Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol I:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
JUSTIN MARTYR: Chapter LXI—Wisdom is begotten of...
Chapter LXI—Wisdom is begotten of the Father, as fire from fire.
“I shall give you another testimony, my friends,” said I, “from the Scriptures, that God begat before all creatures a Beginning, 2167 [who was] a certain rational power [proceeding] from Himself, who is called by the Holy Spirit, now the Glory of the Lord, now the Son, again Wisdom, again an Angel, then God, and then Lord and Logos; and on another occasion He calls Himself Captain, when He appeared in human form to Joshua the son of Nave (Nun). For He can be called by all those names, since He ministers to the Fathers will, and since He was begotten of the Father by an act of will; 2168 just as we see 2169 happening among ourselves: for when we give out some word, we beget the word; yet not by abscission, so as to lessen the word 2170 [which remains] in us, when we give it out: and just as we see also happening in the case of a fire, which is not lessened when it has kindled [another], but remains the same; and that which has been kindled by it likewise appears to exist by itself, not diminishing that from which it was kindled. The Word of Wisdom, who is Himself this God begotten of the Father of all things, and Word, and Wisdom, and Power, and the Glory of the Begetter, will bear evidence to me, when He speaks by Solomon the following: If I shall declare to you what happens daily, I shall call to mind events from everlasting, and review them. The Lord made me the p. 228 beginning of His ways for His works. From everlasting He established me in the beginning, before He had made the earth, and before He had made the deeps, before the springs of the waters had issued forth, before the mountains had been established. Before all the hills He begets me. God made the country, and the desert, and the highest inhabited places under the sky. When He made ready the heavens, I was along with Him, and when He set up His throne on the winds: when He made the high clouds strong, and the springs of the deep safe, when He made the foundations of the earth, I was with Him arranging. I was that in which He rejoiced; daily and at all times I delighted in His countenance, because He delighted in the finishing of the habitable world, and delighted in the sons of men. Now, therefore, O son, hear me. Blessed is the man who shall listen to me, and the mortal who shall keep my ways, watching 2171 daily at my doors, observing the posts of my ingoings. For my outgoings are the outgoings of life, and [my] will has been prepared by the Lord. But they who sin against me, trespass against their own souls; and they who hate me love death. 2172
Or, “in the beginning, before all creatures.” [Justins reference to Josh. i. 13-15 deserves special consideration; for he supposes that the true Joshua (Jesus) was the substance, and the true “captain of salvation,” of whom this one was but a shadow (Heb. iv. 8, margin), type, and pledge. See cap. lxii.]227:2168
The act of will or volition is on the part of the Father.227:2169
Or, “Do we not see,” etc.227:2170
The word, λόγος translated “word,” means both the thinking power or reason which produces ideas and the expression of these ideas. And Justin passes here from the one meaning to the other. When we utter a thought, the utterance of it does not diminish the power of thought in us, though in one sense the thought has gone away from us.228:2171
The mss. of Justin read “sleeping,” but this is regarded as the mistake of some careless transcriber.228:2172
Prov. viii. 21 ff.
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