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shall live for ever. Dressel ;] but they who keep them not, there is no life in them,” (Command vii.) “ They that are subject unto evil desires shall die for ever (Command xii. 2). “ The trees which are green and righteous shall possess the world to come. ... The wicked, like the trees which thou sawest dry, shall as such be found dry and without fruit in that other world. And like dry wood they shall be burned.” (Similitude iv.) “ They who have known the Lord, and have seen his wonderful works, if they shall live wickedly, shall be doubly punished, and shall die for ever” (Similitude ix. 18).
I might cite another document belonging to this age, a part of the so-called “ Apostolical Constitutions,” which Bunsen calls the “ Church and House Book," as further showing that there were as yet no traces or indications of Universalist faith. But I do not know that I need have cited a single word. I do not know that any Universalist expressions or writers are claimed before Clement of Alexandria, about A.D. 200, with one exception to be noticed presently. I find some traces of such views also in Athenagoras, who preceded Clement by a few years, and will grant him to the Universalists, though they have not claimed him.
Here, then, we come to a very critical question :
§ 3. Whence did Universalist views take their rise ? And I propose to show that not the Scriptures alone, but Platonic additions to scriptural doctrine, were the occasion, first of Orthodoxy, and then of Universalism.
The orthodox view requires three conditions: a doctrine of indefeasible immortality ; a doctrine of salvation conditioned within certain limits of time; and such fiery heat as shall fuse these together into the faith of men. They can never be first combined in calm deliberation, however coldly they may be received as a tradition.
The conditions I have named were brought together in Rome, about the year 138. The bloody hand of the imperial power was invoked to revenge the lust of a heathen husband upon a Christian wife. Her teacher in the faith of Christ is accused, and martyred. Two other persons, remonstrating against such flagrant wrong, are devoted to death.
The fierce fire of such persecution offered to combine the requisite doctrinal elements, and the materials were not wanting. Justin, surnamed “the Philosopher” and afterwards “ Martyr," was a recent convert from Platonism to Christianity. Of a warm and generous nature, he was moved to address to the emperor his first “Apology” or defence of the proscribed faith. That Apology I believe to be the oldest “ orthodox” book. Now Justin brought, along with the na:ne of Philosopher, much Platonic faith. He claimed for many doctrines of Philosophy and Christianity a common origin in an original revelation. The philosophers, he thought, had borrowed some things from the Hebrew prophets. And though he does not speak in distinct terms of the soul as immortal, there is very little in this book to indicate any opinion that the soul can die, but much to suggest the contrary.
On the other side, there is nothing in his book or in our history thus far, to indicate any opinion among the Christians of the final salvation of all. He regarded man as on probation during life, awaiting a judgment after the resurrection. “ Plato," he
says, “ held that the wicked will stand before Minos and Rhadamanthus, to be punished by them. We hold the same event, but before Christ as judge; that they may be punished in their reëmbodied souls, not a thousand years, as Plato said, but eternally. If any one thinks this incredible or impossible, the error is of little account so long as we are not convicted of any evil conduct” (c. 8).
This is very mildly said, and with a protest of the paramount importance of practice over belief. The severe faith, however, was a burden to Justin's own mind. Yet the opinion being once expressed, in an hour of darkness and in a book of philosophy to make it respectable, was able to hold its way in the church.
Justin, I said, does not put the soul's immortality into a formula. He uses one expression in this very book which
might indicate an acquaintance with another view. “We have learned,” he says, “ that they only are made immortal who live piously and virtuously before God” (c. 21). Other passages will hardly allow this to be strictly taken. But as I have shown this to be the prevailing faith until his time, I may here add a very important fact confirmatory of my history.
One of the earliest questions in Christian philosophy, was that respecting the nature of the soul. Is it naturally mortal, or immortal ? All the gentile philosophers who had at all asserted a future life, - excepting a few of the Stoic school, and all the native pride of man, had said, “ immortal.” But the Christians said otherwise. And their almost uniform view on this question of nature is the more remarkable, because it is given by those who differed most widely in the question of fact, whether the soul would die. The following quotations will show their opinion:
Tatian, a disciple of Justin Martyr, says: “The soul is not in its own nature immortal, O Greeks! but mortal. Yet it is able not to die. For it does die, and is dissolved with the body, if ignorant of the truth; but it rises again with the body at the end of the world, receiving death in immortality for its punishment.* Whereas the soul that receives the knowledge of God, though dissolved for a time, does not die.” (Oratio ad Græcos, c. 13.)
