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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libations and sacrifices of blood," aXXa. a.Xvi6ivovs xa.) TvivfAccrixovs a-'Ivovs ««<
iv;^apiffTtcis, " but true and spiritual praises and thanksgiving," p. 346. And
he says, likewise, that the bread and wine in the sacrament was u; ava^a-
vviffiv rod ffeofACtTO'yfoiyKrciff^ai — kui lU a.voi[/,vn(Tiv rod alf^aro;, *' in commemora-
tion of His body and blood ; " and that it was generally styled by the
ancients «va/^«xT«,- Pviria, "an unbloody sacrifice," is too notorious to be

(qo) The First Apology of Jnstin Martyr,

Logos of God, and had real flesh and blood for our salva-
tion, so are we taught that this food, which the very same
Logos blessed by prayer and thanksgiving, is turned into the
nourishment and substance of our flesh and blood,^ and is in
some sense the flesh and blood of the incarnate Jesus.^ For
the apostles, in their commentaries called the Gospels,^ have
left this command upon record, " That Jesus took bread, and

denied ; and if so, it is not possible they should conceive it to be the
very body and blood of Christ. He that desires to see more upon this
subject may consult Dr. Grabe's notes upon the place, and Bishop Bull's
answer to the Bishop of Meaux's letter to Mr. Nelson.

^ T>jv ^/ iv'X^i "k'oyov Tcv -raf xvtou iu;;^^xpiirryi^i7(r(x.v rpo^viv. This passage
is something dark and difficult. Hamon 1' Estrange translates it thus :
" Those viands by which our flesh and blood are nourished being blessed
by the prayer and thanksgiving of the priest," etc. But this cannot be
the literal translation, for here is not one word of a priest mentioned, nor
a tittle of the main difficulty explained, which is, the §/ sJ;^55j Xoyov roZ
fftf avTov. Dr. Grabe thinks Tm rov Xoyov lu^'^v signifies the Lord's
Prayer, with which the sacrament was always concluded. Fu/. note, p.
127. But the bread and wine was not consecrated by the Lord's Prayer,
and these words seem to respect the very act of consecration. Justin imme-
diately before had said, that Jesus Christ or the Logos was made flesh by
the Logos of God, and here he says that the bread and wine was made
the body and blood of Christ "by the prayer of the very same Logos,"
where the Koyov rov '^rap avroZ seems to me to be the Xoyos Tpopopixos, or
external word issuing from the substantial Word or Logos Himself, and
then the construction will be thus, ^/' iu^^s koyou tou -rxp' al/rou koyov
ovffiu^ovs. And this way of speaking is very familiar with Justin, as you
may see by Christ's being said to have been made flesh by the Logos in
the words just before.

^ 'ifjtrov xa.) aapxa, xa.) cuf^a. i^i^oix^yif/.iv. Dr. Grabe upon these words
observes that the Right Reverend the Bishop of Sarum says, "that it is
not to be denied, but that very early both Justin Martyr and Irenoeus
thought that there was such a sanctification of the elements, that there
was a divine virtue in them." Artie, xxviii. p. 334.

^ The commentaries of the apostles called Gospels. 'A-ro^.vw^ovst/'^a-a,
or commentaries, were such sayings of wise men as were got by heart
and committed to memory, and the Gospels being a summary of the words
and actions of our Saviour so committed and repeated to the amanuenses,
were called ' AToju.v/if/.ovii)f/.a,Tce,. lid. Dr. Cirabe, n. 58.

The First Apology of Jttslin Martyr, (91)

when He had given llianks, He said, Do this in commemora-
tion of Me, for this is My body : and in Uke manner He took
the cup, and when He had given thanks, He said, This is My
blood," and deHvered it to them only.^ And this very solemnity,
too, the evil spirits have introduced in the mysteries of Mithra ; ^
for you do, or may know, that when any one is initiated into
this religion, bread and a cup of water, with a certain form of
words, are made use of in the sacrifice. After this sacrament
is over, we remind each other of the obligations to his duty,
and the rich relieve the poor; and upon such charitable
accounts we visit some or other every day.

