Chapter XIII.—Superiority of Christian Morality.
“But perhaps some one of you will say, Must we then observe all things which we did while we worshipped idols? Not all. But whatever things were done well, these you ought to observe even now; because, if anything is rightly done by those who are in error, it is certain that that is derived from the truth; whereas, if anything is not rightly done in the true religion, that is, without doubt, borrowed from error. For good is good, though it be done by those who are in error; and evil is evil, though it be done by those who follow the truth. Or shall we be so foolish, that if we see a worshipper of idols to be sober, we shall refuse to be sober, lest we should seem to do the same things which he does who worships idols? It is not so. But let this be our study, that if those who err do not commit murder, we should not even be angry; if they do not commit adultery, we should not even covet anothers wife; if they love their neighbours, we should love even our enemies; if they lend to those who have the means of paying, we should give to those from whom we do not hope to receive anything. And in all things, we who hope for the inheritance of the eternal world ought to excel those who know only the present world; knowing that if their works, when compared with our works, be found like and equal in the day of judgment, there will be confusion to us, because we are found equal in our works to those who are condemned on account of ignorance, and had no hope of the world to come.