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The Early Christian Attitude to War

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We turn next to Origenes, the prince of early Christian thinkers. Apart from his general eminence as scholar, theologian, apologist, and practical Christian, he is far and away the most important writer who handles the question before us. Though he yields to Tertullianus in rhetorical brilliance and to Augustinus in his influence over posterity, his defence of the early Christian refusal to participate in war is the only one that faces at all thoroughly or completely the ultimate problems involved. He has however been strangely misunderstood and misinterpreted, and certainly never answered.

Our procedure will be, as before, to let our author first speak for himself, and then add a few elucidations and comments of our own. We begin, therefore, with a series of passages from Origenes' reply to Celsus (248 A.D.), some of which we have already had occasion to quote in another connection.


How would it have been possible for this peaceful teaching (of Christianity), which does not allow (its adherents) even to defend themselves against(1) (their) enemies, to prevail, unless at the coming of Jesus the (affairs) of the world had everywhere changed into a milder (state)?(2)

If a revolt had been the cause of the Christians combining, and if they had derived the(ir) origin from the Jews, to whom it was allowed (exen) to take arms on behalf of the(ir) families, and to destroy (their) enemies, the Lawgiver of (the) Christians would not have altogether forbidden (the) destruction of man, teaching that the deed of daring (on the part) of his own disciples against a man, however unrighteous he be, is never right--for he did not deem it becoming to his














1. Or possibly 'take vengeance on' -- amunesthai.


2. Orig Cels ii. 30.


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own divine legislation to allow the destruction-of any man whatever.(3)

To those who ask us whence we have come or whom we have (for) a leader, we say that we have come in accordance with the counsels of Jesus to cut down our warlike and arrogant swords of argument into ploughshares, and we convert into sickles the spears we formerly used in fighting. For we no longer take 'sword against a nation,' nor do we learn 'any more to make war,' having become sons of peace for the sake of Jesus, who is our leader, instead of (following) the ancestral (customs) in which we were strangers to the covenants.(4)

It would not be possible for the ancient Jews to keep their civil economy unchanged, if, let us suppose, they obeyed the constitution (laid down) according to the gospel. For it would not be possible for Christians to make use, according to the Law of Moses, of (the) destruction of (their) enemies or of those who had acted contrary to the Law and were judged worthy of destruction by fire or stoning. . . . Again, if thou wert to take away from the Jews of that time, who had a civil economy and a land of their own, the (right) to go out against the(ir) enemies and serve as soldiers on behalf of their ancestral (institutions) and to destroy or otherwise punish the adulterers or murderers or (men) who had done something of that kind, nothing would be left but for them to be wholly and utterly destroyed, the(ir) enemies setting upon the nation, when they were weakened and prevented by their own law from defending themselves against the(ir) enemies.(5)

We ought, however, to despise currying favour with men and kings, not only if we curry favour with them

3. Orig Cels iii. 7.








4. Orig Cels v. 33 (see above, p. 63 n 3).












5. Orig Cels vii. 26.


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by means of acts of blood-guiltiness and licentiousness and savage cruelty, but also if (we do it) by means of impiety towards the God of all or any speech (uttered) with servility and obsequiousness, (which is) foreign to brave and high-principled men and to those who wish to join to the(ir) other (virtues) bravery as (the) highest virtue.(6)

Origenes, however, does not set himself seriously to grapple with the difficulties of the problem until near the end of his eighth and last book, Celsus having placed his criticism on this particular point at the end of his work and being followed in the matter of arrangement by his Christian opponent. Practically the whole of the eight chapters that come last but one in Origenes' reply are taken up in justifying the Christian attitude of aloofness from all forms of violence in the service of the state. We shall confine our quotations to the most pertinent passages.

