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Pagan Origin of Partialist Doctrines by Pitrat

According to the testimony of Josephus


Farther,

fifty female victims are forced to fill up with water a cask, whose bottom is riddled. Indeed, there is no sort of torment that was not invented by legislators, mystagogues, poets, and philosophers, to frighten the people, under the false assumption of making them better; but the truth is that it was rather to keep them down in subjection. Those terrifying pictures were painted on the walls of the temple of Delphos. Those fables were repeated to infants by nurses and mothers. Thus their souls grew weak and pusillanimous, for strong and durable are the first impressions, and more especially, when the general opinion, the example of the credulity of others, the authority of philosophers, of poets, of learned Hierophants, and the sight of pompous rites, and ceremonies in the overpowering sacredness of sanctuaries; when the monuments of arts, music, statues, and pictures, in short, when all tends to insinuate in the soul, through the senses stricken with hope and terror, a great error presented as a sacred truth revealed by the gods themselves for man's bliss.

Such was the general teaching and belief of the Pagans in regard to future punishment, before the coming of Jesus Christ, and the preaching of his Gospel.

As to the Jewish nation, not the slightest vestiges of any kind of belief regarding future punishment, can be traced out, neither in the Old Testament, nor in Josephus, nor in the writings of other historians,

at least before the captivity of Babylon, which took place in the year 598 before the Christian era. Afterwards the Jews divided into four sects, the Essenes, the Sadducees, the Samaritans, who denied the existence of any future punishment, and the Pharisees, who, according to the testimony of Josephus, adopted the belief of Metempsychosis, or transmigration of the souls.

ARTICLE III.

_Did the Christians of the First Centuries believe in Endless Hell?_

We emphatically answer, no. If the Christian Fathers of the first centuries, have neither taught the dogma of endless hell, nor mentioned, in their writings, that their fellow-Christians knew or believed it, and if the same is proved by the testimony of the then existing Christian sects or denominations, it is evident that the first Christians did not believe in endless hell. But the Christian Fathers of the first centuries have neither taught the dogma of endless hell, nor mentioned, in their writings, that their fellow-Christians knew or believed it; and the same is proved by the testimony of the then existing Christian sects. These two members of the proposition we are to successively prove: 1st _member_: In the first century the four Gospels, and other books of the New Testament were written by the apostles, but history does not inform us of any other Christian writing, or author, in that age, except perhaps Clement, bishop of Rome, who, it is said, has left a letter to the Corinthians: critics call it Apocryphal. We have not read it. Therefore in order to know whether the first Christians believed in endless hell or not, we must recur to the works of the Christian Fathers who lived and wrote in the following centuries, and particularly to those who lived and wrote during the second.

St. Ignatius, bishop of Antioch, who suffered martyrdom at Rome, in the year 107, was the first apostolic Father of the second century. There are in the collection of the works of the holy Fathers, six letters ascribed to him by some authors; some others, Saumaise, Blondel, Daille, etc., say that they are apocryphal. Mosheim, in his Histor. Christ., says, that it is doubtful whether they are of Ignatius or not. We have read those six letters, of which five are addressed to different Churches, and one to Polycarpus. Although they treat of the most important points of the Christian faith and duties, they are silent upon the question of endless hell. In the year 131, St. Quadratus presented to the emperor Adrian an apology of the Christian religion, which contained the principal Christian doctrines. Adrian was so pleased with this apology, that, if we must believe what Lampride says in his Life of Alexander Severus, he designed to rear a temple to Jesus Christ, and to place him among the gods of the empire. A fragment of this apology can be found in the works of Eusebe; but not a word is said about the dogma of endless hell.


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