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Politics, Nationalism, War, the Empire

Ignatius

All the pleasures of the world, and all the kingdoms of this earth, shall profit me nothing. It is better for me to die in behalf of Jesus Christ, than to reign over all the ends of the earth. “For what shall a man be profited, if he gain the whole world, but lose his own soul?’ – To the Romans

Justin Martyr

“No more do we wish to live like the rulers of your people, whom God reproaches when He says, ‘Your rulers are companions of thieves, lovers of bribes, followers of the rewards.”- Dialogue with Trypho

“And you are aware that David said, ‘The gods of the nations are demons.’ – Dialogue with Trypho

“The devil is the author of all war.”

“But the angels transgressed this appointment. and were captivated by love of women, and begat children who are those that are called demons; and besides, they afterwards subdued the human race to themselves, partly by magical writings, and partly by fears and the punishments they occasioned, and partly by teaching them to offer sacrifices, and incense, and libations, of which things they stood in need after they were enslaved by lustful passions; and among men they sowed murders, wars, adulteries, intemperate deeds, and all wickedness.” –Second Apology

And when the Spirit of prophecy speaks as predicting things that are to come to pass, He speaks in this way: “For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And He shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people; and they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”….For from Jerusalem there went out into the world, men, twelve in number, and these illiterate, of no ability in speaking: but by the power of God they proclaimed to every race of men that they were sent by Christ to teach to all the word of God; and we who formerly used to murder one another do not only now refrain from making war upon our enemies, but also, that we may not lie nor deceive our examiners, willingly die confessing Christ. – First Apology

and we who were filled with war, and mutual slaughter, and every wickedness, have each through the whole earth changed our warlike weapons,–our swords into ploughshares, and our spears into implements of tillage,–and we cultivate piety, righteousness, philanthropy, faith, and hope,- Dialogue with Trypho

“And when you hear that we look for a kingdom, you suppose, without making any inquiry, that we speak of a human kingdom; whereas we speak of that which is with God, as appears also from the confession of their faith made by those who are charged with being Christians, though they know that death is the punishment awarded to him who so confesses. For if we looked for a human kingdom, we should also deny our Christ, that we might not be slain; and we should strive to escape detection, that we might obtain what we expect. But since our thoughts are not fixed on the present, we are not concerned when men cut us off; since also death is a debt which must at all events be paid.” – First Apology

we who valued above all things the acquisition of wealth and possessions, now bring what we have into a common stock, and communicate to every one in need; we who hated and destroyed one another, and on account of their different manners would not live with men of a different tribe, now, since the coming of Christ, live familiarly with them, and pray for our enemies, and endeavour to persuade those who hate us unjustly to live comformably to the good precepts of Christ, to the end that they may become par-takers with us of the same joyful hope of a reward from God the ruler of all.- First Apology

And everywhere we, more readily than all men, endeavour to pay to those appointed by you the taxes both ordinary and extraordinary, as we have been taught by Him; for at that time some came to Him and asked Him, if one ought to pay tribute to Caesar; and He answered, “Tell Me, whose image does the coin bear?” And they said, “Caesar’s.” And again He answered them, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” Whence to God alone we render worship, but in other things we gladly serve you, acknowledging you as kings and rulers of men, and praying that with your kingly power you be found to possess also sound judgment. But if you pay no regard to our prayers and frank explanations, we shall suffer no loss, since we believe (or rather, indeed, are persuaded) that every man will suffer punishment in eternal fire according to the merit of his deed, and will render account according to the power he has received from God, as Christ intimated when He said, “To whom God has given more, of him shall more be required.” – First Apology

Barnabas 

Thus also, says He, “Those who wish to behold Me, and lay hold of My kingdom, must through tribulation and suffering obtain Me.” – Epistle of Barnabus

Thou shalt communicate in all things with thy neighbour; thou shalt not call things thine own; for if ye are partakers in common of things which are incorruptible, how much more [should you be] of those things which are corruptible! – Epistle of Barnabus

Second Clement 

” And consider, brethren, that the sojourning in the flesh in this world is but brief and transient, but the promise of Christ is great and wonderful, even the rest of the kingdom to come, and of life everlasting. By what course of conduct, then, shall we attain these things, but by leading a holy and righteous life, and by deeming these worldly things as not belonging to us, and not fixing our desires upon them? For if we desire to possess them, we fall away from the path of righteousness.” – Second Clement

“Now the Lord declares, “No servant can serve two masters.” If we desire, then, to serve both God and mammon, it will be unprofitable for us. “For what will it profit if a man gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” This world and the next are two enemies. The one urges to adultery and corruption, avarice and deceit; the other bids farewell to these things. We cannot, therefore, be the friends of both; and it behoves us, by renouncing the one, to make sure of the other. Let us reckon that it is better to hate the things present, since they are trifling, and transient, and corruptible; and to love those [which are to come,] as being good and incorruptible.” -ibid

Letter to Diognetus 

“For the Christians are distinguished from other men neither by country, nor language, nor the customs which they observe. For they neither inhabit cities of their own, nor employ a peculiar form of speech, nor lead a life which is marked out by any singularity. The course of conduct which they follow has not been devised by any speculation or deliberation of inquisitive men; nor do they, like some, proclaim themselves the advocates of any merely human doctrines. But, inhabiting Greek as well as barbarian cities, according as the lot of each of them has determined, and following the customs of the natives in respect to clothing, food, and the rest of their ordinary conduct, they display to us their wonderful and confessedly striking method of life. They dwell in their own countries, but simply as sojourners. As citizens, they share in all things with others, and yet endure all things as if foreigners. Every foreign land is to them as their native country, and every land of their birth as a land of strangers. They marry, as do all [others]; they beget children; but they do not destroy their offspring. They have a common table, but not a common bed. They are in the flesh, but they do not live after the flesh. They pass their days on earth, but they are citizens of heaven. They obey the prescribed laws, and at the same time surpass the laws by their lives. They love all men, and are persecuted by all. They are unknown and condemned; they are put to death, and restored to life. They are poor, yet make many rich; they are in lack of all things, and yet abound in all; they are dishonoured, and yet in their very dishonour are glorified. They are evil spoken of, and yet are justified; they are reviled, and bless; they are insulted, and repay the insult with honour; they do good, yet are punished as evil-doers. When punished, they rejoice as if quickened into life; they are assailed by the Jews as foreigners, and are persecuted by the Greeks; yet those who hate them are unable to assign any reason for their hatred.” –The Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus

Shepherd of Hermas

He says to me, “You know that you who are the servants of God dwell in a strange land; for your city is far away from this one.If, then,” he continues, “you know your city in which you are to dwell, why do ye here provide lands, and make expensive preparations, and accumulate dwellings and useless buildings? He who makes such preparations for this city cannot return again to his own. Oh foolish, and unstable, and miserable man! Dost thou not understand that all these things belong to another, and are under the power of another? for the lord of this city will say, ‘I do not wish thee to dwell in my city; but depart from this city, because thou obeyest not my laws.’ Thou, therefore, although having fields and houses, and many other things, when cast out by him, what wilt thou do with thy land, and house, and other possessions which thou hast gathered to thyself? For the lord of this country justly says to thee, ‘Either obey my laws or depart from my dominion.’ What, then, dost thou intend to do, having a law in thine own city, on account of thy lands, and the rest of thy possessions? Thou shalt altogether deny thy law, and walk according to the law of this city. See lest it be to thy hurt to deny thy law; for if thou shalt desire to return to thy city, thou wilt not be received, because thou hast denied the law of thy city, but wilt be excluded from it. Have a care, therefore: as one living in a foreign land, make no further preparations for thyself than such merely as may be sufficient; and be ready, when the master of this city shall come to cast thee out for disobeying his law, to leave his city, and to depart to thine own, and to obey thine own law without being exposed to annoyance, but in great joy. Have a care, then, ye who serve the Lord, and have Him in your heart, that ye work the works of God, remembering His commandments and promises which He promised, and believe that He will bring them to pass if His commandments be observed. Instead of lands, therefore, buy afflicted souls, according as each one is able, and visit s widows and orphans, and do not overlook them; and spend your wealth and all your preparations, which ye received from the Lord, upon such lands and houses. For to this end did the Master make you rich, that you might perform these services unto Him; and it is much better to purchase such lands, and possessions, and houses, as you will find in your own city, when you come to reside in it. This is a noble and sacred expenditure, attended neither with sorrow nor fear, but with joy. Do not practise the expenditure of the heathen, for it is injurious to you who are the servants of God; but practise an expenditure of your own, in which ye can rejoice; and do not corrupt nor touch what is another’s nor covet it, for it is an evil thing to covet the goods of other men; but work thine own work, and thou wilt be saved.” – Book III

Polycarp 

“Pray for all the saints. Pray also for kings, and potentates, and princes, and for those that persecute and hate you, and for the enemies of the cross, that your fruit may be manifest to all, and that ye may be perfect in Him.. ” – to the Philippians

“And when the proconsul yet again pressed him, and said, “Swear by the fortune of Caesar,” he answered, “Since thou art vainly urgent that, as thou sayest, I should swear by the fortune of Caesar, and pretendest not to know who and what I am, hear me declare with boldness, I am a Christian. And if you wish to learn what the doctrines of Christianity are, appoint me a day, and thou shalt hear them.” The proconsul replied, “Persuade the people.” But Polycarp said, “To thee I have thought it right to offer an account [of my faith]; for we are taught to give all due honour (which entails no injury upon ourselves) to the powers and authorities which are ordained of God. But as for these, I do not deem them worthy of receiving any account from me.” – The Martyrdom of Polycarp

Origen

“In the next place, Celsus urges us “to help the king with all our might, and to labour with him in the maintenance of justice, to fight for him; and if he requires it, to fight under him, or lead an army along with him.” To this our answer is, that we do, when occasion requires, give help to kings, and that, so to say, a divine help, “putting on the whole armour of God.” And this we do in obedience to the injunction of the apostle, “I exhort, therefore, that first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority;” and the more any one excels in piety, the more effective help does he render to kings, even more than is given by soldiers, who go forth to fight and slay as many of the enemy as they can. And to those enemies of our faith who require us to bear arms for the commonwealth, and to slay men, we can reply: “Do not those who are priests at certain shrines, and those who attend on certain gods, as you account them, keep their hands free from blood, that they may with hands unstained and free from human blood offer the appointed sacrifices to your gods; and even when war is upon you, you never enlist the priests in the army. If that, then, is a laudable custom, how much more so, that while others are engaged in battle, these too should engage as the priests and ministers of God, keeping their hands pure, and wrestling in prayers to God on behalf of those who are fighting in a righteous cause, and for the king who reigns righteously, that whatever is opposed to those who act righteously may be destroyed!” And as we by our prayers vanquish all demons who stir up war, and lead to the violation of oaths, and disturb the peace, we in this way are much more helpful to the kings than those who go into the field to fight for them. And we do take our part in public affairs, when along with righteous prayers we join self-denying exercises and meditations, which teach us to despise pleasures, and not to be led away by them. And none fight better for the king than we do. We do not indeed fight under him, although he require it; but we fight on his behalf, forming a special army–an army of piety–by offering our prayers to God. ” – Contra Celsus, Book VIII

“I am a Christian, and therefore I cannot fight.”

Clement of Alexandria 

“For He says, “Take no anxious thought for to-morrow,” meaning that the man who has devoted himself to Christ ought to be sufficient to himself, and servant to himself, and moreover lead a life which provides for each day by itself. For it is not in war, but in peace, that we are trained. War needs great preparation, and luxury craves profusion; but peace and love, simple and quiet sisters, require no arms nor excessive preparation. The Word is their sustenance.” – The Instructor, Book I

“When God prohibits killing, he not only forbids us to commit brigandage, which is not allowed even by the public laws, but he warns us not to do even those things which are legal among men. And so it will not be lawful for a just man to serve as a soldier – for justice itself is his military service – nor to accuse anyone of a capital offense, because it makes no difference whether thou kill with a sword or with a word, since killing itself is forbidden.”

“Above all, Christians are not allowed to correct with violence the delinquencies of sins. For it is not those that abstain from wickedness from compulsion, but those that abstain from choice, that God crowns. It is impossible for a man to be steadily good except by his own choice. For he that is made good by compulsion of another is not good; for he is not what he is by his own choice. For it is the freedom of each one that makes true goodness and reveals real wickedness. Whence through these dispositions God contrived to make His own disposition manifest. Clement of Alexandria ”

For in the first Epistle to the Corinthians the divine apostle says: “Dare any of you, having a matter against the other, go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints? Know you not that the saints shall judge the world?” and so on. The section being very long, we shall exhibit the meaning of the apostle’s utterance by emphasizing such of the apostolic expressions… For he does not merely instance the Gnostic as characterized by suffering wrong rather than doing wrong; but he teaches that he is not mindful of injuries, and does not allow him even to pray against the man who has done him wrong. For he knows that the Lord expressly commanded “to pray for enemies.” To say, then, that the man who has been injured goes to law before the unrighteous, is nothing else than to say that he shows a wish to retaliate, and a desire to injure the second in return, which is also to do wrong likewise himself. And his saying, that he wishes “some to go to law before the saints,” points out those who ask by prayer that those who have done wrong should suffer retaliation for their injustice, and intimates that the second are better than the former; but they are not yet obedient, if they do not, having become entirely free of resentment, pray even for their enemies.”

