil against thee. Now, I have a very small, yet excellent city, which is large enough for both of us." To which Jesus answered: "Blessed art thou for having believed in me without seeing me. For it is written concerning me that those who have seen me will not believe in me, while they who have not seen me will believe and be saved. But as to thy request that I should come to thee, I must fulfill here all things for which I have been sent, and, after fulfilling them, be taken up again to him who sent me. Yet after I am taken up, I will send thee one of my disciples to cure thy disease and give life to thee and thine." The narrative then goes on to describe how Thaddaeus came to Edessa and cured the king by the laying on of hands, without medicine or herbs, after he had confessed his faith. "And Abdus, the son of Abdus, was also cured by him of gout."

"Ye will say unto me this parable: Physician, heal thyself" (Luke 4.23). He who helped so many people, seemed himself [[103]] to be always helpless. Harassed, calumniated, threatened with death by the authorities of his nation, and persecuted in the name of the very God whom he proclaimed, Jesus went to his cross. But even the cross only displayed for the first time the full depth and energy of his saving power. It put the copestone on his mission, by showing men that the sufferings of the just are the saving force in human history.

"Surely he hath borne our sickness and carried our sorrows; by his stripes we are healed."\4/ This was the new truth that issued from the cross of Jesus. It flowed out, like a stream of fresh water, on the arid souls of men and on their dry morality. The morality of outward acts and regulations gave way to the conception of a life which was personal, pure, and divine, which spent itself in the service of the brethren, and gave itself up ungrudgingly to death. This conception was the new principle of life. It uprooted the old life swaying to and fro between sin and virtue; it also planted a new life whose aim was nothing short of being a disciple of Christ, and whose strength was drawn from the life of Christ himself. The disciples went forth to preach the tidings of "God the Savior," of that Savior and physician whose person, deeds, and sufferings were man's salvation.\5/ Paul was giving vent to no sudden or extravagant emotion, but expressing with quiet confidence what he was fully conscious of at every moment, when he wrote to the Galatians (2.20), "I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me. For the life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave up himself for me." Conscious of this, the primitive Christian missionaries were ready to die daily. And that was just the reason why their cause did not collapse.

\4/ Cp. 1 Pet. 2.24, οὗ τῷ μώλωπι αὐτοὶ ἰάθητε. [[[ET, text var?]]

\5/ Luke 2.11, ἐτέχθη ὑμῖν σωτὴρ, ὅς ἐστιν Χριστὸς κύριος ; John 4.42, οἴδαμεν ὅτι οὗτός ἐστιν ἀληθῶς ὁ σωτὴρ τοῦ κόσμου; Tit. 2.11,  ᾿Επεφάνη ἡ χάρις τοῦ θεοῦ σωτήριος πᾶσιν ἀνθρώποις; Tit. 3.4, ἡ χρηστότης καὶ ἡ φιλανθρωπία ἐπεφάνη τοῦ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν θεοῦ. By several Christian circles, indeed, the title "Savior" was reserved for Jesus and for Jesus only. Irenaeus (1.1.3) reproaches the Valentinian Ptolemaeus for never calling Jesus κύριος but only σωτρ, and, as a matter of fact, in the epistle of Ptolemaeus to Flora, Jesus is termed σωτρ exclusively.

In the world to which the apostles preached their new [[104]] message, religion had not been intended originally for the sick, but for the sound. The Deity sought the pure and sound to be his worshippers. The sick and sinful, it was held, are a prey to the powers of darkness; let them see to the recovery of health by some means or another, health for soul and body -- for until then they are not pleasing to the gods. It is interesting to observe how this conception is still dominant at the close of the second century, in Celsus, the enemy of Christendom (Orig., c. Cels. 3.59 f.). "Those who invite people to participate in other solemnities, make the following proclamation: 'He who hath clean hands and sensible speech (is to draw near)'; or again, 'He who is pure from all stain, conscious of no sin in his soul, and living an honorable and just life (may approach).' Such is the cry of those who promise purification from sins.\6/ But let us now hear what sort of people these Christians invite. 'Anyone who is a sinner,' they say, 'or foolish, or simple-minded -- in short, any unfortunate will be accepted by the kingdom of God.' By 'sinner' is meant an unjust person, a thief, a burglar, a poisoner, a sacrilegious man, or a robber of corpses. Why, if you wanted an assembly of robbers, these are just the sort of people you would summon!"\7/ Here Celsus has stated, as lucidly as one could desire, the cardinal difference between Christianity and ancient religion.\8/

\6/ The meaning is that even to mysteries connected with purification those only were bidden who had led upon the whole a good and a just life.

\7/ Porphyry's position is rather different. He cannot flatly set aside the saying of Christ about the sick, for whose sake he came into the world. But as a Greek he is convinced that religion is meant for intelligent, just, and inquiring people. Hence his statement on the point (in Mac. Magnes, 4.10) is rather confused.

\8/ Origen makes a skillful defense of Christianity at this point. "If a Christian does extend his appeal to the same people as those addressed by a robber-chief, his aim is very different. He does so in order to bind up their wounds with his doctrine, in order to allay the festering sores of the soul with those remedies of faith which correspond to the wine and oil and other applications employed to give the body relief from pain" (3.60). "Celsus misrepresents facts when he declares that we hold God was sent to sinners only. It is just as if he found fault with some people for saying that some kind and gracious [φιλανθρωπότατος, an epithet of Aesculapius] monarch had sent his physician to a city for the benefit of the sick people in that city. God the Word was thus sent as a physician for sinners, but also as a teacher of divine mysteries for those who are already pure and sin no more" (3.61).

But, as we have already seen (Book 1, Chapter 3), the [[105]] religious temper which Christianity encountered, and which developed and diffused itself very rapidly in the second and third centuries, was no longer what we should term "ancient." Here again we see that the new religion made its appearance "when the time was fulfilled." The cheerful, naive spirit of the old religion, so far as it still survived, lay a-dying, and its place was occupied by fresh religious needs. Philosophy had set the individual free, and had discovered a human being in the common citizen. By the blending of states and nations, which coalesced to form a universal empire, cosmopolitanism had now become a reality. But there was always a reverse side to cosmopolitanism, viz., individualism. The refinements of material civilization and mental culture made people more sensitive to the element of pain in life, and this increase of sensitiveness showed itself also in the sphere of morals, where more than one Oriental religion came forward to satisfy its demand. The Socratic philosophy, with its fine ethical ideas, issued from the heights of the thinker to spread across the lowlands of the common people. The Stoics, in particular, paid unwearied attention to the "health and diseases of the soul," moulding their practical philosophy upon this type of thought. There was a real demand for purity, consolation, expiation, and healing, and as these could not be found elsewhere, they began to be sought in religion. In order to secure them, people were on the look-out for new sacred rites. The evidence for this change which passed over the religious temper lies in the writings of Seneca, Epictetus, and many others; but a further testimony of much greater weight is afforded by the revival which attended the cult of Aesculapius during the Imperial age.\9/ As far back as 290 B.C.E., Aesculapius of Epidaurus had been summoned to Rome on the advice of the Sibylline books. He had his sanctuary on the island in the Tiber, and close to it, just as at the numerous shrines of Asclepius in Greece, there stood a sanatorium in which sick persons waited for the injunctions [[106]] which the god imparted during sleep. Greek physicians followed the god to Rome, but it took a long time for either the god or the Greek doctors to become popular. The latter do riot seem at first to have recommended themselves by their skill. "In 219 B.C.E. the first Greek surgeon became domiciled in Rome. He actually received the franchise, and was presented by the State with a shop 'in compito Acilio.' But this doctor made such unmerciful havoc among his patients by cutting and cauterizing, that the name of surgeon became a synonym for that of a butcher."\10/ Things were different under the Caesars. Though the Romans themselves still eschewed the art of medicine, considering it a kind of divination, skilled Greek doctors were in demand at Rome itself, and the cult of that "deus clinicus," Aesculapius, was in full vogue. From Rome his cult spread over all the West, fusing itself here and there with the cult of Serapis or some other deity, and accompanied by the subordinate cult of Hygeia and Salus, Telesphorus and Somnus. Furthermore, the sphere of influence belonging to this god of healing widened steadily; he became "savior" pure and simple, the god who aids in all distress, the "friend of man" (φιλανθρωπότατος).\11/ The more men sought deliverance and healing in religion, the greater grew this god's [[107]] repute. He belonged to the old gods who held out longest against Christianity, and therefore he is often to be met with in the course of early Christian literature. The cult of Aesculapius was one of those which were most widely diffused throughout the second half of the second century, and also during the third century. People traveled to the famous sanatoria of the god, as they travel today to baths. He was appealed to in diseases of the body and of the soul; people slept in his temples, to be cured; the costliest gifts were brought him as the ΘΕΟΣ  ΣΩΤΗΡ ("God the Savior"); and people consecrated their lives to him, as innumerable inscriptions and statues testify. In the case of other gods as well, healing virtue now became a central feature. Zeus himself and Apollo (cp., e.g., Tatian, Orat. 8) appeared in a new light. They, too, became "saviors." No one could be a god any longer, unless he was also a savior.\12/ Glance over Origen's great reply to Celsus, and you soon discover that one point hotly disputed by these two remarkable men was the question whether Jesus or Aesculapius was the true Savior. Celsus champions the one with as much energy and credulity as Origen the other. The combination of crass superstition and sensible criticism presented by both men is an enigma to us at this time of day. We moderns can hardly form any clear idea of their mental bearings. In 3.3 Origen observes: "Miracles occurred in all lands, or at least in many places. Celsus himself admits in his book that, Esculapius healed diseases and revealed the future in all cities that were devoted to him, such as Tricca, Epidaurus, Cos, and Pergamum." According to 3.22 Celsus charged the Christians with being unable to make up their minds to call Aesculapius a god, simply because he had been first a man. Origen's retort is that the Greek tradition made Zeus slay Aesculapius with a thunderbolt. Celsus (3.24) declared it to be an authentic fact that a great number of Greeks and barbarians had seen, and still saw, no mere wraith of Aesculapius, but the god himself engaged in healing and helping man, whereas the disciples of Jesus had merely seen a phantom. Origen is very indignant at this, but his counter-assertions are [[108]] weak. Does Celsus also appeal to the great number of Greeks and barbarians who believe in Aesculapius? Origen, too, can point to the great number of Christians, to the truth of their scriptures, and to their successful cures in the name of Jesus. But then he suddenly alters his defense, and proceeds (3.25) to make the following extremely shrewd observation: "Even were I going to admit that a demon named Aesculapius had the power of healing bodily diseases, I might still remark to those who are amazed at such cures or at the prophecies of Apollo, that such curative power is of itself neither good nor bad, but within reach of godless as well as of honest folk; while in the same way it does not follow that he who can foretell the future is on that account an honest and upright man. One is not in a position to prove the virtuous character of those who heal diseases and foretell the future. Many instances may be adduced of people being healed who did not deserve to live, people who were so corrupt and led a life of such wickedness that no sensible physician would have troubled to cure them. . . The power of healing diseases is no evidence of anything specially divine." From all these remarks of Origen, we can see how high the cult of Aesculapius was ranked, and how keenly the men of that age were on the lookout for "salvation."

\9/ For the cult of Aesculapius, see von Wilamowitz-Moellendorf's Isyllos von Epidauros (1886), pp. 36 f., 44 f., 116 f., and Usener's Gotternamen (1896), pp. 147 f., 350, besides Ilberg's study of Aesculapius in Teubner's Neuen Jahrbuchern, 2, 1901, and the cautious article by Thramer in Pauly-Wissowa's Real. Encykl. (2.1642 f.).

\10/ Preller-Jordan, Rom. Mythologie, 2. p. 243. Pliny observes: "Mox a saevitia secandi urendique transisse nomen in carnificem et in taedium artem omnesque medicos" ("Owing to cruelty in cutting and cauterizing, the name of surgeon soon passed into that of butcher, and a disgust was felt for the profession and for all doctors").

\11/ The cult was really humane, and it led the physicians also to be humane. In a passage from the Παραγγελίαι of pseudo-Hippocrates we read : "I charge you not to show yourselves inhuman, but to take the wealth or poverty (of the patient) into account, in certain cases even to treat them gratis" -- the repute of the ἰατροὶ ἀνάργυροι  is well known -- "and to consider future gratitude more than present fame. If, therefore, the summons for aid happens to be the case of an unknown or impecunious man, he is most of all to be assisted; for wherever there is love to one's neighbor, it means readiness to act" (9.258 Littré,  3.321 Erm.; a passage which Ilberg brought under my notice, cp. also the Berl. Philol. Wochenschrift for March 25, 1893). How strongly the Christians themselves felt their affinity to humane physicians is proved by a striking instance which Ilberg quotes (loc. cit., from 6.90 Littré, 2.123 Erm.). Eusebius writes (H. E. 10.4.11) that Jesus, "like some excellent physician, in order to cure the sick, examines what is repulsive, handles sores, and reaps pain himself from the sufferings of others." This passage is literally taken from the treatise of pseudo-Hippocrates περὶ φυσῶν  ὀ μὲν γὰρ ἰητρὸς ὁρεῖ τε δεινά, θιγγάνει τε ἀηδέων ἐπ’ ἀλλοτρίῃσί δὲ ξυμφορῇσιν ἰδίας καρποῦται λύπας.

\12/ Corresponding to this, we have Porphyry's definition of the object of philosophy as ἡ τῆς ψυχῆς σωτηρία  (the salvation of the soul).

Into this world of craving for salvation the preaching of Christianity made its way. Long before it had achieved its final triumph by dint of an impressive philosophy of religion, its success was already assured by the fact that it promised and offered salvation -- a feature in which it surpassed all other religions and cults. It did more than set up the actual Jesus against the imaginary Aesculapius of dreamland. Deliberately and consciously it assumed the form of "the religion of salvation or healing," or "the medicine of soul and body," and at the same time it recognized that one of its chief duties was to care assiduously for the sick in body.\13/ We shall now select one or two examples out of the immense wealth of material, to throw light upon both of these points.

\13/ The New Testament itself is so saturated with medicinal expressions, employed metaphorically, that a collection of them would fill several pages. [[[add bibliog note??]]

Take, first of all, the theory. Christianity never lost hold [[109]] of its innate principle; it was, and it remained, a religion for the sick. Accordingly it assumed that no one, or at least hardly any one, was in normal health, but that men were always in a state of disability. This reading of human nature was not confined to Paul, who looked on all men outside of Christ as dying, dying in their sins; a similar, though simpler, view was taught by the numerous unknown missionaries of primitive Christianity. The soul of man is sick, they said, a prey to death from the moment of his birth. The whole race lies a-dying. But now "the goodness and the human kindness of God the Savior" have appeared to restore the sick soul.\14/ Baptism was therefore conceived as a bath for regaining the soul's health, or for "the recovery of life";\15/ the Lord's Supper was valued as "the potion of immortality,"\16/ and penitence was termed "vera de satisfactione medicina" (the true medicine derived from the atonement, Cypr., de Lapsis 15). At the celebration of the sacrament, thanks were offered for the "life" therein bestowed (Did. 9-10). The conception of "life" acquired a new and deeper meaning. Jesus had already spoken of a "life" beyond the reach of death, to be obtained by the sacrifice of a man's earthly life. The idea and the term were taken up by Paul and by the fourth evangelist, who summed up in them the entire blessings of religion. With the tidings of immortality, the new religion confronted sorrow, misery, sin, and death. So much, at least, the world of paganism could understand. It could understand the promise of bliss and immortality resembling that of the blessed gods. And not a few pagans understood the justice of the accompanying condition that one had to submit to the regime of the religion, that the soul had to be pure and holy before it could become immortal. Thus they grasped the message of a great Physician who preaches "abstinence" and bestows the gift of "life."\17/ [[110]] Anyone who had felt a single ray of the power and glory of the new life reckoned his previous life to have been blindness, [[111]] disease, and death --  a view attested by both the apostolic fathers and the apologists.\18/ "He bestowed on us the light, he spoke to us as a father to his sons, he saved us in our lost estate….Blind were we in our understanding, worshipping stones and wood and gold and silver and brass, nor was our whole life aught but death."\19/ The mortal will put on, nay, has already put on, immortality, the perishable will be robed in the imperishable: such was the glad cry of the early Christians, who took up arms against a sea of troubles, and turned the terror of life's last moment into a triumph. "Those miserable people," says Lucian in the Proteus Peregrinus, "have got it into their heads that they are perfectly immortal." He would certainly have made a jest upon it had any occurred to his mind; but whenever this nimble scoffer is depicting the faith of Christians, there is a remarkable absence of anything like jesting.

\14/ Tit. 3.4 : ἡ χρηστότης καὶ ἡ φιλανθρωπία ἐπεφάνη τοῦ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν θεοῦ ... ἔσωσεν ἡμᾶς. See the New Testament allusions to σωτρ.

\15/ Tert., de Baptism. 1, etc., etc.; Clement (Paedag. 1.6.29) calls baptism παιωνίον φαρμάκον. Tertullian describes it as "aqua medicinalis."

\16/ Ignatius, Justin, and Irenaeus.

\17/ Clement of Alexandria opens. his Paedagogus by describing his Logos as the physician who heals suffering (1.1.1., τὰ πάθη ὁ παραμυθητικὸς λόγος ἰᾶται). He [[110b]] distinguishes the λόγος προτρεπτικς, ὑποθετικός, and παραμυθητικς,  to which is added further ὁ διδακτικός. And the Logos is Christ. Gregory Thaumaturgus also calls the Logos a physician, in his panegyric on Origen (16). In the pseudo-Clementine homilies, Jesus, who is the true prophet, is always the physician; similarly Peter's work everywhere is that of the great physician who, by the sole means of prayer and speech, heals troops of sick folk (see especially Bk. 7). Simon Magus, again, is represented as the wicked magician, who evokes disease wherever he goes. Origen has depicted Jesus the physician more frequently and fully than anyone else. One at least of his numerous passages on the subject may be cited (from Hom. 8, in Levit., ch. 1. vol. 9. pp. 312 f): "Medicum dici in scripturis divinis dominum nostrum Jesum Christum, etiam ipsius domini sententia perdocemur, sicut dicit in evangeliis [here follows Matt. 9.12 f.]. Omnis autem medicus ex herbarum succis vet arborurn vet etiam metallorum venis vel animantium naturis profectura corporibus medicamenta componit. Sed herbas istas si quis forte, antequam pro ratione artis componantur, adspiciat, si quidem in agris aut montibus, velut foenum vile conculcat et praeterit. Si vero eas intra medici scholam dispositas per ordinem viderit, licet odorem tristem, fortem et austerum reddant, tamen suspicabitur eas curae vel remedii aliquid continere, etiamsi nondurn quae vel qualis sit sanitatis ac remedii virtus agnoverit. Haec de communibus medicis diximus. Veni nunc ad Jesum coelestem medicum, intra ad hanc stationem medicinae eius ecclesiam, vide ibi languentium iacere multitudinem. Venit mulier, quae et partu immunda effecta est, venit leprosus, qui extra castra separatus est pro immunditia leprae, quaerunt a medico remedium, quomodo sanentur, quomodo mundentur, et quia Jesus hic, qui medicus est, ipse est et verbum dei, aegris suis non herbarum succis, sed verborum sacramentis medicamenta conquirit. Quae verborum medicamenta si quis incultius per libros tamquam per agros videat esse dispersa, ignorans singulorum dictorum virtutem, ut vilia haec et nullum sermonis cultum habentia praeteribit. Qui sero ex aliqua parte didicerit animarum apud Christum esse medicinam, intelliget profecto ex hic libris, qui in ecclesiis recitantur, tamquam ex agris et montibus, salutares herbas adsumere unumquemque debere, sermonum dumtaxat vim, ut si quis illi est in anima languor, non tam exterioris frondis et corticis, quam succi interioris hausta virtute sanetur" ("The Lord himself teaches us, in the gospels, that our Lord Jesus Christ is called a physician in the Holy Scriptures. Every physician compounds his medicines for the good of the body from the juices of herbs or trees, or even from the veins of metals or living creatures. Now, supposing that anyone sees these herbs in their natural state, ere they are prepared by skill of art, he treads on them like common straw and passes by them, on mountain or field. But if he chances to see them arranged in the laboratory of a herbalist or physician, he will suspect that, for all their bitter and heavy and unpleasant odors, they have some healing and healthful virtue, though as yet he does not know the nature or the quality of this curative element. So much for our ordinary physicians. Now look at Jesus the heavenly physician. Come inside his room of healing, the church. Look at the multitude of impotent folk lying there. Here comes a woman unclean from childbirth, a leper expelled from the camp owing to his unclean disease; they ask the physician for aid, for a cure, for cleansing; and because this Jesus the Physician is also the Word of God, he [[111b]] applies, not the juices of herbs, but the sacraments of the Word to their diseases. Anyone who looked at these remedies casually as they lay in books, like herbs in the field, ignorant of the power of single words, would pass them by as common things without any grace of style. But he who ultimately discovers that Christ has a medicine for souls, will find from these books which are read in the churches, as he finds from mountains and fields, that each yields healing herbs, at least strength won from words, so that any weakness of soul is healed not so much by leaf and bark as by an inward virtue and juice").

\18/ That the vices were diseases was a theme treated by Christian teachers as often as by the Stoics. Cp., e.g., Origen, in Ep. ad Rom, Bk. 2. (Lommatzsch, 6.91 f.) : "Languores quidem animae ab apostolo in his (Rom. 2.8) designantur, quorum medelam nullus inveniet nisi prius morborum cognoverit causas et ideo in divinis scripturis aegritudines animae numerantur et remedia describuntur, ut hi, qui se apostolicis subdiderint disciplinis, ex his, quae scripta sunt, agnitis languoribus suis curati possint dicere : 'Lauda anima mea dominum, qui sanat omnes languores tuos'" ("The apostle here describes the diseases of the soul; their cure cannot be discovered till one diagnoses first of all the causes of such troubles, and consequently Holy Scripture enumerates the ailments of the soul, and describes their remedies, in order that those who submit to the apostolic discipline may be able to say, after they have been cured of diseases diagnosed by aid of what is written: 'Bless the Lord, O my soul, who healeth all thy diseases'").

\19/ 2 Clem. [[[title??], Ep. ad Cor. 1. Similar expressions are particularly common in Tatian, but indeed no apology is wholly devoid of them.

While the soul's health or the new life is a gift, however, it is a gift which must be appropriated from within. There was a great risk of this truth being overlooked by those who were accustomed to leave any one of the mysteries with the sense of [[112]] being consecrated and of bearing with them super mundane blessings as if they were so many articles. It would be easy also to show how rapidly the sacramental system of the church lapsed into the spirit of the pagan mysteries. But once the moral demand, i.e., the purity of the soul, was driven home, it proved such a powerful factor that it held its own within the Catholic church, even alongside of the inferior sacramental system. The salvation of the soul and the lore of that salvation never died away; in fact, the ancient church arranged all the details of her worship and her dogma with this end in view. She consistently presented herself as the great infirmary or the hospital of humanity: pagans, sinners, and heretics are her patients, ecclesiastical doctrines and observances are her medicines, while the bishops and pastors are the physicians, but only as servants of Christ, who is himself the physician of all souls.\20/ Let me give one or two instances of this. "As the good of the body is health, so the good of the soul is the knowledge of God," says Justin.\21/ "While we have time to be healed, let us put ourselves into the hands of God the healer, paying him recompense. And what recompense? What but repentance from a sincere heart" (2 Clem., ad Cor. 9). "Like some excellent physician, in order to cure the sick, Jesus examines what is repulsive, handles sores, and reaps pain himself from the sufferings of others; he has himself saved us from the very jaws of death -- us who were not merely diseased and suffering from terrible ulcers and wounds already mortified, but were also lying already among the dead . . .; he who is the giver of life and of light, our great physician,\22/ king and [[113]] lord, the Christ of God."\23/ "The physician cannot introduce any salutary medicines into the body that needs to be cured, without having previously eradicated the trouble seated in the body or averted the approaching trouble. Even so the teacher of the truth cannot convince anyone by an address on truth, so long as some error still lurks in the soul of the hearer, which forms an obstacle to his arguments" (Athenagoras, de resurr. 1). "Were we to draw from the axiom that 'disease is diagnosed by means of medical knowledge,' the inference that medical knowledge is the cause of disease, we should be making a preposterous statement. And as it is beyond doubt that the knowledge of salvation is a good thing, because it teaches men to know their sickness, so also is the law a good thing, inasmuch as sin is discovered thereby."\24/

\20/ Celsus, who knew this kind of Christian preaching intimately, pronounced the Christians to be quacks. "The teacher of Christianity," he declares, "acts like a person who promises to restore a sick man to health and yet hinders him from consulting skilled physicians, so as to prevent his own ignorance from being exposed." To which Origen retorts, "And who are the physicians from whom we deter simple folk?" He then proceeds to show that they cannot be the philosophers, and still less those who are not yet emancipated from the coarse superstition of polytheism (3.74).

\21/ Fragm. 9 (Otto, Corp. Apol. 3, p. 258). Cp. also the beautiful wish expressed at the beginning of 3 John: περὶ πάντων εὔχομαί σε εὐοδοῦσθαι καὶ ὑγιαίνειν, καθὼς εὐοδοῦταί σου ἡ ψυχή (ver. 2).

\22/ Cp. Ep. ad Diogn. 9.6, pseudo-Justin, de Resurr. 10: "Our physician, Jesus Christ"; Clem., Paedag. "The Logos of the Father is the only [[113b]] Paeonian physician for human infirmities, and the holy charmer (ἐπῳδὸς ἅγιος) for the sick soul" (whereupon he quotes Ps. 82.2-3): "The physician's art cures the diseases of the body, according to Democritus, but wisdom frees the soul from its passions. Yet the good instructor, the Wisdom, the Logos of the Father, the creator of man, cares for all our nature, healing it in body and in soul alike -- he  ὁ πανακὴς τῆς ἀνθρωπότητος ἰατρός. ῾Ο σωτὴρ (the all-sufficient physician of humanity, the Savior)," whereupon he quotes Mark 2.2. See also ibid., 1.6.36, and 1.12.100. "Hence the Logos also is called Savior, since he has devised rational medicines for men; he preserves their health, lays bare their defects, exposes the causes of their evil affections, strikes at the root of irrational lusts, prescribes their diet, and arranges every antidote to heal the sick. For this is the greatest and most royal work of God, the saving of mankind. Patients are irritated at a physician who has no advice to give on the question of their health. But how should we not render thanks to the divine instructor," etc. (Paedag. 1.8.64-65).

\23/ Eus., H.E. 5.4.11 (already referred to on p. 106). Cp. also the description of the Bible in Aphraates as "the books of the wise Physician," and Cypr., de Op. 1: "Christ was wounded to cure us of our wounds. . . . When the Lord at his coming had healed that wound which Adam caused," etc. Metaphors from disease are on the whole very numerous in Cyprian; cp., e.g., de Habitu 2; de Unitate 3; de Lapsis 14, 34.

\24/ Origen, opposing the Antinomians in Comm. in Rom. 3.6 (Lommatzsch, 6. p. 195), Hom. in Jerem. 19.3. Similarly Clem., Paedag. 1.9.88: "As the physician who tells a patient that he has fever is not an enemy to him -- since the physician is not the cause of the fever but merely detects it (οὐκ αἴτιος, ἀλλὰ ἔλεγχός) neither is one who blames a diseased soul ill-disposed to that person." Cp. Methodius (Opp. 1. p. 52, Bonwetsch): "As we do not blame a physician who explains how a man may become strong and well," etc.; see also 1.65: "For even those who undergo medical treatment for their bodily pains do not at once regain health, but gladly bear pain in the hope of their coming recovery."

As early as 2 Tim. 2.17, the word of heretics is said to eat [[114]] "like a gangrene." This expression recurs very frequently, and is elaborated in detail. "Their talk is infectious as a plague" (Cyprian, de Lapsis, 34). "Heretics are hard to cure," says Ignatius (ad Ephes. 7, δυσθεράπευτος), " . . . there is but one physician, Jesus Christ our Lord." In the pastoral epistles the orthodox doctrine is already called "sound teaching" as opposed to the errors of the heretics.

Most frequently, however, bodily recovery is compared to penitence. It is Ignatius again who declares that "not every wound is cured by the same salve. Allay sharp pains by soothing fomentations."\25/ "The cure of evil passions," says Clement at the opening of his Paedagogus, "is effected by the Logos through admonitions; he strengthens the soul with benign precepts like soothing medicines; and directs the sick to the full knowledge of the truth."\26/ "Let us follow the practice of physicians (in the exercise of moral discipline), says Origen, "and only use the knife when all other means have failed, when application of oil and salves and soothing poultices leave the swelling still hard."\27/ An objection was raised by Christians who disliked repentance, to the effect that the public confession of sin which accompanied the penitential discipline was at once an injury to their self-respect and a misery. To which Tertullian replies (de Poen. 10): "Nay, it is evil that ends in misery. Where repentance is undertaken, misery ceases, because it is turned into what is salutary. It is indeed a misery to be cut, and cauterized, and racked by some pungent powder; but the excuse for the offensiveness of means of healing that may be unpleasant, is the cure they work." This is exactly Cyprian's [[115]] point, when he writes\28/ that "the priest of the Lord must employ salutary remedies.\29/ He is an unskilled physician who handles tenderly the swollen edges of a wound and allows the poison lodged in the inward part to be aggraved by simply leaving it alone. The wound must be opened and lanced; recourse must be had to the strong remedy of cutting out the corrupting parts. Though the patient scream out in pain, and wail or weep, because he cannot bear it -- afterwards he will be grateful, when he feels that he is cured." But the most elaborate comparison of a bishop to a surgeon occurs in the Apostolic Constitutions (2.41). "Heal thou, O bishop, like a pitiful physician, all who have sinned, and employ methods that promote saving health. Confine not thyself to cutting or cauterizing or the use of corrosives, but employ bandages and lint, use mild and healing drugs, and sprinkle words of comfort as a soothing balm. If the wound be deep and gashed, lay a plaster on it that it may fill up and be once more like the rest of the sound flesh. If it be dirty, cleanse it with corrosive powder, i.e., with words of censure. If it has proud flesh, reduce it with sharp plasters, i.e., with threats of punishment. If it spreads further, sear it, and cut off the putrid flesh -- mortify the man with fastings. And if after all this treatment thou findest that no soothing poultice, neither oil nor bandage, can be applied from head to foot of the patient, but that the disease is spreading and defying all cures, like some gangrene that corrupts the entire member; then, after great consideration and consultation with other skilled physicians, cut off the putrified member, lest the whole body of the church be corrupted. So be not hasty to cut it off, nor rashly resort to the saw of many a tooth, but first use the lancet to lay open the abscess, that the body may be kept free from pain by the removal of the deep-seated cause of the disease. But if thou seest anyone past repentance and (inwardly) past feeling, [[116]] then cut him off as an incurable with sorrow and lamentation."\30/

\25/ Ad Polyc. 2. The passage is to be taken allegorically. It is addressed to Bishop Polycarp, who has been already counselled to"bear the maladies of all" (1); wisely and gently is the bishop to treat the erring and the spiritually diseased. In the garb given it by Ignatius, this counsel recurs very frequently throughout the subsequent literature; see Lightfoot's learned note. Also Clem. Alex., Fragm. (Dindorf, 3.499) : "With one salve shalt thou heal thyself and thy neighbor (who slanders thee), if thou acceptest the slander with meekness"; Clem. Hom. 10.18: "The salve must not be applied to the sound member of the body, but to the suffering"; and Hermes Trismeg., περὶ βοτ. χυλ., p. 331: "Do not always use this salve."

\26/ 1.1.3 [ !], ἤπια φρμακα (see Homer).

\27/ In l. Jesu Nave, 8.6 (Lomm. 11.71). Cp. Hom. in Jerem. 16.1.

\28/ De Lapsis, 14. Penitence and bodily cures form a regular parallel in Cyprian's writings; cp. Epist. 31.6-7, 55.16, 59.13, and his Roman epistle 30.3.5 and 7. Novatian, who is responsible for the latter, declares (in de Trinit. 5) that God's wrath acts like a medicine.

\29/ Cp. pseudo-Clem., Ep. ad Jac. 2: "The president (the bishop) must hold the place of a physician (in the church), instead of behaving with the violence of an irrational brute."

\30/ Cp. Clem. Alex., Paedag, 1.8.64 f.: "Many evil passions are cured by punishment or by the inculcation of sterner commands. . . .Censure is like a surgical operation on the passions of the soul. The latter are abscesses on the body of the truth, and they must be cut open by the lancet of censure. Censure is like the application of a medicine which breaks up the callosities of the passions, and cleanses the impurities of a lewd life, reducing the swollen flesh of pride, and restoring the man to health and truth once more." Cp. 1.9.83; also Methodius, Opp. 1. 1. p. 115 (ed. Bonwetsch).

It must be frankly admitted that this constant preoccupation with the "diseases" of sin had results which were less favorable. The ordinary moral sense, no less than the aesthetic, was deadened.\31/ If people are ever to be made better, they must be directed to that honorable activity which means moral health; whereas endless talk about sin and forgiveness exercises, on the contrary, a narcotic influence. To say the least of it, ethical education must move to and fro between reflection on the past (with its faults and moral bondage) and the prospect of a future (with its goal of aspiration and the exertion of all one's powers). The theologians of the Alexandrian school had some sense of the latter, but in depicting the perfect Christian or true gnostic they assigned a disproportionate space to knowledge and correct opinions. They were not entirely emancipated from the Socratic fallacy that the man of knowledge will be invariably a good man. They certainly did surmount the "educated" man's intellectual pride on the field of religion and morality.\32/ In Origen's treatise against Celsus, whole sections of great excellence are devoted to the duty and possibility of even the uneducated person acquiring [[117]] health of soul, and to the supreme necessity of salvation from sin and weakness.\33/ Origen hits the nail upon the head when he remarks (7.60) that "Plato and the other wise men of Greece, with their fine sayings, are like the physicians who confine their attention to the better classes and despise the common man, whilst the disciples of Jesus carefully study to make provision for the great mass of men."\34/ Still, Origen's idea is that, as a means of salvation, religion merely forms a stage for those who aspire to higher levels. His conviction is that when the development of religion has reached its highest level, anything historical or positive becomes of as little value as the ideal of redemption and salvation itself. On this level the spirit, filled by God, no longer needs a Savior or any Christ of history at all. "Happy," he exclaims (Comm. in Joh. 1.22 ; Lomm., 1. p. 43), "happy [[[repeated??] are they who need no longer now God's Son as the physician of the sick or as the shepherd, people who now need not any redemption, but wisdom, reason, and righteousness alone." In his treatise against Celsus (3.61 f.) he draws a sharp distinction between two aims and boons in the Christian [[118]] religion, one higher and the other lower. "To no mystery, to no participation in wisdom 'hidden in a mystery,' do we call the wicked man, the thief, the burglar, etc., but to healing or salvation. For our doctrine has a twofold appeal. It provides means of healing for the sick, as is meant by the text, 'The whole need not a physician, but the sick.' But it also unveils to those who are pure in soul and body 'that mystery which was kept secret since the world began, but is now made manifest by the Scriptures of the prophets and the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.' . . . God the Word was indeed sent as a physician for the sick, but also as a teacher of divine mysteries to those who are already pure and sin no more."\35/

\31/ It was at this that the Emperor Julian especially took umbrage, and not without reason. As a protest against the sensuousness of paganism, there grew up in the church an aesthetic of ugliness. Disease, death, and death's relics -- bones and putrefaction -- were preferred to health and beauty, whilst Christianity sought to express her immaterial spirit in terms drawn from the unsightly remnants of material decay. How remote was all this artificial subtlety of an exalted piety from the piety which had pointed men to the beauty of the lilies in the field! The Christians of the third and fourth centuries actually begin to call sickness health, and to regard death as life.

\32/ Clem. Alex., Strom.  ὡς δὲ ὁ ἰατρὸς ὑγείαν παρέχεται τοῖς συνεργοῦσι πρὸς ὑγείαν, οὕτως καὶ ὁ θεὸς τὴν ἀίδιον σωτηρίαν τοῖς συνεργοῦσι πρὸς γνῶσίν τε καὶ εὐπραγίαν ("Even as the physician secures health for those who cooperate with him to that end, so does God secure eternal salvation for those who cooperate with him for knowledge and good conduct").

\33/ C. Cels. 3.54: "We cure every rational being with the medicine of our doctrine."

\34/ In 7.59. there is an extremely fine statement of the true prophet's duty of speaking in such a way as to be intelligible and encouraging to the multitude, and not merely to the cultured. "Suppose that some food which is wholesome and fit for human nourishment, is prepared and seasoned so delicately as to suit the palate of the rich and luxurious alone, and not the taste of simple folk, peasants, laborers, poor people, and the like, who are not accustomed to such dainties. Suppose again that this very food is prepared, not as epicures would have it, but to suit poor folk, laborers, and the vast majority of mankind. Well, if on this supposition the food prepared in one way is palatable to none but epicures, and left un-tasted by the rest, while, prepared in the other way, it ministers to the health and strength of a vast number, what persons shall we believe are promoting the general welfare most successfully -- those who cater simply for the better classes, or those who prepare food for the multitude? If we assume that the food in both cases is equally wholesome and nourishing, it is surely obvious that the good of men and the public welfare are better served by the physician who attends to the health of the multitude than by him who will merely attend to a few." And Origen was far removed from anything like the narrow-mindedness of orthodoxy, as is plain from this excellent remark in 3.13:  "As only he is qualified in medicine who has studied in various schools and attached himself to the best system after a careful examination of them all . . . so, in my judgment, the most thorough knowledge of Christianity is his who has carefully investigated the various sects of Judaism and of Christianity."

\35/ So Clem. Alex., Paed. ῎Ισον δ’ οὐκ ἔστιν ὑγίεια καὶ γνῶσις, ἀλλ’ ἣ μὲν μαθήσει, ἣ δὲ ἰάσει περιγίνεται. (2.) Οὐκ ἂν οὖν τις νοσῶν ἔτι πρότερόν τι τῶν διδασκαλικῶν ἐκμάθοι πρὶν ἢ τέλεον ὑγιᾶναι· οὐδὲ γὰρ ὡσαύτως πρὸς τοὺς μανθάνοντας ἢ κάμνοντας ἀεὶ τῶν παραγγελμάτων ἕκαστον λέγεται, ἀλλὰ πρὸς οὓς μὲν εἰς γνῶσιν, πρὸς οὓς δὲ εἰς ἴασιν. (3.) Καθάπερ οὖν τοῖς νοσοῦσι τὸ σῶμα ἰατροῦ χρῄζει, ταύτῃ καὶ τοῖς ἀσθενοῦσι τὴν ψυχὴν παιδαγωγοῦ δεῖ, ἵν’ ἡμῶν ἰάσηται τὰ πάθη, εἶτα δὲ εἰς διδασκάλου ὃς καθηγήσηται, καθαρὰν πρὸς γνώσεως ἐπιτηδειότητα εὐτρεπίζων τὴν ψυχήν, δυναμένην χωρῆσαι τὴν ἀποκάλυψιν τοῦ λόγου ("Health and knowledge are not alike; the one is produced by learning, the other by healing. Before a sick person, then, could learn any further branch of knowledge, he must get quite well. Nor is each injunction addressed to learners and to patients alike; the object in one case is knowledge, and in the other a cure. Thus, as patients need the physician for their body, so do those who are sick in soul need, first of all, an instructor, to heal our pains, and then a teacher who shall conduct the soul to all requisite knowledge, disposing it to admit the revelation of the Word").

Origen unites the early Christian and the philosophic conceptions of religion. He is thus superior to the pessimistic fancies which seriously threatened the latter view. But only among the cultured could he gain any following. The Christian people held fast to Jesus as the Savior.

No one has yet been able to show that the figure of Christ which emerges in the fifth century, probably as early as the fourth, and which subsequently became the prevailing type in all pictorial representations, was modeled upon the figure of Aesculapius. The two types are certainly similar; the qualities predicated of both are identical in part; and no one has hitherto explained satisfactorily why the original image of the youthful Christ was displaced by the later. Nevertheless, we have no [[119]] means of deriving the origin of the Callixtine Christ from Aesculapius as a prototype, so that in the meantime we must regard such a derivation as a hypothesis, which, however interesting, is based upon inadequate evidence. There would be one piece of positive evidence forthcoming, if the statue which passed for a likeness of Jesus in the city of Paneas (Caesarea Philippi) during the fourth century was a statue of Aesculapius. Eusebius (H.E. 6.18) tells how he had seen there, in the house of the woman whom Jesus had cured of an issue of blood, a work of art which she had caused to be erected out of gratitude to Jesus. "On a high pedestal beside the gates of her house there stands the brazen image of a woman kneeling down with her hands outstretched as if in prayer. Opposite this stands another brazen image of a man standing up, modestly attired in a cloak wrapped twice round his body, and stretching out his hand to the woman. At his feet, upon the pedestal itself, a strange plant is growing up as high as the hem of his brazen cloak, which is a remedy for all sorts of disease. This statue is said to be an image of Jesus. Nor is it strange that the Gentiles of that age, who had received benefit from the Lord, should express their gratitude in this fashion." For various reasons it is unlikely that this piece of art was intended to represent Jesus, or that it was erected by the woman with an issue of blood; on the contrary, the probability is that the statuary was thus interpreted by the Christian population of Paneas, probably at an early period.\36/ If the statue originally represented Aesculapius, as the curative plant would suggest, we should have here at least one step between "Aesculapius the Savior" and "Christ the Savior." But this interpretation of a pagan savior or healer is insecure; and even were it quite secure, it would not justify any general conclusion being drawn as yet upon the matter. At any rate we are undervaluing the repugnance felt even by Christians of the fourth century for the gods of paganism, if we consider ourselves entitled to think of any conscious transformation of the figure of Aesculapius into that of Christ.\37/ [[120]]

\36/ Cp. Hauck, Die Entstehung des Christus-typus (1880), p. 8 f.

\37/ In the eyes of Christians, Aesculapius was both a demon and an idol; no Christian could take him as a model or have any dealings with him. Some  [[120b]] Roman Christians, who were devotees of learning, are certainly reported in one passage (written by a fanatical opponent, it is true) to have worshipped Galen (Eus., H. E. 5.28); but no mention is made of them worshipping Aesculapius. In addition to the passages cited above, in which early Christian writers deal with Aesculapius (who is probably alluded to also as far back as Apoc. 2.23), the following are to be noted : Justin, Apol. 1, 21, 22, 25, 54 (passages which are radically misunderstood when it is inferred from them that Justin is in favor of the god); Tatian, Orat. 21; Theoph., ad Autol. 1.9; Tertull., de Anima 1. (a passage which is specially characteristic of the aversion felt for this god) ; Cyprian's Quod Idola 1; Orig., c. Cels. 3.3, 22-25, 28, 42. Clement explains him in Protr. 2.26.7, after the manner of Euhemerus: Τὸν γὰρ εὐεργετοῦντα μὴ συνιέντες θεὸν ἀνέπλασάν τινας σωτῆρας Διοσκούρους καὶ ῾Ηρακλέα ἀλεξίκακον καὶ ᾿Ασκληπιὸν ἰατρόν ("Through not understanding the God who was their benefactor, they fashioned certain saviors, the Dioscuri . . . and Aesculapius the physician"). A number of passages (e.g., Protr. 2.30.1, ἰατρὸς φιλάργυρος ἦν, "he was an avaricious physician," and 4.52) show how little Clement cared for him.

Hitherto we have been considering the development of Christianity as the religion of "healing," as expressed in parables, ideas, doctrine, and penitential discipline. It now remains for us to show that this character was also stamped upon its arrangements for the care of bodily sickness.

"I was sick and ye visited me. . . . As ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." In these words the founder of Christianity set the love that tends the sick in the center of his religion, laying it on the hearts of all his disciples. Primitive Christianity carried it in her heart; she also carried it out in practice.\38/ Even from the fragments of our extant literature, although that literature was not written with any such intention, we can still recognize the careful attention paid to works of mercy. At the outset we meet with directions everywhere to care for sick people. "Encourage the faint-hearted, support the weak," writes the apostle Paul to the church of Thessalonica (1 Thess. 5.14), which in its excitement was overlooking the duties lying close at hand. In the prayer of the church, preserved in the first epistle of Clement, supplications are expressly offered for those who are sick in soul and body.\39/ "Is any man sick? Let him call for the elders of [[121]] the church," says Jas. 5.14 -- a clear proof that all aid in cases of sickness was looked upon as a concern of the church.\40/ This comes out very plainly also in the epistle of Polycarp (6.1), where the obligations of the elders are displayed as follows: "They must reclaim the erring, care for all the infirm, and neglect no widow, orphan, or poor person." Particulars of this duty are given by Justin, who, in his Apology (ch. 67), informs us that every Sunday the Christians brought free-will offerings to their worship; these were deposited with the president (or bishop), "who dispenses them to orphans and widows, and to any who, from sickness or some other cause, are in want." A similar account is given by Tertullian in his Apology (ch. 39), where special stress is laid on the church's care for old people who are no longer fit for work. Justin is also our authority for the existence of deacons whose business it was to attend the sick.

\38/ Cp. the beautiful sentences of Lactantius, Div. Inst. 6.12 (especially p. 529, Brandt): Aegros quoque quibus defuerit qui adsistat, curandos fovendosque suscipere summae humanitatis et magnae operationis est ("It is also the greatest kindness possible and a great charity to undertake the care and maintenance of the sick, who need some one to assist them").

\39/ 1 Clem. 59: τοὺς ἀσθενεῖς (such is the most probable reading)  ἴασαι, ... ἐξανάστησον τοὺς ἀσθενοῦντας, παρακάλεσον τοὺς ὀλιγοψυχοῦντας ("Heal the sick, . . .. raise up the weak, encourage the faint-hearted"). Cp. the later formulas of prayer for the sick in App. Constit. 8.10 and onwards; cp Binterim, Denkwürdigkeiten, 6.3, pp. 17 f.

\40/ Cp. 1 Cor. 12.26: "If one member suffers, all the members suffer with it."

Not later than the close of the third century, the veneration of the saints and the rise of chapels in honor of martyrs and saints led to a full-blown imitation of the Aeculapius cult within the church. Cures of sickness and infirmities were sought. Even the practice of incubation must have begun by this time, if not earlier; otherwise it could not not have been so widely diffused in the fourth century. The teachers of the church had previously repudiated it as heathenish; but, as often happens in similar circumstances, it crept in, though with some alteration of its ceremonies.

In its early days the church formed a permanent establishment for the relief of sickness and poverty, a function which it continued to discharge for several generations. It was based on the broad foundation of the Christian congregation; it acquired a sanctity from the worship of the congregation; and its operations were strictly centralized. The bishop was the superintendent (Apost. Constit. 3.4), and in many cases, especially in Syria and Palestine, he may have actually been a physician [[122]] himself.\41/ His executive or agents were the deacons and the order of "widows." The latter were at the same time to be secured against want, by being taken into the service of the church (cp. 1 Tim. 5.16). Thus, in one instruction dating from the second century,\42/ we read that, "In every congregation at least one widow is to be appointed to take care of sick women; she is to be obliging and sober, she is to report cases of need to the elders, she is not to be greedy or addicted to drink, in order that she may be able to keep sober for calls to service during the night."\43/ She is to "report cases of need to the elders," i.e., she is to remain an assistant (cp. Syr. Didasc. 15.79 f.). Tertullian happens to remark (de Praescr. 41) in a censure of women belonging to the heretical associations, that "they venture to teach, to debate, to exorcise, to promise cures, probably even to baptize." In the Eastern Church the order of widows seems to have passed on into that of "deaconesses" at a pretty early date, but unfortunately we know nothing about this transition or about the origin of these "deaconesses."\44/

\41/ Achelis (Texte u. Unters. 25.2 [1904], p. 381) attempts to prove that the author of the Syriac Didascalia was at once a bishop and a physician; he shows (p. 383) that similar combinations were not entirely unknown (cp. de Rossi's Roma Sotter., tav. 21.9, epitaph from San Callisto, Διονυσιου ιατρου πρεσβυτερου; Zenobius, physician and martyr in Sidon in the reign of Diocletian, Eus., H.E. 8.13; a physician and bishop in Tiberias, Epiph., Her. 30.4; Theodotus, physician and bishop in Laodicea Syr.; Basilius, episcopus artis inedicinae gnarus, at Ancyra, Jerome, de Vir. Ill. 89; in Can. Hipp. 3.18, the gift of healing is asked for the bishop and presbyter at ordination, while 8.53 presupposes that anyone who possessed this gift moved straightway to be enrolled among the clergy). Cp. Texte u. Unters. 8.4. pp. 1-14 ("Christian doctors").

\42/ Cp. Texte u. Unters. 2.5. p. 23.

\43/ "But thou, O widow, who art shameless, seest the widows, thy comrades, or thy brethren lying sick, yet troublest not to fast or pray for them, to lay hands on them or to visit them, as if thou wert not in health thyself or free" (Syr. Didasc. 15.80).

\44/ They are first mentioned in Pliny's letter to Trajan.

In the primitive church female assistants were quite thrown into the shadow by the men. The deacons were the real agents of charity. Their office was onerous; it was exposed to grave peril, especially in a time of persecution, and deacons furnished no inconsiderable proportion of the martyrs. "Doers of good works, looking after all by day and night" -- such is their description (Texte u. Unters. 2.5, p. 24), one of their [[123]] main duties being to look after the poor and sick.\45/ How much they had to do and how much they did, may be ascertained from Cyprian's epistles and the genuine Acts of the Martyrs.\46/ Nor were the laity to be exempted from the duty of tending the sick, merely because special officials existed for that purpose. "The sick are not to be overlooked, nor is anyone to say that he has not been trained to this mode of service. No one is to plead a comfortable life, or the unwonted character of the duty, as a pretext for not being helpful to other people" -- so runs a letter of pseudo-Justin (c. 17) to Zenas and Serenus. The author of the pseudo-Clementine epistle "de virginitate" brings out with special clearness the fact that to imitate Christ is to minister to the sick, a duty frequently conjoined with that of "visiting orphans and widows" (visitare pupillos et viduas). Eusebius (de mart. Pal. 11.22) bears this testimony to the character of Seleucus, that like a father and guardian he had shown himself a bishop and patron of orphans and destitute widows, of the poor and of the sick. Many similar cases are on record. In a time of pestilence especially, the passion of tender mercy was kindled in the heart of many a Christian. Often had Tertullian (Apolog. 39) heard on pagan lips the remark, corroborated by Lucian, "Look how they love one another!"\47/ [[124]]

\45/ Cp. Ep. pseudo-Clem. ad Jacob. 12: Οἱ μὲν οὖν τῆς ἐκκλησίας διάκονοι τοῦ ἐπισκόπου συνετῶς ῥεμβόμενοι ἔστωσαν ὀφθαλμοί, ἑκάστου τῆς ἐκκλησίας πολυπραγμονοῦντες τὰς πράξεις, {τίς μέλλει ἁμαρτάνειν, ἵνα νουθεσίᾳ καταληφθεὶς ὑπὸ τοῦ προκαθεζομένου τάχα οὐ μὴ τελέσῃ τὸ ἁμάρτημα· (2.) τοὺς λειποτάκτας ἐπιστρεφέτωσαν, τοῦ μὴ ἐπιλείπειν τοὺς συνερχομένους τῶν λόγων ἐπακούειν, ὅπως τὰς ἑκάστοτε τῇ καρδίᾳ προσπιπτούσας ἀθυμίας ἔκ τε βιωτικῶν συνπτώσεων καὶ ὁ μιλιῶν κακῶν λόγῳ ἀληθείας καθαίρεσθαι δύνωνται· ἐπεὶ γὰρ ἂν χρόνῳ πολλῷ χερσεύσωσιν, πυρὸς ἔργον γίνονται.} (3.) τοὺς δὲ καὶ κατὰ σάρκα νοσοῦντας μανθανέτωσαν καὶ τῷ ἀγνοοῦντι πλήθει προσαντιβαλλέτωσαν, ἵν’ ἐπιφαίνωνται, καὶ τὰ δέοντα ἐπὶ τῇ τοῦ προκαθεζομένου γνώμῃ παρεχέτωσαν ("Let the deacons of the church move about intelligently and act as eyes for the bishop, carefully inquiring into the actions of every church member . . . let them find out those who are sick in the flesh, and bring such to the notice of the main body who know nothing of them, that they may visit them and supply their wants, as the president may judge fit").

\46/ In the epistles which he wrote to the church from his hiding-place, he is always reminding them not to neglect the sick.

\47/ I merely note in passing the conflict waged by the church against medical sins like abortion (Did. 2.2; Barn. 19.5; Tert., Apol. 9; Minuc. Felix., 30.2; Athenag.; Suppl. 35; Clem., Paed. 2.10, 96, etc.), and the unnatural morbid vices of paganism. It was a conflict in which the interests of the church were truly human; she maintained the value and dignity of human life, refusing to allow it to be destroyed or dishonored at any stage of its development. With regard to these offences, she also exerted some influence upon the State legislation, in and after the fourth century, although even in the third century the latter had already approximated to her teaching on such points.

As regards therapeutic methods, the case stood as it stands today. The more Christians renounced and hated the world, the more skeptical and severe they were against ordinary means of healing (cp., e.g., Tatian's Oratio 17-18). There was a therapeutic "Christian science," compounded of old and new superstitions, and directed against more than the "daemonic" cures (see the following section). Compare, by way of proof, Tertullian's Scorp. 1: "We Christians make the sign of the cross at once over a bitten foot, say a word of exorcism, and rub it with the blood of the crushed animal." Evidently the sign of the cross and the formula of exorcism were not sufficient by themselves.




\1/ Based on the essay from which the previous section has largely borrowed. Cp. on this point Weinel, Die Wirkungen des Geistes und der Geister im nachapost. Zeitalter (1899), pp. 1 f., and the article "Dämonische" in the Protest. Real Encykl., 4 (3), by J. Weiss.

During the early centuries a belief in demons, and in the power they exercised throughout the world, was current far and wide. There was also a corresponding belief in demon possession, in consequence of which insanity frequently took the form of a conviction, on the part of the patients, that they were possessed by one or more evil spirits. Though this form of insanity still occurs at the present day, cases of it are rare, owing to the fact that wide circles of people have lost all belief in the existence and activity of demons. But the forms and phases in which insanity manifests itself always depend upon the general state of culture and the ideas current in the social environment, so that whenever the religious life is in a state of agitation, and a firm belief prevails in the sinister activity of evil spirits, "demon possession" still breaks out sporadically. Recent instances have even shown that a convinced exorcist, especially if he is a religious man, is able to produce the phenomena of  "possession" in a company of people against their will, in order subsequently to cure them. "Possession" is also infectious. Supposing that one case of this kind occurs in a church, and that it is connected by the sufferer himself, or even by the priest, with sin in general or with some special form of sin; supposing that he preaches upon it, addressing the church in stirring language, and declaring that this is really devil's play, then the first case will [[126]] soon be followed by a second and by a third.\2/ The most astounding phenomena occur, many of whose details are still inexplicable. Everything is doubled -- the consciousness of the sufferer, his will, his sphere of action. With perfect sincerity on his own part (although it is always easy for frauds to creep in here), the man is at once conscious of himself and also of another being who constrains and controls him from within. He thinks and feels and acts, now as the one, now as the other; and under the conviction that he is a double being, he confirms himself and his neighbors in this belief by means of actions which are at once the product of reflection and of an inward compulsion. Inevitable self-deception, cunning actions, and the most abject passivity form a sinister combination. But they complete our idea of a psychical disease which usually betrays extreme susceptibility to "suggestion," and, therefore, for the time being often defies any scientific analysis, leaving it open to anyone to think of special and mysterious forces in operation. In this region there are facts which we cannot deny, but which we are unable to explain.\3/ Furthermore, there are "diseases" in this region which only attack superhuman individuals, who draw from this "disease" a new life hitherto undreamt of, an energy which triumphs over every obstacle, and a prophetic or apostolic zeal. We do not speak here of this kind of "possession"; it exists merely for faith --  or unbelief.

\2/ Tertullian (de Anima 9) furnishes an excellent example of the way in which morbid spiritual states (especially visions) which befell Christians in the church assemblies depended upon the preaching to which they had just listened. One sister, says Tertullian, had a vision of a soul in bodily form, just after Tertullian had preached on the soul (probably it was upon the corporeal nature of the soul). He adds quite ingenuously that the content of a vision was usually derived from the scriptures which had just been read aloud, from the psalms, or from the sermons.

\3/ Cp. the biography of Blumhard by Zundel (1881); Ribot's Les maladies de la personnalité (Paris, 1885), Les maladies de la mémoire (Paris, 1881), and Les maladies de la volonté (Paris, 1883) [English translations of the second in the International Scientific Series, and of the first and third in the Religion of Science Library, Chicago]; see also Jundt's work, Rulman Merswin: un problème de psychologie religieuse (Paris, 1890), especially pp. 96 f.; also the investigations of Forel and Krafft-Ebing.

In the case of ordinary people, when disease emerges in connection [[127]] with religion, no unfavorable issue need be anticipated. As a general rule, the religion which brings the disease to a head has also the power of curing it, and this power resides in Christianity above all other religions. Wherever an empty or a sinful life, which has almost parted with its vitality, is suddenly aroused by the preaching of the Christian religion, so that dread of evil and its bondage passes into the idea of actual "possession," the soul again is freed from the latter bondage by the message of the grace of God which has appeared in Jesus Christ. Evidence of this lies on the pages of church history, from the very beginning down to the present day. During the first three centuries the description of such cases flowed over into the margin of the page, whereas nowadays they are dismissed in a line or two. But the reason for this change is to be found in the less frequent occurrence, not of the cure, but of the disease.

The mere message or preaching of Christianity was not of course enough to cure the sick. It had to be backed by a convinced belief or by some person who was sustained by this belief. The cure was wrought by the praying man and not by prayer, by the Spirit and not by the formula, by the exorcist and not by exorcism. Conventional means were of no use except in cases where the disease became an epidemic and almost general, or in fact a conventional thing itself, as we must assume it often to have been during the second century. The exorcist then became a mesmerist, probably also a deluded impostor. But wherever a strong individuality was victimized by the demon of fear, wherever the soul was literally convulsed by the grip of that power of darkness from which it was now fain to flee, the will could only be freed from its bondage by some strong, holy, outside will. Here and there cases occur of what modern observers, in their perplexity, term "suggestion." But "suggestion" was one thing to a prophet, and another thing to a professional exorcist.

In the form in which we meet it throughout the later books of the Septuagint [[[Old Greek], or in the New Testament, or in the Jewish literature of the Imperial age, belief in the activity of demons was a comparatively late development in Judaism. But during [[128]] that period it was in full bloom.\4/ And it was about this time that it also began to spread apace among the Greeks and Romans. How the latter came by it, is a question to which no answer has yet been given. It is impossible to refer the form of belief in demons which was current throughout the empire, in and after the second century, solely to Jewish or even to Christian sources. But the naturalizing of this belief, or, more correctly, the development along quite definite lines of that early Greek belief in spirits, which even the subsequent philosophers (e.g., Plato) had supported --  all this was a process to which Judaism and Christianity may have contributed, no less than other Oriental religions, including especially the Egyptian,  whose priests had been at all times famous for exorcism.\5/ In the second century a regular class of exorcists existed, just as at the present day in Germany there are "Naturarzte," or Nature physicians, side by side with skilled doctors. Still, sensible people remained skeptical, while the great jurist Ulpian refused (at a time when, as now, this was a burning question) to recognize such practitioners as members of the order of physicians. He was even doubtful, of course, whether "specialists" were physicians in the legal sense of the term.\6/ [[129]]

\4/ Cp. the interesting passage in Joseph., Ant. 8.[2.5] 45 f.: παρέσχε δ’ αὐτῷ [i.e. Solomon] μαθεῖν ὁ θεὸς καὶ τὴν κατὰ τῶν δαιμόνων τέχνην εἰς ὠφέλειαν καὶ θεραπείαν τοῖς ἀνθρώποις· ἐπῳδάς τε συνταξάμενος αἷς παρηγορεῖται τὰ νοσήματα καὶ τρόπους ἐξορκώσεων κατέλιπεν, οἷς οἱ ἐνδούμενοι (46.) τὰ δαιμόνια ὡς μηκέτ’ ἐπανελθεῖν ἐκδιώξουσι. καὶ αὕτη μέχρι νῦν παρ’ ἡμῖν ἡ θεραπεία πλεῖστον ἰσχύει ("God enabled [Solomon] to learn the arts valid against demons, in order to aid and heal mankind. He composed incantations for the alleviation of disease, and left behind him methods of exorcism by which demons can be finally expelled from people. A method of healing which is extremely effective even in our own day"). Compare also the story that follows this remark. [[[expand] The Jews must have been well known as exorcists throughout the Roman empire.

\5/ And also the Persian.

