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Evangelism - Myers Mott Maggay Linthicum        

Origen on government and church citizens

"Christians are benefactors of their country more than others. For they train up citizens, and inculcate piety to the Supreme Being; and worth, to a divine and heavenly city,  to whom it may be said, 'Thou hast been faithful in the smallest city, come into a great one [Luke 19:17], where 'God standeth in the assembly of the gods, and judgeth the gods in the midst,' and He reckons there among them, if thou no more 'die as a man, or fall as one of the princes' [Ps 82:1, 7].

"Celsus also urges us to 'take office in the government of the country, if that is required for the maintenance of the laws and the support of religion.' But we recognize in each state the existence of another national organization founded by the Word of God, and we exhort those who are ambitious  of ruling we reject; but we constrain those who, through excess of modesty, are not easily induced to take a public charge in the Church of God. And those who rule over us well are under the constraining influence of the great King, who we believe to be the Son of God, God the Word. 

"And if those who govern in the Church, and are called rulers of the divine nation - that is, the Church - rule well, they rule in accordance with the divine commands, and never suffer themselves to be led astray by worldly policy. And it is not the purpose of escaping public duties that Christians decline public offices, but that they may reserve themselves for a diviner and more necessary service in the Church of God - for the salvation of men. And this service is at once necessary and right. They take charge of all - of those that are within, that they may day by day lead better lives, and of those that are without, that they may come to abound in holy words and in deeds of piety; and that while thus worshipping God truly, and training up as many as they can in the same way, they may be filled with the word of God and the law of God, and thus be united with the Supreme God through His Son the Word, Wisdom, Truth, and Righteousness, who unties in God all who are resolved to conform their lives in all things to the law of God." (chapter 74-75)

Origen: Against Celsus in The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Scribners, 1926, pp. 667-68.

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