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 XXXV.—The Christians Condemn and Detest All Cruelty.

What man of sound mind, therefore, will affirm, while such is our character, that we are murderers? For we cannot eat human flesh till we have killed some one. The former charge, therefore, being false, if any one should ask them in regard to the second, whether they have seen what they assert, not one of them would be so barefaced as to say that he had. And yet we have slaves, some more and some fewer, by whom we could not help being seen; but even of these, not one has been found to invent even such things against us. For when they know that we cannot endure even to see a man put to death, though justly; who of them can accuse us of murder or cannibalism? Who does not reckon among the things of greatest interest the contests of gladiators and wild beasts, especially those which are given by you? But we, deeming that to see a man put to death is much the same as killing him, have abjured such spectacles.133    [See Tatian, cap xxiii., supra, p. 75. But here the language of Gibbon is worthy to be quoted: though the icy-hearted infidel failed to understand that just such philosophers as he enjoyed these spectacles, till Christianity taught even such to profess a refined abhorrence of what the Gospel abolished, with no help from them. He says, “the first Christian emperor may claim the honour of the first edict which condemned the art and amusement of shedding human blood; but this benevolent law expressed the wishes of the prince, without reforming an inveterate abuse which degraded a civilized (?) nation below the condition of savage cannibals. Several hundred, perhaps several thousand, victims were annually slaughtered in the great cities of the empire.” He tells the story of the heroic Telemachus, without eulogy; how his death, while struggling to separate the combatants abolished forever the inhuman sports and sacrifices of the amphitheatre. This happened under Honorius. Milman’s Gibbon, iii. 210.] How, then, when we do not even look on, lest we should contract guilt and pollution, can we put people to death? And when we say that those women who use drugs to bring on abortion commit murder, and will have to give an account to God134    [Let Americans read this, and ask whether a relapse into heathenism is not threatening our civilization, in this respect. May I venture to refer to Moral Reforms (ed. 1869, Lippincotts, Philadelphia), a little book of my own, rebuking this inquity, and tracing the earliest violation of this law of Christian morals, and of nature itself, to an unhappy Bishop of Rome, rebuked by Hippolytus. See vol. vi. p. 345, Edinburgh Series of Ante-Nicene Fathers.] for the abortion, on what principle should we commit murder? For it does not belong to the same person to regard the very fœtus in the womb as a created being, and therefore an object of God’s care, and when it has passed into life, to kill it; and not to expose an infant, because those who expose them are chargeable with child-murder, and on the other hand, when it has been reared to destroy it. But we are in all things always alike and the same, submitting ourselves to reason, and not ruling over it.

Τίς ἂν οὖν εὖ φρονῶν εἴποι τοιούτους ὄντας ἡμᾶς ἀνδρο φόνους εἶναι; οὐ γὰρ ἔστι πάσασθαι κρεῶν ἀνθρωπικῶν μὴ πρό τερον ἀποκτείνασί τινα. τὸ πρότερον οὖν ψευδόμενοι ... τὸ δεύτερον, κἂν μέν τις αὐτοὺς ἔρηται, εἰ ἑωράκασιν ἃ λέγουσιν, οὐδείς ἐστιν οὕτως ἀπηρυθριασμένος ὡς εἰπεῖν ἰδεῖν. καίτοι καὶ δοῦλοί εἰσιν ἡμῖν, τοῖς μὲν καὶ πλείους τοῖς δὲ ἐλάττους, οὓς οὐκ ἔστι λαθεῖν· ἀλλὰ καὶ τούτων οὐδεὶς καθ' ἡμῶν τὰ τηλικαῦτα οὐδὲ κατεψεύσατο. οὓς γὰρ ἴσασιν οὐδ' ἰδεῖν κἂν δικαίως φονευό μενον ὑπομένοντας, τούτων τίς ἂν κατείποι ἢ ἀνδροφονίαν ἢ ἀνθρωποβορίαν; τίς οὐχ ἡ τῶν περὶ σπουδῆς τὰς δι' ὅπλων ἀγωνίας καὶ διὰ θηρίων καὶ μάλιστα τὰς ὑφ' ὑμῶν ἀγομένας ἔχει; ἀλλ' ἡμεῖς πλησίον εἶναι τὸ ἰδεῖν [τὸ] φονευόμενον τοῦ ἀποκτεῖναι νομίζοντες, ἀπηγορεύσαμεν τὰς τοιαύτας θέας. πῶς οὖν οἱ μηδὲ ὁρῶντες ἵνα μὴ ἑαυτοῖς ἄγος καὶ μίασμα προστριψαίμεθα, φονεύειν δυνάμεθα; καὶ οἳ τὰς τοῖς ἀμβλωθριδίοις χρωμένας ἀνδροφονεῖν τε καὶ λόγον ὑφέξειν τῆς ἐξαμβλώσεως τῷ θεῷ φαμεν, κατὰ ποῖον ἀνδροφονοῦμεν λόγον; οὐ γὰρ τοῦ αὐτοῦ νομίζειν μὲν καὶ τὸ κατὰ γαστρὸς ζῷον εἶναι καὶ διὰ τοῦτο αὐτοῦ μέλειν τῷ θεῷ, καὶ παρεληλυθότα εἰς τὸν βίον φονεύειν, καὶ μὴ ἐκτιθέναι μὲν τὸ γεννηθέν, ὡς τῶν ἐκτιθέντων τεκνοκτονούντων, πάλιν δὲ τὸ τραφὲν ἀναιρεῖν· ἀλλ' ἐσμὲν πάντα πανταχοῦ ὅμοιοι καὶ ἴσοι, δουλεύοντες τῷ λόγῳ καὶ οὐ κρατοῦντες αὐτοῦ.