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prophecy,” says hc, “is fulfilled, you have good reason to believe ; for
who in times past killed one another, do not now fight with our enemies." And here it is observable, that the word “fight” does not mean to strike, or to beat, or to give a blow, but to fight as in war* ; and the word “enemy" does not mean a common adversary, or one who has injured us, but an enemy of the Statet: and the sentence, which follows that which has been given, puts the matter out of all doubt. Tertullian, who lived after these, speaks in these remarkable words : “ Deny that these (meaning the turning of swords into ploughshares) are the things prophesied of, when you see what you see; or that they are the things fulfilled, when you read what you read : but if you deny neither of these positions, then you must confess, that the prophecy has been accomplished as far as the practice of every
individual is concerned, to whom it is applicable.” I might go from Tertullian even as far as Theodoret, if it were necessary, to show that the prophecy in question was con
sidered as in the act of completion in those times.
The fourth and last proof will be found in the assertions of Celsus, and in the reply of Origen to that writer. Celsus, who lived at the end of the second century, attacked the Christian religion. He made it one of his charges against the Christians, that they refused in his time to bear arms for the emperor, even in the case of necessity, and when their services would have been accepted. He told them further, that if the rest of the empire were of their opinion, it would soon be overrun by the Barbarians. Now Celsus dared not have brought this charge against the Christians, if the fact had not been publicly known. But let us see whether it was denied by those, who were of opinion that his work demanded a reply. The person, who wrote against him in favour of Christianity, was Origen, who lived in the third century. But Origen, in his answer, admits the fact as stated by Celsus, that the Christians would not bear arms, and justifies them for refusing the practice, on the principle of the unlawfulness of war.
And as the early Christians would not VOL. III.
enter into the armies, so there is good ground to suppose that, when they became converted in them, they relinquished their profession. Human nature was the same both in and out of the armies, and would be equally worked upon in this new state of things in both cases. Accordingly we find from Tertullian, in his Soldier's Garland, “ that many in his time, immediately on their conversion, 'quitted the military service.” We are told also by Archelaus, who flourished under Probus in the
year 278, that many Roman soldiers, who had embraced Christianity after having witnessed the piety and generosity of Marcellus, immediately forsook the profession of arms. We are told also by Eusebius, that, about the same time, “ Numbers laid aside a military life, and became private persons, rather than abjure their religion.” And here it may not be unworthy of remark, that soldiers, after their conversion, became so troublesome in the army, both on account of their scruples against the idolatrous practices required of the soldiery, and their scruples against fighting, that they were occasionally dismissed the service on these accounts.
SECTION SECTION III.
Objection to the foregoing statement; namely, that
the idolatry, which was then connected with the military service, and not the unlawfulness of war, was the reason why Christians declined it idolatry admitted to be a cause—instance in Marinus—but the belief of the unlawfulness of fighting was another and an equally powerful cause instances in Maximilian-Marcellus Cassian-Martin-the one scruple as much, then, a part of the Christian religion as the other.
As an objection may be made to the foregoing statement, I think it proper to notice it in this place.
It will be said that the military path, which all were obliged to take alike in the Roman armies, and which was to be repeated annually, was full of idolatry; that the Roman standards were all considered as gods, and had divine honours paid to them by the soldiery; and that the images also of the emperors, which were either fixed
these standards, or placed in the midst of them in a' temple in the camp, were to be adored in the same manner. Now, these custonas
were interwoven with the military service. No Roman soldier was exempted from them. It will be urged, therefore, that no Christian could submit to these services. Indeed, when a person was suspected of being a Christian in those times, he was instantly taken to the altars to sacrifice; it being notorious that, if he were a Christian, he would not sacrifice though at the hazard of his life. Is it not therefore to be presumed that these idolatrous tests operated as the great cause why Christians refused to enter into the army, or why they left it when converted, as described in the former section?
That these tests operated as a cause, we must allow; and let this be considered as an insuperable argument against those, who contend that there were Christian soldiers in these times; for no Christian could submit to such idolatrous homage; but if so, no Christian could be a soldier,
That these tests must have operated as a cause, we may infer from the history of Marinus. Marinus, according to Eusebius, was a man of family and fortune, and an officer in a legion, which in the year 260 was stationed at Cæsarea of Palestine. One