Justin of Neapolis
St. Justin, Martyr (110-165 A.D.)
Justin was born in Flavia Neapolis, a city of Samaria, the modern Nablus, about 110 A.D. His father and grandfather were probably of Roman origin. Before his conversion to Christianity he studied the lifestyle proposed by several philosophical schools, enquiring for wisdom to satisfy the cravings of his soul. He tried first the Stoic, then the Peripatetic, the Pythagorean and finally the Platonic way (Dialogue 2-8), on the conviction that "philosophy is, in fact, the greatest possession, and most honourable before God, to whom it leads us and alone commends us; and these are truly holy people who have bestowed attention on philosophy." (Dial. 2). None of these traditional philosophical ways satisfied him. "The Stoic way failed him because it gave him no explanation about God's being. The Peripatetic teacher insisted most importunately that Justin pay him the tuition immediately, which Justin answered by avoiding his lectures. The Pythagorean demanded of him that he first study music, astronomy and geometry, and Justin had no inclination to do so. Platonism appealed to him for a time, until as he walked along the sea-shore an old man convinced him who the Platonic philosophy could not satisfy the heart of man.. He goes on to tell at length (Dial. 5-7) the conversation he had with this old man, and concludes it with: "... immediately a flame was kindled in my soul; and a love of the prophets, and of those who are friends of Christ, possessed me; and while revolving his words in my mind, I found this philosophy alone to be safe and profitable. So, and for this reason, I am a philosopher. Moreover, I would wish that all, making a resolution similar to my own, do not keep themselves away from the words of the Saviour. For they possess a terrible power in themselves, and are sufficient to inspire with awe those who turn aside from the path of rectitude; while the sweetest rest is afforded those who make a diligent practice of them."
At last he had become acquainted with Christianity, being at once impressed with the fearlessness the Christians showed in the presence of death, and with the grandeur, stability, and truth of the teachings of the Old Covenant. From this time he acted as an evangelist, to proclaim the gospel as the only safe and certain philosophy, the only way to salvation. It is probable that he travelled much. We know that he was some time in Ephesus, and he must have lived for a considerable period in Rome. Probably he settled in Rome as a Christian teacher.
Justin lived through the whole reign of Antoninus Pius, and there is much about him in the history of Eusebius, including a description of his martyrdom, in the reign of Marcus Aurelius, and date 165 A.D. in the Chronicon Paschale. The writings of Justin Martyr are among the most important to come down to us from the second century. He was not the first to write in defence of the Christians, but his Apologies are the earliest extant version of this genre. They are characterized by intense fervour, and give an insight into the relations existing in those days between heathens and Christians. His other principal writing, the Dialogue with Trypho, dedicated to Justin's friend Marcus Pompeius, is the first elaborate exposition of the reasons for regarding Jesus as the Messiah predicted by the Old Testament, and the first systematic effort to apply many prophetic texts to him, and to rebut the false position of the Jews in regard to Christianity. While some of its statements have an unpleasantly anti-Jewish flavour, its detailed, Christo-centric interpretation of many texts from the prophets and psalms is a most impressive witness to the enthusiasm with which at least some of the early Christians studied the Scriptures for testimonies to Christ.
1. Address to the emperor
2. A philosopher will honour and love only what is true
3. Properly investigate the charges against the Christians
4. Nothing is decided by the mere application of a name
5. You punish us without reflection or judgment
6. We are wrongly called "atheists"
7. The mere fact of being a Christian is not a crime
8. Why we profess faith, at the risk of our lives
9. Man-made deities are are soulless and dead
10. God who created us, can give us eternal life with Himself
11. Yes, we look for a kingdom, but not of this world
12. More than all others, we are your allies in promoting peace
13. "Our teacher is Jesus Christ, crucified under Pontius Pilate"
14. Let our community life be measured by the Messiah's teaching
15. Christians are a chaste and temperate people
16. Why we neither retaliate nor swear
17. We pay our taxes, because we "Render to Caesar.."
18. Belief in life after death
19. Resurrection is possible to God
20. Your philosophers also speak of a final consummation
21. Who are the people who are truly are deified?
22. What you say of Mercury resembles what we affirm of Jesus
23. Justin sets out to prove three things
24. Hated on account of the name of Christ
25. We learned to scorn the old gods, though at risk of our lives
26. The malice of Simon Magus, and Marcion and their followers
27. We do not expose infants; and promote moral behaviour
28. All are born rational and may repent of evil
29. The purpose of Christian marriage and celibacy
30. Rejecting the claim that Christ was merely a magician
31. Prophets of God declared beforehand things that were to happen
32. the Messiah the fulfilment of significant prophecies
33. Born of a virgin, by the power of God
34. "You, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah"
35. Predictions of his birth and of his death
36. Prophets were guided by the Divine Word
37. Conversion was demanded by God, through Isaiah
38. Prophecies of rejection are fulfilled in the Messiah
39. "Out of Zion shall go out the law" - declaring the truth
40. In Psalm 1, David prepared the way for the Gospel
41. David prophecied of the Messiah's death on the tree
42. Though centuries before, he absolutely knew it would happen
43. Punishments and rewards are according to the merit of each
44. Blame lies in the misuse of freedom
45. He is seated at God's right hand, until the day of final judgment
46. Chronology: "the Messiah was born one hundred and fifty years ago"
47. Jerusalem has been laid waste, as was predicted
48. Quoting from the Acts of Pilate, as fulfilling Isaiah
49. Isaiah predicted that Christ would not be recognised by his own
50. Citing Isaiah 53, of the Passion of the Messiah
51. Jesus' origin, and his future return in glory
52. Predictions of the future will be fulfilled, like prophecies of old
53. The so-called "Gentiles" are more genuine Christians
54. The groundless myths of the poets contrasted with true prophecy
55. Even those who mimicked the Messiah did not imitate his crucifixion
56. Simon (Magus) was in Rome in the reign of Claudius Caesar
57. Demons wish to cut men off from eternal life
58. Attack on Marcion's heresy
59. Plato's concept of creation echoes the Biblical account
60. About the Son of God, in the Timaeus of Plato
61. How we are reborn, and dedicate ourselves to God
62. Some pagan lustrations are in imitation of Moses' reverence at the Bush
63. Appeal to Moses' writings, in support of faith in Jesus
64. How the pagans borrow from our creation-story
65. How the newly-baptised is greeted by the community
66. Among us this food is called Eucharistia
67. Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly
68. If these things seem to you to be reasonable and true, honour them
69. Epistle of Hadrian on behalf of the Christians
70. Epistle of Hadrian to the popular assembly of Asia
71. Epistle of Marcus Aurelius to the Senate
To the emperor Titus Aelius Adrianus Antoninus Pius Augustus Caesar, and to his son Verissimus the Philosopher, and to Lucius the Philosopher, the natural son of Caesar and the adopted son of Pius, a lover of learning, and to the sacred Senate, and to the whole People of the Romans, I, Justin, the son of Priscus and grandson of Bacchius, natives of Flavia Neapolis in Palestine, present this address and petition on behalf of those of all nations who are hated unjustly and wantonly abused, myself being one of them.
Reason directs those who are truly dutiful and philosophical to honour and love only what is true, refusing to follow traditional opinions if these are worthless. For not only does sound reason direct us to refuse the guidance of those who did or taught anything wrong, but it is incumbent on the lover of truth, by every means, and even at the risk of his own life, to choose to do and say what is right. Let you, then, since you are called dutiful and philosophical, guardians of justice and lovers of learning, pay heed and listen to my address, and it will become clear if you are indeed such. For it is not to flatter you by this writing that we have come, nor to please you by our speech, but to beg you to pass judgment, after an accurate and thorough investigation, not moved by prejudice or by a desire to satisfy the superstitious, nor by irrational impulse or evil rumors which have long been prevalent, to give a decision which will prove to be against yourselves. As for ourselves, we reckon that no evil can be done us, unless we be convicted as evildoers or be proved to be wicked; for though you can kill us, you cannot hurt us.
Lest anyone think that this is an unreasonable and reckless utterance, we demand that the charges against the Christians be investigated, and if they were substantiated let them be punished as they deserve - indeed, we ourselves will punish them. But if no one can condemn us of anything, true reason forbids you to wrong blameless men on account of a wicked rumor, or to direct affairs by passion rather than by judgment. Every sober-minded person will declare this to be the only fair and equitable system, that the subjects render an innocent account of their own life and doctrine; and that, on the other hand, the rulers should decide things not by violence and tyranny, but by piety and philosophy; for this would benefit both the rulers and the ruled. It is somewhere said by one of the ancients, "It is impossible for states to prosper unless both the rulers and the ruled philosophize." It is our task, therefore, to give everyone the chance to inspect our life and teachings, for fear that, on account of those who are generally ignorant about us, we should suffer the penalty of their mental blindness; and it is your business, when you have heard us, to prove good judges as reason requires. For if when you have learned the truth, you do not act justly, you will be without excuse before God.
By the mere application of a name, nothing is decided, either good or evil, apart from the actions implied in the name. And at least so far as one may judge from the name we are accused of, we are most excellent people. But as we do not think it just, if we are shown to be evildoers, to beg for acquittal on account of the name so, on the other hand, if we are found to have committed no offence, either in the name we give ourselves, or in our conduct as citizens, you must guard yourselves against the injustice of wrongly punishing those who are not convicted. For neither praise nor punishment can reasonably be based on a name, unless something excellent or base in action be proved. And among yourselves you do not punish those who are accused before they are convicted; but in our case you accept the name as proof against us, though you ought rather to punish our accusers on account of the name. For we are accused of being Christians, and to hate what is excellent is unjust. Again, if any of the accused denies the name, and says he is not a Christian, you acquit him, as having no evidence of his wrongdoing; but if anyone confesses to being a Christian, you punish him on account of this. Justice requires that you enquire into the life both of the one who confesses and the one who denies, that by each ones deeds it may be apparent what kind of man he is. For as some who have been taught by the Master, Christ, not to deny him, encourage others when they are put to the question, so in all probability do those who lead wicked lives prompt those who, without consideration, take it on them to accuse all the Christians of impiety and wickedness. This also is not right. For some assume the name and garb of philosophy, too, who do nothing worthy of their profession; and you are well aware that among the ancients people whose opinions and teachings were quite diverse are all still called by the one name, philosophers. Among them some taught atheism; and poets who have flourished among you raise a laugh about the impurity of Jupiter with his own children. And you do not restrain those who now follow such teaching but instead you bestow prizes and honours on those who euphoniously insult the gods.
Why then should this be? You do not examine the charges made against us who pledge ourselves to do no wickedness and renounce these atheistic opinions, but, yielding to blind passion and the prompting of evil demons, you punish us without reflection or judgment. For let the truth be told: since in the past these evil demons, making themselves visible, defiled women and corrupted boys and showed such fearful sights that those who did not use their reason in judging things were struck with terror; and swept away by fear, and not knowing that these were demons, called them gods, and gave each the names the demons chose for themmselves. When by true reason and study Socrates sought to bring these things to light and rescue men from the demons, those demons themselves, through men who throve on wrongdoing, had him killed as an atheist and a profaner, on the charge of introducing new divinities. In our case they do likewise. For not did reason (Logos) prevail only among the Greeks to condemn these things through Socrates, but also among the Barbarians they were condemned by Reason (or the Word, the Logos) himself, who took human form and was called Jesus Christ. In obedience to him, we not only deny that the agents of such things as these are gods, but assert that they are wicked demons, whose deeds do not bear comparison even with those of men eager for virtue.
Therefore are we called atheists. We confess to being atheists, insofar as concerns gods of this sort, but not regarding the most true God, the Father of righteousness and temperance and the other virtues, who is free from all impurity. But both him, and the Son who came out from him and taught us these things, and the host of good angels who follow and are made like to him, and the prophetic Spirit, we worship and adore, knowing them in reason and truth, and unstintingly declaring what we have been taught to everyone who wishes to learn.
But, one may say, before now others have been arrested and convicted as evil-doers. For many a time you have condemned people, after enquiring into the life of each of the accused individually, not in the case of those of whom we have been speaking. For as among the Greeks those who teach theories that please themselves are all called by the same name "Philosopher" although their doctrines be at variance, so also among the Barbarians this name upon which accusations are heaped is the common property of those who are and those who seem to be wise. For they are all called Christians. Therefore we demand that the actions of all those who are accused to you must be judged, so that each one convicted may be punished as an evil-doer, and not as a Christian. If it is clear that anyone is blameless, let him be acquitted, since he does no wrong by the mere fact of being a Christian. We do not require you to punish our accusers as they are sufficiently punished by their present wickedness and ignorance of what is right.
You should reckon that we are saying these things for your sakes; for when we are examined, it is in our power to deny that we are Christians, but we would not live by telling a lie. For, impelled by the desire of the eternal and pure life, we seek the abode that is with God, the Father and Creator of all. So we zealously confess our faith, convinced and convinced that they who have proved by their works that they followed God and loved to abide with him where there is no sin or disturbance, can obtain these things. This, in brief, is what we expect and have learned from Christ, and also teach. Similarly, Plato used to say that Rhadamanthus and Minos would punish the wicked who came before them; and we say that the same will be done, but at the hand of Christ, and on the wicked in the same bodies united again to their spirits which will suffer everlasting punishment, and not just for a thousand years, as Plato said. If anyone say that this is incredible or impossible, this error is one which concerns ourselves only, and nobody else, so long as you cannot convict us of doing any harm.
Neither do we honour with many sacrifices and garlands of flowers deities formed by men and set in shrines and called gods; since we see that these are soulless and dead, and have not the form of God - for we do not consider that God has such forms as some say, which they imitate to his honour, - but have the names and forms of the wicked demons which have appeared. For why need we tell you who already know, the forms into which the craftsmen fashion the materials, carving and cutting, casting and hammering? And often out of vessels of dishonour, by merely changing the form, and making an image of the requisite shape, they make what they call a god, which we consider not only senseless, but to be even an insult to God, who, having ineffable glory and form, so has his name attached to things that are corruptible and require constant service. And you very well know that the makers of these are both unrestrained, and, not to enter into particulars, experienced in every vice; they corrupt even their own girls who work alongside them! What foolishness, that dissolute men should be said to fashion gods for your worship, and that you should appoint such men the guardians of the temples where they are enshrined, not recognising that it is wrong even to think or say that men are the guardians of gods.
But we have received by tradition that God does not need any material offerings that people can give, seeing that he is himself the provider of all things. And we have been taught, and are convinced and believe, that he accepts only those who imitate the excellences which are in him: temperance, and justice, and philanthropy, and such virtues as belong to a God who is called by no specific name. And we have been taught that of his goodness in the beginning, for man's sake, he created all things out of unformed matter. Our tradition is that if by their works men prove themselves worthy of this his design, they are found worthy of reigning in company with him, being delivered from corruption and suffering. For as in the beginning he created us when we were not, we consider that, similarly, those who choose what is pleasing to him are, because of their choice, deemed worthy of incorruption and of fellowship with him. Just as our first coming into being was not in our own power, so he both persuades us and leads us to faith so that we may follow those things which please him, choosing them by means of the rational faculties with which he has himself endowed us. And we think it for everyone's advantage not to be restrained from learning these things, but even to be urged to it. For the restraint which human laws could not effect, the Word, being divine, would have effected, had not the wicked demons, allied to the lust of wickedness which is in everyone and draws variously to all kinds of vice, scattered many false and profane accusations, none of which apply to us.
When you hear that we look for a kingdom, you imagine without enquiry that we speak of a human kingdom; whereas we speak of what is with God, as appears also from the confession of faith made by those who are charged with being Christians, though they know that death is the punishment given to him who so confesses. For if we looked for a human kingdom, we would deny our Messiah in order might not to be killed, and we would strive to escape detection, to win what we are looking for. But since our thoughts are not fixed on the present, we are not concerned when men cut us off, since death is a debt which must at all events be paid.
More than all others are we your helpers and allies in promoting peace, seeing that we hold this view, that it is just as impossible for the wicked, the covetous, the conspirator, as for the virtuous, to escape the notice of God, and that each man goes to everlasting punishment or salvation according to the value of his actions. For if all men knew this, no one would choose wickedness even for a little while, knowing that he goes to the everlasting punishment of fire, but would restrain himself by all means and adorn himself with virtue, to obtain the good gifts of God and escape the punishments. For those who, on account of the laws and punishments you impose, seek to escape detection when they offend (and they offend, too, under the impression that it is quite possible to escape your detection, since you are only men), such people, if they learned and were convinced that nothing, whether actually done or only intended, escapes the knowledge of God, would by all means live decently on account of the threatened penalties, as even you yourselves will admit. But you seem to fear that all men may become righteous, and you no longer have any to punish! Such may be the concern of public executioners, but not of good princes. However, as we said before, we are convinced that these things are prompted by evil spirits, who demand sacrifices and service even from those who live unreasonably. On the contrary we presume that you who aim at piety and philosophy will do nothing unreasonable. But if you also, like the foolish, prefer custom to truth, do what you have power to do. Still, rulers who esteem opinion more than truth have only such power as robbers have in a desert; and that you will not succeed is declared by the Word, than whom there is no ruler more kingly and just, after God who begot him. For as all shrink from reverting to the poverty or sufferings or obscurity of their fathers, so whatever the Word forbids us to choose, the sensible man will not choose. As I say, our Teacher foretold that all these things should happen, he who is both Son and Apostle of God the Father of all and the Ruler, Jesus Christ, from whom we have the name of Christians. On account of this we have more assurance of all the things he taught us, since whatever he foretold beforehand would happen, is in fact seen happening; and this is the work of God, to tell of a thing before it happens, and to happen as it was foretold. We could stop here and add no more, reckoning what we demand is just and true; but because we are aware that it is not easy to suddenly change a mind possessed by ignorance, we intend to add a few things more to convince those who love the truth, for it is not impossible to put ignorance to flight by presenting the truth.
What sober-minded man, then, will not acknowledge that we are not atheists, worshipping as we do the Maker of this universe, and declaring as we have been taught, that he has no need of streams of blood and libations and incense. We praise him to the utmost of our power by the exercise of prayer and thanksgiving for all things with which we are supplied, as we have been taught that the only honour worthy of him is not to consume by fire what he has brought into being for our sustenance, but to use it for ourselves and those in need, and to offer thanks with gratitude by prayers and hymns for our creation, and for all the means of health, for the qualities of the various kinds of things, and for the changes of the seasons; and to petition him for our new existence in incorruption through faith in him. Our teacher of these things is Jesus Christ, who was born for this purpose, and was crucified under Pontius Pilate, the procurator of Judaea in the times of Tiberius Caesar. We will prove that we reasonably worship Him, having learned that he is the Son of the true God himself, and holding him in the second place, and in the third the prophetic Spirit. For they declare our madness to consist in this, that we give to a crucified man a place second to the unchangeable and eternal God, the Creator of all; for they do not discern the mystery in this, to which we pray you to give heed as we make it plain to you.
For we warn you to watch out that those demons whom we have been accusing may not deceive you, and divert you from reading and understanding what we say. For they strive to keep you as slaves and servants, and sometimes by appearing in dreams and at other times by magic, they subdue any who do not strongly oppose them for their own salvation. And so, since we were wone over by the Word, we also stand aloof from them and follow the only unbegotten God through his Son - we who formerly delighted in fornication but now embrace chastity alone. We who formerly used magical arts dedicate ourselves to the good and unbegotten God; we who above all things valued the acquisition of wealth and possessions now bring what we have into a common pool, to share with everyone in need. We who hated and destroyed one another and would not live with men of a different tribe on account of their different customs, now, since the coming of Christ, live easily with them, and pray for our enemies, and try to convince those who hate us unjustly to live by the good precepts of Christ, so as to share with us in the same joyful hope of a reward from God the ruler of all. Now, for fear we might seem to be reasoning falsely, before offering you the promised explanation, we should cite a few precepts given by the Messiah himself. And then, as powerful rulers, let you ponder whether we have been taught and teach the truth. He spoke briefly and concisely, for he was no sophist, but his word was the power of God.
About chastity, he uttered such thoughts as these: "Whoever looks on a woman to lust after her, has already in his heart before God committed adultery with her." And, "If your right eye offend you, cut it out; for it is better for you to enter into the kingdom of heaven with one eye, than with two eyes be cast into everlasting fire." And, "Whoever marries a woman divorced from another husband, commits adultery." And, "There are some who were made eunuchs of men, and some who were born so, and some who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake; but all cannot receive this saying." So that all who by human law are twice married, and those who look on a woman to lust after her, are sinners in the eye of our Master. For not only he who commits adultery in fact is rejected by him, but also he who desires to commit adultery, since not only our works, but also our thoughts, are open to God. Many men and women who have been the Messiah's disciples from childhood, remain chaste at the age of sixty or seventy years; and I boast that I could produce such from every race of men. And what shall I say about the countless multitude of those who have reformed unrestrained habits, and have learned these things? Indeed the Messiah called to repentance not those who are righteous and chaste, but those who are wicked and wild and unjust, in the words, "I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." For the heavenly Father desires rather the repentance than the punishment of the sinner. And about our love to all, he taught: "If you love those who love you, what new thing are you doing? For even fornicators do this. But I say to you, Pray for your enemies, and love those who hate you, and bless those who curse you, and pray for those who abuse you." And that we should share with the needy, and do nothing for glory, he said, "Give to the one who asks, and from him who would borrow do not turn away; for if you lend to them from whom you hope to receive, what credit is this to you? Even the publicans do this. Do not lay up for yourselves treasure on earth, where moth and rust corrupt, and robbers break through; but lay up for yourselves treasure in heaven, where neither moth nor rust corrupt. For what does ist profit a man if he gain the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for it? Therefore, lay up treasure in heaven, where neither moth nor rust can corrupt." And, "Be kind and merciful, as also your Father is kind and merciful, and makes his sun to rise on sinners as well as the righteous. Do not worry about what you are to eat, or what you shall wear. Are you not better than the birds and the beasts, whom God feeds? Do not worry, therefore, about what you are to eat, or what you shall wear, for your heavenly Father knows that you need these things. But seek the kingdom of heaven, and all these things shall be added to you. For where his treasure is, there also is a man's heart." And, "Do not do these things to be seen by men; otherwise you have no reward from your Father who is in heaven."
About our bearing with injuries, and being ready to serve all, and free from anger, this is what he said: "To the one who strikes you on the one cheek, offer also the other; and do not block the one who takes away your cloak or coat. And whoever is angry, is in danger of the fire. If one compels you to go with him a mile, follow him two. And let your good works shine before men, that seeing them they may glorify your Father who is in heaven." For we ought not to strive nor did he want us to be imitators of wicked men, but he exhorted us, by patience and gentleness to lead all men away from shame and from the love of evil. This indeed is proved in the case of many who once were of your mindset, but have changed their violent and tyrannical disposition, won over either by the constancy they saw in their neighbours' lives, or by the extraordinary tolerance they observed in their fellow-travelers when defrauded, or by the honesty of those with whom they have transacted business.
About not swearing at all, and always speaking the truth, he ordered as follows: "Swear not at all; but let your yes be yes, and your no, no; for whatever is more than these comes from the evil one." And that we ought to worship God alone, he so convinced us: "The greatest commandment is, you shall worship the Lord your God who made you, and him only shall you serve, with all your heart, and with all your strength." When a certain man came to him and said, "Good Master," he answered, "There is none good but God alone, who made all things." Understand that those who are not found living as he taught are no Christians, even if with the lip they profess the precepts of Christ. For he has said that it is not those who say the words, but those who do the works, who shall be saved: "Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. For whoever hears me, and keeps my word, hears him who sent me. And many will say to me, "Lord, Lord, have we not eaten and drunk in your name, and done wonders?" And then I will say to them, "Depart from me, you workers of iniquity." Then shall there be wailing and gnashing of teeth, when the righteous shall shine as the sun, and the wicked are sent into everlasting fire. For many shall come in my name, clothed outwardly in sheep's clothing, but being inwardly ravening wolves. By their works you shall know them. And every tree that does not bear good fruit, is hewn down and cast into the fire." Whoever are not living according to these his teachings, and are Christians only in name, should be punished by you.
More readily than all others, everywhere we try to pay to those appointed by you the taxes both ordinary and extraordinary, as we were taught by him; for on one occasion some came and asked him whether one ought to pay tribute to Caesar, and he replied, "Tell me, whose image does the coin bear?" When they said, "Caesar's," he answered them, "Render therefore to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and to God the things that are God's." On account of this we worship God alone, but in other things we gladly serve you, acknowledging you as kings and rulers of men, and praying that along with your kingly power you also prove to possess sound judgment. But if you disregard our prayers and frank explanations, we shall suffer no loss, since we believe and are convinced that everyone will suffer punishment in eternal fire according to the merit of his deeds, and will render account according to the power he has received from God, as the Messiah meant when he said, "To whom more has been given, of him shall more be required."
Just reflect on the end of each of the kings up to this, how they died the death common to all, which, if it issued in insensibility, would be a godsend to all the wicked. But since sensation remains to all who have ever lived, and eternal punishment is in prospect, see that you do not neglect to be convinced, and believe that these things are true. For let even necromancy, and the divinations you practice through innocent children, and the evoking of departed human souls, and those who are called among the magi, Dream-senders and Helping-spirits, and all that is done by people are skilled in such matters - let these persuade you that even after death souls retain sensation. This also appears in those who are seized and thrown about by the spirits of the dead, whom all call demoniacs or madmen; and what you repute as oracles, both of Amphilochus, Dodana, Pytho, and the many others that exist; and the views of your authors, Empedocles and Pythagoras, Plato and Socrates, and the pit of Homer, and the descent of Ulysses to inspect these things, and all such utterances. Such favour as you grant to these, grant also to us, who believe in God not less but more firmly than they, since we expect to receive our own bodies again, though they were dead and cast into the earth, for we maintain that with God nothing is impossible.
When you think of it, would anything appear more incredible than that from a small drop of human seed bones and sinews and flesh be formed into a shape such as we see in the body? For, hypothetically, if you yourselves were not such as you now are, and born of such parents, and one were to show you human seed and a picture of a man, and were to say with confidence that from such a substance such a being could be produced, would you believe before you saw the actual production? Who can deny it? Similarly then, you are now incredulous because you have never seen a dead man rise again. But as at first you would not have believed it possible for such persons to be produced from the small drop, and yet now you see them so produced, so you should also judge it not impossible that the bodies of men, after being dissolved and like seeds resolved into the earth, should in God's appointed time rise again and put on incorruption.
For those who think that each thing returns to that from which it was produced, and that beyond this not even God himself can do anything - what do they imagine about the power of God? Clearly they would not have believed it possible that they could have become such and been produced from such materials, as they now see themselves and the whole world to be. We have learned that it is better to believe even what is impossible to our own nature and to men, than to be unbelieving like the rest of the world. For we know that our Master Jesus Christ said, that "what is impossible with men is possible with God," and, "Fear not those who kill you, and after that can do no more; but fear him who after death is able to cast both soul and body into hell." Hell is a place of punishment for those who have lived wickedly, and who do not believe that those things God has taught us by the Messiah will happen.
The Sibyl and Hystaspes said that things that are corruptible would be dissolved by God. The Stoic philosophers teach that even God himself shall be resolved into fire, and they say that the world is to be formed anew by this revolution; but we understand that God, the Creator of all things, is superior to all that is to be changed. If, therefore, on some points we teach the same things as the poets and philosophers whom you honour, and on other points have a fuller and more divine teaching, and if we alone offer proof of what we assert, why are we unjustly hated more than all others? For when we say that all things have been produced and formed into a world by God, we seem to utter the doctrine of Plato; and when we say that there will be a burning up of all, we seem to utter the doctrine of the Stoics: and when we affirm that the souls of the wicked, being endowed with sensation even after death, are punished, and that those of the good being delivered from punishment spend a blessed existence, we shall seem to say the same things as the poets and philosophers; and when we maintain that men ought not to worship the works of their hands, we say the very things said by the comic poet Menander and other similar writers, who have declared that the workman is greater than the work.
When we also say that the Word, who is the first-birth of God, was produced without sexual union, and that he, Jesus Christ, our Teacher, was crucified and died, and rose again, and ascended into heaven, we propound nothing different from what you believe about those whom you esteem sons of Jupiter. For you know how many sons your esteemed writers ascribed to Jupiter: Mercury, the interpreting word and teacher of all; Aesculapius, who, though he was a great physician, was struck by a thunderbolt and so ascended to heaven; and Bacchus too, after he had been torn limb from limb; and Hercules, when he had committed himself to the flames to escape his toils; and the sons of Leda, and the Dioscuri; and Perseus, son of the Danae; and Bellerophon, who, though sprung from mortals, rose to heaven on the horse Pegasus. For what shall I say of Ariadne, and those who, like her, have been declared to be set among the stars? And what of your own emperors when they die, whom you deem worthy of deification, in support of which you produce someone who swears he has seen the burning Caesar rise to heaven from the funeral pyre? And I need not tell to those who already know what kind of actions are recorded of each of these reputed sons of Jupiter. Let just this be said, that they are written for the advantage and encouragement of youthful scholars; for all reckon it an honourable thing to imitate the gods. But far be it from every well-tuned soul to think of the gods in such a way as to believe that Jupiter himself, the governor and creator of all things, was both a parricide and the son of a parricide, and that overcome by the love of base and shameful pleasures, he came in to Ganymede and those many women whom he is imagined to have violated and that his sons acted likewise. As we have said above, it was wicked devils that did these things. But we have learned that it is only those who have lived near to God in holiness and virtue who are deified; and we believe that those who live wickedly and do not repent are punished in everlasting fire.
Moreover, the Son of God called Jesus, even if only a man by ordinary generation, yet, on account of his wisdom, is worthy to be called the Son of God; for all writers call God the Father of men and gods. And if we assert that the Word of God was born of God in a special way, different from ordinary generation, let this, as said above, not be such an extraordinary thing to you, who say that Mercury is the angelic word of God. But if anyone objects that he was crucified, in this also he is on a par with your reputed sons-of-Jupiter, who suffered as we have mentioned just now. For their death sufferings are recorded to have been not all alike, but diverse; so that not even by the peculiarity of his sufferings does he seem inferior to them; but rather,as we promised in the preceding part of this discourse, we will now prove him superior - or rather have already proved him to be so - for what is superior is revealed by his actions. And even if we affirm that he was born of a virgin, accept this like what you accept of Perseus. When we say that he restored the lame, the paralytic and those born blind, what we say seems very like the actions attributed to Aesculapius.
What we want to make it clear to you is: (firstly) that the things we assert in conformity with what was taught us by the Messiah and by the prophets who preceded him, are alone true, and are older than all the writers who have existed; and we claim their acceptance not because we repeat what these writers said, but because we say true things; (secondly) that Jesus Christ is the only true Son begotten by God, being his Word and first-begotten, and power; and, becoming man according to his will, he taught us these things for the conversion and restoration of the human race; and (thirdly) that before he became a man among men, some, influenced by the aforementioned demons, related in advance, through the instrumentality of the poets, as having really happened things which they fictitiously devised and narrated, similarly as they have fabricated the scandalous reports against us of infamous and impious actions, of which there is neither witness nor proof. The following is offered as proof.
First, although we say things similar to what the Greeks say, we only are hated on account of the name of Christ, and though we do no wrong, we are put to death as sinners, while others in other places can worship trees and rivers, and mice and cats and crocodiles, and many irrational animals. Nor are the same animals esteemed by all; but in one place one is worshipped, and another in another, so that all are wrong in the judgment of each another, on account of their not worshipping the same objects. And the sole accusation you bring against us is that we do not reverence the same gods as you do, nor offer to the dead libations and the savour of fat, and crowns for their statues, and sacrifices. For you very well know that the same animals are esteemed as gods by some, as wild beasts by others, and by still others as sacrificial victims.
Secondly, we - who come from every race of men - used to worship Bacchus the son of Semele, and Apollo the son of Latona (who in their loves with men did such things as are shameful even to mention), and Proserpine and Venus (who were maddened with love of Adonis, and whose mysteries also you celebrate), or Aesculapius, or one or other of those who are called gods but have now, through Jesus Christ, learned to scorn them, though for it we are threatened with death, and have dedicated ourselves to the unbegotten and impossible God. About Him we are convinced that he was never goaded by lust for Antiope or such other women, or for Ganymede, nor was rescued by the hundred-handed giant whose aid was obtained through Thetis, nor was anxious on this account that her son Achilles would destroy many of the Greeks because of his concubine Briseis. We pity those who believe these things, and know that it was devils who invented them.
Thirdly, after the Messiah's ascension into heaven the devils put forward certain men who claimed to be gods; and not only were they not persecuted by you, but even deemed worthy of honours. There was a Samaritan, Simon, a native of the village called Gitto, who in the reign of Claudius Caesar, did mighty magical works in your royal city of Rome, by the art of the devils working in him. He was considered a god, and as a god was honoured by you with a statue, erected on the river Tiber, between the two bridges, and bearing this inscription, in the language of Rome: "Simoni Deo Sancto," "To Simon the holy God." Almost all the Samaritans, and even a few from other nations, worship him and acknowledge him as the supreme God; and a woman, Helena, who went about with him at that time, and had formerly been a prostitute, they say is the first idea generated by him. And a man, Meander, also a Samaritan, of the town of Capparetaea, a disciple of Simon and inspired by devils, we know to have deceived many while he was in Antioch by his magical art. He convinced those who adhered to the one whom they say should never die, and even now there are some living who hold this opinion of his. Further, there is Marcion, a man from Pontus, who is still alive to this day, teaching his disciples to believe in some other God greater than the Creator. With the help of the devils, he has caused many of every nation to speak blasphemies and to deny that God is the maker of this universe, and to assert that some other being, greater than He, has done greater works. All who take their opinions from these men, are, as we before said, called Christians, just as also those whose doctrines do not agree with the philosophers, are still given the name of philosophers alongside them. And whether they do those fabulous and shameful acts - the upsetting of the lamp, and promiscuous intercourse, and eating human flesh - we do not know; but we do know that they are neither persecuted nor put to death by you, at least on account of their opinions. But I have already composed a treatise against all the heresies that have existed, which, if you wish to read it, I will give you.
We were taught that to expose newly-born children is a wicked act; and this we have been taught for fear that we should injure anyone and sin against God, first, because we see that almost all so exposed (not only the girls, but also the boys) are brought up to prostitution. Just as the ancients are said to have reared herds of oxen, or goats, or sheep, or grazing horses, so now we see you rearing children for this shameful use, since for this pollution a multitude of females and hermaphrodites, and those who do unmentionable things, are found in every nation. You even take the wages of these, and duty and taxes from them, whom you ought to banish from your realm. For anyone who uses such persons, apart from the godless and infamous and impure contact, may possibly be having intercourse with his own child, or relative, or brother. Some people prostitute even their own children and wives, and some are openly mutilated for the purpose of sodomy; and they refer these mysteries to the mother of the gods, and along with each of those whom you esteem gods there is painted a serpent, a great symbol and mystery. Indeed, what you do openly and with applause, as if the divine light were overturned and extinguished, are the things you charge us with. Yet in fact it does no harm to us who shrink from doing any such things, but only to those who do them and bear false witness against us.
Among us the prince of the wicked spirits is called the serpent, and Satan, and the devil, as you can learn by looking into our writings. And the Messiah foretold that he would be sent into the fire with his host, and those who follow him, and would be punished for an endless duration; but God has delayed to do this, out of regard for the human race. For he fore-knows that some are to be saved by repentance, even some that are perhaps not yet born. In the beginning he made the human race with the power of thought and of choosing what is true and doing right, so that all men are without excuse before God; for they have been born rational and contemplative. If anyone disbelieves that God cares for these things, he will thereby either insinuate that God does not exist, or assert that though he exists he delights in vice, or exists like a stone, and that neither virtue nor vice mean anything, but these things are reckoned good or evil only in the opinion of men. But this is the greatest profanity and wickedness.
And again we fear to expose children, for fear that some of them be not picked up but die, and we become murderers. But if we marry, it is only that we may bring up children; or if we decline marriage, we live in continence. And that you may understand that promiscuous intercourse is not one of our mysteries, one of our number a short time ago presented a petition to Felix the governor in Alexandria, asking permission for a surgeon to make him a eunuch. For the surgeons there said that they were forbidden to do this without the permission of the governor. When Felix absolutely refused to sign such a permission, the youth remained single, and was satisfied with his own approving conscience and the approval of those who thought as he did. And we think it not out of place here to mention Antinous, who was alive until recently, and whom all were ready out of fear to worship as a God, though they knew both who he was and what was his origin.
Now, for fear that anyone should pose us the question, how can we know whether he whom we call Christ, being a man born of men, performed what we call his mighty works by magic, and so appeared to be the Son of God? We will now offer proof, not trusting mere assertions, but being of necessity convinced by those who prophesied before these things occurred, for with our own eyes we behold things that have happened and are happening just as they were predicted; and this will, we think appear even to you the strongest and truest proof.
There were, then, among the Jews certain men who were prophets of God, through whom the prophetic Spirit declared beforehand things that were to happen, before ever they occurred. And as their prophecies were spoken and when they had been arranged into books by the prophets themselves in their own Hebrew language, the kings who happened to be reigning among the Jews at those various times carefully preserved in their possession. Then when Ptolemy king of Egypt formed a library and tried to collect the writings of all men, he heard also of these prophets and sent to Herod, who was at that time king of the Jews, requesting that the books of the prophets be sent to him. Herod the king indeed sent them, written, as they were, in the Hebrew language, and when their contents were grasped by the Egyptians, he again sent requesting that men be commissioned to translate them into the Greek language. When this was done, the books remained with the Egyptians, where they are until now. They are also in the possession of all Jews throughout the world; but they, though they read them, do not understand what is said, but regard us as enemies and, like yourselves, they kill and punish us whenever they have the power, as you can well believe. For in the Jewish war which recently raged, Bar Cochbas, the leader of the Jewish revolt, ordered for Christians to be led to cruel punishments, unless they would deny Jesus Christ and utter blasphemy. In these books of the prophets then, we found Jesus our Messiah foretold as coming, born of a virgin, growing up to adulthood, and healing every disease and every sickness, and raising the dead, and being hated, and unrecognized, and crucified, and dying, and rising again, and ascending into heaven, and being, as well as being called, the Son of God. We find it also predicted that certain people would be sent by him into every nation to publish these things, and that among the Gentiles especially, people would believe in him. He was predicted before he appeared, first five thousand years before, and again three thousand, then two thousand, then one thousand, and yet again eight hundred years; for in the succeeding of generations prophet after prophet has arisen.
Moses then, who was the first of the prophets, spoke in these very words: "The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until he come for whom it is reserved; and he shall be the desire of the nations, binding his foal to the vine, washing his robe in the blood of the grape." Yours can make accurate enquiry, and ascertain up to whose time the Jews had a lawgiver and king of their own. Up to the time of Jesus Christ, who taught us, and interpreted the prophecies which were not yet understood, it was as foretold by the holy and divine Spirit of prophecy through Moses, "that a ruler would not fail the Jews until he should come for whom the kingdom was reserved." For Judah was the forefather of the Jews, from whom also they have their name of Jews; and after the Messiah appeared, it was you who began to rule the Jews, and gained possession of all their territory. And the prophecy, "He shall be the expectation of the nations," indicated that there would be some of all nations who looked for him to come again. This indeed you can see for yourselves, and be convinced by the fact. For of all races of men there are some who look for him who was crucified in Judaea, and after whose crucifixion the land was immediately surrendered to you as spoil of war. And the prophecy, "binding his foal to the vine, and washing his robe in the blood of the grape," was a significant symbol of the things that were to happen to Christ, and of what he was to do. For the foal of a donkey stood bound to a vine at the entrance of a village, and he ordered his acquaintances to bring it to him then; and when it was brought, he mounted and sat on it, and entered Jerusalem, where was the vast temple of the Jews which was afterwards destroyed by you. And after this he was crucified, that the rest of the prophecy might be fulfilled. For this "washing his robe in the blood of the grape" was predictive of the passion he was to endure, cleansing by his blood those who believe in him. For what is called by the Divine Spirit through the prophet "his robe," are those men who believe in him in whom abides the seed of God, the Word. And what is spoken of as "the blood of the grape," signifies that he who should appear would have blood, though not of the seed of man, but of the power of God. And the first power after God the Father and Lord of all is the Word, who is also the Son; and of him we will, in what follows, relate how he took flesh and became man. For as man did not make the blood of the vine, but God, it was hereby intimated that the blood should not be of human seed, but of divine power, as we have said above. And Isaiah, another prophet, foretelling the same things in other words, said: "A star shall rise out of Jacob, and a flower shall spring from the root of Jesse; and in his arm shall the nations trust." And a star of light has arisen, and a flower has sprung from the root of Jesse - this Messiah. For by the power of God he was conceived by a virgin of the seed of Jacob, who was the father of Judah, who, as we have said, was the father of the Jews; and Jesse was his forefather according to the oracle, and he was the son of Jacob and Judah by lineal descent.
And hear again how Isaiah in express words foretold that he should be born of a virgin; for he said this: "Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bring out a son, and they shall say for his name, "God with us." " For things which were incredible and seemed impossible with men, these God predicted by the prophetic Spirit as about to happen, so that, when they occurred, there might be no unbelief, but faith, because of their prediction. Now, for fear that some, not understanding the prophecy now cited, should charge us with the very things we have been laying to the charge of the poets who say that Jupiter went in to women through lust, let us try to explain the words. This, then, "Behold, a virgin shall conceive," signifies that a virgin should conceive without intercourse. For if she had had intercourse with anyone whatever, she was no longer a virgin; but the power of God having come on the virgin, overshadowed her, and caused her while yet a virgin to conceive. And the messenger of God who was sent to the same virgin at that time brought her good news, saying, "Behold, you shall conceive of the Holy Spirit, and shall bear a Son, and he shall be called the Son of the Highest, and you shall call his name Jesus; for he shall save his people from their sins," - as they who have recorded all that concerns our Saviour Jesus Christ have taught, whom we believed, since by Isaiah also, whom we have now brought up, the prophetic Spirit declared that he should be born as we intimated before. It is wrong, therefore, to understand the Spirit and the power of God as anything else than the Word, who is also the first-born of God, as the aforesaid prophet Moses declared. It was this which, when it came on the virgin and overshadowed her, caused her to conceive, not by intercourse, but by power. And the name Jesus in the Hebrew language means, in the Greek tongue, "Saviour". Therefore, too, the messenger said to the virgin, "You shall call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins." And that the prophets are inspired by no other than the Divine Word, even you, I think, will grant.
And hear what part of earth he was to be born in, as another prophet, Micah, foretold. He said this: "You, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are not the least among the princes of Judah; for out of you shall come out a Governor, who shall feed my people." Now there is a village in the land of the Jews, thirty-five stadia from Jerusalem, in which Jesus Christ was born, as you can ascertain also from the registers of the taxing made under Cyrenius, your first procurator in Judaea.
And how the Messiah after he was born was to escape the notice of others until he grew to man's estate, which also occurred, hear what was foretold regarding this. There are the following predictions: "Unto us a child is born, and to us a young man is given, and the government shall be on his shoulders;" which is significant of the power of the cross, for to it, when he was crucified, he applied his shoulders, as shall be more clearly made out in the ensuing discourse. And again the same prophet Isaiah, being inspired by the prophetic Spirit, said, "I have spread out my hands to a disobedient and rebellious people, to those who walk in a way that is not good. They now ask of me judgment, and dare to draw near to God." And again in other words, through another prophet, he says, "They pierced my hands and my feet, and for my clothing they cast lots." Indeed David, the king and prophet, who uttered these things, suffered none of them; but Jesus Christ stretched out his hands, being crucified by the Jews who spoke against him and denied that he was Christ. But as the prophet said, they tormented him, and set him on the judgment-seat, and said, "Judge us." And the expression, "They pierced my hands and my feet," was used concerning the nails of the cross which were fixed in his hands and feet. And after he was crucified they cast lots on his clothing, and those who crucified him parted it among them. And that these things did happen, you can ascertain from the Acts of Pontius Pilate. And we will cite the prophetic utterances of another prophet, Zephaniah, to the effect that he was foretold expressly as to sit on the foal of a donkey and to enter Jerusalem. The words are these: "Rejoice greatly, daughter of Zion; shout, daughter of Jerusalem: behold, your King comes to you, lowly, and riding on a donkey, and on a colt the foal of a donkey."
But when you hear the words of the prophets spoken personally, so to speak, you must not imagine them as spoken by the inspired men themselves, but by the Divine Word who moves them. For sometimes he declares things that are to happen, as one who foretells the future; sometimes he speaks as from the person of God the Lord and Father of all; sometimes as from the person of the Messiah; sometimes as from the person of the people answering the Lord or his Father, just as you can see even in your own writers, while one man is author of the whole, but introduces the persons who converse. This the Jews who possessed the books of the prophets did not understand, and therefore did not recognise the Messiah when he came, but even hate us who say that he has come, and who prove that he was crucified by them, as was predicted.
And that this too may be clear to you, the following words were spoken by the person of the Father through Isaiah the prophet, "The ox knows his owner, and the ass his master's crib; but Israel does not know, and my people has not understood. Woe, sinful nation, a people full of sins, a wicked seed, children that are transgressors, you have forsaken the Lord." Again elsewhere, when the same prophet speaks similarly from the person of the Father, "What is the house that you will build for me? says the Lord. The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool." And again, in another place, "My soul hates your new moons and your Sabbaths; and the great day of the fast and of ceasing from labour I cannot abide. If you come to be seen by me, I will not listen to you, for your hands are full of blood; and if you bring fine flour, incense, it is abomination to me: the fat of lambs and the blood of bulls I do not desire. For who has required this at your hands? But loose every bond of wickedness, tear asunder the knots of violent contracts, cover the homeless and naked, and share your bread with the hungry." You can now perceive the kind of things taught by God through the prophets.
When the prophetic Spirit speaks in the person of Christ, the utterances are of this sort: "I have spread out my hands to a disobedient and protesting people, to those who walk in a way that is not good." And again: "I gave my back to the scourges, and my cheeks to the buffeting; I turned not away my face from the shame of spitting. The Lord was my helper: therefore I was not confounded: but I set my face as a firm rock; and I knew that I would not be ashamed, for he who justifies me is near." And again, when he says, "They cast lots for my clothing, and pierced my hands and my feet. And I lay down and slept, and rose again, because the Lord sustained me." And again, "They spoke with their lips, they wagged the head, saying, Let him deliver himself." And that all these things happened to the Messiah at the hands of the Jews, you can ascertain. For when he was crucified, they did shoot out the lip, and wagged their heads, saying, "Let him who raised the dead save himself."
