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Title: A Source Book for Ancient Church History

Author: Joseph Cullen Ayer, Jr., Ph.D.

Release Date: April 2, 2008 [Ebook #24979]

Language: English

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A Source Book for Ancient Church History

From the Apostolic Age to the Close of the Conciliar Period

by Joseph Cullen Ayer, Jr., Ph.D.

Professor of Ecclesiastical History in the Divinity School of the Protestant Episcopal Church in Philadelphia

New York

Charles Scribner's Sons



[pg v]


[Transcriber's Note: These corrections have already been applied to the text in this e-book.]

Page 55, line 26. Lucian, of Samosata, does, etc.: omit commas.

Page 65, lines 20, 21, 25, 27, 31, 34, 35, 36. For, Ptolomæus: read, Ptolemæus.

Page 77, line 27. For, Ptolomæus: read, Ptolemæus.

Page 77, line 28. Panarion, Italics. [Panarion is the title of the book.]

Page 93, line 34. For, Ptolomæus: read, Ptolemæus.

Page 95, lines 9, 11. For, Ptolomæus: read, Ptolemæus.

Page 110, line 11. Insert after V, 24: (given below, § 38).

Page 128, line 12. For, and to use it: read, and use it.

Page 245, line 16. Transpose so as to read: Were the sacraments they administered to be regarded, then,

Page 267, line 20. For, are: read, art.

Page 273, line 1. For, is: read, are.

Page 282, line 29. For, exemptions from the clergy: read, exemptions of the clergy.

Page 283, line 24. For, V. supra, 58 f.: read, V. supra § 58, f.

Page 299, line 18. For, Constantinople: read, Alexandria.

Page 306, line 14. Add: And in the Holy Ghost. [This should stand as a sentence by itself, although there is no complete sentence.]

Page 316, line 6. For, desensus: read, descensus.

Page 337, line 6. For, 368: read, 378.

Page 361, note. Omit all after: Council of Chalcedon in 451; changing comma to period.

Page 402, line 19. For, Milcoe: read, Mileve.

Page 579, line 24. Insert comma after: common faith.

Page 594, line 22. For, will: read, wilt.

Page 603, line 31. For, rivalries: read, rivalry.

Page 627, line 28. For, days: read, days'.

Page 697, line 1. For, ἀσπασμον: read ἀσπασμὸν.

Page 705, col. 2, lines 29, 30. For, Ptolomæus: read, Ptolemæus.

[pg vii]


The value of the source-book has long been recognized in the teaching of general history. In ecclesiastical history quite as much use can be made of the same aid in instruction. It is hoped that the present book may supply a want increasingly felt by teachers employing modern methods in teaching ecclesiastical history. It has grown out of classroom work, and is addressed primarily to those who are teaching and studying the history of the Christian Church in universities and seminaries. But it is hoped that it may serve the constantly increasing number interested in the early history of Christianity.

In the arrangement of the selected illustrative material, a chronological analysis and grouping of topics has been followed, according to the lines of treatment employed by K. Müller, F. Loofs, Von Schubert in his edition of Moeller's text-book, and by Hergenröther to some extent. The whole history of ancient Christianity has accordingly been divided into comparatively brief periods and subdivided into chapters and sections. These divisions are connected and introduced by brief analyses and characterizations, with some indications of additional source material available in English.

A bibliography originally prepared for each chapter and section has been omitted. When the practical question arose of either reducing the amount of source material to admit a bibliography, or of making the book too expensive for general use by students, the main purpose of the book determined the only way of avoiding two unsatisfactory solutions of the problem, and the bibliography has been omitted. In this there may be less loss than at first appears. The student of ecclesiastical [pg viii] history is fortunately provided with ample bibliographical material for the ancient Church in the universally available theological and other encyclopædias which have very recently appeared or are in course of publication, and in the recent works on patristics. Possibly the time has come when, in place of duplicating bibliographies, reliance in such matters upon the work of others may not be regarded as mortal sin against the ethics of scholarship. A list of works has been given in the General Bibliographical Note, which the student is expected to consult and to which the instructor should encourage him to go for further information and bibliographical material.

The book presupposes the use of a text-book of Church history, such as those by Cheetham, Kurtz, Moeller, Funk, or Duchesne, and a history of doctrine, such as those of Seeberg, Bethune-Baker, Fisher, or Tixeront. Readings in more elaborate treatises, special monographs, and secular history may well be left to the direction of the instructor.

The translations, with a few exceptions which are noted, are referred for the sake of convenience to the Patrology of Migne or Mansi's Concilia. Although use has been freely made of the aid offered by existing translations, especially those of the Ante-Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, yet all translations have been revised in accordance with the best critical texts available. The aim in the revision has been accuracy and closeness to the original without too gross violation of the English idiom, and with exactness in the rendering of ecclesiastical and theological technical terms. Originality is hardly to be expected in such a work as this.

An author may not be conscious of any attempt to make his selection of texts illustrate or support any particular phase of Christian belief or ecclesiastical polity, and his one aim may be to treat the matter objectively and to render his book useful to all, yet he ought not to flatter himself that in either respect he has been entirely successful. In ecclesiastical history, no more than in any other branch of history, is it [pg ix] possible for an author who is really absorbed in his work to eliminate completely the personal equation. He should be glad to be informed of any instance in which he may have unwittingly failed in impartiality, that when occasion presented he might correct it. The day has gone by in which ecclesiastical history can not be treated save as a branch of polemical theology or as an apologetic for any particular phase of Christian belief or practice. It has at last become possible to teach the history of the Christian Church, for many centuries the greatest institution of Western Europe, in colleges and universities in conjunction with other historical courses.

This volume has been prepared at the suggestion of the American Society of Church History, and valuable suggestions have been gained from the discussions of that society. To Professor W. W. Rockwell, of Union Theological Seminary, New York, Professor F. A. Christie, of Meadville Theological School, the late Professor Samuel Macauley Jackson, of New York, and Professor Ephraim Emerton, of Harvard University, I have also been indebted for advice. The first two named were members with me of a committee on a Source-Book for Church History appointed several years ago by the American Society of Church History.

That the book now presented to the public may be of service to the teacher and student of ecclesiastical history is my sincere wish. It may easily happen that no one else would make just the same selection of sources here made. But it is probable that the principal documents, those on which the majority would agree and which are most needed by the teacher in his work, are included among those presented. There are, no doubt, slips and defects in a book written at intervals in a teacher's work. With the kind co-operation of those who detect them, they may be corrected when an opportunity occurs.

Joseph Cullen Ayer, Jr.
[pg xix]

General Bibliographical Note

Under each period special collections of available sources are to be found. The student is not given any bibliography of works bearing on the topics, but is referred to the following accessible works of reference of recent date for additional information and bibliographies:

The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopædia of Religious Knowledge, edited by S. M. Jackson, New York, 1908-12.

The Catholic Encyclopædia, New York, 1907-12.

The Encyclopædia Britannica, eleventh edition, Cambridge, 1910.

The Encyclopædia of Religion and Ethics, edited by J. Hastings, Edinburgh and New York, 1908 ff. (In course of publication.)

For the patristic writers, their lives, works, editions, and other bibliographical matter, see:

G. Krüger, History of Early Christian Literature in the First Three Centuries, English translation by C. R. Gillett, New York, 1897. Cited as Krüger.

B. Bardenhewer, Patrologie, Freiburg-i.-B., 1911, English translation of second edition (1901) by T. J. Shahan, St. Louis, 1908. Cited as Bardenhewer.

In addition to the encyclopædias the following are indispensable, and should be consulted:

Smith and Wace, Dictionary of Christian Biography, Literature, Sects and Doctrines, London, 1877-87. (The Condensed Edition of 1911 by no means takes the place of this standard work.) Cited DCB.

Smith and Cheetham, Dictionary of Christian Antiquities, London, 1875-80. Cited DCA.

[pg xx]

Advanced students and those capable of using French and German are referred to the following, which have admirable and authoritative articles and ample bibliographies:

Realencyclopædie für protestantische Theologie, edited by A. Hauck, Leipsic, 1896 ff. Two supplementary volumes appeared in 1913. Cited PRE.

Kirchenlexicon oder Encyclopædie der katholischen Theologie und ihrer Hilfswissenschaften, second edition, by J. Hergenröther und F. Kaulen, Freiburg-i.-B., 1882-1901. Cited KL.

Dictionnaire de Théologie Catholique, edited by A. Vacant and E. Mangenot, Paris, 1903 ff.

Dictionnaire d'Archéologie Chrétienne et de Liturgie, edited by F. Cabrol, 1903 ff.

Dictionnaire d'Histoire et de Géographie Ecclesiastiques; edited by A. Baudrillart, A. Vogt, and U. Roziès, Paris, 1909 ff.

Collections of sources in the original languages, easily procured and to be consulted for texts and to some extent for bibliographies:

C. Mirbt, Quellen zur Geschichte des Papsttums und des römischen Katholizismus, third edition, Tübingen, 1911. Cited as Mirbt.

C. Kirch, S. J., Enchiridion fontium historiæ ecclesiasticæ antiquæ. Freiburg-i.-B., 1910. Cited as Kirch.

H. Denziger, Enchiridion symbolorum, definitionum et declarationum de rebus fidei et morum, eleventh edition, edited by Clemens Bannwart, S. J., Freiburg-i.-B., 1911. Cited as Denziger.

A. Hahn. Bibliothek der Symbole und Glaubensregeln der alten Kirche, third edition, Breslau, 1897. Cited as Hahn.

G. Krüger. Sammlung ausgewählter kirchen und dogmengeschichtlicher Quellenschriften, Freiburg-i.-B.

Of this useful collection especially important are the following of more general application:

E. Preuschen, Analecta: Kürzere Texte zur Geschichte der alten Kirche und des Kanons, second edition, 1909-10.

F. Lauchert, Die Kanones der wichtigsten altkirchlichen Concilien nebst den apostolischen Kanones.

R. Knopf, Ausgewählte Märtyreracten. Cited as Knopf.

Other volumes are cited in connection with topics.

[pg xxi]

H. T. Bruns, Canones apostolorum et conciliorum sæculorum IV, V, VI, VII, Berlin, 1839. Cited as Bruns.

Although not source-books, yet of very great value for the sources they contain should be mentioned:

J. C. L. Gieseler, A Text-Book of Church History, English translation, New York, 1857.

K. R. Hagenbach, A History of Christian Doctrines, English translation, Edinburgh, 1883-85.

C. J. Hefele, Conciliengeschichte, Freiburg-i.-B., 1855-70. Second edition, 1873 et seq. A new French translation with admirable supplementary notes has just appeared. The English translation (History of the Councils), Edinburgh, 1876-95, extends only through the eighth century. Cited as Hefele.

[pg 003]

The First Division Of Ancient Christianity: The Church Under The Heathen Empire: To A. D. 324

By the accession of Constantine to the sole sovereignty of the Roman Empire, A. D. 324, ancient Christianity may be conveniently divided into two great periods. In the first, it was a religion liable to persecution, suffering severely at times and always struggling to maintain itself; in the second, it became the religion of the State, and in its turn set about to repress and persecute the heathen religions. It was no longer without legal rights; it had the support of the secular rulers and was lavishly endowed with wealth. The conditions of the Church in these two periods are so markedly different, and the conditions had such a distinct effect upon the life and growth of the Christian religion, that the reign of Constantine is universally recognized as marking a transition from one historical period to another, although no date which shall mark that transition is universally accepted. The year 311, the year in which the Diocletian persecution ceased, has been accepted by many as the dividing point. The exact date adopted is immaterial.

The principal sources in English for the history of the Christian Church before A. D. 324 are:

The Ante-Nicene Fathers. Translations of the Writings of the Fathers down to A. D. 325. American edition, Buffalo and New York, 1885-1896; new edition, New York, 1896 (a reprint). The collection, cited as ANF, contains the bulk of [pg 004] the Christian literature of the period, with the exception of the less important commentaries of Origen.

Eusebius, Church History. Translated with Prolegomena and Notes by Arthur Cushman McGiffert. In A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church. Second series, New York, 1890. The Church History of Eusebius is the foundation of the study of the history of the Church before A. D. 324, as it contains a vast number of citations from works now lost. The edition by Professor McGiffert is the best in English, and is provided with scholarly notes, which serve as an elaborate commentary on the text. It should be in every library. This work is cited as Eusebius, Hist. Ec. The text used in the extracts given in this source book is that of Ed. Schwartz, in Die Griechischen Christlicher: Schriftsteller der ersten drei Jahrhunderte. Kleine Ausgabe, Leipsic, 1908. This text is identical with the larger and less convenient edition by the same editor.

[pg 005]

Period I. The Apostolic Age: To Circa A. D. 100

The period in the Church before the clash with Gnosticism and the rise of an apologetic literature comprises the apostolic and the post-apostolic ages. These names have become traditional. The so-called apostolic age, or to circa 100, is that in which the Apostles lived, though the best tradition makes John the only surviving Apostle for the last quarter of a century.

The principal sources for the history of the Church in this period are the books of the New Testament, and only to a slight degree the works of contemporaneous Jewish and heathen writers. It is hardly necessary to reproduce New Testament passages here. The Jewish references of importance will be found in the works on the life of Christ and of St. Paul. As the treatment of this period commonly falls under a different branch of study, New Testament exegesis, it is not necessary in Church history to enter into any detail. There are, however, a few references to events in this period which are to be found only outside the New Testament, and are of importance to the student of Church history. These are the Neronian persecution (§ 1), the death of the Apostles (§§ 2, 3), and the persecution under Domitian (§ 4). The paucity of references to Christianity in the first century is due chiefly to the fact that Christianity appeared to the men of the times as merely a very small Oriental religion, struggling for recognition, and contending with many others coming from the same region. It had not yet made any great advance either in numbers or social importance.

[pg 006]

§ 1. The Neronian Persecution

The Neronian persecution took place A. D. 64. The occasion was the great fire which destroyed a large part of the city of Rome. To turn public suspicion from himself as responsible for the fire, Nero attempted to make the Christians appear as the incendiaries. Many were put to death in horrible and fantastic ways. It was not, however, a persecution directed against Christianity as an unlawful religion. It was probably confined to Rome and at most the immediate vicinity, and there is no evidence that it was a general persecution.

Additional source material: Lactantius, De Mortibus Persecutorum, ch. 2 (ANF, VII); Sulpicius Severus, Chronicon, II. 28 (PNF, ser. II, vol. XI).

(a) Tacitus, Annales, XV, 44. Preuschen, Analecta, I, § 3:1. Mirbt, n. 3.

Tacitus (c. 52-c. 117), although not an eye-witness of the persecution, had exceptionally good opportunities for obtaining accurate information, and his account is entirely trustworthy. He is the principal source for the persecution.

Neither by works of benevolence nor the gifts of the prince nor means of appeasing the gods did the shameful suspicion cease, so that it was not believed that the fire had been caused by his command. Therefore, to overcome this rumor, Nero put in his own place as culprits, and punished with most ingenious cruelty, men whom the common people hated for their shameful crimes and called Christians. Christ, from whom the name was derived, had been put to death in the reign of Tiberius by the procurator Pontius Pilate. The deadly superstition, having been checked for a while, began to break out again, not only throughout Judea, where this [pg 007] mischief first arose, but also at Rome, where from all sides all things scandalous and shameful meet and become fashionable. Therefore, at the beginning, some were seized who made confessions; then, on their information, a vast multitude was convicted, not so much of arson as of hatred of the human race. And they were not only put to death, but subjected to insults, in that they were either dressed up in the skins of wild beasts and perished by the cruel mangling of dogs, or else put on crosses to be set on fire, and, as day declined, to be burned, being used as lights by night. Nero had thrown open his gardens for that spectacle, and gave a circus play, mingling with the people dressed in a charioteer's costume or driving in a chariot. From this arose, however, toward men who were, indeed, criminals and deserving extreme penalties, sympathy, on the ground that they were destroyed not for the public good, but to satisfy the cruelty of an individual.

(b) Clement of Rome, Ep. ad Corinthios, I, 5, 6. Funk, Patres Apostolici, 1901. (MSG, 1:218.) Preuschen, Analecta, I, § 3:5.

The work known as the First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians was written in the name of the Roman Church about 100. The occasion was the rise of contentions in the Corinthian Church. The name of Clement does not appear in the body of the epistle, but there is no good ground for questioning the traditional ascription to Clement, since before the end of the second century it was quoted under his name by several writers. This Clement was probably the third or fourth bishop of Rome. The epistle was written soon after the Domitian persecution (A. D. 95), and refers not only to that but also to an earlier persecution, which was very probably that under Nero. As the reference is only by way of illustration, the author gives little detail. The passage translated is of interest as containing the earliest reference to the death of the Apostles Peter and Paul, and the language used regarding Paul has been thought to imply that he labored in parts beyond Rome.

Ch. 5. But to leave the ancient examples, let us come to the champions who lived nearest our times; let us take the noble examples of our generation. On account of jealousy and envy the greatest and most righteous pillars of the Church [pg 008] were persecuted, and contended even unto death. Let us set before our eyes the good Apostles: Peter, who on account of unrighteous jealousy endured not one nor two, but many sufferings, and so, having borne his testimony, went to his deserved place of glory. On account of jealousy and strife Paul pointed out the prize of endurance. After he had been seven times in bonds, had been driven into exile, had been stoned, had been a preacher in the East and in the West, he received the noble reward of his faith; having taught righteousness unto the whole world, and having come to the farthest bounds of the West, and having borne witness before rulers, he thus departed from the world and went unto the holy place, having become a notable pattern of patient endurance.

Ch. 6. Unto these men who lived lives of holiness was gathered a vast multitude of the elect, who by many indignities and tortures, being the victims of jealousy, set the finest examples among us. On account of jealousy women, when they had been persecuted as Danaïds and Dircæ, and had suffered cruel and unholy insults, safely reached the goal in the race of faith and received a noble reward, feeble though they were in body.

§ 2. The Death of Peter and Paul

Eusebius, Hist. Ec., II, 25. (MSG, 20:207.) Cf. Mirbt, n. 33.
For an examination of the merits of Eusebius as a historian, see McGiffert's edition, PNF, ser. II, vol. I, pp. 45-52; also J. B. Lightfoot, art. Eusebius (23) of Caesarea, in DCB.
The works of Caius have been preserved only in fragments; see Krüger, § 90. If he was a contemporary of Zephyrinus, he probably lived during the pontificate of that bishop of Rome, 199-217 A. D. The Phrygian heresy which Caius combated was Montanism; see below, § 25.
Dionysius, Bishop of Corinth, was a contemporary of Soter, Bishop of Rome, 166-174 A. D., whom he mentions in an epistle to the Roman Church. Of his epistles only fragments have been preserved; see Krüger, § 55. The following extract from his epistle to the Roman Church is the earliest explicit statement that Peter and Paul suffered [pg 009] martyrdom at the same time or that Peter was ever in Italy. In connection with this extract, that from Clement of Rome (see § 1, a) should be consulted; also Lactantius, De Mortibus Persecutorum, ch. 2 (ANF).

It is therefore recorded that Paul was beheaded at Rome itself, and that Peter was crucified likewise at the same time. This account of Peter and Paul is confirmed by the fact that their names are preserved in the cemeteries of that place even to the present time. It is confirmed no less by a member of the Church, Caius by name, a contemporary of Zephyrinus, Bishop of Rome. In carrying on a discussion in writing with Proclus, the leader of the Phrygian heresy, he says as follows concerning the places where the sacred corpses of the aforesaid Apostles are laid: “But I am able to show the trophies of the Apostles. For if you will go to the Vatican or to the Ostian Way, you will find the trophies of those who laid the foundations of this church.” And that they two suffered martyrdom at the same time is stated by Dionysius, Bishop of Corinth, corresponding with the Romans in writing, in the following words: “You have thus by such admonition bound together the planting of Peter and Paul at Rome and at Corinth. For both planted in our Corinth and likewise taught us, and in like manner in Italy they both taught and suffered martyrdom at the same time.”

§ 3. The Death of the Apostle John

(a) Irenæus, Adversus Hæreses, II, 22, 5; III, 3, 4. (MSG, 7:785, 854.)

Irenæus was bishop of Lyons soon after 177. He was born in Asia Minor about 120, and was a disciple of Polycarp (ob. circa 155) and of other elders who had seen John, the disciple of the Lord.

II, 22, 5. Those in Asia associated with John, the disciple of the Lord, testify that John delivered it [a tradition regarding the length of Christ's ministry] to them. For he remained among them until the time of Trajan [98-117 A. D.].

III, 3, 4. But the church in Ephesus also, which was [pg 010] founded by Paul, and where John remained until the time of Trajan, is a faithful witness of the apostolic tradition.

(b) Jerome, Comm. ad Galat. (MSL, 26:462.)

The following extract from Jerome's commentary on Galatians is of such late date as to be of doubtful value as an authority. There is, however, nothing improbable in it, and it is in harmony with other traditions. It is to be taken as a tradition which at any rate represents the opinion of the fourth century regarding the Apostle John. Cf. Jerome, De Viris Inlustribus, ch. 9 (PNF, ser. II, vol. III, 364).

When the holy Evangelist John had lived to extreme old age in Ephesus, he could be carried only with difficulty by the hands of the disciples, and as he was not able to pronounce more words, he was accustomed to say at every assembly, “Little children, love one another.” At length the disciples and brethren who were present became tired of hearing always the same thing and said: “Master, why do you always say this?” Thereupon John gave an answer worthy of himself: “Because this is the commandment of the Lord, and if it is observed then is it enough.”

(c) Eusebius, Hist. Ec., III, 31. (MSG, 20:279.)

Polycrates was bishop of Ephesus and a contemporary of Victor of Rome (189-199 A. D.). His date cannot be fixed more precisely. The reference to the high priest's mitre is obscure; see J. B. Lightfoot, Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians, p. 345. A longer extract from this epistle of Polycrates will be found under the Easter Controversy (§ 38).

The time of John's death has been given in a general way,1 but his burial-place is indicated by an epistle of Polycrates (who was bishop of the parish of Ephesus) addressed to Victor of Rome, mentioning him, together with the Apostle Philip and his daughters, in the following words: “For in Asia also great lights have fallen asleep, which shall rise again at the last day, at the coming of the Lord, when he shall come with [pg 011] glory from heaven and seek out all the saints. Among these are Philip, one of the twelve Apostles, who sleeps at Hierapolis, and his two aged virgin daughters, and another daughter who lived in the Holy Spirit and now rests at Ephesus; and moreover John, who was both a witness and a teacher, who reclined upon the bosom of the Lord, and being a priest wore the high priest's mitre, also sleeps at Ephesus.”

§ 4. The Persecution under Domitian

What is commonly called the persecution under Domitian (81-96) does not seem to have been a persecution of Christianity as such. The charges of atheism and superstition may have been due to heathen misunderstanding of the Christian faith and worship. There is no sufficient ground for identifying Flavius Clemens with the Clemens who was bishop of Rome. For bibliography of the persecution under Domitian, see Preuschen, Analecta, second ed., I, 11.

(a) Cassius Dio (excerpt. per Xiphilinum), Hist. Rom., LXVII, 14 f. Preuschen, Analecta, I, § 4:11.

For Cassius Dio, see Encyc. Brit., art. Dio Cassius.

At that time (95) the road which leads from Sinuessa to Puteoli was paved. And in the same year Domitian caused Flavius Clemens along with many others to be put to death, although he was his cousin and had for his wife Flavia Domitilla, who was also related to him. The charge of atheism was made against both of them, in consequence of which many others also who had adopted the customs of the Jews were condemned. Some were put to death, others lost their property. Domitilla, however, was only banished to Pandataria.

(b) Eusebius, Hist. Ec., III, 18. (MSG, 20:252.)

To such a degree did the teaching of our faith flourish at that time2 that even those writers who were far from our [pg 012] religion did not hesitate to mention in their histories the persecutions and martyrdoms which took place during that time. And they, indeed, accurately indicate the time. For they record that, in the fifteenth year of Domitian, Flavia Domitilla, daughter of a sister of Flavius Clemens, who was at that time one of the consuls of Rome, was exiled with many others to the island of Pontia3 in consequence of testimony borne to Christ.

[pg 013]

Period II. The Post-Apostolic Age: A. D. 100-A. D. 140

The post-apostolic age, extending from circa 100 to circa 140, is the age of the beginnings of Gentile Christianity on an extended scale. It is marked by the rapid spread of Christianity, so that immediately after its close the Church is found throughout the Roman world, and the Roman Government is forced to take notice of it and deal with it as a religion (§§ 6, 7); the decline of the Jewish element in the Church and extreme hostility of Judaism to the Church (§ 5); the continuance of chiliastic expectations (§ 10); the beginnings of the passion for martyrdom (§ 8); as well as the appearance of the forms of organization and worship which subsequently became greatly elaborated and remained permanently in the Church (§§ 12-15); as also the appearance of religious and moral ideas which became dominant in the ancient Church (§§ 11, 12, 16). The literature of the period upon which the study of the conditions and thought of the Church of this age must be based is represented principally by the so-called Apostolic Fathers, a name which is convenient, but misleading and to be regretted. These are Clement of Rome, Barnabas, Ignatius, Polycarp, Papias, Hermas; with the writings of these are commonly included two anonymous books known as the Didache, or Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, and the Epistle to Diognetus. From all of these selections are given.4

[pg 014]

§ 5. Christianity and Judaism

The Christian Church grew up not on Jewish but on Gentile soil. In a very short time the Gentiles formed the overwhelming majority within the Church. As they did not become Jews and did not observe the Jewish ceremonial law, a problem arose as to the place of the Jewish law, which was accepted without question as of divine authority. One solution is given by the author of the so-called Epistle of Barnabas, which should be compared with the solution given by St. Paul in his epistles to the Galatians and to the Romans. The number of conversions from Judaism rapidly declined, and very early an extreme hostility toward Christianity became common among the Jews.

(a) Barnabas, Epistula, 4, 9.

The epistle attributed to Barnabas is certainly not by the Apostle of that name. Its date is much disputed, but may be safely placed within the first century. The author attempts to show the contrast [pg 015] between Judaism and Christianity by proving that the Jews wholly misunderstood the Mosaic law and had long since lost any claims supposed to be derived from the Mosaic covenant. The epistle is everywhere marked by hostility to Judaism, of which the writer has but imperfect knowledge. The book was regarded as Holy Scripture by Clement of Alexandria and by Origen, though with some hesitation. The position taken by the author was undoubtedly extreme, and not followed generally by the Church. It was, however, merely pushing to excess a conviction already prevalent in the Church, that Christianity and Judaism were distinct religions. For a saner and more commonly accepted position, see Justin Martyr, Apol., I, 47-53 (ANF, I, 178 ff.). A translation of the entire epistle may be found in ANF, I, 137-149.

Ch. 4. It is necessary, therefore, for us who inquire much concerning present events to seek out those things which are able to save us. Let us wholly flee, then, from all the works of iniquity, lest the works of iniquity take hold of us; and let us hate the error of the present times, that we may set our love on the future. Let us not give indulgence to our soul, that it should have power to run with sinners and the wicked, that we become not like them. The final occasion of stumbling approaches, concerning which it is written as Enoch speaks: For this end the Lord has cut short the times and the days, that His beloved may hasten and will come to his inheritance.… 5 Ye ought therefore to understand. And this also I beg of you, as being one of you and with special love loving you all more than my own soul, to take heed to yourselves, and not be like some, adding largely to your sins, and saying: “The covenant is both theirs and ours.” For it is ours; but they thus finally lost it, after Moses had already received it.6

Ch. 9. … But also circumcision, in which they trusted, has been abrogated. He declared that circumcision was not of the flesh; but they transgressed because an evil angel deluded them.7… Learn, then, my beloved children, concerning all [pg 016] things richly, that Abraham, the first who enjoined circumcision, looking forward in spirit to Jesus, circumcised, the teaching of the three letters having been received. For the Scripture saith: “Abraham circumcised eighteen and three hundred men of his household.” What, then, was the knowledge [gnosis] given to him in this? Learn that he says the eighteen first and then, making a space, the three hundred. The eighteen are the Iota, ten, and the Eta, eight; and you have here the name of Jesus. And because the cross was to express the grace in the letter Tau, he says also, three hundred. He discloses therefore Jesus in the two letters, and the cross in one. He knows this who has put within us the engrafted gift of his teaching. No one has learned from me a more excellent piece of knowledge, but I know that ye are worthy.8

(b) Justin Martyr, Dialogus cum Tryphone, 17. J. C. T. Otto, Corpus Apologetarum Christianorum Sæculi Secundi, third ed.; 1876-81. (MSG, 6:511.)

Justin Martyr was born about 100 in Samaria. He was one of the first of the Gentiles who had been trained in philosophy to become a Christian. His influence upon the doctrinal development of the Church was profound. He died as a martyr between 163 and 168. His principal works are the two Apologies written in close connection under Antoninus Pius (138-161), probably about 150, and his dialogue with Trypho the Jew, which was written after the first Apology. All translations of Justin Martyr are based upon Otto's text, v. supra.

For the other nations have not been so guilty of wrong inflicted on us and on Christ as you have been, who are in fact the authors of the wicked prejudices against the Just One and against us who hold by Him.9 For after you [pg 017] had crucified Him, the only blameless and righteous Man, through whose stripes there is healing to those who through Him approach the Father, when you knew that He had risen from the dead and ascended into heaven, as the prophecies foretold would take place, not only did you not repent of those things wherein you had done wickedly, but you then selected and sent out from Jerusalem chosen men through all the world to say that the atheistical heresy of the Christians had appeared and to spread abroad those things which all they who know us not speak against us; so that you are the cause of unrighteousness not only in your own case, but, in fact, in the case of all other men generally.… Accordingly, you show great zeal in publishing throughout all the world bitter, dark, and unjust slanders against the only blameless and righteous Light sent from God to men.

(c) Martyrdom of Polycarp, 12, 13.

Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna, died at Smyrna February 2, 155, at the age of at least eighty-six, but he was probably nearer one hundred years old. He was the disciple of John, probably same as the Apostle John. His epistle was written circa 115, soon after the death of Ignatius of Antioch. At present it is generally regarded as genuine, though grave doubts have been entertained in the past. The martyrdom was written by some member of the church at Smyrna for that body to send to the church at Philomelium in Phrygia, and must have been composed soon after the death of the aged bishop. It is probably the finest of all the ancient martyrdoms and should be read in its entirety. Translation in the ANF, I, 37-45.

Ch. 12. The whole multitude both of the heathen and the Jews who dwelt at Smyrna cried out with uncontrollable fury and in loud voice: “This is the teacher of Asia, the father of the Christians and the overthrower of our gods, who teaches many neither to sacrifice nor to worship.” Saying these things, they cried out and demanded of Philip, the Asiarch, to let a lion loose upon Polycarp. But he said he could not do this, since the sports with beasts had ended. Then it pleased them to cry out with one consent that he should burn Polycarp alive.…

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Ch. 13. These things were carried into effect more rapidly than they were spoken, and the multitude immediately gathered together wood and fagots out of the shops and baths, and the Jews especially, as was their custom, assisted them eagerly in it.

§ 6. The Extension of Christianity

It is impossible to determine with accuracy even the principal places to which Christianity had spread in the first half of the second century. Ancient writers were not infrequently led astray by their own rhetoric in dealing with this topic.

Justin Martyr, Dialogus cum Tryphone, 117. (MSG, 6:676.)

The following passage is of significance as bearing not only upon the extent to which Christianity had spread, after making due allowance for rhetoric, but also upon the conception of the eucharist and its relation to the ancient sacrifices held, by some Christians at least, in the first half of the second century. Cf. ch. 41 of the same work, v. infra, §§ 12 f.

Therefore, as to all sacrifices offered in His name, which Jesus Christ commanded to be offered, i.e., in the eucharist of the bread and cup, and which are offered by Christians in all places throughout the world, God, anticipating them, testified that they are well-pleasing to Him; but He rejects those presented by you and by those priests of yours, saying: And your sacrifices I will not accept at your hands; for from the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same my name is great among the Gentiles (He says), but ye have profaned it.10 But since you deceive yourselves, both you and your teachers, when you interpret what was said as if the Word spoke of those of your nation who were in the dispersion, and that it said that their prayers and sacrifices offered in every place are pure and well-pleasing, you should know that you are speaking falsely and are trying to cheat [pg 019] yourselves in every way; for, in the first place, not even yet does your nation extend from the rising to the setting sun, for there are nations among which none of your race ever dwelt. For there is not a single race of men, whether among barbarians or Greeks, or by whatever name they may be called, of those who live in wagons or are called nomads or of herdsmen living in tents, among whom prayers and thanksgivings are not offered through the name of the crucified Jesus to the Father and Maker of all things. For, furthermore, at that time, when the prophet Malachi said this, your dispersion over the whole earth, as you are now, had not taken place, as is evident from the Scriptures.

§ 7. Relation of the Roman State to Christianity

The procedure of the Roman Government against the Christians first took a definite form with the rescript of Trajan addressed to Pliny circa A. D. 111-113, but there is no formal imperial edict extant before Decius on the question of the Christian religion. In an addition to the rescript of Trajan addressed to Pliny there is a letter of Hadrian on the Christians (Ep. ad Servianum) which is of interest as giving the opinion of that Emperor, but the rescript addressed to Minucius Fundanus is probably spurious, as is also the Epistle of Antoninus Pius to the Common Assembly of Asia.

Additional source material: The text of the rescripts may be found in Preuschen, Analecta, I, §§ 6, 7; translations, ANF, I, 186 f., and Eusebius, Hist. Ec. (ed. McGiffert), IV, 9, and IV, 13.

Plinius Junior, Epistulæ, X, 96, 97. Preuschen, Analecta, I, 12 ff. Cf. Mirbt, nn. 14. 15.

Caius Cæcilius Secundus is commonly known as Pliny the Younger, to distinguish him from his uncle, Pliny the Naturalist, whose wealth he inherited and whose name he seems to have borne. He was proprætor of Bithynia under Trajan (98-117), with whom he stood on terms of friendship and even intimacy. His letter to the Emperor requesting advice as to the right mode of dealing with Christians was written between 111 and 113.
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This correspondence is of the first importance, as it is unimpeachable evidence as to the spread of Christianity in the province in which Pliny was placed, to the customs of the Christians in their worship, and to the method of dealing with the new religion, which was followed for a long time with little change. It established the policy that Christianity, as such, was not to be punished as a crime, that the State did not feel called upon to seek out Christians, that it would not act upon anonymous accusations, but that when proper accusations were brought, the general laws, which Christians had violated on account of their faith, should be executed. Christianity was not to be treated as a crime. The mere renunciation of Christianity, coupled with the proof of renunciation involved in offering sacrifice, enabled the accused to escape punishment.

Ep. 96. It is my custom, my lord, to refer to you all questions about which I have doubts. Who, indeed, can better direct me in hesitation, or enlighten me in ignorance? In the examination of Christians I have never taken part; therefore I do not know what crime is usually punished or investigated or to what extent. So I have no little uncertainty whether there is any distinction of age, or whether the weaker offenders fare in no respect otherwise than the stronger; whether pardon is granted on repentance, or whether when one has been a Christian there is no gain to him in that he has ceased to be such; whether the mere name, if it is without crimes, or crimes connected with the name are punished. Meanwhile I have taken this course with those who were accused before me as Christians: I have asked them whether they were Christians. Those who confessed I asked a second and a third time, threatening punishment. Those who persisted I ordered led away to execution. For I did not doubt that, whatever it was they admitted, obstinacy and unbending perversity certainly deserve to be punished. There were others of the like insanity, but because they were Roman citizens I noted them down to be sent to Rome. Soon after this, as it often happens, because the matter was taken notice of, the crime became wide-spread and many cases arose. An unsigned paper was presented containing the names of many. But these denied that they were or had been Christians, and I thought it right to let them [pg 021] go, since at my dictation they prayed to the gods and made supplication with incense and wine to your statue, which I had ordered to be brought into the court for the purpose, together with the images of the gods, and in addition to this they cursed Christ, none of which things, it is said, those who are really Christians can be made to do. Others who were named by an informer said that they were Christians, and soon afterward denied it, saying, indeed, that they had been, but had ceased to be Christians, some three years ago, some many years, and one even twenty years ago. All these also not only worshipped your statue and the images of the gods, but also cursed Christ. They asserted, however, that the amount of their fault or error was this: that they had been accustomed to assemble on a fixed day before daylight and sing by turns [i.e., antiphonally] a hymn to Christ as a god; and that they bound themselves with an oath, not for any crime, but to commit neither theft, nor robbery, nor adultery, not to break their word and not to deny a deposit when demanded; after these things were done, it was their custom to depart and meet together again to take food, but ordinary and harmless food; and they said that even this had ceased after my edict was issued, by which, according to your commands, I had forbidden the existence of clubs. On this account I believed it the more necessary to find out from two maid-servants, who were called deaconesses [ministræ], and that by torture, what was the truth. I found nothing else than a perverse and excessive superstition. I therefore adjourned the examination and hastened to consult you. The matter seemed to me to be worth deliberation, especially on account of the number of those in danger. For many of every age, every rank, and even of both sexes, are brought into danger; and will be in the future. The contagion of that superstition has penetrated not only the cities but also the villages and country places; and yet it seems possible to stop it and set it right. At any rate, it is certain enough that the temples, deserted until quite recently, begin to be frequented, that the ceremonies of religion, [pg 022] long disused, are restored, and that fodder for the victims comes to market, whereas buyers of it were until now very few. From this it may easily be supposed what a multitude of men can be reclaimed if there be a place of repentance.

Ep. 97 (Trajan to Pliny). You have followed, my dear Secundus, the proper course of procedure in examining the cases of those who were accused to you as Christians. For, indeed, nothing can be laid down as a general law which contains anything like a definite rule of action. They are not to be sought out. If they are accused and convicted, they are to be punished, yet on this condition, that he who denies that he is a Christian and makes the fact evident by an act, that is, by worshipping our gods, shall obtain pardon on his repentance, however much suspected as to the past. Papers, however, which are presented anonymously ought not to be admitted in any accusation. For they are a very bad example and unworthy of our times.

§ 8. Martyrdom and the Desire for Martyrdom

Ignatius of Antioch, Ep. ad Romanos, 4.

Ignatius was bishop of Antioch in the opening years of the second century. According to tradition, he suffered martyrdom in Rome under Trajan, circa 117. Having been sent from Antioch to Rome by command of the Emperor, on his way he addressed letters to various churches in Asia, exhorting them to seek unity and avoid heresy by close union with the local bishop. His aim seems to have been practical, to promote the welfare of the Christian communities rather than the exaltation of the episcopal office itself. Doubts have arisen as to the authenticity of these epistles on account of the frequent references to the episcopate and to heresy. Further difficulty has been caused by the fact that the epistles of Ignatius appear in three forms or recensions, a longer Greek recension forming a group of thirteen epistles, a short Greek of seven epistles, and a still shorter Syriac version of only three. After much fluctuation of opinion, due to the general reconstruction of the history of the whole period, which has gone through various marked changes, the opinion of scholars has been steadily settling upon the short Greek recension of seven epistles as authentic, especially since the critical re-examination of the whole question by Zahn and Lightfoot.
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I write to all the churches and impress on all, that I shall willingly die for God unless ye hinder me. I beseech you not to show unseasonable good-will toward me.11 Permit me to be the food of wild beasts, through whom it will be granted me to attain unto God. I am the wheat of God and I am ground by the teeth of wild beasts, that I may be found the pure bread of Christ. Rather entice the wild beasts, that they may become my tomb and leave nothing of my body, so that when I have fallen asleep I may be burdensome to no one. Then I shall be truly a disciple of Jesus Christ, when the world sees not my body. Entreat Christ for me, that by these instruments I may be found a sacrifice to God. Not as Peter and Paul12 do I issue commandments unto you. They were Apostles, I a condemned man; they were free, I even until now a slave.13 But if I suffer, I shall be the freedman of Jesus Christ, and shall rise again free in Him. And now, being in bonds, I learn not to desire anything.

§ 9. The Position of the Roman Community of Christians in the Church

The Roman Church took very early a leading place in the Christian Church, even before the rise of the Petrine tradition, and its importance was generally recognized. Its charity was very widely known and extolled. It was a part of its care for Christians everywhere, a care which found expression later in the obligation of maintaining the faith in the great theological controversies. On the position of the Roman Church in this period, see the address of the Epistle of Ignatius to the Romans (ANF, I, 73), as also the relation of Polycarp [pg 024] to the Roman Church in connection with the question of the date of Easter (see § 38, below).

Dionysius of Corinth, “Epistle to the Roman Church,” in Eusebius, Hist. Ec., IV, 23. (MSG, 20:388.) For text, see Kirch, n. 49 f.

Moreover, there is still current an Epistle of Dionysius to the Romans, addressed to Soter, bishop at that time. But there is nothing like quoting its words in which, in approval of the custom of the Romans maintained until the persecution in our own time, he writes as follows: “For you have from the beginning this custom of doing good in different ways to all the brethren, and of sending supplies to many churches in all the cities, in this way refreshing the poverty of those in need, and helping brethren in the mines with the supplies which you have sent from the beginning, maintaining as Romans the customs of the Romans handed down from the fathers, which your blessed bishop Soter has not only kept up, but also increased, helping the saints with the abundant supply he sends from time to time, and with blessed words exhorting, as a loving father his children, the brethren who come up to the city.” In this same epistle he also mentions the Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians, showing that from the first it was read by ancient custom before the Church. He says, therefore: “To-day, then, being the Lord's day we kept holy; in which we read your letter; for reading it we shall always have admonition, as also from the former one written to us through Clement.” Moreover, the same writer speaks of his own epistles as having been falsified, as follows: “For when the brethren asked me to write letters, I wrote them. And these the apostles of the devil have filled with tares, taking away some things and adding others. For them there is woe in store. So it is not marvellous that some have tried to falsify even the dominical scriptures [i.e., the Holy Scriptures], when they have conspired against writings of another sort.”

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§ 10. Chiliastic Expectations

Primitive Christianity was marked by great chiliastic enthusiasm, traces of which may be found in the New Testament. By chiliasm, strictly speaking, is meant the belief that Christ was to return to earth and reign visibly for one thousand years. That return was commonly placed in the immediate future. With that reign was connected the bodily resurrection of the saints. This belief, in somewhat varying form, was one of the great ethical motives in apostolic and post-apostolic times. It was a part of the fundamental principles of Montanism. It disappeared with the rise of a “scientific theology” such as that of Alexandria, the exclusion of Montanism, and the changed conception of the relation of the Church and the world, due to the lapse of time and the establishment of Christianity as the religion of the State. From the fourth century it ceased to be a living doctrine.

(a) Papias, in Eusebius, Hist. Ec., III, 39. (MSG, 20: 300.)

Papias, from whom two selections have been taken, was bishop of Hierapolis in Phrygia during the first part of the second century. He was, therefore, an elder contemporary of Justin Martyr. His work, The Exposition of the Oracles of the Lord, has perished, with the exception of a few fragments. The comments of Eusebius in introducing the quotations of Papias are characteristic of the change that had come over the Church since the post-apostolic period. That Papias was not to be regarded as a man of small power simply because he held chiliastic ideas is sufficiently refuted by the fact that Justin Martyr falls but little behind Papias in extravagance of expression.

“I shall not hesitate, also, to set in order for you with my interpretations whatsoever things I have ever learned carefully from the elders and carefully remembered, guaranteeing the truth of them.… For I did not think that what was to be gotten from the books would profit me as much as what came from the living and abiding voice.…” The same writer gives also other accounts which he says came to him [pg 026] through unwritten traditions, certain strange parables and teachings of the Saviour and some other more mythical things. Among these he says that there will be a period of some thousand years after the resurrection of the dead, when the kingdom of Christ will be set up in a material form on this very earth. I suppose he got these ideas through a misunderstanding of the apostolic accounts, not perceiving that the things said by them were spoken mystically in figures. For he appears to have been of very limited understanding, as one can see from his discourses, though so many of the Church Fathers after him adopted a like opinion, urging in their support the antiquity of the man; as, for instance, Irenæus and any one else that may have proclaimed similar views.

(b) Irenæus. Adv. Hæreses, V, 33. (MSG, 7:1213.)

The elders who saw John, the disciple of the Lord, relate that they heard from him how the Lord used to teach in regard to those times, and say: “The days will come in which vines shall grow, each having ten thousand branches, and in each branch ten thousand twigs, and in each twig ten thousand shoots, and in each one of the shoots ten thousand clusters, and on every cluster ten thousand grapes, and every grape when pressed will yield five-and-twenty metretes of wine. And when any one of the saints shall lay hold of a cluster, another shall cry out, ‘I am better cluster, take me; bless the Lord through me.’ In like manner [the Lord declared] that a grain of wheat would produce ten thousand ears, and that every ear would produce ten thousand grains, and every grain would yield ten pounds of clear, pure, fine flour; and that all other fruit-bearing trees, and seeds and grass would produce similar proportions, and that all animals feeding [only] on the productions of the earth would [in those days] become peaceful and harmonious with each other and be in perfect subjection to men.” And these things are borne witness to in writing by Papias, the hearer of John, and a companion of Polycarp, in his fourth book; for there were five books compiled [pg 027] by him. And he says in addition: “Now these things are credible to believers.”

(c) Justin Martyr, Dialogus cum Tryphone, 80 f. (MSG, 6:665.)

Ch. 80. Although you have fallen in with some who are called Christians, but who do not admit this truth [the resurrection] and venture to blaspheme the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob,14 and who say that there is no resurrection of the dead and that their souls, when they die, are taken to heaven, be careful not to regard them as Christians.… But I and whoever are on all points right-minded Christians know that there will be a resurrection of the dead and a thousand years in Jerusalem, which will then be built, adorned, and enlarged as the prophets Ezekiel and Isaiah and the others declare.

Ch. 81. And, further, a certain man with us, named John, one of the Apostles of Christ, predicted by a revelation that was made to him that those who believed in our Christ would spend a thousand years in Jerusalem, and thereafter the general, or to speak briefly, the eternal resurrection and judgment of all men would likewise take place.

§ 11. The Church and the World

So long as chiliastic expectations were the basis of the Christian's hope and his judgment of the order of this present world, the Christian felt that he was but a stranger and sojourner in the world, and that his real home was the kingdom of Christ, soon to be established here on earth. With such a view the Christian would naturally define his relation to the world as being in it, yet not of it. As time passed, the opinion became more common that the kingdom of Christ was not a future world-order to be set up on His return, but the Church here on earth. This thought, which is the key to [pg 028] the City of God by St. Augustine, was not to be found in the first century and a half of the Church.

Ep. ad Diognetum, 5, 6.

The Epistle to Diognetus is one of the choicest pieces of ante-Nicene literature. Although it is commonly included among the Apostolic Fathers, the date is uncertain, it is anonymous, and the reason for its inclusion is not clear. The weight of opinion is in favor of an early date. It was preserved in but one manuscript, which was unfortunately destroyed in 1870. The main themes of the epistle are the faith and manners of the Christians, and an attempt to explain the late appearance of Christianity in the world. The work, therefore, is of the nature of an apology, and should be compared with The Apology of Aristides. A translation of the epistle may be found in ANF, I, 23.

Ch. 5. The Christians are distinguished from other men neither by country, nor language, nor the customs which they observe. For they neither inhabit cities of their own, nor employ a peculiar form of speech, nor lead a life which is marked out by any singularity. The course of conduct which they follow has not been devised by any speculation or deliberation of inquisitive men; nor do they, like some, proclaim themselves the advocates of any merely human doctrines. But, inhabiting Greek as well as barbarian cities, according as the lot of each of them has been determined, and following the customs of the natives in respect to clothing, food, and the rest of their ordinary conduct, they display to us their wonderful and confessedly striking method of life. They dwell in their own countries, but simply as sojourners. As citizens, they share in all things with others, and yet endure all things as if foreigners. Every foreign country is to them as their native land, and every land of their birth as a land of strangers. They marry as do all; they beget children; but they do not commit abortion. They have a common table, but not a common bed. They are in the flesh, but they do not live after the flesh. They pass their days on earth, but they are the citizens of heaven. They obey the prescribed laws, and at the same time surpass the laws by their lives. They love all men, and are persecuted by all. They are unknown [pg 029] and condemned; they are put to death and restored to life. They are poor, yet they make many rich; they are in lack of all things, and yet abound in all. They are dishonored, and yet in their very dishonor are glorified. They are evil-spoken of, and yet are justified. They are reviled and bless; they are insulted and repay insult with honor; they do good, yet are punished as evil-doers. When punished they rejoice as if quickened into life; they are assailed by the Jews as foreigners and are persecuted by the Greeks; yet those who hate them are unable to assign a reason for their hatred.

Ch. 6. What the soul is in the body, that the Christians are in the world. The soul is spread through all the members of the body, and Christians through the cities of the world. The soul dwells in the body, but is not of the body; so Christians dwell in the world, but they are not of the world. The invisible soul is guarded in the visible body; so Christians are known as existing in the world, but their religion remains invisible. The flesh hates the soul and wages war on it, though it has received no wrong, because it is forbidden to indulge in pleasures; so the world hates Christians, though it receives no wrong from them, because they are opposed to its pleasures. The soul loves the flesh which hates it, and it loves the members; so Christians love those who hate them. The soul is enclosed in the body, yet itself holds the body together; so the Christians are kept in the world as in a prison-house, yet they themselves hold the world together. The immortal soul dwells in a mortal tabernacle; so Christians sojourn amid corruptible things, looking for the incorruptibility in the heavens. The soul when hardly treated in the matter of meats and drinks is improved; so Christians when punished increase more and more daily. In so great an office has God appointed them, which it is not lawful for them to decline.

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§ 12. Theological Ideas

In the post-apostolic period are to be traced the beginnings of distinctive forms of religious and ethical ideas as distinguished from mere repetition of New Testament phrases. The most influential writer was Ignatius of Antioch, the founder, or earliest representative, of what may be called the Asia Minor theology, which is to be traced through Irenæus, Methodius, and Athanasius to the other great theologians of the Nicene period, becoming the distinctive Eastern type of piety. It probably persisted in Asia Minor after Ignatius. Among its characteristic features was the thought of redemption as the imparting to man of incorruptibility through the incarnation and the sacraments.

(a) Ignatius, Ep. ad Ephesios, 18 ff.

The Epistle to the Ephesians is doctrinally the most important of the writings of Ignatius. In the passage that follows there is a remarkable anticipation of a part of the Apostles' Creed (cf. Hahn. § 1). The whole passage contains in brief the fundamental point of the writer's teachings.

Ch. 18. My spirit is an offering15 of the cross, which is a stumbling-block to unbelievers, but to us salvation and life eternal. “Where is the wise man? where the disputer?” [I Cor. 1:20.] Where is the boasting of those called prudent? For our God, Jesus Christ, was, according to the dispensation of God, conceived in the womb of Mary of the seed of David, but of the Holy Ghost. He was born and baptized, that by His passion He might purify the water.

Ch. 19. And the virginity of Mary was hidden from the Prince of this World, and her bringing forth, and likewise the death of the Lord; three mysteries of shouting, which were wrought in silence of God. How, then, was He manifested to the world? A star shone forth from heaven above all other stars, and its light was inexpressible, while its novelty struck [pg 031] men with astonishment, but all the rest of the stars, with the sun and moon, formed a chorus to this star, and its light was exceedingly great above them all. And there was agitation whence this novelty, so unlike to everything else. Hence every kind of magic was destroyed and every bond of wickedness disappeared; ignorance was removed and the old kingdom abolished, for God had been manifested in human form for the renewal of eternal life. And now that took a beginning which had been prepared by God. Henceforth all things were in a state of tumult because He meditated the abolition of death.

Ch. 20. … Especially [will I write again] if the Lord make known to me that ye all, man by man, through grace given to each, agree in one faith and in Jesus Christ, who was of the family of David according to the flesh, the Son of Man and the Son of God, so that ye obey the bishop and the presbytery with an undivided mind, breaking one bread, which is the medicine of immortality, and the antidote to prevent dying, but which is life forever in Jesus Christ.

(b) Ignatius, Ep. ad Smyrnæos, 7.

The following passage may be regarded as a parallel to part of the preceding extract from the same writer's Epistle to the Ephesians.

They abstain from the eucharist and from prayer, because they confess not that the eucharist is the flesh of our Saviour Jesus Christ, which suffered for our sins, and which the Father, of His goodness, raised up again. Those, therefore, who speak against this gift of God, die while disputing. But it were better for them to love it, that they also may rise again. It is fitting, therefore, that ye should keep aloof from such persons, and not speak of them either in private or public, but to give heed to the prophets and, above all, to the Gospel, in which the passion has been revealed to us and the resurrection fully proved. But avoid all divisions as the beginning of evils.

(c) Ignatius, Ep. ad Trallianos, 9, 10.

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The heresy which the writer fears is that known as Docetism, which denied the reality of the body of Jesus. Reference is made to it in the New Testament, I John 4:2. It was based upon the same philosophical idea as much of the later Gnostic speculation, that matter is essentially evil, and therefore a pure spirit could not be united to a real body composed of matter. See J. B. Lightfoot, Apostolic Fathers, pt. II, vol. II, p. 173 ff.

Ch. 9. Be ye therefore deaf when any one speaks to you apart from Jesus Christ, who was of the race of David, who was born of Mary, who was truly born and ate and drank, who was truly persecuted under Pontius Pilate, who was truly crucified and died while those in heaven and those on earth and those under the earth looked on; who, also, was truly raised from the dead, His Father having raised Him, who in like fashion will raise us who believe in Him; His Father, I say, will raise us in Christ Jesus, apart from whom we have not true life.

Ch. 10. But if it were as certain persons who are godless, that is, unbelievers, say, that He only appeared to suffer, they themselves being only in appearance, why am I bound? And why, also, do I desire to fight with wild beasts? I therefore die in vain. Truly, then, I lie against the Lord.

§ 13. Worship in the Post-Apostolic Period

The worship of the Christian Church in the earliest period centred in the eucharist. There are references to this in the New Testament (cf. Acts 2:42; 20:7; I Cor. 10:16). How far the agape was connected with the eucharist is uncertain.

Additional source material: See Pliny's letter to Trajan (v. supra, § 7); the selections from Ignatius already given (v. supra, § 12) and the Didache (v. infra, § 14, a).

Justin Martyr, Apologia, I, 61:65-67. (MSG, 6:428 ff.) Cf. Mirbt, n. 18.

The First Apology of Justin Martyr was written probably about 150. As Justin's work is dated, and is of indisputable authenticity, his account of the early worship of the Christians is of the very first importance. [pg 033] It should be noted, however, that, inasmuch as he is writing for non-Christians, he uses no technical terms in his description, and therefore nothing can be determined as to the exact significance of the titles he applies to the presiding officer at the eucharist. The following passage is of importance, also, as a witness to the custom of reading, in the course of Christian public worship, books that appear to be the Gospels. Irenæus, thirty years later, limits the number of the Gospels to four, v. infra, § 28. On the eucharist, v. infra, § 33.

Ch. 61. But I will explain the manner in which we who have been made new through Christ have also dedicated ourselves to God, lest by passing it over I should seem in any way to be unfair in my explanation. As many as are persuaded and believe that the things are true which are taught and said by us, and promise that they are able to live accordingly, they are taught to pray and with fasting to ask God forgiveness of their former sins, while we pray and fast with them. Thereupon they are brought by us to where there is water, and are born again in the same manner of a new birth as we, also, ourselves were born again. For in the name of God the Father and Lord of all, and of our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit, they then receive the washing in the water. For Christ said: “Except ye be born again, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” But that it is impossible for those once born to enter into the wombs of their mothers is manifest to all.… And this washing is called enlightenment, because those who learn these things have their understandings enlightened. But, also, in the name of Jesus Christ who was crucified under Pontius Pilate, and in the name of the Holy Spirit who by the prophets foretold all things pertaining to Jesus, he who is illuminated is washed.

Ch. 65. But after we have thus washed him who is persuaded and has assented, we bring him to those who are called the brethren, to where they are gathered together, making earnest prayer in common for ourselves and for him who is enlightened, and for all others everywhere, that we may be accounted worthy, after we have learned the truth, by our works also to be found right livers and keepers of the [pg 034] commandments, that we may be saved with the eternal salvation. We salute each other with a kiss when we conclude our prayers. Thereupon to the president of the brethren bread and a cup of water and wine are brought, and he takes it and offers up praise and glory to the Father of the universe through the name of the Son and the Holy Spirit, and gives thanks at length that we have been accounted worthy of these things from Him; and when he has ended the prayers and thanksgiving the whole people present assent, saying “Amen.” Now the word Amen in the Hebrew language signifies, So be it. Then after the president has given thanks and all the people have assented, those who are called by us deacons give to each one of those present to partake of the bread and of the wine and water for which thanks have been given, and for those not present they take away a portion.

Ch. 66. And this food is called by us eucharist, and it is not lawful for any man to partake of it but him who believes the things taught by us to be true, and has been washed with the washing which is for the remission of sins and unto a new birth, and is so living as Christ commanded. For not as common bread and common drink do we receive these; but just as Jesus Christ our Saviour, being made flesh through the word of God, had for our salvation both flesh and blood, so, also, we are taught that the food for which thanks are given by the word of prayer which is from Him, and from which by conversion our flesh and blood are nourished, is the flesh and blood of that Jesus who was made flesh. For the Apostles in the memoirs composed by them, which are called Gospels, thus delivered what was commanded them: that Jesus took bread and gave thanks and said, This do in remembrance of Me, this is My body; and that He likewise took the cup, and when He had given thanks, said, This is My blood, and gave only to them. And this the evil demons imitating, commanded it to be done also in the mysteries of Mithras; for that bread and a cup of water are set forth with certain explanations [pg 035] in the ceremonial of initiation, you either know or can learn.

Ch. 67. But we afterward always remind one another of these things, and those among us who are wealthy help all who are in want, and we always remain together. And for all things we eat we bless the Maker of all things through His Son Jesus Christ and through the Holy Spirit. And on the day called the Day of the Sun there is a gathering in one place of us all who live in cities or in the country, and the memoirs of the Apostles or the writings of the prophets are read as long as time allows. Then, when the reader has ceased, the president gives by word of mouth his admonition and exhortation to imitate these excellent things. Afterward we all rise at once and offer prayers; and as I said, when we have ceased to pray, bread is brought and wine and water, and the president likewise offers up prayers and thanksgivings as he has the ability, and the people assent, saying “Amen.” The distribution to each and the partaking of that for which thanks were given then take place; and to those not present a portion is sent by the hands of the deacons. Those who are well-to-do and willing give, every one giving what he will, according to his own judgment, and the collection is deposited with the president, and he assists orphans and widows, and those who through sickness or any other cause are in want, and those who are in bonds, and the strangers that are sojourning, and, in short, he has the care of all that are in need. Now we all hold our common meeting on the Day of the Sun, because it is the first day on which God, having changed the darkness and matter, created the world; and Jesus Christ our Saviour on the same day rose from the dead. For on the day before Saturn's they crucified Him; and on the day after Saturn's, which is the Day of the Sun, having appeared to his Apostles and disciples, He taught them these things which we have offered you for consideration.

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§ 14. Church Organization

No subject in Church history has been more hotly discussed than the organization of the primitive Christian Church. Each of several Christian confessions have attempted to justify a polity which it regarded as de fide by appeal to the organization of the Church of the primitive ages. Since it has been seen that the admission of the principle of development does not invalidate claims for divine warrant for a polity, the acrimonious debate has been somewhat stilled. There seems to have been in the Church several forms of organization, and to some extent the various contentions of conflicting creeds and polities have been therein justified. The ultimately universal form, episcopacy, may in some parts of the Church be traced to the end of the apostolic age, but it seems not to have been universally diffused at that time. Since Christian communities sprang up without official propaganda, at least in many instances, and were due to the work of independent Christian believers moving about in the Empire, this variety of organization was what might have been expected, especially as the significance of the organization was first felt chiefly in connection with the danger from heresy. That various external influences affected the development is also highly probable.

(a) Clement of Rome, Ep. ad Corinthios, I, 42, 44.

Ch. 42. The Apostles have preached the Gospel to us from the Lord Jesus Christ; Jesus Christ was sent forth from God. Christ, therefore, was from God, and the Apostles from Christ. Both these appointments, then, came about in an orderly way, by the will of God. Having, therefore, received their orders, and being fully assured by the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, and established in the word of God, with full assurance of the Holy Ghost, they went forth proclaiming that the kingdom of God was at hand. And thus preaching through countries and cities, they appointed their [pg 037] first-fruits, having proved them by the Spirit, to be bishops and deacons of those who should afterward believe. Nor was this a new thing; for, indeed, many ages before it was written concerning bishops and deacons. For thus saith the Scripture in a certain place: “I will appoint their bishops in righteousness, and their deacons in faith.”16

Ch. 44. Our Apostles also knew, through our Lord Jesus Christ, that there would be strife on account of the office of the episcopate.17 For this cause, therefore, inasmuch as they had obtained a perfect foreknowledge of this, they appointed those already mentioned, and afterward gave instructions that when these should fall asleep other approved men should succeed them in their ministry. We are of the opinion, therefore, that those appointed by them, or afterward by other eminent men, with the consent of the whole Church, and who have blamelessly served the flock of Christ in lowliness of mind, peaceably, and with all modesty, and for a long time have borne a good report with all—these men we consider to be unjustly thrust out of their ministrations.18 For it will be no light sin for us, if we thrust out those who have offered the gifts of the bishop's office blamelessly and holily. Blessed are those presbyters who have gone before seeing their departure was fruitful and ripe; for they have no fear lest any one should remove them from their appointed place. For we see that ye have displaced certain persons, though they were living honorably, from the ministration which had been honored by them blamelessly.

(b) Didache, 7-15.

The Didache is a very early manual of the instruction for Christian converts. It consists of two quite distinct parts, viz., a brief account of the moral law (chapters 1-6). which appears to be based upon a Jewish original to which the name of The Two Ways has been given, and a [pg 038] somewhat longer account of the various rites of the Church and the regulations governing its organization. Its date is in the first half of the second century and belongs more probably to the first quarter than to the second. It is a document of first-class importance, especially in the part bearing on the organization of the Church, which is here given. The extensive literature on the subject may be found in Krüger. op. cit., § 21.

Ch. 7. But concerning baptism, thus shall ye baptize. Having first recited all these things, baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit in living [i.e., running] water. But if thou hast not living water, then baptize in any other water; and if thou art not able in cold, in warm. But if thou hast neither, pour water upon the head thrice in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. But before baptism let him that baptizeth and him that is baptized fast, and any others also who are able; and thou shalt order him that is baptized to fast a day or two before.

Ch. 8. And let not your fastings be with the hypocrites. For they fast on the second and the fifth days of the week; but do ye keep your fast on the fourth and on the preparation [i.e., the sixth day]. Neither pray ye as the hypocrites, but as the Lord commanded in His Gospel, thus pray ye: Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, as in heaven, so also on earth; give us this day our daily19 bread; and forgive us our debt, as we also forgive our debtors; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the Evil One; for Thine is the power and the glory forever.20 Three times in the day pray ye so.

Ch. 9. But as regards the eucharist [thanksgiving], give ye thanks thus. First, as regards the cup: We give Thee thanks, O our Father, for the holy vine of David, Thy Son, which Thou madest known unto us through Jesus, Thy Son; Thine is the glory forever. Then as regards the breaking [pg 039] [i.e., of the bread]: We give thanks to Thee, O our Father, for the life and knowledge which thou madest known unto us through Jesus, Thy Son; Thine is the glory forever. As this broken bread was scattered upon the mountains and being gathered together became one, so may Thy Church be gathered together from the ends of the earth into Thy kingdom; for Thine is the glory and the power through Jesus Christ for ever and ever. But let no one eat or drink of this eucharist [thanksgiving] but they that have been baptized into the name of the Lord; for concerning this also the Lord hath said: Give not that which is holy unto the dogs.

Ch. 10. After ye are satisfied give thanks thus: We give Thee thanks, Holy Father, for Thy holy name, which Thou hast made to tabernacle in our hearts, and for the knowledge and faith and immortality, which Thou hast made known unto us through Thy Son Jesus; Thine is the glory forever. Thou, Almighty Master, created all things for Thy name's sake, and gave food and drink unto men for enjoyment, that they might render thanks to Thee; but bestowed upon us spiritual food and drink and eternal life through Thy Son. Before all things we give Thee thanks that Thou art powerful; Thine is the glory forever. Remember, Lord, Thy Church to deliver it from all evil and to perfect it in Thy love; and gather it together from the four winds—even the Church which has been sanctified—into Thy kingdom which Thou hast prepared for it; for Thine is the power and the glory forever. May grace come and may this world pass away. Hosanna to the God of David. If any one is holy let him come; if any one is not, let him repent. Maran Atha. Amen. But permit the prophets to offer thanksgiving as much as they will.

Ch. 11. Whosoever, therefore, shall come and teach you all these things that have been said receive him; but if the teacher himself be perverted and teach a different doctrine to the destruction thereof, hear him not; but if to the increase of righteousness and knowledge of the Lord, receive him as the Lord.

