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Pagan Origin of Partialist Doctrines by Pitrat

Claiming supremacy over the other Christian denominations


_Remark._--Let

the reader bear in mind that the most of the Christian sects, whose disbelief of the dogma of endless hell we have traced out above, composed the majority of the Christian body; and also that they have existed, at least, till the middle of the sixth century, the epoch when the fifth council of Constantinople condemned the doctrine held by Origen--that of the transmigration of the souls, and of their temporary punishment.

_Conclusion._ Therefore the dogma of endless hell was not generally believed by the Christians of the third, of the fourth, and of the fifth centuries.

General conclusion of this third article:

1. We have proved, by the testimony of the Fathers of the second century, and by the doctrines of the numerous Christian sects of the same century, that the dogma of endless hell was even unknown to the Christians of the first and of the second centuries. Then we must conclude that not only the first Christians, namely, the Christians of the first and of the second centuries did not believe in endless hell, but even that they knew nothing about such a dogma.

2. We have proved, by the testimony of the Fathers of the third, of the fourth, and of the fifth centuries, and also by the many Christian sects which existed in the third, in the fourth, and in the fifth centuries, that the Christians did not generally believe, in the said centuries,

the dogma of endless hell. Therefore the Christians of the third, of the fourth, and of the fifth centuries, did not _generally_ believe in endless hell.

Therefore the proposition we were to prove in the present article, _that the first Christians did not believe in the doctrine of endless hell_, remains peremptorily established.

_Objection._--Since the fourth century the Church of Rome obtained the condemnation of the above Christian sects in five general councils. But if the above sects had composed the majority of the body of Christians, the Church of Rome would not have obtained their condemnation. Consequently the above sects did not compose the majority of the body of Christians during the third, the fourth, and the fifth centuries.

_Answer._--We deny the minor proposition of this syllogism, which is: But if the above sects had composed the majority of the body of Christians, the Church of Rome would not have obtained their condemnation--and we prove our denegation as follows:--

Supposing that the United States be constituted into an empire--God forbid!--that the emperor would have the control of Church property, would side, say with the Presbyterian Church, or any other, claiming supremacy over the other Christian denominations; and that the emperor would assemble councils conjointly with that Church, would attend and even be vice-president of those councils, would enforce them with civil and military force, and also the execution of their acts condemning another sect arrayed before those councils, without permitting the other sects to vote in those councils, would it follow from this that all the other Christian sects do not compose the body of Christians in the United States? Certainly not.

But the case was the same with the Church of Rome. Since the end of the second century the bishop of Rome (we do not say the Pope, for it was only centuries after that he had the boldness, or rather impudence, to call himself exclusively Pope,) commenced to claim a personal supremacy over the other bishops, and also a supremacy of his church over the other Christian churches. Vain were his efforts until the beginning of the fourth century, when Sylvestre, bishop of Rome, obtained for himself and for his church the favors and protection of the emperor Constantine I., who afterwards joined it, (we will state in the last chapter of this work the reasons why this tyrant took these steps.) In behalf of the Church of Rome, he convoked the council of Arles, and the general council of Nice, and defrayed the expenses of the bishops out of his own treasure. His protection to the Church of Rome the most of his successors on the imperial throne continued; and thus the power and supremacy of this church grew in ratio of the persecutions directed against the other Christian denominations, which were debarred from voting in the councils; whose church property was oftentimes confiscated; and which many of them were prohibited to publicly worship. In consequence, it is not true to say that, if the various Christian sects spoken of before had composed the majority of the body of Christians, the Church of Rome would not have obtained their condemnation. Therefore the various sects spoken of before composed the majority of the body of Christians during the third, the fourth and the fifth centuries.


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