\6/ Cp. the remarkable passage in Dig. Leg. 13. c. 1.3: Medicos fortassis quis accipiet etiam eos qui alicuius partis corporis vel certi doloris sanitatem pollicentur: ut puta si auricularis, si fistulae vel dentium, non tamen si incantavit, si inprecatus est si ut vulgari verbo impostorum utar, exorcizavit: non sunt ista medicinae genera, tametsi sint, qui hos sibi profuisse cum praedicatione adfirmant ("Perchance we should admit as physicians those also who undertake to cure special parts of the body or particular diseases, as, for example, the ear, ulcers, or the teeth; yet not if they employ incantations or spells, or -- to use the term current among such impostors -- if they 'exorcise.' Though there are people who loudly maintain that they have been helped thereby.'')

The characteristic features of belief in demons during the second century were as follows.\7/ In the first place, the belief made its way upwards from the obscurity of the lower classes into the upper classes of society, and became far more important than it had hitherto been; in the second place, it was no longer accompanied by a vigorous, naïve, and open religion which kept it within bounds; furthermore, the power of the demons, which had hitherto been regarded as morally indifferent, now came to represent their wickedness; and finally, when the new belief was applied to the life of individuals, its consequences embraced psychical diseases as well as physical. In view of all these considerations, the extraordinary spread of belief in demons, and the numerous outbursts of demonic disease, are to be referred to the combined influence of such well-known factors as the dwindling of faith in the old religions, which characterized the Imperial age, together with the rise of a feeling on the part of the individual that he was free and independent, and therefore flung upon his inmost nature and his own responsibility. Free now from any control or restraint of tradition, the individual wandered here and there amid the lifeless, fragmentary, and chaotic debris of traditions belonging to a world in process of dissolution; now he would pick up this, now that, only to discover, himself at last driven, often by fear and hope, to find a deceptive support or a new disease in the absurdest of them all.\8/

\7/ The scientific statement and establishment of this belief, in philosophy, goes back to Xenocrates; after him Posidonius deserves special mention. Cp. Apuleius, de Deo Socratis.

\8/ Jas. 3.15 speaks of a σοφία δαιμονιώδης.

Such was the situation of affairs encountered by the gospel. It has been scoffingly remarked that the gospel produced the very diseases which it professed itself able to cure. The scoff is justified in certain cases, but in the main it recoils upon the scoffer. The gospel did bring to a head the diseases which it proceeded to cure. It found them already in existence, and intensified them in the course of its mission. But it also cured them, and no flight of the imagination can form any idea of what would have come over the ancient world or the Roman [[130]] empire during the third century, had it not been for the church. Professors like Libanius or his colleagues in the academy at Athens, are of course among the immortals; people like that could maintain themselves without any serious change from century to century. But no nation thrives upon the food of rhetoricians and philosophers. At the close of the fourth century Rome had only one Symmachus, and the East had only one Synesius. But then, Synesius was a Christian.

In what follows I propose to set down, without note or comment, one or two important notices of demon-possession and its cure from the early history of the church. In the case of one passage I shall sketch the spread and shape of belief in demons. This Tertullian has described, and it is a mistake to pass Tertullian by. -- In order to estimate the significance of exorcism for primitive Christianity, one must remember that according to the belief of Christians the Son of God came into the world to combat Satan and his kingdom. The evangelists, especially Luke, have depicted the life of Jesus from the temptation onwards as an uninterrupted conflict with the devil; what he came for was to destroy the works of the devil. In Mark (1.32) we read how many that were possessed were brought to Jesus, and healed by him, as he cast out the demons (1.34). "He suffered not the demons to speak, for they knew him" (see also Luke 4.34, 41). In 1.39 there is the general statement: "He preached throughout all Galilee in the synagogues and cast out the demons." When he sent forth the twelve disciples, he conferred on them the power of exorcising (3.15), a power which they forthwith proceeded to exercise (6.13; for the Seventy, see Luke 10.17); whilst the scribes at Jerusalem declared he had Beelzebub,\9/ and that he cast out demons with the aid of their prince.\10/ The tale of the "unclean spirits" who entered a herd of swine is quite familiar (5.2), forming, as it does, one of the most curious fragments of the sacred story, which has vainly taxed the powers of believing [[131]] and of rationalistic criticism. Another story which more immediately concerns our present purpose is that of the Canaanite woman and her possessed daughter (7.25 f.). Matt. 7.15 f. (Luke 9.38) shows that epileptic fits, as well as other nervous disorders (e.g., dumbness, Matt. 12.22, Luke 11.14), were also included under demon-possession. It is further remarkable that even during the lifetime of Jesus exorcists who were not authorized by him exorcised devils in his name. This gave rise to a significant conversation between Jesus and John (Mark 9.38). John said to Jesus, "Master, we saw a man casting out demons in thy name, and we forbade him, because he did not follow us." But Jesus answered, "Forbid him not. No one shall work a deed of might in my name and then deny me presently; for he who is not against us, is for us." On the other hand, another saying of our Lord numbers people who have never known him (Matt. 7.22) among those who cast out devils in his name. From one woman among his followers Jesus was known afterwards to have cast out "seven demons" (Mark 16.9, Luke 8.2), and among the mighty deeds of which all believers were to be made capable, the unauthentic conclusion of Mark's gospel enumerates exorcism (16.17).\11/

\9/ John the Baptist was also said to have been possessed (cp. Matt. 11.18).

\10/ Jesus himself explains that he casts out demons by aid of the spirit of God (Matt. 12.28), but he seems to have been repeatedly charged with possessing the devil and with madness (cp. John 7.20, 8.48 f., 10.20).

\11/ Indeed, it is put first of all.

It was as exorcisers that Christians went out into the great world, and exorcism formed one very powerful method of their mission and propaganda. It was a question not simply of exorcising and vanquishing the demons that dwelt in individuals, but also of purifying all public life from them. For the age was ruled by the black one and his hordes (Barnabas 20.1); it "lieth in the evil one," ἐν τῷ πονηρῷ κεῖται (1 John 5.19). Nor was this mere theory; it was a most vital conception of existence. The whole world and the circumambient atmosphere were filled with devils; not merely idolatry, but every phase and form of life was ruled by them. They sat on thrones, they hovered around cradles. The earth was literally a hell, though it was and continued to be a creation of God. To encounter this hell and all its devils, Christians had command of weapons that were invincible. Besides the evidence drawn from the age of their holy scriptures, [[132]] they pointed to the power of exorcism committed to them, which routed evil spirits, and even forced them to bear witness to the truth of Christianity. "We," says Tertullian towards the close of his Apology (ch. 46), "we [[[??] have stated our case fully, as well as the evidence for the correctness of our statement --  that is, the trustworthiness and antiquity of our sacred writings, and also the testimony borne by the demonic powers themselves (in our favor)." Such was the stress laid on the activity of the exorcists.\12/

\12/ In the pseudo-Clementine epistle "on Virginity" (1.10), the reading of Scripture, exorcism, and teaching are grouped as the most important functions in religion.

In Paul's epistles,\13/ in Pliny's letter, and in the Didache, they are never mentioned.\14/ But from Justin downwards, Christian literature is crowded with allusions to exorcisms, and every large church at any rate had exorcists. Originally these men were honored as persons endowed with special grace, but afterwards they constituted a class by themselves, in the lower hierarchy, like lectors and sub-deacons. By this change they lost their pristine standing.\15/ The church sharply distinguished between exorcists who employed the name of Christ, and pagan sorcerers, magicians, etc.; but she could not protect herself adequately against mercenary impostors, and several of her exorcists were just as dubious characters as her "prophets."\16/ The hotbed of religious frauds was in Egypt, as we learn from Lucian's Peregrinus Proteus, from Celsus, and from Hadrian's [[133]] letter to Servian.\17/ At a very early period pagan exorcists appropriated the names of the patriarchs (cp. Orig., c. Cels. 1.22), of Solomon, and even of Jesus Christ, in their magical formulae; even Jewish exorcists soon began to introduce the name of Jesus in their incantations.\18/ The church, on the contrary, had to warn her own exorcists not to imitate the heathen. In the pseudo-Clementine de Virginitate we read (1.12) : "For those who are brethren in Christ it is fitting and right and comely to visit people who are vexed with evil spirits, and to pray and utter exorcisms over them, in the rational language of prayer acceptable to God, not with a host of fine words neatly arranged and studied in order to win the reputation among men of being eloquent and possessed of a good memory. Such folk are just like a sounding pipe, or a tinkling cymbal, of not the least use to those over whom they pronounce their exorcisms. They simply utter terrible words and scare people with them, but never act according to a true faith such as that enjoined by the Lord when he taught that 'this kind goeth not out save by fasting and prayer offered unceasingly, and by a mind earnestly bent (on God).' Let then make holy requests and entreaties to God, cheerfully, circumspectly, and purely, without hatred or malice. For such is the manner in which we are to visit a sick (possessed) brother or a sister . . . without guile or covetousness or noise or talkativeness or pride or any behavior alien to piety, but with the meek and lowly spirit of Christ. Let them exorcise the sick with fasting and with prayer; instead of using elegant phrases, neatly arranged and ordered, let them act frankly like men who have received the gift of healing from God, to God's glory. By your fastings and prayers and constant watching, together with all the rest of your good works, mortify the [[134]] works of the flesh by the power of the Holy Spirit. He who acts thus is a temple of the Holy Spirit of God. Let him cast out demons, and God will aid him therein. . . . The Lord has given the command to 'cast out demons' and also enjoined the duty of healing in other ways, adding, 'Freely ye have received, freely give.' A great reward from God awaits those who serve their brethren with the gifts which God has bestowed upon themselves." Justin writes (Apol. 2.6): "The Son of God became man in order to destroy the demons. This you can now learn from what transpires under your own eyes. For many of our Christian people have healed a large number of demoniacs throughout the whole world, and also in your own city, exorcising them in the name of Jesus Christ, who was crucified under Pontius Pilate; yet all other exorcists, magicians, and dealers in drugs failed to heal such people. Yea, and such Christians continue still to heal them, by rendering the demons impotent and expelling them from the men whom they possessed." In his dialogue against the Jews (85), Justin also writes: "Every demon exorcised in the name of the Son of God, the First-born of all creatures, who was born of a virgin and endured human suffering, who was crucified by your nation under Pontius Pilate, who died and rose from the dead and ascended into heaven --  every demon exorcised in this name is mastered and subdued. Whereas if you exorcise in the name of any king or righteous man, or prophet, or patriarch, who has been one of yourselves, no demon will be subject to you. . . . Your exorcists, I have already said, are like the Gentiles in using special arts, employing fumigation and magic incantations." From this passage we infer that the Christian formulae of exorcism contained the leading facts of the story of Christ.\19/ And Origen says as much, quite unmistakably, in his reply to Celsus (1.6): "The power of exorcism lies in the name of Jesus, which is uttered as the stories of his life are being narrated."\20/ [[135]]

\13/ See, however, Eph. 6.12; 2 Cor. 12.7, etc.

\14/ No explanation has yet been given of the absence of exorcism in Paul. His doctrine of sin, however, was unfavorable to such phenomena.

\15/ The history of exorcism (as practised at baptism, and elsewhere on its own account) and of exorcists is far too extensive to be discussed here; besides, in some departments it has not yet been sufficiently investigated. Much information may still be anticipated from the magical papyri, of which an ever-increasing number are coming to light. So far as exorcism and exorcists entered into the public life of the church, see Probst's Sakramente and Sakramentalien, pp. 39 f., and Kirchliche Disziplin, pp. 116 f.

\16/ Cp. the apologists, Origen's reply to Celsus, and the injunction in the Canons of Hippolytus (Texte u. Unters. 6.4, pp. 83 f.): "Οἰωνιστής  vel magus vet astrologus, hariolus, somniorum interpres, praestigiator . . . vel qui phylacteria conficit . . . hi omnes et qui sunt similes his neque instruendi neque baptizandi sunt." [[[ET] Observe also the polemic against the magical arts of the Gnostics.

\17/ Vopiscus, Saturn. 8: "Nemo illic archisynagogus Judaeorum, nemo Samarites, nemo Christianorum presbyter, non mathematicus, non haruspex, non aliptes."

\18/ Compare the story of the Jewish exorcists in Acts 19.13: "Now certain of the itinerant Jewish exorcists also undertook to pronounce the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were possessed by evil spirits. 'I adjure you,' they said, 'by the Jesus whom Paul preaches.'" It is admitted, in the pseudo-Cypr. de Rebapt. 7, that even non-Christians were frequently able to drive out demons by using the name of Christ.

\19/ In the formula of exorcism the most important part was the mention of the crucifixion; cp. Justin's Dial. 30, 49, 76.

\20/ ἰσχύειν δοκοῦσιν . . .  τῷ ὀνόματι ᾿Ιησοῦ μετὰ τῆς ἀπαγγελίας τῶν περὶ αὐτὸν ἱστοριῶν.

Naturally one feels very skeptical in reading how various parties in Christianity denied each other the power of exorcism, explaining cures as due either to mistakes or to deception. So Irenaeus (2.31.2): "The adherents of Simon and Carpocrates and the other so-called workers of miracles were convicted of acting as they acted, not by the power of God, nor in truth, nor for the good of men, but to destroy and deceive men by means of magical illusions and universal deceit. They do more injury than good to those who believe in them, inasmuch as they are deceivers. For neither can they give sight to the blind or hearing to the deaf, nor can they rout any demons save those sent by themselves if they can do even that."\21/ With regard to his own church, Irenaeus (cp. below, ch. 4) was convinced that the very dead were brought back to life by its members. In this, he maintains, there was neither feint, nor error, nor deception, but astounding fact, as in the case of our Lord himself. "In the name of Jesus, his true disciples, who have received grace from him, do fulfill a healing ministry in aid of other men, even as each has received the free gift of grace from him. Some surely and certainly drive out demons, so that it frequently happens that those thus purged from demons also believe and become members of the church.\22/ Others again, possess a fore-knowledge of the future, with visions and [[136]] prophetic utterances. . . . And what shall I more say? For it is impossible to enumerate the spiritual gifts and blessings which, all over the world, the church has received from God in the name of Jesus Christ, who was crucified under Pontius Pilate, and which she exercises day by day for the healing of the pagan world, without deceiving or taking money from any person. For as she has freely received them from God, so also does she freely give" (ἰατροὶ ἀνάργυροι).

\21/ Cp. the sorry and unsuccessful attempts of the church in Asia to treat the illontanist prophetesses as demoniacs who required exorcism. Compare with this Firmilian's account (Cypr., Epist. 75.10) of a Christian woman who felt herself to be a prophetess, and "deceived" many people: Subito apparuit illi unus de exorcistis, vir probatus et circa religiosam disciplinam bene semper conversatus, qui exhortatione quoque fratrum plurimorum qui et ipsi fortes ac laudabiles in fide aderant excitatus erexit se contra illum spiritum nequam revincendum. . . . ille exorcista inspiratus dei gratia fortiter restitit et esse illum nequissimum spiritum qui prius sanctus putabatur ostendit ("Suddenly there appeared before her one of the exorcists, a tried man, of irreproachable conduct in the matter of religious discipline. At the urgent appeal of many brethren present, themselves as courageous and praiseworthy in the faith, he roused himself to meet and master that wicked spirit. . . . Inspired by the grace of God, that exorcist made a brave resistance, and showed that the spirit which had previously been deemed holy, was in reality most evil").

\22/ Still it seems to have been made a matter of reproach, in the third century, if any one had suffered from possession. Cornelius taxes Novatian (cp. Euseb., H.E. 6.43) with having been possessed by a demon before his baptism, and having been healed by an exorcist.

The popular notion prevalent among the early Christians, as among the later Jews, was that, apart from the innumerable hosts of demons who disported themselves unabashed throughout history and nature, every individual had beside him a good angel who watched over him, and an evil spirit who lay in wait for him (cp., e.g., the "Shepherd" of Hermas). If he allowed himself to be controlled by the latter, he was thereby "possessed," in the strict sense of the word; i.e., sin itself was possession. This brings out admirably the slavish dependence to which any man is reduced who abandons himself to his own impulses, though the explanation is naively simple. In the belief in demons, as that belief dominated the Christian world in the second and third centuries, it is easy to detect features which stamp it as a reactionary movement hostile to contemporary culture. Yet it must not be forgotten that the heart of it enshrined a moral and consequently a spiritual advance,. viz., in a quickened sense of evil, as well as in a recognition of the power of sin and of its dominion in the world. Hence it was that a mind of such high culture as Tertullian's could abandon itself to this belief in demons. It is interesting to notice how the Greek and Roman elements are bound up with the Jewish Christian in his detailed statement of the belief (in the Apology), and I shall now quote this passage in full. It occurs in connection with the statement that while demons are ensconced behind the dead gods of wood and stone, they are forced by Christians to confess what they are, viz., not gods at all, but unclean spirits. At several points we catch even here the tone of irony and sarcasm over these "poor devils" which grew so loud in the Middle Ages, and yet never shook belief in theist. But, on the whole, the description is extremely serious. [[137]] People who fancy at this time of day that they would possess primitive Christianity if they only enforced certain primitive rules of faith, may perhaps discover from what follows the sort of coefficients with which that Christianity was burdened.\23/

\23/ Next to Tertullian, it is his predecessor Tatian who has given the most exact description of the Christian doctrine of demons (in his Oratio ad Graecos 7-18). The demons introduced "Fatum" and polytheism. To believers, i.e., to men of the Spirit (πνευμάτικοι), they are visible, but psychic men (ψύχικοι) are either unable to see them, or only see them at rare intervals (15-16). Illnesses arise from the body, but demons assume the final responsibility for them. "Sometimes, indeed, they convulse our physical state with a storm of their incorrigible wickedness; but smitten by a powerful word of God they depart in terror, and the sick man is cured." Tatian does not deny, as a rule, that possessed persons are often healed, even apart from the aid of Christians. In the pseudo-Clementine Homilies (9.10.16-18) there is also important information upon demons. For the Christian belief in demons, consult also Diels, Elementum (1899), especially pp. 50 f.

"We Christians," says Tertullian (ch. 22 f.), "affirm the existence of certain spiritual beings. Nor is their name new. The philosophers recognize demons; Socrates himself waited on a demon's impulse, and no wonder -- for a demon is said to have been his companion from childhood, detaching his mind, I have no doubt, from what was good! The poets, too, recognize demons, and even the ignorant masses use them often in their oaths. In fact, they appeal in their curses to Satan, the prince of this evil gang, with a sort of instinctive knowledge of him in their very souls. Plato himself does not deny the existence of angels, and even the magicians attest both kinds of spiritual beings. But it is our sacred scriptures which record how certain angels, who fell of their own free will, produced a still more fallen race of demons, who were condemned by God together with their progenitors and with that prince to whom we have already alluded. Here we cannot do more than merely describe their doings. The ruin of man was their sole aim. From the outset man's overthrow was essayed by these spirits in their wickedness. Accordingly they proceed to inflict diseases and evil accidents of all kinds on our bodies, while by means of violent assaults they produce sudden and extraordinary excesses of the soul. Both to soul and to body they have access by their subtle and extremely fine substance. Invisible and intangible, those spirits are not visible in the act; it is in their effects that [[138]] they are frequently observed, as when, for example, some mysterious poison in the breeze blights the blossom of fruit trees and the grain, or nips theta in the bud, or destroys the ripened fruit, the poisoned atmosphere exhaling, as it were, some noxious breath. With like obscurity, the breath of demons and of angels stirs up many a corruption in the soul by furious passions, vile excesses, or cruel lusts accompanied by varied errors, the worst of which is that these deities commend themselves to the ensnared and deluded souls of men, in order to get their favorite food of flesh -- fumes and of blood offered up to the images and statues of the gods.\24/ And what more exquisite food could be theirs than to divert then from the thought of the true God by means of false illusions? How these illusions are managed, I shall now explain. Every spirit is winged; angel and demon alike. Hence in an instant they are everywhere. The whole world is just one place to them. 'Tis as easy for them to know as to announce any occurrence; and as people are ignorant of their nature, their velocity is taken for divinity. Thus they would have themselves sometimes thought to be the authors of the events which they merely report -- and authors, indeed, they are, not of good, but occasionally of evil events. The purposes of Divine providence were also caught up by them of old from the lips of the prophets, and at present from the public reading of their works. So picking up in this way a partial knowledge of the future, they set up a rival divinity for themselves by purloining prophecy. But well do your Croesuses and Pyrrhuses know the clever ambiguity with which these oracles were framed in view of the future.….As they dwell in the air, close to the stars, and in touch with the clouds, they can discern the preliminary processes in the sky, and thus are able to promise the rain whose coming they already feel. Truly they are most kind in their concern for health! First of all, they make you ill; then, to produce the impression of a miracle, they enjoin the use of remedies which are either unheard of or have quite an opposite effect; lastly, by withdrawing their injurious influence, they get the credit of [[139]] having worked a cure. Why, then, should I speak further of their other tricks or even of their powers of deception as spirits -- of the Castor apparitions, of water carried in a sieve, of a ship towed by a girdle, of a beard reddened at a touch -- things done to get men to believe in stones as gods, instead of seeking after the true God?

\24/ This ranks as the chef-d'ouvre of iniquity on the part of the demons; they are responsible for introducing polytheism, i.e., they get worshipped under the images of dead gods, and profit by sacrifices, whose odor they enjoy.

"Moreover, if magicians call up ghosts and even bring forward the souls of the dead, if they strangle boys in order to make the oracle speak, if they pretend to perform many a miracle by means of their quackery and juggling, if they even send dreams by aid of those angels and demons whose power they have invoked (and, thanks to them, it has become quite a common thing for the very goats and tables to divine), how much more keen will be this evil power in employing all its energies to do, of its own accord and for its own ends, what serves another's purpose? Or, if the deeds of angels and demons are exactly the same as those of your gods, where is the pre-eminence of the latter, which must surely be reckoned superior in might to all else? Is it not a more worthy conception that the former make themselves gods by exhibiting the very credentials of the gods, than that the gods are on a level with angels and demons? Locality, I suppose you will say, locality makes a difference; in a temple you consider beings to be gods whom elsewhere you would not recognize as such! . . .

"But hitherto it has been merely a question of words. Now for facts, now for a proof that `gods' and 'demons' are but different statues for one and the same substance. Place before your tribunals any one plainly possessed by a demon. Bidden speak by any Christian whatsoever, that spirit will confess he is a demon, just as frankly elsewhere he will falsely pretend to be a god.\25/ Or, if you like, bring forward any one of those who are supposed to be divinely possessed, who conceive divinity from the fumes which they inhale bending over an altar, and ("ructando curantur") are delivered of it by retching, giving vent to it in gasps. Let the heavenly virgin herself, who promises rain, let that teacher o£ healing arts, Aesculapius, ever ready to prolong [[140]] the life of those who are on the point of death, with Socordium, Tenatium (?), and Asclepiadotum -- let them then and there shed the blood of that daring Christian, if -- in terror of lying to a Christian -- they fail to admit they are demons. Could any action be more plain? Any proof more cogent? Truth in its simplicity stands here before your eyes; its own worth supports it; suspicion there can be none. Say you, it is a piece of magic or a trick of some sort? . . .What objection can be brought against something exhibited in its bare reality? If, on the one hand, they (the demons) are really gods, why do they pretend (at our challenge) to be demons? From fear of us? Then your so-called 'Godhead' is subordinated to us, and surely no divinity can be attributed to what lies under the control of men. . . . So that 'Godhead' of yours proves to be no godhead at all; for if it were, demons would not pretend to it, nor would gods deny it. . . . Acknowledge that there is but one species of such beings, namely, demons, and that the gods are nothing else. Look out, then, for gods! For now you find that those whom you formerly took for such, are demons."

\25/ In this, as in some other passages of the Apology, Tertullian's talk is too large. [[[idiom?]

In what follows, Tertullian declares that the demons, on being questioned by Christians, not only confess they are themselves demons, but also confess the Christian's God as the true God. "Fearing God in Christ, and Christ in God, they become subject to the servants of God and Christ. Thus at our touch and breath, overpowered by the consideration and contemplation of the (future) fire, they leave human bodies at our command, reluctantly and sadly, and -- in your presence -- shamefacedly. You believe their lies; they believe them when they tell the truth about themselves. When anyone lies, it is not to disgrace but to glorify himself. . . . Such testimonies from your so-called deities usually result in a making people Christians."

In ch. 27. Tertullian meets the obvious retort that if demons were actually subject to Christians, the latter could not possibly succumb helplessly to the persecutions directed against them. Tertullian contradicts this. The demons, he declares, are certainly like slaves under the control of the Christians, but like good-for-nothing slaves they sometimes blend fear and contumacy, eager to injure those of whom they stand in awe. "At [[141]] a distance they oppose us, but at close quarters they beg for mercy. Hence, like slaves that have broken loose from workhouses, or prisons, or mines, or any form of penal servitude, they break out against us, though they are in our power, well aware of their impotence, and yet rendered the more abandoned thereby. We resist this horde unwillingly, the same as if they were still unvanquished, stoutly maintaining the very position which they attack, nor is our triumph over them ever more complete than when we are condemned for our persistent faith."

In ch. 37. Tertullian once more sums up the service which Christians render to pagans by means of their exorcists. "Were it not for us, who would free you from those hidden foes that are ever making havoc of your health in soul and body -- from those raids of the demons, I mean, which we repel from you without reward or hire?" He says the same thing in his address to the magistrate Scapula (2): "We do more than repudiate the demons: we overcome them, we expose then daily to contempt, and exorcise them from their victims, as is well known to many people."\26/ This endowment of Christians must therefore have been really acknowledged far and wide, and in a number of passages Tertullian speaks as if every Christian possessed it.\27/ It would be interesting if we could only ascertain how far these cures of psychical diseases were permanent. Unfortunately, nothing is known upon the point, and yet this is a province where nothing is more common than a merely temporary success.

\26/ See also the interesting observations in de Anima 1.

\27/ Cp., for example, de Corona 11. Other Christian writers also express themselves to the same effect, e.g., the speech of Peter in the pseudo-Clementine Homilies (9.19), which declares that Christians at baptism obtain a gift of healing other people by means of exorcisms: "Sometimes the demons will flee if you but look on them, for they know those who have surrendered themselves to God, and flee in terror because they honor such people" (ἐνίοτε δὲ [οἱ δαίμονες] μόνον ἐνιδόντων ὑμῶν φεύξονται· ἴσασιν γὰρ τοὺς ἀποδεδωκότας ἑαυτοὺς τῷ θεῷ, διὸ τιμῶντες αὐτοὺς πεφοβημένοι φεύγουσιν).

Like Tertullian, Minucius Felix in his "Octavius" has also treated this subject, partly in the same words as Tertullian (ch. 27).\28/ The apologist Theophilus (ad Autolyc. 2.8) writes: [[142]] "The Greek poet spoke under the inspiration, not of a pure, but of a lying spirit, as is quite obvious from the fact that even in our own day possessed people are sometimes still exorcised in the name of the true God, whereupon their lying spirits themselves confess that they are demons, the actual demons who formerly were at work in the poets." This leads us to assume that the possessed frequently cried out the name of "Apollo" or of the Muses at the moment of exorcising. As late as the middle of the third century Cyprian also speaks, like earlier authors, of demonic cures wrought by Christians (ad Demetr. 15): "O if thou wouldst but hear and see the demons when they are adjured by us, tormented by spiritual scourges, and driven from the possessed bodies by racking words; when howling and groaning with human voices (!), and feeling by the power of God the stripes and blows, they have to confess the judgment to come! Come and see that what we say is true. And forasmuch as thou sayest thou dost worship the gods, then believe even those whom thou dost worship. Thou wilt see how those whom thou implorest implore us; how those of whom thou art in awe stand in awe of us. Thou wilt see how they stand bound under our hands, trembling like prisoners -- they to whom thou dost look up with veneration as thy lords. Verily thou wilt be made ashamed in these errors of thine, when thou seest and hearest how thy gods, when cross-questioned by us, at once yield up the secret of their being, unable, even before you, to conceal those tricks and frauds of theirs."\29/ Similarly in the treatise To Donatus (ch. 5) : "In Christianity there is conferred (upon pure chastity, upon a pure mind, upon pure speech) the gift of healing the sick by rendering poisonous potions harmless, [[143]] by restoring the deranged to health, and thus purifying them from ignominious pains, by commanding peace for the hostile, rest for the violent, and gentleness for the unruly, by forcing under stress of threats and invective -- a confession from unclean and roving spirits who have come to dwell within mankind, by roughly ordering them out, and stretching them out with struggles, howls, and groans, as their sufferings on the rack increase, by lashing them with scourges, and burning them with fire. This is what goes on, though no one sees it; the punishments are hidden, but the penalty is open. Thus what we have already begun to be, that is, the Spirit we have received, comes into its kingdom." The Christian already rules with regal power over the entire host of his raging adversary.\30/

\28/ "Adjurati (daemones) per deum verum et solum inviti miseris corporibus inhorrescunt, et vel exiliunt statim vel evanescunt gradatim, prout fides patientis adiuvat aut gratia curantis adspirat. Sic Christianos de proximo fugitant, quos longe in coetibus per vos lacessebant," etc.

\29/ See also Quod Idola Dei non sint (7), and Cypr., Ep. 69.15: "Hodie etiam geritur, ut per exorcistas voce humana et potestate divina flagelletur et uratur et torqueatur diabolus, et cum exire se et homines dei dimittere saepe dicat, in eo tamen quod dixerit fallat. . . . cum tamen ad aquam salutarem adque ad baptismi sanctificationem venitur, scire debemus et fidere [which sounds rather hesitating], quia illic diabolus opprimitur" ("This goes on today as well, in the scourging and burning and torturing of the devil at the hands of exorcists, by means of the human voice and the divine power, and in his declaring that he will go out and leave the men of God alone, yet proving untrue in what he says. . . . However, when the water of salvation and the sanctification of baptism is reached, we ought to know and trust that the devil is crushed there").

\30/ Compare with this Lactantius, Divin. Instit. 2.15, 4.27, who repeats in part the description of Cyprian, but lays special emphasis on the sign of the cross as a means of salvation from demons.

Most interesting of all are the discussions between Celsus and Origen on demons and possessed persons, since the debate here is between two men who occupied the highest level of contemporary culture.\31/ Celsus declared that Christians owed the power they seemed to possess to their invocation and adjuration of certain demons.\32/ Origen retorted that the power of banishing demons was actually vested in the name of Jesus and the witness of his life, and that the name of Jesus was so powerful that it operated by itself even when uttered by immoral persons (c. Cels. 1.6). Both Origen and Celsus, then, believed in demons; and elsewhere (e.g., 1.24 f.) Origen adduces the old idea of the power exercised by the utterance of certain "names"; [[144]] in fact, he indicates a secret "science of names" which confers power on the initiated, although of course one had to be very careful to recite the names in the proper language.\33/ "When recited in the Egyptian tongue, the one class is specially efficacious in the case of certain spirits whose power does not extend beyond such things and such a sphere, whilst the other class is effective with some spirits if recited in Persian, and so forth." "The name of Jesus also comes under this science of names, as it has already expelled numerous spirits from the souls and bodies of mankind and shown its power over those who have thus been freed from possession."\34/ Origen several times cites the fact of successful exorcism (1.46.67), and the fact is not denied by Celsus, who admits even the "miracles" of Jesus. Only, his explanation was very different (68). "The magicians," he said, "undertake still greater marvels, and men trained in the schools of Egypt profess like exploits, people who for a few pence will sell their reverend arts in the open market-place, expelling demons from people, blowing diseases away with their breath, calling up the spirits of the heroes, exhibiting expensive viands, with tables, cakes, and dainties, which are really non-existent, and setting inanimate things in motion as if they really possessed life, whereas they have but the semblance of animals. If any juggler is able to perform feats of this kind, must we on that account regard him as 'God's son'? Must we not rather declare that such accomplishments are merely the contrivances of knaves possessed by evil demons?" Christians are jugglers or sorcerers or both; Christ also was a master of demonic arts -- such was the real opinion of Celsus.\35/ Origen was at great pains to controvert this very [[145]] grievous charge (see, e.g., 1.68). And he succeeded. He could appeal to the unquestionable fact that all Christ's works were wrought with the object of benefiting men.\36/ Was it so with magicians? Still, in this reproach of Celsus there lay a serious monition for the church and for the Christians, a monition which more than Celsus canvassed. As early as the middle of the second century a Christian preacher had declared, "The name of the true God is blasphemed among the heathen by reason of us Christians; for if we fulfill not the commands of God, but lead an unworthy life, they turn away and blaspheme, saying that our teaching is merely a fresh myth and error."\37/ From the middle of the second century onwards the cry was often raised against Christians, that they were jugglers and necromancers, and not a few of them were certainly to blame for such a charge.\38/ Cures of demon-possession practised by unspiritual men as a profession must have produced a repellent impression on more serious people, despite the attractive power which they did exercise (Tert., Apol. 23, "Christianos facere consuerunt"). Besides, frivolous or ignorant Christians must often have excused themselves for their sins by pleading that a demon had seduced them, or that it was not they who did the wrong but the demon.\39/ But there was hardly any chance of the matter being cleared up in the third century. Christians and pagans alike were getting more and more entangled in the belief in demons. In their dogmas and their philosophy of religion, polytheists certainly became more and more attenuated as a sublime monotheism [[146]] was evolved; but in practical life they plunged more helplessly than ever into the abysses of an imaginary world of spirits. The protests made by sensible physicians were all in vain.\40/

\31/ Origen (in Hom. 15.5, in Jesu Nave 11, pp. 141 f.) has developed a theory of his own to explain the suppression of demons by the church, especially in the light of its bearing upon the spread of Christianity. "Anyone who vanquishes a demon in himself, e.g., the demon of lewdness, puts it out of action; the demon is cast into the abyss, and cannot do any harm to anyone. Hence there are far fewer demons now than before; hence, also, a large number of demons having been overthrown, the heathen are new free to believe, as they would not be did whole legions of demons exist as formerly" ("Et inde est quod plurimo daemonum numero iam victo ad credulitatem venire gentes relaxantur, qui utique nullatenus sinerentur, si integras eorum, sicut prius fuerant, subsisterent legiones").

\32/ The ethical principles of Christianity, says Celsus (1.4 f.), are common to Christians and philosophers alike, while the apparent strength of the former lies in the names of a few demons and in incantations.

\33/ περὶ ὀνομάτων τις δύνηται τὰ ἐν ἀπορρήτοις φιλοσοφεῖν.

\34/ See on this point the statement of Origen's pupil Dionysius, Bishop of Alexandria (in Euseb., H.E. 7.10.4), for the reason why the Valerian persecution broke out. Here pagan and Christian exorcisers opposed each other. Of the latter, Dionysius says: "There are and were among them many persons whose very presence and look, though they merely breathed and spoke, were able to scatter the delusive counsels of the sinful demons." Local persecution of Christians elsewhere, and indeed the great persecution under Diocletian, arose in this way, pagan priests affirming that the presence of Christians who attended the sacrifices hindered their saving influence, etc.

\35/ He gives his opinion of the Gnostic exorcisers in particular in 6.39 f.

\36/ Cp., e.g., 3.28, and 1.68.

\37/ 2 Clem. 13.3, μῦθόν τινα καὶ πλάνην.

\38/ Origen, who himself admits that Christian exorcists were usually uneducated people, asserts deliberately and repeatedly that they employed neither magic nor sorcery but prayer alone and "formulae of exorcism which are so plain that even the plainest man can make use of them" (c. Cels. 7.4: σὺν οὐδενὶ περιέργῳ καὶ μαγικῷ ἢ φαρμακευτικῷ πράγματι ἀλλὰ μόνῃ εὐχῇ καὶ ὁρκώσεσιν ἁπλουστέραις καὶ ὅσα ἂν δύναιτο προσάγειν ἁπλούστερος ἄνθρωπος. Cp. Comm. in Matth. 13.7, vol. 3, p. 224).

\39/ Cp. Origen, de Princip. 3.2.1: "Hence some of the less intelligent believers think that all human transgressions arise from their [i.e., the demons'] antagonistic powers, which constrain the mind of the sinner" ("Unde et simpliciores quique domino Christo credentium existimant, quod omnia peccata, quaecumque commiserint homines, ex istis contrariis virtutibus mentem delinquentium perurgentibus fiant").

\40/ So the famous physician Posidonius at the close of the fourth century, of whom Philostorgius (H.E. 8.10, reported by Photius) narrates: "He said, though incorrectly, that it was not by the incentive of demons that men grew frenzied, but that it was the bad juices of certain sick bodies which wrought the mischief; since the power of demons was in no whit hostile to the nature of man" (λέγειν δ’ αὐτὸν ὅμως οὐκ ὀρθῶς οὐχὶ δαιμόνων ἐπιθέσει τοὺς ἀνθρώπους ἐκβακχεύεσθαι, ὑγρῶν δέ τινων κακοχυμίαν τὸ πάθος ἐργάζεσθαι. μηδὲ γὰρ εἶναι τὸ παράπαν ἰσχὺν δαιμόνων ἀνθρώπων φύσιν ἐπηρεάζουσαν).



\1/ In his work, Die christliche Liebestatigkeit in der alten Kirche ([[[publ.] 1st ed., 1882; Eng. trans., Christian Charity in the Ancient Church, Edinburgh [[[date]), Uhlhorn presents a sketch which is thorough, but unfair to paganism. The Greeks and Romans also were acquainted with philanthropy.

“I was hungry, and ye fed me; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me in; naked, and ye clothed me; I was sick, and ye visited me; I was in prison, and ye came to me. In as much as ye did it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye did it unto me."

These words of Jesus have shone so brilliantly for many generations in his church, and exerted so powerful an influence, that one may further describe the Christian preaching as the preaching of love and charity. From this standpoint, in fact, the proclamation of the Savior and of healing would seem to be merely subordinate, inasmuch as the words “I was sick, and ye visited me" form but one link in the larger chain.

Among the extant words and parables of Jesus, those which inculcate love and charity are especially numerous, and with them we must rank many a story of his life.\2/ Yet, apart altogether from the number of such sayings, it is plain that whenever he had in view the relations of mankind, the gist of his [[148]] preaching was to enforce brotherliness and ministering love, and the surest part of the impression he left behind him was that in his own life and labors he displayed both of these very qualities. "One is your Master, and ye are all brethren"; ”Whoso would be first among you shall be servant of all; for the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many." It is in this sense that we are to understand the commandment to love one's neighbor. How unqualified it is, becomes evident from the saying, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, pray for them that despitefully use you and persecute you; that ye may be sons of your Father in heaven, for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sendeth rain on the just and the unjust."\3/ “Blessed are the merciful" -- that is the keynote of all that Jesus proclaimed, and as this merciful spirit is to extend from great things to trifles, from the inward to the outward, the saying which does not pass over even a cup of cold water (Matt. 10.42) lies side by side with that other comprehensive saying, "Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors." Brotherliness is love on a footing of equality; ministering love means to give and to forgive, and no limit is to be recognized. Besides, ministering love is the practical expression of love to God.

\2/ One recalls particularly the parable of the good Samaritan, with its new definition of "neighbor" and also the parable of the lost son; among the stories, that of the rich young man. The gospel of the Hebrews tells the latter incident with especial impressiveness. "Then said the Lord to him, How canst thou say, 'I have kept the law and the prophets,' when it is written in the law, 'Thou shall love thy neighbor as thyself'? And look, many of thy brethren, sons of Abraham, are lying in dirt and dying of hunger, while thy house is full of many possessions, and never a gift comes from it to them."

\3/ The saying "Fast for them that persecute you" is also traditional (Didache 1).

While Jesus himself was exhibiting this love, and making it a life and a power, his disciples were learning the highest and holiest thing that can be learned in all religion, namely, to believe in the love of God. To them the Being who had made heaven and earth was “the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort" -- a point on which there is no longer any dubiety in the testimony of the apostolic and post-apostolic ages. Now, for the first tine, that testimony rose among men, which cannot ever be surpassed, the testimony that God is Love. The first great statement of the new religion, into which the fourth evangelist condensed its central principle, was based entirely and exclusively on love: “We love, because He first loved us," “God so loved the world," “A new commandment give I unto you, that ye love one another." And the greatest, strongest, [[149]] deepest thing Paul ever wrote is the hymn commencing with the words: “Though I speak with the tongues of men and angels, but have not love, I am become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal." The new language on the lids of Christians was the language of love.

But it was more than a language, it was a thing of power and action. The Christians really considered themselves brothers and sisters, and their actions corresponded to this belief. On this point we possess two unexceptionable testimonies from pagan writers. Says Lucian of the Christians: “Their original lawgiver had taught them that they were all brethren, one of another. . . . They become incredibly alert when anything of this kind occurs, that affects their common interests. On such occasions no expense is grudged." And Tertullian (Apolog. 39) observes : “It is our care for the helpless, our practice of loving kindness, that brands us in the eyes of many of our opponents. ‘Only look,' they say, ‘look how they love one another!' (they themselves being given to mutual hatred). 'Look how they are prepared to die for one another!' (they themselves being readier to kill each other)."\4/ Thus had this saying became a fact: “Hereby shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love οne to another."

\4/ Also Caecilius (in Minuc. Felix 9): "They recognise each other by means of secret marks and signs, and love οne another almost before they are acquainted."

The gospel thus became a social message. The preaching which laid hold of the outer man, detaching him from the world, and uniting him to his God, was also a preaching of solidarity and brotherliness. The gospel, it has been truly said, is at bottom both individualistic and socialistic. Its tendency towards mutual association, so far from being an accidental phenomenon in its history, is inherent in its character. It spiritualizes the irresistible impulse which draws one man to another, and it raises the social connection of human beings from the sphere of a convention to that of a moral obligation. In this way it serves to heighten the worth of man, and essays to recast contemporary society, to transform the socialism which involves a conflict of interests into the socialism which rests upon the consciousness of a spiritual unity and a common goal. This [[150]] was ever present to the mind of the great apostle to the Gentiles. In his little churches, where each person bore his neighbor’s burden, Paul's spirit already saw the dawning of a new humanity, and in the epistle to the Ephesians he has voiced this feeling with a thrill of exultation. Far in the background of these churches -- i.e., when they were what they were meant to be -- like some unsubstantial semblance, lay the division "between Jew and Gentile, Greek and Barbarian, great and small, rich and poor. For a new humanity had now appeared, and the apostle viewed it as Christ's body, in which every member served the rest and each was indispensable in his own place. Looking at these churches, with all their troubles and infirmities, he anticipated, in his exalted moments of enthusiasm, what was the development of many centuries.\5/

\5/ Warnings against unmercifulness, and censures of this temper, must have begun, of course, at quite an early period; see the epistle of James (4-5) and several sections in the "Shepherd" of Hermas.

We cannot undertake to collect from the literature of the first three centuries all the passages where love and charity are enjoined. This would lead us too far afield, although we should come across much valuable material in making such a survey. We would notice the reiteration of the summons to uncon­ditional giving, which occurs among the sayings of Jesus, whilst on the contrary we would be astonished to find that passages enforcing the law of love are not more numerous, and that they are so frequently overshadowed by ascetic counsels; we would also take umbrage at the spirit of a number of passages in which the undisguised desire of being rewarded for benevolence stands out in bold relief.\6/ Still, this craving for reward is not in every [[151]] case immoral, and no conclusion can be drawn from the number of times when it occurs. The important thing is to determine what actually took place within the sphere of Christian [[152]] charity and active love, and this we shall endeavor to ascertain.

\6/ All these points are illustrated throughout the literature, from the Didache and Hermas downwards. For unconditional giving, see Did. 1.5:  Παντὶ τῷ αἰτοῦντί σε δίδου καὶ μὴ ἀπαίτει· πᾶσι γὰρ θέλει δίδοσθαι ὁ πατὴρ ἐκ τῶν ἰδίων χαρισμάτων. Μακάριος ὁ διδοὺς κατὰ τὴν ἐντολήν· ἀθῷος γάρ ἐστιν. Οὐαὶ τῷ λαμβάνοντι· εἰ μὲν γὰρ χρείαν ἔχων λαμβάνει τις, ἀθῷος ἔσται· ὁ δὲ μὴ χρείαν ἔχων δώσει δίκην, ἵνα τί ἔλαβε καὶ εἰς τί· ἐν συνοχῇ δὲ γενόμενος ἐξετασθήσεται περὶ ὧν ἔπραξε καὶ οὐκ ἐξελεύσεται ἐκεῖθεν, μέχρις οὗ ἀποδῷ τὸν ἔσχατον κοδράντην ("Give to everyone who asks of thee, and ask not back again; for the Father desireth gifts to be given to all men from his own bounties. Blessed is he who gives according to the commandment, for he is guiltless. But woe to him who receives; for if a man receives who is in need, he is guiltless, but if he is not in need he shall give satisfaction as to why and wherefore he received, and being confined he shall be examined upon his deeds, and shall not come out till he has paid the uttermost farthing"). The counsel of unconditional giving, which is frequently repeated, is closely bound up with the question of earthly possessions in the early church, and consequently with the question of asceticism. Theoreti­cally, from the very outset, there was to be neither property nor wealth at all; such things belong to the world which Christians were to renounce. Consequently, to devote one's means to other people was a proceeding which demanded a fresh point of view; to part with one's property was the authorized and most meritorious course of action, nor did it matter, in the first instance, who was the recipient. In practical life, however, things were very different, and this was constantly the result of the very theory just mentioned, since it never gave up the voluntary principle (even the attempt at communism in Jerusalem, if there even was such an attempt, did not exclude the voluntary principle). It was by means of this principle that Christian love maintained its power. In practical life, complete renunciation of the world was achieved only by a few; these were the saints and heroes. Other people were in precisely the same position, with the same feelings and concern, as serious, devoted Catholics at the present day; they were actuated by motives of ascetics and of love alike. It is needless, therefore, to depict this state of matters in closer detail. The extreme standpoint is represented by Hermas, Sim. 1 [[[new#] (see above, pp. 97 f. ).

A great deal has been written upon early Christian "communism," but nothing of the kind ever existed in the great Gentile church -- for we need not take any account of an isolated phenomenon like the semi-pagan sect of the Carpocratians and their communism. Monastic "communism” is only called such by a misuse of the term, and, besides, it is irrelevant to our present subject. Even on the soil of Jewish Christianity, no communism flourished, for the example of the Essenes was never followed. Uhlhorn remarks truly (op. cit., p. 68; Eng. trans., 74) that "we cannot more radically misconceive the so-called 'communism' of early Christianity than by conceiving it as an institution similar to those which existed among the Essenes and the Therapeutae. It is far more correct to represent the state of things as an absence of all institutions whatsoever." Directions not infrequently occur (e.g., Barn. 19.8; Tert., Apol. 39) which have a communistic ring, but they are not to be taken in a communistic sense. The common formula οὐκ ἐρεῖς ἴδια εἶναι ("thou shalt not say these things are thine own" -- e.g. Didache 4.8) simply enjoins liberality, forbidding a man to use his means merely for his own advantage.

I have already remarked that, upon the whole, the voluntary principle was never abandoned in the matter of Christian giving and the scale of gifts. This statement, however, admits of one qualification. While the West, so far as I can judge, knew nothing as yet of the law of first-fruits and tithes throughout our epoch (for Cyprian, de Unit. 26, is not to be understood as implying the law of tithes), in some quarters of the East the law of first-fruits was taken over at a very early period (see Didache 13). From the Didache it passed, as an apostolic regulation, into all the Oriental apostolic constitutions. Origen, however, does not appear to regard it yet as a law of the church, though even he admits the legitimacy of it (in Num. Hom. 11.1; in Jos. Nav. Hom. 17).

Three passages may be brought forward to show the general activities which were afoot.

In the official writing sent by the Roman to the Corinthian church c. 96 C.E., there is a description of the first-rate condition of the latter up till a short time previously (1 Clem. 1, 2), a description which furnishes the pattern of what a Christian church should be, and the approximate realization of this ideal at Corinth. "Who that had stayed with you did not approve your most virtuous and steadfast faith? Who did not admire your sober and forbearing Christian piety? Who did not pro­claim the splendid style of your hospitality? Who did not congratulate you on your perfect and assured knowledge? For you did everything without respect of persons; you walked by the ordinances of God, submitting to your rulers and rendering due honor to your senior men. Young persons also you charged to have a modest and grave mind; women you instructed to discharge all their tasks with a blameless, grave, and pure conscience, and to cherish a proper affection for their husbands, teaching them further to look after their households decorously, with perfect discretion. You were all lowly in mind, free from vainglory, yielding rather than claiming submission, more ready to give than to take; content with the supplies provided by God and holding by them, you carefully laid up His words in your hearts, and His sufferings were ever present to your minds. Thus a profound and unsullied peace was bestowed on all, with an insatiable craving for beneficence…..Day and night you agonized for all the brotherhood, that by means of compassion and care the number of God's elect might be saved. You were sincere, guileless, and void of malice among yourselves. Every sedition and every schism was an abomination to you. You lamented the transgressions of your neighbors and judged their shortcomings to be your own. You never rued an act of kindness, but were ready for every good work."

Then Justin concludes the description of Christian worship in his Apology (c. 67) thus: "Those who are well-to-do and [[153]] willing, give as they choose, each as he himself purposes; the collection is then deposited with the president, who succours orphans, widows, those who are in want owing to sickness or any other cause, those who are in prison, and strangers who are on a journey."

Finally, Tertullian (Apolog. 39) observes: "Even if there does exist a sort of common fund, it is not made up of fees, as though we contracted for our worship. Each of us puts in a small amount one day a month, or whenever he pleases; but only if he pleases and if he is able, for there is no compulsion in the matter, everyone contributing of his own free will. These monies are, as it were, the deposits of piety. They are expended upon no banquets or drinking-bouts or thankless eating-houses, but on feeding and burying poor people, on behalf of boys and girls who have neither parents nor money, in support of old folk unable now to go about, as well as for people who are shipwrecked, or who may be in the mines or exiled in islands or in prison -- so long as their distress is for the sake of God's fellowship -- themselves the nurslings of their confession."

In what follows we shall discuss, so far as may be relevant to our immediate purpose:--

1.      Alms in general, and their connection with the cultus and officials of the church.

2.      The support of teachers and officials.

3.      The support of widows and orphans.

4.      The support of the sick, the infirm, and the disabled.

5.      The care of prisoners and people languishing in the mines.

6.      The care of poor people needing burial, and of the dead in general.

7.      The care of slaves.

8.      The care of those visited by great calamities.

9.      The churches furnishing work, and insisting upon work.

10.  The care of brethren on a journey (hospitality), and of churches in poverty or any peril.

1. Alms in general and in connection with the cultus. -- Liberality was steadily enjoined upon Christians; indeed, the headquarters of this virtue were to lie within the household, and its proof was to be shown in daily life. From the apostolic counsels [[154]] down to Cyprian's great work de Opere et Eleemosynis, there stretches one long line of injunctions, in the course of which ever-increasing stress is laid upon the importance of alms to the religious position of the donor, and upon the prospect of a future recompense. These points are already prominent in Hermas, and in 2 Clem. we are told that “almsgiving is good as a repentance from sin; fasting is better than prayer, but almsgiving is better than either" (καλὸν ἐλεημοσύνη ὡς μετάνοια ἁμαρτίας· κρείσσων νηστεία προσευχῆς, ἐλεημοσύνη δὲ ἀμφοτέρων). Cyprian develops alms into a formal means of grace, the only one indeed which remains to a Christian after baptism;\7/ in fact he goes still further, representing alms as a spectacle which the Christian offers to God.\8/ [[155]]

\7/ De Op. et Eleem. 1: "Nam cum dominus adveniens sanasset illa quae Adam portaverat vulnera et venena serpentis antiqui curasset, legem dedit sano et pracepit ne ultra jam peccaret, ne quid peccanti gravius eveniret. Coartati eramus et in angustum innocentiae praescriptione conclusi, nec haberet quid fragilitatis humanae infirmitas atque imbecillitas faceret; nisi iterum pietas divina subveniens justitiae et misericordiae operibus ostensis viam quandam tuendae salutis aperiret ut sordes postmodum, quascumque contrahimus, eleemosynis abluamus ("For when the Lord had at his advent cured the wounds which Adam brought, and healed the poison of the old serpent, he gave a law to the sound man and bade him sin no more, lest a worse thing should befall the sinner. We were restrained and bound by the commandment of innocence. Nor would human weakness and impotence have any resource left to it, unless the divine mercy should once more come to our aid, by pointing out works of righteousness and mercy, and thus opening a way to obtain salvation, so that by means of alms we may wash off any stains subsequently contracted").

\8/ Op. cit., 21: "Quale munus cuius editio deo spectante celebratur! Si in gentilium munere grande et gloriosum videtur proconsules vel imperatores habere presentes, et apparatus ac sumptus apud munerarios maior est ut possint placere maioribus -- quanto inlustrior muneris et maior est gloria deum et Christum spectatores habere, quanto istic et apparatus uberior et sumptus largior exhibendus est, ubi ad spectaculum conveniunt caelorum virtutes, conveniunt angeli omnes, ubi munerario non quadriga vel consulatus petitur sed vita aeterna praestatur, nec captatur inanis et temporarius favor vulgi sed perpetuum praemium regni caelestis accipitur" ("What a gift is it which is set forth for praise in the sight of God! If, when the Gentiles offer gifts, it seems a great and glorious thing to have proconsuls or emperors present, and if their better classes make greater preparations and display in order to please the authorities -- how much more illustrious and splendid is the glory of having God and Christ as the spectators of a gift! How much more lavish should be the preparation, how much more liberal the outlay, in such a case, when the powers of heaven muster to the spectacle, when all the angels gather when the donor seeks no chariot or consulship, but life eternal is the boon; when no fleeting and fickle popularity is craved for, but the lasting reward of the kingdom of heaven is received!").

It is not our business to follow up this aspect of almsgiving, or to discuss the amount of injury thus inflicted on a practice which was meant to flow from a pure love to men. The point is that a great deal, a very great deal, of alms was given away privately throughout the Christian churches.\9/ As we have already seen, this was well known to the heathen world.\10/

\9/ The pagan in Macarius Magnes (3.5) declares that several Christian women had become beggars by their lavish donations. "Not in the far past, but only yesterday, Christians read Matt. 19.21 to prominent women and persuaded them to share all their possessions and goods among the poor, to reduce themselves to beggary, to ask charity, and then to sink from independence into unseemly pauperism, reducing themselves from their former good position to a woebegone con­dition, and being finally obliged to knock at the doors of those who were better off."

\10/ With Clement of Alexandria, the motive of love to men is steadily kept in the front rank; cp. Paed. 3, and in particular the fine saying in 3.7.39: Καθάπερ γὰρ τῶν φρεάτων ὅσα πέφυκεν βρύειν ἀπαντλούμενα εἰς τὸ ἀρχαῖον ἀναπιδύει μέτρον, οὕτως ἡ μετάδοσις ἀγαθὴ φιλανθρωπίας ὑπάρχουσα πηγή, κοινωνοῦσα τοῖς διψῶσι τοῦ ποτοῦ αὔξεται πάλιν καὶ πίμπλαται ("Even as such wells as spring up rise to their former level even after they have been drained, so that kindly spring of love to men, the bestowal of gifts, imparts its drink to the thirsty, and is again increased and replenished"). Cyprian (in de Unit. 26) complains of a lack of benevolence: "Largitas operationis infracta est. . . . nunc de patrimonio nec decimas damus et cum vendere jubeat dominus, emimus potius et augemus" ("Liberality in benevolence is impaired....we do not now give even the tithe of our patrimony away. The Lord bids us sell, but we prefer to buy and lay up").

But so far from being satisfied with private almsgiving, early Christianity instituted, apparently from the first, a church fund (Tertullian's arca), and associated charity very closely with the cultus and officials of the church.\11/ From the ample materials at our disposal, the following outline may be sketched: -- Every Sunday (cp. already 1 Cor. 16.2}, or once a month (Tertullian), [[156]] or whenever one chose, gifts in money or kind (stips) were brought to the service and entrusted to the president, by whom they were laid on the Lord's table and so consecrated to God.\12/ Hence the recipient obtained them from the hand of Gοd. "Tis God's grace and philanthropy that support you," wrote bishop Cornelius (Eus., H.E. 6.43). The president decided who were to be the recipients, and how much was to be allocated to each, a business in which he had the advice of the deacons, who were expected to be as familiar as possible with the circumstances of each member, and who had the further task of distributing the various donations, partly at the close of worship, partly in the homes of the indigent. In addition to regular voluntary assessments -- for, as the principle of liberty of choice was strictly maintained, we cannot otherwise describe these offerings -- there were also extraordinary gifts, such as the present of 200,000 sesterces brought by Marcion when, as a Christian from Asia, he entered the Roman church about the year 139.\13/

\11/ One recommendation very frequently made, was to stint oneself by means of fasting in order to give alms. In this way, even the poor could afford something. See Hermas [[[new #] Sim. 5; Aristides, Apol. 15 ("And if anyone among them is poor or needy, and they have no food to share, they fast for two or three days, that they may meet the poor man's need of sustenance"); Apost. Constit. 5.1, etc. The habit also prevailed in pre-Christian ages. Otherwise, whenever the question is raised, how alms are to be provided, one is pointed to work; in fact, this is almost the only point at which work is taken into consideration at all within the sphere of the religious estimate. See Eph. 4.28 ("Let him that stole, steal no more, but rather work with his hands at honest work, so that he may have something to give the needy"); and Barn. 19.10: διὰ τῶν χειρῶν σου ἐργάσῃ εἰς λύτρον ἁμαρτιῶν σου [the reference being to alms]. Cp. my short study (in the "Evangelisch-Sozial" Magazine, 1905, pp. 48 f.) on "The Primitive Christian Conception of the Worth of Labour."

\12/ The relation of stips and oblationes is a question which has not been cleared up yet, and need not be raised here.

\13/ See on this point Book 4, Chap. 1, (1). The money was returned.

Among these methods of maintenance we must also include the love-feasts, or agapae, with which the Lord's Supper was originally associated, but which persisted into a later age. The idea of the love-feast was that the poor got food and drink, since a common meal, to which each contributed as he was able, would unite rich and poor alike. Abuses naturally had to be corrected at an early stage (cp. 1 Cor. 11.18 f.), and the whole affair (which was hardly a copy of the pagan feasts at the Thiasoi) never seems to have acquired any particular importance upon the whole.\14/ [[157]]

\14/ Cp. also Jude ver. 12; Tert., Apol. 39; de Ieiun. 17; Clem., Paed. 2.1. We need not enter into the controversies over the agapae; cp. Keating's The Agape and the Eucharist (1901), Batiffol's  Études d'hist. et de théol. positive (1902), pp. 279 f., and Funk on "L'Agape" (Rev. d'hist. ecclésiastique 4.1 [1903]). In later days the feasts served to satisfy the poor at the graves of the martyrs. Constantine justified this practice of feasts in honor of the dead against objections which were apparently current; cp. his address to the council (12), where he dwells expressly on their charitable uses: τὰ συμπόσια (for the martyrs, at their graves) πρὸς ἔλεον καὶ ἀνάκτησιν τῶν δεομένων ποιούμενα καὶ πρὸς βοήθειαν τῶν ἐκπεσόντων. ἅπερ ἂν  τις φορτικὰ εἶναι νομίζῃ, οὐ κατὰ τὴν θείαν καὶ μακαρίαν διδασκαλίαν φρονεῖ ("These feasts are held for the purpose of helping and restoring the needy, and in aid of the outcast. Anyone who thinks them burdensome, does not judge them by the divine and blessed rule of life").

From the very first, the president appears to have had practically an absolute control over the donations; but the deacons had also to handle them as executive agents.\15/ The responsibility was heavy, as was the temptation to avarice and dishonesty; hence the repeated counsel, that bishops (and deacons) were to be ἀφιλάργυροι, "no lovers of money." It was not until a later age that certain principles came to be laid down with regard to the distribution of donations as a whole, from which no divergence was permissible.

\15/ On the traces of an exception to this rule in the Apostolic Constitutions, see Texte. u. Untersuch. 2.5, pp. 12 f., 58.

This system of organized charity in the churches worked side by side with private benevolence -- as is quite evident from the letters and writings of Cyprian. But it was inevitable that the former should gradually handicap the latter, since it wore a superior lustre of religious sacredness, and therefore, people were convinced, was more acceptable to God. Yet, in special cases, private liberality was still appealed to. One splendid instance is cited by Cyprian (Epist. 62), who describes how the Carthaginian churches speedily raised 100,000 sesterces (between £850 and £1000).\16/

\16/ For special collections ordered by the bishop, see Tertull., de Jejun. 13, and Clem., Hom. 3.71.5: 
ὁπότε χρεία τινὸς πόρου πρός τι ἀναγκαῖον γένοιτο, ἅμα οἱ πάντες συμβάλλεσθε ("Whenever any funds are needed, club together, all of you").

In 250 C.E. the Roman church had to support about 100 clergy and 1500 poor persons. Taking the yearly cost of supporting one man at £7, 10s. (which was approximately the upkeep of one slave), we get an annual sum of £12,000. If, however (like Uhlhorn, op. cit., p. 153; Eng. trans., p. 159), we allow sixty Roman bushels of wheat per head a year at 7s. 6d., we get a total of about £4300. It is safe to say, then, that about 250 C.E. the Roman church had to expend from half a million to a million sesterces (i.e., from £5000 to £10,000) by way of relief.

