The Extension Of Christianity
It is impossible to determine with accuracy even the principal places to
which Christianity had spread in the first half of the second century.
Ancient writers were not infrequently led astray by their own rhetoric in
dealing with this topic.
Justin Martyr, Dialogus cum Tryphone, 117. (MSG, 6:676.)
The following passage is of significance as bearing not only upon
the extent to which Christianity had spread, after making due
allowance for rhetoric, but also upon the conception of the
eucharist and its relation to the ancient sacrifices held, by some
Christians at least, in the first half of the second century.
Cf. ch. 41 of the same work, v. infra, §§ 12 f.
Therefore, as to all sacrifices offered in His name, which Jesus Christ
commanded to be offered, i.e., in the eucharist of the bread and cup,
and which are offered by Christians in all places throughout the world,
God, anticipating them, testified that they are well-pleasing to Him; but
He rejects those presented by you and by those priests of yours, saying:
And your sacrifices I will not accept at your hands; for from the rising
of the sun unto the going down of the same my name is great among the
Gentiles (He says), but ye have profaned it.(10) But since you deceive
yourselves, both you and your teachers, when you interpret what was said
as if the Word spoke of those of your nation who were in the dispersion,
and that it said that their prayers and sacrifices offered in every place
are pure and well-pleasing, you should know that you are speaking falsely
and are trying to cheat yourselves in every way; for, in the first place,
not even yet does your nation extend from the rising to the setting sun,
for there are nations among which none of your race ever dwelt. For there
is not a single race of men, whether among barbarians or Greeks, or by
whatever name they may be called, of those who live in wagons or are
called nomads or of herdsmen living in tents, among whom prayers and
thanksgivings are not offered through the name of the crucified Jesus to
the Father and Maker of all things. For, furthermore, at that time, when
the prophet Malachi said this, your dispersion over the whole earth, as
you are now, had not taken place, as is evident from the Scriptures.