Martyr Justin.

The first apology of Justin Martyr, addressed to the Emperor Antoninus Pius : prefaced by some account of the writings and opinions of Justin Martyr online

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Writings of Justin Martyr. 1 5 3

idolatry, and reaped the advantage of the worship which they
caused to be paid to the statues of dead men.i

P. 85. Tatian, speaking in his own person, thus describes
the moral character of the Christians of his day : 2 " I wish not
to reign ; I wish not to be rich ; I avoid military office ; I
abhor fornication ; I will not make long voyages through the
insatiate desire of gain ; I contend not at games in order to
obtain a crown ; I am far removed from the mad love of glory ;
I despise death ; I am superior to every kind of disease ; my
soul is not consumed by grief. If I am a slave, I submit to
my servitude ; if I am free, I pride not myself in my noble
birth. I see one sun common to all ; I see one death common
to all, whether they live in pleasure or in want."

In a subsequent passage Tatian says : ^ "With us there is no
desire of vainglory, and we consequently affect not a variety
of doctrines ; but separated from the vulgar and earthly senti-
ment, and obeying the precepts of God, and following the law
of the father of incorruption, we renounce all that rests on
human opinion. Not only do the rich learn philosophy, but
the poor also enjoy instruction gratis;* for that which comes
from God cannot be paid for by any worldly compensation.
Thus we receive all who wish to hear, even though they are
old women or children. In a word, all ages receive honour
with us ; but all lasciviousness is far removed from us." Speak-
ing of his own conversion to Christianity, Tatian says ^ that,
" observing the trifling questions on which the Gentiles, who
affected the character of wisdom, employed themselves ; their
ignorance of all that really deserved to be known; their
presumption ; their pride ; the variety of opinions which pre-

1 L. i. p. 76 C; 1. iii. p. ii8 A.

2 P. 150 B. Compare p. 162 D. ^ P. 167 A.
* See p. 168 C. Compare p. 9, note 5.

5 Pp. 163 C to 165 C.

154 Some Account of the

vailed among them even on the nature of virtue and vice,
some holding that to be honourable which others deemed
infamous — whereas the nature of virtue must be always the
same ; — observing all these things, and having been initiated
into their mysteries, and ascertained the flagitious character
of their rites, he considered with himself in what manner he
could arrive at the truth. While he was thus considering, he
met with certain barbarous writings, ancient in comparison
with the dogmas of the Greeks ; divine in comparison with
their error. To these he gave his assent, moved by the
unpretending character of the diction ; the simplicity of the
speakers ; the mode in which the work of creation was rendered
easy of comprehension ; the prediction of future events ; the
excellence of the precepts ; and the doctrine of the subjection
of the universe to one God."

As Tatian exposes at some length what he deems the
abominations of the theatrical exhibitions, and of the public
games, we may conclude that he did not deem it consistent
with the profession of Christianity to attend them.^

Athenagoras, having recited some of the moral precepts
delivered by our Saviour, in order to explain to the emperors
the real character of Christianity, asks,^ " Who among those,
who analyze syllogisms, and resolve ambiguities, and explain
etymologies, and define homonymes and synonymes, and cate-
gories, and axioms, and the subject and the predicate, and
profess that by such instructions they can make their hearers
happy — who among them are so purified in their souls as,
instead of hating, to love their enemies ; as, instead of doing
that which is even deemed a mark of the greatest moderation
— of retorting evil language — to bless their calumniators, and
even to pray for those who are laying snares against their life ?
The heathen teachers of knowledge, on the contrary, are ever
' Pp. i6o D to 162 B. ^ Legatio, p. 11 C.