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But concerning the apostles and prophets, so do ye according to the ordinance of the Gospel: Let every apostle coming to you be received as the Lord; but he shall not abide more than a single day, or if there be need, a second likewise; but if he abide three days, he is a false prophet. And when he departs, let not the apostle receive anything save bread until he find shelter; but if he ask money, he is a false prophet. And any prophet speaking in the Spirit ye shall not try, neither discern; for every sin shall be forgiven, but this sin shall not be forgiven. Yet not every one that speaketh in the Spirit is a prophet, but only if he have the ways of the Lord. From his ways, therefore, the false prophet and the [true] prophet shall be recognized. And no prophet when he ordereth a table in the Spirit shall eat of it; otherwise he is a false prophet.21 And every prophet teaching the truth, if he doeth not what he teacheth, is a false prophet. And every prophet approved and found true, working unto a worldly mystery of the Church,22 and yet teacheth not to do what he himself doeth, shall not be judged before you; he hath his judgment in the presence of God; for in like manner also did the ancient prophets. And whosoever shall say in the Spirit, Give me silver or anything else, do not listen to him; but if he say to give on behalf of others who are in want, let no one judge him.

Ch. 12. But let every one coming in the name of the Lord be received; and when ye have tested him ye shall know him, for ye shall have understanding on the right hand and on the left. If the comer is a traveller, assist him as ye are able; but let him not stay with you but for two or three days, if it be necessary. But if he wishes to settle with you, being a craftsman, let him work and eat. But if he has no craft, according [pg 041] to your wisdom provide how without idleness he shall live as a Christian among you. If he will not do this, he is trafficking upon Christ. Beware of such men.

Ch. 13. But every true prophet desiring to settle among you is worthy of his food. In like manner, a true teacher is also worthy, like the workman, of his food. Every first-fruit, then, of the produce of the wine-vat and of the threshing-floor, of thy oxen and of thy sheep, thou shalt take and give as the first-fruit to the prophets; for they are your chief priests. But if ye have not a prophet, give them to the poor. If thou makest bread, take the first-fruit and give according to the commandment. In like manner, when thou openest a jar of wine or oil, take the first-fruit and give to the prophets; yea, and of money and raiment and every possession take the first-fruit, as shall seem good to thee, and give according to the commandment.

Ch. 14. And on the Lord's day gather yourselves together and break bread and give thanks, first confessing your transgressions, that your sacrifice may be pure. And let no man having a dispute with his fellow join your assembly until they have been reconciled, that your sacrifice may not be defiled; for this is the sacrifice spoken of by the Lord: In every place and at every time offer me a pure sacrifice; for I am a great king, saith the Lord, and my name is wonderful among the nations. [Mal. 1:11, 14.]

Ch. 15. Appoint [i.e., lay hands on], therefore, for yourselves bishops and deacons worthy of the Lord, men meek, not lovers of money, truthful, and approved; for they also render you the service of prophets and teachers. Despise them not, therefore, for they are your honored ones together with the prophets and teachers.

(c) Ignatius, Ep. ad Trallianos, 2, 3.

For Ignatius, see § 8.

Ch. 2. For since ye are subject to the bishop as Jesus Christ, ye appear to me to live not after the manner of men, but [pg 042] according to Jesus Christ, who died for us, in order that by believing in His death ye may escape death. It is therefore necessary that just as ye indeed do, so without the bishop ye should do nothing, but should also be subject to the presbytery, as to the Apostles of Jesus Christ, our Hope, living in whom we shall be found [i.e., at the last]. It is right, also, that the deacons, being [ministers] of the mysteries of Jesus Christ, should in every respect be well-pleasing to all. For they are not the ministers of meats and drinks, but servants of the Church of God. It is necessary, therefore, that they guard themselves from all grounds of accusation as they would from fire.

Ch. 3. In like manner, let all reverence the deacons as Jesus Christ, as also the bishop, who is a type of the Father, and the presbyters as the sanhedrim of God and the assembly of the Apostles. Apart from these there is no Church.

(d) Ignatius, Ep. ad Smyrnæos, 8.

See that ye follow the bishop as Jesus Christ does the Father, and the presbyters as ye would the Apostles; and reverence the deacons as a commandment of God. Without the bishop let no one do any of those things connected with the Church. Let that be deemed a proper eucharist which is administered either by the bishop or by him to whom he has intrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear there let also the multitude be, even as wherever Jesus Christ is there is the Catholic Church. It is not lawful without the bishop either to baptize or to make an agape. But whatsoever he shall approve that is also pleasing to God, so that everything that is done may be secure and valid.

§ 15. Church Discipline

The Church was the company of the saints. How far, then, could the Church tolerate in its midst those who had committed serious offences against the moral law? A case had occurred in the Corinthian church about which St. Paul had [pg 043] given some instructions to the Christians of that city (cf. I Cor. 5:3-5; II Cor. 13:10). There was the idea current that sins after baptism admitted of no pardon and involved permanent exclusion from the Church (cf. Heb. 10:26). A distinction was also made as to sins whereby some were regarded as “sins unto death” and not admitting of pardon (cf. I John 5:16). In principle, the exclusion from the Church of those who had committed gross sins was recognized, but as the Church grew it soon became a serious question as to the extent to which this strict discipline could be enforced. We find, therefore, a well-defined movement toward relaxing this rigor of the law. The beginning appears in Hermas, who admits the possibility of one repentance after baptism. A special problem was presented from the first by the difference between the conceptions of marriage held by the Christians and by the heathen. The Church very early took the position that marriage in some sense was indissoluble, that so long as both parties to a marriage lived, neither could marry again, but after the death of one party the surviving spouse could remarry, although this second marriage was looked upon with some disfavor. Both the idea of a second repentance and the idea of the indissolubility of marriage are expressed in the following extract from Hermas:

Hermas, Pastor, Man. IV, I, 3.

Hermas wrote in the second century. Opinions have varied as to his date, some putting him near the beginning, some near the middle of the century. The weight of opinion seems to be that he lived shortly before 150. His work entitled The Pastor is in the form of revelations, and was therefore thought to partake of an inspiration similar to that of Holy Scripture. This naturally gave it a place among Scriptures for a while and accounts for the great popularity of the work in the early Church. It is the best example of an extensive apocalyptic literature which flourished in the Church in the first two centuries.

Ch. 1. If the husband should not take her back [i.e., the penitent wife who has committed adultery] he sins, and brings a great sin upon himself; for he ought to take back [pg 044] her who has sinned and repented; but not frequently; for there is but one repentance to the servants of God [i.e., after becoming the servants of God]. On account of her repentance [i.e., because she may repent, and therefore should be taken back] the husband ought not to marry. This treatment applies to the woman and to the man.

Ch. 3. And I said to him: “I should like to continue my questions.” “Speak on,” said he. And I said: “I have heard, sir, from some teachers that there is no other repentance than that when we descend into the water and receive remission of our former sins.” He said to me: “Thou hast well heard, for so it is. For he who has received remission of his sins ought to sin no more, but to live in purity. Since, however, you inquire diligently into all things, I will point out this also to you, not as giving occasion for error to those who are to believe, or have lately believed, in the Lord. For those who have now believed and those who are to believe have not repentance of their sins, but they have remission of their former sins. For to those who have been called before these days the Lord has set repentance. For the Lord, who knows the heart and foreknows all things, knew the weakness of men and the manifold wiles of the devil, that he would inflict some evil on the servants of God and would act wickedly against them. The Lord, therefore, being merciful, has had mercy on the works of His hands and has set repentance for them; and has intrusted to me the power over this repentance. And therefore I say unto you,” he said, “that if after that great and holy calling any one is tempted by the devil and sins, he has one repentance. But if thereupon he should sin and then repent, to such a man his repentance is of no benefit; for with difficulty will he live.”23

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§ 16. Moral Ideas in the Post-Apostolic Period

Christians were convinced that their religion made the highest possible moral demands upon them. They were to live in the world, but remain uncontaminated by it (cf. supra, § 11). This belief even candid heathen were sometimes forced to admit (cf. Pliny's correspondence with Trajan, supra, § 7). The morality of the Christians and the loftiness of their ethical code were common features in the apologies which began to appear in the post-apostolic period (cf. The Apology of Aristides, infra, § 20, a). Christianity was a revealed code of morals, by the observance of which men might escape the fires of hell and obtain the bliss of immortality (a) (cf. infra, § 30). At the same time there was developed a tendency toward asceticism, by which a higher excellence might be obtained than the law required of ordinary Christians (b, c). This higher morality was not without its compensations; superior merit was recognized by God, and was accordingly rewarded; it might even be applied to offset sins committed (d, e). This last idea is to be traced to the book of Tobit (cf. also James 5:20; I Peter 4:8). The fuller development is to be found in the theology of Tertullian and Cyprian (v. infra, § 39).

(a) Justin Martyr, Apologia, I, 10, 12. (MSG, 6:339, 342.)

Ch. 10. We have received by tradition that God does not need man's material offerings, since we see that He himself provides all things. And we have been taught, have been convinced, and do believe that He accepts only those who imitate the virtues which reside in Him, temperance and justice and philanthropy, and as many virtues as are peculiar to a God who is called by no given name. And we have been taught that He in the beginning, since He is good, did for man's sake create all things out of unformed matter; and if men by their works show themselves worthy of His design, they are deemed worthy, for so we have received, of reigning [pg 046] in company with Him, having become incorruptible and incapable of suffering. For as in the beginning He created us when we were not, so we consider that, in like manner, those who choose what is pleasing to Him are, on account of their choice, deemed worthy of incorruption and of fellowship with Him. For the coming into being at first was not in our power; and in order that we may follow those things which please Him, choosing them by means of the rational faculties with which He has himself endowed us, He both persuades us and leads us to faith.…

Ch. 12. And more than all other men are we your helpers and allies in promoting peace; for we are of the opinion that it is impossible for the wicked, or the covetous, or the conspirator, or the virtuous to escape the notice of God, and that each man goes to eternal punishment or salvation according to the deserts of his actions. For if all men knew this, no one would choose wickedness, even for a little time, knowing that he goes to the eternal punishment of fire; but he would in every respect restrain himself and adorn himself with virtue, that he might obtain the good gifts of God and escape punishment. For those who, on account of the laws and punishments you impose, endeavor when they offend to escape detection, offend thinking that it is possible to escape your detection, since you are but men; but if they learned and were convinced that it is not possible that anything, whether actually done or only intended, should escape the notice of God, they would live decently in every respect, on account of the penalties threatened, as even you yourselves will admit.

(b) Didache, 6. Cf. Mirbt, n. 13.

See that no one cause thee to err from this way of the teaching, since apart from God it teacheth thee. For if thou art able to bear all the yoke of the Lord, thou wilt be perfect; but if thou art not able, do what thou art able. And concerning foods, bear what thou art able; but against that which [pg 047] is sacrificed to idols be exceedingly on thy guard; for it is the service of dead gods.

(c) Hermas, Pastor, Man. IV, 4.

And again I asked him, saying: “Sir, since you have been so patient with me, will you show me this also?” “Speak,” said he. And I said: “If a wife or husband die, and the widow or widower marry, does he or she commit sin?” “There is no sin in marrying again,” said he; “but if they remain unmarried, they gain greater honor and glory with the Lord; but if they marry, they do not sin. Guard, therefore, your chastity and purity and you will live to God. What commandments I now give you, and what I am to give you, keep from henceforth, yea, from the very day when you were intrusted to me, and I will dwell in your house. And your former sins will be forgiven, if you keep my commandments. And to all there is forgiveness if they keep these my commandments and walk in this chastity.”

(d) Clement of Rome, Ep. ad Corinthios, II, 4, 16.

Ch. 4. Let us, then, not call Him Lord, for that will not save us. For He saith: “Not every one that saith to me, Lord, Lord, shall be saved, but he that worketh righteousness.” Wherefore, brethren, let us confess Him by our works, by loving one another, by not committing adultery, or speaking evil of one another, or cherishing envy; but by being continent, compassionate, and good. We ought also to sympathize with one another, and not be avaricious. By such works let us confess Him, and not by those that are of an opposite kind. And it is not fitting that we should fear men, but rather God. For this reason, if we should do such things, the Lord hath said: “Even though ye were gathered together to me in my very bosom, yet if ye were not to keep my commandments, I would cast you off, and say unto you. Depart from me; I know you not, whence ye are, ye workers of iniquity.”24

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Ch. 16. So then, brethren, having received no small occasion to repent, while we have opportunity, let us turn to God, who called us while we yet have One to receive us. For if we renounce these indulgences and conquer the soul by not fulfilling its wicked desires, we shall be partakers of the mercy of Jesus. Know ye not that the day of judgment draweth nigh like a burning oven, and certain of the heavens and all the earth will melt, like lead melting in fire; and then will appear the hidden and manifest deeds of men? Good, then, are alms as repentance from sin; better is fasting than prayer, and alms than both; “charity covereth a multitude of sins,” and prayer out of a good conscience delivereth from death. Blessed is every one that shall be found complete in these; for alms lighten the burden of sin.

(e) Hermas, Pastor, Sim. V, 3.

“If you do anything good beyond the commandment of God, you will gain for yourself more abundant glory, and will be more honored before God than you would otherwise be. If, therefore, you keep the commandments of God and do these services, you will have joy if you observe them according to my commandment.” I said unto him: “Sir, whatsoever you command me I will observe; for I know that you are with me.” “I will be with you,” he said, “because you have such a desire for doing good; I will be with all those,” he said, “who have such a desire. This fasting,” he continued, “is very good, provided the commandments of the Lord be observed. Thus, then, shall you observe the fast which you intend to keep. First of all, be on your guard against every evil word and every evil desire, and purify your heart from all the vanities of this world. If you guard against these things, your fasting will be perfect. But do thus: having fulfilled what is written, during the day on which you fast you will taste nothing but bread and water; and having reckoned up the price of the dishes of that day which you intended to have eaten, you will give it to a widow, an orphan, [pg 049] or to some one in want, and thus you will be humble-minded, so that he who has received benefit from your humility may fill his own soul and pray to the Lord for you. If you observe fasting as I have commanded you, your sacrifice will be acceptable to God, and this fasting will be written down; and the service thus performed is noble and sacred and acceptable to the Lord.”

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Period III. The Critical Period: A. D. 140 to A. D. 200

The interval between the close of the post-apostolic age and the end of the second century, or from about 140 to 200, may be called the Critical Period of Ancient Christianity. In this period there grew up conceptions of Christianity which were felt by the Church, as a whole, to be fundamentally opposed to its essential spirit and to constitute a serious menace to the Christian faith as it had been commonly received. These conceptions, which grew up both alongside of, and within the Church, have been grouped under the term Gnosticism, a generic term including many widely divergent types of teaching and various interpretations of Christian doctrine in the light of Oriental speculation. There were also reactionary and reformatory movements which were generally felt to be out of harmony with the development upon which Christian thought and life had already entered; such were Montanism and Marcionism. To overcome these tendencies and movements the Christian churches in the various parts of the Roman Empire were forced, on the one hand, to develop more completely such ecclesiastical institutions as would defend what was commonly regarded as the received faith, and, on the other hand, to pass from a condition in which the various Christian communities existed in isolated autonomy to some form of organization whereby the spiritual unity of the Church might become visible and better able to strengthen the several members of that Church in dealing with theological and administrative problems. The Church, accordingly, acquired in the Critical Period the [pg 051] fundamental form of its creed, as an authoritative expression of belief; the episcopate, as a universally recognized essential of Church organization and a defence of tradition; and its canon of Holy Scripture, at least in fundamentals, as the authoritative primitive witness to the essential teachings of the Church. It also laid the foundations of the conciliar system, and the bonds of corporate unity between the scattered communities of the Church were defined and recognized. At the same time, the Church developed in its conflict with heathenism an apologetic literature, and in its conflict with heresy a polemical literature, in which are to be found the beginnings of its theology or scientific statement of Christian truth. Of this theology two lines of development are to be traced: one a utilization of Greek philosophy which arose from the Logos doctrine of the Apologists, and the other a realistic doctrine of redemption which grew out of the Asia Minor type of Christian teaching, traces of which are to be found in Ignatius of Antioch.

Chapter I. The Church In Relation To The Empire And Heathen Culture

In the course of the second century the Church spread rapidly into all parts of the Empire, and even beyond. It became so prominent that the relation of the Church to heathen thought and institutions underwent a marked change. Persecutions of Christians became more frequent, and thereby the popular conviction was deepened that Christians were malefactors. To some extent men of letters began to notice the new faith and attack it. In opposition to persecution and criticism, the Church developed an active apologetic or defence of Christianity and Christians against heathen aspersions.

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§ 17. The Extension of Christianity

Under the head of Extension of Christianity are to be placed only such texts as may be regarded as evidence for the presence of the Church in a well-defined locality. It is apparent that the evidence must be incomplete, for many places must have received the Christian faith which were unknown to the writers whose works we have or which they had no occasion to mention. Rhetorical overstatement of the extension of the Church was a natural temptation in view of the rapid spread of Christianity. Each text needs to be scrutinized and its merits assessed. It should, however, be borne in mind that the existence of a well-established church in any locality is in most cases sufficient reason for believing that Christianity had already been there for some time. In this way valid historical reasoning carries the date of the extension of the Church to a locality somewhat further back than does the date of the appearance of a document which testifies to the existence of Christianity in a definite place at a definite time.

(a) Tertullian, Adv. Judæos, 7. (MSL, 2:649.)
Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus (circa 160-circa 220 A. D.) is the most important ante-Nicene Latin ecclesiastical writer. He has been justly regarded as the founder of Latin theology and the Christian Latin style. His work is divided into two periods by his adherence (between 202 and 207 A. D.) to the Montanistic sect.
The treatise Adversus Judæos probably belongs to Tertullian's pre-Montanist period, though formerly placed among his Montanist writings (see Krüger, § 85, 6). For Geographical references, see W. Smith, Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography.

Upon whom else have all nations believed but upon the Christ who has already come? For whom have the other nations believed—Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and they who inhabit Mesopotamia, Armenia, Phrygia, Cappadocia, and [pg 053] those dwelling in Pontus and Asia, and Pamphylia, sojourners in Egypt, and inhabitants of the region of Africa which is beyond Cyrene, Romans and sojourners, yes, and in Jerusalem, Jews and other nations;25 as now the varied races of the Gætulians, and manifold confines of the Moors, all the limits of Spain, and the diverse nations of the Gauls, and the places of the Britons inaccessible to the Romans, but subjugated to Christ, and of the Sarmatians and Dacians, and Germans and Scythians, and of many remote nations and provinces and many islands unknown to us and which we can hardly enumerate? In all of these places the name of Christ, who has already come, now reigns.

(b) Tertullian, Apologeticus adversus Gentes pro Christianis, 37. (MSL, 1:525.)
The date of this work is 197 A. D.

We are but of yesterday, and we have filled every place among you—cities, islands, fortresses, towns, market-places, the very camps, tribes, companies, palace, Senate, and Forum. We have left you only the temples.

(c) Irenæus, Adv. Hæreses, I, 10, 3. (MSG, 7:551 f.) For text, see Kirch, § 91.

Since the Church has received this preaching and this faith, as we have said, the Church, although it is scattered throughout the whole world, diligently guards it as if it dwelt in one house; and likewise it believes these things as if it had one soul and one heart, and harmoniously it preaches, teaches, and believes these things as if possessing one mouth. For although the languages of the world are dissimilar, yet the import of the tradition is one and the same. For the churches which have been founded in Germany have not believed nor handed down anything different, nor have those among the Iberians, nor those among the Gauls, nor those in the East, [pg 054] nor those in Egypt, nor those in Libya, nor those which have been established in the central regions26 of the world.

(d) Bardesanes, De Fato. F. Nau, Bardesane l'astrologue; le livre des lois des pays, Paris. 1899.
Bardesanes (154-222 A. D.) was the great Christian teacher of Edessa. He lived at the court of Abgar IX (179-214), whom, according to a doubtful tradition, he is said to have converted. The entire book may be found well translated by B. P. Pratten, ANF, VIII. 723-734.

In Syria and Edessa men used to part with their manhood in honor of Tharatha,27 but when King Abgar became a believer he commanded that every one that did so should have his hand cut off, and from that day until now no one does so in the country of Edessa.

And what shall we say of the new race of us Christians, whom Christ at His advent planted in every country and in every region? For, lo, wherever we are, we are called after the one name of Christ—namely, Christians. On one day, the first day of the week, we assemble ourselves together, and on the days of the readings28 we abstain from sustenance. The brethren who are in Gaul do not take males for wives, nor those in Parthia two wives; nor do those in Judea circumcise themselves; nor do those of our sisters who are among the Geli consort with strangers; nor do those of our brethren who are in Persia take their daughters for wives; nor do those who are in Media abandon their dead or bury them alive or give them as food to the dogs; nor do those who are in Edessa kill their wives who commit adultery, nor their sisters, but they withdraw from them, and give them over to the judgment of God; nor do those who are in Hatra stone thieves to death; but wherever they are, and in whatever place they are found, the laws of the several countries do not hinder them from obeying the law of their Christ; nor does the Fate of the [pg 055] celestial governors29 compel them to make use of the things which they regard as impure.

(e) Eusebius, Hist. Ec., V, 10. (MSG, 20:455.)
Missions in the extreme East.

They say that Pantænus displayed such zeal for the divine word that he was appointed a herald of the Gospel of Christ to the nations of the East and was sent as far as India.30 For indeed there were still many evangelists of the word who sought earnestly to use their inspired zeal, after the example of the Apostles, for the increase and building up of the divine word. Pantænus was one of these, and he is said to have gone to India. The report is that among persons in that country who knew of Christ he found the Gospel according to Matthew, which had anticipated his own arrival. For Bartholomew, one of the Apostles, had preached to them and left them the writing of Matthew in the Hebrew language, and they had preserved it till that time.

§ 18. Heathen Religious Feeling and Culture in Relation to Christianity

The Christian religion in the course of the latter part of the second century began to attract the attention of heathen writers; it became an object of literary attack. The principal literary opponent of Christianity was Celsus, who subjected the Christian traditions and customs to a searching criticism to prove that they were absurd, unscientific, and false. Lucian of Samosata, does not seem to have attacked Christianity from any philosophical or religious interest, but treated it as an object of derision, making sport of it. There [pg 056] were also in circulation innumerable heathen calumnies, many of the most abominable character. These have been preserved only by Christian writers. It was chiefly in reference to these calumnies that the Christian apologists wrote. The answer to Celsus made by Origen belongs to a later period, though Celsus represents the best philosophical criticism of Christianity of the latter part of the second century.

(a) Celsus, The True Word, in Origen, Contra Celsum. (MSG, 11:651 ff.)
The work of Celsus against Christianity, or The True Word, written about 178, is lost, but it has been so incorporated in the elaborate reply of Origen that it can be reconstructed without much difficulty. This Theodor Keim has done. The following extracts from Origen's Contra Celsum are quotations from Celsus or references to his criticism of Christianity. For Origen, v. infra, § 43, b.

I, 1. (MSG, 11:651.) Wishing to throw discredit upon Christianity, the first point Celsus brings forward is that the Christians have entered secretly into associations with each other which are forbidden by the laws; saying that “of associations some are public, others again secret; and the former are permitted by the laws; the latter are prohibited by the laws.”

I, 4. (MSG, 11:661.) Let us notice, also, how he thinks to cast discredit upon our system of morals as neither venerable nor a new branch of instruction, inasmuch as it is common to other philosophers.

I, 9. (MSG, 11:672.) He says that “Certain of them do not wish either to give or to receive reasons for those things to which they hold; saying, ‘Do not examine, only believe and your faith will save you!’ ”; and he alleges that such also say: “The wisdom of this life is bad, but foolishness is a good thing.”

I, 38. (MSG, 11:733.) He admits somehow the miracles which Jesus wrought and by means of which He induced the multitude to follow Him as the Christ. He wishes to throw discredit on them, as having been done not by divine power, but by help of magic, for he says: “That he [Jesus], having [pg 057] been brought up secretly and having served for hire in Egypt, and then coming to the knowledge of certain miraculous powers, returned from thence, and by means of those powers proclaimed himself a god.”

II, 55. (MSG, 11:884.) “Come, now, let us grant to you that these things [the prediction made by Christ of His resurrection] were said. Yet how many others are there who have used such wonders to deceive their simple hearers, and who made gain of their deception? Such was the case, they say, with Zalmoxis in Scythia, the slave of Pythagoras; and with Pythagoras himself in Italy.… But the point to be considered is, whether any one who was really dead ever rose with a veritable body. Or do you imagine the statements of others not only are myths, but appear as such, but you have discovered a becoming and credible termination of your drama, the voice from the cross when he breathed his last, the earthquake and the darkness? that while living he was of no help to himself, but when dead he rose again, and showed the marks of his punishment and his hands as they had been. Who saw this? A frantic woman, as you state, and, if any other, perhaps one of those who were engaged in the same delusion, who, owing to a peculiar state of mind, had either dreamed so, or with a wandering fancy had imagined things in accordance with his own wishes, which has happened in the case of very many; or, which is most probable, there was some one who desired to impress the others with this portent, and by such a falsehood to furnish an occasion to other jugglers.”

II, 63. (MSG, 11:896.) “If Jesus desired to show that his power was really divine, he ought to have appeared to those who had ill-treated him, and to him who had condemned him, and to all men universally.”

III, 59. (MSG, 11:997.) “That I bring no heavier charge than what truth requires, let any one judge from the following. Those who invite to participation in other mysteries make proclamation as follows: ‘Every one who has clean hands and [pg 058] a prudent tongue’; others again thus: ‘He who is pure from every pollution, and whose soul is conscious of no evil, and who has lived well and justly.’ Such is the proclamation made by those who promise purification from sins. But let us hear whom the Christians invite. ‘Whoever,’ they say, ‘is a sinner, whoever is devoid of understanding, whoever is a child,’ and, to speak generally, ‘whoever is unfortunate, him will the kingdom of God receive.’ Do you not call him a sinner, then, who is unjust and a thief and a house-breaker and a poisoner, a committer of sacrilege and a robber of the dead? Whom else would a man invite if he were issuing a proclamation for an assembly of robbers?”

VII, 18. (MSG, 11:1445.) “Will they not again make this reflection: If the prophets of the God of the Jews foretold that he who should come was the son of this same God, how could he command them through Moses to gather wealth, to rule, to fill the earth, to put to the sword their enemies from youth up, and to destroy them utterly, which, indeed, he himself did in the eyes of the Jews, as Moses says, threatening them, moreover, that if they did not obey his commands he would treat them as his open enemies; whilst, on the other hand, his son, the man of Nazareth, promulgating laws in opposition to these, declares that no one comes to the Father who is rich or who loves power or seeks after wisdom or glory; that men ought to be no more careful in providing food than the ravens: that they were to be in less concern about their raiment than the lilies; that to him who has smitten them once they should offer opportunity to smite again? Is it Moses or Jesus who lies? Did the Father when he sent Jesus forget the things he commanded Moses? Or did he change his mind and, condemning his own laws, send forth a messenger with the opposite instructions?”

V, 14. (MSG, 11:1201.) “It is folly for them to suppose that when God, as if he were a cook, introduces the fire, all the rest of the human race will be burnt up, while they alone will remain, not only those who are alive, but also those who [pg 059] have been dead long since, which latter will arise from the earth clothed with the self-same flesh as during life; the hope, to speak plainly, of worms. For what sort of human soul is it that would still long for a body gone to corruption? For this reason, also, this opinion of yours is not shared by some of the Christians,31 and they pronounce it exceedingly vile and loathsome and impossible; for what kind of body is that which, after being completely corrupted, can return to its original nature, and to that self-same first condition which it left? Having nothing to reply, they betake themselves to a most absurd refuge—that all things are possible to God. But God cannot do things which are disgraceful, nor does he wish things contrary to his nature; nor, if in accordance with your wickedness you desire something shameful, would God be able to do it; nor must you believe at once that it will be done. For God is the author, not of inordinate desires nor of a nature disordered and confused, but of what is upright and just. For the soul, indeed, he might be able to provide everlasting life; but dead bodies, on the other hand, are, as Heraclitus observes, more worthless than dung. So, then, God neither will nor can declare contrary to reason that the flesh is eternal, which is full of those things which it is not honorable to mention. For he is the reason of all things that exist, and therefore can do nothing either contrary to reason or contrary to himself.”

(b) Lucian of Samosata, De morte Peregrini Protei, § 11 ff. Preuschen, Analecta, I, 20 ff.

Ch. 11. About this time he made himself proficient in the marvellous wisdom of the Christians by associating around Palestine with their priests and scribes. And would you believe it? In a short time he convinced them that they were mere children and himself alone a prophet, master of ceremonies, head of the synagogue, and everything. He explained and interpreted some of their books, and he himself also wrote [pg 060] many, so they came to look upon him almost as a God, made him their law-giver and chose him as their patron.… At all events, they still worship that enchanter [mage] who was crucified in Palestine for introducing among men this new religious sect.

Ch. 12. Then Proteus was, on this account, seized and thrown into prison, and this very circumstance procured for him during his subsequent career no small renown and the reputation for wonderful powers and the glory which he loved. When, then, he had been put in bonds, the Christians looked upon these things as a misfortune and in their efforts to secure his release did everything in their power. When this proved impracticable, other assistance of every sort was rendered him, not occasionally, but with zeal. From earliest dawn old women, widows, and orphan children were to be seen waiting beside the prison, and men of rank among them slept with him in the prison, having bribed the prison guards. Then they were accustomed to bring in all kinds of viands, and they read their sacred Scriptures together, and the most excellent Peregrinus (for such was still his name) was styled by them a New Socrates.

Ch. 13. Certain came even from the cities of Asia, sent by the Christians at the common charge, to assist and plead for him and comfort him. They exhibit extraordinary activity whenever any such thing occurs affecting their common interest. In short, they are lavish of everything. And what is more, on the pretext of his imprisonment, many contributions of money came from them to Peregrinus at that time, and he made no little income out of it. These poor men have persuaded themselves that they are going to be immortal and live forever; they both despise death and voluntarily devote themselves to it; at least most of them do so. Moreover, their law-giver persuaded them that they were all brethren, and that when once they come out and reject the Greek gods, they should then worship that crucified sophist and live according to his laws. Therefore they despise all things and [pg 061] hold everything in common, having received such ideas from others, without any sufficient basis for their faith. If, then, any impostor or trickster who knows how to manage things came among them, he soon grew rich, imposing on these foolish folk.

Ch. 14. Peregrinus was, however, set at liberty by the governor of Syria at that time, a lover of philosophy, who understood his folly and knew that he would willingly have suffered death that by it he might have acquired glory. Thinking him, however, not worthy of so honorable an end, he let him go.…

Ch. 16. A second time he left his country to wander about, having the Christians as a sufficient source of supplies, and he was cared for by them most ungrudgingly. Thus he was supported for some time; at length, having offended them in some way—he was seen, I believe, eating food forbidden among them—he was reduced to want, and he thought that he would have to demand his property back from the city;32 and having obtained a process in the name of the Emperor, he expected to recover it. But the city sent messengers to him, and nothing was done; but he was to remain where he was, and to this he agreed for once.

(c) Minucius Felix, Octavius, VIII, 3-10. (MSL. 3:267 ff.)
The following passage is taken from an apologetic dialogue entitled Octavius. Although it was composed by a Christian, it probably represents the current heathen conceptions of Christianity and its morals, especially its assemblies, where the worst excesses were supposed to take place. In the dialogue the passage is put into the mouth of the disputant who represents the heathen objection to the new faith. The date is difficult to determine probably it was the last third of the second century.

Ch. 8. … Is it not lamentable that men of a reprobate, unlawful, and dangerous faction should rage against the gods? From the lowest dregs, the more ignorant and women, credulous and yielding on account of the heedlessness of their [pg 062] sex, gathered and established a vast and wicked conspiracy, bound together by nightly meetings and solemn feasts and inhuman meats—not by any sacred rites, but by such as require expiation. It is a people skulking and shunning the light; in public silent, but in corners loquacious. They despise the temples as charnel-houses; they reject the gods; they deride sacred things. While they are wretched themselves, if allowed they pity the priests; while they are half naked themselves, they despise honors and purple robes. O wonderful folly and incredible effrontery! They despise present torments, but fear those that are uncertain and in the future. While they fear to die after death, for the present life they do not fear to die. In such manner does a deceitful hope soothe their fear with the solace of resuscitation.

Ch. 9. And now, as wickeder things are advancing more successfully and abandoned manners are creeping on day by day, those foul shrines of an impious assembly are increasing throughout the whole world. Assuredly this confederacy should be rooted out and execrated. They know one another by secret marks and signs. They love one another almost before they know one another. Everywhere, also, there is mingled among them a certain religion of lust; and promiscuously they call one another brother and sister, so that even a not unusual debauchery might, by the employment of those sacred names, become incestuous. It is thus that their vain and insane superstition glories in crimes. Nor, concerning these matters, would intelligent report speak of things unless there was the highest degree of truth, and varied crimes of the worst character called, from a sense of decency, for an apology. I hear that they adore the head of an ass, that basest of creatures, consecrated by I know not what silly persuasion—a worthy and appropriate religion for such morals. Some say that they worship the genitalia of their pontiff and priest, and adore the nature, as it were, of their parent. I know not whether these things be false; certainly suspicion has place in the case of secret and nocturnal rites; and he [pg 063] who explains their ceremonies by reference to a man punished by extreme suffering for wickedness, and to the deadly wood of the cross, bestows fitting altars upon reprobate and wicked men, that they may worship what they deserve. Now the story of their initiation of young novices is as detestable as it is well known. An infant covered with meal, so as to deceive the unwary, is placed before him who is to be defiled with their rites; this infant is slain with dark and secret wounds by the young novice, who has been induced to strike harmless blows, as it were, on the surface of the meal. Thirstily—O horror!—they lick up its blood; eagerly they divide its limbs. By this victim they are confederated, with the consciousness of this wickedness they are pledged to a mutual silence. These sacred rites are more foul than any sort of sacrilege. And of their banqueting it is well known what is said everywhere; even the speech of our Cirtensian33 testifies to it. On a solemn day they assemble at a banquet with all their children, their sisters and mothers, people of every sex and age. There, after much feasting, when the sense of fellowship has waxed warm and the fervor of incestuous lust has grown hot with drunkenness, a dog that has been tied to a chandelier is provoked to rush and spring about by throwing a piece of offal beyond the length of the line by which he is bound; and thus the light, as if conscious, is overturned and extinguished in shameless darkness, while unions of abominable lust involve them by the uncertainty of chance. Although if all are not in fact, yet all are in their conscience, equally incestuous; since whatever might happen by the act of the individuals is sought for by the will of all.

Ch. 10. I purposely pass over many things, for there are too many, all of which, or the greater part of them, the obscurity of their vile religion declares to be true. For why do they endeavor with such pains to conceal and cloak whatever they worship, since honorable things always rejoice in publicity, but crimes are kept secret? Why have they no [pg 064] altars, no temples, no acknowledged images? Why do they never speak openly, never congregate freely, unless it be for the reason that what they adore and conceal is either worthy of punishment or is something to be ashamed of? Moreover, whence or who is he, or where is the one God, solitary and desolate, whom no free people, no kingdoms, and not even Roman superstition have known? The sole, miserable nationality of the Jews worshipped one God, and one peculiar to itself; but they worshipped him openly, with temples, with altars, with victims, and with ceremonies; and he has so little force or power that he is enslaved together with his own special nation to the Roman deities. But the Christians, moreover, what wonders, what monstrosities, do they feign, that he who is their God, whom they can neither show nor see, inquires diligently into the conduct of all, the acts of all, and even into their words and secret thoughts. They would have him running about everywhere, and everywhere present, troublesome, even shamelessly inquisitive, since he is present at everything that is done, and wanders about in all places. When he is occupied with the whole, he cannot give attention to particulars; or when occupied with particulars, he is not enough for the whole. Is it because they threaten the whole earth, the world itself and all its stars, with a conflagration, that they are meditating its destruction? As if either the natural and eternal order constituted by the divine laws would be disturbed, or, when the league of the elements has been broken up and the heavenly structure dissolved, that fabric in which it is contained and bound together would be overthrown!

§ 19. The Attitude of the Roman Government toward Christians, A. D. 138 to A. D. 192

No general persecution of the Christians was undertaken by the Roman Government during the second century, though Christians were not infrequently put to death under [pg 065] the existing laws. These laws, however, were by no means uniformly carried out. The most sanguinary persecutions were generally occasioned by mob violence and may be compared to modern lynchings. At Lyons and Vienne, in Gaul, there was much suffering in 177. The letter from the churches of these cities to the Christians in Asia and Phrygia, Eusebius, Hist. Ec., V, 1 (PNF, ser. I, vol. I, 211), and the Martyrdom of Polycarp (ANF, I, 37) are among the finest pieces of literature in this period and should be read by every student. Under Commodus (180-193), Marcia seems to have aided the Christians suffering persecution. The Martyrdom of Justin may be found ANF, I, 303, appended to his works. The doubtful rescript of Hadrian and the certainly spurious rescript of Antoninus Pius may be found in the Appendix to Justin Martyr's works (ANF, I, 186), and in Eusebius, Hist. Ec., IV, 9 and 13. For a discussion of their genuineness, see McGiffert's notes to Eusebius, Hist. Ec. The original texts may be found in Preuschen's Analecta, I, § 6 f.

(a) Justin Martyr, Apologia. II. 2. (MSG, 6:445.)
The martyrdom of Ptolemæus.
A certain woman had been converted to Christianity by Ptolemæus. Her dissolute husband, who had deserted her some time before, was divorced by her on account of his profligacy. In revenge he attempted to injure her, but she sought and obtained the protection of the imperial courts. The husband thereupon turned his attack upon Ptolemæus. According to Ruinart, the martyrdom took place in 166. See DCB, arts. Ptolemæus and Justin Martyr. This and the following martyrdoms illustrate the procedure of the courts in dealing with Christians.

Since he was no longer able to prosecute her, he directed his assaults against a certain Ptolemæus whom Urbicus punished, and who had been the teacher of the woman in the Christian doctrines. And he did this in the following way: He persuaded a centurion, his friend, who had cast Ptolemæus into prison, to take Ptolemæus and interrogate him only as to whether he were a Christian. And Ptolemæus, being a lover of the truth, and not of deceitful or false disposition, [pg 066] when he confessed himself to be a Christian, was thrown in chains by the centurion and for a long time was punished in prison. At last, when he was brought to Urbicus, he was asked this one question only: whether he was a Christian. And again, conscious of the noble things that were his through the teaching of Christ, he confessed his discipleship in the divine virtue. For he who denies anything either denies it because he condemns the thing itself or he avoids confession because he knows his own unworthiness or alienation from it; neither of which cases is that of a true Christian. And when Urbicus ordered him to be led away to punishment, a certain Lucius, who was also himself a Christian, seeing the unreasonable judgment, said to Urbicus: “What is the ground of this judgment? Why have you punished this man: not as an adulterer, nor fornicator, nor as one guilty of murder, theft, or robbery, nor convicted of any crime at all, but who has only confessed that he is called by the name of Christian? You do not judge, O Urbicus, as becomes the Emperor Pius, nor the philosopher, the son of Cæsar, nor the sacred Senate.” And he, replying nothing else to Lucius, said: “You also seem to me to be such an one.” And when Lucius answered, “Most certainly I am,” he then ordered him also to be led away. And he professed his thanks, since he knew that he was going to be delivered from such wicked rulers and was going to the Father and King of the heavens. And still a third came forward and was condemned to be punished.

(b) Passion of the Scilitan Martyrs.
Text: J. A. Robinson, Text and Studies, I, 2, 112-116, Cambridge, 1891; reprinted in R. Knopf, Ausgewählte Märtyreracten, 34 ff., Tübingen, 1901.
The date of this martyrdom is July 17, 180 A.D. Scili, the place of residence of these martyrs, was a small city in northwestern Proconsular Africa. For an account of ancient martyrologies, see Krüger, §§ 104 ff.
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When Præsens, for the second time, and Claudianus were consuls, on the seventeenth day of July, and when Speratus, Nartzalus, Cittinus, Donata, Secunda, and Vestia were brought into the judgment-hall at Carthage, the proconsul Saturninus said: Ye can win the indulgence of our lord the Emperor if ye return to a sound mind.

Speratus said: We have never done ill; we have not lent ourselves to wrong; we have never spoken ill; but when we have received ill we have given thanks, because we pay heed to our Emperor.

Saturninus, the proconsul, said: We, too, are religious, and our religion is simple; and we swear by the genius of our lord the Emperor, and pray for his welfare, which also ye, too, ought to do.

Speratus said: If thou wilt peaceably lend me thine ears, I will tell thee the mystery of simplicity.

Saturninus said: I will not lend my ears to thee, when thou beginnest to speak evil things of our sacred rites; but rather do thou swear by the genius of our lord the Emperor.

Speratus said: The empire of this world I know not; but rather I serve that God whom no man hath seen nor with these eyes can see. [I Tim. 6:16.] I have committed no theft; but if I have bought anything I pay the tax; because I know my Lord, the King of kings and Emperor of all nations.

Saturninus, the proconsul, said to the rest: Cease to be of this persuasion.

Speratus said: It is an ill persuasion to do murder, to bear false witness.

Saturninus, the proconsul, said: Be not partakers of this folly.

Cittinus said: We have none other to fear except only our Lord God, who is in heaven.

Donata said: Honor to Cæsar as Cæsar, but fear to God. [Cf. Rom. 13:7.]

Vestia said: I am a Christian.

Secunda said: What I am that I wish to be.

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Saturninus, the proconsul, said to Speratus: Dost thou persist in being a Christian?

Speratus said: I am a Christian. And with him they all agreed.

Saturninus, the proconsul, said: Will ye have a space to consider?

Speratus said: In a matter so just there is no considering.

Saturninus, the proconsul, said: What are the things in your chest?

Speratus said: Books and epistles of Paul, a just man.

Saturninus, the proconsul, said: Have a delay of thirty days and bethink yourselves.

Speratus said a second time: I am a Christian. And with him all agreed.

Saturninus, the proconsul, read out the decree from the tablet: Speratus, Nartzalus, Cittinus, Donata, Vestia, Secunda, and the rest who have confessed that they live according to the Christian rite because an opportunity has been offered them of returning to the custom of the Romans and they have obstinately persisted, it is determined shall be put to the sword.

Speratus said: We give thanks to God.

Nartzalus said: To-day we are martyrs in heaven; thanks be to God.

Saturninus, the proconsul, ordered it to be proclaimed by the herald: Speratus, Nartzalus, Cittinus, Veturius, Felix, Aquilinus, Lætatius, Januaria, Generosa, Vestia, Donata, and Secunda I have ordered to be executed.

They all said: Thanks be to God.

And so they all at one time were crowned with martyrdom; and they reign with the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost, forever and ever. Amen.

(c) Hippolytus, Refutatio omnium Hæresium, X, 7. (MSG, 16:3382.)
Hippolytus, a Greek writer of the West, lived at Rome in the time of Zephyrinus (198-217) and until shortly after A. D. 235. He appears [pg 069] to have been consecrated bishop of a schismatical party in Rome. Of his numerous works many have been lost in whole or in part. The Philosophumena, or the Refutation of All Heresies, was lost, with the exception of the first book, until 1842, and was then published among the works of Origen. It is of importance as giving much material for the study of Gnosticism. It may be found as a whole translated in ANF, V.

But after a time, when other martyrs were there [i.e., in the mines in Sardinia], Marcia, the pious concubine of Commodus, wishing to perform some good deed, called before her the blessed Victor [193?-202], at that time bishop of the Church, and inquired of him what martyrs were in Sardinia. And he delivered to her the names of all, but did not give the name of Callistus, knowing what things had been attempted by him. Marcia, having obtained her request from Commodus, hands the letter of emancipation to Hyacinthus, a certain eunuch rather advanced in life [or a presbyter], who, receiving it, sailed away to Sardinia. He delivered the letter to the person who at that time was governor of the territory, and he released the martyrs, with the exception of Callistus.

§ 20. The Literary Defence of Christianity

In reply to the attacks made upon Christianity, the apologists defended their religion along three lines: It was philosophically justified; it was true; it did not favor immorality, but, on the contrary, inculcated virtue. The philosophical defence, or justification, of Christianity was most brilliantly undertaken by Justin Martyr, who employed the current philosophical conception of the Logos. The general proof of Christianity was chiefly based upon the argument from the fulfilment of prophecy. All apologists undertook to show that the heathen calumnies against the Christians were false, that the heathen religions were replete with obscene tales of the gods, and that the worship of idols was absurd.

(a) Aristides, Apology, 2, 13, 15, 16. Ed. J. R. Harris and J. A. Robinson, Texts and Studies, I, 1, Cambridge, 1891.
[pg 070]
The Apology of Aristides was long lost, but was found in a Syriac version in 1889. It was then found that much of the Greek original had been incorporated in the Life of Barlaam and Josaphat, a popular religious romance of the Middle Ages; see the introduction to the parallel translations by D. H. McKay in ANF, vol. IX, 259-279. This work of Aristides may be as early as 125; if so, it disputes with the similar work of Quadratus the honor of being the first Christian apology. A large part of it is taken up with a statement of the contradictions and absurdities of the mythology of the Greeks and Barbarians. Of this statement, ch. 13, quoted below, is the conclusion. Then, after a short passage regarding the Jews, the author passes to an exposition of the faith of Christians and a statement regarding their high morality.

Ch. 2. [Found only in Syriac.] The Christians trace the beginning of their religion to Jesus the Messiah; and He is named the Son of the most high God. And it is said that God came down from heaven and from a Hebrew virgin assumed and clothed Himself with flesh, and that the Son of God lived in a daughter of man. This is taught in that Gospel which, as is related among them, was preached among them a short time ago. And you, also, if you will read therein, may perceive the power that belongs to it. This Jesus, therefore, was born of the race of the Hebrews. He had twelve disciples, that His wonderful plan of salvation might be carried out. But He himself was pierced by the Jews, and He died and He was buried. And they say that after three days He rose and was raised to heaven. Thereupon those twelve disciples went forth into the known parts of the world, and with all modesty and uprightness taught concerning His greatness. And therefore also those at the present time who now believe that preaching are called Christians and they are known.

Ch. 13. When the Greeks made laws they did not perceive that by their laws they condemned their gods. For if their laws are righteous, their gods are unrighteous, because they committed transgressions of the law in that they killed one another, practised sorcery, and committed adultery, robbed, stole, and lay with males, not to mention their other practices. [pg 071] For if their gods have done right in doing all this, as they write, then the laws of the Greeks are unrighteous in not being made according to the will of their gods. And consequently the whole world has gone astray.

Ch. 15. The Christians, O King, in that they go about and seek the truth, have found it and, as we have understood from their writings, they have come much nearer to the truth and correct knowledge than have the other peoples. They know and trust God, the creator of heaven and earth, in whom are all things and from whom are all things, in Him who has no other God beside Him, in Him from whom they have received commandments which they have engraved upon their minds, commandments which they observe in the faith and expectation of the world to come. Wherefore they do not commit adultery or fornication, nor bear false witness, nor covet what is held in pledge, nor covet what is not theirs. They honor father and mother and show kindness to their neighbors. If they are judges, they judge uprightly. They do not worship idols made in human form. And whatsoever they would not that others should do unto them, they do not to others. They do not eat of food offered to idols, because they are pure. And their oppressors they appease and they make friends of them; they do good to their enemies.… If they see a stranger, they take him to their dwellings and rejoice over him as over a real brother. For they do not call themselves brethren after the flesh, but after the Spirit and in God. But if one of their poor passes from the world, each one of them who sees him cares for his burial according to his ability. And if they hear that one of them is imprisoned or oppressed on account of the name of their Messiah, all of them care for his necessity, and if it is possible to redeem him, they set him free. And if any one among them is poor and needy, and they have no spare food, they fast two or three days in order to supply him with the needed food.34 The precepts of their Messiah they observe with great care. They live justly [pg 072] and soberly, as the Lord their God commanded them. Every morning and every hour they acknowledge and praise God for His lovingkindnesses toward them, and for their food and drink they give thanks to Him. And if any righteous man among them passes from this world, they rejoice and thank God and they escort his body as if he were setting out on a journey from one place to another.…

Ch. 16. … Their words and precepts, O King, and the glory of their worship and their hope of receiving reward, which they look for in another world, according to the work of each one, you can learn about from their writings. It is enough for us to have informed your Majesty in a few words concerning the conduct and truth of the Christians. For great, indeed, and wonderful is their doctrine for him who will study it and reflect upon it. And verily this is a new people, and there is something divine in it.

(b) Justin Martyr, Apologia, I, 46. (MSG, 6:398.)
In the following, Justin Martyr states his argument from the doctrine of the Logos, which was widely accepted in Greek philosophy and found its counterpart in Christianity in the Johannine theology (see below, § 32 A). With Justin should be compared Clement of Alexandria (see below, § 43 a), who develops the same idea in showing the relation of Greek philosophy to the Mosaic dispensation and to the Christian revelation.

We have been taught that Christ is the first-born of God, and we have declared above that He is the Word of whom every race of men partake; and those who lived reasonably were Christians, even though they have been thought atheists; as among the Greeks, Socrates and Heraclitus and those like them; and among the Barbarians, Abraham and Ananias, and Azarias, and Misael, and Elias, and many others whose actions and names we now decline to recount, because we know it would be tedious.

(c) Justin Martyr, Apologia, II, 10, 13. (MSG, 6:459, 466.)

Ch. 10. Our doctrines, then, appear to be greater than all human teaching; because Christ who appeared for our sakes, [pg 073] became the whole rational being,35 body and reason and soul. For whatever either law-givers or philosophers uttered well they elaborated by finding and contemplating some part of the Logos. But since they did not know the whole of the Logos, which is Christ, they often contradicted themselves. And those who by human birth were more ancient than Christ, when they attempted to consider and prove things by reason, were brought before the tribunals as impious persons and busybodies. And Socrates, who was more zealous in this direction than all of them, was accused of the very same crimes as ourselves. For they said that he was introducing new divinities, and did not consider those to be gods whom the State recognized. But he cast out from the State both Homer and the rest of the poets, and taught men to reject the wicked demons and those who did the things which the poets related; and he exhorted them to become acquainted with the God who was unknown to them, by means of the investigation of reason, saying, “That it is not easy to find the Father and Maker of all, nor, having found Him, is it safe to declare Him to all.”36 But these things our Christ did through His own power. For no one trusted in Socrates so as to die for this doctrine, but in Christ, who was partially known even by Socrates (for He was and is the Logos who is in every man, and who foretold the things that were to come to pass both through the prophets and in His own person when He was made of like passions and taught these things), not only philosophers and scholars believed, but also artisans and people entirely uneducated, despising both glory and fear and death; since He is the power of the ineffable Father, and not the mere instrument of human reason.37

Ch. 13. … I confess that I both boast and with all my strength strive to be found a Christian; not because the teachings of Plato are different from those of Christ, but [pg 074] because they are not in all respects similar, as neither are those of others, Stoics, poets, and historians. For each man spoke well in proportion to the share he had of the spermatic divine Logos, seeing what was related to it. But they who contradict themselves on the more important points appear not to have possessed the heavenly wisdom and the knowledge which cannot be spoken against. Whatever things were rightly said among all men are the property of us Christians. For next to God we worship and love the Logos, who is from the unbegotten and ineffable God, since also He became man for our sakes, that, becoming a partaker of our sufferings, He might also bring us healing. For all the writers were able to see realities darkly through the sowing of the implanted Logos that was in them. For the seed of anything and a copy imparted according to capacity [i.e., to receive] is one thing, and quite another is the thing itself, of which there is the participation and imitation according to the grace which is from Him.

(d) Justin Martyr, Apologia, I, 31, 53. (MSG, 6:375, 406.)
The argument from prophecy.

Ch. 31. There were then among the Jews certain men who were prophets of God, through whom the prophetic Spirit [context shows that the Logos is here meant] published beforehand things that were to come to pass before they happened. And their prophecies, as they were spoken and when they were uttered, the kings who were among the Jews at the several times carefully preserved in their possession, when they had been arranged by the prophets themselves in their own Hebrew language.… They are also in possession of all Jews throughout the world.… In these books of the prophets we found Jesus our Christ foretold as coming, born of a virgin, growing up to manhood, and healing every disease and every sickness, and raising the dead, and being hated and unrecognized, and crucified, and dying, and rising again, and ascending into heaven, and both being and also [pg 075] called the Son of God, and that certain persons should be sent by Him into every race of men to publish these things, and that rather among the Gentiles [than among the Jews] men should believe on Him. And He was predicted before He appeared first 5,000 years before, and again 3,000, then 2,000 then 1,000, and yet again 800; for according to the succession of generations prophets after prophets arose.

Ch. 53. Though we have many other prophecies, we forbear to speak, judging these sufficient for the persuasion of those who have ears capable of hearing and understanding; and considering also that these persons are able to see that we do not make assertions, and are unable to produce proof, like those fables that are told of the reputed sons of Jupiter. For with what reason should we believe of a crucified man that He is the first-born of the unbegotten God, and Himself will pass judgment on the whole human race, unless we found testimonies concerning Him published before He came and was born as a man, and unless we saw that things had happened accordingly?

Chapter II. The Internal Crisis: The Gnostic And Other Heretical Sects

In the second century the Church passed through an internal crisis even more trying than the great persecutions of the following centuries and with results far more momentous. Of the conditions making possible such a crisis the most important was absence in the Church of norms of faith universally acknowledged as binding. Then, again, many had embraced Christianity without grasping the spirit of the new religion. Nearly all interpreted the Christian faith more or less according to their earlier philosophical or religious conceptions; e.g., the apologists within the Church used the philosophical Logos doctrine. In this way arose numerous interpretations of Christian teaching and perversions of that teaching, some not at all in harmony with the generally received tradition. These discordant interpretations or perversions [pg 076] are the heretical movements of the second century. They varied in every degree of departure from the generally accepted Christian tradition. Some, like the earlier Gnostics (§ 21), and even the greater Gnostic systems (§ 22), at least in their esoteric teaching, show that their principal inspiration was other than Christian; others, as the Gnosticism of Marcion (§ 23) and the enthusiastic sect of the Montanists (§ 25), seem to have built largely upon exaggerated Christian tenets, contained, indeed, in the New Testament, but not fully appreciated by the majority of Christians; or still others, as the Encratites (§ 24), laid undue stress upon what was generally recognized as an element of Christian morality.

The principal source materials for the history of Gnosticism and other heresies of this chapter may be found collected and provided with commentary in Hilgenfeld, Ketzergeschichte des Urchristenthums, Leipsic, 1884.

§ 21. The Earlier Gnostics: Gnosticism in General

Gnosticism is a generic name for a vast number of syncretistic religious systems prevalent, especially in the East, both before and after the Christian era. For the most part the movement was outside of Christianity, and was already dying out when Christianity appeared. It derived its essential features from Persian and Babylonian sources and was markedly dualistic. As it spread toward the West, it adopted many Western elements, making use of Christian ideas and terms and Greek philosophical concepts. Modified by such new matter, it obtained a renewed lease of life. In proportion as the various schools of Gnosticism became more influenced by Christian elements, they were more easily confused with [pg 077] Christianity, and accordingly more dangerous to it. Among such were the greater schools of Basilides and Valentinus (see next section). The doctrines of Gnosticism were held by many who were nominally within the Church. The tendency of the Gnostics and their adherents was to form little coteries and to keep much of their teaching secret from those who were attracted by their more popular tenets. The esoteric element seems to have been the so-called “systems” in which the fanciful and mythological element in Gnosticism appears. This, as being the most vulnerable part of the Gnostic teaching, was attacked most bitterly by the opponents of heresy. There are no extant writings of the earlier Gnostics, Simon, Menander, or Cerinthus. They are known only from Christian opponents.

Sources for the history of Gnosticism: The leading sources are the Church Fathers Irenæus, Hippolytus, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria (all translated in ANF), Origen (in part only translated in ANF), and Epiphanius. The accounts of these bitter enemies must necessarily be used with caution. They contain, however, numerous fragments from Gnostic writings. The fragments in the ante-Nicene Fathers may be found in A. Hilgenfeld, op. cit., in Greek, with commentary. For the literary remains of Gnosticism, see Krüger, §§ 22-31. The more accessible are: Acts of Thomas (best Greek text by Bonnet, Leipsic, 1903, German translation with excellent commentary in E. Hennecke, Neutestamentliche Apokryphen, Tübingen and Leipsic, 1904); Ptolemæus, Epistle to Flora (in Epiphanius, Panarion, Hær. XXXIII); Hymn of the Soul, from the Acts of Thomas (text and English translation by Bevan in Text and Studies, V, 3, Cambridge, 1897, also translated in F. C. Burkitt, Early Eastern Christianity, N. Y., 1904).

(a) Tertullian, De Præscriptione Hæreticorum, 7. (MSL, 2:21.)
A wide-spread opinion that Gnosticism was fundamentally a perversion of Christianity finds its most striking expression in the phrase of Harnack that it was the acute secularizing or Hellenizing of Christianity [pg 078] (History of Dogma, English translation, I, 226). The foundation for this representation is the later Gnosticism, which took over many Christian and Greek elements, and the opinion of Tertullian that Gnosticism and Greek philosophy discussed the same questions and held the same opinions. (Cf. the thesis of Hippolytus in his Philosophumena, or the Refutation of All Heresies; see the Proemium, ANF, V, 9 f., and especially bk. VII.) Tertullian, although retaining unconsciously the impress of his former Stoicism, was violently opposed to philosophy, and in his denunciation of heresy felt that it was a powerful argument against the Gnostics to show similarities between their teaching and the Greek philosophy he so heartily detested. It is a brilliant work and may be taken as a fair specimen of Tertullian's style.

These are the doctrines of men and of demons born of the spirit of this world's wisdom, for itching ears; and the Lord, calling this foolishness, chose the foolish things of this world to the confusion of philosophy itself. For philosophy is the material of the world's wisdom, the rash interpreter of the nature and dispensation of God. Indeed, heresies themselves are instigated by philosophy. From this source came the eons, and I know not what infinite forms, and the trinity of man in the system of Valentinus; he was of Plato's school. From this source came Marcion's better god with all his tranquillity; he came of the Stoics. Then again the opinion that the soul dies is held by the Epicureans. The denial of the resurrection of the body is taken from the united schools of all philosophers. When matter is made equal to God, you have the teaching of Zeno; and when anything is alleged touching a fiery god, then Heraclitus comes in. The same subject-matter is discussed over and over again by the heretics and the philosophers; the same arguments are involved. Whence and wherefore is evil? Whence and how has come man? Besides these there is the question which Valentinus has very recently proposed, Whence comes God?

(b) Irenæus, Adv. Hær., I, 23. (MSG, 7:670.)
Simon Magus. For additional source material, see Justin Martyr, Apol. I, 26, 56, Dial. c. Tryph., 120; Hippolytus, Ref. VI, 72 f. The appearance of Simon in the pseudo-Clementine literature (translated in ANF, VIII), presents an interesting historical problem. The [pg 079] present condition of investigation is given in the article Clementine Literature by J. V. Bartlett, in Encyc. Brit., eleventh ed.

Simon the Samaritan, that magician of whom Luke, the disciple and follower of the Apostles, says: “But there was a certain man, Simon by name,” etc. [Acts 8:9-11, 20, 21, 23.] Since he did not put his faith in God a whit more, he set himself eagerly to contend against the Apostles, in order that he himself might seem to be a wonderful being, and studied with still greater zeal the whole range of magic art, that he might the better bewilder the multitude of men. Such was his procedure in the reign of Claudius Cæsar, by whom also he is said to have been honored with a statue on account of his magic. This man, then, was glorified by many as a god, and he taught that it was he himself who appeared among the Jews as the Son, but descended in Samaria as the Father, while he came to other nations in the character of the Holy Spirit. He represented himself as the loftiest of all powers, that it is he who is over all as the Father, and he allowed himself to be called whatsoever men might name him.

Now this Simon of Samaria, from whom all heresies derive their origin, has as the material for his sect the following: Having redeemed from slavery at Tyre, a city of Phœnicia, a certain woman named Helena,38 a prostitute, he was in the habit of carrying her about with him, declaring that she was the first conception [Ennœa] of his mind, the mother of all, by whom he conceived in his mind to make the angels and archangels. For this Ennœa, leaping forth from him and comprehending the will of her father, descended to the lower regions and generated angels and powers, by whom, also, he declared this world was made. But after she had generated them she was detained by them through jealousy, because they were unwilling that they should be regarded as the progeny of any other being. As to himself, he was wholly unknown to them, but his Ennœa was detained by those powers and [pg 080] angels who had been produced by her. She suffered all kinds of contumely from them, so that she could not return upward to her father, but was even shut up in a human body and for ages passed in succession from one female body to another, as from one vessel to another vessel. She was in that Helen on whose account the Trojan War was undertaken; wherefore also Stesichorus was struck blind, because he cursed her in his poems; but afterward, when he had repented and written those verses which are called palinodes, in which he sung her praises, he saw once more. Thus passing from body to body and suffering insults in every one of them, she at last became a common prostitute; and she it is who was the lost sheep.

For this purpose he himself had come, that he might win her first and free her from chains, and confer salvation upon men by making himself known to them. For since the angels ruled the world poorly, because each one of them coveted the principal power, he had come to mend matters and had descended, been transfigured and assimilated to powers and angels, so that he might appear among men as man, although he was not a man; and that he was supposed to have suffered in Judea, although he had not suffered. Moreover, the prophets inspired by the angels, who were the makers of the world, pronounced their prophecies; for which reason those who place their trust in him and Helena no longer regard them, but are free to do what they will; for men are saved according to his grace, and not according to their righteous works. For deeds are not righteous in the nature of things, but by mere accident and just as those angels who made the world have determined, seeking by such precepts to bring men into bondage. On this account he promised that the world should be dissolved and that those who are his should be freed from the rule of them who made the world.

Thus, then, the mystic priests belonging to this sect both live profligately and practise magical arts, each one to the extent of his ability. They use exorcisms and incantations, [pg 081] love-potions, also, and charms, as well as those beings who are called “familiars” [paredri] and "dream senders" [oniropompi], and whatever other curious arts can be had are eagerly pressed into their service.

(c) Irenæus, Adv. Hær., I, 23. (MSG, 7:673.)
The system of Menander. Cf. also Eusebius. Hist. Ec., III, 26.

The successor of Simon Magus was Menander, a Samaritan by birth, who also became a perfect adept in magic. He affirms that the first power is unknown to all, but that he himself is the person who has been sent forth by the invisible beings as a saviour for the salvation of men. The world was made by angels, who, as he also, like Simon, says, were produced by the Ennœa, He gives also, as he affirms, by means of the magic which he teaches knowledge, so that one may overcome those angels that made the world. For his disciples obtain the resurrection by the fact that they are baptized into him, and they can die no more, but remain immortal without ever growing old.

(d) Irenæus, Adv. Hær., I, 26. (MSG, 7:686.)
The system of Cerinthus. For additional source material, see Irenæus, III, 3, 4; Hippolytus, Ref. VII, 33; X, 21; Eusebius, Hist. Ec., III, 28.

Cerinthus, again, taught in Asia that the world was not made by the supreme God, but by a power separated and distant from that Ruler [principalitate] who is over the universe, and ignorant of the God who is above all. He represented Jesus as not having been born of a virgin, for this seemed impossible to him, but as having been the son of Joseph and Mary in the same way that all other men are sons, only he was more righteous, prudent, and wise than other men. After his baptism Christ descended upon him in the form of a dove from the Supreme Ruler; and that then he proclaimed the unknown Father and performed miracles. But at last Christ [pg 082] departed from Jesus, and then Jesus suffered and rose again, but Christ remained impassable, since He was a spiritual being.

§ 22. The Greater Gnostic Systems: Basilides and Valentinus

The Gnostic systems having most influence within the Church and effect upon its development were those of Basilides and Valentinus. Of these teachers and their followers we have not only the accounts of those opponents who attacked principally their esoteric and most characteristically Gnostic tenets, but also fragments and other remains which give a more favorable impression of the religious and moral value of the great schools of Gnosticism. In their “systems” of vast theogonies and cosmologies, in their wild mythological treatment of the most abstract conceptions and their dualism, the Church writers naturally saw at once their most vulnerable and most dangerous element.

A. The School of Basilides

The school of Basilides marks the beginning of the distinctively Hellenistic stadium of Gnosticism. Basilides, its founder, apparently worked first in the East; circa 120-130 he was at Alexandria. He was the first important Gnostic writer. Of his Gospel, Commentary on that Gospel in twenty-four books (Exegetica), and his odes only fragments remain of the second, preserved by Clement of Alexandria and in the Acta Archelai (collected by Hilgenfeld, Ketzergeschichte, 207-213).

Additional source material: Clement of Alexandria, Strom., II, 3, 8, 20; IV, 24, 26 (ANF. II); Hippolytus, Ref., VII, 20-27; X, 14 (=VII, 1-15, X, 10, ANF, V); Eusebius, Hist. Ec., IV. 7. The account of Hippolytus differs markedly from that of Irenæus, and his quotations and references have been the subject of long dispute among scholars.