“Besides, He makes preparation for a self-sufficing mode of life, for simplicity, and for girding up our loins, and for free and unimpeded readiness of our journey; in order to the attainment of an eternity of beatitude, teaching each one of us to be his own storehouse. For He says, “Take no anxious thought for to-morrow,” meaning that the man who has devoted himself to Christ ought to be sufficient to himself, and servant to himself, and moreover lead a life which provides for each day by itself. For it is not in war, but in peace, that we are trained. War needs great preparation, and luxury craves profusion; but peace and love, simple and quiet sisters, require no arms nor excessive preparation. The Word is their sustenance. ”

“Love of wealth displaces a man from the right mode of life, and induces him to cease from feeling shame at what is shameful… For what end, then, are such dainty dishes prepared, but to fill ones belly? The filthiness of gluttony is proved by the sewers into which our bellies discharge the refuse of our food. ”

“For we do not train our women like Amazons to manliness in war; since we wish the men even to be peaceable.”

“And so, in this commandment of God, no exception at all ought to be made to the rule that it is always wrong to kill a man, whom God has wished to be regarded as a sacrosanct creature.”

“The Christian does injury to no one. He does not desire the property of others. In fact, he does not even defend his own property if it is taken from him by violence. For he knows how to patiently bear an injury inflicted upon him.”

“When God forbids us to kill, he not only prohibits us from open violence… but he warns us against the commission of those things which are esteemed lawful among men. Thus it will be neither lawful for a just man to engage in warfare… Therefore, with regard to this precept of God, there ought to be no exception at all; but that it is always unlawful to put to death a man, whom God willed to be a sacred animal.”

“We do not resist those who injure us, for we must yield to them.”

“When men command us to act in opposition to the law of God, and in opposition to justice, we should not be deterred by any threats or punishments that come upon us. For we prefer the commandments of God to the commandments of man.”

“Someone will say here: ‘What therefore, or where, or of what sort is piety?’ Assuredly it is among those who are ignorant of war, who keep concord with all, who are friends even to their enemies, who love all men as their brothers, who know how to restrain their anger, and to soothe all madness of mind by quiet control.”

“Why should the just man wage war, and mix himself up in other people’s passions – he in whose mind dwells perpetual peace with men?”

“It can never be lawful for a righteous man to go to war, whose warfare is in righteousness itself.”

“When God prohibits killing, he not only forbids us to commit brigandage, which is not allowed even by the public laws, but he warns us not to do even those things which are legal among men. And so it will not be lawful for a just man to serve as a soldier – for justice itself is his military service – nor to accuse anyone of a capital offense, because it makes no difference whether thou kill with a sword or with a word, since killing itself is forbidden.”

“Wherefore we have no country on earth, that we may despise earthly possessions.”

“In their wars, therefore, the Etruscans use the trumpet, the Arcadians the pipe, the Sicilians the pectides, the Cretans the lyre, the Lacedaemonians the flute, the Thracians the horn, the Egyptians the drum, and the Arabians the cymbal. The one instrument of peace, the Word alone by which we honor God, is what we employ. We no longer employ the ancient psaltery, and trumpet, and timbrel, and flute, which those expert in war and despisers of the fear of God were wont to make use of also in the choruses at their festive assemblies; that by such strains they might raise their dejected minds. ”

Hippolytus 

“Do not avenge yourself on those who injure you… let us imitate the Lord, who when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he was crucified, he answered not; when he suffered, he threatened not; but prayed for his enemies.”

“Nothing is better than peace, by which all war of those in heaven and those on earth is abolished.”

“A person who has accepted the power of killing, or a soldier, may never be received [into the church] at all.”

“A soldier, being inferior in rank to God, must not kill anyone. If ordered to, he must not carry out the order, nor may he take an oath (sacramentum) to do so. If he does not accept this, let him be dismissed from the church. Anyone bearing the power of the sword, or any city magistrate, who wears purple, let him cease from wearing it at once or be dismissed from the church. Any catechumen or believer who wishes to become a soldier must be dismissed from the church because they have despised God.”

“For as a serpent cannot mark its track upon a rock, so the devil could not find sin in the body of Christ. For the Lord says, “Behold, the prince of this world comes, and will find nothing in me.” For as a ship, sailing in the sea, leaves no traces of her way behind her, so neither does the Church, which is situate in the world as in a sea, leave her hope upon the earth, because she has her life reserved in heaven; and as she holds her way here only for a short time, it is not possible to trace out her course.”

“Nothing is better than peace, by which all war of those in heaven and those on earth is abolished.”

Tertullian 

“But as those in whom all ardour in the pursuit of glory and honour is dead, we have no pressing inducement to take part in your public meetings; nor is there aught more entirely foreign to us than affairs of state. We acknowledge one all-embracing commonwealth – the world… ”

This is the reason, then, why Christians are counted public enemies: that they pay no vain, nor false, nor foolish honours to the emperor; that, as men believing in the true religion, they prefer to celebrate their festal days with a good conscience, instead of with the common wantonness. It is, forsooth, a notable homage to bring fires and couches out before the public, to have feasting from street to street, to turn the city into one great tavern, to make mud with wine, to run in troops to acts of violence, to deeds of shamelessness to lust allurements! What! is public joy manifested by public disgrace? Do things unseemly at other times beseem the festal days of princes? Do they who observe the rules of virtue out of reverence for Caesar, for his sake turn aside from them? Shall piety be a license to immoral deeds, and shall religion be regarded as affording the occasion for all riotous extravagance? –  The Apology

Ought not Christians, therefore, to receive not merely a somewhat milder treatment, but to have a place among the law-tolerated societies, seeing they are not chargeable with any such crimes as are commonly dreaded from societies of the illicit class? For, unless I mistake the matter, the prevention of such associations is based on a prudential regard to public order, that the state may not be divided into parties, which would naturally lead to disturbance in the electoral assemblies, the councils, the curiae, the special conventions, even in the public shows by the hostile collisions of rival parties; especially when now, in pursuit of gain, men have begun to consider their violence an article to be bought and sold. But as those in whom all ardour in the pursuit of glory and honour is dead, we have no pressing inducement to take part in your public meetings; nor is there aught more entirely foreign to us than affairs of state. We acknowledge one all-embracing commonwealth–the world. We renounce all your spectacles, as strongly as we renounce the matters originating them, which we know were conceived of superstition, when we give up the very things which are the basis of their representations.- The Apology

