"Let your light shine before others"
Some New Testament Texts: Matthew 5-7; Acts 2:43-47; Ephesians 4:17-6:9; Philippians 1:27-28; 2:12-15; 1 Peter 2:11-4:19.
XVI.1CLEMENT OF ROME: What visitor among you is there who has not proved your most excellent and firm faith, who has not marvelled at your prudent and gentle piety in Christ, who has not proclaimed your magnificent practice of hospitality, and who has not blessed your perfect and sure knowledge? For you did all things without respect of persons and walked in the commandments of God. You were obedient to your rulers and showed appropriate honor to those who were older. You instructed the younger to think moderate and reverent thoughts. . . .1
You were all humbleminded and in no way arrogant, rather being subjected than subjecting and giving more gladly than receiving. You were satisfied with and paid attention to the travel provisions supplied by Christ, and you were storing up carefully in your hearts his words and were keeping his sufferings before your eyes. Thus a deep and rich peace was given to all. There was an insatiable desire to do good, and a full outpouring of the Holy Spirit came upon all. You were full of holy counsel. You stretched forth your hands in noble desire with pious confidence to the Almighty God, beseeching him to be merciful if you committed any unwilling sin. You had great concern day and night for the whole brotherhood, in order that the number of God's elect might be saved with mercy and conscience. You were sincere and innocent and bore no malice to one another. All rebellion and schism was abominable to you. You mourned over the transgressions of your neighbors. You counted their shortcomings your own. You never regretted doing any good, but were "ready for every good work."(1.2-2.7)
2SECOND CLEMENT: Let us not only call him Lord, for this will not save us. He says, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’ will be saved, but he who does righteousness.” Therefore, brethren, let us confess him in deeds, in loving one another, in not committing adultery, nor speaking against one another, nor being jealous, but in being self-controlled, merciful, good. And we ought to sympathize with one another and not to love money. By these deeds we confess him and not by the opposite. And we must not fear people rather than God. (4)
3ARISTIDES: For they [the Christians] 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 honor 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 do to others; and of the food which is consecrated to idols they do not eat, for they are pure. And their oppressors they appease and make them their friends;1a they do good to their enemies. And their women are pure and virgins and do not offer their wombs; and their men exercise self-control from every unlawful union and especially from impurity; and their wives similarly exercise self-control, for they cling to a great hope of the world to come.2 . . . They do not worship strange gods. They are gentle, moderate, modest, and truthful. They love one another.3 . . . They observe carefully the precepts of God and live holily and justly as the Lord their God commanded them. They give thanks to him every morning and every hour for food and drink and other good things. If any righteous person among them dies, they rejoice and offer thanks and pray concerning that one; and they escort the body as if for one setting out on a journey.4 . . . But if any one should die in sins, they weep, since that one goes to punishment. (Apology 15)
4EPISTLE TO DIOGNETUS: For Christians are distinguished from other people neither by country, language, nor customs. They do not dwell in cities of their own, nor do they use some strange language, nor practice a peculiar kind of life. Their teaching indeed has not been discovered by any speculation or consideration of persons full of curiosity, nor do they busy themselves with human doctrine as some do. While dwelling in Greek or barbarian cities, as each has received his lot, and following the local customs in dress, food, and the rest of life, they display the marvellous and admittedly unusual constitution of their own citizenship. They live in their native countries, but as sojourners. They share all things, as citizens; and they endure all things, as foreigners. Every foreign land is their fatherland, and every fatherland is a foreign land to them. They marry as do all others; they bear children; but they do not abandon their offspring. They furnish a common table, but not a common bed. Their lot is cast “in the flesh,” but they do not live “according to the flesh.” They pass their time upon the earth, but their citizenship is in heaven. They are obedient to the appointed laws, but they surpass the laws in their own lives. They love all people and are persecuted by all. They are not understood, and they are condemned. They are put to death, and they are made alive. “They are poor, and they make many rich.” They lack all things, and they abound in everything. They are dishonored, and they are glorified in their dishonor. They are evil spoken of, and they are justified. “They are reviled, and they bless.” They are insulted, and they give honor. While doing good, they are punished as evil. Being punished, they rejoice as being made alive. They are fought against as foreigners by the Jews, and they are persecuted by Greeks. And those who hate them cannot state a reason for their enmity.
To speak simply, what the soul is in the body, Christians are in the world. The soul has been dispersed throughout the members of the body, and Christians are in each of the cities of the world. The soul lives in the body, but is not of the body. And Christians live in the world but are not of the world. The invisible soul is imprisoned in a visible body. Christians, being in the world, are recognized, but the nature of their godliness remains invisible. The flesh hates the soul and fights against it, although receiving nothing unjust itself, because it is prevented from enjoying pleasures. The world, although experiencing nothing unjust, hates the Christians, because they are opposed to its pleasures. The soul loves the flesh, which hates it, and the body’s members. Christians love those who hate them. The soul has been shut up in the body, but itself holds the body together. Christians are held in the world, as in a prison, but they uphold the world. The immortal soul dwells in a mortal tent, and Christians sojourn among corruptible things but expect incorruption in heaven. The soul becomes better when ill-treated with food and drink, and Christians when punished increase daily. God has appointed them to such a post which it is not lawful for them to desert. (5-6)
5JUSTIN: After being persuaded by the Word we keep far away from the demons and follow the only unbegotten God through his Son. We who formerly rejoiced in fornication now embrace self-control alone. We who employed magical arts now have dedicated ourselves to the good and unbegotten God. We who loved more than anything else ways of acquiring wealth and possessions now bring what we have into a common treasury and share with everyone who is in need. We who hated and murdered one another and would not show hospitality to those not of the same tribe on account of different customs now after the coming of Christ eat with others, pray for our enemies, and attempt to persuade those who hate us unjustly so that those who live according to the good counsels of Christ may share with us the things hoped for from God the Lord of all. . . .
For not only he who commits adultery in deed is rejected by Christ, but also he who wishes to commit adultery, since not only works but also thoughts are manifest to God. For what do we say of the countless multitude of those who learned these things and changed from licentiousness. . . .
He urged us through forbearance and gentleness to lead everyone out of shame and the desire for evil. This we are able to show in regard to many who were once of your way of thinking. They changed from their violent and tyrannical ways, being overcome when they observed the patient endurance of life by their neighbors or perceived the unusual forbearance of their fellow travellers when defrauded or made proof of those with whom they had business dealings. . . . Let those who are not found living as Christ taught be recognized as not being Christians, even though they profess with the mouth the teachings of Christ. For he says that not those who only say but those who also do will be saved. (Apology I, 14-16).
6THEOPHILUS: We have as our lawgiver the true God who teaches us to practice righteousness, to be pious, and to do good. . . .