First, in replying to the objection that, if all did the same as the Christians, the Emperor would be deserted, and the Empire would fall a prey to the barbarians, Origenes says:


On this supposition [viz. that all did the same as himself and took no part in war or magistracy], the Emperor will not 'be left alone' or 'deserted,' nor will 'the world's (affairs) fall into the hands of the most lawless and savage barbarians.' For if, as Celsus says, 'all were to do the same as' I (do), clearly the barbarians also, coming to the Word of God, will be most law-abiding and mild; and every religious worship will be abolished, and that alone of the Christians will hold sway; and indeed, one




6. Orig Cels viii. 65. This is the only passage I have noticed in which Origenes alludes to idolatry as a bar to state-service. Bigelmair (136) recognizes that the risk of idolatrous contamination was not brought prominently forward by Origenes.

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day it shall alone hold sway, the Word ever taking possession of more (and more) souls.(7)  

Then in the next chapter:


Since he puts the question: 'What would happen if the Romans, persuaded by the argument of the Christians, should neglect the (services owed) to the recognized gods and the laws formerly in force among men, and should worship the Most High?,' hear our answer on this. We say that if two of us agree upon earth concerning anything that they shall ask, they shall receive it from the heavenly Father of the righteous: for God rejoices over the agreement of rational beings, and turns away from discord. What must (we) believe if, not only--as now--very few agree, but the whole Empire (governed) by the Romans? For they will pray to the Word, who said of old to the Hebrews when they were pursued by the Egyptians: 'The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall be silent'; and, praying with all concord, they will be able to overthrow far more enemies who pursue them than those whom the prayer of Moses--when he cried to God--and of those with him overthrew. . . .(8) But if, according to Celsus' supposition, all the Romans were to be persuaded, they will by praying overcome their enemies; or (rather) they will not make war at all, being guarded by the Divine Power, which promised to save five whole cities for the sake of fifty righteous. For the men of God are the salt that preserves the earthly order of the world; and earthly things hold together (only) as long as the salt is not corrupted.(9)  

The next chapter is an


7. Orig Cels viii. 68.












8. Orig Cels viii. 69. He goes on to explain that God had not always fought for the Hebrews, because they had not always fulfilled the conditions of receiving such help by observing His law.




9. Orig Cels viii. 70. On the strength of this thought of the protective providence of God, he says that the Christians look forward calmly to the possible recrudescence of persecution.

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obscure one. Origenes quotes Celsus as saying to the Christian the following:




It is absolutely intolerable that thou shouldst say that, if those who now reign over us, having been persuaded by thee, should be taken captive, thou wilt persuade those who reign after (them, and) then others, if they should be taken captive, and others again, (and so on), until, when all who have been persuaded by thee have been taken captive, some one ruler who is prudent and foresees what is happening shall altogether destroy you, before he himself is destroyed.

Origenes replies that no Christian talks like this, and attributes it to the nonsensical invention of Celsus himself; and unfortunately we cannot get any further with it.(10)

He then proceeds:


After this, he utters a sort of prayer: 'Would that it were possible for the Greeks and barbarians that occupy Asia and Europe and Libya unto the ends (of the earth) to agree (to come) under one law'; (but) judging this to be impossible, he adds: 'He who thinks this (possible) knows nothing.' If it is necessary to speak of this, a few (words) shall be said on the subject, though it needs much investigation and discussion, in order that what was said about the whole rational (creation) agreeing (to come) under one law might appear to be not only possible but certain. Now the Stoics (say) that, when the strongest of the elements prevails, the conflagration will occur, all things being changed into fire: but we say that the Word (will) one day master the whole rational creation and transform every soul into his own








10. Orig Cels viii. 71. Harnack (ME i. 264 n) says: "I do not understand, any more than Origen did, the political twaddle which Celsus (lxxi) professes to have heard from a Christian. It can hardly have come from a Christian, and it is impossible nowadays to ascertain what underlay it. I therefore pass it by."

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perfection. . . . For the Word is stronger than all the evils in a soul, and the healing that is in him leads it (the soul) forward for each man according to the will of God: and the end of things is the destruction of evil.

He then has a long passage on the Christian anticipation of the complete destruction of evil, and concludes:


This I thought it reasonable to say, without exact statement (of details), in answer to Celsus' remark, that he thought it impossible for the Greeks and barbarians inhabiting Asia and Europe and Libya to agree. And perhaps such (an agreement) is really impossible to those still in bodies, but not impossible to those who have been released from them.(11)

He then turns to the concrete appeal of Celsus that the Christians should serve in the army and take part in the business of government.


