Christian apologist, born at Flavia Neapolis, about A.D. 100, converted to Christianity about A.D. 130, taught and defended the Christian religion in Asia Minor and at Rome, where he suffered martyrdom about the year 165. Two "Apologies" bearing his name and his "Dialogue with the Jew Tryphon" have come down to us. Leo XIII had a Mass and an Office composed in his honour and set his feast for 14 April. Life
Among the Fathers of the second century his life is the best known, and from the most authentic documents. In both "Apologies" and in his "Dialogue" he gives many personal details, e.g. about his studies in philosophy and his conversion; they are not, however, an autobiography, but are partly idealized, and it is necessary to distinguish in them between poetry and truth; they furnish us however with several precious and reliable clues. For his martyrdom we have documents of undisputed authority. In the first line of his "Apology" he calls himself "Justin, the son of Priscos, son of Baccheios, of Flavia Neapolis, in Palestinian Syria".Flavia Neapolis, his native town, founded by Vespasian (A.D. 72), was built on the site of a place called Mabortha, or Mamortha, quite near Sichem (Guérin, "Samarie", I, Paris, 1874, 390-423; Schürer, "History of the Jewish People", tr., I, Edinburgh, 1885). Its inhabitants were all, or for the most part, pagans. The names of the father and grandfather of Justin suggest a pagan origin, and he speaks of himself as uncircumcised (Dialogue, xxviii). The date of his birth is uncertain, but would seem to fall in the first years of the second century. He received agood education in philosophy, an account of which he gives us at the beginning of his "Dialogue with the Jew Tryphon"; he placed himself first under a Stoic, but after some time found that he had learned nothing about God and that in fact his master had nothing to teach him on the subject. A Peripatetic whom he then found welcomed him at first but afterwards demanded a fee from him; this proved that he was not a philosopher. A Pythagorean refused to teach him anything until he should have learned music, astronomy, and geometry. Finally a Platonist arrived on the scene and for some time delighted Justin. This account cannot be taken too literally; the facts seem to be arranged with a view to showing the weakness of the pagan philosophies and of contrasting them with the teachings of the Prophets and of Christ. The main facts, however, may be accepted; the works of Justin seem to show just such a philosophic development as is here described, Eclectic, but owing much to Stoicism and more to Platonism. He was still under the charm of the Platonistic philosophy when, as he walked one day along the seashore, he met a mysterious old man; the conclusion of their long discussion was that he soul could not arrive through human knowledge at the idea of God, but that it needed to be instructed by the Prophets who, inspired by the Holy Ghost, had known God and could make Him known ("Dialogue", iii, vii; cf. Zahm, "Dichtung and Wahrheit in Justins Dialog mit dem Jeden Trypho" in "Zeitschr. für Kirchengesch.", VIII, 1885-1886, 37-66).
The "Apologies" throw light on another phase of the conversion of Justin: "When I was a disciple of Plato", he writes, "hearing the accusations made against the Christians and seeing them intrepid in the face of death and of all that men fear, I said to myself that it was impossible that they should be living in evil and in the love of pleasure" (II Apol., xviii, 1). Both accounts exhibit the two aspects of Christianity that most strongly influenced St. Justin; in the "Apologies" he is moved by its moral beauty (I Apol., xiv), in the "Dialogue" by its truth. His conversion must have taken place at the latest towards A.D. 130, since St. Justin places during the war of Bar-Cocheba (132-135) the interview with the Jew Tryphon, related in his "Dialogue". This interview is evidently not described exactly as it took place, and yet the account cannot be wholly fictitious.Tryphon, according to Eusebius (Church History IV.18.6), was "the best known Jew of that time", which description the historian may have borrowed from the introduction to the "Dialogue", now lost. It is possible to identify in a general way thisTryphon with the Rabbi Tarphon often mentioned in the Talmud (Schürer, "Gesch. d. Jud. Volkes", 3rd ed., II, 377 seq., 555 seq., cf., however, Herford, "Christianity in Talmud and Midrash", London, 1903, 156). The place of the interview is not definitely told, but Ephesus is clearly enough indicated; the literary setting lacks neither probability nor life, the chance meetings under the porticoes, the groups of curious onlookers who stop a while and then disperse during the interviews, offer a vivid picture of suchextemporary conferences. St. Justin lived certainly some time at Ephesus; the Acts of his martyrdom tell us that he went to Rome twice and lived "near the baths of Timothy with a man named Martin". He taught school there, and in the aforesaid Acts of his martyrdom we read of several of his disciples who were condemned with him.
In his second "Apology" (iii) Justin says: "I, too, expect to be persecuted and to be crucified by some of those whom I have named, or by Crescens, that friend of noise and of ostentation." Indeed Tatian relates (Address to the Greeks 19) that the Cynic philosopher Crescens did pursue him and Justin; he does not tell us the result and, moreover, it is not certain that the "Discourse" of Tatian was written after the death of Justin. Eusebius (Church History IV.16.7-8) says that it was the intrigues of Crescens which brought about the death of Justin; this is credible, but not certain; Eusebius has apparently no other reason for affirming it than the two passages cited above from Justin and Tatian. St. Justin was condemned to death by the prefect, Rusticus, towards A.D. 165, with six companions, Chariton, Charito, Evelpostos, Pæon, Hierax, and Liberianos. We still have the authentic account of their martyrdom ("Acta SS.", April, II, 104-19; Otto, "Corpus Apologetarum", III, Jena, 1879, 266-78; P.G., VI, 1565-72). The examination ends as follows:
"The Prefect Rusticus says: Approach and sacrifice, all of you, to the gods. Justin says: No one in his right mind gives up piety for impiety. The Prefect Rusticus says: If you do not obey, you will be tortured without mercy. Justin replies: That is our desire, to be tortured for Our Lord, Jesus Christ, and so to be saved, for that will give us salvation and firm confidence at the more terrible universal tribunal of Our Lord and Saviour. And all the martyrs said: Do as you wish; for we are Christians, and we do not sacrifice to idols. The Prefect Rusticus read the sentence: Those who do not wish to sacrifice to the gods and to obey the emperor will be scourged and beheaded according to the laws. The holy martyrs glorifying God betook themselves to the customary place, where they were beheaded and consummated their martyrdom confessing their Saviour."
