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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VII. AUCT., Ad Diognetum. 5-7.


The Christians in the World


5.1. Χριστιανοὶ γὰρ οὔτε γῇ οὔτε φωνῇ οὔτε ἔθεσι διακεκριμένοι τῶν λοιπῶν εἰσιν ἀνθρώπων. 2. οὔτε γάρ που πόλεις ἰδίας κατοικοῦσι οὔτε διαλέκτῳ τινὶ παρηλλαγμένῃ χρῶνται οὔτε βίον παράσημον ἀκοῦσιν. 3. οὐ μὴν ἐπινοίᾳ τινὶ καὶ φροντίδι πολυπραγμόνων ἀνθρώπων μάθημα τοῦτ’ αυτοῖς ἐστιν εὑρημένον, οὐδὲ δόματος ἀνθρωπίνου προεστᾶσιν, ὥσπερ ἔνιοι. 4. κατοικοῦντες δὲ πόλεις ἑλληνίδας τε καὶ βαρβάρους, ὡς ἕκαστος ἐκληρώθη, καὶ τοῖς ἐγχωρίοις ἔθεσιν ἀκολουθοῦντες ἔν τε ἐσθῆτι καὶ διαίτῃ καὶ τῷ λοιπῳ βίῳ θαυμαστὴν καὶ ὁμολογουμένως παράδοξον ἐνδείκνυνται τὴν κατάστασιν τῆς ἑαυτῶν πολιτείας. 5. πατρίδας οἰκοῦσιν ἰδίας, ἀλλ’ ὡς οἰκοῦσιν ἰδίας, ἀλλ’ ὡς πάροικοι· μετέχουσι πάντων ὡς πολῖται, καὶ πάνθ’ ὑπομένουσιν ὡς ξένοι· πᾶσα ξένη πατρίς ἐστιν αυτῶν, καὶ πᾶσα πατρὶς ξένη. 6. γαμοῦσιν ὡς πάντες, τεκνογονοῦσιν· ἀλλ’ οὐ ῥίπτουσι τὰ γεννώμενα. 7. τράπεζαν κοινὴν παρατίθενται, ἀλλ’ οὐ κοίτην. 8. ἐν σαρκὶ τυγχάνουσιν, ἀλλ’ οὐ κατὰ σάρκα ζῶσιν. 9. ἐπὶ γῆς διατρίβουσιν, ἀλλ’ ἐν οὐρανῷ πολιτεύονται. 10. πείθονται τοῖς ὡρισμένοις νόμοις, καὶ τοῖς ἰδίοις βίοις νικῶσι τοὺς νόμους. 11. ἀγαπῶσι πάντας, καὶ ὑπὸ πάντων διώκονται. 12. ἀγνοοῦνται, καὶ τατακρίνονται· θανατοῦνται, καὶ ζωοποιοῦνται. 13. πτωχεύουσι, καὶ πλουτίζουσι πολλούς· πάντων ὑστεροῦνται, καὶ ἐν πᾶσι περισσεύουσιν. 14. ἀτιμοῦνται, καὶ ἐν ταῖς ἀτιμίαις δοξάζονται. βλασφημοῦνται, καὶ δκιαιοῦνται. 15. λοιδοροῦνται, καὶ εὐλογοῦσιν· ὑβρίζονται, καὶ τιμῶσιν. 16. ἀγαθοποιοῦντες ὡς κακοὶ κολάζονται· κολαζόμενοι χαίρουσιν ὡς ζωοποιούμενοι. 17. ὑπὸ Ἰουδαίων ὡς ἀλλόφυλοι πολεμοῦνται καὶ ὑπὸ Ἑλλήνων διώκονται· καὶ τὴν αἰτίαν τῆς ἔχθρας εἰπεῖν οἱ μισοῦντες οὐκ ἔχουσιν.

