Call to Duty from Cyprian

Men are trained and prepared for secular contests, and they account it a great mark of honour, if they happen to be crowned in the sight of the people and the presence of the emperor. Behold a sublime and mighty contest, glorious with the prize of a heavenly crown, in which God beholds us contending : and extending His vision over those whom He hath vouchsafed to make sons, He delighteth in beholding our struggle. God beholds us fighting and engaging in the conflict of faith; His angels behold us. Christ also beholds us. How great the dignity of glory, how great the happiness, to engage in the presence of God, and to be crowned by Christ our Judge! Let us arm ourselves, most beloved bretheren, with all our might, and be prepared for the contest with minds undefiled, with faith entire, and devoted courage. Let the camp of God go forth to the battle which is denounced against us. Let those yet whole arm themselves, lest they lose the benefit of having lately stood. Let the fallen too arm, that even the fallen recover what he has lost. Let honour incite those that have stood, grief the fallen, to the battle. Let us take these arms, let us fortify ourselves with these spiritual and heavenly safeguards, that in the most evil day we may be able to resist and hold out against the threats of the devil.”

– Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, 3rd century

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