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Title: The Conflict of Religions in the Early Roman Empire
Author: Glover, T. R. (Terrot Reaveley), 1869-1943
Language: English
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[Illustration: Cover art]












  First Published . . March 18th, 1909
  Second Edition  . . June 1909
  Third Edition   . . August 1909
  Fourth Edition  . . October 1910






A large part of this book formed the course of Dale Lectures delivered
in Mansfield College, Oxford, in the Spring of 1907.  For the
lecture-room the chapters had to be considerably abridged; they are now
restored to their full length, while revision and addition have further
changed their character.  They are published in accordance with the
terms of the Dale foundation.

To see the Founder of the Christian movement and some of his followers
as they appeared among their contemporaries; to represent Christian and
pagan with equal goodwill and equal honesty, and in one perspective; to
recapture something of the colour and movement of life, using
imagination to interpret the data, and controlling it by them; to
follow the conflict of ideals, not in the abstract, but as they show
themselves in character and personality; and in this way to discover
where lay the living force that changed the thoughts and lives of men,
and what it was; these have been the aims of the writer,--impossible,
but worth attempting.  So far as they have been achieved, the book is
relevant to the reader.

The work of others has made the task lighter.  German scholars, such as
Bousset, von Dobschütz, Harnack, Pfleiderer and Wernle; Professor F. C.
Burkitt and others nearer home who have written of the beginnings of
Christianity; Boissier, Martha and Professor Samuel Dill; Edward Caird,
Lecky, and Zeller; with the authors of monographs, Croiset, de Faye,
Gréard, Koziol, Oakesmith, Volkmann; these and others have been laid
under contribution.  In another way Dr Wilhelm Herrmann, of Marburg,
and Thomas Carlyle have helped the {vi} book.  The references to
ancient authorities are mostly of the writer's own gathering, and they
have been verified.

Lastly, there are friends to thank, at Cambridge and at Woodbrooke, for
the services that only friends can render--suggestion, criticism,
approval, correction, and all the other kindly forms of encouragement
and enlightenment.

    _February 1909_.



CHAP.                                             PAGE

    I. ROMAN RELIGION  . . . . . . . . . . . . .     1
   II. THE STOICS  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    33
  III. PLUTARCH  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    75
   IV. JESUS OF NAZARETH . . . . . . . . . . . .   113
    V. THE FOLLOWERS OF JESUS  . . . . . . . . .   141
  VII. "GODS OR ATOMS?"  . . . . . . . . . . . .   196
 VIII. CELSUS  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   239
   IX. CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA . . . . . . . . . .   262
    X. TERTULLIAN  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   305
       INDEX . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   349





On the Ides of March in the year 44 B.C. Julius Cæsar lay dead at the
foot of Pompey's statue.  His body had twenty three wounds.  So far the
conspirators had done their work thoroughly, and no farther.  They had
made no preparation for the government of the Roman world.  They had
not realized that they were removing the great organizing intelligence
which stood between the world and chaos, and back into chaos the world
swiftly rolled.  They had hated personal government; they were to learn
that the only alternative was no government at all.  "Be your own
Senate yourself"[1] wrote Cicero to Plancus in despair.  There was war,
there were faction fights, massacres, confiscations, conscriptions.
The enemies of Rome came over her borders, and brigandage flourished
within them.

At the end of his first _Georgic_ Virgil prays for the triumph of the
one hope which the world saw--for the preservation and the rule of the
young Cæsar, and he sums up in a few lines the horror from which
mankind seeks to be delivered.  "Right and wrong are confounded; so
many wars the world over, so many forms of wrong; no worthy honour is
left to the plough; the husbandmen are marched away and the fields grow
dirty; the hook has its curve straightened into the sword-blade.  In
the East, Euphrates is stirring up war, in the West, Germany: nay,
close-neighbouring cities break their mutual league and draw the sword,
and the war-god's unnatural fury rages over the whole world; even as
when in the Circus the chariots burst {2} from their floodgates, they
dash into the course, and pulling desperately at the reins the driver
lets the horses drive him, and the car is deaf to the curb."[2]

Virgil's hope that Octavian might be spared to give peace to the world
was realized.  The foreign enemies were driven over their frontiers and
thoroughly cowed; brigandage was crushed, and finally, with the fall of
Antony and Cleopatra, the government of the whole world was once more,
after thirteen years of suffering, disorder and death, safely gathered
into the hands of one man.  There was peace at last and Rome had
leisure to think out the experience through which she had passed.

The thirteen years between the murder of Cæsar and the battle of Actium
were only a part of that experience; for a century there had been
continuous disintegration in the State.  The empire had been increased,
but the imperial people had declined.  There had been civil war in Rome
over and over again--murder employed as a common resource of politics,
reckless disregard of the sacredness of life and property, and thorough
carelessness of the State.  The impression that England made upon
Wordsworth in 1802 was precisely that left upon the mind of the serious
Roman when he reflected upon his country.  All was "rapine, avarice,

  Plain living and high thinking are no more:
  The homely beauty of the good old cause
  Is gone; our peace, our fearful innocence,
  And pure religion breathing household laws.

Such complaints, real or conventional, are familiar to the readers of
the literature of the last century before Christ.  Everyone felt that a
profound change had come over Rome.  Attempts had been made in various
ways to remedy this change; laws had been passed; citizens had been
banished and murdered; armies had been called in to restore ancient
principles; and all had resulted in failure.  Finally a gleam of
restoration was seen when Julius began to set things in order, when he
"corrected the year by the Sun" and gave promise of as true and
deep-going a correction of everything else.  His murder put an end to
all this at the time, and it took thirteen years to regain the lost
opportunity--and the years were not {3} altogether loss for they proved
conclusively that there was now no alternative to the rule of the

[Sidenote: The cause of Rome's decline]

Accordingly the Prince set himself to discover what was to be done to
heal the hurt of his people, and to heal it thoroughly.  What was the
real disease? was the question that men asked; where was the root of
all the evil? why was it that in old days men were honest, governed
themselves firmly, knew how to obey, and served the State?  A famous
line of Ennius, written two centuries before, said that the Roman
Commonwealth stood on ancient character, and on men.--

  _Moribus antiquis stat res Romano, virisque._

Both these bases of the national life seemed to be lost--were they
beyond recall? could they be restored?  What was it that had made the
"ancient character"?  What was the ultimate difference between the old
Roman and the Roman of the days of Antony and Octavian?  Ovid
congratulated himself on the perfect congruity of the age and his
personal character--

  _hæc ætas moribus apta meis--_

and he was quite right.  And precisely in the measure that Ovid was
right in finding the age and his character in agreement, the age and
national character were demonstrably degenerate.  It was the great
question before the nation, its statesmen, patriots and poets, to find
why two hundred years had wrought such a change.

It was not long before an answer was suggested.  A reason was found,
which had a history of its own.  The decline had been foreseen.  We are
fortunately in possession of a forecast by a Greek thinker of the
second century B.C., who knew Rome well--Polybius, the intimate of the
younger Scipio.  In the course of his great summary of the Rome he
knew, when he is explaining her actual and future greatness to the
Greek world, he says:--"The most important difference for the better,
which the Roman Commonwealth appears to me to display, is in their
religious beliefs, for I conceive that what in other nations is looked
upon as a reproach, I mean a scrupulous fear of the gods, is the very
thing which keeps the Roman Commonwealth together; (_synéchein tà
rhômaíôn práumata_).  To such an extraordinary height is this carried
among them (_ektetragóetai {4} kaì pareisêktai_) both in private and
public business, that nothing could exceed it.  Many people might think
this unaccountable, but in my opinion their object is to use it as a
check upon the common people.  If it were possible to form a state
wholly of philosophers, such a custom would perhaps be unnecessary.
But seeing that every multitude is fickle and full of lawless desires,
unreasoning anger and violent passion, the only resource is to keep
them in check by mysterious terrors and scenic effects of this sort
(_tois adélois phobois kai tê toiaute tragôdia_).  Wherefore, to my
mind, the ancients were not acting without purpose or at random, when
they brought in among the vulgar those opinions about the gods and the
belief in the punishments in Hades: much rather do I think that men
nowadays are acting rashly and foolishly in rejecting them.  This is
the reason why, apart from anything else, Greek statesmen, if entrusted
with a single talent, though protected by ten checking-clerks, as many
seals and twice as many witnesses, yet cannot be induced to keep faith;
whereas among the Romans, in their magistracies and embassies, men have
the handling of a great amount of money, and yet from pure respect to
their oath keep their faith intact."[3]  Later on Polybius limits his
assertion of Roman honesty to "the majority"--the habits and principles
of Rome were beginning to be contaminated.[4]

[Sidenote: The political value of religion]

This view of the value of religion is an old one among the Greeks.
Critias, the friend of Socrates, embodied it in verses, which are
preserved for us by Sextus Empiricus.  In summary he holds that there
was a time when men's life knew no order, but at last laws were
ordained to punish; and the laws kept men from open misdeeds, "but they
did many things in secret; and then, I think, some shrewd and wise man
invented a terror for the evil in case secretly they should do or say
or think aught.  So he introduced the divine, alleging that there is a
divinity (_daimôn_), blest with eternal life, who with his mind sees
and hears, thinks, and marks these things, and bears a divine nature,
who will hear all that is said among men and can see all that is done,
and though in silence thou plan some evil, yet this shall not escape
the gods."  This was a most pleasant {5} lesson which he introduced,
"with a false reason covering truth"; and he said the gods abode in
that region whence thunder and lightning and rain come, and so "he
quenched lawlessness with laws."[5]

This was a shallow judgement upon religion.  That "it utterly abolished
religion altogether" was the criticism of Cicero's Academic.[6]  But
most of the contemporary views of the origin of religion were shallow.
Euhemerism with its deified men, and inspiration with its distraught
votaries were perhaps nobler, a little nobler, but in reality there was
little respect for religion among the philosophic.  But the practical
people of the day accepted the view of Critias as wise enough.  "The
myths that are told of affairs in Hades, though pure invention at
bottom, contribute to make men pious and upright," wrote the Sicilian
Diodorus at this very time.[7]  Varro[8] divided religion into three
varieties, mythical, physical (on which the less said in public, he
owned, the better) and "civil," and he pronounced the last the best
adapted for national purposes, as it consisted in knowing what gods
state and citizen should worship and with what rites.  "It is the
interest," he said, "of states to be deceived in religion."

So the great question narrowed itself to this:--Was it possible for
another shrewd and wise man to do again for Rome what the original
inventor of religion had done for mankind? once more to establish
effective gods to do the work of police?  Augustus endeavoured to show
that it was still possible.

On the famous monument of Ancyra, which preserves for us the Emperor's
official autobiography, he enumerates the temples he built--temples in
honour of Apollo, of Julius, of Quirinus, of Juppiter Feretrius, of
Jove the Thunderer, of Minerva, of the Queen Juno, of Juppiter
Liberalis, of the Lares, of the Penates, of Youth, of the Great Mother,
and the shrine known as the Lupercal; he tells how he dedicated vast
sums from his spoils, how he restored to the temples of Asia the
ornaments of which they had been robbed, and how he {6} became Pontifex
Maximus, after patiently waiting for Lepidus to vacate the office by a
natural death.  His biographer Suetonius tells of his care for the
Sibylline books, of his increasing the numbers, dignities and
allowances of the priests, and his especial regard for the Vestal
Virgins, of his restoration of ancient ceremonies, of his celebration
of festivals and holy days, and of his discrimination among foreign
religions, his regard for the Athenian mysteries and his contempt for
Egyptian Apis.[9]  His private feelings and instincts had a tinge of
superstition.  He used a sealskin as a protection against thunder; he
carefully studied his dreams, was "much moved by portents," and
"observed days."[10]

[Sidenote: Rome's debt to the gods]

The most lasting monument (_ære perennius_) of the restoration of
religion by Augustus consists of the odes which Horace wrote to forward
the plans of the Emperor.  They were very different men, but it is not
unreasonable to hold that Horace felt no less than Augustus that there
was something wrong with the state.  His personal attitude to religion
was his own affair, and to it we shall have to return, but in grave and
dignified odes, which he gave to the world, he lent himself to the
cause of reformation.  He deplored the reckless luxury of the day with
much appearance of earnestness, and, though in his published
collections, these poems of lament are interleaved with others whose
burden is _sparge rosas_, he was serious in some degree; for his own
taste, at least when he came within sight of middle life, was all for
moderation.  He spoke gravely of the effect upon the race of its
disregard of all the virtues necessary for the continuance of a
society.  Like other poets of the day, he found Utopias in distant ages
and remote lands.  His idealized picture of the blessedness of savage
life is not unlike Rousseau's, and in both cases the inspiration was
the same--discontent with an environment complicated, extravagant and

  Better with nomad Scythians roam,
  Whose travelling cart is all their home,
  Or where the ruder Getæ spread
  From steppes unmeasured raise their bread.


  There with a single year content
  The tiller shifts his tenement;
  Another, when that labour ends,
  To the self-same condition bends.

  The simple step-dame there will bless
  With care the children motherless:
  No wife by wealth command procures,
  None heeds the sleek adulterer's lures.[11]

Other poets also imagined Golden Ages of quiet ease and idleness, but
the conclusion which Horace drew was more robust.  He appealed to the
Emperor for laws, and effective laws, to correct the "unreined license"
of the day, and though his poem declines into declamation of a very
idle kind about "useless gold," as his poems are apt to decline on the
first hint of rhetoric, the practical suggestion was not rhetorical--it
was perhaps the purpose of the piece.  In another famous poem, the last
of a sequence of six, all dedicated to the higher life of Rome and all
reaching an elevation not often attained by his odes, he points more
clearly to the decline of religion as the cause of Rome's

The idea that Rome's Empire was the outcome of her piety was not first
struck out by Horace.  Cicero uses it in one of his public speeches
with effect and puts it into the mouth of his Stoic in the work on the
Nature of the Gods.[13]  Later on, one after another of the Latin
Apologists for Christianity, from Tertullian[14] to Prudentius, has to
combat the same idea.  It was evidently popular, and the appeal to the
ruined shrine and the neglected image touched--or was supposed to
touch--the popular imagination.

Mankind are apt to look twice at the piety of a ruler, and the old
question of Satan comes easily, "Doth Job serve God for naught?"  Why
does an Emperor wish to be called "the eldest son of the church?"  We
may be fairly sure in the case of Augustus that, if popular sentiment
had been strongly against {8} the restoration of religion, he would
have said less about it.  We have to go behind the Emperor and Horace
to discover how the matter really stood between religion and the Roman

We may first of all remark that, just as the French Revolution was in
some sense the parent of the Romantic movement, the disintegration of
the old Roman life was accompanied by the rise of antiquarianism.
Cicero's was the last generation that learnt the Twelve Tables by heart
at school _ut carmen necessarium_; and Varro, Cicero's contemporary,
was the first and perhaps the greatest of all Roman antiquaries.  So at
least St Augustine held.  Sixteen of his forty-one books of Antiquities
Varro gave to the gods, for "he says he was afraid they would perish,
not by any hostile invasion, but by the neglect of the Roman citizens,
and from this he says they were rescued by himself, as from a fallen
house, and safely stored and preserved in the memory of good men by
books like his; and that his care for this was of more service than
that which Metellus is said to have shown in rescuing the sacred
emblems of Vesta from the fire or Æneas in saving the penates from the
Fall of Troy."[15]  He rescued a good deal more than a later and more
pious age was grateful for; Augustine found him invaluable, but
Servius, the great commentator on Virgil, called him "everywhere the
foe of religion."[16]  The poets, too, felt to the full the charm of
antiquity.  Propertius[17] and Ovid both undertook to write of olden
days--of sacred things ("rooted out of ancient annals"[18]), and of the
names of long ago.  Virgil himself was looked upon as a great
antiquary.  Livy wrote of Rome's early history and told how Numa "put
the fear of the gods" upon his people "as the most effective thing for
an ignorant and rough multitude";[19] his history abounds in portents
and omens, but he is not altogether a believer.  As early as a
generation before Rome was burnt by the Gauls it was remarked, he says,
that foreign religion had invaded the city, brought by prophets who
made money out of the superstitions they roused and the alien and
unusual means they employed to procure the peace of the gods.[20]


[Sidenote: Primitive Roman ritual]

Nowhere perhaps is antiquarianism more fascinating than in the sphere
of religion.  The _Lupercalia_ had once a real meaning.  The sacrifice
of goats and young dogs, and of sacred cakes that the Vestals made of
the first ears of the last year's harvest; the _Luperci_, with blood on
their brows, naked but for the skins of the slaughtered goats; the
_februa_ of goatskin, the touch of which would take sterility from a
woman--all this is intelligible to the student of primitive religion;
but when Mark Antony, Consul though he was, was one of the runners at
the Lupercalia, it was not in the spirit of the ancient Latin.  It was
an antiquarian revival of an old festival of the countryside, which had
perhaps never died out.  At all events it was celebrated as late as the
fifth century A.D., and it was only then abolished by the substitution
of a Christian feast by Pope Gelasius.[21] Augustus took pains to
revive such ceremonies.  Suetonius mentions the "augury of safety," the
"flaminate of Juppiter," the "Lupercal rite," and various sacred
games.[22]  Varro in one of his books, speaks of the Arval Brothers;
and Archæology and the spade have recovered for us the _acta_ of
ninety-six of the annual meetings which this curious old college held
at the end of May in the grove of Dea Dia.  It is significant that the
oldest of these _acta_ refer to the meeting in 14 A.D., the year of
Augustus' death.  The hymn which they sang runs as follows:--

  _Enos Lases iuvate
  Neve lue rue Marmar sins incurrere in pleores
  Satur fu fere Mars limen sali sta berber
  Semunis Alternis advocapit conctos
  Enos Marmor iuvato

The first five lines were repeated thrice, and _Triumpe_ five
times.[23]  Quintilian tells us that "the hymns of the Salii were
hardly intelligible to the priests themselves,"[24] yet they found
admirers who amused Horace with their zeal for mere age and


But an antiquarian interest in ritual is not inconsistent with
indifference to religion.  Varro, as we have seen, was criticized as an
actual enemy of religion in spite of the services he claimed to have
rendered to the gods--and the very claim justifies the criticism.  So
far as the literature of the last century B.C. and the stories current
about the leading men in Rome allow us to judge, it is hard to suppose
there has ever been an age less interested in religion.  Cicero, for
example, wrote--or, perhaps, compiled--three books "On the Nature of
the Gods."  He casts his matter into the form of a dialogue, in which
in turn an Epicurean and a Stoic give their grounds for rejecting and
for accepting the gods, and an Academic points out the inadequacy of
the reasoning in both cases.  He has also written on the immortality of
the soul.  But Cicero's correspondence is a more reliable index to his
own beliefs and those of the society in which he moved.  No society
could be more indifferent to what we call the religious life.  In
theory and practice, in character and instinct, they were thoroughly
secular.  One sentence will exhibit Cicero's own feeling.  He wrote to
his wife from Brundusium on 30th April 58 B.C., when he was on his way
to foreign exile: "If these miseries are to be permanent, I only wish,
my dearest (_mea vita_), to see you as soon as possible and to die in
your arms, since neither gods, whom _you_ have worshipped with such
pure devotion, nor men, whom _I_ have always served, have made us any
return."[26]  Even when his daughter Tullia died, no sign of any hope
of re-union escaped him in his letters, nor did Servius Sulpicius, who
wrote him a beautiful letter of consolation, do more than merely hint
at such a thing.  "If the dead have consciousness, would she wish you
to be so overcome of sorrow?"  Horace, whose odes, as we have seen, are
now and then consecrated to the restoration of religion, was every whit
as secular-minded.  He laughed at superstition and ridiculed the idea
of a divine interest in men, when he expressed his own feeling.  No one
was ever more thoroughly Epicurean in the truest sense of the word; no
one ever urged more pleasantly the Epicurean theory _Carpe diem_; no
one ever had more deeply ingrained in him the belief _Mors ultima linea
rerum est_.  His candour, his humour, his friendliness, combine to give
him a very human charm, but in all that is associated with the {11}
religious side of man's thought and experience, he is sterile and
insufficient.  And Horace, like Cicero, represents a group.  Fuscus
Aristius, it is true, declined to rescue the poet from the bore on the
ground that "it was the thirtieth Sabbath--and Horace could not wish to
offend the Jews?" but we realize that this scruple was dramatic.
Fuscus is said to have been a writer of comedies.[27]

[Sidenote: The childhood of a pagan]

But the jest of Fuscus was the earnest of many.  If men were conscious
of decay in the sanction which religion had once given to morality,
there was still a great deal of vague religious feeling among the
uneducated and partially educated classes.  Again and again we read
complaints of the folly of grandmothers and nurses, and it was from
them that the first impressions of childhood came.  Four centuries
later than the period now under discussion it was still the same.
"When once vain superstition obsessed the heathen hearts of our
fathers, unchecked was its course through a thousand generations.  The
tender hope of the house shuddered, and worshipped whatever venerable
thing his hoary grandsires showed him.  Infancy drank in error with its
mother's milk.  Amid his cries the sacred meal was put between the
baby's lips.  He saw the wax dripping upon the stones, the black
_Lares_ trickling with unguent.  A little child he saw the image of
Fortune with her horn of wealth, and the sacred stone that stood by the
house, and his mother pale at her prayers before it.  Soon himself too,
raised high on his nurse's shoulders, he pressed his lips to the stone,
poured forth his childish prayers, and asked riches for himself from
the blind rock, and was sure that, whatever one wished, that was where
to ask.  Never did he lift his eyes and his mind to turn to the citadel
of reason, but he believed, and held to the foolish custom, honouring
with blood of lambs the gods of his family.  And then when he went
forth from his home, how he marvelled at the public festivals, the holy
days and the games, and gazed at the towering Capitol, and saw the
laurelled servants of the gods at the temples while the Sacred Way
echoed to the lowing of the victims."  So wrote Prudentius.[28]  So too
wrote Tibullus--"Keep me, _Lares_ of my fathers; for ye bred me to
manhood when a tender child I played at your feet."[29]


How crowded the whole of life was with cult and ritual and usage, how
full of divinities, petty, pleasing or terrible, but generally vague
and ill-defined, no one will readily realize without special study, but
some idea of the complexity of the Roman's divine environment can be
gained from even a cursory survey of Ovid's _Fasti_, for example, or
Tertullian's _Apology_, or some of the chapters of the fourth book of
Augustine's _City of God_.  "When," asks Augustine, "can I ever mention
in one passage of this book all the names of gods and goddesses, which
they have scarcely been able to compass in great volumes, seeing that
they allot to every individual thing the special function of some
divinity?"  He names a few of the gods of agriculture--Segetia,
Tutilina, Proserpina, Nodutus, Volutina, Patelana, Lacturnus, Matuta,
etc.  "I do not mention all."[30]  "Satan and his angels have filled
the whole world," said Tertullian.[31]

[Sidenote: Fauns, trees, and wells]

Gods of this type naturally make little figure in literature though
Proserpina, in consequence of her identification with the Greek
Persephone, achieved a great place and is indeed the subject of the
last great poem written under the Roman Empire.  But there were other
gods of countryside and woodland, whom we know better in art and
poetry.  "Faunus lover of fugitive Nymphs" is charming enough in
Horace's ode, and Fauns, Pans and Satyrs lend themselves readily to
grotesque treatment in statue and gem and picture.  But the country
people took them seriously.  Lucretius, speaking of echoes among the
hills, says:--"These spots the people round about fancy that
goat-footed Satyrs and nymphs inhabit; they say that they are the
Fauns, whose noise and sportive play breaks the still silence of the
night as they move from place to place....  They tell us that the
country people far and wide full oft hear Pan, when, nodding the
pine-cap on his half-bestial head, he runs over the gaping reeds with
curved lip....  And of other like monsters and marvels they tell us,
that they may not be thought to inhabit lonely places, abandoned even
by the gods."[32]  Cicero {13} makes his Stoic say their voices are
often to be heard.[33]  Pliny, in his _Natural History_, says that
certain dogs can actually see Fauns; he quotes a prescription,
concocted of a dragon's tongue, eyes and gall, which the Magi recommend
for those who are "harassed by gods of the night and by Fauns";[34] for
they did not confine themselves to running after nymphs, but would
chase human women in the dark.

Plutarch has a story of King Numa drugging a spring from which "two
dæmons, Picus and Faunus," drank--"creatures who must be compared to
Satyrs or Pans in some respects and in others to the Idæan Dactyli,"
beings of great miraculous power.[35]  A countryside haunted by
inhabitants of more or less than human nature, part beasts and part
fairies or devils, is one thing to an unbeliever who is interested in
art or folk-lore, but quite another thing to the uneducated man or
woman who has heard their mysterious voices in the night solitude and
has suffered in crop, or house, or herd from their ill-will.[36]  What
the Greek called "Panic" fears were attributed in Italy to Fauns.[37]

"Trees," says Pliny, "were temples of divinities, and in the old way
the simple country folk to this day dedicate any remarkable tree to a
god.  Nor have we more worship for images glittering with gold and
ivory than for groves and the very silence that is in them."[38]  The
country people hung rags and other offerings on holy trees--the hedge
round the sacred grove at Aricia is specially mentioned by Ovid as thus
honoured.[39]  The river-god of the Tiber had his sacred oak hung with
spoils of fallen foes.[40]

Holy wells too were common, which were honoured with models of the
limbs their waters healed, and other curious gifts, thrown into
them--as they are still in every part of the Old World.  Horace's fount
of Bandusia is the most famous of these in literature.[41]  It was an
old usage to throw garlands into springs and to crown wells on October
13th.[42]  Streams and {14} wells alike were haunted by mysterious
powers, too often malevolent.[43]

Ovid describes old charms to keep off vampires, _striges_, from the
cradles of children.[44]

In fact the whole of Nature teemed with beings whom we find it hard to
name.  They were not pleasant enough, and did not appeal enough to the
fancy, to merit the name "fairies"--at least since _The Midsummer
Night's Dream_ was written.  Perhaps they are nearer "The little
People"--the nameless "thim ones."[45] They were neither gods nor
demons in our sense of the words, though Greek thinkers used the old
Homeric word _daimôn_ to describe them or the diminutive of it, which
allowed them to suppose that Socrates' _daimónion_ was something of the

[Sidenote: The genius]

But these Nature-spirits, whatever we may call them, were far from
being the only superhuman beings that encompassed man.  Every house had
its _Lares_ in a little shrine (_lararium_) on the hearth, little twin
guardian gods with a dog at their feet, who watched over the family,
and to whom something was given at every meal, and garlands on great
days.  Legend said that Servius Tullius was the son of the family
_Lar_.[46]  The _Lares_ may have been spirits of ancestors.  The
Emperor Alexander Severus set images of Apollonius, Christ, Abraham and
Orpheus, "and others of that sort" in his _lararium_.[47]  Not only
houses but streets and cross-roads had _Lares_; the city had a
thousand, Ovid said, besides the _genius_ of the Prince who gave
them;[48] for Augustus restored two yearly festivals in their honour in
Spring and Autumn.  There were also the _Penates_ in every home, whom
it would perhaps be hard to distinguish very clearly from the _Lares_.
Horace has a graceful ode to "Phidyle" on the sufficiency of the
simplest sacrifices to these little gods of home and hearth.[49]  The
worship of these family gods was almost the only {15} part of Roman
religion that was not flooded and obscured by the inrush of Oriental

"The Ancients," said Servius, "used the name _Genius_ for the natural
god of each individual place or thing or man,"[50] and another
antiquary thought that the _genius_ and the _Lar_ might be the same
thing.  For some reason men of letters laid hold upon the _genius_, and
we find it everywhere.  Why there should be such difference even
between twin brothers,

  _He_ only knows whose influence at our birth
  O'errules each mortal's planet upon earth,
  The attendant genius, temper-moulding pow'r,
  That stamps the colour of man's natal hour.[51]

The idea of this spiritual counterpart pervades the ancient world.  It
appears in Persia as the _fravashi_.[52]  It is in the Syrian Gnostic's
Hymn of the Soul, as a robe in the form and likeness of a man.--

  It was myself that I saw before me as in a mirror;
  Two in number we stood, but only one in appearance.[53]

It is also probable that the "Angel" of Peter and the "Angels of the
little children" in the New Testament represent the same idea.  The
reader of Horace hardly needs to be reminded of the birthday feast in
honour of the _genius_,--_indulge genio_.  December, as the month of
Larentalia and Saturnalia, is the month welcome to every _genius_, Ovid

The worship of all or most of these spirits of the country and of the
home was joyful, an affair of meat and drink.  The primitive sacrifice
brought man and god near one another in the blood and flesh of the
victim, which was of one race with them both.[55]  It was on some such
ground that the Jews would not "eat with blood," lest the soul of the
beast should pass into the {16} man.  There were feasts in honour of
the dead, too, which the church found so dear to the people that it
only got rid of them by turning them into festivals of the Martyrs.  It
was not idly that St Paul spoke of "meat offered to idols" and said
that the Kingdom of God was not eating or drinking.

In addition to all these spirits of living beings, of actions and of
places, we have to reckon the dead.  There were _Manes_--a name
supposed to mean "the kindly ones," a caressing name given with a
purpose and betraying a real fear.  There were also ghosts, _larvæ_ and
_lemures_.[56]  It was the thought of these that made burial so serious
a thing, and all the ritual for averting the displeasure of the dead.
The Parentalia were celebrated on the 13th of February in their
honour,[57] and in May the _Lemuria_.  It is, we are told, for this
reason that none will marry in May.[58]  Closely connected with this
fear of ghosts and of the dead is that terror of death which Lucretius
spends so much labour in trying to dissipate.

"I see no race of men," wrote Cicero, "however polished and educated,
however brutal and barbarous, which does not believe that warnings of
future events are given and may be understood and announced by certain
persons,"[59] and he goes on to remark that Xenophanes and Epicurus
were alone among philosophers in believing in no kind of
Divination.[60]  "Are we to wait till beasts speak?  Are we not content
with the unanimous authority of mankind?"[61]  The Stoics, he says,
summed up the matter as follows:--

"If there are gods and they do not declare the future to men; then
_either_ they do not love men; _or_ they are ignorant of what is to
happen; _or_ they think it of no importance to men to know it; _or_
they do not think it consistent with their majesty to tell men; _or_
the gods themselves are unable to indicate it.  But _neither_ do they
not love men, for they are benefactors and friends to mankind; _nor_
are they ignorant of what they themselves appoint and ordain; _nor_ is
it of no importance to us to know the future--for we shall be more
careful if we do; _nor_ do they count it alien to their majesty, for
there is nothing nobler than kindness; _nor_ are they unable to
foreknow.  _Therefore_ no {17} gods, no foretelling; but there are
gods; therefore they foretell.  Nor, if they foretell, do they fail to
give us ways to learn what they foretell; nor, if they give us such
ways, is there no divination; therefore, there is divination."[62]

[Sidenotes: Omens]

All this reasoning comes after the fact.  The whole world believed in
divination, and the Stoics found a reason for it.[63] The flight of
birds, the entrails of beasts, rain, thunder, lightning, dreams,
everything was a means of Divination.  Another passage from the same
Dialogue of Cicero will suffice.  Superstition, says the speaker,
"follows you up, is hard upon you, pursues you wherever you turn.  If
you hear a prophet, or an omen; if you sacrifice; if you catch sight of
a bird; if you see a Chaldæan or a _haruspex_; if it lightens, if it
thunders, if anything is struck by lightning; if anything like a
portent is born or occurs in any way--something or other of the kind is
bound to happen, so that you can never be at ease and have a quiet
mind.  The refuge from all our toils and anxieties would seem to be
sleep.  Yet from sleep itself the most of our cares and terrors
come."[64]  How true all this is will be seen by a moment's reflexion
on the abundance of signs, omens and dreams that historians so
different as Livy and Plutarch record.  Horace uses them pleasantly
enough in his Odes--like much else such things are charming, if one
does not believe in them.[65]  But it is abundantly clear that it took
an effort to be rid of such belief.  A speaker in Cicero's _Tusculans_
remarks on the effrontery of philosophers, who _boast_ that by
Epicurus' aid "they are freed from those most cruel of tyrants, eternal
terror and fear by day and by night."[66] When a man boasts of moral
progress, of his freedom from avarice, what, asks Horace, of other like

  You're not a miser.  Good--but prithee say,
  Is every vice with avarice flown away? ...
  Does Superstition ne'er your heart assail
  Nor bid your soul with fancied horrors quail?


  Or can you smile at magic's strange alarms,
  Dreams, witchcraft, ghosts, Thessalian spells and charms?[67]

Horace's "conversion" is recorded in one of his odes, but it may be
taken too seriously.

That superstition so gross was accompanied by paralysing belief in
magic, enchantment, miracle, astrology[68] and witchcraft generally, is
not surprising.  The historians of the Early Empire have plenty to say
on this.  It should be remembered that the step between magic and
poisoning is a very short one.  Magic, says Pliny, embraces the three
arts that most rule the human mind, medicine, religion and
mathematics--a triple chain which enslaves mankind.[69]

We have thus in Roman society a political life of a highly developed
type, which has run through a long course of evolution and is now
degenerating; we have a literature based upon that of Greece and
implying a good deal of philosophy and of intellectual freedom; and,
side by side with all this, a religious atmosphere in which the
grossest and most primitive of savage conceptions and usages thrive in
the neighbourhood of a scepticism as cool and detached as that of
Horace.  It is hard to realize that a people's experience can be so
uneven, that development and retardation can exist at once in so
remarkable a degree in the mind of a nation.  The explanation is that
we judge peoples and ages too much by their literature, and by their
literature only after it has survived the test of centuries.  In all
immortal literature there is a common note; it deals with the deathless
and the vital; and superstition, though long enough and tenacious
enough of life, is outlived and outgrown by "man's unconquerable mind."
But the period before us is one in which, under a rule that robbed men
of every liberating interest in life, and left society politically,
intellectually and morally sterile and empty, literature declined, and
as it declined, it sank below the level of that flood of vulgar
superstition, which rose higher and higher, as in each generation men
were less wishful to think and less capable of thought.


[Sidenote: Universal religions]

But our theme is religion, and so far we have discussed nothing but
what we may call superstition--and even Plutarch would hardly quarrel
with the name.  That to people possessed by such beliefs in non-human
powers, in beings which beset human life with malignity, the
restoration of ancient cult and ritual would commend itself, is only
natural.  To such minds the purpose of all worship is to induce the
superhuman being to go peaceably away, and sacrifice implies not human
sin, but divine irritation, which may be irrational.  To the religious
temperament, the essential thing is some kind of union, some communion,
with the Divine; and sacrifice becomes the means to effect the relation
of life to a higher will,--to a holier will, we might say, if we allow
to the word "holy" a width of significance more congenial to ancient
than to modern thought.  And this higher will implies a divinity of
wider reach than the little gods of primitive superstition, a power
which may even be less personal if only it is great.  Religion asks for
the simplification of man's relations with his divine environment, for
escape from the thousand and one petty marauders of the spirit-world
into the empire of some strong and central authority, harsh, perhaps,
or even cruel, but at least a controlling force in man's experience.
If this power is moral, religion is at once fused with morality; if it
is merely physical, religion remains non-moral, and has a constant
tendency to decline into superstition, or at least to make terms with

In the hereditary religion of Rome, the only power that could possibly
have been invested with any such character was Jupiter Capitolinus, but
he had too great a likeness to the other gods of Italy--the gods with
names, that is, for some of the more significant had none--Bona Dea and
Dea Dia for example.  Jupiter had his functions, but on the whole they
were local, and there was very little or nothing in him to quicken
thought or imagination.  It was not till the Stoics made him more or
less the embodiment of monotheism, that he had a chance of becoming the
centre of a religion in the higher sense of the word, and even then it
was impossible; for first, he was at best little more than an
impersonal dogma, and, secondly, the place was filled by foreign
goddesses of far greater warmth and colour and activity.  _Stat magni
nominis umbra_.


[Sidenote: Cybele and her priests]

It was during the second Punic War that Cybele was brought from Asia
Minor to Rome and definitely established as one of the divinities of
the City.[70]  The Great Mother of the gods, she represented the
principle of life and its reproduction, and her worship appealed to
every male and female being in the world.  It inspired awe, and it
prompted to joy and merriment; it was imposing and it was mysterious.
Lucretius has a famous description of her pageant:--

"Adorned with this emblem (the mural crown), the image of the divine
Mother is carried nowadays through wide lands in awe-inspiring state.
Different nations after old-established ritual name her Idæan Mother,
and give for escort Phrygian bands....  Tight-stretched tambourines and
hollow cymbals thunder all round to the stroke of their open hands, and
horns menace with hoarse-sounding music, and the hollow pipe stirs
their minds with its Phrygian strain.  They carry weapons before them,
emblems of furious rage, meet to fill the thankless souls and godless
breasts of the rabble with terror for the Divinity of the Goddess.  So,
when first she rides in procession through great cities and mutely
enriches mortals with a blessing not expressed in words, they straw all
her path with brass and silver, presenting her with bounteous alms, and
scatter over her a snow-shower of roses, over-shadowing the mother and
her troops of attendants.  Here an armed band, to which the Greeks give
the names of Phrygian Curetes, join in the game of arms and leap in
measure, all dripping with blood, and the awful crests upon their heads
quiver and shake."[71]

The invariable features of the worship of Cybele are mentioned here,
the eunuch priests, the tambourines, the shouting and leaping and
cutting with knives, and the collection of money.[72]  There is no
indication of any control being exercised over these priests of Cybele
by a central authority, and little bands of them strolled through the
Mediterranean lands, making their living by exhibiting themselves and
their goddess and gathering petty offerings.  They had a bad name and
they seem to have deserved it.  In the book called _The Ass_, {21} once
ascribed to Lucian, is a short account of such a band.  The ass, who is
really a man transformed, is the speaker.  "The next day they packed up
the goddess and set her on my back.  Then we drove out of the city and
went round the country.  When we entered any village, I, the god-bearer
(a famous word, _theophóretos_[73]) stood still, and the crowd of
flutists blew like mad, and the others threw off their caps and rolled
their heads about, and cut their arms with the swords and each stuck
his tongue out beyond his teeth and cut it too, so that in a moment
everything was full of fresh blood.  And, I, when I saw this for the
first time, stood trembling in case the goddess might need an ass'
blood too.  When they had cut themselves about in this way, they
collected from the bystanders obols and drachmas; and one or another
would give them figs and cheeses and a jar of wine, and a medimnus of
wheat and barley for the ass.  So they lived upon these and did service
to the goddess who rode on my back."[74]

The _Attis_ of Catullus gives a vivid picture of the frenzy which this
worship could excite.  Juvenal complains of the bad influence which the
priests of Cybele, among others, had upon the minds of Roman ladies.
St Augustine long afterwards says that "till yesterday" they were to be
seen in the streets of Carthage "with wet hair, whitened face and
mincing walk."  It is interesting to note in passing that the land
which introduced the Mother of the Gods to the Roman world, also gave
the name _Theotokos_ (Mother of God) to the church.

Egypt also contributed gods to Rome, who forced themselves upon the
state.  The Senate forbade them the Capitol and had their statues
thrown down, but the people set them up again with violence.[75]
Gabinius, the Consul of 58 B.C., stopped the erection of altars to
them, but eight years later the Senate had to pass a decree for the
destruction of their shrines.  No {22} workman dared lay hand to the
work, so the consul Paullus stripped off his consular toga, took an axe
and dealt the first blow at the doors.[76]  Another eight years passed,
and the Triumvirs, after the death of Cæsar, built a temple to Isis and
Serapis to win the goodwill of the masses.[77]  The large foreign and
Eastern element in the city populace must be remembered.  When Octavian
captured Alexandria, he forgave the guilty city "in honour of Serapis,"
but on his return to Rome he destroyed all the shrines of the god
within the city walls.  In time Isis laid hold of the month of
November, which had otherwise no festivals of importance.

[Sidenote: Isis and Serapis]

Isis seems to have appealed to women.  Tibullus complains of Delia's
devotion to her, and her ritual.  There were baths and purifications;
the worshippers wore linen garments and slept alone.  Whole nights were
spent sitting in the temple amid the rattling of the sistrum.  Morning
and evening the votary with flowing hair recited the praises of the
goddess.[78] Isis could make her voice heard on occasion, or her snake
of silver would be seen to move its head, and penance was required to
avert her anger.  She might bid her worshippers to stand in the Tiber
in the winter, or to crawl, naked and trembling, with blood-stained
knees, round the Campus Martius--the Iseum stood in the Campus as it
was forbidden within the City Walls; or to fetch water from Egypt to
sprinkle in the Roman shrine.  They were high honours indeed that
Anubis claimed, as, surrounded by shaven priests in linen garments, he
scoured the city and laughed at the people who beat their breasts as he
passed.[79]  The "barking" Anubis might be despised by Virgil and
others, but the vulgar feared him as the attendant of Isis and
Serapis.[80]  Isis began to usurp the functions of Juno Lucina, and
women in childbed called upon her to deliver them.[81]  She gave
oracles, which were familiar perhaps even so early as Ennius' day,[82]
and men and women slept in the temples of Isis and Serapis, as they did
in those of Æsculapius, to obtain in dreams the knowledge they needed
to appease the god, or to {23} recover their health, or what not.[83]
It is not surprising that the shrines of Isis are mentioned by Ovid and
Juvenal as the resorts of loose women.[84]

The devotion of the women is proved by the inscriptions which are found
recording their offerings to Isis.  One woman, a Spaniard, may be taken
as an illustration.  In honour of her daughter she dedicated a silver
statue to Isis, and she set forth how the goddess wore a diadem
composed of one big pearl, six little pearls, emeralds, rubies, and
jacinths; earrings of emeralds and pearls; a necklace of thirty-six
pearls and eighteen emeralds (with two for clasps); bracelets on her
arms and legs; rings on her fingers; and emeralds on her sandals.[85]
There is evidence to show that the Madonna in Southern Italy is really
Isis re-named.  Isis, like the Madonna, was painted and sculptured with
a child in her arms (Horus, Harpocrates).  Their functions coincide as
closely as this inscription proves that their offerings do.[86]

  Die Mutter Gottes zu Kevlaar
    Trägt heut' ihr bestes Kleid.

At first, it is possible that Egyptian religion, as it spread all over
the world, was little better than Phrygian, but it had a better future.
With Plutarch's work upon it we shall have to deal later on.  Apuleius,
at the end of the second century worshipped an Isis, who identified all
the Divinities with herself and was approached through the most
imposing sacraments.  She was the power underlying all nature, but
there was a spiritual side to her worship.  Two centuries or so later,
Julian "the Apostate" looks upon Serapis as Catholics have done upon St
Peter--he is "the kindly and gentle god, who set souls utterly free
from becoming or birth (_genéseos_) and does not, when once they are
free, nail them down to other bodies in punishment, but conveys them
upward and brings them into the {24} ideal world."[87]  It is possible
that some hint of this lurked in the religion from the first, and, if
it did, we need not be surprised that it escaped Juvenal's notice.

It was not merely gods that came from the East, but a new series of
religious ideas.  Here were religions that claimed the whole of life,
that taught of moral pollution and of reconciliation, that gave anew
the old sacramental value to rituals,--religions of priest and devotee,
equalizing rich and poor, save for the cost of holy rites, and giving
to women the consciousness of life in touch with the divine.  The
eunuch priests of Cybele and the monks of Serapis introduced a new
abstinence to Western thought.  It is significant that Christian
monasticism and the coenobite life began in Egypt, where, as we learn
from papyri found in recent years, great monasteries of Serapis existed
long before our era.  Side by side with celibacy came vegetarianism.

No polytheistic religion can exclude gods from its pantheon; all
divinities that man can devise have a right there.  Thus Cybele and
Isis made peace with each other and with all the gods and goddesses
whom they met in their travels--and with all the _dæmonia_ too.  Their
cults were steeped in superstition, and swung to and fro between
continence and sensuality.  They orientalized every religion of the
West and developed every superstitious and romantic tendency.  In the
long run, they brought Philosophy to its knees, abasing it to be the
apologist of everything they taught and did, and dignifying themselves
by giving a philosophic colouring to their mysticism.  But this is no
strange thing.  A religion begins in magic with rites and symbols that
belong to the crudest Nature-worship--to agriculture, for instance, and
the reproductive organs--and gradually develops or absorbs higher
ideas, till it may reach the unity of the godhead and the immortality
of the soul; but the ultimate question is, will it cut itself clear of
its past?  And this the religions of Cybele and Isis never
satisfactorily achieved.

In the meantime they promised little towards a moral regeneration of
society.  They offered men and women emotions, but they scarcely
touched morality.  To the terrors of life, already many enough, they
added crowning fears, and cramped and dwarfed the minds of men.


[Sidenote: Lucretius]

"O hapless race of men!" cried Lucretius, "when they attributed such
deeds to the gods and added cruel anger thereto! what groanings did
they then beget for themselves, what wounds for us, what tears for our
children's children!  No act of piety is it to be often seen with
veiled head turning toward a stone, to haunt every altar, to lie
prostrate on the ground with hands outspread before the shrines of
gods, to sprinkle the altars with much blood of beasts and link vow to
vow--no! rather to be able to look on all things with a mind at
peace."[88] And a mind at peace was the last thing that contemporary
religion could offer to any one.  "Human life," he says, "lay visibly
before men's eyes foully crushed to earth under the weight of Religion,
who showed her head from the quarters of heaven with hideous aspect
lowering upon men," till Epicurus "dared first to uplift mortal eyes
against her face and first to withstand her....  The living force of
his soul gained the day; on he passed far beyond the flaming walls of
the world and traversed in mind and spirit the immeasurable universe.
And thence he returns again a conqueror, to tell us what can and what
cannot come into being; in short on what principle each thing has its
powers defined, its deep-set boundary mark.  So Religion is put under
our feet and trampled upon in its turn; while as for us, his victory
sets us on a level with heaven."[89]

It was the establishment of law which brought peace to Lucretius.  In
the ease of mind which we see he gained from the contemplation of the
fixity of cause and effect, in the enthusiasm with which he emphasizes
such words as _rationes_, _fædera_, _leges_, with which he celebrates
_Natura gubernans_, we can read the horrible weight upon a feeling soul
of a world distracted by the incalculable caprices of a myriad of
divine or dæmonic beings.[90]  The force with which he flings himself
against the doctrine of a future life shows that it is a fight for
freedom.  If men would rid themselves of "the dread of something after
death"--and they could if they would, for reason will do it--they could
live in "the serene temples of the wise"; the gods would pass from
their minds; bereavement would lose its sting, and life would no longer
be brutalized by the cruelties of terror.  Avarice, treachery, murder,
civil war, suicide--all these things are the fruit of this fear of


Religion, similarly, "often and often has given birth to sinful and
unholy deeds."  The illustration, which he uses, is the sacrifice of
Iphigenia, and it seems a little remote.  Yet Pliny says that in 97
B.C. in the consulship of Lentulus and Crassus, a decree of the Senate
forbade human sacrifice--_ne homo immolaretur_.  "It cannot be
estimated," he goes on, "what a debt is owed to the Romans who have
done away (in Gaul and Britain) with monstrous rites, in which it was
counted the height of religion to kill a man, and a most healthful
thing to eat him."[92]  Elsewhere he hints darkly at his own age having
seen something of the kind, and there is an obscure allusion in
Plutarch's life of Marcellus to "unspeakable rites, that none may see,
which are performed (?) upon Greeks and Gauls."[93]  "At the temple of
Aricia," says Strabo, "there is a barbarian and Scythian practice.  For
there is there established a priest, a runaway slave, who has killed
with his own hand his predecessor.  There he is, then, ever sword in
hand, peering round about, lest he should be attacked, ready to defend
himself."  Strabo's description of the temple on the lake and the
precipice overhanging it adds to the impressiveness of the scene he
thus pictures.[94]  If human sacrifice was rare in practice, none the
less it was in the minds of men.

  _Tantum religio potuit suadere malorum_

concludes Lucretius, and yet it was not perhaps his last thought.

M. Patin has a fine study of the poet in which he deals with "the
anti-Lucretius in Lucretius."  Even in the matter of religion, his keen
observation of Nature frequently suggests difficulties which are more
powerfully expressed and more convincing than the arguments with which
he himself tries to refute them.  "When we look up to the heavenly
regions of the great universe, the æther set on high above the
glittering stars, and the {27} thought comes into our mind of the sun
and moon and their courses; then indeed in hearts laden with other woes
that doubt too begins to wake and raise its head--can it be perchance,
after all, that we have to do with some vast Divine power that wheels
those bright stars each in his orbit?  Again who is there whose mind
does not shrink into itself with fear of the gods, whose limbs do not
creep with terror, when the parched earth rocks under horrible blow of
the thunderbolt, and the roar sweeps over the vast sky? ... When too
the utmost fury of the wild wind scours the sea and sweeps over its
waters the admiral with his stout legions and his elephants, does he
not in prayer seek peace with the gods? ... but all in vain, since,
full oft, caught in the whirlwind, he is driven, for all his prayers,
on, on to the shoals of death.  Thus does some hidden power trample on
mankind....  Again, when the whole earth rocks under their feet, and
towns fall at the shock or hang ready to collapse, what wonder if men
despise themselves, and make over to the gods high prerogative and
marvellous powers to govern all things?"[95]

That Lucretius should be so open to impressions of this kind, in spite
of his philosophy, is ra measure of his greatness as a poet.  It adds
weight and worth to all that he says--to his hatred of the polytheism
and superstition round about him, and to his judgment upon their effect
in darkening and benumbing the minds of men.  He understands the
feelings which he dislikes--he has felt them.  The spectacle of the
unguessed power that tramples on mankind has moved him; and he has
suffered the distress of all delicate spirits in times of bloodshed and
disorder.  He knows the effect of such times upon those who still
worship.  "Much more keenly in evil days do they turn their minds to


We have now to consider another poet, a disciple of Lucretius in his
early years, who, under the influence of Nature and human experience,
moved away from Epicureanism, and sought reconciliation with the gods,
though he was too honest with himself to find peace in the systems and
ideas that were yet available.

[Sidenote: Virgil]

Virgil was born in the year 70 B.C.--the son of a little self-made man
in a village North of the Po.  He grew up in the country, with a spirit
that year by year grew more sensitive to every aspect of the world
around him.  No Roman poet had a more gentle and sympathetic love of
Nature; none ever entered so deeply and so tenderly into the sorrows of
men.  He lived through forty years of Civil War, veiled and open.  He
saw its effects in broken homes and aching hearts, in coarsened minds
and reckless lives.  He was driven from his own farm, and had, like
Æneas, to rescue an aged and blind father.  Under such experience his
early Epicureanism dissolved--it had always been too genial to be the
true kind.  The Epicurean should never go beyond friendship, and Virgil
loved.  His love of the land in which he was born showed it to him more
worthy to be loved than men had yet realized.  Virgil was the pioneer
who discovered the beauty, the charm and the romance of Italy.  He
loved the Italians and saw poetry in their hardy lives and quiet
virtues, though they were not Greeks.  His love of his father and of
his land opened to him the significance of all love, and the deepening
and widening of his experience is to be read in the music, stronger and
profounder, that time reveals in his poetry.

Here was a poet who loved Rome more than ever did Augustus or Horace,
and he had no such speedy cure as they for "the woes of sorrowful
Hesperia."  The loss of faith in the old gods meant more to him than to
them, so his tone in speaking of them is quieter, a great deal, than
that of Horace.  He took the decline of morals more seriously and more
inwardly, and he saw more deeply into the springs of action; he could
never lightly use the talk of rapid and sweeping reformation, as his
friend did in the odes which the Emperor inspired.  He had every belief
in Augustus, who was dearer to him personally than to Horace, and he
hoped for much outcome from the new movement in the State.  But with
all his absorbing interest in {29} his own times--and how deep that
interest was, only long and minute study of his poems will reveal--he
was without scheme or policy.  He came before his countrymen, as
prophets and poets do in all ages--a child in affairs, but a man in
inward experience; he had little or nothing to offer but the
impressions left upon his soul by human life.  He had the advantage
over most prophets in being a "lord of language"; he drew more music
from Latin words than had ever been achieved before or was ever reached

He told men of a new experience of Nature.  It is hardly exaggeration
to say that he stands nearer Wordsworth in this feeling than any other
poet.  He had the same "impulses of deeper birth"; he had seen new
gleams and heard new voices; he had enjoyed what no Italian had before,
and he spoke in a new way, unintelligible then, and unintelligible
still, to those who have not seen and heard the same things.  The gist
of it all he tried to give in the language of Pantheism, which the
Stoics had borrowed from Pythagoras:--"The Deity, they tell us,
pervades all, earth and the expanse of sea, and the deep vault of
heaven; from Him flocks, herds, men, wild beasts of every sort, each
creature at its birth draws the bright thread of life; further, to Him
all things return, are restored and reduced--death has no place among
them; but they fly up alive into the ranks of the stars and take their
seats aloft in the sky."  So John Conington did the passage into
English.  But in such cases it may be said with no disrespect to the
commentator who has done so much for his poet, the original words stand
to the translation, as Virgil's thought did to the same thought in a
Stoic's brain.

        _Deum namque ire per omnis
  Terrasque tractusque maris cælumque profundum;
  Hinc pecudes, armenta, viros, genus omne ferarum,
  Quemque sibi tenues nascentem arcessere vitas;
  Scilicet huc reddi deinde ac resoluta referri
  Omnia, nec morti esse locum, sed viva volare
  Sideris in numerum atque alto succedere cælo_.
                                  (Georgics, iv, 221.)

The words might represent a fancy, or a dogma of the schools and many
no doubt so read them, because they had no {30} experience to help
them.  But to others it is clear that the passage is one of the deepest
import, for it is the key to Virgil's mind and the thought is an
expression of what we can call by no other name than religion.  Around
him men and women were seeking communion with gods; he had had
communion with what he could not name--he had experienced religion in a
very deep, abiding and true way.  There is nothing for it--at least for
Englishmen--but to quote the "lines composed a few miles above Tintern

              I have felt
  A presence that disturbs me with the joy
  Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
  Of something far more deeply interfused,
  Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
  And the round ocean, and the living air,
  And the blue sky, and in the mind of man;
  A motion and a spirit, that impels
  All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
  And rolls through all things.

Virgil's experience did not stop here; like Wordsworth, he found

              Nature's self
  By all varieties of human love

He had been a son and a brother; and such relations of men to men
impressed him--they took him into the deepest and most beautiful
regions of life; and one of the charms of Italy was that it was written
all over with the records of human love and helpfulness.  The clearing,
the orchard, the hilltop town, the bed of flowers, all spoke to him
"words that could not be uttered."  His long acquaintance with such
scripts brought it about that he found

            in man an object of delight,
  Of pure imagination and of love--

and he came to the Roman people with a deep impression of human
worth--something unknown altogether in Roman poetry before or after.
Lucretius was impressed with man's insignificance in the universe;
Horace, with man's folly.  Virgil's {31} poetry throbbed with the sense
of man's grandeur and his sanctity.

This human greatness, which his poetry brought home to the sympathetic
reader, was not altogether foreign to the thought of the day.  _Homo
sacra res homini_[97] was the teaching of the Stoics, but man was a
more sacred thing to the poet than to the philosopher, for what the
philosopher conceived to be a flaw and a weakness in man, the poet
found to be man's chief significance.  The Stoic loudly proclaimed man
to be a member of the universe.  The poet found man knit to man by a
myriad ties, the strength of which he realized through that pain
against which the Stoic sought to safeguard him.  Man revealed to the
poet his inner greatness in the haunting sense of his limitations--he
could not be self-sufficient (_autárkês_) as the Stoic urged; he
depended on men, on women and children, on the beauty of grass and
living creature, of the sea and sky.  And even all these things could
not satisfy his craving for love and fellowship; he felt a "hunger for
the infinite."  Here perhaps is the greatest contribution of Virgil to
the life of the age.

He, the poet to whom man and the world were most various and meant
most, came to his people, and, without any articulate expression of it
in direct words, made it clear to them that he had felt a gap in the
heart of things, which philosophy could never fill.  Philosophy could
remove this sense of incompleteness, but only at the cost of love; and
love was to Virgil, as his poetry shows, the very essence of life.  Yet
he gave, and not altogether unconsciously, the impression that in
proportion as love is apprehended, its demands extend beyond the
present.  The sixth book of the _Æneid_ settles nothing and proves
nothing, but it expresses an instinct, strong in Virgil, as the result
of experience, that love must reach beyond the grave.  Further, the
whole story of Æneas is an utterance of man's craving for God, of the
sense of man's incompleteness without a divine complement.  These are
the records of Virgil's life, intensely individual, but not peculiar to
himself.  In the literature of his century, there is little indication
of such instincts, but the history of four hundred years shows that
they were deep in the general heart of man.

These impressions Virgil brought before the Roman world.  {32} As such
things are, they were a criticism, and they meant a change of values.
In the light of them, the restoration of religion by Augustus became a
little thing; the popular superstition of the day was stamped as vulgar
and trivial in itself, while it became the sign of deep and unsatisfied
craving in the human heart; and lastly the current philosophies, in the
face of Virgil's poetry, were felt to be shallow and cold, talk of the
lip and trick of the brain.  Of course this is not just to the
philosophers who did much for the world, and without whom Virgil would
not have been what he was.  None the less, it was written in Virgil's
poetry that the religions and philosophies of mankind must be thought
over anew.

This is no light contribution to an age or to mankind.  In this case it
carries with it the whole story that lies before us.  Such an
expression of a common instinct gave new force to that instinct; it
added a powerful impulse to the deepest passion that man knows; and, in
spite of the uncertainties which beset the poet himself, it gave new
hope to mankind that the cry of the human heart for God was one that
should receive an answer.

Chapter I Footnotes:

[1] Cic. _ad fam._ x, 16, 2, _Ipse tibi sis senatus_.

[2] _Georgic_ i, 505-514 (Conington's translation, with alterations).

[3] Polybius, vi, 56, Shuckburgh's Translation.

[4] Polybius, xviii, 35.

[5] Sextus Empiricus, _Adv. mathematicos_, ix, 54.

[6] Cicero, _N.D._ i, 42, 118.

[7] Diodorus Siculus, i, 2.

[8] Quoted by Augustine, _C.D._ iv, 27; vi, 5; also referred to by
Tertullian, _ad Natt._ ii, 1.

[9] Suetonius, _Augustus_, 31, 75, 93; Warde Fowler, _Roman Festivals_,
p. 344.

[10] Suet. Aug. 90, 92.

[11] Horace, _Odes_, iii, 24, 9-20, Gladstone's version.

[12] Horace, _Odes_, iii, 6, Delicta maiorum.

[13] _De Haruspicum Responsis_, 9, 19; _N.D._ ii, 3, 8.

[14] E.g. _Apol._ 25, with a serious criticism of the contrast between
Roman character before and after the conquest of the world,--before and
after the invasion of Rome by the images and idols of Etruscans and

[15] _Augustine C.D._ vi, 2.

[16] On _Æneid_, xi, 785.

[17] Propertius, v, 1, 69.

[18] Ovid, _Fasti_, i, 7.

[19] Livy, i, 19.

[20] Livy, iv, 30.

[21] Plutarch, _Romulus_, 21; _Cæsar_, 61, Warde Fowler, _Roman
Festivals_, p. 310 f.

[22] Suetonius, _Aug._ 31, Warde Fowler, _op. cit._ p. 190.

[23] Mommsen, _History_, i, p. 231, who translates the hymn.

[24] Quintilian, i, 6, 40.  See specimen in Varro, _L.L._ vii, 26.

[25] _Epp._ ii, 1, 20-27, 86.

[26] Cicero, _ad fam._ xiv, 4, 1.

[27] Hor. _Sat._ i, 9, 69: Porphyrion is the authority for the comedies.

[28] Prudentius, _contra Symmachum_, i, 197-218.

[29] Tibullus, i, 10, 15.

[30] _C.D._ iv, 8.  "To an early Greek," says Mr Gilbert Murray, "the
earth, water and air were full of living eyes: of _theoi_, of
_daimones_, of _Kêres_.  One early poet says emphatically that the air
is so crowded full of them that there is no room to put in the spike of
an ear of corn without touching one."--_Rise of Greek Epic_, p. 82.

[31] _de Spect._ 5; cf. _de Idol._ 16; _de cor. mil._ 13, gods of the
door; _de Anima_, 39, goddesses of child-birth.

[32] Lucr. iv, 580 f.  Virg. _Æn._ viii, 314.

[33] Cic. _N.D._ ii, 2, 6: cf. _De Div._ i, 45, 101.  Warde Fowler,
_Roman Festivals_, pp. 256 ff. on the Fauni.

[34] Pliny, _N.H._ viii, 151; xxx, 84.

[35] Plutarch, _Numa_, 15; _de facie in orbe lunæ_, 30; Ovid, _Fasti_,
iii, 291.

[36] Horace's ode attests the power of the Fauns over crops and herds.

[37] Dionys.  Hal. v, 16.

[38] Pliny, _N.H._ xii, 3.

[39] Ovid, _Fasti_, iii, 267.  _Licia dependent longas velantia sæpes,
et posita est meritæ multa tabella deæ_.

[40] Virgil, Æn. x, 423.

[41] Horace, _Odes_, iii, 13.

[42] W. Warde Fowler, _Roman Festivals_, p. 240.

[43] Cf. Tertullian, _de Baptismo_, 5.  _Annon et alias sine ullo
Sacramento immundi spiritus aquis incubant, adfectantes illam in
primordio divini spiritus gestationem?  Sciunt opaci quique fontes, et
avii quique rivi, et in balneis piscinæ et euripi in domibus, vel
cisternæ et putei, qui rapere dicuntur, scilicet per vim spiritus
nocentis.  Nympholeptos et lymphaticos et hydrophobos vocant quos aquæ
necaverunt aut amentia vel formidine exercuerunt.  Quorsum ista
retulimus?  Ne quis durius credat angelum dei sanctum aquis in salutem
hominis temperandis adesse._

[44] Ovid, _Fasti_, vi, 155 f.

[45] Cf. (Lucian) _Asinus_, 24.  _poî badixeis aôría talaipôre; oudè tà
daimónia dédoikas_.

[46] Pliny, _N.H._ xxxvi, 204.

[47] Lampridius, _Alex. Sev._ 29. 2.

[48] _Fasti_, v. 145.  Cf. Prudentius, _adv. Symm_, ii, 445 f.

[49] _Odes_, iii, 23.  _Farre pio_.

[50] On _Georgic_ i, 302, See Varro, _ap._ Aug. _C.D._ vii, 13.  Also
_Tert. de Anima_, 39, _Sic et omnibus genii deputantur, quod dæmonum
nomen est.  Adeo nulla ferme nativitas munda, utique ethnicorum_.

[51] Hor. _Ep._ ii. 2, 187 f. Howes' translation.  Cf. _Faerie Queene_,
II, xii, 47.

[52] See J. H. Moulton in _Journal of Theological Studies_, III, 514.

[53] Burkitt, _Early Eastern Christianity_, p. 222.

[54] _Fasti_, iii, 57; Seneca, _Ep._ 18. 1, _December est mensis: cum
maxime civitas sudat, ius luxuries publicæ datum est ... ut non
videatur mihi errasse qui dixit: olim mensem Decembrem fuisse nunc

[55] Cf. Robertson Smith, _Religion of the Semites_, lect. xi.

[56] Warde Fowler, _Roman Festivals_, pp. 106 f.

[57] Ovid, _Fasti_, ii, 409 f.  Warde Fowler, _op. cit._ pp. 306 f.

[58] Ovid, _Fasti_, v, 490.

[59] _De Divinatione_, i, 1, 2.

[60] _ib._ i, 3, 5.

[61] _ib._ i, 39, 84.

[62] _De Divinatione_, i, 38, 82, 83.  Cf. Tertullian, _de Anima_, 46.
_Sed et Stoici deum malunt providentissimum humanæ institutioni inter
cetera præsidia divinatricum artium et disciplinarum somnia quoque
nobis indidisse, peculiare solatium naturalis oraculi_.

[63] Panaetius and Seneca should be excepted from this charge.

[64] Cic. _de Div._ ii, 72, 149, 150.  Cf. _de Legg._ ii, 13, 32.
Plutarch also has the same remark about sleep and superstition.

[65] Cf. _Odes_, iii, 27.

[66] _Tusculans_, i, 21, 48.

[67] Hor. _Ep._ ii, 2, 208; Howes.

[68] Tertullian, de _Idol._ 9, _seimus magiæ et astrologiæ inter se

[69] Pliny the elder on Magic, _N.H._ xxx, opening sections; _N.H._
xxviii, 10, on incantations, _polleantne aliquid verba et incantamenta

[70] Livy, xxix, 11, 14; Ovid, fasti, iv, 179 f.  The goddess was
embodied in a big stone.

[71] Lucretius, ii, 608 f.

[72] Cf. Strabo, c. 470; Juvenal, vi, 511 f.

[73] See Ramsay, _Church in the Roman Empire_, p. 397.  The Latins used
the word _divinus_ in this way--Seneca, _de teata vita_, 26, 8.

[74] (Lucian) Asinus, 37.  The same tale is amplified in Apuleius'
_Golden Ass_, where the episode of these priests is given with more
detail, in the eighth book.  Seneca hints that a little blood might
make a fair show; see his picture of the same, _de beata vita_, 26, 8.

[75] Tertullian, _ad Natt._ i, 10; Apel. 6.  He has the strange fancy
that Serapis was originally the Joseph of the book of Genesis, _ad
Natt._ ii, 8.

[76] Valerius Maximus, i, 3, 4.

[77] Dio C. xlvii, 15.

[78] Tibullus, i, 3, 23 f.  Cf. Propertius, ii, 28, 45; Ovid, _A.A._
iii, 635.

[79] Juvenal, vi, 522 f.

[80] Lucan, viii, 831, _Isin semideosque canes_.

[81] Ovid, _Am._ ii, 13, 7.

[82] Unless _Isiaci coniectores_ is Cicero's own phrase, _de Div._ i,
58, 132.

[83] Cicero, _Div._ ii, 59, 121.  For _egkolmesis_ or _incubatio_ see
Mary Hamilton, _Incubation_ (1906)

[84] Clem. Alex. Pædag. iii, 28, to the same effect.  Tertullian on the
temples, _de Pud._ c. 5.  Reference may be made to the hierodules of
the temples in ancient Asia and in modern India.

[85] _Corp. Inscr. Lai._ ii, 3386.  The enumeration of the jewels was a
safeguard against theft.

[86] Flinders Petrie, _Religion of Ancient Egypt_, p. 44; Hamilton,
_Incubation_, pp. 174, 182 f.

[87] Julian, _Or._ iv, 136 B.

[88] Lucr. v, 1194.

[89] Lucr. i, 62-79.

[90] See Patin, _La Poésie Latine_, i, 120.

[91] Lucr. iii, 60 f.

[92] Pliny, _N.H._ xxx, 12, 13.  Warde Fowler, _Roman Festivals_, pp.
111 f. on the _Argei_ and the whole question of human sacrifice.  For
Plutarch's explanation of it as due not to gods but to evil demons who
enforced it, see p. 107.

[93] Pliny, _N.H._ xxviii, 12; Plutarch, _Marcellus_, 3, where,
however, the meaning may only be that the rites are done in symbol; he
refers to the actual sacrifice of human beings in the past.  See
Tertullian, _Apol._ 9 on sacrifice of children in Africa in the reign
of Tiberius.

[94] Strabo, c. 239.  Strabo was a contemporary of Augustus.  Cf. J. G.
Frazer, _Adonis Attis Osiris_, p. 63, for another instance in this

[95] Lucr. v, 1204-1240.  We may compare Browning's _Bp. Blougram_ on
the instability of unbelief:--

  Just when we are safest, there's a sunset-touch,
  A fancy from a flower-bell, some one's death,
  A chorus-ending from Euripides--
  And that's enough for fifty hopes and fears
  As old and new at once as nature's self,
  To rap and knock and enter in our soul,
  Take hands and dance there, a fantastic ring,
  Round the ancient idol, on his base again,--
  The grand Perhaps!  We look on helplessly.

[96] Lucr. iii, 53.

[97] Seneca, _Ep._ 95, 33.




"I am entering," writes Tacitus,[1] "upon the history of a period, rich
in disasters, gloomy with wars, rent with seditions, nay, savage in its
very hours of peace.  Four Emperors perished by the sword; there were
three civil wars; there were more with foreigners--and some had both
characters at once....  Rome was wasted by fires, its oldest temples
burnt, the very Capitol set in flames by Roman hands.  There was
defilement of sacred rites; adulteries in high places; the sea crowded
with exiles; island rocks drenched with murder.  Yet wilder was the
frenzy in Rome; nobility, wealth, the refusal of office, its
acceptance--everything was a crime, and virtue the surest ruin.  Nor
were the rewards of informers less odious than their deeds; one found
his spoils in a priesthood or a consulate; another in a provincial
governorship; another behind the throne; and all was one delirium of
hate and terror; slaves were bribed to betray their masters, freedmen
their patrons.  He who had no foe was destroyed by his friend."

It was to this that Virgil's hope of a new Golden Age had
come--_Redeunt Saturnia regna_.  Augustus had restored the Republic; he
had restored religion; and after a hundred years here is the outcome.
Tacitus himself admits that the age was not "barren of virtues," that
it "could show fine illustrations" of family love and friendship, and
of heroic death.  It must also be owned that the Provinces at large
were better governed than under the Republic; and, further, that, when
he wrote Tacitus thought of a particular period of civil disorder and
that not a long one.  Yet the reader of his Annals will feel that the
description will cover more than the year 69; it is essentially true of
the reigns of Tiberius, Gaius, Claudius and Nero, and it was to be true
again of the reign of Domitian--of perhaps eighty years of the first
century of our era.  If it was not true {34} of the whole Mediterranean
world, or even of the whole of Rome, it was true at least of that
half-Rome which gave its colour to the thinking of the world.

[Sidenote: The Imperial court]

Through all the elaborate pretences devised by Augustus to obscure the
truth, through all the names and phrases and formalities, the Roman
world had realized the central fact of despotism.[2]  The Emperors
themselves had grasped it with pride and terror.  One at least was
insane, and the position was enough to turn almost any brain.
"Monarchy," in Herodotus' quaint sentence,[3] "would set the best man
outside the ordinary thoughts."  Plato's myth of Gyges was
fulfilled--of the shepherd, who found a ring that made him invisible,
and in its strength seduced a queen, murdered a king and became a
tyrant.  Gaius banished his own sisters, reminding them that he owned
not only islands but swords; and he bade his grandmother remember that
he could "do anything he liked and do it to anybody."[4]  Oriental
princes had been kept at Rome as hostages and had given the
weaker-minded members of the Imperial family new ideas of royalty.  The
very word was spoken freely--in his treatise "On Clemency" Seneca uses
again and again the word _regnum_ without apology.

But what gave Despotism its sting was its uncertainty.  Augustus had
held a curiously complicated set of special powers severally conferred
on him for specified periods, and technically they could be taken from
him.  The Senate was the Emperor's partner in the government of the
world, and it was always conceivable that the partnership might cease,
for it was not a definite institution--prince followed prince, it is
true, but there was an element of accident about it all.  The situation
was difficult; Senate and Emperor eyed each other with
suspicion--neither knew how far the other could go, or would go;
neither knew the terms of the partnership.  Tiberius wrote despatches
to the Senate and he was an artist in concealing his meaning.  The
Senate had to guess what he wished; if it guessed wrong, he would
resent the liberty; if it guessed right, he resented the appearance of
servility.  The solitude of the throne grew more and more uneasy.


Again, the republican government had been in the hands of free men, who
ruled as magistrates, and the imperial government had no means of
replacing them, for one free-born Roman could not take service with
another.  The Emperor had to fall back upon his own household.  His
Secretaries of State were slaves and freedmen--men very often of great
ability, but their past was against them.  If it had not depraved them,
none the less it left upon them a social taint, which nothing could
remove.  They were despised by the men who courted them, and they knew
it.  It was almost impossible for such men not to be the gangrene of
court and state.  And as a fact we find that the freedman was
throughout the readiest agent for all evil that Rome knew, and into the
hands of such men the government of the world drifted.  Under a weak,
or a careless, or even an absent, Emperor Rome was governed by such men
and such methods as we suppose to be peculiar to Sultanates and the

The honour, the property, the life of every Roman lay in the hands of
eunuchs and valets, and, as these quarrelled or made friends, the
fortunes of an old nobility changed with the hour.  It had not been so
under Augustus, nor was it so under Vespasian, nor under Trajan or his
successors; but for the greater part of the first century A.D. Rome was
governed by weak or vicious Emperors, and they by their servants.  The
spy and the informer were everywhere.

To this confusion fresh elements of uncertainty were added by the
astrologer and mathematician, and it became treason to be interested in
"the health of the prince."  Superstition ruled the
weakling--superstition, perpetually re-inforced by fresh hordes of
Orientals, obsequious and unscrupulous.  Seneca called the imperial
court, which he knew, "a gloomy slave-gaol" (_triste ergastulum_).[5]

Reduced to merely registering the wishes of their rulers, the Roman
nobility sought their own safety in frivolity and extravagance.  To be
thoughtful was to be suspected of independence and to invite danger.
We naturally suppose moralists and satirists to exaggerate the vices of
their contemporaries, but a sober survey of Roman morals in the first
century--at any rate before 70 A.D.--reveals a great deal that {36} is
horrible.  (Petronius is not exactly a moralist or a satirist, and
there is plenty of other evidence.)  Marriage does not thrive alongside
of terror, nor yet where domestic slavery prevails, and in Rome both
militated against purity of life.  The Greek girl's beauty, her charm
and wit, were everywhere available.  For amusements, there were the
gladiatorial shows,--brutal, we understand, but their horrible
fascination we fortunately cannot know.  The reader of St Augustine's
_Confessions_ will remember a famous passage on these games.  The
gladiators were the popular favourites of the day.  They toured the
country, they were modelled and painted.  Their names survive scratched
by loafers on the walls of Pompeii.  The very children played at being
gladiators, Epictetus said--"sometimes athletes, now monomachi, now
trumpeters."  The Colosseum had seats for 80,000 spectators of the
games, "and is even now at once the most imposing and the most
characteristic relic of pagan Rome."[6]

[Sidenote: "Despotism tempered by epigrams"]

Life was terrible in its fears and in its pleasures.  If the poets drew
Ages of Gold in the latter days of the Republic, now the philosophers
and historians looked away to a "State of Nature," to times and places
where greed and civilization were unknown.  In those happy days, says
Seneca, they enjoyed Nature in common; the stronger had not laid his
hand upon the weaker; weapons lay unused, and human hands, unstained by
human blood, turned all the hatred they felt upon the wild beasts; they
knew quiet nights without a sigh, while the stars moved onward above
them and the splendid pageant of Night; they drank from the stream and
knew no water-pipes, and their meadows were beautiful without art;
their home was Nature and not terrible; while our abodes form the
greatest part of our terror.[7]  In Germany, writes Tacitus, the
marriage-bond is strict; there are no shows to tempt virtue; adultery
is rare; none there makes a jest of vice, _nec corrumpere et corrumpi
seculum vocatur_; none but virgins marry and they marry to bear big
children and to suckle them, _sera invenum venus eoque inexhausta
pubertas_; and the children inherit the sturdy frames of their

But whatever their dreams of the Ideal, the actual was {37} around
them, and men had to accommodate themselves to it.  In France before
the Revolution, men spoke of the government as "despotism tempered by
epigrams," and the happy phrase is as true of Imperial Rome.  "Verses
of unknown authorship reached the public and provoked" Tiberius,[9] who
complained of the "circles and dinner-parties."  Now and again the
authors were discovered and were punished sufficiently.  The tone of
the society that produced them lives for ever in the _Annals_ of
Tacitus.  It is worth noting how men and women turned to Tacitus and
Seneca during the French Revolution and found their own experience
written in their books.[10]

Others unpacked their hearts with words in tyrannicide declamations and
imitations of Greek tragedy.  Juvenal laughs at the crowded class-room
busy killing tyrants,--waiting himself till they were dead.  The
tragedies got nearer the mark.  Here are a few lines from some of
Seneca's own:--

  Who bids all pay one penalty of death
  Knows not a tyrant's trade.  Nay, vary it--
  Forbid the wretch to die, and slay the happy.  (_H.F._ 515.)

  And is there none to teach them stealth and sin?
  Why! then the throne will!  (_Thyestes_ 313.)

  Let him who serves a king, fling justice forth,
  Send every scruple packing from his heart;
  Shame is no minister to wait on kings.  (_Phædra_ 436.)

But bitterness and epigram could not heal; and for healing and inward
peace men longed more and more,[11] as they felt their own weakness,
the power of evil and the terror of life; and they found both in a
philosophy that had originally come into being under circumstances
somewhat similar.  They needed some foundation for life, some means of
linking the individual to something that could not be shaken, and this
they found in Stoicism.  The Stoic philosopher saw a unity in this
world of confusion--it was the "Generative Reason"--the _spermatikós
logos_, the Divine Word, or Reason, that is the seed and vital
principle, whence all things come and in virtue of which they {38}
live.  All things came from fiery breath, _pneûma diapuron_, and
returned to it.  The whole universe was one polity--_politeia tou
kósmou_--in virtue of the spirit that was its origin and its life, of
the common end to which it tended, of the absolute and universal scope
of the laws it obeyed--mind, matter, God, man, formed one community.
The soul of the individual Roman partook of the very nature of
God--_divinæ particula auræ_[12]--and in a way stood nearer to the
divine than did anything else in the world, every detail of which,
however, was some manifestation of the same divine essence.  All men
were in truth of one blood, of one family,--all and each, as Seneca
says, sacred to each and all.[13]  (_Unum me donavit_ [_sc. Natura
rerum_] _omnibus, uni mihi omnes_.)

[Sidenote: Harmony with nature]

Taught by the Stoic, the troubled Roman looked upon himself at once as
a fragment of divinity,[14] an entity self-conscious and individual,
and as a member of a divine system expressive of one divine idea, which
his individuality subserved.  These thoughts gave him ground and
strength.  If he seemed to be the slave and plaything of an Emperor or
an imperial freedman, none the less a divine life pulsed within him,
and he was an essential part of "the world."  He had two havens of
refuge--the universe and his own soul--both quite beyond the reach of
the oppressor.  Over and over we find both notes sounded in the
writings of the Stoics and their followers--God within you and God
without you.  "Jupiter is all that you see, and all that lives within
you."[15]  There is a Providence that rules human and all other
affairs; nothing happens that is not appointed; and to this Providence
every man is related.  "He who has once observed with understanding the
administration of the world, and learnt that the greatest and supreme
and most comprehensive community is the system (_systema_) of men and
God, and that from God come the seeds whence all things, and especially
rational beings, spring, why should not that man call himself a citizen
of the world [Socrates' word _kosmios_], why not a son of God?"[16]
And when we consider the individual, we find that God {39} has put in
his power "the best thing of all, the master thing"--the rational
faculty.  What is not in our power is the entire external world, of
which we can alter nothing, but the use we make of it and its
"appearances"[17] is our own.  Confine yourself to "what is in your
power" (_tà epí soi_), and no man can hurt you.  If you can no longer
endure life, leave it; but remember in doing so to withdraw quietly,
not at a run; yet, says the sage, "Men! wait for God; when He shall
give you the signal and release you from this service, then go to Him;
but for the present endure to dwell in this place where He has set

To sum up; the end of man's being and his true happiness is what Zeno
expressed as "living harmoniously," a statement which Cleanthes
developed by adding the words "with Nature."  Harmony with Nature and
with oneself is the ideal life; and this the outside world of Emperors,
freedmen, bereavements and accidents generally, can neither give nor
take away.  "The end," says Diogenes Laertius, "is to act in conformity
with nature, that is, at once with the nature which is in us and with
the nature of the universe, doing nothing forbidden by that common law
which is the right reason that pervades all things, and which is,
indeed, the same in the Divine Being who administers the universal
system of things.  Thus the life according to nature is that virtuous
and blessed flow of existence, which is enjoyed only by one who always
acts so as to maintain the harmony between the dæmon (_daimôn_) within
the individual and the will of the power that orders the universe."[19]

This was indeed a philosophy for men, and it was also congenial to
Roman character, as history had already shown.  It appealed to manhood,
and whatever else has to be said of Stoics and Stoicism, it remains the
fact that Stoicism inspired nearly all the great characters of the
early Roman Empire, and nerved almost every attempt that was made to
maintain the freedom and dignity of the human soul.[20]  The government
was not slow to realise the danger of men with such a trust in
themselves and so free from fear.

On paper, perhaps, all religions and philosophies may at first glance
seem equally good, and it is not till we test them in life {40} that we
can value them aright.  And even here there is a wide field for error.
Every religion has its saints--men recognizable to everyone as saints
in the beauty, manhood and tenderness of their character--and it is
perhaps humiliating to have to acknowledge that very often they seem to
be so through some happy gift of Nature, quite independently of any
effort they make, or of the religion to which they themselves generally
attribute anything that redeems them from being base.  We have to take,
if possible, large masses of men, and to see how they are affected by
the religion which we wish to study--average men, as we call them--for
in this way we shall escape being led to hasty conclusions by happy
instances of natural endowment, or of virtues carefully acquired in
favourable circumstances of retirement or helpful environment.  Side by
side with such results as we may reach from wider study, we have to set
our saints and heroes, for while St Francis would have been tender and
Thrasea brave under any system of thought, it remains that the one was
Christian and the other Stoic.  We need the individual, if we are to
avoid mere rough generalities; but we must be sure that he is
representative in some way of the class and the system under review.

As representatives of the Stoicism of the early Roman Empire, two men
stand out conspicuous--men whose characters may be known with a high
degree of intimacy.  The one was a Roman statesman, famous above all
others in his age, and a man of letters--one of those writers who
reveal themselves in every sentence they write and seem to leave
records of every mood they have known.  The other was an emancipated
slave, who lived at Nicopolis in Epirus, away from the main channels of
life, who wrote nothing, but whose conversations or monologues were
faithfully recorded by a disciple.

"Notable Seneca," writes Carlyle, "so wistfully desirous to stand well
with Truth and yet not ill with Nero, is and remains only our perhaps
niceliest proportioned half-and-half, the plausiblest Plausible on
record; no great man, no true man, no man at all... 'the father of all
such as wear shovel-hats.'"  This was in the essay on Diderot written
in 1833; and we find in his diary for 10th August 1832, when Carlyle
was fresh from reading Seneca, an earlier judgment to much the same
effect--"He is father of all that work in sentimentality, and, by fine
speaking {41} and decent behaviour, study to serve God and mammon, to
stand well with philosophy and not ill with Nero.  His _force_ had
mostly oozed out of him, or corrupted itself into _benevolence_,
virtue, sensibility.  Oh! the everlasting clatter about virtue!
virtue!!  In the Devil's name be virtuous and no more about it."

Even in his most one-sided judgments Carlyle is apt to speak truth,
though it is well to remember that he himself said that little is to be
learnt of a man by dwelling only or mainly on his faults.  That what he
says in these passages is in some degree true, every candid reader must
admit; but if he had written an essay instead of a paragraph we should
have seen that a great deal more is true of Seneca.  As it is, we must
take what Carlyle says as representing a judgment which has often been
passed upon Seneca, though seldom in such picturesque terms.  It is in
any case truer than Mommsen's description of Cicero.

[Sidenote: Seneca's early life]

Seneca was born at Cordova in Spain about the Christian era--certainly
not long before it.  His father was a rich man of equestrian rank, a
rhetorician, who has left several volumes of rhetorical compositions on
imaginary cases.  He hated philosophy, his son tells us.[21]  Seneca's
mother seems to have been a good woman, and not the only one in the
family; for his youth was delicate and owed much to the care of a good
aunt at Rome; and his later years were spent with a good wife Pompeia
Paulina, who bore him two little short-lived boys.

In one of his letters (108) Seneca tells us of his early life in Rome.
He went to the lectures of Attalus, a Stoic teacher, who laid great
stress on simplicity of life and independence of character and was also
interested in superstition and soothsaying.  The pupil was a
high-minded and sensitive youth, quick then, as he remained through
life, to take fire at an idea.[22]  "I used to be the first to come and
the last to go; and as he walked I would lead him on to further
discussions, for he was not only ready for those who would learn, but
he would meet them."  "When I heard Attalus declaim against the vices,
errors and evils of life, I would often pity mankind; and as for him I
thought of him as one on high, far above human nature's highest.  He
himself used to say he was a king [a Stoic {42} paradox at which Horace
had laughed]; but he seemed to me more than king,--the judge of kings.
When he began to commend poverty, and to show that whatever is more
than need requires, is a useless burden to him that has it, I often
longed to leave the room a poor man.  When he attacked our pleasures
and praised the chaste body, the sober table, the pure mind, I
delighted to refrain, not merely from unlawful pleasures, but from
needless ones too.  Some of it has stuck by me, Lucilius, for I made a
good beginning."  All his life long, in fact, he avoided the luxuries
of table and bath, and drank water.  He continues, "Since I have begun
to tell you how much more keenly I began philosophy in my youth than I
persevere with it in my old age, I am not ashamed to own what love of
Pythagoras Sotion waked in me."  Sotion recommended vegetarianism on
the grounds which Pythagoras had laid down.  "But you do not believe,"
he said, "that souls are allotted to one body after another, and that
what we call death is transmigration?  You don't believe that in beasts
and fishes dwells the mind (_animum_) that was once a man's? ... Great
men have believed it; so maintain your own opinion, but keep the matter
open.  If it is true, then to have abstained from animal food will be
innocence; if it is false, it will still be frugality."[23]  So for a
year Seneca was a vegetarian with some satisfaction and he fancied that
his mind was livelier than when he was "an eater of beef."[24]  It is
as well not to quote some contemporary methods of preparing meat.[25]
However, after a while some scandal arose about foreign religions, and
vegetarianism was counted a "proof of superstition," and the old
rhetorician, more from dislike of philosophy than from fear of calumny,
made it an excuse to put a little pressure on his philosophic son, who
obediently gave up the practice.  Such is the ardour of youth, he
concludes,--a good teacher finds idealists ready to his hand.  The
fault is partly in the teachers, who train us to argue and not to live,
and partly in the pupils too, whose aim is to have the wits trained and
not the mind.  "So what was philosophy becomes philology--the love of

There is a certain gaiety and good humour about these {43} confessions,
which is closely bound up with that air of tolerance and that sense of
buoyant ease[27] which pervade all his work.  Here the tone is in
keeping with the matter in hand, but it is not always.  Everything
seems so easy to him that the reader begins to doubt him and to wonder
whether he is not after all "The plausiblest Plausible on record."  We
associate experience with a style more plain, more tense, more
inevitable; and the extraordinary buoyancy of Seneca's writing suggests
that he can hardly have known the agony and bloody sweat of the true
teacher.  Yet under the easy phrases there lay a real sincerity.  From
his youth onward he took life seriously, and, so far as is possible for
a man of easy good nature, he was in earnest with himself.

Like other youths of genius, he had had thoughts of suicide, but on
reflexion, he tells us, he decided to live, and his reason was
characteristic.  While for himself he felt equal to dying bravely, he
was not so sure that his "kind old father" would be quite so brave in
doing without him.  It was to philosophy, he says, that he owed his

Apart from philosophy, he went through the ordinary course of Roman
education.  He "wasted time on the grammarians,"[29] whom he never
forgave, and at whom, as "guardians of Latin speech"[30] he loved to
jest,--and the greatest of all Roman Grammarians paid him back in the
familiar style of the pedagogue.  Rhetoric came to him no doubt by
nature, certainly by environment; it conspicuously haunted his family
for three generations.[31]  He duly made his appearance at the
bar--making more speeches there than Virgil did, and perhaps not
disliking it so much.  But he did not like it, and, when his father
died, he ceased to appear, and by and by found that he had lost the
power to plead as he had long before lost the wish.[32]

On the accession of Claudius to the Imperial throne in 41 A.D., Seneca,
now in middle life, was for some reason banished to Corsica, and there
for eight weary years he remained, till the Empress Messalina fell.  A
little treatise, which he wrote {44} to console his mother,
survives--couched in the rhetoric she knew so well.  If the language is
more magnificent than sons usually address to their mothers, it must be
remembered that he wrote to console her for misfortunes which he was
himself enduring.  The familiar maxim that the mind can make itself
happy and at home anywhere is rather like a platitude, but it loses
something of that character when it comes from the lips of a man
actually in exile.  Another little work on the subject, which he
addressed later on to Polybius, the freedman of Claudius, stands on a
different footing, and his admirers could wish he had not written it.
There is flattery in it of a painfully cringing tone.  "The Emperor did
not hurl him down so utterly as never to raise him again; rather he
supported him when evil fortune smote him and he tottered; he gently
used his godlike hand to sustain him and pleaded with the Senate to
spare his life....  He will see to his cause....  He best knows the
time at which to show favour....  Under the clemency of Claudius,
exiles live more peacefully than princes did under Gaius."[33]  But a
little is enough of this.

It is clear that Seneca was not what we call a strong man.  A fragile
youth, a spirit of great delicacy and sensibility, were no outfit for
exile.  Nor is it very easy to understand what exile was to the
educated Roman.  Some were confined to mere rocks, to go round and
round them for ever and never leave them.  Seneca had of course more
space, but what he endured, we may in some measure divine from the
diaries and narratives that tell of Napoleon's life on St Helena.  The
seclusion from the world, the narrow range, the limited number of
faces, the red coats, the abhorred monotony, told heavily on every
temper, on gaoler and prisoner alike, even on Napoleon; and Seneca's
temperament was not of stuff so stern.  We may wish he had not broken
down, but we cannot be surprised that he did.  It was human of him.
Perhaps the memory of his own weakness and failure contributed to make
him the most sympathetic and the least arrogant of all Stoics.

[Sidenote: Nero]

At last Messalina reached her end, and the new Empress, Agrippina,
recalled the exile in 49 A.D., and made him tutor of her son, Nero; and
from now till within two years of his death Seneca lived in the circle
of the young prince.  When Claudius died in 54, Seneca and Burrus
became the guardians of the {45} Emperor and virtually ruled the
Empire.  It was a position of great difficulty.  Seneca grew to be
immensely rich, and his wealth and his palaces and gardens[34] weakened
his influence, while they intensified the jealousy felt for a minister
so powerful.  Yet perhaps none of his detractors guessed the limits of
his power as surely as he came to feel them himself.  Some measure of
the situation may be taken from what befell when the freedwoman Claudia
Acte became the mistress of Nero.  "His older friends did not thwart
him," says Tacitus, "for here was a girl, who, without harm to anyone,
gratified his desires, since he was utterly estranged from his wife
Octavia."[35]  Later on, we learn, Seneca had to avail himself of
Acte's aid to prevent worse scandals.

In February 55 A.D. the young prince Britannicus was poisoned at Nero's
table.  He was the son of Claudius and the brother of Octavia--a
possible claimant therefore to the Imperial throne.  Nero, not more
than eighteen years old, told the company quite coolly that it was an
epileptic seizure, and the feast went on, while the dead boy was
carried out and buried there and then in the rain--in a grave prepared
before he had entered the dining-hall.[36]  Ten months later Seneca
wrote his tractate on Clemency.  Nero should ask himself "Am I the
elected of the gods to be their vice-gerent on earth?  The arbiter of
life and death to the nations?" and so forth.  He is gently reminded of
the great light that fronts the throne; that his anger would be as
disastrous as war; that "Kings gain from kindness a greater security,
while their cruelty swells the number of their enemies."  Seneca
wanders a good deal, but his drift is clear--and the wretchedness of
his position.

That Burrus and he had no knowledge of Nero's design to do away with
his mother, is the verdict of Nero's latest historian, but to Seneca
fell the horrible task of writing the explanatory letter which Nero
sent to the Senate when the murder was done.  Perhaps to judge him
fairly, one would need to have been a Prime Minister.  It may have been
a necessary thing to do, in order to maintain the world's government,
but the letter imposed on nobody, and Thrasea Pætus at once rose from
his seat and walked conspicuously out.

From the year 59 Nero was more than ever his own master.  {46} His
guardians' repeated condonations had set him free, and the lad, who had
"wished he had never learned writing" when he had to sign his first
death-warrant, began from now to build up that evil fame for which the
murders of his brother and his mother were only the foundation.  For
three years Seneca and Burrus kept their places--miserably enough.
Then Burrus found a happy release in death, and with him died the last
of Seneca's influence.[37]  Seneca begged the Emperor's leave to retire
from the Court, offering him the greater part of his wealth, and it was
refused.  It had long been upon his mind that he was too rich.  In 58 a
furious attack was made upon him by "one who had earned the hate of
many," Publius Suillius; this man asked in the Senate "by what kind of
wisdom or maxims of philosophy" Seneca had amassed in four years a
fortune equal to two and a half millions sterling; and he went on to
accuse him of intrigue with princesses, of hunting for legacies, and of
"draining Italy and the provinces by boundless usury."[38]  There was
probably a good deal of inference in these charges, if one may judge by
the carelessness of evidence which such men show in all ages.  Still
Seneca felt the taunt, and in a book "On the Happy Life," addressed to
his brother Gallic, he dealt with the charge.  He did not claim to be a
sage (17, 3); his only hope was day by day to lessen his vices--he was
still in the thick of them; perhaps he might not reach wisdom, but he
would at least live for mankind "as one born for others,"[39] would do
nothing for glory, and all for conscience, would be gentle and
accessible even to his foes; as for wealth, it gave a wise man more
opportunity, but if his riches deserted him, they would take nothing
else with them; a philosopher might have wealth, "if it be taken
forcibly from no man, stained with no man's blood, won by no wrong done
to any, gained without dishonour; if its spending be as honest as its
getting, if it wake no envy but in the envious."[40]  The treatise has
a suggestion of excitement, and there is a good deal of rhetoric in it.
Now he proposed to the Emperor to put his words into action, and Nero
would not permit him--he was not ready for the odium of despoiling his
guardian, and the old man's name might still be of use to cover deeds
in which he had no share.  Seneca was not to resign his {47} wealth nor
to leave Rome.  Nero's words as given by Tacitus are pleasant enough,
but we hardly need to be told their value.[41]

[Sidenote: Seneca's last days]

It was merely a reservation of the death sentence, and Seneca must have
known it.  The only thing now was to wait till he should receive the
order to die, and Seneca occupied the time in writing.  If what he
wrote has a flushed and excited air, it is not surprising.  The
uncertainty of his position had preyed upon him while he was still
Minister--"there are many," he had written, "who must hold fast to
their dizzy height; it is only by falling that they can leave it."[42]
He had fallen, and still he had to live in uncertainty; he had always
been a nervous man.

