Justin Martyr The First Apology Please help support the mission of New Advent and get the full contents of this website as an instant download. Chapter 1. Chapter 2. Justice demanded Reason directs those who are truly pious and philosophical to honour and love only what is true , declining to follow traditional opinions, if these be worthless.
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Justin Martyr The First Apology Please help support the mission of New Advent and get the full contents of this website as an instant download. Chapter 1. Chapter 2. Justice demanded Reason directs those who are truly pious and philosophical to honour and love only what is true , declining to follow traditional opinions, if these be worthless. For not only does sound reason direct us to refuse the guidance of those who did or taught anything wrong, but it is incumbent on the lover of truth , by all means, and if death be threatened, even before his own life, to choose to do and say what is right.
Do you, then, since you are called pious and philosophers , guardians of justice and lovers of learning, give good heed, and hearken to my address; and if you are indeed such, it will be manifested.
For we have come, not to flatter you by this writing, nor please you by our address, but to beg that you pass judgment, after an accurate and searching investigation, not flattered by prejudice or by a desire of pleasing superstitious men, nor induced by irrational impulse or evil rumours which have long been prevalent, to give a decision which will prove to be against yourselves.
For as for us, we reckon that no evil can be done us, unless we be convicted as evil-doers or be proved to be wicked men; and you, you can kill, but not hurt us. Chapter 3. Claim of judicial investigation But lest any one think that this is an unreasonable and reckless utterance, we demand that the charges against the Christians be investigated, and that, if these be substantiated, they be punished as they deserve; [or rather, indeed, we ourselves will punish them.
And every sober-minded person will declare this to be the only fair and equitable adjustment, namely, that the subjects render an unexceptional account of their own life and doctrine; and that, on the other hand, the rulers should give their decision in obedience , not to violence and tyranny, but to piety and philosophy.
For thus would both rulers and ruled reap benefit. For even one of the ancients somewhere said, Unless both rulers and ruled philosophize, it is impossible to make states blessed. It is our task, therefore, to afford to all an opportunity of inspecting our life and teachings, lest, on account of those who are accustomed to be ignorant of our affairs, we should incur the penalty due to them for mental blindness; and it is your business, when you hear us, to be found, as reason demands, good judges.
For if, when you have learned the truth , you do not what is just, you will be before God without excuse. Chapter 4. Christians unjustly condemned for their mere name By the mere application of a name, nothing is decided, either good or evil , apart from the actions implied in the name; and indeed, so far at least as one may judge from the name we are accused of, we are most excellent people.
But as we do not think it just to beg to be acquitted on account of the name, if we be convicted as evil-doers, so, on the other hand, if we be found to have committed no offense, either in the matter of thus naming ourselves, or of our conduct as citizens, it is your part very earnestly to guard against incurring just punishment, by unjustly punishing those who are not convicted.
For from a name neither praise nor punishment could reasonably spring, unless something excellent or base in action be proved. And those among yourselves who are accused you do not punish before they are convicted; but in our case you receive the name as proof against us, and this although, so far as the name goes, you ought rather to punish our accusers. For we are accused of being Christians , and to hate what is excellent Chrestian is unjust. Again, if any of the accused deny the name, and say that he is not a Christian , you acquit him, as having no evidence against him as a wrong-doer; but if any one acknowledge that he is a Christian , you punish him on account of this acknowledgment.
Justice requires that you inquire into the life both of him who confesses and of him who denies, that by his deeds it may be apparent what kind of man each is. For as some who have been taught by the Master, Christ, not to deny Him, give encouragement to others when they are put to the question, so in all probability do those who lead wicked lives give occasion to those who, without consideration, take upon them to accuse all the Christians of impiety and wickedness.
And this also is not right. For of philosophy , too, some assume the name and the garb who do nothing worthy of their profession; and you are well aware, that those of the ancients whose opinions and teachings were quite diverse, are yet all called by the one name of philosophers. And of these some taught atheism ; and the poets who have flourished among you raise a laugh out of the uncleanness of Jupiter with his own children. And those who now adopt such instruction are not restrained by you; but, on the contrary, you bestow prizes and honours upon those who euphoniously insult the gods.
Chapter 5. Christians charged with atheism Why, then, should this be? In our case, who pledge ourselves to do no wickedness , nor to hold these atheistic opinions, you do not examine the charges made against us; but, yielding to unreasoning passion, and to the instigation of evil demons , you punish us without consideration or judgment.
For the truth shall be spoken; since of old these evil demons , effecting apparitions of themselves, both defiled women and corrupted boys, and showed such fearful sights to men , that those who did not use their reason in judging of the actions that were done, were struck with terror; and being carried away by fear , and not knowing that these were demons , they called them gods, and gave to each the name which each of the demons chose for himself.
