Vol. 2, Chapter VIII (Cont’d) – Brotherly Love, and Love for Enemies


Schaubach: Das Verhältniss der Moral des classischen Alterthums zur christlichen, beleuchtet durch vergleichende Erörterung der Lehre von der Feindesliebe, in the “Studien und Kritiken” for 1851, p. 59-121. Also the works of Schmidt, Chastel, Uhlhorn, etc., quoted at § 88 above.

It is generally admitted, that selfishness was the soul of heathen morality. The great men of antiquity rose above its sordid forms, love of gain and love of pleasure, but were the more under the power of ambition and love of fame. It was for fame that Miltiades and Themistocles fought against the Persians; that Alexander set out on his tour of conquest; that Herodotus wrote his history, that Pindar sang his odes, that Sophocles composed his tragedies, that Demosthenes delivered his orations, that Phidias sculptured his Zeus. Fame was set forth in the Olympian games as the highest object of life; fame was held up by Aeschylus as the last comfort of the suffering; fame was declared by Cicero, before a large assembly, the ruling passion of the very best of men. Even the much-lauded patriotism of the heroes of ancient Greece and Rome was only an enlarged egotism. In the catalogue of classical virtues we look in vain for the two fundamental and cardinal virtues, love and humility. The very word which corresponds in Greek to humility signifies generally, in classical usage, a mean, abject mind. The noblest and purest form of love known to the heathen moralist is friendship, which Cicero praises as the highest good next to wisdom. But friendship itself rested, as was freely admitted, on a utilitarian, that is, on an egotistic basis, and was only possible among persons of equal or similar rank in society. For the stranger, the barbarian, and the enemy, the Greek and Roman knew no love, but only contempt and hatred. The jus talionis, the return of evil for evil, was universally acknowledged throughout the heathen world as a just principle and maxim, in direct opposition to the plainest injunctions of the New Testament (Mat_5:23, Mat_5:24, Mat_5:44; Mat_6:12; Mat_18:21. Rom_12:17, Rom_12:19, Rom_12:20. 1Co_13:7. 1Th_5:15. 1Pe_3:9). We must offend those who offend us, says Aeschylus. Not to take revenge was regarded as a sign of weakness and cowardice. To return evil for good is devilish; to return good for good is human and common to all religions; to return good for evil is Christlike and divine, and only possible in the Christian religion.

On the other hand, however, we should suppose that every Christian virtue must find some basis in the noblest moral instincts and aspirations of nature; since Christianity is not against nature, but simply above it and intended for it. Thus we may regard the liberality, benevolence, humanity and magnanimity which we meet with in heathen antiquity, as an approximation to, and preparation for, the Christian virtue of charity. The better schools of moralists rose more or less above the popular approval of hatred of the enemy, wrath and revenge. Aristotle and the Peripatetics, without condemning this passion as wrong in itself, enjoined at least moderation in its exercise. The Stoics went further, and required complete apathy or suppression of all strong and passionate affections. Cicero even declares placability and clemency one of the noblest traits in the character of a great man, and praises Caesar for forgetting nothing except injuries. Seneca, Epictetus, Plutarch, and Marcus Aurelius, who were already indirectly and unconsciously under the influence of the atmosphere of Christian morality, decidedly condemn anger and vindictiveness, and recommend kindness to slaves, and a generous treatment even of enemies.

But this sort of love for an enemy, it should be remembered, in the first place, does not flow naturally from the spirit of heathenism, but is, as it were, an accident and exception; secondly, it is not enjoined as a general duty, but expected only from the great and the wise; thirdly, it does not rise above the conception of magnanimity, which, more closely considered, is itself connected with a refined form of egotism, and with a noble pride that regards it below the dignity of a gentleman to notice the malice of inferior men; fourthly, it is commended only in its negative aspect as refraining from the right of retaliation, not as active benevolence and charity to the enemy, which returns good for evil; and finally it is nowhere derived from a religious principle, the love of God to man, and therefore has no proper root, and lacks the animating soul.

No wonder, then, that in spite of the finest maxims of a few philosophers, the imperial age was controlled by the coldest selfishness, so that, according to the testimony of Plutarch, friendship had died out even in families, and the love of brothers and sisters was supposed to be possible only in a heroic age long passed by. The old Roman world was a world without charity. Julian the Apostate, who was educated a Christian, tried to engraft charity upon heathenism, but in vain. The idea of the infinite value of each human soul, even the poorest and humblest, was wanting, and with it the basis for true charity.