(a) Acta Archelai, 55. (MSG, 10:1526.)
The Acta Archelai purport to be an account of a disputation held in the reign of the Emperor Probus (276-282) by Archelaus, Bishop of Kaskar in Mesopotamia, with Mani, the founder of Manichæanism. [pg 083] The work is of uncertain authorship; it belongs to the first part of the fourth century. It is the most important source for the Manichæan doctrine (v. infra, § 54). It exists only in a Latin translation probably from a Greek original.

Among the Persians there was also a certain preacher, one Basilides, of more ancient date, not long after the time of our Apostles. Since he was of a shrewd disposition himself, and observed that at that time all other subjects were preoccupied, he determined to affirm that dualism which was maintained also by Scythianus. And so, since he had nothing to advance which he might call his own, he brought the sayings of others before his adversaries. And all his books contain some matters difficult and extremely harsh. The thirteenth book of his Tractates,39 however, is still extant, which begins thus: “In writing the thirteenth book of our Tractates, the word of salvation furnished us with the necessary and fruitful word. It illustrates40 under the figure of a rich [principle] and a poor [principle], a nature without root and without place and only supervenes upon things.41 This is the only topic which the book contains.” Does it not, then, contain a strange word, as also certain persons think? Will ye not all be offended with the book itself, of which this is the beginning? But Basilides, returning to the subject, some five hundred lines intervening, more or less, says: “Give up this vain and curious variation, and let us rather find out what inquiries the Barbarians [i.e., the Persians] have instituted concerning good and evil, and to what opinions they have come on all these subjects. For certain among them have said that there are for all things two beginnings [or principles], to which they have referred good and evil, holding these principles are without beginning and ingenerate; that is to say, that in the origins of things there were light and darkness, which existed of themselves, and which were not declared to exist.42 When these subsisted [pg 084] by themselves, they each led its own proper mode of life as it willed to lead, and such as was competent to it. For in the case of all things, what is proper to it is in amity with it, and nothing seems evil to itself. But after they came to the knowledge of each other, and after the darkness contemplated the light, then, as if fired with a passion for something superior, the darkness rushed to have intercourse with the light.”

(b) Clement of Alexandria, Strom., IV, 12. (MSG, 8:1289.)
Basilides taught the transmigration of souls as an explanation of human suffering. Cf. Origen in Ep. ad Rom., V: I [Paul], he says, died [Rom. 7:9], for now sin began to be reckoned unto me. But Basilides, not noticing that these things ought to be understood of the natural law, according to impious and foolish fables turns this apostolic saying into the Pythagorean dogma, that is, attempts to prove from this word of the Apostle that souls are transferred from one body to another. For he says that the Apostle has said, I lived without any lawi.e., before I came into the body I lived in that sort of body which is not under the law, i.e., of beasts and birds.

Basilides, in the twenty-third book of the Exegetics, respecting those that are punished by martyrdom, expresses himself in the following language: “For I say this, Whosoever fall under the afflictions mentioned, in consequence of unconsciously transgressing in other matters, are brought to this good end by the kindness of Him who brings about all things, though they are accused on other grounds; so that they may not suffer as condemned for what are acknowledged to be iniquities, nor reproached as the adulterer or the murderer, but because they are Christians; which will console them, so that they do not appear to suffer. And if one who has not sinned at all incur suffering (a rare case), yet even he will not suffer aught through the machinations of power, but will suffer as the child which seems not to have sinned would suffer.” Then further on he adds: “As, then, the child which has not sinned before, nor actually committed sin, but has in itself that which committed sin, when subjected [pg 085] to suffering is benefited, reaping the advantage of many difficulties; so, also, although a perfect man may not have sinned in act, and yet endures afflictions, he suffers similarly with the child. Having within him the sinful principle, but not embracing the opportunity of committing sin, he does not sin; so that it is to be reckoned to him as not having sinned. For as he who wishes to commit adultery is an adulterer, although he fails to commit adultery, and he who wishes to commit murder is a murderer, although he is unable to kill; so, also, if I see the man without sin, whom I refer to, suffering, though he have done nothing bad, I should call him bad on account of the wish to sin. For I will affirm anything rather than call Providence evil.” Then, in continuation, he says expressly concerning the Lord, as concerning man: “If, then, passing from all these observations, you were to proceed to put me to shame by saying, perchance impersonating certain parties, This man has then sinned, for this man has suffered; if you permit, I will say, He has not sinned, but was like a child suffering. If you insist more urgently, I would say, That the man you name is man, but God is righteous, ‘for no one is pure,’ as one said, ‘from pollution.’ ” But the hypothesis of Basilides says that the soul, having sinned before in another life, endures punishment in this—the elect soul with honor by martyrdom, the other purged by appropriate punishment.

(c) Irenæus, Adv. Hær., I, 24:3 ff. (MSG, 7:675.)
The system of Basilides, as presented by Irenæus, is dualistic and emanationist; with it is to be compared the presentation of the system by Hippolytus in his Philosophumena, where it appears as evolutionary and pantheistic. The trend of present opinion appears to be that the account given by Irenæus is more correct, or, at least, is earlier. The following account has all the appearance of having been taken from an original source (cf. Hilgenfeld, Ketzergeschichte, 195, 198). It represents the esoteric and more distinctively Gnostic teaching of the school.

Ch. 3. Basilides, to appear to have discovered something more sublime and plausible, gives an immense development [pg 086] to his doctrine. He declares that in the beginning the Nous was born of the unborn Father, that from him in turn was born the Logos, then from the Logos the Phronesis, from the Phronesis Sophia and Dynamis, and from Dynamis and Sophia the powers and principalities and angels, whom he calls the first; and that by these the first heaven was made. Then by emanation from these others were formed, and these created another heaven similar to the first. And in like manner, when still others had been formed by emanations from these, corresponding to those who were over them, they framed another third heaven; and from this third heaven downward there was a fourth succession of descendants; and so on, in the same manner, they say that other and still other princes and angels were formed, and three hundred and sixty-five heavens. Wherefore the year contained the same number of days in conformity with the number of the heavens.

Ch. 4. The angels occupying the lowest heaven, that, namely, which is visible to us, created all those things which are in the world, and made allotments among themselves of the earth, and of those nations which are upon it. The chief of them is he who is thought to be the God of the Jews. Inasmuch as he wished to make the other nations subject to his own people, the Jews, all the other princes resisted and opposed him. Wherefore all other nations were hostile to his nation. But the unbegotten and nameless Father, seeing their ruin, sent his own first-begotten Nous, for he it is who is called Christ, to set free from the power of those who made the world them that believe in him. He therefore appeared on earth as a man to the nations of those powers and wrought miracles. Wherefore he did not himself suffer death, but Simon, a certain Cyrenian, was compelled and bore the cross in his stead; and this latter was transfigured by him that he might be thought to be Jesus and was crucified through ignorance and error; but Jesus himself took the form of Simon and stood by and derided him. For as he is an incorporeal power and the Nous of the unborn Father, he [pg 087] transfigured himself at pleasure, and so ascended to him who had sent him, deriding them, inasmuch as he could not be held, and was invisible to all. Those, then, who know these things have been freed from the princes who made the world; so that it is not necessary to confess him who was crucified, but him who came in the form of a man, and was thought to have been crucified, and was called Jesus, and was sent by the Father, that by this dispensation he might destroy the works of the makers of the world. Therefore, Basilides says that if any one confesses the crucified, he is still a slave, under the power of those who made our bodies; but whoever denies him has been freed from these beings and is acquainted with the dispensation of the unknown Father.

Ch. 5. Salvation is only of the soul, for the body is by nature corruptible. He says, also, that even the prophecies were derived from those princes who made the world, but the law was especially given by their chief, who led the people out of the land of Egypt. He attaches no importance to meats offered to idols, thinks them of no consequence, but makes use of them without hesitation. He holds, also, the use of other things as indifferent, and also every kind of lust. These men, furthermore, use magic, images, incantations, invocations, and every other kind of curious arts. Coining also certain names as if they were those of the angels, they assert that some of these belong to the first, others to the second, heaven; and then they strive to set forth the names, principles, angels, powers, of the three hundred and sixty-five imagined heavens. They also affirm that the name in which the Saviour ascended and descended is Caulacau.43

Ch. 6. He, then, who has learned these things, and known all the angels and their causes, is rendered invisible and incomprehensible to the angels and powers, even as Caulacau also was. And as the Son was unknown to all, so must they also be known by no one; but while they know all and pass [pg 088] through all, they themselves remain invisible and unknown to all; for “Do thou,” they say, “know all, but let nobody know thee.” For this reason, persons of such a persuasion are also ready to recant, yea, rather, it is impossible that they should suffer on account of a mere name, since they are alike to all. The multitude, however, cannot understand these matters, but only one out of a thousand, or two out of ten thousand. They declare that they are no longer Jews, and that they are not yet Christians; and that it is not at all fitting to speak openly of their mysteries, but right to keep them secret by preserving silence.

Ch. 7. They make out the local position of the three hundred and sixty-five heavens in the same way as do the mathematicians. For, accepting the theorems of the latter, they have transferred them to their own style of doctrine. They hold that their chief is Abraxas [or Abrasax]; and on this account that the word contains in itself the numbers amounting to three hundred and sixty-five.

B. The School of Valentinus

The Valentinians were the most important of all the Gnostics closely connected with the Church. The school had many adherents scattered throughout the Roman Empire, its leading teachers were men of culture and literary ability, and the sect maintained itself a long time. Valentinus himself was a native of Egypt, and probably educated at Alexandria, where he may have come under the influence of Basilides. He taught his own system chiefly at Rome c. 140-c. 160. The great work of Irenæus against the Gnostics, although having all Gnostics in view, especially deals with the Valentinians in their various forms, because Irenæus was of the opinion that he who refutes their system refutes all (cf. Adv. Hær., IV, præf., 2). It is difficult to reconstruct with certainty the esoteric system of Valentinus as distinguished from possibly later developments of the school, as Irenæus, the principal authority, follows not only Valentinus, but Ptolomæus [pg 089] and others, in describing the system. The following selection of sources gives fragments of the letters and other writings of Valentinus himself as preserved by Clement of Alexandria, passages from Irenæus bringing out distinctive features of the system, and the important letter of Ptolemæus to Flora, one of the very few extant writings of the Gnostics of an early date. It gives a good idea of the character of the exoteric teaching of the school.

Additional source material: The principal authority for the system of the Valentinians is Irenæus, Adv. Hær., Lib. I (ANF), see also Hippolytus, Refut., VI, 24-32 (ANF); The Hymn of the Soul, from the Acts of Thomas, trans. by A. A. Bevan, Texts and Studies, III, Cambridge, 1897; The Fragments of Heracleon, trans. by A. E. Burke, Text and Studies, I, Cambridge, 1891; see also ANF, IX, index, p. 526, s. v., Heracleon. The Excerpta Theodoti contained in ANF, VIII, are really the Excerpta Prophetica, another collection, identified with the Excerpta Theodoti by mistake of the editor of the American edition, A. C. Coxe (on the Excerpta, see Zahn, History of the Canon of the New Testament).
(a) Clement of Alexandria, Strom., IV, 13. (MSG, 8:1296.)
The following passages appear to be taken from the same homily of Valentinus. The pneumatics are naturally immortal, but have assumed mortality to overcome it. Death is the work of the imperfect Demiurge. The concluding portion, which is very obscure, does not fit well into the Valentinian system. Cf. Hilgenfeld, op. cit., p. 300.

Valentinian in a homily writes in these words: “Ye are originally immortal, and ye are children of eternal life, and ye desired to have death distributed to you, that ye may spend and lavish it, and that death may die in you and by you; for when ye dissolve the world, and are not yourselves dissolved, ye have dominion over creation and all corruption.”44 For he also, similarly with Basilides, supposes a class saved by nature [i.e., the pneumatics, v. infra], and that this different race has come hither to us from above for the abolition of death, and that the origin of death is the work of the Creator [pg 090] of the world. Wherefore, also, he thus expounds that Scripture, “No one shall see the face of God and live” [Ex. 33:20], as if He were the cause of death. Respecting this God, he makes those allusions, when writing, in these expressions: “As much as the image is inferior to the living face, so much is the world inferior to the living Eon. What is, then, the cause of the image? It is the majesty of the face, which exhibits the figure to the painter, to be honored by his name; for the form is not found exactly to the life, but the name supplies what is wanting in that which is formed. The invisibility of God co-operates also for the sake of the faith of that which has been fashioned.” For the Demiurge, called God and Father, he designated the image and prophet of the true God, as the Painter, and Wisdom, whose image, which is formed, is to the glory of the invisible One; since the things which proceed from a pair [syzygy] are complements [pleromata], and those which proceed from one are images. But since what is seen is no part of Him, the soul [psyche] comes from what is intermediate, and is different; and this is the inspiration of the different spirit. And generally what is breathed into the soul, which is the image of the spirit [pneuma], and in general, what is said of the Demiurge, who was made according to the image, they say was foretold by a sensible image in the book of Genesis respecting the origin of man; and the likeness they transfer to themselves, teaching that the addition of the different spirit was made, unknown to the Demiurge.

(b) Clement of Alexandria, Strom., II, 20. (MSG, 8:1057.)
According to Basilides, the various passions of the soul were no original parts of the soul, but appendages to the soul. They were in essence certain spirits attached to the rational soul, through some original perturbation and confusion; and that again, other bastard and heterogeneous natures of spirits grow onto them, like that of the wolf, the ape, the lion, and the goat, whose properties, showing themselves around the soul, they say, assimilate the lusts of the soul to the likeness of these animals. See the whole passage immediately preceding the following fragment. The fragment can best be understood by reference [pg 091] to the presentation of the system by W. Bousset in Encyc. Brit., eleventh ed., art. Basilides.

Valentinus, too, in a letter to certain people, writes in these very words respecting the appendages: “There is One good, by whose presence is the manifestation, which is by the Son, and by Him alone can the heart become pure, by the expulsion of every evil spirit from the heart; for the multitude of spirits dwelling in it do not suffer it to be pure; but each of them performs his own deeds, insulting it oft with unseemly lusts. And the heart seems to be treated somewhat like a caravansary. For the latter has holes and ruts made in it, and is often filled with filthy dung; men living filthily in it, and taking no care for the place as belonging to others. So fares it with the heart as long as there is no thought taken for it, being unclean and the abode of demons many. But when the only good Father visits it, it is sanctified and gleams with light. And he who possesses such a heart is so blessed that he shall see God.”

(c) Clement of Alexandria, Strom., II. 8. (MSG, 8:972.)
The teaching in the following passage attaches itself to the text, The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom (cf. Prov. 1:7). Compare with it Irenæus, Adv. Hær., I, 30:6.

Here the followers of Basilides, interpreting this expression [Prov. 1:7] say that “the Archon, having heard the speech of the Spirit, who was being ministered to, was struck with amazement both with the voice and the vision, having had glad tidings beyond his hopes announced to him; and that his amazement was called fear, which became the origin of wisdom, which distinguishes classes, and discriminates, and perfects, and restores. For not the world alone, but also the election, He that is over all has set apart and sent forth.”

And Valentinus appears also in an epistle to have adopted such views. For he writes in these very words: “And as terror fell on the angels at this creature, because he uttered things greater than proceeds from his formation, by reason [pg 092] of the being in him who had invisibly communicated a germ of the supernal essence, and who spoke with free utterance; so, also, among the tribes of men in the world the works of men became terrors to those who made them—as, for example, images and statues. And the hands of all fashion things to bear the image of God; for Adam, formed into the name of man, inspired the dread attaching to the pre-existing man, as having his being in him; and they were terror-stricken and speedily marred the work.”

(d) Clement of Alexandria, Strom., III, 7. (MSG, 8:1151.)
The Docetism of Valentinus comes out in the following. It is to be noted that Clement not only does not controvert the position taken by the Gnostic as to the reality of the bodily functions of Jesus, but in his own person makes almost the same assertions (cf. Strom., VI, 9). He might indeed call himself, as he does in this latter passage, a Gnostic in the sense of the true or Christian Gnostic, but he comes very close to the position of the non-Christian Gnostic.

Valentinus in an epistle to Agathopous says: “Since He endured all things, and was continent [i.e., self-controlled], Jesus, accordingly, obtained for Himself divinity. He ate and drank in a peculiar manner, not giving forth His food. Such was the power of His continence [self-control] that the food was not corrupted in Him, because He himself was without corruption.”

(e) Irenæus, Adv. Hær., I, 7, 15; I, 8, 23. (MSG, 7:517, 528.)
The division of mankind into three classes, according to their nature and consequent capacity for salvation, is characteristic of the Valentinian Gnosticism. The other Gnostics divided mankind into two classes: those capable of salvation, or the pneumatics, or Gnostics, and those who perish in the final destruction of material existence, or the hylics. Valentinus avails himself of the notion of the trichotomy of human nature, and gives a place for the bulk of Christians, those who did not embrace Gnosticism; cf. Irenæus, ibid., I, 6. Valentinus remained long within the Church, accommodating his teaching as far as possible, and in its exoteric side very fully, to the current teaching of the Church. The doctrine as to the psychics, capable of a limited salvation, appears to be a part of this accommodation.
[pg 093]

I, 7, 5. The Valentinians conceive of three kinds of men: the pneumatic [or spiritual], the choic [or material],45 and the psychic [or animal]; such were Cain, Abel, and Seth. These three natures are no longer in one person, but in the race. The material goes to destruction. The animal, if it chooses the better part, finds repose in an intermediate place; but if it chooses the worse, it, too, goes to the same [destruction]. But they assert that the spiritual principles, whatever Acamoth has sown, being disciplined and nourished here from that time until now in righteous souls, because they were sent forth weak, at last attain perfection and shall be given as brides46 to the angels of the Saviour, but their animal souls necessarily rest forever with the Demiurge in the intermediate place. And again subdividing the animal souls themselves, they say that some are by nature good and others are by nature evil. The good are those who become capable of receiving the seed; the evil by nature, those who are never able to receive that seed.

I, 8, 23. The parable of the leaven which the woman is said to have hid in three measures of meal they declare manifests the three kinds of men: pneumatic, psychic, and the choic, but the leaven denoted the Saviour himself. Paul also very plainly set forth the choic, the psychic, and the pneumatic, saying in one place: “As is the earthy [choic] such are they also that are earthy” [I Cor. 15:48]; and in another place, “He that is spiritual [pneumatic] judgeth all things” [I Cor. 2:14]. And the passage, “The animal man receiveth not the things of the spirit” [I Cor. 2:15], they affirm was spoken concerning the Demiurge, who, being psychic, knew neither his mother, who was spiritual, nor her seed, nor the Eons in the pleroma.

(f) Irenæus. Adv. Hær., I, 1. (MSG, 7:445 f.)
The following passage appears, from the context, to have been written with the teaching of Ptolemæus especially in mind. It should [pg 094] be compared with the account further on in the same book, I, 11: 1-3. The syzygies are characteristic of the Valentinian teaching, and the symbolism of marriage plays an important part in the system of all the Valentinians. In the words of Duchesne (Hist. ancienne de l'église, sixth ed., p. 171): Valentinian Gnosticism is from one end to the other a marriage Gnosticism. From the most abstract origins of being to their end, there are only syzygies, marriages, and generations. For the connection between these conceptions and antinomianism, see Irenæus, Adv. Hær., I, 6:3 f. For their sacramental application, ibid., I, 21:3. Cf. I, 13:3, a passage which seems to belong to the sacrament of the bridal chamber.

They [the Valentinians] say that in the invisible and ineffable heights above there exists a certain perfect, pre-existent Eon, and him they call Proarche, Propator, and Bythos; and that he is invisible and that nothing is able to comprehend him. Since he is comprehended by no one, and is invisible, eternal, and unbegotten, he was in silence and profound quiescence in the boundless ages. There existed along with him Ennœa, whom they call Charis and Sige. And at a certain time this Bythos determined to send forth from himself the beginnings of all things, and just as seed he wished to send forth this emanation, and he deposited it in the womb of her who was with him, even of Sige. She then received this seed, and becoming pregnant, generated Nous, who was both similar and equal to him who had sent him forth47 and alone comprehended his father's greatness. This Nous they also call Monogenes and Father and the Beginning of all Things. Along with him was also sent forth Aletheia; and these four constituted the first and first-begotten Pythagorean Tetrad, which also they denominate the root of all things. For there are first Bythos and Sige, and then Nous and Aletheia. And Monogenes, when he perceived for what purpose he had been sent forth, also himself sent forth Logos and Zoe, being the father of all those who are to come after him, and the beginning and fashioning of the entire [pg 095] pleroma. From Logos and Zoe were sent forth, by a conjunction, Anthropos and Ecclesia, and thus were formed the first-begotten Ogdoad, the root and substance of all things, called among them by four names; namely, Bythos, Nous, Logos, and Anthropos. For each of these is at once masculine and feminine, as follows: Propator was united by a conjunction with his Ennœa, then Monogenes (i.e., Nous) with Aletheia, Logos with Zoe, Anthropos with Ecclesia.

(g) Ptolemæus, Epistula ad Floram, ap. Epiphanius, Panarion, Hær. XXXIII, 3. Ed. Oehler, 1859. (MSG, 41:557.)
Ptolemæus was possibly the most important disciple of Valentinus. and the one to whom Irenæus is most indebted for his first-hand knowledge of the teaching of the sect of the Valentinians. Of his writings have been preserved, in addition to numerous brief fragments, a connected passage of some length, apparently from a commentary on the Prologue or the Gospel of St. John (see Irenæus, Adv. Hær., I, 8:5), and the Epistle to Flora. The commentary is distinctly a part of the esoteric teaching, the epistle is as clearly exoteric.

That many have not48 received the Law given by Moses, my dear sister Flora, without recognizing either its fundamental ideas or its precepts, will be perfectly clear to you, I believe, if you become acquainted with the different views regarding the same. For some [i.e., the Church] say that it was commanded by God and the Father; but others [i.e., the Marcionites], taking the opposite direction, affirm that it was commanded by an opposing and injurious devil, and they attribute to him the creation of the world, and say that he is the Father and Creator. But such as teach such doctrine are altogether deceived, and each of them strays from the truth of what lies before him. For it appears not to have been given by the perfect God and Father, because it is itself imperfect, and it needs to be completed [cf. Matt. 5:17], and it has precepts not consonant with the nature and mind of God; neither is the Law to be attributed to the wickedness [pg 096] of the adversary, whose characteristic is to do wrong. Such do not know what was spoken by the Saviour, that a city or a house divided against itself cannot stand, as our Saviour has shown us. And besides, the Apostle says that the creation of the world was His work (all things were made by Him and without Him nothing was made), refuting the unsubstantial wisdom of lying men, the work not of a god working ruin, but a just one who hates wickedness. This is the opinion of rash men who do not understand the cause of the providence of the Creator [Demiurge] and have lost the eyes not only of their soul, but of their body. How far, therefore, such wander from the way of truth is evident to you from what has been said. But each of these is induced by something peculiar to himself to think thus, some by ignorance of the God of righteousness: others by ignorance of the Father of all, whom the Only One who knew Him alone revealed when He came. To us it has been reserved to be deemed worthy of making manifest to you the ideas of both of these, and to investigate carefully this Law, whence anything is, and the law-giver by whom it was commanded, bringing proofs of what shall be said from the words of our Saviour, by which alone one can be led without error to the knowledge of things.

First of all, it is to be known that the entire Law contained in the Pentateuch of Moses was not given by one—I mean not by God alone; but some of its precepts were given by men, and the words of the Saviour teach us to divide it into three parts. For He attributes some of it to God himself and His law-giving, and some to Moses, not in the sense that God gave laws through him, but in the sense that Moses, impelled by his own spirit, set down some things as laws; and He attributes some things to the elders of the people, who first discovered certain commandments of their own and then inserted them. How this was so you clearly learn from the words of the Saviour. Somewhere the Saviour was conversing with the people, who disputed with Him about divorce, that it was allowed in the Law, and He said to them: Moses, [pg 097] on account of the hardness of your hearts, permitted a man to divorce his wife; but from the beginning it was not so. For God, said He, joined this bond, and what the Lord joined together let not man, He said, put asunder. He therefore pointed out one law that forbids a woman to be separated from her husband, which was of God, and another, which was of Moses, that allows, on account of the hardness of men's hearts, the bond to be dissolved. And accordingly, Moses gives a law opposed to God, for it is opposed to the law forbidding divorce. But if we consider carefully the mind of Moses, according to which he thus legislated, we shall find that he did not do this of his own mere choice, but by constraint because of the weakness of those to whom he was giving the law. For since they were not able to observe that precept of God by which it was not permitted them to cast forth their wives, with whom some of them lived unhappily, and because of this they were in danger of falling still more into unrighteousness, and from that into utter ruin, Moses, intending to avoid this unhappy result, because they were in danger of ruin, gave a certain second law, according to circumstances less evil, in place of the better; and by his own authority gave the law of divorce to them, that if they could not keep that they might keep this, and should not fall into unrighteousness and wickedness by which complete ruin should overtake them. This was his purpose in as far as he is found giving laws contrary to God. That thus the law of Moses is shown to be other than the Law of God is indisputable, if we have shown it in one instance.

And as to there being certain traditions of the elders which have been incorporated in the Law, the Saviour shows this also. For God, said He, commanded: Honor thy father and thy mother, that it may be well with thee. But ye, He said, addressing the elders, have said: It is a gift to God, that by which ye might be profited by me, and ye annul the law of God by the traditions of your elders. And this very thing Isaiah declared when he said: This people honor me with [pg 098] their lips, but their heart is far from me, vainly do they worship me, teaching the doctrines and commandment of men [cf. Matt. 15:4-9.] Clearly, then, from these things it is shown that this whole Law is to be divided into three parts. And in it we find laws given by Moses, by the elders, and by God; and this division of the whole Law as we have made it, has shown the real truth as to the Law.

But one portion of the Law, that which is from God, is again to be divided into three parts: first, into the genuine precepts, quite untainted with evil, which is properly called the law, and which the Saviour came not to destroy but to complete (for what he completed was not alien to Him, but yet it was not perfect); secondly, the part comprising evil and unrighteous things, which the Saviour did away with as something unfitting His nature; and thirdly, the part which is for types and symbols, which is given as a law, as images of things spiritual and excellent which, from being evident and manifest to the senses, the Saviour changed into the spiritual and unseen. Now the law of God, pure and untainted with anything base, is the Decalogue itself, or those ten precepts distributed in two tables, for the prohibition of things to be avoided and the performance of things to be done. Although they constitute a pure body of laws, yet they are not perfect, but need to be completed by the Saviour. But there is that body of commands which are tainted with unrighteousness; such is the law requiring vengeance and requital of injuries upon those who have first injured us, commanding the smiting out of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth and revenging bloodshed with bloodshed. For one who is second in doing unrighteousness acts no less unrighteously, when the difference is only one of order, doing the self-same work. But such a precept was, and is, in other respects just, because of the infirmity of those to whom the law was given, and it was given in violation of the pure law, and was not consonant with the nature and goodness of the Father of all; it was to a degree appropriate, but yet given under a certain compulsion. [pg 099] For he who forbids the commission of a single murder in that he says, Thou shalt not kill, but commands that he who kills shall in requital be killed, gives a second law and commands a second slaying, when he has forbidden one, and has been compelled to do this by necessity. And therefore the Son, sent by Him, abolishes this portion of the Law, He himself confessing that it is from God, and this, among other things, is to be attributed to an ancient heresy, among which, also, is that God, speaking, says: He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. But there is that part of the Law which is typical, laying down that which is an image of things spiritual and excellent, which gives laws concerning such matters as offerings, I mean, and circumcision, the Sabbath and fasting, the passover and the unleavened bread, and such like. For all these things, being images and symbols of the truth which had been manifested, have been changed. They were abrogated so far as they were external, visible acts of bodily performance, but they were retained so far as they were spiritual, the names remaining, but the things being changed. For the Saviour commands us to present offerings, though not of irrational animals or of incense, but spiritual offerings—praise, glory, and thanksgiving, and also liberality and good deeds toward the neighbor. He would have us circumcised with a circumcision not of the flesh, but spiritual and of the heart; and have us observe the Sabbath, for he wishes us to rest from wicked actions; and fast, but he does not wish us to observe a bodily fast, but a spiritual, in that we abstain from all that is unworthy. External fasting, however, is observed among our people, since it is capable of benefiting the soul to some degree, if it is practised with reason, when it is neither performed from imitation of any one, nor by custom, nor on account of a day, as if a day were set apart for that purpose; and at the same time it is also for a reminder of true fasting, that they who are not able to fast thus may have a reminder of it from the fast which is external. And that the passover, in the same way, and the [pg 100] unleavened bread are images, the Apostle Paul also makes clear, saying: Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us, and That ye may be unleavened, not having any leaven (for he calls leaven wickedness), but that ye may be a new dough.

This entire Law, therefore, acknowledged to be from God, is divided into three parts: into that part which is fulfilled by the Saviour, such as Thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not forswear thyself, for they are included in this, thou shalt not be angry, thou shalt not lust, thou shalt not swear; into that which is completely abolished, such as an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, being tainted with unrighteousness, and having the same work of unrighteousness, and these are taken away by the Saviour because contradictory (for those things which are contradictory are mutually destructive), “For I say unto you that ye in no wise resist evil, but if any one smite thee turn to him the other cheek also;” and into that part which is changed and converted from that which is bodily into that which is spiritual, as he expounds allegorically a symbol which is commanded as an image of things that are excellent. For these images and symbols, fitted to represent other things, were good so long as the truth was not yet present; but when the truth is present, it is necessary to do the things of truth, not the image of truth. The same thing his disciples and the Apostle Paul teach, inasmuch as in regard to things which are images, as we have already said, they show by the passover and the unleavened bread that they are for our sake, but in regard to the law which is tainted with unrighteousness, they call it the law of commandments and ordinances, that is done away; but as to the law which is untainted with evil, he says that the law is holy and the commandment holy and just and good.

Accordingly, I think that it has been sufficiently shown you, so far as it is possible to discuss the matter briefly, that there are laws of men which have slipped in, and there is the very Law of God which is divided into three parts. There remains, [pg 101] therefore, for us to show, who, then, is that God who gave the Law. But I think that this has been shown you in what has already been said, if you have listened attentively. For if the Law was not given by the perfect God, as we have shown, nor by the devil, which idea merely to mention is unlawful, there is another beside these, one who gave the Law. This one is, therefore, the Demiurge and maker of this whole world and of all things in it, different from the nature of the other two, and placed between them, and who therefore rightly bears the name of the Midst. And if the perfect God is good according to His own nature, as also He is (for that there is only One who is good, namely, God and His Father, the Saviour asserted, the God whom He manifested), there is also one who is of the nature of the adversary, bad and wicked and characterized by unrighteousness. Standing, therefore, between these, and being neither good nor bad nor unjust, he can be called righteous in a sense proper to him, as the judge of the righteousness that corresponds to him, and that god will be lower than the perfect God, and his righteousness lower than His, because he is begotten and not unbegotten. For there is one unbegotten One, the Father, from whom are all things, for all things have been prepared by Him. But He is greater and superior to the adversary, and is of a different essence or nature from the essence of the other. For the essence of the adversary is corruption and darkness, for he is hylic and composite,49 but the essence of the unbegotten Father of all is incorruptibility, and He is light itself, simple and uniform. But the essence of these50 brings forth a certain twofold power, and he is the image of the better. Do not let these things disturb you, who wish to learn how from one principle of all things, whom we acknowledge and in whom be believe, namely, the unbegotten and the incorruptible and the good, there exist two other natures, namely, that of corruption and that of the Midst, which are not of [pg 102] the same essence [ἀνομοοῦσιοι], though the good by nature begets and brings forth what is like itself, and of the same essence [ὁμοοῦσιος]. For you will learn by God's permission, in due order, both the beginning of this and its generation, since you are deemed worthy of the apostolic tradition, which by a succession we have received, and in due season to test all things by the teaching of the Saviour. The things which in a few words I have said to you, my sister Flora, I have not exhausted, and I have written briefly. At the same time I have sufficiently explained to you the subject proposed, and what I have said will be constantly of use to you, if as a beautiful and good field you have received the seed and will by it produce fruit.

§ 23. Marcion

Recently Marcion has been commonly treated apart from the Gnostics on account of the large use he made of the Pauline writings. By some he has even been regarded as a champion of Pauline ideas which had failed to hold a place in Christian thought. This opinion of Marcion is being modified under the influence of a larger knowledge of Gnosticism. At the bottom Marcion's doctrine was thoroughly Gnostic, though he differed from the vast majority of Gnostics in that his interest seems to have been primarily ethical rather than speculative. His school maintained itself for some centuries after undergoing some minor modifications. Marcion was teaching at Rome, A. D. 140. The aspersions upon his moral character must be taken with caution, as it had already become a common practice to blacken the character of theological opponents, regardless of the truth, a custom which has not yet wholly disappeared.

Additional source material: Justin Martyr, Apol., I. 26, 58; Irenæus, III. 12:12 ff. The most important source is Tertullian's elaborate Adversus Marcionem, especially I, 1 f., 29; III, 8. 11.
(a) Irenæus, Adv. Hær., I, 27: 1-3. (MSG, 7:687.)
The system of Cerdo and Marcion.
[pg 103]

Ch. 1. A certain Cerdo, who had taken his fundamental ideas from those who were with Simon [i.e., Simon Magus], and who was in Rome in the time of Hyginus, who held the ninth place from the Apostles in the episcopal succession, taught that the God who was preached by the law and the prophets is not the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. For the former is known, but the latter is unknown; and the former is righteous, but the other is good.

Ch. 2. And Marcion of Pontus succeeded him and developed a school, blaspheming shamelessly Him who is proclaimed as God by the law and the prophets; saying that He is maker of evils and a lover of wars, inconstant in purpose and inconsistent with Himself. He said, however, that Jesus came from the Father, who is above the God who made the world, into Judea in the time of Pontius Pilate, the procurator of Tiberius Cæsar, and was manifested in the form of a man to those who were in Judea, destroying the prophets and the law, and all the works of that God who made the world and whom he also called Cosmocrator. In addition to this, he mutilated the Gospel which is according to Luke, and removed all that refers to the generation of the Lord, removing also many things from the teaching in the Lord's discourses, in which the Lord is recorded as very plainly confessing that the founder of this universe is His Father; and thus Marcion persuaded his disciples that he himself is truer than the Apostles who delivered the Gospel; delivering to them not the Gospel but a part of the Gospel. But in the same manner he also mutilated the epistles of the Apostle Paul, removing all that is plainly said by the Apostle concerning that God who made the world, to the effect that He is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and all that the Apostle taught by quotation from the prophetical writings which foretold the coming of the Lord.

Ch. 3. He taught that salvation would be only of the souls of those who should receive his doctrine, and that it is impossible for the body to partake of salvation, because it was taken from the earth.

[pg 104]
(b) Tertullian, Adv. Marcion., I, 19; IV, 2, 3. (MSL, 2: 293. 393.)
Tertullian's great work against Marcion is his most important and most carefully written polemical treatise. He revised it three times. The first book of the present revision dates from A. D. 207; the other books cannot be dated except conjecturally. In spite of the openly displayed hostile animus of the writer, it can be used with confidence when controlled by reference to other sources.

I, 19. Marcion's special and principal work is the separation of the law and the Gospel; and his disciples will not be able to deny that in this they have their best means by which they are initiated into, and confirmed in, this heresy. For these are Marcion's antitheses—that is, contradictory propositions; and they aim at putting the Gospel at variance with the law, that from the diversity of the statements of the two documents they may argue for a diversity of gods, also.

IV, 2. With Marcion the mystery of the Christian religion dates from the discipleship of Luke. Since, however, it was under way previously, it must have had its authentic materials by means of which it found its way down to Luke; and by aid of the testimony which it bore Luke himself becomes admissible.

IV, 3. Well, but because Marcion finds the Epistle to the Galatians by Paul, who rebukes even Apostles for “not walking uprightly according to the truth of the Gospel” [Gal. 2:14], as well as accuses certain false apostles of being perverters of the Gospel of Christ, he attempts to destroy the standing of those gospels which are published as genuine and under the names of Apostles, or of apostolic men, to secure, forsooth, for his own gospel the credit he takes away from them.

(c) Rhodon, in Eusebius, Hist. Ec., V, 13. (MSG, 20:459.)

At this time Rhodon, a native of Asia, who, as he himself states, had been instructed at Rome by Tatian, with whom we have already become acquainted, wrote excellent books, and published among the rest one against the heresy of Marcion which, he says, was in his time divided into various [pg 105] sects; and he describes those who occasioned the division and refutes carefully the falsehood devised by each. But hear what he writes: “Therefore also they have fallen into disagreement among themselves, and maintain inconsistent opinions. For Apelles, one of their herd, priding himself on his manner of life and his age, acknowledged one principle [i.e., source of existence], but says that the prophecies were from an opposing spirit. And he was persuaded of the truth of this by the responses of a demoniac maiden named Philumene. But others hold to two principles, as does the mariner Marcion himself, among these are Potitus and Basiliscus. These, following the wolf of Pontus and, like him, unable to discover the divisions of things, became reckless, and without any proof baldly asserted two principles. Again, others of them drifted into worse error and assumed not only two, but three, natures. Of these Syneros is the leader and chief, as those say who defend his teaching.”

§ 24. Encratites

Asceticism is a wide-spread phenomenon in nearly all religions. It is to be found in apostolic Christianity. In the early Church it was regarded as a matter in the option of the Christian who was aiming at the religious life [see above, § 16]. The characteristic of the Encratites was their insistence upon asceticism as essential to Christian living. They were therefore associated, and with abundant historical justification, with Gnosticism.

Additional source material: Clement of Alexandria, Strom., III, passim; Eusebius, Hist. Ec., IV, 29, cf. the many references in the notes to McGiffert's edition, PNF.
(a) Hippolytus, VIII, 13. (MSG, 16:3368.)
See above, § 19, c.

Others, however, styling themselves Encratites, acknowledge some things concerning God and Christ in like manner [pg 106] with the Church, but in respect to their mode of life they pass their time inflated with pride; thinking that by meats they glorify themselves, they abstain from animal food, are water drinkers, and, forbidding to marry, they devote the rest of their life to habits of asceticism.

(b) Irenæus, Adv. Hær. I, 28. (MSG, 7:690.)

Many offshoots of numerous heresies have already been formed from those heresies which we have described.… By way of example, let us say there are those springing from Saturninus and Marcion, who are called Encratites [i.e., self-controlled], who preached the unmarried state, thus setting aside the original creation of God, and indirectly condemning Him who made male and female for the propagation of the human race. Some of those reckoned as belonging to them have also introduced abstinence from animal food, being ungrateful to God who created all things. They deny, also, the salvation of him who was first created. It is but recently that this opinion has been discovered among them, since a certain man named Tatian first introduced the blasphemy. He had been a hearer of Justin's, and as long as he continued with him he expressed no such views; but after his martyrdom [circa A. D. 165] he separated from the Church, and having become excited and puffed up by the thought of being a teacher, as if he were superior to others, he composed his own peculiar type of doctrine. He invented a system of certain invisible Eons, like the followers of Valentinus; and like Marcion and Saturninus, he declared that marriage was nothing else than corruption and fornication. But this denial of Adam's salvation was an opinion due entirely to himself.

§ 25. Montanism

Montanism was, in part at least, an attempt to revive the enthusiastic prophetic element in the early Christian life. In its first manifestations, in Asia Minor, Montanism was wild [pg 107] and fanatical. It soon spread to the West, and in doing so it became, as did other Oriental religious movements (e.g., Gnosticism and Manichæanism, see § 54), far more sober. It even seemed to many serious persons to be nothing more than a praiseworthy attempt to revive or retain certain primitive Christian conditions, both in respect to personal morals and ecclesiastical organization and life. In this way it came to be patronized by not a few (e.g., Tertullian) who, in other respects, deviated in few or no points from the prevailing thought and practice of Christians. See also § 26.

Additional source material: Eusebius, Hist. Ec., V, 16-19, cf. literature cited in McGiffert's notes. The sayings of Montanus, Maximilla, and Priscilla are collected in Hilgenfeld, Ketzergeschichte, 591 ff. See also Hippolytus, Refut., X, 25f. [= X, 21, ANF.]
(a) Eusebius, Hist. Ec., V, 16:7. (MSG, 20:463.)
For Eusebius, see § 3.

There is said to be a certain village named Ardabau, in Mysia, on the borders of Phrygia. There, they say, when Gratus was proconsul of Asia, a recent convert, Montanus by name—who, in his boundless desire for leadership, gave the adversary opportunity against him—first became inspired; and falling into a sort of frenzy and ecstasy raved and began to babble and utter strange sounds, prophesying in a manner contrary to the traditional and constant custom of the Church from the beginning.… And he stirred up, besides, two women [Maximilla and Priscilla], and filled them with the false spirit, so that they talked frantically, at unseasonable times, and in a strange manner, like the person already mentioned.… And the arrogant spirit taught them to revile the universal and entire Church under heaven, because the spirit of false prophecy received from it neither honor nor entrance into it; for the faithful in Asia met often and in many places throughout Asia to consider this matter and to examine the recent utterances, and they pronounced them profane and rejected the heresy, and thus these persons [pg 108] were expelled from the Church and shut out from the communion.

(b) Apollonius, in Eusebius, Hist. Ec., V, 18. (MSG, 20:475.)
Apollonius was possibly bishop of Ephesus. His work against the Montanists, which appears to have been written about 197, was one of the principal sources for Eusebius in his account of the Montanists. Only fragments of his work have been preserved.

This is he who taught the dissolution of marriages; who laid down laws for fasting; who named Pepuza and Tymion (which were small cities in Phrygia) Jerusalem, desiring to gather people to them from everywhere; who appointed collectors of money; who devised the receiving of gifts under the name of offerings; who provided salaries for those who preached his doctrine, so that by gluttony the teaching of his doctrine might prevail.

(c) Hippolytus, Refut., VIII, 19. (MSG, 16:3356.)
For Hippolytus, see § 19, c.

But there are others who are themselves in nature more heretical than the Quartodecimans. These are Phrygians by birth and they have been deceived, having been overcome by certain women called Priscilla and Maximilla; and they hold these for prophetesses, saying that in them the Paraclete Spirit dwelt; and they likewise glorify one Montanus before these women as a prophet. So, having endless books of these people, they go astray, and they neither judge their statements by reason nor pay attention to those who are able to judge. But they behave without judgment in the faith they place in them, saying they have learned something more through them than from the law and the prophets and the Gospels. But they glorify these women above the Apostles and every gift, so that some of them presume to say that there was something more in them than in Christ. These confess God the Father of the universe and creator of all things, like the Church, and all that the Gospel witnesses concerning Christ, [pg 109] but invent new fasts and feasts and meals of dry food and meals of radishes, saying that thus they were taught by their women. And some of them agree with the heresy of the Noetians and say that the Father is very Son, and that this One became subject to birth and suffering and death.

Chapter III. The Defence Against Heresy

The Church first met the various dangerous heresies which distracted it in the second century by councils or gatherings of bishops (§ 26). Although it was not difficult to bring about a condemnation of novel and manifestly erroneous doctrine, there was need of fixed norms and definite authorities to which to appeal. This was found in the apostolic tradition, which could be more clearly determined by reference to the continuity of the apostolic office, or the episcopate, and especially to the succession of bishops in the churches founded by Apostles (§ 27), the apostolic witness to the truth, or the more precise determination of what writings should be regarded as apostolic, or the canon of the New Testament (§ 28); and the apostolic faith, which was regarded as summed up in the Apostles' Creed (§ 29). These norms of orthodoxy seem to have been generally established as authoritative somewhat earlier in the West than in the East. The result was that Gnosticism was rapidly expelled from the Church, though in some forms it lingered for centuries (§ 30), and that the Church, becoming organized around the episcopate, assumed by degrees a rigid hierarchical constitution (§ 31).

[pg 110]

§ 26. The Beginnings of Councils as a Defence against Heresy

Ecclesiastical councils were the first defence against heresy. As the Church had not as yet attained its hierarchical constitution and the autonomy of the local church still persisted, these councils had little more than the combined authority of the several members composing them. They had, as yet, only moral force, and did not speak for the Church officially. With the development of the episcopal constitution, the councils gained rapidly in authority.

Additional source material: See Eusebius, Hist. Ec., V, 16 (given above, § 25, a), V, 24; Tertullian, De Jejun., 13 (given below, § 38).
(a) Libellus Synodicus, Man. I, 723.
For a discussion of the credibility of the Libellus Synodicus, a compilation of the ninth century, see Hefele, History of the Councils, § 1.

A holy and provincial synod was held at Hierapolis in Asia by Apollinarius, the most holy bishop of that city, and twenty-six other bishops. In this synod Montanus and Maximilla, the false prophets, and at the same time, Theodotus the tanner, were condemned and expelled. A holy and local synod was gathered under the most holy Bishop Sotas of Anchialus51 and twelve other bishops, who condemned and rejected Theodotus the tanner and Montanus together with Maximilla.

(b) Eusebius. Hist. Ec., V, 18. (MSG, 20:475.) Cf. Mirbt, n. 21.
The following should be connected with the first attempts of the Church to meet the heresy of the Montanists by gatherings of bishops. It also throws some light on the methods of dealing with the new prophets.

Serapion, who, according to report, became bishop of Antioch at that time, after Maximinus, mentions the works [pg 111] of Apollinarius against the above-mentioned heresy. And he refers to him in a private letter to Caricus and Pontius, in which he himself exposes the same heresy, adding as follows: “That you may see that the doings of this lying band of new prophecy, as it is called, are an abomination to all the brethren throughout the world, I have sent you writings of the most blessed Claudius Apollinarius, bishop of Hierapolis in Asia.” In the same letter of Serapion are found the signatures of several bishops, of whom one has subscribed himself as follows: “I, Aurelius Cyrenius, a witness, pray for your health.” And another after this manner: “Ælius Publius Julius, bishop of Debeltum, a colony of Thrace. As God liveth in the heavens, the blessed Sotas in Anchialus desired to cast the demon out of Priscilla, but the hypocrites would not permit him.” And the autograph signatures of many other bishops who agreed with them are contained in the same letter.

§ 27. The Apostolic Tradition and the Episcopate

The Gnostics claimed apostolic authority for their teaching and appealed to successions of teachers who had handed down their teachings. This procedure forced the Church to lay stress upon the obvious fact that its doctrine was derived from the Apostles, a matter on which it never had had any doubt, but was vouched for, not by obscure teachers, but by the churches which had been founded by the Apostles themselves in large cities and by the bishops whom the Apostles had instituted in those churches. Those churches, furthermore, agreed among themselves, but the Gnostic teachers differed widely. By this appeal the bishop came to represent the apostolic order (for an earlier conception v. supra, § 14, b, c), and to take an increasingly important place in the church (v. infra, § 31).

Additional source material: For Gnostic references to successions of teachers, see Tertullian, De Præscr., 25; Clement of Alexandria, Strom., VII, 17; Hippolytus, Refut., VII, 20. (= VII, 8. ANF.)
[pg 112]
(a) Irenæus, Adv. Hær., III, 3: 1-4. (MSG, 7:848.) Cf. Mirbt, n. 30.
The first appearance of the appeal to apostolic tradition as preserved in apostolic sees is the following passage from Irenæus, written about 175. The reference to the church of Rome, beginning, For with this Church, on account of its more powerful leadership, has been a famous point of discussion. While it is obscure in detail, the application of its general purport to the argument of Irenæus is clear. Since for this passage we have not the original Greek of Irenæus, but only the Latin translation, there seems to be no way of clearing up the obscurities and apparently contradictory statements. The text may be found in Gwatkin, op. cit., and in part in Kirch, op. cit., §§ 110-113.

Ch. 1. The tradition, therefore, of the Apostles, manifested throughout the world, is a thing which all who wish to see the facts can clearly perceive in every church; and we are able to count up those who were appointed bishops by the Apostles, and to show their successors to our own time, who neither taught nor knew anything resembling these men's ravings. For if the Apostles had known hidden mysteries which they used to teach the perfect, apart from and without the knowledge of the rest, they would have delivered them especially to those to whom they were also committing the churches themselves. For they desired them to be very perfect and blameless in all things, and were also leaving them as their successors, delivering over to them their own proper place of teaching; for if these should act rightly great advantage would result, but if they fell away the most disastrous calamity would occur.

Ch. 2. But since it would be very long in such a volume as this to count up the successions [i.e., series of bishops] in all the churches, we confound all those who in any way, whether through self-pleasing or vainglory, or through blindness and evil opinion, gather together otherwise than they ought, by pointing out the tradition derived from the Apostles of the greatest, most ancient, and universally known Church, founded and established by the two most glorious Apostles, Peter and Paul, and also the faith declared to [pg 113] men which through the succession of bishops comes down to our times. For with this Church, on account of its more powerful leadership [potiorem principalitatem], every church, that is, the faithful, who are from everywhere, must needs agree; since in it that tradition which is from the Apostles has always been preserved by those who are from everywhere.

Ch. 3. The blessed Apostles having founded and established the Church, intrusted the office of the episcopate to Linus.52 Paul speaks of this Linus in his Epistles to Timothy. Anacletus succeeded him, and after Anacletus, in the third place from the Apostles, Clement received the episcopate. He had seen and conversed with the blessed Apostles, and their preaching was still sounding in his ears and their tradition was still before his eyes. Nor was he alone in this, for many who had been taught by the Apostles yet survived. In the times of Clement, a serious dissension having arisen among the brethren in Corinth, the Church of Rome sent a suitable letter to the Corinthians, reconciling them in peace, renewing their faith, and proclaiming the doctrine lately received from the Apostles.…

Evaristus succeeded Clement, and Alexander Evaristus. Then Sixtus, the sixth from the Apostles, was appointed. After him Telesephorus, who suffered martyrdom gloriously, and then Hyginus; after him Pius, and after Pius Anicetus; Soter succeeded Anicetus, and now, in the twelfth place from the Apostles, Eleutherus [174-189] holds the office of bishop. In the same order and succession the tradition and the preaching of the truth which is from the Apostles have continued unto us.

Ch. 4. But Polycarp, too, was not only instructed by the Apostles, and acquainted with many that had seen Christ, but was also appointed by Apostles in Asia bishop of the church in Smyrna, whom we, too, saw in our early youth (for he lived a long time, and died, when a very old man, a glorious and most illustrious martyr's death); he always [pg 114] taught the things which he had learned from the Apostles, which the Church also hands down, and which alone are true. To these things all the Asiatic churches testify, as do also those who, down to the present time, have succeeded Polycarp, who was a much more trustworthy and certain witness of the truth than Valentinus and Marcion and the rest of the evil-minded. It was he who was also in Rome in the time of Anicetus and caused many to turn away from the above-mentioned heretics to the Church of God, proclaiming that he had received from the Apostles this one and only truth which has been transmitted by the Church. And there are those who heard from him that John, the disciple of the Lord, going to bathe in Ephesus, when he saw Cerinthus within, ran out of the bath-house without bathing, crying: “Let us flee, lest even the bath-house fall, because Cerinthus, the enemy of the truth, is within.” And Polycarp himself, when Marcion once met him and said, “Knowest thou us?” replied, “I know the first-born of Satan.” Such caution did the Apostles and their disciples exercise that they might not even converse with any of those who perverted the truth; as Paul, also, said: “A man that is a heretic after the first and second admonition, reject; knowing that he that is such subverteth and sinneth, being condemned by himself.” There is also a very powerful Epistle of Polycarp written to the Philippians, from which those who wish to, and who are concerned for their own salvation, may learn the character of his faith and the preaching of the truth.

(b) Tertullian, De Prœscriptione, 20, 21. (MSL, 2:38.)
Tertullian worked out in legal fashion the argument of Irenæus from the testimony of the bishops in apostolic churches. He may have obtained the argument from Irenæus, as he was evidently acquainted with his works. From Tertullian's use of the argument it became a permanent element in the thought of the West.

Ch. 20. The Apostles founded in the several cities churches from which the other churches have henceforth borrowed the shoot of faith and seeds of teaching and do daily borrow [pg 115] that they may become churches; and it is from this fact that they also will be counted as apostolic, being the offspring of apostolic churches. Every kind of thing must be judged by reference to its origin. Therefore so many and so great churches are all one, being from that first Church which is from the Apostles. Thus they are all primitive and all apostolic, since they altogether are approved by their unity, and they have the communion of peace, the title of brotherhood, and the interchange of hospitality, and they are governed by no other rule than the single tradition of the same mystery.

Ch. 21. Here, then, we enter our demurrer, that if the Lord Jesus Christ sent Apostles to preach, others than those whom Christ appointed ought not to be received as preachers. For no man knoweth the Father save the Son and he to whom the Son has revealed Him [cf. Luke 10:22]; nor does it appear that the Son has revealed Him unto any others than the Apostles, whom He sent forth to preach what, of course, He had revealed to them. Now, what they should preach, that is, what Christ revealed to them, can, as I must likewise here enter as a demurrer, properly be proved in no other way than by those very churches which the Apostles themselves founded by preaching to them, both viva voce, as the phrase is, and subsequently by epistles. If this is so, it is evident that all doctrine which agrees with those apostolic churches, the wombs and origins of the faith, must be reckoned for truth, as undoubtedly containing what the churches received from the Apostles, the Apostles from Christ, Christ from God. There remains, therefore, for us to show whether our doctrine, the rule of which we have given above [v. infra, § 29, c], agrees with the tradition of the Apostles, and likewise whether the others come from deceit. We hold fast to the apostolic churches, because in none is there a different doctrine; this is the witness of the truth.

(c) Tertullian, De Præscriptione, 36. (MSL, 2:58.)
It should be noted that the appeal to apostolic churches is to any and all such, and is accordingly just so much the stronger in the [pg 116] controversy in which it was brought forward. The argument, whenever it occurs, does not turn upon the infallibility of any one see or church as such. That point is not touched. Such a turn to the argument would have weakened the force of the appeal in the dispute with the Gnostics, however powerfully it might be used in other controversies.

Come, now, you who would indulge a better curiosity, if you would apply it to the business of your salvation, run over the apostolic churches, in which the very thrones of the Apostles are still pre-eminent in their places, in which their own authentic writings are read, uttering the voice and representing the face of each of them severally. Achaia is very near you, in which you find Corinth. Since you are not far from Macedonia, you have Philippi; there, too, you have the Thessalonians. Since you are able to cross to Asia, you get Ephesus. Since, moreover, you are close upon Italy, you have Rome, from which there comes even into our own hands the very authority of Apostles themselves. How happy is that church, on which Apostles poured forth all their doctrine along with their blood! Where Peter endures a passion like his Lord's; where Paul wins a crown in a death like John's; where the Apostle John was first plunged, unhurt, into boiling oil, and thence remitted to his island exile! See what she has learned, what taught; what fellowship she has had with even our churches in Africa! One Lord God does she acknowledge, the Creator of the universe, and Christ Jesus born of the Virgin Mary, the Son of God the Creator; and the resurrection of the flesh; the law and the prophets she unites in one volume with the writings of Evangelists and Apostles, from which she drinks in her faith. This she seals with the water of baptism, arrays with the Holy Ghost, feeds with the eucharist, cheers with martyrdom, and against such a discipline thus maintained she admits no gainsayer.

[pg 117]

§ 28. The Canon or the Authoritative New Testament Writings

The Gnostics used in support of their doctrines writings which they attributed to the Apostles, thus having a direct apostolic witness to these doctrines. This they did in imitation of the Church's practice of using apostolic writings for edification and instruction. Marcion drew up a list of books which were alone to be regarded as authoritative among his followers [v. supra, § 23, a]. The point to be made by the champions of the faith of the great body of Christians was that only those books could be legitimately used in support of Christian doctrine which could claim actual apostolic origin and had been used continuously in the Church. As a fact, the books to which they appealed had been in use generation after generation, but the Gnostic works were unknown until a comparatively recent time and were too closely connected with only the founders of a sect to deserve credence. It was a simple literary argument and appeal to tangible evidence. The list of books regarded as authoritative constituted the Canon of Scripture. The state of the Canon in the second half of the second century, especially in the West, is shown in the following extracts.

Additional source material: See Preuschen, Analecta, II, Tübingen, 1910; Tatian, Diatessaron, ANF, IX; The Gospel of Peter, ibid.
(a) The Muratorian Fragment. Text, B. F. Westcott, A General Survey of the History of the Canon of the New Testament, seventh ed., Cambridge, 1896. Appendix C; Kirch, n. 134; Preuschen, Analecta, II, 27. Cf. Mirbt, n. 20.
The earliest list of canonical books of the New Testament was found by L. A. Muratori in 1740 in a MS. of the eighth century. It lacks beginning and end. It belongs to the middle or the second half of the second century. It cannot with certainty be attributed to any known person. The obscure Latin text is probably a translation from the Greek. The fragment begins with what appears to be an account of St. Mark's Gospel.
[pg 118]

… but at some he was present, and so he set them down.

The third book of the gospels, that according to Luke. Luke, the physician, compiled it in his own name in order, when, after the ascension of Christ, Paul had taken him to be with him like a student of law. Yet neither did he see the Lord in the flesh; and he, too, as he was able to ascertain events, so set them down. So he began his story from the birth of John.

The fourth of the gospels is John's, one of the disciples. When exhorted by his fellow-disciples and bishops, he said, “Fast with me this day for three days; and what may be revealed to any of us, let us relate to one another.” The same night it was revealed to Andrew, one of the Apostles, that John was to write all things in his own name, and they were all to certify.

And therefore, though various elements are taught in the several books of the gospels, yet it makes no difference to the faith of the believers, since by one guiding Spirit all things are declared in all of them concerning the nativity, the passion, the resurrection, the conversation with His disciples, and His two comings, the first in lowliness and contempt, which has come to pass, the second glorious with royal power, which is to come.

What marvel, therefore, if John so firmly sets forth each statement in his epistles, too, saying of himself: “What we have seen with our eyes and heard with our ears and our hands have handled, these things we have written to you”? For so he declares himself to be not an eye-witness and a hearer only, but also a writer of all the marvels of the Lord in order.

The acts, however, of all the Apostles are written in one book. Luke puts it shortly, “to the most excellent Theophilus,” that the several things were done in his own presence, as he also plainly shows by leaving out the passion of Peter, and also the departure of Paul from the city [i.e., Rome] on his journey to Spain.

[pg 119]

The epistles, however, of Paul make themselves plain to those who wish to understand what epistles were sent by him, and from what place and for what cause. He wrote at some length, first of all, to the Corinthians, forbidding schisms and heresies; next to the Galatians, forbidding circumcision; then to the Romans, impressing on them the plan of the Scriptures, and also that Christ is the first principle of them, concerning which severally it is necessary for us to discuss, since the blessed Apostle Paul himself, following the order of his predecessor John, writes only by name to seven churches in the following order: to the Corinthians a first, to the Ephesians a second, to the Philippians a third, to the Colossians a fourth, to the Galatians a fifth, to the Thessalonians a sixth, to the Romans a seventh; and yet, although for the sake of admonition there is a second to the Corinthians and to the Thessalonians, but one Church is recognized as being spread over the entire world. For John, too, in the Apocalypse, though he writes to seven churches, yet speaks to all. Howbeit to Philemon one, to Titus one, and to Timothy two were put in writing from personal inclination and attachment, to be in honor, however, with the Catholic Church for the ordering of the ecclesiastical mode of life. There is current, also, one to the Laodiceans, another to the Alexandrians, [both] forged in Paul's name to suit a heresy of Marcion, and several others, which cannot be received into the Catholic Church; for it is not fitting that gall be mixed with honey.

The Epistle of Jude, no doubt, and the couple bearing the name of John are accepted in the Catholic [Church], and the Wisdom written by the friends of Solomon in his honor. The Apocalypse, also, of John and of Peter only we receive; which some of us will not have read in the Church. But the Shepherd was written quite lately in our times by Hermas, while his brother Pius, the bishop, was sitting in the chair of the church of the city of Rome; and therefore it ought to be read, indeed, but it cannot to the end of time be publicly [pg 120] read in the Church to the people, either among the prophets, who are complete in number, or among the Apostles.

But of Valentinus, the Arsinoite, and his friends, we receive nothing at all, who have also composed a long new book of Psalms, together with Basilides and the Asiatic founder of the Montanists.

(b) Irenæus, Adv. Hær., III, II:8. (MSG, 7:885.)
The following extract illustrates the allegorical method of exegesis in use throughout the Church, and also the opinion of the author that there were but four gospels, and could be no more than four. It should be noted that the symbolism of the beasts is not that which has become current in ecclesiastical art.

It is not possible that the gospels be either more or fewer than they are. For since there are four regions of the world in which we live, and four principal winds, and the Church is scattered over the whole earth, and the pillar and ground of the Church is the Gospel and the Spirit of Life, it is fitting that she should have four pillars, breathing forth immortality on every side, and giving life to men. From this it is evident that the Word, the Artificer of all, who sitteth upon the cherubim and who contains all things and was manifested to men, has given us the Gospel under four forms, but bound together by one Spirit. As also David says when he prayed for His coming: “Thou that sittest between the cherubim, shine forth” [cf. Psalm 80:1]. For the cherubim, also, were four-faced, and their faces were images of the dispensation of the Son of God. For he says, “The first living creature was like a lion” [cf. Ezek. 1:5 ff.], symbolizing His effectual working, leadership, and royal power; the second was like a calf, symbolizing His sacrificial and sacerdotal order; but “the third had, as it were, the face of a man,” evidently describing His coming as a human being; “the fourth was like a flying eagle,” pointing out the gift of the Spirit hovering over the Church. And therefore the gospels are in accord with these things, among which Christ is seated. For that according to John relates His original, effectual, and glorious [pg 121] generation from the Father, thus declaring, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God” [cf. John 1:1 ff.], and further, “All things were made by Him and without Him was nothing made.” For this reason, also, is that Gospel full of confidence, for such is His person. But that according to Luke, which takes up His priestly character, commenced with Zacharias, the priest, who offers sacrifice to God. For now was made ready the fatted calf, about to be immolated for the recovery of the younger son [Luke 15:23]. Matthew, again, relates His generation as a man, saying, “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham” [Matt. 1:1]; and “The birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise” [Matt. 1:18]. This, then, is the gospel of His humanity; for which reason the character of a humble and meek man is kept up through the whole gospel. Mark, on the other hand, commences with reference to the prophetical Spirit who comes down from on high to men, saying, “The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as it is written in Isaiah the prophet,” pointing to the winged aspect of the Gospel, and on this account he makes a compendious and brief narrative, for such is the prophetical character. And the Word of God himself had intercourse with the patriarchs, before Moses, in accordance with His divinity and glory; but for those under the Law He instituted a sacerdotal and liturgical service. Afterward, having been made man for us, He sent the gift of the heavenly Spirit over all the earth, to protect it with His wings. Such, then, was the course followed by the Son of God, and such, also, were the forms of the living creatures; and such as was the form of the living creatures, such, also, was the character of the Gospel. For the living creatures are quadriform, and the Gospel is quadriform, as is also the course followed by our Lord. For this reason four principal covenants were given mankind: one prior to the Deluge, under Adam; the second after the Deluge, under Noah; the third was the giving of the law under Moses; the fourth is that which [pg 122] renovates man and sums up all things in itself by means of the Gospel, raising and bearing men upon its wings into the heavenly kingdom.

(c) Tertullian, Adv. Marcion., IV, 5. (MSL, 2:395.)
Tertullian's work against Marcion belongs to the first decade of the third century; see above, § 23, b. In the following passage he combines the argument from the apostolic churches with the authority of the apostolic witness. This is the special importance of the reference to the connection of St. Mark's Gospel with St. Peter, and is an application of the principle that the authority of a book in the Church rested upon its apostolic origin.

If it is evidently true that what is earlier is more true, that what is earlier is what is from the beginning, that what is from the beginning is from the Apostles, it will be equally evidently true that what is handed down from the Apostles is what has been a sacred deposit in the churches of the Apostles. Let us see what milk the Corinthians drank from Paul; to what rule the Galatians were brought for correction; what the Philippians, the Thessalonians, the Ephesians, read; what the Romans near by also say, to whom Peter and Paul bequeathed the Gospel even sealed with their own blood. We have also John's nursling churches. For, although Marcion rejects his Apocalypse, the order of bishops, when traced to their origin, will rest on John as their author. Likewise the noble lineage of the other churches is recognized. I say, therefore, that in them, and not only in the apostolic churches, but in all those which are united with them in the fellowship of the mystery [sacramenti], that Gospel of Luke, which we are defending with all our might [cf. § 23], has stood its ground from its very first publication; whereas Marcion's gospel is not known to most people, and to none whatever is it known without being condemned. Of course it has its churches, but they are its own; they are as late as they are spurious. Should you want to know their origins, you will more easily discover apostasy in it than apostolicity, with Marcion, forsooth, as their founder or some one of [pg 123] Marcion's swarm. Even wasps make combs; so, also, these Marcionites make churches. The same authority of the apostolic churches will afford evidence to other gospels, also, which we possess equally through their means and according to their usage—I mean the Gospel of John and the Gospel of Matthew, but that which Mark published may be affirmed to be Peter's, whose interpreter Mark was. For even the Digest of Luke men usually ascribe to Paul. And it may well seem that the works which disciples publish belong to their masters.

