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64. The Rescript of Gallienus
CORNELIUS TACITUS (b. cir. 54) reached the consulship 97, wrote his Annales cir. 115, and died a few years later.
Extract I gives a heathen view of the Neronian persecution. The standpoint is that of a Roman aristocrat, to whom the Christians are detestable enough, but who is too intent on blackening Nero to go far out of his way for them.
Clement of Rome may have been a freedman of the T. Flavius Clemens consul 95, and put to death by his cousin Domitian. He wrote the letter of the Church of Rome to the Church of Corinth (95 or 96). His so-called Second Epistle is a sermon preached perhaps at Corinth about half a century later.
Extract II is the opening of the letter, with its picture of the Corinthian Church in its past prosperity. In Extract III is a Christian view of the Neronian persecution, and it records the execution of the two great apostles. Extract IV recites that the apostles made arrangements for the orderly government of the Churches, so that the Corinthians have done wrong in turning blameless presbyters out of office.
Cassius Dio Cocceianus (b. 155: governed several provinces: second consulship 229) wrote a history of Rome to his own time in eighty books, of which the last twenty or so are preserved chiefly in the Epitome of Joannes Xiphilinus, a Byzantine writer of the eleventh century.
Extract IVa is our fullest account of Domitian's persecution. It is certain from the evidence of the catacombs that Domitilla was a Christian: and there cannot be very much doubt of the consuls Glabrio and Clement (91 and 95).
Ignatius of Antioch was given to the beasts by Trajan (98-117), but we cannot fix the date more nearly. The seven letters which seem proved genuine were written from Smyrna and Troas on his way to the amphitheatre at Rome.
Extracts V and VI represent two of his most prominent topics. In Extract V we see the stress he lays on the bishop's office, in Extract VI his earnest assertion of the reality of our Lord's humanity. It also glances at a third-his overwrought desire for martyrdom.
The Letter to Diognetus is by an unknown writer, perhaps 130150. It is the most striking of Christian pamphlets before the de Incarnatione of Athanasius; and its powerful language is a strong contrast to the plainer style of Aristides and Justin.
Extract VII begins with his famous picture of Christian life, then points to its contrast with heathenism, and ends with a difficult passage where that contrast is appealed to in proof of Christianity.
The Didaché or Teaching of the Apostles (published in 1883 by Bishop Bryennius) is also the work of an unknown writer. Its date is uncertain; possibly even in the first century: its place also; possibly the mountains of Peraea. It represents a very early stage of Church government, before the rise of (monarchical) episcopacy. Extract VIII gives an account of Baptism (earliest mention of affusion peculiar form of the Lord's Prayer) and of the Lord's Supper (still in the evening). Then come stringent regulations for apostles and prophets (not to stay too long, or to ask for money, or to eat of a special agapé: yet not to be tried presumptuously) and for travelling Christians. A prophet desiring to settle down is worthy of his meat. Then directions for Sunday worship (confession before Lord's Supper), and finally instructions to appoint worthy men as bishops and deacons.
C. Plinius Caecilius Secundus (62-113) reached the consulship 100, and in the year III was sent by Trajan on a special mission to set in order the cities of Bithynia.
Extract IX shows his hesitation in dealing with the Christians. Obstinate offenders, of course, he puts to death: but what was to be done with those who renounced their offence, or had long ago given
it up? Was it good policy to use indiscriminate severity? Trajan answers that convicted offenders must be punished, though they are not to be searched for, and that all suspected persons who renounce Christianity are to be set free.
Papias, bishop of Hierapolis in Phrygia (cir. 130), is chiefly known to us from the chapter of Eusebius here given. It will be noted that Eusebius dislikes him for his Millenarianism, and probably does him less than justice.
Extract XIII begins with a statement of Irenaeus, that Papias was a disciple of St. John. Against this Eusebius quotes Papias' preface, in which he seems to distinguish his own informant, the elder John, from the Evangelist. After mentioning sundry marvellous stories, he gives the words of Papias about our two first Gospels. It will be noted (interpreted, not interprets) that the Hebrew Matthew was out of use in his time. Last of all comes the story of the woman taken in adultery, which may (Ewald) have been the tradition told by Papias in illustration of John viii. 15.
Quadratus was one of the earliest Apologists, if he addressed his work to the Emperor Hadrian (117-138), as Eusebius states.
Extract XIV is the only fragment of it which remains. He seems to be contrasting the lasting results of our Lord's miracles with the passing effects produced by the magicians.
Aristides, the philosopher of Athens, is also said by Eusebius to have presented his Apology to Hadrian. The work was lost: but when a Syriac translation was discovered (disc. and ed. by Mr. Rendel Harris, 1891), its inscription pointed to Antoninus Pius (138-161). The Greek in an adapted form was recognized by Professor Robinson in the Life of Barlaam and Joasaph, which (as originally pointed out by Prof. Max Müller) is itself a Christian adaptation of a Buddhist romance. Found in the works of John of Damascus (cir. 730). Extract XIVa is a simple account of Christian life, which should be compared with that of the writer to Diognetus.
Justin, the philosopher and martyr (b. cir. 100 at Flavia Neapolis, the ancient Shechem), owed his conversion to an old man he met on the seashore, perhaps at Ephesus. He continued to wear the philosopher's cloak, and taught as a philosopher at Rome, where