Now, for some reason the Catholic and Protestant churches seems to think they own history... They dictate how you should read it and what is inspired and what is not inspired writing. Meaning writing that is inspired by So NiNis Spirit, writings that will lead you the Gospel that saves. And the volumes written by the church fathers, are then known to western historians as their property somehow. Now however fragmented these writings are, the history of the early church, has piece by piece been misrepresented and the truth of these first men after the apostles, has been convoluted and hidden... So then, now we are left to investigate. By the way, this is a hefty study and should not be read in its entirety, instead it could be used as a cross reference when checking out these books or getting deeper into history.
And it truly is fascinating, learning about these these characters such as Polycarp, Tertullian, Irenaeus, Origen and Barnabas. To mention a few, where would have been from, thinking about where as in where ancient Africa (Aethiopia) would they have been from. And where would places like ancient Cesarea have been? Places like Sardes, Derbe, Antioch and last but not least, the city on the seven hills Rome... Was Rome always seated in Europe or was there something earlier.... Just like Jerusalem is not based in the Middle East, Rome could have been on the continent of Africa. All dates added here in this piece are subject to questioning and are only included because of identification of the authored texts.
Lets have a look at some of the more interesting quotes of the so-called church fathers, or the early Christians. Now references will be included in the middle of the verses so you can cross check them up against Scripture, to see that what they are talking about is very much inspired, hence we should be reading and teaching other people about these men who suffered and indeed died for the faith.
Traditions and writings of the Church Fathers
First out is the Epistle of Barnabas,
“What, then, again says the prophet? ‘The assembly of the wicked surrounded me; they encompassed me as bees do a honeycomb,'(Psalm 22:17,118:12) and ‘upon my garment they cast lots' (Ps. 22:19).
Since, therefore, He was about to be manifested and to suffer in the flesh, His suffering was foreshown. For the prophet speaks against Israel, ‘Woe to their soul, because they have consulted an evil counsel against themselves[Isa. 3:9,] saying, Let us bind the just one, because he is displeasing to us'[Wisdom 2:12]. And Moses also says to them, ‘Behold these things, saith the Lord God: Enter into the good land which the Lord swore to give to Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and inherit ye it, a land flowing with milk and honey'[Ex. 33:1, Lev. 20:24].”
- Epistle of Barnabas, 6 (A.D. 74)
“Having then this hope, let our souls be bound to Him who is faithful in His promises, and just in His judgments. He who has commanded us not to lie, shall much more Himself not lie; for nothing is impossible with God, except to lie. Let His faith therefore be stirred up again within us, and let us consider that all things are nigh unto Him. By the word of His might He established all things, and by His word He can overthrow them. ‘Who shall say unto Him, What hast thou done ? Or, who shall resist the power of His strength?' (Wisdom 12:12,ll:22)
When and as He pleases He will do all things, and none of the things determined by Him shall pass away? All things are open before Him, and nothing can be hidden from His counsel. ‘The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament shows His handy-work. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night shows knowledge. And there are no words or speeches of which the voices are not heard.' (Psalm 19:1-3).”
- Clement of Rome,To the Corinthians, 27:5 (A.D. 70)
“‘Be just in your judgement’ [Deut 1:16,17 Prov 31:9] make no distinction between man and man when correcting transgressions. Do not waver in your decision. ‘Do not be one that opens his hands to receive, but shuts them when it comes to giving’ (Sirach 4:31)”
- Didache, 4:3-5 (A.D. 90).
“Stand fast, therefore, in these things, and follow the example of the Lord, being firm and unchangeable in the faith, loving the brotherhood, and being attached to one another, joined together in the truth, exhibiting the meekness of the Lord in your intercourse with one another, and despising no one. When you can do good, defer it not, because ‘alms delivers from death' (Tobit 4:10,12:9).
Be all of you subject one to another? [1 Pt 5:5] having your conduct blameless among the Gentiles,’ [1 Pt 2:12] that ye may both receive praise for your good works, and the Lord may not be blasphemed through you. But woe to him by whom the name of the Lord is blasphemed! [Isa 52:5] Teach, therefore, sobriety to all, and manifest it also in your own conduct.”
- Polycarp, To the Phillipians, 10 (A.D. 135).