Consider then if those who have been taught such things are able to live indifferently and to be joined in unlawful intercourse or most ungodly of all to eat human flesh. . . It would be far from Christians to think about doing any such thing. With them temperance is present, self-control is exercised, monogamy is preserved, chastity is guarded, unrighteousness is cast out, sin is rooted out, righteousness is cared for, law is lived, godliness is practiced, God is confessed, truth arbitrates, grace is maintained, peace shelters, the holy word guides, wisdom teaches, life arbitrates, God rules. (To Autolycus 3.9; 3.15)
7ATHENAGORAS: By means of the teachings themselves to which we adhere we are able to persuade you not to think of us as atheists, since they are not human but spoken and taught by God. What then are the words in which we are trained? “I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, pray for those who persecute you, in order that you may be children of the Father in heaven who causes his sun to rise on the wicked and the good and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” . . . Who of those [rhetoricians] have so purged their souls that instead of hating their enemies they love them and instead of speaking evil to those who first began to revile them (itself evidence of the greatest moderation) they bless them and pray for those who plot against their lives? . . . But among us you may find uneducated persons, workmen, and old women, who if by word are unable to present the benefit that comes from our doctrine, by deed demonstrate the benefit that comes from this persuasion. For they do not call to mind the words, but they exhibit good works. When they are struck, they do not strike back. When robbed, they do not go to law. They give to those asking and they love their neighbors as themselves. (Plea for the Christians 11)
8GALEN: ‘Most people are unable to follow any demonstrative argument consecutively; hence they need parables, and benefit from them’-and he (Galen) understands by parables tales of rewards and punishments in a future life–‘just as now we see the people called Christians drawing their faith from parables [and miracles], and yet sometimes acting in the same way [as those who philosophize]. For their contempt of death [and its sequel] is patent to us every day, and likewise their restraint in cohabitation. For they include not only men but also women who refrain from cohabiting all through their lives; and they also number individuals who, in self-discipline and self-control in matters of food and drink, and in their keen pursuit of justice, have attained a pitch not inferior to that of genuine philosophers.’5
Much early Christian literature presents and interprets Christian moral teaching. The “Two Ways”–the way of life and the way of death–are spelled out in the beginning of the Didache and at the end of Barnabas (cf. VII.1 for a comparably early report from a pagan of things Christians did not do). The Shepherd of Hermas, especially the Mandates, is a treatise on practical matters of Christian living. The sermon known as Second Clement is an exhortation concerning various aspects of Christian conduct (XVI.2). The Letter of Clement of Rome, in contrasting the good past with the bad present at Corinth, gives a description of the ideal Christian community (XVI.1). In another vein, Irenaeus has a beautiful passage to the effect that Christians do not need the law of Moses because of the superiority of the Christian way of life, based on the teachings of Christ.6
Such writings were addressed to Christians telling how they ought to live. Many fine passages could have been selected from them in order to illustrate the Christian moral standard. Nevertheless, we have chosen to make most of the selections from writings addressed to non-Christians telling how Christians did live. The very existence of the former group of writings shows that not all Christians lived up to the standard. The preceding chapter shows how the early church dealt with the more serious offenders. Nonetheless, the standard attained in Christian living in the second century was notable and contrasted sharply with the standard of conduct current in the pagan world. It was used by the literary advocates of Christianity to show the superiority of Christianity to other ways of life.
The Greek apologists were defending Christianity before a pagan world. An analysis of the context in which the quoted passages occur will be instructive on several counts. Aristides divides mankind into four classes–Barbarians, Greeks, Jews, and Christians.7 After exposing the shortcomings of the other three, he describes Christians. The greater part of what he says about Christians is included in our quotation (XVI.3). Aristides is willing to rest his case for Christianity on a description of the Christian life. He adds an invitation to read the writings of Christians so that the inquirer may see that his picture of Christian teachings is accurate.
The Epistle to Diognetus is similar. After refuting the practices of pagans and Jews, he comes to describe Christians. Life is described first, and then there is a rudimentary statement of doctrine. The author’s picture of the Christian life (XVI.4) is one of the most beautiful literary gems from early Christianity. From the standpoint of Biblical doctrine, one can fault the author for his Greek distinction between body and soul. The sharp separation he makes is more in accord with Greek philosophy than it is with the Biblical view of the unity of the whole person. Nevertheless, his readers would certainly have understood what he was saying. If the author’s anthropology is faulty, his ethics are superb.
With Justin we come to a more ambitious defense of Christianity, but the argument from the Christian life still comes early in his first Apology. Christians are not atheists, Justin declares, for they worship the triune God (ch. 6); moreover, in contrast to idolatrous worship, the worship of Christians is rational (13). Other human beings have been deceived by demons, but Christians follow God. Then comes the passage quoted about the conversions effected by Christian teaching (XVI.5, from ch. 14). Chapters 15-17 cite what Christ himself taught–conceming chastity (part of which is quoted), love to all, sharing with the needy, patience and gentleness (a part of which is quoted), abstinence from swearing, and civil obedience. Most of the quotations made by Justin from the teaching of Jesus come from the “Sermon on the Mount” tradition in Matthew and Luke. The contacts of pagans with Christians who lived according to this teaching led to conversions.