It was in such an age of universal egotism that Christianity first revealed the true spirit of love to man as flowing from the love of God, and exhibited it in actual life. This cardinal virtue we meet first within the Church itself, as the bond of union among believers, and the sure mark of the genuine disciple of Jesus. “That especially,” says Tertullian to the heathen, in a celebrated passage of his Apologeticus, “which love works among us, exposes us to many a suspicion. ‘Behold,’ they say, ‘how they love one another!’ Yea, verily this must strike them; for they hate each other. ‘And how ready they are to die for one another!’ Yea, truly; for they are rather ready to kill one another. And even that we call each other ‘brethren,’ seems to them suspicious for no other reason, than that, among them, all expressions of kindred are only feigned. We are even your brethren, in virtue of the common nature, which is the mother of us all; though ye, as evil brethren, deny your human nature. But how much more justly are those called and considered brethren, who acknowledge the one God as their Father; who have received the one Spirit of holiness; who have awaked from the same darkness of uncertainty to the light of the same truth?… And we, who are united in spirit and in soul, do not hesitate to have also all things common, except wives. For we break fellowship just where other men practice it.”

This brotherly love flowed from community of life in Christ. Hence Ignatius calls believers “Christ-bearers” and “God-bearers.” The article of the Apostles’ Creed: “I believe in the communion of saints;” the current appellation of “brother” and “sister;” and the fraternal kiss usual on admission into the church, and at the Lord’s Supper, were not empty forms, nor even a sickly sentimentalism, but the expression of true feeling and experience, only strengthened by the common danger and persecution. A travelling Christian, of whatever language or country, with a letter of recommendation from his bishop, was everywhere hospitably received as a long known friend. It was a current phrase: In thy brother thou hast seen the Lord himself. The force of love reached beyond the grave. Families were accustomed to celebrate at appointed times the memory, of their departed members; and this was one of the grounds on which Tertullian opposed second marriage.

The brotherly love expressed itself, above all, in the most self-sacrificing beneficence to the poor and sick, to widows and orphans, to strangers and prisoners, particularly to confessors in bonds. It magnifies this virtue in our view, to reflect, that the Christians at that time belonged mostly to the lower classes, and in times of persecution often lost all their possessions. Every congregation was a charitable society, and in its public worship took regular collections for its needy members. The offerings at the communion and love-feasts, first held on the evening, afterwards on the morning of the Lord’s Day, were considered a part of worship (Jam_1:27; Heb_13:1-3, Heb_13:16). To these were added numberless private charities, given in secret, which eternity alone will reveal. The church at Rome had under its care a great multitude of widows, orphans, blind, lame, and sick, whom the deacon Laurentius, in the Decian persecution, showed to the heathen prefect, as the most precious treasures of the church. It belonged to the idea of a Christian housewife, and was particularly the duty of the deaconesses, to visit the Lord, to clothe him, and give him meat and drink, in the persons of his needy disciples. Even such opponents of Christianity as Lucian testify to this zeal of the Christians in labors of love, though they see in it nothing but an innocent fanaticism. “It is incredible,” says Lucian, “to see the ardor with which the people of that religion help each other in their wants. They spare nothing. Their first legislator has put into their heads that they are all brethren.”

This beneficence reached beyond the immediate neighborhood. Charity begins at home, but does not stay at, home. In cases of general distress the bishops appointed special collections, and also fasts, by which food might be saved for suffering brethren. The Roman church sent its charities great distances abroad. Cyprian of Carthage, who, after his conversion, sold his own estates for the benefit of the poor, collected a hundred thousand sestertia, or more than three thousand dollars, to redeem Christians of Numidia, who had been taken captive by neighboring barbarians; and he considered it a high privilege “to be able to ransom for a small sum of money him, who has redeemed us from the dominion of Satan with his own blood.” A father, who refused to give alms on account of his children, Cyprian charged with the additional sin of binding his children to an earthly inheritance, instead of pointing them to the richest and most loving Father in heaven.

