27th April 2016

athenagoras_of_athens

What then are these teachings in which we are reared? “I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven, who makes his sun shine on the evil and on the good, and sends his rain on the just and on the unjust.” Who (of the pagan philosophers) have so purified their own hearts as to love their enemies instead of hating them; instead of upbraiding those who first insult them (which is certainly more than usual), to bless them; and to pray for those who plot against them? . . . With us, on the contrary, you will find unlettered people, tradesmen and old women, who, though unable to express in words the advantages of our teaching, demonstrate by acts the value of their principles. For they do not rehearse speeches, but evidence good deeds. When struck, they do not strike back; when robbed, they do not sue; to those who ask, they give, and they love their neighbors as themselves . . . We . . . cannot endure to see a man being put to death and killing him. So we have given up gladiatorial spectacles . . . But we are altogether consistent in our conduct.

~~Athenagoras of Athens (second half of the 2nd Century)

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