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Augustine does not hesitate to say (Retract., I, xiii, 3): "What we now call the Christian religion existed amongst the ancients, and was from the beginning of the human race, until Christ Himself came in the flesh; from which time the already existing true religion began to be styled Christian".And thus it has been remarked that Israel alone amongst the nations of antiquity looked forward to glories to come.It was to this fact rather than to the wonders He worked in His lifetime that His accredited witnesses always appealed in their teaching.On the marvel of the Resurrection is based in the counsels of God the faith of Christianity."If Christ is not risen again, your faith is vain", declares the Apostle Paul ( 1 Corinthians ), who says no word of the other wonders Christ performed.
We need not here trace the Messianic predictions in detail; their clearness and cogency are such that St.Moreover, the Christianity of which we speak is that which we find realized in the Catholic Church alone; hence, we are not concerned here with those forms which are embodied in the various non-Catholic Christian sects, whether schismatical or heretical.Our documentary sources of knowledge about the origin of Christianity and its earliest developments are chiefly the New Testament Scriptures and various sub-Apostolic writings, the authenticity of which we must to a large extent take for granted here, as the much less grounds we take for granted the authenticity of "Cæsar" when dealing with early Gaul, and of "Tacitus" when studying growth of the Roman Empire. Kenyon "Handbook of the Textual Criticism of the N. We have this further warrant for doing so, that the most mature critical opinions amongst non-Catholics, deserting the wild theories of Baur, Strauss, and Renan, tend, in regard to dates and authorship, to coincide more closely with the Catholic position. He who attentively studies these letters (those i.e. Other points will, of course, be touched on and other results assumed, which are more fully and formally treated under J ESUS C HRIST ; C HURCH ; R EVELATION ; M IRACLES .The third antecedent condition to the birth of Christianity, as we learn from the sacred records , was a special participation of the Holy Spirit given to the Apostles on the day of Pentecost.According to Christ's promise, the function of this Divine gift was to teach them all truth and bring back to their remembrance all that [ Christ ] had said to them ( John ; ).Thus much may be said with regard to the remote preparation of the world for the reception of Christianity.