ORIGEN AGAINST CELSUS -- REST OF BOOK I

CHAP. XXXVI.

And now, since we have touched upon the subject of the prophets, what we are about to advance will be useful not only to the Jews, who believe that they spake by divine inspiration, but also to the more candid among the Greeks. To these we say that we must necessarily admit that the Jews had prophets, if they were to be kept together under that system of law which had been given them, and were to believe in the Creator of the world, as they had learned, and to be without pretexts, so far as the law was concerned, for apostatizing to the polytheism of the heathen• And we establish this necessity in the following manner. "For the nations," as it is written in the law of the Jews itself, "shall hearken unto observers of times, and diviners; "[1] but to that people it is said: "But as for thee, the LORD thy God hath not suffered thee so to do."[1] And to this is subjoined the promise: "A prophet shall the LORD thy God raise up unto thee from among thy brethren."[2] Since, therefore, the heathen employ modes of divination either by oracles or by omens, or by birds, or by ventriloquists, or by those who profess the art of sacrifice, or by Chaldean genealogists--all which practices were forbidden to the Jews--this people, if they had no means of attaining a knowledge of futurity, being led by the passion common to humanity of ascertaining the future would have despised their own prophets, as not having in them any particle of divinity; and would not have accepted any prophet after Moses, nor committed their words to writing, but would have spontaneously betaken themselves to the divining usages of the heathen, or attempted to establish some such practices amongst themselves. There is therefore no absurdity in their prophets having uttered predictions even about events of no importance, to soothe those who desire such things, as when Samuel prophesies regarding three she-asses which were lost,[3] or when mention is made in the third book of Kings respecting the sickness of a king's son.[4] And why should not those who desired to obtain auguries from idols be severely rebuked by the administrators of the law among the Jews?--as Elijah is found rebuking Ahaziah, and saying, "Is it because there is not a God in Israel that ye go to inquire of Baalzebub, god of Ekron?"

CHAP. XXXVII.

I think, then, that it has been pretty well established not only that our Saviour was to be born of a virgin, but also that there were prophets among the Jews who uttered not merely general predictions about the future,--as, e.g., regarding Christ and the kingdoms of the world, and the events that were to happen to Israel, and those nations which were to believe on the Saviour, and many other things concerning Him,--but also prophecies respecting particular events; as, for instance, how the asses of Kish, which were lost, were to be discovered, and regarding the sickness which had fallen upon the son of the king of Israel, and any other recorded circumstance of a similar kind. But as a further answer to the Greeks, who do not believe in the birth of Jesus from a virgin, we have to say that the Creator has shown, by the generation of several kinds of animals, that what He has done in the instance of one animal, He could do, if it pleased Him, in that of others, and also of man himself. For it is ascertained that there is a certain female animal which has no intercourse with the male (as writers on animals say is the case with vultures), and that this animal, without sexual intercourse, preserves the succession of race. What incredibility, therefore, is there in supposing that, if God wished to send a divine teacher to the human race, He caused Him to be born in some manner different from the common![6] Nay, according to the Greeks themselves, all men were not born of a man and woman. For if the world has been created, as many even of the Greeks are pleased to admit, then the first men must have been produced not from sexual intercourse, but from the earth, in which spermatic elements existed; which, however, I consider more incredible than that Jesus was born like other men, so far as regards the half of his birth. And there is no absurdity in employing Grecian histories to answer Greeks, with the view of showing that we are not the only persons who have recourse to miraculous narratives of this kind. For some have thought fit, not in regard to ancient and heroic narratives, but in regard to events of very recent occurrence, to relate as a possible thing that Plato was the son of Amphictione, Ariston being prevented from having marital intercourse with his wife until she had given birth to him with whom she was pregnant by Apollo. And yet these are veritable fables, which have led to the invention of such stories concerning a man whom they regarded as possessing greater wisdom and power than the multitude, and as having received the beginning of his corporeal substance from better and diviner elements than others, because they thought that this was appropriate to persons who were too great to be human beings. And since Celsus has introduced the Jew disputing with Jesus, and tearing in pieces, as he imagines, the fiction of His birth from a virgin, comparing the Greek fables about Danae, and Melanippe, and Auge, and Antiope, our answer is, that such language becomes a buffoon, land not one who is writing in a serious tone.

CHAP. XXXVIII.

But, moreover, taking the history, contained in the Gospel according to Matthew, of our Lord's descent into Egypt, he refuses to believe the miraculous circumstances attending it, viz., either that the angel gave the divine intimation, or that our Lord's quitting Judea and residing in Egypt was an event of any significance; but he invents something altogether different, admitting somehow the miraculous works done by Jesus, by means of which He induced the multitude to follow Him as the Christ. And yet he desires to throw discredit on them, as being done by help of magic and not by divine power; for he asserts "that he (Jesus), having been brought up as an illegitimate child, and having served for hire in Egypt, and then coming to the knowledge of certain miraculous powers, returned from thence to his own country, and by means of those powers proclaimed himself a god." Now I do not understand how a magician should exert himself to teach a doctrine which persuades us always to act as if God were to judge every man for his deeds; and should have trained his disciples, whom he was to employ as the ministers of his doctrine, in the same belief. For did the latter make an impression upon their hearers, after they had been so taught to work miracles; or was it without the aid of these? The assertion, therefore, that they did no miracles at all, but that, after yielding their belief to arguments which were not at all convincing, like the wisdom of Grecian dialectics,[1] they gave themselves up to the task of teaching the new doctrine to those persons among whom they happened to take up their abode, is altogether absurd. For in what did they place their confidence when they taught the doctrine and disseminated the new opinions? But if they indeed wrought miracles, then how can it be believed that magicians exposed themselves to such hazards to introduce a doctrine which forbade the practice of magic?

CHAP. XXXIX.

I do not think it necessary to grapple with an argument advanced not in a serious but in a scoffing spirit, such as the following: "If the mother of Jesus was beautiful, then the god whose nature is not to love a corruptible body, had intercourse with her because she was beautiful;" or, "It was improbable that the god would entertain a passion for her, because she was neither rich nor of royal rank, seeing no one, even of her neighbours, knew her." And it is in the same scoffing spirit that he adds: "When hated by her husband, and turned out of doors, she was not saved by divine power, nor was her story believed. Such things, he says, have no connection with the kingdom of heaven." In what respect does such language differ from that of those who pour abuse on others on the public streets, and whose words are unworthy of any serious attention?

