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FIRST APOLOGY OF JUSTIN
1. And again, in
another prophecy, the Spirit of prophecy through the same David intimated that
Christ, after He had been crucified, should reign and he spoke as follows:
"Sing to the Lord, all the earth, and day by day declare His salvation. For
great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, to be feared above all the gods.
For all the gods of the nations are idols of devils; but God made the heavens.
praise are before His face, strength and glorying are in the habitation of His
holiness. Give Glory to the Lord, the Father everlasting. Receive grace, and
enter His presence, and worship in His holy courts. Let all the earth fear
before His face; let it be established, and not shaken. Let them rejoice among
the nations. The Lord hath reigned from the tree."
· Prophecy using the past tense.
3. But when the
Spirit of prophecy speaks of things that are about to come to pass as if they
had already taken place, as may be observed even in the passages already cited,
-that this circumstance may afford no excuse to readers for misinterpreting, we
will make even this quite plain.
which He absolutely knows will take place, He predicts as if they had already
taken place, and that the utterances must be thus received.
This you will perceive giving your attention to the words cited above.
1500 years before Christ became a man, and was crucified; and none of those who
lived before Him, nor yet of His contemporaries afforded joy to the Gentiles by
6. But our Jesus
Christ, being crucified and having died, rose again, and having ascended to
heaven, He reigned. And by the things that were published in His name among all
the nations by the apostles, joy was afforded to those who expect the
immortality promised by Him.
· Responsibility asserted.
But lest some
suppose from what has been said by us, that we say that whatever happens,
happens by a fatal necessity, because it is foretold as known beforehand, this
too we shall explain. We have learned from the prophets, and hold it to be true,
that punishments, and chastisements, and good rewards, are rendered according to
the merit of each man's actions.
Since if this
be not so, but all things to occur by fate, then nothing at all in our own
power. For if it be fate - that one man be good, and the other evil, then is the
former not meritorious nor the latter to be blamed.
9. And again,
unless the human race has the power of avoiding evil and choosing the good by
free choice, they are not accountable for their actions of whatever kind they
be. But by free choice they both
walk uprightly and stumble, which demonstrate the making of a transition to
opposite things. Now, if it had been fate that he were to be either good or bad,
he could never have been capable of both the opposites, nor of so many
10. But not even
would some be good and others bad, since we thus make fate the cause of evil,
and exhibit her as acting in opposition to herself. Or that which has been already stated would seem to be true,
that neither virtue nor vice is anything, but that things are only reckoned good
or evil by opinion; which, as the true word shows, is the greatest impiety and
But this we
assert is inevitable fate, that they who choose the good have worthy rewards,
and they who choose the opposite have their merited awards. For not like other
things, as trees and quadrupeds, which cannot act by choice, did God make man.
12. For neither
would he be worthy of reward or of praise if he did not of himself choose the
good, but were created for this end; nor if he were evil would he be worthy of
punishment, not being evil of himself, but being able to be nothing else than
what he was made.
nullified by prophecy.
13. And the holy
Spirit of prophecy taught us this, telling us by Moses that God spoke thus to
the first created man: "Behold, before thy face are good and evil: choose
the good." And again by the other prophet Isaiah, the following utterance
was made as if from God the Father and Lord of all:
14. "Wash you,
make you clean; put away evils from your souls; learn to do well; judge the
orphan, and plead for the widow: and come and let us reason together, saith the
Lord: And if your sins be as scarlet, I will make them white as wool; and if
they be red like as crimson, I will make them white as snow.
And if ye be willing and obey Me, ye shall eat the good of the land; but
if ye do not obey Me, the sword shall devour you: for the mouth of the Lord hath
15. And that
expression, "The sword shall devour you," does not mean that the
disobedient shall be slain by the sword, but the sword of God is fire, of which
they who choose to do wickedly become the fuel. Wherefore He says, "The
sword shall devour you: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it."
16. And if He had
spoken concerning a sword that cuts and at once dispatches, He would not have
said, “shall devour”. And so also Plato when he says, "The blame is his
who chooses, and God is blameless," took this from the prophet Moses and
17. For Moses is
more ancient than all the Greek writers. And whatever philosophers and poets
have said concerning the immortality of the soul, or of punishments after death,
or of contemplating heavenly things, or doctrines of the kind, they obtained
such suggestions from the prophets so enabling them to understand and interpret
18. Hence there
seems to be seeds of truth among all men; but they are charged with not
accurately understanding when they assert contradictions. So
that what we say about future events being foretold, we do not pronounce it as
if they came about by a fatal necessity.
