Explaining to the emperor what Christians are, Aristides is so bold as to say that the only reason the world still exists is because of the prayers of the Christians. Read the scriptures for yourself, he says, and you’ll discover the truth.
As people who know God, they ask from him things that are proper for him to give and for them to receive: and this is how they live their lives. And because they acknowledge the goodnesses of God towards them, the beauty that is in the world actually flows forth because of them.
But the good deeds they do they do not proclaim in the ears of the multitude, and they take care that no one shall perceive them: they hide their gift, as one who has found a treasure and hides it. And they work to become righteous as those who expect to see their Messiah and receive from him the promises made to them with great glory.
But their sayings and their ordinances, O king, and the glory of their service, and the expectation of their reward, according to the deeds of each one of them, that they expect in another world—you can know these things from their writings. Truly great and wonderful is their teaching to him that is willing to examine and understand it. And truly this people is a new people, and there is something divine mingled with it.
And I have no doubt that the world stands by reason of the intercession of Christians. But the rest of the peoples are deceived and deceivers, rolling themselves before the elements of the world, according as the sight of their understanding is unwilling to pass by them; and they grope as if in the dark, because they are unwilling to know the truth, and like drunken men they stagger and bump against one another and fall down. –Aristides, Apology 16
Am I praying enough to hold up my part of the world?
Lord, help me understand your scriptures, and not only to understand them but also to put their precepts into practice.
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