Theophilus of Antioch, who also belonged to the school of Justin, says:
“Some one will ask, Was Adam by nature mortal ? By no means. Immortal ? Not thus, either. What then — nothing at all? I answer, neither mortal nor immortal; for if the Creator had made him from the first immortal, he would have made him a god. If mortal, then God would appear as the author of death. He made him, then, capable
* Prof. Hovey (p. 140) speaks of Tatian as teaching "the final extinction of the wicked.” That the above expression gives his real view — of temporary extinction followed by eternal suffering — is believed by Morell, Ducæus, Oporinus, Teller, Dodwell, Daniel, and Redepenning, cited by Otto in his edition. The notion of a temporary extinction was the heresy of the sect of Arabians.
of becoming either; so that by keeping the command of God he might attain immortality as his reward, and become a god. But if he should turn to mortal things, and disobey God, he would be himself the author of his own death. For God made man free and with power of self-control” (Ad Autolycum, 1. 2, c. 37). He elsewhere calls man mesos, “ intermediate.” He seems to have held the orthodox view.
Lactantitus,“ the Christian Cicero,” (about A.D. 300,) was doubtless orthodox. But he says: 66 There would be no difference between the just and the unjust, if every man that is born were made immortal. Immortality, therefore, is not a law of our own nature, but the wages and reward of virtue. ... For this reason God seeks to be worshipped by man as Father, that he may attain virtue and wisdom, which alone impart immortality.” (Instt. Div. 1. 7, c. 5.)
These expressions of three different writers, and the last remark cited from Justin, are obviously inconsistent with their doctrine of immortal misery. And I have sometimes queried whether this apparent inconsistency might not be due in part to corruptions of the text. Indeed, Cotelerius, the editor of the apostolic Fathers, including the Clementine Homilies, remarks on those passages that plainly teach the immortality of the righteous only, that they disagree with other passages asserting the eternal suffering of the wicked, so that “ the PseudoClement must have written inconsistently, or must have been here interpolated.” I find but one passage in the Homilies plainly asserting immortal woe; hence I should suspect the interpolation to be not “here” but there. But waiving this question of genuineness to the profounder critics, I proceed with my citations.
Augustine, the great light of orthodoxy, applies the same view to man's bodily nature : “ Before man's sin the body might be called mortal in one respect and immortal in another; that is, mortal because it was capable of dying; immortal because it was able not to die.” (De Genesi ad literam, 1. 6, c. 25.) His view of the soul's immortality is Platonic enough,
and his arguments for it are worthy of the Schoolmen and of Samuel Drew.
And Justin Martyr himself, in his later work, the Dialogue with the Jew Trypho, says: "I neither regard Plato nor Pythagoras, nor any of their way of thinking. ... The soul either has life in itself, or it receives it from something else. ... But the soul partakes of life, because God wills it to live; and just so too it will no longer partake of life, whenever He does not desire it to live. For it can not live of itself, as God does. But as the personal man does not always exist, and body and soul are not ever conjoined ; but, whenever this harmony must be dissolved, the soul leaves the body and the man is no more ; so likewise whenever it is necessary that the soul should no longer be, the vital spirit leaves it, and the soul is no more, but itself returns again thither whence it was taken.” (c. 4.) He never spoke of the soul as absolutely immortal, and in one or two expressions of this dialogue, he distinctly withholds such an adjective. *
The settled opinion of Athanasius, the “ Father of Orthodoxy,” on the main question, I think can not be proven. On the question of man's nature, he says: “God desired man to continue in incorruption. But man, neglecting and departing
* Professor Hovey, in his “State of the Impenitent Dead,” quoting a passage from Justin's Exhortation to the Greeks, says: “Mr. Hudson refers to the above, in proof, it would seem, of the following statement : * In the same treatise he names as truths held in common, by the philosophers and the Christians, the doctrines of the divine origin of the world and creation of man, of the soul's immortality, and of judgment after this life.'” (P. 137.) Again he remarks: “In the system of Athenagoras,' says Mr. Hudson, 'the immortality of the soul is certainly of nature. (P. 139.)
I am much surprised that my learned friend should cite me thus, as if these were either concessions, or indications of the Christian doctrine of the age; making no allusion to my many quotations showing that the single expression of Justin about immortality did not represent the common sentiment, nor the maturer opinion of Justin himself; and giving his reader no intimation that I regard Athenagoras as leading off a dissent from the common opinion, and preparing the way for the Restorationism of the Alexandrian school. (See Rejoinder, p. 423.)