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By HERMANN LOTZE. Edited with an Introduction by F. C. CONYBEARE, M.A. Crown 8vo, cloth, 25. 6d.


“To the thinker, of whatever creed or school he may chance to be, who is anxious to bring into a more or less homogeneous body of belief those religious and scientific truths which in our time are press- ing most vehemently for acceptance, I have no hesitation in com- mending this work as one of the most suggestive and enlightening that our age has been privileged to welcome.”—JoHN OWEN in Academy.

“English students will be thankful to Mr. Conybeare for putting into their hands a synopsis of Lotze’s Philosophy of Religion, which has no fear of the disadvantages of a translation.” —Guardian.

““An excellent translation of one of the most important works of a prominent philosopher who made an unusually strong impression upon the minds of his contemporaries.” —Monist.








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THE object of the following translations is to give the reader, in a succession of vivid pictures or glimpses, an insight into the prac- tical working of Christianity during the first three centuries of its his- tory. While we freely admire the heroism of the martyrs, we must not suppose that the highest temper of the new religion was displayed in these desperate struggles,’ through which _ its champions bore witness to the truth, as they deemed it, of their beliefs, and in engaging in which they were, on any view, asserting the rights of individual conscience and private judgment against the overbearing weight of a government despotic in its form, and supported in its assaults by innumerable popular forces and scruples, social, religious, and political.? The best fruits of Christ-

Aim of these translations.

* In the following pages we shall not find any martyr who in the moment of agony prays, Father, forgive them, they know not what they do. The note struck is more frequently one of hatred, defiance, and imprecation.

2 Cp. Minucti Felicis Octavius, cap. 37 : quam pulchrum spectaculum

i B

2 Monuments of Early Christrantty.

ianity were of course reaped not in these crises, not in these supreme moments of storm and stress, but in the higher religious conceptions, in the wider charity, in the purer social and family life, in the elimination of obscene or cruel religious rites and amusements, which on the whole went with the abandonment of paganism. But these blessings could not be secured for the multitude, could not be secured at all, unless a stand were made against enactments which made the very name and profession of Christian an offence punishable by any, even the most horrible, forms of death. A martyrdom resembled a battle in general history; freedom from molestation and liberty to enjoy the fruits of peace could not be secured in any other way. The originals of these translations are to be found in a repertory of select martyrdoms, written . in the ancient Armenian tongue, eee ae and published at the Armenian andLatin monastery of San Lazaro, in Venice, texts of . a Martyrs’ Acts. in the year 1874. These originals are in nearly all cases themselves versions of still more ancient Greek or Syriac texts. In some cases Latin versions also of con- siderable antiquity are preserved, and will be found in the Axuuxals of Barontus, or in the vast

deo, cum Christianus cum dolore congreditur, cum aduersum minas et supplicia et tormenta componitur, cum strepitum mortis et honorem inri- dens carnifici se inculcat, cum libertatem suam aduersus reges et principes erigit, cum soli deo cuius est cedit, cum triumphator et victor ipsi qui adversum se sententiam dixit insultat.

General Preface. 3

collection of the Lives of the Saints of all ages, at which the Society of the Jesuits has now been at work for over one hundred years, and which is known as the Bollandist Acts of the Saints. | have not chosen to translate the Armenian form of these documents rather than the Latin or Greek without reason; and The Armenian : : form as a rule my reason is this: thatas arule the the oldest. ancient Armenian version gives an earlier form of the narrative than either the Latin or Greek or Syriac manuscripts now yield us. For it is one of the first things which the student of early Christian literature has to learn, that its documents were continually being altered and re- cast to suit every fresh development or change in the dogmatic beliefs, moral conceptions, and discipline of believers, whether

: Christian orthodox or heretical. What was τα πο believed in the first century was eee not believed in the same way, and was not all that was believed in the second; and what was orthodox in the second century was in many cases heterodox, and in nearly all cases insufficiently explicit in the third .and fourth centuries... The value of the Armenian versions lies in this, that they often give us access to a more primitive form of a Christian writing than has survived in Greek or Latin. To take an


1 Thus the Armenian Acts of Athanagines retain the colophon of one, Hilarion, who states that in composing the Acts he ‘‘on paper made orthodox all that was said” (by the various actors). Athanagines no doubt, like many martyrs of Nicomedia, was an Arian.

