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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol I:
JUSTIN MARTYR: Chapter VI.—We should acknowledge...

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter VI.—We should acknowledge one only God.

Here, then, is a proof of virtue, and of a mind loving prudence, to recur to the communion of the unity, 2611 and to attach one’s self to prudence for salvation, and make choice of the better things according to the free-will placed in man; and not to think that those who are possessed of human passions are lords of all, when they shall not appear to have even equal power with men. For in Homer, 2612 Demodocus says he is self-taught —

“God inspired me with strains”—

though he is a mortal. Æsculapius and Apollo are taught to heal by Chiron the Centaur,—a very novel thing indeed, for gods to be taught by a man. What need I speak of Bacchus, who the poet says is mad? or of Hercules, who he says is unhappy? What need to speak of Mars and Venus, the leaders of adultery; and by means of all these to establish the proof which has been undertaken? For if some one, in ignorance, should imitate the deeds which are said to be divine, he would be reckoned among impure men, and a stranger to life and humanity; and if any one does so knowingly, he will have a plausible excuse for escaping vengeance, by showing that imitation of godlike deeds of audacity is no sin. But if any one should blame these deeds, he will take away their well-known names, and not cover them up with specious and plausible words. It is necessary, then, to accept the true and invariable Name, not proclaimed by my words only, but by the words of those who have introduced us to the elements of learning, in order that we may not, by living idly in this present state of existence, not only as those who are ignorant of the heavenly glory, but also as having proved ourselves ungrateful, render our account to the Judge. 2613


Footnotes

293:2611

See chap. i., the opening sentence.

293:2612

Odyssey, xxii. 347.

293:2613

[N. B.—This tractate is probably the genuine work of Justin.]


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