For Theophilus the appeal to the Christian life stands toward the close of his apology. God’s teaching has been made known in the Prophets and Gospels (3.12). Theophilus cites the Ten Commandments and other Old Testament teaching in regard to hospitality, repentance, and righteousness (3.9-12). On the subjects of chastity and love for enemies the sayings of Jesus in Matthew 5 and 6 are quoted (3.13-14). What he has given, Theophilus is convinced, is sufficient to lead one to study more about “the Christian manner of life and the ordinances of God.”
Athenagoras’ literary plan is much more shaped by the philosophical tradition of his time.8 Hellenistic philosophy gave much attention to ethics, so Athenagoras is able to put the Christian case on this subject in the framework of philosophical discussions with which his readers were familiar. He too begins with theology–Christians worship Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (ch. 10). Then he takes up the moral teachings, citing the “Sermon on the Mount,” as the unique or striking feature of the Christian life (XVI.7). Christianity accomplished what philosophy had not been able to do in transforming the lives of even the uneducated. Consequently, Christians could not be atheists; people would not live this way if they did not believe in a supreme being to whom they were answerable. The eschatological motivation for Christian ethics is prominent when Athenagoras returns to talk about the elevated morality of Christians in chapters 31-36.
From this survey it may be noted that the Apologists had to refute the charge of atheism made against Christians. The popular slander was that the Christians were also guilty of incest and cannibalism.9 Such charges seem incredible to us. Some explanation may make their existence more understandable. Christianity began within Judaism, and so it initially suffered from the anti-Jewish sentiments of the ancient world. Moreover, Christians remained aloof from much of society. They were a secluded, secretive group. The Epistle to Diognetus10 affirms their participation in ordinary life, but admits that they remained “unknown,” unrecognized, and misunderstood. A society always thinks the worst of a foreign element in its midst and blames all wrong-doing and misfortunes on that presence.11 Furthermore, the very growth of the church provoked reaction and opposition.
There was a good reason for Christian non-participation in many features of public life in the Empire. Idolatry thoroughly permeated all phases of life. Drama had originated in pagan cult and continued to be dedicated to the gods. In addition, the stage of the early Empire was characterized by an appeal to the grossest immorality. The games were held in honor of the gods. The public spectacles which provided entertainment for many were exceedingly cruel and violent. Several early Christian writers point out that Christians did not attend the theater, the games, the gladiator shows, and racing contests because of the immoralities and violence associated with them.12 Meetings of the town councils and assemblies were opened with sacrifice and prayer to the gods. Sacrifices and oaths to the gods touched all phases of life, and the state religion seemed to hold society together. Christians, of course, could not participate in these features of pagan cult. Because of their rejection of the commonly accepted gods of the State, they were considered atheists. Because they held aloof from so much that others participated in, they were considered “haters of humanity.”13 The populace was suspicious of non-conformists.
Christians spoke of themselves as “brothers and sisters” (language for husband and wife in the Egyptian papyri) and had their “love feasts.” It was perhaps natural that a suspicious populace should put the worst possible construction on the nocturnal gatherings of Christians. The Apologists ruefully answered that pagans attributed to others the actions they would do themselves under similar circumstances.14 Christians also spoke of eating the body and drinking the blood of the Son. Is it any wonder that pagans who heard only so much understood this as the ritual killing of an infant and eating it?15 False confessions were extorted from pagan slaves, and there was enough irregularity in the conduct of some Christian Gnostics to give credence to the worst rumors.16 Informed pagans soon learned better, but slander dies hard, especially among the uninformed and those who want to believe the worst.
