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Rome became every day more and more the capital of Christianity, and replaced Jerusalem as the religious centre of the human race. Civitas sacrosancta! That extraordinary city was at the culminating point of its grandeur; nothing could allow one to foresee the events which, in the third century, should happen to cause it to degenerate and become nothing more than the capital of the West. Greek was at last as much spoken there as Latin, and the great rupture of the East could not be guessed. Greek was exclusively the language of the Church; the liturgy, the preaching, the propaganda were carried on in Greek.

Anicet ruled the Church with a high hand. They consulted him throughout all the Christian world. It was fully admitted that the Church of Rome had been founded by Peter; it was believed that this apostle had transmitted to his church the primacy with which Jesus had invested him; there was applied to this church the strong language in which it was believed that Jesus had conferred on Cephas the position of the corner-stone in the edifice he would build up. By unparalleled effort the Church of Rome had succeeded in remaining at the same time the church of Paul. Peter and Paul reconciled—that was the grand act which founded the ecclesiastical supremacy of Rome for the future. A new mythical duality replaced that of Romulus and Remus. We have already seen the question of Easter, the struggles of Gnosticism, those of Justin and Tatian meeting at Rome. All the controversies 41which rent the Christian conscience followed the same path, up till Constantine dissentients demanded from the Church of Rome an arbitration, if not a judgment. Celebrated doctors considered it a duty to visit, for their instruction, that Church in which, since the disappearance of the first Church of Jerusalem, all recognised the prestige of an ancient origin.

Among the Orientals who came to Rome under Anicet, there must be named a converted Jew, called Joseph or Hegesippus, originally no doubt from Palestine. He had received a careful Rabbinical education, knew Hebrew and Syriac, and was versed in the unwritten traditions of the Jews; but he lacked critical taste. Like the majority of converted Jews he made use of the Gospel of the Hebrews. Zeal for the purity of the faith induced him to undertake long voyages and a sort of apostolate. He went from church to church conferring with the bishops, informing himself as to their faith, arranged the succession of pastors by which they were connected with the apostles. The dogmatic agreement which he found among the bishops filled him with joy. All these little churches on the borders of the Eastern Mediterranean showed a complete accord. At Corinth, in particular, Hegesippus was specially comforted by his meeting with the primate bishop and with the faithful, whom he found in the most orthodox path. He thence embarked for Rome, where he put himself in communication with Anicet and carefully remarked the condition of tradition. Anicet had a deacon Eleutherus, who later on became in his turn bishop of Rome. Hegesippus, although a Judaiser and even an Ebionite, was delighted with these churches of Paul, and he had the more merit in this because his mind was subtle and specially inclined to observed heresies. “In every succession 42of bishops, in every town, things are carried out as the law, the prophets, and the Lord ordain.” He settled at Rome like Justin and remained there more than twenty years, much respected by all, in spite of the surprise which his Oriental Christianity and the address of his mind would excite. Like Papias he had, in the midst of the rapid transformations of the church, the effect of “an ancient man,” a sort of survivor of the apostolic age.

A material cause contributed greatly to the pre-eminence which all the churches recognised in the Church of Rome. That church was extremely rich; its property, ably administered, served as a fund for help and propagandism to other churches. The confessors condemned to the mines received a subsidy from her. The common treasury of Christianity was in some sort at Rome. The Sunday collection, a constant practice in the Roman church, was already probably established. A marvellous spirit of management animated this little community, where Judea, Greece, and Latium appeared to have mingled, in view of a prodigious future, their very diverse gifts. While the Jewish monotheism furnished the immovable basis of the new formation, while Greece continued by Gnosticism its free speculation, Rome applied itself with an astonishing persistence to the work of organisation and government. All authority, all artifices, were to it good for that end. Policy did not retreat before fraud; but policy had already chosen its seat in the most secret councils of the Church of Rome. It produced about this time a new vein of apocryphal literature, by which Roman piety sought once more to impose itself on the Christian world.

The name of Clement was the fictitious guarantee which the forgers chose to serve as a cover to their pious designs. The great reputation which the old Roman pastor had left, the right which 43they recognised in him to give in some sort his recommendatory note to the books which were worthy of circulation, recommended him for this position. Upon the basis of the Cerygmata and Periodi of Peter, an unknown author, a Pagan born and introduced into Christianity by the Esseno-Ebionite door, built up a romance of which Clement was supposed to be at once the author and the hero. This precious document, entitled The Confessions, because of the surprises of the denouement, has reached us in two editions different enough from each other, and of which probably neither the one nor the other is the original. Both appear to be derived from a lost document, which made at the time we speak of its first appearance.

