Church Fathers: Ante-Nicene Fathers Volume 1: 1.07.06 Justin Martyr - Dialoque with Trypho Ch 1-16

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Church Fathers: Ante-Nicene Fathers Volume 1: 1.07.06 Justin Martyr - Dialoque with Trypho Ch 1-16

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SUBJECT: 1.07.06 Justin Martyr - Dialoque with Trypho Ch 1-16

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Justin Martyr (Cont.)

Dialogue of Justin, Philosopher and Martyr, with Trypho, a Jew.

Chap. I. — Introduction

While I was going about one morning in the walks of the Xystus,1 a certain man, with others in his company, having met me, and said, “Hail, O philosopher!” And immediately after saying this, he turned round and walked along with me; his friends likewise followed him. And I in turn having addressed him, said, “What is there important?”

And he replied, “I was instructed,” says he, “by Corinthus the Socratic in Argos, that I ought not to despise or treat with indifference those who array themselves in this dress,2 but to show them all kindness, and to associate with them, as perhaps some advantage would spring from the intercourse either to some such man or to myself. It is good, moreover, for both, if either the one or the other be benefited. On this account, therefore, whenever I see any one in such costume, I gladly approach him, and now, for the same reason, have I willingly accosted you; and these accompany me, in the expectation of hearing for themselves something profitable from you.”

“But who are you, most excellent man?” So I replied to him in jest.3

Then he told me frankly both his name and his family. “Trypho,” says he, “I am called; and I am a Hebrew of the circumcision4 and having escaped from the war5 lately carried on there, I am spending my days in Greece, and chiefly at Corinth.”

“And in what,” said I, “would you be profited by philosophy so much as by your own lawgiver and the prophets?”

“Why not?” he replied. “Do not the philosophers turn every discourse on God? and do not questions continually arise to them about His unity and providence? Is not this truly the duty of philosophy, to investigate the Deity?”

“Assuredly,” said I, “so we too have believed. But the most6 have not taken thought of this whether there be one or more gods, and whether they have a regard for each one of us or no, as if this knowledge contributed nothing to our happiness; nay, they moreover attempt to persuade us that God takes care of the universe with its genera and species, but not of me and you, and each individually, since otherwise we would surely not need to pray to Him night and day. But it is not difficult to understand the upshot of this for fearlessness and license in speaking result to such as maintain these opinions, doing and saying whatever they choose, neither dreading punishment nor hoping for any benefit from God. For how could they? They affirm that the same things shall always happen; and, further, that I and you shall again live in like manner, having become neither better men nor worse. But there are some others,7 who, having supposed the soul to be immortal and immaterial, believe that though they have committed evil they will not suffer punishment (for that which is immaterial is insensible), and that the soul, in consequence, of its immortality, needs nothing from God.’

And he, smiling gently, said, “Tell us your opinion of these matters, and what idea you entertain respecting God, and what your philosophy is.” 195

Chap. II. — Justin Describes His Studies in Philosophy.

“I will tell you,” said I, “what seems to me; for philosophy is, in fact, the greatest possession, and most honourable before God,8 to whom it leads us and alone commends us; and these are truly holy men who have bestowed attention on philosophy. What philosophy is, however, and the reason why it has been sent down to men, have escaped the observation of most; for there would be neither Platonists, nor Stoics, nor Peripatetics, nor Theoretics,9 nor Pythagoreans, this knowledge being one.10 I wish to tell you why it has become many-headed. It has happened that those who first handled it [i.e., philosophy], and who were therefore esteemed illustrious men, were succeeded by those who made no investigations concerning truth, but only admired the perseverance and self-discipline of the former, as well as the novelty of the doctrines; and each thought that to be true which he learned from his teacher: then, moreover, those latter persons handed down to their successors such things, and others similar to them; and this system was called by the name of him who was styled the father of the doctrine. Being at first desirous of personally conversing with one of these men, I surrendered myself to a certain Stoic; and having spent a considerable time with him, when I had not acquired any further knowledge of God (for he did not know himself, and said such instruction was unnecessary), I left him and betook myself to another, who was called a Peripatetic, and as he fancied, shrewd. And this man, after having entertained me for the first few days, requested me to settle the fee, in order that our intercourse might not be unprofitable. Him, too, for this reason I abandoned, believing him to be no philosopher at all. But when my soul was eagerly desirous to hear the peculiar and choice philosophy, I came to a Pythagorean, very celebrated — a man who thought much of his own wisdom. And then, when I had an interview with him, willing to become his hearer and disciple, he said, ‘What then? Are you acquainted with music, astronomy, and geometry? Do you expect to perceive any of those things which conduce to a happy life, if you have not been first informed on those points which wean the soul from sensible objects, and render it fitted for objects which appertain to the mind, so that it can contemplate that which is honourable in its essence and that which is good in its essence?’ Having commended many of these branches of learning, and telling me that they were necessary, he dismissed me when I confessed to him my ignorance. Accordingly I took it rather impatiently, as was to be expected when I failed in my hope, the more so because I deemed the man had some knowledge; but reflecting again on the space of time during which I would have to linger over those branches of learning, I was not able to endure longer procrastination. In my helpless condition it occurred to me to have a meeting with the Platonists, for their fame was great. I thereupon spent as much of my time as possible with one who had lately settled in our city,11 — a sagacious man, holding a high position among the Platonists, — and I progressed, and made the greatest improvements daily. And the perception of immaterial things quite overpowered me, and the contemplation of ideas furnished my mind with wings,12 so that in a little while I supposed that I had become wise; and such was my stupidity, I expected forthwith to look upon God, for this is the end of Plato’s philosophy.

