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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himself with a mixture repugnant to all the laws of religion
and temperance, but it is a great chance that the sinner does
not pollute himself with some of his own children or nearest
relations. Some there are who prostitute their own wives and
children, and others are cut pubHcly for pathic obscenity, and
their instruments made a sacrifice to the mother of the gods.
And of all the established deities among you, a painted ser-
pent is the greatest symbol and mystery. And such actions
as you commit in the face of the sun, and are creditable vices
among you, as if you had not one spark of divine light left,
those you charge upon us ; though this charge will do no harm
to us, who are entire strangers to such sins, but to the doers
of them only, and to such as falsely lay them to the charge of
Christians. But the ringleader and prince of evil spirits is by
us called the serpent, and Satan, and false accuser, as you
may easily find from our Scriptures, who together with all his
host of angels, and men like himself, shall be thrust into fire,
there to be tormented, world without end, as our Christ has
foretold ; and the reason why God has not done this already
is out of mercy to such of mankind as He foresees will repent
and be saved ; some of which are now in being, and others
as yet unborn. And from the beginning He made mankind
intelligent and free creatures, fit for the choice and practice of
truth and goodness, so that every sinner should be without
excuse before God ; for we are endued with reason, and formed
for contemplation. If any one, therefore, shall disbelieve the
providence of God, or shall deny His existence, notwithstand-
ing the evidence of His world, or assert Him to be a Being
delighted with wickedness, or as unactive as a stone, and that
vice and virtue are nothing in themselves, and depend only
upon the opinions of men ; this, I say, is a consummate piece
of impiety and injustice. And another reason against ex-

{^S) The First Apology of Jti^stin Martyr.

posing infants is, that we are afraid they should perish for
want of being taken up, and so bring us under the guilt of

XXXVII. Moreover, the end of Christians in marrying is
the Christian education of their children, and such as refuse
to marry contain themselves perpetually within the bounds of
chastity. And to give you a very persuasive and sensible argu-
ment that promiscuous copulation is not one of the mysteries in
practice amongst us, a Christian youth sent a petition to Felix,
the President of Alexandria, to give a surgeon leave to cut
him ; for without leave from the president such kind of opera-
tions are interdicted ; but when Felix would not sign the
petition, the youth persisting in his resolution, at length satis-
fied his conscience and those about him who were of his mind,
by performing the operation upon himself. I do not think
it improper in this place to put you in mind of the late
Antinous, whom all were prevailed upon by fear to worship
as a god, notwithstanding they well knew what he was, and
whence his original. But lest any one should object that we
can show no reason why our Christ should not be looked upon
as a mere man, and His miracles the effects only of magic,
and therefore cried up for the Son of God, I shall enter upon
the proof of His divinity, not so much trusting to the reports
of men as the predictions of prophets, and necessitated to
believe, because we see things with our own eyes already ful-
filled according to these predictions, and a fulfilling on every
day ; and this, I believe, you yourselves will grant to be the
strongest demonstration of the truth imaginable.

XXXVIII. There were of old, among the Jews, certain
prophets of God, by whom the prophetic spirit made procla-
mation of things to come long before they were in being ;
these prophecies, just as they were delivered, were committed
to writing by the prophets themselves in their own Hebrew

The First Apology of Jtistin Martyr. (39)

mother tongue, and the books put into the custody of the
kings of Judea then in being. When Ptolemy, therefore,
king of Egypt, was setting up his library, and very inquisitive
about the most curious collection of all sorts of books, being
informed of these prophetic writings, he despatched an
ambassador to the Jewish high priest,^ who was at that time
invested with the regal power, to request of him a present of
these prophecies, and accordingly the royal high priest sent
them in their original language ; but the contents of these
books being not intelligible to the Egyptians in the Hebrew
tongue, he sent a second embassy to desire him to send over
men to translate them into Greek ; and by these means these
books are in being with Egyptians to this day, and this trans-
lation is in the hands almost of every Jew all the world over ;
which, though they read, they understand not, but blindly
take Christians for their enemies, and whenever it is in their
power treat us as cruelly as you do, which I doubt not but
you will readily grant me. For in the last Jewish war,
Barchochebas, the ringleader of the revolting Jews, ordered
the Christians only to be dragged to the most grievous tor-
ments unless they would renounce and blaspheme Jesus

