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erence of Hermas to a certain Clement, that he wrote as early as the time of the Roman Clement; but it is neither certain that the reference is to the Roman bishop, nor, if it were, that it implies that he was still living. In a writing of this class, it is surely quite conceivable that the author may have chosen to lay the scene a little apart from his actual surroundings. There is no warrant for great positiveness respecting the date. As to the merits of the production, it must be granted that it is not specially rich in content; still, it is interesting as being so early a specimen of that order of composition in which the genius of Bunyan has been immortalized. Under the form of vision or allegorical representations, it inculcates a somewhat ascetic type of piety.

The topic of a preceding section has already given us occasion to mention the next group of writers, the apologists of the second century. A number of these, as was dictated by their philosophical training, as well as by the task of defending Christianity, made a noteworthy advance in the direction of dogmatic construction. Here belong in particular Justin Martyr, Athenagoras, and Theophilus. The name of Tatian might also be added, since he occupied a Catholic standpoint at the time that he wrote his “Address to the Greeks.” The works of Justin Martyr are of considerable compass, and afford important evidence as to current beliefs. The most important are the two Apologies and the Dialogue' with Trypho. The genuineness of these three is beyond dispute. Among other writings attributed to Justin, “ The Address to the Greeks,”

1 Vision, ii. 4.


“ The Sole Government [or unity] of God,” and a treatise on the Resurrection may have been from his hand. Athenagoras, a converted philosopher of Athens, is known to us by two writings, his " Plea for Christians" and his “Defence of the Resurrection." Both are superior works in style and content. Athenagoras was one of the most finished writers of the second century. From Theophilus, a scholarly bishop of Antioch, we have a single apologetic composition, addressed to a heathen acquaintance by the name of Autolycus.

From the latter part of the second century to the latter part of the third, a conspicuous place among Eastern theologians was filled by the Alexandrian school, - a school distinguished by its broad, eclectic, and idealistic bent. Its principal representatives were Pantænus, Clement, Origen, and Dionysius. From the hand of the first, who was a converted Stoic philosopher, only a few fragments are extant. The principal works which have come down to us from Clement are “ The Exhortation to the Greeks,” “The Educator," and “ The Stromata,” or Miscellanies. Though mixed and desultory in their method, even beyond the average of patristic literature, the writings of Clement are of high interest and worth. They show broad learning, and contain many a gleam of philosophic insight as well as of noble sentiment. Origen was the most fertile writer of the ante-Nicene Church. Aside from his extensive labors on the text of the Old Testament, he wrote commentaries on the major part of the Bible, a system of theology entitled “De Principiis,” and an extended apology in answer to the attack of Celsus against Christianity. Early writers refer also to numer

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ous other writings from his pen which are no longer extant. In many points, Origen made noteworthy contributions to Christian thought. At the same time, he was a daring pioneer, and occasionally pushed out into speculations which had no sufficient basis in revelation. Dionysius, a disciple of Origen, was a writer of more than average strength and fruitfulness; but only fragments of his works remain. Among those who affiliated with the Alexandrian school as disciples, friends, or admirers of Origen, a prominent place belongs to Gregory Thaumaturgus, Bishop of Neo-Cæsarea in Pontus; Pamphilus, a presbyter and theological teacher at Cæsarea in Palestine; and Julius Africanus, the first Christian chronographer. Methodius, on the other hand, figures as the first conspicuous censor of Origen's teachings.

Among those who labored and wrote on Western soil, two of the most eminent - namely, Irenæus and Hippolytus — were of Eastern birth; at least, such was the case with the former, and in all probability it was the same with the latter. Irenæus, Bishop of Lyons (178–202), and author of an extensive work, “ Against Heresies,” is commended to us in general by his moderation and clear judgment, both as an administrator and as a theologian. Hippolytus, reputed to have been Bishop of Portus Romanus, and in any case a resident of Rome or its neighborhood, is celebrated as the author of a learned work entitled “Philosophumena," or Refutation of all Heresies.” Many other treatises also were written by him, the majority of which have failed to be transmitted. He was probably the most learned

1 A tradition to this effect is found in the seventh century.

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writer of the era in the West. It is evident from the “ Philosophumena" that he belonged to the party of rigorists on the subject of Church discipline, and was deeply dissatisfied with the policy of the bishops of Rome; but there is hardly ground for the conclusion that he anticipated the schism of Novatian, and became actually a separatist.

Tertullian, who leads the train of Latin Fathers proper, left the impress of his remarkable energy and genius upon a long list of writings. Among those having the greatest dogmatic import are the works entitled “ Against Marcion,” “ Against Praxeas,” “On the Præscription against Heretics,” “On the Soul."

' Minucius Felix, a contemporary of Tertullian, is brought to our attention by his skilful and attractive apology entitled “Octavius.” Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage (248-258), like other great administrators, made his most valuable contribution to Christian literature in the form of epistles. Novatian, the schismatic bishop of Rome in the time of Cyprian, was the author of a treatise on the Trinity. He is to be reckoned among Catholic writers, notwithstanding his schismatic position, since he was as orthodox in his general teaching as the majority of his contemporaries. From Commodian, who wrote near the middle of the third century, we have two religious poems, which contain some rather peculiar notions respecting the Antichrist. Arnobius is known by his apology, which, as already intimated, was more pungent in its attack against heathen errors, than discreet in its presentation of Christian truth.1

1 Döllinger, in his Hippolytus and Kallistus, has defended the view that Hippolytus was not Bishop of Portus, but rather a schismatic bishop of Rome. A presentation of the counter-view is given by Bishop Wordsworth, St. Hippolytus and the Church of Rome (2d edition, 1880). 1 A full and valuable account of the patristic literature of the period may be seen in Schaff's Church History, vol. ii.

In many details these representatives of the Catholic theology no doubt differed widely from each other; yet it is manifest that there must have been an extensive consensus on the fundamental tenets of Christianity, for otherwise the flood of heresies would have met no such effectual breakwater as it actually did encounter.

In the reply to heresy, three sources of evidence were adduced, - Scripture, apostolic tradition, and reason. The refutation of Monarchianism was conducted mainly on the basis of Scripture. This was natural, since the Monarchians in general were at one with the Catholic writers in their view of the sacred canon. In dealing with Gnostics, on the other hand, inasmuch as they made free to reject large parts of the Scriptures, or to spirit away their sense by the most far-fetched allegorizing, it was found necessary to lay much stress upon apostolic tradition. The churches, it was claimed, which could show an unbroken succession of bishops reaching back to the apostles, were to be presumed to have the true understanding of the apostolic teaching. At the same time, those portions of the canon which the Gnostics accepted were utilized to prove their obligation to acknowledge the rejected portions. The fantastic conceits of the Gnostics were also severely criticised, as being contrary to all sober reason, a confused medley of notions stolen from the various heathen philosophies. Jewish heresy proper received little at

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