Chap. III. — Justin Narrates the Manner of His Conversion.

“And while I was thus disposed, when I wished at one period to be filled with great quietness, and to shun the path of men, I used to go into a certain field not far from the sea. And when I was near that spot one day, which having reached I purposed to be by myself, a certain old man, by no means contemptible in appearance, exhibiting meek and venerable manners, followed me at a little distance. And when I turned round to him, having halted, I fixed my eyes rather keenly on him.

“And he said, ‘Do you know me?’

“I replied in the negative.

“‘Why, then,’ said he to me, ‘do you so look at me?’

“‘I am astonished,’ I said, ‘because you have chanced to be in my company in the same place; for I had not expected to see any man here.’

“And he says to me, ‘I am concerned about some of my household. These are gone away from me; and therefore have I come to make personal search for them, if, perhaps, they shall make their appearance somewhere. But why are you here?’ said he to me.

“‘I delight,’ said I, ‘in such walks, where my attention is not distracted, for converse with myself is uninterrupted; and such places are most fit for philology.’13

“‘Are you, then, a philologian,’14 said he, ‘but 196 no lover of deeds or of truth? and do you not aim at being a practical man so much as being a sophist?’

“‘What greater work,’ said I, ‘could one accomplish than this, to show the reason which governs all, and having laid hold of it, and being mounted upon it, to look down on the errors of others, and their pursuits? But without philosophy and right reason, prudence would not be present to any man. Wherefore it is necessary for every man to philosophize, and to esteem this the greatest and most honourable work; but other things only of second-rate or third-rate importance, though, indeed, if they be made to depend on philosophy, they are of moderate value, and worthy of acceptance; but deprived of it, and not accompanying it, they are vulgar and coarse to those who pursue them.’

“‘Does philosophy, then, make happiness?’ said he, interrupting.

“‘Assuredly,’ I said, ‘and it alone.’

“‘What, then, is philosophy?’ he says; ‘and what is happiness? Pray tell me, unless something hinders you from saying.’

“‘Philosophy, then,’ said I, ‘is the knowledge of that which really exists, and a clear perception of the truth; and happiness is the reward of such knowledge and wisdom.’

“‘But what do you call God?’ said he.

“‘That which always maintains the same nature, and in the same manner, and is the cause of all other things — that, indeed, is God.’ So I answered him; and he listened to me with pleasure, and thus again interrogated me: —

“‘Is not knowledge a term common to different matters? For in arts of all kinds, he who knows any one of them is called a skilful man in the art of generalship, or of ruling, or of healing equally. But in divine and human affairs it is not so. Is there a knowledge which affords understanding of human and divine things, and then a thorough acquaintance with the divinity and the righteousness of them?’

“‘Assuredly,’ I replied.

“‘What, then? Is it in the same way we know man and God, as we know music, and arithmetic, and astronomy, or any other similar branch?’

“‘By no means,’ I replied.

“‘You have not answered me correctly, then,’ he said; ‘for some [branches of knowledge] come to us by learning, or by some employment, while of others we have knowledge by sight. Now, if one were to tell you that there exists in India an animal with a nature unlike all others, but of such and such a kind, multiform and various, you would not know it before you saw it; but neither would you be competent to give any account of it, unless you should hear from one who had seen it.’

“‘Certainly not,’ I said.

“‘How then,’ he said, ‘should the philosophers judge correctly about God, or speak any truth, when they have no knowledge of Him, having neither seen Him at any time, nor heard Him?’

“‘But, father,’ said I, ‘the Deity cannot be seen merely by the eyes, as other living beings can, but is discernible to the mind alone, as Plato says; and I believe him.’

Chap. IV. — The Soul of Itself Cannot See God.

“‘Is there then,’ says he, ‘such and so great power in our mind? Or can a man not perceive by sense sooner? Will the mind of man see God at any time, if it is uninstructed by the Holy Spirit?’