The end came in 65, in connexion with the conspiracy of Piso.  Tacitus
is not altogether distinct as to the implication of Seneca in this
plot, but modern historians have inclined to believe in his guilt--if
guilt it was.[43]  Mr Henderson, in particular, is very severe on him
for this want of "gratitude" to his benefactor and pupil, but it is
difficult to see what Nero had done for him that he would not have
preferred undone.[44]  Perhaps at the time, and certainly later on,
Seneca was regarded as a possible substitute for Nero upon the
throne;[45] but he was well over sixty and frail, nor is it clear that
the world had yet decided that a man could be Emperor without being a
member of the Julian or Claudian house.  Seneca, in fact any man, must
have felt that any one would be better than Nero, but he had himself
conspicuously left the world, and, with his wife, was living the
philosophic life--a vegetarian again, and still a water-drinker.[46]
Seneca was ready for the death-summons and at once opened his veins.
Death came slowly, but it came; and he died, eloquent to the
last--_novissimo quoque momenta suppeditante eloquentia_.

Such is the story of Seneca.  Even in bare outline it shows something
of his character--his kindliness and sensibility, his weakness and
vanity; but there are other features revealed in his books and his many
long letters to Lucilius.  No Roman, perhaps, ever laid more stress on
the duty of gentleness and forgiveness.[47]  "Look at the City of
Rome," he says, "and the {48} crowds unceasingly pouring through its
broad streets--what a solitude, what a wilderness it would be, were
none left but whom a strict judge would acquit.  We have all done wrong
(_peccavimus_), some in greater measure, some in less, some on purpose,
some by accident, some by the fault of others; we have not stood
bravely enough by our good resolutions; despite our will and our
resistance, we have lost our innocence.  Nor is it only that we have
acted amiss; we shall do so to the end."[48]  He is anxious to make
Stoicism available for his friends; he tones down its gratuitous
harshness, accommodates, conciliates.  He knows what conscience is; he
is recognized as a master in dealing with the mind at variance with
itself, so skilfully does he analyse and lay bare its mischiefs.
Perhaps he analyses too much--the angel, who bade Hermas cease to ask
concerning sins and ask of righteousness, might well have given him a
word.  But he is always tender with the man to whom he is writing.  If
he was, as Quintilian suggests, a "splendid assailant of the faults of
men," it is the faults of the unnamed that he assails; his friends'
faults suggest his own, and he pleads and sympathizes.  His style
corresponds with the spirit in which he thinks.  "You complain," he
writes to Lucilius, "that my letters are not very finished in style.
Who talks in a finished style unless he wishes to be affected?  What my
talk would be, if we were sitting or walking together, unlaboured and
easy, that is what I wish my letters to be, without anything precious
or artificial in them."[49] And he has in measure succeeded in giving
the air of talk to his writing--its ease, its gaiety, even its rambling
and discursiveness.  He always sees the friend to whom he writes, and
talks to him--sometimes at him--and not without some suggestion of
gesticulation.  He must have talked well--though one imagines that,
like Coleridge on Highgate Hill, he probably preferred the listener who
sat "like a passive bucket to be pumped into."  Happily the reader is
not obliged to be quite so passive.

But we shall not do him justice if we do not recognize his high
character.  In an age when it was usual to charge every one with
foulness, natural and unnatural, Dio Cassius alone among writers
suggests it of Seneca; and, quite apart from his particular bias in
this case, Dio is not a high authority,--more {49} especially as he
belonged to a much later generation.  If his talk is of "virtue!
virtue!" Seneca's life was deliberately directed to virtue.  In the
midst of Roman society, and set in the highest place but one in the
world, he still cherished ideals, and practised self-discipline, daily
self-examination.  "This is the one goal of my days and of my nights:
this is my task, my thought--to put an end to my old faults."[50]  His
whole philosophy is practical, and directed to the reformation of
morals.  The Stoic paradoxes, and with them every part of philosophy
which has no immediate bearing upon conduct, he threw aside.  His
language on the accumulation of books recalls the amusement of St
Francis at the idea of possessing a breviary.  And further, we may note
that whatever be charged against him as a statesman, not his own
master, and as a writer, not always quite in control of his rhetoric,
Seneca was fundamentally truthful with himself.  He never hid his own
weakness; he never concealed from himself the difficulty of his ideals;
he never tried to delude himself with what he could not believe.  The
Stoics had begun long since to make terms with popular religion, but
Seneca is entirely free from delusions as to the gods of popular
belief.  He saw clearly enough that there was no truth in them, and he
never sought help from anything but the real.  He is a man, trained in
the world,[51] in touch with its problems of government, with the
individual and his questions of character, death and eternity,--a man
tender, pure and true--too great a man to take the purely negative
stand of Thrasea, or to practise the virtue of the schools in "arrogant
indolence."  But he has hardly reached the inner peace which he sought.

The story of Epictetus can be more briefly told, for there is very
little to tell.[52]  He was born at Hierapolis in Phrygia:--he was the
slave of Nero's freedman Epaphroditus, and somehow managed to hear the
lectures of the Stoic Musonius.  Eventually he was set free, and when
Domitian expelled the philosophers from Rome, he went to Nicopolis in
Epirus,[53] where he lived and taught--lame, neat, poor and old.  How
{50} he taught is to be seen in the discourses which Arrian took down
in the reign of Trajan,--"Whatever I heard him say, I tried to write
down exactly, and in his very words as far as I could--to keep them as
memorials for myself of his mind and of his outspokenness.  So they
are, as you would expect, very much what a man would say to another on
the spur of the moment--not what he would write for others to read
afterwards....  His sole aim in speaking was to move the minds of his
hearers to the best things.  If then these discourses should achieve
this, they would have the effect which I think a philosopher's words
should have.  But if they do not, let my readers know that, when he
spoke them, the hearer could not avoid being affected as Epictetus
wished him to be.  If the discourses do not achieve this, perhaps it
will be my fault, or perhaps it may be inevitable.  Farewell."

[Sidenote: Epictetus on children and women]

Such, save for a sentence or two omitted, is Arrian's
preface,--thereafter no voice is heard but that of Epictetus.  To
place, time or persons present the barest allusions only are made.
"Someone said ... And Epictetus spoke."  The four books of Arrian give
a strong impression of fidelity.  We hear the tones of the old man, and
can recognize "the mind and the outspokenness," which Arrian cherished
in memory--we understand why, as we read.  The high moral sense of the
teacher, his bursts of eloquence, his shrewdness, his abrupt turns of
speech, his apostrophes--"Slave!" he cries, as he addresses the
weakling--his diminutives of derision, produce the most lively sense of
a personality.  There is wit, too, but like Stoic wit in general it is
hard and not very sympathetic; it has nothing of the charm and delicacy
of Plato's humour, nor of its kindliness.

Here and there are words and thoughts which tell of his life.  More
than once he alludes to his age and his lameness--"A lame old man like
me."  But perhaps nowhere in literature are there words that speak so
loud of a man without experience of woman or child.  "On a voyage," he
says, "when the ship calls at a port and you go ashore for water, it
amuses you to pick up a shell or a plant by the way; but your thoughts
ought to be directed to the ship, and you must watch lest the captain
call, and then you must throw away all those things, that you may not
be flung aboard, tied like the sheep.  So in life, suppose {51} that
instead of some little shell or plant, you are given something in the
way of wife or child (_antì bolbaríou kaì kochlidiou gynaikárion kaì
paidíon_) nothing need hinder.  But, if the captain call, run to the
ship letting them all go and never looking round.  If you are old, do
not even go far from the ship, lest you fail to come when called."[54]
He bids a man endure hunger; he can only die of it.  "But my wife and
children also suffer hunger, (_ohi emoì peinéousi_).  What then? does
their hunger lead to any other place?  Is there not for them the same
descent, wherever it lead?  Below, is it not the same for them as for
you?"[55]  "If you are kissing your child, or brother, or friend, never
give full licence to the appearance (_tèn phantasían_); check your
pleasure ... remind yourself that you love a mortal thing, a thing that
is not your own (_ouden tôn sautoû_)....  What harm does it do to
whisper, as you kiss the child, 'To-morrow you will die'?"  This is a
thought he uses more than once,[56] though he knows the attractiveness
of lively children.[57]  He recommends us to practise
resignation--beginning on a broken jug or cup, then on a coat or puppy,
and so up to oneself and one's limbs, children, wife or brothers.[58]
"If a man wishes his son or his wife not to do wrong, he really wishes
what is another's not to be another's."[59]

As to women, a few quotations will show his detachment.  He seems
hardly to have known a good woman.  "Do not admire your wife's beauty,
and you are not angry with the adulterer.  Learn that a thief and an
adulterer have no place among the things that are yours, but among
those which are not yours and not in your power,"[60] and he
illustrates his philosophy with an anecdote of an iron lamp stolen from
him, which he replaced with an earthenware one.  From fourteen years
old, he says, women think of nothing and aim at nothing {52} but lying
with men.[61]  Roman women liked Plato's Republic for the licence they
wrongly supposed it gave.[62]  He constantly speaks of women as a
temptation, nearly always using a diminutive _korásion_,
_korasidíon_--little girls--and as a temptation hardly to be resisted
by young men.  He speaks of their "softer voices."[63]  A young
philosopher is no match for a "pretty girl"; let him fly
temptation.[64]  "As to pleasure with women, abstain as far as you can,
before marriage; but if you do indulge in it, do it in the way
conformable to custom.  Do not, however, be disagreeable to those who
take such pleasures, nor apt to rebuke them or to say often that you do
not."[65]  All this may be taken as the impression left by Rome and the
household of Epaphroditus upon a slave's mind.  It may be observed that
he makes nothing like Dio Chrysostom's condemnation of prostitution--an
utterance unexampled in pagan antiquity.

It is pleasanter to turn to other features of Epictetus.  He has a very
striking lecture on personal cleanliness.[66]  In proportion as men
draw near the gods by reason, they cling to purity of soul and body.
Nature has given men hands and nostrils; so, if a man does not use a
handkerchief, "I say, he is not fulfilling the function of a man."
Nature has provided water.  "It is impossible that some impurity should
not remain in the teeth after eating.  'So wash your teeth,' says
Nature.  Why?  'That you may be a man and not a beast--a pig.'"  If a
man would not bathe and use the strigil and have his clothes
washed--"either go into a desert where you deserve to go, or live alone
and smell yourself."  He cannot bear a dirty man,--"who does not get
out of his way?"  It gives philosophy a bad name, he says; but it is
quite clear that that was not his chief reason.  He would sooner a
young man came to him with his hair carefully trimmed than with it
dirty and rough; such care implied "some conception of the beautiful,"
which it was only necessary to direct towards the things of the mind;
"but if a man comes to me filthy and dirty, with a moustache down to
his knees--what _can_ I say to him?"  "But whence am I to get a fine
cloak?  Man! you have water; wash it!"


[Sidenote: Fame of Epictetus]

Pupils gathered round him and he became famous, as we can see in the
reminiscences of Aulus Gellius.[67]  Sixty or seventy years after his
death a man bought his old earthenware lamp for three thousand
drachmas.[68]  Even in his lifetime men began to come about "the
wonderful old man" who were hardly serious students.  They wished, he
says, to occupy the time while waiting to engage a passage on a
ship--they happened to be passing (_párodós estin_) and looked in to
see him as if he were a statue.  "We can go and see Epictetus
too.--Then you go away and say; Oh!  Epictetus was nothing! he talked
bad Greek--oh! barbarous Greek!"[69]  Others came to pick up a little
philosophic language for use in public.  Why could they not
philosophize and say nothing? he asked.  "Sheep do not vomit up their
grass to show the shepherd how much they have eaten--no! they digest it
inside, and then produce wool and milk outside."[70]  He took his
teaching seriously as a matter of life, and he looked upon it as a
service done to mankind--quite equivalent to the production of "two or
three ugly-nosed children."[71]  He has a warm admiration for the Cynic
philosopher's independence of encumberments--how can he who has to
teach mankind go looking after a wife's confinement--or "something to
heat the water in to give the baby a bath?"[72]

These then are the two great teachers of Stoicism, the outstanding
figures, whose words and tones survive, whose characters are familiar
to us.  They are clearly preachers, both of them, intent on the
practical reformation of their listeners or correspondents.  For them
conduct is nine-tenths of life.  Much of their teaching is of course
the common property of all moral teachers--the deprecation of anger, of
quarrelsomeness, of self-indulgence, of grumbling, of impurity, is
peculiar to no school.  Others have emphasized that life is a campaign
with a general to be obeyed, if you can by some instinct divine what he
is signalling.[73]  But {54} perhaps it was a new thing in the Western
World, when so much accent was laid on conduct.  The terror of
contemporary life, with its repulsiveness, its brutality and its
fascination, drove men in search of the moral guide.  The philosopher's
school was an infirmary, not for the glad but for the sorry.[74]  "That
man," says Seneca, "is looking for salvation--_ad salutem spectat_."

[Sidenote: Self-examination]

Men sought the help of the philosopher, and relapsed.  "He thinks he
wishes reason.  He has fallen out with luxury, but he will soon make
friends with her.  But he says he is offended with his own life!  I do
not deny it; who is not?  Men love their vices and hate them at the
same time."[75]  So writes Seneca of a friend of Lucilius and his
fugitive thoughts of amendment, and Epictetus is no less emphatic on
the crying need for earnestness.  The Roman world was so full of
glaring vice that every serious man from Augustus onward had insisted
on some kind of reformation, and now men were beginning to feel that
the reformation must begin within themselves.  The habit of daily
self-examination became general among the Stoics, and they recommended
it warmly to their pupils.  Here is Seneca's account of himself.

"When the day was over and Sextius had gone to his night's rest, he
used to ask his mind (_animum_): 'what bad habit of yours have you
cured to-day? what vice have you resisted? in what respect are you
better?'  Anger will cease and will be more moderate, when it knows it
must daily face the judge.  Could anything be more beautiful than this
habit of examining the whole day?  What a sleep is that which follows
self-scrutiny!  How calm, how deep and free, when the mind is either
praised or admonished, when it has looked into itself, and like a
secret censor makes a report upon its own moral state.  I avail myself
of this power and daily try my own case.  When the light is removed
from my sight, and my wife, who knows my habit, is silent, I survey my
whole day and I measure my words again.  I hide nothing from myself; I
pass over nothing.  For why should I be afraid of any of my errors,
when I can say: 'See that you do it no more, now I forgive you.  In
that discussion, you spoke too pugnaciously; after this do not engage
with the ignorant; they will not learn who have never {55} learned.
That man you admonished too freely, so you did him no good; you
offended him.  For the future, see not only whether what you say is
true, but whether he to whom it is said will bear the truth.'"[76]

Similar passages might be multiplied.  "Live with yourself and see how
ill-furnished you are," wrote Persius (iv, 52) the pupil of Cornutus.
"From heaven comes that word 'know thyself,'" said Juvenal.  A rather
remarkable illustration is the letter of Serenus, a friend of Seneca's,
of whose life things are recorded by Tacitus that do not suggest
self-scrutiny.  In summary it is as follows:--

"I find myself not quite free, nor yet quite in bondage to faults which
I feared and hated.  I am in a state, not the worst indeed, but very
querulous and uncomfortable, neither well nor ill.  It is a weakness of
the mind that sways between the two, that will neither bravely turn to
right nor to wrong.  Things disturb me, though they do not alter my
principles.  I think of public life; something worries me, and I fall
back into the life of leisure, to be pricked to the will to act by
reading some brave words or seeing some fine example.  I beg you, if
you have any remedy to stay my fluctuation of mind, count me worthy to
owe you peace.  To put what I endure into a simile, it is not the
tempest that troubles me, but sea-sickness."[77]

Epictetus quotes lines which he attributes to Pythagoras--

  Let sleep not come upon thy languid eyes
  Ere thou has scanned the actions of the day--
  Where have I sinned?  What done or left undone?
  From first to last examine all, and then
  Blame what is wrong, in what is right, rejoice.[78]

These verses, he adds, are for use, not for quotation.  Elsewhere he
gives us a parody of self-examination--the reflections of one who would
prosper in the world--"Where have I failed in flattery?  Can I have
done anything like a free man, or a noble-minded?  Why did I say that?
Was it not in my power to lie?  Even the philosophers say nothing
hinders a man from telling a lie."[79]


But self-examination may take us further.[80]  We come into the world,
he says, with some innate idea (_émphutos énnoia_) of good and evil, as
if Nature had taught us; but we find other men with different
ideas,--Syrians and Egyptians, for instance.  It is by a comparison of
our ideas with those of other men that philosophy comes into being for
us.  "The beginning of philosophy--with those at least who enter upon
it aright--by the door--is a consciousness of one's own weakness and
insufficiency in necessary things (_astheneías kaì adunamías_)."  We
need rules or canons, and philosophy determines these for us by

This reference to Syrians and Egyptians is probably not idle.  The
prevalence of Syrian and Egyptian religions, inculcating ecstatic
communion with a god and the soul's need of preparation for the next
world, contributed to the change that is witnessed in Stoic philosophy.
The Eastern mind is affecting the Greek, and later Stoicism like later
Platonism has thoughts and ideals not familiar to the Greeks of earlier
days.  It was with religions, as opposed to city cults, that Stoicism
had now to compete for the souls of men; and while it retains its Greek
characteristics in its intellectualism and its slightly-veiled contempt
for the fool and the barbarian, it has taken on other features.  It was
avowedly a rule of life rather than a system of speculation; and it was
more, for the doctrine of the Spermaticos Logos (the Generative Reason)
gave a new meaning to conduct and opened up a new and rational way to
God.  Thus Stoicism, while still a philosophy was pre-eminently a
religion, and even a gospel--Good News of emancipation from the evil in
the world and of union with the Divine.

[Sidenote: The true worship of the gods]

Stoicism gave its convert a new conception of the relation of God and
man.  One Divine Word was the essence of both--Reason was shared by men
and gods, and by pure thought men came into contact with the divine
mind.  Others sought communion in trance and ritual--the Stoic when he
was awake, at his highest and best level, with his mind and not his
hand, in thoughts, which he could understand and assimilate, rather
than in magical formulae, which lost their value when they became {57}
intelligible.  God and men formed a polity, and the Stoic was the
fellow-citizen of the gods, obeying, understanding and adoring, as they
did, one divine law, one order--a partaker of the divine nature, a
citizen of the universe, a free man as no one else was free, because he
knew his freedom and knew who shared it with him.  He stood on a new
footing with the gods, and for him the old cults passed away,
superseded by a new worship which was divine service indeed.

"How the gods are to be worshipped, men often tell us.  Let us not
permit a man to light lamps on the Sabbath, for the gods need not the
light, and even men find no pleasure in the smoke.  Let us forbid to
pay the morning salutation and to sit at the doors of the temples; it
is human interest that is courted by such attentions: God, he worships
who knows Him.  Let us forbid to take napkins and strigils to Jove, to
hold the mirror to Juno.  God seeks none to minister to him; nay!
himself he ministers to mankind; everywhere he is, at the side of every
man.  Let a man hear what mode to keep in sacrifices, how far to avoid
wearisomeness and superstition: never will enough be done, unless in
his mind he shall have conceived God as he ought, as in possession of
all things, as giving all things freely.  What cause is there that the
gods should do good?  Nature.  He errs, who thinks they _can_ not do
harm; they _will_ not.  They cannot receive an injury nor do one.  To
hurt and to be hurt are one thing.  Nature, supreme and above all most
beautiful, has exempted them from danger and from being dangerous.  The
beginning of worship of the gods is to believe gods are; then to
attribute to them their own majesty, to attribute to them goodness,
without which majesty is not, to know it is they who preside over the
universe, who rule all things by their might, who are guardians of
mankind; at times[82] thoughtful of individuals.  They neither give nor
have evil; but they chastise, they check, they assign penalties and
sometimes punish in the form of blessing.  Would you propitiate the
gods?  Be good!  He has worshipped them enough who has imitated


This is not merely a statement of Stoic dogma; it was a proclamation of
freedom.  Line after line of this fine passage directly counters what
was asserted and believed throughout the world by the adherents of the
Eastern religions.  Hear Seneca once more.

[Sidenote: Providence]

"We understand Jove to be ruler and guardian of the whole, mind and
breath of the Universe (_animum spiritumque mundi_), lord and artificer
of this fabric.  Every name is his.  Would you call him fate?  You will
not err.  He it is on whom all things depend, the cause of causes.
Would you call him Providence?  You will speak aright.  He it is whose
thought provides for the universe that it may move on its course unhurt
and do its part.  Would you call him Nature? you will not speak amiss.
He it is of whom all things are born, by whose breath (_spiritu_) we
live.  Would you call him Universe?  You will not be deceived.  He
himself is this whole that you see, fills his own parts, sustains
himself and what is his."[84]

Some one asked Epictetus one day how we can be sure that all our
actions are under the inspection of God.  "Do you think," said
Epictetus, "that all things are a unity?" (_i.e._ in the polity of the
cosmos).  "Yes."  "Well then, do you not think that things earthly are
in sympathy (_sympathein_) with things heavenly?"  "Yes."  Epictetus
reminded his listener of the harmony of external nature, of flowers and
moon and sun.  "But are leaves and our bodies so bound up and united
with the whole, and are not our souls much more? and are our souls so
bound up and in touch with God (_synapheis tô theô_) as parts of Him
and portions of Him, and can it be that God does not perceive every
motion of these parts as being His own motion cognate with Himself
(_symphyoûs_)?"[85]  He bade the man reflect upon his own power of
grasping in his mind ten thousand things at once under divine
administration; "and is not God able to oversee all things, and to be
present with them, and to receive from all a certain communication?"
The man replied that he could not comprehend all these things at once.
"And who tells you this--that you have equal power with Zeus?
Nevertheless, he has placed by every man a guardian (_epítropon_), each
man's {59} Dæmon, to whom he has committed the care of the man, a
guardian who never sleeps, is never deceived.  For to what better and
more careful watch (_phylaki_) could He have entrusted each of us?
When then you (plural) have shut your doors and made darkness within,
remember never to say that you are alone, for you are not; but God is
within and your Dæmon (Greek: _ho hymeteros daímón_); and what need
have they of light to see what you are doing?"[86]

Here another feature occurs--the question of the dæmons.  Seneca once
alludes to the idea--"for the present," he writes to Lucilius, "set
aside the view of some people, that to each individual one of us a god
is given as a pedagogue, not indeed of the first rank, but of an
inferior brand, of the number of those whom Ovid calls 'gods of the
lower order' (_de plebe deos_); yet remember that our ancestors who
believed this were so far Stoics, for to every man and woman they gave
a _Genius_ or a _Juno_.  Later on we shall see whether the gods have
leisure to attend to private people's business."[87]  But before we
pursue a side issue, which we shall in any case have to examine at a
later point, let us look further at the central idea.

The thoughtful man finds himself, as we have seen, in a polity of gods
and men, a cosmos, well-ordered in its very essence.  "In truth," says
Epictetus, "the whole scheme of things (_tà hóla_) is badly managed, if
Zeus does not take care of his own citizens, so that they may be like
himself, happy."[88] The first lesson of philosophy is that "there is a
God and that he provides for the whole scheme of things, and that it is
not possible to conceal from him our acts--no, nor our intentions or
thoughts."[89]  "God," says Seneca, "has a father's mind towards the
good, and loves them stoutly--'let them,' he says, 'be exercised in
work, pain and loss, that they may gather true strength.'"  It is
because God is in love with the good (_bonorum amantissimus_) that he
gives them fortune to wrestle with.  "_There_ is a match worth God's
sight (_pardeo dignum_)--a brave man paired with evil
fortune--especially if he is himself the challenger."[90] He goes on to
show that what appear to be evils are not so; that misfortunes are at
once for the advantage of those whom {60} they befall and of men in
general or the universe (_universis_), "for which the gods care more
than for individuals"; that those who receive them are glad to have
them--"and deserve evil if they are not"; that misfortunes come by fate
and befall men by the same law by which they are good.  "Always to be
happy and to go through life without a pang of the mind (_sine morsu
animi_) is to know only one half of Nature."[91]  "The fates lead us:
what time remains for each of us, the hour of our birth determined.
Cause hangs upon cause....  Of old it was ordained whereat you should
rejoice or weep; and though the lives of individuals seem marked out by
a great variety, the sum total comes to one and the same
thing--perishable ourselves we receive what shall perish."[92]  "The
good man's part is then to commit himself to fate--it is a great
comfort to be carried along with the universe.  Whatever it is that has
bidden us thus to live and thus to die, by the same necessity it binds
the gods.  An onward course that may not be stayed sweeps on human and
divine alike.  The very founder and ruler of all things has written
fate, but he follows it: he ever obeys, he once commanded."[93]  To the
good, God says, "To you I have given blessings sure and enduring; all
your good I have set within you.  Endure! herein you may even
out-distance God; he is outside the endurance of evils and you above
it.[94]  Above all I have provided that none may hold you against your
will; the door is open; nothing I have made more easy than to die; and
death is quick."[95]

Epictetus is just as clear that we have been given all we need.  "What
says Zeus?  Epictetus, had it been possible, I would have made both
your little body and your little property free, and not exposed to
hindrance....  Since I was not able to do this, I have given you a
little portion of us, this faculty of pursuing or avoiding an object,
the faculty of desire and {61} aversion and in a word the faculty of
using the appearances of things."[96]  "Must my leg then be lamed?
Slave! do you then on account of one wretched leg find fault with the
cosmos?  Will you not willingly surrender it for the whole? ... Will
you be vexed and discontented with what Zeus has set in order, with
what he and the Moiræ, who were there spinning thy nativity
(_génesin_), ordained and appointed?  I mean as regards your body; for
so far as concerns reason you are no worse than the gods and no

[Sidenote: The holy spirit within us]

In language curiously suggestive of another school of thought, Seneca
speaks of God within us, of divine help given to human effort.  "God is
near you, with you, within you.  I say it, Lucilius; a holy spirit sits
within us (_sacer intra nos spiritus sedet_), spectator of our evil and
our good, and guardian.  Even as he is treated by us, he treats us.
None is a good man without God.[98]  Can any triumph over fortune
unless helped by him?  He gives counsel, splendid and manly; in every
good man,

  What god we know not, yet a god there dwells."[99]

"The gods," he says elsewhere, "are not scornful, they are not envious.
They welcome us, and, as we ascend, they reach us their hands.  Are you
surprised a man should go to the gods?  God comes to men, nay! nearer
still! he comes _into_ men.  No mind (_mens_) is good without God.
Divine seeds are sown in human bodies," and will grow into likeness to
their origin if rightly cultivated.[100]  It should be noted that the
ascent is by the route of frugality, temperance and fortitude.  To this
we must return.

Man's part in life is to be the "spectator and interpreter" of
"God"[101] as he is the "son of God";[102] to attach himself to
God;[103] to be his soldier, obey his signals, wait his call to {62}
retreat; or (in the language of the Olympian festival) to "join with
him in the spectacle and the festival for a short time"
(_sympompeúsonta autô kaì syneortasonta pròs oligon_), to watch the
pomp and the panegyris, and then go away like a grateful and modest
man;[104] to look up to God and say "use me henceforth for what thou
will.  I am of thy mind; I am thine."[105] "If we had understanding,
what else ought we to do, but together and severally, hymn God, and
bless him (_euphemeîn_) and tell of his benefits?  Ought we not, in
digging or ploughing or eating, to sing this hymn to God?  'Great is
God who has given us such tools with which to till the earth; great is
God who has given us hands, the power of swallowing, stomachs, the
power to grow unconsciously, and to breathe while we sleep.' ... What
else can I do, a lame old man, but hymn God?  If I were a nightingale,
I would do the part of a nightingale ... but I am a rational creature,
and I ought to hymn God; this is my proper work; I do it; nor will I
quit my post so long as it is given me; and you I call upon to join in
this same song."[106] Herakles in all his toils had nothing dearer to
him than God, and "for that reason he was believed to be the son of God
and he was."[107]  "Clear away from your thoughts sadness, fear,
desire, envy, avarice, intemperance, etc.  But it is not possible to
eject all these things, otherwise than by looking away to God alone
(_pròs mónon tòn theòn apobléponta_) by fixing your affections on him
only, by being dedicated to his commands."[108] This is "a peace not of
Cæsar's proclamation (for whence could he proclaim it?) but of
God's--through reason."[109]

[Sidenote: Humanity]

The man, who is thus in harmony with the Spermaticos, Logos, who has
"put his 'I' and 'mine'"[110] in the things of the will, has no quarrel
with anything external.  He takes a part in the affairs of men without
aggression, greed or meanness.  He submits to what is laid upon him.
His peace none can take away, and none can make him angry.  There is a
fine passage in Seneca's ninety-fifth letter, following his account of
right worship already quoted, in which he proceeds to deduce from this
the right attitude to men.  A sentence or two {63} must suffice.  "How
little it is not to injure him, whom you ought to help!  Great praise
forsooth, that man should be kind to man!  Are we to bid a man to lend
a hand to the shipwrecked, point the way to the wanderer, share bread
with the hungry? ... This fabric which you see, wherein are divine and
human, is one.  We are members of a great body.  Nature has made us of
one blood, has implanted in us mutual love, has made us for society
(sociabiles).  She is the author of justice and equity....  Let that
verse be in your heart and on your lip.

  _Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto_"[111]

"Unhappy man! will you ever love? (_ecquando amabis_)" he says to the
irritable.[112]  A little before, he said, "Man, a sacred thing to man,
is slain for sport and merriment; naked and unarmed he is led forth;
and the mere death of a man is spectacle enough."[113]  This was the
Stoic's condemnation of the gladiatorial shows.  Nor was it only by
words that Stoicism worked for humanity, for it was Stoic lawyers who
softened and broadened and humanized Roman law.[114]

Yet Stoicism in Seneca and Epictetus had reached its zenith.  From now
onward it declined.  Marcus Aurelius, in some ways the most attractive
of all Stoics, was virtually the last.  With the second century
Stoicism ceased to be an effective force in occupying and inspiring the
whole mind of men, though it is evident that it still influenced
thinkers.  Men studied the Stoics and made fresh copies of their books,
as they did for a thousand years; they borrowed and adapted; but they
were not Stoics.  Stoicism had passed away as a system first and then
as a religion; and for this we have to find some reason or reasons.

It may well be true that the environment of the Stoics was not fit for
so high and pure a philosophy.  The broad gulf between the common Roman
life and Stoic teaching is evident enough.  The intellectual force of
the Roman world moreover was ebbing, and Stoicism required more
strength of mind and character than was easily to be found.  That a
religion or a philosophy {64} fails to hold its own is not a sure sign
that it is unfit or untrue; it may only be premature, and it may be
held that at another stage of the world's history Stoicism or some
similar scheme of thought,--or, better perhaps, some central idea round
which a system and a life develop--may yet command the assent of better
men in a better age.  At the same time, it is clear that when Stoicism
re-emerges,--if it does,--it will be another thing.  Already we have
seen in Wordsworth, and (so far as I understand him) in Hegel, a great
informing conception which seems to have clear affinity with the
Spermaticos Logos of the Stoics.  The passage from the "Lines written
above Tintern Abbey" (quoted in the previous chapter) may be
supplemented by many from the "Prelude" and other poems to illustrate
at once the likeness and the difference between the forms the thought
has taken.  It is, however, a certain condemnation of a philosophic
school when we have to admit that, whatever its apprehension of truth,
it failed to capture its own generation, either because of some error
of presentment, or of some fundamental misconception.  When we find,
moreover, that there is not only a refusal of Stoicism but a reaction
from it, conscious or unconscious, we are forced to inquire into the

[Sidenote: The individual will]

We shall perhaps be right in saying, to begin with, that the doctrine
of the Generative Reason, the Spermaticos Logos, is not carried far
enough.  The immense practical need, which the Stoic felt, of
fortifying himself against the world, is not unintelligible, but it led
him into error.  He employed his doctrine of the Spermaticos Logos to
give grandeur and sufficiency to the individual, and then, for
practical purposes, cut him off from the world.  He manned and
provisioned the fortress, and then shut it off from supplies and from
relief.  It was a necessary thing to assert the value and dignity of
the mere individual man against the despotisms, but to isolate the man
from mankind and from the world of nature was a fatal mistake.  Of
course, the Stoic did not do this in theory, for he insisted on the
polity of gods and men, the "one city,"[115] and the duty of the
"citizen of the universe" (_kósmios_)--a man is not an independent
object; like the foot in the body he is essentially {65} a "part."[116]
In practice, too, Stoics were human.  Seneca tells us to show clemency
but not to feel pity, but we may be sure that the human heart in him
was far from observing the distinction--he "talked more boldly than he
lived," he says--he was "among those whom grief conquered,"[117] and,
though he goes on to show why he failed in this way, he is endeared to
us by his failure to be his own ideal Stoic.  Yet it remains that the
chapters, with which his book on Clemency ends, are a Stoic protest
against pity, and they can be re-inforced by a good deal in Epictetus.
If your friend is unhappy, "remember that his unhappiness is his own
fault, for God has made all men to be happy, to be free from
perturbations."[118] Your friend has the remedy in his own hands; let
him "purify his dogmata."[119]  Epictetus would try to heal a friend's
sorrow "but not by every means, for that would be to fight against God
(_theomacheîn_)," and would involve daily and nightly punishment to
himself[120]--and "no one is nearer me than myself."[121]  In the
_Manual_ the same thought is accentuated.  "Say to yourself 'It is the
opinion about this thing that afflicts the man.'  So far as words go,
do not hesitate to show sympathy, and even, if it so happen, to lament
with him.  Take care, though, that you do not lament internally also
(_mè kaì ésôthen stenáxês_)."[122]  We have seen what he has to say of
a lost child.  In spite of all his fine words, the Stoic really knows
of nothing between the individual and the cosmos, for his practical
teaching deadens, if it does not kill, friendship and family love.

Everything with the Stoic turns on the individual.  _tà epí soi_, "the
things in your own power," is the refrain of Epictetus' teaching.  All
is thrown upon the individual will, upon "the universal" working in the
individual, according to Stoic theory, "upon me" the plain man would
say.  If the gods, as Seneca says, lend a hand to such as climb, the
climber has to make his own way by temperance and fortitude.  The "holy
spirit within us" is after all hardly to be distinguished from
conscience, intellect and will.[123]  God, says Epictetus, ordains "if
you wish good, get it from yourself."[124]  Once the will
(_proaíresis_) is right, {66} all is achieved.[125]  "You must exercise
the will (_thelêsai_)--and the thing is done, it is set right; as on
the other hand, only fall a nodding and the thing is lost.  For from
within (_ésôthen_) comes ruin, and from within comes help."[126]  "What
do you want with prayers?" asks Seneca, "make yourself happy."[127]
The old Stoic paradox about the "folly" of mankind, and the
worthlessness of the efforts of all save the sage, was by now chiefly
remembered by their enemies.[128]

All this is due to the Stoic glorification of reason, as the embodiment
in man of the Spermaticos Logos.  Though Nous with the Stoics is not
the pure dry light of reason, they tended in practice to distinguish
reason from the emotions or passions (_páthê_), in which they saw
chiefly "perturbations," and they held up the ideal of freedom from
them in consequence (_apátheia_).[129] To be godlike, a man had to
suppress his affections just as he suppressed his own sensations of
pain or hunger.  Every human instinct of paternal or conjugal love, of
friendship, of sympathy, of pity, was thus brought to the test of a
Reason, which had two catch-words by which to try them--the "Universe"
and "the things in your own power"--and the sentence was swift and
summary enough.  They did not realize that for most men--and probably
it is truest of the best men--Life moves onward with all its tender and
gracious instincts, while Analysis limps behind.  The experiment of
testing affection and instinct by reason has often been tried, and it
succeeds only where the reason is willing to be a constitutional
monarch, so to say, instead of the despot responsible only to the vague
concept of the Universe, whom the Stoics wished to enthrone.  They
talked of living according to Nature, but they were a great deal too
quick in deciding what was Nature.  If the centuries have taught us
anything, it is to give Nature more time, more study and more respect
than even yet we do.  There are words {67} at the beginning of the
thirteenth book of the "Prelude" wiser and truer than anything the
Stoics had to say of her with their "excessive zeal" and their "quick
turns of intellect."  Carried away by their theories (none, we must
remember as we criticize them, without some ground in experience and
observation), the Stoics made solitude in the heart and called it
peace.  The price was too high; mankind would not pay it, and sought a
religion elsewhere that had a place for a man's children.

[Sidenote: Sin and salvation]

Again, in their contempt for the passions the Stoics underestimated
their strength.  How strong the passions are, no man can guess for
another, even if he can be sure how strong his own are.  Perhaps the
Stoics could subordinate their passions to their reason;--ancient
critics kept sharp eyes on them and said they were not always
successful.[130]  But there is no question that for the mass of men,
the Stoic account of reason is absurd.  "I see another law in my
members," said a contemporary of Seneca's, "warring against the law of
my mind and bringing me into captivity."  Other men felt the same and
sought deliverance in the sacraments of all the religions.  That
Salvation was not from within, was the testimony of every man who
underwent the _taurobolium_.  So far as such things can be, it is
established by the witness of every religious mind that, whether the
feeling is just or not the feeling is invincible that the will is
inadequate and that religion begins only when the Stoic's ideal of
saving oneself by one's own resolve and effort is finally abandoned.
Whether this will permanently be true is another question, probably for
us unprofitable.  The ancient world, at any rate, and in general the
modern world, have pronounced against Stoic Psychology--it was too
quick, too superficial.  The Stoics did not allow for the sense of
sin.[131]  They recognized the presence of evil in the world; they felt
that "it has its seat within us, in our inward part";[132] and they
remark the effect of evil in the blunting of the faculties--let the
guilty, says Persius, "see virtue, and pine that they have lost her
forever."[133]  While Seneca finds himself "growing better and becoming
changed," he still feels there may be much more needing amendment.[134]
He often {68} expresses dissatisfaction with himself.[135]  But the
deeper realization of weakness and failure did not come to the Stoics,
and what help their teaching of strenuous endeavour could have brought
to men stricken with the consciousness of broken willpower, it is hard
to see.  "Filthy Natta," according to Persius, was "benumbed by vice"
(_stupet hic vitio_).[136]  "When a man is hardened like a stone
(_apolithôthê_), how shall we be able to deal with him by argument?"
asks Epictetus, arguing against the Academics, who "opposed evident
truths"--what are we to do with necrosis of the soul?[137]  But the
Stoics really gave more thought to fancies of the sage's equality with
God and occasional superiority--so confident were they in the powers of
the individual human mind.  Plutarch, indeed, forces home upon them as
a deduction from their doctrine of "the common nature" of gods and men
the consequence that sin is not contrary to the Logos of Zeus--and yet
they say God punishes sin.[138]

Yet even the individual, much as they strove to exalt his capabilities,
was in the end cheapened in his own eyes.[139]  As men have deepened
their self-consciousness, they have yielded to an instinctive craving
for the immortality of the soul.[140] Whether savages feel this or not,
it is needless to argue.  No religion apart from Buddhism has
permanently held men which had no hopes of immortality; and how far the
corruptions of Buddhism have modified its rigour for common people, it
is not easy to say.  In one form or another, in spite of a terrible
want of evidence, men have clung to eternal life.  The Stoics
themselves used this consensus of opinion as evidence for the truth of
the belief.[141]  "It pleased me," writes Seneca, "to inquire of the
eternity of souls (_de æternitate animarum_)--nay! to believe in it.  I
surrendered myself to that great hope."[142] {69} "How natural it is!"
he says, "the human mind is a great and generous thing; it will have no
bounds set to it unless they are shared by God."[143]  "When the day
shall come, which shall part this mixture of divine and human, here,
where I found it, I will leave my body, myself I will give back to the
gods.  Even now I am not without them."  He finds in our birth into
this world an analogy of the soul passing into another world, and in
language of beauty and sympathy he pictures the "birthday of the
eternal," the revelation of nature's secrets, a world of light and more
light.  "This thought suffers nothing sordid to dwell in the mind,
nothing mean, nothing cruel.  It tells us that the gods see all, bids
us win their approval, prepare for them, and set eternity before
us."[144]  Beautiful words that wake emotion yet!

[Sidenote: Immortality]

But is it clear that it is eternity after all?  In the _Consolation_
which Seneca wrote for Marcia, after speaking of the future life of her
son, he passed at last to the Stoic doctrine of the first
conflagration, and described the destruction of the present scheme of
things that it may begin anew.  "Then we also, happy souls who have
been assigned to eternity (_felices animæ et æterna sortitæ_), when God
shall see fit to reconstruct the universe, when all things pass
(_labentibus_), we too, a little element in a great catastrophe, shall
be resolved into our ancient elements.  Happy is your son, Marcia, who
already knows this."[145]  Elsewhere he is still less certain.  "Why am
I wasted for desire of him, who is either happy or non-existent?  (_qui
aut beatus aut nullus est_)."[146]

That in later years, in his letters to Lucilius, Seneca should lean to
belief in immortality, is natural enough.  Epictetus' language, with
some fluctuations, leans in the other direction: "When God does not
supply what is necessary, he is sounding the signal for retreat--he has
opened the door and says to you, Come!  But whither?  To nothing
terrible, but whence you came, to the dear and kin [both neuters], the
elements.  What in you was fire, shall go to fire, earth to earth,
spirit to spirit [perhaps, breath _hóson pneumatíon eis pneumátion_],
water to water; {70} no Hades, nor Acheron, nor Cocytus, nor
Pyriphlegethon; but all things full of gods and dæmons.  When a man has
such things to think on, and sees sun and moon and stars, and enjoys
earth and sea, he is not solitary or even helpless."[147]  "This is
death, a greater change, not from what now is into what is not, but
into what now is not.  Then shall I no longer be?  You will be, but
something else, of which now the cosmos has no need.  For you began to
be (_egénou_), not when you wished, but when the cosmos had need."[148]

On the whole the Stoic is in his way right, for the desire for
immortality goes with the instincts he rejected--it is nothing without
the affections and human love.[149]  But once more logic failed, and
the obscure grave witnesses to man's instinctive rejection of Stoicism,
with its simple inscription _taurobolio in æternum renatus_.

[Sidenote: The question of the gods]

Lastly we come to the gods themselves, and here a double question meets
us.  Neither on the plurality nor the personality of the divine does
Stoicism give a certain note.  In the passages already quoted it will
have been noticed how interchangeably "God," "the gods" and "Zeus" have
been used.  It is even a question whether "God" is not an identity with
fate, providence, Nature and the Universe.[150]  Seneca, as we have
seen, dismisses the theory of dæmons or _genii_ rather abruptly--"that
is what some think."  Epictetus definitely accepts them, so far as
anything here is definite, and with them, or in them, the ancestral
gods.  Seneca, as we have seen, is contemptuous of popular ritual and
superstition.  Epictetus inculcates that "as to piety about the gods,
the chief thing is to have right opinions about them," but, he
concludes, "to make libations and to sacrifice according to the custom
of our fathers, purely and not meanly, nor carelessly, nor scantily,
nor above our ability, is a thing which belongs to all to do."[151]
"Why do you," he asks, "act the part of a Jew, when you are a
Greek?"[152]  He also accepts the {71} fact of divination.[153]
Indeed, aside perhaps from conspicuous extravagances, the popular
religion suffices.  Without enthusiasm and without clear belief, the
Stoic may take part in the ordinary round of the cults.  If he did not
believe himself, he pointed out a way to the reflective polytheist by
which he could reconcile his traditional faith with philosophy--the
many gods were like ourselves manifestations of the Spermaticos Logos;
and he could accept tolerantly the ordinary theory of dæmons, for
Chrysippus even raised the question whether such things as the
disasters that befall good men are due to negligence on the part of
Providence, or to evil dæmons in charge of some things.[154] While for
himself the Stoic had the strength of mind to shake off superstition,
the common people, and even the weaker brethren of the Stoic school,
remained saddled with polytheism and all its terrors and follies.  Of
this compromise Seneca is guiltless.[155]  It was difficult to cut the
connexion with Greek tradition--how difficult, we see in Plutarch's
case.  The Stoics, however, fell between two stools, for they had not
enough feeling for the past to satisfy the pious and patriotic, nor the
resolution to be done with it.  After all, more help was to be had from
Lucretius than from Epictetus in ridding the mind of the paralysis of

But the same instinct that made men demand immortality for themselves,
a feeling, dim but strong, of the value of personality and of love,
compelled them to seek personality in the divine.  Here the Stoic had
to halt, for after all it is a thing beyond the power of reason to
demonstrate, and he could not here allege, as he liked, that the facts
stare one in the face.  So, with other thinkers, impressed at once by
the want of evidence, and impelled by the demand for some available
terms, he wavered between a clear statement of his own uncertainty, and
the use of popular names.  "Zeus" had long before been adopted by
Cleanthes in his famous hymn, but this was an element of weakness; for
the wall-paintings in every great house gave another account of Zeus,
which belied every attribute with which the Stoics credited him.  The
apologists and the Stoics {72} explained the legends by the use of
allegory, but, as Plato says, children cannot distinguish between what
is and what is not allegory--nor did the common people.  The finer
religious tempers demanded something firmer and more real than
allegory.  They wanted God or Gods, immortal and eternal; and at best
the Stoic gods were to "melt like wax or tin" in their final
conflagration, while Zeus too, into whom they were to be resolved,
would thereby undergo change, and therefore himself also prove

"I put myself in the hands of a Stoic," writes Justin Martyr, "and I
stayed a long time with him, but when I got no further in the matter of
God--for he did not know himself and he used to say this knowledge was
not necessary--I left him."[157]  Other men did not, like Justin,
pursue their philosophic studies, and when they found that, while the
Stoic's sense of truth would not let him ascribe personality to God,
all round there were definite and authoritative voices which left the
matter in no doubt, they made a quick choice.  What authority means to
a man in such a difficulty, we know only too well.

The Stoics in some measure felt their weakness here.  When they tell us
to follow God, to obey God, to look to God, to live as God's sons, and
leave us not altogether clear what they mean by God, their teaching is
not very helpful, for it is hard to follow or look to a vaguely grasped
conception.  They realized that some more definite example was needed.
"We ought to choose some good man," writes Seneca, "and always have him
before our eyes that we may live as if he watched us, and do everything
as if he saw."[158]  The idea came from Epicurus.  "Do everything, said
he, as if Epicurus saw.  It is without doubt a good thing to have set a
guard over oneself, to whom you may look, whom you may feel present in
your thoughts."[159] "Wherever I am, I am consorting with the best men.
To them, in whatever spot, in whatever age they were, I send my
mind."[160] He recommends Cato, Lælius, Socrates, Zeno.  Epictetus has
the same advice.  What would Socrates do? is the canon he
recommends.[161]  "Though you are not yet a Socrates, you {73} ought to
live as one who wishes to be a Socrates."[162]  "Go away to Socrates
and see him ... think what a victory he felt he won over himself."[163]
Comte in a later day gave somewhat similar advice.  It seems to show
that we cannot do well without some sort of personality in which to
rest ourselves.

[Sidenote: Plutarch's criticism]

When once this central uncertainty in Stoicism appeared, all the fine
and true words the Stoics spoke of Providence lost their meaning for
ordinary men who thought quickly.  The religious teachers of the day
laid hold of the old paradoxes of the school and with them demolished
the Stoic Providence.  "Chrysippus," says Plutarch, "neither professes
himself, nor any one of his acquaintances and teachers, to be good
(_spoudaîon_).  What then do they think of others, but precisely what
they say--that all men are insane, fools, unholy, impious,
transgressors, that they reach the very acme of misery and of all
wretchedness?  And then they say that it is by Providence that our
concerns are ordered--and we so wretched!  If the Gods were to change
their minds and wish to hurt us, to do us evil, to overthrow and
utterly crush us, they could not put us in a worse condition; for
Chrysippus demonstrates that life can admit no greater degree either of
misery or unhappiness."[164]  Of course, this attack is unfair, but it
shows how men felt.  They demanded to know how they stood with the
gods--were the gods many or one? were they persons or natural laws[165]
or even natural objects? did they care for mankind? for the individual
man?  This demand was edged by exactly the same experience of life
which made Stoicism so needful and so welcome to its followers.  The
pressure of the empire and the terrors of living drove some to
philosophy and many more to the gods--and for these certainty was
imperative and the Stoics could not give it.

It is easy, but not so profitable as it seems, to find faults in the
religion of other men.  Their generation rejected the Stoics, but they
may not have been right.  If the Stoics were too hasty in making reason
into a despot to rule over the {74} emotions, their contemporaries were
no less hasty in deciding, on the evidence of emotions and desires,
that there were gods, and these the gods of their fathers, because they
wished for inward peace and could find it nowhere else.  The Stoics
were at least more honest with themselves, and though their school
passed away, their memory remained and kept the respect of men who
differed from them, but realized that they had stood for truth.

Chapter II Footnotes:

[1] _Hist._ i, 2.

[2] Tac. _Ann._ iv, 33, _sic converso statu neque alia re Romana quam
si unus imperitet_.

[3] Hdt. iii, 80.  Cf. Tac. _A._ vi, 48, 4, _vi dominationis convulsus
et mutatus_.

[4] Suetonius, _Gaius_, 29.

[5] Sen. _de ira_, iii, 15, 3.

[6] Lecky, _European Morals_, i, 275; Epictetus, _D._ iii, 15.

[7] Seneca, _Ep._ 90, 36-43.

[8] Tacitus, _Germany_, cc. 18-20.

[9] Tac. _A._ i, 72.  Suetonius (_Tib._ 59) quotes specimens.

[10] See Boissier, _Tacite_, 188 f.; _l'opposition sous les Cesars_,

[11] Persius, v, 73, _libertate opus est_.

[12] Horace, _Sat._ ii, 2, 79.

[13] See Edward Caird, _Evolution of Theology in the Greek
Philosophers_, vol. ii, lectures xvii to xx, and Zeller, _Eclectics_,
pp. 235-245.  Seneca, _B.V._ 20, 3.

[14] Epictetus, _D._ ii, 8, _su apóspasma eî tou theoû_.

[15] Lucan, ix, 564-586, contains a short summary of Stoicism, supposed
to be spoken by Cato.

[16] Epictetus, _D._ i, 9 (some lines omitted).

[17] _phantasíai_, impressions left on the mind by things or events.

[18] Epictetus, _D._ i, 9.

[19] Diogenes Laertius, vii, 1, 53; see Caird, _op. cit._ vol. ii, p.

[20] See Lecky, _European Morals_, i, 128, 129.

[21] _Ep._ 108, 22, _philosophiam oderat_.

[22] With these passages compare the fine account which Persius gives
(_Sat._ v) of his early studies with the Stoic Cornutus.

[23] Plutarch, _de esu carnium_, ii, 5.

[24] Plutarch, _de esu carnium_, i, 6, on clogging the soul by eating
flesh.  Clem. Alex. _Pæd._ ii, 16, says St Matthew lived on seeds, nuts
and vegetables, and without meat.

[25] Plutarch, _de esu carnium_, ii, 1.

[26] Sen. _Ep._ 108, 3, 13-23.

[27] This is a quality that Quintilian notes in his style for praise or
blame.  Others (Gellius, _N.A._ xii, 2) found in him _levis et quasi
dicax argutia_.

[28] _Ep._ 78, 2, 3, _patris me indulgentissimi senectus retinuit_.

[29] _Ep._ 58, 5.

[30] _Ep._ 95, 65

[31] His nephew Lucan, Quintilian severely says, was "perhaps a better
model for orators than for poets."

[32] _Ep._ 49, 2.  Virgil made one speech.

[33] _ad Polybium_, 13, 2, 3.

[34] Juvenal, x, 16, _magnos Seneca prædivitis hortos_.

[35] _Ann._ xiii, 12, 2.

[36] Tac. _Ann._ xiii, 15-17.

[37] Tac. _Ann._ xiv, 51.

[38] Tac. _Ann._ xiii, 42.

[39] _B.V._ 20, 3.

[40] _B.V._ 23, 1.

[41] Tac. _Ann._ xiv, 52-56.

[42] _de tranqu. animi_, 10, 6.

[43] Tac. _Ann._ xiv, 65; xv, 45-65.

[44] B. W. Henderson, _Nero_, pp. 280-3.

[45] Tac. _Ann._ xv, 65; Juvenal, viii, 212.

[46] Tac. _Ann._ xv, 45, 6.

[47] This is emphasized by Zeller, _Eclectics_, 240, and by Dill,
_Roman Society from Nero to Marcus_, 324, 326.

[48] _ae Clem._ i, 6.

[49] [Transcriber's note: this footnote missing from book]

[50] _Ep._ 61, 1.

[51] Lucian, _Nigrinus_, 19, says there is no better school for virtue,
no truer test of moral strength, than life in the city of Rome.

[52] Gellius, _N.A._ ii, 18, 10.

[53] Gell. _N.A._ xv, 11, 5.

[54] Manual, J.  I have constantly used Long's translation, but often
altered it.  It is a fine piece of work, well worth the English
reader's study.

[55] _D._ iii, 26.  Compare and contrast Tertullian, _de Idol_, 12,
_fides famem nan timet.  Scit enim famem non minus sibi contemnendam
propter Deum quam omne mortis genus_.  The practical point is the same,
perhaps; the motive, how different!

[56] _D._ iii, 24; iv, 1; _M._ 11, 26.

[57] _D._ ii, 24.  He maintains, too, against Epicurus the naturalness
of love for children; once born, we cannot help loving them, _D._ i, 23.

[58] _D._ iv, 1.

[59] _D._ iv, 5, _thélei tà allótrie mè eînai allótria_.

[60] _D._ i, 18.  This does not stop his condemning the adulterer, _D._
ii, 4 (man, he said, is formed for fidelity), 10.  Seneca on outward
goods, _ad Marciam_, 10.

[61] _M._ 40.

[62] Fragment, 53.

[63] _D._ i, id.

[64] _D._ iii, 12, classing the _korasidíon_ with wine and cake.

[65] _M._ 33.

[66] _D._ iv, 11.

[67] Gell. _N.A._ i, 2, 6; xvii, 19, 1.

[68] Lucian, _adv. Indoct._ 13.

[69] _D._ iii, 9.

[70] _M._ 46.

[71] _D._ iii, 22, _kakórygka_.

[72] _D._ iii, 22.  Lucian says Epictetus urged Demonax to take a wife
and leave some one to represent him in posterity.  "Very well,
Epictetus," said Demonax, "give me one of your own daughters" (_v.
Demon._ 55).

[73] Epict. _D._ iii, 24.  _strateía tís estin ho bios hekástou, kaì
aute makrà kai toikile.  tereîn se deî tò stratiôtou prosneuma kaì toû
strategoû prássein hekasta, ei oîon._.

[74] Epict. _D._ iii, 23.

[75] Sen. _Ep._ 112, 3.

[76] _de ira_, iii, 36, 1-4.

[77] Sen. _de tranqu. animi_, 1.

[78] Epict. _D._ iii, 10.  I have here slightly altered Mr Long's

[79] _D._ iv, 6.

[80] Cf. Persius, iii, 66-72, causas cognoscite rerum, quid sumus aut
quidnam victuri gignimur ... quem te deus esse iussit et humana qua
parte locatus es in re.

[81] D. ii, 11.  See Davidson, Stoic Creed, pp. 69, 81, on innate
ideas.  Plutarch, _de coh. ira_, 15, on Zeno's doctrine, _tò spérma
súmmigma kaì kèrasma tôn tés phuchês dynaméon hyparchein apespasménon_.

[82] The qualification may be illustrated from Cicero's Stoic, _de Nat.
Deor_, ii, 66, 167, _Magna di curant parva neglegunt_.

[83] _Ep._ 95, 47-50.  Cf. _Ep._ 41; _de Prov._ i, 5.  A very close
parallel, with a strong Stoic tinge, in Minucius Felix, 32, 2, 3,
ending _Sic apud nos religiosior est ille qui iustior_.

[84] _Nat. Quæst._ ii, 45.  Cf. Tertullian, _Apol._ 21, on Zeno's
testimony to the Logos, as creator, fate, God, _animus Iovis_ and
_necessitas omnium rerum_.

[85] Cf. Sen. _Ep._ 41, 1.  Prope est a te deus, tecum est, intus est.
Ita dico, Lucili, sacer intra nos spiritus sedet malorum bonorumque
nostrorum observator et custos.

[86] Epict. D. i, 14.  See Clem. Alex. Strom, vii, 37, for an
interesting account of how _phthánei he theía dynamis, katháper phôs
diidein tèn phychen_.

[87] _Ep._ 110, 1, pædagogam dari deum.

[88] _D._ iii, 24,

[89] _D._ ii, 14.

[90] _de providentia_, 2, 6-9.

[91] _de Prov._ 4, 1.

[92] _de Prov._ 5, 7.  See Justin Martyr's criticism of Stoic fatalism,
_Apol._ ii, 7.  It involves, he says, either God's identity with the
world of change, or his implication in all vice, or else that virtue
and vice are nothing--consequences which are alike contrary to every
sane _eeenoia_, to _logos_ and to _noûs_.

[93] _de Prov._ 5, 8.

[94] Plutarch, _adv. Stoicos_, 33, on this Stoic paradox of the
equality of God and the sage.

[95] _de Prov._ 6, 5-7.  This Stoic justification of suicide was
repudiated alike by Christians and Neo-Platonists.

[96] _D._ i, 1.

[97] _D._ i, 12.  See also _D._ ii, 16 "We say 'Lord God! how shall I
not be anxious?' Fool, have you not hands, did not God make them for
you?  Sit down now and pray that your nose may not run."

[98] Cf. Cicero's Stoic, _N.D._ ii, 66, 167, _Nemo igitur vir magnus
sine aliquo afflatu divino unquam fuit_.

[99] Ep. 41, 1, 2.  (The line is from Virgil, _Aen._ viii, 352.)  The
rest of the letter develops the idea of divine dependence.  _Sic animus
magnus ac sacer et in hoc demissus at propius quidem divina nossemus,
conversatur quidem nobiscum sed hæret origini suæ, etc_.

[100] Ep. 73, 15, 16.

[101] Epictetus, _D._ i, 6.

[102] _D._ i, 9.

[103] _D._ iv, 1.

[104] _D._ iv, 1.

[105] _D._ ii, 16 end, with a variant between _sós eimi_ and _ísos
eimi_, the former of which, Long says, is certain.

[106] _D._ i, 16.  Contrast the passage of Clement quoted on p. 286.

[107] _D._ ii, 16.

[108] _D._ ii, 16.

[109] _D._ iii, 13.

[110] _D._ ii, 22.

[111] _Ep._ 95, 51-53.

[112] _de ira_, iii, 28, 1.

[113] _Ep._ 95, 33, _homo sacra res homini_.

[114] See Lecky, _European Morals_, i, 294 ff.: Maine, _Ancient Law_,
p. 54 f.

[115] See, by the way, Plutarch's banter on this "polity"--the stars
its tribesmen, the sun, doubtless, councillor, and Hesperus _prytanis_
or _astynomus_, _adv. Sto._ 34.

[116] Epict. _D._ ii, 5; M. Aurelius, viii, 34.

[117] _Ep._ 63, 14.

[118] _D._ iii, 24.

[119] _D._ iv, 1.

[120] _ib._

[121] _D._ iv, 6.

[122] _M._ 16.

[123] Cf. Theophilus (the apologist of about 160 A.D.), ii, 4, who,
though not always to be trusted as to the Stoics, remarks this
identification of God and conscience.

[124] _D._ i, 29.

[125] Cf. _D._ i, 1; iii, 19; iv, 4; iv, 12, and very many other

[126] _D._ iv, 9, end.

[127] _Ep._ 31, 5.

[128] Plutarch, _Progress in Virtue_, c. 2, 76 A, on the absurdity of
there being no difference between Plato and Meletus.  Cf. also _de
repugn. Stoic._ 11, 1037 D.

[129] "Unconditional eradication," says Zeller, _Eclectics_, p. 226.
"I do not hold with those who hymn the savage and hard Apathy (_tén
agrion kaì skleràn_)," wrote Plutarch.  _Cons, ad Apoll._ 3, 102 C.
See Clem. Alex. _Str._ ii, 110, on _páthê_; as produced by the agency
of spirits, and note his talk of Christian Apathy.  _Str._ vi, 71-76.

[130] Justin Martyr (_Apol._ ii, 8) praises Stoic morality and speaks
of Stoics who suffered for it.

[131] Cf. Epict. _D._ iii, 25.

[132] Sen. _Ep._ 50, 4.

[133] Persius, iii, 38.

[134] _Ep._ 6, 1.

[135] e.g. _Ep._ 57, 3, he is not even _homo tolerabilis_.  On the
bondage of the soul within the body, see _Ep._ 65, 21-23.

[136] Cf. Seneca, Ep. 53, 7, 8--quo quis peius habet minus sentit.
"The worse one is, the less he notices it."

[137] _D._ i, 5.

[138] Plut. _de repugn. Stoic._ 34, 1050 C.  Cf. _Tert. de exh.
castit._ 2.

[139] Cf. Plutarch, _non suaviter_, 1104 F.  _kataphronoûntes eautôn ôs
ephêmérôn kthe_--of the Epicureans.

[140] Cf. Plutarch, non suaviter, 1104 C.  _tês aidiótetus elpìs kaì ho
póthos tou eînai mántôn epótôn prespytatos ôn kaì melstos_.  Cf. _ib._
1093 A.

[141] Sen. _Ep._ 117, 6.

[142] _Ep._ 102, 2.

[143] Ep. 102, 21; the following passages are from the same letter.
Note the Stoic significance of _naturale_.

[144] Compare _Cons. ad Marc._ 25, 1, _integer ille, etc._

[145] The last words of the "Consolation." Plutarch on resolution into
_pûr noeròn_, _non suaviter_, 1107 B.

[146] _ad Polyb._ 9, 3.

[147] _D._ iii, 13.  Plutarch (_non suaviter_, 1106 E) says Cocytus,
etc., are not the chief terror but _hê toû mè ontos apeilé_.

[148] _D._ iii, 24.

[149] See Plutarch on this, _non suaviter_, 1105 E.

[150] Seneca, _N.Q._ ii, 45.

[151] Manual, 31.  Plutarch, _de repugn. Stoic._ 6, 1034 B, C, remarks
on Stoic inconsistency in accepting popular religious usages.

[152] _D._ ii, 9.  In _D._ v, 7, he refers to "Galilaeans," so that it
is quite possible he has Christians in view here.

[153] _M._ 32; _D._ iii, 22.

[154] Plut. _de repugn. Stoic._ 37, 1051 C.

[155] Tertullian, _Apol._ 12, _idem estis qui Senecam aliquem pluribus
et amarioribus de vestra superstitione perorantem reprehendistis_.

[156] See Plutarch, _de comm. not. adv. Stoicos_, c. 31, and _de def.
orac._ 420 A, c. 19; Justin M. _Apol._ ii, 7.

[157] Dial. _c. Tryphone_, 2.

[158] Sen. _Ep._ 11, 8.

[159] _Ep._ 25, 5.

[160] _Ep._ 62, 2, cf. 104, 21.

[161] _M._ 33, _tì nan epoíesen en toútô Sôkrates hè Zénôn_.

[162] _M._ 50.

[163] _D._ ii, 18.  The tone of Tertullian, _e.g._ in _de Anima_, 1, on
the Phædo, suggests that Socrates may have been over-preached.  What
too (_ib._ 6) of barbarians and their souls, who have no "prison of
Socrates," etc?

[164] Plut. _de Stoic. repugnantiis_, 31, 1048 E.  Cf. _de comm. not._

[165] Plutarch, _Amat._ 13, 757 C.  _horâs dépou tòn upolambánonta
búthon hemâs atheótetos, an eis pathe kaì dynameis kaì aretàs
diagraphômen ekaston tôn theôn_.




Stoicism as a system did not capture the ancient world, and even upon
individuals it did not retain an undivided hold.  To pronounce with its
admirers to-day that it failed because the world was not worthy of it,
would be a judgment, neither quite false nor altogether true, but at
best not very illuminative.  Men are said to be slow in taking in new
thoughts, and yet it is equally true that somewhere in nearly every man
there is something that responds to ideas, and even to theories; but if
these on longer acquaintance fail to harmonize with the deeper
instincts within him, they alarm and annoy, and the response comes in
the form of re-action.

In modern times, we have seen the mind of a great people surrendered
for a while to theorists and idealists.  The thinking part of the
French nation was carried away by the inspiration of Rousseau into all
sorts of experiments at putting into hasty operation the principles and
ideas they had more or less learnt from the master.  Even theories
extemporized on the moment, it was hoped, might be made the foundations
of a new and ideal social fabric.  The absurdities of the old religion
yielded place to Reason--embodied symbolically for the hour in the
person of Mme Momoro--afterwards, more vaguely, in Robespierre's
Supreme Being, who really came from Rousseau.  And then--"avec ton Être
Suprème tu commences à m'embêter," said Billaud to Robespierre himself.
Within a generation Chateaubriand, de Maistre, Bonald, and de la
Mennais were busy refounding the Christian faith.  "The rites of
Christianity," wrote Chateaubriand, "are in the highest degree moral,
if for no other reason than that they have been practised by our
fathers, that our mothers have watched over our cradles as Christian
women, that the Christian religion has chanted its psalms over our
parents' coffins and invoked peace upon them in their graves."


Alongside of this let us set a sentence or two of Plutarch.  "Our
father then, addressing Pemptides by name, said, 'You seem to me,
Pemptides, to be handling a very big matter and a risky one--or rather,
you are discussing what should not be discussed at all (_tà akínêta
kineîn_), when you question the opinion we hold about the gods, and ask
reason and demonstration for everything.  For the ancient and ancestral
faith is enough (_arkeî gàr hê pátrios kaì palaià pistis_), and no
clearer proof could be found than itself--

  Not though man's wisdom scale the heights of thought--

but it is a common home and an established foundation for all piety;
and if in one point its stable and traditional character (_tò bébainon
autês kaì nenomismenon_) be shaken and disturbed, it will be undermined
and no one will trust it....  If you demand proof about each of the
ancient gods, laying hands on everything sacred and bringing your
sophistry to play on every altar, you will leave nothing free from
quibble and cross-examination (_oudèn asykophánteton oud
abasániston_)....  Others will say that Aphrodite is desire and Hermes
reason, the Muses crafts and Athene thought.  Do you see, then, the
abyss of atheism that lies at our feet, if we resolve each of the gods
into a passion or a force or a virtue?'"[1]

Such an utterance is unmistakeable--it means a conservative re-action,
and in another place we find its justification in religious emotion.
"Nothing gives us more joy than what we see and do ourselves in divine
service, when we carry the emblems, or join in the sacred dance, or
stand by at the sacrifice or initiation....  It is when the soul most
believes and perceives that the god is present, that she most puts from
her pain and fear and anxiety, and gives herself up to joy, yes, even
as far as intoxication and laughter and merriment....  In sacred
processions and sacrifices not only the old man and the old woman, nor
the poor and lowly, but

  The thick-legged drudge that sways her at the mill,

and household slaves and hirelings are uplifted by joy and triumph.
Rich men and kings have always their own banquets and feasts--but the
feasts in the temples and at initiations, when men seem to touch the
divine most nearly in their thought, {77} with honour and worship, have
a pleasure and a charm far more exceeding.  And in this no man shares
who has renounced belief in Providence.  For it is not abundance of
wine, nor the roasting of meat, that gives the joy in the festivals,
but also a good hope, and a belief that the god is present and
gracious, and accepts what is being done with a friendly mind."[2]

[Sidenote: Continuity of religion]

One of Chateaubriand's critics says that his plea could be advanced on
behalf of any religion; and Plutarch had already made it on behalf of
his own.  He looks past the Stoics, and he finds in memory and
association arguments that outweigh anything they can say.  The
Spermaticos Logos was a mere Être Suprème--a sublime conception
perhaps, but it had no appeal to emotion, it waked no memories, it
touched no chord of personal association.  We live so largely by
instinct, memory and association, that anything that threatens them
seems to strike at our life,

  So was it when my life began;
  So is it now I am a man;
  So be it when I shall grow old,
        Or let me die!
  The Child is father of the Man;
  And I could wish my days to be
  Bound each to each by natural piety.

Some such thought is native to every heart, and the man who does not
cling to his own past seems wanting in something essentially human.
The gods were part of the past of the ancient world, and if Reason took
them away, what was left?  There was so much, too, that Reason could
not grasp; so much to be learnt in ritual and in mystery that to the
merely thinking mind had no meaning,--that must be received.  Reason
was invoked so lightly, and applied so carelessly and harshly, that it
could take no account of the tender things of the heart.  Reason
destroyed but did not create, questioned without answering, and left
life without sanction or communion.  It was too often a mere affair of
cleverness.  It had its use and place, no doubt, in correcting
extravagances of belief, but it was by no means the sole authority in
man's life, and its function was essentially to be the handmaid of
religion.  "We must take {78} Reason from philosophy to be our
mystagogue and then in holy reverence consider each several word and
act of worship."[3]

Plutarch is our representative man in this revival of religion, and
some survey of his life and environment will enable us to enter more
fully into his thought, and through him to understand better the
beginnings of a great religious movement, of which students too often
have lost sight.

For centuries the great men of Greek letters were natives of every
region of the eastern Mediterranean except Greece, and Plutarch stands
alone in later literature a Hellen of the motherland--Greek by blood,
birth, home and instinct, proud of his race and his land, of their
history, their art and their literature.  When we speak of the
influence of the past, it is well to remember to how great a past this
man looked back, and from what a present.  Long years of faction and
war, as he himself says, had depopulated Greece, and the whole land
could hardly furnish now the three thousand hoplites that four
centuries before Megara alone had sent to Platæa.  In regions where
oracles of note had been, they were no more; their existence would but
have emphasized the solitude--what good would an oracle be at Tegyra,
or about Ptoum, where in a day's journey you might perhaps come on a
solitary shepherd?[4]  It was not only that wars and faction fights had
wasted the life of the Greek people, but with the opening of the far
East by Alexander, and the development of the West under Roman rule,
Commerce had shifted its centres, and the Greeks had left their old
homes for new regions.  Still keen on money, philosophy and art, they
thronged Alexandria, Antioch and Rome, and a thousand other cities.
The Petrie papyri have revealed a new feature of this emigration, for
the wills of the settlers often mention the names of their wives, and
these were Greek women and not Egyptian, as the names of their fathers
and homes prove.[5]  Julius Cæsar had restored Corinth a century after
Mummius destroyed it, and Athens was still as she had been and was to
be for centuries, the resort of every one who loved philosophy and
literature.[6]  These were the two {79} cities of Greece; the rest were
reminders of what had been.  In one of these forsaken places Plutarch
was born, and there he was content to live and die, a citizen and a
magistrate of Chæronea in Boeotia.

[Sidenote: His family circle]

His family was an old one, long associated with Chæronea.  From
childhood his life was rooted in the past by the most natural and
delightful of all connexions.  His great-grandfather, Nicarchus, used
to tell how his fellow-citizens were commandeered to carry wheat on
their own backs down to Anticyra for Antony's fleet--and were quickened
up with the whip as they went; and "then when they had taken one
consignment so, and the second was already done up into loads and
ready, the news came that Antony was defeated, and that saved the city;
for at once Antony's agents and soldiers fled, and they divided the
grain among themselves."[7]  The grandfather, Lamprias, lived long and
saw the grandson a grown man.  He appears often in Plutarch's _Table
Talk_--a bright old man and a lively talker--like incense, he said, he
was best when warmed up.[8]  He thought poorly of the Jews for not
eating pork--a most righteous dish, he said.[9]  He had tales of his
own about Antony, picked up long ago from one Philotas, who had been a
medical student in Alexandria and a friend of one of the royal cooks,
and eventually medical attendant to a son of Antony's by Fulvia.[10]
Plutarch's father was a quiet, sensible man, who maintained the
practice of sacrificing,[11] kept good horses,[12] knew his Homer, and
had something of his son's curious interest in odd problems.  It is
perhaps an accident that Plutarch never mentions his name, but, though
he often speaks of him, it is always of "my father" or "our
father"--the lifelong and instinctive habit.  There were also two
brothers.  The witty and amiable Lamprias loved laughter and was an
expert in dancing--a useful man to put things right when the dance went
with more spirit than music.[13]  Of Timon we hear less, but Plutarch
sets Timon's goodness of heart among the very best gifts Fortune has
sent him.[14]  He emphasizes the bond that brothers have in the family
sacrifices, {80} ancestral rites, the common home and the common
grave.[15] That Plutarch always had friends, men of kindly nature and
intelligence, and some of them eminent, is not surprising.  Other human
relationships, to be mentioned hereafter, completed his circle.  He was
born, and grew up, and lived, in a network of love and sympathy, the
record of which is in all his books.

Plutarch was born about the year 50 A.D., and, when Nero went on tour
through Greece in 66 A.D., he was a student at Athens under
Ammonius.[16]  He recalls that among his fellow-students was a
descendant of Themistocles, who bore his ancestor's name and still
enjoyed the honours granted to him and his posterity at Magnesia.[17]
Ammonius, whom he honoured and quoted throughout life, was a
Platonist[18] much interested in Mathematics.[19]  He was a serious and
kindly teacher with a wide range of interests, not all speculative.
Plutarch records a discussion of dancing by "the good Ammonius."[20]
He was thrice "General" at Athens,[21] and had at any rate once the
experience of an excited mob shouting for him in the street, while he
supped with his friends indoors.

Plutarch had many interests in Athens, in its literature, its
philosophy and its ancient history--in its relics, too, for he speaks
of memorials of Phocion and Demosthenes still extant.  But he lingers
especially over the wonders of Pericles and Phidias, "still fresh and
new and untouched by time, as if a spirit of eternal youth, a soul that
was ageless, were in the work of the artist."[22]  Athens was a
conservative place, on the whole, and a great resort for strangers.
The Athenian love of talk is noticed by Luke with a touch of satire,
and Dio Chrysostom admitted that the Athenians fell short of the glory
of their city and their ancestors.[23]  Yet men loved Athens.[24]
Aulus Gellius in memory of his years there, called his book of
collections _Attic Nights_, and here and there he speaks of student
life--"It was from Ægina to Piræus that some of us who were
fellow-students, Greeks and Romans, were crossing in the same ship.
{81} It was night.  The sea was calm.  It was summertime and the sky
was clear and still.  So we were sitting on the poop, all of us
together, with our eyes upon the shining stars," and fell to talking
about their names.[25]

[Sidenote: His travels]

When his student days were over, Plutarch saw something of the world.
He alludes to a visit to Alexandria,[26] but, though he was interested
in Egyptian religion, as we shall see, he does not speak of travels in
the country.  He must have known European Greece well, but he had
little knowledge, it seems, of Asia Minor and little interest in it.
He went once on official business for his city to the pro-consul of
Illyricum--and had a useful lesson from his father who told him to say
"We" in his report, though his appointed colleague had failed to go
with him.[27]  He twice went to Italy in the reigns of Vespasian and
Domitian, and he seems to have stayed for some time in Rome, making
friends in high places and giving lectures.  Of the great Latin writers
of his day he mentions none, nor is he mentioned by them.  But he tells
with pride how once Arulenus Rusticus had a letter from Domitian
brought him by a soldier in the middle of one of these lectures and
kept it unopened till the end.[28]  The lectures were given in Greek.
He confesses to his friend Sossius Senecio that, owing to the pressure
of political business and the number of people who came about him for
philosophy, when he was in Rome, it was late indeed in life that he
attempted to learn Latin; and when he read Latin, it was the general
sense of a passage that helped him to the meaning of the words.  The
niceties of the language he could not attempt, he says, though it would
have been a graceful and pleasant thing for one of more leisure and
fewer years.[29]  That this confession is a true one is shown by the
scanty use he makes of Roman books in his biographies, by his want of
acquaintance with Latin literature, poetry and philosophy, and by
blunders in detail noted by his critics.  _Sine patris_ is a poor
attempt at Latin grammar for a man of his learning, and in his life of
Lucullus he has turned the streets of Rome into villages through
inattention to the various meanings of _vicus_.[30]


But, as he says, he was a citizen of a small town, and he did not wish
to make it smaller,[31] and he went back to Chæronea and obscurity.  A
city he held to be an organism like a living being,[32] and he never
cared for a man on whom the claims of his city sat loosely--as they did
on the Stoics.[33] The world was full of Greek philosophers and
rhetoricians, lecturing and declaiming, to their great profit and
glory, but Plutarch was content to stay at home, to be magistrate and
priest.  If men laughed to see him inspecting the measurement of tiles
and the carrying of cement and stones--"it is not for myself, I say,
that I am doing this but for my native-place."[34]  This was when he
was Telearch--an office once held by Epameinondas, as he liked to
remember.  Pliny's letters show that this official inspection of
municipal building operations by honest and capable men was terribly
needed.  But Plutarch rose to higher dignities, and as Archon Eponymos
he had to preside over feasts and sacrifices.[35]  He was also a
Boeotarch.  The Roman Empire did not leave much political activity even
to the free cities, but Plutarch loyally accepted the new era as from
God, and found in it many blessings of peace and quiet, and some
opportunities still of serving his city.  He held a priesthood at
Delphi, with some charge over the oracle and a stewardship at the
Pythian games.  He loved Delphi, and its shrine and antiquities,[36]
and made the temple the scene of some of his best dialogues.  "The kind
Apollo (_ho phílos_)," he says, "seems to heal the questions of life,
and to resolve them, by the rules he gives to those who ask; but the
questions of thought he himself suggests to the philosophic
temperament, waking in the soul an appetite that will lead it to

He does not seem to have gained much public renown, but he did not seek
it.  The fame in his day was for the men of rhetoric, and he was a man
of letters.  If he gave his time to municipal duties, he must have
spent the greater part of his days in reading and writing.  He says
that a biographer needs a great many books and that as a rule many of
them will not be readily accessible--to have the abundance he requires,
he ought really to be in some "famous city where learning is loved and
{83} men are many"; though, he is careful to say, a man may be happy
and upright in a town that is "inglorious and humble."[38] He must have
read very widely, and he probably made good use of his stay in Rome.
In philosophy and literature it is quite probable that he used
hand-books of extracts, though this must not imply that he did not go
to the original works of the greater writers.  But his main interest
lay in memoirs and travels.  He had an instinct for all that was
characteristic, or curious, or out-of-the-way; and all sorts of casual
references show how such things attached themselves to his memory.
Discursive in his reading, as most men of letters seem to be, with a
quick eye for the animated scene, the striking figure, the strange
occurrence, he read, one feels, for enjoyment--he would add, no doubt,
for his own moral profit; indeed he says that he began his Biographies
for the advantage of others and found them to be much to his own.[39]
He was of course an inveterate moralist; but unlike others of the
class, he never forgets the things that have given him pleasure.  They
crowd his pages in genial reminiscence and apt allusion.  There is
always the quiet and leisurely air of one who has seen and has enjoyed,
and sees and enjoys again as he writes.  It is this that has made his
Biographies live.  They may at times exasperate the modern historian,
for he is not very systematic--delightful writers rarely are.  He
rambles as he likes and avowedly passes the great things by and
treasures the little and characteristic.  "I am not writing histories
but lives," he says, "and it is not necessarily in the famous action
that a man's excellence or failure is revealed.  But some little
thing--a word or a jest--may often show character better than a battle
with its ten thousand slain."[40]

But, after all, it is the characteristic rather than the character that
interests him.  He is not among the greatest who have drawn men, for he
lacks the mind and patience to go far below the surface to find the key
to the whole nature.  When he has shown us one side of the hero, he
will present another and a very different one, and leave us to
reconcile them if we can.  The contradictions remain contradictions,
and he wanders pleasantly on.  The Lives of Pericles and Themistocles,
for instance, are little more than mere collectanea from sources widely
discrepant, and often quite worthless.  Of the mind of Pericles he had
little {84} conception; he gathered up and pleasantly told what he had
read in books.  He had too little of the critical instinct and took
things too easily to weigh what he quoted.

Above all, despite his "political" energy and enthusiasm, it was
impossible, for a Greek of his day to have the political insight that
only comes from life in a living state.  How could the Telearch of
Chæronea under the Roman Empire understand Pericles?  Archbishop Trench
contrasts his enthusiasm about the gift of liberty to Greece by
Flamininus with the reflection of Wordsworth that it is a thing

          which is not to be given
  By all the blended powers of Earth and Heaven.

Plutarch really did not know what liberty is; Wordsworth on the other
hand had taken part in the French Revolution, and watched with keen and
sympathetic eyes the march of events throughout a most living epoch.
It is worth noting that indirectly Plutarch contributed to the
disasters of that epoch, for his _Lycurgus_ had enormous influence with
Rousseau and his followers who took it for history.  Here was a man who
made laws and constitutions in his own head and imposed them upon his
fellow-countrymen.  So Plutarch wrote and believed, and so read and
believed thinking Frenchmen of the eighteenth century, like himself
subjects of a despotism and without political experience.

Besides Biographies he wrote moral treatises--some based on lectures,
others on conversation, others again little better than
note-books--pleasant and readable books, if the reader will forgive a
certain want of humour, and a tendency to ramble, and will surrender
his mind to the long and leisurely sentences, for Plutarch is not to be
hurried.  Everything he wrote had some moral or religious aim.  He was
a believer, in days of doubt and perplexity.  The Epicurean was heard
at Delphi.  Even in the second century, when the great, religious
revival was in full swing, Lucian wrote and found readers.  Men brought
their difficulties to Plutarch and he went to meet them--ever glad to
do something for the ancestral faith.  Nor was he less ready to
discuss--or record discussions of--questions much less serious.  Was
the hen or the egg first?  Does a varied diet or a single dish help the
digestion more?  Why is fresh water better than salt for {85} washing
clothes?  Which of Aphrodite's hands did Diomed wound?

It is always the same man, genial, garrulous, moral and sensible.
There are no theatricalities in his style--he is not a rhetorician even
on paper.[41]  He discards the tricks of the school, adoxography,
epigram and, as a rule, paradox.  His simplicity is his charm.  He is
really interested in his subject whatever it is; and he believes in its
power of interesting other men, too much to think it worth while to
trick it out with extraneous prettinesses.  Yet after he has discussed
his theme, with excursions into its literary antecedents and its moral
suggestions, we are not perhaps much nearer an explanation of the fact
in question,[42] nor always quite sure that it is a fact.  Everything
interests him, but he is in no hurry to get at the bottom of anything;
just as in the _Lives_ he is occupied with everything except the depths
of his hero's personality.  It remains that in his various works he has
given us an unexampled pageant of antiquity over a wide reach of time
and many lands, and always bright with the colour of life--the work of
a lover of men.  "I can hardly do without Plutarch," wrote Montaigne;
"he is so universal and so full, that upon all occasions, and what
extravagant subject soever you take in hand, he will still intrude
himself into your business, and holds out to you a liberal and not to
be exhausted hand of riches and embellishments."  What Shakespeare
thought of him is written in three great plays.[43]

[Sidenote: His wife and children]

But so far nothing has been said of Plutarch's own home.  The lot of
the wife of a great preacher or moralist is not commonly envied; and
the tracts which Plutarch wrote upon historic women and their virtues,
and on the duties of married life, on diet and on the education of the
young, suggest that Timoxena must have lived in an atmosphere of high
moral elevation, with a wise saw and an ancient instance for every
occurrence of the day.  But it is clear that he loved her, and his
affection for their four little boys must have been as plain to her as
to his readers--and his joy when, after long waiting, at last a little
girl was born.  "You had longed for a daughter {86} after four sons,"
he writes to her, "and I was glad when she came and I could give her
your name."  The little Timoxena lived for two years, and the letter of
consolation which Plutarch wrote her mother tells the story of her
short life.  "She had by nature wonderful good temper and gentleness.
So responsive to affection, so generous was she that it was a pleasure
to see her tenderness.  For she used to bid her nurse give the breast
to other children and not to them only, but even to toys and other
things in which she took delight.  She was so loving that she wished
everything that gave her pleasure to share in the best of what she had.
I do not see, my dear wife, why things such as these, which gave us so
much happiness while she lived, should give us pain and trouble now
when we think of them."[44]  He reminds her of the mysteries of
Dionysus of which they were both initiates.  In language that recalls
Wordsworth's great Ode on the Intimations of Immortality, he suggests
that old age dulls our impressions of the soul's former life, and that
their little one is gone from them, before she had time to fall in love
with life on earth.  "And the truth about this is to be seen in the
ancient use and wont of our fathers," who did not observe the ordinary
sad rites of burial for little children, "as if they felt it not right
in the case of those who have passed to a better and diviner lot and
place....  And since to disbelieve them is harder than to believe, let
us comply with the laws in outward things, and let what is within be
yet more stainless, pure and holy."[45]

Two of the sons had previously died--the eldest Soclaros, and the
fourth, "our beautiful Chæron"--the name is that of the traditional
founder of Chæronea.  The other two, Autobulus and Plutarch grew up.
Some of these names appear in the _Table Talk_, while others of his
works were written at the suggestion of his sons.

[Sidenote: His slaves]

From the family we pass to the slaves, and here, as we should expect,
Plutarch is an advocate of gentleness.  In the tract _On Restraining
Anger_ a high and humane character is drawn in Fundanus, who had
successfully mastered a naturally passionate temper.  It has been
thought that Plutarch was drawing {87} his own portrait over his
friend's name.  A naïve tendency to idealise his own virtues he
certainly shares with other moralists.  Fundanus urges that, while all
the passions need care and practice if they are to be overcome, anger
is the failure to which we are most liable in the case of our slaves.
Our authority over them sets us in a slippery place; temper here has
nothing to check it, for here we are irresponsible and that is a
position of danger.  A man's wife and his friends are too apt to call
gentleness to the slaves mere easy-going slackness (_atonían kaì
rhathumían_).  "I used to be provoked by such criticism myself against
my slaves.  I was told they were going to pieces for want of
correction.  Later on I realized that, first of all, it is better to
let them grow worse through my forbearance than by bitterness and anger
to pervert oneself for the reformation of others.  And, further, I saw
that many of them, through not being punished, began to be ashamed of
being bad, and that forgiveness was more apt than punishment to be the
beginning of a change in them--and indeed that they would serve some
men more readily for a silent nod than they would others for blows and
brandings.  So I persuaded myself that reasoning does better than
temper."[46]  It will be remarked that Fundanus, or his recording
friend, does not here take the Stoic position that the slave is as much
a son of God as the master,[47] nor does he spare the slave for the
slave's sake but to overcome his own temper.  So much for theory; but
men's conduct does not always square with their theories, and in life
we see men guilty of kind-heartedness and large-mindedness not at all
to be reconciled with the theories which they profess, when they
remember them.

It is curious that one of the few stories of Plutarch that come from
outside sources should concern this very tract and the punishment of a
slave.  Gellius heard it from the philosopher Taurus after one of his
classes.  Plutarch, Taurus said, had a worthless slave and ordered him
a flogging.  The man loudly protested he had done no wrong, and at
last, under the stimulus of the lash, taunted his master with
inconsistency--what about the fine book on controlling Anger? he was
angry enough now.  {88} "Then Plutarch, slowly and gently" asked what
signs of anger he showed in voice or colour or word?  "My eyes, I
think, are not fierce; nor my face flushed; I am not shouting aloud;
there is no foam on my lip, no red in my cheek; I am saying nothing to
be ashamed of; nothing to regret; I am not excited nor gesticulating.
All these, perhaps you are unaware, are the signs of anger."[48]  Then
turning to the man who was flogging the slave, he said, "In the
meantime, while I and he are debating, _you_ go on with your
business."[49]  The story is generally accepted, and it is certainly
characteristic.  The philosopher, feeling his pulse, as it were, to
make sure that he is not angry, while his slave is being lashed, is an
interesting and suggestive picture, which it is well to remember.

How long Plutarch lived we do not know.  He refers to events of the
year 104 or 105, and in his _Solon_ he speaks of Athens and Plato each
having an unfinished masterpiece, so that he cannot have known of the
intention of the Emperor Hadrian to finish the temple of Zeus
Olympics.[50]  All that this need imply is that the _Solon_ was written
before 125 A.D.  As to his death, it is certainly interesting when we
recall how full of dreams and portents his Biographies are, to learn
from Artemidorus' great work on the Interpretation of Dreams (written
some forty years later) that Plutarch, when ill, dreamed that he was
ascending to heaven, supported by Hermes.  Next day he was told that
this meant great happiness.  "Shortly after he died, and this was what
his dream and the interpretation meant.  For ascent to heaven means
destruction to a sick man, and the great happiness is a sign of
death."[51]  Plutarch might well have accepted this himself.

Such was Plutarch's life--the life of a quiet and simple-minded Greek
gentleman, spent amid scenes where the past predominated over the
present,--_nullum sine nomine saxum_, where Antiquity claimed him for
her own by every right that it has ever had upon man.  The land of his
fathers, the literature, the art, the philosophy, the faith, and the
reproduction of the {89} good old life in the pleasant
household[52]--everything conspired to make him what he was.  We now
come to his significance in the story of the conflict of religions in
the Roman Empire.

[Sidenote: Plutarch not a philosopher]

A good deal has been written about Plutarch's philosophy.  His works
are full of references to philosophy and philosophers, and he leaves us
in no doubt as to his counting himself a disciple of Plato; his
commentaries on Platonic doctrines give him a place in the long series
of Plato's expositors.  But no one would expect a writer of the first
century to be a man of one allegiance, and Plutarch modifies the
teaching of Plato with elements from elsewhere.  It has then been
debated whether he should, or should not, be called an Eclectic, but
not very profitably.  The essential thing to note is that he is not
properly a philosopher at all, much as the statement would have
astonished him.[53]  His real interest is elsewhere; and while he, like
the Greeks of his day, read and talked Philosophy interminably, as men
in later ages have read and talked Theology, it was not with the
philosophic spirit.  Philosophy is not the mistress--rather, he avows,
the servant of something else; and that means that it is not
Philosophy.  His test of philosophic thought and doctrine was
availability for the moral and religious life--a test which may or may
not be sound, as it is applied.  But Plutarch was an avowed moralist,
didactic in every fibre; and everything he wrote betrays the essential
failure of the practical man and the moralist--impatience, the short
view.  From his experience of human life in its manifold relations of
love and friendship, he came to the conclusion that "the ancient faith
of our fathers suffices."  It is also plain that he was afraid of life
without religion.  So far as a man of his training would--a man
familiar with the history of philosophy, but without patience or depth
enough to be clear in his own mind, he associated truth with his
religion; at all events it was "sufficient," for this he had found in
his course through the world.  Definite upon this one central point, he
approached philosophy, but not with the true philosopher's purpose of
examining his experience, in accordance with the Platonic {90}
suggestion[54]; rather, with the more practical aim of profiting by
every serviceable thought or maxim which he could find.  And he
certainly profited.  If he started with preconceptions, which he
intended to keep, he enlarged and purified them--in a sense, we may
say, he adorned and enriched them.  For whereever he found a moving or
suggestive idea, a high thought, he adopted it and found it a place in
his mind, though without inquiring too closely whether it had any right
to be there.  In the end, it is very questionable whether the sum of
his ideas will hold together at all, if we go beyond the quick test of
a rather unexamined experience.  We have already seen how he protested
against too curious examination.  "There is no philosophy possible,"
wrote John Stuart Mill, "where fear of consequences is a stronger
principle than love of truth."

But to such criticisms a reply is sometimes suggested, which is best
made in the well-known words of Pascal--"the heart has its reasons
which the reason does not know."[55]  The experience which led Plutarch
to his conclusion was real and sound.  There is an evidential value in
a good father, in wife and children--even in a telearchy with its tiles
and cement--which is apt to be under-estimated.  For with such elements
in life are linked passions and emotions, which are deeply bound up
with human nature, and rule us as instincts--blind reasons of the
heart.  Like all other things they require study and criticism if they
are not to mislead, and those who most follow them are sometimes the
worst judges of their real significance.  On the other hand the danger
of emotion, instinct and intuition as guides to truth is emphasized
enough,--it was emphasized by the Stoics; and a contribution is made to
human progress, when the value of these guides to truth is re-asserted,
even to the extent of obvious exaggeration, by some one, who, like
Plutarch, has had a life rich in various human experience.  It remains
however, in Plutarch's case as in all such cases, the fundamental
question, whether the supposed testimony of instinct and intuition is
confirmed.  If it is not confirmed, it may be taken to have been

Keeping the whole life of this man in view, and realizing its
soundness, its sweetness and its worth, we must see what {91} he made
of the spiritual environment of man's life in general--laying stress on
what in his system, or his attempt at a system, is most significant,
and postponing criticism.  It should be said once for all that a
general statement of Plutarch's views cannot be quite faithful, for he
was a man of many and wandering thoughts, and also something of an
Academic; and whatever he affirmed was with qualifications, which in a
short summary must be understood rather than repeated.

[Sidenote: The knowledge of God]

Our knowledge of God and of things divine comes to us, according to
Plutarch, from various sources.  There is the consensus of mankind.
"Of all customs first and greatest is belief in gods.  Lycurgus, Numa,
Ion and Deucalion, alike sanctified men, by prayers and oaths and
divinations and oracles bringing them into touch with the divine in
their hopes and fears.  You might find communities without walls,
without letters, without kings, without houses, without money, with no
need of coinage, without acquaintance with theatres and gymnasia; but a
community without holy rite, without a god, that uses not prayer nor
oath, nor divination, nor sacrifice to win good or avert evil--no man
ever saw nor will see....  This is what holds all society together and
is the foundation and buttress of all law."[56]

This evidence from the consensus of mankind is brought to a higher
point in the body of myth inherited from the past, and in custom and
law--and is so far confirmed by reason.  But we can go further and
appeal to the highest and best minds of antiquity, who in their own
highest moments of inspiration confirmed the common view.  "In the
matter of belief in gods, and in general, our guides and teachers have
been the poets and the lawgivers, and, thirdly, the philosophers--all
alike laying down that there are gods, though differing among
themselves as to the number of the gods and their order, their nature
and function.  Those of the philosophers are free from pain and death;
toil they know not, and are clean escaped the roaring surge of {92}
Acheron."[57]  "It is likely that the word of ancient poets and
philosophers is true," he says.[58]  Plutarch was a lover of poetry and
of literature, and he attributed to them a value as evidence to truth,
which is little intelligible to men who have not the same passion.[59]
Still the appeal to the poets in this connexion was very commonly made.

