On the day of Pentecost, when the Church set out on its mission to the world, the field that lay immediately before it was the Roman Empire.
§ 1. In extent the Empire consisted, towards the end of the reign of its founder Augustus, 31 B.C-A.D. 14, of eight and twenty provinces. By the incorporation of dependencies such as Mauritania, 40, and Arabia, 105, by subdivision and re-arrangement, the twenty-eight had become ninety-nine at the opening of the reign of Diocletian, 284-305, its second founder. During the interval, no permanent acquisition of territory took place, save that Britain was annexed between the reigns of Claudius, 41-54, and Domitian, 81-96. The southern part of our island was occupied after the campaigns, 48-7, of Aulus Plautius. Then Julius Agricola, 78-85, extended the province to the line of forts which he built between the Forth and the Clyde. He would have brought Ireland also within the sway of Rome, had he not been refused an extra legion. But his conquests were abandoned, and the frontier withdrawn to the Wall of Hadrian, 122, from the Tyne to the Solway…
Athanasius in Exile at Trèves (Trier), and What Happened in the Interim;
The Dedication of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Resurrection
The Eusebian Synod at Constantinople, and the Condemnation of Marcellus
The Death of Arius
The Death of Constantine the Great
The Return of Athanasius from the First Exile and the Commencement of the Second Exile
The Council of Sardica and the Second Return of Athanasius
The Resumption of the Arian Persecution, and the Third Exile
The Ministry of the Wilderness
The Fate of the Church in Egypt
The Writings of Athanasius during the Exile
The Four Discourses against the Arians
The Divisions in the Arian Party
The Divinity of the Holy Spirit
The Accession of Julian, and the Third Restoration of Athanasius to his See
The Acts of Athanasius on his Reappearance after his Six Years of Exile
The Cause and Issue of the Fourth Exile of Athanasius
The Fifth Exile and Closing Years of Athanasius
The Character of Athanasius
The life-story of Athanasius has often been told. During half a century the biography of this man becomes a history of Christianity and of the Church, when both were alike face to face with a Pagan reaction. The extant writings of Athanasius—wbich have been edited and also translated in convenient form for the English reader—cast a bright light upon contemporary religious politics and parties, proclaim the dawn of rational exegesis, and are especially valuable from the eagerness with which the author dealt with ideas and things rather than with terms or phrases. The ecclesiastical histories of Eusebius, Rufinus, Socrates, Sozomen, Theodoret and Evagrius, as well as the fragments of the Arian Philostorgius, when these are checked by Athanasius himself, warmed by the studied panegyrics of Gregory of Nazianzus, criticised in the light of the epistles of Julian and the pages of the Roman historians or Greek sophists, furnish abundant material for the student of the fourth century…
Robinson Thornton (1824-1906) was Archdeacon of Middlesex and later a Prebendary of St. Paul’s Cathedral (see Wikipedia article). This book is a brief biogaphy of Ambrose of Milan, followed by an assessment of his impact on church history.
My thanks to Book Aid for making a copy of this public domain title available for digitisation.
Church-Building – Maximus and Justina (A.D. 386-387)
Theodosius (A.D. 388)
The Sin and Penance of Theodosius (A.D. 389-390)
Eugenius (A.D. 392-393)
Victory and Death (A.D. 394-395)
The End of a Great Life (A.D. 395-397)
Ambrose a Poet and Musician
St. Ambrose as a Theologian
St. Ambrose as an Interpreter of Scripture
Ambrose as a Pastor
Birth and Infancy
It is the year A.D. 340. Twenty-eight years have passed since Constantine the Great saw, as he declared, in vision the symbol of the Crucified, and was bidden to hope for victory, temporal and eternal, through Him alone; twenty-eight years since the tyrant Maxentius lost his power and his life at the Milvian bridge; twenty-seven since Constantine’s second edict, dated not from Rome, but from Milan, released the Christians from the fear of persecution, and launched the Cross on an unimpeded career of conquest. It is fifteen years since the memorable time when the three hundred and eighteen at Nicaea affirmed, in the happy word Consubstantial, the truth of the Incarnation of the Eternal Son, very God of very God, made very man; four since the unhappy heresiarch Arius perished at Constantinople by a strange and sudden death; seven since the busy brain of another enemy of the faith, not heretic, but scoffer, Iamblichus, of Chalcis in Syria…
J.J. Lias [1834-1923] set out to present candidates for the ministry with a systematic exposition of the Nicene Creed. My thanks to Book Aid for providing a copy of this book for digitisation. This title is in the public domain.
The Revelation of God in the Person of Jesus Christ
The Redemptive Work of Jesus Christ
I Believe in the Holy Ghost, &c.
The Catholic Church
The Resurrection of the Dead, and the Life of the World to come
The importance of Creeds in the system of the Universal Church depends upon two considerations. The first is the position of faith in the economy of salvation; the second is the necessity, in an organised society, that each member of that society should give his adhesion to the truths the society was established to maintain and propagate. The first will be discussed in the following chapter. The second may very reasonably be taken-for granted. But it is desirable, before proceeding further, that a brief historical account should be given of the actual place of Creeds in the system of the Church.