The demands made upon the church funds were heavy, as will appear in the course of the following classification and discussion. [[158]]

2. The support of teachers and officials. -- The Pauline principle that the rule about a "laborer being worthy of his hire" applied also to missionaries and teachers, was observed without break or hesitation throughout the Christian churches.\17/ The conclusion drawn was that teachers could lay claim to a plain livelihood, and that this claim must always have precedence of any other demand upon the funds. When a church had chosen permanent officials for itself, these also assumed the right of being allowed to claim a livelihood, but only so far as their official duties made inroads upon their civil occupations.\18/ Here, too, the bishop had discretionary power; he could [[159]] appropriate and hand over to the presbyters and deacons whatever he thought suitable and fair, but he was bound to provide the teachers (i.e., missionaries and prophets) with enough to live on day by day. Obviously, this could not fail to give rise to abuses. From the Didache and Lucian we learn that such abuses did arise, and that privileges were misemployed.\19/

\17/ Paul even describes the principle as a direction of Jesus himself; see 1 Cor. 9.14: ὁ κύριος διέταξεν τοῖς τὸ εὐαγγέλιον καταγγέλλουσιν ἐκ τοῦ εὐαγγελίου ζῆν.

\18/ The circumstances are not quite clear; still, enough is visible to corroborate what has been said above. Church officials were not, in the first instance, obliged to abandon their civil calling, and so far as that provided then with a livelihood they had no claim on the church’s funds. But in the course of time it became more and more difficult, in the larger churches, to combine civil employment with ecclesiastical office. There is one very instructive account in the Clementine homilies (3.71.1-5) which indicates that some people were skeptical upon the duty of supporting the bishop and clergy. The author writes: Ζακχαῖος [the bishop] μόνος ὑμῖν ὅλος ἑαυτὸν ἀσχολεῖν ἀποδεδωκώς, κοιλίαν ἔχων καὶ ἑαυτῷ μὴ εὐσχολῶν, πῶς δύναται τὴν ἀναγκαίαν πορίζειν τροφήν; (2.) οὐχὶ δὲ εὔλογόν ἐστιν πάντας ὑμᾶς τοῦ ζῆν αὐτοῦ πρόνοιαν ποιεῖν, οὐκ ἀναμένοντας αὐτὸν ὑμᾶς αἰτεῖν; τοῦτο γὰρ προσαιτοῦντός ἐστιν· μᾶλλον δὲ τεθνήξεται λιμῷ ἢ τοῦτο ποιεῖν ὑποσταίη. (3.) πῶς δὴ καὶ ὑμεῖς οὐ δίκην ὑφέξετε, μὴ λογισάμενοι ὅτι «ἄξιός ἐστιν ὁ ἐργάτης τοῦ μισθοῦ αὐτοῦ»; καὶ μὴ λεγέτω τις· Οὐκοῦν ὁ δωρεὰν παρασχεθεὶς λόγος πωλεῖται; μὴ γένοιτο. (4.) εἴ τις γὰρ ἔχων πόθεν ζῆν λάβοι, οὗτος πωλεῖ τὸν λόγον, εἰ δὲ μὴ ἔχων τοῦ ζῆν χάριν λαμβάνει τροφήν, ὡς καὶ ὁ κύριος ἔλαβεν ἔν τε δείπνοις καὶ φίλοις, (5.) οὐδὲν ἔχων ὁ εἰς αὖθις πάντα ἔχων, οὐχ ἁμαρτάνει. ἀκολούθως οὖν τιμᾶτε πρεσβυτέρους, κατηχητάς, διακόνους χρησίμους, χήρας εὖ βεβιωκυίας, ὀρφανοὺς ὡς ἐκκλησίας τέκνα ("Zacchaeus alone has devoted himself wholly to your interests; he needs food, and yet has no time to provide for himself; how then is he to get the requisitive provisions for a livelihood? Is it not reasonable that you should all provide for his support? Do not wait for him to ask you -- asking is a beggar’s role, and he would rather die than stoop to that. Shall not you also incur punishment for failing to consider that 'the labourer is worthy of his hire'? Let no one say, `Then is the word which was given freely, to be sold?' God forbid. If any man has means and yet accepts any help, he sells the word. But there is no sin in a man without means accepting support in order to live -- as the Lord also accepted gifts at supper and among his friends, he who had nothing though he was the Lord of all things. Honor, then, in appropriate fashion the elder catechists, useful deacons, respectable widows, and orphans as children of the church"). A fixed monthly salary, such as that assigned by the church of Theodotus to her bishop Natalis, was felt to be obnoxious. (Cp. the primitive story in Eus., H.E. 5.28).

\19/ Details will be found below, in the chapter on the mission-agents [Book 3, Chap. 1].

3. The support of widows and orphans.\20/  -- Wherever the early Christian records mention poor persons who require support, widows and orphans are invariably in the foreground. This corresponds, on the one hand, with the special distress of their position in the ancient world, and on the other hand with the ethical injunctions which had passed over into Christianity from Judaism. As it was, widows and orphans formed the poor κατ' ἐξοχήν [[[ετ]. The church had them always with her. "The Roman church," wrote bishop Cornelius, "supports 1500 widows and poor persons" (Eus., H.E. 6.43). Only widows, we note, are mentioned side by side with the general category of recipients of relief. Inside the churches, widows had a special title of honor, viz., "God's altar," and even Lucian the pagan was aware that Christians attended first and foremost to orphans and to widows (Peregrin. 12).\21/ The true worship, James had already urged (1.27), is to visit widows and orphans in their distress, and Hermas 38.10 (Mand. 8.10) opens his catalogue of virtues with the words: χήραις ὑπηρετεῖν, ὀρφανοὺς καὶ ὑστερουμένους ἐπισκέπτεσθαι  ("to serve widows and visit the forlorn and orphans").\22/  It is beyond question that the early [[160]] church made an important contribution to the amelioration of social conditions among the lower classes, by her support of widows.\23/ We need not dwell on the fact, illustrated as early as the epistles to Timothy, that abuses crept into this depart­ment. Such abuses are constantly liable to occur wherever human beings are relieved, in whole or in part, of the duty of caring for themselves.\24/

\20/ In the liturgy, widows and orphans are also placed immediately after the servants of the church.

\21/ See Polycarp, ad Phil. 4; Tert., ad Uxor. 1.7; pseudo-Ignat., Tars. 9; and Apos. Constit. 2.26 (where the term is applied also to orphans; cp. 4.3). I shall not discuss the institution of Widows, already visible in the first epistle to Timothy, which also tended to promote their interests. The special attention devoted to widows was also meant to check the undesirable step of remarriage.

\22/ In Vis. 2.4.3, it is remarkable also how prominent are widows and orphans. See Aristides, Apol. 15: "They do not avert their attention from widows, and they deliver orphans from anyone who oppresses them." Instances of orphans being adopted into private families are not wanting. Origen, for example, was adopted by a Christian woman (Eus., H.E. 6.2); cp. Acta Perpet. et Felic. 15; Apost. Const. 4.1. Lactantius (Instit. 6.12) adduces yet another [[160b]] special argument for the duty of supporting widows and orphans: "God commands them to be cared for, in order that no one may be hindered from going to his death for righteousness' sake on the plea of regard for his dear children, but that he may promptly and boldly encounter death, knowing that his beloved ones are left in God's care and will never lack protection."

\23/ See, further, Herm., [[[##]Simil. 1. 5.3, 9.26-27, 10.4; Polyc., Epist. 6.1; Barn. 20.2; Ignat., Smyrn. 6.2 (a propos of heretics: "They care not for love, or for the widow, or for the orphan, or for the afflicted, or for the prisoner or ransomed, or for the hungry or thirsty" -- Περὶ ἀγάπης οὐ μέλει αὐτοῖς, οὐ περὶ χήρας, οὐ περὶ ὀρφανοῦ, οὐ περὶ θλιβομένου, οὐ περὶ δεδεμένου ἢ λελυμένου, οὐ περὶ πεινῶντος ἢ διψῶντος), ad Polyc. 4; Justin's Apol. 1.67; Clem., Ep. ad Jacob. 8.5  (τοῖς μὲν ὀρφανοῖς ποιοῦντες τὰ γονέων, ταῖς δὲ χήραις τὰ ἀνδρῶν, "acting the part of parents to orphans and of husbands to widows"); Tert., ad Uxor. 1.7-8; Apost. Constit. (Bks. 3, 4); and pseudo-Clem., de Virgin. 1.12 ("pulchrum et utle est visitare pupillos et viduas, imprimis pauperes qui multos habent liberos"). For the indignation roused by the heartlessness of any pagan ladies, who were abandoned to luxury, read the caustic remark of Clement (Paedag. 3.4.30): 
παιδίον δὲ οὐδὲ προσίενται ὀρφανὸν αἱ τοὺς ψιττακοὺς καὶ τοὺς χαραδριοὺς ἐκτρέφουσαι ("They bring up parrots and curlews, but will not take in the orphan child").

\24/ Scandalmongering, avarice, drunkenness, and arrogance had all to be dealt with in the case of widows who were being maintained by the church. It even happened that some widows put out to usury the funds they had thus received (cp. Didasc. Apost. 15; Texte u. Unters. 25.2. pp. 78, 274 f.) But there were also highly gifted widows. In fact (cp. Apost. Constit.), it was considered that true widows who persevered in prayer received revelations.

4. The support of the sick, the infirm, the poor, and the disabled. -- Mention has already been made of the cure of sick people; but where a cure was impossible the church was bound to support the patient by consolation (for they were remembered in the prayers of the church from the very first; cp. 1 Clem. 59.4), visitation, and charitable gifts (usually in kind).\25/ Next to the sick came those in trouble (ἐν θλίψει) and people sick in soul (κάμνοντες τῇ ψυχῇ,  Herm. 38.10  [Mand. 8.10]) as a rule, [[161]] then the helpless and disabled (Tertullian singles out expressly senes domestici), finally the poor in general. To quote passages would be superfluous, for the duty is repeatedly inculcated; besides, concrete examples are fairly plentiful, although our records only mention such cases incidentally and quite accidentally.\26/  Deacons, "widows," and deaconesses (though the last-named were apparently confined to the East) were set apart for this work. It is said of deacons in the Apostolic Constitutions (see Texte u. Unters. 2.5.8 f.): “They are to be doers of good works, exercising a general supervision day and night, neither scorning the poor nor respecting the person of the rich; they must ascertain who are in distress and not exclude them from a share in the church funds, compelling also the well-to-do, to put money aside for good works." Of “widows" it is remarked, in the same passage, that they should render aid to women afflicted by disease, and the trait of</g> fdhfncgejkxk</g> (a lover of the poor) is expected among the other qualities of a bishop.\27/  In an old legend dating from the Decian persecution, there is a story of the deacon Laurentius in Rome, who, when desired to hand over the treasures of the church, indicated the poor as its only treasures. This was audacious, but it was not incorrect; from the very first, any possessions of the church were steadily characterized as poor funds; and this remained true during the early centuries.\28/ The excellence of the church’s charitable system, the deep impression made by it, and the numbers that it won over to the faith, find their best voucher in the action of Julian the Apostate, who attempted an exact reproduction of it in that artificial creation [[162]] of his, the pagan State-church, in order to deprive the Christians of this very weapon. The imitation, of course, had no success.\29/

\25/ See Tert., ad Uxor. 2.4, on the difficult position of a Christian woman whose husband was a pagan: "Who would be willing to let his wife go through street after street to other men's houses, and indeed to the poorest cottages, in order to visit the brethren?"

\26/ Naturally, nether private nor, for the matter of that, church charity was to step in where a family was able to support some helpless member; but it is evident, from the sharp remonstrance in 1 Tim. 5.8, that there were attempts made to evade this duty ("If anyone does got provide for his own people, and especially for his own household, he has renounced the faith and is worse than an infidel").
\27/ Apost. Constit., in Texte u. Unters. 2.5.8 f.. In the Vita Polycarps (Pionius) traits of this bishop are described which remind us of St Francis. On the female diaconate, see Uhlhorn (op. cit., 159-171; Eng. trans., 165 f.).

\28/ It was not possible, of course, to relieve all distress, and Tertullian (de Idolat. 23) mentions Christians who had to borrow money from pagans. This does not seem to have been quite a rare occurrence.

\29/ We may certainly conclude that a register was kept of those who bad to be maintained. This very fact, however, was a moral support to poor people, for it made them sure that they were not being neglected.

Julian attests not only the excellence of the church's system of relief, but its extension to non-Christians. He wrote to Arsacius (Sozom. 5.16): “These godless Galileans feed not only their own poor but ours; our poor lack our care.” This testimony is all the more weighty inasmuch as our Christian sources yield no satisfactory data on this point. Cp., however, under (8), and Paul's injunction in Gal. 6.10: "Let us do good to all, especially to those who belong to the household of the faith." "True charity," says Tertullian (Apol. 42), "disburses more money in the streets than your religion in the temples." The church-funds were indeed for the use of the brethren alone, but private beneficence did not restrict itself to the household of faith. In a great calamity, as we learn from reliable evidence (see below), Christians did extend their aid to non-Christians, even exciting the admiration of the latter.

5. Care for prisoners and for people languishing in the mines.­ -- The third point in the catalogue of virtues given by Hermas (38.10) is: ἐξ ἀναγκῶν λυτροῦσθαι τοὺς δούλους τοῦ θεοῦ ("Redeem the servants of God from their bonds"). Prisoners might be innocent for various reasons, but above all there were people incarcerated for their faith or imprisoned for debt, and both classes had to be reached by charity. In the first instance, they had to be visited and consoled, and their plight alleviated by gifts of food.\30/ Visiting prisoners was the regular work of [[163]] the deacons, who had thus to run frequent risks; but ordinary Christians were also expected to discharge this duty. If the prisoners had been arrested for their faith, and if they were rather distinguished teachers, there was no hardship in obeying the command; in fact, many moved heaven and earth to get access to prisoners, since it was considered that there was something sanctifying about intercourse with a confessor.\31/ In order to gain admission they would even go the length of bribing the gaolers, and thus manage to smuggle in decent meals and crave a blessing from the saints.\32/ The records of the martyrs are full of such tales. Even Lucian knew of the practice, and pointed out the improprieties to which it gave rise. Christian records, particularly those of a later date, corroborate this, and as early as the Montanist controversy it was a burning question whether or no any prominent confessor was really an impostor, if, after being imprisoned for misdemeanors, he made out as if he had been imprisoned on account of the Christian faith.\33/ Such abuses, however, were inevitable, and upon the whole their number was not large. The keepers, secretly impressed by the behavior of the Christians, often consented of their own accord to let them communicate with their friends (Acta Perpet. 9: "Pudens miles optio, praepositus carceris, nos magnificare coepit, intelligens magnam virtutem esse in nobis; qui multos ad nos admittebat, [[164]] ut et nos et illi invicem refrigeraremus" ("Pudens, a military subordinate in charge of the prison, began to have a high opinion of us, since he recognized there was some great power of God in us. He let many people in to see us, that we and they might refresh one another").

\30/ Heb. 10.34, τοῖς δεσμίοις συνεπαθήσατε; Clem. Rom. 59.4 (in the church's prayer), λύτρωσαι τοὺς δεσμίους ἡμῶν; Ignat., Smyrn. 6.2 (the duty of caring περὶ δεδεμένου ἢ λελυμένου); Clem., Ep. ad Jacob. 9.4 (τοῖς ἐν φυλακαῖς ἐπιφαινόμενοι ὡς δύνασθε βοηθεῖτε); Arist., Apol. 15. ("And if they hear that anyone of their number is imprisoned or in distress for the sake of their Christ's name, they all render aid in his necessity, and if he can be redeemed, they set him free"). Of the young Origen we are told (Eus., H.E. 6.3) that "not only was he at the side of the holy martyrs in their imprisonment, and until their final condemnation, but when they were led to death he boldly accompanied them into danger." Cp. Tert., ad Mart. 1 f. (both the church and charitable individuals supplied prisoners with food), Acta Pass. Perpet. 3; Petri Alex., Ep. c. 2 (Lagarde's Reliq. jur. eccles., p. 64, 14 f.), c. 11 (ibid., p. 70, 1 f.), c. 12 (ibid., p. 70, 20 f.).

\31/ Thekla, in the Acta Theclae, is one instance, and there are many others; e.g., in Tertull., ad Uxor. 2.4.

\32/ As in Thekla's case; see also Lucian's Peregr. 12, and the Epist. Lugd., in Euseb., H.E. 5.1.61.

\33/ Cp. Lucian, Peregr. 12, 13, 16 ("costly meals"). Tertullian, at the close of his life, when he was filled with bitter hatred towards the Catholic church, wrote thus in de Jejun. 12: "Plainly it is your way to furnish restaurants for dubious martyrs in the gaols, lest they miss their wonted fare and so grow weary of their life, taking umbrage at the novel discipline of abstinence! One of your recent martyrs (no Christian he!) was by no means reduced to this hard regime. For after you had stuffed him during a considerable period, availing yourselves of the facilities of free custody, and after he had disported himself in all sorts of baths (as if these were better than the bath of baptism), and in all resorts of pleasure in high life (as if these were the secret retreats of the church), and with all the seductive pursuits of such a life (preferable, forsooth, to life eternal) -- and all this, I believe, just in order to prevent any craving for death -- then on the last day, the day of his trial, you gave him in broad daylight some medicated wine (in order to stupefy him against the torture)!"

If any Christian brethren were sentenced to the mines, they were still looked after, even there.\34/ Their names were carefully noted; attempts were made to keep in touch with them; efforts were concocted to procure their release,\35/ and brethren were sent to ease their lot, to edify and to encourage them.\36/ The care shown by Christians for prisoners was so notorious that (according to Eusebius, H.E. 5.8) Licinius, the last emperor before Constantine who persecuted the Christians, passed a law to the effect that “no one was to show kindness to sufferers in prison by supplying them with food, and that no one was to show mercy to those who were starving in prison.” "In addition to this," Eusebius proceeds to relate, “a penalty was attached, to the effect that those who showed compassion were to share the fate of the objects of their charity, and that those who were humane to the unfortunate were to be flung into bonds and imprisonment and endure the same suffering as the others." This law, which was directly aimed at Christians, shows, more clearly than anything else could do, the care lavished by Christians upon their captive brethren, although much may have crept in connection with this which the State could not tolerate. [[165]]

\34/ Cp. Dionysius of Corinth (in Eus., H.E. 4.23), who pays a brilliant testi­mony to the Roman church in this connection.

\35/ Cp. the story told by Hippolytus (Ref. [Philos.] 9.12) of the Roman bishop Victor, who kept a list of all Christians sentenced to the mines in Sardinia, and actually procured their liberty through the intercession of Marcia to the Emperor Commodus.

\36/ Some extremely beautiful examples of this occur in the treatise of Eusebius upon the Palestinian martyrs during the Diocletian persecution. The Christians of Egypt went to the most remote mines, even to Cilicia, to encourage and edify their brethren who were condemned to hard labor in these places. In the mines at Phaeno a regular church was organized. Cp. also Apost. Constit. 5.1: Εἴ τις χριστιανὸς διὰ τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ Χριστοῦ καὶ τὴν εἰς τὸν Θεὸν πίστιν καὶ ἀγάπην κατακριθῇ ὑπὸ ἀσεβῶν εἰς λοῦδον ἢ θηρία ἢ μέταλλον, μὴ παρίδητε αὐτόν, ἀλλ’ ἐκ τοῦ κόπου καὶ ἐκ τοῦ ἱδρῶτος ὑμῶν πέμψατε αὐτῷ εἰς διατροφὴν αὐτοῦ καὶ εἰς μισθαποδοσίαν τῶν στρατιωτῶν ("If any Christian is condemned for Christ's sake…to the mines by the ungodly, do not over­look him, but from the proceeds of your toil and sweat send him something to support himself and to reward the soldiers").

But they did more than try to merely alleviate the lot of prisoners. Their aim was to get them ransomed. Instances of this cannot have been altogether rare, but unfortunately it is difficult for us to form any judgment on this matter, since in a number of instances, when a ransom is spoken of, we cannot be sure whether prisoners or slaves are meant. Ransoming captives, at any rate, was regarded as a work which was specially noble and well-pleasing to God, but it never appears to have been undertaken by any church. To the last it remained a monopoly of private generosity and along this line individuals displayed a spirit of real heroism.\37/

\37/ Herm. 50.7 (Sim. 1): ἀντὶ ἀγρῶν οὖν ἀγοράζετε ψυχὰς θλιβομένας, καθά τις δυνατός ἐστιν ("Instead of fields buy souls in trouble, as each of you is able"); Sim. 10.5.2 f.; Clem. Rom. 55.2:  ᾿Επιστάμεθα πολλοὺς ἐν ἡμῖν παραδεδωκότας ἑαυτοὺς εἰς δεσμά, ὅπως ἑτέρους λυτρώσονται· πολλοὶ ἑαυτοὺς παρέδωκαν εἰς δουλείαν καὶ λαβόντες τὰς τιμὰς αὐτῶν ἑτέρους ἐψώμισαν ("We know that many of our own number have given themselves up to be captives, in order to ransom others; many have sold themselves to slavery, and with the price of their own bodies they have fed others"); Apost. Constit. 4.9: ᾿Εκ τοῦ δικαίου οὖν κόπου τῶν πιστῶν τρέφετε καὶ ἀμφιέννυτε τοὺς ὑστερουμένους, καὶ τὰ ἐξ αὐτῶν, ὡς προειρήκαμεν, ἀθροιζόμενα χρήματα διατάσσετε διακονοῦντες εἰς τοὺς ἀγορασμοὺς τῶν ἁγίων, ῥυόμενοι δούλους, αἰχμαλώτους, δεσμίους, ἐπηρεαζομένους, ἥκοντας ἐκ καταδίκης διὰ τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ Χριστοῦ ὑπὸ τυράννων εἰς μονομαχίαν καὶ  θάνατον ("All monies accruing  from honest labor . . . do ye appoint and apportion to the redeeming of the saints, ransoming thereby slaves and captives, prisoners, people who are sore abused or condemned by tyrants," etc.), cp. 5.1-2. In Idolol. 23, Tertullian refers to release from imprisonment for debt, or to the efforts made by charitable brethren to prevent such imprisonment. When the Numidian robbers carried off the local Christians, the Carthaginian church soon gathered the sum of 100,000 sesterces as ransom-money, and declared it was ready to give still ampler aid (Cypr., Ep. 62). When the Goths captured the Christians in Cappadocia about the year 255, the Roman church sent contributions in aid of their ransom (Basil., Ep. ad Dam. 70). See below (10) for both of these cases. The ransoming of captives continued even in later days to be reckoned a work of special merit. Le Blant has published a number of Gallic inscriptions dating from the fourth and fifth centuries, in which the dead person is commended because "he ransomed prisoners."

6. Care of poor people requiring burial, and of the dead in general. -- We may begin here with the words of Julian, in his letter to Arsacius (Soz. 5.15): “This godlessness (i.e., Chris­tianity) is mainly furthered by its philanthropy towards strangers and its careful attention to the bestowal of the dead." Ter­tullian declares (see p. 153) that the burial of poor brethren was performed at the expense of the common fund, and Aristides (Apol. 15) corroborates this, although with him it takes the form of private charity. “Whenever," says Aristides, [[166]] “one of their poor passes from the world, one of them looks after him and sees to his burial, according to his means." We know the great importance attached to an honorable burial in those days, and the pain felt at the prospect of having to forego this privilege. In this respect the Christian church was meeting a sentiment which even its opponents felt to be a human duty. Christians, no doubt, were expected to feel themselves superior to any earthly ignominy, but even they felt it was a ghastly thing not to be buried decently. The deacons were specially charged with the task of seeing that everyone was properly interred (Const. Ap. 3.7), and in certain cases they did not restrict themselves to the limits of the brotherhood.\38/ “We cannot bear," says Lactantius (Instit. 6.12), "that the image and workmanship of God should be exposed as a prey to wild beasts and birds, but we restore it to the earth from which it was taken,\39/ and do this office of relatives even to the body of a [[167]] person whom we do not know, since in their room humanity must step in."\40/ At this point also we must include the care of the dead after burial. These were still regarded in part as destitute and fit to be supported. Oblations were presented in their name and for the welfare of their souls, which served as actual intercessions on their behalf. This primitive custom was undoubtedly of immense significance to the living; it comforted many an anxious relative, and added greatly to the attractive power of Christianity.\41/

\38/ A certain degree of luxury was even allowed to Christians; cp. Tertull., Apol. 42: "If the Arabians complain of us [for giving them no custom], let the Sabeans be sure that the richer and more expensive of their wares are used as largely in burying Christians as in fumigating the gods.'' Another element in a proper burial was that a person should lie among his companions in the faith. Anyone who buried his people beside non-Christians needlessly incurred severe blame. Yet about the middle of the third century we find a Spanish bishop burying his children among the heathen; cp. Cyprian, Ep. 67.6: "Martialis [episcopus] praeter gentiliam turpia et lutulenta conviva in collegio diu frequentata filios in eoden collegio exterarum gentium more apud profana sepulcra deposuit et alienigenis consepelivit" ("Martialis himself frequented for long the shameful and filthy banquets of the heathen in their college, and placed his sons in the same college, after the custom of foreign nations, amid profane sepulchres, burying them along with strangers"). Christian graves have been found now and then in Jewish cemeteries.

\39/ Christians were therefore opposed to cremation, and tried to gather even the fragments of their brethren who had been martyred in the flames. The belief of the "simplices" about the resurrection of the body wavered a little in view of the burning of the body, but the theologians always silenced any doubts, though even they held that burning was a piece of wickedness. Cp. Epist. Lugd. (Eus., H.E. 5.1, towards the close; Tert., de Anima 51: "Nec ignibus funerandum aiunt (i.e., some pagans), parcentes superfluo animae (i.e., because particles of the soul still clung to the body). Alia est autem ratio pietatis istius (i.e., of Christianity), non reliquiis animae adulatrix, sed crudelitatis etiam corporis nomine aversatrix, quod et ipsum homo non mereatur poenali exitu impendi"; Tert., de Resurr. 1: "Ego magis ridebo vulgus, tum quoque, cum ipsos defunctos atrocissime exurit, quos postmodum gulisossime nutrit. . . . O pietatem de crudelitate ludentem!" ("I have greater derision for the crowd, particularly when it inhumanely burns its [[167b]] dead, only to pamper them afterwards with luxurious indulgence.....Out upon the piety which mocks its victims with cruelty!"). The reasons which seem to have led Christians from the first to repudiate cremation have not been preserved. We can only surmise what they were. [[[Judaism??]

\40/ The question of the relation between the churches and the collegia tenuiorum (collegia funeraticia [[[ET?]) may be left aside. Besides, during the past decade it has passed more and more out of notice. No real light has been thrown by such guilds upon the position of the churches, however convincing may be the inference that the rights obtained by these collegia may have been for a time available to Christians as well. Cp. Neumann, Rom. Staat und Kirche, 1.102 f.

\41/ Tertullian is our first witness for this custom. It did not spring up indepen­dently of pagan influence, though it may have at least one root within the Christian cultus itself. Tertullian attacked the common pagan feasts of the dead and the custom of bringing food to the graves; but this rooted itself as early as the third century, and was never dislodged.

7. Care for slaves. -- It is a mistake to suppose that any “slave question" occupied the early church. The primitive Christians looked on slavery with neither a more friendly nor a more hostile eye than they did upon the State and legal ties.\42/ They never dreamt of working for the abolition of the State, nor did it ever occur to them to abolish slavery for humane or other reasons ­not even amongst themselves. The New Testament epistles already assume that Christian masters have slaves (not merely that pagan masters have Christian slaves), and they give no directions for any change in this relationship. On the contrary, slaves are earnestly admonished to be faithful and obedient.\43/ [[168]]

\42/ The Didache (4.11) even bids slaves obey their (Christian) masters ὡς τύπῳ θεοῦ ("as a type of God").

\43/ The passages in Paul's epistles are well known; see also 1 Peter. In his letter to Philemon, Paul neither expects nor asks the release of the slave Onesimus. The only possible sense of 1 Cor. 7.20 f. (ἕκαστος ἐν τῇ κλήσει ᾗ ἐκλήθη ἐν ταύτῃ μενέτω. (21.) δοῦλος ἐκλήθης; μή σοι μελέτω· ἀλλ’ εἰ καὶ δύνασαι ἐλεύθερος γενέσθαι, μᾶλλον χρῆσαι) is that the apostle counsels slaves not even to avail themselves of the chance of freedom. Any alteration of their position would [[169b]] divert their minds to the things of earth [[[away from urgency of end-times!] -- such seems to be the writer’s meaning. It is far from certain whether we may infer from this passage that Christian slaves begged from Christian masters the chance of freedom more often than their pagan fellows. Christian slave-owners often appear in the literature of the second and third centuries. Cp. Athenag., Suppl. 35; Acta Perpetuae; etc.

Still, it would not be true to assert that primitive Christianity was indifferent to slaves and their condition. On the contrary, the church did turn her attention to them, and effected some change in their condition. This follows from such considerations as these:­ --

(a) Converted slaves, male or female, were regarded in the full sense of the term as brothers and sisters from the standpoint of religion. Compared to this, their position in the world was reckoned a matter of indifference.\44/

\44/ Paul is followed on this point by others; e.g., Tatian, Orat. 11; Tertull., de Corona 13; and Lactantius, Instit. 5.16, where, in reply to the opponents who cry out, "You too have masters and slaves! Where then is your so-called equality?" the answer is given, "Alfa causa nulls est cur nobis invicen fratrun nme imetianus isi qia pares else ns credmus. Nan cum omnia humans non corpore sed spiritu metianuc, tametsi corporum sit diversa condicio, noUis tamen serer non soot, sed eos et haUemus et dicmus situ fratres, rehgone con­servos" ("Our sole reason for giving one another the name of brother is because we believe we are equals. For since all human objects are measured by us after the spirit and not after the body, although there is a diversity of condition among human bodies, yet slaves are not slaves to us; we deem and term them brothers after the spirit and fellow-servants in religion"). De Rossi (Boll. di Arch. Christ. 1866, p. 24) remarks on the fact that the title "slave" never occurs in the sepulchral inscriptions of Christianity. [[[update!] Whether this is accidental or intentional, is a question which I must leave undecided. On the duty of Christian masters to instruct their slaves in Christianity, cp. Arist., Apol. 15: "Slaves, male and female, are instructed so that they become Christians, on account of the love felt for them by their masters; and when this takes place, they call them brethren without any distinction whatsoever."

(b) They shared the rights of church members to the fullest extent. Slaves could even become clergymen, and in fact bishops.\45/

\45/ The Roman presbyter or Bishop, Pius, the brother of Hermas, must have belonged to the class of slaves. Callistus, the Roman bishop, was originally a slave. Cp. the eightieth canon of Elvira: "Prohibendum ut liberti, quorum patroni in saeculo fuerint, ad clerum non promoveantur" ("It is forbidden to hinder freemen from being advanced to the rank of clergy, whose owners may be still alive").  

(c) As personalities (in the moral sense) they were to be just as highly esteemed as freemen. The sex of female slaves had to be respected, nor was their modesty to be outraged. [[169]] The same virtues were expected from slaves as from freemen, and consequently their virtues earned the same honor.\46/

\46/ Ample material on this point is to be found in the Acts of the Martyrs. Reference may be made in especial to Blandina, the Lyons martyr, and to Felicitas in the Acts of Perpetua. Not a few slaves rank among "the holy martyrs" of the church. Unless it had been set down, who would imagine that Blandina was a slave -- Blandina, who is held in high honor by the church, and whose character has such noble traits? In Euseb., Mart. Pal. (Texte u Unters. 24.2. p. 78), we read: "Porphyry passed for a slave of Pamphilus, but in love to God and in amazing confession of his faith he was a brother, nay more, a be­loved son, to Pamphilus, and was like his teacher in all things." -- Cp., however, the penitential ordinance appointed for those astute Christian masters who had forced their Christian slaves to offer sacrifice during the Diocletian persecution (canons 6 and 7 of Peter Alex., in Routh's Reliq. Sacr. 4.29 f.). The masters are to do penance for three years καὶ ὡς ὐποκρινάμενοι καὶ ὡς καταναγκάσαντες τοὺς ὁμοδούλους θῦσαι, ἅτε δὴ παρακούσαντες τοῦ ἀποστόλου, τὰ αὐτὰ θέλοντος ποιεῖν τοὺς δεσπότας τοῖς δούλοις, ἀνιέντας τὴν ἀπειλήν· εἰδότες, φησίν, ὅτι καὶ ἡμῶν καὶ αὐτῶν ὁ κύριός ἐστιν ἐν οὐρανοῖς καὶ προσωποληψία παρ’ αὐτῷ οὐκ ἔστιν (Eph. 6.9; then follows Col. 3.11) . . . σκοπεῖν ὀφείλουσιν ὃ κατειργάσαντο, θελήσαντες τὴν ψυχὴν ἑαυτῶν σῶσαι, οἱ τοὺς συνδούλους ἡμῶν ἑλκύσαντες ἐπὶ εἰδωλολατρείαν, δυναμένους καὶ αὐτοὺς ἐκφυγεῖν, εἰ  τὸ δίκαιον καὶ τὴν ἰσότητα ἦσαν αὐτοῖς παρασχόντες, ὡς πάλιν ὁ ἀπόστολος λέγει (Col. 4.1) ("for having played the hypocrite and for having compelled their fellow-servants to sacrifice -- in dis­obedience to the apostle, who enjoins masters and servants to do the same things, and to forbear threatening, knowing, saith he, that you and they have a Lord in heaven, with whom there is no respect of persons. . . . They ought to consider this compulsion of theirs, due to their desire to save their own lives, by which they drag our fellow-servants into idolatry, when they could themselves avoid it -- ­that is, if masters treated them justly and equitably, as the apostle once more observes"). Only a single year's penance was imposed on slaves thus seduced. Tertullian, on the contrary (de Idol. 17), shows that the same courage and loyalty was expected from Christian slaves and freedom as from the highly born. The former were not to hand the wine or join in any formula when they attended their pagan lords at sacrifice. Otherwise they were guilty of idolatry. For attempts on the part of pagan masters to seduce their slaves from the faith, cp. Acta Pionii 9, etc.  

(d) Masters and mistresses were strictly charged to treat all their slaves humanely,\47/ but, on the other hand, to remember that [[170]] Christian slaves were their own brethren.\48/ Christian slaves, for their part, were told not to disdain their Christian masters, i.e., they were not to regard themselves as their equals.\49/

\47/ A beautiful instance of the esteem and position enjoyed by a Christian female slave in a Christian home, is afforded by Augustine in his description of the old domestic ("famula decrepita") belonging to his maternal grandfather's house, who had nursed his grandfather as a child (“sicut doso gandiuscularum puellarum pawuli portr solent"=as little children are often carried on the backs of older girls); i.e., she was active as early as the year 300 C.E. "On account of her age and her excellent character, she was highly respected by the heads of that Christian home. Hence the charge of her master's daughters [i.e., including Monica] was given her, and she fulfilled her duty thoroughly [better than the mother did]. When necessary, she was strict in restraining the girls with a holy firmness, and in teaching them with a sober judgment" ("Propter senectam ac [[170b]] mores optimas in domo christiana satis a dominis honorabatur; unde etiam curam filiarum dominicarum commissam diligenter gerebat, et erat in eis coercendis, cum opus esset, sancta severitate vehemens atque in docendis sobria prudentia," Confess. 9.8.17). The basis of Augustine's own piety rested on this slave!

\48/ A long series of testimonies, from the Lyons epistle onwards, witnesses to the fact that Christian masters had heathen slaves. Denunciations of their Christian masters by such slaves, and calumnies against Christian worship, cannot have been altogether uncommon.

\49/ As early as 1 Tim. 6.1 f. It proves that Christianity must have been in many cases "misunderstood" by Christian slaves.

(e) To set a slave free was looked upon, probably from the very beginning, as a praiseworthy action; otherwise, no Christian slave could have had any claim to be emancipated.\50/ Although the primitive church did not admit any such claim on their part, least of all any claim of this kind on the funds of the church, there were cases in which slaves had their ransom paid for out of such funds.\51/ The church never condemned the rights of masters over slaves as sinful; it simply saw in them a natural relationship. In this sphere the source of reform lay, not in Christianity, but in general considerations derived from moral philosophy and in economic necessities.

\50/ Authentic illustrations of this are not available, of course.

\51/ From the epistle of Ignatius to Polycarp (4.3) two inferences may be drawn: (1) that slaves were ransomed with money taken from the church collections, and (2) that no claim to this favor was admitted. 
Δούλους καὶ δούλας μὴ ὑπερηφάνει· ἀλλὰ μηδὲ αὐτοὶ φυσιούσθωσαν
[Christian slaves could easily lose their feelings of deference towards Christian owners], ἀλλ’ εἰς δόξαν θεοῦ πλέον δουλευέτωσαν, ἵνα κρείττονος ἐλευθερίας ἀπὸ θεοῦ τύχωσιν. Μὴ ἐράτωσαν ἀπὸ τοῦ κοινοῦ ἐλευθεροῦσθαι, ἵνα μὴ δοῦλοι εὑρεθῶσιν ἐπιθυμίας("Despise not male or female slaves. Yet let not these again be puffed up, but let them be all the better servants to the glory of God, that they may obtain a better freedom from God. Let them not crave to be freed at the public cost, lest they be found to be slaves of lust").

From one of the canons of the Council of Elvira (c. 300 C.E.), as well as from other minor sources, we learn that even in the Christian church, during the third century in particular, cases unfortunately did occur in which slaves were treated with revolting harshness and barbarity.\52/ In general, one has to [[171]] recollect that even as early as the second century a diminution of the great slave-establishment can be detected -- a diminution which, on economic grounds, continued during the third century. The liberation of slaves was frequently a necessity; it must not be regarded, as a rule, in the light of an act prompted by compassion or brotherly feeling.

\52/ Canon 5: "Si qua femina furore zeli accensa flagris verberaverit ancillam suam, ita ut intra tertium diem animam cum cruciatu effundat," etc. ("If any [[171b]] mistress, in a fit of passion, scourges her handmaid, so that the latter expires within three days," etc.). Canon 41. also treats of masters and slaves. We do not require to discuss the dispensation given by Callistus, bishop of Rome, to matrons for entering into sexual relations with slaves, as the object of this dispensation was to meet the case of high-born ladies who were bent on marriage, and not to admit that slaves had equal rights. Hippol. Ref. (Philos.) 9.12.25 (TLG): καὶ γυναιξὶν ἐπέτρεψεν, εἰ ἄνανδροι εἶεν καὶ ἡλικίᾳ γε [τε] <εἰς ἄνδρα ἐκ>καίο<ι>ντο,  <αἱ> ἐν ἀξίᾳ, εἰ <τὴν> ἑαυτῶν ἀξίαν [ἣν] μὴ βούλοιντο καθαιρεῖν διὰ τοῦ νομίμως γαμηθῆναι, ἔχει<ν> ἕνα, ὃν ἂν αἱρήσωνται, σύγκοιτον, εἴτε οἰκέτην εἴτε ἐλεύθερον, καὶ τοῦτον κρίνειν ἀντὶ ἀνδρὸς  <τὴν> μὴ νόμῳ γεγαμημένην ("He even permitted women, if unmarried and inflamed with a passion unworthy of their age, or unwilling to forfeit their position for the sake of a legal marriage, to have any one they liked as a bedfellow, either slave or free, and to reckon him their husband although he was not legally married to them").

8. Care for people visited by great calamities. -- As early as Hebrews 10.32 f. a church is commended for having nobly stood the test of a great persecution and calamity, thanks to sympathy and solicitous care. From that time onward, we frequently come across counsels to 'Christian brethren to show themselves especially active and devoted in any emergencies of distress; not counsels merely, but also actual proofs that they bore fruit. We shall not, at present, go into cases in which churches lent aid to sister churches, even at a considerable distance; these fall to be noticed under section 10. But some examples referring to calamities within a church itself may be set down at this stage of our discussion.

When the plague raged in Alexandria (about 259 C.E.), bishop Dionysius wrote (Euseb., H.E. 7.22): "The most of our brethren did not spare themselves, so great was their brotherly affection. They held fast to each other, visited the sick without fear, ministered to them assiduously, and served them for the sake of Christ. Right gladly did they perish with them. . . . Indeed many did die, after caring for the sick and giving health to others, transplanting the death of others, as it were, into themselves. In this way the noblest of our brethren [[172]] died, including some presbyters and deacons and people of the highest reputation. Quite the reverse was it with the heathen. They abandoned those who began to sicken, fled from their dearest friends, threw out the sick when half dead into the streets, and let the dead lie unburied."

A similar tale is related by Cyprian of the plague at Carthage. He exclaims to the pagan Demetrianus (10): “Pestem et luem criminaris, cum peste ipsa et lue vel detecta sint vel aucta crimina singulorum, dum nec infirmis exhibetur misericordia et defunctis avaritia inhiat ac rapina. Idem ad pietatis obseqium timidi,\53/ ad impia lucra temerarii, fugientes morientium funera et adpetentes spolia mortuorum” (“You blame plague and disease, when plague and disease either swell or disclose the crimes of individuals, no mercy being shown to the weak, and avarice and rapine gaping greedily for the dead. The same people are sluggish in the discharge of the duties of affection, who rashly seek impious gains; they shun the deathbeds of the dying, but make for the spoils of the dead"). Cyprian's advice is seen in his treatise de Mortalitate. His conduct, and the way he inspired other Christians by his example, are narrated by his biographer Pontianus (Vita, 9 f.): “Adgregatam primo in loco plebem de misercordiae bonis instruit. Docet divinae lectionis exemplis . . . tunc deinde subiungit nun esse mirabile, si nostros tantum debito caritatis obsequio foveremus; cum enim perfectum posse fieri, qui plus aliquid publicano vel ethnico fecerit, qui malum bono vincens et divinae clementiae instar exercens inimicos quoque dilexerit. . . . Quid Christiana plebs faceret, cui de fide nomen est? distributa sunt ergo continuo pro qualitate hominum atque ordinum ministeria [organized charity, then]. Multi qui paupertatis beneficio sumptus exhibere non poterant, plus sumptibus exhibebant, compensantes proprio labore mercedem divitiis omnibus cariorem . . . fiebat itaque exuberantium operum largitate, quod bonum est ad omnes, non ad solos domesticos fidei ("The people being assembled together, he first of all urges on them the benefits of [[173]] mercy. By means of examples drawn from the sacred lessons, he teaches them. . . . Then he proceeds to add that there is nothing remarkable in cherishing merely our own people with the due attentions of love, but that one might become perfect who should do something more than heathen men or publicans, one who, overcoming evil with good, and practicing a merciful kindness like to that of God, should love his enemies as well. . . . What should a Christian people do, a people whose very name was derived from faith? The contributions are always distributed then according to the degree of the men and of their respective ranks. Many who, on the score of poverty, could not make any show of wealth, showed far more than wealth, as they made up by personal labor an offering dearer than all the riches in the world. Thus the good done was done to all men, and not merely to the household of faith, so richly did the good works overflow").

\53/ Cp. Cyprian, per Pont. 9: "Jacebant interim tota civitate vicatim non jam corpora, sed cadavera plurimorum" ("Meanwhile all over the city lay, not bodies now, but the carcasses of many").

We hear exactly the same story of practical sympathy and self-denying love displayed by Christians even to outsiders, in the great plague which occurred during the reign of Maximinus Daza (Eus., H.E. 9.8): “Then did they show themselves to the heathen in the clearest light. For the Christians were the only people who amid such terrible ills showed their fellow feeling and humanity by their actions. Day by day some would busy themselves with attending to the dead and burying them (for there were numbers to whom no one else paid any heed); others gathered in one spot all who were afflicted by hunger throughout the whole city, and gave bread to them all. When this became known, people glorified the Christians' God, and, convinced by the very facts, confessed the Christians alone were truly pious and religious."

It may be inferred with certainty, as Eusebius himself avows, that cases of this kind made a deep impression upon those who were not Christians, and that they gave a powerful impetus to the propaganda.

9. The churches furnishing work and insisting upon work. -- Christianity at the outset spread chiefly among people who had to work hard. The new religion did not teach its votaries “the dignity of labor" or “the noble pleasure invariably afforded [[174]] by work” What it inculcated was just the duty of work.\54/ "If any will not work, neither let him eat" (2 Thess. 3.10). Over and again it was enunciated that the duty of providing for others was conditioned by their incapacity for work. The brethren had soon to face the fact that some of their numbers were falling into restless and lazy habits, as well as the sadder fact that these very people were selfishly trying to trade upon the charity of their neighbors. This was so notorious that even in the brief compass of the Didache there is a note of precautions which are to be taken to checkmate such attempts, while in Lucian's description of the Christians he singles out, as one of their characteristic traits, a readiness to let cunning impostors take advantage of their brotherly love.\55/

\54/ At the same time there was a quiet undercurrent of feeling expressed by the maxim that absolute devotion to religion was a higher plane of life --  "The heavenly Father who feeds the ravens and clothes the lilies will provide for us." Apostles and prophets (with the heroes of asceticism, of course, from the very outset) did not require to work. The idea was that their activity in preaching demanded their entire life and occupied all their time.

\55/ The pseudo-Clementine de Virgin. 1.11, contains a sharp warning against the "otiosi," or lazy folk, who chatter about religion instead of attending to their business.

Christianity cannot be charged at any rate with the desire of promoting mendicancy or with underestimating the duty of work.\56/ Even the charge of being “infructuosi in negotiis" (of no use in practical affairs) was repudiated by Tertullian. “How so?” he asks. “How can that be when such people dwell beside you, sharing your way of life, your dress, your habits, and the same needs of life? We are no Brahmins or Indian gymnosophists, dwelling in woods and exiled from life. . . . We stay beside you in this world, making use of the forum, the provision-market, the bath, the booth, the workshop, the inn, the weekly market, and all other places of commerce. We sail with you, fight at your side, till the soil with you, and traffic with you; we likewise join our technical skill to that of others, and make our works public property for your use" (Apol. 62).\57/ Even clerics were not exempted from making a [[175]] livelihood, and admirable sayings on the need of labor occur in Clement of Alexandria as well as in other writers.\58/ We have already observed (pp. 155 f.) that one incentive to work was found in the consideration that money could thus be gained for the purpose of supporting other people, and this idea was by no means thrown out at random. Its frequent repetition, from the epistle to the Ephesians onwards, shows that people recognized in it a powerful motive for the industrious life. It was also declared in simple and stirring language that the laborer was worthy of his hire, and a fearful judgment was prophesied for those who defrauded workmen of their wages (see especially Jas. 5.4 f.). It is indeed surprising that work was spoken of in such a sensible way, and that the duty of work was inculcated so earnestly, in a society which was so liable to fanaticism and indolence.

\56/ Cp. 2 Thess. 3.6: Παραγγέλλομεν δὲ ὑμῖν, ἀδελφοί, ἐν ὀνόματι τοῦ κυρίου ᾿Ιησοῦ Χριστοῦ, στέλλεσθαι ὑμᾶς ἀπὸ παντὸς ἀδελφοῦ ἀτάκτως περιπατοῦντος, cp. verse 12.

\57/ "Tertullian at this point is suppressing his personal views; he speaks from the standpoint of the majority of Christians. In reality, as we see from the treatise de Idololatria, he was convinced that there was hardly a single occupation or business in which any Christian could engage without soiling his conscience with idolatry.

\58/ The earliest restrictions on this point occur in the canons of the Synod of Elvira (canon 19). They are very guarded. "Episcopi, presbyteres et diacones de locis suis [this is the one point of the pohibtion] negotiandi causa non discedant . . . sane ad victum sibi conquirendum aut filium, aut libertum, aut mercenarium, aut amicum, aut quemlibet mittant; et si voluerint negotiari, intra povinciam negotientur" ("Let no bishop or presbyter or deacon leave his place for the purpose of trading; . . . he can, of course, send his son, or his freedman, or his hired servant, or a friend, or anyone else, to procure provisions; but if he wishes to transact business, he must confine himself to his own sphere").

But we have not yet alluded to what was the really noticeable feature in this connection. We have already come across several passages which would lead us to infer that, together with the recognition that every Christian brother had the right to a bare provision for livelihood, the early Christian church also admitted its obligation to secure this minimum either by furnishing him with work or else by maintaining him. Thus we read in the pseudo-Clementine homilies (cp. Clem. 8): "For those able to work, provide work; and to those incapable of work, be charitable."\59/ Cyprian also (Ep. 2) assumes that if the church [[176]] forbids some teacher of dramatic art to practice his profession, it must look after him, or, in the event of his being unable to do anything else, provide him with the necessaries of life.\60/ We were not aware, however, if this was really felt to be a duty by the church at large, till the discovery of the Didache. This threw quite a fresh light on the situation. In the Didache (12) it is ordained that no brother who is able to work is to be maintained by any church for more than two or three days. The church accordingly had the right of getting rid of such brethren. But the reverse side of this right was a duty. “If any brother has a trade, let him follow that trade and earn the bread he eats. If he has no trade, exercise your discretion in arranging for him to live among you as a Christian, but not in idleness. If he will not do this (i.e., engage in the work with which you furnish him), he is trafficking with Christ (χριστέμφοροs). Beware of men like that." It is beyond question, therefore, that a Christian brother could demand work from the church, and that the church had to furnish him with work. What bound the members together, then, was not merely the duty of supporting one another -- that was simply the ultima ratio; it was the fact that they formed a guild of workers, in the sense that the churches had to provide work for a brother whenever he required it. This fact seems to me of great importance, from the social standpoint. The churches were also labor unions. The case attested by Cyprian proves that there is far more here than a merely rhetorical maxim. The Church did prove in this way a refuge for people in distress who were prepared to work. Its attractive power was consequently intensified, and from the economic standpoint we must attach very high value to a union which provided work for those who were able to work, and at the same time kept hunger from those who were unfit for any labor. [[177]]

\59/ Ps-Clem., Ep. Clem. ad Jacob 8.5-6: παρέχοντες μετὰ πάσης εὐφροσύνης τὰς τροφάς, (6.)τοῖς ἀκμαίοις τοὺς γάμους καὶ τοῖς αὐτῶν ἀτέχνοις διὰ τῶν ἐπιτηδευμάτων ἐννοούμενοι τὰς προφάσεις τῆς ἀναγκαίας τροφῆς, τεχνίτῃ ἔργον, ἀδρανεῖ ἔλεος ("Providing supplies with all kindliness.…furnishing those who have no occupation with employment, and thus with the necessary means of livelihood. To the artificer, work; to the incapable, alms").

\60/ "Si paenurian talis et necessitatem paupertatis obtendit, potest inter ceteros qui ecclesiae alimentis sustinentur huius quoque necessitatis adiuvari, si tamen contentus sit frugalioribus et innocentibus cibis nec putet salario se esse redimendum, ut a peccatis cesset" ("Should such a person allege penury and the necessities of poverty, his wants may also be met among those of the other people who are maintained by the church's aliment -- provided always that he is satisfied with plain and frugal fare. Nor is he to imagine he must be redeemed by means of an allowance of money, in order to cease from sins").

10. Care for brethren on a journey (hospitality) and for churches in poverty or peril.\61/ -- The diaconate went outside the circle of the individual church when it deliberately extended its labors to include the relief of strangers, i.e., in the first instance of Christian brethren on their travels. In our oldest account of Christian worship on Sunday (Justin, Apol. 1.67; see above, p. 153), strangers on their travels are included in the list of those who receive support from the church-collections. This form of charity was thus considered part of the church's business, instead of merely being left to the goodwill of individuals; though people had recourse in many ways to the private method, while the virtue of hospitality was repeatedly inculcated on the faithful.\62/ In the first epistle of Clement to the Corinthian [[178]] church, it is particularly noted, among the distinguishing virtues of the church, that anyone who had stayed there praised their splendid sense of hospitality.\63/ But during the early centuries of Christianity it was the Roman church more than any other which was distinguished by the generosity with which it practiced this virtue. In one document from the reign of Marcus Aurelius, a letter of Dionysius the bishop of Corinth to the Roman church, it is acknowledged that the latter has maintained its primitive custom of showing kindness to foreign brethren. "Your worthy bishop Soter has not merely kept up this practice, but even extended it, by aiding the saints with rich supplies, which he sends from time to time, and also by addressing blessed words of comfort to brethren coming up to Rome, like a loving father to his children" (Eus., H.E. 4.23.10). We shall return to this later on; meanwhile it may be [[179]] pointed out, in this connection, that the Roman church owed its rapid rise to supremacy in Western Christendom, not simply to its geographical position within the capital of the empire, or to the fact of its having been the seat of apostolic activity throughout the West, but also to the fact that it recognized the special obligation of caring for Christians in general, which fell to it as the church of the imperial capital. A living interest in the collective church of Christ throbbed with peculiar intensity throughout the Roman church, as we shall see, from the very outset, and the practice of hospitality was one of its manifestations. At a time when Christianity was still a homeless religion, the occasional travels of the brethren were frequently the means of bringing churches together which otherwise would have had no common tie; while in an age when Christian captives were being dragged off, and banished to distant spots throughout the empire, and when brethren in distress sought shelter and solace, the practical proof of hospitality must have been specially telling. As early as the second century one bishop of Asia Minor even wrote a book upon this virtue.\64/ So highly was it prized within the churches that it was put next to faith as the genuine proof of faith. "For the sake of his faith and hospitality, Abraham had a son given him in his old age." “For his hospitality and piety was Lot saved from Sodom." "For the sake of her faith and hospitality was Rahab saved." Such are the examples of which, in these very words, the Roman church reminds her sister at Corinth.\65/ Nor was this exercise of hospitality merely an aid in passing. The obligation of work imposed by the Christian church has been already mentioned (cp. pp. 173 f.); if any visitors wished to settle down, they had to take  up some work, as is plain from the very provision made for such cases. Along roads running through waste country hospices were erected. The earliest case of this occurs in the Acta Archelai (fourth century).\66/

\61/ I have based this section on a study of my own which appeared in the Monatsschrift f. Diakonie und innere Mission (Dec. 1879, Jan. 1880); but, as the relations of the individual church with Christendom in general fall to be noticed in this section, I have thought it appropriate to treat the subject in greater detail. The ideal background of all this enterprise and activity may be seen in Tertullian's remark (de Praescr. 20): "Omnes ecclesiae una; probant unitatem ecclesarum communcatio pacis et appellatio fraternitatis et contesseratio hospitalitatis" ("All churches are one, and the unity of the churches is shown by their peaceful intercommunion, the title of brethren, and the bond of hospitality").

\62/ Rom. 12.13, "Communicating to the necessities of the saints, given to hospitality"; 1 Pet. 4.9, "Using hospitality one towards another without murmuring"; Heb. 6.10, 13.2, "Forget not to show love to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares." Individuals are frequently commended by Paul to the hospitality of the church; e.g., Rom. 16.1 f., "Receive her in the Lord, as becometh the saints.” See also 3 John 5-8. In the "Shepherd'' of Hermas 38.10 (Mand. 8.10) hospitality is distinctly mentioned in the catalogue of virtues, with this remarkable comment: ἐν γὰρ τῇ φιλοξενίᾳ εὑρίσκεται ἀγαθοποίησίς ποτε ("for benevolence from time to time is found in hospitality"), while in 76.3 (Sim. 8.10.3), praise is assigned to those Christians who ἡδέως εἰς τοὺς οἴκους αὐτῶν ὑπεδέξαντο τοὺς δούλους τοῦ θεοῦ ("gladly welcomed God's servants into their houses"). Aristides, in his Apology (15.7), says that if Christians "see any stranger, they take him under their roof and rejoice over him as over a very brother" (ξένον ἐὰν ἴδωσιν ὑπὸ στέγην εἰσάγουσι καὶ χαίρουσιν ἐπ’ αὐτῷ ὡς ἐπὶ ἀδελφῷ ἀληθινῷ). The exercise of hospitality by private individuals towards Christian brethren is assumed by Tertullian to be a duty which no one dare evade; for, in writing to his wife (ad Uxor. 2.4), he warns her against marrying a heathen, should he (Tertullian) predecease her, on the ground that no Christian brother would get a spiritual reception in an alien household. But hospitality was inculcated especially upon officials of the church, such as elders (bishops) and deacons, who practiced this virtue in the name of the church at large; cp. 1 Tim. 3.2, Tit. 1.8 (1 Tim. 5.10). In Hermas 104.2 (Sim. 9.27.2) hospitable bishops form a special class among the saints, since "they gladly received God's servants into their houses at all times, and without hypocrisy." In [[178b]] the Didache a comparatively large amount of space is taken up with directions regarding the care of travelers, and Cyprian's interest in strangers is attested by his seventh letter, written to his clergy at Carthage from his place of retreat during the Decian persecution. He writes: "I beg you will attend carefully to the widows, and sick people, and all the poor. You may also pay the expenses of any strangers who may be in need, out of my own portion which I left with my fellow-presbyter Rogatianus. In case it should be all used, I hereby forward by the hands of Naricus the acolyte another sum of money, so that the sufferers may be dealt with more promptly and liberally" ("Vίduαrum et infirmorum et omnium pauperum curam peto diligenter habeatis, sed et peregrinis si qui indigentes fuerint sumptus suggeratis de quantitate mea propria quam apud Rogatianum compresbyterum nostrum dimisi. Quae quantitas ne forte iam erogata sit, misi eidem per Naricum acoluthum aliam portionem, ut largius et promptius circa laborantes fiat operatio"). Cp. also Apost. Const. 3.3 (p. 98, 9 f., ed. Lagarde), and Ep. Clem. ad Jacob 9.4 (p. 9, 10 f., ed. Lagarde): τοὺς ξένους μετὰ πάσης προθυμίας εἰς τοὺς ἑαυτῶν οἴκους λαμβάνετε ("Receive strangers into your homes with all readiness"). In his satire on the death of Peregrinus (16), Lucian describes how his hero, on becoming a Christian, was amply provided for on his travels: "Peregrinus thus started out for the second time, and betook himself to traveling; he had an ample allowance from the Christians, who constituted themselves his bodyguard, so that he lived in clover. Thus for some time he provided for himself in this fashion." From the pseudo-Clementine epistle de Virginitate one also learns to appreciate the appeal and exercise of hospitality.  Finally, Julian (Ep. ad Arsac.) emphasizes ἡ περὶ τοὺς ξένους φιλανθρωπία among Christians, and wishes that his own party would imitate it (see above, p. 162).

\63/ 1 Clem. 1.2: Τίς γὰρ παρεπιδημήσας πρὸς ὑμᾶς ...  τὸ μελαγοπρεπὲς τῆς φιλοξενίας ὑμῶν ἦθος οὐκ ἐκήρυξεν; ("What person who has sojourned among you….has not proclaimed your splendid, hospitable disposition?"); cp. above, p. 152.

\64/ Melito οf Sardes, according to Eusebius (H.E. 4.26.2).

\65/ 1 Clem. 10.7, 11.1, 12.1.

\66/ Ch. 4: "Si quando velutί peregrinans ad hospitium pervenisset, quae quidem diversoria hospitalissimus Marcellus instruxerat."

It was easy to take advantage of a spirit so obliging and [[180]] unsparing (e.g., the case of Proteus Peregrinus, and especially the churches' sad experience of so-called prophets and teachers). Heretics could creep in, and so could loafers or impostors. We note, accordingly, that definite precautions were taken against  these at quite an early period. The new arrival is to be tested to see whether or not he is a Christian (cp. 2 and 3 John; Did. 12). In the case of an itinerant prophet, his words are to be compared with his actions. No brother is to remain idle in any place for more than two days, or three at the very most; after that, he must either leave or labor (Did. 12). Later on, any brother on a journey was required to bring with him a Passport from his church at home. Things must have come to a sad pass when (as the Didache informs us) it was decreed that any visitor must be adjudged a false prophet without further ado, if during an ecstasy he ordered a meal and then partook of it, or if in an ecstasy he asked for money. Many a traveler, however, who desired to settle down, did not come with empty hands; such persons did not ask, they gave. Thus we know (see above) that when Marcion came from Pontus and joined the Roman church, he contributed 200,000 sesterces to its funds (Tert., de Praescr. 30). Still, such cases were the exception; as a rule, visitors were in need of assistance.

Care lavished on brethren on a journey blossomed naturally into a sympathy and care for any distant churches in poverty or peril. The keen interest shown in a guest could not cease when he left the threshold of one's house or passed beyond the city gates. And more than this, the guest occupied the posi­tion of a representative to any church at which he arrived; he was a messenger to them from some distant circle of brethren who were probably entire strangers and were yet related to them. His account of the distress and suffering of his own church, or of its growth and spiritual gifts, was no foreign news. The primitive churches were sensible that their faith and calling bound them closely together in this world; they felt, as the apostle enjoined, that “if one member suffer, all the members suffer with it, while if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it" (1 Cor. 12.26). And there is no doubt whatever that the consciousness of this was most vigorous and vital [[181]] in the very ages during which no external bond as yet united the various churches, the latter standing side by side in almost entire independence of each other. These were the ages when the primitive article of the common symbol, "I believe in one holy church," was really nothing more than an article of faith. And of course the effect of the inward ties was all the stronger when people were participating in a common faith which found expression ere long in a brief and vigorous confession, or practicing the same love and patience and Christian discipline, or turning their hopes in common to that glorious consummation of Christ's kingdom of which they had each received the earnest and the pledge. These common possessions stimulated brotherly love; they made strangers friends, and brought the distant near. "By secret signs and marks they manage to recognize one another, loving each other almost before they are ac­quainted"; such is the description of Christians given by the pagan Caecilius (Min. Felix 9.3). Changes afterwards took place; but this vital sense of belonging to one brotherhood never wholly disappeared.

