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Chapter IV.—How Autolycus Had Been Misled by False Accusations Against the Christians.

Nor indeed was there any necessity for my refuting these, except that I see you still in dubiety about the word of the truth. For though yourself prudent, you endure fools gladly. Otherwise you would not have been moved by senseless men to yield yourself to empty words, and to give credit to the prevalent rumor wherewith godless lips falsely accuse us, who are worshippers of God, and are called Christians, alleging that the wives of us all are held in common and made promiscuous use of; and that we even commit incest with our own sisters, and, what is most impious and barbarous of all, that we eat human flesh. 640 But further, they say that our doctrine has but recently come to light, and that we have nothing to allege in proof of what we receive as truth, nor of our teaching, but that our doctrine is foolishness. I wonder, then, chiefly that you, who in other matters are studious, and a scrutinizer of all things, give but a careless hearing to us. For, if it were possible for you, you would not grudge to spend the night in the libraries.



[The body of Christ is human flesh. If, then, it had been the primitive doctrine, that the bread and wine cease to exist in the Eucharist, and are changed into natural flesh and blood, our author could not have resented this charge as “most barbarous and impious.”]

Next: Chapter V.—Philosophers Inculcate Cannibalism.