LXXXVn. And in every Eucharistical sacrifice we bless the
Maker of all things through His Son Jesus Christ, and through
the Holy Spirit.^ And upon the day called Sunday,-^ all that

1 Matt. xxvi. 26; Mark xiv. 22 ; Luke xxii. 19, etc.

2 For a fuller explanation of the mysteries of Mithra or the Sun, I refer
the reader not only to the references in Dr. Grabe's notes, but also to Dr.
Hickes's Christian Priesthood Asserted^ where he will find that the ministers
of baptism and the Holy Eucharist were TiXiariti, as Pollux calls priests,
even as proper priests, as the priests of Mithra or the Sun, were by his
worshippers to be, p. 55-

2 Hitherto Justin has described the rites of the first communion after
baptism ; he proceeds now in short to show that they observed the same
order in every Eucharistical sacrifice, and therefore the same notes will in
a great measure serve for both.

* TJi Toi) hxiov Xiyofx-ivyi vifitpa, " upon the day called Sunday." It was
called Sunday by Justin and Tertullian, because it happened upon that day
of the week which by the heathens was dedicated to the sun, and there-
fore as being best known to them by that name, the Fathers commonly
made use of it in their Apologies to the heathen emperors ; but the more
proper and prevailing name was Kvptccxh, or the Lord's Day, as it is called
by St. John himself (Rev. i. 10). This day was so strictly set apart by
the ancients for public devotion, that the Synod of Illiberis ordained that
if any man dwelling in a city (where churches were near at hand) should
for three Lord's days keep from church, he should for some time be sus-
pended the communion, Ca/i. xxi. p. 28. And when Eustachius, Bishop
of Sebastia, began to fling oft" the discipline of the Church, and to intro-

(92) TJie Firsl Apology of Justin Martyr,

live eiriier in city or country meet together at the same place,
where the writings of the apostles and prophets are read, as
much as time will give leave.^ When the reader has done, the
bishop makes a sermon,^ wherein he instructs the people, and
animates them to the practice of such lovely precepts. At
the conclusion of this discourse, we all rise up together and
pray ; ^ and prayers being over, as I now said, there is bread

(luce some odd whimsies of his own, and among many others to fast on
the Lord's day, and keep meetings in private houses, leading many away
captive, but especially silly women, as Sozomen observes, 1. iii. c. 14, p.
521 ; the bishops no sooner understood it, but meeting in council at
Gangra, about the year 340, condemned and cast them out of the Church,
passing these two canons among the rest, "If any one shall teach that
the house of God is to be despised, and the assemblies that are held in it,
let him be accursed. If any shall take upon him out of the church to
preach privately at home, and making light of the church, shall do those
things that belong only to the church, without the presence of the priest,
and the leave and allowance of the bishop, let him be accursed." Cone.
Gangr. Can. 4, 5.

1 " The commentaries of the apostles and the writings of the prophets
are read, as much as time will give leave." The Christian meetings were
often disturbed and broken up by their heathen enemies ; and so neither
Justin nor Tertullian says what portions either of the Old or New Testament
were read at one meeting ; but afterwards set portions out of each were
assigned, two lessons out of both, as we find it in the author of the
Apostolical Constitutions, 1. ii. c. 57, p. 875.

'^ "The bishop makes a sermon." The sermons in these times were
nothing else but expositions of some part of the Scriptures then read, and
exhortations to the people to obey the doctrines contained in them, and
generally upon the lesson last read, as being freshest in their minds. Ac-
cording as opportunity served, these sermons were more or fewer, some-
times two or three at the same assembly, the presbyters first, and then
the bishoj:), as is expressly affirmed in the Apostolical Constitutions. Ka)
£^»5f Tapa,Ka,XitTei>(n\) 01 <rpi(r(hvripot tov Xetov xot,h)? uvtuv, uXXa fi*i oc^retvri;,

KO.) TtXlUTOUOi <7rdvTU)) t'Tr'nTKO'TOi «J 'iOiKl KofhipVYiTVI, 1. xl. C. 57> P- ^63,

edit. Cleric. "Then " (that is, after the reading of the Gospel) " let the
presbyters exhort the people one by one, not all at once ; and last of all
the bishop, as it is fitting for the master to do."