In the great prayers of thanksgiving and supplication offered every Sabbath by the churches, there was a fixed place assigned to intercession for the whole of Christendom throughout the earth. Before very long this kindled the consciousness that every individual member belonged to the holy unity of Christen­dom, just as it also kept them mindful of the services which they owed to the general body. In the epistles and documents of primitive Christianity, wherever the church-prayers emerge their ecumenical character becomes clear and conspicuous.\67/ Special means of intercourse were provided by epistles, circular letters, collections of epistles, the transmission of acts or of official records, or by travelers and special messengers. When matters of importance were at stake, the bishops themselves went forth to settle controversial questions or to arrange a common basis of agreement. It is not our business in these pages to describe all this varied intercourse. We shall confine ourselves to the task of gathering and explaining those passages in which one church comes to the aid of another in any case of need. [[182]] Poverty, sickness, persecution, and suffering of all kinds formed one class of troubles which demanded constant help on the part of churches that were better off; while, in a different direction, assistance was required in those internal crises of doctrine and of conduct which might threaten a church and in fact endanger its very existence. Along both of these lines the brotherly love of the churches had to prove its reality.

\67/ Cp. 1 Clem. 59.2 f, with my notes ad loc. Polyc., Phil. 12.2 f.

The first case of one church supporting another occurs at the very beginning of the apostolic age. In Acts 11.27 f. we read that Agabus in Antioch foretold a famine. On the news of this, the young church at Antioch made a collection on behalf of the poor brethren in Judaea, and dispatched the proceeds to them by the hands of Barnabas and Paul.\68/ It was a Gentile Christian church which was the first, so far as we are aware, to help a sister church in her distress. Shortly after this, the brotherly love felt by young Christian communities drawn from pagans in Asia and Europe is reported to have approved itself on a still wider scale. Even after the famine had passed, the mother church at Jerusalem continued poor. Why, we do not know. An explanation has been sought in the early attempt by which that church is said to have introduced a voluntary community of goods; it was the failure of this attempt, we are to believe, that left the local church impoverished. This is merely a vague conjecture. Nevertheless, the poverty at Jerusalem remains a fact. At the critical conference in Jerusalem, when the three pillar-apostles definitely recognized Paul's mission to the Gentiles, the latter pledged himself to remember the poor saints at Jerusalem in distant lands; and the epistles to the Galatians, the Corinthians, and the Romans, show how widely and faithfully the apostle discharged this obligation. His position in this matter was by no means easy. He had made himself responsible for a collection whose value depended entirely on the voluntary devotion of the churches which he founded. But he was sure he could rely on them, and in this he did not deceive himself. Paul's churches made his concerns [[183]] their own, and money for the brethren far away at Jerusalem was collected in Galatia, Macedonia, and Achaia. Even when the apostle had to endure the prospect of all his work in Corinth being endangered by a severe local crisis, he did not fail to remember the business of the collection along with more important matters. The local arrangements for it had almost come to a standstill by the time he wrote, and the aim of his vigorous, affectionate, and graceful words of counsel to the church is to revive the zeal which had been allowed to cool amid their party quarrels (2 Cor. 8.9). Not long afterwards he is able to tell the Romans that "those of Macedonia and Achaia freely chose to make a certain contribution for the poor saints at Jerusalem. They have done it willingly, and indeed it was a debt. For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, they owe it to them also to minister to them in secular things" (Rom. 15.26 f.). In this collection Paul saw a real duty of charity which rested on the Gentile churches, and one has only to realize the circumstances under which the money was gathered in order to understand the meaning it possessed for the donors themselves. As yet, there was no coming or going between the Gentile and the Judean Christians, though the former had to admit that the latter were one with themselves as brethren and as members of a single church. The churches in Asia and Europe were imitators of the churches of God in Judaea, (1 Thess. 2.14), yet they had no fellowship in worship, life, or customs. This collection formed, therefore, the one visible expression of that brotherly unity which other­wise was rooted merely in their common faith. This was what lent it a significance of its own. For a considerable period this devotion of the Gentile Christians to their distressed brethren in Jerusalem was the sole manifestation, even in visible shape, of the consciousness that all Christians shared an inner fellowship. We do not know how long the contributions were kept up. The great catastrophes which occurred in Palestine after 65 C.E. had a disastrous effect at any rate upon the relations between Gentile Christians and their brethren in Jerusalem and Palestine.\69/ -- Forty years later the age of persecutions [[184]] burst upon the churches, though no general persecution occurred until the middle of the third century. When some churches were in distress, their possessions seized and their existence imperilled, the others could not feel happy in their own undisturbed position.\70/ Succor of their persecuted brethren seemed to them a duty, and it was a duty from which they did not shrink. Justin (loc. cit.) tells us that the maintenance of imprisoned Christians was one of the regular objects to which the church collections were devoted, a piece of information which is corroborated and enlarged by the statement of Tertullian, that those who languished in the mines or were exiled to desert islands or lay in prison all received monies from the church.\71/ Neither statement explains if it was only members of the particular church in question who were thus supported. This, however, is inherently improbable, and there are express statements to the contrary, including one from a pagan source. Dionysius of Corinth (Eus., H.E. 4.23.10) writes thus to the Roman Christians about the year 170: "From the very first you have had this practice of aiding all the brethren in various ways and of sending contributions to churches in manyevery city, thus in one case relieving the poverty of the needy, or in another providing for brethren in the mines. By these gifts, which you have sent from the very first, you Romans keep up the hereditary customs of the Romans, a practice your bishop Soter has not merely maintained but even extended." A hundred years later Dionysius, the bishop of Alexandria, in writing to Stephen the bishop of Rome, has occasion to mention the churches in Syria and Arabia. Whereupon he remarks in passing, "To them you send help regularly, and you have just [[185]] written them another letter" (Eus., H.E. 7.5.2). Basil the Great informs us that under bishop Dionysius (259-269 C.E.) the Roman church sent money to Cappadocia to purchase the freedom of some Christian captives from the barbarians, an act of kindness which was still remembered with gratitude in Cappadocia at the close of the fourth century.\72/ Thus Corinth, Syria, Arabia, and Cappadocia, all of them churches in the East, unite in testifying to the praise of the church at Rome; and we can understand, from the language of Dionysius of Corinth, how Ignatius could describe that church as the προκαθημένη τῆς ἀγάπης, "the leader of love."\73/ Nor were other churches and their bishops behindhand in the matter. Similar stories are told of the church at Carthage and its bishop Cyprian. From a number of letters written shortly before his execution, it is quite clear that Cyprian sent money to provide for the Christians who then lay captive in Numidia (Ep. 76-79), and elsewhere in his correspondence there is similar evidence of his care for stranger Christians and foreign churches. The most memorable of his letters, in this respect, is that addressed to the bishops of Numidia in 253 C.E. The latter had informed him that wild hordes of robbers had invaded the country and carried off many Christians of both sexes into captivity. Whereupon Cyprian instituted a collection on their behalf and forwarded the proceeds to the bishops along with the following letter (Ep. 62). It is the most elaborate and important document from the first three centuries bearing upon the support extended to one church by another, and for that reason we may find space for it at this point.

\68/ No doubt, the account (in Acts) of the Antiochene donation and of the journey of Barnabas and Paul to Jerusalem does lie open to critical suspicion (see Overbeck, ad loc.).

\69/ The meaning of Heb. 6.10 is uncertain. I may observe at this point that more than three centuries later Jerome employed this Pauline collection as an argument to enforce the duty of all Christians throughout the Roman empire to support the monastic settlements at the sacred sites of Jerusalem and Bethlehem. In his treatise against Vigilantius (13), who had opposed the squandering of money to maintain monks in Judaea, Jerome argues from 2 Cor. 8, etc., without more ado, as a scriptural warrant for such collections.

\70/ Even by the time of Domitian, Christian churches were liable to poverty, owing to the authorities seizing their goods; cp. Heb. 10.34 (if the epistle belongs to this period), and Eus., H.E. 3.17.

\71/ Tert., Apol. 39: "Si qui in metallis et si qui in insulis, vel in custodiis, dumtaxat ex causa dei sectae, alumni suae confessionis fiunt" (cp. p. 153).

\72/ Basil, Ep. ad Damasum Papain (70).

\73/ Ign., ad Rom., prooemium. Cp. Zahn, ad loc.: ''In caritatis operibus semper primum locum sibi vindicavit ecclesia Romana" ("The Roman church always justified her primacy in works of charity").

"Cyprian to Januarius, Maximus, Proculus, Victor, Modianus, Nemesianus, Nampulus, and Honoratus, the brethren: greeting.

"With sore anguish of soul and many a tear have I read the letter which in your loving solicitude you addressed to me, dear brethren, with regard to the imprisonment of our brothers and sisters. Who would not feel anguish over such misfortunes? [[186]] Who would not make his brother's grief his own? For, says the apostle Paul: Should one member suffer, all the others suffer along with it; and should one member rejoice, the others rejoice with it also. And in another place he says: Who is weak, and I am not weak? We must therefore consider the present imprisonment of our brethren as our imprisonment, reckoning the grief of those in peril as our grief. We form a single body in our union, and we ought to be stirred and strengthened by religious duty as well as by love to redeem our members the brethren.

"For as the apostle Paul once more declares: Know ye not that ye are God's temple and that the Holy Spirit dwelleth in you? Though love failed to stir us to succor the brethren, we must in this case consider that it is temples of God who are imprisoned, nor dare we by our procrastination and neglect of fellow-feeling allow temples of God to remain imprisoned for any length of time, but must put forth all our energies, and with all speed manage by mutual service to deserve the grace of Christ our Lord, our Judge, our God. For since the apostle Paul says: So many of you as are baptized into Christ have put on Christ, we must see Christ in our imprisoned brethren, redeeming from the peril of imprisonment him who redeemed us from the peril of death. He who took us from the jaws of the devil, who bought us with his blood upon the cross, who now abides and dwells in us, he is now to be redeemed by us for a sum of money from the hands of the barbarians…..Will not the feeling of humanity and the sense of united love incline each father among you to look upon those prisoners as his sons, every husband to feel, with anguish for the marital tie, that his wife languishes in that imprisonment?" Then, after an account of the special dangers incurred by the consecrated “virgins”–“our church, having weighed and sorrowfully examined all those matters in accordance with your letter, has gathered donations for the brethren speedily, freely, and liberally; for while, according to its powers of faith, it is ever ready for any work of God, it has been raised to a special pitch of charity on this occasion by the thought of all this suffering. For since the Lord says in his gospel: I was sick and ye visited [[187]] me, with what ampler reward for our alms will he now say I was in prison and ye redeemed me? And since again he says I was in prison and ye visited me, how much better will it be for us on the day of judgment, when we are to receive the Lord's reward, to hear him say: I was in the dungeon of imprisonment, in bonds and fetters among the barbarians, and ye rescued me from that prison of slavery! Finally, we thank you heartily for summoning us to share your trouble and your noble and necessary act of love, and for offering us a rich harvest-field wherein to scatter the seeds of our hope, in the expectation of reaping a very plentiful harvest from this heavenly and helpful action. We transmit to you a sum of a hundred thousand sesterces [close upon £1000] collected and contributed by our clergy and people here in the church over which by God's mercy we preside; this you will dispense in the proper quarter at your own discretion.

"In conclusion, we trust that nothing like this will occur in future, but that, guarded by the power of God, our brethren may henceforth be quit of all such perils. Still, should the like occur again, for a test of love and faith, do not hesitate to write of it to us; be sure and certain that while our own church and the whole of the church pray fervently that this may not recur, they will gladly and generously contribute even if it does take place once more. In order that you may remember in prayer our brethren and sisters who have taken so prompt and liberal a share in this needful act of love, praying that they may be ever quick to aid, and in order also that by way of return you may present them in your prayers and sacrifices, I add herewith the names of all. Further, I have subjoined the names of my colleagues (the bishops) and fellow-priests, who like myself were present and made such contributions as they could afford in their own name and in the name of their people; I have also noted and forwarded their small sums along with our own total. It is your duty -- faith and love alike require it -- to remember all these in your prayers and supplications.

“Dearest brethren, we wish you unbroken prosperity in the Lord. Remember us."

Plainly the Carthaginian church is conscious here of having [[188]] done something out of the common. But it is intensely con­scious also of having thus discharged a duty of Christian love, and the religious basis of the duty is laid down in exemplary fashion. It is also obvious that so liberal a grant could not be taken from the proceeds of the ordinary church-collections.

Yet another example of Cyprian's care for a foreign church is extant. In the case (cp. above, p. 175) already mentioned of the teacher of the histrionic art who is to give up his profession and be supported by the church, if he has no other means of livelihood, Cyprian (Ep. 2) writes that the man may come to Carthage and find maintenance in the local church if his own church is too poor to feed him.\74/

\74/ "Si illic ecclesia non sufficit ut laborantibus praestat alimenta, poterit se ad transferre (i.e., to Carthage), et hic quod sibi ad victum atque ad vestitum essarium fuerit accipere" ("If the local church is not able to support those who need labor, let it send them on to us to get the needful food and clothing").

Lucian's satire on the death of Peregrinus, in the days of Marcus Aurelius, is a further witness to the alert and energetic temper of the interest taken in churches at the outbreak of persecution or during a period of persecution. The governor of Syria had ordered the arrest of this character, who is des­cribed by Lucian as a nefarious impostor. Lucian then describes the honor paid him, during his imprisonment, by Christians, and proceeds as follows: "In fact, people actually came from several Asiatic townships, sent by Christians, in the name of their churches, to render aid, to conduct the defence, and to encourage the man. They become incredibly alert when any­thing of this kind occurs that affects their common interests. On such occasions, no expense is grudged. Thus they pour out on Peregrinus, at this time, sums of money which were by no means trifling, and he drew from this source a considerable income."\75/ What Lucian relates in this passage cannot, there­fore, have been an infrequent occurrence. Brethren arrived from afar in the name of their churches, not merely to bring donations for the support of prisoners, but also to visit them in [[189]] prison, and to encourage them by evidences of love; they actually endeavored to stand beside them in the hour of trial. The seven epistles of Ignatius form, as it were, a commentary upon these observations of the pagan writer. In them we find the keen sympathy shown by the churches of Asia Minor as well as by the Roman church in the fortunes of a bishop upon whom they had never set eyes before: we also get a vivid sense of their care for the church at Antioch, which was now orphaned. Ignatius is being taken from Antioch to Rome in order to fight with beasts at the capital, and meanwhile the persecution of Christians at Antioch proceeds apace. On reaching Smyrna, he is greeted by deputies from the churches of Ephesus, Magnesia, and Tralles. After several days' intercourse, he entrusts them with letters to their respective churches, in which, among other things, he warmly commends to the brethren of Asia Minor his own forlorn church. "Pray for the church in Syria," he writes to the Ephesians. "Remember the church in Syria when you pray," he writes to the Trallians; "I am not worthy to belong to it, since I am the least of its members." And in the letter to the Magnesians he repeats this request, comparing the church at Antioch to a field scorched by the fiery heat of persecution, which needs some refreshing dew: the love of the brethren is to revive it.\76/ At the same time we find him turning to the Romans also. There appears to have been some brother from Ephesus who was ready to convey a letter to the Roman church, but Ignatius assumes they will learn of his fortunes before the letter reaches them. What he fears is, lest they should exert their influence at court on his behalf, or rob him of his coveted martyrdom by appealing to the Emperor. The whole of the letter is written with the object of blocking the Roman church upon this line of action.\77/ But all that concerns us here is the fact that a stranger bishop from abroad could assume that the Roman church would interest itself in him, whether he was thinking of a legal appeal or of the Roman Christians moving [[190]] in his favor along some special channels open to themselves. A few days afterwards Ignatius found himself at Troas, accom­panied by the Ephesian deacon Burrhus, and provided with contributions from the church of Smyrna.\78/ Thence he writes to the churches of Philadelphia and Smyrna, with both of which he had become acquainted during the course of his journey, as well as to Polycarp, the bishop of Smyrna. Messengers from Antioch cached him at Troas with news of the cessation of the persecution at the former city, and with the information that some churches in the vicinity of Antioch had already dispatched bishops or presbyters and deacons to congratulate the local church (Philad. 10.2). Whereupon, persuaded that the church of Antioch had been delivered from its persecution through the prayers of the churches in Asia Minor, Ignatius urges the latter also to send envoys to Antioch in order to unite with that church in thanking God for the deliverance. "Since I am informed," he writes to the Philadelphians (10.1 f.), "that, in answer to your prayers and love in Jesus Christ, the church of Antioch is now at peace, it befits you, as a church of God, to send a deacon your delegate with a message of God for that church, so that he may congratulate the assembled church and glorify the Name. Blessed in Jesus Christ is he who shall be counted worthy of such a mission; and ye shall yourselves be glorified. Now it is not impossible for you to do this for the name of God, if only you have the desire." The same counsel is given to Smyrna. The church there is also to send a messenger with a pastoral letter to the church of Antioch (Smyrn. 11). The unexpected suddenness of his departure from Troas prevented Ignatius from addressing the same request to the other churches of Asia Minor. He therefore begs Polycarp not only himself to despatch a messenger with all speed (Polyc. 7.2), but to write in his name to the other churches and ask them to share the general joy of the Antiochene Christians either by messenger or by letter (Polyc. 8.1). A few weeks later the church at Philippi wrote to Polycarp that it also had made the acquaintance of Ignatius during that interval; it requested the bishop of Smyrna, therefore, to forward its letter to the church of Antioch whenever [[191]] he sent his own messenger. Polycarp undertakes to do so. In fact, he even holds out the prospect of conveying the letter himself. As desired by them, he also transmits to them such letters of Ignatius as had come to hand, and asks for reliable information upon the fate of Ignatius and his companions.\79/

\75/ It may be observed at this point that there were no general collections in the early church, like those maintained by the Jews in the Imperial age. The organization of the churches would not tend greatly to promote any such under­takings, since Christians had no headquarters such as the Jews possessed in Palestine.

\76/ Eph. 21.2; Trall. 13.1; Magn. 14.

\77/ Even here Ignatius remembers to commend the church at Antioch to the church of Rome (9): "Remember in your prayers the Syrian church, which has God for its shepherd now instead of me. Jesus Christ alone shall be its over­seer (bishop) -- he and your love together."

\78/ Philad. 11.2; Smyrn. 12.1.

\79/ Polyc., ad Phil. 13.

Such, in outline, is the situation as we find it in the seven letters of Ignatius and in Polycarp's epistle to the Philippians. What a wealth of intercourse there is between the churches! What public spirit! What brotherly care for one another! Financial support retires into the background here. The fore­ground of the picture is filled by proofs of that personal co­operation by means of which whole churches, or again churches and their bishops, could lend mutual aid to one another, con­soling and strengthening each other, and sharing their sorrows and their joys. Here we step into a whole world of sympathy and love.

From other sources we also learn that after weathering a persecution the churches would send a detailed report of it to other churches. Two considerable documents of this kind are still extant. One is the letter addressed by the church of Smyrna to the church of Philomelium and to all Christian churches, after the persecution which took place under Antonius Pius. The other is the letter of the churches in Gaul to those in Asia Minor and Phrygia, after the close of the bloody per­secution under Marcus Aurelius.\80/ In both letters the perse­cution is described in great detail, while in the former the death of bishop Polycarp is specially dwelt on, since the glorious end of a bishop who was well known in the East and West alike had to be announced to all Christendom. The events, which transpired in Gaul, had a special claim upon the sympathy of the Asiatic brethren, for at least a couple of the latter, Attalus of Pergamum and Alexander, a Phrygian, had suffered a glorious martyrdom in the Gallic persecution. The churches also took advantage of the opportunity to communicate to the brethren [[192]] certain notable experiences of their own during the period of persecution, as well as any truths which they had verified. Thus the Smyrniote church speaks very decidedly against the practice of people delivering themselves up and craving for martyrdom. It gives one melancholy instance of this error (Mart. Polyc. 4). The churches of Gaul, for their part (in Eus., H.E. 5.2), put in a warning against excessive harshness in the treatment of penitent apostates. They are able also to describe the tender compassion shown by their own confessors. It was otherwise with the church of Rome. She exhorted the church of Carthage to stand fast and firm during the Decian persecution,\81/ and at a subsequent period conferred with it upon its mode of dealing with apostates.\82/ Here a special case was under discussion. Cyprian, the bishop of Carthage, had fled during the persecution; nevertheless, he had continued to superintend his church from his retreat, since he could say with quite a good conscience that he was bound to look after his own people. The Romans, who had not been at first informed of the special circumstances of the case, evidently viewed the bishop's flight with serious misgiving; they thought themselves obliged to write and encourage the local church. The fact was, no greater disaster could befall a church in a period of distress than the loss of its clergy or bishop by death or dereliction of duty. In his treatise on “Flight during a Persecution," Tertullian relates how deacons, presbyters, and bishops frequently ran away at the outbreak of a persecution, on the plea of Matt. 10.23: "If they persecute you in one city, flee unto another." The result was that the church either collapsed or fell a prey to heretics.\83/ The more [[193]] dependent the church became upon its clergy, the more serious were the consequences to the church of any failure or even of any change in the ranks of the latter. This was well understood by the ardent persecutors of the church in the third century, by Maximin I, by Decius, by Valerian, and by Diocletian. Even a Cyprian could not retain control of his church from a place of retreat! He had to witness it undergoing shocks of disastrous force. It was for this very reason that the sister churches gave practical proof of their sympathy in such crises, partly by sending letters of comfort during the trial, as the Romans did, partly by addressing congratulations to the church when the trial had been passed. In his church history Eusebius furnishes us with selections from the ample correspondence of Dionysius, bishop of Corinth, and one of these letters, addressed to the church of Athens, is relevant to our present purpose. Eusebius writes as follows (H.E. 4.23.2 f.): “The epistle exhorts them to the faith and life of the gospel, which Dionysius accuses them of undervaluing. Indeed, he almost says they have fallen away from the faith since the martyrdom of Publius, their bishop, which had occurred during the persecution in those days. He also mentions Quadratus, who was appointed bishop after the martyrdom of Publius, and testifies that by the zeal of Quadratus they were gathered together again and had new zeal imparted to their faith." The persecution which raged in Antioch during the reign of Septimius Severus claimed as its victim the local bishop of that day, one Serapion. His death must have exposed the church to great peril, for when the episcopate was happily filled up again, the bishop of Cappadocia wrote a letter of his own from prison to congratulate the church of Antioch, in the following terms: "The Lord has lightened and smoothed my bonds in this time of captivity, by letting me hear that, through the providence of God, the bishopric of your holy church has been undertaken by Asclepiades, whose services [[194]] to the faith qualify him thoroughly for such a position" (Eus., H.E. 6.11.5).

\80/ It is preserved, though not in an entirely complete form, by Eusebius (H.E. 5.1 f.). The Smyrniote letter also occurs in an abbreviated form in Eusebius (4.15); the complete form, however, is also extant in a special type of text, both in Greek and Latin.

\81/ Ep. 8. in Cyprian's correspondence (ed. Hartel).

\82/ Cp. my study (in the volume dedicated to Weizsacker, 1892) on "The letters of the Roman clergy from the age of the papal vacancy in 250 C.E." There is also an interesting remark of Dionysius of Alexandria in a letter addressed to Germanus which Eusebius has preserved (H.E. 7.11.3). Dionysius tells how "one of the brethren who were present from Rome accompanied" him to his examination before Aemilianus the governor (during the Valerian persecution).

\83/ "Sed cum ipsi auctores, id est ipsi diaconi et presbyteri et episcopi fugiunt, quomodo laicus intellegere potuerit, qua ratione dictum: Fugite de civitate in civitatem? (Tales) dispersum gregem faciunt et in praedam esse omnibus bestiis agri, dum non est pastor illis. Quod nunquam.magis fit, quam cum in persecutione [[193b]] destituitur ecclesia a clero" ("But when the very authorities themselves -- deacons, I mean, and presbyters and bishops -- take to flight, how can a layman see the real meaning of the saying, 'Flee from city to city'? Such shepherds scatter the flock and leave it a prey to every wild beast of the field, by depriving it of a shepherd. And this is specially the case when a church is forsaken by the clergy during persecution"). -- De Fuga, 11.

Hitherto we have been gleaning from the scanty remains of the primitive Christian literature whatever bore upon the material support extended by one church to another, or upon the mutual assistance forthcoming in a time of persecution. But whenever persecutions brought about internal crisis and perils in a church, as was not infrequently the case, the sympathetic interest of the church extended to this sphere of need as well, and attempts were made to meet the situation. Such cases now fall to be considered -- cases in which it was not poverty or persecution, but internal abuses and internal dangers, pure and simple, which drew a word of comfort or of counsel from a sister church or from its bishop.

In this connection we possess one document dating from the very earliest period, viz., the close of the first century, which deserves especial notice. It is the so-called first epistle of Clement, really an official letter sent by the Roman church to the Corinthian.\84/ Within the pale of the latter church a crisis had arisen, whose consequences were extremely serious. All we know, of course, is what the majority of the church thought of the crisis, but according to their account certain newcomers, of an ambitious and conceited temper, had repudiated the existing authorities and led a number of the younger members of the church astray.\85/ Their intention was to displace the presbyters and deacons, and in general to abolish the growing authority of the officials (40-48). A sharp struggle ensued, in which even the women took some part.\86/ Faith, love, and brotherly feeling were already threatened with extinction (1-3). The scandal became notorious throughout Christendom, and indeed there was a danger of the heathen becoming acquainted with the quarrel, of the name of Christ being blasphemed, and of the church's security being imperilled.\87/ The Roman Church stepped in. It had not been asked by the Corinthian church to interfere in the matter; on the contrary, it spoke out of its own accord.\88/ And it did so with an affection and solicitude equal [[195]] to its candor and dignity. It felt bound, for conscience' sake, to give a serious and brotherly admonition, conscious that God's voice spoke through its words for peace, and at the same time for the strict maintenance of respect towards the authority of the officials (cp. 40 f.).\89/ Withal it never forgets that its place is merely to point out the right road to the Corinthians, not to lay commands upon them;\90/ over and again it expresses most admirably its firm confidence that the church knows the will of God and will bethink itself once more of the right course.\91/ It even clings to the hope that the very agitators will mend their ways (cp. 54). But in the name of God it asks that a speedy end be put to the scandal. The transmission of the epistle is entrusted to the most honored men within its membership. "They shall be witnesses between us and you. And we have done this that you may know we have had and still have every concern for your speedy restoration to peace" (63.3). The epistle concludes by saying that the Corinthians are to send back the envoys to Rome as soon as possible in joy and peace, so that the Romans may be able to hear of concord regained with as little delay as possible and to rejoice speedily on that account (65.1). There is nothing in early Christian literature to compare with this elaborate and effective piece of writing, lit up with all the brotherly affection and the public spirit of the church. But similar cases are not infrequent. The church at Philippi, for example, sent a letter across the sea to the aged Polycarp at Smyrna, informing him of a sad affair which had occurred in their own midst. One of their presbyters, named Valens, had been convicted of embezzling the funds of the church. In his reply, which is still extant, Polycarp treats this melancholy piece of news (Polyc., ad Phil. 11). He does not interfere with the jurisdiction of the church, but he exhorts and counsels the Philippians. They are to take warning from this case and avoid avarice themselves. Should the presbyter and his wife repent, the church is not to treat them as enemies, but as ailing and erring members, so that the whole body may be [[196]] saved. The bishop lets it be seen that the church's treatment of the case does not appear to him to have been entirely correct. He exhorts them to moderate their passion and to be gentle. But, at the same time, in so doing he is perfectly conscious of the length to which he may venture to go in opposing an out­side church. When Ignatius, bishop of Antioch, is being conveyed across Asia Minor, he takes the opportunity of writing brief letters to encourage the local churches in any perils to which they may be exposed. He warns them against the machinations of heretics, exhorts them to obey the clergy, urges a prudent concord and firm unity, and in quite a thorough fashion gives special counsels for any emergency. At the opening of the second century a Roman Christian, the brother of the bishop, desires to lay down the via media of proper order and discipline at any crisis in the church, as he himself had found that via, between the extremes of laxity and rigor. His aim is directed not merely to the Roman church but to Christendom in general (to the “foreign cities”); he wishes all to learn the counsels which he claims to have personally received from the Holy Spirit through the church (Herm. [[[##] Vis. 2.4). In the days of Marcus Aurelius it was bishop Dionysius of Corinth in particular who sought (no doubt in his church's name as well as in his own) by means of an extensive correspon­dence to confirm the faith of such churches, even at a great distance, as were in any peril. Two of his letters, those to the Athenians and the Romans, we have already noticed, but Eusebius gives us the contents of several similar writings, which he calls “catholic" epistles. Probably these were meant to be circulated throughout the churches, though they were collected at an early date and also (as the bishop himself is forced indignantly to relate) were interpolated. One letter to the church at Sparta contains an exposition of orthodox doctrine with an admonition to peace and unity. In the epistle to the church of Nicomedia in Bithynia he combats the heresy of Marcion. “He also wrote a letter to the church in Gortyna, together with the other churches in Crete, praising their bishop Philip for the testimony borne to the great piety and steadfastness of his church, and warning them to guard against the [[197]] aberrations of heretics. He also wrote to the church of Amastris, together with the other churches in Pontus.....Here he adds explanations of some passages from Holy Scrip­ture, and mentions Palmas, their bishop, by name. He gives them long advice, too, upon marriage and chastity, enjoining them also to welcome again into their number all who come back after any lapse whatsoever, be it vice or heresy. There is also in his collection of letters another addressed to the Cnosians (in Crete), in which he exhorts Pinytus, the bishop of the local church, not to lay too heavy and sore a burden on the brethren in the matter of continence, but to consider the weakness of the majority" (Eus., H.E. 4.23). Such is the variety of contents in these letters. Dionysius seems to have spoken his mind on every question, which agitated the churches of his day, nor was any church too remote for him to evince his interest in its inner fortunes.

\84/ Cp. the inscription.

\85/ Cp. 1.1, 3.3, 39.1, 47.6, etc.

\86/ This is probable, from 1.3, 21.6.

\87/ Cp. 47.7, 1.1.

\88/ 1.1, 47.6-7.

\89/ Cp. 59.1, 56.1, 63.2.

\90/ Cp. especially 58.2: Δέξασθε τὴν συμβουλὴν ἡμῶν ("accept our counsel").

\91/ Cp. 40.1, 45.2 f., 53.1, 62.3.

After the close of the second century a significant change came over these relationships, as the institution of synods began to be adopted. The free and unconventional communications, which passed between the churches (or their bishops) yielded to an intercourse conducted upon fixed and regular lines. A new procedure had already come into vogue with the Montanist and Quartodeciman controversies, and this was afterwards developed more highly still in the great Christological controversies and in the dispute with Novatian. Doubtless we still continue to hear of cases in which individual churches or their bishops displayed special interest in other churches at a distance, nor was there any cessation of voluntary sympathy with the weal and woe of any sister church. But this gave place more than ever both to an interest in the position taken up by the church at large in view of individual and particular movements, and also to the support of the provincial churches.\92/ Keen interest was shown in the attitude taken up by the churches throughout the empire (or their bishops) upon any critical question. On such matters harmony could be arranged, but otherwise the provincial churches began to form groups of their [[198]] own. Still, for all this, fresh methods emerged in the course of the third century by which one church supported or rallied another, and these included the custom of inviting the honored teachers of one church to deliver addresses in another, or of securing them, when controversies had arisen, to pronounce an opinion, to instruct the parties, and to give a judgment in the matter. Instances of this are to be found, for example, in the career of the great theologian Origen.\93/ Even in the fourth and fifth centuries, the material support of poor churches from foreign sources had not ceased; Socrates, in his church history (7.25) notes one very brilliant example of the practice.

\92/ Instances of this occur, e.g., in the correspondence of Cyprian and of Dionysius of Alexandria.

\93/ Cp. Eus., H.E. 6.19.15; 33.2; 37; 32.2.




\1/ In presenting this aspect of the Christian religion, one has either to be extremely brief or very copious. In the volume which has been already mentioned (on p. 125), Weinel has treated it with great thoroughness. Here I shall do no more than adduce the salient points.

In its missionary activities the Christian religion presented itself as something more than the gospel of redemption and of ministering love; it was also the religion of the Spirit and of power. No doubt, it verified its character as Spirit and power by the very fact that it brought redemption and succor to mankind, freeing them from demons (see above, pp. 125 f.) and from the misery of life. But the witness of the Spirit had a wider reach than even this. “I came to you in weakness and fear and with great trembling; nor were my speech and preaching in persuasive words of wisdom but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power" (1 Cor. 2.3, 4). Though Paul in these words is certainly thinking of his conflict with demons and of their palpable defeat, he is by no means thinking of that alone, but also of all the wonderful deeds that accompanied the labors of the apostles and the founding of the church. These were not confined to his own person. From all directions they were reported, in connection with other missionaries as well. Towards the close of the first century, when people came to look back upon the age in which the church had been established, the course of events was summed up in these words (Heb. 2.3): “Salvation began by being spoken through the Lord, and was confirmed for us by those who heard it, while God accompanied [[200]] their witness by signs and wonders and manifold miracles and distributions of the holy Spirit."

The variety of expressions here is in itself a proof of the number of phenomena which emerge in this connection.\2/ Let us try to single out the most important of them.

\2/ Cp. Justin's Dial. 39: φωτιζόμενοι διὰ τοῦ ὀνόματος τοῦ Χριστοῦ τούτου· ὁ μὲν γὰρ λαμβάνει συνέσεως πνεῦμα, ὁ δὲ βουλῆς, ὁ δὲ ἰσχύος, ὁ δὲ ἰάσεως, ὁ δὲ προγνώσεως, ὁ δὲ διδασκαλίας, ὁ δὲ φόβου θεοῦ ("Illuminated by the name of Christ. For one receives the spirit of understanding, another the spirit of counsel, another the spirit of might, another the spirit of healing, another the spirit of foreknowledge, another the spirit of teaching, another the spirit of the fear of God").

(1)  God speaks to the missionaries in visions, dreams, and ecstasy, revealing to them affairs of moment and also trifles, controlling their plans, pointing out the roads on which they are to travel, the cities where they are to stay, and the persons whom they are to visit. Visions occur especially after a martyrdom, the dead martyr appearing to his friends during the weeks that immediately follow his death, as in the case of Potamiaena (Eus., H.E. 6.5), or of Cyprian, or of many others.

It was by means of dreams that Arnobius (Jerome, Chron., p. 326) and others were converted. Even in the middle of the third century, the two great bishops Dionysius and Cyprian were both visionaries.\3/ Monica, Augustine's mother, like many a Christian widow, saw visions frequently; she could even detect, from a certain taste in her mouth, whether it was a real revelation or a dream-image that she saw (Aug., Conf. 6.13.23: “Dicebat discernere se nescio quo sapore, quem verbis explicare non poterat, quid interesset inter revelantem te et animam suam somniantem"). She was not the first who used this criterion.

\3/ Cp. my essay on "Cyprian als Enthusiast" in the Zeitschrift fur die neutest Wissenschaft 3 (1902), pp. 177 f.

(2)  At the missionary addresses of the apostles or evangelists, or at the services of the churches which they founded, sudden movements of rapture are experienced, many of them being simultaneous seizures; these are either full of terror and dismay, convulsing the whole spiritual life, or exultant outbursts of a joy that sees heaven opened to its eyes. The simple question, “What must I do to be saved?" also bursts upon the mind with an elemental force. [[201]]

(3)  Some are inspired who have power to clothe their experi­ence in words -- prophets to explain the past, to interpret and to fathom the present, and to foretell the future.\4/ Their prophecies relate to the general course of history, but also to the fortunes of individuals, to what individuals are to do or leave undone.

\4/ These prophecies do not include, however, the Christian Sibylline oracles. The Jewish oracles were accepted in good faith by Christians, and quoted by them (ever since Hermas) as prophetic; but the production of Christian Sibyllines did not begin, in all likelihood, till after the middle of the third century. These oracles are an artificial and belated outcome of the primitive Christian enthusiasm, and are simply a series of forgeries. Cp. my Chronologie 1, pp. 581 f., 2, pp. 184 f.

(4)  Brethren are inspired with the impulse to improvise prayers and hymns and psalms.

(5)  Others are so filled with the Spirit that they lose con­sciousness and break out in stammering speech and cries, or in unintelligible utterances -- which can be interpreted, however, by those who have the gift.

(6)  Into the hands of others, again, the Spirit slips a pen, either in an ecstasy or in exalted moments of spiritual tension; they not merely speak but write as they are bidden.

(7)  Sick persons are brought and healed by the missionaries, or by brethren who have been but recently awakened; wild paroxysms of terror before God's presence are also soothed, and in the name of Jesus demons are cast out.

(8)  The Spirit impels men to an immense variety of extra­ordinary actions -- to symbolic actions which are meant to reveal some mystery or to give some directions for life, as well as to deeds of heroism.

(9)  Some perceive the presence of the Spirit with every sense; they see its brilliant light, they hear its voice, they smell the fragrance of immortality and taste its sweetness. Nay more; they see celestial persons with their own eyes, see them and also hear them; they peer into what is hidden or distant or to come; they are even rapt into the world to come, into heaven itself, where they listen to “words that cannot be uttered."\5/ [[202]]

\5/ Cp., however, Orig., Hom. 27.11, in Num. (vol. 10, p. 353): "In visions there is wont to be temptation, for the angel of evil sometimes transforms himself into an angel of light. Hence you must take great care to discriminate the kind of vision, just as Joshua the son of Nun on seeing a vision knew there was [[202b]] a temptation in it, and at once asked the figure, Art thou on our side, or on our foes'?" ("Solet in visionibus esse tentatio; nam nonnunquam angelus iniquitatis transfigurat se in angelum lucis, et ideo cavendum est et sollicite agendum, ut scienter discernas visionum genus, sicut et Iesus Nave, cum visionem viderit, sciens in hoc esse tentationem, statim requisit ab eo qui apparuit et dicit: Noster es an adversariorum?"). See also what follows.

(10)  But although the Spirit manifests itself through marvels like these, it is no less effective in heightening the religious and the moral powers, which operate with such purity and power in certain individuals that they bear palpably the stamp of their divine origin. A heroic faith or confidence in God is visible, able to overthrow mountains, and towering far above the faith that lies in the heart of every Christian; charitable services are rendered which are far more moving and stirring than any miracle; a foresight and a solicitude are astir in the management of life, that operate as surely as the very providence of God. When these spiritual gifts, together with those of the apostles, prophets, and teachers, are excited, they are the funda­mental means of edifying the churches, proving them thereby to be "churches of God."

The amplest evidence for all these traits is to be found in the pages of early Christian literature from its earliest record down to Irenaeus, and even further. The apologists allude to them as a familiar and admitted fact, and it is quite obvious that they were of primary importance for the mission and propaganda of the Christian religion. Other religions and cults could doubtless point to some of these actions of the Spirit, such as ecstasy, vision, demonic and anti-demonic manifestations, but nowhere do we find such a wealth of these phenomena presented to us as in Christianity; moreover, and this is of supreme importance, the fact that their Christian range included the exploits of moral heroism, stamped them in this field with a character which was all their own and lent them a very telling power. What existed elsewhere merely in certain stereotyped and fragmentary forms, appeared within Christianity in a wealth of expression where every function of the spiritual, the mental, and the moral life seemed actually to be raised above itself.\6/ [[203]]

\6/ We must not ignore the fact that these proofs of “the Spirit and power” were not favorable to the propaganda in all quarters. Celsus held that they were trickery, magic, and a gross scandal, and his opinion was shared by other sensible pagans, although the latter were no surer of their facts than Celsus himself. Paul had observed long ago that, instead of recommending Christianity, speaking with tongues might on the contrary discredit it among pagans (see 1 Cor. 14.23: "If the whole congregation assemble and all speak with tongues, then will not uneducated or unbelieving men, who may chance to enter, say that you are mad?").

In all these phenomena there was an implicit danger, due to the great temptation which people felt either to heighten them artificially, or credulously to exaggerate them,\7/ or to imitate them fraudulently, or selfishly to turn them to their own account.\8/ [[204]]

\7/ At that period, as all our sources show, belief in miracles was strong upon the whole; but in Christian circles it seems to have been particularly robust and unlimited, tending more and more to deprive men of any vision of reality. Com­pare, for example, the apocryphal Acts, a genre of literature whose roots lie in the second century. We must also note how primitive popular legends which were current acquired a Christian cast and got attached to this or that Christian hero or apostle or saint. One instance of this may be seen in the well-known stories of corpses which moved as if they could still feel and think. Tertullian (de Anima 51) writes thus: "I know of one woman, even within the church itself, who fell peacefully asleep, after a singularly happy though short married life, in the bloom of her age and beauty. Before her burial was completed, when the priest had begun the appointed office, she raised her hands from her side at the first breath of his prayer, put them in the posture of devotion, and, when the holy service was concluded, laid them back in their place. Then there is the other story current among our people, that in a certain cemetery one corpse made way of its own accord for another to be laid alongside of it" (this is also told of the corpse of bishop Reticius of Autun at the beginning of the fourth century).

\8/ Cp. what has been already said (p. 132) on exorcists being blamed, and also the description of the impostor Marcus given by Irenaeus in the first book of his great work. When the impostor Peregrinus joined the Christians, he became (says Lucian) a "prophet," and as such secured for himself both glory and gain. The Didache had already endeavored to guard the churches against men of this kind, who used their spiritual gifts for fraudulent ends. There were even Christian minstrels; cp. the pseudo-Clementine epistle de Virginitate 2.6: "Nec proicimus sanctum canibus nec margaritas ante porcos; sed dei laudes celebramus cum omnimoda disciplina et cum omni prudentia et cum omni timore dei atque animi intentione. Cultum sacrum non exercemus ibi, ubi inebriantur gentiles et verbis impuris in conviviis suis blasphemant in impietate sea. Propterea non psallimus gentilibus neque scripturas illis praelegimus, ut ne tibicinibus aut cantoribus aut hariolis similes simus, sicut multi, qui ita agunt et haec faciunt, ut buccella panis saturent sese et propter modicum vini eunt et cantant cantica domini in terra aliena gentilium ac faciant quod non licet" ("We do not cast what is holy to the dogs nor throw pearls before swine, but celebrate the praises of God with perfect self-restraint and discretion, in all fear of God and with deliberate mind. We do not practice our sacred worship where the heathen get drunk and impiously blaspheme with impure speech at their banquets. Hence we do not sing to the heathen, nor do we read aloud our scriptures to them, that we may not be like flute-players, or singers, or soothsayers, as many are who live and act thus in order to get a mouthful of bread, going for a sorry cup of wine to sing the songs of the [[204b]] Lord in the strange land of the heathen and doing what is unlawful"). See also the earlier passage in 1.13: May God send workmen who are not "operarii mercenarii, qui religionem et pietatem pro mercibus habeant, qui simulent lucis filios, cum non sint lux sed tenebrae, qui operantur fraudem, qui Christum in negotio et quaestu habeant" ("mere hirelings, trading on their religion and piety, irritating the children of light although they themselves are not light but darkness, acting fraudulently, and making Christ a matter of profit and gain").
It was in the primitive days of Christianity, during the first sixty years of its course, that their effects were most conspicuous, but they continued to exist all through the second century, although in diminished volume.\9/ Irenaeus confirms this view.\10/ The Montanist movement certainly gave new life to the “Spirit," which had begun to wane; but after the opening of the third century the phenomena dwindle rapidly, and instead of being the hall-mark of the church at large, or of every individual community, they become no more than the endowment of a few favored individuals. The common life of the church has now its priests, its altar, its sacraments, its holy book and rule of faith. But it no longer possesses “the Spirit and power."\11/ [[205]] Eusebius is not the first (in the third book of his history) to look back upon the age of the Spirit and of power as the bygone heroic age of the church,\12/ for Origen had already pronounced this verdict on the past out of an impoverished present.\13/ Yet this impoverishment and disenchantment hardly inflicted any injury now upon the mission of Christianity. During the third century, that mission was being prosecuted in a different way from that followed in the first and second centuries. There were no longer any regular missionaries -- at least we never hear of any such. And the propaganda was no longer an explosive force, but a sort of steady fermenting process. Quietly but surely Chris­tianity was expanding from the centers it had already occupied, diffusing itself with no violent shocks or concussions in its spread.

\9/ They must have been generally and inevitably discredited by the fact that the various parties in Christianity during the second century each denied that the other possessed the Spirit and power, explaining that when such phenomena occurred among its opponents they were the work of the devil, and unauthentic.

\10/ He actually declares (see above, p. 135) that people are still raised from the dead within the Christian church (2.31.2). On the spiritual gifts still oper­ative in his day, cp. 2.32.4 [49.3 TLG]:  Διὸ καὶ ἐν τῷ ἐκείνου ὀνόματι (that of Jesus) οἱ ἀληθῶς αὐτοῦ μαθηταὶ,  παρ’ αὐτοῦ λαβόντες τὴν χάριν, ἐπιτελοῦσιν ἐπ’ εὐεργεσίᾳ τῇ τῶν λοιπῶν ἀνθρώπων, καθὼς εἷς ἕκαστος αὐτῶν τὴν δωρεὰν εἴληφε παρ’ αὐτοῦ. Οἱ μὲν γὰρ δαίμονας ἐλαύνουσι βεβαίως καὶ ἀληθῶς, ὥστε πολλάκις καὶ πιστεύειν αὐτοὺς ἐκείνους τοὺς καθαρισθέντας ἀπὸ τῶν πονηρῶν πνευμάτων, καὶ εἶναι ἐν τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ. Οἱ δὲ καὶ πρόγνωσιν ἔχουσι τῶν μελλόντων, καὶ ὀπτασίας, καὶ ῥήσεις προφητικάς. ῎Αλλοι δὲ τοὺς κάμνοντας διὰ τῆς τῶν χειρῶν ἐπιθέσεως ἰῶνται, καὶ ὑγιεῖς ἀποκαθιστᾶσιν. ῎Ηδη δὲ, καθὼς ἔφαμεν, καὶ νεκροὶ ἠγέρθησαν, καὶ παρέμειναν σὺν ἡμῖν ἱκανοῖς ἔτεσι. Καὶ τί γάρ; οὐκ ἔστιν ἀριθμὸν εἰπεῖν  τῶν χαρισμάτων, ὧν κατὰ παντὸς τοῦ κόσμου ἡ ἐκκλησία παρὰ Θεοῦ λαβοῦσα, ἐν τῷ ὀνόματι ᾿Ιησοῦ Χριστοῦ, τοῦ σταυρωθέντος ἐπὶ Ποντίου Πιλάτου, ἑκάστης ἡμέρας ἐπ’ εὐεργεσίᾳ τῇ τῶν ἐθνῶν ἐπιτελεῖ (cp. above, p.135). Irenaeus distinctly adds that these gifts were gratuitous. Along with other opponents of heresy, he blames the Gnostics for taking money and thus trading upon Christ. A prototype of this occurs as early as Acts 8.15 f. (the Case of Simon Magus), where it is strongly reprimanded (Τὸ ἀργύριόν σου σὺν σοὶ εἴη εἰς ἀπώλειαν, "Thy money perish with thee!").

\11/ All the higher value was attached to such people as appeared to possess the Spirit. The more the phenomena of Spirit and power waned in and for the general mass of Christians, the higher rose that cultus of heroes in the faith (i.e., ascetics, confessors, and workers of miracles) which had existed from the very first. These all bear unmistakable signs of the Christ within them, in consequence [[205b]] of which they enjoy veneration and authority. Gradually, during the second half of the third century in particular, they took the place of the dethroned deities of paganism, though as a rule this position was not gained till after death. -- Though Cyprian still made great use of visions and dreams, he merely sought by their means to enhance his episcopal authority. In several cases, however, they excited doubts and incredulity among people; cp. Ep. 66.10: "Scio somnia ridicula et visiones ineptas quibusdam videri" ("I know that to some people dreams seem absurd and visions senseless"). This is significant.

\12/ H. E. 3.37: "A great many wonderful works of the Holy Spirit were wrought in the primitive age through the pupils of the apostles, so that whole multitudes of people, on first hearing the word, suddenly accepted with the utmost readiness faith in the Creator of the universe."

\13/ In c. Cels. 2.8, he only declares that he himself has seen still more miracles. The age of miracles therefore lay for Origen in earlier days. In 2.48 he puts a new face on the miracles of Jesus and his apostles by interpreting them not only as symbolic of certain truths, but also as intended to win over many hearts to the wonderful doctrine of the gospel. Exorcisms and cures are represented by him as still continuing to occur (frequently; cp. 1.6). From 1.2 we see how he estimated the present and the past of Christianity: "For our faith there is one especial proof, unique and superior to any advanced by aid of Grecian dialectic. This diviner proof is characterized by the apostle as 'the demonstration of the Spirit and of power' -- 'the demonstration of the Spirit' on account of the prophecies which are capable of producing faith in hearer and reader, 'the demonstration of power' on account of the extraordinary wonders, whose reality can be proved by this circumstance, among many other things, that traces of them still exist among those who live according to the will of the Logos."

If the early Christians always looked out for the proofs of the Spirit and of power, they did so from the standpoint of their moral and religious energy, since it was for the sake of the latter object that these gifts had been bestowed upon the church. [[206]] Paul describes this object as the edification of the entire church, while as regards the individual, it is the new creation of man from death to life, from a worthless thing into a thing of value.\14/ This edification means a growth in all that is good (cp. Gal. 5.22: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control"), and the evidence of power is that God has not called many wise after the flesh, nor many noble, but poor and weak men, whom he transformed into morally robust and intelligent natures. Moral regeneration and the moral life were not merely one side of Christianity to Paul, but its very fruit and goal on earth. The entire labor of the Christian mission might be described as a moral enterprise, as the awakening and strengthening of the moral sense. Such a description would not be inadequate to its full contents.

\14/ Cp. pseudo-Clem., de Virgin. 1.11: "Illo igitur charismate, quod a domino accepisti, illo inservi fratribus pneumaticis, prophetis, qui dignoscant dei esse verba ea, quae loqueris, et enarra quod accepisti charisma in ecclesiastico conventu ad aedificationem fratrum tuorum in Christo" ("Therefore with that spiritual gift which thou hast received from the Lord, serve the spiritual brethren, even the prophets, who know that the words thou speakest are of God, and declare the gift thou hast received in the church-assembly to the edification of thy brethren in Christ").

Paul’s opinion was shared by Christians of the sub-apostolic age by the apologists and great Christian fathers like Tertullian [[207]] and Origen.\15/ Read the Didache and the first chapter of First Clement, the conclusion of Barnabas, the homily entitled "Second Clement," the “Shepherd" of Hermas, or the last chapter of the Apology of Aristides, and everywhere you find the ethical demands occupying the front rank. They are thrust forward almost with wearisome diffuseness and with a rigorous severity. Beyond all question, these Christian communities seek to regulate their common life by principles of the strictest morality, tolerating no unholy members in their midst, and well aware that with the admission of immorality their very existence at once ceases.\16/ The fearful punishment to which Paul sentences the incestuous person (1 Cor. 5) is not exceptional. Gross sinners were always ejected from the church. Even those who consider all religions, including Christianity, to be merely idiosyncrasies, and view progress as entirely identical with the moral progress of mankind -- even such observers must admit that in these days progress did depend upon the Christian churches, and that history then had recourse to a prodigious and paradoxical system of levers in order to gain a higher level of human evolution. Amid all the con­vulsions of the soul and body produced by the preaching of a judgment, which was imminent, and amid the raptures excited by the Spirit of Christ, morality advanced to a position of greater purity and security. Above all, the conflict undertaken by Christianity was one against sins of the flesh, such as fornication, adultery, and unnatural vices. In the Christian communities, monogamy was held to be the sole permissible union of the sexes.\17/ The indissoluble character of marriage [[208]] was inculcated (apart from the case of adultery),\18/ and marriage was also secured by the very difficulties which second marriages encountered.\19/ Closely bound up with the struggle against carnal sins was the strict prohibition of abortion and the exposure of infants.\20/ Christians further opposed covetousness, greed, and dishonesty in business life; they attacked mammon-worship in every shape and form, and the pitiless temper which is its result. Thirdly, they combated double-dealing and falsehood. It was along these three lines, in the main, that Christian preaching asserted itself in the sphere of morals. Christians were to be pure men, who do not cling to their possessions and are not self-seeking; moreover, they were to be truthful and brave.

\15/ The highly characteristic passage in Apol. 45, may be quoted in this con­nection: "Nos soli innocentes, quid mirum, si necesse est? enim vero necesse est. Innocentiam a deo edocti et perfecte eam novimus, ut a perfecto magistro revelatam, et fideliter custodiamus, ut ab incontemptibili dispectore mandatam. Vobis autem humana aestimatio innocentiam tradidit, humana item dominatio imperavit, inde nec plenae nec adeo timendae estis disciplinae ad innocentiae veritatem. Tanta est prudentia hominis ad demonstrandum bonum quanta auctoritas ad exigendum; tam illa falli facilis quam ista contemni. Atque adeo quid plenius, dicere: Non occides, an docere: ne irascaris quidem?" etc. ("We, then, are the only innocent people. Is that at all surprising, if it is inevitable? And inevitable it is. Taught of God what innocence is, we have a perfect knowledge of it as revealed by a perfect teacher, and we also guard it faithfully as commanded by a judge who is not to be despised. But as for you, innocence has merely been introduced among you by human opinions, and it is enjoined by nothing better than human rules; hence your moral discipline lacks the fullness and authority requisite for the production of true innocence. Human skill in pointing out what is good is no greater than human authority in enforcing obedience to what is good; the one is as easily deceived as the other is disobeyed. And so, which is the ampler rule -- to say, 'Thou shalt not kill,' or 'Thou shalt not so much as be angry'?")

\16/ Martyr. Apoll. 26: "There is a distinction between death and death. For this reason the disciples of Christ die daily, torturing their desires and morti­fying them according to the divine scriptures; for we have no part at all in shameless desires, or scenes impure, or glances lewd, or ears attentive to evil, lest our souls thereby be wounded."

\17/ It formed part of the preparation for Christianity that monogamy had almost established itself by this time among the Jews and throughout the Empire as the one legal form of union between the sexes. Christianity simply proclaimed as an ordinance of God what had already been carried out. Contrary practices, such as concubinage, were still tolerated, but they counted for little in the social organism. Of course the verdict on "fornication" throughout the Empire generally was just as lax as it had always been, and even adultery on the man's side was hardly condemned. The church had to join issue on these points.

\18/ We may ignore casuistry in this connection.

\19/ The second century was filled with discussions and opinions about the permissibility of second marriages.

\20/ Cp. the Didache; Athenag., Suppl. 35, etc. (above, p. 123).

The apologists shared the views of the sub-apostolic fathers. At the close of his Apology, addressed to the public of paganism, Aristides exhibits the Christian life in its purity, earnestness, and love, and is convinced that in so doing he is expressing all that is most weighty and impressive in it. Justin follows suit. Lengthy sections of his great Apology are devoted to a state­ment of the moral principles in Christianity, and to a proof that these are observed by Christians. Besides, all the apologists rely on the fact that even their opponents hold goodness to be good and wickedness to be evil. They consider it superfluous to waste their time in proving that goodness is really goodness; they can be sure of assent to this proposition. What they seek to prove is that goodness among Christians is not an impotent claim or a pale ideal, but a power, which is developed on all sides and actually exercised in life.\21/ It was of special importance [[209]] to them to be able to show (cp. the argument of the apostle Paul) that what was weak and poor and ignoble rose thereby to strength and worth. "They say of us, that we gabble nonsense among females, half-grown people, girls, and old women.\22/ Not so. Our maidens 'philosophize,' and at their distaffs speak of things divine" (Tatian, Orat. 33). "The poor, no less than the well-to-do, philosophize with us" (ibid., 32). “Christ has not, as Socrates had, merely philosophers and scholars as his disciples, but also artizans and people of no education, who despise glory, fear, and death."\23/ “Among us are uneducated folk, artizans, and old women who are utterly unable to describe the value of our doctrines in words, but who attest them by their deeds."\24/ Similar retorts are addressed by [[210]] Origen to Celsus (in his second book), and by Lactantius (Instit. 6.4) to his opponents.

\21/ Celsus distinctly admits that the ethical ideas of Christianity agree with those of the philosophers (1.4); cp. Tert., Apol. 46: "Eadem, inquit, et philosophi monent atque profitentur" ("These very things, we are told, the philosophers also counsel and profess"). Here too we must, however, recognize a complexio oppositorum, and that in a twofold sense. On the one hand, morality, viewed in its essence, is taken as self-evident; a general agreement prevails on this (purity in all the relationships of life, perfect love to one's neighbors, etc.). On the other hand, under certain circumstances it is still maintained that Christian ethics are qualitatively distinct from all other ethics, and that they cannot be understood [[209b]] or practiced apart from the Spirit of God. This estimate answers to the double description given of Christian morality, which on one side is correct behavior in every relationship on earth, while on the other side it is a divine life and conduct, which is supernatural and based on complete asceticism and mortification. This extension of the definition of morality, which is most conspicuous in Tatian, was not, however, the original creation of Christianity; it was derived from the ethics of the philosophers. Christianity merely took it over and modified it. This is easily understood, if we read Philo, Clement, and Origen.

\22/ Celsus, 3.44: "Christians must admit that they can only persuade people destitute of sense, position, or intelligence, only slaves, women, and children, to accept their faith."

\23/ Justin, 2 Apol. 10.8. He adds:  δύναμίς ἐστι τοῦ ἀρρήτου πατρὸς καὶ οὐχὶ ἀνθρωπείου λόγου κατασκευή ("He is a power of the ineffable Father, and no mere instrument of human reason"). So Diognet. 7.9: ταῦτα ἀνθρώπου οὐ δοκεῖ τὰ ἔργα, ταῦτα δύναμίς ἐστι Θεοῦ ("These do not look like human works; they are the power of God").

\24/ Athenag., Suppl. 11; cp. also Justin, Apol. 60.11: παρ’ ἡμῖν οὖν ἔστι ταῦτα ἀκοῦσαι καὶ μαθεῖν παρὰ τῶν οὐδὲ τοὺς χαρακτῆρας τῶν στοιχείων ἐπισταμένων, ἰδιωτῶν μὲν καὶ βαρβάρων τὸ φθέγμα, σοφῶν δὲ καὶ πιστῶν τὸν νοῦν  ὄντων, καὶ πηρῶν καὶ χήρων τινῶν τὰς ὄψεις· ὡς συνεῖναι οὐ σοφίᾳ ἀνθρωπείᾳ ταῦτα γεγονέναι, ἀλλὰ δυνάμει θεοῦ λέγεσθαι ("Among us you can hear and learn these things from people who do not even know the forms of letters, who are uneducated and barbarous in speech, but wise and believing in mind, though some of them are even maimed and blind. From this you may understand these things are due to no human wisdom, but are uttered by the power of God"). Tertull., Apol. 46: "Deum quilibet opifex Christianus et invenit, et ostendit, et exinde totum quod in deum quaeritur re quoque adsignat, licet Plato adfirmet factitatorem universitatis neque inveniri facilem et inventum enarrari in omnes difficilem" ("There is not a Christian workman who does not find God, and manifest him, and proceed to ascribe to him all the attributes of deity, although Plato declares the maker of the universe is hard to find, and hard, when found, to be expounded to all and sundry").

A whole series of proofs is extant, indicating that the high level of morality enjoined by Christianity and the moral con­duct of the Christian societies were intended to promote, and actually did promote, the direct interests of the Christian mission.\25/ The apologists not infrequently lay great stress on this.\26/ Tatian mentions "the excellence of its moral doctrines'' as one of the reasons for his conversion (Orat. 29), while Justin declares that the steadfastness of Christians convinced him of their purity, and that these impressions proved decisive in bringing him over to the faith (Apol. 2.12). We frequently read in the Acts of the Martyrs (and, what is more, in the genuine sections) that the steadfastness and loyalty of Christians made an overwhelming impression on those who wit­nessed their trial or execution; so much so, that some of these spectators suddenly decided to become Christians themselves.\27/ [[211]] But it is in Cyprian's treatise "to Donatus" that we get the most vivid account of how a man was convinced and won over to Christianity, not so much by its moral principles, as by the moral energy which it exhibited. Formerly he con­sidered it impossible to put off the old man and put on the new. But "after I had breathed the heavenly spirit in myself, and the second birth had restored me to a new manhood, then doubtful things suddenly and strangely acquired certainty for me. What was hidden disclosed itself; darkness became en­lightened; what was formerly hard seemed feasible, and what had appeared impossible seemed capable of being done.

