Sketch Of Justin Martyr -- By: C. E. Stowe

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 009:36 (Oct 1852)
Article: Sketch Of Justin Martyr
Author: C. E. Stowe


Sketch Of Justin Martyr

C. E. Stowe

The two parables recorded in Matthew 13:44–46, represent two different ways in which men come to an experimental acquaintance with the religion of Christ. The first find the treasure as it were accidentally, without expecting or seeking for it. The second are anxiously in search of goodly pearls, and it is in consequence of their seeking that they find the pearl of great price. The first are the common kind of worldly natures, who feel no particular spiritual wants, and no special need of religion, till their attention is called and their desires are awakened by some striking providence; the second are those deeper spiritual natures, whom this world can never satisfy, and who are always restlessly in search of some higher good, till they find in Christ what they need, and what can never be found in any other object.

To this second class belonged Flavius Justin, the celebrated Christian apologist and martyr, one of the first among the learned men by profession, to declare himself a Christian. He was born about the year 100, in the city of Shechem or Sychar (Neapolis), in the territory of Samaria. His father, Priscus, was a Greek of good property, who was anxious to give his son the best education that money could buy. The family, it seems probable, belonged to a Roman colony which had settled there under Vespasian.

Like Augustin, from his earliest years Justin felt an earnest longing after a knowledge of Divine things. Wandering unsatisfied from one school of philosophy to another, he at length found, in the despised and persecuted religion of Christ, the pearl of great price, of which he was in such anxious search. It will be most interesting to listen to his own relation of his experience.

Full of longing to become a proficient in philosophy (he says), I made application to a Stoic. I remained with him sometime; but when I found that I did not attain to any knowledge of God, that this philosopher neglected all such knowledge, and even despised it as something altogether superfluous, I left him and went to another, a Peripatetic, who had a high opinion of his own acuteness. He kept me with him several days, and then asked me, how much I would pay him for his instructions; for, as he expressed it, he wished to have some fruit of his labor in his connection with me. Such conduct I considered beneath the dignity of a philosopher, and immediately left him. My unsatisfied longings to find the nucleus and germinating principle of all philosophy, left my spirit no rest, and I next applied to a very celebrated Pythagorean, to whom I laid open my desires. He immediately asked me: Dost thou understand music, astronomy...

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