Justin Martyr's First Apology is addressed to the Emperor and his household. Justin offers a lengthy and careful defense of the Christian faith in response to laws that made Christian practice a punishable offense.
He says of the martyrs, "…they conquer you by lavishing their own lives rather than obey in what you require them to do" (1 Apol. 70).
Regarding the ethical lives of the Christians, he says
"…We, who formerly gave loose to fornication, now strive only after purity; we, who took delight in arts of magic, now dedicate ourselves to the good and unbegotten God; we, who loved the path to riches and possessions above any other, now produce what we have in common, and give to every one who needs; we, who hated and destroyed one another, and would not make use even of the same fire with those of another tribe, because of their different customs; now, since the coming of Christ, live together, and pray for our enemies, and endeavor to persuade those who hate us unjustly, that all who have lived in accordance with the good precepts of Christ, may come to a good hope of obtaining from God, the Ruler of all things, the same reward as ourselves" (14).Early Christian writers often appealed to the post-exorcism, post-baptismal ethics of Christian converts as evidence of both the religion's goodness and the power of their god.
Justin quotes a great deal of Scripture and New Testament writings regarding Christian ethics and the wisdom of the prophets. He argues that the greatest Greek philosophers were essentially Christians, because in their best writings they were inspired by the Logos, or had copied from the Jewish prophets outright.
Quoting almost the entire Sermon on the Mount, he argues that Christians are quietists, and since their kingdom is a heavenly one, they are no threat to the peace and safety of the Empire.
Somehow, I think the author of Revelation would disagree. I know I do.
He rambles a bit, and talks about what occurs in the Eucharistic assemblies. He emphasizes the care of widows and orphans. There are funny bits; he tries to shame his Roman readers by reminding them that the gods they celebrate in their civic religion tend to be pretty immoral in the stories that are told about them. After all, people declare themselves to be gods all the time, and say all kinds of things that corrupt youths (24-26). Yet who gets killed for it? Fine upstanding people like Socrates. And oh yeah, the Christians.
I didn't really fall in love with this one, as you might have guessed by now.
Next up: Cyprian of Carthage...