CHAP. XL.

After these assertions, he takes from the Gospel of Matthew, and perhaps also from the other Gospels, the account of the dove alighting upon our Saviour at His baptism by John, and desires to throw discredit upon the statement, alleging that the narrative is a fiction. Having completely disposed, as he imagined, of the story of our Lord's birth from a virgin, he does not proceed to deal in an orderly manner with the accounts that follow it; since passion and hatred observe no order, but angry and vindictive men slander those whom they hate, as the feeling comes upon them, being prevented by their passion from arranging their accusations on a careful and orderly plan. For if he had observed a proper arrangement, he would have taken up the Gospel, and, with the view of assailing it, would. have objected to the first narrative, then passed on to the second, and so on to the others. But now, after the birth from a virgin, this Celsus, who professes to be acquainted with all our history, attacks the account of the appearance of the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove at the baptism. He then, after that, tries to throw discredit upon the prediction that our Lord was to come into the world. In the next place, he runs away to what immediately follows the narrative of the birth of Jesus--the account of the star, and of the wise men who came from the east to worship the child. And you yourself may find, if you take the trouble, many confused statements made by Celsus throughout his whole book; so that even in this account he may, by those who know how to observe and require an orderly method of arrangement, be convicted of great rashness and boasting, in having inscribed upon his work the title of A True Discourse,--a thing which is never done by a learned philosopher. For Plato says, that it is not an indication of an intelligent man to make strong assertions respecting those matters which are somewhat uncertain; and the celebrated Chrysippus even, who frequently states the reasons by which he is decided, refers us to those whom we shall find to be abler speakers than himself. This man, however, who is wiser than those already named, and than all the other Greeks, agreeably to his assertion of being acquainted with everything, inscribed upon his book the words, A True Discourse!

CHAP. XLI.

But, that we may not have the appearance of intentionally passing by his charges through inability to refute them, we have resolved to answer each one of them separately according to our ability, attending not to the connection and sequence of the nature of the things themselves, but to the arrangement of the subjects as they occur in this book. Let us therefore notice what he has to say by way of impugning the bodily appearance of the Holy Spirit to our Saviour in the form of a dove. And it is a Jew who addresses the following language to Him whom we acknowledge to be our Lord Jesus: "When you were bathing," says the Jew, "beside John, you say that what had the appearance of a bird from the air alighted upon you." And then this same Jew of his, continuing his interrogations, asks, "What credible witness beheld this appearance? or who heard a voice from heaven declaring you to be the Son of God? What proof is there of it, save your own assertion, and the statement of another of those individuals who have been punished along with you?"

CHAP. XLII.

Before we begin our reply, we have to remark that the endeavour to show, with regard to almost any history, however true, that it actually occurred, and to produce an intelligent conception regarding it, is one of the most difficult undertakings that can be attempted, and is in some instances an impossibility. For suppose that some one were to assert that there never had been any Trojan war, chiefly on account of the impossible narrative interwoven therewith, about a certain Achilles being the son of a sea-goddess Thetis and of a man Peleus, or Sarpedon being the son of Zeus, or Ascalaphus and Ialmenus the sons of Ares, or AEneas that of Aphrodite, how should we prove that such was the case, especially under the weight of the fiction attached, I know not how, to the universally prevalent opinion that there was really a war in Ilium between Greeks and Trojans? And suppose, also, that some one disbelieved the story of OEdipus and Jocasta, and of their two sons Eteocles and Polynices, because the sphinx, a kind of half-virgin, was introduced into the narrative, how should we demonstrate the reality of such a thing? And in like manner also with the history of the Epigoni, although there is no such marvellous event interwoven with it, or with the return of the Heracleidae, or countless other historical events. But he who deals candidly with histories, and would wish to keep himself also from being imposed upon by them, will exercise his judgment as to what statements he will give his assent to, and what he will accept figuratively, seeking to discover the meaning of the authors of such inventions, and from what statements he will withhold his belief, as having been written for the gratification of certain individuals. And we have said this by way of anticipation respecting the whole history related in the Gospels concerning Jesus, not as inviting men of acuteness to a simple and unreasoning faith, but wishing to show that there is need of candour in those who are to read, and of much investigation, and, so to speak, of insight into the meaning of the writers, that the object with which each event has been recorded may be discovered.

CHAP. XLIII.

We shall therefore say, in the first place, that if he who disbelieves the appearance of the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove had been described as an Epicurean, or a follower of Democritus, or a Peripatetic, the statement would have been in keeping with the character of such an objector. But now even this Celsus, wisest of all men, did not perceive that it is to a Jew, who believes more incredible things contained in the writings of the prophets than the narrative of the appearance of the dove, that he attributes such an objection! For one might say to the Jew, when expressing his disbelief of the appearance, and thinking to assail it as a fiction, "How are you able to prove, sir, that the Lord spake to Adam, or to Eve, or to Cain, or to Noah, or to Abraham, or to Isaac, or to Jacob, those words which He is recorded to have spoken to these men?" And, to compare history with history, I would say to the Jew, "Even your own Ezekiel writes, saying,' The heavens were opened, and I saw a vision of God." After relating which, he adds, ' This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD; and He said to me,'"[2] etc. Now, if what is related of Jesus be false, since we cannot, as you suppose, clearly prove it to be true, it being seen or heard by Himself alone, and, as you appear to have observed, also by one of those who were punished, why should we not rather say that Ezekiel also was dealing in the marvellous when he said, "The heavens were opened," etc.? Nay, even Isaiah asserts, "I saw the Lord of hosts sitting on a throne, high and lifted up; and the seraphim stood round about it: the one had six wings, and the other had six wings."[3] How can we tell whether he really saw them or not? Now, O Jew, you have believed these visions to be true, and to have been not only shown to the prophet by a diviner Spirit, but also to have been both spoken and recorded by the same. And who is the more worthy of belief, when declaring that the heavens were opened before him, and that he heard a voice, or beheld the Lord of Sabaoth sitting upon a throne high and lifted up,--whether Isaiah and Ezekiel or Jesus? Of the former, indeed, no work has been found equal to those of the latter; whereas the good deeds of Jesus have not been confined solely to the period of His tabernacling in the flesh, but up to the present time His power still produces conversion and amelioration of life in those who believe in God through Him. And a manifest proof that these things are done by His power, is the fact that, although, as He Himself said, and as is admitted, there are not labourers enough to gather in the harvest of souls, there really is nevertheless such a great harvest of those who are gathered together and conveyed into the everywhere existing threshing-floors and Churches of God.

