Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament 
1. The prophetic background .—The missionary spirit and aims of Christianity have their beginnings in the history, literature, and character of the Jewish people. The OT, especially in the portions which express the ideals and spirit of prophecy, is full of principles and promises which find their fulfilment in the world-wide mission of Christianity (Horton, The Bible as a Missionary Book ). The proselytizing energy of the Jews in the last cent. b.c. and in the time of our Lord (‘Ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte,’ Matthew 23:15) is a partial outcome of ideas and instincts which were long inherent in the race. These wide and lofty prophetic aims had to struggle against particularist tendencies, which made the Jews one of the most narrow and exclusive of the races of mankind. It is one of the paradoxes of history, that the missionary propaganda which aimed at the conversion and blessing of the world, sprang from a people whose predominant characteristics were pride in racial privileges, expectation of national greatness, and contempt for all who were not of the seed of Abraham. But the missionary activities and aims of Christianity cannot be rightly understood apart from the gradual development of missionary ideas which took place in the course of Jewish history. The words applied to John the Baptist in relation to Christ might be applied to the Jewish race, ‘Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee’ ( Mark 1:2). These germinal missionary conceptions and movements found their end and fulfilment in the Person and work of Jesus Christ, and in the work which He originated. He absorbed and enlarged them, giving them such definiteness and fulness that they appear to be derived entirely from Him; for the spirit, aims, and motives of missions are distinctively Christian, and Christianity is essentially a missionary religion.
2. The missionary character of our Lord .—He regarded Himself as a missionary. At the beginning of His work in Galilee He applied to Himself the words of Isaiah ( Isaiah 61:1), ‘The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor, he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted,’ etc. ( Luke 4:18-19). He frequently describes Himself as one ‘who was sent,’ as when He says, ‘he that receiveth me, receiveth him that sent me’ (τὸν ἁποστείλαντά με, Matthew 10:40); ‘as the living Father hath sent me’ (ἀπέστειλέν με, John 6:57); ‘the Father which hath sent me’ (ὁ πέμψας με, John 6:44). The references to His being ‘sent’ are most frequent in John.
It may be remarked that the verb ἀσοστελλειν is applied to Jesus 17 times in John , 10 times in the Synoptics, while πέμπειν is applied to Him 25 times in Jn., but only once in the Synoptics. The distinction between the two verbs is slight. In most cases in the Gospels τέμτειν, applies to the sender and ἀτοστελλειν to the person sent (cf. ‘Neither is he that is sent (ἀτόστολος) greater than he that sent (τέμψαντος) him,’ John 13:16); but the distinction is not always followed (cf. ‘As thou hast sent (ἀτέστειλας) me into the world, even so have I also sent (ἀτέστειλα) them into the world’ ( John 17:18). Wilke and Grimm distinguish τίμπειν as the general term, which may imply accompaniment (as when the sender is God), while ἀτοστελλειν includes a reference to equipment, and suggests official or authoritative sending). But the frequency with which both words are applied to Jesus in the Gospels (at least 53 times in all) is an emphatic indication of the missionary character of His work. (Under this heading it is not necessary to discuss the distinctive aims and character of His mission. See artt. Kingdom of God, Eternal Life, Salvation).
3. In the call and training of the disciples the missionary idea is also strongly emphasized. They were to be ‘fishers of men’ ( Mark 1:7 || Matthew 4:19). Jesus ordained them that ‘they might be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach’ (κηρύσσειν, Mark 3:14). The training was not only educative but practical. After a period of private intercourse He sent the Twelve forth two by two, as heralds to proclaim (κηρύσσειν) that ‘the kingdom of heaven (or of God) was at hand’ ( Mark 6:7 || Matthew 10:5-7 || Luke 9:3). There is recorded by Lk. ( Luke 10:1-7) another mission of Seventy, also sent forth two and two, who were to go with the same message to every city and place to which He Himself was about to come. From the words ‘also others’ ([καὶ] ἑτέρους, Luke 10:1) it is probably ‘to be understood that the Twelve were not included in this mission. In both missions of the disciples, the work they had to do was evangelistic in relation to the people, and educative in relation to themselves. There may have been other missions which have not been recorded, for Mk. uses the suggestive phrase, ‘He began to send them forth two by two’ ( Mark 6:7); but the influence of such work on the training of the disciples, especially in giving them a firm grasp of the gospel they had to preach, is incalculable. Not a little of the teaching of Jesus which we have in the Gospels may have taken its present shape from the frequent repetition of their message.
4. The limits within which the personal work of Jesus was confined were declared by Himself : ‘I am not sent but unto the house of Israel’ ( Matthew 15:24). During the time of His personal ministry the work of the disciples was similarly limited. In sending them forth, He said, ‘Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel’ ( Matthew 10:5-6). This restriction, given at such a time, is of great importance, for it is an indication that the idea of a mission outside the bounds of the Jewish people was in the minds of the disciples when they were sent out on their first missionary journey. The restriction would have been needless if the disciples had not thought of such a mission as a possibility. It is an entire misreading of the Gospel history to imagine that the glorious conception of a world-wide mission was an afterthought, which only occurred to the disciples, or was suggested to them, after the resurrection of our Lord. The limitations which were so carefully laid down were temporary, and were evidently regarded as temporary. Even in declaring that He was sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, He had also said, ‘Let the children first be filled’ ( Mark 7:27). The reasons for the limitation were adequate. The disciples had to be fully trained; the Kingdom of God had to be preached to the people who had been disciplined by the providence of God to receive it; the gospel had to be completed by the full disclosure of the redemption of grace, in the death and resurrection of the Saviour.
5. Indications of a world mission in the teaching of Jesus .—Apart from the essentially universal character of the gospel, which inevitably involved a universal mission, there are indications that the world-wide view was brought before the minds of the disciples prior to the time when the great commission was given. The disciples were to be ‘the salt of the earth’ and ‘the light of the world’ ( Matthew 5:13-14). When Jesus praised the faith of the centurion of Capernaum, He said, ‘Many shall come from the east and from the west, and shall sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of God’ ( Matthew 8:11; cf. also the same passage in Lk. in another connexion, where He adds, as if in reference to the preference which the Jews had received, ‘Behold there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last,’ Luke 13:29-30). So also, when defending the woman who had anointed Him with the box of ointment, He said, ‘Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, this … shall be told for a memorial of her’ ( Matthew 26:13). Then He warned the disciples, saying, ‘Ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles’ ( Matthew 10:18). Many of the parables have references to or suggestions of a future extension of work among the Gentiles. In the interpretation of the parable of the Tares (one of the earlier parables) it is said that ‘the field is the world’ ( Matthew 13:38). In the later series of parables, as in that of the Vineyard and the Husbandmen, it is said, ‘The kingdom of God shall be taken away from you, and shall be given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof’ ( Matthew 21:43); in the Marriage Feast the direction is found, ‘Go ye … into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage’ ( Matthew 22:9, Luke 14:23); in the Sheep and the Goats there is a picture of the judgment of ‘all nations’ ( Matthew 25:32). Direct intimations of a world mission are not awanting, as in the apocalyptic discourses in the Synoptics, which are prefaced with a declaration of the destruction of the Temple (‘There shall not be left one stone upon another which shall not be thrown down,’ Matthew 24:2, Mark 13:2, Luke 21:6), and contain the announcement that ‘this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world, for a witness to all the nations’ ( Matthew 24:14 || Mark 13:10). In the Fourth Gospel the evidence of a world view as part of the instruction given to the disciples is very plain. After saying that He lays down his life for the sheep’ ( John 10:15), Jesus adds, ‘Other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice’ ( John 10:16). In connexion with the visit of the Greeks, He uttered the pregnant and impressive prophecy, ‘I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me’ ( John 12:32); and a little further on in the same chapter we find the words, ‘I came not to judge the world, but to save the world’ ( John 12:47). In the private converse of our Lord and His disciples, in the last days of the earthly ministry, the vision of the world is repeatedly brought before the minds of the disciples as the object of the Saviour’s thought and the scope of the disciples’ mission, as—’That the world may know that I love the Father … even so I do’ ( John 14:31); ‘As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world’ ( John 17:18; also John 12:46-48, John 16:8-11, John 17:2; John 17:21). Judas (not Iscariot) is even represented as asking, ‘How is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us and not unto the world?’ ( John 14:22), as if the limitation of His work was a source of perplexity to him. Unless we are to regard the Gospels as entirely unhistorical, and all such universal references as due to the mind of the Church (which would then be greater than its Lord) at a later time, it must be admitted that the disciples were aware of the world-wide character of the work they were to undertake. The frequency of the world references in the earthly ministry May to some extent account for the fact that the missionary commission is mentioned only once in each of the Gospels ( Matthew 28:16-20 || Mark 16:15 || John 20:21 || Luke 24:46-48), and in Acts 1:8. For it is recognized that it is only in the brief records of the risen life of Jesus that the universal mission of the disciples is explicitly expressed in the form of a command. But that is no reason for imagining that it was an afterthought of Jesus, or an addition put into His mouth by followers of a later time. The universal commission is given then, because that is the time to which it belongs. The work of redemption had been ‘finished’; the gospel was completed; the limitations which had restricted its extension were no longer necessary. The intimations of a universal mission, which had been given before, were carried to their inevitable conclusion in the majestic commission: ‘All authority is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye into all the world, make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you all the days, unto the consummation of the age’ (πάσας τὰς ἡμέρας ἕως τῆς συντελείας τοῦ αἰῶνος, Matthew 28:16-20). The universal note predominates the whole passage. There is (i.) the claim of universal authority; (ii.) the direction to a universal field; (iii.) the universality of what is to be taught (‘all things whatsoever I have commanded you’); (iv.) the promise of a universal presence, ‘Lo, I am with you all the days, unto the consummation of the age.’