§ 29. The Apostles' Creed

By the middle of the second century there were current in the Church brief confessions of faith which had already been in use from a time in the remoter past as summaries of the apostolic faith. They were naturally attributed to the Apostles themselves, although they seem to have varied in many details. They were used principally in baptism, and were long kept secret from the catechumen until just before that rite was administered. They are preserved only in paraphrase, and can be reconstructed only by a careful comparison of many texts.

Additional source material: See Hahn, Bibliothek der Symbole und Glaubensregeln der allen Kirche, third ed., Breslau, 1897; cf. Mirbt, n. 16, 16 a.
(a) Irenæus, Adv. Haer., 1, 10. (MSG, 7:549 f.)
For Irenæus, v. supra, § 3, a.

The Church, though dispersed through the whole world to the ends of the earth, has received from the Apostles and their disciples the faith: In one God, the Father Almighty, who made the heaven and the earth and the seas, and all that in them is; And in one Christ Jesus, the Son of God, who was incarnate for our salvation; And in the Holy Ghost, who through the prophets preached the dispensations and [pg 124] the advents, and the birth from the Virgin, and the passion, and the resurrection from the dead, and the bodily assumption into the heavens of the beloved Christ Jesus our Lord, and His appearing from the heavens in the glory of the Father, in order to sum up all things under one head [cf. Ephes. 1:10], and to raise up all flesh of all mankind, that to Christ Jesus, our Lord and God and Saviour and King, every knee of those that are in heaven and on earth and under the earth should bow [cf. Phil. 2:11], according to the good pleasure of the Father invisible, and that every tongue should confess Him, and that He may execute righteous judgment on all; sending into eternal fire the spiritual powers of wickedness and the angels who transgressed and apostatized, and the godless and unrighteous and lawless and blasphemous among men, but granting life and immortality and eternal glory to the righteous and holy, who have both kept the commandments and continued in His love, some from the beginning, some from their conversion.

(b) Irenæus, Adv. Hær., III, 4. (MSG, 7:855.)
The following form of the creed more closely resembles the traditional Apostles' Creed. With it compare the paraphrase in Irenæus. op. cit., IV, 33:7.

If the Apostles had not left us the Scriptures, would it not be necessary to follow the order of tradition which they handed down to those to whom they committed the churches? To this order many nations of the barbarians gave assent, of those who believe in Christ, having salvation written in their hearts by the Spirit without paper and ink, and guarding diligently the ancient tradition: Believing in one God, Maker of heaven and earth, and all that is in them; through Jesus Christ, the Son of God; who, because of His astounding love toward His creatures, sustained the birth of the Virgin, Himself uniting man to God, and suffered under Pontius Pilate, and rising again was received in brightness, and shall come again in glory as the Saviour of those who are saved [pg 125] and the judge of those who are judged, and sending into eternal fire the perverters of the truth and despisers of His Father and His coming.

(c) Tertullian, De Virginibus Velandis, 1. (MSL, 2:937).
Tertullian gives various paraphrases of the creed. The three most important are the following and d, e. The date of the work De Virginibus Velandis is about 211, and belongs to his Montanist period.

The Rule of Faith is altogether one, sole, immovable, and irreformable—namely, of believing in one God the Almighty, the Maker of the world; and His Son, Jesus Christ, born of the Virgin Mary, crucified under Pontius Pilate, on the third day raised again from the dead, received in the heavens, sitting now at the right hand of the Father, coming to judge the quick and the dead, also through the resurrection of the flesh.53

(d) Tertullian, Adv. Praxean, 2. (MSL, 2:156.)
The work of Tertullian against Praxeas is one of his latest works, and is especially important as developing the doctrine of the Trinity as opposed to the Patripassianism of Praxeas. To this theory of Praxeas, Tertullian refers in the opening sentence of the following extract, quoting the position of Praxeas. See below, § 40, b.

“Therefore after a time the Father was born, and the Father suffered, He himself God, the omnipotent Lord, Jesus Christ was preached.” But as for us always, and now more, as better instructed by the Paraclete, the Leader into all truth: We believe one God; but under this dispensation which we call the economy there is the Son of the only God, his Word [Sermo] who proceeded from Him, through whom all things were made, and without whom nothing was made. This One was sent by the Father into the Virgin, and was born of her, Man and God, the Son of Man and the Son of God, and called Jesus Christ; He suffered, He died and was buried, according to the Scriptures; and raised again by the [pg 126] Father, and taken up into the heavens, and He sits at the right hand of the Father; He shall come again to judge the quick and the dead: and He thence did send, according to His promise, from the Father, the Holy Ghost, the Paraclete, the Sanctifier of the faith of those who believe in the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost. That this rule has come down from the beginning, even before any of the earlier heresies, much more before Praxeas, who is of yesterday, the lateness of date of all heresies proves, as also the novelties of Praxeas, a pretender of yesterday.

(e) Tertullian, De Præscriptione, 13. (MSL, 2:30.)

The Rule of Faith is … namely, that by which it is believed: That there is only one God, and no other besides the Maker of the world, who produced the universe out of nothing, through His Word [Verbum], sent forth first of all; that this Word, called His Son, was seen in the name of God in various ways by the patriarchs, and always heard in the prophets, at last was sent down from the Spirit and power of God the Father, into the Virgin Mary, was made flesh in her womb, and born of her, lived as Jesus Christ; that thereupon He preached the new law and the new promise of the kingdom of the heavens; wrought miracles; was fastened to the cross; rose again the third day; was caught up into the heavens; and sat down at the right hand of the Father; He sent in His place the power of the Holy Ghost, to lead the believers; He will come again with glory to take the saints into the enjoyment of eternal life and the celestial promises, and to judge the wicked with perpetual fire, with the restoration of the flesh.

§ 30. Later Gnosticism

Though Gnosticism was expelled from the Church as it perfected its organization and institutions on the basis of the episcopate, the Canon of Scripture, and the creeds, outside the Catholic Church, or the Church as thus organized, [pg 127] Gnosticism existed for centuries, though rapidly declining in the third century. The strength of the movement was still further diminished by loss of many adherents to Manichæanism (v. § 54), which had much in common with Gnosticism. The persistence of these sects, together with various later heresies, in spite of the very stringent laws of the Empire against them (v. § 73) should prevent any hasty conclusions as to the unity of the faith and the absence of sects in the patristic age. Unity can be found only by overlooking those outside the unity of the largest body of Christians, and agreement by ignoring those who differed from it.

Theodoret of Cyrus, Epistulæ 81, 145. (MSG, 83:1259, 1383.)
Ep. 81 was written to the Consul Nonus, A. D. 445. Ep. 145 was written to the monks of Constantinople, A. D. 450.

Ep. 81. To every one else every city lies open, and that not only to the followers of Arius and Eunomius, but to Manichæans and Marcionites, and to those suffering from the disease of Valentinus and Montanus, yes, and even to pagans and Jews; but I, the foremost champion of the teaching of the Gospel, am excluded from every city.… I led eight villages of Marcionites with their surrounding country into the way of truth, another full of Eunomians and another of Arians I brought to the light of divine knowledge, and, by God's grace, not a tare of heresy was left among us.

Ep. 145. I do indeed sorrow and lament that I am compelled by the attacks of fever to adduce against men, supposed to be of one and the same faith with myself, the arguments which I have already urged against the victims of the plague of Marcion, of whom, by God's grace, I have converted more than ten thousand and brought them to holy baptism.

[pg 128]

§ 31. The Results of the Crisis

The internal crisis, or the conflict with heresy, led the Church to perfect its organization, and, as a result, the foundation was laid for such a development of the episcopate that the Church was recognized as based upon an order of bishops receiving their powers in succession from the Apostles. Just what those powers were and how they were transmitted were matters left to a later age to determine. (V. infra, §§ 50, 51.)

(a) Irenæus, Adv. Hær., IV, 26:2, 5. (MSG, 7:1053.)
That Irenæus, writing about 175, could appeal to the episcopal succession as commonly recognized and admitted, and use it as a basis of unity for the Church, is generally regarded as evidence of the existence of a wide-spread episcopal organization at an early date in the second century. Possibly the connection of Irenæus with Asia Minor, where the episcopal organization admittedly was earliest, diminishes the force of the argument. The reference to the charisma of truth, which the bishops were said to possess, was to furnish later a theoretical basis for the authority of bishops assembled in council.

Ch. 2. Wherefore it is incumbent to obey the presbyters who are in the Church, those who, as I have shown, possess the succession from the Apostles; those who together with the succession of the episcopate have received the certain gift [charisma] of the truth according to the good pleasure of the Father; but also to hold in suspicion others who depart from the primitive succession and assemble themselves together in any place whatsoever.…

Ch. 5. Such presbyters does the Church nourish, of whom also the prophet says: “I will give thy rulers in peace, and thy bishops in righteousness” [cf. Is. 60:17]. Of whom also the Lord did declare: “Who, then, shall be a faithful steward, good and wise, whom the Lord sets over His household, to give them their meat in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his Lord when he cometh shall find so doing” [Matt. 24:45 f.]. Paul, then, teaching us where one may [pg 129] find such, says: “God hath placed in the Church, first, Apostles; secondly, prophets; thirdly, teachers” [I Cor. 12:28]. Where, then, the gifts of the Lord have been placed there we are to learn the truth; namely, from those who possess the succession of the Church from the Apostles, and among whom exists that which is sound and blameless in conduct, as well as that which is unadulterated and incorrupt in speech.

(b) Tertullian, De Præscriptione, 32. (MSL, 2:52.)
In Tertullian's statement as to the necessity of apostolic succession, the language is more precise than in Irenæus's. Bishop and presbyter are not used as interchangeable terms, as would appear in the passage in Irenæus. The whole is given a more legal turn, as was in harmony with the writer's legal mind.

But if there be any heresies bold enough to plant themselves in the midst of the apostolic age, that they may thereby seem to have been handed down from the Apostles, because they were in the time of the Apostles, we can say: Let them produce the originals of their churches; let them unfold the roll of their bishops, running down in due succession from the beginning in such manner that that first bishop of theirs shall be able to show for his ordainer or predecessor some one of the Apostles or of apostolic men—a man, moreover, who continued steadfast with the Apostles. For in this manner the apostolic churches transmit their registers; as the church of Smyrna, which records that Polycarp was placed therein by John; as also the church of Rome, which makes Clement to have been ordained in like manner by Peter. In exactly the same way the other churches likewise exhibit their several worthies, whom, as having been appointed to their episcopal places by the Apostles, they regard as transmitters of the apostolic seed.

Chapter IV. The Beginnings Of Catholic Theology

The theology of the Church, as distinguished from the current traditional theology, was the statement of the beliefs commonly held by Christians but expressed in the more [pg 130] precise and scientific language of current philosophy, the co-ordination of those beliefs as so stated together with their necessary consequences, and their proof by reference to Holy Scripture and reason. In this attempt to build up a body of reasoned religious ideas there were two lines of thought or interpretation of the common Christianity already distinguished by the middle of the second century, and destined to hold a permanent place in the Church. These were the apologetic conception of Christianity as primarily a revealed philosophy (§ 32), and the so-called Asia Minor school of theology, with its conception of Christianity as primarily salvation from sin and corruptibility (§ 33). In both lines of interpretation the Incarnation played an essential part: in the apologetic as insuring the truth of the revealed philosophy, in the Asia Minor theology as imparting to corruptible man the divine incorruptibility.

§ 32. The Apologetic Conception of Christianity

Christianity was regarded as a revealed philosophy by the apologists. This they considered under three principal aspects: knowledge, or a revelation of the divine nature; a new law, or a code of morals given by Christ; and life, or future rewards for the observance of the new law that had been given. The foundation of all was laid in the doctrine of the Logos (A), which involved, as a consequence, some theory of the relation of the resulting distinctions in the divine nature to the primary conviction of the unity of God, or some doctrine of the Trinity (B). As a result of the new law given, moralism was inevitable, whereby a man by his efforts earned everlasting life (C). The proof that Jesus was the incarnate Logos was drawn from the fulfilment of Hebrew prophecy (D). It should be remembered that the apologists influenced later theology by their actual writings, [pg 131] and not by unexpressed and undeveloped opinions which they held as a part of the common tradition and the Christianity of the Gentile Church. Whatever they might have held in addition to their primary contentions had little or no effect, however valuable it may be for modern students, and the conviction that Christianity was essentially a revealed philosophy became current, especially in the East, finding its most powerful expression in the Alexandrian school. (V. infra, § 43.)

(A) The Logos Doctrine

As stated by the apologists, the Logos doctrine not only furnished a valuable line of defence for Christianity (v. supra, § 20), but also gave theologians a useful formula for stating the relation of the divine element in Christ to God. That divine element was the Divine Word or Reason (Logos). It is characteristic of the doctrine of the Logos as held by the early apologists that, although they make the Word, or Logos, personal and distinguish Him from God the Father, yet that Word does not become personally distinguished from the source of His being until, and in connection with, the creation of the world. Hence there arose the distinction between the Logos endiathetos, or as yet within the being of the Father, and the Logos prophorikos, or as proceeding forth and becoming a distinct person. Here is, at any rate, a marked advance upon the speculation of Philo, by whom the Logos is not regarded as distinctly personal.

(a) Justin Martyr, Apol., I, 46. (MSG, 6:398.)
In addition to the following passage from Justin Martyr, see above, § 20, for a longer statement to much the same effect.

We have been taught that Christ is the first-born of God, and we have declared above that He is the Word of whom every race of men were partakers; and those who lived reasonably are Christians even though they have been thought atheists; as among the Greeks, Socrates and Heraclitus, and [pg 132] men like them; and among the barbarians, Abraham and Ananias, Azarias, and Missael [the “three holy children,” companions of Daniel, see LXX, Dan. 3:23 ff.], and Elias [i.e., Elijah], and many others whose actions and names we now decline to recount because we know that it would be tedious.

(b) Theophilus, Ad Autolycum, II, 10, 22. (MSG, 6:398.)
Theophilus was the sixth bishop of Antioch, from 169 until after 180. His apology, consisting of three books addressed to an otherwise unknown Autolycus, has alone been preserved of his works. Fragments attributed to him are of very doubtful authenticity. The date of the third book must be subsequent to the death of Marcus Aurelius, March 17, 180, which is mentioned. The first and second books may be somewhat earlier. The distinction made in the following between the Logos endiathetos and the Logos prophorikos was subsequently dropped by theologians.

Ch. 10. God, then, having His own Logos internal [endiatheton] within His own bowels, begat Him, emitting Him along with His own wisdom before all things.

Ch. 22. What else is this voice but the Word of God, who is also His Son? Not as the poets and writers of myths talk of the sons of the gods begotten from intercourse with women, but as the Truth expounds, the Word that always exists, residing within [endiatheton] the heart of God. For before anything came into existence He had Him for His counsellor, being His own mind and thought. But when God wished to make all that He had determined on, He begat this Word proceeding forth [prophorikon], the first-born of all creation, not being Himself emptied of the Word [i.e., being without reason], but having begotten Reason and always conversing with His reason.

(B) The Doctrine of the Trinity

The doctrine of the Trinity followed naturally from the doctrine of the Logos. The fuller discussion belongs to the Monarchian controversies. It is considered here as a position [pg 133] resulting from the general position taken by the apologists. (V. infra, § 40.)

(a) Theophilus, Ad Autolycum, II, 15. (MSG, 6:1078.)
The following passage is probably the earliest in which the word Trinity, or Trias, is applied to the relation of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. It is usual in Greek theology to use the word Trias as equivalent to the Latin term Trinity. Cf. Tertullian, Adv. Praxean, 2, for first use of the term Trinity in Latin theology.

In like manner, also, the three days, which were before the luminaries54 are types of the Trinity (Trias) of God, and His Word, and His Wisdom.

(b) Athenagoras, Supplicatio, 10, 12. (MSG, 6:910, 914.)
Athenagoras, one of the ablest of the apologists, was, like Justin Martyr and several others, a philosopher before he became a Christian. His apology, known as Supplicatio, or Legatio pro Christianis, is his most important work. Its date is probably 177, as it is addressed to the Emperors Marcus Aurelius and Commodus.

Ch. 10. If it occurs to you to inquire what is meant by the Son, I will briefly state that He is the first product of the Father, not as having been brought into existence (for from the beginning God, who is the eternal mind [Nous], had the Logos in Himself, being eternally reasonable [λογικός]), but inasmuch as He came forth to be idea and energizing power of all material things, which lay like a nature without attributes, and an inactive earth, the grosser particles being mixed up with the lighter. The prophetic Spirit also agrees with our statements: “The Lord, it says, created me the beginning of His ways to His works.” The Holy Spirit himself, also, which operates in the prophets we say is an effluence of God, flowing from Him and returning back again as a beam of the sun.

Ch. 12. Are, then, those who consider life to be this, “Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die” [cf. I Cor. 15:32], and who regard death as a deep sleep and forgetfulness [cf. Hom., Iliad, XVI. 672], to be regarded as living piously? [pg 134] But men who reckon the present life as of very small worth indeed, and are led by this one thing along—that they know God and with Him His Logos, what is the oneness of the Son with the Father, what the communion of the Father with the Son, what is the Spirit, and what is the unity of these and their distinction, the Spirit, the Son, and the Father—and who know that the life for which we look is far better than can be described in word, provided we arrive at it pure from all wrong-doing, and who, moreover, carry our benevolence to such an extent that we not only love our friends … shall we, I say, when such we are and when we thus live that we may escape condemnation, not be regarded as living piously?

(C) Moralistic Christianity

The moralistic conception of Christianity, i.e., the view of Christianity as primarily a moral code by the observance of which eternal life was won, remained fixed in Christian thought along with the philosophical conception of the faith as formulated by the apologists. This moralism was the opposite pole to the conceptions of the Asia Minor school, the Augustinian theology, and the whole mystical conception of Christianity.

For additional source material, see above, § 16.
Theophilus, Ad Autolycum, II, 27. (MSG, 6:27.)

God made man free and with power over himself. That [death], man brought upon himself through carelessness and disobedience, this [life], God vouchsafes to him as a gift through His own love for man and pity when men obey Him. For as man, disobeying, drew death upon himself, so, obeying the will of God, he who desires is able to procure for himself everlasting life. For God has given us a law and holy commandments; and every one who keeps these can be saved, and obtaining the resurrection, can inherit incorruption.

(D) Argument from Hebrew Prophecy

The appeal to the fulfilment of Hebrew prophecy was the main argument of the apologists for the divine character of [pg 135] the mission of Christ. The exegesis of the prophetic writings was in the spirit of the times. Hebrew prophecy was also regarded as the source of all knowledge of God outside of Israel. The theory that the Greeks and other nations borrowed was employed to show the connection; in this the apologists followed Philo Judæus. No attempt was made either by them or by Clement of Alexandria to remove the inconsistency of this theory of borrowing with the doctrine of the Logos; see above, under “Logos Doctrine;” also § 20.

Justin Martyr, Apol., I, 30, 44. (MSG, 6:374, 394.)
Additional source material: Justin Martyr, Dial. c. Tryph., passim.

Ch. 30. But lest any one should say in opposition to us: What should prevent that He whom we call Christ, being a man born of men, performed what we call His mighty works by magical art, and by this appeared to be the Son of God? We will offer proof, not trusting to mere assertions, but being of necessity persuaded by those who prophesied of Him before these things came to pass.

Ch. 44. Whatever both philosophers and poets have said concerning the immortality of the soul, or punishments after death, or contemplation of things heavenly, or doctrines of the like kind, they have received such suggestions from the prophets as have enabled them to understand and interpret these things. And hence there seem to be seeds of truth among all men.

§ 33. The Asia Minor Conception of Christianity

The Asia Minor school regarded Christianity primarily as redemption, salvation, the imparting of new power, life, and incorruptibility by union with divinity in the Incarnation. Its leading representative was Irenæus, a native of Asia Minor, but many of his leading ideas had been anticipated by Ignatius of Antioch, and they were shared by many others.

[pg 136]

The theology of Irenæus influenced Tertullian to some extent, but its essential points were reproduced by Athanasius, who was directly indebted to Irenæus, and through him it superseded in the Neo-Alexandrian school the tradition derived through Origen and Clement from the apologists. Characteristic features of the Asia Minor theology are the place assigned to the Incarnation as itself effecting redemption or salvation, the idea of recapitulation whereby Christ becomes the head of a new race of redeemed men, a second Adam, and of the eucharist as imparting the incorruptibility of Christ's immortal flesh which is received by the faithful.

(a) Irenæus, Adv. Hær., V, 1. (MSG, 7:1119.)
The position of the Incarnation in the system and its relation to redemption.

In no other way could we have learned the things of God, if our Master, existing previously as the Word, had not been made man. For no one else could have declared to us the truths of the Father than the Father's own Word. For who else knew the mind of the Lord or who else has been his counsellor? [Rom. 11:34]. Nor again in any other way could we have learned except by seeing our Master with our eyes and hearing His voice with our ears; that so as imitators of His acts and doers of His words we might have fellowship with Him and receive of the fulness of Him who is perfect and who was before all creation. All this we have been made in these latter days by Him who only is supremely good and who has the gift of incorruptibility; inasmuch as we are conformed to His likeness and predestinated to become what we never were before, according to the foreknowledge of the Father, made a first-fruit of His workmanship, we have, therefore, received all this at the foreordained season, according to the dispensation of the Word, who is perfect in all things. For He, who is the mighty Word and very man, redeeming us by His blood in a reasonable manner, gave [pg 137] Himself as a ransom for those who had been led into captivity. And since apostasy tyrannized over us unjustly, for though by nature we were God's possession, it yet alienated us contrary to nature, making us its own disciples, the Word of God, powerful in all things and constant in His justice, dealt justly even with apostasy itself, redeeming from it what was His own property. Not by force, the way in which the apostasy had originally gained its mastery over us, greedily grasping at that which was not its own; but by moral force [secundum suadelam] as became God, by persuasion and not by force, regaining what He wished; so that justice might not be violated and God's ancient handiwork might not perish. Therefore, since by His own blood the Lord redeemed us and gave His soul for our soul, and His flesh for our flesh, and shed on us His Father's spirit to unite and join us in communion God and man, bringing God down to men by the descent of the Spirit, and raising up man to God by His incarnation, and by a firm and true promise giving us at His advent incorruptibility by communion with Him, and thus all the errors of the heretics are destroyed.

(b) Irenæus. Adv. Hær., III. 18:1, 7. (MSG, 6:932, 937.)
The following is a statement by Irenæus of his doctrine of recapitulation, which combines the idea of the second Adam of Paul and the Johannine theology.

Ch. 1. Since it has been clearly demonstrated that the Word, who existed in the beginning with God, and by whom all things were made, who also was present with the human race, was in these last days, according to the time appointed by the Father, united to His own workmanship, having been made a man liable to suffering, every objection is set aside of those who say: “If Christ was born at that time, He did not exist before that time.” For I have shown that the Son of God did not then begin to be, since He existed with His Father always; but when He was incarnate, and was [pg 138] made man, He commenced afresh [in seipso recapitulavit] the long line of human beings, and furnished us in a brief and comprehensive manner with salvation; so that what we had lost in Adam—namely, to be according to the image and likeness of God—that we might recover in Christ Jesus.

Ch. 7. He caused human nature to cleave to and to become one with God, as we have said. For if man had not overcome the adversary of man, the enemy would not have been legitimately overcome. And again, if God had not given salvation, we could not have had it securely. And if man had not been united to God, he could never have become a partaker of incorruptibility. For it was incumbent upon the Mediator between God and man, by His relationship to both, to bring about a friendship and concord, and to present man to God and to reveal God to man. For in what way could we be partakers of the adoption of sons, if we had not received from Him, through the Son, that fellowship which refers to Himself, if the Word, having been made flesh, had not entered into communion with us? Wherefore He passed also through every stage of life restoring to all communion with God.

(c) Irenæus, Adv. Hær., IV, 18:5. (MSG, 6:1027 f.)
The conception of redemption as the imparting of incorruptibility connected itself easily with the doctrine of the eucharist, which had been called by Ignatius of Antioch the medicine of immortality (v. supra, § 12). With this passage compare Irenæus, Adv. Hær., IV, 17:5.

How can they say that the flesh which is nourished with the body of the Lord and with His blood goes to corruption and does not partake of life? Let them, therefore, either alter their opinion or cease from offering the things mentioned. But our opinion is in accordance with the eucharist, and the eucharist, in turn, establishes our opinion. For we offer to Him His own, announcing consistently the fellowship and union of the flesh and the Spirit. For as the bread which is produced from the earth when it receives the invocation [pg 139] of God is no longer common bread, but the eucharist, consisting of two realities, earthly and heavenly, so, also, our bodies, when they receive the eucharist, are no longer corruptible, having the hope of the resurrection unto eternity.

[pg 140]

Period IV. The Age Of The Consolidation Of The Church: 200 to 324 A. D.

In the fourth period of the Church under the heathen Empire, or the period of the consolidation of the Church, the number of Christians increased so rapidly that the relation of the Roman State to the Church became a matter of the gravest importance (ch. 1). During a period of comparative peace and prosperity the Church developed its doctrinal system and its constitution (ch. 2). Although the school of Asia Minor became isolated and temporarily ceased to affect the bulk of the Church elsewhere, the school of the apologists was brilliantly continued at Alexandria under Clement and Origen, and later under Origen at Cæsarea in Palestine. Meanwhile the foundations were laid in North Africa for a distinctive type of Western theology, inaugurated by Tertullian and developed by Cyprian. After years of alternating favor and local persecutions, the first general persecution (ch. 3) broke upon the Church, rudely testing its organization and ultimately strengthening and furthering its tendencies toward a strictly hierarchical constitution. In the long period of peace that followed (ch. 4), the discussions that had arisen within the Church as to the relation of the divine unity to the divinity of Christ reached a temporary conclusion, the cultus was elaborated and assumed the essentials of its permanent form, and the episcopate was made supreme over rival authorities within the Church, becoming at once the expression and organ of ecclesiastical unity. At the same time new problems arose; within the [pg 141] Church there was the appearance of an organized asceticism which appeared for a time to be a rival to the Church's system, and outside the Church the appearance of a hostile rival in the rapidly spreading Manichæan system, in which was revived, in a better organized and therefore more dangerous form, the expelled Gnosticism. The period ends with the last general persecution (ch. 5).

Chapter I. The Political And Religious Conditions Of The Empire

The accession of Septimius Severus, A. D. 193, marks a change in the condition of the Empire. It was becoming more harassed by frontier wars, not always waged successfully. Barbarians were gradually settling within the Empire. The emperors themselves were no longer Romans or Italians. Provincials, some not even of the Latin race, assumed the imperial dignity. But it was a period in which the Roman law was in its most flourishing and brilliant stage, under such men as Papinian, Ulpian, and others second only to these masters. Stoic cosmopolitanism made for wider conceptions of law and a deeper sense of human solidarity. The Christian Church, however, profited little by this (§ 34) until, in the religious syncretism which became fashionable in the highest circles, it was favored by even the imperial family along with other Oriental religions (§ 35). The varying fortunes of the emperors necessarily affected the Church (§ 36), though, on the whole, there was little suffering, and the Church spread rapidly, and in many parts of the Empire became a powerful organization (§ 37), with which the State would soon have to reckon.

[pg 142]

§ 34. State and Church under Septimius Severus and Caracalla

Although Christians were at first favored by Septimius Severus, they were still liable to the severe laws against secret societies, and the policy of Septimius was later to enforce these laws. The Christians tried to escape the penalties prescribed against such societies by taking the form of friendly societies which were expressly tolerated by the law. Nevertheless, numerous cases are to be found in various parts of the Empire in which Christians were put to death under the law. Yet the number of martyrs before the general persecution of Decius in the middle of the century was relatively small. The position of Christians was not materially affected by the constitution of Caracalla conferring Roman citizenship on all free inhabitants of the Empire, and the constitution seems to have been merely a fiscal measure which laid additional burdens upon the provincials.

Additional source material: Eusebius, Hist. Ec., VI, 1-12.
(a) Tertullian, Ad Scapulam, 4. (MSL, 1:781.)
The account of Tertullian is generally accepted as substantially correct. Scapula was chief magistrate of Carthage and, under the circumstances, the author would not have indulged his tendency to rhetorical embellishment. Furthermore, the book is written with what was for Tertullian great moderation.

How many rulers, men more resolute and more cruel than you, have contrived to get quit of such causes—as Cincius Severus, who himself suggested the remedy at Thysdris, pointing out how Christians should answer that they might be acquitted; as Vespronius Candidus, who acquitted a Christian on the ground that to satisfy his fellow-citizens would create a riot; as Asper, who, in the case of a man who under slight torture had fallen, did not compel him to [pg 143] offer sacrifice, having owned among the advocates and assessors of the court that he was annoyed at having to meddle with such a case! Prudens, too, at once dismissed a Christian brought before him, perceiving from the indictment that it was a case of vexatious accusation; tearing the document in pieces, he refused, according to the imperial command, to hear him without the presence of his accuser. All this might be officially brought under your notice, and by the very advocates, who themselves are under obligations to Christians, although they cry out against us as it suits them. The clerk of one who was liable to be thrown down by an evil spirit was set free; as was also a relative of another, and the little boy of a third. How many men of rank (not to mention common people) have been cured of devils and of diseases! Even Severus himself, the father of Antonine, was mindful of the Christians; for he sought out the Christian Proclus, surnamed Torpacion, the steward of Euhodias, who once had cured him by means of oil, and whom he kept in his palace till his death. Antonine [Caracalla], too, was brought up on Christian milk,55 was intimately acquainted with this man. But Severus, knowing both men and women of the highest rank to be of this sect, not only did not injure them, but distinguished them with his testimony and restored them to us openly from the raging populace.56

(b) Laws Relating to Forbidden Societies.
1. Justinian, Digest, XLVII. 23:1.
The following is a passage taken from the Institutes of Marcian, Bk. III.

By princely commands it was prescribed to the governors of provinces that they should not permit social clubs and that soldiers should not have societies in the camp. But it is permitted to the poor to collect a monthly contribution, so long as they gather together only once in a month, lest under [pg 144] a pretext of this sort an unlawful society meet. And that this should be allowed not only in the city, but also in Italy and the provinces, the divine Severus ordered. But for the sake of religion they are not forbidden to come together so long as they do nothing contrary to the Senatus-consultum, by which unlawful societies are restrained. It is furthermore not lawful to belong to more than one lawful society, as this was determined by the divine brothers [Caracalla and Geta]; and if any one is in two, it is ordered that it be necessary for him to choose in which he prefers to be, and he shall receive from the society from which he resigns that which belongs to him proportionately of what there is of a common fund.

2. Justinian, Digest, I, 12:14.
From Ulpian's treatise, De officio Præfecti Urbi.

The divine Severus ordered that those who were accused of meeting in forbidden societies should be accused before the prefect of the city.

(c) Persecutions under Severus.
1. Eusebius, Hist. Ec., VI, 1. (MSG, 20:522.)
The following extract is important not only as a witness to the fact of the execution of the laws against Christians in Alexandria, but also to the extension of Christianity in the more southern provinces of Egypt.

When Severus began to persecute the churches, glorious testimonies were given everywhere by the athletes of religion. Especially numerous were they in Alexandria, for thither, as to a more prominent theatre, athletes of God were sent from Egypt and all Thebais, according to their merit, and they won crowns from God through their great patience under many tortures and every mode of death. Among these was Leonidas, said to be the father of Origen, who was beheaded while his son was still young.

[pg 145]
2. Spartianus, Vita Severi, XVII. 1. (Scriptores Historiæ Augustæ. Ed. Peter, 1884; Preuschen, Analecta, I, 32.)
The date of the following is A. D. 202.

He forbade, under heavy penalties, any to become Jews. He made the same regulation in regard to Christians.

(d) Tertullian. Apol., 39. (MSL, 1:534.)
In the following, Christian assemblies, or churches, are represented as being a sort of friendly society, similar but superior to those existing all over the Empire, common and tolerated among the poorer members of society. The date of the Apology is 197.

Though we have our treasure-chest, it is not made up of purchase money, as if our religion had its price. On the regular day in the month, or when one prefers, each one makes a small donation; but only if it be his pleasure, and only if he be able; for no one is compelled, but gives voluntarily. These gifts are, as it were, piety's deposit fund. For they are taken thence and spent, not on feasts and drinking-bouts, and thankless eating-houses, but to support and bury poor people, to supply the wants of boys and girls destitute of means and parents, and of old persons confined to the house, likewise the shipwrecked, and if there happen to be any in the mines, or banished to the islands, or shut up in the prisons for nothing but their fidelity to the cause of God's Church, they become the nurslings of their confession. But it is mainly for such work of love that many place a brand upon us. See, they say, how they love one another!

(e) The Passion of Perpetua and Felicitas. (MSL, 3:51.) (Cf. Knopf, pp. 44-57.)
The date of this martyrdom is A. D. 203. The Passio SS. Perpetuæ et Felicitatis has been attributed to Tertullian. It betrays clear evidence of Montanist sympathies. It has even been thought by some that the martyrs themselves were Montanists. At that date probably not a few who sympathized with Montanism were still in good standing in certain parts of the Church. At any rate, the day of their commemoration has been from the middle of the fourth century at Rome March 7. See Kirch, p. 323.
[pg 146]

The day of their victory dawned, and they proceeded from the prison into the amphitheatre, as if to happiness, joyous and of brilliant countenances; if, perchance, shrinking, it was with joy and not with fear. Perpetua followed with placid look, and with step and gait as a matron of Christ, beloved of God, casting down the lustre of her eyes from the gaze of all. Likewise Felicitas came, rejoicing that she had safely brought forth, so that she might fight with the beasts.… And when they were brought to the gate, and were constrained to put on the clothing—the men that of the priests of Saturn, and the women that of those who were consecrated to Ceres—that noble-minded woman resisted even to the end with constancy. For she said: “We have come thus far of our own accord, that our liberty might not be restrained. For this reason we have yielded our minds, that we might not do any such thing as this; we have agreed on this with you.” Injustice acknowledged the justice; the tribune permitted that they be brought in simply as they were. Perpetua sang psalms, already treading under foot the head of the Egyptian [seen in a vision; see preceding chapters]; Revocatus and Saturninus and Saturus uttered threatenings against the gazing people about this martyrdom. When they came within sight of Hilarianus, by gesture and nod they began to say to Hilarianus: “Thou judgest us, but God will judge thee.” At this the exasperated people demanded that they should be tormented with scourges as they passed along the rank of the venatores. And they, indeed, rejoiced that they should have incurred any one of their Lord's passions.

But He who had said, “Ask and ye shall receive,” gave to them, when they asked, that death which each one had desired. For when they had been discoursing among themselves about their wish as to their martyrdom, Saturninus, indeed, had professed that he wished that he might be thrown to all the beasts; doubtless that he might wear a more glorious crown. Therefore, in the beginning of the exhibition he [pg 147] and Revocatus made trial of the leopard, and, moreover, upon the scaffold they were harassed by the bear. Saturus, however, held nothing in greater horror than a bear; but he thought he would be finished by one bite of a leopard. Therefore, when a wild boar was supplied, it was the huntsman who had supplied that boar, and not Saturus, who was gored by that same beast and who died the day after the shows. Saturus only was drawn out; and when he had been bound on the floor near to a bear, the bear would not come forth from his den. And so Saturus for the second time was recalled, unhurt.

Moreover, for the young women the devil, rivalling their sex also in that of the beasts, prepared a very fierce cow, provided especially for that purpose contrary to custom. And so, stripped and clothed with nets, they were led forth. The populace shuddered as they saw one young woman of delicate frame, and another with breasts still dropping from her recent childbirth. So, being recalled, they were unbound. Perpetua was first led in. She was tossed and fell on her loins; and when she saw her tunic torn from her side, she drew it over her as a veil for her thighs, mindful of her modesty rather than of her suffering. Then she was called for again, and bound up her dishevelled hair; for it was not becoming for a martyr to suffer with dishevelled hair, lest she should appear to be mourning in her glory. She rose up, and when she saw Felicitas crushed she approached and gave her her hand and lifted her up. And both of them stood together; and the brutality of the populace being appeased, they were recalled to the Sanavivarian gate. Then Perpetua was received by a certain one who was still a catechumen, Rusticus by name, who kept close to her; and she, as if roused from sleep, so deeply had she been in the Spirit and in an ecstasy, began to look around her and to say to the amazement of all: “I do not know when we are to be led out to that cow.” Thus she said, and when she had heard what had already happened, she did not believe [pg 148] it until she had perceived certain signs of injury in her own body and in her dress, and had recognized the catechumen. Afterward, causing that catechumen and the brother to approach, she addressed them, saying: “Stand fast in the faith, and love one another, all of you, and be not offended at our sufferings.”

The same Saturus at the other entrance exhorted the soldier Prudens, saying: “Assuredly here I am, as I have promised and foretold, for up to this moment I have felt no beast. And now believe with your whole heart. Lo, I am going forth to the leopard, and I shall be destroyed with one bite.” And immediately on the conclusion of the exhibition he was thrown to the leopard; and with one bite by it he was bathed with such a quantity of blood that the people shouted out to him, as he was returning, the testimony of his second baptism: “Saved and washed, saved and washed.” Manifestly he was assuredly saved who had been glorified in such a spectacle. Then to the soldier Prudens he said: “Farewell, and be mindful of my faith; and let not these things disturb, but confirm you.” And at the same time he asked for a little ring from his finger, and returned it to him bathed in his wound, leaving to him an inherited token and memory of his blood. And then lifeless he was cast down with the rest, to be slaughtered in the usual place. And when the populace called for them into the midst, that as the sword penetrated into their body they might make their eyes partners in the murder, they rose up of their own accord, and transferred themselves whither the people wished; but they first kissed one another, that they might consummate their martyrdom with the rites of peace. The rest, indeed, immovable and in silence, received the sword; and so did Saturus, who had also first ascended the ladder, and first gave up his spirit, for he was waiting for Perpetua. But Perpetua, that she might taste some pain, being pierced between the ribs, cried out loudly and she herself placed the wavering right hand of the youthful gladiator to her throat. Possibly such a [pg 149] woman could not have been slain unless she herself had willed it, because she was feared by the impure spirit.

O most brave and blessed martyrs! O truly called and chosen unto the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ! Whoever magnifies, and honors, and adores Him, assuredly ought to read these examples for the edification of the Church, not less than the ancient ones, so that new virtues also may testify that one and the same Holy Spirit is always operating even until now, and God the Father Omnipotent, and his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, whose is glory and infinite power forever and ever. Amen.

(f) Origen, Contra Celsum, III, 8. (MSG, 11:930.)
Origen is writing just before the first general persecution under Decius about the middle of the century. He points out the relatively small number of those suffering persecution.

With regard to Christians, because they were taught not to avenge themselves upon their enemies, and have thus observed laws of a mild and philanthropic character; and because, although they were able, yet they would not have made war even if they had received authority to do so; for this cause they have obtained this from God: that He has always warred on their behalf, and at times has restrained those who rose up against them and who wished to destroy them. For in order to remind others, that seeing a few engaged in a struggle in behalf of religion, they might also be better fitted to despise death, a few, at various times, and these easily numbered, have endured death for the sake of the Christian religion; God not permitting the whole nation [i.e., the Christians] to be exterminated, but desiring that it should continue, and that the whole world should be filled with this salvation and the doctrines of religion.

(g) Justinian, Digest, I, 5:17.
The edict of Caracalla (Marcus Aurelius Antoninus) conferring Roman citizenship upon all free inhabitants of the Empire has not been preserved. It is known only from a brief extract from the twenty-second book of Ulpian's work on the Prætorian Edict, contained in the Digest of Justinian.
[pg 150]

Those who were in the Roman world were made Roman citizens by the constitution of the Emperor Antoninus.

§ 35. Religious Syncretism in the Third Century

In the third century religious syncretism took two leading forms—the Mithraic worship, which spread rapidly throughout the Empire, and the fashionable interest in novel religions fostered by the imperial court. Mithraism was especially prevalent in the army, and at army posts have been found numerous remains of sanctuaries, inscriptions, etc. It was by far the purest of the religions that invaded the Roman Empire, and drew its leading ideas from Persian sources. The fashionable court interest in novel religions seems not to have amounted to much as a positive religious force, which Mithraism certainly was, though on account of it Christianity was protected and even patronized by the ladies of the imperial household. Among the works produced by this interest was the Life of Apollonius of Tyana, written by Philostratus at the command of the Empress Julia Domna. Apollonius was a preacher or teacher of ethics and the Neo-Pythagorean philosophy in the first century, ob. A. D. 97.

Additional source material: Philostratus, Life of Apollonius (the latest English translation, by F. C. Conybeare, with Greek text in the Loeb Classical Library, 1912).
Mithraic Prayer, Albrecht Dietrich, Eine Mithrasliturgie, Leipsic, 1903.
The following prayer is the opening invocation of what appears to be a Mithraic liturgy, and may date from a period earlier than the fourth century. It gives, as is natural, no elaborated statement of Mithraic doctrine, but, as in all prayer, much is implied in the forms used and the spirit of the religion breathed through it. The combination has already begun as is shown by the doctrine of the four elements. It should be added that Professor Cumont does not regard it as a Mithraic liturgy at all, but accounts for the distinct mention of the name Mithras, which is to be found in some parts, to a common tendency of semi-magical incantations to employ as many deities as possible.
[pg 151]

First Origin of my origin, first Beginning of my beginning, Spirit of Spirit, first of the spirit in me. Fire which to compose me has been given of God, first of the fire in me. Water of water, first of the water in me. Earthy Substance of earthy substance, first of the earthy substance, the entire body of me, N. N. son of N. N., completely formed by an honorable arm and an immortal right hand in the lightless and illuminated world, in the inanimated and the animated. If it seem good to you to restore me to an immortal generation, who am held by my underlying nature, that after this present need which presses sorely upon me I may behold the immortal Beginning with the immortal Spirit, the immortal Water, the Solid and the Air, that I may be born again, by the thought, that I may be consecrated and the holy Spirit may breathe in me, that I may gaze with astonishment at the holy Fire, that I may look upon abysmal and frightful Water of the sun-rising, and the generative Ether poured around may listen to me. For I will to-day look with immortal eyes, I who was begotten a mortal from a mortal womb, exalted by a mighty working power and incorruptible right hand, I may look with an immortal spirit upon the immortal Eon and the Lord of the fiery crowns, purified by holy consecrations, since a little under me stands the human power of mind, which I shall regain after the present bitter, oppressive, and debt-laden need, I, N. N. the son of N. N., according to God's unchangeable decree, for it is not within my power, born mortal, to mount up with the golden light flashes of the immortal illuminator. Stand still, corruptible human nature, and leave me free after the pitiless and crushing necessity.

§ 36. The Religious Policy of the Emperors from Heliogabalus to Philip the Arabian, 217-249

With the brief exception of the reign of Maximinus Thrax (235-238), Christians enjoyed peace from the death of Caracalla to the death of Philip the Arabian. This was not due [pg 152] to disregard of the laws against Christians nor to indifference to suspected dangers to the Empire arising from the new religion, but to the policy of religious syncretism which had come in with the family of Severus. The wife of Septimius Severus was the daughter of Julius Bassianus, priest of the Sun-god of Emesa, and of the rulers of the dynasty of Severus one, Heliogabalus, was himself a priest of the same syncretistic cult, and another, Alexander, was under the influence of the women of the same priestly family.

(a) Lampridius, Vita Heliogabali, 3, 6, 7. Preuschen, Analecta, I, § 12.
Lampridius is one of the Scriptores Historiæ Augustæ, by whom is a series of lives of the Roman emperors. The series dates from the fourth century, and is of importance as containing much information which is not otherwise accessible. The dates of the various lives are difficult to determine. Avitus Bassianus, known as Heliogabalus, a name he assumed, reigned 218-222.

Ch. 3. But when he had once entered the city, he enrolled Heliogabalus among the gods and built a temple to him on the Palatine Hill next the imperial palace, desiring to transfer to that temple the image of Cybele, the fire of Vesta, the Palladium, the sacred shields, and all things venerated by the Romans; and he did this so that no other god than Heliogabalus should be worshipped at Rome. He said, besides, that the religions of the Jews and the Samaritans and the Christian worship should be brought thither, that the priesthood of Heliogabalus should possess the secrets of all religions.

Ch. 6. Not only did he wish to extinguish the Roman religions, but he was eager for one thing throughout the entire world—that Heliogabalus should everywhere be worshipped as god.

Ch. 7. He asserted, in fact, that all the gods were servants of his god, since some he called his chamber-servants, others slaves, and others servants in various capacities.

(b) Lampridius, Vita Alexandri Severi, 29, 43, 49. Preuschen, Analecta, I, § 13.
[pg 153]
Alexander Severus (222-235) succeeded his cousin Heliogabalus. The mother of Alexander, Julia Mammæa, sister of Julia Soæmias, mother of Heliogabalus, was a granddaughter of Julius Bassianus, whose daughter, Julia Domna, had married Septimius Severus. It was through marriages with the female descendants of Julius, who was priest of the Sun-god at Emesa, that the members of the dynasty of Severus were connected and their attitude toward religion determined. It was in the reign of Alexander that syncretism favorable to Christianity was at its height.

Ch. 29. This was his manner of life: as soon as there was opportunity—that is, if he had not spent the night with his wife—he performed his devotions in the early morning hours in his lararium, in which he had statues of the divine princes and also a select number of the best men and the more holy spirits, among whom he had Apollonius of Tyana, and as a writer of his times says, Christ, Abraham, and Orpheus, and others similar, as well as statues of his ancestors.

Ch. 43. He wished to erect a temple to Christ and to number Him among the gods. Hadrian, also, is said to have thought of doing this, and commanded temples without any images to be erected in all cities, and therefore these temples, because they have no image of the Divinity, are to-day called Hadriani, which he is said to have prepared for this end. But Alexander was prevented from doing this by those who, consulting the auspices, learned that if ever this were done all would be Christians, and the other temples would have to be deserted.

Ch. 49. When the Christians took possession of a piece of land which belonged to the public domain and in opposition to them the guild of cooks claimed that it belonged to them, he decreed that it was better that in that place God should be worshipped in some fashion rather than that it be given to the cooks.

(c) Eusebius, Hist. Ec., VI, 21. (MSG, 20:574.)

The mother of the Emperor, whose name was Julia Mammæa, was a most pious woman, if ever one was. When the fame of Origen had extended everywhere and had come [pg 154] even to her ears, she desired greatly to see the man, and to make trial of his understanding of divine things, which was admired by all. When she was staying for a time in Antioch, she sent for him with a military escort. Having remained with her for a while and shown her many things which were for the glory of the Lord and of the excellency of divine teaching, he hastened back to his accustomed labors.

(d) Firmilianus, Ep. ad Cyprianum, in Cyprian, Ep. 75. (MSL, 3:1211.) Preuschen, Analecta, I, § 14:2.
The following epistle is found among the Epistles of Cyprian, to whom it is addressed. It is of importance in connection with the persecution of Maximinus, throwing light on the occasion and extent of the persecution and relating instances of strange fanaticism and exorcism.

But I wish to tell you about an affair connected with this very matter [baptism by heretics, the main subject of the epistle, v. infra, § 52] which occurred among us. About twenty years ago, in the time after Emperor Alexander, there happened in these parts many struggles and difficulties, either in common to all men or privately to Christians. There were, furthermore, many and frequent earthquakes, so that many cities throughout Cappadocia and Pontus were thrown down; and some even were dragged down into the abyss and swallowed by the gaping earth. From this, also, there arose a severe persecution against the Christian name. This arose suddenly after the long peace of the previous age. Because of the unexpected and unaccustomed evil, it was rendered more terrible for the disturbance of our people.

Serenianus was at that time governor of our province, a bitter and cruel persecutor. But when the faithful had been thus disturbed and were fleeing hither and thither from fear of persecution and were leaving their native country and crossing over to other regions—for there was opportunity of crossing over, because this persecution was not over the whole world, but was local—there suddenly arose among us a certain woman who in a state of ecstasy announced herself [pg 155] as a prophetess and acted as if filled with the Holy Ghost. And she was so moved by the power of the chief demons that for a long time she disturbed the brethren and deceived them; for she accomplished certain wonderful and portentous things: thus, she promised that she would cause the earth to be shaken, not that the power of the demon was so great that he could shake the earth and disturb the elements, but that sometimes a wicked spirit, foreseeing and understanding that there will be an earthquake, pretends that he will do what he foresees will take place. By these lies and boastings he had so subdued the minds of several that they obeyed him and followed whithersoever he commanded and led. He would also make that woman walk in the bitter cold of winter with bare feet over the frozen snow, and not to be troubled or hurt in any respect by walking in this fashion. Moreover, she said she was hurrying to Judea and Jerusalem, pretending that she had come thence. Here, also, she deceived Rusticus, one of the presbyters, and another one who was a deacon, so that they had intercourse with the same woman. This was shortly after detected. For there suddenly appeared before her one of the exorcists, a man approved and always well versed in matters of religious discipline; he, moved by the exhortation of many of the brethren, also, who were themselves strong in the faith, and praiseworthy, raised himself up against that wicked spirit to overcome it; for the spirit a little while before, by its subtle deceitfulness, had predicted, furthermore, that a certain adverse and unbelieving tempter would come. Yet that exorcist, inspired by God's grace, bravely resisted and showed that he who before was regarded as holy was a most wicked spirit. But that woman, who previously, by the wiles and deceits of the demon, was attempting many things for the deception of the faithful, had among other things by which she deceived many also frequently dared this—to pretend that with an invocation, not to be contemned, she sanctified bread and consecrated the eucharist and offered sacrifice to the Lord [pg 156] without the sacrament as customarily uttered; and to have baptized many, making use of the usual and lawful words of interrogation, that nothing might seem to be different from the ecclesiastical and lawful mode.

(e) Eusebius, Hist. Ec., VI, 34. (MSG, 20:595.) Preuschen, Analecta, I, § 15, and Kirch, n. 397.
The following tradition that Philip the Arabian was a Christian is commonly regarded as doubtful. That he favored the Christians, and even protected them, may be the basis for such a report.

When Gordianus (238-244) had been Roman Emperor for six years, Philip (244-249) succeeded him. It is reported that he, being a Christian, desired on the day of the last paschal vigil to share with the multitude in the prayers of the Church, but was not permitted by him who then presided to enter until he had made confession and numbered himself among those who were reckoned as transgressors and who occupied the place of penitence. For if he had not done this, he would never have been received by him, on account of the many crimes he had committed, and it is said that he obeyed readily, manifesting in his conduct a genuine and pious fear of God.

§ 37. The Extension of the Church at the Middle of the Third Century

Some approximately correct idea of the extension of the Church by the middle of the third century may be gathered from a precise statement of the organization of the largest church, that at Rome, about the year 250 (a), from the size of provincial synods, of which we have detailed statements for North Africa (b), from references to organized and apparently numerous churches in various places not mentioned in earlier documents (c). That the Church, at least in Egypt and parts adjacent, had ceased to be confined chiefly to the cities and that it was composed of persons of all social ranks is attested by Origen (d).

[pg 157]
(a) Cornelius, Ep. ad Fabium, in Eusebius, Hist. Ec., VI, 43. (MSG, 20:622.) Cf. Kirch, n. 222 ff.
Cornelius was bishop of Rome 251-253.

This avenger of the Gospel [Novatus] did not then know that there should be one bishop in a Catholic church; yet he was not ignorant (for how could he be) that in it [i.e., the Roman church] there were forty-six presbyters, seven deacons, seven subdeacons, forty-two acolytes, fifty-two exorcists, readers, and janitors, and over fifteen hundred widows and persons in distress, all of whom the grace and kindness of the Master nourished. But not even this great multitude, so necessary in the Church, nor those who through God's providence were rich and full, together with very many, even innumerable, people, could turn him from such desperation and recall him to the Church.

(b) Cyprian, Epistulæ 71 [=70] (MSL, 4:424) and 59:10 [=54] (MSL, 3:877)
The church in North Africa had grown very rapidly before Cyprian was elevated to the see of Carthage. An evidence of this is the number of councils held in North Africa. That held under Agrippinus, between 218 and 222, was the first known in that part of the Church. Under Cyprian a council was held at Carthage in 258 at which no less than seventy bishops, whose names and opinions have been preserved, are given. See ANF, V, 565 ff.

Ep. 71 [=70]. Ad Quintum.

Which thing, indeed, Agrippinus [A. D. 218-222], also a man of worthy memory, with his fellow-bishops, who at that time governed the Lord's Church in the province of Africa and Numidia, decreed, and by the well-weighed examination of the common council established.

Ep. 59 [=54]:10. Ad Cornelium.

I have also intimated to you, my brother, by Felicianus, that there had come to Carthage Privatus, an old heretic in the colony of Lambesa, many years ago condemned for many and grave crimes by the judgment of ninety bishops, and [pg 158] severely remarked upon in the letters of Fabian and Donatus, also our predecessors, as is not hidden from your knowledge.

(c) Cyprian, Epistula 67 [=68]. (MSL, 3:1057, 1065.)
The following extracts from Cyprian's Epistle To the Clergy and People abiding in Spain, concerning Basilides and Martial, is of importance as bearing upon the development of the appellate jurisdiction of the Roman see, for which see the epistle in its entirety as given in Cyprian's works, ANF, vol. V, for the treatment of the vexed question of discipline in the case of those receiving certificates that they had sacrificed, (see below, §§ 45 f.), and as the first definite statements as to localities in Spain where there were Christians and bishops placed over the Church. The mass of martyrdoms that have been preserved refer to still others.

Cyprian … to Felix, the presbyter, and to the peoples abiding in Legio [Leon] and Asturica [Astorga], also to Lælius, the deacon, and the people abiding in Emerita [Merida], brethren in the Lord, greeting. When we had come together, dearly beloved brethren, we read your letters, which, according to the integrity of your faith and your fear of God, you wrote to us by Felix and Sabinus, our fellow-bishops, signifying that Basilides and Martial, who had been stained with the certificates of idolatry and bound with the consciousness of wicked crimes, ought not to exercise the episcopal office and administer the priesthood of God. Wherefore, since we have written, dearly beloved brethren, and as Felix and Sabinus, our colleagues, affirm, and as another Felix, of Cæsar-Augusta [Saragossa], a maintainer of the faith and a defender of the truth, signifies in his letter, Basilides and Martial have been contaminated by the abominable certificate of idolatry.

(d) Origen, Contra Celsum, III, 9. (MSG, 11:951.)
With the following should be compared the statements of Pliny, more than a hundred years earlier, relative to Bithynia. See above, § 7.

Celsus says that “if all men wished to become Christians, the latter would not desire it.” That this is false, is evident from this, that Christians do not neglect, as far as they are able, to take care to spread their doctrines throughout the [pg 159] whole world. Some, accordingly, have made it their business to go round about not only through cities, but even villages and country houses, that they may persuade others to become pious worshippers of God.… At present, indeed, when because of the multitude of those who have embraced the teaching, not only rich men, but also some persons of rank and delicate and high-born ladies, receive the teachers of the Word, there will be some who dare to say that it is for the sake of a little glory that certain assume the office of Christian teachers. In the beginning, when there was much danger, especially to its teachers, this suspicion could have had no place.

Chapter II. The Internal Development Of The Church In Doctrine, Custom, And Constitution

The characteristic Eastern and Western conceptions of Christianity began to be clearly differentiated in the early years of the third century. A juristic conception of the Church as a body at the head of which, and clothed with authority, appeared the bishop of Rome, had, indeed, become current at Rome in the last decade of the second century on the occasion of the Easter controversy, which had ended in an estrangement between the previously closely affiliated churches of Asia Minor and the West, especially Rome (§ 38). Western theology soon became centred in North Africa under the legally trained Tertullian, by whom its leading principles were laid down in harmony with the bent of the Latin genius (§ 39). In this period numerous attempts were made to solve the problem arising from the unity of God and the divinity of Christ, without recourse to a Logos christology. Some of the more unsuccessful of these attempts have since been grouped under the heads of Dynamistic and of Modalistic Monarchianism (§ 40). At the same time Montanism was excluded from the Church (§ 41), as subversive of the distinction between the clergy and laity [pg 160] and the established organs of the Church's government, which in the recent rise of a theory of the necessity of the episcopate (see above, § 27) had become important. In the administration of the penitential discipline (§ 42) the position of the clergy and the realization of a hierarchically organized Church was still further advanced, preparatory for the position of Cyprian. At the same time as these constitutional developments were taking place in the West, and especially in North Africa, there occurred in Egypt and Palestine a remarkable advance in doctrinal discussion, whereby the theology of the apologists was developed in the Catechetical School of Alexandria, especially under the leadership of Clement of Alexandria and Origen (§ 43). In this new speculation a vast mass of most fruitful theological ideas was built up, from which subsequent ages drew for the defence of the traditional faith, but some of which served as the basis of new and startling heresies. Corresponding to the intellectual development within the Church was the last phase of Hellenic philosophy, known as Neo-Platonism (§ 44), which subsequently came into bitter conflict with the Church.

[pg 161]

§ 38. The Easter Controversy and the Separation of the Churches of Asia Minor from the Western Churches

The Church grew up with only a loose form of organization. Each local congregation was for a while autonomous, and it was the local constitution that first took a definite and fixed form. In the first centuries local customs naturally varied, and conflicts were sure to arise when various hitherto isolated churches came into closer contact and the sense of solidarity deepened. The first clash of opposing customs occurred over the date of Easter, as to which marked differences existed between the churches of Asia Minor, at that time the most flourishing part of the Church, and the churches of the West, especially with the church of Rome, the strongest local church of all. The course of the controversy is sufficiently stated in the following selection from Eusebius. The outcome was the practical isolation of the churches of Asia Minor for many years. The controversy was not settled, and the churches of Asia Minor did not again play a prominent part in the Church until the time of Constantine and the Council of Nicæa, 325 (see § 62, b), although a provisional adjustment of the difficulty, so far as the West was concerned, took place shortly before, at the Council of Arles (see § 62, a, 2).

Eusebius, Hist. Ec., V, 23, 24. (MSG, 20:489.) Mirbt, n. 22, and in Kirch, n. 78 ff.
A brief extract from the following may be found above in § 3 in a somewhat different connection.

Ch. 23. At this time a question of no small importance arose. For the parishes [i.e., dioceses in the later sense of that word] of all Asia, as from an older tradition, held that the fourteenth day of the moon, being the day on which the Jews were commanded to sacrifice the lamb, should be observed as the feast of the Saviour's passover, and that it was necessary, [pg 162] therefore, to end their fast on that day, on whatever day of the week it might happen to fall. It was not, however, the custom of the churches elsewhere to end it at this time, but they observed the practice, which from apostolic tradition has prevailed to the present time, of ending the fast on no other day than that of the resurrection of the Saviour. Synods and assemblies of bishops were held on this account, and all with one consent, by means of letters addressed to all, drew up an ecclesiastical decree that the mystery of the resurrection of the Lord from the dead should be celebrated on no other day than on the Lord's Day, and that we should observe the close of the paschal fast on that day only. There is still extant a writing of those who were then assembled in Palestine, over whom Theophilus, bishop of the parish of Cæsarea, and Narcissus, Bishop of Jerusalem, presided; also another of those who were likewise assembled at Rome, on account of the same question, which bears the name of Victor; also of the bishops in Pontus, over whom Palmas, as the oldest, presided; and of the parishes in Gaul, of which Irenæus was bishop; and of those in Osrhoene and the cities there; and a personal letter of Bacchylus, bishop of the church in Corinth, and of a great many others who uttered one and the same opinion and judgment and cast the same vote. Of these, there was one determination of the question which has been stated.

Ch. 24. But the bishops of Asia, led by Polycrates, decided to hold fast to the customs handed down to them. He himself, in a letter addressed to Victor and the church of Rome, set forth the tradition which had come down to him as follows: “We observe the exact day, neither adding nor taking anything away. For in Asia, also, great lights have fallen asleep, which shall rise again on the day of the Lord's coming, when He shall come with glory from heaven and shall seek out all the saints. Of these were Philip, one of the twelve Apostles, who fell asleep at Hierapolis, and his two aged virgin daughters and his other daughter, who, having lived in the Holy [pg 163] Spirit, rest at Ephesus; and, moreover, John, who reclined on the Lord's bosom, and being a priest wore the sacerdotal mitre, who was both a witness and a teacher; he fell asleep at Ephesus; and, further, Polycarp in Smyrna, both a bishop and a martyr.… All these observed the fourteenth day of the passover, according to the Gospel, deviating in no respect, but following the rule of faith. And I, Polycrates, do the same, the least of you all, according to the tradition of my relatives, some of whom I have closely followed. For seven of my relatives were bishops, and I am the eighth. And my relatives always observed the day when the people put away the leaven; I, therefore, am not affrighted by terrifying words. For those greater than I have said, We ought to obey God rather than men.”… Thereupon57 Victor, who was over the church of Rome, immediately attempted to cut off from the common unity the parishes of all Asia, with the churches that agreed with them, as being heterodox. And he published letters declaring that all the brethren there were wholly excommunicated. But this did not please all the bishops, and they besought him to consider the things of peace, of neighborly unity and love. Words of theirs are still extant, rather sharply rebuking Victor. Among these were Irenæus, who sent letters in the name of the brethren in Gaul, over whom he presided, and maintained that the mystery of the resurrection of the Lord should be observed only on the Lord's Day, yet he fittingly admonishes Victor that he should not cut off whole churches of God which observed the tradition of an ancient custom, and after many other words he proceeds as follows: “For the controversy is not merely concerning the day, but also concerning the very manner of the fast. For some think that they should fast one day, others two, yet others more; some, moreover, count their days as consisting of forty hours day and night. And this variety of observance has not originated in our times, but long before, in the days of our ancestors. It is likely that they did not [pg 164] hold to strict accuracy, and thus was formed a custom for their posterity, according to their own simplicity and their peculiar method. Yet all these lived more or less in peace, and we also live in peace with one another; and the disagreement in regard to the fast confirms the agreement in the faith.… Among these were the elders [i.e., bishops of earlier date] before Soter, who presided over the church which thou [Victor] now rulest. We mean Anicetus, and Pius, and Hyginus, and Telesphorus, and Sixtus. They neither observed it themselves nor did they permit others after them to do so. And yet, though they did not observe it, they were none the less at peace with those who came to them from the parishes in which it was observed, although this observance was more opposed to those who did not observe it. But none were ever cast out on account of this form, but the elders before thee, who did not observe it, sent the eucharist to those of the other parishes observing it. And when the blessed Polycarp was at Rome in the time of Anicetus, and they disagreed a little about certain other things, they immediately made peace with one another, not caring to quarrel over this point. For neither could Anicetus persuade Polycarp not to observe what he had always observed with John, the disciple of the Lord, and the other Apostles with whom he had associated; neither could Polycarp persuade Anicetus to observe it, as he said that he ought to follow the customs of the elders who had preceded him. But though matters were thus, they nevertheless communed together and Anicetus granted the eucharist in the church to Polycarp, manifestly as a mark of respect.58 And they parted from each other in peace, maintaining the peace of the whole Church, both of those who observed and those who did not.” Thus Irenæus, who was truly well named, became a peace-maker in this matter, exhorting and negotiating in this way for the peace of the churches. And he conferred by letter about this [pg 165] disputed question, not only with Victor, but also with most of the other rulers of the churches.

§ 39. The Religion of the West: Its Moral and Juristic Character

In the writings of Tertullian a conception of Christianity is quite fully developed according to which the Gospel was a new law of life, with its prescribed holy seasons and hours for prayer; its sacrifices, though as yet only sacrifices of prayer; its fasts and almsgiving, which had propitiatory effect, atoning for sins committed and winning merit with God; its sacred rites, solemnly administered by an established hierarchy; and all observed for the sake of a reward which God in justice owed those who kept His commandments. It is noticeable that already there is the same divided opinion as to marriage, whereby, on the one hand, it was regarded as a concession to weakness, a necessary evil, and, on the other, a high and holy relation, strictly monogamous, and of abiding worth. The propitiatory and meritorious character of fasts and almsgiving as laid down by Tertullian was developed even further by Cyprian and became a permanent element in the penitential system of the Church, ultimately affecting its conception of redemption.

(a) Tertullian, De Oratione, 23, 25, 28. (MSL, 1:1298.)

Ch. 23. As to kneeling, also, prayer is subject to diversity of observance on account of a few who abstain from kneeling on the Sabbath. Since this dissension is particularly on its trial before the churches, the Lord will give His grace that the dissentients may either yield or else follow their own opinion without offence to the others. We, however, as we have received, only on the Sunday of the resurrection ought to guard not only against this kneeling, but every posture and office of anxiety; deferring even our businesses, lest we give any place to the devil. Similarly, too, the period of Pentecost, [pg 166] is a time which we distinguish by the same solemnity of exultation. But who would hesitate every day to prostrate himself before God, at least in the first prayer with which we enter on the daylight? At fasts, moreover, and stations, no prayer should be made without kneeling and the remaining customary marks of humility. For then we are not only praying, but making supplication, and making satisfaction to our Lord God.

Ch. 25. Touching the time, however, the extrinsic observance of certain hours will not be unprofitable; those common hours, I mean, which mark the intervals of the day—the third, the sixth, the ninth—which we may find in Scripture to have been more solemn than the rest.

