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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol I:
JUSTIN MARTYR: Chapter XLIV.—The Jews in vain...

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter XLIV.—The Jews in vain promise themselves salvation, which cannot be obtained except through Christ.

“For thus, so far as you are concerned, I shall be found in all respects innocent, if I strive earnestly to persuade you by bringing forward demonstrations. But if you remain hard-hearted, or weak in [forming] a resolution, on account of death, which is the lot of the Christians, and are unwilling to assent to the truth, you shall appear as the authors of your own [evils]. And you deceive yourselves while you fancy that, because you are the seed of Abraham after the flesh, therefore you shall fully inherit the good things announced to be bestowed by God through Christ. For no one, not even of them, 2077 has anything to look for, but only those who in mind are assimilated to the faith of Abraham, and who have p. 217 recognised all the mysteries: for I say, 2078 that some injunctions were laid on you in reference to the worship of God and practice of righteousness; but some injunctions and acts were likewise mentioned in reference to the mystery of Christ, on account of 2079 the hardness of your people’s hearts. And that this is so, God makes known in Ezekiel, [when] He said concerning it: ‘If Noah and Jacob 2080 and Daniel should beg either sons or daughters, the request would not be granted them.’ 2081 And in Isaiah, of the very same matter He spake thus: ‘The Lord God said, they shall both go forth and look on the members [of the bodies] of the men that have transgressed. For their worm shall not die, and their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be a gazing-stock to all flesh.’ 2082 So that it becomes you to eradicate this hope from your souls, and hasten to know in what way forgiveness of sins, and a hope of inheriting the promised good things, shall be yours. But there is no other [way] than this, —to become acquainted with this Christ, to be washed in the fountain 2083 spoken of by Isaiah for the remission of sins; and for the rest, to live sinless lives.”



i.e., of Abraham’s seed.


Justin distinguishes between such essential acts as related to God’s worship and the establishment of righteousness, and such ceremonial observances as had a mere temporary significance. The recognition of this distinction he alleges to be necessary to salvation: necessary in this sense, that justification must be placed not on the latter, but on the former; and without such recognition, a Jew would, as Justin says, rest his hopes on his noble descent from Abraham.


More probably, “or on account of,” etc.


In Bible, “Job;” Maranus prefers “Jacob,” and thinks the mention of his name very suitable to disprove the arrogant claims of Jacob’s posterity.


Ezek. xiv. 20.


Isa. lxvi. 24.


Some refer this to Christ’s baptism. See Cyprian, Adv. Jud. i. 24.— Otto.

Next: Chapter XLV.—Those who were...

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