But men are not only dependent on the tradition of their fathers and
the inspiration of poets and philosophers, much as they should, and do,
love and honour these.  The gods make themselves felt in many ways.
There was abundant evidence of this in many established cases of
theolepsy, enthusiasm (_éntheos_) and possession.  Again there were the
oracles, in which it was clear that gods communicated with men and
revealed truths not otherwise to be gained--a clear demonstration of
the spiritual.  Men were "in anguish and fear lest Delphi should lose
its glory of three thousand years," but Delphi has not failed; for "the
language of the Pythian priestess, like the right line of the
Mathematicians--the shortest between two points, makes neither
declension nor winding, has neither double meaning nor ambiguity, but
goes straight to the truth.  Though hard to believe and much tested,
she has never up to now been convicted of error,--on the contrary she
has filled the shrine with offerings and gifts from barbarians and
Greeks, and adorned it with the beautiful buildings of the
Amphictyons."[60]  The revival of Delphi in Plutarch's day, "in so
short a time," was not man's doing--but "the God came here and inspired
the oracle with his divinity."  And Delphi was not the only oracle.
The Stoics perhaps had pointed the way here with their teaching on
divination, but as it stands the argument (such as it is) is said to be
Plutarch's own.[61]  Lastly in this connexion, the mysteries offered
evidence, but here he is reticent.  "As to the mysteries, in which we
may receive the greatest manifestations and illuminations of the truth
{93} concerning dæmons--like Herodotus, I say, 'Be it unspoken.'"[62]

[Sidenote: Absolute being]

Philosophy, poetry, tradition, oracles and mysteries[63] bring Plutarch
to belief in gods.  "There are not Greek gods and barbarian, southern
or northern; but just as sun, moon, sky, earth and sea are common to
all men and have many names, so likewise it is one Reason that makes
all these things a cosmos; it is one Providence that cares for them,
with ancillary powers appointed to all things; while in different
people, different honours and names are given to them as customs vary.
Some use hallowed symbols that are faint, others symbols more clear, as
they guide their thought to the divine."[64]  This one ultimate Reason
is described by Plutarch in terms borrowed from all the great teachers
who had spoken to the Greeks of God.  The Demiurge, the One and
Absolute, the World-Soul and the rest all contribute features.[65]

"We," he says, "have really no share in Being, but every mortal nature,
set between becoming and perishing, offers but a show and a seeming of
itself, dim and insecure"; and he quotes the famous saying of
Heraclitus that it is impossible to descend into the same river twice,
and develops the idea of change in the individual.  "No one remains,
nor is he one, but we become many as matter now gathers and now slips
away about one phantasm and a common form (or impress)....  Sense
through ignorance of Being is deceived into thinking that the
appearance is.  What then indeed is Being?  The eternal, free from
becoming, free from perishing, for which no time brings change....  It
is even impious to say 'Was' or 'Will be' of Being; for these are the
varyings and passings and changings of that which by nature cannot
abide in Being.  But God _is_, we must say, and that _not_ in time, but
in the æon that knows no motion, time or variation, where is neither
former {94} nor latter, future nor past, older nor younger; but God is
one, and with one Now he has filled Always, and is alone therein the
one that Is."[66]

The symbol E at Delphi affords him a text here.  It is one of "the kind
Apollo's" riddles to stimulate thought.  Plutarch read it as Epsilon
and translates it "Thou Art," and from this as from the very name of
Apollo he draws a lesson as to the nature of real Being.  The name
_A-poll-ô_ means of itself the "Not-Many," and the symbol E is the
soul's address to God--God is, and God is one.  Not every one
understands the nature of the divine; men confuse God with his
manifestations.  "Those who suppose Apollo and the sun to be one and
the same, we should welcome and love for their pious speech, because
they attach the idea (_epínoia_) of God to that thing which they honour
most of all they know and crave for," but we should point them higher,
"bid them go upward and see the truth of their dream, the real Being
(_tèn ousían_)."  They may still honour the image--the visible sun.
But that a god should do the work of the sun, that there should be
changes and progressions in a god, that he should project fire from
himself and extend himself into land, sea, winds and animals, and into
all the strange experiences of animals and plants (as the Stoics
taught)--it is not holy even to hear such things mentioned.  No, God is
not like Homer's child playing on the sand, making and unmaking; all
this belongs to another god, or rather dæmon, set over nature with its
becomings and perishings.[67]  To confuse gods and dæmons is to make
disorder of everything.

It is here that the real interest of Plutarch's theology begins; for,
as Christian apologists were quick to point out, all the philosophers
were in the last resort monotheists.  But the ultimate One God is by
common consent far from all direct contact with this or any other
universe of becoming and perishing.  For it was questioned how many
universes (_kósmoi_) there might be[68]--some conjecturing there would
be one hundred and eighty-three--and if there were more than one, the
Stoics asked what became of Fate and Destiny, and would there not be
many "Zeuses or Zênes"?  Why should there be? asked {95} Plutarch; why
not in each universe a guide and ruler with mind and reason, such as he
who in our universe is called lord and father of all?  What hinders
that they should all be subjects of the Fate and Destiny that Zeus
controls; that he should appoint to each several one of them his own
realm, and the seeds and reasons of everything achieved in it; that he
should survey them, and they be responsible to him?  That in the whole
scheme of things there should be ten universes, or fifty, or a hundred,
all governed by one Reason, all subordinate to one rule, is not
impossible.  The Ultimate God rules through deputies.[69]

[Sidenote: The deputies of the supreme]

These deputies are Plutarch's chief concern in theology.  The Stoics
and he were at one about the Supreme and Ultimate God, waiving the
matter of personality, which he asserted and which they left open.  But
when the Stoics turned the deputy gods into natural forces, which we
might call laws of nature, or, still worse, into natural objects like
wine and grain,[70] Plutarch grew angry and denounced such teaching as
atheism.  "We must not as it were turn them into queen-bees who can
never go out, nor keep them shut up in the prison of matter, or rather
packed up, as they (the Stoics) do, when they turn the gods into
conditions of the atmosphere and mingled forces of water {96} and fire,
and thus beget them with the universe and again burn them up with it;
they do not leave the gods at liberty and free to move, as if they were
charioteers or steersmen; no! like images they are nailed down, even
fused to their bases, when they are thus shut up into the material,
yes, and riveted to it, by being made partakers with it in destruction
and resolution and change."[71]  This is one of many assertions of the
existence of ancillary gods, who are not metaphors, nor natural laws,
but personal rulers of provinces, which may very well be each a
universe, free and independent.  "The true Zeus" has a far wider survey
than "the Homeric Zeus" who looked away from Troy to Thrace and the
Danube, nor does he contemplate a vacant infinite without, nor yet (as
some say) himself and nothing else.  To judge from the motions of the
heavens, the divine really enjoys variety, and is glad to survey
movement, the actions of gods and men, the periods of the stars.[72]

[Sidenote: Dæmons]

Thus under the Supreme is a hierarchy of heavenly powers or gods, and
again between them and men is another order of beings, the dæmons.[73]
These, unlike the gods, are of mixed nature, for while the gods are
emanations or Logoi of the Supreme, the dæmons have something of the
perishable.  "Plato and Pythagoras and Xenocrates and Chrysippus,
following the ancient theologians, say that dæmons are stronger than
men and far excel us in their natural endowment; but the divine element
in them is not unmixed nor undiluted, but partakes of the soul's nature
and the body's sense-perception, and is susceptive of pleasure and
pain, while the passions which attend these mutations affect them, some
of them more and others less.  For there are among dæmons, as among
men, differences of virtue and wickedness."[74]  "It can be proved on
the testimony of wise and ancient witnesses that there are natures, as
it were on the frontiers of gods and men, that admit mortal passions
and inevitable changes, whom we may rightly, after the custom of {97}
our fathers, consider to be dæmons, and so calling them, worship
them."[75]  If the atmosphere were abolished between the earth and the
moon (for beyond air and moon it was generally supposed that the gods
lived[76]), the void would destroy the unity of the universe; and in
precisely the same way "those who do not leave us the race of dæmons,
destroy all intercourse and contact between gods and men, by abolishing
what Plato called the interpretive and ancillary nature, or else they
compel us to make confusion and disorder of everything, by bringing God
in among mortal passions and mortal affairs, fetching him down for our
needs, as they say the witches in Thessaly do with the moon."[77]  And
"he, who involves God in human needs, does not spare his majesty, nor
does he maintain the dignity and greatness of God's excellence."[78]
The Stoic teaching that men are "parts of God" makes God responsible
for every human act of wickedness and sin--the common weakness of every
pantheistic system.[79]

Thus the dæmons serve two purposes in religious philosophy.  They
safeguard the Absolute and the higher gods from contact with matter,
and they relieve the Author of Good from responsibility for evil.  At
the same time they supply the means of that relation to the divine
which is essential for man's higher life--"passing on the prayers and
supplications of men thitherward, and thence bringing oracles and gifts
of blessing."[80] "They say well, who say that when Plato discovered
the element underlying qualities that are begotten--what nowadays they
call matter and nature--he set philosophers free from many great
difficulties; but to me they seem to solve more difficulties and
greater ones, who set the race of dæmons between gods and {98} men and
discovered that in some such way it made a community of us and brought
us together, whether the theory belongs to the Magians who follow
Zoroaster, or is Thracian and comes from Orpheus, or is Egyptian, or
Phrygian."[81]  Homer, he adds, still uses the terms "gods" and
"dæmons" alike; "it was Hesiod who first clearly and distinctly set
forth the four classes of beings endowed with reason, gods, dæmons,
heroes and finally men."

The dæmons, then, are the agents of Providence, of the One Reason,
which orders the universe; they are the ministers of the divine care
for man.  And here perhaps their mediation is helped by the fact that
the border lines between themselves and the gods above on the one hand,
and men below on the other, are not fixed and final.  Some dæmons, such
as Isis, Osiris, Herakles and Dionysos, have by their virtue risen to
be gods,[82] while their own numbers have been recruited from the souls
of good men.[83]  "Souls which are delivered from becoming (_geneseôs_)
and thenceforth have rest from the body, as being utterly set free, are
the dæmons that care for men, as Hesiod says";[84] and, just as old
athletes enjoy watching and encouraging young ones, "so the dæmons, who
through worth of soul are done with the conflicts of life," do not
despise what they have left behind, but are kindly minded to such as
strive for the same goal,--especially when they see them close upon
their hope, struggling and all but touching it.  As in the case of a
shipwreck those on shore will run out into the waves to lend a hand to
the sailors they can reach (though if they are out on the sea, to watch
in silence is all that can be done), so the dæmons help us "while the
affairs of life break over us (_baptixoménous hypò tôn pragmatôn_) and
we take one body after another as it were carriages."  Above all they
help us if we strive of our own virtue to be saved and reach the

But this is not all, for in his letter written to console Apollonios
Plutarch carries us further.  There was, he says, a {99} man who lost
his only son--he was afraid, by poison.  It perhaps adds confidence to
the story that Plutarch gives his name and home; he was Elysios of
Terina in Southern Italy.  The precision is characteristic.  Elysios
accordingly went to a _psychomanteion_, a shrine where the souls of the
dead might be consulted.[86]  He duly sacrificed and went to sleep in
the temple.  He saw in a dream his own father with a youth strikingly
like the dead son, and he was told that this was "the son's dæmon,"[87]
and that the death had been natural, and right for the lad and for his
parents.  Elsewhere Plutarch quotes the lines of Menander--

  By each man standeth, from his natal hour,
  A dæmon, his kind mystagogue through life--[88]

but he prefers the view of Empedocles that there are two such beings in
attendance on each of us.[89]  The classical instance of a guardian
spirit was the "daimonion" of Socrates, on which both Plutarch and
Apuleius wrote books.[90]  Plutarch discusses many theories that had
been given of it, but hardly convinces the reader that he really knew
what Socrates meant.

In a later generation it was held that if proper means were taken the
guardian spirit would come visibly before a man's eyes.  So Apuleius
held, and Porphyry records that when an Egyptian priest called on the
dæmon of Plotinus to manifest himself in the temple of Isis (the only
"pure" spot the Egyptian {100} could find in Rome), there came not a
dæmon but a god; so great a being was Plotinus.[91]  Plutarch discusses
the question of such bodily appearances in connexion with the legend of
Numa and Egeria.  He can believe that God would not disdain the society
of a specially good and holy man, but as for the idea that god or dæmon
would have anything to do with a human body--"that would indeed require
some persuasion."  "Yet the Egyptians plausibly say that it is not
impossible for the spirit of a god to have intercourse with a woman and
beget some beginnings of life," though Plutarch finds a difficulty in
such a union of unequals.[92]

Plutarch has comparatively little to say of visible appearances of
tutelary or other dæmons.  To what lengths of credulity men went in
this direction will be shown in a later chapter.  Yet a guardian who
does not communicate in some way with the person he guards, and a
series of dæmonic and divine powers content to be inert and silent,
would be futile; and in fact there was, Plutarch held, abundance of
communication between men and the powers above them.  It was indeed one
of the main factors of his religion that man's life is intimately
related to the divine.

Plutarch, of course, could know nothing of the language in use to-day,
but it is clear that he was familiar with some or all of the phænomena,
which in our times have received a vocabulary of their own, for the
moment very impressive.  Psychopathic, auto-suggestion, telepathy, the
subliminal self--the words may tell us something; whether what they
tell us is verifiable, remains to be seen.  Plutarch's account of the
facts, for the description of which this language has been invented,
seems even more fantastic to a modern reader, but it must be remembered
that he and his contemporaries were led to it at once by observation of
psychical phænomena, still to be observed, and by philosophic
speculation on the transcendence of God.  As a body of theories, the
ancient system holds together as well as most systems in the abstract.
It was not in theory that it broke down.  Plutarch as usual presents it
with reservations.


[Sidenote: The mantic art]

The dæmons are not slow to speak; it is we who are slow to hear.  "In
truth we men recognize one another's thoughts, as it were feeling after
them in the dark by means of the voice.  But the thoughts of the dæmons
are luminous and shine for those who can see; and they need no words or
names, such as men use among themselves as symbols to see images and
pictures of what is thought, while, as for the things actually thought,
those they only know who have some peculiar and dæmonic light.  The
words of the dæmons are borne through all things, but they sound only
for those who have the untroubled nature and the still soul--those, in
fact, whom we call holy and happy (_daimoníous_)."[93]  Most people
think the dæmon only comes to men when they are asleep, but this is due
to their want of harmony.  "The divine communicates immediately (_di
autoû_) with few and but rarely; to most men it gives signs, from which
rises the so-called Mantic art"[94]--prophecy or soothsaying.  All
souls have the "mantic" faculty--the capacity for receiving impressions
from dæmons--though not in an equal degree.  A dæmon after all is, from
one point of view, merely a disembodied soul, and it may meet a soul
incorporated in a body; and thus, soul meeting soul, there are produced
"impressions of the future,"[95] for a voice is not needed to convey

But if a disembodied soul can foresee the future, why should not a soul
in a body also be able?  In point of fact, the soul has this power, but
it is dulled by the body.  Memory is a parallel gift.  Some souls only
shake off the influence of the body in dreams, some at the approach of
death.[96] The mantic element is receptive of impressions and of
anticipations by means of feelings, and without reasoning process
(_asyllogistôs_) it touches the future when it can get clear of the
present.  The state, in which this occurs, is called "enthusiasm,"
god-possession--and into this the body will sometimes fall of itself,
and sometimes it is cast into it by some vapour or exhalation sent up
by the earth.  This vapour or whatever it is (_tò mantikòn theûma kaì
pneûma_) pervades the body, and produces {102} in the soul a
disposition, or combination (_krâsin_), unfamiliar and strange, hard to
describe, but from what is said it may be divined.  "Probably by heat
and diffusion it opens pores [or channels] whereby impressions of the
future may be received."[97]  Such a vapour was found to issue from the
ground at Delphi--the accidental discovery of a shepherd, Coretas by
name, who spoke "words with God in them" (_phônàs enthousiódeis_) under
its influence; and it was not till his words proved true that attention
was paid to the place and the vapour.  There is the same sort of
relation between the soul and the mantic vapour as between the eye and

But does not this vapour theory do away with the other theory that
divination is mediated to us by the gods through the dæmons?  Plutarch
cites Plato's objection to Anaxagoras who was "entangled in natural
causes" and lost sight of better causes and principles beyond them.
There are double causes for everything.  The ancients said that all
things come from Zeus; those who came later, natural philosophers
(_physidoì_), on the contrary "wandered away from the fair and divine
principle," and made everything depend on bodies, impacts, changes and
combinations (_krâsis_); and both miss something of the truth.  "We do
not make Mantic either godless or void of reason, when we give it the
soul of man as its material, and the enthusiastic spirit and exhalation
as its tool or plectron.  For, first, the earth that produces these
exhalations--and the sun, who gives the earth the power of combination
(_krâsis_) and change, is by the tradition of our fathers a god; and
then we leave dæmons installed as lords and warders and guards of this
combination (_krâseôs_), now loosening and now tightening (as if it
were a harmony), taking away excessive ecstasy and confusion, and
gently and painlessly blending the motive power for those who use it.
So we shall not seem guilty of anything unreasonable or impossible."[98]


Plutarch gives an interesting account of a potion, which will produce
the same sort of effect.  The Egyptians compound it in a very mystical
way of sixteen drugs, nearly all of which are fragrant, while the very
number sixteen as the square of a square has remarkable properties or
suggestions.  The mixture is called Kyphi, and when inhaled it calms
the mind and reduces anxiety, and "that part of us which receives
impressions (_phantastikòn_) and is susceptive of dreams, it rubs down
and cleans as if it were a mirror."[99]

The gods, he says, are our first and chiefest friends.[100]  Not every
one indeed so thinks--"for see what Jews and Syrians think of the
gods!"[101]  But Plutarch insists that there is no joy in life apart
from them.  Epicureans may try to deliver us from the wrath of the
gods, but they do away with their kindness at the same moment; and
Plutarch holds it better that there should even be some morbid element
(_pháthos_) of reverence and fear in our belief than that, in our
desire to avoid this, we should leave ourselves neither hope, nor
kindness, nor courage in prosperity, nor any recourse to the divine
when we are in trouble.[102]  Superstition is a rheum that gathers in
the eye of faith, which we do well to remove, but not at the cost of
knocking the eye out or blinding it.[103]  In any case, its
inconvenience is outweighed "ten thousand times" by the glad and joyous
hopefulness that counts all blessing as coming from the gods.  And he
cites in proof of this that joy in temple-service, to which reference
has already been made.  Those who abolish Providence need no further
punishment than to live without it.[104]


But the pleasures of faith are not only those of imagination or
emotion.  For while the gods give us all blessings, there is none
better for man to receive or more awful for God to bestow than truth.
Other things God gives to men, mind and thought he shares with them,
for these are his attributes, and "I think that of God's own eternal
life the happiness lies in his knowledge being equal to all that comes;
for without knowledge and thought, immortality would be time and not
life."[105]  The very name of Isis is etymologically connected with
knowing (_eidénai_); and the goal of her sacred rites is "knowledge of
the first and sovereign and intelligible, whom the goddess bids us seek
and find in her."[106]  Her philosophy is "hidden for the most part in
myths, and in true tales (_lógois_) that give dim visions and
revelations of truth."[107]  Her temple at Sais bears the inscription:
"I am all that has been and is and shall be, and my veil no mortal yet
has lifted."[108]  She is the goddess of "Ten Thousand Names."[109]

Plutarch connects with his belief in the gods "the great hypothesis" of
immortality.  "It is one argument that at one and the same time
establishes the providence of God and the continuance of the human
soul, and you cannot do away with the one and leave the other."[110]
If we had nothing divine in us, nothing like God, if we faded like the
leaves (as Homer said), God would hardly give us so much thought, nor
would he, like women with their gardens of Adonis, tend and culture
"souls of a day," growing in the flesh which will admit no "strong root
of life."  The dialogue, in which this is said, is supposed to have
taken place in Delphi, so Plutarch turns to Apollo.  "Do you think
that, if Apollo knew that the souls of the dying perished at once,
blowing away like mist or smoke from their bodies, he would ordain so
many propitiations for the dead, and ask such great gifts and honours
for the departed--that he would cheat and humbug believers?  For my
part, I will never let go the continuance of the soul, unless some
Herakles shall come and take away the Pythia's tripod and abolish and
destroy the oracle.  For as long as so many oracles of this kind are
given even in our day, it is not holy to condemn the soul to {105}
death."[111]  And Plutarch fortifies his conviction with stories of
oracles, and of men who had converse with dæmons, with apocalypses and
revelations, among which are two notable Descents into Hades,[112] and
a curious account of dæmons in the British Isles.[113]

The theory of dæmons lent itself to the explanation of the origin of
evil, but speculation in this direction seems not to have appealed to
Plutarch.  He uses bad dæmons to explain the less pleasant phases of
paganism, as we shall see, but the question of evil he scarcely
touches.  In his book on Isis and Osiris he discusses Typhon as the
evil element in nature, and refers with interest to the views of "the
Magian Zoroaster who, they say, lived about five hundred years before
the Trojan War." Zoroaster held that there were two divine beings, the
better being a god, Horomazes (Ormuzd), the other a dæmon Areimanios
(Ahriman), the one most like to light of all sensible things, the other
to darkness and ignorance, "and between them is Mithras, for which
reason the Persians call Mithras the Mediator."  But the hour of
Mithras was not yet come, and in all his writings Plutarch hardly
alludes to him more than half a dozen times.[114] It should be noted
that, whatever his interest in Eastern dualism with its Western
parallels, Plutarch does not abandon his belief in the One Ultimate
Good God.

This then in bare outline is a scheme of Plutarch's religion, though,
as already noted, the scheme is not of his own making, but is put
together from incidental utterances, all liable to qualification.  It
is not the religion of a philosopher; and the qualifications, which
look like concessions to philosophic hesitation, mean less than they
suggest.  They are entrenchments thrown up against philosophy.  He is
an educated Greek who has read the philosophers, but he is at heart an
apologist--a defender of myth, ritual, mystery and polytheism.  He has
{106} compromised where Plato challenged.  His front (to carry out the
military metaphor) extends over a very long line--a line in places very
weakly supported, and the dæmons form its centre.  It is the dæmons who
link men to the gods, and through them to the Supreme, making the
universe a unity; who keep the gods immune from contact with matter and
from the suggestion of evil; and what is more, they enable Plutarch to
defend the myths of Greek and Egyptian tradition from the attack of
philosopher and unbeliever.  And this defence of myth was probably more
to him than the unity of the universe.  Every kind of myth was finding
a home in the eventual Greek religion, many of them obscene, bestial
and cruel--revolting to the purity and the tenderness developing more
and more in the better minds of Greece.  They could not well be
detached from the religion, so they had to be defended.

There are, for example, many elements in the myth of Isis and Osiris
that are disgusting.  Plutarch recommends us first of all, by means of
the preconceptions supplied by Greek philosophy upon the nature of God,
to rule out what is objectionable as unworthy of God, but not to do
this too harshly.  Myth after all is a sort of rainbow to the sun of
reason,[115] and should be received "in a holy and philosophic
spirit."[116]  We must not suppose that this or the other story
"happened so and was actually done."  Many things told of Isis and
Osiris, if they were supposed to have truly befallen "the blessed and
incorruptible nature" of the gods, would be "lawless and barbarous
fancy" which, as Æschylus says--

  You must spit out and purify your mouth.[117]

But, all the same, myth must be handled tenderly and not in too
rationalistic a spirit--for that might be opening the doors to "the
atheist people."  Euhemerus, by recklessly turning all the gods into
generals and admirals and kings of ancient days, has covered the whole
world with atheism,[118] and the Stoics, as we have seen, are not much
better, who turn the gods into their own gifts.  No, we may handle myth
far too freely--"ah! yet {107} consider it again!"  There are so many
possibilities of acceptance.  And "in the rites of Isis there is
nothing unreasonable, nothing fictitious, nor anything introduced by
superstition, but some things have an ethical value, others a
historical or physical suggestion."[119]

[Sidenote: Evil dæmons]

In the second place, if nothing can be done for the myth or the
rite--if it is really an extreme case--Plutarch falls back upon the
dæmons.  There are differences among them as there are among men, and
the elements of passion and unreason are strong in some of them; and
traces of these are to be found in rites and initiations and myths here
and there.  Rituals in which there is the eating of raw flesh, or the
rending asunder of animals, fasting or beating of the breast, or again
the narration of obscene legends, are to be attributed to no god but to
evil dæmons.  How many such rituals survived, Plutarch does not say and
perhaps he did not know; but the Christian apologists were less
reticent, and Clement of Alexandria and Firmicus Maternus and the rest
have abundant evidence about them.  Some of these rites, Plutarch says,
must have been practised to avert the attention of the dæmons.  "The
human sacrifices that used to be performed," could not have been
welcome to the gods, nor would kings and generals have been willing to
sacrifice their own children unless they had been appeasing the anger
of ugly, ill-tempered, and vengeful spirits, who would bring pestilence
and war upon a people till they obtained what they sought.  "Moreover
as for all they say and sing in myth and hymn, of rapes and wanderings
of the gods, of their hiding, of their exile and of their servitude,
these are not the experiences of gods but of dæmons."  It is not right
to say that Apollo fought a dragon for the Delphic shrine.[120]

But some such tales were to be found in the finest literature of the
Greeks, and they were there told of the gods.[121]  In reply to this,
one of Plutarch's characters quotes the narrative of a hermit by the
Red Sea.[122]  This holy man conversed with men once a year, and the
rest of the time he consorted with {108} wandering nymphs and
dæmons--"the most beautiful man I ever saw, and quite free from all
disease."  He lived on a bitter fruit which he ate once a month.  This
sage declared that the legends told of Dionysus and the rites performed
in his honour at Delphi really pertained to a dæmon.  "If we call some
dæmons by the names that belong to gods,--no wonder," said this
stranger, "for a dæmon is constantly called after the god, to whom he
is assigned, and from whom he has his honour and his power"--just as
men are called Athenæus or Dionysius--and many of them have no sort of
title to the gods' names they bear.[123]

[Sidenote: Superstition]

With Philosophy so ready to be our mystagogue and to lead us into the
true knowledge of divine goodness, and with so helpful a theory to
explain away all that is offensive in traditional religion, faith ought
to be as easy as it is happy and wholesome.  But there is another
danger beside Atheism--its exact opposite, superstition; and
here--apart from philosophical questions--lay the practical difficulty
of Plutarch's religion.  He accepted almost every cult and mythology
which the ancient world had handed down; Polytheism knows no false
gods.  But to guide one's course aright, between the true myth and the
depraved, to distinguish between the true and good god and the
pseudonymous dæmon, was no easy task.  The strange mass of Egyptian
misunderstandings was a testimony to this--some in their ignorance
thought the gods underwent the actual experience of the grain they gave
men to sow, just as untaught Greeks identified the gods with their
images; and some Egyptians worshipped the animals sacred to the gods;
and so religion was brought into contempt, while "the weak and
harmless" fell into unbounded superstition, and the shrewder and bolder
into "beastly and atheistic reflections."[124]  And yet on second
thoughts Plutarch has a kindly apology for animal-worship.[125]

Plutarch himself wrote a tract on superstition in which some have found
a note of rhetoric or special pleading, for he decidedly gives the
atheist the superiority over the superstitious, {109} a view which
Amyot, his great translator, called dangerous, for "it is certain that
Superstition comes nearer the mean of true Religion than does
Atheism."[126]  Perhaps it did in the sixteenth century, but in
Plutarch's day superstition was the real enemy to be crushed.  Nearly
every superstitious practice he cites appears in other writers.

Superstition, the worst of all terrors, like all other terrors kills
action.  It makes no truce with sleep, the refuge from other fears and
pains.  It invents all kinds of strange practices, immersions in mud,
baptisms,[127] prostrations, shameful postures, outlandish worships.
He who fears "the gods of his fathers and his race, saviours, friends
and givers of good"--whom will he not fear?  Superstition adds to the
dread of death "the thought of eternal woes."  The atheist lays his
misfortunes down to accident and looks for remedies.  The superstitious
makes all into judgments, "the strokes of God," and will have no
remedies lest he should seem "to fight against God" (_theomacheîn_).
"Leave me, Sir, to my punishment!" he cries, "me the impious, the
accursed, hated of Gods and dæmons"--so he sits in rags and rolls in
the mud, confessing his sins and iniquities, how he ate or drank or
walked when the dæmonion forbade.  "Wretched man!" he says to himself,
"Providence ordains thy suffering; it is God's decree."  The atheist
thinks there are no gods; the superstitious wishes there were none.  It
is they who have invented the sacrifices of children that prevailed at
Carthage[128] and other things of the kind.  If Typhons and Giants were
to drive out the gods and become our rulers, what worse could they ask?

A hint from the _Conjugal Precepts_ may be added here, as it suggests a
difficulty in practice.  "The wife ought not to have men friends of her
own but to share her husband's; and the gods are our first and best
friends.  So those gods whom the the husband acknowledges, the wife
ought to worship and own, and those alone, and keep the great door shut
on superfluous devotions and foreign superstitions.  No god really
enjoys the {110} stolen rites of a woman in secret."[129]  This is a
counsel of peace, but if "ugly, ill-tempered and vengeful spirits" seem
to the mother to threaten her children, who will decide what are
superfluous devotions?

The religion of Plutarch is a different thing from his morality.  For
his ethics rest on an experience much more easy to analyse, and like
every elderly and genial person he has much that he can say of the
kindly duties of life.  Every reader will own the beauty and the high
tone of much of his teaching, though some will feel that its centre is
the individual, and that it is pleasant rather than compulsive and
inevitable.  After all nearly every religion has, somewhere or other,
what are called "good ethics," but the vital question is, "What else?"
In the last resort is ecstasy, independently of morality, the main
thing?  Are words and acts holy as religious symbols which in a society
are obviously vicious?  What propellent power lies behind the morals?
And where are truth and experience?

[Sidenote: Apology or truth?]

What then is to be said of Plutarch's religion?  Here his experience
was not so readily intelligible, and every inherited and acquired
instinct within him conspired to make him cling to tradition and
authority as opposed to independent judgment.  His philosophy was not
Plato's, in spite of much that he borrowed from Plato, for its motive
was not the love of truth.  The stress he lays upon the pleasure of
believing shows that his ultimate canon is emotion.  He does not really
wish to find truth on its own account, though he honestly would like
its support.  He wishes to believe, and believe he will--_sit pro
ratione voluntas_.  "There is something of the woman in Plutarch," says
Mr Lecky.  Like men of this temperament in every age, he surrenders to
emotion, and emotion declines into sentimentalism.  He cannot firmly
say that anything, with which religious feeling has ever been
associated, has ceased to be useful and has become false.  He may talk
bravely of shutting the great door against Superstition, but
Superstition has many entrances--indeed, was indoors already.

We have only to look at his treatise on Isis and Osiris to see the
effects of compromise in religion.  He will never take a firm stand;
there are always possibilities, explanations, parallels, suggestions,
symbolisms, by which he can escape from facing {111} definitely the
demand for a decisive reformation of religion.  As a result, in spite
of the radiant mist of amiability, which he diffuses over these
Egyptian gods, till the old myths seem capable of every conceivable
interpretation, and everything a symbol of everything else, and all is
beautiful and holy--the foolish and indecent old stories remain a
definite and integral part of the religion, the animals are still
objects of worship and the image of Osiris stands in its original naked
obscenity.[130] And the Egyptian is not the only religion, for, as
Tertullian points out, the old rites are still practised every where!"
with unabated horrors, symbol or no symbol.[131]  Plutarch emphasizes
the goodness and friendliness of the gods, but he leaves the evil
dæmons in all their activity.  Strange and awful sacrifices of the past
he deprecates, but he shows no reason why they should not continue.
God, he says, is hardly to be conceived by man's mind as in a dream;
and he thanks heaven for its peculiar grace that the oracles are
reviving in his day; he believes in necromancy, theolepsy and nearly
every other grotesque means of intercourse with gods and dæmons.  He
calls himself a Platonist; he is proud of the great literature of
Greece; but nearly all that we associate in religious thought with such
names as Xenophanes, Euripides and Plato, he gently waves aside on the
authority of Apollo.  It raises the dignity of Seneca when we set
beside him this delightful man of letters, so full of charm, so warm
with the love of all that is beautiful, so closely knit to the tender
emotions of ancestral piety--and so unspeakably inferior in essential

The ancient world rejected Seneca, as we have seen, and chose Plutarch.
If Plutarch was not the founder of Neo-Platonism, he was one of its
precursors and he showed the path.  Down that path ancient religion
swung with deepening emotion into that strange medley of thought and
mystery, piety, magic and absurdity, which is called the New Platonism
and has nothing to do with Plato.  Here and there some fine spirit
emerged into clearer air, and in some moment of ecstasy {112} achieved
"by a leap" some fleeting glimpse of Absolute Being, if there is such a
thing.  But the mass of men remained below in a denser atmosphere,
prisoners of ignorance and of fancy--in an atmosphere not merely dark
but tainted, full of spiritual and intellectual death.

Chapter III Footnotes:

[1] _Amatorius_, 13, 756 A, D; 757 B.  The quotation is from Euripides,
_Bacchæ_, 203.

[2] _Non suaviter_, 21, 1101 E-1102 A.

[3] _de Iside_, 68, 378 A.

[4] _de def. orac._ 8, 414 A.

[5] Mahaffy, _Silver Age of Greek World_, p. 45.

[6] Horace is the best known of Athenian students.  The delightful
letters of Synesius show the hold Athens still retained upon a very
changed world in 400 A.D.

[7] Life of Antony, 68.

[8] _Symp._ i, 5, 1.

[9] _Symp._ iv, 4, 4.

[10] _v. Ant._  28.

[11] _Symp._ iii, 7, 1.

[12] _Symp._ ii, 8, 1.

[13] _Symp._ viii, 6, 5, _hubristès òn kaì philogelôs physei_.  _Symp._
ix, 15, 1.

[14] _de fraterno amore_, 16, 487 E.  Volkmann, _Plutarch_, i, 24,
suggests he was the Timon whose wife Pliny defended on one occasion,
_Epp._ i, 5, 5.

[15] _de frat. am._ 7, 481 D.

[16] _de E._ 1, 385 B.

[17] _v. Them._ 32, end.

[18] Zeller, _Eclectics_, 334.

[19] _de E._ 17, 391 E.  Imagine the joys of a Euclid, says Plutarch,
in _non suaviter_, 11, 1093 E.

[20] _Symp._ ix, 15.

[21] _Symp._ viii, 3, I.

[22] _Pericles_ 13.

[23] Dio Chr. _Rhodiaca, Or._ 31, 117.

[24] Cf. the _Nigrinus_.

[25] Gellius, N.A. ii, 21, 1, _vos opici_, says Gellius to his

[26] _Symp._ v, 5, 1.

[27] _Polit. præc._ 20, 816 D.

[28] _de curiositate_, 15.

[29] _Demosthenes_, 2.

[30] See Volkmann, i, 35, 36; _Rom. Qu._ 103; _Lucullus_, 37, end.

[31] _Demosthenes_, 2.

[32] _de sera_, 15, 559 A.

[33] _de Stoic. rep._ 2, 1033 B, C.

[34] _Pol. Præc._  15, 811 C.

[35] _Symp._ ii, 10, 1; vi, 8, 1.

[36] Reference to Polemo's hand-book to them, _Symp._ v, 2, 675 B.

[37] _de E._ 384 F.

[38] _Demosthenes_, 2; and 1.

[39] _Timoleon_, pref.

[40] _Alexander_, 1.

[41] _de tranqu. animi_, i, 464 F, _ouk akroáseôs héneka therôménês
kalligraphían_--a profession often made, but in Plutarch's case true
enough as a rule.

[42] See, _e.g._, variety of possible explanations of the E at Delphi,
in tract upon it.

[43] Stapfer, _Shakespeare and Classical Antiquity_ (tr.), p. 299.  "It
may be safely said he followed Plutarch far more closely than he did
even the old English chroniclers."

[44] _Cons. ad Ux._ 2-3, 608 C, D.

[45] _Cons. ad Ux._ 11, 612 A, B.  Cf. _non suaviter_, 26, 1104 C, on
the loss of a child or a parent.

[46] _de coh. ira._ 11, 459 C; cf. _Progress in Virtue_, 80 B, 81 C, on
_epieíkeia_ and _praotês_ as signs of moral progress.

[47] Cf. Sen. _Ep._ 47; Clem. Alex. _Pæd._ iii, 92.

[48] A curious parallel to this in Tert. _de Patientia_, 15, where
Tertullian draws the portrait of Patience--perhaps from life, as Dean
Robinson suggests--after Perpetua the martyr.

[49] Gellius, _N.A._ i, 26.

[50] _Solon_, 32.

[51] Artemidorus, _Oneirocritica_, iv, 72.  On this author see chapter

[52] See _non suaviter_, 17, 1098 D, on the unspeakably rich joy of
such a life of friendly relations with gods and men.

[53] _Progress in Virtue_, 4, 77 C, Love of Philosophy compared to a
lover's passion, to "hunger and thirst."

[54] Plato, _Apology_, 38 A, _ho dè anexétastos bíos ou biôtos

[55] _Pensées_, Art. xxiv, 5.

[56] _Adv. Coloten_ (foe Epicurean), 31, 1125 D, E.  For this argument
from consensus, see Seneca, _Ep._ 117, 6, _Multum dare solemus
præsumptioni omnium hominum et apud nos veritatis argumentum est
aliquid omnibus videri: tanquam deos esse inter alia hoc colligimus,
quod omnibus insita de dis opinio est, nee ulla gens usquam est adeo
extra leges moresque projecta ut non aliquos deos credat_.  This
consensus rests (with the Stoics) on the common preconceptions of the
mind, which are natural.  For ridicule of the doctrine of consensus,
see Lucian, Zeus Tragædus, 42.

[57] _Amatorius_, 18, 763 C.  Cf. view of Celsus _ap._ Orig. _c. Cels._
vii, 41.

[58] _Consol. ad Apoll._ 34, 120 B.

[59] _Quomodo Poetas_, 1, 15 E, F, poetry a preliminary study to
philosophy, _prophilosophêtéon toîs poiémasin_.

[60] _de Pyth. orac._ 29, 408 F.  Cf. the pagan's speech in Minucius
Felix, 7, 6, _pleni et mixti deo vates futura præcerpunt ... etiam per
guietem deos videmus_....

[61] So Volkmann, _Plutarch_, ii, 290 n.  Cf. a passage of Celsus,
Orig. _c. Cels._ viii, 45.

[62] _de def. or._ 14, 417 C, _empháseis_ and _diapháseis_.

[63] Tertullian sums up the pagan line of argument and adds a telling
criticism in his book _adversus Nationes_, ii, 1: _adversus hæc igitur
nobis negotium est, adversus institutiones maiorum, auctoritates
receptorum, leges dominantium, argumentationes prudentium, adversus
vetustatem consuetudinem necessitatem, adversus exempla prodigia
miracula, quæ omnia adulterinam istam divinitatem corroboraverint....
Maior in huiusmodi penes vos auctoritas litterarum quam rerum est_.

[64] _de Iside_, 67, 377 F-378 A

[65] Oakesmith, _Religion of Plutarch_, p. 88--a book which I have
found of great use.

[66] _de E._ 18-20.  Cf. Clem. Alex. _Protr._  84.  The true To-day of
God is eternity.  Also Tert. _ad Natt._ ii, 6, on the axiom of no
change in God.

[67] _de E._ 21.

[68] Cf. Plato, _Timæus_, 55 D.

[69] Plutarch, _de. def. orac._ 29, 425 F-426 A.  Celsus has the same
view; (Origen, _c. Cels._ v, 25; vii, 68): the world's regions are
severally allotted to _epoptai_ under Providence; so that local usages
may well be maintained in such form as pleases them; to alter these
would be impious, while to worship the dæmons is to honour God, who is
not jealous of them.  Cf. Plutarch, _de fortuna Romanorum_, 11, 324 B,
_ho Rômaiôn mégas daímôn ... tê pólei synebésas kaì synauxetheis,
kthe_--the tract is a poor and rhetorical one, and the phrase may be
merely a synonym for "luck."  See also Celsus (Orig. _c. Cels._ viii,
58) on the Egyptian attribution of the human body to thirty-six "dæmons
or gods of æther," so that by prayer to the right one disease in any
part of the body may be cured; Celsus gives some of their names.  The
Christians assumed a somewhat similar scheme with a rather different
development.  Athenagoras, an apologist of the second century, gives
the following account in his _Presbeia_, 24-27.  A system of angels
under Providence existed, some good and some bad, enjoying free-will as
men also do; "the ruler of matter and of the forms in it" lusted after
virgins and succumbed to flesh, and neglected the administration
entrusted to him; others fell with him; they cannot regain heaven but
meantime occupy the air; their children by mortal women were giants and
the souls of these are the dæmons; the ruler of matter directs all
things against God; with matter are connected the soul's worse
impulses.  See also Clem. Alex. _Strom._ vi, 157, on angelic governance
of individual nations and cities; and Lactantius, _Instit._ ii, 8, 14,
whose account fairly resembles that of Athenagoras.  Tertullian,
however, suggests (_Apol._ 11) that the Creator had no need of
ancillary gods to complete his work.

[70] For a summary of Stoic teaching here, see Cicero, _N.D._ ii, 60-70.

[71] _de def. orac._ 29, 426 B.  Cf. _de Iside_, 66, 377 D, E.  "You
might as well give the name of steersman to sails, ropes or anchor."

[72] _de def. orac._ 30, 246 D, E.

[73] This triple government of the Universe is worked out in _de fato_
(a tract whose authorship is questioned), but from one passage and
another of Plutarch's undoubted works it can be established, though
every statement has a little fringe of uncertainties.

[74] _de Iside_, 25, 360 E.

[75] _de def. orac._ 12, 416 C.

[76] Cf. Athenagoras, _Presb._ 24 (quoted in note 1 on p. 95); and
Apuleius, _de deo Socr._ 6, 132, cited on p. 232.

[77] _de def. orac._ 13, 416 F.

[78] _de def. orac._ 9, 414 F.

[79] See _de comm. not. adv. Stoicos_, 33, and _de Stoicorum repugn._
33, 34--three very interesting chapters.  Clement of Alexandria has the
same tone in criticizing this idea--_ouk oid hópôs anexethí tis epaiôn
toútou theòn egnôkòs apidôn eis tòn bìon tòn hymeteron en hósois
phyrómetha kakoîs.  eín gar àn oútôs, hò med eipeîn thémis, merikôs
hamartanôn ho those, kthe_.  _Strom._ ii, 74.

[80] _de Iside_, 26, 361 C.  Cf. Plato, _Sympos._  202 E, 203 A
(referred to above), for the functions of _tò daimónion_, which is
_métaxu theoû te kaì thnetou ... hermeneûon kaì diamorthmeûon theoîs tà
par anthrôpon kaì anthrópois tà parà theôn kthè ... theòs de anthrópô
ou mignutai ... oû toi dè daímones polloì kaì pantodapoí eisin, eîs dè
toutôn estì kaì ho Éros_.

[81] _de def. orac._ 10, 414 F-415 A.

[82] _de Iside_, 27, 361 E; _de def. orac._ 10, 415 C; cf. Tert. _ad
Natt._ ii, 2.

[83] _Romulus_, 28; _de def. orac._ 10, 415 B.

[84] Hesiod, _Works and Days_, 121.  "But," asks Tatian (c. 16), "why
should they get _drastikôteras dynameôs_ after death?"  See the reply
given by Plutarch, _de def. orac._ 39, 431 E.  Compare also views of
Apuleius (_de deo Socr._ 15) cited on p. 233.

[85] _de genio Socratis_, 24, 593 D-F.  He is thinking of the series of

[86] On such places and on necromancy in general see Tertullian, _de
anima_, 57, who puts it down to illusion of the evil one--_nec magnum
illi exteriores oculos circumscribere cui interiorem mentis aciem
excæcare perfacile est_.

[87] Cf. p. 15 on the _genius_ and the _fravashi_.

[88] _de tranqu. animi_, 15, 474 B.

[89] Cf. the story of the appearance to Brutus of his evil genius--_ho
sós_, _ô broute_, _daímôn kakós_, Brutus, 36.  Basilides the Gnostic
(the father of Isidore) is credited with describing Man as a sort of
Wooden Horse with a whole army of different spirits in him (Clem. Alex.
_Strom_, ii, 113).  Plutarch makes a similar jibe at the Stoic account
of arts, virtues, vices, etc., as corporeal or even animate and
rational beings--making a man "a Paradise, or a cattle-pen, or a Wooden
Horse," _de commun. notit. adv. Stoicos_, 45, 1084 B.  There was a
tendency in contemporary psychology to attribute all feelings, etc., to
dæmonic influence; cf. Clem. Alex. _Strom._ ii, 110, who suggests that
all _páthe_ are imprints (as of a seal) made on the soul by the
spiritual powers against which we have to wrestle.  Cf. Tert. _de
Anima_, 41, the evil of soul in part due to evil spirit.

[90] Clement says (_Strom._ vi, 53) that Isidore the Gnostic "in the
first book of the expositions of Parchor the Prophet" dealt with the
dæmon of Socrates and quoted Aristotle's authority for such tutelary
spirits.  For the book of Apuleius, see ch. vii.

[91] Porphyry, _v. Plotini_, 10.  Cf. Origen, _c. Cels._ vii, 35, for
Celsus' views on the visibility of dæmons, _e.g._ in the cave of

[92] _Life of Numa_, 4--a most interesting chapter, when it is
remembered what other works were being written contemporaneously.

[93] _de genio Socr._ 20, 588 D, 589 D.

[94] _de gen. Socr._ 24, 593 D.

[95] _de def. orac._ 38, 431 C, _phantasías toû mellontos_.

[96] Cf. Clem. Alex. _Strom._ vi, 46, on preaching of Christ in Hades,
where souls, rid of the flesh, see more clearly.

[97] _de dif. orac._ 40, 432 C-E, _thermóteti gàr kaì diachysei pórous
tinàs anoígein phantastikoùs toû méllontos eikós estin_.

For these _póroi_ cf. Clem. Alex. _Strom_, vii, 36, with J. B. Mayor's

[98] _de def. orac._ 46-48, 435 A-437 A (referring to Phædo, 97 D).
The curious mixture of metaphors, the double suggestion of _krâsis_,
the parallel from music, and the ambiguity of _tò enthousiastikòn_
(characteristic of the confusion of spiritual and material then
prevalent) make a curious sentence in English.  On the relation of
dæmons to oracles, see also _de facie in orbe lunæ_, 30, 944 D; also
Tertullian, _de Anima_, 46, who gives a lucid account of dæmons as the
explanation of oracles, and _Apol._ 22--dæmons inhabiting the
atmosphere have early knowledge of the weather, and by their incredible
speed can pass miraculously quickly from one end of the earth to the
other, and so bring information--strange, he adds (c. 25), that Cybele
took a week to inform her priest of the death of Marcus Aurelius--_o
somniculosa diplomata_! ("sleepy post").

[99] _de Iside_, 80, 383 E.  Clem. Alex. _Strom._ i, 135, says Greek
prophets of old were "stirred up by dæmons, or disordered by waters,
fragrances or some quality of the air," but the Hebrews spoke "by the
power and mind of God."

[100] _Præc. Conj._ 19.  Cf. Plato, _Laws_, 906 A, _symmachoi dè hemîn
theoí te áma kaì daímones, hemeîs d' aû ktêma theôn kaì daimónôn_.

[101] _de repugn. Stoic._ 38, 1051 E.

[102] _non suaviter_, 20, 1101 B.

[103] _non suaviter_ 21, 1101 C.  Clem. Alex. _Pæd._ ii, 1, says it is
"peculiar to man to cleanse the eye of the soul."

[104] _non suaviter_, 22, 1102 F.

[105] _de Iside_, 1, 351 D.

[106] _de Iside_, 2, 352 A.

[107] _de Iside_, 9, 354 C, _empháseis kaì diapháseis_.

[108] _de Iside_, 9, 354 C.

[109] _de Iside_, 53, 372 E, _Myriónumos_.

[110] _de ser. num. vind._ 18, 560 F.

[111] _de ser. num. vind._ 17, 560 B-D.  Justin, _Apology_, 1, 18,
appeals to the belief in the continuance of the soul, which pagans
derive from necromancy, dreams, oracles and persons "dæmoniolept."

[112] In _de sera numinum vindicta_ and _de genio Socratis_.  Cf. also
the account of the souls of the dead given in _de facie in orbe lunæ_,
c. 28 ff.

[113] _de def. orac._ 18, 419 E.  Another curious tale of these remote
islands is in Clem. Alex. _Strom._ vi, 33.

[114] Cumont, _Mysteries of Mithra_ (tr.), p. 35.  Mithraism began to
spread under the Flavians, but (p. 33) "remained for ever excluded from
the Hellenic world."

[115] _de Iside_, 20, 358 F.

[116] _de Iside_, 11, 355 C.

[117] _de Iside_, 20, 358 E.  Cf. the language of Clement in dealing
with expressions in the Bible that seem to imply an anthropomorphic
conception of God.  See p. 291.

[118] _de Iside_, 23, 360 A.

[119] _de Iside_, 8, 353 E.

[120] _de def. orac._ 14, 15, 417 B-F.  Cf. Clem. Alex. _Protr._ 42,
_apanthropoi kai misánthrôpoi daímones_ enjoying _anthrôpoktonías_.

[121] So Tertullian urges, _ad Natt._ ii, 7.

[122] This man, or somebody very like him, appears as a Christian
hermit in Sulpicius Severus, _Dial._ i, 17; only there he is reported
to consort with angels.

[123] _de def. orac._ 21, 421 A-E.  Cf. Tert. _de Spect._ 10.  The
names of the dead and their images are nothing, but we know _qui sub
istis nominibus institute simulacris operentur et gaudeant et
divinitatem mentiantur, nequam spiritus scilicet, dæmones_.  He holds
the gods to have been men, long deceased, but agrees in believing in
dæmonic operations in shrines, etc.

[124] _de Iside_, 70, 71, 379 B-E.

[125] _de Iside_, 76, 382 A.

[126] See discussion in Oakesmith, _Religion of Plutarch_, p. 185.
Gréard, _de la Morale de Plutarque_, p. 269, ranks it with the best
works that have come down to us from Antiquity.

[127] Tertullian on pagan baptisms--Isis and Mithras, _de Baptismo_, 5;
_de Præscr. Hær._ 40.

[128] Cf. Tert. _Apol._ 9, on these sacrifices, in Africa, and
elsewhere, and see p. 26.

[129] _Conjug. Præc._ 19.

[130] Cf. _de Iside_, 55, 373 C; 18, 358 B; the image of Osiris, 36,
365 B.  Origen (_c. Cels._ v, 39) remarks that Celsus is quite pleased
with those who worship crocodiles "in the ancestral way."

[131] If the legend is mere fable, he asks, _cur rapitur sacerdos
Cereris, si non tale Ceres passet est? cur Saturno alieni liberi
immolantur ... cur Idæae masculus amputatur_?  _ad Natt._ ii, 8.




When we hear any other speaker, even a very good one, he produces
absolutely no effect upon us, or not much, whereas the mere fragments
of you and your words, even at second-hand, and however imperfectly
repeated, amaze and possess the souls of every man, woman and child who
comes within hearing of them.--Plato, _Symposium_, 215 D (Jowett).

_Dominus noster Christus veritatem se non consuetudinem
cognominavit_.--Tertullian, _de virg. vel._ 1.

Towards the end of the first century of our era, there began to appear
a number of little books, written in the ordinary Greek of every-day
life, the language which the common people used in conversation and
correspondence.  It was not the literary dialect, which men of letters
affected--a mannered and elaborate style modelled on the literature of
ancient Greece and no longer a living speech.  The books were not
intended for a lettered public, but for plain people who wanted a plain
story, which they knew already, set down in a handy and readable form.
The writers did their work very faithfully--some of them showing a
surprising loyalty to the story which they had received.  Like other
writers they were limited by considerations of space and so forth, and
this involved a certain freedom of choice in selecting, omitting,
abridging and piecing together the material they gathered.  Four only
of the books survive intact; of others there are scanty fragments; and
scholars have divined at least one independent work embodied in two
that remain.  So far as books can, three of them represent very fairly
the ideas of an earlier generation, as it was intended they should, and
tell their common story, with the variations natural to individual
writers, but with a general harmony that is the pledge of its truth.

[Sidenote: The Gospels]

At an early date, these books began to be called Gospels[1] and by the
time they had circulated for a generation they were {114} very widely
known and read among the community for which they were written.  Apart
from a strong instinct which would allow no conscious change to be made
in the lineaments of the central figure of the story, there was nothing
to safeguard the little books from the fate of all popular works of
their day.  Celsus, at the end of the second century, maintained that a
good deal of the story was originally invention; and he added that the
"believers" had made as free as drunk men with it and had written the
gospel over again--three times, four times, many times--and had altered
it to meet the needs of controversy.[2]  Origen replied that Marcion's
followers and two other schools had done so, but he knew of no others.
It may to-day be taken as established that the four gospels, as we know
them, stand substantially as near the autograph of their authors as
most ancient books which were at all widely read, though here and there
it is probable, or even certain, that changes on a slight scale have
been made in the wording to accommodate the text to the development of
Christian ideas.[3]  This is at first sight a serious qualification,
but it is not so important as it seems.  By comparison of the first
three gospels with one another, with the aid of the history of their
transmission in the original Greek and in many versions and quotations,
it is not very difficult to see where the hand of a later day has
touched the page and to break through to something in all probability
very near the original story.

This is the greatest problem of literary and historical criticism
to-day.  All sorts of objections have been raised against the
credibility of the gospels from the time of Celsus--they were raised
even earlier; for Celsus quotes them from previous
controversialists--and they are raised still.  We are sometimes told
that we cannot be absolutely certain of the authenticity of any single
saying of Jesus, or perhaps of any recorded episode in his life.  A
hypertrophied conscience might admit this to be true in the case of any
word or deed of Jesus that might be quoted, and yet maintain that we
have not lost much.  For, it is a commonplace of historians that an
anecdote, even if false in itself, may contain historical truth; it
{115} may be evidence, that is, to the character of the person of whom
it is told; for a false anecdote depends, even more than a true story,
upon keeping the colour of its subject.  It may be added that, as a
rule, false anecdotes are apt to be more highly coloured than true
stories, just as a piece of colour printing is generally a good deal
brighter than nature.  The reader, who, by familiarity with books, and
with the ways of their writers, has developed any degree of literary
instinct, will not be inclined to pronounce the colours in the first
three gospels at least to be anything but natural and true.  However,
even if one were to concede that all the recorded sayings and doings of
Jesus are fabrications (a wildly absurd hypothesis), there remains a
common element in them, a unity of tone and character, which points to
a well-known and clearly marked personality behind them, whose actual
existence is further implied by the Christian movement.  In other
words, whether true or false in detail, the statements of the gospels,
if we know how to use them aright, establish for us the historicity of
Jesus, and leave no sort of doubt as to his personality and the
impression he made upon those who came into contact with him.

We may not perhaps be able to reconstruct the life of Jesus as we
should wish--it will not be a biography, and it will have no dates and
hardly any procession of events.  We shall be able to date his birth
and death, roughly in the reigns of Augustus and Tiberius, more exactly
fixing in each case a period of five years or so within which it must
have happened.  Of epochs and crises in his life we can say little, for
we do not know enough of John the Baptist and his work to be able to
make clear his relations with Jesus, nor can we speak with much
certainty of the development of the idea of Messiahship in the mind of
Jesus himself.  But we can with care recapture something of the
experience of Jesus; we can roughly outline his outward life and
environment.  What is of more consequence, we can realize that,
whatever the particular facts of his own career which opened the door
for him, he entered into the general experience of men and knew human
life deeply and intimately.  And, after all, in this case as in others,
it is not the facts of the life that matter, but the central fact that
this man did know life as it is before he made judgment upon {116} it.
It is this alone that makes his judgment--or any other man's--of
consequence to us.  It is not his individual life, full of endless
significance as that is, but his realization thereby of man's life and
his attitude toward it that is the real gift of the great man--his
thought, his character, himself in fact.  And here our difficulty
vanishes, for no one, who has cared to study the gospels with any
degree of intelligent sympathy, has failed to realize the personality
there revealed and to come in some way or other under its influence.

So far in dealing with the religious life of the ancient world, we have
had to do with ideas and traditions--with a well thought-out scheme of
philosophy and with an ancient and impressive series of mysteries and
cults.  The new force that now came into play is something quite
different.  The centre in the new religion is not an idea, nor a ritual
act, but a personality.  As its opponents were quick to point out,--and
they still find a curious pleasure in rediscovering it--there was
little new in Christian teaching.  Men had been monotheists before,
they had worshipped, they had loved their neighbours, they had
displayed the virtues of Christians--what was there peculiar in
Christianity?  Plato, says Celsus, had taught long ago everything of
the least value in the Christian scheme of things.  The Talmud,
according to the modern Jew, contains a parallel to everything that
Jesus said--("and how much else!" adds Wellhausen).  What was new in
the new religion, in this "third race" of men?  The Christians had
their answer ready.  In clear speech, and in aphasia, they indicated
their founder.  He was new.  If we are to understand the movement, we
must in some degree realize him--in himself and in his influence upon

In every endeavour made by any man to reconstruct another's
personality, there will always be a subjective and imaginative element.
Biography is always a work of the imagination.  The method has its
dangers, but without imagination the thing is not to be done at all.  A
great man impresses men in a myriad of different ways--he is as various
and as bewilderingly suggestive as Nature herself--and no two men will
record quite the same experience of him.  Where the imagination has to
penetrate an extraordinary variety of impressions, to seize, not a
series of forces each severally making {117} its own impression, but a
single personality of many elements and yet a unity, men may well
differ in the pictures they make.  Even the same man will at different
times be differently impressed and not always be uniformly able to
grasp and order his impressions.  Hence it is that biographies and
portraits are so full of surprises and disappointments, while even the
writer or the painter will not always accept his own interpretation--he
outgrows it and detests it.  And if it is possible to spend a life in
the realization of the simplest human nature, what is to be said of an
attempt to make a final picture of Jesus of Nazareth?  Still the effort
must be made to apprehend what he was to those with whom he lived, for
from that comes the whole Christian movement.

[Sidenote: Celsus on "coarseness" of Jesus]

Celsus denounced Jesus in language that amazes us; but when he was
confronted with the teaching of Jesus, the moral worth of which a mind
so candid could not deny, he admitted its value, but he attributed it
to the fact that Jesus plagiarized largely from Greek philosophy and
above all from Plato.  He did not grasp, Celsus adds, how good what he
stole really was, and he spoiled it by his vulgarity of phrase.  In
particular, Celsus denounced the saying "Whosoever shall smite thee on
the right cheek, turn to him the other also."  The idea came from the
_Crito_, where Socrates compels Crito to own that we must do evil to no
one--not even by way of requital.  The passage is a fine one, and
Celsus quoted it in triumph and asked if there were not something
coarse and clownish in the style of Jesus.[4]

Celsus forgot for the moment that the same sort of criticism had been
made upon Socrates.  "'You had better be done,' said Critias, 'with
those shoemakers of yours, and the carpenters and coppersmiths.  They
must be pretty well down at the heel by now--considering the way you
have talked them round.' 'Yes,' said Charicles, 'and the cowherds
too.'"[5]  But six centuries had made another man of Socrates.  His
ideas, interpreted by Plato and others, had altered the whole thinking
of the Greek world; his Silenus-face had grown beautiful by {118}
association; the physiognomy of his mind and speech was no longer so
striking; he was a familiar figure, and his words and phrases were
current coin, accepted without question.  But to Celsus Jesus was no
such figure; he had not the traditions and preconceptions which have in
turn obscured for us the features of Jesus; there was nothing in Jesus
either hallowed or familiar, and one glance revealed a physiognomy.
That he did not like it is of less importance.

[Sidenote: The words of Jesus]

Taking the saying in question, we find, as Celsus did, absurdity upon
the face of it, and, as he also did, something else at the heart of
it--a contrast between surface and inner value broad as the gulf
between the common sense which men gather from experience and the
morality which Jesus read beneath human nature.  Among the words of
Jesus there are many such sayings, and it is clear that he himself saw
and designed the contrasts which we feel as we read them.  This sense
of contrast is one of the ground-factors of humour generally, perhaps
the one indispensable factor; it is always present in the highest
humour.  If we then take the words of Jesus, as they struck those who
first heard them--or as they struck Celsus--we cannot help remarking at
once a strong individual character in them, one element in which is
humour,--always one of the most personal and individual of all marks of

Humour, in its highest form, is the sign of a mind at peace with
itself, for which the contrasts and contradictions of life have ceased
to jar, though they have not ceased to be,--which accepts them as
necessary and not without meaning, indeed as adding charm to life, when
they are viewed from above.  It is the faculty which lets a man see
what Plato called "the whole tragedy and comedy of life"[6]--the one in
the other.  Is it not humour that saw the Pharisee earnestly rinsing,
rubbing and polishing the _outside_ of his cup, forgetful of the fact
that he drank from the inside? that saw the simple-minded taking their
baskets to gather the grape-harvest from bramble-bushes?  That pleaded
with a nation, already gaining a name for being sordid, _not_ to cast
pearls before swine, and to forsake caring for the morrow, because such
care was the mark of the Gentile world--the distinguishing sign between
Gentile and Jew?  {119} That told the men he knew so well--men bred in
a rough world--to "turn the other cheek,"--to yield the cloak to him
who took the coat, not in irony, but with the brotherly feeling that
"his necessity is greater than mine"--to go when "commandeered" not the
required mile, making an enemy by sourness of face, but to go two--"two
additional," the Syriac version says--and so soften the man and make
him a friend?[7]

What stamps the language of Jesus invariably is its delicate ease,
implying a sensibility to every real aspect of the matter in hand--a
sense of mastery and peace.  Men marvelled at the _charm_ of his
words--Luke using the Greek _charis_ to express it.[8] The homely
parable may be in other hands coarse enough, but the parables of Jesus
have a quality about them after all these years that leaves one certain
he smiled as he spoke them.  There is something of the same kind to be
felt in Cowper's letters, but in the stronger nature the gift is of
more significance.  At the cost of a little study of human character,
and close reading of the Synoptists, and some careful imagination, it
is possible to see him as he spoke,--the flash of the eye, the smile on
the lip, the gesture of the hand, all the natural expression of himself
and his thought that a man unconsciously gives in speaking, when he has
forgotten himself in his matter and his hearer--his physiognomy, in
fact.  We realize very soon his complete mastery of the various aspects
of what he says.  That he realizes every implication of his words is
less likely, for there is a spontaneity about them--they are "out of
the abundance of his heart"; the form is not studied; they are for the
man and the moment.  But they imply the speaker and his whole relation
to God and man--they cannot help implying this, and that is their
charm.  Living words, flashed out on the spur of the moment from the
depths of him, they _are_ the man.  It was not idly that the early
church used to say "Remember the words of the Lord Jesus."  On any
showing, it is of importance to learn the mind of one whose speech is
so full of life, and it is happily possible to do this from even the
small collections we possess of his recorded sayings.


Quite apart from the human interest which always clings about the
childhood of a significant man, the early years of Jesus have a value
of their own, for it was to them that he always returned when he wished
to speak his deepest thought on the relations of God and man.  In the
life and love of the home he found the truest picture of the divine
life.  This we shall have to consider more fully at a later point.
Very little is said by the evangelists of the childhood and youth at
Nazareth, but in the parables we have Jesus' own reminiscences, and the
scenes and settings of the stories he tells fit in easily and
pleasantly with the framework of the historical and geographical facts
of his life at Nazareth.

The town lies in a basin among hills, from the rim of which can be seen
the historic plain of Esdraelon toward the South, Eastward the Jordan
valley and the hills of Gilead, and to the West the sea.  "It is a map
of Old Testament history."[9] On great roads North and South of the
town's girdle of hills passed to and fro, on the journey between Egypt
and Mesopotamia, the many-coloured traffic of the East--moving no
faster than the camel cared to go, swinging disdainfully on, with
contempt on its curled lip for mankind, its work and itself.  Traders,
pilgrims and princes--the kingdoms of the world and the glory of
them--all within reach and in no great hurry, a panorama of life for a
thoughtful and imaginative boy.

The history of his nation lay on the face of the land at his feet, and
it was in the North that the Zealots throve.  Was it by accident that
Joseph the carpenter gave all his five sons names that stood for
something in Hebrew history?  Jesus himself says very little, if
anything, of the past of his people, and he does not, like some of the
Psalmists, turn to the story of Israel for the proof of his thoughts
upon God.  But it may be more than a coincidence that his countrymen
were impressed with his knowledge of the national literature; and
traces of other than canonical books have been found in his teaching.
It implies a home of piety, where God was in all their thoughts.

[Sidenote: His early life]

The early disappearance of the elder Joseph has been explained by his
death, which seems probable.  The widow was {121} left with five sons
and some daughters.[10]  The eldest son was, according to the story,
more than twelve years old, and he had probably to share the household
burden.  The days were over when he played with the children in the
market at weddings and at funerals, and while he never forgot the games
and kept something of the child's mind throughout, he had to learn what
it was to be weary and heavy-laden.  His parables include pictures of
home-life--one of a little house, where the master in bed can argue
with an importunate friend outside the door, who has come on a very
homely errand.[11] In a group of stories, parables of the mother, we
see the woman sweeping the house till she finds a lost drachma, the
recovery of which is joyful enough to be told to neighbours.  We see
her hiding leaven in three measures of meal, while the eldest son sat
by and watched it work.  He never forgot the sight of the heaving,
panting mass, the bubbles swelling and bursting, and all the commotion
the proof of something alive and at work below; and he made it into a
parable of the Kingdom of God--associated in the minds of the weary
with broken bubbles, and in the mind of Jesus with the profoundest and
most living of realities.  It was perhaps Mary, too, who explained to
him why an old garment will not tolerate a new patch.  Whatever is the
historical value of the fourth Gospel, it lays stress on the close
relation between Jesus and his mother.

One of the Aramaic words, which the church cherished from the first as
the _ipsissima verba_ of Jesus, was _Abba_.  It was what Mary had
taught him as a baby to call Joseph.  The fact that in manhood he gave
to God the name that in his childhood he had given to Joseph, surely
throws some light upon the homelife.  To this word we shall return.

Jesus had always a peculiar tenderness for children.  "Suffer little
children to come unto me," is one of his most familiar sayings, though
in quoting it we are apt to forget that "come" is in Greek a verb
carrying volition with it, and that Mark uses another noticeable word,
and tells us that Jesus put his arms round the child.[12]  Little
children, we may be sure, came to him of their own accord and were at
ease with him; {122} and it has been suggested that the saying goes
back to the Nazareth days, and that the little children came about
their brother in the workshop there.  Mr Burkitt has recently
remarked[13] that we may read far and wide in Christian Literature
before we find any such feeling for children as we know so well in the
words of Jesus; and in Classical Literature we may look as far.  To
Jesus the child is not unimportant--to injure a child was an
unspeakable thing.  Indeed, if the Kingdom of God meant anything, it
was that we must be children again--God's little children, to whom
their Father is the background of everything.  The Christian phrase
about being born again may be Jesus' own, but if so, it has lost for us
something of what he intended by it, which survives in more authentic
sayings.  We have to recover, he said, what we lost when we outgrew the
child; we must have the simplicity and frankness of children--their
instinctive way of believing all things and hoping all things.  All
things are new to the child; it is only for grown-up people that God
has to "_make_ all things new."  Paul has not much to say about
children, but he has this thought--"if any man be in Christ, it is a
new creation, all things are made new."  Probably the child's habit of
taking nothing for granted--except the love that is all about it--is
what Jesus missed most in grown men.  Every idealist and every poet is
a child from beginning to end--and something of this sort is the mark
of the school of Jesus.

[Sidenote: Jesus and nature]

The outdoor life of Jesus lies recorded in his parables.  Weinel has
said that Paul was a man of a city--Paul said so himself.  But Jesus is
at home in the open air.  The sights and sounds of the farm are in his
words--the lost sheep, the fallen ox, the worried flock, the hen
clucking to her chickens.  This last gave a picture in which his
thought instinctively clothed itself in one of his hours of deepest
emotion.  It is perhaps a mark of his race and land that to "feed
swine" is with him a symbol of a lost life, and that the dog is an
unclean animal--as it very generally is elsewhere.  He speaks of
ploughing, clearly knowing how it should be done; and like other
teachers, he uses the analogies of sowing and harvest.  The grain
growing secretly, and the harvest, over-ripe and spilling its wheat,
were to him pictures of human life.


Wild nature, too, he knew and loved.  The wild lily, which the women
used to burn in their ovens never thinking of its beauty, was to him
something finer than King Solomon, and he probably had seen Herodian
princes on the Galilean roads.  (It is a curious thing that he has more
than one allusion to royal draperies.) He bade men study the flowers
(_katamanthánein_).  It is perhaps worth remark that flower-poetry came
into Greek literature from regions familiar to us in the life of Jesus;
Meleager was a Gadarene.  The Psalmist long ago had said of the birds
that they had their meat from God; but Jesus brought them into the
human family--"Your Heavenly Father feedeth them."  Even his knowledge
of weather signs is recorded.  Not all flowers keep in literature the
scent and colour of life; they are a little apt to become "natural
objects."  But if they are to retain their charm in print, something is
wanted that is not very common--the open heart and the open eye, to
which birds and flowers are willing to tell their secret.  There are
other things which point to the fact that Jesus had this
endowment,--and not least his being able to find in the flower a link
so strong and so beautiful between God and man.  Here as elsewhere he
was in touch with his environment, for he loved Nature as Nature, and
was true to it.  His parables are not like Æsop's Fables.  His lost
sheep has no arguments; his lily is not a Solomon, though it is better
dressed; and his sparrows are neither moralists nor theologians--but
sparrows, which might be sold at two for a farthing, and in the
meantime are chirping and nesting.  And all this life of Nature spoke
to him of the character of God, of God's delight in beauty and God's
love.  God is for him the ever-present thought in it all--real too, to
others, whenever he speaks of him.

An amiable feeling for Nature is often to be found in sentimental
characters.  But sentimentalism is essentially self-deception; and the
Gospels make it clear that of all human sins and weaknesses none seems
to have stirred the anger of Jesus as did self-deception.  When the
Pharisees in the synagogue watched to see whether Jesus would heal on
the Sabbath, he "looked round about upon them all with anger," says
Mark.  This gaze of Jesus is often mentioned in the Gospels--almost
unconsciously--but Luke and Matthew drop the last two words in quoting
this passage, and do so at the cost {124} of a most characteristic
touch.  Matthew elsewhere, in accordance with his habit of grouping his
matter by subject, gathers together a collection of the utterances of
Jesus upon the Pharisees, with the recurring refrain "Scribes and
Pharisees, actors."  The Mediterranean world was full of Greek actors;
we hear of them even among the Parthians in 53 B.C., and in Mesopotamia
for centuries; and as there had long been Greek cities in Palestine,
and a strong movement for generations toward Greek ways of life, the
actor cannot have been an unfamiliar figure.  To call the Pharisees
"actors" was a new and strong thing to say, but Jesus said such things.
Of the grosser classes of sinners he was tolerant to a point that
amazed his contemporaries and gave great occasion of criticism to such
enemies as Celsus and Julian.  He had apparently no anger for the woman
taken in adultery; and he was the "friend of publicans and
sinners"--even eating with them.

[Sidenote: His sense of the real]

The explanation lies partly in Jesus' instinct for reality and truth.
Sensualist and money-lover were at least occupied with a sort of
reality; pleasure and money in their way are real, and the pursuit of
them brings a man, sooner or later, into contact with realities genuine
enough.  Whatever illusions publican and harlot might have, the world
saw to it that they did not keep them long.  The danger for such people
was that they might be disillusioned overmuch.  But the Pharisee lied
with himself.  If at times he traded on his righteousness to over-reach
others, his chief victim was himself, as Jesus saw, and as Paul found.
Paul, brought up in their school to practise righteousness, gave the
whole thing up as a pretence and a lie--he would no longer have
anything to do with "his own righteousness."  But he was an exception;
Pharisees in general believed in their own righteousness; and, by
tampering with their sense of the proportions of things, they lost all
feeling for reality, and with it all consciousness of the value and
dignity of man and the very possibility of any conception of God.

Jesus had been bred in another atmosphere, in a school of realities.
When he said "Blessed are ye poor, for yours is the Kingdom of heaven,"
his words were the record of experience--the paradox was the story of
his life.  He had known poverty and hand-labour; he had been "exposed
to feel what wretches feel."  Whatever criticism may make of the story
of his feeding {125} multitudes, it remains that he was markedly
sensitive to the idea of hunger--over and over he urged the feeding of
the poor, the maimed and the blind; he suggested the payment of a day's
wage for an hour's work, where a day's food was needed and only an
hour's work could be had; he even reminded a too happy father that his
little girl would be the better of food.  No thinker of his day, or for
long before and after, was so deeply conscious of the appeal of sheer
misery, and this is one of the things on which his followers have never
lost the mind of Jesus.  Poverty was perhaps even for himself a key to
the door into the Kingdom of God.  At any rate, he always emphasizes
the advantage of disadvantages, for they at least make a man in earnest
with himself.

There is a revelation of the seriousness of his whole mind and nature
in his reply to the follower who would go away and return.  "No man,
having put his hand to the plough and looking back, is _fit_ for the
Kingdom of God."  This every one knows who has tried to drive a furrow,
and all men of action know only too well that the man, whom Jesus so
describes, is fit for no kind of Kingdom.  It is only the
sentimentalism of the church that supposes the flabby-minded to be at
home in the Kingdom of God.  Jesus did not.  The same kind of energy is
in the parables.  The unjust steward was a knave, but he was in
earnest; and so was the questionably honest man who found treasure in a
field.  The merchant let everything go for the one pearl of great
price.  Mary chose "the one thing needful."  We may be sure that in one
shop in Nazareth benches were made to stand on four feet and doors to
open and shut.  The parables from nature, as we have seen, are true to
the facts of nature.  They too stand on four feet.  The church laid
hold of a characteristic word, when it adopted for all time Jesus'
_Amen_--"in truth."  Jesus was always explicit with his followers--they
should know from the first that their goal was the cross, and that
meantime they would have no place where to lay their heads.  They were
to begin with hard realities, and to consort with him on the basis of
the real.

The world in the age of Jesus was living a good deal upon its past,
looking to old books and old cults, as we see in Plutarch and many
others.  The Jews no less lived upon their great books.  Even Philo was
fettered to the Old Testament, {126} except when he could dissolve his
fetters by allegory, and even then he believed himself loyal to the
higher meaning of the text.  But nothing of the kind is to be seen in
Jesus.  His knowledge of Psalmist and Prophet excited wonder; but in
all his quotations of the Old Testament that have reached us, there is
no trace of servitude to the letter and no hint of allegory.  He does
not quote Scripture as his followers did.  Here too he spoke as having
authority.  If sometimes he quoted words for their own sake, it was
always as an _argumentum ad hominem_.  But his own way was to grasp the
writer's mind--a very difficult thing in his day, and little done--and
to go straight to the root of the matter, regardless of authority and
tradition.  Like draws to like, and an intensely real man at once
grasped his kinship with other intensely real men; and he found in the
prophets, not reeds shaken with the wind, courtiers of king or of
people, but men in touch with reality, with their eyes open for God,
friends and fore-runners, whose experience illumined his own.  This
type of manhood needed no explanation for him.  The other sort
perplexed him--"Why can you not judge for yourselves?" how was it that
men could see and yet not see?  From his inner sympathy with the
prophetic mind, came his freedom in dealing with the prophets.  He read
and understood, and decided for himself.  No sincere man would ever
wish his word to be final for another.  Jesus was conscious of his own
right to think and to see and to judge, and for him, as for the modern
temper, the final thing was not opinion, nor scripture, nor authority,
but reality and experience.  There lay the road to God.  Hence it is
that Jesus is so tranquil,--he does "not strive nor cry"--for the man
who has experienced in himself the power of the real has no doubts
about it being able to maintain itself in a world, where at heart men
want nothing else.

[Sidenote: The temptations of Jesus]

When so clear an eye for reality is turned upon the great questions of
man's life and of man's relations with God, it is apt here too to reach
the centre.  From the first, men lingered over the thought that Jesus
had gone to the bottom of human experience and found in this fact his
power to help them.  He was made like to his brethren; he was touched
with the feeling of our infirmities; he was "able to sympathize"
(_dynámenon sympathêsai_) for he was "tempted in all respects like us."
In {127} the Gospel, as it is handed down to us, the temptation of
Christ is summed up in three episodes set at the beginning of the story
and told in a symbolic form, which may or may not have been given to
them by Jesus himself.  Then "the devil left him"--Luke adding
significantly "till a time."  The interpretation is not very clear.
Strong men do not discuss their own feelings very much, but it is
possible now and then to divine some experience from an involuntary
tone, or the unconscious sensitiveness with which certain things are
mentioned; or, more rarely, emotion may open the lips for a moment of
self-revelation, in which a word lays bare a lifetime's struggle.  It
will add to the significance of his general attitude toward God and
man's life, if we can catch any glimpse of the inner mind of Jesus.

We have records of his being exhausted and seeking quiet.  Biographers
of that day concealed such things in their heroes, but the Gospels
freely reveal what contemporary critics counted weaknesses in Jesus.
He weeps, he hungers, he is worn out.  He has to be alone--on the
mountain by night, in a desert-place before dawn.  Such exhaustion is
never merely physical or merely spiritual; the two things are one.  Men
crowded upon Jesus, till he had not leisure to eat; he came into touch
with a ceaseless stream of human personalities; and those who have been
through any such experience will understand what it cost him.  To
communicate an idea or to share a feeling is exhausting work, and we
read further of deeds of healing, which, Jesus himself said, took
"virtue" (_dynamin_) out of him, and he had to withdraw.  When the
Syro-Phoenician woman called for his aid, it was a question with him
whether he should spend on a foreigner the "virtue" that could with
difficulty meet the claims of Israel, for he was not conscious of the
"omnipotence" which has been lightly attributed to him.  It was the
woman's brilliant answer about the little dogs eating the children's
crumbs that gained her request.  The turn of speech showed a vein of
humour, and he consented "for this saying."[14]  If human experience
goes for anything in such a case, contact with a spirit so delicate and
sympathetic gave him something of the {128} strength he spent.  The
incident throws light upon the "fluxes and refluxes of feeling" within
him, and the effect upon him of a spirit with something of his own
tenderness and humour.  For the moment, though, his sense of having
reached his limits should be noticed.

The church has never forgotten the agony in the garden, but that
episode has lost some of its significance because it has not been
recognized to be one link in a chain of experience, which we must try
to reconstruct.  It has been assumed that Jesus never expected to
influence the Pharisees and scribes; but this is to misinterpret the
common temper of idealists, and to miss the pain of Jesus' words when
he found his hopes of the Pharisees to be vain.  Gradually, from their
pressure upon his spirit, he grew conscious of the outcome--they would
not be content with logomachies; the end might be death.  Few of us
have any experience to tell us at what cost to the spirit such a
discovery is made.  The common people he read easily enough and
recognized their levity.  And now, in exile, as Mr Burkitt has lately
suggested,[15] he began to concentrate himself upon the twelve.  It was
not till Peter, by a sudden flash of insight, grasped his
Messiahship--a character, which Jesus had realized already, though we
do not know by what process, and had for reasons of his own
concealed,--it was not till then that Jesus disclosed his belief that
he would be killed at last.  From that moment we may date the falling
away of Judas, and what this man's constant presence must have meant to
Jesus, ordinary experience may suggest.  Shrewd, clever and
disappointed, he must have been a chill upon his Master at all hours.
His influence upon the rest of the group must have been consciously and
increasingly antipathetic.  Night by night Jesus could read in the
faces which of them had been with Judas during the day.  The sour
triumph of Judas when the Son of man was told to go on to another
village after a day's journey, and the uncomfortable air of one or more
of the others, all entered into Jesus' experience; and night by night
he had to undo Judas' work.  He "learnt by what he suffered" from the
man's tone and look that there would be desertion, perhaps betrayal.
The daily suffering involved in trying to recapture the man, in going
to seek the lost sheep in the wilderness of bitterness, may be {129}
imagined.  Side by side, King, Pharisee and disciple are against him,
and the tension, heightened by the uncertainty as to the how, when and
where of the issue must have been great.  Luke's graphic word says his
face was "set" for Jerusalem--it would be, he knew, a focus for the
growing forces of hatred.

Day by day the strain increased.  Finally Jesus spoke.  The where and
how of the betrayal he could not determine; the when he could.  At the
supper, he looked at Judas and then he spoke.[16]  "What thou doest, do
quickly."  The man's face as he hurried out said "Yes" to the unspoken
question--and for the moment it brought relief.  This is the background
of the garden-scene.  What the agony meant spiritually, we can hardly
divine.  The physical cost is attested by the memory of his face which
haunted the disciples.  The profuse sweat that goes with acute mental
strain is a familiar phenomenon, and its traces were upon him--visible
in the torchlight.  Last of all, upon the cross, Nature reclaimed her
due from him.  Jesus had drawn, as men say, upon the body, and in such
cases Nature repays herself from the spirit.  The worn-out frame
dragged the spirit with it, and he died with the cry--"My God, my God,
why hast thou forsaken me?"

Turning back, we find in Luke[17] that Jesus said to his disciples "Ye
are they that have continued with me in my temptations."  Dr John
Brown[18] used to speak of Jesus having "a disposition for private
friendships."  A mind with the genius for friendliness is not only
active but passive.  We constantly find in history instances of men
with such a gift failing in great crises because of it--they yield to
the friendly word; it means so much to them.  Thus when Peter, a friend
of old standing and of far greater value since his confession at
Philippi, spoke and reinforced the impressions made on Jesus' mind by
his prevision of failure and death, the temptation was of a terrible
kind.  The sudden rejoinder, in which Jesus identifies the man he loved
with Satan, shows what had happened.  But, if friendship carried with
it temptation, yet when physical exhaustion brought spiritual
exhaustion in its train, the love and tenderness {130} of his friends
upheld him.  But, more still, their belief in him and in his ideas,
their need of him, drove the tempter away.  He could not disappoint
them.  The faces that softened to him,--all that came to his mind as he
thought of his friends name by name--gave him hope and comfort, though
the body might do its worst.  It was perhaps in part this experience of
the friendship of simple and commonplace men that differentiated the
teaching of Jesus from the best the world had yet had.  No other
teacher dreamed that common men could possess a tenth part of the moral
grandeur and spiritual power, which Jesus elicited from them--chiefly
by believing in them.  Here, to any one who will study the period, the
sheer originality of Jesus is bewildering.  This belief in men Jesus
gave to his followers and they have never lost it.

[Sidenote: Man's relations with God]

It was in the new life and happiness in God that he was bringing to the
common people that Jesus saw his firmest credentials.  He laid stress
indeed upon the expulsion of devils and the cure of disease--matters
explained to-day by "suggestion."  But the culmination was "the good
news for the poor."  "Gospel" and "Evangelical" have in time become
technical terms, and have no longer the pulse of sheer happiness which
Jesus felt in them, and which the early church likewise experienced.
"Be of good cheer!" is the familiar English rendering of one of the
words of Jesus, often on his lips--"Courage!" he said.  One text of
Luke represents him as saying it even on the cross, when he spoke to
the penitent thief.

Summing up what we have so far reached, we may remark the broad
contrast between the attitude of Jesus to human life and the views of
the world around him.  A simple home with an atmosphere of love and
truth and intelligence, where life was not lost sight of in its
refinements, where ordinary needs and common duties were the daily
facts, where God was a constant and friendly presence--this was his
early environment.  Later on it was the carpenter's bench, the
fisherman's boat, wind on the mountain and storm on the lake, leaven in
the meal and wheat in the field.  Everywhere his life is rooted in the
normal and the natural, and everywhere he finds God filling the meanest
detail of man's life with glory and revelation.

Philosophers were anxious to keep God clear of contact with matter;
Marcus Aurelius found "decay in the substance {131} of all
things--nothing but water, dust, bones, stench."[19]  Jesus saw life in
all things--God clothing the grass and watching over little birds.
To-day the old antithesis of God and matter is gone, and it comes as a
relief to find that Jesus anticipated its disappearance.  The religious
in his day looked for God in trance and ritual, in the abnormal and
unusual, but for him, as for every man who has ever helped mankind, the
ordinary and the commonplace were enough.  The Kingdom of God is among
you, or even within you--in the common people, of whom all the other
teachers despaired.

We come now to the central question of man's relation with God, never
before so vital a matter to serious people in the Mediterranean world.
Jew and Greek and Egyptian were all full of it, and men's talk ran much
upon it.  Men were anxious to be right with God, and sought earnestly
in the ways of their fathers for the means of communion with God and
the attainment of some kind of safety in their position with regard to
him.  Jew and Greek alike talked of heaven and hell and of the ways to
them.  They talked of righteousness and holiness--"holy" is one of the
great words of the period--and they sought these things in ritual and
abstinence.  Modern Jews resent the suggestion that the thousand and
one regulations as to ceremonial purity, and the casuistries, as many
or more, spun out of the law and the traditions, ranked with the great
commandments of neighbourly love and the worship of the One God.  No
doubt they are right, but it is noticeable that in practice the common
type of mind is more impressed with minutiæ than with principles.  The
Southern European to-day will do murder on little provocation, but to
eat meat in Lent is sin.  But, without attributing such conspicuous
sins as theft and adultery and murder to the Pharisees, it is clear
that in establishing their own righteousness they laid excessive stress
on the details of the law, on Sabbath-keeping (a constant topic with
the Christian apologists), on tithes, and temple ritual, on the washing
of pots and plates--still rigorously maintained by the modern Jew--and
all this was supposed to constitute holiness.  Jesus with the clear
incisive word of genius dismissed it all as "acting."  The Pharisee was
essentially an actor--playing to himself the most contemptible little
comedies of holiness.  {132} Listen, cries Jesus, and he tells the tale
of the man fallen among thieves and left for dead, and how priest and
Levite passed by on the other side, fearing the pollution of a corpse,
and how they left mercy, God's own work--"I will have mercy and not
sacrifice" was one of his quotations from Hosea,--to be done by one
unclean and damned--the Samaritan.  Whited sepulchres!  he cries,
pretty to look at, but full of what? of death, corruption and foulness.
"How _can_ you escape from the judgment of hell?" he asked them, and no
one records what they answered or could answer.

[Sidenote: Jesus the liberator]

It is clear, however, that, outside Palestine, the Jews in the great
world were moving to a more purely moral conception of religion--their
environment made mere Pharisaism impossible, and Greek criticism
compelled them to think more or less in the terms of the fundamental.
The debt of the Jew to the Gentile is not very generously acknowledged.
None the less, the distinctive badge of all his tribe was and remained
what the Greeks called fussiness (_tò psophodeés_).[20]  The Sabbath,
circumcision, the blood and butter taboos remained--as they still
remain in the most liberal of "Liberal Judaisms"--tribe marks with no
religious value, but maintained by patriotism.  And side by side with
this lived and lives that hatred of the Gentile, which is attributed to
Christian persecution, but which Juvenal saw and noted before the
Christian had ceased to be persecuted by the Jew.  The extravagant
nonsense found in Jewish speculation as to how many Gentile souls were
equivalent in God's sight to that of one Jew is symptomatic.  To this
day it is confessedly the weakness of Judaism that it offers no impulse
and knows no enthusiasm for self-sacrificing love where the interests
of the tribe are not concerned.[21]

The great work of Jesus in this matter was the final and decisive
cleavage with antiquity.  Greek rationalism had long since laughed at
the puerilities of the Greek cults; but rationalism and laughter are'
unequally matched against Religion, and it triumphed over them, and, as
we see in Plutarch {133} and the Neo-Platonists, it imposed its
puerilities--yes, and its obscenities--upon Philosophy and made her in
sober truth "procuress to the lords of hell."  It was a new thing when
Religion, in the name of truth and for the love of God, abolished the
connexion with a trivial past.  Jesus cut away at once every vestige of
the primitive and every savage survival--all natural growths perhaps,
and helpful too to primitive man and to the savage, but confusing to
men on a higher plane,--either mere play-acting or the "damnation of
hell."  Pagan cults he summed up as much speaking.  Once for all he set
Religion free from all taboos and rituals.  Paul, once, on the spur of
the moment, called Jesus the "Yes" of all the promises of God--a most
suggestive name for the vindicator and exponent of God's realities.  It
is such a man as this who liberates mankind, cutting us clear of
make-believes and negations and taboos, and living in the open-air,
whether it is cloud or sun.  That Jesus shocked his contemporaries with
the abrupt nakedness of his religious ideas is not surprising.  The
church made decent haste to cover a good many of them up, but not very
successfully.  A mind like that of Jesus propagates itself, and
reappears with startling vitality, as history in many a strange page
can reveal.

We must now consider what was the thought of Jesus upon God and how he
conceived of the relation between God and man.  He approached the
matter originally from the standpoint of Judaism, and no attempt to
prove the influence of Greek philosophy is likely to succeed.  The
result of Greek speculation upon God--where it did not end in pure
pantheism--was that of God nothing whatever could be predicated--not
even being, but that he was to be expressed by the negation of every
idea that could be formed of him.  To this men had been led by their
preconception of absolute being, and so strong was the influence of
contemporary philosophy that Christian thinkers adopted the same
conclusion, managing what clumsy combinations they could of it and of
the doctrine of incarnation.  Clement of Alexandria is a marked example
of this method.

To the philosophic mind God remains a difficult problem, but to the
religious temper things are very different.  To it God is the one great
reality never very far away, and is conceived not as an abstraction,
nor as a force, but as a personality.  {134} It has been and is the
strength and redemption of Judaism, that God is the God of Israel--"Oh
God, thou art my God!" How intuition is to be reconciled with
philosophy has been the problem of Christian thinkers in every age, but
it may be remarked that the varying term is philosophy.  To the
intuition of Jesus Christians have held fast--though Greeks and others
have called it "folly"; and in the meantime a good many philosophies
have had their day.

The central thought of Jesus is the Fatherhood of God.  For this, as
for much else, parallels have been found in the words of Hebrew
thinkers, ancient and contemporary, and we may readily concede that it
was not original with Jesus to call God Father.  The name was given to
God by the prophets, but it was also given to him by the Stoics--and by
Homer; so that to speak of God's Fatherhood might mean anything between
the two extremes of everything and nothing.  Christian theology, for
instance, starting with the idea of the Fatherhood of God, has not
hesitated to speak in the same breath of his "vindicating his
majesty"--a phrase which there is no record or suggestion that Jesus
ever used.  There may be fathers who vindicate their majesty, as there
are many other kinds, but until we realize the connotation of the word
for men who speak of God as Father, it is idle to speak of it being a
thought common to them.  The name may be in the Old Testament and in
Homer, but the meaning which Jesus gave to it is his own.

Jesus never uses the name Father without an air of gladness.  Men are
anxious as to what they shall eat, and what they shall drink, and
wherewithal they shall be clothed--"your heavenly Father knoweth that
ye have need of all these things."  Children ask father and mother for
bread--will they receive a stone?  The women had hid the leaven in the
three measures of meal long before the children began to feel hungry.
And as to clothes--God has clothed the flower far better than Solomon
ever clothed himself, "and shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of
little faith?"  The picture is one of the strong and tender parent,
smiling at the child's anxiety with no notion of his own majesty or of
anything but love.  So incredibly simple is the relation between God
and man--simple, unconstrained, heedless and tender as the talk round a
table in Nazareth.  Jesus is greater than the men who have elaborated
{135} his ideas, and majesty is the foible of little minds.  The great
man, if he thinks of his dignity, lets it take care of itself; he is
more interested in love and truth, and he forgets to think of what is
due to himself.  Aristotle said that his "magnificent man" would never
run; but, says Jesus, when the prodigal son was yet a great way off,
"his father saw him, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him."
This contrast measures the distance between the thought of Jesus and
some Christian theologies.  It is worth noting that in the two
parables, in which a father directly addresses his son, it is with the
tender word _téknon_, which is more like a pet name.  It adds to the
meaning of the parable of the prodigal, when the father calls the elder
brother by the little name that has come down from childhood.  It was a
word which Jesus himself used in speaking to his friends.[22]  The
heavenly Father does not cease to be a father because his children are
ungracious and bad.  He sends rain and sun--and all they mean--to evil
and to good.  The whole New Testament is tuned to the thought of
Jesus--"the philanthropy of God our saviour."[23]

Plato had long before defined the object of human life as "becoming
like to God."  Jesus finds the means to this likeness to God in the
simplest of every day's opportunities.  "Love your enemies and do good,
and ye shall be sons of the Highest, for he is good and pitiful."
"Blessed are the peace-makers," he said, "for they shall be called
children of God."  This is sometimes limited to the reconciliation of
quarrels, but the worst of quarrels is the rift in a man's own soul,
the "division of his spiritual substance against itself" which is the
essence of all tragedy.  There are some whose least word, or whose
momentary presence, can somehow make peace wherever they go, and leave
men stronger for the rest they have found in another's soul.  This,
according to Jesus, is the family likeness by which God's children are
recognized in all sorts of company.  To have the faculty of
communicating peace of mind--and it is more often than not done
unconsciously, as most great things are--is no light or accidental gift.

Jesus lays a good deal more stress upon unconscious instinct than most
moralists do.  Once only he is reported to have spoken of the Last
Judgment, which was a favourite theme {136} with the eschatologists of
his period, Jewish, pagan, and Christian.  He borrowed the whole
framework of the scene, but he changed, and doubly changed, the
significance of it.  For he discarded the national or political
criterion which the Jew preferred, and he did not have recourse to the
rather individualistic moral test which Greek thinkers proposed, in
imitation of Plato; still less did it occur to him to suggest a
_Credo_.  With him the ultimate standard was one of sheer kindness and
good-heartedness--"inasmuch as ye did it to one of the least of these
my brethren."  But it is still more interesting to note how this
standard is applied.  Every one at the Last Judgment accepts it, just
as every one accepts the propositions of moralists in general.  But the
real cleavage between the classes of men does not depend on morality,
as the chilly suggestion of the mere word reminds us.  Men judge other
men not by their morality, professed or practised, so much as by their
unconscious selves--by instinct, impulse and so forth, the things that
really give a clue to the innermost man.  The most noticeable point
then in Jesus' picture of the Last Judgment is that, when "sheep" and
"goats" are separated, neither party at once understands the reasons of
the decision.  These are conscious of duties done; the others have no
very clear idea about it.  Elsewhere Jesus suggests that, when men have
done all required of them, they may still have the feeling that they
are unprofitable servants; and it is precisely the peace-makers and the
pure in heart who do not realize how near they come to God.  The priest
and the Levite in the parable were conscious of their purity, but Jesus
gives no hint that they saw God.  The Samaritan lived in another
atmosphere, but it was natural to him and he breathed it unconsciously.
The cultivation of likeness to God by Greek philosophers and their
pupils was very different.  Plutarch has left a tract, kindly and
sensible, on "How a man may recognize his own progress in virtue," but
there is no native Christian product of the kind.