Justin was a voluminous and important writer. He himself mentions a "Treatise against Heresy" (I Apology, xxvi, 8); St. Irenæus (Against Heresies IV.6.2) quotes a "Treatise against Marcion" which may have been only a part of the preceding work. Eusebius mentions both (Church History IV.11.8-10), but does not seem to have read them himself; a little further on (IV.18) he gives the following list of Justin's works: "Discourse in favour of our Faith to Antoninus Pius, to his sons, and to the Roman Senate"; an "Apology" addressed to Marcus Aurelius; "Discourse to the Greeks"; another discourse called "A Refutation"; "Treatise on the Divine Monarchy"; a book called "The Psalmist"; "Treatise on the soul"; "Dialogue against the Jews", which he had in the city of Ephesus with Tryphon, the most celebrated Israelite of that time. Eusebius adds that many more of his books are to be found in the hands of the brethren. Later writers add nothing certain to this list, itself possibly not altogether reliable. There are extant but three works of Justin, of which the authenticity is assured: the two "Apologies" and the "Dialogue". They are to be found in two manuscripts: Paris gr. 450, finished on 11 September, 1364; and Claromont. 82, written in 1571, actually at Cheltenham, in the possession of M.T.F. Fenwick. The second is only a copy of the first, which is therefore our sole authority; unfortunately this manuscript is very imperfect (Harnack, "Die Ueberlieferung der griech. Apologeten" in "Texte and Untersuchungen", I, Leipzig, 1883, i, 73-89;Archambault, "Justin, Dialogue a vec Tryphon", Paris, 1909, p. xii-xxxviii). There are many large gaps in this manuscript, thus II Apol., ii, is almost entirely wanting, but it has been found possible to restore the manuscript text from a quotation of Eusebius (Church History IV.17). The "Dialogue" was dedicated to a certain Marcus Pompeius (exli, viii); it must therefore have been preceded by a dedicatory epistle and probably by an introduction or preface; both are lacking. In the seventy-fourth chapter a large part must also be missing, comprising the end of the first book and the beginning of the second (Zahn, "Zeitschr. f. Kirchengesch.", VIII, 1885, 37 sq., Bardenhewer, "Gesch. der altkirchl.Litter.", I, Freiburg im Br., 1902, 210). There are other less important gaps and many faulty transcriptions. There being no other manuscript, the correction of this one is very difficult; conjectures have been often quite unhappy, and Krüger, the latest editor of the "Apology", has scarcely done more than return to the text of the manuscript.
In the manuscript the three works are found in the following order: second "Apology", first "Apology", the "Dialogue". Dom Maran (Paris, 1742) re-established the original order, and all other editors have followed him. There could not be as a matter of fact any doubt as to the proper order of the "Apologies", the first is quoted in the second (iv, 2; vi, 5; viii, 1). The form of these references shows that Justin is referring, not to a different work, but to that which he was then writing (II Apol., ix, 1, cf. vii, 7; I Apol., lxiii, 16, cf. xxxii, 14; lxiii, 4, cf. xxi, 1; lxi, 6, cf. lxiv, 2). Moreover, the second "Apology" is evidently not a complete work independent of the first, but rather an appendix, owing to a new fact that came to the writer's knowledge, and which he wished to utilize without recasting both works. It has been remarked that Eusebius often alludes to the second "Apology" as the first (Church History IV.8.5 and IV.17.1), but the quotations from Justin by Eusebius are too inexact for us to attach much value to this fact (cf. Church History IV.11.8; Bardenhewer, op. cit., 201). Probably Eusebius also erred in making Justin write one apology under Antoninus (161) and another under Marcus Aurelius. The second "Apology", known to no other author, doubtless never existed (Bardenhewer, loc. cit.; Harnack, "Chronologie der christl. Litter.", I, Leipzig, 1897, 275). The date of the "Apology" cannot be determined by its dedication, which is not certain, but can be established with the aid of the following facts: it is 150 years since the birth of Christ (I, xlvi, 1); Marcion has already spread abroad his error (I, xxvi, 5); now, according to Epiphanius (Hæres., xlii, 1), he did not begin to teach until after the death of Hyginus (A.D. 140). The Prefect of Egypt, Felix (I, xxix, 2), occupied this charge in September, 151, probably from 150 to about 154 (Grenfell-Hunt, "Oxyrhinchus Papyri", II, London, 1899, 163, 175; cf. Harnack, "Theol. Literaturzeitung", XXII, 1897, 77). From all of this we may conclude that the "Apology" was written somewhere between 153 and 155. The second "Apology", as already said, is an appendix to the first and must have been written shortly afterwards. ThePrefect Urbinus mentioned in it was in charge from 144 to 160. The "Dialogue" is certainly later than the "Apology" to which it refers ( Dialogue with Trypho 120, cf. "I Apol.", xxvi); it seems, moreover, from this same reference that the emperors to whom the "Apology" was addressed were still living when the "Dialogue" was written. This places it somewhere before A.D. 161, the date of the death of Antoninus.
The "Apology" and the "Dialogue" are difficult to analyse, for Justin's method of composition is free and capricious, and defies our habitual rules of logic. The content of the first "Apology" (Viel, "Justinus des Phil. Rechtfertigung", Strasburg, 1894, 58 seq.) is somewhat as follows:
* i-iii: exordium to the emperors: Justin is about to enlighten them and free himself of responsibility, which will now be wholly theirs. * iv-xii: first part or introduction: o the anti-Christian procedure is iniquitous: they persecute in the Christians a name only (iv, v); o Christians are neither Atheists nor criminals (vi, vii); o they allow themselves to be killed rather than deny their God (viii); o they refuse to adore idols (ix, xii); o conclusion (xii). * xiii-lxvii: Second part (exposition and demonstration of Christianity): o Christians adore the crucified Christ, as well as God (xiii); o Christ is their Master; moral precepts (xiv-xvii); o the future life, judgement, etc. (xviii-xx). o Christ is the Incarnate Word (xxi-lx); o comparison with pagan heroes, Hermes, Æsculapius, etc. (xxi-xxii); o superiority of Christ and of Christianity before Christ (xlvi). o The similarities that we find in the pagan worship and philosophy come from the devils (liv-lx). o Description of Christian worship: baptism (lxi); o the Eucharist (lxv-lxvi); o Sunday-observance (lxvii).
* Recent injustice of the Prefect Urbinus towards the Christians (i-iii). * Why it is that God permits these evils: Providence, human liberty, last judgement (iv-xii).
The "Dialogue" is much longer than the two apologies taken together ("Apol." I and II in P.G., VI, 328-469; Dialogue with Trypho), the abundance of exegetical discussions makes any analysis particularly difficult. The following points are noteworthy:
* i-ix. Introduction: Justin gives the story of his philosophic education and of this conversion. One may know God only through the Holy Ghost; the soul is not immortal by its nature; to know truth it is necessary to study the Prophets. * x-xxx: On the law. Tryphon reproaches the Christians for not observing the law. Justin replies that according to the Prophets themselves the law should be abrogated, it had only been given to the Jews on account of their hardness. Superiority of the Christian circumcision, necessary even for the Jews. The eternal law laid down by Christ. * xxxi-cviii: On Christ: His two comings (xxxi sqq.); the law a figure of Christ (xl-xlv); the Divinity and the pre-existence of Christ proved above all by the Old Testament apparitions (theophanies) (lvi-lxii); incarnation and virginal conception (lxv sqq.); the death of Christ foretold (lxxxvi sqq.); His resurrection (cvi sqq.). * cviii to the end: On the Christians. The conversion of the nations foretold by the Prophets (cix sqq.); Christians are a holier people than the Jews (cxix sqq.); the promises were made to them (cxxi); they were prefigured in the Old Testament (cxxxiv sqq.). The "Dialogue" concludes with wishes for the conversion of the Jews.
Besides these authentic works we possess others under Justin's name that are doubtful or apocryphal.