^ " We all rise up together and pray." From this place of Justin, and
from Tertullian, de Coron, c. 3, p. 102, it is evident that, whereas the

The First Apology of Justin Martyr. (93)

and wine and water offered, and the bishop, as before, sends
up prayers and thanksgivings with all the fervency he is able,^
and the people conclude all with the joyful acclamation ol
Amen. Then the consecrated elements are distributed to,

Christians upon other days prayed kneeling, yet upon Sundays they always
prayed standing ; and the reason of this we find in the author of the
Questions and Answers in Justin Martyr, Resp. ad Quest. 115, p. 468. It
is (says he) that by this posture we may be put in mind both of our fall
by sin, and our restitution by the grace of Christ ; that for six days wc
pray upon our knees is to remind us of our fall by sin ; but that on the
Lord's Day we pray standing, is to represent our restitution, by which,
through the grace of Christ, we are delivered from our sins and the powers
of death. And the great Council of Niccea, taking notice that this custom
began to be neglected, ordained that on the Lord's Day men should stand
when they offered up their prayers to God. Can. 20.

■^ 'Eiuy^ki ofjt-olui tccci ih^apiiTTict,; oiT'/i "^vvcc/u,!; uLtui ocvccTTif^'^rii, " The bishop

sends up prayers and thanksgivings with all the fervency he is able." This
passage is greedily fastened upon by many of our dissenting brethren
against stated forms of prayer in the primitive Church, and particularly by
Mr. David Clarkson in his Discourse concerning Liturgies, and is cited twice
over, p. 68 and p. 115, where he marvellously pleases himself, with very
little reason, for near ten pages in quotations, to make this speak ' ' for
inventing words as the Spirit enabled them, or praying ex tempore.'''' I
cannot but observe from hence how much these old Fathers are made of
by some men, if they can but be forced to cast a kind look towards them ;
and then again by fits, how musty and despicable they are, when they
speak too plain to be misinterpreted. But to the case in hand. First, then,
I say that otrn 'hvva./ is a doubtful expression, and twice before in this
Apology (as I have advertised the reader) is used in a sense quite different
from this of Mr. Clarkson, and therefore at best can be but a doubtful
proof, till he can make out his sense to be the plain and only sense of this
phrase. Secondly, if this be the sense, it will not follow that because in
Justin's age, — an age of casting out devils, and praying by the Spirit in
order to proselytise the world, — therefore now, when the world is prose-
lytised, and the gift of power and miracles is over, every private minister is
enabled to pray by the same Spirit. But then, thirdly, I think it must
signify otherwise in this very place, for otrn Ivva.fjbn here plainly answers to
iVTovu;, sect. Ixxxv., where all the congregation is said to join in common
prayers for the new baptized person, etc., iIt'ovu? "M'ith all intention of
mind and affections ; " and by common prayers we can hardly understand
anything else than set forms of prayer, in opposition to ex tempore efifu-


94) ^/^^ First Apology of J^isttn Ma7'tyr.

and partaken of by all that are present, and sent to the absent
by the hands of the deacons.

LXXXVIII. But the wealthy and the willing, for every one
is at liberty, contribute as they think fitting ; and this collec-
tion is deposited with the bishop, and out of this he relieves
the orphan and the widow, and such as are reduced to want,
by sickness or any other cause, and such as are in bonds, and
strangers that come from far ; and, in a word, he is the guardian
and almoner to all the indigent.

LXXXIX. Upon Sunday we all assemble, that being the
first day in which God set Himself to work upon the dark
void, in order to make the world, and in which Jesus Christ
our Saviour rose again from the dead j for the day before
Saturday^ He was crucified, and the day after, which is

sions. Besides, it is observable that this phrase does not follow {'-'^x^^)
prayers, but {svx»p'<^'ri^s) thanksgivings ; so that it is chiefly to be restrained
to the hymns in the Eucharist, which were known forms ; and yet, says
Justin, they were offered up otrtj Ivva/ai;. And section xvi., where we
have his phrase s(p' «7j Tpo(T<pipof/.i^tx. ^atr/v, oV« Ivvaf/,!? echovvrs;, " in all our
oblations praising God to the best of our power, "-he deals very disingenu-
ously, by leaving out the comma between croia-iv and oa-'/j. Now this praising
offn 1'j)ia,y.ti cannot be applied to the bishop only, but to all the congregation
who joined in the public hymns with all possible fervency and devotion.
But of all the quotations this author has brought to wrest this phrase to
his purpose of ex tempore prayer, that out of Gregory Nazianzen is the
most unhappy one, ^%fi otrn 'huvocfji.t; to l^riviKsov cc^afMv ixilvtjv ^Jt^hvj etc.
"Come, let us with all intention of spirit chant that triumphant ode
which sometime the Israelites sang upon the overthrow of the Egyptians
in the Red Sea." Nazianzen here sets down the words which he would
have them sing upon Julian's being cut off, and oVtj ^vvKft-i; being precisely
limited to iKiUnv sJS^v, that song in Ex. xv. ; this, I say, utterly shuts out
all arbitrary conceptions, and determines the signification of this phrase,
as, I think, beyond exception.

