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Observer, May 1, '71
appear to have been Christians, at least two generations deep.
Sr. BASIL, THE GREAT: Born in Cæsarea, in Cappadocia, in 329, died in 379. His father was an eminent Christian of Cæsarea ; his mother was St. Emmelia, his sister was St. Macrina, and his brothers St. Gregory of Nyssa, and St. Peter of Sabasté. His more remote ancestors, too, numbered among them other saints-a saintly family truly! He studied literature in the province of Pontus, then in Constantinople, and afterwards at Athens. “ Il reçut la bapteme en 357,” (he received baptism in 357,) when about 28 years old. He afterwards became Archbishop of Cæsarea in Cappadocia. (See Biographie Universelle &c., &c., Tillemont's Memoires, &c., Dean Milman's History of Christianity, vol iii. p. 194; Life of Basil prefixed to his works; Wall's History of Infant Baptism, vol. ii. ch. 3, Wall fails to set aside this case.)
St. GREGORY OF Nazianzum: Born in Cappadocia about 324, died in 389. His father was Bishop of Nazianzum at the time of young Gregory's birth, and his mother was the pious Nonna. “ Their first born son, whom they had long yearned after, was carried soon after his birth to the altar of the Church, where they placed a volume of the Gospels in his hands, and dedicated him to the service of the Lord.” (Neander's Eccle. Hist. vol. iii. p. 321.) But he was not then baptized. He left home in youth to pursue his studies in other schools of learning, was absent some years, and, on his return was baptized by his father in the church at Nazianzum. He must have been at this time thirty years of age. And this though his father was a bishop! (Encl. Britt.; General Biography, by Dr. John Aikin and others; Vie de S. Gregorie de Nazianze, par Herment, Paris, 1675; Dean Milman's History of Christianity, vol. iii. p. 196. Wall admits this case but grudgingly.)
ST. JOHN CHRYSOSTOM: Born at Antioch about the year 347, died in 407. His parents were both Christians, but his mother was left a widow when John was yet a child. She brought him up carefully in the Christian faith. He studied for the bar and practised the legal profession for a short time at Antioch, but was subsequently baptized by Miletius, the Bishop of Antioch, and was appointed by him a reader in the church. He afterwards became Bishop of Constantinople. (Encycl. Brit. ; General Biography by Dr. John Aikin and others; Tillemont's Memoires, &c.; Dean Milman's Hist. Christianity, Vol. III. p. 206 ; Grotius annot. in Matt. xix.)
NESTORIUS: his early history is obscure, but points to the inference that his parents must have been Christians. However we shall lay no stress upon his case, as we have nothing certain upon that important point of the argument. The same remark applies to the case of NECTARIUS, who was elected Bishop of Constantinople, not having been as yet baptized. This election immediately followed the resignation of the see by Gregory Nazianzen. (Wall's Hist. Inf. Bapt. vol. ii. c. 3.) A similar incident occured at Cæsarea in Cappadocia, in A.D. 361, when one EUSEBIUS, a civil magistrate of the place, a Christian, but not yet baptized, was elected bishop by the popular party. (See Neander Eccl. Hist. vol. iii. p. 217, note.)
The five EMPERORS mentioned by Mr. Daille—viz., Constantine, Constantius, Gratian, Valentinian the Second, and Theodosius the First, are illustrations of our argument, notwithstanding all Mr. Wall's efforts to set them aside. (See his Hist. &c., vol. ii. c. 3). EUSEBIUS, Bishop of Vercelli
, in Piedmont, had a Christian father, for he was summoned to Rome by Dioclesian in 303 to be tried as a Christian.
Observer, May 1, "71.
On his way to the imperial city he died. His son Eusebius was afterwards baptized in adult age by Eusebius, Bishop of Rome, and finally became Bishop of Vercelli. (Biographie Uuniverselle, &c., &c.)