* "On the Resurrection" (for its numerous fragments see Otto, "Corpus Apolog.", 2nd ed., III, 210-48 and the "Sacra Parallela", Holl, "Fragmente vornicänischer Kirchenväter aus den Sacra Parallela" in "Texte und Untersuchungen", new series, V, 2, Leipzig, 1899, 36-49). The treatise from which these fragments are taken was attributed to St. Justin bySt. Methodius (early fourth century) and was quoted by St. Irenæus and Tertullian, who do not, however, name the author. The attribution of the fragments to Justin is therefore probable (Harnack, "Chronologie", 508;Bousset , "Die Evangeliencitaten Justins", Göttingen, 1891, 123sq.; archambault, "Le témoignage de l'ancienne littérature Chrétienne sur l'authenticité d'un traité sur la resurrection attribué à Justin l'Apologiste" in "Revuede Philologie", XXIX, 1905, 73-93). The chiefinterest of these fragments consists in the introduction, where is explained with much force the transcendent nature of faith and the proper nature of its motives. * "A Discourse to the Greeks" (Otto, op. cit., III, 1, 2, 18), an apocryphal tract, dated by Harnack (Sitzungsberichte der k. preuss. Akad. d. Wiss. zu Berlin, 1896, 627-46), about A.D. 180-240. Later it was altered and enlarged in Syriac: text and English translation by Cureton, "Spicileg. Syr.", London, 1855, 38-42, 61-69. * "Exhortation to the Greeks" (Otto, op. cit., 18-126). The authenticity of this has been defended without success by Widman ("Die Echtheit der Mahnrede Justins an die Heiden", Mainz, 1902); Puech, "Sur le logos parainetikos attribué à Justin" in "Mélanges Weil", Paris, 1898, 395-406, dates it about 260-300, but most critics say, with more probability, A.D. 180-240 (Gaul, "Die Abfassungsverhältnisse der pseudojustinischen Cohortatio ad Græcos", Potsdam, 1902). * "On Monarchy" (Otto, op. cit., 126-158), tract of uncertain date, in which are freely quoted Greek poets altered by some Jew. * "Exposition of the Faith" (Otto, op. cit., IV, 2-66), a dogmatic treatise on the Trinity and the Incarnation preserved in two copies the longer of which seems the more ancient. It is quoted for the first time by Leontius of Byzantium (d. 543) and refers to the Christological discussions of the fifth century; it seems, therefore, to date from the second half of that century. * "Letter to Zenas and Serenus" (Otto, op. cit., 66-98), attributed by Batiffol in "Revue Biblique", VI, 1896, 114-22, to Sisinnios, the Novatian Bishop of Constantinople about A.D. 400. * "Answers to the Orthodox." * "The Christian's Questions to the Greeks." * "The Greek's Questions to the Christians." * "Refutation of certain Aristotelean theses" (Otto, op. cit., IV, 100-222; V, 4-366).
The "Answers to the Orthodox" was re-edited in a different and more primitive form by Papadopoulos-Kerameus (St. Petersburg, 1895), from a Constantinople manuscript which ascribed the work to Theodoret. Though this ascription was adopted by the editor, it has not been generally accepted. Harnack has studied profoundly these four books and maintains, not without probability, that they are the work of Diodorus of Tarsus (Harnack, "Diodor von Tarsus., vier pseudojustinische Schriften als Eigentum Diodors nachgewiesen" in "Texte und Untersuch.", XII, 4, Leipzig, 1901). Doctrine Justin and philosophy
The only pagan quotations to be found in Justin's works are from Homer, Euripides, Xenophon, Menander, and especially Plato (Otto, II, 593 sq.). His philosophic development has been well estimated by Purves ("The Testimony of Justin Martyr to early Christianity", London, 1882, 132): "He appears to have been a man of moderate culture. He was certainly not a genius nor an original thinker." A true eclectic, he draws inspiration from different systems, especially from Stoicism and Platonism. Weizsäcker (Jahrbücher f. Protest. Theol., XII, 1867, 75) thought he recognized a Peripatetic idea, or inspiration, in his conception of God as immovable above the heavens (Dialogue with Trypho 127); it is much more likely an idea borrowed from Alexandrian Judaism, and one which furnished a very efficacious argument to Justin in his anti-Jewish polemic. In the Stoics Justin admires especially their ethics (II Apol., viii, 1); he willingly adopts their theory of a universal conflagration (ekpyrosis). In I Apol., xx, lx; II, vii, he adopts, but at the same time transforms, their concept of the seminal Word (logos spermatikos). However, he condemns their Fatalism (II Apol., vii) and their Atheism (Dialogue with Trypho 2). His sympathies are above all with Platonism. He likes to compare it with Christanity; apropos of the last judgment, he remarks, however (I Apol., viii, 4), that according to Plato the punishment will last a thousand years, whereas according to the Christians it will be eternal; speaking of creation (I Apol., xx, 4; lix), he says that Plato borrowed from Moses his theory of formless matter; similarly he compares Plato and Christianity apropos of human responsibility (I Apol., xliv, 8) and the Word and the Spirit (I Apol., lx). However, his acquaintance with Plato was superficial; like his contemporaries (Philo, Plutarch, St. Hippolytus), he found his chief inspiration in the Timæus. Some historians have pretended that pagan philosophy entirely dominated Justin's Christianity (Aubé, "S. Justin", Paris, 1861), or at least weakened it (Engelhardt, "Das Christentum Justins des Märtyrers", Erlangen, 1878). To appreciate fairly this influence it is necessary to remember that in his "Apology" Justin is seeking above all the points of contact between Hellenism and Christianity. It would certainly be wrong to conclude from the first "Apology" (xxii) that Justin actually likens Christ to the pagan heroes of semi-heroes, Hermes, Perseus, or Æsculapius; neither can we conclude from his first "Apology" (iv, 8 or vii, 3, 4) thatphilosophy played among the Greeks the same role that Christianity did among the barbarians, but only that their position and their reputation were analogous.
In many passages, however, Justin tries to trace a real bond between philosophy and Christianity: according to him both the one and the other have a part in the Logos, partially disseminated among men and wholly manifest in Jesus Christ (I, v, 4; I, xlvi; II, viii; II, xiii, 5, 6). The idea developed in all these passages is given in the Stoic form, but this gives to its expression a greater worth. For the Stoics the seminal Word (logos spermatikos) is the form of every being; here it is the reason inasmuch as it partakes of God. This theory of the full participation in the Divine Word (Logos) by the sage has its full value only in Stoicism (see LOGOS). In Justin thought and expression are antithetic, and this lends a certain incoherence to the theory; the relation established between the integral Word, i.e. Jesus Christ, and the partial Word disseminated in the world, is more specious than profound. Side by side with this theory, and quite different in its origin and scope, we find in Justin, as in most of his contemporaries, the conviction thatGreek philosophy borrowed from the Bible: it was by stealing from Moses and the Prophets that Plato and the other philosophers developed their doctrines (I, xliv, lix, ls). Despite the obscurities and incoherences of this thought, he affirms clearly and positively the transcendent character of Christianity: "Our doctrine surpasses all human doctrine because the real Word became Christ who manifested himself for us, body, word and soul." (II, Apol., x, 1.) This Divine origin assures Christianity an absolute truth (II, xiii, 2) and gives to the Christians complete confidence; they die for Christ's doctrine; no one died for that of Socrates (II, x, 8). The first chapters of the "Dialogue" complete and correct these ideas. In them the rather complaisant syncretism of the "Apology" disappears, and the Christian thought is stronger.
