THE STRUGGLE FOR LIFE
AT home, among their kinsfolk and acquaintance, the Christians were met with immediate hostility. They were put out of the synagogues, and worse punishments were visited upon them.
In the Roman world, they were at first treated with contempt and aversion, and then persecuted. The persecution increased from attacks on individuals and groups to concerted municipal and even imperial action against the Christian society. Twice the government made an organized attempt to destroy the obnoxious religion.
That Christianity should have been thus received in the Roman world is remarkable, because one of the most notable characteristics of the church was its benevolence, and one of the most marked characteristics of the empire was its tolerance.
The church was a benevolent institution. There is indeed a benevolence which seeks mainly to improve the intellectual, moral and spiritual condi