Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves.
One of the most conspicuous instances of moral courage which history affords is the following: The veteran Stilicho had conquered Alaric and his Goths. The Romans invite the hero and his ward — a stupid, cowardly boy, the Emperor Honorius — to gladiatorial games in honour of the victory. The empire has been Christian for a hundred years, yet these infamous and brutalizing shows still continue. They are defended with all sorts of devil's sophistry. The games begin; the tall, strong men enter the arena; the tragic cry echoes through the amphitheatre, "Ave Caesar, moritari te salutamus!" the swords are drawn, and in an instant's signal will be bathed in blood. At that very moment down leaps into the arena a rude, ignorant monk. "The gladiators shall not fight," he exclaims. "Are you going to thank God by shedding innocent blood?" A yell of execration rises from these 80,000 spectators. "Who is this wretch that dares to set himself up as knowing better than we do? Pelt him! Cut him down!" Stones are hurled at him; the gladiators run him through with their swords; he falls dead, and his body is kicked aside, and the games go on, and the people — Christians and all — shout applause. Aye, they go on, and the people shout, for the last time. Their eyes are opened; their sophistry is at an end; the blood of a martyr is on their souls. Shame stops for ever the massacre of gladiators; and because one poor, ignorant hermit has moral courage, "one more habitual crime was wiped away from the annals of the world."
(Arch. deacon Farrar.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves.