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For the Third Thursday in Advent: Justin Martyr on the Incarnation

December 17, 2015

For the Third Thursday in Advent, here is a post from prior years by the Fathers.  Justin Martyr, who lived in the middle of the second century, was one of the Fathers who quoted the Scriptures most frequently. This was no doubt because he was an apologist for the truth of Christianity and used the Scriptures to prove his points. This portion, from his Dialogue with Trypho, is an excellent example of this, and here he uses the Old Testament to witness for Christ:

But since the mystery of His birth now demands our attention I shall speak of it. Isaiah then asserted in regard to the generation of Christ, that it could not be declared by man, in words already quoted: ‘Who shall declare His generation? for His life is taken from the earth: for the transgressions of my people was He led to death.’ The Spirit of prophecy thus affirmed that the generation of Him who was to die, that we sinful men might be healed by His stripes, was such as could not be declared. Furthermore, that the men who believe in Him may possess the knowledge of the manner in which He came into the world, the Spirit of prophecy by the same Isaiah foretold how it would happen thus: ‘And the Lord spoke again to Ahaz, saying, Ask for thyself a sign from the Lord thy God, in the depth, or in the height. And Ahaz said, I will not ask, neither will I tempt the Lord. And Isaiah said, Hear then, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you to contend with men, and how do you contend with the Lord? Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive, and shall bear a son, and his name shall be called Immanuel. Butter and honey shall he eat, before he knows or prefers the evil, and chooses out the good; for before the child knows good or ill, he rejects evil by choosing out the good. For before the child knows how to call father or mother, he shall receive the power of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria in presence of the king of Assyria. And the land shall be forsaken, which thou shalt with difficulty endure in consequence of the presence of its two kings. But God shall bring on thee, and on thy people, and on the house of thy father, days which have not yet come upon thee since the day in which Ephraim took away from Judah the king of Assyria.’ Now it is evident to all, that in the race of Abraham according to the flesh no one has been born of a virgin, or is said to have been born [of a virgin], save this our Christ.

Justin often refers to the Prophets and to the Psalms in his writings–a good example for us to follow in our studies and our devotions.

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