The Nicene Council (A.D. 325) in its second canon ordered that no one after being instructed for a short time, and then baptized, should for the future, has had been done before, be ordained a presbyter or a bishop; for sometime was necessary for the probation of a catechumen, and a still longer trial was requisite after baptism.
The Council of Sardica (A.D. 347) in its tenth canon directed that “if a person of wealth, or from the arena of the forum, wished to become a bishop, he should not attain to that office until he had gone through the functions of a reader, deacon, and presbyter, and spent sufficient time in each of these offices •to make proof of his faith and temper.” (Neander, Eccl. Hist. vol. iii. p. 214).
In this brief paper we have cited three cases of the election of persons not yet baptized, to episcopal sees—viz.. Ambrose, Nectarius, and Eusebius. Such cases led to the adoption of the above canons.
We take it then as proven, that infant baptism was not an apostolic institution, but came into vogue at a post-apostolic era, and was for some time after its first introduction very far from being universally observed, either in the East or in the West, by Christian parents, or even by Christian ministers in their families.
Let the two most learned of modern ecclesiastical historians, both Pædobaptists, be heard in confirmation.
· Baptism was at first administered only to adults, as men were accustomed to conceive baptism and faith as strictly connected. There does not appear to be any reason for deriving infant baptism from an apostolical institution, and the recognition of it which followed somewhat later, as an apostolical tradition, serves to confirm this hypothesis." (Neander, Eccle. Hist. vol. i. p. 430, Bohn's Trans.) " In the last years of the second century Tertullian appears as a zealous opponent of infant baptism; a proof that the practice was not universally regarded as an apostolical institution, for otherwise Tertullian would hardly have ventured to express himself so strongly against it." (Ibid. p. 432.)
“ Infant baptism—as we have observed that the fact was already towards the close of the preceding period—was now [period A.D. 312—590] generally recognised as an apostolical institution ; but from the theory on this point we can draw no inference with regard to the practice. It was still very far from being the case, especially in the Greek Church, that infant baptism, although acknowledged to be necessary, was generally introduced into practice." (Neander, Eccle. Hist. vol. iii. 452, Bohn's Trans.)
“ The ancient formula of baptism originated in a period when infant baptism had as yet no existence, and had been afterwards applied, without alteration, to children, because men shrunk from undertaking to introduce any change in the consecrated formula established by apostolical authority, though Christians were by no means agreed as to the sense in which they applied this formula.” (Ibid. vol. iv., pp. 428, 439). So far the great Neander.
"The passages from Scripture which are thought to intimate that infant baptism had come into use in the primitive church are doubtful and prove nothing-viz., Mark x. 14, Matt. xviii. 4–6, Acts ii. 38, 39, 41, Acts x. 48, 1 Cor. i. 16, Col. ii. 11, 12. Nor does the earliest passage occurring in the writings of the Fathers (Irenæus adv. Hær. ii. 22) afford any decisive proof. It only expresses the beautiful idea that Jesus was
Observer, May 1, '71.
Redeemer in every stage of life and for every stage of life; but it does not say that He redeemed children by the water of baptism, unless the term renasci be interpreted by the most arbitrary petitio principii to refer to baptism." (Hagenbach, History of Doctrines, vol. i., pp. 193, 194.) “ Infant baptism had not come into general use prior to the time of Tertullian. Though a strenuous advocate of the doctrine of original sin, he nevertheless opposed pædobaptism.” (Ibid. p. 190.) This is the witness of the learned professor in the University of Basle.
Such is our case. We submit it for what it is worth. To the writer, at least, it seems unanswerable, and should forever settle the controversy with those who repudiate Church authority as a co-ordinate power with the New Testament.
