Skip to comments.Church History, Justin Martyr, Preeminent Apologist
Posted on 05/31/2010 8:48:32 PM PDT by Salvation
Nearly a hundred years had passed since the birth of Christ, yet many heathen dwelt in the Holy Land. The district of Samaria, for example, remained much the same as the prophet Isaias described it � "the fading flower, the crown of the pride of the drunkards of Ephraim." One thinks of Sicar, the town near Jacob's well, where Jesus had said to the Samaritan woman, "If thou didst know the gift of God, and Who He is that sayeth to thee, "Give Me to drink," thou perhaps would have asked of Him and He would have given thee living water." Or of Sichem, lying in the pass from the seacoast to the Jordan, the place where Abraham and Jacob dwelt when they entered the Promised Land. Now it was in this immemorial region between Judea and Galilee that Justin saw the light of day. The child of paganism, his heart was as parched as the nearby desert, but he had a mind as open as his native province. Hunger for knowledge so possessed this young Samaritan that the schools of Flavia Neapolis (ancient Sichem) could not provide the things his soul longed for. So in early manhood Justin set out on his own in search of more light; he must face facts, gather experience, rub elbows with reality. Up and down picturesque Palestine the fledgling philosopher travelled, eager to meet any arid every master who could add to his store. What a variety of philosophers, Jewish and Gentile, he encountered; imagine, too, the curious doctrines he came across in this neversaydie quest for truth.
Justin, we shall see, had a long arduous way to go before be found the Gift of God. But most ardent was his desire for the truth, most sincere the pursuit that one day he would win the reward promised by the Teacher of teachers. "Come to Me. . . and I will refresh you. If you seek Me with your whole heart you shall surely find Me." That, in very brief, is the story of Justin�s heavenguided Odyssey which took him into many strange highways and byways. In the first stage of his journey the young Samaritan came in contact with Jews full of zeal to win him over to their cause. They instructed him in the Tablets of the Law, told him of a great leader to come, even hinted at their plot to throw off the Roman yoke and restore Israel to Jehovah. The time was at hand, they assured him, when a political Messias would rule from Jerusalem, whither all would hasten with gifts and oblations to be offered on Mount Sion. Their burning hate of Rome was equalled only by their intense antipathy towards the followers of the Crucified. Had not the Nazarene, Whom these Christians called the Son of God, created a schism in Jewish ranks, and were not these same Christians trying to substitute an absurd law of love for the old law of fear? Though these haters had not a good word for the new religion, Justin, always exercising his faculties in acquiring knowledge, soon found out for himself � many things! Facts spoke louder than lies, and example proved more potent than any number of impassioned charges. The little flock he came to know were kindly, helpful, modest, lovers of neighbors. They bore one another�s burdens bravely, their thoughts were above in Heaven where dwelt their Savior; they put into actual practice the Sermon on the Mount which Justin discerned as the very keystone of true civilization. What is more, these Christians continued steadfast in their faith despite Jewish hatred, even in the face of fiendishly brutal persecution engineered by Rome's allpowerful Emperors.
Foes of Christ
Penal times for the Church would best describe the century in which Justin lived. During his childhood in Samaria the Emperor Nerva was savagely harassing the followers of Christ for refusing to join the pagan cults. Trajan, his successor, frowned harshly upon Christians, hinted at their crime in doing honor to "the Name" and permitted bloody persecutions. An imperial agent, the younger Pliny, who had executed many Christians, was compelled to report to the Caesar that the temples of the Roman gods were being forsaken, so rapidly was the new "superstition" gaining ground in the country places as well as in the cities. And now as Justin followed the pilgrim way, Hadrian (117�138) was penalizing the faithful by rescript, regarding their caritas as subversive of all that Rome stood for. None the less, they continued to grow in amazing numbers; people of both sexes, of all ages and of every rank became Christians. One needed only half an eye to see these fearless folk practiced social changes nothing short of revolutionary, and that in the face of bitter opposition. On acquaintance with these unsung heroes of the faith our pagan student gained deep insight into their hidden life. His views, however, were still cramped but as he continued earnestly in search of light, and again more light, Heaven itself broadened his vision so that eventually the young philosopher laid hold on truth itself. Justin, remember, from the very outset of his career displayed ardent love of truth, his heart and mind were like the wings of a bird forever beating, seeking peace. "Birds," said the inspired writer, "resort unto their like, so truth will return to them that practice her."
