EMPEROR AND GALILEAN
still ascended from the level plain. Philosophers, among them the noble Plotinus who dwelt in rapt ecstasy upon the life of the High- est One, erected systems destined to endure as long as the stones of Rome. Yet nothing that was thought or done any longer appealed deeply to this hectically smiling generation. Now the message of man's true salvation spread among the peoples. It was as if a warm gulf-stream, richer in salt and in the blue of the sky, rippled through the cooler ocean, joining the surrounding waters but not blending with them, beneficently affecting even the distant areas of the conti- nent.
As soon as that seemed necessary Rome exacted leadership in the Church. Nothing could have been more natural than that a com- munity which extended from Spain to the Nile and the Euphrates, should have sought to establish a ruling centre. Equally natural was the claim to being that centre which was put forward by the principal city of the Empire. There Peter and Paul were buried. It testifies to the primeval unity and solidity of the widely-spread Christian con- gregations that they only gradually and at first only very seldom con- cerned themselves with the leadership of the Roman sister community or appealed to it for a decision. Yet earlier Rome had apparently of its own initiative raised its voice in the conscious feeling that it possessed the primacy. During this same time, near the close of Domitian's reign, when the Jewish author of the Apocalypse was rallying Chris- tianity against the beast with powerful imagistic language, and when the last great historian of Rome, Cornelius Tacitus, was inditing books so weighted down with foreboding, Clement, bishop of Rome, felt called upon to address the authors of a conflict in the Corinthian Church. This letter is instructive as being the expression of the strong zest for order which from the beginning had characterized the Church, and which now (about the year 95) would unite communities that had been organized as oligarchies under a higher leadership of the whole Church by the Roman See. Clement's letter begins: 'The Church of God, which is seated like a stranger in Rome, to the Church of God, which is seated in Corinth."
The whole document is stamped with the will of one who desires to teach men how to live in the City of Jesus Christ. Primitive en- thusiasm had naturally died down, the spirit of the community had