6. The genuineness of the missionary commission has been gravely questioned. In Mk, it appears in the closing section ( Mark 16:9-10), which is now generally regarded as an addition by a later hand, possibly by the presbyter Aristion, who, according to Papias, was ‘a disciple of the Lord’ (F. C. Conybeare, Expositor , iv. viii.  241 ff.; but see Aristion). All critics admit the antiquity of the passage, and it may be accepted as ‘embodying a true Apostolic tradition’ (Salmond in Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible iii. p. 253b).
The passage in Mt. ( Matthew 28:16-20) is characterized as ‘a later appendix’ (Moffatt, Historical NT , p. 647) entirely on account of its contents. The indications (in a different order) of its lateness are said to be—(i.) its incipient Trinitarianism, (ii.) the Trinitarian formula of baptism, which is found nowhere else in the NT. To these is added, (iii.) that the first disciples could hardly have known of the universal mission, or else they lived in flagrant disobedience to their Master’s solemn command, and only reluctantly recognized its fulfilment in the Pauline gospel. But it may be said, on the other hand, as to (i.), that the incipient Trinitarianism of the NT is such a daring conception, especially to men who had been trained in the strict monotheism of Judaism, that its existence can hardly be explained without some word of the Lord Jesus in relation to it, such as that which Mt. records. How are we to account for the ‘incipient Trinitarianism’ of the Pauline benediction—‘The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost’ ( 2 Corinthians 13:14)—if there were no words of the Lord Jesus to justify it? As to (ii.), the baptismal formula, as it has been called, may not have been a formula. It may have been the mistake of a later time to regard it as such. If it was not a formula, there was nothing to hinder the Apostles and others from baptizing in the name of the Lord Jesus (‘The Baptismal Formula,’ by J. H. Bernard in Expositor , vi. v.  43 ff.). (iii.) The apparent inaction of the disciples may not have been due to ignorance or disobedience. The command as given in Lk. and Acts indicates a gradually widening sphere of operations, in Jerusalem and Judaea, in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth. The difficulties and persecution which the Apostles encountered at the beginning of their work may have been to them a proof that the time had not yet come when they could leave the nearer and narrower fields and go forth to the Gentiles. If any reliance is to be placed on Acts as an historical document, it is abundantly evident that the first disciples did know of the world mission, and that they were moving ill the line of their instructions. For in his first recorded utterance St. Peter strikes the universal note repeatedly. He quotes the words of Joel in explanation of what had happened at Pentecost, saying, It shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, that I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh ’ ( Acts 2:17), And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved’ ( Acts 2:21). He closes his appeal to the people with the assurance that the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call’ ( Acts 2:39). Then in Acts 3:25 f. there is the recognition of the coming of Christ as a fulfilment of prophecy, as a carrying out of the covenant made with Abraham (‘And in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed’); further, in the words, ‘Unto you first God, having raised up his Servant (παῖς), sent him to bless you,’ there is the recognition of a wider field to be entered in due time. The great declaration, Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is no other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved’ ( Acts 4:12), is meaningless, if there was not behind it a consciousness of the universal character of Christianity, and, as a consequence, the consciousness of a universal mission.
The disciples are also seen to be moving in the line of their instructions. They certainly preached the gospel in Jerusalem and in all Judaea. It is also seen that they preached it among the Samaritans, towards whom Jews had as strong an antipathy as they had towards Gentiles (‘Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ unto them.… (Peter and John) preached the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans,’ Acts 8:5; Acts 8:25). In a few years after the Crucifixion (Harnack says 1, Ramsay 3, Lightfoot 4, Turner 6 or 7 [in fixing the date of St. Paul’s conversion, see Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible, art. ‘Chronology of the NT’]) the faith of Christ had spread to Damascus, and had gained such hold there, that Saul was sent thither by the Sanhedrin to bring ‘any of the Way,’ whom he might find, bound to Jerusalem ( Acts 9:2). Lastly, some of those who were scattered abroad upon the persecution which arose about Stephen went as far as to Antioch, and preached the word to the Greeks (“Ελληνας, the reading adopted by Tischendorf, Nestle, etc.); and when tidings of these things came to the Church at Jerusalem, they sent forth Barnabas to visit and help them (which he did by finding Saul of Tarsus, Acts 11:19-26).
Taking Turner’s estimate as above (though we prefer Ramsay’s), the gospel was firmly established in Damascus (and in Antioch) 6 or 7 years after the Crucifixion. The trouble which arose about Stephen marked the close of the comparatively peaceful progress of the Church. The hidden cleavage between Judaism and Christianity then became apparent, and an entirely new situation resulted, which affected those within and without the Church. The sympathy of the Jews ( Acts 2:47 towards the Christians had become antipathy ( Acts 12:2-3). The persecution created anxieties which naturally absorbed the attention of the leaders. Coming as it did when the Church had been extended throughout Palestine, the persecution may have arrested the forward movement which, in accordance with the line of progress sketched out in Acts 1:8, had then become due. A little consideration of the difficulties which affect the progress of modern missions in different countries might lead to a better understanding of the situation in the Apostolic age, and to a higher appreciation of the results which the first missionaries achieved.
The dispute in the early Church in relation to the Gentiles, regarding which so much has been made, was not about preaching the gospel to them, but about the conditions on which they were to receive salvation and be admitted into the Church. No instructions on these matters had been given by the Lord Jesus, and difference of opinion was inevitable until the truth was made plain. St. Peter’s reluctance to go to Cornelius did not arise from any unwillingness to preach to him, but from the natural shrinking of a strict Jew from entering the house of a Gentile. The accusation which was brought against him at Jerusalem by those who were of the circumcision was, not that lie had preached the gospel to a Gentile, but that he had gone in to ‘men uncircumcised and had eaten with them’ ( Acts 11:3). It was ‘they of the circumcision,’ and not the first disciples, who glorified God, saying, ‘Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life’ ( Acts 11:18). These considerations are sufficient to establish the knowledge of the missionary command by the first disciples, and to account for the apparent delay (if any) in carrying it out.
7. The progress of mission work within the NT record .—The order is admirably given by Turner in his art. ‘Chronology of the NT’ in Hastings’ DB. [Note: Dictionary of the Bible.] He says that ‘the picture in Acts is cut up, as it were, into six panels, each labelled with a general summary of progress’; and his arrangement is adopted here. First stage, the beginning at Jerusalem ( Acts 1:1 to Acts 6:7); second stage, the extension of the Church throughout Palestine ( Acts 6:8 to Acts 9:31); third stage, the extension of the Church to Antioch ( Acts 9:32 to Acts 12:24); fourth stage, the extension of the Church to Asia Minor, as a result of St. Paul’s first missionary journey ( Acts 12:25 to Acts 16:5); fifth stage, the extension of the Church to Europe, resulting from St. Paul’s second missionary journey ( Acts 16:6 to Acts 19:20); sixth stage, the extension of the Church to Rome ( Acts 19:21 to Acts 28:31). While that is the view of progress which is presented in Acts, it is not to be taken as complete. It exhibits for the most part the movement as connected with the great missionaries, St. Peter and St. Paul. The labours of the majority of the company of the Apostles are not recorded, and their activity might to some extent modify the above order of progression. Missionary enthusiasm also was not confined to the Apostles. Unnamed disciples, as in the case of Antioch ( Acts 11:20), and certainly also in the case of Rome, may have carried the gospel into many places of which no mention is made. But for general purposes the sketch as given above represents the line of advance up to the year a.d. 70. Progress after that belongs to the general history of missions.
