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Primal Spirit of Humanity, the Spirit of God in Adam, which reappeared, in manifold forms, and under various names." Supposing the Law of Moses to be a new revelation, to restore the primitive truths taught by Adam, this author exalted the Pentateuch above other books of the Hebrew Scriptures; but he maintained that it had been written many times over, and that many foreign elements had been introduced into it. The Father of Mankind appeared as Moses, to trust the Jews with the preservation of primal truths. He appeared as Jesus, for the especial purpose of delivering to his other children, the Gentiles, that pure primitive religion, which had been constantly handed down by a consecrated few among the Jews. The author of the Homilies says: "Jesus loved men, as none but the Father of the Human Race could love his own children. His greatest sorrow was that he must be striven against by those, in their ignorance, for whom he strove as his children. He loved them, though they hated him; he wept over the disobedient, he blessed them that blasphemed him, he prayed for his enemies; and these things be not only did himself, as a father, but also taught his disciples to pursue the same course of conduct toward men, as their brethren." "The same primitive religion is to be found in the pure doctrine of Moses and of Christ. He who possesses the former may dispense with the latter; and he who possesses the latter may dispense with the former; provided the Jew does not blaspheme Christ, whom he knows not, nor the Christian blaspheme Moses, whom he knows not. But he who is accounted worthy of attaining to the knowledge of both, to find in the doctrine announced by both but one and the same truth, is to be esteemed a man rich in God; one who has found in the old that which has become new, and in the new that which is old. The Jew and the Christian owe it entirely to the grace of God, that they have been led to a knowledge of the Divine will, by these revelations of the Primal Man, repeated under different forms, one by Moses, another by Christ." " He who is under no necessity of seeking for truth, who has no
doubts, who knows the truth, by means of a higher Spirit, dwelling within himself, which is superior to all uncertainty, he alone obtains knowledge of the truth, and can reveal it unto others."
The reverence for apostolic traditions led to a collection of ecclesiastical laws, called Apostolical Constitutions and Apostolical Canons. These also were ascribed to Clement of Rome, whose acquaintance with Peter would enable him to receive them from high authority. Neander supposes them to have been formed gradually, out of different fragments, from the close of the second into the fourth century.
There was an ancient tradition that before the Apostles dispersed to proclaim Christ in all lands, they drew up a Confession of Faith, to which each one contributed an article. This has ever since been known under the name of the Apostles' Creed. In the early times, it was devoutly believed to be the work of their own hands; but this idea has long since been acknowledged to be without foundation. It cannot be traced beyond the fourth century, and the author is unknown. Before A. D. 600 it existed in the following form: “I believe in God the Father Almighty; and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was born of the Holy Ghost and the Virgin Mary; was crucified under Pontius Pilate, and was buried; and the third day, he rose again from the dead, ascended into heaven, sitteth on the right hand of the Father; whence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead; and in the Holy Ghost; the Holy Church; the remission of sins; and the resurrection of the flesh. Amen.” It was afterward altered, so as to read: “Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary;" “I believe in the Holy Catholic church, and the communion of saints.” It was also added, that after Christ " was crucified, dead and buried, he descended into hell."
Several of the spurious Gospels and Epistles were publicly read in the churches, and were often quoted by the Fathers, in a manner that implies they regarded them as of equal authority with canonical Scripture. The great number of church pictures illustrating those Gospels, and still revered in all Catholic countries, proves that their authority was very extensive. Perhaps none of the apocryphal books were held in higher estimation, in the first centuries, than the Shepherd of Hermas. Irenæus cites it as “the Scripture.” Clement of Alexandria says: “The book of the Shepherd is disputed by some; on whose account it is not placed among the acknowledged books. But by others it is judged most necessary. For which reason, it is now publicly read in the churches, and I have understood that some of the most ancient writers used it.” Origen says: "I think Hermas was the author of that book called the Shepherd. It seems to me a very useful writing, and, as I think, is divinely inspired. It is admitted into the church, but not acknowledged by all to be divine.” Eusebius and Jerome say it was publicly read in the churches, though not esteemed canonical. Jerome praised it in his catalogue, but afterward pronounced it apocryphal and foolish. Rufinus expressly styles it “a book of the New Testament."
