General Characteristics of the Period.--The Church spread rapidly through the more accessible parts of the Roman Empire, and at the close of this period was firmly established in Rome, Athens, Alexandria, Antioch, Lyons, Ephesus, and Edessa. While Christianity won a great number of converts among the pagans, the Jews opposed it with increasing hostility, and the second destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 135 widened the division between Christianity and Judaism. The Gentile Christians, after a severe struggle, were successful in repressing the teaching of the Gnostics, or 'men of knowledge' who attempted to combine Christianity with pagan mythology and pagan philosophy. This struggle caused more stress to be laid upon certain particular aspects of Christian truths and also taught the Christians to make use of various theological phrases which had been used in a pagan sense by the Gnostics. The Church consequently began to fight paganism with some of its own weapons.

The Christians throughout assumed that the sayings of the Lord, the traditions derived from the apostles, and the Jewish scriptures were the ultimate authority in questions of doctrine. This threefold authority was unique and inalienable. The manner in which it was to be interpreted in order to meet present wants was one of the great problems which the Church of this period faced and answered. The answer was given by insisting upon three great tests of truth.

1. The teaching of the apostles was summed up in a 32 creed which was taught to every candidate for Christian baptism. A fixed baptismal creed, similar to our present Apostles' Creed, was certainly in use at Rome about A.D. 140, and was probably in use at the beginning of that century. The Church in Asia Minor used a similar creed. The various Churches were convinced that their creeds contained an implicit refutation of heresy.

2. A selection of genuine Christian writings was made, and the writings thus selected were named the 'New Testament,' the Jewish scriptures being called the 'Old Testament.' The four Gospels were set apart from all others, and to these Gospels various collections of apostolic writings were added. Books which did not agree with the tradition of the Church were excluded from the New Testament.

3. The bishop, as the chief office-bearer of each Christian community, was required to testify to the true apostolical tradition preserved in his Church and handed down from the days when that Church was founded. Great stress was therefore laid upon the 'apostolical succession' of the bishops and clergy. The bishops were the custodians of the truth by virtue of that gift which they received from God with the laying on of hands.

Another characteristic of this period is to be found in the Apologies which were written by Christians in order to defend the doctrines and the morals of the Christian Church. The oldest of which we possess clear knowledge were written in A.D. 125. Some description of the theology of the Apologists will be given in the next chapter. Their writings contain a most valuable account of the popular paganism of the second century, and undoubtedly showed where it was most vulnerable.

Judaistic Christianity.--After the writings contained in the New Testament, the most important Jewish Christian document is the Didache, or 'Teaching of the Twelve Apostles,' published to the modern world in 1883. It is a church-manual belonging to a section of the primitive Church. It was probably written in Palestine before A.D. 100. It is marked by an archaic simplicity and by a conception of Christianity which is 33 less wide and deep than that contained in any book of the New Testament. One striking proof of an early date is the fact that side by side with a localised ministry there exists an order of itinerant prophets as in Eph. iv. 11, 1 Cor. xii. 28.

Christ is called there the Son of God and the God of David and also the Servant or Child of God. In the baptismal formula we find God represented as 'the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.' Through Christ we receive life, knowledge, faith, and immortality. Directions are given for the celebration of the Eucharist, 'a spiritual food and drink,' given to us through God's Child. The 'Church' is mentioned and schism condemned. Fasting on the fourth and the sixth day of the week is commanded. The 'world-deceiver' or Antichrist is expected to appear 'as a son of God,' and the tone of certain passages suggests that the end of the world is thought to be not far distant. The 'Kingdom' of God is regarded as a future state into which the Church is to be gathered.

During the lifetime of the apostles the tendency to deliberately Judaise the Church was kept in check, but when they were all dead, a number of Hebrew Christians refused to amalgamate with Gentile Christianity. Their history is involved in much obscurity, but it appears most probable that these Judaising Christians left the Church after the death of Symeon, bishop of Jerusalem, about A.D. 104. The first clear account of these sectaries is given by Justin Martyr, who wrote between A.D. 150 and A.D. 160. He describes a sect of Judaising Christians who regard the observance of the law of Moses as necessary to salvation, and hold no fellowship with Gentile Christians. This sect appears to be identical with a party which, Justin says, confesses that Jesus was the Messiah, but believes that He was only human and not divine. Justin describes other Jewish Christians who are circumcised and keep the law of Moses, but do not regard the law as binding on Gentile Christians. It is almost certain that the latter party believed in the divinity of Christ.

