Read online or download a free book: The Ancient Church
Publisher: RareBooksClub.com (10 Aug. 2012)
By: William D. Killen (Author), W. D. Killen (Author)
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Excerpt: ...flattering prospects of secular promotion. He became subsequently the bishop of Neo-Caesarea in Pontus. When he entered on his charge he is said to have had a congregation of only seventeen individuals: but his ministry must have been singularly successful: for, according to tradition, all the inhabitants of the city, with seventeen exceptions, were, at the time of his death, members of the Church. The reports respecting him are obviously exaggerated, and no credit can be attached to the narrative of his miracles. 384:1 He wrote several works, of which his 'Panegyric on Origen,' and his 'Paraphrase on Ecclesiastes,' are still extant. The genuineness of some other tracts ascribed to him may be fairly challenged. The preceding account of the fathers of the second and third centuries may enable us to form some idea of the value of these writers as ecclesiastical authorities. Most of them had reached maturity before they embraced the faith of the gospel, so that, with a few exceptions, they wanted the advantages of an early Christian education. Some of them, before their conversion, had bestowed much time and attention on the barren speculations of the pagan philosophers: and, after their reception into the bosom of the Church, they still continued to pursue the same unprofitable studies. Cyprian, one of the most eloquent of these fathers, had been baptized only about two years before he was elected bishop of Carthage: and, during his comparatively short episcopate, he was generally in a turmoil of excitement, and had, consequently, little leisure for reading or mental cultivation. Such a writer is not entitled to command confidence as an expositor of the faith once delivered to the saints. Even in our own day, with all the facilities supplied by printing for the rapid accumulation of knowledge, no one would expect much spiritual instruction from an author who would undertake the office of an interpreter of Scripture two years after his conversion from...
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