« PreviousContinue »
he was put to death (163-167). The date of his First Apology is a difficult question; but the doubt seems to lie between 138 and cir. 150. Of his Dialogue with Trypho, all that can be said is that it was written later.
Extracts XV-XVII are from the First Apology. In Extracts XV and XVI we see his view of heathenism, that though its errors and persecutions are the work of demons, Christ the Reason is still the teacher even of heathens, as many as were willing to live with reason, like Socrates and others. They should be compared with Clement (Extract XXX) and contrasted with Tertullian (Extract XXXIX). The interest of Extract XVII is in the full account given of Baptism, of the Lord's Supper, and of the Sunday morning service as it was held at Rome in his time. The allusion to Gospels will be noted; also the parallel with the Didaché (Extract VIII).
Extracts XVIII and XIX, from the Dialogue with Trypho, are discussions of some of the chief Messianic prophecies which used to be quoted against the Jews.
Extract XIX a contains a fragment of Hegesippus, which has an important bearing on the early history of the Roman church (especially if dadoxn be read) and on the general agreement of churches in his time.
Dionysius was bishop of Corinth about 170. Eusebius gives us a general account of his numerous letters, and quotes the two passages here selected.
Extract XX is from his answer to Soter, bishop of Rome, and gives an interesting testimony to the early influence of the Church (not the bishop) of Rome, to the liturgical use of the Epistle of Clement, and to the corruption by some of Scriptures which Dionysius plainly counts canonical. Extract X may be from the same letter, and is the earliest direct assertion of Peter's visit to Rome. That of Caius, just before it, seems to be rather later.
Extract XX a, where Tatian explains his conversion, 'sums up in a nut-shell the whole case of the Apologists' (Harnack).
The Letter of the Churches of Lyons and Vienne gives an account
of the persecution in Gaul in the days of Marcus Aurelius (177). Its simple words are best left to speak for themselves.
Attention may be called to a few points. (1) Intercourse between the Rhone district and the East: frequency of Greek names. (2) Persecution partly from the mob, partly official, and includes the searching forbidden (Extract IX) by Trajan. (3) Blandina, a slave-girl-one of Clement's maidiσkaι (Extract III).
Extract XXI a is the official narrative of the trial of certain Christians from Scili in Africa before the proconsul Vigellius Saturninus. The date is 180 ('Coss. Praesente et Claudiano'). Note the proconsul's gentleness, and the defiant tone of Speratus. The question about the books may hint the possibility of a charge of magic; but the answer cannot be taken to mean (Harnack) that St. Paul's Epistles were not yet fully canonical.
The Fragment on the Canon published by Muratori in 1740 is commonly ascribed to a younger contemporary of Pius of Rome, so that its date will be cir. 170. It was written in Greek, and at Rome, and may be as late as 200 or even later.
It is given complete in Extract XXII, so that its fragmentary character will easily be seen, especially near the end.
Irenaeus (b. in Asia 120-130) was a disciple of Polycarp and of others who had seen St. John. He settled for some time in Rome, and finally succeeded Pothinus as bishop of Lyons in 177. His great work against the Gnostics was written in the next decade. The original is in great part lost; but we have it complete in an old Latin translation.
Extract XIX b (chiefly from Irenaeus) gives his account of the Encratites, and of Tatian in particular. Extract XXIII sums up his account of the origin of the Gospels, and gives his view of the Apocalypse (Domitianic date) and of some uncanonical books. Extract XXV is a fragment of a letter to his old friend Florinus, who had taken up Gnostic opinions, and in it he tells us of his teacher Polycarp. Extract XXVII is his account of Marcion: the Greek is partly preserved by Eusebius, H.E. iv. 11. Extract XXVIII
gives his argument from Tradition, which must be carefully distinguished from Tertullian's. It speaks also of the pre-eminence of the Roman Church, (c) and of its orthodoxy kept pure by constant streams of visitors (see Extract XX); and gives a further account of Polycarp. Extract XXIX is a tradition 'of the Elders,' which probably comes from the Commentary of Papias.
Polycrates of Ephesus is hardly known to us except from this Extract XXVI, which is his answer to Victor of Rome cir. 196. He defends his Quartodeciman Easter by the example of St. John, and of the apostle Philip (compare Extract XIII).
Titus Flavius Clemens (b. cir. 150) studied philosophy under sundry teachers before he came to rest in Christianity. He succeeded Pantaenus as head of the catechetical school at Alexandria, but left the city (cir. 202) during the persecution of Severus. We find him some years later in Cilicia or Cappadocia; and he seems to have been dead cir. 216.
Extract XXX gives his view of the double preparation of the world for Christ-the Jews by the law, the Gentiles by philosophy. Extracts XXXI and XXXII show his relation to the Gnostics, and his conception of the ideal Christian character. Extract XXXIII opens out the whole question of the mode of interpreting Scripture, which the school of Alexandria did so much to clear up.
Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus (b. cir. 155 at Carthage) was the son of a centurion, and practised as a lawyer. He was converted to Christianity before 197, and became presbyter at Carthage. Between 202 and 207 he joined the Montanists, and died as one of them cir. 225.
Extracts XXXIV-XXXVIII are taken from his Apology. Extract XXXIV is a review of the persecutions, coloured by Christian unwillingness to believe that good emperors really did persecute. Extract XXXV is the rough sketch of his treatise de Testimonio animae naturaliter Christianae—the proof of Christianity from its correspondence with the nature of man. In Extract XXXVI (compare Extract XXXVIII) the empire is presented as the restraining power which delays the end of the world. Extract
XXXVII is his famous boast of the numbers of the Christians; which, however, he gives not as a proof of Christianity; only as a reason for toleration. Extract XXXVIII is a general account of the Christian assemblies like Justin's (Extract XVII), but specially contrasts them with the disorderly heathen clubs. Extract XXXVIII a shows us the development of the ceremonial of Baptism since Justin's time; the Lord's Supper (now in the morning and called sacramentum) upon occasion including a commemoration of the dead, and of martyrs on the day of their passion ('birth'). Prayer standing on Sundays and after Easter (as Canon 20 of Nicaea, Extract LXXIV). Care of common food, and of the elements, and constant sign of the cross.
The next three Extracts (XXXIX-XLI) are from his 'most plausible and most mischievous book' (Hort) de Praescriptionibus. Extract XXXIX is to show that heretics deal with philosophical questions and borrow the answers of the philosophers. In Extract XL we have his argument from Tradition. As we cannot confute heretics by Scripture, we refuse to meet them on that ground, and simply answer that Churches once founded by the apostles must necessarily be still the possessors of the truth-an argument as good for Leo XIII as it ever was for Pope Victor. Extract XLI is a satirical account of the disorderly worship of heretics, probably Marcionites.
Extract XLII comments on the 'edict' (as if he were a magistrate) of Callistus (note ironical titles) which offered pardon (on penance) to some gross offenders, and (according to Montanists) made the Church a partaker of their sin. Extract XLIII is a vivid picture of the difficulties of Christian life in heathen society. Extract XLIV is another Montanist complaint, that Praxeas was not only unsound in the faith, but had persuaded the bishop of Rome (Victor or Zephyrinus) to revoke his sanction of Montanist prophecy. In Extract XLV Tertullian gives his objections to infant Baptism-prudential objections, for he has no idea of any apostolic command on the other side.
Hippolytus was a disciple of Irenaeus, and a bishop-of what city, Eusebius did not know. According to some, he was bishop of
Portus or of the foreigners in Portus; but more likely he claimed to be bishop of Rome in opposition to Callistus. In 235 he was exiled to Sardinia, and seems to have died there. Book I of his great work Against all Heresies was ascribed to Origen, till the discovery in 1842 of Books IV-X in a MS. on Mount Athos.
Extract XXIV gives his account of the Montanists and their prophetesses. Extract XLVI is a difficult passage, but its chief burden is the change made by Callistus in Church law, by recognizing unequal marriages which the State did not.
Origenes Adamantius (b. 185 or 186) was the son of Christian parents at Alexandria. His father Leonides was put to death in the persecution of Severus (202), and Origen soon afterwards (aged 18) succeeded Clement as head of the catechetical school. There he laboured with splendid success for nearly thirty years, till his ordination (231) in Palestine (with other causes) gave offence to Demetrius of Alexandria. Origen betook himself to Caesarea, and laboured there. He was tortured in the Decian persecution, and died of the effects cir. 254.
Extract XLVII (from Eusebius) shows Origen's wide conception of a liberal education. Extract XLVIII gives some idea of his principle of interpretation, that every passage of Scripture has a spiritual meaning, commonly more important than the literal; and in Extract LIII we have the answer of Porphyry from the heathen side, that allegorical interpretations are a mere subterfuge. Extracts XLIX-LI are taken from Origen's answer to Celsus. In Extract XLIX the heathen replies to our Lord's miracles, that they were done by magic; and indeed the mediums and spiritualists of this time were as skilful as our own. In Extract L Celsus disputes the evidence of our Lord's resurrection quite in the style of Renan or Supernatural Religion. In Extract LI comes Origen's answer to the charge that the Gospel is only meant for fools. Extracts LI a and LIb are intended to show the modern character of Origen's opinions on the inspiration and interpretation of Scripture. Extract LII is given as a sample of Origen's width of view and tendency to Universalism. In Extract LIV we have his conclusions on the authorship of the Epistle to the Hebrews.