^ '* The day before Saturday." Justin uses this circumlocution instead
of Die Veneris, because he abhorred the very name of Venus ; and the
Fathers were so chaste in word as well as thought, that they would not

The First Apology of Justin Martyr, (95)

Sunday, He appeared to His apostles and disciples, and
taught them what I have now proposed to your consideration.

XC. And so far as these things shall appear agreeable to
truth and reason, so far we desire you would respect them
accordingly, but if they seem trifling, despise them as trifles ;
however, do not proceed against the professors of them, who
are people of the most inoffensive lives, as severely as against
your professed enemies ; for, tell you I must, that if you
persist in this course of iniquity, you shall not escape the
vengeance of God in the other world. But be this as it will,
you shall hear us contentedly cry out, " God's will be done."
And although we might produce the rescript of your father,
the great and illustrious Emperor Adrian, to plead in our
behalf for the moderating your proceedings according to that
rule of equity we ourselves have proposed, yet we shall not
insist so much upon the authority of Adrian as the justice of
our demands, which was the reason of composing this Apology
and Exposition of the Christian faith. However, we have
subjoined a copy of Adrian's Epistle, to let you see the truth
and justice of our cause. And the copy is this: —





I RECEIVED a letter from the illustrious Serenus Granianus,
your predecessor. It is an affair well worthy your considera-

take the name of Venus within their lips, but in order to refute the
heathen idolatry. See Dr. Grabe's notes upon this place.

^ The Apologies of Aristides, but especially that of Quadratus, had so

(96) The First Apology of Justin Martyr,

tion to put a stop to vexatious suits, and to give no handle
to informers to carry on the trade of malice.^ If, then, the
people under your government have anything to say against
Christians, and will prove it in public, so that Christians may
answer for themselves in open court, it is your duty to hear
them in a judicial way only, and not to be overborne by the
petitions and tumultuary clamours of the people ; for it is your
place, and not the mob's, to judge of the merits of the cause.
If, therefore, the informer shall make it appear that Christians
have done anything contrary to law, punish them according to
the quality of the crime ; so verily on the other hand, if you
find it to be a malicious charge only, take care to condemn
and punish as the malice deserves.

good an effect upon the Emperor Adrian that they procured this rescript
in favour of the Christians ; for Serenus Granianus wrote to Adrian, as
Pliny before had done to Trajan, concerning the intolerable and unjust
persecutions of the Christian sect, and being either dead just after, or
out of his office (which was but annual), Adrian directs this answer to
Minutius Fundanus, his successor in the Proconsulship of Asia. This
rescript was annexed by Justin to this Apology in the Latin tongue, and
translated by Eusebius into Greek, as he himself tells us, 1. iv. c. 8, Hist.
Eccl. And, by the way, if St. Justin may be allowed Latin enough to
understand this epistle, methinks it is hard not to allow him enough to
understand the inscription upon the statue of Simon Magus. The Latin
text preserved by that martyr is lost ; however, it is famous, and much
talked of by the ancients ; it is cited by St. Melito, Euseb. 1. iv. c. 26 ;
by Sulpicius Severus, 1. ii. c. 45 ; and by Orosius, 1. vii. c. 12.

^ The subject of Granianus's letter seems evidently omitted in this
place, and the Emperor's order only mentioned. And if Lampridius may
be credited, as I see no reason why he may not for anything Casaubon has
urged to the contrary, Adrian had a design, as Tiberius had before him,
to set up the worship of Christ, and built up therefore several temples
without any image, and without consecrating them to any god of the
heathen, which therefore wxnt by the name of Adrian's temples. Lam-
prid. Alex. v. p. 129. Vid. Memoirs, etc., par le Sieur D. Tillemont,
torn. ii. p. 123.

