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fortunately, and come to a definite conclusion as to how the Truth was still regarded from
approximately the middle of the second century onwards. We must bear in mind that, by
this time, the churches were spread widely throughout the Roman Empire and in the east,
The Didache, or the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles.
This was an early manual of Church instruction, claiming to give the teaching of
the Lord as handed down through the twelve Apostles. It probably had as its basis
Matt. 28: 19, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations baptizing them in the name of
the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things
whatsoever I have commanded you". The Didache was discovered in a Greek manuscript
at Constantinople in 1873, and published by Bryennius ten years later. It is apparently
composite, and dates from the early part of the second century. An earlier Latin version
has been discovered which Professor E. J. Goodspeed considers is separate from the
work, a primitive form of it. The Didascalia, late in the third century, and the Apostolic
Constitutions, late in the fourth, clearly made use of The Didache. We can say it is
roughly contemporary with Ignatius, Polycarp and 1 Clement.
It evidently had the recent convert in mind, and presents the Christian life under the
titles of the "Way of Life" as opposed to the "Way of Death", but when we step from
the N.T. to this writing, it is like entering another world. Do we find set forth the
"worthy walk" and the practical outworking of the Truth as set forth in the epistles of
Paul? The answer is decidedly `No'. We are back in a negative legalism, and one
wonders whether the author or authors had the slightest understanding of the body of
Truth given by the Lord through this great servant of His. When we remember how
much Paul's indignation and wonder was evoked by the legalistic spirit that had affected
the Galatians, we cannot help feeling that his cause for amazement would have been
increased a hundredfold, could he have lived a half century or more later and read this
document. One might be pardoned for looking on it solely as a Jewish writing, for there
is strangely wanting the great characteristic of grace and love that permeate the Gospel of
Christ as made known through the Apostle of the Gentiles; in fact the failure to
distinguish between Law and Grace, Salvation and Reward is most characteristic, as the
following quotations will show:
"Do not keep stretching out your hands to receive, and drawing them back when it
comes to returning. If through your hands you have earned a ransom for your sins, you
shall not hesitate to give it" (4:6,7).
"See that no one leads you astray from this way of the Teaching, for he teaches you
without God. For if you can bear the whole yoke of the Lord, you will be perfect, but if
you cannot, do what you can" (6:2).
"Your fasts must not be on the same days as the hypocrites, for they fast on Monday
and Thursday, but you must fast on Wednesday and Friday" (8:1).
"So you shall take the first-fruits of the produce of the wine-press and the threshing
floor and of cattle and sheep, and give the first-fruits to the prophets, for they are your
high priests" (13:3).