"Ethics has a special place in the Christian religion. Lactantius, writing under the Emperor Constantine, points out this fundamental difference between paganism and the true religion. Pagan religion, he says, is concerned only with external rites and ceremonies performed in honor of the gods ; it gives no precepts of righteousness and virtue ; it does not form and cultivate men's characters. 1 On the other hand, ethics forms an essential part of the Christian religion. Christ was called Jesus because He came among us to save us from our sins. This He did not only by atoning for them, but by His example, His teaching, and His grace He showed us how to lead good lives and enabled us to do it. He came to do and to teach, so that not only His words but His actions, too, were lessons to us in conduct. He proposed Himself to us as the Way by which we should walk; He bade us follow His example; He taught us to learn of Him meekness, humility, and all virtues. In Him God, our Creator and Lord, was revealed to us; He is our first beginning and last end. To Him we must refer and order our whole lives and our every action. We are His stewards, and when life comes to an end each of us will be called upon to render a strict account to Him, as our judge, of every thought, word, and action of our lives. Heaven will be the reward of the faithful servant, eternal suffering in hell will be the just punishment of the wicked...."
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Includes bibliographical references (p. 51-53)
Master and use copy. Digital master created according to Benchmark for Faithful Digital Reproductions of Monographs and Serials, Version 1. Digital Library Federation, December 2002