TJic First Apology of Justin Martyr. (97)




The Emperor Caesar Titus yElius Adrianus Antoninus
Augustus Pius, chief pontiff, the fifteenth time tribune,
thrice consul, father of the country, to the common Assembly
of Asia, greeting. I am of opinion that the gods will be
sufficiently careful not to let this sort of men escape, for it
is much more their concern than yours to make those the
examples of justice, if they can, who refuse to worship them ;
and while you thus harass them, and accuse them for atheists,
and object other things against them, and are not able to

1 We are told by an ancient ecclesiastical writer that this Apology of our
martyr very much sweetened the spirit of Antoninus, Oros. 1. vii. c. 14.
And being also seconded by addresses, and hideous complaints from the
faithful in Asia, produced this letter from the Emperor to the States of
Asia, and to those of Larissa, Thessalonica, Athens, and all Greece. He
sent letters also in behalf of the Christians, though this alone to the States
of Asia is yet extant. Vid. Euseb. 1. iv. c. 26. It is an answer to what
the States had sent concerning the prosecution of Christians upon the
account of earthquakes, which had then happened and were charged upon
the Christians, as all misfortunes were. T am not ignorant that Scaliger,
Valesius, and others would have this Imperial edict to be the decree of
Marcus Aurelius, the son of Antoninus ; the inscription, indeed, as it
stands in Euseb. 1. iv. c. 26, has Marcus Aurelius Antoninus ; but then
this is most undeniably corrupted ; for just before, in the conclusion of the
twenty-fifth chapter, he ascribes it to Antoninus Pius, and in the original
inscription annexed to the Apology (and from whence Eusebius transcribed
his) it is Titus ^lius Antoninus Pius. Besides, the tenor of the epistle
itself seems plainly to give it to Antoninus ; and Melito, Bishop of Sardis,
who presented an Apology to his son and successor, tells him of the letters

(98) The First Apology of Jttstin Martyr,

make good the charge, you do but harden them in their
opinion ; for it makes mightily for them, or you cannot oblige
them more, than to make them die for the religion they are
accused of; for thus they triumph over you, by choosing
rather to submit to death than to comply with your demands.
As for earthquakes, either past or present, I advise you to be
silent upon this head ; you who are desponding immediately
upon these occasions, and laying all your calamities upon
them, whereas they are more erect and confident in God upon
such accidents. But you all this time seem to be perfect
strangers to the gods, and to neglect their worship, nay, the
worship of the great God Himself, and therefore mortally hate
those who do worship Him, and persecute them to death for
so doing. Concerning this sort of men, several governors
of provinces have formerly written to my father of sacred
memory, to whom he returned this answer : That such men
should not be molested, unless they were found to attempt

which his father, at the time he was his partner in the empire, wrote to
the cities, that they should not raise any new troubles against the Chris-
tians. Vid. Dr. Cave's Life of Justin, in English, p. 147. The objections
against this opinion you may find in Dr. Grabe's notes, and in the notes at
the end of his edition.

This letter was sent, says Monsieur Tillemont, in the fifteenth year of
Antoninus, that is, in the year of our Lord 152. — Vid. Memoirs, torn. ii.
p. 390; says Dr. Cave in the year 140; and if it be objected that this
seems not consistent with the year of his being tribune, said here to be the
fifteenth, he answers that the tribunitian power did not always commence
with the beginning of their reign, but was given sometimes to persons in a
private capacity, and especially to such as v/ere candidates for the empire.
Vid. Life of Justin, p. 146. Valesius fixes the date of the rescript in the
first year of Marcus Aurelius, for which he is animadverted upon by
Bishop Pearson, who refers it to the fifteenth of Aurelius. Vind. Lg. Epis.
p. 2, n. 404. See Dr. Grabe's notes. In this state of uncertainty I shall
leave this rescript, with this observation only, that we ought not to con-
clude against the being of a thing because learned men dispute the time of
its being, but just the contrary, viz. that such a thing really was, because
there is so much dispute about it.

The First Apology of Jtistin Marty 7^, (99)

anything against the Roman Government, And I myself
have received many letters upon the same subject, and I
returned the same answer. So that if any one hereafter shall
go on to inform against this sort of men, purely because they
are Christians, let the persons accused be discharged, although
they be found to be Christians, and let the informer himself
undergo the punishment.


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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 24 of 24)