Schaff, Philip. History of the Christian Church (The Complete Eight Volumes in One). Amazon Kindle Edition, 2014.
Volume 2, Ante-Nicene Christianity A.D. 100-325, “Chapter 8. Christian life in Contrast with Pagan Corruption.” Sections 88-103, Loc. 16158-17158.
§ 92. Marcus Aurelius.
Marcus Aurelius was emperor of Rome from 161-180. He was, in Schaff’s words, “the last and best representative of Stoicism” (Schaff 2014, Loc. 16359). He seemed at one and the same time to write like a polytheist, a deist, and a pantheist. His theological insight was muddled, but he clearly saw religion as the foundation of morality (Schaff 2014, Loc. 16370). Schaff views his gentle moral character as very similar to Christianity. There is more of a humanitarian concern in his writings than in many other pagans (Schaff 2014, Loc. 16380). Schaff makes a number of quotations showing a concern with a simple and kind generosity. Schaff is clear, though. “The cosmopolitan philosophy of Marcus Aurelius had no sympathy with Christianity, and excluded from its embrace the most innocent and most peaceful of his subjects (Schaff 2014, Loc. 16402). He seemed to consider Christians as fanatics who acted foolishly. Schaff goes on to describe his family life, which did not show continence in marriage and which brought up a son who was a negative emperor.