19. But God
foreknowing all that shall be done by all men, and it being His decree that the
future actions of men shall all be recompensed according to their several value,
so He foretells by the Spirit of prophecy that He will bestow just rewards
according to the merit of the actions done, while urging the human race to make
an effort and recollect, thus showing that He cares and provides for men.
20. But by the
agency of the devils death has been decreed against those who read the books of
Hystaspes, or of the Sibyl, or of the prophets, that through fear they may
prevent men that read them from receiving the knowledge of the good, in order to
retain them in slavery to themselves.
they could not always bring into effect, for not only do we fearlessly read
them, but as you see, bring them for your inspection, knowing that their
contents will be pleasing to all. And if we persuade even a few, our gain will
be very great; for as good husbandmen, we shall receive the reward from the
· Christ's session in heaven foretold.
22. And that God
the Father of all would bring Christ to heaven after He had raised Him from the
dead, and would keep Him there until He has subdued His enemies the devils, and
until the number of those who are foreknown by Him as good and virtuous is
complete, on whose account He has still delayed the consummation--hear what was
said by the prophet David. These are his words:
23. "The Lord
said unto My Lord, Sit Thou at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy
footstool. The Lord shall send to Thee the rod of power out of Jerusalem; and
rule Thou in the midst of Thine enemies. With Thee is the government in the day
of Thy power, in the beauties of Thy saints: from the womb of morning have I
24. That which he
says, "He shall send to Thee the rod of power out of Jerusalem," is
predictive of the mighty, word, which His apostles, going forth from Jerusalem,
preached everywhere; and though death is decreed against those who teach or at
all confess the name of Christ, we everywhere both embrace and teach it.
And if you also
read these words in a hostile spirit, ye can do no more, as I said before, than
kill us; which indeed does no harm to us, but to you and all who unjustly hate
us, and do not repent, brings eternal punishment by tire.
Word in the world before Christ.
But lest some
should, without reason, and for the perversion of what we teach, maintain that
we say that Christ was born one hundred and fifty years ago under Cyrenius, and
subsequently, in the time of Pontius Pilate, taught what we say He taught; and
should cry out against us as though all men who were born before Him were
irresponsible - let us anticipate and solve the difficulty.
2. We have been
taught that Christ is the first-born of God, and we have declared above that He
is the Word of whom every race of men were partakers; and those who lived
reasonably are Christians, even though they have been thought atheists; as,
among the Greeks, Socrates and Heraclitus, and men like them; and among the
3. Abraham, and
Ananias, and Azarias, and Misael, and Elias, and many others whose actions and
names we now decline to recount, because we know it would be tedious. So that
even they who lived before Christ, and lived without reason, were wicked and
hostile to Christ, and slew those who lived reasonably.
4. But who,
through the power of the Word, according to the will of God the Father and Lord
of all, He was born of a virgin as a man, and was named Jesus, and was
crucified, and died, and rose again, and ascended into heaven.
5. An intelligent
man will be able to comprehend from what has been already so largely said. And
we, since the proof of this subject is less needful now, will pass for the
present to the proof of those things which are urgent.
· Desolation of Judea foretold.
6. That the land
of the Jews, then, was to be laid waste, hear what was said by the Spirit of
prophecy. And the words were spoken as if from the person of the people
wondering at what had happened. They are these: "Sion is a wilderness,
Jerusalem a desolation.
7. The house of
our sanctuary has become a curse, and the glory which our fathers blessed is
burned up with fire, and all its glorious things are laid waste: and Thou
refrain Thyself at these things, and hast held Thy peace, and has humbled us
very sore." And ye know that Jerusalem has been laid waste, as was
8. And concerning
its desolation, and that no one should be permitted to inhabit it, there was the
following prophecy by Isaiah: "Their land is desolate, their enemies
consume it before them, and none of them shall dwell therein." And that it
is guarded by you lest any one dwell in it, and that death is decreed against a
Jew apprehended entering it, you know very well.
· Christ's work and death foretold.
And that it was
predicted that our Christ should heal all diseases and raise the dead, hear what
was said. "At His coming the lame shall leap as an hart, and the tongue of
the stammer shall be clear: the blind shall see, and the lepers shall be
cleansed; and the dead shall rise, and walk about."
10. And that He did
those things, you can learn from the acts of Pontius Pilate. And how it was
predicted by the Spirit of prophecy that He and those who hoped in Him should be
slain Hear what was said by Isaiah,
"Behold now the righteous perishes, and no man lays it to heart; and just
men are taken away, and no man considers it.