CHAP. XLIV.

And with these arguments I answer the Jew, not disbelieving, I who am a Christian, Ezekiel and Isaiah, but being very desirous to show, on the footing of our common belief, that this man is far more worthy of credit than they are when He says that He beheld such a sight, and, as is probable, related to His disciples the vision which He saw, and told them of the voice which He heard. But another party might object, that not all those who have narrated the appearance of the dove and the voice from heaven heard the accounts of these things from Jesus, but that that Spirit which taught Moses the history of events before his own time, beginning with the creation, and descending down to Abraham his father, taught also the writers of the Gospel the miraculous occurrence which took place at the time of Jesus' baptism. And he who is adorned with the spiritual gift,[1] called the "word of wisdom," will explain also the reason of the heavens opening, and the dove appearing, and why the Holy Spirit appeared to Jesus in the form of no other living thing than that of a dove. But our present subject does not require us to explain this, our purpose being to show that Celsus displayed no sound judgment in representing a Jew as disbelieving, on such grounds, a fact which has greater probability in its favour than many events in which he firmly reposes confidence.

CHAP. XLV.

And I remember on one occasion, at a disputation held with certain Jews who were reputed learned men, having employed the following argument in the presence of many judges: "Tell me, sirs," I said, "since there are two individuals who have visited the human race, regarding whom are related marvellous works surpassing human power--Moses, viz., your own legislator, who wrote about himself, and Jesus our teacher, who has left no writings regarding Himself, but to whom testimony is borne by the disciples in the Gospels--what are the grounds for deciding that Moses is to be believed as speaking the truth, although the Egyptians slander him as a sorcerer, and as appearing to have wrought his mighty works by jugglery, while Jesus is not to be believed because you are His accusers? And yet there are nations which bear testimony in favour of both: the Jews to Moses; and the Christians, who do not deny the prophetic mission of Moses, but proving from that very source the truth of the statement regarding Jesus, accept as true the miraculous circumstances related of Him by His disciples. Now, if ye ask us for the reasons of our faith in Jesus, give yours first for believing in Moses, who lived before Him, and then we shall give you ours for accepting the latter. But if you draw back, and shirk a demonstration, then we, following your own example, decline for the present to offer any demonstration likewise; Nevertheless, admit that ye have no proof to offer for Moses, and then listen to our defence of Jesus derived from the law and the prophets. And now observe what is almost incredible! It is shown from the declarations concerning Jesus, contained in the law and the prophets, that both Moses and the prophets were truly prophets of God."

CHAP. XLVI.

For the law and the prophets are full of marvels similar to those recorded of Jesus at His baptism, viz., regarding the dove and the voice from heaven. And I think the wonders wrought by Jesus are a proof of the Holy Spirit's having then appeared in the form of a dove, although Celsus, from a desire to cast discredit upon them, alleges that He performed only what He had learned among the Egyptians. And I shall refer not only to His miracles, but, as is proper, to those also of the apostles of Jesus. For they could not without the help of miracles and wonders have prevailed on those who heard their new doctrines and new teachings to abandon their national usages, and to accept their instructions at the danger to themselves even of death. And there are still preserved among Christians traces of that Holy Spirit which appeared in the form of a dove. They expel evil spirits, and perform many cures, and foresee certain events, according to the will of the Logos. And although Celsus, or the Jew whom he has introduced, may treat with mockery what I am going to say, I shall say it nevertheless,--that many have been converted to Christianity as if against their will, some sort of spirit having suddenly transformed their minds from a hatred of the doctrine to a readiness to die in its defence, and having appeared to them either in a waking vision or a dream of the night. Many such instances have we known, which, if we were to commit to writing, although they were seen and witnessed by ourselves, we should afford great occasion for ridicule to unbelievers, who would imagine that we, like those whom they suppose to have invented such things, had ourselves also done the same. But God is witness of our conscientious desire, not by false statements, but by testimonies of different kinds, to establish the divinity of the doctrine of Jesus. And as it is a Jew who is perplexed about the account of the Holy Spirit having descended upon Jesus in the form of a dove, we would say to him, "Sir, who is it that says in Isaiah, 'And now the Lord hath sent me and His Spirit?[1] In which sentence, as the meaning is doubtful--viz., whether the Father and the Holy Spirit sent Jesus, or the Father sent both Christ and the Holy Spirit--the latter is correct. For, because the Saviour was sent, afterwards the Holy Spirit was sent also, that the prediction of the prophet might be fulfilled; and as it was necessary that the fulfilment of the prophecy should be known to posterity, the disciples of Jesus for that reason committed the result to writing.

CHAP. XLVII.

I would like to say to Celsus, who represents the Jew as accepting somehow John as a Baptist, who baptized Jesus, that the existence of John the Baptist, baptizing for the remission of sins, is related by one who lived no great length of time after John and Jesus. For in the 18th book of his Antiquities[2] of the Jews, Josephus bears witness to John as having been a Baptist, and as promising purification to those who underwent the rite. Now this writer, although not believing in Jesus as the Christ, in seeking after the cause of the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple, whereas he ought to have said that the conspiracy against Jesus was the cause of these calamities befalling the people, since they put to death Christ, who was a prophet, says nevertheless--being, although against his will, not far from the truth--that these disasters happened to the Jews as a punishment for the death of James the Just, who was a brother of Jesus (called Christ),--the Jews having put him to death, although he was a man most distinguished for his justice.[3] Paul, a genuine disciple of Jesus, says that he regarded this James as a brother of the Lord, not so much on account of their relationship by blood, or of their being brought up together, as because of his virtue and doctrine.[4] If, then, he says that it was on account of James that the desolation of Jerusalem was made to overtake the Jews, how should it not be more in accordance with reason to say that it happened on account (of the death) of Jesus Christ, of whose divinity so many Churches are witnesses, composed of those who have been convened from a flood of sins, and who have joined themselves to the Creator, and who refer all their actions to His good pleasure.

