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THE

EARLY CHRISTIANS:

THEIR

MANNERS AND CUSTOMS,

TRIALS AND SUFFERINGS.

BY

THE REV. W. PRIDDEN, M. A.,

CURATE OF NORTH OCKENDON, ESSEX.

The way to bliss lies not on heds of down,
And he that had no cross deserves no crown.

LONDON:

JOHN W. PARKER, WEST STRAND.

M.DCCC.XXXVII.

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CONTENTS

Page

INTRODUCTION

CHAPTER I. Reasons of hatred against Christianity.-Its Ex-

cellence.--Its Opposition to Idolatry.—Euplius.--Its sup-

posed Disloyalty.-Its Novelty.-Its Success in spite of the

Scorn it met with. Its patient Endurance, not its Sufferings,

extraordinary ..

1

CHAPTER II. Ignorance often a companion of Hatred.-Christ's

Miracles ascribed to magic.-Christians confounded with
Jews.—Accounts of Christians by Heathen writers.--Hor-
rid Crimes and contemptible Weakness charged upon them.

— Their Sufferings considered a proof of their being in
error.---Christianity the only form of Religion not tole-

and why.—Language of Scripture, low condition and

attainments of Converts, brought as objections by the

Heathens.—The Ignorance of these last without excuse 16

CHAPTER III. Faults of pretended Christians an injury to the

Church.-Simon Magus.—The Gnostics. --- Why such men

chose to be called Christians.— The unbelieving Jews. -

St. Peter and Simon Magus.—St. John and Cerinthus.-

Polycarp and Marcion.-False Professors' trials of Faith.

Such Trials always to be expected

29

CHAPTER IV. Persecution no hindrance to the Church's

growth.–Weight of its Trials.—Martyrs.-Confessors. —

Nero's Persecution.--Succeeding ones.--Torments.—In-

sults to the Dead.—Zeal for Martyrdom.-Respect paid to

Martyrs.--Baptism by Blood. --Celebration of Martyrs.-

Abuses of this.---Relics.—Honours bestowed on Martyrs

yet alive.-Overdone zeal.--Silent and unknown Martyr-

dom.— Trajan's Edict.—Conclusion

40

CHAPTER V. Ignatius.—Polycarp.-Ptolemæus and Lucius.-

Justin Martyr.–Martyrs at Lyons.—Epipodius and Alex-

ander.—Perpetua and Felicitas.—St. Laurence.-St. Cy-

prian.-Nicephorus.-Genesius.-Martyrs of Palestine.

Felix.-Irenæus.—Philip.—Afra.—Julius. Conclusion 64

CHAPTER VI. Advantages of studying the History of our

Faith.-Change of subject.-Fleury on Public Worship.-
Ancient mode of Baptism.-Confirmation.—Matrimony.
Burial, 1 Cor. xv. 29.-Early Christian Churches.—20

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Images allowed. - All gifts to them sacred.—Public Wor-
ship.-Attendants on it.—In the common tongue.-Set
forms of Prayer.—Commencement of Divine Service.
Lessons from Scripture.—Sermon.–Prayers following it.-
End of the first Service.—Communion Service.- Mode of
Administering. — Collections. — Preparation. — Dress of
Clergy.-Postures of Devotion.-Christian Sabbath.-Say-
ing of Ambrose.—Christian Ministry.—Modern differences.

- Power of Early Bishops, Priests, and Deacons.—Proofs

of respect paid to them as their due.-Conclusion

110

CHAPTER VII. Distinction between Believers and Heathens.

-Disregard of worldly things.-Agatha.—Christ's kindred.
-Gregory.–Strength of Christian motives.—Origen and
his Father.—The Christian Lady and her two Sons.-Con-
stantius.—Temperance of Believers.—Blessed effects of
Religion on the Female sex.-Indian Christians.—Humility.

- Martyrs at Lyons.—Origen.-Ambrose and Theodosius.
-Submission to Rulers. - Want of Humility in Heretics.
-Afterwards spread.—Courage and Patience.—Marinus.--
Charity of the First Christians.-St. John's standing

Text. -St. John and the Robber.-Bounty of Christians.-

All things in common.—Plague at Carthage and Alexan-

dria.-Cholera at Bilston,-Poverty no reproach with the

Early Church.—How far their Poverty is a rule for us.-

And if a Rule at all, a general one.-Julian's Mockery.-

Heathen Crimes put a stop to.-Causes of Thankfulness

163

CHAPTER VIII. Faults in all.-- Early Church apt to overdo

what was right.—Single Life.-Fasting.–Self-torments.-

Paul of Thebais.-Simeon Stylites.- Desire to Suffer.

Quintus. -Moderation of Justin.—Temptations to Rash-

ness.—Honours and Power of Martyrs, &c.—Doing Evil

that Good may come.-Copying Heathen customs.-

Quarrels.—Sign of the Cross.—Prayers for the Dead.-

Conclusion

199

CHAPTER IX. Caution in pronouncing what are Divine Judg-

ments.—Herod the Great.-His Family.-Pontius Pilate.

-Herod Agrippa the elder. -Ananias.—Nero.-Fall of the

Jews.-Valerian.—Diocletian.-Galerius.—Julian.-Con-

clusion

223

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INTRODUCTION.

To give to any Christian who has been taught to read his Bible some correct ideas of the state of the Church of Christ, in the times that immediately followed the death of the Apostles; to show by various accounts and passages, taken from writers of credit, some of the particular customs, ways of life, and habits of thinking, common among the first believers in our holy Religion; to point out also in what respects the Church of England has followed them; in a word, to impart a general knowledge of the character of the early Christians during their gradual, but yet rapid, increase from a mere handful of despised and persecuted men to a vast multitude scattered over nearly all the earth ;—such are the chief objects of this little work. Many of the records which have come down to us of the behaviour of the early Christians must fill every thinking mind with admiration and astonishment. The boldness, the zeal, the tenderness, the virtue, the faith, the devotion, displayed by them would seem improbable in a tale of fancy; and nevertheless they are recorded in histories bearing upon them the stamp and mark of truth itself; they are described, not merely by admiring friends, but also by the astonished enemies of the Gospel. Did we not know the spring

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