Page:Cecil John Cadoux - The Early Christian Attitude to War.pdf/12

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

viii

Foreward

author is without convictions, but because he has a profound reverence for truth and possesses-a keen scholarly conscience.

Here, then, is a survey of the early Christian attitude towards war which must be read and pondered. It takes us back to a time when life seems, at least to us, less complicated; it shows us faith working largely through instinct, often reinforced by crude thinking and poor reasoning, and yet faith which was prepared to pay the price of life itself, and an instinct which is deeply planted in our humanity, namely the instinct against bloodshed, unsophisticated by argument. Few will be able to read the story without feeling that here as on other subjects the Christian faith was acting more purely and powerfully than ever since. We need not hold that Christendom has been one long story of relapse and apostasy to be able to recognize the essentially supernatural gift not only in Christ our Lord, but in the classical prime of Christianity, with its glorious apostles, saints, and martyrs. Those early days will ever speak to us, however much farther we may progress; to them we must return again and again, not necessarily to discover a final and fixed standard, either for thought or practice, but certainly whenever we want to renew our faith and see again the vision of what Christianity was meant to be.

Whether the evidence of the early Christian attitude can provide any guidance for Christians in the twentieth century is a question into which other considerations have to enter. Dr. Cadoux has effectually shown that the false apocalyptic hopes of those times did not determine the attitude taken up; he has not shown, as I think he might, how a translation of that apocalyptic