Justin, Martyr at Rome, c.165
May the Lord hear you in the day of trouble, the name of the God of Jacob defend you;
send you help from his sanctuary and strengthen you out of Zion;
remember all your offerings and accept your burnt sacrifice;
grant you your heart’s desire and fulfil all your mind.
May we rejoice in your salvation and triumph in the name of our God;
may the Lord perform all your petitions.
Now I know that the Lord will save his anointed;
he will answer him from his holy heaven, with the mighty strength of his right hand.
Some put their trust in chariots and some in horses, but we will call only on the name of the Lord our God.
They are brought down and fallen, but we are risen and stand upright.
O Lord, save the king and answer us when we call upon you.
The king shall rejoice in your strength, O Lord;
how greatly shall he rejoice in your salvation!
You have given him his heart’s desire and have not denied the request of his lips.
For you come to meet him with blessings of goodness and set a crown of pure gold upon his head.
He asked of you life and you gave it him, length of days, for ever and ever.
His honour is great because of your salvation;
glory and majesty have you laid upon him.
You have granted him everlasting felicity and will make him glad with joy in your presence.
For the king puts his trust in the Lord;
because of the loving-kindness of the Most High, he shall not be overthrown.
Your hand shall mark down all your enemies;
your right hand will find out those who hate you.
You will make them like a fiery oven in the time of your wrath;
the Lord will swallow them up in his anger and the fire will consume them.
Their fruit you will root out of the land and their seed from among its inhabitants.
Because they intend evil against you and devise wicked schemes which they cannot perform,
You will put them to flight when you aim your bow at their faces.
Be exalted, O Lord, in your own might;
we will make music and sing of your power.
The Lord is my shepherd; therefore can I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures and leads me beside still waters.
He shall refresh my soul and guide me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil;
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You spread a table before me in the presence of those who trouble me;
you have anointed my head with oil and my cup shall be full.
Surely goodness and loving mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
Then Job answered:
‘No doubt you are the people, and wisdom will die with you.
But I have understanding as well as you;
I am not inferior to you.
Who does not know such things as these?
I am a laughing-stock to my friends;
I, who called upon God and he answered me, a just and blameless man,
I am a laughing-stock.
Those at ease have contempt for misfortune, but it is ready for those whose feet are unstable.
The tents of robbers are at peace, and those who provoke God are secure, who bring their god in their hands.
‘But ask the animals, and they will teach you;
the birds of the air, and they will tell you;
ask the plants of the earth, and they will teach you;
and the fish of the sea will declare to you.
Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this?
In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of every human being.
Does not the ear test words as the palate tastes food?
Is wisdom with the aged, and understanding in length of days?
‘With God are wisdom and strength;
he has counsel and understanding.
If he tears down, no one can rebuild;
if he shuts someone in, no one can open up.
If he withholds the waters, they dry up;
if he sends them out, they overwhelm the land.
With him are strength and wisdom;
the deceived and the deceiver are his.
He leads counsellors away stripped, and makes fools of judges.
He looses the sash of kings, and binds a waistcloth on their loins.
He leads priests away stripped, and overthrows the mighty.
He deprives of speech those who are trusted, and takes away the discernment of the elders.
He pours contempt on princes, and looses the belt of the strong.
He uncovers the deeps out of darkness, and brings deep darkness to light.
He makes nations great, then destroys them;
he enlarges nations, then leads them away.
He strips understanding from the leaders of the earth, and makes them wander in a pathless waste.
They grope in the dark without light;
he makes them stagger like a drunkard.
What then? Should we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that you, having once been slaves of sin, have become obedient from the heart to the form of teaching to which you were entrusted, and that you, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in human terms because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to greater and greater iniquity, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness for sanctification.
When you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. So what advantage did you then get from the things of which you now are ashamed? The end of those things is death. But now that you have been freed from sin and enslaved to God, the advantage you get is sanctification. The end is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
God our redeemer,
who through the folly of the cross taught your martyr Justin
the surpassing knowledge of Jesus Christ:
remove from us every kind of error
that we, like him, may be firmly grounded in the faith,
and make your name known to all peoples;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.