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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are laid waste. And Thou refrainest Thyself for these things,
and dost hold Thy peace, and afflict us very sore " (Isa. Ixiv.
10, II, 12). And what a desolation Jerusalem has been,
according to this prediction, you yourselves know with a
witness. It was, moreover, prophesied concerning this desola-
tion, that not a Jew should be tolerated to live there ; for
thus Isaiah has it, " Your country is desolate, strangers
devour it in your presence, and there is none to inhabit "
(Isa. i. 7). And what care you have taken of fulfilling this
prophecy, you need not be told, for you have made it capital
in a Jew to set a foot in his own country.^

LXIII. And how it was foretold that our Christ should cure
all diseases and raise the dead, you may learn from hence :
" At His coming the lame shall leap like a stag, and the tongue
of the dumb shall be eloquent, the lepers shall be cleansed,
and the dead shall rise and walk about " (Isa. xxxv. 6).
And how He performed these miracles, you may easily be
satisfied from the acts of Pontius Pilate, and how the prophetic
Spirit declared beforehand that both He and those who trusted
in Him should lose their lives, I refer you to this passage in
Isaiah : " Behold, how the righteous perisheth, and no man
layeth it to heart ; and merciful men are taken away, none
considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil
to come ; he shall go in peace, he is taken from among us "
(Isa. Ivii. I, 2). Again, you may see how it was pubhshed by

^ Concernini]; this interdict against the Jews entering into the Holy
Land under pain of death, see Euseb. Hist. Eccles. lib. iv. c. 4, and
Tertull. Apol. c. 21.

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the same Isaiah, that the Gentiles who expected Him not,
should worship Him ; but the Jews, who were always in
expectation of Him, should not know Him, even when He
was come unto them. The words are delivered in the per-
son of Christ, and run thus : "I am sought of them that
asked not for me : I am found of them that sought me not :
I said, Behold me, behold me, unto a nation that was not
called by my name. I have spread out my hands unto a
rebellious people, which walketh in no good way, but after
their own thoughts ; a people that provoketh me to anger
continually to my face " (Isa. Ixv. 1-3). For the Jews, who
had these oracles in keeping, and were always up in expecta-
tion of the Messiah, saw Him not when before their eyes ;
and not only overlooked Him, but abused Him to the last
degree of ignominy. But the Gentiles, who sat in darkness
and had heard nothing of Christ till after His apostles went
from Jerusalem, and expounded the things concerning Him,
and published the prophecies, — these people, I say, were
filled with joy and faith at the glad tidings, and both re-
nounced their idols, and also consecrated themselves to the
Unbegotten God through Christ.^ And that the infamous
stories spread about against the professors of Christ, and the
miseries that should befall the spreaders of them, and such as
value themselves so mightily for adhering to the customs of
their forefathers, that all these things were foreknown, you may
easily perceive from this short passage in Isaiah, " Woe be to
them who call bitter sweet, and sweet bitter " (Isa. v. 20).

LXIV. Moreover, that He was to be made man for the sake
of mankind, and that He should be contented to suffer, and
to be treated in the most dishonourable manner, and at length
come again in glory, I shall propose to your observation the

^ That this was the ancient form of words proclaimed by the deacon,
upon the dismission of such catechumens from the Church as were shortly
to be baptized ; see Dr. Grabe's notes upon the place.

The First Apology of Justin Martyr. (6 1 )

prophecies upon this head. " Because He hath poured out
His soul unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors
and bare the sin of many, and made atonement for the trans-
gressors " (Isa. Hii. 12). "Behold, my Servant shall deal
prudently, He shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high.
As many were astonished at Thee ; His visage was so much
marred, more than any man, and His form more than the sons
of men : so shall many nations admire, and the kings shall
shut their mouths at Him : for that which had not been told
them shall they see, and that which they had not heard shall
they understand" (Isa. lii. 13-15). " Lord, who hath believed
our report ? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed ?
For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as
a root out of a dry ground : He hath no form or comeliness ;
and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should
desire Him. He is despised and rejected of men ; a man of
sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our
faces from Him ; He was despised, and we esteemed Him
not. Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows :
yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was wounded
for our iniquities : the chastisement of our peace was upon
Him ; and with His stripes are we healed. All we like sheep
have gone astray ; we have turned every one to his own way ;
and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He
was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His
mouth : He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a
sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He opened not His
mouth. He was taken away by distress and judgment" (Isa.
liii. 1-8). Accordingly, upon His crucifixion His disciples all
deserted and denied Him, but upon the sight of their Master
just risen from the dead, and when He had let their under-
standings into the prophecies where this whole scene of
suffering and triumph was described, and had made His
ascension into heaven before their eyes, and thus fully cori-

