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belief in prodigies. It was not the habit of philosophy to subject them to investigation. Philosophers might rationally reject many absurdities; yet just as likely would the religious, or the superstitious, uninvestigating side of their nature believe them.' The Stumbling-block But philosophy had no idea that a man's of Reason. apprehension and knowledge might be related
to other faculties besides reason. Although knowledge was essential to philosophic virtue, philosophy had not the converse thought that a man's capacity for apprehending some far truth might depend, not on his reason alone, but on his goodness, his lovingness, and the range of his feeling. Philosophy did not recognize that man apprehends according to his whole nature, no element whereof but will affect his view of life, his knowledge of the world and God. The blind cannot know color; the impure man cannot know purity; the liar cannot know truth; without love or capacity for loving, no man can apprehend the life of Christ on earth or know the Father." But if you say, 'Show me your God,' I will reply, Show me yourself, and I will show you my God.' Show then that the eyes of your soul are capable of seeing, and the ears of your heart able to hear. When there is sin in a man, such a man cannot behold God. Do you therefore show me yourself, whether you are not an adulterer, or fornicator, or a thief, or insolent, or a slanderer, or passionate, or envious, or proud
1 Thus the same Celsus who has such lofty intellectual scorn as he expresses in Origen, Contra Celsum, iv, 23, who can broadly argue that all things were not made for man any more than for any other animal (iv, 74); but that all things were ordered by Providence for the perfected Whole, the Kosmos (1v, 99)—this same Celsus can argue thus; because man has ideas of the divine, he thinks himself superior to beasts, yet this faculty is claimed for them; for what is more divine than the power of foreknowledge and prediction, a faculty which man has acquired from other animals, especially from birds. Thus birds seem nearer God than we. And intelligent men say that birds hold sacred councils, and no race of animals is more observant of oaths than elephants, which would seem to be because they have some knowledge of God. Ib. iv, 88.
for to those who do these things God is not manifest, unless they have first cleansed themselves from all impurity. Thus also do iniquities involve you in darkness, so that you cannot see God."' Christianity was the fulness of all life; so it came to the world. Not as a simple fact, which the eye may see and the intellect at once perceive and classify, was it to be apprehended. The fulness of life and love was to be apprehended according to the whole nature of him to whom it was presented each man would accept and understand according to all that was he-his intellect, his moral nature, his range of feeling, his capacity for the highest and broadest rightly pointed emotions. Accordingly, it is easy to understand how, when paganism set itself to reason on Christianity which it could not accept, and cast about for some rational principle of Christian faith, it would find that faith to be senseless acceptance of impossibilities, would find it dumb, unreasoning, obstinate.'
Thus the pagan world was needing and consciously desiring what Christianity had to offer, yet was set The Gospel against Christianity by some of the good eleReal, Abso- ments of paganism and by ways of life and lute, Uni- thinking which still shaped themselves accordversal, Sure.ing to the tendencies of their antecedents. To this world Christianity came as a religion and a way and means of life, at once real, absolute, and universal, and sure with the new certitude of revelation confirmed by the experience of Christian life. Christianity was real. The great relationship between God and man, which it held forth as fact and precept, was love. Love is the realest thing in life; no human being that is not touched by it; it is felt as well as thought; its existence does not depend on reason, which it may transcend or sink below; yet by reason also may it
1 Theophilus of Antioch, Apologia ad Autolycum, i, 2.
2 See Celsus in Origen, Contra Celsum, i, 9; iii, 17, 39, 43, 72-81.
prove and justify itself. Christianity announced that God's relationship to man was love, and pointed to the Christ on earth. It announced that love was man's relationship to God; it founded man's love of God on man's whole nature, heart and mind, responding to God's love of man; and then it filled out man's love of God with all of earth's realities of love and kindly act of man to man.
Christianity was absolute; soar as the human spirit might, it could not pass the compass and content of the eternal life assured Christ's followers. It was universal; for every man and woman, Jew, Gentile, slave and free. Each in his trade and calling could accept the Gospel, fulfil its conditions, gain eternal life. It asked only that the brethren should do every act of life in love of man, for love of God, through love of Christ. This command each might obey in his station, and in carrying out all his gifts and faculties to their natural fulfilment-unto the perfecting of his own individuality from out the universal fulness of the nature of Christ. "Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same spirit, and there are diversities of ministrations, and the same Lord. And there are diversities of workings, but the same God who worketh all things in all." There was no demand in Christianity that all Christians should become of one type or conform to any mode of living. The Christian was cut off from nothing" all things are yours." Christianity was to take up and purify and fulfil all elements of human life.