Literature.—Horton, Bible as a Missionary Book ; Bruce, Training of the Twelve ; Latham, Pastor Pastorum ; Hort, Judaistic Christianity Selby, Ministry of the Lord Jesus , pp. 86–118; Moffatt, Historical NT , pp. 647–650; Lambert, Sacraments in the NT , pp. 38 ff., 234 ff.; F. C. Conybeare, Expositor , iv. viii.  241–254; J. H. Bernard, ib. vi. v.  43 ff.; H. B. Swete, ib. vi. vi.  241 ff.; art. ‘Baptism’ in Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible.
Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature 
True Christianity is essentially missionary in character. The Gospel having been designed for all nations, and its field being the world, it was from the first associated with means for its own extension. In a highly important sense, the Lord Jesus may be considered the first missionary. He was sent by the Eternal Father to set up his own kingdom upon the earth. The patriarchs, and all faithful priests and prophets among the Jews, were agents preparatory to the introduction of that kingdom. Having called disciples and established a Church, the risen Saviour, before his ascension, commissioned his chosen apostles, in the presence of the great body of the disciples, the then existing Church. To them, as the leaders and representatives of the actual and the prospective Church, he addressed the great missionary command, "Go ye into all, the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature."
Christ's mission had been to the Jews. He said, "I am not sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." The apostles were sent to the Jews and Gentiles. " The Acts of the Apostles" is the first official missionary, report- the first volume of missionary history; unless, indeed, it rank second, as it is subsequent to the Gospel history of him "who went about doing good." So vast has been the expansion of the missionary enterprise since the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, and so voluminous have become its records, that this article is of necessity limited to a very brief sketch of the subject as a whole. Nevertheless, the design of the article is to give, in the briefest practicable space, a just and duly proportioned view of the principal missionary agencies of successive periods, and some indication of their results, together with references to the sources of more detailed information.
There are two leading modes of studying the subject of missions. The first regards primarily the agencies employed, following them to their different fields of action. The second contemplates in succession the several fields, where necessarily it gives attention to the different agencies employed upon them. Each mode has some peculiar advantages, as well as defects or difficulties, and both are essential to a full comprehension of the subject. They will consequently be followed in the order named. As a natural guide to study and help to memory, the order of time will be followed in the survey of missionary agencies.
I. Apostolic Missions . — It is safe to affirm that no just or adequate comprehension of the New-Testament history can be gained by any one who does not read or study it from a missionary point of view. But when, in the light of their' great commission, the apostles are regarded as Christian missionaries going forth to evangelize the nations, not only the narrative of their Acts or doings, but their epistles to the churches which they planted and trained, become instructive, both as to their modes of proceeding, their difficulties, and their successes.
Paul, as the apostle to the, Gentiles, stands forth in deserved prominence as a model missionary. Although originally a relentless persecutor of the Christians, he experienced a thorough spiritual conversion, and thus became "a new man in Christ Jesus." Having been called of God to be an apostle or missionary of Jesus Christ, he "conferred not with flesh and blood," he "counted not his life dear unto him," but went forth preaching the everlasting Gospel wherever he could find hearers, encountering perils of robbers, perils by his own countrymen, perils by the heathen, perils in the city, perils in the wilderness, and perils among false brethren ( 2 Corinthians 11:26); nevertheless winning souls to Christ, rescuing communities from paganism, founding churches, training ministers, and at length finishing his course with joy, having won both the martyr's crown and the crown of eternal life. Until the consummation of all things, the study of Paul's missionary character, travels, and labors, will be a standard and profitable topic for all who desire to comprehend the true principles, agencies, and measures of Christian propagandism. In the subsequent history of the Church it will be found that all departures from the spirit of his example have been aberrations from the line of true success; whereas efforts put forth from similar, motives and in a like spirit have been invariably attended by the divine blessing and the salvation of men.
But although prominent as the founder of the infant Church in the principal cities of the Roman empire, and although, for some wise but not easily comprehended reason, his successive missionary journeys chiefly occupy the sacred narrative, yet Paul was only one of the noble band of apostolic missionaries. Peter was the acknowledged leader of the opening mission of the infant Church to Jerusalem, and afterwards of missionary efforts in behalf of Jews throughout the world. Not only was he the chief actor in the scenes of the Pentecost, but he laid the foundation for missions to the Gentiles by baptizing the centurion Cornelius and other Gentiles at Caesarea. According to Origen and Eusebius, he preached to the Jews scattered in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia. Many scholars have become satisfied that his mission extended to Babylon, on the Euphrates, while the general voice of antiquity ascribes to him a martyr's death at Rome. Whatever may have been true as to his actual presence at those extreme points of the East and the West, his general epistles sufficiently demonstrate his personal acquaintance, as well as ministerial authority, in vast regions intermediate.
Next to that of Peter we recognise the prominence of the apostle John, who, after protracted labors among the Jews in Palestine, took up his abode at Ephesus, from which centre he exercised supervision of the churches of Asia Minor till the period of his exile to Patmos, whence he yet speaks to the churches.
As to the other apostles, neither Scripture nor history gives definite information, but early and uncontradicted tradition assigns them severally to important and widespread mission fields. According to the general voice of antiquity, James the Just. remained at Jerusalem. Andrew preached in Scythia, Thrace, Macedonia, Thessaly, and Achaia; Philip in Upper Asia, Scythia, and Phrygia, where he suffered, martyrdom. Bartholomew penetrated India. Thomas visited Media and Persia, and possibly the coast of Coromandel and the island of Ceylon. Matthew went to Ethiopia, Parthia, and Abyssinia; Simon Zelotes to Egypt, Cyrene, Lybia, and Mauritania; and Jude to Galilee, Samaria, Idumea, and Mesopotamia. Whatever of literal truth is embodied in the traditions quoted, they at least show that the grand missionary idea was associated with the history of the several apostles from the earliest period; and, taken in connection with known results, they leave no doubt that the lives of those chosen men were spent in zealous and self-sacrificing efforts for the spread of the Gospel. Nor was this true only of the apostles, but also of the Christian believers of that period generally, who, when even scattered by persecution, "went everywhere preaching the word" ( Acts 8:4). On no other hypothesis than that of universal missionary activity on the part of both ministers and members of the Church of the apostles and their immediate successors, attended also by the divine blessing, is it possible to account for the extensive spread,of early Christianity. During the last sixty years of the 1st century the new religion became diffused, to a greater or less extent, throughout the numerous countries embraced in the Roman empire, inclusive of Egypt, Northern Africa, Spain, Gaul, and Britain. As a direct result of the apostolic missions, the Christian Church is supposed to have contained in the year 100 half a million of living members, those of the first and second generations having mostly gone forward to join the Church triumphant.
The churches of the present and the future will find the most important lessons as to their responsibilities and duties in the history of apostolic missions. It may also be said that modern missions, and the comparatively recent development of the missionary spirit, have thrown much light upon the instrumentalities by which Christianity was first established in the earth, and by which it was designed to become universal. From both classes of events it appears that consecrated men and consecrated means are the active agencies to be employed for the establishment of Christ's kingdom upon the earth; and that these combined, under the guidance and blessing of the Head of the Church, may be expected to triumph over the most frigid indifference and the most violent opposition.