“Melito to his brother Onesimus, greeting: Since thou hast often, in thy zeal for the word, expressed a wish to have extracts made from the Law and the Prophets concerning the Saviour and concerning our entire faith, and hast also desired to have an accurate statement of the ancient book, as regards their number and their order, I have endeavoured to perform the task, knowing thy zeal for the faith, and thy desire to gain information in regard to the word, and knowing that thou, in thy yearning after God, esteems these things above all else, struggling to attain eternal salvation. Accordingly when I went East and came to the place where these things were preached and done, I learned accurately the books of the Old Testament, and send them to thee as written below. Their names are as follows: Of Moses, five books: Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Leviticus, Deuteronomy; Jesus Nave, Judges, Ruth; of Kings, four books; of Chronicles, two; the Psalms of David, the Proverbs of Solomon, Wisdom also, Ecclesiastes, Song off Songs, Job; of Prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah; of the twelve prophets, one book; Daniel, Ezekiel, Esdras. From which also I have made the extracts, dividing them into six books.”
- Melito of Sardes, Fragment in Eusebius’ Ecclesiatical History, 4:26
“Those, however, who are believed to be presbyters by many, but serve their own lusts, and, do not place the fear of God supreme in their hearts, but conduct themselves with contempt towards others, and are puffed up with the pride of holding the chief seat, and work evil deeds in secret, saying, ‘No man sees us,’ shall be convicted by the Word, who does not judge after outward appearance (secundum gloriam), nor looks upon the countenance, but the heart; and they shall hear those words, to be found in Daniel the prophet: ‘O thou seed of Canaan, and not of Judah, beauty hath deceived thee, and lust perverted thy heart'[Daniel 13:56-Susanna]. Thou that art waxen old in wicked days, now thy sins which thou hast committed aforetime are come to light; for thou hast pronounced false judgments, and hast been accustomed to condemn the innocent, and to let the guilty go free, albeit the Lord saith, The innocent and the righteous shalt thou not slay’ [Daniel 13:52-53-Susanna]. Of whom also did the Lord say: “But if the evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delays his coming, and shall begin to smite the man-servants and maidens, and to eat and drink and be drunken; the lord of that servant shall come in a day that he looks not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, and shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.’ [Matt 24:48].”
- Irenaeus, Against Heresies, IV:26:3 (A.D. 180)
“For all these and other words were unquestionably spoken in reference to the resurrection of the just, which takes place after the coming of Antichrist, and the destruction of all nations under his rule; in [the times of] which [resurrection] the righteous shall reign in the earth, waxing stronger by the sight of the Lord: and through Him they shall become accustomed to partake in the glory of God the Father, and shall enjoy in the kingdom intercourse and communion with the holy angels, and union with spiritual beings; and [with respect to] those whom the Lord shall find in the flesh, awaiting Him from heaven, and who have suffered tribulation, as well as escaped the hands of the Wicked one. For it is in reference to them that the prophet says: ‘And those that are left shall multiply upon the earth,’ And Jeremiah the prophet has pointed out, that as many believers as God has prepared for this purpose, to multiply those left upon earth, should both be under the rule of the saints to minister to this Jerusalem, and that [His] kingdom shall be in it, saying, “Look around Jerusalem towards the east, and behold the joy which comes to thee from God Himself. Behold, thy sons shall come whom thou hast sent forth: they shall come in a band from the east even unto the west, by the word of that Holy One, rejoicing in that splendour which is from thy God. O Jerusalem, put off thy robe of mourning and of affliction, and put on that beauty of eternal splendour from thy God. Gird thyself with the double garment of that righteousness proceeding from thy God; place the mitre of eternal glory upon thine head. For God will show thy glory to the whole earth under heaven. For thy name shall for ever be called by God Himself, the peace of righteousness and glory to him that worships God. Arise, Jerusalem, stand on high, and look towards the east, and behold thy sons from the rising of the sun, even to the west, by the Word of that Holy One, rejoicing in the very remembrance of God. For the footmen have gone forth from thee, while they were drawn away by the enemy. God shall bring them in to thee, being borne with glory as the throne of a kingdom. For God has decreed that every high mountain shall be brought low, and the eternal hills, and that the valleys be filled, so that the surface of the earth be rendered smooth, that Israel, the glory of God, may walk in safety. The woods, too, shall make shady places, and every sweet-smelling tree shall be for Israel itself by the command of God. For God shall go before with joy in the light of His splendour, with the pity and righteousness which proceeds from Him.'[Baruch 4:36-5:9].”
