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his thoughts to the venerable man, informing him that he had repaired to that spot for philosophical speculation. “ You are a lover, then, of discourse, (Pulózos,) but no lover of deeds, (PiheQyos,) nor by any means a lover of truth; for you do not try to be a practical man, but rather an ingenious disputant.” To this Justin demurred, affirming that nothing could be more worthy of a man than to make it manifest that all things were governed by intelligence, and to detect the undivine and the erroneous in all other pursuits; that philosophy was the true source of wisdom, and ought to receive the homage of all.
The aged man inquired how philosophy led to happiness, and what was its proper definition. Being told that it was the science of being, and the knowledge of the truth, happiness being the reward of this knowledge and wisdom,” he showed that philosophy, when it depended upon its unaided resources, could never solve the problem. Because the knowledge of God, the highest object of all, and especially of Platonic speculation, could never be acquired by an empirical or formal method, or by discursive contemplation, like music, arithmetic, or astronomy. He proved that God himself must teach us, through some divine medium, to which philosophy could make no pretensions. Reason, indeed, might ascertain the truth of the divine existence, and of moral principles; but could not behold the essence of God. Besides, according to a postulate of the Platonic philosophy itself, only the pure and righteous can attain to the actual vision of God; so that the reason or intellect plays but a subordinate part. “ The pure in heart shall see God.”
He then dwelt upon the errors of the Platonic philosophy, especially with reference to the doctrine of the metempsychosis and the immortality of the soul; since the former was absolutely useless, teaching that while wicked men passed into the bodies of brutes, they had no consciousness of their former aberrations, nor any sense of their present degradation. As to the immortality of the soul, he showed that it was founded by the Platonics, on the assumption of its absolute and eternal nature, and involved not simply its future but its past eternal existence. The soul, indeed, created in the image of God, is capable of immortality, and is thus susceptible of future reward or punishment. Hence it endures, in order to realize the idea of retribution, not only from its own nature, but through the will and power of him who gave it exist
Justin was profoundly impressed by the wisdom and eloquence of the venerable man. He began to lose confidence in his philosophical speculations. “What, then, shall we do?” was
his exclamation;" on what teacher can we rely, and from what quarter derive infallible truth?” He was directed to the prophets, “organs of the Divine Spirit,” and especially to “ Christ, the way, the truth, and the life.” The old man then left him, and he saw him no more. Eagerly he sought the Scriptures, and the instructions of those known as the friends of Christ. And there he found what he sought-- truth and rest, God and immortality.*
It may be concluded, then, that ancient philosophy was a longing and a preparation for Christ. “For it appears to me,” said Simmias, in Phædo, addressing himself to Socrates, who concedes the correctness of the statement, “ that to know them (the truths pertaining to the soul and its destiny) clearly in the present life, is either impossible or very difficult : on the other hand, not to test what has been said of them in every possible way, to investigate the whole matter, and exhaust upon it every effort, is the part of a very weak man. For we ought, in respect to these things, either to learn from others how they stand, or to discover them for ourselves; or if both these are impossible, then taking the best of human reasonings, that which
# For a more extended account of Justin's conversion, sce Semiscb's Life, Writings, and Opinions of Justin Martyr, vol. i. pp. 8–19.
appears the best supported, and embarking on that, as one who risks himself upon a raft, so to sail through life; unless one could be carried more safely, or with less risk, on a surer conveyance, or some DIVINE (Logos) Reason.” *
Hence, also, in the Second Alcibiades, we have the still more remarkable declaration, “ That we must wait patiently until some one, either a god, or some inspired man, teach us our moral and religious duties, and, as Pallas in Homer did to Diomed, remove the darkness from our eyes." +
* Plato's Phædo, 78.
† Alcib. ii. 150.
THE CENTRAL RACE, OR CHRIST AMONG THE
As in society at large we find a central power, in religion a central principle, and in philosophy a central idea, it may be presumed, that in the succession of human affairs, we shall find, among the nations, in a more or less perfect form, a central or a chosen people, whether named church, theocracy, or kingdom of God. We may expect not only a succession of divine facts, maintain. ing religion in the world, but a succession of individuals, families, and communities, perhaps some one community differing from all the rest in gifts, attainments, and usages, fitted to retain and transmit to all generations, and finally to the whole world, the principles and hopes of a perfect religion. Other nations may not, on this account, be proscribed, except for their vices. Much of their ignorance and superstition may be “ winked at,” or overlooked, at least for a season. In none of them will God leave himself without a witness for the truth; but the state of the world may
be such as to demand a chosen peo