4 Monuments of Early Christianity.

example: the Armenian text of the Acts of 5. Eugenia represents her as choosing for her model Thekla, the convert of S. Paul. Now Thekla, even as early as the days of Tertullian, became suspect, on account of her having arrogated to herself the right to baptize. Accordingly we find that in the old Latin version, dating probably from the fourth century, every mention of her is carefully expunged from the Acts in ques- tion, and Paul and his epistles replace her and her story in such a manner as even to make ΠΟ ΠΡΟ O01 the context. So again into the Epistle of the Smyrneans, written about a.p. 160, and describing the death of Polycarp, there were foisted, as early as the time of Rufinus’ Latin translation of it, a series of references to the Holy Catholic Church. Now the latter phrase did not come into vogue until the latter half of the third century, and some critics have in consequence maintained that the letter of the Smyrneans is a forgery of that date. But the difficulty vanishes when we turn to the old Armenian version of the “Church History” of Eusebius, who quotes the letter at length; for there we find, instead of the obnoxious phrase, the simple and primitive ex- pression which we meet with in the Acts, viz., “the Churches” in such and such a region.

But what the third and fourth century editors most delighted to do, was to em- bellish an earlier document with miracles, if it were free from them ; or if it already contained miraculous elements, then

Interpolation of miracles.

General Preface. 5

to vary and enhance them. Rationalists have impugned the historical character of the New Testament, because it has in it such elements : and even orthodox critics, among ea

y docu- Protestants at least, have for the ments not to same reason condemned in the Sdhahiafeea most sweeping manner the so- relate called legends of the saints; so oe much so that no serious historian has ventured to use them. Both sets of critics are equally unphilosophical. The real miracle would be, if we should find a homely narrative emanating from Galilee in the first century to have originally contained no such elements; and most of the arguments adduced against the value of the Gospels as acontemporary narrative, would prove, mutatts mutandts, that 5. Bernard’s account of the miracles of his friend, 5, Malachi, is spurious. In appraising the historical value of an early Christian document, we ought to condemn it, not in case it contain miraculous elements, but in case it be wholly lacking in local The true colour, in case the sentiments and teachings put into the mouths of the actors and the actions attributed to them be foreign to their age and country, so far as of these we have any reliable knowledge. Here are the true touchstones of truth and genuineness ; and we shall be encouraged to apply them, if we find that in a narrative that on the whole stands well these tests, the miraculous elements vary and are different in the different recensions of the

6 Monuments of Early Christiantty.

text; so that like the plus and minus quantities of an algebraical formula, they eliminate one another, and in the net result disappear, leaving behind them a solid residuum of graphic and _ life-like narrative. This is particularly the case with re- gard to the Acts of Paul and Thekla, as we shall point out in dealing with that history; in the Acts of Thalelaus we meet, though in a less degree, with the same sort of corroboration of their general truth. So is the old adage con- firmed : ἔσθλοι μὲν yap ἁπλῶς, παντοδαπῶς δὲ κακοί, There are a few characteristics fa aerenen of the Acts of Saints of the first Acts. three centuries which deserve to be noticed in a general preface. 1. The most historical element in them often lies where we should the least expec to lind It, namely in the dialogues between fee ee te judge and the accused. ΤΠ ost often : : genuine, will be a surprise to those who are familiar with the somewhat different method pursued by ancient historians, who put into the mouths of the actors not what they actually said, even where this was readily acces- sible, but what they ought in the judgment of the historian to have said. Thus Tacitus, on the occasion of the admission of the inhabitants of Gallia Comata to the ius honorum, puts into the mouth of the Emperor Claudius a speech which we know he did not make, because the actual words he used are preserved in an inscription found at Lyons, the contents of which were taken from