The Samaritan, still in his twenties, journeyed hither and yon until he arrived in Ephesus. This flourishing Greek city had echoed the footsteps Of St. Paul and formed the center from which St. John once governed the Church in Asia Minor. Many Jews and pagans in these parts, zealots to their heart�s core, appeared only too ready to engage the ardent stranger in argument after argument. Inevitably in the course of heated debate Justin heard the same old foolish stories that bad given him spiritual pain in Palestine. By this time, however, the keen observer was nowise misled, knowing as he did the motives behind many of these bitter charges. The plain fact that Christians abandoned luxury and ornament in dress did not make them popular with pagan tradesmen; their refusal to offer public sacrifices, as Pliny had observed, hurt the pockets of. the greedy graziers; they eschewed the vile plays in the theatres so the professional showmen were irate, being out of pocket. Anybody with an ounce of brains could see the why and wherefore of these things. No! Justin was not easily befooled. Or bedevilled either. All this wild rumor about the followers of Christ being guilty of atheism, anarchism and disloyalty to the state proved to be sheer nonsense; it was on the same low level with the wicked accusations of incest and cannibalism, of magic and witchcraft that stupid Jewish alarmists shouted in the backalleys of Jerusalem and Joppa. The real facts were these � Christians served among the most loyal soldiers in the imperial armies, but they proved themselves still better milites Christi, and the Church could count numerous soldier martyrs. Did not events prove that the more those stalwarts of the faith were mowed down by their brutal persecutors the more numerous they became? "While I was yet a follower of the Platonic philosophy," Justin wrote, "and I heard the Christians pursued by calumny, and saw them stand intrepid before death and all formidable things, I thought to myself that such persons could not be given to vice and voluptuousness." In fact, the sight of brave martyrs sustained by the Invisible God had brought about the conversion of more than one pagan acquaintance; and this was to be the reason for the philosopher�s own conversion.
The Light of Life
Loyal to his principle of searching out facts, Justin exulted in every advance in the direction of truth. Yes, truth, more truth, and again more truth, was what he wanted. One day, wending his way through the old city, he met a venerable man who spoke deep words of wisdom and urged him on to further truth by a close study of the Prophets of Israel. Obedient, the Samaritan stranger conned the worn Hebrew rolls until he was rewarded by a glimpse of the direction in which they pointed, the character they limned of the Suffering Savior. The long stretches of spiritual emptiness he had travelled were left behind. New lights, hitherto undreamed of, gave the tireless student a better perspective; besides, as he came to know the Christians more intimately, he began to grasp the ideas and ideals, they professed. Now, more than ever before, their ways of life grew fixed in his mind, and he was able to see eye to eye with them in the light of Eternity. Thus the whole business of salvation slowly dawned in the eager soul of Justin. He knew that God's cause was truly served by these guileless humble people so hated by the evilminded. What sublime courage he had seen them display in the face of vulgar insults and catcalls of derision! How faithfully they observed the Gospelword! How really they loved one another, avoiding temptation in every form! And all for the sake of Christ, their Way, their Truth and their Life. Small wonder then as he sat at the feet of those doers of the Word he caught their spirit � and straightway decided he could no longer remain a pagan. The busy seeker had crossed the desert, had stopped at a few halting places to rest and think, but now the City of God was in full view. Given the grace of faith, Justin in the very flower of his manhood embraced with joy the religion of the Crucified, secretly vowing himself to the service of the AllTrue.
