Martyr St. Justin the Philosopher
One day an old man (whose name and origin are unknown) appeared to him and spoke to him of the Prophets and Apostles who had learned of God not by their own wisdom, but by revelation of God Himself. He read the scriptures and was convinced of the truth of the Faith, but he would not be baptized or call himself a Christian until he had tested all the pagans' arguments against Christianity. To this end he traveled to Rome, where he engaged in debate at philosophical gatherings, impressing all with his wisdom. In Rome, he witnessed the martyrdom of Sts. Ptolemy and Lucian; this moved him to be baptized and to write an Apologia [defense] for the Christian faith and the Christian people, which he gave to the Emperor Antonius and the Roman Senate. Justin asked the Senate to consider the life and works of the accused when passing judgment, “ Justice requires that you inquire into the life both of him who confesses and of him who denies, that by his deeds it may be apparent what kind of man each is.” The authorities were so moved by the arguments of this document that the Emperor ordered that persecution of Christians should cease.
For the remainder of his life, Justin devoted all his skills to the proclamation of the Gospel and the defense of Christians. To the end of his life, wherever he preached Christ, he always wore his philosopher's robe. In addition to his Apologia, he wrote a number of other learned defenses of the faith.
Eventually he was imprisoned under a new wave of Christian persecutions by the Emperor Marcus Aurelius. He died in Rome in 167.
“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 all means, and if death be threatened, even before his own life, to choose to do and say what is right”.
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