The third century A.D. was a tumultuous time for Christians. They were under persecution by Romans and Jews, and had been for two centuries. In declaring one’s allegiance to Christ, a believer might very well be consigning himself to horrendous persecution, even death.
Which is what makes Cyprian’s letter from that period all the more profound.
Addressing the letter to his friend Donatus, he recounts a life-changing journey…and discovery. He writes:
“If I should ascend some high mountain, you know what I would see – armies fighting, brigands on the highways, pirates on the seas, men murdered in the amphitheater to please applauding multitudes. But in the midst of this, I have found a quiet and holy people. They are persecuted, but they care not. They have found a joy a thousand times greater than any pleasure. They are the masters of their own souls. They are the Christians, and I have become one of them.”
Cyprian noted that Christians were very different from the rest of the world. That distinction was so evident, so genuine, and so appealing, that he could not help but succumb to new life.
He became a Christian to gain that life.
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(Resource cataloged by David R Smith)