The author sets out from the hypothesis that Clement was the immediate successor of Peter in the presidency of the Church of Rome, and received from the prince of the apostles the episcopal ordination. Just as the Cerygmata were dedicated to James, just as the new romance bore as a heading an epistle where Clement recounted to James, “Bishop of bishops and chief of the Holy Church of the Hebrews at Jerusalem,” the violent death of Peter, and narrates how that apostle, the first of them all, the true companion, the true friend of Jesus, constituted by Jesus the only foundation of the Church, has established him, Clement, as his successor in the episcopate of Rome, and has recommended him to write compendiously, and to address to James the record of their journeys and their preachings in common. The work does not speak of Peter’s sojourn at Rome nor of the circumstances of his death. These last accounts doubtless formed the basis of a second work which was of service to him who has preserved them to us.

The Ebionite spirit, hostile to Paul, which formed 44the basis of the first Cerygmata, is here much effaced. Paul is not named in the whole work. It is surely not without reason that the author affects not to know other apostles than the twelve presided over by Peter and James, and that he attributes to Peter only the honour of having spread Christianity in the Pagan world. In a multitude of places the wrongs of the Judeo-Christians were still to be seen, but all is said in a half word; a disciple of Paul could scarcely read the book without being shocked. Little by little, indeed, this calumnious history of apostolic struggles, invented by a hateful school, but which had some portions made to please all the Christians, lost its sectarian colour, became almost catholic, and was adopted by the greatest number of the faithful. The allusions against St. Paul were obscure enough. Simon the Magician stands charged with everything odious in the story; the allusions his name had served to fail were forgotten; nothing more than a double of Nero in the infernal rôle of Antichrist.

The work is composed according to all the rules of ancient romance. Nothing is wanting: travels, love episodes, shipwrecks, twins which resemble each other, people taken by pirates, recognition of people separated for long years. Clement, from a confusion which arises from a very ancient epoch, was considered to belong to the imperial family. Mattidia, his mother, is a perfectly chaste Roman lady, married to the noble Faustus. Pursued with a criminal love by her brother-in-law, wishing at the same time to save her honour and the reputation of her family, she quits Rome, with her husband’s permission, and goes to Athens to educate her sons, Faustinus and Faustinian. At the end of four years, not receiving news of them, Faustus embarks with his third son, Clement, to go in search of his wife and her sons. After a thousand adventures 45the father, the mother, and the three sons meet. They were not Christians at first, but all deserved to be, and all became so. As Pagans they had had honest morals; and charity has this privilege, that God owes it to Himself to save those who practise it by natural instinct. “If it were not an absolute rule that no one could be saved without baptism the chaste Pagan would be saved.” The infidels who are converted are those who have deserved it by their regulated morals. Clement, in fact, meets the apostles, Peter and Barnabas, makes them his companions, recounts to us their preachings, their contest with Simon, and becomes for all the members of his family the occasion of a conversion, for which they were so well prepared.

This romantic framework is only a pretext for making an apology for the Christian religion, and for showing how superior it is to the philosophical and theurgic opinion of the age. St. Peter is no longer the apostle we know by the Acts and the letters of Paul; he is a skilful polemic—a master, who brings all the trickeries of the sophist’s art into the service of the truth. The ascetic life he led, his rigorous xerophagy, repelled the Essenes. His wife travels with him as a deaconess. The ideas which were given of the social condition, in the midst of which Jesus and his apostles lived, had already become altogether erroneous. The most simple data of apostolic theology were unknown. It must be said, to the author’s praise, that if his confidence in the credulity of the public is very naïve, he has at least a belief in discussion which does honour to his tolerance. He admits readily that one may be innocently deceived. Among the figures of the romance Simon the Magician alone is altogether sacrificed. His disciples, Apion and Anubion, represent, the first, the effort to draw from mythology something religious; the second, the 46misguided sincerity which shall one day be rewarded by the knowledge of the truth. Simon and Peter dispute metaphysically, Clement and Apion discuss morally. A touching shade of pity and sympathy with the erring spreads a charm over these pages, which we feel are written by one who has passed through the throes of scepticism, and knows better than any other how we may suffer and acquire merit in seeking the truth. Clement, like Justin of Neapolis, has tried all the philosophies, the lofty problems of the immortality of the soul, future rewards and punishments, Providence, the relations of man with God possess his mind; no school has satisfied him; he is despairingly about to plunge into the grossest superstitions when the voice of Christ comes to him. He finds, in the teaching which has been given as that of Christ, the reply to all his doubts; he is a Christian.