Finally, this brotherly love expanded to love even for enemies, which returned the heathens good for evil, and not rarely, in persecutions and public misfortunes, heaped coals of fire on their heads. During the persecution under Gallus (252), when the pestilence raged in Carthage, and the heathens threw out their dead and sick upon the streets, ran away from them for fear of the contagion, and cursed the Christians as the supposed authors of the plague, Cyprian assembled his congregation, and exhorted them to love their enemies; whereupon all went to work; the rich with their money, the poor with their hands, and rested not, till the dead were buried, the sick cared for, and the city saved from desolation. The same self-denial appeared in the Christians of Alexandria during a ravaging plague under the reign of Gallienus. These are only a few prominent manifestations of a spirit which may be traced through the whole history of martyrdom and the daily prayers of the Christians for their enemies and persecutors. For while the love of friends, says Tertullian, is common to all men, the love of enemies is a virtue peculiar to Christians. “You forget,” he says to the heathens in his Apology, “that, notwithstanding your persecutions, far from conspiring against you, as our numbers would perhaps furnish us with the means of doing, we pray for you and do good to you; that, if we give nothing for your gods, we do give for your poor, and that our charity spreads more alms in your streets than the offerings presented by your religion in your temples.”

The organized congregational charity of the ante-Nicene age provided for all the immediate wants. When the state professed Christianity, there sprang up permanent charitable institutions for the poor, the sick, for strangers, widows, orphans, and helpless old men. The first clear proof of such institutions we find in the age of Julian the Apostate, who tried to check the progress of Christianity and to revive paganism by directing the high priest of Galatia, Arsacius, to establish in every town a Xenodochium to be supported by the state and also by private contributions; for, he said, it was a shame that the heathen should be left without support from their own, while “among the Jews no beggar can be found, and the godless Galilaeans” (i.e. the Christians) “nourish not only their own, but even our own poor.” A few years afterwards (370) we hear of a celebrated hospital at Caesarea, founded by St. Basilius, and called after him “Basilias,” and similar institutions all over the province of Cappadocia. We find one at Antioch at the time of Chrysostom, who took a practical interest in it. At Constantinople there were as many as thirty-five hospitals. In the West such institutions spread rapidly in Rome, Sicily, Sardinia, and Gaul.


101. Prayer and Fasting

In regard to the importance and the necessity of prayer, as the pulse and thermometer of spiritual life, the ancient church had but one voice. Here the plainest and the most enlightened Christians met; the apostolic fathers, the steadfast apologists, the realistic Africans, and the idealistic Alexandrians. Tertullian sees in prayer the daily sacrifice of the Christian, the bulwark of faith, the weapon against all the enemies of the soul. The believer should not go to his bath nor take his food without prayer; for the nourishing and refreshing of the spirit must precede that of the body, and the heavenly must go before the earthly. “Prayer,” says he, “blots out sins, repels temptations, quenches persecutions, comforts, the desponding, blesses the high-minded, guides the wanderers, calms the billows, feeds the poor, directs the rich, raises the fallen, holds up the falling, preserves them that stand.” Cyprian requires prayer by day and by night; pointing to heaven, where we shall never cease to pray and give thanks. The same father, however, falls already into that false, unevangelical view, which represents prayer as a meritorious work and a satisfaction to be rendered to God. Clement of Alexandria conceives the life of a genuine Christian as an unbroken prayer. “In every place he will pray, though not openly, in the sight of the multitude. Even on his walks, in his intercourse with others, in silence, in reading, and in labor, he prays in every way. And though he commune with God only in the chamber of his soul, and call upon the Father only with a quiet sigh, the Father is near him.” The same idea we find in Origen, who discourses in enthusiastic terms of the mighty inward and outward effects of prayer, and with all his enormous learning, regards prayer as the sole key to the spiritual meaning of the Scriptures.

The order of human life, however, demands special times for this consecration of the every-day business of men. The Christians generally followed the Jewish usage, observed as times of prayer the hours of nine, twelve, and three, corresponding also to the crucifixion of Christ, his death, and his descent from the cross; the cock-crowing likewise, and the still hour of midnight they regarded as calls to prayer.

With prayer for their own welfare, they united intercessions for the whole church, for all classes of men, especially for the sick and the needy, and even for the unbelieving. Polycarp enjoins on the church of Philippi to pray for all the saints, for kings and rulers, for haters and persecutors, and for the enemies of the cross. “We pray,” says Tertullian, “even for the emperors and their ministers, for the holders of power on earth, for the repose of all classes, and for the delay of the end of the world.”

