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Chapter 88.—192.  Petilianus said:  "We advise you, therefore, if so be that you will hear it willingly, and even though you do not willingly receive it, yet we warn you that the Lord Christ instituted for Christians, not any form of slaying, but one of dying only.  For if He loved men who thus delight in battle, He would not have consented to be slain for us."

193.  Augustin answered:  Would that your martyrs would follow the form that He prescribed! they would not throw themselves over precipices, which He refused to do at the bidding of the devil.22132213     Matt. iv. 6, 7.   But when you persecute our ancestors with false witness even now that they are dead, whence have you received this form?  In that you endeavor to stain us with the crimes of men we never knew, while you are unwilling that the most notorious misdeeds of your own party should be reckoned against you, whence have you received this form?  But we are too much yielding to our own conceit if we find fault about ourselves, when we see that you utter false testimony against the Lord Himself, since He Himself both promised and made manifest that His Church should extend throughout all nations, and you maintain the contrary.  This form, therefore, you did not receive even from the Jewish persecutors themselves, for they persecuted His body while He was walking on the earth:  you persecute His gospel as He is seated in heaven.  Which gospel endured more meekly the flames of furious kings than it can possibly endure your tongues; for while they blazed, unity remained, and this it cannot do amid your words.  They who desired that the word of God should perish in the flames did not believe that it could be despised if read.  They would not, therefore, set their flames to work upon the gospel, if you would let them use your tongues against the gospel.  In the earlier persecution the gospel of Christ was 576sought by some in their rage, it was betrayed by others in their fear; it was burned by some in their rage, it was hidden by others in their love; it was attacked, but none were found to speak against its truth.  The more accursed share of persecution was reserved for you when the persecution of the heathen was exhausted.  Those who persecuted the name of Christ believed in Christ:  now those who are honored for the name of Christ are found to speak against His truth.


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