Ch. 28. This is the spiritual victim which has abolished the pristine sacrifices.… We are the true adorers and true priests, who, praying in the spirit, in the spirit sacrifice prayer, proper and acceptable to God, which, assuredly, He has required, which He has looked forward to for Himself. This victim, devoted from the whole heart, fed on faith, tended by truth, entire in innocence, pure in chastity, garlanded with love [agape], we ought to escort with the pomp of good works, amid psalms and hymns, unto God's altar, to obtain all things from God for us.

(b) Tertullian, De Jejun., 3. (MSL, 2:100.)
The following is a characteristic statement of the meritorious and propitiatory character of fasting. See below, h, Cyprian.

Since He himself both commands fasting and calls a soul wholly shattered—properly, of course, by straits of diet—a sacrifice (Psalm 51:18), who will any longer doubt that of all macerations as to food the rationale has been this: that by a renewed interdiction of food and observance of the precept the primordial sin might now be expiated, so that man may make God satisfaction through the same causative material by which he offended, that is, by interdiction of food; and so, by way of emulation, hunger might rekindle, just as [pg 167] satiety had extinguished, salvation, contemning for the sake of one thing unlawful many things that are lawful?

(c) Tertullian, De Baptismo, 17. (MSL, 1:1326.)

It remains to put you in mind, also, of the due observance of giving and receiving baptism. The chief priest (summus sacerdos), who is the bishop, has the right of giving it; in the second place, the presbyters and deacons, yet not without the bishop's authority, on account of the honor of the Church. When this has been preserved, peace is preserved. Besides these, even laymen have the right; for what is equally received can be equally given. If there are no bishops, priests, or deacons, other disciples are called. The word of the Lord ought not to be hidden away by any. In like manner, also, baptism, which is equally God's property, can be administered by all; but how much more is the rule of reverence and modesty incumbent on laymen, since these things belong to their superiors, lest they assume to themselves the specific functions of the episcopate! Emulation of the episcopal office is the mother of schism.

(d) Tertullian, De Pœnitentia, 2. (MSL, 1:1340.)

How small is the gain if you do good to a grateful man, or the loss if to an ungrateful man! A good deed has God as its debtor, just as an evil deed has Him also; for the judge is a rewarder of every cause. Now, since God as judge presides over the exacting and maintaining of justice, which is most dear to Him, and since it is for the sake of justice that He appoints the whole sum of His discipline, ought one to doubt that, as in all our acts universally, so, also, in the case of repentance, justice must be rendered to God?

(e) Tertullian, Scorpiace, 6. (MSL, 2:157.)

If he had put forth faith to suffer martyrdoms, not for the contest's sake, but for its own benefit, ought it not to have had some store of hope, for which it might restrain its own desire [pg 168] and suspend its wish, that it might strive to mount up, seeing that they, also, who strive to discharge earthly functions are eager for promotion? Or how will there be many mansions in the Father's house, if not for a diversity of deserts? How, also, will one star differ from another star in glory, unless in virtue of a disparity of their rays?

(f) Tertullian, Ad Uxorem, I, 3; II, 8-10. (MSL, 1:1390, 1415.) Cf. Kirch, n. 181.

I, 3. There is no place at all where we read that marriages are prohibited; of course as a “good thing.” What, however, is better than this “good,” we learn from the Apostle in that he permits marriage, indeed, but prefers abstinence; the former on account of the insidiousness of temptations, the latter on account of the straits of the times (I Cor. 7:26). Now by examining the reason for each statement it is easily seen that the permission to marry is conceded us as a necessity; but whatever necessity grants, she herself deprecates. In fact, inasmuch as it is written, “It is better to marry than to burn” (I Cor. 7:9), what sort of “good” is this which is only commended by comparison with “evil,” so that the reason why “marrying” is better is merely that “burning” is worse? Nay; but how much better is it neither to marry nor to burn?

II, 8. Whence are we to find adequate words to tell fully of the happiness of that marriage which the Church cements and the oblation59 confirms, and the benediction seals; which the angels announce, and the Father holds for ratified? For even on earth children do not rightly and lawfully wed without their father's consent. What kind of yoke is that of two believers of one hope, one discipline, and the same service? The two are brethren, the two are fellow-servants; no difference of spirit or flesh; nay, truly, two in one flesh; where there is one flesh the spirit is one.

[pg 169]
(g) Tertullian, De Monogamia, 9, 10. (MSL, 2:991 f.)
This work was written after Tertullian became a Montanist, and with other Montanists repudiated second marriage, to which reference is made in both passages. But the teaching of the Church regarding remarriage after divorce was as Tertullian here speaks. The reference to offering at the end of ch. 10 does not refer to the eucharist, but to prayers. See above, Ad Uxorem, ch. II, 8.

Ch. 9. So far is it true that divorce “was not from the beginning” [cf. Matt. 19:8] that among the Romans it is not till after the six hundredth year after the foundation of the city that this kind of hardness of heart is recorded to have been committed. But they not only repudiate, but commit promiscuous adultery; to us, even if we do divorce, it will not be lawful to marry.

Ch. 10. I ask the woman herself, “Tell me, sister, have you sent your husband before in peace?” What will she answer? In discord? In that case she is bound the more to him with whom she has a cause to plead at the bar of God. She is bound to another, she who has not departed from him. But if she say, “In peace,” then she must necessarily persevere in that peace with him whom she will be no longer able to divorce; not that she would marry, even if she had been able to divorce him. Indeed, she prays for his soul, and requests refreshment for him meanwhile, and fellowship in the first resurrection; and she offers on the anniversary of his falling asleep.

(h) Cyprian, De Opere et Eleemosynis, 1, 2, 5. (MSL, 4:625.)
Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage (249-258), was the most important theologian and ecclesiastic between Tertullian and Augustine. He developed the theology of the former especially in its ecclesiastical lines, and his idea of the Church was accepted by the latter as a matter beyond dispute. His most important contributions to the development of the Church were his hierarchical conceptions, which became generally accepted as the basis of the episcopal organization of the Church (see below, §§ 46, 50, 51). His writings, which are of great importance in the history of the Church, consist only of epistles and brief tracts. His influence did much to determine the lines of development of the Western Church, and especially the church of North Africa. With the following cf. supra, § 16.
[pg 170]

Ch. 1. Many and great, beloved brethren, are the divine benefits wherewith the large and abundant mercy of God the Father and of Christ both has labored and is always laboring for our salvation: because the Father sent the Son to preserve us and give us life, that He might restore us; and the Son was willing to be sent and to become the son of man, that He might make us the sons of God. He humbled Himself that He might raise up the people who before were prostrate; He was wounded that He might heal our wounds; He served that He might draw to liberty those who were in bondage; He underwent death, that He might set forth immortality to mortals. These are many and great boons of compassion. But, moreover, what a providence, and how great the clemency, that by a plan of salvation it is provided for us that more abundant care should be taken for preserving man who has been redeemed! For when the Lord, coming to us, had cured those wounds which Adam had borne, and had healed the old poisons of the serpent, He gave a law to the sound man, and bade him sin no more lest a worse thing should befall the sinner. We had been limited and shut up in a narrow space by the commandment of innocence. Nor should the infirmity and weakness of human frailty have anything it might do, unless the divine mercy, coming again in aid, should open some way of securing salvation by pointing out works of justice and mercy, so that by almsgiving we may wash away whatever foulness we subsequently contract.

Ch. 2. The Holy Spirit speaks in the sacred Scriptures saying, “By almsgiving and faith sins are purged” [Prov. 16:6]. Not, of course, those sins which had been previously contracted, for these are purged by the blood and sanctification of Christ. Moreover, He says again, “As water extinguishes fire, so almsgiving quencheth sin” [Eccles. 3:30]. Here, also, is shown and proved that as by the laver of the saving water the fire of Gehenna is extinguished, so, also, by almsgiving and works of righteousness the flame of sin is subdued. And because in baptism remission of sins is granted [pg 171] once and for all, constant and ceaseless labor, following the likeness of baptism, once again bestows the mercy of God.… The Lord also teaches this in the Gospel.… The Merciful One teaches and warns that works of mercy be performed; because He seeks to save those who at great cost He has redeemed, it is proper that those who after the grace of baptism have become foul can once more be cleansed.

Ch. 5. The remedies for propitiating God are given in the words of God himself. The divine instructions have taught sinners what they ought to do; that by works of righteousness God is satisfied, and with the merits of mercy sins are cleansed.… He [the angel Raphael, cf. Tobit. 12:8, 9] shows that our prayers and fastings are of little avail unless they are aided by almsgiving; that entreaties alone are of little force to obtain what they seek, unless they be made sufficient by the addition of deeds and good works. The angel reveals and manifests and certifies that our petitions become efficacious by almsgiving, that life is redeemed from dangers by almsgiving, that souls are delivered from death by almsgiving.

§ 40. The Monarchian Controversies

Monarchianism is a general term used to include all the unsuccessful attempts of teachers within the Church to explain the divine element in Christ without doing violence to the doctrine of the unity of God, and yet without employing the Logos christology. These attempts were made chiefly between the latter part of the second century and the end of the third. They fall into classes accordingly as they regard the divine element in Christ as personal or impersonal. One class makes the divine element to be an impersonal power (Greek, dynamis) sent from God into the man Jesus; hence the term “Dynamistic Monarchians.” The other class makes the divine element a person, without, however, making any personal distinction between Father and Son, only a difference in the mode in which the one [pg 172] divine person manifests Himself; hence the term “Modalistic Monarchians.” By some the Dynamistic Monarchians have been called Adoptionists, because they generally taught that the man Jesus ultimately became the Son of God, not being such by nature but by “adoption.” The name Adoptionist has been so long applied to a heresy of the eighth century, chiefly in Spain, that it leads to confusion to use the term in connection with Monarchianism. Furthermore, to speak of them as Dynamistic Monarchians groups them with other Monarchians, which is desirable. The most important school of Modalistic Monarchians was that of Sabellius, in which the Modalistic principle was developed so as to include the three persons of the Trinity.

The sources may be found collected and annotated in Hilgenfeld, Ketsergeschichte.
(A) Dynamistic Monarchianism
(a) Hippolytus, Refut., VII, 35, 36. (MSG, 16:3342.)

Ch. 35. A certain Theodotus, a native of Byzantium, introduced a novel heresy, saying some things concerning the origin of the universe partly in keeping with the doctrines of the true Church, in so far as he admits that all things were created by God. Forcibly appropriating, however, his idea of Christ from the Gnostics and from Cerinthus and Ebion, he alleges that He appeared somewhat as follows: that Jesus was a man, born of a virgin, according to the counsel of the Father, and that after He had lived in a way common to all men, and had become pre-eminently religious, He afterward at His baptism in Jordan received Christ, who came from above and descended upon Him. Therefore miraculous powers did not operate within Him prior to the manifestation of that Spirit which descended and proclaimed Him as the Christ. But some [i.e., among the followers of Theodotus] are disposed to think that this man never was God, even at the descent of the Spirit; whereas others maintain that He was made God after the resurrection from the dead.

[pg 173]

Ch. 36. While, however, different questions have arisen among them, a certain one named Theodotus, by trade a money-changer [to be distinguished from the other Theodotus, who is commonly spoken of as Theodotus, the leather-worker], attempted to establish the doctrine that a certain Melchizedek is the greatest power, and that this one is greater than Christ. And they allege that Christ happens to be according to the likeness of this one. And they themselves, similarly with those who have been previously spoken of as adherents of Theodotus, assert that Jesus is a mere man, and that in conformity with the same account, Christ descended upon Him.

(b) The Little Labyrinth, in Eusebius, Hist. Ec., V, 28. (MSG, 20:511.)
The author of The Little Labyrinth, a work from which Eusebius quotes at considerable length, is uncertain. It has been attributed to Hippolytus.

The Artemonites say that all early teachers and the Apostles themselves received and taught what they now declare, and that the truth of the preaching [i.e., the Gospel] was preserved until the time of Victor, who was the thirteenth bishop in Rome after Peter, and that since his successor, Zephyrinus, the truth has been corrupted. What they say might be credible if first of all the divine Scriptures did not contradict them. And there are writings of certain brethren which are older than the times of Victor, and which they wrote in behalf of the truth against the heathen and against heresies of their time. I refer to Justin, Miltiades, Tatian, Clement, and others. In all of their works Christ is spoken of as God. For who does not know the works of Irenæus and of Melito and of others, which teach that Christ is God and man? And how many psalms and hymns, written by the faithful brethren from the beginning, celebrate Christ as the Word of God, speaking of Him as divine? How, then, since the Church's present opinion has been preached for so many [pg 174] years, can its preaching have been delayed, as they affirm, until the times of Victor? And how is it that they are not ashamed to speak thus falsely of Victor, knowing well that he cut off from communion Theodotus, the leather-worker, the leader and father of this God-denying apostasy, and the first to declare that Christ is mere man.

There was a certain confessor, Natalius, not long ago, but in our day. This man was deceived at one time by Asclepiodotus and another Theodotus, a certain money-changer. Both of them were disciples of Theodotus, the leather-worker, who, as I said, was the first person excommunicated by Victor, bishop at that time, on account of this senseless sentiment or, rather, senselessness. Natalius was persuaded by them to allow himself to be chosen bishop of this heresy with a salary, so that he was to receive from them one hundred and fifty denarii a month.

They have treated the divine Scriptures recklessly and without fear; they have set aside the rule of ancient faith; and Christ they have not known, not endeavoring to learn what the divine Scriptures declare, but striving laboriously after any form of syllogism which may be found to suit their impiety. And if any one brings before them a passage of divine Scripture, they see whether a conjunctive or a disjunctive form of syllogism can be made from it. And as being of the earth and speaking of the earth and as ignorant of Him that cometh from above, they devote themselves to geometry and forsake the holy writings of God. Euclid is at least laboriously measured by some of them; Aristotle and Theophrastus admired; and Galen, perhaps, by some is even worshipped. But that those who use the arts of unbelievers for their heretical opinion and adulterate the simple faith of the divine Scriptures by the craft of the godless are not near the faith, what need is there to say? Therefore, they have laid their hands boldly upon the divine Scriptures, alleging that they have corrected them. That I am not speaking falsely of them in this matter, whoever wishes can [pg 175] learn. For if any one will collect their respective copies and compare them with one another, he will find that they differ greatly.

(B) Modalistic Monarchianism
Additional source material: Hippolytus, Adversus Noetum, Refutatio, IX, 7 ff., X, 27; Tertullian, Adversus Praxean; Basil, Ep. 207, 210. (PNF, ser. II, vol. VIII.)
(a) Hippolytus, Refut., X, 27. (MSG, 16:3440.)
The following passages from the great work of Hippolytus give the earlier form of Modalistic Monarchianism. They are also of importance as being a part of the foundation for the statement of Harnack and others, that this heresy was the official Roman doctrine for some years. See also IX, 12, of which the text may be found in Kirch, nn. 201-206. The whole question as to the position of Callistus, or Calixtus, as bishop of Rome and his relations to the Church as a whole is difficult and full of obscurity, due to a large extent to the fact that the principal source for his history is the work of Hippolytus, who, as may easily be seen, was bitterly opposed to him.

Noetus, a Smyrnæan by birth, a reckless babbler and trickster, introduced this heresy, which originated with Epigonus, and was adopted by Cleomenes, and has thus continued to this day among his successors. Noetus asserts that there is one Father and God of the universe, and that He who had made all things was, when He wished, invisible to those who existed, and when He wished He became visible; that He is invisible when He is not seen and visible when He is seen; that the Father is unbegotten when He is not generated, but begotten when He is born of a virgin; that He is not subject to suffering and is immortal when He does not suffer and die, but when His passion came upon Him Noetus admits that the Father suffers and dies. The Noetians think that the Father is called the Son according to events at different times.

Callistus supported the heresy of these Noetians, but we have carefully described his life [see above, § 19, c]. And Callistus himself likewise produced a heresy, taking his [pg 176] starting-point from these Noetians. And he acknowledges that there is one Father and God, and that He is the Creator of the universe, and that He is called and regarded as Son by name, yet that in substance He is one.60 For the Spirit as Deity is not, he says, any being different from the Logos, or the Logos from Deity; therefore, this one person is divided by name, but not according to substance. He supposes this one Logos to be God and he says that He became flesh. He is disposed to maintain that He who was seen in the flesh and crucified is Son, but it is the Father who dwells in Him.

(b) Hippolytus, Refut., IX, 7, 11 f. (MSG, 16:3369.)

Ch. 7. There has appeared a certain one, Noetus by name, by birth a Smyrnæan. This person introduced from the tenets of Heraclitus a heresy. Now a certain Epigonus became his minister and pupil, and this person during his sojourn in Rome spread his godless opinion.… But Zephyrinus himself was in course of time enticed away and hurried headlong into the same opinion; and he had Callistus as his adviser and fellow-champion of these wicked tenets.… The school of these heretics continued in a succession of teachers to acquire strength and to grow because Zephyrinus and Callistus helped them to prevail.

Ch. 11. Now that Noetus affirms that the Son and the Father are the same, no one is ignorant. But he makes a statement as follows: “When, indeed, at the time the Father was not yet born, He was justly styled the Father; and when it pleased Him to undergo generation and to be begotten, He himself became His own Son, not another's.” For in this manner he thinks he establishes the Monarchy, alleging that the Father and the Son, so called, are not from one another, but are one and the same, Himself from Himself, and that He is styled by the names Father and Son, according to the changes of times.

[pg 177]

Ch. 12. Now Callistus brought forward Zephyrinus himself and induced him to avow publicly the following opinions: “I know that there is one God, Jesus Christ; and that excepting Him I do not know another begotten and capable of suffering.” When he said, “The Father did not die but the Son,” he would in this way continue to keep up ceaseless disturbance among the people. And we [i.e., Hippolytus], becoming aware of his opinions, did not give place to him, but reproved him and withstood him for the truth's sake. He rushed into folly because all consented to his hypocrisy; we, however, did not do so, and he called us worshippers of two gods, disgorging freely the venom lurking within him.

(c) Hippolytus, Adversus Noetum. (MSG, 10:804.)
The following is from a fragment which seems to be the conclusion of an extended work against various heresies.

Some others are secretly introducing another doctrine who have become the disciples of a certain Noetus, who was a native of Smyrna, and lived not very long ago. This man was greatly puffed up with pride, being inspired by the conceit of a strange spirit. He alleged that Christ was the Father himself, and that the Father himself was born and suffered and died.… When the blessed presbyters heard these things they summoned him before the Church and examined him. But he denied at first that he held such opinions. Afterward, taking shelter among some and gathering round him some others who had been deceived in the same way, he wished to maintain his doctrine openly. And the blessed presbyters summoned him and examined him. But he resisted, saying, “What evil, then, do I commit when I glorify Christ?” And the presbyters replied to him, “We, too, know in truth one God; we know Christ; we know that the Son suffered even as He suffered, and died even as He died, and rose again on the third day, and is at the right hand of the Father, and cometh to judge the living and the [pg 178] dead. And these things which we have learned we assert.” Then, after refuting him, they expelled him from the Church. And he was carried to such a pitch of pride that he established a school.

Now they seek to exhibit the foundation of their dogma, alleging that it is said in the Law, “I am the God of your fathers; ye shall have no other gods beside me” [i.e., of Moses, cf. Ex. 3:6, 13; 20:3]; and again in another passage, “I am the first and the last and besides me there is none other” [cf. Is. 44:6]. Thus they assert that God is one. And then they answer in this manner: “If therefore I acknowledge Christ to be God, He is the Father himself, if He is indeed God; and Christ suffered, being Himself God, and consequently the Father suffered, for He was the Father himself.”

(d) Tertullian, Adv. Praxean, 1, 2, 27, 29. (MSL, 2:177 f., 214.)
Tertullian is especially bitter against Praxeas, because he prevented the recognition of the Montanists at Rome when it seemed likely that they would be treated favorably. The work Adversus Praxean is the most important work of Western theology on the Trinity before the time of Augustine. It was corrected in some important points by Novatian, but its clear formulæ remained in Western theology permanently. The work belongs to the late Montanistic period of Tertullian.

Ch. 1. In various ways has the devil rivalled the truth. Sometimes his aim has been to destroy it by defending it. He maintains that there is one only Lord, the Almighty Creator of the world, that of this doctrine of the unity he may fabricate a heresy. He says that the Father himself came down into the Virgin, was Himself born of her, Himself suffered, indeed, was Himself Jesus Christ.… He [Praxeas] was the first to import into Rome this sort of perversity, a man of restless disposition in other respects, and above all inflated with the pride of martyrdom [confessorship] simply and solely because of a short annoyance in prison; when, even if he had given his body to be burned, it would have [pg 179] profited him nothing, not having the love of God, whose very gifts he resisted and destroyed. For after the Bishop of Rome had acknowledged the prophetic gifts of Montanus, Priscilla, and Maximilla, and in consequence of the acknowledgment had bestowed his peace on the churches of Asia and Phrygia, Praxeas, by importunately urging false accusations against the prophets themselves and their churches, and insisting on the authority of the bishop's predecessors in the see, compelled him to recall the letter of peace which he had issued, as well as to desist from his purpose of acknowledging the said gifts. Thus Praxeas did two pieces of the devil's work in Rome: he drove out prophecy and he brought in heresy; he put to flight the Paraclete and he crucified the Father.

Ch. 2. After a time, then, the Father was born, and the Father suffered—God himself, the Almighty, is preached as Jesus Christ.

Ch. 27. For, confuted on all sides by the distinction between the Father and the Son, which we make while their inseparable union remains as [by the examples] of the sun and the ray, and the fountain and the river—yet by help of their conceit of an indivisible number [with issues] of two and three, they endeavor to interpret this distinction in a way which shall nevertheless agree with their own opinions; so that, all in one person, they distinguish two—Father and Son—understanding the Son to be the flesh, that is the man, that is Jesus; and the Father to be the Spirit, that is God, that is Christ.

Ch. 29. Since we61 teach in precisely the same terms that the Father died as you say the Son died, we are not guilty of blasphemy against the Lord God, for we do not say that He died after the divine nature, but only after the human.… They [the heretics], indeed, fearing to incur blasphemy against the Father, hope to diminish it in this way, admitting that the Father and the Son are two; but if the Son, indeed, suffers, the Father is His fellow-sufferer.

[pg 180]
(e) Formula Macrostichos, in Socrates. Hist. Ec., II, 19. (MSG, 67:229.)
In the Arian controversy several councils were held at Antioch in the endeavor to bring about a reconciliation of the parties. At the third council of Antioch, A. D. 345, the elaborate Formula Macrostichos was put forth, in which the council attempted to steer a middle course between the Sabellians, who identified the Father and the Son, and the extreme Arians, who made the Son a creature. Text may also be found in Hahn, op. cit., § 159.

Those who say that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are the same person, impiously understanding the three names to refer to one and the same person, we expel with good reason from the Church, because by the incarnation they subject the Father, who is infinite and incapable of suffering, to finitude and suffering in the incarnation. Such are those called Patripassianists by the Romans and Sabellians by us.

(f) Athanasius, Orationes contra Arianos, IV, 9, 25. (MSG, 26:480, 505.)
For Athanasius, v. infra, § 65, c. Of the four Orations against the Arians, attributed to Athanasius and placed between the years 356 and 362, doubts have been raised against the genuineness of the fourth. The following quotations are, in any case, valuable as setting forth the Sabellian position. But the case against the fourth oration has not been conclusively proved. In the passage from ch. 25 the statement is that of the Sabellians, not of Athanasius.

Ch. 9. If, again, the One have two names, this is the expedient of Sabellius, who said that Son and Father were the same and did away with both, the Father when there is a Son, and the Son when there is a Father.…

Ch. 25. “As there are diversities of gifts but the same Spirit, so also the Father is the same, but is dilated into Son and Spirit.”

(g) Athanasius, Expositio fidei. (MSG, 25:204.)
For the critical questions regarding this little work of uncertain date see PNF, ser. II, vol. VI, p. 83.
[pg 181]

For neither do we hold a Son-father, as do the Sabellians, calling Him of one but not of the same essence, and thus destroying the existence of the Son.

(h) Basil the Great, Epistula, 210:3. (MSG, 32:772, 776.)
Basil the Great, Bishop of Cæsarea in Cappadocia, was one of the more important ecclesiastics of the fourth century, and the leader of the New-Nicene party in the Arian controversy. V. infra, § 66, c.

Sabellianism is Judaism imported into the preaching of the Gospel under the guise of Christianity. For if a man calls Father, Son, and Holy Spirit one, but manifold as to person [prosopon], and makes one hypostasis of the three, what else does he do than deny the everlasting pre-existence of the Only begotten?…

Now Sabellius did not even deprecate the formation of the persons without the hypostasis, saying, as he did, that the same God, being one in substance,62 was metamorphosed as the need of the moment required and spoken of now as Father, now as the Son, and now as Holy Spirit.

§ 41. Later Montanism and the Consequences of its Exclusion from the Church

In the West Montanism rapidly discarded the extravagant chiliasm of Montanus and his immediate followers; it laid nearly all the stress upon the continued work of the Holy Spirit in the Church and the need of a stricter moral discipline among Christians. This rigoristic discipline or morality was not acceptable to the bulk of Christians, and along with the Montanists was driven out of the Church, except in the case of the clergy, to whom a stricter morality was regarded as applicable. In this way a distinctive morality and mode of life came to be assigned to the clergy, and the separation between clergy and laity, or ordo and plebs, which was becoming [pg 182] established about the time of Tertullian, at least in the West, was permanently fixed. (See § 42, d.)

Tertullian, De Exhortatione Castitatis, 7. (MSL, 2:971.)
As a Montanist, Tertullian rejected second marriage, and in this treatise, addressed to a friend who had recently lost his wife, he treated it as the foulest adultery. This work belongs to the later years of Tertullian's life and incidentally reveals that a sharp distinction between clergy and laity was becoming fixed in the main body of the Church.

We should be foolish if we thought that what is unlawful for priests63 is lawful for laics. Are not even we laics priests? It is written: “He has made us kings also, and priests to God and his Father.” The authority of the Church has made the difference between order [ordinem] and the laity [plebem], and the honor has been sanctified by the bestowal of the order. Therefore, where there has been no bestowal of ecclesiastical order, you both offer and baptize and are a priest to yourself alone. But where there are three, there is the Church, though they are laics.… Therefore, if, when there is necessity, you have the right of a priest in yourself, you ought also to have the discipline of a priest where there is necessity that you have the right of a priest. As a digamist,64 do you baptize? As a digamist, do you offer? How much more capital a crime it is for a digamist laic to act as a priest, when the priest, if he turn digamist, is deprived of the power of acting as a priest?… God wills that at all times we be so conditioned as to be fitted at all times and in all places to undertake His sacraments. There is one God, one faith, one discipline as well. So truly is this the case that unless the laics well observe the rules which are to guide the choice of presbyters, how will there be presbyters at all who are chosen from among the laics?

[pg 183]

§ 42. The Penitential Discipline

In baptism the convert received remission of all former sins, and, what was equivalent, admission to the Church. If he sinned gravely after baptism, could he again obtain remission? In the first age of the Church the practice as to this question inclined toward rigorism, and the man who sinned after baptism was in many places permanently excluded from the Church (cf. Heb. 10:26, 27), or the community of those whose sins had been forgiven and were certain of heaven. By the middle of the second century the practice at Rome tended toward permitting one readmission after suitable penance (a). After this the penitential discipline developed rapidly and became an important part of the business of the local congregation (b). The sinner, by a long course of self-mortification and prayer, obtained the desired readmission (c). The Montanists, however, in accord with their general rigorism, would make it extremely hard, if not impossible, to obtain readmission or forgiveness. The body of the Church, and certainly the Roman church under the lead of its bishop, who relied upon Matt. 16:18, adopted a more liberal policy and granted forgiveness on relatively easy terms to even the worst offenders (d). The discipline grew less severe, because martyrs or confessors, according to Matt. 10:20, were regarded as having the Spirit, and therefore competent to speak for God and announce the divine forgiveness. These were accustomed to give “letters of peace,” which were commonly regarded as sufficient to procure the immediate readmission of the offender (e), a practice which led to great abuse. One of the effects of the development of the penitential discipline was the establishment of a distinction between mortal and venial sins (f), the former of which were, in general, acts involving unchastity, shedding of blood, and apostasy, according to the current interpretation of Acts 15:29.

[pg 184]
(a) Hermas, Pastor, Man. IV, 3:1.
For Hermas and the Pastor, v. supra, § 15.

I heard some teachers maintain, sir, that there is no other repentance than that which takes place when we descend into the waters and receive remission of our former sins. He said to me, That was sound doctrine which you heard; for that is really the case. For he who has received remission of his sins ought not to sin any more, but to live in purity.… The Lord, therefore, being merciful, has had mercy on the work of His hands, and has set repentance for them; and He has intrusted to me the power over this repentance. And therefore I say unto you that if any one is tempted by the devil, and sins after that great and holy calling in which the Lord has called His people to everlasting life, he has opportunity to repent but once. But if he should sin frequently after this, and then repent, to such a man his repentance will be of no avail, for with difficulty will he live.

(b) Tertullian. Apology, 39. (MSL, 1:532.)

We meet together as an assembly and congregation that, offering up prayer to God, with united force we may wrestle with Him in our prayers.… In the same place, also, exhortations are made, rebukes and sacred censures are administered. For with a great gravity is the work of judging carried on among us, as befits those who feel assured that they are in the sight of God; and you have the most notable example of judgment to come when any one has so sinned as to be severed from common union with us in prayer, in the congregation, and in all sacred intercourse.

(c) Tertullian, De Pœnitentia, 4, 9. (MSL, 2:1343, 1354.)
According to Bardenhewer, § 50:5, this work belongs to the Catholic period of Tertullian's literary activity. Text in part in Kirch, nn. 175 ff.

Ch. 4. As I live, saith the Lord, I prefer penance rather than death [cf. Ezek. 33:11]. Repentance, then, is life, [pg 185] since it is preferred to death. That repentance, O sinner like myself (nay, rather, less a sinner than myself, for I acknowledge my pre-eminence in sins), do you hasten to embrace as a shipwrecked man embraces the protection of some plank. This will draw you forth when sunk in the waves of sin, and it will bear you forward into the port of divine clemency.

Ch. 9. The narrower the sphere of action of this, the second and only remaining repentance, the more laborious is its probation; that it may not be exhibited in the conscience alone, but may likewise be performed in some act. This act, which is more usually expressed and commonly spoken of under the Greek name, exomologesis, whereby we confess our sins to the Lord, not indeed to Him as ignorant of them, but inasmuch as by confession a satisfaction is made; of confession repentance is born; by repentance God is appeased. And thus exomologesis is a discipline for man's prostration and humiliation, enjoining a demeanor calculated to move mercy. With regard, also, to the very dress and food, it commands one to lie in sackcloth and ashes, to cover the body as in mourning, to lay the spirit low in sorrow, to exchange for severe treatment the sins which he has committed; furthermore, to permit as food and drink only what is plain—not for the stomach's sake, but for the soul's; for the most part, however, to feed prayers on fastings, to groan, to weep, and make outcries unto the Lord our God; to fall prostrate before the presbyters and to kneel to God's dear ones; to enjoin on all the brethren to be ambassadors to bear his deprecatory supplication before God. All this exomologesis does, that it may enhance repentance, that it may honor the Lord by fear of danger, may, by itself, in pronouncing against the sinner stand in place of God's indignation, and by temporal mortification (I will not say frustrate, but rather) expunge eternal punishments.

(d) Tertullian, De Pudicitia, 1, 21, 22. (MSL, 2:1032, 1078.)
[pg 186]
Callistus, to whom reference is made in the first chapter, was bishop of Rome 217 to 222. The work, therefore, belongs to the latest period of Tertullian's life.

Ch. 1. I hear that there has been an edict set forth, and, indeed, a peremptory one; namely, that the Pontifex Maximus, the bishop of bishops, issues an edict: “I remit to such as have performed penance, the sins both of adultery and fornication.”

Ch. 21. “But,” you say, “the Church has the power of forgiving sins.” This I acknowledge and adjudge more, I, who have the Paraclete himself in the person of the new prophets, saying: “The Church has the power to forgive sins, but I will not do it, lest they commit still others.”… I now inquire into your opinion, to discover from what source you usurp this power to the Church.

If, because the Lord said to Peter, “Upon this rock I will build My Church [Matt. 16:18].… To Thee I have given the keys of the kingdom of heaven,” or “Whatsoever thou shalt bind or loose on earth, shall be bound or loosed in heaven,” you therefore presume that the power of binding and loosing has descended to you, that is, to every church akin to Peter; what sort of man, then, are you, subverting and wholly changing the manifest intention of the Lord, who conferred the gift personally upon Peter? “On Thee,” He says, “I will build my Church,” and “I will give thee the keys,” not to the Church; and “whatsoever thou shalt have loosed or bound,” not what they shall have loosed or bound. For so the result actually teaches. In him (Peter) the Church was reared, that is, through him (Peter) himself; he himself tried the key; you see what key: “Men of Israel, let what I say sink into your ears; Jesus, the Nazarene, a man appointed of God for you,”65 and so forth. Peter himself, therefore, was the first to unbar, in Christ's baptism, the entrance to the kingdom of heaven, in which are loosed the sins that aforetime were bound.…

[pg 187]

What, now, has this to do with the Church and your Church, indeed, O Psychic? For in accordance with the person of Peter, it is to spiritual men that this power will correspondingly belong, either to an Apostle or else to a prophet.… And accordingly the “Church,” it is true, will forgive sins; but it will be the Church of the Spirit, by a spiritual man; not the Church which consists of a number of bishops.

Ch. 22. But you go so far as to lavish this power upon martyrs indeed; so that no sooner has any one, acting on a preconceived arrangement, put on soft bonds in the nominal custody now in vogue, than adulterers beset him, fornicators gain access to him; instantly prayers resound about him; instantly pools of tears of the polluted surround him; nor are there any who are more diligent in purchasing entrance to the prison than they who have lost the fellowship of the Church.… Whatever authority, whatever reason, restores ecclesiastical peace to the adulterer and the fornicator, the same will be bound to come to the aid of the murderer and the idolater in their repentance.

(e) Tertullian, Ad Martyres, 1. (MSL, 1:693.)
The following extract from Tertullian's little work addressed to martyrs in prison, written about 197, shows that in his earlier life as a Catholic Christian he did not disapprove of the practice of giving libelli pacis by the confessors, a custom which in his more rigoristic period under the influence of Montanism he denounced most vehemently; see preceding extract from De Pudicitia, ch. 22. The reference to some discord among the martyrs is not elsewhere explained. For libelli pacis, see Cyprian, Ep. 10 (=Ep. 15), 22 (=21).

O blessed ones, grieve not the Holy Spirit, who has entered with you into the prison; for if He had not gone with you there, you would not be there to-day. Therefore endeavor to cause Him to remain with you there; so that He may lead you thence to the Lord. The prison, truly, is the devil's house as well, wherein he keeps his family.… Let him not be successful in his own kingdom by setting you at variance with one another, but let him find you armed and [pg 188] fortified with concord; for your peace is war with him. Some, not able to find peace in the Church, have been accustomed to seek it from the imprisoned martyrs. Therefore you ought to have it dwelling with you, and to cherish it and guard it, that you may be able, perchance, to bestow it upon others.

(f) Tertullian, De Pudicitia, 19. (MSL, 2:1073.)
The distinction between mortal and venial sins became of great importance in the administration of penance and remained as a feature of ecclesiastical discipline from the time of Tertullian. The origin of the distinction was still earlier. See above, an extract from the same work.

We ourselves do not forget the distinction between sins, which was the starting-point of our discussion. And this, too, for John has sanctioned it [cf. I John 5:16], because there are some sins of daily committal to which we are all liable; for who is free from the accident of being angry unjustly and after sunset; or even of using bodily violence; or easily speaking evil; or rashly swearing; or forfeiting his plighted word; or lying from bashfulness or necessity? In business, in official duties, in trade, in food, in sight, in hearing, by how great temptations are we assailed! So that if there were no pardon for such simple sins as these, salvation would be unattainable by any. Of these, then, there will be pardon through the successful Intercessor with the Father, Christ. But there are other sins wholly different from these, graver and more destructive, such as are incapable of pardon—murder, idolatry, fraud, apostasy, blasphemy, and, of course, adultery and fornication and whatever other violation of the temple of God there may be. For these Christ will no more be the successful Intercessor; these will not at all be committed by any one who has been born of God, for he will cease to be the son of God if he commit them.

[pg 189]

§ 43. The Catechetical School of Alexandria: Clement and Origen

Three types of theology developed in the ante-Nicene Church: the Asia Minor school, best represented by Irenæus (v. § 33); the North African, represented by Tertullian and Cyprian (v. § 39); and the Alexandrian, in the Catechetical School of which Clement and Origen were the most distinguished members. In the Alexandrian theology the tradition of the apologists (v. § 32) that Christianity was a revealed philosophy was continued, especially by Clement. Origen, following the bent of his genius, developed other sides of Christian thought as well, bringing it all into a more systematic form than had ever before been attempted. The Catechetical School of Alexandria was the most celebrated of all the educational institutions of Christian antiquity. It aimed to give a general secular and religious training. It appears to have been in existence well before the end of the second century, having been founded, it is thought, by Pantænus. Clement assisted in the instruction from 190, and from about 200 was head of the school for a few years. In 202 or 203 he was forced by persecution under Septimius Severus to flee from the city. He died before 215. Of his works, the most important is his three-part treatise composed of his Protrepticus, an apologetic work addressed to the Greeks; his Pædegogus, a treatise on Christian morality; and his Stromata, or miscellanies. Origen became head of the Catechetical School in 203, when but eighteen years old, and remained in that position until 232, when, having been irregularly ordained priest outside his own diocese and being suspected of heresy, he was deposed. But he removed to Cæsarea in Palestine, where he continued his work with the greatest success and was held in the highest honor by the Church in Palestine and parts other than Egypt. He died 254 or 255 at Tyre, having previously suffered severely in the Decian persecution. [pg 190] His works are of the highest importance in various fields of theology. De Principiis is the first attempt to present in connected form the whole range of Christian theology. His commentaries cover nearly the entire Bible. His Contra Celsum is the greatest of all early apologies. The Hexapla was the most elaborate piece of text-criticism of antiquity.

Additional source material: Eusebius. Hist. Ec., VI, deals at length with Origen; Gregory Thaumaturgus, Panegyric on Origen, in ANF. VI.
(a) Clement of Alexandria, Stromata, I, 5. (MSG, 8:717.)
Clement's view of the relation of Greek philosophy to Christian revelation is almost identical with that of the apologists, as are also many of his fundamental concepts.

Before the advent of the Lord philosophy was necessary to the Greeks for righteousness. And now it becomes useful to piety, being a kind of preparatory training to those who attain to faith through demonstration. “For thy foot,” it is said, “will not stumble” if thou refer what is good, whether belonging to the Greeks or to us, to Providence. For God is the cause of all good things; but of some primarily, as of the Old and the New Testament, and of others by consequence, as philosophy. Perchance, too, philosophy was given to the Greeks directly till the Lord should call the Greeks also. For this was a schoolmaster to bring the Hellenic mind to Christ, as was the law to bring the Hebrews. Philosophy, therefore, was a preparation, paving the way for him who is perfected in Christ.

“Now,” says Solomon, “defend wisdom, and it will exalt thee, and it will shield thee with a crown of pleasure.”66 For when thou hast strengthened wisdom with a breastwork by philosophy, and with expenditure, thou wilt preserve her unassailable by sophists. The way of truth is therefore one. But into it, as into a perennial river, streams flow from every side.

[pg 191]
(b) Clement of Alexandria, Stromata, VII, 10. (MSG, 9:47.)
See Clement of Alexandria, VIIth Book of the Stromateis, ed. by Hort and Mayor, London, 1902. In making faith suffice for salvation, Clement clearly distinguishes his position from that of the Gnostics, though he uses the term gnostic as applicable to Christians. See next passage.

Knowledge [gnosis], so to speak, is a perfecting of man as man, which is brought about by acquaintance with divine things; in character, life, and word harmonious and consistent with itself and the divine Word. For by it faith is made perfect, inasmuch as it is solely by it that the man of faith becomes perfect. Faith is an internal good, and without searching for God confesses His existence and glorifies Him as existent. Hence by starting with this faith, and being developed by it, through the grace of God, the knowledge respecting Him is to be acquired as far as possible.…

But it is not doubting, in reference to God, but believing, that is the foundation of knowledge. But Christ is both the foundation and the superstructure, by whom are both the beginning and the end. And the extreme points, the beginning and the end, I mean faith and love, are not taught. But knowledge, which is conveyed from communication through the grace of God as a deposit, is intrusted to those who show themselves worthy of it; and from it the worth of love beams forth from light to light. For it is said, “To him that hath shall be given” [cf. Matt. 13:12]—to faith, knowledge; and to knowledge, love; and to love, the inheritance.…

Faith then is, so to speak, a compendious knowledge of the essentials; but knowledge is the sure and firm demonstration of what is received by faith, built upon faith by the Lord's teaching, conveying us on to unshaken conviction and certainty. And, as it seems to me, the first saving change is that from heathenism to faith, as I said before; and the second, that from faith to knowledge. And this latter passing on to [pg 192] love, thereafter gives a mutual friendship between that which knows and that which is known. And perhaps he who has already arrived at this stage has attained equality with the angels. At any rate, after he has reached the final ascent in the flesh, he still continues to advance, as is fit, and presses on through the holy Hebdomad into the Father's house, to that which is indeed the Lord's abode.

(c) Clement of Alexandria, Stromata, V, 11. (MSG, 9:102, 106.)
The piety of the Christian Gnostic.

The sacrifice acceptable with God is unchanging alienation from the body and its passions. This is the really true piety. And is not philosophy, therefore, rightly called by Socrates the meditation on death? For he who neither employs his eyes in the exercise of thought nor draws from his other senses, but with pure mind applies himself to objects, practises the true philosophy.…

It is not without reason, therefore, that in the mysteries which are to be found among the Greeks lustrations hold the first place; as also the laver among the barbarians. After these are the minor mysteries, which have some foundation for instruction and preparation for what is to follow. In the great mysteries concerning the universe nothing remains to be learned, but only to contemplate and comprehend with the mind nature and things. We shall understand the more of purification by confession, and of contemplation by analysis, advancing by analysis to the first notion, beginning with the properties underlying it; abstracting from the body its physical properties, taking away the dimension of depth, then of breadth, and then of length. For the point which remains is a unit, so to speak, having position; from which, if we abstract position, there is the conception of unity.

If, then, we abstract all that belongs to bodies and things called incorporeal, we cast ourselves into the greatness of Christ, and thence advancing into immensity by holiness, we [pg 193] may reach somehow to the conception of the Almighty, knowing not what He is, but knowing what He is not. And form and motion, or standing, or a throne or place, or right hand or left, are not at all to be conceived as belonging to the Father of the universe, although it is so written. For what each of these signifies will be shown in the proper place. The First Cause is not then in space, but above time and space and name and conception.

(d) Origen, De Principiis, I, 2:2. (MSG, 11:130.)
Origen's doctrine of the eternal generation of the Son was of primary importance in all subsequent discussions on the Trinity.

Let no one imagine that we mean anything unsubstantial when we call Him the Wisdom of God; or suppose, for example, that we understand Him to be, not a living being endowed with wisdom, but something which makes men wise, giving itself to, and implanting itself in, the minds of those who are made capable of receiving its virtues and intelligence. If, then, it is once rightly understood that the only begotten Son of God is His Wisdom hypostatically [substantialiter] existing, I know not whether our mind ought to advance beyond this or entertain any suspicion that the hypostasis or substantia contains anything of a bodily nature, since everything corporeal is distinguished either by form, or color, or magnitude. And who in his sound senses ever sought for form, or color, or size, in wisdom, in respect of its being wisdom? And who that is capable of entertaining reverential thoughts or feelings regarding God can suppose or believe that God the Father ever existed, even for a moment of time, without having generated this Wisdom? For in that case he must say either that God was unable to generate Wisdom before He produced her, so that He afterward called into being that which formerly did not exist, or that He could, but—what is impious to say of God—was unwilling to generate; both of which suppositions, it is patent to all, are alike absurd and impious: for they amount to this, [pg 194] either that God advanced from a condition of inability to one of ability, or that, although possessed of the power, He concealed it, and delayed the generation of Wisdom. Therefore we have always held that God is the Father of His only begotten Son, who was born indeed of Him, and derives from Him, what He is, but without any beginning, not only such as may be measured by any divisions of time, but even that which the mind alone contemplates within itself, or beholds, so to speak, with the naked soul and understanding. And therefore we must believe that Wisdom was generated before any beginning that can be either comprehended or expressed.

(e) Origen, De Principiis, I, 2:10. (MSG, 11:138.)
Origen's doctrine of eternal creation was based upon reasoning similar to that employed to show the eternal generation of the Son, but it was rejected by the Church, and figures among the heresies known as Origenism. See below, §§ 87, 93.

As no one can be a father without having a son, nor a master without possessing a servant, so even God cannot be called omnipotent67 unless there exists those over whom He may exercise His power; and therefore, that God may be shown to be almighty it is necessary that all things should exist. For if any one assumes that some ages or portions of time, or whatever else he likes to call them, have passed away, while those things which have been made did not yet exist, he would undoubtedly show that during those ages or periods God was not omnipotent but became omnipotent afterward: viz., from the time that He began to have those over whom He exercised power; and in this way He will appear to have received a certain increase, and to have risen from a lower to a higher condition; since there can be no doubt that it is better for Him to be omnipotent than not to be so. And, now, how can it appear otherwise than absurd, that when God possessed none of those things which it was befitting for Him to possess, He should afterward, by a kind [pg 195] of progress, come to have them? But if there never was a time when He was not omnipotent,68 of necessity those things by which He receives that title must also exist; and He must always have had those over whom He exercised power, and which were governed by Him either as king or prince, of which we shall speak more fully when we come to discuss the subject of creatures.

(f) Origen, De Principiis, II, 9:6. (MSG, 11:230.)
The theory of pre-existence and the pretemporal fall of each soul was the basis of Origen's theodicy. It caused great offence in after years when theology became more stereotyped, and it has retained no place in the Church's thought, for the idea ran too clearly counter to the biblical account of the Fall of Adam.

We have frequently shown by those statements which we are able to adduce from the divine Scriptures that God, the Creator of all things, is good, and just, and all-powerful. When in the beginning He created all those beings whom He desired to create, i.e., rational natures, He had no other reason for creating them than on account of Himself, i.e., His goodness. As He himself, then, was the cause of the existence of those things which were to be created, in whom there was neither any variation nor change nor want of power, He created all whom He made equal and alike, because there was no reason for Him to produce variety and diversity. But since those rational creatures themselves, as we have frequently shown and will yet show in the proper place, were endowed with the power of free choice, this freedom of his will incited each one either to progress by imitation of God or induced him to failure through negligence. And this, as we have already stated, is the cause of the diversity among rational creatures, deriving its origin not from the will or judgment of the Creator, but from the freedom of the individual will. God, however, who deemed it just to arrange His creatures according to merit, brought down these differences [pg 196] of understanding into the harmony of one world, that He might adorn, as it were, one dwelling, in which there ought to be not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay and some, indeed, to honor and others to dishonor, with those different vessels, or souls, or understandings. And these are the causes, in my opinion, why that world presents the aspect of diversity, while Divine Providence continues to regulate each individual according to the variety of his movements or of his feelings and purpose. On which account the Creator will neither appear to be unjust in distributing (for the causes already mentioned) to every one according to his merits; nor will the happiness or unhappiness of each one's birth, or whatever be the condition that falls to his lot, be deemed accidental; nor will different creators, or souls of different natures, be believed to exist.

(g) Origen, Homil. in Exod., VI, 9. (MSG, 12:338.)
In the following passage from Origen's Commentary on Exodus and the four following passages are stated the essential points of Origen's theory of redemption. In this theory there are two elements which have been famous in the history of Christian thought: the relation of the death of Christ to the devil, and the ultimate salvation of every soul. The theory that Christ's death was a ransom paid to the devil was developed by Gregory of Nyssa and Gregory the Great, and reappeared constantly in theology down to the scholastic period, when it was overthrown by Anselm and the greater scholastics. Universal redemption or salvation, especially when it included Satan himself, was never taken up by Church theologians to any extent, and was one of the positions condemned as Origenism. See § 93.

It is certain, they say, that one does not buy that which is his own. But the Apostle says: “Ye are bought with a price.” But hear what the prophet says: “You have been sold as slaves to your sins, and for your iniquities I have put away your mother.” Thou seest, therefore, that we are the creatures of God, but each one has been sold to his sins, and has fallen from his Creator. Therefore we belong to God, inasmuch as we have been created by Him, but we have become the servants of the devil, inasmuch as we have been [pg 197] sold to our sins. But Christ came to redeem us when we were servants to that master to whom we had sold ourselves by sinning.

(h) Origen, Contra Celsum, VII, 17. (MSG, 11:1445.)

If we consider Jesus in relation to the divinity that was in Him, the things which He did in this capacity are holy and do not offend our idea of God; and if we consider Him as a man, distinguished beyond all others by an intimate communion with the very Word, with Absolute Wisdom, He suffered as one who was wise and perfect whatever it behooved Him to suffer, who did all for the good of the human race, yea, even for the good of all intelligent beings. And there is nothing absurd in the fact that a man died, and that his death was not only an example of death endured for the sake of piety, but also the first blow in the conflict which is to overthrow the power of the evil spirit of the devil, who had obtained dominion over the whole world. For there are signs of the destruction of his empire; namely, those who through the coming of Christ are everywhere escaping from the power of demons, and who after their deliverance from this bondage in which they were held consecrate themselves to God, and according to their ability devote themselves day by day to advancement in a life of piety.

(i) Origen, Homil. in Matt., XVI, 8. (MSG, 13:1398.)

He did this in service of our salvation so far that He gave His soul a ransom for many who believed on Him. If all had believed on Him, He would have given His soul as a ransom for all. To whom did He give His soul as a ransom for many? Certainly not to God. Then was it not to the Evil One? For that one reigned over us until the soul of Jesus was given as a ransom for us. This he had especially demanded, deceived by the imagination that he could rule over it, and he was not mindful of the fact that he could not endure the torment connected with holding it fast. Therefore [pg 198] death, which appeared to reign over Him, did not reign over Him, since He was “free among the dead” and stronger than the power of death. He is, indeed, so far superior to it that all who from among those overcome by death will follow Him can follow Him, as death is unable to do anything against them.… We are therefore redeemed with the precious blood of Jesus. As a ransom for us the soul of the Son of God has been given (not His spirit, for this, according to Luke [cf. Luke 23:46] He had previously given to His Father, saying: “Father, into Thy hands I commit my spirit”); also, not His body, for concerning this we find nothing mentioned. And when He had given His soul as a ransom for many, He did not remain in the power of him to whom the ransom was given for many, because it says in the sixteenth psalm [Psalm 16:10]: “Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell.”

(j) Origen, De Principiis, I, 6:3. (MSG, 11:168.)
The following states in brief the theory of universal salvation.

It is to be borne in mind, however, that certain beings who fell away from that one beginning of which we have spoken, have given themselves to such wickedness and malice as to be deemed altogether undeserving of that training and instruction by which the human race while in the flesh are trained and instructed with the assistance of the heavenly powers: they continue, on the contrary, in a state of enmity and opposition to those who are receiving this instruction and teaching. And hence it is that the whole life of mortals is full of certain struggles and trials, caused by the opposition and enmity against us of those who fell from a better condition without at all looking back, and who are called the devil and his angels, and other orders of evil, which the Apostle classed among the opposing powers. But whether any of these orders, who act under the government of the devil and obey his wicked commands, will be able in a future world to be converted to righteousness because of their possessing the faculty of freedom of will, or whether persistent and [pg 199] inveterate wickedness may be changed by habit into a kind of nature, you, reader, may decide; yet so that neither in those things which are seen and temporal nor in those which are unseen and eternal one portion is to differ wholly from the final unity and fitness of things. But in the meantime, both in those temporal worlds which are seen, and in those eternal worlds which are invisible, all those beings are arranged according to a regular plan, in the order and degree of merit; so that some of them in the first, others in the second, some even in the last times, after having undergone heavier and severer punishments, endured for a lengthened period and for many ages, so to speak, improved by this stern method of training, and restored at first by the instruction of angels and subsequently advanced by powers of a higher grade, and thus advancing through each stage to a better condition, reach even to that which is invisible and eternal, having travelled by a kind of training through every single office of the heavenly powers. From which, I think, this will follow as an inference—that every rational nature can, in passing from one order to another, go through each to all, and advance from all to each, while made the subject of various degrees of proficiency and failure, according to its own actions and endeavors, put forth in the enjoyment of its power of freedom of will.

(k) Origen, De Principiis, IV, 9-15. (MSG, 11:360, 363, 373.)
The method of exegesis known as allegorism, whereby the speculations of the Christian theologians were provided with an apparently scriptural basis, was taken over from the Jewish and Greek philosophers and theologians who employed it in the study of their sacred books. Origen, it should be added, contributed not a little to a sound grammatical interpretation as well. For Porphyry's criticism of Origen's methods of exegesis see Eusebius, Hist. Ec., VI, 19.

Ch. 9. Now the cause, in all the points previously enumerated, of the false opinions and of the impious statements [pg 200] or ignorant assertions about God appears to be nothing else than that the Scriptures are not understood according to their spiritual meaning, but are interpreted according to the mere letter. And therefore to those who believe that the sacred books are not the compositions of men, but were composed by the inspirations of the Holy Spirit, according to the will of the Father of all things through Jesus Christ, and that they have come down to us, we must point out the modes of interpretation which appear correct to us, who cling to the standard of the heavenly Church according to the succession of the Apostles of Jesus Christ. Now that there are certain mystical economies made known in the Holy Scriptures, all, even the most simple of those who adhere to the word, have believed; but what these are, the candid and modest confess they know not. If, then, one were to be perplexed about the incest of Lot with his daughters, and about the two wives of Abraham, and the two sisters married to Jacob, and the two handmaids who bore him children, they can return no other answer than this—that these are mysteries not understood by us.…

Ch. 11. The way, then, as it seems to me, in which we ought to deal with the Scriptures and extract from them their meaning is the following, which has been ascertained from the sayings [of the Scriptures] themselves. By Solomon in the Proverbs we find some rule as this enjoined respecting the teaching of the divine writings, “And do thou portray them in a threefold manner, in counsel and knowledge, to answer words of truth to them who propose them to thee” [cf. Prov. 22:20 f., LXX]. One ought, then, to portray the ideas of Holy Scripture in a threefold manner upon his soul, in order that the simple man may be edified by the “flesh,” as it were, of Scripture, for so we name the obvious sense; while he who has ascended a certain way may be edified by the “soul,” as it were. The perfect man, and he who resembles those spoken of by the Apostle, when he says, “We speak wisdom among them that are perfect, but not [pg 201] the wisdom of the world, nor of the rulers of this world, who come to nought; but we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom, which God hath ordained before the ages unto our glory” [I Cor. 2:6, 7], may receive edification from the spiritual law, which was a shadow of things to come. For as man consists of body and soul and spirit, so in the same way does the Scripture consist, which has been arranged by God for the salvation of men.

Ch. 12. But as there are certain passages which do not contain at all the “corporeal” sense, as we shall show in the following, there are also places where we must seek only for the “soul,” as it were, and “spirit” of Scripture.

Ch. 15. But since, if the usefulness of the legislation and the sequence and beauty of the history were universally evident, we should not believe that any other thing could be understood in the Scriptures save what was obvious, the Word of God has arranged that certain stumbling-blocks, and offences, and impossibilities, should be introduced into the midst of the law and the history, in order that we may not, through being drawn away in all directions by the merely attractive nature of the language, either altogether fall away from the true doctrines, as learning nothing worthy of God, or, by not departing from the letter, come to the knowledge of nothing more divine. And this, also, we must know: that, since the principal aim is to announce the “spiritual” connection in those things that are done and that ought to be done where the Word found that things done according to the history could be adapted to these mystic senses, He made use of them, concealing from the multitude the deeper meaning; but where in the narrative of the development of super-sensual things there did not follow the performance of those certain events which was already indicated by the mystical meaning the Scripture interwove in the history the account of some event that did not take place, sometimes what could not have happened; sometimes what could, but did not happen.… And at other times impossibilities are [pg 202] recorded for the sake of the more skilful and inquisitive, in order that they may give themselves to the toil of investigation of what is written, and thus attain to a becoming conviction of the manner in which a meaning worthy of God must be sought out in such subjects.

§ 44. Neo-Platonism

The last phase of Hellenic philosophy was religious. It aimed to combine the principles of many schools of the earlier period and to present a metaphysical system that would at once give a theory of being and also furnish a philosophical basis for the new religious life. This final philosophy of the antique world was Neo-Platonism. It was thoroughly eclectic in its treatment of earlier systems, but under Plotinus attained no small degree of consistency. The emphasis was laid especially upon the religious problems, and in the system it may be fairly said that the religious aspirations of heathenism found their highest and purest expression. Because it was in close touch with current culture and in its metaphysical principles was closely akin to the philosophy of the Church teachers, we find Neo-Platonism sometimes a bitter rival of Christianity, at other times a preparation for the Christian faith, as in the case of Augustine and Victorinus.

Additional source material: Select Works of Plotinus, translated by Thomas Taylor, ed. G. R. S. Mead, London, 1909 (contains bibliography of other translations of Plotinus, including those in French and German together with a select list of works bearing on Neo-Platonism); Select Works of Porphyry, trans. by Thomas Taylor, London, 1823; Taylor translated much from all the Neo-Platonists, but his other books are very scarce. Porphyry's Epistula ad Marcellam, trans. by Alice Zimmern, London, 1896.
Porphyry, Ep. ad Marcellam, 16-19. Porphyrii philosophi Platonici opuscula tria, rec. A. Nauck, Leipsic, 1860.
The letter is addressed to Marcella by her husband, the philosopher Porphyry. It gives a good idea of the religious and ethical character of Neo-Platonism. For the metaphysical aspects see Plotinus, translated by T. Taylor. Porphyry was, after Plotinus, the greatest of [pg 203] the Neo-Platonists, and brought out most clearly those religious elements which were rivals to Christianity. His attack upon Christianity was keen and bitter, and he was consequently especially hated by the Christians. He died at Rome 304.

Ch. 16. You will honor God best when you form your soul to resemble him. This likeness is only by virtue; for only virtue draws the soul upward toward its own kind. There is nothing greater with God than virtue; but God is greater than virtue. But God strengthens him who does what is good; but of evil deeds a wicked demon is the instigator. Therefore the wicked soul flees from God and wishes that the foreknowledge of God did not exist; and from the divine law which punishes all wickedness it shrinks away completely. But a wise man's soul is in harmony with God, ever sees Him, ever is with Him. But if that which rules takes pleasure in that which is ruled, then God cares for the wise and provides for him; and therefore is the wise man blessed, because he is under the protection of God. It is not the discourses of the wise man which are honorable before God, but his works; for the wise man, even when he keeps silence, honors God, but the ignorant man, even in praying and sacrificing, dishonors the Divinity. So the wise man alone is a priest, alone is dear to God, alone knows how to pray.

Ch. 17. He who practises wisdom practises the knowledge of God; though not always in prayer and sacrifice, practising piety toward God by his works. For a man is not rendered agreeable to God by ruling himself according to the prejudices of men and the vain declamations of the sophists. It is the man himself who, by his own works, renders himself agreeable to God, and is deified by the conforming of his own soul to the incorruptible blessed One. And it is he himself who makes himself impious and displeasing to God, not suffering evil from God, for the Divinity does only what is good. It is the man himself who causes his evils by his false beliefs in regard to God. The impious is not so much he who does not honor the statues of the gods as he who mixes [pg 204] up with the idea of God the superstitions of the vulgar. As for thyself, do not hold any unworthy idea of God, of his blessedness or of his incorruptibility.

Ch. 18. The greatest fruit of piety is this—to honor the Deity according to our fatherland; not that He has need of anything, but His holy and happy Majesty invites us to offer Him our homage. Altars consecrated to God do no harm, and when neglected they render no help. But he who honors God as needing anything declares, without knowing it, that he is superior to God. Therefore it is not angering God that harms us, but not knowing God, for wrath is alien to God, because it is the product of the involuntary, and there is nothing involuntary in God. Do not then dishonor the Divinity by human false opinions, for thou wilt not thereby injure the Being enjoying eternal blessedness, from whose incorruptible nature every injury is repelled.

Ch. 19. But thou shouldest not think that I say these things when I exhort to the worship of God; for he who exhorts to this would be ridiculous; as if it were possible to doubt concerning this; and we do not worship Him aright doing this thing or thinking that about God.69 Neither tears nor supplications turn God from His purpose; nor do sacrifices honor God, nor the multitude of offerings glorify God, but the godlike mind well governed enters into union with God. For like is of necessity joined to like. But the victims of the senseless crowd are food for the flames, and their offerings are the supplies for a licentious life to the plunderers of temples. But, as I have said to thee, let the mind within thee be the temple of God. This must be tended and adorned to become a fit dwelling for God.

[pg 205]

Chapter III. The First General Persecution And Its Consequences

On account of various principles of the Roman law, Christians were always liable to severe penalties, and parts of the Church occasionally suffered fearfully. But it was only in exceptional cases and sporadically that the laws were enforced. There was, accordingly, no prolonged and systematic effort made to put down Christianity everywhere until the reign of Decius (249-251). The renewed interest in heathen religions and the revived patriotism in some circles occasioned in 248 by the celebration of the thousandth anniversary of the founding of Rome may have contributed to a renewal of hostilities against the Church. Decius undertook the military defence of the frontier. His colleague, Valerian, had charge of the internal affairs of the Empire and was the author of the measures against the Christians. Because the Church included many who had embraced the faith in the long period when the Church rarely felt the severity of the laws, many were unable to endure the persecution, and so apostatized or “fell.” The persecution continued only for a short time in full intensity, but it was not abandoned for a number of years. It became violent once more when Valerian became Emperor (253-260). One result of the persecutions was the rise of serious disputes, and even schisms, from differences regarding the administration of discipline by the bishops. In the case of the Novatians at Rome, a dissenting Church which spread rapidly over the Empire came into existence and lasted for more than two centuries.

[pg 206]

§ 45. The Decian-Valerian Persecution

The first persecution which may fairly be said to have been general in purpose and effect was that falling in the reigns of Decius (249-251) and Valerian (253-260). Of the course of the persecution we have information bearing directly upon Carthage, Alexandria, and Asia Minor. But it probably was felt very generally throughout the Church.

Additional source material: Cyprian, De Lapsis, Epp. 14, 22, 43; Eusebius, Hist. Ec., VI, 39-45, VII, 11, 15, 30: for original texts see Preuschen, Analecta, I, §§ 16, 17; also R. Knopf, Ausgewählte Märtyreracten (of these the most reliable are the martyrdom of Pionius and of Cyprian).
(a) Origen, Contra Celsum, III, 15. (MSG, 11:937.)
Origen, writing about 248, observes the probable approach of a period of persecution for the Church.

That it is not the fear of external enemies which strengthens our union is plain from the fact that this cause, by God's will, has already ceased for a considerable time. And it is probable that the secure existence, so far as this life is concerned, which is enjoyed by believers at present will come to an end, since those who in every way calumniate the Word [i.e., Christianity] are again attributing the frequency of rebellion to the multitude of believers and to their not being persecuted by the authorities, as in former times.

(b) Lactantius, De Mortibus Persecutorum, 3, 4. (MSL, 7:200.)
Lucius Cælius Firminianus Lactantius was of African birth. Having obtained some local fame as a teacher of rhetoric, he was appointed by Diocletian professor of that subject in his new capital of Nicomedia. This position Lactantius lost during the Diocletian persecution. He was afterward tutor of Crispus, the son of Constantine. His work On the Death of the Persecutors is written in a bitter spirit, but excellent style. Although in some circles it has been customary to impeach the veracity of Lactantius, no intentional departure from historical truthfulness, apart from rhetorical coloring, which was [pg 207] inevitable, has been proved against him. Of late there has been some doubt as to the authorship of De Mortibus Persecutorum.

Ch. 3. … This long peace, however, was afterward interrupted.

Ch. 4. For after many years there appeared in the world an accursed wild beast, Decius by name, who should afflict the Church. And who but a bad man would persecute righteousness? As if for this end he had been raised up to sovereign eminence, he began at once to rage against God, and at once to fall. For having undertaken an expedition against the Carpi, who had then occupied Dacia and Mœsia, he was suddenly surrounded by the barbarians, and slain, together with a great part of his army; nor could he be honored with the rights of sepulture, but, stripped and naked, he lay as food for wild beasts and birds, as became the enemy of God.

(c) Eusebius, Hist. Ec., VI, 39. (MSG, 20:660.)
The Decian persecution and the sufferings of Origen.

Decius succeeded Philip, who had reigned seven years. On account of his hatred of Philip, Decius commenced a persecution of the churches, in which Fabianus suffered martyrdom at Rome, and Cornelius succeeded him in the episcopate. In Palestine, Alexander, bishop of the church of Jerusalem, was brought again on Christ's account before the governor's judgment seat in Cæsarea, and having acquitted himself nobly in a second confession, was cast into prison, crowned with the hoary locks of venerable age. And after his honorable and illustrious confession at the tribunal of the governor, he fell asleep in prison, and Mazabanes became his successor in the bishopric of Jerusalem. Babylas in Antioch having, like Alexander, passed away in prison after his confession, Fabius presided over that church.