The system of refutation of Paganism which shall make the basis of the argumentation of all the Fathers is already found complete in the pseudo-Clement. The primitive meaning of mythology was lost everywhere; the old physical myths became unseemly tales, offered no food for the soul. It was easy to show that the gods of Olympus have given very bad examples, and that the man who imitates them would be a villain. Apion vainly seeks to escape by symbolic explanations. Clement establishes without difficulty the absolute powerlessness of polytheism to produce a serious morality. Clement has unconquerable demands of soul; honest, pious, candid, he wishes a religion which shall satisfy his lively sensibility. One moment the two adversaries recall the souvenirs of youth, of which they now make arms to fight. Apion had once been the guest of Clement’s father. Seeing the latter sad and sick one day from the anguish which seeking the truth gave him, Apion, who had medical pretensions, 47asked him what was wrong. “The disease of the young. I have a disease of the soul!” replied Clement. Apion thought he was a prey to love, made him the most unseemly proposals, and composed for him a piece of erotic literature, which Clement brings into the debate with more malice than reason.

The philosophy of the book is Deism, considered as the fruit of a revelation, not of reason. The author speaks of God, of His nature, attributes, and Providence, of evil, regarded as a proof and as a source of merit for man, in the style of Glycon and Epictetus. A lucid and correct mind, opposed to the Montanist aberrations, and to the quasi-polytheism of the Gnostics, the author of the pseudo-Clementine romance is a strict monotheist, or, as might be said, a monarchist. God is the being whose essence is of Himself alone. The Son is by nature inferior to Him. These ideas, very analogous to those of the pseudo-Hermias, were long the basis of the Roman theology. Far from being revolutionary thoughts, they were at Rome the conservative ideas. It was at bottom the theology of the Nazarenes and the Ebionites, or rather of Philo and the Essenes, developed in the Gnostic sense. The world is the theatre and the struggle of good and evil. The good gains always a little upon the evil, and at last will overcome it. The partial triumphs of good are wrought by means of the appearance of successive prophets, Adam, Abel, Enoch, Abraham, Noah, Moses; or rather a single prophet, Adam, immortal and impeccable, the typical man par excellence, the perfect image of God, the Christ, ever living, ever changing in form and name, pervading the world unceasingly and fulfilling history, preaching eternally the same law in the name of the same Holy Spirit.

The true law of Moses had nearly realised the 48ideal of the absolute religion. But Moses wrote nothing, and his institutions were altered by his successors. The sacrifices were a victory of Paganism over the pure law. A crowd of errors have slipped into the Old Testament. David, with his harp and his bloody wars, is a prophet quite inferior. The other prophets were still less perfect, Adam-Christs. The Greek philosophy, on its side, is a tissue of chimeras—a true logomachy. The prophetic spirit, which is nothing else than the Holy Spirit manifested, the primitive man, Adam, such as God made him, has appeared now in a last Christ, in Jesus, who is Moses himself; so much so that between them there is no contest or rivalry. To believe in the one is to believe in the other—it is to believe in God. The Christian, by being a Christian, does not cease to be a Jew (Clement gave himself always this latter name; he and all his family “were Jews”). The Jew who knows Moses and does not know Jesus shall not be condemned if he practises well what he knows, and does not hate what he is ignorant of. The Christian of Pagan origin, who knows Jesus and does not know Moses, shall not be condemned if he observes the law of Jesus, and does not hate the law which has been revealed to him. Revelation, besides, is only the ray by which some truths, hidden in all men’s hearts, become visible to each of them; to know this is not to apprehend—it is to comprehend.

The relation of Jesus to God has been that of all the other prophets. He has been the instrument of the Spirit, that is all. The ideal Adam, who is found more or less obscured in every man coming into this world, is, according to the prophet, master of the world, in the condition of clear knowledge and full possession. “Our Lord,” says Peter, “has never said that there should be another God than He who created everything, and did not proclaim 49Himself God: He has only, with good reason, declared the man blessed who has proclaimed Him Son of the God who has created all.” “But does it not appear,” said Simon, “as if He, who comes from God, is God?” “How can that be?” said Peter. “The essence of the Father has not been begotten, the essence of the Son is begotten; therefore he who has been begotten cannot compare himself to him who has begotten himself. He who is not in everything identical with another being cannot have the same names in common with him.” The author never speaks of the death of Jesus, and seems to attach no theological importance to that death.