11. The righteous
man is taken from the presence of wicked, and his burial shall be in peace: he
is taken from our midst."
· His rejection by the Jews foretold.
12. And again, how
it was said by the same Isaiah, that the Gentile nations who were not looking
for Him should worship Him, but the Jews who always expected Him would not
recognize Him when He came. And the words are spoken as from the person of
Christ; and they are these;
13. "I was
manifest to them that asked not for Me; I was found of them that sought Me not:
I said, Behold Me, to a nation that called not on My name. I spread out My hands
to a disobedient and gainsaying people, to those who walked in a way that is not
good, but follow after their own sins; a people that provoked Me to anger to My
14. For the Jews
having the prophecies, and being always in expectation of the Christ to come,
did not recognize Him; and not only so, but even treated Him shamefully.
15. But the
Gentiles, who had never heard anything about Christ, until the apostles set out
from Jerusalem and preached concerning Him, and gave them the prophecies, were
filled with joy and faith, and cast away their idols, and dedicated themselves
to the Un-begotten God through Christ.
16. And that it was
foreknown that these infamous things should be uttered against those who
confessed Christ, and that those who slandered Him, and said that it was well to
preserve the ancient customs, should be miserable, hear what was briefly said by
Isaiah; it is this: "Woe unto them that call sweet bitter, and bitter
· His humiliation predicted.
having become man for our sakes, He endured to suffer and to be dishonored, and
that He shall come again with glory, the prophecies relating to this; are these:
"Because they delivered His soul unto death, and He was numbered with the
transgressors, He has borne the sin of many, and shall make intercession for the
For, behold, My
Servant shall deal prudently, and shall be exalted, and shall be greatly
extolled. As many were astonished at Thee, so marred shall Thy form be before
men, and so hidden from them Thy glory; so shall many nations wonder, and the
kings shall shut their mouths at Him.
19. For they to
whom it was not told concerning Him, and they who have not heard, shall
understand. O Lord, who hath believed our report? And to whom is the arm of the
Lord revealed? We have declared regarding Him as a child, as a root in a dry
20. He had no form,
nor glory; and we saw Him, and there was no form nor comeliness: but His form
was dishonored and marred more than the sons of men. A man under the stroke, and
knowing how to bear infirmity, because His face was turned away: He was
despised, and of no reputation.
21. It is He who
bears our sins, and is afflicted for us; yet we did esteem Him smitten,
stricken, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was
bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of peace was upon Him, by His
stripes we are healed.
All we, like
sheep, have gone astray; every man has wandered in his own way. And He delivered
Him for our sins; and He opened not His mouth for all His affliction. He was
brought as a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before his shearer is dumb,
so He opened not His mouth.
23. In His
humiliation, His judgment was taken away." Accordingly, after He was
crucified, even all His acquaintances forsook Him, having denied Him; and
afterwards, when He had risen from the dead and appeared to them, and had taught
them to read the prophecies in which all these things were foretold as coming to
24. And when they
had seen Him ascending into heaven, and had believed, and had received power
sent thence by Him upon them, and went to every race of men, they taught these
things, and were called apostles.
majesty of Christ.
1. And that the
Spirit of prophecy might signify to us that He who suffers these things has an
ineffable origin, and rules His enemies, He spoke thus: " Who shall declare
His generation? Because His life is cut off from the earth: for their
transgressions He comes to death.
2. And I will give
the wicked for His burial, and the rich for His death; because He did no
violence, neither was any deceit in His mouth. And the Lord was pleased to
cleanse Him from the stripe. If He be given for sin, your soul shall see His
seed prolonged in days.
3. And the Lord
was pleased to deliver His soul from grief, to show Him light, and to form Him
with knowledge, to justify the righteous who richly served many. And He shall
bear our iniquities. Therefore He shall inherit many, and He shall divide the
spoil of the strong; because His soul was delivered unto death: and He was
numbered with the transgressors; and He bare the sins of many, and He was
delivered up for their transgressions."
4. Hear too how He
was to ascend into heaven according to prophecy. It was thus spoken: "Lift
up the gates of heaven; be ye opened, that the King of glory may come in. Who is
this King of glory? The Lord, strong and mighty."
5. And how also He
should come again out of heaven with glory, hear what was spoken in reference to
this by the prophet Jeremiah. His words are: "Behold, as the Son of man He
cometh in the clouds of heaven, and His angels with Him."
· Certain fulfillment of prophecy.