Writings of Justin Marty^^. 1 5 5

forming some forbidden scheme against their adversaries, and
desiring to do them injury ; making their profession a mere
flourish of words, and not a rule of practice.^ But among us
you may find illiterate persons, and artisans, and old women,
who, if they cannot show the benefits resulting from their pro-
fession by their words, show it by practice. For they do not
commit words to memory, but show forth good deeds ; — when
struck, they strike not again — when robbed, they have not re-
course to the law — they give to those who ask — and love their
neighbours as themselves. Is it hkely that we should thus
purify ourselves, unless we believed that God presided over
the human race ? No one can say so. But because we are
persuaded that we shall render an account of our present Hfe
to the God Who made both us and the world, we choose the
moderate and benevolent, and (in human estimation) despised
course of life ; thinking that even if we lose our lives, we
cannot suffer any evil here^ to be compared with the reward
which we shall receive hereafter from the great Judge, on ac-
count of our gentle and benevolent and temperate behaviour." 2
In a subsequent passage,-^ Athenagoras states that, agreeably
to the injunctions of their blessed Master, Christians are pure,
not only in their actions and their words, but even in their
thoughts; knowing that the eye of God is ever over them, and
that being Himself wholly light, He looks into the very heart.

He alleges as a proof that the Christians were not guilty of
the crimes imputed to them, that no one of their slaves, who

Tt^v'/iv Xoyuv, xa.) ovx Iti^h^iv 'ipyuv, to <rpKyfioe. Ticrot^ifiivoi. So p. ^'J A,
ov ya-p [mXit'/i x'oyeav, ot,XK I'Tthii^u ko.) ^thatrxxXia, spyuv, rot, ^/Mnpet, " iNiOt
by the use of words, but by the display and practice of deeds." ** Quotus
enim quisque Philosophorum invenitur, qui sit ita moratus, ita animo ac
vita constitutus, ut ratio postulat ? qui disciplinam suam, non ostentationem
scientiae, sed legem vitse putet ? qui obtemperet ipse sibi, ac decretis suis
pareat?" Cicero, Tusc. ii. c. 4 or 12,

- The same argument is again urged, p. 35 C.

^ Pp- 35 C. 36 A.

156 Sojue Account of the

must have been privy to the fact, had ever been brought
forward to give evidence against them, or had even laid such
crimes falsely to their charge.^ " For how," he says, " can
any one accuse of homicide, or of eating human flesh, those
who cannot bear to be present even at the execution of a
person justly condemned ? While others rush with eagerness
to behold the combats of the gladiators, and the conflicts with
wild beasts, we renounce such sights, thinking that there is little
difference between witnessing and committing homicide. Can
we then commit murder, who will not even look upon it, lest
we should bring upon ourselves guilt and pollution? " Athena-
goras then goes on to say that the Christians would neither
use medicines in order to procure abortions, nor expose their

Having stated that the purity of the Christians extended not
only to their actions, but also to their desires and thoughts,^
he adds that they regarded the younger members of the
community as their children ; those of their own age as
brothers and sisters ; those advanced in years as their parents.
" Having then," he proceeds, " the hope of eternal life, we
despise the things of this life, and all in which the soul takes
pleasure. Each of us confines himself to his own wife ; and
marries not to satisfy desire, but to beget children. Many
among us, both men and women, have grown old in a state of
celibacy, through the hope that they shall thereby be more
closely united to God. But if the condition of virgins and
eunuchs is more acceptable to God, and even thoughts and
desires exclude us from His presence, surely we shall renounce
the act when we shun the very wish. For our profession con-
sists not in well-composed sentences, but in practice. Either
we remain as we are born, or we contract one marriage ; for a
second marriage is a decorous adultery. 'For whoever,' He
(Christ) says, 'puts away his wife, and marries another,
P. 38 B. P. 36 A.

Wrilings of J its tin Martyr. 157

commits adultery ; ' neither allowing us to put away our
wives, nor to marry again. For he who cuts himself off
from his first wdfe, even though she be dead, is a concealed
adulterer ; transgressing the hand (work) of God in the
creation (for God in the beginning created one man and
one woman), and dissolving the union of the flesh." M.
Barbeyraci has animadverted, and not without reason, upon
the preference ascribed to a life of celibacy in the above
passage ; upon the restriction of the use of marriage to the
sole object of having children ; and upon the condemnation
pronounced against second marriages. Nothing indeed can
be more forced than the application of the texts of Scripture,
or more inconclusive than the reasoning.