6.1. Ἁπλῶς δ’ εἰπεῖν, ὅπερ ἐστὶν σώματι ψυχή, τοῦτ’ εἰσὶν ἐν κόσμῳ Χριστιανοί. 2. ἔσπαρται κατὰ πάντων τῶν τοῦ σώματος μελῶν ἡ ψυχή, καὶ Χριστιανοὶ κατὰ τὰς τοῦ κόσμου πόλεις. 3. οἰκεῖ μὲν ἐν τῷ ἐν τῷ σώματι ψυχή, οὐκ ἔστι δὲ ἐκ τοῦ σώματος· καὶ Χριστιανοὶ ἐν κόσμῳ οἰκοῦσιν, οὐκ εἰσὶ δὲ ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου. 4. ἀόρατος ἡ ψυχὴ ἐν ὀρατῷ φρουρεῖται τῷ κόσμῳ, ἀόρατος δὲ αὐτῶν ἡ θεοσέβεια μένει. 5. μισεῖ τὴν ψυχὴν ἡ σὰρξ καὶ πολεμεῖ μηδὲν ἀδικουμένη, διότι ταῖς ἡδοναῖς κωλύεται· μισεῖ καὶ Χριστιανοὺς ὁ κόσμος μηδὲν ἀδικούμενος, ὅτι ταῖς ἡδοναῖς ἀντιτάσσονται. 6. ἡ ψυχὴ τὴν μισοῦσαν ἀγαπᾷ σάρκα καὶ τὰ μέλη· καὶ Χριστιανοὶ τοὺς μισοῦντας ἀγαπῶσιν. 7. ἐγκέκλεισται μὲν ἡ ψυχὴ τῷ σώματι, συνέχει δὲ αὐτὴ τὸ σῶμα· καὶ Χριστιανοὶ κατέχονται μὲν ὡς ἐν φρουρᾷ τῷ κόσμῳ, αὐτοὶ δὲ συνέχουσι τὸν κόσμον. 8. ἀθάνατος ἡ ψυχὴ ἐν θνητῷ σκηνώματι κατοικεῖ· καὶ Χριστιανοὶ παροικοῦσιν ἐν φθαρτοῖς, τὴν ἐν οὐρανοῖς ἀφθαρσίαν προσδεχόμενοι. 9. κακουργουμένη σιτίοις καὶ ποτοῖς ἡ ψυχὴ βελτιοῦται· καὶ Χριστιανοὶ κολαζόμενοι καθ’ ἡμέραν πλεονάζουσι μᾶλλον. 10. εἰς τοαύτην αὐτοὺς τάξιν ἔθετο ὁ θεός, ἣν οὐ θεμιτὸν αὐτοῖς παραιτήσασθαι.

7.1. Οὐ γὰρ ἐπίγειον, ὡς ἔφην, εὕρημα τοῦτ’ αὐτοῦς παρεδόθη, οὐδὲ θνητὴν ἐπίνοιαν φυλάσσειν οὕτως ἀξιοῦσιν ἐπιμελῶς, οὐδὲ ἀνθρωπίνων οἰκονομίαν μυστηρίων πεπίστευνται. 2. ἀλλ’ αὐτὸς ἀληθῶς ὁ παντοκράτωρ καὶ παντοκτίστης καὶ ἀόρατος θεός, αὐτὸς ἀπ’ οὐρανῶν τὴν ἀλήθειαν καὶ τὸν λόγον τὸν ἅγιον καὶ ἀπερινόητον ἀνθρώποις ἐνίδρυσε καὶ ἐγκατεστήριξε ταῖς καρδίαις αὐτῶν· οὐ, καθάπερ ἄν τις εἰκάσειεν, ἀνθρώποις ὑπηρέτην τινὰ πέμψας ἡ ἄγγελον ἢ ἄρχοντα ἤ τινα τῶν διεπόντων τὰ ἐπίγεια ἤ τινα τῶν πεπιστευμένων τὰς ἐν οὐρανοῖς διοικήσεις, ἀλλ’ αὐτὸν τὸν τεχνίτην καὶ δημιουργὸν τῶν ὅλων, ᾧ τοὺς οὐρανοὺς ἔκτισεν, ᾧ τὴν θάλασσαν ἰδίοις ἐνέκλεισεν, οὗ τὰ μυστήρια πιστῶς πάντα φυλάσσει τὰ στοιχεῖα, παρ’ οὗ τὰ μέτρα τῶν τῆς ἡμέρας δρόμων ὁ ἥλιος εἴληφε φυλάσσειν, ᾧ πειθαρχεῖ τὰ ἄστρα τῷ τῆς σελήνης ἀκολουθοῦντα δρόμῳ· ᾧ πάντα διατέτακται καὶ διώρισται καὶ ὑποτέτακται, οὐρανοὶ καὶ τὰ ἐν οὐρανοῖς, γῆ καὶ τὰ ἐν τῇ θάλασσα καὶ τὰ ἐν τῇ θαλάσσῃ, πῦρ, ἀήρ, ἄβυσσος, τὰ ἐν ὕψεσι, τὰ ἐν βάθεσι, τὰ ἐν τῷ μεταξύ· τοῦτον πρὸς αὐτοὺς ἀπέστειλεν. 3. ἆρά γε, ὡς σώζων ἔπεμψεν, ὡς πείθων, οὐ βιαζόμενος· βία γὰρ οὐ πρόσεστι τῷ ὡς ἀγαπῶν, οὐ κρίνων. 6. πέμψει γὰρ αὐτὸν κρίνοντα· καὶ τίς αὐτοῦ τὴν παρουσίαν ὑπουσίαν ὑποστήσεται; ... 7. ... παραβαλλομένους θηρίοις, ἵνα ἀρνήσωνται τὸν κύριον, καὶ μὴ νικωμένους; 8. οὐχ ὁρᾷς, ὅσῳ πλείονες κολάζονται, τοσούτῳ πλεονάζοντας ἄλλους; 9. ταῦτα ἀνθρώπου οὐ δοκεῖ τὰ ἔργα· ταῦτα δύναμίς ἐστι θεοῦ ταῦτα τῆς παρουσίας αὐτοῦ δείγματα.

[5] FOR Christians are not distinguished from the rest of mankind either in locality or in speech or in customs. For they dwell not somewhere in cities of their own, neither do they use some different language, nor practise an extraordinary kind of life. Nor again do they possess any invention discovered by any intelligence or study of ingenious men, nor are they masters of any human dogma as some are. But while they dwell in cities of Greeks and barbarians as the lot of each is cast, and follow the native customs in dress and food and the other arrangements of life, yet the constitution of their own citizenship, which they set forth, is marvellous, and confessedly contradicts expectation. They dwell in their own countries, but only as sojourners; they bear their share in all things as citizens, and they endure all hardships as strangers. Every foreign country is a fatherland to them, and every fatherland is foreign. They marry like all other men and they beget children; but they do not cast away their offspring. They have their meals in common, but not their wives. They find themselves in the flesh, and yet they live not after the flesh. Their existence is on earth, but their citizenship is in heaven. They obey the established laws, and they surpass the laws in their own lives. They love all men, and they are persecuted by all. They are ignored, and yet they are condemned. They are put to death, and yet they are endued with life. They are in beggary, and yet they make many rich. They are in want of all things, and yet they abound in all things. They are dishonoured, and yet they are glorified in their dishonour. They are evil spoken of, and yet they are vindicated. They are reviled, and they bless; they are insulted, and they respect. Doing good they are punished as evildoers; being punished they rejoice, as if they were thereby quickened by life. War is waged against them as aliens by the Jews, and persecution is carried on against them by the Greeks, and yet those that hate them cannot tell the reason of their hostility.

[6] In a word, what the soul is in a body, this the Christians are in the world. The soul is spread through all the members of the body, and Christians through the divers cities of the world. The soul has its abode in the body, and yet it is not of the body. So Christians have their abode in the world, and yet they are not of the world. The soul which is invisible is guarded in the body which is visible: so Christians are recognised as being in the world, and yet their religion remains invisible. The flesh hates the soul and wages war with it, though it receives no wrong, because it is forbidden to indulge in pleasures; so the world hates Christians, though it receiveth no wrong from them, because they set themselves against its pleasures. The soul loveth the flesh which hates it, and the members: so Christians love those that hate them. The soul is enclosed in the body, and yet itself holds the body together; so Christians are kept in the world as in a prison-house, and yet they themselves hold the world together. The soul though itself immortal dwelleth in a mortal tabernacle; so Christians sojourn amidst perishable things, while they look for the imperishability which is in the heavens. The soul when hardly treated in the matter of meats and drinks is improved; and so Christians when punished increase more and more daily. So great is the office for which God has appointed them, and which it is not lawful for them to decline.

[7] For it is no earthly discovery, as I said, which was committed to them, neither do they care to guard so carefully any mortal invention, nor have they entrusted to them the dispensation of human mysteries. But truly the Almighty Creator of the Universe, the Invisible God Himself from heaven planted among men the truth and the holy teaching which surpasseth the wit of man, and fixed it firmly in their hearts, not as any man might imagine, by sending (to mankind) a subaltern, or angel, or ruler, or one of those that direct the affairs of earth, or one of those who have been entrusted with the dispensations in heaven, but the very Artificer and Creator of the Universe Himself, by Whom He made the heavens, by Whom He enclosed the sea in its proper bounds, Whose mysteries all the elements faithfully observe from Whom [the sun] has received even the measure of the courses of the day to keep them, Whom the moon obeys as He bids her shine by night, Whom the stars obey as they follow the course of the moon, by Whom all things are ordered and bounded and placed in subjection, the heavens and the things that are in the heavens, the earth and the things that are in the earth, the sea and the things that are in the sea, fire, air, abyss, the things that are in the heights, the things that are in the depths, the things that are between the two. Him He sent to them. Was He sent, think you, as any man might suppose, to establish a sovereignty, to inspire fear and terror? Not so. But in gentleness [and] meekness has He sent Him, as a king might send his son who is a king. He sent Him, as sending God; He sent Him, as [a man] to men; He sent Him, as Saviour, as using persuasion, not force: for force is no attribute of God. He sent Him, as summoning, not as persecuting; He sent Him, as loving, not as judging. For He will send Him in judgement, and who shall endure His presence? ... [Do you not see] them thrown to wild beasts that so they may deny the Lord, and yet not overcome? Do you not see hat the more of them are punished, just so many others abound? These look not like the works of a man; they are the power of God; they are proofs of His presence.


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