The character of the Apostolic Church is not one that can be sketched in a few strokes. Simple as it was in form, it had varied and delicate characteristics. By its foundation in Jerusalem Christianity became, what it continued to be in the main for some centuries, a city of religion, a religion nearly all the adherents of which lived in large centers of population. It was in such centers that the first missionaries worked. For eighteen years or more [Gal. 1:18 ; 2: 1] Jerusalem continued to be the headquarters of at least some of the Twelve ; but even before the conversion of St. Paul there were Christians at Samaria [Acts 8:14], Damascus [9:19] and Antioch [11:20], which soon eclipsed Jerusalem as the Christian metropolis.

It should be pointed out that the Church is necessarily social in character ; and it resembles other societies, especially those which have a political or moral aim, in requiring self-denying loyalty from its members. But it differs from other societies in claiming to be universal. The morality which it admonishes is not for any one nation or class, but for the whole of mankind. In the very small amount of legislation which Christ declared openly, He made it quite clear that in the Kingdom social interests are to prevail rather than private interests ; and also that all men have a right to enter the society and ought to be invited to join it. The Church, therefore, is a commonwealth open to all the world. Every human being may find a place in it ; and all those who belong to it will find that they have entered a vast family, in which all the members are brethen and have the obligations of brethern to promote one another's well-being both of body and soul. This form of free brotherhood was essential to a universal religion ; and the proof of its superiority to other brotherhoods lay in its being suitable to all sorts and conditions of men. It prescribed conduct which can be recognized as binding on all ; and, far more fully than any other system, it suplied to all what the soul of each indivdual craved. The name 'disciples' did not last long as a name for all Christians ; the name 'brethern' took its place. St. Paul does not speak of Christians as 'disiples' ; that word came to be restricted to those who had been the personal disiples of Christ. He speaks of them as 'brethern,' a term in harmony with the Christians' 'enthusiasm of humanity,' an enthusiasm which set no bounds to its affection, but gave to every individual, however degraded, full recognition. The mere fact of being a baptized believer gave an absolute claim to loving consideration from all the rest. This brotherhood was easily recognized by the heathen.

Here no compromise was possible. The Divinity of the Crucified, which is such a difficulty to modern thought, appears to have caused little difficulty to the first Christians. It has been suggested that familiarity with polytheistic ideas helped them to believe in the Divinity of the Son. Possibly ; but, on the other hand, their rejection of polytheism was absolute, and they died rather than make concessions. Heathen philosophers, who saw that polytheism was irrational, had a colorless theism which could make compromises with popular misbeliefs. Thinkers like Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Seneca, and Plutarch could talk indifferently of God and gods, of the Divine Being and the deities ; but for the early Christians that was impossible. They were not theologians, and they had only the rudiments of a creed ; but they were quite clear about the necessity of worshipping God and His Christ, and about the folly and wickedness of worshipping men or idols. So, with all their simplicity of doctrine they had deep convictions which formed a strong bond of union.

In Christ, timothy.