Therefore, too, the Lord demanded that the money should be shown Him, and inquired about the image, whose it was; and when He had heard it was Caesar’s, said, “Render to Caesar what are Caesar’s, and what are God’s to God;” that is, the image of Caesar, which is on the coin, to Caesar, and the image of God, which is on man, to God; so as to render to Caesar indeed money, to God yourself. Otherwise, what will be God’s, if all things are Caesar’s? “Then,” do you say, “the lamps before my doors, and the laurels on my posts are an honour to God?” They are there of course, not because they are an honour to God, but to him who is honour in God’s stead by ceremonial observances of that kind, so far as is manifest, saving the religious performance, which is in secret appertaining to demons. – On Idolatry

For it is for this reason, too, that that example of the three brethren has forerun us, who, in other respects obedient toward king Nebuchodonosor rejected with all constancy the honour to his image, proving that whatever is extolled beyond the measure of human honour, unto the resemblance of divine sublimity, is idolatry. So too, Daniel, in all other points submissive to Darius, remained in his duty so long as it was free from danger to his religion; for, to avoid undergoing that danger, he feared the royal lions no more than they the royal fires. Let, therefore, them who have no light, light their lamps daily; let them over whom the fires of hell are imminent, affix to their posts, laurels doomed presently to burn: to them the testimonies of darkness and the omens of their penalties are suitable. You are a light of the world, and a tree ever green. If you have renounced temples, make not your own gate a temple. I have said too little. If you have renounced stews, clothe not your own house with the appearance of a new brothel. – On Idolatry

But your orders, and your magistracies, and your very place of meeting, the church, are Christ’s. You belong to Him, for you have been enrolled in the books of life. There the blood of the Lord serves for your purple robe, and your broad stripe is His own cross; there the axe is already laid to the trunk of the tree; there is the branch out of the root of Jesse. Never mind the state horses with their crown. Your Lord, when, according to the Scripture, He would enter Jerusalem in triumph, had not even an ass of His own. These (put their trust) in chariots, and these in horses; but we will seek our help in the name of the Lord our God. From so much as a dwelling in that Babylon of John’s Revelation we are called away; much more then from its pomp. The rabble, too, are crowned, at one time because of some great rejoicing for the success of the emperors; at another, on account of some custom belonging to municipal festivals. For luxury strives to make her own every occasion of public gladness. But as for you, you are a foreigner in this world, a citizen of Jerusalem, the city above. Our citizenship, the apostle says, is in heaven. You have your own registers, your own calendar; you have nothing to do with the joys of the world; nay, you are called to the very opposite, for “the world shall rejoice, but ye shall mourn.”- De Corona (or The Chaplet)

 

And shall the son of peace take part in the battle when it does not become him even to sue at law?

“For demons are the magistrates of this world: they bear the fasces. . . One soul cannot be due to two masters — God and Cæsar.”

“Nay, even in terms, and most clearly, the Scripture says, “Pray for kings, and rulers, and powers, that all may be peace with you.” For when there is disturbance in the empire, if the commotion is felt by its other members, surely we too, though we are not thought to be given to disorder, are to be found in some place or other which the calamity affects. ”

“Shall we carry a flag? It is a rival to Christ.”

“And shall the son of peace take part in the battle when it does not become him even to sue at law?”

“But as for you, you are a foreigner in this world, a citizen of Jerusalem, the city above. Our citizenship, the apostle says, is in heaven. You have your own registers, your own calendar; you have nothing to do with the joys of the world; nay, you are called to the very opposite, for “the world shall rejoice, but you shall mourn.”

“Yet, banded together as we are, ever so ready to sacrifice our lives, what single case of revenge for injury are you able to point to, though, if it were held right among us to repay evil by evil, a single night with a torch or two could achieve an ample vengeance? … For now it is the immense number of Christians which makes your enemies so few, almost all the inhabitants of your various cities being followers of Christ. Yet you choose to call us enemies of the human race, rather than of human error. ”

“For what war should we not be fit and eager, even though unequal in numbers, we who are so willing to be slaughtered—if, according to that discipline of ours, it was not more lawful to be slain than to slay?”

“Therefore, too, the Lord demanded that the money should be shown Him, and inquired about the image, whose it was; and when He had heard it was Caesar’s, said, “Render to Caesar what are Caesar’s, and what are God’s to God;” that is, the image of Caesar, which is on the coin, to Caesar, and the image of God, which is on man, to God; so as to render to Caesar indeed money, to God yourself. Otherwise, what will be God’s, if all things are Caesar’s? ”

“But now inquiry is being made concerning these issues. First, can any believer enlist in the military? Second, can any soldier, even those of the rank and file or lesser grades who neither engage in pagan sacrifices nor capital punishment, be admitted into the church? No on both counts—for there is no agreement between the divine sacrament and the human sacrament, the standard of Christ and the standard of the devil, the camp of light and the camp of darkness. One soul cannot serve two masters—God and Caesar…But how will a Christian engage in war—indeed, how will a Christian even engage in military service during peacetime—without the sword, which the Lord has taken away? For although soldiers had approached John to receive instructions and a centurion believed, this does not change the fact that afterward, the Lord, by disarming Peter, disarmed every soldier.”

“Of course, if faith comes later, and finds any preoccupied with military service, their case is different, as in the instance of those whom John used to receive for baptism, and of those most faithful centurions, I mean the centurion whom Christ approves, and the centurion whom Peter instructs; yet, at the same time, when a man has become a believer, and faith has been sealed, there must be either an immediate abandonment of it, which has been the course with many; or all sorts of quibbling will have to be resorted to in order to avoid offending God, and that is not allowed even outside of military service; or, last of all, for God the fate must be endured which a citizen-faith has been no less ready to accept. Neither does military service hold out escape from punishment of sins, or exemption from martyrdom.”

“Inquiry is made whether a believer is able to turn himself into military service… But how will a Christian wage war, indeed how will he serve even in peace without a sword, which the Lord has taken away? …The Lord in disarming Peter, unbelted every soldier.” “What will be God’s if all things are Caesar’s?” “All zeal in the pursuit of glory and honor is dead in us.”

“Only without the sword can the Christian wage war: the Lord has abolished the sword.”- Tertullian (160AD – 220AD)

“I think we must first inquire whether warfare is proper at all for Christians. What sense is there in discussing the merely accidental, when that on which it rests is to be condemned? Do we believe it lawful for a human oath to be superadded to one divine, for a man to come under promise to another master after Christ, and to abjure father, mother, and all nearest kinsfolk, whom even the law has commanded us to honor and love next to God Himself, to whom the gospel, too, holding them only of less account than Christ, has in like manner rendered honor? Shall it be held lawful to make an occupation of the sword, when the Lord proclaims that he who uses the sword shall perish by the sword? And shall the son of peace take part in the battle when it does not become him even to sue at law? ”

“I refuse to do military service. I desire to rule over no one – I have withdrawn from worldly politics! Now my only politics is spiritual – how that I might be anxious for nothing except to root out all worldly anxieties and care.……..So we have no pressing inducement to take part in your public meetings. Nor is there anything more entirely foreign to us than the affairs of state. We acknowledge one all-embracing commonwealth – the world. We renounce all your spectacles.”“For what difference is there between provoker and provoked? The only difference is that the former was the first to do evil, but the latter did evil afterwards. Each one stands condemned in the eyes of the Lord for hurting a man. For God both prohibits and condemns every wickedness. In evil doing, there is no account taken of the order… the commandment is absolute: evil is not to be repaid with evil.”