“‘Plato indeed says,’ replied I, ‘that the mind’s eye is of such a nature, and has been given for this end, that we may see that very Being when the mind is pure itself, who is the cause of all discerned by the mind, having no colour, no form, no greatness — nothing, indeed, which the bodily eye looks upon; but It is something of this sort, he goes on to say, that is beyond all essence, unutterable and inexplicable, but alone honourable and good, coming suddenly into souls well-dispositioned, on account of their affinity to and desire of seeing Him.’

“‘What affinity, then,’ replied he, ‘is there between us and God? Is the soul also divine and immortal, and a part of that very regal mind? And even as that sees God, so also is it attainable by us to conceive of the Deity in our mind, and thence to become happy?’

“‘Assuredly,’ I said.

“‘And do all the souls of all living beings comprehend Him?’ he asked; ‘or are the souls of men of one kind and the souls of horses and of asses of another kind?’

“‘No; but the souls which are in all are similar,’ I answered.

“‘Then,’ says he, ‘shall both horses and asses see, or have they seen at some time or other, God?’

“‘No,’ I said; ‘for the majority of men will not, saving such as shall live justly, purified by righteousness, and by every other virtue.’

“‘It is not, therefore,’ said he, ‘on account of his affinity, that a man sees God, nor because he has a mind, but because he is temperate and righteous?’

“‘Yes,’ said I; ‘and because he has that whereby he perceives God.’

“‘What then? Do goats or sheep injure any one?’

“‘No one in any respect,’ I said.

“‘Therefore these animals will see [God] according to your account,’ says he. 197

“‘No; for their body being of such a nature, is an obstacle to them.’

“He rejoined, ‘If these animals could assume speech, be well assured that they would with greater reason ridicule our body; but let us now dismiss this subject, and let it be conceded to you as you say. Tell me, however, this: Does the soul see [God] so long as it is in the body, or after it has been removed from it?’

“‘So long as it is in the form of a man, it is possible for it,’ I continue, ‘to attain to this by means of the mind; but especially when it has been set free from the body, and being apart by itself, it gets possession of that which it was wont continually and wholly to love.’

“‘Does it remember this, then [the sight of God], when it is again in the man?’

“‘It does not appear to me so,’ I said.

“‘What, then, is the advantage to those who have seen [God]? or what has he who has seen more than he who has not seen, unless he remember this fact, that he has seen?’

“‘I cannot tell,’ I answered.

“‘And what do those suffer who are judged to be unworthy of this spectacle?’ said he.

“‘They are imprisoned in the bodies of certain wild beasts, and this is their punishment.’

“‘Do they know, then, that it is for this reason they are in such forms, and that they have committed some sin?’

“‘I do not think so.’

“‘Then these reap no advantage from their punishment, as it seems: moreover, I would say that they are not punished unless they are conscious of the punishment.’

“‘No indeed.’

“‘Therefore souls neither see God nor transmigrate into other bodies; for they would know that so they are punished, and they would be afraid to commit even the most trivial sin afterwards. But that they can perceive that God exists, and that righteousness and piety are honourable, I also quite agree with you,’ said he.

“‘You are right,’ I replied.

Chap. V. — The Soul Is Not in Its Own Nature Immortal.

“‘These philosophers know nothing, then, about these things; for they cannot tell what a soul is.’

“‘It does not appear so.’

“‘Nor ought it to be called immortal; for if it is immortal, it is plainly unbegotten.’

“‘It is both unbegotten and immortal, according to some who are styled Platonists.’

“‘Do you say that the world is also unbegotten?’

“‘Some say so. I do not, however, agree with them.’

“‘You are right; for what reason has one for supposing that a body so solid, possessing resistance, composite, changeable, decaying, and renewed every day, has not arisen from some cause? But if the world is begotten, souls also are necessarily begotten; and perhaps at one time they were not in existence, for they were made on account of men and other living creatures, if you will say that they have been begotten wholly apart, and not along with their respective bodies.’ “‘This seems to be correct.’

“‘They are not, then, immortal?’

“‘No; since the world has appeared to us to be begotten.’

“‘But I do not say, indeed, that all souls die; for that were truly a piece of good fortune to the evil. What then? The souls of the pious remain in a better place, while those of the unjust and wicked are in a worse, waiting for the time of judgment. Thus some which have appeared worthy of God never die; but others are punished so long as God wills them to exist and to be punished.’

“‘Is what you say, then, of a like nature with that which Plato in Timaeus hints about the world, when he says that it is indeed subject to decay, inasmuch as it has been created, but that it will neither be dissolved nor meet with the fate of death on account of the will of God? Does it seem to you the very same can be said of the soul, and generally of all things? For those things which exist after15 God, or shall at any time exist,16 these have the nature of decay, and are such as may be blotted out and cease to exist; for God alone is unbegotten and incorruptible, and therefore He is God, but all other things after Him are created and corruptible. For this reason souls both die and are punished: since, if they were unbegotten, they would neither sin, nor be filled with folly, nor be cowardly, and again ferocious; nor would they willingly transform into swine, and serpents, and dogs and it would not indeed be just to compel them, if they be unbegotten. For that which is unbegotten is similar to, equal to, and the same with that which is unbegotten; and neither in power nor in honour should the one be preferred to the other, and hence there are not many things which are unbegotten: for if there were some difference between them, you would not discover the cause of the difference, though you searched for it; but after letting the mind ever wander to infinity, you would at length, wearied out, take your stand on one Unbegotten, and say that this is the Cause of all. Did such escape the observation of Plato and Pythagoras, those wise men,’ 198 I said, ‘who have been as a wall and fortress of philosophy to us?’