Attired in the robe of a philosopher, the valiant convert set out to teach the Gospel. His method was to use philosophy as a stepping stone to higher truths, and persuade his hearers of the validity of Christian doctrine. Jews and pagans flocked to hear him argue, exhort, rebuke, convince in season and out of season. Ere long he engaged in a famous controversy with the learned Jew, Trypho, and the debate lasted two days. This "dialog," as it is called, touched upon the Old and the New Law, the Prophets and the Messias, the life and teachings of the Man of Nazareth! Listen now to the Christian, apologist. "Just as there were also false prophets in the time of the holy prophets that were among you," Justin argued, "so there are among us many false teachers of whom Our Lord bade us beware beforehand, so that we should never be at a loss, being aware that He foreknew what would happen to us after His resurrection from the dead, and His ascent to Heaven. For He said that we must be slain and hated for His Name�s sake and that many false prophets and false Christs would come forward in His Name, and would lead many astray. And this is the case. For many have taught what is godless and blasphemous and wicked, falsely stamping their teaching with His Name, and have taught what has been put in their minds by the unclean spirit of the devil, and teach it until now. . .
As Justin pressed his points, one after another, he used the Old and New Testaments like a doubleedged sword to drive home the truth he had found in Jesus. The law of Moses, he told Trypho, has given way to the law of Christ. The worship of Jesus is in true conformity with the worship of the true God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. And the true Israel is to be found only among the Christians to whom belong the promise of the Covenant. "There is not one nation of men," Justin asserted, "be it Greek or barbarian, or called by any name you will, whether it lives in the swamps or wants a roof, or lives in tents and feeds the flocks, from the midst of which do not ascend prayers and thanks to the Father and Creator of the universe, in the Name of Jesus Crucified." Surely the argumentative Trypho had more than met his match and emerged a poor second in this great controversy; better still, Justin�s "Dialog" was to lift the black veil of ignorance and ill will from the minds and hearts of multitudes, generation after generation.
The Hour of Darkness
In the days that followed the historic debate, Jews as well as Christians were tried in the furnace of affliction. The longhatched rebellion against Roman power flared up fiercely in Jerusalem under the bloodthirsty fanatic, Barcochab. This man's hatred for Christian no less than Roman was nothing if not Satanic; during his brief span of dictatorship, 132 to 133, he massacred hundreds of the faithful for rejecting his claim as the Messias and refusing to join in his revolt. Hadrian, the Emperor, used a red hand to quell this savage affair, sending armies that ruthlessly wiped out the rebels along with all the residents of Jerusalem. A Roman colony, Ella Capitolina was established on the smoking ruins of the Holy City, and the Jewish nation came to a sad end. Five years later, in 138, the Emperor disappeared from the earthly scene. His successor, Antoninus Pius, proved himself a sincere old Roman, humanitarian and tolerant to a degree, yet one never knew when the ruling powers in the imperial city might take action. The Christian faith, of course, was still regarded as "religio illicita," so its members dwelt in unpredictable peril, a sword suspended over their heads. Spies sought them out, mobs were likely to rise against them any day. In the meantime Justin, nothing daunted, moved from place to place, disputing and teaching until he reached his journey's end, Rome. Pope Hyginus, of Greek birth, sat in the Chair of Peter, and the Eternal City housed a large Greek population together with provincials from every part of the Empire. There was nothing else practicable for a follower of Christ, like Justin, but to go on there doing what God willed and duty imposed upon him. Ever alert, the fearless philosopher characteristically rubbed elbows with all and sundry, while he kept his missionary goal in mind and worked towards it as a lover labors to make known the truth and beauty of his beloved. An able counsel for Christ, he argued with the pagans, proving to the satisfaction of many the truth and beauty of the new religion. The philosopher, Crescens, was confounded, likewise Marcian, the heretic, and many Greek theorists. He discoursed eloquently on the unity of God, on the glory of the Book of Psalms, on the Resurrection, but be spoke advisedly of Christian mysteries, for the disciplina arcani had become a fixed custom and the time for unveiling those sacred things to prying strangers had not yet arrived.
The day did come in the year 138 when dark danger loomed once again on the horizon. "Oh! unhappy times," runs a contemporary inscription for Alexander, the martyr, "when, in the midst of sacred things, and occupied with our prayers we cannot be safe even in the bowels of the earth; what more miserable than life, and what more miserable than death, when we cannot be buried by our friends." Unhappy times they were indeed, for vile rumors and calumnies continued to spread abroad like wildfire and another general persecution seemed imminent. In the hope that his brethren might receive humane treatment from the public authorities, Justin made a great resolve. He would match his pen against the sword; yes, he would tell the Emperor himself and the Senate of the actual beliefs and doings of the Christians. Thus was written the "First Apology," as priceless a record of early ecclesiastical practices and events as has come down through the centuries. "Your rulers," Justin boldly informed Antoninus, "are partners with thieves, loving bribes, following after a reward. But if you do know any such even among us, yet at least do not blaspheme, or try to misinterpret the Scriptures and Christ because of such men." There is no similarity, declared the apologist, #between the Eucharistic Mystery and the abominable rites of the Thyestean banquets; nothing in the Sacrament of Baptism that resembles in any way the corrupt ideas held by pagans utterly unacquainted with the sacred ceremonies. With power and clarity the fearless defender of the faith went on to stress the points which deserve to be memorized because they sum up the great apologia.
The Saviour of the World, Jesus Christ, is truly the Son of God as the ancient prophecies unmistakably point out.
The accusations of impiety and civil enmity hurled at the followers of the Nazarene are utterly false, utterly unfounded.
The Emperor, therefore, should recall all penal decrees against the Christians, as beseems a ruler well known for his sense of justice and spirit of fair play.
Though a "Minor Peace of the Church" existed at this time, there were black days too, for which Justin held the Emperor responsible. But persecution or no persecution the Christian community throve in unity and organized government, and as the beautiful liturgy blossomed the power of Christian life made itself felt everywhere.
Scribes of the Kingdom Judging from his activities, Justin had become more and more apostolicminded. Jesus had indeed fed this travelweary Samaritan with the bread of life and understanding, bad given him the water of wisdom to drink. In return the grateful philosopher sought to walk in the footsteps of his Unfailing Friend, dispensing the oil of charity and the wine of Christian cheer to all who came within his reach. He founded and conducted in Rome a famous school of Christian instruction, "endeavoring," as he writes, "to discourse in accordance with the Scriptures, not from love of money, or vainglory or of pleasure." Able pagan teachers continued to challenge him in public debate; these he met one after another, and not a few were won over to the true faith. Justin, however, was not alone working with pen and voice, by word and deed, for the defense of the truth he cherished above all things on earth. Though much has been written about the preeminent apologist, there were admittedly many other champions of Christianity in these days: as early as 120, Barnabas had published an epistle; in 124, Aristides wrote an Apologia in Athens; in 160, a pupil of Justin�s, named Tatian, vigorously attacked paganism in Antioch; in 170, Ignatius wrote famous letters to the faithful in Asia. And while valiant missionaries went east and west, founded churches and confounded wily pagans, their brilliant coworkers, Athanagoras and Theopholus, Appolinaris and Miltiades, were explaining the �Christian religion and answering every false charge against the brethren; the mystical Shepherd of Hermes also appeared about this time, together with many other authors of doctrinal treatises. Who can deny that such scribes of the school of Christ virtually wrote at the risk of their lives? Without doubt many of them had the pen snatched from their holy hands as they went forth to welcome the sword of martyrdom. One of these heroes for Christ was Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna, whose "Acts" are the oldest account of a martyrdom we possess. A great preacher, this "gray prince of Asia" incurred the hatred of his pagan townsmen who arrested him and brought him before the Proconsul. An unforgettable scene followed when the chief actors, tyrant and martyr, met face to face.
Judging from his activities, Justin had become more and more apostolicminded. Jesus had indeed fed this travelweary Samaritan with the bread of life and understanding, bad given him the water of wisdom to drink. In return the grateful philosopher sought to walk in the footsteps of his Unfailing Friend, dispensing the oil of charity and the wine of Christian cheer to all who came within his reach. He founded and conducted in Rome a famous school of Christian instruction, "endeavoring," as he writes, "to discourse in accordance with the Scriptures, not from love of money, or vainglory or of pleasure." Able pagan teachers continued to challenge him in public debate; these he met one after another, and not a few were won over to the true faith.
