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During his whole mortal life on earth, including the two or three years of His active ministry, Christ lived as a devout Jew, Himself observing, and insisting on His followers observing, the injunctions of the Law ( Matthew 23:3 ).The sum of His teaching, as of that of His precursor, was the approach of the "Kingdom of God", meaning not only the rule of righteousness in the individual heart ("the kingdom of God is within you" — Luke ), but also the Church (as is plain from many of the parables ) which He was about to institute.
In the following article an account is given of Christianity as a religion, describing its origin, its relation to other religions, its essential nature and chief characteristics, but not dealing with its doctrines in detail nor its history as a visible organization.
These and other aspects of this great subject will receive treatment under separate titles.
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 ; ).
They combined to destroy the notion of a nation cultus, and to separate the service of the Deity from the service of the State.
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.
Yet, though He often foreshadowed a time when the Law as such would cease to bind, and though He Himself in proof of His Messiahship occasionally set aside its provisions ("For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath ", Matthew 12:8 ), yet, as, in spite of His miracles, He did not win recognition of that Messiahship, still less of His Divinity, from the Jews at large.
He confined His explicit teaching about the Church to His immediate followers, and left it to them, when the time came, openly to pronounce the abrogation of the Law.
Besides maintaining those pure conceptions of Deity, the prophets from time to time, and with ever increasing distinctness until we come to the direct and personal testimony of the Baptist, foreshadowed a fuller and more universal revelation — a time when, and a Man through Whom, God should bless all the nations of the earth.