(62) The First Apology of Just ui iMartyr.

vinced them, and showered down upon them the powers of
the Spirit, they went out in the strength thereof into every
nation, preaching these things, and from their mission were
called apostles.

LXV. And to acquaint us that the sufferer of all this was
of a generation inexplicable, and that He should rule over
His enemies, the prophetic Spirit speaks thus : " Who shall
declare His generation ? for He was cut off out of the land
of the living, for the transgression of My people was He
stricken ; and He made His grave with the wicked, and the
rich in His death, because He had done no violence, neither
was any deceit in His mouth. Yet it pleased the Lord to
bruise Him ; He hath put Him to grief. When Thou shalt
make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He
shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall
prosper in His hand. He shall see of the travail of His soul,
and shall be satisfied. By His knowledge shall My righteous
Servant justify many, for He shall bear their iniquities.
Therefore will I divide Him a portion with the great, and He
shall divide the spoil with the strong, because He has poured
out His soul unto death, and He was numbered with the
transgressors, and made intercession for many " (Isa. liii.
8-12). Hear another prophecy concerning His ascension:
" Lift up the gates of heaven, and be ye lift up, ye everlast-
ing doors, that the King of glory may enter in. Who is the
King of glory ? The Lord strong, the Lord mighty in battle "
(Ps. xxiv. 7, 8). And that you may see how He is to come
again from heaven in glory, I will give you the prophecy of
Daniel : " Behold, the Son of man came with the clouds of
heaven, and His angels with Him " (Dan. vii. 13).

LXVL Since therefore we thus demonstrably prove that
the things now come to pass were proclaimed by the prophets
long before the events, how can we withhold from believing

The First Apology of Justin Martyr. (63)

that the prophecies as yet unfulfilled will as verily be ac-
complished in their season as those we now see verified with
our own eyes ? For as these were once foretold and dis-
believed, and yet came to pass, so the remainder will be
brought to as certain an issue, in spite of ignorance and in-
fidelity ; for the very same prophets have foretold a twofold
Advent of Christ, one wherein He was to come in the guise of
an inglorious suffering mortal, and this is over; the other,
wherein He shall come in His own form, encircled with
celestial glory, and His host of angels, when He shall raise
from the dead all the men that ever had a being,i and shall
invest the righteous with bodies incorruptible, and make the
ungodly, together with these wicked spirits, feel His vengeance
in fire everlasting.

LXVII. And the prophetic predictions concerning this
second Advent you have thus delivered by Ezekiel : *' The
bones came together, bone to his bone, and the flesh came
upon them " (Ezek. xxxvii. 7, 8). " And every knee shall bow
to the Lord, and every tongue shall confess Him " (Isa. xlv. 23).
And for the pains and torments the wicked shall undergo
hereafter, pray consider these words : " Their worm shall not
die, neither shall their fire be quenched " (Isa. Ixvi. 24). And
then shall they repent, when repentance shall be too late.
And what the unbelieving Jews will say and do in that day,
when they shall see Him coming in His glory, the prophet
Zechariah describes in this manner : " Ho, ho, come forth,
and flee from the land of the north, for I have spread you
abroad as the four winds of the heavens " (Zech. ii. 6). " And
then will I make Jerusalem a cup of trembling, not of trembling

^ Here again you see Justin Martyr, as clear and express as words can
make him, for a general resurrection to eternal happiness or misery, "a
resurrection of all the men that ever had a being," against Mr. Dodwell,
in his Epistolary Discourse above cited. Vide Sozom. Hist, Eccl. lib. i.
c. iii. versus fineni.