These Jewish Christians, who were willing to live 34 with Gentiles and believed that Jesus was truly divine, represented the Christianity of St. James and his friends. They appear to have called themselves Nazarenes. The other Jewish Christians, who held opinions similar to modern Unitarianism, were called Ebionaeans or Ebionites, i.e. 'the poor.' Both the names Ebionite and Nazarene date from very primitive times (Matt. v. 3; Acts xxiv. 5), but we have no reason to believe that Ebionite opinions are as old as the time of the apostles.

Various writers from the end of the second century until the end of the fourth century give us details about these Jewish Christians. Irenaeus, Origen, Jerome, and Epiphanius are the most important of these writers. Even the Ebionites became divided among themselves: some retained a belief that Jesus was born of a virgin, while others invented the theory that He was born of a human father like any ordinary man. Among orthodox Jewish Christian writings of the second century we must reckon the Dialogue of Ariston of Pella, a controversial treatise against the Jews. We have also fragments of an Ebionite 'Gospel according to the Hebrews,' an apocryphal work which is a mixture of the narrative of our Gospels with various legends.

In addition to the Ebionites and Nazarenes there was a Jewish Christian sect which showed the same characteristics as the false teachers rebuked by St. Paul in his Epistle to the Colossians. These Essene Ebionites, as they are now generally called, were circumcised, and kept the Sabbath like the other Ebionites. They also ridiculed St. Paul. But they differed from the other Ebionites in eating vegetables only, and in declaring that the sacrificial system of the Old Testament was not ordained by God. They believed that Christ was a great angel, higher than all other created beings. One of their sacred books was said to be a revelation given in the time of Trajan to a man named Elkesai. They also invented a number of legends about St. Clement of Rome, which unfortunately passed into Catholic circles, and after undergoing some alterations were believed to be genuine, and did a great deal to build up the authority of the bishops of Rome.


The Nazarenes became gradually mingled with the Syriac-speaking Christians of Palestine. The Ebionites continued to exist for a long time in Palestine and Arabia, and it was chiefly from them that Muhammad derived his teaching. The detestation which the Moslems have for Christianity shows us what a prophetic insight St. Paul had into the true character of his Judaising opponents.

Catholic Gentile Christianity.--The strictly theological Catholic writings of this period are the Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians (A.D. 97), the Epistle of Barnabas (? A.D. 98), the seven Epistles of Ignatius (A.D. 110), the Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians (A.D. 110), the fragments of the Expositions of Papias (A.D. 130), the Shepherd of Hermas (A.D. 140), and the so-called Second Epistle of Clement (? A.D. 140).

The Catholic faith itself is clearly set forth in the Roman baptismal creed of this period:--

'I believe in God, the Father Almighty, and in Christ Jesus, His Son, the only-begotten, Who was born of the Holy Ghost and the Virgin Mary, Who was crucified under Pontius Pilate, and buried, on the third day rose again, ascended into the heavens, sitteth at the right hand of the Father, whence He cometh to judge the living and dead. And in the Holy Ghost, and the Resurrection of the flesh.'

The exact date of some of the remaining clauses of the creed is doubtful, but the words 'holy Church' and 'forgiveness of sins' were probably recited in the creed during part of the second century.

While the theology of the Catholic writers is marked by considerable variations of thought and expression, they show a close agreement as to the main articles of the Christian faith. A clever attempt has been made to prove that the early Christians held two fundamentally different conceptions as to the person of Christ, one party believing that He was only a man to whom the Holy Spirit was given, and that He was afterwards adopted by God and made semi-divine, the other party believing that He was a heavenly Spirit who took flesh and then returned to heaven. This 36 theory may be compared with Baur's theory that the primitive Church contained two parties which differed fundamentally with regard to the observance of the Mosaic law. But just as there is no proof that any of the apostles insisted that Gentile converts should observe the law, so there is no proof that any members of the early Church denied that Christ existed in heaven before He appeared on earth.

