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.