A Very Old Letter

By Royce Frederick

The following letter was probably written by a man named Cyprian, who lived in northern Africa and died in A. D. 258:

“This seems a cheerful world, Donatus, when I view it from this fair garden under the shadow of these vines. But, if I climb some great mountain and look out over the wide lands, you know very well what I would see brigands [wandering thieves] on the road, pirates on the high seas, in the amphitheatres men murdering each other to please applauding crowds, under all roofs misery and selfishness. It is really a bad world, Donatus an incredibly bad world. Yet, in the midst of it, I found a quiet and holy people. They have discovered a joy which is a thousand times better than any pleasure of this sinful life. They are despised and persecuted but they care not. These people, Donatus, are the Christians, and I am one of them.”

The troubles throughout the world, with our own daily burdens, can depress our spirits and destroy our happiness. But people who have obeyed the gospel of Christ and are truly living the Christian life have “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7).