- Irenaeus, Against Heresies, V:35:1 (A.D. 180).
“For, when one reads of God as being ‘the searcher and witness of the heart’ [Wisdom 1:6]; when His prophet is reproved by His discovering to him the secrets of the heart; when God Himself anticipates in His people the thoughts of their heart, ‘Why think ye evil in your hearts?'[Matt 9:4] when David prays ‘Create in me a clean heart, O God'[Ps 51:12], and Paul declares, ‘With the heart man believes unto righteousness,'[Romans 10:10] and John says, ‘By his own heart is each man condemned’[1 John 3:20]; when, lastly, ‘he who looks on a woman so as to lust after her, hath already committed adultery with her in his heart’ [Matt 5:28],–then both points are cleared fully up, that there is a directing faculty of the soul…”
- Tertullian, On the Soul, 15 (A.D. 197).
“[New Testament books…] The Epistle of Jude, indeed, and two belonging to the above-named John–or bearing the name of John–are reckoned among the Catholic epistles. And the book of Wisdom, written by the friends of Solomon in his honour.”
- Muratorian Fragment (A.D. 200).
“Our instruction comes from ‘the porch of Solomon,’ who had himself taught that ‘the Lord should be sought in simplicity of heart'[Wisdom 1:1].”
- Tertullian, Prescription Against the Heretics, 7 (A.D. 200).
“For they remembered also the words of Jeremias writing to those over whom that captivity was impending: ‘And now ye shall see borne upon men’s shoulders the gods of the Babylonians, of gold and silver and wood, causing fear to the Gentiles. Beware, therefore, that ye also do not be altogether like the foreigners, and be seized with fear while ye behold crowds worshipping those gods before and behind, but say in your mind, Our duty is to worship Thee, O Lord'[Baruch 6:3]. Therefore, having got confidence from God, they said, when with strength of mind they set at defiance the king’ s threats against the disobedient: ‘There is no necessity for our making answer to this command of yours. For our God whom we worship is able to deliver us from the furnace of fire and from your hands; and then it will be made plain to you that we shall neither serve your idol, nor worship your golden image which you have set up'[Daniel 3:16]’”
- Tertullian, Scorpiace, 8 (A.D. 205).
“At this stage some rise up, saying that the Lord, by reason of the rod, and threatening, and fear, is not good; misapprehending, as appears, the Scripture which says, ‘And he that fears the Lord will turn to his heart'[Sirach 21:6], and most of all, oblivious of His love, in that for us He became man. For more suitably to Him, the prophet prays in these words: ‘Remember us, for we are dust'[Ps 103:14]; that: is, Sympathise with us; for Thou knows from personal experience of suffering the weakness of the flesh. In this respect, therefore, the Lord the Instructor is most good and unimpeachable, sympathising as He does from the exceeding greatness of His love with the nature of each man. ‘For there is nothing which the Lord hates'[Wisdom 11:24]. For assuredly He does not hate anything, and yet wish that which He hates to exist Nor does He wish anything not to exist, and yet become the cause of existence to that which He wishes not to exist. Nor does He wish anything not to exist which yet exists. If, then, the Word hates anything, He does not wish it to exist. But nothing exists, the cause of whose existence is not supplied by God. Nothing, then, is hated by God, nor yet by the Word. For both are one–that is, God. For He has said, ‘In the beginning the Word was in God, and the Word was God'[John 1:1].’”
-Clement of Alexandria, The Instructor, I:8 (A.D. 202).
