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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol I:
JUSTIN MARTYR: Chapter III.—Testimonies to a future...

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter III.—Testimonies to a future judgment.

Then further concerning Him, that He alone is powerful, both to institute judgment on the deeds performed in life, and on the ignorance of the Deity [displayed by men], I can adduce witnesses from your own ranks; and first Sophocles, 2600 who speaks as follows:—

“That time of times shall come, shall surely come,
When from the golden ether down shall fall
Fire’s teeming treasure, and in burning flames
All things of earth and heaven shall be consumed;
And then, when all creation is dissolved,
The sea’s last wave shall die upon the shore,
The bald earth stript of trees, the burning air
No winged thing upon its breast shall bear.
There are two roads to Hades, well we know; 2601
By this the righteous, and by that the bad,
On to their separate fates shall tend; and He,
Who all things had destroyed, shall all things save.”

And Philemon 2602 again:—

“Think’st thou, Nicostratus, the dead, who here
Enjoyed whate’er of good life often man,
Escape the notice of Divinity,
As if they might forgotten be of Him?
Nay, there’s an eye of Justice watching all;
For if the good and bad find the same end,
Then go thou, rob, steal, plunder, at thy will,
Do all the evil that to thee seems good.
Yet be not thou deceived; for underneath
There is a throne and place of judgment set,
Which God the Lord of all shall occupy;
Whose name is terrible, nor shall I dare
To breathe it forth in feeble human speech.”

And Euripides: 2603

“Not grudgingly he gives a lease of life,
That we the holders may be fairly judged;
And if a mortal man doth think to hide
His daily guilt from the keen eye of God,
It is an evil thought; so if perchance
He meets with leisure-taking Justice, she
Demands him as her lawful prisoner:
But many of you hastily commit
A twofold sin, and say there is no God.
But, ah! there is; there is. Then see that he
Who, being wicked, prospers, may redeem
The time so precious, else hereafter waits
For him the due reward of punishment.”



[Langus compares 2 Pet. iii. 7.]


Some propose to insert these three lines in the centre of the next quotation from Philemon, after the line, “Nay, there’s an eye,” etc.


Some say Diphilus.


Grotius joins these lines to the preceding. Clement of Alexandria assigns them, and the others, which are under the name of Euripides, to Diphilus.

Next: Chapter IV.—God desires not...

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