In the penury, the obscurity, and the lack of facilities of the, early Church, the work of promoting the salvation of men, and of extending the truth, was one of individual and personal exertion, supplemented, of course, by the influence of the Holy Spirit. At first there were no churches for public assembly, no books for auxiliary influence, no organizations for the support of missionaries, home or foreign. Nevertheless, regenerated men went everywhere preaching the word. They founded churches wherever the word was received by believers, and the members of the churches were taught to sustain those who labored among them in the Lord, and also to let the riches of their liberality abound, even out of their deep poverty, for the furtherance of the Gospel. They were also taught the duty of constant prayer, not only for one another, but especially that the word of God might have free course and be glorified, and that God would open to his servants a door of utterance to speak the mystery of Christ ( 2 Thessalonians 3:1; Colossians 4:3). Thus the whole Apostolic Church was an agency for self-extension, and for the propagation of the truth. Though public preaching was practiced to the greatest extent practicable, yet the inference is inevitable that the extension of Christian truth was accomplished largely by means .of personal influence in conversation, example, and private persuasion. In this way all could be "helpers of the truth." And by public and private means, united and in constant action, Christianity was diffused, notwithstanding the apparently insuperable obstacles that confronted it on every hand. There is good reason to believe that had the true character of the Apostolic Church been preserved, and its singleness of missionary aim and action been maintained, the development of Christianity in the world would have been constant, if not rapid, and that long ere this the remotest nations would have been evangelized.
II. Ancient Missions . — Under this head, allusion will be made to the aggressive movements of the Church between the apostolic and mediaeval periods. That the 2d and 3d centuries witnessed great missionary activity on the part of Christians in the countries to which access could be secured, is proved not only by the multiplication of their numbers and influence, but by the bloody persecutions that were waged against them under successive Roman emperors. Owing to various causes there have come down to us but few details of the precise work that was done, or of the modes in which it was done. It is, however, but reasonable to suppose that apostolic measures and usages were, during the earlier parts of this period, quite in the ascendant. Eusebius says that "the followers of the apostles imitated their example in distributing their worldly goods among necessitous believers, and, quitting their own country, went forth into distant lands to propagate the Gospel." It was at the beginning of the 2d century that the younger Pliny, governor of Bithynia, after official investigation, made to the emperor Trajan his celebrated report concerning the customs and prevalence of the Christians. Said he, "Many persons, of all ages, of every rank, and of both sexes. likewise are accused, and will be accused [of Christianity]. Nor has the contagion of this superstition pervaded cities only, but the villages and open country." The allegations of this persecutor of Christians, in respect to the numbers accused of Christianity, are corroborated by various statements of Christians themselves. Justin Martyr, writing about one hundred and six years after the ascension says, "There is not a nation, either of Greek or barbarian, or of any other name, even of those who wander in tribes and live in tents, among whom prayers and thanksgivings are not offered to the Father and Creator of the universe in the name of the crucified Jesus." Tertullian, in his Apology, written fifty years later, says, "Though of yesterday, we have filled every sphere of life: cities, castles, islands, towns; the exchange, the very camps, the plebeian populace, the seats of judges, the imperial palace, and the forum." When it is remembered that these results had been attained in the face of persecution, and in spite of tortures and martyrdom, no other comment is needed upon the missionary diligence and devotedness of those who were the agents of such wide-spread and effective evangelization. In harmony with measures of this character was the translation of the Scriptures into several important languages, as the Latin. the Syriac, the Ethiopian, and the Egyptian. In the absence of statistics, which were then impossible, all attempts to estimate numbers must be-chiefly based upon probabilities. Yet some have estimated that the number of Christians at the end of the 2d century was not less than two millions, and increased during the 3d century to perhaps twice that number.
The opening of the 4th century, A.D. 313, witnessed the issue of Constantine's edict of toleration, an event which shows about as conclusively as figures could the continuous growth of Christian influence and numbers. That edict was proclaimed in immediate sequence of the Era Martyrium, the Diocletian persecution — the tenth in the series of those fierce attacks upon the non-offending and non-resisting followers of Christ, which successively proved that "the blood of the martyrs was the seed of the Church." As the edict referred to suppressed official persecution in all parts of the empire, it may be regarded as in itself an unmingled blessing, a recognition of an indefeasible right of humanity, and all that Christianity needed on the part of the world for further advancement and complete success. When the way of the Lord had been thus prepared, through so much toil and suffering, it was to be expected that thenceforward the cause of Christian truth would be advanced with accumulated moral and spiritual power. It is, however, a sad, but, in the history of missions, a usually overlooked fact, that the very period at which so much had been gained, and from which so much was to be hoped in the legitimate extension of Christianity, witnessed the development of agencies and influences that antagonized the peculiar aims of the Gospel and marred its missionary character, sowing throughout the extended field of its influence the seeds of premature and almost fatal decay. The circumstance of these influences being more or less antagonistic to each other did not relieve their evil effect, but rather increased their power, as multiplied diseases sooner reduce the vital energies of the human system. Had there been no previous departures from the true spirit of the Gospel, and had the Christians of the 4th century been content to rely on spiritual agencies for the promotion of Christianity, the advantages which followed the professed conversion of Constantine might in all probability have tended to extend and consolidate a pure type of Christianity. But, unhappily, insidious influences had already been initiated, which, in the sunshine of apparent prosperity, grew with the rankness and rapidity of noxious weeds. Of these influences, allusion can only be made summarily to doctrinal errors, monasticism, and worldly conformity. It was not merely that Docetism, Ebionism, Gnosticism, Montanism, Arianism, and other heresies induced bitter and protracted controversies, thus dividing the Church with partisan strife, but they absorbed the thought and energies of thousands of professed Christian ministers, who ought to have been exclusively engaged in preaching the Gospel. So when, in the 2d century, the doctrine of a Christian priesthood began to be developed with an attempted imitation of the Jewish, the evil was not merely the diversion of ministerial talent from the one work of preaching and teaching in the name of Christ to a burdensome routine of ritual ceremonies, but a direct step towards conformity with certain pagan theories and practices which in later periods were put forward as elements of Christianity itself.
As it has often been asserted, and indeed extensively believed. that the world owes something to monasticism in consideration of certain missionary labors conducted by members of monastic orders, it seems proper to set forth the true bearing of that subject, from which it will appear that monasticism was, in fact, one of the earliest and greatest hindrances to the missionary development of the Church, and that whatever good was subsequently done by missionaries who were monks was done by force of Christian impulse or character, in direct contravention of the spirit and intent of monasticism. It is unnecessary to dwell upon the historic fact that monasticism existed in the far East as a heathen practice anterior to the Christian aera. The first strictly ascetic sect in the Church was that of the Montanists, which arose in Phrygia about A.D. 150, from Montanus, who had been previously a priest of the heathen deity Cybele. During the 2d and 3d centuries a growing disposition manifested itself in the Church to exaggerate the virtue of fasting, and to attach special merit to celibacy, specially among the clergy. Vows of celibacy began to be taken by persons of both sexes, in the idea that such a life was more holy than that of wedlock. About the year A.D. 250 the Decian persecution raged with extreme severity in Upper Egypt, causing many to flee for their lives to deserts and secluded places. Already the minds of many Christians in Egypt had been predisposed to asceticism by the writings of Clement, Origen, and Dionysius of Alexandria. Under a combination of these and similar influences, many persons who ought to have been contending earnestly for "the faith once delivered to the saints" withdrew themselves from society, and wasted their lives in idleness, and in useless struggles with the phantoms of their own excited imaginations. The true spirit of Christianity would have given them courage to face danger, and doubtless have enabled them in many cases to win even their persecutors to the faith. But the impulse of cowardice, whether moral or physical, is contagious; hence multitudes of well-meaning but weak persons abandoned scenes of Christian conflict, and betook themselves to desert solituaes and caves of the mountains. At first they lived as hermits, and sought by means of labor to provide for themselves, and to devote a surplus of their earnings to charitable objects. By degrees the austerities of some won for them notoriety, and caused them to become objects of charity, and even of superstitious reverence, among the ignorant. Thus such men as Anthony of Egypt, Paul of Thebes, Hilarion of Palestine, and others, became severally the centres of great communities of men, who might at their homes or in mission fields have been very useful, but who now wasted their lives in idleness and self-mortifications, to the disgrace of the Christianity which they professed. Pachomius, originally a soldier, but afterwards an anchoret, developed a certain organizing power by gathering his imitators out of their individual huts into a coenobium, or community residence, thus founding the first Christian monastery. It was at Tabenna, an island of the Nile. Pachomius also founded cloisters for nuns; and the members of his community, during his lifetime, reached the large number of 3000. By the middle of the 5th century this order of monks alone, and there were various others, had attained the great number of 50,000. From this brief statement as an index let the mind of the reader survey the vast expansion of the monastic idea and of monastic ambition as orders of monks became multiplied and powerful, spreading themselves throughout Europe and the East during the long period of fifteen centuries. (See Benedictines); (See Carmelites); (See Carthusians); (See Dominicans); (See Jesuits); (See Monasticism); (See Monks); etc.