Chap. VI. — These Things Were Unknown to Plato and Other Philosophers.

“‘It makes no matter to me,’ said he, ‘whether Plato or Pythagoras, or, in short, any other man held such opinions. For the truth is so; and you would perceive it from this. The soul assuredly is or has life. If, then, it is life, it would cause something else, and not itself, to live, even as motion would move something else than itself. Now, that the soul lives, no one would deny. But if it lives, it lives not as being life, but as the partaker of life; but that which partakes of anything, is different from that of which it does partake. Now the soul partakes of life, since God wills it to live. Thus, then, it will not even partake [of life] when God does not will it to live. For to live is not its attribute, as it is God’s; but as a man does not live always, and the soul is not for ever conjoined with the body, since, whenever this harmony must be broken up, the soul leaves the body, and the man exists no longer; even so, whenever the soul must cease to exist, the spirit of life is removed from it, and there is no more soul, but it goes back to the place from whence it was taken.’

Chap. VII. — The Knowledge of Truth to Be Sought from the Prophets Alone.

“‘Should any one, then, employ a teacher?’ I say, ‘or whence may any one be helped, if not even in them there is truth?’

“‘There existed, long before this time, certain men more ancient than all those who are esteemed philosophers, both righteous and beloved by God, who spoke by the Divine Spirit, and foretold events which would take place, and which are now taking place. They are called prophets. These alone both saw and announced the truth to men, neither reverencing nor fearing any man, not influenced by a desire for glory, but speaking those things alone which they saw and which they heard, being filled with the Holy Spirit. Their writings are still extant, and he who has read them is very much helped in his knowledge of the beginning and end of things, and of those matters which the philosopher ought to know, provided he has believed them. For they did not use demonstration in their treatises, seeing that they were witnesses to the truth above all demonstration, and worthy of belief; and those events which have happened, and those which are happening, compel you to assent to the utterances made by them, although, indeed, they were entitled to credit on account of the miracles which they performed, since they both glorified the Creator, the God and Father of all things, and proclaimed His Son, the Christ [sent] by Him: which, indeed, the false prophets, who are filled with the lying unclean spirit, neither have done nor do, but venture to work certain wonderful deeds for the purpose of astonishing men, and glorify the spirits and demons of error. But pray that, above all things, the gates of light may be opened to you; for these things cannot be perceived or understood by all, but only by the man to whom God and His Christ have imparted wisdom.’

Chap. VIII. — Justin by His Colloquy Is Kindled with Love to Christ.

“When he had spoken these and many other things, which there is no time for mentioning at present, he went away, bidding me attend to them; and I have not seen him since. But straightway a flame was kindled in my soul; and a love of the prophets, and of those men who are friends of Christ, possessed me; and whilst revolving his words in my mind, I found this philosophy alone to be safe and profitable. Thus, and for this reason, I am a philosopher. Moreover, I would wish that all, making a resolution similar to my own, do not keep themselves away from the words of the Saviour. For they possess a terrible power in themselves, and are sufficient to inspire those who turn aside from the path of rectitude with awe; while the sweetest rest is afforded those who make a diligent practice of them. If, then, you have any concern for yourself, and if you are eagerly looking for salvation, and if you believe in God, you may — since you are not indifferent to the matter.17 — become acquainted with the Christ of God, and, after being initiated,18 live a happy life.”

When I had said this, my beloved friends19 those who were with Trypho laughed; but he, smiling, says, “I approve of your other remarks, and admire the eagerness with which you study divine things; but it were better for you still to abide in the philosophy of Plato, or of some other man, cultivating endurance, self-control, and moderation, rather than be deceived by false words, and follow the opinions of men of no reputation. For if you remain in that mode of philosophy, and live blamelessly, a hope of a better destiny were left to you; but when you have forsaken God, and reposed confidence in man, what safety still awaits you? If, then, you are willing to listen to me (for I have already considered you a friend), first be circumcised, then observe what ordinances have been enacted with respect to the Sabbath, and the feasts, and 199 the new moons of God; and, in a word, do all things which have been written in the law: and then perhaps you shall obtain mercy from God. But Christ — if He has indeed been born, and exists anywhere — is unknown, and does not even know Himself, and has no power until Elias come to anoint Him, and make Him manifest to all. And you, having accepted a groundless report, invent a Christ for yourselves, and for his sake are inconsiderately perishing.”