CHAP. XLVIII.

Although the Jew, then, may offer no defence for himself in the instances of Ezekiel and Isaiah, when we compare the opening of the heavens to Jesus; and the voice that was heard by Him, to the similar cases which we find recorded in Ezekiel and Isaiah, or any other of the prophets, we nevertheless, so far as we can, shall support our position, maintaining that, as it is a matter of belief that in a dream impressions have been brought before the minds of many, some relating to divine things, and others to future events of this life, and this either with clearness or in an enigmatic manner,--a fact which is manifest to all who accept the doctrine of providence; so how is it absurd to say that the mind which could receive impressions in a dream should be impressed also in a waking vision, for the benefit either of him on whom the impressions are made, or of those who are to hear the account of them from him? And as in a dream we fancy that we hear, and that the organs of hearing are actually impressed, and that we see with our eyes--although neither the bodily organs of sight nor hearing are affected, but it is the mind alone which has these sensations--so there is no absurdity in believing that similar things occurred to the prophets, when it is recorded that they witnessed occurrences of a rather wonderful kind, as when they either heard the words of the Lord or beheld the heavens opened. For I do not suppose that the visible heaven was actually opened, and its physical structure divided, in order that Ezekiel might be able to record such an occurrence. Should not, therefore, the same be believed of the Saviour by every intelligent hearer of the Gospels?--although such an occurrence may be a stumbling-block to the simple, who in their simplicity would set the whole world in movement, and split in sunder the compact and mighty body of the whole heavens. But he who examines such matters more profoundly will say, that there being, as the Scripture calls it, a kind of general divine perception which the blessed man alone knows how to discover, according to the saying of Solomon, "Thou shall find the knowledge of God;"[5] and as there are various forms of this perceptive power, such as a faculty of vision which can naturally see things that are better than bodies, among which are ranked the cherubim and seraphim; and a faculty of hearing which can perceive voices which have not their being in the air; and a sense of taste which can make use of living bread that has come down from heaven, and that giveth life unto the world; and so also a sense of smelling, which scents such things as leads Paul to say that he is a sweet savour of Christ unto God;[1] and a sense of touch, by which John says that he "handled with his hands of the Word of life;"[2]--the blessed prophets having discovered this divine perception, and seeing and hearing in this divine manner, and tasting likewise, and smelling, so to speak, with no sensible organs of perception, and laying hold on the Logos by faith, so that a healing effluence from it comes upon them, saw in this manner what they record as having seen, and heard what they say they heard, and were affected in a similar manner to what they describe when eating the roll of a book that was given them.[3] And so also Isaac smelled the savour of his son's divine garments,[4] and added to the spiritual blessing these words: "See, the savour of my son is as the savour of a full field which the LORD blessed."[5] And similarly to this, and more as a matter to be understood by the mind than to be perceived by the senses, Jesus touched the leper,[6] to cleanse him, as I think, in a twofold sense,--freeing him not only, as the multitude heard, from the visible leprosy by visible contact, but also from that other leprosy, by His truly divine touch. It is in this way, accordingly, that John testifies when he says, "I beheld the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon Him. And I knew Him not; but He that sent me to baptize with water, the same said to me, Upon whom you will see the Spirit descending, and abiding on Him, the same is He that baptizeth with the Holy Ghost And I saw, and bear witness, that this is the Son of God."[7] Now it was to Jesus that the heavens were opened; and on that occasion no one except John is recorded to have seen them opened. But with respect to this opening of the heavens, the Saviour, foretelling to His disciples that it would happen, and that they would see it, says, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye shall see the heavens opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man."[8] And so Paul was carried away into the third heaven, having previously seen it opened, since he was a disciple of Jesus. It does not, however, belong to our present object to explain why Paul says, "Whether in the body, I know not; or whether out of the body, I know not: God knoweth."[9] But I shall add to my argument even those very points which Celsus imagines, viz., that Jesus Himself related the account of the opening of the heavens, and the descent of the Holy Spirit upon Him at the Jordan in the form of a dove, although the Scripture does not assert that He said that He saw it. For this great man did not perceive that it was not in keeping with Him who commanded His disciples on the occasion of the vision on the mount, "Tell what ye have seen to no man, until the Son of man he risen from the dead,"[10] to have related to His disciples what was seen and heard by John at the Jordan. For it may be observed as a trait of the character of Jesus, that He on all occasions avoided unnecessary talk about Himself; and on that account said, "If I speak of Myself, My witness is not true."[11] And since He avoided unnecessary talk about Himself, and preferred to show by acts rather than words that He was the Christ, the Jews for that reason said to Him, "If Thou art the Christ, tell us plainly."[12] And as it is a Jew who, in the work of Celsus, uses the language to Jesus regarding the appearance of the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove, "This is your own testimony, unsupported save by one of those who were sharers of your punishment, whom you adduce," it is necessary for us to show him that such a statement is not appropriately placed in the mouth of a Jew. For the Jews do not connect John with Jesus, nor the punishment of John with that of Christ. And by this instance, this man who boasts of universal knowledge is convicted of not knowing what words he ought to ascribe to a Jew engaged in a disputation with Jesus.

CHAP. XLIX.