With the free outpourings of the heart, without which living piety cannot exist, we must suppose, that, after the example of the Jewish church, standing forms of prayer were also used, especially such as were easily impressed on the memory and could thus be freely delivered. The familiar “ex pectore” and “sine monitore” of Tertullian prove nothing against this; for a prayer committed to memory may and should be at the same time a prayer of the heart, as a familiar psalm or hymn may be read or sung with ever new devotion. The general use of the Lord’s Prayer in the ancient church in household and public worship is beyond all doubt. The Didache (ch. 8) enjoins it three times a day. Tertullian, Cyprian, Origen, wrote special treatises upon it. They considered it the model prayer, prescribed by the Lord for the whole church. Tertullian calls it the “regular and usual prayer, a brief summary of the whole gospel, and foundation of all the other prayers of the Christians.” The use of it, however, was restricted to communicants; because the address presupposes the worshipper’s full sonship with God, and because the fourth petition was taken in a mystical sense, as referring to the holy Supper, and was therefore thought not proper for catechumens.

As to posture in prayer; kneeling or standing, the raising or closing of the eyes, the extension or elevation of the hands, were considered the most suitable expressions of a bowing spirit and a soul directed towards God. On Sunday the standing posture was adopted, in token of festive joy over the resurrection from sin and death. But there was no uniform law in regard to these forms. Origen lays chief stress on the lifting of the soul to God and the bowing of the heart before him; and says that, where circumstances require, one can worthily pray sitting, or lying, or engaged in business.

After the Jewish custom, fasting was frequently joined with prayer, that the mind, unencumbered by earthly matter, might devote itself with less distraction to the contemplation of divine things. The apostles themselves sometimes employed this wholesome discipline (Act_13:2; Act_14:23; 2Co_6:5), though without infringing the gospel freedom by legal prescriptions. As the Pharisees were accustomed to fast twice in the week, on Monday and Thursday, the Christians appointed Wednesday and especially Friday, as days of half-fasting or abstinence from flesh, in commemoration of the passion and crucifixion of Jesus. They did this with reference to the Lord’s words: “When the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, then will they fast (Mat_9:15).”

In the second century arose also the custom of Quadragesimal fasts before Easter, which, however, differed in length in different countries; being sometimes reduced to forty hours, sometimes extended to forty days, or at least to several weeks. Perhaps equally ancient are the nocturnal fasts or vigils before the high festivals, suggested by the example of the Lord and the apostles (Luk_6:12. Act_16:25). But the Quatemporal fasts are of later origin, though founded likewise on a custom of the Jews after the exile. On special occasions the bishops appointed extraordinary fasts, and applied the money saved to charitable purposes; a usage which became often a blessing to the poor. Yet hierarchical arrogance and Judaistic legalism early intruded here, even to the entire destruction of the liberty of a Christian man (Mat_9:15; Gal_4:9; Gal_5:1).

This rigidity appeared most in the Montanists. Besides the usual fasts, they observed special Xerophagiae as they were called; seasons of two weeks for eating only dry or properly uncooked food, bread, salt, and water. The Catholic church, with true feeling, refused to sanction these excesses as a general rule, but allowed ascetics to carry fasting even to extremes. A confessor in Lyons, for example, lived on bread and water alone, but forsook that austerity when reminded that he gave offence to other Christians by so despising the gifts of God.

Against the frequent over-valuation of fasting, Clement of Alexandria quotes the word of Paul: The kingdom of God is not meat and drink, therefore neither abstinence from wine and flesh, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.


102. Treatment of the Dead

Comp. Chapter VII. on the Catacombs.

The pious care of the living for the beloved dead is rooted in the noblest instincts of human nature, and is found among all nations, ancient and modern, even among barbarians. Hence the general custom of surrounding the funeral with solemn rites and prayers, and giving the tomb a sacred and inviolable character. The profane violation of the dead and robbery of graves were held in desecration, and punished by law. No traditions and laws were more sacred among the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans than those that guarded and protected the shades of the departed who can do no harm to any of the living. “It is the popular belief,” says Tertullian, “that the dead cannot enter Hades before they are buried.” Patroclus appears after his death to his friend Achilles in a dream, and thus exhorts him to provide for his speedy burial:

“Achilles, sleepest thou, forgetting me?