Chap. IX. — The Christians Have Not Believed Groundless Stories.

“I excuse and forgive you, my friend,” I said. “For you know not what you say, but have been persuaded by teachers who do not understand the Scriptures; and you speak, like a diviner whatever comes into your mind. But if you are willing to listen to an account of Him, how we have not been deceived, and shall not cease to confess Him, — although men’s reproaches be heaped upon us, although the most terrible tyrant compel us to deny Him, — I shall prove to you as you stand here that we have not believed empty fables, or words without any foundation but words filled with the Spirit of God, and big with power, and flourishing with grace.”

Then again those who were in his company laughed, and shouted in an unseemly manner. Then I rose up and was about to leave; but he, taking hold of my garment, said I should not accomplish that20 until I had performed what I promised. “Let not, then, your companions be so tumultuous, or behave so disgracefully,” I said. “But if they wish, let them listen in silence; or, if some better occupation prevent them, let them go away; while we, having retired to some spot, and resting there, may finish the discourse.” It seemed good to Trypho that we should do so; and accordingly, having agreed upon it, we retired to the middle space of the Xystus. Two of his friends, when they had ridiculed and made game of our zeal, went off. And when we were come to that place, where there are stone seats on both sides, those with Trypho, having seated themselves on the one side, conversed with each other, some one of them having thrown in a remark about the war waged in Judaea.

Chap. X. — Trypho Blames the Christians for This Alone — The Non-Observance of the Law.

And when they ceased, I again addressed them thus: —

“Is there any other matter, my friends, in which we are blamed, than this, that we live not after the law, and are not circumcised in the flesh as your forefathers were, and do not observe sabbaths as you do? Are our lives and customs also slandered among you? And I ask this: have you also believed concerning us, that we eat men; and that after the feast, having extinguished the lights, we engage in promiscuous concubinage? Or do you condemn us in this alone, that we adhere to such tenets, and believe in an opinion, untrue, as you think?”

“This is what we are amazed at,” said Trypho, “but those things about which the multitude speak are not worthy of belief; for they are most repugnant to human nature. Moreover, I am aware that your precepts in the so-called Gospel are so wonderful and so great, that I suspect no one can keep them; for I have carefully read them. But this is what we are most at a loss about: that you, professing to be pious, and supposing yourselves better than others, are not in any particular separated from them, and do not alter your mode of living from the nations, in that you observe no festivals or sabbaths, and do not have the rite of circumcision; and further, resting your hopes on a man that was crucified, you yet expect to obtain some good thing from God, while you do not obey His commandments. Have you not read, that soul shall be cut off from his people who shall not have been circumcised on the eighth day? And this has been ordained for strangers and for slaves equally. But you, despising this covenant rashly, reject the consequent duties, and attempt to persuade yourselves that you know God, when, however, you perform none of those things which they do who fear God. If, therefore, you can defend yourself on these points, and make it manifest in what way you hope for anything whatsoever, even though you do not observe the law, this we would very gladly hear from you, and we shall make other similar investigations.”

Chap. XI. — The Law Abrogated; The New Testament Promised and Given by God.

“There will be no other God, O Trypho, nor was there from eternity any other existing” (I thus addressed him), “but He who made and disposed all this universe. Nor do we think that there is one God for us, another for you, but that He alone is God who led your fathers out from Egypt with a strong hand and a high arm. Nor have we trusted in any other (for there is no other), but in Him in whom you also have trusted, the God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob. But we do not trust through Moses or through the law; for then we would do the same as yourselves. But now21 — (for I have read that there shall be a final law, and a covenant, the chiefest 200 of all, which it is now incumbent on all men to observe, as many as are seeking after the inheritance of God. For the law promulgated on Horeb is now old, and belongs to yourselves alone; but this is for all universally. Now, law placed against law has abrogated that which is before it, and a covenant which comes after in like manner has put an end to the previous one; and an eternal and final law — namely, Christ — has been given to us, and the covenant is trustworthy, after which there shall be no law, no commandment, no ordinance. Have you not read this which Isaiah says: ‘Hearken unto Me, hearken unto Me, my people; and, ye kings, give ear unto Me: for a law shall go forth from Me, and My judgment shah be for a light to the nations. My righteousness approaches swiftly, and My salvation shall go forth, and nations shall trust in Mine arm?’22 And by Jeremiah, concerning this same new covenant, He thus speaks: ‘Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah; not according to the covenant which I made with their fathers, in the day that I took them by the hand, to bring them out of the land of Egypt’ [Jer_31:31, Jer_31:32]). If, therefore, God proclaimed a new covenant which was to be instituted, and this for a light of the nations, we see and are persuaded that men approach God, leaving their idols and other unrighteousness, through the name of Him who was crucified, Jesus Christ, and abide by their confession even unto death, and maintain piety. Moreover, by the works and by the attendant miracles, it is possible for all to understand that He is the new law, and the new covenant, and the expectation of those who out of every people wait for the good things of God. For the true spiritual Israel, and descendants of Judah, Jacob, Isaac, and Abraham (who in uncircumcision was approved of and blessed by God on account of his faith, and called the father of many nations), are we who have been led to God through this crucified Christ, as shall be demonstrated while we proceed.