Jesus is then a prophet, the last of the prophets, he whom Moses had announced as coming after him. His religion is only a clearer edition of that of Moses, a choice between traditions, of which some are good and others bad. His religion is perfect; it suits Jews and Greeks, educated and barbarous men alike; it satisfies alike the heart and the mind. It is continued in due course by the twelve apostles, of whom Peter is chief, and by those who hold their powers from them. The appeal to dreams, private visions, is presumptuous.

An odd mingling of Ebionism and philosophical liberalism, of strict catholicism and heresy, of exalted love for Jesus and of fear lest his part should be exaggerated, of profane instruction and of chimerical philosophy, of rationalism and faith—the book could not long satisfy orthodoxy; but it suited an age of syncretism, in which the points of the Christian faith were badly defined. It needed the prodigies of sagacity of modern criticism to recognise the satire of Paul behind the mask of Simon Magus. The book is, in short, a book of conciliation. It is the work of a moderate Ebionite, of an eclectic mind, opposed at once to the unjust judgments of 50the Gnostics, and of Marcion against Judaism, and to the effeminate prophesying of the disciples of Montanus. Circumcision is not commanded; yet the circumcised have a rank superior to the uncircumcised. Jesus is equal to Moses; Moses is as good as Jesus. Perfection is to see that both of them constitute only one, that the new law is the old, and the old the new. Those who have the one can do without the other. Let each one abide by his own, and let him not hate others.

It was, it will be seen, the absolute denial of the doctrine of Paul. Jesus is to our theologian a restorer rather than an innovator. In the very work of this restoration, Jesus is only the interpreter of a tradition of sages, who, in the midst of the general corruption, had never lost the true meaning of the law of Moses, which is itself nothing but the religion of Adam, the primitive religion of humanity. According to the pseudo-Clement, Jesus is Adam himself. According to St. Paul, Jesus is a second Adam, altogether opposed to the first. The idea of the fall of Adam, the basis of the theology of St. Paul, nearly disappears here. On one side especially the author shows himself more reasonable than Paul. The latter never ceases to protest that man owes to no personal merit his election and Christian calling. The Ebionite, more liberal, believes that the honest Pagan makes a way for his conversion by his virtues. He is far from thinking that all acts of unbelievers are sins. The merits of Jesus have not, in his eyes, the transcendent part they possess in the system of Paul. Jesus places man in a relation to God, but he does not substitute himself for God.

The Roman pseudo-Clementine separates himself clearly from the truly authentic writings of the first Christian inspiration by his prolixity, his rhetoric, his abstract philosophy, borrowed for the most part 51from the Greek schools. There is no longer here a Semitic book, shadowless, like the purely Judeo-Greek writings. A great admirer of Judaism, the author possesses a Græco-Italian mind, a political mind, preoccupied above all with the social needs, with the morale of the people. His culture is quite Hellenic; in Hellenism he only repels one thing—the religion. The author shows himself in every point quite superior to St. Justin. A considerable fraction of the Church adopted the work, and gave it a place beside the most reverenced books of the apostolic age, upon the borders of the New Testament. The gross errors which we read here as to the divinity of Jesus Christ, and as to the sacred books, are opposed to the rest of the work. But people continued to read it; the orthodox replied to exert thing by saying that Clement had written his book without a blemish, but that some heretics had altered it. Some extracts were made in which the offensive passages were omitted, and to which they readily attributed inspiration. We have seen, and we shall see, many other examples of romances invented by the heretics, forcing thus the gates of the orthodox Church, and causing themselves to be accepted by her, because they were edifying and capable of furnishing a nourishment to piety.

The fact is that this Ebionite literature, in spite of its rather childish freshness, had the Christian unction in the highest degree. The tone was that of a moving preaching; its character was essentially ecclesiastical and pastoral. The pseudo-Clement is a partisan of the hierarchy quite as enthusiastic as the pseudo-Ignatius. The community recapitulates itself in its chief; the clergy is the indispensable mediator between God and His flock. The bishop’s meaning must be taken at once; one must not wait till he says “Such a man is my enemy” to shun that man. To be a friend of anyone whom 52the bishop does not love, to speak to one whom he shuns—that is to place oneself out of the church, to pass into the ranks of its worst enemies. The office of a bishop is so difficult! Everybody ought to labour to make it easy for him; the deacons are the eyes of the bishop, they ought to survey everything, to know everything for him. A sort of espionage is recommended; what maybe called the clerical spirit has never been expressed in stronger language.