When the prophetic Spirit speaks as predicting things that are to happen, he speaks in this way: "For out of Zion shall go out the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people; and they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more." That it did so come about, we can convince you. For from Jerusalem twelve men went out into the world, illiterate, with no ability in speaking: but by the power of God they proclaimed to every race of men that they were sent by the Messiah to teach the word of God to all and not only do we who formerly used to murder one another now refrain from making war on our enemies, but also, so as not to lie or deceive our examiners, willingly die confessing Christ. For in this matter we could avail of the saying, "The tongue has sworn but the mind is unsworn." But if the soldiers enrolled by you, and who have taken the military oath, prefer their allegiance to their own life and parents, and country, and all tribe, though you can offer them nothing incorruptible, it would be ridiculous if we, who earnestly long for incorruption, should not endure all things in order to obtain what we desire from him who is able to grant it.
Listen to what was foretold of those who spread his doctrine and proclaimed his appearance, when the above-mentioned prophet and king in the prophetic Spirit said, "Day proclaims to day and night declares to night. There is no speech or tongue where their voice is not heard. Their voice has gone out into all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world. He has set his tabernacle in the sun, and he rejoices like a giant to run his course, like a bridegroom going from of his chamber." We judge it right and relevant to mention other prophetic utterances of David besides these; from which you may learn how the prophetic Spirit exhorts men to live, and how he foretold the conspiracy formed against the Messiah by Herod the king of the Jews, and the Jews themselves and Pilate, who was your governor among them, along with his soldiers; and how he should be believed in by men of every race; and how God calls him his Son, and has declared that he will subdue all his enemies under him; and how the devils, strive as much as they can to escape the power of God the Father and Lord of all, and the power of the Messiah himself; and how God calls all to repentance before the day of judgment comes.
These things were expressed in this way: "Blessed is the man who has not walked in the counsel of the wicked, nor stood in the way of sinners, nor sat in the seat of the scornful, but his delight is in the Law of the Lord and he will meditate on his law day and night. He shall be like a tree planted beside flowing waters, which shall yield its fruit in due season. His leaf shall not wither, and whatever he does shall prosper. not so are the wicked, not so, but they are like the chaff which the wind drives away from the face of the earth. Therefore the wicked shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the council of the righteous. For the Lord knows the way of the righteous; but the way of the wicked shall perish. Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? The kings of the earth stand up, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying, "Let us break their bands asunder, and cast their yoke from us." He who dwells in the heavens laughs, and the Lord shall regard them with derision. He shall speak to them in his wrath, and show them his stern anger. But I have been set by him as a King on Zion his holy mountain, to declare the decree of the Lord. The Lord said to me, you are my Son; this day have I begotten you. Ask of me, and I shall give you the Gentiles as your inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth as your possession. You shall herd them with a rod of iron. Like a potter's vessels you shall dash them to pieces. Therefore, you kings, be wise; take counsel, all you judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Embrace teaching, for fear that at any time the Lord be angry, and you perish from the right way, when his wrath has been suddenly kindled. Blessed are all those who put their trust in him."
Again, in another prophecy, through the same David the prophetic Spirit indicated that Christ would reign after he had been crucified, saying as follows: "Sing to the Lord, all the earth, and day by day declare his salvation. For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised - to be feared above all the gods. For all the gods of the nations are naught; but God made the heavens. Glory and praise are before his face, strength and glory are in his holy dwelling. Give glory to the Lord, the everlasting Father. Receive grace, and enter his presence, and worship within his holy courts. Let all the earth fear before his face; let it be established, not to be shaken. Let them rejoice among the nations; the Lord has reigned from the tree."
But when the prophetic Spirit speaks of things that are about to happen as if they had already taken place, - as may be observed in the passages I have already cited, - that the readers may be without excuse, we will make this too quite plain. The things which he absolutely knows will take place, he predicts as if already they had taken place. And that the utterances must be so received, you will perceive, if you give your attention to them. The words cited above, David uttered fifteen centuries before the Messiah became a man and was crucified; and no one of those who lived before him, or of his contemporaries, afforded joy to the Gentiles by being crucified. But our Jesus Christ, being crucified and dead, rose again, and having ascended to heaven, reigned; and by those things proclaimed by the apostles in his name among all nations, joy is brought to those who expect the immortality promised by him.
But lest, from what we have been said some may imagine we are claiming that whatever happens, happens by a fateful necessity, because it is foretold as known beforehand, let us explain. We have learned from the prophets, and we hold it to be true, that punishments and rewards are rendered according to the merit of each man's actions. If it were not so, and everything happens by fate, then nothing at all is in our own power. For if it be fated that this man be good and that man evil, the former is not meritorious nor can the latter to be blamed. Again, unless the human race has the power to avoid evil and choose good by free choice, they are not accountable for their actions, whatever they may be. But we can prove that it is by free choice they both walk uprightly and stumble. We see the same man making a change to opposite things. Now, if it had been fated that he were to be either good or bad, he would never have been capable of both the opposites, nor of so many changes. But if we so make fate the cause of evil, and exhibit her as acting in opposition to herself, not even then would some be good and others bad, since that which has been already stated would seem to be true, that neither virtue nor vice means anything, but that things are only reckoned good or evil by opinion; which, as the true word shows, is the greatest impiety and wickedness. But this we assert as inevitable fate, that they who choose the good have worthy rewards, and they who choose the opposite have their merited awards. For God made man unlike other things, such as trees and quadrupeds, which cannot act by choice: for neither would he be worthy of reward or praise if he did not choose the good of himself, but were made for this purpose; nor, if he were evil, would he be worthy of punishment, not being evil of himself, but being able to be nothing else than what he was made.
And the holy Spirit of prophecy taught us this, telling us by Moses that God said this to the first man created: "Behold, before you are good and evil: choose the good." And again, by the other prophet, Isaiah, the following utterance was made as if from God the Father and Lord of all: "Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; put away evils from your souls; learn to do well; judge the orphan, and plead for the widow: and come and let us reason together," says the Lord: "And if your sins be as scarlet, I will make them white as wool; and if they were red like as crimson, I will make them white as snow. And if you are willing and obey me, you shall eat the good of the land; but if you do not obey me, the sword shall devour you: for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it." And that expression, "The sword shall devour you," does not mean that the disobedient shall be slain by the sword, but the sword of God is fire, of which they who choose to do wickedly become the fuel. Therefore he says, "The sword shall devour you: for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it." And if he had meant a sword that cuts and at once despatches, he would not have said, "shall devour." So too, Plato, when he says, "The blame belongs to him who chooses, and God is blameless," took this from the prophet Moses and uttered it. For Moses is more ancient than all the Greek writers. And whatever both philosophers and poets have said about the immortality of the soul, or punishments after death, or contemplation of things heavenly, or similar doctrines, it was from the prophets that they received such suggestions that enabled them to understand and interpret these things. Hence there seem to be seeds of truth among all men; but they are blamed for not understanding aright, when they assert contradictory things. So that what we say about future events being foretold, we do not say it as if they came about by a fated necessity; but God foreknowing all that shall be done by everyone, and as it is his decree that the future actions of men shall all be recompensed according to their individual value, he foretells by the prophetic Spirit that he will bestow just rewards according to the merit of the actions done, always urging the human race to effort and recollection, showing that he cares and provides for men. But by the agency of the devils death has been decreed against those who read the books of Hystaspes, or of the Sibyl, or of the prophets, so that through fear they may prevent men who read them from receiving the knowledge of the good, and may retain them in slavery to themselves; which, however, they could not always effect. For not only do we fearlessly read them, but, as you see, bring them for your inspection, knowing that their contents will be pleasing to all. And if we persuade even a few, our gain will be very great; for, as good gardeners, we shall receive the reward from the Master.
And that God the Father of all would bring the Messiah to heaven after he had raised him from the dead, and would keep him there until he has subdued his enemies the devils, and until the number of those who are foreknown by him as good and virtuous is complete, on account of whom he has still delayed the consummation - hear what the prophet David said. These are his words: "The Lord said to my Lord, "Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool." The Lord shall send to you the sceptre of power from Jerusalem. Rule in the presence of your enemies. Yours is the government in the day of your power, in the beauties of your holy ones. From the womb of morning I have begotten you." When he says, "He shall send to you the sceptre of power from Jerusalem," he predicts the mighty word which his apostles, going out from Jerusalem, preached everywhere; and though death is decreed against those who teach or even confess the name of Christ, we everywhere both embrace and teach it. Now if you read these words in a hostile spirit, you can do no more, as I said before, than kill us; and this indeed does harm not to us, but to you and all who unjustly hate us, and do not repent, it brings eternal punishment.
Now, for fear that, without reason, but to pervert what we teach, some should maintain that we say that Christ was born one hundred and fifty years ago under Cyrenius and subsequently, in the time of Pontius Pilate, taught what we say he taught; and should complain against us as though all who were born before him were irresponsible - let us anticipate and resolve the difficulty. We have been taught that Christ is the first-born of God, and we have declared above that he is the Word in whom every race of men has a share; and that those who lived reasonably are Christians, even though they have been thought atheists; as, among the Greeks, Socrates and Heraclitus, and men like them; and among the barbarians, Abraham, and Ananias, and Azarias, and Misael, and Elias, and many others whose actions and names we now decline to list, as we know it would be tedious. Similarly even they who before the Messiah lived contrary to reason, were wicked and hostile to Christ, and slew those who lived reasonably. But an intelligent man will be able to grasp from what has been already so largely said who he was who was born of a virgin as a man, through the power of the Word, according to the will of God the Father and Lord of all, and was named Jesus, and was crucified, and died, and rose again, and ascended into heaven. And since the proof of this subject is less needful now, we will now pass on to the proof of those things which are urgent.
Listen to what was said by the prophetic Spirit, of how the land of the Jews was to be laid waste. These words were spoken as if in the mind of people wondering at what had happened; "Sion is a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation. The house of our sanctuary has become a curse, and the glory which our fathers blessed is burned with fire, and all its glories are laid waste: and you yourself let these things happen, and have held your peace, and have sorely humbled us." Are you convinced that Jerusalem has been laid waste, as was predicted? And about its desolation, and that no one should be permitted to inhabit it, hear the following prophecy of Isaiah: "Their land is desolate, their enemies consume it in their presence, and none of them shall dwell there." And that it is guarded by you for fear that anyone dwell in it, and that death is decreed against a Jew caught entering it, you know very well.
And that it was predicted that our Messiah should heal all diseases and raise the dead, hear what was said: "At his coming the lame shall leap as an hart, and the tongue of the stammerer shall speak clearly; the blind shall see, and the lepers shall be cleansed; and the dead shall rise, and walk about." And that he did those things, you can learn from the Acts of Pontius Pilate. Then, how it was predicted by the prophetic Spirit that he and those who hoped in him should be slain, hear what was said by Isaiah: "Behold now the righteous perishes, and no nobody lays it to heart; and the just are taken away, and nobody cares. The righteous man taken from the presence of wickedness, and his burial shall be in peace: he is taken from our presence."
Again, see how it was said by the same Isaiah that the Gentile nations who were not looking for him should worship him, but the Jews who always expected him should not recognise him when he came. These words are spoken as from the person of the Messiah: "I was revealed to those who did not ask for me; I was found by those who did not seek me. I said, "See me," to a nation that did not call on my name. I spread out my hands to a disobedient and protesting people, to those who walked in a way that is not good, but follow their own sins, a people that provokes me to anger to my face." For though they had the prophecies and were in constant expectation of the Messiah to come, the Jews did not recognise him; not only so, but they even treated him shamefully. But the Gentiles, who had never heard anything about the Messiah until the apostles set out from Jerusalem and preached about him and gave them the prophecies, were filled with joy and faith, and cast their idols aside, and dedicated themselves to the Unbegotten God through Christ. And to show that it was foreknown that these infamous things should be uttered against those who confessed Christ, and the misery of those who slandered him and said that it was well to preserve the ancient customs, hear what was briefly said by Isaiah: "Woe to those who call sweet bitter, and bitter sweet."
But that, having become man for our sakes, he endured suffering and dishonour, and that he shall come again with glory, hear the prophecies relating to this: "Because they delivered his soul to death, and he was numbered with the transgressors, he has borne the sin of many, and shall make intercession for the transgressors. For, behold, my Servant shall deal prudently, and shall be exalted, and greatly extolled. As many were astonished at you, so marred shall your form be before men, and so hidden from them your glory; so shall many nations wonder, and the kings shall shut their mouths at him. For they who were not told about him, and they who have not heard, shall understand. Lord, who has believed our report and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? We have declared before him as a child, as a root in a dry ground. He had no form, nor glory, and we saw him, and there was no form nor beauty, but his form was dishonoured and marred more than the sons of men. A man of sorrows and acquainted with infirmity, because his face was turned away. He was despised and rejected. It is he who bears our sins, and is afflicted for us; yet we esteemed him smitten, stricken, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our sins, he was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of peace was upon him, and by his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; everyone has wandered in his own way. He delivered him for our sins; and he opened not his mouth amid all his affliction. He was brought like a sheep to the slaughter, and is dumb like a lamb before his shearer, and opens not his mouth. In his humiliation, his judgment was taken away." So, after he was crucified, even all his acquaintances forsook him, having denied him; and afterwards, when he had risen from the dead and appeared to them, and had taught them to read the prophecies in which all these things were foretold, and when they had seen him ascending into heaven, and had believed, and from there had received power sent by him on them, and went to every race of men, they taught these things, and were called apostles.
And that he might show us that he who suffers these things has an inexpressible origin, and rules his enemies, the prophetic Spirit said this: "Who shall declare his generation? For his life is cut off from the earth and for their sins he comes to death. And I will appoint the wicked for his burial, and the rich for his death; because he did no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. And the Lord was pleased to cleanse him from the stripes. If he is handed over for sin, your soul shall see his seed prolonged in days. And the Lord is pleased to deliver his soul from grief, to show him light, and to form him with knowledge, to justify the righteous who has richly served many and he shall bear our iniquities. Therefore he shall inherit many and shall divide the spoil of the strong, because his soul was handed over to death. He was numbered with the transgressors and bore the sins of many, and he was delivered up for their sins." Hear, too, how he was to ascend into heaven according to prophecy: "Lift up the gates of heaven; be opened, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord, strong and mighty." And how also he should come again from heaven with glory, hear what was spoken concerning this by the prophet Jeremiah: "Behold, as the Son of man he comes in the clouds of heaven, and his angels with him."
Since, then, we proved that all things which have already happened were predicted by the prophets before they occurred, we must necessarily believe also that those things which are similarly predicted, but are yet to happen, certainly shall happen. For as the things which have already taken place occurred when foretold, and even though unknown, so shall the things that remain happen yet, even though they were unknown and disbelieved. For the prophets proclaimed two advents of his: the one, which is already past, when he came as a dishonoured and suffering Man; but the second, when, according to prophecy, he shall come from heaven with glory, accompanied by his angelic host. Then he shall also raise the bodies of all who have lived, and clothe with immortality those of the worthy and shall send those of the wicked, endowed with eternal sensibility, into everlasting fire with the wicked devils. And we will prove that these things also have been foretold as yet to happen.
By Ezekiel the prophet it was said: "Joint shall be joined to joint, and bone to bone, and flesh shall grow again; and every knee shall bow to the Lord, and every tongue shall confess him." And in what kind of sensation and punishment the wicked are to be, hear from what was also said with reference to this, as follows: "Their worm shall not rest, and their fire shall not be quenched;" and then shall they repent, when it does not profit them. And what the people of the Jews shall say and do, when they see him coming in glory, was so predicted by Zechariah the prophet: "I will command the four winds to gather the scattered children; I will command the north wind to bring them, and the south wind, not to keep back. Then shall there be great lamentation in Jerusalem, not the lamentation of mouths or of lips, but the lamentation of the heart, and they shall rend their hearts and not their garments. Tribe by tribe they shall mourn, and then they shall look on him whom they have pierced; and they shall say, "why Lord, have you made us to err from your way? The glory which our fathers blessed, has for us been turned into shame.""
Though we could bring forward many other prophecies, we refrain, judging these sufficient to convince those who have ears to hear and understand, and considering that they can see that we do not make mere assertions without being able to produce proof, like those fables that are told of the so-called sons of Jupiter. For how should we believe of a crucified man that he is the first-born of the unbegotten God, who will judge the whole human race, unless we had found testimonies about him published before he came and was born as man, and unless we saw that things had happened accordingly: the devastation of the land of the Jews, and men of every race convinced by his teaching through the apostles, and rejecting the old customs in which they had formerly erred. Yes, seeing ourselves too, and knowing that the Christians from among the Gentiles are both more numerous and more genuine than those from among the Jews and Samaritans? For all the other races of men are called Gentiles by the prophetic Spirit; but the Jewish and Samaritan races are called the tribe of Israel, and the house of Jacob. We will cite the prophecy where it was predicted that there should be more believers from the Gentiles than from the Jews and Samaritans: "Rejoice, you barren, who did not bear; break out and shout, you who do not travail, because many more are the children of the desolate than of her who has an husband." For all the Gentiles were "desolate" of the true God, serving the works of their hands; but the Jews and Samaritans, having the word of God delivered to them by the prophets, and always expecting Christ, did not recognise him when he came, except some few, of whom the prophetic Spirit by Isaiah had predicted that they should be saved. He spoke as in their person: "Except the Lord had left us a seed, we should have been as Sodom and Gomorrah." For Sodom and Gomorrah are said by Moses to have been cities of wicked men, which God burned with fire and brimstone, and overthrew, none of their inhabitants being saved except a certain stranger, a Chaldean by birth, whose name was Lot; with whom also his daughters were rescued. Those who wish may still see their whole country desolate and burned, and remaining barren. And to show how those from among the Gentiles were foretold as more true and more believing, we will cite what was said by Isaiah the prophet as follows "Israel is uncircumcised in heart, but the Gentiles are uncircumcised in the flesh." Such things as these, when they are seen with the eye, are enough to produce conviction and belief in those who embrace the truth, and are not bigoted in their opinions, nor governed by their passions.
But those who hand on the myths which the poets have made, adduce no proof to the youths who learn them. We will proceed to prove that they were spoken under the influence of the wicked demons, to deceive and lead astray the human race. For having heard it proclaimed through the prophets that Christ was to come, and that the wicked among men would be punished by fire, they put forward many as sons of Jupiter, believing that they would be able to produce in men the idea that the things said about the Messiah were mere marvellous tales, like the things said by the poets. And these things were said both among the Greeks and among all nations where they heard the prophets foretelling that Christ would specially be believed in. But in hearing what was said by the prophets they did not accurately understand it, but imitated what was said of our Messiah, like men who are in error, as we will make plain. The prophet Moses was, as we have said, prior to all writers; and by him, as we have also said, it was predicted: "There shall not fail a prince from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until he comes for whom it is reserved; and he shall be the desire of the Gentiles, binding his foal to the vine, washing his robe in the blood of the grape." The devils, accordingly, when they heard these prophetic words, said that Bacchus was the son of Jupiter, and gave out that he was the discoverer of the vine, and they number wine among his mysteries and taught that, after being torn in pieces, he ascended into heaven. And because in the prophecy of Moses it had not been expressly said whether he who was to come was the Son of God, and whether he would, riding on the foal, remain on earth or ascend into heaven, and because the name "foal" could mean either the foal of a donkey or of a horse, not knowing whether he who was foretold would bring the foal of a donkey or of a horse as the sign of his coming, or whether he was the Son of God or of man, they gave out that Bellerophon, a man born of man, himself ascended to heaven on his horse Pegasus. When they heard it said by the other prophet Isaiah, that he should be born of a virgin, and by his own power ascend into heaven, they pretended that Perseus was spoken of. When they knew what was said in the former prophecies as cited above, "Strong as a giant to run his course," they said that hercules was strong, and had journeyed over the whole earth. And again, when they learned that it had been foretold that he would heal every sickness, and raise the dead, they produced Aesculapius.
But in no instance, not even in any of those called sons of Jupiter, did they imitate his being crucified; for it was not understood by them, all the things said of it having been put symbolically. This, as the prophet foretold, is the greatest symbol of his power and role, as is also proved by the things which fall under our observation. For consider all the things in the world, whether without this form they could be administered or have any community. For the sea is not traversed unless the trophy which is called a sail stay safely in the ship; and the earth is not ploughed without this form; diggers and mechanics do not their work, except with tools which have this shape. Even the human form differs from that of the irrational animals in nothing else than in its being erect and having the hands extended, and having on the face the nose extending below the forehead, through which comes breathing for the living creature; and this shows no other form than that of the cross. And so it was said by the prophet, "The breath before our face is the Lord Christ." And the power of this form is shown by your own symbols on what are called banners ("vexilla") and trophies, with which all your state possessions are made, using them as the insignia of your power and government, even though you do so unwittingly. And with this form you consecrate the images of your emperors when they die, and you name them gods by inscriptions. Since, therefore, we have urged you both by reason and by an clear form, and to the utmost of our ability, we know that now we are blameless even if you disbelieve; for our part is done and finished.
But the evil spirits were not satisfied with saying, before the Messiah's appearance, that those said to be sons of Jupiter were born of him; but after he had appeared and was born among men, when they learned how he had been foretold by the prophets, and knew that he should be believed in and looked for by every nation, they again, as said above, put forward others, the Samaritans Simon and Menander, who did many mighty works by magic, and deceived many, and still keep them deceived. For even among yourselves, as we have said, Simon was in the royal city of Rome in the reign of Claudius Caesar, and so greatly astonished the sacred senate and people of the Romans that he was reputed a god, and honoured with a statue, like the others whom you honour as gods. Therefore we pray that the sacred senate and your people may, along with you, be arbiters of this our memorial, so that if anyone be entangled by that man's doctrines, he may learn the truth, and so be able to escape error; and as for the statue, if you please, destroy it.
Nor can the devils persuade men that there will be no conflagration for the punishment of the wicked, as they were unable to keep the Messiah hidden after he came. But this alone can they achieve, that they who live irrationally and were brought up licentiously in wicked customs, and are prejudiced in their opinions, should kill and hate us, though not only do we not hate them, but as I showed, pity and try them to lead to repentance. We do not fear death, since it is acknowledged we must surely die; and there is nothing new, but all things continue the same in this order of things. However, if satiety overtakes those who enjoy even one year of these things, they ought to pay heed to our doctrines, that they may live eternally free both from suffering and from want. But if they believe that there is nothing after death, but declare that those who die pass into insensibility, then they become our benefactors when they set us free from sufferings and necessities of this life, and prove themselves wicked and inhuman, and bigoted. For they kill us with no intention of delivering us, but cut us off that we may be deprived of life and pleasure.
And, as we have already said, the devils put forward Marcion of Pontus, who is even now teaching men to deny that God is the maker of all things in heaven and on earth, and that Christ predicted by the prophets is his Son, for he preaches another God besides the Creator of all, and likewise another son. Many have believed this man, as if he alone knew the truth, and laugh at us, though they have no proof of what they say, but are carried away irrationally as lambs by a wolf, and become the prey of atheistic doctrines and of devils. For they who are called devils attempt nothing else than to seduce men from God who made them, and from the Messiah his first-begotten. Those who are unable to raise themselves above the earth they have fastened, and still fasten, to things earthly, and to the works of their own hands; but those who devote themselves to the contemplation of things divine, they secretly beat back; and if they have not a wise sobriety and a pure life free from passion, they drive them into godlessness.
That you may learn that it was from our teachers - I mean the account given through the prophets - that Plato borrowed his statement that God made the world by altering matter which was shapeless, listen to the very words spoken through Moses, who, as shown above, was the first prophet, of greater antiquity than the Greek writers. Through him the prophetic Spirit, to tell how and from what materials God at first formed the world, said: "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was invisible and unfurnished, and darkness was on the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God moved over the waters. And God said, Let there be light; and it was so." So both Plato and they who agree with him, and we ourselves, have learned, and you too can be convinced, that by the word of God the whole world was made out of the substance spoken of before by Moses. And that which the poets call Erebus, we know was spoken of formerly by Moses.
The physiological discussion about the Son of God in the Timaeus of Plato, where he says, "He placed him crosswise in the universe," he borrowed similarly from Moses; for in the writings of Moses it is related how at that time, when the Israelites went out of Egypt and were in the wilderness, they encountered poisonous beasts, vipers and asps and every kind of serpent which slew the people; and that Moses, by God's inspiration and influence, took brass and made it into the figure of a cross, and set it in the holy tabernacle, and said to the people, "If you look to this figure, and believe, you shall be saved by it." When this was done, it is recorded that the serpents died, and it is handed down that the people so escaped death. When Plato read this and not accurately understanding that it was the figure of the cross, but taking it to be a placing crosswise, he said that the power next to the first God was placed crosswise in the universe. And as to his speaking of a third, he did this because he read, as said above, what was said by Moses, "that the Spirit of God moved over the waters." For he gives the second place to the Logos which is with God, whom he said was placed crosswise in the universe; and the third place to the Spirit who was said to be borne on the water, saying, "And the third around the third." And hear how the prophetic Spirit indicated through Moses that there should be a conflagration. He said this: "Everlasting fire shall descend, and shall devour to the pit beneath." It is not, then, that we hold the same opinions as others, but that all speak in imitation of ours. Among us these things can be heard and learned from persons who do not even know the forms of the letters, who are uneducated and barbarous in speech, though wise and believing in mind; some, indeed, even maimed and deprived of eyesight; so that you may understand that these things are not the effect of human wisdom, but are uttered by the power of God.
I will also relate the manner in which we dedicated ourselves to God when we had been made new through Christ; for fear that, if we omit this, we seem to be unfair in the explanation we are making. As many as are convinced and believe that what we teach and say is true, and undertake to be able to live accordingly, are taught to pray and to beg God with fasting, for the remission of their sins that are past, we praying and fasting with them. Then they are brought by us where there is water, and are regenerated similarly in which we were ourselves regenerated. For, in the name of God, the Father and Lord of the universe, and of our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit, they then receive the washing with water. For the Messiah also said, "Unless you be born again, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Now, that it is impossible for those who have once been born to enter into their mothers' wombs, is clear to all. And how those who have sinned and repent shall escape their sins, is declared by Isaiah the prophet, as I wrote above; he so speaks: "Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from your souls; learn to do well; judge the fatherless, and plead for the widow: and come and let us reason together, says the Lord. And though your sins be as scarlet, I will make them white like wool; and though they were as crimson, I will make them white as snow. But if you refuse and rebel, the sword shall devour you: for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it."
And for this practice we have learned from the apostles this reason. Since at our birth we were born without our own knowledge or choice, by our parents coming together, and were brought up in bad habits and wicked training; so that we may not remain the children of necessity and of ignorance, but may become the children of choice and knowledge, and may obtain in the water the remission of sins formerly committed, there is pronounced over him who chooses to be born again, and has repented of his sins, the name of God the Father and Lord of the universe; he who leads to the baptismal font the person that is to be washed calling him by this name alone. For no one can utter the name of the inexpressible God; and if anyone dare to say that there is a name, he raves with a hopeless madness. This washing is called illumination, because they who learn these things are illuminated in their understanding. And in the name of Jesus Christ, who was crucified under Pontius Pilate, and in the name of the Holy Spirit, who through the prophets foretold all things about Jesus, he who is illuminated is washed.
The devils, indeed, having heard this washing published by the prophet, instigated those who enter their temples, and are about to approach them with libations and burnt-offerings, also to sprinkle themselves; and they cause them also to wash themselves entirely, as they depart (from the sacrifice), before they enter into the shrines in which their images are set. And the command, too, given by the priests to those who enter and worship in the temples, that they take off their shoes, the devils, learning what happened to the above-mentioned prophet Moses, have given in imitation of these things. For at that juncture, when Moses was ordered to go down into Egypt and lead out the people of the Israelites who were there, and while he was tending the flocks of his maternal uncle in the land of Arabia, our Messiah conversed with him under the appearance of fire from a bush, and said, "Put off your shoes, and draw near and hear." And he, when he had put off his shoes and drawn near, heard that he was to go down into Egypt and lead out the people of the Israelites there; and he received mighty power from Christ, who spoke to him in the appearance of fire, and went down and led out the people, after doing great and marvellous things; which, if you desire to know, you will learn them accurately from his writings.
All the Jews even now teach that the nameless God spoke to Moses; on account of this the prophetic Spirit, accusing them by Isaiah the prophet mentioned above, said "The ox knows his owner, and the ass his master's crib; but Israel does not know me, and my people do not understand." And Jesus Christ, because the Jews knew not what the Father was, and what the Son, similarly accused them; and himself said, "No one knows the Father, but the Son; nor the Son, but the Father, and they to whom the Son reveals him." Now the Word of God is his Son, as we have before said. He is called Angel and Apostle; for he declares whatever we ought to know, and is sent out to declare whatever is revealed; as our Lord himself says, "He that hears me, hears him who sent me." From the writings of Moses also this will be manifest; for so it is written in them, "And the Angel of God spoke to Moses, in a flame of fire out of the bush, and said, I am that I am, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob, the God of your fathers; go down into Egypt, and bring out my people." And if you wish to learn what follows, you can do so from the same writings; for it is impossible to relate the whole here. But so much is written for the sake of proving that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and his Apostle, being of old the Word, and appearing sometimes in the form of fire, and sometimes in the likeness of angels; but now, by the will of God, having become man for the human race, he endured all the sufferings which the devils instigated the senseless Jews to inflict on him; who, though they have it expressly affirmed in the writings of Moses, "And the messenger of God spoke to Moses in a flame of fire in a bush, and said, I am that I am, the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob," yet maintain that he who said this was the Father and Creator of the universe. On account of this also the prophetic Spirit rebukes them, and says, "Israel does not know me, my people have not understood me." And again, Jesus, as we have already shown, while he was with them, said, "No one knows the Father, but the Son; nor the Son but the Father, and those to whom the Son will reveal him." The Jews, accordingly, being throughout of opinion that it was the Father of the universe who spoke to Moses, though he who spoke to him was indeed the Son of God, who is called both Angel and Apostle, are justly charged, both by the prophetic Spirit and by the Messiah himself, with knowing neither the Father nor the Son. For they who affirm that the Son is the Father, are proved neither to have become acquainted with the Father, nor to know that the Father of the universe has a Son; who also, being the first-begotten Word of God, is even God. And of old he appeared in the shape of fire and in the likeness of an messenger to Moses and to the other prophets; but now in the times of your reign, having, as we before said, become man by a virgin, according to the counsel of the Father, for the salvation of those who believe in him, he endured both to be despised and to suffer, that by dying and rising again he might conquer death. And that which was said out of the bush to Moses, "I am that I am, the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, and the God of your fathers," this indicated that they, even though dead, are let in existence, and are men belonging to the Messiah himself. For they were the first of all men to busy themselves in the search after God; Abraham being the father of Isaac, and Isaac of Jacob, as Moses wrote.
From what has been already said, you can understand how the devils, in imitation of what was said by Moses, asserted that Proserpine was the daughter of Jupiter, and instigated the people to set up an image of her under the name of Koré (the maiden or daughter) at the fountain-heads. For, as we wrote above, Moses said, "In the beginning God made the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form and unfurnished: and the Spirit of God moved on the face of the waters." In imitation, therefore, of what is here said of the Spirit of God moving on the waters, they said that Proserpine was the daughter of Jupiter. Similarly they craftily claimed that Minerva was the daughter of Jupiter, not by sexual union, but, knowing that God conceived and made the world by the Word, they say that Minerva is the first conception, which we consider to be very absurd, presenting the form of the conception in a female shape. Similarly the actions of those others who are called sons of Jupiter sufficiently condemn them.
But we, after we have so washed him who has been convinced and has assented to our teaching, bring him to the place where those who are called brethren are assembled, so that we may offer hearty prayers in common for ourselves and for the illuminated person, and for all others in every place, that we may be counted worthy, now that we have learned the truth, by our works also to be found good citizens and keepers of the commandments, so that we may be saved with an everlasting salvation. Having ended the prayers, we salute one another with a kiss of peace. There is then brought to the president of the brethren bread and a cup of wine mixed with water; and taking them, he gives praise and glory to the Father of the universe, through the name of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and offers thanks at considerable length for our being counted worthy to receive these things at his hands. When he has concluded the prayers and thanksgivings, all the people present express their assent by saying Amen. This word Amen in the Hebrew language means "so be it". When the president has given thanks, and all the people have expressed their assent, those whom we call deacons give to each of those present a share of the bread and wine mixed with water over which the thanksgiving was pronounced, and to those who are absent they carry away a portion.
Among us this food is called Eucharistia, and no one is allowed to share in it but those who believe that the things we teach are true, and have been washed with the washing for the remission of sins, and for regeneration, and who is so living as the Messiah has ordered. For we do not receive these as common food and drink; but similarly as Jesus Christ our Saviour, having been made flesh by the Word of God, took on both flesh and blood for our salvation, so likewise are we taught that the food which is blessed by the prayer of his word, and from which our blood and flesh are nourished, is the flesh and blood of that Jesus who was made flesh. For the apostles, in the memoirs composed by them, which are called Gospels, have so delivered to us what was ordered on them; that Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, said, "Do this in memory of me, this is my body;" and that, after the same way, having taken the cup and given thanks, he said, "This is my blood;" and gave it to them alone. The wicked devils have imitated this in the mysteries of Mithras, commanding the same to be done. For you either know or can learn that bread and a cup of water are placed with certain incantations in the mystic rites of one who is being initiated.
Afterwards we continually remind each other of these things. And the wealthy among us help the needy; and we always keep together; and for all things with which we are supplied, we bless the Maker of all through his Son Jesus Christ, and through the Holy Spirit. And on the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time allows. Then, when the reader has ceased, the president verbally instructs and exhorts to the imitation of these good things. Then we all rise together and pray, and, as we said before, when our prayer is ended, bread and wine and water are brought, and the president similarly offers prayers and thanksgivings, according to his ability, and the people assent, saying Amen. Afterwards there is a distribution to each, sharing that over which thanks have been given, and to those who are absent a portion is sent by the deacons. And they who are well-to-do, and willing, give what each thinks fit; and what is collected is deposited with the president, who helps the orphans and widows and those who, through sickness or any other cause, are in want, and those who are in prison and the exiles living among us, and in a word takes care of all who are in need. But Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly, because it is the first day on which God, having worked a change in darkness and matter, made the world; and Jesus Christ our Saviour on that same day rose from the dead. For he was crucified on the day before Saturn's-day (Saturday); and on the day after that it, which is the day of the Sun, having appeared to his apostles and disciples, he taught them these things, which we have submitted to you for your consideration.
If these things seem to you to be reasonable and true, honour them; but if they seem nonsensical, scorn them as nonsense, but do not decree death against those who have done no wrong, as you would against enemies. For we forewarn you, that if you continue in your injustice you shall not escape the coming judgment of God; and we ourselves will invite you to do what is pleasing to God. And though from the letter of the greatest and most illustrious emperor Hadrian, your father, we could insist that you demand that judgment be given as we have desired, yet we have made this appeal and explanation, not on the ground of Hadrian's decision, but because we know that what we ask is just. We have subjoined the copy of Hadrian's epistle, that you may know that we are speaking truly about this. And the following is the copy: -
I have received the letter addressed to me by your predecessor Serenius Granianus, a most illustrious man; and this communication I am unwilling to pass over in silence, for fear that innocent persons be disturbed, and occasion be given to the informers for practicing villainy. Accordingly, if the inhabitants of your province will so far sustain this petition of theirs as to accuse the Christians in some court of law, I do not prohibit them from doing so. But I will not allow them to make use of mere entreaties and outcries. For it is far more just, if anyone desires to make an accusation, that you give judgment on it. If, therefore, anyone makes the accusation, and furnishes proof that the said men do anything contrary to the laws, you shall assign punishments in proportion to the offences. This, by Hercules, you shall give special heed to, that if through mere calumny any man brings an accusation against any of these persons, you shall award to him more severe punishments in proportion to his wickedness.
The emperor Caesar Titus Aelius Adrianus Antoninus Augustus Pius, Supreme Pontiff, in the fifteenth year of his tribuneship, Consul for the third time, Father of the fatherland, to the Common Assembly of Asia, greeting. I should have thought that the gods themselves would see to it that such offenders might not escape. For if they had the power, they would much rather punish those who refuse to worship them; but it is you who bring trouble on these persons, and accuse what which they hold as the opinion of atheists, and accuse them of other things which we are unable to prove. But it would be advantageous to them to be seen to die for that of which they are accused, and they conquer you by being prodigal of their lives rather than yield the obedience which you require of them. But regarding the earthquakes which have already happened and are now occurring, it is not proper to remind us of them, losing heart whenever they occur, and so set your conduct in contrast to that of these men; for they have much greater confidence towards God than you have. Indeed you seem at such times to ignore the gods, and you neglect the temples, and pay no heed to the worship of God. Hence you are jealous of those who do serve him, and persecute them to the death. About such persons, some others of the provincial governors also wrote to my most divine father. To them he replied not to disturb such persons unless they were found to be attempting anything against the Roman government. And to myself many have sent accusations against such persons, to whom I also replied in line with my father's judgment. But if anyone has a matter to bring against any person of this class, merely for being such a person, let the accused be acquitted of the charge, even though he should be found to be so; but let the accuser he amenable to justice.
Testifying that the Christians were the cause of his victory
The emperor Caesar Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, Germanicus, Parthicus, Sarmaticus, to the People of Rome, and to the sacred Senate greeting: I explained to you my grand design, and the advantages I gained on the borders of Germany, with much labour and suffering, because of the fact that I was surrounded by the enemy being myself shut up in Carnuntum by seventy-four cohorts, nine miles off. When the enemy was near, the scouts pointed out to us, and our general Pompeianus showed us that closing upon us was a mixed multitude of men, which indeed we saw; and I was shut up by this vast host, having with me only a battalion composed of the first, tenth, double and marine legions.
Having then examined my own position and my army, compared to the vast mass of barbarians and of the enemy, I quickly had recourse to prayer to the gods of my country. But being disregarded by them, I summoned those who among us go by the name of Christians and having enquired, I discovered a great number of them, and raged against them, which was by no means becoming, since afterwards I learned their power. They began the battle, then, not by preparing weapons, or arms, or bugles, for such preparation is hateful to them on account of the God they carry about in their conscience. It is probable that those whom we imagine to be atheists, have God as their ruling power entrenched in their conscience, for having cast themselves on the ground, they prayed not only for me but for the whole army as it stood, that they might be saved from the present thirst and hunger. For during five days we had got no water, for there was none because we were in the heart of Germany, and in the enemy's territory.
Just as they threw themselves on the ground, praying to God (a God of whom I am ignorant), water poured from heaven on us, most refreshingly cool, but on the enemies of Rome fell a withering hail. Immediately we recognised the presence of God following on the prayer - a God unconquerable and indestructible. Based on this, then, let us pardon any who are Christians, for fear that they pray for and obtain such a weapon against ourselves. I advise that no such person be accused on the ground of being a Christian. But if anyone be found accusing a Christian of being a Christian, I want it made clear that he who is accused as a Christian, and acknowledges that he is one, is accused of no more than this, that he is a Christian; but that he who arraigns him be burned alive. I further desire, that he who is entrusted with the government of the province shall not compel the Christian who confesses and certifies this fact, to retract; neither shall he arrest him. I desire too that these things be confirmed by a decree of the Senate. And I command this my edict to be published in the Forum of Trajan, so that it be read. The prefect Vitrasius Pollio will see that it be transmitted to all the surrounding provinces and that no one who wishes to make use of or to possess it be hindered from obtaining a copy from the document I now publish.
1. Protest at the injustices done to Christians
2. Urbicus condemns the Christians to death
3. Crescens is ignorantly prejudiced against Christians
4. Why the Christians do not kill themselves
5. How the angels transgressed
6. The names of God and of Christ, their meaning and power
7. The world spared for the sake of Christians. Man's responsibility
8. All have been hated in whom the Word has dwelt.
9. Eternal punishment not a mere threat
10. the Messiah compared with Socrates
11. How Christians view Death
12. Christians proved innocent by their contempt of death.
13. How the Word has been in all people
14. Justin prays that this appeal be published
15. Silent from now on, having done what we could
1. Protest at the injustices done to Christians
Romans, the things which have recently happened in your city under Urbicus, and that are being everywhere likewise unreasonably done by the governors, have compelled me to frame this document for your sakes, who are men of like passions, and brethren, though you know it not, and though you be unwilling to acknowledge it on account of your glorying in what you esteem dignities. For everywhere, whoever is corrected by father, or neighbour, or child, or friend, or brother, or husband, or wife, for a fault, for being hard to move, for loving pleasure and being hard to urge to what is right (except those who have been convinced that the unjust and unrestrained shall be punished in eternal fire, but that the virtuous and those who lived like the Messiah shall dwell with God in a state that is free from suffering, - we mean, those who have become Christians), and the evil demons who hate us, and who keep people like these subject to themselves, and serving them in the capacity of judges, incite them, as rulers actuated by evil spirits, to put us to death. But that the cause of what has taken place under Urbicus may be quite plain to you, I will relate what was done.
A certain woman lived with an unrestrained husband; she herself, too, having formerly been unrestrained. But when she came to know the teachings of the Messiah she became sober-minded, and tried to convince her husband likewise to be temperate, citing the teaching of Christ, and assuring him who there shall be punishment in eternal fire inflicted on those who do not live temperately and by right reason. But he, continuing in the same excesses, alienated his wife from him by his actions. For she, considering it wicked to live any longer as a wife with a husband who sought every means of indulging in pleasure contrary to the Law of nature, and in violation of what is right, wished to be divorced from him. When she was convinced by her friends, who advised her still to continue with him, in the idea that some time or other her husband might give hope of amendment, she suppressed her own feeling and remained with him. But when her husband had gone into Alexandria, and was reported to be conducting himself worse than ever, she - that she might not, by continuing in matrimonial connection with him, and by sharing his table and his bed, become a sharer in his wickedness and impieties - gave him what you call a bill of divorce, and was separated from him. But this noble husband, - who ought to have been rejoicing that she had given up those actions which formerly she used to freely commit with the servants and hirelings, when she delighted in drunkenness and every vice, and desired that he too should give up the same, - when she had gone from him without his desire, brought an accusation against her, affirming that she was a Christian. And she presented a paper to you, the emperor, requesting that first she be permitted to arrange her affairs, and afterwards to make her defence against the accusation, when her affairs were set in order. This you granted. And her quondam husband, since he was now no longer able to prosecute her, directed his assaults against a man, Ptolemaeus, whom Urbicus punished, and who had been her teacher in the Christian doctrines. This he did in as follows. He convinced a centurion - who had put Ptolemaeus into prison, and who was friendly to himself - to take Ptolemaeus and interrogate him just on this point: whether he was a Christian? And Ptolemaeus being a lover of truth, and not of a deceitful or false disposition, when he confessed himself to be a Christian, was put in chains by the centurion, and for a long time punished in the prison. Finally, when the man came to Urbicus, he was asked this one question only: whether he was a Christian? And again, conscious of his duty and the nobility of it through the teaching of Christ, he confessed his discipleship in the divine virtue. For he who denies anything, either denies it because he condemns the thing itself, or he shrinks from confession because he is conscious of his own unworthiness or alienation from it; neither of which is the case of the true Christian. When Urbicus ordered him to be led away to punishment, one Lucius, who was also a Christian, seeing the unreasonable judgment that had been given, said to Urbicus: "What is the ground of this judgment? Why have you punished this man, not as an adulterer, or fornicator, or murderer, or thief, or robber, or convicted of any crime at all, but who has only confessed that he is called by the name of Christian? This judgment of yours, Urbicus, does not become the emperor Pius, nor the philosopher, the son of Caesar, nor the sacred senate." He said nothing else in answer to Lucius but this: "You also seem to me to be such a person." When Lucius answered, "Most certainly I am," he ordered him also to be led away; and he gave thanks, knowing that he was delivered from such wicked rulers, and was going to the Father and King of the heavens. And still a third having come forward, was condemned to be punished.
I too, therefore, expect to be plotted against and fixed to the stake, by some of those I have named, or perhaps by Crescens, that lover of bravado and boasting; for the man is not worthy of the name of philosopher who publicly bears witness against us in matters which he does not understand, saying that the Christians are atheists and impious, and doing so to win favour with the deluded mob, and to please them. For anyone assails us without having read the teachings of Christ, is thoroughly depraved, and far worse than the illiterate, who often refrain from discussing or bearing false witness about matters they do not understand. Or, if he has read them and does not understand the majesty that is in them, or, understanding it, acts so that he may not be suspected of being a Christian, he is far more base and thoroughly depraved, being conquered by craven and unreasonable opinion and fear. For I would have you to know that I put to him certain questions on this subject, and questioned him, and found most convincingly that he, in truth, knows nothing. And to prove that I speak the truth, I am ready, if these disputations have not been reported to you, to conduct them again in your presence. This would be an act worthy of a prince. But if my questions and his answers have been shown to you, you are already aware that he is acquainted with none of our matters; or, if he is acquainted with them, but, through fear of those who might hear him, does not dare to speak out, like Socrates, he proves himself, as I said before, no philosopher, but an opinionated man; at least he does not regard that Socratic and most admirable saying: "A man must in no way be honoured before the truth." But is is impossible for a Cynic, who makes indifference his end, to know any good but indifference.
Now, for fear that someone say to us, "Go then all of you and kill yourselves, and pass over to God, and do not trouble us," I will tell you why we do not so, but why, when examined, we fearlessly confess. We have been taught that God did not make the world aimlessly, but for the sake of the human race; and we have before stated that he takes pleasure in those who imitate his properties, and is displeased with those who embrace what is worthless either in word or deed. If, then, we all kill ourselves, we shall become the cause, as far as in us lies, why no one should be born, or taught in the divine doctrines, or even why the human race should not exist; and we would, if we so acted, ourselves be acting in opposition to the will of God. But when we are examined, we make no denial, because we are not conscious of any evil, but count it impious not to speak the truth in all things, which also we know is pleasing to God, and also because we are now very eager to deliver you from an unjust prejudice.
But if someone has the notion that if we acknowledge God as our helper, we would not be, as we say, oppressed and persecuted by the wicked; this, too, I will resolve. God, when he had made the whole world, and subjected earthly things to man, and arranged the heavenly elements for the increase of fruits and rotation of the seasons, and appointed this divine law - for these things also he clearly made for man - committed the care of humans and of all things under heaven to angels whom he appointed over them. But the angels transgressed this appointment, and were captivated by love of women, and begot children who are those who are called demons; and besides, they afterwards subdued the human race to themselves, partly by magical writings, and partly by fears and punishments they occasioned, and partly by teaching them to offer sacrifices, and incense, and libations, of which things they stood in need after they enslaved by lustful passions; and among men they sowed murders, wars, adulteries, unrestrained needs, and all wickedness. On account of this also the poets and mythologists, not knowing that it was the angels and those demons who had been begotten by those who did these things to men, and women, and cities, and nations, which they related, ascribed them to God himself, and to those who were accounted to be his very offspring, and to the offspring of those who were called his brothers, Neptune and Pluto, and to the children again of these their offspring. For whatever name each of the angels had given to himself and his children, by that name they called them.