^ Tu Tuv '\ovhce,lu)'i Tori (iaffiXivovrt 'llpc-j^ri. This is another passage
which that " Orbillius Patrum," John Daille, has chosen to expose what
he thinks to be the nakedness of this Father ; for (says he) Justin Martyr,
speaking of the translation of the seventy interpreters, affirms that Ptolemy,
king of Egypt, sent his ambassadors to Herod, king of Judsea, whereas
the truth of the story is, that he sent to Eleazar the high priest, two
hundred forty and odd years before Herod came to be king of Judaea.
Dr. Grabe, who makes it his business to do justice to the primitive
Fathers, who deserve so well of the Christian world, well knew that
his Justin was a person too well qualified to be guilty of so notorious an
oversight in point of chronology, and in a matter so near his own time,
has by a happy conjecture restored him to himself by substituting 'npi7
instead of'Hpuoyi, which, no doubt, was a blunder in the transcriber. Vzd.
notes upon this place.

(4o) The First Apology of Jicstin Martyr.

XXXIX. Now in these books of the prophets we find it fore-
told that there was One a-coming into the world Who, being
born of a virgin, and grown up to man's estate, should cure
every disease and malady' in nature, and raise the dead, and
be treated with spite and ignominy, and at length this Jesus
our Christ should be fastened to a cross, and die, and rise
again, and ascend up into heaven, and that He was truly the
Son of God, and should be worshipped under that title, and
that He should send out some to preach these tidings to
every nation, and that the Gentiles should come over to the
faith in greater numbers than the Jews ; and these very pro-
phecies went of Him before His coming, some five thousand,
some three, some two, some one thousand, and some eight
hundred years only ; ^ for in these succeeding generations there
was a succession of some prophets or other.

XL. And the great prince of prophets, Moses, thus expressly
signified : " The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a
lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come ; and unto
Him shall the gathering of the people be ; binding His foal
unto the vine, and washing His garments in the blood of
grapes" (Gen. xlix. lo, ii). It is incumbent therefore upon
you to make diligent inquiry how long the Jews had a prince
or ruler properly their own, and you will find, until the ap-
pearance of Jesus Christ our Master, the great Expositor of
these prophecies, little understood before ; and you will see it
exactly verified according to what the divine, holy, and pro-
phetic Spirit foretold by Moses, " That a lawgiver should not
depart from Judah, until Shiloh come ; " for Judah was the
father of the Jewish nation, and from whom they took the
name of Jews. But after the coming of Shiloh, you your-
selves reigned over the Jews, and reduced their whole kingdom

1 *' Some five thousand, some three," etc. The more curious will find
the chronology of these several periods adjusted by Dr. Grabe in his notes
upon this place.

The First Apology of Justin Martyr. (41)

into a Roman province ; that part of the prophecy which says
" that unto Him shall the gathering of the people be," or " that
He shall be the expectation of the Gentiles," denotes the
general expectation of His second coming, — a truth your own
eyes bear witness to, and the thing proves itself; for you see
all sorts of men big with the hopes of His second coming in
glory, Who was crucified in Judaea, after which crucifixion you
immediately became masters of their whole country.

XLI. Moreover, *' the binding His foal unto the vine, and
washing His garments in the blood of grapes," was a significative
symbol of what Christ was to do and suffer ; for there stood
the foal of an ass tied to a vine at the entrance of a certain
village, which He ordered His disciples to go and bring Him,
upon which He got and rode into Jerusalem, where the stately
temple of the Jews then was, which you since have razed to
the ground ; and to fulfil the sequel of the prophecy He was
afterwards crucified. For " washing His garments in the blood
of grapes " prefigured the passion He was to undergo, purify-
ing by His blood such as should believe in Him ; for what,
by the prophet, the Divine Spirit calls His garments are the
faithful, in whom the Logos, the seed of God, dwells.^ " The
blood of grapes " typifies that He Who was to come should have
blood, but not of human, but of divine generation ; and the
first power next to God the Father, and Lord of all, is His
Son the Logos ; but how this Logos was incarnated and made

^ To <^upa Tou @scv iTTspfict, x'oyos. I take the liberty to dissent from
Dr. Grabe in this place, who thinks that -prnv(jt.a. ought to be restored in
the room of (r-^ripfAK, because of the word oIku; but Christ is said to dwell in
the faithful as well as the Holy Spirit. Ka,Toi)iY>!ra.i tov Xpitrrov ^ik rn? -r'^rnui
\m rcili xap^ixi; vficuv, '* that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith " (Eph.
iii. 17), and in many other places to the same purpose. But, moreover, the
main design of Justin in this prophecy is to establish the divine generation
of Christ, and therefore he emphatically calls Him to ^ecpa tov @iou ff^ipf^a,
" the seed of God," in opposition to xv^pu^rnov o-Tip/xa, " the seed of man,"
which immediately he twice repeats in expounding the blood of the grape.