After this he wilfully sets aside, I know not why, the strongest evidence in confirmation of the claims of Jesus, viz., that His coming was predicted by the Jewish prophets--Moses, and those who succeeded as well as preceded that legislator--from inability, as I think, to meet the argument that neither the Jews nor any other heretical sect refuse to believe that Christ was the subject of prophecy. But perhaps he was unacquainted with the prophecies relating to Christ. For no one who was acquainted with the statements of the Christians, that many prophets foretold the advent of the Saviour, would have ascribed to a Jew sentiments which it would have better befitted a Samaritan or a Sadducee to utter; nor would the Jew in the dialogue have expressed himself in language like the following: "But my prophet once declared in Jerusalem, that the Son of God will come as the Judge of the righteous and the Punisher of the wicked." Now it is not one of the prophets merely who predicted the advent of Christ. But although the Samaritans and Sadducees, who receive the books of Moses alone, would say that there were contained in them predictions regarding Christ, yet certainly not in Jerusalem, which is not even mentioned in the times of Moses, was the prophecy uttered. It were indeed to be desired, that all the accusers of Christianity were equally ignorant with Celsus, not only of the facts, but of the bare letter of Scripture, and would so direct their assaults against it, that their arguments might not have the least available influence in shaking, I do not say the faith, but the little faith of unstable and temporary believers. A Jew, however, would not admit that any prophet used the expression, "The ' Son of God' will come;" for the term which they employ is, "The 'Christ of God' will come." And many a time indeed do they directly interrogate us about the "Son of God," saying that no such being exists, or was made the subject of prophecy. We do not of course assert that the "Son of God" is not the subject of prophecy; but we assert that he most inappropriately attributes to the Jewish disputant, who would not allow that He was, such language as, "My prophet once declared in Jerusalem that the ' Son of God' will come."

CHAP. L.

In the next place, as if the only event predicted were this, that He was to be "the Judge of the righteous and the Punisher of the wicked," and as if neither the place of His birth, nor the sufferings which He was to endure at the hands of the Jews, nor His resurrection, nor the wonderful works which He was to perform, had been made the subject of prophecy, he continues "Why should it be you alone, rather than innumerable others, who existed after the prophecies were published, to whom these predictions are applicable?" And desiring, I know not how, to suggest to others the possibility of the notion that they themselves were the persons referred to by the prophets, he says that "some, carried away by enthusiasm, and others having gathered a multitude of followers, give out that the Son of God is come down from heaven." Now we have not ascertained that such occurrences are admitted to have taken place among the Jews. we have to remark then, in the first place, that many of the prophets have uttered predictions! in all kinds of ways[1] regarding Christ; some by means of dark sayings, others in allegories or in some other manner, and some also in express words. And as in what follows he says, in the character of the Jew addressing the converts from his own nation, and repeating emphatically and malevolently, that "the prophecies referred to the events of his life may also suit other events as well," we shall state a few of them out of a greater number; and with respect to these, any one who chooses may say what he thinks fitted to ensure a refutation of them, and which may turn away intelligent believers from the faith.

CHAP. LI.

Now the Scripture speaks, respecting the place of the Saviour's birth--that the Ruler was to come forth from Bethlehem--in the following manner: "And thou Bethlehem, house of Ephrata, art not the least among the thousands of Judah: for out of thee shall He come forth unto Me who is to be Ruler in Israel; and His goings forth have been of old, from everlasting."[2] Now this prophecy could not suit any one of those who, as Celsus' Jew says, were fanatics and mob-leaders, and who gave out that they had come from heaven, unless it were clearly shown that He had been born in Bethlehem, or, as another might say, had come forth from Bethlehem to be the leader of the people. With respect to the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, if any one desires, after the prophecy of Micah and after the history recorded in the Gospels by the disciples of Jesus, to have additional evidence from other sources, let him know that, in conformity with the narrative in the Gospel regarding His birth, there is shown at Bethlehem the cave[3] where He was born, and the manger in the cave where He was wrapped in swaddling-clothes. And this sight is greatly talked of in surrounding places, even among the enemies of the faith, it being said that in this cave was born that Jesus who is worshipped and reverenced by the Christians.[4] Moreover, I am of opinion that, before the advent of Christ, the chief priests and scribes of the people, on account of the distinctness and clearness of this prophecy, taught that in Bethlehem the Christ was to be born. And this opinion had prevailed also extensively among the Jews; for which reason it is related that Herod, on inquiring at the chief priests and scribes of the people, heard from them that the Christ was to be born in Bethlehem of Judea, "whence David was." It is stated also in the Gospel according to John, that the Jews declared that the Christ was to be born in Bethlehem, "whence David was."[1] But after our Lord's coming, those who busied themselves with overthrowing the belief that the place of His birth had been the subject of prophecy from the beginning, withheld such teaching from the people; acting in a similar manner to those individuals who won over those soldiers of the guard stationed around the tomb who had seen Him arise from the dead, and who instructed these eye-witnesses to report as follows: "Say that His disciples, while we slept, came and stole Him away. And if this come to the governor's ears, we shall persuade him, and secure you."[2]

CHAP. LII.

Strife and prejudice are powerful instruments in leading men to disregard even those things which are abundantly clear; so that they who have somehow become familiar with certain opinions, which have deeply imbued their minds, and stamped them with a certain character, will not give them up. For a man will abandon his habits in respect to other things, although it may be difficult for him to tear himself from them, more easily than he will surrender his opinions. Nay, even the former are not easily put aside by those who have become accustomed to them; and so neither houses, nor cities, nor villages, nor intimate acquaintances, are willingly forsaken when we are prejudiced in their favour. This, therefore, was a reason why many of the Jews at that time disregarded the clear testimony of the prophecies, and miracles which Jesus wrought, and of the sufferings which He is related to have endured. And that human nature is thus affected, will be manifest to those who observe that those who have once been prejudiced in favour of the most contemptible and paltry traditions of their ancestors and fellow-citizens, with difficulty lay them aside. For example, no one could easily persuade an Egyptian to despise what he had learned from his fathers, so as no longer to consider this or that irrational animal as a god, or not to guard against eating, even under the penalty of death, of the flesh of such an animal. Now, if in carrying our examination of this subject to a considerable length, we have enumerated the points respecting Bethlehem, and the prophecy regarding it, we consider that we were obliged to do this, by way of defence against those who would assert that if the prophecies current among the Jews l regarding Jesus were so clear as we represent them, why did they not at His coming give in their adhesion to His doctrine, and betake them selves to the better life pointed out by Him? Let no one, however, bring such a reproach against believers, since he may see that reasons of no light weight are assigned by those who have learned to state them, for their faith in Jesus.

CHAP. LIII.