(64) The First Apology of Justin Martyr.

with the countenance only, but in their heart, and shall rend
not their garments, but their minds. And tribe shall mourn
to tribe. And they shall look upon Him whom they pierced "
(Zech. xii. 2, 10, 12 1), and shall say: "O Lord, why hast
Thou made us to err from Thy ways ? The glory which our
forefathers were blessed with is turned to our reproach " (Isa.
Ixiii. 17, Ixiv. 11).

LXVIII. I have a great many other prophecies in store,
but I forbear, concluding what has been produced to be
enough in reason for the conviction of such as have ears that
will admit them to a fair hearing, and understandings prepared
for truth. I can hardly persuade myself that you can take
us for such romancers as those who dress up stories about
the fictitious progeny of Jove, mighty talkers, but able to
prove nothing. For what motive could ever possibly have
persuaded us to believe a crucified man to be the First-
begotten of the Unbegotten God, and that He should come
to be the judge of all the world, had we not met with those
prophetic testimonies of Him proclaimed so long before His
incarnation? Were we not eye-witnesses to the fulfilling of
them? Did we not see the desolation of Judaea, and men
out of all nations proselyted to the faith by His apostles, and
renouncing the ancient errors they were brought up in ? Did
we not find the prophecies made good in ourselves, and see
Christians in greater number and in greater sincerity from
among the Gentiles than from the Jews and Samaritans?
For all sorts of people are by the prophetic Spirit styled
Gentiles ; but the Jews and Samaritans stand distinguished by
the name of the house of Israel and Jacob.

LXIX. And how this also was foretold that there should

^ These are various passages out of the prophet Zechariab, as they
occurred to the memory of Justin, and the sense, and not the express
words set down by him.

The First Apology of Justin Martyr. (65)

be more believers from the Gentiles than from the Jews and
Samaritans, I propose this prophecy to your consideration :
"Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into
singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child :
for more are the children of the desolate than the children of
the married wife " (Isa. liv. i). The Gentiles were the desolate,
a people not cultivated by the true God, but bewildered in the
worship of the works of their own hands ; but the Jews and
Samaritans had the Word of God delivered to them by the pro-
phets, and were always in expectation of the Christ ; and yet,
when present, they had eyes and saw Him not, except a small
remnant, whom the prophetic Spirit foretold should be saved.
He speaks thus in the person of the people : " Except the Lord
of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should
have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto
Gomorrah " (Isa. i. 9). Now Sodom and Gomorrah are related
by Moses to be cities whose inhabitants were abominably
wicked people, and ^^'hich God destroyed with fire and brim-
stone, and saved not one alive, except a Chaldean foreigner
called Lot and his daughters ; and that all this country is a
desert, and burnt up, and barren to this day, they who will
give themselves the trouble may see the truth of it with their
own eyes. And how the Gentiles should become the truest
and most faithful converts, the prophet Jeremiah thus inti-
mates : "All the house of Israel are uncircumcised in the
heart, but the Gentiles in the foreskin " (Jer. ix. 26).

LXX. So many, therefore, and such mighty proofs as your
own eyes are witnesses to cannot fail, methinks, of generating
a firm and rational faith in the minds of those who are lovers
of truth, and not carried away with opiniatrety and passion ;
but the instructors of your youth, who read them lectures out
of the fables of the poets, never let them into the ground of
these fictions. And that they are the work of devilcraft only,
the better to delude mankind and hold them in darkness, I

(66) The First Apology of liistiii Martyr.

shall now prove.^ For these devilish spirits no sooner under-
stood by the prophets that Christ was to come, and the ungodly
to be punished with fire, but they trumped up that crew of
Jove's sons abovesaid, imagining by this forgery to debauch
the world into an opinion, that these prophecies concerning
Christ were just such another pack of lies as the fables of the
poets ; and these stories they divulged among the Greeks and
all the Gentiles, when they learned from the prophets that
these were the people that should mostly come over to the
Christian faith ; but not diving far enough into the sense of
the prophets, they attempted to copy after them, and, like
men in the dark, blundered in their imitation, as I shall now
show you.

