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Christians before the empire took over…

It is the Christians, O Emperor, who have sought and found the truth, for they acknowledge God. They do not keep for themselves the goods entrusted to them. They do not covet what belongs to others. They show love to their neighbors. They do not do another what they would not wish to have done to themselves. They speak gently to those who oppress them, and in this way they make them their friends.

It has become their passion to do good to their enemies. They live in the awareness of their smallness. Every one of them who has anything gives ungrudgingly to the one who has nothing. If they see a traveling stranger, they bring him under their roof. They rejoice over him as over a real brother, for they do not call one another brothers after the flesh, but they know they are brothers in the Spirit and in God.

If they hear that one of them is imprisoned or oppressed for the sake of Christ, they take care of all his needs. If possible they set him free. If anyone among them is poor or comes into want while htey themselves have nothing to spare, they fast two or three days for him. In this way they can supply any poor man with the food he needs. This, O Emperor, is the rule of life of the Christians, and this is their manner of life.

– Aristides 137 AD.

{ 3 comments… add one }

  • nooc May 13, 2008, 9:52 am

    My heart leaps at these words! …at least until I measure myself by them.

  • stephen May 13, 2008, 10:09 am

    great quote. just saw it for the first time in shane claiborne’s “jesus for president”. that book is kicking my butt!

  • Lon May 14, 2008, 8:47 am

    what’s crazy is how far we’ve fallen from this… just ache’s me… yet gives me hope

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