Imatges de pÓgina

sary between God and the world. This intermediate being was the Logos. The author of the Fourth Gospel regards Christ as the true Logos.

On the whole, the Old Testament depicts an objective, ethnic, social order. On the other hand, the New Testament, the teaching of Jesus, the Jewish Christianity of Peter and James, the mystery type of Christianity of Paul and the Greek Christianity of the Fourth Gospel,—present in its different aspects a new kingdom, a new moral empire. This new empire was embodied in the Christian Church, whose chief founders were Paul and Augustine.

Under Constantine Rome became Christian. He founded a Christian Rome on the Bosphorus. The old Rome on the Tiber vainly attempted to reëstablish the old pagan cultus. This is the significance of Julian the Apostate. But the edict of Theodosius in 393 proscribed the practice of paganism. In 410 the city of Rome was sacked by barbarians. Roman civilization seemed doomed. Augustine began to write his City of God. He had no pride in the Empire. Its policy was contrary to the Christian ideal. His book was the announcement to the world that the Christian Church was to supersede the classical Roman world. Such was the historical background of Augustine's life.

Augustine (354-430), a native of Africa, lived at Carthage, Rome, and Milan, and was bishop of Hippo. He was influenced by the life of St. Anthony (about 251-about 356) the anchorite of Egypt. (St. Jerome was also a contemporary of Augustine.) He was converted to Christianity by Ambrose, bishop of Milan, in 387. He rejected his mother's advice to marry,

giving up his concubine and his political office at Milan. The recognition of sex as the basis of the family was the foundation of the old ethnic morality. To have wife and children, to be able to vote intelligently, and to have military training, were the basis of a good life. But Augustine had been a Manichæan and a neoPlatonist before he became a Christian. According to his Persian creed the world is evil. According to his neo-Platonism one must escape from the world to find God. To these views Augustine added his own doctrine that the fall of the race took place in Adam's experience of sex. This fall in the theory of Augustine is overcome in the sacramental mysteries of Baptism and the Lord's Supper. The morality of the family was recognized as a lower type of lay morality. Augustine furnished the theory on which was founded the monastic ideal of the Church. The City of God. superseded the pagan city-state.

In 529 Justinian gave to the world his famous Codex of Roman Law. But he was a Christian and not a pagan Emperor; he closed the philosophic schools of Athens in the same year. Even these socalled Greek schools were, like the Church itself, more Oriental than Greek. In this same year, 529, St. Benedict founded near Naples the Monastery of Monte Cassino, the home of the famous Benedictine order. Thus did the pagan classical world pass away as the monastic Christian world arose to take its place.

As the barbarian hordes poured down into the tottering Roman Empire, the philosophic and religious conscience of the West swung over to the ideal depicted in Plato's Phædo and in the Epistles of Paul.

Western thought took the inner aspect of experiencethe will, the attitude, the heart—and reified it into a metaphysical inner reality and conceived it as existing independently of the socially approved objective pagan interests of family, property, and state. This is the essence of mediævalism. The objective ideal order of Plato and Jesus became an inner world of pure spirit. The ideal world no longer attempted to enrich the objective social order; it made the family, property, and the state taboo, and set itself up as an independent world.



The inner world of the heart and the will, the intellect, the conscience; the world of Jeremiah, of Socrates, ruled the thought empire of the Mediterranean world from Alexander the Great to Constantine, who made Christianity the religion of the Roman Empire. Before Socrates the Greek had been taught that he was a soul, that he had a divine nature, that he was one with Zeus. Later on the old nature religions in Asia Minor, in Greece, in Persia, in Egypt, with their nature rituals, with their interpretation of the life and apparent death of plant and animal and man, became mystery religions. The Phrygian bull-sacrament was no longer an identification of the worshiper with the life-giving energies of the bull which symbolized the life of nature. The taurobolium had become a baptism of blood through which the initiate rid himself of all that was temporal, worldly, all that had to do with the physical life of nature, and took upon himself the immortality of the god. The worship of Mithra was no longer an identification of the individual with the sun as the source of heat and light and food. Dualism had entered. The sun was above the physical things of earth; he was ethereal, spiritual. To be identified with the sun was to become

unworldly and immortal. The Egyptian Osiris likewise ceased to be the god of corn and green plants and trees; he was no longer the life-giving energy which seemed to die in winter and come to life in the spring. He too was now the symbol of a changeless, purely spiritual, eternal life. To be one with Osiris was no longer to live in the world. Even a Greek like Plato wrote the Phædo to teach a philosophy not of life but of death.

The ritual in these Oriental religions survived, but it no longer symbolized the life of nature expressing itself in plant and animal and man; it had come to symbolize an inner purified heart and will, a renunciation of man's natural life. These ritualistic ablutions cleansed the will and the heart; they brought about a rejuvenation of the inner life; they made men capable of immortality. Even Greece herself, the very incarnation of reason in the ancient world, Greece whose religion and morality were embodied in the state, in the family, in the human body, and the pulsating life of nature, abjured her gods of self-control, of measure, of form in matter. She too sought immortality through the mystical route of Oriental ritual. She forsook the gods of the state, of the family, of agriculture, of commerce, of the drama, and of art. Instead of Zeus and Apollo and Demeter and Hermes she set up Dionysus. Instead of the old ritual of war and marriage and state building, there was set up a new ritual of man's inner life. Thought and emotion and sentiment broke away from the old social and political moorings. Ideas and emotions and sentiments were treated as purely inner states of mind. They were

« AnteriorContinua »