“In that last section, decision may seem to have been given likewise concerning military service, which is between dignity and power. But now inquiry is made about this point, whether a believer may turn himself unto military service, whether the military may be admitted unto the faith, even the rank and file, or each inferior grade, to whom there is no necessity for taking part in sacrifices or capital punishments. There is no agreement between the divine and the human sacrament, the standard of Christ and the standard of the devil, the camp of light and the camp of darkness. One soul cannot be due to two masters–God and Caesar. And yet Moses carried a rod, and Aaron wore a buckle, and John is girt with leather, and Joshua the son of Nun leads a line of march; and the People warred: if it pleases you to sport with the subject. But how will a Christian man war, nay, how will he serve even in peace, without a sword, which the Lord has taken away? For albeit soldiers had come unto John, and had received the formula of their rule; albeit, likewise, a centurion had believed; still the Lord afterward, in disarming Peter, unbelted every soldier. No dress is lawful among us, if assigned to any unlawful action.”

“Covetousness,” the Spirit of the Lord has through the apostle pronounced “a root of all evils.” Let us not interpret that covetousness as consisting merely in the concupiscence of what is another’s: for even what seems ours is another’s; for nothing is ours, since all things are God’s, whose are we also ourselves. And so, if, when suffering from a loss, we feel impatiently, grieving for what is lost from what is not our own, we shall be detected as bordering on covetousness.”

“Under no circumstances should a true Christian draw the sword.”

Lactantius

All history is full of examples, but we will be content with one. Cnoeus Pompeius wished to be the defender of the good, since he took up arms in defence of the commonwealth, in defence of the senate, and in defence of liberty; and yet the same man, being conquered, perished together with liberty itself,(1) and being mutilated by Egyptian eunuchs, was cast forth unburied.(2)
It is not virtue, therefore, either to be the enemy of the bad or the defender of the good, because virtue cannot be subject to uncertain chances.

“Moreover, to reckon the interests of our country as in the first place.”

When the agreement of men is taken away, virtue has no existence at all; for what are the interests of our country, but the inconveniences of another state or nation?–that is, to extend the boundaries which are violently taken from others, to increase the power of the state, to improve the revenues,–all which things are not virtues, but the overthrowing of virtues: for, in the first place, the union of human society is taken away, innocence is taken away, the abstaining from the property of another is taken away; lastly, justice itself is taken away, which is unable to bear the tearing asunder of the human race, and wherever arms have glittered, must be banished and exterminated from thence. This saying of Cicero(3) is true: “But they who say that regard is to be had to citizens, but that it is not to be had to foreigners, these destroy the common society of the human race; and when this is removed, beneficence, liberality, kindness, and justice are entirely(4) taken away.” For how can a man be just who injures, who hates, who despoils, who puts to death? And they who strive to be serviceable to their country do all these things: for they are ignorant of what this being serviceable is, who think nothing useful, nothing advantageous, but that which can be held b the hand; and this alone cannot be held, because it may be snatched away.
Whoever, then, has gained for his country these goods–as they themselves call them–that is, who by the overthrow of cities and the destruction of nations has filled the treasury with money, has taken lands and enriched his country-men–he is extolled with praises to the heaven: in him there is said to be the greatest and perfect virtue. And this is the error not only of the people and the ignorant, but also of philosophers, who even give precepts for injustice, test folly and wickedness should be wanting in discipline and authority. Therefore, when they are speaking of the duties relating to warfare, all that discourse is accommodated neither to justice nor to true virtue, but to this life and to civil institutions; – The Divine Institutions, Book VI

“If a soldier or one in authority wishes to be baptized in the Lord, let them cease from military service or from the post of authority. And if not, let them not be received.”

“Wherever arms have glittered, they must be banished and exterminated from thence.”

“(Lucilius, a Pagan writes) “It is a virtue to give that which is really due to honor… That is, we should consider the interests of our country first, those of our parents should come next and our own interests should be in the third and last place.”… (Christian Reply) “However, we will presently see how false these things are… It is a virtue to restrain anger to control desire, and to curb lust. For this is to flee from vice. …Also, if desire is restrained, no one will use violence by land or sea. Nor will anyone lean an army off and lay waste to the property of others. For what are the interests of our country but the hardships of another state or nation? To extend the boundaries that are violently taken from others, to increase the power of the state to improve revenues – all these things are not virtues, but the overthrowing of virtues. ”

“For when God forbids us to kill, he not only prohibits us from open violence, which is not even allowed by the public laws, but he warns us against the commission of those beings which are esteemed lawful among men….Therefore, with regard to this precept of God, there ought to be no exception at all, but that it is always unlawful to put to death a man, whom God willed to be a sacred animal.”

“If all without exception . . . would lend an ear for a little to Christ’s salutary and peaceful rules… the whole world, having turned the use of steel into more peaceful occupations, would now be living in the most placid tranquility, and would unite in blessed harmony, maintaining inviolate the sanctity of treaties.”

“Since we – so large a force of men – have received from Christ’s teachings and laws, that evil ought not to be repaid with evil, that it is better to endure a wrong than to inflict one, to shed one’s own blood rather than stain one’s hands and conscience with the blood of another, the ungrateful world has long been receiving a benefit from Christ, through whom the madness of savagery has been softened, and has begun to withhold its hostile hands from the blood of a kindred creature. But if absolutely all who understand that they are men by virtue, not of the form of their bodies, but of the power of their reason, were willing to lend an ear for a little while to his healthful and peaceful decrees, and would not, swollen with pride and arrogance, trust to their own senses rather than to his warnings, the whole world would long ago have turned the uses of iron to milder works and be living in the softest tranquility, and would have come together in healthy concord without breaking the sanctions of treaties.”

“Did Christ, claiming royal power for himself, occupy the whole world with fierce legions, and, of nations at peace from the beginning, destroy and remove some, and compel others to put their necks beneath his yoke and obey him?”

“If we all derive our origin from one man, whom God created, we are plainly all of one family. Therefore it must be considered an abomination to hate another human, no matter how guilty he may be. For this reason God has decreed that we should hate no one, but that we should eliminate hatred. So we can comfort our enemies by reminding them of our mutual relationship. For if we have all been given life by the same God then what else are we but brothers? … Because we are all brothers God teaches us never to do evil to one another but only good – giving aid to those who are oppressed, and experiencing hardship, and giving food to the hungry.”