Theophilus pursues the same course of argument as Athena-
goras in defending the Christians against the calumnious
accusations of their adversaries. Having recited the precepts
of the gospel respecting purity of thought and wish, universal
benevolence, humility, obedience to magistrates, he asks,^
" Can they who learn such precepts live Hke brute beasts, or
indulge in unnatural lusts, or eat human flesh ? they who are
not permitted even to behold the combats of the gladiators,
lest they should become, as it were, accessaries to murder;
they who are not permitted to frequent the theatres, lest their
eyes and ears should be polluted by the horrible and vicious
stories which form the subjects of the dramatic exhibitions?
Far be the thought of doing such acts from Christians, who
are chaste, temperate, who confine themselves to one wife—
among whom purity is cultivated, injustice and sin are extir-
pated, justice and law are observed, piety is practised, God is
confessed, truth sits in judgment, grace and peace act as
guardians and protectors, the Holy Word is the guide, Wisdom
the teacher, the true life the director, God the king."^

1 Traitede la Morale des Peres, c. 4, sect. vi. ^ L. iii. p. 126 D.

•' I entertain doubts about the words loj^ ^^c^^ivu in ihc text ; if they are

158 Some Account of the

Theophilus does not appear to have entertained the exag-
gerated notion of the merit of ceHbacy which we have
remarked in Athenagoras. Speaking of what he terras the
prophecy of Adam/ in Gen. ii., "Therefore shall a man
leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife ;
and they shall be one flesh," he says that it was accomplished
in the conduct of the Christians. "For who," he asks, "being
lawfully married, does not (comparatively) despise his father,
and mother, and kindred, and relations — cleaving and united
to his wife, and concentrating his affections in her? so that
many have not refused to encounter death for the sake of
their wives." Theophilus describes himself as originally a
Gentile, and converted to Christianity by reading the sacred
writings of the prophets, and observing how events corre-
sponded to their predictions. ^

P. 90. On the subject of the subsistence of miraculous
powers in the Church, most of my readers will remember the
remarks of Gibbon ^ on the reply made by Theophilus when
challenged by Autolycus to point out a single person who had
been raised from the dead. Theophilus answers that there is
no great merit in believing what we see ; that Autolycus, who
believed that Hercules who was burned, and ^sculapius who
was killed by a thunderbolt, still lived, was not very consistent
in doubting the assertions of God Himself in Scripture re-
specting the resurrection of the dead; that perhaps, if his
demand was satisfied, he would still remain incredulous ; that
the natural world supplies many analogies from which we

not an interpolation, 'C,u^a must refer to the title which our Saviour gives
Himself, John xi. 25, xiv. 6.
^ L. ii. p. 104 C.

2 L. i. p. 78 D ; 1. ii. p. 88 A.

3 Chap. XV. p. 476, quarto ed. Autolycus does not promise, on the
production of a person so raised, to embrace Christianity^ but to believe
in the resurrection of the dead. L. ii. p. 77 C.

Writings of J 21 still Martyr, 159

may infer that the dead will rise. But Theophilus certainly
does not accept the challenge of Autolycus ; he does not even
say that he himself knew an instance in which a dead man
had been raised. Having elsewhere^ stated my opinion
respecting the date of the cessation of miraculous powers
in the Church, I shall now say nothing further on the

P. 92. Theophilus opposes "holy churches" to "heresies."
L. ii. p. 94 A.

P. 96. Justin speaks of Damascus and Rama as situated
in Arabia. Dial. pp. 305 A, 304 D.

P. 97. Tatian speaks ^ as if Moses was considered by some
to be contemporary with Inachus ; and says, that in that case
he lived 400 years before the Trojan war. The Sibyl is also
mentioned as more ancient than Homer.^

The verses of the Sibyl are once quoted by Athenagoras,^
who says that Plato had mentioned her. Theophilus gives
long extracts from the verses of the Sibyl,^ and names her
together with the prophets.*^

According to Theophilus. Moses lived 900 or 1000 years
before the Trojan war.^ He says^ also that, according to

1 In my work On Teiiullian, p. lOO,

2 P. 172 c. '^ P. 173 c.

* Legatio, p. 33 D. See the Hortatory Address to the Greeks^ p. 16 D.
5 L. ii. pp. 81 B, 88 A, 107 C, 112 A.

