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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol I:
JUSTIN MARTYR: Chapter XLVIII.—Before the divinity...

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter XLVIII.—Before the divinity of Christ is proved, he [Trypho] demands that it be settled that He is Christ.

And Trypho said, “We have heard what you think of these matters. Resume the discourse where you left off, and bring it to an end. For some of it appears to me to be paradoxical, and wholly incapable of proof. For when you say that this Christ existed as God before the ages, then that He submitted to be born and become man, yet that He is not man of man, this [assertion] appears to me to be not merely paradoxical, but also foolish.”

And I replied to this, “I know that the statement does appear to be paradoxical, especially to those of your race, who are ever unwilling to understand or to perform the [requirements] of God, but [ready to perform] those of your teachers, as God Himself declares. 2095 Now assuredly, Trypho,” I continued,” [the proof] that this man 2096 is the Christ of God does not fail, though I be unable to prove that He existed formerly as Son of the Maker of all things, being God, and was born a man by the Virgin. But since I have certainly proved that this man is the Christ of God, whoever He be, even if I do not prove that He pre-existed, and submitted to be born a man of like passions with us, having a body, according to the Father’s will; in this last matter alone is it just to say that I have erred, and not to deny that He is the Christ, though it should appear that He was born man of men, and [nothing more] is proved [than this], that He has become Christ by election. For there are some, my friends,” I said, “of our race, 2097 who admit that He is Christ, while holding Him to be man of men; with whom I do not agree, nor would I, 2098 even though most of those who have [now] the same opinions as myself should say so; since we were enjoined by Christ Himself to put no faith in human doctrines, 2099 but in those proclaimed by the blessed prophets and taught by Himself.”


Footnotes

219:2095

Comp. Isa. xxix. 13.

219:2096

Or, “such a man.”

219:2097

Some read, “of your race,” referring to the Ebionites. Maranus believes the reference is to the Ebionites, and supports in a long note the reading “our,” inasmuch as Justin would be more likely to associate these Ebionites with Christians than with Jews, even though they were heretics.

219:2098

Langus translates: “Nor would, indeed, many who are of the same opinion as myself say so.”

219:2099

[Note this emphatic testimony of primitive faith.]


Next: Chapter XLIX.—To those who object...

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