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CHRISTIAN LIFE




CHRISTIANS IN THE WORLD 

(An Example of a Writing of An Apologist)

We cannot distinguish Christians from the rest of the human race by country or language or customs. They do not live in cities of their own; they do not use a peculiar form of speech; they do not follow an eccentric manner of life. This doctrine of theirs has not been discovered by the ingenuity of deep thought of inquisitive men, nor do they put forward a merely human teaching, as some people do.

Yet although they live in Greek and barbarian cities alike, as each man's lot has been cast, and follow the customs of the country in clothing and food and other matters of daily living, at the same time they give proof of the remarkable and admittedly extraordinary constitution of their own commonwealth. They live in their own countries but only as aliens.

They have a share in everything as foreigners. Every foreign land is their fatherland, and yet, for them, every fatherland is a foreign land. They marry, like everyone else, and they beget children but they  do not cast out their offspring. They share their board with each other, but not their marriage bed.

It is true that they are "in the flesh", but they do not live "according to the flesh." They busy themselves on earth, but their citizenship is in heaven. They obey the established laws, but, in their own lives, they go far beyond what the laws require.

They love all men, and by all men are persecuted. . .they are defamed, and are vindicated. They are reviled, and yet they bless. . .

To put it simply; what the soul is in the body, that Christians are in the world. The soul is dispersed through all the members of the body, and Christians are scattered through all the cities of the world. The soul dwells in the body, but does not belong to the body, and Christians dwell in the world, but do not belong to the world. The soul, when faring badly as to food and drink, grows better; so, too, Christians, when punished, day by day increase more and more. It is to no less a post than this that God has ordered them, and they must not try to evade it. 

Letter to Diognetus, 5.6

 

 

 

 

 

(04-09-03) 

 

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                                                                                        - Teresa of Avila

 


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