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Justin Martyr:
A Christian Poem of Praise and Evangelism

This Christian poem, from chapter 5 of Justin Martyr's Discourse to the Greeks, has long been my favorite passage in early Christian literature for its beauty, power and praise.

I will let it speak for itself. Enjoy!

Note that I have left the Greek word "Logos" untranslated. "Word" is the most common translation, but early Christians seemed to understand it as also carrying the connotation of reason, thought, and mind. "Logos" is probably a word worth carrying forth into English as central to New Testament teaching: John 1:1,14.


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Justin Martyr's Christian Poem Praising the Logos of God and Evangelizing the Greeks

From now on, you Greeks, come and share incomparable wisdom
Be instructed by the Divine Logos
Get to know the immortal King

Do not think that those men are heroes
Who slaughter whole countries of people
For our own Ruler, the Divine Logos
Who always aids us, even now
Is not interested in physical strength or beauty
Nor the greatness of earth's leaders
But a pure soul, strengthened by dedication to God's purpose
And the calls to action of our King: holy deeds
For through the Logos power passes into the soul

O Trumpet of Peace to the soul that is at war!
O Weapon that routs terrible passions!
O Instruction that quenches the natural-born fire of the soul!

The Logos doesn't exercise an influence which makes poets
Nor does he equip philosophers or great speakers
But rather, by his instruction, he makes mortals immortal; mortal men gods
And from the the earth he transports them to the realms above Olympus.

Come, be taught and become like me
I was once as you are now!

These things have conquered me
The divinity of the instruction
The power of the Logos
For like a skilled snake charmer lures the terrible reptile from his den and causes it to flee
So the Logos himself drives the fearful passions of our sensual nature from the deep corners of our souls

First he drives out lust
The conduit for all of the afflictions of mankind
Hatred, bitter conflicts, envy, selfish ambitions, anger, and other such things.

Once lust has been thrown away, the soul becomes calm and serene
Now that it is set free from the afflictions in which it was nearly drowning, the soul returns to Him who made it
It is appropriate that the soul should be restored to its original state
From which it departed
To the state in which every soul once was or is now.

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