Celsus next urges us to help the Emperor with all (our) strength, and to labour with him (in maintaining) justice, and to fight for him and serve as soldiers with him, if he require (it), and to share military command (with him). To this it has to be said that we do help the Emperors as occasion (requires) with a help that is, so to say, divine, and putting on 'the whole armour of God.' And this we do in obedience to the apostolic voice which says: 'I therefore exhort you firstly that supplications, prayers, intercessions, thanksgivings, be made for all men, for Emperors and all who are in high station'; and the more pious one is, so much the more effectual is he in helping the Emperors than (are) the soldiers who go forth in battle-array and kill as many as they can of the enemy.

And then we should say this to those who are strangers to the faith and who










11. Orig Cels viii. 72.

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ask us to serve as soldiers on behalf of the community and to kill men: that among you the priests of certain statues and the temple-wardens of those whom ye regard as gods keep their right-hand(s) unstained for the sake of the sacrifices, in order that they may offer the appointed sacrifices to those whom ye call gods, with hands unstained by (human) blood and pure from acts of slaughter; and whenever war comes, ye do not make the priests also serve. If then it is reasonable to do this, how much more (reasonable is it, that), when others are serving in the army, these (Christians) should do their military service as priests and servants of God, keeping their right-hands pure and striving by prayers to God on behalf of those who are righteously serving its soldiers and of him who is reigning righteously, in order that all things opposed and hostile to those that act righteously may be put down?

And we, (in) putting down by our prayers all demons--those who stir up warlike feelings, and prompt the violation of oaths, and disturb the peace, help the Emperors more than those who to all appearance serve as soldiers. We labour with (him) in the public affairs--(we) who offer up prayers with righteousness, with exercises and practices that teach (us) to despise pleasures and not to be led away by them. And we fight for the Emperor more (than others do): and we do not serve as soldiers with him, even though he require (it); but we do serve as soldiers on his behalf, training a private army of piety by means of intercessions to the Deity.(12) And if Celsus wishes us to exercise military command on behalf of (our) country, let him know that we do this also, not in order to be seen by men and to obtain empty glory in




















12. Orig Cels viii. 73.

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their eyes by doing so: for in secret (and) under the control of our inner reason are our prayers, sent up as from priests on behalf of those in our country. And Christians benefit the(ir) countries more than do the rest of men, educating the citizens and teaching them to be devout towards the God of the State, and taking up into a sort of divine and heavenly State those who have lived well in the smallest states. . . . (13)


But Celsus urges us also to (take part in) govern(ing) the country, seeing that this has to be done for the sake of the safety of the laws and of piety. But we, knowing in each state another organization of a 'country'--(an organization) founded by the Word of God--exhort those who are powerful in speech and who lead a wholesome (moral) life to rule over churches, not accepting those who are fond of ruling, but constraining those who through (their) great modesty are unwilling rashly to accept the public charge of the Church of God. . . .


And (it is) not (for the sake of) escaping from the public services of life that Christians shun such things, but (because they are) reserving themselves for a diviner and more necessary service, (namely that) of (the) Church of God, both necessarily and rightly taking the lead for the salvation of men, and having taken charge of all--of those within (the Church), in order that they may daily live better (lives), and of those who are apparently without, in order that they may become (engaged) in the serious words and works of piety, and thus, truly worshipping God and training as many as they have power to, may be mingled with the Word of God and the divine Law and may thus be united to the God who is over all through the Son of God--Word and Wisdom and






13. Orig Cels viii. 74.


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Truth and Righteousness--who unites to Him every one who is bent on living in all things according to (the will of) God.(14)

There are several points in the teaching set forth in these passages which call for special comment.

