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I. I, O King in the
providence of God came into the world; and when I had considered the heaven and
the earth, the sun and the moon and the rest, I marvelled at their orderly
arrangement. And when I saw that the universe and all that is therein is moved
by necessity, I perceived that the mover and controller is God. For everything
which causes motion is stronger than that which is moved, and that which
controls is stronger than that which is controlled. The self-same being, then,
who first established and now controls the universe----him do I affirm to be God
who is without beginning and without end, immortal and self-sufficing, above all
passions and infirmities, above anger and forgetfulness and ignorance and the
rest. Through Him too all things consist. He requires not sacrifice and libation
nor any one of the things that appear to sense; but all men stand in need of
II. Having thus spoken concerning God, so far as it was possible for me to speak
of Him, let us next proceed to the human race, that we may see which of them
participate in the truth and which of them in error. For it is clear to us, O
King, that there are three classes of men in this world; these being the
worshippers of the gods acknowledged among you, and Jews, and Christians.
Further they who pay homage to many gods are themselves divided into three
classes, Chaldaeans namely, and Greeks, and Egyptians; for these have been
guides and preceptors to the rest of the nations in the service and worship of
these many-titled deities.
III. Let us see then which of them participate in truth and which of them in
XV. Now the Christians trace their origin from the Lord Jesus Christ. And He is
acknowledged by the Holy Spirit to be the son of the most high God, who came
down from heaven for the salvation of men. And being born of a pure virgin,
unbegotten and immaculate, He assumed flesh and revealed himself among men that
He might recall them to Himself from their wandering after many gods. And having
accomplished His wonderful dispensation, by a voluntary choice He tasted death
on the cross, fulfilling an august dispensation. And after three days He came to
life again and ascended into heaven. And if you would read, O King, you may
judge the glory of His presence from the holy gospel writing, as it is called
among themselves. He had twelve disciples, who after His ascension to heaven
went forth into the provinces of the whole world, and declared His greatness. As
for instance, one of them traversed the countries about us, proclaiming the
doctrine of the truth. From this it is, that they who still observe the
righteousness enjoined by their preaching are called Christians.
And these are they who more than all the nations on the earth have found the
truth. For they know God, the Creator and Fashioner of all things through the
only-begotten Son and the Holy Spirit; and beside Him they worship no other God.
They have the commands of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself graven upon their
hearts; and they observe them, looking forward to the resurrection of the dead
and life in the world to come. They do not commit adultery nor fornication, nor
bear false witness, nor covet the things of others; they honour father and
mother, and love their neighbours; they judge justly, and they never do to
others what they would not wish to happen to themselves; they appeal to those
who injure them, and try to win them as friends; they are eager to do good to
their enemies; they are gentle and easy to be entreated; they abstain from all
unlawful conversation and from all impurity; they despise not the widow, nor
oppress the orphan; and he that has, gives ungrudgingly for the maintenance of
him who has not. If they see a stranger, they take him under their roof, and
rejoice over him as over a very brother; for they call themselves brethren not
after the flesh but after the spirit. And they are ready to sacrifice their
lives for the sake of Christ; for they observe His commands without swerving,
and live holy and just lives, as the Lord God enjoined upon them. And they give
thanks unto Him every hour, for all meat and drink and other blessings.
XVI. Verily then, this is the way of the truth which leads those who travel
therein to the everlasting kingdom promised through Christ in the life to come.
And that you may know, O King, that in saying these things I do not speak at my
own instance, if you deign to look into the writings of the Christians, you will
find that I state nothing beyond the truth.
Rightly then, did thy son apprehend, and justly was he taught to serve the
living God and to be saved for the age that is destined to come upon us. For
great and wonderful are the sayings and deeds of the Christians; for they speak
not the words of men but those of God. But the rest of the nations go astray and
deceive themselves; for they walk in darkness and bruise themselves like drunken
XVII. Thus far, O King, extends my discourse to you, which has been dictated in
my mind by the Truth. Wherefore let thy foolish sages cease their idle talk
against the Lord; for it is profitable for you to worship God the Creator, and
to give ear to His incorruptible words, that ye may escape from condemnation and
punishment, and be found to be heirs of life everlasting.