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Quotes About the Testimony of the Church
Quotes about the testimony of the Church from throughout Christian History.
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Justin Martyr, c. AD 155-165
[Jesus] taught thus ... "And let your good works shine before men, that they, seeing them, may glorify your Father which is in heaven." For we ought not to fight; nor has he desired us to be imitators of wicked men, but he has exhorted us to lead all men, by patience and gentleness, from shame and the love of evil. And this indeed is proved in the case of many who once were of your way of thinking, but have changed their violent and tyrannical disposition, being overcome either by the constancy which they have witnessed in their neighbors’ lives, or by the extraordinary forbearance they have observed in their fellow travelers when defrauded, or by the honesty of those with whom they have transacted business. (First Apology 16)
Athenagoras, c. AD 175-180
Among us you will find uneducated persons, craftsmen, 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. (A Plea for the Christians 11)
Tertullian, c. AD 200
It is mainly the deeds of a love so noble that lead many to put a brand upon us. "See," [the Romans] say, "how [the Christians] love one another," for they themselves are animated by mutual hatred. "How they are ready even to die for one another!" For they themselves will sooner put to death … No tragedy causes trouble in our brotherhood, [and] the family possessions, which generally destroy brotherhood among you, create fraternal bonds among us. One in mind and soul, we do not hesitate to share our earthly goods with one another. All things are common among us but our wives. (Apology 39)
"The Octavius" by Municius Felix, c. AD 160-250
If we Christians are compared with you, then even if our discipline is inferior in some things, we shall still be found better than you. You forbid, yet commit, adulteries; we are born men only for our own wives. You punish crimes when committed; for us, even to think of crimes is to sin. You are afraid of those who are aware of what you do; we are afraid even of our own consciences, without which we cannot exist. Finally, from your numbers the prison boils over, but you will not find a Christian there unless he is accused on account of his religion or has deserted it. ("The Octavius," ch. 35)
Philip Schaff, 1875 in reference to AD 361 - 363
Julian ["the Apostate," an anti-Christian Roman emperor; A.D. 361-363] … made the noteworthy concession, that the heathens (sic) did not help even their own brethren in faith; while the Jews never begged, and "the godless Galileans," as he malignantly styled the Christians, supplied not only their own, but even the heathen poor. (History of the Christian Church, vol. III, p. 50)
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