But to the Father of all, who is unbegotten, no name is given. For by whatever name he might be called, he would have as his elder the person who gives him the name. But these words, Father, and God, and Creator, and Lord, and master, are not names, but titles derived from his good actions and functions. And his son, who along is properly called Son, the Word, who also was with him and was begotten before the works, when at first he created and arranged all things by him, is called Christ, concerning his being anointed and God's ordering all things through him; this name itself also containing an unknown significance; as also the title "God" is not a name, but an opinion implanted in the nature of men of a thing that can hardly be explained. But "Jesus," his name as man and Saviour, also has significance. For he was made man, as we before said, having been conceived according to the will of God the Father, for the sake of believing men, and for the destruction of the demons. And now you can learn from what is under your own observation. For numberless demoniacs throughout the whole world, and in your city, many of our Christian men exorcising them in the name of Jesus Christ, who was crucified under Pontius Pilate, have healed and do heal, rendering helpless and driving the possessing devils out of the men, though they could not be cured by all the other exorcists, and those who used incantations and drugs.
Therefore God delays causing the confusion and destruction of the whole world, by which the wicked angels and demons and men shall cease to exist, because of the seed of the Christians, who know that they are the cause of preservation in nature. Since, if it were not so, it would not have been possible for you to do these things, and to be impelled by evil spirits; but the fire of judgment would descend and utterly dissolve all things, even as formerly the flood left nobody but him only with his family who is by us called Noah, and by you Deucalion, from whom again such vast numbers have sprung, some of them evil and others good. For so we say that there will be the conflagration, but not as the Stoics, according to their doctrine of all things being changed into one another, which seems most degrading. But neither do we affirm that it is by fate that people do what they do, or suffer what they suffer, but that each man by free choice acts rightly or sins; and that it is by the influence of the wicked demons that earnest men, such as Socrates and the like, suffer persecution and are in bonds, while Sardanapalus, Epicurus, and the like, seem to be blessed in abundance and glory. The Stoics, not observing this, maintained that all things take place according to the necessity of fate. But since God in the beginning made the race of angels and people with free-will, they will justly suffer in eternal fire the punishment of whatever sins they have committed. This is the nature of all that is made, to be capable of vice and virtue. For neither would any of them be praiseworthy unless there were power to turn to both (virtue and vice). This also is shown by those people everywhere who have made laws and philosophized according to right reason, by their prescribing to do some things and refrain from others. Even the Stoic philosophers, in their doctrine of morals, steadily honour the same things, so that it is clear that they are not very felicitous in what they say about principles and incorporeal things. For if they say that human actions happen by fate, they will maintain either that God is nothing else than the things which are ever turning, and altering, and dissolving into the same things, and will appear to have had a comprehension only of things that are destructible, and to have looked on God himself as emerging both in part and in whole in every wickedness; or that neither vice or virtue is anything; which is contrary to every sound idea, reason, and sense.
And those of the Stoic school - since, so far as their moral teaching went, they were admirable, as were also the poets in some particulars, on account of the seed of reason (the Logos) implanted in every race of people - were, we know, hated and put to death, - Heraclitus for instance, and, among those of our own time, Musonius and others. For, as we intimated, the devils have always effected, that all those who anyhow live a reasonable and earnest life, and shun vice, be hated. And it is nothing wonderful; if the devils are proved to cause those to be much worse hated who live not according to a part only of the word diffused (among men), but by the knowledge and contemplation of the whole Word, which is Christ. And they, having been shut up in eternal fire, shall suffer their just punishment and penalty. For if they are even now destroyed by men through the name of Jesus Christ, this is an intimation of the punishment in eternal fire which is to be inflicted on themselves and those who serve them. For so did both all the prophets foretell, and our own teacher Jesus teach.
And that nobody may say what is said by those who are deemed philosophers, that our assertions that the wicked are punished in eternal fire are big words and bugbears, and that we wish people to live virtuously through fear, and not because such a life is good and pleasant; I will briefly reply to this, that if this be not so, God does not exist; or, if he exists, he cares not for people, and neither virtue nor vice is anything, and, as we said before, lawgivers unjustly punish those who transgress good commandments. But since these are not unjust, and their Father teaches them by the word to do the same things as himself, they who agree with them are not unjust. And if one object that the laws of men are diverse, and say that with some, one thing is considered good, another evil, while with others what seemed bad to the former is esteemed good, and what seemed good is esteemed bad, let him listen to what we say to this. We know that the wicked angels appointed laws conformable to their own wickedness, in which the people who are like them delight; and the right Reason, when he came, proved that not all opinions nor all doctrines are good, but that some are evil, while others are good. Therefore, I will declare the same and similar things to such people as these, and, if need be, they shall be spoken of more at large. But at present I return to the subject.
Our doctrines, then, seem to be greater than all human teaching; because Christ, who appeared for our sakes, became the whole rational being, both body, and reason, and soul. For whatever either lawgivers or philosophers uttered well, they elaborated by finding and contemplating some part of the Word. But since they did not know the whole of the Word, which is Christ, they often contradicted themselves. And those who by human birth were more ancient than Christ, when they attempted to consider and prove things by reason, were brought before the tribunals as impious persons and busybodies. And Socrates, who was more zealous in this direction than all of them, was accused of the very same crimes as ourselves. For they said that he was introducing new divinities, and did not consider those to be gods whom the state recognised. But he cast out from the state both Homer and the rest of the poets, and taught people to reject the wicked demons and those who did the things which the poets related; and he exhorted them to become acquainted with the God who was to them unknown, by means of investigation of reason, saying, "That it is neither easy to find the Father and Maker of all, nor, having found him, is it safe to declare him to all." But these things our Messiah did though his own power. For nobody trusted in Socrates so as to die for this doctrine, but in Christ, who was partially known even by Socrates (for he was and is the Word who is in everyone, and who foretold the things that were to happen both through the prophets and in his own person when he was made of like passions, and taught these things), not only philosophers and scholars believed, but also artisans and people entirely uneducated, despising both glory, and fear, and death; since he is a power of the inexpressible Father, and not the mere instrument of human reason.
But neither should we be put to death, nor would wicked people and devils be more powerful than we, were not death a debt due by everyone that is born. Therefore we give thanks when we pay this debt. And we judge it right and opportune to tell here, for the sake of Crescens and those who rave as he does, what is related by Xenophon. Hercules, says Xenophon, coming to a place where three ways met, found Virtue and Vice, who appeared to him in the form of women: Vice, in a luxurious dress, and with a seductive expression rendered blooming by such ornaments, and her eyes of a quickly melting tenderness, said to Hercules that if he would follow her, she would always enable him to pass his life in pleasure and adorned with the most graceful ornaments, those who were then on her own person; and Virtue, who was of squalid look and dress, said, But if you obey me, you shall adorn yourself not with ornament nor beauty that passes away and perishes, but with everlasting and precious graces. And we are convinced that everyone who flees those things that seem to be good, and follows hard after what are reckoned difficult and strange, enters into blessedness. For Vice, when by imitation of what is incorruptible (for what is really incorruptible she neither has nor can produce) she has thrown around her own actions, as a disguise, the properties of Virtue, and qualities which are really excellent, leads captive earthly-minded people, attaching to Virtue her own evil properties. But those who understood the excellencies which belong to what is real, are also uncorrupt in virtue. This every sensible person ought to think both of Christians and of the athletes, and of those who did what the poets relate of the so-called gods, concluding as much from our contempt of death, even when it could be escaped.
For I myself, too, when I delighted in the doctrines of Plato, and heard the Christians slandered, and saw them fearless of death, and of all other things which are counted fearful, perceived that it was impossible that they could be living in wickedness and pleasure. For what sensual or unrestrained man, or who that counts it good to feast on human flesh, could welcome death that he might be deprived of his enjoyments, and would not rather continue always the present life, and try to escape the observation of the rulers; and much less would he denounce himself when the consequence would be death? This also the wicked demons have now caused to be done by evil people. For having put some to death on account of the accusations falsely brought against us, they also dragged to the torture our domestics, either children or weak women, and by dreadful torments forced them to admit those fabulous actions which they themselves openly perpetrate; about which we are the less concerned, because none of these actions are really ours, and we have the unbegotten and inexpressible God as witness both of our thoughts and actions. For why did we not even publicly profess that these were the things which we esteemed good, and prove that these are the divine philosophy, saying that the mysteries of Saturn are performed when we slay a man, and that when we drink our fill of blood, as it is said we do, we are doing what you do before that idol you honour, and on which you sprinkle the blood not only of irrational animals, but also of people, making a libation of the blood of the slain by the hand of the most illustrious and noble man among you? And imitating Jupiter and the other gods in sodomy and shameless intercourse with woman, might we not bring as our apology the writings of Epicurus and the poets? But because we persuade people to avoid such teaching, and all who practise them and imitate such examples, as now in this discourse we have striven to convince you, we are assailed in every kind of way. But we are not concerned, since we know that God is a just observer of all. But if only even now someone would mount a lofty rostrum, and shout with a loud voice, "Be ashamed, be ashamed, you who charge the guiltless with those actions which yourselves openly commit, and ascribe things which apply to yourselves and to your gods to those who have not even the slightest sympathy with them. Be converted; become wise."
For I myself, when I discovered the wicked disguise which the evil spirits had thrown around the divine doctrines of the Christians, to turn aside others from joining them, laughed both at those who framed these falsehoods, and at the disguise itself, and at popular opinion; and I confess that I both boast and will all my strength strive to be found a Christian; not because the teachings of Plato are different from those of Christ, but because they are not in all respects similar, as neither are those of the others, Stoics, and poets, and historians. For each man spoke well in proportion to the share he had of the spermatic word, seeing what was related to it. But they who contradict themselves on the more important points appear not to have possessed the heavenly wisdom, and the knowledge which cannot be spoken against. Whatever things were rightly said among all people, are the property of us Christians. For next to God, we worship and love the Word who is from the unbegotten and inexpressible God, since also he became man for our sakes, that, becoming a partaker of our sufferings, he might also bring us healing. For all the writers were able to see realities darkly through the sowing of the implanted word that was in them. For the seed and imitation imparted according to capacity is one thing, and quite another is the thing itself, of which there is the participation and imitation according to the grace which is from him.
So we ask you to publish this little book, appending what you think right, that our opinions may be known to others, and that these persons may have a fair chance of being freed from erroneous notions and ignorance of good, who by their own fault are become subject to punishment; that so these things may be published to men, because it is in the nature of man to know good and evil; and by their condemning us, whom they do not understand, for actions which they say are wicked, and by delighting in the gods who did such things, and even now require similar actions from people, and by inflicting on us death or bonds or some other such punishment, as if we were guilty of these things, they condemn themselves, so that there is no need of other judges.
And I despised the wicked and deceitful doctrine of Simon, of my own nation. And if you give this book your authority, we will expose him before all, that, if possible, they may be converted. For this purpose alone did we compose this treatise. And our doctrines are not shameful, according to a sober judgment, but are indeed more lofty than all human philosophy; and if not so, they are at least unlike the doctrines of the Sotadists, and Philaenidians, and Dancers, and Epicureans, and such other teachings of the poets, which all are allowed to acquaint themselves with, both as acted and as written. And from now on we shall be silent, after doing as much as we could, and having added the prayer that all people everywhere may be counted worthy of the truth. And if only you also, in a manner becoming piety and philosophy, would for your own sakes judge justly!
1. How the Dialogue came about
2. Justin describes his studies in philosophy
3. Justin tells of his conversion.
4. The soul of itself cannot see God
5. The soul is not of its own nature immortal
6. These things were unknown to Plato and other philosophers
7. The knowledge of truth to be sought from the prophets alone
8. By this man's speech, Justin is kindled with love to the Messiah
9. Christian faith not based on groundless stories
10. Trypho blames the Christians only for not observing the law
11. The Law abrogated and a New Covenant given by God
12. The Jews wrongly interpret the Law of Moses
13. For Isaiah, sins are forgiven through Christ's blood
14. Righteousness is not from rites, but from conversion and baptism
15. Isaiah shows the true nature of "fasting"
16. Circumcision did not save Jerusalem when it rejected the Messiah
17. The Jews spread calumnies on Christians throughout the earth
18. We would observe the law, if we did not know why it was instituted
19. Without circumcision, these people were just
20. Why the food-laws were prescribed.
21. The Jewish laws were imperfect
22. Similarly, their sacrifices and oblations were unavailing
23. The Jewish view of the Law is an affront to God
24. Spiritual circumcision is more excellent
25. In vain is the Jews' boast of being Abraham's children
26. No salvation to the Jews except through Christ
27. Why God taught the same things by the prophets as by Moses
28. True righteousness is obtained by the Messiah
29. Many "outsiders" are witnessed to by God himself
30. Your nation is called to conversion, to the Messiah
31. The Messiah's victory is prophesied by Daniel
32. Trypho's Messiah is only glorious; Justin distinguishes two advents
33. This Psalm is about Christ, who is a priest for Jew and Gentile
34. Neither does Psalm 72 apply to Solomon, whose sins were shocking
35. Though we have heretics, they fulfil what Jesus predicted
36. In Ps 24 the Messiah is called King of Glory
37. The same is proved from Psalms 46 and 98 (47 & 99 NRSV)
38. Trypho objects to the Messiah being adored; but Justin says it, from Psalm 45 (46 NRSV).
39. It is due to hardness of heart, that the Jews reject Jesus as the Messiah
40. The Mosaic law prefigures various aspects of the Messiah
41. The offering of fine flour prefigured the Eucharist
42. The bells on the priest's robe prefigured the apostles
43. The Law had its end in Christ, who was born of the virgin
44. Salvation cannot be obtained except through Christ
45. Those righteous under the Law shall be saved by the Messiah
46. The Mosaic Law no longer contributes to fidelity and righteousness
47. Some Christians still observe the Mosaic law, though many do not
48. Trypho challenges the idea of a pre-existent Messiah
49. Elijah was the precursor of his first coming
50. Proof from Isaiah that John is the precursor of the Messiah
51. Justin shows how this prophecy has been fulfilled
52. Jacob also predicted the two advents of the Messiah
53. The prediction that Christ would ride on a donkey
54. What is meant by "the blood of the grape"
55. Trypho asks how, without metaphor, the Messiah can be proved to be God
56. The God of Moses is distinguished from God the Father
57. How can the Messiah have eaten, if he is God?
58. The same is proved from the visions of Jacob
59. God, as distinct from "the Father," conversed with Moses
60. Jewish opinions about the Lord who appeared in the bush
61. Wisdom is begotten of the Father, as fire comes from fire
62. The words "let us make man" agree with the testimony of proverbs
63. Reasons to believe that this God was incarnate
64. Justin's reply to Trypho's denial that he needs this Messiah
65. Objection: God does not give his glory to another.
66. Proof from Isaiah that God was born from a Virgin
67. Trypho compares the virgin birth of Jesus with that of Perseus
68. Justin suspects Trypho of bad faith
69. The devil, emulating truth, invented the fables about Bacchus and Hercules
70. The Mysteries of Mithras are distortions of the prophecies
71. The Jew rejects the interpretation of the Septuagint
72. Passages removed by the Jews from Ezra and Jeremiah
73. The words "from the wood" have been removed from Psalm 96.
74. Trypho attributes the beginning of Psalm 96 to the Father
75. Jesus was the Name of God, in the Book of Exodus
76. Other passages proving the Messiah's majesty and power
77. Further explanations of the prophecy of Isaiah
78. Showing how this prophecy harmonises with the Messiah alone
79. How the rebel angels revolted from God
80. Heresy and Orthodoxy among Christians
81. Arguments from Isaiah and the Apocalypse
82. The Jewish prophetic gifts are transferred to the Christians
83. The words, "The Lord said to my Lord," do not refer to Hezekiah
84. The prophecy, "behold, a virgin shall conceive" suits the Messiah alone
85. Psalm 24 proves that Christ is the Lord of Hosts
86. The rods of Jacob and of Moses prefigured the Cross
87. How can the Pre-existent One, later be filled with gifts of the Spirit?
88. These gifts continue, for our sake
89. Trypho's main problem: how could the Messiah be crucified?
90. Moses' outstretched arms prefigured the Cross
91. The cross is foretold in the blessings of Jacob, and the serpent lifted up
92. The Scriptures must be understood by grace
93. Christ teaches the same way of righteousness for all
94. In what sense is he who hangs on the tree "accursed"?
95. Christ took on himself the curse that belongs to us
96. Other nations do carry out the curse, by putting Christians to death
97. Other predictions of the crucifixion
98. Psalm 22 applies in detail to his passion.
99. The dying words of the Messiah are also from this Psalm
100. How the Messiah is called "Israel" and his resurrection predicted
101. "Our fathers trusted in you" - the Messiah refers all things to the Father
102. "My hope from the womb of my mother" foretold the Messiah's birth
103. "Bulls have beset me" refers to the Pharisees; "roaring lion" is Herod
104. This Psalm predicted many details of the Messiah's death
105. The "horns of the unicorns" and other figures, pointed to his crucifixion
106. "I will declare your name to my brethren": His resurrection
107. An evil and adulterous generation
108. Despite all this, Jewish agitators still oppose the faith
109. Micah predicted the conversion of the Gentiles
110. "The Lord shall reign" is already fulfilled in part
111. Old Testament types of the two Advents of the Messiah
112. The Jews fail to grasp the full force of the prophecies
113. Jeho-shua was a figure of Jesus, our Messiah
114. Guidelines for discerning what is prophecied about Christ
115. Zechariah shows the mystery of Christ, for those disposed to see it
116. Through Christ our high priest, we strip off our past sinfulness
117. Malachi's "from the rising of the sun" is fulfilled among Christians
118. "Repent before the day of judgment," as the Christians do
119. Christians, called by God, are the people promised to Abraham
120. Christians also fulfil the promises made to Isaac and to Jacob.
121. The blessing of all the nations proves that Jesus is the Christ
122. "A light to the Gentiles" applies to Christian mission
123. Both earlier and later prophecies refer to the Messiah
124. Indications that Christians are the children of God
125. How well the word "Israel" refers to Christ
126. How Christ is called by many names in the Old Testament
127. Often the word "Lord" refers not to the Father but to the Word
128. The power that came on Abraham, etc., was Christ himself
129. References to God in the plural, hint at the holy Trinity
130. "Rejoice, you nations" predicts the conversion of the Gentiles
131. Gentile martyrs are more faithful than you Jews
132. The many infidelities of the Jewish people
133. Hard-heartedness of the Jews, for whom Christians pray
134. Jacob's marriages prefigure the Synagogue and the Church
135. Christ is king of the Church, the true Israel
136. In rejecting Christ, you reject the Father who sent Him
137. Do not scorn God's healing stripes
138. Noah is a figure of Christ, who saved us by water and by wood
139. The blessings and the curse spoken by Noah, still apply
140. Until you accept salvation from Christ, you drink from broken cisterns
141. Free-will: we must repent of the evil that we do
142. Trypho and friends take leave of Justin, with thanks
While I was going about one morning walking beside the Xystus, a certain man, in company with some others, met me and said, "Hail, the philosopher!" And immediately after saying this, he turned around and walked along with me, followed by his friends, and I asked, "What is the matter?"
He replied, "I was taught, by Corinthus the Socratic in Argos, not to scorn or treat with indifference those who wear this costume, but to show them all kindness, and to associate with them, since there could be some advantage either to such a man or to myself from the exchange. Moreover it is good for both, if either the one or the other be benefited. Therefore, whenever I see anyone in this costume, I gladly approach him, and it is for the same reason that I have readily accosted you; and these accompany me, expecting of hear for themselves something profitable from you."
"But who are you, most excellent man?" I asked him in jest. Without hesitation he told me his name and his family. "My name is Trypho, and I am a Hebrew of the circumcision. After escaping from the war that recently took place there, I am spending my days in Greece, and chiefly in Corinth."
"And how," I asked, "would you profit from philosophy so much as from your own lawgiver and the prophets?"
"Why not?" he replied. "Do not the philosophers refer every discourse to God? And do not questions continually arise to them about his unity and providence? Is not this the real duty of philosophy, to investigate the Deity?"
Indeed," I said, "that is what we too believe. But the majority have not given thought to this, whether there is one or more gods, and whether they care for each one of us or not, as if this knowledge contributed nothing to our happiness. Instead they try to convince us that God takes care of the universe with its genera and species, but not of me and you and each one individually, since otherwise we would surely not need to pray to him day and night. But it is easy to understand the upshot of this; for fearlessness and untrammeled speech result for men who hold these opinions, doing and saying whatever they choose, neither dreading punishment nor hoping for any benefit from God. For how could they? They affirm that the same things shall always happen anyway; and further, that I and you shall again live similarly, having become neither better people nor worse. But there are some others, who holding the soul to be immortal and immaterial, believe that though they have committed evil they will not suffer punishment (for what is immaterial is insensible), and that the soul, because of its immortality, needs nothing from God."
And he said, smiling gently, "Tell us your opinion of these matters, and what idea you hold about God, and what your philosophy is."
I said, "I will tell you what I think. Philosophy is, in fact, the greatest possession, and most honourable before God, to whom it leads us and commends us; and those who have paid attention to philosophy are truly holy people. But the majority have not perceived what philosophy is, however, and the reason why it has been sent down to human beings. For if so, as this knowledge is one, there would be neither Platonists, nor Stoics, nor Peripatetics, nor Theoretics, nor Pythagoreans. I wish to tell you why it has become many-faceted. It has happened that those who first dealt with it and who were therefore esteemed illustrious, were succeeded by people who made no investigations into truth, but only admired the perseverance and self-discipline of their predecessors, as well as the novelty of their doctrines; and each considered as true what he learned from his teacher. In turn, they handed down to their successors these and similar such things, and this system was called by the name of the one deemed the father of the doctrine. Having at first a desire to personally converse with one of these people, I handed myself over to a certain Stoic; and having spent a considerable time with him and not acquired any further knowledge of God (for he himself did not know him, and said such teaching was unnecessary), I left him and had recourse to another, who was called a Peripatetic and fancied himself as shrewd. This man, after having entertained me for the first few days, requested me to settle the fee, so that our exchange might not be unprofitable. For this reason I abandoned him too, believing him to be no philosopher at all. But when my soul was eager to hear a special and choice philosophy, I came to a very celebrated Pythagorean - a person who thought much of his own wisdom. But when I had an interview with him, willing to become his hearer and disciple, he said, "Well then - Are you acquainted with music, astronomy, and geometry? Do you expect to grasp any of the things which lead to a happy life, if you have not first been taught in the areas which wean the soul from sensible objects, and render it fit for objects appertaining to the mind, so that it can contemplate what is honourable and good in its essence?" Having commended many of these branches of learning, and telling me that they were necessary, he dismissed me when I confessed my ignorance to him. Naturally I took it rather impatiently when I failed in my hope, the more so as I deemed the man had some knowledge, but reflecting on the amount of time I would have to spend on those branches of learning, I was unable to bear any further delay. In my helpless condition it occurred to me to meet with the Platonists, whose fame was great. Thereupon I spent as much of my time as possible with one who had recently settled in our city, - a sagacious man, holding a high position among the Platonists, - and I progressed and greatly improved daily. And the perception of immaterial things quite overpowered me, and the contemplation of ideas gave wings to my mind, so that in a short while I thought I had become wise; and such was my stupidity, I expected immediately to look upon God, for this is the goal of Plato's philosophy.
"And while I was in that frame of mind, at a time when I wished to be filled with great calm and to shun the path of men, I used to go into a certain field not far from the sea. As I was near that spot one day, where I intended to be by myself, a certain old man, of not inconsiderable appearance and gentle and respectful in manner, followed me at a little distance. When I halted and turned round to him and fixed my eyes keenly on him, he said, "Do you know me?" I replied in the negative.
"Why then," said he to me, "do you look at me in that way?" "I am surprised," I said, "that you happen to be in my company in this place; for I had not expected to see anyone here." He says to me, "I am concerned about some of my household who have gone off from me and have come to search for them in case they may turn up somewhere. But why are you here?" "I delight in such walks," I said, "where my attention is not distracted and can converse without interruption with myself - for such places are most fit for enquiring for words."
"Are you, then, a philologist," said he, rather than a lover of actions or of truth? Do you not aim at being a sophist rather than being a practical man?" "What greater work," I said, "could one achieve than to show the reason which governs all, and having grasped it, and riding upon it, to look down on the errors of others and their pursuits? For without philosophy and right reason, prudence would not be present to any man. Therefore it is necessary for everyone to philosophize, and to deem this the greatest and most honourable work and other things as only of second- or third-rate importance, though, indeed, if they were brought to depend on philosophy, they are of moderate value, and worthy of acceptance. Deprived of it, and not accompanying it, they are vulgar and coarse to those who pursue them."
"Does philosophy, then, produce happiness?" said he, interrupting. "Certainly," I said, "and it alone." "What, then, is philosophy?" he says; "and what is happiness? Pray tell me, unless something prevents you from saying."
"Philosophy," I said, "is the knowledge of that which really exists, and a clear perception of the truth; and happiness is the reward of such knowledge and wisdom." "But what do you call God?" said he.
"That which always retains the same nature, and similarly, and is the cause of all other things - that, is God." That is how I answered him; and he listened to me with pleasure, and again questioned me: -
"Is not knowledge a term common to different matters? For in arts of all kinds, he who knows anyone of them is called expert, whether in the art of generalship, or of ruling, or of healing. But in divine and human affairs it is not so. Is there a knowledge which affords understanding of human and divine things, and then a thorough acquaintance with the divinity and the righteousness between them?" "Indeed there is," I replied.
"Well then, do we know man and God similarly as we know music, and arithmetic, and astronomy, or any other similar branch?" "By no means," I replied.
"You have not answered me correctly," he said, "for some things come to us by learning, or by some employment, while others we know by sight. Now, if one were to tell you that there exists in India an animal with a nature unlike all others, but of such and such a kind, multiform and various, you would not know it before you saw it; but neither would you be able to give any account of it, unless you heard from one who had seen it." "Certainly not," I said.
"How then," he said, "can the philosophers judge correctly about God, or speak the truth about him, when they have no knowledge of him, having neither seen him at any time, nor heard him?" "But, father," I said, "the Deity cannot be seen merely by the eyes, as other living beings can, but is discernible to the mind alone, as Plato says; and I believe him."
"Is there then," he says, "such a great power in our mind? Or can a person not sooner perceive by sense ? Will the mind of man see God at any time, if it is untaught by the Holy Spirit?"
"Plato indeed says," I replied, "that the mind's eye is of such a nature, and has been given for this purpose, that we may, when the mind itself is pure, see that very Being who is the cause of all discerned by the mind, having no colour, no form, no size - nothing, indeed, which the bodily eye beholds. He goes on to say, It is something of a kind that is beyond all essence, unutterable and inexplicable, but alone honourable and good, coming suddenly into souls that are well-disposed, on account of their affinity to and desire to see him."
"What affinity, then," he answered, "is there between us and God? Is the soul also divine and immortal, and a part of that very regal mind? And even as it sees God, is it also attainable by us to conceive of the Deity in our mind, and thence to become happy?" "Certainly," I said.
"And do all the souls of all living beings understand him?" he asked; "or is the human soul of one kind and the souls of horses and of asses of another kind?"
"No," I answered, "for the souls in all are similar." "Then," he says, "shall both horses and asses see, or at some time or other have they seen, God?"
"No," I said; "and the majority of people will not either, except for those who live justly, purified by righteousness, and by every other virtue." "Then," said he, "a person sees God not on account of his affinity, nor because he has a mind, but because he is temperate and righteous?"
"Yes," I said; "and because he has that whereby he perceives God."
"Well then - do goats or sheep injure anyone?" "Not at all," I said. "Therefore by your account these animals will have this vision," he says. "No; for their body is of such a nature as to prevent them." He rejoined, "If these animals could speak, you may be sure that they would with greater reason ridicule our body; but let us set this aside, and concede what you have said. But tell me this: Does the soul have this vision while it is in the body, or only after it has been removed from it?"
"So long as it is in human form, it is possible for it," I continue, "to attain to this by means of the mind; but especially when it has been set free from the body, and being apart by itself, gains possession of what it has continually and wholly loved." "Does it remember this vision, then, when it is again in the man?" "It does not seem to me so," I said.
"What, then, is the advantage to those who have seen it? Or what more has one who has seen than one who has not seen, unless he remember what he has seen?" "I cannot tell," I answered.
"And what do they suffer who are judged unworthy of this vision?" said he. "They are imprisoned in the bodies of certain wild beasts, and this is their punishment." "Do they know, then, that this is the reason why they are in such forms, and that they have committed some sin?" "I do not think so." "Then it seems they reap no advantage from their punishment; but I would say that they are not punished unless they are conscious of the punishment." "No indeed."
"Therefore souls neither see God nor transmigrate into other bodies; for they would know that so they are punished, and they would be afraid to commit even the most trivial sin afterwards. But that they can perceive that God exists, and that righteousness and piety are honourable, I also quite agree with you," said he. "You are right," I replied.
"These philosophers know nothing, then, about these things; for they cannot tell what a soul is." "It does not seem so."
"Nor ought it to be called immortal; for if it is immortal, plainly it is unbegotten."
"It is both unbegotten and immortal, according to some who are called Platonists." "Do you say that the world is also unbegotten?"
"Some say so. I do not, however, agree with them." "You are right; for what reason has one to imagine that a body so solid, possessing resistance, composite, changeable, decaying, and renewed every day, has not arisen from some cause? But if the world is begotten, souls too are necessarily begotten; and perhaps at one time they were not in existence, for they were made on account of people and other living creatures, if you will say that they have been begotten wholly apart, and not along with their respective bodies." "That seems to be correct."
"They are not, then, immortal?"No; since the world seems to us to be begotten. But I do not say, indeed, that all souls die; for that would truly be a piece of good fortune to the wicked. But the souls of the virtuous remain in a better place, while those of the unjust and wicked are in a worse, waiting for the time of judgment. So some which have appeared worthy of God never die; but others are punished so long as God wills them to exist and to be penalised."
"Is what you say, then, like what Plato in Timaeus hints about the world, that insofar as it has been created it is indeed corruptible, but that it will neither be dissolved nor end in death on account of the will of God? Do you think the same can be said of the soul, and generally of all things? For those things which exist below God, or shall ever exist, are corruptible by nature, and as such may be blotted out and cease to exist; for God alone is unbegotten and incorruptible, which is why he is God, but all other things beneath him are created and corruptible. Therefore souls both die and are punished; for if they were unbegotten, they would neither sin, nor be filled with foolishness, nor be cowardly or ferocious; nor would they willingly migrate into swine, and serpents, and dogs and indeed it would not be just to compel them, if they were unbegotten. For what is unbegotten is similar to, equal to, and the same with what is unbegotten; and none should surpass the other either in power or in honour, and hence there is not a plurality of unbegotten things, and if there were some difference between them, you could not discover the cause of the difference, despite enquiring for it. After letting the mind wander to infinity, you would at length, exhausted, take your stand on one Unbegotten, and say that this is the Cause of all."
I asked, "Did this escape the observation of Plato and Pythagoras, those wise people, who have been like our philosophical wall and fortress ?"It makes no difference to me," said he, "whether Plato or Pythagoras, or, in short, any other man held such opinions. For the truth is so; and you would perceive it from this. The soul surely is or has life. If, then, it is life, it would cause something else, and not itself, to live, even as motion would move something else than itself. Now, that the soul lives, nobody would deny. But if it lives, it lives not as being life, but as the partaker of life; but that which partakes of anything, is different from that of which it does partake. Now the soul partakes of life, since God wills it to live. So, then, it will not even partake (of life) when God does not will it to live. For to live is not its attribute, as it is God's; but as a person does not live always, and the soul is not for ever conjoined with the body, since, whenever this harmony must be broken up, the soul leaves the body, and the man exists no longer; even so, whenever the soul must cease to exist, the spirit of life is removed from it, and there is no more soul, but it goes back to the place from which it was taken."
"Should anyone, then, employ a teacher?" I said, "or how may anyone be helped, if there is no truth even in them ?"
He replied, "Long before the time of all those who are esteemed philosophers, there were certain people who were righteous and beloved by God, who spoke by the Divine Spirit, and foretold events which would take place, and are now taking place. They are called prophets. Only these saw and announced the truth to people, neither reverencing nor fearing any man, not motivated by a desire for glory, but speaking only those things which they saw and heard, being filled with the Holy Spirit. Their writings are still extant, and he who has read them is very much helped in his knowledge of the beginning and end of things, and of those matters which a philosopher ought to know, provided he believes them. For they did not use proof in their treatises, seeing that the truth they witnessed is above all proof, and worthy of belief. The events which have happened, and those which are happening, compel you to assent to the utterances made by them, though, indeed, the miracles they performed entitled them to credit, since they both glorified the Creator, the God and Father of all things, and proclaimed his Son and Christ. The false prophets, filled with the lying, unclean spirit, have not and not do this, but dare certain wonderful actions in order to astonish people and glorify the spirits and demons of error. Only pray that, above all things, the gates of light may be opened to you; for these things cannot be perceived or understood by all, but only by one to whom God and his Messiah impart wisdom."
"When he had said these and many other things, which there is no time here to detail, he went away, bidding me pay heed to them and I have not seen him since. But immediately a flame was kindled in my soul and a love of the prophets and of those who are friends of Christ, possessed me, and while revolving his words in my mind, I found this philosophy alone to be safe and useful. This is the reason I am a philosopher. Moreover, I would wish that all, making a decision like to my own, do not stay away from the words of the Saviour. For they possess in themselves an awesome power, able to inspire awe in those who turn aside from the right path, while the sweetest consolation is given those who diligently practice them. If, then, you have any concern for yourself, and are eagerly looking for salvation, and if you believe in God, you may - since you are not indifferent to the matter. - become acquainted with God's Messiah, and, after being initiated, live a happy life."
When I said this, my friends those who were with Trypho laughed. And he, smiling, said, "I approve of your other remarks, and admire the eagerness with which you study divine things, but it would be better for you to stick with the philosophy of Plato, or of someone else, cultivating endurance, self-control, and moderation, rather than be deceived by false words and follow the opinions of people of no reputation. For if you stick to that mode of philosophy, and live blamelessly, you have a hope of a better destiny; but if you forsake God, and trust in man, what safety awaits you? Therefore if you are willing to listen to me (for I have already considered you a friend), first be circumcised, then observe the rules regarding the Sabbath, and the feasts, and the new moons of God. In a word, do everything as written in the law and then perhaps you shall obtain mercy from God. For the Messiah - if indeed he has been born, and exists anywhere - is unknown, and does not even know himself, and has no power until Elias comes to anoint him and reveal him to all. But you, on the basis of a groundless report, invent a the Messiah for yourselves, and for his sake are wantonly dying."
I said, "My friend, I excuse and forgive you, for you do not know what you're saying, but have been convinced by teachers who misunderstand the Scriptures, and, like a diviner, you speak whatever comes into your mind. But if you are willing to hear an account of how we have not been deceived, and shall not cease to confess him, - despite the reproaches heaped on us, and the terrible tyrant who compel us to deny him, - I shall prove to you as you stand here that we believe are not empty fables, or baseless words, but words filled with the Spirit of God, full of power and flourishing with grace." Again those in his company laughed, and shouted indecently. Then I rose up and was about to leave, but taking hold of my garment, he said I should not do so until I had done what I promised. "Then," I said "Let your companions not be so noisy, or behave so disgracefully. If they wish, let them listen in silence; or, if some better occupation detains them, let them go away, while we retire to some peaceful spot and finish the discourse." Trypho was agreeable that we should do so and accordingly we retired to the middle space of the Xystus. Two of his friends went off, after they had mocked and joked about our zeal. When we reached that place where there are stone seats on both sides, Trypho's companions conversed with each other, sitting on the one side, when one of them made a remark about the war waged in Judaea.
When they ceased, I again said to them: "My friends, is there any other matter in which we are blamed, than this, that we do not live by the law and are not circumcised in the flesh as your forefathers were, and do not observe Sabbaths as you do? Are our lives and customs slandered among you too? I ask, do you also believe that we eat people and that after the feast, with the lights extinguished, we engage in promiscuity? Or do you condemn us merely for adhering to our tenets, and following an opinion that you think is untrue?"
"Yes, and it amazes us," said Trypho, "but those things said by the populace are not worthy of belief; for they are most repugnant to human nature. I am aware that your precepts in the so-called Gospel are so wonderful and great that I suspect nobody can keep them; for I have read them carefully. But this is what mostly distresses us: that while professing to be virtuous, and supposing yourselves better than others, you are not in any detail different from them, and your mode of living is not distinguished from the pagans, in that you observe no festivals or Sabbaths, and do not have the rite of circumcision; and further, putting your hopes in a man who was crucified, you expect to obtain good things from God, while not obeying his commandments. Have you not read, that the man who is not circumcised on the eighth day shall be cut off from his people ? This was ordained for strangers and for slaves also. But rashly despising this covenant, you reject its consequent duties, and try to convince yourselves that you know God, while performing none of the things done by God-fearers. If, therefore, you can defend yourself on these points, and clarify in what way you hope for anything whatever without observing the law, this we would very gladly hear from you, and we shall raise other similar questions."
I said, "There will be no other God, Trypho, nor was there from eternity any other but he who made and disposed all this universe. Nor do we think that there is one God for us and another for you, but that he alone is God who led your fathers out from Egypt with a strong hand and a mighty arm. Nor do we trust in any other, but in him in whom you also trust, the God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob. But our trust is not through Moses or through the law; for then we would do the same as you. But now - for I have read that there shall be a final law, and the chief covenant of all, which now all people must observe, who seek the inheritance of God. For the Law promulgated on Horeb is now old, and belongs to yourselves alone; but this is universally for all. Now, one law set against law abrogates what is before it, and similarly a covenant which comes later puts an end to the previous one; and an eternal and final law - namely, the Messiah - has been given to us, and this covenant is trustworthy, after which there shall be no law, no commandment, no ordinance. Have you not read what Isaiah says: "Listen to me, listen to me, my people; and, you kings, give ear to me: for a law shall go out from me, and my judgment will be a light to the nations. My righteousness approaches swiftly, and my salvation shall go out, and nations shall trust in my arm?" And about this same new covenant, he so says through Jeremiah: "Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah; not according to the covenant which I made with their fathers, in the day that I took them by the hand, to bring them out of the land of Egypt." If, therefore, God proclaimed a new covenant which was to be instituted as a light of the nations, we see and are convinced that people now come near to God, leaving aside their idols and other unrighteousness, through the name of him who was crucified, Jesus Christ, and holding their confession and maintaining piety even to death. Moreover, by his works and the attendant miracles, it is possible for all to understand that he is the new law, and the new covenant, and the expectation of those out of every people who wait for the good things of God. For the true spiritual Israel and the descendants of Judah, Jacob, Isaac, and Abraham (who before his circumcision was approved of and blessed by God on account of his faith, and called the father of many nations), are we who have been led to God through this crucified Christ, as shall be proven as we proceed.
I also brought up another passage in which Isaiah exclaims: "Hear my words, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, the mercies promised to David. Behold, I have given him as a witness to the people. Nations which do not know you shall call on you; peoples whom do not know you shall flee to you, because of your God, the Holy One of Israel, who has glorified you." This same law you have despised, and his new holy covenant you have slighted; and now you neither receive it, nor repent of your evil actions. "For your ears are closed, your eyes are blinded, and the heart is hardened," Jeremiah cried; yet not even then do you listen. The Lawgiver is present, yet you do not see him; to the poor the Gospel is preached, the blind see, yet you do not understand. You now need a second circumcision, though you glory greatly in the flesh. The new law requires you to keep perpetual Sabbath, and do you imagine are virtuous because you are idle for one day, not discerning why this has been commanded to you: and if you eat unleavened bread, you say the will of God has been fulfilled. The Lord our God does not take pleasure in such observances. But if there is any perjured person or a thief among you, let him cease to be so; if any adulterer, let him repent; then he has kept the sweet and true Sabbaths of God. If anyone has impure hands, let him wash and be pure.
"For Isaiah did not send you to a bath, there to wash away murder and other sins, which not even all the water of the sea would suffice to purge; but, as one might expect, it was that saving bath of long ago which followed those who repented, and were no longer purified by the blood of goats and of sheep, or by the ashes of a heifer, or by the offerings of fine flour, but by faith through the blood of Christ, and through his death, who died for this very reason, as Isaiah said: "The Lord shall bare his holy arm in the sight of all the nations, and all the nations and the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of God. Depart you, go out from there, and touch no unclean thing; go out from among her, be clean, you who bear the vessels of the Lord. And do not go in haste, for the Lord shall go before you; and the Lord, the God of Israel, shall gather you together. Behold, my servant shall deal prudently; and he shall be exalted, and be greatly glorified. As many were astonished at you, so your form and your glory shall be marred beyond human form. So shall many nations be astonished at him, and the kings shall shut their mouths, for they shall see what was not told them about him, and behold what they had not heard. Lord, who has believed our report, and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? We have announced him as a child before him, as a root in a dry ground. He has no form or beauty, and when we saw him he had no form or beauty; but his form is dishonoured more than the sons of men. He is a man of sorrows and acquainted with sickness, because his face has been turned away. He was despised, and we esteemed him not. He bears our sins, and is distressed for us; and we esteemed him to be in toil and affliction and mistreatment But he was wounded for our sins, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was on him. With his stripes we are healed. All we, like sheep, have gone astray. Every man has turned to his own way; and the Lord laid on him our iniquities, and in his oppression he opens not his mouth. He was brought as a sheep to the slaughter; and as a lamb before her shearer is dumb, so he opens not his mouth. In his humiliation his judgment was taken away. And who shall declare his generation? For his life is taken from the earth. Because of the sins of my people he came to death. And I will give the wicked for his grave, and the rich for his death, because he committed no iniquity, and no deceit was found in his mouth. And the Lord wills to purify him from affliction. If he has been given up for sin, your soul shall see a long-lived seed. And the Lord wills to take his soul away from trouble, to show him light, and to form him in understanding, to justify the righteous One who serves many well. He shall bear our sins; therefore he shall inherit many, and shall divide the spoil of the strong, because his soul was delivered to death; and he was numbered with the transgressors, and he bore the sins of many, and was delivered for their sin. Sing, O barren, who bear not; break out and cry aloud, you who do not travail in pain: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife. For the Lord said, Enlarge the place of your tent and of your curtains; fix them, spare not, lengthen your cords, and strengthen your stakes; stretch out to your right and your left; and your seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and you shall make the desolate cities to be inherited. Fear not because you are ashamed, neither be confounded because you have been reproached. For you shall forget everlasting shame, and shall not remember the reproach of your widowhood, because the Lord has made a name for himself, and he who has redeemed you shall be called through the whole earth the God of Israel. The Lord has called you as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, as a woman hated from her youth."
"Therefore because of this washing of repentance and knowledge of God, which has been ordained on account of the sin of God's people, as Isaiah cries, we have believed, and testify that the baptism which he announced is alone able to purify those who have repented; and this is the water of life. But the cisterns which you have dug for yourselves are broken and profitless to you. For what is the use of the baptism which cleanses only the flesh and the body ? Baptise the soul from wrath and from covetousness, from envy and from hatred, and then the body is pure. For this is the symbolic significance of unleavened bread, that you do not commit the old actions of wicked leaven. But you have understood everything in a carnal sense, and you imagine it to be piety if you do such things, while your souls are filled with deceit, and, in short, with every wickedness. So, after the seven days of eating unleavened bread, God commanded them to mingle new leaven, that is, the performance of other works, and not the imitation of the old and evil works. And because this is what the new Lawgiver demands of you, let me again refer to the words already quoted and to others not yet mentioned. Isaiah says to the following effect: "Listen to me, and your soul shall live; and I will make with you an everlasting covenant, by the sure mercies of David. Behold, I have given him as a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the nations. Nations which do not know you shall call on you; and peoples who do not know you shall flee to you, because of your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has glorified you. Seek God; and when you find him, call on him while he is near you. Let the wicked forsake his ways, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the Lord, and he will obtain mercy, because he will abundantly pardon your sins. For my thoughts are not as your thoughts, neither are my ways as your ways; but as far as the heavens are from the earth, so far is my way from your way, and your thoughts from my thoughts. For as the snow or the rain descends from heaven, and shall not return till it waters the earth, and makes it bring out and bud, and gives seed to the sower and bread for food, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth: it shall not return until it shall have achieved all that I desired, and I shall make my commandments prosperous. For you shall go out with joy, and be taught with gladness. For the mountains and hills shall leap while they expect you, and all the trees of the fields shall applaud with their branches: and instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle. And the Lord shall be a name, and an everlasting sign, and he shall not fail!" Of these and such words written by the prophets, Trypho," I said, "some refer to the first advent of Christ, in which he is preached as inglorious, obscure, and of mortal appearance: but others refer to his second advent, when he shall appear in glory and above the clouds; and your nation shall see and know him whom they have pierced, as Hosea, one of the twelve prophets, and Daniel, foretold.
"Learn, therefore, to keep the true fast of God, as Isaiah says, that you may please God. For Isaiah cried out: "Shout aloud, and do not be silent: lift up your voice as with a trumpet, and show my people their sins, and the house of Jacob their sins. Day by day they seek me and desire to know my ways, like a nation that practiced righteousness and did not forsake the judgment of God. They ask me for righteous judgment, and desire to draw near to God, saying, 'Why have we fasted, and you do not notice, afflicted our souls, and you have not known?' It is because in the days of your fasting you find your own pleasure, and oppress all who are subject to you. Behold, you fast for competing and debate, and strike the humble with your fists. Why do you fast for me, as today, when your voice is heard aloud? This is not the fasting I have chosen, the day on which a man afflicts his soul. Even if you bend your neck like a ring, or clothe yourself in sackcloth and ashes, shall you call this a fast, and a day acceptable to the Lord. This is not the fasting I have chosen, says the Lord. But loose every unrighteous bond, dissolve the terms of wrongful covenants, let the oppressed go free, and avoid every iniquitous contract. Share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; if you see the naked, clothe him; and do not hide yourself from your own flesh. Then shall your light break out as the morning, and your adornments rise up quickly: and your righteousness shall go before you, and the glory of God shall envelope you. Then shall you cry, and the Lord will listen to you. When while you speak, he will say, Behold, I am here. And if you take away from you the yoke, and the stretching out of the hand, and the word of murmuring; and heartily give your bread to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall your light arise in the darkness, and your darkness be as the noon-day: and your God shall be with you continually, and you shall be satisfied as your soul desires, and your bones shall become fat, and shall be like a watered garden, and like a fountain of water, like a land where water does not fail." "Therefore, circumcise the foreskin of your heart," as the words of God in all these passages demand.
