Roman Empire | Roman Religious Practices

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[956] P. Gardner, The Growth of Christianity, 1907, p. 2. Cp. some remarks of Prof. Conway in Virgil's Messianic Eclogue, p. 39 foll.

[957] The phrase "enthusiasm of humanity" is, of course, that of the author of Ecce Homo, a most inspiring book for all students of religious history, as indeed for all other readers.

[958] Dobschütz on "Early Christian Eschatology," in Transactions of the Third Congress for the History of Religions, vol. ii. (Oxford, 1908), p. 320.

[959] The words are those of Mr. Glover in the last page of his Studies in Virgil.

[960] It should be understood that these legacies, with the exception of the last (the vocabulary), were only taken up by the Church after the first two centuries of its existence. And even the vocabulary of the early Roman Church was mainly Greek (Gwatkin, Early Church History, ii. 213), and it was not till the rise of the African school of writers (Tertullian, Arnobius, Augustine) that the Latin vocabulary really established itself. Any real assimilation of Christian and pagan forms of worship was not possible until the latter were growing meaningless; then "the assimilation of Christianity to heathenism from the third century is matter of history" (Gwatkin, i. 269).

[961] Caird, Gifford Lectures, vol. ii. p. 353, has some interesting remarks on this point.

[962] See above, p. 211.

[963] Growth of Christianity, p. 144.

[964] See Roman Festivals, p. 308.

[965] Confessions, i. 14.

[966] Westcott, Religious Thought in the West, p. 246. Gwatkin writes (vol. ii. 236) that all Augustine's conceptions are shaped by law and Stoicism. Cp. p. 237. So, too, of Tertullian.

[967] By W. Otto, in the Archiv für Religionswissenschaft, vol. xii. (1909) p. 533 foll.

[968] De Inventione, ii. 161.

[969] De Legibus, ii. 10. 25.

[970] Ib. 10. 23.

[971] Lucretius i. 101.

[972] E.g. Octavius 38. 2; and again at the end of that chapter.

[973] Lactantius, bk. v. (de Iustitia) ch. 19. I may note here that the paragraph in the text where this is quoted was first published in the Transactions of the Congress for the History of Religions (Oxford, 1908), vol. ii. p. 174. I may also add that the restricted sense of the word religio as meaning the monastic life is, of course, comparatively late. This restrictive use of heathen words, from the third century onwards, is the subject of some valuable remarks by Prof. Gwatkin in his Early Church History, vol. i. p. 268 foll.

[974] See Roman Festivals, p. 299, and the references there given.

[975] Livy i. 32, ix. 8. 6; Wissowa, R.K. p. 476; Greenidge, Roman Public Life, p. 56.

[976] Lactantius iv. 3 (de vera sapientia).

[977] Ib. v. (de Iustitia) ch. 10.

[978] Aen. xi. 81.

[979] Marquardt, 145, note 5.

[980] Aen. xii. 648.

[981] Servius, ad Aen. xii. 648.

[982] The original meaning of sanctus as applied to things, e.g. walls and tombs, was probably "inviolable"; Nettleship, Contributions to Latin Lexicography, s.v. "sanctus," who also suggests a connection between the word and the attitude of the Roman towards his dead: thus Cicero in Topica 90 writes of aequitas as consisting of three parts,--pietas, sanctitas, and iustitia,--meaning man's relation to the gods, the Manes, and his fellow-men. Nettleship also quotes Aen. v. 80 (salve sancte parens), Tibull. ii. 2. 6, and other passages, which show that the word was specially used of the dead and their belongings. But when used of persons living, as frequently in the last century B.C., it expresses a certain purity of life, not without a religious tincture, which could not so well be expressed by any other word, owing to the original meaning being that of religious inviolability. Thus Cicero uses it in the 9th Philippic of his old friend Sulpicius, one of the best and purest men of his time; and long before Cicero, Cato had used it of an obligation at once ethical and religious: "Maiores sanctius habuere defendi pupillos quam clientem non fallere." It is interesting to notice that it was used later on of Mithras and other oriental deities (Cumont, Mon. myst. Mithra, i. p. 533; Les Religions orientales, p. 289, note 45); in the case of Mithras, at least, this meant that his life was pure, and that he wished his worshippers to be pure also.

