Letter to Diognetus
Don’t you see them exposed to wild beasts for the purpose of persuading them to deny the Lord, yet they are not overcome? Don’t you see that the more of them that are punished, the greater the number of the rest becomes? This does not seem to be the work of man. This is the power of God. These are the evidences of his appearance.
The greatness of Christianity lies in its being hated by the world, not in its being convincing to it.
It’s a beautiful thing to God when a Christian does battle with pain. When he faces threats, punishments and tortures by mocking death and treading underfoot the horror of the executioner; when he raises up his freedom in Christ as a standard before kings and princes; when he yields to God alone, and—triumphant and victorious—he tramples upon the very man who has pronounced the sentence upon him … God finds all these things beautiful.
Go zealously on, good presidents! you will stand higher with the people if you sacrifice the Christians at their wish. Kill us, torture us, condemn us, grind us to dust. Your injustice is the proof that we are innocent.
Nor does your cruelty, however exquisite, do you any good. It’s just a temptation to us. The more often we are mown down by you, the more in number we grow; the blood of Christians is seed of the Church. – ibid