And if we should ask for a second prophecy, which may appear to us to have a clear reference to Jesus, we would quote that which was written by Moses very many years before the advent of Christ, when he makes Jacob, on his departure from this life, to have uttered predictions regarding each of his sons, and to have said of Judah along with the others: "The ruler will not fail from Judah, and the governor from his loins, until that which is reserved for him come."[3] Now, any one meeting with this prophecy, which is in reality much older than Moses, so that one who was not a believer might suspect that it was not written by him, would be surprised that Moses should be able to predict that the princes of the Jews, seeing there are among them twelve tribes, should be born of the tribe of Judah, and should be the rulers of the people; for which reason also the whole nation are called Jews, deriving their name from the ruling tribe. And, in the second place, one who candidly considers the prophecy, would be surprised how, after declaring that the rulers and governors of the people were to proceed from the tribe of Judah, he should determine also the limit of their rule, saying that "the ruler should not fail from Judah, nor the governor from his loins, until there should come that which was reserved for him, and that He is the expectation of the Gentiles."[4] For He came for whom these things were reserved, viz., the Christ of God, the ruler of the promises of God. And manifestly He is the only one among those who preceded, and, I might make bold to say, among those also who followed Him, who was the expectation of the Gentiles; for converts from among all the Gentile nations have believed on God through Him, and that in conformity with the prediction of Isaiah, that in His name the Gentiles had hoped: "In Thy name shall the Gentiles hope."[5] And this man said also to those who are in prison, as every man is a captive to the chains of his sins, "Come forth;" and to the ignorant, "Come into the light:" these things also having been thus foretold: "I have given Thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritage; saying to the prisoners, Go forth; and to them that are in darkness, Show yourselves."[1] And we may see at the appearing of this man, by means of those who everywhere throughout the world have reposed a simple faith in Him, the fulfilment of this prediction: "They shall feed in the ways, and their pastures shall be in all the beaten tracks."[2]

CHAP. LIV.

And since Celsus, although professing to know all about the Gospel, reproaches the Saviour because of His sufferings, saying that He received no assistance from the Father, or was unable to aid Himself; we have to state that His sufferings were the subject of prophecy, along with the cause of them; because it was for the benefit of mankind that He should die on their account,[3] and should suffer stripes because of His condemnation. It was predicted, moreover, that some from among the Gentiles would come to the knowledge of Him (among whom the prophets are not included); and it had been declared that He would be seen in a form which is deemed dishonourable among men. The words of prophecy run thus: "Lo, my Servant shall have understanding, and shall be exalted and glorified, and raised exceedingly high. In like manner, many shall be astonished at Thee; so Thy form shall be in no reputation among men, and Thy glory among the sons of men. Lo, many nations shall marvel because of Him; and kings shall close their mouths: because they, to whom no message about Him was sent, shall see Him; and they who have not heard of Him, shall have knowledge of Him."[4] "Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom was the arm of the LORD revealed? We have reported, as a child before Him, as a root in a thirsty ground. He has no form nor glory; and we beheld Him, and He had not any form nor beauty: but His appearance was without honour, and deficient more than that of all men. He was a man under suffering, and who knew how to bear sickness: because His countenance was averted, He was treated with disrespect, and was made of no account. This man bears our sins, and suffers pain on our behalf; and we regarded Him as in trouble, and in suffering, and as ill-treated. But He was wounded for our sins, and bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement of our peace was upon Him; by His stripes we were healed. We all, like sheep, wandered from the way. A man wandered in his way, and the Lord delivered Him on account of our sins; and He, because of His evil treatment, opens not His mouth. As a sheep was He led to slaughter; and as a lamb before her shearer is dumb, so He opens not His mouth. In His humiliation His judgment was taken away. And who shall describe His generation? because His life is taken away from the earth; because of the iniquities of My people was He led unto death."[5]

CHAP. LV.

Now I remember that, on one occasion, at a disputation held with certain Jews, who were reckoned wise men, I quoted these prophecies; to which my Jewish opponent replied, that these predictions bore reference to the whole people, regarded as one individual, and as being in a state of dispersion and suffering, in order that many proselytes might be gained, on account of the dispersion of the Jews among numerous heathen nations. And in this way he explained the words, "Thy form shall be of no reputation among men;" and then, "They to whom no message was sent respecting him shall see;" and the expression, "A man under suffering." Many arguments were employed on that occasion during the discussion to prove that these predictions regarding one particular person were not rightly applied by them to the whole nation. And I asked to what character the expression would be appropriate, "This man bears our sins, and suffers pain on our behalf;" and this, "But He was wounded for our sins, and bruised for our iniquities;" and to whom the expression properly belonged, "By His stripes were we healed." For it is manifest that it is they who had been sinners, and had been healed by the Saviour's sufferings (whether belonging to the Jewish nation or converts from the Gentiles), who use such language in the writings of the prophet who foresaw these events, and who, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, appiled these words to a person. But we seemed to press them hardest with the expression, "Because of the iniquities of My people was He led away unto death." For if the people, according to them, are the subject of the prophecy, how is the man said to be led away to death because of the iniquities of the people of God, unless he be a different person from that people of God? And who is this person save Jesus Christ, by whose stripes they who believe on Him are healed, when "He had spoiled the principalities and powers (that were over us), and had made a show of them openly on His cross?"[6] At another time we may explain the several parts of the prophecy, leaving none of them unexamined. But these matters have been treated at greater length, necessarily as I think, on account of the language of the Jew, as quoted in the work of Celsus.

CHAP. LVI.

Now it escaped the notice of Celsus, and of the Jew whom he has introduced, and of all who are not believers in Jesus, that the prophecies speak of two advents of Christ: the former characterized by human suffering and humility, in order that Christ, being with men, might make known the way that leads to God, and might leave no man in this life a ground of excuse, in saying that he knew not of the judgment to come; and the latter, distinguished only by glory and divinity, having no element of human infirmity intermingled with its divine greatness. To quote the prophecies at length would be tedious; and I deem it sufficient for the present to quote a part of the forty-fifth Psalm, which has this inscription, in addition to others, "A Psalm for the Beloved," where God is evidently addressed in these words: "Grace is poured into Thy lips: therefore God will bless Thee for ever and ever. Gird Thy sword on Thy thigh, O mighty One, with Thy beauty and Thy majesty. And stretch forth, and ride prosperously, and reign, because of Thy truth, and meekness, and righteousness; and Thy right hand shall lead Thee marvellously. Thine arrows are pointed, O mighty One; the people will fall under Thee in the heart of the enemies of the King."[1] But attend carefully to what follows, where He is called God: "For Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of Thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity: therefore God, even Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows."[2] And observe that the prophet, speaking familiarly to God, whose "throne is for ever and ever," and "a sceptre of righteousness the sceptre of His kingdom," says that this God has been anointed by a God who was His God, and anointed, because more than His fellows He had loved righteousness and hated iniquity. And I remember that I pressed the Jew, who was deemed a learned man, very hard with this passage; and he, being perplexed about it, gave such an answer as was in keeping with his Judaistic views, saying that the words, "Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of Thy kingdom," are spoken of the God of all things; and these, "Thou hast loved righteousness and hated iniquity, therefore Thy God hath anointed Thee," etc., refer to the Messiah.[3]

CHAP. LVII.