Justin's chief reproach to the philosophers is their mutual divisions; he attributes this to the pride of the heads of sects and the servile acquiescence of their adherents; he also says a little later on (vi): "I care neither for Plato nor for Pythagoras." From it all he concludes that for the pagans philosophy is not a serious or profound thing; life does not depend on it, nor action: "Thou art a friend of discourse", says the old man to him before his conversion, "but not of action nor of truth" (iv). For Platonism he retained a kindly feeling as for a study dear in childhood or in youth. Yet he attacks it on two essential points: the relation between God and man, and the nature of the soul (Dialogue with Trypho 3, 6). Nevertheless he still seems influenced by it in his conception of the Divine transcendency and the interpretation that he gives to the aforesaid theophanies. Justin and Christian revelation
That which Justin despairs of attaining through philosophy he is now sure of possessing through Jewish and Christian revelation. He admits that the soul can naturally comprehend that God is, just as it understands that virtue is beautiful (Dialogue with Trypho 4) but he denies that the soul without the assistance of the Holy Ghost can see God or contemplate Him directly through ecstasy, as the Platonic philosophers contended. And yet this knowledge of God is necessary for us: "We cannot know God as we know music, arithmetic or astronomy" (iii); it is necessary for us to know God not with an abstract knowledge but as we know any person with whom we have relations. Thr problem which it seems impossible to solve is settled by revelation; God has spoken directly to the Prophets, who in their turn have made Him known to us (viii). It is the first time in Christian theology that we find so concise an explanation of the difference which separates Christian revelation from human speculation. It does away with the confusion that might arise from the theory, taken from the "Apology", of the partial Logos and the Logos absolute or entire. The Bible of Justin The Old Testament
For Philo the Bible is very particularly the Pentateuch (Ryle, "Philo and Holy Scripture", XVII, London, 1895, 1-282). In keeping with the difference of his purpose, Justin has other preferences. He quotes the Pentateuch often and liberally, especially Genesis, Exodus, and Deuteronomy; but he quotes still more frequently and at greater length the Psalms and the Books of Prophecy — above all, Isaias. The Books of Wisdom are seldom quoted, the historical books still less. The books that we never find in his works are Judges, Esdras (except one passage which is attributed to him by mistake—Dialogue with Trypho 72), Tobias, Judith, Ester, Canticles, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Abdias, Nahum, Habacuc, Sophonias, Aggeus. It has been noticed, too (St. John Thackeray in "Journ. of Theol. Study", IV, 1903, 265, n.3), that he never cites the last chapters of Jeremias (apropos of the first "Apology", xlvii, Otto is wrong in his reference to Jeremiah 50:3). Of these omissions the most noteworthy is that of Wisdom, precisely on account of the similarity of ideas. It is to be noted, moreover, that this book, surely used in the New Testament, cited by St. Clement of Rome (xxvii, 5) and later by St. Irenæus (Eusebius, Church History V.26), is never met with in the works of the apologists (the reference of Otto to Tatian 7 is inexact). On the other hand one finds in Justin some apocryphal texts: pseudo-Esdras (Dialogue with Trypho 72), pseudo-Jeremias (ibid.), Psalm 96:10 (Dialogue with Trypho 72; I Apol., xli); sometimes also errors in ascribing quotations: Zacharias for Malachias (Dialogue with Trypho 49), Osee for Zacharias for Malachias (Dialogue with Trypho 14). For the Biblical text of Justin, see Swete, "Introduction to the Old Testament in Greek", Cambridge, 1902, 417-24. The New Testament
The testimony of Justin is here of still greater importance, especially for the Gospels, and has been more often discussed. The historical side of the question is given by W. Bousset, "Die Evangeliencitaten Justins" (Göttingen, 1891), 1-12, and since then, by Baldus, "Das Verhältniss Justins der Märt. zu unseren synopt. Evangelien" (Münster, 1895); Lippelt, "Quæ fuerint Justini mart. apomnemoneumata quaque ratione cum forma Evangeliorum syro-latina cohæserint" (Halle, 1901). The books quoted by Justin are called by him "Memoirs of the Apostles". This term, otherwise very rare, appears in Justin quite probably as an analogy with the "Memorabilia" of Xenophon (quoted in "II Apol.", xi, 3) and from a desire to accommodate his language to the habits of mind of his readers. At any rate it seems that henceforth the word "gospels" was in current usage; it is in Justin that we find it for the first time used in the plural, "theApostles in their memoirs that are called gospels" (I Apol., lxvi, 3). These memoirs have authority, not only because they relate the words of Our Lord (as Bossuet contends, op. cit., 16 seq.), but because, even in their narrative parts, they are considered as Scripture (Dialogue with Trypho 49, citing Matthew 17:13). This opinion of Justin is upheld, moreover, by the Church who, in her public service reads the memoirs of the Apostles as well as the writings of the prophets (I Apol., lxvii, 3). These memoirs were composed by the Apostles and by those who followed them (Dialogue with Trypho 103); he refers in all probability to the four Evangelists, i.e. to two Apostles and two disciples of Christ (Stanton, "New Testament canon" in Hastings, "Dictionary of the Bible", III, 535). The authors, however, are not named: once (Dialogue with Trypho 103) he mentions the "memoirs of Peter", but the text is very obscure and uncertain (Bousset, op. cit., 18).
All facts of the life of Christ that Justin takes from these memoirs are found indeed in our Gospels (Baldus, op. cit., 13 sqq.); he adds to them a few other and less important facts (I Apol., xxxii; xxxv; Dialogue with Trypho 35, 47, 51, 78), but he does not assert that he found them in the memoirs. It is quite probable that Justin used a concordance, or harmony, in which were united the three synoptic Gospels (Lippelt, op. cit., 14, 94) and it seems that the text of this concordance resembled in more than one point the so-called Western text of the Gospels (cf. ibid., 97). Justin's dependence on St. John is indisputably established by the facts which he takes from Him (I Apol., lxi, 4, 5; Dialogue with Trypho 69, 88), still more by the very striking similarity in vocabulary and doctrine. It is certain, however, that Justin does not use the fourth Gospel as abundantly as he does the others (Purves, op. cit., 233); this may be owing to the aforesaid concordance, or harmony, of the synoptic Gospels. He seems to use the apocryphal Gospel of Peter (I Apol., xxxv, 6; cf. Dialogue with Trypho 103; Revue Biblique, III, 1894, 531 sqq.; Harnack, "Bruchstücke des Evang. des Petrus", Leipzig, 1893, 37). His dependence on the Protoevangelium of James (Dialogue with Trypho 78) doubtful. Apologetical method
Justin's attitude towards philosophy, described above, reveals at once the tendency of his polemics; he never exhibits the indignation of a Tatian or even of a Tertullian. To the hideous calumnies spread abroad against the Christians he sometimes answers, as do the other apologists, by taking the offensive and attacking pagan morality (I Apol., xxvii; II, xii, 4, 5), but he dislikes to insist on these calumnies: the interlocutor in the "Dialogue" (ix) he is careful to ignore those who would trouble him with their loud laughter. He has not the eloquence of Tertullian, and can obtain a hearing only in a small circle of men capable of understanding reason and of being moved by an idea. His chief argument, and one calculated to convert this hearers as it had converted him (II Apol., xii), is the great new fact of Christian morality. He speaks of men and women who have no fear of death (I Apol., ii, xi, xlv; II, ii; Dialogue with Trypho 30), who prefer truth to life (I Apol., ii; II, iv) and are yet ready to await the time allotted by God (II, iv, 1); he makes known their devotion to their children (I, xxvii), their charity even towards their enemies, and their desire to save them (I Apol., lvii; Dialogue with Trypho 133), their patience and their prayers in persecution (Dialogue with Trypho 18), their love of mankind (Dialogue with Trypho 93, 110). When he contrasts the life that they led in paganism with their Christian life (I Apol., xiv), he expresses the same feeling of deliverance and exaltation as did St. Paul (1 Corinthians 6:11). He is careful, moreover, to emphasize, especially from the Sermon on the Mount, the moral teaching of Christ so as to show in it the real source of these new virtues (I Apol., xv-xviii). Throughout his exposé of the new religion it is Christian chastity and the courage of the martyrs that he most insists upon.