(42) The First Apology of Justin Martyr.

man shall be declared in order. But as man had no hand
in making the blood of the grape, but God only, so this is
an emblem that the blood of the Logos was of no human
extraction, but descended from the power of the Most High,
as I have already declared.

XLII. Isaiah, another prophet, foretells the same things,
but in other words : " There shall come a Star out of Jacob,
and a Rod shall come forth out of the root of Jesse, and to
it shall the Gentiles seek " (Isa. xi. i, 10).^ Now this shining
Star out of Jacob, and this Rod out of the root of Jesse, is
Christ ; for He was conceived by the power of God, and born
of a virgin of the seed of Jacob, the father of Judah, from
whence arose the Jewish nation ; and Jesse, according to his
oracle, was reckoned among His ancestors, but He was the son
of Jacob and Judah in a lineal succession.

XLIII. Again, concerning His being to be born of a virgin,
hear the express words of the same prophet Isaiah, and they
are these : " Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son,
and shall call His name Immanuel," that is, " God with us "
(Isa. vii. 14). For such things as were incredible and impossible
to be, in the opinions of men, God by the prophetic Spirit
foretold should be ; that' when they found such things in
being, the very predictions should make it hardly possible to
disbelieve them. But that such as understand not the pro-
phecy before us, may not turn to the objections upon us which
we charge upon the poets, and father this conception upon a
lustful Jove, I shall endeavour to set the words in a clearer
light. This expression, therefore, "Behold, a virgin shall con-
ceive," manifestly declares that a virgin shall conceive without
any carnal concurrence, for upon that she must cease to be
a virgin ; but the power of God coming down upon the virgin

AvaT-sAtr «<rT/)av e| 'lxxu(i. See Dr. Grabe's conjecture upon this

The First Apology of Justin Martyr. (43)

overshadowed her, and made her conceive in the pure state
of virginity; and the angel of God which was sent to her,
delivered his embassy in these words : " Behold, thou shalt
conceive in thy womb by the Holy Ghost, and bring forth a
Son, and He shall be called the Son of the Highest, and thou
shalt call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from
their sins " (Luke i. 31, 35; Matt. i. 21), as the evangelists
have taught us, whom we believe, and the rather because the
prophetic Spirit by the same Isaiah has foretold He should be
born, just as we have now declared. By the " Spirit and power
of God," we ought to understand the very Logos, who, accord-
ing to the aforesaid prophet Isaiah, is the "first-begotten of
God." ^ This Spirit coming down and overshadowing the virgin,
did impregnate her, not in a carnal way, but by a power
divine. Jesus is an Hebrew word, and in Greek o-wttjp, that
is, Saviour, in allusion to w^hich the angel delivered himself
thus to the virgin, " And thou shalt call His name Jesus, for
He shall save His people from their sins."

XLIV. That the prophets were inspired by nothing but the
divine Wisdom or Logos, Who could foresee things at such a
distance, is what I believe you yourselves will grant me ; but
where this Logos was to be born, hear what Micah, another
prophet, says, and thus it stands : " And thou, Bethlehem,
in the land of Judah, art not the least among the princes of
Judah ; for out of thee shall come a Governor That shall rule
My people Israel." ^ Now this Bethlehem, w^here Christ Jesus
was born, is a certain village in Judaea, about thirty-five fur-
longs from Jerusalem, as you may see in the censual tables of
Cyrenius, the first Prefect of Judaea ;2 and how Christ after

^ See Dr. Giabe's conjecture about the corruption of this place.

2 Mic. V. 2, as it is cited by St. Matt. ii. 6.

^ 'ETTirpoTov. For the understanding of this word Dr. Grabe refers to
Grotius in c. ii. Luc. And whoever desires to see more may consuh Vales.
upon Emeh. Hist. lib. i. c. v., and Montac. Apparat. iv. p. 156, etc.

(44) T^i'^ /^?>i"^ Apology of f test in Martyr.