"God himself proclaimed by Moses, saying: "Circumcise the hardness of your hearts, and no longer stiffen the neck. For the Lord your God is both Lord of lords, and a great, mighty, and terrible God, who regards not persons, and takes not rewards." And in Leviticus he says: "Because they have transgressed against me, and despised me, and because they have walked contrary to me, I also walked contrary to them, and I shall cut them off in the land of their enemies. Then shall their uncircumcised heart be turned." For the circumcision according to the flesh, which is from Abraham, was given as a sign, that you may be separated from other nations, and from us; and that you alone may suffer what you now justly suffer; and that your land may be desolate, and your cities burned with fire; and that strangers may eat your fruit in your presence, and not one of you may go up to Jerusalem. For you are not recognised among the rest of men by any other mark than your fleshly circumcision. For none of you, I imagine, will dare to say that God does not foresee events which are future, or fore-ordain for each one what he deserves. Accordingly, these things have happened to you in fairness and justice. For you have slain the Just One, and his prophets before him; and now you reject those who hope in him, and in the one who sent him - God the Almighty and Maker of all things - cursing in your synagogues those who believe in Christ. But you have not the power to lay hands on us, on account of those now in power. But as often as you could, you did so. Therefore God, by Isaiah, calls to you, saying, "Behold how the righteous man perished, and nobody regards it. For the righteous man is taken away from the presence of iniquity. His grave shall be in peace, he is taken away from the midst. Draw near here, you lawless children, seed of the adulterers, and children of the whore. Against whom have you made sport? Against whom have you opened the mouth and loosened the tongue?"
"For other nations have not inflicted on us and on the Messiah this wrong to such an extent as you have, who indeed are the authors of the wicked prejudice against the Just One, and us who hold by him. For after you had crucified him, the only blameless and righteous Man, - through whose stripes those who approach the Father by him are healed, - when you knew that he had risen from the dead and ascended to heaven, as the prophets foretold he would, not only did you not repent of the wickedness you had committed, but at that time chose men and sent themout from Jerusalem through all the land to proclaim that the godless heresy of the Christians had sprung up, and publish the things which the ignorant speak against us. So you are the cause not only of your own unrighteousness, but of that of all other people. Isaiah cries justly: "Because of you, my name is blasphemed among the Gentiles." And: "Woe to their soul! because they have devised an evil device against themselves, saying, Let us bind the righteous, for he is distasteful to us. Therefore they shall eat the fruit of their doings. Woe to the wicked! Evil shall be rendered to him according to the works of his hands." And again: "Woe to those who draw their iniquity as with a long cord, and their sins as with the harness of a heifer's yoke; who say, Let his speed come near; and let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel come, that we may know it. Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put light for darkness, and darkness for light, and put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" Accordingly, you showed great zeal in publishing throughout all the land bitter and dark and unjust things against the only blameless and righteous Light sent by God.
For he seemed distasteful to you when he cried among you, "It is written, my house is the house of prayer; but you have made it a den of thieves!" he overthrew the tables of the money-changers in the temple, and exclaimed, "Woe to you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You pay tithe of mint and rue, but do not observe the love of God and justice. You whited sepulchres, appearing beautiful outwardly, but are within full of dead men's bones." And to the Scribes, "Woe to you, Scribes! for you have the keys, and you do not enter in yourselves, and those who are entering in you hinder; you blind guides!"
"For since you have read, Trypho, as you yourself admit, the doctrines taught by our Saviour, I do not think that I have done foolishly in adding some short utterances of his to the prophetic statements. Wash therefore, and now be clean, and put away iniquity from your souls, as God bids you be washed in this font, and be circumcised with the true circumcision. For we too would observe the fleshly circumcision, and the Sabbaths, and in short all the feasts, if we did not know the reason why they were ordered on you, - namely, on account of your sins and the hardness of your hearts. For if we patiently endure all things contrived against us by wicked men and demons, so that even amid unutterable cruelties, death and torments, we pray for mercy to those who inflict such things on us, and do not wish to give the least retort to anyone, even as the new Lawgiver commanded us, how then, Trypho, would we not observe those rites which do not harm us, - I speak of fleshly circumcision, and Sabbaths, and feasts?
He said, "It is this about which we are at a loss, and with reason, because, while you endure such things, you do not observe all the other customs which we are now discussing."
I replied, "This circumcision is not, however, necessary for all men, but for you alone, so that, as I have already said, you may suffer the things which you now justly suffer. Nor do we receive that useless baptism of cisterns, for it has nothing to do with this baptism of life. Therefore God also has announced that you have forsaken him, the living fountain, and dug for yourselves broken cisterns which can hold no water. Yes, you who are circumcised according to the flesh, need our circumcision; but we, having the latter, do not require the former. For if it were necessary, as you imagine, God would not have made Adam uncircumcised and would not have received the gifts of Abel when, being uncircumcised, he offered sacrifice. He would not have been pleased with the uncircumcision of Enoch, who was not found, because God had taken him up. Lot, being uncircumcised, was saved from Sodom, the angels themselves and the Lord sending him out. Noah was the beginning of our race; yet, uncircumcised, along with his children he went into the ark. Melchizedek, the priest of the Most High, was uncircumcised; to whom also Abraham the first who received circumcision after the flesh, gave tithes, and he blessed him: after whose order God declared, by the mouth of David, that he would establish the everlasting priest. Therefore to you alone this circumcision was necessary, so that the people may be no people, and the nation no nation; as also Hosea, one of the twelve prophets, declares. Moreover, all those righteous people already mentioned, though they kept no Sabbaths, were pleasing to God; and after them Abraham with all his descendants until Moses, under whom your nation appeared unrighteous and ungrateful to God, making a calf in the wilderness: therefore God, accommodating himself to that nation, ordered them also to offer sacrifices, as if to his name, so that you might not serve idols. Which precept, however, you have not observed; no, you sacrificed your children to demons. And you were commanded to keep Sabbaths, that you might retain the memorial of God. For his word makes this announcement, saying, "That you may know that I am God who redeemed you."
"Moreover, you were commanded to abstain from certain kinds of food, so that you might keep God before your eyes while you ate and drank, seeing that you were prone and very ready to depart from his knowledge, as Moses also says: "The people ate and drank, and rose up to play." And again: "Jacob ate, and was satisfied, and waxed fat; and he who was beloved kicked: he waxed fat, he grew thick, he was enlarged, and he forsook God who had made him." For it was told you by Moses in the book of Genesis, that God granted to Noah, being a just man, to eat of every animal, but not of flesh with the blood, which is dead." And as he was ready to say, "as the green herbs," I anticipated him: "Why do you not receive this statement, "as the green herbs," in the sense in which it was given by God, that just as God has granted the herbs for sustenance to man, even so has he given the animals as the diet of flesh? But, you say, a distinction was later laid down for Noah, because we do not eat certain herbs. As you interpret it, the thing is incredible. And first I shall not occupy myself with this, though I can say and maintain that every vegetable is food, and fit to be eaten. But although we discriminate between green herbs, not eating all, we refrain from eating some, not because they are common or unclean, but because they are bitter, or deadly, or thorny. But we lay pick and share in all herbs which are sweet, nourishing and good, whether marine or land plants. So also God by the mouth of Moses commanded you to abstain from unclean and violent animals. But though you were eating manna in the desert, and were seeing all those wondrous acts worked for you by God, you made and worshipped the golden calf. Therefore he cries continually, and justly, "They are foolish children, in whom is no faith."
Moreover, let me prove to you that God commanded you to keep the Sabbath, and imposed on you other precepts on account of your unrighteousness, and that of your fathers, - for he declares that for the sake of the nations, lest his name be profaned among them, therefore he permitted some of you to remain alive. Through Ezekiel he says: "I am the Lord your God; walk in my statutes, and keep my judgments, and take no part in the customs of Egypt; and hallow my Sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that you may know that I am the Lord your God. Yet stil you rebelled against me, and your children did not walk in my statutes or keep my commands. For whoever does this shall live in them. But they polluted my Sabbaths. Then I said I would pour out my fury on them in the wilderness, to achieve my anger on them; yet I did it not, so that my name might not be altogether profaned in the sight of the heathen. I led them out before their eyes, and I lifted up my hand on them in the wilderness, to scatter them among the heathen and disperse them through the countries; because they had not kept my commands but had despised my statutes, and polluted my Sabbaths, and their eyes sought the devices of their fathers. Therefore I gave them statutes that were not good, and commands whereby they shall not live. And I shall pollute them in their own gifts, that I may destroy all that opens the womb, when I pass through them."
"And that you may learn that it was likewise for the sins of your own nation and their idolatries and not because there was any need for such sacrifices, that they were imposed, listen to how he says of these by Amos, one of the twelve: "Woe to you that desire the day of the Lord! To what purpose is this day of the Lord for you? It is darkness and not light, as when a man flees from the face of a lion, and a bear meets him; and he goes into his house and leans his hands against the wall, and the serpent bites him. Shall not the day of the Lord be darkness and not light, very gloomy, with no brightness in it? I have hated and despised your feast-days, and I will not smell the perfume in your solemn assemblies: therefore, though you offer me your burnt-offerings and sacrifices, I will not accept them; nor will I regard the peace-offerings. Take you away from me the multitude of your songs and psalms; I will not hear your instruments. But let judgment rain down as water, and righteousness as an impassible torrent. Have you offered victims and sacrifices to me in the wilderness, house of Israel? says the Lord. And have you taken up the tabernacle of Moloch, and the star of your God Raphan, the images which you made for yourselves? And I will carry you away beyond Damascus, says the Lord, whose name is the Almighty God. Woe to those who are at ease in Zion, and trust in the mountain of Samaria. Those who are named among the chiefs have plucked away the first-fruits of the nations, and the house of Israel have entered for themselves. All of you, go to Calneh and from there pass to Hamath the great, and go down to Gath of the strangers, the noblest of all these kingdoms, and see if their boundaries are greater than your boundaries. You who come to the evil day, who approach and who hold to false Sabbaths; who lie on beds of ivory, and are at ease on their couches; who eat the lambs out of the flock, and the sucking calves from among the herd; who applaud at the sound of the musical instruments and reckon them as stable, and not as fleeting; who drink wine in bowls, and anoint themselves with precious ointments, but are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph. Therefore now they shall be captives, among the first of the nobles who are carried away; and the house of evil-doers shall be removed, and the neighing of horses shall be taken away from Ephraim." And again he says by Jeremiah: "Collect your flesh and sacrifices, and eat: for neither about sacrifices nor libations did I command your fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt."
And again by David, in the forty-ninth Psalm, he said: "The God of gods, the Lord has spoken, and called the earth, from the rising of the sun to the going down thereof. Out of Zion is the perfection of his beauty. God, our God, shall come forth, and shall not keep silence. Fire shall burn before him, and round about him a tempest shall rage. He shall call to the heavens above, and to the earth, that he may judge his people. Assemble to him his saints; those who have made a covenant with him by sacrifices. And the heavens shall declare his righteousness, for God is judge. Hear, my people, and I will speak to you; Israel, and I will testify against you, for I am God, your God. I will not reprove you for your sacrifices; your burnt-offerings are continually before me. I will take no bullocks from your house, nor he-goats from your folds, for all the beasts of the field are mine, the herds and the oxen on the mountains. I know all the fowls of the heavens, and the beauty of the field is mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the earth is mine, and al its fullness. Shall I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats? Offer to God the sacrifice of praise, and pay your vows to the Most High, and call on me in the day of trouble, and I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me. But to the wicked God says, why do you declare my statutes, and take my covenant on your lips? For you have hated instruction, and cast my words behind you. When you saw a thief, you conspired with him; and have taken part with the adulterer. Your mouth has framed evil, and your tongue has spoken deceit. You sit and speak against your brother; you slander your own mother's son. These things have you done, and shall I keep silence? Did you think I would be like yourself in wickedness? I will reprove you, and set your sins before your eyes. Now consider this, you that forget God, for fear that he tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver you. The sacrifice of praise shall glorify me and that is the way I shall show him my salvation." Accordingly he neither accepts your sacrifices nor commanded them at first as though they were needful to him, but because of your sins. For indeed what is called the temple in Jerusalem, he admitted to be his house or court, not as though he needed it, but so that seeing it you might give yourselves to him, and not worship idols. For Isaiah says: "What house would you build me? says the Lord. Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool."
But if we do not admit this, we shall be liable to fall into foolish opinions, as if it were not the same God who existed in the times of Enoch and all the rest, who neither were circumcised in the flesh, nor observed Sabbaths or any other rites, since it was Moses ordered such observances. To think that God did not wish each race of mankind continually to perform the same righteous actions seems to be ridiculous and absurd. Therefore we must confess that he, who is ever the same, commanded these and such like regulations on account of sinful people, and we must declare him to be benevolent, foreknowing, needing nothing, righteous and good. If this be not so, tell me, sir, what you think of those matters which we are investigating."
When nobody responded, I continued: "So, Trypho, let me declare to you, and to those who wish to become proselytes, the divine message which I heard from that man. Don't you see that the elements are not idle, and observe no Sabbaths? Remain as you were born. For if before Abraham there was no need of circumcision, or before Moses of the observance of Sabbaths, of feasts and sacrifices, neither is there need of them now, when, according to the will of God, Jesus Christ the Son of God has been born without sin, of a virgin sprung from the stock of Abraham. For when Abraham himself was in uncircumcision, he was justified and blessed because of his faith in God, as the Scripture tells. Moreover, the Scriptures and the facts themselves compel us to admit that he received circumcision as a sign, and not for righteousness. Thus it was recorded about the people, that the man who is not circumcised on the eighth day shall be cut off from his family. But the inability of the female sex to receive fleshly circumcision proves that this circumcision was given as a sign, and not for a work of righteousness. For God has likewise given to women the ability to observe all things which are righteous and virtuous. We see that the bodily form of the male has been made different from the bodily form of the female, yet we know that neither of them is justified or unjustified merely for this reason, but because of piety and righteousness.
"Now, sirs," I said, "it is possible for us to show how the eighth day possessed a certain mysterious import, which the seventh day did not possess, and which was promulgated by God through these rites. Now, for fear that I appear now to move on to other subjects, understand what I say: the blood of that circumcision is obsolete, and we trust in the blood of salvation. There is now another covenant, and another law has gone out from Zion. Jesus Christ circumcises all who will it - as was declared above - with knives of stone, that they may be a righteous nation, a people keeping faith, holding to the truth, and maintaining peace. Come then with me, all who fear God, who wish to see the good of Jerusalem. Come, let us go to the light of the Lord; for he has liberated his people, the house of Jacob. Come, all nations; let us gather together at Jerusalem, no longer plagued by war for the sins of her people. "For I was manifest to those who did not seek me; I was found by those who did not ask for me." Through Isaiah he exclaims: "I said, Behold me, to nations which were not called by my name. I have spread out my hands all day to a disobedient and rebellious people, which walked in a way that was not good, but after their own sins. It is a people that provokes me to my face."
"Those who justify themselves, and call themselves sons of Abraham, shall wish to receive even in a small degree the inheritance along with you; as the Holy Spirit, by the mouth of Isaiah, cries out in their name: "Return from heaven, and look down from your holy and glorious dwelling. Where is your zeal and strength and the abundance of your mercy? For you have sustained us, O Lord. You are our Father, because Abraham does not know us, and Israel has not recognised us. But you, Lord, our Father, deliver us. From the beginning your name is on us. Lord, why have you made us to err from your way and hardened our hearts, so that we do not fear you? Return for your servants' sake, the tribes of your inheritance, that we may in a little way inherit your holy mountain. We were as beginners, when you did not rule over us, and when your name was not called on us. If you open the heavens, trembling shall seize the mountains before you: and they shall be melted, as wax melts before the fire; and fire shall consume the foe, and your name shall be manifest among the enemies; the nations shall be put into disorder before your face. When you do glorious things, trembling shall seize the mountains before you. From the beginning we have not heard, nor have our eyes seen a God besides you, and your works and the mercy you show to those who repent. He shall meet those who do righteousness, and they shall remember your ways. Behold, you are angry for we were sinning. Therefore we have erred and become all unclean, and all our righteousness is as the rags of a woman discarded. We have faded away like leaves because of our iniquities; so the wind will take us away. There is none who calls on your name, or remembers to take hold of you; for you have turned away your face from us, and have given us up on account of our sins. But now return, O Lord, for we are all your people. The city of your holiness has become desolate. Zion has become like a wilderness and Jerusalem a curse. Our holy house and the glory which our fathers blessed, has been burned with fire; and all the glorious nations have fallen along with it. Amid all these things, O Lord, you have refrained yourself, and are silent, and have humbled us very much."
And Trypho said, "How can you say that none of us shall inherit anything on the holy mountain of God?"
I replied, "I do not say this; but those who have persecuted and continue to persecute Christ, if they do not repent, shall not inherit anything on the holy mountain. But the Gentiles, who have trusted in him, and have repented of the sins they committed, shall receive the inheritance along with the patriarchs and the prophets, and the just people who are descended from Jacob, even though they neither keep the Sabbath, nor are circumcised, nor observe the feasts. Indeed they shall receive the holy inheritance of God. For through Isaiah God says: "I, the Lord God, have called you in righteousness, and will hold your hand, and will strengthen you; and I have given you for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles, to open the eyes of the blind, to bring out those who are bound from the chains, and those who sit in darkness from the prison-house." And again: "Lift up a standard for the people; for, see, the Lord has made it heard to the end of the earth. Say you to the daughters of Zion, Behold, your Saviour has come; having his reward, and his work before his face: and he shall call it a holy nation, redeemed by the Lord. And you shall be called a city sought out, and not forsaken. Who is this that comes from Edom, in red garments from Bosrah, he who is beautiful in apparel, going up with great strength? I speak righteousness, and the judgment of salvation. Why are your garments red, and your apparel as from the trodden wine-press? You are full of the trodden grape. I have trodden the wine-press all alone, and of the people there is no man with me; and I have trampled them in fury, and crushed them to the ground, and spilled their blood on the earth. For the day of retribution has come on them, and the year of redemption is present. And I looked, and there was none to help; and I considered, and none assisted: and my arm delivered; and my fury came on them, and I trampled them in my fury, and spilled their blood on the earth." "
And Trypho said, "Why do you select and quote whatever you wish from the prophetic writings, but do not refer to those which expressly command the observance of the Sabbath ? For Isaiah says "If you turn away your foot from the Sabbaths, so as not to do as you please on the holy day, and call the Sabbaths the holy delights of your God, and not lift your foot to work, and not speak a word from your own mouth; then you shall trust in the Lord, and he shall cause you to go up to the good things of the land. He shall feed you with the inheritance of Jacob your father: for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it." I replied, "I passed over them, my friends, not because such prophecies were contrary to me, but because you have understood that though God commands you by all the prophets to do the same things as he also commanded by Moses, it was on account of the hardness of your hearts, and your ingratitude towards him, that he proclaims them continually, so that in this way you might repent and please him, and neither sacrifice your children to demons, nor be partakers with thieves, nor lovers of gifts, nor hunters after revenge, nor fail in doing judgment for orphans, nor be inattentive to the justice due to the widow nor have your hands full of blood. "For the daughters of Zion have walked with a high neck, disporting and winking with their eyes, and sweeping wide their dresses. For they have all gone aside," he exclaims, "and are all become useless. There is none who understands, not even one. With their tongues they have practiced deceit, their throat is an open sepulchre, the poison of asps is under their lips, destruction and misery are in their paths, and the way of peace they have not known." So that, as in the beginning, these things were imposed on you because of your wickedness, in which you persevere, and now with your increased proneness to it, he calls you to a memory or knowledge of it by means of the same precepts. But you are a hard-hearted people, without understanding, both blind and lame, faithless children, as he himself says, honouring him only with your lips but far from him in your hearts, teaching doctrines that are your own and not his. For, tell me, did God wish the priests to sin when they offer the sacrifices on the Sabbaths? or those to sin, who are circumcised and administer circumcision on the Sabbaths; since he commands that on the eighth day - even though it happens to be a Sabbath - those who are born shall be always circumcised? or could not the infants be operated on one day previous or one day subsequent to the Sabbath, if he knew that it is a sinful act on the Sabbaths? Or why did he not teach those - who are called righteous and pleasing to him, who lived before Moses and Abraham, who were not circumcised in their foreskin, and observed no Sabbaths - to keep these rules?"
Trypho replied, "We heard you making this claim a little ago, and we paid heed for, to tell the truth, it deserves attention, and the answer which pleases most people - namely, that so it seemed good to him - does not satisfy me. For it is always to this that people have recourse when are unable to answer the question." Then I said, "Since I bring from the Scriptures and the facts themselves both the proofs and their reasons, do not hesitate or delay to trust in me, although I am uncircumcised. Only a short time is left you in which to become proselytes. If the Messiah comes before you do so, in vain will you repent and you will weep in vain, for he will not hear yon. "Break up your fallow ground," Jeremiah called to the people, "and do not sow among thorns. Circumcise yourselves to the Lord, and circumcise the foreskin of your heart." Do not sow, therefore, among thorns and in untilled ground, from which you can have no fruit. Know the Messiah; and see the fallow ground, good, good and rich, is in your hearts. "For, behold, the days are coming," says the Lord, "when I will visit all who are circumcised in their foreskins; Egypt, and Judah, and Edom, and the sons of Moab. For all the nations are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in their hearts." Do you see how that God has no regard for this outward sign of circumcision? For it is of no use to the Egyptians, or the sons of Moab, or the sons of Edom. But even if a man be a Scythian or a Persian, if he has the knowledge of God and of his Messiah, and keeps the everlasting righteous decrees, he is circumcised with the circumcision that is good and worthwhile, and is a friend of God, and God rejoices in his gifts and offerings. But let me set before you, my friends, the very words of God, when he said to the people through Malachi, one of the twelve prophets, "I have no pleasure in you, says the Lord; and I shall not accept your sacrifices at your hands. But from the rising of the sun to its setting my name shall be glorified among the Gentiles; and in every place a sacrifice is offered to my name, a pure sacrifice. For my name is honoured among the Gentiles, says the Lord; but you profane it." And by David he said, "A people whom I have not known, served me. When they heard with their ear they obeyed me."
Let us glorify God, all nations gathered together; for he has visited us. Let us glorify him by the King of glory, by the Lord of hosts. For he has been gracious also towards the Gentiles and our sacrifices he esteems more than yours. What need, then, have I of circumcision, once God has witnessed to me? What need have I of that other baptism, who have been baptised with the Holy Spirit? In this regard, I think I may persuade even those who have little intelligence. For these words have not been framed by me, nor embellished by the art of man; but sung by David, preached by Isaiah, proclaimed by Zechariah and written by Moses. Are you acquainted with them, Trypho? They are contained in your Scriptures, or rather not yours, but ours. For we believe them; but you, though you read them, do not catch the spirit that is in them. Do not be offended at, or reproach us with, the bodily uncircumcision with which God has created us, nor think it odd that we drink hot water on the Sabbaths, since God directs the government of the universe on this day the same as as on all others; and the priests are ordered to offer sacrifices on this day as on other days. And likewise there are many righteous people who have performed none of these legal ceremonies, and yet are witnessed to by God himself.
"But blame it on your own wickedness, if God is accused by people of no understanding, of not having always taught everyone the same righteous statutes. For such regulations seemed unreasonable and unworthy of God to many people, who had not received the grace to know that your nation was called to conversion and repentance of spirit while they were in a state of sin and under a spiritual illness, while the prophecy which was announced subsequent to the death of Moses is everlasting. This is mentioned in the Psalms, my friends, and we, who have learned wisdom from them, confess that the statutes of the Lord are sweeter than honey and the honey-comb, as is clear from the fact that, though threatened with death, we do not deny his name. It is also manifest to all that we who believe in him pray to be kept by him from strange, wicked and deceitful, spirits, as a word of prophecy, spoken in the person of one of his believers, figuratively declares. For we continually beseech God by Jesus Christ to preserve us from the demons hostile to the worship of God, and whom we formerly served, so that, after our conversion by him to God, we may be blameless. For we call him Helper and Redeemer, the power of whose name even the demons fear; and to this day, when they are exorcised in the name of Jesus Christ, crucified under Pontius Pilate, governor of Judaea, they are overcome. And so it is clear to all, that his Father has given him such great power, by virtue of which demons are subdued by his name, and by the mystery of his suffering.
"But if such great power is shown to have followed and to be still following the dispensation of his suffering, how great shall be that to follow his glorious advent! For he shall come on the clouds as the Son of man, as Daniel foretold, and his angels shall come with him. These are the words: "As I watched, thrones were set; and the Ancient of days was seated, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool. His throne was like a fiery flame, his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream came out from before him. A thousand thousands ministered to him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The books were opened, and the judgment was set. Then I heard the voice of the great words which the horn speaks: and the beast was beaten down and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame. And the other beasts were removed from their dominion, but a period of life was given to the beasts for a season and time. I saw in the vision of the night, and behold, one like the Son of man coming with the clouds of heaven; and he came to the Ancient of days, and stood before him. And the bystanders brought him near; and power and kingly honour were given to him, and all nations and families of the earth in glory serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not be taken away; and his kingdom shall not be destroyed. My spirit was chilled within my frame, and the visions of my head troubled me. I came near to one of the bystanders and enquired the precise meaning of all these things. He answered and showed me the judgment of the matters: These great beasts are four kingdoms, which shall perish from the earth, and shall not receive dominion for ever and ever. Then I wished to know exactly about the fourth beast, which destroyed all others and was very fearsome, with its teeth of iron, and its nails of brass, which devoured, made waste, and stamped the residue with its feet; and also about the ten horns on its head, and of the one which came up, by which three of the former fell. For that horn had eyes, and a mouth speaking great things and its countenance excelled the rest; and I beheld that horn waging war against the saints and prevailing against them, until the Ancient of days came and gave judgment for the saints of the Most High, and the time came for and the saints of the Most High to possess the kingdom. Then I was told about the fourth beast: There shall be a fourth kingdom on earth, which shall prevail over all these kingdoms and shall devour the whole earth, and shall destroy and make it thoroughly waste. The ten horns are ten kings that shall arise; and one shall arise after them, who in his evil actions shall surpass the former, and he shall subdue three kings, and he shall speak words against the Most High, and overthrow the rest of the saints of the Most High, and shall expect to change the seasons and the times; and it shall be given into his hands for a time, and times, and half a time. But the judgment sat, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it to the end. Then the kingdom, and the power, and the great places of the kingdoms under the heavens, were given to the holy people of the Most High, to reign in an everlasting kingdom: and all powers shall be subject to him, and shall obey him. This is the end of the matter. I, Daniel, was greatly astonished, and my speech was changed in me; yet I kept the matter in my heart."
When I had ceased, Trypho said, "These and such like Scriptures, sir, make us wait for him who, as Son of man, receives the everlasting kingdom from the Ancient of days. But this so-called the Messiah of yours was dishonourable and inglorious, so much so that the last curse contained in the Law of God fell on him, for he was crucified."
Then I replied to him, "If, sirs, it were not said in the Scriptures which I have quoted, that his form was inglorious, and his generation not declared, and that for his death the rich would suffer death, and with his stripes we are healed, and that he would be led away like a sheep; and if I had not explained that there would be two advents of his, - one in which he was pierced by you; a second, when you shall know him whom you have pierced, and your tribes shall mourn, each tribe by itself, the women apart, and the men apart, - then I would have been speaking dubious and obscure things. But now, through the contents of those Scriptures that amongst you are esteemed as holy and prophetic, I try to prove everything, in the hope that some of you may be found to be of that remnant which has been left for the eternal salvation by the grace of the Lord of Sabaoth. In order, therefore, that the matter enquired into may be plainer to you, I will remind you of other words also spoken by the blessed David, from which you will perceive that the Lord is called the Messiah by the Holy Spirit of prophecy; and that the Lord, the Father of all, has brought him again from the earth, setting him at his own right hand, until he makes his enemies his footstool. This is the case from the time that our Lord Jesus Christ ascended to heaven, after he rose again from the dead, while the times now run on to their consummation. Now he whom Daniel foretells would have dominion for a time, and times, and half a time, is already at the door, about to speak blasphemous and daring things against the Most High. But you, unaware of how long he will have dominion, hold another opinion. For you interpret the "time" as being a hundred years. But if this is so, the man of sin must reign at least three hundred and fifty years, if we may compute the "and times" mentioned by holy Daniel as two times only. All this I have said by way of digression, so that at length you may learn what has been declared against you by God, that you are his foolish sons. You should learn also, "Behold therefore I will remove this people and take them away; and I will strip the wise of their wisdom, and will hide the understanding of their prudent men" - and so cease to deceive yourselves and those who hear you, and learn of us, who have been taught wisdom by the grace of Christ. The words, then, spoken by David, are these: "The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool. The Lord shall send from Sion the rod of your strength; rule in the midst of your foes. Your saints will come to you freely in the day of your power. From the womb, before the daystar, I have begotten you. The Lord has sworn, and will not repent: you are a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek. The Lord is at your right hand: he shall shatter kings in the day of his wrath. He shall judge among the heathen and fill them with the slain. He shall drink of the stream in the wayside, and therefore shall he lift up his head."
I continued, "I am aware that you interpret this psalm as referring to king Hezekiah; but that you are mistaken, I shall prove to you immediately from these very words, "The Lord has sworn, and will not repent," it says, and, "You are a priest for ever, after the order of Melchizedek," applying to what follows and precedes. Not even you will dare to claim that hezekiah was either a priest, or the everlasting priest of God; for these expressions show that this is spoken of our Jesus. But your ears are shut up, and your hearts are made dull. For by this statement, "The Lord has sworn, and will not repent: you are a priest for ever, after the order of Melchizedek," on account of your unbelief God has shown him, with an oath, to be the high priest after the order of Melchizedek. Just as Melchizedek was described by Moses as the priest of the Most High, he was both a priest to the uncircumcised and blessed the circumcised Abraham who brought him tithes, so God has shown that his everlasting priest, called also "Lord" by the Holy Spirit, would be the priest of the uncircumcised, but he will receive and bless also those of the circumcision who approach him, that is, believing him and seeking blessings from him. And that he shall first be humble as a man, and then exalted, these words at the end of the Psalm show: "He shall drink of the stream by the wayside," and then, "Therefore shall he lift up the head."
"Further, to prove that you have not understood anything of the Scriptures, let me remind you of another psalm, dictated by the Holy Spirit to David, which you say refers to Solomon, another of your kings. This Psalm too refers to our Messiah, but you are deceived by the ambiguous forms of speech. For where it is said, "The Law of the Lord is perfect," you do not understand this of the Law which was to be after Moses, but of the Law which was given by Moses, even though God declared that he would establish a new law and a new covenant. And where it is said, "O God, give your judgment to the king," since Solomon was king, you say that the Psalm refers to him, although the words of the Psalm expressly refer it to the everlasting King, that is, to Christ. For the Messiah is King, and priest, and God, and Lord, and messenger, and man, and captain, and stone, and a Son born, and first made subject to suffering, and then returns to heaven, and again comes with glory, and he is preached as having the everlasting kingdom, as I prove from all the Scriptures. But that you may grasp what I am saying, let me quote the very words of the Psalm: "O God, give your judgment to the king, and your righteousness to the king's son, to judge your people with righteousness, and your poor with judgment. Let the mountains bear peace to the people, and the hills righteousness. He shall defend the poor of the people, and save the children of the needy, and crush the oppressor. He shall endure as long as the sun, and as long as the moon to all generations. He shall come down like rain on the fleece, as drops falling on the earth. In his days shall righteousness flourish, and abundance of peace until the moon fails. He shall have dominion from sea to sea, and from the rivers to the ends of the earth. Ethiopians shall fall down before him, and his enemies shall lick the dust. The kings of Tarshish and the islands shall offer tribute; the kings of Arabia and Seba shall bring him gifts. All the kings of the earth shall worship him, and all the nations shall serve him, for he has delivered the poor from the powerful, and the needy who have no helper. He shall spare the poor and needy, and shall save the lives of the helpless. From oppression and violence he shall redeem their lives, and his name shall be honoured among them. Long may he live, and to him shall be given of the gold of Arabia, and they shall pray continually for him: they shall bless him all the day. And there shall be a foundation on the earth, it shall be exalted on the tops of the mountains: his fruit shall be on Lebanon, and they of the city shall flourish like grass of the earth. His name will be blessed for ever. His name shall endure before the sun; and all tribes of the earth shall be blessed in him, all nations shall call him blessed. Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who alone does wondrous things; and blessed be his glorious name for ever and ever. May his glory fill the whole earth. Amen, amen."
At the end of this Psalm which I have quoted, it is written, "The hymns of David the son of Jesse are ended." Now, I know that Solomon was a renowned and great king, by whom the temple at Jerusalem was built; but it is clear that none of those things mentioned in the Psalm happened to him. For not all the kings worshipped him nor did he reign to the ends of the earth, nor did his enemies fall before him and lick the dust. But let me dare repeat what is written in the book of Kings as committed by him, how through a woman's influence he worshipped the idols of Sidon, which those of the Gentiles who through the crucified Jesus know God, the Maker of all things, do not dare do, but bear every torture and vengeance even to the extremity of death, rather than worship idols, or eat meat offered to idols."
And Trypho said, "But I believe that many of those who claim to confess Jesus, and are called Christians, do eat meat offered to idols, and declare that it does them no harm." I replied, "The fact that there are such people who profess themselves Christians, and accept the crucified Jesus as Lord and Christ, while not holding his doctrines but those of the spirits of error, causes us who are disciples of the true and pure doctrine of Jesus Christ to be all the more faithful and steadfast in the hope announced by him. For the things he predicted would take place in his name, we actually see being achieved in our sight. For he said, "Many shall come in my name, clothed outwardly in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves." And, "There shall be schisms and heresies." And, "Beware of false prophets, who shall come to you clothed outwardly in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves." And, "Many false Christs and false apostles shall arise, and shall deceive many of the faithful."
My friends, there are and have been many who, coming forward in the name of Jesus, both spoke and did impious and blasphemous things. We call these by the names of the people from whom each doctrine and opinion had its origin, and in their various ways they teach others to blaspheme the Maker of all things, and Christ, whom he foretold as coming, and the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. We have nothing in common with them, since we know them to be atheists, impious, unrighteous, and sinful, and they confess Jesus in name only, instead of worshipping him. Yet they style themselves Christians, just as certain among the Gentiles inscribe the name of God on the works of their own hands, and partake in wicked and impious rites.
Some are called Marcians, and some Valentinians, and some Basilidians, and some Saturnilians, and others by other names; each called after the originator of the individual opinion, just as each of those who consider themselves philosophers, as I said before, thinks he must bear the name of the philosophy that he follows, from the name of the father of the particular doctrine. Because of this, we know that Jesus foreknew what would happen after him, and through many other things which he foretold would befall those who trusted in him and confessed him as Christ. For all that we suffer, even when killed by friends, he foretold would take place; so that it is clear no fault can be found with in any word or act of his. Therefore we pray for you and for all others who hate us, so that, repenting along with us, you may not blaspheme him who is seen, by his works and the mighty actions even still being performed through his name, by the words he taught, by the prophecies announced about him, to be the blameless, and in all things irreproachable Messiah, Jesus, but, believing in him, may be saved in his second glorious advent, and may not be condemned to fire by him."
He replied, "Let these things be as you say - that it was foretold the Messiah would suffer, and be called a stone; and after his first appearance, when it had been announced he would suffer, he would come in glory, and finally be Judge of all, and eternal King and priest. Now show if this man is the one about whom these prophecies were made." So I said, "As you wish, Trypho, in due time I shall come to these proofs which you seek; but now permit me first to recount the prophecies in order to prove that Christ is called in parable by the Holy Spirit both God and Lord of hosts, and Jacob. It is your interpreters, as God says, who are foolish, since they refer them to Solomon and not to Christ, when he bore the ark of testimony into the temple which he built. David's Psalm is this: "The earth is the Lord's, and all its the fullness; the world, and all that dwell there. He has founded it on the seas, and set it upon the floods. Who shall ascend the mountain of the Lord, and shall stand in his holy place? He who is clean of hands and pure of heart: who has not received his soul in vain, and has not sworn deceitfully to his neighbour. He shall receive blessing from the Lord, and mercy from God his Saviour. This is the generation of those who seek the Lord, who seek the face of the God of Jacob. Lift up your gates, you rulers; and be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty in battle. Lift up your gates, you rulers; and be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory." So, it is shown that Solomon is not the Lord of hosts; but when our Messiah rose from the dead and ascended to heaven, the rulers in heaven are commanded by God to open the gates of heaven, that he who is King of glory may enter in, and having ascended, sit on the right hand of the Father until he make the enemies his footstool, as was declared by another Psalm. For when the rulers of heaven saw him of unkempt and dishonoured appearance, without glory, not recognising him, they enquired, "Who is this King of glory?" And the Holy Spirit, either in the person of his Father, or in his own person, answers them, "The Lord of hosts, he is this King of glory." Everyone will admit that not one of those who presided over the gates of the temple at Jerusalem would dare to say about Solomon, though he was so glorious a king, or about the ark of testimony, "Who is this King of glory?"
"Moreover, the refrain of the forty-sixth Psalm refers to the Messiah in this way: "God has gone up with a shout, the Lord with the sound of a trumpet. Sing praise to God, sing praise For God is the king of all the earth; sing praises with a Psalm. God is king over the nations; God sits on his holy throne. The princes of the peoples gather, as the people of the God of Abraham. For the shields of the earth belong to God; he is highly exalted." And in the ninety-eighth Psalm, the Holy Spirit reproaches you, and predicts him whom you do not wish to be king to be King and Lord, both of Samuel, and of Aaron, and of Moses, and, in short, of all the others. And the words of the Psalm are these: "The Lord is king, let the nations tremble. He sits enthroned on the cherubim, let the earth be shaken. The Lord is great in Zion, and he is high above all the nations. Let them praise your great name, for it is fearful and holy. Mighty King, lover of justice, you have established equity; you have executed justice and righteousness in Jacob. Exalt the Lord our God, and worship at his footstool, for he is holy. Moses and Aaron among his priests, and Samuel among those who call on his name. They called on the Lord, and he heard them. In the pillar of the cloud he spoke to them; for they kept his decrees, and the commandment he gave them. O Lord our God, you answered them. You were a forgiving God to them, but an avenger of their wrongdoings. Exalt the Lord our God, and worship at his holy mountain; for the Lord our God is holy." "
And Trypho said, "Sir, it would be good for us if we obeyed our teachers, who laid down a law that we should have no contact with any of you, and that we should not even have any communication with you on these questions. For you utter many blasphemies, in that you seek to convince us that this crucified man was with Moses and Aaron, and spoke to them in the pillar of the cloud; then that he became man, was crucified, and ascended up to heaven, and comes again to earth, and ought to be worshipped."
I answered, "I know that, as the word of God says, this great wisdom of God, the Maker of all things, and the Almighty, is hidden from you. Therefore, in sympathy with you, I am striving my utmost that you may understand these matters which to you are strange; but if not, that I myself may be innocent in the day of judgment. For you shall hear other words which appear still more strange. However, do not be baffled, but rather remain still more zealous hearers and investigators, despising the tradition of your teachers, since they are convicted by the Holy Spirit of inability to perceive the truths taught by God, and of preferring to teach their own doctrines. Accordingly, in the forty-fourth (45th) Psalm, these words are similarly referred to the Messiah: "My heart overflows with a goodly theme; I address my verses to the king. My tongue is the pen of a ready writer. You are the most handsome of men; grace is poured out into your lips: therefore God has blessed you for ever. Gird your sword on your thigh, O mighty One. In your majesty ride on victoriously for the cause of truth and to defend the right. In your majesty ride on victoriously for the cause of truth and to defend the right; let your right hand teach you dread deeds.Your arrows are sharp in the heart of the king's enemies; the peoples fall under you. Your throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of equity is the sceptre of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, your God,has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions. Your robes are all fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia. From ivory palaces stringed instruments make you glad; Kings' daughters are among your ladies of honour. The queen stood at your right hand, clad in garments embroidered with gold. Listen, daughter, and behold, and incline your ear, and forget your people and the house of your father: and the King shall desire your beauty; because he is your Lord, they shall worship him also. And the daughter of Tyre shall bring you gifts; The richest of the people beg to see your face. The King's daughter is glorious within, clad in embroidered garments of needlework. The virgins that follow her shall be brought to the King; her neighbours shall be brought to you: they shall be brought with joy and gladness: they shall be led into the King's shrine. Instead of your fathers, your sons have been born: you shall appoint them rulers over all the earth. I shall remember your name in every generation: therefore the people shall confess you for ever, and for ever and ever."
"Now it is not surprising," I continued, "that you hate us who hold these opinions, and accuse you of continual hardness of heart. For indeed Elijah, conversing with God about you, says: "Lord, they have slain your prophets, and dug down your altars: and I am left alone, and they seek my life." God replies: "I have still seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal." Therefore, just as God did not vent his anger on account of those seven thousand men, so now he has not yet inflicted judgment, knowing that every day some are becoming disciples in the name of Christ, and quitting the path of error; who are also receiving gifts, each as he is worthy, enlightened through the name of this Christ. For one receives the spirit of understanding, another of counsel, another of strength, another of healing, another of foreknowledge, another of teaching, and another of the fear of God."
To this Trypho said to me, "I wish you knew that you are mad, expressing these sentiments." And I said to him, "Listen, friend, for I am not mad or beside myself; but it was prophesied that, after Christ's ascent to heaven, he would deliver us from error and give us gifts. The words are these: "He ascended up on high; he led captivity captive; he gave gifts to men." Accordingly, we who have received gifts from Christ, who has ascended up on high, prove from the words of prophecy that you, who are "wise in yourselves, and people of understanding in your own eyes," are foolish and honour God and his Messiah only with the lips. But we, who are taught in the whole truth, honour them both in acts and in knowledge, and in the heart, even to death. You hesitate to confess that he is the Christ, as is proven by the Scriptures and the events witnessed and done in his name, perhaps for fear that you be persecuted by the rulers, who, under the influence of the wicked and deceitful spirit, the serpent, will not cease putting to death and persecuting those who confess the name of Christ, until he comes again to destroy them all, and render to each his deserts."
Trypho replied, "Now, then, prove to us that this man whom you say was crucified and ascended into heaven is God's Messiah. For you have sufficiently proven by means of the texts you have already quoted, that it is declared in the Scriptures that Christ must suffer, and come again with glory, and receive the eternal kingdom over all the nations, with every kingdom made subject to him. Now show us that this man is He."
I replied, "It has been proven already, sirs, to those who have ears, even from what has been conceded by you; but that you may not think me unable to give proof of what you ask, as I promised, I shall do so at its right place. At present, I continue on the subject I was discussing.
"The mystery of the lamb which God commanded to be sacrificed as the Passover, was a type of the Messiah; with whose blood they anoint their houses, that is, themselves, in proportion to their faith in him. For you must all understand that the one whom God created - Adam - was a house for the spirit which proceeded from God. My proof that this injunction was temporary, is this: God does not permit the Passover lamb to be sacrificed in any other place than where his name was invoked; knowing that the days will come, after the suffering of Christ, when even the place in Jerusalem would be given over to your enemies, and all the offerings would cease. Then also the lamb which was commanded to be wholly roasted was a symbol of the suffering of the cross which the Messiah would undergo. For the lamb, when it is roasted, is arranged in the form of the cross. For one spit is transfixed right through from the lower parts up to the head, and one across the back, to which the legs of the lamb are attached. And the two goats which were ordered to be offered during the fast, of which one was sent away as the scape-goat, and the other sacrificed, were similarly declarative of the two appearances of the Messiah: the first, when the elders of your people and the priests, having laid hands on him and put him to death, sent him away as the scape-goat; and his second appearance, because in the same place in Jerusalem you shall recognise him whom you have dishonoured, and who was an offering for all sinners willing to repent and keep the fast of which Isaiah speaks, loosening the terms of the oppressive contracts, and keeping the other precepts, which he also lists and I have quoted, as the believers in Jesus do. Similarly you know that the offering of the two goats, which were ordered to be sacrificed at the fast, was not permitted to take place anywhere else except in Jerusalem.
"And the oblation of fine flour, sirs," I said, "which was to be presented on behalf of people purified from leprosy, was a prefiguring of the bread of the Eucharist, whose celebration was prescribed by our Lord Jesus Christ in memory of the sufferings he endured on behalf of those who are purified in soul from all iniquity, so that we may thank God both for having created the world and everything in it for man's sake, and for delivering us from the plight in which we stood, and for utterly overthrowing principalities and powers by him who suffered according to his will. Therefore God says by the mouth of Malachi, one of the twelve, as I said before, about the sacrifices presented by you at that time: "I have no pleasure in you, says the Lord; and I will not accept your sacrifices at your hands: for, from the rising of the sun to the going down of the same, my name has been glorified among the Gentiles, and in every place incense is offered to my name, and a pure offering: for my name is great among the Gentiles, says the Lord: but you profane it." He speaks then of those Gentiles, namely us, who in every place offer sacrifices to him, that is, the bread and also the cup of the Eucharist, affirming both that we glorify his name, and that you profane it. The command of circumcision, again, to always circumcise the children on the eighth day, was a type of the true circumcision, by which we are circumcised from deceit and iniquity through him who rose from the dead on the first day after the Sabbath, our Lord Jesus Christ. For the first day after the Sabbath, the first of all the days, is called the eighth, according to the number of all the days of the cycle, yet remains the first.
"Moreover, the prescription that twelve bells be attached to the high priestly robe, which hung down to the feet, was a symbol of the twelve apostles, who depend on the power of Christ, the eternal priest, for it is through their voice that all the earth has been filled with the glory and grace of God and of his Messiah. Therefore David says: "Their sound has gone out into all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world." And Isaiah speaks as if imitating the apostles, when he says to the Messiah that their message was not believed except by the power of him who sent them, when he says: "Lord, who has believed our report and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? We have preached before him like a child, like a root in a dry ground." But when it moves to speak as from the lips of many, "We have preached before him," and adds, "as if a child," it means that the wicked shall become subject to him and obey his command, and that all shall become as one child. You may witness such a thing in the body: although the members are many in number, all are called one and are one body. For, indeed, a commonwealth and a church, though numbering many individuals, are in fact as one, called and addressed by one title. And briefly, sirs," I said, "by listing all the other appointments of Moses I can demonstrate that they were types and symbols and declarations of things which would happen to Christ, of those who were foreknown to be believers in him, and of things which would also be done by the Messiah himself. But since what I have now mentioned seems to be sufficient, let me return to the thread of our discourse.