“It can never be lawful for a righteous man to go to war, whose warfare is in righteousness itself.”

Tarachus

“Christians are not allowed to use violence to correct the delinquencies of sins.”

“The followers of peace use none of the implements of war.”

“We have made use of only one instrument, the peaceful word, with which we do honor to God.”

“We are being educated, not in war, but in peace.”

“We are the race given over to peace.”

“[Christians] are an army without weapons, without war, without bloodshed, without anger, without defilement.”

Athenagoras

“What if the law of nature – that is, the law of God – commands what is opposed to the written law? Does not reason tell us to bid a long farewell to the written code… and to give ourselves up to the Legislator, God. This is so even if in doing so it may be necessary to encounter dangers, countless labors, and even death and dishonor.”

“It is not for the purpose of escaping public duties that Christians decline public offices, but that they may reserve themselves for a divine and more necessary service in the church of God for the salvation of men.”

“How was it possible for the Gospel doctrine of peace, which doesn’t permit men to take vengeance even on their enemies, to prevail throughout the earth, unless at the coming of Jesus a milder spirit had been introduced into the order of things?”

“Our prayers defeat all demons who stir up war. Those demons also lead persons to violate their oaths and to disturb the peace. Accordingly, in this way, we are much more helpful to the kings than those who go into the field to fight for them. And we do take our part in public affairs when we join self-denying exercises to our righteous prayers and meditations, which teach us to despise pleasures and not to be led away from them. So none fight better for the king than we do. Indeed, we do not fight under him even if he demands it. Yet, we fight on his behalf, forming a special army – an army of godliness – by offering our prayers to God.”

“We have come in accordance with the counsels of Jesus to cut down our warlike and arrogant swords of argument into ploughshares, and we convert into sickles the spears we formerly used in fighting. For we no longer take sword against nation, nor do we learn any more to make war, having become sons of peace for the sake of Jesus, who is our leader.”

“If all the Romans were to be converted they will by praying overcome their enemies – or rather they will not make war at all, being guarded by the Divine power, which promised to save five whole cities for the sake of fifty righteous men.”

“What if the law of nature – that is, the law of God – commands what is opposed to the written law? Does not reason tell us to bid a long farewell to the written code… and to give ourselves up to the Legislator, God. This is so even if in doing so it may be necessary to encounter dangers, countless labors, and even death and dishonor.”

“These we hold in contempt, though to the generality they appear matters of great importance; for we have learned, not only not to return blow for blow, nor to go to law with those who plunder and rob us, but to those who smite us on one side of the face to offer the other side also, and to those who take away our coat to give likewise our cloak. But, when we have surrendered our property, they plot against our very bodies and souls, pouring upon us wholesale charges of crimes of which we are guiltless even in thought, but which belong to these idle praters themselves, and to the whole tribe of those who are like them. – ibid

But among us you will find uneducated persons, and artisans, and old women, who, if they are unable in words to prove the benefit of our doctrine, yet by their deeds exhibit the benefit arising from their persuasion of its truth: they do not rehearse speeches, but exhibit good works; when struck, they do not strike again; when robbed, they do not go to law; they give to those that ask of them, and love their neighbors as themselves. – ibid

“For when they know that we cannot endure even to see a man put to death, though justly; who of them can accuse us of murder or cannibalism? …But we, deeming that to see a man put to death is much the same as killing him, have abjured such spectacles. How, then, when we do not even look on, lest we should contract guilt and pollution, can we put people to death?”

Origen

What, then, is there to hinder those who are most devoted to His service from taking part in public feasts. I cannot see the connection which he fancies between God’s being good, and independent, and free from jealousy, and His devoted servants taking part in public feasts. I confess, indeed, that from the fact that God is good, and without want of anything, and free from jealousy, it would follow as a consequence that we might take part in public feasts, if it were proved that the public feasts had nothing wrong in them, and were grounded upon true views of the character of God, so that they resulted naturally from a devout service of God. If, however, the so-called public festivals can in no way be shown to accord with the service of God, but may on the contrary be proved to have been devised by men when occasion offered to commemorate some human events, or to set forth certain qualities of water or earth, or the fruits of the earth,–in that case, it is clear that those who wish to offer an enlightened worship to the Divine Being will act according to sound reason, and not take part in the public feasts. For “to keep a feast,” as one of the wise men of Greece has well said, “is nothing else than to do one’s duty;” and that man truly celebrates a feast who does his duty and prays always, offering up continually bloodless sacrifices in prayer to God. That therefore seems to me a most noble saying of Paul, “Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.”- Contra Celsus — Book VIII

“You cannot demand military service of Christians any more than you can of priests. We do not go forth as soldiers with the Emperor even if he demands this.”

“Christians could never slay their enemies. For the more that kings, rulers, and peoples have persecuted them everywhere, the more Christians have increased in number and grown in strength. ”

“I exhort, therefore, that first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority;” and the more any one excels in piety, the more effective help does he render to kings, even more than is given by soldiers, who go forth to fight and slay as many of the enemy as they can. And to those enemies of our faith who require us to bear arms for the commonwealth, and to slay men, we can reply: “Do not those who are priests at certain shrines, and those who attend on certain gods, as you account them, keep their hands free from blood, that they may with hands unstained and free from human blood offer the appointed sacrifices to your gods; and even when war is upon you, you never enlist the priests in the army. If that, then, is a laudable custom, how much more so, that while others are engaged in battle, these too should engage as the priests and ministers of God, keeping their hands pure, and wrestling in prayers to God on behalf of those who are fighting in a righteous cause, and for the king who reigns righteously, that whatever is opposed to those who act righteously may be destroyed!” And as we by our prayers vanquish all demons who stir up war, and lead to the violation of oaths, and disturb the peace, we in this way are much more helpful to the kings than those who go into the field to fight for them. And we do take our part in public affairs, when along with righteous prayers we join self-denying exercises and meditations, which teach us to despise pleasures, and not to be led away by them. And none fight better for the king than we do. We do not indeed fight under him, although he require it; but we fight on his behalf, forming a special army – an army of piety – by offering our prayers to God. ”

Cyprian 

“We are scattered all over the world with the bloody horror of camps (military outposts). The whole world is wet with mutual blood. And murder – which is admitted to be a crime in the case of an individual – is called virtue when it is committed wholesale. Impunity is claimed for the (military’s) wicked deeds, not because they are guiltless – but because the cruelty is perpetuated on a grand scale!”

