Monday, June 19, 2006

Someone is Watching Us

It is called the Apology of Aristides.  It was written around 125 A.D., during the reign of Roman Emperor Hadrian.   Aristide presented
this set of observations and defense of Christianity by giving a glimpse
of the lifestyle and behavior of early Christians.  The observations are clear and profound. 

"But the Christians, O King, while they went about and made search,
have found the truth; and as we learned from their writings, they have
come nearer to truth and genuine knowledge than the rest of the
nations. For they know and trust in God, the Creator of heaven and of
earth, in whom and from whom are all things, to whom there is no other
god as companion, from whom they received commandments which they
engraved upon their minds and observe in hope and expectation of the
world which is to come. Wherefore they do not commit adultery nor
fornication, nor bear false witness, nor embezzle what is held in
pledge, nor covet what is not theirs. They honour father and mother,
and show kindness to those near to them; and whenever they are judges,
they judge uprightly. They do not worship idols (made) in the image of
man; and whatsoever they would not that others should do unto them,
they do not to others; and of the food which is consecrated to idols
they do not eat, for they are pure. And their oppressors they appease
(lit: comfort) and make them their friends; they do good to their
enemies; and their women, O King, are pure as virgins, and their
daughters are modest; and their men keep themselves from every unlawful union and from all uncleanness, in the hope of a recompense to come in the other world. Further, if one or other of them have bondmen and bondwomen or children, through love towards them they persuade them to become Christians, and when they have done so, they call them brethren without distinction. They do not worship strange gods, and they go their way in all modesty and cheerfulness. Falsehood is not found among them; and they love one another, and from widows they do not turn away their esteem; and they deliver the orphan from him who treats him harshly. And he, who has, gives to him who has not, without boasting. And when they see a stranger, they take him in to their homes and rejoice over him as a very brother; for they do not call them brethren
after the flesh, but brethren after the spirit and in God. And whenever
one of their poor passes from the world, each one of them according to
his ability gives heed to him and carefully sees to his burial. And if
they hear that one of their number is imprisoned or afflicted on
account of the name of their Messiah, all of them anxiously minister to
his necessity, and if it is possible to redeem him they set him free.
And if there is among them any that is poor and needy, and if they have
no spare food, they fast two or three days in order to supply to the
needy their lack of food. They observe the precepts of their Messiah
with much care, living justly and soberly as the Lord their God
commanded them. Every morning and every hour they give thanks and
praise to God for His loving-kindnesses toward them; and for their food
and their drink they offer thanksgiving to Him. And if any righteous
man among them passes from the world, they rejoice and offer thanks to
God; and they escort his body as if he were setting out from one place
to another near. And when a child has been born to one of them, they
give thanks to God; and if moreover it happen to die in childhood, they
give thanks to God the more, as for one who has passed through the
world without sins. And further if they see that any one of them dies
in his ungodliness or in his sins, for him they grieve bitterly, and
sorrow as for one who goes to meet his doom."

Our greatest Christian apologetic is our way of life.  May modern Christians impact our generation with such powerful evidence of the life changing power of Jesus Christ.

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