He was born lived in obscurity, and how this obscurity of Hfe
was foretold likewise, we have our prophets to show, for thus
they speak ; ^

XLV. " Unto us a Child is born, and a young Man given,
and the government shall be upon His shoulders " (Isa. ix. 6).
Now this was a prophetic description of the power of the
Cross, to which He applied His shoulders at His crucifixion,
as I shall manifest in the progress of this discourse. And
again, the same Isaiah, as he was moved by the prophetic
Spirit, says, " I have spread out My hands to a rebellious gain-
saying people, which walketh in a way that is not good " (Isa.
Ixv. 2). "They ask of me the ordinance of justice ; they take
delight in approaching to God " (Isa. Iviii. 2). And by another
prophet, in other words. He spake thus : " They pierced My
hands and My feet, and upon My vesture did they cast lots "
(Ps. xxii. 16, 18). But David, both a king and a prophet, who
spake this, suffered nothing like it ; but the hands of Jesus
Christ were pierced and extended upon a Cross, while the Jews
reviled and denied Him to be the Christ. For, according to
the prophet, they led Him to the judgment-seat, and flouted
Him, saying : " Thy judgment be upon us." ^ "They pierced
His hands and feet " refers to the nails that fastened them to
the cross ; and when they had crucified Him, the crucifiers
"parted His garments, and upon His vesture did they cast lots;"
and for the truth of this you may satisfy yourselves from the
acts of Pontius Pilate ; and how literally it was prophesied
that He should make His entrance into Jerusalem upon the
foal of an ass, I shall lay before you in the words of the prophet
Zechariah : ^ " Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion ; shout, O

^ Here is a deficiency, and of what, consult Dr. Grabe.

2 Matt, xxvii. Here you have not the very words, but the sense only,
as Justin often does cite in this manner.

^ T«u ^i>(poviov. Here is another terrible oversight charged upon our
Martyr by John Daille, namely, that he quotes this prophecy out of


The First Apology of Justin Martyr. (45)

daughter of Jerusalem : behold, thy King cometh unto thee,
meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass."^

XLVI. But when you hear the prophets speaking, as it
were, under the names of different persons, you must not look
upon the men who speak so much as upon the divine Logos
who inspires them ; for sometimes He personates a prophet,
sometimes He speaks in the person of God, the Lord and
Parent of the universe, sometimes in the person of Christ,
sometimes under the representation of the people in confer-
ence with the Lord or His Father ; and there is nothing more
familiar than this way of introducing several persons speaking,
though the whole was composed by one, even among your
own writers. Now the Jews, not animadverting to this manner
of personating in the prophetic writings which they had in
keeping, overlooked Christ, even before their eyes, and mortally
hate us who affirm Him already come, and to have been
crucified, and prove it demonstrably to have come to pass
according to the prophets' predictions.

XLVn. A plain example of which, you have in the words of
Isaiah the prophet just now mentioned, delivered in the person
of God the Father : " The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass
his master's crib : but Israel doth not know. My people doth
not consider. Ah, sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity,
a seed of evil-doers, wicked children, ye have forsaken the
Lord " (Isa. i. 3, 4). And again, elsewhere, the prophet speaks
in the person of the Father : " What is the house ye build
unto Me ? saith the Lord ; the heaven is My throne, and the

Zephaniah, which is only to be found in the prophet Zechariah ; but had
this censor been as good at mending as he is at making holes, he might
have found this very prophecy cited by Justin from out of Zechariah ; for
thus he speaks: •XfoK^n'rivSn V% v'pro Zet^uplov Ivns ruv '^u'^iKot,^ — ovtm; —
X^'Tpi tripd^px Svya.'Tip Ztuv, etc. Dial, cum Tryph. p. 273.
^ Zech. ix. 9, according as they are cited by Matt. xxi. 5.

(46) The First Apology of Justin Alai^tyr.

earth is My footstool" (Isa. Ixvi. i). And again, elsewhere :
" Your new moons and Sabbaths My soul hateth ; your great
day of fasting and resting I cannot away with ; when you come
to appear before Me, I will not hear you ; your hands are full
of blood, bring no more vain oblations ; incense is an abomi-
nation unto Me ; I am full of the fat of lambs, and the blood
of goats ; who has required these at your hands ? " (Isa. i.
11-15). "But loose the bands of wickedness, and undo
the heavy burdens; bring the poor that are cast out of thy
house, and cover the naked, and deal thy bread to the
hungry" (Isa. Iviii. 6, 7). And what these commands of God
by His prophets were you may understand by these examples.