"As, then, circumcision began with Abraham, and the Sabbath and sacrifices and offerings and feasts with Moses, and it has been proved they were ordered on account of the hardness of your people's heart, so it was necessary, in accordance with the Father's will, that they should have an end with him who was born of a virgin, of the family of Abraham and tribe of Judah, and of David, that is, the Messiah the Son of God, who was proclaimed as coming to all the world, to be the everlasting law and the everlasting covenant, as the aforementioned prophecies show. And we, who have drawn near to God through him, have received not carnal, but spiritual circumcision, as observed by Enoch and those like him. And by God's mercy we have received it through baptism, since we were sinners, and all people may equally obtain it. But since the mystery of his birth now demands our attention let me speak of it.
In words already quoted, Isaiah said in regard to the generation of Christ, that it could not be declared by man: "Who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth: for the sins of my people was he led to death." The prophetic Spirit declared that the generation of him who was to die so that we sinful people could be healed by his stripes, was beyond description. Furthermore, that the people who believe in him may possess the knowledge of the manner in which he came into the world, the prophetic Spirit also through Isaiah foretold how it would happen: "The Lord spoke again to Ahaz, saying, 'Ask for yourself a sign from the Lord your God, in the depth, or in the height.' But Ahaz said, 'I will not ask, neither will I tempt the Lord.'" And Isaiah said, "Hear then, house of David; Is it a small thing for you to contend with men, and how do you contend with the Lord? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive, and shall bear a son, and his name shall be called Immanuel. Butter and honey shall he eat, before he knows to prefer the evil or choose the good. (Now before the child knows good or ill, he rejects evil by choosing out the good.) For before the child knows how to call father or mother, he shall receive the power of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria in presence of the king of Assyria. And the land shall be forsaken, which you shall with difficulty endure because of the presence of its two kings. But God shall bring on you, and on your people, and on the house of your father, days which have not yet come on you since the day in which Ephraim took away from Judah the king of Assyria." Now it is clear to all, that in the race of Abraham according to the flesh nobody has been born of a virgin, or is said to have been so born, except this our Messiah. But since you and your teachers dare to affirm that in the prophecy of Isaiah it is not said, "Behold, the virgin shall conceive," but, "Behold, the young woman shall conceive, and bear a son," and you explain the prophecy as referring to Hezekiah, who was your king, I shall try to debate this point with you briefly and to show that it refers to him who is acknowledged by us as Christ.
"For so I shall be innocent in all respects in your regard, if I strive earnestly to convince you by bringing forward proofs. But if you remain hard-hearted, or weak in resolve, on account of the fear of death, which is the lot of the Christians, and are unwilling to assent to the truth, you shall be responsible for your own destiny. And you deceive yourselves if you fancy that, because you are physically the seed of Abraham, you shall therefore inherit all the good things promised by God through Christ. Nobody, not even of them, has anything to expect, except those who in mind are assimilated to the faith of Abraham, and who have recognised all the mysteries. For I say that some injunctions were laid on you about the worship of God and the practice of righteousness; but some injunctions and acts were likewise mentioned concerning the mystery of Christ, on account of the hardness of your people's hearts. And that this is so, God makes known in Ezekiel, when he says: "If Noah and Jacob and Daniel should beg either sons or daughters, the request would not be granted them." And in Isaiah, on the very same subject he says: "The Lord God said, they shall both go out and look on the limbs of the people 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." So you should 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. For there is no other way than this, - to come to know this Messiah, be washed in the fountain spoken of by Isaiah for the remission of sins, and go on to live sinless lives."
Trypho then said, "Forgive me if I seem to interrupt matters which you say must first be gone into, but the question I mean to put is urgent."
I replied, "Ask whatever you please, as it occurs to you. Then, after the questions and answers, I shall try to resume and complete the discourse."
Then he said, "So tell me, in the resurrection of the dead shall those who have lived by the Law of Moses live on, just like Jacob, Enoch, and Noah?"
I replied, "Sir, when I quoted Ezekiel as saying that even if Noah and Daniel and Jacob were to beg on behalf of their sons and daughters, their request would not be granted, but that each one shall be saved by his own righteousness, I also said that those who led their lives by the Law of Moses would be saved similarly. For in the Law of Moses much that is naturally good, and virtuous, and righteous, has been prescribed for those who obey it; similarly, it records what was to be done because of the hardness of the people's hearts, which is also performed by those under the law. Anyone who did what is universally, naturally, and eternally good is pleasing to God, and in the resurrection shall be saved through Christ equally with those righteous people who were before them, namely Noah, and Enoch, and Jacob, and so on, along with those who have known this same Messiah, the Son of God. He was before the morning star and the moon, and submitted to become incarnate, and be born of the virgin of the family of David, so that, by this dispensation, the serpent and his angels who sinned from the beginning may be destroyed, and that death may be set aside and ended for ever. Then, at the Messiah's second coming, some will be sent into judgment and condemnation of fire to be punished unceasingly, while others shall exist in immortality, free from suffering, corruption and grief."
Then he asked me, "What if some, even now, wish to live by the regulations given by Moses, and yet believe in this Jesus who was crucified, recognising him as God's Messiah, and that he is assigned as absolute Judge of all, and that his is the everlasting kingdom, can they also be saved?"
I replied, "Let us discuss whether it is now possible to observe all the Mosaic regulations."
He answered, "No. For we know that, as you said, it is not possible anywhere to sacrifice the Passover lamb, or to offer the goats ordered for the fast; or, in short, all the other offerings." And I said, "Then tell me some things which can be observed, if you wish to know how one may surely be saved even though he does not keep or perform all the eternal decrees." He replied, "To keep the Sabbath, to be circumcised, to observe the months, and to be washed if you touch anything prohibited by Moses, or after sexual intercourse."
I said, "Do you think that Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Noah, and Job, and all the other righteous before or after them, and Abraham's wife Sarah, Isaac's wife Rebekah, Jacob's wife Rachel, and Leah, and all the rest of them, up to the mother of Moses the faithful servant, who observed none of these things, will be saved?" Trypho replied, "Were not Abraham and his descendants circumcised?"
I answered, "I know that Abraham and his descendants were circumcised. I have already stated at length the reason why circumcision was given to them, and if what was said does not convince you, let us go into the matter again. But you know that to Moses, none of the righteous observed any of these rites we are talking about, or received any commandment to observe, except that of circumcision, which began from Abraham."
He replied, "We know it, and we admit that they are saved." And I answered, "You see that God by Moses laid all these ordinances on you because of the hardness of your people's hearts, so that, by their large number, you might continually and in every action, keep God before your eyes, and never begin to act unjustly or impiously. For he ordered you to place a fringe of purple around you so as not to forget God; and to wear a phylactery, with certain holy characters engraved on very thin parchment, to stir up in you a constant memory of God, while at the same time reminding you that in your hearts you have but the faintest memory of God's worship. Yet not even this dissuaded you from idolatry, for in the times of Elijah, counting the number of those who had not bowed the knee to Baal, he said the number was seven thousand; and in Isaiah he rebukes you for having sacrificed your children to idols. But we, who now refuse to sacrifice to those whom we formerly worshipped, undergo torments and suffer death gladly, believing that God will raise us up by his Messiah, and make us incorruptible, and undisturbed, and immortal. Likewise we know that the ordinances imposed because of the hardness of your hearts contribute nothing to the performance of righteousness and of piety."
And Trypho again enquired, "But if someone, knowing that this is so, after he recognises that this man is Christ, and has believed in and obeys him, wishes, however, to observe the Mosaic Law, will he be saved?" I said, "In my opinion, Trypho, such a person will be saved, if he does not strive in every way to convince others, - I mean those Gentiles who have been circumcised from error by Christ, to observe the same things as himself, telling them they will not be saved unless they do so. This you did yourself at the beginning of the discourse, when you declared that I would not be saved unless I observe these rules." Then he replied, "Why then have you said, "In my opinion, such a person will be saved," unless there are some who affirm that such will not be saved?"
"There are those, Trypho," I answered; "who do not have any contact with or show hospitality to such persons; but I do not agree with them. But if some, along with their hope in this Messiah, in their weak-mindedness wish also to observe the regulations given by Moses, from which they expect some virtue, but which we believe were appointed because of the hardness of the people's hearts, and see them as eternal and natural acts of righteousness and piety, yet choose to live with the Christians and the faithful, as I said before, not inducing them either to be circumcised like themselves, or to keep the Sabbath, or to observe any other such ceremonies, then I hold that we ought to join ourselves to such, and associate with them in all things as kinsmen and brethren. But, Trypho," I continued, "if some of your race, who say they believe in Christ, compel those Gentiles who believe in Christ to live in all things according to the Law given by Moses, or choose not to associate so intimately with them, similarly I do not approve of them. I believe that even those who are convinced by them to observe the way of the law along with confessing God in Christ, shall probably be saved. I hold, further, that any who have confessed and recognised him to be Christ, yet for some reason have gone back to the way of the law, and denied him as Christ, and have not repented before death, shall by no means be saved. Further, I hold that those of the seed of Abraham who live according to the law, but do not believe in this Messiah before death, shall likewise not be saved, in particular those who have in the synagogues anathematized and still anathematize this very Messiah, and all by which they might obtain salvation and escape the vengeance of fire. For the goodness and the loving-kindness of God, and his boundless riches, hold as righteous and sinless the man who, as Ezekiel says, repents of sin; and reckon as sinful, unrighteous, and impious the man who fails away from piety and righteousness into unrighteousness and ungodliness. Therefore our Lord Jesus Christ also said, "In whatever state I shall find you, I shall judge you."
Trypho then said, "We have heard what you think on this subject. Resume the discourse where you left off, and bring it to a conclusion. For some of it appears to me strange, and wholly incapable of proof. For when you say that this Messiah existed as God before the ages, then that he submitted to be born and become man, yet that he is not man born of human seed, it seems to me to be not merely strange, but foolish." To this I replied, "I know that the statement appears to be strange, especially to those of your race, who are ever unwilling to understand or do what God wants, but to follow your teachers, as God himself declares. Now surely, Trypho," I continued, "that this man is God's Messiah is not mistaken, even if I am unable to prove that he pre-existed as God, the Son of the Maker of all things, and was born a man by the virgin. But if I have certainly proved that this man is God's Messiah, whoever he is, even if I cannot 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, only in this last matter would it be right to say that I have erred, and not to deny that he is Christ. If you think that he was born in the ordinary human way, it would show that he became the Messiah by election. And my friends," I said, "there are some of our people who admit that he is Christ, while holding him to be just born from men, with whom I do not agree, nor would I, even though most of those who share my opinions should say so. For we were told by the Messiah himself to put no faith in human doctrines, but in those proclaimed by the blessed prophets and taught by himself."
And Trypho said, "Those who affirm him to have been a man, and then chosen for the anointing, and so to have become Christ, appear to me to speak more plausibly than you who hold the opinions you have expressed. For we all expect that Christ will be a man of human stock, and that Elijah when he comes will anoint him. So if this man is thought to be Christ, he must certainly be known as a man of human stock. But from the fact that Elijah has not yet come, I infer that this man is not the one."
Then I asked him, "Does not Scripture, in the book of Zechariah, say that Elijah shall come before the great and terrible day of the Lord?" He answered, "Certainly."
"If therefore Scripture compels you to admit that two advents of the Messiah were predicted to take place, one in which he would appear suffering, and dishonoured, and without beauty; but the other in which he would come glorious and Judge of all, as is clear from many of the cited passages, shall we not imagine that the word of God has proclaimed Elijah as the precursor of the great and terrible day, that is, of his second advent?" "Certainly," he answered.
"But our Lord in his teaching," I continued, "proclaimed that this very thing would take place, saying also that Elijah would come. We know that this will happen when our Lord Jesus Christ shall come in glory from heaven. The Spirit of God preceded his first manifestation through Elijah as herald in John, a prophet from among your nation, after whom no other prophet has appeared among you. As he stayed by the river Jordan he cried out: "I baptise you with water for repentance. But one who is stronger than I shall come, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear. He shall baptise you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into the barn; but the chaff he will burn up with unquenchable fire." Your king Herod shut up this prophet in prison; and when his birthday was celebrated, and Herod's niece had pleased him by her dancing, he told her to ask whatever she pleased. Then the girl's mother instigated her to ask the head of John, who was in prison; and at her request he sent and ordered the head of John to be brought in on a charger. Therefore our Christ said on earth, to those who insisted that Elijah must come before the Messiah: "Elijah shall come, and restore all things; but I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they knew him not, but have done to him whatever they chose." And it is written, "Then the disciples understood that he spoke to them about John the Baptist." And Trypho said, "This statement also seems strange to me, that the prophetic Spirit of God that was in Elijah, was also in John." To this I replied, "Don't you think that the same thing happened in the case of Jehoshua the son of Nun, who succeeded to Moses as commander of the people, when Moses was told to lay his hands on Jehoshua, and God said to him, "I will take of the spirit which is in you, and put it on him?" He said, "Indeed, yes."
Then I said, "Therefore just as while Moses was still among men, God took portion of the spirit that was in Moses and put it on Jehoshua, so God was able to cause that of Elijah to come on John. Thus, as the Messiah at his first coming appeared inglorious, even so the first coming of the spirit, which remained always pure in Elijah like that of Christ, might seem to be inglorious. For the Lord said he would wage war against Amalek with his hand hidden; and you will not deny that Amalek fell. But if it is said that only in the glorious advent of the Messiah will war be waged with Amalek, how great will be the fulfillment of Scripture which said, "God will wage war against Amalek with his hand concealed!" You can perceive that the concealed power of God was in the Messiah the crucified, before whom demons, and all the principalities and powers of the earth, tremble."
And Trypho said, "You seem to me to have come from a great conflict with many people about all the points we have been enquiring into, and are therefore quite ready to answer all questions put to you. Answer me then, first of all, how can you show that there is another God besides the Maker of all things; and then show that he submitted to be born of the virgin." I replied, "Allow me first to quote certain passages from the prophecy of Isaiah, which refer to the office of forerunner fulfilled by John the Baptist and prophet who went before our Lord Jesus Christ." "I grant it," said he.
Then I said, "Isaiah foretold John as precursor in this way: "Hezekiah said to Isaiah, Good is the word which the Lord spoke: 'Let there be peace and righteousness in my days' and 'Encourage the people, you priests. Speak to the heart of Jerusalem, and encourage her, because her humiliation is ended, her sin is annulled, and she has received from the Lord's hand double for her sins. A voice of one crying in the wilderness, 'Prepare the ways of the Lord; make straight the paths of our God.' Every valley shall be filled up, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough way shall be plain ways; and the glory of the Lord shall be seen, and all flesh shall see the salvation of God: for the Lord has said it. A voice says, "Cry out!" And I said, "What shall I cry?" All people are grass, their constancy is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God will stand forever. Get you up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good tidings; lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings, lift it up, do not fear; say to the cities of Judah, "Here is your God!" See, the Lord God comes with might, and his arm rules for him; his reward is with him, and his recompense before him. He will feed his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms, and carry them in his bosom, and gently lead the mother sheep. Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and marked off the heavens with a span, enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance? Who has directed the spirit of the Lord, or as his counselor has instructed him? Whom did he consult for his enlightenment, and who taught him the path of justice? Who taught him knowledge, and showed him the way of understanding? The nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are accounted as dust on the scales; see, he takes up the isles like fine dust. Lebanon would not provide fuel enough, nor are its animals enough for a burnt offering. All the nations are as nothing before him; they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness.
When I ceased, Trypho said, "All the words of the prophecy that you repeat, sir, are ambiguous, and cannot prove what you wish to prove." Then I answered, "If the prophets had not ceased, Trypho, so that after this John there were no more in your nation, then clearly what I say concerning Jesus Christ might be regarded as ambiguous. But if John came first calling on people to repent, and while he stayed by the river Jordan, once the Messiah came he put an end to his prophesying and baptising, and preached himself, saying that the kingdom of heaven is at hand, and that he must suffer many things from the Scribes and Pharisees, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again, and that he would appear again in Jerusalem, and would again eat and drink with his disciples. If he foretold that in the interval between his advents, as I already said, priests and false prophets would arise in his name, which things actually do appear, how then can they be ambiguous, when you may be convinced by the facts? Moreover, he referred to the fact that there would be no longer in your nation any prophet, and to the fact that people recognised how the New Covenant, which God formerly announced, was now present in the Messiah himself. He said: "The Law and the prophets lasted until John the Baptist; from that time the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force. And if you can receive it, he is Elijah, who was to come. He who has ears to hear, let him hear."
I went on: "It was prophesied by the patriarch Jacob that there would be two advents of Christ, and that in the first he would suffer, and that after he came there would be neither prophet nor king in your nation, and that the nations who believed in the suffering Christ would look for his future appearance. For this reason the Holy Spirit uttered these truths in a parable, obscurely. For it is said, "Judah, your brethren have praised you. Your hands shall be on the neck of your enemies and the sons of your father shall worship you. Judah is a lion's whelp; from whom, my son, you are sprung up. He crouches down, he stretches out like a lion, like a lioness - who dares rouse him up? A ruler shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from his thighs, until what is laid up in store for him will come; and he shall be the desire of nations, binding his foal to the vine, and the foal of his ass to the tendril of the vine. He shall wash his garments in wine, and his clothing in the blood of the grape. His eyes shall be bright with wine, and his teeth white like milk." Now you will surely admit that in your nation there never failed either prophet or ruler, from the time when they began until the time when this Jesus Christ appeared and suffered. For though you affirm that herod, after whose time he suffered, was an Ashkelonite, nevertheless you admit that there was a high priest in your nation; so that you then had one who presented offerings according to the Law of Moses, and observed the other legal ceremonies. Also you had prophets in succession until John, even when your nation was brought captive to Babylon, when your land was ravaged by war, and the sacred vessels were carried off. There never ceased to be a prophet among you, who was master and leader, and ruler of your nation. For the Spirit which was in the prophets anointed your kings, and established them. But after the manifestation and death of our Jesus Christ within your nation, there was and is nowhere any prophet. Further, you ceased to exist under your own king, your land was laid waste and forsaken like a lodge in a vineyard. So the statement of Scripture, by the mouth of Jacob, "He shall be the desire of nations," meant symbolically his two advents, and that the nations would believe in him, as you may now at length discern. For those out of all the nations who are virtuous and righteous through the faith of Christ, look for his future appearance.
"And the expression, "binding his foal to the vine, and the ass's foal to the vine tendril," declared beforehand both the works performed by him at his first advent, and also the nations' future belief in him. For they were like an unharnessed foal, which bore no yoke on its neck until this Messiah came and sent his disciples to instruct them. Then they bore the yoke of his word, and yielded the neck to endure all things for the sake of the blessings promised by himself, and expected by them. Indeed our Lord Jesus Christ, when he intended to enter Jerusalem, asked his disciples to bring him a certain ass, along with its foal, which was bound in an entrance of a village called Bethphage; and having seated himself on it, he entered Jerusalem. And as this was done by him in the precise terms predicted about Christ, when the fulfillment was recognised it became a clear proof that he was Christ. Yet though all this happened and is proved from Scripture, you are still hard-hearted.
For it was prophesied by Zechariah, one of the twelve, that such would take place, as follows: "Rejoice greatly, daughter of Zion; shout, and declare, daughter of Jerusalem. Behold, your King shall come to you, righteous, bringing salvation, meek and lowly, riding on a donkey, and the foal of a donkey." Now, that the prophetic Spirit, as well as the patriarch Jacob, mentioned both a donkey and its foal, which would be used by him, and that he, as I already said, requested his disciples to bring both beasts; was a prediction that you of the synagogue, along with the Gentiles, would believe in him. For as the unharnessed colt was a symbol of the Gentiles even so the harnessed ass was a symbol of your nation. For you possess the Law which was imposed by the prophets. Moreover, the prophet Zechariah foretold that this same Christ would be smitten, and his disciples scattered; which also took place. For after his crucifixion, the disciples who accompanied him were dispersed, until he rose from the dead, and showed how it had been prophesied about him that he would suffer; then being so convinced, they went into all the world, and taught these truths. Therefore also we are strong in his faith and doctrine, since we are convinced both by the prophets, and by those throughout the world who are seen to worship God in the name of that crucified One. The following is also said by Zechariah: "'O sword, rise up against my Shepherd, and against the man of my people,' says the Lord of hosts. 'Strike the Shepherd, and his flock shall be scattered.'"
"Then, the expression written by Moses, and spoken by the patriarch Jacob, "He shall wash his garments with wine, and his clothing with the blood of the grape," meant that with his own blood he would wash those who believe in him. For by "his garments" the Holy Spirit meant those who receive remission of sins through him; amongst whom he is always present in power, but will be clearly present at his second coming. That the Scripture mentions the blood of the grape is deliberate, because the Messiah derives blood not from the seed of man, but from the power of God. For as God, and not man, has produced the blood of the vine, so also it predicted that the blood of the Messiah would be not from the seed of man, but from the power of God. But this prophecy, sirs, which I repeated, proves that Christ is not man of men, begotten in the ordinary course of humanity."
Trypho replied, "We shall remember this exposition of yours if you strengthen it by other arguments. But now resume the discourse, and show how the prophetic Spirit admits another God besides the Maker of all things, taking care not to speak of the sun and moon, which, it is written, God has given to the nations to worship as gods; and frequently the prophets, using this form of speech, say that "your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of lords," frequently adding, "the great and strong and terrible one." For such expressions are used, not as if they really were gods, but when the Scripture is teaching us that the true God, who made all things, is the sole Lord of those who are reputed gods and lords. And so that the Holy Spirit may prove this, he said by the holy David, "The gods of the nations, reputed gods, are idols of demons, and not gods;" and he denounces a curse on those who worship them."
I replied, "I would not bring forward these proofs, Trypho, by which I know that those who worship such things are condemned, but such proofs as are beyond any objection. They will appear strange to you, although you read them every day; so that even by this we see how, because of your wickedness, God has withheld from you the ability to discern the wisdom of his Scriptures. Yet there is an exceptional remnant to whom, in his gracious patience, as Isaiah said, he has left a seed of salvation, for fear that your race be utterly destroyed like Sodom and Gomorrah. Pay heed, therefore, to what I shall record from the holy Scriptures, which do not need to be interpreted, but only listened to.
"Moses, then, the blessed and faithful servant of God, declares that he who appeared to Abraham under the oak in Mamre is God, sent - accompanied by two angels to judge Sodom - by another who dwells forever in the heavenly places, invisible to all people, holding personal contact with none, whom we believe to be Maker and Father of all things. This is what he says: "God appeared to him under the oak in Mature, as he sat at his tent-door at noontide. And lifting up his eyes, three men stood before him; and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the door of his tent; and he bowed himself toward the ground..." And further on, "Abraham got up early in the morning to the place where he stood before the Lord: and he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah and the adjacent country, and a flame went up from the earth, like the smoke of a furnace." When I finished quoting these words, I asked if they had understood them. They said they had, but that the passages brought up did not prove that there is any other God or Lord, or that the Holy Spirit says so, besides the Maker of all things. I replied, "I shall try to convince you, since you have understood the Scriptures, that there is, and is said to be, another God and Lord subject to the Maker of all things; who is also called an Angel, because he announces to people whatever the Maker of all things - above whom there is no other God - wishes to announce to them." And once more quoting the previous passage, I asked Trypho, "Do you think that God appeared to Abraham under the oak in Mature, as the Scripture asserts?" he said, "Indeed, yes."
I asked, "Was he one of those three whom Abraham saw, and whom the Holy Spirit of prophecy describes as men?" He said, "No; but God appeared to him, before the vision of the three. Then those three whom the Scripture calls men, were angels; two of them sent to destroy Sodom, and one to announce the joyful tidings to Sarah that she would bear a son. He was sent for this, and having achieved his errand, went away."
"How then," I said, "does the one of the three, who was in the tent, and who said, "I shall return to you later, and Sarah shall have a son," appear to have returned when Sarah had begotten a son, and to be then called 'God' by the prophetic word? But to grasp what I say, listen to the words expressly used by Moses: "And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian bond-woman, whom she bore to Abraham, playing with Isaac her son, and said to Abraham, 'Cast out this bond-woman and her son; for the son of this bond-woman shall not share the inheritance of my son Isaac.' And the matter seemed very grievous in Abraham's sight, because of his son. But God said to Abraham, 'Let it not be grievous in your sight because of the son, and because of the bond-woman. In all that Sarah has said to you, listen to her voice; for in Isaac shall your seed be called.'"
I asked, "Do you see, then, that he who said under the oak that he would return, since he knew he would need to advise Abraham to do what Sarah wished, came back as it is written. And he is God, as the words declare, when they say: "God said to Abraham, Do not be grieved because of the son, and because of the bond-woman?" Trypho said, "Certainly; but you have not proved from this that there is another God besides him who appeared to Abraham, and who also appeared to the other patriarchs and prophets. You have proved, however, that we were wrong in believing that the three who were in the tent with Abraham were all angels."
I replied again, "If I could not prove to you from the Scriptures that one of those three is God, and is also called Angel, because, as I already said, he brings messages to people as God the Maker of all things wishes, then in regard to him who appeared to Abraham on earth in human form similarly as the two angels who came with him, and who was God even before the creation of the world, it would be reasonable for you to hold the same belief as is held by the whole of your nation."
"Certainly," he said, "for up to now this has been our belief." Then I replied, "Reverting to the Scriptures, I shall try to convince you that he who is said to have appeared to Abraham, and to Jacob and Moses, and who is called God, is distinct from him who made all things, - numerically, I mean, and not in will. For I affirm that he has never at any time done anything which he who made the world - above whom there is no other God - did not wish him to do."
And Trypho said, "Prove now that this is the case, that we may agree with you. For we know you do not affirm that he has done or said anything contrary to the will of the Maker of all things." Then I said, "The Scripture I have just quoted will make this plain to you. It is so: "The sun was risen on the earth, and Lot entered into Segor (Zoar); and the Lord rained on Sodom sulfur and fire from heaven, and overthrew these cities and all the neighbourhood." Then the fourth of those who had remained with Trypho said, "It must necessarily be said that one of the two angels who went to Sodom, and whom Moses in the Scripture called Lord, is different from him who also is God and appeared to Abraham."
"It is not only on this ground," I said, "that it must be admitted that some other one is called 'Lord' by the Holy Spirit, besides him who is considered Maker of all things, and not solely is it said through Moses, but also through David. For he has written: "The Lord says to my Lord, Sit on my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool," as I have already quoted. And again, in other terms: "Your throne, O God, is for ever and ever. A sceptre of equity is the sceptre of your kingdom: you have loved righteousness and hated iniquity: therefore God, even your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness above your fellows." If, therefore, you say that the Holy Spirit calls some other one God and Lord, besides the Father of all things and his Messiah, answer me; for I undertake to prove to you from the Scriptures themselves, that he whom Scripture calls Lord is not one of the two angels that went to Sodom, but he who was with them, and is called God, who appeared to Abraham."
Trypho then said, "Prove this, since, as you see, it is getting late in the day and we are not prepared for such hazardous replies, for never yet have we heard any man investigating or enquiring into or proving these matters. Indeed we would not have tolerated your conversation, if you had not referred everything to the Scriptures, and you are very zealous in adducing proofs from them; and hold that there is no God above the Maker of all things."
I replied, "You know, then, that the Scripture says, "The Lord said to Abraham, 'why did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I truly conceive, for I am old? Is anything impossible with God? At the appointed time I shall return to you in due season, and Sarah shall have a son.'" Then after a little while: "The men rose up and looked towards Sodom and Gomorrah; and Abraham went with them, to send them on their way. And the Lord said, 'I will not conceal from Abraham, my servant, what I do.'" Again a little later, it says: "The Lord said, 'The cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and their sins are very grievous. I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to their cry which has come to me; and if not, that I may know.' And the men turned away, and went to Sodom. But Abraham was standing before the Lord. And drawing near, Abraham said, 'Will you destroy the righteous with the wicked?'" (And so on, for I do not think fit to write over again the same words, having written them all before, but simply give those by which I established the proof to Trypho and his companions. Then I proceeded to what follows, where these words are recorded:) "And when he had left communing with Abraham the Lord went away and he (Abraham) went to his place. Then at evening two angels came to Sodom and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom..." and later, "But the men put out their hands, and pulled Lot into the house to them, and shut to the door of the house;" and what follows till, "And the angels laid hold on his hand, and on the hand of his wife, and on the hands of his daughters, the Lord being merciful to him. And when they had brought them out out, they said, 'Save your life. Look not behind you, nor stay in all the neighbourhood. Escape to the mountain, for fear that you be taken too.' And Lot said to them, 'I pray, Lord, since your servant has found grace in your sight, and you have shown your great righteousness towards me in saving my life - I cannot escape to the mountain, for fear that evil overtake me, and I die. Behold, this small city is near to flee to. There I shall be safe, since it is small; and my soul shall live.' He said to him, 'Behold, I have accepted you in this matter too, so as not to destroy the city for which you have spoken. Make haste to save yourself there; for I shall not do anything until you arrive there.' Therefore he called the name of the city Segor (Zoar). The sun was risen on the earth; and Lot entered into Segor (Zoar). And the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the Lord out of heaven; and he overthrew these cities, and all the neighbourhood." And after another pause I added: "And now have you not seen, my friends, that one of the three, who is both God and Lord, and ministers to him who is in the heavens, is Lord of the two angels? For when they went to Sodom, he remained behind and spoke with Abraham in the words recorded by Moses; and when he departed after the conversation, Abraham went back to his place. When he arrived, the two angels no longer conversed with Lot, but with himself, as the Scripture makes clear; and he is the Lord who received commission from the Lord who is in the heavens, that is, the Maker of all things, to inflict on Sodom and Gomorrah what the Scripture describes in these terms: "The Lord rained down on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the Lord out of heaven."
When I fell silent Trypho said, "Clearly the Scripture compels us to admit this. But there is a matter about which we are really perplexed - namely, about what was said to the effect that he ate what was prepared and placed before him by Abraham; and you would admit this."
I answered, "It is written that they ate; and if we believe that it is said the three ate, and not just the two - who were really angels, and are nourished in the heavens, as is clear to us, even though they are not nourished by food like that which mortals use - (for, about the sustenance of manna which supported your fathers in the desert, Scripture says that they ate angels' food) - if we believe that three ate, then I would say that when the Scripture says that they ate, it means the same as when we would say of fire that it has 'devoured' all things; yet it certainly does not mean that they ate by masticating with teeth and jaws. So not even here should we be at a total loss, if we are acquainted even slightly with figurative modes of expression, and able to rise above them."
And Trypho said, "Perhaps the mode of eating may be so explained, where it is written, they took and ate what had been prepared by Abraham. You may now proceed to explain to us how this God who appeared to Abraham, and is minister to God the Maker of all things, being born of the virgin, became man, of like passions with all, as you said already." I replied, "Permit me first, Trypho, to collect some other proofs on this topic, so that by the large number of them you may be convinced about it, and then I shall explain what you ask." He said, "Do as seems good to you and I shall be thoroughly pleased."
I continued, "I intend to quote Scriptures to you, not that I seek merely to make an artful display of words; for I possess no such faculty, but God's grace has been granted to me only for the understanding of his Scriptures, and I exhort all to become partakers freely and bounteously of this grace, in order not, through lack of it, to incur condemnation in the judgment which God the Maker of all things shall hold through my Lord Jesus Christ." And Trypho said, "What you do is worthy of the worship of God, though you appear to me to feign ignorance when you say that you have not a store of artful words."
I again replied, "So be it, if you think so; yet I am convinced that I speak the truth. But pay heed that I may now offer the remaining proofs." "Proceed," said he. And I continued: "It is again written by Moses, my brethren, that he who is called God and appeared to the patriarchs is called both Angel and Lord, so that from this you may understand him to be a minister to the Father of all things, as you have already admitted, and may be firmly convinced by additional arguments. The word of God, through Moses, when referring to Jacob the grandson of Abraham, says: "And when the sheep conceived, I saw them with my eyes in the dream: And behold, the he-goats and the rams which leaped on the sheep and she-goats were spotted with white, and speckled and sprinkled with a dun colour. And the Angel of God said to me in the dream, 'Jacob, Jacob.' So I said, 'What is it, Lord?' He said, 'Lift up your eyes, and see that the he-goats and rams leaping on the sheep and she-goats are spotted with white, speckled, and sprinkled with a dun colour. For I have seen what Laban does to you. I am the God who appeared to you in Bethel, where you anointed a pillar and vowed a vow to me. Now therefore arise, and leave this land, and depart to the land of your birth, and I shall be with you.' And again, in other words, speaking of the same Jacob, it so says: "And having risen up that night, he took the two wives, and the two women-servants, and his eleven children, and passed over the ford Jabbok; and he took them and went over the stream, and sent over all his belongings.
But Jacob was left behind alone, and an Angel wrestled with him until morning. He saw that he was not prevailing against him, and he touched the broad part of his thigh; and the broad part of Jacob's thigh grew stiff while he wrestled with him. He said, 'Let me go, for the day is breaking.' But he said, 'I will not let you go, unless you bless me.' He said to him, 'What is your name?' He said, 'Jacob.' He said, 'Your name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel shall be your name; for you have prevailed with God, and shall be powerful with men.' And Jacob asked him, 'Tell me your name.' But he said, 'Why do you ask after my name?' He blessed him there. And Jacob called the name of that place Peniel, 'for I saw God face to face, and my soul rejoiced.'" And again, in other terms, referring to the same Jacob, it says: "And Jacob came to Luz, in the land of Canaan, which is Bethel, he and all that were with him. And there he built an altar, and called the name of that place Bethel; for there God appeared to him when he fled from the presence of his brother Esau. And Deborah, Rebekah's nurse, died, and was buried beneath Bethel under an oak: and Jacob called the name of it The Oak of Sorrow. And God appeared again to Jacob in Luz, when he came out from Mesopotamia in Syria, and he blessed him. And God said to him, Your name shall be no more called Jacob, but Israel shall he your name." This one is called 'God,' and he is and shall be God."
When all had agreed on these grounds, I continued: "Moreover, I must remind you of the words which tell how he who is both Angel and God and Lord, and who appeared as a man to Abraham, and who wrestled with Jacob in human form, was seen by him when he fled from his brother Esau. They are as follows: "And Jacob went out from the well of the oath, and went toward Haran. He came to a spot, and slept there, for the sun had set; and he gathered some of the stones of the place, and put them under his head. He slept in that place and he dreamed. And behold, a ladder was set up on the earth, whose top reached to heaven; and the angels of God ascended and descended on it. And the Lord stood above it, and he said, 'I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father, and of Isaac. Be not afraid: I will give to you and to your seed the land whereon you lie. Your seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and shall be extended to the west, and south, and north, and east: and in you, and in your seed, shall all families of the earth be blessed. And behold, I am with you, keeping you in every way in which you go, and will bring you again into this land; for I will not leave you, until I have done all that I have spoken to you.' And Jacob awoke from his sleep, and said, 'Surely the Lord is in this place, and I knew it not.' He was afraid, and said, 'How dreadful is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and the gate of heaven.' And Jacob rose up in the morning, and took the stone which he had placed under his head, and he set it up as a pillar, and poured oil on the top of it; and Jacob called the name of the place The House of God, and the name of the city formerly was Ulammaus." "
When I had said these words, I continued: "Permit me, further, to show you from the book of Exodus how this same One, who is both Angel, and God, and Lord, and man, and who appeared in human form to Abraham and Isaac, appeared in a flame of fire from the bush, and conversed with Moses." And when they said they would listen cheerfully, patiently and eagerly, I went on: "These words are in the book which bears the title of Exodus: 'And after many days the king of Egypt died, and the children of Israel groaned because of the works;' and so on until, 'Go and gather the elders of Israel, and you shall say to them, The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to me, saying, I am surely seeing you, and the things which have befallen you in Egypt.' In addition to these words, I went on: "Have you perceived, sirs, that this very God whom Moses speaks of as an Angel that talked to him in the flame of fire, declares to Moses that he is the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob?"
Then Trypho said, "We do not take this from the passage quoted by you, but only that it was an messenger who appeared in the flame of fire, but God who conversed with Moses; so that there were really two persons in company with each other, an messenger and God, who appeared in that vision."
I replied, "Even if this were so, my friends, that an messenger and God were together in the vision seen by Moses, yet, as has already been proved to you by the passages already quoted, it will not be the Creator of all things who said to Moses that he was the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, but it will be he who has been proved to you to have appeared to Abraham, ministering to the will of the Maker of all things, and likewise carrying out his wishes in the judgment of Sodom; so that, even though it be as you say, that there were two - an messenger and God - even a person of the smallest intelligence will not dare to assert that the Maker and Father of all things, having left all heavenly matters, was visible on a little portion of the earth."
And Trypho said, "Since it has been already proved that he who is called 'God' and 'Lord,' and appeared to Abraham, received from the Lord who is in the heavens what he inflicted on the land of Sodom, even though an messenger had accompanied the God who appeared to Moses, we shall perceive that the God who communed with Moses from the bush was not the Maker of all things, but he who has been shown to have manifested himself to Abraham and to Isaac and to Jacob; who also is called and is perceived to be the Angel of God the Maker of all things, because he declares to people the commands of the Father and Maker of all things."
I replied, "Now surely, Trypho, I shall show that, in the vision of Moses, this same One alone who is called an Angel, and who is God, appeared to and communed with Moses. For the Scripture says so: "The Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire from the bush; and he sees that the bush burns with fire, but the bush was not consumed. And Moses said, 'I will turn aside and see this great sight, for the bush is not burnt.' When the Lord saw that he is turning aside to behold, the Lord called to him out of the bush." Similarly, therefore as the Scripture calls an Angel the one who appeared to Jacob in the dream, then says that the same Angel who appeared in the dream said to him, "I am the God who appeared to you when you fled from the face of Esau your brother;" and that, in the judgment which befell Sodom in the days of Abraham, he had inflicted the punishment of the Lord who is in the heavens; - even so here, the Scripture, in announcing that the Angel of the Lord appeared to Moses, and in afterwards declaring him to be Lord and God, speaks of the same One, whom it declares by the many testimonies already quoted to be minister to God, who is above the world, above whom there is no other.
"My friends," I said, "I shall give you another testimony from the Scriptures, that God begot before all creatures a Beginning, a certain rational power coming 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 Jehoshua the son of Nun. For he can be called by all those names, since he ministers to the Father's will, and since he was begotten of the Father by an act of will; just as we see happening among ourselves: for when we give out some word, we beget the word, yet not by cutting anything away, so as to lessen the word in us, when we give it out. We also see this happening in the case of a fire, which is not lessened when it has kindled another, but it remains the same; and that which has been kindled by it likewise seems 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 me witness, when by Solomon he says as follows: "If I declare to you what happens daily, I shall call to mind events from everlasting, and review them. The Lord created me at the beginning of his work, the first of his acts of long ago. Ages ago I was set up, at the first, before the beginning of the earth. When there were no depths I was brought forth, when there were no springs abounding with water. Before the mountains had been shaped, before the hills, I was brought forth - when he had not yet made earth and fields, or he world's first bits of soil. When he established the heavens, I was there, when he drew a circle on the face of the deep, when he made firm the skies above, when he established the fountains of the deep, when he assigned to the sea its limit, so that the waters might not transgress his command, when he marked out the foundations of the earth, then I was beside him, like a master worker; and I was daily his delight, rejoicing before him always, rejoicing in his inhabited world and delighting in the human race. And now, my children, listen to me: happy are those who keep my ways. Hear instruction and be wise, and do not neglect it. Happy is the one who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting beside my doors. For whoever finds me finds life and obtains favor from the Lord; but those who miss me injure themselves; all who hate me love death."
"And the same sense was expressed, my friends, by the word of God through Moses, when it indicated to us, with regard to him whom it has pointed out, that God speaks in the creation of man with the very same intention, in the following words: "Let Us make man after our image and likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the heaven, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over all the creeping things that creep on the earth. And God created man: after the image of God did he create him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and said, Increase and multiply, and fill the earth, and have power over it. And that you may not change the words just quoted, and repeat what your teachers assert, - either that God said to himself, "Let Us make," just as we, when about to do something, frequently say to ourselves, "Let us make;" or that God spoke to the elements, the earth and other similar substances of which we believe man was formed, "Let Us make," - I shall quote again the words of Moses himself, from which we can indisputably learn that God conversed with someone numerically distinct from himself, and also a rational Being. These are the words: "And God said, Behold, Adam has become as one of us, to know good and evil." In saying, therefore, "as one of us," he has indicated a number of persons associated with each another, who are at least two. For I would not regard as true that heresy which is said to be among you, or that the teachers of it can prove that he spoke to angels, or that the human body was the workmanship of angels. But this Offspring, which was truly brought forth from the Father, was with the Father before all creatures, and the Father communed with him; even as the Scripture by Solomon has made clear, that he whom Solomon calls Wisdom, was begotten as a Beginning before all his creatures and as Offspring by God, who also declared this in the revelation made by Jehoshua the son of Nun. Listen, therefore, to the following from the book of Jehoshua, that what I say may be clear to you: "And when Jehoshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing before him with a drawn sword in his hand. Jehoshua went to him and said to him, "Are you one of us, or one of our adversaries?" He replied, "Neither; but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come." And Jehoshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and he said to him, "What do you command your servant, my lord?" The commander of the army of the Lord said to Jehoshua, "Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you stand is holy." And Jericho was shut up and fortified, and nobody went out of it. And the Lord said to Jehoshua, Behold, I give into your hand Jericho, and its king and soldiers." "
And Trypho said, "This point has been proved to me forcibly, and by many arguments, my friend. It remains, then, to prove that he submitted to becoming man by the virgin, according to the will of his Father; and to be crucified, and to die. Also prove clearly that after this he rose again and ascended to heaven."
I answered, "This, too, has been already shown by me in the words quoted from the prophecies, my friends; which, by recalling and interpreting for your sakes, I shall try to lead you to agree with me also about this matter. The passage in Isaiah, "Who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken away from the earth," - does it not seem to you to refer to One who, not descended from men, was said to be saved over to death by God for the sins of the people? As I mentioned before, Moses, in a parable said that he would "wash his garments in the blood of the grape;" for his blood did not spring from the seed of man, but from the will of God. And then David said, "From the womb of the morning, like dew have I begotten you. The Lord has sworn, and will not repent, you are a priest for ever, according to the order of Melchizedek." Does this not declare to you that he was from of old, and that the God and Father of all things intended him to be begotten by a human womb? And speaking in other words that have already been quoted, "Your throne, O God, endures forever and ever. Your royal sceptre is a sceptre of equity; you love righteousness and hate wickedness. Therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions; your robes are all fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia. From ivory palaces stringed instruments make you glad; daughters of kings are among your ladies of honor; at your right hand stands the queen in gold of Ophir. Hear, O daughter, consider and incline your ear; forget your people and your father's house, and the king will desire your beauty. Since he is your lord, bow to him"
Here Trypho said, "Let him be recognised as the Scriptures declare, to be Lord and Christ and God, by you Gentiles, who from his name are called Christians; but we who are servants of the God who made him, so do not need to confess or worship him." To this I replied, "If I were as quarrelsome and trivial-minded as you, Trypho, I would no longer continue this conversation with you, since you are not prepared to understand what has been said, but only to answer petulantly; but since I fear the judgment of God, I do not state a premature opinion about anyone of your nation, as to whether or not some of them may be saved by the grace of the Lord of hosts. Therefore even if you act badly, I shall continue to reply to any proposition you bring forward, and any contradiction you make. In fact, I do the very same to anyone of any nation who wishes to study with me, or ask me questions on this subject. Now, if you had paid attention to the Scriptures already cited, you would have understood by now that those of your own nation who are saved, are saved through this man, and share in his destiny; and you would certainly not have asked me about this matter. Let me again repeat the words of David already quoted, and beg of you to grasp them and not be so bad as to stir each other up just to raise some contradiction. The words of David are these: "The Lord has reigned; let the nations be angry: (it is) he who sits on the cherubim; let the earth be shaken. The Lord is great in Zion; and he is high above all the nations. Let them confess your great name, for it is fearful and holy; and the honour of the king loves judgment. You have prepared equity; judgment and righteousness have you performed in Jacob. Exalt the Lord our God, and worship the footstool of his feet; for he is holy. Moses and Aaron among his priests, and Samuel among those who call on his name; they called on the Lord, and he heard them. In the pillar of the cloud he spoke to them; for they kept his testimonies and his commandments which he gave them." And it can be proved from other words of David, also quoted earlier, which you wrongly see as referring to Solomon, (due to the inscription 'for Solomon,') that he existed before the sun, and that those of your nation who are saved shall be saved through Him. These are the words: "O God, give your justice to the king, and your righteousness to the king's son. May he defend the cause of the poor of the people, give deliverance to the needy, and crush the oppressor. May he live while the sun endures, and as long as the moon, throughout all generations...." and so on until, "May his name endure forever, his fame continue as long as the sun. May all nations be blessed in him; may they pronounce him happy. Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who alone does wondrous things. Blessed be his glorious name forever and may his glory fill the whole earth. Amen and Amen." And you remember from other words also spoken by David, and which I have mentioned, how it is declared that he would come out from the highest heavens, and again return to the same place, so that you may recognise him as God coming from above, and man living among men; and that he will again appear, when they who pierced him shall see him and bewail him. It says: "The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard; yet their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In the heavens he has set a tent for the sun, which comes out like a bridegroom from his wedding canopy, and like a strong man runs its course with joy. Its rising is from the end of the heavens, and its circuit to the end of them; and nothing is hid from its heat."
And Trypho said, "Being shaken by so many Scriptures, I do not know what to say about the text of Isaiah where God says that he does not give his glory to another. It says: "Why should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another." And I answered, "If you spoke these words, Trypho, and then kept silence in simplicity and with no ill-will, neither repeating what goes before nor adding what comes after, you must be forgiven; but if you imagined that you could throw doubt on the passage, so that I might say the Scriptures contradicted each other, you are mistaken. For I shall not dare to imagine or say any such thing; and if a Scripture which appears to do so be brought forward, and if there it might appear contrary to some other, because I am entirely convinced that no Scripture contradicts another, I shall admit rather that I do not understand what is recorded, and shall rather strive to convince those who imagine that the Scriptures are contradictory, to come to the same opinion as myself. God knows with what intent, then, you have brought forward the difficulty. But I shall remind you of what the passage says, so that you may recognise even from this very text that God gives glory to his Messiah alone. And I shall take up some short passages, sirs, connected with what Trypho has said, and take them in consecutive order. For I will not cite from various sections, but those which are joined together in sequence, if you give me your attention. Here they are: "The Lord says, the God who created the heavens, and made them firm, and established the earth and what is in it, and gave breath to its people and spirit to all who walk in it: I the Lord God have called you in righteousness, and will hold your hand and strengthen you. I have given you as a covenant to the people and a light of the Gentiles, to open the eyes of the blind, to bring out from their chains those who are bound and from the prison-house those who sit in darkness. I am the Lord God; this is my name: my glory I will not give to another. Behold, the former things I declared long ago, they went out from my mouth and I made them known; then suddenly I did them and they came to pass." "Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise from the end of the earth! Let the sea roar and all that fills it, the coastlands and their inhabitants. Let the desert and its towns lift up their voice, the villages that Kedar inhabits; let the inhabitants of the Rock sing for joy, let them shout from the tops of the mountains. Let them give glory to the Lord, and declare his praise in the coastlands. The Lord goes forth like a soldier, like a warrior he stirs up his fury; he cries out, he shouts aloud, he shows himself mighty against his foes."