But how many and how great things came upon Origen in the persecution, and what was their final result—as the evil demon marshalled all his forces and fought against the man with his utmost craft and power, assaulting him beyond [pg 208] all others against whom he contended at that time; and what and how many things the man endured for the word of Christ—bonds and bodily tortures and torments under the iron collar and in the dungeon; and how for many days with his feet stretched four spaces of the stocks he bore patiently the threats of fire and whatever other things were inflicted by his enemies; and how his sufferings terminated, as his judge strove eagerly with all his might not to end his life; and what words he left after these things full of comfort to those needing aid, a great many of his epistles show with truth and accuracy.

(d) Cyprian, De Lapsis, 8-10. (MSL, 4:486.)
The many cases of apostasy in the Decian persecution shocked the Church inexpressibly. In peace discipline had been relaxed and Christian zeal had grown weak. The same phenomena appeared in the next great persecution, under Diocletian, after a long period of peace. De Lapsis was written in the spring of 251, just after the end of the severity of the Decian persecution and Cyprian's return to Carthage. Text in part in Kirch, nn. 227 ff.

Ch. 8. From some, alas, all these things have fallen away, and have passed from memory. They indeed did not even wait, that, having been apprehended, they should go up, or, having been interrogated, they might deny. Many were conquered before the battle, prostrated without an attack. Nor did they even leave it to be said for them that they seemed to sacrifice to idols unwillingly. They ran to the forum of their own accord; freely they hastened to death, as if they had formerly wished it, as if they would embrace an opportunity now given which they had always desired. How many were put off by the magistrates at that time, when evening was coming on! How many even asked that their destruction might not be delayed! What violence can such a one plead, how can he purge his crime, when it was he himself who rather used force that he might perish? When they came voluntarily to the capitol—when they freely approached to the obedience of the terrible wickedness—did not their [pg 209] tread falter, did not their sight darken, their hearts tremble, their arms fall helplessly down, their senses become dull, their tongues cleave to their mouths, their speech fail? Could the servant of God stand there, he who had already renounced the devil and the world, and speak and renounce Christ? Was not that altar, whither he drew near to die, to him a funeral pile? Ought he not to shudder at, and flee from, the altar of the devil, which he had seen to smoke and to be redolent of a foul stench, as it were, a funeral and sepulchre of his life? Why bring with you, O wretched man, a sacrifice? Why immolate a victim? You yourself have come to the altar an offering, yourself a victim; there you have immolated your salvation, your hope; there you have burned up your faith in those deadly fires.

Ch. 9. But to many their own destruction was not sufficient. With mutual exhortations the people were urged to their ruin; death was pledged by turns in the deadly cup. And that nothing might be wanting to aggravate the crime, infants, also, in the arms of their parents, being either carried or conducted, lost, while yet little ones, what in the very beginning of their nativity they had gained. Will not they, when the day of judgment comes, say: “We have done nothing; nor have we forsaken the Lord's bread and cup to hasten freely to a profane contract.…”

Ch. 10. Nor is there, alas, any just and weighty reason which excuses such a crime. One's country was to be left, and loss of one's estate was to be suffered. Yet to whom that is born and dies is there not a necessity at some time to leave his country and to suffer loss of his estate? But let not Christ be forsaken, so that the loss of salvation and of an eternal home should be feared.

(e) Cyprian, De Lapsis, 28. (MSL, 4:501.)
Those who did not actually sacrifice in the tests that were applied to Christians, but by bribery had procured certificates that they had sacrificed, were known as libellatici. It was to the credit of the Christian moral feeling that this subterfuge was not admitted.
[pg 210]

Nor let those persons flatter themselves that they need repent the less who, although they have not polluted their hands with abominable sacrifices, yet have defiled their consciences with certificates. That profession of one who denies is the testimony of a Christian disowning what he has been. He says he has done what another has actually committed, and although it is written, “Ye cannot serve two masters” [Matt. 6:24], he has served an earthly master in that he has obeyed his edict; he has been more obedient to human authority than to God.

(f) A Libellus. From a papyrus found at Fayum.
The text may be found in Kirch, n. 207. This is the actual certificate which a man suspected of being a Christian obtained from the commission appointed to carry out the edict of persecution. It has been preserved these many centuries in the dry Egyptian climate, and is with some others, which are less perfect, among the most interesting relics of the ancient Church.

Presented to the Commission for the Sacrifices in the village of Alexander Island, by Aurelius Diogenes, the son of Satabus, of the village of Alexander Island, about seventy-two years of age, with a scar on the right eyebrow.

I have at other times always offered to the gods as well as also now in your presence, and according to the regulations have offered, sacrificed, and partaken of the sacrificial meal; and I pray you to attest this. Farewell. I, Aurelius Diogenes, have presented this.

[In a second hand.]

I, Aurelius Syrus, testify as being present that Diogenes sacrificed with us.

[First hand.]

First year of the Emperor Cæsar Gaius Messius Quintus Trajanus Decius, pious, happy, Augustus, 2d day of Epiphus. [June 25, 250.]

(g) Cyprian, Epistula 80 (=82). (MSL, 4:442.)
The date of this epistle is 257-258, at the outbreak of the Valerian persecution, a revival of the Decian. It was therefore shortly before Cyprian's death.
[pg 211]

Cyprian to his brother Successus, greeting. The reason why I write to you at once, dearest brother, is that all the clergy are placed in the heat of the contest and are unable in any way to depart hence, for all of them are prepared, in accordance with the devotion of their mind, for divine and heavenly glory. But you should know that those have come back whom I sent to Rome to find out and bring us the truth concerning what had in any manner been decreed respecting us. For many, various, and uncertain things are currently reported. But the truth concerning them is as follows: Valerian has sent a rescript to the Senate, to the effect that bishops, presbyters, and deacons should be immediately punished; but that senators, men of rank, and Roman knights should lose their dignity and be deprived of their property; and if, when their property has been taken away, they should persist in being Christians, that they should then also lose their heads; but that matrons should be deprived of their property and banished. Moreover, people of Cæsar's household, who had either confessed before or should now confess, should have their property confiscated, and be sent in chains and assigned to Cæsar's estates. The Emperor Valerian also added to his address a copy of the letters he prepared for the presidents of the provinces coercing us. These letters we are daily hoping will come, and we are waiting, according to the strength of our faith, for the endurance of suffering and expecting from the help and mercy of the Lord the crown of eternal life. But know that Sixtus was punished [i.e., martyred] in the cemetery on the eighth day of the ides of August, and with him four deacons. The prefects of the city, furthermore, are daily urging on this persecution; so that if any are presented to them they are punished and their property confiscated.

I beg that these things be made known by you to the rest of our colleagues, that everywhere by their exhortations the brotherhood may be strengthened and prepared for the spiritual conflict, that every one may think less of death than [pg 212] of immortality, and dedicated to the Lord with full faith and courage, they may rejoice rather than fear in this confession, wherein they know that the soldiers of God and Christ are not slain, but crowned. I bid you, dearest brother, ever farewell in the Lord.

§ 46. Effects of the Persecution upon the Inner Life of the Church

The persecution developed the popular opinion of the superior sanctity of martyrdom. This was itself no new idea, having grown up in the Church from the time of Ignatius of Antioch, but it now received new applications and developments (a, b). See also § 42, d, and below for problems arising from the place the martyrs attempted to take in the organization of the Church and the administration of discipline. This claim of the martyrs was successfully overcome by the bishops, especially under Cyprian's leadership and example. But in the administration of discipline there were sure to arise difficulties and questions, e.g., Was there a distinction to be made in favor of those who had escaped without actually sacrificing? (c). No matter what policy was followed by the bishop, there was the liability of the rise of a party in opposition to him. If he was strict, a party advocating laxity appeared, as in the case of Felicissimus at Carthage; if he was milder in policy, a party would call for greater rigor, as in the case of Novatian at Rome (e).

Additional source material: Cyprian, Ep. 39-45, 51 (ANF, V); Eusebius, Hist. Ec., VI, 43, 45.
(a) Origen, Exhortatio ad Martyrium, 30, 50. (MSG, 11:601, 636.)
An estimate of the importance and value of martyrdom.
The Exhortation to Martyrdom was addressed by Origen to his friend and patron Ambrosius, and to Protoctetus, a presbyter of Cæsarea, who were in great danger during the persecution undertaken by Maximinus Thrax (235-238). It was probably written in the reign of that Emperor.
[pg 213]

Ch. 30. We must remember that we have sinned and that it is impossible to obtain forgiveness of sins without baptism, and that according to the evangelical laws it is impossible to be baptized a second time with water and the Spirit for the forgiveness of sins, and therefore the baptism of martyrdom is given us. For thus it has been called, as may be clearly gathered from the passage: “Can ye drink of the cup that I drink of, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” [Mark 10:38]. And in another place it is said: “But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straightened until it be accomplished!” [Luke 12:50]. For be sure that just as the expiation of the cross was for the whole world, it (the baptism of martyrdom) is for the cure of many who are thereby cleansed. For as according to the law of Moses those placed near the altar are seen to minister forgiveness of sins to others through the blood of bulls and goats, so the souls of those who have suffered on account of the testimony of Jesus are not in vain near that altar in heaven [cf. Rev. 6:9 ff.], but minister forgiveness of sins to those who pray. And at the same time we know that just as the high priest, Jesus Christ, offered himself as a sacrifice, so the priests, of whom He is the high priest, offer themselves as sacrifices, and on account of this sacrifice they are at the altar as in their proper place.

Ch. 50. Just as we have been redeemed with the precious blood of Christ, who received the name that is above every name, so by the precious blood of the martyrs will others be redeemed.

(b) Origen, Homil. ad Num., X, 2. (MSG, 12:658.)
Of Origen's homilies on the Pentateuch only a few fragments of the Greek text remain. We have them, however, in a Latin translation or paraphrase made by Rufinus. The twenty-eight homilies on Numbers were written after A. D. 244.

Concerning the martyrs, the Apostle John writes in the Apocalypse that the souls of those who have been slain for [pg 214] the name of the Lord Jesus are present at the altar; but he who is present at the altar is shown to perform the duties of priest. But the duty of a priest is to make intercession for the sins of the people. Wherefore I fear, lest, perchance, inasmuch as there are made no martyrs, and sacrifices of saints are not offered for our sins, we will not receive remission of our sins. And therefore I fear, lest our sins remaining in us, it may happen to us what the Jews said of themselves, that not having an altar, nor a temple, nor priesthood, and therefore not offering sacrifices, our sins remain in us, and so no forgiveness is obtained.… And therefore the devil, knowing that remission of sins is obtained by the passion of martyrdom, is not willing to raise public persecutions against us by the heathen.

(c) Cyprian, Epistula 55, 14 (=51). (MSL, 3:805.)
The opinion of the Church as to the libellatici. The date is 251 or 252.

Since there is much difference between those who have sacrificed, what a want of mercy it is, and how bitter is the hardship, to associate those who have received certificates with those who have sacrificed, when he who has received the certificate may say, “I had previously read and had been informed by the discourse of the bishop that we ought not to sacrifice to idols, that the servant of God ought not to worship images; and therefore that I might not do this which is not lawful, when the opportunity of receiving a certificate was offered (and I would not have received it, if the opportunity had not been offered) I either went or charged some one other person going to the magistrate to say that I am a Christian, that I am not allowed to sacrifice, that I cannot come to the devil's altars, and that I will pay a price for this purpose, that I may not do what is not lawful for me to do”! Now, however, even he who is stained by a certificate, after he has learned from our admonitions that he ought not to have done even this, and though his hand is [pg 215] pure, and no contact of deadly food has polluted his lips, yet his conscience is nevertheless polluted, weeps when he hears us, and laments, and is now admonished for the things wherein he has sinned, and having been deceived, not so much by guilt as by error, bears witness that for another time he is instructed and prepared.

(d) Epistula pacis, Cyprian, Epistula 16. (MSL, 4:268.) Cf. Kirch, n. 241.
This brief Letter of Peace is a specimen of the forms that were being issued by the confessors, and which a party in the Church regarded as mandatory upon the bishops. These Cyprian strenuously and successfully resisted. See also Cyprian, Ep. 21, in ANF, V, 299.

All the confessors to Cyprian, pope,70 greeting. Know that we all have given peace to those concerning whom an account has been rendered you as to what they have done since they committed their sin; and we wish to make this rescript known through you to the other bishops. We desire you to have peace with the holy martyrs. Lucianus has written this, there being present of the clergy an exorcist and a lector.

(e) Cyprian, Epistula 43, 2, 3. (MSL, 4:342.)
The schism of Felicissimus was occasioned by the position taken by Cyprian in regard to the admission of the lapsi in the Decian persecution. But it was at the same time the outcome of an opposition to Cyprian of longer standing, on account of jealousy, as he had only recently become a Christian when he was made bishop of Carthage.

Ch. 2. It has appeared whence came the faction of Felicissimus, on what root and by what strength it stood. These men supplied in a former time encouragements and exhortations to confessors, not to agree with their bishop, not to maintain the ecclesiastical discipline faithfully and quietly, according to the Lord's precepts, not to keep the glory of their confession with an uncorrupt and unspotted mode of life. And lest it should have been too little to have corrupted [pg 216] the minds of certain confessors and to have wished to arm a portion of our broken fraternity against God's priesthood, they have now applied themselves with their envenomed deceitfulness to the ruin of the lapsed, to turn away from the healing of their wound the sick and the wounded, and those who, by the misfortune of their fall, are less fit and less able to take stronger counsels; and having left off prayers and supplications, whereby with long and continued satisfaction the Lord is to be appeased, they invite them by the deceit of a fallacious peace to a fatal rashness.

Ch. 3. But I pray you, brethren, watch against the snares of the devil, and being careful for your own salvation, guard diligently against this deadly deceit. This is another persecution and another temptation. Those five presbyters are none other than the five leaders who were lately associated with the magistrates in an edict that they might overthrow our faith, that they might turn away the feeble hearts of the brethren to their deadly nets by the perversion of the truth. Now the same scheme, the same overturning, is again brought about by the five presbyters, linked with Felicissimus, to the destruction of salvation, that God should not be besought, and that he who has denied Christ should not appeal for mercy to the same Christ whom he has denied; that after the fault of the crime repentance also should be taken away; and that satisfaction should not be made through bishops and priests, but, the Lord's priests being forsaken, a new tradition of sacrilegious appointment should arise contrary to the evangelical discipline. And although it was once arranged as well by us as by the confessors and the clergy of the city,71 likewise by all the bishops located either in our province or beyond the sea [i.e., Italy], that there should be no innovations regarding the case of the lapsed unless we all assembled in one place, and when our counsels had been compared we should then decide upon some moderate sentence, [pg 217] tempered alike with discipline and with mercy; against this, our counsel, they have rebelled and all priestly authority has been destroyed by factious conspiracies.

(f) Eusebius, Hist. Ec., VI, 43. (MSG, 20:616.)
The schism of Novatian at Rome was occasioned by the question of discipline of the lapsed. While the schism of Felicissimus was in favor of more lenient treatment of those who had fallen, the schism of Novatian was in favor of greater strictness. The sect of Novatians, named after the founder, Novatus or Novatianus, lasted for more than two centuries.

Novatus [Novatianus], a presbyter at Rome, being lifted up with arrogance against these persons, as if there was no longer for them a hope of salvation, not even if they should do all things pertaining to a pure and genuine conversion, became the leader of the heresy of those who in the pride of their imagination style themselves Cathari.72 Thereupon a very large synod assembled at Rome, of bishops in number sixty, and a great many more presbyters and deacons; and likewise the pastors of the remaining provinces deliberated in their places by themselves concerning what ought to be done. A decree, accordingly, was confirmed by all that Novatus and those who joined with him, and those who adopted his brother-hating and inhuman opinion, should be considered by the Church as strangers; but that they should heal such of the brethren as had fallen into misfortune, and should minister to them with the medicines of repentance. There have come down to us epistles of Cornelius, bishop of Rome, to Fabius, of the church at Antioch, which show what was done at the synod at Rome, and what seemed best to all those in Italy and Africa and the regions thereabout. Also other epistles, written in the Latin language, of Cyprian and those with him in Africa, by which it is shown that they agreed as to the necessity of succoring those who had been tempted, and of cutting off from the Catholic Church the leader of the heresy and all that joined him.

[pg 218]

Chapter IV. The Period Of Peace For The Church: A. D. 260 To A. D. 303

After the Decian-Valerian persecution (250-260) the Church enjoyed a long peace, rarely interrupted anywhere by hostile measures, until the outbreak of the second great general persecution, under Diocletian (303-313), a space of over forty years. In this period the Church cast off the chiliasm which had lingered as a part of a primitive Jewish conception of Christianity (§ 47), and adapted itself to the actual condition of this present world. Under the influence of scientific theology, especially that of the Alexandrian school, the earlier forms of Monarchianism disappeared from the Church, and the discussion began to narrow down to the position which it eventually assumed in the Arian controversy (§ 48). Corresponding to the development of the theology went that of the cultus of the Church, and already in the West abiding characteristics appeared (§ 49). The cultus and the disciplinary work of the bishops advanced in turn the hierarchical organization of the Church and the place of the bishops (§ 50), but the theory of local episcopal autonomy and the universalistic tendencies of the see of Rome soon came into sharp conflict (§ 51), especially over the validity of baptism administered by heretics (§ 52). In this discussion the North African Church assumed a position which subsequently became the occasion of the most serious schism of the ancient Church, or Donatism. In this period, also, is to be set the rise of Christian Monasticism as distinguished from ordinary Christian asceticism (§ 53). At the same time, a dangerous rival of Christianity appeared in the East, in the form of Manichæanism, in which were absorbed nearly all the remnants of earlier Gnosticism (§ 54).

[pg 219]

§ 47. The Chiliastic Controversy

During the third century the belief in chiliasm as a part of the Church's faith died out in nearly all parts of the Church. It did not seem called for by the condition of the Church, which was rapidly adjusting itself to the world in which it found itself. The scientific theology, especially that of Alexandria, found no place in its system for such an article as chiliasm. The belief lingered, however, in country places, and with it went no little opposition to the “scientific” exegesis which by means of allegory explained away the promises of a millennial kingdom. The only account we have of this so-called “Chiliastic Controversy” is found in connection with the history of the schism of Nepos in Egypt given by Eusebius, But it may be safely assumed that the condition of things here described was not peculiar to any one part of the Church, though an open schism resulting from the conflict of the old and new ideas is not found elsewhere.

Additional source material: Origen, De Principiis, II, 11 (ANF, IV); Lactantius, Divini Institutiones, VII, 14-26 (ANF, VII); Methodius, Symposium, IX, 5 (ANF, VI); v. infra, § 48.
Eusebius, Hist. Ec., VII, 24. (MSG, 20:693.)
Dionysius was bishop of Alexandria 248-265, after serving as the head of the Catechetical School, a position which he does not seem to have resigned on being advanced to the episcopate. His work On the Promises has, with the exception of fragments preserved by Eusebius, perished, as has also the work of Nepos, Against the Allegorists. The date of the work of Nepos is not known. That of the work of Dionysius is placed conjecturally at 255. The Allegorists, against whom Nepos wrote, were probably Origen and his school, who developed more consistently and scientifically the allegorical method of exegesis; see above, § 43, k.
[pg 220]

Besides all these, the two books On the Promises were prepared by him [Dionysius]. The occasion of these was Nepos, a bishop in Egypt, who taught that the promises made to the holy men in the divine Scriptures should be understood in a more Jewish manner, and that there would be a certain millennium of bodily luxury upon this earth. As he thought that he could establish his private opinion by the Revelation of John, he wrote a book on this subject, entitled Refutation of Allegorists. Dionysius opposes this in his books On the Promises. In the first he gives his own opinion of the dogma; and in the second he treats of the Revelation of John,73 and, mentioning Nepos at the beginning, writes of him as follows:

“But since they bring forward a certain work of Nepos, on which they rely confidently, as if it proved beyond dispute that there will be a reign of Christ upon earth, I confess that in many other respects I approve and love Nepos for his faith and industry and his diligence in the Scriptures, and for his extensive psalmody with which many of the brethren are still delighted; and I hold the man in the more reverence because he has gone before us to rest.… But as some think his work very plausible, and as certain teachers regard the law and the prophets as of no consequence, and do not follow the Gospels, and treat lightly the apostolic epistles, while they make promises as to the teaching of this work as if it were some great hidden mystery, and do not permit our simpler brethren to have any sublime and lofty thoughts concerning the glorious and truly divine appearing of our Lord and our resurrection from the dead, and our being gathered together unto Him, and made like Him, but, on the contrary, lead them to a hope for small things and mortal things in the kingdom of God, and for things such as exist now—since this is the case, it is necessary that we should [pg 221] dispute with our brother Nepos as if he were present.” Farther on he says:

“When I was in the district of Arsinoe, where, as you know, this doctrine has prevailed for a long time, so that schisms and apostasies of entire churches have resulted, I called together the presbyters and teachers of the brethren in the villages—such brethren as wished being present—and I exhorted them to make a public examination of this question. Accordingly when they brought me this book, as if it were a weapon and fortress impregnable, sitting with them from morning till evening for three successive days, I endeavored to correct what was written in it.… And finally the author and mover of this teaching, who was called Coracion, in the hearing of all the brethren present acknowledged and testified to us that he would no longer hold this opinion, nor discuss it, nor mention it, nor teach it, as he was fully convinced by the arguments against it.”

§ 48. Theology of the Second Half of the Third Century under the Influence of Origen

By the second half of the third century theology had become a speculative and highly technical science (a), and under the influence of Origen, the Logos theology, as opposed to various forms of Monarchianism (b), had become universal. Under this influence, Paul of Samosata, reviving Dynamistic Monarchianism, modified it by combining with it elements of the Logos theology (c-e). At the same time there was in various parts of the Church a continuation of the Asia Minor theological tradition, such as had found expression in Irenæus. A representative of this theology was Methodius of Olympus (f).

Additional source material: Athanasius, De Sent. Dionysii (PNF, ser. II, vol. IV).
(a) Gregory Thaumaturgus, Confession of Faith. (MSG, 46:912)
[pg 222]
Gregory Thaumaturgus, or the Wonder-worker, was born about 213 in Neo-Cæsarea in Pontus. He studied under Origen at Cæsarea in Palestine from 233 to 235, and became one of the leading representatives of the Origenistic theology, representing the orthodox development of that school, as distinguished from Paul of Samosata and Lucian.
The following Confession of Faith is found only in the Life of Gregory Thaumaturgus, by Gregory of Nyssa. (MSG, 46: 909 f.) Its genuineness is now generally admitted; see Hahn, op. cit., § 185. According to a legend, it was communicated to Gregory in a vision by St. John on the request of the Blessed Virgin. It represents the speculative tendency of Origenism and current theology after the rise of the Alexandrian school. It should be noted that it differs markedly from other confessions of faith in not employing biblical language.

There is one God, the Father of the living Word, His substantive Wisdom, Power, and Eternal Image, the perfect Begetter of the perfect One, the Father of the Only begotten Son.

There is one Lord, only One from only One, God from God, the image and likeness of the Godhead, the active Word, The Wisdom which comprehends the constitution of all things, and the Power which produced all creation; the true Son of the true Father, Invisible of Invisible, and Incorruptible of Incorruptible, and Immortal of Immortal, and Everlasting of Everlasting.

And there is one Holy Spirit having His existence from God, and manifested by the Son [namely, to men],74 the perfect likeness of the perfect Son, Life and Cause of the living [the sacred Fount], Sanctity, Leader of sanctification, in whom is revealed God the Father, who is over all and in all, and God the Son, who is through all; a perfect Trinity75 not divided nor differing in glory and eternity and sovereignty.

There is, therefore, nothing created or subservient in the Trinity, nor introduced as if not there before, but coming afterward; for there never was a time when the Son was lacking to the Father, nor the Spirit to the Son, but the same Trinity is ever unvarying and unchangeable.

[pg 223]
(b) Athanasius, De Sent. Dionysii, 4, 5, 6, 13-15. (MSG, 25:484 f., 497 f.)
What has been called the Controversy of the two Dionysii was in reality no controversy. Dionysius of Alexandria [v. supra, § 48] wrote a letter to the Sabellians near Cyrene, pointing out the distinction of the Father and the Son. In it he used language which was, to say the least, indiscreet. Complaint was made to Dionysius, bishop of Rome, that the bishop of Alexandria did not hold the right view of the relation of the Son to the Father and of the divinity of the Son. Thereupon, Dionysius of Rome wrote to Dionysius of Alexandria. In reply, Dionysius of Alexandria pointed out at length, in a Refutation and Defence, his actual opinion on the matter as a whole, rather than as merely opposed to Modalistic Monarchianism or Sabellianism. The course of the discussion is sufficiently clear from the extracts. Athanasius is writing in answer to the Arians, who had appealed to the letter of Dionysius in support of their opinion that the Son was a creature, and that there was when He was not [v. infra, § 63]. His work, from which the following extracts are taken, was written between 350 and 354.

Ch. 4. They (the Arians) say, then, that in a letter the blessed Dionysius has said: “The Son of God is a creature and made, and not His own by nature, but in essence alien from the Father, just as the husbandman is from the vine, or the shipbuilder is from the boat; for that, being a creature, He was not before He came to be.” Yes. He wrote it, and we, too, admit that such was his letter. But as he wrote this, so also he wrote very many other epistles, which ought to be read by them, so that from all and not from one merely the faith of the man might be discovered.

Ch. 5. At that time [i.e., when Dionysius wrote against the Sabellians] certain of the bishops of Pentapolis in Upper Libya were of the opinion of Sabellius. And they were so successful with their opinion that the Son of God was scarcely preached any longer in the churches. Dionysius heard of this, as he had charge of those churches (cf. Canon 6, Nicæa, 325; see below, § 72), and sent men to counsel the guilty ones to cease from their false doctrine. As they did not cease but waxed more shameless in their impiety, he was compelled to meet their shameless conduct by writing the said letter and [pg 224] to define from the Gospels the human nature of the Saviour, in order that, since those men waxed bolder in denying the Son and in ascribing His human actions to the Father, he accordingly, by demonstrating that it was not the Father but the Son that was made man for us, might persuade the ignorant persons that the Father is not the Son, and so by degrees lead them to the true godhead of the Son and the knowledge of the Father.

Ch. 6. … If in his writings he is inconsistent, let them [i.e., the Arians] not draw him to their side, for on this assumption he is not worthy of credit. But if, when he had written his letter to Ammonius, and fallen under suspicion, he made his defence, bettering what he had said previously, defending himself, but not changing, it must be evident that he wrote what fell under suspicion by way of “accommodation.”

Ch. 13. The following is the occasion of his writing the other letters. When Bishop Dionysius had heard of the affairs in Pentapolis and had written in zeal for religion, as I have said, his letter to Euphranor and Ammonius against the heresy of Sabellius, some of the brethren belonging to the Church, who held a right opinion, but did not ask him so as to learn from himself what he had written, went up to Rome and spake against him in the presence of his namesake, Dionysius, bishop of Rome. And the latter, upon hearing it, wrote simultaneously against the adherents of Sabellius and against those who held the same opinions for uttering which Arius was cast out of the Church; and he called it an equal and opposite impiety to hold with Sabellius or with those who say that the Word of God is a creature, framed and originated. And he wrote also to Dionysius [i.e., of Alexandria] to inform him of what they had said about him. And the latter straightway wrote back and inscribed a book entitled A Refutation and a Defence.

Ch. 14. … In answer to these charges he writes, after certain prefatory matter in the first book of the work entitled A Refutation and a Defence, in the following terms:

[pg 225]

Ch. 15. “For never was there a time when God was not a Father.” And this he acknowledges in what follows, “that Christ is forever, being Word and Wisdom and Power. For it is not to be supposed that God, having at first no issue, afterward begat a Son. But the Son has his being not of Himself, but of the Father.”

(c) Eusebius, Hist. Ec., VII, 27, 29, 30. (MSG, 25:705.)
The deposition of Paul of Samosata.
The controversy concerning Paul's doctrinal views is sufficiently set forth in the extract from Eusebius given below. Paul was bishop of Antioch from about 260 to 268. His works have perished, with the exception of a few fragments. The importance of Paul is that in his teaching is to be found an attempt to combine the Logos theology of Origen with Dynamistic Monarchianism, with results that appeared later in Arianism, on the one hand, and Nestorianism, it is thought, on the other.

Ch. 27. After Sixtus had presided over the church of Rome eleven years, Dionysius, namesake of him of Alexandria, succeeded him. About that time Demetrianus died in Antioch, and Paul of Samosata received that episcopate. As he held low and degraded views of Christ, contrary to the teaching of the Church, namely, that in his nature He was a common man, Dionysius of Alexandria was entreated to come to the synod. But being unable to come on account of age and physical weakness, he gave his opinion on the subject under consideration by a letter. But the other pastors of the churches assembled from all directions, as against a despoiler of the flock of Christ, all making haste to reach Antioch.

Ch. 29. During his [Aurelian's, 270-275] reign a final synod composed of a great many bishops was held, and the leader of heresy in Antioch was detected and his false doctrine clearly shown before all, and he was excommunicated from the Catholic Church under heaven. Malchion especially drew him out from his hiding-place and refuted him. He was a man learned also in other matters, and principal of the sophist school of Grecian learning in Antioch; yet on account of the superior nobility of his faith in Christ he had been made [pg 226] a presbyter of that parish [i.e., diocese]. This man, having conducted a discussion with him, which was taken down by stenographers, and which we know is still extant, was alone able to detect the man who dissembled and deceived others.

Ch. 30. The pastors who had assembled about this matter prepared by common consent an epistle addressed to Dionysius, bishop of Rome, and Maximus of Alexandria, and sent it to all the provinces.…

After other things they describe as follows the manner of life which he led: “Whereas he has departed from the rule [i.e., of faith], and has turned aside after base and spurious teachings, it is not necessary—since he is without—that we should pass judgment upon his practices: as for instance … in that he is haughty and is puffed up, and assumes worldly dignities, preferring to be called ducenarius rather than bishop; and struts in the market-places, reading letters and reciting them as he walks in public, attended by a bodyguard, with a multitude preceding and following him, so that the faith is envied and hated on account of his pride and haughtiness of heart, … or that he violently and coarsely assails in public the expounders of the Word that have departed this life, and magnifies himself, not as bishop, but as a sophist and juggler, and stops the psalms to our Lord Jesus Christ as being novelties and the productions of modern men, and trains women to sing psalms to himself in the midst of the church on the great day of the passover.… He is unwilling to acknowledge that the Son of God came down from heaven. (And this is no mere assertion, but is abundantly proved from the records which we have sent you; and not least where he says, ‘Jesus Christ is from below.’)… And there are the women, the subintroductæ,’ as the people of Antioch call them, belonging to him and to the presbyters and deacons with him. Although he knows and has convicted these men, yet he connives at this and their incurable sins, in order that they may be bound to him, and [pg 227] through fear for themselves may not dare to accuse him for his wicked words and deeds.…”

As Paul had fallen from the episcopate, as well as from the orthodox faith, Domnus, as has been said, succeeded to the service of the church at Antioch [i.e., became bishop]. But as Paul refused to surrender the church building, the Emperor Aurelian was petitioned; and he decided the matter most equitably, ordering the building to be given to those to whom the bishops of Italy and of the city of Rome should adjudge it. Thus this man was driven out of the Church, with extreme disgrace, by the worldly power.

Such was Aurelian's attitude toward us at that time; but in the course of time he changed his mind in regard to us, and was moved by certain advisers to institute a persecution against us. And there was great talk about it everywhere. But as he was about to do it, and was, so to speak, in the very act of signing the decrees against us, the divine judgment came upon him and restrained him at the very verge of his undertaking.

(d) Malchion of Antioch, Disputation with Paul. (MSG, 10:247-260.)
The doctrine of Paul of Samosata.
The following fragments are from the disputation of Malchion with Paul at the Council of Antioch, 268 [see extract from Eusebius, Hist. Ec., VII, 27, 29, 30; see above (c)], which Malchion is said to have revised and published. The passages may be found also in Routh, Reliquiæ Sacræ, second ed., III, 300 ff. Fragments I-III are from the work of the Emperor Justinian, Contra Monophysitas; fragment IV is from the work of Leontius of Byzantium, Adversus Nestorianos et Eutychianos.

I. The Logos became united with Him who was born of David, who is Jesus, who was begotten of the Holy Ghost. And Him the Virgin bore by the Holy Spirit; but God generated that Logos without the Virgin or any one else than God, and thus the Logos exists.

II. The Logos was greater than Christ. Christ became [pg 228] greater through Wisdom, that we might not overthrow the dignity of Wisdom.

III. In order that the Anointed, who was from David, might not be a stranger to Wisdom, and that Wisdom might not dwell so largely in another. For it was in the prophets, and more in Moses, and in many the Lord was, but more also in Christ as in a temple. For Jesus Christ was one and the Logos was another.

IV. He who appeared was not Wisdom, for He could not be found in an outward form, neither in the appearance of a man; for He is greater than all things visible.

(e) Paul of Samosata, Orationes ad Sabinum, Routh, op. cit., III, 329.
The doctrine of Paul.
Paul's work addressed to Sabinus has perished with the exception of a few fragments. See Routh, op. cit.

I. Thou shouldest not wonder that the Saviour had one will with God; for just as nature shows us a substance becoming one and the same out of many things, so the nature of love makes one and the same will out of many through a manifest preference.

II. He who was born holy and righteous, having by His struggle and sufferings overcome the sin of our progenitors, and having succeeded in all things, was united in character to God, since He had preserved one and the same effort and aim as He for the promotion of things that are good; and since He has preserved this inviolate, His name is called that above every name, the prize of love having been freely bestowed upon Him.

(f) Epiphanius, Panarion, Hær. LXV. (MSG, 42:12.)
The doctrine of Paul of Samosata.
Epiphanius was bishop of Salamis, 367-403. His works are chiefly polemical and devoted to the refutation of all heresies, of which he gives accounts at some length. He is a valuable, though not always [pg 229] reliable, source for many otherwise unknown heresies. In the present case we have passages from Paul's own writings that confirm and supplement the statements of the hereseologist.

He [Paul of Samosata] says that God the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit are one God, that in God is always His Word and His Spirit, as in a man's heart is his own reason; that the Son of God does not exist in a hypostasis, but in God himself.… That the Logos came and dwelt in Jesus, who was a man. And thus he says God is one, neither is the Father the Father, nor the Son the Son, nor the Holy Spirit the Holy Spirit, but rather the one God is Father and in Him is his Son, as the reason is in a man.… But he did not say with Noetus that the Father suffered, but only, said he, the Logos came and energized and went back to the Father.

(g) Methodius of Olympus, Symposium, III, 4, 8. (MSG, 18:65, 73.)
The theology of Origen was not suffered to go without being challenged by those who could not accept some of his extreme statements. Among those opposed to him were Peter, bishop of Alexandria, and Methodius, bishop of Olympus. Both were strongly influenced by Origen, but the denial of a bodily resurrection and the eternity of the creation were too offensive. The more important of the two is Methodius, who combined a strong anti-Origenistic position on these two points with that recapitulation theory of redemption which has been called the Asia Minor type of theology and is represented also by Irenæus; see above, § 27. He has been called the author of the theology of the future, with reference to his relation to Athanasius, in that he laid the foundation for a doctrine of redemption which superseded that of the old Alexandrian school, and became established in the East under the lead of Athanasius and the Nicene divines generally.
Methodius was bishop of Olympus, in Lycia. The statements that he also held other sees are unreliable. He died in 311 as a martyr. Nothing else is known with certainty as to his life. Of his numerous and well-written works, only one, The Banquet, or Symposium, has been preserved entire. His work On the Resurrection is most strongly opposed to Origen and his denial of the bodily resurrection.

Ch. 4. For let us consider how rightly he [Paul] compared Adam to Christ, not only considering him to be the type and [pg 230] image, but also that Christ Himself became the very same thing, because the Eternal Word fell upon Him. For it was fitting that the first-born of God, the first shoot, the Only begotten, even the Wisdom [of God], should be joined to the first-formed man, and first and first-born of men, and should become incarnate. And this was Christ, a man filled with the pure and perfect Godhead, and God received into man. For it was most suitable that the oldest of the Æons and the first of the archangels, when about to hold communion with men, should dwell in the oldest and first of men, even Adam. And thus, renovating those things which were from the beginning, and forming them again of the Virgin by the Spirit, He frames the same just as at the beginning.

Ch. 8. The Church could not conceive believers and give them new birth by the laver of regeneration unless Christ, emptying Himself for their sakes, that He might be contained by them, as I said, through the recapitulation of His passion, should die again, coming down from heaven, and, being “joined to His wife,” the Church, should provide that a certain power be taken from His side, so that all who are built up in Him should grow up, even those who are born again by the laver, receiving of His bones and of His flesh; that is, of His holiness and of His glory. For he who says that the bones and flesh of Wisdom are understanding and virtue, says most rightly; and that the side [rib] is the Spirit of truth, the Paraclete, of whom the illuminated [i.e., baptized], receiving, are fitly born again to incorruption.

(h) Methodius of Olympus, De Resurrect., I, 13. (MSG, 18:284.)

De Resur., I, 13.76 If any one were to think that the earthly image is the flesh itself, but the heavenly image is some other spiritual body besides the flesh, let him first consider that Christ, the heavenly man, when He appeared, bore the same form of limbs and the same image of flesh as ours, through [pg 231] which, also, He, who was not man, became man, that, “as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” For if it was not that he might set the flesh free and raise it up that He bore flesh, why did He bear flesh superfluously, as He purposed neither to save it nor to raise it up? But the Son of God does nothing superfluous. He did not take, then, the form of a servant uselessly, but to raise it up and save it. For He was truly made man, and died, and not in appearance, but that He might truly be shown to be the first begotten from the dead, changing the earthly into the heavenly, and the mortal into the immortal.

§ 49. The Development of the Cultus

The Church's cultus and sacramental system developed rapidly in the third century. The beginnings of the administration of the sacraments according to prescribed forms are to be traced to the Didache and Justin Martyr (see above, §§ 13, 14). At the beginning of the third century baptism was already accompanied by a series of subsidiary rites, and the eucharist was regarded as a sacrifice, the benefit of which might be directed toward specific ends. The further development was chiefly in connection with the eucharist, which effected in turn the conception of the hierarchy (see below, § 50). Baptism was regarded as conferring complete remission of previous sins; subsequent sins were atoned for in the penitential discipline (see above, § 42). As for the eucharist, the conception of the sacrifice which appears in the Didache, an offering of praise and thanksgiving, gradually gives place to a sacrifice which in some way partakes of the nature of Christ's sacrificial death upon the cross. At the same time, the elements are more and more completely identified with the body and blood of Christ, and the nature of the presence of Christ is conceived under quasi-physical categories. As representatives of the lines of development, Tertullian, at the beginning of the century, and Cyprian, at the middle, may [pg 232] be taken. That a similar development took place in the East is evident, not only from the references to the same in the writings of Origen and others, but also from the appearance in the next century of elaborate services, or liturgies, as well as the doctrinal statements of writers generally.

(a) Tertullian, De Corona, 3. (MSL, 2:98.)
The ceremonies connected with baptism.

And how long shall we draw the saw to and fro through this line when we have an ancient practice which by anticipation has settled the state of the question? If no passage of Scripture has prescribed it, assuredly custom, which without doubt flowed from tradition, has confirmed it. For how can anything come into use if it has not first been handed down? Even in pleading tradition written authority, you say, must be demanded. Let us inquire, therefore, whether tradition, unless it be written, should not be admitted. Certainly we shall say that it ought not to be admitted if no cases of other practices which, without any written instrument, we maintain on the ground of tradition alone, and the countenance thereafter of custom, affords us any precedent. To deal with this matter briefly, I shall begin with baptism. When we are going to enter the water, but a little before, in the church and under the hand of the president, we solemnly profess that we renounce the devil, and his pomp, and his angels. Hereupon we are thrice immersed, making a somewhat ampler pledge than the Lord has appointed in the Gospel. Then, when we are taken up (as new-born children), we taste first of all a mixture of milk and honey; and from that day we refrain from the daily bath for a whole week. We take also in congregations, before daybreak, and from the hands of none but the presidents, the sacrament of the eucharist, which the Lord both commanded to be eaten at meal-times, and by all. On the anniversary day we make offerings for the dead as birthday honors. We consider fasting on the Lord's Day to be unlawful, as also to worship [pg 233] kneeling. We rejoice in the same privilege from Easter to Pentecost. We feel pained should any wine or bread, even though our own, be cast upon the ground. At every forward step and movement, at every going in and going out, when we put on our shoes, at the bath, at table, on lighting the lamps, on couch, on seat, in all the ordinary actions of daily life, we trace upon the forehead the sign [i.e., of the cross].

(b) Tertullian, De Baptismo, 5-8. (MSL, 1:1314.)
The whole passage should be read as showing clearly that Tertullian recognized the similarity between Christian baptism and heathen purifying washings, but referred the effects of the heathen rites to evil powers, quite in harmony with the Christian admission of the reality of heathen divinities as evil powers and heathen exorcisms as wrought by the aid of evil spirits.

Ch. 5. … Thus man will be restored by God to His likeness, for he formerly had been after the image of God; the image is counted being in His form [in effigie], the likeness in His eternity [in æternitate]. For he receives that Spirit of God which he had then received from His afflatus, but afterward lost through sin.

Ch. 6. Not that in the waters we obtain the Holy Spirit, but in the water, under (the witness of angels) we are cleansed and prepared for the Holy Spirit.…

Ch. 7. After this, when we have issued from the font, we are thoroughly anointed with a blessed unction according to the ancient discipline, wherein on entering the priesthood men were accustomed to be anointed with oil from a horn, wherefore Aaron was anointed by Moses.… Thus, too, in our case the unction runs carnally, but profits spiritually; in the same way as the act of baptism itself is carnal, in that we are plunged in the water, but the effect spiritual, in that we are freed from sins.

Ch. 8. In the next place, the hand is laid upon us, invoking and inviting the Holy Spirit through benediction.… But this, as well as the former, is derived from the old sacramental rite in which Jacob blessed his grandsons born of Joseph, [pg 234] Ephraim, and Manasses; with his hands laid on them and interchanged, and indeed so transversely slanted the one over the other that, by delineating Christ, they even portended the future benediction in Christ. [Cf. Gen. 48:13 f.]

(c) Cyprian, Ep. ad Cæcilium, Ep. 63, 13-17. (MSL, 4:395.)
The eucharist.
Thascius Cæcilius Cyprianus, bishop of Carthage, was born about 200, and became bishop in 248 or 249. His doctrinal position is a development of that of Tertullian, beside whom he may be placed as one of the founders of the characteristic theology of North Africa. His discussion of the place and authority of the bishop in the ecclesiastical system was of fundamental importance in the development of the theory of the hierarchy, though it may be questioned whether his particular theory of the relation of the bishops to each other ever was realized in the Church. For his course during the Decian persecution see §§ 45, 46. He died about 258, in the persecution under Valerian.
In the epistle from which the following extract is taken Cyprian writes to Cæcilius to point out that it is wrong to use merely water in the eucharist, and that wine mixed with water should be used, for in all respects we do exactly what Christ did at the Last Supper when he instituted the eucharist. In the course of the letter, which is of some length, Cyprian takes occasion to set forth his conception of the eucharistic sacrifice, which is a distinct advance upon Tertullian. The date of the letter is about 253.

Ch. 13. Because Christ bore us all, in that He also bore our sins, we see that in the water is understood the people, but in the wine is showed the blood of Christ. But when in the cup the water is mingled with the wine the people is made one with Christ, and the assembly of believers is associated and conjoined with Him on whom it believes; which association and conjunction of water and wine is so mingled in the Lord's cup that that mixture cannot be separated any more. Whence, moreover, nothing can separate the Church—that is, the people established in the Church, faithfully and firmly continuing in that in which they have believed—from Christ in such a way as to prevent their undivided love from always abiding and adhering. Thus, [pg 235] therefore, in consecrating the cup water alone should not be offered to the Lord, even as wine alone should not be offered. For if wine only is offered, the blood of Christ begins to be without us.77 But if the water alone be offered, the people begin to be without Christ, but when both are mingled and are joined to each other by an intermixed union, then the spiritual and heavenly sacrament is completed. Thus the cup of the Lord is not, indeed, water alone, nor wine alone, nor unless each be mingled with the other; just as, on the other hand, the body of the Lord cannot be flour alone or water alone, nor unless both should be united and joined together and compacted into the mass of one bread: in which sacrament our people are shown to be one; so that in like manner as many grains are collected and ground and mixed together into one mass and made one bread, so in Christ, who is the heavenly bread, we may know that there is one body with which our number is joined and united.

Ch. 14. There is, then, no reason, dearest brother, for any one to think that the custom of certain persons is to be followed, who in times past have thought that water alone should be offered in the cup of the Lord. For we must inquire whom they themselves have followed. For if in the sacrifice which Christ offered none is to be followed but Christ, we ought certainly to obey and do what Christ did, and what He commanded to be done, since He himself says in the Gospel: “If ye do whatsoever I command you, henceforth I call you not servants, but friends” [John 15:14 f.].… If Jesus Christ, our Lord and God, is Himself the chief priest of God the Father, and has first offered Himself a sacrifice to the Father, and has commanded this to be done in commemoration of Himself, certainly that priest truly acts in the place of Christ who imitates what Christ did; and he then offers a true and full sacrifice in the Church of God to God the Father [pg 236] when he proceeds to offer it according to what he sees Christ himself to have offered.

Ch. 15. But the discipline of all religion and truth is overturned unless what is spiritually prescribed be faithfully observed; unless, indeed, any one should fear in the morning sacrifices lest the taste of wine should be redolent of the blood of Christ.78 Therefore, thus the brotherhood is beginning to be kept back from the passion of Christ in persecutions by learning in the offerings to be disturbed concerning His blood and His blood-shedding.… But how can we shed our blood for Christ who blush to drink the blood of Christ?

Ch. 16. Does any one perchance flatter himself with this reflection—that, although in the morning water alone is seen to be offered, yet when we come to supper we offer the mingled cup? But when we sup, we cannot call the people together for our banquet that we may celebrate the truth of the sacrament in the presence of the entire brotherhood. But still it was not in the morning, but after supper that the Lord offered the mingled cup. Ought we, then, to celebrate the Lord's cup after supper, that so by continual repetition of the Lord's Supper we may offer the mingled cup? It was necessary that Christ should offer about the evening of the day, that the very hour of sacrifice might show the setting and the evening of the world as it is written in Exodus: “And all the people of the synagogue of the children of Israel shall kill it in the evening.”79 And again in the Psalms: “Let the lifting up of my hands be an evening sacrifice.”80 But we celebrate the resurrection of the Lord in the morning.

Ch. 17. And because we make mention of His passion in all sacrifices (for the Lord's passion is the sacrifice which we offer), we ought to do nothing else than what He did. For the Scripture says: “For as often as ye eat this bread and [pg 237] drink this cup, ye do show forth the Lord's death till He come.”81 As often, therefore, as we offer the cup in commemoration of the Lord and His passion, let us do what it is known the Lord did.

§ 50. The Episcopate in the Church

The greatest name connected with the development of the hierarchical conception of the Church in the third century is without question Cyprian (see § 49). He developed the conception of the episcopate beyond the point it had reached in the hands of Tertullian, to whom the institution was important primarily as a guardian of the deposit of faith and a pledge of the continuity of the Church. In the hands of Cyprian the episcopate became the essential foundation of the Church. According to his theory of the office, every bishop was the peer of every other bishop and had the same duties to his diocese and to the Church as a whole as every other bishop. No bishop had any more than a moral authority over any other. Only the whole body of bishops, or the council, could bring anything more than moral authority to bear upon an offending prelate. The constitution of the council was not as yet defined. In several points the ecclesiastical theories of Cyprian were not followed by the Church as a whole, notably his opinion regarding heretical baptism (see § 47), but his main contention as to the importance of the episcopate for the very existence (esse), and not the mere welfare (bene esse), of the Church was universally accepted. His theory of the equality of all bishops was a survival of an earlier period, and represented little more than his personal ideal. The following sections should also be consulted in this connection.

Additional source material: Cyprian deals with the hierarchical constitution in almost every epistle; see, however, especially the following: 26:1 [33:1], 51:24 [55:24], 54:5 [59:5], 64:3 [3:3], [pg 238] 72:21 [73:21], 74:16 [75:16] (important for the testimony of Firmilian as to the hierarchical ideas in the East). Serapion's Prayer Book, trans. by J. Wordsworth, 1899.
(a) Cyprian, Epistula 68, 8 [=66]. (MSL, 4:418.)

Although a rebellious and arrogant multitude of those who will not obey depart, yet the Church does not depart from Christ; and they are the Church who are a people united to the priest, and the flock which adheres to its pastor. Whence you ought to know that the bishop is in the Church and the Church in the bishop; and that if any one be not with the bishop, he is not in the Church, and that those flatter themselves in vain who creep in, not having peace with God's priests, and think that they communicate secretly with some; while the Church, which is Catholic and one, is not cut nor divided, but is indeed connected and bound together by the cement of the priests who cohere with one another.

(b) Council of Carthage, A. D. 256. (MSL, 3:1092.)
The council of Carthage, in 256, was held, under the presidency of Cyprian, to act on the question of baptism by heretics. See § 52. Eighty-seven bishops were present. The full report of proceedings is to be found in the works of Cyprian. See ANF, V, 565, and Hefele, § 6. The theory of Cyprian which is here expressed is that all bishops are equal and independent, as opposed to the Roman position taken by Stephen, and that the individual bishop is responsible only to God.

Cyprian said: … It remains that upon this matter each of us should bring forward what he thinks, judging no man, nor rejecting from the right of communion, if he should think differently. For neither does any one of us set himself up as a bishop of bishops, nor by tyrannical terrors does any one compel his colleagues to the necessity of obedience; since every bishop, according to the allowance of his liberty and power, has his own proper right of judgment, and can no more be judged by another than he himself can judge another. But let us all wait for the judgment of our Lord Jesus Christ, [pg 239] who alone has the power of advancing us in the government of His Church, and of judging us in our conduct here.

(c) Cyprian, Epistula 67:5. (MSL, 3:1064.)
The following epistle was written to clergy and people in Spain, i.e., at Leon, Astorga, and Merida, in regard to the ordination of two bishops, Sabinus and Felix, in place of Basilides and Martial, who had lapsed in the persecution and had been deprived of their sees. The passage illustrates the methods of election and ordination of bishops, and the failure of Cyprian, with his theory of the episcopate, to recognize in the see of Rome any jurisdiction over other bishops. Its date appears to be about 257.

You must diligently observe and keep the practice delivered from divine tradition and apostolic observance, which is also maintained among us, and throughout almost all the provinces: that for the proper celebration of ordinations all the neighboring bishops of the same province should assemble with that people for which a prelate is ordained. And the bishops should be chosen in the presence of the people, who have most fully known the life of each one, and have looked into the doings of each one as respects his manner of life. And this also, we see, was done by you in the ordination of our colleague Sabinus; so that, by the suffrage of the whole brotherhood, and by the sentence of the bishops who had assembled in their presence, and who had written letters to you concerning him, the episcopate was conferred upon him, and hands were imposed on him in the place of Basilides. Neither can an ordination properly completed be annulled, so that Basilides, after his crimes had been discovered and his conscience made bare, even by his own confession, might go to Rome and deceive Stephen, our colleague, who was placed at a distance and was ignorant of what had been done, so as to bring it about that he might be replaced unjustly in the episcopate from which he had been justly deposed.

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§ 51. The Unity of the Church and the See of Rome

In the middle of the third century there were in sharp conflict two distinct and opposed theories of Church unity: the theory that the unity was based upon adherence to and conformity with the see of Peter; and the theory that the episcopate was itself one, and that each bishop shared equally in it. The unity was either in one see or in the less tangible unity of an order of the hierarchy. The former was the theory of the Roman bishops; the latter, the theory of Cyprian of Carthage, and possibly of a number of other ecclesiastics in North Africa and Asia Minor. Formerly polemical theology made the study of this point difficult, at least with anything like impartiality. In the passage given below from Cyprian's treatise On the Unity of the Catholic Church the text of the Jesuit Father Kirch is followed in the most difficult and interpolated chapter 4. As Father Kirch gives the text it is perfectly consistent with the theory of Cyprian as he has elsewhere stated it, and that the interpolated text is not. See, however, P. Battifol, Primitive Catholicism, Lond., 1911, Excursus E.

Additional source material: V. supra, § 27; also Mirbt, §§ 56-69. The little treatise De Aleatoribus (MSL, 4: 827), from which Mirbt gives an extract (n. 71), might be cited in this connection, but its force depends upon its origin. It is wholly uncertain that it was written either by a bishop of Rome or in Italy. Cf. Bardenhewer. Kirch also gives the text in part, n. 276; for other references, see Kirch.
(a) Cyprian, De Catholicæ Ecclesiæ Unitate, 4, 5. (MSL, 4:513.)
The tract entitled On the Unity of the Catholic Church is the most famous of Cyprian's works. As the theory there developed is opposed to that which became dominant, and as Cyprian was regarded as the great upholder of the Church's constitution, interpolations were early made in the text which seriously distort the sense. These interpolations are to-day abandoned by all scholars. The best critical edition of the works of Cyprian is by W. von Hartel in the CSEL, but critical texts of the following passage with references to literature and indication of interpolations may be found in Mirbt (Prot.), n. 52, and in Kirch (R. C.), n. 234 (chapter 4 only).
[pg 241]

Ch. 4. The Lord speaks to Peter, saying: “I say unto thee, that thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give thee the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed also in heaven” (Matt. 16:18, 19). [To the same He says after His resurrection: “Feed my sheep” (John 21:15). Upon him He builds His Church, and to him He commits His sheep to be fed, and although. Interpolation.] Upon one he builds the Church, although also to all the Apostles after His resurrection He gives an equal power and says, “As the Father has sent me, I also send you: receive ye the Holy Ghost: whosesoever sins ye retain, they shall be retained” (John 20:21); yet, that He might show the unity, [He founded one see. Interpolation.] He arranged by His authority the origin of that unity as beginning from one. Assuredly the rest of the Apostles were also what Peter was, with a like partnership both of honor and power; but the beginning proceeds from unity [and the primacy is given to Peter. Interpolation.], that there might be shown to be one Church of Christ [and one see. And they are all shepherds, but the flock is shown to be one which is fed by the Apostles with unanimous consent. Interpolation.]. Which one Church the Holy Spirit also in the Song of Songs designates in the person of the Lord and says: “My dove, my spotless one, is but one. She is the only one of her mother, chosen of her that bare her” (Cant. 6:9). Does he who does not hold this unity of the Church [unity of Peter. Corrupt reading.] think that he holds the faith? Does he who strives against and resists the Church [who deserts the chair of Peter. Interpolation.] trust that he is in the Church, when, moreover, the blessed Apostle Paul teaches the same things and sets forth the sacrament of unity, saying, “There is one body and one spirit, one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God”? (Eph. 4:4.)

[pg 242]

Ch. 5. And this unity we ought to hold firmly and assert, especially we bishops who preside in the Church, that we may prove the episcopate itself to be one and undivided. Let no one deceive the brotherhood by a falsehood; let no one corrupt the truth by a perfidious prevarication. The episcopate is one, each part of which is held by each one in its entirety. The Church, also, is one which is spread abroad far and wide into a multitude by an increase of fruitfulness. As there are many rays of the sun, but one light, and many branches of a tree, but one strength based upon its tenacious root, and since from one spring flow many streams, although the multiplicity seems diffused in the liberality of an overflowing abundance, yet the unity is still preserved in its source.

(b) Firmilian of Cæesarea, Ep. ad Cyprianum, in Cyprian, Ep. 74 [=75]. (MSL, 3:1024.)
The matter in dispute was the rebaptism of those heretics who had received baptism before they conformed to the Church. See § 52. It was the burning question after the rise of the Novatian sect. Stephen, bishop of Rome (254-257), had excommunicated a number of churches and bishops, among them probably Cyprian himself. See the epistle of Dionysius to Sixtus of Rome, the successor of Stephen, in Eusebius, Hist. Ec., VII, 5. He (Stephen) therefore had written previously concerning Helenus and Firmilianus and all those in Cilicia, Cappadocia, Galatia, and the neighboring countries, saying that he would not communicate with them for this same cause: namely, that they rebaptized heretics. This attitude of Stephen roused no little resentment in the East, as is shown by the indignant tone of Firmilian, who recognizes no authority in Rome. The text may be found in Mirbt, n. 74, and in part in Kirch, n. 274. The epistle of Firmilian is to be found among the epistles of Cyprian, to whom it was written.

Ch. 2. We may in this matter give thanks to Stephen that it has now happened through his unkindness [inhumanity] that we receive proof of your faith and wisdom.

Ch. 3. But let these things which were done by Stephen be passed by for the present, lest, while we remember his audacity and pride, we bring a more lasting sadness on ourselves from the things he has wickedly done.

[pg 243]

Ch. 6. That they who are at Rome do not observe those things in all cases which have been handed down from the beginning, and vainly pretend the authority of the Apostles, any one may know; also, from the fact that concerning the celebration of the day of Easter, and concerning many other sacraments of divine matters, one may see that there are some diversities among them, and that all things are not observed there alike which are observed at Jerusalem; just as in very many other provinces also many things are varied because of the difference of places and names, yet on this account there is no departure at all from the peace and unity of the Catholic Church. And this departure Stephen has now dared to make; breaking the peace against you, which his predecessors have always kept with you in mutual love and honor, even herein defaming Peter and Paul, the blessed Apostles, as if the very men delivered this who in their epistles execrated heretics and warned us to avoid them. Whence it appears that this tradition is human which maintains heretics, and asserts that they have baptism, which belongs to the Church alone.

Ch. 17. And in this respect I am justly indignant at this so open and manifest folly of Stephen, that he who so boasts of the place of his episcopate and contends that he holds the succession of Peter, on whom the foundation of the Church was laid, should introduce many other rocks and establish new buildings of many churches, maintaining that there is a baptism in them by his authority; for those who are baptized, without doubt, make up the number of the Church.… Stephen, who announces that he holds by succession the throne of Peter, is stirred with no zeal against heretics, when he concedes to them, not a moderate, but the very greatest power of grace.

Ch. 19. This, indeed, you Africans are able to say against Stephen, that when you knew the truth you forsook the error of custom. But we join custom to truth, and to the Romans' custom we oppose custom, but the custom of [pg 244] truth, holding from the beginning that which was delivered by Christ and the Apostles. Nor do we remember that this at any time began among us, since it has always been observed here, that we have known none but one Church of God, and have accounted no baptism holy except that of the holy Church.

Ch. 24. Consider with what want of judgment you dare to blame those who strive for the truth against falsehood.82 … For how many strifes and dissensions have you stirred up throughout the churches of the whole world! Moreover, how great sin have you heaped up for yourself, when you cut yourself off from so many flocks! For it is yourself that you have cut off. Do not deceive yourself, since he is really the schismatic who has made himself an apostate from the communion of ecclesiastical unity. For while you think that all may be excommunicated by you, you have alone excommunicated yourself from all; and not even the precepts of an Apostle have been able to mould you to the rule of truth and peace.83

Ch. 25. How carefully has Stephen fulfilled these salutary commands and warnings of the Apostle, keeping in the first place lowliness of mind and meekness! For what is more lowly or meek than to have disagreed with so many bishops throughout the whole world, breaking peace with each one of them in various kinds of discord: at one time with the Easterns, as we are sure is not unknown to you; at another time with you who are in the south, from whom he received bishops as messengers sufficiently patiently and meekly as not to receive them even to the speech of common conference; and, even more, so unmindful of love and charity as to command the whole brotherhood that no one should receive them into his house, so that not only peace and communion, but also a shelter and entertainment were denied to them when they came. This is to have kept the unity of the Spirit [pg 245] in the bond of peace, to cut himself off from the unity of love, and to make himself a stranger in all things to his brethren, and to rebel against the sacrament and the faith with the madness of contumacious discord.… Stephen is not ashamed to afford patronage to such a position in the Church, and for the sake of maintaining heretics to divide the brotherhood; and, in addition, to call Cyprian a false Christ, and a false Apostle, and a deceitful worker, and he, conscious that all these characters are for himself, has been in advance of you by falsely objecting to another those things which he himself ought to bear.

§ 52. Controversy over Baptism by Heretics

In the great persecutions schisms arose in connection with the administration of discipline (cf. § 46). The schismatics held in general the same faith as the main body of Christians. Were the sacraments they administered to be regarded, then, as valid in such a sense that when they conformed to the Catholic Church, which they frequently did, they need not be baptized, having once been validly baptized; or should their schismatic baptism be regarded as invalid and they be required to receive baptism on conforming if they had not previously been baptized within the Church? Was baptism outside the unity of the Church valid? Rome answered in the affirmative, admitting conforming schismatics without distinguishing as to where they had been baptized; North Africa answered in the negative and required not, indeed, a second baptism, but claimed that the Church's baptism was alone valid, and that if the person conforming had been baptized in schism he had not been baptized at all. This view was shared by at least some churches in Asia Minor (cf. § 51, b), and possibly elsewhere. It became the basis of the Donatist position (cf. § 62), which schism shared with the Novatian schism the opinion, generally rejected by the Church, that the validity of a sacrament depended upon the [pg 246] spiritual condition of the minister of the sacrament, e.g., whether he was in schism or not.

Additional source material: Seventh Council of Carthage (ANF, vol. V); Eusebius, Hist. Ec., VII, 7:4-6; Augustine, De Baptismo contra Donatistas, Bk. III (PNF, ser. I, vol. IV).
(a) Cyprian, Ep. ad Jubianum, Ep. 73, 7 [=72]. (MSL, 3:1159, 168.)
A portion of this epistle may be found in Mirbt, n. 70.

Ch. 7. It is manifest where and by whom the remission of sins can be given, i.e., that remission which is given by baptism. For first of all the Lord gave the power to Peter, upon whom He built the Church, and whence he appointed and showed the source of unity, the power, namely, that that should be loosed in heaven which he loosed on earth [John 20:21 quoted]. When we perceive that only they who are set over the Church and established in the Gospel law and in the ordinance of the Lord are allowed to baptize and to give remission of sins, we see that outside of the Church nothing can be bound or loosed, for there there is no one who can either bind or loose anything.

Ch. 21. Can the power of baptism be greater or of more avail than confession, than suffering when one confesses Christ before men, and is baptized in his own blood? And yet, even this baptism does not benefit a heretic, although he has confessed Christ and been put to death outside the Church, unless the patrons and advocates of heretics [i.e., those whom Cyprian is opposing] declare that the heretics who are slain in a false confession of Christ are martyrs, and assign to them the glory and the crown of martyrdom contrary to the testimony of the Apostle, who says that it will profit them nothing although they are burned and slain. But if not even the baptism of a public confession and blood can profit a heretic to salvation, because there is no salvation outside of the Church, how much less shall it benefit him if, in a hiding-place and a cave of robbers stained with the contagion of [pg 247] adulterous waters, he has not only not put off his old sins, but rather heaped up still newer and greater ones! Wherefore baptism cannot be common to us and to heretics, to whom neither God the Father nor Christ the Son, nor the Holy Ghost, nor the faith, nor the Church itself is common. And wherefore they ought to be baptized who come from heresy to the Church, so that they who are prepared and receive the lawful and true and only baptism of the holy Church, by divine regeneration for the kingdom of God may be born of both sacraments, because it is written: “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” [John 3:5].

Ch. 26. These things, dearest brother, we have briefly written to you according to our modest abilities, prescribing to none and prejudging none, so as to prevent any one of the bishops doing what he thinks well, and having the free exercise of his judgment.

(b) Cyprian, Ep. ad Magnum, Ep. 75 [=69]. (MSL, 3:1183.) Cf. Mirbt, n. 67.

With your usual diligence you have consulted my poor intelligence, dearest son, as to whether, among other heretics, they also who come from Novatian ought, after his profane washing, to be baptized and sanctified in the Catholic Church, with the lawful, true, and only baptism of the Church. In answer to this question, as much as the capacity of my faith and the sanctity and truth of the divine Scriptures suggest, I say that no heretics and schismatics at all have any right to power. For which reason Novatian, since he is without the Church and is acting in opposition to the peace and love of Christ, neither ought to be, nor can be, omitted from being counted among the adversaries and antichrists. For our Lord Jesus Christ, when He declared in His Gospel that those who were not with Him were His adversaries, did not point out any species of heresy, but showed that all who were not with Him, and who were not gathering with Him, were [pg 248] scattering His flock, and were His adversaries, saying: “He that is not with me is against me, and he that gathereth not with me scattereth” [Luke 11:23]. Moreover, the blessed Apostle John distinguished no heresy or schism, neither did he set down any specially separated, but he called all who had gone out from the Church, and who acted in opposition to the Church, antichrists, saying, “Ye have heard that Antichrist cometh, and even now are come many antichrists; wherefore we know that this is the last time. They went out from us, but they were not of us, for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us” [I John 2:18 f.]. Whence it appears that all are adversaries of the Lord and are antichrists who are known to have departed from the charity and from the unity of the Catholic Church.