Chap. XII. — The Jews Violate the Eternal Law, and Interpret Ill That of Moses.

I also adduced another passage in which Isaiah exclaims: “‘Hear My words, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. Behold, I have given Him for a witness to the people: nations which know not Thee shall call on Thee; peoples who know not Thee shall escape to Thee, because of thy God, the Holy One of Israel; for He has glorified Thee.’23 This same law you have despised, and His new holy covenant you have slighted; and now you neither receive it, nor repent of your evil deeds. ‘For your ears are closed, your eyes are blinded, and the heart is hardened,’ Jeremiah24 has cried; yet not even then do you listen. The Lawgiver is present, yet you do not see Him; to the poor the Gospel is preached, the blind see, yet you do not understand. You have now need of a second circumcision, though you glory greatly in the flesh. The new law requires you to keep perpetual sabbath, and you, because you are idle for one day, suppose you are pious, not discerning why this has been commanded you: and if you eat unleavened bread, you say the will of God has been fulfilled. The Lord our God does not take pleasure in such observances: if there is any perjured person or a thief among you, let him cease to be so; if any adulterer, let him repent; then he has kept the sweet and true sabbaths of God. If any one has impure hands, let him wash and be pure.

Chap. XIII. — Isaiah Teaches That Sins Are Forgiven Through Christ’s Blood.

“For Isaiah did not send you to a bath, there to wash away murder and other sins, which not even all the water of the sea were sufficient to purge; but, as might have been expected, this was that saving bath of the olden time which followed25 those who repented, and who no longer were purified by the blood of goats and of sheep, or by the ashes of an heifer, or by the offerings of fine flour, but by faith through the blood of Christ, and through His death, who died for this very reason, as Isaiah himself said, when he spake thus: ‘The Lord shall make bare His holy arm in the eyes of all the nations, and all the nations and the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of God. Depart ye, depart ye, depart ye,26 go ye out from thence, and touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her, be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord, for27 ye go not with haste. For the Lord shall go before you; and the Lord, the God of Israel, shall gather you together. Behold, my servant shall deal prudently; and He shall be exalted, and be greatly glorified. As many were astonished at Thee, so Thy form and Thy glory shall be marred more than men. So shall many nations be astonished at Him, and the kings shall shut their mouths; for that which had not been told them concerning Him shall they see, and that which they had not heard shall they consider. Lord, 201 who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? We have announced Him as a child before Him, as a root in a dry ground. He hath no form or comeliness, and when we saw Him He had no form or beauty; but His form is dishonoured, and fails more than the sons of men. He is a man in affliction, and acquainted with bearing sickness, because His face has been turned away; He was despised, and we esteemed Him not. He bears our sins, and is distressed for us; and we esteemed Him to be in toil and in affliction, and in evil treatment But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him. With His stripes we are healed. All we, like sheep, have gone astray. Every man has turned to his own way; and the Lord laid on Him our iniquities, and by reason of His oppression He opens not His mouth. He was brought as a sheep to the slaughter; and as a lamb before her shearer is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth. In His humiliation His judgment was taken away. And who shall declare His generation? For His life is taken from the earth. Because of the transgressions of my people He came unto death. And I will give the wicked for His grave, and the rich for His death, because He committed no iniquity, and deceit was not found in His mouth. And the Lord wills to purify Him from affliction. If he has been given for sin, your soul shall see a long-lived seed. And the Lord wills to take His soul away from trouble, to show Him light, and to form Him in understanding, to justify the righteous One who serves many well. And He shall bear our sins; therefore He shall inherit many, and shall divide the spoil of the strong, because His soul was delivered to death; and He was numbered with the transgressors, and He bare the sins of many, and was delivered for their transgression. Sing, O barren, who bearest not; break forth and cry aloud, thou who dost not travail in pain: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife. For the Lord said, Enlarge the place of thy tent and of thy curtains; fix them, spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes; stretch forth to thy right and thy left; and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and thou shalt make the desolate cities to be inherited. Fear not because thou art ashamed, neither be thou confounded because thou hast been reproached; for thou shalt forget everlasting shame, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood, because the Lord has made a name for Himself, and He who has redeemed thee shall be called through the whole earth the God of Israel. The Lord has called thee as28 a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, as28 a woman hated from her youth.’29

Chap. XIV. — Righteousness Is Not Placed in Jewish Rites, but in the Conversion of the Heart Given in Baptism by Christ.