LXXI. The prophet Moses, then, as I have said, was the

^ The Son of God no sooner enters upon His prophetic oftice but the
devil attacks Him in person and from Scripture ; for as far as he was
able to form any conjecture from Scripture concerning the state of the new ~
King and Kingdom, so far he endeavoured to impose upon the Word, by
rivalling it in his kingdom of darkness. He had his Perseus, the son of
Jove by a virgin, he had his priests and sacrifices, his baptisms and mock
communions, etc. He had reigned a long time as the god of this world,
and taken possession everywhere but in Judaea, and was in the most
flourishing condition when Christ came down to destroy his kingdom ;
and though these evil spirits did confess and tremble, and flee before Him,
yet did their power continue for some ages after, and seems to be permitted
by Providence so to do, on purpose as one great argument to proselytise
the world by ; for to their power over evil spirits do the first Christians
constantly appeal upon all occasions. Now, after so much evidence from
Scripture and antiquity, to say, as some have done, that possessions were
nothing but diseases ; and oracles and the like were all pure priestcraft,
which the Fathers by the true name call devilcraft, is in short to say any-
thing to render the name of priest in general odious. But if the Christians
of the first ages did cast out devils so frequently, as they say they did, and
which you will find in the Apologies they insist upon oftener than in any
one thing in their writings, then I leave it to any considering person,
what deference is due to the judgments of those who were gifted with such
a miraculous power for the propagation of the Christian doctrine.

The First Apology of Justin Martyr. (67)

ancientest of writers, and he delivered this prophecy, which I
liave already quoted : " The sceptre shall not depart from
Jiidah, 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 the grape" (Gen. xlix. 10, 11). Upon hearing
these prophetic words, the devils set up Bacchus for the son of
Jove, and make him the inventor of the vine, and introduce
an ass into his mysteries, and give out that after he was torn
in pieces he ascended into heaven.^ And because it is not
expressly determined in this prophecy of Moses, whether He
Who was to come was the Son of God, and whether He who
should ride upon the foal was to continue upon earth, or to
ascend into heaven ; and the word foal denoting either the
foal of an ass or a mare, not knowing, I say, which of the
two was to be a symbol of His Advent, or whether He should
be the Son of God or man, they proclaimed Bellerophon, a
mere man of man, to have ascended up to heaven upon his
horse Pegasus. Moreover, finding by another prophet, Isaiah,
that He was to be born of a virgin, and ascend to heaven by
Himself, they forged a Perseus to mimic Him in this also.
And when they saw Him described by the prophecies, " Re-
joicing as a giant to run his course," they preached up the
giant Hercules running over the whole earth. And again,
perceiving by the prophets that He was to cure all sorts of
diseases, and to raise the dead, they palmed their ^Esculapius
upon the world to ape Him in this also.

LXXH. But here the devils were out in their politics not
to have one of Jove's sons crucified in imitation of Christ.

^ These several instances of diabolical imitation you may find more
particularly illustrated by our Justin in his excellent Dialogue with Trypho
the Jew ; and to the less knowing I would recommend that done into
English by no ill hand. I have consulted Dr. Grabe's Spicilegium for
changing eTvov into ovav, and think his reasons conclusive.

(68) The First Apology of Jtistin Martyr.

But this, as I have showed you, being symbolically represented,
they could not spell out the meaning of the symbol ; though
the cross, according to the prophet, was the greater character-
istic of His power and government, and is visible almost in
everything you see. For cast your eyes upon the world, and
tell me whether anything is transacted, any commerce main-
tained, without the resemblance of a cross? Without this
trophy of ours you cannot go to sea, for navigation depends
upon sails, and they are made in fashion of a cross ; ^ there is
neither ploughing nor digging, nor any handicraft work per-
formed without instruments of this figure; nay, a man is
distinguished from a beast by the uprightness of his body
and the extension of his arms, and the prominency of the
nose he breathes through, which are all representations of the
cross, in allusion to which the prophet thus speaks : " The
breath of our nostrils Christ the Lord."^ Moreover, your
banners declare the power of this figure, and the trophies you