General Preface. 7

the Acta Senatus, or journal of the Senate. The early Christians must be allowed to have started with a higher standard of truth. They considered it of the first importance to register the last acts and words of a saint, and one of their number was frequently deputed to fulfil the task. In addition to their own reports they could draw upon the official reports Pai antl of the law-courts, though these may official records not have been always accessible to ° ‘be Boman them before the age of Constantine, when in the archives of many a court the reports of the trials of the third century at least may easily have survived. And in this connection we must remember that Christianity was such a grave offence that the procés-verbal of trials would be carefully recorded and preserved by a govern- ment so methodical and observant of precedents as was the Roman. From the time of Domitian, if not at a still earlier date, the very name of Christian exposed a person to the penalty of death. If information was laid against a man to the effect that he was a Christian, he was sum- moned before a magistrate and ordered to sacri- fice to some god, often to the genius of the reigning emperor. The usual answer returned was: “I ama Christian, and will not sacrifice to idols and to foul evil spirits.” Tortures were then used to compel submission, and if these failed the culprit was sentenced to death.

2. Jesus of Nazareth addressed His teachings to Jews, who needed no inculcation of the truths

Monuments of Early Christianity.

of monotheism ; and accordingly we find very little denunciation in the Gospels -Monotheistic Of the folly and sin of idolatry. It teachingofthe is far otherwise with the Epistles Jews and early ; Christians. of Paul, which are addressed to converts from polytheism. His polemic, when not directed against those who insisted on circumcision and the sabbath, is turned against the worship of images and of many gods, instead of the One who made the heavens and the earth and created man in His own image.

But the protest in Greek literature against idol- atry and polytheism did not begin with S. Paul and with Christianity. Leaving out of account the lofty monotheism, coupled with ridicule of the popu- lar religion, which we meet with in the writings of a long line of Greek philosophers, beginning with Xenophanes in the fifth century B.c.; it is enough here to note, that the works of a writer like Philo of Alexandria, who died about a.p. 40, at the ad- vanced age of seventy, are a sustained polemic against the worship of any created being, whether sun or moon or stars, whether man or beast or the work of men’s hands, In an almost prophetic passage this writer makes the proud boast that his race were destined to be the teachers of true reli- gion to the whole of the civilized world; and there is an aspect of the Jewish monotheistic missionary effort of the first century, of which we may take Paul or Philo as the coryphzi, which is in striking contrast with the general teaching of the Christian

General Preface. 9

Church in later ages. Neither Paul nor Philo believed in the ancient gods, in

Apollo and Artemis, and in the rest. Gonttactiot These gods were to their minds evi anaes mere names, figments of the heathen _ Christians. imagination, mythoplasms, as Philo

calls them; powerless for good or for evil, just because they were lifeless and spiritless inventions, because they were nothing. Philo was inclined to regard the gods and goddesses as personifications of the elements; so Here or Juno, he tells us, is derived from the word air, and Demeter is a name given to the earth, because the earth is the mother of all. These explanations he borrowed from contempor- ary Stoics like Cornutus, who were apologising fora worn out mythology. But Philo was not apologising, and merely wished to explain and account for the heathen beliefs as the outcome of an allegorising process akin to poetical meta- phor. Between Paul or Philo and the earliest of the Christian Apologists there is however a change of attitude. The old gods were nothing but so much lifeless wood and stone in the estimation of Paul, and therefore he had no objection to his converts eating meats which had been offered to idols. It made no difference in the meats that a senseless form of words had been pronounced over them, and therefore the Christian might partake of them without misgiving. How different is the atti- tude of Justin Martyr, and of the entire Church for centuries after. We are apt to suppose that con- version to the religion of Christ signified and