[Sidenote: The Kingdom of God]

From what Jesus directly says of God, and from what he says of God's
children, we may conclude that he classes God with the strong and sunny
natures; with the people of bright eyes who see through things and into
things, who have the feeling for reality, and love every aspect of the
real.  God has that sense which is peculiar to the creative mind--the
keen joy {137} in beauty, that loves star and bird and child.  God has
the father's instinct, a full understanding of human nature, and a
heart open for the prodigal son, the publican and the woman with seven
devils.  "In his will is our peace," wrote the great Christian poet of
the middle ages.  "Doing the will we find rest," said a humble and
forgotten Christian of the second century.[24]  They both learnt the
thought from Jesus, who set it in the prayer beginning with _Abba_
which he taught his disciples, and who prayed it himself in the garden
with the same _Abba_ in his heart.  "In the Lord's prayer," said
Tertullian, "there is an epitome of the whole Gospel."[25]

At this point two questions rise, which are of some historical
importance, and bear upon Jesus' view of God.  It is clear, first of
all, that the expression "the Kingdom of God" was much upon the lips of
Jesus, at least in the earlier part of his ministry.  It was not of his
own coining, and scholars have differed as to what he really meant.
Such controversy always rises about the terms in which a great mind
expresses itself.  The great thinker, even the statesman, has to use
the best language he can find to convey his ideas, and if the ideas are
new, the difficulty of expression is sometimes very great.  The words
imply one thing to the listener, and another to the speaker who is
really trying (as Diogenes put it) to "re-mint the currency," and how
far he succeeds depends mostly upon his personality.  To-day "the
Kingdom," or more accurately "the Kingship of God," is in some quarters
interpreted rather vigorously in the sense which the ordinary Jew gave
to the phrase in the age of Jesus; but it is more than usually unsound
criticism to take the words of such a man as meaning merely what they
would in the common talk of unreflective persons, who use words as
counters and nothing else.  There was a vulgar interpretation of the
"Kingship of God," and there was a higher one, current among the better
spirits; and it is only reasonable to interpret this phrase, or any
other, in the light of the total mind of the man who uses it.  It is
clear then that, when Jesus used "the Kingship of God," he must have
subordinated it to his general idea of God; and what {138} that was, we
have seen.  To-day the phrase is returning into religious speech to
signify the permeation of society by the mind of Christ, which cannot
be far from what it meant to the earliest disciples.  It is significant
that the author of the fourth gospel virtually dropped the phrase
altogether, that Paul preferred other expressions as a rule, and that
it was merged and lost in the idea of the church.

Closely bound up with the "Kingdom of God" is the name Messiah, with a
similarly wide range of meanings.  The question has also been raised as
to how far Jesus identified himself with the Messiah.  It might be more
pertinent to ask with which Messiah.  On the whole, the importance of
the matter can be gauged by the fate of the word.  It was translated
into Greek, and very soon Christos, or Chrestos, was a proper name and
hardly a title at all except in apologetics, where alone the conception
retained some importance.  The Divine Son and the Divine Logos--terms
which Jesus did not use--superseded the old Hebrew title, at any rate
in the Gentile world, and this could hardly have occurred if the idea
had been of fundamental moment in Jesus' mind and speech.  If he used
the name, as seems probable, it too must have been subordinated to his
master-thought of God's fatherhood.  It would then imply at most a
close relation to the purposes of God, and a mission to men, the
stewardship of thoughts that would put mankind on a new footing with
God.  The idea of his being a mediator in the Pauline sense is foreign
to the gospels, and the later conception of a purchase of mankind from
the devil, or from the justice of God, by the blood of a victim is
still more alien to Jesus' mind.

[Sidenote: The cross]

These are some of the features of the founder of the new religion as
revealed in the Gospels--features that permanently compel attention,
but after all it was not the consideration of these that conquered the
world.  Of far more account in winning the world was the death of this
man upon the cross.  It was the cross that gave certainty to all that
Jesus had taught about God.  The church sturdily and indignantly
repudiated any suggestion, however philosophic, that in any way seemed
likely to lessen the significance of the cross.  That he should taste
the ultimate bitterness of death undisguised, that he should refuse the
palliative wine and myrrh (an action symbolic of his {139} whole
attitude to everything and to death itself), that with open eyes he
should set his face for Jerusalem, and with all the sensitiveness of a
character, so susceptive of impression and so rich in imagination, he
should expose himself to our experience--to the foretaste of death, to
the horror of the unknown, and to the supreme fear--the dread of the
extinction of personality; and that he should actually undergo all he
foresaw, as the last cry upon the cross testified--all this let the
world into the real meaning of his central thought upon God.  It was
the pledge of his truth, and thus made possible our reconciliation with
God.  If we may take an illustration from English literature,
Shakespeare's _Julius Cæsar_ may suggest something here.  It has been
noticed how small a part Cæsar plays in the drama--how little he
speaks; what weakness he shows--epilepsy, deafness, arrogance,
vacillation; and how soon he disappears.  Would not the play have been
better named _Brutus_?  Yet Shakespeare knew what he was doing; for the
whole play is Julius Cæsar, from the outbreak of Cassius at the

  Why! man he doth bestride the narrow world
  Like a colossus,

to the bitter cry of Brutus at the end--

  O Julius Cæsar, thou art mighty yet!

Cæsar determines everything in the story.  Every character in it is a
mirror in which we see some figure of him, and the life of every man
there is made or unmade by his mind toward Cæsar.  Cæsar is the one
great determining factor in the story; living and dead, he is the
centre and explanation of it all.

What was written in the Gospels of the life and death of Jesus, might
by now be ancient history, if the Gospels had told the whole story.
But they did not tell the whole story; and they neither were, nor are,
the source of the Christian movement, great as their influence is and
has been.  The Jesus who has impressed himself upon mankind is not a
character, however strong and beautiful, that is to be read about in a
book.  Before the Gospels were written, men spoke of the "Spirit of
Jesus" as an active force amongst them.  We may criticize their phrase
and their psychology as we like, but they were speaking of something
they knew, something they had seen {140} and felt, and it is that
"something" which changed the course of history.  Jesus lives for us in
the pages of the Gospels, but we are not his followers on that account,
nor were the Christians of the first century.  They, like ourselves,
followed him under the irresistible attraction of his character
repeating itself in the lives of men and women whom they knew.  The Son
of God, they said, revealed himself in men, and it was true.  Of his
immediate followers we know almost nothing, but it was they who passed
him on to the next generation, consciously in their preaching, which
was not always very good; and unconsciously in their lives, which he
had transformed, and which had gained from him something of the power
of his own life.  The church was a nexus of quickened and redeemed
personalities,--men and women in whom Christ lived.  So Paul wrote of
it.  A century later another nameless Christian spoke of Christ being
"new born every day over again in the hearts of believers," and it
would be hard to correct the statement.  If we are to give a true
account of such men as Alexander and Cæsar, we consider them in the
light of the centuries through which their ideas lived and worked.  In
the same way, the life, the mind and the personality of Jesus will not
be understood till we have realized by some intimate experience
something of the worth and beauty of the countless souls that in every
century have found and still find in him the Alpha and Omega of their
being.  For the Gospels are not four but "ten thousand times ten
thousand, and thousands of thousands," and the last word of every one
of them is "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world."

Chapter IV Footnotes:

[1] Justin, _Apology_, i, 66.

[2] Quoted by Origen, _contra Celsum_, ii, 26, 27.

[3] Cf. Mr F. C. Conybeare's article on the remodelling of the
baptismal formula in Matthew xxviii after the Council of Nicæa,
_Hibbert Journal_, Oct. 1902.

[4] Origen, _c. Cels._ vii, 58, _agroikóteron_.

[5] Xen. _Mem_, i, 2, 37.  Cf. Plato, _Symp._ 221 E. Gorgias, 491 A.
See Forbes, _Socrates_, 128; Adam, _Religious Teachers of Greece_, i,

[6] Plato, _Philebus_, 50 B.

[7] On "playfulness" in the words of Jesus, see Burkitt, the _Gospel
History_, p. 142.  See also _Life of Abp Temple_, ii. 681 (letter to
his son 18 Dec. 1896), on the "beam in the eye" and the "eye of the
needle"--"that faint touch of fun which all Oriental teachers delight

[8] Luke iv, 22, _ethaúmazon epì toîs lógois tês charitos_.

[9] George Adam Smith, _Historical Geography of the Holy Land, ad loc._

[10] Matthew xiii, 56 says _pâsai_, and Mark uses a plural.

[11] Luke xi, 5.

[12] Mark ix, 36, _enagkalisámenos_.

[13] _Gospel History_, p. 285.

[14] I believe that the allusion to dogs has been thrown back into
Jesus' words from the woman's reply, and that she was the first to
mention them.  Note Mark's emphatic phrase _dià toûton tòn lógon_; vii,

[15] _Gospel History_, p. 93 f. (with map).

[16] The steady gaze and the pause are mentioned by the Gospels, in
more than one place, as preceding utterance.  There are of course great
variations in the accounts of the last supper.

[17] xxii, 28.

[18] The author of _Rab and his Friends_.

[19] ix, 36.

[20] Cf. _ad Diognetum_, cited on p. 177.

[21] I quote this from a friend to whom a Jew said as much; of course
every general statement requires modification.  Still the predominantly
tribal character of Judaism implies contempt for the spiritual life of
the Gentile Christian and pagan.  If the knowledge of God was or is of
value to the Jew, he has made little effort to share it.

[22] _e.g._ Mark x, 24.

[23] Titus iii, 4.

[24] _Second Clement_ (so-called), 6, 7.

[25] Tert. _de Or._ 1 (end).  Cf. also c. 4, on the prayer in the
Garden; and _de fuga_, 8.




Two things stand out, when we study the character of the early
church--its great complexity and variety, and its unity in the
personality of Jesus of Nazareth.  In spite of the general levelling
which Greek culture and Roman government had made all over the
Mediterranean world, the age-long influences of race and climate and
cult were still at work.  Everywhere there was a varnish of Greek
literature; everywhere a tendency to uniformity in government, very
carefully managed with great tenderness for local susceptibilities, but
none the less a fixed object of the Emperors; everywhere cult was
blended with cult with the lavish hospitality of polytheism; and yet,
apart from denationalized men of letters, artists and dilettanti, the
old types remained and reproduced themselves.  And when men looked at
the Christian community, it was as various as the Empire--"Thou wast
slain," runs the hymn in the Apocalypse, "and thou hast redeemed us to
God by thy blood out of every kindred and tongue and people and
nation."  There soon appeared that desire for uniformity which animated
the secular government, and which appears to be an ineradicable
instinct of the human mind.  Yet for the first two centuries--the
period under our discussion--the movement toward uniformity had not
grown strong enough to overcome the race-marks and the place-marks.
There are great areas over which in Christian life and thought the same
general characteristics are to be seen, which were manifested in other
ways before the Christian era.  There is the great West of Italy, Gaul
and Africa, Latin in outlook, but with strong local variations.  There
is the region of Asia Minor and Greece,--where the church is
Hellenistic in every sense of the word, very Greek upon the surface and
less Greek underneath, again with marked contrasts due to geography and
race-distribution.  Again there is the Christian South--Alexandria,
with its Christian community, Greek and {142} Jewish, and a little
known hinterland, where Christian thought spread, we do not know how.
There was Palestine with a group of Jewish Christians, very clearly
differentiated.  And Eastward there rose a Syrian Christendom, which as
late as the fourth century kept a character of its own.[1]

Into all these great divisions of the world came men eager to tell
"good news"--generally quite commonplace and unimportant people with a
"treasure in earthen vessels."  Their message they put in various ways,
with the aphasia of ill-educated men, who have something to tell that
is far too big for any words at their command.  It was made out at last
that they meant a new relation to God in virtue of Jesus Christ.  From
a philosophic point of view they talked "foolishness," and they lapsed
now and then, under the pressure of what was within them, into
inarticulate and unintelligible talk, from which they might emerge into
utterance quite beyond their ordinary range.  Such symptoms were
familiar enough, but these people were not like the usual exponents of
"theolepsy" and "enthusiasm."  They were astonishingly upright, pure
and honest; they were serious; and they had in themselves inexplicable
reserves of moral force and a happiness far beyond anything that the
world knew.  They were men transfigured, as they owned.  Some would
confess to wasted and evil lives, but something had happened,[2] which
they connected with Jesus or a holy spirit, but everything in the long
run turned upon Jesus.

Clearer heads came about them, and then, as they put it, the holy
spirit fell upon them also.  These men of education and ideas were
"converted," and began at once to analyse their experience, using
naturally the language with which they were familiar.  It was these men
who gave the tone to the groups of believers in their various regions,
and that tone varied with the colour of thought in which the more
reflective converts had grown up.  A great deal, of course, was common
to all regions of the world,--the new story and the new experience, an
unphilosophized group of facts, which now, under the stimulus of man's
unconquerable habit of speculation, began to be interpreted {143} and
to be related in all sorts of ways to the general experience of men.
No wonder there was diversity.  It took centuries to achieve a uniform
account of the Christian faith.

The unity of the early church lay in the reconciliation with God, in
the holy spirit, and Jesus Christ,--a unity soon felt and treasured.
"There is one body and one spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of
your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of
all, who is above all and through all and in you all."[3]  The whole
body of Christians was conscious of its unity, of its distinctness and
its separation.  It was a "peculiar people"[4]--God's own; a "third
race," as the heathen said.[5]

[Sidenote: The recruits]

To go further into detail we may consider the recruits and their
experience, their explanations of this experience, and the new life in
the world.

The recruits came, as the Christians very soon saw, from every race of
mankind, and they brought with them much that was of value in national
preconceptions and characteristics.  The presence of Jew, Greek, Roman,
Syrian and Phrygian, made it impossible for the church to be anything
but universal; and if at times her methods of reconciling somewhat
incompatible contributions were unscientific, still in practice she
achieved the task and gained accordingly.  Where the Empire failed in
imposing unity by decree, the church produced it instinctively.

It was on Jewish ground that Christianity began, and it was from its
native soil and air that it drew, transmuting as it drew them, its
passionate faith in One God, its high moral standard and its lofty
hopes of a Messianic age to come.  For no other race of the
Mediterranean world was the moral law based on the "categoric
imperative."  Nowhere else was that law written in the inward parts, in
the very hearts of the people,[6] and nowhere was it observed so
loyally.  The absurdity and scrupulosity which the Greek ridiculed in
the Jew, were the outcome of his devotion to the law of the Lord; and,
when once the law was reinterpreted and taken to a higher plane by
Jesus, the {144} old passion turned naturally to the new morality.  It
was the Jew who brought to the common Christian stock the conception of
Sin, and the significance of this is immense in the history of the
religion.  It differentiated Christianity from all the religious and
philosophical systems of the ancient world.

  'Tis the faith that launched point-blank her dart
    At the head of a lie--taught Original Sin,
  The Corruption of Man's Heart.

Seneca and the Stoics played with the fancy of man's being equal, or in
some points superior, to God--a folly impossible for a Jewish mind.  It
was the Jews who gave the world the "oracles of God" in the Old
Testament, who invested Christianity for the moment with the dignity of
an ancient history and endowed it for all time with a unique
inheritance of religious experience.  Nor is it only the Old Testament
that the church owes to the Jew; for the Gospels are also his
gift--anchors in the actual that have saved Christianity from all kinds
of intellectual, spiritual and ecclesiastical perils.  And, further, at
the difficult moment of transition, when Christian ideas passed from
the Jewish to the Gentile world, there were Jews of the Hellenistic
type ready to mediate the change.  They of all men stood most clearly
at the universal point of view; they knew the grandeur and the weakness
of the law; they understood at once the Jewish and the Greek mind.  It
is hard to exaggerate what Christianity owes to men of this school--to
Paul and to "John," and to a host of others, Christian Jews of the
Dispersion, students of Philo, and followers of Jesus.  On Jewish soil
the new faith died; it was transplantation alone that made Christianity
possible; for it was the true outcome of the teaching of Jesus, that
the new faith should be universal.

The chief contribution of the Greek was his demand for this very
thing--that Christianity must be universal.  He made no secret of his
contempt for Judaism, and he was emphatic in insisting on a larger
outlook than the Jewish.  No man could seem more naturally unlikely to
welcome the thoughts of Jesus than the "little Greek" (_Graæculus_) of
the Roman world; yet he was won; and then by making it impossible for
Christianity to remain an amalgam of the ideas of Jesus and of Jewish
law, {145} the Greek really secured the triumph of Jesus.  He
eliminated the tribal and the temporary in the Gospel as it came from
purely Jewish teachers, and, with all his irregularities of conduct and
his flightiness of thought, he nevertheless set Jesus before the world
as the central figure of all history and of all existence.[7]  Even the
faults of the Greek have indirectly served the church; for the Gospels
gained their place in men's minds and hearts, because they were the
real refuge from the vagaries of Greek speculation, and offered the
ultimate means of verifying every hypothesis.  The historic Jesus is
never of such consequence to us as when the great intellects tell us
that the true and only heaven is Nephelococcygia.  For Aristophanes was
right--it was the real Paradise of the Greek mind.  What relief the
plain matter-of-fact Gospel must have brought men in a world, where
nothing throve like these cities of the clouds, would be inconceivable,
if we did not know its value still.  While we recognize the real
contribution of the Greek Christians, it is good to see what
Christianity meant to men who were not Greeks.

[Sidenote: Tatian]

There was one Christian of some note in the second century, whose
attitude toward everything Greek is original and interesting.  Tatian
was "born in the land of the Assyrians."[8] He travelled widely in the
Græco-Roman world,[9] and studied rhetoric like a Greek; he gave
attention to the great collections of Greek art in Rome--monuments of
shame, he called them.  He was admitted to the mysteries, but he became
shocked at the cruelty and licentiousness tolerated and encouraged by
paganism.  While in this mind, seeking for the truth, "it befel that I
lit upon some barbarian writings, older than the dogmata of the Greeks,
divine in their contrast with Greek error; and it befel too that I was
convinced by them, because, their style was simple, because there was
an absence of artifice in the speakers, because the structure of the
whole was intelligible, and also because of the fore-knowledge of
future {146} events, the excellence of the precepts and the
subordination of the whole universe to One Ruler (_tò tôn hólôn
monarchikón_).  My soul was taught of God, and I understood that while
Greek literature (_tà mèn_) leads to condemnation, this ends our
slavery in the world and rescues us from rulers manifold and ten
thousand tyrants."[10]  He now repudiated the Greeks and all their
works, the grammarians who "set the letters of the alphabet to quarrel
among themselves,"[11] the philosophers with their long hair and long
nails and vanity,[12] the actors, poets and legislators; and "saying
good-bye to Roman pride and Attic pedantry (_psychrología_) I laid hold
of our barbarian philosophy."[13]  He made the first harmony of the
Gospels--an early witness to the power of their sheer simplicity in a
world of literary affectations.

Another famous Syrian of the century was Ignatius of Antioch, whose
story is collected from seven letters he wrote, in haste and
excitement, as he travelled to Rome to be thrown to the beasts in the
arena--his guards in the meantime being as fierce as any leopards.  The
burden of them all is that Jesus Christ _truly_ suffered on the cross.
Men around him spoke of a phantom crucified by the deluded soldiers
amid the deluded Jews.--No! cries Ignatius, over and over, he _truly_
suffered, he _truly_ rose, ate and drank, and was no dæmon without a
body (_daimónion asómaton_)--none of it is _seeming_, it is all truly,
truly, truly.[14]  He has been called hysterical, and his position
might make any nervous man hysterical--death before him, his Lord's
reality denied, and only time for one word--_Truly_.  Before we pass
him by, let us take a quieter saying of his to illustrate the deepest
thought of himself and his age--"He that hath the word of Jesus truly
can hear his silence also."[15]

The Roman came to the Church as he came to a new province.  He gravely
surveyed the situation, considered the existing arrangements, accepted
them, drew up as it were a _lex provinciæ_ to secure their proper
administration, and thereafter interpreted it in accordance with the
usual principles of Roman {147} law, and, like the procurator in Achæa,
left the Greeks to discuss any abstract propositions they pleased.
Tertullian and Cyprian were lawyers, and gave Latin Christendom the
language, in which in later days the relations of man with his Divine
Sovereign were worked out by the great Latin Fathers.

[Sidenote: Freedom from dæmons]

The confession of Tatian, above cited, emphasizes as one of the great
features of the barbarian literature--its "monarchic" teaching--"it
sets man free from ten thousand tyrants"--and this may be our
starting-point in considering the new experience.  To be rid of the
whole dæmon-world, to have left the dæmons behind and their "hatred of
men,"[16] their astrology,[17] their immorality and cruelty, their
sacrifices, and the terror of "possession" and theolepsy and
enchantment,[18] was happiness in itself.  "We are above fate," said
Tatian, "and, instead of dæmons that deceive, we have learnt one master
who deceiveth not."[19]  "Christ," wrote an unknown Christian of a
beautiful spirit--"Christ wished to save the perishing, and such mercy
has he shown us that we the living do not serve dead gods, but through
him we know the Father of truth."[20]  "Orpheus sang to beguile men,
but my Singer has come to end the tyranny of dæmons," said Clement.[21]
The perils of "meats offered to idols" impressed some, who feared that
by eating of them they would come under dæmoniac influence.  With what
relief they must have read Paul's free speech on the subject--"the
earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof"--"for us there is one
God, the Father, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all
things, and we through him."[22]  "Even the very name of Jesus is
terrible to the dæmons"[23]--the "name that is above every name."  In
no other name was there salvation from dæmons, for philosophy had made
terms with them.

No one can read the Christian Apologists without remarking the stress
which they lay upon the _knowledge_ of God, which the new faith made
the free and glad possession of the humblest.  {148} "They say of us
that we babble nonsense among females, half-grown people, girls and old
people.  No! all our women are chaste and at their distaffs our maidens
sing of things divine," said Tatian, and rejoined with observations on
famous Greek women, Lais, Sappho and others.  Justin, always kindlier,
speaks of Socrates who urged men to seek God, yet owned that "it would
be a hard task to find the father and maker of this All, and when one
had found him, it would not be safe to declare him to all,"[24] but, he
goes on, "our Christ did this by his power.  No man ever believed
Socrates so much as to die for his teaching.  But Christ, who was known
to Socrates in part, (for he was and is the Word that is in
everything...)--on Christ, I say, not only philosophers and scholars
(_philólogoi_) believed, but artisans, men quite without learning
(_idiôtai_), and despised glory and fear and death."  "There is not a
Christian workman but finds out God and manifests him," said
Tertullian.[25] This knowledge of God was not merely a desirable thing
in theory, for it is clear that it was very earnestly sought.  To
Justin's quest for God, allusion has been made--"I hoped I should have
the vision of God at once (_katóphesthai_)" he says.  "Who among men
had any knowledge of what God was, before he came?"[26]  "This," wrote
the fourth evangelist, "is eternal life--that they may know thee, the
one true God and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent."

[Sidenote: The holy spirit]

But it is one thing to be a monotheist, and another to be a child of
"Abba Father," and this is one of the notes of the early Christian.  It
is impossible to over-emphasize the significance of Christian happiness
amid the strain and doubt of the early Empire.  Zeno and Isis each had
something to say, but who had such a message of forgiveness and
reconciliation and of the love of God?  "God is within you," said
Seneca; but he knew nothing of such an experience as the Christian
summed up as the "grace of God," "grace sufficient" and "grace {149}
abounding."  It is hard to think of these familiar phrases being new
and strange--the coining of Paul to express what no man had said
before--and this at the moment when Seneca was writing his "moral
letters" to Lucilius.  Verbal coincidences may be found between Paul
and Seneca, but they are essentially verbal.  The Stoic Spermaticos
Logos was a cold and uninspiring dogma compared with "Abba Father" and
the Spirit of Jesus--it was not the same thing at all.  The one
doctrine made man self-sufficient--in the other, "our sufficiency
(_hikanótes_) is of God." It was the law of nature, contrasted with the
father of the prodigal son--"our kind and tender-hearted father" as
Clement of Rome calls him [27]--the personal God, whose "problem is
ever to save the flock of men; that is why the good God has sent the
good shepherd."[28]

The more lettered of Christian writers like to quote Plato's saying
that man was born to be at home with God (_oikeíôs échein pròs theòn_)
and that he was "a heavenly plant."  Falsehood, they say, and error
obscured all this, but now "that ancient natural fellowship with
heaven" has "leapt forth from the darkness and beams upon us."[29]
"God," says Clement, "out of his great love for men, cleaves to man,
and as when a little bird has fallen out of the nest, the mother-bird
hovers over it, and if perchance some creeping beast open its mouth
upon the little thing,

  Wheeling o'er his head, with screams the dam
  Bewails her darling brood;

so God the Father seeks his image, and heals the fall, and chases away
the beast, and picks up the little one again."[30]

God has "anointed and sealed" his child and given him a pledge of the
new relation--the holy spirit.  This is distinctly said by St Paul,[31]
and the variety of the phenomena, to which he refers, is a little
curious.  Several things are covered by the phrase, and are classed as
manifestations with a common origin.  There are many allusions to
"speaking with tongues"; Paul, however, clearly shows that we are not
to understand a miraculous gift in using actual languages, reduced to
grammar and {150} spoken by men, as the author of the _Acts_ suggests
with a possible reminiscence of a Jewish legend of the law-giving from
Sinai.  The "glossolaly" was inarticulate and unintelligible; it was a
feature of Greek "mantic," an accompaniment of over-strained emotion,
and even to be produced by material agencies, as Plutarch lets us see.
Paul himself is emphatic upon its real irrelevance to the Christian's
main concern, and he deprecates the attention paid to it.  Other
"spiritual" manifestations were visions and prophecies.  With these Dr
William James has dealt in his _Varieties of Religious Experience_,
showing that in them, as in "conversion," there is nothing
distinctively Christian.  The content of the vision and the outcome of
the conversion are the determining factors.  Where men believe that an
ordinary human being can be temporarily transformed by the presence
within him of a spirit, the very belief produces its own evidence.  If
the tenet of the holy spirit rested on nothing else, it would have
filled a smaller place in Christian thought.

[Sidenote: Jesus the saviour]

But when Paul speaks of the holy spirit whereby the Christians are
sealed, calling it now the spirit of God and now the spirit of Jesus,
he is referring to a profounder experience.  Explain conversion as we
may, the word represents a real thing.  Men were changed, and were
conscious of it.  Old desires passed away and a new life began, in
which passion took a new direction, finding its centre of warmth and
light, not in morality, not in religion, but in God as revealed in
Jesus Christ.  "To me to live is Christ," cried Paul, giving words to
the experience of countless others.  Life had a new centre; and duty,
pain and death were turned to gladness.  The early Christian was
conscious of a new spirit within him.  It was by this spirit that they
could cry "Abba, Father"; it was the spirit that guided them into all
truth; it was the spirit that united them to God,[32] that set them
free from the law of sin and death, that meant life and peace and joy
and holiness.  Paul trusted everything to what we might call the
Christian instinct and what he called the holy spirit, and he was
justified.  No force in the world has done so much as this nameless
thing that has controlled and guided and illumined--whatever we call
it.  Any one who has breathed the quiet air of a gathering of men and
women consciously surrendered to the influence of Jesus Christ, with
all its {151} sobering effect, its consecration, its power and
gladness, will know what Paul and his friends meant.  It is hardly to
be known otherwise.  In our documents the spirit is closely associated
with the gathering of the community in prayer.

Freedom from dæmons, forgiveness and reconciliation with God, gladness
and moral strength and peace in the holy spirit--of such things the
early Christians speak, and they associate them all invariably with one
name, the living centre of all.  "Jesus the beloved" is a phrase that
lights up one of the dullest of early Christian pages.[33]  "No! you do
not so much as listen to anyone, if he speaks of anything but Jesus
Christ in truth," says Ignatius.[34]  "What can we give him in return?
He gave us light ... he saved us when we were perishing ... We were
lame in understanding, and worshipped stone and wood, the works of men.
Our whole life was nothing but death....  He pitied us, he had
compassion, he saved us, for he saw we had no hope of salvation except
from him; he called us when we were not, and from not being he willed
us to be."[35] "The blood of Jesus, shed for our salvation, has brought
to all the world the grace of repentance."[36]  "Ye see what is the
pattern that has been given us; what should we do who by him have come
under the yoke of his grace?"[37]  "Let us be earnest to be imitators
of the Lord."[38]  These are a few words from Christians whose writings
are not in the canon.  Jesus is pre-eminently and always the Saviour;
the author of the new life; the revealer of God; the bringer of
immortality.  It made an immense impression upon the ancient world to
see the transformation of those whom it despised,--women, artisans,
slaves and even slave-girls.  Socrates with the hemlock cup and the
brave Thrasea were figures that men loved and honoured.  But here were
all sorts of common people doing the same thing as Socrates and
Thrasea, cheerfully facing torture and death "for the name's sake"--and
it was a name of contempt, too.  "Christ's people"--_Christianoi_--was
a bantering improvisation by the people of Antioch, who were notorious
in antiquity for impudent wit:[39] it was a happy shot {152} and
touched the very centre of the target.  "The name" and "his name," are
constantly recurring phrases.  But it was not only that men would die
for the name--men will die for anything that touches their imagination
or their sympathy--but they lived for it and showed themselves to be
indeed a "new creation."  "Our Jesus"[40] was the author of a new life,
and a very different one from that of Hellenistic cities.  That
Christianity retained its own character in the face of the most
desperate efforts of its friends to turn it into a philosophy congenial
to the philosophies of the day, was the result of the strong hold it
had taken upon innumerable simple people, who had found in it the power
of God in the transformation of their own characters and instincts, and
who clung to Jesus Christ--to the great objective facts of his
incarnation and his death upon the cross--as the firm foundations laid
in the rock against which the floods of theory might beat in vain.  For
now we have to consider another side of early Christian activity--the
explanation of the new experience.

The early Christian community found "the unexamined life" as impossible
as Plato had, and they framed all sorts of theories to account for the
change in themselves.  Of most immediate interest are the accounts
which they give of the holy spirit and of Jesus.  Here we must remember
that in all definition we try to express the less known through the
more known, and that the early Christians necessarily used the best
language available to them, and tried to communicate a new series of
experiences by means of the terms and preconceptions of the thinking
world of their day--terms and preconceptions long since obsolete.

Much in the early centuries of our era is unintelligible until we form
some notion of the current belief in spiritual beings, evidence of
which is found in abundance in the literature of the day, pagan and
Christian.  A growing consensus among philosophers made God more and
more remote, and emphasized the necessity for intermediaries.  We have
seen how Plutarch pronounced for the delegation of rule over the
universe and its functions to ministering spirits.  The Jews had a
parallel belief in angels, and had come to think of God's spirit and
God's intelligence as somehow detachable from his being.  In abstract
{153} thought this may be possible just as we think of an angle without
reference to matter.  The great weakness in the speculation of the
early Empire was this habit of supposing that men can be as certain of
their deductions as of their premisses; and God's Logos, being
conceivable, passed into common religious thought as a separate and
proven existence.

[Sidenote: The holy spirit]

At the same time there was abundant evidence of devil-possession as
there is in China to-day.  Modern medicine distinguishes four classes
of cases which the ancients (and their modern followers) group under
this one head:--Insanity, Epilepsy, Hysteria major and the mystical
state.  To men who had no knowledge of modern medicine and its
distinctions, the evidence of the "possessed" was enough, and it was
apt to be quite clear and emphatic as it is in such cases to-day.  The
man said he "had a devil"--or even a "legion of devils."  The priestess
at the oracle said that a god was within her (_éntheos_).  In both
cases the ocular evidence was enough to convince the onlookers of the
truth of the explanation, for the persons concerned were clearly
changed and were not themselves.[41]  Plato played with the idea that
poetry even might be, as poets said, a matter of inspiration.  The poet
could not be merely himself when he wrote or sang words of such
transforming power.  The Jews gave a similar account of prophecy--the
Spirit of the Lord descended upon men, as we read in the Old Testament.
The Spirit, says Athenagoras to the Greeks, used the Hebrew prophets,
as a flute-player does a flute, while they were in ecstasy (_kat
ékstasin_)[42]--the holy spirit, he adds, is an effluence (_apórroia_)
of God.[43]

The Christians, finding ecstasy, prophecy, trance, and glossolaly among
their own members, and having before them the parallel of Greek
priestesses and Hebrew prophets, and making moreover the same _very_
slight distinction as their pagan {154} neighbours between matter and
spirit, and, finally, possessing all the readiness of unscientific
people in propounding theories,--they assumed an "effluence" from God,
a spirit which entered into a man, just as in ordinary life evil demons
did, but here it was a holy spirit.  This they connected with God after
the manner familiar to Jewish thinkers, and following the same lead,
began to equate it with God, as a separate being.  It is not at first
always quite clear whether it is the spirit of God or of Jesus--or even
a manifestation of the risen Jesus.[44]

When we pass to the early explanations of Jesus, we come into a region
peculiarly difficult.  A later age obscured the divergences of early
theory.  Some opinions the church decisively rejected--Christians would
have nothing to do with a Jesus who was an emanation from an absolute
and inconceivable Being, a Jesus who in that case would be virtually
indistinguishable from Asclepios the kindly-natured divine healer.  Nor
would they tolerate the notion of a phantom-Jesus crucified in show,
while the divine Christ was far away--like Helen in Euripides'
play.[45]  "Spare," says Tertullian, "the one hope of all the
world."[46]  They would not have a "daimonion without a body."  But two
theories, one of older Jewish, and the other of more recent Alexandrian
origin, the church accepted and blended, though they do not necessarily
belong to each other.

[Sidenote: Paul]

The one theory is especially Paul's--sacred to all who lean with him to
the Hebrew view of things, to all who, like him, are touched with the
sense of sin and feel the need of another's righteousness, to all who
have come under the spell of the one great writer of the first century.
A Jew, a native of a Hellenistic city--and "no mean one"[47]--a citizen
of the Roman Empire, a man of wide outlooks, with a gift for
experience, he passed from {155} Pharisaism to Christ.  The mediating
idea was righteousness.  He knew his own guilt before God, and found
that by going about to establish his own righteousness he was achieving

At the same time a suffering Messiah was a contradiction in terms,
unspeakably repulsive to a Jew.  We can see this much in the tremendous
efforts of the Apologists to overcome Jewish aversion by producing Old
Testament prophecies that Christ was to suffer.  _Pathetós_ (subject to
suffering) was a word that waked rage and contempt in every one, who
held to contemporary views of God, or even had dabbled in Stoic or
similar conceptions of human greatness.  But it seems that the serenity
and good conscience of Christian martyrs impressed their persecutor,
who was not happy in his own conscience; and at last the thought
came--along familiar lines--that Christ's sufferings might be for the
benefit of others.  And then he saw Jesus on the road to Damascus.
What exactly happened is a matter of discussion, but Paul was
satisfied--he was "a man in Christ."

Much might be said in criticism of Paul's Christology--if it were not
for Paul and his followers.  They have done too much and been too much
for it to be possible to dissect their great conception in cold blood.
Paul's theories are truer than another man's experiences--they pulse
with life, they have (in Luther's phrase) hands and feet to carry a man
away.  The man is so large and so strong, so simple and true, so
various in his knowledge of the world, so tender in his feeling for
men--"all things to all men"--such a master of language, so sympathetic
and so open--he is irresistible.  The quick movement of his thought,
his sudden flashes of anger and of tenderness, his apostrophes, his
ejaculations--one feels that pen and paper never got such a man written
down before or since.  Every sentence comes charged with the whole
man--half a dozen Greek words, and not always the best Greek--and the
Christian world for ever will sum up its deepest experience in "God
forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,
by whom the world is crucified unto me and I unto the world."

Close examination reveals a good deal of Judaism surviving in Paul,--a
curious way of playing with the text of Scripture, {156} odd
reminiscences of old methods, and deeper infiltrations of a Jewish
thought which is not that of Jesus.  Yet it does not affect our feeling
for him--he stands too close to us as a man, too much over us as the
teacher of Augustine, Calvin and Luther--a man, whom it took more
genius to explain than the church had for fifteen centuries, and yet
the man to whom the church owes its universal reach and unity, its
theology and the best of the language in which it has expressed its
love for his master.

[Sidenote: Explanation of Jesus]

Paul went back to the Jewish conception of a Messiah, modified, in the
real spirit of Jesus, by the thought of suffering.  But when we put
side by side the Messiah of Jesus and the Messiah of Paul, we become
conscious of a difference.  The latter is a mediator between God and
man, making atonement, transferring righteousness by a sort of legal
fiction, and implying a conception of God's fatherhood far below that
taught by Jesus.  At the same time Paul has other thoughts of a
profounder and more permanent value.  It is hard, for instance, to
imagine that any change, which time and thought may bring, can alter a
word in his statement that "God was in Christ, reconciling the world to
himself"--here there is no local or temporal element even in the
wording.  It may be noted that Paul has his own names for Jesus, for
while he uses "Messiah" (in Greek) and "Son of God," he is the first to
speak of "the Lord" and "the Saviour."  Paul held the door open for the
other great theory of the early church, when he emphasized the
pre-existence of the heavenly Christ and made him the beginning, the
centre and the end of all history.

The Logos, as we have seen, was not an original idea of the Christian
world.  It was long familiar to Greek philosophy, and Philo and the
Stoics base much of their thought upon it.  It must have come into the
church from a Greek or Hellenistic source, perhaps as a translation of
Paul's "heavenly Christ."  As it stands, it is a peculiarly bold
annexation from Philosophy.  No Stoic would have denied that the
Spermaticos Logos was in Jesus, but the bold identification of the
Logos with Jesus must have been "foolishness to the Greek."  Still in
contemporary thought there was much to dispose men to believe in such
an incarnation of the Logos in a human being, though there is no
suggestion that a spiritual being of any at all commensurate {157}
greatness was ever so incarnated before.  But the thought appealed to
the Christian mind, when once the shock to Greek susceptibilities was
overcome.  Once accepted, it "solved all questions in the earth and out
of it."  It permitted the congenial idea of Greek theology to
remain--the transcendence of God being saved by this personification of
his Thought.  It was a final blow to all theories that made Jesus an
emanation, a phantom or a demi-god, and it kept his historic
personality well in the centre of thought, though leaving it now
comparatively much less significance.

Surveying the two accounts, Jewish and Greek, we cannot help remarking
that they belong to other ages of thought than our own.  Columbus,
Copernicus and Darwin were neither philosophers nor theologians, but
they have changed the perspectives of philosophy and theology, and we
think to-day with a totally different series of preconceptions from
those of Jew and Greek of the first century.  The Greek himself never
thought much of the "chosen race," and it was only when he realized
that Jesus was not a tribal hero, that he accepted him.  To the Greek
the Messiah was as strange a thought as to ourselves.  To us the Logos
is as strange as the Messiah was to the Greek.  We have really at
present no terms in which to express what we feel to be the permanent
significance of Jesus, and the old expressions may repel us until we
realize, first, that they are not of the original essence of the
Gospel, and second, that they represent the best language which Greek
and Jew could find for a conviction which we share--that Jesus of
Nazareth does stand in the centre of human history, that he has brought
God and man into a new relation, that he is the personal concern of
everyone of us, and that there is more in him than we have yet
accounted for.

Into the question of the organization adopted by the early Christians
and the development of the idea of the church, it is not essential to
our present purpose to inquire.  Opinion varies as to how far we should
seek the origin of the church in the teaching and work of Jesus.  If
his mind has been at all rightly represented in this book, it seems to
follow that he was not responsible either for the name or the idea of
the church.  Minds of the class to which his belongs have as a rule
little or no interest in organizations and arrangements, and nothing
can {158} be more alien to the tone and spirit of his thinking than the
ecclesiastical idea as represented by Cyprian and Ignatius.  That out
of the group of followers who lived with Jesus, a society should grow,
is natural; and societies instinctively organize themselves.  The Jew
offered the pattern of a theocracy, and the Roman of a hierarchy of
officials, but it took two centuries to produce the church of Cyprian.
The series of running fights with Greek speculation in the second
century contributed to the natural and acquired instincts for order and
system,--particularly in a world where such instincts had little
opportunity of exercise in municipal, and less in political, life.  The
name was, as Harnack says, a masterly stroke--the "ecclesia of God"
suggested to the Greek the noble and free life of a self-governing
organism such as the ancient world had known, but raised to a higher
plane and transfigured from a Periclean Athens to a Heavenly Jerusalem.
Fine conceptions and high ideals clung about the idea of the church in
the best minds,[48] but in practice it meant the transformation of the
gospel into a code, the repression of liberty of thought, and the final
extinction of prophecy.  For the view that every one of these results
was desirable, reason might be shown in the vagaries of life and
speculation which the age knew, but it was obviously a departure from
the ideas of Jesus.

[Sidenote: The new life]

The rise of the church was accompanied by the rise of mysteries.  There
is a growing consensus of opinion among independent scholars that Jesus
instituted no sacraments, yet Paul found the rudiments of them among
the Christians and believed he had the warrant of Jesus for the
heightening which he gave to them.  Ignatius speaks of the Ephesians
"breaking one bread, which is the medicine of immortality (_phárkmakon
athanasías_) and the antidote that we should not die"--the former
phrase reappearing in Clement of Alexandria.[49]  That such ideas
should emerge in the Christian community is natural enough, when we
consider its environment--a world without natural science, steeped in
belief in every kind of magic and enchantment, and full of public and
private religious societies, every one of which had its mysteries and
miracles and its blood-bond with its peculiar deity.  It was from such
a world {159} and such societies that most of the converts came and
brought with them the thoughts and instincts of countless generations,
who had never conceived of a religion without rites and mysteries.
Baptism similarly took on a miraculous colour--men were baptized for
the dead in Paul's time--and before long it bore the names familiarly
given by the world to all such rituals of admission--enlightenment
(_phôtismós_) and initiation; and with the names came many added
symbolic practices in its administration.  The Christians readily
recognized the parallel between their rites and those of the heathen,
but no one seems to have perceived the real connexion between them.
Quite naïvely they suggest the exact opposite--it was the dæmons, who
foresaw what the Christian rites (_hierá_) would be, and forestalled
them with all sorts of pagan parodies.[50]

But, after all, the force of the Christian movement lay neither in
church, nor in sacrament, but in men.  "How did Christianity rise and
spread among men?" asks Carlyle, "was it by institutions, and
establishments, and well arranged systems of mechanism?  No! ... It
arose in the mystic deeps of man's soul; and was spread by the
'preaching of the word,' by simple, altogether natural and individual
efforts; and flew, like hallowed fire, from heart to heart, till all
were purified and illuminated by it.  Here was no Mechanism; man's
highest attainment was accomplished Dynamically, not Mechanically."[51]
Nothing could be more just.  The Gospel set fire to men's hearts, and
they needed to do nothing but live to spread their faith.  The ancient
evidence is abundant for this.  The Christian had an "insatiable
passion for doing good"[52]--not as yet a technical term--and he "did
good" in the simplest kind of ways.  "Even those things which you do
after the flesh are spiritual," says Ignatius himself, "for you do all
things in Jesus Christ."[53]  "Christians," says a writer whose name is
lost, "are not distinguishable from the rest of mankind in land or
speech or customs.  They inhabit no special cities of their own, nor do
they use any different form of speech, nor do they cultivate any
out-of-the-way life....  But while they live in Greek and barbarian
cities as their lot may be {160} cast, and follow local customs in
dress and food and life generally, ... yet they live in their own
countries as sojourners only; they take part in everything as citizens
and submit to everything as strangers.  Every strange land is native to
them, and every native land is strange.  They marry and have children
like everyone else--but they do not expose their children.  They have
meals in common, but not wives.  They are in the flesh, but they do not
live after the flesh.  They continue on earth, but their citizenship is
in heaven.  They obey the laws ordained, and by their private lives
they overcome the laws....  In a word, what the soul is in the body,
that is what Christians are in the world."[54]

"As a rule," wrote Galen, "men need to be educated in parables.  Just
as in our day we see those who are called Christians[55] have gained
their faith from parables.  Yet they sometimes act exactly as true
philosophers would.  That they despise death is a fact we all have
before our eyes; and by some impulse of modesty they abstain from
sexual intercourse--some among them, men and women, have done so all
their lives.  And some, in ruling and controlling themselves, and in
their keen passion for virtue, have gone so far that real philosophers
could not excel them."[56]  So wrote a great heathen, and Celsus admits
as much himself.  In life at least, if not in theory, the Christians
daily kept to the teaching of their Master.  "Which is ampler?" asks
Tertullian, "to say, Thou shalt not kill; or to teach, Be not even
angry?  Which is more perfect, to forbid adultery or to bid refrain
from a single lustful look?"[57]  There was as yet no flight from the
world, though Christians had no illusions about it or about the devil
who played so large a part in its affairs.  They lived in an age that
saw Antinous deified.[58]  They stood for marriage and family life,
while all around "holy" men felt there was an unclean and dæmonic
element in marriage.[59]  One Christian writer even speaks of women
being {161} saved by child-bearing.[60]  Social conditions they
accepted--even slavery among them--but they brought a new spirit into
all; love and the sense of brotherhood could transform every thing.
Slavery continued, but the word "slave" is not found in Christian

Above all, they were filled with their Master's own desire to save men.
"I am debtor," wrote Paul, "both to Greeks and to barbarians, wise and
unwise."[62]  If modern criticism is right in detaching the "missionary
commission" (in Matthew) from the words of Jesus, the fact remains that
the early Christians were "going into all the world" and "preaching the
gospel to every creature" for half a century before the words were
written.  Why?  "He that has the word of Jesus truly can hear his
silence," said Ignatius; and if Jesus did not speak these words, men
heard his silence to the same effect.  Celsus, like Julian long after
him, was shocked at the kind of people to whom the gospel was

The Christian came to the helpless and hopeless, whom men despised, and
of whom men despaired, with a message of the love and tenderness of
God, and he brought it home by a new type of love and tenderness of his
own.  Kindness to friends the world knew; gentleness, too, for the sake
of philosophic calm; clemency and other more or less self-contained
virtues.  The "third race" had other ideas--in all their virtues there
was the note of "going out of oneself," the unconsciousness which Jesus
loved--an instinctive habit of negating self (_aparnésasthai heautón_),
which does not mean medieval asceticism, nor the dingy modern virtue of
self-denial.  There was no sentimentalism in it; it was the spirit of
Jesus spiritualizing and transforming and extending the natural
instinct of brotherliness by making it theocentric.  Christians for a
century or two never thought of _ataraxia_ or apathy, and, though
Clement of Alexandria plays with them, he tries to give them a new
turn.  Fortunately the Gospels were more read than the _Stromateis_ and
"Christian apathy" never succeeded.  The heathen recognized sympathy as
a Christian characteristic--"How these {162} Christians love each
other!" they said.  Lucian bears the same testimony to the mutual care
and helpfulness of Christians.  "You see," wrote Lucian, "these poor
creatures have persuaded themselves that they are immortal for all time
and will live for ever, which explains why they despise death and
voluntarily give themselves up, as a general rule; and then their
original law-giver persuaded them that they are all brothers, from the
moment that they cross over and deny the gods of Greece and worship
their sophist who was gibbeted, and live after his laws.  All this they
accept, with the result that they despise all worldly goods alike and
count them common property."  In a later century Julian, perhaps
following Maximin Daza, whom he copied in trying to organize heathenism
into a new catholic church, urged benevolence on his fellow-pagans, if
they wished to compete with the Christians.  It was the only thing, he
felt, that could revive paganism, and his appeal met with no response.
"Infinite love in ordinary intercourse" is the Christian life, and it
must come from within or nowhere.  No organization can produce it, and,
however much we may have to discount Christian charity in some
directions as sometimes mechanical, the new spirit of brotherhood in
the world presupposed a great change in the hearts of men.

It was not Stoic cosmopolitanism.  The Christian was not "the citizen
of the world" nor "the Friend of Man"; he was a plain person who gave
himself up for other people, cared for the sick and the worthless, had
a word of friendship and hope for the sinful and despised, would not go
and see men killed in the amphitheatre, and--most curious of all--was
careful to have indigent brothers taught trades by which they could
help themselves.  A lazy Christian was no Christian, he was a "trader
in Christ."[64]  If the Christians' citizenship was in heaven, he had a
social message for this world in the meantime.

[Sidenote: Woman]

Every great religious movement coincides with a new discovery of truth
of some kind, and such discoveries induce a new temper.  Men inquire
more freely and speak more freely the truth they feel.  Mistakes are
made and a movement begins {163} for "quenching the spirit."  But the
gains that have been made by the liberated spirits are not lost.  Thus
the early Christian rose quickly to a sense of the value of woman.  Dr
Verrall pronounces that "the radical disease, of which, more than of
anything else, ancient civilization perished "was" an imperfect ideal
of woman."[65]  In the early church woman did a good many things, which
in later days the authorities preferred not to mention.  Thekla's name
is prominent in early story, and the prophetesses of Phrygia, Prisca
and Maximilla, have a place in Church History.  They were not popular;
but the church was committed to the Gospel of Luke and the ministry of
women to the Lord.  And whatever the Christian priesthood did or said,
Jesus and his followers had set woman on a level with man.  "There is
neither male nor female."  The same freedom of spirit is attested by
the way in which pagan prophets and their dupes classed Christians with
Epicureans[66]--they saw and understood too much.  The Christians were
the only people (apart from the Jews) who openly denounced the folly of
worshipping and deifying Emperors.  Even Ignatius, who is most famous
for his belief in authority, breaks into independence when men try to
make the Gospel dependent on the Old Testament--"for me the documents
(_tà archeia_) are Jesus Christ; my unassailable documents are his
cross, and his death and resurrection, and the faith that is through
him; in which things I hope with your prayers to be saved."[67]  "Where
the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty," as Paul said.

God and immortality were associated in Christian thought.  Christians,
said a writer using the name of Peter, are to be "partakers of the
divine nature."  "If the soul," says Tatian, "enters into union with
the divine spirit, it is no longer helpless, but ascends to regions
whither the spirit guides it; for the dwelling-place of the spirit is
above, but the origin of the soul is from beneath."[68]  "God sent
forth to us the Saviour and Prince of immortality, by whom he also made
manifest to us the truth and the heavenly life."[69]  The Christian's
life is "hid with Christ in God," and Christ's resurrection is to the
{164} early church the pledge of immortality--"we shall be ever with
the Lord."  For the transmigration of souls and "eternal re-dying,"
life was substituted.[70]  "We have believed," said Tatian, "that there
will be a resurrection of our bodies, after the consummation of all
things--not, as the Stoics dogmatize, that in periodic cycles the same
things for ever come into being and pass out of it for no good
whatever,--but once for all," and this for judgment.  The judge is not
Minos nor Rhadamanthus, but "God the maker is the arbiter."[71]  "They
shall see him (Jesus) then on that day," wrote the so-called Barnabas,
"wearing the long scarlet robe upon his flesh, and they will say 'Is
this not he whom we crucified, whom we spat upon, and rejected?'"[72]
Persecution tempted the thought of what "that day" would mean for the
persecutor.  But it was a real concern of the Christian himself.  "I
myself, utterly sinful, not yet escaped from temptation, but still in
the midst of the devil's engines,--I do my diligence to follow after
righteousness that I may prevail so far as at least to come near it,
fearing the judgment that is to come."[73] Immortality and
righteousness--the two thoughts go together, and both depend upon Jesus
Christ.  He is emphatically called "our Hope"--a favourite phrase with

[Sidenote: Martyrdom and happiness]

Some strong hope was needed--some "anchor of the soul, sure and
steadfast."[75]  Death lay in wait for the Christian at every turn,
never certain, always probable.  The dæmons whom he had renounced took
their revenge in exciting his neighbours against him.[76]  The whim of
a mob[77] or the cruelty of a governor[78] might bring him face to face
with death in no man knew what horrible form.  One writer spoke of "the
burning that came for trial,"[79] and the phrase was not exclusively a
metaphor.  {165} "Away with the atheists--where is Polycarp?" was a
sudden shout at Smyrna--the mob already excited with sight of "the
right noble Germanicus fighting the wild beasts in a signal way."  The
old man was sought and found--with the words "God's will be done" upon
his lips.  He was pressed to curse Christ.  "Eighty-six years I have
been his slave," he said, "and he has done me no wrong.  How can I
blaspheme my King who saved me?"[80]  The suddenness of these attacks,
and the cruelty, were enough to unnerve anyone who was not "built upon
the foundation."  Nero's treatment of the Christians waked distaste in
Rome itself.  But it was the martyrdoms that made the church.
Stephen's death captured Paul.  "I delighted in Plato's teachings,"
says Justin, "and I heard Christians abused, but I saw they were
fearless in the face of death and all the other things men count
fearful."[81]  Tertullian and others with him emphasize that "the blood
of martyrs is the seed of the church."  It was the death of Jesus over
again--the last word that carried conviction with it.

With "the sentence of death in themselves" the early Christians faced
the world, and astonished it by more than their "stubbornness."  They
were the most essentially happy people of the day--Jesus was their
hope, their sufficiency was of God, their names were written in heaven,
they were full of love for all men--they had "become little children,"
as Jesus put it, glad and natural.  Jesus had brought them into a new
world of possibilities.  A conduct that ancient moralists dared not
ask, the character of Jesus suggested, and the love of Jesus made
actual.  "I can do all things," said Paul, "in him that strengtheneth
me."  They looked to assured victory over evil and they achieved it.
"This is the victory that _has_ overcome the world--our faith."  Very
soon a new note is heard in their words.  Stoicism was never
"essentially musical"; Epictetus announces a hymn to Zeus,[82] but he
never starts the tune.  Over and over again there is a sound of singing
in Paul--as in the eighth chapter of the _Romans_, and the thirteenth
of _First Corinthians_,[83] and it repeats itself.  "Children of joy"
is Barnabas' name for his friends.[84] {166} "Doing the will of Christ
we shall find rest," wrote the unknown author of "Second Clement."[85]
"Praising we plough; and singing we sail," wrote the greater
Clement.[86]  "Candidates for angelhood, even here we learn the strain
hereafter to be raised to God, the function of our future glory," said
Tertullian.[87] "Clothe thyself in gladness, that always has grace with
God and is welcome to him--and revel in it.  For every glad man does
what is good, and thinks what is good....  The holy spirit is a glad
spirit ... yes, they shall all live to God, who put away sadness from
themselves and clothe themselves in all gladness."  So said the angel
to Hermas,[88] and he was right.  The holy spirit was a glad spirit,
and gladness--joy in the holy spirit--was the secret of Christian
morality.  Nothing could well be more gay and happy than Clement's
_Protrepticus_.  Augustine was attracted to the church because he saw
it _non dissolute hilaris_.  Such happiness in men is never without a
personal centre, and the church made no secret that this centre was
"Jesus Christ, whom you have not seen, but you love him; whom yet you
see not, but you believe in him and rejoice with joy unspeakable and

Chapter V Footnotes:

[1] See Burkitt's _Early Eastern Christianity_.

[2] See Justin, _Apology_, i, 14, a vivid passage on the change of
character that has been wrought in men by the Gospel.  Cf. Tert. _ad
Scap._ 2, _nec aliunde noscibiles quam de emendatione vitiorum

[3] Ephesians iv, 4.

[4] 1 Peter ii, 7.

[5] Tertullian, _ad Nationes_, i, 8, _Plane, tertium genus dicimur ...
verum recogitate ne quos tertium genus dicitis principem locum
obtineant, siquidem non ulla gens non Christiana_.

[6] Cf. Jeremiah xxxi, 31--a favourite passage with Christian

[7] Professor Percy Gardner (_Growth of Christianity_, p. 49)
illustrates this by comparison of earlier and later stages in Christian
Art.  On some early Christian sarcophagi Jesus is represented with
markedly Jewish features; soon however he is idealized into a type of
the highest humanity.

[8] Tatian, 42.

[9] _Id._ 35.

[10] Tatian, 29.  Cf. the account Theophilus gives of the influence
upon him of the study of the prophets, i, 14.

[11] 26.

[12] 25.

[13] 35.

[14] Ignatius, _Magn._ 11; _Trall_, 9, 10; _Smyrn._ 1, 2, 3, 12.

[15] Ignatius, _Eph._ 15, _logon Iésoî kekteménos alethôs dynatai kaì
tês hesychías autoû akoúeis_.

[16] Tatian, 16, 17.  Cf. Plutarch (cited on p. 107) on malignant
dæmons.  See Tertullian, _Apol._ 22; Justin, _Apol._ ii. 5; Clem. Alex.
_Protr._ 3, 41, on the works of dæmons.

[17] Tatian, 7, 8.

[18] See Tertullian, _de Idol._ 9, on the surprising case of a
Christian who wished to pursue his calling of astrologer--a claim
Tertullian naturally will not allow.

[19] Tatian, 9.

[20] The so-called second letter of Clement of Rome, c. 3.

[21] Clem. Alex. _Protr._ 3.

[22] 1 Cor. vi, etc.

[23] Justin, _Dial. c. Tryph._ 30.

[24] Tatian, 33; Justin, _Apol._ ii, 10.  It may be noted that Justin
quotes the famous passage in the Timæus (28 C) not quite correctly.
Such passages "familiar in his mouth as household words" are very
rarely given with verbal accuracy.  Tertullian, _Apol._ 46, and
Clement, _Strom._ v, 78, 92, also quote this passage.

[25] _Apol._ 46.  Compare Theophilus, i, 2; "If you say 'Show me your
God,' I would say to you, 'Show me your man and I will show you my
God,' or show me the eyes of your soul seeing, and the ears of your
heart hearing."

[26] _ad Diogn._ 8, 1.

[27] Clem. R. 29, 1, _tòn epieikê kaì eúsplagchnon patéra hêmôn_.

[28] Clem. Alex. _Protr._ 116.

[29] Clem. Alex. _Protr._ 25, _émphytos archaía koinônia_.

[30] Clem. Alex. _Protr._ 91, citing _Iliad_, 2, 315 (Cowper).

[31] 2 Cor. i, 22; v, 5.

[32] Cf. Tatian, 15.

[33] Barnabas, 4, 8.

[34] Ign. _Eph._ 6, 2.

[35] II. Clem. 1, 3-7 (abridged a little).

[36] Clem. R. 7, 4.

[37] Clem. R. 16, 17.

[38] Ign. _Eph._ 10, 3.

[39] Cf. Socr. _e.h._ iii, 17, 4, the Antiochenes mocked the Emperor
Julian, _eurípistoi gàr oi ánthrôpoi eis húbreis_.

[40] II. Clem. 14, 2.

[41] See Tertullian, _Apol._ 22.

[42] Athenagoras, _Presbeia_, 9.

[43] See a very interesting chapter in Philo's _de migr. Abr._ 7 (441
M), where he gives a very frequent experience of his own (_muriákis
pathòn_) as a writer.  Sometimes, though he "saw clearly" what to say,
he found his mind "barren and sterile" and went away with nothing done,
with "the womb of his soul closed."  At other times he "came empty and
suddenly became full, as thoughts were imperceptibly sowed and snowed
upon him from above, so that, as if under Divine possession (_katochês
enthéou_), he became frenzied (_korubantiân_) and utterly knew not the
place, nor those present, nor himself, nor what was said or written."
See Tert. _de Anima_, 11, on the spirits of God and of the devil that
may come upon the soul.

[44] It may be remarked, in passing, that the contemporary worship of
the Emperor is to be explained by the same theory of the possibility of
an indwelling daimonion.  It was helped out by the practice, which had
never so far died out in the East and in Egypt, of regarding the King
and his children as gods incarnate.  See J. G. Frazer, _Early History
of Kingship_.

[45] Tertullian, _adv._ Marc, iii, 8, _nihil solidam ab inani, nihil
plenum a vacuo perfici licuit ... imaginarius operator, imaginariæ

[46] Tertullian, _de carne Christi_, 5.

[47] His Tarsiot feeling is perhaps shown by his preference that women
should be veiled.  Dio Chrysostom (_Or._ 33, 48) mentions that in
Tarsus there is much conservatism shown in the very close veiling of
the women's faces.

[48] Tert. _Apol._ 39, _Corpus sumus de conscientia religionis et
disciplinæ unitate et spei foedere_.

[49] Ign. _Eph._ 20; Clem. Alex. _Protr._ 106.

[50] Justin, _Apol._ i, 66, the use of bread and cup in the mysteries
of Mithras; Tertullian, _de Bapt._ 5, on baptism in the rites of Isis
and Mithras, the mysteries of Eleusis, etc.

[51] Carlyle, _Signs of the Times_, (Centenary edition of Essays, ii,
p. 70.)

[52] Clem. R. 2, 2, _akórestos póthos eis agathopoíian_.

[53] Ign. _Eph._ 8, 2.

[54] Auctor _ad Diognetum_, 5-6.

[55] He apologizes for the use of the name, as educated people did in
his day, when it was awkward or impossible to avoid using it.  It was a

[56] Galen, extant in Arabic in _hist. anteislam_.  _Abulfedæ_ (ed.
Fleischer, p. 109), quoted by Harnack, _Expansion of Christianity_, i,
p. 266.

[57] Tertullian, _Apol._ 45; cf. Justin, _Apol._ i, 15.

[58] Cf. Justin, _Apol._ i, 29.

[59] The feeling referred to is associated with the primitive sense of
the mystery of procreation and conception surviving, it is said, among
the Arunta of Australia, and very widely in the case of twins; see
Rendel Harris, _Cult of the Dioscuri_.

[60] Tim. 2, 15.  Cf. Tert. _adv. Marc._ iv, 17, _nihil impudentius si
ille nos sibi filio faciet qui nobis filios facere non permisit
aufercndo conubium_.

[61] de Rossi, cited by Harnack, _Expansion_, i, 208 n.

[62] Romans 1, 14.

[63] See p. 241; and cf. Justin, _Apol._ i, 15.

[64] _Didache_, 12.  _ei dè ouk échei téchnên, katà tèn synesin humôn
pronoésate, pôs mè argòs meth hymôn zésetai christianos.  ei dè ou
thelei oútô poieîn, christémporós estin prosechete apò tôn toioûton_.
See Tert. _Apol._ 39, on provision for the needy and the orphan, the
shipwrecked, and those in jails and mines.

[65] Euripides the Rationalist, p. 111 n.

[66] Lucian, _Alexander_, 38, Alexander said: "If any atheist, or
Christian, or Epicurean comes as a spy upon our rites let him flee!"
He said _éxô christianoús_, and the people responded _exo Epikoureíous_.

[67] Ignatius, _Philad._ 8.

[68] Tatian, 13.

[69] II. Clem. 20, 5.

[70] See Tertullian, _de Testim. Animæ_, 4, the Christian opinion much
nobler than the Pythagorean.

[71] Tatian, 6.  Cf. Justin, _Apol._ i, 8; and Tertullian, _de
Spectaculis_, 30, quoted on p. 305.

[72] Barnabas, 7, 9.  Cf. Rev. i, 7.  Behold he Cometh with the clouds
and every eye shall see him--and they that pierced him.  Cf.
Tertullian, _de Spect._ 30, once more.

[73] II. Clem. 18, 2.

[74] Ignatius, _Eph._ 21; _Magn._ 11; _Trall._ int. 2, 2; _Philad._ 11.

[75] _Hebrews_ 6, 19.

[76] Justin, Apol. i, 5, the dæmons procured the death of Socrates,
_kaì homoiôs eph hymôn tò autò energoûoi_: 10, they spread false
reports against Christians; _Apol._ ii, 12; Minucius Felix, 27, 8.

[77] The mob, with stones and torches, Tert. _Apol._ 37; even the dead
Christian was dragged from the grave, _de asylo quodam mortis_, and
torn to pieces.

[78] Stories of governors in Tert. _ad Scap._ 3, 4, 5; one provoked by
his wife becoming a Christian.

[79] I. Peter 4, 12.

[80] _Martyrium Polycarpi_, 3, 7-11.

[81] Justin, _Apol._ ii, 12.

[82] _D._ i, 16, the hymn he proposes is quoted on p. 62.  It hardly
sings itself, and he does not return to it.  The verbal parallel of the
passage with that in Clement, _Strom._ vii, 35, heightens the contrast
of tone.

[83] See Norden, _Kunstprosa_, ii, 509.

[84] Barnabas, 7, 1.

[85] II. Clem. 6, 7.

[86] _Strom._ vii, 35.

[87] _de orat._ 3.

[88] Hermas, _M._ 10, 31,--the word is _ilaròs_; which Clement (_l.c._)
also uses, conjoining it with _semnós_.  Cf. Synesius, _Ep._ 57, p.
1389, Migne, who says that when he was depressed about becoming a
bishop (410 A.D.), old men told him _hos ilarón esti tò pneûma tò
hágion kaì ilarúnei toùs metóchous autoû_.

[89] 1 Peter, 1, 8.




It is a much discussed question as to how far Jesus realized the
profound gulf between his own religious position and that of his
contemporaries.  Probably, since tradition meant more to them, they
were quicker to see declension from orthodox Judaism than a mind more
open and experimental; and when they contrived his death, it was with a
clear sense of acting in defence of God's Law and God's Covenant with
Israel.  From their own point of view they were right, for the triumph
of the ideas of Jesus was the abolition of tribal religions and their
supersession by a new mind or spirit with nothing local or racial about

The death of Jesus meant to the little community, which he left behind
him, a final cleavage with the system of their fathers, under which
they had been born, and with which was associated every religious idea
they had known before their great intimacy began.  It was a moment of
boundless import in the history of mankind.  Slowly and reluctantly
they moved out into the great unknown,--pilgrim fathers, unconscious of
the great issues they carried, but obedient to an impulse, the truth of
which history has long since established.  Once again it was their
opponents who were the quickest to realize what was involved, for
affection blinded their own eyes.

The career of Paul raised the whole question between Judaism and
Christianity.  He was the first to speak decisively of going to the
Gentiles.  The author of the _Acts_ cites precedents for his action;
and, as no great movement in man's affairs comes unheralded, it is easy
to believe that even before Paul "the word" reached Gentile ears.  None
the less the leader in the movement was Paul; and whatever we may
imagine might have been the history of Christianity without him, it
remains that he declared, decisively and for all time, the church's
independence of the synagogue.  It is {168} not unlikely that, even
before his conversion, he had grasped the fact that church and
synagogue were not to be reconciled, and that, when "it pleased God to
reveal his Son in him," he knew at once that he was in "a new creation"
and that he was to be a prophet of a new dispensation.

[Sidenote: The Jewish heritage]

There is no doubt that the hostile Jews very quickly realised Paul's
significance, but the Christians were not so quick.  Paul was a
newcomer and very much the ablest man among them--they were "not many
wise, not many learned," and Paul, though he does not mention it, was
both.  He was moreover proposing to take them into regions far beyond
their range; he had not personally known "the Lord" and they had; and
there was no clear word of Jesus on the Gentile question.  There was a
conference.  What took place, Paul tries in the Galatians to tell; but
he is far too quick a thinker to be a master of mere narrative; the
question of Christian freedom was too hot in his heart to leave him
free for reminiscence, and the matter is not very clear.  The author of
the Acts was not at the council, and, whatever his authorities may have
been, there is a constant suggestion in his writing that he has a
purpose in view--a purpose of peace between parties.  Whether they
liked the result or not, the Christian community seem loyally to have
submitted themselves to "the Spirit of Jesus."  "It seemed good to the
holy spirit and to us" tells the story of their deliberations, whether
they put the phrase at the top of a resolution or did not.  Paul came
to the personal followers of Jesus with a new and strange conception of
the religion of their Master.  They laid it alongside of their memories
of their Master, and they heard him say "Go ye into all the world"; and
they went.

The natural outcome of this forward step at once became evident.  Paul
did not go among the Gentiles to "preach circumcision," and there
quickly came into being, throughout Asia Minor and in the Balkan
provinces, many groups of Christians of a new type--Gentile in mind and
tradition, and in Christian life no less Gentile.  They remained
uncircumcised, they did not observe the Sabbath nor any other
distinctive usage of Judaism--they were a new people, a "third race."
Their very existence put Judaism on the defensive; for, if their
position was justified, it was hard to see {169} what right Judaism had
to be.  It was not yet quite clear what exactly the new religion was,
nor into what it might develope; but if, as the Gentile Christians and
their Apostle claimed, they stood in a new relation to God, a higher
and a more tender than the greatest and best spirits in Israel had
known, and this without the seal of God's covenant with Israel and
independently of his law, then it was evident that the unique
privileges of Israel were void, and that, as Paul put it, "there is
neither Jew nor Greek."

That part of the Jewish race, and it was the larger part, which did not
accept the new religion, was in no mind to admit either Paul's
premisses or his conclusions.  They stood for God's covenant with
Israel.  Nor did they stand alone, for it took time to convince even
Christian Jews that the old dispensation had yielded to a new one, and
that the day of Moses was past.  To the one class the rise of the
Christian community was a menace, to the other a problem.  The one left
no means untried to check it.  By argument, by appeals to the past, by
working on his superstitions, they sought to make the Christian convert
into a Jew; and, when they failed, they had other methods in reserve.
Themselves everywhere despised and hated, as they are still, for their
ability and their foreign air, they stirred up their heathen neighbours
against the new race.  Again and again, in the _Acts_ and in later
documents, we read of the Jews being the authors of pagan
persecution.[1]  The "unbelieving Jew" was a spiritual and a social
danger to the Christian in every city of the East.  The converted Jew
was, in his way, almost as great a difficulty within the community.

It is not hard to understand the feeling of the Jews within or without
the Church.  Other races had their ancient histories, and the Jew had
his--a history long and peculiar.  From the day of Abraham, the friend
of God, the chosen race had been the special care of Jehovah.  Jehovah
had watched over them; he had saved them from their enemies; he had
visited them for their iniquities; he had sent them prophets; he had
given them his law.  In a long series of beautiful images, which move
us yet, Jehovah had spoken, through holy men of old, of his love for
Israel.  To Israel belonged the oracles of God {170} and his promises.
For here again the national consciousness of Israel differed from that
of every other race.  It was something that in the past God had spoken
to no human family except the seed of Abraham; it was more that to
them, and to them alone, he had assured the future.  Deeply as Israel
felt the trials of the present, the Roman would yet follow the Persian
and the Greek, and the day of Israel would dawn.  The Messiah was to
come and restore all things.

"He shall destroy the ungodly nations with the word of his mouth, so
that at his rebuke the nations may flee before him, and he shall
convict the sinners in the thoughts of their hearts.

"And he shall gather together a holy people whom he shall lead in
righteousness; and shall judge the tribes of his people that hath been
sanctified by the Lord his God.

"And he shall not suffer iniquity to lodge in their midst, and none
that knoweth wickedness shall dwell with them....

"And he shall possess the nations of the heathen to serve him beneath
his yoke; and he shall glorify the Lord in a place to be seen of the
whole earth;

"And he shall purge Jerusalem and make it holy, even as it was in the
days of old.

"So that the nations may come from the ends of the earth to see his
glory, bringing as gifts her sons that had fainted,

"And may see the glory of the Lord, wherewith God hath glorified her."

So runs one of the _Psalms of Solomon_ written between 70 and 40
B.C.[2]  Parallel passages might be multiplied, but one may suffice,
written perhaps in the lifetime of Jesus.

"Then thou, O Israel, wilt be happy, and thou wilt mount upon the neck
of the eagle, and [the days of thy mourning] will be ended,

"And God will exalt thee, and he will cause thee to approach to the
heaven of the stars, and he will establish thy habitation among them,

"And thou wilt look from on high, and wilt see thine {171} enemies in
Ge[henna], and thou wilt recognize them and rejoice, and wilt give
thanks and confess thy Creator."[3]

No people in the Mediterranean world had such a past behind them, and
none a future so sure and so glorious before them--none indeed seems to
have had any great hope of the future at all; their Golden Ages were
all in the past, or far away in mythical islands of the Eastern seas or
beyond the Rhine.  And if the Christian doctrine was true, that great
past was as dead as Babylon, and the Messianic Kingdom was a
mockery--Israel was "feeding on the east wind," and the nation was not
Jehovah's chosen.  At one stroke Israel was abolished, and every
national memory and every national instinct, rooted in a past of
suffering and revelation, and watered with tears in a present of pain,
were to wither like the gardens of Adonis.  No man with a human heart
but must face the alternative of surrendering national for Christian
ideals, or hating and exterminating the enemy of his race.

So much for the nation, and what Christianity meant for it, but much
beside was at stake.  There was the seal of circumcision, the
hereditary token of God's covenant with Abraham, a sacrament passed on
from father to son and associated with generations of faith and piety.
Week by week the Sabbath came with its transforming memories--the
"Princess Sabbath," for Heine was not the first to feel the magic that
at sunset on Friday restores the Jew to the "halls of his royal father,
the tents of Jacob."  Every one of their religious usages spoke
irresistibly of childhood.  "When your children shall say unto you
'What mean ye by this service,' ye shall say...," so ran the old law,
binding every Jew to his father by the dearest and strongest of all
bonds.  To become a Christian was thus to be alienated from the
commonwealth of Israel, to renounce a father's faith and his home.  If
the pagan had to suffer for his conversion, the Jew's heritage was
nobler and holier, and the harder to forego.  Even the friendly Jew
pleads, "Cannot a man be saved who trusts in Christ and also keeps the
law--keeps it so far as he {172} can under the conditions of the
dispersion,--the Sabbath, circumcision, the months, and certain

[Sidenote: The Jewish attack on Jesus]

But this was not all.  Israel had stood for monotheism and that not the
monotheism of Greek philosophy, a dogma of the schools consistent with
the cults of Egypt and Phrygia, with hierodules and a deified Antinous.
The whole nation had been consecrated to the worship of One God, a
personal God, who had, at least where Israel was concerned, no hint of
philosophic Apathy.  The Jew was now asked by the Christian to admit a
second God--a God beside the Creator (_állos theòs parà tòn poiêtèn tôn
hólôn_[5])--and such a God!  The Jews knew all about Jesus of
Nazareth--it was absurd to try to pass him off even as the Messiah.
"Sir," said Trypho, "these scriptures compel us to expect one glorious
and great, who receives from 'the Ancient of Days' the 'eternal
Kingdom' as 'Son of Man'; but this man of yours--your so-called
Christ--was unhonoured and inglorious, so that he actually fell under
the extreme curse that is in the law of God; for he was crucified."[6]
The whole thing was a paradox, incapable of proof.[7]  "It is an
incredible thing, and almost impossible that you are trying to
prove--that God endured to be begotten and to become a man."[8]

The Jews had a propaganda of their own about Jesus.  They sent
emissaries from Palestine to supply their countrymen and pagans with
the truth.[9]  Celsus imagines a Jew disputing with a Christian,--a
more life-like Jew, according to Harnack, than Christian apologists
draw,--and the arguments he uses came from Jewish sources.  Jesus was
born, they said, in a village, the bastard child of a peasant woman, a
poor person who worked with her hands, divorced by her husband (who was
a carpenter) for adultery.[10]  The father was a soldier called
Panthera.  As to the Christian story, what could have attracted the
attention of God to her?  Was she pretty?  The carpenter at all events
hated her and cast her out.[11] {173} ("I do not think I need trouble
about this argument," is all Origen says.)  Who saw the dove, or heard
the voice from heaven, at the baptism?  Jesus suffered death in
Palestine for the guilt he had committed (_plemmelésanta_).  He
convinced no one while he lived; even his disciples betrayed him--a
thing even brigands would not have done by their chief--so far was he
from improving them, and so little ground is there for saying that he
foretold to them what he should surfer.  He even complained of thirst
on the cross.  As for the resurrection, that rests on the evidence of a
mad woman (_pároistros_)--or some other such person among the same set
of deceivers, dreaming, or deluded, or "wishing to startle the rest
with the miracle, and by a lie of that kind to give other impostors a
lead."  Does the resurrection of Jesus at all differ from those of
Pythagoras or Zamolxis or Orpheus or Herakles--"or do you think that
the tales of other men both are and seem myths, but that the
catastrophe of your play is a well-managed and plausible piece of
invention--the cry upon the gibbet, when he died, and the earthquake
and the darkness?"[12]  The Christians systematically edited and
altered the Gospels to meet the needs of the moment;[13] but Jesus did
not fulfil the prophecies of the Messiah--"the prophets say he shall be
great, a dynast, lord of all the earth and all its nations and
armies."[14]  There are ten thousand other men to whom the prophecies
are more applicable than to Jesus,[15] and as many who in frenzy claim
to "come from God."[16]  In short the whole story of the Christians
rests on no evidence that will stand investigation.

Even men who would refrain from the hot-tempered method of controversy,
which these quotations reflect, might well feel the contrast between
the historic Jesus and the expected Messiah--between the proved failure
of the cross and the world-empire of a purified and glorious Israel.
And when it was suggested further that Jesus was God, an effluence
coming from God, as light is lit by light--even if this were true, it
would seem that the Jew was asked to give up the worship of the One
God, which he had learnt of his fathers, and to turn to a being not
unlike the pagan gods around him in every land, who also, their
apologists said, came from the {174} Supreme, and were his emanations
and ministers and might therefore be worshipped.

Thus everything that was distinctive of their race and their
religion--the past of Israel, the Messiah and the glorious future, the
beautiful symbols of family religion, and the One God Himself--all was
to be surrendered by the man who became a Christian.  We realize the
extraordinary and compelling force of the new religion, when we
remember that, in spite of all to hold them back, there were those who
made the surrender and "suffered the loss of all things to win Christ
and be found in him."  Paul however rested, as he said, on revelation,
and ordinary men, who were not conscious of any such distinction, who
mistrusted themselves and their emotions, and who rested most naturally
upon the cumulative religious experience of their race, might well ask
whether after all they were right in breaking with a sacred
past--whether, apart from subjective grounds, there were any clear
warrant from outside to enable them to go forward.  The Jew had of
course oracles of God given by inspiration (_theópneustos_[17]),
written by "holy men of God, moved by the holy spirit."  These were his
warrant.  Here circumcision, the Sabbath, the Passover, and all his
religious life was definitely and minutely prescribed in what was
almost, like the original two tables, the autograph of the One God.
The law had its own history bound up with that of the race, and the
experience and associations of every new generation made it more deeply
awful and mysterious.  Had the Christian any law? had he any oracles,
apart from the unintelligible glossolalies of men possessed
(_enthousiôntes_)?  When Justin spoke of the gifts of the Spirit,
Trypho interjected, "I should like you to know that you are talking

[Sidenote: The problem]

Not unnaturally then did men say to Ignatius (as we have seen), "If I
do not find it in the ancient documents, I do not believe it in the
gospel."  And when Ignatius rejoined, "It is written"; "That is the
problem," said they.[19]  It was their problem, though it was not his.
For him Judaism is "a leaven old and sour," and "to use the name of
Jesus Christ and yet observe Jewish customs is absurd (_átopon_)" or
really "to confess we have not received grace."[20]  His documents were
{175} Jesus Christ, his cross and death and resurrection, and faith
through him.

"That is the problem"--can it be shown from the infallible Hebrew
Scriptures that the crucified Jesus is the Messiah of prophecy, that he
is a "God beside the Creator," that Sabbath and Circumcision are to be
superseded, that Israel's covenant is temporary, and that the larger
outlook of the Christian is after all the eternal dispensation of which
the Jewish was a copy made for a time?  If this could be shown, it
might in some measure stop the mouths of hostile Jews, and calm the
uneasy consciences of Jews and proselytes who had become Christians.
And it might serve another and a distinct purpose.  It was one of the
difficulties of the Christian that his religion was a new thing in the
world.  Around him were men who gloried in ancient literatures and
historic cults.  All the support that men can derive from tradition and
authority, or even from the mere fact of having a past behind them, was
wanting to the new faith, as its opponents pointed out.  If, by
establishing his contention against the Jew, the Christian could
achieve another end, and could demonstrate to the Greek that he too had
a history and a literature, that his religion was no mere accident of a
day, but was rooted in the past, that it had been foretold by God
himself, and was part of the divine scheme for the destiny of mankind,
then, resting on the sure ground of Providence made plain, he could
call upon the Greek in his turn to forsake his errors and superstitions
for the first of all religions, which should also be the last--the
faith of Jesus Christ.

The one method thus served two ends.  Justin addressed an _Apology_ to
Antoninus Pius, and one-half of his book is occupied with the
demonstration that every major characteristic of Christianity had been
prophesied and was a fulfilment.  The thirty chapters show what weight
the sheer miracle of this had with the apologist, though, if the
Emperor actually read the _Apology_, it was probably his first contact
with Jewish scripture.  Some difference of treatment was necessary,
according as the method was directed to Jew or Gentile.  For the Jew it
was axiomatic that Scripture was the word of God, and, if he did not
grant the Christian's postulate of allegory, he was withholding from an
opponent what had been allowed to Philo.  {176} The Greek would
probably allow the allegory, and the first task in his case was to show
by chronological reckoning that the greater prophets, and above all
Moses, antedated the bloom of Greek literature, and then to draw the
inference that it was from Hebrew sources that the best thoughts of
Hellas had been derived.  Here the notorious interest of early Greek
thinkers in Egypt helped to establish the necessary, though rather
remote, connexion.  When once the priority of the Hebrew prophets had
been proved, and, by means of allegory, a coincidence (age by age more
striking) had been established between prophecy and event, the
demonstration was complete.  There could be only one interpretation of
such facts.

A number of these refutations of the Jew survive from early times.
Justin's _Dialogue with Trypho_ is the most famous, as it deserves to
be.  It opens in a pleasant Platonic style with a chance meeting one
morning in a colonnade at Ephesus.[21]  Trypho accosts the philosopher
Justin--"When I see a man in your garb, I gladly approach him, and that
is why I spoke to you, hoping to hear something profitable from you."
When Trypho says he is a Jew, Justin asks in what he expects to be more
helped by philosophy than by his own prophets and law-giver.  Is not
all the philosophers' talk about God? Trypho asks.  Justin then tells
him of his own wanderings in philosophy,--how he went from school to
school, and at last was directed by an old man to read the Jewish
prophets, and how "a fire was kindled in my soul, and a passion seized
me for the prophets and those men who are Christ's friends; and so,
discussing their words with myself, I found this philosophy alone to be
safe and helpful.  And that is how and why I am a philosopher."[22]
Trypho smiled, but, while approving Justin's ardour in seeking after
God, he added that he would have done better to philosophize with Plato
or one of the others, practising endurance, continence and temperance,
than "to be deceived by lies and to follow men who are worthless."
Then the battle begins, and it is waged in a courteous and kindly
spirit, as befits philosophers, till after two days they part with
prayers and goodwill for each other--Trypho unconvinced.  Other writers
have less {177} skill, and the features of dialogue are sadly whittled
away.  Others again abandon all pretence of discussion and frankly
group their matter as a scheme of proof-texts.  In what follows, Justin
shall be our chief authority.

We may start with the first point that Trypho raises.  "If you will
listen to me (for I count you a friend already), first of all be
circumcised, and then keep, in the traditional way, the Sabbath and the
feasts and new moons of God, and, in a word, do all that is written in
the law, and then perhaps God will have mercy upon you.  As for Christ,
if indeed he has been born and already exists, he is unknown--nay! he
does not even know himself yet, nor has he any power, till Elijah come
and anoint him and make him manifest to all men.  You people have
accepted an empty tale, and are imagining a Christ for yourselves, and
for the sake of him you are perishing quite aimlessly."[23]

Salvation, according to the Jew, was inconceivable outside the pale of
Judaism.  "Except ye be circumcised, ye cannot be saved," men had said
in Paul's time.  Paul's repudiation of this assertion is to be read in
his Epistle to the _Galatians_--in his whole life and mind.  But genius
such as Paul's was not to be found in the early church, and men looked
outside of themselves for arguments to prove what he had seen and known
of his own experience and insight.

[Sidenote: The letter to Diognetus]

Some apologists merely laughed at the Jew.  Thus the brilliant and
winsome writer known only by his _Epistle to Diognetus_ has a short and
ready way of dealing with Jewish usages, which is not conciliatory.
"In the next place I think you wish to hear why Christians do not
worship in the same way as the Jews.  Now the Jews do well in
abstaining from the mode of service I have described [paganism], in
that they claim to reverence One God of the universe and count Him
their master; but, in offering this worship to Him in the same way as
those I have mentioned, they go far astray.  For the Greeks offer those
things to senseless and deaf images and so give an exhibition of folly,
while the Jews--considering they are presenting them to God as if He
had need of them--ought in all reason to count it foolery and not
piety.  For He that made the heaven and the earth and all {178} that is
in them, and gives freely to every one of us what we need, could not
Himself need any of the things which He Himself actually gives to those
who imagine they are giving them to Him....

"But again of their nervousness (_psophodeés_) about meats, and their
superstition about the Sabbath, and the quackery (_aladoneía_) of
circumcision, and the pretence (_eiróneia_) of fasts and new
moons--ridiculous and worthless as it all is, I do not suppose you wish
me to tell you.  For to accept some of the things which God has made
for man's need as well created, and to reject others as useless and
superfluous, is it not rebellion (_athémiston_)?  To lie against God as
if He forbade us to do good on the Sabbath day, is not that impiety?
To brag that the mutilation of the flesh is a proof of election--as if
God specially loved them for it--ridiculous!  And that they should keep
a look-out on the stars and the moon and so observe months and days and
distinguish the ordinances of God and the changes of the seasons, as
their impulses prompt them to make some into feasts and some into times
of mourning--who would count this a mark of piety towards God and not
much rather of folly?

"That Christians are right to keep aloof from the general silliness and
deceit of the Jews, their fussiness and quackery, I think you are well
enough instructed.  The mystery of their own piety towards God you must
not expect to be able to learn from man."[24]

This was to deal with the distinctive usages of Judaism on general
principles and from a standpoint outside it.  It would doubtless be
convincing enough to men who did not need to be convinced, but of
little weight with those to whom the Scriptures meant everything.
Accordingly the Apologists went to the Scriptures and arrayed their
evidence with spirit and system.

We may begin, as the writer to Diognetus begins, with sacrifices.  Here
the Apologists could appeal to the Prophets, who had spoken of
sacrifice in no sparing terms.  Tertullian's fifth chapter in his book
_Against the Jews_ presents the evidence shortly and clearly.  I will
give the passages cited in a tabular form:--


_Malachi_ 1, 10: I will not receive sacrifice from your hands, since
from the rising sun to the setting my name is glorified among the
Gentiles, saith the Lord Almighty, and in every place they offer pure
sacrifices to my name.

_Psalm_ 96, 7: Offer to God glory and honour, offer to God the
sacrifices of his name; away with victims (tollite) and enter into his

_Psalm_ 51, 17: A heart contrite and humbled is a sacrifice for God.

_Psalm_ 50, 14: Sacrifice to God the sacrifice of praise and render thy
vows to the Most High.

_Isaiah_ 1, 11: Wherefore to me the multitude of your sacrifices?  ....
Whole burnt offerings and your sacrifices and the fat of goats and the
blood of bulls I will not ... Who has sought these from your hands?

Justin has other passages as decisive.  Does not God say by Amos (5,
21) "I hate, I loathe your feasts, and I will not smell [your
offerings] in your assemblies.  When ye offer me your whole burnt
offerings and your sacrifices, I will not receive them," and so forth,
in a long passage quoted at length.  And again

_Jeremiah_ 7, 21-22: Gather your flesh and your sacrifices and eat, for
neither concerning sacrifices nor drink offerings did I command your
fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of

Next as to circumcision and the Sabbath.  "You need a second
circumcision," says Justin, "and yet you glory in the flesh; the new
law bids you keep a perpetual Sabbath, while you idle for one day and
suppose you are pious in so doing; you do not understand why it was
enjoined upon you.  And, if you eat unleavened bread, you say you have
fulfilled the will of God."[26]  Even by Moses, who gave the law, God
cried "You shall circumcise the hardness of your hearts and stiffen
your necks no more";[27] and Jeremiah long afterwards said the same
more than once.[28]  On the Sabbath question, Tertullian and the others
distinguished two Sabbaths, an eternal and a temporal,[29] citing:--


_Isaiah_ 1, 14: My soul hates your sabbaths.

_Ezekiel_ 22, 8: Ye have profaned my sabbath.

The Jew is referred back to the righteous men of early days--Was Adam
circumcised, or did he keep the Sabbath? or Abel, or Noah, or Enoch, or
Melchizedek?  Did Abraham keep the Sabbath, or any of the patriarchs
down to Moses?[30]  "But," rejoins the Jew, "was not Abraham
circumcised?  Would not the son of Moses have been strangled, had not
his mother circumcised him?"[31]

[Sidenote: Old law or new covenant]

To this the Christian had several replies.  Circumcision was merely
given for a sign, as is shown by the fact that a woman cannot receive
it, "for God has made women as well able as men to do what is just and
right."  There is no righteousness in being of one sex rather than of
the other.[32] Circumcision then was imposed upon the Jews "to mark you
off from the rest of the nations and from us, that you alone might
suffer what now you are suffering, and so deservedly suffering--that
your lands should be desolate and your cities burnt with fire, that
strangers should eat your fruits before your faces, and none of you set
his foot in Jerusalem.  For in nothing are you known from other men
apart from the circumcision of your flesh.  None of you, I suppose,
will venture to say that God did not foresee what should come to pass.
And it is all deserved; for you slew the Righteous one and his prophets
before him; and now you reject and dishonour--so far as you can--those
who set their hopes on him and on the Almighty God, maker of all
things, who sent him; and in your synagogues you curse those who
believe on Christ."[33]  The Sabbath was given to remind the Jews of
God; and restrictions were laid on certain foods because of the Jewish
proclivity to forsake the knowledge of God.[34]  In general, all these
commands were called for by the sins of Israel,[35] they were signs of

On the other hand the so-called Barnabas maintains that the Jews never
had understood their law at all.  Fasts, feasts {181} and sacrifices
were prescribed, not literally, but in a spiritual sense which the Jews
had missed.  The taboos on meats were not prohibitions of the flesh of
weasels, hares and hyænas and so forth, but were allegoric warnings
against fleshly lusts, to which ancient zoologists and modern Arabs
have supposed these animals to be prone.[36]  Circumcision was meant,
as the prophets showed, to be that of the heart; evil dæmons had misled
the Jews into practising it upon the flesh.[37]  The whole Jewish
dispensation was a riddle, and of no value, unless it is understood as
signifying Christianity.

This line of attack was open to the criticism that it robbed the
religious history of Israel of all value whatever, and the stronger
Apologists do not take it.  They will allow the Jews to have been so
far right in observing their law, but they insist that it had a higher
sense also, which had been overlooked except by the great prophets.
The law was a series of types and shadows, precious till the substance
came, which the shadows foretold.  That they were mere shadows is shown
by the fact that Enoch walked with God and Abraham was the friend of
God.  For this could not have been, if the Jewish contention were true
that without Sabbath and circumcision man cannot please God.
Otherwise, either the God of Enoch was not the God of Moses--which was
absurd; or else God had changed his mind as to right and wrong--which
was equally absurd.[38]  No, the legislation of Moses was for a people
and for a time; it was not for mankind and eternity.  It was a prophecy
of a new legislator, who should repeal the carnal code and enact one
that should be spiritual, final and eternal.[39] Here, following the
writer to the Hebrews, the Apologists quote a great passage of
Jeremiah, with the advantage (not always possible) of using it in the
true sense in which it was written.  "Behold! the days come, saith the
Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with
the house of Judah; not that which I made with their fathers in the day
when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt; which my
covenant they brake, although I was an {182} husband unto them, saith
the Lord.  But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the
house of Israel: After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in
their inward parts and write it in their hearts, and I will be their
God and they shall be my people."[40]

With the law, the privilege of Israel passes away and the day of the
Gentiles comes.  It was foretold that Israel would not accept
Christ--"their ears they have closed";[41] "they have not known nor
understood";[42] "who is blind but my servants?"[43] "all these words
shall be unto you as words of a book that is sealed."[44]  "By Isaiah
the prophet, God, knowing beforehand what you would do, cursed you
thus";[45] and Justin cites Isaiah 3, 9-15, and 5, 18-25.  Leah is the
type of the synagogue and of the Jewish people and Rachel of "our
church"; the eyes of Leah were weak, and so are the eyes of your
soul--very weak.[46]  No less was it prophesied that the Gentiles
should believe on Christ--"in thee shall all tribes of the earth be
blest"; "Behold!  I have manifested him as a witness to the nations, a
prince and a ruler to the races.  Races which knew thee not shall call
upon thee and peoples who were ignorant of thee shall take refuge with

"By David He said 'A people I knew not has served me, and hearkened to
me with the hearing of the ear.'  Let us, the Gentiles gathered
together, glorify God," says Justin, "because he has visited us ... for
he is well pleased with the Gentiles, and receives our sacrifices with
more pleasure than yours.  What have I to do with circumcision, who
have the testimony of God?  What need of that baptism to me, baptized
with the holy spirit?  These things, I think, will persuade even the
slow of understanding.  For these are not arguments devised by me, nor
tricked out by human skill,--nay! this was the theme of David's lyre,
this the glad news Isaiah brought, that Zechariah proclaimed and Moses
wrote.  Do you recognize them, Trypho?  They are in your books--no! not
yours, but ours--for we believe them--and you, when you {183} read, do
not understand the mind that is in them."[48]  And with that Justin
passes on to discuss whether Jesus is the Messiah.  Such a passage
raises the question as to how far he is reporting an actual
conversation.  In his 80th chapter he says to Trypho that he will make
a book (_syntaxis_) of their conversation--of the whole of it--to the
best of his ability, faithfully recording all that he concedes to
Trypho.  Probably he takes Plato's liberty to develop what was
said--unless indeed the dialogue is from beginning to end merely a
literary form imposed upon a thesis.  In that case, it must be owned
that Justin manages to give a considerable suggestion of life to
Trypho's words.

