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Chapter XVIII.—Proof of immortality and the resurrection.

For reflect upon the end of each of the preceding kings, how they died the death common to all, which, if it issued in insensibility, would p. 169 be a godsend 1803 to all the wicked. But since sensation remains to all who have ever lived, and eternal punishment is laid up (i.e., for the wicked), see that ye neglect not to be convinced, and to hold as your belief, that these things are true. For let even necromancy, and the divinations you practise by immaculate children, 1804 and the evoking of departed human souls, 1805 and those who are called among the magi, Dream-senders and Assistant-spirits (Familiars), 1806 and all that is done by those who are skilled in such matters —let these persuade you that even after death souls are in a state of sensation; and those who are seized and cast about by the spirits of the dead, whom all call dæmoniacs or madmen; 1807 and what you repute as oracles, both of Amphilochus, Dodana, Pytho, and as many other such as exist; and the opinions of your authors, Empedocles and Pythagoras, Plato and Socrates, and the pit of Homer, 1808 and the descent of Ulysses to inspect these things, and all that has been uttered of a like kind. Such favour as you grant to these, grant also to us, who not less but more firmly than they believe in God; since we expect to receive again our own bodies, though they be dead and cast into the earth, for we maintain that with God nothing is impossible.



ἓρμαιον, a piece of unlooked-for luck, Hermes being the reputed giver of such gifts: vid. Liddell and Scott’s Lex.; see also the Scholiast, quoted by Stallbaum in Plato’s Phæd., p. 107, on a passage singularly analogous to this.


Boys and girls, or even children prematurely taken from the womb, were slaughtered, and their entrails inspected, in the belief that the souls of the victims (being still conscious, as Justin is arguing) would reveal things hidden and future. Instances are abundantly cited by Otto and Trollope.


This form of spirit-rapping was familiar to the ancients, and Justin again (Dial. c. Tryph., c. 105) uses the invocation of Samuel by the witch of Endor as a proof of the immortality of the soul.


Valesius (on Euseb. H. E., iv. 7) states that the magi had two kinds of familiars: the first, who were sent to inspire men with dreams which might give them intimations of things future; and the second, who were sent to watch over men, and protect them from diseases and misfortunes. The first, he says, they called (as here) ὀνειροπομπούς, and the second παρέδρους.


Justin is not the only author in ancient or recent times who has classed dæmoniacs and maniacs together; neither does he stand alone among the ancients in the opinion that dæmoniacs were possessed by the spirits of departed men. References will be found in Trollope’s note. [See this matter more fully illustrated in Kaye’s Justin Martyr, pp. 105–111.]


See the Odyssey, book xi. line 25, where Ulysses is described as digging a pit or trench with his sword, and pouring libations, in order to collect around him the souls of the dead.

Next: Chapter XIX.—The resurrection...