Considering the hundreds of thousands, and even millions, of persons whose lives were by this unscriptural and unnatural system withdrawn from spheres of Christian usefulness in society and in mission fields' to profitless and often degrading austerities, to say nothing of worse excesses that sometimes followed in its train, it is easy to perceive that monasticism acted as a gigantic and wide- spread antagonism to the evangelization of the world. It may be assumed that the persons embraced within its influence meant well. and as a rule lived up to the theories of which they were the victims. But how different might have been the position and influence of the Christian Church had the lives and sacrifices of all those persons been applied in accordance with the Saviour's precept, "Go teach all nations."
While, therefore, monasticism was decimating the Church by the profitless seclusion of thousands if its best members, worldly conformity, on the other hand, came into the Church like a flood, with the elevation of many of the clergy to imperial favor. Thus the ancient Church, instead of remaining a unit in its zeal and efforts for the conversion of the world, became embarrassed by two opposite and equally injurious systems of error and practice, both alike fatal to its missionary faithfulness and progress. To this day the Greek Church remains under the incubus of the monastic system fastened upon it at that early period, while the Latin Church soon after became so closely identified with secular power that, although it resumed propagandism, it practiced it with motives and measures often highly exceptionable, and thus contaminated and enfeebled the Christianity it disseminated. "In regard to missions, the inaction of the Eastern churches is well known. As a general rule, they have remained content with the maintenance of their own customs." "The preaching of Ulphilas to the Goths, of the Nestorian missions in Asia, of Russia in Siberia and the Aleutian Islands, are but striking exceptions. The conversion of the Russian nation was effected, not by the preaching of the Byzantine clergy, but by the marriage of a Byzantine princess. In the midst of the Mohammedan Ehst the Greek populations remain like islands in the barren sea, and the Bedouin tribes have wandered for twelve centuries round the Greek convent of Mount Sinai, probably without one instance of conversion to the creed of men whom they yet acknowledge with almost religious veneration as beings from a higher world" (Stanley, Eastern Ch.).
In taking a historical view, however brief, of the Christian missions of successive ages, it seems desirable to exercise charity in the largest degree consistent with truth. And, in fact, great allowance must be made for the ignorance and difficulties of ancient and mediaeval times. Nevertheless, in the light of the Saviour's rule "by their fruits shall ye know them," it is necessary to concede that much in ecclesiastical history that has passed for Christianity is scarcely less than a caricature of the reality. So of missionary propagandism and the conversion of nations, it must be confessed that many familiar and comprehensive phrases, such as the " conversion of the Roman empire," "the conversion of the Northern nations," "the conversion of Germany," "of Poland," "of Norway," etc., can only signify nominal conversion, and such ‘ outward changes as might take place wholly apart from the influence of that true faith which "works by love and purifies the heart." While, therefore, facts may be mentioned as they are represented to us in history, a careful judgment will discriminate as to their true moral or evangelical significance. Nor must the important consideration be overlooked that God, who can make the wrath of man praise him, and overrule the most untoward events to the accomplishment of his own glory, could, and doubtless did, overrule much that was imperfect, and even censurable, in the mode of promoting a nominal Christianity for the ultimate furtherance of the truth.
III. Period And Elements Of Transition . — There is no positive line of demarcation between the ancient and the mediaeval churches. Indeed writers never cease to differ in regard to the limits assigned to each. In point of fact, the former gradually and almost insensibly blended into the latter; but, in a missionary, point of view, we are forced to consider the ancient Church as coming to a close when her purity and her aggressiveness began simultaneously to decline. During the first three centuries Christianity maintained a complete antagonism to false religions and pagan worship in all its forms. Conversions to Christianity were individual, not national; the new faith made its way upward from the humbler strata of society to the higher, from the Catacombs to the palace, till at length the number of converts became too great and too influential to be ignored either by emperors or by senates. In the 4th century we have the example of the emperor Constantine, as yet unbaptized, taking an active part in preaching and in .the councils of the Church; and subsequently the leading missionary efforts were specially addressed to kings and princes, to whose determination their subjects were expected to conform.
One of the saddest aspects of the closing period of the ancient Church appeared in the growing tendency on the part of the clergy to accept nominal instead of real conversions, outward conformity instead of actual faith. Many bishops encouraged this tendency, wishing to make what they called conversion as easy as possible. Hence they baptized even those who lived in open sin, and who plainly indicated their purpose to continue in it. Perhaps they imagined that such persons, when once introduced to the Church, would be more easily and certainly reformed, although, for the most part, they merely told them what they would have to believe in order to be Christians, without insisting on the obligations of a holy life, lest the candidates should decline baptism. "These corrupt modes of procedure originated partly in the erroneous notions of worth attached to a barely outward baptism and outward Church fellowship, and partly in the false notions of what constituted faith, and of the relation of the doctrines of faith and of morals in Christianity to each other" (Neander, Church Hist. 2:100). Against such views and measures there were not wanting remonstrances on the part of such men as Chrysostom and Augustine. The former, reprobating bishops animated by a false zeal for increasing the numbers of nominal Christians, says: "Our Lord utters it as a precept, ‘ Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine.' But, through foolish vanity and ambition, we have subverted this command too by admitting those corrupt, unbelieving men, who are full of evil, before they have given us any satisfactory evidence of a change of mind, to partake of the sacraments. It is on this account many of those who were thus baptized have fallen away and occasioned much scandal." Augustine complained: "How many seek Jesus only that he may benefit them in earthly matters! One man has a lawsuit, so he seeks the intercession of the clergy; another is oppressed by his superior, so he takes refuge in the Church; and still another that he may secure the wife of his choice. The Church is full of such persons. Seldom is Jesus sought for Jesus's sake." Nor were worldly motives the only agencies which led to spurious and hypocritical conversions, Many were awakened by outward impressions: some supposed they had seen miraculous effects produced by the sign of the cross; others were affected by dreams, and did little more than exchange one superstition for another. Against these insidious and contagious errors Augustine uttered faithful exhortations and warnings in his tract De Catechizandis Rudibus and other writings, but the current of things, and the swelling tide of barbarian invasion, greatly antagonized his influence. Some were doubtless led from poor beginnings to better results, becoming in the end true Christians, although they entered the Church from unworthy motives; but far earlier, and more extensively than is generally supposed, the true spiritual character of the ancient Church, as a whole, had lamentably declined, and with it all genuine zeal for the spiritual conversion of men.
IV. Mediaeval Missions . — It is not to be denied that the mediaeval period was one of revolution, and therefore unfavorable to the propagation of true religion; but it is by no means conceded, as is argued by some Protestant writers, including Milman, Guizot, and others of high reputation, that a defective development of Christianity was therefore inevitable, or that the semi-monastic and secular measures employed to civilize and Christianize the barbarians of Europe were "adapted as a transitionary stage for the childhood of those races." On the other hand, it is claimed, in the light of Scripture and experience, both among ancient and modern heathen, that the grand desideratum for those times, as for all others, was the unadulterated Gospel of Christ and his apostles, which not only would have availed tenfold more than did all worldly and semi-secular expedients, but would have remained as a pure, instead of a corrupting, leaven to work in after ages. It is pleasing to observe that in some of the earlier missions, of which brief sketches will now be submitted, there was no inconsiderable mixture of just and appropriate evangelical agencies, such as the translation and circulation of the Scriptures, and self-denying examples of missionary life. Instead of attempting, as has often been done, to sum up by centuries what was done, or said to have been done, to extend Christianity, it is thought better to present from historic sources a few sample missionary events and characters from successive periods of mediaeval .Church history, illustrating the actual introduction of the Church into different countries and among various races.