[Sidenote: Jesus the Messiah]

But, even if the law be temporary, and the Sabbath spiritual, if Israel
is to be rejected and the Gentiles chosen, we are still far from being
assured on the warrant of the Old Testament that Jesus is the Messiah,
who shall accomplish this great change.  Why he rather than any of the
"ten thousand others" who might much more plausibly be called the

To prove the Messiahship of Jesus, a great system of Old Testament
citations was developed, the origins of which are lost to us.  Paul
certainly applied Scripture to Jesus in a free way of his own, though
he is not more fanciful in quotation than his contemporaries.  But he
never sought to base the Christian faith on a scheme of texts.
Lactantius, writing about 300 A.D., implies that Jesus is the author of
the system.  "He abode forty days with them and interpreted the
Scriptures, which up to that time had been obscure and involved."[50]
Something of the kind is suggested by Luke (24, 27).  But it is obvious
that the whole method is quite alien to the mind and style of Jesus, in
spite of quotations in the vein of the apologists which the evangelists
here and there have attributed to him.

We may discover two great canons in the operations of the Apologists.
In the first place, they seek to show that all things prophesied of the
Messiah were fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth; and, secondly, that
everything which befel Jesus was prophesied of the Messiah.  These
canons need only to be stated to show the sheer impossibility of the
enterprise to {184} anyone who attaches meaning to words.  But in the
early centuries of our era there was little disposition with Jew or
Greek to do this where those books were concerned, whose age and beauty
gave them a peculiar hold upon the mind.  In each case the
preconception had grown up, as about the myths of Isis, for example,
that such books were in some way sacred and inspired.  The theory gave
men an external authority, but it presented some difficulties; for,
both in Homer and in _Genesis_ as in the Egyptian myths, there were
stories repugnant to every idea of the divine nature which a
philosophic mind could entertain.  They were explained away by the
allegoric method.  Plutarch shows how the grossest features of the Isis
legend have subtle and spiritual meanings and were never meant to be
taken literally--that the myths are _logoi_ in fact; and Philo
vindicates the Old Testament in the same way.[51] The whole procedure
was haphazard and unscientific; it closely resembled the principles
used by Artemidorus for the interpretation of dreams--a painful
analogy.  But, in the absence of any kind of historic sense, it was
perhaps the only way in which the continuity of religious thought could
then be maintained.  It is not surprising in view of the prevalence of
allegory that the Christians used it--they could hardly do anything
else.  Thus with the fatal aid of allegory, the double thesis of the
Apologists became easier and easier to maintain.

The most accessible illustration of this line of apology is to be found
in the second chapter of _Matthew_.  We may set out in parallel columns
the events in the life of Jesus and the prophecies which they fulfil.

  (a) The Virgin-Birth.              _Isaiah_ 7, 14: Behold a virgin
                                       shall conceive.

  (b) Bethlehem.                     _Micah_ 5,2: And thou, Bethlehem,

  (c) The Flight into Egypt.         _Hosea_ 11, 1: Out of Egypt
                                       have I called my son.

  (d) The Murder of the children.    _Jerem._ 31, 15: Rachel weeping.

  (e) Nazareth.                      _Judges_ 13, 5: A Nazarene.

{185} It is hardly unfair to say that the man who cited these passages
in these connexions had no idea whatever of their original meaning,
even where he quotes them correctly.

Here is a fuller scheme taken from the _Apology_ which Justin addressed
to the Emperor Antoninus Pius.  (The numbers on the left refer to the
chapter in the first _Apology_.)

  32. Jesus Christ foretold by        _Gen._ 49, 10 f: (the blessing
        Judah).                         of Moses.

                                      _Numbers_ 24, 17: There shall
                                        dawn a star, etc.

      Jesus Christ foretold by        _Isaiah_ 11, i: the rod of Jesse,
        Isaiah.                         etc.

  33.  Jesus Christ to be born        _Is._ 7, 14: (the sign to
         of a virgin.                   Ahaz).

  34.  Jesus Christ to be born at     _Micah_ 5, 2: Thou, Bethlehem,
         Bethlehem.                     etc.

  35.  The triumphal entry into       _Zech._ 9, 9: Thy king cometh
         Jerusalem.                     riding on an ass, etc.

       The Crucifixion: the Cross.    _Is._ 9,6: The government upon
                                        his shoulders.

                                      _Is._ 65, 2: I have stretched out
                                        my hands, etc.

       The Crucifixion: the           _Is._ 58, 2: They ask me for
         mockery.                       judgment, etc.

       The Crucifixion: the nails     _Psalm_ 22, 16, 18: They
         and the casting of lots.       pierced my feet and my
                                        hands; they cast lots upon
                                        my raiment.

  38.  The Crucifixion: the           _Is._ 50, 6-8: I gave my back
         scourging.                     to the lashes and my cheeks
                                        to blows, etc.

       The Crucifixion: the           _Ps._ 22, 7: they wagged the
         mocking.                       head, saying, etc.

       The Crucifixion: the           _Ps._ 3, 5: I slept and slumbered
         resurrection.                  and I rose up (_anéstên_)
                                        because the Lord laid hold of


  39. The sending of the twelve       _Is._ 2, 3 f.: Out of Sion shall
        Apostles.                       go forth the law.

  40. The proclamation of the         _Ps._ 19, 2-5: Day unto day,
        Gospel.                         etc.

      Christ, Pilate, the Jews        _Psalms_ 1 and 2: cited _in
        and Herod.                      extenso_.

  41. Christ to reign after the       1 _Chron._ 16, 23, 25-31: (a
        Crucifixion.                    psalm).  Cf. _Ps._ 96, i, 2,
                                        4-11, with ending: "The
                                        Lord hath reigned from the

  45. The Ascension.                  _Ps._ 110, 1-3: Sit thou at my
                                        right hand, etc.

  47. The desolation of Jerusalem.    _Is._ 64, 10-12: Sion has become
                                        desert, etc.

                                      _Is._ 1, 7, and _Jer._ 50, 3:
                                        Their land is desert.

  48. The miracles of Christ.         _Is._ 35, 5, 6: The lame shall
                                        leap ... the dead shall rise
                                        and walk, etc.

      Christ's death.                 _Is._ 57, 1 f.: Behold, how the
                                        Just Man has perished, etc.

  49. The Gentiles to find Christ     _Is._ 65, 1-3: I was visible to
        but not the Jews.               them that asked not for me
                                        ... I spread out my hands
                                        to a disobedient people.

  50. Christ's humiliation and        _Is._ 53, 12: For that they gave
        the glorious second             his soul to death ... he
        advent.                         shall be exalted.

                                      _Is._ 52, 13-53, 8: ... he was
                                        wounded, etc.

  51. His sufferings, origin,         _Is._ 53, 8-12.
        reign and ascension.

      His second coming.              "Jeremiah" = _Daniel_ 7, 13, as
                                        it were a son of man cometh
                                        upon the clouds and his
                                        angels with him.


  52. The final resurrection.         _Ezek._ 37, 7-8: Bone shall be
                                        joined to bone.

                                      _Is._ 45, 23: Every knee shall
                                        bow to the Lord.

                                      _Is._ 66, 24: The worm shall
                                        not sleep nor the fire be

                                      Also a composite quotation
                                        with phrases mingled from
                                        Isaiah and Zechariah,
                                        attributed to the latter.

  53. More Gentiles than Jews         _Is._ 54, 1: Rejoice, O barren,
        will believe.                   etc.

                                      "Isaiah" = _Jerem._ 9, 26:
                                        Israel uncircumcised in

  60. The Cross foretold in the       _Num._ 21, 8: If ye look at this
        brazen serpent.                 type(_typô_) I believe ye shall
                                        be saved in it (_en autô_).

  61. Baptism.                        _Is._ 1, 16: Wash you ... I
                                        will whiten as wool.

[Sidenote: The God beside the Creator]

What in the _Apology_ is a bare outline, is developed at great length
and with amazing ingenuity in the dialogue with Trypho.  We may begin
with the question of a "God beside the Creator."

When Moses wrote in _Genesis_ (1, 26) "And God said, 'Let us make man
in our image after our likeness,'" and again (3, 22) "And the Lord God
said, 'Behold the man is become as one of us,'"[52] why did he use the
plural, unless there is a God beside God?  Again, when Sodom is
destroyed why does the holy text say "The Lord rained upon Sodom and
Gomorrha sulphur and fire from the Lord from heaven"?[53]  And again in
the _Psalms_ (110) what is meant by "The Lord said unto my Lord"?[54]
and by "Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever ... therefore God, thy
God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows?"[55]

The Old Testament abounds in theophanies, which are {188} brought up in
turn.  Justin cites the three men who appeared to Abraham--"they were
angels," says Trypho, and a long argument follows to show from the
passage that one of them is not to be explained as an angel,[56] nor of
course as the Creator of all things.  Trypho owns this.  Justin pauses
at his suggestion to discuss the meal which Abraham had served, but is
soon caught up with the words: "Now, come, show us that this God who
appeared to Abraham and is the servant of God, the Maker of all, was
born of a virgin, and became, as you said, a man of like passions with
all men."  But Justin has more evidence to unfold before he reaches
that stage.  Without following the discussion as it sways from point to
point, we may take the passage in which he recapitulates this line of
argument.  "I think I have said enough, so that, when my God says 'God
went up from Abraham,' or 'The Lord spoke to Moses,' or 'The Lord
descended to see the tower which the sons of men had built,' or 'The
Lord shut the ark of Noah from without,' you will not suppose the
unbegotten God Himself went down or went up.  For the ineffable Father
and Lord of all neither comes anywhere, nor 'walks' [as in the garden
of Eden], nor sleeps, nor rises, but abides in his own region wherever
it is, seeing keenly and hearing keenly, but not with eyes or ears, but
by power unspeakable; and he surveys all things and knows all things,
and none of us escapes his notice; nor does he move, nor can space
contain him, no, nor the whole universe, him, who was before the
universe was made."[57]

[Sidenote: The virgin-birth]

Who then was it who walked in the garden, who wrestled with Jacob, who
appeared in arms to Joshua, who spoke with Moses and with Abraham, who
shut Noah into the ark, who was the fourth figure in the fiery furnace?
Scripture gives us a key.  Can the Jew say, who it is whom Ezekiel
calls the "angel of great counsel;" and the "man"; whom Daniel
describes "as the Son of man"; whom Isaiah called "child," and David
"Christ" and "God adored"; whom Moses called "Joseph" and "Jacob" and
"the star"; whom Zechariah called "the daystar"; whom {189} Isaiah
again called the "sufferer" (_pathêtós_), "Jacob" and "Israel"; whom
others have named "the Rod," "the Flower," "the Chief Corner-stone" and
"the Son of God"?[58]  The answer is more clearly given by Solomon in
the eighth chapter of _Proverbs_--it is the Divine Wisdom, to whom all
these names apply.  When it is said "Let _us_ make man," it is to be
understood that the Ineffable communicated his design to his Wisdom,
his Logos or Son, and the Son made man.  The Son rained upon Sodom the
fire and brimstone from the Father.  It was the Son who appeared to men
in all the many passages cited--the Son, Christ the Lord, God and Son
of God--inseparable and unseverable from the Father, His Wisdom and His
Word and His Might (_dynamis_).[59]

But, while all this might be accepted by a Jew, it still seemed to
Trypho that it was "paradoxical, and foolish, too," to say that Christ
could be God before all the ages, and then tolerate to be born a man,
and yet "not a man of men."  The offence of the Cross also remained.
The Apologist began by explaining the mysteries of the two comings of
Christ, first in humiliation, and afterwards in glory, as Jacob
prophesied in his last words.[60]  For the First Coming Tertullian
quotes Isaiah--"he is led as a sheep to the slaughter"; and the
_Psalms_--"made a little lower than the angels," "a worm and not a
man"; while the Second Coming is to be read of in Daniel and the
forty-fifth _Psalm_, and in the more awful passage of Zechariah "and
then they shall know him whom they pierced."[61]  The paschal lamb is a
type of the First Coming--especially as it was to be roasted whole and
trussed like a cross; and the two goats of _Leviticus_ (16) are types
of the two Comings.[62]

"And now," says Justin, "I took up the argument again to show that he
was born of a virgin, and that it had been prophesied by Isaiah that he
should be born of a virgin; and I again recited the prophecy itself.
This is it: 'And the Lord said moreover unto Ahaz, saying: 'Ask for
thyself a sign from the Lord thy God in the depth or in the height.
And Ahaz {190} said: I will not ask nor tempt the Lord.  And Isaiah
said: Hear ye then, O house of David!  Is it a little thing with you to
strive with men? and how will ye strive with the Lord?  Therefore shall
the Lord himself give you a sign.  Behold, the virgin shall conceive
and bear a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel.  Butter and
honey shall he eat.  Before he shall either have knowledge or choose
evil, he shall choose good; because, before the child knows evil or
good, he refuses evil to choose good.  Because, before the child knows
to call father or mother, he shall take the power of Damascus and the
spoils of Samaria before the King of the Assyrians.  And the land shall
be taken, which thou shalt bear hardly from before the face of two
kings.  But God will bring upon thee, and upon thy people, and upon the
house of thy father, days which have never come, from the day when
Ephraim removed from Judah the King of the Assyrians.'  And I added,
'That, in the family of Abraham according to the flesh, none has ever
yet been born of a virgin, or spoken of as so born, except our Christ,
is manifest to all.'"  It may be noted that the passage is not only
misquoted, but is a combination of clauses from two distinct
chapters.[63]  The explanation is perhaps that Justin found it so in a
manual of proof-texts and did not consult the original.  Similar
misquotations in other authors have suggested the same explanation.

"Trypho rejoined: 'The scripture has not: Behold the virgin shall
conceive and bear a son; but: Behold the young woman shall conceive and
bear a son: and the rest as you said.  The whole prophecy was spoken of
Hezekiah and was fulfilled of him.  In the myths of the Greeks it is
said that Perseus was born of Danae, when she was a virgin--after their
so-called Zeus had come upon her in the form of gold.  You ought to be
ashamed to tell the same story as they do.  You would do better to say
this Jesus was born a man of men, and--if you show from the Scriptures
that he is the Christ--say that it was by his lawful and perfect life
that he was counted worthy of being chosen as Christ.  Don't talk
miracles of that kind, or you will be proved to talk folly beyond even
that of the Greeks."'[64]

Trypho has the Hebrew text behind him, which says {191} nothing about a
virgin, though the Septuagint has the word.  The sign given to Ahaz has
a close parallel in a prophecy of Muhammad.  Before he became known, an
old man foretold that a great prophet should come, and on being
challenged for a sign he pointed to a boy lying in rugs by the
camp-fire--"That boy should _see_ the prophet"; and he did.  Isaiah's
sign is much the same; a young woman shall conceive and have a son, and
before that son is two or three years old, Damascus and Syria will fall
before the King of Assyria.

But Justin and the Apologists are not to be diverted.  As for Danae,
the Devil (_diábolos_) has there anticipated the fulfilment of God's
prophecy, as in many other instances, _e.g._:--Dionysus rode an ass, he
rose from the dead and ascended to heaven; Herakles is a parody of the
verse in _Psalm_ xix--the strong man rejoicing to run a race, a
Messianic text; Æsculapius raised the dead; and the cave of Mithras is
Daniel's "stone cut without hands from the great mountains." "I do not
believe your teachers; they will not admit that the seventy elders of
Ptolemy, King of Egypt, translated well, but they try to translate for
themselves.  And I should like you to know that they have cut many
passages out of the versions made by Ptolemy's elders which prove
expressly that this man, who was crucified, was prophesied of as God
and man, crucified and slain.  I know that all your race deny this; so,
in discussions of this kind I do not quote those passages, but I have
recourse to such as come from what you still acknowledge."[65]  The
objection to the rendering "young woman" is that it completely
nullifies the sign given to Ahaz, for children are born of young women
every day--"what would really be a sign and would give confidence to
mankind,--to wit, that the firstborn of all creations should take flesh
and really be born a child of a virgin womb--that was what he
proclaimed beforehand by the prophetic spirit."[66]

The whole story is parable.  It would be absurd to suppose that an
infant could be a warrior and reduce great states.  The spoils are
really the gifts of the Magi, as is indicated by passages in Zechariah
("he shall gather all the strength of the peoples round about, gold and
silver," 14, 14) and the seventy second _Psalm_ ("Kings of the Arabs
and of Saba shall bring {192} gifts to him; and to him shall be given
gold from the East").  Samaria again is a common synonym with the
prophets for idolatry.  Damascus means the revolt of the Magi from the
evil dæmon who misdirected their arts to evil.  The King of Assyria
stands, says Justin, for King Herod, and so says Tertullian, writing
against Marcion, though in the tract _Against the Jews_ (if it is
Tertullian's) he says the devil is intended.[67]  The usual passages
from Micah and Jeremiah are cited to add Bethlehem and the Murder of
the infants to the prophetic story.

"At this Trypho, with some hint of annoyance, but overawed by the
Scriptures, as his face showed, said to me: 'God's words are holy, but
your expositions [or translations] are artificial--or blasphemous, I
should say.'"[68]

To complete the proof, it is shown that the very name of Jesus was
foretold.  When Moses changed the name of his successor from _Auses_ to
_Jesus_, it was a prophecy, as Scripture shows.  "The Lord said unto
Moses: Say to this people, Behold I send my angel before thy face that
he may guard thee in the way, that he may lead thee into the land that
I have prepared for thee.  Give heed unto him ... for he will not let
thee go, for my name is in him."[69]  This is confirmed by Zechariah's
account of the High Priest Joshua.  Furthermore, the chronology of the
book of Daniel, when carefully worked out, proves to have contained the
prediction of the precise date at which Christ should come, and at that
precise date Christ came.

Barnabas discovers another prophecy of Jesus in an unlikely place.
"Learn, children of love," he says," that Abraham, who first gave
circumcision, looked forward in spirit unto Jesus, when he circumcised,
for he received dogmata in three letters.  For it saith: And Abraham
circumcised of his house men 18 and 300.  What then was the knowledge
given unto him?  Mark that it says 18 first, and then after a pause
300.  18 [IH in Greek notation] there thou hast Jesus.  And because the
cross in T [= 300 in Greek notation] was to have grace, it {193} saith
300 as well.  It shows Jesus in the two letters, and in the one the

We now reach the prophecies of the cross, and, as the method is plain,
a few references may suffice, taken this time from Tertullian (_c._

_Genesis_ 22, 6: Isaac carrying the wood for the sacrifice of himself.

_Genesis_ 37, 28: Joseph sold by his brethren.

_Deuteronomy_ 33,17: Moses' blessing of Joseph.  (The unicorn's horns,
with some arrangement, form a cross: cf. _Psalm_ 22).

_Exodus_ 17, 11: Moses with his arms spread wide.

_Numbers_ 21, 9: The brazen serpent.

_Psalm_ 96, 10: The Lord hath reigned _from the tree, e ligno_ (though
the Jews have cut out the last words).

_Isaiah_ 9, 6: The government upon his shoulder.

_Jeremiah_ 11, 19: Let us cast wood (_lignum_) into his bread.

_Isaiah_ 53, 8, 9: For the transgression of my people is he stricken
... and his sepulture is taken from the midst (_i.e._ the resurrection).

_Amos_ 8, 9: I will cause the sun to go down at noon.

For a long time before Justin was done with his exposition, Trypho was
silent--the better part, perhaps, in all controversy.  At last, writes
Justin, "I finished.  Trypho said nothing for a while, and then he
said, 'You see, we came to the controversy unprepared.  Still, I own, I
am greatly pleased to have met you, and I think my friends have the
same feeling.  For we have found more than we expected,--or anyone
could have expected.  If we could do it at more length, we might be
better profited by looking into the passages themselves.  But, since
you are on the point of sailing and expect to embark every day now,--be
sure you think of us as friends, if you go.'"[71] So, with kindly
feelings, Trypho went away unconvinced.  And there were others, as
clear of mind, who were as little convinced,--Marcion, for instance,
and Celsus.  "The more reasonable among Jews and Christians," says
Celsus, "try to allegorize them [the Scriptures], but they are beyond
being {194} allegorized and are nothing but sheer mythology of the
silliest type.  The supposed allegories that have been made are more
disgraceful than the myths and more absurd, in their endeavour to
string together what never can in any way be harmonized--it is folly
positively wonderful for its utter want of perception."[72] The modern
reader may not be so ready as Origen was to suggest that Celsus
probably had Philo in mind.[73]

[Sidenote: Results]

It is clear that, in the endeavour to give Christianity a historical
background and a prophetic warrant, the Apologists lost all
perspective.[74]  The compelling personality of Jesus receded behind
the vague figure of the Christ of prophecy; and, in their
pre-occupation with what they themselves called "types and shadows,"
men stepped out of the sunlight into the shade and hardly noticed the
change.  Yet there is still among the best of them the note of love of
Jesus--"do not speak evil of the crucified," pleads Justin, "nor mock
at his stripes, whereby all may be healed, as _we_ have been
healed."[75] And after all it was an instinct for the truth and
universal significance of Jesus that carried them away.  He must be
eternal; and they, like the men of their day, thought much of the
beginning and the end of creation, and perhaps found it easier than we
do,--certainly more natural,--to frame schemes under which the Eternal
Mind might manifest itself.  Eschatology, purpose, foreknowledge,
pervade their religious thought, and they speak with a confidence which
the centuries since the Renaissance have made more and more impossible
for us, who find it hard enough to be sure of the fact without
adventuring ourselves in the possibilities that lie around it.  None
the less the centre of interest was the same for them as for us--what
_is_ the significance of Jesus of Nazareth?  For them the facts of his
life and of his mind had often less value than the fancy that they
fulfilled prophecy; Celsus said outright that the Christians altered
them, and there is some evidence that, in the accommodation of prophecy
and history, {195} the latter was sometimes over-developed.  For us,
the danger is the opposite; we risk losing sight of the eternal
significance in our need of seeing clearly the historic lineaments.

In the conflict of religions, Christianity had first to face Judaism,
and, though the encounter left its record upon the conquering faith, it
secured its freedom from the yoke of the past.  It gained background
and the broadening of the historic imagination.  It made the prophets
and psalmists of Israel a permanent and integral part of Christian
literature--and in all these ways it became more fit to be the faith of
mankind, as it deepened its hold upon the universal religious
experience.  Yet it did so at the cost of a false method which has
hampered it for centuries, and of a departure (for too long a time)
from the simplicity and candour of the mind of Jesus.  In seeking to
recover that mind to-day we commit ourselves to the belief that it is
sufficient, and that, when we have rid ourselves of all that in the
course of ages has obscured the great personality, in proportion as we
regain his point of view, we shall find once more (in the words of a
far distant age) that his spirit will guide us into all truth.

Chapter VI Footnotes:

[1] Justin, _Trypho_, c. 17; Tert. _adv. Jud._ 13.

[2] _Psalm. Solom._ xvii, 27-35.  Ed. Ryle and James.

[3] _Assumption of Moses_, x, 8-10, tr. R. H. Charles.  "Gehenna" is a
restoration which seems probable, the Latin _in terram_ representing
what was left of the word in Greek.  See Dr Charles' note.

[4] Justin, _Trypho_, 46, 47.  The question is still asked; I have
heard it asked.

[5] Justin, _Trypho_, 50.

[6] Justin, _Trypho_, 32; the quotations are from Daniel.

[7] Justin, _Trypho_, 48.

[8] Justin, _Trypho_, 68.

[9] Justin, _Trypho_, 17, 108.

[10] Cf. Tert. _de Spect._ 30, _fabri aut quæstuariæ filius_.

[11] Origen, _c. Cels._ i, 28, 32, 39.  The beauty of the woman is an
element in the stories of Greek demi-gods.

[12] _c. Cels._ ii, 55.

[13] ii, 27.

[14] ii, 29.

[15] ii, 28.

[16] i, 50.

[17] 2 Tim. 8, 15.

[18] _Trypho_, 39.

[19] Ign. _Philad._ 8, 2.

[20] Ign. _Magn._ 10, 3; 8, 1.

[21] So says Eusebius, _E.H._ iv, 18.  Justin does not name the city.

[22] _Trypho_, 8.

[23] Justin, _Trypho_, 8.

[24] _ad Diogn._ 3, 4.

[25] _Trypho_, 22.

[26] _Ibid._ 12.

[27] _Deut._ 10, 16, 17; _Trypho_, 16.

[28] _Jerem._ 4, 4; 9, 25; _Trypho_, 28.

[29] Tert. _adv. Jud._ 4.

[30] Justin, _Trypho_, 19; Tert. _adv. Jud._ 2; Cyprian, _Testim._ 1,
8.  Tertullian had to face a similar criticism of Christian life--was
Abraham _baptized_?  _de Bapt._ 13.

[31] Tert. _adv. Jud._  3.

[32] _Trypho_, 23; Cyprian, _Testim._ 1, 8.

[33] _Trypho_, 16 (slightly compressed).

[34] _Trypho_, 19, 20; cf. Tert. _adv. Jud. _

[35] _Trypho_, 22.

[36] Barnabas, 10; cf. Pliny, _N.H._ 8, 218, on the hare; and Plutarch,
_de Iside et Osiride_, 353 F, 363 F, 376 E, 381 A (weasel), for similar
zoology and symbolism.  Clem. Alex. _Str._ ii, 67; v, 51; refers to
this teaching of Barnabas (cf. _ib._ ii, 105).

[37] Barnabas, 9.

[38] _Trypho_, 23.

[39] _Ibid._ 11.

[40] _Jerem._ 31, 31; _Trypho_, 11; Tert. _adv. Jud._ 3.

[41] _Is._ 6, 10; _Trypho_, 12; Cyprian, _Testim._ i, 3.

[42] _Ps._ 82, 5; _Trypho_, 124; Cyprian, _Testim._ i, 3.

[43] _Is._ 42, 19; _Trypho_, 123, where the plural is used.

[44] _Is._ 29, 11; Cyprian, _Testim._ i, 4.

[45] _Trypho_, 133.

[46] _Trypho_, 134.

[47] Cyprian, _Testim._ i, 21; Justin, _Trypho_, 12; Tert. _adv. Marc._
iii, 20.

[48] _Trypho_, 29.

[49] _c. Cels._ ii, 28,

[50] Lactantius, _de mort. persec._ 2.

[51] Tertullian lays down the canon (_adv. Marc._ iii, 5) _pleraque
figurate portenduntur per ænigmata et allegorias et parabolas, aliter
intelligenda quam scripta sunt_; but (_de resurr. carnis_, 20) _non
omnia imagines sed et veritates, nec omnia umbræ sed et corpora, e.g._
the Virgin-birth is not foretold in figure.

[52] _Trypho_, 62, 129; Barnabas, 5, 5; Tert. _adv. Prax._ 12.

[53] _Trypho_, 56.

[54] _Ibid._ 56.

[55] _Ibid._ 56.

[56] _Trypho_, 56, 57.

[57] Trypho, 127.  Tert. _adv. Marc._ ii, 27.  Quæcunque exigitis
deodigna, habebuntur in patre invisibili incongressibilique et placido
et, ut ita dixerim, philosophorum deo.  Quæcunque autem ut indigna
reprehenditis, deputabuntur in filio, etc.  Cf. on the distinction
Tert. _adv. Prax._ 14 ff.  Cf. the language of Celsus on God
"descending," see p. 248.

[58] _Trypho_, 126.  Other titles are quoted by Justin, _Trypho_, 61.

[59] _Trypho_, 128.  Cf. Tertullian, _adv. Marc._ ii, 27, _Ille est qui
descendit, ille qui interrogat, ille qui postulat, ille qui jurat; adv.
Prax._ 15, _Filius itaque est qui...._

[60] _Gen._ 49, 8-12; _Trypho_, 52, 53; _Apol._ i, 32; Cyprian,
_Testim._ i, 21.

[61] Tert. _adv. Jud._ 14.

[62] _Trypho_, 40; Tert. _adv. Jud._ 14; Barnabas, 7.

[63] _Trypho_, 66.  Isaiah vii and viii.

[64] _Trypho_, 67.

[65] _Trypho_, 71.

[66] _Trypho_, 84.  Cf. Tert. _adv. Jud._ 9 = _adv. Marc._ iii, 13.

[67] _Trypho_, 77: Tert. _adv. Jud._ 9 = _adv. Marc._ iii, 13; both
referring to _Psalm_ 71.

[68] _Trypho_, 79.

[69] _Trypho_, 75; _Exodus_ 23, 20.

[70] Barnabas, 9, 8 (the subject of 'saith' may in each case be 'he').
Clement of Alexandria cites this and adds a mystic and mathematical
account of this suggestive figure 318.  _Strom._ vi. 84.

[71] _Trypho_, 142.

[72] Celsus _ap._ Orig. _c. Cels._ iv, 50, 51.

[73] Especially when he finds Celsus referring to the dialogue of Jason
and Papiscus as "more worthy of pity and hatred than of laughter"; _c.
Cels._ iv, 52.

[74] Porphyry (cited by Euseb. _E.H._ vi, 19), says they made riddles
of what was perfectly plain in Moses, their expositions would not hang
together, and they cheated their own critical faculty, _tò kritikòn tês
psychês katagoeteúsantes_.

[75] _Trypho_, 137.




In the first two centuries of our era a great change came over the
ancient world.  A despised and traditional religion, under the stimulus
of new cults coming from the East, revived and re-asserted its power
over the minds of men.  Philosophy, grown practical in its old age,
forsook its youthful enthusiasm for the quest of truth, and turned
aside to the regulation of conduct, by means of maxims now instead of
inspiration, and finally, as we have seen, to apology for the ancient
faith of the fathers.  Its business now was to reconcile its own
monotheistic dogma with popular polytheistic practice.  It was perhaps
this very reconciliation that threw open the door for the glowing
monotheism of the disciples of Jesus; but, whatever the cause,
Christianity quickly spread over the whole Roman Empire.  We are apt to
wonder to-day at the great political and national developments that
have altered the whole aspect of Europe since the French Revolution,
and to reflect rather idly on their rapidity.  Yet the past has its own
stories of rapid change, and not the least striking of them is the
disappearance of that world of thought which we call Classical.  By 180
A.D. nearly every distinctive mark of classical antiquity is gone--the
old political ideas, the old philosophies, the old literatures, and
much else with them.  Old forms and names remain--there are still
consuls and archons, poets and philosophers, but the atmosphere is
another, and the names have a new meaning, if they have any at all.
But the mere survival of the names hid for many the fact that they were
living in a new era.

[Sidenote: Marcus Aurelius]

In the reign of Marcus Aurelius, however, the signs of change became
more evident, and men grew conscious that some transformation of the
world was in progress.  A great plague, the scanty records of which
only allow us to speak in {197} vague terms of an immense reduction in
population[1]--barbarism active upon the frontier of an Empire not so
well able as it had fancied to defend itself--superstitions, Egyptian
and Jewish, diverting men from the ordinary ways of civic duty--such
were some of the symptoms that men marked.  Under the weight of
absurdity, quietism and individualism, the state seemed to be sinking,
and all that freedom of mind which was the distinctive boast of
Hellenism was rapidly being lost.

It happens that, while the historical literature of the period has
largely perished, a number of authors survive, who from their various
points of view deal with what is our most immediate subject--the
conflict of religions.  Faith, doubt, irritation and fatalism are all
represented.  The most conspicuous men of letters of the age are
undoubtedly the Emperor Marcus Aurelius himself and his two brilliant
contemporaries, Lucian of Samosata, and Apuleius of Madaura.[2]
Celsus, a man of mind as powerful as any of the three, survives in
fragments, but fragments ample enough to permit of re-construction.
Among the Christians too there was increased literary activity, but
Tertullian and Clement will suffice for our purpose.

Though not in his day regarded as a man of letters, it is yet in virtue
of his writing that Marcus Aurelius survives.  His journal, with the
title that tells its nature--"To Himself," is to-day perhaps the most
popular book of antiquity with those whose first concern is not
literature.  It is translated again and again, and it is studied.  The
peculiar mind of the solitary Emperor has made him, as Mr F. W. H.
Myers put it, "the saint and exemplar of Agnosticism."  Meditative,
tender and candid, yet hesitant and so far ineffectual, he is sensitive
to so much that is positive and to so much that is negative, that the
diary, in which his character is most intimately revealed, gives him a
place of his own in the hearts of men perplext in the extreme.  He is a
man who neither believes, nor disbelieves,--"either gods or atoms"[3]
seems to be the necessary antithesis, and there is so much to be said
both for {198} and against each of the alternatives that decision is
impossible.  He is attracted by the conception of Providence, but he
hesitates to commit himself.  There are arguments--at least of the kind
that rest on probability--in favour of immortality, but they are
insufficient to determine the matter.  In his public capacity he became
famous for the number and magnificence of his sacrifices to the gods of
the state; he owns in his journal his debt to the gods for warnings
given in dreams, but he suspects at times that they may not exist.
Meanwhile he persecutes the Christians for their disloyalty to the
state.  Their stubborn convictions were so markedly in contrast with
his own wavering mind that he could not understand them--perhaps their
motive was bravado, he thought; they were too theatrical altogether;
their pose recalled the tragedies composed by the pupils of the
rhetoricians--large language with nothing behind it.[4]

In the absence of any possibility of intellectual certainty, Marcus
fell back upon conduct.  Here his want of originality and of spiritual
force was less felt, for conduct has tolerably well-established rules
of neighbourliness, purity, good temper, public duty and the like.  His
Stoic guides, too, might in this region help him to follow with more
confidence the voice of his own pure and delicate conscience--the
conscience of a saint and a quietist rather than that of a man of
action.  Yet even in the realm of conduct he is on the whole
ineffectual.  Pure, truthful, kind, and brave he is, but he does not
believe enough to be great.  He is called to be a statesman and an
administrator; he does not expect much outcome from all his energies,
and he preaches to himself the necessity of patience with his
prospective failure to achieve anything beyond the infinitesimal.
"Ever the same are the cycles of the universe, up and down, for ever
and for ever.  Either the intelligence of the Whole puts itself in
motion for each separate effect--in which case accept the result it
gives; or else it did so once for all, and everything is sequence, one
thing in another ... [The text is doubtful for a line] ... In a word,
either God, and all goes well; or all at random--live not thou at

"A moment, and earth will cover us all; then it too in its turn will
change; and what it changes to, will change again {199} and again for
ever; and again change after change to infinity.  The waves of change
and transformation--if a man think of them and of their speed, he will
despise everything mortal.

"The universal cause is like a winter torrent; it carries all before
it.  How cheap then these poor statesmen, these who carry philosophy
into practical affairs, as they fancy--poor diminutive creatures.
Drivellers.  Man, what then?  Do what now Nature demands.  Start, if it
be given thee, and look not round to see if any will know.  Hope not
for Plato's Republic;[5] but be content if the smallest thing advance;
to compass that one issue count no little feat.

"Who shall change one of their dogmata [the regular word of Epictetus]?
And without a change of dogmata, what is there but the slavery of men
groaning and pretending to obey?  Go now, and talk of Alexander, and
Philip and Demetrius of Phalerum; whether they saw the will of Nature
and schooled themselves, is their affair; if they played the tragic
actor, no one has condemned me to copy them.  Simplicity and modesty
are the work of philosophy; do not lead me astray into vanity.

"Look down from above on the countless swarms of men, their countless
initiations, and their varied voyage in storm and calm, their changing
combinations, as they come into being, meet, and pass out of being.
Think too of the life lived by others of old, of the life that shall be
lived by others after thee, of the life now lived among the barbarian
nations; and, of how many have never heard thy name, and how many will
at once forget it, and how many may praise thee now perhaps but will
very soon blame thee; and how neither memory is of any account, nor
glory, nor anything else at all....

"The rottenness of the material substance of every individual
thing--water, dust, bones, stench....  And this breathing element is
another of the same, changing from this to that....

"Either the gods have no power, or they have power.  If they have not,
why pray?  If they have, why not pray for deliverance from the fear, or
the desire, or the pain, which the thing causes, rather than for the
withholding or the giving of the particular thing?  For certainly, if
they can co-operate with men, it is for these purposes they can
co-operate.  But perhaps {200} thou wilt say, The gods have put all
these in my own power.  Then is it not better to use what is in thine
own power and be free, than to be set on what is not in thy power--a
slave and contemptible?  And who told thee that the gods do not help us
even to what is in our own power?"[6]

This handful of short passages all from the same place, with a few
omitted, may be taken as representing very fairly the mind of Marcus
Aurelius.  The world was his to rule, and he felt it a duty to remember
how slight a thing it was.  This was not the temper of Alexander or of
Cæsar,--of men who make mankind, and who, by their belief in men and in
the power of their own ideas to lift men to higher planes of life,
actually do secure that advance is made,--and that advance not the
smallest.  Yet he speaks of Alexander as a "tragic actor."[7] For a
statesman, the attitude of Marcus is little short of betrayal.  He
worked, he ruled, he endowed, he fought--he was pure, he was
conscientious, he was unselfish--but he did not believe, and he was
ineffectual.  The Germans it might have been beyond any man's power to
repel at that day, but even at home Marcus was ineffectual.  His wife
and his son were by-words.  He had almost a morbid horror of defilement
from men and women of coarse minds,--a craving too for peace and
sympathy; he shrank into himself, condoned, ignored.  Among his
benefactors he does not mention Hadrian, who really gave him the
Empire--and it is easy to see why.  In everything the two are a
contrast.  Hadrian's personal vices and his greatness as a ruler, as a
man handling men and moving among ideas[8]--these were impossible for

Nor was the personal religion of this pure and candid spirit a possible
one for mankind.  "A genuine eternal Gospel," wrote Renan of this diary
of Marcus, "the book of the _Thoughts_ will never grow old, for it
affirms no dogma.  The Gospel has grown old in certain parts; Science
no longer allows us to admit the naïve conception of the supernatural
which is its base....  Yet Science might destroy God and the soul, and
the book of the _Thoughts_ would remain young in its life and truth."
{201} Renan is right; when Science, or anything else, "destroys God and
the soul," there is no Gospel but that of Marcus; and yet for men it is
impossible; and it is not young--it is senile.  Duty without
enthusiasm, hope or belief--belief in man, of course, for "God and the
soul" are by hypothesis "destroyed"--duty, that is, without object,
reason or result, it is a magnificent fancy, and yet one recurs to the
criticism that Marcus passed upon the Christians.  Is there not a hint
of the school about this?  Is it not possible that the simpler
instincts of men,--instincts with a history as ludicrous as
Anthropologists sometimes sketch for us,--may after all come nearer the
truth of things than semi-Stoic reflexion?  At all events the instincts
have ruled the world so far with the co-operation of Reason, and are as
yet little inclined to yield their rights to their colleague.  They
have never done so without disaster.

The world did not accept Marcus as a teacher.  Men readily recognized
his high character, but for a thousand years and more nobody dreamed of
taking him as a guide--nobody, that is, outside the schools.  For the
world it was faith or unbelief, and the two contemporaries already
mentioned represent the two poles to which the thoughts of men
gravitated, who were not yet ready for a cleavage with the past.

[Sidenote: Lucian]

"I am a Syrian from the Euphrates,"[9] wrote Lucian of himself; and
elsewhere he has a playful protest against a historian of his day,
magnificently ignorant of Eastern geography, who "has taken up my
native Samosata, and shifted it, citadel, walls and all, into
Mesopotamia," and by this new feat of colonization has apparently
turned him into a Parthian or Mesopotamian.[10]  Samosata lay actually
in Commagene, and there Lucian spent his boyhood talking Syriac, his
native language.[11]  He was born about 125 A.D.  His family were poor,
and as soon as he left school, the question of a trade was at once
raised, for even a boy's earnings would be welcome.  At school he had
had a trick of scraping the wax from his tablets and making little
figures of animals and men, so his father handed him over to his
mother's brother, who was one of a family of statuaries.  But a blunder
and a breakage resulted in his uncle thrashing him, and he ran home to
his mother.  It was his first and last day in the sculptor's shop, and
he went to {202} bed with tears upon his face.  In later life he told
the story of a dream which he had that night--a long and somewhat
literary dream modelled on Prodicus' fable of the _Choice of Herakles_.
He dreamed that two women appeared to him, one dusty and workmanlike,
the other neat, charming and noble.  They were Sculpture and Culture,
and he chose the latter.  He tells the dream, he says, that the young
may be helped by his example to pursue the best and devote themselves
to Culture, regardless of immediate poverty.[12]  He was launched
somehow on the career of his choice and became a rhetorician.  It may
be noted however that an instinctive interest in art remained with him,
and he is reckoned one of the best art-critics of antiquity.

Rhetoric, he says, "made a Greek of him," went with him from city to
city in Greece and Ionia, "sailed the Ionian sea with him and attended
him even as far as Gaul, scattering plenty in his path."[13]  For, as
he explains elsewhere, he was among the teachers who could command high
fees, and he made a good income in Gaul.[14]  But, about the age of
forty, he resolved "to let the gentlemen of the jury rest in
peace--tyrants enough having been arraigned and princes enough
eulogized."[15]  From now onward he wrote dialogues--he had at last
found his proper work.

[Sidenote: Lucian's Dialogues]

Dialogue in former days had been the vehicle of speculation--"had
trodden those aerial plains on high above the clouds, where the great
Zeus in heaven is borne along on winged car."  But it was to do so no
more, and in an amusing piece Lucian represents Dialogue personified as
bringing a suit against him for outrage.  Had Lucian debased Dialogue,
by reducing him to the common level of humanity and making him
associate with such persons as Aristophanes and Menippus, one a
light-hearted mocker at things sacred, the other a barking, snarling
dog of a Cynic,--thus turning Dialogue into a literary Centaur, neither
fit to walk nor able to soar?  Or was Dialogue really a musty, fusty,
superannuated creature, and greatly improved now for having a bath and
being taught to smile and to go genially in the company of Comedy?
Between the attack and the defence, the case is fairly stated.[16]
Lucian created a new {203} mode in writing--or perhaps he revived it,
for it is not very clear how much he owes to his favourite Menippus,
the Gadarene Cynic and satirist of four centuries before.

Menippus however has perished and Lucian remains and is read; for,
whatever else is to be said of him, he is readable.  He has not lost
all the traces of the years during which he consorted with Rhetoric; at
times he amplifies and exaggerates, and will strain for more point and
piquancy than a taste more sure would approve.  Yet he has the instinct
to avoid travesty, and his style is in general natural and simple,
despite occasional literary reminiscences.  His characters talk,--as
men may talk of their affairs, when they are not conscious of being
overheard,--with a naïve frankness not always very wise, with a freedom
and common sense, and sometimes with a folly, that together reveal the
speaker.  They rarely declaim, and they certainly never reach any high
level of thought or feeling.  The talk is slight and easy--it flickers
about from one idea to another, and gives a strong impression of being
real.  If it is gods who are talking, they become surprisingly
human--and even _bourgeois_, they are so very much at home among
themselves.  Lucian's skill is amazing.  He will take some episode from
Homer and change no single detail, and yet, as we listen to the
off-hand talk of the gods as they recount the occurrence, we are
startled at the effect--the irony is everywhere and nowhere; the
surprises are irresistible.  Zeus, for instance, turns out to have more
literary interests than we suppose; he will quote Homer and make a
Demosthenic oration to the gods, though alas! his memory fails him in
the middle of a sentence;[17] he laments that his altars are as cold as
Plato's _Laws_ or the syllogisms of Chrysippus.  He is the frankest
gentleman of heaven, and so infinitely obliging!

In short, for sheer cleverness Lucian has no rival but Aristophanes in
extant Greek literature.  His originality, his wit, his humour (not at
all equal, it may be said, to his wit), his gifts of invention and
fancy, his light touch, and his genius for lively narrative, mark him
out distinctively in an age when literature was all rhetoric, length
and reminiscence.  But as we read him, we become sensible of defects as
extraordinary as his gifts.  For all his Attic style, he belongs to his
age.  He {204} may renounce Rhetoric, but no man can easily escape from
his past.  The education had intensified the cardinal faults of his
character, impatience, superficiality, a great lack of sympathy for the
more tender attachments and the more profound interests of
men--essential unbelief in human grandeur.  An expatriated adventurer,
living for twenty years on his eloquence, with the merest smattering of
philosophy and no interest whatever in nature and natural science or
mathematics, with little feeling and no poetry,--it was hardly to be
expected that he should understand the depths of the human soul,
lynx-eyed as he is for the surface of things.  He had a very frank
admiration for his own character, and he drew himself over and over
again under various names.  Lykinos, for example, is hardly a disguise
at all.  "Free-Speech, son of True-man, son of Examiner," he calls
himself in one of his mock trials, "hater of shams, hater of impostors,
hater of liars, hater of the pompous, hater of every such variety of
hateful men--and there are plenty of them"; conversely, he loves the
opposites, when he meets them, which, he owns, is not very often.[18]

[Sidenote: Lucian and philosophy]

With such a profession, it is not surprising that a man of more wit
than sympathy, found abundance of material in the follies of his age.
Men were taking themselves desperately seriously,--preaching
interminable Philosophy, saving their souls, and communing with gods
and dæmons in the most exasperating ways.  Shams, impostures, and
liars--so Lucian summed them up, and he did not conceal his opinion.
Granted that the age had aspects quite beyond his comprehension, he
gives a very vivid picture of it from the outside.  This is what men
were doing and saying around him--but why?  Why, but from vanity and
folly?  Gods, philosophers, and all who take human life seriously, are
deluged with one stream of badinage, always clever but not always in
good taste.  He has no purpose, religious or philosophic.  If he
attacks the gods, it is not as a Sceptic--the Sceptics are ridiculed as
much as any one else in the _Sale of Lives_--men who know nothing,
doubt of their own experience, and avow the end of their knowledge to
be ignorance.[19]  If he is what we nowadays loosely call sceptical, it
is not on philosophic grounds.  We should hardly expect him in his
satirical pamphlets really to {205} grapple with the question of
Philosophy, but he seems not to understand in the least why there
should be Philosophy at all.  He is master of no single system, though
he has the catch-words of them all at his finger-ends.

His most serious dialogue on Philosophy is the _Hermotimus_.  "Lykinos"
meets Hermotimus on his way to a lecture--a man of sixty who for many
years has attended the Stoics.  Into their argument we need not go, but
one or two points may be noted.  Hermotimus is a disciple, simple and
persevering, who owns that he has not reached the goal of Happiness and
hardly expects to reach it, but he presses bravely on, full of faith in
his teachers.  Under the adroit questions of Lykinos, he is forced to
admit that he had chosen the Stoics rather than any other school by
sheer intuition--or because of general notions acquired more or less
unconsciously--like a man buying wine, he knew a good thing when he
tasted it, and looked no further.  Yes, says Lykinos, take the first
step and the rest is easy--Philosophy depends on a first
assumption--take the Briareus of the poets with three heads and six
hands, and then work him out,--six eyes, six ears, three voices talking
at once, thirty fingers--you cannot quarrel with the details as they
come; once grant the beginning, and the rest comes flooding in,
irresistible, hardly now susceptible of doubt.  So in Philosophy, your
passion, like the longing of a lover, blinded you to the first
assumptions, and the structure followed.[20]  "Do not think that I
speak against the Stoics, through any special dislike of the school; my
arguments hold against all the schools."[21]  The end is that
Hermotimus abandons all Philosophy for ever--not a very dramatic or
probable end, as Plato and Justin Martyr could have told Lucian.

The other point to notice is the picture of Virtue under the image of a
Celestial City, and here one cannot help wondering whether the irony
has any element of personal reminiscence.  Virtue Lykinos pictures as a
City, whose citizens are happy, wise and good, little short of gods, as
the Stoics say.  All there is peace, unity, liberty, equality.  The
citizens are all aliens and foreigners, not a native among
them--barbarians, slaves, misformed, dwarfs, poor; for wealth and birth
and beauty are not reckoned there.  "In good truth, we {206} should
devote all our efforts to this, and let all else go.  We should take no
heed of our native-land, nor of the clinging and weeping of children or
parents, if one has any, but call on them to take the same journey, and
then, if they will not or cannot go with us, shake them off, and march
straight for the city of all bliss, leaving one's coat in their hands,
if they won't let go,--for there is no fear of your being shut out
there, even if you come without a coat."  Fifteen years ago an old man
had urged Lykinos to go there with him.  "If the city had been near at
hand and plain for all to see, long ago, you may be sure, with never a
doubt I would have gone there, and had my franchise long since.  But as
you tell us, it lieth far away"----and there are so many professed
guides and so many roads, that there is no telling whether one is
travelling to Babylon or to Corinth.[22]  "So for the future you had
better reconcile yourself to living like an ordinary man, without
fantastic and vain hopes."[23]

Lucian never ceases to banter the philosophers.  When he visits the
Islands of the Blest, he remarks that, while Diogenes and the
Epicureans are there, Plato prefers his own Republic and Laws, the
Stoics are away climbing their steep hill of Virtue, and the Academics,
though wishful to come, are still suspending their judgment, uncertain
whether there really is such an island at all and not sure that
Rhadamanthus himself is qualified to give judgment.[24]  Diogenes in
the shades, Pan in his grotto, Zeus in heaven, and the common man in
the streets, are unanimous that they have had too much Philosophy
altogether.  The philosophers have indeed embarked on an impossible
quest, for they will never find Truth.  Once Lucian represents Truth in
person, and his portrait is characteristic.  She is pointed out to
him--a female figure, dim and indistinct of complexion; "I do not see
which one you mean," he says, and the answer is, "Don't you see the
unadorned one there, the naked one, ever eluding the sight and slipping

[Sidenote: Lucian's _Lover of Lies_]

But still more absurd than Philosophy was the growth of belief in the
supernatural.  Lucian's _Lover of Lies_ is a most illuminating book.
Here are gathered specimens of the various {207} types of contemporary
superstition--one would suspect the author of the wildest parody, if it
were not that point by point we may find parallels in the other writers
of the day.  Tychiades (who is very like Lucian himself) tells how he
has been visiting Eucrates and has dropped into a nest of absurdities.
Eucrates is sixty and wears the solemn beard of a student of
philosophy.  He has a ring made of iron from gibbets and is prepared to
believe everything incredible.  His house is full of professed
philosophers, Aristotelian, Stoic, and Platonic, advising him how to
cure the pain in his legs, by wrapping round them a lion's skin with
the tooth of a field mouse folded within it.[26]  Tychiades asks if
they really believe that a charm hung on outside can cure the mischief
within, and they laugh at his ignorance.  The Platonist tells a number
of stories to prove the reasonableness of the treatment,--how a
vine-dresser of his father's had died of snake-bite and been recovered
by a Chaldæan, and how the same Chaldæan charmed (like the Pied Piper)
all the snakes off their farm.  The Stoic narrates how he once saw a
Hyperborean flying and walking on water--"with those brogues on his
feet that his countrymen habitually wear"--a man whose more ordinary
feats were raising spirits, calling the dead from their graves, and
fetching down the moon.  Ion, the Platonist, confirms all this with an
account of another miracle-worker--"everybody knows the Syrian of
Palestine" who drives dæmons out of men; "he would stand by the patient
lying on the ground and ask whence they have come into the body; and,
though the sick person does not speak, the dæmon answers in Greek, or
in some barbarian tongue, or whatever his own dialect may be, and
explains how he entered into the man and whence he came.  Then the
Syrian would solemnly adjure him, or threaten him if he were obstinate,
and so drive him out.  I can only say I saw one, of a black smoky hue,
in the act of coming out."[27]  The Syrian's treatment was expensive,
it appears.  Celsus, as we shall see later on, has some evidence on
this matter.  The nationality of the magicians quoted in the book may
be remarked--they are Libyan, Syrian, Arab, Chaldæan, Egyptian, and

Other tales of magical statues, a wife's apparition, an {208} uneasy
ghost,[28] a charm for bringing an absent lover, and the familiar one
of the man who learns the spell of three syllables to make a pestle
fetch water, but unhappily not that which will make it stop, and who
finds on cutting it in two that there are now two inanimate
water-carriers and a double deluge--these we may pass over.  We may
note that this water-fetching spell came originally from a sacred
scribe of Memphis, learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, who
lived underground in the temple for three and twenty years and was
taught his magic there by Isis herself.[29]  Interviews with dæmons are
so common that instances are not given.[30]

More significant are the stories of the other world, for here we come
again, from a different point of approach, into a region familiar to
the reader of Plutarch.  Eucrates himself, out in the woods, heard a
noise of barking dogs; an earthquake followed and a voice of thunder,
and then came a woman more than six hundred feet high, bearing sword
and torch, and followed by dogs "taller than Indian elephants, black in
colour."  Her feet were snakes--here we may observe that Pausanias the
traveller pauses to dismiss "the silly story that giants have serpents
instead of feet," for a coffin more than eleven ells long was found
near Antioch and "the whole body was that of a man."[31]  So the
snake-feet are not a mere fancy of Lucian's.  The woman then tapped the
earth with one of these feet of hers, and disappeared into the chasm
she made.  Eucrates, peeping over the edge, "saw everything in Hades,
the river of fire and the lake, Cerberus and the dead"--what is more,
he recognized some of the dead.  "Did you see Socrates and Plato?" asks
Ion.  Socrates he thought he saw, "but Plato I did not recognize; I
suppose one is bound to stick to the exact truth in talking to one's
friends."  Pyrrhias the slave confirms the story as an eye-witness.[32]
Another follows with a story of his trance in illness, and how he saw
the world below, Fates, Furies, and all, and was brought before Pluto,
who {209} dismissed him with some irritation, as not amenable yet to
his Court, and called for the smith Demylos; he came back to life and
announced that Demylos would shortly die, and Demylos did die.  "Where
is the wonder?" says another--the physician, "I know a man raised from
the dead twenty days after his burial, for I attended him both before
his death and after his resurrection."[33]

In all this, it is clear that there is a strong element of mockery.
Mockery was Lucian's object, but he probably kept in all these stories
a great deal nearer to what his neighbours would believe than we may
imagine.  Ælian, for example, has a story of a pious cock, which made a
point of walking gratefully in the processions that took place in
honour of Æsculapius; and he does not tell it in the spirit of the
author of the _Jackdaw of Rheims_.

[Sidenote: Lucian and the gods]

As one of the main preoccupations of his age was with the gods, Lucian
of course could not leave them alone.  His usual method is to accept
them as being exactly what tradition made them, and then to set them in
new and impossible situations.  The philosopher Menippus takes "the
right wing of an eagle and the left of a vulture," and, after some
careful practice, flies up to heaven to interview Zeus.  He has been so
terribly distracted by the arguments of the schools, that he wants to
see for himself--"I dared not disbelieve men of such thundering voices
and such imposing beards."  Zeus most amiably allows him to stand by
and watch him at work, hearing prayers as they come up through tubes,
and granting or rejecting them, then settling some auguries, and
finally arranging the weather--"rain in Scythia, snow in Greece, a
storm in the Adriatic, and about a thousand bushels of hail in
Cappadocia."[34]  Zeus asks; rather nervously what men are saying about
him nowadays--mankind is so fond of novelty.  "There was a time," he
says, "when I was everything to them--

  Each street, each market-place was full of Zeus--

and I could hardly see for the smoke of sacrifice"; but other gods,
Asklepios, Bendis, Anubis and others, have set up shrines and the
altars of Zeus are cold--cold as Chrysippus.[35] Altogether the
dialogue is a masterpiece of humour and irony.

In another piece, we find Zeus and the other gods in {210} assembly
listening to an argument going on at Athens.  An Epicurean, Damis, and
a singularly feeble Stoic are debating whether gods exist, and whether
they exercise any providence for men.  Poseidon recommends the prompt
use of a thunderbolt "to let them see," but Zeus reminds him that it is
Destiny that really controls the thunderbolts--and, besides, "it would
look as if we were frightened."  So the argument goes on, and all the
familiar proofs from divine judgments, regularity of sun and season,
from Homer and the poets, from the consensus of mankind and oracles,
are produced and refuted there and then, while the gods listen, till it
becomes doubtful whether they do exist.  The Stoic breaks down and runs
away.  "What are we to do?" asks Zeus.  Hermes quotes a comic poet in
Hamlet's vein--"there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes
it so"--and what does it matter, if a few men are persuaded by Damis?
we still have the majority--"most of the Greeks and all the

In _Zeus Cross-examined_ the process is carried further.  Cyniscus
questions Zeus, who is only too good-natured and falls into all the
questioner's traps.  He admits Destiny to be supreme, and gets
entangled in a terrible net of problems about fore-knowledge, the value
of sacrifice and of divination, divine wrath, sin and so forth, till he
cries "You leave us nothing!--you seem to me to despise me, for sitting
here and listening to you with a thunderbolt on my arm."  "Hit me with
it," says Cyniscus, "if it is so destined,--I shall have no quarrel
with you for it, but with Clotho."  At last Zeus rises and goes away
and will answer no more.  But perhaps, reflects Cyniscus, he has said
enough, and it was "not destined for me to hear any more."[37]  The
reader feels that Zeus has said more than enough.

From the old gods of Greece, we naturally turn to the newcomers.  When
Zeus summoned the gods to discuss the question of atheism at Athens, a
good many more came than understood Greek, and it was they who had the
best seats as they were made of solid gold--Bendis, Anubis, Attis and
Mithras for example.  Elsewhere Momus (who is a divine Lucian)
complains to Zeus about them--"that Mithras with his Persian robe and
tiara, who can't talk Greek, nor even understand when one drinks {211}
to him"--what is he doing in heaven?  And then the dog-faced Egyptian
in linen--who is he to bark at the gods?  "Of course,", says Zeus,
"Egyptian religion--yes! but all the same there are hidden meanings,
and the uninitiated must not laugh at them."  Still Zeus is provoked
into issuing a decree--on second thoughts, he would not put it to the
vote of the divine assembly, for he felt sure he would be outvoted.
The decree enacts that, whereas heaven is crowded with polyglot aliens,
till there is a great rise in the price of nectar, and the old and true
gods are being crowded out of their supremacy, a committee of seven
gods shall be appointed to sit on claims; further, that each god shall
attend to his own function, Athene shall not heal nor Asklepios give
oracles, etc.; that philosophers shall talk no more nonsense; and that
the statues of deified men shall be replaced by those of Zeus, Hera,
etc., the said men to be buried in the usual way.[38]

[Sidenote: Lucian's _Alexander_]

More than one reference has been made to new gods and new oracles.
Lucian in his _Alexander_ gives a merciless account of how such shrines
were started.  He came into personal contact--indeed into
conflict--with Alexander, the founder of the oracle of Abonoteichos,
and his story is full of detail.  The man was a quack of the vulgarest
type, and, yet by means of a tame snake and some other simple
contrivances, he imposed himself upon the faith of a community.  His
renown spread far and wide.  By recognizing other oracles he secured
their support.  Men came to him even from Rome.  Through one of these
devotees, he actually sent an oracle to Marcus Aurelius among the
Marcomanni and Quadi, bidding him throw two lions with spices into the
Danube, and there should be a great victory.  This was done, Lucian
says; the lions swam ashore on the farther side, and the victory fell
to the Germans.[39]  Lucian himself trapped the prophet with some
cunningly devised inquiries, which quite baffled god, prophet, snake
and all.  He also tried to detach an eminent adherent.  Alexander
realized what was going on, and Lucian got a guard of two soldiers from
the governor of Cappadocia.  Under their protection he went to see the
prophet who had sent for him.  The prophet, as he usually did with his
followers, offered him {212} his hand to kiss, and Lucian records with
satisfaction that he bit the proffered hand and nearly lamed it.
Thanks to his guard, he came away uninjured.  Alexander, however, after
this tried still more to compass his death, which is not
surprising.[40]  There is other evidence than Lucian's, though it is
not unnaturally slight, for the existence of this remarkable impostor.

[Sidenote: Lucian and Peregrinus]

Lucian has one or two incidental references to Christians.[41]
Alexander warned them, in company with the Epicureans, to keep away
from his shrine.  But we hear more of them in connexion with Proteus
Peregrinus.  Lucian is not greatly interested in them; he ridicules
them as fools for being taken in by the impostor; for Peregrinus, he
tells us, duped them with the greatest success.  He became a prophet
among them, a thiasarch, a ruler of the synagogue, everything in fact;
he interpreted their books for them, and indeed wrote them a lot more;
and they counted him a god and a lawgiver.  "You know," Lucian
explains, "they still worship that great man of theirs, who was put on
a gibbet in Palestine, because he added this new mystery (_teletèn_) to
human life."  In his mocking way he gives some interesting evidence on
the attention and care bestowed by Christians on those of their members
who were thrown into prison.  He details what was done by the foolish
community for "their new Socrates" when Peregrinus was a prisoner.
When he was released, Peregrinus started wandering again, living on
Christian charity, till "he got into trouble with them, too,--he was
caught eating forbidden meats."[42]

Lucian differs from Voltaire in having less purpose and no definite
principles.  He had no design to overthrow religion in favour of
something else; it is merely that the absurdity of it provoked him, and
he enjoyed saying aloud, and with all the vigour of reckless wit, that
religious belief was silly.  If the effect was scepticism, it was a
scepticism founded, not on {213} philosophy, but on the off-hand
judgment of what is called common-sense.  Hidden meanings and mysteries
were to him nonsense.  How little he was qualified to understand
mysticism and religious enthusiasm, can be seen in his account of the
self-immolation of Peregrinus on his pyre at the Olympian
games[43]--perhaps the most insufficient thing he ever wrote, full of
value as it is.  Peregrinus was a wanderer among the religions of the
age.  Gellius--who often heard him at Athens, calls him a man _gravis
atque constans_, and says he spoke much that was useful and honest.  He
quotes in his way a paragraph of a discourse on sin, which does not
lack moral elevation.[44] To Lucian the man was a quack, an advertiser,
a mountebank, who burnt himself to death merely to attract notice.
Lucian says he witnessed the affair, and tells gaily how, among other
jests, he imposed a pretty miracle of his own invention upon the
credulous.  He had taken no pains to understand the man--nor did he to
understand either the religious temper in general, or the philosophic,
or anything else.  His habit of handling things easily and lightly did
not help him to see what could not be taken in at a glance.

What then does Lucian make of human life?  On this he says a great
deal.  His most characteristic invention perhaps is the visit that
Charon pays to the upper world to see what it really is that the dead
regret so much.  It is indeed, as M. Croiset points out, a fine stroke
of irony to take the opinion of a minister of Death upon Life.  Charon
has left his ferry boat and comes up to light.  Hermes meets him and
they pile up some mountains--Pelion on Ossa, and Parnassus on top, from
the two summits of which they survey mankind--a charm from Homer
removing Charon's difficulty of vision.  He sees many famous people,
such as Milo, Polycrates and Cyrus; and he overhears Croesus and Solon
discussing happiness, while Hermes foretells their fates.  He sees a
varied scene, life full of confusion, cities like swarms of bees, where
each has a sting and stings his neighbour, and some, like wasps, harass
and plunder the rest; over them, like a cloud, hang hopes and fears
{214} and follies, pleasures and passions and hatreds.  He sees the
Fates spinning slender threads, soon cut, from which men hang with
never a thought of how quickly death ends their dreams; and he compares
them to bubbles, big and little inevitably broken.  He would like to
shout to them "to live with Death ever before their eyes"--why be so
earnest about what they can never take away?--but Hermes tells him it
would be useless.  He is amazed at the absurdity of their burial rites,
and he astonishes Hermes by quoting Homer on the subject.  Last of all
he witnesses a battle and cries out at the folly of it.  "Such," he
concludes, "is the life of miserable men--and not a word about

In the same way and in the same spirit Menippus visits the Lower World,
where he sees Minos judging the dead.  Minos too seems to have been
interested in literature, for he reduced the sentence upon Dionysius,
the tyrant of Syracuse, on the very proper ground of his generosity to
authors.  But the general picture has less humour.  "We entered the
Acherusian plain, and there we found the demi-gods, and the heroines,
and the general throng of the dead in nations and tribes, some ancient
and mouldering, 'strengthless heads' as Homer says, others fresh and
holding together--Egyptians these in the main, so thoroughly good is
their embalming.  But to know one from another was no easy task; all
become so much alike when the bones are bared; yet with pains and long
scrutiny we began to recognize them.  They lay pell-mell in
undistinguishable heaps, with none of their earthly beauties left.
With so many skeletons piled together, all as like as could be, eyes
glaring ghastly and vacant, teeth gleaming bare, I knew not to tell
Thersites from Nireus the fair....  For none of their ancient marks
remained, and their bones were alike, uncertain, unlabelled,
undistinguishable.  When I saw all this, the life of man came before me
under the likeness of a great pageant, arranged and marshalled by
Chance," who assigns the parts and reassigns them as she pleases; and
then the pageant ends, every one disrobes and all are alike.  "Such is
human life, as it seemed to me while I gazed."[46]  Over and over again
with every accent of irony the one moral is enforced--sometimes with
sheer brutality as in the tract on _Mourning_.


Menippus asked Teiresias in the shades what was the best life.  "He was
a blind little old man, and pale, and had a weak voice."  He said: "The
life of ordinary people is best, and, wiser; cease from the folly of
metaphysics, of inquiry into origins and purposes; spit upon those
clever syllogisms and count all these things idle talk; and pursue one
end alone, how you may well arrange the present and go on your way with
a laugh for most things and no enthusiasms."[47]  In fact, "the
unexamined life" is the only one, as many a weary thinker has felt--if
it were but possible.

[Sidenote: Criticism of Lucian]

Goethe's criticism on Heine may perhaps be applied to Lucian--"We
cannot deny that he has many brilliant qualities, but he is wanting in
love ... and thus he will never produce the effect which he ought."[48]
Various views have been held of Lucian's contribution to the religious
movement of the age; it has even been suggested that his Dialogues
advanced the cause of Christianity.  But when one reflects upon the
tender hearts to be found in the literature of the century, it is
difficult to think that Lucian can have had any effect on the mass of
serious people, unless to quicken in them by repulsion the desire for
something less terrible than a godless world of mockery and death, and
the impulse to seek it in the ancestral faith of their fathers.  He did
not love men enough to understand their inmost mind.  The instincts
that drove men back upon the old religion were among the deepest in
human nature, and of their strength Lucian had no idea.  His admirers
to-day speak of him as one whose question was always "Is it true?"  We
have seen that it was a question lightly asked and quickly answered.
It is evident enough that his mockery of religion has some warrant in
the follies and superstitions of his day.  But such criticism as his,
based upon knowledge incomplete and sympathy imperfect, is of little
value.  If a man's judgment upon religion is not to be external, he
must have felt the need of a religion,--he must have had at some time
the consciousness of imperative cravings and instincts which only a
religion can satisfy.  Such cravings are open to criticism, but men can
neither be laughed out of them, nor indeed reasoned out of them; and
however absurd a religion may seem, and however defective it may be, if
it is {216} still the only available satisfaction of the deepest needs
of which men are conscious, it will hold its own, despite mockery and
despite philosophy--as we shall see in the course of the chapter,
though two more critics of religion remain to be noticed.

[Sidenote: Sextus Empiricus]

Lucian was not the only man who sought to bring the age back to sound
and untroubled thinking.  There was a physician, Sextus--known from the
school of medicine to which he belonged as Sextus Empiricus--who wrote
a number of books about the end of the second century or the beginning
of the third in defence of Scepticism.  A medical work of his, and a
treatise on the Soul are lost, but his _Pyrrhonean Sketches_ and his
books _Against the Dogmatists_ remain--written in a Greek which
suggests that he was himself a Greek and not a foreigner using the
language.  Physicists, mathematicians, grammarians, moralists,
astrologers, come under his survey, and the particular attention which
he gives to the Stoics is a material fact in fixing his date, for after
about 200 A.D. they cease to be of importance.  His own point of view a
short extract from his sketches will exhibit fully enough for our
present purpose.

"The aim of the Sceptic is ataraxia [freedom from mental perturbation
or excitement] in matters which depend on opinion, and in things which
are inevitable restraint of the feelings (_metriopátheian_).  For he
began to philosophise in order to judge his impressions (_phantasías_)
and to discover which of them are true and which false, so as to be
free from perturbation.  But he came to a point where the arguments
were at once diametrically opposite and of equal weight; and then, as
he could not decide, he suspended judgment (_epéschen_), and as soon as
he had done so, there followed as if by accident this very freedom from
perturbation in the region of opinion.  For if a man opines anything to
be good or bad in its essential nature, he is always in perturbation.
When he has not the things that appear to him to be good, he considers
himself tortured by the things evil by nature, and he pursues the good
(as he supposes them to be); but, as soon as he has them, he falls into
even more perturbations, through being uplifted out of all reason and
measure, and from fear of change he does everything not to lose the
things that seem to him to be good.  But the man, who makes no
definitions as to what is good or bad by {217} nature, neither avoids
nor pursues anything with eagerness, and is therefore unperturbed.
What is related of Apelles the painter has in fact befallen the
Sceptic.  The story goes that he was painting a horse and wished to
represent the foam of its mouth in his picture; but he was so
unsuccessful that he gave it up, and took the sponge, on which he used
to wipe the colours from his brush, and threw it at the picture.  The
sponge hit the picture and produced a likeness of the horse's foam.
The Sceptics then hoped to gain ataraxia by forming some decision on
the lack of correspondence between things as they appear to the eye and
to the mind; they were unable to do it, and so suspended judgment
(_epéschen_); and then as if by accident the ataraxia followed---just
as a shadow follows a body.  We do not say that the Sceptic is
untroubled in every way, but we own he is troubled by things that are
quite inevitable.  For we admit that the Sceptic is cold sometimes, and
thirsty, and so forth.  But even in these matters the uneducated are
caught in two ways at once, viz.: by the actual feelings and (not less)
by supposing these conditions to be bad by nature.  The Sceptic does
away with the opinion that any one of these things is evil in its
nature, and so he gets off more lightly even in these

A view of this kind was hardly likely to appeal to the temper of the
age, and the influence of Scepticism was practically none.  Still it is
interesting to find so vigorous and clear an exponent of the system
flourishing in a period given over to the beliefs that Lucian parodied
and Apuleius accepted.  Sextus, it may be added, is the sole
representative of ancient Scepticism whose works have come down to us
in any complete form.

One very obscure person of this period remains to be noticed, who in
his small sphere gave his views to mankind in a way of his own.

In 1884 two French scholars, MM. Holleaux and Paris were exploring the
ruins of Oinoanda, a Greek city in Lycia, and they came upon a number
of inscribed stones, most of them built in a wall.  What was unusual
was that these were neither fragments of municipal decrees nor of
private monuments, but all formed part of one great inscription which
dealt apparently with some philosophic subject.  In June 1895 two
Austrian {218} scholars, MM. Heberdey and Kalinka, re-collated the
inscription and found some further fragments, and now the story is
tolerably clear, and a curious one it is.[50]

It appears that the fragments originally belonged to an inscription
carved on the side of a colonnade, and they fall into three series
according to their place on the wall--one above another.  The middle
series consists of columns of fourteen lines, the letters 1-½ to 2
centimetres high, fifteen or sixteen in a line,--each column forming a
page, as it were; and it extends over some twenty-one or two yards.
The lowest series is in the same style.  On top is a series of columns
added later (as the inscription shows) and cut in letters of 2-½-3
centimetres, generally ten lines to the column--the larger size to
compensate for the greater height above the ground, for it was all
meant to be read.  The inscription begins:--

"Diogenes to kinsmen, household and friends, this is my charge.  Being
so ill that it is critical whether I yet live or live no longer--for an
affection of the heart is carrying me off--if I survive, I will gladly
accept the life yet given to me; if I do not survive, _DO_..."

[Sidenote: Diogenes of Oinoanda]

There ends a column, and a line or two has been lost at the top of what
seems to be the next, after which come the words "a kindly feeling for
strangers also who may be staying here," and the incomplete statement
which begins "knowing assuredly, that by knowledge of the matters
relating to Nature and feelings, which I have set forth in the spaces
below...."  It is evident that Diogenes had something to say which he
considered it a duty to make known.  This proves to have been the
Epicurean theory of life; and here he had carved up for all to read a
simple exposition of the philosophy of his choice.

The uppermost row contains his account of his purpose and something
upon old age--very fragmentary.  There follow a letter of Epicurus to
his mother, and another letter from some one unidentified to one
Menneas, and then a series of apophthegms and sentences.  Thus fragment
27 is a column of ten lines to this effect: "Nothing is so contributive
to good spirits, as not to do many things, nor take in hand tiresome
matters, nor force oneself in any way beyond one's own strength, for
all these things perturb nature."  Another column proclaims: "Acute
{219} pains cannot be long; for either they quickly destroy life and
are themselves destroyed with it, or they receive some abatement of
their acuteness."  These platitudes are, as we may guess, an

The middle row, the first to be inscribed, deals with the Epicurean
theory of atoms--not by apophthegm or aphorism, but with something of
the fulness and technicality of a treatise.  "Herakleitos of Ephesus,
then, said fire was the element; Thales of Miletus water; Diogenes of
Apollonia and Anaximenes air; Empedocles of Agrigentum both fire and
air and water and earth; Anaxagoras of Clazomenæ the homoeomeries of
each thing in particular; those of the Stoa matter and God.  But
Democritus of Abdera said atomic natures--and he did well; but since he
made some mistakes about them, these will be set right in our opinions.
So now we will accuse the persons mentioned, not from any feeling of
illwill against them, but wishing the truth to be saved (_sôthênai_)."
So he takes them in turn and argues at leisure.  The large fragment 45
discusses astronomy in its four columns--in particular, the sun and its
apparent distance and its nature.  Fr. 48 (four columns) goes on to
treat of civilization,--of the development of dress from leaves to
skins and woven garments, without the intervention "of any other god or
of Athena either."  Need and time did all.  Hermes did not invent
language.  In fr. 50, we read that Protagoras "said he did not know if
there are gods.  That is the same thing as saying he knew there are
not."  Fr. 51 deals with death--"thou hast even persuaded me to laugh
at it.  For I am not a whit afraid because of the Tityos-es and
Tantalus-es, whom some people paint in Hades, nor do I dread decay,
reflecting that the [something] of the body ... [three broken lines]
... nor anything else."  At the end of the row another letter begins
(fr. 56) "[Diogen]es to Anti[pater] greeting."  He writes from Rhodes,
he says, just before winter begins, to friends in Athens and elsewhere,
whom he would like to see.  Though away from his country, he knows he
can do more for it in this way than by taking part in political life.
He wishes to show that "that which is convenient to Nature, viz.
Ataraxia is the same for all."  He is now "at the sunset of life," and
all but departing; so, since most men, as in a pestilence, are diseased
with false opinion, which is very infectious, he wishes {220} "to help
those that shall be after us; for they too are ours, even if they are
not yet born"; and strangers too.  "I wished to make use of this
colonnade and to set forth in public the medicine of salvation" (_tà
tês sôtêrías protheînai pharmaka_, fr. 58).  The idle fears that
oppressed him, he has shaken off; as to pains--empty ones he has
abolished utterly, and the rest are reduced to the smallest compass.
He bewails the life of men, wasted as it is, and weeps for it; and he
has "counted it a good man's part" to help men as far as he can.  That
is why he has thought of this inscription which may enable men to
obtain "joy with good spirits" (_tê_[_s met' euthu_]_mías charâ_[_s_]),
rather than of a theatre or a bath or anything else of the kind, such
as rich men would often build for their fellow-citizens (fr. 59).

The discussion which follows in the third series of columns need not
here detain us.  Diogenes appeals for its consideration--that it may
not merely be glanced at in passing (fr. 61, col. 3); but it will
suffice us at present to note his statement that his object is "that
life may become pleasant to us" (fr. 63, col. 1), and his protest--"I
will swear, both now and always, crying aloud to all, Greeks and
barbarians, that pleasure is the objective of the best mode of life,
while the virtues, which these people now unseasonably meddle with (for
they shift them from the region of the contributive to that of the
objective) are by no means an objective, but contributive to the
objective" (fr. 67, col. 2, 3).  Lastly we may notice his reference to
the improvement made in the theory of Democritus by the discovery of
Epicurus of the swerve inherent in the atoms (fr. 81).

Altogether the inscription is as singular a monument of antiquity as we
are likely to find.  What the fellow-citizens of Diogenes thought of
it, we do not know.  Perhaps they might have preferred the bath or
other commonplace gift of the ordinary rich man.  It is a pity that
Lucian did not see the colonnade.

Side by side with Lucian, Sextus and Diogenes it is interesting to
consider their contemporaries who were not of their opinion.

Perhaps, while the stone-masons were day by day carving up the long
inscription at Oinoanda, others of their trade were {221} busy across
the Ægæan with one of another character.  At any rate, the inscription
which M. Julius Apellas set up in the temple of Asklepios in Epidauros,
belongs to this period.  Like Diogenes, he is not afraid of detail.

[Sidenote: Marcus Julius Apellas]

"In the priesthood of Poplius Ælius Antiochus.

"I, Marcus Julius Apellas of Idrias and Mylasa, was sent for by the
God, for I was a chronic invalid and suffered from dyspepsia.  In the
course of my journey the God told me in Ægina not to be so irritable.
When I reached the Temple, he directed me to keep my head covered for
two days; and for these two days it rained.  I was to eat bread and
cheese, parsley with lettuce, to wash myself without help, to practise
running, to drink citron-lemonade, to rub my body on the sides of the
bath in the bath-room, to take walks in the upper portico, to use the
trapeze, to rub myself over with sand, to go with bare feet in the
bath-room, to pour wine into the hot water before I got in, to wash
myself without help, and to give an Attic drachma to the
bath-attendant, to offer in public sacrifices to Asklepios, Epione and
the Eleusinian goddesses, and to take milk with honey.  When for one
day I had drunk milk alone, the god said to put honey in the milk to
make it digestible.

"When I called upon the god to cure me more quickly, I thought it was
as if I had anointed my whole body with mustard and salt, and had come
out of the sacred hall and gone in the direction of the bath-house,
while a small child was going before holding a smoking censer.  The
priest said to me: 'Now you are cured, but you must pay up the fees for
your treatment.'  I acted according to the vision, and when I rubbed
myself with salt and moistened mustard, I felt the pain still, but when
I had bathed, I suffered no longer.  These events took place in the
first nine days after I had come to the Temple.  The god also touched
my right hand and my breast.

"The following day as I was offering sacrifice, a flame leapt up and
caught my hand, so as to cause blisters.  Yet after a little my hand
was healed.

"As I prolonged my stay in the Temple, the god told me to use dill
along with olive-oil for my head-aches.  Formerly I had not suffered
from head-aches, but my studies had brought {222} on congestion.  After
I used the olive-oil, I was cured of head-aches.  For swollen glands
the god told me to use a cold gargle, when I consulted him about it,
and he ordered the same treatment for inflamed tonsils.

"He bade me inscribe this treatment, and I left the Temple in good
health and full of gratitude to the god."[51]

[Sidenote: Pausanias]

Pausanias speaks of "the buildings erected in our time by Antoninus a
man of the Conscript Senate"--a Roman Senator in fact,[52]--in honour
of Asklepios at Epidauros, a bath, three temples, a colonnade, and "a
house where a man may die, and a woman lie in, without sin," for these
actions were not "holy" within the sanctuary precincts, and had had to
be done in the open air hitherto.

A more conspicuous patient of Asklepios is Ælius Aristides, the
rhetorician.  This brilliant and hypochondriacal person spent years in
watching his symptoms and consulting the god about them.  Early in his
illness the god instructed him to record its details, and he obeyed
with zest, though in after years he was not always able to record the
minuter points with complete clearness.  He was bidden to make
speeches, to rub himself over with mud, to plunge into icy water, to
ride, and, once, to be bled to the amount of 120 litres.  As the human
body does not contain anything like that amount of blood, and as the
temple servants knew of no one ever having been "cut" to that
extent--"at least except Ischyron, and his was one of the most
remarkable cases," the god was not taken literally.[53]  The regular
plan was to sleep in the Temple, as already mentioned, and the god
came.  "The impression was that one could touch him, and perceive that
he came in person; as if one were between asleep and awake, and wished
to look out and were in an agony lest he should depart too soon,--as if
one held one's ear and listened--sometimes as in a dream, and then as
in a waking vision--one's hair was on end, and tears of joy were shed,
and one felt light-hearted.  And who among {223} men could set this
forth in words?  Yet if there is one of the initiated, he knows and
recognises [what I say]."[54]

None of the cases yet quoted can compare with the miracles of ancient
days to be read in the inscriptions about the place--stories of women
with child for three and five years, of the extraordinary surgery of
the god, cutting off the head of a dropsical patient, holding him
upside down to let the water run out and putting the head on again,--a
mass of absurdities hardly to be matched outside _The Glories of Mary_.
They make Lucian's _Philopseudes_ seem tame.

There were other gods, beside Asklepios, who gave oracles in shrine and
dream.  Pausanias the traveller has left a book on Greece and its
antiquities, temples, gods and legends of extraordinary value.  "A man
made of common stuff and cast in a common mould," as Dr Frazer
characterizes him,--and therefore the more representative--he went
through Greece with curious eyes and he saw much that no one else has
recorded.  At Sparta stood the only temple he knew of which had an
upper story.  In this upper story was an image of Aphrodite Morpho
fettered[55]--a silly thing he thought it to fetter a cedar-wood doll.
He particularly visited Phigalea, because of the "Black Demeter"--a
curious enough image she had been, though by then destroyed.[56]  He
was initiated in the Eleusinian mysteries.[57]  He tells us that the
stony remnants of the lump of clay from which Prometheus fashioned the
first man were still preserved,[58] and that the sceptre which
Hephaistos made for Agamemnon received a daily sacrifice in Chæronea,
Plutarch's city--"a table is set beside it covered with all sorts of
flesh and cakes."[59]  He has many such stories.  He tells us too about
a great many oracles of his day, of which that of Amphilochus at Mallus
in Cilicia" is the most infallible"[60]--a curiously "suggestive
superlative (_apseudéstation_).  He is greatly {224} interested in
Asklepios, but for our present purpose a few sentences from his
elaborate account of the ceremony with which Trophonius is consulted at
Lebadea must suffice.

After due rites the inquirer comes to the oracle, in a linen tunic with
ribbons, and boots of the country.  Inside bronze railings is a pit of
masonry, some four ells across and eight deep, and he goes down into it
by means of a light ladder brought for the occasion.  At the bottom he
finds a hole, a very narrow one.  "So he lays himself on his back on
the ground, and holding in his hand barley cakes kneaded with honey, he
thrusts his feet first into the hole, and follows himself endeavouring
to get his knees through the hole.  When they are through, the rest of
his body is immediately dragged after them and shoots in, just as a man
might be caught and dragged down by the swirl of a mighty and rapid
river.  Once they are inside the shrine the future is not revealed to
all in one and the same way, but to one it is given to see and to
another to hear.  They return through the same aperture feet
foremost....  When a man has come up from Trophonius, the priests take
him in hand again, and set him on what is called the chair of Memory,
which stands not far from the shrine; and, being seated there, he is
questioned by them as to all he saw and heard.  On being informed, they
hand him over to his friends who carry him, still overpowered with
fear, and quite unconscious of himself and his surroundings, to the
building where he lodged before, the house of Good Fortune and the Good
Dæmon.  Afterwards, however, he will have all his wits as before, and
the power of laughter will come back to him.  I write not from mere
hearsay: I have myself consulted Trophonius and have seen others who
have done so.  All who have gone down to Trophonius are obliged to set
up a tablet containing a record of all they heard and saw."[61]

A man who has been through such an experience may be excused for
believing much.  While Pausanias kept his Greek habit of criticism and
employs it on occasional myths and traditions, and particularly on
stories of hell--though the fact of punishment after death he seems to
accept--yet his travels and his inquiries made an impression on him.
"When I began this work, I used to look on these Greek stories as
little better {225} than foolishness; but now that I have got as far as
Arcadia, my opinion about them is this: I believe that the Greeks who
were accounted wise spoke of old in riddles, and not straight out; and,
accordingly, I conjecture that this story about Cronos [swallowing a
foal instead of his child] is a bit of Greek philosophy.  In matters of
religion I will follow tradition."[62]

[Sidenote: Artemidorus of Daldia]

Pausanias mentions several oracles and temples of Apollo in Greece and
Asia Minor--one obscure local manifestation of the god he naturally
enough omitted, but a fellow-citizen of the god preserves it.  "It was
in obedience to him, the god of my land, that I undertook this
treatise.  He often urged me to it, and in particular appeared visibly
to me (_enargôs epiotánti_),[63] since I knew thee, and all but ordered
me to write all this.  No wonder that the Daldian Apollo, whom we call
by the ancestral name of Mystes, urged me to this, in care for thy
worth and wisdom, for there is an old friendship between Lydians and
Phoenicians, as they tell us who set forth the legends of the
land."[64]  So writes Artemidorus to his friend Cassius Maximus of his
treatise on the scientific interpretation of dreams--a work of which he
is very proud.  "Wonder not," he says, "at the title, that the name
stands Artemidorus Daldianus, and not 'of Ephesus,' as on many of the
books I have already written on other subjects.  For Ephesus, it
happens, is famous on her own account, and she has many men of note to
proclaim her.  But Daldia is a town of Lydia of no great renown, and,
as she has had no such men, she has remained unknown till my day.  So I
dedicate this to her, my native-place on the mother's side, as a
parent's due _threptéria_."[65]

Marcus Aurelius records his gratitude "that remedies have been shown to
me by dreams, both others, and against blood-spitting and
giddiness."[66]  Plutarch, Pausanias, Aristides--dreams {226} come into
the scheme of things divine with all the devout of our period.
Artemidorus is their humble brother--not the first to give a whole book
to dreams, but proud to be a pioneer in the really scientific treatment
of them--"the accuracy of the judgments, that is the thing for which,
even by itself, I think highly of myself."[67]  The critic may take it
"that I too am quite capable of neologisms and persuasive rhetoric
(_ehuresilogein kaì pithaneùthai_), but I have not undertaken all this
for theatrical effect or to please the speech-mongers; I appeal
throughout to experience, as canon and witness of my words," and he
begs his readers neither to add to his books nor take anything
away.[68]  His writing is, as he says, quite free from "the stage and
tragedy style."

Artemidorus takes himself very seriously.  "For one thing, there is no
book on the interpretation of dreams that I have not acquired, for I
had great enthusiasm for this; and, in the next place, though the
prophets (_mánteôn_) in the market-place are much slandered, and called
beggars and quacks and humbugs by the gentlemen of solemn countenance
and lifted eye-brows, I despised the slander and for many years I have
associated with them--both in Greece, in cities and at festivals, and
in Asia, and in Italy, and in the largest and most populous of the
islands, consenting to hear ancient dreams and their results."[69]
This patient research has resulted in principles of classification.[70]
There are dreams that merely repeat what a man is doing (_enúphnia_);
and others (_óneipoi_) which are prophetic.  These last fall into two
classes--theorematic dreams, as when a man dreams of a voyage, and
wakes to go upon a voyage, and allegoric dreams.  The latter adjective
has a great history in regions more august, but the allegoric method is
the same everywhere, as an illustration will show.  A man dreamed he
saw Charon playing at counters with another man, whom he called away on
business; Charon grew angry and chased him, till he ran for refuge into
an inn called {227} "The Camel," and bolted the door, whereupon "the
dæmon" went away, but one of the man's thighs sprouted with grass.
Shortly after this dream he had his thigh broken--the one and sole
event foretold.  For Charon and the counters meant death, but Charon
did not catch him, so it was shown that he would not die; but his foot
was threatened, since he was pursued.  The name of the inn hinted at
the thigh, because of the anatomy of a camel's thigh; and the grass
meant disuse of the limb, for grass only grows where the earth is left
at rest.[71]  The passage is worth remembering whenever we meet the
word allegory and its derivatives in contemporary literature.
Artemidorus has five books of this stuff--the last two dedicated to his
son, and containing instances "that will make you a better interpreter
of dreams than all, or at least inferior to none; but, if published,
they will show you know no more than the rest."[72]  The sentence
suggests science declining into profession.

[Sidenote: Apuleius]

Far more brilliant, more amusing and more attractive than any of these
men, whom we have considered since we left Lucian, is Apuleius of
Madaura.  Rhetorician, philosopher and man of science, a story-teller
wavering between Boccaccio and Hans Andersen, he is above all a
stylist, a pietist and a humorist.  For his history we depend upon
himself, and this involves us in difficulties; for, while autobiography
runs through two of his works, one of these is an elaboration of a
defence he made on a charge of magic and the other is a novel of no
discoverable class but its own, and through both runs a vein of
nonsense, which makes one chary of being too literal.

The novel is the _Golden Ass_--that at least is what St Augustine tells
us the author called it.[73]  Passages from this have been seriously
used as sources of information as to the author.  But there is another
_Ass_, long attributed to Lucian though probably not Lucian's, and in
each case the hero tells the tale in the first person, and the
co-incidences between the Greek and the Latin make it obvious that
there is some {228} literary connexion between them, whatever it is.
The scene is Greece and Thessaly, but not the Greece and Thessaly of
geography, any more than the maritime Bohemia of Shakespeare.  Yet in
the last book Apuleius seems to have forgotten "Lucius of Patræ" and to
be giving us experiences of his own which have nothing to do with the
hero of the _Ass_, Greek or Latin.

[Sidenote: The _Apology_ of Apuleius]

In the _Apology_ he comes closer to his own career and he tells us
about himself.  Here he does not venture on the delightful assertion
that he is the descendant of the great Plutarch, as the hero of the
_Ass_ does, but avows that, as his native place is on the frontiers of
Numidia and Gætulia, he calls himself "half Numidian and half
Gætulian"--just as Cyrus the Greater was "half Mede and half Persian."
His city is "a most splendid colony," and his father held in turn all
its magistracies, and he hopes not to be unworthy of him.[74] He and
his brother inherited two million sesterces, though he has lessened his
share "by distant travel and long studies and constant
liberalities."[75]  Elsewhere he tells us definitely that he was
educated at Athens.[76]  Everybody goes to the _litterator_ for his
rudiments, to the grammarian next and then to the rhetorician--"but I
drank from other vessels at Athens," so "Empedocles frames songs, Plato
dialogues, Socrates hymns, Epicharmus measures, Xenophon histories,
Xenocrates satires; your Apuleius does all these and cultivates the
nine Muses with equal zeal--with more will, that is, than skill."[77]

Like many brilliant men of his day he took to the strolling life of the
rhetorician, going from city to city and giving displays of his powers
of language, extemporizing wonderful combinations of words.  Either he
himself or some other admirer made a collection of elegant extracts
from these exhibition-speeches, still extant under the title of
_Florida_.  His fame to-day rests on other works.  In the course of his
travels he came to Oea in his native-land, and there married the
widowed mother of a fellow-student of his Athenian days.  Her late
husband's family resented the marriage; and affecting to believe that
her affections had been gained by {229} some sort of witchcraft, they
prosecuted Apuleius on a charge of magic.  The charge was in itself
rather a serious one, though Apuleius made light of it.  His defence is
an interesting document for the glimpses it gives into North African
society, with its Greek, Latin, and Punic elements.  The younger
stepson has fallen into bad hands; "he never speaks except in Punic,--a
little Greek, perhaps, surviving from what he learnt of his mother;
Latin he neither will nor can speak."[78] On family life, on marriage
customs, on the registration of births (c. 89);--on the personal habits
of the defendant, his toothpowder (and a verse he made in its praise)
and his looking-glass, we gain curious information.  Above all the
speech sheds great light on the inter-relations of magic and religion
in contemporary thought.  A few points may be noticed.

What, asks the prosecution, is the meaning of this curious interest
Apuleius has in fish?  It is zoological, says Apuleius; I have written
books on fish, both in Greek and Latin,--and dissected them.  That
curious story, too, of the boy falling down in his presence?  As to
that, Apuleius knows all about divination by means of boys put under
magical influence; he has read of it, of course, but he does not know
whether to believe or not; "I do think with Plato," he owns to the
court (or to his readers), "that between gods and men, in nature and in
place intermediary, there are certain divine powers, and these preside
over all divinations and the miracles of magicians.  Nay, more, I have
the fancy that the human soul, particularly the simple soul of a boy,
might, whether by evocation of charm or by mollification of odour, be
laid to sleep, and so brought out of itself into oblivion of things
present, and for a brief space, all memory of the body put away, it
might be restored and returned to its own nature, which is indeed
immortal and divine, and thus, in a certain type of slumber, foretell
the future."[79]  As for the boy in question, however, he is so
ricketty that it would take a magician to keep him standing.

Then those mysterious "somethings" which Apuleius keeps {230} wrapped
up in a napkin?  "I have been initiated in many of the mysteries of
Greece.  Certain symbols and memorials of these, given to me by the
priests, I sedulously preserve.  I say nothing unusual, nothing
unknown.  To take one instance, those among you who are _mystæ_ of
Father Liber [Bacchus] know what it is you keep laid away at home, and
worship in secret, far from all profane eyes.  Now, I, as I said, from
enthusiasm for truth and duty toward the gods, I have learnt many
sacred mysteries, very many holy rites, and divers ceremonies"--the
audience will remember he said as much three years ago in his now very
famous speech about Æsculapius--"then could it seem strange to anyone,
who has any thought of religion, that a man, admitted to so many divine
mysteries, should keep certain emblems of those holy things at home,
and wrap them in linen, the purest covering for things divine?"  Some
men--the prosecutor among them--count it mirth to mock things divine;
no, he goes to no temple, has never prayed, will not even put his hand
to his lips when he passes a shrine,--why! he has not so much as an
anointed stone or a garlanded bough on his farm.[80]

One last flourish may deserve quotation.  If you can prove, says
Apuleius, any material advantage accruing to me from my marriage, "then
write me down the great Carmendas or Damigeron or _his_ ... Moses or
Jannes or Apollobeches or Dardanus himself, or anyone else from
Zoroaster and Ostanes downwards who has been famous among
magicians."[81]  Several of these names occur in other authors,[82] but
the corruption is more interesting.  Has some comparative fallen out,
or does _his_ conceal another name?  Is it _ihs_, in fact,--a reference
to Jesus analogous to the suggestion of Celsus that he too was a

The philosophical works of Apuleius need not detain us, but a little
space may be spared to his book _On the God of Socrates_, where he sets
forth in a clear and vivid way that doctrine of dæmonic beings, which
lies at the heart of ancient {231} religion, pre-eminently in this
period, from Plutarch onwards.  His presentment is substantially the
same as Plutarch's, but crisper altogether, and set forth in the
brilliant rhetoric, to which the Greek did not aspire, and from which
the African could not escape, nor indeed wished to escape.