10 Monuments of Early Christianity.

brought with it a disbelief in the gods of pagan- ism. Nothing could be further Lingering from the truth. The convert con- τ eer tinued to believe in the gods as Christian —_— firmly as before ; the only difference Apologists and saints. Was that he now came to regard them,.not as benevolent beings, but as malevolent ones. They were the fallen angels, ministers of Satan lying in wait to destroy men, and often for that end taking up their abode in, and disguising their natural foulness under the most beautiful statues. Such was the nemesis which in the decadence of Greek thought overtook the faith and art of Phidias and Scopas. It is ever the same with a new religion. The gods of one age become the devils of the next; and it is to the credit of the northern nations of Europe, that they suc- ceeded in metamorphosing their old gods into elves and fairies, instead of into malevolent demons. Intellectually, then, the early Christians were but a very short remove from the paganism they de- nounced; and very soon after the age of Paul the eating of meats offered to idols became the worst form of apostasy. It was not the appearance of making a concession to heathenism which made the act so heinous; rather the consecration to idols polluted the food in itself in a mysterious way analogous to, but the inverse of, the consecration of the elements in the Christian Eucharist. It was as it were transubstantiation turned upside down ; and undoubtedly the belief in the mystical trans- formation of the bread and wine into the body

General Preface. II

and blood of Christ grew up, quite naturally, with the belief that the evil demons communicated in some hidden way their own evil properties to the meats offered to them. The two beliefs were closely akin, if not both equally remote from the monotheistic rationalism of the Jew Paul. Evil demons,” says Justin Martyr, Apol, 55, ‘in the remote past disguised themselves and com- mitted adultery with women, and ruined children, and wielded terrors over men, so that those who did not take right account of such things were terrified and were carried away by fear ; and not knowing that they were wicked demons, gave them the titles of gods, and gave to each of them the particular name that each of the demons chose to assume.” In the same way Augustine in the Ye Crvitate Pez, bk, ch. 31, tells Us τὸ the gods of the ancient Romans were Woxiz Demones. We are thus prepared to find the Christian saints resorting to exorcism against the gods of the heathen. The Holy Pancrazio, we read, came to Taormena in Sicily, and went into a temple, where they worshipped the god Falkon. The saint stood facing the image and said: “Ὁ Falko, deaf and dumb and blind brute, who art thou, and what doest thou here ? How many years hath thou lived here, cajoling the creatures of my God, and having offerings made to thee, thou foul and abominable idol of a devil?” And the devil who was dwelling in the idol said ; ‘“‘ Two hundred and sixty years have I lived here, and have re- ceived sacrifices and offerings from the city of

15 Monuments of Early Christrantty.

Taormena, each year three unblemished children and seventy and three fat and beauteous oxen and swine and many lambs.” Then the Holy Pan- crazio cried out and said: “1 adjure you, foul devils, in the name of our crucified Messiah our God, gather ye all hither and lift the deaf and dumb idol of Falkon from the temple and cast it into the sea, thirty stades distant from the shore, and engulf yourselves along with it in the bottom-most depths.” So again in Trebizond, at the end of the the third century, the evil spirit, which dwelt in the idol, cried out at the approach of the Saint Fugenius and said: ‘“Eugenius, why dost thou persecute us, and drive us away from our home; for we are not gods but miserable demons, and we beheld the beauty of these images and were filled with desire and dwelt inthem. And now we pray thee, drive us not out from this place, thou holy one of God.” But the saint was without mercy, and commanded them to retire into an uninhabited mountain in the Caucasus. The demons thus ousted from their images were Dia, and Apollo, and Artemis.!

3. This leads us in natural sequence to another

* Minucius Felix, the first of the Latin Apologists had the same belief (ch. 27): Isti igitur impuri spiritus [demones], ut ostensum magis et philosophis [et a Platone], sub statuis et imaginibus consecratis delitescunt et adflatu suo auctoritatem quasi presentis numinis consequuntur, dum inseruntur interim uatibus, cum fanis inmorantur, dum nonnumquam extorum fibras animant, auium uolatus gubernant, sortes regunt, oracula efficiunt falsis plurimis inuoluentes pauca uera. A more comprehensive confession by a Christian of his faith in the heathen gods and goddesses cannot be conceived of.