Justin, however, was not alone working with pen and voice, by word and deed, for the defense of the truth he cherished above all things on earth. Though much has been written about the preeminent apologist, there were admittedly many other champions of Christianity in these days: as early as 120, Barnabas had published an epistle; in 124, Aristides wrote an Apologia in Athens; in 160, a pupil of Justin�s, named Tatian, vigorously attacked paganism in Antioch; in 170, Ignatius wrote famous letters to the faithful in Asia. And while valiant missionaries went east and west, founded churches and confounded wily pagans, their brilliant coworkers, Athanagoras and Theopholus, Appolinaris and Miltiades, were explaining the �Christian religion and answering every false charge against the brethren; the mystical Shepherd of Hermes also appeared about this time, together with many other authors of doctrinal treatises. Who can deny that such scribes of the school of Christ virtually wrote at the risk of their lives? Without doubt many of them had the pen snatched from their holy hands as they went forth to welcome the sword of martyrdom.
One of these heroes for Christ was Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna, whose "Acts" are the oldest account of a martyrdom we possess. A great preacher, this "gray prince of Asia" incurred the hatred of his pagan townsmen who arrested him and brought him before the Proconsul. An unforgettable scene followed when the chief actors, tyrant and martyr, met face to face.
But when the Governor pressed him and said, "Take the oath and I will let you go, revile Christ," Polycarp said, "For eighty and six years have I been His servant, and He hath done me no wrong, and how can I blaspheme my King Who saved me." But when he persisted again and said, "Swear by the genius of Caesar," he said, "if you vainly suppose that I will swear by the genius of Caesar, as you say, and pretend that you are ignorant who I am, listen plainly "I am a Christian."... And the Proconsul said, "I have wild beasts, I will deliver you to them unless you change your mind." And he said, "Call for them, for change of mind from better to worse is change we may not make; but it is good to change from evil to righteousness." And he said again to him, "I will cause you to be consumed by fire, if you despise the beasts, unless you repent." But Polycarp said, "You threaten with the fire that burns for a time, and is quickly quenched, for you do not know the fire which awaits the wicked in the judgment to come and in everlasting punishment. But why are you waiting? Come, do what you will." 
At the stake, the aged hero gave thanks for drinking the cup of Christ. The flames did not destroy him, so the savage pagans stabbed him to death, then burned his body. But the Christians of Smyrna gathered up his relics, "more precious than the richest jewels or gold," and hid them in a secret place whither the faithful repaired as to a sacred shrine to celebrate his birthday in Heaven, the day of his martyrdom. News of this soulstirring event spread through the length and breadth of the Empire with amazing repercussions. The power of such heroic example, multiplied by other martyrs beyond count, worked mightily for the faith. After all, was it not the power of God Who chose to shake the Empire to its very foundations, and change pagan Roma immortalis into Christian Roma aeterna, the city set apart as a dwelling place of His Son�s Vicar. Stoic Versus Christian
Stoic Versus Christian
Marcus Aurelius, soninlaw of Antoninus Pius, began to rule in 161 A.D. and the Empire reached its greatest heights. The grandeur that was Rome, he realized, must be jealously guarded lest it too fade away like the glory that was Greece. Sharp of vision, the new Emperor viewed with pagan alarm the growth of the new religion; cruel and unscrupulous he resolved to destroy it utterly: root, stem and branch.