Plato, he says, classifies the gods in three groups, distinguished by
their place in the universe.[83]  Of the celestial gods some we can
see--sun, moon and stars[84] (on which, like a true rhetorician, he
digresses into some fine language, which can be omitted).  Others the
mind alone can grasp (_intellectu eos rimabundi
contemplamur_)--incorporeal natures, animate, with neither beginning
nor end, eternal before and after, exempt from contagion of body; in
perfect intellect possessing supreme beatitude; good, but not by
participation of any extraneous good, but from themselves.  Their
father, lord and author of all things, free from every nexus of
suffering or doing--him Plato, with celestial eloquence and language
commensurate with the immortal gods, has declared to be, in virtue of
the ineffable immensity of his incredible majesty, beyond the poverty
of human speech or definition--while even to the sages themselves, when
by force of soul they have removed themselves from the body, the
conception of God comes, like a flash of light in thick darkness--a
flash only, and it is gone.[85]

At the other extremity of creation are men--"proud in reason, loud in
speech, immortal of soul, mortal of member, in mind light and anxious,
in body brute and feeble, divers in character, in error the same, in
daring pervicacious, in hope, pertinacious, of vain toil, of frail
fortune, severally mortal, generally continuous, mutable in the
succession of offspring, time fleeting, wisdom lingering, death swift
and life querulous, so they live."[86]  Between such beings and the
gods, contact cannot be.  "To whom then shall I recite prayers? to whom
tender vows? to whom slay victim? on whom shall I call, to {232} help
the wretched, to favour the good, to counter the evil?  .... What
thinkest thou?  Shall I swear 'by Jove the stone' (_per Iovem lapidem_)
after the most ancient manner of Rome?  Yet if Plato's thought be true,
that never god and man can meet, the stone will hear me more easily
than Jupiter."[87]

"Nay, not so far--(for Plato shall answer, the thought is his, if mine
the voice) not so far, he saith, do I pronounce the gods to be sejunct
and alienate from us, as to think that not even our prayers can reach
them.  Not from the care of human affairs, but from contact, have I
removed them.  But there are certain mediary divine powers, between
æther above and earth beneath, situate in that mid space of air, by
whom our desires and our deserts reach the gods.  These the Greeks call
dæmons, carriers between human and heavenly, hence of prayers, thence
of gifts; back and forth they fare, hence with petition, thence with
sufficiency, interpreters and bringers of salvation."[88]  To cut short
this flow of words, the dæmons are, as is familiar to us by now,
authors of divination of all kinds, each in its province.  It would ill
fit the majesty of the gods to send a dream to Hannibal or to soften
the whetstone for Attius Navius--these are the functions of the
intermediate spirits.[89]  Justin's explanation of the theophanies of
the Old Testament may recur to the reader's mind, and not unjustly.[90]

The dæmons are framed of a purer and rarer matter than we, "of that
purest liquid of air, of that serene element," invisible therefore to
us unless of their divine will they choose to be seen.[91]  From their
ranks come those "haters and lovers" of men, whom the poets describe as
gods--they feel pity and indignation, pain and joy and "every feature
of the human mind"; while the gods above "are lords ever of one state
in eternal equability," and know no passions of any kind.  The dæmons
share _their_ immortality and _our_ passion.  Hence we may accept the
local diversities of religious cult, rites nocturnal or diurnal,
victims, ceremonies and ritual sad or gay, Egyptian {233} or
Greek,--neglect of these things the dæmons resent, as we learn in dream
and oracle.

The human soul, too, is "a dæmon in a body"--the _Genius_ of the
Latins.  From this we may believe that after death souls good and bad
become good and bad ghosts--_Lares_ and _Lemures_--and even gods, such
as "Osiris in Egypt and Æsculapius everywhere."[92]  Higher still are
such dæmons as Sleep and Love, and of this higher kind Plato supposes
our guardian spirits to be--"spectators and guardians of individual
men, never seen, ever present, arbiters not merely of all acts, but of
all thoughts," and after death witnesses for or against us.  Of such
was Socrates' familiar dæmon.  Why should not we too live after the
model of Socrates, studying philosophy and obeying our dæmon?

[Sidenote: _The Golden Ass_]

The _Golden Ass_ is the chief work of Apuleius.  _Lector intende;
lætaberis_, he says in ending his short preface, and he judged his work
aright.  The hero, Lucius, is a man with an extravagant interest in
magic, and he puts himself in the way of hearing the most wonderful
stories of witchcraft and enchantment.  Apuleius tells them with the
utmost liveliness and humour.  Magical transformations, the vengeance
of witches, the vivification of waterskins--one tale comes crowding
after another, real and vivid, with the most alarming and the most
amusing details.  For example, we are told by an eye-witness (like
everybody else in the book he is a master-hand at story-telling) how he
saw witches by night cut the throat of his friend, draw out the heart
and plug the hole with a sponge; how terrified he was of the hags to
begin with, and then lest he should himself be accused of the murder;
how the man rose and went on his journey--somewhat wearily, it is true;
and how, as they rested, he stooped to drink, the sponge fell out and
he was dead.

Lucius meddles with the drugs of a witch, and, wishing to transform
himself to a bird, by the ill-luck of using the wrong box he becomes an
ass.  He is carried off by robbers, and, while he has the most varied
adventures of his own, he is enabled to record some of the most
gorgeous exploits that {234} brigands ever told one another in an ass's
hearing.[93]  What is more, a young girl is captured and held to
ransom, and to comfort her for a little, the old woman who cooks the
robbers' food--"a witless and bibulous old hag"--tells her a
story--"such a pretty little tale," that the ass, who is listening,
wishes he had pen and paper to take it down.  For, while in aspect
Lucius is an ass, his mind remains human--human enough to reflect
sometimes what "a genuine ass" he is--and his skin has not, he regrets,
the proper thickness of true ass-hide.  The tale which he would like to
write down is _Cupid and Psyche_.  "_Erant in quadam civitate_," begins
the old woman--"There were in a certain city a king and a queen."

The old and universal fairy-tales of the invisible husband, the cruel
sisters, and the impossible quests are here woven together and brought
into connexion with the Olympic pantheon, and through all runs a slight
thread, only here and there visible, of allegory.  But if Psyche is at
times the soul, and if the daughter she bears to Cupid is Pleasure, the
fairy-tale triumphs gloriously over the allegory, and remains the most
wonderful thing of the kind in Latin.  Here, and in the _Golden Ass_ in
general, the extraordinarily embroidered language of Apuleius is far
more in keeping than in his philosophic writings.  His hundreds of
diminutives and neologisms, his antitheses, alliterations, assonances,
figures and tropes, his brilliant invention, his fun and humour, here
have full scope and add pleasure to every fresh episode of the
fairy-tale and of the larger and more miscellaneous tale of adventure
in which it is set--in the strangest setting conceivable.  Cupid and
Psyche is his own addition to the story of the Ass--quite irrelevant,
and like many other irrelevant things in books an immense enrichment.

Another development of the original story which is similarly due to
Apuleius alone is the climax in the last book.  The ass, in the Greek
story, becomes a man by eating roses.  In the Latin, Lucius, weary of
the life of an ass, finds himself by moonlight on the seashore near
Corinth, and amid "the silent {235} secrets of opaque night," he
reflects that "the supreme goddess rules in transcendent majesty and
governs human affairs by her providence."  So he addresses a rather too
eloquent prayer to the Queen of Heaven under her various possible
names, Ceres, Venus, Diana and Proserpine.  He then falls asleep, and
at once "lo! from mid sea, uplifting a countenance venerable even to
gods, emerges a divine form.  Gradually the vision, gleaming all over,
and shaking off the sea, seemed to stand before me."  A crown of
flowers rests on her flowing hair.  Glittering stars, the moon, flowers
and fruits, are wrought into her raiment, which shimmers white and
yellow and red as the light falls upon it.  In one hand is a sistrum,
in the other a golden vessel shaped like a boat, with an asp for its
handle.[94] She speaks.

[Sidenote: Isis]

"Lo!  I come in answer, Lucius, to thy prayers, I mother of Nature,
mistress of all the elements, initial offspring of ages, chief of
divinities, queen of the dead, first of the heavenly ones, in one form
expressing all gods and goddesses.  I rule with my rod the bright
pinnacles of heaven, the healthful breezes of the sea, the weeping
silence of the world below.  My sole godhead, in many an aspect, with
many a various rite, and many a name, all the world worships."  Some of
these names she recites, and then declares her "true name, Queen
Isis."[95] The next day is her festival, she says, and her priest,
taught by her in a dream, will tender Lucius the needful roses; he will
eat and be a man again.  But hereafter all his life must be devoted to
the goddess, and then in the Elysian fields he shall see her again,
shining amid the darkness of Acheron, propitious to him.

The next day all falls as predicted.  The procession of Isis is
elaborately described.[96]  The prelude of the pomp is a series of men
dressed in various characters,--one like a soldier, another like a
woman, others like a gladiator, a philospher and so forth.  There is a
tame bear dressed like a woman, and a monkey "in a Phrygian garment of
saffron."  Then come women in white, crowned with flowers, some with
mirrors hanging on their backs, some carrying ivory combs.  Men and
women follow with torches and lamps; then a choir of {236} youths in
white, singing a hymn, and fluteplayers dedicated to Serapis.  After
this a crowd of initiates of both sexes, of every age and degree,
dressed in white linen and carrying sistra,--the men with shaven heads.
Then came five chief priests with emblems, and after them the images of
the gods borne by other priests--Anubis with his dog's head, black and
gold--after him the figure of a cow "the prolific image of the
all-mother goddess" ("which one of this blessed ministry bore on his
shoulder, with mimicking gait")--then an image of divinity, like
nothing mortal, an ineffable symbol, worthy of all veneration for its
exquisite art.  At this point came the priest with the promised
roses--"my salvation"--and Lucius ate and was a man again.  The priest,
in a short homily, tells him he has now reached the haven of quiet;
Fortune's blindness has no more power over him; he is taken to the
bosom of a Fortune who can see, who can illuminate even the other gods.
Let him rejoice and consecrate his life to the goddess, undertake her
warfare and become her soldier.[97]

The pomp moves onward till they reach the shore, and there a sacred
ship is launched--inscribed with Egyptian hieroglyphics, purified with
a burning torch, an egg, and sulphur, on her sail a vow written in
large letters.  She is loaded with aromatics; and "filled with copious
gifts and auspicious prayers" she sails away before a gentle breeze and
is lost to sight.  The celebrants then return to the temple, but we
have perhaps followed them far enough.

From now on to the end of the book the reformed Lucius lives in the
odour of sanctity.  He never sleeps without a vision of the goddess.
He passes on from initiation to initiation, though the service of
religion is difficult, chastity arduous, and life now a matter of
circumspection--it had not been before.  The initiations are, he owns,
rather expensive.[98] "Perhaps, my enthusiastic reader, thou wilt
ask--anxiously enough--what was said, what done.  I would speak if it
were {237} lawful to speak, thou shouldst know if it were lawful to
hear....  Hear then, and believe, for it is true.  I drew near to the
confines of death; I trod the threshold of Proserpine; I was borne
through all the elements and returned.  At midnight I saw the sun
flashing with bright light.  Gods of the world below, gods of the world
above, into their presence I came, I worshipped there in their sight."
Garments, emblems, rites, purifications are the elements of his life
now.  Nor does he grudge the trouble and expense, for the gods are
blessing him with forensic success.  In a dream, Osiris himself "chief
among the great gods, of the greater highest, greatest of the highest,
ruler of the greatest," appears in person, and promises him--speaking
with his own awful voice--triumphs at the bar, with no need to fear the
envy his learning might rouse.  He should be one of the god's own
Pastophori, one of "his quinquennial decurions."  So "with my hair
perfectly shaved, I performed in gladness the duties of that most
ancient college, established in Sulla's times, not shading nor covering
my baldness, but letting it be universally conspicuous."  And there
ends the _Golden Ass_.

Was it true--this story of the ass?  Augustine says that Apuleius
"either disclosed or made up" these adventures.  Both he and Lactantius
had to show their contemporaries that there was a difference between
the miracles of Apuleius and those of Christ.[99]  The Emperor
Septimius Severus, on the other hand, sneered at his rival Albinus for
reading "the Punic Milesian-tales of his fellow-countryman Apuleius and
such literary trifles."[100]

[Sidenote: Apuleius and his initiation]

Between these two judgments we may find Apuleius.  He is a man of
letters, but he has a taste for religion.  Ceremony, mystery, ritual,
sacraments, appeal to him, and there he stands with his contemporaries.
But a man, in whose pages bandit and old woman, ass and Isis, all talk
in one Euphuistic strain, was possibly not so pious as men of simpler
speech.  Yet his giving such a conclusion to such a tale is
significant, and there is not an absurdity among all the many, in which
he so gaily revels, but corresponded with something that men believed.


In conclusion, we may ask what Lucian of Samosata and Diogenes of
Oinoanda had to offer to Aristides and Pausanias and Apuleius; and what
they in turn could suggest to men whose concern in religion goes deeper
than the cure of physical disease, trance and self-conscious revelling
in ceremony.  Some spiritual value still clung about the old religion,
or it could not have found supporters in a Plotinus and a Porphyry, but
(to quote again a most helpful question) "how much else?"

Chapter VII Footnotes:

[1] On the other hand see a very interesting passage in Tertullian, _de
Anima_, 30, on the progress of the world in civilization, and
population outstripping Nature, while plague, famine, war, etc., are
looked on as _tonsura insolescentis generis humani_.

[2] Marcus Aurelius was born about 121 A.D. and died in 180.  The other
two were born in or about 125.

[3] e.g. viii, 17.

[4] The one passage is in xi, 3.

[5] Or, the English equivalent, Utopia.

[6] Marcus Aurelius, ix, 28-40, with omissions.  Phrases have been
borrowed from the translations of Mr Long and Dr Rendall.

[7] This sheds some light on his comparison of the Christians to
actors, xi, 3.

[8] Cf. Tertullian, _Apol._ 5, _Hadrianus omnium curiositatum

[9] _Piscator_, 19.

[10] _Quomodo historia_, 24.

[11] _Bis accusatus_, 27.

[12] _Somnium_, 18.

[13] _Bis Accusatus_, 30, 27.

[14] _Apology_, 15.

[15] _Bis Acc._ 32.  Cf. Juvenal, 7, 151, _perimit sævos classis
numerosa tyrannos_.

[16] _Bis Acc._ 33, 34.

[17] _Zeus Tragadus_, 15.

[18] _Piscator_, 19, 20.

[19] _Vit. auctio_, 27.

[20] _Hermot._ 74.

[21] _Ibid._ 85.

[22] _Hermot._ 22-28.

[23] _Ibid._ 84.

[24] _V.H._, ii, 18.

[25] _Piscator_, 16.

[26] _Philopseudes_, 7.

[27] _Ibid._ 16.

[28] This ghost appears rather earlier in a letter of Pliny's, vii, 27,
who says he believes the story and adds another of his own.

[29] _Philopseudes_, 34.

[30] _Ibid._ 17.

[31] Pausanias, viii, 29, 3.  Cf. Milton's _Ode on Nativity_, 25,
"Typhon huge, ending in snaky twine."  References to remains of giants,
in Tertullian, _de resurr. carnis_, 42; Pliny, _N.H._ vii, 16, 73.

[32] _Philopseudes_, 22-24.

[33] _Philopseudes_, 25, 26.

[34] _Icaromenippus_, 24-26.

[35] _Icaromen._ 24.

[36] _Zeus Tragadus_.

[37] _Zeus Elenchomenos_.

[38] _Deor. Eccles._ 14-18.

[39] _Alexander_, 48.  The reader of Marcus will remember that his
first book is dated "Among the Quadi."

[40] _Alexander_, 53-56.

[41] Keim, _Celsus' Wahres Wort_, p. 233, suggests that Lucian was not
quite clear as to the differences between Judaism and Christianity.
The reference to forbidden meat lends colour to this.

[42] _De morte Peregrini_, 11, 16; cf. the _Passio Perpetuæ_, 3 and 16,
on attention to Christians in prison.  Tertullian, _de Jejunio_, 12,
gives an extraordinary account of what might be done for a Christian in
prison, though the case of Pristinus, which he quotes, must have been
unusual, if we are to take all he says as literally true.

[43] Cf. Tertullian, _ad Martyras_, 4, _Peregrinus qui non olim se rogo
immisit_.  Athenagoras, _Presb._ 26, _Próteôs, toûton d' ouk agnoeîte
rhípsanta heautòn eis tò pûr perì tèn Olympían_.

[44] Gellius, _N.A._ xii, 11; and summary of viii, 3.

[45] _Charon_ is the title of the dialogue.

[46] _Menippus_, 15, 16.

[47] _Menippus_, 21.

[48] Eckermann, 25th Dec. 1825.

[49] Sextus Empiricus, _Hypotyposes_, i, 25-30.

[50] See _Rheinisches Museum_, 1892, and _Bulletin de Correspondance
Hellènique_, 1897.

[51] C.I.G. iv, 955.  Translation of Mary Hamilton, in her
_Incubation_, p. 41 (1906).

[52] I agree with the view of Schubart quoted by J. G. Frazer on the
passage (Pausan. ii, 27, 6) that this man was neither the Emperor
Antoninus Pius nor Marcus.  It is perhaps superfluous to call attention
to the value of Dr Frazer's commentary, here and elsewhere.

[53] _Sacred Speech_, ii, § 47, p 301, _lítras eíkosi kaì ekatón_.

[54] _Sacred Speech_, ii, § 33, p. 298.  For Aristides see Hamilton,
_Incubation_, pt. i. ch. 3, and Dill, _Roman Society from Nero to
Marcus Aurelius_, bk. iv. ch. 1.  See also Richard Caton, M.D., _The
Temples and Ritual of Asklepios_ (1900).

[55] Paus. iii, 15, 11

[56] Paus. viii, 42, 11.

[57] Paus. i, 37, 4; 38, 7.

[58] Paus. x, 4, 4; they smell very like human flesh.

[59] Paus. ix, 40, 11.

[60] Paus. i, 34, 3.  Cf. Tertullian, _de Anima_, 46, a list of
dream-oracles.  Strabo, c. 761-2, represents the practice as an
essential feature of Judaism, _egkoimâsthai dè kaì autoùs hypèr heautôn
kaì humèr tôn állôn allous toùs euoneípous_; he compares Moses to
Amphiaraus, Trophonius, Orpheus, etc.

[61] Paus. ix, 39, 5-14, Frazer's translation.

[62] Paus. viii, 8, 3 (Frazer).  _tôn mèn dè es tò theîon hekónton toîs
eirêuenois chrêsómetha_.

[63] The word of Luke 2, 9.

[64] Artemidorus Dald. ii, 70.

[65] Artem. Dald. iii, 66.

[66] Marcus, i, 17; George Long's rendering, here as elsewhere somewhat
literal, but valuable as leaving the sharp edges on the thought of the
Greek, which get rubbed off in some translations.  See Tertullian, _de
Anima_, cc. 44 and following, for a discussion of dreams, referring to
the five volumes of Hermippus of Berytus for the whole story of them.

[67] Artem. Dald. ii, pref., _mega phrono_.

[68] Artem. Dald. ii, 70.  Cf. v. pref., _aneu skenês kaì tragôsías_.

[69] Artem. Dald. i, pref.

[70] A very different classification in Tertullian, _de Anima_, 47, 48.
Dreams may be due to demons, to God, the nature of the soul or ecstasy.

[71] Artem. Dald. i, 4.

[72] Artem. Dald. iv, pref.

[73] See Augustine, _C.D._ xviii, 18, _Apuleius in libris quos Asini
aurei titulo inscripsit_.  In the printed texts, it is generally called
the _Metamorphoses_.

[74] _Apol._ 24.

[75] _Apol._ 23.

[76] _Apol._ 72; _Flor._ 18.

[77] _Flor._ 20.

[78] _Apol._ 98.  Cf. _Passio Perpetuæ_, c. 13, _et cæpit Pirpetua
Græce cum eis loqui_, says Saturus; Perpetua uses occasional Greek
words herself in recording her visions.

[79] _Apol._ 43.  Cf. Plutarch cited on p. 101.

[80] _Apol._ 55, 56.  Cf. _Florida_, 1, an ornamental passage on pious

[81] _Apol._ 90.  Many restorations have been attempted.

[82] e.g. Tertullian, _de Anima_, 57, _Ostanes et Typhon et Dardanus et
Damigeron et Nectabis et Berenice_.

[83] Much of this material Apuleius has taken from the _Timaeus_, 40 D
to 43 A.

[84] Cf. Lactantius, _Instit._ ii, _de origine erroris_, c. 5.
Tertullian, _ad Natt._ ii, 2.  Cicero, _N.D._ ii, 15, 39-44.

[85] _de deo Socr._ 3, 124.  Cf. the account (quoted below) of what was
experienced in initiation, which suggests some acquaintance with
mystical trance--the confines of death and the sudden bright light look
very like it.

[86] _de deo Socr._ 4, 126.

[87] _de deo Socr._ 5, 130-132.

[88] _de deo Socr._ 6, 132.  Cf. Tert. _Apol._ 22, 23, 24, on nature
and works of demons, on lines closely similar.

[89] _de deo Socr._ 7, 136.

[90] See chapter vi. p. 188.

[91] _de deo Socr._ 11, 144.

[92] _de deo Socr._ 15.

[93] The story of Lamachus "our high-souled leader," now "buried in the
entire element," would make anyone wish to become a brigand,
Sainte-Beuve said.  Here one must regretfully omit the robbers' cave

[94] _Metam._ xi, 3, 4.  Apuleius had a fancy for flowing hair.

[95] _Metam._ xi, 5.

[96] _Metam._ xi. 8 ff.

[97] _Metam._ xi, 15, _da nomen santæ huic militiæ cuius ...
sacramento_, etc.

[98] Tertullian remarks that pagan rituals, unlike Christian baptism,
owe much to pomp and expense; _de Bapt._ 2.  _Mentior si non e
contrario idolorum sollemnia vel arcana de suggestu et apparatu deque
sumptu fidem et auctoritatem sibi extruunt_.

[99] Augustine, _C.D._ xviii, 18; and cf. _ib._ viii, (on the _de deo
Socr._); and Lactantius, v. 3.

[100] Capitolinus _v. Albini_, 12.




_Deliquit, opinor, divina doctrina ex Judæa potius quam ex Græcia
oriens.  Erravit et Christus piscatores citius quam sophistam ad
præconium emittens,_--TERTULLIAN, _de Anima_, 3.

At the beginning of the last chapter reference was made to the spread
of Christianity in the second century, and then a brief survey was
given of the position of the old religion without reference to the new.
When one realizes the different habits of mind represented by the men
there considered, the difficulties with which Christianity had to
contend become more evident and more intelligible.  Lucian generally
ignored it, only noticing it to laugh at its folly and to pass on--it
was too inconspicuous to be worth attack.  To the others--the devout of
the old religion, whose fondest thoughts were for the past, and for
whom religion was largely a ritual, sanctified by tradition and by
fancy,--the Christian faith offered little beyond the negation of all
they counted dear.  We are happily in possession of fragments of an
anti-Christian work of the day, written by a man philosophic and
academic in temperament, but sympathetic with the followers of the
religion of his fathers--fragments only, but enough to show how
Christianity at once provoked the laughter, incensed the patriotism,
and offended the religious tastes of educated people.

It was for a man called Celsus that Lucian wrote his book upon the
prophet Alexander and his shrine at Abonoteichos, and it has been
suggested that Lucian's friend and the Celsus, who wrote the famous
_True Word_, may have been one and the same.  The evidence is carefully
worked out by Keim,[1] but it is not very strong, especially as some
two dozen men of the name are known to the historians of the first
three centuries of our era.  Origen himself knew little of
Celsus--hardly more than we can gather from the quotations he made from
the book {240} in refuting it.  From a close study of his occasional
hints at contemporary history, Keim puts Celsus' book down to the
latter part of the reign of Marcus Aurelius, or, more closely, to the
year 178 A.D.[2]  Celsus' general references to Christianity and to
paganism imply that period.  He writes under the pressure of the
barbarian inroads on the Northern frontier, of the Parthians in the
East and of the great plague.  His main concern is the Roman State,
shaken by all these misfortunes, and doubly threatened by the passive
disaffection of Christians within its borders.[3]  From what Turk and
Mongol meant to Europe in the Middle Ages and may yet mean to us, we
may divine how men of culture and patriotism felt about the white
savages coming down upon them from the North.

Of the personal history of Celsus nothing can be said, but the features
of his mind are well-marked.  He was above all a man of
culture,--candid, scholarly and cool.  He knew and admired the
philosophical writings of ancient Greece, he had some knowledge of
Egypt, and he also took the pains to read the books of the Jews and the
Christians.  On the whole he leant to Plato, but, like many philosophic
spirits, he found destructive criticism more easy than the elaboration
of a system of his own.  Yet here we must use caution, for the object
he had set before him was not to be served by individual speculation.
It was immaterial what private opinions he might hold, for his great
purpose was the abandonment of particularism and the fusion of all
parties for the general good.  Private judgment run mad was the mark of
all Christians, orthodox and heretical,--"men walling themselves off
and isolating themselves from mankind"[4]--and his thesis was that the
whole spirit of the movement was wrong.  A good citizen's part was
loyal acceptance of the common belief, deviation from which was now
shown to impair the solidarity of the civilized world.  Of course such
a position is never taken by really independent thinkers; but it is the
normal standpoint of men to whom practical {241} affairs are of more
moment than speculative precision--men, who are at bottom sceptical,
and have little interest in problems which they have given up as
insoluble.  Celsus was satisfied with the established order, alike in
the regions of thought and of government.  He mistrusted new
movements--not least when they were so conspicuously alien to the Greek
mind as the new superstition that came from Palestine.  He has all the
ancient contempt of the Greek for the barbarian, and, while he is
influenced by the high motive of care for the State, there are traces
of irritation in his tone which speak of personal feeling.  The folly
of the movement provoked him.

[Sidenote: The Christian propaganda]

This, he says, is the language of the Christians: "'Let no cultured
person draw near, none wise, none sensible; for all that kind of thing
we count evil; but if any man is ignorant, if any is wanting in sense
and culture, if any is a fool, let him come boldly.'  Such people they
spontaneously avow to be worthy of their God; and, so doing, they show
that it is only the simpletons, the ignoble, the senseless, slaves and
women-folk and children, whom they wish to persuade, or can
persuade."[5]  Those who summon men to the other initiations
(_teletàs_), and offer purification from sins, proclaim: "Whosoever has
clean hands and is wise of speech," or "Whosoever is pure from
defilement, whose soul is conscious of no guilt, who has lived well and
righteously."  "But let us hear what sort these people invite;
'Whosoever is a sinner, or unintelligent, or a fool, in a word,
whosoever is god-forsaken (_kakodaímôn_), him the kingdom of God will
receive.'  Now whom do you mean by the sinner but the wicked, thief,
house-breaker, poisoner, temple-robber, grave-robber?  Whom else would
a brigand invite to join him?"[6]  But the Christian propaganda is
still more odious.  "We see them in our own houses, wool dressers,
cobblers, and fullers, the most uneducated and vulgar persons, not
daring to say a word in the presence of their masters who are older and
wiser; but when they get hold of the children in private, and silly
women with them, they are wonderfully eloquent,--to the effect that the
children must not listen to their father, but believe _them_ and be
taught by _them_; ... that they alone know how to live, and if the
children will listen to them, they will be happy themselves, and will
make {242} their home blessed.  But if, while they are speaking, they
see some of the children's teachers, some wiser person or their Father
coming, the more cautious of them will be gone in a moment, and the
more impudent will egg on the children to throw off the
reins--whispering to them that, while their father or their teachers
are about, they will not and cannot teach them anything good ... they
must come with the women, and the little children that play with them,
to the women's quarters, or the cobbler's shop, or the fuller's, to
receive perfect knowledge.  And that is how they persuade them."[7]
They are like quacks who warn men against the doctor--"take care that
none of you touches Science (_epistéue_); Science is a bad thing;
knowledge (_gnôsis_) makes men fall from health of soul."[8]  They will
not argue about what they believe--"they always bring in their 'Do not
examine, but believe,' and 'Thy faith shall save thee'"[9]--"believe
that he, whom I set forth to you, is the son of God, even though he was
bound in the most dishonourable way, and punished in the most shameful,
though yesterday or the day before he weltered in the most disgraceful
fashion before the eyes of all men--so much the more believe!"[10] So
far all the Christian sects are at one.

And the absurdity of it!  "Why was he not sent to the sinless as well
as to sinners?  What harm is there in not having sinned?"[11]  Listen
to them!  "The unjust, if he humble himself from his iniquity, God will
receive; but the just, if he look up to Him with virtue from beginning
to end, him He will not receive."[12]  Celsus' own view is very
different--"It must be clear to everybody, I should think, that those,
who are sinners by nature and training, none could change, {243} not
even by punishment--to say nothing of doing it by pity!  For to change
nature completely is very difficult; and those who have not sinned are
better partners in life."[13]  Christians in fact make God into a
sentimentalist--"the slave of pity for those who mourn"[14] to the
point of injustice.

[Sidenote: The ecclesia of worms]

Jews and Christians seem to Celsus "like a swarm of bats--or ants
creeping out of their nest--or frogs holding a symposium round a
swamp--or worms in conventicle (_ekklesiáxiousi_) in a corner of the
mud[15]--debating which of them are the more sinful, and saying 'God
reveals all things to us beforehand and gives us warning; he forsakes
the whole universe and the course of the heavenly spheres, and all this
great earth he neglects, to dwell with us alone; to us alone he
despatches heralds, and never ceases to send and to seek how we may
dwell with him for ever.'"  "God is," say the worms, "and after him
come we, brought into being by him (_hup' autoû gegonótes_), in all
things like unto God; and to us all things are subjected, earth and
water and air and stars; for our sake all things are, and to serve us
they are appointed."  "Some of us," continue the worms ("he means us,"
says Origen)--"some of us sin, so God will come, or else he will send
his son, that he may burn up the unrighteous, and that the rest of us
may have eternal life with him."[16]

The radical error in Jewish, and Christian thinking is that it is
anthropocentric.  They say that God made all things for man,[17] but
this is not at all evident.  What we know of the world suggests that if
is not more for the sake of man than of the irrational animals that all
things were made.  Plants and trees and grass and thorns--do they grow
for man a whit more than for the wildest animals?  "'Sun and night
serve mortals,' says Euripides--but why us more than the ants or the
flies?  For them, too, night comes for rest, and day for sight and
work."  If men hunt and eat animals, they in their turn hunt and eat
men; and before towns and communities were formed, and tools and
weapons made, man's supremacy was even more questionable.  "In no way
is man better in God's {244} sight than ants and bees" (iv. 81).  The
political instinct of man is shared by both these creatures--they have
constitutions, cities, wars and victories, and trials at law--as the
drones know.  Ants have sense enough to secure their corn stores from
sprouting: they have graveyards; they can tell one another which way to
go--thus they have _lógos_ and _ennoiai_ like men.  If one looked from
heaven, would there be any marked difference between the procedures of
men and of ants?[18]  But man has an intellectual affinity with God;
the human mind conceives thoughts that are essentially divine (_theías
ennoías_).[19] Many animals can make the same claim--"what could one
call more divine than to foreknow and foretell the future?  And this
men learn from the other animals and most of all from birds;" and if
this comes from God, "so much nearer divine intercourse do they seem by
nature than we, wiser and more dear to God."  Thus "all things were not
made for man, just as they were not made for the lion, nor the eagle,
nor the dolphin, but that the universe as a work of God might be
complete and perfect in every part.  It is for this cause that the
proportions of all things are designed, not for one another (except
incidentally) but for the whole.  God's care is for the whole, and this
Providence never neglects.  The whole does not grow worse, nor does God
periodically turn it to himself.  He is not angry on account of men,
just as he is not angry because of monkeys or flies; nor does he
threaten the things, each of which in measure has its portion of

[Sidenote: The God of the philosophers]

Celsus held that Christians spoke of God in a way that was neither holy
nor guiltless (_ouch hosíôs oud' euagôs_, iv, 10); and he hinted that
they did it to astonish ignorant listeners.[21] For himself, he was
impressed with the thought, which Plato has in the _Timæus_,--a
sentence that sums up what many of the most serious and religious
natures have felt and will always feel to be profoundly true: "The
maker and father of this {245} whole fabric it is hard to find, and,
when one has found him, it is impossible to speak of him to all
men."[22]  Like the men of his day, a true and deep instinct led him to
point back to "inspired poets, wise men and philosophers," and to Plato
"a more living (_energesteron_) teacher of theology"[23]--"though I
should be surprised if you are able to follow him, seeing that you are
utterly bound up in the flesh and see nothing clearly."[24] What the
sages tell him of God, he proceeds to set forth.

"Being and becoming, one is intelligible, the other visible, (_noetòn,
horatòn_).  Being is the sphere of truth; becoming, of error.  Truth is
the subject of knowledge; the other of opinion.  Thought deals with the
intelligible; sight with the visible.  The mind recognizes the
intelligible, the eye the visible.

"What then the Sun is among things visible,--neither eye, nor
sight--yet to the eye the cause of its seeing, to sight the cause of
its existing (_synístathai_) by his means, to things visible the cause
of their being seen, to all things endowed with sensation the cause of
their existence (_gínesthai_) and indeed the cause himself of himself
being seen; this HE is among things intelligible (_noetà_), who is
neither mind, nor thought, nor knowledge, but to the mind the cause of
thinking, to thought of its being by his means, to knowledge of our
knowing by his means, to all things intelligible, to truth itself, and
to being itself, the cause that they are--out beyond all things
(_pántôn epékeina òn_), intelligible only by some unspeakable faculty.

"So have spoken men of mind; and if _you_ can understand anything of
it, it is well for you.  If you suppose a spirit descends from God to
proclaim divine matters, it would be the spirit that proclaims this,
that spirit with which men of old were filled and in consequence
announced much that was good.  But if you can take in nothing of it, be
silent and hide your own ignorance, and do not say that those who see
are blind, and those who run are lame, especially when you yourselves
are utterly crippled and mutilated in soul, and live in the body--that
is to say, in the dead element."[25]

Origen says that Celsus is constantly guilty of tautology, and the
reiteration of this charge of ignorance and want of {246} culture is at
least frequent enough.  Yet if the Christian movement had been confined
to people as vulgar and illiterate as he suggests, he might not have
thought it worth his while to attack the new religion.  His hint of the
propagation of the Gospel by slaves in great houses, taken with the
names of men of learning and position, whom we know to have been
converted, shows the seriousness of the case.  But to avoid the further
charge which Origen brings against Celsus of "mixing everything up," it
will be better to pursue Celsus' thoughts of God.

"I say nothing new, but what seemed true of old (_pálai dedogména_).
God is good, and beautiful, and happy, and is in that which is most
beautiful and best.  If then he 'descends to men,' it involves change
for him, and change from good to bad, from beautiful to ugly, from
happiness to unhappiness, from what is best to what is worst.  Who
would choose such a change?  For mortality it is only nature to alter
and be changed; but for the immortal to abide the same forever.  God
would not accept such a change."[26]  He presents a dilemma to the
Christians; "Either God really changes, as they say, to a mortal
body,--and it has been shown that this is impossible; or he himself
does not change, but he makes those who see suppose so, and thus
deceives and cheats them.  Deceit and lying are evil, taken generally,
though in the single case of medicine one might use them in healing
friends who are sick or mad--or against enemies in trying to escape
danger.  But none who is sick or mad is a friend of God's; nor is God
afraid of any one, so that he should use deceit to escape danger."[27]
God in fact "made nothing mortal; but God's works are such things as
are immortal, and _they_ have made the mortal.  The soul is God's work,
but the nature of the body is different, and in this respect there is
no difference between the bodies of bat, worm, frog, and man.  The
matter is the same and the corruptible part is alike."[28]

[Sidenote: God's anger]

The Christian conception of the "descent of God" is repulsive to
Celsus, for it means contact with matter.  "God's anger," too, is an
impious idea, for anger is a passion; and {247} Celsus makes havoc of
the Old Testament passages where God is spoken of as having human
passions (_anthrôpopathés_), closing with an _argumentum ad
hominem_--"Is it not absurd that a man [Titus], angry with the Jews,
slew all their youth and burnt their land, and so they came to nothing;
but God Almighty, as they say, angry and vexed and threatening, sends
his son and endures such things as they tell?"[29]  Furthermore, the
Christian account of God's anger at man's sin involves a presumption
that Christians really know what evil is.  "Now the origin of evil is
not to be easily known by one who has no philosophy.  It is enough to
tell the common people that evil is not from God, but is inherent in
matter, and is a fellow-citizen (_empoliteúetai_) of mortality.  The
circuit of mortal things is from beginning to end the same, and in the
appointed circles the same must always of necessity have been and be
and be again."[30]  "Nor could the good or evil elements in mortal
things become either less or greater.  God does not need to restore all
things anew.  God is not like a man, that, because he has faultily
contrived or executed without skill, he should try to amend the
world."[31]  In short, "even if a thing seems to you to be bad, it is
not yet clear that it is bad; for you do not know what is of advantage
to yourself, or to another, or to the whole."[32]  Besides would God
need to descend in order to {248} learn what was going on among
men?[33]  Or was he dissatisfied with the attention he received, and
did he really come down to show off like a _nouveau riche_ (_oi
neóploutoi_)?"[34]  Then why not long before?[35]

Should Christians ask him how God is to be seen, he has his answer: "If
you will be blind to sense and see with the mind, if you will turn from
the flesh and waken the eyes of the soul, thus and thus only shall you
see God."[36]  In words that Origen approves, he says, "from God we
must never and in no way depart, neither by day nor by night, in public
or in private, in every word and work perpetually, but, with these and
without, let the soul ever be strained towards God."[37]  "If any man
bid you, in the worship of God, either to do impiety, or to say
anything base, you must never be persuaded by him.  Rather endure every
torture and submit to every death, than think anything unholy of God,
let alone say it."[38]

Thus the fundamental conceptions of the Christians are shown to be
wrong, but more remains to be done.  Let us assume for purposes of
discussion that there could be a "descent of God"--would it be what the
Christians say it was?  "God is great and hard to be seen," he makes
the Christian say, "so he put his own spirit into a body like ours and
sent it down here that we might hear and learn from it."[39] If that is
true, he says, then God's son cannot be immortal, since the nature of a
spirit is not such as to be permanent; nor could Jesus have risen again
in the body, "for God would not have received back the spirit which he
gave when it was polluted with the nature of the body."[40]  "If he had
wished to send down a spirit from himself, why did he need to breathe
it into the womb of a woman?  He knew already how to {249} make men,
and he could have fashioned a body about this spirit too, and so
avoided putting his own spirit into such pollution."[41]  Again the
body, in which the spirit was sent, ought to have had stature or beauty
or terror or persuasion, whereas they say it was little, ugly and

Then, finally, "suppose that God, like Zeus in the Comedy, waking out
of long sleep, determined to rescue mankind from evil, why on earth did
he send this spirit (as you call it) into one particular corner?  He
ought to have breathed through many bodies in the same way and sent
them all over the world.  The comic poet, to make merriment in the
theatre, describes how Zeus waked up and sent Hermes to the Athenians
and Lacedæmonians; do you not think that your invention of God's son
being sent to the Jews is more laughable still?"[43]  The incarnation
further carried with it stories of "God eating"--mutton, vinegar, gall.
This revolted Celsus, and he summed it all up in one horrible word.[44]

[Sidenote: The ignominy of Jesus]

The ignominy of the life of Jesus was evidence to Celsus of the falsity
of his claim to be God's son.  He bitterly taunts Christians with
following a child of shame--"God's would not be a body like yours--nor
begotten as you were begotten, Jesus!"[45]  He reviles Jesus for the
Passion--"unhelped by his Father and unable to help himself."[46]  He
goes to the Gospels ("I know the whole story," he says[47]) and he
cites incident after incident.  He reproaches Jesus with seeking to
escape the cross,[48] he brings forward "the men who mocked him and put
the purple robe on him, the crown of thorns, and; {250} the reed in his
hand";[49] he taunts him with being unable to endure his thirst upon
the cross--"which many a common man will endure."[50]  As to the
resurrection, "if Jesus wished really to display his divine power, he
ought to have appeared to the actual men who reviled him, and to him
who condemned him and to all, for, of course, he was no longer afraid
of any man, seeing he was dead, and, as you say, God, and was not
originally sent to elude observation."[51]  Or, better still, to show
his Godhead, he might have vanished from the gibbet.[52]

What befel Jesus, befals his followers.  "Don't you see, my dear sir?"
Celsus says, "a man may stand and blaspheme your dæmon; and not that
only, he may forbid him land and sea, and then lay hands on _you_, who
are consecrated to him like a statue, bind you, march you off and
impale you; and the dæmon, or, as you say, the son of God, does not
help you."[53] "You may stand and revile the statues of the gods and
laugh.  But if you tried it in the actual presence of Dionysus or
Herakles, you might not get off so comfortably.  But your god in his
own person they spread out and punished, and those who did it have
suffered nothing....  He too who sent his son (according to you) with
some message or other, looked on and saw him thus cruelly punished, so
that the message perished with him, and though all this time has passed
he has never heeded.  What father was ever so unnatural (_anósios_)?
Ah! but perhaps he wished it, you say, and that was why he endured the
insult.  And perhaps our gods _wish_ it too, when you blaspheme

Celsus would seem to have heard Christian preaching, for beside
deriding "Only believe" and "Thy faith will save thee," he is offended
by the language they use about the cross.  "Wide as the sects stand
apart, and bitter as are their quarrels and mutual abuse, you will hear
them all say their 'To me the world is crucified and I to the
world.'"[55]  In one great passage he mixes, as Origen says, the things
he has mis-heard, and quotes Christian utterances about "a soul that
lives, and a heaven that is slain that it may live, and earth slain
with the {251} sword, and ever so many people being slain to live; and
death taking a rest in the world when the sin of the world dies; and
then a narrow way down, and gates that open of themselves.  And
everywhere you have the tree of life and the resurrection of the flesh
from the tree--I suppose, because their teacher was nailed to a cross
and was a carpenter by trade.  Exactly as, if he had chanced to be
thrown down a precipice, or pushed into a pit, or choked in a noose, or
if he had been a cobbler, or a stone-mason, or a blacksmith, there
would have been above the heavens a precipice of life, or a pit of
resurrection, or a rope of immortality, or a happy stone, or the iron
of love, or the holy hide."[56]

[Sidenote: The Cross and the miracles]

The miracles of Jesus Celsus easily explains.  "Through poverty he went
to Egypt and worked there as a hired labourer; and there he became
acquainted with certain powers [or faculties], on which the Egyptians
pride themselves, and he came back holding his head high on account of
them, and because of them he announced that he was God."[57]  But,
granting the miracles of healing and of raising the dead and feeding
the multitudes, he maintains that ordinary quacks will do greater
miracles in the streets for an obol or two, "driving devils out of
men,[58] and blowing away diseases and calling up the souls of heroes,
and displaying sumptuous banquets and tables and sweetmeats and
dainties that are not there;"--"must we count _them_ sons of God?"[59]
There are plenty of prophets too, "and it is quite an easy and ordinary
thing for each of them to say 'I am God--or God's son--or a divine
spirit.  And I am come; for already the world perisheth, and ye, oh
men, are lost for your sins.  But I am willing to {252} save you; and
ye shall see me hereafter coming with heavenly power.  Blessed is he
that has worshipped me now; but upon all the rest I will send eternal
fire, and upon their cities and lands.  And men who do not recognize
their own guilt shall repent in vain with groans; and them that have
believed me, I will guard for ever.'"[60]  Jesus was, he holds, an
obvious quack and impostor.  In fact, there is little to choose between
worshipping Jesus and Antinous, the favourite of Hadrian, who had
actually been deified in Egypt.[61]

The teaching of Jesus, to which Christians pointed, was after all a
mere medley of garbled quotations from Greek literature.  Thus when
Jesus said that it is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye
than for a rich man to go into the kingdom of God, he was merely
spoiling the Platonic saying that it is impossible for a man to be
exceedingly good and exceedingly rich at the same time.[62]  The
kingdom of heaven itself comes from the "divinely spoken" words of
Plato; it is the "supercelestial region" of the _Phædrus_.[63] Satan is
a parody of Heraclitus' conception of War.[64]  The Christian
resurrection comes from metempsychosis.[65]  The idea that "God will
descend, carrying fire (like a torturer in a law-court)" comes from
some confused notion of the teaching of the Greeks upon cycles and
periods and the final conflagration.[66]  Plato has this advantage that
he never boasted and never said that God had "a son who descended and
talked with me."[67]  The "son of God" itself was an expression
borrowed in their clumsy way by the Christians from the ancients who
conceived of the universe as God's offspring.[68]

[Sidenote: Resurrection]

Christians lay great stress on the immortality, "but it is silly of
them to suppose that when God--like a cook--brings the fire, the rest
of mankind will be roasted and they themselves will alone remain, not
merely the living, but even those who died long ago, rising from the
earth with the identical flesh they had before.  Really it is the hope
of worms!  For what soul of a man would any longer wish for a body that
{253} had rotted?"[69]  The loathsomeness of the idea, he says, cannot
be expressed, and besides it is impossible.  "They have nothing to
reply to this, so they fly to the absurdest refuge, and say that all is
possible with God.  But God cannot do what is foul, and what is
contrary to nature he will not do.  Though you in your vulgarity may
wish a loathsome thing, it does not follow that God can do it, nor that
you are right to believe at once that it will come to pass.  For it is
not of superfluous desire and wandering disorder, but of true and just
nature that God is prince (_archegétes_).  He could grant immortal life
of the soul; but 'corpses,' as Heraclitus says, 'are less useful than
dung.'  The flesh is full of--what it is not beautiful even to
mention--and to make it immortal contrary to all reason (_paralogôs_),
is what God neither will nor can do.  For he is the reason of all
things that are, so that he cannot do anything contrary to reason or
contrary to himself."[70]  And yet, says Celsus, "you hope you will see
God with the eyes of your body, and hear his voice with your ears, and
touch him with the hands of sense."[71]  If they threaten the heathen
with eternal punishment, the exegetes, hierophants, and mystagogues of
the temples hurl back the same threat, and while words are equal, they
can show proofs in dæmonic activities and oracles.[72] "With those
however who speak of the soul or the mind (whether they choose to call
it spiritual, or a spirit intelligent, holy and happy, or a living
soul, or the supercelestial and incorruptible offspring of a divine and
bodyless nature--or whatever they please)--with those who hope to have
this eternally with God, with such I will speak.  For they are right in
holding that they who have lived well will be happy and the unjust will
be held in eternal woes.  From this opinion (_dógmatos_) let not them
nor any one else depart."[73]

In this way Celsus surveys the main points of Christian history and
teaching.  They have no real grounds beneath them.  The basis of the
church is "faction (_stásis_) and the profit it brings, and fear of
those without;--those are the things that establish the faith for
them."[74]  Faction is their keynote, taken from the Jews at first; and
faction splits them up into innumerable sects beside the "great
church,"[75]--"the {254} one thing they have in common, if indeed they
still have it, is the name; and this one thing they are ashamed to
abandon."[76] When they all say "'Believe, if you wish to be saved, or
else depart'; what are those to do who really wish to be saved?  Should
they throw the dice to find out to whom to turn?"[77]  In short,
faction is their breath of life, and "if all mankind were willing to be
Christian, then they would not."[78]

[Sidenote: Gods and dæmons]

But Celsus is not content merely to refute; he will point out a more
excellent way.  "Are not all things ruled according to the will of God?
is not all Providence from him?  Whatever there is in the whole scheme
of things, whether the work of God, or of angels, or other dæmons, or
heroes, all these have their law from the greatest God; and in power
over each thing is set he that has been counted fit."[79]  "Probably
the various sections are allotted to various rulers (_epóptais_) and
distributed in certain provinces, and so governed.  Thus among the
various nations things would be done rightly if done as those rulers
would have them.  It is then not holy to break down what has been from
the beginning the tradition of one and another place."[80]  Again, the
body is the prison of the soul; should there not then be warders of
it--dæmons in fact?[81] Then "will not a man, who worships God, be
justified in serving him who has his power from God?"[82]  To worship
them all cannot grieve him to whom they all belong.[83]  Over and over
Celsus maintains the duty of "living by the ancestral usages," "each
people worshipping its own traditional deities."[84] To say with the
Christians that there is one Lord, meaning God, is to break up the
kingdom of God and make factions there (_stasiáxein_), as if there were
choices to be made, and one were a rival of another.[85]

Ammon is no worse than the angels of the Jews; though here the Jews are
so far right in that they hold by the ways of their ancestors--an
advantage which the Jewish proselytes have {255} forfeited.[86]  If the
Jews pride themselves on superior knowledge and so hold aloof from
other men, Herodotus is evidence that their supposed peculiar dogma is
shared by the Persians; and "I think it makes no difference whether you
call Zeus the Most High, or Zeus, or Adonai, or Sabaoth, or Amun, like
the Egyptians, or Papaios like the Scythians."[87]

The evidence for the ancillary dæmons and gods he finds in the familiar
places.  "Why need I tell at length how many things prophets and
prophetesses at the oracles have foretold, and other men and women
possessed by a voice of a god within them? the marvels heard from
shrines? revelations from sacrifices and victims, and other miraculous
tokens?  And some have been face to face with visible phantoms.  The
whole of life is full of these things."  Cities have escaped plague and
famine through warnings from oracles, and have suffered for neglecting
them.  The childless have gained children, and the crippled have been
healed, while those who have treated sacred things with contempt have
been punished in suicide and incurable diseases.[88]  Let a man go to
the shrine of Trophonius or Amphiaraus or Mopsus, and there he may see
the gods in the likeness of men, no feigned forms (_pseudoménous_) but
clear to see, "not slipping by them once, like him who deceived these
people [the Christians], but ever associating with those who will."[89]
"A great multitude of men, Greeks and barbarians, testify that they
have often seen and still do see Asklepios, and not merely a phantom of
him, but they see himself healing men, and doing them good, and
foretelling the future."[90]  Is it not likely that these "satraps and
ministers of air and earth" could do you harm, if you did them
despite?[91]  Earthly rulers too deserve worship, since they hold their
positions not without dæmonic influence.[92]  Why should not the
Christians worship them, dæmons and Emperors?  If they worshipped no
other but one God, they might have some clear argument against other
men; but, as it is, they more than worship the person who lately
appeared, and reckon that God is not wronged by the service done to his
subordinate,[93]--though in truth he is only a corpse.[94] In any case,
"if idols are nothing, what harm is there in taking part in the
festival? but if there are dæmons, it is clear they too {256} are of
God, and in them we must trust, and speak them fair, according to the
laws, and pray that they may be propitious."[95]

It is characteristic of the candour of Celsus that he lets slip a
caution or two about the service of dæmons.  Christians are as
credulous, he says in one place, as "those who lightly (_alogôs_)
believe in the roaming priests of Cybele (_metragúrtais_) and
wonder-seers, Mithras and Sabadios and the like--phantoms of Hecate or
some other female dæmon or dæmons."[96]  Again, he has a word of
warning as to magic, and the danger and injury into which those fall
who busy themselves with it--"One must be on one's guard, that one may
not, by being occupied with these matters, become entangled in the
service of them [literally; fused with them, _syntakê_], and through
love of the body and by turning away from better things be overcome by
forgetfulness.  For perhaps we should not disbelieve wise men, who say
(as a matter of fact) that of the dæmons who pervade the earth the
greater part are entangled in 'becoming' (_genesei syntetekós_)--fused
and riveted to it--and being bound to blood and smoke and chantings and
other such things can do no more than heal the body and foretell future
destiny to man and city; and the limits of their knowledge and power
are those of human affairs."[97]

[Sidenote: The rescue of the empire]

At the last comes his great plea.  Human authority is of divine
ordinance.  "To the Emperor all on earth is given; and whatever you
receive in life is from him."[98]  "We must not disbelieve one of old,
who long ago said--

  Let one be king, to whom the son of wise Kronos has given it.

If you invalidate this thought (_dógma_), probably the Emperor will
punish you.  For if all men were to do as you do, nothing will prevent
the Emperor being left alone and deserted,[99] and all things on earth
falling into the power of the {257} most lawless and barbarous savages,
with the result that neither of your religion nor of the true wisdom
would there be left among men so much as the name.[100]  You will
hardly allege that if the Romans were persuaded by you and forsook all
their usages as to gods and men, and called upon your 'Most High' or
whatever you like, he would descend and fight for them and they would
need no other help.  For before now that same God promised (as you say)
this and much more to those who served him, and you see all the good he
has done them and you.  As for them [the Jews], instead of being
masters of all the earth, they have not a clod nor a hearthstone left
them; while you--if there is any of you left in hiding, search is being
made for him to put him to death."[101] The Christian sentiment that it
is desirable for all who inhabit the Empire, Greeks and barbarians,
Asia, Europe and Libya, to agree to one law or custom, is foolish and
impracticable.[102] So Celsus calls on the Christians "to come to the
help of the Emperor with all their might and labour with him as right
requires, fight on his behalf, take the field with him, if he call on
you, and share the command of the legions with him[103]--yes, and be
magistrates, if need be, and to do this for the salvation of laws and

It will be noted that, so far as our fragments serve us, Celsus
confines himself essentially to the charges of folly, perversity, and
want of national feeling.  An excessive opinion of the value of the
human soul and an absurd fancy of God's interest in man are two of the
chief faults he sees in Christianity.[105]  He sees well, for the love
of God our Father and the infinite significance of the meanest and
commonest and most depraved of men were after all the cardinal
doctrines of the new faith.  There can be no compromise between the
Christian conception of the Ecclesia of God and Celsus' contempt for an
"ecclesia of worms in a pool"; nor between the "Abba Father" of Jesus
and the aloof and philosophic God of Celsus "away beyond everything."
These two {258} contrasts bring into clear relief the essentially new
features of Christianity, and from the standpoint of ancient philosophy
they were foolish and arbitrary fancies.  That standpoint was
unquestioned by Celsus.

[Sidenote: The failure of Celsus]

Confident in the truth of his premisses and the conclusions that follow
from them, Celsus charged the Christians with folly and dogmatism.  Yet
it would be difficult to maintain that they were more dogmatic than
himself; they at least had ventured on the experiment of a new life,
that was to bring ancient Philosophy to a new test.  They were the
researchers in spiritual things, and he the traditionalist.  As to the
charge of folly, we may at once admit a comparatively lower standard of
education among the Christians; yet Lucian's book _Alexander_, with its
curious story of the false prophet who classed them with the Epicureans
as his natural enemies, suggests that, with all their limitations, they
had an emancipation of mind not reached by all their contemporaries.
If they did not accept the conclusions of Greek thinkers as final, they
were still less prepared to accept sleight-of-hand and hysteria as the
ultimate authority in religious truth.[106]  Plutarch, we may remember,
based belief in immortality on the oracles of Apollo; and Celsus
himself appeals to the evidence of shrines and miracles.  If we say
that pagans and Christians alike believed in the occurrence of these
miracles and in dæmonic agency as their cause, it remains that the
Christians put something much nearer the modern value upon them, while
Celsus, who denounced the Christians as fools, tendered this
contemptible evidence for the religion he advocated.

His Greek training was in some degree the cause of this.  The
immeasurable vanity of the Greeks did not escape the Romans.  A sense
of indebtedness to the race that has given us Homer, Euripides and
Plato leads us to treat all Greeks kindly--with more kindness than
those critics show them whose acquaintance with them has been less in
literature and more in life.  The great race still had gifts for
mankind, but it was now mainly living upon its past.  In Plutarch the
pride of race is genial and pleasant; in Celsus it takes another
form--that of contempt for the barbarian and the unlettered.  {259} The
truism may be forgiven that contempt is no pathway to understanding or
to truth; and in this case contempt cut Celsus off from any real access
to the mind of the people he attacked.  He read their books; he heard
them talk; but, for all his conscious desire to inform himself, he did
not penetrate into the heart of the movement--nor of the men.  He
missed the real motive force--the power of the life and personality of
Jesus, on which depended the two cardinal doctrines which he assailed.

The extraordinary blunders, to which the very surest critics in
literature are liable, may prepare us for anything.  But to those who
have some intimate realization of the mind of Jesus, the portrait which
Celsus drew of him is an amazing caricature--the ignorant Jewish
conjuror, who garbles Plato, and makes no impression on his friends, is
hardly so much as a parody.  It meant that Celsus did not understand
the central thing in the new faith.  The "godhead" of Jesus was as
absurd as he said, if it was predicated of the Jesus whom he drew; and
there he let it rest.  How such a dogma could have grown in such a case
he did not inquire; nor, finding it grown, did he correct his theory by
the fact.  Thus upon the real strength of Christianity he had nothing
to say.  This was not the way to convince opponents, and here the
action of the Christians was sounder and braver.  For they accepted the
inspiration of the great men of Greece, entered into their spirit (as
far as in that day it was possible), and fairly did their best to put
themselves at a universal point of view.[107] They had the larger

Yet for Celsus it may be pleaded that his object was perhaps less the
reconversion of Christians to the old faith than to prevent the
perversion of pagans to the new.  But here too he failed, for he did
not understand even the midway people with whom he was dealing.  They
were a large class--men and women open to religious ideas from whatever
source they might come--Egypt, Judæa, or Persia, desirous of the
knowledge of {260} God and of communion with God, and in many cases
conscious of sin.  In none of these feelings did Celsus share--his
interests are all intellectual and practical.  Plutarch before him, and
the Neo-Platonists after him, understood the religious instincts which
they endeavoured to satisfy, and for the cold, hard outlines of Celsus'
hierarchy of heavenly and dæmonic beings they substituted
personalities, approachable, warm and friendly (_ho phílos Apóllon_).
Men felt the need of gods who were Saviours,--of gods with whom they
might commune in sacraments--as the rise of Mithra-worship shows.  They
sought for salvation from sin, for holiness--the word was much on their
lips--and for peace with God.  To Celsus these seem hardly to have been
necessities; and whether we say that he made no effort to show that
they were provided for in the old religion, or that he suggested,
tacitly or explicitly, that the scheme he set forth had such a
provision, the effect is the same.  He really had nothing to offer.

[Sidenote: The victory of the Christians]

Celsus did not bring against the Christians the charges of "OEdipodean
unions and Thyestean banquets" familiar to the reader of the
Apologists[108]--and to the student of the events that preceded the
Boxer movement in China.  While he taunted Jesus with being a bastard
and a deceiver, and roundly denounced Christians generally for imposing
upon the ignorance of men with false religion and false history, he did
not say anything of note against ordinary Christian conduct.  At least
the fragments do not show anything of the kind.  Later on the defenders
and apologists of paganism had to own with annoyance that Christians
set their fellow-citizens an example; Maximin Daza and Julian tried
vigorously to raise the tone of pagan society.  Here lies an argument
with which Celsus could not deal.  The Fatherhood of God (in the sense
which Jesus gave to the words) and the value of the individual soul,
even the depraved and broken soul, are matters of argument, and on
paper they may be very questionable; but when the people, who held or
(more truly) were held by these beliefs, managed somehow or other to
show to the world lives transformed and endowed with the power of
transforming others, the plain fact outweighed any number of _True
Words_.  Whatever {261} the explanation, the thing was there.
Christians in the second century laid great stress on the value of
paper and argument, and to-day we feel with Celsus that among them,
orthodox and heretical, they talked and wrote a great deal that was
foolish--"their allegories were worse than their myths"--but the sheer
weight of Christian character carried off allegories and myths, bore
down the school of Celsus and the more powerful school of Plutarch,
Porphyry and Plotinus and abolished the ancient world, and then
captured and transformed the Northern nations.

Celsus could not foresee all that we look back upon.  But it stands to
his credit that he recognised the dangers which threatened the ancient
civilization, dangers from German without and Christian within.  He had
not the religious temperament; he was more the statesman in his habit
of mind, and he clearly loved his country.  The appeal with which he
closes is a proposal of peace--toleration, if the Christians will save
the civilized world.  It was not destined that his hopes should be
fulfilled in the form he gave them, for it was the Christian Church
that subdued the Germans and that carried over into a larger and more
human civilization all that was of value in that inheritance of the
past for which he pleaded.  So far as his gifts carried him, he was
candid; and if sharp of tongue and a little irritable of temper, he was
still an honourable adversary.  He was serious, and, if he did not
understand religion, he believed in the state and did his best to save

Chapter VIII Footnotes:

[1] Keim, _Celsus' Wahres Wort_ (1873).

[2] Keim, pp. 264-273.

[3] Tertullian, _Apol._ 38, _nec ulla res aliena magis quam publica_.
Elsewhere Tertullian explains this: _lædimas Romanos nec Romani habemur
qui non Romanorum deum colimus, Apol._ 24.

[4] Apud Origen, _c. Cels._ viii, 2.  References in what follows will
be made to the book and chapter of this work without repetition of
Origen's name.  The text used is that of Koetschau.

[5] _c. Cels._ iii, 44.

[6] _Ibid._ iii, 59.

[7] iii, 55.  I have omitted a clause or two.

Clem  A. _Strom._ iv, 67, on the other hand, speaks of the difficult
position of wife or slave in such a divided household, and (68) of
conversions in spite of the master of the house.  Tert. _ad Scap._ 3,
has a story of a governor whose wife became a Christian, and who in
anger began a persecution at once.

[8] iii, 75.

[9] i, 9.  Cf. Clem. Alex. _Strom._ i, 43, on some Christians who think
themselves _euphusîs_ and "ask for faith--faith alone and bare."  In
_Paed._ i, 27, he says much the same himself, _tò pisteûsai mónon kaì
anagennethûnai teleíôis estin en zoê_.

[10] vi, 10.  Clem. Alex. _Strom._ ii, 8, "The Greeks think Faith empty
and barbarous, and revile it," but (ii, 30) "if it had been a human
thing, as they supposed, it would have been quenched."

[11] iii, 62.

[12] iii, 62.

[13] iii, 65, _toùs hamartangin pephykótas te kaì eithismenous_.

[14] iii, 71.

[15] Clement of Alexandria, _Protr._ 92, uses this simile of worms in
the mud of swamps, applying it to people who live for pleasure.

[16] iv, 23.

[17] iv, 74.

[18] So Lucian _Icaromenippus_, 19, explicitly.

[19] iv, 88.  Cf. Clem. Alex. _Pædag._ i, 7, _tò phíltron éndon estìn
en tô anthrópô toûth' óper emphysema légetai theoû_.

[20] _c. Cels._ iv, 74-99.  Cf. Plato, _Laws_, 903 B, _hôs tô tou
pantòs epimelouménô pròs tèn sôterían kaì aretèn toû holou pánt' estì
syntetagména ktè_, explicitly developing the idea of the part being for
the whole.  Also Cicero, _N.D._ ii, 13, 34-36.

[21] Of. M. Aurelius, xi, 3, the criticism of the theatricality of the
Christians.  See p. 198.

[22] _c. Cels._ vii, 42, _tòn mèn oun poietèn kaì patéra toûde toû
pantòs ehureîn te épgon kaì ehuronta eis pántas adynaton legein_;
_Timæus_, 28 C--often cited by Clement too.

[23] vii, 42.

[24] vii, 42.

[25] vii, 45.

[26] iv, 14.

[27] iv, 18.  See Tertullian's argument on this question of God
changing, in _de Carne Christi_, 3.  See Plato, _Rep._ ii, 381 B.

[28] iv, 52.  See _Timæus_, 34 B ff. on God making soul.

[29] iv, 73.  See Clem. Alex. _Paed._ i, ch. 10, on God threatening;
and Strom, ii, 72; iv, 151; vii, 37, for the view that God is without
anger, and for guidance as to the understanding of language in the O.T.
which seems to imply the contrary.  For a different view, see
Tertullian, _de Testim. Animæ_, 2, _unde igitur naturalis timor animæ
in deum, si deus nan novit irasci?  adv. Marc._ i, 26, 27, on the
necessity for God's anger, if the moral law is to be maintained; and
_adv. Marc._ ii, 16, a further account of God's anger, while a literal
interpretation of God's "eyes" and "right hand" is excluded.

[30] iv, 65.

[31] iv, 69.

[32] iv, 70.  Long before (about 500 B.C.)
 Heraclitus had said (fragm. 61): "To
God all things are beautiful and good and just; but men have supposed
some things to be unjust and others just."  For this doctrine of the
relativity of good and bad to the whole, cf. hymn of Cleanthes to

  _allà sù kaì tà perissá t' epístasai artia theînai_,
  _kaì kosmein ta kosma, kaì ou phila soì phila estín_.
  _ôde gàr eis èn pánta synérmokas esthlà kakoîsin_
  _ôsth' éna gígnesthai pántôn logon aièn eónta_.

Cf. also the teaching of Chrysippus, as given by Gellius, _N.A._ vii,
1: _cum bona malis contraria sint, utraque necessum est opposita inter
sese et quasi mutuo adverse quæque fulta nisu consistere; nullum adeo
contrarium est sine contrario altero ... situleris unum abstuleris
utrumque_.  See also M. Aurelius in the same Stoic vein, viii, 50; ix,
42.  On the other side see Plutarch's indignant criticism of this
attribution of the responsibility for evil to God, _de comm. not. adv.
Sto._ 14, 1065 D, ff.  In opposition to Marcion, Tertullian emphasizes
the worth of the world; his position, as a few words will show, is not
that of Celsus, but Stoic influence is not absent: _adv. Marc._ i, 13,
14; _Ergo nec mundus deo indignus: nihil etenim deus indignum st fecit,
etsi mundum homini non sibi fecit, etsi omne opus inferius est suo
artifice_; see p. 317.

[33] iv, 3.

[34] iv, 6.

[35] iv, 7.

[36] vii, 36.

[37] viii, 63.

[38] viii, 66.

[39] vi, 69.  "Men, who count themselves wise," says Clement (_Strom._
i, 88), "count it a fairy tale that the son of God should speak through
man, or that God should have a son, and he suffer."

[40] vi, 72.

[41] vi, 73.  Cf. the Marcionite view; cf. Tert. _adv. Marc._ iii, 11;
iv, 21; v, 19, _cuius ingeniis tam longe abest veritas nostra ut ...
Christum ex vulva virginis natum non erubescat, ridentibus philosophis
et hæreticis et ethnicis ipsis_.  See also _de carne Christi_, 4, 5,
where he strikes a higher note; Christ loved man, born as man is, and
descended for him.

[42] vi, 75.  Cf. Tert. _de carne Christi_, 9, _adeo nec humanæ
honestatis corpus fuit; adv. Jud._ 14, _ne aspectu quidem honestus_.

[43] vi, 78.  Cf. Tert. _adv. Marc._ iii, i, _atquin nihil putem a deo
subitum quia nihil a deo non dispositum_.

[44] vii, 13, _skataophageîn_.  Origen's reply is absurd--_hína gàr kaì
doxe hóti hésthein, hos sôma phorôn ho Iesoûs hésthein_.  So also said
Clement (_Strom._ vi, 71).  Valentinus had another theory no better,
_Strom._ iii. 59.  Marcion, Tertullian says (_adv. Marc._ iii, 10),
called the flesh _terrenam et stercoribus infusam_.  They are all
filled with the same contempt for matter--not Tertullian, however.

[45] i, 69.

[46] i, 54.

[47] i, 12.

[48] ii, 23, 24.

[49] ii, 34.

[50] ii, 37.

[51] ii, 66, 67.  Tertullian meets this in _Apol._ 21.  _Nam nec ille
se in vulgus eduxit ne impii errore liberarcntur, ut et fides, non
mediocri praemio destinata, difficultate constaret_.

[52] ii, 68,

[53] viii, 39.

[54] viii, 41.

[55] v, 65.

[56] vi, 34.  Cf. a curious passage of Clem. Alex. _Protr._ 114, _oûtos
tèn dúsin eis anatolèn metegagen kaì tòn thanaton eis zôèn anestaúrsen
exarpásas dè tês apôleias tòn ánthrôpon prosekrémasen aíthéri_, and so
forth.  Cf. Tert. _adv. Valent._ 20, who suggests that the Valentinians
had "nut-trees in the sky"--it is a book in which he allows himself a
good deal of gaiety and free quotation.

[57] i, 28.

[58] M. Aurelius, i, 6, "From Diognetus I learnt not to give credit to
what was said by miracle-workers and jugglers (_goétôn_) about
incantations and the sending away of dæmons and such things."  Cf.
Tertullian, _adv. Marc._ iii, 2-4, on inadequacy of proof from miracles
alone, without that from prophecy; also _de Anima_, 57, on these
conjurers, where he remarks, _nec magnum illi exteriores oculos
circumscribere, an interiorem mentis aciem excalcare perfacile est_.
See also _Apol._ 22, 23.

[59] i, 68.

[60] vii, 9.

[61] iii, 36.

[62] vi, 16.  Cf. Plato, _Laws_, v, 12, p. 743 A.

[63] vi, 17-19; _Phædrus_, 247 C.

[64] vi, 42.

[65] vii, 32; cf. Min. Felix, 11, 9.

[66] iv, 11.

[67] vi, 8.

[68] vi, 47.  Cf. Plato, _Timæus_ (last words), 92 C, _eîs ouranòs óde
monogenès ón_.

[69] v, 14.

[70] v, 14.

[71] vii, 34.

[72] viii, 49.

[73] viii. 48.

[74] iii, 14.

[75] v, 59.

[76] iii, 12.

[77] vi, II.

[78] iii, 9.  Tertullian speaks in a somewhat similar way of heretics,
especially of the Gnostics: _de præscriptione hæret_. c. 42.

[79] vii, 68.

[80] v, 25.

[81] viii, 53, 58.

[82] vii, 68.

[83] vii, 2.

[84] Cf. v, 34, 35.

[85] viii, ii.  Cf. Tert. _adv. Prax._ 3, where it is argued that God's
monarchy is not impaired _tot angelorum numero_, nor by the _oikonomía_
of the Trinity.

[86] v, 41.

[87] v, 41.

[88] viii, 45.

[89] vii, 35.

[90] iii, 24.  Cf. p. 222.

[91] viii, 35.

[92] viii, 63.

[93] viii, 12.

[94] vii, 68.

[95] viii, 24.

[96] i, 9, _Mithrais kaì Sabadíois_.

[97] viii, 60.  See note on ch. iii, p. 107.

[98] viii, 67.

[99] Cf. Tert. _de cor. mil._ 11, if a soldier is converted, _aut
deserendum statim ut a multis actum, aut,_ etc.  The chapter is a
general discussion whether military service and Christianity are
compatible.  Cf. also Tert. _de idol._ 19, _Non convenit sacramento
divino et humano, signo Christi et signo diaboli, castris lucis et
castris tenebrarum ... quomodo autem bellabit immo quomodo etiam in
pace militabit sine gladio quem dominus abstulit? .... omnem postea
militem dominus in Petro exarmando discinxit_.  Tertullian, it may be
remembered, was a soldier's son.

[100] viii, 68.  The Greeks used _basileùs_ as Emperor.

[101] viii, 69.  For this taunt against the Jews, cf. Cicero, _pro
Flacco_, 28, 69.

[102] viii, 72.

[103] viii, 73.

[104] viii, 75.

[105] Cf. Clem. Alex. _Strom._ i, 55, who says that hardly any words
could be to the many more absurd than the mysteries of the faith.

[106] Clem. Alex. _Protr._ 56 (on idols).  _ou gár moi thémis
empisteûsai pote toîs apsychois tàs tês psychês elpídas_.

[107] This was at all events the view of Clement, _Strom._ i, 19.
_oudè katapsephixesthai tôn Hellénon oíon te psilê tê perì tôn
dogmatiothénton autoîs chroménous phrásei, me synembrainontas eis tèn
katà méros áchri syllnóseôs ekkalypsin.  pistòs gar eû mála ho met'
empeirias elegchos, hóti kaì teleiotáte apádeixis ehurísketai he gnôsis
tôn kategnosménôn_.

[108] It is regrettable that Clement should have flung one of these
against the school of Carpocrates, _Strom._ iii, 10.




Viderint qui Stoicum et Platonicum et dialecticum Christianismum
protulerunt.--TERTULLIAN, _de præscr. hæret._ 7.

No one can allege that the Bible has failed to win access for want of
metaphysics being applied to it.--MATTHEW ARNOLD, _Literature and
Dogma_, p. 121.

Though Celsus had much to say upon the vulgar and servile character of
the members of the Christian community, he took the trouble to write a
book to refute Christianity; and this book, as we have seen, was
written from a more or less philosophical point of view.  He professed
himself doubtful as to whether his opponents would understand his
arguments; but that he wrote at all, and that he wrote as he did, is
evidence that the new faith was making its way upward through society,
and was gaining a hold upon the classes of wealth and education.

[Sidenote: The rise of the Church]

It is not hard to understand this.  Though conditions of industry were
not what they are to-day, it is likely that conversion was followed by
the economic results with which we are familiar.  The teaching of the
church condemned the vices that war against thrift; and the new life
that filled the convert had its inevitable effect in quickening insight
and energy.  The community insisted on every man having a trade and
working at it.  With no such end in view, the church must have numbered
among its adherents more and more people of wealth and influence in
spite of all defections, just as to-day Protestantism in France has
power and responsibility out of all proportions to mere numbers.  The
Emperor Hadrian, is said to have made the observation that in Egypt,
whether men worshipped Christ or Serapis, they all worshipped money.[1]
The remark had probably as much truth as such sayings generally have,
but we may probably infer that many Christians were punctual in {263}
their observance of the duty laid on them to be "not slothful in

The first four or five generations of Christians could not, on the
whole, boast much culture--so far as their records permit us to judge.
"Not many wise," said Paul, and their fewness has left an impress on
the history of the church.  A tendency to flightiness in speculation on
the one hand, and a stolid refusal to speculate at all on the other,
are the marks of second century Christianity.  The early attempts made
to come to terms with "human wisdom" were not happy, either at the
centre or on the circumference of the body.  The adjustment of the
Gospel story to Old Testament prophecy was not a real triumph of the
human mind, nor were the efforts at scientific theology any better.
Docetism, with its phantom Christ, and Gnosticism with its antithesis
of the just God and the good God, were not likely to satisfy mankind.
Simple people felt that these things struck at their life, and they
rejected them, and began to suspect the intellect.  The century saw the
growth of ecclesiastical system, episcopal order and apostolic
tradition.  Men began to speak of the "old church," the "original
church" and the "catholic church," and to cleave to its "rule of faith"
and "tradition of sound words."  By 200 A.D. the church was no longer a
new thing in the world; it had its own "ancient history" without going
back to Judaism and the old covenant; it had its legends; and it could
now speak like the Greeks of "the old faith of our fathers."

As it rose in the world, the church came into contact with new
problems.  As long as men were without culture, they were not troubled
by the necessity of reconciling culture with faith, but the time had
come when it must be done in earnest.  Wealth was bringing leisure, and
refinement, and new intellectual outlooks and interests.  Could the
church do with them? was the urgent question.  Was it possible for a
man to be at once a Greek gentleman of wealth and culture and a simple
Christian like the humble grandfathers of his fellow-believers--or like
his own slaves, the fuller and the cobbler of his household?  We shall
understand the problem better if we can make some acquaintance with the
daily life and environment of these converts of the better classes.

In the second and third books of his _Pedagogue_ Clement of {264}
Alexandria deals with the daily round and deportment of Christians, for
whom extravagance and luxury might be a real temptation.  A few points,
gathered here and there from the two books, will suffice.  He
recommends simplicity of diet with health and strength as its
objects--the viands, which the Gospels suggest, fish and the honeycomb,
being admirable for these purposes.[2]  Wine provokes the passions--"I
therefore admire those who have chosen the austere life and are fond of
water, the medicine of temperance."  "Boys and girls should as a
general rule abstain from the [other] drug"--wine.[3] Good manners at
table--no noisy gulping, no hiccupping, no spilling, no soiling of the
couch, no slobbering of hand or chin--"how do you think the Lord drank,
when he became man for us?"[4]  Vessels of silver and gold, furniture
of rare woods inlaid with ivory, rugs of purple and rich colours, are
hardly necessary for the Christian--"the Lord ate from a cheap bowl and
made his disciples lie on the ground, on the grass, and he washed their
feet with a towel about him--the lowly-minded God and Lord of the
universe.  He did not bring a silver foot-bath from heaven to carry
about with him.  He asked the Samaritan woman to give him to drink in a
vessel of clay as she drew it up from the well,--not seeking the royal
gold, but teaching us to quench thirst easily."  "In general as to
food, dress, furniture and all that pertains to the house, I say at
once, it should all be according to the institutions of the Christian
man, fitting appropriately person, age, pursuits and time."[5]

[Sidenote: Christian manners]

Clement passes from the table to a general discussion of manners and
habits.  Man is a "laughing animal," but he should not laugh all the
time.  Humour is recommended rather than wit (_charientistéon ou
gelôtopoiêtéon_, 45, 4).  "The orderly relaxation of the face which
preserves its harmony" is a smile (46, 3)--giggling and excessive
laughter are perversions.  Care should be taken in conversation to
avoid low talk, and the scoff that leads the way to insolence, and the
argument for barren victory--"man is a creature of peace," as the
greeting "Peace with you" shows us.  Some talkers are like old
shoes--only the tongue left for mischief.  {265} There are many tricks
unfit for a Christian gentleman--spitting, coughing, scratching and
other things; and he would do well to avoid whistling and snapping his
fingers to call the servants.  Fidgetting is the mark of mental levity
(_symbolon kouphótetos_).[6]

In the care of one's person, oil may be used; it is a sign of the
luxury of the times that scents and unguents are so universally applied
to such various purposes.  The heathen crowned their heads with flowers
and made it a reproach that Christians gave up the practice.  But, as
Tertullian said, they smelt with their noses; and Clement urges that on
the head flowers are lost to sight and smell, and chill the brain.  A
flower-garden in spring, with the dew upon all its colours, and all the
natural scents of the open air, is another thing.  The Christian too
will remember--Tertullian also has this thought--that it was another
crown that the Lord wore[7]--_ex spinis opinor, et tribulis_.  The real
objection was that the custom was associated with idol-worship.

Silk and purple and pearls are next dealt with--and earrings, "an
outrage on nature"--if you pierce the ear, why not the nose too?[8]
All peculiarity of dress should be avoided, and so should cosmetics--or
else you may remind people of the Egyptian temple, outside all
splendour, inside a priest singing a hymn to a cat or a crocodile.[9]
"Temperance in drink and symmetry in food are wonderful cosmetics and
quite natural."[10]  Let a woman work with her hands, and health will
come and bring her beauty.  She should go veiled to church, like Æneas'
wife leaving Troy.[11]  Men may play at ball, take country walks, and
try gardening and drawing water and splitting billets.[12]
Finger-rings are allowed for them--gold rings, to be used as seals for
security against the slaves.  {266} "Let our seals be a dove, or a
fish, or a ship running before the wind, or a lyre, or a ship's
anchor"--not an idol's face, or a sword or a cup or something
worse.[13]  Men should wear their hair short (unless it is curly), grow
their beards and keep their moustaches trimmed with the scissors.[14]
Our slaves we should treat as ourselves, for they are men as we; "God"
(as a verse, perhaps from Menander, puts it) "is the same for all, free
or slave, if you think of it."[15]

All these admonitions imply an audience with some degree of wealth.
The Christian artisan of Celsus had no temptation to use a silver
foot-bath or to plaster himself with cosmetics.  It may also be
remarked that the man who gives the advice shows himself well
acquainted with the ways of good society--and perhaps of society not so
well gifted with taste.  With all this refinement went education.  The
children of Christian parents were being educated, and new converts
were being made among the cultured classes, and the adjustment of the
new faith and the old culture was imperative.  The men to make it were
found in a succession of scholars, learned in all the wisdom of Greece,
enthusiastic for philosophy and yet loyal to the Gospel tradition.

The first of these, whose name we know, was Pantænus; but beyond his
name there is little to be known of him.  Eusebius says that he began
as a Stoic philosopher and ended as a Christian missionary to
India.[16]  His pupil, Clement, is of far greater importance in the
history of Christian thought.

[Sidenote: His classical training]

Of Clement again there is little to be learnt beyond what can be
gathered from his own writings.  He alludes himself to the death of the
Emperor Commodus as being "194 years, 1 month and 13 days" after the
birth of Christ (it was in 192 A.D.); and Eusebius quotes a passage
from a contemporary letter which shows that Clement was alive in 211
A.D., and another written in or about 215, which implies that he was
dead.[17]  We have also an indication from Eusebius that his activity
as a teacher in Alexandria lasted from 180 {267} to 202 or 203.[18]  We
may then assume that Clement was born about the middle of the century.

Epiphanius says that Clement was either an Alexandrine or an Athenian.
A phrase to be quoted below suggests that he was not an Alexandrine,
and it has been held possible that he came from Athens.[19]  It also
seems that he was born a pagan.[20]  Perhaps he says this himself when
he writes: "rejoicing exceedingly and renouncing our old opinions we
grow young again for salvation, singing with the prophecy that chants
'How good is God to Israel.'"[21]

It is obvious that he had the usual training of a Greek of his social
position.  If his code of manners is lifted above other such codes by
the constant suggestion of the gentle spirit of Jesus, it yet bears the
mark of his race and of his period.  It is Greek and aristocratic, and
it would in the main command the approval of Plutarch.  He must have
been taught Rhetoric like every one else,--his style shows this as much
as his protests that he does not aim at eloquence (_euglôttía_), that
he has not studied and does not practise "Greek style"
(_helleíxein_).[22]  He has the diffuse learning of his day--wide,
second-hand and uncritical; and, like other contemporary writers, he
was a devotee of the note-book.  No age of Greek literature has left us
so many works of the kind he wrote--the sheer congeries with no attempt
at structure, no "beginning, middle and end,"--easy, accumulative books
of fine miscellaneous feeding, with titles that playfully confess to
their character.  Like other authors of this class, Clement preserves
for us many and many a fragment of more interest and value than any
original piece of literature could have been.  He clearly loved the
poetry of Greece, and it comes spontaneously and irresistibly to his
mind as he writes, and the sayings of Jesus are reinforced by those of
Menander or Epicharmus.  The old words charm him, and {268} he cannot
reject them.  His _Stromateis_ are "not like ornamental paradises laid
out in rows to please the eye, but rather resemble some shady and
thickly-wooded hill, where you may find cypress and plane, bay and ivy,
and apple trees along with olives and figs"[23]--trees with literary
connotations.  Such works imply some want of the creative instinct, of
originality, and they are an index to the thinking of the age,
impressed with its great ancestry.  It is to be remarked that the
writers of our period care little for the literature of the past two or
three centuries; they quote their own teachers and the great
philosophers and poets of ancient Greece.[24]  Few of them have any new
thoughts at all, and those who have are under the necessity of clothing
them in the hallowed phrases of their predecessors.  This was the
training in which Clement shared.  Later on, he emancipated himself,
and spoke contemptuously of the school--"a river of words and a trickle
of mind";[25] but an education is not easily shaken off.  He might
quarrel with his teachers and their lessons, but he still believed in
them.  It may be noted that in his quotations of Greek literature his
attention is mainly given to the thought which he finds in the
words--or attaches to them--that he does not seem to conceive of a work
of art as a whole, nor does he concern himself with the author.  He
used the words as a quotation, and it is not unlikely that many of the
passages he borrowed he knew only as quotations.

In philosophy his training must have been much the same, but here he
had a more living interest.  Philosophy touched him more nearly, for it
bore upon the two great problems of the human soul--conduct and God.
Like Seneca and Plutarch he was not interested in Philosophy apart from
these issues--epistemology, psychology, physics and so forth were not
practical matters.  The philosophers he judged by their theology.  With
religious men of his day he leant to the Stoics and "truth-loving
Plato"--especially Plato, whom he {269} seems to have read for
himself--but he avows that Philosophy for him means not the system of
any school or thinker, but the sum of the unquestionable dogmata of all
the schools, "all that in every school has been well said, to teach
righteousness with pious knowledge--this eclectic whole I call
Philosophy."[26] To this Philosophy all other studies contribute--they
are "the handmaidens, and she the mistress"[27]--and she herself owns
the sway of Theology.

[Sidenote: Clement and the mysteries]

At some time of his life Clement acquired a close acquaintance with
pagan mythology and its cults.  It may be that he was initiated into
mysteries; in his _Protrepticus_ he gives an account of many of them,
which is of great value to the modern student.  It is probable enough
that an earnest man in search of God would explore the obvious avenues
to the knowledge he sought--avenues much travelled and loudly vaunted
in his day.  Having explored them, it is again not unlikely that a
spirit so pure and gentle should be repelled by rituals and legends
full of obscenity and cruelty.  It is of course possible that much of
his knowledge came from books, perhaps after his conversion, for one
great part of Christian polemic was the simple exposure of the secret
rites of paganism.  Yet it remains that his language is permanently
charged with technical terms proper to the mysteries, and that he loves
to put Christian knowledge and experience in the old language--"Oh!
mysteries truly holy!  Oh! stainless light!  The daduchs lead me on to
be the epopt of the heavens and of God; I am initiated and become holy;
the Lord is the hierophant and seals the mystês for himself, himself
the photagogue."[28]  It is again a little surprising to hear of "the
Saviour "being" our mystagogue as in the tragedy--

  He sees, we see, he gives the holy things (_órgia_);

and if thou wilt inquire


  These holy things--what form have they for thee?

thou wilt hear in reply

  Save Bacchus' own initiate, none may know."[29]

It is inconceivable that a Hebrew, or anyone but a Greek, could have
written such a passage with its double series of allusions to Greek
mysteries and to Euripides' _Bacchæ_.  Clement is the only man who
writes in this way, with an allusiveness beyond Plutarch's, and a fancy
as comprehensive as his charity and his experience of literature and

He had the Greek's curious interest in foreign religions, and he speaks
of Chaldæans and Magians, of Indian hermits and Brahmans--"and among
the Indians are those that follow the precepts of Buddha (_Boûtta_),
whom for his exceeding holiness they have honoured as a god"--of the
holy women of the Germans and the Druids of the Gauls.[30]  Probably in
each of these cases his knowledge was soon exhausted, but it shows the
direction of his thoughts.  Egypt of course furnished a richer field of
inquiry to him as to Plutarch.  He has passages on Egyptian
symbolism,[31] and on their ceremonial,[32] which contain interesting
detail.  It was admitted by the Greeks--even by Celsus--that barbarians
excelled in the discovery of religious dogma, though they could not
equal the Greeks in the philosophic use of it.  Thus Pausanias says the
Chaldæans and Indian Magians first spoke of the soul's immortality,
which many Greeks have accepted, "not least Plato son of Ariston."[33]

In the course of his intellectual wanderings, very possibly before he
became a Christian, Clement investigated Jewish thought so far as it
was accessible to him in Greek, for Greeks did not learn barbarian
languages.  Eusebius remarks upon his allusions to a number of Jewish
historians.[34]  His debt to {271} Philo is very great, for it was not
only his allegoric method in general and some elaborate allegories that
he borrowed, but the central conception in his presentment of
Christianity comes originally from the Jewish thinker, though Clement
was not the first Christian to use the term Logos.

Clement does not tell us that he was born of pagan parents, nor does he
speak definitely of his conversion.  It is an inference, and we are
left to conjecture the steps by which it came, but without the help of
evidence.  One allusion to his Christian teachers is dropped when he
justifies his writing the _Stromateis_--"memoranda treasured up for my
old age, an antidote against forgetfulness, a mere semblance and
shadow-picture of those bright and living discourses, those men happy
and truly remarkable, whom I was counted worthy to hear."  And then the
reading is uncertain, but, according to Dr Stahlin's text he says: "Of
these, one was in Greece--the Ionian; the next (pl.) in Magna Græcia
(one of whom was from Coele Syria and the other from Egypt); others in
the East; and in this region one was an Assyrian, and the other in
Palestine a Hebrew by descent.  The last of all (in power he was the
first) I met and found my rest in him, when I had caught him hidden
away in Egypt.  He, the true Sicilian bee, culling the flowers of the
prophetic and apostolic meadow, begot pure knowledge in the souls of
those who heard him.  These men preserved the true tradition of the
blessed teaching direct from Peter and James, John and Paul, the holy
apostles, son receiving it from father ('and few be sons their fathers'
peers'), and reached down by God's blessing even to us, in us to
deposit those ancestral and apostolic seeds."[35]  It is supposed that
the Assyrian was Tatian, while the Sicilian bee hidden away in Egypt
was almost certainly Pantænus.

Clement's education had been wide and superficial, his reading
sympathetic but not deep, his philosophy vague and eclectic, and now
from paganism with its strange and indefinite aggregation of religions
based on cult and legend, he passed to a faith that rested on a
tradition jealously maintained and a rule beginning to be venerable.
He met men with a definite language in which they expressed a common
experience--who had moreover seen a good many efforts made to mend the
{272} language and all of them ending in "shipwreck concerning the
faith"; who therefore held to the "form of sound words" as the one
foundation for the Christian life.

It says a great deal for Clement's character--one might boldly say at
once that it is an index to his personal experience--that he could
sympathize with these men in the warm and generous way he did.  Now and
again he is guilty of directing a little irony against the
louder-voiced defenders of "faith only, bare faith"[36] and "straight
opinion"--"the _orthodoxasts_, as they are called."[37]  (The curious
word shows that the terms "orthodox" and "orthodoxy" were not yet quite
developed.)  But he stands firmly by the simplest Christians and their
experience.  If he pleads for a wider view of things--for what he calls
"knowledge," it is, he maintains, the development of the common faith
of all Christians.  It is quite different from the wisdom that is
implanted by teaching; it comes by grace.  "The foundation of knowledge
is to have no doubts about God, but to believe; Christ is
both--foundation and superstructure alike; by him is the beginning and
the end....  These, I mean faith and love, are not matters of
teaching."[38]  As Jesus became perfect by baptism and was hallowed by
the descent of the spirit, "so it befals us also, whose pattern is the
Lord.  Baptized, we are enlightened; enlightened, we are made sons;
made sons we are perfected; made perfect we become immortal [all these
verbs and participles are in the present].  'I,' he saith, 'said ye are
gods and sons of the Most High, all of you.'  This work has many names;
it is called gift [or grace, _chárisma_], enlightenment, perfection,
baptism....  What is wanting for him who knows God?  It would be
strange indeed if that were called a gift of God which was incomplete;
the Perfect will give what is perfect, one supposes....  Thus they that
have once grasped the borders of life are already perfect; we live
already, who are separated from death.  Salvation is following
Christ....  So to believe--only to believe--and to be born again is
perfection in life."[39]  He praises the poet of {273} Agrigentum for
hymning faith, which his verses declare to be hard; 'and that is why
the Apostle exhorts 'that your faith may not be in the wisdom of
men'--who offer to persuade--'but in the power of God'--which alone and
without proofs can by bare faith save."[40]

[Sidenote: "The real polymetis"]

It was this strong sympathy with the simplest view of the Christian
faith that made the life-work of Clement possible.  He was to go far
outside the ordinary thoughts of the Christian community round about
him--inevitably he had to do this under the compulsion of his wide
experience of books and thinkers--but the centre of all his larger
experience he found where his unlettered friends, "believing without
letters," found their centre, and he checked his theories, original and
borrowed--or he aimed at checking them--by life.  "As in gardening and
in medicine he is the man of real learning (_chrestomathés_), who has
had experience of the more varied lessons...; so, I say, here too, of
him who brings everything to bear on the truth....  We praise the pilot
of wide range, who 'has seen the cities of many men'... so he who turns
everything to the right life, fetching illustrations from things Greek
and things barbarian alike, he is the much-experienced (_polypeiros_)
tracker of truth, the real _polymêtis_; like the touchstone--the Lydian
stone believed to distinguish between the bastard and the true-born
gold, he is able to separate,--our _polyidris_ and man of knowledge
(_gnostikos_) as he is,--sophistic from philosophy, the cosmetic art
from the true gymnastic, cookery from medicine, rhetoric from
dialectic, magic and other heresies in the barbarian philosophy from
the actual truth."[41]  This, in spirit and letter, is a very
characteristic utterance.  Beginning with the Lord as "the vine"--from
which some expect to gather clusters of grapes in the twinkling of an
eye--he ranges into medicine and sea-faring, from Odysseus "of many
wiles, who saw the cities of many men and learnt their mind," to
Plato's _Gorgias_, and brings all to bear on the Christian life.  What
his simple friends made of such a passage--if they were able to read at
all, or had it read to them--it is not easy to guess, but contact must
have shown them in the man a genuine and tender Christian as
Christocentric as themselves, if in speech he {274} was oddly
suited,--a gay epitome of Greek literature in every sentence.

This, then, is the man, a Greek of wide culture and open heart, who has
dipped into everything that can charm the fancy and make the heart
beat,--curious in literature, cult, and philosophy, and now submitted
to the tradition of the church and the authority of Hebrew prophet and
Christian apostle, but not as one bowing to a strange and difficult
necessity.  Rather, with the humblest of God's children--those "tender,
simple and guileless" children on whom God lavishes all the little
names which he has for his only Son, the "lamb" and the "child"[42]--he
finds in Christ "thanksgiving, blessing, triumph and joy," while Christ
himself bends from above, like Sarah, to smile upon their
"laughter."[43]  Such was the range of Clement's experience, and now,
under the influence of the great change that conversion brought, he had
to re-think everything and to gather it up in a new unity.  Thus in one
man were summed up all the elements of import in the general situation
of the church of his day.  He was representative alike in his
susceptibility to the ancient literature and philosophy and his love of
Scripture--"truth-loving Isaiah" and "St Paul"--in his loyalty to the
faith, and, not less, in his determination to reach some higher ground
from which the battle of the church could be fought with wider outlook,
more intelligent grasp of the factors in play, and more hope of winning
men for God.

[Sidenote: Faith and philosophy]

Clement did not come before his time.  Philosophy had begun to realize
the significance of the church.  The repression of the "harmful
superstition" was no longer an affair of police; it was the common
concern of good citizens.  The model Emperor himself, the philosopher
upon the throne, had openly departed from the easy policy laid down by
Trajan and continued by his successors.  He had witnessed, or had
received reports of, executions.  Writing in his diary of death, he
says: "What a soul is that which is ready, if the moment has come for
its separation from the body, whether it is to be extinguished, or
dissolved, or to continue a whole.  This readiness--see that it come
from your own judgment, not in mere obstinacy, as with the Christians,
but reflectively and {275} with dignity, in a way to persuade another,
with nothing of the actor in it."[44]  This sentence betrays something
of the limitations of a good man--a beautiful spirit indeed, but not a
little over-praised by his admirers in modern days.  Celsus at once
taunts his Christian opponents with their prospects of painful death
and demonstrates the absurdity of their tenets from the point of view
of philosophy.  The Apologists say, too, that the philosophers lent
themselves (as did also the dæmons) to inciting the mob to massacre.
But after all the dialectical weapons of Philosophy were the more
dangerous, for they shook the faith of the Christian which death did
not shake.

