From what has been said in the preceding chapters it must be apparent that power of extraordinary magnitude was at work. Into a civilization which had ceased to say or to do much that was new a dynamic force had entered which had brought into being a vast new literature, of which the New Testament was only a small portion, inspired by a compelling creative message, centred about Christ. This force was also responsible for the emergence of the Christian Church, a structure without parallel in history, which, while arising within the Roman Empire and in part owing its unity to that Empire, was spreading beyond the borders of that realm and with an inner vitality which enabled it to survive the breakup of that state. In connexion with the Church a new profession had arisen, the clergy. The clergyman was in part priest, modeled consciously on the pattern of the Jewish priesthood and perhaps unconsciously showing the influence of the pagan priesthood. Yet the clergyman was far more than a priest, officiating at the public services of the Church. He was also a pastor, a shepherd and guide of souls. That function was to grow as the centuries passed and was to make the profession of the Christian clergyman quite unique.
This power had stimulated the conventionalized mind of the Graco-Roman world to wrestle with the baffling new intellectual problems presented by the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Christ and to reach answers which were novel in the history of human thought. It had created new forms of worship and in monasticism had brought into being a movement which, like the Church, was to outlast the society within which it arose and against which it was a protest. Moreover, the Christian Gospel had worked moral and spiritual transformations in the lives of individuals. In some, as in Paul and Augustine, these were spectacular. In others, such as Ambrose and Tertullian, they were not as cataclysmic but were no less real. In still others, such as Origen, Anthony, and Basil of C^sarea, reared as Christians from infancy, the product was also distinctive and contagious.
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