Schaff, Philip. History of the Christian Church (The Complete Eight Volumes in One). Amazon Kindle Edition, 2014.
Volume 1, Ch. 8, “Christian Life in the Apostolic Church.” Loc. 6178-6514
Schaff first reviews literature comparing and contrasting Christianity with rabbinic and pagan life.
§44 “The Power of Christianity” (Schaff 2014, Loc. 6191).
Schaff emphasizes the internal nature of the Christian life, centered on forgiveness. The inner renewal results in acts of love and justice toward others in ways that other religions do not (Ibid., Loc. 6197. Specifically, Schaff compares the apostolic churches to other religious groups of the same period, viewing the contrast as “startling” (Ibid., Loc. 6219). He goes on with some quotes from 19th century authors who would reject Christianity but who affirm it to have changed the world for the better.
§45 “The Spiritual Gifts” (Ibid., Loc. 6254).
The gifts of the Holy Spirit given in the apostolic age correspond to natural abilities but are given in a heightened manner by God (Ibid., Loc. 6254). Schaff views some as intellectual, some as emotional, and some as practical. He lists and discusses ten in all (Ibid., Loc. 6265).
46 “Christianity in Individuals” (Ibid., Loc. 6311).
The Christian life is primarily seen in individuals. Each believer is different in expressing the new life in Christ (Ibid., Loc. 6318). Schaff particularly notes that in Christianity women are accepted and valued.
§47 “Christianity and the Family” (Ibid., Loc. 6342).
The family takes on a new position in Christian thought. It is a microcosm of the Church. Marriage and family are seen as definitely good.
§48 “Christianity and Slavery” (Ibid., Loc. 6357).
Christianity has been instrumental in making slavery extinct. As opposed to the Greek and Roman view of slavery, Christians treated slaves with dignity, eventually releasing people from bondage (Ibid., Loc. 6386). Schaff provides useful notes about the prevalence of slavery in antiquity.
§49 “Christianity and Society” (Ibid., Loc. 6425).
Christian values have always tended to spread through society and government, though not always being overtly visible (Ibid., Loc. 6432).
§50 “Spiritual Condition of the Congregations” (Ibid., Loc. 6448).
Schaff observes that not all congregations have flourished at all times. There is always sin and failure. In the biblical letters to churches God always speaks to difficulties, correcting and strengthening the churches.