The Epistle of Barnabas was also much quoted by the Fathers; and some of them considered it genuine. Clement of Alexandria speaks of it as "read in most of the churches." Apparently it must have been extant in Justin Martyr's time; for it contains his statement that the effiacy of Moses' prayer was owing to his arms being extended in the form of a cross; and both of them speak of the cross as allegorically signified by every stick, tree, and bit of wood in the Old Testament.
NATIONS CONVERTED TO CHRISTIANITY. In some countries, Christianity began to spread by means of Christian captives taken in war, who became missionaries among their conquerors; and when a king, queen, or other influential person, became a proselyte, the multitude followed their lead. The baptism of barbarians by hundreds and thousands, by no means implies that they
understood the spirit of Christianity, or imbibed its principles. The crowd, as usual, followed the example of the powerful; and those who led them were often converted by some dream, or omen, the cure of a disease, or the fortunate event of a prayer or a vow. Miracles constantly wrought at the tomb of St. Martin, Bishop of Tours, were a fruitful source of additions to the church. The people of Gallicia, and the Suevic prince in Spain were converted by them. There were baptismal fonts near the Guadalquiver, which were miraculously replenished every year, on the evening before Easter. These caused many conversions.
The Goths were early converts to Christianity. When they made their first inroads into the Roman empire, they carried off many Christians among their captives; and the conquered gained spiritual ascendancy over the rude minds of their conquerors. As early as the time of Constantine, a Gothic bishop was sent as delegate to the Council at Nice. Bishops from those countries afterward visited Constantinople, at a time when Arianism was the religion of the emperor, and of nearly all the people in that city. Thus it happened that the Goths received Christianity in the Arian form, and so it was transmitted to the different branches of their nation. These Christianized barbarians were as fierce in their zeal to convert Catholics, as the Catholics had been to convert Arians. They fined, banished, and persecuted them in various and cruel forms. Long after Arianism was vanquished in other parts of the Christianized world, it remained in full force among various Gothic tribes; and this difference was the cause of perpetual and rancorous hostility. But finally, Goths gave in to the argument that all other nations had yielded to Catholic supremacy, and that they alone disturbed the unity of the church. One of their kings, who had consented to be baptized, was not deterred by being told that all his Pagan ancestors were undoubtedly in hell; but when the Catholic missionary assured him that all his Arian relatives must be damned
also, he drew back his foot after he had placed it in the water.
When Clovis, king of the Franks, and founder of the French monarchy, first heard an account of the death of Christ, he exclaimed: "If I had been there, at the head of my valiant Franks, I would have revenged him !" He married Clotilda, a princess of Burgundy, who was a devout Catholic. For some time, he resisted her efforts to convert him. He allowed their first child to be baptized; but as the babe died soon after, he repented the concession he had made, and said to his wife: “If he had been consecrated in the name of my Gods, he would not have died; but being baptized in the name of your God, he could not live." Clotilda was not discouraged by this unlucky event. She availed herself of every opportunity to induce him to relinquish the worship of idols. One day, when he was going to battle, she said to him: "My lord, to insure victory, you must invoke the God of the Christians. He is sole Ruler of the Universe, and he is styled the God of Armies. If you address yourself to him with confidence, nothing can resist you. Though your enemies were a hundred against one, you would be sure to triumph over them." The king came very near being defeated. When he saw his cavalry flying in all directions, he spread out his arms toward heaven, and exclaimed: "Oh Christ, whom Clotilda invokes as Son of the Living God, I implore thy assistance! I have called upon my gods, and I find they have no power. Deliver me from my enemies, and I will be baptized in thy name !" His troops rallied, fought desperately, and finally gained the victory. He was solemnly baptized at Rheims, on the twenty-fifth of December, A. D. 496. According to the wish of the queen, it was made an occasion of great pomp. There was a procession of bishops and priests, with a long train of monks, carrying crosses, and singing the liturgy. Immediately after baptism, he was anointed, according to the mode of inaugurating Chris tian kings. It is recorded that the Holy Ghost, in the form of a white dove, descended from heaven with a vial
have noce! I hans Son of exclaimrections,