1. It will have been noticed that Origenes speaks of the Emperor as 'reigning righteously' and of his soldiers as 'righteously rendering military service,' that as a Christian he was prepared to pray for their victory in a righteous conflict,(15) and that he recognized the right of the ancient Jews to fight against their enemies.(16) Elsewhere he speaks of "people everywhere being compelled to serve as soldiers and to make war on behalf of the(ir) countries" in the times before Augustus, "when there was need that there should be war, for instance, between Peloponnesians and Athenians, and similarly between others."(17) He also says that "the wars of the bees perhaps constitute a lesson for the conduct of just and orderly wars among men, if ever there should be need (for them)."(18) All these passages but the last explicitly refer to the warfare of some set of non-Christians: and in the last there is no indication that Origenes has Christians in mind. When the fact is once clearly grasped that his allusions to justifiable wars are always, either explicitly or implicitly, to wars waged by non-Christians, many of the criticisms levelled at his teaching will be seen to rest on a misapprehension.(19)


14. Orig Cels viii. 75.





15. Orig Cels viii. 73 (p. 135).

16. Orig Cels iii. 7, vii. 26 (p. 130).



17. Orig Cels ii. 30 (see below, p. 207).

18. Orig Cels iv. 82. In the following chapter he rebukes Celsus for his attempt to depreciate the political institutions and defensive wars of men (see below, P. 207).


19. The question is more fully discussed below, pp. 211 ff.


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2. His candid recognition of the temporary place and value of what was good in pagan and Mosaic ethics must not be taken as stultifying or cancelling his equally candid declaration that Christians ought not to and would not take part in war. Several modern writers have fallen into this fallacy. Thus Grotius says that Origenes and Tertullianus are not consistent, and he quotes in regard to the former the passage about the bees.(20) Guizot, in a note on Gibbon,(21) says: "Origen, in truth, appears to have maintained a more rigid opinion (Cont. Cels. 1. viii); but he has often renounced this exaggerated severity, perhaps necessary to produce great results, and he speaks of the profession of arms as an honourable one (1. iv. C. [83] 218 . . .)."

Professor Bethune-Baker writes:


From all these passages together it is perhaps fair to conclude that Origen considered the Christian ideal incompatible with war, but would in practice have permitted Christians to engage in war. It is clear he regarded it as a Christian duty to pray for 'those that are warring justly.' Further, as it is quite certain that there were many Christians in the armies at the time when Origen was writing, it is not improbable that in his specific answer he is thinking particularly of the Christian clergy. Several of his phrases suggest this limited application.(22)

This guardedly expressed, but nevertheless quite erroneous, suggestion is invested by Archdeacon Cunningham with dogmatic certainty: "It is clear that the Great Alexandrian did not regard War as a thing in which the Christian was wrong to take





20. Grotius, De Jure, etc., I ii. ix, 2.

21. Wm. Smith's edition of the Decline and Fall, ii. 189.










22. B-Baker ICW 30.


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part."(23) Guignebert remarks: "But already Origenes seems to admit at least defensive war"(24): and similarly Bigelmair: "Even Origenes at times gave a less rigorous judgment," for he meets a point brought forward by Celsus "with the remark--which contrasts curiously with his position elsewhere--that the wars of the bees were a pattern for the righteous and orderly wars of men."(25)

All this misses the point. Origenes' view of the Christian's duty in regard to war is put as clearly as words could make it: and though he compares the intercessions of the Christians to the sacrifices of the pagan priesthood and speaks about the duty of the Christian clergy in training and governing others, the supposition that he meant to limit the abstention from bloodshed to the clergy is quite out of keeping with his actual statements. It is abundantly clear that he regarded the acceptance of Christianity as incompatible with the use of arms; and his relative justification of the wars of non-Christians cannot be made a ground either for doubting that his rigorism was seriously meant, or for accusing him of inconsistency in maintaining it.(26)

3. Origenes accepts as true the charge implied in the appeal made by Celsus seventy years before, that Christians did as a body refuse to serve in the army and to hold magistracies. "We do not serve as soldiers with the Emperor, even though he require (it). . . . Christians avoid such things" (i.e. public offices).(27)

