And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages. On the contrary, since John was preparing the path for the Lord, he cannot have allowed what Christ was soon to remove. Also, the Jews could not make use of that permission, since Christ would come the same year and prohibit war, as they would have it.
Moreover, men might have suspected that Christ and John did not agree with each other, which would have been truly absurd. So either John deceived them, or soldiers can attain salvation if they fulfill what John commanded them. Regarding Theophylactus, I say two things. First, he does not say that war is evil, but only that John exhorted the people who were innocent to do good, that is, to share their goods with the others, but he exhorted the publicans and soldiers, who were incapable of such perfection and could not do works of supererogation, to desist from evil.
In fact, Theophylactus thought that for somebody who has two coats to give one to him who has none was a work of counsel and supererogation; otherwise he would not call the people innocent to whom he was speaking, and neither would he distinguish this act as good rather than evil, for if it is a command not to keep two coats, keeping them will be an evil act. Second, it is proved by the examples of the saints who waged wars, for if war were evil, certainly it would not be waged by saints.
Peter, he was not told to leave the army. They would certainly not have been in the army if that was evil, and even if they were, they would not have been so beloved by God that they were even able to perform miracles. See also Eusebius, Historia, book 8, chapter 4, and book 9, chapter 10 . Basil also teaches in Oratio in laudem SS. Louis the king of France, St.
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Maurice with his legion of Thebans, and many other Christian saints waged wars, and the holy bishops never blamed them; indeed, Theodosius asked the Abbot John for advice on the outcome of the war, as Augustine reports in book 5 of De civitate Dei, chapter Third, it is proved because God always assists just wars, which of course He would not do if war were unlawful, for evil deeds may be allowed, but support to do evil deeds can never be given.
In 2 Maccabees 10 angels appearing as knights fought with the Maccabees, and at chapter 15 we read that God gives victory to the worthy ones not because of the strength of the armies but as He wishes. Eusebius in De vita Constantini and in book 9 of Historia, chapter 9, attests that Constantine won battles with the help of God and through clearly proved miracles; Theodoretus in Historia, book 5, chapter 5, attests that the apostles St. John and St. Fourth, it is proved by reason.
It is lawful for the commonwealth to defend its citizens from internal enemies of peace by eliminating them with different kinds of punishment, and therefore it will also be lawful to defend its citizens from external enemies by war and weapons when it cannot be done in any other way. Since, in order to preserve themselves, it is necessary for commonwealths to be able to keep away all their enemies, both internal and external, and since this is the law of nature, it is certainly not credible that the ability to defend themselves was removed through the Gospel.
Last, it is proved by the testimonies of the Fathers. In his homily De nuptiis, on John 2, St.
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Likewise in his Oratio de obitu Theodosii he vigorously praises Theodosius for his ability in war. So He commanded that their pay should suffice and certainly did not prohibit them from serving in the army. Provide things honest in the sight of all men, etc. I reply that Julian the Apostate once used the same arguments against the Christians, as Gregory of Nazianzus reports in the first oration In Julianum , around the middle of the work.
But first, that all these precepts or counsels are given to private citizens, for God or the apostle did not command the judge not to punish him who wronged another, but He commanded everybody to suffer patiently their wrongs.
Moreover, even these are not always precepts to private citizens; sometimes they are precepts, sometimes advice. Precepts are always to prepare the soul, so that a man may be ready to turn the other cheek and to give away his coat to somebody who wants it rather than offend God. Otherwise it is only advice, and sometimes not even that, for instance when offering the other cheek is of no use because the other person just repeats his sin.
Second, they can oppose our argument with three decrees of the Church. The first is in the Council of Nicaea, canon 11, where a most serious punishment is inflicted against those who return to the army after Edition: current; Page: [ 62 ] leaving it. To the first I reply that it deals with those who because they confessed their faith were deprived by Diocletian or Licinius of their sword belt, and afterward they reclaimed it, ready to deny their faith. See Zonaras and Balsamon on that canon, and Rufinus, Historia, book 10, chapter 6, and what we wrote on this in book 2 of De Conciliis, chapter 8.
To the second and third I say that it deals with those who committed many sins occasioned by their military life and who therefore needed to Edition: current; Page: [ 63 ] do penance.
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In fact, those who return to military life knowing from experience that they cannot live it without sinning, are badly behaved because they themselves are evil, not the army; this is especially so when they have been commanded by a priest not to return. Third, many passages from the Fathers are set against our argument by Erasmus, and to those passages we add two, one by Tertullian and the other by Jerome.