And when Socrates endeavoured, by true reason and examination, to bring these things to light, and deliver men from the demons , then the demons themselves, by means of men who rejoiced in iniquity, compassed his death, as an atheist and a profane person, on the charge that he was introducing new divinities; and in our case they display a similar activity. For not only among the Greeks did reason Logos prevail to condemn these things through Socrates, but also among the Barbarians were they condemned by Reason or the Word, the Logos Himself, who took shape, and became man, and was called Jesus Christ ; and in obedience to Him, we not only deny that they who did such things as these are gods, but assert that they are wicked and impious demons , whose actions will not bear comparison with those even of men desirous of virtue.
Chapter 6. Charge of atheism refuted Hence are we called atheists. And we confess that we are atheists , so far as gods of this sort are concerned, but not with respect to the most true God , the Father of righteousness and temperance and the other virtues , who is free from all impurity. But both Him, and the Son who came forth from Him and taught us these things, and the host of the other good angels who follow and are made like to Him , and the prophetic Spirit, we worship and adore, knowing them in reason and truth , and declaring without grudging to every one who wishes to learn, as we have been taught.
Chapter 7. Each Christian must be tried by his own life But some one will say, Some have ere now been arrested and convicted as evil-doers. For you condemn many, many a time, after inquiring into the life of each of the accused severally, but not on account of those of whom we have been speaking.
And this we acknowledge, that as among the Greeks those who teach such theories as please themselves are all called by the one name Philosopher, though their doctrines be diverse, so also among the Barbarians this name on which accusations are accumulated is the common property of those who are and those who seem wise. For all are called Christians. Wherefore we demand that the deeds of all those who are accused to you be judged, in order that each one who is convicted may be punished as an evil-doer, and not as a Christian ; and if it is clear that any one is blameless, that he may be acquitted, since by the mere fact of his being a Christian he does no wrong.
For we will not require that you punish our accusers; they being sufficiently punished by their present wickedness and ignorance of what is right.
Chapter 8. Christians confess their faith in God And reckon that it is for your sakes we have been saying these things; for it is in our power, when we are examined, to deny that we are Christians ; but we would not live by telling a lie. For, impelled by the desire of the eternal and pure life, we seek the abode that is with God , the Father and Creator of all, and hasten to confess our faith , persuaded and convinced as we are that they who have proved to God by their works that they followed Him, and loved to abide with Him where there is no sin to cause disturbance, can obtain these things.
This, then, to speak shortly, is what we expect and have learned from Christ, and teach. And Plato , in like manner, used to say that Rhadamanthus and Minos would punish the wicked who came before them; and we say that the same thing will be done, but at the hand of Christ , and upon the wicked in the same bodies united again to their spirits which are now to undergo everlasting punishment; and not only, as Plato said, for a period of a thousand years.
And if any one say that this is incredible or impossible, this error of ours is one which concerns ourselves only, and no other person, so long as you cannot convict us of doing any harm. Chapter 9. Folly of idol worship And neither do we honour with many sacrifices and garlands of flowers such deities as men have formed and set in shrines and called gods; since we see that these are soulless and dead, and have not the form of God for we do not consider that God has such a form as some say that they imitate to His honour , but have the names and forms of those wicked demons which have appeared.
And often out of vessels of dishonour, by merely changing the form, and making an image of the requisite shape, they make what they call a god; which we consider not only senseless, but to be even insulting to God , who, having ineffable glory and form, thus gets His name attached to things that are corruptible, and require constant service. And that the artificers of these are both intemperate, and, not to enter into particulars, are practised in every vice , you very well know ; even their own girls who work along with them they corrupt.
What infatuation! That dissolute men should be said to fashion and make gods for your worship, and that you should appoint such men the guardians of the temples where they are enshrined; not recognising that it is unlawful even to think or say that men are the guardians of gods. Chapter How God is to be served But we have received by tradition that God does not need the material offerings which men can give, seeing, indeed, that He Himself is the provider of all things.
And we have been taught, and are convinced, and do believe , that He accepts those only who imitate the excellences which reside in Him, temperance , and justice , and philanthropy, and as many virtues as are peculiar to a God who is called by no proper name.
For as in the beginning He created us when we were not, so do we consider that, in like manner, those who choose what is pleasing to Him are, on account of their choice, deemed worthy of incorruption and of fellowship with Him. For the coming into being at first was not in our own power; and in order that we may follow those things which please Him, choosing them by means of the rational faculties He has Himself endowed us with, He both persuades us and leads us to faith.
And we think it for the advantage of all men that they are not restrained from learning these things, but are even urged thereto.
For the restraint which human laws could not effect, the Word, inasmuch as He is divine, would have effected, had not the wicked demons , taking as their ally the lust of wickedness which is in every man, and which draws variously to all manner of vice , scattered many false and profane accusations, none of which attach to us. What kingdom Christians look for And when you hear that we look for a kingdom, you suppose, without making any inquiry, that we speak of a human kingdom; whereas we speak of that which is with God , as appears also from the confession of their faith made by those who are charged with being Christians , though they know that death is the punishment awarded to him who so confesses.