1 Concerning the sign of the Cioss, you will find among all the earliest
writers of the Church that they constantly made use of it, not only in the
Sacrament of Baptism, but. in all the common actions of life ; for Ter-
tuUian, de Cor. Mil. c. iii. p. 102, tells us "that upon every motion, at
their going out and coming in, at their going to the bath, or to bed, or to
meals, or whatever their employment or occasions called them to, they
were wont, ' frontem signaculo terere,' to make the sign of the cross upon
their forehead; and this they did," he moreover adds, "not that it was
imposed by any law of Christ, but introduced by a pious custom as a
sensible means to revive their faith, and remind them of their Lord, and
to let the heathen world see that they gloried in their crucified Master,
who was foolishness to the Gentile and a stumbling-block to the Jew upon
this very account." But how far they were from adoring a cross, as was
objected against them, you will see sufficiently answered and ridiculed in
the following Apology.

^ These words are literally understood of King Josiah or Zedekiah, but
mystically applied by the Fathers in general to our Saviour Christ, and
this occasioned by the version of the Septuagint, which has not zP"^'^^^
Kvp'tou, "the anointed of the Lord," as Josiah was, but XP"^'^°' avpto?,
"Christ the Lord," which can hardly be understood of any but our
Saviour Christ. See Dr. Grabe's notes upon this place.

The Fh'st Apology of Justin Martyr. (69)

use everywhere in your public processions ^ are symbols of
power and dominion, although in your practice you have no
respect to the reason of the figure ; and the images of your
departed emperors you consecrate upon cross -like engines,
and inscribe them gods. Since, therefore, we invite you by
reason and the ceremony of the cross, so much in vogue
among you, we know we shall be blameless for the future,
whether you embrace the faith or not, for we have done our
best to make you Christians.^

LXXIII. But these restless demons, not contented to foist
upon the Gentile world the fictitious sons of Jove before the
coming of Christ, but even after His appearance and public
converse with men, when they found by the prophets that all
nations should come to fix their faith and expectation on
Him, they raised up another set of impostors, namely, Simon
and Menander, both Samaritans, who by their magic arts have
imposed upon many, and do as yet hold them in the same
delusion ; for in the reign of Claudius Caesar, in your imperial
city of Rome, there was one Simon, as I told you, who be-
witched the sacred Senate and the Roman people into that
astonishment of his person as to conceit him a god, and to
honour him with a statue like the other gods. Wherefore our
petition is, that you would communicate this Apology^ both to
the sacred Senate and to the people of Rome, that if any of
them should chance to be hampered in his doctrines, they
might, upon this information, disengage themselves from the

^ Here- is a desideratum, which I have filled up and connected as well
as I can.

^ I desire the reader once again to take notice of this expression, oV»
SJva^ij, which cannot possibly, I think, signify in this place anything else
than what I have translated it, viz. " We have done our best ; " because
this expression has been urged against set forms of prayer, with how little
reason I shall show anon, when 1 come to the passage from whence they
urge it.

( jo) The Fu'st Apology of Jttstin Martyr.

error; and we likewise pray that you would be pleased to
pull down his statue.

LXXIV. These seducing spirits likewise do all they can to
smother the notion of hell- fire, but to as little purpose as
they attempted to stifle the coming of Christ from the know-
ledge of the world ; for all they can do is only to prevail
with unreasonable people, such as have been slaves to their
lusts, and blindly take up with the opinions in fashion ; these,
I say, are the only people they work upon to hunt us out of
our lives ; and yet to these mortal enemies are we so far from
returning hatred for hatred, that from our hearts we pity them,
and desire nothing more than to bring them over to a better
mind. For we are under no concern for death, being very
sensible that all must die, and that there is nothing new
under the sun, but what has been is. And if nothing here
below will satisfy the owners thereof, no, not the year about,
so as to secure their minds from wants and passions, the only
way left is to apply to our religion for that satisfaction which
is nowhere else to be found. But if they believe nothing
after death, and are positive, that the dead depart into a state
of insensibihty, they do indeed befriend us in effect by dis-
charging us from the present sufferings and hardships of this
life ; but then they show themselves wicked, spiteful, and
positive to the last degree in this their opinion ; for though
they do free us from all evil by destroying us, yet they do it
not with this intent, but to deprive us only of life, and all the

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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 21 of 24)