When I repeated this, I said to them, "Did you notice, friends, how God says he will give glory to him whom he has established as a light of the Gentiles, and to no other; and not, as Trypho said, that God was retaining the glory to himself?" Then Trypho replied, "We have noted this also; pass on therefore to the remainder of the discourse."
Resuming the discourse where I left off earlier, when proving that he was born of a virgin, and that his birth of a virgin had been predicted by Isaiah, let me repeat the prophecy here, "And the Lord again said to Ahaz, 'Ask for yourself a sign from the Lord your God, in the depth or in the height.' And Ahaz said 'I will not ask, neither will I put the Lord to the test.' And Isaiah said, 'Hear then, house of David; Is it too little for you to weary mortals, that you weary my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive, and shall bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel. Butter and honey shall he eat; before he knows or prefers the evil he will choose out the good. For before the child knows ill or good, he rejects evil by choosing out the good. For before the child knows how to call father or mother, he shall receive the power of Damascus, and the spoil of Samaria, in presence of the king of Assyria. And the land shall be forsaken, which you shall with difficulty endure because of the presence of its two kings. But God shall bring on you, and on your people, and on the house of your father, days which have not yet come on you since the day in which Ephraim took away from Judah the king of Assyria." And I continued: "Now it is clear to all, that in the race of Abraham according to the flesh nobody has been born of a virgin, or is said to have been so born - except this our Christ."
Trypho replied, "The Scripture does not say, "The virgin shall conceive, and bear a son," but, "Behold, the young woman shall conceive, and bear a son," and so on, as you quoted. And the saying refers to Hezekiah, and it proved to be fulfilled in him, according to the terms of this prophecy. Moreover, it is written in the fables of those we call the Greeks, that Perseus was begotten of Danae, who was a virgin; when he whom they call Zeus descended on her in the form of a golden shower. Indeed you ought to feel ashamed to make assertions similar to theirs, instead of saying that this Jesus was born in the human way. And you should prove from the Scriptures that he is Christ, and that deserved to be chosen for this honour on account of having led a perfect life according to the law, but do not dare to tell of monstrous phenomena, for fear of being found to talk foolishly like the Greeks."
To this I said, "Trypho, let you and indeed everybody know that even if you say worse things in ridicule and in jest, you will not move me from my determination; but I shall always adduce from the words which you think can be alleged as proof (of your own views), the proof of what I have stated along with the testimony of the Scriptures. However, you are not acting fairly or truthfully when you try to set aside the things which were firmly agreed between us; namely, that certain commands were instituted by Moses on account of the hardness of your people's hearts. For you said that if he were elected and became Christ, it was because of his living conformably to law." To which Trypho said, "You admitted to us that he was both circumcised, and observed the other legal ceremonies ordained by Moses." I replied, "I have and do admit it. Yet I state that he bore all these not as if he were justified by them, but completing the plan which his Father, the Maker of all things, and Lord and God, wanted of him. For I admit that he endured crucifixion and death, and the incarnation, and the suffering of all that your nation inflicted on him. But Trypho, since now you dissent from that to which you but recently assented, answer me this: Those righteous patriarchs who lived before Moses, who observed none of the things which, as Scripture shows, were instituted by Moses, are they saved into the inheritance of the blessed?" Trypho said, "The Scriptures compel me to admit it."
"Let me again ask you," I said, "did God command your fathers to present the offerings and sacrifices because he needed them, or because of the hardness of their hearts and their tendency to idolatry?" "The latter," said he, "for so the Scriptures compel us to admit." "Likewise," I said, "did not the Scriptures predict that God promised to grant a new covenant besides that granted on the mountain of Horeb?"
"This, too," he replied, "was predicted." Then I said again, "Was not the old covenant imposed on your fathers with fear and trembling, so that they could not give ear to God?" He admitted it. "Well then," said I: "God promised that there would be another covenant, not like the old one, and that it would be imposed on them without fear and trembling or lightning. It would contain the kind of commands and actions God knows to be eternal and suited to every nation, rather than those he had suited to the hardness of your people's hearts, as he exclaims also by the prophets." "To this also," said he, "those who are lovers of truth and not lovers of strife must surely assent."
Then I replied, "I do not know how you speak of persons who are fond of strife, since you yourself have plainly acted in this very manner, frequently contradicting what you had agreed to."
And Trypho said, "You try to prove an incredible and nearly impossible thing, that submitted to be born and become man."
"If I undertook," I said, "to prove this by human opinions or arguments, you should not bear with me. But if I frequently quote many Scriptures referring to this point, and ask you to understand them, you obstinately refuse to recognise the mind and will of God. Now if you wish to remain for ever so, I would not be hurt at all and shall leave you, sticking to the same views I had before I met with you."
And Trypho said," Look friend, you have gained mastery of these things with much labour and toil. Accordingly we must diligently scrutinize all that we meet with, in order to give our assent to whatever the Scriptures require of us."
Then I said, "I do not ask you not to strive earnestly by all means, to enquire into these matters, but only, when you have nothing to say, not to contradict any matters to which you said you had agreed." And Trypho said, "So we shall try to do."
I went on, "In addition to the questions I have put to you just now, I wish to put more, by means of which I shall strive to bring the discourse to a speedy end." And Trypho said, "Ask the questions."
Then I said, "Do you think that in the Scriptures there is anyone other said to be worthy of worship or called Lord and God, except the Maker of all, and Christ, who by so many Scriptures was proved to you to have become man?"
Trypho replied, "How could we say so, when we have enquired at such length as to whether there is any other than the Father alone?" So I went on, "I must ask you this also, to know if you are of a different opinion from that which you granted some time ago." He replied, "I am not, sir."
I pressed on, "Since you certainly admit these things, and since Scripture says, "Who shall declare his generation?" ought you not now to think that he is not of human seed ?"
Trypho said, "But how then does the Word say to David, that from his loins God shall take to himself a Son, and establish his kingdom, and set him upon the throne of his glory?"
I said, "Trypho, if the prophecy uttered by Isaiah, "Behold, the virgin shall conceive," is said not to the house of David, but to another house of the twelve tribes, perhaps that would pose some difficulty; but since this prophecy refers to the house of David, Isaiah has explained how what was spoken by God to David in mystery would take place. But perhaps you are not aware of this, my friends, that there were many sayings written obscurely, or in parable or mystery, and symbolic actions, which were interpreted by the prophets who lived after the persons who said or did them." "Certainly," said Trypho. "If therefore, I show that this prophecy of Isaiah refers to our Messiah, and not to Hezekiah, as you say, shall I not in this matter, too, get you to cease believing your teachers, who dared to deny certain parts of the interpretation given by your seventy elders who were with Ptolemy the king of the Egyptians? For some statements in the Scriptures, which appear explicitly to accuse them of a foolish and vain opinion, they dare to deny were written so. But other statements, which they fancy they can distort and harmonize with human ways, these, they say, refer not to this Jesus Christ of ours, but to him to whom they are pleased to refer them. So, for instance, they have taught you that this Scripture we are now discussing refers to Hezekiah, in which, as I promised, I shall show they are wrong. And under pressure they agree that some Scriptures which we have already cited to you, which expressly prove that Christ was to suffer, to be worshipped, and be called God, do refer indeed to Christ, yet they dare to assert that this man is not Christ. They admit that he will come to suffer, and to reign, and to be worshipped, and to be God; but I shall show that their position is ridiculous and silly. However, since I am pressed to answer first to what you said in jest, I shall answer it, and afterwards give my replies to what follows.
"Be sure, then, Trypho," I continued, "that I am established in the knowledge of and faith in the Scriptures by those counterfeits which the one called the devil is said to have performed among the Greeks; just as some were performed by magi in Egypt, and others by the false prophets in the days of Elijah. For when they tell that Jupiter's son Bacchus was begotten by intercourse with Semele, and that he was the discoverer of the vine; and they relate that after being torn in pieces and dying, he rose again and ascended to heaven; and when they introduce wine into his mysteries, do I not see how they have imitated the prophecy announced by the patriarch Jacob, and recorded by Moses? When they tell of the strength of Hercules and how he traveled over all the world, and was begotten by Jove of Alcmene, and ascended to heaven when he died, do I not notice that the Scripture which speaks of Christ, "strong as a giant to run his race," has been similarly imitated? When Aesculapius is presented as raising the dead and healing all diseases, may I not say that in this too he has imitated the prophecies about the Messiah? But since I have not quoted to you Scriptures that say that Christ will do these things, I must necessarily remind you of one such: from which you can understand how it was prophesied that those destitute of a knowledge of God, I mean the Gentiles, ("having eyes, they did not see, and having a heart, understood not," worshipping the images of wood,") would renounce such things and hope in this Messiah. It is written: "Rejoice, thirsty wilderness: let the wilderness be glad, and blossom as the lily: the deserts of the Jordan shall both blossom and be glad: and the glory of Lebanon was given to it, and the honour of Carmel. They shall see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God. Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who are of a fearful heart, 'Be strong, do not fear! Here is your God. He will come with vengeance, with terrible recompense. He will come and save you.' Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy. For waters shall break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert."
The spring of living water which gushes out from God in the land destitute of the knowledge of God, namely the land of the Gentiles, was this Messiah, who appeared in your nation, and healed those who were maimed and deaf and lame in body from their birth, causing them to leap, to hear, and to see, by his word. And having raised the dead to life, by his actions he compelled the attention of the people living at that time. But though they saw such works, they said they were by magical art. For they dared to call him a magician and a deceiver of the people. Yet he performed such works, and convinced those who were to believe in him. For even if anyone suffers from a defect of body, yet observes the doctrines he has given, he shall raise him up at his second advent perfectly sound, making him immortal and incorruptible, and free from grief.
"When those who tell the mysteries of Mithras say that he was begotten of a rock, and call the place where those who believe in him are initiated a cave, do I not notice how they have imitated a saying of Daniel, that a stone without hands was cut from a great mountain, and how they likewise try to imitate all of Isaiah's words? For they even contrive to quote the words of righteousness. Let me repeat to you the words of Isaiah referred to, so that you may know that these things are so. They are these: "Hear, you that are far off, what I have done; those who are near shall know my might. The sinners in Zion are afraid; trembling has seized the godless: "Who among us can live with the devouring fire? Who among us can live with everlasting flames?" Those who walk righteously and speak uprightly, who scorn the gain of oppression, who wave away a bribe instead of accepting it, who stop their ears from hearing of bloodshed and shut their eyes from looking on evil, they will live on the heights; their refuge will be the fortresses of rocks; their food will be supplied, their water assured. You shall see the King with glory, and your eyes shall look far off. Your soul shall pursue diligently the fear of the Lord. Where is the one who counted? Where is the one who weighed the tribute? Where is the one who counted the towers? No longer will you see the insolent people, the people of an obscure speech that you cannot understand, stammering in a language that you cannot understand." Now it is clear that this prophecy refers to the bread which our Messiah gave us to eat, in memory of his being made flesh for the sake of his believers, for whom also he suffered; and to the cup which he gave us to drink, in memory of his own blood, with thanksgiving. This prophecy proves that we shall behold this very King with glory; and the very terms of the prophecy declare loudly, that the people foreknown to believe in him were fore-known to pursue diligently the fear of the Lord. Moreover, these Scriptures are equally explicit in saying that those who are reputed to know the writings of the Scriptures, and who hear the prophecies, have no understanding. When I hear, Trypho," I said, "that Perseus was begotten of a virgin, I see that the deceiving serpent also counterfeited this.
"But I am far from putting reliance in your teachers, who refuse to admit as correct the interpretation made by the seventy elders who were with Ptolemy of the Egyptians, and try to frame another. I wish you to note how they have altogether excised many Scriptures from the translations made by those seventy elders who were with Ptolemy, by which this very man who was crucified is proved to have been set forth expressly as God and man, and as being crucified and as dying. However since I am aware that this is denied by all of your nation, I do not address myself to these points, but proceed in my discussion by means of those passages which are still admitted by you. For you assent to those who I have brought to your attention, except that you contradict the statement, 'Behold, the virgin shall conceive,' and say it ought to be read, 'Behold, the young woman shall conceive.' I promised to prove that the prophecy referred, not, as you were taught, to Hezekiah, but to this Christ of mine; and now I shall proceed to the proof." Here Trypho said, "We ask you first of all to tell us some of the Scriptures which you allege have been excised."
I said, "Just as you please, then. From the statements made by Esdras concerning the Law of the passover, they have taken away as follows: "Esdras said to the people, This passover is our Saviour and our refuge. And if you have understood, and your heart has taken it in, that we shall humble him on a standard, and thereafter hope in him, this place shall not be forsaken for ever, says the God of hosts. But if you will not believe him, and will not listen to his declaration, you shall be a laughing-stock to the nations." And from the sayings of Jeremiah they have cut out as follows: ".. like a lamb that is brought to the slaughter they plotted against me, saying, 'Come, let us lay on wood on his bread, and let us blot him out from the land of the living; and his name shall no more be remembered.'" And since this passage from the sayings of Jeremiah is still written in some copies in the Jewish synagogues, for it is only a short time since they were cut out, and since from these words it is shown that the Jews plotted against the Messiah himself, to crucify and put him to death, he is both declared to be led as a sheep to the slaughter, as predicted by Isaiah, and is here represented as a harmless lamb. Being in a difficulty about them, they give themselves over to blasphemy. And again, from the sayings of the same Jeremiah this has been cut out: "The Lord God remembered his dead people of Israel who lay in the graves; and he descended to preach to them his own salvation."
"And from the ninety-fifth (ninety-sixth) Psalm they have taken away from the words of David this short phrase: "From the wood." For when the passage said, "Tell among the nations, the Lord has reigned from the wood," they have left, "Tell among the nations, the Lord has reigned." Now nobody of your people has ever been said to have reigned as God and Lord among the nations, with the exception of him who was crucified, of whom also the Holy Spirit says in the same Psalm that he was raised again, and set free, declaring that there is none like him among the gods of the nations: for they are idols of demons.
Let me repeat the whole Psalm to you, that you may notice what is said: "Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, and bless his name; show forth his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the nations, his wonders among all people. For the Lord is great, and greatly to be praised: he is to be feared above all the gods. For all the gods of the nations are demons but the Lord made the heavens. Confession and beauty are in his presence; holiness and magnificence are in his sanctuary. Bring to the Lord, you countries of the nations, bring to the Lord glory and honour, bring to the Lord glory in his name. Take sacrifices, and go into his courts; worship the Lord in his holy temple. Let the whole earth be moved before him tell you among the nations, the Lord has reigned. For he has established the world, which shall not be moved; he shall judge the nations with equity. Let the heavens rejoice, and the earth be glad; let the sea and its fullness shake. Let the fields and all they contain be joyful. Let all the trees of the wood be glad before the Lord: for he comes, for he comes to judge the earth. He shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth."
Here Trypho said, " God knows whether the rulers of the people have erased any portion of the Scriptures, as you affirm, but it seems incredible."
"Certainly," I said, "it does seem incredible. For it is more horrible than the calf which they made, when satisfied with manna on the ground, or the sacrifice of children to demons; or the slaying of the prophets. But," I said, "you appear to me not to have heard the Scriptures which I said they had taken away. For such as have been quoted are more than enough to prove the points in dispute, besides those which still have in store, to bring forward."
Then Trypho said, "We know that you quoted these because we asked you. But it does not seem to me that this Psalm of David you last quoted refers to any other than the Father and Maker of the heavens and earth, while you referred it to him who suffered, whom you eagerly seek to prove to be Christ." I answered, "Listen to me, I beg you, while I speak of the statement of the Holy Spirit in this Psalm; and you shall know that I'm not speaking sinfully, and that we are not bewitched, but will be enabled of yourselves to understand many other statements made by the Holy Spirit.
"Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth: sing to the Lord, and bless his name; show forth his salvation from day to day, his wonderful works among all people." he bids the inhabitants of all the earth, who have known the mystery of this salvation, that is, the suffering of Christ, by which he saved them, sing and give praises to God the Father of all things, and recognise that he is to be praised and feared, and that he is the Maker of heaven and earth, who achieved this salvation on behalf of the human race, who also was crucified and died, and who was deemed worthy to reign over all the earth. This is also clearly seen by the land into which he would bring them, when he says: "This people shall forsake me, and break my covenant which I made with them in that day; and I will forsake them and turn away my face from them; and they shall be devoured, and many evils and afflictions shall overtake them; and they shall say in that day, 'Because the Lord my God is not amongst us, these misfortunes have overtaken us.' I shall certainly turn away my face from them in that day, on account of all the evils which they have committed, in that they have turned to other gods."
"Moreover, in the book of Exodus we have noted that the name of God himself which, he says, was not revealed to Abraham or to Jacob, was Jesus, and was declared mysteriously through Moses. So it is written: "And the Lord spoke to Moses, Say to this people, Behold, I send my messenger before your face, to keep you in the way, to bring you into the land which I have prepared for you. Give heed to him, and obey him. Do not disobey him, for he will not draw back from you; for my name is in him." Now understand that he who led your fathers into the land is called by this name Jesus, and earlier called Auses (Hosea). If you understand this, you shall likewise notice that the name of him who said to Moses, 'My name is in him,' was Jesus. For, indeed, he was also called Israel, and Jacob's name was changed to this also. Now Isaiah shows that those prophets who are sent to publish tidings from God are called his angels and apostles. For Isaiah says in a certain place, "Send me." And it is clear to all that the prophet whose name was changed, Jesus (Jehoshua), was strong and great. If, then, we know that God revealed himself in so many forms to Abraham, and to Jacob, and to Moses, how are we at a loss to believe that, according to the will of the Father of all things, it was possible for him to be born as man of the virgin, especially after we have such Scriptures, from which it can be plainly seen that he became so according to the will of the Father?
"For when Daniel speaks of "one like a son of man" who received the everlasting kingdom, does he not hint at this very thing? For he declares that, in saying "like a son of man," he appeared, and was man, but not of human seed. And the same thing he proclaimed in mystery when he speaks of this stone which was cut out without hands. For the expression "it was cut out without hands" indicates that it is not a work of man, but of the will of the Father and God of all things, who brought him forth. When Isaiah said, "Who shall declare his generation?" he meant that his descent could not be declared. Now nobody who is a born in the ordinary human way has a descent that cannot be declared. When Moses says that he will wash his garments in the blood of the grape, does not this signify what I have now often mentioned to you as an obscure prediction, namely, that he had blood, but not from men; just as not man, but God, has begotten the blood of the vine? When Isaiah calls him the messenger of great counsel, did he not foretell him to be the Teacher of those truths which he taught when he came? For he alone taught openly those mighty counsels which the Father designed both for all those who have been and shall be well-pleasing to him, and also for those who rebelled against his will, whether men or angels, when he said: "They shall come from the east and from the west, and sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven: but the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness." And, "Many shall say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not eaten, and drunk, and prophesied, and cast out demons in your name? And I will say to them, Depart from me." Again, in other words, by which he shall condemn those who are unworthy of salvation, he said, 'Depart into outer darkness, which the Father has prepared for Satan and his, angels.' And again, in other words, he said, 'I give to you power to tread on serpents and scorpions and on all the might of the enemy.' And now we, who believe in our Lord Jesus, who was crucified under Pontius Pilate, when we exorcise all demons and evil spirits, have them subjected to us. For if the prophets declared obscurely that Christ would suffer, and thereafter be Lord of all, yet that could not be understood by any man until he himself had convinced the apostles that such statements were expressly related in the Scriptures. For before his crucifixion he said: "The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the Scribes and Pharisees, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again." And David predicted that he would be born from the womb before sun and moon, according to the Father's will, and made him known, being Christ, and mighty God to be worshipped."
Then Trypho said, "I admit that such great arguments might convince one; but I ask you for the proof which you have frequently proposed to give me. Proceed then to make this plain to us, that we may see how you prove that that refers to this Messiah of yours. For we assert that the prophecy relates to Hezekiah." I replied, "I shall do as you wish. But show me yourselves first of all how it is said of Hezekiah, that before he knew how to call father or mother, he received the power of Damascus and the spoils of Samaria in the presence of the king of Assyria. For it will not be conceded, as you wish to explain it, that hezekiah waged war with the inhabitants of Damascus and Samaria in presence of the king of Assyria. "For before the child knows how to call father or mother," the prophetic word said, "He shall take the power of Damascus and spoils of Samaria in presence of the king of Assyria." For if the prophetic Spirit had not made the statement with an addition, "Before the child knows how to call father or mother, he shall take the power of Damascus and spoils of Samaria," but had only said, "And shall bear a son, and he shall take the power of Damascus and spoils of Samaria," then you might say that God foretold that he would take these things, since he fore-knew it. But now the prophecy has stated it with this addition: "Before the child knows how to call father or mother, he shall take the power of Damascus and spoils of Samaria." And you cannot prove that such a thing ever happened to anyone among the Jews. But we are able to prove that it happened in the case of our Messiah. For at the time of his birth, Magi who came from Arabia worshipped him, coming first to Herod, who then was sovereign in your land, and whom the Scripture calls king of Assyria on account of his wicked and sinful character. For you know," I continued, "that the Holy Spirit frequently announces such events by parables and similitudes; just as he did towards all the people in Jerusalem, frequently saying to them, "Your father is an Amorite, and your mother a Hittite."
"Now this king Herod, at the time when the Magi came to him from Arabia, and said they knew from a star which appeared in the heavens that a King had been born in your country, and that they had come to worship him, learned from the elders of your people that it was so written regarding Bethlehem in the prophet: "You, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the princes of Judah; for out of you shall go out the leader who shall feed my people." Accordingly the Magi from Arabia came to Bethlehem and worshipped the Child, and presented him with gifts, gold and frankincense, and myrrh; but did not return to Herod, being warned in a revelation after worshipping the Child in Bethlehem. And Joseph, the spouse of Mary, who wished at first to put away his betrothed Mary, supposing her to be pregnant by intercourse with a man, that is, from fornication, was commanded in a vision not to put away his wife; and the messenger who appeared to him told him that what was in her womb was of the Holy Spirit. Then he was afraid, and did not put her away; but on the occasion of the first census which was taken in Judaea, under Cyrenius, he went up from Nazareth, where he lived, to Bethlehem, to which he belonged, to be enrolled; for his family was of the tribe of Judah, which then inhabited that region. Then along with Mary he was told to proceed into Egypt, and remain there with the Child until another revelation warned them to return into Judaea. But when the Child was born in Bethlehem, since Joseph could not find a lodging in that village, he took up his quarters in a certain cave near the village; and while they were there Mary brought forth the Messiah and placed him in a manger, and here the Magi who came from Arabia found him. I have repeated to you," I continued, "what Isaiah foretold about the sign which foreshadowed the cave; but for the sake of those who have come with us today, let me again remind you of the passage." Then I repeated the passage from Isaiah which I have already written, adding that, by means of those words, those who presided over the mysteries of Mithras were stirred up by the devil to say that in a place, called among them a cave, they were initiated by him. "So Herod, when the Magi from Arabia did not return to him, as he had asked them to do, but departed to their own country by another way, according as they were commanded. And when Joseph, with Mary and the Child, had now gone into Egypt, as it was revealed to them to do; as he did not know the Child whom the Magi had gone to worship, ordered simply the whole of the children then in Bethlehem to be massacred. And Jeremiah prophesied that this would happen, speaking by the Holy Spirit so: "A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation and much wailing, Rachel weeping for her children; and she would not be comforted, because they are not." Therefore, on account of the voice which would be heard from Ramah, that is, from Arabia (for there is in Arabia at this very time a place called Rama), wailing would come on the place where Rachel the wife of Jacob called lsrael, the holy patriarch, has been buried, that is, on Bethlehem; while the women weep for their own slaughtered children, and have no consolation because of what has happened to them. For that expression of Isaiah "He shall take the power of Damascus and spoils of Samaria," foretold that the power of the evil demon that dwelt in Damascus should be overcome by the Messiah as soon as he was born; and this is proved to have happened. For the Magi, who were held in bondage for the commission of all evil actions through the power of that demon, by coming to worship Christ, shows that they have revolted from that dominion which held them captive; and this (dominion) the Scripture has shown us to reside in Damascus. Moreover, that sinful and unjust power is well termed Samaria, in parable. And none of you can deny that Damascus was, and is, in the region of Arabia, although now it belongs to what is called Syrophoenicia. Therefore it would behove you, sirs, to learn what you have not noticed, from those who have received grace from God, namely, from us Christians; and not to strive in every way to maintain your own doctrines, dishonouring those of God. Therefore also this grace has been transferred to us, as Isaiah says, speaking to the following effect: 'This people draws near to me, they honour me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; but in vain they worship me, teaching the commands and doctrines of men. Therefore, behold, I will remove this people, and take away the wisdom of their wise, and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.'"
At this, Trypho, who respected the Scriptures but was somewhat angry, as was clear from his face, said to me, "The utterances of God are holy, but it is plain that your expositions are mere ruses, no, even blasphemies, for you say that angels sinned and revolted from God."
Wishing to get him to listen to me, I answered in a milder tone: "Sir, I admire this piety of yours; and I pray that you may have the same disposition towards him to whom angels are said to minister, as Daniel says that one like the Son of man is led to the Ancient of days, and every kingdom is given to him for ever and ever. But that you may know, sir," I continued, "that it is not audacity which induces us to this exposition which you criticise, I shall give you evidence from Isaiah himself; for he says that evil angels have dwelt and still dwell in Tanis, in Egypt:: "Woe to the rebellious children! The Lord says, you have taken counsel, but not from me and made agreements, but not through my Spirit, to add sins to sins; who have sinned in going down to Egypt without enquiring of me, to get help from Pharaoh and be covered with the shadow of the Egyptians. For the shadow of Pharaoh shall be a disgrace to you, and a reproach to those who trust in the Egyptians. For the princes in Tanis are evil angels. Everyone comes to shame through a people that cannot profit them, that brings neither help nor profit, but shame and disgrace." Further, Zechariah tells, as you yourself have said, how the devil stood on the right hand of Jehoshua the priest, to resist him, with the words, "The Lord who has taken Jerusalem, rebuke you." Again, it is written in Job, as you said yourself, how the angels came to stand before the Lord, and the devil came with them. And it is recorded by Moses in the beginning of Genesis, that the serpent deceived Eve, and was cursed. And we know that in Egypt there were magicians who emulated the mighty power shown by God through his faithful servant Moses. But you know of how David said, "The gods of the nations are demons."
Then I said, "I am not so mean, Trypho, as to say one thing and think another. I admitted to you formerly, that I and many others are of this opinion, and (believe) that such will take place, as you surely are aware; but, on the other hand, I told you that many who belong to the pure and virtuous faith, and are true Christians, think otherwise. Moreover, I told you that some who are called Christians, but are godless, impious heretics, teach doctrines that are in every way blasphemous, atheistic and foolish. But to confirm that I do not say this before you alone, I shall draw up as far as I can a statement of all the arguments which have taken place between us; in which I shall record whatever I have admitted to you. For I choose to follow not men or human doctrines, but God and the doctrines from him. For if you have met some who are call themselves Christians but are not so, and who dare to blaspheme the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob; who say there is no resurrection of the dead, and that their souls, when they die, are taken to heaven; do not reckon them to be Christians, even as one, if he rightly reflects, would not admit that the Sadducees, or similar sects of Genistae, Meristae, Galilaeans, Hellenists, Pharisees, Baptists, are Jews (do not be impatient when I tell you what I think), but are Jews and children of Abraham only in name, worshipping God with the lips, as God himself declared, while the heart is far from him. But I and others, who are right-minded Christians on all points, are assured that there will be a resurrection of the dead, and a thousand years in Jerusalem, which will then be built, adorned, and enlarged, as the prophets Ezekiel and Isaiah and others declare.
For Isaiah said this about the period of a thousand years: "There shall be a new heaven and a new earth,; the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I am creating; for I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy, and its people as a delight. I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and delight in my people; no more shall the sound of weeping be heard in it, or the cry of distress. No more shall there be in it an infant that lives but a few days, or an old person who does not live out a lifetime; for one who dies at a hundred years will be considered a youth, and one who falls short of a hundred will be considered accursed.. They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat; for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be, and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands. They shall not labor in vain, or bear children for calamity; for they shall be offspring blessed by the Lord - and their descendants as well. Before they call I will answer, while they are yet speaking I will hear. The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, the lion shall eat straw like the ox; but the serpent - its food shall be dust! They shall not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain, says the Lord."
Now we understand that the expression, "According to the days of the tree shall be the days of my people; the works of their toil shall abound" obscurely predicts a thousand years. For as Adam was told that in the day he ate of the tree he would die, we know that he did not complete a thousand years. We have noticed, moreover, that the expression, "The day of the Lord is as a thousand years," is connected with this subject. And further, there was a man with us whose name was John, one of the apostles of Christ, who prophesied, by a revelation that was made to him, that those who believed in our Messiah would dwell a thousand years in Jerusalem; and then the general and eternal resurrection and judgment of all people would take place. Just as our Lord also said, "They shall neither marry nor be given in marriage, but shall be equal to the angels, the children of the God of the resurrection."
"For the prophetic gifts remain with us, right up to the present time. You need to understand that what formerly belonged to your nation have been transferred to us. And just as there were false prophets alongside your holy prophets, so are there now many false teachers amongst us, about whom our Lord warned us in advance, so that we are not at a loss, knowing that he foreknew all that would happen to us after his resurrection from the dead and ascension to heaven. For he said we would be put to death, and hated for his name's sake; and that many false prophets and false Christs would appear in his name, and deceive many, just as has come about. For many have taught godless, blasphemous, unholy doctrines, forging them in his name. They have also taught and continue to teach, things coming from the unclean spirit, which the devil put into their hearts. Therefore we are most anxious that you not be misled by such persons, since we know that everyone who can speak the truth, and does not speaks it, shall be judged by God, as testified by Ezekiel when he said, "I have made you a watchman to the house of Judah. If the sinner commits sin, and you do not warn him, he himself shall die in his sin; but I will require his blood at your hand. But if you warn him, you shall be innocent." And fearing this we earnestly wish to converse with others about the Scriptures, but not for love of money or glory, or pleasure, of which nobody can accuse us. Neither do we wish to live like the rulers of your people, whom God reproached with the words, "Your rulers are companions of thieves, lovers of bribes, followers of the rewards." Now, if you know some amongst us to be of this sort, do not on their account blaspheme the Scriptures and Christ, and do not strive after falsified interpretations.
"For your teachers have dared to refer the passage, "The Lord says to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, till I make your enemies your footstool," to Hezekiah; as if he were requested to sit on the right side of the temple, when the king of Assyria sent to him and threatened him; and he was told by Isaiah not to be afraid. Now we know and admit that what Isaiah said took place and that the king of Assyria ceased from his war against Jerusalem in Hezekiah's days, and the messenger of the Lord slew about 185,000 of the Assyrian army. But it is clear that the Psalm does not refer to him. For so it is written, "The Lord says to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, till I make your enemies your footstool. He shall send a mighty sceptre over Jerusalem, and it shall rule in the presence of your enemies. In the splendor of the saints before the morning star have I begotten you. The Lord has sworn, and will not repent, you are a priest for ever according to the order of Melchizedek." Who then does not admit that hezekiah is no priest for ever according to the order of Melchizedek? Who does not know that he is not the redeemer of Jerusalem? Who does not know that he neither sent a mighty sceptre into Jerusalem, nor ruled in the presence of his enemies; but that it was God who averted from him the enemies, after he mourned and was afflicted? But our Jesus, who has not yet come in glory, has sent into Jerusalem a mighty sceptre, namely, the word calling to repentance, for all the nations over which demons held sway, as David said, "The gods of the nations are demons." And his strong word has prevailed on many to forsake the demons whom they used to serve, and through it to believe in the Almighty God because the gods of the nations are demons. And we have already mentioned that the statement, "In the splendor of the saints before the morning star I have begotten you from the womb," is made to Christ.
"Moreover, the prophecy, "Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son," was uttered about him. For if he to whom Isaiah referred was not to be begotten of a virgin, of whom did the Holy Spirit declare, "Behold, the Lord himself shall give us a sign: behold, the virgin shall conceive, and bear a son?" For if he were to be begotten of sexual intercourse like all other first-born sons, why did God say that he would give a sign which is not common to all the first-born sons? But what is truly a sign, and which was to be made trustworthy to mankind, - namely, that the first-begotten of all creation should become incarnate in the virgin's womb, and be a child, - this he anticipated by the prophetic Spirit and predicted it in various ways as I have repeated to you, so that, when the event occurred, it might be known as done by the power and will of the Maker of all things; just as Eve was made from one of Adam's ribs, and as all living beings were created in the beginning by the word of God. But in these matters you dare to pervert the interpretations given by your elders who were with Ptolemy king of Egypt, since you say that the Scripture is not so as they translated it. You say, "Behold, the young woman shall conceive," as if great events were to be inferred if a woman should beget from sexual intercourse: which indeed all young women, except the barren, do; but even these, God, if he wills, is able to cause to bear. For Samuel's mother, who was barren, gave birth by the will of God; and so did the wife of the holy patriarch Abraham; and Elisabeth, who bore John the Baptist, and others like them. So that you must not imagine that it is impossible for God to do anything he wills. And especially when it was predicted that this would take place, do not dare to pervert or misinterpret the prophecies, since you will only harm yourselves and not God.
"Moreover, some of you dare to interpret the prophecy which runs, "Lift up your gates, you rulers; and be lifted up, you everlasting doors, that the King of glory may enter," as if it likewise referred to Hezekiah, while others of you apply it to Solomon. But its reference is neither to the latter nor the former, nor indeed to any of your kings, but to our Messiah alone, who appeared without beauty, and inglorious, as Isaiah and David and all the Scriptures said. He who is the Lord of hosts, by the will of the Father who conferred it on him; who also rose from the dead, and ascended to heaven, as the Psalms and other Scriptures made clear when they announced him to be Lord of hosts; of which you may easily be convinced, if you will, by the things which occur before your eyes. For every demon, when exorcised in the name of this Son of God - who is the First-born of every creature, who became man by the virgin, who suffered, and was crucified under Pontius Pilate by your nation, who died, who rose from the dead, and ascended into heaven - is overcome and subdued. But though you exorcise any demon in the name of any of those who were amongst you - either kings, or righteous people, or prophets, or patriarchs - it will not be subject to you. But if one of you exorcise it by the God of Abraham and of Isaac and Jacob, it will perhaps be subject to you. Now surely your exorcists, I have said, make use of craft when they exorcise, even as the Gentiles do, and employ incense and incantations. But the word of David has likewise shown that they are angels and powers whom his prophetic word commands to lift up the gates, that he who rose from the dead, Jesus Christ, who is Lord of hosts by the will of the Father, might enter. Let me again recall it to your attention for the sake of those who were not with us yesterday, for whose benefit, moreover, I sum up much that I said yesterday. And now, if I say this to you, although I have repeated it many times, I know it is not absurd so to do. For it is a ridiculous thing to see the sun, and the moon, and the other stars, continually keeping the same course, and bringing round the different seasons; and to see an accountant on being asked how many are twice two, refusing to say again that they are four, just because he has frequently said so. Equally, other things which are confidently admitted, may be continually mentioned. So why should he who founds his discourse on the prophetic Scriptures leave them and abstain from constantly referring to the same Scriptures, imagining that he can bring something better than Scripture. The passage, then, by which I proved that God reveals that there are both angels and hosts in heaven is this: "Praise the Lord from the heavens: praise him in the highest. Praise him, all his angels: praise him, all his hosts." Then one of those who had come with them on the second day, whose name was Mnaseas, said, "We are greatly pleased that you undertake to repeat the same things on account of us."
I said then, "Listen, my friends, to the Scripture which induces me to act so. told us to love even our enemies, as was predicted by Isaiah in many passages, in which the mystery of our own regeneration is also contained, as well as the regeneration of all who expect that Christ will appear in Jerusalem, and by their works try earnestly to please him. These are the words spoken by Isaiah: "Hear the word of the Lord, you who tremble at his word: Your own people who hate you and reject you for my name's sake have said, "Let the Lord be glorified, so that we may see your joy;" but it is they who shall be put to shame. Listen, an uproar from the city! A voice from the temple! The voice of the Lord, dealing retribution to his enemies! Before she was in labor she gave birth; before her pain came upon her she delivered a son. Who has heard of such a thing? Who has seen such things? Shall a land be born in one day? Shall a nation be delivered in one moment? Yet as soon as Zion was in labor she delivered her children. Shall I open the womb and not deliver? says the Lord; shall I, the one who delivers, shut the womb? says your God. Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad for her, all you who love her; rejoice with her in joy, all you who mourn over her - that you may nurse and be satisfied from her consoling breast; that you may drink deeply with delight from her glorious bosom."
After quoting this I added, "Hear how this Man, of whom the Scriptures declare that he will come again in glory after his crucifixion, was symbolized both by the tree of life, which was said to have been planted in paradise, and by the events which happened to all the just. Moses was sent with a rod to achieve the redemption of the people; and with this in his hands at the head of the people, he divided the sea. By this he saw the water gushing out of the rock; and when he cast a tree into the bitter waters of Marah, he made them sweet. Jacob, by putting rods into the water-troughs, caused the sheep of his uncle to conceive, so that he could gain their young. With his rod the same Jacob boasts that he had crossed the river. He said he saw a ladder, and the Scripture declares that God stood above it. But we have proved from the Scriptures that this was not the Father. And Jacob, having poured oil on a stone in the same place, is said by the very God who appeared to him, to have anointed a pillar to the God who appeared to him. And we have also proved by many Scriptures that the stone symbolically proclaimed Christ, and that the unguent (of oil, or of stacte, or any other compounded sweet balsams,) also referred to him, insofar as the word says: "Therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness above your fellows." For indeed all kings and anointed persons obtained from him their share in the names of kings and anointed: just as he himself received from the Father the titles of King, and Christ, and priest, and Angel, and such like other titles which he bears. Aaron's rod, which blossomed, declared him to be the high priest. Isaiah prophesied that a rod would come from the root of Jesse, which was Christ. And David says that the righteous man is "like a tree planted by streams of waters, which yields its fruit in its season, and whose leaf shall not fade." Again, the righteous is said to flourish like the palm-tree. God appeared from a tree to Abraham, as it is written, near the oak in Mamre. The people found seventy willows and twelve springs after crossing the Jordan. David says that God comforted him with a rod and staff. Elisha, by casting a stick into the river Jordan, recovered the iron part of the axe with which the sons of the prophets had gone to cut down trees to build the house in which they wished to read and study the Law and commandments of God. Just so our Messiah, by being crucified on the tree, and by purifying us with water, has redeemed us, though plunged in the heinous offences we have committed, and has made us a house of prayer and worship. Moreover, by a great mystery it was a rod that pointed out Judah to be the father of Tamar's sons."
Trypho, after I had spoken these words, said, "Do not think that I am trying, by asking what I now ask, to overturn the statements you have made; but wish for information about those points on which I now enquire. How, then, does the Scripture assert by Isaiah, "There shall arise a rod from the root of Jesse; and a flower shall grow up from the root of Jesse; and the Spirit of God shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and piety: and the spirit of the fear of the Lord shall fill him." You have told me," he continued, "that this refers to Christ, and you maintain him to be pre-existent God, and having become incarnate by God's will, to be born man by the virgin. So how he can be shown to be pre-existent, who is filled with the powers of the Holy Spirit, which the Scripture by Isaiah lists, as if he were in need of them?"
Then I replied, "You have asked most discreetly and prudently, for truly there does seem to be a difficulty But listen to what I say and you will find the reason for this also. The Scripture says that these listed powers of the Spirit came on him, not because he stood in need of them, but because they would rest on him, that is, would find their accomplishment in him, so that there would be no more prophets in your nation as of old, a fact which you plainly notice. For after him no prophet has arisen among you. Now, let me say that your prophets, each receiving one or two powers from God, did and spoke the things which we have learned from the Scriptures. Solomon possessed the spirit of wisdom, Daniel that of understanding and counsel, Moses that of power and piety, Elijah that of fear, and Isaiah that of knowledge; and so with the others: each possessed some power, or one joined alternately with another; also Jeremiah, and the twelve, and David, and, in short, the others who existed amongst you. Accordingly these rested, that is, ceased, when he came, after whom, in the time of this ministry amongst men, it was requisite that such gifts should cease among you; and having received their rest in him, should again, as was predicted, become gifts which, by the power of his Spirit, he imparts to those who believe in him, according as he deems each one worthy. I have already said, and here repeat, that it was prophesied that this would be done by him after his ascension to heaven. It is accordingly said, "He ascended on high, and leads captivity captive; he gave gifts to the children of men." Again another prophecy says: "And after this, I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and on my servants, and on my handmaids, and they shall prophesy."
"One can see amongst us women and men who possess gifts of the Spirit of God; so that it was prophesied that the powers listed by Isaiah would come on him, not because he needed power but because these would not continue after him. As proof to you, remember what I told you was done by the Magi from Arabia, who as soon as the Child was born came to worship him. For even at his birth he was in possession of his power, though as he grew up, like all others he used the means suited to each stage of development and was nourished in all kinds of ways. He waited for thirty years, more or less, until John appeared before him as the herald of his coming, and preceded him by means of baptism, as I have already shown. Then, when Jesus went to the river Jordan, where John was baptising, and stepped into the water, a fire was kindled in the Jordan; and when he came out of the water, the Holy Spirit came on him like a dove, as the apostles of this our Christ have written. Now, we know that he did not go to the river because he stood in need of baptism, or of the descent of the Spirit like a dove, just as he submitted to be born and to be crucified, not because of his own need, but because of the human race, which from Adam had fallen under the power of death and the serpent's deceit, for each of us has personally transgressed. For God, who wishes both angels and men, endowed with responsibility and free will, to do whatever he enables each to do, has so disposed to keep them free from death and from punishment if they choose the things acceptable to himself, but that if they do evil, he will punish each as he sees fit.
Now it was not his entrance into Jerusalem sitting on a donkey, which we have shown was prophesied, that empowered him to be Christ, but it offered a proof that he is so; just as it was necessary in the time of John that people have proof, in order to recognise Christ. For when John stayed beside the Jordan preaching the baptism of repentance, wearing a leather girdle and clothed in camels' hair and eating only locusts and wild honey, people imagined him to be the Messiah; but he shouted to them, "I am not Christ, but the voice of one calling out; for he who is stronger than I shall come, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear." When Jesus came to the Jordan, he was considered to be the son of Joseph the carpenter; and he appeared without beauty, as the Scriptures declared; and he was deemed a carpenter (for he worked as a carpenter when among men, making ploughs and yokes; by which he taught the symbols of righteousness and an active life). But then for man's sake, as I formerly stated, the Holy Spirit came on him in the form of a dove, and at the same instant there came a voice from the heavens, echoing what David, anticipating Christ, said that the Father would say to him: "You are my Son: this day have I begotten you." This says that his generation would take place for mankind, at the time when they would become acquainted with him: "You are my Son; this day have I begotten you."
Then Trypho said, "Assuredly all our nation waits for the Messiah; and we admit that all the Scriptures which you have quoted refer to him. Moreover, I further admit that the name of Jesus, by which the son of Nun was called, strongly inclines me to adopt this view. But our doubt is whether the Messiah should be so shamefully crucified. For anyone who is crucified is said in the Law to be accursed, so that I find this point very hard to believe. Yes, quite clearly the Scriptures announce that Christ had to suffer; but we wish to see if you can prove to us whether it was by the form of suffering cursed in the law."
I answered him, "If the Messiah were not destined to suffer, and the prophets had not foretold that he would be led to death on account of the sins of the people, and be dishonoured and scourged, and reckoned among the transgressors, and as a sheep be led to the slaughter, whose generation, as the prophet says, no man can declare, then you would have good cause to wonder. But if these things are to be characteristic of him and mark him out to all, how can we do other than believe in him most confidently? And will not whoever has understood the writings of the prophets, on hearing merely that he was crucified, say that this is he and no other?"
"Then show us more from the Scriptures," said he, "that we too may be convinced by you. For we know that he should suffer and be led as a sheep; but prove to us that he must be crucified and die so disgracefully and dishonourably by the death cursed in the law. For we cannot bring ourselves even to think of this."
"You know," I replied, "that what the prophets said and did they veiled in parables and signs, as you admitted to us; so that it was not easy for all to understand the most of it, since by these means they concealed the truth, so that those who are eager to find out and learn it might only do so with much effort." They answered, "We admitted this."
"Listen, then to what follows" said I, for by the signs he worked, Moses first exhibited this seeming curse of Christ." "What ones do you mean?" said he.
"When the people," I replied, "waged war with Amalek, and the son of Nun, Jesus (Jehoshua) by name, was leading the battle, Moses himself prayed to God with his arms outstretched, and supported by Hur and Aaron during the whole day, so that they might not droop when he grew weary. For if at any time he ceased this sign, which was an imitation of the cross, the people were defeated, as is recorded in the writings of Moses; but if he remained in this form, Amalek was likewise defeated, so that he prevailed in victory by the cross. For it was not because Moses so prayed that the people were stronger, but because, while one who bore the name of Jesus (Jehoshua) was in the forefront of the battle, he himself made the sign of the cross. For is there any of you unaware that what propitiates God most of all is prayer accompanied by lamentation and tears, with prostrated body or bended knees? But that was not how he, or anyone else, prayed, while sitting on a stone, not even though the stone symbolized Christ, as I have shown.