Again, the candid and inquiring temper of some notable converts and
friends had led them to question the tradition of the church and to
examine their Christian experience with a freedom from prejudice, at
least in the evangelic direction, which had resulted in conclusions
fatal, it seemed, to the Christian movement.  Their philosophy had
carried them outside the thoughts of Jesus--they had abandoned the idea
of the Abba Father, of the divine love, of the naturalness and
instinctiveness of Christian life.  Incarnation and redemption they
rejected, at least in the sense which made the conceptions of value to
men.  Jesus they remodelled into one and another figure more amenable
to their theories--a mere man, a demi-god, a phantom, into anything but
the historic personality that was and could remain the centre and
inspiration of Christian life.  Of all this mischief philosophy, men
said, was the cause.[45]

"I know quite well," writes Clement, "what is said over and over again
by some ignorantly nervous people who insist that we should confine
ourselves to the inevitable minimum, to what contains the faith, and
pass over what is outside and superfluous, as it wears us out to no
purpose and occupies us with what contributes nothing to our end.
Others say philosophy comes of evil and was introduced into life for
the ruin of {276} men by an evil inventor."[46]  They were afraid of
philosophy, as children might fear a ghost, in case it should take them
away[47]--but this, as Clement saw, was no way to meet the danger.  The
Christian must not philosophize, they said--Tertullian said it too; but
how could they know they must not philosophize unless they
philosophized?[48]  Whether philosophy is profitable or not, "you
cannot condemn the Greeks on the basis of mere statements about their
opinions, without going into it with them till point by point you
discover what they mean and understand them.  It is the refutation
based upon experience that is reliable."[49]

[Sidenote: His defence of philosophy]

So Clement has first of all to fight the battle of education inside the
church, to convince his friends that culture counts, that philosophy is
inevitable and of use at once for the refutation of opponents and for
the achievement of the full significance of faith.  Then he has to show
how philosophy at its best was the foe of superstition and the champion
of God's unity and goodness--a preparation for the Gospel.  Lastly he
has to restate the Christian position in the language of philosophy and
to prove that the Gospel is reaffirming all that was best in the
philosophic schools and bringing it to a higher point, indeed to the
highest; that the Gospel is the final philosophy of the universe, the
solution of all the problems of existence, the revelation of the
ultimate mind of God.

Clement boldly asserts the unity of all knowledge.  Everything
contributes, everything is concentric.  "Just as every family goes back
to God the Creator, so does the teaching of all good things go back to
the Lord, the teaching that makes men just, that takes them by the hand
and brings them that way."[50]  And again:--"When many men launch a
ship, pulling together, you could not say there are many causes, but
one consisting of many--for each of them is not by himself the cause of
its being launched but only in conjunction with others; so philosophy,
which is a search for truth, contributes to the perception
(_katalepsis_) of truth, though it is not the {277} cause of
perception, except in conjunction and co-operation with other things.
Yet perhaps even a joint-cause we might call a cause.  Happiness is
one, and the virtues more than one which are its causes.  The causes of
warmth may be the sun, the fire, the bath and the clothing.  So, truth
is one and many things co-operate in the search for it, but the
discovery is by the Son....  Truth is one, but in Geometry we have
geometrical truth, in Music musical; so in Philosophy--right
Philosophy--we should have Greek truth.  But alone the sovereign Truth
is unassailable, which we are taught by the Son of God."[51]
Elsewhere, when challenged to say what use there is in knowing the
causes that explain the sun's motion,[52] geometry and dialectics, when
Greek philosophy is merely man's understanding, he falls back upon the
mind's instinctive desire for such things, its free will (_tèn
proaíresin toû noû_), and quickly marshals a series of texts from the
Book of _Wisdom_ on the divine source of wisdom and God's love of it,
concluding with an allegory drawn from the five barley loaves and the
two fishes on which the multitude were fed, the former typifying the
Hebrew Law ("for barley is sooner ripe for harvest than wheat") and the
fishes Greek philosophy "born and moving amid Gentile billows."  ("If
you are curious, take one of the fishes as signifying ordinary
education and the other the philosophy that succeeds it....

  A choir of voiceless fish came sweeping on,

the Tragic muse says somewhere"[53]).  His appeal to the mind is a much
stronger defence than any such accumulation of texts, but for the
people he had in view the texts were probably more convincing.

The impulse to Philosophy is an inevitable one, native to the human
mind, and he shows that it is to the Divine Reason working in all
things, to Providence, that we must attribute it.  {278} "Everything,
so far as its nature permits, came into being, and does so still,
advancing to what is better than itself.  So that it is not out of the
way that Philosophy too should have been given in Divine Providence, as
a preliminary training towards the perfection that comes by Christ....
'Your hairs are numbered' and your simplest movements; can Philosophy
be left out of the account?  [An allegory follows from Samson's hair.]
Providence, it says, from above, from what is of first importance, as
from the head, reaches down to all men, as 'the myrrh,' it says, 'that
descends upon Aaron's beard and to the fringe of his garment'--viz.:
the Great High Priest, 'by whom all things came into being, and without
him nothing came'--not, that is, on to the beauty of the body;
Philosophy is outside the people [possibly Israel is meant] just as
raiment is.  The philosophers then, who are trained by the perceptive
spirit for their own perception,--when they investigate not a part of
Philosophy, but Philosophy absolutely, they testify in a truth-loving
way and without pride to truth by their beautiful sayings even with
those who think otherwise, and they advance to understanding
(_synesin_), in accordance with the divine dispensation, that
unspeakable goodness which universally brings the nature of all that
exists onward toward the better so far as may be."[54]

Thought (_phronesis_) takes many forms, and it is diffused through all
the universe and all human affairs, and in each sphere it has a
separate name--Thought, Knowledge, Wisdom or Faith.  In the things of
sense it is called Right Opinion; in matters of handicraft, Art; in the
logical discussion of the things of the mind, it is Dialectic.  "Those
who say that Philosophy is not from God, come very near saying that God
cannot know each several thing in particular and that He is not the
cause of all good things, if each of them is a particular thing.
Nothing that is could have been at all without God's will; and, if with
His will, then Philosophy is from God, since He willed it to be what it
is for the sake of those who would not otherwise abstain from evil."

  "He seeth all things and he heareth all[55]


and beholds the soul naked within, and he has through all eternity the
thought (_epínoia_) of each several thing in particular," seeing all
things, as men in a theatre look around and take all in at a glance.
"There are many things in life that find their beginning in human
reason, though the spark that kindles them is from God.[56]  Thus
health through medicine, good condition through training, wealth
through commerce, come into being and are amongst us, at once by Divine
Providence and human co-operation.  And from God comes understanding
too.  And the free will (_proairesis_) of good men most of all obeys
God's will....  The thoughts (_epinoiai_) of virtuous men come by
divine inspiration (_epípnoia_), the soul being disposed so and the
divine will conveyed (_diadidonénou_) to human souls, the divine
ministers taking part in such services; for over all nations and cities
are assigned angelic governances--perhaps even over individuals."[57]
Philosophy makes men virtuous, so it cannot be the product of
evil--that is, it is the work of God.  As it was given to the best
among the Greeks, we can divine who was the Giver.[58]

This is a favourite thought with Clement, and, as he does with all
ideas that please him, he repeats it over and over again, in all sorts
of connexions and in all variety of phrase.  When a man is avowedly
making "patchwork" books (_Stromateis_), there is really no occasion on
which we can call it irrelevant for him to repeat himself, and this is
a thought worth repeating.  "Before the advent of the Lord, Philosophy
was necessary to the Greeks for righteousness, and it is still
profitable for piety, a sort of primary instruction for those who reap
faith by revelation....  God is the cause of all good things, of some
directly, as of the Old and New Testament, of others indirectly as of
Philosophy.  And perhaps even directly it was given in those times to
the Greeks, before the Lord called the Greeks also; for Philosophy too
was a _paidagogos_ for the Greek world, as the Law was for the Hebrews,
to bring them to Christ."[59] {280} "Generally speaking, we should not
be wrong in saying that all that is necessary and profitable to life
comes to us from God--and that Philosophy was more especially given to
the Greeks, as a sort of covenant (_diathéke_) of their own, a step
(_hypobathra_) toward the Philosophy according to Christ,--if Greek
philosophers will not close their ears to the truths, through contempt
of the barbarian speech."[60]  "God is the bestower (_choregós_) of
both covenants, who also gave Philosophy to the Greeks, whereby among
the Greeks the Almighty is glorified."[61]  "In those times Philosophy
by itself 'justified' the Greeks--though not to the point of perfect
righteousness."[62] "As in due season the Preaching now comes, so in
due season the law and the prophets were given to the barbarians and
Philosophy to the Greeks, to train their ears for the Preaching."[63]

[Sidenote: The origin of philosophy]

Philosophy however fell short of the Law.  Those, who were righteous by
the Law, still lacked Faith; while the others, whose righteousness was
by Philosophy, not only lacked Faith but failed to break with
idolatry.[64]  (This was in many quarters the capital charge against
contemporary philosophy.)  It was for this reason that the Saviour
preached the Gospel in Hades, just as after him, according to Hermas,
"the apostles and teachers, when they fell asleep in the power and
faith of the Son of God, preached to those who had fallen asleep before
them."[65]  It is curious that Clement not only cites Philosophy as a
gift of God to the Gentiles before Faith came, that God's judgments
might be just, but he also says, on the authority of the Law (quoting
inaccurately and perhaps from memory), that God gave them the sun, the
moon and stars to worship, which God made for the Gentiles that they
might not become utterly atheistic and so utterly perish.  "It was a
road given to them, that in worshipping the stars they might look up to
God."[66]  That they fell into idolatry was however only too patent a


The exact means, by which the Greeks received the truths contained in
their philosophy, is not certain.  A favourite explanation with
Christian writers, and one to which Clement gives a good deal of
thought, is that Greek thinkers borrowed at large from the Old
Testament, for Moses lived some six hundred years before the
deification of Dionysos, the Sibyl long before Orpheus.[67]  Clement's
illustrations are not very convincing.  "The idea of bringing
Providence as far down as the moon came to Aristotle from this _Psalm_:
'Lord, in heaven is thy mercy and thy truth as far as (_héos_) the
clouds.'"  Epicurus took his conception of Chance from "Vanity of
vanities, all is vanity;" while the Sabbath is found in several lines
of Homer--unfortunately spurious.  An attempt to convict Euripides of
plagiarism from Plato's _Republic_ shows the worth of these
suggestions, and the whole scheme wakes doubts as to the value of
Clement's judgment.[68]

Another theory was angelic mediation.  God might have communicated with
the Greeks by inferior angels;[69] or those angels who fell into
pleasure might have told their human wives what they knew of divine
secrets, "and so the doctrine of Providence got about."[70]  Or else by
happy guess or accident the Greeks found parts of the truth for
themselves--or in virtue of some naturally implanted notion (_énnoia_)
or common mind, and then "we know who is the author of nature."[71]

Whatever the explanation, in any case the hand of God was to be traced
in it--Providence foreknew all, and so designed that the wickedness of
fallen angels and men should promote righteousness and truth.[72]  So
much for those who quote the text "All that ever came before me were
thieves and robbers,"[73] or who say that the devil is the author of
{282} Philosophy[74] (though we may admit Epicureanism to have been
sown by the sower of tares).[75]  We might look far for a more vivid
illustration of the contrast between sound instinct and absurd theory.

[Sidenote: The _Protrepticus_]

Thus he vindicates the right of the Christian to claim Philosophy as
the manifestation of the Divine Logos, and as a fore-runner of the
Gospel, and in his _Protrepticus_ he shows how the Christian thus
re-inforced can deal with paganism.  If the _Stromateis_ weary even the
sympathetic reader with their want of plan, their diffuseness and
repetition, and their interminable and fanciful digressions--faults
inherent in all works of the kind--the _Protrepticus_ makes a different
impression.  It is written by the same hand and shows the same
tendencies, but they are under better control.  Allegories, analogies
and allusions still hinder the development of his thought--like
Atalanta he can never let a golden apple run past him.  He is not
properly a philosopher in spite of all his love of Philosophy, and he
thinks in colours, like a poet.  Yet he is not essentially a man of
letters or a poet; he is too indolent; his style is not inevitable or
compulsive.  It is too true a confession when he says that he does not
aim at beauty of language.  His sentence will begin well, and then grow
intricate and involved--in breaks an allusion, not always very
relevant, and brings with it a quotation that has captured his fancy
and paralyses his grammar--several perhaps--some accommodation is made,
and the sentence straggles on, and will end somehow--with a pile of
long words, for which others have been patiently waiting since before
the quotation, in pendent genitives, accusatives and so forth.  But in
the _Protrepticus_--in the better parts of it--something has happened
to his style, for (to speak after his own manner)

  Nothing of him that doth fade,
  But doth suffer a sea-change
  Into something rich and strange.

He is no longer arguing; he surrenders to a tide of emotion, and is
borne along singing, and as he sings, he seems to gather up all the
music of the ancient world; we catch notes that come from Greek and
Hebrew song, and the whole is woven together {283} into a hymn to "the
Saviour," "my Singer," "our new Orpheus," that for sheer beauty, for
gladness and purity of feeling is unmatched in early Christian
literature.  One comes back to it after years and the old charm is
there still.  That it can survive in a few translated fragments is
hardly to be expected.

He begins with the famous singers of Greek myth--Amphion, Arion, and
Eunomus with the grass-hopper...  You will believe empty myths, he
says, but "Truth's bright face seems to you to be false and falls under
eyes of unbelief."  But Cithæron and Helicon are old.  "Let us bring
Truth and shining Wisdom from heaven above to the holy mount of God and
the holy choir of the prophets.  Let her, beaming with light that
spreads afar, illumine all about her them that lie in darkness, and
save men from error."  "My Eunomus sings not Terpander's strain, nor
Capion's, not the Phrygian, the Lydian or the Dorian, but the eternal
strain of the new harmony, the strain that bears the name of God, the
new song, the song of the Levite, with

  A drug infused antidote to the pains
  Of grief and anger, a most potent charm
  For ills of every name,[76]

a sweet and true cure of sorrow."  Orpheus sang to enslave men to
idols, to foolish rites, to shadows.  "Not such is my singer; he has
come, soon to end cruel slavery to tyrannic dæmons; he transfers us to
the gentle and kindly yoke of piety, and calls to heaven them that were
fallen to earth."[77]

It was this new song that first made the whole cosmos a harmony, and it
is still the stay and harmony of all things.  It was this Logos of God
who framed "the little cosmos, man," setting soul and body together by
the holy spirit, and who sings to God upon this organ of many
tones--man.  The Logos himself is an organ for God, of all the
harmonies, tuneful and holy.[78]  What does this organ, this new song,
tell us?

The Logos, that was before the Day-Star was, has appeared among men as
a teacher,--he by whom all things were made.  {284} As Demiurge he gave
life; as teacher he taught to live well; that, as God, he may lavish
upon us life forever.  Many voices and many means has the Saviour
employed for the saving of men.  Lest you should disbelieve these, the
Logos of God has himself become man that you might learn from man how
man may become God.[79]

He casts a glance over Greek myths and mysteries--cymbals, tambourines,
emblems, legends and uncleanness, the work of men who knew not the God
who truly is, men "without hope and without God in the world."  "There
was from of old a certain natural fellowship of men with heaven, hidden
in the darkness of their ignorance, but now on a sudden it has leapt
through the darkness and shines resplendent--even as that said by one
of old,

  See'st thou that boundless æther there on high
  That laps earth round within its dewy arms?

and again,

  O stay of earth, that hast thy seat on earth,
  Whoe'er thou art, beyond man's guess to see;

and all the rest that the children of the poets sing."[80]  But wrong
conceptions have turned "the heavenly plant, man," from the heavenly
life and laid him low on earth, persuading him to cleave to things
fashioned of earth.  So he returns to the discussion of pagan
worships--"but by now your myths too seem to me to have grown old"--and
he speaks of the dæmon-theory by which the pagans themselves explained
their religion.  The dæmons are inhuman and haters of men; they enjoy
the slaying of men--no wonder that with such a beginning superstition
is the source of cruelty and folly.  But "no! I must never entrust the
hopes of the soul to things without souls."[81]  "The only refuge, it
seems, for him who would come to the gates of "Salvation is the Divine


He now reviews the opinions of the philosophers about God.  The Stoics
(to omit the rest) "saying that the divine goes through all matter,
even the most dishonourable, shame Philosophy."[83]  "Epicurus alone I
will gladly forget."[84] "Where then are we to track out God, Plato?
'The Father and maker of this whole it is hard to find, and, when one
has found him, to declare him to all is impossible.'  In his name why?
'For it is unspeakable.'  Well said!  Plato! thou hast touched the
truth!"[85]  "I know thy teachers," still addressing Plato, "Geometry
thou dost learn from Egyptians, Astronomy from Babylonians, the charms
that give health from Thracians; much have the Assyrians taught thee;
but thy laws--such of them as are true--and thy thought of God, to
these thou hast been helped by the Hebrews."[86]  After the
philosophers the poets are called upon to give evidence--Euripides in
particular.[87]  Finally he turns to the prophets and their message of
salvation--"I could quote you ten thousand passages, of which 'not one
tittle shall pass' without being fulfilled; for the mouth of the Lord,
the holy spirit, spoke them."[88]

God speaks to men as to his children--"gentle as a father," as Homer
says.  He offers freedom, and you run away to slavery; he gives
salvation, and you slip away into death.  Yet he does not cease to
plead--"Wake, and Christ the Lord shall lighten upon you, the sun of
resurrection."[89]  "What would you have covenanted to give, oh! men!
if eternal salvation had been for sale?  Not though one should measure
out all Pactolus, the mythic river of gold, will he pay a price equal
to salvation."[90]  Yet "you can buy this precious salvation with your
own treasure, with love and faith of life ... that is a price God is
glad to accept."[91]  Men grow to the world, like seaweed to the rocks
by the sea, and despise immortality "like the old Ithacan, yearning not
for Truth and the fatherland {286} in heaven, and the light that truly
is, but for the smoke."[92]  It is piety that "makes us like God"--a
reference to Plato's familiar phrase.  God's function (_érgon_) is
man's salvation.  "The word is not hidden from any.  Light is common
and shines upon all men; there is no Cimmerian in the reckoning.  Let
us hasten to salvation, to re-birth.  Into one love to be gathered,
many in number, according to the unity of the essence of the Monad, let
us hasten.  As we are blessed, let us pursue unity, seeking the good
Monad.  And this union of many, from a medley of voices and
distraction, receives a divine harmony and becomes one symphony,
following one coryphæus (_choreutés_) and teacher, the Word, resting
upon the Truth itself, and saying 'Abba Father.'"[93] Here indeed
Philosophy and the Gospel join hands, when the Monad and Abba Father
are shown to be one and the same.[94]

It is easy to see which of the thoughts represented by these names
means most to Clement.  "Our tender loving Father, the Father indeed,
ceases not to urge, to admonish, to teach, to love; for neither does he
cease to save"--"only, oh! child! thirst for thy Father, and God will
be shown to thee without a price."[95]  "Man's proper nature is to be
at home with God;" as then we set each animal to its natural task, the
ox to plough and the horse to hunt, so "man, too, who is born for the
sight of heaven, a heavenly plant most truly, we call to the knowledge
of God....  Plough, we say, if you are a ploughman, but know God as you
plough; sail, if you love sea-faring, but calling on the heavenly
pilot"[96] "A noble hymn to God is an immortal man, being built up in
righteousness, in whom are engraved the oracles of truth"[97]; and very
soon he quotes "Turn the other cheek" as a "reasonable law to be
written in the heart."[98] {287} "God's problem is always to save the
flock of men.  It was for that the good God sent the good Shepherd.
The Logos has made truth simple and shown to men the height of
salvation."[99]  "Christ wishes your salvation; with one word he gives
you life.  And who is he?  Hear in brief: the Word of truth, the Word
of immortality, that gives man re-birth, bears him up to truth, the
goad of salvation, who drives away destruction, who chases forth death,
who built in men a temple that he might make God to dwell among

The last chapter is a beautiful picture of the Christian life, full of
wonderful language from Homer, the _Bacchæ_ of Euripides, and the
Mysteries, and in the centre of it--its very heart--"Come unto me, all
ye that labour and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest."

In the passages here quoted from the _Protrepticus_ some of Clement's
main ideas in the realm of Christian thought are clearly to be seen;
and we have now to give them further and more detailed examination.  We
have to see what he makes of the central things in the new religion--of
God, and the Saviour, and of man, and how he interprets the Gospel of
Jesus in the language of Greek philosophy.  It is to be noted that,
whatever happened in the course of his work--and very few books are,
when written, quite what the writer expected on beginning--Clement
looked upon his task as interpretation.  The Scriptures are his
authorities--"he who has believed the divine Scriptures, with firm
judgment, receives in the voice of God who gave the Scriptures a proof
that cannot be spoken against."[101]  Amid the prayers and hymns of the
ideal Christian comes daily reading of the sacred books.[102]  Clement
has no formal definition of inspiration, but he loved the sacred text,
and he made it the standard by which to judge all propositions.  It is
perhaps impossible to over-estimate the importance of this loyalty in
an age, when Christian speculation was justly under suspicion on
account {288} of the free re-modelling of the New Testament text that
went with it.  Clement would neither alter, nor excise, but he found
all the freedom he wanted in the accepted methods of exegesis.
Allegory and the absence of any vestige of historical criticism--and,
not least, the inability induced by the training of the day to conceive
of a work of art, or even a piece of humbler literature, as a
whole--his very defects as a student secured his freedom as a
philosopher.  He can quote Scripture for his purpose; the phrase will
support him where the context will not; and sometimes a defective
memory will help him to the words he wants, as we have seen in the case
of the worship of sun, moon and stars.  To the modern mind such a use
of Scripture is unwarrantable and seems to imply essential indifference
to its real value, but in Clement and his contemporaries it is not
inconsistent with--indeed, it is indicative of--a high sense of the
value of Scripture as the _ipsissima verba_ of God.  And after all a
mis-quotation may be as true as the most authentic text, and may help a
man as effectually to insight into the thoughts of God.

[Sidenote: The Logos]

We have seen that Clement quarrelled with the Stoics for involving God
in matter--"even the most dishonourable."  The World-soul was, in fact,
repugnant to men who were impressed with the thought of Sin, and who
associated Sin with matter.  This feeling and a desire to keep the idea
of God disentangled from every limitation led to men falling back (as
we saw in the case of Plutarch) on the Platonic conception of God's
transcendence.  Neo-Platonism has its "golden chain" of existence
descending from Real Being--God--through a vast series of beings who
_are_ in a less and less degree as they are further down the scale.  It
is not hard to sympathize with the thoughts and feelings which drew men
in this direction.  The best thinkers and the most religious natures in
the Mediterranean world (outside the circle of Jesus, and some Stoics)
found the transcendence of God inevitably attractive, and then their
hearts sought means to bridge the gulf their thoughts had made.  For
now he was out of all knowledge, and away beyond even revelation; for
revelation involved relation and limitation, and God must be absolute.


We have seen how Plutarch found in the existence of dæmons a
possibility of intercourse between gods and men, while above the dæmons
the gods, he implies, are in communication with the remote Supreme.
But for some thinkers this solution was revolting.  Philo, with the
great record before him of the religious experience of his race, was
not prepared to give up the thought "O God, thou art my God."[103]
Linking the Hebrew phrase "the word of the Lord" with the Stoic Logos
Spermaticos and Plato's Idea, he found in the resulting conception a
divine, rational and spiritual principle immanent in man and in the
universe, and he also found a divine personality, or quasi-personality,
to come between the Absolute and the world.  He pictures the Logos as
the Son of God, the First-born, the oldest of angels, the "idea of
ideas," and again as the image of God, and the ideal in whose likeness
man was made.  As the ambassador of God, and High Priest, the Logos is
able to mediate directly between man and God, and bridges the gulf that
separates us from the Absolute.[104] More than anything else, this
great conception of Philo's prepared the way for fusion of Greek
thought and Christianity.  Clement is conspicuously a student and a
follower of Philo--nor was he the first among Christian writers to feel
his influence.

Clement, as already said, professed himself an eclectic in philosophy,
and of such we need not expect the closest reasoning.  Our plan will be
to gather passages illustrative of his thoughts--we might almost say of
his moods--and set side by side what he says from time to time of God.
On such a subject it is perhaps impossible to hope for logic or
consistency except at the cost of real aspects of the matter in hand.
Something will be gained if we can realize the thoughts which most
moved the man, even though their reconciliation is questionably
possible.  This doubt however does not seem to have occurred to
himself, for he connects the dogmata of the philosophers and the
teaching of the New Testament as if it were the most natural thing in
the world.


To begin with the account of God which Clement gives in philosophical
language.  "The Lord calls himself 'one' (_hèn_)--'that they all may be
one ... as we are one; I in them, and thou in me, that they may be
perfected into one.'  Now God is 'one' (_hèn_) and away beyond the
'one' (_henòs_) and above the Monad itself."[105]  Again, after quoting
Solon and Empedocles and "John the Apostle" ("no man hath seen God at
any time"), Clement enlarges on the difficulty of speaking of
God:--"How can that be expressed, which is neither genus, nor
differentia, nor species, neither indivisible, nor sum, nor accident,
nor susceptive of accident?  Nor could one properly call him a whole
(_hólon_); for whole (_tò hólon_) implies dimension, and he is Father
of the Whole (_tôn hólon_).  Nor could, one speak of his parts, for the
one is indivisible and therefore limitless, not so conceived because
there is no passing beyond it, but as being without dimension or limit,
and therefore without form or name.  And if we ever name him, calling
him, though not properly, one, or the good, or mind, or absolute being,
or father, or God, or demiurge, or lord, we do not so speak as putting
forward his name; but, for want of his name, we use beautiful names,
that the mind may not wander at large, but may rest on these.  None of
these names, taken singly, informs us of God; but, collectively and
taken all together, they point to his almighty power.  For predicates
are spoken either of properties or of relation, and none of these can
we assume about God.  Nor is he the subject of the knowledge which
amounts to demonstration; for this depends on premisses (_prótera_) and
things better known (_gnorimótepa_);[106] but nothing is anterior to
the unbegotten.  It remains then by divine grace and by the Logos alone
that is from him to perceive the unknowable."[107] Again, "God has no
natural relation (_physikèn schésin_) to us, as the founders of
heresies hold (not though he make us of what is not, or fashion us from
matter, for _that_ is not at all, and _this_ is in every point
different from God)--unless you venture to say that we are part of him
and of one essence (_homoousíous_) with God; and I do not understand
how anyone who {291} knows God will endure to hear that said, when he
casts his eye upon our life and the evils with which we are mixed up.
For in this way (and it is a thing not fit to speak of) God would be
sinning in his parts, that is, if the parts are parts of the whole and
complete the whole--if they do not complete it, they would not be
parts.  However, God, by nature (_physei_) being rich in pity
(_éleos_), of his goodness he cares for us who are not his members nor
by nature his children (_méte moríon ónton autoû méte physei téknon_).
Indeed this is the chief proof of God's goodness, that though this is
our position with regard to him, by nature utterly 'alienated' from
him, he nevertheless cares for us.  For the instinct of kindness to
offspring is natural (_physikè_) in animals, and so is friendship with
the like-minded based on old acquaintance, but God's pity is rich
towards us who in no respect have anything to do with him, I mean, in
our being (_ousía_) or nature or the peculiar property of our being
(_dynámei tê oikeía tês ousías hemôn_), but merely by our being the
work of His will."[108]  "The God of the Whole (_tôn hélon_), who is
above every voice and every thought and every conception, could never
be set forth in writing, for his property is to be unspeakable."[109]

It follows that the language of the Bible is not to be taken literally
when it attributes feelings to God.  Clement has cited texts which
speak of "joy" and "pity" in connexion with God, and he has to meet the
objection that these are moods of the soul and passions (_tropàs
psychês kaì pathe_).  We mistake, when we interpret Scripture in
accordance with our own experience of the flesh and of passions,
"taking the will of the passionless God (_toû apathous theoû_) on a
line with our own perturbations (_kinémasi_).  When we suppose that the
fact in the case of the Almighty is as we are able to hear, we err in
an atheistic way.  For the divine was not to be declared as it _is_;
but as we, fettered by flesh, were able to understand, even so the
prophets spoke to us, the Lord accommodating himself to the weakness of
men with a mind to save them {292} (_soteríos_)."  Thus the language of
our emotions, though not properly to be employed, is used to help our
weakness.[110]  For God is, in fact, "without emotion, without wrath,
without desire" (_apathès_, _athumos_, _anepithúmetos_).[111]  Clement
repeatedly recurs with pleasure to this conception of "Apathy"; it is
the mark of God, of Christ, of the Apostles, and of the ideal
Christian, with whom it becomes a fixed habit (_héxis_).[112]

God is not like a man (_anthropoeidès_), nor does he need senses to
hear with, nor does he depend on the sensitiveness of the air (_tò
eupathès toû héros_) for his apprehensions, "but the instantaneous
perception of the angels and the power of conscience touching the
soul--these recognize all things, with the quickness of thought, by
means of some indescribable faculty apart from sensible hearing.  Even
if one should say that it was impossible for the voice, rolling in this
lower air, to reach to God, still the thoughts of the saints (_agíon_)
cleave, not the air alone, but the whole universe as well.  And the
divine power instantly penetrates the whole soul like light.  Again do
not our resolves also find their way to God, uttering a voice of their
own?  And are not some things also wafted heavenward by the conscience?
... God is all ear and all eye, if we may make use of these
expressions."[113]  Thus it would seem that God is not so far from
every one of us as we might have supposed from the passages previously
quoted, and the contrast between the two views of God grows wider when
we recall Clement's words in the _Protrepticus_ about the Heavenly
Father.  While a Greek, the pupil of the philosophers, could never use
the language of a Jew about "God our Father" with the same freedom from
mental reservation, Clement undoubtedly speaks of God at times in the
same spirit that we feel in the utterances of Jesus.  He goes beyond
what contemporary philosophers would have counted suitable or
desirable, as we can see in the complaints which Celsus makes of
Christian language about God, though Celsus, of course, is colder than
the religious {293} of his day.  But the main difference between
Christians and philosophers was not as to God the Father, but as to

When Clement, in his work of restatement, came to discuss Christ, he
found Philo's Logos ready to his hand and he was not slow to use it.
It is characteristic that, just as he unquestioningly accepted the
current philosophic account of God and saw no great difficulty in
equating a God best described in negations with the Abba Father of
Jesus, so he adopted, not less light-heartedly, the conflate conception
of the Logos.  Whether its Platonic and Stoic elements would hold
together; whether either of them was really germane to the Hebrew part;
whether in any case any of the three sets of constituents corresponded
with anything actually to be reached by observation or experience; or
whether, waiving that point, the combination was equal to its task of
helping man to conceive of God at once as immanent and transcendent,
Clement hardly inquired.  So far he followed Philo.  Then came in a new
factor which might well have surprised Plato, Zeno and Philo alike.
Following once more, but this time another leader, Clement equates the
Philonian Logos with the historic Jesus of Nazareth.

So stated, the work of Clement may well look absurd.  But after all he
is not the only man who has identified the leading of instinct with
philosophic proof.  In succession he touched the central thoughts of
his various leaders, and he found them answer to cravings within him.
He wanted a God beyond the contagion of earth, Supreme and Absolute;
and Plato told him of such a God.  Yet the world needed some divine
element; it must not be outside the range and thought of God; and here
the conception of divine Reason, linking man and nature with God
Himself, appealed to his longing.  Lastly the impossibility of thinking
Jesus and his work to be accidental, of conceiving of them as anything
but vitally bound up with the spiritual essence of all things, with God
and with God's ultimate mind for man and eternity, was the natural
outcome of entering into the thoughts of Jesus, of realizing his
personality and even of observing his effect upon {294} mankind.[114]
When one remembers how in every age men have passed through one form
and another of experience, and have then compacted philosophies to
account for those experiences, have thought their constructions final,
and have recommended their theories as of more value than the facts on
which, after reflection, slight or profound, but perhaps never
adequate, they have based them, it will not seem strange that Clement
did the same.

  Ah yet, when all is thought and said,
  The heart still overrules the head;
  Still what we hope we must believe,
  And what is given us receive.

The old task is still to do.  The old cravings are still within us;
still the imperishable impulse lives to seek some solution of the great
question of the relations of God and the soul and the universe, which
may give us more abiding satisfaction than Clement's can now have, and
which will yet recognize those old cravings, will recognize and meet
them, not some but all of them.

"Most perfect, and most holy of all," says Clement, "most sovereign,
most lordly, most royal and most beneficent, is the nature of the Son,
which approaches most closely to the One Almighty Being.  The Son is
the highest Pre-eminence, which sets in order all things according to
the Father's will, and steers the universe aright, performing all
things with unwearying energy, beholding the Father's secret thoughts
through his working.  For the Son of God never moves from his
watch-tower, being never divided, never dissevered, never passing from
place to place, but existing everywhere at all times and free from all
limitations.  He is all reason, all eye, all light from the Father,
seeing all things, hearing all things, knowing all things, with power
searching the powers.  To him is subjected the whole army of angels and
of gods--to him, the Word of the Father, who has received the holy
administration by reason of Him who subjected it to him; through whom
also all men belong to him, but some by way of knowledge, while others
have not yet attained to this; some as friends, some as faithful
servants, others as servants merely."[115]


[Sidenote: The Logos]

The Logos is the source of Providence, the author, as already seen, of
all human thought and activity, of the beauty of the human body
too,[116] Saviour and Lord at once of all men--man being "his peculiar
work," for into him alone of animals was a conception of God instilled
at his creation.  "Being the power of the Father, he easily prevails
over whomsoever he will, not leaving even the smallest atom of his
government uncared for."[117]  "He it is in truth that devises the
bridle for the horse, the yoke for the bull, the noose for the wild
beast, the rod for the fish, the snare for the bird; he governs the
city and ploughs the land, rules and serves, and all things he maketh;

  Therein he set the earth, the heaven, the sea,
  And all the stars wherewith the heaven is crowned.

O the divine creations!  O the divine commands!  This water, let it
roll within itself; this fire, let it check its rage; this air, let it
spread to æther; and let earth be fixed and borne, when I will it.  Man
I yet wish to make; for his material I have the elements; I dwell with
him my hands fashion.  If thou know me, the fire shall be thy

"All[119] gaze on the supreme Administrator of the universe, as he
pilots all in safety according to the Father's will, rank being
subordinated to rank under different leaders till in the end the Great
High Priest is reached.  For on one original principle, which works in
accordance with the Father's will, depend the first and second and
third gradations; and then at the extreme end of the visible world
there is the blessed ordinance of angels; and so, even down to
ourselves, ranks below ranks are appointed, all saving and being saved
by the initiation and through the instrumentality of One.  As then the
remotest particle of iron is drawn by the breath (_pneúmati_) of the
stone of Heraklea [the magnet] extending through a long series of iron
rings, so also through the attraction of the holy spirit (_pneúmati_)
the virtuous are adapted to the highest {296} mansion; and the others
in their order even to the last mansion; but they that are wicked from
weakness, having fallen into an evil habit owing to unrighteous greed,
neither keep hold themselves nor are held by another, but collapse and
fall to the ground, being entangled in their own passions."[120] This
last clause raises questions as to evil and freewill.  Clement believed
in freewill; for one thing, it was necessary if God was to be acquitted
of the authorship of evil.  "God made all things to be helpful for
virtue, in so far as might be without hindering the freedom of man's
choice, and showed them to be so, in order that he who is indeed the
One Alone Almighty might, even to those who can only see darkly, be in
some way revealed as a good God, a Saviour from age to age through the
instrumentality of his Son, and in all ways absolutely guiltless of

Clement also brings in the Platonic Idea to help to express Christ.
"The idea is a thought of God (_ennóema_), which the barbarians have
called God's Logos."[122]  "All the activity of the Lord is referred to
the Almighty, the Son being, so to speak, a certain activity
(_enérgeia_) of the Father,"[123] and a little lower he adds that the
Son is "the power (_dynamis_) of the Father."[124]  As such he may well
be "above the whole universe, or rather beyond the region of
thought."[125]  And yet, as we have seen, he leans to the view that the
Logos is a person--the Great High Priest.  In criticizing him, it is
well to remember how divergent are the conceptions which he wishes to
keep, and to keep in some kind of unity.

Once again, in many of Clement's utterances upon the Logos there is
little that Philo, or perhaps even a pagan philosopher, could not have
approved; but through it all there is a new note which is Clement's own
and which comes from another series of thoughts.  For it is a
distinctive mark of Clement's work that the reader rises from it
impressed with the idea of "the Saviour."  The _Protrepticus_ is full
of the thought of that divine love of men, warm and active, which {297}
Jesus associated with "your heavenly Father," but which Clement, under
the stress of his philosophy must connect with the Logos--"cleansing,
saving and kindly; most manifest God indeed, made equal with the ruler
of the universe."[126] He is our "only refuge" (_monè kataphygé_), the
"sun of resurrection," the "sun of the soul."[127]  And yet one group
of ideas, familiar in this connection, receives little notice from
Clement.  The Logos is indeed the Great High Priest, but the symbolism
of priest and sacrifice and sin-bearer is left rather remarkably
unemphasized.  He is "the all-availing healer of mankind,"[128] but his
function is more to educate, to quicken, and to give knowledge than to

The great and characteristic feature of the Logos is that "he took the
mask (_prosopeîon_) of a man and moulded it for himself in flesh and
played a part in the drama of mankind's salvation; for he was a true
player (_gnesios agonistés_), a fellow-player with the creature; and
most quickly was he spread abroad among all men, more quickly than the
sun, when he rose from the Father's will, and proved whence he was and
who he was by what he taught and showed, he, the bringer of the
covenant, the reconciler, the Logos our Saviour, the fountain of life
and peace, shed over the whole face of the earth, by whom (so to say)
all things have become an ocean of blessings."[129]  Though essentially
and eternally free from passion (_apathés_) "for our sake he took upon
him our flesh with its capacity for suffering" (_tèn pathetèn
sárka_)[130] and "descended to sensation (_aísthesis_)."[131]  "It is
clear that none can in his lifetime clearly apprehend God; but 'the
pure in heart shall see God' when they come to the final perfection.
Since, then, the soul was too weak for the perception of what _is_
(_tôn ónton_), we needed a divine teacher.  The Saviour is sent down to
teach us how to acquire good, and to give it to us (_choregós_)--the
secret and holy knowledge of the great Providence,"[132]--"to show God
to foolish men, to end corruption, {298} to conquer death, to reconcile
disobedient children to their Father....  The Lord pities, educates,
encourages, exhorts, saves and guards, and as the prize of learning he
promises us out of his abundance the kingdom of heaven--this alone
giving him joy in us, that we are saved."[133]  All this was foreknown
before the foundation of the world; the Logos was and is the divine
beginning or principle of all things, "but because he has now taken the
long-hallowed name, the name worthy of his power, the Christ, that is
why I call it the new song."[134] And indeed he is right, for "the
Epiphany, now shining among us, of the Word that was in the beginning
and before it"[135] is new in philosophy; and it is a new thing also
that the doctrine of a Logos should be "essentially musical."  The
Incarnation of the divine Teacher is the central fact for Clement.

The identification of this incarnate Logos with Jesus of Nazareth was
part of Clement's inheritance, and as usual he accepted the form which
the tradition of the Church had assumed.  But Clement's theology
altered the significance of Jesus.  For the Abba Father whom Jesus
loved, he substituted the great Unknowable, and then he had to bring in
a figure unfamiliar to the thought of Jesus--the Logos, whom he clothed
with many of the attributes of the Father of Jesus, and then identified
with Jesus himself.  Not unnaturally in this combination the historic
is outweighed by the theoretic element, and indeed receives very little
attention.  The thought of Incarnation is to Clement much more
important than the Personality.

[Sidenote: The virgin-birth]

Jesus is "God and pedagogue," "good shepherd," and "mystic Angel (or
messenger)," "the pearl," "the great High Priest," and so forth.[136]
In a few passages (some of them already quoted) Clement speaks of the
earthly life of Jesus--of the crown of thorns, the common ware, and the
absence of a silver foot-bath.  But he takes care to make it clear that
Jesus was "not an ordinary man," and that was why he did not marry and
have children--this in opposition to certain {299} vain persons who
held up the Lord's example as a reason for rejecting marriage, which
"they call simple prostitution and a practice introduced by the
devil."[137]  So far was Jesus from being "an ordinary man" that
Clement takes pains to dissociate him from ordinary human experience.
To the miraculous birth he refers incidentally but in a way that leaves
no mistake possible.  "Most people even now believe, as it seems, that
Mary ceased to be a virgin through the birth of her child, though this
was not really the case--for some say she was found by the midwife to
be a virgin after her delivery."[138]  This expansion of the
traditional story is to be noted as an early illustration of the
influence of dogma.  The episode appears in an elaborate form in the
apocryphal Gospels.[139]  But Clement goes further.  "In the case of
the Saviour, to suppose that his body required, _quâ_ body, the
necessary attentions for its continuance, would be laughable (_gélos_).
For he ate--not on account of his body, which was held together by holy
power, but that it might not occur to those who consorted with him to
think otherwise of him--as indeed later on some really supposed him to
have been manifested merely in appearance [_i.e._ the Docetists who
counted his body a phantom].  He himself was entirely without passion
(_apathés_) and into him entered no emotional movement (_kínema
pathetikón_), neither pleasure nor pain."[140] A fragment (in a Latin
translation) of a commentary of Clement's upon the first _Epistle of
John_, contains a curious statement: "It is said in the traditions that
John touched the surface of the body of Jesus, and drove his hand deep
into it, and the firmness of the flesh was no obstacle but gave way to
the hand of the disciple."[141]  At the same time we read: "It was not
idly that the Lord chose to employ a body of mean form, in order that
no one, while praising his comeliness {300} and beauty, should depart
from what he said, and in cleaving to what is left behind should be
severed from the higher things of thought (_tôn noetôn_)."[142]

It is consistent with the general scheme of Clement's thought that the
cross has but a small part in his theology.  "It was not by the will of
his Father that the Lord suffered, nor are the persecuted so treated in
accordance with his choice"--it is rather in both cases that "such
things occur, God not preventing them; this alone saves at once the
providence and goodness of God."[143]  Yet "the blood of the Lord is
twofold; there is the fleshly, whereby we have been redeemed from
corruption, and the spiritual, by which we have been anointed."[144]
The cross is the landmark between us and our past.[145]  On the whole
Clement has not much to say about sin, though of course he does not
ignore it.  It is "eternal death";[146] it is "irrational";[147] it is
not to be attributed "to the operation (energy) of dæmons," as that
would be to acquit the sinner, still it makes a man "like the dæmons"
(_daimonikós_).[148]  God's punishments he holds to be curative in
purpose.[149]  He says nothing to imply the eternity of
punishment,[150] and as we have seen he speaks definitely of the Gospel
being preached to the dead.

[Sidenote: The vision of the true gnostic]

The Christian religion, according to Clement, begins in faith and goes
on to knowledge.  The heavier emphasis with him always falls on
knowledge, though he maintains in a fine chapter that faith is its
foundation.[151]  "The Greeks," he says, "consider faith an empty and
barbarous thing,"[152] but he is far from such a view.  Faith must be
well-founded--"if faith is such as to be destroyed by plausible talk,
let it be destroyed."[153] But the word left upon the reader's mind is
knowledge.  A passage like the following is unmistakable.  "Supposing
one were to offer the Gnostic his choice, whether he would prefer {301}
the knowledge of God or eternal salvation, one or the other (though of
course they are above all things an identity); without the slightest
hesitation he would choose the knowledge of God for its own sake."[154]
The ideal Christian is habitually spoken of in this way, as the "man of
knowledge"--the true "Gnostic," as opposed to the heretics who
illegitimately claim the title.  A very great deal of Clement's writing
is devoted to building up this Gnostic, to outlining his ideal
character.  He is essentially man as God conceived him, entering into
the divine life, and, by the grace of the Logos, even becoming God.

This thought of man becoming God Clement repeats very often, and it is
a mark of how far Christianity has travelled from Palestine.  It begins
with the Platonic ideal of being made like to God, and the means is the
knowledge of God or the sight of God given by the Logos.  "'Nought say
I of the rest,'[155] glorifying God.  Only I say that those Gnostic
souls are so carried away by the magnificence of the vision (_theopía_)
that they cannot confine themselves within the lines of the
constitution by which each holy degree is assigned and in accordance
with which the blessed abodes of the gods have been marked out and
allotted; but being counted as 'holy among the holy,' and translated
absolutely and entirely to another sphere, they keep on always moving
to better and yet better regions, until they no longer greet the divine
vision in mirrors or by means of mirrors, but with loving souls feast
for ever on the uncloying never-ending sight, radiant in its
transparent clearness, while throughout the endless ages they taste a
never-wearying delight, and thus continue, all alike honoured with an
identity of pre-eminence.  This is the apprehensive vision of the pure
in heart.  This, then, is the work (_enérgeia_) of the perfected
Gnostic--to hold communion with God through the Great High Christ being
made like the Lord as far as may be.  Yes, and in this process of
becoming like God the Gnostic creates and fashions himself anew, and
adorns those that hear him."[156]  In an interesting chapter Clement
discusses abstraction from material things as a necessary {302}
condition for attaining the knowledge of God; we must "cast ourselves
into the greatness of Christ and thence go forward."[157] "If a man
know himself, he shall know God, and knowing God shall be made like to
him....  The man with whom the Logos dwells ... is made like to God ...
and that man _becomes_ God, for God wishes it."[158]  "By being deified
into Apathy (_apatheian_) a man becomes Monadic without stain."[159] As
Homer makes men poets, Crobylus cooks, and Plato philosophers; "so he
who obeys the Lord and follows the prophecy given through him, is fully
perfected after the likeness of his Teacher, and thus becomes a god
while still moving about in the flesh."[160]  "Dwelling with the Lord,
talking with him and sharing his hearth, he will abide according to the
spirit, pure in flesh, pure in heart, sanctified in word.  'The world
to him,' it says, 'is crucified and he to the world.'  He carries the
cross of the Saviour and follows the Lord 'in his footsteps as of a
god,' and is become holy of the holy."[161]

We seem to touch the world of daily life, when after all the beatific
visions we see the cross again.  Clement has abundance of suggestion
for Christian society in Alexandria, and it is surprising how simple,
natural and wise is his attitude to the daily round and common task.
Men and women alike may "philosophize," for their "virtue" (in
Aristotle's phrase) is the same--so may the slave, the ignorant and the
child.[162]  The Christian life is not to eradicate the natural but to
control it.[163] Marriage is a state of God's appointing--Clement is no
Jerome.  Nature made us to marry and "the childless man falls short of
the perfection of Nature."[164]  Men must marry for their country's
sake and for the completeness of the universe.[165]  True manhood is
not proved by celibacy--the married man may "fall short of the other as
regards his personal salvation, but he has {303} the advantage in the
conduct of life inasmuch as he really preserves a faint (_olígen_)
image of the true Providence."[166]  The heathen, it is true, may
expose their own children and keep parrots, but the begetting and
upbringing of children is a part of the married Christian life.[167]
"Who are the two or three gathering in the name of Christ, among whom
the Lord is in the midst?  Does he not mean man, wife and child by the
_three_, seeing woman is made to match man by God."[168]

The real fact about the Christian life is simply this, that the New
Song turns wild beasts into men of God.[169]  "Sail past the siren's
song, it works death," says Clement, "if only thou wilt, thou hast
overcome destruction; lashed to the wood thou shalt be loosed from
ruin; the Word of God will steer thee and the holy spirit will moor
thee to the havens of heaven."[170]  To the early Christian "the wood"
always meant the cross of Jesus.  The new life is "doing good for
love's sake,"[171] and "he who shows pity ought not to know that he is
doing it....  When he does good by instinctive habit (_en héxei_) then
he will be imitating the nature of good."[172] God breathed into man
and there has always been something charming in a man since then
(_philtron_).[173]  So "the new people" are always happy, always in the
full bloom of thought, always at spring-time.[174] The Church is the
one thing in the world that always rejoices.[175]

Clement's theology is composite rather than organic--a structure of
materials old and new, hardly fit for the open air, the wind and the
rain.  But his faith is another thing--it rests upon the living
personality of the Saviour, the love of God and the significance of the
individual soul, and it has the stamp of such faith in all the
ages--joy and peace in believing.  It has lasted because it lived.  If
Christianity had depended on the {304} Logos, it would have followed
the Logos to the limbo whither went Æon and Aporrhoia and Spermaticos
Logos.  But that the Logos has not perished is due to the one fact that
with the Cross it has been borne through the ages on the shoulders of

Chapter IX Footnotes:

[1] See the letter of Hadrian quoted by Vopiscus, _Saturninus_, 8
(_Script. Hist. Aug._).

[2] _Pædag._ ii, 2; 13; 14.

[3] _Pæd._ ii, 20, 2, 3.

[4] _Pæd._ ii, 32, 2.

[5] _Pæd._ ii, 38, 1-3.

[6] _Pæd._ ii, 45-60.

[7] _Pæd._ ii, 61-73; Tertullian, _de corona militis_, 5, flowers on
the head are against nature, etc.; _ib._ 10, on the paganism of the
practice; _ib._ 13 (end), a list of the heathen gods honoured if a
Christian hang a crown on his door.

[8] _Pæd._ ii, 129, 3; iii, 56, 3; Tertullian ironically, _de cultu
fem._ ii, 10, _scrupulosa deus et auribus vulnera intulit_.

[9] iii, 4, 2.  Cf. Erman, _Handbook of Egyptian Religion_, p. 22: "In
the temple of Sobk there was a tank containing a crocodile, a cat dwelt
in the temple of Bast."  The simile also in Lucian, _Imag._ 11, and
used by Celsus _ap._ Orig. _c. Cels._ iii, 17.

[10] iii, 64, 2.

[11] iii, 79, 5.

[12] iii, 50.

[13] iii, 59, 2.

[14] ii, 60, 61.

[15] iii, 92.  Cf., in general, Tertullian, _de Cultu Feminarum_.

[16] Euseb. _E.H._  v, 10.

[17] Euseb. _E.H._ vi, 11, 6; vi, 14, 8.

[18] Euseb. _E.H._ vi, 6; see de Faye, _Clément d'Alexandrie_, pp. 17
to 27, for the few facts of his life--a book I have used and shall
quote with satisfaction.

[19] Epiphanius, _Haer._ I, ii, 26, p. 213; de Faye, _Clément
d'Alexandrie_, p. 17, quoting Zahn.

[20] Euseb. _Præpar. Ev._ ii, 2, 64.  _Klémes ... pántôn mèn dià peìras
elthòn anèr, thâttón ge mèn plánes ananeúsas, hôs àn pròs toû sôteríou
lógou kaì dià tês euaggelikês didaskalías tôn kakôn lelutrômenos_.

[21] _Pæd._ i, 1, 1.

[22] _Strom._ i, 48, 1; ii, 3, 1.

[23] _Strom._ vii. 111.  Such hills are described in Greek novels; cf.
Ælian, _Varia Historia_, xiii, 1, Atalanta's bower.

[24] One may perhaps compare the admiration of the contemporary
Pausanias for earlier rather than later art; cf. Frazer, _Pausanias and
other Sketches_, p. 92.

[25] _Strom._ i, 22, 5.

[26] _Strom._ i, 37, 6; and vi, 55, 3.

[27] _Strom._ i, 29, 10 (the phrase is Philo's); Truth in fact has been
divided by the philosophic schools, as Pentheus was by the Mænads,
Strom, i, 57.  Cf. Milton, _Areopagitica_.

[28] _Protr._ 120, 1; _ô tôn hagíon hos alethôs mysterion, ô phoòos
akerátou.  dadouchoûmai toùs ouranoùs kaì tòn theòn epopteûsai, hágios
gínomai muoúmenos, hierophanteî dè ho kyrios kaì tòn músten
sphragízetai photagogôn_.  Strange as the technical terms seem to-day,
yet when Clement wrote, they suggested religious emotion, and would
have seemed less strange than the terms modern times have kept from the
Greek--bishop, deacon, liturgy, diocese, etc.

[29] _Strom._ iv, 162, 3.

[30] _Strom._ i, 71, 4.  The Brahmans also in iii, 60.

[31] _Strom._ v, 20, 3; 31, 5; etc.

[32] _Strom._ vi, ch. iv, § 35 f.

[33] Origen, _c. Cels._ i, 2.  Celsus' words: _hikanoùs ehureîn dógmata
toùs barbárous_, and then _krînai dè kaì bebaiôsasthai kaì askêsai pròs
aretèn tà hypò barbaron ehurethénta ameínonés eisin héllenes_.
Pausanias, iv, 32, 4, _egò dè Chaldaíous kaì Indôn toùs mágous prôtous
oîda eipóntas hos athánatos estin anthrótou phyche.  kaí sphisi kaì
Hellénon álloi te epeísthesan kaì ouch hékista Plâton ho Arístonos_.

[34] Euseb. _E.H._ vi, 13.

[35] _Strom._ i, 11.  The quotation is roughly from Homer, _Od._ ii,

[36] _Strom._ i, 43, i.  Some who count themselves _euphueîs, mónen kaì
psilèn tèn pístin apaitoûsi_.

[37] _Strom._ i, 45, 6, _oi orthodoxastaí_.

[38] _Strom._ vii, 55.

[39] _Pædag._ i, 26; 27.  Perhaps for "he saith," we should read "it
saith," viz. Scripture.

[40] _Strom._ v, 9.

[41] _Strom._ 43, 3-44, 2.

[42] _Pæd._ i, 14, 2; 19.  Cf. Blake's poem.

[43] _Pæd._ i, 22, 3.

[44] Marcus Aurelius, xi, 3.  He may have had in mind some who courted

[45] Euseb. _E.H._ v, 28, quotes a document dealing with men who study
Euclid, Aristotle and Theophrastus, and all but worship Galen, and have
"corrected" the Scriptures.  For the view of Tertullian on this, see p.

[46] _Strom._ i, 18, 2.

[47] _Strom._ vi, 80, 5.

[48] _Strom._ vi, 162, 5.

[49] _Strom._ i, 19, 2.  _psilê tê perì tôn dogmatisthenton autoîs
chromenous phrâsei, ue synembaínontas eis tèn kata meros áchri
syggnóseos ekkálypsin_.

[50] _Strom._ vi, 59, 1.  The exact rendering of the last clause is
doubtful; the sense fairly clear.

[51] _Strom._ i, 97, 1-4.

[52] Spherical astronomy.  A curious passage on this at the beginning
of Lucan's _Pharsalia_, vii.

[53] _Strom._ vi, 93, 94.  The line comes from a play of Sophocles, fr.
695.  It may be noted that Clement has a good many such fragments, and
the presence of some very doubtful ones among them, which are also
quoted in the same way by other Christian writers (_e.g._ in _Strom_,
v, 111-113), raises the possibility of his borrowing other men's
quotations to something near certainty.  Probably they all used books
of extracts.  See Justin, _Coh. ad. Gent._ 18; Athenagoras, _Presb._ 5,

[54] _Strom._ vi, 152, 3-154, 1.  Cf. _Strom._ iv, 167, 4, "the soul is
not sent from heaven hither for the worse, for God energizes all things
for the better."--If the English in some of these passages is involved
and obscure, it perhaps gives the better impression of the Greek.

[55] Cf. _Iliad_, 3, 277.

[56] We may note his fondness for the old idea of Plato that man is an
_phytòn ouránion_ and has an _emphytos archaia pròs ouranon koinoniá_.
Cf. _Protr._ 25, 3; 100, 3.

[57] _Strom._ vi, 156, 3-157, 5.

[58] _Strom._ vi, 159.  Cf. vi, 57, 58, where he asks Who was the
original teacher, and answers that it is the First-born, the Wisdom.

[59] _Strom._ i, 28, _kata proegoúmenon_ and _kat epakoloúthema_.  See
de Faye, p. 168, 169.  Note ref. to Paul, _Galat._ 3, 24.

[60] _Strom._ vi, 67, 1.

[61] _Strom._ vi, 42, 1.

[62] _Strom._ i, 99, 3.

[63] _Strom._ vi, 44, 1.

[64] _Strom._ vi, 44, 4.

[65] _Strom._ vi, 45-7; Cf. _Strom._ ii, 44, citing Hermas, _Sim._ ix,
16, 5-7.  A curious discussion follows (in _Strom._ vi, 45-52) on the
object of the Saviour's descent into Hades, and the necessity for the
Gospel to be preached in the grave to those who in life had no chance
of hearing it.  "Could he have done anything else?" (§ 51).

[66] _Strom._ vi, 110, 111; Deuteronomy 4, 19, does not bear him
out--neither in Greek nor in English.

[67] _Strom._ i, 105 and 108.  Cf. Tert. _adv. Marc._ ii, 17, _sed ante
Lycurgos et Salonas omnes Moyses et deus; de anima_, 28, _mutio
antiquior Moyses etiam Saturno nongentis circiter annis_; cf. _Apol._

[68] For the Scripture parallels see _Strom._ v, 90-107.  For Euripides
and other inter-Hellenic plagiarisms, _Strom._ vi, 24.

[69] _Strom._ vii, 6.

[70] _Strom._ v, 10, 2.  See an amusing page in Lecky, _European
Morals_, i, 344.

[71] _Strom._ i, 94, 1; _katà períptosin_; _katà syntychian_; _physikèn
ennoian_; _koinòn noûn_.

[72] _Strom._ v, 10; i, 18; 86; 94.

[73] _Strom._ i, 81, 1; _John_ 10, 8.

[74] _Strom._ vi, 66; 159.

[75] _Strom._ vi, 67, 2.

[76] _Odyssey_, iv, 221, Cowper's translation.

[77] _Protr._ 1-3.

[78] _Ibid._ 5; 6.

[79] _Protr._ 8, 4, _lógos ho toû theoû ánthropos genómenos hína dè kaì
sù parà anthropou máthes, pê pote ára anthropos gentai theós_.

[80] _Protr._ 25, 3; ref. to Euripides, _fr._ 935, and _Troades_, 884.
The latter (not quite correctly quoted by Clement) is one of the poet's
finest and profoundest utterances.

[81] _Protr._ 56, 6.

[82] _Ibid._ 63, 5.

[83] _Protr._ 66, 3.

[84] _Ibid._ 66, 5.

[85] _Ibid._ 68, 1.

[86] _Protr._ 70, 1; in _Strom._ i, 150, 4, he quotes a description of
Plato as _Mousês attikíxon_.  Cf. Tertullian, _Apol._ 47.

[87] _Protr._ 76.  He quotes _Orestes_, 591 f.; _Alcestis_, 760; and
concludes (anticipating Dr Verrall) that in the _Ion gymnê te kephalê
ekkukleî tô theátro tous theoús_, quoting _Ion_, 442-447.

[88] _Protr._ 82, 1.

[89] _Ibid._ 84, 2.

[90] _Ibid._ 85, 4.

[91] _Ibid._ 86, 1.

[92] _Protr._ 86, 2.  The reference is to _Odyssey_, i, 57.  One feels
that, with more justice to Odysseus, more might have been made of his
craving for a sight of the smoke of his island home.

[93] _Protr._ 88, 2, 3.

[94] Elsewhere, he says God is beyond the Monad, _Pæd._ i, 71, 1,
_epékein toû henòs kaì hypèr autèn tèn monáda_.  See p. 290.

[95] _Protr._ 94, 1, 2.  On God making the Christian his child, cf.
Tert. _adv. Marc._ iv, 17.

[96] _Protr._ 100, 3, 4.

[97] _Ibid._ 107, 1.

[98] _Ibid._ 108, 5.

[99] _Protr._ 116, 1, _hypsos_ (height) is the word used in literature
for "sublimity," and that may be the thought here.  Cf. Tert. _de
Bapt._ 2, _simplicitas divinorum operum ... et magnificentia_.  See p.

[100] _Protr._ 117, 4.

[101] _Strom._ ii, 9, 6.

[102] _Ibid._ vii, 49.

[103] _Psalm_ 63, 1.

[104] See Caird, _Evolution of Theology in the Greek Philosophers_, ii,
pp. 183 ff; de Faye, _Clément_, pp. 231-8.

[105] _Pæd._ i, 71, 1; cf. Philo, _Leg. Alleg._ ii, § 1, 67 M.
_táttetai oûn ho theòs katà tò en kaì tèn monáda, mâllon dè kaì he
monàs katà tòn héna theón_.  Cf. de Faye, p. 218.

[106] Expressions taken from Aristotle, _Anal. Post._ i, 2, p. 71 b, 20.

[107] _Strom._ v, 81, 5-82, 3.

[108] _Strom._ ii, 74, 1-75, 2; cf. Plutarch, _de def. or._ 414 F, 416
F (quoted on p. 97), on involving God inhuman affairs; and also _adv.
Sto._ 33, and _de Sto. repugn._ 33, 34, on the Stoic doctrine making
God responsible for human sin.  Cf. further statements in the same vein
in _Strom._ ii, 6, 1; v 71, 5; vii, 2.

[109] _Strom._ v. 65, 2.

[110] _Strom._ ii, 72, 1-4.

[111] _Strom._ iv, 151, 1.

[112] See _Strom._ ii, 103, 1; iv, 138, 1; vi, 71-73; _Pæd._ i, 4, 1.

[113] _Strom._ vii, 37, Mayor's translation.  The "expressions" are
said to go back to Xenophanes (cited by Sext. Empir. ix, 144) _oulos
gàr horâ, oûlos dè noeî, oûlos dé t' akoúei_.  Cf. Pliny, _N. H._ ii,
7, 14, _quisquis est deus, si modo est alius, et quacumque in parte,
totus est sensuus, totus visuus, totus audituus, totus animæ, totus
animæ, totus sui_.

[114] Cf. _Strom._ ii, 30, 1, _ei gàr anthrópinon ên tò epitédeuma, hos
Hellenes epélabon, kàn apésbe_.  _he dè aúxei_ (_sc._ _he pístis_).
_Protr._ 110, 1, _ou gàr àn oútos en olígo chróno tosoûton érgon áneu
theias komidês exénusen ho kúrios_.

[115] _Strom._ vii, 5, J. B. Mayor's translation.

[116] _Pæd._ i, 6, 6, _tò dè sôma kallei kaì eurythmia synekerásato_.

[117] Phrases mostly from Strom, vii, 6-9.  _ennoian enestáchtai
theoû_.  See criticism of Celsus, p. 244.

[118] _Pæd._ iii, 99, 2-100, 1.  The quotation is from Homer's
description of Hephaistos making the shield for Achilles, _Il._ 18, 483.

[119] All parts of the universe.

[120] _Strom._ vii, 9.  Mayor's translation, modified to keep the
double use of _pneûma_.  For the magnet see Plato, _Ion._ 533 D, E.

[121] _Strom._ vii, 12.

[122] _Strom._ v, 16, 3 (no article with Logos).

[123] _Strom._ vii, 7

[124] _Strom._ vii, 9.

[125] _Strom._ v, 38, 6, _ho kúrios hyperáno tou kósmon, mâllon dè
epekeino toû noetoû_.

[126] _Protr._ 110, 1.

[127] _Protr._ 63, 5; 84, 2; 68, 4.

[128] _Pæd._ i, 6, 2, _ólou kédetai toû plásmatos, kaì sôma kaì psychèn
akeîtai autoû no panarkès tès anthropótetos iatrós_.

[129] _Protr._ 110, 2, 3.  Cf. also _Pæd._ i, 4, 1-2.

[130] _Strom._ vii, 6.  Cf. _Pæd._ i, 4, 2.  _apólutos eis tò pantelès
anthropinon pathôn_.

[131] _Strom._ v, 40, 3.

[132] _Strom._ v, 7, 7-8.

[133] _Protr._ 6, 1-2, _touto mónon apolaúon hemôn hò sozómetha_.

[134] _Protr._ 6, 5.

[135] _Protr._ 7, 3.

[136] The references are (in order) _Pæd._ i, 55; i, 53, 2; i, 59, 1;
ii, 118, 5; _Protr._ 120, 2.

[137] _Strom._ iii, 49, 1-3, _oudè anthropos ên koinós_.

[138] _Strom._ vii, 93.

[139] See _Protevangelium Jacobi_, 19, 20 (in Tischendorf's _Evangelia
Apocrypha_, p. 36), a work quoted in the 4th century by Gregory of
Nyssa, and possibly the source of this statement of Clement's.
Tischendorf thinks it may also have been known to Justin.  See also
_pseudo-Matthei evangelium_, 13 (Tischendorf, p. 75), known to St

[140] _Strom._ vi, 71, 2.  A strange opinion of Valentinus about Jesus
eating may be compared, which Clement quotes without dissent in
_Strom._ iii, 59, 3.  See p. 249, n. 4.

[141] Printed in Dindorf's edition, vol. iii, p. 485.

[142] _Strom._ vi, 151, 3.  Cf. Celsus, p. 249, and Tert. _de carne
Christi_, 9, _Adeo nec humanæ honestatis corpus fuit_; Tertullian
however is far from any such fancies as to Christ's body not being
quite human, see p. 340.

[143] _Strom._ iv, 86, 2, 3; contrast Tertullian's attitude in _de Fuga
in Persecutione_, etc.

[144] _Pæd._ 19, 4.

[145] _Pæd._ iii, 85, 3.

[146] _Protr._ 115, 2.

[147] _Pæd._ i, ch. 13.

[148] _Strom._ vi, 98, 1.

[149] Cf. _Strom._ i, 173; iv, 153, 2; _Pæd._ i, 70, _he gàr kolasis
ep' agathô kaì ep' opheleia toû kolazoménon_.

[150] Cf. J. B. Mayor, Pref. to _Stromateis_, vii, p. xl.

[151] _Strom._ ii, ch. 4.  Cf. ii, 48.

[152] _Strom._ ii, 8, 4.

[153] _Strom._ vi, 81, 1.

[154] _Strom._ iv, 136, 5.

[155] From Æsch. _Agam._ 36.

[156] _Strom._ vii, 13. (Mayor's translation in the main).  Cf.
_Protr._ 86, 2, _theosébeia exomoioûsa tô theô_; _Pæd._ 1, 99, 1;
_Strom._ vi, 104, 2.

[157] _Strom._ v, 71, 3.

[158] _Pæd._ iii, 1, 1, and 5.

[159] _Strom._ iv, 152, 1.

[160] _Strom._ vii, 101.

[161] _Strom._ ii, 104, 2, 3, with reff. to Paul _Gal._ 6, 14; and
Odyssey, 2, 406.  Other passages in which the notion occurs are
_Strom._ iv, 149, 8; vii, 56, 82.  Augustine has the thought--all the
Fathers, indeed, according to Harnack.  See Mayor's note on _Strom._
vii, 3.  It also comes in the _Theologia Germanica_.

[162] _Strom._ iv.  62, 4; 58, 3; the _aretè_ in _Pæd._ i, 10, 1.

[163] _Pæd._ ii, 46, 1.

[164] _Strom._ ii, 139, 5.

[165] _Strom._ ii, 140, 1, a very remarkable utterance.

[166] _Strom._ vii, 70, end.

[167] _Pæd._ ii, 83, 1,

_toîs dè bebamekósi skópos he paidopoiîa, telos dè he euteknía_.  Cf.
Tertullian, _adv. Marc._ iv, 17, on the impropriety of God calling us
children if we suppose that he _nobis filios facere non permisit
auferendo connubium_.  The opposite view, for purposes of argument
perhaps, in _de exh. castitatis_, 12, where he ridicules the idea of
producing children for the sake of the state.

[168] _Strom._ iii, 68, 1.

[169] _Protr._ 4, 3.

[170] _Protr._ 118, 4.

[171] _Strom._ iv, 135, 4.

[172] _Strom._ iv, 138, 2, 3.

[173] _Pæd._ i, 7, 2.

[174] _Pæd._ i, 20, 3, 4.

[175] _Pæd._ i, 22, 2, _móne púte eis toùs aiônas menei chaírous aeí_.




In his most famous chapter Gibbon speaks at one point of the
affirmation of the early church that those who persisted in the worship
of the dæmons "neither deserved nor could expect a pardon from the
irritated justice of the Deity."  Oppressed in this world by the power
of the Pagans, Christians "were sometimes seduced by resentment and
spiritual pride to delight in the prospect of their future triumph.
'You are fond of spectacles,' exclaims the stern Tertullian, 'expect
the greatest of all spectacles, the last and eternal judgment of the
universe.  How shall I admire, how laugh, how rejoice, how exult, when
I behold so many proud monarchs, and fancied gods, groaning in the
lowest abyss of darkness; so many magistrates, who persecuted the name
of the Lord, liquefying in fiercer fires than they ever kindled against
the Christians; so many sage philosophers blushing in red-hot flames
with their deluded scholars; so many celebrated poets trembling before
the tribunal, not of Minos, but of Christ; so many tragedians more
tuneful in the expression of their own sufferings; so many dancers----'
But the humanity of the reader will permit me to draw a veil over the
rest of this infernal description, which the zealous African pursues in
a long variety of affected and unfeeling witticisms."[1]

The passage is a magnificent example of Gibbon's style and
method,--more useful, however, as an index to the mind of Gibbon than
to that of Tertullian.  He has abridged his translation, and in one or
two clauses he has missed Tertullian's points; finally he has drawn his
veil over the rest of the infernal description exactly when he knew
there was little or nothing more to be quoted that would serve his
purpose.  He has made no attempt to understand the man he quotes, nor
the {306} mood in which he spoke, nor the circumstances which gave rise
to that mood.  Yet on the evidence of this passage and a sonnet of
Matthew Arnold's, English readers pass a swift judgment on "the stern
Tertullian" and his "unpitying Phrygian sect."  But to the historian of
human thought, and to the student of human character, there are few
figures of more significance in Latin literature.  Of the men who
moulded Western Christendom few have stamped themselves and their ideas
upon it with anything approaching the clearness and the effect of
Tertullian.  He first turned the currents of Christian thought in the
West into channels in which they have never yet ceased to flow and will
probably long continue to flow.  He was the first Latin churchman, and
his genius helped to shape Latin Christianity.  He, too, was the first
great Puritan of the West, precursor alike of Augustine and of the
Reformation.  The Catholic Church left him unread throughout the Middle
Ages, but at the Renaissance he began once more to be studied, and
simultaneously there also began the great movement for the purification
of the church and the deepening of Christian life, which were the
causes to which he had given himself and his genius.

Such a man may be open to criticism on many sides.  He may be
permanently or fitfully wrong in thought or speech or conduct; but it
is clear that an influence so great rests upon something more profound
than irritability however brilliant in expression.  There must be
somewhere in the man something that corresponds with the enduring
thoughts of mankind--something that engages the mind or that wins the
friendship of men--something that is true and valid.  And this,
whatever it is, is the outcome of many confluent elements--of
temperament, environment and experience, perhaps, in chief.  The man
must be seen as his personal friends saw him and as his enemies saw
him; what is more, they--both sets of them--must be seen as he saw
them.  The critic must himself, by dint of study and imagination, be
played upon by as many of the factors of the man's experience as he can
re-capture.  Impressions, pleasures, doubts, hopes, convictions,
friendships, inspirations--everything that goes to shape a man is
relevant to that study of character without which, in the case of {307}
formative men, history itself becomes pedantry and illusion.
Particularly in the case of such a man as Tertullian is it needful to
repeat this caution.  The impetuous dogmatism in which his mind and,
quite as often, his mood express themselves, and his hard words, harder
a great deal than his heart, no less than his impulsive convictions,
"seem," as Gibbon put it, "to offend the reason and the humanity of the
present age."  On the other side, the church, which the historian in a
footnote saddles with the responsibility of sharing Tertullian's most
harsh beliefs, is at one with "the present age" in repudiating him on
grounds of her own.  Yet, questioned or condemned, Tertullian played
his part, and that no little one, in the conflict of religions; he
stood for truth as he saw it, and wrote and spoke with little thought
of the praise or blame of his contemporaries or of posterity--all
_that_ he had abandoned once for all, when he made the great choice of
his life.  Questioned or condemned, he is representative, and he is
individual, the first man of genius of the Latin race to follow Jesus
Christ, and to re-set his ideas in the language native to that race.

[Sidenote: Carthage]

Tertullian was born about the middle of the second century A.D. at
Carthage, or in its neighbourhood.  The city at all events is the scene
of his life--a great city with a great history.  "Tyre in Africa" is
one of his phrases for Carthage and her "sister-cities," and he quotes
Virgil's description of Dido's town _studiis asperrima belli_.[2]  But
his Carthage was not that of Dido and Hannibal.  It was the re-founded
city of Julius Cæsar, now itself two hundred years old--a place with a
character of its own familiar to the reader of Apuleius and of
Augustine's _Confessions_,--a character confirmed by the references of
Tertullian to its amusements and its daily sights.  "What sea-captain
is there that does not carry his mirth even to the point of shame?
Every day we see the frolics in which sailors take their pleasure."[3]
Scholars have played with the fancy that they could trace in
Tertullian's work the influence of some Semitic strain, as others with
equal reason have found {308} traces of the Celt in Virgil and Livy.
Tertullian himself has perhaps even fewer references to Punic speech
and people than Apuleius, while, like Apuleius, he wrote in both Greek
and Latin,[4] and it is possible that, like Apuleius, and Perpetua the
martyr, he spoke both.

Jerome tells us that Tertullian was the son of a centurion.[5] He tells
us himself, incidentally and by implication, that he was the child of
heathen parents.  "Idolatry," he says, "is the midwife that brings all
men into the world;" and he gives a very curious picture of the pagan
ceremonies that went with child-birth, the fillet on the mother's womb,
the cries to Lucina, the table spread for Juno, the horoscope, and
finally the dedication of a hair of the child, or of all his hair
together, as the rites of clan or family may require.[6]  Thus from the
very first the boy is dedicated to a genius, and to the evil he
inherits through the transmission of his bodily nature is added the
influence of a false dæmon--"though there still is good innate in the
soul, the archetypal good, divine and germane, essentially natural; for
what comes from God is not so much extinguished as overshadowed."[7]
The children of Christian parents have so far, he indicates, a better
beginning; they are holy in virtue of their stock and of their
upbringing.[8]  With himself it had not been so.  It is curious to find
the great controversialist of later days recalling nursery tales, how
"amid the difficulties of sleep one heard from one's nurse about the
witch's towers and the combs of the sun"--recalling too the children's
witticisms about the apples that grow in the sea and the fishes that
grow on the tree.[9]  They come back into his mind as he thinks of the
speculations of Valentinus and his followers.

[Sidenote: His training]

His education was that of his day,--lavish rhetoric, and knowledge of
that very wide character which in all his contemporaries is perhaps too
suggestive of manual and {309} cyclopaedia[10]--works never so abundant
in antiquity as then.  But he was well taught, as a brilliant boy
deserved, and his range of interests is remarkable.  Nor is he
overwhelmed by miscellaneous erudition, like Aulus Gellius for
instance, or like Clement of Alexandria, to come to a man more on his
own level.  He is master of the great literature of Rome; he has read
the historians and Cicero; he can quote Virgil with telling effect.
_Usque adeone mori miserum est?_ he asks of the Christian who hesitates
to be martyred;[11] "a hint from the world" he says.  Sooner or later,
he read Varro's books, the armoury of every Latin Christian against

He "looked into medicine," he tells us, and a good many passages in his
treatises remind us of the fact.[12]  It may help to explain an
explicitness in the use of terms more usual in the physician perhaps
than in the layman.

But his career lay not in medicine but in law, and he caught the spirit
of his profession.  It has been debated whether the Tertullian, whose
treatise _de castrensi peculio_ is quoted in the Digest, is the
apologist or another, but no legal treatises are needed to convince the
reader how thoroughly a lawyer was the author of the theological works.
He has every art and every artifice of his trade.  He can reason
quietly and soundly, he can declaim, he can do both together.  He is a
master of logic, delighting in huge chains of alternatives.  He can
quibble and wrest the obvious meaning of a document to perfection,
browbeat an opponent, argue _ad hominem_,[13] evade a clear issue, and
anticipate and escape an obvious objection, as well as any lawyer that
ever practised.  Again and again he impresses us as a special pleader,
and we feel that he is forcing us away from the evidence of our own
sense and intelligence to a conclusion which he prefers on other
grounds.  His {310} epigrams rival Tacitus, and there is even in his
rhetoric a conviction and a passion which Cicero never reaches.  The
suddenness of his questions, and the amazing readiness of his jests,
savage, subtle, ironic, good-natured, brilliant or commonplace,[14]
impress the reader again and again, however well he knows him.  Yet
Tertullian never loses sight of his object, whatever the flights of
rhetoric or humour on which he ventures.  In one case, he plainly says
that his end will best be achieved by ridicule.  "Put it down, reader,
as a sham fight before the battle.  I will show how to deal wounds, but
I will not deal them.  If there shall be laughter, the matter itself
shall be the apology.  There are many things that deserve so to be
refuted; gravity would be too high a compliment.  Vanity and mirth may
go together.  Yes, and it becomes Truth to laugh, because she is glad,
to play with her rivals, because she is free from fear."[15]  Then,
with a caution as to becoming laughter, he launches into his most
amusing book--that against the Valentinians.

[Sidenote: His style]

Tertullian rivals Apuleius in brilliant mastery of the elaborate and
artificial rhetoric of the day.  He has the same tricks of rhyming
clauses and balancing phrases.  Thus: _attente custoditur quod tarde
invenitur_;[16] or more fully: _spiritus enim dominatur, caro
famulatur; tamen utrumque inter se communicant reatum, spiritus ob
imperium, caro ob ministerium_.[17]  Here the vanities of his pagan
training subserve true thought.  Elsewhere they are more playful, as
when he suggests to those, who like the pagans took off their cloaks to
pray, that God heard the three saints in the fiery furnace of the
Babylonian king though they prayed _cum sarabaris et tiaris suis_--in
turbans and trousers.[18]  But when he gives us such a string of
phrases as _aut Platonis honor, aut Zenonis vigor, aut Aristotelis
tenor, aut Epicuri stupor, aut Heracliti moeror, aut Empedoclis
furor,_[19] one feels that he is for the moment little better than one
of the wicked.  At the beginning of his tract on Baptism, after
speaking {311} of water he pulls himself up abruptly--he is afraid, he
says, that the reader may fancy he is composing _laudes aquae_ (in the
manner of rhetorical adoxography) rather than discussing the principles
of baptism.[20]  His tract _de Pallio_ is frankly a humorous excursion
into old methods, in which the elderly Montanist, who has left off
wearing the _toga_, justifies himself for his highly conservative and
entirely suitable conduct in adopting the _pallium_.  The "stern"
Tertullian appears here in the character that his pagan friends had
long ago known, and that his Christian readers might feel somewhere or
other in everything that he writes.  There is a good-tempered
playfulness about the piece, a fund of splendid nonsense, which suggest
the fellow-citizen of Apuleius rather than the presbyter.[21]  But
earnestness, which is not incompatible with humour, is his strong
characteristic, and when it arms itself with an irony so powerful as
that of Tertullian, the result is amazing.  Sometimes he exceeds all
bounds, as when in his _Ad Nationes_ he turns that irony upon the
horrible charges, which the pagans, knowing them to be false, bring
against the Christians, while he, pretending for the moment that they
are true, invites his antagonists to think them out to their
consequences and to act upon them.[22] Or again take the speech of
Christ on the judgment day, in which the Lord is pictured as saying
that he had indeed entrusted the Gospel once for all to the Apostles,
but had thought better of it and made some changes--as of course,
Tertullian suggests, he really would have to say, if it could be
supposed that the latest heretics were right after all.[23]

But, whatever be said or thought of the rhetoric, playful or earnest,
it has another character than it wears in his contemporaries.  For here
was a far more powerful brain, strong, clear and well-trained, and a
heart whose tenderness and sensibility have never had justice.  In some
ways he very much suggests Thomas Carlyle--he has the same passion, the
same vivid imagination and keen sensibility, the same earnestness and
the same loyalty to truth as he sees it regardless of {312} consequence
and compromise,--and alas! the same "natural faculty for being in a
hurry," which Carlyle deplored, and Tertullian before him--"I, poor
wretch, always sick with the fever of impatience"[24]--the same fatal
gift for pungent phrase, and the same burning and indignant sympathy
for the victim of wrong and cruelty.[25]  The beautiful feeling, which
he shows in handling the parables of the lost sheep and the prodigal
son, in setting forth from them the loving fatherhood of God,[26] might
surprise some of his critics.  Nor has every great Christian of later
and more humane days been capable of writing as he wrote of victory in
battle against foreigners--"Is the laurel of triumph made of leaves--or
the dead bodies of men?  With ribbons is it adorned--or with graves?
Is it bedewed with unguents, or the tears of wives and
mothers?--perhaps too of some who are Christians, for even among the
barbarians is Christ."[27] There are again among his books some which
have an appeal and a tender charm throughout that haunt the
reader--that is, if he has himself passed through any such experience
as will enable him to enter into what was in Tertullian's mind and
heart as he wrote.  So truly and intimately does he know and with such
sympathy does he express some of the deepest religious emotions.[28]

[Sidenote: His early life]

From time to time Tertullian drops a stray allusion to his earlier
years.  He was a pagan--_de vestris sumus_--"one of yourselves"
(_Apol._ 18); "the kind of man I was myself once, blind and without the
light of the Lord."[29]  A Roman city, and Carthage perhaps in
particular, offered to a gifted youth of Roman ways of thinking endless
opportunities of self-indulgence.  Tertullian speaks of what he had
seen in the arena--the condemned criminal, dressed as some hero or god
of the mythology, mutilated or burned alive, for the amusement of a
shouting {313} audience,[30] "exulting in human blood."[31]  "We have
laughed, amid the mocking cruelties of noonday, at Mercury as he
examined the bodies of the dead with his burning iron; we have seen
Jove's brother too, with his mallet, hauling out the corpses of
gladiators."[32]  In later days when he speaks of such things, he
shudders and leaves the subject rather than remember what he has
seen--_malo non implere quam meminisse_.[33]  He knew the theatre of
the Roman city--"the consistory of all uncleanness" he calls it.  "Why
should it be lawful (for a Christian)," he asked, "to see what it is
sin to do?  Why should the things, which 'coming out of the mouth
defile a man,' seem not to defile a man when he takes them in through
eyes and ears?"[34]  He speaks of Tragedies and Comedies, teaching
guilt and lust, bloody and wanton; and the reader of the _Golden Ass_
can recall from fiction cases wonderfully illuminative of what could
have been seen in fact.  When he apostrophizes the sinner, he speaks of
himself.  "You," he cries, "you, the sinner, like me--no! less sinner
than I, for I recognize my own pre-eminence in guilt."[35]  He is, he
says, "a sinner of every brand, born for nothing but repentance."[36]
To say, with Professor Hort, on the evidence of such passages that
Tertullian was "apparently a man of vicious life" might involve a
similar condemnation of Bunyan and St Paul; while to find the charge
"painfully" confirmed by "the foulness which ever afterwards infested
his mind" is to exaggerate absurdly in the first place, and in the
second to forget such parallels as Swift and Carlyle, who both carried
explicit speech to a point beyond ordinary men, while neither is open
to such a suggestion as that brought against Tertullian.  With such
cases as Apuleius, Hadrian or even Julius Cæsar before us, it is
impossible to maintain that Tertullian's early life must have been
spotless, but it is possible to fancy more wrong than there was.  The
excesses of a man of genius are generally touched by the {314}
imagination, and therein lies at once their peculiar danger, and also
something redemptive that promises another future.

Tertullian at any rate married--when, we cannot say; but, as a
Christian and a Montanist, he addressed a book to his wife, and in his
_De Anima_ he twice alludes to the ways of small infants in a manner
which suggests personal knowledge.  In the one he speaks with curious
observation of the sense-perception of very young babies; in the other
he appeals to their movements in sleep, their tremors and smiles, as
evidence that they also have dreams.  Such passages if met in
Augustine's pages would not so much surprise us.  They suggest that the
depth and tenderness of Tertullian's nature have not been fully

[Sidenote: The evidence of nature]

Meanwhile, whatever his amusements, the young lawyer had his serious
interests.  If he was already acquiring the arts of a successful
pleader, the more real aspects of Law were making their impression upon
him.  The great and ordered conceptions of principle and harmony, which
fill the minds of reflective students of law in all ages, were then
reinforced by the Stoic teaching of the unity of Nature in the
indwelling of the Spermaticos Logos with its universal scope and power.
Law and Stoicism, in this union, formed the mind and character of
Tertullian.  In later days, under the stress of controversy (which he
always enjoyed) he could find points in which to criticize his Stoic
teachers; but the contrast between the language he uses of Plato and
his friendliness (for instance) for _Seneca sæpe noster_[38] is
suggestive.  But that is not all.  A Roman lawyer could hardly
speculate except in the terms of Stoicism--it was his natural and
predestined language.  Above all, the constant citation of Nature by
Tertullian shows who had taught him in the first instance to think.

When, years after, in 212 A.D., he told Scapula that "it is a
fundamental human right, a privilege of Nature, that any and every man
should worship what he thinks right," he had sub-consciously gone back
to the great Stoic _Jus Naturæ_.[39] {315} Nature is the original
authority--side by side, he would say in his later years, with the
inspired word of God,--yet even so "it was not the pen of Moses that
initiated the knowledge of the Creator....  The vast majority of
mankind, though they have never heard the name of Moses--to say nothing
of his book--know the God of Moses none the less."[40]  One of his
favourite arguments rests on what he calls the _testimonium animæ
naturaliter Christianæ_--the testimony of the soul which in its
ultimate and true nature is essentially Christian; and this argument
rests on his general conception of Nature.  Let a man "reflect on the
majesty of Nature, for it is from Nature that the authority of the soul
comes.  What you give to the teacher, you must allow to the pupil.
Nature is the teacher, the soul the pupil.  And whatever the one has
taught or the other learnt, comes from God, who is the teacher of the
teacher (_i.e._ Nature)";[41] and neither God nor Nature can lie.[42]
An extension of this is to be found in his remark, in a much more
homely connexion, that if the "common consciousness" (_conscientia
communis_) be consulted, we shall find "Nature itself" teaching us that
mind and soul are livelier and more intelligent when the stomach is not
heavily loaded.[43]  The appeal to the _consensus_ of men, as the
expression of the universal and the natural, and therefore as evidence
to truth, is essentially Stoic.

Over and over he lays stress upon natural law.  "All things are fixed
in the truth of God,"[44] he says, and "our God is the God of
Nature."[45]  He identifies the natural and the rational--"all the
properties of God must be rational just as they are natural," that is a
clear principle (_regula_);[46] "the rational element must be counted
natural because it is native to the soul from the beginning--coming as
it does from a rational author (_auctore_)."[47]  He objects to Marcion
that everything is so "sudden"--so spasmodic--in his scheme of
things.[48]  For himself, he holds with Paul ("doth not Nature teach
you?") that "law is natural and Nature legal," that {316} God's law is
published in the universe, and written on the natural tables of the

This clear and strong conception of Nature gives him a sure ground for
dealing with antagonists.  There were those who denied the reality of
Christ's body, and declaimed upon the ugly and polluting features in
child-birth--could the incarnation of God have been subjected to
this?[50]  But Nature needs no blush--_Natura veneranda est non
erubescenda_; there is nothing shameful in birth or procreation, unless
there is lust.[51] On the contrary, the travailing woman should be
honoured for her peril, and counted holy as Nature suggests.[52]  Here
once more we have an instance of Tertullian's sympathy and tenderness
for woman, whom he perhaps never includes in his most sweeping attacks
and condemnations.  Similarly, he is not carried away by the extreme
asceticism of the religions of his day into contempt for the flesh.  It
is the setting in which God has placed "the shadow of his own soul, the
breath of his own spirit"--can it really be so vile?  Yet is the soul
_set_, or not rather blended and mingled with the flesh, "so that it
may be questioned whether the flesh carries the soul or the soul the
flesh, whether the flesh serves the soul, or the soul serves the
flesh....  What use of Nature, what enjoyment of the universe, what
savour of the elements, does the soul not enjoy by the agency of the
flesh?"  Think, he says, of the services rendered to the soul by the
senses, by speech, by all the arts, interests and ingenuities dependent
on the flesh; think of what the flesh does by living and dying.[53]
The Jove of Phidias is not the world's great deity, because the ivory
is so much, but because Phidias is so great; and did God give less of
hand and thought, of providence and love, to the matter of which he
made man?  Whatever shape the clay took, Christ was in his mind as the
future man.[54]

Some of these passages come from works of Tertullian's later years,
when he was evidently leaning more than of old to ascetic theory.  They
are therefore the more significant.  {317} If he wrote as a pagan at
all, what he wrote is lost; but it is not pushing conjecture too far to
suggest that his interest in Stoicism precedes his Christian period,
when such an interest is so clearly more akin to the bent of the Roman
lawyer than the Christian of the second century.

[Sidenote: The goodness of the Creator]

The rationality and the order of the Universe are commonplaces of Stoic
teachers, and, in measure, its beauty.  Of this last Tertullian shows
in a remarkable passage how sensible he was.  Marcion condemns the God
who created this world.  But, says Tertullian, "one flower of the
hedge-row by itself, I think--I do not say a flower of the meadows; one
shell of any sea you like,--I do not say the Red Sea; one feather of a
moor-fowl--to say nothing of a peacock,--will they speak to you of a
mean Creator?"  "Copy if you can the buildings of the bee, the barns of
the ant, the webs of the spider."  What of sky, earth and sea?  "If I
offer you a rose, you will not scorn its Creator!"[55]  It is surely
possible to feel more than the controversialist here.  "It was Goodness
that spoke the word; Goodness that formed man from the clay into this
consistency of flesh, furnished out of one material with so many
qualities; Goodness that breathed into him a soul, not dead, but alive;
Goodness that set him over all things, to enjoy them, to rule them,
even to give them their names; Goodness, too, that went further and
added delight to man ... and provided a helpmeet for him."[56]

Of his conceptions of law something will be said at a later point.  It
should be clear however that a man with such interests in a profession,
in speculation, in the beauty and the law of Nature, could hardly at
any time be a careless hedonist, even if, like most men converted in
mid-life, he knows regret and repentance.

On the side of religion, little perhaps can be said.  He had laughed at
the gods burlesqued in the arena.  To Mithras perhaps he gave more
attention.  In discussing the soldier's crown he is able to quote an
analogy from the rites of Mithras, in which a crown was rejected, and
in which one grade of {318} initiates were known as "soldiers."[57]
Elsewhere he speaks of the oblation of bread and the symbol of
resurrection in those rites, "and, if I still remember, Mithras there
seals his soldiers on the brow."[58]  _Si memini_ is a colloquialism,
which should not be pressed, but the _adhuc_ inserted may make it a
more real and personal record.

To Christian ideas he gave little attention.  There were Christians
round about him, no doubt in numbers, but they did not greatly interest
him.  He seems, however, to have looked somewhat carelessly into their
teaching, but he laughed at resurrection, at judgment and retribution
in an eternal life.[59] He was far from studying the
Scriptures--"nobody," he said later on, "comes to them unless he is
already a Christian."[60] Justin devoted about a half of his _Apology_
to prove the fulfilment of Old Testament prophecy in the life of
Jesus--an _Apology_ addressed to a pagan Emperor.  Tertullian, in his
_Apology_, gives four chapters to the subject, and one of these seems
to be an alternative draft.  The difference is explained by Justin's
narrative of his conversion, in which he tells us how it was by the
path of the Scriptures and Judaism that he, like Tatian and Theophilus,
came to the church.  Tertullian's story is different, and, not
expecting pagans to pay attention to a work in such deplorable
style[61] as the Latin Bible, which he had himself ignored, he used
other arguments, the weight of which he knew from experience.  In his
_de Pallio_, addressed to a pagan audience, as we have seen, he alludes
to Adam and the fig-leaves, but he does not mention Adam's name and
rapidly passes on--"But this is esoteric--nor is it everybody's to know

[Sidenote: The martyrs]

Tertullian is never autobiographical except by accident, yet it is
possible to gather from his allusions how he became a Christian.  In
his address to Scapula[63] he says that the first governor to draw the
sword on the Christians of Africa was Vigellius Saturninus.  Dr
Armitage Robinson's discovery of the original Latin text of the _Acts
of the Scillitan Martyrs_, who {319} suffered under Saturninus, has
enabled us to put a date to the event, for we read that it took place
in the Consulship of Præsens (his second term) and of Claudianus--that
is in 180 A.D., the year of the death of Marcus Aurelius.  These _Acts_
are of the briefest and most perfunctory character.  One after another,
a batch of quite obscure Christians in the fewest possible words
confess their faith, are condemned, say _Deo Gratias_, and then--"so
all of them were crowned together in martyrdom and reign with the
Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever.  Amen."  That
is all.  They were men and women, some of them perhaps of Punic
extraction--Nartzalus and Cittinus have not a Roman sound.  After this,
it would seem that in Africa, as elsewhere, persecution recurred
intermittently; it might be the governor who began it, or the chance
cry of an unknown person in a mob, and then the people, wild and sudden
as the Gadarene swine and for the same reason (Christians said),[64]
would fling themselves into unspeakable orgies of bloodshed and
destruction.  What was more, no one could foretell the hour--it might
be years before it happened again; it might be now.  And the Christians
were surprisingly ready, whenever it came.

Sometimes they argued a little, sometimes they said hardly anything.
_Christiana sum_, was all that one of the Scillitan women said.  But
one thing struck everybody--their firmness, _obstinatio_.[65]  Some,
like the philosophic Emperor, might call it perversity; he, as we have
seen, found it thin and theatrical, and contrasted it with "the
readiness" that "proceeded from inward conviction, of a temper rational
and grave"[66]--an interesting judgment from the most self-conscious
and virtuous of men.  On other men it made a very different
impression--on men, that is, more open than the Cæsar of the
passionless face[67] to impression, men of a more sensitive and
imaginative make, quicker in penetrating the feeling of others.