Abstinence and Essenian practices were placed very high. Purity of manners was the principal preoccupation of these worthy sectaries. The adulterer in their eyes is worse than the homicide. “The chaste woman is the most beautiful object in the world—the most perfect reminiscence of God’s primitive creation. The pious woman, who only finds her pleasure with the saints, is the ornament, the perfume, the example of the Church; she helps the pure to be pure; she delights God Himself. God loves her, is pleased with her, watches over her; she is His child, the bride of the Son of God, clothed as she is with holy light.”

Those mystic images do not constitute the author a partisan of virginity. He is too much a Jew for that. He wishes the priest to marry the young people in good time, causing even the old to marry. The Christian woman loves her husband, covers him with caresses, makes much of him, serves him, seeks to please him, obeys him in all which is not a disobedience to God! To be loved by another than her husband is for her a living misery. Ah! how foolish is the man who seeks to separate his wife from the fear of God! The grand source of chastity is the Church. It is there that woman learns her duties, and hears of this judgment of God which punishes a moment of pleasure by an eternal punishment. The husband ought to compel his 53wife to go to hear such sermons, if he cannot succeed by persuasion.

“But what is better,” adds the author, addressing himself to the husband, “is that you come yourself, leading her by the hand, that you also may be chaste, and capable of understanding the happiness of honourable marriage. To become a father, to love your children, to be loved by them, all this is at your disposal, if you desire it. He who wishes to have a chaste wife loves chastely, pays her conjugal duties, eats with her, lives with her, goes with her to the sanctifying preaching, does not grieve her or scold her without reason, seeks to please, procures for her all the pleasures he can, and makes up for those he cannot give her by caresses. Those caresses, besides, the chaste wife does not need in order that she should fulfil her duties. She looks on her husband as her master. Is he poor, she bears with his poverty; she is hungry with him, if he is hungry; if he emigrates, she emigrates; she consoles him when he is sad; when she has even a dowry larger than what her husband possesses, she takes the inferior attitude of one who has nothing. The husband, on his side, if he has a poor wife, ought to consider her wisdom as an ample dowry. The prudent woman is temperate in eating and drinking; . . . . she never remains alone with young men, she even avoids old men; she shuns boisterous laughter . . . . she delights in grave conversations, she avoids those which have not the marks of decorum.”

The good Mattidia, Clement’s mother, is an actual example of the practice of these pious maxims. A Pagan, she sacrifices everything to chastity; chastity preserves her from the greatest perils, and is as good to her as the knowledge of the true religion.

Christian preaching developed itself, became 54blended with culture. The sermon was the essential part of the sacred meeting. The Church became the mother of all edification and consolation. The rules as to ecclesiastical discipline were already multiplied. To give them authority they referred them to the apostles, and as Clement was thought the best guarantee where apostolic traditions were concerned, since he had been in intimate relations with Peter and Barnabas, it was still under the name of that revered pastor that we see dawning a whole apocryphal literature of Constitutions reputed to be founded by the College of the Twelve. The nucleus of this apocryphal compilation, the first basis of a collection of ecclesiastical canons, was preserved, very nearly without admixture, among the Syrians. Among the Greek, the collection, increased by time, sensibly altered, and became barely recognisable. It was quoted as forming part of the Sacred Scriptures, although certain reservations always rendered its authenticity doubtful. In course of time, liberty was granted to give this collection of pretended apostolic writings the form which was considered best to strike the faithful and to impress them; the name of Clement was always inscribed at the head of these various editions, which present besides marks of the strictest relationship with the romance of The Confessions. All the pseudo-Clementine literature of the second century presents thus the character of a complete unity.

What characterises it in the highest degree is the spirit of practical organisation. Already in the supposed epistle of Clement to James, which serves as a preface to The Confessions, Peter, before dying, holds a long discourse on the episcopate, its duties, its difficulties, its excellence, on the priests, the deacons, the catechists, which is like a new edition of the epistles to Titus and Timothy. The Apostolic Constitutions 55were a kind of codification, growing gradually larger, of these pastoral precepts. What Rome founded was not dogma; few churches were more barren in speculation, less pure as to the question of doctrine. Ebionism, Montanism, Artemonism, held the majority there, one after the other. What Rome made is discipline, is Catholicism.