"And in another way too, God shows through Moses the powerful mystery of the cross, when he said in the blessing with which Joseph was blessed, "From the blessing of the Lord is his land; for the seasons of heaven, and for the dews, and for the deep springs from beneath, and for the seasonable fruits of the sun, and for the coming together of the months, and for the heights of the everlasting mountains, and for the heights of the hills, and for the ever-flowing rivers, and for the fruits of the fatness of the earth; and let the things accepted by him who appeared in the bush come on the head and crown of Joseph. Let him be glorified among his brethren; his beauty is as the firstling of a bullock, his horns the horns of a unicorn. With these he shall push the nations from one end of the earth to another." Now, nobody can say what the horns of a unicorn represent, other than a type portraying the cross. For one beam is placed upright, from which the highest extremity is raised up into a horn, when the other beam is fitted to it, and the ends appear on both sides as horns joined on to the one horn. And the part which is fixed in the centre, on which those who are crucified are suspended, also stands out like a horn; and it also looks like a horn joined and fixed to the other horns. And the expression, "With these shall he push the nations from one end of the earth to another," indicates what is now the fact among all nations. For some from all the nations, through the power of this mystery, having been so pushed, or pricked in their hearts, have turned from vain idols and demons to serve God. But the same symbol is revealed for the destruction and condemnation of the unbelievers, just as Amalek was defeated and Israel victorious when the people came out of Egypt, by means of the symbolic stretching out of Moses' hands, and the name of Jesus (Jehoshua) borne by the son of Nun. It seems that the type or sign lifted up to counteract the serpents which bit Israel, was intended for the salvation of those who believe that death would later come on the serpent through him who would be crucified, but salvation to those who had been bitten by him and had taken refuge with the one who sent his Son into the world to be crucified. For the prophetic Spirit by Moses did not teach us to believe in the serpent, since it shows us that he was cursed by God from the beginning; and in Isaiah tells us that he shall be put to death as an enemy by the mighty sword, which is Christ.
"Unless, therefore, by God's great grace one receives the power to understand what has been said and done by the prophets, merely seeming able to repeat the words or the actions will not profit him, if he cannot explain the point of them. And will the many scorn those who relate them without understanding them ? For if one should ask you why, since Enoch, Noah and his sons, and all others in a similar situation, who were neither circumcised nor kept the Sabbath, were pleasing to God, then after the lapse of so many generations the giving of the Law was demanded by other leaders in God's name, so that those who lived between the times of Abraham and of Moses were justified by circumcision, and that those who lived after Moses were justified by circumcision along with the other ordinances - the Sabbath, and sacrifices, and libations, and offerings; - then you must show, as I have already said, that God foreknew that your nation would deserve expulsion from Jerusalem, and that none would be permitted to enter into it. For you are not distinguished in any other way than by the circumcision of the flesh, as I said earlier. For Abraham was declared by God as righteous, not on account of circumcision but on account of faith. For before he was circumcised it was said of him: "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness." Therefore we, in the uncircumcision of our flesh, but believing God through Christ and having the circumcision which truly benefits us who have received it - namely, that of the heart - hope to appear righteous and well-pleasing to God; and already we have received his testimony through the words of the prophets.
You must show that you were commanded to observe the Sabbath and present offerings, and that the Lord allowed you to have a place called by his name so that, as has been said, you might not become godless by worshipping idols and forgetting God, as indeed you always seem to have been.
Now, that God commanded the ordinances of Sabbaths and offerings for these reasons, I have proved already; but for the sake of those who arrived today, I wish to repeat most of that. For if this is not the case, God will be blamed as having no foreknowledge, and as not teaching all people to know and to do the same acts of righteousness. For many generations of people seem to have existed before Moses; and the Scripture would not be true which says that "God is true and righteous, and all his ways are judgments, and there is no unrighteousness in him." But since the Scripture is true, God is wills that even such as you be not foolish or lovers of self, so as to obtain the salvation of Christ, who pleased God, and received his testimony, as I have already said, proving it from the holy words of prophecy.
"For he sets before every race of mankind what is always and universally just, as well as all righteousness; and every race knows that adultery and fornication and homicide and such like, are sinful; and though they all do such things, yet they do not escape the awareness of acting unrighteously whenever they so do, except for those who are possessed by an unclean spirit, or have been debased by education, or wicked customs and sinful regulations, and who have lost, or rather quenched and subdued, their natural ideas. For we may see that such persons are unwilling to submit to the same things which they impose on others, and reproach each other with hostile consciences for the acts which they themselves commit. Hence I think that our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ spoke well when he summed up all righteousness and piety in these two commandments: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your strength, and your neighbour as yourself." For the man who loves God with all the heart, and with all the strength, being filled with a God-fearing mind, will reverence no other God; and as God wills it, he will reverence that messenger who is beloved by the same Lord and God. And one who loves his neighbour as himself will wish for him the same good things he wishes for himself, and nobody will wish evil for himself. Accordingly, he who loves his neighbour would pray and strive that his neighbour may gain the same benefits as himself. And nothing else is neighbour to man than that similarly-affectioned and reasonable being - man. Therefore, since all righteousness is divided into two branches, namely, insofar as it regards God and other people, Scripture says that whoever loves the Lord God with all the heart, and all the strength, and his neighbour as himself, will be a truly righteous man. But you were never shown as showing friendship or love either towards God, or towards the prophets, or towards each other, but are ever clearly found to be idolaters and murderers of the righteous, so that you laid hands even on the Messiah himself. So to this very day you abide in your wickedness, execrating those who prove that this man crucified by you is Christ. Worse still, you imagine that he was crucified as hostile to and cursed by God, which idea is the product of your most irrational mind. For though you have the means to understand that this man is the Messiah from the signs given by Moses, yet you will not; and further, fancying that we can have no arguments, you raise any question that comes into your minds, while you yourselves are at a loss for arguments whenever you meet with some firmly established Christian."
"Now tell me, was it not God who through Moses commanded that no image or likeness should be made of anything in heaven above or on the earth below, and yet caused the brazen serpent to be made by Moses in the wilderness, and set it up as a sign by which those bitten by serpents were saved - and yet he is free from unrighteousness? By this, as I said earlier, he proclaimed the mystery by which he would break the power of the serpent who caused Adam's sin, and bring salvation to those who believe in the one foreshadowed by this sign, the crucified one, saving them from the fangs of the serpent, which are wickedness, idolatries and other unrighteous acts. Unless the matter be so understood, give me a reason why Moses set up the brazen serpent as a sign, and bade those who were bitten to gaze at it, and the wounded were healed - even though he had himself commanded that no likeness of anything whatever should be made."
At this, another of those who came on the second day said, "That is the truth: we cannot give a reason. For I have frequently questioned the teachers about this matter, and none of them gave me a reason, So continue speaking, for we are paying attention while you unfold the mystery on whose account the doctrines of the prophets are slandered." Then I replied, "Just as God commanded the sign of the brazen serpent to be made, and yet is blameless, even so, though there is a curse in the Law against crucified persons, yet no curse lies upon God's Messiah, by whom all who have committed things worthy of a curse are saved.
"For the whole human race will be found to be under a curse. For it is written in the Law of Moses, "Cursed is everyone who does not persevere in all things that are written in the book of the Law, to do them." And nobody has totally done all, nor will you dare to deny this; but some have observed more of the ordinances ordered, and some less than others. But if those who are under this law seem to be under a curse for not having observed all the requirements, how much more under a curse shall seem to be all the nations who practice idolatry and seduce youths, and commit other crimes? If, then, the Father of all wished his Messiah for the whole human family to take upon himself the curses of all, knowing that, after he had been crucified and died, he would raise him up, why do you accuse him who submitted to these things according to the Father's will, as if he were accursed, and do not rather bewail yourselves? For although his Father caused him to suffer these things on behalf of the human family, yet in committing the deed you did not do so in obedience to the will of God. For you did not practice piety when you slew the prophets. And let none of you say: 'If his Father wished him to suffer this, so that by his stripes the human race might be healed, we have done no wrong.' If, of course, you repent of your sins and recognise him as Christ, and observe his commandments, then you may assert this; for, as I have said before, remission of sins shall be yours. But if you curse him and those who believe in him, and put them to death whenever you have the power, how shall you not be brought to account as unrighteous and sinful, hard-hearted and without understanding, for laying your hands on him?
"For the statement in the law, "Cursed is everyone that hangs on a tree," confirms our hope which depends on the crucified Messiah, not because he who has been crucified is cursed by God, but because God foretold what would be done by you all, and by those like you, who do not know that this is he who existed before all, who is the eternal priest of God, and King, and Christ. And you clearly see that this has happen. For you curse in your synagogues all those who are called Christians after him and other nations carry out the curse, putting to death those who simply confess themselves to be Christians, to all of whom we say, you are our brethren. But recognise the truth of God, and even if neither they nor you are convinced by us, but keep trying to get us to deny the name of Christ, we choose rather and submit to death, in the full assurance of being rewarded with all the good which God has promised through Christ. Further we pray for you, that Christ may have mercy on you. For he taught us to pray even for our enemies, saying, "Love your enemies; be kind and merciful like your heavenly Father." For we see how Almighty God is kind and merciful, causing his sun to rise on the unthankful and on the righteous, and sending rain on the holy and on the wicked; all of whom he has taught us he will judge.
"For it was not without purpose that the prophet Moses remained in this form until evening, while Hur and Aaron upheld his hands. For the Lord remained on the tree almost until evening, and they buried him at dusk; then on the third day he rose again. This was declared by David in the words: "With my voice I cried to the Lord, and from his holy hill he heard me. I lay down and slept, and I awoke, for the Lord sustained me." And Isaiah likewise mentions the manner of his death, so: "I have spread out my hands to a disobedient and rebellious people, who walk in a way which is not good." And that he would rise again, Isaiah himself said: "His burial has been taken away from the presence, and I will give the rich for his death." And again, David in the twenty-first Psalm so refers to the suffering and to the cross in a mysterious parable : "They pierced my hands and my feet; they counted all my bones. They considered and gazed on me; they parted my garments among themselves, and cast lots on my clothing." For as they crucified him, they pierced his hands and feet, driving in the nails; and those who crucified him parted his garments among themselves, each casting lots for what he chose to have, and receiving as the lot decided. You maintain that this Psalm does not refer to the Messiah; for you are in all respects blind, not understanding that in your nation nobody who has been called King or the Messiah ever had his hands or feet pierced while alive, or has died in this mysterious fashion - by the cross - save this Jesus alone.
"I shall repeat the whole Psalm, so that you may hear his reverence towards the Father, and how he refers all things to him, and prays to be saved by him from this death, while at the same time declaring who they are who rise up against him, and showing that he has truly become man aquainted with suffering. It is as follows: "O God, my God, attend to me. Why have you forsaken me? The words of my sins are far from my salvation. O my God, I will cry to you in the day-time, and you will not hear; and in the night and it is not for lack of understanding. But you, the Praise of Israel, dwell in the holy place. Our fathers trusted in you and you delivered them. They cried to you, and were saved. They trusted in you, and were not confounded. But I am a worm, and no man, reproached by men and despised by the people. All those who see me laugh me to scorn; they curl their lips and shake their head. 'He trusted on the Lord: let him deliver him, let him save him, since he desires him!' For you are he who took me out of the womb; my hope from my mother's breasts. I was cast on you from the womb. From my mother's womb you are my God: be not far from me, for trouble is near and there is none to help. Many calves have besieged me; fat bulls have surrounded me. They opened their mouth on me, as a ravening and roaring lion. All my bones are poured out and dispersed like water. My heart has become like wax, melting within me. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue has cleaved to my throat, and you have brought me into the dust of death. For many dogs have surrounded me; the assembly of the wicked have beset me round. They pierced my hands and my feet, and numbered all my bones. They looked and stared on me; they parted my garments among them, and cast lots for my clothing. But do not remove your help from me, O Lord! Give heed to help me; deliver my soul from the sword, and your only-begotten from the hand of the dog. Save me from the lion's mouth, and my humility from the horns of the unicorns. I will declare your name to my brethren; in the midst of the Church will I praise you. You that fear the Lord, praise him: all you the seed of Jacob, glorify him. Let all the seed of Israel fear him."
When I had said these words, I continued: "Now I will show you that the whole Psalm refers to Christ, by repeating an explanation I gave already. The opening words, "O God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" - announced of old what would be said in the time of Christ. For when crucified, he spoke: "O God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" And what follows: "The words of my sins are far from my salvation. My God, I will cry to you in the day-time, and you will not hear; and in the night, and not for want of understanding in me." These, as well as the things he was to do, were foretold. For on the day when he was to be crucified, having taken three of his disciples to the hill called Olivet, situated opposite to the temple in Jerusalem, he prayed in these words: "Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me." And again he prayed: "Not as I will, but as you will;" showing by this that he had become truly a suffering man. Now, for fear that anyone should say that he did not know then that he had to suffer, in the Psalm he adds immediately: "And it is not for want of understanding in me." Even as there was no ignorance on God's part when he asked Adam where he was, or asked Cain where Abel was; but it was to show each what kind of man he was, and so that through the record we might come to know it: so likewise the Messiah declared that ignorance was not on his side, but on theirs, who thought that he was not Christ, but fancied they would put him to death, and that he, like some common mortal, would remain in Hades.
"Then the next part - "But you, the praise of Israel, inhabit the holy place" - declares that he is to do something praiseworthy and wonderful, being about to rise again from the dead on the third day after the crucifixion; and this he has obtained from the Father. For I have already shown that Christ is called both Jacob and Israel; and I have proved that what relates to him was mysteriously proclaimed not alone in the blessing of Joseph and Judah, but also in the Gospel it is written that he said: "All things are delivered to me by my Father," and "No man knows the Father but the Son, nor the Son but the Father, and they to whom the Son will reveal him." Accordingly he revealed to us all that by his grace we have noted from the Scriptures, so that we know him to be the first-begotten of God, and to be before all creatures. Likewise he is the Son of the patriarchs, since he assumed flesh by the virgin of their family, and submitted to become a man without beauty, dishonoured, and subject to suffering. Hence, also, when he was speaking about his future sufferings he said: "The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the Pharisees and Scribes, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again." He said then that he was the Son of man, either because of his birth by the virgin, who was, as I said, of the family of David and Jacob, and Isaac, and Abraham; or because Adam was the father both of himself and of those who have been listed earlier, from whom Mary's descent derives - for we know that the fathers of women are the fathers likewise of the children whom their daughters bear. And he called one of his disciples 'Peter,' who was already known by the name of Simon, for he recognised him as the Messiah the Son of God, by the revelation of his Father. Now since we find it recorded in the memoirs of his apostles that he is the Son of God, and since we call him the Son, we have understood that he proceeded from the Father before all creatures by his power and will, for he is addressed in the writings of the prophets in one way or another as Wisdom, and the Day, and the East, and a Sword, and a Stone, and a Rod, and Jacob, and Israel; and that he became man by the virgin, so that the disobedience which came from the serpent might end just as it had begun. For Eve, who was a virgin and undefiled, having conceived the word of the serpent, brought forth disobedience and death. But the virgin Mary received faith and joy, when the angel Gabriel announced the good tidings to her that the Spirit of the Lord would come on her, and the power of the Most High would overshadow her: therefore also the Holy One begotten of her is the Son of God; and she replied, "Be it to me according to your word." And by her was he born, to whom we have proved so many Scriptures refer, and by whom God destroys both the serpent and those angels and men who are like him; but works deliverance from death to those who repent of their wickedness and believe in him.
"Then what follows of the Psalm is this, in which he says: "Our fathers trusted in you; they trusted, and you did deliver them. They cried to you, and were not confounded. But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people;" which show that he admits them to be his fathers, who trusted in God and were saved by him, who also were the fathers of the virgin, by whom he was born and became man; and he foretells that he shall be saved by the same God, but does not boast of achieving anything through his own will or might. For when on earth he acted in the very same way, and answered to one who addressed him as "Good Master:" Why do you call me good? Only one is good, my Father who is in heaven." But when he says, I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people," he prophesied the things which did happen to him. For we who believe in him are everywhere a reproach, "despised of the people," and, rejected and dishonoured by your nation, he suffered those indignities which you planned against him. Then follows: "All those who see me laughed me to scorn; they curled their lips, they shook their head: he trusted in the Lord; let him deliver him, since he desires him," in which likewise he foretold would happen to him. For those who saw him crucified shook their heads and curled their lips, and twisting their noses to each other, they spoke in mockery the words which are recorded in the memoirs of his apostles: "He said he was the Son of God: let him come down; let God save him."
"Next - "my hope from the womb of my mother. On you have I been cast from the womb; from my mother's belly you are my God: for there is no helper. Many calves have besieged me; fat bulls have surrounded me. They opened their mouth on me, as a ravening and roaring lion. All my bones are poured out and dispersed like water. My heart has become like wax, melting within me. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue has cleaved to my throat" - foretold what would happen; for the statement, "my hope from the breasts of my mother," (is so explained). As soon as he was born in Bethlehem, as I already said, king Herod, having learned from the Arabian Magi about him, made a plot to put him to death and by God's command Joseph took him with Mary and departed into Egypt. For the Father had decreed that he whom he had begotten should be put to death, but not before he had grown to manhood, and proclaimed the word which proceeded from him. But if any of you say to us, Could not God rather have put Herod to death? I return answer by anticipation: Could not God have cut off in the beginning the serpent, so that he exist not, rather than have said, "And I will put enmity between him and the woman, and between his seed and her seed?" Could he not have at once created a multitude of people? But yet, since he knew that it would be good, he created both angels and men free to do what is righteous, and he appointed periods of time during which he knew it would be good for them to have the exercise of free-will; and because he likewise knew it would be good, he made general and particular judgments, while saving each one's freedom of will. Therefore Scripture says the following, at the destruction of the tower, and division and alteration of tongues: "And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they have begun to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them of all which they have attempted to do." And the statement, "my strength is become dry like a potsherd, and my tongue has cleaved to my throat," was also a prophecy of what would be done by him according to the Father's will. For the power of his strong word, by which he always confuted the Pharisees and Scribes, and, in short, all your nation's teachers that questioned him, had a cessation like a plentiful and strong spring, the waters of which have been turned off, when he kept silence, and chose to return no answer to anyone in the presence of Pilate; as has been declared in the memoirs of his apostles, so that what is recorded by Isaiah might have efficacious fruit, where it is written, "The Lord gives me a tongue, that I may know when I ought to speak." Again, when he said, "You are my God; be not far from me," he taught that all people ought to hope in God who created all things, and seek salvation and help from him alone; and not imagine, as the rest of men do, that salvation can be obtained by birth, or wealth, or strength, or wisdom. And such have ever been your practices: at one time you made a calf, and always you have shown yourselves ungrateful, murderers of the righteous, and proud of your descent. For if the Son of God clearly states that he can be saved, (neither) because he is a son, nor because he is strong or wise, but that without God he cannot be saved, even though he be sinless, as Isaiah declares in words to the effect that even in regard to his very language he committed no sin (for he committed no iniquity or deceit with his mouth), how do you or others who expect to be saved without this hope, imagine that you are not deceiving yourselves?
"Then what is next said in the Psalm -"For trouble is near, for there is none to help me. Many calves have besieged me; fat bulls have surrounded me. They opened their mouth on me, as a ravening and roaring lion. All my bones are poured out and dispersed like water" - was likewise a prediction of the events which happened to him. For on that night when some of your nation, who had been sent by the Pharisees and Scribes, and teachers, came on him from the Mount of Olives, those whom Scripture called butting and prematurely destructive calves surrounded him. And the expression, "Fat bulls have surrounded me," he spoke beforehand of those who acted similarly to the calves, when he was led before your teachers. And the Scripture described them as bulls, since we know that bulls are authors of the existence of calves. As therefore the bulls are the begetters of the calves, so your teachers were the cause why their children went out to the Mount of Olives to take him and bring him to them. And the expression, "For there is none to help," is also indicative of what took place. For there was not even a single man to assist him as an innocent person. And the expression, "They opened their mouth on me like a roaring lion," designates him who was then king of the Jews, and was called Herod, a successor of the Herod who, when the Messiah was born, slew all the infants in Bethlehem born about the same time, because he imagined that amongst them he would surely be of whom the Magi from Arabia had spoken; for he was ignorant of the will of him who is stronger than all, how he had commanded Joseph and Mary to take the Child and depart into Egypt, and there to remain until a revelation should again be made to them to return into their own country. And there they did remain until Herod, who slew the infants in Bethlehem, was dead, and Archelaus had succeeded him. He died before the Messiah came to the dispensation on the cross which was given him by his Father. When Herod succeeded Archelaus, having received the authority which had been allotted to him, Pilate sent to him by way of compliment Jesus bound; and God foreknowing that this would happen, had so spoken: "And they brought him to the Assyrian, aa a present to the king." Or he meant the devil by the lion roaring against him: whom Moses calls the serpent, but in Job and Zechariah he is called the devil, and by Jesus is addressed as Satan, showing that a compounded name was acquired by him from the actions which he performed. For "Sata" in the Jewish and Syrian tongue means apostate; and "Nas" is the word from which he is called by interpretation the serpent, that is, according to the interpretation of the Hebrew term, from both of which there arises the single word Satanas. For when he went up from the river Jordan, at the time when the voice spoke to him, "You are my Son: this day have I begotten you," the devil is recorded in the memoirs of the apostles to have come to him and tempted him, even so far as to say to him, "Worship me;" and the Messiah answered him, "Get you behind me, Satan: you shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve." For as he had deceived Adam, so he hoped that he might contrive some mischief against the Messiah also. Moreover, the statement, "All my bones are poured out and dispersed like water; my heart has become like wax, melting within me," was a prediction of that which happened to him on that night when men came out against him to the Mount of Olives to seize him. For in the memoirs which I say were drawn up by his apostles and those who followed them, (it is recorded) that his sweat fell down like drops of blood while he was praying, and saying, "If it be possible, let this cup pass:" his heart and also his bones trembling; his heart being like wax melting in his belly: so that we may notice that the Father wished his Son really to undergo such sufferings for our sakes, and may not say that he, being the Son of God, did not feel what was happening to him and inflicted on him. Further, the expression, "my strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue has cleaved to my throat," was a prediction, as I already said, of that silence, when he who convicted all your teachers of being unwise returned no answer at all.
"And the statement, "You have brought me into the dust of death; for many dogs have surrounded me: the assembly of the wicked have beset me round. They pierced my hands and my feet. They numbered all my bones. They looked and stared on me. They parted my garments among them, and cast lots for my clothing," - was a prediction, as I said before, of the death to which the synagogue of the wicked would condemn him, whom he calls both dogs and hunters, declaring that those who hunted him were both gathered together and assiduously striving to condemn him. In the memoirs of his apostles this is recorded to have happened. And I have shown that, after his crucifixion, they who crucified him parted his garments among them.
What follows in the Psalm, "But you, Lord, do not remove your assistance from me; give heed to help me. Deliver my soul from the sword, and my only-begotten from the hand of the dog; save me from the lion's mouth, and my humility from the horns of the unicorns," - was also information and prediction of the events which should befall him. For I have already proved that he was the only-begotten of the Father of all things, being begotten in a peculiar manner as Word and Power by him, and having afterwards become man through the virgin, as we have learned from the memoirs. Moreover, it is similarly foretold that he would die by crucifixion. For the passage, "Deliver my soul from the sword, and my only-begotten from the hand of the dog; save me from the lion's mouth, and my humility from the horns of the unicorns," is indicative of the suffering by which he should die, that is, by crucifixion. For the "horns of the unicorns," as I have already explained, are the figure of the cross only. And the prayer that his soul should be saved from the sword, and lion's mouth, and hand of the dog, was a prayer that nobody should take possession of his soul: so that, when we arrive at the end of life, we may ask the same petition from God, who is able to turn away every shameless evil messenger from taking our souls. And that the souls survive, I have shown from the fact that the soul of Samuel was called up by the witch, as Saul demanded. And it appears also, that all the souls of similar righteous people and prophets fell under the dominion of such powers, as is indeed to be inferred from the very facts in the case of that witch. Therefore also God by his Son teaches us for whose sake these things seem to have been done, always to strive earnestly, and at death to pray that our souls may not fall into the hands of any such power. For when the Messiah was giving up his spirit on the cross, as I have learned also from the memoirs he said, "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit." For he exhorted his disciples to surpass the pharisaic way of living, with the warning, that if they did not, they might be sure they could not be saved; and these words are recorded in the memoirs: "Unless your righteousness exceed that of the Scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven."
The remainder of the Psalm makes it manifest that he knew his Father would grant to him all that he asked, and would raise him from the dead; and that he urged all who fear God to praise him because he had compassion on all races of believers, through the mystery of him who was crucified; and that he stood in the midst of his brethren the apostles (who repented of their flight from him when he was crucified, after he rose from the dead, and after he had shown them that, before his passion he had said that he must suffer these things, and that they were predicted by the prophets), and when living with them sang praises to God, as is made clear in the memoirs of the apostles. The words are as follows: "I will declare your name to my brethren; in the midst of the Church will I praise you. You that fear the Lord, praise him; all you, the seed of Jacob, glorify him. Let all the seed of Israel fear him." When it is said that he changed the name of one of the apostles to Peter; and when it is written in the memoirs of him who this so happened, as well as that he changed the names of other two brothers, the sons of Zebedee, to Boanerges, which means sons of thunder; this was an announcement of the fact that it was he by whom Jacob was called Israel, and Hosea called Jesus, under whose name the people who survived of those who came from Egypt were conducted into the land promised to the patriarchs. And that he should arise like a star from the seed of Abraham, Moses showed beforehand when he said, "A star shall arise from Jacob, and a leader from Israel;" and another Scripture said, "Behold a man whose name is the East." So, when a star rose in heaven at the time of his birth, as is recorded in the memoirs of his apostles, the Magi from Arabia, recognising the sign, came and worshipped him.
It is written in the memoirs that some of your nation, questioning him, said, "Show us a sign;" and he replied, "An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and no sign shall be given them, save the sign of Jonah." And since he spoke this obscurely, it was to be understood by the audience that after his crucifixion he should rise again on the third day. He showed that your generation was more wicked and more adulterous than the city of Nineveh; for when Jonah, after he had been cast up on the third day from the belly of the great fish, preached to them that after three days they would all perish, they proclaimed a fast of all creatures, men and beasts, with sackcloth and earnest lamentation, with true and heartfelt repentance, turning away from evil, in the belief that God is merciful and kind to all who turn from evil; so that the king of that city himself, with his nobles, put on sackcloth and remained fasting and praying, and obtained their request that the city should not be destroyed. But when Jonah was grieved that the city was not destroyed on the third day, as he proclaimed, it happened that a shrub had sprung up suddenly from the earth for him, under which he sat, shaded from the heat, but now it withered away, for which Jonah was angry, but was found to be unjustly displeased because the city of Nineveh had not been destroyed. God said, "You had pity on the shrub, for the which you have not laboured, nor did you make it grow; for came up in a night, and perished in a night. And shall I not spare Nineveh, the great city, in which dwell more than six score thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand, and also much cattle?"
"And though all the people of your nation knew the incidents in the life of Jonah, and though the Messiah said amongst you that he would give the sign of Jonah, exhorting you to repent of your wicked actions at least after he rose again from the dead, and to mourn before God as did the Ninevites, so that your nation and city might not be taken and destroyed, as they have been destroyed; yet you not only have not repented, after you learned that he rose from the dead, but, as I said before you have sent chosen and ordained people throughout all the world to proclaim that a godless and lawless heresy had sprung from one Jesus, a Galilaean deceiver, whom we crucified, but his disciples stole him by night from the tomb, where he was laid when unfastened from the cross, and now deceive people by asserting that he has risen from the dead and ascended to heaven. Moreover, you accuse him of having taught those godless, lawless, and unholy doctrines which you list in order to condemn those who confess him as Christ, and a Teacher from and Son of God. Besides this, even when your city was captured and your land ravaged, you did not repent, but dared to curse him and all who believe in him. Yet we do not hate you or those who, on your account, have such prejudices against us; but we pray that even now all of you may repent and obtain mercy from God, the compassionate and patient Father of all.
"But that the Gentiles would repent of the evil in which they led erring lives, when they heard the doctrine preached by his apostles from Jerusalem, and which they learned through them, let me show you by quoting a short statement from the prophecy of Micah, one of the twelve, follows: "And in the last days the mountain of the Lord shall be manifest, established on the top of the mountains; it shall be exalted above the hills, and people shall flow to it. And many nations shall come and say, Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and they shall enlighten us in his way, and we shall walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge among many peoples, and shall rebuke strong nations afar off. They shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into sickles: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. And each man shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree; and there shall be none to terrify: for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken it. For all people will walk in the name of their gods; but we will walk in the name of the Lord our God for ever. And on that day I will assemble her that is afflicted, and gather her that is driven out, and whom I had plagued; and I shall make her that is afflicted a remnant, and her that is oppressed a strong nation. And the Lord shall reign over them in Mount Zion from now on, for ever."
When I had finished these words, I continued: "Now, sirs, I am aware that your teachers admit that all the words of this passage refer to the Messiah; and likewise that they maintain he has not yet come; or if they say that he has come, that it is not known who he is; but when he shall become manifest and glorious, then it shall be known who he is. And then, they say, the events mentioned in this passage shall happen, just as if there was no fruit as yet from the words of the prophecy. Unreasoning people, not to understand what has been proven by all these passages, that two advents of the Messiah have been announced: one, in which he is presented as suffering, inglorious, dishonoured, and crucified; but the other, in which he shall come from heaven with glory, when the man of apostasy, who speaks strange things against the Most High, shall dare to do unlawful actions on earth against us the Christians, who, having learned the true worship of God from the law, and the word which went forth from Jerusalem by means of the apostles of Jesus, have fled for safety to the God of Jacob and God of Israel. But we who were filled with war and mutual slaughter and every wickedness, have each through the whole earth exchanged our warlike weapons, - our swords into ploughshares, and our spears into implements of tillage, - and we cultivate piety, righteousness, philanthropy, faith, and hope, which we have from the Father himself through the one who was crucified. So we sit, each under his vine, that is, each man possessing his own married wife. For you know that the prophetic word said, "And his wife shall be like a fruitful vine." Now it is clear that nobody can terrify or subdue us who have believed in Jesus over all the world. For it is plain that, even if beheaded or crucified or thrown to wild beasts or chains, or the fire, or all other kinds of torture, we do not give up our confession; but the more such things happen, the more do others and in larger numbers become believers and worshippers of God through the name of Jesus. For just as if one should cut away the fruit-bearing parts of a vine, it grows up again, and yields other branches flourishing and fruitful, so the same thing happens with us. For the vine planted by God and the Messiah the Saviour is his people. But the rest of the prophecy shall be fulfilled at his second coming. For the expression, "He that is afflicted by the world, implies that, so far as you and all others have it in your power, each Christian has been driven out not only from his own property, but even from the world itself; for you permit no Christian to live. Now you say that the same fate has befallen your own nation. However, if you have been expelled after being defeated in battle, you have suffered such treatment justly indeed, as all the Scriptures bear witness; but we, though we have done no such thing after we knew the truth of God, are testified to by God, that we are taken away out of the earth together with the righteous and only spotless and sinless Christ. For Isaiah cries, "Behold how the righteous perishes, and no man lays it to heart; and righteous people are taken away, and no man considers it."
"And that that there would be two advents of this Messiah, as mentioned already, was declared even in the time of Moses through the symbol of the goats presented for sacrifice during the fast. And the same truth was symbolically predicted by what was done by Moses and Jeho-shua. For the former, stretched out his hands and remained on the hill until evening, with his arms supported - which is a type of nothing other than of the cross; - while the latter, whose name was altered to Jesus, led the battle in which Israel conquered. Now this included both those holy men and prophets of God, that you may note how neither one of them on his own could support both the mysteries: I mean, the type of the cross and the type of the saving name. For this is, was, and shall be the strength of him alone, whose name every power dreads, tormented by knowing that they shall be destroyed by him. Therefore our suffering and crucified Messiah was not cursed by the law, but made it clear that he alone would save those who do not depart from his faith. Further, the blood of the passover, sprinkled on each man's door-posts and lintel, delivered those who were saved in Egypt, when the first-born of the Egyptians were destroyed. For the passover was Christ, who was afterwards sacrificed, as also Isaiah said, "He was led as a sheep to the slaughter." And it is written, that on the day of the passover you seized him, and also during the passover you crucified him. And just as the blood of the passover saved those who were in Egypt, so also the blood of the Messiah will deliver from death those who have believed. Would God, then, have been deceived if this sign had not been above the doors? I do not say that; but I affirm that it predicted the future salvation for the human race through the blood of Christ. For the sign of the scarlet thread, given to Rahab the harlot by the spies sent to Jericho by Jeho-shua, son of Nun, telling her to bind it to the window through which she let them down to escape from their enemies, was also a symbol of the blood of Christ, by which those of all nations who were at one time harlots and unrighteous are saved, receiving remission of sins, and no longer continuing in sin.
"But you, interpreting these things in a lowly sense, impute much weakness to God, if you listen to them merely in that sense and do not investigate the full meaning of the words spoken. Even Moses would in this way be considered a transgressor: for he ordered that no likeness be made of anything in heaven or on earth or in the sea; and then he himself made a brazen serpent and set it on a standard, and bade those who were bitten to gaze at it: and they were saved when they gazed at it. Should the serpent, then, which in the beginning God had cursed and cut off by the great sword, as Isaiah says, be understood as having preserved the people at that time? Or should we receive these things by the foolish interpretation of your teachers, and not see them as signs? Shall we not rather refer that standard to the resemblance of the crucified Jesus, just as Moses by his outstretched hands, together with the man named Jesus, achieved a victory for your people? For in this way we shall cease to be baffled by what the lawgiver did, when, without forsaking God, he convinced the people to hope in a beast through which sin and disobedience had their origin. This was done and said by the blessed prophet with much intelligence and mystery. Indeed there is nothing said or done by any of the prophets, which one can rightly criticise, if he possess the knowledge which is in them. But if your teachers only interpret to you why female elements are spoken of in this passage and not in that; or why so many measures of fine flour and so many measures of oil must be in the offerings; and do so in a low and earthly manner, while never daring to mention or to interpret the points which are significant and worthy of investigation, or command you not to listen to us while we interpret them, and not to enter into conversation with us, will they not deserve to hear what our Lord Jesus Christ said to them: "Whited sepulchres, which outwardly appear beautiful, and within are full of dead men's bones! You pay tithe of mint, and swallow a camel - you blind guides!" If, then, you will not scorn the doctrines of those who exalt themselves and wish to be called 'Rabbi, Rabbi,' and come with zeal and intelligence to the words of prophecy, prepared to suffer the same inflictions from your own people which the prophets themselves did, you cannot receive any benefit from the prophetic writings.
"What I mean is this. Jesus, as I have frequently noted, who was called Hosea, when he was sent to spy out the land of Canaan, was named by Moses Jesus. Why he did this you neither ask, or wonder about, or make investigate. Therefore the Messiah has escaped your notice; and though you read, you do not understand; and even now, though you hear that Jesus is our Messiah, you do not consider that the name was bestowed on him not at random or by chance. But you make a theological discussion about why one "a" was added to Abraham's first name and why one "p" was added to Sarah's name, and similar high-sounding disputations. But why do you not similarly investigate the reason why the name of Hosea the son of Nun, which his father gave him, was changed to Jesus? But since not only was his name altered, but he was also appointed successor to Moses, and being the only one of his contemporaries who came out from Egypt, he led the surviving people into the Holy Land; and as he, not Moses, led the people into the Holy Land, and as he distributed it by lot to those who entered along with him, so also Jesus Christ will again convert the dispersion of the people, and will distribute the good land to each one, though not in the same way. For the former gave them a temporary inheritance, seeing he was neither Christ who is God, nor the Son of God; but the latter, after the holy resurrection, shall give us the eternal possession. The former, after he had been named Jesus, and after being strengthened by his spirit, caused the sun to stand still. For I have proven that it was Jesus who appeared to and conversed with Moses, and Abraham, and all the other patriarchs without exception, ministering to the will of the Father; who also, I say, came to be born as man of the virgin Mary, and lives for ever. For the latter is he after whom and by whom the Father will renew both the heaven and the earth; this is he who shall shine an eternal light in Jerusalem; this is he who is the king of Salem after the order of Melchizedek, and the eternal priest of the Most High. The former is said to have circumcised the people a second time with knives of stone (which was a sign of this circumcision by which Jesus Christ himself has circumcised us from the idols made of stone and of other materials), and to have collected together those who were circumcised from the uncircumcision, that is, the error of the world, in every place by the real knives of stone, the words of our Lord Jesus. For I have shown that Christ was proclaimed by the prophets in parables aa a Stone and a Rock. Accordingly we shall take the 'knives of stone' to mean his words, by means of which so many who were in error have been circumcised with the circumcision of the heart, which God by Jesus required of those of that time who derived their circumcision from Abraham, when he said that Jesus would circumcise a second time with knives of stone those who entered into that holy land.
For the Holy Spirit sometimes brought it about that something, which was a type of the future, should be done clearly; sometimes he uttered words about what was to take place, as if it was then taking place, or had taken place. And unless the readers notice this art, they will not be able to follow the words of the prophets as they ought. By way of example, I shall repeat some prophetic passages, that you may understand what I say. When he says through Isaiah, "He was led as a sheep to the slaughter, and like a lamb before the shearer," he speaks as if the suffering had already taken place. When he says again, "I have stretched out my hands to a disobedient and rebellious people;" and when he said, "Lord, who has believed our report?" - the words are spoken as if announcing events which had already happened. For I have shown that in parable and in figurative speech Christ is frequently called a Stone, and Jacob and Israel. And again when it says, "I behold the heavens, the works of your hands," unless I grasp his method of using words, I shall not understand rightly, but just as your teachers imagine, fancying that the Father of all, the unbegotten God, has hands and feet, and fingers, and a soul, like a composite being; and for this reason they teach that it was the Father himself who appeared to Abraham and to Jacob. Blessed therefore are we who have been circumcised the second time with knives of stone. For your first circumcision was and is performed by iron instruments, for you remain hard-hearted; but our circumcision, which is the second, having been instituted after yours, circumcises us from idolatry and from every kind of wickedness whatsoever, by sharp stones - the words through the apostles of the corner-stone cut out without hands. And our hearts are so circumcised from evil that we are happy to die for the name of the good Rock. He causes living water to burst forth for the hearts of those who through him have loved the Father of all, and gives the water of life to those who are willing to drink it. But you do not understand me when I speak these things; for you have not understood what it has been prophesied that Christ would do, and you do not believe us who draw your attention to what has been written. For Jeremiah so cries: "Woe to you! because you have forsaken the living fountain, and have dug for yourselves broken cisterns that can hold no water. Shall there be a wilderness where Mount Zion is, because I gave Jerusalem a bill of divorce in your sight?"
"But you ought to believe Zechariah when in parable he shows the mystery of Christ, and obscurely announces it. The following are his words: "Rejoice, and be glad, daughter of Zion: 'See, I come, and I shall dwell in the midst of you,' says the Lord. 'And many nations shall be added to the Lord in that day. And they shall be my people, and I will dwell in the midst of you;' and they shall know that the Lord of hosts has sent me to you. The Lord shall inherit Judah as his portion in the holy land, and he shall choose Jerusalem again. Let all flesh fear before the Lord, for he is raised up out of his holy clouds. He showed me Jesus the high priest standing before the angel; and the devil stood at his right hand to resist him. And the Lord said to the devil, 'The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you. Behold, is not this a brand plucked from the fire?"
As Trypho was about to reply and contradict me, I said, "Wait first and hear what I say: for I am not going to give the explanation you expect, as if there were no priest of the name of Jeho-shua in the land of Babylon, where your nation were prisoners. But even if I did, I have shown that if there was a priest named Jeho-shua in your nation, yet the prophet had not seen him in his revelation, just as he had not seen either the devil or the messenger of the Lord by eyesight, and in his waking condition, but in a trance, at the time when the revelation was made to him. But I now say, that as (Scripture) said that the Son of Nun by the name Jesus performed powerful works and exploits which proclaimed beforehand what would be performed by our Lord; so I proceed now to show that the revelation made among your people in Babylon in the days of Jesus the priest, was an announcement of the things to be achieved by our priest, who is God, and the Messiah the Son of God the Father of all.
"Indeed, I wondered," I continued, "why a short time ago you kept silence while I was speaking, and why you did not interrupt me when I said that the son of Nun was the only one of contemporaries who came out of Egypt that entered the Holy Land along with the people described as younger than that generation. For you swarm and light on sores like flies. For though one should speak ten thousand words well, if there happen to be one little word displeasing to you, because not sufficiently intelligible or accurate, you make no account of the many good words, but lay hold of the little word, and are very keen to set it up as something impious and guilty; so that, when you are judged by God by that same standard, you may have a much heavier account to render for your great audacities, whether evil actions, or bad interpretations which you obtain by falsifying the truth. For it is right that you be judged by the standards with which you judge.
"But I resume my discourse about the revelation of the holy Jesus Christ, affirming that this was made for us who believe in the Messiah and high priest, namely this crucified One; and though we lived in fornication and all kinds of base intercourse, we have by the grace of our Jesus, according to his Father's will, stripped off all the filthy wickedness with which we were imbued. And though the devil is ever at hand to oppose us, and anxious to seduce all to himself, yet the Angel of God, that is, the Power of God sent to us through Jesus Christ, rebukes him, and he departs from us. And we are just as if drawn out from the fire, when purified from our former sins and from the affliction and fiery trial by which the devil and all his helpers try us; out of which Jesus the Son of God has promised again to deliver us, and invest us with prepared garments, if we keep his commandments; and to give us an eternal kingdom. For just as that Jesus (Hosea), called by the prophet a priest, clearly was dressed in filthy garments because he is said to have taken a harlot for a wife, and is called a brand plucked from the fire, because he had received remission of sins when the devil who resisted him was rebuked; even so we, who through the name of Jesus have believed as one man in God the Maker of all, have, through the name of his first-begotten Son, been stripped of the filthy garments of our sins; and being inflamed by the word of his calling, we are the true high priestly race of God, as witnessed by God himself when he says that in every place among the Gentiles pure and pleasing sacrifices are presented to him. Now God receives sacrifices from no one, except through his priests.
"Accordingly, anticipating all the sacrifices we offer through this name, and which Jesus Christ ordered us to offer, that is, in the Eucharist of the bread and the cup, and which are presented by Christians in all places throughout the world, God bears witness that they are well-pleasing to him. But he utterly rejects those presented by you and by those priests of yours, saying, "And I will not accept your sacrifices at your hands; for from the rising of the sun to its setting my name is glorified among the Gentiles; but you profane it." Yet even now, in your love of argument, you say that God does not accept the sacrifices of those who then dwelt in Jerusalem and were called Israelites; but that he is pleased with the prayers of the individuals of that nation then dispersed, and calls their prayers sacrifices. Now, that prayers and thanksgiving offered by worthy people, are the only perfect and well-pleasing sacrifices to God, I also admit. For that is all that Christians undertake to offer, and in the memory achieved by their solid and liquid food, whereby is brought to mind the suffering endured by the Son of God, whose name the high priests of your nation and your teachers have caused to be profaned and blasphemed over all the earth. But these filthy garments, which you have draped on all who have become Christians by the name of Jesus, God shows shall be taken away from us, when raises all men from the dead, and appoints some to be incorruptible, immortal, and free from sorrow in the everlasting and imperishable kingdom; but shall send others away to the everlasting punishment of fire. But as you and your teachers deceive yourselves when you interpret what the Scripture says as referring to those of your nation then in dispersion, and maintain that their prayers and sacrifices offered in every place are pure and well-pleasing - learn that you are speaking falsely, and trying by all means to cheat yourselves! For, firstly, not even now does your nation extend from the rising to the setting of the sun, but there are nations among whom none of your race has ever dwelt. For there is not one single race of people, whether barbarians, or Greeks, or whatever they may be called, nomads or herdsmen living in tents, among whom prayers and thanksgiving are not offered through the name of the crucified Jesus. And then the Scriptures show that at the time when Malachi wrote this, your present dispersion over all the earth had not taken place.
"So you ought rather to desist from the love of strife, and repent before the great day of judgment come, when all those of your tribes who have pierced this Messiah shall mourn, as I have shown to be declared by the Scriptures. I have explained the oath the Lord swore, "after the order of Melchizedek," and what this prediction means; and the prophecy of Isaiah that "his burial is taken away from the midst," as referring to the future burying and rising again of the Messiah; and I have frequently noted how this very Messiah is the Judge of all the living and the dead. And Nathan likewise, speaking to David about him, continued: "I will be his Father, and he shall be my Son; and I shall not take away my mercy from him, as I did from those who went before him; and I will establish his house and his kingdom for ever." And Ezekiel said, "There shall be no other prince in the house but He." For he is the chosen priest and eternal King, Christ, insofar as he is the Son of God. Do not imagine that Isaiah or the other prophets speak of sacrifices of blood or libations being presented on the altar at his second advent, but of true and spiritual praises and thanksgiving. And we have not believed in him in vain, and have not been led astray by those who taught us such doctrines; but this has happened through the wonderful foreknowledge of God, so that we, through the calling of the new and eternal covenant, that is, of Christ, might be found more intelligent and God-fearing than yourselves, who are reputed to be lovers of God and people of understanding, but are not. Isaiah, amazed at this, said: "Kings shall shut their mouths, for those to whom he has not been announced shall see; and those who heard not shall understand. Lord, who has believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?"
"If I repeat myself, Trypho," I continued, "I want to do so briefly and concisely, as far as is allowable, for the sake of those who came with you today."
Then he replied, "You do well; and even if you repeat the same things at considerable length, be assured that I and my companions will listen with pleasure."
Then I said again, "Would you imagine, sirs, that we could ever have understood these matters in the Scriptures, if we had not received the grace of discernment by the will of him whose pleasure it was? This fulfils the saying of Moses, "They provoked me with strange gods, provoked me to anger with their abominations. They sacrificed to demons whom they did not know, novelties whom their fathers did not know. You have forsaken the God who begot you, and forgotten God who brought you up. And the Lord saw and was jealous, and was provoked to anger because of the rage of his sons and daughters: and he said, I will turn my face away from them, and I will show what shall come on them in the end; for it is a very stubborn generation, children in whom is no faith. They have moved me to jealousy with what is not God, they have provoked me to anger with their idols; and I will move them to jealousy with what is not a nation, I will provoke them to anger with a foolish people. For a fire is kindled from My anger, and it shall burn to Hades. It shall consume the earth and her produce, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains; I will heap mischief on them." Then after the Righteous One was put to death, we flourished as another people, and shot forth as new and prosperous corn; as the prophets said, "And many nations shall take refuge with the Lord in that day for a people: and they shall dwell over all the earth." But we are not only a people, but also a holy people, as we have shown already. "And they shall call them the holy people, redeemed by the Lord." Therefore we are not a people to be despised, nor a barbarous race like the Carian and Phrygian nations; but God has chosen us and has become manifest to those who did not ask about him. "Behold, I am God," he said, "to the nation which called not on my name." For this is that nation which God promised of old to Abraham, when he declared that he would make him a father of many nations. He did not mean the Arabians, or Egyptians, or Idumaeans, since Ishmael became the father of a mighty nation, and so did Esau; and there is now a great multitude of Ammonites. Noah, moreover, was the father of Abraham, and in fact of all men; and others were the progenitors of others. What larger measure of grace, then, did the Messiah bestow on Abraham? This, of calling him with his voice and telling him to leave the land in which he dwelt. He has called all of us by that voice, and we have already left the way of living in which we used to spend our days, passing our time in evil like the other inhabitants of the earth; and with Abraham we shall inherit the holy land, when we receive the inheritance for an endless eternity, being children of Abraham by a similar faith. For as he believed the voice of God, and it was imputed to him as righteousness, so we, having believed God's voice spoken by the apostles of Christ, and promulgated to us by the prophets, have renounced even to death all the things of the world. Accordingly, he promises to him a nation of similar faith, God-fearing, righteous, and delighting the Father; but it is not you, "in whom there is no faith."