The defenders of Christianity appealed to the actual life lived among Christians in order to rebut the charges of immorality. Furthermore, they argued that the kind of life lived by Christians proves that they are not real atheists. If there were no God and if there were no life after death, any kind of conduct might be expected. But Christians believed in both. It is notable that the Apologists grounded Christian ethics in theology. Christian practice came from the commandments of God (XVI.3, 6, 7 for explicit statements). The next chapter of the Epistle to Diognetus after the quotation declares that this manner of life comes from revelation:
For this, as I said, was not an earthly discovery which was delivered to them . . . but truly the almighty, all-creating, and invisible God himself founded the truth from heaven.
He sent it down to human beings by the one through whom he created the world, the author continues. This is the uniform declaration of the Apologists.
The spokesmen for the Christian case go further and argue that the Christian manner of life is a demonstration of the truth of Christian doctrine. The earliest Apologists (XVI.3, 4) make the description of the Christian life the main point in their exposition of Christianity. The later Apologists give more elaborate defenses of Christianity. But the argument from Christian living still holds a prominent place. Justin pays tribute to the converting power of the Christian example (XVI.5).17
As defenders of Christianity, the Apologists had every reason to put their best foot forward. They would not talk about the worst Christians, even when recognizing that not all professing Christians lived as they should (XVI.5). A certain idealizing is to be expected in their presentation. But when every allowance is made for the apologetic setting and motives, one must be astonished at the confidence with which the Apologists speak of the way in which Christians lived. There must have been some substance to their claims or they would have been too easily refuted.
The argument from the quality of the Christian life to the truth of Christian doctrine is strongly put, and the description of the Christian life is impressive. Again, it is to be remarked that the case is not simply, “These are Christian teachings” (although that is done too), but “This is the way Christians live” (XVI.7 especially). There was ample room for contrast with life in the pagan world.
What stood out were not the externals, not arbitrary badges of distinctiveness, but the actual moral conduct. The earliest Christians participated as fully as possible in all areas of life that were open to them. Increasingly, they came to take over the borderland areas where the earlier moralists maintained a rigoristic opposition. By the end of the fourth century the line between the church and the world was becoming blurred. But we note here some of the actual differences in matters of moral conduct in earlier times.
It was common practice in the Greco-Roman world to abandon (“expose”) unwanted babies.18 This was an early form of population control in a society threatened by too many mouths to feed. According to the religious practices, a baby was not a part of the family until formally accepted by the father. The exposure of an unwanted baby was, therefore, not looked on in the way it might be now. The newborn was not regarded as a member of the family just by reason of birth. Modern debates about abortion raise the question, too, at what point does terminating a life that has been conceived constitute murder. The ancient world put that time later than Jews and Christians would have. Christians and Jews alone of the peoples in the Mediterranean world protested against the practice.19 It was especially girl babies who might be exposed, for they were an economic liability.20 There were many attendant evils to the practice of exposure, for the abandoned babies would be taken and raised for a life of slavery or of prostitution. But Christians did not abandon their offspring and often took children who were abandoned to rear themselves. Such unwanted children furnished many of the “orphans” mentioned in our next chapter.
On sexual ethics Christianity created the greatest revolution. It was not only to refute gossip that the Apologists insisted that Christians did not have a “common bed” (XVI.4).21 The sexual purity of Christians was a notable contrast to general pagan practice, and Christian teachings on divorce set them above Jews as well. Justin can boast both of those who have lived their lives in the church in a state of sexual purity and of those converted from the licentiousness of paganism to a life of chastity (XVI.5). In reaction against the loose sexual morals of the time, and in accord with a dualistic pessimism which viewed the created world as evil (including sex and reproduction) and a philosophical trend to view suppression of desires as the mark of virtue and wisdom, the ideal of celibacy gained ground in the church, becoming particularly evident in the writings of the third and following centuries?22 It was common for even those Christians who took a positive view of marriage to consider that the only proper occasion for intercourse was in order to bring children into the world.23
What the Apologists considered most distinctive and unique about Christ’s ethics was his teaching on love for enemies. The spirit of non-retaliation, and even beyond that of actually blessing those who did evil to one, was considered the most remarkable thing of all. This was so unusual that it could only be divine. This leads us to note how frequently the “Sermon on the Mount” appears in the Apologists’ discussion of Christian living. This teaching had thoroughly imprinted itself on the early Christian moral consciousness. Returning good for evil was presented as the distinguishing mark of Christian practice.