The rational evidences of Christianity Justin finds especially in the prophecies; he gives to this argument more than a third of his "Apology" (xxx-liii) and almost the entire "Dialogue". When he is disputing with the pagans he is satisfied with drawing attention to the fact that the books of the Prophets were long anterior to Christ, guaranteed as to their authenticity by the Jews themselves, and says that they contain prophecies concerning the life of Christ and the spread of the Church that can only be explained by a Divine revelation (I Apol., xxxi). In the "Dialogue", arguing with Jews, he can assume this revelation which they also recognize, and he can invoke the Scriptures as sacred oracles. These evidences of the prophecies are for him absolutely certain. "Listen to the texts which I am about to cite; it is not necessary for me to comment upon them, but only for you to hear them" (Dialogue with Trypho 53; cf. I Apol., xxx, liii). Nevertheless he recognizes that Christ alone could have given the explanation of them (I Apol., xxxii; Dialogue with Trypho 76 and 105); to understand them the men and women of his time must have the interior dispositions that make the true Christian (Dialogue with Trypho 112), i.e., Divine grace is necessary (Dialogue with Trypho 7, 58, 112 and 119). He also appeals to miracles (Dialogue with Trypho 7, 35 and 69; cf. II Apol., vi), but with less insistence than to the prophecies. Theology God
Justin's teaching concerning God has been very diversely interpreted, some seeing in it nothing but a philosophic speculation (Engelhardt, 127 sq., 237 sqq.), others a truly Christian faith (Flemming, "Zur Beurteilung des Christentums Justins des Märtyrers", Leipzig, 1893, 70 sqq.; Stählin, "Justin der Märtyrer und sein neuester Beurtheiler", 34 sqq., Purves, op. cit., 142 sqq.). In reality it is possible to find in it these two tendencies: on one side the influence of philosophy betrays itself in his concept of the Divine transcendency, thus God is immovable (I Apol., ix; x, 1; lxiii, 1; etc.); He is above the heaven, can neither be seen nor enclosed within space (Dialogue with Trypho 56, 60 and 127); He is called Father, in a philosophic and Platonistic sense, inasmuch as He is the Creator of the world (I Apol., xlv, 1; lxi, 3; lxv, 3; II Apol., vi, 1, etc.). On the other hand we see the God of the Bible in his all-powerful (Dialogue with Trypho 84; I Apol., xix, 6), and merciful God (Dialogue with Trypho 84; I Apol., xix, 6); if He ordained the Sabbath it was not that He had need of the homage of the Jews, but that He desired to attach them to Himself (Dialogue with Trypho 22); through His mercy He preserved among them a seed of salvation (lv); through His Divine Providence He has rendered the nations worthy of their inheritance (cxviiicxxx); He delays the end of the world on account of the Christians (xxxix; I Apol., xxviii, xlv). And the great duty of man is to love Him (Dialogue with Trypho 93). The Logos
The Word is numerically distinct from the Father (Dialogue with Trypho 128-129; cf. Dialogue with Trypho 56, 62). He was born of the very substance of the Father, not that this substance was divided, but He proceeds from it as one fire does from another at which it is lit (cxxviii, lxi); this form of production (procession) is compared also with that of human speech (lxi). The Word (Logos) is therefore the Son: much more, He alone may properly be called Son (II Apol., vi, 3); He is the monogenes, the unigenitus (Dialogue with Trypho 105). Elsewhere, however, Justin, like St. Paul, calls Him the eldest Son, prototokos (I Apol., xxxiii; xlvi; lxiii; Dialogue with Trypho 84, 85 and 125). The Word is God (I Apol., lxiii; Dialogue with Trypho 34, 36, 37, 56, 63, 76, 86, 87, 113, 115, 125, 126 and 128). His Divinity, however, seems subordinate, as does the worship which is rendered to Him (I Apol., vi; cf. lxi, 13; Teder, "Justins des Märtyrers Lehre von Jesus Christus", Freiburg im Br., 1906, 103-19). The Father engendered Him by a free and voluntary act (Dialogue with Trypho 61, 100, 127 and 128; cf. Teder, op. cit., 104), at the beginning of all His works (Dialogue with Trypho 61-62, II Apol., vi, 3); in this last text certain authors thought they distinguished in the Word two states of being, one intimate, the other outspoken, but this distinction, though found in some other apologists, is in Justin very doubtful. Through the Word God has made everything (II Apol., vi; Dialogue with Trypho 114). The Word is diffused through all humanity (I Apol., vi; II, viii; xiii); it was He who appeared to the patriarchs (I Apol., lxii; lxiii; Dialogue with Trypho 56, 59, 60 etc.). Two influences are plainly discernible in the aforesaid body of doctrine. It is, of course, to Christian revelation that Justin owes his concept of the distinct personality of the Word, His Divinity and Incarnation; but philosophic speculation is responsible for his unfortunate concepts of the temporal and voluntary generation of the Word, and for the subordinationism of Justin's theology. It must be recognized, moreover, that the latter ideas stand out more boldly in the "Apology" than in the "Dialogue."
The Holy Ghost occupies the third place in the Trinity (I Apol., vi). He inspired the prophets (I Apol., vi;xxxi; Dialogue with Trypho 7). He gave seven gifts to Christ and descended upon Him (Dialogue with Trypho 87-88). For the real distinction between the Son and the Spirit see Teder, op. cit., 119-23. Justin insists constantly on the virgin birth (I Apol., xxii; xxxiii; Dialogue with Trypho 43, 76, 84, etc.) and the reality of the flesh of Christ (Dialogue with Trypho 48, 98 and 103; cf. II Apol., x, 1). He states that among the Christians there are some who do not admit the Divinity of Christ but they are a minority; he differs from them because of the authority of the Prophets (Dialogue with Trypho 96); the entire dialogue, moreover, is devoted to proving this thesis. Christ is the Master whose doctrine enlightens us (I Apol., xiii, 3; xxiii, 2; xxxii, 2; II, viii, 5; xiii, 2; Dialogue with Trypho 8, 77, 83, 100 and 113), also the Redeemer whose blood saves us (I Apol., lxiii, 10, 16; Dialogue with Trypho 13, 40, 41, 95 and 106; cf. Rivière, "Hist. du dogme de la rédemption", Paris, 1905, 115, and tr., London, 1908). The rest of Justin's theology is less personal, therefore less interesting. As to the Eucharist, the baptismal Mass and the Sunday Mass are described in the first "Apology" (lxv-lxvii), with a richness of detail unique for that age. Justin here explains the dogma of the Real Presence with a wonderful clearness (lxvi, 2): "In the same way that through the power of the Word of God Jesus Christ our Saviour took flesh and blood for our salvation, so the nourishment consecrated by the prayer formed of the words of Christ . . . is the flesh and blood of this incarnate Jesus." The "Dialogue" (cxvii; cf. xli) completes this doctrine by the idea of a Eucharistic sacrifice as a memorial of the Passion.