23. Christianity and Politics, p. 252.

24. Guignebert p. 196: a note refers to Orig Cels iv. 82 f.


25. Bigelmair 180f. The same view is suggested by Schmidt (284).







26. Barbeyrac (Morale des Pères, p. 104 fn) recognizes that Origenes does not contradict himself in this matter.



27. Orig. Cels viii. 73, 75 (see pp. 135 f).


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He speaks as if he was not aware that Christians ever took any other line(28): and though this cannot be construed as showing that none of them ever did so--for there is evidence to prove that many did--or that Origenes dishonestly concealed what he knew to be a fact--for the dishonesty would have been so patent as to serve no purpose, yet it proves that even at this date, the middle of the third century, the predominant opinion among Christians was that their religion forbade them to serve in the legions.(29)

4. It is often urged that the early Christian disapproval of all violence has to be read in the light of early Christian eschatology. For if you could assume that within the near future, possibly almost immediately, the existing world-order was going to fall to pieces with a crash, the wicked were going to be rooted out and punished, and the reign of righteousness set up--all by the exercise of a special Divine intervention--then obviously there would not be much difficulty in proving all fighting, and indeed all judicial procedure, to be useless.

Now whatever weight must be assigned to this consideration in criticizing the views of primitive Christians, or even of a man like Tertullianus, it is highly significant that the most gifted thinker of the early Church, the man who maintained the Gospel-principle of nonresistance as earnestly and explicitly as any, was unique also in this other excellence--that

28. Neumann (241) is surely mistaken in supposing that Origenes' reference to soldiers as opponents of Christianity implies the presence of Christians in the army.



29. De Jong 15: "Considering that Origenes is here defending, not only his own opinion, but Christendom in general, we must assume that also in his time . . . the great majority of Christians was opposed to military service, and that principally out of aversion to bloodshed, and that only a small number took part in it--a conclusion to which in fact the archaeological data, negative on this point, also lead us."


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his mind was not fettered by the crude obsessions of orthodox Christian eschatology: he had little or nothing to say of a bodily return of Christ, or of an end of the world due to occur in the near future; he contemplated an indefinite prolongation of human history under the divine control; he had his eyes open to the needs of society, and, though keen on the spiritual side of things, suffered from no blind 'otherworldliness'--from none of what Weinel aptly calls 'Jenseitsfanatismus.' Eschatology, it is urged, invalidates the early Christian witness in regard to war: it cannot however invalidate the witness given by Origenes, for he did not share even the weakened eschatological beliefs of his Christian contemporaries. Yet none gave a clearer or more intelligent witness on the subject of Christian gentleness than he.

5. Note further that fear of idolatrous contamination had nothing to do with Origenes' disapproval of military service. He does indeed once mention 'impiety towards God' as a means of currying favour with kings, but never as a bar to service in the army. His view was based--as his analogy with the pagan priesthood, as well as many other passages, clearly shows--on the Christians' determination to keep their hands free from the stain of blood. Yet the late Dr. Gwatkin, in his criticism of Origenes' reply to the charge of disloyalty,(30) altogether ignores this aspect of the case, and speaks as if squeamishness on the subject of idolatry were the only difficulty that had to be considered. Even Troeltsch, as we have seen,(31) says that, if it had not been for this difficulty, Origenes would have acquiesced in Christians serving as soldiers.















30. Gwatkin, Early Church History, i. 191 (cf 236).


31. Above, p. 115.


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6. Origenes happily lays great stress on the positive service which the Christians render to the State, a service which he claims is diviner, more needful, and more effective than that of the soldier or magistrate. "We do help the Emperors as occasion (requires) . . . We labour with (him) in the public affairs . . . we fight for the Emperor more (than others do) . . . Christians benefit the(ir) countries more than the rest of men," and so on.(32)

Of this service he specifies two forms. (a) Intercessory prayer, which he rightly regards as exceedingly effective when coming from Christians: this prayer is that the Emperor and those associated with him may be successful in their efforts, in so far as their purposes are righteous, "in order that all things opposed and hostile to those that act righteously may be put down" (kathairethe). It assumes that the Emperor has a standard of righteousness which is valid relative to his own sub-Christian condition, and it does not commit the Christian who offers it to an approval of the same standard for himself. The Christians, moreover, by their prayers, put down the demons who rouse warlike passions and disturb the peace. (b) Influence for good over others by the activities of the Church and the power of Christian life, "educating the citizens and teaching them to be devout towards the God of the State," taking charge of those within and those without the Church, and working effectually for their moral and spiritual salvation. No criticism of Origenes, which does not give full weight to this positive side of his plea, is either fair to him or worthy of a Christian critic.

