A Plea For the Christians

 Chapter I.—Injustice Shown Towards the Christians.

 Chapter II.—Claim to Be Treated as Others are When Accused.

 Chapter III.—Charges Brought Against the Christians.

 Chapter IV.—The Christians are Not Atheists, But Acknowledge One Only God.

 Chapter V.—Testimony of the Poets to the Unity of God.

 Chapter VI.—Opinions of the Philosophers as to the One God.

 Chapter VII.—Superiority of the Christian Doctrine Respecting God.

 Chapter VIII.—Absurdities of Polytheism.

 Chapter IX.—The Testimony of the Prophets.

 Chapter X.—The Christians Worship the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

 Chapter XI.—The Moral Teaching of the Christians Repels the Charge Brought Against Them.

 Chapter XII.—Consequent Absurdity of the Charge of Atheism.

 Chapter XIII.—Why the Christians Do Not Offer Sacrifices.

 Chapter XIV.—Inconsistency of Those Who Accuse the Christians.

 Chapter XV.—The Christians Distinguish God from Matter.

 Chapter XVI.—The Christians Do Not Worship the Universe.

 Chapter XVII.—The Names of the Gods and Their Images are But of Recent Date.

 Chapter XVIII.—The Gods Themselves Have Been Created, as the Poets Confess.

 Chapter XIX.—The Philosophers Agree with the Poets Respecting the Gods.

 Chapter XX.—Absurd Representations of the Gods.

 Chapter XXI.—Impure Loves Ascribed to the Gods.

 Chapter XXII.—Pretended Symbolical Explanations.

 Chapter XXIII.—Opinions of Thales and Plato.

 Chapter XXIV.—Concerning the Angels and Giants.

 Chapter XXV.—The Poets and Philosophers Have Denied a Divine Providence.

 Chapter XXVI.—The Demons Allure Men to the Worship of Images.

 Chapter XXVII.—Artifices of the Demons.

 Chapter XXVIII.—The Heathen Gods Were Simply Men.

 Chapter XXIX.—Proof of the Same from the Poets.

 Chapter XXX.—Reasons Why Divinity Has Been Ascribed to Men.

 Chapter XXXI.—Confutation of the Other Charges Brought Against the Christians.

 Chapter XXXII.—Elevated Morality of the Christians.

 Chapter XXXIII.—Chastity of the Christians with Respect to Marriage.

 Chapter XXXIV.—The Vast Difference in Morals Between the Christians and Their Accusers.

 Chapter XXXV.—The Christians Condemn and Detest All Cruelty.

 Chapter XXXVI.—Bearing of the Doctrine of the Resurrection on the Practices of the Christians.

 Chapter XXXVII.—Entreaty to Be Fairly Judged.

Chapter VII.—Superiority of the Christian Doctrine Respecting God.

Since, therefore, the unity of the Deity is confessed by almost all, even against their will, when they come to treat of the first principles of the universe, and we in our turn likewise assert that He who arranged this universe is God,—why is it that they can say and write with impunity what they please concerning the Deity, but that against us a law lies in force, though we are able to demonstrate what we apprehend and justly believe, namely that there is one God, with proofs and reason accordant with truth? For poets and philosophers, as to other subjects so also to this, have applied themselves in the way of conjecture, moved, by reason of their affinity with the afflatus from God,21    [See cap. xxx., infra. Important, as showing the degree of value attributed by the Fathers to the Sibylline and Orphic sayings. Comp. Kaye, p. 177.] each one by his own soul, to try whether he could find out and apprehend the truth; but they have not been found competent fully to apprehend it, because they thought fit to learn, not from God concerning God, but each one from himself; hence they came each to his own conclusion respecting God, and matter, and forms, and the world. But we have for witnesses of the things we apprehend and believe, prophets, men who have pronounced concerning God and the things of God, guided by the Spirit of God. And you too will admit, excelling all others as you do in intelligence and in piety towards the true God (τὸ ὄντως θεῖον), that it would be irrational for us to cease to believe in the Spirit from God, who moved the mouths of the prophets like musical instruments, and to give heed to mere human opinions.

Ὅταν οὖν τὸ μὲν εἶναι ἓν τὸ θεῖον ὡς ἐπὶ τὸ πλεῖστον, κἂν μὴ θέλωσι, τοῖς πᾶσι συμφωνῆται ἐπὶ τὰς ἀρχὰς τῶν ὅλων παραγινο μένοις, ἡμεῖς δὲ κρατύνωμεν τὸν διακοσμήσαντα τὸ πᾶν τοῦτο, τοῦτον εἶναι τὸν θεόν, τίς ἡ αἰτία τοῖς μὲν ἐπ' ἀδείας ἐξεῖναι καὶ λέγειν καὶ γράφειν περὶ τοῦ θεοῦ ἃ θέλουσιν, ἐφ' ἡμῖν δὲ κεῖσθαι νόμον, οἳ ἔχομεν ὅ τι καὶ νοοῦμεν καὶ ὀρθῶς πεπιστεύκαμεν, ἕνα θεὸν εἶναι, ἀληθείας σημείοις καὶ λόγοις παραστῆσαι; ποιηταὶ μὲν γὰρ καὶ φιλόσοφοι, ὡς καὶ τοῖς ἄλλοις, ἐπέβαλον στοχαστικῶς, κινηθέντες μὲν κατὰ συμπάθειαν τῆς παρὰ τοῦ θεοῦ πνοῆς ὑπὸ τῆς αὐτὸς αὑτοῦ ψυχῆς ἕκαστος ζητῆσαι, εἰ δυνατὸς εὑρεῖν καὶ νοῆσαι τὴν ἀλήθειαν, τοσοῦτον δὲ δυνηθέντες ὅσον περινοῆσαι, οὐχ εὑρεῖν τὸ ὄν, οὐ παρὰ θεοῦ περὶ θεοῦ ἀξιώσαντες μαθεῖν, ἀλλὰ παρ' αὑτοῦ ἕκαστος· διὸ καὶ ἄλλος ἄλλως ἐδογμάτισεν αὐτῶν καὶ περὶ θεοῦ καὶ περὶ ὕλης καὶ περὶ εἰδῶν καὶ περὶ κόσμου. ἡμεῖς δὲ ὧν νοοῦμεν καὶ πεπιστεύκαμεν ἔχομεν προφήτας μάρτυρας, οἳ πνεύματι ἐνθέῳ ἐκπεφωνήκασι καὶ περὶ τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ περὶ τῶν τοῦ θεοῦ. εἴποιτε δ' ἂν καὶ ὑμεῖς συνέσει καὶ τῇ περὶ τὸ ὄντως θεῖον εὐσεβείᾳ τοὺς ἄλλους προὔχοντες ὡς ἔστιν ἄλογον παραλιπόντας πιστεύειν τῷ παρὰ τοῦ θεοῦ πνεύματι ὡς ὄργανα κεκινηκότι τὰ τῶν προφητῶν στόματα, προσέχειν δόξαις ἀνθρωπίναις.