The fathers of the first six or seven centuries, so far as they agree, may be fairly taken to represent the main stream of Christian tradition and belief during the period when the apostolic teaching took shape in the great creeds and dogmatic decisions of Christendom.
From time to time there have been observers who have maintained a belief in the opposite theory, to which the name heterogenesis has been given.
This belief may be called what Loofs has called Harnack's definition of dogma - individuell berechtigt, and perhaps nur individual.
He points to the fact that the imminence of death often intensifies instead of diminishing a man's desire for the welfare of those he loves, as a crucial experiment proving the disinterestedness of love; adding, as confirmatory evidence, that the sympathy and admiration commonly felt for self-sacrifice depends on the belief that it is something different from refined self-seeking.
And however the general experiences in the fishery may amend such reports as these; yet in their full terribleness, even to the bloodthirsty item of Povelson, the superstitious belief in them is, in some vicissitudes of their vocation, revived in the minds of the hunters.
They are said to have had a firm belief in the immortality of the soul and in metempsychosis, a fact which led several ancient writers to conclude that they had been influenced by the teaching of the Greek philosopher Pythagoras.
To the oldtime belief that languages multiplied by splitting and colonizing, must be added the theory that languages were formerly more numerous, and that those of the Americans were formed by combining.
The old fable of this bird inserting its beak into a reed or plunging it into the ground, and so causing the booming sound with which its name will be always associated, is also exploded, and nowadays indeed so few people in Britain have ever heard its loud and awful voice, which seems to be uttered only in the breeding-season, and is therefore unknown in a country where it no longer breeds, that incredulity as to its booming at all has in some quarters succeeded the old belief in this as in other reputed peculiarites of the species.
His sensitively honourable nature, which in early life had caused him to shrink from asserting his belief in Thirty-nine articles of faith which he had not examined, was shocked by the enormous abuses which confronted him on commencing the study of the law.
It was the common belief that they had been driven from their homes on the North Sea by inundations, but, whatever the cause of their migration, they had been wandering along the Danube for some years warring with the Celtic tribes on either bank.