Never of me unmindful in my life,

Thou dost neglect me dead. O, bury me

Quickly, and give me entrance through the gates

Of Hades; for the souls, the forms of those

Who live no more, repulse me, suffering not

That I should join their company beyond

The river, and I now must wander round

The spacious portals of the House of Death.”

Christianity intensified this regard for the departed, and gave it a solid foundation by the doctrine of the immortality of the soul and the resurrection of the body. Julian the Apostate traced the rapid spread and power of that religion to three causes: benevolence, care of the dead, and honesty. After the persecution under Marcus Aurelius, the Christians in Southern Gaul were much distressed because the enraged heathens would not deliver them the corpses of their brethren for burial. Sometimes the vessels of the church were sold for the purpose. During the ravages of war, famine, and pestilence, they considered it their duty to bury the heathen as well as their fellow-Christians. When a pestilence depopulated the cities in the reign of the tyrannical persecutor Maximinus, “the Christians were the only ones in the midst of such distressing circumstances that exhibited sympathy and humanity in their conduct. They continued the whole day, some in the care and burial of the dead, for numberless were they for whom there was none to care; others collected the multitude of those wasting by the famine throughout the city, and distributed bread among all. So that the fact was cried abroad, and men glorified the God of the Christians, constrained, as they were by the facts, to acknowledge that these were the only really pious and the only real worshippers of God.” Lactantius says: “The last and greatest office of piety is the burying of strangers and the poor; which subject these teachers of virtue and justice have not touched upon at all, as they measure all their duties by utility. We will not suffer the image and workmanship of God to lie exposed as a prey to beasts and birds; but we will restore it to the earth, from which it had its origin; and although it be in the case of an unknown man, we will fulfil the office of relatives, into whose place, since they are wanting, let kindness succeed; and wherever there shall be need of man, there we will think that our duty is required.”

The early church differed from the pagan and even from the Jewish notions by a cheerful and hopeful view of death, and by discarding lamentations, rending of clothes, and all signs of extravagant grief. The terrors of the grave were dispelled by the light of the resurrection, and the idea of death was transformed into the idea of a peaceful slumber. No one, says Cyprian, should be made sad by death, since in living is labor and peril, in dying peace and the certainty of resurrection; and he quotes the examples of Enoch who was translated, of Simeon who wished to depart in peace, several passages from Paul, and the assurance of the Lord that he went to the Father to prepare heavenly mansions for us. The day of a believer’s death, especially if he were a martyr, was called the day of his heavenly birth. His grave was surrounded with symbols of hope and of victory; anchors, harps, palms, crowns. The primitive Christians always showed a tender care for the dead; under a vivid impression of the unbroken communion of saints and the future resurrection of the body in glory. For Christianity redeems the body as well as the soul, and consecrates it a temple of the Holy Spirit. Hence the Greek and Roman custom of burning the corpse (crematio) was repugnant to Christian feeling and the sacredness of the body. Tertullian even declared it a symbol of the fire of hell, and Cyprian regarded it as equivalent to apostasy. In its stead, the church adopted the primitive Jewish usage of burial (inhumatio) (Gen_23:19; Mat_27:60; Joh_11:17; Act_5:6; Act_8:2), practiced also by the Egyptians and Babylonians. The bodies of the dead were washed (Act_9:37), wrapped in linen cloths (Mat_27:59; Luk_23:53; Joh_11:44), sometimes embalmed (Joh_19:39 sq.; Joh_12:7), and then, in the presence of ministers, relatives, and friends, with prayer and singing of psalms, committed as seeds of immortality to the bosom of the earth. Funeral discourses were very common as early as the Nicene period. But in the times of persecution the interment was often necessarily performed as hastily and secretly as possible. The death-days of martyrs the church celebrated annually at their graves with oblations, love feasts, and the Lord’s Supper. Families likewise commemorated their departed members in the domestic circle. The current prayers for the dead were originally only thanksgiving for the grace of God manifested to them. But they afterwards passed into intercessions, without any warrant in the teaching of the apostles, and in connection with questionable views in regard to the intermediate state. Tertullian, for instance, in his argument against second marriage, says of the Christian widow, she prays for the soul of her departed husband, and brings her annual offering on the day of his departure.

