from the Apology of St. Aristedes of Athens to the Roman emperor, Antoninus Pius, circa 150 AD from our Ambassador publication for February 2000
Christians know and believe in God as the Creator of heaven and earth in whom and from whom all things exist. They have learned God’s commandments and they live by them in hope of the world to come! For this reason, they do not commit adultery or engage in sexual immorality; they do not give false testimony in court or withhold someone’s deposit or envy another person’s possessions. They honor their father and mother, they are helpful to their neighbors and as judges, they make decisions with justice and mercy.
Christians do not worship idols. Anything they do not want others to do to them, they do not do to others. Christian men do not enter into illegal marriages or engage in sexual promiscuity. Out of love for their slaves and children, if they have any, they encourage them to become Christians, and if they do so, they are called brothers and sisters without distinction.
Christians do not lie. They love one another and take care of the their widows; orphans are protected from those who would harm them. They willingly share what they have with those in need. They bring strangers into their homes and welcome them as true brothers and sisters. Christians, as they are able, provide for the burial of their poor when they die. They provide help to those among them who are imprisoned or oppressed because of their faith in Christ.
When there is a person in poverty or need among them and they do not have the resources at hand to help, they will fast for two or three days in order to provide the food needed. The good works they do are not made public to impress others, but, rather, are done unnoticed so that they may hide their deeds as one who finds a treasure and hides it (Matthew 13:44)
Every morning and at all hours they give praise and thanks to God for the gifts they have received; for food and drink also they give thanks to God. This is the content of the Christian’s law and the way they live their lives.