The Jew, moreover, in the treatise, addresses the Saviour thus: "If you say that every man, born according to the decree of Divine Providence, is a son of God, in what respect should you differ from another?" In reply to whom we say, that every man who, as Paul expresses it, is no longer under fear, as a schoolmaster, but who chooses good for its own sake, is "a son of God;" but this man is distinguished far and wide above every man who is called, on account of his virtues, a son of God, seeing He is, as it were, a kind of source and beginning of all such. The words of Paul are as follow: "For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father."[4] But, according to the Jew of Celsus, "countless individuals will convict Jesus of falsehood, alleging that those predictions which were spoken of him were intended of them." We are not aware, indeed, whether Celsus knew of any who, after coming into this world, and having desired to act as Jesus did, declared themselves to be also the "sons of God," or the "power" of God. But since it is in the spirit of truth that we examine each passage, we shall mention that there was a certain Theudas among the Jews before the birth of Christ, who gave himself out as some great one, after whose death his deluded followers were completely dispersed. And after him, in the days of the census, when Jesus appears to have been born, one Judas, a Galilean, gathered around him many of the Jewish people, saying he was a wise man, and a teacher of certain new doctrines. And when he also had paid the penalty of his rebellion, his doctrine was overturned, having taken hold of very few persons indeed, and these of the very humblest condition. And after the times of Jesus, Dositheus the Samaritan also wished to persuade the Samaritans that he was the Christ predicted by Moses; and he appears to have gained over some to his views. But it is not absurd, in quoting the extremely wise observation of that Gamaliel named in the book of Acts, to show how those persons above mentioned were strangers to the promise, being neither "sons of God" nor "powers" of God, whereas Christ Jesus was truly the Son of God. Now Gamaliel, in the passage referred to, said: "If this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought" (as also did the designs of those men already mentioned after their death); "but if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow this doctrine, lest haply ye be found even to fight against God."[3] There was also Simon the Samaritan magician, who wished to draw away certain by his magical arts. And on that occasion he was successful; but now-a-days it is impossible to find, I suppose, thirty of his followers in the entire world, and probably I have even overstated the number. There are exceedingly few in Palestine; while in the rest of the world, through which he desired to spread the glory of his name, you find it nowhere mentioned. And where it is found, it is found quoted from the Acts of the Apostles; so that it is to Christians that he owes this mention of himself, the unmistakeable result having proved that Simon was in no respect divine.

CHAP. LVIII.

After these matters this Jew of Celsus, instead of the Magi mentioned in the Gospel, says that "Chaldeans are spoken of by Jesus as having been induced to come to him at his birth, and to worship him while yet an infant as a God, and to have made this known to Herod the tetrarch; and that the latter sent and slew all the infants that had been born about the same time, thinking that in this way he would ensure his death among the others; and that he was led to do this through fear that, if Jesus lived to a sufficient age, he would obtain the throne." See now in this instance the blunder of one who cannot distinguish between Magi and Chaldeans, nor perceive that what they profess is different, and so has falsified the Gospel narrative. I know not, moreover, why he has passed by in silence the cause which led the Magi to come, and why he has not stated, according to the scriptural account, that it was a star seen by them in the east. Let us see now what answer we have to make to these statements. The star that was seen in the east we consider to have been a new star, unlike any of the other well-known planetary bodies, either those in the firmament above or those among the lower orbs, but partaking of the nature of those celestial bodies which appear at times, such as comets, or those meteors which resemble beams of wood, or beards, or wine jars, or any of those other names by which the Greeks are accustomed to describe their varying appearances. And we establish our position in the following manner.

CHAP. LIX.

It has been observed that, on the occurrence of great events, and of mighty changes in terrestrial things, such stars are wont to appear, indicating either the removal of dynasties or the breaking out of wars, or the happening of such circumstances as may cause commotions upon the earth. But we have read in the Treatise an Comets by Chaeremon the Stoic, that on some occasions also, when good was to happen, comets made their appearance; and he gives an account of such instances. If, then, at the commencement of new dynasties, or on the occasion of other important events, there arises a comet so called, or any similar celestial body, why should it be matter of wonder that at the birth of Him who was to introduce a new doctrine to the human race, and to make known His teaching not only to Jews, but also to Greeks, and to many of the barbarous nations besides, a star should have arisen? Now I would say, that with respect to comets there is no prophecy in circulation to the effect that such and such a comet was to arise in connection with a particular kingdom or a particular time; but with respect to the appearance of a star at the birth of Jesus there is a prophecy of Balaam recorded by Moses i to this effect: "There shall arise a star out of Jacob, and a man shall rise up out of Israel."[1] And now, if it shall be deemed necessary to examine the narrative about the Magi, and the appearance of the star at the birth of Jesus, the following is what we have to say, partly in answer to the Greeks, and partly to the Jews.

CHAP. LX.

