The Library of Original Sources - Vol. 4

The Library of Original Sources - Vol. 4

Read FREE!

The Library of Original Sources - Vol. 4

The Library of Original Sources - Vol. 4

Read FREE!

Excerpt

THE GROWTH OF THE CHURCH

AT THE BEGINNING of this volume the writings of the New Testament should be given first place in importance, but as in the case of the Old Testament, so here it has not been thought either advisable or necessary to reprint any part of it. The fact must be emphasized, however, that no other book has been so much read or studied; its influence on the progress of the world has been incalculable.

We trace under this heading the growth of the Church in its relations to the pagan empire; illustrate the formative work of the early fathers with Tertullian’s Testimony of the Soul to immortality, Cyprian’s plea for the Unity of Church, and Origen’s effort to state the principles of his belief; we show the development of asceticism; the formulation of the Church policy after Christianity had been recognized, first as one of the legal religions and then as the only one; the suppression of heathenism and heresy; the formation and development of Church dogma under Athanasius and St. Augustine; the beginning of the Church empire under Leo, and the rules of life of the Benedictine monks. This brings us to the time when the Church became in reality an empire with its head at Rome to which the people of Europe gave an allegiance and obedience as real as to their kings.

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