For if we looked for a human kingdom, we should also deny our Christ, that we might not be slain; and we should strive to escape detection, that we might obtain what we expect. But since our thoughts are not fixed on the present, we are not concerned when men cut us off; since also death is a debt which must at all events be paid. For if all men knew this, no one would choose wickedness even for a little, knowing that he goes to the everlasting punishment of fire; but would by all means restrain himself, and adorn himself with virtue , that he might obtain the good gifts of God , and escape the punishments.
For those who, on account of the laws and punishments you impose, endeavour to escape detection when they offend and they offend, too, under the impression that it is quite possible to escape your detection, since you are but men , those persons , if they learned and were convinced that nothing, whether actually done or only intended, can escape the knowledge of God , would by all means live decently on account of the penalties threatened, as even you yourselves will admit.
But you seem to fear lest all men become righteous, and you no longer have any to punish. Such would be the concern of public executioners, but not of good princes. But, as we before said, we are persuaded that these things are prompted by evil spirits , who demand sacrifices and service even from those who live unreasonably; but as for you, we presume that you who aim at [a reputation for] piety and philosophy will do nothing unreasonable.
But if you also, like the foolish, prefer custom to truth , do what you have power to do. But just so much power have rulers who esteem opinion more than truth , as robbers have in a desert. And that you will not succeed is declared by the Word, than whom, after God who begot Him, we know there is no ruler more kingly and just.
For as all shrink from succeeding to the poverty or sufferings or obscurity of their fathers, so whatever the Word forbids us to choose, the sensible man will not choose.
That all these things should come to pass, I say, our Teacher foretold, He who is both Son and Apostle of God the Father of all and the Ruler, Jesus Christ ; from whom also we have the name of Christians. Whence we become more assured of all the things He taught us, since whatever He beforehand foretold should come to pass, is seen in fact coming to pass; and this is the work of God , to tell of a thing before it happens, and as it was foretold so to show it happening.
It were possible to pause here and add no more, reckoning that we demand what is just and true ; but because we are well aware that it is not easy suddenly to change a mind possessed by ignorance , we intend to add a few things, for the sake of persuading those who love the truth , knowing that it is not impossible to put ignorance to flight by presenting the truth. Christians serve God rationally What sober-minded man, then, will not acknowledge that we are not atheists , worshipping as we do the Maker of this universe , and declaring, as we have been taught, that He has no need of streams of blood and libations and incense ; whom we praise to the utmost of our power by the exercise of prayer and thanksgiving for all things wherewith we are supplied, as we have been taught that the only honour that is worthy of Him is not to consume by fire what He has brought into being for our sustenance, but to use it for ourselves and those who need, and with gratitude to Him to offer thanks by invocations and hymns for our creation, and for all the means of health, and for the various qualities of the different kinds of things, and for the changes of the seasons; and to present before Him petitions for our existing again in incorruption through faith in Him.
For they proclaim our madness to consist in this, that we give to a crucified man a place second to the unchangeable and eternal God , the Creator of all; for they do not discern the mystery that is herein, to which, as we make it plain to you, we pray you to give heed. The demons misrepresent Christian doctrine For we forewarn you to be on your guard, lest those demons whom we have been accusing should deceive you, and quite divert you from reading and understanding what we say.
For they strive to hold you their slaves and servants; and sometimes by appearances in dreams, and sometimes by magical impositions, they subdue all who make no strong opposing effort for their own salvation.
And thus do we also, since our persuasion by the Word, stand aloof from them i. But lest we should seem to be reasoning sophistically, we consider it right, before giving you the promised explanation, to cite a few precepts given by Christ Himself.
And be it yours, as powerful rulers, to inquire whether we have been taught and do teach these things truly. Brief and concise utterances fell from Him, for He was no sophist, but His word was the power of God. What Christ himself taught Concerning chastity , He uttered such sentiments as these: Whosoever looks upon a woman to lust after her, has committed adultery with her already in his heart before God.
And, If your right eye offend you, cut it out; for it is better for you to enter into the kingdom of heaven with one eye, than, having two eyes, to be cast into everlasting fire. And, Whosoever shall marry her that is divorced from another husband, commits adultery. For not only he who in act commits adultery is rejected by Him, but also he who desires to commit adultery : since not only our works, but also our thoughts, are open before God.
For what shall I say, too, of the countless multitude of those who have reformed intemperate habits, and learned these things? For Christ called not the just nor the chaste to repentance, but the ungodly, and the licentious, and the unjust ; His words being, I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. And of our love to all, He taught thus: If you love them that love you, what new thing are you doing? For even fornicators do this. But I say unto you, Pray for your enemies, and love them that hate you, and bless them that curse you, and pray for them that despitefully use you.
Even the publicans do this. Lay not up for yourselves treasure upon earth, where moth and rust does corrupt, and where robbers break through; but lay up for yourselves treasure in heaven, where neither moth nor rust does corrupt. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
Justino Mártir- primera apología
Los siguientes puntos son dignos de ser notados: I-IX. X-XXX: Sobre la ley. La ley eterna dictada por Cristo. Es citado por primera vez por Leoncio de Bizancio m. Carta a Zenas y Sereno" Otto, op. Respuestas a los ortodoxos.
La celebración de la Eucaristía. San Justino, mártir