\25/ Ignat., ad Ephes. 10: ᾿Επιτρέψατε οὖν αὐτοῖς (i.e., the heathen) κἂν ἐκ τῶν ἔργων ὑμῖν μαθητευθῆναι. (2.)  Πρὸς τὰς ὀργὰς αὐτῶν ὑμεῖς πραεῖς, πρὸς τὰς μεγαλορημοσύνας αὐτῶν ὑμεῖς ταπεινόφρονες, πρὸς τὰς βλασφημίας αὐτῶν ὑμεῖς τὰς προσευχάς, πρὸς τὴν πλάνην αὐτῶν ὑμεῖς «ἑδραῖοι τῇ πίστει», πρὸς τὸ ἄγριον αὐτῶν ὑμεῖς ἥμεροι, μὴ σπουδάζοντες ἀντιμιμήσασθαι αὐτούς.  (3.)  ᾿Αδελφοὶ αὐτῶν εὑρεθῶμεν τῇ ἐπιεικείᾳ· «μιμηταὶ» δὲ «τοῦ κυρίου» σπουδάζωμεν εἶναι ("Allow them to learn a lesson at least from your works. Be meek when they break out in anger, be humble against their vaunting words, set your prayers against their blasphemies. . . .; be not zealous to imitate them in requital. Let us show ourselves their brethren by our forbear­ance, and let us be zealous to be imitators of the Lord").

\26/ Cp. also 2 Clem. 13.3: τὰ ἔθνη ἀκούοντα ἐκ τοῦ στόματος ἡμῶν τὰ λόγια τοῦ θεοῦ ὡς καλὰ καὶ μεγάλα θαυμάζει· ἔπειτα καταμαθόντα τὰ ἔργα ἡμῶν ὅτι οὐκ ἔστιν ἄξια τῶν ῥημάτων ὧν λέγομεν, ἔνθεν εἰς βλασφημίαν τρέπονται, λέγοντες εἶναι μῦθόν τινα καὶ πλάνην ("When the Gentiles hear from our mouth the words of God, they wonder at their beauty and greatness; then, discovering our deeds are not worthy of the words we utter, they betake themselves to blasphemy, declaring it is all a myth and error"). Such instances therefore did occur. Indirectly, they are a proof of what is argued above.

\27/ Even the second oldest martyrdom of which we know, that of James, the son of Zebedee, as related by Clement of Alexandria in his Hypotyposes (cp. Eus., H.E. 2.9), tells how the accuser himself was converted and beheaded along with the apostle. -- All Christians recognised that the zenith of Christian morality was reached when the faith was openly confessed before the authorities, but the sectarian Heracleon brought forward another view, which of course they took seriously amiss. His contention was that such confession in words might be hypocritical as well as genuine, and that the only conclusive evidence was that afforded by the steady profession, which consists in words and actions answering the faith itself (Clem. Alex., Strom. 4.9.71 f.).

Tertullian and Origen speak in similar terms.

But it is not merely Christians themselves who bear witness that they have been lifted into a new world of moral power, of earnestness, and of holiness; even their opponents bear testi­mony to their purity of life. The abominable charges circulated by the Jews against the moral life of Christians did hold their own for a long while, and were credited by the common people as well as by many of the educated classes.\28/ But anyone who examined the facts found something very different. Pliny told Trajan that he had been unable to prove anything criminal or vicious on the part of Christians during all his examination of them, and that, on the contrary, the purpose of their gatherings was to make themselves more conscientious and virtuous.\29/ [[212]] Lucian represents the Christians as credulous fanatics, but also as people of a pure life, of devoted love, and of a courage equal to death itself. The last-named feature is also admitted by Epictetus and Aurelius.\30/ Most important of all, however, is the testimony of the shrewd physician Galen. He writes (in his treatise "de Sententiis Politiae Platonicae"\31/) as follows: ­"Hominum plerique orationem demonstrativam continuam morte assequi nequeunt, quare indigent, ut instituantur parabolis. veluti nostro tempore videmus homines illos, qui Christiani vocantur, fidem suam e parabolis petiisse. Hi tamen interdum talia faciunt, qualia qui vere philosophantur. Nam quod mortem contemnunt, id quidem omnes ante oculos habemus; item quod verecundia quadam ducti ab usu rerum venerearum abhorrent. sunt enim inter eos et feminae et viri, qui per totam vitam a concubitu abstinuerint;\32/ sunt etiam qui in [[213]] animis regendis coercendisque et in acerrimo honestatis studio eo progressi sint, ut nihil cedant vere philosophantibus."\33/ One can hardly imagine a more impartial and brilliant testimony to the morality of Christians. Celsus, too, a very prejudiced critic of Christians, finds no fault with their moral conduct. Everything about them, according to him, is dull, mean, and deplorable; but he never denies them such morality as is possible under the circumstances. 

\28/ Probably, e.g., by Fronto, the teacher of M. Aurelius (cp. the Octavius of Minutius Felix), and also by Apuleius, if the woman described in Metam. 9.14 (omnia prorsus ut in quandam caenosam latrinam in eius animam flagitia confluxerant -- "every vice had poured into her soul, as into some foul cesspool") was a Christian (spretis atque calcatis divinis numinibus invicem certae religionis mentita sacrilega presumptione dei, quem praedicaret unicum -- "scorning and spurning the holy deities in place of the true religion, she affected to entertain a sacrilegious conception of God -- the only God, as she proclaimed"). The orator Aristides observed in the conduct of Christians a mixture of humility and arrogance, in which he finds a resemblance between them and the Jews (Orat. 46). This is his most serious charge, and Celsus raises a similar objection (see Book 3, Chapter 5).

\29/ "Adfirmabant autem [i.e., the Christians under examination] hanc fuisse sum­mam vel culpae suae vel erroris, quod essent soliti stato die ante lucem convenire carmenque Christo quasi deo dicere secum invicem, seque sacramento non in scelus aliquod obstringere, sed ne furta, ne latrocinia, ne adulteria committerent, ne fidem fallerent, ne depositum appellati abnegarent" ("They maintained that the head and front of their offending or error had been this, that they were accustomed on a stated day to assemble ere daylight and sing in turn a hymn to Christ as a god, and also that they bound themselves by an oath, not for any criminal end, but to avoid theft or robbery or adultery, never to break their word, or to repudiate a deposit when called upon to refund it").

\30/ Both of course qualify their admission. Epictetus (Arrian, Epict. Diss. 4.7.6) declares that the Galileans' ἀφοβία before tyrants was due to habit, while Aurelius attributes the readiness of Christians to die, to ostentation (Med. 11.3).

\31/ Extant in Arabic in the Hist. anteislam. Abulfedae (ed. Fleischer, p. 109). Cp. Kalbfleisch in the Festschrift fur Gomperz (1902), pp. 96 f., and Norden's Kunstprosa, pp. 518 f.

32/ From the time of Justin (and probably even earlier) Christians were always pointing, by way of contrast to the heathen, to the group of their brethren and sisters who totally abjured marriage. Obviously they counted on the fact that such conduct would evoke applause and astonishment even among their opponents (even castration was known, as in the case of Origen and of another person mentioned by Justin). Nor was this calculation quite mistaken, for the religious philosophy of the age was ascetic. Still, the applause was not unanimous, even among strict moralists. The pagan in Macarius Magnes, 3.36 (i.e., Porphyry) urged strongly against Paul that in 1 Tim. 4.1 he censures those who forbid marriage, while in 1 Cor. 7 he recommends celibacy, even although he has to admit he has no word of the Lord upon virgins. "Then is it not wrong to live as a celibate, and also to refrain from marriage at the order of a mere man, seeing that there is no command of Jesus extant upon celibacy? And how can some women who live as virgins boast so loudly of the fact, declaring they are filled with the Holy Ghost like her who bore Jesus?" The suspicious attitude of the early Christians towards sexual intercourse (even in marriage) comes out in Paul unmistakably. On this point the apocryphal Acts of the Apostles (beginning with the Acts of Paul) are specially significant, as they mirror the popular ideas on the subject. The following facts may be set down in this connection. (1) Marriage was still tolerated as a concession to human weakness. (2) The [[213b]]  restriction of sexual intercourse, or even entire abstinence from it, was advocated and urgently commended. (3) Second marriage was designated "a specious adultery" (εὐπρεπὴς μοιχεία). (4) Virgins were persuaded to remain as they were. (5) Instead of marriage, platonic ties ("virgines subintroductae") were formed, audaciously and riskily. Cp. Tertull., de Resurr. 8: "Virginitas et viduitas et modesta in occulto matrimonii dissimulatio et una notitia eius ("Virginity and widowhood and secret self-restraint upon the marriage-bed and the sole practical recognition of that restraint [i.e., monogamy]"). Such, in the order of diminuendo, were the four forms assumed by sexual asceticism.

\33/ "As a rule, men are unable to follow consecutively any argumentative speech, so that they need to be educated by means of parables. Just as in our own day we see the people who are called Christians seeking their faith from parables. Still, they occasionally act just as true philosophers do. For their contempt of death is patent to us all, as is their abstinence from the use of sexual organs, by a certain impulse of modesty. For they include women and men who refrain from cohabiting all through their lives, and they also number individuals who in ruling and controlling themselves, and in their keen pursuit of virtue, have attained a pitch not inferior to that of real philosophers." Galen, of course, condemns the faith of Christians as a mere obstinate adherence to what is quite unproven: περὶ διαφορᾶς σπυγμῶν (De differentia pulsuum) 4 [PG 8.579]  (ἵνα μή τις εὐθὺς κατ’ ἀρχὰς, ὡς εἰς Μωϋσοῦ καὶ Χριστοῦ διατριβὴν ἀφιγμένος, νόμων ἀναποδείκτων ἀκούῃ -- "That no one may hastily give credence to unproven laws, as if he had reached the way of life enjoined by Moses and Christ"), and [PG 8.657] (θᾶττον γὰρ ἄν τις τοὺς ἀπὸ Μωϋσοῦ καὶ Χριστοῦ μεταδιδάξειεν ἢ τοὺς ταῖς αἱρέσεσι προστετηκότας ἰατρούς τε καὶ φιλοσόφους -- ''One could more easily teach novelties to the adherents of Moses and Christ than to doctors and philosophers who are stuck fast in the schools").

As the proof of "the Spirit and of power" subsided after the beginning of the third century, the extraordinary moral tension also became relaxed, paving the way gradually for a morality which was adapted to a worldly life, and which was no longer equal to the strain of persecution.\34/ This began as far back as the second century, in connection with the question, whether any, and if so what, post-baptismal sins could be forgiven. [[214]] But the various stages of the process cannot be exhibited in these pages. It must suffice to remark that from about 230 C.E. onwards, many churches followed the lead of the Roman church in forgiving gross bodily sins, whilst after 251 C.E. most churches also forgave sins of idolatry. Thus the circle was complete; only in one or two cases were crimes of exceptional atrocity denied forgiveness, implying that the offender was not re-admitted to the church. It is quite obvious from the later writings of Tertullian ("nostrorum bonorum status iam mergitur," de Pudic. 1), and from many a stinging remark in Origen's commentaries, that even by 220 C.E. the Christian churches, together with their bishops and clergy, were no longer what they had previously been, from a moral point of view; nevertheless (as Origen expressly emphasizes against Celsus; cp. 3.29-30) their morals still continued to excel the morals of other guilds within the empire and of the population in the cities, whilst the penitential ordinances between 251 and 325, of which we possess no small number, point to a very earnest endeavor being made to keep up morality and holiness of life.\35/ Despite their moral deterioration, the Christian churches must have still con­tinued to wield a powerful influence and fascination for people of a moral disposition.

\34/ The number of those who lapsed during the persecutions of Decius and Diocletian was extraordinarily large; but Tertullian had already spoken of "people who are only Christians if the wind happens to be favorable" (Scorp. 1).

\35/ The "Shepherd" of Hermas shows, however, the amount of trouble which even at an earlier period had to be encountered.

But here again we are confronted with the complexio opposi­torum. For the churches must have also produced a powerful effect upon people in every degree of moral weakness, just on account of that new internal development which had culminated about the middle of the third century. If the churches hitherto had been societies which admitted people under the burden of sin, not denying entrance even to the worst offender, but secur­ing him forgiveness with God and thereafter requiring him to continue pure and holy, now they had established themselves voluntarily or involuntarily as societies based upon unlimited forgiveness. Along with baptism, and subsequent to it, they had now developed a second sacrament; it was still without form, but they relied upon it as a thing which had form, and considered themselves justified in applying it in almost every [[215]] case -- it was the sacrament of penitence. Whether this develop­ment enabled them to meet the aims of their Founder better than their more rigorous predecessors, or whether it removed them further from these aims, is not a question upon which we need to enter. The point is that now for the first time the attractive power of Christianity as a religion of pardon came fully into play. No doubt, everything depended on the way in which pardon was applied but it was not merely a frivolous scoff on the part of Julian the apostate when he pointed out that the way in which the Christian churches preached and administered forgiveness was injurious to the best interests of morality, and that there were members in the Christian churches whom no other religious societies would tolerate within their bounds. The feature which Julian censured had arisen upon a wide scale as far back as the second half of the third century. When clerics of the same church started to quarrel with each other, as in the days of Cyprian at Carthage, they instantly flung at each other the most heinous charges of fraud, of adultery, and even of murder. One asks, in amazement and indignation, why the offending presbyter or deacon had not been long ago expelled from the church, if such accusations were correct? To this question no answer can be given. Besides, even if these repeated and almost stereotyped charges were not in every case well founded, the not less serious fact remains that one brother wantonly taxed another with the most heinous crimes. It reveals a laxity that would not have been possible, had not a fatal influence been already felt from the reverse side of the religion of the merciful heart and of forgiveness.
Still, this forgiveness is not to be condemned by the mere fact that it was extended to worthless characters. We are not called upon to be its judges. We must be content to ascertain, as we have now ascertained, that while the character of the Christian religion, as a religion of morality, suffered some injury in the course of the third century, this certainly did not impair its powers of attraction. It was now sought after as the religion which formed a permanent channel of forgiveness to mankind. Which was partly due, no doubt, to the fact that different groups of people were now appealing to it. [[216]]
Yet, if this sketch of the characteristics of Christianity is not to be left unfinished two things must still be noted. One is this: the church never sanctioned the thesis adopted by most of the Gnostics, that there was a qualitative distinction of human beings according to their moral capacities, and that in conse­quence of this there must also be different grades in their ethical conduct and in the morality which might be expected from them.\36/ But there was a primitive distinction between a morality for the perfect and a morality which was none the less adequate, and this distinction was steadily maintained. Even in Paul there are evident traces of this view alongside of a strictly uniform conception. The Catholic doctrine of “praecepta" and "consilia" prevailed almost from the first within the Gentile church, and the words of the Didache which follow the description of "the two ways" (c. 6: "If thou canst bear the whole yoke of the Lord, thou shalt be perfect: but if thou canst not, do what thou canst") only express a conviction which was very widely felt. The distinction between the "children" and the "mature" (or perfect), which originally obtained within the sphere of Christian knowledge, overflowed into the sphere of conduct, since both spheres were closely allied.\37/ Christianity had always her heroic souls in asceticism and poverty and so forth. They were held in exceptional esteem (see above), and they had actually to be warned, even [[217]] in the sub-apostolic age, against pride and boasting (cp. Ignat., ad Polyc. 5.2:  Εἴ τις δύναται ἐν ἁγνείᾳ μένειν εἰς τιμὴν τῆς σαρκὸς τοῦ κυρίου, ἐν ἀκαυχησίᾳ μενέτω. ᾿Εὰν καυχήσηται, ἀπώλετο -- "If anyone is able to remain in purity to the honor of the flesh of the Lord, let him remain as he is without boasting of it. If he boast, he is a lost man;" also Clem. Rom. 38.2: ὁ ἁγνὸς ἐν τῇ σαρκὶ [htw kai] μὴ ἀλαζονευέσθω -- "Let him that is pure in the flesh remain so and not boast about it"). It was in these ascetics of early Christianity that the first step was taken towards monasticism.

\36/ It is surprising that the attractiveness of these (Gnostic) ideas was not greater than it seems to have been. But by the time that they sought to establish their situation on Christian soil or to force their way in, the church's organization was well knit together, so that Gnosticism could do no more in the way of breaking it up or creating a rival institution.

\37/ The ascetics are not only the “perfect" but also the "religious," strictly speaking. Cp. Origen (Hom. 2. in Num., vol. 10. p. 20), who describes virgins, ascetics, and so forth, as those "qui in professione religionis videntur"; also Hom. 17. in Luc. (vol. 5. p. 151), where, on 1 Cor. 1.2, he observes: "Memini cum interpretarer 1 Cor. 1.2 dixisse me diversitatem ecclesiae et eorum qui invocant nomen domini. Puto enim monogamum et virginem et eum, qui in castimonia perseverat, esse de ecclesia dei, eum vero, qui sit digamus, licet bonam habeat conversationem et ceteris virtutibus polleat, tamen non esse de ecclesia et de numero, qui non habent rugam aut maculam aut aliquid istius modi, sed esse de secundo gradu et de his qui invocant nomen domini, et qui salvantur quidem in nomine Jesu Christi, nequaquam tamen coronantur ab eo" (church = virgins, ascetics, and the once married: those who call on the name of the Lord = the second rank, i.e., the twice married, even though their lives are pure otherwise).

Secondly, veracity in matters of fact is as liable to suffer as righteousness in every religion: every religion gets encumbered with fanaticism, the indiscriminate temper, and fraud. This is writ clear upon the pages of church history from the very first. In the majority of cases, in the case of miracles that have never happened, of visions that were never seen, of voices that were never heard, and of books that were never written by their alleged authors, we are not in a position at this time of day to decide where self-deception ended and where fraud began, where enthusiasm became deliberate and then passed into conventional deception, any more than we are capable of determining, as a rule, where a harsh exclusiveness passes into injustice and fanaticism. We must content ourselves with determining that cases of this kind were unfortunately not infrequent, and that their number increased. What we call priest-craft and miracle-fraud were not absent from the third or even from the second century. They are to be found in the Catholic church as well as in several of the gnostic conventicles, where water was changed into wine (as by the Marcosians) or wine into water (cp. the books of Jeu).
Christianity, as the religion of the Spirit and of power, con­tained another element which proved of vital importance, and which exhibited pre-eminently the originality of the new faith. This was its reverence for the lowly, for sorrow, suffering, and death, together with its triumphant victory over these contra­dictions of human life. The great incentive and example alike for the eliciting and the exercise of this virtue lay in the Redeemer's life and cross. Blent with patience and hope, this reverence overcame any external hindrance; it recognized in [[218]] suffering the path to deity, and thus triumphed in the midst of all its foes. "Reverence for what is beneath us -- this is the last step to which mankind were fitted and destined to attain. But what a task it was, not only to let the earth lie beneath us, we appealing to a higher birthplace, but also to recognize humility and poverty, mockery and despite, disgrace and wretchedness, suffering and death -- to recognize these things as divine."\38/ Here lies the root of the most profound factor contributed by Christianity to the development of the moral sense, and contributed with perfect strength and delicacy. It differentiates itself, as an entirely original element, from the similar phenomena which recur in several of the philosophical schools (e.g., the Cynic). Not until a much later period, how­ever, -- from Augustine onwards, -- did this phase of feeling find expression in literature.
\38/ Goethe, Wanderjahre 24, p. 243.

Even what is most divine on earth has its shadow neverthe­less, and so it was with this reverence. It was inevitable that the new aesthetic, which it involved, should become an aesthetic of lower things, of death and its grim relics; in this way it ceased to be aesthetic by its very effort to attain the impossible, until finally a much later period devised an aesthetic of spiritual agony and raptures over suffering. But there was worse behind. Routine and convention found their way even into this phase of feeling. What was most profound and admirable was gradually stripped of its inner spirit and rendered positively repulsive by custom, common talk, mechanical tradition, and ritual practices.\39/ Yet, however strongly we feel about the unsightly phlegm of this corruption, and however indignantly we condemn it, we should never forget that it represented the shadow thrown by the most profound and at the same time the most heroic mood of the human soul in its spiritual exaltation; it is, in fact, religion itself, fully ripe.
\39/ Goethe (ibid., p. 255) has said the right word on this as well: “We draw a veil over those sufferings (the sufferings of Christ in particular), just because we reverence them so highly. We hold it is a damnable audacity to take these mysterious secrets, in which the depth of the divine sorrow lies hid, and play with them, fondle them, trick them out, and never rest until the supreme object of reverence appears vulgar and paltry."




"Some Christians [evidently not all] will not so much as give or accept any account of what they believe. They adhere to the watchwords `Prove not, only believe,' and `Thy faith shall save thee.' Wisdom is an evil thing in the world, folly a good thing." So Celsus wrote about the Christians (1.9). In the course of his polemical treatise he brings forward this charge repeatedly in various forms; as in 1.12, "They say, in their usual fashion, 'Enquire not'"; 1.26 f., "That ruinous saying of Jesus has deceived men. With his illiterate character and lack of eloquence he has gained of course almost no one but illiterate people";\1/ 3.44, "The following rules are laid down by Christians, even by the more intelligent among them. 'Let none draw near to us who is educated, or shrewd, or wise. Such qualifications are in our eyes an evil. But let the ignorant, the idiots, and the fools come to us with confidence'"; 6.10 f., "Christians say, 'Believe first of all that he whom I announce to thee is the Son of God."' "All are ready to cry out, 'Believe if thou wilt be saved, or else be gone.' What is wisdom among men they describe as foolishness with God, and their reason for this is their desire to win over none but the uneducated and simple by means of this saying." Justin also represents Christians being charged by their opponents with [[220]] making blind assertions and giving no proof (Apol. 1.52), while Lucian declares (Peregr. 13) that they "received such matters on faith without the slightest enquiry" (ἄνευ τινὸς ἀκριβοῦς πίστεως τὰ τοιαῦτα παραδεξάμενοι).
\1/ Still Celsus adds that there are also one or two discreet, pious, reasonable people among the Christians, and some who are experts in intelligent argument.

A description and a charge of this kind were not entirely unjustified. Within certain limits Christians have maintained, from the very first, that the human understanding has to be captured and humbled in order to obey the message of the gospel. Some Christians even go a step further. Bluntly, they require a blind faith for the word of God. When the apostle Paul views his preaching, not so much in its content as in its origin, as the word of God, and even when he notes the contrast between it and the wisdom of this world, his demand is for a firm, resolute faith, and for nothing else. "We bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ" (2 Cor. 10.5), and -- the word of the cross tolerates no σοφία λόγου (no wisdom of speech), it is to be preached as foolishness and apprehended by faith (1 Cor. 1.17 f.). Hence he also issues a warning against the seductions of philosophy (Col. 2.8). Tertullian advanced beyond this position much more boldly. He prohibited Christians (de Praescr. 8 f.) from ever applying to doctrine the saying, "Seek and ye shall find." "What," he exclaims (op. cit., 7), "what has Athens to do with Jerusalem, or the Academy with the church? What have heretics to do with Christians? Our doctrine originates with the porch of Solomon, who had himself taught that men must seek the Lord in simplicity of heart. Away with all who attempt to introduce a mottled Christianity of Stoicism and Platonism and dialectic! Now that Jesus Christ has come, no longer need we curiously inquire, or even investigate, since the gospel is preached. When we believe, we have no desire to sally beyond our faith. For our belief is the primary and palmary fact. There is nothing further that we have still to believe beyond our own belief.....To be ignorant of everything outside the rule of faith, is to possess all knowledge."\2/ [[221]]

\2/ Cp. de Carne Christi 2: "Si prophets es, praenuntia aliquid; si apostolus, praedica publice; si apostolicus, cum apostolic senti; si tantum Christianus es, crede quod traditum est" ("If you are a prophet, predict something; if an apostle, [[221b]] preach openly; if a follower of the apostles, think as they thought; if you are merely a Christian individual, believe tradition"). But faith was many a time more rigorous among the masses (the "simpliciores" or "simplices et idiotae") than theologians -- even than Tertullian himself -- cared. Origen's laments over this are numerous (cp., e.g., de Princip. 4.8).

Many missionaries may have preached in this way, not merely after but even previous to the stern conflict with gnosticism. Faith is a matter of resolve, a resolve of the will and a resolve to obey. Trouble it not by any considerations of human reason!

Preaching of this kind is only possible if at the same time some powerful authority is set up. And such an authority was set up. First and foremost (cp. Paul), it was the authority of the revealed will of God as disclosed in the mission of the Son to earth. Here external and internal authority blended and coincided, for while the divine will is certainly an authority in itself (according to Paul's view), and is also capable of making itself felt as such, without men understanding its purpose and right (Rom. 9 f.), the apostle is equally convinced that God's gracious will makes itself intelligible to the inner man.

Still, even in Paul, the external and internal authority vested in the cross of Christ is accompanied by other authorities which claim the obedience of faith. These are the written word of the sacred documents and the sayings of Jesus. In their case also neither doubt nor contradiction is permissible.

For all that, the great apostle endeavored to reason out everything, and in the last resort it is never a question with him of any "sacrifice of the intellect" (see below). Some passages may seem to contradict this statement, but they only seen to do so. When Paul demands the obedience of faith and sets up the authority of "the word" or of "the cross," he simply means that obedience of faith which is inseparable from any religion whatsoever, no matter how freely and spiritually it may be set forth. But, as Celsus and Tertullian serve to remind us (if any reminder at all is necessary on this point), many missionaries and teachers went about their work in a very different manner. They simply erected their authority wherever they went; it was the letter of Scripture more and more, [[222]] but ere long it became the rule of faith, together with the church (the church as "the pillar and ground of the truth," στῦλος καὶ ἑδραίωμα τῆς ἀληθείας, as early as 1 Tim. 3.15).\3/ True, they endeavored to buttress the authority of these two magnitudes, the Bible and the church, by means of rational arguments (the authority of the Bible being supported by the proof from the fulfillment of prophecy, and that of the church by the proof from the unbroken tradition which reached back to Christ himself and invested the doctrine of the church with the value of Christ's own words). In so doing they certainly did not demand an absolutely blind belief. But, first of all, it was assuredly not every missionary or teacher who was competent to lead such proofs. They were adduced only by the educated apologists and controversialists. And in the second place, no inner authority can ever be secured for the Bible and the church by means of external proofs. The latter really remained a sort of alien element. At bottom, the faith required was blind faith.

\3/ For details on the significance of the Bible in the mission, see Chapter 8.
Still, it would be a grave error to suppose that for the majority of people the curt demand that authorities must be simply believed and reason repudiated, acted as a serious obstacle to their acceptance of the Christian religion.\4/ In reality, it was the very opposite. The more peremptory and exclusive is the claim of faith which any religion makes, the more trustworthy and secure does that religion seem to the majority; the more it relieves them of the duty and responsibility of reflecting upon its truth, the more welcome it is. Any firmly established authority thus acts as a sedative. Nay more. The most welcome articles of faith are just the most paradoxical, which are a mockery of all experience and rational reflection; the reason for this being that they appear to guarantee the [[223]] disclosure of divine wisdom and not of something which is merely human and therefore unreliable. "Miracle is the favorite child of faith." That is true of more than miracles; it applies also to the miraculous doctrines which cannot be appropriated by a man unless he is prepared to believe and obey them blindly.

\4/ Naturally it did repel highly cultured men like Celsus and Porphyry. For Celsus, see above, p. 219. Porphyry, the pagan in Macarius Magnes (4.9), writes thus on Matt. 11.25: "As the mysteries are hidden from the wise and thrown down before minors and senseless sucklings (in which case, of course, even what is written for minors and senseless people should have been clear and free from obscurity), it is better to aim at a lack of reason and of education! And this is the very acme of Christ's sojourn upon earth, to conceal the ray of knowledge from the wise and to unveil it to the senseless and to small children!"
But so long as the authorities consisted of books and doctrines, the coveted haven of rest was still unreached. The meaning of these doctrines always lies open to some doubt. Their scope, too, is never quite fixed. And, above all, their application to present-day questions is often a serious difficulty, which leads to painful and disturbing controversies. "Blind faith" never gains its final haven until its authority is living, until questions can be put to it, and answers promptly received from it. During the first generations of Christendom no such authority existed; but in the course of the second century and down to the middle of the third, it was gradually taking shape -- I mean, the authority of the church as represented in the episcopate. It did not dislodge the other authorities of God's saving purpose and the holy Scripture, but by stepping to their side it pushed them into the background. The auctoritas interpretiva is invariably the supreme and real authority. After the middle of the third century, the church and the episcopate developed so far that they exercised the functions of a sacred authority. And it was after that period that the church first advanced by leaps and bounds, till it became a church of the masses. For while the system of a living authority in the church had still defects and gaps of its own -- since in certain circumstances it either exercised its functions very gradually or could not enforce its claims at all -- these defects did not exist for the masses. In the bishop or priest, or even in the ecclesiastical fabric and the cultus, the masses were directly conscious of something holy and authoritative to which they yielded submission, and this state of matters had prevailed for a couple of generations by the time that Constantine granted recognition and privileges to Christianity. This was the church on which he conferred privileges, this church with its enormous authority over the masses! These were the Christians whom he declared [[224]] to be the support of the throne, people who clung to the bishops with submissive faith and who would not resist their divinely appointed authority! The Christianity that triumphed was the Christianity of blind faith, which Celsus has depicted. When would a State ever have shown any practical interest in any other kind of religion?


Christianity is a complexio oppositorum. The very Paul who would have reason brought into captivity, proclaimed that Christianity, in opposition to polytheism, was a "reasonable service of God" (Rom. 12.1, λογικὴ λατρεία), and declared that what pagans thought folly in the cross of Christ seemed so to those alone who were blinded, whereas what Christians preached was in reality the profoundest wisdom. He went on to declare that this was not merely reserved for us as a wisdom to be attained in the far future, but capable of being understood even at present by believers as such. He promised that he would introduce the "perfect" among them to its mysteries.\5/ This promises (cp., e.g., 1 Cor. 2.6 f., σοφίαν ἐν τοῖς τελείοις) he made good; yet he never withheld this wisdom from those who were children or weak in spiritual things. He could not, indeed he dared not, utter all he understood of God's word and the cross of Christ -- λαλοῦμεν θεοῦ σοφίαν ἐν μυστηρίῳ, τὴν ἀποκεκρυμμένην ("We speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom") --  but he moved freely in the realm of history and speculation, drawing abundantly from "the depths of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God." In Paul one feels the joy of the thinker who enters into the thoughts of God, and who is convinced that in and with and through his faith he has [[225]] passed from darkness into light, from confusion, cloudiness, and oppression into the lucid air that frees the soul.

\5/ For the "perfect," see p. 216. They constitute a special class for Paul. The distinction came to be sharply drawn at a later period, especially in the Alexandrian school, where one set of Christian precepts was formed for the "perfect" ("those who know"), another for believers. Christ himself was said by the Alexandrians (not merely by the Gnostics) to have committed an esoteric doctrine to his intimate disciples and to have provided for its transmission. Cp. Clement of Alexandria, as quoted in Eus., H. E. 2.1.4:  ᾿Ιακώβῳ τῷ δικαίῳ καὶ ᾿Ιωάννῃ καὶ Πέτρῳ μετὰ τὴν ἀνάστα-
σιν παρέδωκεν τὴν γνῶσιν ὁ κύριος, οὗτοι τοῖς λοιποῖς ἀποστόλοις παρέδωκαν, οἱ δὲ λοιποὶ ἀπόστολοι τοῖς ἑβδομήκοντα . . . ("The Lord delivered all knowledge after the resurrection to James the Just, and John, and Peter; they delivered it to the rest of the apostles, and the rest of the apostles to the seventy," etc.).
"We have been rescued from darkness and lifted into the light " -- such was the chant which rose from a chorus of Christians during those early centuries. It was intellectual truth and lucidity in which they reveled and gloried. Polytheism seemed to them an oppressive night; now that it was lifted off them, the sun shone clearly in the sky! Wherever they looked, everything became clear and sure in the light of spiritual monotheism, owing to the living God. Read, for example, the epistle of Clement of Rome,\6/ the opening of the Clementine Homily,\7/ or the epistle of Barnabas;\8/ listen to the apologists, or study Clement of Alexandria and Origen. They gaze at Nature, only to rejoice in the order and unity of its movement; heaven and earth are a witness to them of God's omnipotence and unity. They ponder the capacities and endowments of human nature, and trace in them the Creator. In human reason and liberty they extol his boundless goodness; they compare the revelations and the will of God with this reason and freedom, and lo, there is entire harmony between them! Nothing is laid on man which does not already lie within him, nothing is revealed which is not already presupposed in his inward being. The long-buried religion of nature, religion μετὰ λόγου [accompanied by reason], has been rediscovered.\9/ They look at Christ, and scales fall, as it were, from their eyes! What wrought in him was the Logos, the very Logos by which the world had been created and with which the spiritual essence of man was bound up inextricably, the Logos which had wrought throughout human history in all that was noble and good, and which was finally obliged to reveal its power completely in order to dissipate the obstacles [[226]] and disorders by which man was beset -- so weak was he, for all the glory of his creation. Lastly, they contemplate the course of history, its beginning, middle, and end, only to find a common purpose everywhere, which is in harmony with a glorious origin and with a still more glorious conclusion. The freedom of the creature, overcome by the allurements of demons, has occasioned disorders, but the disorders are to be gradually removed by the power of the Christ-Logos. At the commencement of history humanity was like a child, full of good and divine instincts, but as yet untried and liable to temptation; at the close, a perfected humanity will stand forth, fated to enter immortality. Reason, freedom, immortality -- these are to carry the day against error, failure, and decay.

\6/ Especially chap. 19 f.

\7/ 2 Clem. 1.4-6:  τὸ φῶς  ἡμῖν ἐχαρίσατο ...  πηροὶ ὄντες τῇ διανοίᾳ, προσκυνοῦντες λίθους καὶ ξύλα καὶ χρυσὸν καὶ ἄργυρον καὶ χαλκόν, ἔργα ἀνθρώπων· ... ἀμαύρωσιν οὖν περικείμενοι καὶ τοιαύτης ἀχλύος γέμοντες ἐν τῇ ὁράσει ἀνεβλέψαμεν ("He bestowed on us the light....we were blind in understanding, worshipping stones and stocks and gold and silver and brass, the works of men.....Thus, girt with darkness and oppressed by so thick a mist in our vision, we regained our sight"). There are numerous passages of a similar nature.

\8/ Cp. chap. 1. chap. 2.2 f.

\9/ Cp. Justin's Apology, Tertullian's tract de Testimonio Animae, etc.

Such was the Christianity of many people, a bright and glad affair, the doctrine of pure reason. The new doctrine proved a deliverance, not an encumbrance, to the understanding. Instead of imposing foreign matter on the understanding, it threw light upon its own darkened contents. Christianity is divine revelation, but it is at the same time pure reason; it is the true philosophy.
Such was the conception entertained by most of the apologists, and they tried to show how the entire content of Christianity was embraced by this idea. Anything that did not fit in, they left out. It was not that they rejected it. They simply explained it afresh by means of their "scientific" method, i.e., the method of allegorical spiritualizing, or else they relegated it to that great collection of evidence, the proof of prophecy. In this way, anything that seemed obnoxious or of no material value was either removed or else enabled to retain a formal value as dart of the striking proof which confirmed the divine character of Christianity. It is impossible in these pages to exhibit in detail the rational philosophy which thus emerged; for our immediate purpose it is enough to state that a prominent group of Christian teachers existed as late as the opening of the fourth century (for Lactantius was among their number) who held this conception of Christianity.\10/ As apologists and as [[227]] teachers ex cathedra they took an active part in the Christian mission. Justin, for example, had his "school," no less than Tatian.\11/ The theologians in the royal retinue of Constantine also pursued this way of thinking, and it permeated any decree of Constantine that touched on Christianity, and especially his address to the holy council.\12/ When Eusebius wishes to make the new religion intelligible to the public at large, he describes it as the religion of reason and lucidity; see, for example, the first book of his church history and the life of Constantine with its appendices. We might define all these influential teachers as "rationalists of the supernatural," to employ a technical term of modern church history; but as the revelation was continuous, commencing with creation, never ceasing, and ever in close harmony with the capacities of men, the term "supernatural" is really almost out of place in this connection. The outcome of it all was a pure religious rationalism, with a view of history all its own, in which, as was but natural, the final phenomena of the future tallied poorly with the course traversed in the earlier stages. From Justin, Commodian, and Lactantius, we learn how the older apocalyptic and the rationalistic moralism were welded together, without any umbrage being taken at the strange blend which this produced.

\10/ I have endeavored to expound it in my Dogmengeschichte 1(3), pp. 462-507 [Eng. trans., 3.267 f.].

\11/ See the Acta Justini, and his Apology. We know that Tatian had Rhodon as one of his pupils (Eus., H.E. 5.13).

\12/ This address, even apart from its author, is perhaps the most impressive apology ever written (for its genuineness, see my Chronologie, 2. pp.116 f., and Wendland in Philolog. Wochenschr. 1902, No. 8). It was impressive for half-educated readers, i.e., for the educated public of those days. Very effectively, it concludes by weaving together the (fabricated) prophecies of the Sibylline oracles and the (interpolated) Eclogue of Virgil, and by contrasting the reign of Constantine with those of his predecessors. The Christianity it presents is exclusive; even Socrates finds no favor, and Plato is sharply censured (ch. 9) as well as praised. Still, it is tinged with Neoplatonism. The Son of God as such and as the Christ is put strongly in the foreground; he is God, at once God's Son and the hero of a real myth. But everything shimmers in a sort of speculative haze which corresponds to the style, the latter being poetic, flowery, and indefinite.  


But authority and reason, blind faith and clear insight, do not sum up all the forms in which Christianity was brought [[228]] before the world. The mental standpoint of the age and its religious needs were so manifold that it was unwilling to forgo any form, even in Christianity, which was capable of transmitting anything of religious value. It was a complex age, and its needs made even the individual man complex. The very man who longed for an authority to which he might submit blindfold, often longed at the same moment for a reasonable religion; nor was he satisfied even when he had secured them both, but craved for something more, for sensuous pledges which gave him a material representation of holy things, and for symbols of mysterious power. Yet, after all, was this peculiar to that age? Was it only in these days that men have cherished such desires?

From the very outset of the Christian religion, its preaching was accompanied by two outward rites, neither less nor more than two, viz., baptism and the Lord's supper. We need not discuss either what was, or what was meant to be, their original significance. The point is, that whenever we enter the field of Gentile Christianity, their meaning is essentially fixed; although Christian worship is to be a worship in spirit and in truth, these sacraments are sacred actions which operate on life, containing the forgiveness of sins, knowledge, and eternal life.\13/ No doubt, the elements of water, bread, and wine are symbols, and the scene of operation is not external; still, the symbols do actually convey to the soul all that they signify. Each symbol has a mysterious but real connection with the fact which it signifies.
\13/ See the gospel of John, the epistle of John, and the Didache with its sacramental prayer.

To speak of water, bread, and wine as holy elements, or of being immersed in water that the soul might be washed and purified: to talk of bread and wine as body and blood, or as the body and the blood of Christ, or as the soul's food for immortality: to correlate water and blood -- all this kind of language was quite intelligible to that age. It was intelligible to the blunt realist, as well as to the most sublime among what may be called "the spiritualists." The two most sublime spiritualists of the church, namely, John and Origen, were the most profound exponents of the mysteries, while the great gnostic [[229]] theologians linked on their most abstract theosophies to realistic mysteries. They were all sacramental theologians. Christ, they held, had connected, and in fact identified, the benefits he brought to men with symbols; the latter were the channel and vehicle of the former; the man who participates in the unction of the holy symbol gets grace thereby. This was a fact with which people were familiar from innumerable mysteries; in and with the corporeal application of the symbol, unction or grace was poured into the soul. The connection seemed like a predestined harmony, and in fact the union was still more inward. The sentence of the later schoolmen, "Sacramenta continent gratiam," is as old as the Gentile church, and even older, for it was in existence long before the latter sprang into being.

The Christian religion was intelligible and impressive, owing to the fact that it offered men sacraments.\14/ Without its [[230]] mysteries, people would have found it hard to appreciate the new religion. But who can tell how these mysteries arose? No one was to blame, no one was responsible. Had not baptism chanced to have been instituted, had not the observance of the holy supper been enjoined (and can any one maintain that these flowed inevitably from the essence of the gospel?), then some sacrament would have been created out of a parable of Jesus, not of a word or act of some kind or another. The age for material and certainly for bloody sacrifices was now past and gone; these were no longer the alloy of any religion. But the age of sacraments was very far from being over; it was in full vigor and prime. Every hand that was stretched out for religion, tried to grasp it in sacramental form; the eye saw sacraments where sacraments there were none, and the senses gave them body.\15/

\14/ Many, of course, took umbrage at the Lord's supper as the eating and drinking of flesh and blood. The criticism of the pagan (Porphyry) in Mac. Magnes, 3.15, is remarkable. He does not attack the mystery of the supper in the Synoptic tradition, but on John 6.53 ("Except ye eat my flesh and drink my blood, ye have no life in yourselves") he observes: "Is it not, then, bestial and absurd, surpassing all absurdity and bestial coarseness, for a man to eat human flesh and drink the blood of his fellow tribesman or relative, and thereby win life eternal? [Porphyry, remember, was opposed to the eating of flesh and the tasting of blood in general.] Why, tell me what greater coarseness could you introduce into life, if you practice that habit? What further crime will you start, more accursed than this loathsome profligacy? The ear cannot bear to hear it mentioned -- and by 'it,' I am far from meaning the action itself, I mean the very name of this strange, utterly unheard of offence. Never, even in extraordinary emergencies, was anything like this offence enacted before mankind in the most fantastic presentations of the Erinyes. Not even would the Potidaeans have admitted anything like this, although they had been debilitated by inhuman hunger. Of course we know about Thyestes and his meals, etc. [then follow similar cases from antiquity]. All these persons unintentionally committed this offence. But no civilized person ever served up such food, none ever got such gruesome instructions from any teacher. And if thou wert to pursue thine inquiries as far as Scythia or the Macrobii of Ethiopia, or to travel right round the margin of the sea itself, thou wouldst find people who eat lice and roots, or live on serpents, and make mice their food, but all refrain from human flesh. What, then, does this saying mean? For even although it was meant to be taken in a more mystical or allegorical (and therefore profitable) sense, still the mere sound of the words upon the ear grates inevitably on the soul, and makes it rebel against the loathsomeness of the saying. . . . Many teachers, no doubt, attempt to introduce new and strange ideas. But none has ever devised a precept so strange and horrible as this, neither [[230b]] historian nor philosopher, neither barbarian nor primitive Greek. See here, what has come over you that you foolishly exhort credulous people to follow such a faith? Look at all the mischief that is set thus afoot to storm the cities as well as the villages! Hence it was, I do believe, that neither Mark nor Luke nor Matthew mentioned this saying, just because they were of opinion that it was unworthy of civilized people, utterly strange and unsuitable and quite alien to the habits of honorable life."

\15/ By the end of the second century, at the very latest, the disciplina arcani embraced the sacraments, partly owing to educational reasons, partly to the example of pagan models. It rendered them still more weighty and impressive.

Water and blood, bread and wine -- though the apostle Paul was far from being a sacramental theologian, yet even he could not wholly avoid these mysteries, as is plain if one will but read the tenth chapter of First Corinthians, and note his speculations upon baptismal immersion. But Paul was the first and almost the last theologian of the early church with whom sacramental theology was really held in check by clear ideas and strictly spiritual considerations.\16/ After him all the flood-gates were opened, and in poured the mysteries with their lore. In Ignatius, who is only sixty years later than Paul, they had already dragged down and engulfed the whole of intelligent theology. A man like the author of Barnabas believes he has fathomed the depths of truth when he connects his ideas with the water, the blood, and the cross. And the man who wrote [[231]] these words -- "There are three that bear witness, the Spirit and the water and the blood, and these three agree in one" (1 John 5.8) -- had a mind which lived in symbols and in mysteries. In the book of Revelation the symbols generally are not what we call "symbols" but semi-real things -- e.g., the Lamb, the blood, the washing and the sprinkling, the seal and the sealing. Much of this still remains obscure to us. What is the meaning, for example, of the words (1 John 2.27) about the "unction," an unction conveying knowledge which is so complete that it renders any further teaching quite unnecessary?

\16/ Not quite the last, for Marcion and his disciples do not seem to have been sacramental theologians at all.

But how is this, it may be asked? Is not John a thorough "spiritualist"? And are not Origen, Valentinus, and Basilides also "spiritualists"? How, then, can we assert that their realistic expressions meant something else to them than mere symbols? In the case of John this argument can be defended with a certain amount of plausibility, since we do not know his entire personality. All we know is John the author. And even as an author he is known to us merely on one side of his nature, for he cannot have always spoken and written as he does in his extant writings. But in regard to the rest, so far as they are known to us on several sides of their characters, the plea is untenable. This is plain from a study of Clement and Origen, both of whom are amply accessible to us. In their case the combination of the mysterious realistic element with the spiritual is rendered feasible by the fact that they have simply no philosophy of religion at all which is capable of being erected upon one level, but merely one which consists of different stories built one upon the other.\17/ In the highest of these stories, realism of every kind certainly vanishes; in fact, even the very system of intermediate agencies and forces, including the Logos itself, vanishes entirely, leaving nothing but God and the souls that are akin to him. These have a reciprocal knowledge of each other's essence, they love each other, and thus are absorbed in one another. But ere this consummation is reached, a ladder must be climbed. And every stage or rung has special forces which correspond to it, implying a theology, a metaphysic, and [[232]] an ethic of its own. On the lowest rung of the ascent, religion stands in mythological guise accompanied by sacraments whose inward value is as yet entirely unknown. Even so, this is not falsehood but truth. It answers to a definite state of the soul, and it satisfies this by filling it with bliss. Even on this level the Christian religion is therefore true. Later on, this entirely ceases, and yet it does not cease. It ceases, because it is transcended; it does not cease, because the brethren still require this sort of thing, and because the foot of the ladder simply cannot be pulled away without endangering its upper structure.

\17/ This construction is common to them and to the idealist philosophers of their age. 

After this brief sketch we must now try to see the significance of the realistic sacramental theology for these spiritualists. Men like Origen are indeed from our standpoint the most obnoxious of the theologians who occupied themselves with the sacraments, the blood, and the atonement. In and with these theories they brought back a large amount of polytheism into Christianity by means of a back-door, since the lower and middle stories of their theological edifice required to be furnished with angels and archangels, aeons, semi-gods, and deliverers of every sort.\18/ This was due both to cosmological and to soteriological reasons, for the two correspond like the lines AB and BA.\19/ But, above all, theology was enabled by this means to respond to the very slightest pressure of popular religion, and it is here, of course, that we discover the final clue to the singular enigma now before us. This theology of the mysteries and of these varied layers and stages afforded the best means of conserving the spiritual character of the Christian [[233]] religion upon the upper level, and at the same time of arranging any compromise that might be desirable upon the lower. This was hardly the result of any conscious process. It came about quite naturally, for everything was already present in germ at the very first when sacraments were admitted into the religion.\20/

\18/ For a considerable length of time one of the charges brought by Christians against the Jews was that of angel-worship (Preaching of Peter, in Clem. Alex., Strom. 6.5; Arist., Apol. 14. Celsus also is acquainted with this charge, and angel-worship is, of course, a note of the errorists combated in Colossians). Subsequently the charge came to be leveled against the Christians themselves, and Justin had already written rather incautiously (Apol. 1.6): ἀλλ’ ἐκεῖνόν τε καὶ τὸν παρ’ αὐτοῦ υἱὸν ἐλθόντα καὶ διδάξαντα ἡμᾶς ταῦτα, καὶ τὸν τῶν ἄλλων ἑπομένων καὶ ἐξομοιουμένων ἀγαθῶν ἀγγέλων στρατόν, πνεῦμά τε τὸ προφητικὸν σεβόμεθα καὶ προσκυνοῦμεν ("Both God and the Son who came from him and taught us these things, also the host of the other good angels who follow and are made like to him, and also the prophetic Spirit -- these we worship and adore"). The four words πνεῦμά τε τὸ προφητικὸν are supposed by some to be an interpolation.

\19/ As to the "descent" and "ascent" of the soul, cp. Anz., "Zu Frage nach dem Ursprung des Gnosticismus" (Texte u. Unters. 15.4, 1897).

\20/ The necessity of priests and sacrifices was an idea present from the first in Gentile Christianity -- even at the time when Christians sought with Paul to know of spiritual sacrifices alone and of the general priesthood of believers. Cp. Justin's Dial. 116.3: οὐ δέχεται  παρ’ οὐδενὸς θυσίας ὁ θεός, εἰ μὴ διὰ τῶν ἱερέων αὐτοῦ ("God receives sacrifices from no one, save through his priests").

So much for the lofty theologians. With the inferior men the various stages dropped away and the sacramental factors were simply inserted in the religion in an awkward and unwieldy fashion. Read over the remarks made even in that age by Justin the rationalist upon the "cross," in the fifty-fifth chapter of his Apology. A more sturdy superstition can hardly be imagined. Notice how Tertullian (de Bapt. 1) speaks of "water" and its affinity with the holy Spirit! One is persuaded, too, that all Christians with one consent attributed a magical force, exercised especially over demons, to the mere utterance of the name of Jesus and to the sign of the cross. One can also read the stories of the Lord's supper told by Dionysius of Alexandria, a pupil of Origen, and all that Cyprian is able to narrate as to the miracle of the host. Putting these and many similar traits together, one feels driven to conclude that Christianity has become a religion of magic, with its center of gravity in the sacramental mysteries. "Ab initio sic non erat" is the protest that will be entered. "From the beginning it was not so." Perhaps. But one must go far back to find that initial stage -- so far back that its very brief duration now eludes our search.

Originally the water, the bread and wine (the body and the blood), the name of Jesus, and the cross were the sole sacraments of the church, whilst baptism and the Lord's super were the sole mysteries. But this state of matters could not continue. For different reasons, including reasons of philosophy, the scope of all sacraments tended to be enlarged, and so our period witnesses the further rise of sacramental details -- anointing, the laying on of hands, sacred oil and salt, etc. But the most [[234]] momentous result was the gradual assimilation of the entire Christian worship to the ancient mysteries. By the third century it could already rival the most imposing cultus in all paganism, with its solemn and precise ritual, its priests, its sacrifices, and its holy ceremonies.

These developments, however, are by no means to be judged from the standpoint of Puritanism. Every age has to conceive and assimilate religion as it alone can; it must understand religion for itself, and make it a living thing for its own purposes. If the traits of Christianity which have been described in the preceding chapters have been correctly stated, if Christianity remained the religion of God the Father, of the Savior and of salvation, of love and charitable enterprise, then it was perhaps a misfortune that the forms of contemporary religion were assumed. But the misfortune was by no means irreparable. Like every living plant, religion only grows inside a bark. Distilled religion is not religion at all.

Something further, however, still remains to be considered.

We have already seen how certain influential teachers -- teachers, in fact, who founded the whole theology of the Christian Church -- felt a strong impulse, and made it their definite aim, to get some rational historical explanation of the points in common between themselves and paganism; conception of the Christian religion and to present it as the reasonable religion of mankind. This feature proved of great importance to the mission and extension of Christianity. Such teachers at once joined issue with contemporary philosophers, and, as the example of Justin proves, they did not eschew even controversy with these opponents. They retained all that they had in common with Socrates, Plato, and the Stoics; they showed how far people could go with them on the road; they attempted to give an[[235]] and in this way they inaugurated the great adjustment of terms which was inevitable, unless Christians chose to remain a tiny sect of people who refused to concern themselves with culture and scientific learning.\21/ Still, as these discussions were carried on in a purely rational spirit, and as there was a frankly avowed partiality for the idea that Christianity was a transparently rational system, vital Christian truths were either abandoned or at any rate neglected. This meant a certain impoverishment, and a serious dilution, of the Christian faith.

\21/ Jewish Alexandrian philosophers had been the pioneers in this direction, and all that was really needed was to copy them. But they had employed a variety of methods in their attempt, amongst which a choice had to he made. All these attempts save one were childish. One was quite appropriate, viz., that which explained the points of agreement by the sway of the same Logos which worked in the Jewish prophets and in the pagan philosophers and poets. One attempt, again, was naive, viz., that which sought to expose the Greek philosophers and poets as plagiarists -- though Celsus tried to do the same thing with reference to Christ. Finally, it was both naive and fanatical to undertake to prove that all agreements of the philosophers with Christian doctrine were but a delusion and the work of the devil.

Such a type of knowledge was certainly different from Paul's idea of knowledge, nor did it answer to the depths of the Christian religion. In one passage, perhaps, the apostle himself employs rational considerations of a Stoic character, when those were available for the purposes of his apologetic (cp. the opening sections of Romans), but he was hardly thinking about such ideas when he dwelt upon the Christian σοφία, σύνεσις, ἐπιστήμη, and γνῶσις ("wisdom," "intelligence," "understanding," and "knowledge"). Something very different was present to his mind at such moments. He was thinking of absorption in the being of God as revealed in Christ, of progress in the knowledge of his saving purpose, manifested in revelation and in history, of insight into the nature of sin or the power of demons (those "spirits of the air") or the dominion of death, of the boundless knowledge of God's grace, and of the clear anticipation of life eternal. In a word, he had in view a knowledge that soared up to God himself above all thrones, dominions, and principalities, and that also penetrated the depths from which we are delivered -- a knowledge that traced human history from Adam to Christ, and that could, at the same time, define both faith and love, both sin and grace.

Paradoxical as it may appear, these phases of knowledge were actually fertilized and fed by the mysteries. From an early period they attached themselves to the mysteries. It was in the train of the mysteries that they crossed from the soil of heathenism, and it was by dint of the mysteries that they grew and developed [[236]] upon the soil of Christianity. The case of the mysteries was at that time exactly what it was afterwards in the sixteenth and the seventeenth centuries. Despite all their acuteness, it was not the rationalists among the schoolmen who furthered learning and promoted its revival -- it was the cabbalists, the natural philosophers, the alchemists, and the astrologers. What was the reason of this, it may be asked? How can learning develop itself by aid of the mysteries? The reply is very simple. Such development is possible, because learning or knowledge is attained by aid of the emotions and the imagination. Both are therefore able to arouse and to revive it. The great speculative efforts of the syncretistic philosophy of religion, whose principles have been already outlined (cp. pp. 30 f.), were based upon the mysteries (i.e., upon the feelings and fancies, whose products were thrown into shape by the aid of speculation). The Gnostics, who to a man were in no sense rationalists, attempted to transplant these living and glowing speculations to the soil of Christianity, and withal to preserve intact the supremacy of the gospel. The attempt was doomed to fail. Speculations of this kind contained too many elements alien to the spirit of Christianity which could not be relinquished.\22/ But as separate fragments, broken up as it were into their constituent elements, they were able to render, and they did render, very signal services to a fruitful Christian philosophy of religion -- these separate elements being originally prior perhaps to the combinations of later ages. All the more profound conceptions generated within Christianity subsequently to the close of the first century, all the transcendental knowledge, all those tentative ideas, which nevertheless were of more value than mere logical deductions -- all this sprang in large measure from the contact of Christianity with the ancient lore [[237]] of the mysteries. It disengaged profound conceptions and rendered them articulate. This is unmistakable in the case of John or of Ignatius or of Irenaeus, but the clearest case is that of the great Alexandrian school. Materials valuable and useless alike, sheer fantasy and permanent truth which could no longer be neglected, all were mixed up in a promiscuous confusion -- although this applies least of all to John, who, more than anyone, managed to impress a lofty unity even upon the form and expression of his thoughts. Such ideas will, of course, be little to the taste of anyone who holds that empiricism or rationalism confines knowledge within limits which one must not so much as try to overleap; but anyone who assigns greater value to tentative ideas than to a deliberate absence of all ideas whatsoever, will not be disposed to underestimate the labor expended by the thinkers of antiquity in connection with the mysteries. At any rate, it is beyond question that this phase of Christianity, which went on developing almost from the very hour of its birth, proved of supreme importance to the propaganda of the religion. Christianity gained special weight from the fact that in the first place it had mysterious secrets of its own, which it sought to fathom only to adore them once again in silence, and secondly, that it preached to the perfect in another and a deeper sense than it did to simple folk. These mysterious secrets may have had, as it is plain that they did have, a deadening effect on thousands of people by throwing obstacles in the way of their access to a rational religion; but on other people they had a stimulating effect, lending them wings to soar up into a supra-sensible world.\23/ [[238]]

\22/ These included the distinction between the god of creation (the demiurgus) and the god of redemption (redemption corresponding to emanation, not to creation), the abandonment of the Old Testament god, the dualistic opposition of soul and body, the disintegration of the redemptive personality, etc. Above all, redemption to the syncretist and the Gnostic meant the separation of what had been unnaturally conjoined, while to the Christian it meant the union of what had been unnaturally divided. Christianity could not give up the latter conception of redemption, unless she was willing to overturn everything. Besides, this conception alone was adequate to the monarchical position of God.

\23/ With this comparative appreciation of speculation in early Christianity, we concede the utmost that can be conceded in this connection. It is a time-honored view that the richest fruit of Christianity, and in fact its very essence, lies in that "Christian" metaphysic which was the gradual product of innumerable alien ideas dragged into contact with the gospel. But this assertion deserves respect simply on the score of its venerable age. If it were true, then Jesus Christ would not be the founder of his religion, and indeed he would not even be its forerunner, since be neither revealed any philosophy of religion nor did he lay stress on anything which from such a standpoint is counted as cardinal. The Greeks certainly forgot before very long the Pauline saying ἐκ μέρους γὰρ γινώσκομεν ... βλέπομεν γὰρ ἄρτι δι’ ἐσόπτρου ἐν αἰνίγματι ("We know in part….for now we see in a mirror, darkly"; 1 Cor 13.9-12), and they also forgot that as knowledge (γνῶσις) and wisdom (σοφία) are charismatic gifts, the product of these gifts affords no definition of what Christianity really is. Of the prominent teachers, Marcion, Apelles, and to some extent Irenaeus, were the only ones who remained conscious of the limitations of knowledge.

This ascent into the supra-sensible world (θεοποίησις, apotheosis) was the last and the highest word of all. The supreme message of Christianity was its promise of this divine state to every believer. We know how, in that age of the twilight of the gods, all human hopes concentrated upon this aim, and consequently a religion which not only taught but realized this apotheosis of human nature (especially in a form so complete that it did not exclude even the flesh) was bound to have an enormous success. Recent investigations into the history of dogma have shown that the development of Christian doctrine down to Irenaeus must be treated in this light, viz., with the aim of proving how the idea of apotheosis -- that supreme desire and dream of the ancient world, whose inability to realize it cast a deep shadow over its inner life -- passed into Christianity, altered the original lines of that religion, and eventually dominated its entire contents.\24/ The presupposition for it in primitive Christianity was the promise of a share in the future kingdom of God. As yet no one could foresee what was to fuse itself with this premise and transform it. But Paul coordinated with it the promise of life eternal in a twofold way: as given to man in justification (i.e., in the Spirit, as an indissoluble inner union with the love of God), and as infused into man through holy media in the shape of a new nature. The fourth evangelist has grasped this double idea still more vividly, and given it sharper outline. His message is the spiritual and physical immanence of life eternal for believers. Still, the idea of love outweighs that of a natural transformation in his conception of the unity of believers with the Father and Son, so that he only approaches the verge of the conception. "We have become gods." He still seems to prefer the expression "children of God." The apologists also keep the idea of apotheosis secondary to that of a full knowledge of God, but even after the great epoch when "Gnosticism" was opposed and assimilated, the church went [[239]] forward in the full assurance that she understood and preached apotheosis as the distinctive product of the Christian religion.\25/ When she spoke of "adoptio" by God, or of "participatio dei," for example, although a spiritual relationship continued to be understood, yet its basis and reality lay in a sacramental renewal of the physical nature: "Non ab initio dii facti sumus; sed primo quidem homines, tunc demum dii" (We were not made gods at first; at first we were men, thereafter we became gods at length). These are the words of Irenaeus (cp. 4.38.4, and often elsewhere), and this was the doctrine of Christian teachers after him. "Thou shalt avoid hell when thou hast gained the knowledge of the true God. Thou shalt have an immortal and incorruptible body as well as a soul, and shalt obtain the kingdom of heaven. Thou who hast lived on earth and knows the heavenly King, shalt be a friend of God and a joint-heir with Christ, no longer held by lusts, or sufferings, or sicknesses. For thou hast become divine, and all that pertains to the God-life hath God promised to bestow on thee, seeing that thou, now become immortal, art deified."\26/ This was the sort of preaching which anyone could understand, and which could not be surpassed.

\24/ Cp. my Dogmengeschichte (third ed.) 1, especially pp. 516 f. [Eng. trans., 3.275 f.].

\25/ Yet cp. Justin., Dial. 124., a parallel to the great section in John. 10.33 f.
\26/ Hippol., Ref. (Philos.) 10.34. Cp. pseudo-Hippolytus, Theoph. 8.8:  εἰ οὖν ἀθάνατος γέγονεν ὁ ἄνθρωπος, ἔσται καὶ θεός ("If man become immortal, he shall also be divine").