The role of St. Justin may be summed up in one word: it is that of a witness. He is also a witness of the second-century Church which he describes for us in its faith, its life, its worship, at a time when Christianity yet lacked the firm organization that it was soon to develop (see ST. IRENÆUS), but the larger outlines of whose constitution and doctrine are already luminously drawn by Justin. Finally, Justin was a witness for Christ unto death.
The Life of ST. JUSTIN THE PHILOSOPHER, M.—A. D. 167
Feast: June 1
From the life of the saint, compiled from his writings by Dom. Marand, the learned and judicious editor of St. Justin's works, printed at Paris in 1742; and at Venice in 1747. Also from Tatian, Eusebius, and the original short acts of his martyrdom, in Ruinart. On his writings, see Dom. Nourry, Apparatus in Bibl. Patr. Ceillier and Marechal, Concordance des Peres, t 1.
St. Justin was born at Neapolis, now Naplosa, the ancient Sichem, and formerly the capital of the province of Samaria. Vespasian, having endowed its inhabitants with the privileges belonging to Roman citizens, gave it the name of Flavia. His son Titus sent thither a colony of Greeks, among whom were the father and grandfather of our saint. His father, a heathen, brought him up in the errors and superstitions of paganism, but at the same time did not neglect to cultivate his mind by several branches of human literature.
St. Justin accordingly informs us,1 that he spent his youth in reading the poets, orators, and historians. Having gone through the usual course of these studies, he gave himself up to that of philosophy in quest of truth, an ardent love of which was his predominant passion. He addressed himself first to a master who was a Stoic; and after having stayed some time with him, seeing he could learn nothing of him concerning God, he left him, and went to a Peripatetic, a very subtle man in his own conceit: but Justin, being desired the second day after admission, to fix his master's salary, that he might know what he was to be allowed for his pains in teaching him, he left him also, concluding that he was no philosopher. He then tried a Pythagorean, who had a great reputation, and who boasted much of his wisdom; but he required of his scholar, as a necessary preliminary to his admission, that he should have learned music, astronomy, and geometry. Justin could not bear such delays in the search of God, and preferred the school of an Academic, under whom he made great progress in the Platonic philosophy, and vainly flattered himself with the hope of arriving in a short time at the sight of God, which the Platonic philosophy seemed to have had chiefly in view.
Walking one day by the sea-side, for the advantage of a greater freedom from noise and tumult, he saw, as he turned about, an old man who followed him pretty close. His appearance was majestic, and had a great mixture in it of mildness and gravity. Justin looking on him very attentively, the man asked him if he knew him. Justin answered in the negative. "Why then," said he, "do you lock so steadfastly upon me?" Justin replied: "It is the effect of my surprise to meet any human creature in this remote and solitary place." "What brought me hither," said that old man, "was my concern for some of my friends. They are gone a journey, and I am come hither to look out for them." They then fell into a long discourse concerning the excellency of philosophy in general, and of the Platonic in particular, which Justin asserted to be the only true way to happiness, and of knowing and seeing God. This the grave person refuted at large, and at length by the force of his arguments convinced him that those philosophers whom he had the greatest esteem for, Plato and Pythagoras, had been mistaken in their principles, and had not a thorough knowledge of God and of the soul of man, nor could they in consequence communicate it to others. This drew from him the important query, Who were the likeliest persons to set him in the right way? The stranger answered, that long before the existence of these reputed philosophers, there were certain blessed men, lovers of God, and divinely inspired, called prophets, on account of their foretelling things which have since come to pass; whose books, yet extant, contain many solid instructions about the first cause and end of all things, and many other particulars becoming a philosopher to know. That their miracles and their predictions had procured them such credit, that they established truth by authority, and not by disputes and elaborate demonstrations of human reason, of which few men are capable. That they inculcated the belief of one only God, the Father and author of all things, and of his Son Jesus Christ, whom he had sent into the world. He concluded his discourse with this advice: "As for thyself, above all things, pray that the gates of life may be opened unto thee: for these are not things to be discerned, unless God and Christ grant to a man the knowledge of them." After these words he departed, and Justin saw him no more: but his conversation left a deep impression on the young philosopher's soul, and kindled there an ardent affection for these true philosophers, the prophets. And upon a further inquiry into the credibility of the Christian religion, he embraced it soon after. What had also no small weight in persuading him of the truth of the Christian faith, was the innocence and true virtue of its professors; seeing with what courage and constancy, rather than to betray their religion, or commit the least sin, they suffered the sharpest tortures, and encountered, nay, even courted death itself, in its most horrible shapes. "When I heard the Christians traduced and reproached," says he, "yet saw them fearless and rushing on death, and on all things that are accounted most dreadful to human nature, I concluded with myself that it was impossible those men should wallow in vice, and be carried away with the love of lust and pleasure."2 Justin, by the course of his studies, must have been grown up when he was converted to the faith. Tillemont and Marand understand, by an obscure passage in St. Epiphanius,3 that he was in the thirtieth year of his age.
St. Justin, after he became a Christian, continued to wear the pallium, or cloak, as Eusebius and St. Jerome inform us, which was the singular badge of a philosopher. Aristides, the Athenian philosopher and a Christian, did the same; so did Heraclas, even when he was bishop of Alexandria. St. Epiphanius calls St. Justin a great ascetic, or one who professed a most austere and holy life. He came to Rome soon after his conversion, probably from Egypt. Tillemont and Dom. Marand think that he was a priest, from his description of baptism, and the account he gave at his trial of people resorting to his house for instruction. This, however, is uncertain; and Ceillier concludes, from the silence of the ancients on this head, that he was always a layman: but he seems to have preached, and therefore to have been at least deacon. His discourse, or oration to the Greeks,4 he wrote soon after his conversion, in order to convince the heathens of the reasonableness of his having deserted paganism. He urges the absurdity of idolatry, and the inconsistency of ascribing lewdness and other crimes to their deities: on the other hand, he declares his admiration of, and reverence for, the purity and sanctity of the Christian doctrine, and the awful majesty of the divine writings which still the passions, and fix in a happy tranquillity the mind of man, which finds itself everywhere else restless. His second work is called his Paraenesis, or Exhortation to the Greeks, which he drew up at Rome: in this he employs the flowers of eloquence, which even in his apologies he despises. In it he shows the errors of idolatry, and the vanity of the heathen philosophers; reproaches Plato with making an harangue to the Athenians, in which he pretended to establish a multitude of gods, only to escape the fate of Socrates; while it is clear, from his writings, that he believed one only God. He transcribes the words of Orpheus the Sibyl, Homer, Sophocles, Pythagoras, Plato, Mercury, and Acmon, or rather Ammon, in which they profess the unity of the Deity. He wrote his book on Monarchy,5 expressly to prove the unity of God, from the testimonies and reasons of the heathen philosophers themselves. The epistle to Diognetus is an incomparable work of primitive antiquity, attributed to St. Justin by all the ancient copies, and doubtless genuine, as Dr. Cave, Ceillier, Marand, &c., show; though the style is more elegant and florid than the other works of this father. Indeed it is not mentioned by Eusebius and St. Jerome; but neither do they mention the works of Athenagoras. And what wonder that, the art of printing not being as yet discovered, some writings should have escaped their notice? Tillemont fancies the author of this piece to be more ancient, because he calls himself a disciple of the apostles: but St. Justin might assume that title, who lived contemporary with St. Polycarp, and others, who had seen some of them. This Diognetus was a learned philosopher, a person of great rank, and preceptor to the emperor Marcus Aurelius, who always consulted and exceedingly honored him. Dom. Nourry6 mistakes grossly, when he calls him a Jew: for in this very epistle is he styled an adorer of gods. This great man was desirous to know upon what assurances the Christians despised the world, and even torments and death, and showed to one another a mutual love, which appeared wonderful to the rest of mankind, for it rendered them seemingly insensible to the greatest injuries. St. Justin, to satisfy him, demonstrates the folly of idolatry, and the imperfection of the Jewish worship and sets forth the sanctity practiced by the Christians, especially their humility, meekness, love of those who hate them without so much as knowing any reason of their hatred, &c. He adds, that their numbers and virtue are increased by tortures and massacres, and explains clearly the divinity of Christ,7 the maker of all things, and Son of God. He shows that by reason alone we could never attain to the true knowledge of God, who sent his Son to teach us his holy mysteries; and, when we deserved only chastisement, to pay the full price of our redemption;-the holy One to suffer for sinners,-the person offended for the offenders; and when no other means could satisfy for our crimes, we were covered under the wings of justice itself, and rescued from slavery. He extols exceedingly the immense goodness and love of God for man, in creating him, and the world for his use; in subjecting to him other things, and in sending his only-begotten Son with the promise of his kingdom, to those who shall have loved him. "But after you shall have known him," says he, "with what inexpressible joy do you think you will be filled! How ardently will you love him who first loved you! And when you shall love him, you will be an imitator of his goodness. He who bears the burdens of others, assists all, humbles himself to all, even to his inferiors, and supplies the wants of the poor with what he has received from God, is truly the imitator of God. Then will you see on earth that God governs the world; you will know his mysteries, and will love and admire those who suffer for him: you will condemn the imposture of the world, and despise death, only fearing eternal death, in never-ending fire. When you know that fire, you will call those blessed who here suffer flames for justice. I speak not of things to which I am a stranger, but having been a disciple of the apostles, I am a teacher of nations, &c."