Tertullian, in two short passages, written at different dates, shows
how the martyrs--perhaps these very Scillitan {320} martyrs--moved him.
"That very obstinacy with which you taunt us, is your teacher.  For who
is not stirred up by the contemplation of it to find out what there is
in the thing within? who, when he has found out, does not draw near?
and then, when he has drawn near, desire to suffer, that he may gain
the whole grace of God, that he may receive all forgiveness from him in
exchange for his blood?"[68]  So he wrote in 197-8 A.D., and fourteen
years later his last words to Scapula were in the same tenor--"None the
less this school (_secta_) will never fail--no! you must learn that
then it is built up the more, when it seems to be cut down.  Every man,
who witnesses this great endurance, is struck with some misgiving and
is set on fire to look into it, to find what is its cause; and when he
has learnt the truth, he instantly follows it himself as well."[69]  It
would be hard to put into a sentence so much history and so much
character.  _Et ipse statim sequitur_.

The martyrs made him uneasy (_scrupulo_).  There must be more behind
than he had fancied from the little he had seen and heard of their
teaching.  "No one would have wished to be killed unless in possession
of the truth," he says.[70]  In spite of his laughter at resurrection
and judgment, he was not sure about them.  When he speaks in later life
of the _naturalis timor animæ in deum_[71]--that instinctive fear of
God which Nature has set in the soul--he is probably not himself
without consciousness of sharing here too the common experience of men;
and this is amply confirmed by the frequency and earnestness with which
he speaks of things to come after death.  Here however were men who had
not this fear.  Their obstinacy was his teacher.  He looked for the
reason, he learned the truth and he followed it at once.  That energy
is his character--to be read in all he does.  Like Carlyle's his
writings have "the signature of the writer in every word." {321} "It is
the idlest thing in the world," he says, "for a man to say, 'I wished
it and yet I did not do it.'  You ought to carry it through
(_perficere_) because you wish it, or else not to wish it at all
because you do not carry it through."[72]  And again: "Why debate?  God
commands."[73]  Tertullian obeyed, and ever after he felt that men had
only to look into the matter, to learn and to obey.  "All who like you
were ignorant in time past, and like you hated,--as soon as it falls to
their lot to know, they cease to hate who cease to be ignorant."[74]

[Sidenote: Idolatry]

Tertullian's tract _On Idolatry_ illustrates his mind upon this
decisive change.  There he deals with Christians who earn their living
by making idols--statuaries, painters, gilders, and the like; and when
the plea is suggested that they _must_ live and have no other way of
living, he indignantly retorts that they should have thought this out
before.  _Vivere ergo habes?_[75] _Must_ you live? he asks.  Elsewhere
he says "there are no musts where faith is concerned."[76]  The man who
claims to be _condidonalis_,[77] to serve God on terms, Tertullian
cannot tolerate.  "Christ our Master called himself Truth--not
Convention."[78]  Every form of idolatry must be renounced, and
idolatry took many forms.  The schoolmaster and the _professor
litterarum_ were almost bound to be disloyal to Christ; all their
holidays were heathen festivals, and their very fees in part due to
Minerva; while their business was to instruct the youth in the
literature and the scandals of Olympus.  But might not one study pagan
literature? and, if so, why not teach it?  Because, in teaching it, a
man is bound, by his position, to drive heathenism deep into the minds
of the young; in personal study he deals with no one but himself, and
can judge and omit as he sees fit.[79]  The dilemma of choosing between
literature and Christ was a painful thing for men of letters for
centuries after this.[80]  So Tertullian lays down the law for others;
what for himself?


Under the Empire there were two ways to eminence, the bar and the camp,
and Tertullian had chosen the former.  His rhetoric, his wit, his force
of mind, and his strong grasp of legal principles in general and the
issue of the moment in particular, might have carried him far.  He
might have risen as high as a civilian could.  It was a tempting
prospect,--the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them--and he
renounced it; and never once in all the books that have come down to
us, does he give any hint of looking back, never so much as suggests
that he had given up anything.  Official life was full of religious
usage, full too of minor duties of ritual which a Christian might not
discharge.  Tertullian was not the first to see this.  A century
earlier Flavius Clemens, the cousin of Domitian, seems to have been a
Christian--Dio Cassius speaks of his atheism and Jewish practices, and
Suetonius remarks upon his "contemptible inertia," though he was
consul.[81]  In other words, the Emperor's cousin found that public
life meant compromise at every step.  This is Tertullian's decision of
the case--it has the note of his profession about it.  "Let us grant
that it is possible for a man successfully to manage that, whatever
office it be, he bears merely the title of that office; that he does
not sacrifice, nor lend his authority to sacrifices, nor make contracts
as to victims, nor delegate the charge of temples, nor look after their
tributes; that he does not give shows (_spectacula_) at his own or the
public cost, nor preside over them when being given; that he makes no
proclamation or edict dealing with a festival; that he takes no oath;
that--and these are the duties of a magistrate--he does not sit in
judgment on any man's life or honour (for you might bear with his
judging in matters of money); that he pronounces no sentence of
condemnation nor any [as legislator] that should tend to condemnation;
that he binds no man, imprisons no man, tortures[82] no man"--if all
this can be managed, a Christian may be a magistrate.[83]  Tertullian
made his renunciation and held no magistracy.  It may be said that, as
he held none, it was easy to renounce it; but hopes are often harder to
renounce than realities.  So Tertullian left the law and the Stoics, to
study {323} the Scriptures, Justin and Irenæus[84]--the Bible and the
_regula fidei_ his new code, and the others his commentators.  The
Christian is "a stranger in this world, a citizen of the city above, of
Jerusalem"; his ranks, his magistracies, his senate are the Church of
Christ; his purple the blood of his Lord, his _laticlave_ in His

But Tertullian could speak, on occasion, of what he had done.  "We have
no fear or terror of what we may suffer from those who do not know," he
wrote to Scapula, "for we have joined this school (_sectam_) fully
accepting the terms of our agreement; so that we come into these
conflicts with no further right to our own souls."[86]  The contest
was, as he says elsewhere, "against the institutions of our ancestors,
the authority of usage, the laws of rulers, the arguments of the wise;
against antiquity, custom, necessity; against precedents, prodigies and
miracles,"[87] and he did not need Celsus to remind him what form the
resistance of the enemy might take.  He knew, for he had seen, and that
was why he stood where he did.  But it is worth our while to understand
how vividly he realized the possibilities before him.

There were the private risks of informers and blackmailers, Jews[88]
and soldiers, to which the Christians were exposed.[89] They were
always liable to be trapped in their meetings--"every day we are
besieged; every day we are betrayed; most of all in our actual
gatherings and congregations are we surprised."[90]  How are we to meet
at all, asks the anxious Christian, unless we buy off the soldiers?  By
night, says Tertullian, "or let three be your church."[91]  Then came
the appearance before the magistrate, where everything turned on the
character or the mood of the official.  Tertullian quotes to Scapula
several instances of kindness on the bench, rough and ready, or
high-principled.[92]  Anything might {324} happen--"then," wrote
Perpetua, "he had all our names recited together and condemned us to
the beasts."[93]

What followed in the arena may be read in various Acts of Martyrdom--in
the story of Perpetua herself, as told in tense and quiet language by
Tertullian.  He, it is generally agreed, edited her visions, preserving
what she wrote as she left it, and adding in a postscript what happened
when she had laid down her pen for ever.  The scene with the beasts is
not easy to abridge, and though not long in itself it is too long to
quote here; but no one who has read it will forget the episode of
Saturus drenched in his own blood from the leopard's bite, amid the
yells of the spectators, _Salvum lotum! salvum lotum!_ nor that of
Perpetua and Felicitas, mothers both, one a month or so, the other
three days, stripped naked to be tossed by a wild cow.  And here comes
a curious touch; the mob, with a superficial delicacy, suggested
clothing; rough cloths were put over the women, and the cow was let
loose; they were tossed, and then all were put to the sword.

[Sidenote: On martyrdom]

"At this present moment," writes Tertullian, "it is the very middle of
the heat, the very dog-days of persecution--as you would expect, from
the dog-headed himself, of course.  Some Christians have been tested by
the fire, some by the sword, some by the beasts; some, lashed and torn
with hooks, have just tasted martyrdom, and lie hungering for it in
prison."[94]  Cross, hook, and beasts[95]--the circus, the prison, the
rack[96]--the _vivicomburium_,[97] burning alive--and meanwhile the
renegade Jew is there with his placard of the "god of the Christians,"
an ugly caricature with the ears and one hoof of an ass, clad in a
toga, book in hand[98]--the Gnostic and the nervous Christian are
asking whether the text "flee ye to the next" may not be God's present
counsel--and meantime "faith glows and the church is burning like the
bush."[99]  Yet, says Tertullian to the heathen, "we say, and we say it
openly,--while you are torturing us, torn and bleeding, we cry aloud
'We worship God through Christ.'"[100]  To {325} the Christian he says:
"The command is given to me to name no other God, whether by act of
hand, or word of tongue ... save the One alone, whom I am bidden to
fear, lest he forsake me; whom I am bidden to love with all my being,
so as to die for him.  I am his soldier, sworn to his service, and the
enemy challenge me.  I am as they are, if I surrender to them.  In
defence of my allegiance I fight it out to the end in the battle-line,
I am wounded, I fall, I am killed.  Who wished this end for his
soldier--who but he who sealed him with such an oath of enlistment?
There you have the will of my God."[101]  "And therefore the Paraclete
is needed, to guide into all truth, to animate for all endurance.
Those, who receive him, know not to flee persecution, nor to buy
themselves off; they have him who will be with us, to speak for us when
we are questioned, to help us when we suffer."[102a]  "He who fears to
suffer cannot be his who suffered."[102b]  The tracts _On Flight in
Persecution_ and _The Antidote for the Scorpion_ are among his most
impressive pieces.  They must have been read by his friends with a
strange stirring of the blood.  Even to-day they bring back the
situation--living as only genius can make it live.

But what of the man of genius who wrote them?  At what cost were they
written?  "Picture the martyr," he writes, "with his head under the
sword already poised, picture him on the gibbet his body just
outspread, picture him tied to the stake when the lion has just been
granted, on the wheel with the faggots piled about him"[103]--and no
doubt Tertullian saw these things often enough, with that close
realization of each detail of shame and pain which is only possible to
so vivid and sensitive an imagination.  He saw _himself_ tied to the
stake--heard the governor in response to the cry _Christiana
leonem_[104] concede the lion--and then had to wait, how long?  How
long would it take to bring and to let loose the lion?  How long would
it seem?  Through all this he went, in his mind, not once, nor twice.
And meanwhile, what was the audience doing, while he stood there tied,
{326} waiting interminably for the lion?  He knew what they would be
doing, for he had seen it, and in the passage at the end of _de
Spectaculis_, which Gibbon quotes, every item of the description of the
spectator is taken in irony from the actual circus.  No man, trained,
as the public speaker or pleader must be, to respond intimately and at
once to the feelings and thoughts, expressed or unexpressed, of the
audience, could escape realizing in heightened tension every
possibility of anguish in such a crowd of hostile faces, full of
frantic hatred,[105] cruelty and noise.  To this Tertullian looked
forward, as we have seen, and went onward--as another did who
"steadfastly set his face for Jerusalem."  The test of emotion is what
it has survived, and Tertullian's faith in Christ and his peace of mind
survived this martyrdom through the imagination.  Whatever criticism
has to be passed upon his work and spirit, to some of his critics he
might reply "_Ye_ have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against

So much did martyrdom mean to the individual, yet it was not merely a
personal affair.  It was God's chosen way to propagate his church--so
it had been foretold, and so it was fulfilled.  "Nothing whatever is
achieved," says Tertullian to the heathen, "by each more exquisite
cruelty you invent;[106] on the contrary, it wins men for our school.
We are made more as often as you mow us down; the blood of Christians
is seed."[107]

Sixteen centuries or so later, Thoreau in his _Plea for Captain John
Brown_, a work not unlike Tertullian's own in its force, its surprises,
its desperate energy and high conviction, wrote similarly of the
opponents of another great movement.  "Such do not know that like the
seed is the fruit, and that in the moral world, when good seed is
planted, good fruit is inevitable, and does not depend on our watering
and cultivating; that when you plant, or bury, a hero in his field, a
crop of heroes is sure to spring up.  This is a seed of such {327}
force and vitality, that it does not ask our leave to germinate."

[Sidenote: On baptism]

There were yet other possibilities in martyrdom.  It was believed by
Christians that in baptism the sins of the earlier life were washed
away; but what of sins after baptism?  They involved a terrible
risk--"the world is destined to fire like the man who after baptism
renews his sins"[108]--and it was often felt safer to defer baptism to
the last moment in consequence.  Constantine was baptized on his
death-bed.  "The postponement of baptism is more serviceable especially
in the case of children;" says Tertullian, "let them become Christians
when they shall be able to know Christ.  Why should the innocent age
hasten to the remission of sins?"[109]  As to sins committed after
baptism, different views were held.  In general, as the church grew
larger and more comprehensive, it took a lighter view of sin, but
Tertullian and his Montanist friends did not, and for this they have
been well abused, in their own day and since.  They held that adultery
and apostasy were not venial matters, to be forgiven by a bishop
issuing an "edict," like a _Pontifex Maximus_, in the legal style, "I
forgive the sins of adultery and fornication to such as have done
penance, _pænitentia functis_."[110]  The Montanist alternative was not
so easy; God, they held, permitted a second baptism, which should be
final--a baptism of blood.  "God had foreseen the weaknesses of
humanity, the strategems of the enemy, the deceitfulness of affairs,
the snares of the world--that faith even after baptism would be
imperilled, that many would be lost again after being saved--who should
soil the wedding dress, and provide no oil for their lamps, who should
yet have to be sought over mountain and forest, and carried home on the
shoulders.  He therefore appointed a second consolation, a last
resource, the fight of martyrdom and the baptism of blood, thereafter
secure."[111]  This view may not appeal to us to-day; it did not appeal
to Gnostic, time-server and coward.  The philosophy of sin involved is
hardly deep enough, but {328} this doctrine of the second baptism
cannot be said to lack virility.

But Tertullian himself did not receive the first baptism with any idea
of looking for a second.  Like men who are baptized of their own motion
and understanding, he was greatly impressed by baptism.  "There is
nothing," he says, "which more hardens the minds of men than the
simplicity of God's works, which appears in the doing, and the
magnificence, which is promised in the effect.  Here too, because, with
such simplicity, without pomp, without any novel apparatus, and without
cost, a man is sent down into the water and baptized, while but a few
words are spoken, and rises again little or nothing cleaner, on that
account his attainment of eternity is thought incredible."[112]  It
must be felt that the illustration declines from the principle.  It may
also be remarked that this is a more magical view of baptism than would
have appealed to Seneca or to his contemporaries in the Christian
movement, and that, as it is developed, it becomes even stranger.

Tertullian's description of baptism is of interest in the history of
the rite.  The candidate prepares himself with prayer, watching and the
confession of sin.[113]  "The waters receive the mystery
(_sacramentum_) of sanctification, when God has been called upon.  The
Spirit comes at once from heaven and is upon the waters, sanctifying
them from himself, and so sanctified they receive (_combibunt_) the
power of sanctifying."[114]  This is due to what to-day we should call
physical causes.  The underlying matter, he says, must of necessity
absorb the quality of the overlying, especially when the latter is
spiritual, and therefore by the subtlety of its substance more
penetrative.[115] We may compare "the enthusiastic spirit," which,
Plutarch tells us, came up as a gas from the chasm at Delphi,[116] and
further the general teaching of Tertullian (Stoic in origin) of the
corporeity of the soul and of similar spiritual beings.  He illustrates
the influence of the Spirit in thus affecting the waters of baptism by
the analogy of the unclean spirits that haunt streams and fountains,
natural and artificial, and similarly affect men, though for
evil--"lest any should think it a hard thing that God's holy angel
should be present to temper {329} waters for man's salvation."[117]
Thus when the candidate has solemnly "renounced the devil, his pomp and
his angels,"[118] he is thrice plunged,[119] his spirit is washed
corporeally by the waters "medicated" and his flesh spiritually is
purified.[120]  "It is not that in the waters we receive the Holy
Spirit, but purified in water under the angel, we are prepared for the
Holy Spirit....  The angel, that is arbiter of baptism, prepares the
way for the Spirit that shall come."[121]  On leaving the water the
Christian is anointed (_signaculum_).  The hand of blessing is laid
upon him, and in response to prayer the Holy Spirit descends with joy
from the Father to rest upon the purified and blest.[122]

[Sidenote: Renouncing the world]

Tertullian never forgot the baptismal pledge in which he renounced the
devil, his pomp and his angels; and, for his part, he never showed any
tendency to make compromise with them--when he recognized them, for
sometimes he seems not to have penetrated their disguises.  Again and
again his pledge comes back to him.  What has the Christian to do with
circus or theatre, who has renounced the devil, his pomp and his
angels, when both places are specially consecrated to these, when
there, above all, wickedness, lust and cruelty reign without
reserve?[123]  How can the maker of idols, the temple-painter, etc., be
said to have renounced the devil and his angels, if they make their
living by them?[124]  We have seen the difficulty of the schoolmaster
here.  The general question of trade troubles Tertullian--its cupidity,
the lie that ministers to cupidity, to say nothing of perjury.[125]  Of
astrologers, he would have thought, nothing needed to be said--but that
he had "within these few days" heard some one claim the right to
continue in the profession.  He reminds him of the source of his
magical information--the fallen angels.[126]  One must not even name
them--to say _Meditis fidius_ is idolatry, for it is a prayer; but to
say "I live in the street of Isis" is not sin--it is sense.[127]  Many
inventions were attributed by pagans to their gods.  If every implement
of life is set down to some god, "yet I still must recognize Christ
lying on a couch--or when he brings a basin {330} to his disciples'
feet, or pours water from the jug, and is girded with linen--Osiris'
own peculiar garb."[128]  In fact, common utility, and the service of
ordinary needs and comforts, may lead us to look upon things (to
whomsoever attributed) as really due to the inspiration of God himself
"who foresees, instructs and gives pleasure to man, who is after all
His own."[129] Thus common sense and his doctrine of Nature come to his
aid.  "So amid rocks and bays, amid the shoals and breakers of
idolatry, faith steers her course, her sails filled by the Spirit of

[Sidenote: The _Apology_]

Tertullian had been a lawyer and a pleader, as we are reminded in many
a page, where the man of letters is overridden by the man of codes and
arguments; and a lawyer he remained.  The Gospel, for instance, bade
that, if any man take the tunic, he should be allowed to take the cloak
also.  Yes, says Tertullian, if he asks--"if he threatens, I will ask
for the tunic back."[131]  A man, with such habits of mind, will not
take violent measures to repel injustice, but he may be counted upon to
defend himself in his own way.  Tertullian, accordingly, when
persecution broke out in the autumn of 197 in Carthage, addressed to
the governor of the province an Apology for the Christians.  It is one
of his greatest works.  It was translated into Greek, and Eusebius
quotes the translation in several places.  It is a most brilliant book.
All his wit and warmth, his pungency and directness, his knowledge and
his solid sense come into play.  As a piece of rhetoric, as a lawyer's
speech, it is inimitable.  But it is more than that, for it is as full
of his finest qualities as of his other gifts of dexterity and humour.
It shows the full grown and developed man, every faculty at its highest
and all consecrated, and the book glows with the passion of a dedicated

He begins with the ironical suggestion that, if the governors of
provinces are not permitted in their judicial capacity to examine in
public the case of the Christians, if this type of action alone their
authority is afraid--or blushes--to investigate in the interests of
justice, he yet hopes that Truth by the {331} silent path of letters
may reach their ears.  Truth makes no excuse--she knows she is a
stranger here, while her race, home, hope, grace and dignity are in
heaven.  All her eagerness is not to be condemned unheard.
Condemnation without trial is invidious, it suggests injustice and
wakes suspicion.  It is in the interests of Christianity, too, that it
should be examined--that is how the numbers of the Christians have
grown to such a height.  They are not ashamed--unless it be of having
become Christians so late.  The natural characteristics of evil are
fear, shame, tergiversation, regret; yet the Christian criminal is glad
to be accused, prays to be condemned and is happy to suffer.  You
cannot call it madness, when you are shown to be ignorant of what it is.

Christians are condemned for the name's sake, though such condemnation,
irrespective of the proving of guilt or innocence, is outrage.  Others
are tortured to confess their guilt, Christians to deny it.  Trajan's
famous letter to Pliny, he tears to shreds; Christians are not to be
hunted down--that is, they are innocent; but they are to be
punished--that is, they are guilty.  If the one, why not hunt them
down?  If the other, why punish?  Of course Trajan's plan was a
compromise, and Tertullian is not a man of compromises.  If a founder's
name is guilt for a school, look around!  Schools of philosophers and
schools of cooks bear their founders' names with impunity.  But about
the Founder of the Christian school curiosity ceases to be inquisitive.
But the "authority of laws" is invoked against truth--_non licet esse
vos!_ is the cry.  What if laws do forbid Christians to be?  "If your
law has made a mistake, well, I suppose, it was a human brain that
conceived it; for it did not come down from heaven."  Laws are always
being changed, and have been.  "Are you not yourselves every day, as
experiment illumines the darkness of antiquity, engaged in felling and
cutting the whole of that ancient and ugly forest of laws with the new
axes of imperial rescripts and edicts?"[132]  Roman laws once forbade
extravagance, theatres, divorce--they forbade the religions of Bacchus,
Serapis and Isis.  Where are those laws now?  "You are always praising
antiquity, and you improvise your life from day to day."[133]

In passing, one remark may be made in view of what is {332} said
sometimes of Tertullian and his conception of religion.  "To Tertullian
the revelation through the Christ is no more than a law."[134]  There
is truth in this criticism, of course; but unless it is clearly
understood that Tertullian drew the distinction, which this passage of
the _Apology_ and others suggest, between Natural law, as conceived by
the Stoics, and civil law as regarded by a Propraetor, he is likely to
be misjudged.  He constantly slips into the lawyer's way of handling
law, for like all lawyers he is apt to think in terms of paper and
parchment; but he draws a great distinction, not so familiar to judges
and lawyers--as English daily papers abundantly reveal--between the
laws of God or Nature and the laws of human convention or human
legislatures.  The weak spot was his belief in the text of the
Scriptures as the ultimate and irrefragable word and will of God,
though even here, in his happier hours, when he is not under stress of
argument, he will interpret the divine and infallible code, not by the
letter, but by the general principles to be observed at once in Nature
and the book.  _Legis injustæ honor nullus est_[135] is not the
ordinary language of a lawyer.

The odious charges brought by the vulgar against the Christians then,
as now in China, and used for their own purposes by men who really knew
better, he shows to be incredible.  No one has the least evidence of
any kind for them, and yet Christian meetings are constantly surprised.
What a triumph would await the spy or the traitor who could prove them!
But they are not believed, or men would harry the Christians from the
face of the earth (c. 8).  As to the idea that Christians eat children
to gain eternal life--who would think it worth the price?  No! if such
things _are_ done, by whom are they done?  He reminds his
fellow-countrymen that in the reign of Tiberius priests of Saturn were
crucified in Africa on the sacred trees around their temple--for the
sacrifice of children.  And then who are those who practise abortion?
"how many of those who crowd around and gape for Christian blood?"  And
the gladiatorial shows? is it the Christians who frequent them?

Atheism and treason were more serious charges.  "You do {333} not
worship the gods."  What gods?  He cannot mention them all--"new, old,
barbarian, Greek, Roman, foreign, captive, adoptive, special, common,
male, female, rustic, urban, nautical and military"--but Saturn at any
rate was a man, as the historians know.  But they were made gods after
they died.  Now, that implies "a God more sublime, true owner
(_mancipem_), so to speak, of divinity," who made them into gods, for
they could not of course have done it themselves; and meanwhile you
abolish the only one who could have.  But why should he?--"unless the
great God needed their ministry and aid in his divine tasks"--dead
men's aid! (c. 11).  No, the whole universe is the work of Reason;
nothing was left for Saturn to do, or his family.  It rained from the
beginning, stars shone, thunders roared, and "Jove himself shuddered at
the living bolts which you put in his hand."  Ask the spiders what they
think of your gods and their webs tell you (c. 12).  To-day a god,
to-morrow a pan, as domestic necessity melts and casts the metal.  And
the gods are carried round and alms begged for them--_religio
mendicans_--"hold out your hand, Jupiter, if you want me to give you
anything!"[136]  Does Homer's poetry do honour to the gods (c. 14)--do
the actors on the stage (c. 15)?

Christians are not atheists.  They worship one God, Creator, true,
great, whose very greatness makes him known of men and unknown.[137]
Who he is, and that he is one, the human soul knows full well--_O
testimonium animæ naturaliter Christianæ_!  But God has other
evidence--_instrumentum litteraturæ_.  He sent into the world men
"inundated with the divine spirit" to proclaim the one God, who framed
all things, who made man, who one day will raise man from the dead for
eternal judgment.  These writings of the prophets are not secret books.
Anyone can read them in the Greek version, which was made by the
seventy elders for Ptolemy Philadelphus.  To this book he appeals,--to
the majesty of Scripture, to the fulfilment of prophecy.

Zeno called the Logos the maker of all things--and named him Fate, God,
mind of Jove, Necessity.  Cleanthes described him as permeating all
things.  This the Christians also hold to {334} be God's Word, Reason
and Power--and his Son, one with him in being, Spirit as He is Spirit.
This was born of a Virgin, became man, was crucified and rose again.
Even the Cæsars would have believed on Christ, if Cæsars were not
needful to the world, or if there could be Christian Cæsars.[138]  As
for the pagan gods, they are dæmons, daily exorcised into the
confession of Christ.

But the charge of Atheism may be retorted.  Are not the pagans guilty
of Atheism, at once in not worshipping the true God and in persecuting
those who do?  As a rule they conceive, with Plato, of a great Jove in
heaven surrounded by a hierarchy of gods and dæmons.[139]  But, as in
the Roman Empire, with its Emperor and its procurators and prefects, it
is a capital offence to turn from the supreme ruler to the subordinate,
so "may it not involve a charge of irreligion to take away freedom of
religion, to forbid free choice of divinity, that I may not worship
whom I will?"  Every one else may; but "we are not counted Romans, who
do not worship the god of the Romans.  It is well that God is God of
all, whose we are, whether we will or no.  But with you it is lawful to
worship anything whatever--except the true God."

But the gods raised Rome to be what she is.  Which gods?  Sterculus?
Larentina?  Did Jove forget Crete for Rome's sake--Crete, where he was
born, where he lies buried?[140] No, look to it lest God prove to be
the dispenser of kingdoms, to whom belong both the world that is ruled
and the man who rules.  Some are surprised that Christians prefer
"obstinacy to deliverance"--but Christians know from whom _that_
suggestion comes, and they know the malevolence of the dæmon ranks, who
are now beginning to despair since "they recognize they are not a match
for us" (c. 27).

For the Emperor Christians invoke God, the eternal, the true, the
living.  They look up, with hands outspread, heads bared, and from
their hearts, without a form of words, they pray for long life for the
Emperor, an Empire free from alarms, a safe home, brave armies, a
faithful senate, an honest people and a quiet world (c. 30).  They do
this, for the Empire stands {335} between them and the world's end.
(It was a common thought that the world and Rome would end together.)
Christians however honour Cæsar as God's vice-gerent; he is theirs more
than any one's, for he is set up by the Christians' God.  They make no
plots and have no recourse to magic to inquire into his "health" (c.
35).[141]  In fact "we are the same to the Emperors as to our next-door
neighbours.  We are equally forbidden to wish evil, to do evil, to
speak evil, to think evil of anyone."  So much for being enemies of the
state (c. 36).

Christians do not retaliate on the mob for its violence, though, if
they did, their numbers would be serious.  "We are but of yesterday,
and we have filled everything, cities, islands, camps, palace, forum,"
etc.; "all we have left you is the temples."  But "far be it that a
divine school should vindicate itself with human fire, or grieve to
suffer that wherein it is proved" (c. 37).  Christians make no
disturbances and aspire to no offices.  They are content to follow
their religion and look after the poor, the shipwrecked, and men in
mines and prisons.  "See how they love each other!" say the
heathen.[142]  They are not, as alleged, the cause of public disasters;
though if the Nile do not overflow, or if the Tiber do, it is at once
_Christianos ad leonem_!  But they are "unprofitable in business!"
Yes, to pimps, poisoners and mathematicians; still they are not
Brahmans or solitaries of the woods, exiles from life, and they refuse
no gift of God.  "We sail with you, take the field with you, share your
country life, and know all the intercourse of arts and business" (cc.
42, 43).  They are innocent, for they fear God and not the proconsul.
If they were a philosophic school, they would have toleration--"who
compels a philosopher to sacrifice, to renounce, or to set out lamps at
midday to no purpose?"  Yet the philosophers openly destroy your gods
and your superstitions in their books, and win your applause for
it--and they "bark at your princes."  He then points out how much there
is in common to Christians and philosophers, and yet (in a burst of
temper) how unlike they are.  No, "where is the likeness between the
philosopher and the Christian? the disciple of Greece and of heaven?
the trafficker in fame and in life? the friend and the foe of error?"
(c. 46).  {336} The Christian artisan knows God better than Plato did.
And yet what is knowledge and genius in philosopher and poet, is
"presumption" in a Christian!  "Say the things are false that protect
you--mere presumption! yet necessary.  Silly! yet useful.  For those
who believe them are compelled to become better men, for fear of
eternal punishment and hope of eternal refreshment.  So it is
inexpedient to call that false or count that silly, which it is
expedient should be presumed true.  On no plea can you condemn what
does good" (c. 49).

Yet, whatever their treatment, Christians would rather be condemned
than fall from God.  Their death is their victory; their "obstinacy"
educates the world; and while men condemn them, God acquits them.  That
is his last word--_a deo absolvimur_ (c. 50).

Such, in rough outline, is the great Apology--not quite the work of the
fuller or baker at whom Celsus sneered.  Yet it has not the accent of
the conventional Greek or Latin gentleman, nor that of the philosophic
Greek Christian.  The style is unlike anything of the age.  Everything
in it is individual; there is hardly a quotation in the piece.
Everything again is centripetal; Tertullian is too much in earnest to
lose himself in the endless periods of the rhetorician, or in the
charming fancies dear to the eclectic and especially to contemporary
Platonists.  Indeed his tone toward literature and philosophy is
startlingly contemptuous, not least so when contrasted with that of

For this there are several reasons.  First of all, like Carlyle,
Tertullian has "to write with his nerves in a kind of blaze," and, like
Carlyle, he says things strongly and sweepingly.  It is partly
temperament, partly the ingrown habit of the pleader.  Something must
be allowed to the man of moods, whose way it is to utter strongly what
he feels for the moment.  Such men do a service for which they have
little thanks.  Many moods go in them to the making of the mind, moods
not peculiar to themselves.  In most men feelings rarely find full and
living expression, and something is gained when they are so expressed,
even at the cost of apparent exaggeration.  The sweeping half-truth at
once suggests its complement to the man who utters it, and may stir
very wholesome processes of thought in the milder person who hears it.


[Sidenote: The philosophers]

In the next place the philosophers may have deserved the criticism.
Fine talk and idle talk, in philosophic terms, had disgusted
Epictetus;[143] and for few has Lucian more mockery than for the
philosophers of his day--Tertullian's day--with their platitudes and
their beards, their flunkeyism and love of gain.  Clement of
Alexandria, who loved philosophy, had occasional hard words for the
vanity of its professors.[144]  For a man of Tertullian's earnestness
they were too little serious.  _Gloriæ animal_[145] is one of his
phrases--a creature of vainglory was not likely to appeal to a man who
lived in full view of the lion and the circus.  He had made a root and
branch cleavage with idolatry, because no men could die like the
Christians unless they had the truth.  The philosophers--to say nothing
of their part now and then in stirring the people against the
Christians--had made terms with polytheism, beast-worship, magic, all
that was worst and falsest in paganism, "lovers of wisdom" and seekers
after truth as they professed themselves to be.  Ancient Philosophy
suggests to the modern student the name of Heraclitus or Plato; but
Tertullian lived in the same streets with Apuleius, philosopher and
Platonist, humorist and _gloriæ animal_.  But even Plato vexed
Tertullian.[146]  The "cock to be offered to Æsculapius" was too
available a quotation in a world where the miracles of the great Healer
were everywhere famous.  The triflers and the dogmatists of the day
used Plato's myths to confute the Christian doctrine of the
resurrection.  And of course Plato and Tertullian are in temperament so
far apart, that an antipathy provoked by such causes was hardly to be

Again, Tertullian remarks frequently that heresy has the closest
connexion with philosophy.  Both handle the same questions: "Whence is
evil, and why? and whence is man and how? and whence is God?"[147]
Marcion, for instance, is "sick (like so many nowadays and, most of
all, the heretics) with the question of evil, whence is evil?"[148] and
turns to dualism.  Or else "the heretics begin with questions of the
resurrection, for the resurrection of the flesh they find harder to
believe than the unity of the Godhead."[149]  What Celsus, a typical
product of {338} contemporary philosophy, thought of the resurrection
of the flesh we have seen--a "hope of worms!"  Lastly, there was a
strong tendency in the church at large for re-statement of the gospel
in the terms of philosophy; and in such endeavours, as we know, there
is always the danger of supposing the terms and the philosophy of the
day to be more permanent and more valid than the experience which they
are supposed to express.  In Tertullian's century there seemed some
prospect that every characteristic feature of the gospel would be so
"re-stated" as to leave the gospel entirely indistinguishable from any
other eclectic system of the moment.  Jesus became a phantom, or an
æon; his body, sidereal substance, which offered, Clement himself said,
no material resistance to the touch of St John's hand.  God divided,
heaven gone, no hope or faith left possible in a non-real Christ even
in this life--Christians would be indeed of all men most miserable, and
morality would have no longer any basis nor any motive.  What in all
this could tempt a man to face the lions?  It was not for this that
Christians shed their blood--no, the Gnostics recommended flight in
persecution.  It is easy to understand the sweeping
_Viderint_--Tertullian's usual phrase for dismissing people and ideas
on whom no more is to be said--"Let them look to it who have produced a
Stoic and Platonic and dialectic Christianity.  We need no curiosity
who have Jesus Christ, no inquiry who have the gospel."[150]

It was natural for Clement and his school to try to bring the gospel
and philosophy to a common basis--a natural impulse, which all must
share who speculate.  The mistake has been that the church took their
conclusions so readily and has continued to believe them.  For
Tertullian is, on his side, right, and we know in fact a great deal
more about Jesus than we can know about the Logos.

[Sidenote: The _Præscription of heretics_]

Accordingly a large part of Tertullian's work, as a Christian, was the
writing of treatises against heresy.  He has in one book--_de
Præscriptionibus Hæreticorum_--dealt with all heretics together.  The
_Regula Fidei_, which is a short creed,[151] was instituted, he says,
by Christ, and is held among Christians without questions, "save those
which heretics raise and which make heretics."  On that _Regula_ rests
the Christian faith.  To know nothing against it, is to know
everything.  But appeal is {339} made to Scripture.  We must then see
who has the title to Scripture (_possessio_),[152] and whence it comes.
Jesus Christ while on earth taught the twelve, and they went into the
world and promulgated "the same doctrine of the same faith," founding
churches in every city, from which other churches have taken faith and
doctrine--he uses the metaphors of seed and of layers (_tradux_) from
plants.  Every day churches are so formed and duly counted Apostolic.
Thus the immense numbers of churches may be reckoned equivalent to the
one first church.  No other than the Apostles are to be received, as no
others were taught by Christ.  "Thus it is established that every
doctrine which agrees with those Apostolic mother-churches, the
originals of the faith, is to be set down to truth, as in accordance
with what the churches have received from the apostles, the apostles
from Christ, and Christ from God."[153] But have the churches been
faithful in the transmission of this body of doctrine?  Suppose them
all to have gone wrong, suppose the Holy Spirit to have been so
negligent--is it likely that so vast a number should have wandered away
into _one_ faith?  Again let Marcion and others show the history of
their churches.  Let their doctrines be compared with the Apostolic,
and their varieties and contradictions will show they are not
Apostolic.  If then Truth be adjudged to those who walk by the
_Regula_, duly transmitted through the church, the Apostles and Christ
from God, then heretics have no right of appeal to the Scriptures which
are not theirs.  If they are heretics, they cannot be Christians; if
they are not Christians, they have no right (_ius_) to Christian
literature.  "With what right (_iure_) Marcion, do you cut down my
wood?  By what licence, Valentinus, do you divert my springs? ... This
is my estate; I have long held it; I am first in occupation; I trace my
sure descent from the founders to whom the thing belonged.  I am the
heir of the Apostles."[154]

In this, as in most human arguments, there are strands of different
value.  The legal analogy gave a name to the book--_præscriptio_ was
the barring of a claim--but it is not {340} the strongest line.  Law
rarely is.  But Tertullian was not content to rule his opponents out of
court.  He used legal methods and manners too freely, but he knew well
enough that these settled nothing.  As a rule he had much stronger
grounds for his attack.  He wrote five books against Marcion to
maintain the unity of the Godhead and the identity of the Father of
Jesus, the God of the Old Testament and the God of Nature.  His book
against the Valentinians has a large element of humour in it--perhaps
the best rejoinder to the framers of a cosmogony of so many æons, none
demonstrable, all fanciful,--the thirty of them suggest to him the
famous Latin sow of the _Æneid_.[155]  Against Hermogenes he maintains
the doctrine of the creation of the world from nothing.  The hypothesis
that God used pre-existing matter, makes matter antecedent and more or
less equal to God.  And then, in legal vein, he asks a question.  How
did God come to use matter?  "These are the three ways in which
another's property may be taken,--by right, by benefit, by assault,
that is by title, by request, by violence."  Hermogenes denies God's
title in this case; which then of the other means does he prefer?[156]

[Sidenote: The incarnation of Christ]

His best work in the controversial field is in his treatises, _On the
Flesh of Christ_, _On the Resurrection of the Flesh_, and _On the
Soul_.  The first of these, above all, will appeal to any reader to
whom the historic Jesus is significant.  Much has changed in outlook
and preconceptions since Tertullian wrote, but his language on the
reality of Jesus, as an actual human being and no sidereal or celestial
semblance of a man, on the incarnation, and the love of God, still
glows and still finds a response.  "Away," he pictures Marcion saying,
"Away with those census-rolls of Cæsar, always tiresome, away with the
cramped inns, the soiled rags, the hard stall.  Let the angelic host
look to it!"[157]  And then he rejoins, Do you think nativity
impossible--or unsuitable--for God?  Declaim as you like on the
ugliness of the circumstances; yet Christ _did_ love men (born, if you
like, just as you say); for man he descended, for man he preached, for
man he lowered himself with every humiliation down to death, and the
death of the cross.  Yes, {341} he loved him whom he redeemed at so
high a price.  And with man he loved man's nativity, even his flesh.
The conversion of men to the worship of the true God, the rejection of
error, the discipline of justice, of purity, of pity, of patience, of
all innocence--these are not folly, and they are bound up with the
truth of the Gospel.  Is it unworthy of God?  "Spare the one hope of
all the world, thou, who wouldst do away with the disgrace of faith.
Whatever is unworthy of God is all to my good."[158]  The Son of God
also died--"It is credible because it is foolish.  He was buried and
rose again; it is certain because it is impossible."  And how could all
this be, if his body were not true?  "You bisect Christ with a lie.
The _whole_ of him was Truth."[159]  The gospel narrative from
beginning to end implies that Christ's body was like ours--"he hungered
under the devil, thirsted under the Samaritan woman, shed tears over
Lazarus, was troubled[160] at death (for, the flesh, he said, is weak),
last of all he shed his blood."  How could men have spat in a face
radiant with "celestial grandeur"?  Wait!  Christ has not yet subdued
his enemies that he may triumph with his friends.

Jesus is to come again, as he was, as he is, sitting at the Father's
right hand, God and man, flesh and blood, the same in essence and form
as when he ascended; so he shall come.[161] And men will be raised in
the flesh to receive judgment.  A storm overhangs the world.[162]  What
the treasure-house of eternal fire will be, may be guessed from the
petty vents men see in Etna and elsewhere.[163]  There will be white
robes for martyrs; for the timid a little portion in the lake of fire
and sulphur.[164]  All that Gibbon thought would "offend the reason and
humanity of the present age" in the last chapter of the _de
Spectacutis_ may recur to the reader.  But, continues Tertullian in
that passage, my gaze will be upon those who let loose their fury on
the Lord himself--"'This,' I shall say, 'is he, the son of the
carpenter or the harlot, Sabbath-breaker, Samaritan, demoniac.  This is
he whom you bought from {342} Judas; this is he, whom you beat with the
reed and the palms of your hands, whom you disfigured with your
spittle, to whom you gave gall and vinegar.  This is he whom his
disciples stole away, that it might be said he had risen,--or the
gardener took him away, that his lettuces might not be trodden by the
crowds that came.'"  "A long variety of affected and unfeeling
witticisms," is Gibbon's judgment.

A mind less intent on polemic will judge otherwise of Tertullian and
his controversies.  There is, first of all, much more of the
philosophic temper than is commonly supposed.  He does not, like
Clement and other Greeks, revel in cosmological speculations as to the
Logos, nor does he loosely adopt the abstract methods of later Greek
philosophy.  But in his treatment of the Soul, of moral order and
disorder, and of responsibility, he shows no mean powers of mind.  He
argues from experience, and from the two sources, from which he could
best hope to learn most directly the mind of God, Nature and the
Scriptures.  The infallibility of the Scriptures is of course a
limitation to freedom of speculation, but it was an axiom of the early
church, and a man of experience might accept it, bound up as it was
with sound results in the martyr-death and the changed life.
Tertullian will get back to the facts, if he can; and if he judges too
swiftly of Nature and too swiftly accepts the literal truth of
Scripture,--while these are drawbacks to our acceptance of his
conclusions, there is still to be seen in him more independence of mind
than in those Greek Fathers for whom Greek philosophy had spoken the
last word in metaphysics.  It is psychology that interests Tertullian
more, and moral questions, and these he handles more deeply than the
Stoics.  He stands in line with Augustine and Calvin, his spiritual

If he speaks more of hell than certain Greeks do, it is not unnatural.
The man, who saw such deaths in the amphitheatre as he describes in the
_Passion of Perpetua_, who remembered the expressions he had then seen
on the faces of the spectators, who knew too well the cruelty that went
with Roman lust, could hardly help believing in hell.  What was the
origin of evil? asked philosopher and heretic.  What is its destiny?
and what are you to do with it now? asked Tertullian; and, in all
seriousness, the answer to the former {343} question is more likely to
be found when the answers of the latter are reached.  At any rate the
latter are more practical, and that adjective, with what it suggests of
drawback and of gain, belongs to Tertullian.

[Sidenote: On conduct]

His application of the test of utility to belief is obviously open to
criticism.  "It is expedient," said Varro, "for men to be deceived in
religion."  No, Tertullian would have said, it is more expedient for
them to know the truth; and he backed his conviction by his appeal to
Nature, on the one hand, Nature, rational through and through, and ever
loyal to law, to fixity of principle, and on the other hand by
reference to the verification of his position yielded by
experience--once more the martyr-death and the transformed character.
These fundamental ideas he may have misused in particulars, if not in
matters more essential; but, if he is wrong from the beginning in
holding them, human knowledge, progress and conduct become fortuitous
and desultory at once.  Nature and verification from life are
substantially all we have.  To these of course Tertullian added
revelation in a sense distinct.

From the question of conduct we pass naturally to the great cleavage of
Tertullian with the church.  A change had come in church practice and
government since the days when the _Teaching of the Apostles_
represented actual present fact,--perhaps even since the _Apology of
Aristides_.  The church had grown larger, it had developed its
organization, and it was relying more on the practical men with a turn
for administration, who always appear when a movement, begun by
idealists, seems to show signs of success.  The situation creates them,
and they cannot be avoided.  They have their place, but they do not
care for ideas.  Thus in the church the ministry of the Spirit, the
ministry of gifts, was succeeded by the ministry of office, with its
lower ideals of the practical and the expedient.  The numbers of the
church swelled, and a theory began to spread, which Cyprian took up
later on, and which was almost inevitable on his principles, that the
church was an ark, with beasts clean and beasts unclean within it.
This theory answered to the actual facts, hardly to the ideal, and
Tertullian rejected it.[165]  Conduct at once suggested the theory,
{344} and responded to it.  Christians fell into adultery and apostasy,
and while at first this meant "delivery to Satan," restoration became
progressively easy.  The _Shepherd_ of Hermas extended second chances,
till Tertullian fiercely spoke of "that apocryphal shepherd of

From Phrygia came the suggestion of reformation.  Our evidence as to
the history of Montanism in its native land is derived from hostile
sources, and the value of it must partly depend on the truth of the
witnesses and partly on their intelligence, and of neither have we any
guarantee at all.  That they are clearly hostile is plain from the
fragments in Eusebius.  That they understood the inner meaning of what
they condemned, we have no indication.  Montanus, however, asserted
Christ's promise of the Paraclete--his enemies allege that he
identified himself with the Paraclete, a statement which might be used
to show how quotation may lead to _suggestio falsi_.  But the coming of
the Paraclete was not in fact a synonym for fanaticism and the
collection of money, as the enemies of Montanus hinted.  It meant the
bracing of Christian life and character, and the restoration of
prophecy, new revelation of truth, power and progress.  It appealed to
the Christian world, and the movement spread--probably with
modifications as it spread.  The oracles of Montanus and of two women,
Prisca and Maximilla, became widely known, and they inculcated a stern
insistence on conduct, which was really needed, while they showed how
reformation was to be reached.  To use language of more modern times,
involves risk of misconception; but if it may be done with caution, we
may roughly say that the Montanists stood for what the Friends call the
Inner Light, and for progressive revelation--or, at any rate, for
something in this direction.  The indwelling of God was not consistent
with low living; and earnest souls, all over the world, were invested
with greater power and courage to battle with the growing lightness in
the church and to meet the never-ceasing hostility of the world--the
lion and the cruel faces of the amphitheatre.

[Sidenote: Ecstacy]

Yet Montanism failed for want of a clear conception of the real
character of primitive Christianity.  Aiming at morals, Montanists
conceived of life and the human mind and God in a {345} way very far
from that of Jesus.  They laid a stress, which is not his, on
asceticism and on penance, and they cultivated ecstasy--in both regions
renouncing the essentially spiritual conception of religion, and
turning to a non-Christian view of matter.  They thus aimed at
obtaining or keeping the indwelling spirit of Jesus, known so well in
the early church, but by mechanical means; and this, though the later
church in this particular followed them for generations, is not to be
done.  Still, whatever their methods and their expedients, they stood
for righteousness, and here lay the fascination of Montanism for

Throughout his later life Tertullian, then, was a Montanist, though the
change was not so great as might be expected.  Some of his works, such
as that _On Monogamy_, bear the stamp of Montanism, for re-marriage was
condemned by the Montanists.  Elsewhere his citation of the oracles of
Prisca suggests that a book belongs to the Montanist period; or we
deduce it from such a passage as that in the work _On the Soul_ where
he describes a vision.  The passage is short and it is suggestive.

"We have to-day among us a sister who has received gifts (_charismata_)
of the nature of revelations, which she undergoes (_patitur_) in spirit
in the church amid the rites of the Lord's day falling into ecstasy
(_per ecstasin_).  She converses with angels, sometimes even with the
Lord, and sees and hears mysteries, and reads the hearts of certain
persons, and brings healings to those who ask.  According to what
Scriptures are read, or psalms sung, or addresses made, or prayers
offered up, the matter of her visions is supplied.  It happened that we
had spoken something of the soul, when this sister was in the spirit.
When all was over, and the people had gone, she--for it is her practice
to report what she has seen, and it is most carefully examined that it
may be proved--'amongst other things,' she said, 'a soul was shown to
me in bodily form and it seemed to be a spirit, but not empty, nor a
thing of vacuity; on the contrary, it seemed as if it might be touched,
soft, lucid, of the colour of air, and of human form in every

Such a story explains itself.  The corporeity of the soul {346} was a
tenet of Stoicism, essential to Tertullian, for without it he could not
conceive of what was to follow the resurrection.  He spoke of it and we
can imagine how.  It would hardly take a vision to see anything of
which he spoke.  The sister however was, what in modern phrase is
called, psychopathic, and the vision occurred, controlled by the
suggestion that preceded it.

[Sidenote: Conclusion]

It must be admitted that there is in some of his Montanist treatises,
particularly where he is handling matters of less importance, such as
re-marriage, fasting, and the like, a bitterness of tone which is not
pleasant.  As long as his humour and his strong sense control his
irony, it is no bad adjunct of his style, it is a great resource.  But
it declines into sarcasm, and "sarcasm," as Teufelsdröckh put it, "is
the language of the devil"; and we find Tertullian, pleading for God
and righteousness, in a tone and a temper little likely to win men.
But the main ideas that dominate him still prevail--conduct, obedience,
God's law in Nature and in the book, the value of the martyr-death.

Little is to be got by dwelling on his outbursts of ill temper; they
hardly do more than illustrate what we knew already, his intensity, his
sensibility, his passion.  They form the negative side of the great
positive qualities.  Let me gather up a few scattered thoughts which
come from his heart and are better and truer illustrations of the man,
and with them let chapter and book have an end.

Conduct is the test of creed (_de Præscr. Hær._ 43).  To lie about God
is in a sense idolatry (_de Præscr._ 40).  Security in sin means love
of it (_de Pudic._ 9).  Whatever darkness you pile above your deeds,
God is light (_de Pænit._ 6).  What we are forbidden to do, the soul
pictures to itself at its peril (_de Pænit._ 3).  Truth persuades by
teaching, it does not teach by making things plausible (_adv. Valent._
1).  Faith is patience with its lamp lit--_illuminata_ (_de Pat._ 6).
Patience is the very nature of God.  The recognition of God understands
well enough the duty laid upon it.  Let wrong-doing be wearied by your
patience (_de Pat._ 3, 4, 8).  There is no greater incitement to
despise money than that the Lord himself had no wealth (_de Pat._ 7).
Love is 'the supreme mystery (_sacramentum_) of faith (_de Pat._ 12).
Faith fears no famine {347} (_de Idol._ 12).  Prayer is the wall of
faith (_de Or._ 29).  Every day, every moment, prayer is necessary to
men....  Prayer comes from conscience.  If conscience blush, prayer
blushes (_de exh. cast._ 10).  Good things scandalize none but the bad
mind (_de virg. vel._ 3).  Give to Cæsar what is Cæsar's--his image on
the coin; give to God what is God's--his image in man, yourself (_de
Idol._ 15).

But to this there is no end, and an end there must be.  By his
expression of Christian ideas in the natural language of Roman thought,
by his insistence on the reality of the historic Jesus and on the
inevitable consequences of human conduct, by his reference of all
matters of life and controversy to the will of God manifested in
Nature, in inspiration and in experience, Tertullian laid Western
Christendom under a great debt, never very generously acknowledged.
For us it may be as profitable to go behind the writings till we find
the man, and to think of the manhood, with every power and every
endowment, sensibility, imagination, energy, flung with passionate
enthusiasm on the side of purity and righteousness, of God and Truth;
to think of the silent self-sacrifice freely and generously made for a
despised cause, of a life-long readiness for martyrdom, of a spirit,
unable to compromise, unable in its love of Christ to see His work
undone by cowardice, indulgence and unfaith, and of a nature in all its
fulness surrendered.  That the Gospel could capture such a man as
Tertullian, and, with all his faults of mind and temper, make of him
what it did, was a measure of its power to transform the old world and
a prophecy of its power to hold the modern world, too, and to make more
of it as the ideas of Jesus find fuller realization and verification in
every generation of Christian character and experience.

Chapter X Footnotes:

[1] Gibbon, _Decline and Fall_, c. 15 (vol. ii, p. 177, Milman-Smith);
Tertullian, _de Spectaculis_, 30.

[2] Both of these in _de Pallio_, 1.  It may be noted that in allusions
to Dido's story he prefers the non-Virgilian version, more honourable
to the Queen; _Apol._ 50; _ad martyras_, 4.

[3] _adv. Valentin._ 12.

[4] References to his Greek treatises (all lost) may be found in _de
cor. mil._ 6; _de bapt._ 15; _de virg. vel._ 1.

[5] _De viris illustribus, sub nomine_.

[6] _de anima_ 39.

[7] _Ibid._ 41.

[8] _Ibid._ 39.

[9] _adv. Valent._ 3, _in infantia inter somni difficultates a
nutricula audisse lamiæ turres et pectines Solis; ibid._ 20, _puerilium
dicibulorum in mari poma nasci et in arbore pisces_.

[10] e.g. he alludes to a manual on flowers and garlands by Claudius
Saturninus, and another on a similar subject, perhaps, by Leo Ægyptius;
_de cor. mil._ 7, 12.  Apart from the Christian controversy on the use
of flowers, we shall find later on that he had a keener interest in
them than some critics might suppose; _adv. Marc._ i, 13, 14.

[11] _de juga_, 10.

[12] _de anima_, 2; cf. _ibid._ 10, quotation of a great anatomist
Herophilus who dissected "six hundred" subjects in order to find out
Nature's secrets; also _ibid._ 25, a discussion of childbirth to show
that the soul does not come into the child with its first breath;
_ibid._ 43, a discussion of sleep.  _Scorpiace_, 5, surgery.

[13] e.g. the end of _adv. Hermogenem_.

[14] Puns, e.g., on _areæ, ad Scap._ 3; on _strophæ, de Spect._ 29; on
_pleroma, adv. Val._ 12.  See his nonsense on the tears, salt, sweet,
and bituminous, of Achamoth, a Valentinian figure, _adv. Val._ 15; on
"the Milesian tales of his Æons," _de Anima._ 23.

[15] _adv. Valent._ 6.

[16] _adv. Valent._ 1.

[17] _de baptismo_, 4.

[18] _de oratione,_ 15

[19] _de anima,_ 3.

[20] _de bapt._ 3 (end)

[21] On _de pallio_ see Boissier, _La Fin da Paganisme_, bk. iii, ch. 1.

[22] _ad Natt_, i, 7; the charges were incest, and child-murder for
purposes of magic.

[23] _de Præscriptione_, 44 (end).  Similarly of resurrection,
virgin-birth, etc..--_recogitavi_.

[24] _de Patientia_, 1, _miserrimus ego semper æger caloribus

[25] Cf. his tone as to the _scortum_, unexampled, so far as I know, in
Latin literature, and only approached in Greek perhaps by Dio
Chrysostom--the _publicæ libidinis hostiæ_ (_de Spect._ 17),
_publicarum libidinum victimæ_ (_de cult. fem._ ii, 12).  He alone of
all who mention the strange annual scene on the stage, which Cato
withdrew to allow, has pity for the poor women.

[26] _de Pænitentia_, 8.

[27] _de corona_, 12.

[28] I refer especially to such passages as _de Carne Christi_, 4-9,
14; _de Resurr. Carnis_, 7, 12, etc.

[29] _de Pænit._ 1, _hoc genus hominum quod et ipsi retro fuimus, cæci,
sine domini lumine_.

[30] _Apol._ 15, cf. _ad Natt._ i, 10, another draft of the same matter.

[31] _de Spect._ 19, _eamus in amphitheatrum ... delectemur sanguine
humano_ (ironically).

[32] _Apol._ 15.  The burning-iron was to see whether any life were
left in the fallen.

[33] _de Spect._ 19 (end).

[34] _de Spectaculis_, 17.

[35] _de Pænit._ 4.

[36] _de Pænit._ 12, _peccator omnium notarum, nec ulli rei nisi
pænitentiæ natus_.

[37] _de anima_, 19 and 49.  Add his words on the wife taken away by
death, _cui etiam religiosiorem reservas affectionem_, etc., _de exh.
cast._ 11.

[38] _de anima_, 20.  Cf. _ibid._ 17, on the moderation of the Stoics,
as compared with Plato, in their treatment of the fidelity of the

[39] _ad Scap._ 2.  _Tamen humani iuris et naturalis potestatis est
unicuique quod putaverit colere_.

[40] _adv. Marc._ i, 10, _major popularitas generis humani_.

[41] _de testim. animæ_, 5.

[42] _de test. an._  6.

[43] _de jejunio_, 6.

[44] _de spectaculis_, 20.

[45] _de cor. mil._ 5, _Naturæ deus noster est_.

[46] _adv. Marc._ i, 23.

[47] _de anima_, 16.

[48] _adv. Marc._ iii, 2; iv, 11.

[49] _de cor. mil._ 6, _et legem naturalem suggerit et naturam legalem_.

[50] Cf. _de carne Christi_, 4.

[51] _de anima_, 27.

[52] _de carne Christi_, 4, _ipsum mulieris enitentis pudorem vel pro
periculo honorandum vel pro natura religiosum_.

[53] _de Resurr. Carnis_, 7.

[54] _Ibid._ 6.

[55] _adv. Marcion._ i, 13, 14.  Compare the beautiful picture at the
end of _de Oratione_, of the little birds flying up, "spreading out the
cross of their wings instead of hands, and saying something that seems
to be prayer."

[56] _adv. Marc._ ii, 4.

[57] _de cor. mil._ 15.

[58] _de præscr._ 40, _et si adhuc memini, Mithra signat_, etc.

[59] Apol. 18.  _Hæc et nos risimus aliquando_.  _De vestris sumus_.

[60] _de test. animæ_, 1.

[61] So Arnobius (i, 58, 59) and Augustine felt.  Tertullian does not
complain of the style himself, but it was a real hindrance to many.

[62] _de Pallio_, 3, _Sed arcana ista nec omnium nosse_.

[63] _ad Scap._ 3.

[64] "The devils entered into the swine."  Cf. p. 164.

[65] Pliny to Trajan, 96, 3, _pertinaciam et inflexibilem

[66] Marcus Aurelius, xi, 3.  Cf. Aristides, _Or._ 46, who attributes
_authádeia_, to _oi en tê Palaistíne dussebeîs_.

[67] _Hist. August. M. Anton._ 16, _Erat enim ipse tantæ
tranquillitatis ut vultum nunquam mutaverit mærore vel gaudio_.

[68] _Apol._ 50, _Illa ipsa obstinatio quam exprobratis magistra est.
Quis enim bib contemplatione eius concutitur ad requirendum quid intus
in re sit? quis non ubi requisivit accedit? ubi accessit pati exoptat_,

[69] _ad. Scap._ 5.  _Quisque enim tantam tolerantiam spectans, ut
aliquo scrupulo percussus, et inquirere accenditur, quid sit in causa,
et ubi cognoverit veritatem et ipse statim sequitur_.

[70] _Scorpiace_, 8 (end).

[71]  _de testim. animæ_, 2.  Cf. _de cult. fem._ ii, 2, _Timor
fundamentum salutis est_.

[72] _de Pænitentia_, 3.

[73] _de Pænit._ 40.  _Quid revolvis?  Deus præcipit_.

[74] _ad Natt._ i, 1.

[75] _de Idol._ 5.

[76] _de cor mil._ 11, _non admittit status fidei necessitates_.

[77] _de Idol._ 12.

[78] _de virg. vel._ i, _Dominus noster Christus veritatem se non
consuetudinem cognominavit_.

[79] _de Idol._ 10.

[80] See the correspondence of Ausonius and Paulinus.

[81] Dio Cassius, 67, 14; Suetonius, _Domit._ 15; Eusebius, _E.H._ iii,
18.  See E. G. Hardy, _Studies in Roman History_, ch. v., pp. 66, 67.

[82] To obtain evidence--legal in the case of slaves.

[83] _de Idol._ 17.

[84] Cf. _adv. Valentin._ 5.

[85] _de cor. mil._ 13, _clavus latus in cruce ipsius_.  There is a
suggestion of a play upon words.

[86] _ad Scap._ i, opening sentence of the tract.

[87] _ad Nat._ ii, 1.

[88] _Apol._ 7.  Cf. _Scorp._ 10, _synagogas Judæorum fontes

[89] Cf. _de fuga_, 12; _ad Scap._ 5.

[90] _Apol._ 7.

[91] _de fuga_, 14, _sit tibi et in tribus ecclesia_.

[92] _ad Scap._ 4.

[93] _Passio Perpetuæ_, 6.

[94] _Scorpiace_, 1.

[95] _Apol._ 30.

[96] _Scorp._ 10.

[97] _de anima_, 1.

[98] _Apol._ 16; _ad Natt._ i, 14.

[99] _Scorpiace_, 1; the reference is to Moses' bush, _nec tamen

[100] _Apol._ 21.

[101] _Scorpiace_, 4 (end).

[102a] _de fuga_, 14 (both passages).

[102b] _de fuga_, 14 (both passages).

[103] _de pudicitia_, 22.

[104] For this cry in various forms see _Apol._ 40; _de res. carn._ 22;
_de exh. castit._ 12; _de spect._ 27, _conventus et cætus ... illic
guotidiani in nos leones expostulantur_.

[105] _Scorpiace_, 11, _ecce autem et odio habimur ab omnibus hominibus
nominis causa; de anima_, 1, _non unius urbis sed universi orbis
iniquam sententiam sustinens pro nomine veritatis_.

[106] Cf. _de anima_, 1, _de patibulo et vivicombirio per omne ingenium
crudelitatis exhauriat_.

[107] _Apol._ 50, _semen est sanguis Christianorum_.

[108] _de Bapt._ 8.

[109] _Ibid._ 18.

[110] Ironic chapter in _de pudicitia_, 1.  The edict is a technical
term of the state, and the Pontifex Maximus was the Emperor, till
Gratian refused the title in 375 A.D.

[111] _Scorpiace_, 6; cf. _de Bapt._ 16.

[112] _de Bapt._ 2.

[113] _Ibid._ 20.

[114] _Ibid._ 4.

[115] _Ibid._ 4.

[116] Cf. p. 102.

[117] _de Bapt._ 5.

[118] _de Spectac._ 4; _de cor. mil._ 3.

[119] _de cor. mil._ 3, _ter mergitamur_.

[120] _de Bapt._ 4.

[121] _Ibid._ 6.

[122] _de Bapt._ 8.  For other minor details as to food and bathing see
_de cor. mil._ 3.

[123] _de Spectac._ 4.

[124] _de Idol._ 6.

[125] _de Idol._ 11.  Cf. Hermas, _Mandate_, 3, on lying in business.

[126] _de Idol._ 9.

[127] _Ibid._ 20.

[128] _de cor. mil._ 8.

[129] _Ibid._ 8.

[130] _de Idol._ 24, _inter hos scopulos et sinus, inter hæc vada et
freta idololatriæ, velificata spiritu dei fides navigat_.

[131] _de fuga_, 13.

[132] _Apol._ 4.

[133] _Apol._ 6.

[134] Gwatkin, _The Knowledge of God_ (Gifford Lectures) ii, p. 163.

[135] _ad Natt._ i, 5.

[136] Cf. pp. 20-22.

[137] _Apol._ 17, _ita eum vis magnitudinis et notum hominibus obicit
et ignotum_.

[138] _Apol._ 21.

[139] Chapters 22 to 24 give a good summary of his views on dæmons.

[140] Celsus refers to Christian discussion of this; Origen, _adv.
Cels._ iii 43.

[141] Cf. _ad. Scap._ 2, with argument from end of world.

[142] c. 39 _vide, inquiunt, ut invicem se diligant_.

[143] Epictetus, _D._ iii, 23.

[144] Clement, _Strom._ vi, 56, _philautía_.

[145] _de anima_, 1.

[146] Cf. _de anima_, 6, 17, 18, 23, etc.

[147] _de Præscr._ 7.

[148] _adv. Marc._ i, 2.

[149] _de res. carnis_, 2.

[150] _de Præscr._ 7.

[151] _de Præscr._ 13.

[152] _de Præscr._ 15.

[153] _de Præscr._ 21.

[154] _de Præscr._ 37, _Mea est possessio_.  Cf. definition which says
_possessions appellantur agri ... qui non mancipatione sed usu
tenebantur et ut quisque occupaverat possidebat_.  Tertullian improves
this title as he goes on.

[155] This gibe is in _adv. Marc._ i, 5; there are plenty without it in
_adv. Val_.

[156] _adv. Hermog._ 9, _iure, beneficio, impetu, id est dominio
precario vi_.

[157] _de carne Christi_, 2.

[158] _de carne Christi_, 5, _Quodcunque deo indignum est mihi expedit_.

[159] _de carne Christi_, 5, _prorsus credibile est quia ineptum est,
... certum est quia impossibile....  Quid dimidias mendacio Christum?
Totus veritas fuit_.

[160] _de carne Christi_, 9, _trepidat_ perhaps represents the _agonía_
of Luke.

[161] _de res. carnis_, 51.

[162] _de pænit._ 1.

[163] _de pænit._ 12.

[164] _Scorpiace_, 12

[165] _de Idol._ 24 (end), _Viderimus enim si secundum arcæ typum et
corvus et milvus et lupus et canis et serpens in ecclesia erit_.

[166] _de Pud._ 20.

[167] _de anima_, 9.



  Absolute Being (of God), 93, 112, 133, 188, 231, 257, 288, 289,
  Actium, battle, 2.
  Ælian, 209.
  Æsculapius (Asklepios), 22, 191, 209, 221-223, 255, 337.
  Alexander of Abonoteichos, 211, 212.
  Alexander Severus, 14.
  Alexandria, 78, 79, 81; ch. ix., beginning.
  Allegoric methods, 72, 126, 181, 184, 226, 278, 288.
  Anaxagoras, 102.
  Ancyra, monument, 5.
  Angels, 15, 95, 279, 281, 329.
  Antinous, 160, 172, 252.
  Antoninus, M. Aurelius, Emperor, see Marcus.
  Antony (M. Antonius, the Triumvir), 2, 9.
  Anubis, 22, 209, 211, 236.
  Apathy, 161, 232, 291, 292, 297, 302; see also Greek Index.
  Apellas, M. Julius, 221, 222.
  Apelles, the painter, 217.
  Apis, 6.
  Apollo, 5, 82, 94.
  Apollonius of Tyana, 14.
  Apuleius, see ch. vii. generally,
    his origin and history, 228.
    his studies, 228.
    his mind and style, 227, 228, 234, 237, 337.
    defence on charge of Magic, 228, 230.
    the _Golden Ass_, 227, 233-237.
    on philosophy, 230.
    on gods, 231.
    on mysteries, 230.
    on human life, 231.
    on religion, 230.
  Aricia, 26.
  Aristides, Ælius, 222.
  Artemidorus of Daldia, author of a book on the interpretation
      of dreams, 88, 225-227.
  Arval Brothers, 9.
  _Ass_, book once attributed to Lucian, 20, 21, 227.
  Astrology, 18, 35, 147, 329.
  Astronomy, 27, 97, 219, 277, 281, 285.
  _Ataraxia_, 216, 219.
  Athens, 78, 80, 267.
    students at Athens, 78, 80, 228.
  Attalus, a Stoic, 41.
  Attis, 21.
  Augustine, St, 8, 12, 21, 166, 237, 307.
  Augustus, 1, 2.
    attempts to reform state, 3.
    his monument at Ancyra, 5.
    his superstitions, 6.
    restoration of religion, 5-7, 9, 14, 32.
    his system of government, 34.
    effects of his system, 18, 33-37.

  Baptisms, 109, 159, 327-329.
  Barnabas, 151, 165, 180, 181, 192.
  Blood, eating with, 15.
  Brahmans, 270, 335.
  Britannicus, 45.
  British Isles, 26, 105.
  Browning, R., quoted, 27, 144.
  Buddha, 270.
  Buddhism, 68.
  Burrus, 44-46.
  Carlyle, Thomas, 40, 41, 159, 311, 312, 313, 336, 346.
  Carthage, 109, 307.
  Catullus, 21.
  Celsus, see ch. viii. generally.
    who was he? 239, 240.
    his date, 240.
    his mind and style, 240, 241, 258-261.
    on folly of Christians, 241-243, 245.
    on vulgarity of Christians, 241, 242.
    on "only believe," 242, 250.
    on Christian account of God, 242-244.
      and God's descent, 246.
    his own account of God, 244, 245, 246-248, 254.
      and of dæmons, 254-256.
    Christian thinking anthropocentric, 243, 244.
    on evil, 247.
    on true religion, 248, 254, 259, 260.
    on ancestral religion, 254.
    on incarnation, 248, 249.
    on the historic Jesus, 117, 172, 173, 249-252.
    on persecution of Christians, 250, 275.
    on the sects, 250, 253.
    on miracles and magic, 251.
    on evidence of oracles, 255, 258.
    on Christian plagiarisms, 117, 252.
    on immortality, 252, 253.
    his plea for Roman Empire, 256, 257, 261.
    misses centre of Christian movement, 259.
    quoted ch. viii. _passim_, and pp. 95, 114, 116, 117, 193, 194.
  Chæronea, 79, 82, 86, 223.
  Chaldæans, 17, 207, 270.
  Christ in prophecy, 183-193.
  Christian community and early Church, see chs. v. and vi. generally.
    name Christian, 151.
    its variety, 141, 143-147.
    its unity, 141, 143.
    its universality, 143, 144.
    the new life, 142, 152, 159-162, 164-166, 302, 303, 335.
    its happiness, 142, 148, 165, 166.
    conversion, 142, 150.
    Jewish influence, 143, 144.
    Greek influence, 144, 145, 168.
    Roman influence, 146.
    freedom from dæmons, 146, 147, 283, 284.
    dæmons retaliate in persecution, 164, 319.
    knowledge of God, 147, 300, 301.
    the "Holy Spirit," 142, 149-151, 174.
    Jesus the centre, 141, 151, 152, 157, 194, 259.
    Jesus the example, 264, 265, 272.
    theories as to Jesus, 154-157, 275, 289-298, 340, 341.
    the "ecclesia of God," 158, 257.
    organization of Christian society, 157-159, 263, 339.
    its sacraments, 158, 159.
    propagation, 159-162, 196, 241.
    women, 163, 180, 316.
    marriage, 302, 303, 314.
    immortality, 163.
    belief in second coming of Christ, 164, 341.
    persecution, 164, 165, 250, 275, 319, 323-326.
    martyrs, 146, 165, 319-321.
    controversy with Judaism, 167-169 ff., 175.
    effect of this, 194, 195.
    admission of Gentiles, 168.
    sects, 250, 253.
    the "great church," 253.
    spiritual religion, 179, 181, 182.
    its progress, 196, 262, 263 f.
    daily reading of Scriptures, 287.
    question of philosophy, 134, 145, 156, 157, 263, 274-276, 336-338.
    tenacity of historic facts of Gospel, 113-115, 119, 145, 152, 271.
    the _regula_, 338, 339.
    the "ark" theory, 343.
    Christian feeling toward the Empire, 240, 257, 303, 322, 334, 335.
  Chrysippus, 71, 73, 96, 209, 247.
  Cicero, M. Tullius, 1, 7, 8.
    his wife and daughter, 10.
    on divination, 16, 17.
  Claudia Acte, 45.
  Claudius, Emperor, 43, 44.
  Cleanthes, 39, 71, 247.
  Clement of Alexandria, see ch. ix. generally.
    his writings, 267, 279, 282.
    his history, 266, 267.
    his education, 267-274.
    the mysteries, 269.
    his conversion, 271.
    his mind and style, 267, 273, 282, 293.
    his literary interests, 267, 273, 277.
    his use of Scripture, 287, 288, 291.
    on philosophy, 268, 273, 275-282.
    his references to Plato, 273, 279, 281, 285, 286, 296.
    to Euripides, 281, 284.
    his use of Philo, 289.
    on knowledge, 272, 300, 301.
    unity of knowledge, 275.
    on faith, 242, 280, 300.
    on Absolute God (see also Monad below), 290-292.
    on the Monad, 286, 290.
    the love of God and Abba Father, 285, 286, 293, 297.
    on the Logos, 283, 287, 289-298,
    on incarnation, 297, 298.
    on Jesus, 283, 293, 298-300.
    on the cross, 300, 302.
    on Christian life, 272, 287, 302, 303.
    on manners, 264-266.
    on sin, 300.
    on "deification," 301, 302.
    on marriage, 302, 303.
    on Christian tradition, 271,
    on virgin-birth, 299.
    Christocentric, 272, 273, 274.
    the _Protrepticus_, 282-287, 296.
    Clement quoted, ch. ix. _passim_, and on pp. 149, 166, 242, 243,
        244, 247, 248, 251, 257, 258, 259, 260.
  Cleopatra, 2.
  Consensus of mankind as evidence, 68, 91, 210, 315.
      _Cf._ Tertullian (_testimonium animæ_).
  Cooks, schools of, 302, 331.
  Cornutus, 41, 55.
  Critias, verses of, 4, 5.
  Crocodiles worshipped, 108, 111, 265.
  _Cupid and Psyche_, 234.
  Cybele, 5, 20, 21, 103.
  Cyprian, 147, 158, 343.

  Dæmons, 14, 39, 59, 94-102, 103, 152-154, 254-256.
    not gods, 94, 232.
    intermediaries between gods and men, 96, 97, 98, 229, 232.
    subject to change, 96.
    guardian-dæmons (_genius_), 15, 59, 99, 100, 233, 308.
    may be seen by the physical eye, 99, 100, 207, 208, 232, 255.
    communicate with souls directly, 101, 102.
    authors of pagan cults, 107, 232, 254.
    relations with oracles, magic, etc., 102, 108, 229, 253.
    resent neglect, 164, 233, 255.
    their tyranny, 19, 107, 146, 147, 284.
    some usurp names of gods, 107, 108, 232.
    dæmon-possession, 100, 153.
    "glossolaly," 150.
    dangers from dæmons, 256.
    the name of Jesus and dæmons, 147.
    dæmons the fallen angels, 95, 281.
    dæmon-theory and Emperor-worship, 154.
    dæmons misled Jews as to law, 181.
    forestalled Christian sacraments, 159.
    and facts of Christian teaching, 191.
    facts behind dæmon-theory, 100, 150, 153, 222, 231.
  Dancing, secular and sacred, 76, 79, 80.
  _Dea dia_, 9, 19.
  Delphi, 82, 92, 102, 107, 108.
  Dio Cassius, 48, 322.
  Dio Chrysostom, 80, 312.
  Diodorus Siculus, 5.
  Diogenes Laertius, 39.
  Diogenes of Oinoanda, 217-220.
  Dionysus, 98, 108, 191, 250.
  Divination, 16, 17, 229.
  Docetism, 146, 154, 157, 299.
  Domitian, 49, 81, 322.
  Dreams studied, 6, 225-227.
  Druids, 270.

  Ecstasy, 101, 102, 153, 345.
  Egyptian religion, 21, 25, 56, 211, 265, 270;
      see Isis, Osiris, Serapis.
  Emperor-worship, 163.
  Ennius, 3.
  Epictetus, see ch. ii. generally.
    his history, 49-50.
    his solitude, 50-52.
    his habits, 52.
    his celebrity, 53.
    on cleanliness, 52.
    a relic of Epictetus, 53,
    his teaching, 50, 53.
    quoted throughout ch. ii.
  Epicurus, 16, 17, 218-220, 281, 282, 285.
  Epidauros, 221, 222.
  Euclid, 80, 275.
  Euhemerus, 5, 106.
  Euripides, 243, 270, 281, 284, 285, 287.

  Fauns, 12, 13.
  Flavius Clemens, 322.
  Francis, St, 40, 49.
  Fravashi, 15.
  Freedmen, 33, 35.

  Gadarenes, 123, 203.
  Gaius, Emperor, 34.
  Galen, 160.
  Garlands, use of, 230, 265.
  Gellius, Aulus, 53, 80, 87, 213.
  _Genius_, see Dæmons.
  Germans, 36, 200, 211, 270.
  Giants, 208.
  Gibbon, 305.
  Gladiatorial shows, 36, 312, 313.
    Stoic criticism, 63.
    Christian criticism, 162.
  Glossolaly, see Tongues.
  Gnosticism and Gnostics, 263, see Marcion and Valentinus.
  God, see Absolute Being.
  Golden Age, 7, 33, 36, 171.
  Gospels, 113-115.
    credibility, 114, 115.
  Greece, depopulated, 78.
  Guardian, see Dæmons.
  Gyges, myth of, 34.

  Hades, value of the belief in it, 5.
    described by those who have seen it, 105, 208.
    the gospel preached in Hades by Christ and apostles, 101, 280.
  Hadrian, 88, 200, 252, 262.
  Heraclitus, 219, 247, 252, 253.
  Herakles, 62, 98, 173, 191, 250.
  Hermas, 48, 166, 280, 329, 344.
  Herodotus, 34, 255.
  Hesiod, 98.
  Hierodules, 22, 172.
  "Holy," 11, 13, 19.
  Holy Spirit, see Christian community.
  Horace, 9, 13, 30, 78.
    Odes on the Augustan reformation, 6, 7.
    his own feelings on religion, 10, 28.
    on superstition, 17.
    his "conversion," 18.
  Human sacrifices, 26, 107.
  "Hymn of the Soul," Gnostic, 15.

  Idols, meat offered to, 16.
  Ignatius, 146, 158, 159, 161, 163, 174.
  Immortality, 31, 68-70, 104, 105, 163, 164, 252, 253.
  Incubation, 22, 23, 99, 221.
  Indians, 270.
  Inspiration, 103, 169, 174, 287, 333, 342.
  Irenæus, 323.
  Isis, 22-24, 98, 99, 106, 107, 110, 111, 235-237.

  Jesus, see chapters iv. and v. generally; see Christ.
    "Life" of Jesus hardly possible, 115.
    dates available, 115.
    his character can be known, 115, 116.
    his personality centre of Christian movement, 116, 139, 141, 151,
        152, 157, 194, 257.
    repeated in personality of his followers, 139, 140.
    his style, criticized by Celsus, 117.
    his conversation, 117-120.
    humour or playfulness in his talk, 118, 119, 127.
    his manner, 119.
    his fixed gaze, 123.
    his parables as reminiscences, 120.
    his childhood and youth, 120, 121.
    his mother and father, 120, 121.
    _Abba_, 121, 137, 148, 149, 150, 257, 260, 286.
    _Amen_, 125.
    on children, 121, 122.
    on being "born again," 122.
    outdoor life, 122, 123.
    on wild nature, 123; _cf._ 265.
    his reality, 123-127.
    anger, 123.
    on self-deception, 124.
    on vulgar vices, 124.
    on poverty and hunger, 124, 125; _cf._ 264, 346.
    energy of character, 125.
    on traditional beliefs, 125.
    his use of Scripture, 126.
    his temptations, 126-130.
    his "weakness," 127, 340.
    the agony in the garden, 128, 129.
    his betrayal, 128, 129.
    his experience of men, 128, 130.
    his "disposition for private friendships," 129.
    his belief in common men, 130
    happiness in God centre of his Gospel, 130, 134, 150, 165, 166.
    on holiness, 131-133.
    on rituals and taboos, 133.
    on relation with God, 130, 133-138.
    his intuition, 134.
    on Fatherhood of God, 134-135.
    on likeness to God, 135.
    on instinct, 135, 136.
    on Last Judgment, 136.
    on Kingdom of God, 137.
    on Messiahship, 128, 138.
    his cross, 138, 139, 153, 163, 250, 251, 300, 302.
    the crown of thorns, 265.
    the "spirit of Jesus," 139, 150, 168.
    Christian teaching of resurrection, 146, 163, 173, 340.
    Jesus in early Church, 151.
    theories as to Jesus, 154-157, 340.
    second coming, 164, 341.
    connexion with Judaism, 167
    Jewish slanders on Jesus, 172, 173.
    attack of Celsus, 172, 173, 249-252.
    better known than the Logos, 338.
  Jews, see Judaism.
    exiled from Palestine, 180.
    set mobs against Christians, 169, 323, 324.
  John the Baptist, 115.
  Judaism, see ch. vi. generally.
    among Greeks and Romans, 11, 70, 103.
    its history, 169-172.
    its Messianic future, 143, 170-172.
    its morality, 143.
    its casuistry, 131.
    its tribal character, 132, 144.
    its taboos, 131, 132, 178.
    its monotheism, 143, 146, 169, 172, 173.
    its teaching on sin, 144.
    its Scriptures, 144, 174.
    influence on Greek readers, 176.
    prophecy of Christ in Scriptures, 183-193.
    Judaism and Jesus, 167.
    Judaism and Paul, 167-169.
    resistance to Christianity, 169-174, 180.
    circumcision, 171, 177, 179, 180.
    Sabbath, 11, 132, 171, 177-181.
    anti-Christian propaganda, 172, 173, 324.
    Christian arguments against Judaism, 176-193.
    Jewish law temporary, 181, 182.
  Julian, 23, 162, 260.
  Julius Cæsar, C., 1, 78, 307.
  _Julius Cæsar_ (Shakespeare's), 139.
  _Juno_ (guardian), 59.
  Jupiter Capitolinus, 19.
  Justin Martyr, 72, 148, 165, 176-193, 318, 323;
      see ch. vi. generally.
  Juvenal, 21, 23, 24, 55, 132, 202.

  King, term applied to Roman Emperor, 34, 256.
  _Kyphi_, 103.

  Lactantius, 183, 237.
  Lares, 5, 11, 14, 233.
  Larvæ, 16.
  Lemures, 16, 233.
  Linen, in religious ritual, 22, 211, 224, 230, 236, 330.
  Livy, 8, 17.
  Logos spermaticos (Stoic), see Greek Index.
  Logos (Christian), 138, 156, 157, 189; see also under Clement.
  Lucian, see ch. vii.
    his origin and history, 201, 202.
    his Dialogues, 202 f.
    his mind and style, 203, 204, 215.
    on philosophy, 205, 206, 209.
    on the "Celestial City," 205.
    on the gods, 209-211.
    on human life, 213-215.
    on superstition, 206-208.
    _Philopseudes_, 206-208.
    on life after death, 214, 215.
    on Christians, 162, 212.
    quoted, pp. 53, 162, 163.
  Lucretius, 12, 16, 20, 30, 71.
    on religion, 25, 26, 27.
    on Nature, 25.
  Lupercal, 5.
  Lupercalia, 9.

  Magians, 13, 98, 105, 270.
  Magic, 18, 207, 229, 230, 233, 251, 256, 335.
  Mantic (see Oracles and Dæmons), 101.
  Marcion, 114, 193, 315, 317, 337-340.
  Marcus Aurelius, Emperor, 63, 130, 196-201, 211, 225, 251, 319.
    criticism of Christians, 198, 200, 244, 274.
  Marriage, 160, 229, 299, 302, 303.
  Martyrs, 146, 165, 319-326.
  Maximilla, 163, 344.
  Maximin Daza, 162, 260.
  Menander, 99, 266, 267.
  Messalina, 43, 44.
  Messiah, 138, 156, 170, 173.
  Metempsychosis, 42, 164, 252.
  Mithras, 105, 191, 210, 256, 260, 317, 318.
  Monarchy, 34.
  Monasticism, 24.
  Monotheism, 19, 94, 143, 146, 148.
  Montanism, 327, 343, 346.
  Moses before Greek literature, 176, 281.
    man before Moses, 315.
    a magician, 230.
  Mother of the gods, see Cybele.
  Muhammad, 191.
  Mystagogue, 78, 99, 253, 269
  Mysteries, 6, 76, 92, 145, 158, 230, 269, 284, 287.

  Napoleon, 44.
  Nature, in philosophy, 36, 39, 57, 58, 66, 314-317.
  Necromancy, 99, 105.
  Neo-Platonism, 111.
  Nero, 44-47.
  Nicopolis, 49.
  Numa, King--
    inventor of religion, 8.
    and the nymph, Egeria, 100.
  Nursery tales, 308.

  Octavian, see Augustus.
  Oinoanda, 217.
  Oracles, 223, 255.
    their numbers, 78.
    their evidence as to gods, 92, 255.
    as to immortality, 104.
    dæmons and oracles, 101, 102, 255; see Dæmons.
    oracle of Trophonius, 224, 255.
  Origen, 114.
    his book against Celsus; see ch. viii. _passim_.
  Orpheus, 14, 98, 173, 281, 283.
  Osiris, 98, 111, 233, 237, 330.
  Ovid, 3, 8, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 23, 59.

  Pan and Pans, 12, 13.
  Pantænus, 266, 271.
  Pantheism, 29, 38, 58.
  Paul, 148-150, 154-156, 167-169, 174, 177.
  Pausanias, the traveller, 222-225, 268, 270.
  Penates, 8, 14.
  Peregrinus Proteus, 212, 213.
  Perpetua, the martyr, 88, 229, 308, 324.
  Persius, 41, 55, 56, 67, 68.
  Philo, 125, 153, 156, 194, 289, 290.
  Photagogue, 269.
  Piso's conspiracy, 47.
  Plagiarism, 117, 252, 281.
  Plato, 34, 50, 72, 96, 97, 102, 117, 118, 135, 149, 229-232, 244,
      245, 252, 270, 285, 288, 289, 293, 336, 337.
  Pliny, the Elder, 13, 18, 26.
  Pliny, the Younger, 82, 208, 331.
  Plotinus, 99, 100.
  Plutarch, see ch. iii. generally.
    his history, 78-88.
    his city, 79, 82.
    his family, 79-80.
    his friends, 80, 81.
    his wife and children, 85, 86.
    his slaves, 86-88.
    his travels, 81.
    his poor Latin, 81.
    his studies, 83.
    his writings, 83-85.
    his character, 83-85, 89, 105.
    his "philosophy," 89-91, 105, 110.
    defect in his thinking, 83, 85, 110, 111.
    value of his work, 90, 110, 111.
    "the ancient faith of our fathers," 76, 89.
    on the knowledge of the divine, 91-93.
    on Absolute Being and transcendence of God, 93, 94, 97, 105.
    Providence and the government of the universe, 93-96.
    on deputy gods and dæmons (_q.v._), 94-102.
    the guardian, 99.
    on "Mantic" (oracles, divination, etc.), 100-103.
    on superstition, 103.
    on pleasures of faith, 76, 104.
    on immortality, 104, 105.
    on evil, 105.
    his apocalypses, 105.
    on defence of tradition, 76, 106-108, 111.
    on purification of legends, 106-108.
    on questionable rituals, 107, 108.
    on the Stoics, 64, 66, 68, 72, 73, 82, 94, 95, 97, 99.
    quoted, ch. iii. _passim_; also pp. 42, 56, 60, 66, 68, 72, 73, 136.
  Polybius, on Roman religion, 3-4.
  Polycarp, 165.
  Pontifex Maximus, 6, 327.
  Porphyry, 99.
  Prisca, 163, 344.
  Propertius, 8.
  Prudentius, 7, 11.
  Psychomanteion, 99.
  Punic language, etc., 229, 308, 319.
  Pythagoras, 42, 55, 96, 173.

  Quintilian, 9, 43, 48.

    nature of, 19.
    development of, 24.
    Oriental, 24.
    polytheism knows no false gods, 25.
    how to judge religions, 40.
    city cults, 56.
    Gospels, 56.
    and philosophy, 132.
    See also Jesus, Christian community, and Plutarch.
  Rhetoric, 37, 41, 43, 82, 85, 202, 226, 228, 231, 267, 268, 310.
    her empire gift of gods, 7, 82, 334.
    government of empire, 1, 2, 33, 141.
    rise of superstition, 18.
    under the Emperors, 33-37.
    influence of Stoics, 39.
    women of Rome, 41, 51-52.
    its crowds of people, 47, 48.
    as a school for virtue, 49.
    Plutarch at Rome, 81.
    art collections, 145.

  Sabbath, 11, 132, 171.
  Sacrifice, human, 26, 107.
  Salvation, 54, 67, 151.
  Satyrs, 12, 13.
  Scepticism, 216, 217.
  Scillitan martyrs, 319.
  Scriptures source of Greek philosophy, 176, 281, 285.
  Sealskin, as protection against thunder, 6.
  Self-examination, 54, 55.
  Seneca, see ch. ii. generally.
    his history, 41-47.
    his parents, 41, 43.
    his teachers, 41-43.
    his style, 43.
    exile, 43-44.
    minister, 44-46.
    his end, 47.
    his character, 47-49.
    his books, 45, 46.
    his letters, 48.
    his teaching, 49.
    on popular gods and superstition, 17, 49.
    self-examination, 54.
    quoted, ch. ii. _passim_; also pp. 15, 31, 91.
  Serapis, 21-24.
  Servius, commentator on Virgil, 8, 15.
  Servius Sulpicius, 10.
  Servius Tullius, 14.
  Sextus Empiricus, 4, 216, 217.
  Slavery, 36, 52.
  Socrates, 38, 72, 73, 117, 148, 233.
  _Solomon, Psalms of_, 170.
  Sotion, a Pythagorean, 42.
  Spermaticos Logos, see Greek Index.
  Sterculus, 334.
  Stoicism, see chap. ii. generally; see Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius,
      and Seneca; see Greek Index for Spermaticos Logos and
      other technical terms.
    unity of existence, 37, 56, 57, 58, 97, 314.
    man a "fragment of God," 38, 58, 60.
    the soul, 38.
    God, 58.
    polytheism and personality of gods, 70, 73, 76, 95.
    worship of God, 57.
    "God within," 61, 148.
    "Holy Spirit," 61, 65.
    Providence, 38, 59-61, 71.
    harmony with Nature, 39, 66.
    argument from consensus, 68, 91.
    divination, 16, 17, 92.
    dæmons, 59, 70.
    the guardian, 58, 59.
    the example, 72, 73.
    fatalism, 60.
    prayer, 66, 199, 200.
    endurance, 60.
    duty, 61.
    the "hymn to Zeus," 61, 165.
    mankind, 63.
    failure of Stoicism, 63 f., 67, 75.
    on pity, 65.
    the will, 65-68.
    the feelings, 66.
    sin, 67, 68
    immortality, 68-70, 164.
    the final conflagration, 69, 72, 164.
    criticism of Stoicism among the ancients, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68,
        70, 71-73, 82, 95, 97, 99, 164, 205, 206, 216, 285, 288, 291.
  Strabo, the Geographer, 26, 223.
  Superstition, see chs. i. and vii.
    no refuge in sleep from it, 17, 109.
    practices, 109, 230.
    beliefs, 206-208.
  Syriac, 201.
  Syrians, 56, 103, 207.

  Taboos, 131, 132.
  Tacitus, 33, 37.
  Tatian, 145-147, 148, 164, 271, 318.
  Taurobolium, 67, 70.
  Tertullian, see ch. x. generally.
    conventional accounts of him, 305, 306, 313.
    his work, 306.
    his history, 307-322.
    his education, 308-310.
    his rhetoric, 309-311.
    his mind and style, 311, 312, 325, 330, 346.
    his literary interests, 309, 321.
    his interest in medicine, 309.
    his interest in law, 309, 330, 331, 332, 339, 340.
    his Stoicism, 314.
    on "Nature," 314-317.
    Nature's beauty, 317.
    as to asceticism, 316, 345.
    on man, 316.
    his conversion, 318-321.
    _testimonium animæ_, 315, 320, 333.
    on God, 315-317, 328.
    on sin, 327.
    on forgiveness, 327.
    on baptism, 327-329.
    on the Scriptures, 315, 332, 333.
    on prophecies of Christ in Old Testament, 178-180, 184, 188,
        189, 193.
    on philosophy and philosophers, 336-338.
    on heresy and heretics, 338-341.
    on idolatry, 321, 322, 329.
    on war, 312.
    on theatre, 313.
    on amphitheatre, 312, 313, 324.
    on marriage and child-birth, 314, 316, 345.
    on Christian life, 335.
    on trade, 329.
    on persecution, 318-320, 323-326.
    on martyrdom, 319-321, 324-327.
    his _Apology_, 330-336.
    on the Church, 343 f.
    on Montanism, 344 f.
    on ecstasy, 345.
    on the Paraclete, 344.
    on pagan gods, 7.
    Tertullian quoted, chs. vi. and x. _passim_; also pp. 17, 18, 71,
        73, 93, 103, 108, 111, 137, 142, 143, 148, 160, 161, 165, 166,
        197, 212, 240, 243, 248, 249, 250, 251, 254, 256.
  Theophilus, 148, 318.
  Thoreau, 326.
  Thrasea Pætus, 40, 45, 151.
  Tiberius, 33, 34.
  Tibullus, 11.
  Tongues, speaking with, 142, 149, 153, 174.
  Tragedies, 37.
  Trajan, 35, 331.
  Trees, holy, 13, 230.
  Trophonius, oracle of, 224, 255.
  "Trypho," ch. vi. _passim._

  Valentinus and his school, 299, 308, 340.
    on national value of deceit in religion, 5, 343.
    his books on the gods, 8, 9, 309.
    counted an "enemy of religion," 8, 10
  Vegetarianism, 24, 42, 108.
  Virgil, see ch. i., 28-32.
    his history, 28.
    the civil wars, 1, 28.
    Italy, 28.
    on Nature, 29.
    on Man, 31.
    on religion, 31, 32.
  Virgin-births, 100, 189-192, 299, 334

  Wells, holy, 13.
  Witches, 97, 233.
  Wordsworth, 2, 30, 64, 77, 86.

  Xenophanes, 16, 111, 292.

  Zeno, 39, 72, 333.
  Zoology, ancient, 181, 229.
  Zoroaster, 98, 105, 230.



  _apátheia_, 66, 302.
  _apathès_, 291, 292, 297, 299.
  _apórroia_, 153, 304,
  _apóspasma toû theoû_, 38.
  _autarkes_, 31.

  _génesis_, 23, 61, 98.
  _gígnestha_, 70.

  _daímôn_, 39; see Dæmons.
  _dógmata_, 65, 199.

  _éntheos_, 92, 153; _cf._ 174.
  _enthousiódes_, 102.
  _énnoia_, 56, 244, 281, 295.
  _epékeina_, 245.

  _theomachein_, 65, 109.
  _theotókos_, 21.
  _theophortos_, 21.

  _kósmios_, 38, 64.
  _krásis_, 102.

  _logos_, see _spermatikos logos_.

  _hóla, tà_, 59, 290, 291.

  _pathetòs_, 155, 189, 297.
  _pathos_, 66, 103.
  _pneûma_, 101, 102, 295.
  _pneûma diápuron_, 38.
  _pneûma enthousiastikòn_, 102.
  _politeia toû kósmou_, 39.
  _proaíresis_, 65, 279.

  _spermatikos logos_, 37, 56, 64, 71, 77, 148, 156.

  _tà epí soi_, 39, 65, 66.

  _phantasíai_, 39, 51, 101, 216.
  _phantastikòn, tò_, 103.




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