Part 4
Chapter 4—Of Efficacious  Grace

Section 3—Justin. A.D. 150.

Justin Martyr asserts the necessity of the grace of God to the right understanding of the Scriptures; ei oun tis me metamegales charitos tes para Theou laboi, “‘unless,' says he,[1] ‘any therefore should undertake with the great grace which is from God,' to understand the things which are said and done by the prophets, it will be of no advantage to him to seem to read the words or facts, unless he can render a reason for them.” And in another place, speaking to Trypho the Jew, and those that were with him he says,[2] “Do you think, O men, that we could ever have been able to have understood these things in the Scriptures, ei mh qelhmati pou qelhsant auta elabumeu carin tou nohsai, unless by the will of him that wills these things, we had received grace to understand them.” Addressing himself to the same men, he says,[3] “Cease to deceive yourselves, and them that hear you, and learn of us, twn swifisqentwn apo thV tou Crisou caritoV, ‘who are made wise by the grace of Christ.” And having mentioned the text in Matthew 11:27, he adds,[4] “Therefore he hath revealed all things to us, which from the Scripture, dia thV caritoV autou nenohkamen, “through his grace we have an understanding of, knowing him to be the firstborn of God, and before all creatures.” Yea, says he,[5] “to us is given to hear, and to understand, and to be saved by this Christ and to know all the things of the Father.” Nay, Eusebius says,[6] that he openly declares in his Dialogue with Trypho, “how, h qeia cariV auton epi ton thV tisewV parwrmhde logon, “the grace of God impelled him to the doctrine of faith; that is, powerfully wrought upon him to embrace and make a profession of it; which expresses the efficacy of divine grace in its irresistible and unfrustrable operations upon his heart, which Justin had an experience of. Dr. Whitby[7] cites a passage from this writer, in which he says, “That God sent his Son into the world, wV peisqwn ou biazomeno, ‘as persuading, but not compelling man to be good.” But no such words are to be found in the place he refers to. Justin there says,[8] that “To be from the beginning is not ours; but us, who choose by the rational powers which he gives, to follow those things, which are grateful to him, peiqei te kai eiV pisin agei hmaV, ‘he persuades and leads to faith.'” That God persuades men to believe, nobody denies; nor does any say that he compels them to believe, or to be good against their wills; but the question is, whether his persuasions are merely moral? or whether they are attended with an internal, powerful, and unfrustrable operation of his grace? It looks as if Justin meant the latter, since he adds, “What human laws could not effect, that the LogoV, or Word, being divine, has performed.” Now human laws, working only by moral suasion, are deficient; but the divine Word, or Son of God, working in a way of irresistible grace, produces that which they cannot.


[1] Dialog. cum Tryph. p. 319.

[2] Ibid. p. 346.

[3] Ibid. p. 250.

[4] Ibid. p. 326.

[5] Ibid. p. 350.

[6] Eccl. Hist. 1. 4, c. 18. p. 140.

[7] Discourse on the Five Points, p. 266. Ed. 2. 260.

[8] Apolog. 2. pro Christian. p. 58.