Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/192

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

it is obvious that they form, a gradational series from orthodox Judaism, on the extreme left, to paganism, whether philosophic or popular, on the extreme right; and it will further be observed that, while Justin's conception of Christianity is very broad, he rigorously excludes two classes of persons who, in his time, called themselves Christians; namely, those who insist on circumcision and other observances of the law on the part of Gentile converts: that is to say, the strict Judæo-Christians (II), and, on the other hand, those who assert the lawfulness of eating meat offered to idols—whether they are gnostics or not (VII). These last I have called "idolothytic" Christians, because I can not devise a better name, not because it is strictly defensible etymologically.

At the present moment I do not suppose there is an English missionary in any heathen land who would trouble himself whether the materials of his dinner had been previously offered to idols or not. On the other hand, I suppose there is no Protestant sect within the pale of orthodoxy, to say nothing of the Roman and Greek Churches, which would hesitate to declare the practice of circumcision and the observance of the Jewish Sabbath and dietary rules, shockingly heretical.

Modern Christianity has, in fact, not only shifted far to the right of Justin's position, but it is of much narrower compass.

Judæo-Christianity. Modern Christianity. Paganism.
Judaism. |

For, though it includes VII, and even, in saint and relic worship, cuts a "monstrous cantle" out of paganism, it excludes, not only all Judæo-Christians, but all who doubt that such are heretics. Ever since the thirteenth century, the Inquisition would have cheerfully burned, and in Spain did abundantly burn, all persons who came under the categories II, III, IV, V. And the wolf would play the same havoc now if it could only get its blood-stained jaws free from the muzzle imposed by the secular arm.

Further, there is not a Protestant body except the Unitarian, which would not declare Justin himself a heretic, on account of his doctrine of the inferior godship of the Logos; while I am very much afraid that, in strict logic. Dr. Wace would be under the necessity, so painful to him, of calling him an "infidel," on the same and on other grounds.

Now let us turn to our other authority. If there is any result of critical investigations of the sources of Christianity which is certain,[1] it is that Paul of Tarsus wrote the Epistle to the Gala

  1. I guard myself against being supposed to affirm that even the four cardinal epistles of Paul may not have been seriously tampered with. See note on page 176.