XLVIII. When the prophetic Spirit speaks in the person of
Christ, He speaks in this wise : " I have spread out My hands
to an incredulous and gainsaying people, which walketh in a
way that is not good " (Isa. Ixv. 2). And again : " I gave My
back to the smiters, and My cheeks to them that struck them ;
I hid not My face from shame and spitting. For the Lord
God will help Me, therefore shall I not be confounded ; there-
fore have I set My face like a flint, and I know that I shall
not be ashamed. He is near that justifieth Me" (Isa. 1. 6, 7, 8).
And again : " They parted My garments among them, and cast
lots upon My vesture; they pierced My hands and My feet"
(Ps. xxii. 16, 18). " I laid Me down and slept, and rose again,
for the Lord raised Me" (Ps. iii. 5). And again : " They shoot
out the lip, and shake the head, saying, Let the Lord deliver
him " (Ps. xxii. 8, 9). All which you may plainly see was
fullilled in Christ by the Jews ; for while He was crucifying
they distorted their lips, and wagging their heads, said, '' He
that raised the dead, let Him save Himself" (Matt, xxvii. 39).

XLIX. When the prophetic Spirit personates a prophet in
foretelling things to come, He speaks thus : " Out of Sion shall
go forth a law, and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem,

The First Apology of Jjistin Martyr. (47)

and He shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many
people, and they shall beat their swords into ploughshares,
and their spears into pruning-hooks ; nation shall not lift up
sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more "
(Isa. ii. 3, 4). And that this scripture was thus fulfilled you
have good grounds to beKeve ; for there went out of Jerusalem
into the world men in number but twelve, and those, too, men
of no learning and of as little eloquence; but they went forth
in the power of God, and published to every nation that they
were sent to instruct them in the word of God, and sent by
Christ. And this has had so good an effect that we, who
heretofore were continually devouring each other, will not now
so much as lift up our hand against our enemies, nor tell an
untruth to escape those that are hunting after our blood, but
cheerfully confess Christ, and as cheerfully go to execution for
so doing, though we might easily come off by the help of that
mental reservation in your poet, " My tongue has sworn, but
my mind has not."i But now if the soldiers you list, and who
article with you to be true, can prefer their plighted troth
before all the endearments of life, parents, country, and every
relation, — if they can stake their all upon their allegiance to
you, who can reward them with nothing incorruptible, — how
ridiculous would it be in Christians, we whose souls are set
upon nothing but the joys of immortality, not to charge
through every affliction for the prize we so passionately desire,
and which we are sure to be crowned with by Him who is able
to give !

L. Hear also in what manner the prophetic Spirit delivers
Himself, by the mouth of him who was both prophet and
king, concerning the preachers of the gospel and the pub-
lishers of Christ's coming into the world : " Day unto day
uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge.
There is no speech nor language where their voice is not

^ Evrip, Hip.

(48) The First Apology of Justin Martyr.

heard ; their sound is gone out through all the earth ; and their
words to the end of the world. In them hath He set a tabernacle
for the sun, which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
and rejoiceth as a giant to run his course" (Ps. xix. 2-5).

LI. Should I add more of David's prophecies to these I
have already produced, I am of opinion it might be both per-
tinent and useful ; for from hence you might take a survey of
that kind of life which the prophetic Spirit exhorts men to, and
you might see Herod the king of the Jews, and the Jews
themselves, and Pilate your procurator of Judaea, and his
soldiers, all conspiring against Christ ; and how it was foretold
that, in spite of all this opposition, every nation should come
at length to believe in Him. And here likewise you may see
how God calls Him His Son, and promises to subdue all His
enemies unto Him, and how the devils should labour with all
their might to hide themselves from the power of God, the
Parent and Lord of all things, and from the power of His
Christ ; and lastly, how God should invite all men to repent
before the coming of the day of judgment. The words of
prophecy are these : "Blessed is the man that walketh not in
the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners,
nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in
the law of the Lord ; and in His law doth He meditate day
and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers
of water, that bringeth forth fruit in his season ; his leaf shall
not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. The
ungodly are not so : but are like the chaff which the wind

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Online LibraryMartyr JustinThe first apology of Justin Martyr, addressed to the Emperor Antoninus Pius : prefaced by some account of the writings and opinions of Justin Martyr → online text (page 19 of 24)