§ 53. The Beginnings of Monasticism

Asceticism in some form is common to almost all religions. It was practised extensively in early Christianity and ascetics of both sexes were numerous. This asceticism, in addition to a life largely devoted to prayer and fasting, was marked by refraining from marriage. But these ascetics lived in close relations with those who were non-ascetics. Monasticism is an advance upon this earlier asceticism in that it attempts to create, apart from non-ascetics, a social order composed only of ascetics in which the ascetic ideals may be more successfully realized. The transition was made by the hermit life in which the ascetic lived alone in deserts and other solitudes. This became monasticism by the union of ascetics for mutual spiritual aid. This advance is associated with St. Anthony. See also Pachomius, in § 77.

Additional source material: Pseudo-Clement. De Virginitate (ANF, VIII, 53); Methodius, Symposium (ANF, VI, 309); the Lausiac History of Palladius, E. C. Butler, Texts and Studies, Cambridge, 1898; Paradise, or Garden of the Holy Fathers, trans. by E. A. W. Budge, London, 1907.
Athanasius, Vita S. Antonii, 2-4, 44. (MSG, 26:844, 908.)
[pg 249]
Anthony, although not the first hermit, gave such an impetus to the ascetic life and did so much to bring about some union of ascetics that he has been popularly regarded as the founder of monasticism. He died 356, at the age of one hundred and five. His Life, by St. Athanasius, although formerly attacked, is a genuine, and, on the whole, trustworthy account of this remarkable man. It was written either 357 or 365, and was translated into Latin by Evagrius of Antioch (died 393). Everywhere it roused the greatest enthusiasm for monasticism. The Life of St. Paul of Thebes, by St. Jerome, is of very different character, and of no historical value.

Ch. 2. After the death of his parents, Anthony was left alone with one little sister. He was about eighteen or twenty years old, and on him rested the care of both the home and his sister. Now it happened not six months after the death of his parents, and when he was going, according to custom, into the Lord's house, and was communing with himself, that he reflected as he walked how the Apostles left all and followed the Saviour, and how, in the Acts, men sold their possessions and brought and laid them at the Apostles' feet for distribution to the needy, and what and how great a hope was laid up for them in heaven. While he was reflecting on these things he entered the church, and it happened that at that time the Gospel was being read, and he heard the Lord say to the rich man: “If thou wouldest be perfect, go and sell that thou hast and give to the poor; and come and follow me and thou shalt have treasure in heaven.” Anthony, as though God had put him in mind of the saints and the passage had been read on his account, went out straightway from the Lord's house, and gave the possessions which he had from his forefathers to the villagers—they were three hundred acres, productive and very fair—that they should be no more a clog upon himself and his sister. And all the rest that was movable he sold, and, having got together much money, he gave it to the poor, reserving a little, however, for his sister's sake.

Ch. 3. And again as he went into the Lord's house, and hearing the Lord say in the Gospel, “Be not anxious for the [pg 250] morrow,” he could stay no longer, but went and gave also those things to the poor. He then committed his sister to known and faithful virgins, putting her in a convent [parthenon], to be brought up, and henceforth he devoted himself outside his house to ascetic discipline, taking heed to himself and training himself patiently. For there were not yet many monasteries in Egypt, and no monk at all knew of the distant desert; but every one of those who wished to give heed to themselves practised the ascetic discipline in solitude near his own village. Now there was in the next village an old man who had lived from his youth the life of a hermit. Anthony, after he had seen this man, imitated him in piety. And at first he began to abide in places outside the village. Then, if he heard of any good man anywhere, like the prudent bee, he went forth and sought him, nor did he turn back to his own place until he had seen him; and he returned, having got from the good man supplies, as it were, for his journey in the way of virtue. So dwelling there at first, he steadfastly held to his purpose not to return to the abode of his parents or to the remembrance of his kinsfolk; but to keep all his desire and energy for the perfecting of his discipline. He worked, however, with his hands, having heard that “he who is idle, let him not eat,” and part he spent on bread and part he gave to the needy. And he prayed constantly, because he had learned that a man ought to pray in secret unceasingly. For he had given such heed to what was read that none of those things that were written fell from him to the ground; for he remembered all, and afterward his memory served him for books.

Ch. 4. Thus conducting himself, Anthony was beloved by all. He subjected himself in sincerity to the good men he visited, and learned thoroughly wherein each surpassed him in zeal and discipline. He observed the graciousness of one, the unceasing prayer of another; he took knowledge of one's freedom from anger, and another's kindliness; he gave heed to one as he watched, to another as he studied; one he admired [pg 251] for his endurance, another for his fasting and sleeping on the ground; he watched the meekness of one, and the long-suffering of another; and at the same time he noted the piety toward Christ and the mutual love which animated all.

Athanasius describes Anthony's removal to the desert and the coming of disciples to him, and weaves into his narrative, in the form of a speech, a long account of the discipline laid down, probably by Anthony himself, chs. 16-43. It is to this long speech that the opening words of the following section refers.

Ch. 44. While Anthony was thus speaking all rejoiced; in some the love of virtue increased, in others carelessness was thrown aside, the self-conceit of others was stopped; and all were persuaded to despise the assaults of the Evil One, and marvelled at the grace given Anthony from the Lord for the discerning of spirits. So their cells were in the mountains, like tabernacles filled with holy bands of men who sang psalms, loved reading, fasted, prayed, rejoiced in the hope of things to come, labored in almsgiving, and maintained love and harmony with one another. And truly it was possible to behold a land, as it were, set by itself, filled with piety and justice. For then there was neither the evil-doer nor the injured, nor the reproaches of the tax-gatherer; but instead a multitude of ascetics, and the one purpose of all was to aim at virtue. So that one beholding the cells again and seeing such good order among the monks would lift up his voice and say: “How goodly are thy dwellings, O Jacob, and thy tents, O Israel; as shady glens and as a garden by a river; as tents which the Lord has pitched, and like cedars near the waters” [Num. 24:5, 6].

Ch. 45. Anthony, however, returned, according to his custom, alone to his cell, increased his discipline, and sighed daily as he thought of the mansions of heaven, having his desire fixed on them and pondering over the shortness of man's life.

[pg 252]

§ 54. Manichæanism

The last great rival religion to Christianity was Manichæanism, the last of the important syncretistic religions which drew from Persian and allied sources. Its connection with Christianity was at first slight and its affinities were with Eastern Gnosticism. After 280 it began to spread within the Empire, and was soon opposed by the Roman authorities. Yet it flourished, and, like other Gnostic religions, with which it is to be classed, it assimilated more and more of Christianity, until in the time of Augustine it seemed to many as merely a form of Christianity. On account of its general character, it absorbed for the most part what remained of the earlier Gnostic systems and schools.

Additional source material: The most important accessible works are the so-called Acta Archelai (ANF, V, 175-235), the anti-Manichæan writings of Augustine (PNF, ser. I, vol. IV), and Alexander of Lycopolis, On the Manichæans (ANF, VI, 239). On Alexander of Lycopolis, see DCB. In the opinion of Bardenhewer, Alexander was probably neither a bishop nor a Christian at all, but a heathen and a Platonist. Roman edict against Manichæanism in Kirch, n. 294.
An Nadim, Fihrist. (Translation after Kessler, Mani, 1889.)
The Fihrist, i.e., Catalogue, is a sort of history of literature made in the eleventh century by the Moslem historian An Nadim. In spite of its late date, it is the most important authority for the original doctrines of Mani and the facts of his life, as it is largely made up from citations from ancient authors and writings of Mani and his original disciples.
(a) The Life of Mani.

Mohammed ibn Isak says: Mani was the son of Fatak,84 of the family of the Chaskanier. Ecbatana is said to have been the original home of his father, from which he emigrated to the province of Babylon. He took up his residence in Al Madain, in a portion of the city known as Ctesiphon. In that place was an idol's temple, and Fatak was accustomed to go into it, as did also the other people of the place. It happened one [pg 253] day that a voice sounded forth from the sacred interior of the temple, saying to him: “Fatak, eat no flesh, drink no wine and refrain from carnal intercourse.” This was repeated to him several times on three days. When Fatak perceived this, he joined a society of people in the neighborhood of Dastumaisan which were known under the name of Al-Mogtasilah, i.e., those who wash themselves, baptists, and of whom remnants are to be found in these parts and in the marshy districts at the present time. These belonged to that mode of life which Fatak had been commanded to follow. His wife was at that time pregnant with Mani, and when she had given him birth she had, as they say, glorious visions regarding him, and even when she was awake she saw him taken by some one unseen, who bore him aloft into the air, and then brought him down again; sometimes he remained even a day or two before he came down again. Thereupon his father sent for him and had him brought to the place where he was, and so he was brought up with him in his religion. Mani, in spite of his youthful age, spake words of wisdom. After he had completed his twelfth year there came to him, according to his statement, a revelation from the King of the Paradise of Light, who is God the Exalted, as he said. The angel which brought him the revelation was called Eltawan; this name means “the Companion.” He spoke to Mani, and said: “Separate thyself from this sort of faith, for thou belongest not among its adherents, and it is obligatory upon you to practise continence and to forsake the fleshly desires, yet on account of thy youth the time has not come for thee to take up thy public work.” But when he was twenty-four years old, Eltawan appeared to him and said: “Hail, Mani, from me and from the Lord who has sent me to thee and has chosen thee to be his prophet. He commands thee now to proclaim thy truth and on my announcement to proclaim the truth which is from him and to throw thyself into this calling with all thy zeal.”

The Manichæans say: He first openly entered upon his [pg 254] work on the day when Sapor, the son of Ardaschir, entered upon his reign, and placed the crown upon his head; and this was Sunday, the first day of Nisan (March 20, 241), when the sun stood in the sign Aries. He was accompanied by two men, who had already attached themselves to his religion; one was called Simeon, the other Zakwa; besides these, his father accompanied him, to see how his affairs would turn out.

Mani said he was the Paraclete, whom Jesus, of blessed memory,85 had previously announced. Mani took the elements of his doctrine from the religion of the Magi and Christianity.… Before he met Sapor Mani had spent about forty years in foreign lands.86 Afterward he converted Peroz, the brother of Sapor, and Peroz procured him an audience with his brother Sapor. The Manichæans relate: He thereupon entered where he was and on his shoulders were shining, as it were, two candles. When Sapor perceived him, he was filled with reverence for him, and he appeared great in his eyes; although he previously had determined to seize him and put him to death. After he had met him, therefore, the fear of him filled him, he rejoiced over him and asked him why he had come and promised to become his disciple. Mani requested of him a number of things, among them that his followers might be unmolested in the capital and in the other territories of the Persian Empire, and that they might extend themselves whither they wished in the provinces. Sapor granted him all he asked.

Mani had already preached in India, China, and among the inhabitants of Turkestan, and in every land he left behind him disciples.87

[pg 255]
(b) The Teaching of Mani.
The following extract from the same work gives but the beginning of an extended statement of Mani's teaching. But it is hoped that enough is given to show the mythological character of his speculation. The bulk of his doctrine was Persian and late Babylonian, and the Christian element was very slight. It is clear from the writings of St. Augustine that the doctrine changed much in later years in the West.

The doctrine of Mani, especially his dogmas of the Eternal, to whom be praise and glory, of the creation of the world and the contest between Light and Darkness: Mani put at the beginning of the world two eternal principles. Of these one is Light, the other Darkness. They are separated from each other. As to the Light, this is the First, the Mighty One, and the Infinite. He is the Deity, the King of the Paradise of Light. He has five members or attributes, namely, gentleness, wisdom, understanding, discretion, and insight; and further five members or attributes, namely, love, faith, truth, bravery, and wisdom. He asserts that God was from all eternity with these attributes. Together with the Light-God there are two other things from eternity, the air and the earth.

Mani teaches further: The members of the air, or the Light-Ether, are five: gentleness, wisdom, understanding, discretion, and insight. The members of the Light-Earth are the soft gentle breath, the wind, the light, the water, and the fire. As to the other Original Being, the Darkness, its members are also five: the vapor, the burning heat, the fiery wind, the poison, and the darkness.

This bright shining Primal Being was in immediate proximity with the dark Primal Being, so that no wall of partition was between them and the Light touched the Darkness on its broad side. The Light is unlimited in its height, and also to the right hand and to the left; the Darkness, however, is unlimited in its depth, and also to the right hand and to the left.

From this Dark-Earth rose Satan, not so that he himself was without beginning, although his parts were in their elements [pg 256] without beginning. These parts joined themselves together from the elements and formed themselves into Satan. His head was like that of a lion, his trunk like that of a dragon, his wings as those of a bird, his tail like that of a great fish, and his four feet like the feet of creeping things. When this Satan had been formed from the Darkness—his name is the First Devil—then he began to devour and to swallow up and to ruin, to move about to the right and to the left, and to get down into the deep, so that he continually brought ruin and destruction to every one who attempted to overmaster him. Next he hastened up on high and perceived the rays of light, but felt an aversion to them. Then when he saw how these rays by reciprocal influence and contact were increased in brilliancy, he became afraid and crept together into himself, member by member, and withdrew for union and strengthening back to his original constituent parts. Now once more he hastened back into the height, and the Light-Earth noticed the action of Satan and his purpose to seize and to attack and to destroy. But when she perceived this thereupon the world æon of Insight perceived it, then the æon of Wisdom, the æon of Discretion, the æon of the Understanding, and then the æon of Gentleness. Thereupon the King of the Paradise of Light perceived it and reflected on means to gain the mastery over him. His armies were indeed mighty enough to overcome him; he had the wish, however, to accomplish this himself. Therefore he begat with the spirit of his right hand, with the five æons, and with his twelve elements a creature, and that was the Primal Man, and him he sent to the conquest of Darkness.88

Chapter V. The Last Great Persecution

The last of the persecutions was closely connected with the increased efficiency of the imperial administration after a [pg 257] period of anarchy, and was more effective because of the greater centralization of the government which Diocletian had introduced (§ 55). It was preceded by a number of minor persecuting regulations, but broke forth in its full fury in 303, raging for nearly ten years (§ 56). It was by far the most severe of all persecutions, in extent and duration and severity surpassing that of Decius and Valerian. As in that persecution, very many suffered severely, still more lapsed, unprepared for suffering, as many were in the previous persecution, and the Church was again rent with dissensions and schisms arising over the question of the administration of discipline.

§ 55. The Reorganization of the Empire by Diocletian

After a period of anarchy Diocletian (284-305) undertook a reorganization of the Empire for the sake of greater efficiency. Following a precedent of earlier successful emperors, he shared (285) the imperial authority with a colleague, Maximianus, who in 286 became Augustus of the West. As the greatest danger seemed to lie in the East, Diocletian retained the Eastern part of the Empire, and having already abandoned Rome as the imperial residence (284), he settled in Nicomedia in Bithynia. To provide for a succession to the throne more efficient than the chance succession of natural heirs, two Cæsars were appointed in 293, Constantius Chlorus for the West, and Galerius, the son-in-law of Diocletian, for the East. Constantius at once became the son-in-law of Maximianus. These Cæsars were to ascend the throne when the Augusti resigned after twenty years' reign. The scheme worked temporarily for greater efficiency, but ended in civil war as the claims of natural heirs were set aside in favor of an artificial dynasty. At the same time the system bore heavily [pg 258] upon the people and the prosperity of the Empire rapidly declined.

Bibliography in Cambridge Medieval History, London and New York, 1911, vol. I.
Lactantius, De Mortibus Persecutorum, 7. (MSL, 7:204.)

When Diocletian, the author of crimes and deviser of evils, was ruining all things, not even from against God could he withhold his hand. This man, partly by avarice and partly by timidity, overturned the world. For he made three persons sharers with him in the government. The Empire was divided into four parts, and armies were multiplied, since each of the four princes strove to have a much larger military force than any emperor had had when one emperor alone carried on the government. There began to be a greater number of those who received taxes than of those who paid them; so that the means of the husbandmen were exhausted by enormous impositions, the fields were abandoned, and cultivated grounds became woodlands, and universal dismay prevailed. Besides, the provinces were divided into minute portions and many presidents and prefects lay heavy on each territory, and almost on every city. There were many stewards and masters and deputy presidents, before whom very few civil causes came, but only condemnations and frequent forfeitures, and exactions of numberless commodities, and I will not say often repeated, but perpetual and intolerable, wrongs in the exacting of them.

§ 56. The Diocletian Persecution

The last great persecution was preceded by a number of laws aimed to annoy the Christians. On March 12, 295, all soldiers in the army were ordered to offer sacrifice. In 296 sacred books of the Christians were sought for and burnt at Alexandria. In 297 or 298 Christian persecutions began in the army, but the great persecution itself broke out in 303, as described below. Among other reasons for energetic [pg 259] measures in which Galerius took the lead, appears to have been that prince's desire to establish the unity of the Empire upon a religious basis, which is borne out by his attempts to reorganize the heathen worship immediately after the cessation of the persecution. In April, 311, the edict of Galerius, known as the Edict of the Three Emperors, put an official end to the persecution. In parts of the Empire, however, small persecutions took place and the authorities attempted to attack Christianity without actually carrying on persecutions, as in the wide-spread dissemination of the infamous “Acts of Pilate,” which were posted on walls and spread through the schools. In the territories of Constantius Chlorus the persecution had been very light, and there was none under Constantine who favored Christians from the first.

Additional source material: Eusebius, Hist. Ec., VIII, and IX, 9; his little work On the Martyrs of Palestine will be found after the eighth book. Lactantius, De Mortibus Persecutorum. The principal texts will be found in Preuschen's Analecta, I, §§ 20, 21; see also R. Knopf, Ausgewählte Märtyreracten.
(a) Lactantius. De Mortibus Persecutorum, 12 ff. (MSL. 7:213.)
The outbreak of the persecution.

A fit and auspicious day was sought for the accomplishment of this undertaking [i.e., the persecution of the Christians]; and the festival of the great god Terminus, celebrated on the seventh calends of March [Feb. 23], was chosen, to put an end, as it were, to this religion,

“That day the first of death, was first of evil's cause” (Vergil),

and cause of evils which befell not only the Christians but the whole world. When that day dawned, in the eighth consulship of Diocletian and seventh of Maximianus, suddenly, while it was hardly light, the prefect, together with the chief commanders, tribunes, and officers of the treasury, came to the church [in Nicomedia], and when the gates had [pg 260] been forced open they sought for an image of God. The books of the Holy Scriptures were found and burnt; the spoil was given to all. Rapine, confusion, and tumult reigned. Since the church was situated on rising ground, and was visible from the palace, Diocletian and Galerius stood there as if on a watch-tower and disputed long together whether it ought to be set on fire. The opinion of Diocletian prevailed, for he feared lest, when so great a fire should once be started, the city might be burnt; for many and large buildings surrounded the church on all sides. Then the prætorian guard, in battle array, came with axes and other iron instruments, and having been let loose everywhere, in a few hours they levelled that very lofty building to the ground.

Ch. 13. Next day the edict was published ordaining that men of the Christian religion should be deprived of all honors and dignities; and also that they should be subjected to torture, of whatsoever rank or position they might be; and that every suit of law should be entertained against them; but they, on the other hand, could not bring any suit for any wrong, adultery, or theft; and finally, that they should have neither freedom nor the right of suffrage. A certain person, although not properly, yet with a brave soul, tore down this edict and cut it up, saying in derision: “These are the triumphs of Goths and Samaritans.” Having been brought to judgment, he was not only tortured, but was burnt in the legal manner, and with admirable patience he was consumed to ashes.

Ch. 14. But Galerius was not satisfied with the terms of the edict, and sought another way to gain over the Emperor. That he might urge him to excess of cruelty in persecution, he employed private agents to set the palace on fire; and when some part of it had been burnt the Christians were accused as public enemies, and the very appellation of Christian grew odious on account of its connection with the fire in the palace. It was said that the Christians, in concert with the eunuchs, had plotted to destroy the princes, [pg 261] and that both the emperors had well-nigh been burnt alive in their own palace. Diocletian, who always wanted to appear shrewd and intelligent, suspecting nothing of the deception, but inflamed with anger, began immediately to torture all his domestics.

(b) Eusebius, Hist. Ec., VIII, 2; 6: 8. (MSG, 20:753.)
The edicts of Diocletian.
The first passage occurs, with slight variations, in the introduction to the work On the Martyrs of Palestine.

Ch. 2. It was in the nineteenth year of the reign of Diocletian, in the month Dystus, called March by the Romans, when the feast of the Saviour's passion was near at hand, that royal edicts were published everywhere commanding that the churches be levelled to the ground, the Scriptures be destroyed by fire, and all holding places of honor be branded with infamy, and that the household servants, if they persisted in the profession of Christianity, be deprived of their freedom.

Such was the original edict against us. But not long after other decrees were issued, commanding that all the rulers of the churches everywhere should be first thrown into prison, and afterward compelled by every means to sacrifice.

Ch. 6:8. Such things occurred in Nicomedia at the beginning of the persecution. But not long after, as persons in the country called Melitina and others throughout Syria attempted to usurp the government, a royal edict commanded that the rulers of the churches everywhere be thrown into prison and bonds. What was to be seen after this exceeds all description. A vast multitude were imprisoned in every place; and the prisons everywhere, which had long before been prepared for murderers and grave-robbers, were filled with bishops, presbyters and deacons, readers and exorcists, so that room was no longer left in them for those condemned for crimes. And as other decrees followed the first, directing that those in prison, if they sacrificed, should [pg 262] be permitted to depart from the prison in freedom, but that those who refused should be harassed with many tortures, how could any one again number the multitude of martyrs in every province, and especially those in Africa and Mauretania, and Thebais and Egypt?

(c) Edict of Galerius, A.D. 311. Eusebius, Hist. Ec., VIII. 17. (MSG, 20:792.) Cf. Preuschen, Analecta, I, § 21:5.
This may also be found in Lactantius. De Mortibus Persecutorum, ch. 34. It is known as the Edict of Three Emperors, as it was issued from Nicomedia in the name of Galerius, Constantine, and Licinius. The date is April 30, 311. By it the persecution was not wholly ended. Galerius died in the next month, but Maximinus Daza resumed the persecution. There was for six months, however, some mitigation of the persecutions in the East, granted at the request of Constantine.

Amongst our other measures, which we are always making for the use and profit of the commonwealth, we have hitherto endeavored to bring all things into conformity with the ancient laws and public order of the Romans, and to bring it about also that the Christians, who have abandoned the religion of their ancestors, should return to sound reason. For in some way such wilfulness has seized the Christians and such folly possessed them that they do not follow those constitutions of the ancients, which peradventure their own ancestors first established, but entirely according to their own judgment and as it pleased them they were making such laws for themselves as they would observe, and in different places were assembling various sorts of people. In short, when our command was issued that they were to betake themselves to the institutions of the ancients, many of them were subdued by danger, many also were ruined. Yet when great numbers of them held to their determination, and we saw that they neither gave worship and due reverence to the gods nor yet regarded the God of the Christians, we therefore, mindful of our most mild clemency and of the unbroken custom whereby we are accustomed to grant pardon to all men, have thought that in this case also speediest indulgence [pg 263] ought to be granted to them, that the Christians might exist again and might establish their gatherings, yet so that they do nothing contrary to good order. By another letter we shall signify to magistrates how they are to proceed. Wherefore, in accordance with this our indulgence, they ought to pray their God for our good estate, for that of the commonwealth, and for their own, that the commonwealth may endure on every side unharmed and that they may be able to live securely in their own homes.

(d) Constantine, Edict of Milan, A. D. 313, in Lactantius, De Mortibus Persecutorum, 48. (MSL, 7:267.) See also Eusebius. Hist. Ec., X, 5:2. (MSG, 20:880.)
The so-called Edict of Milan, granting toleration to the Christians, is not the actual edict, but a letter addressed to a prefect and referring to the edict, which probably was much briefer. The following passage is translated from the emended text of Lactantius, as given in Preuschen, op. cit., I, § 22:4.

When I, Constantine Augustus, and I, Licinius Augustus, had happily met together at Milan, and were having under consideration all things which concern the advantage and security of the State, we thought that, among other things which seemed likely to profit men generally, we ought, in the very first place, to set in order the conditions of the reverence paid to the Divinity by giving to the Christians and all others full permission to follow whatever worship any man had chosen; whereby whatever divinity there is in heaven may be benevolent and propitious to us, and to all placed under our authority. Therefore we thought we ought, with sound counsel and very right reason, to lay down this law, that we should in no way refuse to any man any legal right who has given up his mind either to the observance of Christianity or to that worship which he personally feels best suited to himself; to the end that the Supreme Divinity, whose worship we freely follow, may continue in all things to grant us his accustomed favor and good-will. Wherefore your devotion should know that it is our pleasure that all provisions [pg 264] whatsoever which have appeared in documents hitherto directed to your office regarding Christians and which appeared utterly improper and opposed to our clemency should be abolished, and that every one of those men who have the same wish to observe Christian worship may now freely and unconditionally endeavor to observe the same without any annoyance or molestation. These things we thought it well to signify in the fullest manner to your carefulness, that you might know that we have given free and absolute permission to the said Christians to practise their worship. And when you perceive that we have granted this to the said Christians, your devotion understands that to others also a similarly full and free permission for their own worship and observance is granted, for the quiet of our times, so that every man may have freedom in the practice of whatever worship he has chosen. And these things were done by us that nothing be taken away from any honor or form of worship. Moreover, in regard to the Christians, we have thought fit to ordain this also, that if any appear to have bought, either from our exchequer or from others, the places in which they were accustomed formerly to assemble, and concerning which definite orders have been given before now, and that by letters sent to your office, the same be restored to the Christians, setting aside all delay and dispute, without payment or demand of price. Those also who have obtained them by gift shall restore them in like manner without delay to the said Christians; and those, moreover, who have bought them, as well as those who have obtained them by gift, if they request anything of our benevolence, they shall apply to the deputy that order may be taken for them too by our clemency. All these must be delivered over at once and without delay by your intervention to the corporation of the Christians. And since the same Christians are known to have possessed not only the places where they are accustomed to assemble, but also others belonging to their corporation, namely, to the churches and not to individuals, all these by the law which [pg 265] we have described above you will order to be restored without any doubtfulness or dispute to the said Christians—that is, to their said corporations and assemblies; provided always, as aforesaid, that those who restore them without price, as we said, shall expect a compensation from our benevolence. In all these things you must give the aforesaid Christians your most effective intervention, that our command may be fulfilled as soon as may be, and that in this matter also order may be taken by our clemency for the public quiet. And may it be, as already said, that the divine favor which we have already experienced in so many affairs, shall continue for all time to give us prosperity and successes, together with happiness for the State. But that it may be possible for the nature of this decree and of our benevolence to come to the knowledge of all men, it will be your duty by a proclamation of your own to publish everywhere and bring to the notice of all men this present document when it reaches you, that the decree of this our benevolence may not be hidden.

§ 57. Rise of Schisms in Consequence of the Diocletian Persecution

The Diocletian persecution and its various continuations, on account of the severity of the persecution and its great extent, seriously strained the organization of the Church for a time, and in at least three important Church centres gave rise to schisms, of which two were of some duration. The causes for these schisms, as in the case of the schisms connected with the Decian persecution, are to be found in the confusion caused by the enforced absence of bishops from their sees and in the administration of discipline. In the latter point the activity of the confessors no longer plays any part, as the authority of the bishops in the various communities is now undisputed by rival. It was a question of greater or less rigor in readmitting the lapsed to the communion [pg 266] of the Church. For the canons of discipline in force in Alexandria, see the Canonical Epistle of Peter of Alexandria, ANF, VI, 269 ff. (MSG, 18:467.) They were regarded by the rigorist party in Alexandria as too lax. Of the three schisms known to have arisen from the Diocletian persecution, that in Alexandria is known as the Meletian schism, and three selections are given bearing on it. For the proposals of the Council of Nicæa to bring about a settlement and union, see the Epistle of the Synod of Nicæa, Socrates, Hist. Ec., I, 9 (given below, § 61, II, b). The schism continued until the fifth century. The schism at Rome, known as the schism of Heraclius, was much less important. It was caused by the party advocating greater laxity in discipline, and was for a time difficult to deal with on account of long vacancies in the Roman episcopate. The duration of the schism could not have been long, but the solution of the questions raised by it is unknown. In fact, the history of the Roman church is exceedingly obscure in the half-century preceding the Council of Nicæa. The third schism, that of the Donatists in North Africa, which broke out in Carthage, was the most considerable in the Church before the schisms arising from the christological controversies. For the Donatist schism, see §§ 61, 67, 72.

(a) Epistle of Hesychius, Pachomius, Theodorus, and Phileas to Meletius. (MSG, 10:1565.)
The Meletian schism.
The following epistle was written in the name of these four bishops, probably by Phileas, bishop of Thmuis, one of the number, to Meletius, bishop of Lycopolis. The four were in prison when it was written. It is the most important document bearing on the schism, and is important as setting forth the generally accepted legal opinion of the time regarding ordination and the authority of bishops. The document exists only in a Latin translation from a Greek original, and appears to form, with the two following fragments, a continuous narrative, possibly a history of the Church, but nothing further is known of it. For an account of the Meletian schism see Socrates, Hist. Ec., 1, 6 ff. The text of these selections bearing on the Meletian schism is to be found in Routh, op. cit., IV, 91 ff.
[pg 267]

Hesychius, Pachomius, Theodorus, and Phileas to Meletius, our friend and fellow-minister in the Lord, greeting. In simple faith, regarding as uncertain the things which have been heard concerning thee, since some have come to us and certain things are reported foreign to divine order and ecclesiastical rule which are being attempted, yea, rather, which are being done by thee, we were not willing to credit them when we thought of the audacity implied by their magnitude, and we thought that they were uncertain attempts. But since so many coming to us at the present time have lent some credibility to these reports, and have not hesitated to attest them as facts, we, greatly astonished, have been compelled to write this letter to thee. And what agitation and sadness have been caused to us all in common and to each of us individually by the ordination performed by thee in parishes not pertaining to thee, we are unable sufficiently to express. We have not delayed, however, by a short statement, to prove thy practice wrong.

In the law of our fathers and forefathers, of which thou also art not thyself ignorant, it is established, according to the divine and ecclesiastical order (for it is all for the good pleasure of God and the zealous regard for better things), that it has been determined and settled by them that it is not lawful for any bishop to perform ordinations in other parishes than his own. This law is exceedingly important and wisely devised. For, in the first place, it is but right that the conversation and life of those who are ordained should be examined with great care; and, in the second place, that all confusion and turbulence should be done away with. For every one shall have enough to do in managing his own parish, and in finding, with great care and many anxieties, suitable subordinates among those with whom he has passed his whole life, and who have been trained under his hands. But thou, considering none of these things, nor regarding the future, nor considering the law of our holy Fathers and those who have put on Christ in long succession, nor the honor of our [pg 268] great bishop and father, Peter,89 on whom we all depend in the hope which we have in the Lord Jesus Christ, nor softened by our imprisonments and trials, and daily and multiplied reproaches, nor the oppressions and distress of all, hast ventured on subverting all things at once. And what means will be left for thee for justifying thyself with respect to these things?

But perhaps thou wilt say, I did this to prevent many from being drawn away with the unbelief of many, because the flocks were in need and forsaken, there being no pastor with them. Well, but it is most certain that they were in no such destitution; in the first place, because there were many going among them and able to visit them; and, in the second place, even it there were some things neglected by them, representation should have come from the people, and we should have duly considered the matter. But they knew that they were in no want of ministers, and therefore they did not come to seek thee. They knew that either we were wont to warn them from such complaint or there was done, with all carefulness, what seemed profitable; for it was done under correction and all was considered with well-approved honesty. Thou, however, giving such careful attention to the deceits of certain men and their vain words,90 hast, as it were, stealthily leaped forward to the performance of ordinations. For if, indeed, those accompanying thee constrained thee to this and compelled thee and were ignorant of the ecclesiastical order, thou oughtest to have followed the rule and have informed us by letter; and in that way what seemed expedient would have been done. And if perchance some persuaded thee to credit their story, who said to thee that it was all over with us—a matter which could not have been unknown to thee, because there were many passing and repassing by us who might visit thee—even if this had been so, yet oughtest thou to have waited for the judgment of the superior father and his allowance of this thing. But thinking nothing of [pg 269] these matters, and hoping something different, or rather having no care for us, thou hast provided certain rulers for the people. For now we learn that there are also divisions, because thy unwarrantable ordination displeased many.

And thou wert not readily persuaded to delay such procedure or restrain thy purpose, no, not even by the word of the Apostle Paul, the most blessed seer and the man who put on Christ, the Apostle of us all; for he, in writing to his dearly loved Timothy, says: “Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men's sins.” [I Tim. 5:22.] And thus he at once shows his own consideration of him, and gives his example and exhibits the law according to which, with all carefulness and caution, candidates are chosen for the honor of ordination. We make this declaration to thee, that in the future thou mayest study to keep within the safe and salutary limits of the law.

(b) Fragment on the Meletian Schism. (MSG, 10:1567.)
For the connection of the Meletians with Arianism, see Socrates, Hist. Ec., I, 6. Text in Routh, op. cit., IV, 94.

Meletius received and read this epistle, and he neither wrote a reply, nor repaired to them in prison, nor went to the blessed Peter [bishop of Alexandria]. But when all these bishops, presbyters, and deacons had suffered in the prison,91 he at once entered Alexandria. Now in that city there was a certain person, Isidorus by name, turbulent in character, and possessed with the ambition of being a teacher. And there was also a certain Arius, who wore the habit of piety and was in like manner possessed with the ambition of being a teacher. And when they discovered the object of Meletius's passion and what it was he sought, hastening to him and regarding with malice the episcopal authority of the blessed Peter, that the aim and desire of Meletius might be made manifest, they discovered to Meletius certain presbyters, then in hiding, to whom the blessed Peter had given [pg 270] authority to act as diocesan visitors for Alexandria. And Meletius, recommending them to improve the opportunity given them for rectifying their error, suspended them for a time, and by his authority ordained two persons in their places, one of whom was in prison and the other in the mines. On learning these things, the blessed Peter, with much endurance, wrote to the people of Alexandria in the following terms. [See next selection.]

(c) Peter of Alexandria. Epistle to the Church in Alexandria. (MSG, 18:510.)
For Peter of Alexandria, see DCB. Peter was in hiding when he wrote the following to the Alexandrian church in 306. He died 312 as a martyr.

Peter to the brethren in the Lord, beloved and established in the faith of God, peace. Since I have discovered that Meletius acts in no way for the common good, for he does not approve the letter of the most holy bishops and martyrs, and invading my parish, has assumed so much to himself as to endeavor to separate from my authority the priests and those who had been intrusted with visiting the needy, and, giving proof of his desire for pre-eminence, has ordained in the prison several unto himself; now take ye heed to this and hold no communion with him, until I meet him in company with some wise men, and see what designs they are which he has thought upon. Fare ye well.

(d) Epitaph of Eusebius, Bishop of Rome. Cf. Kirch, n. 534.
Schism of Heraclius.

The following epitaph was placed on the tomb of Eusebius, bishop of Rome (April 18 to August 17, 310 A. D.), by Damasus, bishop of Rome (366-384.)

I, Damasus, have made this:
Heraclius forbade the fallen to lament their sin,
Eusebius taught the wretched ones to weep for their crimes.
The people was divided into parties by the increasing madness.
[pg 271]
Sedition, bloodshed, war, discord, strife arose.
At once they were equally smitten by the ferocity of the tyrant.92
Although the guide of the Church93 maintained intact the bonds of peace.
He endured exile joyful under the Lord as judge,
And gave up this earthly life on the Trinacrian shore.94
[pg 272]

The Second Division Of Ancient Christianity: The Church Under The Christian Empire: From 312 To Circa 750

The second division of the history of ancient Christianity, or Christianity under the influence of the Græco-Roman type of culture, begins with the sole rule of Constantine, A. D. 324, or his sole reign in the West, A. D. 312, and extends to the beginning of the Middle Ages, or that period in which the Germanic nations assumed the leading rôle in the political life of western Europe. The end of this division of Church history may be placed, at the latest, about the middle of the eighth century, as the time when the authority of the Eastern Empire ceased to affect materially the fortunes of the West. But it is impossible to name any year or reign or political event as of such outstanding importance as to make it a terminus ad quem for the division which will command the suffrages of all as the boundary between the ancient and the mediæval epochs of history.

The second division of ancient Christianity may be subdivided into three periods:

I. The Imperial State Church of the Undivided Empire, or until the Death of Theodosius the Great, or to 395.

II. The Church in the Divided Empire until the Collapse of the Western Empire and the Schism between the East and the West arising out of the Monophysite Controversies, or to circa 500.

III. The Dissolution of the Imperial Church of the West and the Transition to the Middle Ages.

[pg 273]

In the third period are to be placed the beginnings of the Middle Ages, as the German invaders had long before 500 established their kingdoms and had begun to dominate the affairs of the West. But the connection of the Church of the West, or rather of Italy, with the East was long so close that the condition of the Church is more that of a dissolution of the ancient imperial State Church than of a building up of the mediæval Church. At the same time, the transition to the Middle Ages, so far as the Church is concerned at least, takes place under the influence of the ancient tradition, and institutions are established in which the leading elements, taken from ancient life, are not yet transformed by Germanic ideas. The East knew no Middle Age. For a history of the Eastern Church other divisions would have to be made, but in a history in which, for practical reasons, the development is traced in Western Christianity, the affairs of the Eastern Church must be treated as subordinate to those of Western Christianity.

For the second division of the history of ancient Christianity, the principal sources available in English are the translations in A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church. Edited by Ph. Schaff and H. Wace. The First Series of this collection (PNF, ser. I) contains the principal works of Augustine and Chrysostom. The Second Series (PNF, ser. II) is for historical study even more valuable, and gives, generally with very able introductions and excellent bibliographies, the most important works of many of the leading patristic writers, including the principal ecclesiastical historians, as well as Athanasius, Gregory of Nazianzus, Gregory of Nyssa, Basil the Great, Cyril of Jerusalem, Hilary of Poitiers, Jerome, Rufinus, Cassian, Vincent of Lérins, Leo the Great, Gregory the Great, and others. These translations are in part fresh versions, and in part older versions but slightly, if at all, revised, taken from the Library of the Fathers of the Holy Catholic Church anterior to the Division of the East and West, Oxford, 1838, et seq.

[pg 274]

For the period before the outbreak of the great christological controversies, the ecclesiastical historians are of great value. There are no less than four continuations of the Ecclesiastical History of Eusebius accessible: the ecclesiastical histories of Socrates, 324-439 (ed. R. Hussey, Oxford, 1853); of Sozomen, 324-425 (ed. R. Hussey, Oxford, 1860); of Rufinus, 324-395, which is appended to a Latin version or rather revised and “edited” Latin version of Eusebius; of Theodoret, 323-428 (ed. Gaisford, Oxford, 1854). Fragments of the Ecclesiastical History of the Arian Philostorgius, from the appearance of Arius as a teacher until 423, have been translated and are to be found in Bohn's Ecclesiastical Library. For the period after the Council of Ephesus, A. D. 431, there is no such abundance, but Evagrius, of whose history (ed. Parmentier and Bidez, London, 1898) there is a translation in Bohn's Ecclesiastical Library, though not in PNF, is of great value as he gives many original documents; and a portion of the Ecclesiastical History of John of Ephesus (trans. by R. P. Smith, Oxford, 1860) carries the history to about 600. There are also works devoted to the history of the West by Gregory of Tours, the Venerable Bede, and Paulus Diaconus, and others of the greatest value for the third period of this division. They will be mentioned in their place.

As the series of the great church councils begins with the Christian Empire, the History of the Councils, by Hefele, becomes indispensable to the student of ecclesiastical history, not only for its narrative but for the sources epitomized or given in full. It has been translated into English as far as the close of the eighth century, or well into the beginnings of the history of the mediæval Church. The new French translation should be used if possible as it contains valuable additional notes. In connection with Hefele may be used:

Percival, The Seven Ecumenical Councils, in PNF, ser. II, vol. XIV.

Wm. Bright, Notes on the Canons of the First Four General [pg 275] Councils, 1882, should be consulted for this period. Bruns, op. cit., and Lauchert, op. cit., give texts only.

The two great collections of secular laws are:

Codex Theodosianus, ed. Mommsen and Meyer, Berlin, 1905.

Corpus Juris Civilis, ed. Krüger, Mommsen, Schoell, and Knoll, Berlin, 1899-1902.

The Cambridge Medieval History, vol. I, 1912, covers the period beginning with Constantine and extending to the beginning of the fifth century. It contains valuable bibliographies of a more discriminating character than those in the Cambridge Modern History, and render bibliographical references unnecessary. To this the student is accordingly referred for such matters. The second volume of this work will cover the period 500-850.

[pg 276]

Period I: The Imperial State Church Of The Undivided Empire, Or Until The Death Of Theodosius The Great, 395

The history of the Church in the first period of the second division of the history of ancient Christianity has to deal primarily with three lines of development, viz.: first, the relation of the Church to the imperial authority and the religious forces of the times, whereby the Church became established as the sole authorized religion of the Empire, and heathenism and heresy were prohibited by law; secondly, the development of the doctrinal system of the Church until the end of the Arian controversy, whereby the full and eternal deity of the Son was established as the Catholic faith; thirdly, the development of the constitution, the fixation of the leading ecclesiastical conceptions, and the adaptation of the system of the Church to the practical needs of the times. The entire period may be divided into two main parts by the reign of Julian the Apostate (361-363); and the reign of Constantine as Emperor of the West (312-324) may be regarded as a prelude to the main part of the history. On the death of Theodosius the Great in 395, the Empire became permanently divided, and though in the second period the courses of the Church in the East and in the West may be treated to some extent together, yet the fortunes, interests, and problems of the two divisions of the Church begin to diverge.

Chapter I. The Church And Empire Under Constantine

Constantine was the heir to the political system of Diocletian. The same line of development was followed by him [pg 277] and his sons, and with increasing severity the burden pressed upon the people. But the Church, which had been fiercely persecuted by Diocletian and Galerius, became the object of imperial favor under Constantine. At the same time in many parts of the Empire, especially in the West, the heathen religion was rooted in the affections of the people and everywhere it was bound up with the forms of state. The new problems that confronted Constantine on his accession to sole authority in the West, and still more when he became sole Emperor, were of an ecclesiastical rather than a civil character. In the administration of the Empire he followed the lines laid down by Diocletian (§ 58). But in favoring the Church he had to avoid alienating the heathen majority. This he did by gradually and cautiously extending to the Church privileges which the heathen religion had enjoyed (§ 59), and with the utmost caution repressing those elements in heathenism which might be plausibly construed as inimical to the new order in the state (§ 60). At the same time, Constantine found in the application of his policy to actual conditions that he could not favor every religious sect that assumed the name of Christian. He must distinguish between claimants of his bounty. He must also bring about a unity in the Church where it had been threatened (§ 61), and repress what might lead to schism. Accordingly he found himself, immediately after his accession to sole authority, engaged in ecclesiastical discussions and adjudicating by councils ecclesiastical cases (§ 62).

§ 58. The Empire under Constantine and His Sons

Constantine became sole Emperor of the West, 312, and by the defeat of Licinius, July 23, 324, sole ruler of the entire Roman Empire. On his death, May 22, 337, his three sons divided between them the imperial dignity: Constantine II (337-340), taking Gaul, Spain, and Britain; Constans (337-350), Italy, Africa, and Illyria, and in 340 receiving the share [pg 278] of Constantine II; Constantius (337-361), taking the East, including Egypt. Of these three the ablest was Constantius who, after the renewed Persian war (337-350), became, on the death of Constans, sole Emperor. Although the imperial authority was divided and the ecclesiastical policy of each Emperor followed the religious condition and theological complexion of his respective portion of the Empire, the social conditions were everywhere much the same. There were under Constantine and also under his sons the continuation of that centralization which had already been carried far by Diocletian, the same court ceremonial and all that went with it, and the development of the bureaucratic system of administration. The economic conditions steadily declined as the imperial system became constantly more burdensome (v. supra, § 55), and the changes in the distribution of wealth and the administration of landed property affected disastrously large sections of the populace. A characteristic feature of Roman society, which affected the position of the Church not a little, was the tendency to regard callings and trades as hereditary, and by the fourth century this was enforced by law. The aim of this legislation was to provide workmen to care for the great public undertakings for the support of the populace of the cities and for the maintenance of the public business. This policy affected both the humble artisan and the citizen of curial rank. The former, although given various privileges, was crushed down by being obliged to continue in what was often an unprofitable occupation; the latter was made responsible for the taxes and various public burdens which custom, gradually becoming law, laid upon him. Constant attempt was made by great numbers to escape these burdens and disabilities by recourse to other occupations, and especially to the Christian ministry with its immunities (see § 59, c). Constant legislation endeavored to prevent this and restore men to their hereditary places. The following extracts from the Theodosian Code are enactments of Constantine, and are intended to illustrate the condition, [pg 279] under that Emperor, of the law as to hereditary occupations and guilds, and the position of the curiales, so as to explain the law as to admission to the priesthood.

(a) Codex Theodosianus, XIII, 5, 1; A. D. 314.
The Theodosian Code was a collection of law made at the command of Theodosius II, A. D. 438. See § 80. It was intended to comprise all the laws of general application made since the accession of Constantine and arranged under appropriate titles.

If a shipman shall have been originally a lighterman, none the less he shall remain permanently among those among whom it shall appear that his parents had been.

(b) Codex Theodosianus, XIII, 5, 3; A. D. 319.

If any shipman shall have obtained surreptitiously or in any other way immunity, it is our will that he be not at all admitted to plead any exemption. But also if any one possess a patrimony liable to the duties of a shipman, although he may be of higher dignity, the privileges of honor shall be of no avail to him in this matter, but let him be held to this duty either by the whole or in proportion. For it is not just that when a patrimony liable to this public duty has been excused all should not bear the common burden in proportion to ability.

(c) Codex Theodosianus, XIV, 4, 1; A. D. 334.

Because the guild of swineherds has fallen off to but few, we command that they plead in the presence of the Roman people, for the defence should be made to them for whom the burden was established.… Therefore let them know that the personal property of the swineherds is liable to public burdens and let them choose one of two courses: either let them retain the property which is liable to the functions of swineherd, and let themselves be held to the duty of swineherd, or let them name some suitable person whom they will, who shall satisfy the same requirement. For we suffer no one to be exempt from the obligation of this thing, but whether they [pg 280] have advanced in honors, or by some fraud have escaped, we command that they be brought back and the same thing performed, the Roman people being present and witnessing, and we are to be consulted, that we may take note of those who make use of these shifts; as for further avoidance of public duties, it is by no means to be granted any, but he who shall have been able to escape shall run danger of his safety, the privilege having been taken away from him.

(d) Codex Theodosianus, XII, 1, 11; A. D. 325.
The following laws illustrate the attempts of the curiales to escape their burdens.

Because some have forsaken the curiæ and have fled to the camps of the soldiery, we prescribe that all who shall be found not yet indebted to the chief centurion, are to be dismissed from the soldiery and returned to the same curiæ; those only are to remain among the soldiery who are retained on account of the necessities of the place or the troop.

(e) Codex Theodosianus, XII, 1, 12; A. D. 325.

If any one belongs in a larger or smaller town and desiring to avoid the same, betakes himself to another for the sake of dwelling there, and shall have attempted to make petitions concerning this or shall have relied upon any sort of fraud that he may escape the birth from his own city, let him bear the burden of the decurionate of both cities, of one because it was his choice, of the other because of his birth.

(f) Codex Theodosianus, XVI, 2, 3, cf. XVI, 2, 6; A. D. 326.

Since a constitution that has been issued prescribes that thereafter no decurion nor child of a decurion or person with suitable wealth and able to support the public burdens shall have recourse to the name and duties of the clergy, but only those shall be called to the place of the deceased who are of small fortune and are not held liable to civil burdens, we have learned that some have been molested, who before the promulgation [pg 281] of the said law had joined themselves to the company of the priests. Therefore we decree that these shall be free from all annoyance, but those who after the promulgation of the law, to avoid their public duties took recourse to the number of the clergy, shall be separated from that body and restored to their curial rank and made liable for their civil duties.

§ 59. Favor Shown the Church by Constantine

Neither on his conversion nor on his attainment of the sole rule of the Empire did Constantine establish the Church as the one official religion of the State. The ruler himself professed the Christian religion and neither abolished the former religion of the State nor disestablished it. But he granted to his own religion favors similar to those enjoyed by the heathen religious systems (a-d), though these privileges were only for the Catholic Church, and not for heretics (e); and he passed such laws as would make it possible for Christians to carry out their religious practices, e.g., that Christians should not be compelled to sacrifice when the laws prescribed sacrifices (f), that Sunday be observed (g), and that celibacy might be practised (h).

Additional source material: Eusebius, Vita Constantini (PNF, ser. II, vol. I), II, 24-42. 46; IV, 18-28. Sozomen, Hist. Ec. (PNF, ser. II, vol. II), I, 9.
(a) Constantine, Ep. ad Cæcilianum, in Eusebius, Hist. Ec., X, 6. (MSG, 20:892.)
The probable date of this epistle is A. D. 313, though there is uncertainty. Text in Kirch, nn. 323 f.

Constantine Augustus to Cæcilianus, Bishop of Carthage. Since it is our pleasure that something should be granted in all the provinces, namely, Africa and Numidia and Mauritania, to certain ministers of the legitimate and most holy Catholic religion, to defray their expenses, I have given written [pg 282] instructions to Ursus, the illustrious finance minister of Africa, and have directed him to make provision to pay to thy firmness three thousand folles.95 Do thou, therefore, when thou hast received the above sum of money, command that it be distributed among all those mentioned above, according to the brief sent unto thee by Hosius. But if thou shouldest find that anything is wanting for the fulfilment of this my purpose in regard to all of them, thou shalt demand without hesitation from Heracleides, our treasurer, whatever thou findest to be necessary. For I commanded him, when he was present, that if thy firmness should ask him for any money, he should see to it that it be paid without any delay. And since I have learned that some men of unsettled mind wish to turn the people from the most holy and Catholic Church by a certain method of shameful corruption, do thou know that I gave command to Anulinus, the proconsul, and also to Patricius, vicar of the prefects, when they were present, that they should give proper attention not only to other matters, but also, above all, to this, and that they should not overlook such a thing when it happened. Wherefore if thou shouldest see any such men continuing in this madness, do thou without delay go to the above-mentioned judges and report the matter to them; that they may correct them as I commanded them when they were present. The divinity of the great God preserve thee many years.

(b) Constantine, Ep. ad Anulinum, in Eusebius, Hist. Ec., X, 7. (MSG, 20:893.)
The following epistle, of the same year as the preceding to Cæcilianus, is the basis of exemptions of the clergy from public duties. The extension of these exemptions was made by the decree of 319, given below. Text in Kirch, n. 325.

Greeting to thee, our most esteemed Anulinus. Since it appears from many circumstances that when that religion is despised in which is preserved the chief reverence for the most [pg 283] celestial Power, great dangers are brought upon public affairs; but that when legally adopted and observed it affords most signal prosperity to the Roman name and remarkable felicity to all the affairs of men, through the divine beneficence, it seemed good to me, most esteemed Anulinus, that those men who give their services with due sanctity and with constant observance of this law to the worship of the divine religion should receive recompense for their labors. Wherefore it is my will that those within the province intrusted to thee, in the Catholic Church over which Cæcilianus presides, who give their services to this holy religion, and who are commonly called clergymen, be entirely exempted from all public duties, that by any error or sacrilegious negligence they may not be drawn away from the service due to the Deity, but may devote themselves without any hindrance to their own law. For it seems that when they show greatest reverence to the Deity the greatest benefits accrue to the State. Farewell, our most esteemed and beloved Anulinus.

(c) Codex Theodosianus, XVI, 2, 2; A. D. 319.
By the following law the exemption of the clergy from public burdens was made universal. As many availed themselves of the clerical immunities to escape their burdens as curiales, a law was soon afterward passed limiting access to the ministry to those in humbler social position. V. supra, § 58 f.

Those who in divine worship perform the services of religion—that is, those who are called clergy—are altogether exempt from public obligations, so that they may not be called away from their sacred duties by the sacrilegious malice of certain persons.

(d) Codex Theodosianus, XVI, 2, 4; A. D. 321.
The Church is hereby permitted to receive legacies. This was a recognition of its corporate character in the law, and indirectly its act of incorporation.

Every one has permission to leave when he is dying whatsoever goods he wishes to the most holy Catholic Church.…

[pg 284]
(e) Codex Theodosianus, XVI, 5, 1; A. D. 326.
Privileges were granted only to the clergy of the Catholic or great Church as distinguished from heretics and schismatics. The State was, accordingly, forced by its exemptions and privileges granted the Church to take up a position as to heresy and schism. See for Constantine's policy toward heresy, Eusebius, Vita Constantini, III. 64 ff. (PNF, ser. II, vol. I.)

Privileges which have been bestowed in consideration of religion ought to be of advantage only to those who observe the Catholic law. It is our will that heathen and schismatics be not only without the privileges but bound by, and subject to, various political burdens.

(f) Codex Theodosianus, XVI, 2, 5; A. D. 323.
This and the following laws were passed to enable the Christians to escape from disadvantages in the carrying out of their religion. This law, that Christians should not be compelled to sacrifice, was enacted just before the final encounter with Licinius.

Because we have heard that ecclesiastics and others belonging to the Catholic religion are compelled by men of different religions to celebrate the sacrifices of the lustrum, we, by this decree, do ordain that if any one believes that those who observe the most sacred law ought to be compelled to take part in the rites of a strange superstition, let him, if his condition permits, be beaten with staves, but if his rank exempts him from such rigor, let him endure the condemnation of a very heavy fine, which shall fall to the State.

(g) Codex Justinianus; III, 12, 3; A. D. 321. Cf. Kirch, n. 748.
Sunday is to be observed.
For the Justinian Code see below, § 94, Introduction.

All judges and city people and the craftsmen shall rest upon the venerable Day of the Sun. Country people, however, may freely attend to the cultivation of the fields, because it frequently happens that no other days are better adapted for [pg 285] planting the grain in the furrows or the vines in trenches. So that the advantage given by heavenly providence may not for the occasion of a short time perish.

(h) Codex Theodosianus. VIII, 16, 1. Cf. Kirch, n. 750.
Celibacy was favored by the Church. By the Lex Julia et Papia Poppea it had been forbidden under a fine and loss of rights under wills. Childless marriages also rendered the parties liable to disabilities.

Those who are held as celibates by the ancient law are freed from the threatened terrors of the laws, and let them so live as if by the compact of marriage they were among the number of married men, and let all have an equal standing as to taking what each one deserves. Neither let any one be held childless; and let them not suffer the penalties set for this. The same thing we hold regarding women, and freely to all we loose from their necks the commands which the law placed upon them as a certain yoke. But there is no application of this benefit to husbands and wives as regards each other, whose deceitful wiles are often scarcely restrained by the appointed rigor of the law, but let the pristine authority of the law continue between such persons.

§ 60. The Repression of Heathenism under Constantine

Constantine's religious policy in respect to heathenism may have been from the first to establish Christianity as the sole religion of the Empire and to put down heathenism. If so, in the execution of that policy he proceeded with great caution, especially in the period before his victory over Licinius. It looks at times as if for a while he aimed at a parity of religions. Certain is the fact that only as conditions became more favorable to active measures of repression he increased the severity of his laws against what was of doubtful legality in heathenism, though he was statesman enough to recognize the difference in the religious conditions between the East and the West, especially as to the hold which Christianity had upon the mass of the people. While his measures in the East [pg 286] became constantly harsher, in the West he tolerated heathenism. The commonly received theory is that Constantine changed his policy. All the facts can be as easily understood on the hypothesis that as a statesman he had constant regard to the advisability of drastic execution of a policy which he in theory accepted and would have carried out in its entirety everywhere if he had been able.

Additional source material: Eusebius, Vita Constantini (PNF), II. 44 f., 47 f., 54 ff.
(a) Codex Theodosianus, IX, 16, 2; A. D. 319.
Private sacrifices forbidden.

Haruspices and priests and those accustomed to serve this rite we forbid to enter any private house, or under the pretence of friendship to cross the threshold of another, under the penalty established against them if they contemn the law.96 But those of you who regard this rite, approach the public altars and shrines and celebrate the solemnities of your custom; for we do not indeed prohibit the duties of the old usage to be performed in broad daylight.

(b) Codex Theodosianus, XVI, 10, 1; A. D. 320-321.
Haruspicia in certain circumstances to be observed.

If any part of our palace or other public buildings should be struck by lightning let the custom be retained of the ancient observance as to what it signifies, and let it be examined by the haruspices and very carefully written down, collected, and brought to our attention; to others also the permission of practising this custom is conceded, provided they refrain from domestic sacrifices, which are expressly forbidden.

(c) Codex Theodosianus. XV, 1, 3; A. D. 326.
Unfinished heathen temples need not be completed.

We direct that the judges of the provinces be warned not to give orders for any new work before they complete the buildings [pg 287] left incomplete by their predecessors, the erection of temples only being excepted.

§ 61. The Donatist Schism under Constantine

The Donatist schism arose in connection with the Diocletian persecution, in part over the policy of Mensurius of Carthage regarding the fanatical desire for martyrdom and the delivery of the sacred books according to the edict of persecution. Combined with this were the personal ambitions of the Archdeacon Cæcilianus, the offended dignity of the Primas of Numidia, Bishop Secundus of Tigisi, and the pique of a wealthy female devotee, Lucilla. It was mixed up with the customs of the North African church, whereby the Primas of Numidia exercised a leading authority in the conduct of the election of the bishop of Carthage, and also with the notion prevalent in the same church, for which also Cyprian contended in the controversy on the baptism of heretics [see § 52], that the validity of a sacrament depended in some way upon the personal character of the minister of that sacrament. It was asserted by the partisans of Secundus, who elected Majorinus bishop of Carthage, that Felix of Aptunga, the consecrator of Cæcilianus, who had been elected by the other party, had delivered the sacred books to the heathen officials, and was therefore guilty as a traditor. A schism, accordingly, arose in Carthage which spread rapidly throughout North Africa. The party of Majorinus soon came under the lead of Donatus the Great, his successor in the schismatical see of Carthage. The Donatist schism became of importance almost at once, and as it was inconsistent with Constantine's religious policy, which called for Church unity,97 it presented an immediate difficulty in the execution of laws granting favors to the Catholic Church.98 On account of the interests involved, the schism was of long duration, lasting after the conquest of North Africa by the Vandals, and [pg 288] even to the Saracen conquest, though long since of no importance.

Anulinus. Ep. ad Constantinum, in Augustine, Ep. 88. (MSG, 33:303.)

To Constantine Augustus from Anulinus, a man of proconsular rank, proconsul of Africa.

The welcome and adored celestial writings sent by your Majesty to Cæcilianus, and those who act under him and are called clergy, I have devoutly taken care to record in the archives of my humility, and have exhorted those parties that when unity has been made by the consent of all, since they are seen to be exempt from all other burdens by your Majesty's clemency, and having preserved the Catholic unity, they should devote themselves to their duties with the reverence due the sanctity of the law and to divine things. After a few days, however, there arose some, to whom a crowd of people joined themselves, who thought that proceedings should be taken against Cæcilianus and presented me a sealed packet wrapped in leather and a small document without seal, and earnestly requested that I should transmit them to the sacred and venerable court of your divinity, which your Majesty's most humble servant has taken care to do, Cæcilianus continuing meanwhile as he was. The acts pertaining to the case have been subjoined, in order that your Majesty may be able to make a decision concerning the whole matter. I have sent two documents, one in a leathern envelope entitled “A Document of the Catholic Church, the Charges against Cæcilianus, Furnished by the Party of Majorinus”; the other attached without a seal to the same leathern envelope. Given on the 17th day before the calends of May, in the third consulship of our Lord Constantine Augustus [April 15, 313].

[pg 289]

§ 62. Constantine's Endeavors to Bring about the Unity of the Church by Means of General Synods: The Councils of Arles and Nicæa

One of the intentions of Constantine in his support of Christianity seems to have been the employment of the Christian religion as a basis for imperial unity. The policy of several earlier emperors in reviving heathenism, and Galerius in his persecution of the Christians, seems likewise to have been to use religion as a basis of unity. One of the first tasks Constantine encountered after he became sole ruler of the West was to restore the unity of the Church in Africa, which had been endangered by the disputes culminating in the Donatist schism; and when he became sole ruler of the Empire a new task of a similar character was to restore unity to the Church of the East, endangered by the Meletian schism in Egypt [v. supra, § 57, a], the Arian controversy in its first stage [v. infra, § 63], and the estrangement of the Asia Minor churches, due to the Easter controversy [v. supra, § 38]. It was a master-stroke of policy on the part of Constantine to use the Church's conciliar system on an enlarged scale to bring about this unity. The Church was made to feel that the decision was its own and to be obeyed for religious reasons; at the same time the Emperor was able to direct the thought and action of the assembly in matters of consequence and to give to conciliar action legal and coercive effect. The two great assemblies summoned to meet the problems of the West and of the East were respectively the Councils of Arles, A. D. 314, and of Nicæa, A. D. 325.

I. The Council of Arles A. D. 314
(a) Constantine, Convocatio concilii Arelatensis, in Eusebius, Hist. Ec., X, 5. (MSG, 20 :888.) Cf. Kirch, nn. 321 f.; Mirbt, nn. 89, 93-97.
For the Council of Arles, see Hefele, §§ 14, 15.
[pg 290]

Constantine Augustus to Chrestus, Bishop of Syracuse. When some began wickedly and perversely to disagree among themselves in regard to the holy worship and the celestial power and Catholic doctrine, I, wishing to put an end to such disputes among them, formerly gave command that certain bishops should be sent from Gaul, and that the opposing parties, who were contending persistently and incessantly with each other, should be summoned from Africa; that in their presence and in the presence of the bishop of Rome the matter which appeared to be causing the disturbance might be examined and decided with all care. But since, as it happens, some, forgetful both of their own salvation and of the reverence due to the most holy religion, do not even yet bring hostilities to an end, and are unwilling to conform to the judgment already passed, and assert that those who expressed their opinions and decisions were few, or that they had been too hasty and precipitate in giving judgment, before all the things which ought to have been accurately investigated had been examined—on account of all this it has happened that those very ones who ought to hold brotherly and harmonious relations toward each other are shamefully, or rather abominably, divided among themselves, and give occasion for ridicule to those men whose souls are alien as to this most holy religion. Wherefore it has seemed necessary to me to provide that this dissension, which ought to have ceased after the judgment had been already given, by their own voluntary agreement, should now, if possible, be brought to an end by the presence of many. Since, therefore, we have commanded a number of bishops from a great many different places to assemble in the city of Arles, before the calends of August, we have thought proper to write to thee also that thou shouldest secure from the most illustrious Latronianus, Corrector of Sicily, a public vehicle, and that thou shouldest take with thee two others of the second rank whom thou thyself shalt choose, together with three servants, who may serve you on the way, and betake thyself to the above-mentioned place before the appointed day; that by thy firmness and by the [pg 291] wise unanimity and harmony of the others present, this dispute, which has disgracefully continued until the present time, in consequence of certain shameful strifes, after all has been heard, which those have to say who are now at variance with one another, and whom we have likewise commanded to be present, may be settled in accordance with the proper faith, and that brotherly harmony, though it be but gradual, may be restored. May Almighty God preserve thee in health many years.

(b) Synodal Epistle addressed to Sylvester, Bishop of Rome, Bruns, II, 107. Cf. Kirch, nn. 330-337.
The following extracts give the canons of most importance in the history of the times. The exact wording of the canons has not been retained in the letter, which is the only record extant of the action of the council. The text from which the following is translated is that given by the monks of St. Maur in their Collectio Conciliorum Galliæ, reprinted by Hefele, § 15, and Bruns, Canones Apostolorum et Conciliorum, II, 107 ff. It is to be preferred to the text of Mansi and the older collections.
The first canon settled for the West the long-standing question as to the date of Easter. The Roman custom as to the day of the week and computation of the time of year should be followed everywhere; the same decision was reached at Nicæa for the East (v. § 62, II, a). As a matter of fact, however, the computation customary at Alexandria eventually prevailed as the more accurate.
The eighth and thirteenth canons touch upon North African disputes. The former overrules the contention of Cyprian and his colleagues, that heretical or schismatical baptisms were invalid. It also laid down a principle by which Novatianism stood condemned. The thirteenth applied a similar principle to ordination; the crimes of the bishop who gave the ordination should not invalidate the ordination of a suitable person, as was claimed in the case of the ordination of Cæcilianus by Felix of Aptunga, accused as a traditor; further it ruled out the complaints against Felix until more substantial proof be brought, the official documents that he had made the tradition required by the edict of persecution.

Marinus and the assembly of bishops, who have come together in the town of Arles, to the most holy lord and brother Sylvester. What we have decreed with general consent we signify to your charity that all may know what ought to be observed in the future.

[pg 292]

1. In the first place, concerning the observation of the Lord's Easter, we have determined that it be observed on one day and at one time throughout the world by us, and that you send letters according to custom to all.

