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The Testimony of the Catacombs and of Other Monuments of Christian Art

The Testimony of the Catacombs and of Other Monuments of Christian Art

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Excerpt from The Testimony of the Catacombs and of Other Monuments of Christian Art: From the Second to the Eighteenth Century, Concerning Questions of Doctrine Now Disputed in the Church

In saying this, let us not be misunderstood. The book edited by Dr. Northcote may be regarded as made up of two parts, and presenting two distinct characters. The greater part of the volume is devoted to questions of historical and antiquarian research, concerning the con struction of the Catacombs, their relative dates, their pictorial ornamentation, and the like. And in this portion of their work, in which theological questions are only very indirectly and remotely involved, the editors have trodden carefully in De Rossi's steps; and have done their own part, in translation and arrangement, extremely well. And in spite of the defects upon which we are about to dwell, we gladly commend this first part of their book as the best available summary of the facts of chief importance in the history of the Roman Catacombs. It is in the later part Of their book, where their subjects are such as to command the interest of a far wider circle of readers, that the present editors have conspicuously failed. How, indeed, being what they' are, should they have done otherwise than fail P 'for in these later chapters (their Book they deal with controversial questions, which for many centuries past have been, as they still are, at issue in Christendom. And these are questions upon which (as we shall shortly see) the monuments of primitive Christianity bear a testimony the very reverse of that which a Roman controversialist would desire. And, accordingly, if men enter upon the study of the Catacombs, as these editors seem to have done, with a primary View to find there testimony in behalf of modern Romanism, they set themselves to a task in.

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