General Preface. 1

general characteristic of the early Christians, name- ly, their Iconoclasm. The obvious

way of scotching a foul demon was Destruction

ἜΣ ; by saints of to smash his idols; and we find that re,

an enormous number of martyrs works of art. earned their crown in this manner,

especially in the third century, when their rapidly increasing numbers rendered them bolder and more ready to make a display of their intolerance. Sometimes the good sense or the worldly prudence of the Church intervened to set limits to so favourite a way of courting martyrdom ; and at the Synod of Elvira, c. A.D. 305, a canon, was passed, declaring the practice to be one not met with in the gospel nor recorded of any of the apostles, and denying to those who in future resorted to it the honours of martyrdom. But in spite of this, the most popular of the saints were those who had resorted to such violence and earned their death by it; and as soon as Christianity fairly got the upper hand in the fourth century, the wrecking of temples and the smashing of the idols of the demons became a most popular amusement with which to grace a Christian festival. As we turn over the pages of the martyro- logies, we wonder that any ancient statues at all escaped those senseless outbursts of zealotry. In India at the present day we meet with the same sort of zeal in the Mahommedan population. The Hindoos delight to embellish the walls of their temples with scenes drawn from their copious mythology; anda Mahommedan, as he passes by at dusk, seldom neglects the opportunity of poking

14 Monuments of Early Chrestranzty.

out the eye of a favourite divinity with the point of his walking-stick.

4. In very many martyrdoms the saint is made to recite his creed ; and we find on the whole that nee tle wereeds, iven in. .3.cts: %Ol ἀπὲ

Creed in second century are simpler than

eee hose given in third century Acts. Thus in the Acts of Apollonius, Christ is merely said to have been the Word of God, made man in Judea, where He taught all goodness to men, and was crucified. No mention is here made of His resurrection or of His miraculous birth. As Apollonius was familiar with Paul’s epistles, the omission of the resurrection from his creed must be accidental. But the absence from such profes- sions of faith of references to the miraculous birth from a virgin is so frequent, that we may infer that it was not universally received among Christ- ians of the second century ; as, indeed, we know from Justin Martyr, that it was not. Sometimes we read simply that the Christ was born into the world in an ineffable manner; e.g. in the Acts of even so late a saint as Demetrius of Thessalonica. In the third century the references to the Virgin Mary become fairly common, though no early martyr ever invoked her aid. Their prayers were ever addressed to Jesus the Messiah. Towards the end of the third century, and not before, do we meet in genuine Acts with the doctrine of the Trinity in Unity. Before that epoch the saints were content with the simpler formula of God the Father, and of His Son Jesus Christ.

General Preface. 15

5. It is the fashion in the present day, especi- ally with our court divines, to pretend that the teaching of hell-fire and of eternal

: . . All the saints torture therein, is no essential or oelievedinthe original part of Christianity. EUW Gs err eens dip but cursorily into the Acta Sanctorum we are forced to come to a very different conclusion. Every saint was sure that apostasy would cause him to be cast after his death into the eternal fires of hell, and it was as a means of escape from the terrible destiny which threatened all men, that Christian baptism recom- mended itself to most converts. For the belief was not born with Christianity, nor {πε τς was it distinctively Jewish. A few ees ne years before the birth of Christ we se have the poet Lucretius denouncing the popular religion for the reason that it affrighted its votaries with such teaching :—

‘“Tantum religio potuit suadere malorum.

Nunc ratio nulla est restandi, nulla facultas “Eternas quoniam poenas in morte timendumst.”