[983] Marquardt, p. 318, note 4; Mommsen, Strafrecht, pp. 902, 1026. See also Greenidge, Roman Public Life, p. 56; Festus, p. 347.

[984] Greenidge, op. cit. p. 154.

[985] Cumont, Mysterien von Mithras, p. 116 of the German edition. See also De Marchi, La Religione nella vita privata, vol. ii. 114. It may be worth noting that the idea of life as the service of a soldier bound to obedience by his oath is found also in Stoicism; see Epictetus (Arrian), Discourses, i. 14, iii. 24, 99-101, ii. 26, 28-30; (Crossley's Golden Sayings of Epictetus, Nos. 37, 125, 132, 134).

[986] Arnobius, adv. Nationes, i. 3.

[987] Ib. ii. 6.

[988] Tertull., ad Martyr. c. 3. Cp. de Corona Militiae, c. 11.

[989] It is curious that the word sacerdos did not find its way into the Christian vocabulary. Apparently it had its chance; for Tertullian uses it in several ways, e.g., "summus sacerdos" for a bishop (de Bapt. 17; "disciplina sacerdotalis," de Monog. 7. 12; and for other examples see Harnack, Entstehung und Entwickelung der Kirchenverfassung und des Kirchenrechts in den zwei ersten Jahrhunderten, 1910, p. 85). But the words finally adopted for the grades of the priesthood were Greek: bishop, priest, and deacon. Nevertheless, the general word for the priesthood, as distinguished from the laity, is Latin (ordo); hence "ordination" and holy "orders." It is not of religious origin, but taken from the language of municipal life, ordo et plebs being contrasted just as they were contrasted in municipia as senate (decuriones) and all non-official persons. See Harnack, op. cit. p. 82.

[990] This is, of course, in one light, the legitimate development of the union of religion and morality in the Hebrew mind. "For the Israelite morality, righteousness, is simply doing the will of God, which from the earliest age is assumed to be ascertainable, and indeed ascertained. The Law in its simplest form was at once the rule of morality and the revealed will of God." "The central feature of O.T. morality is its religious character" (Alexander, Ethics of St. Paul, p. 34). In the religious system we have been occupied with, religion can only be reckoned as one of the factors in the growth of morality; it supplied the sanction for some acts of righteousness, but (in historical times at least) by no means for all.

Prof. Gwatkin, in his Early Church History, vol. i. p. 54, states the relation of early Christianity to morality thus: "Christ's person, not His teaching, is the message of the Gospel. If we know anything for certain about Jesus of Nazareth, it is that He steadily claimed to be the Son of God, the Redeemer of mankind, and the ruler of the world to come, and by that claim the Gospel stands or falls. Therefore, the Lord's disciples went not forth as preachers of morality, but as witnesses of his life, and of the historic resurrection which proved his mightiest claims. Their morality is always an inference from these, never the forefront of their teaching. They seem to think that if they can only fill men with true thankfulness for the gift of life in Christ, morality will take care of itself." I cannot but think that this is expressed too strongly, or baldly; but it is in the main in keeping with the impression left on my mind by a study of St. Paul. It must, however, be remembered that the Pauline spirit is not exactly that of early Christianity in general: see Gwatkin, vol. i. p. 98. In the Didache, e.g., there is no trace of St. Paul's influence (104).

[991] In a book which had just been published when I was delivering these lectures at Edinburgh (The Ethics of St. Paul, by Archibald Alexander), I found a very interesting chapter on "The Dynamic of the New Life," p. 126 foll. The word which for the author best expresses that dynamic is faith, which is "the spring of all endeavour, the inspiration of all heroism" (p. 150). "It brings the whole life into the domain of spiritual freedom, and is the animating and energising principle of all moral purpose." What exactly is here understood by faith is explained on p. 151 to the end of the chapter, of which I may quote the concluding words: "Faith in Christ means life in Christ. And this complete yielding of self and vital union with the Saviour, this dying and rising again, is at once man's supreme ideal and the source of all moral greatness."

[992] Döllinger, The First Age of Christianity and the Church (Oxenham's translation), p. 344 foll.

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