The Epistle of Barnabas was probably written by a converted Jew of Alexandria, but is anti-Jewish in tone. The view of Christ is a high view. He is in a unique sense the Son of God, the Beloved, and the Child or Servant of God. He is the Son 'not of man, but of God.' He was 'Lord of the whole world' at the creation, and 'the prophets receiving grace from Him prophesied concerning Him.' He 'came in the flesh' for if He had not assumed human flesh men could not have looked upon Him, any more than they can endure to gaze upon the rays of the sun. A propitiatory character is attributed to His death. He 'desired so to suffer' that we might be cleansed 'through the blood of His sprinkling.' 'He could not suffer except for our sakes.' He is the 'future Judge of quick and dead.' He has 'renewed us in the remission of sins, so that we should have the soul of children.' This renewal takes place in 'the baptism which bringeth remission of sins.' The author closely connects faith with hope, and teaches that we are under 'the new law of our Lord Jesus Christ,' this law being 'free from the yoke of constraint.' We Christians are 'children of gladness.'

The real beauty of much that is said in this Epistle is somewhat marred by the author's extreme antagonism to Judaism and his strange idea that the Jews were wrong in giving a literal interpretation to the ceremonial commands of the Jewish Law.

St. Clement, bishop of Rome, is one of the most interesting figures of the early Church. His letter was written to restore order in the Church of Corinth, where the laity had been quarrelling with their presbyters, or 'overseers' as they are still called. Clement writes in a sober and moderate tone, but he insists strongly upon 37 the principle of Apostolical Succession, and his statements imply that the Jewish threefold ministry of high-priest, priest, and Levite is reflected in the threefold ministry of the Christian Church. Although he does not use the word 'overseer' in the sense of bishop, the position which he occupied at Rome and the tone of his directions combine to prove that he believed in an episcopal system of Church government

Clement's theology is comprehensive though not profound. It unites various elements of apostolic teaching in a manner which would have been impossible if the apostolic band had been divided into the two camps which have been depicted by modern sceptics. Clement uses the phrase 'justified by faith,' but he is anxious that good works should be strenuously maintained, for we are under 'the yoke of the loving-kindness' of Christ. He asserts that 'the Lord Jesus Christ liveth' and mentions His name together with the name of the Father and of the Holy Spirit. He speaks of the sufferings of Christ as the sufferings of God. He is 'our High-priest and Guardian.' He is called Lord, and it is said that He 'hath given His blood for us by the will of God, and His flesh for our flesh and His life for our lives.' It should be observed that although Clement firmly believes in the Divinity of Christ, he does not hesitate to call Him by the title 'Beloved Child ' or 'Beloved Servant.' We are therefore justified in saying that the early Christians did not, when they used that title, mean that Christ was only an exalted man.

The old Homily which is incorrectly called the Second Epistle of Clement teaches similar doctrine. It says, 'We ought to think concerning Jesus Christ as concerning God, as concerning the Judge of quick and dead.' The pre-existent divine nature of Christ is called 'Spirit' in contrast with His 'flesh' or human nature--'Christ the Lord who saved us, being at first Spirit became flesh and thus called us.' The practice of calling the divine nature of Christ' Spirit' is found in the New Testament (John vi. 63; 1 Cor. xv. 45; 2 Cor. iii. 17, and probably Rom. i. 4). It is found in Athanasius, 38 although in his time this use of the word was rare. In writers of the second century this was very common,11   Hermas, v. Sim. 6; Iren. adv. Har. v. 1, 2; Theophil. ad Autol. ii. 10; Tert. Apol. 21. and it has led many modern critics into the mistake of thinking that these ancient writers made a confusion between the second and the third persons of the Trinity. The author of 2 Clement has a strong idea of the earnestness of the Christian life. He calls it 'the contest of incorruption,' i.e. the contest which has an immortal reward, and he says 'if we cannot all be crowned, let us at least come near to the crown.' The writer considers it impossible to serve both God and Mammon, and necessary for all to 'keep their baptism pure and undefiled.' In insisting upon the necessity of good works the author makes some statements which seem to depart from the spirit of the New Testament. 'Fasting is better than prayer, but almsgiving than both.' On the other hand, he sharply rebukes the spirit of 'merchandise' which seeks for an immediate recompense from God for its righteousness.