“And again He says, ‘Come all to Me, who labour, and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest'[Matt 11:28]; and that which is added the Lord speaks in His own person. And very clearly He calls to goodness by Solomon, when He says, ‘Blessed is the man who hath found wisdom, and the mortal who hath found understanding'[Prov 3:13]. ‘For the good is found by him who seeks it, and is wont to be seen by him who has found it'[Prov 2:4,5;3:15]. By Jeremiah, too, He sets forth prudence, when he says, ‘Blessed are we, Israel; for what is pleasing to God is known by us'[Baruch 4:4]–and it is known by the Word, by whom we are blessed and wise. For wisdom and knowledge are mentioned by the same prophet, when he says, ‘Hear, O Israel, the commandments of life, and give ear to know understanding.'[Baruch 3:9] By Moses, too, by reason of the love He has to man, He promises a gift to those who hasten to salvation. For He says, ‘And I will bring you into the good land, which the Lord swore to your fathers’ [Deut 31:20].” Clement of Alexandria, The Instructor ,I:8 (A.D. 202).“[H]aving heard the Scripture which says, ‘Fasting with prayer is a good thing'[Tobit 12:8].”
- Clement of Alexandria, The Stromata, 6:12 (A.D. 202).
“But they said, ‘We will not come forth: neither will we do the king’s commandment; we will die in our innocency: and he slew of them a thousand souls'[1 Macc 2:33]. The things, therefore, which were spoken to the blessed Daniel are fulfilled: ‘And my servants shall be afflicted, and shall fall by famine, and by sword, and by captivity'[Dan. 11:33]. Daniel, however, adds: ‘And they shall be helped with a little help.’ For at that time Matthias arose, and Judas Maccabaeus, and helped them, and delivered them from the hand of the Greeks.”
- Hippolytus, Commentary on Daniel, 2:32 (A.D. 204).
“What is narrated here, happened at a later time, although it is placed before the first book at the beginning of the book [of Daniel]. For it was a custom with the writers to narrate many things in an inverted order in their writings…To all these things, therefore, we ought to give heed, beloved, fearing lest any one be overtaken in any transgression, and risk the loss of his soul, knowing as we do that God is the Judge of all; and the Word Himself is the Eye which nothing that is done in the world escapes. Therefore, always watchful in heart and pure in life, let us imitate Susannah.” Hippolytus, Commentary on Daniel, 6:1,61 (A.D. 204).“‘For even now the angel of God.’ He shows also, that when Susannah prayed to God, and was heard, the angel was sent then to help her, just as was the case in the instance of Tobias [Tobit 3:17] and Sara. For when they prayed, the supplication of both of them was heard in the same day and the same hour, and the angel Raphael was sent to heal them both.”
- Hippolytus, Commentary on Daniel, 6:55 (A.D. 204).
“‘[T]he prophet says, “The ungodly said, reasoning with themselves, but not aright,” that is, about Christ, “Let us lie in wait for the righteous, because he is not for our turn, and he is clean contrary to our doings and words, and upbraids us with our offending the law, and professes to have knowledge of God; and he calls himself the Child of God'[Wisdom 2:1,12,13]. And then he says, ‘He is grievous to us even to behold; for his life is not like other men’s, and his ways are of another fashion. We are esteemed of him as counterfeits, and he abstains from our ways as from filthiness, and pronounces the end of the just to be blessed [Wisdom 2:15,16].”
- Hippolytus, Against the Jews ,65 (ante A.D. 235).
“But the case stands not thus; for the Scriptures do not set forth the matter in this manner. But they make use also of other testimonies, and say, Thus it is written: ‘This is our God, and there shall none other be accounted of in comparison of Him. He hath found out all the way of knowledge, and hath given it unto Jacob His servant (son), and to Israel His beloved. Afterward did He show Himself upon earth, and conversed with men'[Baruch 3:25-38].”
- Hippolytus, Against the Noetus, 2 (A.D. 210).
“But that we may believe on the authority of holy Scripture that such is the case, hear how in the book of Maccabees, where the mother of seven martyrs exhorts her son to endure torture, this truth is confirmed; for she says, ‘ ask of thee, my son, to look at the heaven and the earth, and at all things which are in them, and beholding these, to know that God made all these things when they did not exist'[2 Maccabees 7:28].”
-Origen, Fundamental Principles, 2:2 (A.D. 230).
“[T]he Wisdom of Solomon, a work which is certainly not esteemed authoritative by all. In that book, however, we find written as follows: “For thy almighty hand, that made the world out of shapeless matter, wanted not means to send among them a multitude of bears and fierce lions'[Wisdom 11:17].”