At Rome probably the expression “Catholic Church” was written for the first time. Bishop, priest, layman, all these words took a fixed meaning in that Hierarchical Church. The church was a ship where each dignitary has his function concerning the safety of the passengers. Morality was severe and the cloister was already known. The mere liking for riches is condemned. The ornamentation of women is nothing but an invitation to sin. Woman is responsible for the sins of thought which she causes to be committed. Certainly, if she repels advances the evil is lessened; but is it nothing to be the cause of perdition to others? To live modestly occupied by her duties, to go her own way without mixing herself up with the gossiping of the street, to rear her children well, to administer frequent corrections to them, to forbid them dining in company with persons of their own age, to have them married in good time, not to read Pagan books (the Bible is sufficient and contains everything), not to take baths oftener than necessary and with great precautions, such were the rules for laymen. The bishops, the priests, the deacons, the widows, had more complicated duties. Besides holiness, they were to bring wisdom and sagacity into these functions. They were true magistrates—very superior to profane magistrates. Christians brought all their cases before the tribunal of the bishop, the dicaster of this last became in fact a civil jurisdiction 56which had its rules and its laws. The household of the bishop was already considerable; it came to be supported at the common expense of the faithful. The ideas of the ancient law as to the tithe and the offerings due to the priests were little by little restored. A strong theocracy was becoming established.

The Church, in fact, absorbed everything; civil society was disparaged and despised. To the emperor belonged the census and the official salutations, that was all. The Christian constituted thus could only live with Christians. He was recommended to attract the heathen by the charm of amiable manners, in the hope that they might be converted. But beyond this hope the relations with the unbelievers were surrounded with such precautions, and implied so much disgust, that those became very rare. A mixed society of Pagans and Christians would be impossible. It was forbidden to take part in the rejoicings of the heathen, to eat or to amuse oneself with them, to be present at their spectacles, at their games, or at any of their grand profane re-unions. Even the public markets were interdicted, save in what concerned the purchase of necessary articles. On the contrary, Christians ought to eat together as much as possible, and live together, and form a little coterie of saints. In the third century that spirit of recluseness shall produce its own results. Roman society will die of exhaustion, a concealed cause will keep itself in life. When a considerable portion of a state makes a combination apart, and ceases to work for the common good, that state is almost ready to die.

Mutual assistance was the principal duty in that society of the poor, administered by its bishops, its deacons, and its widows. The position of the rich man in the midst of small citizens and small 57honourable merchants, judging their affairs among themselves, scrupulous as to weights and measures, was difficult and embarrassing. The Christian life was not made for him. A brother dies, leaving orphans, boys and girls, and another brother adopts them, and marries the daughter to his son if their ages be suitable. This appeared quite simple. The rich people took with difficulty to a system so fraternal: then they were threatened with the forfeiture of their possessions, which they could not use well, and people applied to them the dictum: “What the saints have not eaten the Assyrians eat.” The money of the poor was held as a sacred thing; those who were in easy circumstances paid a subsidy as large as they could; these were called “the contributions of the Lord.”

Delicacy was pushed to such an extent that everybody’s money was not received in the Church’s treasury. They rejected the offerings of tavern-keepers and of people who practised shameful trades; especially those of the excommunicated, who sought by their generosity to return to favour. “These people there would give,” it was said, “and if we refuse their alms what shall we do to assist our widows, or to nourish the poor of the people?” “Better to die of hunger,” was the Ebionite fanatic’s reply, “than be under an obligation to the enemies of God for gifts which are an affront in the eyes of His friends. Acceptable offerings are those which the workman takes from the fruit of his toil. When the priest is obliged to receive the money of the wicked, let him use it for the purchase of wood and coal, so that the widow and the orphan may not be condemned to live upon polluted money. The presents of the wicked are thus food for the fire, not nourishment for believers.” It is thus seen what a tight chain wound about the Christian life. Such an abyss separated, in the mind of 58those worthy sectaries, good and evil, that the conception of a liberal society, where each one acts according to his taste, under the regulation of civil laws, without giving an account to any or exercising a surveillance over others, appeared to them the height of impiety.

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