According to the Apologists, although the philosophers had some good ethical teachings, Christians actually lived by a philosophical (or more than philosophical) teaching. Here, too, was another great contrast (XVI.7).24 There was a strong feeling in the ancient philosophical tradition, stemming from Socrates, that if a man knew the right he would do the right. Therefore, the more he knows the better he will be. This was picked up in the rhetorical tradition, and most of the education in the ancient world was dominated by rhetoric. This belief led to the feeling that one could not expect uneducated people to live on a very high plane. They were not capable of the “philosophic life,” of high moral conduct. This view was countered by another tenet familiar to Greek thought since Plato’s time, namely that common people without intellectual excellence could by religious superstitions be led to conduct themselves virtuously. Galen (XV1.8) made reference to Christians as an illustration of this. Galen himself dislikes their accepting things on faith. But he praises them for possessing the cardinal virtues of Hellenistic philosophy-courage, temperance, and justice-which is why he singles out the aspects of conduct that he does. The Christians attained moral virtue through following a law by faith, not by a theoretical ethical philosophy.25 Taking up this problem in contemporary ethical discussions,26 the Christian Apologists made the claim that Christianity was the product of supernatural revelation. Only by divine teaching and divine power could the common people exemplify such an extraordinary manner of life.
Christians lived by the laws of their country, provided such did not conflict with God’s laws. By their manner of life they surpassed those laws. Their lives were very distinctive. Clearly “church life” was “daily life,” and Christian living extended to all phases of existence.
Arnold, Eberhard. The Early Christians After the Death of the Apostles. Rifton: Plough, 1970.
Cadoux, C. J. The Early Church and the World. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1925.
Davies, J. G. Daily Life in the Early Church: Studies in the Church Social History of the First Five Centuries. London: Lutterworth Press, 1952.
Ferguson, Everett, ed. Christian Life: Ethics, Morality, and Discipline in the Early Church. Studies in Early Christianity, Vol. XVI. New York: Garland, 1993.
Forell, George. History of Christian Ethics, Vol. 1. Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1979.
Meeks, Wayne. The Origins of Christian Morality: The First Two Centuries. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993.
Murphy, F. X. Moral Teaching in the Primitive Church. New York: Paulist, 1968.
__________. The Christian Way of Life. Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 1986.
Osborn, Eric. Ethical Patterns in Early Christian Thought. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1976.
Wormer, J. L. Morality and Ethics in Early Christianity. Minneapolis: Fortress, 1987.
1 The omitted section is quoted in XIX.1.
1a Translated from the Syriac version by D. M. Kay in Ante-Nicene Fathers (Reprint of the American edition; Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1951), Vol. X, pp. 276ff., and used by permission. At this point takes up an early papyrus fragment of Aristides, published by H. J. M. Milne in Journal of Theological Studies, Vol. 25 (1924), pp.73-77, and from which I have made my own translation of the remainder.
3 The omitted section is quoted XVII.1.
4 The next sentence is quotation V.5.
5 Translated from an Arabic quotation of Galen’s lost summary of Plato’s Republic, written about 180, by R. Walzer, Galen on Jews and Christians (London: Oxford U. Press, 1949), p. 15. Used by permission of the publisher.
6 Proof of the Apostolic Preaching 96.
7 The later Greek version preserved in Barlaam and Josaphat has three races–polytheists (Chaldaeans, Greeks, and Egyptians), Jews, and Christians.