St. Ignatius, bishop of Antioch, wrote seven letters shortly before his martyrdom at Rome in 110. While the tone of these letters is emotional and enthusiastic, the theology is well-reasoned and highly developed. Ignatius desired to warn his readers against certain tendencies to Judaism which he had observed in Asia Minor, and also against some Docetic theories which represented that the human life and suffering of Christ were unreal, as though He were too sacred to share our lot. The completeness of the theology of Ignatius is largely the result of this double attack upon the Christian religion.

The doctrine of Ignatius is that 'God appeared in human form unto newness of eternal life.' Christ is 'our God.' He was 'with the Father before the ages' timeless, invisible, and unbegotten, i.e. He did not derive life from His Father in the same way as men derive life from their fathers. Ignatius is quite convinced that the Son is God, and yet he confidently says 39 that 'there is one God, who manifested himself through Jesus Christ.' The Son took true human flesh, and therefore we worship 'one only Physician, of flesh and of Spirit, generate and not generate, God in man, true Life in death. Son of Mary and Son of God, first passible and then impassible, Jesus Christ our Lord.' The Son is called the Word as in the Gospel of St. John, and in the manner of St. John Ignatius says, 'I wish for the bread of God which is the flesh of Christ.' The fact that Christ was miraculously born is asserted in the plainest way, for Ignatius puts side by side 'the virginity of Mary, and her child-bearing, and likewise also the death of the Lord.' He lays stress upon the indwelling of Christ in the Christian; Jesus Christ is 'our true living,' 'our inseparable life.'

If we had no remnant of the age which came after the death of the apostles except these letters, it would be almost impossible to doubt that the apostles held those doctrines which we find in the writings which bear the names of St. Paul and St. John.

Ignatius in maintaining the unity of the faith does everything in his power to preserve the unity of the Church. He regards the episcopate of what he calls the 'Catholic Church' as the guarantee of the Church's visible unity. He is the earliest writer known to us who uses the word 'episkopos' or 'overseer' no longer as the title of a presbyter but as the title of the highest order in the Christian ministry. He speaks of bishops as 'established in the farthest parts of the earth,' and his statements with regard to them are one of the strongest proofs that the apostles created a permanent order of ministers to govern the local presbyters and deacons. He regards a valid ministry as essential to the existence of a Church. 'Apart from these (sc. bishop, presbyters, and deacons) there is not even the name of a Church.'

St. Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna, suffered martyrdom in 155 or 156. Of his letters, that to the Philippians alone survives, but a full account of his martyrdom and a true index to his opinions is found in an epistle written immediately after his death by the Christians of Smyrna. Polycarp remembered St. John, he received from Ignatius 40 an epistle which still exists, and he taught Irenaeus. He is therefore the most important link between the age of the apostles and the date when the Church emerges into the clear daylight of history. His letter is very simple, and abounds in quotations from St. Paul's Epistles. He shows the same horror as Ignatius towards the tendency to deny the real manhood of Christ. Christ is called 'our Lord and God' and 'the eternal High-priest.' His atonement, example, and future judgment are mentioned. It is important to notice that although Polycarp was the disciple of St. John, he delights in the teaching of St. Paul. His letter, like the letter of Clement of Rome, shows no trace or recollection of any fundamental opposition between the different apostles, and the simplicity of the document makes any idea of a pious fraud entirely ridiculous.

The letter of the Smyrnaeans on the martyrdom of Polycarp is a writing of the utmost dignity and pathos. It is historical and not doctrinal, but contains some passages of great doctrinal importance. The dying words of Polycarp therein recorded show a clearly defined belief in the Holy Trinity. 'I praise Thee, I bless Thee, I glorify Thee, through the eternal and heavenly High-priest, Jesus Christ, Thy beloved Son, through whom with Him and the Holy Spirit be glory both now and ever and for the ages to come. Amen.'