Since, then, we
proved that all things which have happened had been predicted by the prophets
before they came to pass, we must necessarily believe also that those things
which are in like manner predicted, but are yet to come to pass to happen.
7. For as the
things which have already taken place came to pass when foretold, and even
though unknown, so shall the things that remain, even though they be unknown and
disbelieved, yet come to pass.
8. For the
prophets have proclaimed two advents of His: the one, that which is already
past, when He came as a dishonored and suffering Man; but the second, when,
according to prophecy, He shall come from heaven with glory, accompanied by His
9. When also He
shall raise the bodies of all men who have lived, and shall clothe those of the
worthy with immortality, and shall send those of the wicked, endued with eternal
sensibility, into everlasting fire with the wicked devils.
10. And that these
things also have been foretold as yet to be, we will prove. For by Ezekiel the
prophet it was said: "Joint shall be joined to joint, and bone to bone, and
flesh shall grow again; and every knee shall bow to the Lord, and every tongue
shall confess Him."
11. And in what
kind of sensation and punishment the wicked are to be, hear from what was said
in like manner with reference to this; it is as follows: "Their worm shall
not rest, and their fire shall not be quenched;" and then shall they
repent, when it profits them not.
12. And what the
people of the Jews shall say and do, when they see Him coming in glory, has been
thus predicted by Zechariah the prophet: "I will command the four winds to
gather the scattered children; I will command the north wind to bring them, and
the south wind, that it keep not back.
13. And then in
Jerusalem there shall be great lamentation, not the lamentation of mouths or of
lips, but the lamentation of the heart; and they shall rend not their garments,
but their hearts.
Tribe by tribe
they shall mourn, and then they shall look on Him whom they have pierced; and
they shall say, Why, O Lord, hast Thou made us to err from Thy way? The glory
which our fathers blessed, has for us been turned into shame."
· Summary of the prophecies.
15. Though we could
bring forward many other prophecies, we forbear judging these sufficient for the
persuasion of those who have ears to hear and understand; and considering also
that those persons are able to see that we do not make mere assertions without
being able to produce proof, like those fables that are told of the so-called
sons of Jupiter.
16. For with what
reason should we believe of a crucified man that He is the first-born of the
un-begotten God, and Himself will pass judgment on the whole human race, unless
we had found testimonies concerning Him published before He came and was born as
And unless we
saw that things had happened accordingly, the devastation of the land of the
Jews, and men of every race persuaded by His teaching through the apostles, and
rejecting their old habits, in which, being deceived, they had their
ourselves too, and knowing that the Christians from among the Gentiles are both
more numerous and more true than those from among the Jews and Samaritans? For
all the other human races are called Gentiles by the Spirit of prophecy; but the
Jewish and Samaritan races are called the tribe of Israel, and the house of
19. And the
prophecy in which it was predicted that there should be more believers from the
Gentiles than from the Jews and Samaritans, we will produce: it ran thus:
"Rejoice, O barren, thou that dost not bear; break forth and shout, thou
that dost not travail, because many more are the children of the desolate than
of her that hath an husband." (Leonard:
There is yet a better exposition, but let this suffice)
For all the
Gentiles were "desolate" of the true God, serving the works of their
hands; but the Jews and Samaritans, having the word of God delivered to them by
the prophets, and always expecting the Christ, did not recognize Him when He
came, except some few, of whom the Spirit of prophecy by Isaiah had predicted
that they should be saved.
He spoke as
from their person: "Except the Lord had left us a seed, we should have been
as Sodom and Gomorrah." For Sodom and Gomorrah are related by Moses to have
been cities of ungodly men, which God burned with fire and brimstone, and
22. No one of their
inhabitants being saved except a certain stranger, a Chaldean by birth, whose
name was Lot; with whom also his daughters were rescued. And those who care may
yet see their whole country desolate and burned, and remaining barren.
And to show how
those from among the Gentiles were foretold as more true and more believing, we
will cite what was said by Isaiah the prophet; for he spoke as follows
"Israel is uncircumcised in heart, but the Gentiles are uncircumcised in
many things therefore, as these, when they are seen with the eye, are enough to
produce conviction and belief in those who embrace the truth, and are not
bigoted in their opinions, nor are governed by their passions.
of heathen mythology.