The words of the late Dr. Gwatkin unfortunately fail in this respect. "Even Origen only





32. Orig. Cels viii. 73 f (pp. 134-136).

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quibbles," he says,


in his answer that they do not serve in the army because they support the emperor with their prayers, that they fight for their country by educating their fellow-citizens in true piety, that they help to govern it by devoting themselves to the nobler and more needful service of the church of God. All this evades the point--that men have no right to renounce at pleasure their duties to their country.(33)

Now the party guilty of evading the point in this case is not the ancient apologist, but the late lamented historian himself; for in speaking of military service as a duty to one's country, he is, of course, simply assuming without argument the very point under debate: he has not a word to say on the very serious question as to how slaughter in war is to be reconciled with the teaching of Jesus. Not only does he assume that military service is a duty, but he calls the Christian refusal of it a renunciation of duty at pleasure. He does not realize that the early Christian, in refusing the use of arms, more than compensated for his withdrawal from the army by the moral and spiritual power for good which lie exercised as a Christian, that he did--as Origenes claimed--really and literally help the Emperor in the maintenance of peace and justice, and really did benefit his country more than the rest of men.

7. This brings us to our last point, namely the question whether the Christian ethic as interpreted by Origenes can be safely advocated as a practical policy, or whether it is open to the fatal charge of anarchy. What is going to happen, Celsus had asked, as people are asking now, if this sort of thing spreads? Will not civilization become the prey of barbarians and savages?







33. Gwatkin, l. c.

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On the score of the results which, it is assumed, would follow from the adoption of his teaching, the political views expressed by him have been criticized as extravagant.(34)

The criticism is in my judgment unwarranted. To foresee accurately the future history of Christianity is under no conditions and at no period an easy task, even when one is emancipated--as Origenes happily was--from the crude obsessions of orthodox eschatology. It is therefore not to be wondered at that he should hesitate to affirm positively that all the inhabitants of the world would be able, while still in the body, to come together under one law, though he does not rule out this contingency as impossible, just as, in repudiating the extravagant utterance attributed by Celsus to a Christian, he does not rule out absolutely the possibility of an Emperor's conversion.(35) His task was to show that a Christianity, which sets its adherents to work in the varied external and internal activities of the Church, which endows them with moral purity and energy and spiritual power, and which forbids them to participate in the penal bloodshed and violence which pagan society finds necessary for its own preservation and well-being--that such a Christianity can be allowed to spread indefinitely among mankind, without any fear of a

34. Lecky ii. 39 ("The opinions of the Christians of the first three centuries were usually formed without any regard to the necessities of civil or political life"); Harnack ME i. 263 f ("How extravagant (hochfliegend) are his ideas!" Yet Harnack recognizes Origenes as "a great and sensible statesman"-- "ein grosser und einsichtiger Politiker"); Troeltsch 123 f ("With such presuppositions [as those of Origenes] every venture in regard to social possibilities (and) every idea of the Christian criticism of society having to be also an organic reformation of it, were out of the question. God would take care that society held together. The cutting-off of the forbidden callings suffices; the rest will remain standing. . . . Elsewhere there are not wanting compromises and compositions which recognize the necessity of these callings for the social system and therefore enjoin here too continuance in the calling").

35. See above, pp. 133 f.


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disastrous breakdown of civilization being occasioned by its expansion.