“Whatsoever is appointed by human madness, so that the divine disposition is violated, is adulterous, is impious, is sacrilegious. Depart far from the contagion of men of this kind. And flee from their words, avoiding them as a cancer and a plague, as the Lord warns you and says, “They are blind leaders of the blind. But if the blind lead the blind, they shall both fall into the ditch.”

“[Christians] are not allowed to kill, but they must be ready to be put to death themselves… it is not permitted the guiltless to put even the guilty to death.”

“God wished iron to be used for the cultivation of the earth, and therefore it should not be used to take human life.”

“But how can they follow Christ, who are held back by the chain of their wealth? Or how can they seek heaven, and climb to sublime and lofty heights, who are weighed down by earthly desires? They think that they possess, when they are rather possessed; as slaves of their profit, and not lords with respect to their own money, but rather the bond-slaves of their money. These times and these men are indicated by the apostle, when he says, “But they that will be rich, fall into temptation, and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and in perdition. For the root of all evil is the love of money, which, while some have coveted, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”

“None of us offers resistance when he is seized, or avenges himself for your unjust violence, although our people are numerous and plentiful…it is not lawful for us to hate, and so we please God more when we render no requital for injury…we repay your hatred with kindness.”

Irenaeus

“No new covenant was given, but they used the Mosaic law until the coming of the Lord; but from the Lord’s advent, the new covenant which brings back peace, and the law which gives life, has gone forth over the whole earth, as the prophets said: “For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem; and He shall rebuke many people; and they shall break down their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks, and they shall no longer learn to fight.”

“… the law of liberty… caused such a change in the state of things, that these [nations] did form the swords and war-lances into ploughshares, and changed them into pruning-hooks for reaping the corn, [that is], into instruments used for peaceful purposes, and that they are now unaccustomed to fighting, but when smitten, offer also the other cheek.”

“Christians have changed their swords and their lances into instruments of peace, and they know not now how to fight.”

“For, although the languages of the world are dissimilar, yet the import of the tradition is one and the same. For the Churches which have been planted in Germany do not believe or hand down anything different, nor do those in Spain, nor those in Gaul, nor those in the East, nor those in Egypt, nor those in Libya, nor those which have been established in the central regions of the world. But as the sun, that creature of God, is one and the same throughout the whole world, so also the preaching of the truth shines everywhere, and enlightens all men that are willing to come to a knowledge of the truth. ”

“No new covenant was given, but they used the Mosaic law until the coming of the Lord; but from the Lord’s advent, the new covenant which brings back peace, and the law which gives life, has gone forth over the whole earth, as the prophets said: “For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem; and He shall rebuke many people; and they shall break down their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks, and they shall no longer learn to fight.”… the law of liberty… caused such a change in the state of things, that these [nations] did form the swords and war-lances into ploughshares, and changed them into pruning-hooks for reaping the corn, [that is], into instruments used for peaceful purposes, and that they are now unaccustomed to fighting, but when smitten, offer also the other cheek. ”

Tatian

“I do not wish to be a king; I am not anxious to be rich; I decline military command; I detest fornication; I am not impelled by an insatiable love of gain to go to sea; I do not contend for chaplets; I am free from a mad thirst for fame; I despise death. ”

“The soldiers of Christ require neither arms nor spears of iron.”“The servants of God do not rely for their protection on material defenses but on the divine Providence.”

The Didache

“And the way of death is this: First of all it is evil and accursed: loving vanities, pursuing revenge, not pitying a poor man, not laboring for the afflicted, not knowing Him Who made them, murderers of children, destroyers of the handiwork of God, turning away from him who is in want, afflicting him who is distressed, advocates of the rich, lawless judges of the poor, utter sinners. Be delivered, children, from all these.”

“Do not turn away from him who is in want; rather, share all things with your brother, and do not say that they are your own. For if you are partakers in that which is immortal, how much more in things which are mortal? ”

Arnobius

“We would rather shed our own blood than stain our hands and our conscience with that of another. As a result, an ungrateful world is now enjoying–and for a long period has enjoyed–a benefit from Christ. For by his means, the rage of savage ferocity has been softened and has begun to withhold hostile hands from the blood of a fellow creature. In fact, if all men without exception…would lend an ear for a while to his salutary and peaceful rules,…the whole world would be living in the most peaceful tranquility. The world would have turned the use of steel into more peaceful uses and would unite together in blessed harmony.”

“It would not be difficult to prove that, after Christ was heard of in the world, those wars, which ye say were brought about on account of the gods’ hatred for our religion, not only did not increase, but were even greatly diminished by the repression of furious passions. For since we–so large a force of men–have received it from his teachings and laws, that evil ought not to be repaid with evil, that it is better to endure a wrong than to inflict it, to shed one’s own blood rather than stain one’s hands and conscience with the blood of another, the ungrateful world has long been receiving a benefit from Christ, through whom the madness of savagery has been softened, and has begun to withhold its hostile hands from the blood of a kindred creature.”

Shepherd of Hermas

“These are they that have faith, but have also riches of this world. When tribulation comes, they deny their Lord by reason of their riches and their business affairs.” And I answered and said unto her, “When then, lady, will they be useful for the building?” “When,” she replied, “their wealth, which leads their souls astray, shall be cut away, then will they be useful for God. For just as the round stone, unless it be cut away, and lose some portion of itself, cannot become square, so also they that are rich in this world, unless their riches be cut away, cannot become useful to the Lord. Learn first from yourself. When you had riches, you were useless; but now you are useful and profitable unto life.”

(The angry temper) insinuates itself into the heart of the man, and for no cause whatever the man or the woman is embittered on account of worldly matters, either about meats, or some triviality, or about some friend, or about giving or receiving, or about follies of this kind. For all these things are foolish and vain and senseless and inexpedient for the servants of God.

These are they that are mixed up in business and cleave not to the saints. Therefore the one half of them lives, but the other half is dead.

Some of them are wealthy and others are entangled in many business affairs. The briars are the wealthy, and the thorns are they that are mixed up in various business affairs. These [then, that are mixed up in many and various business affairs,] cleave [not] to the servants of God, but go astray, being choked by their affairs, but the wealthy unwillingly cleave to the servants of God, fearing lest they may be asked for something by them. Such men therefore shall hardly enter into the kingdom of God. For as it is difficult to walk on briars with bare feet, so also it is difficult for such men to enter the kingdom of God. ”

Testament of Our Lord

“We have learned not only not to return blow for blow, nor to go to law with those who plunder and rob us, but to those who smite us on the one side of the face to offer the other side also, and to those who take away our coat to give likewise our cloak.”“We cannot endure even to see a man put to death, though justly.”

Disputation of Archelaus and Manes

Those soldiers were filled with wonder and admiration at the grandeur of the man’s piety and generosity and were struck with amazement. They felt the force of this example of pity. As a result, many of them were added to the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ and threw off the belt of military service.