In De corona militis, second part , Tertullian asks whether military life is becoming to a Christian. And to answer to another lord after Christ?
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Will it be lawful to live by the sword when God said that whoever takes the sword shall perish by the sword? And will a son of peace, to whom even lawsuits are not becoming, engage in battle? I reply that Tertullian does not condemn military life for being evil in itself. This is clear, first, from the passages above quoted from Apologeticus, chapters 5 and For once the faith is accepted and sealed, one should either desert immediately or try every way possible not to do anything against God.
Will he be eating with those who displease the apostle? Will he bear a standard opposed to the standard of Christ? Nevertheless, from this it does not follow that Christians, as citizens of the temporal commonwealth, cannot wage wars against those who wronged them. I reply that in the first passage there is nothing supporting Erasmus, for when Origen says that Christ removed all wars, he does not mean that Christ prohibited all wars, but that with His providence He brought a general peace to the world at the time of His birth.
Nor is anything said against war in the following passage, for the words of God must not be understood so literally that anybody should necessarily sell his garment and buy a sword. In that figure of speech the Lord wanted only to explain that the apostles would have had the same hardship and need as those who sell their garment and buy a sword to defend themselves.
But what is inferred from this against war? Because our Lord in this passage did not truly command purchase of a sword, then is He understood to have prohibited Edition: current; Page: [ 65 ] war? When Origen himself, in his homily 15 on Joshua, says that physical wars must not be waged by Christians, he means that the Christian army under the command of Christ is not a physical army against men, as was the army of the Jews under Joshua, but a spiritual one against demons. However, from this it does not follow that waging wars is unlawful for Christians as citizens of the political commonwealth.
In the same manner the arguments that Erasmus takes from Chrysostom, Basil, and Theophylactus drawing from St. Why do you command me to get what you forbid me to bring out? Maybe to prepare me for an act of defense and not authorize an act of revenge, so that I would decide not to take revenge even if I could. However, Erasmus seems to have regarded those with whom he spoke as children, for what are these things to our purpose? Indeed in epistle 5  there is nothing against war, but rather something in support of it, as we quoted before, and I do not know what Erasmus was dreaming of.
In epistle  he begs the judge to pardon the wicked who were already in custody and confessed their crime, which the bishops even now are accustomed to do. But what does this have to do with war?
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Or should we say that whoever begs that a thief be not hung consequently prohibits war? He also used as a counterexample St. I am a Christian; fighting is not lawful for me. This was the reason why Sulpicius a little earlier had written that St. Martin, after receiving baptism, continued being a soldier for two more years, not because St. Martin did not want to renounce the world immediately, but because the tribune of the soldiers, who shared the tent with him, promised to also renounce the world after his term as tribune had expired, that is, he promised St.
Martin to become a monk with him. Therefore, St. Martin affirmed that war was forbidden not to a Christian, but to a monk, since he, being Christian, had remained in the army for two more years. Finally, Erasmus urges that the weapons of the Church are the sword of the word of God, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, the breast-plate of justice, the darts of prayers, as the apostle teaches in Ephesians 6, and therefore Christians must not fight with swords and weapons.
But, they say, war is the opposite of peace, and peace is good and an effect of charity; therefore war is evil. I reply that war is the opposite of peace in such a way that it is also a means toward peace, and this is the difference between a just and an unjust war. An unjust war is the opposite of a good peace and leads to an evil peace, and therefore such war is evil; a just war is the opposite of an evil peace and leads to a good peace, just as the wounds of the surgeon are the opposite of the ill and imperfect health of sick people, but they lead to good and perfect health as their end.
The conditions of a just war are usually four according to those who discuss these matters: legitimate authority, a just cause, a good intention, and an appropriate way of proceeding. But each one must be discussed by itself. The first condition is legitimate authority, as St. But if princes are wronged by other princes, they do not have a common tribunal where they can complain, and therefore it is lawful for them to respond to public wrongs with war.
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Moreover, this authority of declaring war resides, according to common opinion, in all princes and peoples who have no superior in temporal matters, which means all kings, the Republic of Venice, and similar entities, and also certain dukes and counts who are not subject to anybody in temporal matters, for those who are subject to others are not themselves heads of commonwealths but rather limbs. Note, however, that this authority is not required for a defensive war, only for an offensive one, for self-defense is lawful for anybody, not only for a prince, but also for a Edition: current; Page: [ 69 ] private citizen, while declaring war and invading the enemy are the prerogative of the supreme head.
The second condition is just cause, since a war cannot be declared without a cause, nor can it be declared simply for some crime, but only to ward off a wrong.