St. Justin made a long stay in Rome, dwelling near the Timothin baths, on the Viminal hill. The Christians met in his house to perform their devotions, and he applied himself with great zeal to the instruction of all those who resorted to him. Evelpistus, who suffered with him, owned at his examination that he had heard with pleasure Justin's discourses. The judge was acquainted with his zeal, when he asked him, in what place he assembled his disciples. Not content with laboring in the conversion of Jews and Gentiles, he exerted his endeavors in defending the Catholic faith against all the heresies of that age. His excellent volumes against Marcion, as they are styled by St. Jerome, are now lost, with several other works commended by the ancients. The martyr, after his first Apology, left Rome, and probably performed the functions of an evangelist, in many countries, for several years. In the reign of Antoninus Pius, being at Ephesus, and casually meeting, in the walks of Xistus, Tryphon, whom Eusebius calls the most celebrated Jew of that age, and who was a famous philosopher, he fell into discourse with him, which brought on a disputation, which was held in the presence of several witnesses during two entire days. St. Justin afterwards committed to writing this dialogue with Tryphon, which work is a simple narrative of a familiar unstudied conversation. Tryphon, seeing Justin in the philosopher's cloak, addressed him on the excellency of philosophy. The saint answered, that he admired he should not rather study Moses and the prophets, in comparison of whom all the writings of the philosophers are empty jargon and foolish dreams. Then, in the first part of his dialogue, he showed, that, according to the prophets, the old law was temporary, and to be abolished by the new: and in the second, that Christ was God before all ages, distinct from the Father,-the same that appeared to Abraham, Moses, &c., the same that created man, and was himself made man, and crucified. He insists much on that passage, Behold, a virgin shall conceive.8 From the beginning of the conversation, Tryphon had allowed that from the prophets it was clear that Christ must be then come; but he said, that he had not yet manifested himself to the world. So evident was it that the time of his coming must be then elapsed, that no Jew durst deny it, as Fleury observes.9 From the Apocalypse and Isaiah, by a mistaken interpretation, Justin inferred the futurity of the Millennium, or of Christ's reign upon earth for a thousand years, before the day of judgment, with his elect, in spiritual, chaste delights: but adds, that this was not admitted by many true orthodox believers.10 This point was afterwards cleared up, and that mistake of some few corrected and exploded, by consulting the tradition of the whole church. In the third part, St. Justin proves the vocation of the Gentiles, and the establishment of the church. Night putting an end to the conversation, Tryphon thanked Justin, and prayed for his happy voyage: for he was going to sea. By some mistakes made by St. Justin in the etymologies, or derivation of certain Hebrew names, it appears that he was a stranger to that language. The Socinians dread the authority of this work, on account of the clear proofs which it furnishes of the divinity of Christ. St. Justin testifies11 that the miraculous gifts of the Holy Ghost, of curing the sick, and casting out devils in the name of Christ, were then frequent in the church. He excludes from salvation wilful heretics no less than infidels.
But the Apologies of this martyr have chiefly rendered his name illustrious. The first or greater, (which by the first editors was, through mistake, placed and called the second,) he addressed to the emperor Antoninus Pius, his two adopted sons, Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Commodus, and the senate, about the year 150. That mild emperor had published no edicts against the Christians; but, by virtue of former edicts, they were often persecuted by the governors, and were everywhere traduced as a wicked and barbarous set of people, enemies to their very species. They were deemed atheists; they were accused of practicing secret lewdness, which slander seems to have been founded on the secrecy of their mysteries, and partly on the filthy abominations of the Gnostic and Carpocratian heretics: they were said in their sacred assemblies to feed on the flesh of a murdered child; to which calumny a false notion of the blessed eucharist might give birth. Celsus and other heathens add,12 that they adored the cross, and the head of an ass. The story of the ass's head was a groundless calumny, forged by a Jew, who pretended to have seen their mysteries, which was readily believed and propagated by those whose interest it was to decry the Christian religion, as Eusebius,13 St. Justin, Origen, and Tertullian relate. The respect shown to the sign of the cross, mentioned by Tertullian and all the ancient fathers, seems ground enough for the other slander. These calumnies were advanced with such confidence, and, through passion and prejudice, received so eagerly, that they served for a presence to justify the cruelty of the persecutors, and to render the very name of a Christian odious. These circumstances stirred up the zeal of St. Justin to present his apology for the faith in writing, begging that the same might be made public. In it he boldly declares himself a Christian, and an advocate for his religion: he shows that Christians ought not to be condemned barely for the name of Christian, unless convicted of some crime; that they are not atheists, though they adore not idols; for they adore God the Father, his Son, and the Holy Ghost,14 and the host of good angels. He exhorts the emperor to hold the balance even, in the execution of justice; and sets forth the sanctity of the doctrine and manners of Christians, who fly all oaths, abhor the least impurity, despise riches, are patient and meek, love even enemies, readily pay all taxes, and scrupulously and respectfully obey and honor princes, &c. Far from eating children, they even condemned those that exposed them. He proves their regard for purity from the numbers among them of both sexes who had observed strict chastity to an advanced age. He explains the immortality of the soul, and the resurrection of the flesh, and shows from the ancient prophets that God was to become man, and that they had foretold the destruction of Jerusalem, the vocation of the Gentiles, &c. He mentions a statue erected in Rome to Simon Magus, which is also testified by Tertullian, Saint Austin, Theodoret, &c.15 The necessity of vindicating our faith from slanders, obliged him, contrary to the custom of the primitive church, to describe the sacraments of baptism and the blessed eucharist, mentioning the latter also as a sacrifice. "No one," says he,16 "is allowed to partake of this food but he that believes our doctrines to be true, and who has been baptized in the laver of regeneration for remission of sins, and lives up to what Christ has taught. For we take not these as common bread and common drink; but like as Jesus Christ our Saviour, being incarnate by the word of God, had both flesh and blood for our salvation; so are we taught that this food, by which our flesh and blood are nourished, over which thanks have been given by the prayers in his own words, is the flesh and blood of the incarnate Jesus." He describes the manner of sanctifying the Sunday, by meeting to celebrate the divine mysteries, read the prophets, hear the exhortation of him that presides, and make a collection of alms to be distributed among the orphans, widows, sick, prisoners, and strangers. He adds the obscure edict of the emperor Adrian in favor of the Christians. It appears that this Apology had its desired effect—the quiet of the church. Eusebius informs us,17 that the same emperor sent into Asia a rescript to the following purport: "When many governors of provinces had written to my father, he forbade them (the Christians) to be molested, unless they had offended against the state. The same answer I gave when consulted before on the same subject. If any one accuse a person of being a Christian, it is my pleasure that he be acquitted, and the accuser chastised, according to the rigor of the law." Orosius and Zonaras tell us, that Antoninus was prevailed upon by the Apology of Justin to send this order.