1. The Mission Of Ulphilas To The Goths. — "When we proceed to inquire in what way a knowledge of Christianity was diffused among the nations which thus established themselves on the ruins of the Roman empire, we find, at least at the outset, that ecclesiastical history can give us but scanty information. ‘ We know as little in detail,' remarks Schlegel, ‘ of the circumstances under which Christianity became so universally spread in a short space of time among all the Gothic nations as of the establishment, step by step, of their great kingdom on the Black Sea.' The rapid and universal diffusion, indeed, of the new faith is a proof of their capacity for civilization, and of the national connection of the whole race; but where shall we find the details of their conversion? We have not a record, not even a legend, of the way in which the Visigoths in France, the Ostrogoths in Pannonia, the Suevians in Spain, the Gepidae, the Vandals, the followers of Odoacer, and the fiery Lombards, were converted to the Christian faith. We may trace this, in part, to the terrible desolation which at this period reigned everywhere, while nation warred against nation, and tribe against tribe; we may trace it, still more, to the fact that every one of the tribes above mentioned was converted to the Arian form of Christianity, a sufficient reason in the eyes of Catholic historians for ignoring altogether the efforts of heretics to spread the knowledge of the faith. And till the close of the 6th, and the opening of the 7th century, we must be content with the slenderest details, if we wish to Know anything of the early diffusion of Christianity on the European continent.
"The record, however, of one early missionary has forced its way into the Catholic histories.' In the reigns of Valerian and Gallienus, the Goths, descending from the north and east, began, from their new settlements on the Danube, to threaten the safety of the southern provinces of the empire. Establishing themselves in the Ukraine and on the shores of the Bosphorus, they spread terror throughout Pontus, Bithynia, and Cappadocia. In one of these inroads they carried off from the latter country a multitude of captives, some belonging to the clergy, and located them in their settlements along the northern bank of the Danube. Here the captives did not forget their Christian duties towards their heathen masters, nor did the latter scorn to receive from them the gentle doctrines of Christianity. The work, indeed, went on in silence, but from time to time we have proofs that the seed had not been sown in vain. Among the 318 bishops at the Council of Nice, the light complexion of the Gothic bishop Theophilus must have attracted notice, as contrasted ‘ with the dark hair and tawny hue of almost all the rest.' But Theophilus was the predecessor and teacher of a still greater missionary. Among the involuntary slaves carried off in the reign of Gallienus were the parents or ancestors of Ulphilas, who has won for himself the title of ‘ Apostle of the Goths.' Born, probably, in the year 318, he was, at a comparatively early age, sent on a mission to Constantinople, and there Constantine caused him to be consecrated bishop by his own chaplain, Eusebius of Nicomedia. From this time he devoted himself heart and soul to the conversion of his countrymen, and the Goths were the first of the barbarians among whom we see Christianity advancing general civilization, as well as teaching a purer faith.
"But his lot was cast in troublous times: the threatened irruption of a barbarous horde, and the animosity of the heathen Goths, induced him to cross the Danube, where the emperor Constantine assigned to his flock a district of country, and here he continued to labor with success. The influence he had already gained, and the natural sense of gratitude for the benefits he had bestowed upon the tribes by procuring for them a more peaceful settlement, rendered his efforts comparatively easy. Rejoicing in the woodlands and pastures of their new home, where they could to advantage tend their numerous flocks and herds, and purchase corn and wine of the richer provinces around them, they listened obediently to the voice of their bishop, whom they likened to a second Moses. And the conduct of Ulphilas justified their confidence. With singular wisdom he did not confine his efforts to the oral instruction of his people; he sought to restore to them the art of writing, which probably had been lost during their migration from the east to the north of Germany. Composing an alphabet of twenty-five letters, some of which he was fain to invent, in order to give expression to sounds unknown to Greek and Latin pronunciation, he translated the Scriptures into the native language of his flock, omitting only the four books of Kings, a precaution he adopted from a fear that their contents might tend to rouse the martial ardor and fierce spirit of a people who, in this matter, to use the quaint language of the historian, ‘ required the bit rather than the spur.'"
"After a while he was constrained to act the part of mediator between the Visigothic nation and the Roman emperor Valens. In the year A.D. 374 the barbarous horde of the Huns burst upon the kingdom of the Ostrotgoths, and, having subdued it, turned their eyes to the lands and possessions of the Visigoths. Unable to defend the line of the Dniester, the latter fell back upon the Pruth, hoping for safety amid the inaccessible defiles of the Carpathian mountains. But, sensible that even here they were not secure, a considerable party began to long for an asylum within the Roman dominions, and it was agreed that ambassadors, with Ulphilas among their number, should repair to the court of Valens, and endeavor to obtain a new settlement. "Valens was an Arian and a controversialist. At this very time he was enforcing at Antioch, ‘ by other weapons than those of reason and eloquence,' a belief in the Arian theology; and when the poor bishop presented himself, and requested aid in the dire necessity of his people, the emperor is reported to have persecuted him with discussions on the hypostatic union, and to have pressed upon him the necessity of repudiating the Confession of Nice, and adopting that of Rimini. Ulphilas was in a great strait, but, being a simple-minded man, and considering the question one of words, and involving only metaphysical subtleties, not worthy of consideration in comparison with the sufferings of his people, he assented to the emperor's proposal, and promised that the Gothic nation should adopt the Arian Confession. The emperor, on his part, consented to give up certain lands in Moesia, but annexed to this concession two harsh and rigorous conditions: that before they crossed the Danube the Goths should give up their arms, and suffer their children to be taken from them as hostages for their own fidelity, with the prospect of being educated in the different provinces of Asia.
"On these hard terms instructions were issued to the military governors of the Thracian diocese, bidding them make preparations for the reception of the new settlers. But it was found no easy matter to transport across a river more than a mile in breadth, and swelled by incessant rains, upwards of a million of both sexes and of all ages. For days and nights they passed and repassed in boats and canoes, and before they landed not a few had been carried away and drowned by the violence of the current. But, besides the disciples of Ulphilas, thousands of Goths, crossed the river who still continued faithful to their own heathen priests and priestesses. Disguising, it is even said, their priests in the garb of Christian bishops and fictitious ascetics, they deceived the credulous Romans; and only when on the Roman side of the river did they throw off the mask, and make it clear that Valens was not easily to have his wish gratified, and see them converted to Arianism. One of the hereditary chiefs, Fritigern, a disciple of Ulphilas, adopted the creed of the empire, the other, Athanaric, headed the numerous party which still continued devoted to the altars and rites of Woden. The latter faction, placing their chief god on a lofty wagon, dragged it through the Gothic camp; all who refused to bow down, they burned, with their wives and children; nor did they spare the rude church they had erected, or the confused crowd of women and children who had fled to it for protection. But while the great bulk of the Gothic nation were involved in constant wars with the Roman armies, and, under the two great divisions of Ostrogoths and Visigoths, were gradually spreading themselves over Gaul, Italy, and Spain, Ulphilas continued, till the year 388, to superintend the temporal and spiritual necessities of the peaceful and populous colony of shepherds and herdsmen which, as in another Goshen, he had formed on the slopes of Mount Hoemus, and to whom he had presented the Gothic Bible in their own tongue.
"The zeal he had displayed found an imitator in the great Chrysostom. What was the measure of his success we have no means of judging, but it is certain that he founded in Constantinople an institution in which Goths might be trained and qualified to preach the Gospel to their fellow- countrymen. Even during the three years of his banishment to the remote and wretched little town of Cucusus, among the ridges of Mount Taiurus, amid the want of provisions, frequent sickness without the possibility of obtaining medicines, and the ravages of Isaurian robbers, his active mind, invigorated by misfortunes, found relief not only in corresponding with churches in all quarters, but in directing missionary operations in Phoenicia, Persia, and among the Goths. In several extant epistles we find him advising the despatch of missionaries, one to this point, another to that, consoling some under persecution, animating all by the example of the great apostle Paul,: and the hope of an eternal reward. And in answer to his appeals, his friends at a distance supplied him with funds so ample that he was enabled to support missions and redeem captives, and even had to beg of them that their abundant liberality might be directed into other channels. How far his exertions prevailed to win over any portion of the Gothic nation to the Catholic communion we have no means of judging. Certain it is that from the Western Goths the Arian form of Christianity extended to the Eastern Goths, to the Gepidae, the Alans, the Vandals, and the Suevi; and it has been justly remarked that we ought not to forget ‘ that when Augustine, in his great work on the "city of God," celebrates the charity and clemency of Alaric during the sack of Rome, these Christian graces were entirely due to the teaching of Oriental missionaries' "(Maclear's Missions in the Middle Ages, pages 37-43).
2. The Conversion Of Clovis And The Frankes . — In the year 481 Clovis succeeded to the chieftaincy of the Salian Franks. In 493 he married Clotilda, the daughter of the king of Burgundy, who professed Christianity, and sought to persuade her husband to embrace it also; but her efforts for a time were without success. "At length, on the battle-field of Tolbiac, his incredulity came to an end. The fierce and dreadful Alemanni, fresh from their native forests, had burst upon the kingdom of his Ripuarian allies; Clovis, with his Franks, had rushed to the rescue, and the two fiercest nations of Germany were to decide between them the supremacy of Gaul. The battle was long and bloody; the Franks, after an obstinate struggle, wavered, and seemed on the point of flying, and in vain Clovis implored the aid of his own deities. At length he bethought him of the vaunted omnipotence of Clotilda's God, and he vowed that if victorious he would abjure his pagan creed arid be baptized as a Christian. Thereupon the tide of battle turned; the last king of the Allemanni fell, and his troops fled in disorder, purchasing safety by submission to the Frankish chief. On his return Clovis recounted to his queen the story of the fight, the success of his prayer, and the vow he had made. Overwhelmed with joy, she sent without delay for Remigius, the venerable bishop of Rheims, and on his arrival the victorious chief listened attentively to his arguments. Still he hesitated, and said he would consult his warriors. These rough soldiers evinced no unwillingness; with, perhaps, the same indifference that he himself had permitted the baptism of his children, they declared themselves nothing loth to accept the creed of their chief. Clovis therefore yielded, and the baptism was fixed to take place at the approaching festival of Christmas. The greatest pains were taken to lend as -much solemnity as possible to the scene. The church was hung with embroidered tapestry and white curtains, and blazed with a thousand lights, while odors of incense, ‘ like airs of paradise,' in the words of the excited chronicler, ‘ filled the place.' The new Constantine, as he entered, was struck with awe. ‘ Is this the heaven thou didst promise me?' said he to the bishop. ‘ Not heaven itself, but the beginning of the way thither,' replied the bishop. The service proceeded. As he knelt before the font to wash away the leprosy of his heathenism, ‘ Sicambrian,' said Remigius, ‘ gently bow thy neck, bur that thou didst adore, adore that which thou didst burn.' Thus together with three thousand of his followers, Clovis espoused Clotilda's creed, and became the single sovereign of the West who adhered to the Confession of Nicaea. Everywhere else Arianism was triumphant. The Ostrogoth Theodoric in Italy, the successors of Euric in Visigothic France, the king of Burgundy, the Suevian princes in Spain, the Vandal in Africa — all were Arians.
"The conversion of Clovis, like that of Constantine, is open to much discussion. It certainly had no effect upon his moral character. The same ‘ untutored savage' he was, the same he remained. But the services he rendered to Catholicism were great, and they were appreciated. ‘ God daily prostrated his enemies before him, because he walked before him with an upright heart, and did what was pleasing in his eyes.' In these words Gregory of Tours expresses the feelings of the Gallic clergy, who rallied round Clovis to a man, and excused all faults in one who could wield the sword so strenuously in behalf of the orthodox faith. His subsequent career was a succession of triumphs: Gundebald, the Burgundian king, felt the vengeance of Clotilda's lord on the bloody field of Dijon on the Ousche, and the cities on the Saone and the Rhone were added to the Frankish kingdom. A few more years and the Visigothic kingdom in the south felt the same iron hand. The orthodox prelates did not disguise the fact that this was a religious war, and that the supremacy of the Arian or the Catholic Creed in Western Europe was now to be decided. Clovis himself entered fully into the spirit of the crusade: on approaching Tours, he made death the penalty of injuring the territory of the holy St. Martin; in the church of the saint he publicly performed his devotions, and listened to the voices of the priests as they chanted the 18th Psalm: ‘ Thou hast girded me, O Lord, with strength unto the battle; thou hast subdued unto me those which rose up against me. Thou hast also given me the necks of mine enemies, that I might destroy them that hate me.' Whether he understood the words or not, they seemed prophetic of the subsequent, career of the new champion of Catholicism. The orthodox historians exhaust the treasury of legends to adorn his progress. A ‘ kind of wonderful magnitude' guided him through the swollen waters of the River Vienne; a pillar of fire blazed forth from the cathedral as he drew nigh Poitiers, to assure him of success. At last the bloody plains of Vougle witnessed the utter defeat of the Arian Goths, and Alaric, their king, was mingled with the crowd of fugitives. Bordeaux, Auvergne, Rovergne, Toulouse, Angoulame, successively fell into the hands of the Frankish king, and then before the shrine of St. Martin the ‘ eldest son of the Church' was invested with the titles of Roman Patricius and Consul, conferred by the Greek emperor Anastasius."
"We have thus sketched the rise of the Frankish monarchy because it has an important connection with the history of Christian-missions. Orthodoxy advanced side by side with the Frankish domination. The rude warriors of Clovis, once beyond the local boundaries of their ancestral faith, found themselves in the presence of a Church which was the only stable institution in the country, and bowed before a creed which, while it offered infinitely more to the soul and intellect than their own superstitions, presented everything that could excite the fancy or captivate the sense. Willingly, therefore, did they follow the example of their king; and for. one that embraced the faith from genuine — a thousand adopted it from lower motives. And while they had their reward, the Frankish bishops had theirs too, in constant gifts of land for the foundation of churches and monasteries, and in a speedy admission to wealth and power."
"But the Frankish Church was not destined to evangelize the rude nations of Europe. The internal dissensions and constant wars of the successors of Clovis were not favorable to the development of Christian civilization at home or its propagation abroad. Avitus of Vienne, Caesarius of Aries, and Faustus of Riez, proved what might be done by energy and self-devotion. But the rapid accession of wealth more and more tempted the Frankish bishops and abbots to live as mere laymen, and so the clergy degenerated, and the light of the Frankish Church grew dim. Not only were the masses of heathendom lying outside her territory neglected, but within it she saw her own members tainted with the old leaven of heathenism, and relapsing, in some instances, into the old idolatries. A new influence, therefore, was required, if the light of the Frankish Church was to be rekindled, and the German tribes evangelized, And this new influence was at hand. But to trace its origin, we must leave the scenes of the labors of Ulphilas and Severinus for two sister isles high up in the Northern Sea, almost forgotten amid the desolating contest which was breaking up the Roman world. We must glance first at the origin of the Celtic Church in Ireland and the Scottish highlands, whose humble oratories of timber and rude domes of rough stone might, indeed, contrast unfavorably with the prouder structures of the West, but whose missionary zeal burned with a far steadier flame. We must then turn to the shores of Kent, where the story of Clovis and Clotilda was to be re-enacted, and a Teutonic Church was destined to arise, and send forth, in its turn, missionary heroes among their kindred on the Continent" (Maclear's Missions in the Middle Ages, pages 54-58).
3. Patrick And The Irish Missionaries. — The Gospel was planted in Ireland by a single missionary, self-moved — or, rather, divinely moved — and self-supported. His historic name was Patrick, and the Roman Catholics (claiming him, without reason, as their own) call him St. Patrick. He was born about the year 410, and most probably in some part of Scotland. His parents were Christians, and instructed him in the Gospel. Patrick's first visit to the field of his future mission was in his youth, as a captive of pirates, who carried him away, with many others, as a prisoner. Patrick was sold to a chieftain, who placed him in charge of his cattle. His own statement is that his heart was turned to the Lord during the hardships of his captivity. ‘ I prayed many times a day,' he says. ‘ The fear of God and love to him were increasingly kindled in me. Faith grew in me, so that in one day I offered a hundred prayers, and at night almost as many; and when I passed the night in the woods or on the mountains, I rose up to pray in the snow, ice, and rain before daybreak. Yet I felt no pain. There was no sluggishness in me, such as I now find in myself, for then the spirit glowed within me.' This is extracted from what is called the ‘ Confession' of Patrick, written in his old age.
"Some years later he was again taken by the pirates, but soon regained his liberty, and returned home. His parents urged him to remain with them, but he felt an irresistible call to carry the Gospel to those among whom he had passed his youth as a bondman. ‘ Many opposed my going,' he says in his ‘ Confession,' ‘ and said behind my back, "Why does this man rush into danger among the heathen, who do not know the Lord?" It was not badly intended on their part, but they could not comprehend the matter on account of my uncouth disposition. Many gifts were offered me with tears if I would remain. But, according to God's guidance, I did not yield to them; not by my own power — it was God who conquered in me, and I withstood them all; so that I went to the people of Ireland to publish the Gospel to them, and suffered many insults from unbelievers, and many persecutions, even unto bonds, resigning my liberty for the good of others. And if I am found worthy, I am ready to give up my life with joy for his sake.' In such a spirit did this apostle to Ireland commence his mission, about the year 440; not far from the time when Britain was finally evacuated by the Romans...
