By Macmillan and Co. / 1889/
Much of early literature has only been passed down to us in fragments. This is preeminently true of early Christian literature. The Christian teachers in primitive ages were evangelists, not authors, preachers, not historians. The literary remains of the primitive ages of Christianity, which to us are of priceless value, were suffered to perish from neglect—a few fragments here and there alone escaping the general fate. The epithet “apostolic” does not occur in the canonical writings, but is found first in the vocabulary of the succeeding generation, when the Apostles could be regarded in the light of history. Its first occurrence is in Ignatius, who tells his correspondents that he writes to them “after the apostolic manner,” where he seems to refer to the epistolary form of his communication. Part two, volume three of The Apostolic Fathers contains additional translations of St. Ignatius and St. Polycarp’s works.