Christianity, then, is a revelation which has to be believed, an authority which has to be obeyed, the rational religion which may be understood and proved, the religion of the mysteries or the sacraments, the religion of transcendental knowledge. So it was preached. It was not that every missionary expressed but one aspect of the religion. The various presentations of it were all mixed up together, although every now and then one of them would acquire special prominence. It is with amazement that we fathom the depths of this missionary preaching; yet those who engaged in it were prepared at any moment to put everything else aside and rest their whole faith on the confession that "There is one God of heaven and earth, and Jesus is the Lord."





The gospel was preached simultaneously as the consummation of Judaism, as a new religion, and as the restatement and final expression of man's original religion. Nor was this triple aspect preached merely by some individual missionary of dialectic gifts; it was a conception which emerged more or less distinctly in all missionary preaching of any scope. Convinced that Jesus, the teacher and the prophet, was also the Messiah who was to return ere long to finish off his work, people passed from the consciousness of being his disciples into that of being his people, the people of God:  ῾Υμεῖς δὲ γένος ἐκλεκτόν, βασίλειον ἱεράτευμα, ἔθνος ἅγιον, λαὸς εἰς περιποίησιν (1 Pet. 2.9: "Ye are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for possession"); and in so far as they felt themselves to be a people, Christians knew they were the true Israel, at once the new people and the old.

This conviction that they were a people -- i.e., the transference of all the prerogatives and claims of the Jewish people to the new community as a new creation which exhibited and realized whatever was old and original in religion -- this at once furnished adherents of the new faith with a political and historical self-consciousness. Nothing more comprehensive or complete or impressive than this consciousness can be conceived. Could there be any higher or more comprehensive conception than that of the complex of momenta afforded by the Christians' [[241]] estimate of themselves as "the true Israel," "the new people," "the original people," and "the people of the future," i.e., of eternity? This estimate of themselves rendered Christians impregnable against all attacks and movements of polemical criticism, while it further enabled them to advance in every direction for a war of conquest. Was the cry raised, "You are renegade Jews " -- the answer came, "We are the community of the Messiah, and therefore the true Israelites."  If people said, "You are simply Jews," the reply was, "We are a new creation and a new people." If, again, they were taxed with their recent origin and told that they were but of yesterday, they retorted, "We only seem to be the younger People; from the beginning we have been latent; we have always existed, previous to any other people; we are the original people of God." If they were told, "You do not deserve to live," the answer ran, "We would die to live, for we are citizens of the world to come, and sure that we shall rise again."

There were one or two other quite definite convictions of a general nature specially taken over by the early Christians at the very outset from the stores accumulated by a survey of history made from the Jewish standpoint. Applied to their own purposes, these were as follows: -- (1) Our people is older than the world; (2) the world was created for our sakes; (3) the world is carried on for our sakes; we retard the judgment of the world; (4) everything in the world is subject to us and must serve us; (5) everything in the world, the beginning and course and end of all history, is revealed to us and lies transparent to our eyes; (6) we shall take part in the judgment of the world and ourselves enjoy eternal bliss.\1/ In various early Christian documents, dating from before the middle of the second century, these convictions find expression, in homilies, apocalypses, epistles, and apologies,\2/ and nowhere else did [[242]] Celsus vent his fierce disdain of Christians and their shameless, absurd pretensions with such keenness as at this point.\3/

\1/ By means of these two convictions, Christians made out their case for a position superior to the world, and established a connection between creation and history.

\2/ Cp. the epistles of Paul, the apocalypse of John, the "Shepherd" of Hermas ([[[new #] Vis. 2.4.1), the second epistle of Clement (14), and the Apologies of Aristides and Justin (2.7). Similar statements occur earlier in the Jewish apocalypses.

\3/ He is quite aware that these pretensions are common to Jews and Christians, that the latter took them over from the former, and that both parties contended for the right to their possession. Μετὰ ταῦτα , observes Origen (c. Cels. 4.23), συνήθως ἑαυτῷ γελῶν τὸ ᾿Ιουδαίων καὶ  Χριστιανῶν γένος πάντας παραβέβληκε νυκτερίδων ὁρμαθῷ ἢ μύρμηξιν ἐκ καλιᾶς προελθοῦσιν ἢ βατράχοις περὶ τέλμα συνεδρεύουσιν ἢ σκώληξιν ἐν βορβόρου γωνίᾳ ἐκκλησιάζουσι καὶ πρὸς ἀλλήλους διαφερομένοις, τίνες αὐτῶν εἶεν ἁμαρτωλότεροι, καὶ φάσκουσιν ὅτι πάντα ἡμῖν ὁ θεὸς προδηλοῖ καὶ προκαταγγέλλει, καὶ τὸν πάντα κόσμον καὶ τὴν οὐράνιον φορὰν ἀπολιπὼν καὶ τὴν τοσαύτην γῆν παριδὼν ἡμῖν μόνοις πολιτεύεται καὶ πρὸς ἡμᾶς μόνους ἐπικηρυκεύεται καὶ πέμπων οὐ διαλείπει καὶ ζητῶν, ὅπως ἀεὶ συνῶμεν αὐτῷ. Καὶ ἐν τῷ ἀναπλάσματί γε ἑαυτοῦ παραπλησίους ἡμᾶς ποιεῖ σκώληξι, φάσκουσιν ὅτι ὁ θεός ἐστιν, εἶτα μετ’ ἐκεῖνον ἡμεῖς ὑπ’ αὐτοῦ γεγονότες πάντῃ ὅμοιοι τῷ θεῷ, καὶ ἡμῖν πάντα ὑποβέβληται, γῆ καὶ ὕδωρ καὶ ἀὴρ καὶ ἄστρα, καὶ ἡμῶν ἕνεκα πάντα, καὶ ἡμῖν δουλεύειν τέτακται. Λέγουσι δ’ ἔτι παρ’ αὐτῷ οἱ σκώληκες, ἡμεῖς δηλαδή, ὅτι νῦν, ἐπειδή τινες <ἐν> ἡμῖν πλημμελοῦσιν, ἀφίξεται θεὸς ἢ πέμψει τὸν υἱόν, ἵνα καταφλέξῃ τοὺς ἀδίκους, καὶ οἱ λοιποὶ σὺν αὐτῷ ζωὴν αἰώνιον ἔχωμεν. Καὶ ἐπιφέρει γε πᾶσιν ὅτι ταῦτα <μᾶλλον> ἀνεκτά, σκωλήκων καὶ βατράχων, ἢ ᾿Ιουδαίων καὶ Χριστιανῶν πρὸς ἀλλήλους διαφερομένων ("In the next place, laughing as usual at the race of Jews and Christians, he likens them all to a flight of bats, or a swarm of ants crawling out of their nest, or frogs in council on a marsh, or worms in synod on the corner of a dunghill, quarrelling as to which of them is the greater sinner, and declaring that 'God discloses and announces all things to us beforehand; God deserts the whole world and the heavenly region and disregards this great earth in order to domicile himself among us alone; to us alone he makes his proclamations, ceasing not to send and seek that we may company with him for ever.' And in his representation of us, he likens us to worms that declare 'there is a God, and next to him are we whom he has made in all points like unto himself, and to whom all things are subject -- land and water, air and stars; all things are for our sakes, and are appointed to serve us.' As he puts it, the worms, i.e., we Christians, declare also that 'since certain of our number commit sin, God will come or send his son to burn up the wicked and to let the rest of us have life eternal with himself.' To all of which he subjoins the remark that such discussions would be more tolerable among worms and frogs than among Jews and Christians").

But for Christians who knew they were the old and the new People, it was not enough to set this self-consciousness over against the Jews alone, or to contend with them for the possession of the promises and of the sacred book; settled on the soil of the Greek and Roman empires, they had to define [[243]] their position with regard to this realm and its "people."\4/ The apostle Paul had already done so, and in this he was followed by others.

\4/ This controversy occupies the history of the first generation, and stretches even further down. Although the broad lines of the position taken up by Christians on this field were clearly marked out, this did not exclude the possibility of various attitudes being assumed, as may be seen from my study in the third section of the first volume of the Texte u. Untersuchungen (1883), upon "the anti-Jewish polemic of the early church."

In classifying mankind Paul does speak in one passage of "Greeks and barbarians" alongside of Jews (Rom. 1.14), and in another of "barbarians and Scythians" alongside of Greeks (Col. 3.11); but, like a born Jew and a Pharisee, he usually bisects humanity into circumcised and uncircumcised -- the latter being described, for the sake of brevity, as "Greeks."\5/  Beside or over against these two "peoples" he places the church of God as a new creation (cp., e.g., 1 Cor. 10.32, "Give no occasion of stumbling to Jews or Greeks or to the church of God"). Nor does this mere juxtaposition satisfy him. He goes on to the conception of this new creation as that which is to embrace both Jews and Greeks, rising above the differences of both peoples into a higher unity. The people of Christ are not a third people to him beside their neighbors. They represent the new grade on which human history reaches its consummation, a grade which is to supersede the previous grade of bisection, cancelling or annulling not only national but also social and even sexual distinctions.\6/ Compare, e.g., Gal. 3.28: οὐκ ἔνι ᾿Ιουδαῖος οὐδὲ ῞Ελλην, οὐκ ἔνι δοῦλος οὐδὲ ἐλεύθερος, οὐκ ἔνι ἄρσεν καὶ θῆλυ· πάντες γὰρ ὑμεῖς εἷς ἐστε ἐν Χριστῷ ᾿Ιησοῦ, or Gal. 5.6: ἐν γὰρ Χριστῷ ᾿Ιησοῦ οὔτε περιτομή τι ἰσχύει οὔτε ἀκροβυστία, ἀλλὰ πίστις δι’ ἀγάπης ἐνεργουμένη (cp. 6.15, οὔτε γὰρ περιτομή τί ἐστιν οὔτε ἀκροβυστία, ἀλλὰ καινὴ κτίσις, and 2 Cor. 5.17). 1 Cor. 12.13: ἐν ἑνὶ πνεύματι ἡμεῖς πάντες εἰς ἓν σῶμα ἐβαπτίσθημεν, εἴτε ᾿Ιουδαῖοι εἴτε ῞Ελληνες, εἴτε δοῦλοι εἴτε ἐλεύθεροι. [[244]]. Coloss. 3.11:  ὅπου οὐκ ἔνι ῞Ελλην καὶ ᾿Ιουδαῖος, περιτομὴ καὶ ἀκροβυστία, βάρβαρος, Σκύθης, δοῦλος, ἐλεύθερος. Most impressive of all is Ephes. 2.11 f.: μνημονεύετε ὅτι ποτὲ ὑμεῖς τὰ ἔθνη ἐν σαρκί, οἱ λεγόμενοι ἀκροβυστία ὑπὸ τῆς λεγομένης περιτομῆς ἐν σαρκὶ χειροποιήτου,  (12.)  ὅτι ἦτε τῷ καιρῷ ἐκείνῳ χωρὶς Χριστοῦ, ἀπηλλοτριωμένοι τῆς πολιτείας τοῦ ᾿Ισραὴλ καὶ ξένοι τῶν διαθηκῶν τῆς ἐπαγγελίας, ἐλπίδα μὴ ἔχοντες καὶ ἄθεοι ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ. (13.) νυνὶ δὲ ἐν Χριστῷ ᾿Ιησοῦ ὑμεῖς οἵ ποτε ὄντες μακρὰν ἐγενήθητε ἐγγὺς ἐν τῷ αἵματι τοῦ Χριστοῦ. (14.)   Αὐτὸς γάρ ἐστιν ἡ εἰρήνη ἡμῶν, ὁ ποιήσας τὰ ἀμφότερα ἓν καὶ τὸ μεσότοιχον τοῦ φραγμοῦ λύσας, τὴν ἔχθραν, ἐν τῇ σαρκὶ αὐτοῦ, (15.)  τὸν νόμον τῶν ἐντολῶν ἐν δόγμασιν καταργήσας, ἵνα τοὺς δύο κτίσῃ ἐν αὑτῷ εἰς ἕνα καινὸν ἄνθρωπον ποιῶν εἰρήνην,  (16.)  καὶ ἀποκαταλλάξῃ τοὺς ἀμφοτέρους ἐν ἑνὶ σώματι. Finally, in Rom. 9-11 Paul promulgates a philosophy of history, according to which the new People, whose previous history fell within the limits of Israel, includes the Gentile world, now that Israel has been rejected, but will embrace in the end not merely "the fulness of the Gentiles" (πλήρωμα τῶν ἐθνῶν) but also "all Israel" (πᾶς ᾿Ισραήλ).

\5/ Even in the passage from Colossians the common expression "Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision" ( ῞Ελλην καὶ ᾿Ιουδαῖος, περιτομὴ καὶ ἀκροβυστία) is put first; "barbarian, Scythian, bond and free" (βάρβαρος, Σκύθης, δοῦλος, ἐλεύθερος) follows as a rhetorical amplification.

\6/ It was in the conception of Christ as the second Adam that the conception of the new humanity as opposed to the old, a conception which implies a dual division, was most deeply rooted. The former idea obviously played a leading part in the world of Pauline thought, but it was not introduced for the first time by him; in the Messianic system of the Jews this idea already held a place of its own. In Paul and in other Christian thinkers the idea of a dual classification of mankind intersects that of a triple classification, but both ideas are at one in this, that the new humanity cancels the old.

Greeks (Gentiles), Jews, and the Christians as the new People (destined to embrace the two first) -- this triple division now becomes frequent in early Christian literature, as one or two examples will show.\7/ [[245]]

\7/ For Christians as the new People, see the "Shepherd" of Hermas, and Barn. 5.7 (Χριστὸς) ἑαυτῷ τὸν λαὸν τὸν καινὸν ἑτοιμάζων (Christ preparing himself the new people); 7.5, ὑπὲρ ἁμαρτιῶν μέλλοντα τοῦ λαοῦ μου τοῦ καινοῦ προσφέρειν τὴν σάρκα (Christ about to offer his flesh for the sins of the new people); 13.6, Βλέπετε, ἐπὶ τίνων τέθεικεν, τὸν λαὸν τοῦτον [new and evidently young] εἶναι πρῶτον (ye see that this people is the first); 2 Clem. ad Cor. 2.3,  ἔρημος ἐδόκει εἶναι ἀπὸ τοῦ θεοῦ ὁ λαὸς ἡμῶν, νυνὶ δὲ πιστεύσαντες πλείονες ἐγενόμεθα τῶν δοκούντων ἔχειν θεόν ("Our people seemed to be forsaken of God, but now we have become more numerous by our faith than those who seemed to possess God"); Ignat., ad Ephes. 19-20; Aristides, Apol. 16. ("truly this people is new, and a divine admixture is in them"); Orac. Sibyll. 1.383 f., βλαστὸς νέος ἀνθήσειεν ἐξ ἐθνῶν ("a fresh growth shall blossom out of the Gentiles" [see also 7.38]). Bardesanes also calls the Christians a new race. Clement (Paed., on Zech. 9.9) remarks: Οὐκ ἤρκει τὸ πῶλον εἰρηκέναι μόνον, ἀλλὰ καὶ τὸ νέον προσέθηκεν αὐτῷ, τὴν ἐν Χριστῷ νεολαίαν τῆς ἀνθρωπότητος καὶ ἀγήρω μετὰ ἁπλότητος ἀιδιότητα ἐμφαίνων  ("To say 'colt' was not enough; 'young' had to be added, in order to bring out the youth of humanity in Christ . . ."); and in he observes,  Νέοι τοίνυν ὁ λαὸς ὁ καινὸς πρὸς ἀντιδιαστολὴν τοῦ πρεσβυτέρου λαοῦ, τὰ νέα μαθόντες ἀγαθά ("In contradistinction to the older people, the new people are young because they have learned the new blessings"). See also,  καὶ γὰρ ἦν ὡς ἀληθῶς διὰ μὲν Μωσέως παιδαγωγὸς ὁ κύριος τοῦ λαοῦ τοῦ παλαιοῦ, δι’ αὑτοῦ δὲ τοῦ νέου καθηγεμὼν λαοῦ, πρόσωπον πρὸς πρόσωπον ("For it was really the Lord who instructed the ancient people by Moses; but the new people he directs himself, face to face"). The expression "new people" was retained for a long while in those early days; cp., e.g., Constant., ad s. Coet. 19, κατὰ χρόνον τοῦ Τιβερίου ἠ τοῦ σωτῆρος ἐξέλαμψε παρουσία . . . ἠ τε νέα τοῦ δήμου διαδοχὴ συνέστη, κ.τ.λ. ("About the time of Tiberius the advent of the [[245b]] Savior flashed on the world....and the new succession of the people arose," etc.). On the other hand, Christians are also the "non-gens," since they are not a nation; cp. Orig., Hom. 1. in Ps. 36. (vol. 12. p. 155): "Nos sumus 'non gens' [Deut. 32.21], qui pauci ex ista civitate credimus, et alii ex alia, et nusquam gens integra ab initio credulitatis videtur assumpta. Non enim sicut Iudaeorum gens erat vel Aegyptiorum gens ita etiam Christianorum genus gens est una vel integra, sed sparsim ex singulis gentibus congregantur." -- For Christians as a distinctive genus, or as the genus of the truly pious, see Mart. Polyc. 3.2, ἠ γενναιότης τοῦ θεοφιλοῦς καὶ θεοσεβοῦς γένους τῶν Χριστιανῶν ("the brave spirit of the God-beloved and God-fearing race of Christians"); 14.1, πᾶν τὸ γένος τῶν δικαίων ("the whole race of the righteous"); Martyr. Ignat. Antioch. 2.1, τὸ τῶν Χριστιανῶν θεοσεβὲς σύστημα [[[γένος ?] (the pious race of Christians). Also Melito, in Eus., H.E. 4.26.5, τὸ τῶν θεοσεβῶν γένος ("the race of the pious"), Arnobius, 1.1 ("Christiana gens"), pseudo-Josephus, Testim. de Christo (τὸ φῦλον τῶν Χριστιανῶν -- the tribe of the Christians); Orac. Sibyll. 4.136, εὐσεβέων φῦλον , etc. Several educated Christians correlated the idea of a new and at the same time a universal people with the Stoic cosmopolitan idea, as, for example, Tertullian, who points out more than once that Christians only recognise one state, i.e., the world. Similarly, Tatian writes (Orat. 28): "I repudiate your legislation ; there ought to be only one common polity for all men" (τῆς παρ’ ὑμῖν κατέγνων νομοθεσίας. μίαν μὲν γὰρ ἐχρῆν εἶναι καὶ κοινὴν ἁπάντων τὴν πολιτεία). This democratic and cosmopolitan feature of Christianity was undoubtedly of great use to the propaganda among the lower and middle classes, particularly throughout the provinces. Religious equality was felt, up to a certain degree, to mean political and social equality as well.

The fourth evangelist makes Christ say (10.16): "And other sheep have I which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice, and there shall be one flock, one shepherd." And again, in a profound prophetic utterance (4.21 f.): "The hour cometh when neither in this mountain [that of the Samaritans, who stand here as representatives of the Gentiles] nor in Jerusalem shall ye worship the Father; ye worship what ye know not; we worship what we know, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth." This passage is of importance, because it is something more than a merely formal classification; it defines, in a positive manner, the three possible religious standpoints and apportions them among the different peoples. First of all, there is ignorance of God, together with an external and therefore an erroneous worship (=the Gentiles, or Samaritans); secondly, there is a true knowledge of God together with a wrong, external worship (= the Jews); and thirdly, there is true knowledge of God together with worship that is inward and  [[246]] therefore true (=the Christians). This view gave rise to many similar conceptions in early Christianity; it was the precursor of a series of cognate ideas which formed the basis of early Christian speculations upon the history of religion. It was the so-called "gnostics" in particular who frankly built their systems upon ideas of this kind. In these systems, Greeks (or pagans), Jews, and Christians sometimes appear as different grades; sometimes the two first are combined, with Christians subdivided into "psychic" (ψύχικοι) and "pneumatic" (πνευμάτικοι) members; and finally a fourfold division is also visible, viz., Greeks (or pagans), Jews, churchfolk, and "pneumatic" persons.\8/ During that period, when religions were undergoing transformation, speculations on the history of religion were in the air; they are to be met with even in inferior and extravagant systems of religion.\9/ But from all this we must turn back to writers of the Catholic church with their triple classification.

\8/ It is impossible here to go into the question of how this ethnological division of humanity intersected and squared with the other religious division made by the gnostics, viz., the psychological (into ''hylic," "psychic," and "pneumatic" persons).

\9/ With regard to the religious system of the adherents of Simon Magus, we have this fragmentary and obscure piece of information in Irenaeus (1.23): Simon taught that "he himself was he who had appeared among the Jews as the Son, who had descended in Samaria as the Father, and made his advent among other nations as the holy Spirit" ("Semetipsum esse qui inter Judaeos quidem quasi fllius apparuerit, in Samaria autem quasi pater descenderit, in reliquis vero gentibus quasi spiritus sanctus adventaverit").

In one early Christian document from the opening of the second century, of which unfortunately we possess only a few fragments (i.e., the Preaching of Peter, in Clem., Strom. 6.5.39-41), Christians are warned not to fashion their worship on the model of the Greeks or of the Jews (τοῦτον τὸν θεὸν σέβεσθε μὴ κατὰ τοὺς ῞Ελληνας [] . . . μηδὲ κατὰ ᾿Ιουδαίους σέβεσθε []). Then we read: ὥστε καὶ ὑμεῖς ὁσίως καὶ δικαίως μανθάνοντες ἃ παραδίδομεν ὑμῖν, (6.) φυλάσσεσθε, καινῶς τὸν θεὸν διὰ τοῦ Χριστοῦ σεβόμενοι εὕρομεν γὰρ ἐν ταῖς γραφαῖς καθὼς ὁ κύριος λέγει· ἰδοὺ διατίθεμαι ὑμῖν καινὴν διαθήκην, οὐχ ὡς διεθέμην τοῖς πατράσιν ὑμῶν ἐν ὄρει (7.) Χωρήβ. νέαν ἡμῖν διέθετο· τὰ γὰρ ῾Ελλήνων καὶ ᾿Ιουδαίων παλαιά, (8.) ἡμεῖς δὲ οἱ καινῶς αὐτὸν τρίτῳ γένει σεβόμενοι Χριστιανοί  ("So [[247]] do you keep what you have learnt from us holily and justly, worshipping God anew through Christ. For we find in the scriptures, as the Lord saith, Behold I make a new covenant with you, not as I made it with your fathers in Mount Horeb. A new covenant he has made with us, for that of the Greeks and Jews is old, but ye who worship him anew in the third manner are Christians" []).\10/

\10/ The term "religio Christiana" does not occur till Tertullian, who uses it quite frequently. The apologists speak of the distinctive θεοσέβεια of Christians.

This writer also distinguishes Greeks, Jews, and Christians, and distinguishes them, like the fourth evangelist, by the degree of their knowledge and worship of God. But the remarkable thing is his explicit assumption that there are three classes, neither more nor less, and his deliberate description of Christianity as the new or third genus of worship. There are several similar passages which remain to be noticed, but this is the earliest of them all. Only, it is to be remarked that Christians do not yet call themselves "the third race"; it is their worship which is put third in the scale. The writer classifies humanity, not into three peoples, but into three groups of worshippers.

Similarly the unknown author of the epistle to Diognetus. Only, with him the conception of three classes of worshippers is definitely carried over into that of three peoples ("Christians esteem not those whom the Greeks regard as gods, nor do they observe the superstition of the Jews. . . .[thou enquirest] about the nature of this fresh development or interest which has entered life now and not previously," ch. 1; cp. also ch. 5: "They are attacked as aliens by the Jews, and persecuted by the Greeks"). This is brought out particularly in his endeavor to prove that as Christians have a special manner of life, existing socially and politically by themselves, they have a legitimate claim to be ranked as a special "nation."

In his Apology to the Emperor Pius, Aristides distinctly arranges human beings in three "orders," which are equivalent to nations, as Aristides assigns to each its genealogy -- i.e., its historical origin. He writes (ch.2.2):  φανερὸν γάρ ἐστιν ἡμῖν, ὦ βασιλεῦ, ὅτι τρία γένη εἰσὶν ἀνθρώπων ἐν τῷδε τῷ κόσμῳ. ὧν [[248]] εἰσὶν οἱ τῶν παρ’ ὑμῖν λεγομένων θεῶν προσκυνηταὶ καὶ ᾿Ιουδαῖοι καὶ Χριστιανοί· αὐτοὶ δὲ πάλιν οἱ τοὺς πολλοὺς σεβόμενοι θεοὺς εἰς τρία διαιροῦνται γένη, Χαλδαίους τε καὶ ῞Ελληνας καὶ Αἰγυπτίους  (then follows the evidence for the origin of these nations, whilst the Christians are said to "derive their genealogy from Jesus Christ").\11/

 \11/ "It is clear to us, O king, that there are three orders of mankind in this world; these are, the worshippers of your acknowledged gods, the Jews, and the Christians. Furthermore, those who worship a plurality of gods are again divided into three orders, viz., Chaldeans, Greeks, and Egyptians." In the Syrian and Armenian versions the passage runs somewhat otherwise. "This is clear, O king, that there are four races of men in the world, barbarians and Greeks, Jews and Christians" (omitting altogether the further subdivision of the Greeks into three classes). Several scholars prefer this rendering, though it should be noted that Hippolytus also, in Ref. (Philos.) 10.30 (twice) and 31 (twice), contrasts the Egyptians, Chaldeans, and Greeks with the Jews and Christians. Still, the question is one of minor importance for our present purpose. -- Justin (Dial. 123.9) also derives Christians from Christ, not as their teacher but as their progenitor:  ὡς ἀπὸ τοῦ ἑνὸς ᾿Ιακὼβ ἐκείνου, τοῦ καὶ ᾿Ισραὴλ ἐπικληθέντος, τὸ πᾶν γένος ὑμῶν προσηγόρευτο ᾿Ιακὼβ καὶ ᾿Ισραήλ, οὕτω καὶ ἡμεῖς ἀπὸ τοῦ γεννήσαντος ἡμᾶς εἰς θεὸν Χριστοῦ, ὡς καὶ ᾿Ιακὼβ καὶ ᾿Ισραὴλ καὶ ᾿Ιούδα καὶ ᾿Ιωσὴφ καὶ Δαυείδ, καὶ θεοῦ τέκνα ἀληθινὰ καλούμεθα καὶ ἐσμέν, οἱ τὰς ἐντολὰς τοῦ Χριστοῦ φυλάσσοντες ("As all your nation has been called Jacob and Israel from the one man Jacob, who was surnamed Israel, so from Christ who begat us unto God....we are called, and we are, God's true children, [who keep the commandments of Christ]").

How seriously Irenaeus took this idea of the Christians as a special people, is evident from his remarks in 4.30. The gnostics had attacked the Jews and their God for having appropriated the gold and silver vessels of the Egyptians. To which Irenaeus retorts that it would be much more true to accuse Christians of robbery, inasmuch as all their possessions originated with the Romans. "Who has the better right to gold and silver? The Jews, who took it as a reward for their labor in Egypt? or we, who have taken gold from the Romans and the rest of the nations, though they were not our debtors?"  This argument would be meaningless unless Irenaeus regarded Christians as a nation which was sharply differentiated from the rest of the peoples and had no longer anything to do with them. As a matter of fact, he regarded the exodus of Israel from Egypt as a type of the "profectio ecclesiae e gentibus" ([[[ET] 4.30.4).

The religious philosophy of history set forth by Clement of Alexandria rests entirely upon the view that these two nations, [[249]] Greeks and Jews, were alike trained by God, but that they are now (see Paul's epistle to the Ephesians) to be raised into the higher unity of a third nation. It may suffice to bring forward three passages bearing on this point. In Strom., he writes (on the saying "where two or three are gathered together," etc.): Εἴη δ’ ἂν καὶ ἡ ὁμόνοια τῶν πολλῶν ἀπὸ τῶν τριῶν ἀριθμουμένη μεθ’ ὧν ὁ κύριος, ἡ μία ἐκκλησία, ὁ εἷς ἄνθρωπος, τὸ γένος  τὸ ἕν. (2.) ἢ μή τι μετὰ μὲν τοῦ ἑνὸς τοῦ ᾿Ιουδαίου ὁ κύριος νομοθετῶν ἦν, προφητεύων δὲ ἤδη καὶ τὸν ῾Ιερεμίαν ἀποστέλλων εἰς Βαβυλῶνα, ἀλλὰ καὶ τοὺς ἐξ ἐθνῶν διὰ τῆς προφητείας καλῶν, συνῆγε λαοὺς τοὺς δύο, τρίτος δὲ ἦν ἐκ τῶν δυεῖν κτιζόμενος εἷς εἰς καινὸν ἄνθρωπον, ᾧ δὴ ἐμπεριπατεῖ τε καὶ κατοικεῖ ἐν αὐτῇ τῇ  ἐκκλησίᾳ ("Now the harmony of the many, calculated from the three with whom the Lord is present, might signify the one church, the one man, the one race. Or was the Lord legislating with the one Jew [at Sinai], and then, when he prophesied and sent Jeremiah to Babylon, calling some also from the heathen, did he collect the two peoples together, while the third was created out of the twain into a new man, wherein he is now resident, dwelling within the church"). Again, in Strom., on Plato's Republic, 3. p. 415:  εἰ μή τι τρεῖς τινας ὑποτιθέμενος φύσεις, τρεῖς πολιτείας, ὡς ὑπέλαβόν τινες, διαγράφει, καὶ ᾿Ιουδαίων μὲν ἀργυρᾶν [a corrupt passage, incorrectly read as early as Eus., Prepar. 13.13; on the margin of L there is the lemma, ῾Ελλήνων σιδηρὰν χαλκήν, Χριστιαωῶν χρυσῆν], ῾Ελλήνων δὲ τὴν τρίτην, Χριστιανῶν δέ, <> χρυσὸς ὁ βασιλικὸς ἐγκαταμέμικται, τὸ ἅγιον πνεῦμα ("Unless he means by his hypothesis of three natures to describe, as some conjecture, three polities, the Jews being the silver one, and the Greeks the third [the lemma running thus: "The Greeks being the iron or brass one, and the Christians the gold one"], along with the Christians, with whom the regal gold is mixed, even the holy Spirit"). Finally, in Strom. ἐκ γοῦν τῆς ῾Ελληνικῆς παιδείας, ἀλλὰ καὶ ἐκ τῆς νομικῆς εἰς τὸ ἓν γένος τοῦ σῳζομένου συνάγονται λαοῦ οἱ τὴν πίστιν προσιέμενοι, οὐ χρόνῳ διαιρουμένων τῶν τριῶν λαῶν, ἵνα τις φύσεις ὑπολάβοι τριττάς, . . . ("From the Hellenic discipline, as also from that of the law, those who accept the faith are gathered into the one race of the people who are saved -- not [[250]] that the peoples are separated by time, as though one were to suggest three different natures," etc.).\12/

\12/ Clement (Strom. 2.15.67) once heard a "wise man" explain that Gentiles ("seat of the ungodly"), Jews ("way of sinners"), and heretics ("seat of the scornful") were meant in Ps. 1.1. This addition of ''heretics" is simply due to the passage under discussion.

Evidence may be led also from other early Christian writers to show that the triad of "Greeks (Gentiles), Jews, and Christians" was the church's basal conception of history.\13/ It was employed with especial frequency in the interpretation of biblical stories. Thus Tertullian enlists it in his exposition of the prodigal son (de Pudic. 8 f.); Hippolytus (Comm. in Daniel, ed. Bonwetsch, p. 32) finds the Christians in Susanna, and the Greeks and Jews in the two elders who lay snares for her; while pseudo-Cyprian (de Mont. Sina et Sion, 7) explains that the two thieves represent the Greeks and Jews. But, so far as I am aware, the blunt expression "We Christians are the third race" only occurs once in early Christian literature subsequent to the Preaching of Peter (where, moreover, it is simply Christian worship which is described as the third class), and that is in the pseudo-Cyprianic tract de Pascha Computus (c. 17), written in 242-243 C.E. Unfortunately, the context of the expression is not quite clear. Speaking of hell-fire, the author declares it has consumed the opponents of Ananias, Azarias, and Misael, "et ipsos tres pueros a dei filio protectos -- in mysterio nostro qui sumus tertium genus hominum -- non vexavit" ("Without hurting, however, those three lads, protected by the Son of God -- in the mystery which pertains to us who are the third race of mankind"). It is hard to see how the writer could feel he was reminded of Christians as the third race of men by the three children who were all-pleasing in God's sight, although they were cast into the fiery furnace; still, reminded he was, and at any rate the inference to be drawn from the passage is that he must have been familiar with the description of Christians as a "third race." What sense he attached to it, we [[251]] are not yet in a position to determine with any certainty; but we are bound to assume, in the first instance, from our previous investigations, that Christians were to him a third race alongside of the Greeks (Gentiles) and Jews. Whether this assumption is correct or false, is a question to be decided in the second section of our inquiry.

\13/ The letter of Hadrian to Servianus (Vopisc., Saturnin. 8) is to be included among these witnesses, if it is a Christian fabrication: "Hunc (nummum) Christiani, hunc Judaei, hunc omnes venerantur et gentes" ("Christians, Jews, and all nations worship this one thing, money").


The consciousness of being a people, and of being indeed the primitive and the new people, did not remain abstract or unfruitful in the church; it was developed in a great variety of directions.\14/ In this respect also the synagogue had led the way at every point, but Christianity met its claim by making that claim her own and extending it, wherever this was possible, beyond the limits within which Judaism had confined it.

\14/ Cp. the first book of the Church History of Eusebius, especially ch. 4.2:  τῆς μὲν γὰρ τοῦ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν ᾿Ιησοῦ Χριστοῦ παρουσίας νεωστὶ πᾶσιν ἀνθρώποις ἐπιλαμψάσης, νέον ὁμολογουμένως ἔθνος, οὐ μικρὸν οὐδ’ ἀσθενὲς οὐδ’ ἐπὶ γωνίας που γῆς ἱδρυμένον, ἀλλὰ καὶ πάντων τῶν ἐθνῶν πολυανθρωπότατόν τε καὶ θεοσεβέστατον, . . . τὸ παρὰ τοῖς πᾶσι τῇ τοῦ Χριστοῦ προσηγορίᾳ τετιμημένον ("It is agreed that when the appearance of our Savior Jesus Christ recently broke upon all men, there appeared a new nation, admittedly neither small nor weak nor dwelling in any corner of the earth, but the most numerous and pious of all nations....honored by all men with the title of Christ'').

There were three cardinal directions in which the church voiced her peculiar consciousness of being the primitive people. (1) She demonstrated that, like any other people, she had a characteristic life. (2) She tried to show that so far as the philosophical learning, the worship, and the polity of other peoples were praiseworthy, they were plagiarized from the Christian religion. (3) She began to set on foot, though merely in the shape of tentative ideas, some political reflections upon her own actual importance within the world-empire of Rome, and also upon the positive relation between the latter and herself as the new religion for the world.

1. The proofs advanced by early Christianity with regard to its πολιτεία [citizenship] were twofold. The theme of one set was stated by Paul in Philippians 3.20: "Our citizenship (πολιτεία) is in [[252]] heaven" (cp. Heb. 13.13 f.: "Let us go outside the camp....for here we have no permanent city, but we seek one which is to come"). On this view Christians feel themselves pilgrims and sojourners on earth, walking by faith and not by sight; their whole course of life is a renunciation of the world, and is determined solely by the future kingdom towards which they hasten. This mode of life is voiced most loudly in the first similitude of Hermas, where two cities with their two lords are set in opposition -- one belonging to the present, the other to the future. The Christian must have nothing whatever to do with the former city and its lord the devil; his whole course of life must be opposed to that of the present city, with its arrangements and laws. In this way Christians were able emphatically to represent themselves as really a special people, with a distinctive course of life; but they need not have felt surprised when people took them at their word, and dismissed them with the remark:  Πάντες οὖν ἑαυτοὺς φονεύσαντες πορεύεσθε ἤδη παρὰ τὸν θεὸν καὶ ἡμῖν πράγματα μὴ παρέχετε ("Go and kill yourselves, every one of you; begone to God at once, and don't bother us"), quoted by Justin, 2 Apol. 4.1.

This, however, represented but one side of the proof that Christianity had a characteristic life and order of its own. With equal energy an attempt was made to show that there was a polity realized in Christianity which was differentiated from that of other nations by its absolute morality (see above, pp. 205 f.). As early as the apostolic epistles, no point of dogma is more emphatically brought forward than the duty of a holy life, by means of which Christians are to shine as lights amid a corrupt and crooked generation. "Not like the Gentiles," nor like the Jews, but as the people of God -- that is the watchword. Every sphere of life, down to the most intimate and trivial, was put under the control of the Spirit and re-arranged; we have only to read the Didache in order to find out the earnestness with which Christians took "the way of life." In line with this, a leading section in all the Christian apologies was occupied by the exposition of the Christian polity as a polity which was purely ethical, the object being in every case to show that this Christian polity was in accordance with the highest moral [[253]] standards, standards which even its opponents had to recognize, and that for this very reason it was opposed to the polity of the other nations. The Apologies of Justin (especially 1.14 f.), Aristides (15), Tatian and Tertullian especially, fall to be considered in this light.\15/ The conviction that they are in possession of a distinctive polity is also voiced in the notion of Christians as the army of the true God and of Christ.\16/

\15/ The belauded description in the epistle to Diognetus (5.6) is a fine piece of rhetoric, but not much more than that. The author manages to express three aspects, as it were, in a single breath: the Christian polity as the climax of morals, the Christian aloofness from the world, and the inwardness by which this religion was enabled to live in the midst of the world and adapt itself to all outward conditions without any loss of purity. A man who is able to weave these ideas into one perfect woof, either stands on the high level of the fourth evangelist -- a position to which the author can hardly be promoted -- or else incurs the suspicion of paying no serious attention to any one of the three ideas in question.

\16/ Hermas 94.4 (Sim. 9.17) brings forward one most important aspect of the Christian polity, viz., its power of combining in a mental and moral unity peoples of the most varied capacities and customs. The stones built into the tower (i.e., the church) from the various mountains (the nations) are at first many-colored, but upon being built in, they all acquire the same white color: 
λαβόντες οὖν τὴν σφραγῖδα μίαν φρόνησιν ἔσχον καὶ ἕνα νοῦν, καὶ μία πίστις αὐτῶν ἐγένετο καὶ μία ἀγάπη, καὶ τὰ πνεύματα τῶν παρθένων μετὰ τοῦ ὀνόματος ἐφόρεσαν· διὰ τοῦτο ἡ οἰκοδομὴ τοῦ πύργου μιᾷ χρόᾳ ἐγένετο λαμπρὰ ὡς ὁ ἥλιος ("On receiving the seal they had one understanding and one mind, one faith and one love became theirs. . . . wherefore the fabric of the tower became of one color, bright as the sun"); cp. also Iren., 1.10.2. Celsus (c. Cels. 8.72) longed ardently for such a unity of mankind, instead of humanity being split up into nationalities. But he regarded it as a mere Utopia. Εἰ γὰρ δὴ οἷόν τε εἰς ἕνα συμφρονῆσαι νόμον τοὺς τὴν ᾿Ασίαν καὶ Εὐρώπην καὶ Λιβύην ῞Ελληνάς τε καὶ βαρβάρους ἄχρι περάτων νενεμημένους ("Were it at all possible that the inhabitants of Asia, Europe, and Libya, Greeks and barbarians alike, should unite to obey one law"). On which Origen remarks: ἀδύνατον τοῦτο νομίσας εἶναι ἐπιφέρει [sc. Celsus] ὅτι ὁ τοῦτο οἰόμενος οἶδεν οὐδέν ("Judging this an impossibility, he adds that anyone who thinks it possible knows nothing at all").

2. The strict morality, the monotheistic view of the world, and the subordination of the entire life of man, private and social, to the regulations of a supreme ethical code -- all this is "what has been from the very first" ("quod ab initio fuit"). Now as the church finds this once more repeated in her own life, she recognizes in this phenomenon the guarantee that she herself, though apparently the youngest of the nations, is in reality the oldest. Furthermore, as she undertakes to bring forward proof for this conviction by drawing upon the books of Moses, which she appropriated for her own use (cp. Tatian, Theophilus, [[254]] Clement, Tertullian, and Julius Africanus), she is thereby dethroning the Jewish people and claiming for herself the primitive revelation, the primitive wisdom, and the genuine worship.\17/ Hence she acquires the requisite insight and courage, not merely to survey and appropriate for herself the content of all connected with revelation, wisdom, and worship that had appeared on the horizon of other nations, but to survey and estimate these materials as if they were merely copies made from an original in her own possession. We all know the space devoted by the early Christian apologies to the proof that Greek philosophy, so far as it merited praise and was itself correct, had been plagiarized from the primitive literature which belonged to Christians. The efforts made in this direction culminate in the statement that "Whatever truth is uttered anywhere has come from us." The audacity of this assertion is apt to hide from us at this time of day the grandeur and vigor of the self-consciousness to which it gives expression. Justin had already claimed any true piece of knowledge as "Christian," whether it occurred in Homer, the tragedians, the comic poets, or the philosophers. Did it never dawn on him, or did he really suspect, that his entire standpoint was upset by such an extension of its range, and that what was specifically "Christian" was transformed into what was common to all men? Clement of Alexandria, at any rate, who followed him in this line of thought, not merely foresaw this inference, but deliberately followed it up.

\17/ Note in passing that this marks the beginning in general of the universal chronography of history, and consequently of the general Christian outlook upon the entire course of human history.

By comparing itself with philosophy, early Christianity gave itself out as a "philosophy," while those who professed it were "philosophers." This, however, is one form of its self-consciousness which must not be overrated, for it is almost exclusively confined to the Christian apologetic and polemic. Christians never doubted, indeed, that their doctrine was really the truth, and therefore the true philosophy. But then it was infinitely more than a philosophy. It was the wisdom of God. They too were different from mere philosophers; they were God's [[255]] people, God's friends. It suited their polemic, however, to designate Christianity as philosophy, or "barbarian" philosophy, and adherents of Christianity as "philosophers." And that for two reasons. In the first place, it was the only way of explaining to outsiders the nature of Christian doctrine -- for to institute a positive comparison between it and pagan religions was a risky procedure. And in the second place, this presupposition made it possible for Christians to demand from the State as liberal treatment for themselves as that accorded to philosophy and to philosophic schools. It is in this light, pre-eminently, that we must understand the favorite parallel drawn by the apologists between Christianity and philosophy. Individual teachers who were at the head either of a school (διδασκαλεῖον) within the church or of an independent school, did take the parallel more seriously;\18/ but such persons were in a certain sense merely adjuncts of catholic Christendom.\19/

\18/ Such teachers, with their small groups, hardly felt themselves to be the "primitive people." Their consciousness of entire independence was expressed in the titles of "gifted "and "learned." We shall have to discuss the Christian διδασκαλεῖα [instruction] and its significance for the Christian propaganda in another connection; but we can well understand how pagans found the Christians' claim to be "learned" and "philosophers" a peculiarly ridiculous and presumptuous pretension. On their part, they dubbed Christians as credulous, and scoffed at them as πιστοί ("believers"), who put faith in foreign fables and old wives' gossip.

\19/ They have nothing to do with the primitive shape assumed by Christianity, that of Jesus as the teacher and the disciples as his pupils.

The charge of plagiarism was not merely levelled against philosophy, so far as philosophy was genuine, but also against any rites and methods of worship which furnished actual or alleged parallels to those of Christianity. Little material of this kind was to be found in the official cults of the Greeks and Romans, but this deficiency was more than remade up for by the rich spoil which lay in the mysteries and the exotic cults, the cult of Mithra, in particular, attracting the attention of Christian apologists in this connection at a very early period. The verdict on all such features was quite simple: the demons, it was argued, had imitated Christian rites in the cults of paganism. If it could not be denied that those pagan rites and sacraments were older than their Christian parallels, the plea readily suggested itself that the demons had given a [[256]] distorted copy of Christianity previous to its real appearance, with the object of discrediting it beforehand. Baptism, the Lord's supper, the rites of expiation, the cross, etc., are instances in point. The interests of dogma are always able to impinge on history, and they do so constantly. But here we have to consider some cases which are specially instructive, since the Christian rites and sacraments attained their final shape under the influence of the mysteries and their rites (not, of course, the rites of any special cultus, but those belonging to the general type of the mysteries), so that dogma made the final issue of the process its first cause. Yet even in this field the quid pro quo appears in a more favorable light when we notice that Christendom posits itself as the original People at the dawn of human history, and that this consciousness determines their entire outlook upon that history. For, in the light of this presupposition, the Christians' confiscation of those pagan rites and ceremonies simply denotes the assertion of their character as ideally human and therefore divine. Christians embody the fundamental principles of that divine revelation and worship which are the source of human history, and which constitute the primitive possession of Christianity, although that possession has of course lain undiscovered till the present moment.

3. The most interesting side of the Christian consciousness of being a people, is what may be termed, in the narrower sense of the word, the political. Hitherto, however, it has been studied less than the others. The materials are copious, but up till now little attention has been paid to them. I shall content myself here with laying bare the points of most inportance.\20/

\20/ Tertullian's sentence (Apol. 38): "Nulla magis res nobis aliena quam publica; unam omnium rempublicam agnoscimus, mundum" ("Nothing is more alien to us than politics; we acknowledge but one universal state, the world") has a Stoic tinge; at best, it may be taken with a grain of salt. Besides, people who despise the state always pursue a very active policy of their own.

The political consciousness of the primitive church was based on three presuppositions. There was first of all the political element in the Jewish apocalyptic, which was called forth by the demand of the imperial cultus and the terror of the persecution. Then there was the rapid transference of the gospel from [[257]] the Jews to the Greeks, and the unmistakable affinity between Christianity and Hellenism, as well as between the church and the world-wide power of Rome. Thirdly, there was the fall and ruin of Jerusalem and the Jewish state. The first of these elements stood in antithesis to the two others, so that in this way the political consciousness of the church came to be defined in opposite directions and had to work itself out of initial contradictions.

The politics of Jewish apocalyptic viewed the world-state as a diabolic state, and consequently took up a purely negative attitude towards it. This political view is put uncompromisingly in the apocalypse of John, where it was justified by the Neronic persecution, the imperial claim for worship, and the Domitianic reign of terror. The largest share of attention, comparatively speaking, has been devoted by scholars to this political standpoint, in so far as it lasted throughout the second and the third centuries, and quite recently (1901) Neumann has discussed it thoroughly in his study of Hippolytus. The remarkable thing is that although Christians were by no means nunmerous till after the middle of the second century, they recognized that Christianity formed the central point of humanity as the field of political history as well as its determining factor. Such a self-consciousness is perfectly intelligible in the case of Judaism, for the Jews were really a large nation and had a great history behind them. But it is truly amazing that a tiny set of people should confront the entire strength of the Roman empire, that it should see in the persecution of the Christians the chief role of that empire, and that it should make [[258]] the world's history culminate in such a conflict.\21/ The only explanation of this lies in the fact that the church simply took the place of Israel, and consequently felt herself to be a people; this implied that she was also a political factor, and indeed the factor which ranked as decisive alongside of the state and by which in the end the state was to be overcome. Here we have already the great problem of "church and state" making its appearance, and the uncompromising form given to it at this period became normal for succeeding ages. The relationship between these two powers assumed other forms, but this form continued to lie concealed beneath them all.

\21/ Tertullian was the first who was able to threaten the state with the great number of Christians (Apol. 37, written shortly before 200 C.E.), for up till then people had merely endeavored to hold out the terrors of the calamities at the close of the world and the return of Christ. Although Christians still lacked a majority in the empire, still (from the outset) a substitute for this, so to speak, was found in the telling fact of the broad diffusion of Christianity throughout the whole empire and beyond its bounds. Even as early as the first generations, the fact that Christians were to be found everywhere strengthened and molded their self-consciousness. In contrast to nations shut up within definite boundaries, even though these were as large as those of the Parthians, Tertullian calls Christians (Apol. 37) the "gens totius orbis," i.e., the people of the whole world. And this had been felt long before even Tertullian wrote.

This, however, is only one side of the question. The transition of the gospel from the Jews to the Greeks, the unmistakable affinity between Christianity and Hellenismn, as well as between the church and the Roman world-power, and finally the downfall of the Jewish state at the hands of Rome -- these factors occasioned ideas upon the relation of the empire to the church which were very different from the aims of the accepted apocalyptic. Any systematic treatment of this view would be out of place, however; it would give a wrong impression of the situation. The better way will be, as we are dealing merely with tentative ideas, to get acquainted with the most important features and look at them one after another.

2 Thess. 2.5-7 is the oldest passage in Christian literature in which a positive meaning is attached to the Roman empire. It is represented there, not as the realm of antichrist, but, on the contrary, as the restraining power by means of which the final terrors and the advent of antichrist are held in check. For by τὸ κατέχον  (ὁ κατέχων), "that which (or he who) restrains," we must understand the Roman empire. If this be so, it follows that the church and the empire could not be considered merely as diametrically opposed to each other.

Rom. 13.1 f. makes this quite plain, and proceeds to draw the inference that civil authority is θεοῦ διάκονος ("a minister of God"), appointed by God for the suppression of wickedness; resistance to it means resistance to a divine ordinance. Consequently one must not merely yield to its force, but obey it for conscience' sake. The very payment of taxes is a moral [[259]] duty. The author of 1 Pet. 2.13 ff. expresses himself in similar terms.\22/ But he goes a step further, following up the fear of God directly with honor due to the emperor (πάντας τιμήσατε, τὴν ἀδελφότητα ἀγαπᾶτε, τὸν θεὸν φοβεῖσθε, τὸν βασιλέα τιμᾶτε, 2.17).\23/ Nothing could be more loyal than this conception, and it is noticeable that the author was writing in Asia Minor, among the provinces where the imperial cultus flourished.

\22/ Cp. Tit. 3.1. With regard to Paul's language in Romans, one may recollect what a quiet and happy time the early years of Nero were.

\23/ Greek Christians usually called the emperor βασιλεύς ("king"), a common title in the East, where it had not the same servile associations as "rex" had on the lips of people in the West. But βασιλεύς was also a title of the Lord Christ (κύριος Χριστός) which Christians dared not avoid uttering (not merely on account of "the kingdom of God," βασιλεία τοῦ θεοῦ, but also because Jesus had called himself by this name: John 18.33 f.). This occasioned a painful dilemma, though prudent Christians made strenuous efforts to repudiate the apparent treason which their religious usage of this title inevitably suggested, and to make it clear that by "kingdom" and "king" they understood nothing earthly or human, but something divine (so already Justin's Apol. 1.6). Some hotspurs, no doubt, declared to their judges that they recognised only one king or emperor (God or Christ), and so drew upon themselves just punishment. But these cases were very rare. Christ was also called "imperator" in the West, but not in writings intended for publicity.

Luke begins his account of Christ with the words (2.1): ᾿Εγένετο δὲ ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις ἐκείναις ἐξῆλθεν δόγμα παρὰ Καίσαρος Αὐγούστου ἀπογράφεσθαι πᾶσαν τὴν οἰκουμένην. As has been correctly surmised, the allusion to the emperor Augustus is meant to be significant. It was the official and popular idea that with Augustus a new era dawned for the empire; the imperial throne was its "peace," the emperor its savior (σωτήρ). Behind the earthly savior, Luke makes the heavenly appear -- he, too, is bestowed upon the whole world, and what he brings is peace (ver. 14, ἐπὶ γῆς εἰρήνη).\24/ Luke hardly intended to set Augustus and Christ in hostile opposition; even Augustus and his kingdom are a sign of the new era. This may also be [[260]] gathered front the book of Acts, which in my opinion has not any consciously political aim; it sees in the Roman empire, as opposed to Judaism, the sphere marked out for the new religion, it stands entirely aloof from any hostility to the emperor, and it gladly lays stress upon such facts as prove a tolerant mood on the part of the authorities towards Christians in the past.

\24/ Even the expression used in Eph. 2.14, Αὐτὸς γάρ ἐστιν ἡ εἰρήνη ἡμῶν ("he is our peace"), is modelled on the language applied to the emperor in Asia Minor. I have shown elsewhere how strongly this language has influenced the terminology of Luke in the above-mentioned passage of his gospel. No doubt we have to think of Micah 5.4, in connection with Eph. 2.14 and Luke 2.14. But this converging of different lines was quite characteristic of the age and the idea in question.

Justin (1 Apol. 12.1) writes to the emperor:  ᾿Αρωγοὶ δ’ ὑμῖν καὶ σύμμαχοι πρὸς εἰρήνην ἐσμὲν πάντων μᾶλλον ἀνθρώπων ("We, more than any others, are your helpers and allies in promoting peace"), admitting thereby that the purpose of the empire was beneficial (pax terrena), and that the emperors sought to effect this purpose. Also, in describing Christians as the power best adapted to secure this end -- inasmuch as they shun all crime, live a strictly moral life, and teach a strict morality, besides scaring and exorcising those supreme enemies of mankind, the demons -- he too, in a certain sense, affirms a positive relationship between the church and the state.\25/

\25/ Wherever mention is made of the power of the Christian people which upholds the state and frees humanity, it is always these two factors which are in view -- their strict morality and their power over demons. Others also wield the former weapon, though not so well. But the second, the power over demons, pertains to Christians alone, and therefore they render an incomparable service to the state and to the human race, small though their numbers may be. From this conviction there grew up in Christianity the consciousness of being the power which conserves and emancipates mankind in this world.

When the author of the epistle to Diognetus differentiates Christians from the world (the state) as the soul from the body (ch. 6) and elaborates his account of their relationship in a series of antitheses, he is laying down at the same time a positive relation between the two magnitudes in question: ᾿Εγκέκλεισται μὲν ἡ ψυχὴ τῷ σώματι, συνέχει δὲ αὐτὴ τὸ σῶμα· καὶ Χριστιανοὶ κατέχονται μὲν ὡς ἐν φρουρᾷ τῷ κόσμῳ, αὐτοὶ δὲ συνέχουσι τὸν κόσμον ("The soul is shut up in the body, and yet holds the body together; so Christians are kept within the world as in a prison, yet they hold the world together," 6.7). Similarly Justin (2 Apol. 7).

All this implies already a positive political standpoint, but [[261]] the furthest step in this direction was taken subsequently by Melito (in Eus., H.E. 4.26).\26/ It is no mere accident that he writes in loyal Asia Minor. By noting Luke's suggestion with regard to Augustus, as well as all that had been already said elsewhere upon the positive relations subsisting between the church and the world-empire, Melito could advance to the following statement of the situation in his Apology to Marcus Aurelius: -- 

\26/ I might also include here the remark of Athenagoras in his "Supplicatio" to the emperors (18.2):  ἔχοιτε ἀφ’ ἑαυτῶν καὶ τὴν ἐπουράνιον βασιλείαν ἐξετάζειν· ὡς γὰρ ὑμῖν πατρὶ καὶ υἱῷ πάντα κεχείρωται ἄνωθεν τὴν βασιλείαν εἰληφόσιν -- βασιλέως γὰρ ψυχὴ ἐν χειρὶ θεοῦ, φησὶ τὸ προφητικὸν πνεῦμα -- οὕτως ἑνὶ τῷ θεῷ καὶ τῷ παρ’ αὐτοῦ λόγῳ υἱῷ νοουμένῳ ἀμερίστῳ πάντα ὑποτέτακται ("May you be able to discover the heavenly kingdom by considering yourselves! For as all things are subject to you, father and son, who have received the kingdom from above -- since the king's soul is in the hand of God, saith the spirit of prophecy, -- so are all things subordinate to the one God and to the Logos proceeding from him, even the Son, who is not apprehended apart from him").

"This philosophy of ours certainly did flourish at first among a barbarian people. But springing up in the provinces under thy rule during the great reign of thy predecessor Augustus, it brought rich blessings to thine empire in particular. For ever since then the power of Rome has increased in size and splendor; to this hast thou succeeded as its desired possessor, and as such shalt thou continue with thy son if thou wilt protect the philosophy which rose under Augustus and has risen with the empire, a philosophy which thine ancestors also held in honor along with other religions. The most convincing proof that the flourishing of our religion has been a boon to the empire thus happily inaugurated, is this -- that the empire has suffered no mishap since the reign of Augustus, but, on the contrary, everything has increased its splendor and fame, in accordance with the general prayer."

Melito's ideas need no analysis; they are plainly and clearly stated.\27/ The world-empire and the Christian religion are foster-sisters; they form a pair; they constitute a new stage of human history; the Christian religion means blessing and welfare to the empire, towards which it stands as the inward to the outward. Only when Christianity is protected and permitted to develop [[262]] itself freely, does the empire continue to preserve its size and splendor. Unless one is to suppose that Melito simply wanted to flatter -- a supposition for which there is no ground, although there was flattery in what he said -- the inference is that in the Christianity which formed part of the world-empire he really recognized a co-ordinate and sustaining inward force. Subsequent developments justified this view of Melito, and in this light his political insight is marvellous. But still more marvellous is the fact that at a time like this, when Christians were still a feeble folk, he actually recognized in Christianity the one magnitude parallel to the state, and that simply on the ground of religion -- i.e., as being a spiritual force which was entrusted with the function of supporting the state.\28/

\27/ Tertullian's opinion was different. He knew of no solidarity of Christianity and the empire: "Sed et Caesares credidissent super Christo, si aut Caesares non essent necessarii saeculo, aut si et Christiani potuissent esse Caesares" (Apol. 21: "Yes, the very Caesars would have believed on Christ, if Caesars had not been necessary to the world, or if they could have been Caesars and Christians as well").

\28/ Cp. also Orig., c. Cels. 8.70:  ᾿Αλλ’ οἱ καθ’ ὑπόθεσιν Κέλσου πάντες ἂν πεισθέντες ῾Ρωμαῖοι εὐχόμενοι περιέσονται τῶν πολεμίων ἢ οὐδὲ τὴν ἀρχὴν πολεμήσονται, φρουρούμενοι ὑπὸ θείας δυνάμεως, τῆς διὰ πεντήκοντα δικαίους πέντε πόλεις ὅλας ἐπαγγειλαμένης διασῶσαι ("According to the notion of Celsus, if all the Romans are brought to believe, they will either overcome their foes by praying, or refrain from fighting altogether, being guarded by that power divine which promised to save five entire cities for the sake of fifty just persons").

There is yet another early Christian writer on whom the analogy of Christendom and the world-empire dawned (a propos of its ecumenical range); only, he attempted to explain it in a very surprising fashion, which betrayed a deep hostility towards the empire. Hippolytus writes (in Dan. 4.9): "For as our Lord was born in the forty-second year of the emperor Augustus, whence the Roman empire developed, and as the Lord also called all nations and tongues by means of the apostles and fashioned believing Christians into a people, the people of the Lord, and the people which consists of those who bear a new name -- so was all this imitated to the letter by the empire of that day, ruling 'according to the working of Satan': for it also collected to itself the noblest of every nation, and, dubbing them Romans, got ready for the fray. And that is the reason why the first census took place under Augustus, when our Lord was born at Bethlehem; it was to get the men of this world, who enrolled for our earthly king, called Romans, while those who believed in a heavenly king were termed Christians, bearing on their foreheads the sign of victory over death." [[263]]

The ecumenical range of the Roman empire is, therefore, a Statanic aping of Christianity. As the demons purloined Christian philosophy and aped the Christian cultus and sacraments, so also did they perpetrate a plagiarism against the church by founding the great imperial state of Rome! This is the self-consciousness of Christendom expressed in perhaps the most robust, but also in the most audacious form imaginable! The real cosmopolitan character of Christianity is stated by Octavius (Min. Felix, 33) thus: "Nos gentes nationesque distinguimus: deo una domus est mundus hic totus" ("We draw distinctions between nations and races, but to God the whole of this world is one household").

Origen's political views are more accurate, but how extravagant are his ideas! In chapters 67-75 of his eighth book against Celsus, by dint of a fresh interpretation given to a primitive Christian conception, and a recourse to a Platonic idea, he propounds the idea that the church, this κόσμος τοῦ κόσμου (in Joh. 6.38), or universe of the universe, is the future kingdom of the whole world, destined to embrace the Roman empire and humanity itself, to amalgamate and to replace the various realms of this world.. Cp. ch. 68: "For if, in the words of Celsus, all were to do as we do, then there is no doubt whatever that even the barbarians would become law-abiding and humane, so soon as they obeyed the Word of God; then would all religions vanish, leaving that of Christ alone to reign. And reign it will one day, as the Word never ceases to gain soul after soul." This means the reversal of the primitive Christian hope. The church now presents itself as the civilizing and cohesive power which is to create, even in the present age, a state that shall embrace an undivided humanity. Origen, of course, is not quite sure whether this is feasible in the present age. No further away than ch. 72, a propos of the question (to which Celsus gave a negative answer) whether Asia, Europe, and Libya, Greeks and barbarians alike, could agree to recognize one system of laws, we find him writing as follows: "Perhaps," he says, "such a result would not indeed be possible to those who are still in the body; but it would not be impossible to those who are released from the body" (Καὶ τάχα ἀληθῶς ἀδύνατον μὲν τὸ τοιοῦτο τοῖς ἔτι ἐν [[264]] σώμασι οὐ μὴν ἀδύνατον καὶ ἀπολυθεῖσιν αὐτῶν).\29/ In 2.30. he writes: "In the days of Jesus, righteousness arose and fulness of peace, beginning with his birth. God prepared the nations for his teaching, by causing the Roman emperor to rule over all the world; there was no longer to be a plurality of kingdoms, else would the nations have been strangers to one another, and so the apostles would have found it harder to carry out the task laid on them by Jesus, when he said, 'Go and teach all nations.'"