The Smyrnaeans in worshipping Christ did not regard Him as a deified or saintly man. They expressly distinguish their worship of Christ from their reverence for the saints. 'For Him, being the Son of God, we adore, but the martyrs as disciples and imitators of the Lord we cherish as they deserve.' Like Ignatius, whose writings this letter somewhat resembles, the Christians of Smyrna speak of 'the Catholic Church throughout the world,' of which Church Christ is the Shepherd.

Papias, bishop of Hierapolis, was another disciple of St. John. Only a few fragments of his writings remain. From a doctrinal point of view they are important for two reasons. (1) Papias interpreted the story of the six days of creation and of Paradise 'spiritually,' i.e. he apparently thought that they contained an allegorical account of the 41 Church; (2) He believed that after the general resurrection Christ will reign with the saints upon the earth and the Kingdom of God will come, creation being renewed and the fruits of the earth becoming extraordinarily productive. Jerome calls this 'a Jewish tradition of the Millennium' but the tradition is also connected with such Christian sources as Rev. xx. 4 and Rom. viii. 19.

The Shepherd of Hermae is an important work written by a Roman Christian about 140. The book is marked by a desire for the moral improvement of the Church, and at the same time its severity is tempered by rules which admit the possibility of a new admission to Church privileges after one serious fall. Hermas teaches that penitence does remove sins committed after baptism, that the gravest sins may be forgiven, but that this penitence, which implies a certain routine, must take place only once.

The teaching of Hermas with regard to the Holy Trinity is not very clear, and it has been asserted that he does not believe in the Trinity at all, but in two divine persons, viz., the Father and the Holy Ghost. It has also been asserted that he taught the 'Adoptionist' theory of Christ's person, namely, that Jesus was a mere man upon whom the Holy Ghost descended at His baptism, so that He became an 'adopted' Son of God. This is then alleged to be a truer form of Christian doctrine than we find in Ignatius and Polycarp, and so the Shepherd of Hermas is quoted in order to throw doubt upon the historical character of the Catholic faith.

All these assertions rest upon a complete misconception. Hermas is not an Adoptionist at all. He says nothing about any exaltation of Jesus at His baptism, and so far from teaching that He was a man who became half-divine at His baptism, Hermas teaches that the 'Son of God' existed before the creation of the world, was the Counsellor of the Father at the creation, and upholds the world.11   v. Sim. 6; ix. Sim. 12 and 14. The modern misunderstanding concerning Hermas has been caused by the fact that he calls the divine nature of Christ 'Spirit,' and in a somewhat clumsy 42 parable represents God the Father as the master of a vineyard, Christ as the maste's servant, and the Holy Ghost as the master's son. Clumsy as the parable is, it is enough to prove that Hermas believed that there were three Persons in the Godhead. And the respect felt for this book by ancient Catholic writers, including Irenaeus and Clement of Alexandria, is enough to prove that the early Church regarded the book as orthodox.

Gnosticism. -- The existence of Gnosticism is a strong proof that in the second century the Christian religion was attracting the attention of the heathen world. Gnosticism can scarcely be called a creed. It was a half-religious, half-speculative movement which tried to combine pagan philosophy and mythology with Christian tradition and worship. But though their tenets were very shifting, the Gnostics were generally agreed as to the following points : --

  1. The supreme God is distinct from the Creator of the world.
  2. The God of the Jews is not the supreme God.
  3. The material world is evil and the redemption of man requires his release from matter.
  4. Since matter is evil, Jesus Christ had not a true human body.

These tenets suggest the answer to two great problems which the Gnostics faced: (a) the problem of creation; how can a spiritual Being be the Creator of matter? (b) the problem of the existence of evil; how can God be credited with permitting sin? and how can deliverance from sin be attained?

It was inevitable that a system which struck such a blow at the fundamental principles of Christianity should be strenuously opposed by the Church. The Catholics soon found that it was more necessary to oppose Gnosticism than to oppose Judaism. Justin Martyr, Irenseus, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, and others devoted much of their energy to this task, with the result that Christianity was saved from becoming a dilettante mixture of popular beliefs and ceremonies.