Though Marcus Aurelius had donned the mantle of the philosopher at the age of eleven, no Emperor showed less power of understanding the religion of his Christian subjects. The Church was, in his baleful eyes, the public menace; her antipagan doctrine cropped up in every place; her children bade fair to change the face of the whole earth. A Stoic to the hard core of his heart, the Emperor cynically regarded the faith of Christians as outright fanaticism; their superb aplomb before cruel judges only obstinacy; their cheerful acceptance of martyrdom just "a tragic show!" Pity had no place in the emotions of this tyrant who was possessed by the pride of life and the pomp of circumstance. The torments borne by the sixteenyearold Ponticus and the courage of the gentle girl Blandina left him cold. When Pottinus, the aged bishop, brutally treated by his jailers, died after two days in prison, Marcus Aurelius was as little affected as when he heard of the heroic martyrdom of that other great shepherd, Polycarp. No! all Christians, high and low, must be wiped out to a man, and with them everything they held dear � the infinite value of the immortal soul; the equality of all men, slave and noble alike; the dignity of labor, even slave labor; the blessings of spiritual poverty. Nonsense, all of it, imbecile, seditious, blasphemous nonsense! By all the Roman gods, he the sage and warrior would resort to the iron law of power and succeed where his predecessors had so dismally failed. Non licet Christianos esse! Justin the Martyr One gory day in Rome, Urbinus, the prefect, put three Christians to death and this without a word of warning. It was a stab in the dark! They had done, no evil; they were upright decent citizens. Bad as things were, Justin took up their cause and wrote a vigorous appeal to the Emperor, asking for imperial interposition and stoutly defending the Christian religion. The Apologia, however, was to no pur pose, since words were inept, philosophy impotent to rouse a sense of justice in the Stoic ruler. Marcus Aurelius did nothing to curb the mobs, nor did he raise his little finger to bid his magistrates be fair and just. Nowise deterred by the calamities, earthquake and inundation visiting his domains, nor even by the great plague of 166 from which his Empire never recovered, the Stoic ruler continued to persecute his Christian subjects. Let the sword fall where it would until the enemy of the Roman state was done away with. Out bursts of hatred became more frequent and this, the fourth great persecution, proved one of the most dreadful in the history of the Catholic Church. Her children suffered both from popular fury and from the government in their allout war against God and His Christ. The faithful in the churches of Lyons and Vienne, tried in the furnace, wrote heartstirring letters to the brethren in Asia Minor. And as if torture and death were not enough, vile rumors piled up against the Christians because their assemblies were private; the same old slanderous charges of incest and childmurder and kindred abominations were propagated, and what is worse, believed by the mob.
Justin the Martyr
One gory day in Rome, Urbinus, the prefect, put three Christians to death and this without a word of warning. It was a stab in the dark! They had done, no evil; they were upright decent citizens. Bad as things were, Justin took up their cause and wrote a vigorous appeal to the Emperor, asking for imperial interposition and stoutly defending the Christian religion. The Apologia, however, was to no pur pose, since words were inept, philosophy impotent to rouse a sense of justice in the Stoic ruler. Marcus Aurelius did nothing to curb the mobs, nor did he raise his little finger to bid his magistrates be fair and just. Nowise deterred by the calamities, earthquake and inundation visiting his domains, nor even by the great plague of 166 from which his Empire never recovered, the Stoic ruler continued to persecute his Christian subjects. Let the sword fall where it would until the enemy of the Roman state was done away with. Out bursts of hatred became more frequent and this, the fourth great persecution, proved one of the most dreadful in the history of the Catholic Church. Her children suffered both from popular fury and from the government in their allout war against God and His Christ. The faithful in the churches of Lyons and Vienne, tried in the furnace, wrote heartstirring letters to the brethren in Asia Minor. And as if torture and death were not enough, vile rumors piled up against the Christians because their assemblies were private; the same old slanderous charges of incest and childmurder and kindred abominations were propagated, and what is worse, believed by the mob.
