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

But they have further also made up stories against us of impious feasts121    [“Thyestian feasts” (p. 130, supra); a charge which the Christian Fathers perpetually repel. Of course the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper lent colour to this charge; but it could not have been repelled, had they believed the material body and blood of the “man Christ Jesus,” present in this sacrament. See cap. iii., note.] and forbidden intercourse between the sexes, both that they may appear to themselves to have rational grounds of hatred, and because they think either by fear to lead us away from our way of life, or to render the rulers harsh and inexorable by the magnitude of the charges they bring. But they lose their labour with those who know that from of old it has been the custom, and not in our time only, for vice to make war on virtue. Thus Pythagoras, with three hundred others, was burnt to death; Heraclitus and Democritus were banished, the one from the city of the Ephesians, the other from Abdera, because he was charged with being mad; and the Athenians condemned Socrates to death. But as they were none the worse in respect of virtue because of the opinion of the multitude, so neither does the undiscriminating calumny of some persons cast any shade upon us as regards rectitude of life, for with God we stand in good repute. Nevertheless, I will meet these charges also, although I am well assured that by what has been already said I have cleared myself to you. For as you excel all men in intelligence, you know that those whose life is directed towards God as its rule, so that each one among us may be blameless and irreproachable before Him, will not entertain even the thought of the slightest sin. For if we believed that we should live only the present life, then we might be suspected of sinning, through being enslaved to flesh and blood, or overmastered by gain or carnal desire; but since we know that God is witness to what we think and what we say both by night and by day, and that He, being Himself light, sees all things in our heart, we are persuaded that when we are removed from the present life we shall live another life, better than the present one, and heavenly, not earthly (since we shall abide near God, and with God, free from all change or suffering in the soul, not as flesh, even though we shall have flesh,122    [1 Cor. xv. 44. A very clear representation of the apostle’s doctrine. See Kaye, 199; and compare On the Resurrection, cap. xiii.] but as heavenly spirit), or, falling with the rest, a worse one and in fire; for God has not made us as sheep or beasts of burden, a mere by-work, and that we should perish and be annihilated. On these grounds it is not likely that we should wish to do evil, or deliver ourselves over to the great Judge to be punished.

Ἔτι δὲ καὶ τροφὰς καὶ μίξεις λογοποιοῦσιν ἀθέους καθ' ἡμῶν, ἵνα τε μισεῖν νομίζοιεν μετὰ λόγου καὶ οἰόμενοι τῷ δεδίτ τεσθαι ἢ τῆς ἐνστάσεως ἀπάξειν ἡμᾶς τοῦ βίου ἢ πικροὺς καὶ ἀπαραιτήτους τῇ τῶν αἰτιῶν ὑπερβολῇ τοὺς ἄρχοντας παρασκευά σειν, πρὸς εἰδότας παίζοντες, ὅτι ἄνωθέν πως ἔθος καὶ οὐκ ἐφ' ἡμῶν μόνον κατά τινα θεῖον νόμον καὶ λόγον παρηκολούθηκε προσπολεμεῖν τὴν κακίαν τῇ ἀρετῇ. οὕτω καὶ Πυθαγόρας μὲν ἅμα τριακοσίοις ἑταίροις κατεφλέχθη πυρί, Ἡράκλειτος δὲ καὶ ∆ημόκριτος, ὁ μὲν τῆς Ἐφεσίων πόλεως ἠλαύνετο, ὁ δὲ τῆς Ἀβδηριτῶν ἐπικατηγορούμενος μεμηνέναι, καὶ Σωκράτους Ἀθηναῖοι θάνατον κατέγνωσαν. ἀλλ' ὡς ἐκεῖνοι οὐδὲν χείρους εἰς ἀρετῆς λόγον διὰ τὴν τῶν πολλῶν δόξαν, οὐδ' ἡμῖν οὐδὲν ἐπισκοτεῖ πρὸς ὀρθότητα βίου ἡ παρά τινων ἄκριτος βλασφημία· εὐδοξοῦμεν γὰρ παρὰ τῷ θεῷ. πλὴν ἀλλὰ καὶ πρὸς ταῦτα ἀπαντήσω τὰ ἐγκλήματα. ὑμῖν μὲν οὖν καὶ δι' ὧν εἴρηκα εὖ οἶδα ἀπολελογῆσθαι ἐμαυτόν. συνέσει γὰρ πάντας ὑπερφρονοῦντες, οἷς ὁ βίος ὡς πρὸς στάθμην τὸν θεὸν κανονίζεται, ὅπως ἀνυπαίτιος καὶ ἀνεπίληπτος ἕκαστος ἡμῶν ἄνθρωπος αὐτῷ γένοιτο, ἴστε τούτους μηδ' εἰς ἔννοιάν ποτε τοῦ βραχυτάτου ἐλευσομένους ἁμαρτήματος. εἰ μὲν γὰρ ἕνα τὸν ἐνταῦθα βίον βιώσεσθαι ἐπεπείσμεθα, κἂν ὑποπτεύειν ἐνῆν δουλεύοντας σαρκὶ καὶ αἵματι ἢ κέρδους ἢ ἐπιθυμίας ἐλάττους γενομένους ἁμαρτεῖν· ἐπεὶ δὲ ἐφεστηκέναι μὲν οἷς ἐννοοῦμεν, οἷς λαλοῦμεν καὶ νύκτωρ καὶ μεθ' ἡμέραν τὸν θεὸν οἴδαμεν, πάντα δὲ φῶς αὐτὸν ὄντα καὶ τὰ ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ ἡμῶν ὁρᾶν, πεπείσμεθα [δὲ] τοῦ ἐνταῦθα ἀπαλλαγέντες βίου βίον ἕτερον βιώσεσθαι ἀμείνονα ἢ κατὰ τὸν ἐνθάδε καὶ ἐπουράνιον, οὐκ ἐπίγειον, ὡς ἂν μετὰ θεοῦ καὶ σὺν θεῷ ἀκλινεῖς καὶ ἀπαθεῖς τὴν ψυχὴν οὐχ ὡς σάρκες κἂν ἔχωμεν, ἀλλ' ὡς οὐράνιον πνεῦμα μένωμεν, ἢ συγκαταπίπτοντες τοῖς λοιποῖς χείρονα καὶ διὰ πυρὸς (οὐ γὰρ καὶ ἡμᾶς ὡς πρόβατα ἢ ὑποζύγια, πάρεργον καὶ ἵνα ἀπολοίμεθα καὶ ἀφανισθείημεν, ἔπλασεν ὁ θεός), ἐπὶ τούτοις οὐκ εἰκὸς ἡμᾶς ἐθελοκακεῖν οὐδ' αὑτοὺς τῷ μεγάλῳ παραδιδόναι κολασθησομένους δικαστῇ.