In Vergil we have the same note :-—

“Felix qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas, Atque metus omnes et inexorabile fatum Subiecit pedibus, strepitumque Acherontis avari. The same is the burthen of Plutarch’s tract upon superstition. One brief pas- : : Plutarch’s sage 1s enough—Morala, p. 166, f.: bahay —‘ Tear not away the superstitious man from his temples; for there is he chastised,

[6 Monuments of Early Christianity.

there he meets with his punishment. Why waste words. For all men death is the end of life ; but of superstition ’tis not the end; for it overleaps the limits and transcends our life, and lengthens out its terrors beyond this world. It attaches to death a dream of immortal evils; and just when we are ceasing to toil and sorrow here, it pretends that we are beginning with anguish that will never cease. Wide open stand the deep gates of hell that they fable, and there stretches a vista of rivers of fire and stygian cliffs; and all is canopied with a darkness {|| of fantasins, OL spectres mowing at us with terrible faces, and uttering pitiful cries.” The Christians, to their eternal shame, availed themselves eagerly of an infirmity of the human mind which pagan philoso- phers had deplored. And so we find the first of the Latin fathers, Minucius Felix, contemplating with satisfaction the fate in store for the heathen and their gods (ch. 35): “εἴ tamen admonentur homines doctissimorum libris et carminibus szpius am- bientis drderis.. τες et idéo .apud ees etiam rex [uppiter per torrentes ripas et atrem uoraginem urat religiose; destinatam enim sibi cum suis cultoribus pcenam prescius perhorrescit. Nec tormentis aut modus ullus aut terminus. _ Illic sapiens ignis membra urit et reficit, carpit et nutrit. Sicut ignes fulminum corpora tangunt nec absumunt, sicut ignes Attnei et Vesuuil et ar- dentium ubique terrarum flagrant nec erogantur : ita poenale illud incendium non damnis ardentium

Minucius Felix.

General Preface. 17

pascitur, sed inexesa corporum laceratione nutritur. Eos autem merito torqueri, qui deum nesciunt, ut impios, ut iniustos, nisi profanus nemo deliberat, cum parentem omnium et omnium dominum non minoris sceleris sit ignorare quam lzdere.” Here we have the medieval hell. But we make a mistake, if we think that this awful shadow was not cast across the human mind long before the birth of Christianity. On the contrary, it is a survival from the most primitive stage of our intellectual and moral development. The mys- teries of the old Greek and Roman worlds were intended as modes of propitiation ee ees and atonement, by which to escape jast of the θεοὶ from these all-besetting terrors, and λυτηρίοι of . paganism, Jesus the Messiah, was the last and the best of the λυτήριοι θεοὶ, of the redeeming gods. In the dread of death and in the belief in the eternal fire of hell, which pervaded men’s minds, a few philosophers excepted, ΠΝ, Christianity had a potnt αἱ apput, share pei without availing itself of which it crum of early : Christianity. would not have made a single step towards the conquest of men’s minds. Its ultimate prevalence over other forms of initiation was chiefly due to the superior speculative truth of its monotheistic conception of the world, inherited from the parent Judaism, and rendered intelligible to the masses by the outward and parallel spec- tacle, which the Roman empire presented to their eyes, of the entire world brought under the sway of a single will. And in this last connection it ς

18 Monuments of Early Christianity.

may be no mere fancy to say that the Christian conception of the relation of the Son to the Father was, if not suggested, at any rate brought home to the ordinary Christian imagination, by the familiar spectacle of the absolute Cesar adopting another as his son, to sit at his right hand and be co-equal with him in counsel and supreme power. 6. Another point strikes us in reading the Acts of the Saints. It is the extent to which there gathered round the personality of a Older myths : : Ε ἘΣ οὐοὴ favourite martyr the stories which round the had been believed of the demigods early saints. ᾿ and heroes of an earlier age. Thus Callistratus is borne to the shore by dolphins, like Amphion; and saints innumerable began their careers by destroying a dragon, like Perseus, or like Hercules, a voracious lion, or like Theseus, a destructive bull. And the predicates of one ancient god attached themselves to one saint and of another to asecond. Thus the mariners of Pontus prayed to Phocas as of old time they had prayed to Poseidon. ‘‘ Mutato nomine de te fabula nar- ratur.” A rich harvest awaits any student of folk- lore who approaches the legends of the saints from this point of view. 7. We should err, if we ascribed to the Christ- ians of the first three centuries as a regular and every-day characteristic, that de- How far early Christians. tachment from the interests of this renounced world, that readiness to abandon it, the world. which, nevertheless, they so fre- quently displayed in seasons of persecution. We