8. Concerning the Africans, because they make use of their own law, to the effect that they rebaptize, we have determined that if any one should come from heresy to the Church they should ask him the creed; and if they should perceive that he had been baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, hands only should be laid upon him that he might receive the Holy Ghost. That if when asked he should not reply this Trinity, let him be baptized.

9. Concerning those who bring letters of the confessors, it pleased us that these letters having been taken away, they should receive other letters of communion.

13. Concerning those who are said to have given up the Holy Scriptures or the vessels of the Lord or the name of their brethren, it has pleased us whoever of them shall have been convicted by public documents and not by mere words, should be removed from the clerical order; though if the same have been found to have ordained any, and those whom they have ordained are worthy, it shall not render their ordination invalid. And because there are many who are seen to oppose the law of the Church and think that they ought to be admitted to bring accusation by hired witnesses, they are by no means to be admitted, except, as we have said above, they can prove their accusations by public documents.

II. The Council of Nicæa
For the Council of Nicæa, see Hefele, §§ 18-44. All church histories give large space to the Council of Nicæa. V. infra, §§ 63 ff., 72, a.
(a) Council of Nicæa, 325. Synodical Letter, Socrates, Hist. Ec. I, 9. (MSG, 67 :77.) Text in Kirch, nn. 369 ff.; Mirbt, n. 107.
[pg 293]

To the holy and, by the grace of God, great Church of the Alexandrians, and to our beloved brethren throughout Egypt, Libya, and Pentapolis, the bishops assembled at Nicæa constituting the great and holy synod, send greetings in the Lord.

Since by the grace of God, a great and holy synod has been convened at Nicæa, our most pious sovereign Constantine having summoned us out of various cities and provinces for that purpose, it appeared to us indispensably necessary that a letter should be written also to you on the part of the sacred synod; in order that you may know what subjects were brought under consideration, what rigidly investigated, and also what was eventually determined on and decreed. In the first place, the impiety and guilt of Arius and his adherents were examined into, in the presence of our most pious Emperor Constantine: and it was unanimously decided that his impious opinion be anathematized, with all the blasphemous expressions and terms he has blasphemously uttered, affirming that the Son of God sprang from nothing, and that there was a time when He was not; saying, moreover, that the Son of God was possessed of a free will, so as to be capable either of vice or virtue; and calling Him a creature and a work. All these the holy synod has anathematized, having scarcely patience to endure the hearing of such an impious or, rather, bewildered opinion, and such abominable blasphemies. But the conclusion of our proceedings against him you must either have heard or will hear; for we would not seem to trample on a man who has received the chastisement which his crime deserved. Yet so strong is his impiety as to involve Theonas, Bishop of Marmarica, and Secundus of Ptolemais; for they have suffered the same condemnation as himself. But the grace of God freed us from this false doctrine, impiety, and blasphemy, and from those persons who have dared to cause discord and division among the people previously at peace; and there still remained the contumacy of Meletius to be dealt with, and those who had been ordained by him; and we shall now state to you, beloved [pg 294] brethren, what resolution the synod came to on this point. Acting with more clemency toward Meletius, although, strictly speaking, he was wholly undeserving of favor, the council permitted him to remain in his own city, but decreed that he should exercise no authority either to ordain or nominate for ordination; and that he should appear in no other district or city on this pretence, but simply retain a nominal dignity; that those who had received appointments from him, after having been confirmed by a more legitimate ordination, should be admitted to communion on these conditions: that they should continue to hold their rank and ministry, but regard themselves as inferior in every respect to all those who had been previously ordained and established in each place and church by our most honored fellow-minister Alexander. In addition to these things, they shall have no authority to propose or nominate whom they please, or to do anything at all without the concurrence of a bishop of the Catholic Church, who is one of Alexander's suffragans. Let such as by the grace of God and your prayers have been found in no schism, but have continued in the Catholic Church blameless, have authority to nominate and ordain those who are worthy of the sacred office, and to act in all things according to ecclesiastical law and usage. Whenever it may happen that any of those placed in the Church die, then let such as have been recently admitted into orders be advanced to the dignity of the deceased, provided that they appear worthy, and that the people should elect them, and the bishop of Alexandria confirm their choice. This is conceded to all the others, indeed, but as for Meletius personally we by no means grant the same, on account of his formerly disorderly conduct; and because of the rashness and levity of his character he is deprived of all authority and jurisdiction, as a man liable again to create similar disturbances. These are things which specially affect Egypt and the most holy Church of the Alexandrians; and if any other canon or ordinance should be established, our lord and most honored fellow-minister and [pg 295] brother Alexander being present with us, will on his return to you enter into more minute details, inasmuch as he is not only a participator in whatever is transacted, but has the principal direction of it. We have also to announce the good news to you concerning the unanimity as to the holy feast of Easter: that this by your prayers has been settled so that all the brethren in the East, who have hitherto kept this festival with the Jews, will henceforth conform to the Romans and to us, and to all who from the earliest times have observed our period of celebrating Easter. Rejoicing, therefore, on account of a favorable termination of matters and in the extirpation of all heresy, receive with the greater honor and more abundant love our fellow-minister and your bishop, Alexander, who has greatly delighted us by his presence, and even at his advanced age has undergone extraordinary exertions in order that peace might be re-established among you. Pray on behalf of us all, that the decisions to which we have so justly come may be inviolably maintained through Almighty God and our Lord Jesus Christ, together with the Holy Spirit to whom be glory forever. Amen.

(b) Council of Nicæa, Canon 8, On the Novatians, Bruns. I, 8.
The Church recognized the substantial orthodoxy of the Novatians, and according to the principles laid down at Arles (cc. 8, 13, § 62 I, b) the ordination of the Novatians was regarded as valid. The following canon, although a generous concession on the part of the Church, did not bring about a healing of the schism which lasted several centuries. The last mention of the Novatians is contained in the 95th canon of the second Trullan Council, known as the Quinisext, A. D. 692.

Canon 8. Concerning those who call themselves Cathari, who come over to the Catholic and Apostolic Church, the great and holy synod decrees that they who are ordained shall continue as they are among the clergy. But before all things it is necessary that they should profess in writing that they will observe and follow the teachings of the Catholic and Apostolic Church; that is, that they will communicate with [pg 296] those who have been twice married and with those who have lapsed during the persecution, and upon whom a period of penance has been laid and a time for restoration fixed; so that in all things they will follow the teachings of the Catholic Church. Wheresoever, then, whether in villages or in cities, only these are found who have been ordained, let them remain as found among the clergy and in the same rank. But if any come over where there is a bishop or presbyter of the Catholic Church, it is manifest that the bishop of the Church must have the dignity of a bishop, and he who was named bishop by those who are called Cathari shall have the honor of a presbyter, unless it seem fit to the bishop to share with him the honor of the title. But if this should not seem good to him, then shall the bishop provide for him a place as chorepiscopus, or as presbyter, in order that he may be evidently seen to be of the clergy, and that in one city there may not be two bishops.

(c) Codex Theodosianus, XVI, 5, 2; A. D. 326.
With the generous treatment of the Novatians by the Council of Nicæa should be compared the mild and generous treatment of Constantine, who distinguished them from other heretics.

We have not learned that the Novatians have been so condemned that we believe that to them should not be granted what they claim. Therefore we prescribe as to the buildings of their churches and places suitable for burial that they are to possess, without any molestation, those buildings and lands, namely, which on ground of long possession or from purchase or claim for any sound reason they may have. It will be well looked out for that they attempt to claim nothing for themselves of those things which before their secession belonged evidently to the churches of perpetual sanctity.

[pg 297]

Chapter II. The Arian Controversy Until The Extinction Of The Dynasty Of Constantine

The Arian controversy may be divided into four periods or stadia:

1. From the outbreak of the Arian controversy to the Council of Nicæa (318-325). In this stadium the positions of the parties are defined, and the position of the West, in substantial agreement with that of Alexander and Athanasius, forced through by Constantine and Hosius at Nicæa (§ 63).

2. From the Council of Nicæa to the death of Constantine (325-337). In this stadium, without the setting aside of the formula of Nicæa, an attempt is made to reconcile those who in fact dissented. In this period Constantine, now living in the East, inclines toward a position more in harmony with Arianism and more acceptable in the East than was the doctrine of Athanasius. This is the period of the Eusebian reaction (§ 64).

3. From the death of Constantine to the death of Constantius (337-361). In this stadium the anti-Nicæan party is victorious in the East (§ 65), but as it included all those who for any reason were opposed to the definition of Nicæa, it fell apart on attaining the annulment of the decision of Nicæa. There arose, on the one hand, an extreme Arian party and, on the other, a homoiousian party which approximated closely to the Athanasian position but feared the Nicene terminology.

4. From the accession of Julian to the council of Constantinople (361-381). Under the pressure brought against Christianity by Julian (§ 68), parties but little removed from each other came closer together (§ 70). A new generation of theologians took the lead, with an interpretation of the Nicene formula which made it acceptable to those who had previously regarded it as Sabellian. And under the lead of these men, backed by the Emperor Theodosius, the reaffirmation [pg 298] of the Nicene formula at Constantinople, 381, was accepted by the East (§ 71).

In the period in which the Arian controversy is by far the most important series of events in Church history, the attitude of the sons of Constantine toward heathenism and Donatism was of secondary importance, but it should be noticed as throwing light on the ecclesiastical policy which made the Arian controversy so momentous. In their policy toward heathenism and dissent, the policy of Constantine was carried to its logical completion in the establishment of Christianity as the only lawful religion of the Empire (§ 67).

Arianism may be regarded as the last attempt of Dynamistic Monarchianism (v. supra, § 40) to explain the divinity of Jesus Christ without admitting His eternity. It was derived in part from the teaching of Paul of Samosata through Lucian of Antioch. Paul of Samosata had admitted the existence of an eternal but impersonal Logos in God which dwelt in the man Jesus. Arianism distinguished between a Logos uncreated, an eternal impersonal reason in God, and a personal Logos created in time, making the latter, the personal Logos, only in a secondary sense God. This latter Logos, neither eternal nor uncreated, became incarnate in Jesus, taking the place in the human personality of the rational soul or logos. To guard against the worship of a being created and temporal, and to avoid the assertion of two eternal existences, the anti-Arian or Athanasian position, already formulated by Alexander, made the personal Logos of one essence or substance with the Father, eternal as the Father, and thereby distinguishing between begetting, or the imparting of subsistence, and creating, or the calling into being from nothing, a distinction which Arianism failed to make; and thus allowing for the eternity and deity of the Son without detracting from the monotheism which was universally regarded as the fundamental doctrine of Christianity as a body of theology. In this controversy the party of Alexander and Athanasius was animated, at least in the earlier stages of the controversy, [pg 299] not so much by speculative interests as by religious motives, the relation of Jesus to redemption, and they were strongly influenced by Irenæus. The party of Arius, on the other hand, was influenced by metaphysical interests as to the relation of being to creation and the contrast between the finite and the infinite. It may be said, in general, that until the council of Chalcedon, and possibly even after that, the main interest that kept alive theological discussion was intimately connected with vital problems of religious life of the times. After that the scholastic period began to set in and metaphysical discussions were based upon the formulæ of the councils.

§ 63. The Outbreak of the Arian Controversy and the Council of Nicæa, A. D. 325

The Arian controversy began in Alexandria about 318, as related by Socrates (a). The positions of the two parties were defined from the beginning both by Alexander, bishop of Alexandria (b), and Arius himself (c), who by appealing to Eusebius of Nicomedia, his fellow-student in the school of Lucian of Antioch, enlisted the support of that able ecclesiastical politician and courtier and at once extended the area of the controversy throughout the East. By means of poems of a somewhat popular character entitled the Thalia, about 322 (d), Arius spread his doctrines still further, involving others than the trained professional theologian. In the meanwhile Arius and some other clergy sympathizing with him in Egypt were deposed about 320 (e). Constantine endeavored to end the dispute by a letter, and, failing in this, sent Hosius of Cordova, his adviser in ecclesiastical matters, to Alexandria in 324. On the advice of Hosius, a synod was called to meet at Nicæa in the next year, after the pattern of the earlier synod for the West at Arles in 314. Here the basis for a definition of faith was a non-committal creed presented by Eusebius of Cæsarea, the Church historian (f). This [pg 300] was modified, probably under the influence of Hosius, so as to be in harmony at once with the tenets of the party of Alexander and Athanasius, and with the characteristic theology of the West (g).

Additional source material: J. Chrystal, Authoritative Christianity, Jersey City, 1891, vol. I; The Council of Nicæa: The Genuine Remains; H. R. Percival, The Seven Ecumenical Councils (PNF, ser. II, vol. XIV); Athanasius, On the Incarnation (PNF, ser. II, vol. IV).
(a) Socrates. Hist. Ec., I, 5. (MSG, 67:41.)
The outbreak of the controversy at Alexandria circa 318.

After Peter, who was bishop of Alexandria, had suffered martyrdom under Diocletian, Achillas succeeded to the episcopal office, and after Achillas, Alexander succeeded in the period of peace above referred to. Conducting himself fearlessly, he united the Church. By chance, one day, in the presence of the presbyters and the rest of his clergy, he was discussing too ambitiously the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, teaching that there was a unity in the Trinity. But Arius, one of the presbyters under his jurisdiction, a man of no inconsiderable logical acumen, imagining that the bishop was subtly introducing the doctrine of Sabellius the Libyan, from the love of controversy took the opposite opinion to that of the Libyan, and, as he thought, vigorously responded to the things said by the bishop. “If,” said he, “the Father begat the Son, He that was begotten had a beginning of existence; and from this it is evident that there was a time when the Son was not. It follows necessarily that He had His subsistence [hypostasis] from nothing.”

(b) Alexander of Alexandria. Ep. ad Alexandrum, in Theodoret, Hist. Ec., I, 3. (MSG, 88:904.)
A statement of the position of Alexander made to Alexander, bishop of Constantinople.
This extract is to be found at the end of the letter; it is evidently based upon the creed which is reproduced with somewhat free glosses. The omissions in the extract are of the less important glosses and proof-texts. [pg 301] For the position of Alexander the letter of Arius to Eusebius of Nicomedia given below (c) should also be examined.

We believe as the Apostolic Church teaches, In one unbegotten Father, who of His being has no cause, immutable and invariable, and who subsists always in one state of being, admitting neither of progression nor diminution; who gave the law and the prophets and the Gospel; of patriarchs and Apostles and all saints, Lord; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, begotten not out of that which is not, but of the Father, who is; yet not after the manner of material bodies, by severance or emanation, as Sabellius and Valentinus taught, but in an inexpressible and inexplicable manner.… We have learned that the Son is immutable and unchangeable, all-sufficient and perfect, like the Father, lacking only His “unbegottenness.” He is the exact and precisely similar image of His Father.… And in accordance with this we believe that the Son always existed of the Father.… Therefore His own individual dignity must be reserved to the Father as the Unbegotten One, no one being called the cause of His existence: to the Son, likewise, must be given the honor which befits Him, there being to Him a generation from the Father which has no beginning.… And in addition to this pious belief respecting the Father and the Son, we confess as the sacred Scriptures teach us, one Holy Spirit, who moved the saints of the Old Testament, and the divine teachers of that which is called the New. We believe in one and only Catholic and Apostolic Church, which can never be destroyed even though all the world were to take counsel to fight against it, and which gains the victory over all the impious attacks of the heterodox.… After this we receive the resurrection from the dead, of which Jesus Christ our Lord became the first-fruits; who bore a body, in truth, not in semblance, derived from Mary, the mother of God [theotokos] in the fulness of time sojourning among the race, for the remission of sins: who was crucified and died, yet for all this suffered no diminution of His Godhead. He rose from [pg 302] the dead, was taken into heaven, and sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.

(c) Arius, Ep. ad Eusebium, in Theodoret, Hist. Ec., I, 4. (MSG, 88:909.)
A statement in the words of Arius of his own position and that of Alexander addressed to Eusebius of Nicomedia.

To his very dear lord, the man of God, the faithful and orthodox Eusebius, Arius unjustly persecuted by Alexander the Pope, on account of that all-conquering truth of which you are also the champion, sendeth greeting in the Lord.

… Alexander has driven us out of the city as atheists, because we do not concur in what he publicly preaches; namely, “God is always, the Son is always; as the Father so the Son; the Son coexists unbegotten with God; He is everlastingly begotten; He is the unbegotten begotten; neither by thought nor by any interval does God precede the Son; always God, always the Son; the Son is of God himself.”… To these impieties we cannot listen even though heretics threaten us with a thousand deaths. But we say and believe and have taught and do teach, that the Son is not unbegotten, nor in any way part of the Unbegotten; nor from any substance [hypokeimenon],99 but that of His own will and counsel He has subsisted before time and before ages, as perfect God only begotten and unchangeable, and that before He was begotten or created or purposed or established He was not. For He was not unbegotten. We are persecuted because we say that the Son has a beginning, but that God is without beginning. This is the cause of our persecution, and likewise because we say that He is of that which is not.100 And this we say because He is neither part of God, nor of any substance [hypokeimenon]. For this we are persecuted; the rest you know. I bid thee farewell in the Lord, remembering [pg 303] our afflictions, my fellow-Lucianist and true Eusebius [i.e., pious].

(d) Arius, Thalia, in Athanasius, Orat. contra Arianos, I, 2. (MSG, 26:21.)
The following extracts from the Thalia, although given by Athanasius, the opponent of Arius, are so in harmony with what Arius and his followers asserted repeatedly that they may be regarded as correctly representing the work from which they profess to be taken.

God was not always Father; but there was when God was alone and was not yet Father; afterward He became a Father. The Son was not always; for since all things have come into existence from nothing, and all things are creatures and have been made, so also the Logos of God himself came into existence from nothing and there was a time when He was not; and that before He came into existence He was not; but He also had a beginning of His being created. For God, he says, was alone and not yet was there the Logos and Wisdom. Afterward He willed to create us, then He made a certain one and named Him Logos and Wisdom and Son, in order that by Him He might create us. He says, therefore, that there are two wisdoms, one proper to, and existing together with, God; but the Son came into existence by that wisdom, and was made a partaker of it and was only named Wisdom and Logos. For Wisdom existed by wisdom and the will of God's wisdom. So, he says, that there is another Logos besides the Son in God, and the Son partaking of that Logos is again named Logos and Son by grace.… There are many powers; and there is one which is by nature proper to God and eternal; but Christ, again, is not the true power of God, but is one of those which are called powers, of whom also the locust and the caterpillar are called not only a power but a great power [Joel 2:2], and there are many other things like to the Son, concerning whom David says in the Psalms: “The Lord of Powers”;101 likewise the Logos is mutable, as are all [pg 304] things, and by His own free choice, so far as He wills, remains good; because when He wills He is able to change, as also we are, since His nature is subject to change. Then, says he, God foreseeing that He would be good, gave by anticipation to Him that glory, which as a man He afterward had from His virtue; so that on account of His works, which God foresaw, God made Him to become such as He is now.

(e) Council of Alexandria, A. D. 320, Epistula encyclica, in Socrates, Hist. Ec., I, 6. (MSG, 67:45.) Cf. Kirch, nn. 353 ff.
The encyclical of the Council of Alexandria under Alexander, in which Arius and his sympathizers were deposed, was possibly composed by Athanasius. It is commonly found in his works, entitled Depositio Arii. It is also found in the Ecclesiastical History of Socrates. For council, see Hefele, § 20.

Those who became apostates were Arius, Achillas, Æithales, Carpones, another Arius, and Sarmates, who were then presbyters; Euzoius, Lucius, Julianus, Menas, Helladius, and Gaius, who were then deacons; and with them Secundus and Theonas, then called bishops. And the novelties which they have invented and put forth contrary to the Scriptures are the following: God was not always a Father, but there was a time when He was not a Father. The Logos of God was not always, but came into existence from things that were not; wherefore there was a time when He was not; for the Son is a creature and a work. Neither is He like in essence to the Father. Neither is He truly by nature the Logos of the Father; neither is He His true Wisdom; but He is one of the things made and created, and is called the Logos and Wisdom by an abuse of terms, since He himself originated by God's own logos and by the wisdom that is in God, by which God has made not only all things but Him also. Wherefore He is in His nature subject to change and variation as are all rational creatures. And the Logos is foreign, is alien and separated from the being [ousia] of God. And the Father cannot be102 [pg 305] described by the Son, for the Logos does not know the Father perfectly and accurately, neither can He see Him perfectly. Moreover, the Son knows not His own essence as it really is; for He was made on account of us, that God might create us by Him as by an instrument; and He would not have existed had not God willed to create us. Accordingly some one asked them whether the Logos of God is able to change as the devil changed, and they were not afraid to say that He can change; for being something made and created, His nature is subject to change.

(f) Eusebius of Cæsarea, Creed, in Socrates, Hist. Ec., I, 8. (MSG, 67:69.) Cf. Hahn, § 188.
This creed was presented at the Council of Nicæa by the historian Eusebius, who took the lead of the middle party at the council. He stated that it had long been in use in his church.

We believe in one God, Father Almighty, the maker of all things visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Logos of God, God of God, Light of Light, Life of Life, only begotten Son, the first-born of all creation, begotten of His Father before all ages, by whom, also, all things were made, who for our salvation became flesh, who lived among men, and suffered and rose again on the third day, and ascended to the Father, and will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead. We believe also in one Holy Spirit. We believe that each of these [i.e., three] is and subsists;103 the Father truly Father, the Son truly Son; the Holy Spirit truly Holy Spirit; as our Lord also said, when He sent His disciples to preach: “Go teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” [Matt. 28:19].

(g) Council of Nicæa A. D. 325, Creed, in Socrates, Hist. Ec., I, 8. (MSG, 67:68.) Cf. Hahn, § 142.
The creed of Nicæa is to be carefully distinguished from what is commonly called the Nicene creed. The actual creed put forth at the [pg 306] council is as follows. The discussion by Loofs, Dogmengeschichte, § 32, is brief but especially important, as he shows that the creed was drawn up under the influence of the Western formulæ.

We believe in one God, Father Almighty, maker of all things visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of His Father, only begotten, that is of the ousia of the Father, God of God, Light of Light, true God of true God; begotten, not made, of one substance104 with the Father, by whom all things were made, both things in heaven and things in earth, who for us men and for our salvation, came down from heaven and was made [became] flesh and was made [became] man, suffered and rose again on the third day, ascended into the heavens and comes to judge living and dead. And in the Holy Ghost.

But those who say there was when He was not, and before being begotten He was not, and He was made out of things that were not105 or those who say that the Son of God was from a different substance [hypostasis] or being [ousia] or a creature, or capable of change or alteration, these the Catholic Church anathematizes.

§ 64. The Beginnings of the Eusebian Reaction under Constantine

Shortly after the Council of Nicæa, Constantine seems to have become aware of the fact that the decision at that council was not acceptable in the East as a whole, representing, as it did, what was generally felt to be an extreme position. In coming to this opinion he was much influenced by Eusebius of Nicomedia who, by powerful court interest, was soon recalled from exile and even became the leading ecclesiastical adviser of Constantine. The policy of this bishop was to prepare the way for the revocation of the decree of Nicæa by a preliminary rehabilitation of Arius (a), and by attacking the leaders of the opposite party (b). Constantine, however, never consented to the abrogation of the creed of Nicæa.

[pg 307]
Additional source material: Socrates, Hist. Ec., I, 8 (letter of Eusebius to his diocese), 14, 28 ff. Eusebius, Vita Constantini, III, 23; Athanasius, Historia Arianorum, §§ 4-7.
(a) Arius, Confession of Faith, in Socrates, Hist. Ec., I, 26. (MSG, 67:149.)
As a part of the process whereby Arius should be rehabilitated by being received back into the Church he was invited by Constantine to appear at the court. He was there presented to the Emperor and produced a confession of faith purposely vague and general in statement, but intended to give the impression that he held the essentials of the received orthodoxy. The text is that given by Hahn, § 187.

Arius and Euzoius to our most religious and pious Lord, the Emperor Constantine.

In accordance with the command of your devout piety, sovereign lord, we declare our faith, and before God we profess in writing that we and our adherents believe as follows:

We believe in one God, the Father Almighty; and in the Lord Jesus Christ His Son, who was made by Him before all ages, God the Word, through whom all things were made, both those which are in heaven and those upon earth; who descended, and became incarnate, and suffered, and rose again, ascended into the heavens, and will again come to judge the living and the dead. Also in the Holy Spirit, and in the resurrection of the flesh, and in the life of the coming age, and in the kingdom of the heavens, and in one Catholic Church of God, extending from one end of the earth to the other.

This faith we have received from the holy gospels, the Lord therein saying to His disciples: “Go teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” If we do not so believe and truly receive the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, as the whole Catholic Church and the Holy Scriptures teach (in which we believe in every respect) God is our judge both now and in the coming judgment. Wherefore we beseech your piety, most devout Emperor, that we who are persons consecrated to the ministry, [pg 308] and holding the faith and sentiments of the Church and of the Holy Scriptures, may by your pacific and devoted piety be reunited to our mother, the Church, all superfluous questions and disputings being avoided; that so both we and the whole Church may be at peace and in common offer our accustomed prayers for your tranquil reign and on behalf of your whole family.

(b) Socrates, Hist. Ec., I, 23. (MSG, 67:140.)
The attack of the Arians upon Athanasius and his party.

The partisans of Eusebius and Theognis having returned from their exile, they received again their churches, having expelled, as we observed, those who had been ordained in their stead. Moreover they came into great consideration with the Emperor, who honored them exceedingly, as those who had returned from error to the orthodox faith. They, however, abused the license granted them by exciting commotions in the world greater than before; being instigated to this by two causes—on the one hand, the Arian heresy with which they had been previously infected, and on the other hand, by animosity against Athanasius because in the synod he had so vigorously withstood them in the discussion of the articles of the faith. And in the first place they objected to the ordination of Athanasius, not only as of one unworthy of the episcopate, but also as of one not elected by qualified persons. But when he had shown himself superior to this calumny (for having assumed direction of the Church of the Alexandrians, he ardently contended for the Nicene creed), then the adherents of Eusebius exerted themselves to cause the removal of Athanasius and to bring Arius back to Alexandria; for thus only did they think they should be able to cast out the doctrine of consubstantiality and introduce Arianism. Eusebius therefore wrote to Athanasius to receive Arius and his adherents; and when he wrote he not only entreated him, but he openly threatened him. When Athanasius would by no means accede to this he endeavored to persuade [pg 309] the Emperor to receive Arius in audience and then permit him to return to Alexandria; and how he accomplished these things I shall tell in its proper place.

Meanwhile, before this, another commotion was raised in the Church. In fact those of the household of the Church again disturbed her peace. Eusebius Pamphilius says that immediately after the synod Egypt became agitated by intestine divisions; but he does not give the reason for this. From this he has gained the reputation of being disingenuous and of avoiding the specification of the causes of these dissensions from a determination on his part not to give his sanction to the proceedings at Nicæa. Yet as we ourselves have discovered from various letters which the bishops wrote to one another after the synod, the term homoousios troubled some of them. So that while they occupied themselves about it, investigating it very minutely, they roused the strife against each other. It seemed not unlike a contest in the dark; for neither party appeared to understand distinctly the grounds on which they calumniated one another. Those who objected to the word homoousios conceived that those who approved it favored the opinion of Sabellius and Montanus; they therefore called them blasphemers, as subverting the existence of the Son of God. And again those who defended the term, charging their opponents with polytheism, inveighed against them as introducers of heathen superstitions. Eustathius, bishop of Antioch, accuses Eusebius Pamphilius of perverting the Nicene creed; Eusebius again denies that he violates that exposition of the faith, and accuses Eustathius of introducing the opinion of Sabellius. Therefore each of them wrote as if contending against adversaries; but both sides admitted that the Son of God has a distinct person and existence, confessing that there is one God in three persons (hypostases) yet they were unable to agree, for what cause I do not know, and could in no way be at peace.

[pg 310]

§ 65. The Victory of the Anti-Nicene Party in the East

When Constantine died in 337 the party of Eusebius of Nicomedia was completely in the ascendant in the East. A council at Antioch, 339, deposed Athanasius, and he was expelled from Alexandria, and Gregory of Cappadocia was consecrated in his place. Athanasius, with Marcellus of Ancyra and other supporters of the Nicene faith, repaired to Rome where they were supported by Julius, bishop of Rome, at a well-attended local council in 340 (a, b). In the East numerous attempts were made to formulate a confession of faith which might take the place of the Nicene creed and prove acceptable to all parties. The most important of these were produced at the Council of Antioch, 341, at which no less than four creeds were formulated (c, d).

Additional source material: Percival, The Seven Ecumenical Councils (PNF, ser. II, vol. XIV); Socrates, Hist. Ec. (PNF, ser. II, vol. II), II, 19 (Formula Macrostichos); Athanasius, De Synodis (PNF, ser. II, vol. IV).
(a) Athanasius, Apologia contra Arianos, 20. (MSG, 25:280.)
Athanasius and his allies in exile in the West are exonerated at Rome.

The Eusebians wrote also to Julius, thinking to frighten me, requesting him to call a council, and Julius himself to be the judge if he pleased. When, therefore, I went up to Rome, Julius wrote to the Eusebians, as was suitable, and sent moreover two of his presbyters, Elpidius and Philoxenus. But when they heard of me they became confused, because they did not expect that we would come up; and they declined, alleging absurd reasons for so doing, but in truth fearing lest the things should be proved against them which Valens and Ursacius afterward confessed. However, more than fifty bishops assembled in the place where the presbyter Vito held [pg 311] his congregation, and they acknowledged my defence and gave me the confirmation both of their communion and their love. On the other hand, they expressed great indignation against the Eusebians and requested that Julius write to the following effect to them who had written to him. And he wrote and sent it by Count Gabienus.

(b) Julius of Rome, Epistula, in Athanasius. Apologia contra Arianos, §§ 26 ff. (MSG, 25:292.)

Julius to his dearly beloved brethren, Danius, Flacillus, Narcissus, Eusebius, and Matis, Macedonius, Theodorus, and their friends, who have written him from Antioch, sends health in the Lord.

§ 26. … It is necessary for me to inform you that although I alone wrote, yet it was not my opinion only, but of all the bishops throughout Italy and in these parts. I, indeed, was unwilling to cause them all to write, lest they might have weight by mere numbers. The bishops, however, assembled on the appointed day, and agreed in these opinions, which I again write to signify to you; so that, dearly beloved, although I alone address you, yet you may know it is the opinion of all.…

§ 27. That we have not admitted to our communion our fellow-bishops Athanasius and Marcellus either hastily or unjustly, although sufficiently shown above, it is but fair to set briefly before you. The Eusebians first wrote against Athanasius and his fellows, and you have also written now; but many bishops out of Egypt and other provinces wrote in his favor. Now in the first place, your letters against him contradict each other, and the second have no sort of agreement with the first, but in many instances the former are refuted by the latter, and the latter are impeached by the former.…

§ 29. Now when these things were thus represented, and so many witnesses appeared in his behalf, and so much advanced by him in his own justification, what did it become [pg 312] us to do? Or what did the rule of the Church require except that we should not condemn the man, but rather receive him and hold him as a bishop as we have done.…

§ 32. With respect to Marcellus, forasmuch as you have written concerning him also as impious in respect to Christ, I am anxious to inform you that, when he was here, he positively declared that what you had written concerning him was not true; but, being nevertheless requested by us to give an account of his faith, he answered in his own person with the utmost boldness, so that we recognize that he maintains nothing outside of the truth. He confessed that he piously held the same doctrine concerning our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ as the Catholic Church holds; and he affirmed that he had held these opinions not merely now but for a very long time since; as indeed our presbyters, who were at a former time at the Council of Nicæa, testified to his orthodoxy, for he maintained both then and now his opposition to the heresy of Arius; on which point it is right to admonish you, that none of you admit such heresy, but instead abominate it as alien from the wholesome doctrine. Since he professed orthodox opinions and offered testimony to his orthodoxy, what again ought we in his case to have done except to treat him as a bishop, as we did, and not reject him from our communion?…

§ 33. For not only the bishops Athanasius and Marcellus and their fellows came here and complained of the injustice that had been done them, but many other bishops, also, from Thrace, from Cœle-Syria, from Phœnicia, and Palestine; and presbyters, not a few, and others from Alexandria and from other parts were present at the council here and, in addition to their own statements, lamented bitterly before all the assembled bishops the violence and injustice which the churches had suffered; and they affirmed that outrages similar to those which had been committed in Alexandria had occurred not in word only but in deed in their own churches and in others also.

[pg 313]
(c) Second Creed of Antioch, A. D. 341, in Athanasius, De Synodis Arimini et Seleuciæ, ch. 23. (MSG, 26:721.) Also in Socrates, Hist. Ec., II, 10. (MSG, 67:201.) Cf. Hahn, § 154.
The Council of Antioch in 341 was gathered ostensibly to dedicate the great church of that city, in reality to act against the Nicene party. It was attended by ninety or more bishops of whom thirty-six were Arians. The others seem to have been chiefly members of the middle party. The dogmatic definitions of this council have never been accepted by the Church; on the other hand, the canons on discipline have always enjoyed a very high place in the esteem of later generations. The following creed, the second of the Antiochian creeds, is traditionally regarded as having been composed originally by Lucian of Antioch, the master of Arius. Hence it is known as the creed of Lucian.

We believe in accordance with evangelic and apostolic tradition in one God the Father Almighty, the creator, the maker and provider of all things. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son, God, through whom are all things, who was begotten of His Father before all ages, God of God, whole of whole, only one of only one, perfect of perfect, king of king, lord of lord, the living word, living wisdom, true light, way, truth, resurrection, shepherd, door, unchangeable, unalterable, and immutable, the unchangeable likeness of the Godhead, both of the substance, and will and power and glory of the Father, the first-born of all creation, who was in the beginning with God, God Logos, according to what is said in the Gospel: “and the word was God,” through whom all things were made, and “in whom all things consist,” who in the last days came down from above, and was born of a virgin, according to the Scriptures, and became man, the mediator between God and man, and the apostle of our faith, and the prince of life; as He says, “I have come down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of Him that sent me”; who suffered for us, and rose the third day and ascended into heaven and sitteth on the right hand of the Father, and comes again with glory and power to judge the [pg 314] living and the dead. And in the Holy Spirit given for consolation and sanctification and perfection to those who believe; as also our Lord Jesus Christ commanded his disciples, saying, “Go ye, teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” clearly of the Father who is really a Father, and of the Son who is really a Son, and of the Holy Spirit who is really a Holy Spirit; these names being assigned not vaguely nor idly, but indicating accurately the special subsistence [hypostasis], order, glory of those named, so that in subsistence they are three, but in harmony one.

Having then this faith from the beginning and holding it to the end, before God and Christ we anathematize all heretical false doctrines. And if any one contrary to the right faith of the Holy Scriptures, teaches and says that there has been a time, a season, or age, or being or becoming, before the Son of God was begotten, let him be accursed. And if any one says that the Son is a creature as one of the creatures, or generated as one of the things generated, or made as one of the things made, and not as the divine Scriptures have handed down each of the forenamed statements; or if a man teaches or preaches anything else contrary to what we have received, let him be accursed. For we truly and clearly both believe and follow all things from the Holy Scriptures that have been transmitted to us by the prophets and Apostles.

(d) Fourth Creed of Antioch, Socrates, Hist. Ec., II, 18. (MSG, 67:221.) Cf. Hahn, § 156.
This creed is an approximation to the Nicene creed but without the use of the word of especial importance, homoousios. Valuable critical notes on the text of this and the preceding creed are to be found in Hahn; as these creeds are to be found both in the work of Athanasius on the councils of synods of Ariminum and Seleucia, in the ecclesiastical history of Socrates and elsewhere, there is a variety of readings, but of minor significance so far as the essential features are concerned.

We believe in one God, Father Almighty, the creator and maker of all things, of whom the whole family in heaven and [pg 315] upon earth is named; and in his only begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who was begotten of the Father before all ages; God of God, light of light, through whom all things in the heavens and upon earth, both visible and invisible were made: who is the word, and wisdom, and power, and life, and true light: who in the last days for our sake was made [became] man, and was born of the holy Virgin; was crucified, and died; was buried, arose again from the dead on the third day, and ascended into heaven, is seated at the right hand of the Father, and is coming at the consummation of the age to judge the living and the dead, and to render to each according to his works: whose kingdom, being perpetual, shall continue to infinite ages (for He shall sit at the right hand of the Father, not only in this age, but also in that which is to come). And in the Holy Spirit; that is, in the comforter, whom the Lord, according to His promise, sent to His Apostles after His ascension into the heavens, to teach and bring all things to their remembrance: by whom, also, the souls of those who have sincerely believed in Him shall be sanctified; and those who assert that the Son was made of things which are not, or of another subsistence [hypostasis], and not of God, or that there was a time or age when He did not exist the holy Catholic Church accounts as aliens.

§ 66. Collapse of the Anti-Nicene Middle Party; the Renewal of Arianism; the Rise of the Homoousian Party

When Constantius became sole Emperor, on the death of his brother Constans in 350, there was no further need of considering the interests of the Nicene party. Only the necessity of establishing his authority in the West against usurpers engaged his attention until 356, when a series of councils began, designed to put an end to the Nicene faith. Of the numerous confessions of faith put forth, the second creed of Sirmium of 357 is important as attempting to abolish [pg 316] in connection with the discussion the use of the term ousia and likewise homoousios and homoiousios (a). At Nice in Thrace a still greater departure from Nicæa was attempted in 359, and a creed was put forth (b), which is of special significance as containing the first reference in a creed to the descensus ad inferos and to the fact that it was subscribed by the deputies of the West including Bishop Liberius of Rome. For the discussion of this act of Liberius, see J. Barmby, art. “Liberius” in DCB; see also Catholic Encyclopædia, art. “Liberius.” It was also received in the synod of Seleucia in the East. On these councils see Athanasius, De Synodis (PNF). It was in reference to this acceptance of the creed of Nice that Jerome wrote “The whole world groaned and was astonished that it was Arian.” See Jerome, Contra Luciferianos, §§ 18 ff. (PNF. ser. II, vol. VI).

Inasmuch as the anti-Nicene opposition party was a coalition of all parties opposed to the wording of the Nicene creed, as soon as that creed was abolished the bond that held them together was broken. At once there arose an extreme Arianism which had remained in the background. On the other hand, those who were opposed to Arianism sought to draw nearer the Nicene party. These were the Homoiousians, who objected to the term homoousios as savoring of Sabellianism, and yet admitted the essential point implied by it. That this was so was pointed out by Hilary of Poitiers (c) who contended that what the West meant by homoousios the East meant by homoiousios. The Homoiousian party of the East split on the question of the deity of the Holy Spirit. Those of them who denied the deity of the Spirit remained Semi-Arians.

(a) Second Creed of Sirmium, in Hilary of Poitiers, De Synodis, ch. 11. (MSL, 10:487.) Cf. Hahn, § 161.
The Council of Sirmium in 357 was the second in that city. It was attended entirely by bishops from the West. But among them were Ursacius, Valens, and Germinius, leaders of the opposition to the Nicene creed. Hosius under compulsion signed the following; see Hilary, loc cit. The Latin original is given by Hilary.
[pg 317]

It is evident that there is one God, the Father Almighty, according as it is believed throughout the whole world; and His only Son Jesus Christ our Saviour, begotten of Him before the ages. But we cannot and ought not to say there are two Gods.…

But since some or many persons were disturbed by questions as to substance, called in Greek ousia, that is, to make it understood more exactly, as to homoousios or what is called homoiousios, there ought to be no mention of these at all, nor ought any one to state them; for the reason and consideration that they are not contained in the divine Scriptures, and that they are above man's understanding, nor can any man declare the birth of the Son, of whom it is written: “Who shall declare His generation?” For it is plain that only the Father knows how He begat the Son, and the Son how He was begotten of the Father. There is no question that the Father is greater. No one can doubt that the Father is greater than the Son, in honor, dignity, splendor, majesty and in the very name Father, the Son himself testifying, He that sent Me is greater than I. And no one is ignorant that it is Catholic doctrine that there are two persons of Father and Son; and that the Father is greater, and that the Son is subordinated to the Father, together with all things which the Father hath subordinated to Him; and that the Father has no beginning and is invisible, immortal, and impassible, but that the Son has been begotten of the Father, God of God, light of light, and of this Son the generation, as is aforesaid, no one knows but His Father. And that the Son of God himself, our Lord and God, as we read, took flesh or a body, that is, man of the womb of the Virgin Mary, as the angel announced. And as all the Scriptures teach, and especially the doctor of the Gentiles himself. He took of Mary the Virgin, man, through whom He suffered. And the whole faith is summed up and secured in this, that the Trinity must always be preserved, as we read in the Gospel: “Go ye and baptize all nations in the name of the [pg 318] Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” Complete and perfect is the number of the Trinity. Now the Paraclete, or the Spirit, is through the Son: who was sent and came according to His promise in order to instruct, teach, and sanctify the Apostles and all believers.

(b) Creed of Nice A. D. 359, Theodoret, Hist. Ec., II, 16. (MSG, 82:1049.) Cf. Hahn, § 164.
The deputies from the Council of Ariminum were sent to Nice, a small town in Thrace, where they met the heads of the Arian party. A creed, strongly Arian in tendency, was given them and they were sent back to Ariminum to have it accepted. See Theodoret, loc. cit., and Athanasius, De Synodis.

We believe in one and only true God, Father Almighty, of whom are all things. And in the only begotten Son of God, who before all ages and before every beginning was begotten of God, through whom all things were made, both visible and invisible; begotten, only begotten, alone of the Father alone, God of God, like the Father that begat Him, according to the Scriptures, whose generation no one knoweth except only the Father that begat Him. This only begotten Son of God, sent by His Father, we know to have come down from heaven, as it is written, for the destruction of sin and death; begotten of the Holy Ghost and the Virgin Mary, as it is written, according to the flesh. Who companied with His disciples, and when the whole dispensation was fulfilled, according to the Father's will, was crucified, dead and buried, and descended to the world below, at whom hell itself trembled; on the third day He rose from the dead and companied with His disciples, and when forty days were completed He was taken up into the heavens, and sitteth on the right hand of His Father, and is coming at the last day of the resurrection, in His Father's glory, to render to every one according to his works. And in the Holy Ghost, which the only begotten Son of God, Jesus Christ, both God and Lord, promised to send to the race of men, the comforter, as it is written, the spirit of truth, and this Spirit He himself sent after He had ascended [pg 319] into the heavens and sat at the right hand of the Father, from thence He is coming to judge both the quick and the dead.

But the word “substance,” which was simply inserted by the Fathers and not being understood was a cause of scandal to the people because it was not found in the Scriptures, it hath seemed good to us to remove, and that for the future no mention whatever be permitted of “substance,” because the sacred Scriptures nowhere make any mention of the “substance” of the Father and the Son. Nor must one “subsistence” [hypostasis] be named in relation to the person [prosopon] of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. And we call the Son like the Father, as the Holy Scriptures call Him and teach. But all heresies, both those already condemned, and any, if such there be, which have arisen against the document thus put forth, let them be anathema.

(c) Hilary of Poitiers. De Synodis, §§ 88, 89, 91. (MSL, 10:540.)
That the Homoiousian party meant substantially the same by their term homoiousios as did the Homoousians or the Nicene party, by their term homoousios.
Hilary was of great importance in the Arian controversy in bringing the Homoiousian party of the East and the Nicene party of the West to an agreement. The Eastern theologians, who hesitated to accept the Nicene term, were eventually induced to accept, understanding by the term homoousios the same as homoiousios. See below, § 70.

§ 88. Holy brethren, I understand by homoousios God of God, not of an unlike essence, not divided, but born; and that the Son has a birth that is unique, of the substance of the unknown God, that He is begotten yet co-eternal and wholly like the Father. The word homoousios greatly helped me already believing this. Why do you condemn my faith in the homoousios, which you cannot disapprove by the confession of the homoiousios? For you condemn my faith, or rather your own, when you condemn its verbal equivalent. Does somebody else misunderstand it? Let us together condemn [pg 320] the misunderstanding, but not take away the security of your faith. Do you think that one must subscribe to the Samosetene Council, so that no one may make use of homoousios in the sense of Paul of Samosata? Then let us subscribe to the Council of Nicæa, so that the Arians may not impugn the word homoousios. Have we to fear that homoiousios does not imply the same belief as homoousios? Let us decree that there is no difference between being of one and being of a similar substance. But may not the word homoousios be understood in a wrong sense? Let it be proved that it can be understood in a good sense. We hold one and the same sacred truth. I beseech you that the one and the same truth which we hold, we should regard as sacred among us. Forgive me, brethren, as I have so often asked you to do. You are not Arians; why, then, by denying the homoousios, should you be thought to be Arians?

§ 89. … True likeness belongs to a true natural connection. But when the true natural connection exists, the homoousios is implied. It is likeness according to essence when one piece of metal is like another and not plated.… Nothing can be like gold but gold, or like milk that does not belong to that species.

§ 91. I do not know the word homoousios or understand it unless it confesses a similarity of essence. I call God of heaven and earth to witness, that when I heard neither word, my belief was always such that I should have interpreted homoiousios by homoousios. That is I believed that nothing could be similar according to nature unless it was of the same nature.

§ 67. The Policy of the Sons of Constantine Toward Heathenism and Donatism

Under the sons of Constantine a harsher policy toward heathenism was adopted. Laws were passed forbidding heathen sacrifices (a, b), and although these were not carried [pg 321] out vigorously in the West, where there were many heathen members of the leading families, they were more generally enforced in the East, and heathenism was thereby much reduced, at least in outward manifestations. As to heresy, the action of the emperors and especially Constantius in his constant endeavor to set aside the Nicene faith involved harsh measures against all who differed from the approved theology of the court. Donatism called for special treatment. A policy of conciliation was attempted, but on account of the failure to win over the Donatists and their alliance with fierce revolutionary fanatics, the Circumcellions, violent measures were taken against them which nearly extirpated the sect.

(a) Codex Theodosianus, XVI, 10, 2; A. D. 341.
This edict of Constantius is of importance here as it seems to imply that Constantine did more toward repressing heathen sacrifices than to forbid those celebrated in private. It is, however, the only evidence of his prohibiting sacrifice, and it might have been due to misunderstanding that his example is here cited.

Let superstition cease; let the madness of sacrifices be abolished. For whoever, against the law of the divine prince, our parent [Constantine] and this command of our clemency, shall celebrate sacrifices, let a punishment appropriate to him and this present decision be issued.

(b) Codex Theodosianus, XVI, 10, 3; A. D. 342.
In the West Constans did not enforce the law against sacrifices with great severity, but tolerated the existence and even use of certain temples without the walls.

Although all superstition is to be entirely destroyed, yet we will that the temple buildings, which are situated without the walls, remain intact and uninjured. For since from some have arisen various sports, races, and contests, it is not proper that they should be destroyed, from which the solemnity of ancient enjoyments are furnished to the Roman people.

(c) Codex Theodosianus, XVI, 10, 4; A. D. 346.
[pg 322]

It is our pleasure that in all places and in all cities the temples be henceforth closed, and access having been forbidden to all, freedom to sin be denied the wicked. We will that all abstain from sacrifices; that if any one should commit any such act, let him fall before the vengeance of the sword. Their goods, we decree, shall be taken away entirely and recovered to the fisc, and likewise rectors of provinces are to be punished if they neglect to punish for these crimes.

(d) Optatus, De schismate Donatistarum, III, §§ 3, 4. (MSL, 11:999.)
The principal historical writer treating the schism of the Donatists is Optatus, Bishop of Mileve. His work on this sect was written about 370 and revised and enlarged in 385. It is of primary importance not merely for the history but for the dogmatic discussions on the doctrine of the Church, Bk. II, the doctrine of the sacraments, the idea of opus operatum as applied to them, Bk. V; in all of which he laid the foundation upon which Augustine built. In addition to the passage from Optatus given here, Epistles 88 and 185 by Augustine are accessible in translations and will be found of assistance in filling in the account of the Circumcellions. The latter is known as De correctione Donatistarum and is published in the anti-Donatist writings of Augustine in PNF, ser. I, vol. IV; the most important passages are §§ 15 and 25. It is probable that the party of the Circumcellions was originally due to a revolt against intolerable agrarian conditions and that their association with the Donatists was at first slight.

§ 3. … The Emperor Constans did not send Paulus and Macarius primarily to bring about unity, but with alms, that, assisted by them, the poor of the various churches might be relieved, clothed, and fed. When they came to Donatus, your father, and showed him why they had come, he was seized with his accustomed furious anger and broke forth with these words: “What has the Emperor to do with the Church.”

§ 4. If anything, therefore, has been done harshly in bringing about unity,106 you see, brother Parmenianus, to whom it ought to be attributed. Do you say that the military was sought by us Catholics; if so, then why did no one [pg 323] see the military in arms in the proconsular province? Paulus and Macarius came, everywhere to consider the poor and to exhort individuals to unity; and when they approached Bagaja, then another Donatus, bishop of that city, desiring to place an obstacle in the way of unity and hinder the work of those coming, whom we have mentioned, sent messengers throughout the neighboring places and all markets, and summoned the Circumcellions, calling them Agonistici, to come to the said place. And at that time the gathering of these was desired, whose madness a little before had been seen by the bishops themselves to have been impiously inspired. For when men of this sort before the unity107 wandered through various places, when Axido and Fasir were called by the same mad ones the leaders of the saints, no one could be secure in his possessions; written evidences of indebtedness lost their force; no creditor was at liberty at that time to demand anything. All were terrified by the letters of those who boasted that they were the leaders of the saints, and if there was any delay in fulfilling their commands, suddenly a furious multitude hurried up and, terror going on before, creditors were surrounded with a wall of dangers, so that those who ought to have been asked for their protection were by fear of death compelled to use humble prayers. Each one hastened to abandon his most important duties; and profit was thought to have come from these outrages. Even the roads were no longer at all safe, because masters, turned out of their carriages, ran humbly before their slaves sitting in the places of their masters. By the judgment and rule of these the order of rank between masters and servants was changed. Therefore when there arose complaint against the bishops of your party, they are said to have written to Count Taurinus, that such men could not be corrected in the Church, and they demanded that they should receive discipline from the said count. Then Taurinus, in response to their letters, commanded [pg 324] an armed body of soldiers to go through the markets where the Circumcellions were accustomed to wander. In Octavum very many were killed, many were beheaded and their bodies, even to the present day, can be counted by the white altars or tables.108 When first some of their number were buried in the basilicas, Clarus, a presbyter in Subbulum, was compelled by his bishop to disinter those buried. Whence it is reported that what was done had been commanded to be done, when it is admitted that sepulture in the house of God is not granted. Afterward the multitude of these people increased. In this way Donatus of Bagaja found whence he might lead against Macarius a raging mob. Of that sort were those who were to their own ruin murderers of themselves in their desire for a false martyrdom. Of these, also, were those who rushed headlong and threw themselves down from the summits of lofty mountains. Behold from what numbers the second Bishop Donatus formed his cohorts! Those who were bearing treasure which they had obtained for the poor were held back by fear. They decided in so great a predicament to demand from Count Sylvester armed soldiery, not that by these they should do violence to any one, but that they might stop the force drawn up by the aforesaid Bishop Donatus. Thus it happened that an armed soldiery was seen. Now, as to what followed, see to whom it ought or can be ascribed. They had there an infinite number of those summoned, and it is certain that a supply of provisions for a year had been provided. Of the basilicas they made a sort of public granary, and awaited the coming of those against whom they might expend their fury, if the presence of armed soldiery had not prevented them. For when, before the soldiers came, the metatores,109 as was the custom, were sent, they were not properly received, contrary to the apostolic precept, “honor to whom honor, custom to whom custom, tribute to whom tribute, owe no man anything.” For those who [pg 325] had been sent with their horses were smitten by those whose names you have made public with malicious intent. They were the authors of their own wrong; and what they could suffer they themselves taught by these outrages. The soldiers who had been maltreated returned to their fellows, and for what two or three suffered, all grieved. All were roused, and their officers could not restrain the angered soldiers.

§ 68. Julian the Apostate

The reign of Julian the Apostate (361-363) is important in the history of the Christian Church, in the first place, as indicating the slight hold which heathenism had retained as a system upon the bulk of the people and the impossibility of reviving it in any form in which it might compete with the Church. Julian attempted to inject into a purified heathenism those elements in the Christian Church which he was forced to admire. The result was a fantastic mixture of rites and measures with which the heathen would have nothing to do. In the second place, in the development of the Church's doctrinal system, and especially in the Arian controversy, the reign of Julian gave the contestants, who were obliged to stand together against a common enemy, reason for examining in a new way the points they had in common, and enabled them to see that some at least differed more over the expression than over the content of their faith. The character of Julian has long been a favorite subject of study and especially the motives that induced him to abandon Christianity for the Neo-Platonic revival of heathenism.

Additional source material: Socrates, Hist. Ec., III: Ammianus Marcellinus, Roman History, XVI-XXV, translated by C. D. Yonge (Bohn's Classical Library); Select Works of Julian, translated by C. W. King (Bohn).
(a) Socrates. Hist Ec. III. 1. (MSG, 67:368.)
The Emperor Julian.
The account of the Emperor Julian as given by Socrates is probably the best we have. It is, on the whole, a model of a fair statement, [pg 326] such as is characteristic of the history of Socrates in nearly all its parts. In spite of its length it is worthy of a place in its entirety, as it explains the antecedents of a character which the world has had difficulty in understanding.

Constantine, who gave Byzantium his own name, had two brothers born of the same father but by a different mother, of these one was named Dalmatius, the other Constantius. Dalmatius had a son of the same name as his own; Constantius had two sons, Gallus and Julian. Now, as on the death of Constantine, the founder of Constantinople, the soldiery had put the younger brother Constantius to death, the lives of his two orphaned children were also endangered; but a disease, apparently fatal, preserved Gallus from the violence of his father's murderers; and as to Julian, his age—for he was only eight years old at the time—protected him. The Emperor's jealousy toward them having been subdued, Gallus attended schools at Ephesus in Ionia, in which country considerable possessions had been left them by their parents. Julian, however, when he was grown up pursued his studies at Constantinople, going constantly to the palace, where the schools then were, in simple attire and under the care of the eunuch Mardonius. In grammar, Nicocles, the Lacedæmonian, was his instructor; and Ecbolius, the sophist, who was at that time a Christian, taught him rhetoric; for the Emperor Constantius had made provision that he should have no pagan masters, lest he should be seduced to pagan superstitions; for Julian was a Christian at the beginning. Since he made great progress in literature, the report began to spread that he was capable of ruling the Roman Empire; and this popular rumor becoming generally spread abroad, greatly disquieted the Emperor. Therefore he removed him from the great city to Nicomedia, forbidding him at the same time to frequent the school of Libanius the Syrian sophist. For Libanius, having been driven away by the teachers of Constantinople, had opened a school at Nicomedia. Here he gave vent to his indignation against the [pg 327] teachers in his treatise composed against them. Julian, however, was interdicted from being his auditor, because Libanius was a pagan in religion; nevertheless because he admired his orations, he procured them and read them secretly and diligently. As he was becoming very expert in the rhetorical art, Maximus the philosopher arrived in Nicomedia, not the Byzantine, Euclid's father, but the Ephesian whom the Emperor Valentinian afterward caused to be executed as a practicer of magic. This took place later; at that time the only thing that attracted him to Nicomedia was the fame of Julian. Having obtained from him a taste for the principles of philosophy, Julian began to imitate the religion of his teacher, who had instilled into his mind a desire for the Empire. When these things reached the ears of the Emperor, wavering between hope and fear, Julian became very anxious to lull the suspicion that had been awakened, and he who was at first truly a Christian then became one in pretence. Shaved to the very skin, he pretended to live the monastic life; and while in private he pursued philosophical studies, in public he read the sacred writings of the Christian Church. Moreover, he was appointed reader of the church in Nicomedia. Thus by these pretexts he escaped the Emperor's displeasure. Now he did all this from fear, but he by no means abandoned his hope; telling many of his friends that times would be happier when he should possess all. While his affairs were in this condition his brother Gallus, who had been created Cæsar, when he was on his way to the East came to Nicomedia to see him. But when Gallus was slain shortly after, Julian was immediately suspected by the Emperor; therefore the latter directed that he should be kept under guard; he soon found means, however, of escaping from his guards, and fleeing from place to place he managed to be in safety. At last Eusebia, the wife of the Emperor, having discovered him in his retreat, persuaded the Emperor to do him no harm, and to permit him to go to Athens to study philosophy. From thence—to be brief—the Emperor recalled him and afterward [pg 328] created him Cæsar, and having given him his own sister Helen in marriage, he sent him to Gaul against the barbarians. For the barbarians whom the Emperor Constantius had hired as auxiliary forces against Magnentius, being of no use against that usurper, were pillaging the Roman cities. Inasmuch as he was young he ordered him to undertake nothing without consulting the other military chiefs.… Julian's complaint to the Emperor of the inertness of his military officers procured for him a coadjutor in the command more in sympathy with his ardor; and by their combined efforts an assault was made upon the barbarians. But they sent him an embassy, assuring him that they had been ordered by letters of the Emperor to march into Roman territories, and they showed him the letters. But he cast the ambassadors into prison, vigorously attacked the forces of the enemy and totally defeated them; and having taken their king prisoner, he sent him to Constantius. After these successes he was proclaimed Emperor by the soldiers; and inasmuch as there was no imperial crown at hand, one of the guards took the chain which he wore around his own neck and placed it upon Julian's head. Thus Julian became Emperor; but whether he subsequently conducted himself as a philosopher, let my readers determine. For he neither sent an embassy to Constantius, nor paid him the least homage in acknowledgment of past favors; but conducted everything just as it pleased him. He changed the rulers of the provinces, and he sought to bring Constantius into contempt by reciting publicly in every city the letters which Constantius had written to the barbarians. For this reason the cities revolted from Constantius and attached themselves to him. Then he openly put off the pretence of being a Christian; going about to the various cities, he opened the pagan temples, offering sacrifices to the idols, and designating himself “Pontifex Maximus”; and the heathen celebrated their pagan festivals with pagan rites. By doing these things he excited a civil war against Constantius; and thus as far as he was [pg 329] concerned all the evils involved in war happened. For this philosopher's desire could not have been fulfilled without much bloodshed. But God, who is the judge of His own counsels, checked the fury of these antagonists without detriment to the State by the removal of one of them. For when Julian arrived among the Thracians, it was announced that Constantius was dead. And thus did the Roman Empire at that time escape the intestine strife. Julian entered Constantinople and at once considered how he might conciliate the masses and secure popular favor. Accordingly, he had recourse to the following measures: he knew that Constantius was hated by all the people who held the homoousian faith and had driven them from the churches and had proscribed and exiled their bishops. He was aware, also, that the pagans were extremely discontented because they had been forbidden to sacrifice to their gods, and were anxious to get their temples opened and to be at liberty to offer sacrifices to their idols. Thus he knew that both classes secretly entertained hostile feelings toward his predecessor, and at the same time the people in general were exceedingly exasperated by the violence of the eunuchs, and especially by the rapacity of Eusebius, the chief officer of the imperial bed-chamber. Therefore he treated all with craftiness. With some he dissembled; others he attached to himself by conferring obligations upon them, led by a desire for vainglory; but to all he manifested how he stood toward the heathen religion. And first, in order to slander Constantius and condemn him as cruel toward his subjects among the people generally, he recalled the exiled bishops and restored to them their confiscated estates. He next commanded suitable agents to open the pagan temples without delay. Then he directed that those who had been treated unjustly by the eunuchs should receive back the property of which they had been plundered. Eusebius, the chief officer of the imperial bed-chamber, he punished with death, not only on account of the injuries he had inflicted on others, but because he was assured that it was [pg 330] through his machinations his brother Gallus had been killed. The body of Constantius he honored with an imperial funeral, but he expelled the eunuchs, the barbers, and cooks from the palace.… At night, remaining awake, he wrote orations which he afterward delivered in the Senate, going thither from the palace, though in fact he was the first and only Emperor since the time of Julius Cæsar who made speeches in that assembly. He honored those who were eminent for literary attainments, and especially those who taught philosophy; in consequence of which an abundance of pretenders to learning of this sort resorted to the palace from all quarters, men who wore their palliums and were more conspicuous for their costume than for their erudition. These impostors, who invariably adopted the religious sentiments of their prince, were inimical to the welfare of the Christians; but since Julian himself was overcome by excessive vanity he derided all his predecessors in a book which he wrote, entitled “The Cæsars.” Led by the same haughty disposition, he composed treatises against the Christians as well.

(b) Sozomenus, Hist. Ec., V, 3. (MSG, 67:1217.)
Julian's restoration of heathenism.

When Julian was placed in sole possession of the Empire he commanded all the temples throughout the East to be reopened; and he also commanded that those which had been neglected to be repaired, those which had fallen into ruins to be rebuilt, and the altars to be restored. He assigned considerable money for this purpose. He restored the customs of antiquity and the ancestral ceremonies in the cities and the sacrifices. He himself offered libations openly and sacrificed publicly; and held in honor those who were zealous in these things. He restored to their ancient privileges the initiators and the priests, the hierophants and the servants of the temples, and confirmed the legislation of former emperors in their favor. He granted them exemption from duties and other burdens as they had previously had had such exemption. [pg 331] He restored to the temple guardians the provisions which had been abolished. He commanded them to be pure from meats, and to abstain from whatever, according to pagan opinion, was not befitting him who had announced his purpose of leading a pure life.

(c) Sozomenus, Hist. Ec., V, 5. (MSG, 67:1225.)
Julian's measures against the Christians.
Among those who benefited by the recall of those who had been banished for their religious beliefs were not only the orthodox Christians who suffered under Constantius, but also the Donatists and others who had been expelled from their homes by the previous emperors.

Julian recalled all who, during the reign of Constantius, had been banished on account of their religious beliefs, and restored to them their property which had been confiscated by law. He charged the people not to commit any act of injustice against any of the Christians, not to insult them and not to constrain them to sacrifice unwillingly.… He deprived the clergy, however, of their immunities, honors, and provisions which Constantine had conferred, repealed the laws which had been enacted in their favor, and reinforced their statutory liabilities. He even compelled the virgins and widows, who on account of their poverty were reckoned among the clergy, to refund the provision which had been assigned them from the public treasury.… In the intensity of his hatred of the faith, he seized every opportunity to ruin the Church. He deprived it of its property, votive offerings, and sacred vessels, and condemned those who had demolished temples during the reign of Constantine and Constantius to rebuild them or to defray the expense of re-erection. On this ground, since they were unable to repay the sum and also on account of the search after sacred money, many of the priests, clergy, and other Christians were cruelly tortured and cast into prison.… He recalled the priests who had been banished by the Emperor Constantius; but it is said that he issued this order in their behalf, not out of mercy, but that through contention [pg 332] among themselves the churches might be involved in fraternal strife and might fall away from their law, or because he wished to asperse the memory of Constantius.

(d) Julian, Ep. 49, ad Arsacium; Julian, Imp., Epistulæ, ed. Hertlein. Leipsic, 1875 f.; also in Sozomenus, Hist. Ec., V, 16. (MSG, 67:1260.)

To Arsacius, High Priest of Galatia. Hellenism110 does not flourish as we would have it, because of its votaries. The worship of the gods, however, is grand and magnificent beyond all our prayers and hopes. Let our Adrastea be propitious to these words. No one a little while ago could have dared to look for such and so great a change in a short time. But do we think that these things are enough, and not rather consider that humanity shown strangers, the reverent diligence shown in burying the dead, and the false holiness as to their lives have principally advanced atheism?111 Each of these things is needful, I think, to be faithfully practised among us. It is not sufficient that you alone should be such, but in general all the priests, as many as there are throughout Galatia, whom you must either shame or persuade to be zealous, or else deprive them of their priestly office, if they do not come with their wives, children, and servants to the temples of the gods, or if they support servants, sons, or wives who are impious toward the gods and prefer atheism to piety. Then exhort the priests not to frequent the theatres, not to drink in taverns, nor to practise any art or business which is shameful or menial. Honor those who comply, expel those who disobey. Establish hostelries in every city, so that strangers, or whoever has need of money, may enjoy our philanthropy, not merely those of our own, but also those of other religions. I have meanwhile made plans by which you will be able to meet the expense. I have commanded that throughout the whole of Galatia annually thirty thousand bushels of corn and sixty thousand measures of wine be given, [pg 333] of which the fifth part I order to be devoted to the support of the poor who attend upon the priests; and the rest is to be distributed by us among strangers and beggars. For if there is not one among the Jews who begs, and even the impious Galileans, in addition to their own, support also ours, it is shameful that our poor should be wanting our aid.

(e) Sozomenus, Hist. Ec., V, 16. (MSG, 67:1260.)
Measures taken by Julian for the restoration of heathenism.

The Emperor, who had long since been eager that Hellenism should prevail through the Empire, was bitterly grieved seeing it excelled by Christianity. The temples, however, were kept open; the sacrifices and the ancient festivals appeared to him in all the cities to come from his will. He grieved that when he considered that if they should be deprived of his care they would experience a speedy change. He was particularly chagrined on discovering that the wives, children, and servants of many pagan priests professed Christianity. On reflecting that the Christian religion had a support in the life and behavior of those professing it, he determined to introduce into the pagan temples everywhere the order and discipline of the Christian religion: by orders and degrees of the ministry, by teachers and readers to give i