more than two hundred years. They did not begin in sandpits. There were three sorts of tufa: (1) rocky, used for Quarrying and too hard for Christian purposes; (2) sandy, used for sandpits, too soft to permit construction of galleries and tombs; (3) granular, that used by Christians. The existence of the catacombs must have been well known to the heathen. After Pope Damasus the exaggerated reverence for them began. They were decorated and improved. Hence many paintings are of later date than 400, and testify to papal polity, not to that of early Christianity. The bottles contain, not blood, but wine of the Eucharist celebrated at the funeral.
Fisher, Nature and Method of Revelation, 256-258, calls attention to Matthew Arnold?s description of the needs of the heathen world, yet his blindness to the true remedy: ?On that hard pagan world disgust And secret loathing fell: Deep weariness and sated lust Made human life a hell. In his cool hail, with haggard eyes, The Roman noble lay; He drove abroad, in furious guise, Along the Appian Way: He made a feast, drank fierce and fast. And crowned his hair with flowers, ? No easier nor no quicker passed The impracticable hours.? Yet with mingled pride and sadness, Mr. Arnold fastidiously rejects more heavenly nutriment. Of Christ he says: ?Now he is dead I Far hence he lies, In the lorn Syrian town, And on his grave, with shining eyes, The Syrian stars look down.? He sees that the millions ?Have such need of joy, And joy whose grounds are true, And joy that should all hearts employ As when the past was new!? The want of the world is: ?One mighty wave of thought and joy, Lifting mankind amain.? But the poet sees no ground of hope: ?Fools I that so often here, Happiness mocked our prayer, I think might make us fear A like event elsewhere, ? Make us not fly to dreams, But moderate desire.? He sings of the time when Christianity was young: ?Oh, had I lived in that great day, How had its glory new Filled earth and heaven, and caught away My ravished spirit too!? But desolation of spirit does not bring with it any lowering of self-esteem, much less the humility, which deplores the presence and power of evil in the soul, and sighs for deliverance. ?They that are whole have no need of a physician, hut they that are sick? ( <400912>Matthew 9:12). Rejecting Christ, Matthew Arnold embodies In his verse ?the sweetness, the gravity, the strength, the beauty, and the languor of death? (Hutton, Essays, 302).
C. The wonder becomes yet greater when we consider the natural insufficiency of the means used to secure this progress.
(a) The proclaimers of the gospel were in general unlearned men, belonging to a despised nation.
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