The Creed was originally, there can be little doubt, an expansion of the Baptismal formula. Each person, on his or her entrance into the Christian Church, was expected to make a profession of faith in the Existence and Nature of the Being with Whom he or she entered into union, and in certain results of that Being’s working in the corporate society and in the individual spirit….
In his foreword H.B. Swete notes that he wrote this book to encourage younger clergy to read the church fathers for themselves and not to rely on second hand information. This brief introduction will be still of value to students of the early church more than a century after it was first published. This title is in the public domain.
The literary remains of the Apostolic age in the providence of God have become the common property of Christendom. Admitted into the canon of Holy Scripture, translated into the language of every civilised people, circulated by great societies established for that end, the Gospels and Epistles, the Acts and the Apocalypse are in the hands of all Christians who can read their mother tongue. A widely different fate has overtaken the post-Apostolic literature of the Ancient Church. If the names of some of the more eminent ‘Fathers’ are familiar to all educated men, few are attracted to the study of their writings. A grotesque misrepresentation associates the Fathers with dulness and ignorance. It is assumed that the writings which record the history, the life, and the thought of the Christian Church during the centuries which followed the death of St. John are destitute of literary merit or spiritual profit….
William Fairweather’s work on Origen provides a general introduction to the great Alexandrian theologian, his theology and his legacy. My thanks to Book Aid for providing a copy of this book for digitisation. This title is in the public domain.
Historical Services, General Characteristics, and Distinctive Doctrinal Conplexion of the Greek Theology
Reaction Against Origen
Subsequent History of Origenism
Chapter 1: Precursors of Origen
Christianity had introduced a new idea of God, which superseded not only the deities of classical mythology, but also the Hebraic Deism which regarded God merely as the God of the Jews, and as virtually separate from the world. The Greek patristic theology was the result of the application of the specific methods of Greek philosophy to the new material supplied by the Christian history, with the view of constructing a reasoned theory of God and the universe. As such it was ” the last characteristic creation of the Greek genius.” In the New Testament God is represented from a religious point of view; but for the Greek mind, which conceived God metaphysically as abstract Being, a scientific theology was indispensable. The facts of Christianity had to be so interpreted as to yield a conception of God which would at once conserve His unity, and yet admit of His organic connection with man as Lord and Saviour….
This is a series of four lectures on the Church’s task of evangelising the Roman Empire. Charles Bigg [1840-1908] was Regius Professor of Ecclesiastical History at the University of Oxford. This title is in the public domain.
These four Lectures, delivered in the Oxford Schools in the Michaelmas Term of 1904, are an attempt to sketch in broad outlines the nature of the task which lay before the Church when she set out in obedience to the divine call to evangelize the Graeco-Roman world, and the degree in which she was enabled to fulfil that task within the compass of the first five centuries.
It is far too large a subject for so small a volume. On very many points I have only been able to indicate the quarters where information is to be found, and the problems that court further investigation. When I have ventured to give my own opinion it has been done, not without consideration, but briefly and rather too much ex cathedra. The reader must allow for all this. I shall be quite content if the Lectures are found to promote in any degree what is in fact their main object. [Click to visit the main download page]
Andrew Ewbank Burns 1899 Introduction to the Creeds appears to be a comprehensive treatment of the subject. Originally prepared as course book for students at Cambridge University, the author hoped that his work would also be useful to a wider readership.
The Historic Faith in the Second and Third Centuries
The Theological Faith of the Fourth Century
Our Nicene Creed
The Athanasian Creed I
The Athanasian Creed II
The Apostles’ Cred in the Fourth Century
Our Apostles’ Creed
The “Te Deum”
Of the Use of the Creeds
The following Introduction to the Creeds· and to the Early History of the Te Deum has been designed, in the first instance, for the use of students reading for the Cambridge Theological Tripos. I have edited all the Creed-forms set for that examination, with the exception of three lengthy formularies, which belong rather to a history of doctrine than to my present subject. These are-the letter of Cyril to Nestorius, the letter of Leo to Flavian, and the Definition of the Council of Chalcedon.
At the same time, I hope that the book may be useful to a wider circle of readers-to clergy and candidates for Holy Orders. The subject is of supreme importance to all teachers of Church doctrine; and the only excuse for adding to the number of books which already deal with it, is the desire to enable others to gather the first-fruits of many writers and of recent researches in England and abroad. [Continue reading]
Early Church History to the Death of Constantine was Edward Backhouse’s final work and was completed posthumously by Charles Tylor. Backhouse intended to write church history from the perspective of The Society of Friends (Quakers).
His desire, perhaps not fully allowed to himself, was to find out with what early early teachers stigmatised as heretics he himself could in any way sympathise; what protests against priestly assumptions and ritualistic corruptions had been made in the early ages of the Church.
Thomas Hodgkin [1831-1913], Biographical Preface, p.xiii.