Marcellus 

“I have led a military life, and am a Roman; and because I am a Christian I have abandoned my profession of a soldier.”……..“I threw down my arms for it was not seemly that a Christian man, who renders military service to the Lord Christ, should render it by earthly injuries……” ”It is not lawful for a Christian to bear arms for any earthly consideration.”

Emperor Caesar Marcus – Aurelius (A.D.160)

(The following was written by a pagan Roman emperor regarding his experience with professing Christian soldiers in his army who refused to fight but instead offered prayers.) The Emperor Caesar Marcus Aurelius, to the People of Rome, and to the sacred Senate… I was surrounded by the enemy; And the enemy being at hand… there was close on us a mass of a mixed multitude of 977,000 men, which indeed we saw… Having then examined my own position, and my host, with respect to… the enemy, I quickly betook myself to prayer to the gods of my country. But being disregarded by them, I summoned those who among us go by the name of Christians. And having made inquiry, I discovered a great number and vast host of them, and raged against them, which was by no means becoming; for afterwards I learned their power. Wherefore they began the battle, not by preparing weapons, nor arms, nor bugles; for such preparation is hateful to them, on account of the God they bear about in their conscience. Therefore it is probable that those whom we suppose to be atheists, have God as their ruling power entrenched in their conscience. For having cast themselves on the ground, they prayed not only for me, but also for the whole army as it stood, that they might be delivered from the present thirst and famine. For during five days we had got no water, because there was none; for we were in the heart of Germany, and in the enemy’s territory. And simultaneously with their casting themselves on the ground, and praying to God (a God of whom I am ignorant), water poured from heaven, upon us most refreshingly cool, but upon the enemies of Rome a withering hail. And immediately we recognized the presence of God following on the prayer – a God unconquerable and indestructible. Founding upon this, then, let us pardon such as are Christians, lest they pray for and obtain such a weapon against ourselves. And I counsel that no such person be accused on the ground of his being a Christian. But if any one be found laying to the charge of a Christian that he is a Christian, I desire that it be made manifest that he who is accused as a Christian, and acknowledges that he is one, is accused of nothing else than only this, that he is a Christian; but that he who arraigns him be burned alive. And I further desire, that he who is entrusted with the government of the province shall not compel the Christian, who confesses and certifies such a matter, to retract; neither shall he commit him. And I desire that these things be confirmed by a decree of the Senate. And I command this my edict to be published in the Forum of Trajan, in order that it may be read. The prefect Vitrasius Pollio will see that it be transmitted to all the provinces round about, and that no one who wishes to make use of or to possess it be hindered from obtaining a copy from the document I now publish.

Mercellus the Centurion, spoken as he left the army of Emperor Diocletian in 298AD.

“I serve Jesus Christ the eternal King. I will no longer serve your emperors. It is not right for a Christian to serve the armies of this world.”

“The Christian poor are “an army without weapons, without war, without bloodshed, without anger, without defilement.”

Athanasius

“Christians, instead of arming themselves with swords, extend their hands in prayer.”

The Apology of Aristides

“Oh emperor, it is the Christians that have sought and found the truth, for they acknowledge God. They do not keep for themselves the goods entrusted to them. They do not covet what belongs to others, but they show love to their neighbors. They do not do to another what they would not like done to themselves. They speak gently to those who oppress them, and in this way, they make their enemies their friends. It has become their passion to do good to their enemies. They live in the awareness of their own smallness. Everyone of them who has anything gives ungrudgingly to the one who has nothing. And if any of them sees a homeless stranger, they bring them into their own home, under their roof. If anyone of them becomes poor while the Christians have nothing to spare, then they fast two or three days until everyone can eat. In this way, they supply for the poor exactly what they need. This, oh emperor, is the rule of life for the Christians. This is how they live.”

“The Christian does injury to no one. He does not desire the property of others. In fact, he does not even defend his own property if it is taken from him by violence. For he knows how to patiently bear an injury inflicted upon him.”

“When God forbids us to kill, he not only prohibits us from open violence… but he warns us against the commission of those things which are esteemed lawful among men. Thus it will be neither lawful for a just man to engage in warfare… Therefore, with regard to this precept of God, there ought to be no exception at all; but that it is always unlawful to put to death a man, whom God willed to be a sacred animal.”

“We do not resist those who injure us, for we must yield to them.”

“When men command us to act in opposition to the law of God, and in opposition to justice, we should not be deterred by any threats or punishments that come upon us. For we prefer the commandments of God to the commandments of man.”

“Someone will say here: ‘What therefore, or where, or of what sort is piety?’ Assuredly it is among those who are ignorant of war, who keep concord with all, who are friends even to their enemies, who love all men as their brothers, who know how to restrain their anger, and to soothe all madness of mind by quiet control.”

“God might have bestowed upon his people both riches and kingdoms, as he had given previously to the Jews, whose successors and posterity we are. However, he would have Christians live under the power and government of others, lest they should become corrupted by the happiness and prosperity, slide into luxury, and eventually despise the commandments of God. For this is what our ancestors did.”

“Why should the just man wage war, and mix himself up in other people’s passions – he in whose mind dwells perpetual peace with men?” – Clement of Alexandria (A.D. 195)

Martin of Tours 

“Hitherto I have served you as a soldier; allow me now to become a soldier to God. Let the man who is to serve you receive your donative. I am a soldier of Christ; it is not permissible for me to fight.”

The Martyrdom of Maximilian 

Maximilian, a young Numidian, was brought before an African proconsul named Dion in A.D. 295 for induction into the army. Maximilian refused to join, stating: “I cannot serve as a soldier; I cannot do evil; I am a Christian.” Dion threatened Maximilian, stating: “Get into the service, or it will cost you your life.” With courage, Maximilian did not yield to the threat of death: “I shall not perish, but when I have forsaken this world, my soul shall live with Christ my Lord.” Later he refused the royal badge that had the sign of the emperor on it, saying, “I do not accept your mark, for I already have the sign of Christ, my God… I do not accept the mark of this age, and if you impose it on me, I shall break it, for it is worth nothing.” The outcome was that on March 12, 295, Maximilian was executed. Maximilian’s father returned home, “giving thanks to God that he had been able to bring such a present to the Lord.” Later, as a special honor, his body was brought to Carthage and buried near the tomb of Cyprian, a great leader in the church, who had also died as a martyr:-”

Didascilla

“any of the magistrates of the Roman Empire who are polluted by war.”

Euseibus war ending because of Christian teaching

“at the same time, by our Saviour’s most pious and most peaceful teaching, the destruction of polytheistic error began to be accomplished, and the dissensions of the nations immediately began to find rest from former evils. Which fact, I regard as a very great proof of our Saviour’s divine and irresistible power.”

 

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