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Mistaken national pride, accentuated by their galling subject to Rome led them to read a material significance into the predictions of the triumph of the Messias, and hence to love their privilege of being God's chosen people. Paul's metaphor ( Romans ) was then grafted upon the stock of the patriarchs in place of those rejected branches, and entered upon their spiritual inheritance.
We may trace, too, in the world at large, apart from the Jewish people, a similar though less direct preparation.
The Gospels, Acts, and most of the Epistles are recognized as belonging to the Apostolic Age. of Clement and Ignatius ) cannot fail to see what a fullness of traditions, topics of preaching, doctrines, and forms of organization already existed in the time of Trajan (A. 98-117), and in particular churches had reached permanence" (Chronologie der altchristlichen Literature, Bk. For clearness' sake we shall arrange the subject under the following chief heads: I. Christianity is the name given to that definite system of religious belief and practice which was taught by Jesus Christ in the country of Palestine, during the reign of the Roman Emperor, Tiberius, and was promulgated, after its Founder's death, for the acceptance of the whole world, by certain chosen men among His followers.
"The oldest literature of the Church ", says Professor Harnack, "is, in the main points and in most of its details, from the point of view of literary history, veracious and trustworthy . ORIGIN OF CHRISTIANITY AND ITS RELATION WITH OTHER RELIGIONS; II. According to the accepted chronology, these began their mission on the day of Pentecost, A. 29, which day is regarded, accordingly, as the birthday of the Christian Church .
On the marvel of the Resurrection is based in the counsels of God the faith of Christianity.All peoples alike retained some more or less vague recollection of a Paradise lost, a remote Golden Age, but only the spirit of Israel kept alive the definite hope of a world-wide empire of justice, wherein the Fall of Man should be repaired.The fact that, eventually, the Jews misinterpreted their oracles, and identified the Messianic Kingdom with a mere temporal sovereignty of Israel, cannot invalidate the testimony of the Scriptures, as interpreted both by Christ's own life and the teaching of His Apostles, to the gradual evolution of that conception of which Christianity is the full and perfect expression."If Christ is not risen again, your faith is vain", declares the Apostle Paul ( 1 Corinthians ), who says no word of the other wonders Christ performed.By His death, therefore, and His return from the dead, Christ, as the event proved, furnished the strongest means for the effective preaching of the religion He came to found.
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In the following article an account is given of Christianity as a religion, describing its origin, its relation to other religions, its essential nature and chief characteristics, but not dealing with its doctrines in detail nor its history as a visible organization.