8 roiw) 2//3vXX« Kou o't Xof^o) '^po(pnrot,i, "This Sibyl and the remaining
prophets," p. 116 A.
^ L. iii. p. 131 C.
8 L. ii. p. 106 D. In 1. iii. p. 129 B, he assigns the reason why Noah

was so called, u? NiSs, xarayysXXuv t^i; rori elv^pcu'Toi; f^iXXtiv x.a.TCCK'kviTy.OM
(crta-^aiy '!rpoi(pvriv(riy kutoT; Xiyuv, ^ivn, xaXu v/au; Siot u; fz-ruviixv, dio

i6o Some Account of the

some, Deucalion was the same as Noah. We have seen that
he speaks of the prophecy of Adam.^

The author of the Hortatory Address to the Greeks speaks
of Moses as the first prophet and legislator : 2 "Ap^o/xat
TOivuv (XTTO Tov 7rpa>T0v Trap' r}}uv nrpof^rjTOv t€ kol vofxoOirov
M(o crews.

P. 108. We find in Athenagoras a passage^ which
appears to be meant for a quotation from the New Testa-
ment, but is not found in our present books. Lardner ■* says
that "there is no necessity of supposing that Athenagoras
ascribes them (the words) to Christ, or that he took them

olKiico; AivxecXim i^XrifA. " Even as Noah proclaimed to men that the
fiood would shortly come, and prophesying to them saying, ' Come hither,
God calls you to repentance' ; wherefore he was also called Deucalion."
He had previously said, y^ro roZ N&l= 'Efipcx,'iffr), 0? '^np/n'/iviviron t55 'EXkd^i
yXuirffYi a.\ia,'7rot,v(ri;, " By the Hebrew name Noah, which is interpreted in
the Greek tongue u.vix.'Travcn?, 'rest.'" In 1. ii. p. 108 C, we find the
following derivation of the word 'lipovffa.'kyifji, : xara Ti rov alrov x.aipov
lyiviro (ia/riXiv; ^ixeiio;, ovo/xart MiXp(^KTih\^, iv -proXit 2u,Xvif^, rn vuv 'lipo(roXvf/.a..
(f. 'lipoviTciX^fA..) oiiTo; hpsh; iyiviro 'Ptpuros Tavruv npiuv rov @iov rou v^kttou'
el-TTo Tovrov 'h -roXi; Mvof/,cia'^)j 'lipouirocXh/^, h 'Tfponp'/if^iv'/i IzpoffoXvf/,a. " But
at that time there was a righteous king named Melchisedech, in the
city of Salem, which is now Jerusalem. He was made the first of all
priests {iipih;) by God the Most High. Wherefore the city was called

1 P. 217. 2 p. 9.

^ TciXiv 'A[MV xiyovTo; tov Xoyov, Iciv ris oia, nrovro \k dtv-ipov x.arxipiXna'yi on
'lipitTiv cclru' y,ou i'7!'i(pipovros, ovrwi oiiv oe.x.pifiua' to (p'lX'/tfx.oc, [/.ocXXov o\ to
'TrpoffKvvnfj^a,, oil' ug, u Tfov fiixpov t3? otocvoia. <Ta,pa,6oXuhin, 'i^u vificis rjjj oc'tuv'iov
TifivTo; Z,um. Legatio, p. 36 C. The Benedictine editors refer to Clemens
Alexandrinus. Fttd. 1. iii. p. 301, ed. Potter.