The origin of Gnosticism. -- Behind the Greek forms which Gnosticism generally assumed, there are many Oriental elements. Modern investigation is making it more and more evident that these elements are partly Persian and partly Babylonian, although they are greatly modified and confused. The Persians were of Aryan race, and their religion was originally akin to that of the oldest Aryan inhabitants of India. They professed the Magian religion, which is preserved for us in the book called the Zend-Avesta and is retained in a modified form by the Parsis. They venerated Zoroaster as their prophet, and reputed works of Zoroaster were circulated in the Greek world. It is probably from the Persians that the Gnostics derived their dualism, i,e. the theory that good and evil are almost equally matched, and that the contrast between them is caused by the fact that there is an evil God as well as a good God. The Babylonians were a mixed race, partly Turanian and partly Semitic. Their religion was also mixed and had an elaborate system of worship. It was intimately connected with astrology, and the modem divisions of the Zodiac are of ancient Babylonian origin. The Babylonian religion not only influenced that of Persia but actually survived until after the birth of Christ. Many traces of it still remain in the religion of the Mandaites, a dwindling sect which is to be found on the Euphrates. The later Babylonians taught that after death the soul would have to travel through seven gates before it appeared in the highest heaven. These seven gates were watched by the gods of the seven planets, and it appears that the Archons whom some Gnostics were taught to propitiate are simply these planet- gods. The chief end of the 'Gnosis' of some of the Gnostics was to be able to repeat the proper pass-words to the heavenly Archons. The 'Sophia' or Wisdom, who was a potent spirit among the Gnostics and was believed by some Gnostics to have created the heavens, is the Babylonian Istar, the Queen of heaven. Hie Mandaites call Istar the Holy Spirit. The Gnostic story of her fall from heaven is probably derived from the old Babylonian story of her descent into the under-world to free the dead.


The Gnostic Sects.-- The Fathers of the Church speak of Simon Magus as one of the founders of Gnosticism. There is evidently a true basis for their belief. Samaria was the home of a mixed population and open to Oriental influences, and the Syrian Gnostics, such as Simon, Menander, Saturninus, Cerdo, and Bardesanes, show a strong Babylonian influence. Simon taught that a divine female shared in the work of creation, and he identified her with a woman named Helen who was his own companion. Bardesanes, who was born in 154, taught that there was a divine 'Mother' and seven Archons who created the world. He was a learned philosopher and a charming poet and the best Syriac writer of his age. Cerdo maintained that there were two Gods -- the evil God who created the world, and the good God revealed by Christ. Saturninus regarded the God of the Old Testament as good, but inferior to the supreme God. Both denied the reality of Christ's human nature, Saturninus reducing it simply to the level of an apparition. And we may say of Gnosticism in general that it did not believe in any life of Christ. The Gospel story was interpreted not as a history but as a series of allegorical pictures of the relations between God and the world. Tne work of Christ was generally regarded as simply an appearance which so enlightens a man that he frees himself by accepting the 'mysteries' and practising extreme asceticism. In a hymn which was used by a Gnostic sect called the Naasenes, Jesus thus describes His work:--

Having the seals I will descend,

Through whole worlds I will journey,

All mysteries I will open,

And the forms of gods I will show;

And the secret things of the holy way.

Having called them knowledge, I will impart.

The seals are possibly the sacraments, and Jesus imparts the Gnosis which enables the soul to find its path beyond the regions occupied by the inferior gods.

In the third century a most elaborate form of Oriental Gnosticism was taught by lEanl or Manichseus, a native of Babylon, who began to preach in the time of Sapor I., 45 King of Persia, and died in 276. The best information about his doctrine has been preserved by Arabic writers, and it proves conclusively that Mani endeavoured to combine elements of Buddhism, Christianity, and Zoroastrianism with the old religion of Babylon. The reality of Christ's manhood is denied, the goddess Istar appears as the mother of life, and a sharp distinction is made between the 'elect' believers who devote themselves to an ascetic life and the 'hearers' who live in the world. The sect spread far and wide and had numerous adherents in Rome.