\29/ I do not understand, any more than Origen did, the political twaddle which Celsus (71) professes to have heard from a Christian. It can hardly have come from a Christian, and it is impossible nowadays to ascertain what underlay it. I therefore pass it by.

In his reply to Celsus (3.29-30), this great father of the church, who was at the same time a great and sensible statesman, submits a further political consideration, which is not high-flown this time, but sober. It has also the advantage of being impressive and to the point. Although the passage is somewhat lengthy. I quote it here, as there is nothing like it in the literature of early Christianity [Greek text in Hist. Dogma, 2.126]: --

"Apollo, according to Celsus, required the Metapontines to consider Aristeas as a god. But the Metapontines considered Aristeas was a man, and perhaps not even a respectable man, and this conviction of theirs seemed to them more valid than the declaration of the oracle that Aristeas was a god and deserving of divine honor. Consequently they would not obey Apollo, and no one regarded Aristeas as a god. But with regard to Jesus, we may say that it proved a blessing to the human race to acknowledge him as God's son, as God appearing in a human soul and body.....God, who sent Jesus, brought to nought all the conspiracies of the demons and gave success to the gospel of Jesus over the whole earth for the conversion and amelioration of mankind, causing churches everywhere to be established, which should be ruled by other laws than those of superstitious, licentious, and evil men. For such is the character of the masses who constitute the assemblies throughout the various towns. Whereas, the churches or assemblies of God, whom Christ instructs, are 'lights in the world,' compared to the [[265]] assemblies of the districts among which they live as strangers. For who would not allow that even the inferior members of the church, and such as take a lower place when judged by the standard of more eminent Christians -- even these are far better people than the members of profane assemblies?

"Take the church of God at Athens; it is a peaceable and orderly body, as it desires to please God, who is over all. Whereas the assembly of the Athenians is refractory, nor can it be compared in any respect to the local church or assembly of God. The same may be said of the church of God at Corinth and the local assembly of the people, as also of the church of God at Alexandria and the local assembly in that city. And if any candid person hears this and examines the facts of the case with a sincere love for the truth, he will admire him who conceived the design and was able to realize it, establishing churches of God to exist as strangers amid the popular assemblies of the various cities. Furthermore, if one compares the council of the Church of God with that of the cities, one by one, it would be found that many a councillor of the church is worthy to be a leader in God's city, if such a city exists in the world; whereas other councillors in all parts of the world show not a trait of conduct to justify the superiority born of their position, which seems to give them precedence over their fellow-citizens. Such also is the result of any comparison between the president of the church in any city and the civic magistrates. It will be found that, in the matter of conduct, even such councillors and presidents of the church as are extremely defective arid indolent compared to their more energetic colleagues, are possessed of virtues which are in general superior to those of civic councillors and rulers."

At this point I shall break off the present part of our investigation. The evidence already brought forward will suffice to give some idea of how Christians held themselves to be the new People and the third race of mankind, and also of the inferences which they drew from these conceptions. But how did the Greeks and Romans regard this phenomenon of Christianity with its enormous claims? This is a question to which justice must be done in an excursus.




For a proper appreciation of the Greek and Roman estimate of Christianity, it is essential, in the first instance, to recollect how the Jews were regarded and estimated throughout the empire, since it was generally known that the Christians had emanated from the Jews.

Nothing is more certain than that the Jews were distinguished throughout the Roman empire as a special people in contrast to all others. Their imageless worship (ἀθεότης), their stubborn refusal to participate in other cults, together with their exclusiveness (ἀμιξία), marked them off from all nations as a unique people.\1/ This uniqueness was openly acknowledged by the [[267]] legislation of Caesar. Except for a brief period, the Jews were certainly never expected to worship the emperor. Thus they stood alone by themselves amid all the other races who were included in, or allied to, the Roman empire. The blunt formula "We are Jews" never occurs in the Greek and Roman literature, so far as I know;\2/ but the fact was there, i.e., the view was widely current that the Jews were a national phenomenon by themselves, deficient in those traits which were common to the other nations.\3/ Furthermore, in every province and town the Jews, and the Jews alone, kept themselves aloof from the neighboring population by means of their constitutional position and civic demeanor. Only, this very uniqueness of character was taken to be a defect in public spirit and patriotism, as well as an insult and a disgrace, from Apollonius Molon and Posidonius down to Pliny, Tacitus, and later authors,\4/ although one or two of the more intelligent writers did not miss the "philosophic" character of the Jews.\5/

\1/ There were also their special customs (circumcision, prohibition of swine's flesh, the sabbath, etc.), but these did not contribute so seriously as ἀθεότης and ἀμιξία to establish the character of the Jews for uniqueness; for customs either identical or somewhat similar were found among other Oriental peoples as well. For ἀθεότης (cp. my essay on "The Charge of Atheism in the First Three Centuries," Texte u. Unters. 28.4), see Pliny, Hist. Nat. 13.4.46: "gens contumelia numinum insignis" ("a race distinguished by its contempt for deities"); Tacit., Hist. 5.5: "Judaei mente sola unumque numen intellegunt . . .  igitur nulla simulacra urbibus suis, nedum templis sistunt ; non regibus haec adolatio non Caesaribus honor" ("the Jews conceive of their deity as one, by the mind alone....hence there are no images erected in their cities or even in their temples. This reverence is not paid to kings, nor this honor to the Caesars"); Juv., Satir. 14.97: "nil praeter nubes et caeli numen adorant" ("they venerate simply the clouds and the deity of the sky"), etc. For μισανθρωπία and ἀμιξία, see Tacit. (loc.cit.): "Apud ipsos fides obstinata, misericordia in promptu, sed adversus omnes alios hostile odium" ("Among themselves their honesty is inflexible, their compassion quick to move, but to all other persons they show the hatred of antagonism"); and earlier still, Apollonius Molon (in Joseph., Apion. 2.14). Cp. Schurer's Gesch. des jud. Volk., 3.(3), p. 418 [Eng. trans., 2.2.295].

\2/ Yet, cp. Epist. Aristeas 16 (ed. Wendland, 1900, p. 6): Τὸν γὰρ πάντων ἐπόπτην καὶ κτίστην θεὸν οὗτοι σέβονται, ὃν καὶ πάντες, ἡμεῖς δέ, βασιλεῦ, προσονομάζοντες ἑτέρως Ζῆνα καὶ Δία.

\3/ In Egypt a clear-cut triple division obtained -- Egyptians, Greeks, and Jews. Cp. Schurer 3(3), p. 23 [Eng, trans., 2.2.231].

\4/ Apollonius Molon in Joseph., Apion. 2.15, "The most stupid of the barbarians, ἄθεοι, μισάνθρωποι"; Seneca (in August., de Civit. 6.11), "sceleratissima gens"; Tacitus (Hist. 5.8), "despectissima pars servientium -- taeterrima gens"; Pliny (loc. cit.), Marcus Aurelius (in Ammian, 22.5), and Caecilius (in Min. Felix, 10), ''Judaeorum misera gentilitas."

\5/ Aristotle (according to Clearchus [fragment 6, TLG]), "philosophers among the Syrians" (φιλόσοφοι παρὰ Σύροις) ; Theophrastus (according to Porphyry, de abstinentia 2.26), "since they are a race of philosophers" (ἅτε φιλόσοφοι τὸ γένος ὄντες) ; Strabo (16.2.35, pp. 760 f.); and Varro (in August., de Civit. 4.31).

Disengaging itself from this Jewish people, Christianity now encountered the Greeks and Romans. In the case of Christians, some of the sources of offence peculiar to the Jews were absent; but the greatest offence of all appeared only in heightened colors, viz., the ἀθεότης and the ἀμιξία (μισανθρωπία). Consequently the Christian religion was described as a "superstitio nova et malefica" (Suet., Nero, 16), as a "superstitio prava, immodica" (Plin., Ep. 10.96, 97), as an "exitiabilis superstitio" (Tacit., Annal. 15.44), and as a "vana et demens superstitio" (Min. Felix, 9), while the Christians themselves were characterized [[268]] as "per flagitia invisi," and blamed for their "odium generis humani." \6/

\6/ Tacitus (loc. cit.); cp. Tertull., Apol. 35, "publici hostes"; 37, "hostes maluistis vocare generis humani Christianos" (you prefer to call Christians the enemies of the human race); Minuc. 10, "pravae religionis obscuritas"; 8, "homines deploratae, inlicitae ac desperatae factionis" (reprobate characters, belonging to an unlawful and desperate faction); "plebs profanae coniurationis"; 9, "sacraria taeterrima impiae citionis" (abominable shrines of an impious assembly); "eruenda et execranda consensio" (a confederacy to be rooted out and detested).

Several sensible people during the course of the second century certainly took a different view. Lucian saw in Christians half crazy, credulous fanatics, yet he could not altogether refuse them his respect. Galen explained their course of life as philosophic, and spoke of them in terms of high esteem.\7/ Porphyry also treated them, and especially their theologians, the gnostics and Origen, as respectable opponents.\8/ But the vast majority of authors persisted in regarding them as an utter abomination. "Latebrosa et lucifuga natio," cries the pagan Caecilius (in Minut. Felix, 8 f.), " in publicum muta, in angulis garrula; templa ut busta despiciunt, deos despuunt, rident sacra . . . occultis se notis et insignibus noscunt et amant mutuo paene antequam noverint . . . cur nullas aras habent, templa nulla, nulla nota simulacra . . . nisi illud quod colunt et interprimunt, aut punieudum est aut pudendum? unde autem vel quis ille aut ubi deus unicus, solitarius, destitutus, quem non [[269]] gens libera, non regna, non saltem Romana superstitio noverunt? Judaeorum sola et misera gentilitas unum et ipsi deum, sed palam, sed templis, aris, victimis caeremoniisque coluerunt, cuius adeo nulla vis ac potestas est, ut sit Romanis numinibus cum sua sibi natione captivus. At iam Christiani quanta monstra, quae portenta confingunt." \9/ What people saw -- what Caecilius saw before him -- was a descending series, with regard to the numina and cultus: first Romans, then Jews, then Christians.

\7/ The passage is extant only in the Arabic (see above, p. 212).

\8/ Of the historical basis of the Christian religion and its sacred books in the New Testament, Porphyry and the Neoplatonists in general formed no more favorable opinion than did Celsus, while even in the Old Testament they found (agreeing thus far with the Christian gnostics) a great deal of folly and falsehood. The fact is, no one, not even Celsus, criticised the gospel history so keenly and disparagingly as Porphyry. Still, much that was to be found in the books of Moses and in John appeared to them of value. Further, they had a great respect for the Christian philosophy of religion, and endeavored in all seriousness to come to terms with it, recognizing that it approximated more nearly than that of the gnostics to their own position. The depreciatory estimate of the world and the dualism which they found in gnosticism seemed to them a frivolous attack upon the Godhead. Per contra Porphyry says of Origen: ''His outward conduct was that of a Christian and unlawful. But he thought like a Greek in his views of matter and of God, and mingled the ideas of the Greeks with foreign fables" (in Eus., H.E. 6.19). On the attitude of Plotinus towards the gnosis of the church and gnosticism, cp. Karl Schmidt in Texte u. Unters. N.F. 5. part 4.

\9/ "A people who skulk and shun the light of day, silent in public but talkative in holes and corners. They despise the temples as dead-houses, they scorn the gods, they mock sacred things. . . . they recognize each other by means of secret tokens and marks, and love each other almost before they are acquainted. Why have they no altars, no temples, no recognized images. . . . unless what they worship and conceal deserves punishment or is something to be ashamed of? Moreover, whence is he, who is he, where is he, that one God, solitary and forsaken, whom no free people, no realm, not even a Roman superstition, has ever known? The lonely and wretched race of the Jews worshipped one God by themselves, but they did it openly, with temples, altars, victims, and ceremonies, and he has so little strength and power that he and all his nation are in bondage to the deities of Rome! But the Christians! What marvels, what monsters, do they feign!"

So monstrous, so repugnant are those Christians (of whose faith and life Caecilius proceeds to tell the most evil tales), that they drop out of ordinary humanity, as it were. Thus Caecilius indeed calls them a "natio," but he knows that they are recruited from the very dregs of the nations, and consequently are no "people" in the sense of a "nation." The Christian Octavius has to defend them against this charge of being a non-human phenomenon, and Tertullian goes into still further details in his Apology and in his address ad Nationes. In both of these writings the leading idea is the refutation of the charge brought against Christianity, of being something exceptional and utterly inhuman. "Alia nos opinor, natura, Cyropennae [Cynopae?] aut Sciapodes," we read in Apol. 8, "alii ordines dentium, alii ad incestam libidinem nervi? . . . homo est enim et Christianus et quod et tu" ("We are of a different nature, I suppose! Are we Cyropennae or Sciapodes? Have we different teeth, different organs for incestuous lust?. . . . Nay, a Christian too is a man, he is whatever you are." In Apol. 16, Tertullian is obliged to refute wicked lies told about Christians which, if true, would make Christians out to be quite [[270]] an exceptional class of human beings. Whereas, in reality, "Christiani homines sunt vobiscum degentes, eiusdem victus, habitus, instructus, eiusdem ad vitam necessitatis. neque enim Brachmanae aut Indorum gymnosophistae sumus, silvicolae et exules vitae. . . . si caeremonias tuas non frequento, attamen et illa die homo sum" (Apol. 42: "Christian men live beside you, share your food, your dress, your customs, the same necessities of life as you do. For we are neither Brahmins nor Indian gymnosophists, inhabiting the woods, and exiles from existence. If I do not attend your religious ceremonies, none the less am I a human being on the sacred day"). "Cum concutitur imperium, concussis etiam ceteris membris eius utique et nos, licit extranei a turbis aestimemur, in aliquo loco casus invenimur" (Apol. 31: "When the state is disturbed and all its other members affected by the disturbance, surely we also are to be found in some spot or another, although we are supposed to live aloof from crowds." It is evident also from the nicknames and abusive epithets hurled at them, that Christians attracted people's attention as something entirely strange (cp., e.g., Apol. 1).\10/

\10/ Hence the request made to Christians is quite intelligible: "Begone from a world to which you do not belong, and trouble us not." Cp. the passage already cited [p. 252] from Justin's 2 Apol. 4, where Christians are told by their opponents, Πάντες οὖν ἑαυτοὺς φονεύσαντες πορεύεσθε ἤδη παρὰ τὸν θεὸν καὶ ἡμῖν πράγματα μὴ παρέχετε ("Go and kill yourselves, every one of you; begone to God at once, and don't bother us"). Tertullian relates (ad Scap. 5) how Arrius Antoninus, the proconsul of Asia, called out to the Christians who crowded voluntarily to his tribunal in a time of persecution, "You miserable wretches; if you want to die, you have precipices and ropes." Celsus (in Orig., c. Cels. 8.55) writes: "If Christians decline to render due honor to the gods or to respect those appointed to take charge of the religious services, let them not grow up to manhood or marry wives or have children or take any part in the affairs of this life, but rather be off with all speech, leaving no posterity behind them, that such a race may become utterly extinct on earth." Hatred of the empire and emperor, and uselessness from the economic standpoint -- these were standing charges against Christians, charges which the apologists (especially Tertullian) were at great pains to controvert. Celsus tries to show Christians that they were really trying to cut off the branch on which they sat (8.68): "Were all to act as you do, the emperor would soon be left solitary and forlorn, and affairs world presently fall into the hands of the wildest and most lawless barbarians. Then it would be all over with the glory of [[271b]] your worship and the true wisdom among men." As the Christians were almost alone among religionists in being liable to this charge of enmity to the empire, they were held responsible by the populace, as everybody knows, for any great calamities that occurred. The passages in Tertullian bearing on this point are quite familiar; but one should also compare the parallel statements in Origen (in Matt. Comment Ser. 39). Henceforth Christians appear a special group by themselves. Maximinus Daza, in his rescript to Sabinus (Eus., H.E. 9.9a.1), speaks of the ἔθνος τῶν Χριστιανῶν (the nation of the Christians), and the edict of Galerius reluctantly admits that Christians succeeded in combining the various nations into a relative unity by means of their commandments (Eus., H.E. 8.17.7):  τοσαύτη αὐτοὺς πλεονεξία κατειλήφει ὡς μὴ ἕπεσθαι τοῖς ὑπὸ τῶν πάλαι καταδειχθεῖσιν, . . .  ἀλλὰ κατὰ τὴν αὐτῶν πρόθεσιν καὶ ὡς ἕκαστος ἐβούλετο, οὕτως ἑαυτοῖς καὶ νόμους ποιῆσαι καὶ τούτους παραφυλάσσειν καὶ ἐν διαφόροις διάφορα πλήθη συνάγειν ("Such arrogance had seized them and such senselessness had mastered them, that instead of following the institutions of their ancestors. . . . they framed laws for themselves according to their own purpose, as each desired, and observed these laws, and thus held various gatherings in various places").

In his two books ad Nationes, no less than in the Apology, all these arguments also find contemporary expression. Only in the former one further consideration supervenes, which deserves [[271]] special attention, namely, the assertion of Tertullian that Christians were called "genus tertium" (the Third race) by their opponents. The relevant passages are as follows:

Ad Nat. 1.8: "Plane, tertium genus dicimur. An Cyropennae aliqui vel Sciapodes vel aliqui de subterraneo Antipodes? Si qua istic apud vos saltem ratio est, edatis velim primum et secundum genus, ut ita de tertio constet. Psammetichus quidem putavit sibi se de ingenio exploravisse prima generis. dicitur enim infantes recenti e partu seorsum a commercio hominum alendos tradidisse nutrici, quam et ipsam propterea elinguaverat, ut in totum exules vocis humanae non auditu formarent loquellam, sed de suo promentes eam primam nationem designarent cuius sonum natura dictasset. Prima vox 'beccos' renuntiata est; interpretatio eius 'panis' apud Phrygas nomen est; Phryges primum genus exinde habentur. .  . . sint nunc primi Phryges, non tamen tertii Christiani. Quantae enim aliae gentium series post Phrygas? verum recogitate, ne quos tertium genus dicitis principem locum obtineant, siquidem non ulla gens non Christiana. itaque quaecunque gens prima, nihilominus Christiana. ridicula dementia novissimos diciti et tertios nominatis. sed de superstitione tertium genus deputamur, non de natione, ut sint Romani, Judaei, dehinc Christiani. ubi autem Graeci? vel si in Romanorum suberstitionibus censentur, quoniam quidem etiam deos Graeciae Roma sollicitavit, ubi [[272]] saltem Aegyptii, et ipsi, quod sciam, privatae curiosaeque religionis? porro si tam monstruosi, qui tertii loci, quales habendi, qui primo et secundo antecedunt?" ("We are indeed called the third race of men! Are we monsters, Cyropennae, or Sciopades, or some Antipodeans from the underworld? If these have any meaning for you, pray explain the first and second of the races, that we may thus learn the 'third.' Psammetichus thought he had ingeniously hit upon primeval man. He removed, it is said, some newly born infants from all human intercourse and entrusted their upbringing to a nurse whom he had deprived of her tongue, in order that being exiled entirely from the sound of the human voice, they might form their words without hearing it, and derive them from their own nature, thus indicating what was the first nation whose language was originally dictated by nature. The first word they uttered was 'beccos,' the Phrygian word for bread. The Phrygians, then, are held to be the first race. . . . If, then, the Phrygians are the first race, still it does not follow that the Christians are the third. For how many other races successively came after the Phrygians? But take heed lest those whom you call the third race take first place, since there is no nation which is not Christian. Whatever nation, therefore, is the first, is nevertheless Christian now. It is senseless absurdity for you to call us the latest of nations and then to dub us the Third. But, you say, it is on the score of religion and not of nationality that we are considered to be third; it is the Romans first, then the Jews, and after that the Christians. What about the Greeks then? Or supposing that they are reckoned among the various Roman religions (since it was from Greece that Rome borrowed even her deities), where do the Egyptians at any rate come in, since they possess a religion which, so far as I know, is all their own, and full of secrecy? Besides, if those who occupy the third rank are such monsters, what must we think of those who precede them in the first and second?").

Further, in ad Nat. 1.20. (after showing that the charges brought against Christians recoil upon their adversaries the heathen), Tertuilian proceeds: "Habetis et vos tertium genus etsi non de tertio ritu, attamem de tertio sexu. Illud aptius de [[273]] viro et femina viris et feminis iunctum" ("You too have your 'third race' [i.e., of eunuchs], though it is not in the way of a third religion, but of a third sex. Made up of male and female in conjunction, it is better suited to pander to men and women!")

Add also a passage fromn the treatise Scorpiace (10: a word to heretics who shunned martyrdom): "Illic constitues et synagogas Judaeorum fontes persecutionum, apud quas apostoli flagella perpessi sunt, et populos nationum cum suo quidem circo, ubi facile conclamant :  'Usque quo genus tertium?'" ("Will you set up there [i.e., in heaven] also synagogues of the Jews -- which are fountains of persecution -- before which the apostles suffered scourging, and heathen crowds with their circus, forsooth, where all are ready to shout, 'How long are we to endure this third race?'").

From these passages we infer:

1. That "the third race" (genus tertium) as a designation of Christians on the lips of the heathen was perfectly common in Carthage about the year 200. Even in the circus people cried, "Usque quo genus tertium?"

2. That this designation referred exclusively to the Christian method of conceiving and worshipping God. The Greeks, Romans, and all other nations passed for the first race (genus primum), in so far as they mutually recognized each other's gods or honored foreign gods as well as their own, and had sacrifices amid images. The Jews (with their national God, their exclusiveness, and a worship which lacked images but included sacrifice) constituted the second race (genus alterum).\11/ The Christians, again (with.their spiritual God, their lack of images and sacrifices, and the contempt for the gods -- contemnere deos -- which they shared with the Jews\12/), formed the Third race (genus tertium).

\11/ Cp. ad Nat. 1.8.

\12/ Cp. what is roundly asserted in ad Nat. 1.8: "It is on the score of religion and not of nationality that we are considered to be third; it is the Romans first, then the Jews, and after that the Christians." Also, 1.20: "Tertium genus [dicimur] de ritu" ("We are called a third race on the ground of religion"). It seems to me utterly impossible to suppose that Tertullian might have been mistaken in this interpretation of the title in question.

3. When Tertullian talks as if the whole system of classification [[274]] could denote the chronological series of the nations, it is merely a bit of controversial dialectic. Nor has the designation of "the Third race" (genus tertium) anything whatever to do either with the virginity of Christians, or, on the other hand, with the sexual debaucheries set down to their credit.\13/

\13/ Passages may indeed be pointed out in which either virginity (or unsexual character) or unnatural lust is conceived as "genus tertium" (a third race), or as a race (genus) in general (Tertull., de Virg. Vel. 7: "Si caput mulieris vir est, ubique et virginis, de qua fit mulier illa quae nupsit, nisi si virgo tertium genus est monstrosum aliquod sui capitis." ''If the man is the head of the woman, he is also the head of the virgin, for out of a virgin comes the woman who marries; unless she is some monstrosity with a head of its own, a third race"). Cp. op cit., 5, where the female sex is "genus secundi hominis"; pseudo-Cypr., de Pudic. 7, "Virginitas neutrius est sexus"; and Clem. Alex., Paedag., οὐδὲ γὰρ αἰδοῖα ἔχει τὸ αὐτὸ ζῷον ἅμα ἄμφω, ἄρρενος καὶ θήλεος,καθὼς ὑπειλήφασί τινες, ἑρμαφροδίτους τερατολογοῦντες καὶ τρίτην ταύτην μεταξὺ θηλείας καὶ ἄρρενος ἀνδρόγυνον καινοτομοῦντες φύσιν [a similar sexual analogy]. Cp., on the other hand, op. cit., 1.4.11, where there is a third condition common to both sexes, viz., that of being human beings and also children; also Lampridius, Alex. Sever. 23: "Idem tertium genus hominum eunuchos dicebat" ("He said eunuchs were a third race of mankind"). Obviously, however, such passages are irrelevant to the point now under discussion.

All these results\14/ were of vital importance to the impression made by Christianity (and Judaism) upon the pagan world.\15/ As early as the opening of the second century Christians designate their religion as "the third method" of religion (cp. the [[275]] evidence above furnished by the Preaching of Peter), and frankly declare, about the year 240 C.E., "We are the third race of mankind" (cp. the evidence of the treatise de Pascha Computus).\16/ Which proves that the pagans did borrow this conception, and that (even previously to 200 C.E.) they described the Jews as the second and the Christians as the third race of men.\17/ This they did for the same reason as the Christians, on account of the nature of the religion in question.

\14/ It is remarkable that Tertullian is only aware of the title "tertium genus" as a pagan description of Christians, and not as one also applied by Christians to themselves. But despite his silence on the fact that Christians also designated their religion as "the third kind" of religion, we must nevertheless assume that the term rose as spontaneously to the lips of Christians as of their opponents, since it is unlikely, though not impossible, that the latter borrowed it from Christian literature. (Consequently Fronto, in his lost treatise against the Christians, must have made polemical use of the title "genus tertium" which he found in Christian writings, and by this means the term passed out into wider currency among the heathen. Yet in Minucius Felix it does not occur.) To recall the chronological succession of its occurrences once again: at the opening of the second century one Christian writer (the author of the Preaching of Peter) calls the Christian religion "the third kind" of religion; in the year 197, Tertullian declares, "Tertium genus dicimur" ("We are called the third race"); while in 242-243 C.E. a Roman or African Christian (pseudo-Cyprian) writes, "Tertium genus sumus" ("We are the third race").

\15/ I add, Judaism -- for hitherto in our discussion we could not determine with absolute certainty whether any formula was current which distinguished the Jews from all other peoples with regard to their conception and worship of God. Now it is perfectly plain. The Jews ranked in this connection as an independent magnitude, a ''genus alterum."

\16/ It is now clear that we were right in conjecturing above that the Romans were to pseudo-Cyprian the first race, and the Jews the second, as opposed to the Third race.

\17/ How long before we do not know. By the end of the second century, at any rate, the title was quite common. It is therefore hardly possible to argue against the authenticity of Hadrian's epistle to Servianus (see above) on the ground that it contains this triple division: "Hunc [nummum] Christiani, hunc Judaei, hunc omnes venerantur et gentes" ("This pelf is revered by the Christians, the Jews, and the nations"). But the description of Romans, Greeks, etc., as "gentes" is certainly very suspicious; it betrays, unless I am mistaken, the pen of a Christian writer.

It is indeed amazing! One had certainly no idea that in the consciousness of the Greeks and Romans the Jews stood out in such bold relief from the other nations, and the Christians from both, or that they represented themselves as independent "genera," and were so described in an explicit formula. Neither Jews nor Christians could look for any ample recognition, little as the demarcation was intended as a recognition at all.\18/

\18/ Thanks to Varro, who had a genius for classification, people had been accustomed among literary circles, in the first instance, to grade the gods and religions as well. Perhaps it was under the influence of his writings (and even Tertullian makes great play with them in his treatise ad Nationes) that the distinction of Jews and Christians as "the second and third ways" obtained primarily among the learned, and thence made its way gradually into the minds of the common people. It is utterly improbable that this new classification was influenced by the entirely different distinction current among the Egyptians (see above), of the three γένη (Egyptians, Greeks, and Jews). Once it was devised, the former conception must have gone on working with a logic of its own, setting Judaism and Christianity in a light which was certainly not intended at the outset. It developed the conception of three circles, of three possible religions! Strangely enough, Tertullian never mentions the ''genus tertium" in his Apology, though it was contemporaneous with the ad Nationes. Was the fact not of sufficient importance to him in encountering a Roman governor?

The polemical treatises against Christians prove that the triple formula "Romans, etc., Jews, and Christians" was really never absent from the minds of their opponents. So far as we are [[276]] acquainted with these treatises, they one and all adopt this scheme of thought: the Jews originally parted company with all other nations, and after leaving the Egyptians, they formed an ill-favored species by themselves, while it is from these very Jews that the Christians have now broken off, retaining all the worst features of Judaism and adding loathsome and repulsive elements of their own. Such was the line taken by Celsus, Porphyry, and Julian in their anti-Christian writings. Celsus speaks of the γένος of the Jews, and opposes both γένη in the sharpest manner to all other nations, in order to show that when Christians, as renegade Jews, distinguish themselves from this γένος -- a γένος which is, at least, a people --  they do so to their own loss. He characterizes Christians (8.2) as ἀποτειχιζόντων ἑαυτοὺς καὶ ἀπορρηγνύντων ἀπὸ τῶν λοιπῶν ἀνθρώπων ("people who separate themselves and break away front the rest of mankind"). For all that, everything in Christianity is simply plagiarized from a plagiarism, or copied from a copy. Christians per se have no new teaching (μάθημα, 1.4; cp. 2.5. and 4.14). That they have any teaching at all to present, is simply due to the fact that they have kept back the worst thing of all, viz., their στασιάζειν πρὸς τὸ κοινόν ("their revolt against the common weal").\19/ Porphyry -- who, I imagine, is the anti-Christian controversialist before the mind of Eusebius in his Preparatio 1.2  -- begins by treating Christians as a sheer impossibility, inasmuch as they will not and do not belong to the Greeks or to the barbarians.\20/ Then he goes on to say:  καὶ μηδ’ αὐτῷ τῷ παρὰ ᾿Ιουδαίοις τιμωμένῳ θεῷ κατὰ τὰ παρ’ αὐτοῖς προσανέχειν νόμιμα, καινὴν δέ τινα καὶ ἐρήμην ἀνοδίαν ἑαυτοῖς συντεμεῖν, μήτε τὰ ῾Ελλήνων μήτε τὰ ᾿Ιουδαίων φυλάττουσαν ("Nor do they adhere to the rites of the God worshipped by the Jews according to their customs, but fashion some new and solitary vagary for themselves of which there is no trace in Hellenism or Judaism"). So that he also gives the triple classification. Finally, Julian (Neumann, p.164) likewise [[277]] follows the division of ῞Ελληνες, ᾿Ιουδαῖοι, and Γαλιλαῖοι [Greeks, Jews, Galileans]. The Galileans are neither Greeks nor Jews; they have come from the Jews, but have separated from them and struck out a path of their own. "They have repudiated every noble and significant idea current among us Greeks, and among the Hebrews who are descended from Moses; yet they have lifted from both sources everything that adhered to these imitations like an ill-omened demon, taking their godlessness from the levity of the Jews, and their careless and lax way of living from our own thoughtlessness and vulgarity."

 \19/ The τρίτον γένος which Celsus mentions rather obscurely in 5.61 has nothing to do with the third race which is our present topic. It refers to distinctions within Christianity itself.

\20/ Cp. von Wilamowitz-Moellendorf in the Zeitschrift fur neutestamentliche Wissenschaft, 1.2, pp. 101 f.

Plainly, then, Greek and Jews and Christians were distinguished throughout upon the ground of religion, although the explicit formula of "the third race" occurs only in the West. After the middle of the third century, both empire and emperor learnt to recognize and dread the third race of worshippers as a "nation," as well as a race. They were a state within the state. The most instructive piece of evidence in this connection is the account of Decius given by Cyprian (Ep. 55.9): "Multo patientius et tolerabilius audivit levari adversus se aemulum principem quam constitui Romae dei sacerdotem" ("He would hear of a rival prince being set up against himself with far more patience and equaninmity than of a priest of God being appointed at Rome"). The terrible edict issued by this emperor for the persecution of Christians is in the first instance the practical answer given by the state to the claims of the "New People" and to the political view advocated by Melito and Origen. The inner energy of the new religion comes out in its self-chosen title of "the New People" or "the Third race" just as plainly as in the testimony extorted from its opponents, that in Christianity a new genus of religion had actually emerged side by side with the religions of the nations and of Judaism. It does not afford much direct evidence upon the outward spread and strength of Christianity, for the former estimate emerged, asserted itself, and was recognized at an early period, when Christians were still, in point of numbers, a comparatively small society.\21/ But it must have been [[ 278]] of the highest importance for the propaganda of the Christian religion, to be so distinctly differentiated from all other religions and to have so lofty a consciousness of its own position put before the world.\22/ Naturally this had a repelling influence as well on certain circles. Still it was a token of power, and power never fails to succeed.

\21/ They could not have been utterly insignificant, however; otherwise this estimate would be incredible. In point of numbers they must have already rivalled the Jews at any rate.

\22/ Judaism already owed no small amount of her propaganda to her apologetic and, within her apologetic, to the valuation of herself which it developed. Cp. Schurer, Gesch. des Volkes Israel, 3.(3), pp. 107 f. [Eng. trans., 2.3.249 f.].




Christianity, unlike Islam, never was and never became the religion of a book in the strict sense of the term (not until a much later period, that of rigid Calvinism, did the consequences of its presentation as the religion of a book become really dangerous, and even then the rule of faith remained at the helm). Still, the book of Christianity -- i.e., in the first instance, the Old Testament -- did exert an influence which brought it to the verge of becoming the religion of a book. Paul, of course, when we read him aright, was opposed to this development, and wide circles throughout Christendom -- both the gnostics and the Marcionites -- even went the length of entirely repudiating the Old Testament or of ascribing it to another god altogether, though he too was righteous and dependent on the most high God.\1/ But in the catholic church this gnostic criticism was indignantly rejected, whilst the complicated position adopted by the apostle Paul towards the book was not understood at all. The Old Testament, interpreted allegorically, continued to be the sacred book for these Christians, as it was for the Jews, from whom they aimed to wrest it.

\1/ Cp., for example, the letter of Ptolemaeus to Flora, with my study of it in the Sitzungsberichte d. K. Pr. Akad. d. Wiss., May 15, 1902.

This attitude to the Old Testament is quite intelligible. What other religious society could produce a book like it?\2/ How overpowering and lasting must have been the impression made by it on Greeks, educated and uneducated alike, once they [[280]] learnt to understand it! Many details might be strange or obnoxious, but the instruction and inspiration of its pages amply made up for that. Its great antiquity -- stretching in some parts, as men held, to thousands of years -- was already proof positive of its imperishable value; its contents seemed in part a world of mysteries and in part a compendium of the profoundest wisdom.\3/ By its inexhaustible wealth, by its variety, comprehensiveness, and extensive character, it seemed like a literary cosmos, a second creation which was the twill of the first.\4/ This indeed was the deepest impression which it made. The opinion most widely held by Greeks who came in contact with the Old Testament was that this was a book which was to be coupled with the universe, and that a similar verdict could be passed upon both of them. Variously as they might still interpret it, the fact of its being a parallel creation to the world, equally great and equally comprehensive, and of both issuing from a single author, appeared indubitable even to the gnostics and the Marcionites, whilst the members of the catholic church recognized in this divine author the most high God himself!\5/ In the entire history of human thought, when did any other book earn such an opinion?\6/

\2/ It had this double advantage, that it was accessible in Greek, and also that the Hebrew original was familiar. On the Septuagint, see the studies by Nestle and Deissmann, besides the epistle of Aristeas (ed. Wendland, 1900).

\3/ In his treatise de Pallio Tertullian exclaims triumphantly, "Your history only reaches back to the Assyrians; we are in possession of the history of the whole world" ("Ferme apud vos ultra stilus non solet. ab Assyriis, si forte, aevi historiae patescunt. qui vero divinas lectitamus, ab ipsius mundi natalibus compotes sumus").

\4/ Hence the numerous names for the book, partly due to its origin, partly to its contents (σωτήρια γράμματα -- salvific letters).

\5/ Certain gnostics distinguished the god of creation and the god of the Old Testament. This distinction prevailed wherever nature was depreciated in comparison with the religious attainments of the pre-Christian era. Nature is fierce and fatal; the law is, relatively speaking, moral.

\6/ Attacks by gnostics and pagans were not awanting, but the latter must have seldom assailed it on the whole. When they busied themselves seriously with the book, they almost invariably respected it. "Unde scis illos libros (veteri Testamenti) unius veri et veracissimi dei spiritu esse humano generi ministratos?" (Aug., Confess. 6.5, 7: "Whence knowest thou that these books have been imparted to mankind by the spirit of the one true and most truthful God?") -- this is a Manichaean or gnostic objection.

The Old Testament certainly was an enormous help to the Christian propaganda, and it was in vain that the Jews protested.\7/ [[281]] We have one positive testimony, in the following passage from Tatian (Orat. 29), that for many people the Old Testament formed the real bridge by which they crossed to Christianity. "When I was paying earnest heed to what was profitable," he writes, "some barbarian writings came into my hands which were too old for Greek ideas and too divine for Greek errors. These I was led to trust, owing to their very simplicity of expression and the unstudied character of their authors, owing to their intelligible description of creation, their foreknowledge of the future, the excellence of their precepts, and the fact of their embracing the universe under the sole rule of God. Thus was my soul instructed by God, and I understood how other teachings lead to condemnation, whilst these writings abolish the bondage that prevails throughout the world and free us from a plurality of rulers and tyrants innumerable. They furnish us, not with something which we had not already received, but with something which had been received but which, thanks to error, had been lost."\8/

\7/ Their right to the book was simply denied; their misinterpretation of it proved that it was no longer theirs; the opinion was even current (cp. Barnabas [[281b]] epist.) that it never had been theirs, and that they had appropriated it unfairly. "In Judaeorum oleastro insiti sumus," says Tertullian ([[[ET] de Testim. 5, after Rom. 11); but the oleaster had thereby lost its very right to exist.

\8/ Cp. also Justin, Dial. c. Tryph. 7.1 ff.:  ᾿Εγένοντό τινες πρὸ πολλοῦ χρόνου πάντων τούτων τῶν  νομιζομένων φιλοσόφων παλαιότεροι, μακάριοι καὶ δίκαιοι καὶ θεοφιλεῖς, θείῳ πνεύματι λαλήσαντες καὶ τὰ μέλλοντα θεσπίσαντες, ἃ δὴ νῦν γίνεται· προφήτας δὲ αὐτοὺς καλοῦσιν. οὗτοι μόνοι τὸ ἀληθὲς καὶ εἶδον καὶ ἐξεῖπον ἀνθρώποις, μήτ’ εὐλαβηθέντες μήτε δυσωπηθέντες τινά, μὴ ἡττημένοι δόξης, ἀλλὰ  μόνα ταῦτα εἰπόντες ἃ ἤκουσαν καὶ ἃ εἶδον ἁγίῳ πληρωθέντες πνεύματι. (2.)  συγγράμματα δὲ αὐτῶν ἔτι καὶ νῦν διαμένει, κ.τ.λ. . . . (8.1) ἐμοῦ δὲ παραχρῆμα πῦρ ἐν τῇ ψυχῇ ἀνήφθη, καὶ ἔρως ἔχει με τῶν προφητῶν καὶ τῶν ἀνδρῶν ἐκείνων, οἵ εἰσι Χριστοῦ φίλοι ("Long ago there were certain men, more ancient than all those who are esteemed philosophers, men blessed and righteous and beloved of God, who spoke by the spirit of God, and foretold what would come to pass, even what is now coming to pass. Their name is that of prophets. They alone saw the truth and proclaimed it to men, neither reverencing nor dreading any man....but only saying what they saw and heard, being filled with the holy spirit. Writings of theirs are still extant.....A fire was at once kindled in my soul, and I was seized with a passion for the prophets and for those who are the friends of Christ").

This confession is particularly noticeable, not merely on account of the explicit manner in which it brings out the significance of the Old Testament for the transition to Christianity, but also for its complete and clear statement of the [[282]] reasons for this influence. In the first place, the form of this book made a deep impression, and it is characteristic of Tatian the Greek, though he would remain a Greek no longer, that its form is the first point which he singles out. The vigorous style of the prophets and psalmists captivated the man who had passed through the schools of rhetoric and philosophy. Vigor coupled with simplicity -- this was what made the book seem to him so utterly different from those treatises and unwieldy tomes in which their authors trade desperate efforts to attain clearness of thought upon questions of supreme moment. The second item mentioned by the apologist is the narrative of creation in Genesis. This also is significant and quite intelligible. Every Greek philosopher had his cosmology, and here was a narrative of creation that was both lucid and comprehensible. It did not look like a philosophy, nor did it look like an ordinary myth; it was an entirely new genre, something between and above them both. It can only have been inspired by God himself! The third feature which struck Tatian was the prophecies of the book. A glance at the early Christian writers, and especially at the apologists, reveals the prominent and indeed the commanding role played by the argument from prophecy, and this argument could only be led by means of the Old Testament. The fourth item was the moral code. Here Tatian was certainly thinking in the first instance of the decalogue, which even the gnostics, for all their critical attitude towards the book as a whole, considered only to require completion, and which was therefore distinguished by them from the rest of the Old Testament.\9/ To Gentile Christians the decalogue invariably meant the sum of morals, which only the sayings of the Sermon on the Mount could render more profound.\10/ Finally, the fifth item mentioned by the apologist is the rigid monotheism which stamps the whole volume.

\9/ Cp. the epistle of Ptolemaeus to Flora.

\10/ Cp. the Didache.

This list really includes all the elements in the Old Testament which seemed of special weight and marked its origin as divine. But in a survey of the services rendered by it to the Christian church throughout the first two centuries, the following points stand out clearly. [[283]]

1. Christians borrowed from the Old Testament its monotheistic cosmology and view of nature. Though the gospels and epistles presuppose this, they do not expressly state it, and in the Old Testament books people found exactly what they required, viz., in the first place, innumerable passages proclaiming and inculcating monotheism, and also challenging polytheism, and in the second place many passages which extolled God as the creator of heaven and earth and depicted his creation.

2. From the Old Testament it could be proved that the appearance and the entire history of Jesus had been predicted hundreds and even thousands of years ago; and further, that the founding of the New People which was to be fashioned out of all nations upon earth,\11/ had from the very beginning been prophesied and prepared for (cp. pp. 240 f.).\12/

\11/ The apologists refute the idea that the Jewish proselytes were this new people. It was an obvious objection. But Christians alone have adherents  ἐκ παντὰς γένους ἀνθρώπων  [from every human race].

\12/ To cite but a single passage, compare the Preaching of Peter (Clem. Alex., Strom. ἡμεῖς δὲ ἀναπτύξαντες τὰς βίβλους ἃς εἴχομεν τῶν προφητῶν, ἃ μὲν διὰ παραβολῶν, ἃ δὲ δι’ αἰνιγμάτων, ἃ δὲ αὐθεντικῶς καὶ αὐτολεξεὶ τὸν Χριστὸν ᾿Ιησοῦν ὀνομαζόντων, εὕρομεν καὶ τὴν παρουσίαν αὐτοῦ καὶ τὸν θάνατον καὶ τὸν σταυρὸν καὶ τὰς λοιπὰς κολάσεις πάσας ὅσας ἐποίησαν αὐτῷ οἱ ᾿Ιουδαῖοι, καὶ τὴν ἔγερσιν καὶ τὴν εἰς οὐρανοὺς ἀνάληψιν πρὸ τοῦ ῾Ιεροσόλυμα κτισθῆναι, καθὼς ἐγέγραπτο ταῦτα πάντα, (2.) ἃ ἔδει αὐτὸν παθεῖν καὶ μετ’ αὐτὸν ἃ ἔσται. ταῦτα οὖν ἐπιγνόντες ἐπιστεύσαμεν τῷ θεῷ διὰ τῶν γεγραμμένων εἰς αὐτόν ("Unrolling the books of the prophets in our possession, which name Christ Jesus partly in parables, partly in enigmas, and partly in plain expressions and in so many words, we find his advent, death, cross, and the other punishments inflicted on him by the Jews, his resurrection and his ascension into heaven, previous to the fall of Jerusalem, even as it is written, 'All these things which he had to suffer, and which shall be after him.' Learning all this, we believed in God by means of what had been written about him"). This writer explains, then, that on the ground of the Old Testament he came to believe in God the Father of Jesus Christ. Tertull., Apol. 46: "Ostendimus totum statum nostrum, et quibus modis probare possimus ita esse sicut ostendimus, ex fide scilicet et antiquitate divinarum litterarum, item ex confessione spiritualium potestatum" [i.e., the testimony which the demons exorcised by us are forced to bear] ("We have stated all our case, and also shown you how we are able to prove it, viz., from the trustworthy character and great age of our sacred writings, and likewise from the confession of the powers of spiritual evil"). These, then, were the two decisive proofs.

Their own religion appeared, on the basis of this book, to be the religion of a history which was the fulfillment of prophecy; what remained still in the future could only be a brief space of time, and even in its course everything would be fulfilled in accordance with what had been prophesied. The certain [[284]] guarantee for this was afforded by what had already been fulfilled. By aid of the Old Testament, Christian teachers dated back their religion to the very beginning of things, and connected it with the creation. This formed one of the most impressive articles of the mission-preaching among educated people, and thereby Christianity got a hold which was possessed by no religion except Judaism. But one must take good care not to imagine that to the minds of these Christians the Old Testament was pure prophecy which still lacked its fulfillment. The Old Testament was indeed a book of prophecies, but for that very reason it had didactic significance as the complete revelation of God, which needed no manner of addition whatsoever, and excluded any subsequent modification. The historical fulfillment -- "lex radix evangeliorum" (Tert., Scorp. 2) -- of these revelations merely attested their truth in the eyes of all the world. Indeed, the whole gospel was thus put together from the Old Testament. Handbooks of this kind must have been widely circulated in different though similar editions.

3. Proofs from the Old Testament were increasingly employed to justify principles and institutions adopted by the Christian church (not merely imageless, spiritual worship, the abolition of the ceremonial law and its precepts, with baptism and the Lord's supper, but also -- though hesitatingly -- the Christian priesthood, the episcopate, and the new organizations within the cultus).

4. The book was used for the purpose of exhortation, following the formula of "a minori ad maius." If God had praised or punished this or that in the past, how much more, it was argued, are we to look for similar treatment from him, we who are now living in the last days and who have received "the calling of promise."

5. From the Old Testament (i.e., from its prophetic denunciations) Christians proved that the Jewish people had no covenant with God (cp. pp. 66 f.).\13/ [[285]]

\13/ How impressive was the argument -- you see, the Jewish nation is dispersed, the temple is destroyed, the sacrifices have ceased, the princes of the house of Juda have disappeared! Compare the extensive use of these facts by Eusebius in his Church History.

6. Christians edified themselves by means of the Old Testament and its sayings about trust in God, about God's aid, about humility, and about holy courage, as well as by means of its heroic spirits and its prophets, above all, by the psalms.

What has been summarized in these paragraphs is enough to indicate the importance of the Old Testament for primitive Christianity and its mission.\14/ Be it remembered, however, that [[286]] a large portion of its contents was allegorized, i.e., criticized and re-interpreted. Without this, a great deal of the Old Testament would have been unacceptable to Christians. Anyone who refused such re-reading of its contents had to reject the book in whole or part.\15/

\14/ No thorough statement of the significance and employment of the Old Testament in the early church is available even at this time of day. In his Untersuchungen zum ersten Clemensbrief (1891), Wrede, however, has shown how such an essay should be planned and executed. His summary there (p. 75) agrees with what I have stated above. "Clement's use of Scripture," he writes, "depends wholly on the presupposition common to all Christians, that the Old Testament is the one holy book given by God to Christians, and to Christians directly and expressly; its words can lay claim to absolute authority, and they furnish the primary and most important basis of all Christian παράδοσις (tradition). Historically, it would be a totally inadequate account of the real facts of the case to declare that the Old Testament in whole or part still retained its value for Christians, as though the recognition of this was the result of some kind of reflection. The possession of this wonderful infallible volume was really, in the eyes of Christians, one of the most convincing and attractive features of the new religion, We simply cannot possess our minds too fully of the view that in those days there was not the slightest idea of a second sacred scripture ever rising one day to rank with the Old Testament, much less to round off the earlier book." In worship, readings were regularly given from the Old Testament, and further acquaintance with it was certainly promoted by means of brief selections and writings like the Testimonia of Cyprian. Private reading of the Bible was also practiced, as is plain from the Acts of the Scillitan Martyrs, several passages in Tertullian and Origen, and other sources. Origen (Hom. 2. in Num., vol. 10. p. 19) thinks that from one to two hours of prayer and Bible-reading is barely an adequate minimum for the individual Christian; in Hom. in Levit. 9.7, he describes "divina lectio, orationes assiduae, et sermo doctrinae" as "nutrimenta spiritus." In pseudo-Clem., de Virginit. 1.10, the reading of the Bible at small devotional gatherings held in private houses is mentioned. Justin assumes, in his Apology, that the Old Testament is easily accessible, and that the emperor could readily procure a copy. But the description of Pamphilus at Caesarea (Jerome, adv. Rufin. 1.9) is particularly illuminating: "Scripturas sanctas non ad legendum tantum, sed et ad habendum tribuebat promptissime, nec solum viris sed et feminis quas vidisset lectioni deditas, unde et multos codices praeparabat, ut cum necessitas poposcisset, volentibus largiretur" ("He readily provided Bibles not only to read but to keep, not only for men but for any women whom he saw addicted to reading. Hence he would prepare a large number of volumes, so that, when any demand was made upon him, he might be in a position to gratify those who applied to him"). For the diffusion of Scripture knowledge by means of reading (in small circles or publicly), cp. pseudo-Clem., de Virg. 2.6. Yet Augustine was not alone in his complaint (Conf. 6.11.18): "Ubi ipsos codices quaerimus? Unde ant quomodo comparamus? A quibus sumimus? ("Where are we to find [[286b]] even the books [i.e., of Scripture]? Where and how can we procure them? From whom can we get them?").

\15/ Like Barnabas before him, Origen has shown with perfect clearness that the literal sense is in many cases inadmissible. Compare, for example, Hom. 7.5 in Levit. (vol. 9. pp. 306 f.): "Si adsideamus literae, et secundum hoc vel quod Judaeis vel id quod vulgo videtur accipiamus, quae in lege scripta sunt, erubesco dicere et confiteri, quia tales leges dederit deus. videbuntur enim magis elegantes et rationabiles hominum leges, verbi gratia vel Romanorum vel Atheniensium vel Lacedaemoniorum. si vero secundum hanc intelligentiam, quam docet ecclesia, accipiatur dei lex, tunc plane omnes humanas supereminet leges et veri dei lex esse creditur." It may not be superfluous to recall that any authoritative text, especially one which was explained as of divine authority, demanded the allegorical interpretation, since those who recognized or maintained its authority usually connected the text with ideas which were quite different from the interpretation sanctioned by the historical interpretation. Nay more. Authority was desired and devised for such ideas themselves. For example, to treat the Song of Solomon as a love-song and then to vindicate the authority of its sacred text, is the acme of absurdity; it became an intolerable burden for the church to do so. But the same difficulty arose in connection with a book like Genesis. Those who admitted the book to the canon had no desire to canonize a wretched Jacob, etc.; but they were prepared for all such contingencies, and employed the allegorical method to remove any stumbling-blocks. Here, indeed, one may even ask whether the final redactor did not smooth over his work with allegorical expositions; in that event, only the sources of the book would need to be explained historically, whereas the book itself (apart from its canonization) would invite the allegorical method -- the latter going back to the age of the book's final redaction. Once a Bible text is explained as possessing divine authority, no one needs to trouble any longer about the allegorical interpretation of those who had canonized it; the acceptance of it as a divine authority tacitly enjoined the faithful to read it in such a way as to draw the maximum of edifying matter from it. This was the true method of interpretation! A few connecting links, be they ever so slender and arbitrary, had to be made between certain parts of the literal text and the fine ideas which were attached to the letter. But, once this was done, everything was in order, and those ideas now ranked as the ideas of the text itself. So it is at bottom with all books of human law, mutatis mutandis. They all invite an "allegorical" interpretation alongside of the historical (i.e., the sense of the original lawgiver). They not only permit but involve the acceptance of any explanation as legitimate which can at all be reconciled with the letter of their writing, even though the reconciliation he rather forced.

After the rise of the New Testament, which was the most important and independent product of the primitive church, and which legitimized its faith as a new religion, certain aspects of [[287]] the Old Testament fell into the background. Still, these were not numerous. Plainly, there were vital points at which the former could not undertake to render the service done by the latter. No doubt any statement of Christian morality always went back to the words of Jesus as its primary source. Here the Old Testament had to retire. But elsewhere the latter held its own. It was only in theory, not in practice, that an imperceptible revolution occurred. The conflict with gnosticism, and the formation of the New Testament which took place in and with that conflict, made it plain to the theologians of the catholic church that the simple identification of the Old Testament and the gospel was by no means a matter of course. The first theologians of the ancient catholic church, Irenaeus and Tertullian, already relax this absolute identification; they rather approximate to the conception of the apostle Paul, viz., that the Old Testament and the old covenant mark quite a different level from that of the New. The higher level of the new covenant is recognized, and therewith the higher level of the New Testament as well. Now in theory this led to many consequences of no small moment, for people learned to assign higher value to the specific significance of the Christian religion when it was set in contrast to the Old Testament -- a point on which the gnostics had insisted with great energy. But in practice this change of estimate did not seriously affect the use of the Old Testament. If one could now hold theoretically that much of the Old Testament was "demutatum, suppletunl, iutplet.unt, perfectum," and even "expunctun" by the New Testament (Tert., de Orat. 1), the third century saw the Old Testament allegorized and allegorically employed as direct evidence for the truths of Christianity. Indeed people really ceased to allegorize it. As the churches became stocked with every kind of sacred ceremony, and as they carefully developed priestly, sacrificial and sacramental ideas, people now began to grow careless and reckless in applying the letter of Old Testament ceremonial laws to the arrangements of the Christian organization and worship. In setting itself up as a legislative body, the church had recourse to the Old Testament in a way that Paul had severely censured; it fell back on the law, [[288]] though all the while it blamed the Jews and declared that their observance of the law was quite illicit. In dogma there was now greater freedom from the Old Testament than had been the case during the second century; Christological problems occupied the foreground, and theological interests shifted from problems of θεός and λόγος  to those of the Trinity and of Christology, as well as to Christocentric mysteries. In the practice of the church, however, people employed the Old Testament more lavishly than their predecessors, in order to get a basis for usages which they considered indispensable. For a purpose of this kind the New Testament was of little use.

The New Testament as a whole did not generally play the same role as the Old Testament in the mission and practice of the church. The gospels certainly ranked on a level with the Old Testament, and actually eclipsed it; through them the words of Jesus gleamed and sparkled, and in them his death and resurrection were depicted. But the epistles never enjoyed the same importance -- particularly as many passages in them, in Paul especially, landed the fathers of the church in sore difficulties,  above all during the conflict with gnosticism.\16/ Augustine was the first to bring the Pauline gospel into prominence throughout the West; in the East, it never emerged at all from the shadow. As for the Johannine theology, it left hardly any traces upon the early church. Only one or two sections of it proved effective. As a whole, it remained a sealed book, though the same may be said of the Pauline theology.\17/

\16/ The second epistle of Peter already bewails this, and one can see from the great work of Irenaeus what difficulties were raised by the Pauline doctrines of predestination, sin, freedom, and grace. Tertullian felt these difficulties still more keenly than Irenaeus, but as a Montanist he could solve them by means of the Paraclete; cp., e.g., de Resurr. 63: "Deus pristina instrumenta manifestis verborum et sensum luminibus ab omni ambiguitatis obscuritate purgavit" ("God has now purged from all the darkness of ambiguity those ancient scriptures, by the plain light of their language and their meanings," i.e., by the new prophecy).

\17/ Along with the Bible, i.e., primarily with the Old Testament, a considerable literature of apocalypses and allied writings entered the Christian churches. These also contained cosmological and philosophical materials. Tertullian conjectures that pagan philosophers may have been acquainted with them, but he speaks very slightingly of them (de Anima, 2): "Quid autem, si philosophi etiam illa incursaverunt quae penes nos apocryphorum confessione damnantur, certos nihil recipiendum quod non conspiret germanae, et ipso iam aevo pronatae propheticae paraturae, [[289]] quando et pseudoprophetarum meminerimus et multo prius apostatarum spirituum," etc. ("What if the philosophers have also attacked those writings which we condemn under the title of 'apocryphal,' convinced as we are that nothing should be received unless it tallies with the true prophetic system which has also arisen in the present age, since we do not forget the existence of false prophets and apostate spirits long before them," etc.); cp. de Resurr. 63, where he says that the gnostics "arcana apocryphorum superducunt, blasphemiae fabulas" ("introduce apocryphal mysteries and blasphemous fables").




1. In combating "demons" (pp. 125 f.) and in taking the field against the open immorality which was part and parcel of polytheism (pp. 205 f.), the early church was waging war against polytheism. But it did not rest content with this onset. Directly, no doubt, the "dumb idols" were weakened by this attack; still, they continued to be a real power, particularly in the circles from which the majority of Christians were drawn. Nowadays, the polemic against the gods of Olympus, against Egyptian cats and crocodiles, or against carved and cast and chiseled idols, seems to our eyes to have been cheap and superfluous. It was not a difficult task, we may fairly add; philosophers like the Cynics and satirists like Lucian supplied a wealth of material, and the intellect and moral sense alike had long ago outgrown that sort of deity. But it was by no means superfluous. Had it been unnecessary, the apologists from Aristides to Arnobitls would never have pursued this line of controversy with such zest, the martyr Apollonius would never have troubled to deliver his long polemic before the senate, and Tertullian, an expert in heathen laws and customs, would never have deemed it necessary to refute polytheism so elaborately in his defense before the presiding magistrate. Yet even from this last-named refutation we see how disreputable (we might almost say, how shabby) the public system of gods and sacrifices had already become. It was scoffed at on the stage; half-dead animals of no value were offered in sacrifice;\1/ the idols were [[291]] dishonored, the temples were profaned.\2/ The whole business lay under a mass of disgust, disdain, derision, and nausea. But it would be a serious mistake to suppose that this feeling was universal. Not merely was everything kept going officially, but many minds still clung to such arrangements and ceremonies. The old cults were freshened by the influx of the new religions, and a new significance was often lent even to their most retrograde elements. Besides, whether the public system of religion was flourishing or entirely withered, it by no means represented the sole existing authority. In every town and province, at Rome as well as at Alexandria, in Spain, in Asia, in Egypt, there were household gods and family gods, with household customs of religion, and all manner of superstitions and ceremonies. These rarely rise above the surface of literature, but inscriptions, tombs, and magical papyri have brought them nearer us. Here every household function has its guardian spirit; every event is under one controlling god. And this religious world, this second-class religion, it must he remembered, was living and active everywhere.

\1/ Tert., Apol. 14: "I wish now to review your sacred rites. I do not censure your methods of sacrifice, offering what is worn-out, scabbed, and corrupting, [[291b]] cutting off for the altar the useless parts from the fat and sound -- e.g., head and hoofs, which you would hand at home to your dogs and children -- not giving a third part of the tithe of Hercules," etc.

\2/ Tert., Apol. 42: "Every day, you complain, the temple-receipts are dwindling away. How few people nowadays put in their contributions!" Cp. Arnobius, 1.24.

As a rule, the apologists contented themselves with assailing the official world of gods.\3/ Their method aimed, in the first place, at rousing the moral sense against these so-called "gods" by branding their abominable vices; in the second place, it sought to exhibit the folly and absurdity of what was taught or told about the gods; and, thirdly, it aimed at exposing the origin of the latter. The apologists showed that the gods were an empty nothing, illusions created by the demons who lay in wait behind their dead puppets and introduced them in order [[292]] to control men by this means. Or, following the track of Euhemerus, they showed that the so-called gods were nothing but dead men.\4/ Or, again, they pointed out that the whole thing was a compound of vain fables and deceit, and very often the product of covetous priestcraft. In so doing they displayed both wit and irony, as well as a very strong feeling of aversion. We do not know, of course, how much of all this argument and feeling was original. As has been already remarked, the Stoic, Sceptic, and Cynic philosophers (in part, the Epicureans also) had preceded Christianity along this line, and satires upon the gods were as cheap as blackberries in that age. Consequently, it is needless to illustrate this point by the citation of individual passages. A perusal of the Apology of Aristides, which is of no great size, is quite sufficient to give one an idea of this kind of polemic; the Oratio ad Graecos of pseudo-Justin may also be consulted, and especially the relevant sections in the Apology of Tertullian.

\3/ Household superstitions perhaps seemed to them too unimportant, or else they counted upon these being dragged down of their own accord in the collapse of the public superstitions. On this point they certainly made a miscalculation. -- A scene at Ephesus is related in Acts, which may be adduced at this point. Thanks to Paul's preaching, the converts were roused to bring out the books of magic which they had at home and to burn them (Acts 19.19). But there are few parallels to this scene in the literature of early Christianity.

\4/ The Euhemeristic vein was neither the oldest nor the most popular, however, among Christian writers.

