“And now have you not perceived, my friends, that one of the three, Who is both God and Lord, and ministers to Him Who is [remains] in the heavens, is Lord of the two angels? For when [the angels] proceeded to Sodom He remained behind, and communed with Abraham in the words recorded by Moses; and when He departed after the conversation Abraham went back to his place. And when He came [to Sodom] the two angels no longer converse with Lot, but Himself, as the Scripture makes evident; and He is the Lord Who received commission from the Lord Who [remains] in the heavens, i.e. the Maker of all things, to inflict upon Sodom and Gomorrah the [judgments] which the Scripture describes in these terms: ’The Lord rained upon Sodom sulphur and fire from the Lord out of heaven.’” (Ch. lvi.)
It is clear from all this that Justin Martyr looked upon prophecy as a supernatural gift, bestowed upon men in order to prepare them to receive that Christ whom God would send. Instead of regarding it as the natural surmising of far-seeing men who, from their experience of the past, and from their knowledge of human nature, could in some sort guess what course events are likely to take, he regarded it as a Divine influence emanating from Him Who knows the future as perfectly as He knows the past, and for His own purposes revealing events, and in many cases what we should call trifling events, which would be wholly out of the power of man to guess or even to imagine.
I am not, of course, concerned to show that Justin was right in his views of prophecy; all I am concerned to show is, that Justin regarded prophecy as the highest of supernatural gifts.
Such, then, was the view of Justin respecting Christ and the Religion He established. Christ, the highest of supernatural beings, His Advent foretold by men with supernatural gifts to make known the future, coming to us in the highest of supernatural ways, and establishing a supernatural kingdom for bringing about such supernatural ends as the reconciliation of all men to God by His Sacrifice, the Resurrection of the body, and the subjugation of the wills of all men to the Will of God.
The principal witness.—The sources of his knowledge respecting the birth of Christ.
The question now arises, and I beg the reader to remember that it is the question on which the author of “Supernatural Religion” stakes all,—From what source did Justin derive this supernatural view of Christianity?
With respect to the Incarnation, Birth, Life, Death, and Resurrection of Christ, he evidently derives it from certain documents which he repeatedly cites, as “The Memoirs of the Apostles” ([Greek: Apomnemoneumata ton Apostolon]). These are the documents which he mentions as being read, along with the Prophets, at the meetings of Christians.