Obrázky na stránke

Change in the Church of Jerusalem.

133 These severe measures of vengeance against the Jews produced an important change in the circumstances of the Christian Church in Palestine. From the conquest of Jerusalem by Titus in the last century, the Jewish Christian Church of Jerusalem, consisting of disciples who followed, as far as they could, the ancient law of Moses, had been settled at the adjacent town of Pella,* and their see had been presided over by fifteen Bishops in succession all of the pure Jewish race. † The atrocities of this last war seem to have made an irreparable breach between the Jew and the Christian. The community of Christians of pure Jewish descent now abandoned the observance of the Law, elected Marcus, a Gentile, to be their bishop, and returned to establish their Church in the new Gentile city at Jerusalem. Henceforward the Judaizing section of their body, who refused to abandon the Law and unite themselves with the Gentiles, were regarded as schismatics; and the breach between these two sections of the Christians became gradually wider, till these Judaizers, from schismatics, were soon regarded as altogether heretical. They continued for a time, under the name of Ebionites, to maintain themselves distinct both from the Church and from Judaism; and it was not till the fourth century that they were absorbed into the great mass either of the Christians on the one hand, or on the other of their Jewish brethren. The close then of this great struggle in the reign of Hadrian, is remarkable in the history of Christianity, as having destroyed the peculiar Jewish character of the ancient mother Church at Jerusalem. The persecution of the Christians by Barchobeb, and the re-establishment of the Church in Jerusalem under a Gentile Bishop, are as undoubted facts in the regular history of Hadrian's reign, as the erection of any of his great architectural structures — his journeys from place to place throughout his dominions—the constitutional changes which he accomplished in the machinery of government, or the edicts by which he guided the procedure of future emperors.

The reign of Antoninus Pius, who succeeded Hadrian in 138 A.D., is almost a blank. It is a common remark that the happiest reigns are often those which afford fewest materials for history. But whatever were the events of the twenty-three years of Antoninus Pius, we have no good historical account of them. There is, however, no doubt as to the excellence of the

* Gibbon's Decline and Fall, vol. ii. ch. xv. p. 277. London, 1820. + Euseb. H. E., I. iv. c. v.

Vide Niebuhr's Lectures. Lecture lxx. p. 275. Niebuhr points out that the 60th book of Dion Cassius, which treated of this period, was early lost.

Emperor's character, and he seems to have treated the Christians with the same mildness as his predecessor. “During a reign,” says Milman,“ “ in which human life assumed a value and a sanctity before unknown, in which the hallowed person of a senator was not once violated even by the stern hand of justice, under an Emperor who professed and practised the maxim of Scipio, that he had rather save the life of a single citizen than cause the death of a thousand enemies, who considered the subjects of the Empire as one family, of which himself was the parent, even religious zeal would be rebuked and overawed ; and the provincial governments, which too often reflected the fierce passions and violent barbarities of the throne, would now in turn image back the calm and placid serenity of the imperial tribunal."

The quiet habits of Antoninus Pius offer a marked contrast to the restlessness of his predecessor ; but it was not necessary that he should travel through his extensive dominions to become aware of the important position now everywhere assumed by the Christian church. There had been from the very first a flourishing community of disciples in Rome itself, which could not now escape the observation of the Emperor. It was probably in the year 151 that Justin Martyr wrote his first defence of Christianity addressed to Antoninus Pius; and we cannot suppose that so mild

and just a prince refused to listen when solemnly invoked. The name of the Emperor stands in the dedication of this venerable work of Justin, and has thus been associated ever since in the minds of Christians, with one of the earliest and most valuable remains of the age which followed immediately after the death of the apostles. We cannot say with any distinctness what effect this Apology produced upon the Emperor's mind; but there is no doubt that he issued rescripts forbidding the persecution of Christians.f

Various public calamities had, it appears, occurred, a famine, an inundation of the Tiber, earthquakes in Asia Minor and in the Island of Rhodes, and fires in several places. These, as usual, were regarded by the fanatical multitude as symptoms of the anger of the gods, and cries were raised demanding the blood of Christians. The Emperor wrote to various states in Greece, and to the Greeks generally, strictly forbidding any violent proceedings.

Antoninus Pius died in August 161, A.D., and this brings us back to the beginning of the period which we first examined,


Substance of Christian Teaching.


the reign of the second Antonine. It has been now shewn that the greatness to which the Christian church was found to have risen in that reign, and which made it then feared and detested by the votaries of heathenism as a formidable rival, threatening the very existence of the false religion they upheld,—to check which both prince and people engaged in a course of inhuman persecution—was not the growth of the latter part of the second century. He then who would learn how the church grew, is driven back of necessity to the history and preaching of the apostles. It is in the period of their lifetime alone that the causes are to be found working to which it owed its greatness; and when an impartial reasoner examines these causes, he will soon be driven to confess that they are of such a nature as proclaim the Christian religion to have come direct from heaven.

