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History of the Church History (page 3)

persecution against the Christians (AD 95). It was during Domitian's persecution that St. John was banished to the island of Patmos, where he saw the visions which are described in his "Revelation." The Revelation of Jesus Christ.

John was much troubled by false teachers, who had begun to corrupt the Gospel. These persons are called "heretics", and their doctrines are called "heresy" from a Greek word which means "to choose", because they chose to follow their own fancies, instead of receiving the Gospel as the Apostles and the Church taught it. Simon the sorcerer, who is mentioned in the eighth chapter of the Acts, is counted as the first heretic, and even in the time of the Apostles a number of others arose, such as Hymenaeus, Philetus, and Alexander, who are mentioned by Paul (1 Tim. 1:19; 2 Tim. 2:17). These earliest heretics were mostly of the kind called Gnostics, a word which means that they pretended to be more knowing than ordinary Christians. Paul may have meant them especially when he warned Timothy against "science" (or knowledge) "falsely so called" (1 Tim. 6:20). Their doctrines were a strange mixture of Jewish and heathen notions with Christianity; and it is curious that some of the very strangest of their opinions have been brought up again from time to time by people who fancied that they had found out something new, while they had only fallen into old errors, which had been condemned by the Church hundreds of years before.

About 116, Ignatius, who was the bishop of Antioch was taken from Antioch, (one of the larger cities of Syria), to Rome. At Rome he was thrown to wild beasts at the Coliseum.

Although Emperor Trajan was no friend to the Gospel, and put Ignatius to death, he made a law which must have been a great relief to the Christians. Until then they were liable to be sought out, and any one might inform against them; but Trajan ordered that they should not be sought out, although, if they were discovered, and refused to give up their faith, they were to be punished.

Emperor Hadrian (AD 117-138) did something to make their condition better; but it was still one of great hardship and danger. The governor of a country had the power to persecute them cruelly, even to death. Many people still believed the horror stories of Christians killing children and eating human flesh. If there was a famine or a plague, if the river Tiber, which runs through Rome, rose above its usual height and damaged the neighboring buildings, or if the Emperor's armies were defeated in war, the blame of everything bad was laid on the Christians. It was said that all these things were judgments from the gods, who were angry because the Christians were allowed to live.

At the public games, such as those at which Ignatius was put to death, the people used to cry out, "Throw the Christians to the lions! Away with the godless wretches!" For, as the Christians had no images like those of the heathen gods, and did not offer any sacrifices of beasts, as the heathens did, it was thought that they had no God at all. The heathens could not think of God, as a spirit, and who is not to be worshipped as a graven image.

In 150 ad the Romans wrote an article called the Apostles Creed. This article was written long after the last disciple had died. The article speaks of the Holy Catholic Church and allegiance to it. The Creed was adopted from the Old Roman Creed and from baptismal rites. (See World Book Encyclopedia).

Apostles Creed. “I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, Our Lord; Who was conceived by the Holy