“By reason, therefore, of this laver of repentance and knowledge of God, which has been ordained on account of the transgression of God’s people, as Isaiah cries, we have believed, and testify that that very baptism which he announced is alone able to purify those who have repented; and this is the water of life. But the cisterns which you have dug for yourselves are broken and profitless to you. For what is the use of that baptism which cleanses the flesh and body alone? Baptize the soul from wrath and from covetousness, from envy, and from hatred; and, lo! the body is pure. For this is the symbolic significance of unleavened bread, that you do not commit the old deeds of wicked leaven. But you have understood all things in a carnal sense, and you suppose it to be piety if you do such things, while your souls are filled with deceit, and, in short, with every wickedness. Accordingly, also, after the seven days of eating unleavened bread, God commanded them to mingle new leaven, that is, the performance of other works, and not the imitation of the old and evil works. And because this is what this new Lawgiver demands of you, I shall again refer to the words which have been quoted by me, and to others also which have been passed over. They are related by Isaiah to the following effect: ‘Hearken to me, and your soul shall live; and I will make with you an everlasting covenant, even the sure mercies of David. Behold, I have given Him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the nations. Nations which know not Thee shall call on Thee; and peoples who know not Thee shall escape unto Thee, because of Thy God, the Holy One of Israel, for He has glorified Thee. Seek ye God; and when you find Him, call on Him, so long as He may be nigh you. Let the wicked forsake his ways, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto the Lord, and he will obtain mercy, because He will abundantly pardon your sins. For my thoughts are not as your thoughts, neither are my ways as your ways; but as far removed as the heavens are from the earth, so far is my way removed from your way, and your thoughts from my thoughts. For as the snow or the rain descends from heaven, and shall not return till it waters the earth, and makes it bring forth and bud, and gives seed to the sower and bread for food, so shall My word be that goeth forth out of My mouth: it shall not return until it shall have 202 accomplished all that I desired, and I shall make My commandments prosperous. For ye shall go out with joy, and be taught with gladness. For the mountains and the hills shall leap while they expect you, and all the trees of the fields shall applaud with their branches: and instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle. And the Lord shall be for a name, and for an everlasting sign, and He shall not fail!’ (Isa_55:3 to end) Of these and such like words written by the prophets, O Trypho,” said I, “some have reference to the first advent of Christ, in which He is preached as inglorious, obscure, and of mortal appearance: but others had reference to His second advent, when He shall appear in glory and above the clouds; and your nation shall see and know Him whom they have pierced, as Hosea, one of the twelve prophets, and Daniel, foretold.

Chap. XV. — In What the True Fasting Consists.

“Learn, therefore, to keep the true fast of God, as Isaiah says, that you may please God. Isaiah has cried thus: ‘Shout vehemently, and do not spare: lift up thy voice as with a trumpet, and show My people their transgressions, and the house of Jacob their sins. They seek Me from day to day, and desire to know My ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the judgment of God. They ask of Me now righteous judgment, and desire to draw near to God, saying, Wherefore have we fasted, and Thou seest not? and afflicted our souls, and Thou hast not known? Because in the days of your fasting you find your own pleasure, and oppress all those who are subject to you. Behold, ye fast for strifes and debates, and smite the humble with your fists. Why do ye fast for Me, as to-day, so that your voice is heard aloud? This is not the fast which I have chosen, the day in which a man shall afflict his soul. And not even if you bend your neck like a ring, or clothe yourself in sackcloth and ashes, shall you call this a fast, and a day acceptable to the Lord. This is not the fast which I have chosen, saith the Lord; but loose every unrighteous bond, dissolve the terms of wrongous covenants, let the oppressed go free, and avoid every iniquitous contract. Deal thy bread to the hungry, and lead the homeless poor under thy dwelling; if thou seest the naked, clothe him; and do not hide thyself from thine own flesh. Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thy garments30 shall rise up quickly: and thy righteousness shall go before thee, and the glory of God shall envelope thee. Then shalt thou cry, and the Lord shall hear thee: while thou art speaking, He will say, Behold, I am here. And if thou take away from thee the yoke, and the stretching out of the hand, and the word of murmuring; and shalt give heartily thy bread to the hungry, and shalt satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light arise in the darkness, and thy darkness shall be as the noon-day: and thy God shall be with thee continually, and thou shalt be satisfied according as thy soul desireth, and thy bones shall become fat, and shall be as a watered garden, and as a fountain of water, or as a land where water fails not.’ (Isa_58:1-12) ‘Circumcise, therefore, the foreskin of your heart,’ as the words of God in all these passages demand.”

Chap. XVI. — Circumcision Given as a Sign, That the Jews Might Be Driven Away for Their Evil Deeds Done to Christ and the Christians.