But those who
hand down the myths which the poets have made, adduce no proof to the youths who
learn them; and we proceed to demonstrate that they have been uttered by the
influence of the wicked demons, to deceive and lead astray the human race.
heard it proclaimed through the prophets that the Christ was to come, and that
the ungodly among men were to be punished by fire, they put forward many to be
called sons of jupiter, under the impression that they would be able to produce
in men the idea that the things which were said with regard to Christ were mere
tales, like the things which were said by the poets.
things were said both among the Greeks and among all nations where [the demons]
heard the prophets foretelling that Christ would specially be believed in; but
in hearing what was said by the prophets they did not accurately understand it,
but imitated what was said of our Christ, like men who are in error.
Moses, then was, as we have already said, older than all writers; and by him, as
we have also said before, it was thus predicted: "There shall not fail a
prince from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until He comes for whom
it is reserved; and He shall be the desire of the Gentiles, binding His foal to
the vine, washing His robe in the blood of the grape."
5. The devils,
accordingly, when they heard these prophetic words, said that bacchus was the
son of jupiter, and gave out that he was the discoverer of the vine, and they
number the wine [or, the ass] among his mysteries; and they taught that, having
been torn in pieces, he ascended into heaven.
6. And because in
the prophecy of Moses it had not been expressly intimated whether He who was to
come was the Son of God, and whether He would, riding on the foal, remain on
earth or ascend into heaven, and because the name of "foal" could mean
either the foal of an ass or the foal of a horse.
knowing whether He who was foretold would bring the foal of an ass or of a horse
as the sign of His coming, nor whether He was the Son of God, as we said above,
or of man, gave out that bellerophon, a man born of man, himself ascended to
heaven on his horse Pegasus.
8. And when they
heard it said by the other prophet Isaiah, that He should be born of a virgin,
and ascend into heaven by His own means, they pretended that perseus was spoken
9. And when they
knew what was said, as has been cited above, in the prophecies written
aforetime, "Strong as a giant to run his course," they said that
Hercules was strong, and had journeyed over the whole earth.
10. And when,
again, they learned that it had been foretold that He should heal every
sickness, and raise the dead, they produced aesculapius.
· Symbols of the cross.
But in no
instance, not even in any of those called sons of jupiter, did they imitate the
being crucified; for it was not understood by them, all the things said of it
having been put symbolically. And this, as the prophet foretold, is the greatest
symbol of His power and role; as is also proved by the things which fall under
all the things in the world, whether without this form they could be
administered or have any community. For the sea is not traversed except that
trophy which is called a sail abide safe in the ship; and the earth is not
ploughed without diggers and mechanics do not their work, except with tools
which have this shape.
And the human
form differs from that of the irrational animals in nothing else than in its
being erect and having the hands extended, and having on the face extending from
the forehead what is called the nose, through which there is respiration for the
living creature; and this shows no other form than that of the cross.
14. And so it was
said by the prophet, "The breath before our face is the Lord Christ."
And the power of this form is shown by your own symbols on what are called
"vexilla" [banners] and trophies, with which all your state
possessions are made, using these as the insignia of your power and government,
even though you do so unwittingly.
And with this
form you consecrate the images of your emperors when they die, and you name them
gods by inscriptions. Since, therefore, we have urged you both by reason and by
an evident form, and to the utmost of our ability, we know that now we are
blameless even though you disbelieve; for our part is done and finished.
· The demons still mislead men.
But the evil
spirits were not satisfied with saying, before Christ's appearance, that those
who were said to be sons of jupiter were born of him; but after He had appeared,
and been born among men, and when they learned how He had been foretold by the
And they knew
that He should be believed on and looked for by every nation, they again, as was
said above, put forward other men, the Samaritans Simon and Menander, who did
many mighty works by magic, and deceived many, and still keep them deceived.
For even among
yourselves, as we said before, Simon was in the royal city Rome in the reign of
Claudius Caesar, and so greatly astonished the sacred senate and people of Romw,
that he was considered a god, and honored, like the others whom you honor as
gods, with a statue.
19. Wherefore we
pray that the sacred senate and your people may, along with yourselves be
arbiters of this our memorial, in order that if any one be entangled by that
man's doctrines, he may learn the truth, and so be able to escape error; and as
for the statue, if it pleases you, destroy it.
Nor can the
devils persuade men that there will be no conflagration for the punishment of
the wicked; as they were unable to effect that Christ should be hidden after He
came. But this only can they effect, that they who live irrationally, and were
brought up licentiously in wicked customs, and are prejudiced in their own
opinions, should kill and hate us; whom we not only do not hate, but, as is
proved, pity and endeavor to lead to repentance.
