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cause he was resigning all the present and visible pleasures and goods of life for the sake of a future unseen good. But his act likewise tended to overthrow the very basis of heathenism. For it was proclaiming, by the sacrifice of all which the heathen held dear, that this heathenism was an utter mistake. His act said that man had not only a body and a mind, with their several needs and pleasures which claimed satisfaction in the earthly and visible life, but that he was the creature of a God who had made him for a higher end, and subordinated to that end both body and mind, with all their needs and all their enjoyments. Thus the true essence of heathenism consisted in cutting off man from his Maker, in prescinding the creature from the Creator; in other words, in giving to man a merely natural end to be worked out and accomplished in this life: and its force consisted in this idea being interlaced with all the habits of man from morning to night, and from the cradle to the grave. Society was formed upon it, and it was the secret thought of that empire into whose shape Julius and Augustus turned the old Roman life, and which, by Diocletian's time, had run out to its last results.
Now not merely the death of Christians in the last crowning act of martyrdom, but their whole life and worship were a protest against th Their very outward mark was the denial of it in the most formal manner. For the mark of the Christian was the perpetual sign of the cross upon the forehead and breast,—an unceasing reminder to themselves and others of the act which struck at the heart of this heathenism. They thus showed themselves to be the disciples of One who, as far as this life was concerned, had undergone the most extreme humiliation and the most utter defeat. But by and in the act of suffering that humiliation and seeming defeat, He had placed the Creator of man in the new relation of Redeemer, and had become the Head and Father of a new race to be specially propagated from His divine Person. As the Father, such should be the children; as the Head of the race, such His descendants. And so this race of Christians, instead of eagerly desiring honour, pleasure, and wealth, the satisfaction of the mind and body, and the gratification of their several affections, looked with fear and distrust upon these things, as dangerous to the higher life of their spiritual propagation. From the beginning the acquisition of any one or all of these things could never be the end of a Christian's life. That which expresses the dominion of these things in one word, worldliness, he recognised from the beginning as his greatest enemy. For several generations outward persecution of itself kept him in the continual practice of such principles. For he was liable to be stript of all these things by the mere profession of Christianity. But even in the times of persecution Christians were seen to choose poverty instead of wealth, the unmarried state instead of the married; and this not for the reason which kept so many heathens in celibacy, that they might have more freely lawless enjoyments, but out of deliberate preference for the virgin state. They were seen to avoid positions of preëminence and rule with as much anxiety as others sought them; to live in privacy and great simplicity of food and dwelling; and further, to retire into deserts and lonely places, in order to carry out more uninterruptedly the worship of the unseen God, and their meditations upon an unseen future world. The root of all this was, that having the model of their Master impressed upon their whole character, they subordinated body and mind alike, the whole nature of man, to a superior supernatural end. This character of theirs, which is asceticism, is the contradictory of worldliness, and it made up the Christian character just as worldliness made up the heathen. It made up the Christian cha. racter, for it is the simply copying of the life and death of Christ, according to every man's several inward capabilities of spirit, and according to his proper position in the outward world. The copy would be more or less perfect with almost infinite degrees and shadings; but if the resemblance to the divine Original glowed in apostles, martyrs, confessors, and virgin saints, it was also perceptible in the conflict which the weakest member of the Church underwent in order to maintain his
daily life as a Christian. And as this conflict is perpetual, so the quality requisite to maintain it must be perpetual in the Christian: and the circumstances of his life which insure this conflict vary as little as the divine Model whom in his degree he imitates.
There is another quality which was introduced by Christianity, and though distinct from asceticism or unworldliness, closely connected with it. If the one is the flower, the other may be termed the aroma breathing from it. The ancient Greeks and Romans, living for this world, lived an outward life; their tastes and enjoyments were external; their time spent in public. Their very cities bore witness to this, in that their magnificence in portico, agora, theatre, temple, circus, was external, made for those who lived in the open air and together. Family life was rudimental and scarcely developed; political and social life absorbed almost the whole man. Thus their literature, the reflex of their thought, is external. The soul of man, with all its infinite aspirations, seems not to exist for them. It is an unknown quantity which they do not come
What interests the citizen or the statesman, what concerns the various arts and employ. ments of life, is there; but little which interests the man. They deal with the outside of life, not with its inside. That which they lived for, they felt acutely and expressed vividly; but they lived for the outward relations of the world. On the con
trary, the Christian's habitual thought was to consider these outward relations as the veil of the in ward, present things as the path to future. “Every strange land,” said the author quoted above, “is a country to them, and every country a strange land.” “They dwell on the earth, but their citizenship is in heaven.” Such a habit of mind drew the Christian from the outward to the inward ; from the transitory to the eternal. He had something in him which he knew to be eternal; the whole of his consciousness was coloured by that thought. The perfecting that which in him was eternal was his work, while these outward relations of life were the circumstances in the midst of which this work was to be done. Such a thought dwelling in a man makes him do and say and write every thing in a different way from what another who had it not would do, say, or write it. If any one will read a passage of a treatise of Cicero or one of his letters, or a page of Livy or Tacitus, and then read a page of St. Augustine's treatise on the City of God or of his Confessions, he will feel the force of what I say. This inwardness of character then, if we may so call it, attended upon unworldliness; was its effluence. And so great was its force, that it may be said to have thoroughly impregnated the modern mind. It constitutes a generic difference between heathen and Christian literature, taken in the mass; and even writers in no respect Christian in their lives and sentiments are far more inward