That task he performs with admirable common-sense and insight. He does not desire or advocate or expect a sudden and wholesale abandonment by society of its usual methods of dealing with internal and external enemies, without any of those compensating safeguards and improvements which the gradual and steady growth of Christianity would ensure. And it is as a gradual growth that he thinks of the expansion of Christianity--as a growth consisting of the accretion of one individual after another, "the Word ever taking possession of more (and more) souls" until it has mastered the whole rational creation,(36) as a growth going on, not only among the civilized inhabitants of the Empire, but also among the uncivilized barbarians beyond its borders,(37) not only among the virtuous, but also among the sinful and criminal people, and therefore as removing steadily the wrongdoing which evokes wars and calls for penalties, while supplying steadily pari passu a more effectual cure for that wrongdoing in the shape of the mighty spiritual and moral influence of the Church.

His programme thus consists of two gradual processes going on side by side as the result of the spread of Christianity: firstly, the gradual diminution of crime and the risk of foreign aggression, and secondly, the gradual substitution of spiritual influence for physical coercion, i.e. of a more for a less effective remedy for crime and aggression.(38) What ground does such a

36. Orig Cels viii. 68 fin, 72 (see pp. 132-134).

37. Orig Cels i. 53, viii. 4, 68.

38. As furnishing a modern instance of the soundness of this plea, I transcribe the following passage from W. T. Stead's Progress of the World in the Review of Reviews for August 1890 (p. 104): "The enthusiastic Americans who constituted the driving force of the Universal Peace Congress which met at Westminster in July, were provided with a very striking illustration of the fashion in which the practical impunity with which the individual can kill has told for peace in the Far West. For years the Modoc Indians, thanks to their occupancy of the lava beds, a natural stronghold where a handful of men could hold an army at bay, defied the utmost efforts of the United States army. The Modocs, although only a few hundred strong, baffled all the efforts to subdue them. The war cost millions. Only twelve Modocs were killed, but General Canby was slain and 160 of his men. After all, the war seemed no nearer an end than it was at the beginning. In their despair the Americans abandoned the bullet and took to the Bible. Then, according to Mr. Wood, the Secretary of the American Christian and Arbitration Society, in the providence of God one little Quaker woman, "'believing in the Lord Jesus Christ's power, and in non-resistent principles, has converted the whole Modoc tribe to non-resistent Quakers, and they are now most harmless, self-supporting farmers and preachers of the Gospel of Christ."' The story of the transformation effected in the relations between the Redskins and the United States Government by substituting Christian for military principles is one of the strangest of the true stories of our day. It is not surprising that the men who have found the Gospel a talisman for civilising a Modoc and an Apache should cross the Atlantic full of faith that it would be equally efficacious in staying the blood-feud of the Germans and the French.

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programme give for the charge of anarchy? Celsus actually made such a charge, but had to contradict himself in doing so. He first professed to posit the conversion of all to Christianity--in itself a legitimate supposition--but immediately had to make an exception of the barbarians in order to manufacture some sort of a bogey. Origenes had no difficulty in pointing out that Celsus' assumption of all doing the same as the Christian presupposed the conversion of the barbarians as well as the subjects of the Empire.

Some modern writers have pointed to the attacks later made on the Empire by Christianized barbarians as if they proved the shortsightedness of Origenes(39): but they do nothing of the sort, for the Christianity given to these barbarians was not the same article as that for which Origenes was bargaining; it was the Christianity of a Church that had made a compact with the powers that be and was accordingly obliged to sanction for its adherents the








39. Neumann 240; cf Bigelmair 177.

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use of the sword at a ruler's bidding. It was the Church's failure to remain true to the full Christian ethic advocated by Origenes, which made possible the scene of Christian barbarians invading the Empire. The extraordinary supposition--which forms part of Origenes' apologia--of a united and converted Empire holding its barbarian foes at bay by the power of prayer, was no part of his own programme: it concludes his reply to the illogical challenge of his opponent. Extravagant as that challenge was, he shows himself fully equal to meeting it, by a grand profession of the Christian's confidence in God--a confidence not so foolish as it sounds to worldly ears, as the history of many a mission-field would be amply sufficient to prove.