General Preface. 19

cannot suppose that in ordinary times the Chris- tians of the second and third centuries were more ready to cast off the ties of family and forego the comforts of life than were the unconverted. And probably they interpreted the Gospel precepts, “Let the dead bury the dead,” and ‘‘ Who is My mother ? and who are my brethren ?” in the same sense in which we interpret them, namely, as advice not so much to neglect the ties with which nature has surrounded us, as to draw closer the ties of charity, which should link us with all about us. Such precepts of course could not otherwise than occur to martyrs, when the ties of blood seemed to stand in the way of the heavenly re- wards which they believed to await those who, rather than recant, suffered tortures and death. We shall see, for instance, that Polyeuctes casts these precepts in the teeth of his father-in-law in a manner which seems almost brutal. So Perpetua, the mother of a new-born babe, in the excess of her devotion to the cause, is ready to cast to the winds the instincts of maternity. Butin many such cases we must take into account that the bodily feelings of the saint had been racked with tortures before they were brought to utter such sentiments. None of our documents here translated, with the exception perhaps of the Acts, Π of Thekla, go back to the very Jesus ana first stage of Christianity. In those arate. earliest times the followers of end ofworld Jesus the Messiah, as it is now ~~ rece commonly admitted by all schools of critics, be-

20 Monuments of Early Christianity.

lieved that their Prophet was going to return and begin almost at once the millennium or king- dom of heaven upon earth. The kingdom was at hand, and no man knew when the heavenly Bridegroom might appear with His angels... ine most pressing necessity was therefore to repent. Call there was none to marry and beget children, or to take thought for the morrow and lay up the riches that spoil. How hardly should they that had riches enter into the kingdom of heaven. Jesus said, “Verily I say unto you, there is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or children, or lands for My sake, and for the gospel’s sake, but he shall receive a hundredfold, now in this time, houses and brethren, and sisters and mothers, and children and lands, with perse- cutions; and in the age to come eternal 116..." Nor it would seem were there wanting those who already, in the age contemporary with Christ, and, indeed, long before, had responded to such a summons as this, though from

The same is . also met with the lips of other unknown prophets. ay Philo’s Witness the Therapeute, of whom

erapeute. : τὰ

Philo has left a description at the very beginning of the Christian era, attesting moreover that they were spread all over the in- habited world. These men and women, he says, give up their goods, and flee without looking back, leaving their brethren, their children, their wives, their parents, their throng of relatives and of

1 See especially Matt. xvi., 27, 28 ; and xix. 27-29.

General Preface. 21

faithful friends, their native lands in which they were bred and born. And why? In order that they might retire into the desert, and there living, men and women together, yet in perfect chastity, devote themselves to prayer and praise, to watch- ing and fasting, and perpetual contemplation of God, and of His powersand goodness. In remote regions generations passed away before the Christians could resign their dream, and give up the old hope that the kingdom of God upon earth was really at hand. As late as the beginning of the second century we have such allusions as the following (Meu entdeckte vierte Buch des Daniel Commentars von F{ippolytus. Dr. Ed. Bratke. Bonn, 1891, p. 15, 1. 9) :—

“For I will narrate what happened not long ago in Syria. A certain bishop (προεστώς) of the Church, being too little versed in the ree ee divine scriptures, and because he in Syria in the also neglected to follow the voice of 27% °entUTy, the Lord, went astray and led others astray also.