^ Credibility, c. 18, sect. xx. Lardner refers to Jones On the Canon,
vol. i. p. 551. Le Nourry doubts whether Athenagoras quoted the
Nazarene Gospel, or gave the sense instead of the precise words of
Scripture, p. 487. Tatian speaks of a,\ h/oTUTcm Ipfir.vuui, p. 151 C; and

of himself as SnoTipu; tivo; iH.<puv^a-iu; X'oyo) ■AO.TO.y^puf/i'iOV, p. 1 52 A.

Writings of Justin Mat'tyr. i6i

out of any copies of our Gospels, or from any Apocryphal
Gospel. They may be as well cited from some Christian
writer, whom Athenagoras thought to have expressed himself
upon this subject agreeably to the strict doctrine of Christ
delivered in the Gospels." I must confess that I am not
satisfied with this solution, — though I cannot suggest a









To the Emperor Titus ^lius Adrianus Antoninus Pius
Augustus Caesar,! and to his son Verissimus the philosopher,
and to Lucius the philosopher, the natural son of Caesar, but
the adopted of Pius, the lover of learning ; and to the sacred
senate, and to all the people of Rome, in the behalf of men of
all ranks and nations unjustly loaded with public odium and
oppression, 1,2 Justin, the son of Priscus, and grandson of

^ From this liberal inscription of titles, you may see that St. Justin
was not of the same spirit with our Quakers in point of salutation ; for
the understanding of which inscription you are to take notice that the first
named in it is the Emperor Antoninus Pius, the adoptive son of Adrian ;
the second, called Verissimus, is Marcus Antoninus the philosopher,
the adoptive son of Antoninus Pius ; the third is Lucius Verus, the son
of ^lius Verus, who had been Caesar, and was the adoptive son of
Antoninus Pius. The titles here bestowed by the martyr were the most
beloved ones ; for the family of the Antonines from Adrian to Commodus
affected the title of philosophers as much as that of fathers of their
country, etc.

2 'Uvirrivo? Upianou tou Bukx/iov, etc. Jerome in his catalogue makes
Priscus Bacchius the father of Justin ; and herein is followed by Caristo-

(2) The First Apology of Justin Martyr,

Bacchius, natives of Flavia Neapolis i of Palestine, Syria, I, who
am one of this suffering multitude, humbly offer this Apology. 2

II. It is the voice of reason, and ever attended to by men
truly pious and worthy the name of philosopher, that truth
alone is the thing to be had in the highest honour, and to
hold the first place in our affections, and the ancients to be
followed not one step further than they are followers of truth.
The same right reason dictates also that we are not' only to
strike in with any sect of men, unjust either in practice or
principle, but, moreover, that a lover of the truth must by all
means, and before life itself, and in defiance of all the menaces
of death, choose to square his words and actions by the rules
of justice whatever it cost him. And whereas you wear the
glorious titles of pious and philosophers, and guardians of
justice and lovers of learning, though these, I say, are the
darling characters you affect to be distinguished by everywhere,

phorson, and by all the versions of Justin, till that corrected by the learned
Dr. Grabe ; but it is evident from the construction of the words that
Priscus was the father, and Bacchius the grandfather ; for tut aro
^Xciovix; being of the plural number cannot agree with llpia-Kov rev
Banpf^iiou of the singular, if it was but one person. The great Du Pin
has taken up with this common mistake, and the ingenious author of the
notes upon him has overlooked it also, which I the rather wonder at,
because the excellent Dr. Cave, whom he is pleased sometimes to animad-
vert upon, would have set him to rights in this matter in his most accurate
life of this martyr. — Vtd. tom. i. Spicileg. Patr. Scec. xi. p. 134 ; and Vales.,
Notes upon Eiiseb. p. 66.

^ This Flavia Neapolis anciently went by the name of Sichem, a noted
city of Palestine in the province of Samaria, and from a colony sent thither
by Flavius Vespasian called Flavia. — Vid. Not. Vales, ad Euseb. lib. iv.
chap. xii.

