In the Manual of The Mother Church (p. 43) is a rule entitled "No Incorrect Literature," which recalls the statement in Exodus: "For they cast down, every man his rod, and they became serpents: but Aaron's rod swallowed up their rods." When philosophy had come to its second standstill, and the skeptics had reached the height of power; when that wonderful product, the Greek mind, lay palsied at its own discovery that there was no criterion of truth; when the thought of Plato, Aristotle, and the later philosophers had shown its weakness,—that weakness which always follows the pursuit of truth through the material, namely, lack of proof; when Philo the Jew and the Neoplatonists had invented the Alexandrian trinity and through a religious philosophy were endeavoring to satisfy the desire of mankind for a practical knowledge of the Father,—there came to Alexandria—the chief seat of learning at that time—a few disciples of the humble Nazarene.

In spite of scorn and redicule the numbers of these Christians grew, and because of their fruits it was not long before the learned men of the age had to pray attention to this new and wonderful power which had arisen in their midst. From this it soon followed that many of these savants were converted, but unwilling to lose their position as the scholars of the day, unwilling to lay aside their theories and teaching, unwilling to put on the humble garment required by their Master, they sought to ingraft upon the teaching of that Master the ideas of their old philosophies, and to show that his teaching was merely an extension of the ideas to which the ancient philosophers had given birth; thinking, no doubt, that thus they would save themselves and also acquire a much needed prestige for Christianity. Thus came about the first rent in the undivided garment, for worldly success soon followed these teachers, and the Christian thought became so interwoven with the doctrines of Plato and Aristotle that we find the churchmen of later times paying even more attention to the teaching of these two philosophers than to the doctrine of the Master.

April 10, 1909

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