The same feeling of the inseparable communion of saints gave rise to the usage, unknown to the heathens, of consecrated places of common burial. For these cemeteries, the Christians, in the times of persecution, when they were mostly poor and enjoyed no corporate rights, selected remote, secret spots, and especially subterranean vaults, called at first crypts, but after the sixth century commonly termed catacombs, or resting-places, which have been discussed in a previous chapter.

We close with a few stanzas of the Spanish poet Prudentius (d. 405), in which he gives forcible expression to the views and feelings of the ancient church before the open grave:

“No more, ah, no more sad complaining;

Resign these fond pledges to earth:

Stay, mothers, the thick-falling tear-drops;

This death is a heavenly birth.

Take, Earth, to thy bosom so tender, — 

Take, nourish this body. How fair,

How noble in death! We surrender

These relics of man to thy care.

This, this was the home of the spirit,

Once built by the breath of our God;

And here, in the light of his wisdom,

Christ, Head of the risen, abode.

Guard well the dear treasure we lend thee

The Maker, the Saviour of men:

Shall never forget His beloved,

But claim His own likeness again.”


103. Summary of Moral Reforms

Christianity represents the thoughts and purposes of God in history. They shine as so many stars in the darkness of sin and error. They are unceasingly opposed, but make steady progress and are sure of final victory. Heathen ideas and practices with their degrading influences controlled the ethics, politics, literature, and the house and home of emperor and peasant, when the little band of despised and persecuted followers of Jesus of Nazareth began the unequal struggle against overwhelming odds and stubborn habits. It was a struggle of faith against superstition, of love against selfishness, of purity against corruption, of spiritual forces against political and social power.

Under the inspiring influence of the spotless purity of Christ’s teaching and example, and aided here and there by the nobler instincts and tendencies of philosophy, the Christian church from the beginning asserted the individual rights of man, recognized the divine image in every rational being, taught the common creation and common redemption, the destination of all for immortality and glory, raised the humble and the lowly, comforted the prisoner and captive, the stranger and the exile, proclaimed chastity as a fundamental virtue, elevated woman to dignity and equality with man, upheld the sanctity and inviolability of the marriage tie, laid the foundation of a Christian family and happy home, moderated the evils and undermined the foundations of slavery, opposed polygamy and concubinage, emancipated the children from the tyrannical control of parents, denounced the exposure of children as murder, made relentless war upon the bloody games of the arena and the circus, and the shocking indecencies of the theatre, upon cruelty and oppression and every vice infused into a heartless and loveless world the spirit of love and brotherhood, transformed sinners into saints, frail women into heroines, and lit up the darkness of the tomb by the bright ray of unending bliss in heaven.

Christianity reformed society from the bottom, and built upwards until it reached the middle and higher classes, and at last the emperor himself. Then soon after the conversion of Constantine it began to influence legislation, abolished cruel institutions, and enacted laws which breathe the spirit of justice and humanity. We may deplore the evils which followed in the train of the union of church and state, but we must not overlook its many wholesome effects upon the Justinian code which gave Christian ideas an institutional form and educational power for whole generations to this day. From that time on also began the series of charitable institutions for widows and orphans, for the poor and the sick, the blind and the deaf, the intemperate and criminal, and for the care of all unfortunate, — institutions which we seek in vain in any other but Christian countries.

Nor should the excesses of asceticism blind us against the moral heroism of renouncing rights and enjoyments innocent in themselves, but so generally abused and poisoned, that total abstinence seemed to most of the early fathers the only radical and effective cure. So in our days some of the best of men regard total abstinence rather than temperance, the remedy of the fearful evils of intemperance.

Christianity could not prevent the irruption of the Northern barbarians and the collapse of the Roman empire. The process of internal dissolution had gone too far; nations as well as individuals may physically and morally sink so low that they, are beyond the possibility of recovery. Tacitus, the heathen Stoic in the second century, and Salvianus, the Christian presbyter in the fifth, each a Jeremiah of his age, predicted the approaching doom and destruction of Roman society, looked towards the savage races of the North for fresh blood and new vigor. But the Keltic and Germanic conquerors would have turned Southern Europe into a vast solitude (as the Turks have laid waste the fairest portions of Asia), if they had not embraced the principles, laws, and institutions of the Christian church.