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What The Outside World Said Of Christ

The foundation of Christianity was not laid with outward marks, but in
the hearts of those who, by one, and by two, united themselves together
to serve the Lord Christ. As He had said, The Kingdom of God came not
with observation. Not with notice from the rulers and the mighty of
this world, but in the quietness of homes, and the darkness of prisons,
the Church became so wide as to take a foremost place, without much
record in the chronicles of kingdoms. We must therefore look to
Christian books for the history of early Christianity. At the close of
the first century after the Saviour's Birth there were living three
great writers who were united in close friendship, viz. the younger
Pliny, and the historians Tacitus and Suetonius. Suetonius wrote lives
of the first twelve Caesars, and, in his history of Nero (A.D. 54-68),
mentions the punishment of Christians, "a set of men of a new and
mischievous superstition." Tacitus, describing the same reign[1], and
the burning of Rome (A.D. 64), {107} shows that Nero tried to throw the
blame from himself, by accusing and punishing the Christians. He adds
a few words about them. "The founder of that name was Christ, who was
put to death, in the reign of Tiberius, under Pontius Pilate: which
temporarily crushed the pernicious superstition, but it broke out
again, not only in Judaea, where the evil originated, but in Rome
also." Tacitus has the idea that Christians were guilty of many
crimes: but their tortures and Nero's cruelty caused them to be pitied.
Pliny, on the other hand, made careful enquiries; and gives a very
different account of their personal character[2].

Thus we see that almost silently--'without observation'--the Christian
Life grew into its great place in outside history.

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