“And God himself proclaimed by Moses, speaking thus: ‘And circumcise the hardness of your hearts, and no longer stiffen the neck. For the Lord your God is both Lord of lords, and a great, mighty, and terrible God, who regardeth not persons, and taketh not rewards.’ (Deu_10:16) And in Leviticus: ‘Because they have transgressed against Me, and despised Me, and because they have walked contrary to Me, I also walked contrary to them, and I shall cut them off in the land of their enemies. Then shall their uncircumcised heart be turned.’ (Lev_26:40, Lev_26:41) For the circumcision according to the flesh, which is from Abraham, was given for a sign; that you may be separated from other nations, and from us; and that you alone may suffer that which you now justly suffer; and that your land may be desolate, and your cities burned with fire; and that strangers may eat your fruit in your presence, and not one of you may go up to Jerusalem.’31 For you are not recognised among the rest of men by any other mark than your fleshly circumcision. For none of you, I suppose, will venture to say that God neither did nor does foresee the events, which are future, nor fore-ordained his deserts for each one. Accordingly, these things have happened to you in fairness and justice, for you have slain the Just One, and His prophets before Him; and now you reject those who hope in Him, and in Him who sent Him — God the Almighty and Maker of all things — cursing in your synagogues those that believe on Christ. For you have not the power to lay hands upon us, on account of those who now have the mastery. But as often as you could, you did so. Wherefore God, by Isaiah, calls to you, saying, ‘Behold how the righteous 203 man perished, and no one regards it. For the righteous man is taken away from before iniquity. His grave shall be in peace, he is taken away from the midst. Draw near hither, ye lawless children, seed of the adulterers, and children of the whore. Against whom have you sported yourselves, and against whom have you opened the mouth, and against whom have you loosened the tongue?’ (Isa_57:1-4)


1 This Xystus, on the authority of Euseb. (iv. 18), was at Ephesus. There, Philostratus mentions, Appolonius was wont to have disputations. — Otto.

2 Euseb. (iv. 11): “Justin, in philosopher’s garb, preached the word of God.”

3 In jest, no doubt, because quoting a line from Homer, Il., vi. 123. τίς δὲ σύ ἐσσι, φέριστε, καταθνητῶν ἀνθρώπων.

4 [i. e., “A Hebrew of the Hebrews” (Phi_3:5).]

5 The war instigated by Bar Cochba.

6 The opinions of Stoics. — Otto.

7 The Platonists.

8 ὧ some omit, and put θεῷ of prev. cl. in this cl., reading so: “Philosophy is the greatest possession, and most honourable, and introduces us to God,” etc.

9 Maranus thinks that those who are different from the masters of practical philosophy are called Theoretics. I do not know whether they may be better designated Sceptics or Pyrrhonists. — Otto.

10 Julian, Orat., vi., says: “Let no one divide our philosophy into many parts, or cut it into many parts, and especially let him not make many out of one: for as truth is one, so also is philosophy.”

11 Either Flavia Neapolis is indicated, or Ephesus. — Otto.

12 Narrating his progress in the study of Platonic philosophy, he elegantly employs this trite phrase of Plato’s. — Otto.

13 Philology, used here to denote the exercise of reason.

14 Philology, used here to denote the exercise of speech. The two-fold use of λόγοςoratio and ratio — ought to be kept in view. The old man uses it in the former, Justin in the latter, sense.

15 “Beside.”

16 Otto says: If the old man begins to speak here, then ἔχει must be read for ἔχειν. The received text makes it appear that Justin continues a quotation, or the substance of it, from Plato.

17 According to one interpretation, this clause is applied to God: “If you believe in God, seeing He is not indifferent to the matter,” etc. Maranus says that it means: A Jew who reads so much of Christ in the Old Testament, cannot be indifferent to the things which pertain to Him.

18 Literally: having become perfect. Some refer the words to perfection of character; some initiation by baptism.

19 Latin version, “beloved Pompeius.”

20 According to another reading, “I did not leave.”

21 Editors suppose that Justin inserts a long parenthesis here, from “for” to “Egypt.” It is more natural to take this as an anacoluthon. Justin was going to say, “But now we trust through Christ,” but feels that such a statement requires preliminary explanation.

22 According to the LXX, Isa_51:4, Isa_51:5

23 Isa_55:3. according to LXX.

24 Not in Jeremiah; some would insert, in place of Jeremiah, Isaiah or John. [Joh_12:40; Isa_6:10; where see full references in the English margin. But comp. Jer_7:24, Jer_7:26, Jer_11:8, and Jer_17:23.]

25 1Co_10:4. Otto reads: which he mentioned and which was for those who repented.

26 Three times in Justin, not in LXX.

27 Deviating slightly from LXX., omitting a clause.

28 LXX. “not as,” etc.

29 Isa_52:10. following LXX. on to Isa_54:6.

30 ἱμάτια; some read ἰάματα, as in LXX., “thy health,” the better reading probably.

31 See Apol., i. 47. The Jews [By Hadrian’s recent edict] were prohibited by law from entering Jerusalem on pain of death. And so Justin sees in circumcision their own punishment.