The duty of keeping oneself free from all contamination with polytheism ranked as the supreme duty of the Christian. It took precedence of all others. It was regarded as the negative side of the duty of confessing one's faith, and the "sin of idolatry" was more strictly dealt with in the Christian church than any sin whatsoever.\5/ Not for long, and not without great difficulty, did the church make up her mind to admit that forgiveness could be extended to this offence, and what forced her first to this conclusion was the stress of the terrible consequences of the Decian outburst (i.e., after 250 C.E.).\6/ This we can well understand, for exclusiveness was the condition of her existence as a church. If she made terms with polytheism at a single point, [[293]] it was all over with her distinctive character. Such was the position of affairs, at any rate until about the middle of the third century. After that she could afford to be less anxious, since the church as an institution had grown so powerful, and her doctrine, cultus, and organization had developed in so characteristic a fashion by that time, that she stood out as a sharply defined magnitude sui generis, even when, consciously or unconsciously, she went half-way to meet polytheism in disguise, or showed herself rather lenient towards it.

\5/ Cp. Tertull., de Idol. 1: "Principale crimen generis humani, summus saeculi reatus, tota causa iudicii, idolatria" ("Idolatry is the principal crime of mankind, the supreme guilt of the world, the entire reason of judgment"). In the opening chapter of this treatise Tertullian endeavors to prove that all the cardinal vices (e.g., adultery, murder, etc.) are included in idolatry.

\6/ Hitherto it had only dawned on Tertullian, during his conflict with the laxity displayed by the church in her treatment of fleshly sins, that under certain circumstances a denial of the faith extorted by means of torture was a lesser sin than adultery and fornication. A similar position was afterwards adopted by Cyprian.

But as the duty of confession did not involve the duty of pushing forward to confess, or indeed of denouncing oneself,\7/ (in the epistle of the church of Smyrna to the church of Philomelium an explicit protest is even entered against this practice, while elsewhere\8/ the Montanist craving for martyrdom is also censured), so to protest against polytheism did not involve the obligation of publicly protesting against it of one's own accord.\9/ There were indeed cases in which a Christian who was standing as a spectator in court audibly applauded a confessor, and in consequence of this was himself arrested. Such cases were mentioned with approval, for it was held that the Spirit had impelled the spectator. But open abuse of the emperor or of the gods was not sanctioned any more than rebellion; in fact, all unprovoked insults and all upsetting of images were rebuked.\10/ Here and there, however, such incidents must have occurred, for in the [[294]] sixtieth canon of Elvira we read: "Si quis idola fregerit et ibidem fuerit occisus, quatenus in evangelio scriptum non est neque invenietur sub apostolis unquam factum, placuit in numerum eum non recipi martyrum" ("If anyone shall have broken an idol and been slain in the act, he shall not be reckoned among the martyrs, seeing that no such command is to be found in scripture, nor will any such deed be found to be apostolic").

\7/ Even to escape in time was permissible, according to Matt. 10.23, but the Montanists and Tertullian would not allow this; cp. the latter's treatise "de Fuga in Persecutione." Clement speaks very thoughtfully on the point; cp. Strom. 4.10, 76-77, and 7.11-12.

\8/ The Acts of Perpetua relate, without any censure, how Saturus voluntarily announced that he was a Christian. But then these Acts are Montanist.

\9/ It was not quite the same thing when Christians trooped into court, in order to force the magistrate either to have them all killed or to spare them all; cp. Tertull., ad Scap. 5: Arrius Antoninus in Asia cum persequeretur instanter, omnes illius civitatis Christiani ante tribunalia eius se manu facta obtulerunt. tum ille paucis duci jussis reliquis ait: ὦ δειλοὶ, εἰ θέλετε ἀποθνήσκειν, κρημνοὺς ἣ βρόχους ἔχετε (cp. above, p. 270).

\10/ Still, there were some Christians who exulted in this kind of thing, as is plain from several records (from a late period, of course) of the martyrs. Eusebius narrates approvingly (de Mart. Pal. 2) the action of the martyr Romanus, who, just after the Diocletian persecution had broken out, saw in Antioch a procession of men, women, and children on their way to the temples, and tried to stop them by means of loud warnings.

2. In order to combat polytheism effectively, one could not stop short of the philosophers, not even of the most distinguished of their number, for they had all some sort of connection with idol-worship. But at this stage of their polemic the apologists diverged in different directions. All were agreed that no philosopher had discovered the truth in its purity and perfection; and further, that no philosopher was in a position to demonstrate with certainty the truth which he had discovered, to spread it far and wide, or to make men so convinced of it as to die for it. But one set of apologists were quite content with making this strict proviso; moreover, they delighted in the harmony of Christianity and philosophy; indeed, like Justin, they would praise philosophers for their moral aims and profound ideas. The Christian teachers in Alexandria even went the length of finding a parallel to the Jewish law in Greek philosophy.\11/ They found affinities with Plato's doctrine of God and metaphysics, and with the Stoic ethic. They recognized philosophers like Seneca as their fellows to some extent.\12/ They saw in Socrates a hero and forerunner of the truth. Others, again, would not hear of philosophy or philosophers; the best service they could render the gospel-mission was, in their opinion, to heap coarse abuse on both. Tatian went to incredible lengths in this line, and was guilty of shocking injustice. Theophilus fell little short of him, while even Tertullian, for all his debt to the Stoics, came dangerously near to Tatian. But these apologists were under an entire delusion if they imagined they were accomplishing very much by dint of all their calumnies. So far as we are in a position to judge, it was the methods, not of these extremists, but of Justin, Clement, and Origen, that impressed the Greek [[295]] world of culture. Yet even the former had probably a public of their own. Most people either do not think at all, or else think in the crudest antitheses, and such natures would likely be impressed by Tatian's invectives. Besides, it is impossible to ignore the fact that neither he nor Tertullian were mere calumniators. They were honest men. Wherever they came upon the slightest trace of polytheism, all their moral sense rose in revolt; in polytheism, they were convinced, no good was to be found, and hence they gave credit to any calumnies which a profligate literature put at their disposal. Now traces of polytheism were thickly sown throughout all the philosophers, including even the most sublime of their number. Why, Socrates himself had ordered a cock to be slain, after he was dead, in honor of Aesculapius! The irony of the injunction was not understood. It was simply viewed as a recognition of idolatry. So even Socrates the hero had to be censured. Yet, whether half-admirers or keen opponents of philosophy, the apologists to a man occupied philosophic ground, and indeed Platonic ground. They attacked philosophy, but they brought it inside the church and built up the doctrinal system of the church on the outlines of Platonism and with the aid of Platonic material (see below, the epilogue of this book).

\11/ Cp. my lecture on "Socrates and the Early Church" (l900).

\12/ Cp. Tert., de Anima 20: "Seneca saepe noster."

3. From the practical point of view, what was of still greater moment than the campaign against the world and worship of the gods, was the campaign against the apotheosis of men. This struggle, which reached its height in the uncompromising rejection of the imperial cultus, marked at the same time the resolute protest of Christianity against the blending of religion and patriotism, and consequently against that cultus of the state in which the state (personified in the emperor) formed itself the object of the cultus. One of the cardinal aims and issues of the Christian religion was to draw a sharp line between the worship of God and the honor due to the state and to its leaders. Christianity tore up political religion by the roots.

The imperial cultus was of a twofold nature.\13/ In both aspects it was an Oriental, not a Greek or a Roman phenomenon; [[296]] yet this worship of the dead Caesars and of the living Caesar, with its adoration of the imperial images, was dovetailed, not only without any difficulty, but inevitably, into the "caeremoniae Romanae," once the empire had become imperial. From the first the headquarters of the former (i.e., the worship of the dead Caesars) were in Rome, whence it passed into the provinces as the most vital element of the state religion. The latter (i.e., the worship of the living Caesar) originated in the East, but as early as the first century it was adopted by Caligula and Domitian, and during the second century it became quite common (in the shape of adoration paid to the imperial images). The rejection of either cult was a crime which came under the head of sacrilege as well as of high treason, and it was here that the repressive measures taken by the state against Christianity almost invariably started, inasmuch as the state did not concede Christianity the same liberty on this point as she granted to Judaism. Had the Christians merely turned round against Olympus and hit upon some compromise with the imperial cultus, they would in all probability have been left entirely unmolested -- such is Tertullian's blunt assertion in his Apology (28 f.). Nearly all the encounters between individual Christians and the regulations of the empire resolved themselves into a trial for treason. The positive value of the imperial cultus for the empire has been stated recently and impressively by von Wilamowitz-Moellendorf.\14/ [[297]]

\13/ In addition to the well-known German literature on the subject, see Beurlier's Essai sur le culte rendu aux empereurs romain (1890).

\14/ In Geschichte des gerich. Religion ("Jahrbuch des Freien deutschen Hochstifts," 1904; reprint, pp. 23 f.): "The idea by which Augustus brought renewal to the world was the religion of Poseidonius: faith in a universal reason and the unity of all life, in the Stoic universal deity, providence and necessity. He could regard himself as the organ or representative of this cosmic law; he could expect the personal survival of his soul as a reward for his clemency, since this corresponded exactly to the doctrine of Poseidonius. Hence the cult of the "divas" was its justification. No one can understand the age or the man if he regards the "divi filius" claim as merely ornamental or an imposture. Naturally enough, it ran counter to the taste and reason of Tiberius, who was averse to anything mystical, though he was addicted to a superstitious faith in astrology. Caligula's belief in his divine nature made him a fool, and sensible people only saw a farce in Claudius being consecrated to divine honors by his murderers. Yet even they took it very seriously. The cultus of the person inevitably passed once more, as it had done after Alexander the Great, into the cultus of the office. The emperor was god, because he was emperor; he was not the viceroy of the universe because the god in him possessed the strength and the authority of lordship. [[297b]] His person embodied the supreme power of the empire, and this made itself felt by the smallest and most remote of his subjects. This personal embodiment was as unapproachable to the million as a universal god in heaven, further removed from each individual than the gods of his village or his district. And if one could not manage to understand the unity of all life in heaven and on earth, still on earth this unity of the state, the church, the law, and morals was a fact; it might deserve the predicate of "divine," and, if so, then the worship of its personal exponents was an irresistible religious obligation. Thus the imperial cultus, or the cultus of the empire, was the cardinal article of religion. To deny it was tantamount to the ancient crime of denying the πάτριοι θεοί [ancestral or traditional gods] of the city republics. All other deities who shared the worship of civil or municipal bodies fell into their place within and below this religion; henceforth their cultus had no meaning save as part of the larger cultus which the state enjoined. Even in the West the imperial cultus absorbed within itself the older deities, whether Fortuna, Silvanus, the Mater Augusti or Augustae. The content of this faith was great indeed, for all the benefits of civilization, from the security of physical life up to the highest pleasures of the human spirit, were viewed as gifts of the deity, who was at once immanent in the empire and also for the time being in the emperor or in his genius or fortune as the personal embodiment of the divine…..It followed quite logically that the refusal to sacrifice to the emperor was high treason. The Christians refused this from the firm and clear sense that they were resisting the πολιτεία τοῦ κόσμου [citizenship of the world]  in so doing. They felt that they were citizens of another empire. It was equally logical to regard them as ἄθεοι [godless, atheists], since their denial of the state-religion meant a denial of all the gods whose existence was due to the favor of the state."

The Christians repudiated the imperial cultus in every shape and form, even when they met it in daily life, in the very oaths and turns of expression which made the emperor appear a superhuman being. Unhesitatingly they reckoned it a phase of idolatry. Withal, they guarded themselves against the charge of being disrespectful and disloyal, by pointing to their prayers for the emperor and for the state.\15/ These prayers, in fact, constituted a fixed part of Christian worship from the very [[298]] first, while the saying of Christ, "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's," was generally referred, not merely to obedience and the punctual payment of taxes, but also to intercession.\16/ The sharpest strictures passed by individual Christian teachers upon the character of the Roman state and the imperial office never involved the neglect of intercession or dissuaded Christians from this duty. Numerous passages, in which the emperor is mentioned immediately after God, attest the fact that he was held by Christians to be "a deo secundus ante omnes et super omnes deos" (Tertull., Apol. 30: "second only to God, before and above all the gods").\17/ Christians, in fact, could declare that they tolerated no defect, either in the theory or in the practice of their loyalty. They taught -- and they made their teaching an inherent element of history -- that worship paid to God was one thing, and honor paid to a ruler quite another; also, that to worship a monarch was a detestable and humiliating offence. Nevertheless, they strictly inculcated obedience to all authority, and respect for the emperor.

\15/ Cp. the familiar passages from the New Testament, the apostolic fathers, and the apologists. The content of these intercessions, which was current in Carthage, is given by Tertullian in Apol. 39 ("Oramus eliam pro imperatoribus, pro ministris eoruin et potestatibus, pro statu saeculi, pro rerum quiete, pro mora finis" -- "We pray too for the emperors, for their subordinates, and for all authorities, for the welfare of the world, for peace, for the delay of the end"); and 30 ("Precantes sumus semper pro omnibus imperatoribus: vitam illis prolixam, imperium securum, domum tutam, exercitus fortes, senatum fidelem, populum probum, orbem quietum, quaecumque hominis et Caesaris vota sunt [a deo oramus]" -- "We ever pray to God for all the emperors, for length of life to them, for the safety of the empire, for the protection of the royal household, for bravery in the army, loyalty in the senate and virtue among the people, for peace throughout the world; in short, for whatever, as man or emperor, the Caesars would desire").

\16/ Their origin dates from the very earliest times, but we do not know what considerations led to their institution.

\17/ This high estimate of the emperors as "second to God alone" does not, however, affect the conviction that they could never be Christians. At least it does not in the case of Tertullian (cp. Apol. 21: "Et Caesares credidissent super Christo, si aut Caesares non essent necessarii saeculo, ant si et Christiani potuissent esse Caesares" -- "The Caesars, too, would have believed in Christ, if they had not been necessary to the world as Caesars, or if they could have been Caesars and Christians as well"). Sixty years later a different view prevailed throughout the East. Not only was it reported widely that Alexander Severus and Philip had become secretly Christians, but even so prominent a teacher as Dionysius of Alexandria believed this legend and did not take umbrage at it.

The general position of the church did not alter upon this point during the third century; it adhered to its sharp denial of apotheosis in the shape of the imperial cultus.\18/ But at another point apotheosis gradually filtered into the church with elemental force, namely, through the worship of the apostles and the martyrs. As early as the apocryphal Acts, written towards the close of the second and the opening of the third century, we find the apostles appearing as semi-divine; in fact, [[299]] even by the year 160 C.E., the pagans in Smyrna were afraid that the Christians would pay divine honors to the martyred Polycarp, while Lucian scoffs at the impostor Peregrinus, with his cheap martyrdom, passing for a god amongst the Christians. Both fear and scoff were certainly baseless as yet. But they were not baseless three generations afterwards. Towards the close of the third century there were already a number of chapels in existence, consecrated to the apostles, patriarchs, martyrs, and even the archangels; people had a predilection for passing the night at the graves of the saints, and a cultus of the saints had been worked out in a wide variety of local forms, which afforded an indispensable means of conserving those ancient cults to which the common people still clung.\19/ Theoretically, the line between the worship of God and this cultus of deliverers and intercessors was sharply drawn throughout the third century, although one Christian root for the latter cultus is evident in the communion of the saints. As things stood, however, the distinction between the two was constantly blurred in the course of practical experience.\20/ For all its monotheism, the Christian religion at the close of the third century represented a religion which was exceptionally strong in saints and angels and deliverers, in miraculous relics, and so forth; on this score it was able to challenge any cult whatsoever. Porphyry (the pagan quoted in Macar. Magnes, 4.21) was quite alive to this. He wrote as follows: "If, therefore, you declare that beside God there are angels who are not subject to suffering and death, and are incorruptible in nature -- just the beings we call gods, inasmuch [[300]] as they stand near the godhead -- then what is all the dispute about, with regard to names? Or are we to consider it merely a difference of terminology? . . . So, if anyone likes to call them either gods or angels -- for names are, on the whole, of no great moment, one and the same goddess, for example, being called Athene and Minerva, and by still other names among the Egyptians and the Syrians -- then it makes no great difference, as their divine nature is actually attested even by yourselves in Matt. 22.29-31."\21/

\18/ Dionysius of Alexandria (Eus., H.E. 7.23) no doubt applied Isa. 43.19 to Gallienus, who was friendly disposed towards the Christians. But this was mere rhetoric.

\19/ Cp. Eus., Mart. Pal., p. 102 (Texte u. Unters. 15.4).

\20/ Origen attacks only a moiety of polytheistic superstition and its expressions; cp. Hom. 8.4 in Jesum Nave (vol. 11. p. 67): Illi qui, cum Christiani sint, solemnitates gentium celebrant, anathema in ecclesias introducunt. Qui de astrorum cursibus vitam hominum et gesta perquirunt, qui volatus avium et cetera huiusmodi, quae in saeculo prius observabantur, inquirunt, de Jericho anathema inferunt in ecclesiarn, et polluunt castra domini et vinci faciunt populum dei" ("Those who, even though they are Christians, celebrate the festivals of pagans, bring anathema into the churches. Those who make out the life and deeds of men from the courses of the stars, who study the flight of birds, and engage in similar practices, which they formerly observed in the world, bring the anathema of Jericho on the church; they pollute the camp of the Lord, and cause God's people to be overcome"). He could and should have mentioned a great deal more; only in such directions he was no longer sensitive to polytheism.

\21/ Porphyry then proceeds, in his attack upon the cheap criticism leveled by Christians (see above) at idolatry: "When, therefore, it is admitted that the angels share in the divine nature, it is not, on the other hand, the belief of those who pay seemly honor to the gods, that God is composed of the wood or stone or brass from which the image is manufactured, nor is it their opinion that, whenever a hit of the image is broken off, some injury is thereby inflicted on the power of the god in question. Images and temples of the gods have been created from all antiquity for the sake of forming reminders to men. Their object is to make those who draw near them think of God thereby, or to enable them, after ceasing from work, and abstaining from anything else, to address their vows and prayers to him, that each may obtain from him whatever he is in need of. For when any person gets an image or picture of some friend prepared for himself, he certainly does not believe that his friend is to be found in the image, or that his members exist actually inside the different portions of the representation. His idea rather is that the honor which he pays to his friend finds expression in the image. And while the sacrifices offered to the gods do not bring them any honor, they are meant as a testimony to the goodwill of their worshippers, implying that the latter are not ungrateful to the gods." The majority of Christians by this time scarcely held so pure and spiritual a view of the matter as this "worshipper of idols."

4. The warfare against polytheism was also waged by means of a thoroughgoing opposition to the theatre and to all the games. Anyone who considers the significance\22/ of these features in ancient life and their close connection with idolatry, knows [[301]] what a polemic against them implied.\23/ But we may point out that existence, in case of vast numbers of people, was divided into daily drudgery and -- "panis et circenses" (free food and the theatre). No member of the Christian church was allowed to be an actor or gladiator, to teach acting (see Cypr., Epist. 2), or to attend the theatre.\24/ The earliest flash of polemic occurs in the Oratio of Tatian (22-23), and it was followed by others, including the treatises of Tertullian and pseudo-Cyprian (Novatian) de Spectaculis, and the discussions of Lactantius.\25/ [[302]] These writings by themselves are enough to show that the above prohibitions were not universally obeyed.\26/ The passion for public games was almost irresistible, and Tertullian has actually to hold out hopes of the spectacle afforded by the future world as a compensation to Christians who were robbed of their shows in the present.\27/ Still, the conflict with these shows was by no means in vain. On the contrary, its effects along this line were greater than along other lines. By the time that Constantine granted privileges to the church, public opinion had developed [[303]] to such a pitch that the state immediately adopted measures for curtailing and restricting the public spectacles.\28/

\22/ For what follows, see Bigelmair's Die Beteiligung der Christen am offentlichen Leben in vorconstantinischer Zeit (1902).

\23/ Tert., de Spect. 4: "Quid erit summum ac praecipuum, in quo diabolus et pompae et angeli eius censeantur, quam idololatria? . . . Igitur si ex idololatria universam spectaculorum paraturam constare constiterit, indubitate praeiudicatum erit etiam ad spectacula pertinere renuntiationis nostrae testimonium in lavacro, quae diabolo et pompae et angelic eius sint mancipata, scil. per idololatriam. Commemorabimus origines singulormn, quibus incunabulis in saeeulo adoleverint, exinde titulos quorundam, quibus nominibus nuncupentur, exinde apparatus, quibus superstitionibus instruantur, tum loca, quibus praesidibus dicantur, tum artes, quibus auctoribus deputentur. Si quid ex his non ad idolum pertinuerit, id neque ad idololatriam neque ad nostram eiurationem pertinebit" ("Where, more than in idolatry, will you find the devil with his pomp and [[301b]] angels? . . . Therefore, if it can be proven that the whole business of the shows depends upon idolatry, unquestionably we shall have anticipated the conclusion that the confession of renouncing the world which we make in baptism, refers to these shows which have been handed over to the devil and his pomp and angels, i.e., on account of their idolatry. We shall now exhibit their separate sources, the nurseries in which they have grown to maturity in the world; next the titles of some of them, the names by which they are called; after that, their contents, the superstitions by which they are supported; then their seats, the patrons to which they are dedicated; and finally their arts, the authors to whom they are to be referred. If any of these is found to have no connection with an idol, then it is irrelevant to idolatry and irrelevant also to our oath of abjuration"). Novatian, de Spect. 2: "Quando id quod in honore alicuius idoli ab ethnicis agitur [sc. the theatrical spectacles] a fidelibus christianis spectaculo frequentatur, et idololatria gentilis asseritur et in contumeliam dei religio vera et divina calcatur" ("Since whatever is performed by pagans in honor of any idol is attended by faithful Christians in the public spectacles, and thus pagan idolatry is maintained, whilst the true and divine religion is trodden under foot in contempt of God").

\24/ Minuc. Felix, 12: "Vos vero suspensi interim atque solliciti honestis voluptatibus abstinetis, non spectacula visitis, non pompis interestis, convivia publica absque vobis, sacra certamina" ("But meantime, anxious and unsettled, you are abstaining from respectable enjoyments; you attend no spectacles, you take no part in public displays, public banquets and the sacred contest you decline").

\25/ Instit. 6.20-21; see also Arnob., 4.35 f. -- Along with the games, participation in public festivals was also forbidden, as these were always bound up with polytheism. Cp. the seventh canon of Ancyra: περὶ τῶν συνεστιαθέντων ἐν ἑορτῇ ἐθνικῇ, ἐν τόπῳ ἀφωρισμένῳ τοῖς ἐθνικοῖς, ἴδια βρώματα ἐπικομισαμένων καὶ φαγόντων, ἔδοξε διετίαν ὑποπεσόντας δεχθῆναι ("With regard to those who have sat down at a pagan banquet, in a place set apart for pagans, even though they brought and ate their own food, it seems good to us that they be received after they have done penance for two years"). In this connection, Tertullian, de Idol. 13-16, is particularly important. All public festivals, he declares, are to be avoided, since they are held either owing to wantonness or to timidity. "If we rejoice with the world, it is to be feared that we shall also mourn with the world." Here, of course, it is plain that Tertullian is in a minority. The majority of Christians at Carthage saw nothing wrong in attending public or private feasts; in fact, it was considered rather a dangerous mark of the factious spirit to abstain from them. "'Let your works shine,' is Christ's rule," says Tertullian in his cry of complaint. [[302b]] "But here are all our shops and doors shining! Nowadays you will find more doors unilluminated and unwreathed among the pagans than among the Christians! What do you think about the custom? If it is meant as honor to an idol, then certainly it is idolatry to honor an idol. If, again, it is done for the sake of some man, then let us remember that all idolatry is worship paid to men (the gods of the pagans having been formerly men themselves)." "I know how one Christian brother was severely punished in a vision on that very night, because his slaves had decorated his gateway with wreaths on the sudden proclamation of some public thanksgiving." Tertullian only draws the line at well-established family feasts such as those at the assumption of the toga virilis, betrothals, marriages, and name-givings, since these are not necessarily contaminated with idolatry, and since the command to observe no particular days does not apply in these instances. "One may accept an invitation to such functions, provided that the title of the invitation does not run 'to assist at a sacrifice.' Except in the latter event, I can please myself as much as I like. Since Satan has so thoroughly entangled the world in idolatry, it must be allowable for us to attend certain ceremonies, if thereby we stipulate that we are under obligations to a man and not to an idol."

\26/ Novatian, de Spect. 1: "Quoniam non desunt vitiorum assertores blandi et indulgentes patroni qui praestant vitiis auctoritatem et quod est deterius censuram scripturarum caelestium in advocationem criminum convertunt, quasi sine culpa innocens spectaculorum ad remissionem animi appetatur voluptas -- nam et eo usque enervatus est ecclesiasticae disciplinae vigor et ita omni languore vitiorum praecipitatur in peius ut non iam vitiis excusatio sed auctoritas detur -- placuit paucis vos non nunc instruere [i.e., de spectaculis], sed instructos admonere" ("Plausible advocates of vice are not awanting, nor are complaisant patrons who lend their authority to vice and -- what is worse -- twist the rebuke of scripture into a defense of crimes; as if any innocent pleasure could be sought from public shows by way of relaxation for the mind. The vigor of ecclesiastical discipline has become so weakened and so deteriorated by all the languor produced by vices, that wickedness wins no longer an apology but actual authority for itself. Consequently I have determined not now to instruct you [on public shows], but in a few words to admonish those who have been instructed").

\27/ De Spect. 30, with its closing sentence, "Ceterum qualia illa sunt, quae nec oculus vidit nec auris audivit nec in cor hominis ascenderunt? Credo, circa et utraque cavea et omni stadio gratiora" ("But what are the things that eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man? Superior, I imagine, to the circus, the theatre, the amphitheatre, and any racecourse!").

\28/ Against games of chance, cp. the treatise of pseudo-Cyprian (Victor) adversus Aleatores, and a number of cognate passages in other writings.

5. A sharp attack was also made upon luxury, in so far as it was bound up in part with polytheism and certainly betrayed a senseless and pagan spirit. Cp. the Paedagogus of Clement, and Tertullian's writings "de cultu femiuarum." It was steadily maintained that the money laid out upon luxuries would be better spent in charity. But no special regulations for the external life of Christians were as yet drawn up.

6. With regard to the question of how far a Christian could take part in the manners and customs and occupations of' daily life without denying Christ and incurring the stain of idolatry, there was a strict attitude as well as a lenient, freedom as well as narrowness, even within the apostolic age. Then the one burning question, however, seems to have been that of food offered to idols, or whether one could partake of meals provided by unbelievers. In those days, as the large majority of Christians belonged to the lower classes, they had no representative duties, but were drawn from working people of the lower orders, from day-laborers, in fact, whose simple occupation hardly brought them into any kind of relation to public life, and consequently exempted them from any conflict in this sphere. Presently, however, a change came over the situation. A host of difficult and vexatious problems poured upon the churches. Even the laxer party would do nothing that ran counter to the will of God. They, too, had scriptural proofs ready to support their position, and corollaries from scriptural principles. "Flee from one city to another" was the command they pled when they prudently avoided persecution. "I have power over all things," "We must be all things to all men" -- so they followed the apostle in declaring. They knew how to defend even attendance at public spectacles from scripture. Novatian (de Spect. 2) sorrowfully quotes their arguments as follows: "Where, they ask, are such scriptures? Where are such things prohibited? Nay, was not Elijah the charioteer of Israel? Did not David himself dance before the ark? We read [[304]] of horns, psalteries, trumpets, drums, pipes, harps, and choral dances. The apostle, too, in his conflict with evil sets before us the struggle of the caestus and our wrestling with the spiritual powers of wickedness. Again, he takes illustrations front the racecourse, and holds out to us the prize of the crown. Why, then, may not a faithful Christian look at things of which the sacred books could write?"

This defense of attendance at the games sounds almost frivolous. But there were many graver conflicts on this subject, which one can follow with serious interest.

Participation in feasts and in convivial gatherings already occasioned such conflicts to a large extent, but it was the question of one's occupation that was really crucial. Can a Christian engage in business generally in the outside world without incurring the stain of idolatry? Though the strict party hardly tabooed a single occupation on the score of principle, yet they imposed such restrictions as amounted almost to a prohibition. In his treatise de Idololatria, Tertullian goes over a series of occupations, and his conclusion is the same in almost every case: better leave it alone, or be prepared to abandon it at any moment. To the objection, "But I have no means of livelihood," the reply follows, "A Christian need never be afraid of starving."\29/

\29/ Cp. especially the sharp remarks in ch. 12 f. a propos of the passages from the gospels, which conclude: "Nemo eorum, quos dominus allege, non habeo, dixit, quo vivam. Fides famem non timet. Scit etiam famem non minus sibi contemnendam propter deum quam omne mortis genus; didicit non respicere vitam, quanto magis victum? Quotusquisque haec adimplevit? sed quae penes homines difficilia, penes deum facilia?" ("None of those whom the Lord chose for himself ever said, I have no means of livelihood. Faith has no fear of starvation. Faith knows it must despise starvation as much as any kind of death, for the sake of God. Life it has learnt not to respect; how much more, food? How many, you ask, have answered to these conditions? Ah well, what is hard with men is easy with God").

Tertullian especially prohibits the manufacture of idols (4 f.), as was only natural. Yet there were Christian workmen who knew no other trade, and who tried to shelter themselves behind the text, "Let every man abide in the calling wherein he was called" (1 Cor. 7.20). They also pointed out that Moses had a serpent manufactured in the wilderness. From [[305]] Tertullian's charges it is quite evident that the majority in the church connived at such people and their practices. "From idols they pass into the church; from the workshop of the adversary they come to the house of God; to God the Father they raise hands that fashion idols; to the Lord's body they apply hands that have conferred bodies upon idols. Nor is this all. They are not content to contaminate what they receive from other hands, but even hand on to others what they have themselves contaminated. Manufacturers of idols are actually elected to ecclesiastical office!" (7).

As against these lax members of the church, Tertullian prohibits the manufacture, not only of images and statues, but also of anything which was even indirectly employed in idol-worship. Carpenters, workers in stucco, joiners, slaters, workers in gold-leaf, painters, brass-workers, and engravers -- all must refrain from manufacturing the slightest article required for idol worship; all must refuse to participate in any work (e.g., in repairs) connected therewith (ch. 8).

Similarly, no one is allowed to practice as an astrologer or a magician. Had not the magi to depart home "by another way"?\30/ Nor can any Christian be a schoolmaster or a professor of learning, since such professions frequently bring people into contact with idolatry.\31/ Knowledge of the pagan gods has to be diffused; their names, genealogy and myths have to be [[306]] imparted; their festivals and holy days have to be observed, "since it is by means of them that the teacher's fees are reckoned." The first payment of any new scholar is devoted by the teacher to Minerva. Is the contamination of idolatry any the less because in this case it leads to something else? It may be asked, if one is not to be a teacher of pagan learning, ought one then to be a pupil? But Tertullian is quite ready to be indulgent on this point, for -- "how can we repudiate secular studies which are essential to the pursuit of religious studies?" A remarkable passage (10).\32/

\30/ Tertullian, de Anima, 57: "Quid ergo dicemus magiam? Quod omnes paene -- fallaciam! Sed ratio fallaciae solos non fugit Christianos, qui spiritualia nequitiae, non quidem socia conscientia, sed inimica scientia novimus, nec invitatoria operatione, sed expugnatoria dominatione tractamus multiformem luem mentis humanae, totius erroris artificem, salutis pariter animaeque vastatorem. Sic etiam magiae, secundae scilicet idololatriae," etc. ("What then shall we say about magic? Just what almost everybody says -- that it is sheer imposture! The nature of the imposture has been detected by more than Christians, though we have discovered these spirits of iniquity, not because we are in league with them, but by a hostile instinct, not because our methods of work attract them, but on the contrary because we handle them by means of a power which vanquishes them. This protean pest of the human mind! This deviser of all error! This destroyer alike of our salvation and of our soul! For thus it is, by magic, which is simply a second idolatry," etc.).

\31/ Mathematics was also suspect. Even in the beginning of the fourth century there was opposition offered in Emesa to Eusebius being promoted to the episcopate, on the ground that he practiced mathematical studies (Socrates, H.E. 2.9).

\32/ The perusal of bad and seductive literature was, of course, always prohibited, so soon as this danger became felt. If one must not listen to blasphemous or heretical speeches, far less must one handle books of this character. What Dionysius of Alexandria relates about his own practice, only proves the rule (Eus., H.E. 7.7): "I have busied myself," he writes to Philemon, the Roman presbyter, "with the writings and also the traditions of the heretics, staining my soul for a little with their utterly abominable ideas, yet deriving this benefit from them, that I refute them for myself and loathe them all the more. One of the presbyters sought to dissuade me, fearing lest I might become mixed up with the mire of their iniquity and so injure my own soul. I felt he was quite right, but a divine vision came to confirm me, and a voice reached me with the clear command: 'Read all that you come across, for you can estimate and prove everything; and this capacity has been from the first the explanation of your faith.' I accepted the vision, as it tallied with the apostolic word spoken to the stronger Christians, `Be skilled moneychangers.'" Cp. Didasc. Apost. 2. (ed. Achelis, p. 5): "Keep away from all heathen writings, for what hast thou to do with strange words or laws and false prophecies, which indeed seduce young people from the faith? What dost thou miss in God's Word, that thou dost plunge into these pagan histories? If thou wilt read histories, there are the books of Kings; if wise men and philosophers, there are the prophets, with whom thou shalt find more wisdom and understanding than in all the wise men and philosophers; for these are the words of the one and the only wise God. If thou cravest hymns, there are the psalms of David; and if thou wantest information about the beginning of all things, there is the book of Genesis by the great Moses; if thou wilt have laws and decrees, there are his laws…..Keep thyself therefore from all those strange things, which are contrary." General prohibitions of definite books under pain of punishment begin with Constantine's order regarding the writings of Arius and other heretics (Eus., Vita Const. 3.66; for the prohibition of the writings of Eunomius, ep. Philostorgius, H.E. 11.5). -- Whether one should quote pagan philosophers and poets, and, if so, how, remained a problem. The apologists made ample use of them, as we know. Paul's citations from profane literature are striking (Tit. 1.12, 1 Cor. 15.33, Acts 17.28); since Origen's treatment of them, they have often been discussed and appealed to by the more liberal. Origen (Hom. 31., in Luc., vol. 5. p. 202) thought: "Ideo assumit Paulus verba etiam de his qui foris sent, tit sanctificet eos."

Then comes trade. Tertullian is strongly inclined to prohibit [[307]] trade altogether owing to its origin in covetousness and its connection, however indirectly, with idolatry.\33/ It provides material for the temple services. What more need be said? "Even supposing that these very wares -- frankincense, I mean, and other foreign wares -- used in sacrificing to idols, are also of use to people as medicinal salves, and particularly to us Christians in our preparations for a burial, still you are plainly promoting idolatry, so long as processions, ceremonies, and sacrifices to idols are furnished at the cost of danger, loss, inconvenience, schemes, discussion, and commercial ventures." "With what face can a Christian dealer in incense, who happens to pass by a temple, spit on the smoking altars, and puff aside their fumes, when he himself has provided material for those very altars?" (11).\34/ The taking of interest on money was not differentiated from usury, and was strictly prohibited. But the prohibition was not adhered to. Repeatedly, steps had to be taken against even the clergy, the episcopate, and the church widows for taking interest or following occupations tinged with usury.\35/

\33/ Tertullian stands here pretty much by himself. We find even a man like Irenaeus (cp. 4.30.1) had no objections to a Christian engaging in trade.

\34/ The clergy themselves were not absolutely forbidden to trade; only restrictions were laid on them (cp. the nineteenth canon of Elvira).

\35/ Cp. Funk, "Interest and Usury in Christian Antiquity" (Tubingen Theol. Quartalschrift 57[1875], pp 214 f.). See Eus., H.E. 5.21; Cyprian, de Lapsis, 6, and Testim. 3.48; Commod., Instruct. 2.24; and the twentieth canon of the Council of Elvira.

Can a Christian hold a civil appointment? Joseph and Daniel did; they kept themselves free from idolatry, said the liberal party in the church. But Tertullian is unconvinced. "Supposing," he says, "that any one holder of an office were to succeed in coming forward with the mere title of the office, without either sacrificing or lending the sanction of his presence to a sacrifice, without farming out the supply of sacrificial victims, without handing over to other people the care of the temples or superintending their revenues, without holding spectacles either at his own or at the state's expense, without presiding at such spectacles, without proclaiming or announcing any ceremony, without even taking an oath, and moreover -- in [[308]] regard to other official business -- without passing judgment of life or death on anyone or on his civil standing. . . . without either condemning or laying down ordinances of punishment, without chaining or imprisoning, or torturing a single person -- well, supposing all that to be possible, then there is nothing to be said against a Christian being an official!" Furthermore, the badges of officials are all mixed up with idolatry. "If you have abjured the pomp of the devil, know that whatever part of it you touch is idolatry to you" (17-18).

This involves the impossibility of any Christian being a military officer. But may he not be a private and fill subordinate positions in the army? "'The inferior ranks do not need to sacrifice, and have nothing to do with capital punishments.' True, but it is unbecoming for anyone to accept the military oath of God and also that of man, or to range himself under the standard of Christ and also under that of the devil, or to bivouac in the camp of light and also in the camp of darkness; no soul can be indebted to both, to Christ and to the devil." You point to the warriors of Israel, to Moses and Joshua, to the soldiers who came to John the Baptist, to the centurion who believed. But "subsequently the Lord disarmed Peter, and in so doing unbuckled the sword of every soldier. Even in peace it is not to be worn" (19).

Furthermore, in ordinary life a good deal must be entirely proscribed. One must abjure any phrase in which the gods are named. Thus one dare not say "by Hercules," or "as true as heaven" (medius fidius), or use any similar expletive (20). And no one is tacitly to accept an adjuration addressed to himself, from fear of being recognized as a Christian if he demurs to it.\36/ Every pagan blessing must be rejected; accept it, and you are accursed of God. "It is a denial of God for anyone to dissemble on any occasion whatsoever and let himself pass for a pagan. All denial of God is idolatry, just as all idolatry is denial of God, be it in word or in deed" (21-22). Even the pledge [[309]] exacted from Christians as a guarantee when money is borrowed, is a denial of God, though the oath is not sworn in words (23).

\36/ "I know one Christian who, on being publicly addressed during a law-suit with the words `Jove's wrath be on you,' answered, 'Nay, on you.'" The unlawfulness of this answer, according to Tertullian, consisted, not simply in the malediction, but in the recognition of Jupiter which it implied.

"Such are the reefs and shoals and straits of idolatry, amid which faith has to steer her course, her sails filled by the Spirit of God." Yet after the close of the second century the large majority of Christians took quite another view of the situation, and sailed their ship with no such anxieties about her track.\37/ Coarse forms of idolatry were loathed and severely punished, but during the age of Tertullian, at least, little attention was paid any longer to such subtle forms as were actually current. Moreover, when it suits his point to do so, Tertullian himself in the Apology meets the charge of criminal isolation brought against Christians, by boasting that "we share your voyages and battles, your agriculture and your trading" (42), remarking in a tone of triumph that Christians are to be met with everywhere, in all positions of state, in the army, and even in the senate. "We have left you nothing but the temples." Such was indeed the truth. The facts of the case show that Christians were to be found in every line of life, and that troubles occasioned by one's occupation must have been on the whole very rare (except in the case of soldiers; see below, Bk. 4. Ch. 2).\38/ Nor was the sharp criticism passed by Tatian, Tertullian, Hippolytus, and even (though for different reasons, of course) by Origen, upon the state as such, and upon civil relations, translated very often into practice.\39/ The kingdom of [[310]] Christ, or the world-empire of the Stoics, or some platonic republic of Christian philosophy, might be played off against the existing state, as the highest form of social union intended by God, but all this speculation left life untouched, at least from the close of the second century onwards. The Paedagogus of Clement already furnishes directions for managing to live a [[311]] Christian life in the world. By the close of our period, the court, the civil service, and the army were full of Christians.\40/

\37/ Read the second and third books of Clement's Paedagogus. The author certainly does not belong to the lax party, but he does not go nearly the length of Tertullian. On the other hand, he lashes (Paed. 3.11.80) mere "Sunday Christianity": "They drop the heavenly inspiration of the congregation when they leave the meeting-place, and become like the great majority with whom they associate. Or rather, in laying aside the affected and specious mask of solemnity, they show their real nature, undisguised. After listening reverently to the word of God, they leave what they have heard within the church itself, and go outside to amuse themselves in godless society with music," etc.

\38/ Of course, as Tertullian sarcastically observes (Apol. 43), "pimps, panders, assassins, poisoners and sorcerers, with sacrificial augurs, diviners, and astrologers, very reasonably complain of Christians being a profitless race!" As early as Acts 19. we read of tradesmen in Ephesus who lived by the cult of Diana feeling injured by Christians.

\39/ Still, Caecilius (in Min. Felix, 8) describes Christians as a "natio in publico muta, in angulis garrula (a people tongue-tied in public, but talkative in corners), honores et purpuras despiciunt (despising honors and purple robes)." [[310b]] Cp. Tatian, Orat. 11.1:  βασιλεύειν οὐ θέλω, πλουτεῖν οὐ βούλομαι, τὴν στρατηγίαν παρῄτημαι, . . . δοξομανίας ἀπήλλαγμαι ("I have no desire to reign -- no wish to be rich. I decline all leadership..…I am void of any frenzy for fame"); Speratus (in Martyr. Scil.): "Ego imperium huius saeculi non cognosco" ("of the kingdom of this world I know nothing"); Tertull., Apol. 42: "Christianus nec aedilitatem affectat ("the Christian has no ambition to be aedile"), and his critique of Roman laws in chaps 4-6 of the Apology. On the charge of ''infructuositas in negotio" (barrenness in affairs), see Tert., de Pallio 5, where all that is said of the pallium applies to Christians: "Ego, inquit, nihil foro, nihil campo, nihil curiae debeo, nihil officio advigilo, nulla rostra praeoccupo, nulla praetoria observo, canales non odoro, cancellos non adoro, subsellia non contundo, iura non conturbo, causas non elatro, non iudico, non milito, non regno, secessi de populo. in me unicum negotium mihi est; nisi aliud non curo quam ne curem. vita meliore magis in secessu fruare quam in promptu. sed ignavam infamabis. scilicet patriae et imperio reique vivendum est. erat olim ista sententia. nemo alii nascitur moriturus sibi. certe cum ad Epicuros et Zenones ventum est, sapientes vocas totum quietis magisterium, qui eam summae atque unicae voluptatis nomine consecravere," etc. ("I," quoth the cloak, "I owe no duty to the forum, the hustings, or the senate-house. I keep no obsequious vigils, I haunt no platforms, I boast no great houses, I scent no cross-roads, I worship no lattices, I do not wear out the judicial bench, I upset no laws, I bark in no pleadings at the bar; no judge am I, no soldier, and no king. I have withdrawn from the people. My peculiar business is with myself. No care have I save to shun care. You, too, would enjoy a better life in retreat than in publicity. But you will decry me as indolent. 'We must live,' forsooth, 'for country, empire, and estate.' Well, our view prevailed in days gone by. None, it was said, is born for another's ends, since to himself he is to die. At all events, when you come to the Epicureans and Zenos, you dub all the teachers of quietism 'sages'; and they have hallowed quietism with the name of the 'unique' and 'supreme' pleasure"). Apolog. 38 f: "Nec ulla magis res aliena quam publica . . . unam omnium rempublicam agnoscimus, mundum ("Nothing is so alien to us as political affairs…..We recognize but one universal commonwealth, viz., the universe"). On the absence of any home-feeling among Christians, see Diognet. 5.5: Πατρίδας οἰκοῦσιν ἰδίας, ἀλλ’ ὡς πάροικοι· μετέχουσι πάντων ὡς πολῖται, καὶ πανθ’ ὑπομένουσιν ὡς ξένοι· πᾶσα ξένη πατρίς ἐστιν αὐτῶν, καὶ πᾶσα πατρὶς ξένη ("They inhabit their own countries, but merely as sojourners; they share in everything as citizens and endure everything as strangers. Every foreign country is a fatherland to them, and every fatherland is foreign"); also Clem., Paed. πατρίδα ἐπὶ γῆς οὐκ ἔχομεν ("On earth we have no fatherland"); Vita Polycarpi, 6: παντὶ δούλῳ θεοῦ πᾶς ὀ κόσμος πόλις, πατρὶς δὲ ἡ ἐπουράνιος ᾿Ιερουσαλήμ· ἐνταῦθα δὲ παροικεῖν, ἀλλ' οὐ κατοικεῖν =, ὡς ξένοι καὶ παρεπίδημοι τετάγμεθα (cp. also 30). Not without reason does Celsus (Orig. 8.68) [[311b]] remark to his Christian opponent: "Were all to behave as you do, the emperor would ere long be left solitary and deserted, and the affairs of this world would presently fall into the hands of the most wild and lawless barbarians." He proceeds to point out that, in the event of this, Christianity would cease to exist, and that the Roman Empire consequently was the support of Christianity. To which Christians replied that, on the contrary, it was they alone who upheld the empire.

Between the second century and the third (the line may be drawn about 180 C.E.) a vital change took place. In the former, Christians for the most part had the appearance of a company of people who shunned the light and withdrew from public life, an immoral, nefarious set who held aloof from actual life; in the third century, paganism, to its alarm, discovered in Christianity a foe which openly and energetically challenged it in every sphere, political, social, and religious. By this time the doctrine of Christianity was as familiar as its cultus, discipline, and organization; and just as Christian basilicas rose everywhere after the reign of Gallienus beside the older temples, so Christians rose to every office in the state. So far as regards the civil and social status of Christianity, the period dating from 250 C.E., belongs on the whole to the fourth century rather than to the preceding age.

\40/ It is not surprising that Origen proves the existence of a numerous class of Christians who believed everything, were devoted to the priests, and yet were destitute of any moral principle. What does surprise us is that he assigns heaven to them, simply because they were believers! (Hom. 10.1, in Jesum Nave, vol. 11. p. 102, Hom. 20.1, pp. 182 f.). It is also significant, in this connection, that Augustine's mother, Monica, was concerned about the adultery of her young son, but that she did not warn him about banquets till he became a Manichean (cp. Confess. 3).

Still, it was significant, highly significant indeed, that gross and actual idolatry was combated to the bitter end. With it Christianity never came to terms.\41/

\41/ Nor did the sects of Christianity, with rare exceptions. In one or two cases the rarefied intellectualism and spiritual self-confidence of the gnostics made all external conduct, including any contact with idols, a matter of entire indifference, while open confession of one's faith was held to be useless and, in fact, suicidal (cp. the polemic against this in Iren. 4.33.9; Clem., Strom. 4.4.16; and Tertull., Scotpiace adv. Gnost.). But the opponents of heresy taxed the gnostics in such cases also with a denial of their Christian position on principle, where no such denial existed whatsoever (cp. what has been said on Heracleon, p. 210), while at the same time they described the freer attitude of the gnostics towards the eating of sacrificial meat as an apostasy.


How rich, then, and how manifold, are the ramifications of the Christian religion as it steps at the very outset on to pagan soil! And every separate point appears to be the main point; every single aspect seems to be the whole! It is the preaching of God the Father Almighty (θεὸς πατὴρ παντοκράτωρ), of his Son the Lord Jesus Christ, and of the resurrection. It is the gospel of the Savior and of salvation, of redemption and the new creation. It is the message of man becoming God. It is the gospel of love and charity. It is the religion of the Spirit and power, of moral earnestness and holiness. It is the religion of authority and of an unlimited faith; and again, the religion of reason and of enlightened understanding. Besides that it is a religion of "mysteries." It proclaims the origin of a new people, of a people which had existed in secret from the very beginning. It is the religion of a sacred book. It possessed, nay, it was, everything that can possibly be considered as religion.
Christianity thus showed itself to be syncretistic. But it revealed to the world a special kind of syncretism, namely, the syncretism of a universal religion. Every force, every relation­ship in its environment, was mastered by it and made to serve its own ends -- a feature in which the other religions of the Roman empire make but a poor, a meager, and a narrow show. Yet, unconsciously, it learned and borrowed from many quarters; indeed, it would be impossible to imagine it existing amid all the wealth and vigor of these religions, had it not drawn pith and flavor even from them. These religions fertilized the [[313]] ground for it, and the new grain and seed which fell upon that soil sent down its roots and grew to be a mighty tree. Here is a religion which embraces everything. And yet it can always be expressed with absolute simplicity: one name, the name of Jesus Christ, still sums up everything.
The syncretism of this religion is further shown by its faculty for incorporating the most diverse nationalities -- Parthians, Medes and Elamites, Greeks and barbarians. It mocked at the barriers of nationality. While attracting to itself all popular elements, it repudiated only one, viz., that of Jewish national­ism. But this very repudiation was a note of universalism, for, although Judaism had been divested of its nationalism and already turned into a universal religion, its universalism had remained for two centuries confined to narrow limits. And how universal did Christianity show itself, in relation to the capacities and culture of mankind! Valentinus is a contem­porary of Hermas, and both are Christians; Tertullian and Clement of Alexandria are contemporaries, and both are teachers in the church; Eusebius is a contemporary of St Antony, and both are in the service of the same communion.
Even this fails to cover what may be termed "syncretism," in the proper sense of the word. After the middle of the third century C.E., Christianity falls to be considered as syncretistic religion\1/ in the fullest sense; as such it faced the two other syn­cretistic products of the age, Manicheanism and the Neoplatonic religion which was bound up with the sun-cult.\2/ Henceforward, [[314]] Christianity may be just as truly called a Hellenic religion as an Oriental, a native religion as a foreign. From the very outset it had been syncretistic upon pagan soil; it made its appearance, not as gospel pure and simple, but equipped with all that Judaism had already acquired during the course of its long history, and entering forthwith upon nearly every task in which Judaism was defective. Still, it was the middle of the third century that first saw the new religion in full bloom as the syncretistic religion par excellence, and yet, for all that, as an exclusive religion. As a church, it contained everything the age could proffer, a powerful priesthood, with a high priest and subordinate clergy, a priesthood which went back to Christ and the apostles, and led bishops to glory in their succession and apostolic ordination. Christianity possessed every element in­cluded in the conception of "priesthood." Its worship and its sacraments together represented a real energy of the divine nature. The world to come and the powers of an endless life [[315]] were in operation in the cultus, and through it upon the world; they could be laid hold of and appropriated in a way that was at once spiritual and corporeal. To believers, Christianity dis­closed all that was ever embraced under the terms "revealed knowledge," "mysteries," and "cultus." In its doctrine it had incorporated everything offered by that contemporary syncretism which we have briefly described (pp. 30 f.). And while it certainly was obliged to re-arrange this syncretism and correct it in some essential points, upon the whole it did appropriate the system. In the doctrinal system of Origen which dominated thoughtful Christians in the East during the second half of the third century, the combination of the gospel and of syncretism is a fait accompli. Christianity possessed in a more unsullied form the contents of what is meant by "the Greek philosophy of religion."\3/ Powerful and vigorous, assured of her own distinctive character, and secure from any risk of being dissolved into contemporary religions, she believed herself able now to deal more generously and complaisantly with men, provided only that they would submit to her authority. Her missionary methods altered slowly but significantly in the course of the third century. Gregory Thaumaturgus, who shows himself a pupil of Origen in his religious philosophy with its comprehen­sive statement of Christianity, but who, as a Hellenist, excels his master, accommodated himself as a bishop in a truly sur­prising way to the pagan tendencies of those whom he converted. We shall hear of him later on. Saints and intercessors, who were thus semi-gods, poured into the church.\4/ Local cults and [[316]] holy places were instituted. The different provinces of life were distributed afresh among guardian spirits. The old gods re­turned; only, their masks were new. Annual festivals were noisily celebrated. Amulets and charms, relics and bones of the saints, were cherished eagerly.\5/ And the very religion which erst­while in its strictly spiritual temper had prohibited and resisted any tendency towards materialism, now took material shape in every one of its relationships. It had mortified the world and nature. But now it proceeded to revive them, not of course in their entirety, but still in certain sections and details, and -- what is more -- in phases that were dead and repulsive. Miracles [[317]] in the churches became more numerous, more external, and more coarse. Whatever fables the apocryphal Acts of the Apostles had narrated, were dragged into contemporary life and predi­cated of the living present.

\1/ One of my reviewers, de Grandmaison (in Etudes, Rev. par les peres de la comp. de Jesus, vol. 96., 5th Aug.1903, p. 317) asks, "How can a syncretistic religion continue to be exclusive? That is what one fails to see." But if it gives out as its own inherent possession whatever it has taken over and assimil­ated; nay more, if it makes this part of its very being -- why should it not be able to remain exclusive?

\2/ See my Lehrbuch der Dogmengeschichte, Bd. 1(3), pp. 766 f., 785 f. (Eng. trans., 3.316 f.): "Three great religious systems confronted each other in Western Asia and Southern Europe from the close of the third century: Neoplaton­ism, Catholicism, and Manicheanism. All three may be characterized as the final products of a history which had lasted for over a thousand years, the history of the religious development of the civilized nations from Persia to Italy. In all three the old national and particular character of religion was laid aside; they were world-religions of the most universal tendency, with demands whose consequences transformed the whole life of man, both public and private. For the national cultus they substituted a system which aspired to be at once a theology, a theory of the universe, and a science of history, while at the same time it embraced a definite ethic and a ritual of worship. Formally, therefore, all these religions were alike; they were also alike in this, that each had appropriated the elements of different older religions. Further, they showed their similarity in bringing to the front the ideas of revelation, redemption, ascetic virtue, and immortality. But Neoplatonism was natural religion spiritualized, the polytheism of Greece trans­figured by Oriental influences and developed into pantheism. Catholicism was the monotheistic world-religion based on the Old Testament and the gospel, but built up with the aid of Hellenic speculation and ethics. Manicheanism was the dualistic world-religion, resting on Chaldaeism, but interspersed with Christian, Parsi, and perhaps Buddhist ideas. Manicheanism lacked the Hellenic element, while Catholicism almost entirely lacked the Chaldee and Persian. Here are three world-religions developing in the course of two centuries (c. C.E. 50-250), Catholicism coming first and Manicheanism last. Both of these were superior to Neoplatonism, for the very reason that the latter had no founder; it therefore developed no elemental force, and never lost the character of being an artificial creation. Attempts were made to invent a founder for it, but naturally they came to nothing. Yet, even apart from its contents as a religion, Catholicism was superior to Manicheanism, because its founder was venerated, not merely as the bearer of revelation, but as the redeemer in person and the Son of God." These three syncretistic religions all opposed the imperial cultus. Christianity was its only open foe, for the Neoplatonic religion of the sun was indeed designed to confirm it. Yet Neoplatonism also proved a foe to it, by transferring religion to the inward life. This cut at the roots of the imperial cultus. It was a supreme delusion on the part of Julian to imagine that he could link political religion with the Neoplatonic religion of the sun.

\3/ The philosophy of religion which men like Posidonius and Philo founded, and which culminated in Neoplatonism, was rounded off by the Christian philosophy of religion which developed until the beginning of the third century. Its final statement was given by Origen. It led to an alarming increase of dullness towards the reality of the senses and fostered an indiscriminate attitude towards life, but it deepened the inner life and modified the philosophical conception of God by introducing the doctrine of creation. The idea of the Incarnation was also brought within the range of speculation, and even at the present day there are many distinguished thinkers who venture to see in that idea the distinctive worth of the Christian religion as well as its main significance for the history of the human spirit. The contest with the materialists, the skeptics, and the Epicureans was waged by the apologists, especially by Origen and Dionysius of Alexandria.

\4/ The habit of seeking oracular hints from the Scriptures is part and parcel of this movement. So far as I know, the earliest evidence for it comes from the [[316b]] fourth century, but it is certainly later than that period. Cp Aug., Epist. 55.37: "Hi qui de paginis evangelicis sortes legunt, etsi optandum est, ut hoc potius faciant quam ad daemonia concurrant, tamen etiam ista mihi displicet consuetudo, ad negotia saecularia et ad vitae huius vanitatem propter aliam vitam loquentia oracula divina velle convertere" ("As for those who read fortunes out of the pages of the gospel, though it were better they should do this than betake themselves to the demons, still, I dislike the custom of trying to turn divine oracles which speak of another life into counsels upon secular affairs and the vanity of this life"). This, however, is more lax than the attitude of Hermas ([[[new #] Mand. 11) towards the false prophets. Cp., too, the famous "tolle, lege" of Augustine's own history.

\5/ The question is not what amount of mythology, superstition, and sacramental­ism the church took over, but rather what was the result of its borrowings, and what it did not borrow. In regard to the first point, we have to reckon not only with the amount of analogous ideas and practices current here and there from the very first within the churches (for, of course, the fact that here or there a few Syrians were converted, does not mean that the entire cast of things was Syrian, any more than the incorporation of Greek converts means a peculiarly Hellenic tinge), but with the problem, When were such ideas and practices consecrated by the church and admitted to public use, or to public expression in prayer and doctrine (in a city, in a province, or throughout the entire church)? The story of this process remains to be written, and it can only be written in part. Besides, many elements came in side by side from the very first. Yet we can explain in certain cases, perhaps, when definite pieces of pagan mythology and ritual were taken over into the public representation of the church's religion, with the requisite alterations of their garb. The answer to such problems, however, needs to be sought with much more caution and care than is usual at present. Attempts to refer the primitive Christian Sabbath and Lord's supper, and the doctrines of the virgin birth, the resurrection on the third day, the ascension, etc., to the influence of a definite pagan origin (whether obscure or open), seem to me radically unsound and as yet entirely unsuccessful. (How these institutions and ideas came into existence at so early a period is another question.) Generally, we may say that if the catholic churches and not individual gnostic circles are kept in view (though even this distinction may be disputed), the fundamental principles of the idealistic philosophy were received, only to be followed by mythology and ritual. As for the second point, the most important thing is to determine for how long and with what strenuousness the church resisted astrology, the deadly foe of morals and religion. Anyone who will consider the influence of astrology during the imperial period, when the natural sciences had in general decayed, its knack of assuming the garb of science, its widespread diffusion, and its adaptation to the active and passive moods of the age, will be able to appreciate aright the resistance offered by the church (for gnosticism in this department too was pretty defenseless). Here we recognize a great achievement of the church. Schurer, in his recent essay on the seven-day week of the church during the first centuries (Zeits. f. die neutest. Wiss. 6 [1905], pp. 1 f., 43 f.), has thoroughly investigated the position of the church towards astrology. In the second century, practically nothing was heard of it; i.e., it was attacked as pagan pseudo-science, as bad as polytheism, or worse. In the third century it raised its head within the church. In the fourth, it had to be sharply refuted. The theologians of the church always condemned it with indignation, but after the third century they no longer controlled the Christian communities, and they could not prevent it filtering in, and permeating alike the ideas and the speech of the people.

This church, whose religion Porphyry blamed for its audacious critique of the universe, its doctrine of the incarnation,\6/ and its assertion of the resurrection of the flesh -- this church labored at her mission in the second half of the third century, and she won the day. But had she been summoned to the bar and asked what right she had to admit these novelties, she could have [[318]] replied, "I am not to blame.\7/ I have only developed the germ which was planted in my being from the very first." This religion was the first to cut the ground from under the feet of all other religions, and by means of her religious philosophy, as a civilizing power, to displace ancient philosophy.\8/ But the reasons for the triumph of Christianity in that age are no guarantee for the permanence of that triumph throughout the history of mankind. Such a triumph rather depends upon the simple elements of the religion, on the preaching of the living God as the Father of men and on the representation of Jesus Christ. For that very reason it depends also on the capacity of Christianity to strip off repeatedly such a collective syncretism and unite itself to fresh coefficients. The Reformation made a beginning in this direction.

\6/ Cp. the pagan in Macarius Magnes, 4.22 [Porphyry, Contra Christianos frg. 77 TLG]:  Εἰ δὲ καί τις τῶν ῾Ελλήνων οὕτω κοῦφος τὴν γνώμην, ὡς ἐν τοῖς ἀγάλμασιν ἔνδον οἰκεῖν νομίζειν τοὺς θεούς, πολλῷ καθαρώτερον εἶχε τὴν ἔννοιαν τοῦ πιστεύοντος ὅτι εἰς τὴν γαστέρα Μαρίας τῆς παρθένου εἰσέδυ τὸ θεῖον, ἔμβρυόν τε ἐγένετο καὶ τεχθὲν ἐσπαργανώθη, μεστὸν αἵματος χορίου καὶ χολῆς καὶ τῶν ἔτι πολλῷ τούτων ἀτοπωτέρων  ("A Greek might be silly enough to believe that the gods dwelt in their shrines, but he would at least be more reverent than the man who believes that the deity entered the womb of the Virgin Mary, became an embryo, was born and swaddled as from the foetus full of blood and bile and all the rest of it").

\7/ The points of agreement between Celsus and Origen are already striking and instructive, although Celsus's was not a religious nature; still more striking are the points of agreement between Porphyry and the Oriental church teachers of his age. Porphyry's acute criticism of the gospels (especially the Fourth gospel), which is at many points quite justified, as well as of the apostle Paul, with whom he had little sympathy, cannot blind us to the fact that, apart from these three points, he was substantially of one mind with the Christians, and that he and they breathed the same religious atmosphere. The main point of difference lay in the fact that he reverently combined the entire universe with the Godhead, refusing to separate the Godhead from it, although he hated "the garment spotted by the flesh" as thoroughly as did the Christian teachers.

\8/ Cp. the question stated by Henrici in his Das Urchristenthum (1902), p. 3.

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