EMPEROR AND GALILEAN
flail, they flew as chaff does from the wheat. This was characteristic of Rome, Carthage and the Empire as a whole. After the storm was over, many who had lapsed wished to be Christians again. How were they to be dealt with? Were they to be cast off forever? Were they to be accepted on the petition of confessors of the Faith who had earned a kind of consecration and authority by their steadfastness under torment, or was it sufficient that they expressed contrition and were ready to undergo specified forms of penance and ecclesiastical dis- cipline?
The problem created a schism in Rome. Just as the anti-bishop Hippolytus had opposed Calixtus on doctrinal grounds, so Novatian die Rigorist now rose up against Pope Cornelius. But already there had been a sharp cleavage of opinion in Carthage, and this had been aired in writings and addresses. The question plumbed to the depths of human nature, and it also involved the government of the Church. The antique world had not been ignorant of the nature of crime and punishment. It had known Moses and the Prophets, the tragedy of Prometheus who had in voluntary penitence placed a crown of reeds upon his head as a symbolic fetter. It had beheld the pious throng to Delphi and seen thousands come to the Mysteries. Now it was the Church's obligation to weigh sin and penance in its scales. The effort to find the right medium between harshness and laxity was part of the effort to reach a definition of ecclesiastical authority. These questions and the schism that grew out of them forced both Rome and Carthage to reach a decision. When Cyprian returned in 251, he dealt with them in word and deed. He forbade all those not having authority to assume the rights of the bishop. He let the apostates realize the fullness of their guilt, but he did not ex- communicate them forever. Then he wrote his great treatise con- cerning the unity of the Catholic Church. There is one God and He dwells in the One Christ. This One Christ, however, lives in One Church which professes one faith. The apostles of this Church are, by reason of the word addressed by Christ to Peter the Rock, the bishops in their unity and unison. Therefore there is no salva- tion excepting it be in the Church. None can have God for his Father unless he first have the Church for his Mother. By reason of her legitimate succession to the theocracy of the Old Testament,