Schaff, Philip. History of the Christian Church (The Complete Eight Volumes in One). Amazon Kindle Edition, 2014.
Volume 2, Ante-Nicene Christianity A.D. 100-325, “Chapter 8. Christian life in Contrast with Pagan Corruption.” Sections 88-103, Loc. 16158-17158.
§ 100. Brother Love, and Love for Enemies.
jSchaff observes that the morality of classical antiquity was built on selfishness (Schaff 2014, Loc. 16938). We might describe the attitude today as radical individualism. People would pursue what they wanted. Winner take all. The virtues of love and humility as expressed in Christian circles were largely missing (Schaff 2014, Loc. 16943). These virtues, along with unrequited kindness and mercy, really don’t appear in the culture until the Christian period (Schaff 2014, Loc. 16962). This cultural attitude of self-interest made the love of Christians stand out in sharp contrast. Tertullian even commented that Christians could be seen to lvoe one another because the pagans hated one another (Schaff 2014, Loc. 16976). In the ante-Nicene period it was necessary for Christians to care for one another because the rest of the culture would reject them forcibly. Therefore, Chrsitian love set up a culture of care (Schaff 2014, Loc. 16986). Charitable giving was also known to be done in remote locations. Offerings were frequently sent to different national groups (Schaff 2014, Loc. 1700). Schaff notes an instance in 252 when a plague struck Carthage. The pagans fled, leaving Christians to care for the sick, which they did (Schaff 2014, Loc. 17010). Christians have a history of caring for their neighbors, regardless of the situation.