For we do not
fear death, since it is acknowledged we must surely die; and there is nothing
new, but all things continue the same in this administration of things; and if
satiety overtakes those who enjoy even one year of these things, they ought to
give heed to our doctrines, that they may live eternally free both from
suffering and from want.
But if they
believe that there is nothing after death, but declare that those who die pass
into insensibility, then they become our benefactors when they set us free from
sufferings and necessities of this life, and prove themselves to be wicked, and
inhuman, and bigoted. For they kill us with no intention of delivering us, but
cut us off that we may be deprived of life and pleasure.
· Devils raise up heretics.
And, as we said
before, the devils put forward Marcion of Pontus, who is even now teaching men
to deny that God is the maker of all things in heaven and on earth, and that the
Christ predicted by the prophets is His Son, and preaches another god besides
the Creator of all, and likewise another son.
24. And many have
believed this man, as if he alone knew the truth, and laughs at us, though they
have no proof of what they say, but are carried away irrationally as lambs by a
wolf, and become the prey of atheist doctrines, and of devils.
25. For they who
are called devils attempt nothing else than to seduce men from God who made
them, and from Christ His first-begotten; and those who are unable to raise
themselves above the earth they have riveted, and do now rivet, to things
earthly, and to the works of their own hands.
26. But those who
devote themselves to the contemplation of things divine, they secretly beat
back; and if they have not a wise sober-mindedness, and a pure and passionless
life, they drive them into godlessness.
I will also
relate the manner in which we dedicate ourselves to God when we have been made
new through Christ; lest, if we omit this, we seem to be unfair in the
explanation we are making. As many as are persuaded and believe that what we
teach and say is true, and undertake to be able to live accordingly, are
instructed to pray and to entreat God with fasting, for the remission of their
sins that are past, we praying and fasting with them.
Then they are
brought by us where there is water, and are regenerated in the same manner in
which we were ourselves regenerate. For in the name of God, the Father and Lord
of the universe, and of our Savior Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit, they
then receive the washing with water.
3. For Christ also
said, "Except ye be born again, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of
heaven. Now, that it is impossible for those who have once been born to enter
into their mothers' wombs, is manifest to all.
And how those
who have sinned and repent shall escape their sins, is declared by Esaias the
prophet, as I wrote above; he speaks thus: "Wash you, make you clean; put
away the evil of your doings from your souls; learn to do well; judge the
fatherless, and plead for the widow.
5. And come and
let us reason together, saith the Lord. And though your sins be as scarlet, I
will make them white like wool; and though they be as crimson, I will make them
white as snow. But if ye refuse and rebel, the sword shall devour you: for the
mouth of the Lord hath spoken it."
6. This we have
learned from the apostles for this reason; Since at our birth we were born
without our own knowledge or choice, by our parents coming together, and were
brought up in bad habits and wicked training; in order that we may not remain
the children of necessity and of ignorance.
7. But may become
the children of choice and knowledge, and may obtain in the water the remission
of sins formerly committed, there is pronounced over him who chooses to be born
again, and has repented of his sins, the name of God the Father and Lord of the
universe; he who leads to the layer the person that is to be washed calling him
by this name alone.
8. For no one can
utter the name of the ineffable God; and if any one dare to say that there is a
name, he raves with a hopeless madness. And this washing is called illumination,
because they who learn these things are illuminated in their understandings. And
in the name of Jesus Christ, who was crucified under Pontius Pilate, and in the
name of the Holy Ghost, who through the prophets foretold all things about
Jesus, he who is illuminated is washed.
· Its imitation by demons.
9. And the devils,
indeed, having heard this washing published by the prophet, instigated those who
enter their temples, and are about to approach them with libations and
burnt-offerings, also to sprinkle themselves; and they cause them also to wash
themselves entirely before they enter into the shrines in which their images are
10. And the command
too, given by the priests to those who enter and worship in the temples, that
they take off their shoes, the devils learning what happened to the
above-mentioned prophet Moses, lay forth an imitation of these things.
For at that
juncture, when Moses was ordered to go down into Egypt and lead out the people
of the Israelites who were there, and while he was tending the flocks of his
maternal uncle in the land of Arabia, our Christ conversed with him under the
appearance of fire from a bush, and said, "Put off thy shoes, and draw near
12. And he, when he
had put off his shoes and drawn near, heard that he was to go down into Egypt
and lead out the people of the Israelites there; and he received mighty power
from Christ, who spoke to him in the appearance of fire, and went down and led
out the people, having done great and marvelous things; which, if you desire to
know, you will learn them accurately from his writings.