He persuaded many of the brethren with their wives and children to go out into the wilderness to meet the Christ; and they went wandering in the mountains and wastes, there losing their way ; and the end was that all but a few were apprehended as robbers, and would have been executed by the hegemdn, had it not been that his wife was a believer, and that in response to her entreaties he put a stop to proceedings, to prevent a persecution arising because of them.

The millen- nial belief

22 Monuments of Early Christianity.

What folly was it and want of sound instruction that induced them to seek the Christ in the wil- derness; just as in the time of Elijah the prophet, the sons of the prophets looked among the moun- tains for Elijah, who had been taken up into heaven, for the space of three days! “And in the same way there was another in Pontus, who was, like the former, president (zpoe- στώς) of the Church, a prudent man eae and lowly-minded ; yet as he failed to read, mark, and understand the scriptures in sound manner, he was more given to trust to the visions which he himself saw than to them. For he fell first into one, and then a second, and then a third dream, and at last began to proclaim to the brethren that he knew this and that as a prophet knows, and that this and that was about to come to pass. And they listened to his preaching, to the effect that the day of the Lord is imminent (2 Thess. ii. 2), and with weep- ings and lamentations they prayed to the Lord night and day, having before their eyes the ap- proaching day of judgment. And he brought the brethren to such a pitch of fear and trembling, that they abandoned their lands and fields, letting them become waste, and sold, the most of them, their possessions. But he told them thus: Unless it happen as I have told you, then believe ye not any more in the scriptures, but let each of you do as he pleases. So they went on expecting the coming event, and when nothing that he told them came about, he was himself put to shame as having

General Preface. 23

lied ; but the scriptures turned out to be true after 41}; while the brethren were found to be cast on a rock of offence. So that after that the virgins married, and the men went their way to till their fields. But those who had recklessly sold their properties, were found afterwards asking to have them back again. This is what happens to silly and light-headed people, who instead of attending strictly to the scriptures, prefer to obey the tra- ditions of men and their own vagaries and their own dreams and mythologies and old wives’ tales.” Yet it was certainly the genuine teaching of Jesus which misled these poor people. Ye err,’ He had said to those who asked Him to which of her seven ἘΠ" husbands a woman would in the marriage as resurrection belong, ‘‘ because ye serge ae

with resurrec- know not the scriptures nor the tionand the

power of God. For in the resurrec- eee ae tion they neither marry nor are given

in marriage, but are as angels of God in heaven.” So Matthew xxii. 29; but in Luke the precept that none but the unmarried can inherit the kingdom of heaven is stated without reserve ; for in answer to the same question we read that Jesus said: ‘‘ The children of this age marry and are given in marriage ; but ¢hey that are deemed worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given im marriage. For they can no longer die. For they are equal to angels, and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.” That is to say,

24 Monuments of Early Christianity.

the question, to which husband the woman would belong was quite beside the point, seeing that any marriage whatever was an absolute bar to entrance into that new age and life, which He (Jesus) was about to inaugurate “before ¢hzs generation shall pass away.” Similar is the teaching ascribed to S. Paul in the Acts of Paul and Thekla, especially in chap. xii. In the same spirit Jesus refers (Matt. xix. 12) to “the eunuchs who had made themselves eunuchs because of the kingdom of heaven.” For these men had by their self-mutilation raised themselves above all Cmptition 10 marry.” © St. Paul Thesame was thus true to the teaching of spirit obser- 5 vable in Paul, Jesus when he dissuaded Thekla and others from marriage. In the kingdom of Christ “there can be no male and

1 So in Clem. Rom., Ep. ii. 12, we read that the Lord on being asked when His kingdom should come, answered, When the two shall be one, and that which is without as that which is within, and the male with the female neither male nor female. Justin Martyr, the father of Christian apologists, quotes the precept given by Jesus in Matthew xix. 12 with particular approval in his Apology, I. chap. xv. ; and in chap. xxix. of the same treatise he relates how a Christian, libellum obtulit Alexandriz Felici