SELECTIONS FROM EARLY CHRISTIAN WRITERS: ILLUSTRATIVE OF CHURCH HISTORY TO THE TIME OF CONSTANTINE by Henry Melvill Gwatkin, M.A. First Edition, Macmillan & Co., Ltd., 1893. Reprinted with additions and corrections, 1897, 1902, 1905. Prepared for katapi by Paul Ingram, 2013.
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XXXVII. TERTULLIAN, Apol. 37.


Numbers of the Christians


Hesterni sumus et vestra omnia implevimus, urbes, insulas, castella, municipia, conciliabula, castra ipsa, tribus, decurias, palatium, senatum, forum; sola vobis reliquimus templa. Cui bello non idonei, non prompti fuissemus, etiam impares copiis, qui tam libenter trucidamur, si non apud istam disciplinam magis occidi liceret, quam occidere? Potuimus et inermes, nec rebelles, sed tantummodo discordes, solius divortii invidia adversus vos dimicasse. Si enim tanta vis hominum in aliquem orbis remoti sinum abrupissemus a vobis, suffudisset pudore utique dominationem vestram tot qualiumcunque amissio civium, imo etiam et ipsa destitutione punisset.

We are men of yesterday; yet we have filled all your places of resort – cities, lodging-houses, villages, towns, markets, even the camp, tribes, town-councils, palace, senate, forum; we have left you nothing but your temples. For what war should not we have been fit and ready, though with unequal forces, who are so willing to be slaughtered, if according to our teaching it were not better to be killed than to kill? We could have fought against you even without arms, yet without rebellion, simply by the civil discord of an unfriendly separation. For if such a force of men as we had broken off from you to some far corner of the world, your empire would undoubtedly have been put to shame by the loss of so many citizens of whatever sort, or rather actual bankruptcy would have been your punishment.

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