Justin, caught up in the mad rush, must have felt that the end was near. The dauntless defender who had more than once succeeded in staying the persecution of his brethren, now found himself in the thick of the pagan press. Was he trembling with fear, would he capitulate? The answer is, no! This man who had won the truth the hard way, would never part with it, never forsake the Christian faith, come fire, come sword. All said and done, Justin deemed himself nothing more than God�s servant, privileged indeed to make the Church of Christ known and loved. By now he realized that only one thing counted: loyalty to the truth that was in Christ Jesus. For the rest, God Who had been his arm in the morning of life would prove his salvation in time of trouble. When the red day dawned in 166 it found the Christian philosopher ready for the worst. Justin was arrested in company with other heroes of Christ � Chariton, Euelpistus from Cappadocia, Hierax from Iconium, Paeon, Liberianus, Valerianus and Charitina! All were brought before the Prefect of Rome, accused of crime against the state, urged to renounce the new religion. The brave little band stood their ground unflinchingly: "We are Christians, God�s will be done. . . ." Led out to execution, they com mended their souls into the hands of their Maker. Why, to face death for the sake of Christ would be the achievement of a lifetime, the proof final of their fidelity, the surest augury of eternal victory. So we part with Justin, most truly the Martyr, rejoicing in the Lord, eager to seal with his blood the pledge given long ago to his Divine Master. Gladly would he die, as he had lived, for the Good Samaritan Who had found him not so long ago spiritually wounded and halfdead by life�s wayside and was now leading him to His Own Inn.
Time is a great umpire inasmuch as it shows how Divine Providence always cares for the Church. It mattered little, therefore, that God's holy ones were opposed by the most powerful political organization the world has ever seen; less, that they ran afoul of the greatest line of rulers known in ancient or modern history. Indeed, every Christian martyrdom served as a magnet of Heaven to draw many outsiders into the fold of the faith. Marcus Aurelius, like the earlier tyrants, found his subtlest pagan aims vain, himself thwarted in all his evil plans. Under Commodius, the Stoic�s despicable son, there were, to be sure, fresh outbursts of persecution, but it was clear that Fax Romana would never be won by such methods. For the Church, rising like a young giant from each fall, waxed stronger year by year: Pope Eleutherius (174-189) planned to extend the faith in remote Britain, and missionaries carried the gospel to faroff Persia, Media, Parthia and Bactria. Even more wonderful than the rapid growth of the new religion was the way Christians clung to the Gospelinstilled idea with regard to the World, an ideal clearly outlined in the famous "Epistle to Diognetus." Study the following singularly beautiful passage if you would see their intensity of faith, their loyalty to the Church, their high spiritual standards. Says the author who lived at the close of the second century, "Christians dwell in their native cities, yet as sojourners; they share in everything as citizens and endure all things as aliens; every foreign country is to them a fatherland, and every fatherland a foreign soil... . They live in the flesh, but not according to the flesh. They pass their time on earth but exercise their citizenship in Heaven. They obey the enacted laws, and by their private lives they overcome the law. They love all men, and are persecuted of all men. They are unknown, and yet condemned; they are put to death, and yet raised to life. They are beggars, and yet make many rich. They lack all things, and yet abound in all things." Thus we find the Christians, owning to marked characteristics, united by bonds of faith and the cords of love. "You are the light of the world," the Divine Master had told them. "You are the salt of the earth." They well knew what work lay ahead in the pagan world, being mindful of St. Paul�s counsel, "For behold your calling, brethren, how that many not wise after the flesh, not many mighty, nor many noble � are called: but God chose the foolish things of the world, that He might put to shame them that are wise; and God chose the weak things of the earth that He might put to shame the things that are strong." Such in very brief is the story of God�s good and faithful servants dwelling in the midst of demoralizing dangers and virulent persecutions.
 John III 30
 Ecclus. XXVII, 10
 Justin, Apol. I, 26
 Justin, Apol. II, 12
 Dialog with Trypho, n. 117
 By Pagan, Paganus, should be understood "civilians" as opposed to "miles," that is, soldiers. Like as not the term paganus originated in the slang of the barrack room where soldiers dubbed civilians "rustics," "villagers," "pagani." The nonChristian was "a mere civilian" in the sight of God, but the Christian a soldier miles Christi, bound by the sacramentum of his Baptismal vow.
 Arringhi, Subterranean Rome, book 3, C. 22
 Epistle to Diognetus, chaps. 5�6
 Cor. I, 26�27
The First Apology of St. Justin Martyr, Early Church Father (long)
St. Justin Martyr: He Considered Christianity the True Philosophy (March 21, 2007)
Justin Martyr on Christian worship - (the earliest record of Christian worship)
Orthodox Feast of Martyr Justin the Philosopher and those with him at Rome
St. Justin Martyr
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