It may be noted, in conclusion, that the first half of the second century produced some very important Christian writers. Hegesippus, the historian of the church, flourished in the reign of Antoninus Pius. His works have perished, but he supplied abundant materials, of which we have the use in the works of others.* Eusebius states, that much of the early part of his own history rests on his authority. Two works of this period have come down to us entire ; the Shepherd of Hermas, and the First Apology of Justin Martyr, (for his Second Apology, and his Dialogue with Trypho the Jew, were written later in his life.) This first Apology well illustrates how completely the Christianity of those early days was the very same system of doctrine based on the facts of our Lord's history, on which Christians have rested their hopes of salvation ever since. Whoever takes the trouble to read this defence of Justin, will find it full of explicit statements to this effect.

Justin in this Apology professes his belief in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord, who, being the eternal Word of God, was made man for our sakes, 1—whose coming to earth had been foretold by Isaiah, and David, and all the prophets,ll-whose birth was announced to his virgin mother by an angel of God, when he was conceived in her of the Holy Ghost,—who was born in Bethlehem-suffered under Pontius Pilate and was crucified,—who rose again from the dead on the third dayconversed after his resurrection with his disciples—commanded them to preach the gospel to all nations—and then went up into heaven,—whose teaching of a wonderfully pure morality, Justin quotes at length from the Sermon on the Mount, and who, he says, uttered many prophecies which were being fulfilled before men's eyes in those days, and which were a guarantee that he who spoke them came from God—who will finally take vengeance on all spirits of evil. Justin also continually declares his belief in the Holy Spirit—he tells how all the faithful of the church, however they may have hated one another in their unconverted state, are united in a communion or fellowship of holy love, and deeds of charity and prayer,-he speaks often of the promises of forgiveness of sins in Jesus Christ, and declares his hope of a blessed resurrection* in the body to a life everlasting.

* Euseb. H. E., 1. iv. c. 8. C. 5.

+ Cf. Clinton, F. R. Ann. 151.

C, 32, 33, 42, 54.

Thus Justin almost goes through and amplifies what we call the Apostles' Creed. The Christianity which was handed on from the age of St. John and that of his immediate successors—which boldly demanded in this Apology that the Roman Emperor, and Senate, and the whole people, should investigate its claims—which we find thus early spread through every quarter of the vast Roman Empire, in spite of all the efforts of Jews and heathens to oppose it—was certainly in all essential points of its worship, doctrine, and rules of practice, the very same by which we hold fast to the present hour.

* C. 18.

| Cf. beginning of the Apology, c. i.


The Art of Education.


ART. V.–1. Henry Pestalozzi, and his Plan of Education; being

an Account of his Life and Writings. By E. BIBER, Ph. D.

London, 1831. 2. Language as a means of Mental Culture and International

Communication; or a Manual of the Teacher and the Learner of Languages. By C. MARCEL, Knt. Leg. Hon., French

Consul. 2 vols. London, 1853. 3. Education Reform, fc. By THOMAS WYSE, Esq., M.P.

London, 1836 4. Principles of Elementary Teaching, &c. By JAMES PILLANS,

F.R.S.E. London, 1828. 5. Rudimentary Art-Instruction-Free-Hand Outline. Part I.

By John BELL, Sculptor. London, 1852.

THERE cannot fail to be a relationship between the successive systems of education, and the successive social states with which they have co-existed. Having a common origin in the national mind, the institutions of each epoch, whatever be their special functions, must have a family likeness. It was natural when men received their creed and its interpretations from an infallible authority deigning no explanations, that the teaching of children should be purely dogmatic. Whilst “ believe and ask no questions” was the maxim of the Church, it was fitly the maxim of the school. Conversely, now that Protestantism has established for adults a right of private judgment—has introduced the practice of appealing to reason—we may comprehend the change that has made the instruction of the young a process of explanation addressed to the understanding: Along with political despotism, stern in its commands, ruling, by force of terror, visiting trifling crimes with death, and implacable in its vengeance on the disloyal, there necessarily grew up an academic discipline similarly harsh—a discipline of multiplied injunctions and blows for every breach of them—a discipline of unlimited autocracy upheld by rods, and ferules, and the black-hole. On the other hand, the increase of political liberty, the abolition of laws restricting individual action, and the amelioration of the criininal code, have been accompanied by a kindred progress towards non-coercive education; the pupil is hampered by fewer restraints, and other means than punishments are used to govern him. In those ascetic days when men, acting on the greatest misery principle, held that the more gratifications they denied themselves, the more virtuous they were, it was to be expected that they should regard that as the best education which most

« PredošláPokračovať »