The Gnostics of Egypt generally looked upon the supreme God as an absolute and unknown abstraction. The great leaders of this school were Basilides and Valentinus. The former claimed to possess secret traditions derived from St. Peter, and the latter claimed to possess similar traditions derived from St Paul. The Valentinians became divided into two sects, one Italian and the other Oriental. On the whole, we may say that the Gnosticism of Egypt shows the influence of Greek paganism and of Christianity more strongly than the Gnosticism of Syria. The dualism is not so prominent. Both Valentinus and Basilides apparently believed in one God and gave a very inferior position to the Archons and the emanations who were the thoughts of God, or, as some said, spirits that came out of God. And Valentinus, instead of dividing all mankind into those who had Gnosis and must inevitably be saved and those who had no Gnosis and could not possibly be saved, admitted the existence of a middle class who might be saved in time.

It is difficult to determine what Basilides really taught. According to Irenseus and other writers he believed in seven great emanations from God and 365 lower spirits, and the disciple was obliged to learn the names of all these angelic beings. But according to Clement of Alexandria, Basilides held a Pantheistic view of God, holding that there were no emanations from God but that He created a world-seed from which all future growths developed. This involves an elaborate theory of evolution, and reminds us of the teaching of some of the Stoic philosophers. It seems most likely that the followers of 46 Basilides adopted the views of other Gnostic sects, and that Basilides himself held the opinions attributed to him by Clement.

Gnostic influence on the Church.-- Modern opponents of Christianity have stated that the Christian Church was greatly influenced by Gnosticism, accepting from it the ritual employed in the services of the Churchy the use of allegory in the interpretation of Scripture, the idea that the sacraments convey God's assistance to the soul, and even the doctrine that there are two natures in Christy, one human and one divine. Such statements are gross exaggerations, although it is true that for a time some Christian writers who lived amid Gnostic surroundings were infected with Gnosticism. Little, if any, of the ritual of the Church seems to have been derived from the Gnostics. The use of allegory had been anticipated by Philo and St. Paul. In the New Testament the sacraments are represented as communicating the life of Christ to the believer, and the existence of two 'forms' or natures in Christ is plainly stated (Phil, ii. 6, 7). Gnosticism helped the Christians to express their faith more clearly. Its influence was therefore important, although it was negative. It compelled the Christians to reflect and questioned them until they learnt to make effective answers. A few theological terms which had been used by the Gnostics, such as the word homo-ousios (of one substance), were adopted by the Catholics, but only in order to give a formula to the facts which they had long believed.

Marcion. -- This great heretic left the Church about 144. His system is half Gnostic and half Catholic. Under the influence of the Gnostic Cerdo he adopted a dualistic belief. He taught that the God of love revealed by Christ is different from the God of justice who made the world. Consistently with this view of creation, Marcion denied that Christ's manhood was real, denied the resurrection of the body, and insisted upon an extreme asceticism. He maintained that the original apostles had been too much infected with Judaism to understand Christ, while St. Paul had realised the full truth. Marcion therefore rejected all the New Testament 47 except ten Epistles of St Paul and the Gospel written by St. Luke, the friend of St. Paul. But as he found that the beginning of St. Luke's Gospel teaches that Christ did undergo a human birth, and that St. Paul's writings do not always oppose the Law, he rejected certain passages both in St. Luke's Gospel and in St. Paul's Epistles. The Fathers of the Church wrote against Marcion as against a most dangerous enemy. But the evil done by Marcion has been over-ruled for good, inasmuch as the use which Marcion made of the New Testament has not only given us a strong proof of the authenticity of the writings which he accepted, but in some cases even supports the genuineness of the writings which he repudiated.

Marcion differed from the Gnostics in three particulars: (]) He insisted upon the need of faith rather than knowledge; (2) He did not explain the Old Testament allegorically, but literally, and rejected it as a mere revelation of the secondary God who made the world; (8) He founded organised churches, and was not content with forming little societies of 'spiritual' persons. He gave the same teaching to all alike, making no distinction between 'spiritual' people and the people who had no 'knowledge.' This contributed to the power and popularity of Marcionism, and it became so strong that when Marcion repented of his heresy he was unable to bring back his adherents to the Catholic Church, and the sect still lingered in the seventh century.

NOTE ON THE ORIGIN OF THE CREED.-- The reader is referred to The Apostles' Creed by H. B. Swete, D.D. (Cambridge University Press, 3rd edition, 1899), and an article by W. Sanday, D.D., in The Journal of Theological Studies, October 1899, which contain masterly refutations of some theories advocated by Professor Harnack.

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