- Origen, Fundamental Principles, 2:2 (A.D. 230).
“‘It should be stated that the canonical books, as the Hebrews have handed them down, are twenty-two; corresponding with the number of their letters.’ Farther on he says: ‘The twenty-two books of the Hebrews are the following: That which is called by us Genesis, but by the Hebrews, from the beginning of the book, Bresith, which means, ‘In the beginning’; Exodus, Welesmoth, that is, ‘These are the names’; Leviticus, Wikra, ‘And he called’; Numbers, Ammesphekodeim; Deuteronomy, Eleaddebareim, ‘ These are the words’; Jesus, the son of Nave, Josoue ben Noun; Judges and Ruth, among them in one book, Saphateim; the First and Second of Kings, among them one, Samouel, that is, ‘The called of God’; the Third and Fourth of Kings in one, Wammelch David, that is, ‘The kingdom of David’; of the Chronicles, the First and Second in one, Dabreiamein, that is, ‘Records of days’; Esdras, First and Second in one, Ezra, that is, ‘An assistant’; the book of Psalms, Spharthelleim; the Proverbs of Solomon, Me-loth; Ecclesiastes, Koelth; the Song of Songs (not, as some suppose, Songs of Songs), Sir Hassirim; Isaiah, Jessia; Jeremiah, with Lamentations and the epistle in one, Jeremiah[Baruch 6]; Daniel, Daniel; Ezekiel, Jezekiel; Job, Job; Esther, Esther. And besides these there are the Maccabees, which are entitled Sarbeth Sabanaiel.”
- Origen, Canon of the Hebrews, Fragment in Eusebius’ Church History, 6:25 (A.D. 244).
“[A]s is written in the book of Tobit: ‘It is good to keep close the secret of a king, but honourable to reveal the works of God'[Tobit 12:7],–in a way consistent with truth and God’s glory, and so as to be to the advantage of the multitude.” Origen, Against Celsus, 5:19 (A.D. 248).“But he ought to know that those who wish to live according to the teaching of Sacred Scripture understand the saying, ‘The knowledge of the unwise is as talk without sense'[Sirach 21:18], and have learnt ‘to be ready always to give an answer to everyone that asks us a reason for the hope that is in us'[1 Pt 3:15].”
- Origen, Against Celsus, 7:12 (A.D. 248).
“In the Gospel according to John: ‘No one can receive anything, except it were given him from heaven'[John 3:27]. Also in the first Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians: ‘For what hast thou that thou hast not received? But if thou hast received it, why boast thou, as if thou hadst not received it?'[1 Cor 4:7]. Also in the first of Kings: ‘Boast not, neither speak lofty things, and let not great speeches proceed out of your mouth, for the Lord is a God of knowledge.'[1 Sam 2:4] Also in the same place: ‘The bow of the mighty men has been made weak, and the weak are girt about with strength'[1 Sam 2:5]. Of this same thing in the Maccabees: ‘It is just to be subjected to God, and that a mortal should not think things equal to God'[2 Macc 9:12]. Also in the same place: ‘And fear not the words of a man that is a sinner, because his glory shall be filth and worms. Today he shall be lifted up, and to-morrow he shall not be found; because he is turned into his earth, and his thought has perished'[1 Macc 2:62,63].”
- Cyprian, Treatises, 12:3:4 (A.D. 248).
For now these should do. They are a good start for anyone interested in History and the degradation and out-watering of the Gospel. The dates are included inly for the purpose to show that what was read and believed did change over the years. Meaning the once strong held beliefs such as the Sabbath was lost, and just the keeping of the Commandments in general become less important. And these changes in the African scenery, especially as we close in on the Area of Muhammad and the Muslims (ca. 500 AD), did change many things in regards to being a Christian. For this man behind the faith of Islam could very well turn out to be the abomination that causes desolation, spoken of by the prophet Daniel (9,27; 11,31; 12,11). Islam changed almost every port and major trading city in Africa. And it would be foolish to think this has not affected Africas lost history. But thats another can of worms entirely. For now, lets get acquainted with this first believers after the Disciples and Apostles.