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The whole history of the Jews as detailed in the Old Testament is seen, when read in the light of other events, to be a clear though gradual preparation for the preaching of Christianity.In that nation alone, the great truths of the existence and unity of God, His providential ruling of His creatures and their responsibility towards Him, were preserved unimpaired amidst general corruption.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 .
Whatever their corruption, these new religions, concentrating worship on a single prominent deity, were monotheistic in effect.
Finally, as a contributory cause to the diffusion of Christianity, we must not fail to mention the widespread Pax Romana, resulting from the union of the civilized races under one strong central government.
Thus much may be said with regard to the remote preparation of the world for the reception of Christianity.
"The oldest literature of the Church ", says Professor Harnack, "is, in the main points and in most of its details, from the point of view of literary history, veracious and trustworthy . ORIGIN OF CHRISTIANITY AND ITS RELATION WITH OTHER RELIGIONS; II. According to the accepted chronology, these began their mission on the day of Pentecost, A. 29, which day is regarded, accordingly, as the birthday of the Christian Church .
In order the better to appreciate the meaning of this event, we must first consider the religious influences and tendencies previously at work in the minds of men, both Jews and Gentiles, which prepared the way for the spread of Christianity amongst them.
We may trace, too, in the world at large, apart from the Jewish people, a similar though less direct preparation.