"Patrick being acquainted with the language and customs of the Irish people, as a consequence of his early captivity, gathered them about him in large assemblies at the beat of a kettle-drums and told the story of Christ so as to move their hearts. Having taught them to read, he encouraged the importation of useful books from England and France. He established cloisters after the fashion of the times, which were really missionary schools for educating the people in the knowledge of the Gospel, and for training a native ministry and missionaries; and he claims to have baptized many thousands of people...
" ‘ The people may not have adopted the outward profession of Christianity, which was all that, perhaps, in the first instance they adopted, from any clear or intellectual appreciation of its superiority to their former religion; but to obtain from the people even an outward profession of Christianity was an important step to ultimate success. It secured toleration, at least, for Christian institutions. It enabled Patrick to plant in every tribe his churches, schools, and monasteries. He was permitted, without opposition, to establish among the half-pagan inhabitants of the country societies of holy men, whose devotion, usefulness, and piety soon produced an effect upon the most barbarous and savage hearts. This was the secret of the rapid success attributed to Patrick's preaching in Ireland. The chieftains were at first the real converts. The baptism of the chieftain was immediately followed by the adhesion of the clan. The clansmen pressed eagerly around the missionary who had baptized the chief, anxious to receive that mysterious initiation into the new faith to which their chieftain and father had submitted. The requirements preparatory to baptism do not seem to have been very rigorous; and it is, therefore, not improbable that in Tirawley, and other remote districts, where the spirit of clanship was strong, Patrick, as he himself tells us he did, may have baptized some thousands of men.'
"When this zealous missionary died, about the year 493, his disciples, who seem all to have been natives of Ireland — a native ministry — continued his work inn the same spirit. The monasteries became at length so numerous and famous that Ireland was called Insula Sanctorum, the ‘ Island of Saints.' It gives a wrong idea of these institutions to call them monasteries, or to call their inmates monks. ‘ They were schools of learning and abodes of piety, uniting the instruction of the college, the labors of the workshop, the charities of the hospital, and the worship of the Church. They originated partly in a mistaken view of the Christian life, and partly out of the necessity of the case, which drove Christians to live together for mutual protection. The missionary spirit, and consequent religious activity, prevailing in the Irish monasteries, preserved them for a long time from the asceticism and mysticism incidental to the monastic life, and made them a source of blessing to the world.' The celibacy of the clergy was not enjoined in those times. Married men were connected with the cloisters, living, however, in single houses. The Scriptures were read, and ancient books were collected and studied. The missions which went forth from these institutions, as also those from England and Wales, are frequently called ‘ Culdee' missions. (See Culdees) and (See Iona).
"The names of Columba and Columbanus are familiar to the readers of ecclesiastical history. Both were Irish missionaries, and both were from the institution at Bangor, in Ireland. Columba's mission was to the Picts of Scotland, and was entered upon at the age of forty-two, in the year 563. This was thirteen hundred years ago, and about seventy years after the time of Patrick. He was accompanied by twelve associates, and was the founder of the celebrated monastery on Iona, an island situated on the north of Scotland, now reckoned one of the Hebrides. This school, which had an enduring fame, became one of the chief lights of that age. Continuing thirty-five years under Columba's management, it attained a high reputation for Biblical studies and other sciences; and missionaries went from it to the northern and southern Picts of Scotland, and into England, along the eastern coast to the Thames, and to the European continent. Columbanus entered on his mission to the partially Christianized, but more especially to the pagan portions of Europe, in the year 589. That he was an evangelical missionary may be confidently inferred from the tenor of his life, and from the records of his Christian experience. He thus writes: ‘ O Lord, give: me, I beseech thee, in the name of Jesus Christ, thy Son, my God, that love which can never cease, that will kindle my lamp but not extinguish it, that it may burn in me and enlighten others. Do thou, O Christ, our dearest Saviour, thyself kindle our lamps, that they may evermore shine in thy temple; that they may receive unquenchable light from thee that will enlighten our darkness and lessen the darkness of the world. My Jesus, I pray thee, give thy light to my lamp, that in its light the most holy place may be revealed to me in which thou dwellest as the eternal Priest, that I may always behold thee, desire thee, look upon thee in love, and long after thee.' Columbauus went first to France, taking with him twelve young men, as Columba had done, to be his co-laborers-men who had been trained under his special guidance. Here, as a consequence of continual wars, political disturbances, and the remissness of worldly- minded ecclesiastics, the greatest confusion and irregularity prevailed, and there was great degeneracy in the monastic orders. Columbanus preferred casting his lot among the pagans of Burgundy, and chose for his settlement the ruins of an ancient castle in the midst of an immense wilderness, at the foot of the Vosges Mountains. There they often suffered hunger, until the wilderness had been in some measure subdued and the earth brought under cultivation. The mission then became self-supporting, but we are not informed by what means the previous expenses were defrayed. Preaching was a part of their duty, though there is less said of this than of their efforts to impart the benefits of a Christian education to the children of the higher classes. The surrounding poor were taught gratuitously. All the pupils joined in tilling the fields, and such was their success in education that the Frankish nobles were forward to place their sons under their care. It was the most famous school in Burgundy, and there was not room in the abbey for all who pressed to gain admittance; so that it became necessary to erect other buildings, and to bring a large number of teachers over from Ireland to meet the demand. Here the eminent missionary pursued his labors for a score of years. As he represents himself to have buried as many as seventeen of his associates during twelve years, the number of his co- laborers must have been large. The discipline which Columbanus imposed on the monastic life was severe, but perhaps scarcely more so than was required by the rude spirit of the age; and he took pains to avoid the error, so prevalent in the Romish Church, of making the essence of piety consist in externals. The drift of his teaching was that everything depended on the state of the heart. Both by precept and example he sought to combine the contemplative with the useful. At the same time he adhered, with a free and independent spirit, to the peculiar religious usages of his native land. As these differed in some important respects from what were then prevalent among the degenerate Frankish clergy, he had many enemies among them, who sought to drive him from the country. This they at length effected, with the aid of the wicked mother of the reigning prince. Columbanus was ordered to return to Ireland, and to take his countrymen with him. This he did not do, but repaired first to Germany, and then to Switzerland. He spent a year near the eastern extremity of the Lake Constance, laboring among the Suevi, a heathen people in that neighborhood. This territory coming at length under the dominion of his enemies, he crossed the Alps, in the year 612, into Lombardy, and founded a monastery near Pavia; and there this apostle to Franks, Swabians, Bavarians, and other nations of Germany, passed the remainder of his days, and breathed out his life November 21, 615, aged seventy-two years. Gallus, a favorite pupil and follower of Columbanus, remained behind in consequence of illness, and became the apostle of Switzerland. He also was an Irishman. and was characterized, as was his master, by love for the sacred volume. In what was then a wilderness he founded a monastery, ‘ which led to the clearing up of the forest, and the conversion of the land into cultivable soil, and it afterwards became celebrated under his name, St. Gall.' Here he labored for the Swiss and Swabian population till his death, in the year 640. This monastery was pre-eminent for the number and beauty of the manuscripts prepared by its monks; many of which, and, among others, some fragments of a translation of the Scriptures into the Allemanni language, about the year 700, are said to be preserved in the libraries of Germany.
"Neander is of the opinion that the number of missionaries who passed over from Ireland to the continent of Europe must have been great, though of very few is there any exact information. Wherever they went, cloisters were founded, and the wilderness soon gave place to cultivated fields. According to Ebrard, there were more than forty cloisters in the vicinity of the Loire and Rhone, which were governed according to the rules of Columbanus, and to which emigrants came from Ireland as late as the close of the 7th century. He also affirms that Germany was almost wholly heathen when that missionary entered it. But before the year 720 the Gospel had been proclaimed by himself and his countrymen from the mountains of Switzerland down to the islands in the delta of the Rhine, and eastward from that river to the River Inn, and the Bohemian forest, and the borders of Saxony, and still farther on the seacoast; and