A comprehensive revelation from God was new to paganism. In the revelation of Christ, there was assurance of all the pagan world had hoped for with wavering hope. The Gospel was presented to the heathen by men sure of its truth with an assurance novel in power. These men were themselves transformed by it, new crea1 I Cor. xii, 4-6.
? This was Christianity, and thus did Paul present it to the heathen world. That it was afterwards narrowed and presented in ascetic modes, was the result of its partial acceptance according to the then needs and moods of
In their lives and words was faith's conviction, and the power of Christ's spirit. Christ lived in them, and in their words was that power of God which the Gospel was to such as were being saved. Men were confronted with a new vivida vis.1
To this power of the spirit with which the Gospel was presented, there rose respondent proof within the hearts and minds of those touched by it. They Elements of found the Gospel correspondent with the anPagan Reswering experience of a larger life; they found sponsivethe truth of Christ within themselves. Henceforth their faith, their new experiences, their inner cumulative proofs of Christ were further Gospel power unto themselves and others. Even before conversion, despite the fact that some strong pagan thoughts indisposed men to the full Gospel of Christ, there was much in the pagan consciousness to which a first presentation of Christianity might attach itself, without rousing the opposition of other elements of pagan thought. At these vantage-points of agreement the Gospel might gain provisional acceptance, and awaken confirmatory thoughts.
Paul at Athens addresses himself to the monotheistic feeling of intelligent pagans. This one sole God, after which pagan thought was groping, as yet lacked character
'Lactantius, Div. Inst., iii, 30, contrasts the certain revelation which Christianity had to offer with the doubt and weakness of pagan philosophy: Why look to these philosophers for healing, who are sick themselves; shall we wait till Socrates knows something, or till Anaxagoras finds light in the darkness, or till Democritus pulls truth out of the well, or Epicurus widens the path of his soul, or till Arcesilaus and Carneades see, feel, and perceive? Ecce vox de cœlo veritatem docens." This was what the pagan world wanted.
2 Acts xvii, 22-31. As before remarked, there is no reason to doubt that this speech is substantially Paul's. But if it were not, it would still be a typical illustration of the mode of preliminary presentation of the Gospel to the heathen. It is to be noted that the expression “for in him we live and move and have our being," which taken alone is wellnigh pantheistic (see ante, p. 320, note), was a phrase adapted to Greek thoughts of God, which at this time lacked character rather than comprehensiveness.
and life. To declare this unknown god, and give him life and love, was Paul's first task. This he would accomplish with the Gospel of Christ-God realized in man; for the vivid appreciation and setting forth of which, Paul's Hebrew consciousness of the personality of Jehovah had qualified him. How vague in the pagan world was any thought of one sole God is plain from the popular cry that Christians were atheists. Yet the thought was there, strong in educated minds, and wavering dimly above the masses. In it the Gospel found a foothold.
Paul's speech closes with the announcement of final judgment, implying universal resurrection and existence after death. Christianity's whole rationale related to eternity; "If in this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all men most miserable." Here again, Christian preaching offered a definite assurance to the uncertain longings of the world. And moreover, though the Jewish and Christian conceptions of a resurrection were set in different form from Græco-Roman thoughts of the soul's or shade's continuing immortality, there still was this point of contact, that pagan thought had come to regard the future life, whatever it was, as conditioned on the conduct of the man on earth, and to this thought the Christian" last judgment" might appeal.
to the Pagan Con
Paul's Roman epistle was written to a community of believers. Nevertheless the first two chapters offer thoughts which would touch a pagan. They show how Christianity could be presented to The Appeal the heathen so as to attach itself to strong and real elements in paganism, thus making use of pagan preparation for its reception. It is the Christian appeal to the pagan conscience, to the higher pagan sense of the divine, which could not but be stung by exposure of pagan religious practices and the abominations which existed because men would not recognize the righteousness of God. It is a grand" is it not so, O man!" The Gospel is the power of God unto Salvation