Reading through the signs of the times in our present traditional age probably causes us in conclusion that we are in a period of social decadence. In response to this disheartening pattern, many of us hope to find great witnesses who help us find bravery to overcome this cultural malaise. We find just such a witness within the history of the Roman empire, 19 centuries ago. St . Justin Martyr stood as a sign of conundrum against the decadent culture of their era, and he can help us endure as signs of contradiction in our personal age. We will do well to listen to their words and follow his illustration.
In reading regarding St . Justin’ s life, all of us immediately learn that he was a finder. By constantly searching for deeper information and asking questions, he discovered his way to Christianity through Stoicism, Peripatetism, Pythagoreanism, and Platonism.
An encounter with an older Christian man along the seashore had been Justin’ s final step into this particular new religion. In Christianity, he or she said he found the beliefs that satisfied his soul. In the Dialogue with Trypho , Justin wrote: “ straightway the flame was kindled in my soul; and a love associated with the prophets, and of those guys who are friends of Christ, had me; and … I found this philosophy alone to be safe plus profitable” (chapter 8). He would invest the rest of his life searching for reality, goodness, and beauty, and trying to share it with others.
Justin’ s love meant for philosophy turned him into a good itinerant teacher, and he found their way to Rome. When he appeared there, Justin’ s passion pertaining to philosophy and reason led your pet to call for a reasoned hearing pertaining to Christianity within the culture of questionnable Rome. To the emperor, Antoninus Pius, he made a serious charge: “ you do not examine the charges produced against us; but , yielding in order to unreasoning passion, and to the instigation of evil demons, you penalize us without consideration or view. ” Rather, he proclaimed, “ Justice requires that you inquire in to the life both of him who also confesses and of him who refuses, that by his deeds it might be apparent what kind of man each is” (First Apology, § 4-5). Justin’ s claim was that a man must be respected for the value he produces in the society around him, regardless of whether he be pagan or Alfredia.
With this in mind, Justin contended for the social value of Christians plus Christianity. He made the point that will Christian morality stood as a indication of contradiction against the broader Roman culture of selfishness and contempt. Justin taught rather forcefully on the number of moral topics, which definitely made him an enemy for some. His staunch defense of the reality and value of Christian morality is definitely ultimately what earned him the particular title “ Martyr, ” when he was scourged and beheaded just for refusing to worship the Roman pantheon.
One of Justin’ s primary points about the interpersonal value of Christianity was that followers associated with Jesus eschewed the accumulation associated with wealth. Instead of living from the vice of greed, they “ instructed all excess wealth to the typical good” (First Apology, § 14). That is, they spent any money these people did not need for life’ s essentials in caring for the poor. This was definitely contrary to the accepted cultural tradition, where the poor were often still left for dead.
Decoration of St . Justin Martyr, 1584.
On top of caring for the poor, Christian believers also chose to live together with individuals of other ethnicities. Thus, these people created a social melting pot plus showed that the truth of the Gospel was truly for anyone and everybody who would receive it. Beyond that will, Christians made a practice associated with “ praying for their enemies, ” those who would persecute them for his or her beliefs (First Apology, § 14). Justin was making the striking point that Christians’ profound wish was to live in harmony along with everyone, building the New Jerusalem within their historical era.
Probably the most countercultural virtue championed simply by St . Justin was chastity. “ We who formerly delighted within fornication, ” he wrote, “ now cleave only to chastity” (First Apology, § 14). Rampant intimate license, of course , was an ingrained part of Roman society and tradition. It was radical for Justin plus Christians to suggest any alternative life-style. Yet, he was trying to display that the way of Christian virtue has been, in fact , better for Roman culture because chastity would prevent the make use of, abuse, and exploitation of all individuals.
Finally, Justin exhorted all, Christians and unbelievers as well, to a deeper knowledge and really like of God the Father and His Incarnate Son. He called his audience and readers to “ consecrate themselves to God alone”; and also to grow in relationship with Christ, the Incarnate Word of The almighty, “ since also He grew to become man for our sakes, that, being a partaker of our sufferings, He might furthermore bring us healing” (Second Apology). This was to be the Christian response to the particular “ magic arts” that were a popular choice in ancient Rome.
We see the same trends within our modern world that prevailed within Justin’ s age. In our present culture, Christians are looked upon along with skepticism, and even blamed for ethnic ills, just because we are people associated with faith. Christians must try to protect the social, economic, and social value of our lifestyle to a entire world of unbelievers who might model us for prudery and irrational belief. Many of us attempt, with much trouble, to live chastely within a hedonistic, pornographic culture.
Although this individual lived nineteen centuries ago, we are able to rely on Justin’ s heroic illustration as a sign of contradiction meant for modern times. We can look to him designed for inspiration in our philosophical search for reality, goodness, and beauty. We can discover motivation in his words about taking care of the poor and living in social a harmonious relationship with many races and ethnicities. We are able to follow his example of chastity. Any of these trends will provide more fulfillment and social benefits than something that the world offers as glamorous. The modern world needs to know exactly that, and St . Justin can help all of us share that message.