=^"EvT££/|;v. Valesius in his notes upon this word in Eusebius, p. 66,
says that 'i\ruyx^a.tuv is to go and supplicate the Emperor either by a
petition in writing or by word of mouth, and so tjjv wpoiT(pMv/i(rtv xa) hnv^iv
voiovf^ai are both included in this version, whether it was delivered in
writing or by word of mouth according to Perionius.

The First Apology of Justin Marty 7'. (3)

yet whether you make them good or no shall be seen by the
following discourse ; for we come not here with a design to
flatter or ingratiate by the power of fine words, but we come
in plain terms to demand judgment according to the strictest
and exactest rules of justice, that neither prejudice nor the
vanity of getting into the good graces of superstitious men,
nor blind passion, or a scandalous report which has so long
prepossessed you, might any longer prevail with you to pass
sentence against yourselves by condemning the innocent \ for
it is a maxim among us Christians that we cannot possibly
suffer any real hurt, if we cannot be convicted of doing any
real evil : " You may kill indeed, but you cannot hurt us.''^

III. But that you may not look upon this as a senseless
bravado, or bold flourish only, we pray the charge against
Christians may be examined into, and if upon examination
ihe allegations prove true, let them be punished accordingly,
or rather do you who are the judges award the punishment,
and not leave it to the discretion of the mob.- But if nothing
criminal can be made out against us, you cannot surely judge
it reasonable to injure a harmless people barely upon an evil
report ; though, let me tell you, while thus you consult not
your judgment but your passion in the distributions of jus-
tice, you will pull down the mischief upon yourselves which
you are heaping upon us. Every man of sense must own it

^ 'T^sr? ^' a.vojiTitva.i fAv ^vvaffh, (IXk-^oh V ov. In this sentence I doubt
not but our Martyr had reference to that of Plato, where we have the
same sense in ahiiost the same words, and in an Apology. For thus
Socrates tells the Athenians : i'J ya,p "an l«v \[A ocTroKTilvin roioZrov

o'lov iyu Xiyck), ovx. IfA /Lcii^co (iXK-^iTi '/j iiy-KS ecvrov. ijui yccp ov^iv (ixd^ii

oiln MiXtros ovri "Avvtos, etc. — Plato's Apology of Socrates^ Camb. edit.
p. 26.

^ MaXXav Ti koXcIXsiv. I have followed Dr. Grabe's conjecture in the
version of these words. But Dr. Cave translates them thus: "Nay, let
them be more severely punished than other men." — Prim. Christianity,
p. 83.

(4) The First Apology of Justin Martyr.

the fairest and most equitable way of proceeding in courts of
judicature for the people to deliver in a just unexceptionable
declaration of their words and actions, and then for the
magistrates to proceed to sentence, not as the lust of tyranny
and oppression pushes on, but as piety and true wisdom steer
their judgment. By this expedient happy will the prince and
happy will the people be who are in such a case ; for it is a
saying of one of the ancients, " That till magistrates and
people both thus philosojDhise, the body politic will never be
well." ^ Accordingly, therefore, it shall be my business, in the
first place, to lay before the public a faithful memorial of our
life and doctrine, that we may not thank ourselves for our
sufferings, which for want of due information you may inflict
upon us ; but then remember, it is your parts and duties, ac-
cording to the aforesaid rule of reason, to see that when you
have heard the cause you are found to judge righteous judg-
ment ; for, believe me, you will be without excuse before God
for the time to come, if after you understand the Christian
cause, you refuse a Christian justice ; the bare application of
a name without any fact faUing under that name is looked
'upon as neither good nor evil; and as for our name, which is
tantamount to a crime against a Christian, if we are tried upon
that article, we must certainly be acquitted as very good men ;
but as we should deem it unreasonable when convicted of real
crimes to plead a bare name only in arrest of judgment, so,
on the other side, if both with respect to our name and the
nature of our polity we are found altogether innocent, it lies
at your door to take care, lest by unjustly punishing a people
convicted of no evil you yourselves deservedly smart for such
injustice. Praise and punishment, then, cannot with reason be
charged upon a mere name, unless there be actions either good
or bad to justify the charge ; but it is very notorious that when

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