WAR AND CHRISTIANITY_CAN A CHRISTIAN BE A
SOLDIER? * I am anxious in reference to this interesting question, thus timely introduced in the Ecclesiastical Observer. Permit me to extract from a paper at hand some amount of testimony as to the faith, in this particular, of the early Christians
“With respect to the opinions of the first Christian Writers after the Apostles, or of those who are usually called the Fathers of the Church, relative to War, I believe we shall find them alike for nearly three hun. dred years, if not a longer period. Justin the Martyr, one of the earliest of those in the second century, considers War as unlawful. He makes, also, the devil the author of all war.
Tatian, who was the disciple of Justin, in his oration to the Greeks, speaks in the same terms on the same subject.
From the different expressions of Clemens, of Alexandria, a contemporary of the latter, we collect his opinion to be decisive also against the lawfulness of war.
Tertullian, who may be mentioned next in order of time, strongly condemned the practice of bearing arms. I shall give one or two extracts from him on this subject. In his Dissertation on the Worship of Idols,' he says, “ Though the soldiers came to John and received a certain form to be observed, and though the centurion believed, yet Jesus Christ, by disarming Peter, disarmed every soldier afterward; for custom never sanctions an unlawful act.' And in his “Soldier's Garland,' he says, • Can a soldier's life be lawful, when Christ has pronounced, that he who lives by the sword shall perish by the sword? Can one who professes the peaceable doctrines of the gospel be a soldier, when it is his duty not so much as to go to law? And shall he who is not to revenge his own wrongs be instrumental in bringing others into chains, imprisonment, torture, death ?'
Cyprian, in his Epistle to Danatus, speaks thus— Suppose thyself with me on the top of some very exalted emin ce, and from thence looking down upon the appearances of things below. The things thou wilt principally obsevre will be the highways beset with robbers, the seas with pirates; encampments, marches, and all the terrible forms of war and bloodshed. When a single murder is committed it shall be deemed,
* We are willing to afford space for the investigation of this subject, but our friends who write must bear in mind that it is not to be decided by a mere “show of hands," and that affirmation that "War is unchristian," that “Murder is forbidden,” will not much aid us in getting a just verdict,
Observer, May 1, 71.
perhaps, a crime; but that crime shall commence a virtue when committed under the shelter of public authority : so that punishment is not rated by the measure of guilt; but the more enormous the size of the wickedness is, so much the greater is the chance of impunity.'
Lactantius, who lived some time after Cyprian, in his Treatise concerning the true worship of God, says, 'It can never be lawful for å righteous man to go to war, whose warfare is in righteousness itself.'
To these may be added Archelaus, Ambrose, Chrysostom, Jerome and Cyril, all of whom were of opinion that it was unlawful for Christians to go to war.
With respect to the practice of the early Christians, which is the next point to be considered, it may be observed, that there is no well authenticated instance upon record of Christians entering the army for nearly the two first centuries ; but it is true, on the other hand, that they had declined the military profession, as one in which it was not lawful for them to engage.
The first species of evidence to this point may be found in the following facts, which reach from about the year 170, to about the year 195. Cassius had rebelled against the Emperor Verus, and was slain in a short time afterwards. Clodius Albinus in one part of the world, and Pescennius Niger in another, had rebelled against the Emperor Severus, and both were slain. Now suspicion fell, as it always did in these times, if anything went wrong, upon the Christians, as having been concerned upon these occasions. But Tertullian tells us, in his Discourse to Scapula,' that this suspicion was totally groundless. You defamed us,' (Christians) says he, 'by charging us with having been guilty of treason to our emperors; but not a Christian could be found in any of the rebel armies, whether commanded by Cassius, Albinus, or Niger. These, then, are important facts, for the armies in question were very extensive. Cassius was master of all Syria, with its four Legions ; Niger, of the Asiatic and Egyptian Legions; and Albinus, of those of Britain : which Legions together con. tained between a third and a half of the standing Legions of Rome; and the circumstance, that no Christian was to be found in them, is the more remarkable, because, according to the same Tertullian, Christianity had then spread over almost the whole of the known world.
A second species of evidence, may be collected from expressions and declarations in the works of certain authors of those times. Justin the Martyr, and Tatian, make distinctions between soldiers and Christians; and Clemens, of Alexandria, gives the Christians, who were contemporary with him, the appellation of the Peaceable,' thus distinguishing them from others of the world; and he says expressly, that the 'Peaceable, never used sword or bow, meaning by these the instruments of war.
A third species of evidence, may be found in the belief, which the writers of these times had, that the Prophecy of Isaiah, which predicted that men should turn their swords into plough-shares and their spears into pruning. hooks, was then in the act of completion.
Irenæus, who flourished about the year 180, affirms that this famous Prophecy had been completed in his time; for the Christians,' says he,
• have changed their swords and their lances into instruments of peace, and they know not how to fight.' Justin the Martyr, who was contemporary with Irenæus, asserts the same thing, which he could not have done, if the Christians in his time had engaged in war.
· That the Prophecy;' says be, 'is fulfilled, you have good reason to believe ; for we who in times past killed one another, do not now fight with our enemies.' And
Observer, May 1, "71.
here it is observable, that the Greek word • fight,' does not mean to strike, or to beat, or to give a blow, but actually to fight as in war; and the Greek word enemy,' does not mean a private adversary, or one who has injured us, but an enemy of the State ; and the sentence which follows that which has been given, puts the matter out of all doubt. Tertullian, who lived after both, speaks in these remarkable words— Deny that these (meaning the turning of swords into ploughshares) are the things prophe. sied of, when you see what you see, or that they are the things fulfilled when you read what you read; but if you deny neither of these positions, then you must confess that the prophecy has been accomplished, as far as the practice of every individual is concerned, to whom it is applicable." We might go from Tertullian even as far as Theodoret, if it were necessary, to shew that the prophecy in question was considered as in the act of completion in those times.
The fourth' and last species of evidence may be found in the assertions of Celsus, and in the reply of Origen to that writer. Celsus, who lived at the end of the second century, attacked the Christian religion. He made it one of his charges against the Christians, that they refused in his times to bear arms for the Emperor, even in the case of necessity, and when their services would have been accepted. He told them further
, that if the rest of the Empire were of their opinion, it would soon be overrun by the Barbarians. Now Celsus dared not have brought this charge against the Christians if the fact had not been publicly known. But let us see whether it was denied by those who where of opinion that his work demanded a reply. The person who wrote against him in favour of Christianity, was Origen, who lived in the third century. But Origen, in his answer, admits the facts as stated by Celsus, that the Christians would not bear arms in his time, and justifies them for refusing the practice on the principle of the unlawfulness of war.
And as the early Christians would not enter into the armies so there is good ground to suppose that, when they became converted there, they relinquished their profession. We find from Tertullian, in his Soldier's Garland,' that many in his time, immediately on their conversion to Christianity, quitted the military service. We are told, also, by Archelaus, who flourished under Probus in the year 278, that many Roman soldiers, who had embraced Christianity after having witnessed the piety and generosity of Marcellus, immediately forsook the profession of arms. We are told also by Eusebius, that about the same time numbers laid aside a military life, and became private persons rather than abjure their religion.'
Here then is a collection of evidence and facts, all tending to show, that for nearly the first two hundred years, after the introduction of Christianity into the world, none of those who professed to be Christians would either take upon themselves or continue the profession of soldiers."
T. C. CAN A CHRISTIAN BE A SOLDIER ? We feel a good deal of interest in this question and wish to see it fully tested. “ TRUTH SEEKER” has said a good deal on the subject, most of which is well said, but we think he has missed the mark in some respects. He seems to consider the nation Christian; which is not the case. The greater part of the nation is not Christian. The Queen will find as many able and willing to serve her, as soldiers, as she needs, without imposing upon Christians that which they cannot conscientiously do. We have enlisted under the Prince of peace. Then, too, it is no use to go back to the Jewish dispensation to prove war lawful for Christians. The Saviour