· How God appeared to Moses.
13. And all the
Jews even now teach that the nameless God spoke to Moses; and when the Spirit of
prophecy, accused them by Isaiah, - the prophet said; "The ox knows his
owner, and the ass his master's crib; but Israel does not know Me, and My people
do not understand."
14. And Jesus the
Christ, because the Jews not knowing the Father nor the Son, in like manner
accused them; and Himself said, "No one knows the Father, but the Son; nor
the Son, but the Father, and they to whom the Son reveals Him."
15. Now the Word of
God is His Son, as we have before said. And He is called Angel and Apostle; for
He declares whatever we ought to know, and is sent forth to declare whatever is
revealed; as our Lord Himself says, "He that hears Me, hears Him that sent
writings of Moses this also will be manifested; for thus it is written in them,
"And the Angel of God spake to Moses, in a flame of fire out of the bush,
and said, “I am that I am, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of
Jacob, the God of thy fathers; go down into Egypt, and bring forth My
And if you wish
to learn what follows, you can do so from the same writings; for it is
impossible to relate the whole here. But so much is written for the sake of
proving that Jesus the Christ is the Son of God and His Apostle, being of old
18. And appearing
sometimes in the form of fire, and sometimes in the likeness of angels; but now,
by the will of God, having become man for the human race, He endured all the
sufferings which the devils instigated by the senseless Jews to inflict upon
Him; who, though they had it expressly affirmed in the writings of Moses, "
19. And the angel
of God spoke to Moses in a flame of fire in a bush, and said, I am that I am,
the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob," yet
maintained that He who said this was the Father and Creator of the universe.
20. Whence also the
Spirit of prophecy rebukes them, and says, "Israel doth not know Me, my
people have not understood Me." And again, Jesus, as we have already shown,
while He was with them, said, "No one knows the Father, but the Son; nor
the Son but the Father, and those to whom the Son will reveal Him."
21. The Jews,
accordingly, being of the opinion that it was the Father of the universe who
spoke to Moses, though He who spoke to him was indeed the Son of God, who is
called both Angel and Apostle, are justly charged, both by the Spirit of
prophecy and by Christ Himself, with knowing neither the Father nor the Son.
22. For they who
affirm that the Son is the Father, are proven to have neither become acquainted
with the Father, nor that the Father of the universe has a Son; who also, being
the first-begotten Word of God, is even God.
23. And of old He
appeared in the shape of fire and in the likeness of an angel to Moses and to
the other prophets; but now in the times of your reign, having, as we before
said, become Man by a virgin, according to the counsel of the Father, for the
salvation of those that believe on Him.
24. For this He
endured both to be set at nothing and to suffer, that by dying and rising again
He might conquer death. And that which was said out of the bush to Moses,
"I am that I am, the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of
Jacob, and the God of your fathers,"
25. This signified
that they, even though dead, are yet in existence, and are men belonging to
Christ Himself. For they were the first of all men to busy themselves in the
search after God; Abraham being the father of Isaac, and Isaac of Jacob, as
misrepresentations of the truth.
1. From what has
been already said, you can understand how the devils, in imitation of what was
said by Moses, asserted that proserpine was the daughter of jupiter, and
instigated the people to set up an image of her under the name of kore [Cora,
i.e., the maiden or daughter] at the spring-heads.
For, as we
wrote above, Moses said, "In the beginning God made the heaven and the
earth. And the earth was without form and unfurnished: and the Spirit of God
moved upon the face of the waters." In imitation, therefore, of what is
here said of the Spirit of God moving on the waters, they said that proserpine
was the daughter of Jupiter.
3. And in like
manner also they craftily feigned that minerva was the daughter of jupiter, not
by sexual union, but, knowing that God conceived and made the world by the Word,
they say that Minerva is the first conception;
consider to be very absurd, bringing forward the form of the conception in a
female shape. And in like manner the actions of those others who are called sons
of Jupiter sufficiently condemn them.
· Administration of the Sacraments.
But we, after
we have thus washed him who has been convinced and has assented to our teaching,
bring him to the place where those who are called brethren are assembled, in
order that we may offer hearty prayers in common for ourselves and for the
baptized [illuminated] person.
6. And for all
others in every place, that we may be counted worthy, now that we have learned
the truth, by our works also to be found good citizens and keepers of the
commandments, so that we may be saved with an everlasting salvation.
7. Having ended
the prayers, we salute one another with a kiss. There is then brought to the
president of the brethren bread and a cup of wine mixed with water; and he
taking them, gives praise and glory to the Father of the universe, through the
name of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, and offers thanks at considerable length
for our being counted worthy to receive these things at His hands.
