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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol II:
ATHENAGORAS: Chapter XXXIV.—The Vast Difference in Morals Between the Christians and Their Accusers.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter XXXIV.—The Vast Difference in Morals Between the Christians and Their Accusers.

But though such is our character (Oh! why should I speak of things unfit to be uttered?), the things said of us are an example of the proverb, “The harlot reproves the chaste.” For those who have set up a market for fornication and established infamous resorts for the young for every kind of vile pleasure,—who do not abstain even from males, males with males committing shocking abominations, outraging all the noblest and comeliest bodies in all sorts of ways, so dishonouring the fair workmanship of God (for beauty on earth is not self-made, but sent hither by the hand and will of God),—these men, I say, revile us for the very things which they are conscious of themselves, and ascribe to their own gods, boasting of them as noble deeds, and worthy of the gods. These adulterers and pæderasts defame the eunuchs and the once-married (while they themselves live like fishes; 829 for these gulp down whatever falls in their way, and the stronger chases the weaker: and, in fact, this is to feed upon human flesh, to do violence in contravention of the very laws which you and your ancestors, with due care for all that is fair and right, have enacted), so that not even the governors of the provinces sent by you suffice for the hearing of the complaints against those, to whom it even is not lawful, when they are struck, not to offer themselves for more blows, nor when defamed not to bless: for it is not enough to be just (and justice is to return like for like), but it is incumbent on us to be good and patient of evil.


Footnotes

147:829

[An allusion to the fable of the Sargus; and see Burton’s Anat. Mel., p. 445.]


Next: Chapter XXXV.—The Christians Condemn and Detest All Cruelty.

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