8 Abraham J. Malherbe, “The Structure of Athenagoras, ‘Supplicatio pro christianis,”’ Vigiliae Christianae, Vol. 23 (1969), pp. 1-20, and “Athenagoras on Christian Ethics,” Journal of Ecclesiastical History, Vol. 20 (1969), pp. 1-5; the latter reprinted in Everett Ferguson, ed., Christian Life: Ethics, Morality, and Discipline in the Early Church, Studies in Early Christianity, Vol. XVI (New York: Garland, 1993), pp. 37-41.
10 XVI.4; cf. Tertullian, Apology 42 (quoted XVIII.7)
11 Tertullian, Apology 40.
12 Theophilus, To Autolycus 3.15; Athenagoras, Plea for Christians 35 (quoted XVIII.4); Tatian, Oration 23; Clement of Alexandria, Instructor 3.11.76f.; Minucius Felix 30.6; Tertullian, On the Shows.
13 Tacitus, Annals 15.44; also Tertullian, Apology 37.
14 Or, as Athenagoras says, they tell about Christians “such as they tell of their own gods”–Plea for Christians 32. Cf. Justin, Apology I, 27; II,12.
15 References in note 9. Irenaeus, Fragment 13 makes the connection between the “body and blood” and the charge of cannibalism. Is the fragment based on the passage quoted by Eusebius, Church History 5.1.14? Cf. Josephus, Against Apion 2.91-96 for a parallel to the charge of cannibalism against Christians.
17 Cf. his Apology II, 12 for Christian conduct in martyrdom influencing his own conversion.
18 W. W. Tarn, Hellenistic Civilization (Cleveland: World Publishing Co., 1961 reprint of the third edition, 1951), pp. 100ff.
19 For Christian statements, see Didache 2 and 5; Justin, Apology I, 27 and 29; Athenagoras, Plea for Christians 35; Clement of Alexandria, Miscellanies 126.96.36.199; Apocalypse of Peter 1. Certain pagan individuals did protest against the exposure of babies, e.g. the philosopher Musonius Rufus in the first century. The rite for receiving a baby into the family is described in H. J. Rose, Religion in Greece and Rome (New York: Harper, 1959 reprint of the 1946 edition), pp. 30ff. A survey of different views on when what is conceived is a soul is given by George Williams, “Religious Residues and Presuppositions in the American Debate on Abortion,” Theological Studies, Vol. 31 (1970), pp. 14-53.
20 Famous for its date (1 B.C.) as well as for its instructions is the letter of Hilarion to his wife Alis in Oxyrhynchus Papyri IV:744: “If you bear a child, if it is a boy, let it live; if it is a girl, expose it.”
21 Cf. Tertullian in XVII. 16 to XVI.4 for all things common “except our wives.”
22 Athenagoras, Plea for Christians 33. Cf. C. J. Cadoux, The Early Church and the World (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1925), pp. 281f., 443f., 597f.
23 Athenagoras, Plea for Christians 33; Clement of Alexandria, Miscellanies 3.7.58; Justin, Apology I, 29.
24 Origen, Against Celsus 1.4 and 2.5 accepts the complaint that Christians had no new teaching to offer. That Christian moral teaching was not original is argued by John Whittaker, “Christianity and Morality in the Roman Empire,” Vigiliae Christianae, Vol. 33 (1979), pp. 209-225; repr. in Everett Ferguson, ed., Christian Life: Ethics, Morality, and Discipline in the Early Church, Studies in Early Christianity, Vol. XVI (New York: Garland, 1993), pp. 19-35.
25 Walzer, op. cit., p. 68. For another pagan view on Christian conduct see XVII.3.
26 In addition to XVI.7 note Tatian, Oration 32-33 and Clement of Alexandria, Miscellanies 188.8.131.52-“It is possible for the person who lives according to our teaching to philosophize even without learning, whether barbarian, Greek, or slave; whether an old man, a child, or a woman.” By “philosophize” Clement meant living a life of self-control as the context shows. Cf. Tertullian, Apology 46.