"Observe, too, how the same promises are made to Isaac and to Jacob. For so he speaks to Isaac: "And in your seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed." Also to Jacob: "And in you and in your seed shall all families of the earth be blessed." He says that neither to Esau nor to Reuben, nor to any other, but only to those from whom the Messiah would arise, according to his providence, through the virgin Mary. But if you consider the blessing of Judah, you would notice what I say. For the seed is divided from Jacob, and comes down through Judah, and Phares, and Jesse, and David. This was a symbol of the fact that some of your nation would be found children of Abraham, and in the inheritance of the Messiah; but that others, who are indeed children of Abraham, would be like the sand on the sea-shore, barren and fruitless, much in quantity, and numberless indeed, but bearing no fruit whatever, and only drinking the water of the sea. A vast multitude in your nation are convicted of being of this kind, imbibing doctrines of bitterness and godlessness, but spurning the word of God. He speaks therefore in the passage relating to Judah: "A prince shall not fail from Judah, nor a ruler from his thighs, till what is laid up for him come; and he shall be the expectation of the nations." And it is plain that this was spoken not of Judah, but of Christ. For all we out of all nations expect not Judah, but Jesus, who led your fathers out of Egypt. For the prophecy referred to the advent of the Messiah: "Till he come for whom this is laid up, and he shall be the expectation of the nations." Jesus came, therefore, as we have shown at length, and is expected again to appear above the clouds; whose name you profane, and you strive hard to get it profaned over all the earth. It would be possible for me, sirs," I continued, "to argue with you about the reading which you so interpret, saying it is written, "Till the things laid up for him come;" though the Seventy have not so explained it, but so, "Till he comes for whom this is laid up." But since what follows indicates that the reference is to the Messiah (for it is, "and he shall be the expectation of nations"), I do not want a mere verbal controversy with you, as so far I have not attempted to establish proof about the Messiah from Scripture passages which are not admitted by you, that I quoted from the words of Jeremiah the prophet, and Esdras, and David. Rather, I quote from those which are admitted by you, which had your teachers understood, they would surely have deleted them, as they did those about the death of Isaiah, whom you sawed asunder with a wooden saw. This was a mysterious type of the Messiah being about to cut your nation in two, and to raise those worthy of the honour to the everlasting kingdom along with the holy patriarchs and prophets; but he will send others to the condemnation of the unquenchable fire along with similar disobedient and impenitent people from all the nations. "For they shall come," he said, "from the west and from the east, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven; but the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness." I have mentioned these things, with no consideration except to speak the truth, and refusing to be coerced by anyone, even if I should be immediately torn in pieces by you. For I paid no heed to any of my people, that is, the Samaritans, when I had a communication in writing with Caesar, but stated that they were wrong in trusting to one of their own nation, Simon the magician, whom they say is God, above all power, and authority, and might."
As they kept silence, I went on: " (The Scripture), speaking by David about this Messiah, my friends, said no longer that "in his seed" the nations should be blessed, but "in him." So it is here: "his name shall rise up for ever above the sun; and in him shall all nations be blessed." But if all nations are blessed in Christ, and we of all nations believe in him, then he is indeed Christ, and we are those blessed by him. God formerly gave the sun as an object of worship, as it is written, but nobody ever was seen to endure death on account of his faith in the sun; yet for the name of Jesus you may see people of every nation who have endured and do endure all sufferings, rather than deny him. For the word of his truth and wisdom is more ardent and more light-giving than the rays of the sun, and sinks down into the depths of heart and mind. Therefore also the Scripture said, "his name shall rise up above the sun." Again, Zechariah said, "his name is the East." And speaking of the same, he says that "each tribe shall mourn." But if he so shone forth and was so mighty in his first advent (which was without honour and beauty, and very contemptible), that in no nation is he unknown, and everywhere people have repented of the old wickedness in their nation's way of living, so that even demons were subject to his name, and all powers and kingdoms feared his name more than they feared all the dead, shall he not at his glorious advent by all means destroy all who hated him and wrongly departed from him, but give rest to his own, rewarding them with all they have looked for? To us, therefore, it has been granted to hear, and to understand, and to be saved by this Messiah, and to recognise all that comes from the Father. Therefore he said to him: "It is a great thing for you to be called my servant, to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and turn again the dispersed of Israel. I have appointed you for a light to the Gentiles, that you may be their salvation to the end of the earth."
"You think that these words refer to the stranger and the proselytes, but in fact they refer to us who have been enlightened by Jesus. For the Messiah would have borne witness even to them; but now you are become doubly the children of hell, as he said himself. Therefore what was written by the prophets was spoken not of them, but of us, about whom Scripture says: "I will lead the blind by a way which they knew not; and they shall walk in paths which they have not known. And I bear witness, says the Lord God, I and my servant whom I have chosen." To whom, then, does the Messiah bear witness? Manifestly to those who have believed. But the proselytes not only do not believe, but twofold more than yourselves blaspheme his name, and wish to torture and put to death us who believe in him; for in all points they strive to be like you. Again in other words he cries: "I the Lord have called you in righteousness, and will hold your hand, and will strengthen you, and will give you for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles, to open the eyes of the blind, to bring out the prisoners from their bonds." These words, indeed, sirs, refer also to Christ, and concern the enlightened nations; or will you again say that they refer to the Law and the proselytes?"
Then some of those who had come on the second day shouted as if they had been in a theatre, "What? Does he not refer to the law, and to those enlightened by it, who are proselytes?" "No," I said, looking towards Trypho, "since, if the Law were able to enlighten the nations and those who possess it, what need is there of a new covenant? But since God predicted that he would send a new covenant, and an everlasting law and commandment, we must not understand this of the old law and its proselytes, but of the Messiah and his proselytes, namely us Gentiles, whom he has enlightened, as he says somewhere: "The Lord says, In an acceptable time have I heard you, and in a day of salvation have I helped you, and I have given you for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, and to inherit the deserted." What, then, is the Messiah's inheritance? Is it not the nations? What is the covenant of God? Is it not the Messiah? As he says in another place: "You are my Son; this day have I begotten you. Ask of me, and I shall give you the nations for your inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for your possession."
"As, therefore, all these latter prophecies refer to the Messiah and the nations, you should believe that the former refer to him and them similarly. For the proselytes have no need of a covenant, if, since there is one and the same law imposed on all that are circumcised, the Scripture speaks about them so: "And the stranger shall also be joined with them, and shall be joined to the house of Jacob;" and because the proselyte, who is circumcised that he may have access to the people, becomes like one of themselves, while we who have been deemed worthy to be called a people are yet Gentiles, because we have not been circumcised. Besides, it is ridiculous for you to imagine that the eyes of the proselytes are to be opened while your own are not, or that you be understood as blind and deaf while they are enlightened. And it would be still more ridiculous for you to say that the Law has been given to the nations, but you have not known it. For you would have reverenced God's wrath, and would not have been lawless, wandering sons; being much afraid of hearing God call you, "Children in whom is no faith." "And who are blind, but my servants? and deaf, but those who rule over them? And the servants of God have been made blind. You see, but have not observed; your ears have been opened, and you have not heard." Is God's commendation of you honourable? and is God's testimony proper for his servants? You are not ashamed though you often hear these words. You do not tremble at God's threats, for you are a people foolish and hard-hearted. "Therefore, behold, I will proceed to remove this people," says the Lord. "I will remove them, and destroy the wisdom of the wise, and hide the understanding of the prudent." Deservedly too: for you are neither wise nor prudent, but crafty and unscrupulous; wise only to do evil, but utterly incompetent to know the hidden counsel of God, or the faithful covenant of the Lord, or to find out the everlasting paths. "Therefore, says the Lord, I will raise up to Israel and to Judah the seed of men and the seed of beasts." And by Isaiah he says about another Israel: "In that day shall there be a third Israel among the Assyrians and the Egyptians, blessed in the land which the Lord of Sabaoth has blessed, saying, blessed shall my people in Egypt and in Assyria be, and Israel my inheritance." Since then God blesses this people, and calls them Israel, and declares them as his inheritance, how is it that you do not repent of the deception you practice on yourselves, as if you alone were the true Israel, and of execrating the people whom God has blessed? For when speaking to Jerusalem and its environs, he adds: "And I will beget people by you, my people Israel; and they shall inherit you, and you shall be a possession for them; and you shall be no longer bereaved of them."
"What, then?" says Trypho; "are you Israel? and does he say such things of you?"
"If, indeed," I replied, "we had not discussed these topics at length, I might wonder if you ask this question in ignorance; but since we have brought the matter to a conclusion by proof and with your assent, I do not believe that you are ignorant of what I have just said, or desire mere argument again, but that you are urging me to show the same proof to these people." And following the assent expressed in his eyes, I continued: "Again in Isaiah, if you have ears to hear, God, speaking of the Messiah in parable, calls him Jacob and Israel. He says: "Jacob is my servant, whom I uphold; Israel is my elect in whom I will put my Spirit, and he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not strive, nor cry, nor shall they hear his voice in the street. A bruised reed he shall not break, and smoking flax he shall not quench; but he shall bring forth judgment in truth. He shall shine, and shall not be broken until he has established judgment on the earth. And in his name shall the Gentiles trust." As therefore from the one man Jacob, surnamed Israel, all your nation has been called Jacob and Israel; so we from Christ, who begot us to God, like Jacob, and Israel, and Judah, and Joseph, and David, are called and are the true sons of God, and keep the commandments of Christ."
When I saw that they were perturbed because I said that we are the sons of God, I anticipated their questioning, and said, "Listen, sirs, how the Holy Spirit speaks of this people, saying that they are all sons of the Most High; and how the Messiah will be present in their assembly, rendering judgment to all people. The words are spoken by David, and are, according to your version of them, so: "God stands in the congregation of gods; he judges among the gods. How long do you judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked? Judge for the orphan and the poor, and do justice to the humble and needy. Deliver the needy, and save the poor out of the hand of the wicked. They know not, neither have they understood; they walk on in darkness: all the foundations of the earth shall be shaken. I said, you are gods, and are all children of the Most High. But you die like men, and fall like one of the princes. Arise, O God! judge the earth, for you shall inherit all nations." But in the version of the Seventy it is written, "Behold, you die like men, and fall like one of the princes, in order to manifest the disobedience of men, - I mean of Adam and Eve, - and the fall of one of the princes, that is, of him who was called the serpent, who fell with a great overthrow, because he deceived Eve. But as my discourse is not intended to touch on this point, but to prove to you that the Holy Spirit reproaches people because they were made like God, free from suffering and death, provided that they kept his commandments, and were deemed deserving of the name of his sons, and yet they, becoming like Adam and Eve, work out death for themselves; let the interpretation of the Psalm be held just as you wish, yet thereby it is shown that all people are deemed worthy of becoming "gods," and of having power to become sons of the Highest; and shall be each by himself judged and condemned like Adam and Eve. Now I have proved at length that Christ is called God.
"I wish, sirs," I said, "to learn from you what is the force of the name Israel." And as they were silent, I continued: "I shall tell you what I know: for I do not think it right, when I know, not to speak; or, suspecting that you do know, and yet from envy or from voluntary ignorance deceive yourselves, to be continually solicitous; but I speak all things simply and candidly, as my Lord said: "A sower went forth to sow the seed; and some fell by the wayside; and some among thorns, and some on stony ground, and some on good ground." I must speak, then, in the hope of finding good ground somewhere; since that Lord of mine, strong and powerful, comes to demand back his own from all, and will not condemn his steward if he recognises that he, knowing that the Lord is powerful and has come to demand his own, has given it to every bank, and has not dug for any reason whatever. Accordingly the name Israel means one who overcomes power; for "Isra" is a man overcoming, and "El" is power. And that Christ would act so when he became man was foretold by the mystery of Jacob's wrestling with him who appeared to him, in that he ministered to the will of the Father, yet still is God, as the first-begotten of all creatures. For when he became man, as I already said, the devil came to him - that is, the power which is called the serpent and Satan - tempting him, and striving to achieve his downfall by asking him to worship him. But he destroyed and overthrew the devil, having proved him to be wicked in demanding to be worshipped as God, contrary to the Scripture; for he is an apostate from the will of God. But he answered, "It is written, you shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve." Then, overcome and convicted, the devil departed at that time. But since our Messiah was to be numbed by pain and suffering, he made a previous intimation of this by touching Jacob's thigh, and causing it to shrink. But Israel was his name from the beginning, to which he altered the name of the blessed Jacob when he blessed him with his own name, proclaiming thereby that all who through him have fled for refuge to the Father, constitute the blessed Israel. But you understood none of this, and not being prepared to understand, expect to be surely saved because you are the children of Jacob by the fleshly seed. But that you deceive yourselves in such matters, I have proved by many words.
"But if you knew, Trypho," I continued, "who he is that is called at one time the Angel of great counsel, and a Man by Ezekiel, and like the Son of man by Daniel, and a Child by Isaiah, and the Messiah and God to be worshipped by David, and the Messiah and a Stone by many, and Wisdom by Solomon, and Joseph and Judah and a Star by Moses, and the East by Zechariah, and the Suffering One and Jacob and Israel by Isaiah again, and a Rod, and Flower, and Corner-Stone, and Son of God, you would not have blasphemer him who has now come, and been born, and suffered, and ascended to heaven; who shall also come again, and then your twelve tribes shall mourn. For if you had understood what has been written by the prophets, you would not have denied that he was God, Son of the only, unbegotten, unutterable God. For Moses says somewhere in Exodus as follows: "The Lord spoke to Moses, and said to him, I am the Lord, and I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, being their God; and my name I revealed not to them, and I established my covenant with them." And so again he said, "A man wrestled with Jacob," and asserts it was God; narrating that Jacob said, "I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved." And it is recorded that he called the place where he wrestled with him, appeared to and blessed him, the Face of God. And Moses says that God appeared also to Abraham near the oak in Mature, when he was sitting at the door of his tent at mid-day. Then he goes on to say: "He lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, three men stood before him; and when he saw them, he ran to meet them." a After a little, one of them promises a son to Abraham: "Therefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall. I of a surety bear a child, and I am old? Is anything impossible with God? At the time appointed I will return, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son. And they went away from Abraham." Again he speaks of them so: "And the men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom." Then to Abraham he who was and is again speaks: "I will not hide from Abraham, my servant, what I intend to do." And what follows in the writings of Moses I quoted and explained; "from which I have demonstrated," I said, "that he who is described as God appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, and the other patriarchs, was appointed under the authority of the Father and Lord, and ministers to his will." I went on to say what I had not said before: "So, when the people desired to eat flesh, and Moses had lost faith in him, who also there is called the Angel, and who promised that God would give them to satiety, he who is both God and the Angel, sent by the Father, is described as saying and doing these things. For so the Scripture says: "And the Lord said to Moses Will the Lord's hand not be sufficient? You shall know now whether my word shall conceal you or not." And again, in other words, it so says: "But the Lord spoke to me, you shall not go over this Jordan: the Lord your God, who goes before your face, he shall cut off the nations."
"These and other such sayings are recorded by the lawgiver and the prophets; and I imagine that I have sufficiently stated that wherever God said, "God went up from Abraham," or, "The Lord spoke to Moses," and "The Lord came down to behold the tower which the sons of men had built," or when "God shut Noah into the ark," you must not imagine that the unbegotten God himself came down or went up from any place. For the inexpressible Father and Lord of all neither has come to any place, nor walks, nor sleeps, nor rises up, but remains in his own place, wherever that is, able to see and to hear, though having neither eyes nor ears, but being of indescribable power. He sees all things, and knows all things, and none of us escapes his observation; and he is not moved or confined to a spot in the whole world, for he existed before the world was made. How, then, could he talk with anyone, or be seen by anyone, or appear on the smallest portion of the earth, when the people at Sinai were unable to look even on the glory of him who was sent from him? Moses himself could not enter into the tabernacle he had built, when it was filled with the glory of God; and the priest could not endure to stand before the temple when Solomon conveyed the ark into the house in Jerusalem which he had built for it. Therefore neither Abraham, nor Isaac, nor Jacob, nor any other man, saw the Father and inexpressible Lord of all, and also of Christ. What they saw was the one who, being his Son according to his will, being God, and the Angel who ministered to his will; whom also it pleased him to be born as man by the virgin; who also was fire when he conversed with Moses from the bush. Since, unless we so understand the Scriptures, it must follow that the Father and Lord of all was not in heaven when what Moses wrote took place: "And the Lord rained on Sodom fire and brimstone from the Lord out of heaven;" and again, when it is said by David: "Lift up your gates, you rulers; and be lifted up, you everlasting gates; and the King of glory shall enter;" and again, when he says: "The Lord says to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, till I make your enemies your footstool."
"And that Christ being Lord, and God and Son of God, and appearing formerly in power as Man, and Angel, and in the glory of fire as at the bush, so also was manifested at the judgment executed on Sodom, has been fully proved by what has been said." Then I repeated once more all I had already quoted from Exodus, about the vision in the bush, and the naming of Jeho-shua, and continued: "Do not imagine, sirs, that it is superfluous to frequently repeat these words: it is because I know that some wish to anticipate these remarks, and to say that the power sent from the Father of all which appeared to Moses, or to Abraham, or to Jacob, is called an Angel because he came to men, for by him the commands of the Father have been proclaimed to men. He is called Glory, because he sometimes appears in a vision that cannot be borne. He is called a Man, and a human being, because he appears in such forms as the Father pleases. They also call him the Word, because he carries tidings from the Father to people, but maintain that this power is indivisible and inseparable from the Father, just as they say that the light of the sun on earth is indivisible and inseparable from the sun in the heavens, and when it sinks, the light sinks along with it. So, they say, the Father when he chooses causes his power to spring forth, and when he chooses, makes it return to himself. In this way, they teach, he made the angels. But it is proved that there are angels who always exist, and are never reduced to the form from which they sprang. And that this power which the prophetic word calls God, as has been also amply shown, and Angel, is not distinct in name only like the light of the sun but is indeed something numerically distinct, I have briefly discussed in an earlier part when I asserted that this power was begotten from the Father by his power and will, but not by 'cutting off,' as if the essence of the Father were divided; as all other things partitioned and divided are not the same after as before they were divided. By way of example, I took the case of fires kindled from a fire, which we see to be distinct from it, and yet that from which many can be kindled is by no means made less, but remains the same.
"And now let me again recite the words I have spoken in proof of this point. When Scripture says, "The Lord rained fire from the Lord out of heaven," the prophetic word indicates that there were two in number: One on the earth, who, it says, descended to behold the cry of Sodom; Another in heaven, who also is Lord of the Lord on earth, as he is Father and God, the cause of his power and of his being Lord and God. Again, when the Scripture records that in the beginning God said, "Behold, Adam has become like one of Us," this phrase, "like one of Us," is also indicative of number; and the words do not admit of a figurative meaning, as is imposed on them by sophists unable to tell or understand the truth. And it is written in the book of Wisdom: "If I should tell you daily events, I would be mindful to list them from the beginning. The Lord created me the beginning of his ways for his works. From everlasting he established me in the beginning, before he formed the earth, and before he made the depths, and before the springs of waters came forth, before the mountains were settled; he begot me before all the hills." On repeating these words I added: "You will notice, my hearers, if you pay attention, how the Scripture declares that this Offspring was begotten by the Father before all created things ; and what is begotten is numerically distinct from that which begets, as anyone will admit."
When all assented, I said: "Then let me adduce some passages which I have not cited before. They are recorded in parable by the faithful servant Moses, and are as follows: 'Rejoice, you heavens, with him, and let all the angels of God worship him;'" and I added what follows in the passage: "Rejoice, you nations, with his people, and let all the angels of God be strengthened in him: for the blood of his sons he avenges, and will recompense his enemies with vengeance, and recompense those who hate him; and the Lord will purify the land of his people." By these words he declares that we, the nations, rejoice with his people, - Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and the prophets, and, in short, all of that people who are well-pleasing to God, according to what was already agreed on between us. But we will not apply it to all your nation; since we know from Isaiah that the members of those who have transgressed shall be consumed by the worm and unquenchable fire, remaining immortal; so that they become a spectacle to all flesh. But I wish, sirs," I said, "to add some other passages from the words of Moses, from which you can understand that God has from of old dispersed all people according to their tribes and tongues and from all tribes has taken to himself your tribe, a useless, disobedient, faithless generation. He has shown that those who were selected out of every nation have obeyed his will through Christ, - whom he also calls Jacob, and names Israel, - and these, then, as I have already fully stated, must be Jacob and Israel. For when he said, "Rejoice, you nations, with his people," he allots the same inheritance to them, and does not call them by the same name; but when he says that as Gentiles they rejoice with his people, he calls them Gentiles to reproach you. For even as you provoked him to anger by your idolatry, so also he has deemed those who were idolaters worthy of knowing his will, and of entering his inheritance.
"But I shall quote the passage by which it is shown that God divided all the nations. It is as follows: "Ask your father, and he will show you; your elders, and they will tell you; when the Most High divided the nations, as he dispersed the sons of Adam. He set the bounds of the nations according to the numbers of the children of Israel; and the Lord's portion became his people Jacob, and Israel was the lot of his inheritance." And after saying this, I added: "The Seventy translated it, 'He set the bounds of the nations according to the number of the angels of God.' But because my argument is again in no way weakened by this, I have adopted your exposition. And you yourselves, if you admit the truth, must acknowledge that we, who have been called by God through the despised and shameful mystery of the cross (for whose confession and following , and for our piety, punishments even to death are inflicted on us by demons and by the devil's host, with your help), and endure all torments rather than deny the Messiah even by word, through whom we are called to the salvation prepared by the Father, are more faithful to God than you, who were redeemed from Egypt with an upraised arm and a visitation of great glory, when the sea was parted for you, and a passage left dry, where he slew those who pursued you with such armour and splendid chariots, bringing back on them the sea which had been made a highway for your sakes; on whom also a pillar of light shone, so that you, more than any other nation in the world, might possess a special light, never-failing and never-setting; on whom he rained manna as nourishment, fit for the heavenly angels, so that you might have no need to prepare your food; and the water at Marah was made sweet; and a sign was made of him who was to be crucified, both in the matter of the serpents which bit you, as I already mentioned (for God anticipated these mysteries, in order to confer grace on you, to whom you have always shown yourselves thankless), as well as in the type of the extending of the hands of Moses, and of Hosea being named Jesus; when you fought against Amalek: about which God commanded that the incident be recorded, and the name of Jesus laid up in your understandings; saying that this is he who would blot out the memorial of Amalek from under heaven. Now it is clear that the memorial of Amalek remained after the son of Nun: but he displays it through Jesus, who was crucified, of whom also those symbols were fore-announcements of all that would happen to him, the demons would be destroyed, and would dread his name, and that all principalities and kingdoms would fear him; and that those of all nations who believe in him would be shown as God-fearing and peaceful people. The facts already quoted by me, Trypho, indicate this. Again, when you desired flesh, a numberless quantity of quails was given you. For you also water gushed from the rock; and a cloud followed you as a shade from the heat, and a covering from the cold, declaring the manner and meaning of another, new heaven.; The bindings of your shoes did not break, and your shoes did not grow old, nor did your garments wear away, but even those of the children grew along with them.
"Yet after this you made a calf, and were quick to fornicate with foreign women, and to serve idols. And again, when the land was given up to you with such a display of power that you saw the sun stand still in the heavens by order of that man whose name was Jesus, and not go down for thirty-six hours, as well as all the other miracles done for you as need arose - another of which it seems good to me now to mention, as it leads to your knowing Jesus, whom we also know as Christ the Son of God, who was crucified, and rose again, and ascended to heaven, and will come again to judge us all even back to Adam himself. You know," I continued, "that when the ark of testimony was brought by the enemies to Ashdod, and a terrible, incurable malady broke out among them, they resolved to place it on a cart to which they yoked cows that had recently calved, in order to ascertain if they had been plagued by God's power on account of the ark, and whether or not God wished it to be returned to the place from which it had been taken away. When they had done this, the cows, led by no man, went not to the place from which the ark had been taken, but to the fields of a man named Hosea, the same as the man whose name was altered to Jesus, as was already said, the one who led the people into the land and divided it out to them. When the cows reached these fields they remained there, thereby showing you that they were guided by the powerful name; just as formerly the people who survived of those who came out of Egypt, were guided into the land by him who had received the name Jesus, who was previously called Hosea.
"Now, although these and many other such unexpected and marvellous works were performed and seen amongst you at different times, yet you are accused by the prophets of having gone so far as to offer your own children to demons. Further, you dared to do such things against the Messiah; and you still continue in them. But may it be granted to you to obtain mercy and salvation from God and his Messiah for all this. For God, foreknowing that you would do such things, pronounced this curse on you by the prophet Isaiah: "Woe to their soul! They have devised evil counsel against themselves, saying, 'Let us bind the righteous man, for he is distasteful to us.' Therefore they shall eat the fruit of their own doings. Woe to the wicked! According to the works of his hands, evil shall befall him. O my people, your creditors clean you out, and those who extort from you shall rule over you. My people, they who call you blessed cause you to err and lead your paths astray. But now the Lord shall bring his people to judgment, and enter into judgment with the elders of the people and their princes. Why have you burnt up my vineyard and why is the spoil of the poor found in your houses? Why do you wrong my people, and shame the countenance of the humble?" Again, in other words to the same effect, that prophet said: "Woe to those who draw iniquity as with a long cord, and their sins as with the harness of a heifer's yoke; who say, 'Let his speed come near, and let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel come, that we may know it.' Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil, and put light for darkness, and darkness for light, and put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! Woe to those who are mighty among you, who drink wine, the people of strength, who mingle strong drink, who justify the wicked for a reward, and take away justice from the righteous! Therefore, as the stubble shall be burnt by the fiery coal , and utterly consumed by the burning flame, their root shall be as wool, and their flower shall go up like dust. For they would not have the Law of the Lord of Sabaoth, but despised the word of the Lord, the Holy One of Israel. And the Lord of Sabaoth was very angry, and laid his hands on them, and smote them; and he was provoked against the mountains, and their carcasses were heaped like dung on the road. And for all this they have not repented, but their hand is still upraised." For truly your hand is upraised to commit evil, because you slew Christ, and do not repent of it; but so far from that, as often as you can you hate and murder us who have believed through him in the God and Father of all; and you curse him without ceasing, as well as those who side with him. Yet all of us pray for you, and for all people, as our Messiah and Lord taught us to do, when he ordered us to pray even for our enemies, and to love those who hate us, and to bless those who curse us.
"If, then, you are moved by the teaching of the prophets and of himself, it is better for you to follow God than your imprudent and blind masters, who even up to now allow each man to have four or five wives. For if anyone sees a beautiful woman and desires to have her, they quote the doings of Jacob-Israel and of the other patriarchs, and maintain that it is not wrong to do such things; but in this matter they are miserably ignorant. For, as I have said before, weighty mysteries were achieved in each act of this sort. In the marriages of Jacob let me mention what dispensation and prophecy were achieved, so that thereby you may know that your teachers never examined the divine motive which prompted each act, but saw only the grovelling and corrupting passions. So pay heed to what I say. The marriages of Jacob were types of what the Messiah was about to achieve. For it was not lawful for Jacob to marry two sisters at once. He served Laban for his daughters; and being deprived of the younger, he served again for seven years. Now Leah is your people and synagogue; but Rachel is our Church. And for these, and for the servants in both, Christ serves even still. For while Noah gave to the two sons the seed of the third as servants, now on the other hand the Messiah has come to restore both the free sons and the servants amongst them, conferring the same honour on all of them who keep his commandments; even as the children of the free women and the children of the bond-women born to Jacob were all sons, and equal in dignity. And it was foretold what each should be according to rank and as was foreseen. Jacob served Laban for speckled and many-spotted sheep; and the Messiah served, even to the slavery of the cross, for the various and multiform races of mankind, acquiring them by the blood and mystery of the cross. Leah was weak-eyed, and the eyes of your souls are excessively weak. Rachel stole the gods of Laban, and has hidden them to this day; and we have lost our paternal and material gods. Jacob was hated for all time by his brother; and we now, and our Lord himself, are hated by you and by all people, though we are brothers by nature. Jacob was called Israel; and Israel has been shown to be Christ, who is, and is called, Jesus.
"When Scripture said, "I am the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, who have made known Israel your King," will you not understand that the Messiah is truly the everlasting King? For you know that Jacob the son of Isaac was never a king. And therefore Scripture again says in explanation what king is meant by Jacob and Israel: "Jacob is my Servant, I will uphold him; and Israel is my chosen one whom my soul shall welcome. I have given him my Spirit; and he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not cry, and his voice shall not be heard in the streets. The bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax he shall not quench, until he brings forth judgment to victory. He shall shine, and shall not be broken, until he set judgment on the earth. And in his name shall the Gentiles trust." Is it Jacob the patriarch, then, in whom the Gentiles and yourselves shall trust? Is it not rather the Messiah? As, therefore, Christ is the Israel and the Jacob, even so we, who have been quarried from the bowels of Christ, are the true Israelite race. But let us attend rather to the words themselves: "I will bring forth," he said, "seed from Jacob and from Judah: and it shall inherit my holy mountain; and my elect and my servants shall possess the inheritance, and shall dwell there. There shall be folds of flocks in the thicket, and the valley of Achor shall be a resting-place of cattle for the people who have sought me. But as for you, who forsake me, and forget my holy mountain, and prepare a table for demons, and pour out drink for the demon, I shall give you to the sword. You shall all fall in the slaughter; for I called you, and you did not listen, but did evil before me, and chose that in which I did not delight." Such are the words of Scripture. Now understand that the seed of Jacob referred to is something else, and is not, as one might imagine, spoken of your people. For it is not possible for the seed of Jacob to leave an entrance for the descendants of Jacob, or that he accepted the very same persons whom he had reproached as unfit for the inheritance, and promised it to them again. Rather, as there the prophet said, "Now, O house of Jacob, come and let us walk in the light of the Lord; for he has sent away his people, the house of Jacob, because their land was full of soothsayers and divinations;" even so it is necessary for us here to observe that there are two seeds of Judah, and two races, as there are two houses of Jacob: the one begotten by blood and flesh, the other by faith and the Spirit.
"For see how he now addresses the people, saying a little before: "As the grape will be found in the cluster, of which they will say, 'Do not destroy it , for there is a blessing in it; so will I do for my servant's sake. For his sake I will not destroy them all." Then he adds: "I shall bring forth the seed out of Jacob, and out of Judah." It is plain then that while he is so angry with them, and threatens to leave very few of them, he promises to bring forth certain others, who shall dwell in his mountain. But these are the persons whom he said he would sow and beget. For you neither allow him when he calls you, nor hear him when he speaks to you, but have done evil in the presence of the Lord. But the highest pitch of your wickedness lies in this, that you hated the Righteous One, and slew him; and so treat those who have received from him all that they are and have, and who are virtuous, righteous, and humane. Therefore "woe to their soul," says the Lord, "for they have devised an evil counsel against themselves, saying, 'Let us take away the righteous, for he is distasteful to us.'" For indeed you are not in the habit of sacrificing to Baal, as were your fathers, or of placing cakes in groves and on high places for the host of heaven; but you have not accepted God's Christ. For he who does not know him does not know the will of God; and he who insults and hates him, insults and hates him who sent him. And whoever does not believe in him, does not believe the declarations of the prophets, who preached and proclaimed him to all.
"Speak no evil, my brothers, against him who was crucified, and do not scorn the stripes with which all may be healed, even as we are healed. For it will be well if, convinced by the Scriptures, you are circumcised from hard-heartedness, not that circumcision which you have from the tenets that are put into you, for that was given as a sign, and not as a work of righteousness, as the Scriptures tell you. Assent, therefore, and pour no ridicule on the Son of God; do not obey the Pharisaic teachers, and do not scoff at the King of Israel, as the rulers of your synagogues teach you to do after your prayers. For if a man who touches those who are not pleasing to God is as one who touches the apple of God's eye, how much more so is he who touches his beloved! And that this is He, has been sufficiently proven."
As they kept silence, I continued: "My friends, I now refer to the Scriptures as the Seventy have interpreted them; for when I quoted them formerly as you possess them, I tested to see what was your attitude. For, mentioning the Scripture, "Woe to them! for they have devised evil counsel against themselves, saying (as the Seventy have translated, I continued): 'Let us take away the righteous, for he is distasteful to us;' whereas at the beginning of the discussion I added what your version has: "Let us bind the righteous, for he is distasteful to us." But you were busy about some other matter, and seem to have heard the words without attending to them. But now, since the day is drawing to a close and the sun is about to set, I shall add one final remark to what I have said. I have indeed made the same remark already, but I think it would be right to consider it again.
"You know, then, sirs," I said, "that God has said in Isaiah to Jerusalem: "I saved you in the deluge of Noah." By this which God said was meant that the mystery of saved people appeared in the deluge. For righteous Noah, along with the other mortals at the deluge, that is, with his own wife, his three sons and their wives, eight in number, were a symbol of the eighth day, in which the Messiah appeared when he rose from the dead, forever the first in power. For Christ, being the first-born of every creature, became again the chief of another race regenerated by himself through water, and faith, and wood, containing the mystery of the cross; even as Noah was saved by wood when he rode over the waters with his household. Accordingly, when the prophet said, "I saved you in the times of Noah," as I have already said, he addresses the people who are equally faithful to God, and possess the same signs. For when Moses had the rod in his hands, he led your nation through the sea. And you believe that this was spoken to your nation only, or to the land. But the whole earth, as Scripture says, was inundated, and the water rose to a height of fifteen cubits above all the mountains; so clearly this was not spoken to the land, but to the people who obeyed him, for whom he had prepared a resting-place in Jerusalem, as was already shown by all the symbols of the deluge; I mean, that by water, faith, and wood, those who were prepared, and who repent of the sins which they have committed, shall escape from the impending judgment of God.
"For another mystery was achieved and predicted in the days of Noah, of which you are not aware. It is this: in the blessings with which Noah blessed his two sons, and in the curse pronounced on his son's son. For the prophetic Spirit would not curse the son who had also been blessed by God . But since the punishment of the sin would cleave to the whole descent of the son who mocked at his father's nakedness, he made the curse originate with his son. Now, in what he said, he foretold that the descendants of Shem would retain the property and dwellings of Canaan: and again that the descendants of Japheth would take possession of the property of which Shem's descendants had dispossessed Canaan's descendants; and despoil the descendants of Shem, even as they plundered the sons of Canaan. Now listen to how it came about: You, who derive your lineage from Shem, invaded the territory of the sons of Canaan by the will of God; and you possessed it. And it is clear that the sons of Japheth, having invaded you in turn by the judgment of God, have taken your land from you, and have possessed it. So it is written: "And Noah awoke from the wine, and knew what his younger son had done to him; and he said, 'Cursed be Canaan, the servant; a servant shall he be to his brethren.' He said, 'Blessed be the Lord God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant. May the Lord enlarge Japheth, and let him dwell in the houses of Shem; and let Canaan be his servant.'"
Accordingly, as two peoples were blessed, - the former from Shem, and the latter from Japheth, - and as the offspring of Shem were decreed first to possess the dwellings of Canaan, and the offspring of Japheth were predicted as receiving the same possessions in turn, and to both peoples the one people of Canaan was handed over as servants; so the Messiah has come according to the power given him from the Almighty Father, and summoning people to friendship, and blessing, and repentance, and dwelling together, promised, as has already been proved, that there shall be a future possession for all the saints in this same land. Hence all people everywhere, whether bond or free, who believe in Christ, and recognise the truth in his own words and those of his prophets, know that they shall be with him in that land, and inherit everlasting and incorruptible good.
"Therefore also Jacob, as I said before, being himself a type of Christ, married the two handmaids of his two free wives, and of them begot sons, to predict that Christ would receive all those who amongst Japheth's race are descendants of Canaan, equally with the free, and would have the children become fellow-heirs, as indeed we are. However, you cannot understand this, because you cannot drink of the living fountain of God, but of broken cisterns which can hold no water, as the Scripture says, "teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." And besides, they deceive themselves and you, supposing that the everlasting kingdom will be surely given to those of the dispersion who are descendants Abraham according to the flesh, even if they are sinners, and faithless, and disobedient towards God, which the Scriptures have shown is not the case. For if so, Isaiah would never have said this: "Unless the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, we would have been like Sodom and Gomorrah." And Ezekiel: "Even if Noah, and Jacob, and Daniel were to pray for sons or daughters, their request should not be granted." But neither shall the father perish for the son, nor the son for the father; but everyone for his own sin, and each shall be saved for his own righteousness.
Again Isaiah says: "They shall look on the bodies of those who have transgressed: their worm shall not cease, and their fire shall not be quenched; and they shall be a spectacle to all flesh." And our Lord, according to the will of him who sent him, who is the Father and Lord of all, would not have said, "They shall come from the east, and from the west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness." Furthermore, I have proved already that those who were foreknown to be unrighteous, whether men or angels, are not made wicked by God's fault, but each man by his own fault is what he will seem to be.
"But that you may not have a pretext for saying that Christ had to be crucified, and that those who transgressed had to have been among your nation, and that the matter could not have been otherwise, I said in summary that God, wishing men and angels to follow his will, resolved to create them free to do righteousness. He gave them reason, that they may know by whom they are created, and through whom they, who did not formerly exist, now do exist; and with a law that they should be judged by him, if they do anything contrary to right reason. So all of us, men and angels, shall be convicted of having acted sinfully, unless we repent beforehand. But if the word of God foretells that some angels and men shall be certainly punished, it did so because it foreknew that they would be unchangeable, but not because God had created them so. So that if they repent, all who wish for it can obtain mercy from God: and the Scripture foretells that they shall be blessed, saying, "Blessed is the man to whom the Lord imputes not sin;" that is, having repented of his sins, he receives remission of them from God; and not as you deceive yourselves, and some others who follow you in this, saying that even though they were sinners, but know God, the Lord will not impute sin to them. We have as proof of this the one fall of David, which happened through his boasting, which was forgiven when he mourned and wept, as it is written. But if even to such a man no remission was granted before repentance, and only when this great king, and anointed one, and prophet, mourned and acted in this way, how can the impure and utterly abandoned, if they do not weep and mourn and repent, hope that the Lord will not impute their sin to them? This one fall of David, in the matter of Uriah's wife, proves, sirs," I said, "that the patriarchs had many wives in order not to commit fornication, and that certain mysteries might be achieved by them. For if it were allowable to take any wife, or as many wives as one chooses, whenever one chooses, which the people of your nation do over all the earth, wherever they sojourn or wherever they have been sent, taking women under the name of marriage, much more would David have been permitted to do this."
When I had said this, dearest Marcus Pompeius, I came to an end.
A little later Trypho said, "You see that it was not intentionally that we came to discuss these points. But I confess that I have been particularly pleased with the conference and I think that these others are of quite the same opinion. For we have found more than we expected, and more than we possibly could have expected. And if we could do this more often, we would be much helped in our study of the Scriptures. But," he said, "since you are on the eve of departure, and expect to set sail any day, do not fail to remember us as friends when you are gone."
"For my part," I replied, "if I were staying I would have wished to do the same thing daily. But now that I expect to set sail, with the help of God, I exhort you to diligently pursue this great struggle for your own salvation, and to earnestly set a higher value on Almighty God's Messiah than on your own teachers."
After this they left me, wishing me safety in my voyage and from every misfortune. And I, praying for them, said, "I can wish nothing better for you, sirs, than that, recognising that intelligence is given to everyone, you may come to share our view and believe that Jesus is the Christ of God."
1. My abandonment of Greek customs is not unthinking
2. The empty theogony of Hesiod's "Works and Days"
3. The folly of all Greek mythology
4. Excessive banqueting and the worship of vice
5. The Greeks should come and learn from the Divine Word
Do not imagine, you Greeks, that my departure from your ways was unreasonable and unthinking; for I found in them nothing that is holy or acceptable to God. For even the works of your poets are monuments to madness and intemperance, so that the person who studies under your most eminent instructors is more beset by difficulties than anyone else. For first they say that Agamemnon, abetting his brother's extravagant lust, a mad and unrestrained desire, readily gave over his own daughter to be sacrificed, and troubled the whole of Greece in order to rescue Helen, who had been raped by the leprous shepherd. Later, when they took prisoners during the war, Agamemnon was himself taken captive by Chryseis, and for the sake of Briseis kindled a feud with the son of Thetis. Then the son of Peleus, who crossed the river, overthrew Troy and subdued Hector, this your hero became the slave of Polyxena, and was conquered by a dead Amazon, when, putting off his divinely-made armor and donning the nuptial robe, he became a sacrifice of love in the temple of Apollo. Further on,the Ithacan Ulysses made a virtue of a vice, while his sailing past the Sirens showed that he was lacking in worthy prudence, because he could not depend on his prudence to block his ears. Ajax, the son of Telamon, who bore the shield of seven-ply ox-hide, went mad when he was defeated in the contest with Ulysses for the amour. Such things I have no desire to be taught and I seek for no such virtue, to believe in the myths of Homer. For the whole rhapsody, the beginning and end both of the Iliad and the Odyssey is about a woman.
Then, after Homer, Hesiod wrote his Works and Days, but who will believe his drivelling theogony? For they say that Chronos, the son of Ouranos, in the beginning slew his father and took over his rule; and that, panic-stricken for fear that he should himself suffer similarly, he preferred to devour his own children. However, by the craft of the Curetes, Jupiter was taken away and kept in secret, and afterwards bound his father with chains, and divided the empire; Jupiter receiving, as the story goes, the air, and Neptune the deep, and Pluto the portion of Hades. But Pluto ravished Proserpine; and Ceres sought her child wandering through the deserts. This myth was celebrated in the Eleusinian fire. Again, Neptune ravished Melanippe when she was drawing water, besides abusing a large number of Nereids, whose names, were we to list them, would cost us a multitude of words. As for Jupiter, he was a multiple adulterer, with Antiope as a satyr, with Danae as gold, and with Europa as a bull; while with Leda he assumed wings; and the love of Semele proved both his unchastity and the jealousy of Semele. They also say that he carried off the Phrygian Ganymede to be his cup-bearer. Such were the exploits of the sons of Saturn. And your illustrious son of Latona (Apollo), practiced in soothsaying, was proven a liar; he pursued Daphne, but did not win her; and did not forewarn Hyacinthus, who loved him, of his impending death. About the masculine character of Minerva, or the feminine nature of Bacchus, or the fornicating disposition of Venus, I will say nothing. But, you Greeks, read out to Jupiter the Law against parricides, and the penalty for adultery, and the shame of paederasty. Teach feminine ways to Minerva and Diana the works of women, the works of men to Bacchus. What decency is there in a woman's girding herself with armor, or in a man's decorating himself with cymbals, and garlands, and female attire, and being surrounded by a herd of bacchanalian women?
Then there is Hercules, celebrated for his three nights and celebrated by poets for his successful labours, the son of Jupiter, who slew the lion and destroyed the many-headed hydra; who put to death the fierce and mighty boar, and was able to kill the swift, man-eating birds, and brought up from Hades the three-headed dog; who cleansed the dung from the huge Augean stables, and killed the bulls and the stag whose nostrils breathed fire, and plucked the golden fruit from the tree, and slew the poisonous serpent (and for some unutterable reason, killed Achelous, and the guest-slaying Busiris), and crossed the mountains to fetch the water which gave forth an articulate speech, as the story goes. He who was able to do so many great actions as these, how childishly he was delighted and let himself be stunned by the cymbals of the satyrs, and conquered by the love of woman, and struck on the hips by the laughing Lyda, until at last, unable to take off the tunic of Nessus, he died, kindling himself his own funeral pile. Let Vulcan lay aside his envy, and not be jealous if he is hated because he is old and club-footed, and Mars is loved, because young and beautiful. Therefore, o Greeks, your gods are convicted of intemperance, and your heroes are effeminate, as declared by the stories on which your dramas are based, such as the curse of Atreus, the bed of Thyestes and the tainted house of Pelops, and Danaus murdering through hatred and making Aegyptus childless in the intoxication of his rage, and the Thyestean banquet spread by the Furies, and Procne to this day is still flitting about, lamenting; and her sister of Athens shrills with her tongue cut out. And need we speak of the goading of Oedipus and his murder of Laius, and of marrying his mother, and the mutual slaughter of those who were both his brothers and his sons?
Your public assemblies I have come to hate. For there is excessive banqueting, and subtle flutes which prompt lustful movements, and useless and spendthrift anointings, and crowning with garlands. With such a mass of evils you banish shame and you fill your minds with them, and are carried away by intemperance, and indulge in wicked and insane fornication as a common practice. Let me add just this question: Being a Greek, how can you be indignant at your son when he imitates Jupiter, and rises against you and robs you of your own wife? how can you count him your enemy, and yet worship one that is like him? And why do you blame your wife for living unchastely, while honouring Venus with shrines? If indeed these things were related by others, they would seem mere slanderous accusations, and not the truth. But your own poets sing of these things, and your histories noisily publish them.
From now on, o Greeks, come and partake of incomparable wisdom, and be taught by the Divine Word. Acquaint yourselves with the immortal King and do not recognise as heroes those men who slaughter whole nations. For our own Ruler, the Divine Word, who is our constant helper, does not desire strength of body and beauty of feature, nor yet the arrogance of worldly nobility, but a pure soul, fortified by holiness, and holy actions, the watchwords of our King, for through the Word power passes into the soul. It is a trumpet of peace to the soul that is at war, a weapon that puts terrible passions to flight, a teaching that quenches the soul's innate blazing! The wields an influence which does not make poets nor equip philosophers or skilled orators, but by its teaching it makes mortals immortal, human beings into gods, and from the earth transports them to the realms above Olympus. Come and be taught. Become as I am, for I used to be as you are. These have conquered me - the divinity of the teaching, and the power of the Word. For as a skilled snake-charmer lures the terrible reptile from his den and causes it to flee, so the Word expels from the very recesses of the soul the fearsome passions of our sensual nature; first driving out lust, the source all other ills - hatreds, strife, envy, jealousy, anger, and such like. Lust being once banished, the soul becomes calm and serene, and being set free from the ills in which it was sunk up to the neck, it returns to him who made it. For it is meant to be restored to the state from which it departed, from which every soul depends and exists.