And when he has
concluded the prayers and thanksgivings, all the people present their express
assent by saying Amen. This word “Amen” answers in the Hebrew language to
genoito [so be it].
9. And when the
president has given thanks, and all the people have expressed their assent,
those who are called by us deacons give to each of those present to partake of
the bread and wine mixed with water over which the thanksgiving was pronounced,
and to those who are absent they preserve a portion.
· Of the Eucharist.
10. And this food
is called among us the Eucharist, of which no one is allowed to
partake but the man who believes that the things which we teach are true, and
who has been washed with the washing that is for the remission of sins, and unto
regeneration, and who is so living as Christ has enjoined.
For not as
common bread and common drink do we receive these; but in like manner as Jesus
Christ our Savior, having been made flesh by the Word of God, had both flesh and
blood for our salvation, so likewise have we been taught that the food which is
blessed by the prayer of His word, and from which our blood and flesh by
transmutation are nourished, is the flesh and blood of that Jesus who was made
apostles, in the memoirs composed by them, which are called Gospels, have thus
delivered unto us what was enjoined upon them; that Jesus took bread, and when
He had given thanks, said, "This do ye in remembrance of Me, this is My
13. And that, after
the same manner, having taken the cup and given thanks, He said, "This is
My blood;" and gave it to them alone. Which the wicked devils have imitated
in the mysteries of mithras, commanding the same thing to be done. For that
bread and a cup of water are placed with certain incantations in the mystic
rites of one who is being initiated, you either know or can learn.
· Weekly worship of the Christians.
afterwards continually remind each other of these things. And the wealthy among
us help the needy; and we always keep together; and for all things wherewith we
are supplied, we bless the Maker of all through His Son Jesus Christ, and
through the Holy Ghost.
15. And on the day
called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one
place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read,
as long as time permits; then, when the reader has ceased, the president
verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things.
16. Then we all
rise together and pray, and, as we before said, when our prayer is ended, bread
and wine and water are brought, and the president in like manner offers prayers
and thanksgivings, according to his ability.
17. And the people
assent, saying Amen; and there is a distribution to each, and a participation of
that over which thanks have been given, and to those who are absent a portion is
sent by the deacons.
18. And they who
are well to do, and willing, give what each thinks fit; and what is collected is
deposited with the president, who succors the orphans and widows and those who,
through sickness or any other cause, are in want, and those who are in bonds and
the strangers sojourning among us, and in a word takes care of all who are in
19. But Sunday is
the day on which we all hold our common assembly, because it is the first day on
which God, having wrought a change in the darkness and matter, made the world;
and Jesus Christ our Savior on the same day rose from the dead.
20. For He was
crucified on the day before that of Saturn (Saturday); and on the day after that
of Saturn, which is the day of the Sun, having appeared to His apostles and
disciples, He taught them these things, which we have submitted to you also for
21. And if these
things seem to you to be reasonable and true, honor them; but if they seem
nonsensical, despise them as nonsense, and do not decree death against those who
have done no wrong, as you would against enemies.
For we forewarn
you, that you shall not escape the coming judgment of God, if you continue in
your injustice; and we ourselves will invite you to do that which is pleasing to
God. And though from the letter of the greatest and most illustrious Emperor
Adrian, your father, we could demand that you order judgment to be given as we
23. Yet we have
made this appeal and explanation, not on the ground of Adrian's decision, but
because we know that what we ask is just. And we have subjoined the copy of
Adrian's epistle, that you may know that we are speaking truly about this. And
the following is the copy:
· Epistle of Adrian in behalf of the
I have received
the letter addressed to me by your predecessor Serenius Granianus, a most
illustrious man; and this communication I am unwilling to pass over in silence,
lest innocent persons be disturbed, and occasion be given to the informers for
the inhabitants of your province will so far sustain this petition of theirs as
to accuse the Christians in some court of law, I do not prohibit them from doing
so. But I will not suffer them to make use of mere entreaties and outcries.
26. For it is far
more just, if any one desires to make an accusation, that you give judgment upon
it. If, therefore, any one makes the accusation, and furnishes proof that the
said men do anything contrary to the laws, you shall adjudge punishments in
proportion to the offences.
27. And this, by
Hercules; you shall give special heed to, that if any man shall, through mere
calumny, bring an accusation against any of these persons, you shall award to
him more severe punishments in proportion to his wickedness.