He composed his second Apology near twenty years after, in 167, on account of the martyrdom of one Ptolemy, and two other Christians, whom Urbicus, the governor of Rome, had put to death. The saint offered it to the emperor Marcus Aurelius (his colleague Lucius Verus being absent in the East) and to the senate. He undertakes in it to prove that the Christians were unjustly punished with death, and shows how much their lives and doctrine surpassed the philosophers, and that they could never embrace death with so much cheerfulness and joy, had they been guilty of the crimes laid to their charge. Even Socrates, notwithstanding the multitude of disciples that followed him, never found one that died in defence of his doctrine. The apologist added boldly, that he expected death would be the recompense of his Apology, and that he should fall a victim to the snares and rage of some or other of the implacable enemies of the religion for which he pleaded; among whom he named Crescens, a philosopher in name, but an ignorant man, and a slave to pride and ostentation. His martyrdom, as he had conjectured, was the recompense of this Apology: it happened soon after he presented this discourse, and probably was procured by the malice of those of whom he spoke. The genuine acts seem to have been taken from the praetor's public register. The relation is as follows:
Justin and others that were with him were apprehended, and brought before Rusticus, prefect of Rome, who said to Justin, "Obey the gods, and comply with the edicts of the emperors." Justin answered, "No one can be justly blamed or condemned for obeying the commands of our Saviour Jesus Christ."
RUSTICUS-"What kind of literature and discipline do you profess?"
JUSTIN-"I have tried every kind of discipline and learning, but I have finally embraced the Christian discipline, how little soever esteemed by those who were led away by error and false opinions."
RUSTICUS- "Wretch, art thou then taken with that discipline?"
JUSTIN-"Doubtless I am, because it affords me the comfort of being in the right path."
RUSTICUS-"What are the tenets of the Christian religion?"
JUSTIN-"We Christians believe one God, Creator of all things visible and invisible; and we confess our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, foretold by the prophets, the Author and Preacher of salvation, and the Judge of mankind." The prefect inquired in what place the Christians assembled. Justin replied, "Where they please, and where they can: God is not confined to a place: as he is invisible, and fills both heaven and earth, he is everywhere adored and glorified by the faithful."
RUSTICUS-"Tell me where you assemble your disciples."
JUSTIN-"I have lived till this time near the house of one called Martin, at the Timothin baths. I am come a second time to Rome, and am acquainted with no other place in the city. If any one came to me, I communicated to him the doctrine of truth."
RUSTICUS-"You are then a Christian?"
JUSTIN-"Yes, I am."
The judge then put the same question to each of the rest, viz., Chariton, a man; Charitana, a woman; Evelpistus, a servant of Caesar, by birth a Cappadocian; Hierax, a Phrygian; Peon, and Liberianus, who all answered, "that, by the divine mercy, they were Christians." Evelpistus said he had learned the faith from his parents, but had with great pleasure heard Justin's discourses.
Then the prefect addressed himself again to Justin in this manner: "Hear you, who are noted for your eloquence, and think you make profession of the right philosophy, if I cause you to be scourged from head to foot, do you think you shall go to heaven?"
Justin replied, "If I suffer what you mention, I hope to receive the reward which those have already received who hare observed the precepts of Jesus Christ."
Rusticus said, "You imagine then that you shall go to heaven, and be there rewarded."
The martyr answered, "I do not only imagine it, but I know it; and am so well assured of it, that I have no reason to make the least doubt of it."
The prefect seeing it was to no purpose to argue, bade them go together and unanimously sacrifice to the gods, and told them that in case of refusal they should be tormented without mercy.
Justin replied, "there is nothing which we more earnestly desire than to endure torments for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ; for this is what will promote our happiness, and give us confidence at his bar, where all men must appear to be judged." To this the rest assented, adding, "Do quickly what you are about. We are Christians, and will never sacrifice to idols."
The prefect thereupon ordered them to be scourged and then beheaded, as the laws directed. The martyrs were forthwith led to the place where criminals were executed, and there, amidst the praises and thanksgivings which they did not cease to pour forth to God, were first scourged, and afterwards beheaded. After their martyrdom, certain Christians carried off their bodies privately, and gave them an honorable burial. St. Justin is one of the most ancient fathers of the church who has left us works of any considerable note. Tatian, his disciple, writes, that, of all men, he was the most worthy of admiration.18 Eusebius, St. Jerome, St. Epiphanius, Theodoret, &c., bestow on him the highest praises. He suffered about the year 167, in the reign of Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus. The Greeks honor him on the 1st of June; in Usuard and the Roman Martyrology his name occurs on the 13th of April.
St. Justin extols the power of divine grace in the virtue of Christians, among whom many who were then sixty years old, had served God from their infancy in a state of spotless virginity, having never offended against that virtue, not only in action, but not even in thought: for our very thoughts are known to God.19 They could not be defiled with any inordinate love of riches, who threw their own private revenues into the common stock, sharing it with the poor.20 So great was their abhorrence of the least wilful untruth, that they were always ready rather to die than to save their lives by a lie.21 Their fidelity to God was inviolable, and their constancy in confessing his holy name, and in observing his law, invincible. "No one," says the saint,22 "can affright from their duty those who believe in Jesus. In all parts of the earth we cease not to confess him, though we lose our heads, be crucified, or exposed to wild beasts. We suffer dungeons, fire, and all manner of torments: the more we are persecuted, the more faithful and the more pious we become, through the name of Jesus. Some adore the sun: but no one yet saw any one lay down his life for that worship; whereas we see men of all nations suffer all things for Jesus Christ." He often mentions the devotion and fervor of Christians in glorifying God by their continual homages, and says, that the light of the gospel being then spread everywhere, there was no nation, either of Greeks or barbarians, in which prayers and thanksgivings were not offered to the Creator in the name of the crucified Jesus.23
(Taken from Vol. 6 of "The Lives or the Fathers, Martyrs and Other Principal Saints" by the Rev. Alban Butler, the 1864 edition published by D. & J. Sadlier, & Company)