To the Greeks, then, I have to say that the Magi, being on familiar terms with evil spirits, and invoking them for such purposes as their knowledge and wishes extend to, bring about such results only as do not appear to exceed the superhuman power and strength of the evil spirits, and of the spells which invoke them, to accomplish; but should some greater manifestation of divinity be made, then the powers of the evil spirits are overthrown, being unable to resist the light of divinity. It is probable, therefore, that since at the birth of Jesus "a multitude of the heavenly host," as Luke records, and as I believe, "praised God, saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good-will towards men," the evil spirits on that account became feeble, and lost their strength, the falsity of their sorcery being manifested, and their power being broken; this overthrow being brought about not only by the angels having visited the terrestrial regions on account of the birth of Jesus, but also by the power of Jesus Himself, and His innate divinity. The Magi, accordingly, wishing to produce the customary results, which formerly they used to perform by means of certain spells and sorceries, sought to know the reason of their failure, conjecturing the cause to be a great one; and beholding a divine sign in the heaven, they desired to learn its signification. I am therefore of opinion that, possessing as they did the prophecies of Balaam, which Moses also records, inasmuch as Balaam was celebrated for such predictions, and finding among them the prophecy about the star, and the words, "I shall show him to him, but not now; I deem him happy, although he will not be near,"[1] they conjectured that the man whose appearance had been foretold along with that of the star, had actually come into the world; and having pro-determined that he was superior in power to all demons, and to all common appearances and powers, they resolved to offer him homage. They came, accordingly, to Judea, persuaded that some king had been born; but not knowing over what kingdom he was to reign, and being ignorant also of the place of his birth. bringing gifts, which they offered to him as one whose nature partook, if I may so speak, both of God and of a mortal man,--gold, viz., as to a king; myrrh, as to one who was mortal; and incense, as to a God; and they brought these offerings after they had learned the place of His birth. But since He was a God, the Saviour of the human race, raised far above all those angels which minister to men, an angel rewarded the piety of the Magi for their worship of Him, by making known to them that they were not to go back to Herod, but to return to their own homes by another way.

CHAP. LXI.

That Herod conspired against the Child (although the Jew of Celsus does not believe that this really happened), is not to be wondered at. For wickedness is in a certain sense blind, and would desire to defeat fate, as if it were stronger than it. And this being Herod's condition, he both believed that a king of the Jews had been born, and yet cherished a purpose contradictory of such a belief; not seeing that the Child is assuredly either a king and will come to the throne, or that he is not to be a king, and that his death, therefore, will be to no purpose. He desired accordingly to kill Him, his mind being agitated by contending passions on account of his wickedness, and being instigated by the blind and wicked devil who from the very beginning plotted against the Saviour, imagining that He was and would become some mighty one. An angel, however, perceiving the course of events, intimated to Joseph, although Celsus may not believe it, that he was to withdraw with the Child and His mother into Egypt, while Herod slew all the infants that were in Bethlehem and the surrounding borders, in the hope that he would thus destroy Him also who had been born King of the Jews. For he saw not the sleepless guardian power that is around those who deserve to be protected and preserved for the salvation of men, of whom Jesus is the first, superior to all others in honour and excellence, who was to be a King indeed, but not in the sense that Herod supposed, but in that in which it became God to bestow a kingdom,--for the benefit, viz., of those who were to be under His sway, who was to confer no ordinary and unimportant blessings, so to speak, upon His subjects, but who was to train them and to subject them to laws that were truly from God. And Jesus, knowing this well, and denying that He was a king in the sense that the multitude expected, but declaring the superiority of His kingdom, says: "If My kingdom were of this world, then would My servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is My kingdom not of this world."[2] Now, if Celsus had seen this, he would not have said: "But if, then, this was done in order that you might not reign in his stead when you had grown to man's estate; why, after you did reach that estate, do you not become a king, instead of you, the Son of God, wandering about in so mean a condition, hiding yourself through fear, and leading a miserable life up and down?" Now, it is not dishonourable to avoid exposing one's self to dangers, but to guard carefully against them, when this is done, not through fear of death, but from a desire to benefit others by remaining in life, until the proper time come for one who has assumed human nature to die a death that will be useful to mankind. And this is plain to him who reflects that Jesus died for the sake of men,--a point of which we have spoken to the best of our ability in the preceding pages.

CHAP. LXII.

And after such statements, showing his ignorance even of the number of the apostles, he proceeds thus: "Jesus having gathered around him ten or eleven persons of notorious character, the very wickedest of tax-gatherers and sailors, fled in company with them from place to place, and obtained his living in a shameful and importunate manner." Let us to the best of our power see what truth there is in such a statement. It is manifest to us all who possess the Gospel narratives, which Celsus does not appear even to have read, that Jesus selected twelve apostles, and that of these Matthew alone was a tax-gatherer; that when he calls them indiscriminately sailors, he probably means James and John, because they left their ship and their father Zebedee, and followed Jesus; for Peter and his brother Andrew, who employed a net to gain their necessary subsistence, must be classed not as sailors, but as the Scripture describes them, as fishermen. The Lebes[3] also, who was a follower of Jesus, may have been a tax-gatherer; but he was not of the number of the apostles, except according to a statement in one of the copies of Mark's Gospel.[1] And we have not ascertained the employments of the remaining disciples, by which they earned their livelihood before becoming disciples of Jesus. I assert, therefore, in answer to such statements as the above, that it is clear to all who are able to institute an intelligent and candid examination into the history of the apostles of Jesus, that it was by help of a divine power that these men taught Christianity, and succeeded in leading others to embrace the word of God. For it was not any power of speaking, or any orderly arrangement of their message, according to the arts of Grecian dialectics or rhetoric, which was in them the effective cause of converting their hearers. Nay, I am of opinion that if Jesus had selected some individuals who were wise according to the apprehension of the multitude, and who were fitted both to think and speak so as to please them, and had used such as the ministers of His doctrine, He would most justly have been suspected of employing artifices, like those philosophers who are the leaders of certain sects, and consequently the promise respecting the divinity of His doctrine would not have manifested itself; for had the doctrine and the preaching consisted in the persuasive utterance and arrangement of words, then faith also, like that of the philosophers of the world in their opinions, would have been through the wisdom of men, and not through the power of God. Now, who is there on seeing fishermen and tax-gatherers, who had not acquired even the merest elements of learning (as the Gospel relates of them, and in respect to which Celsus believes that they speak the truth, inasmuch as it is their own ignorance which they record), discoursing boldly not only among the Jews of faith in Jesus, but also preaching Him with success among other nations, would not inquire whence they derived this power of persuasion, as theirs was certainly not the common method followed by the multitude? And who would not say that the promise, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men,"[2] had been accomplished by Jesus in the history of His apostles by a sort of divine power? And to this also, Paul, referring in terms of commendation, as we have stated a little above, says: "And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power; that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God."[3] For, according to the predictions in the prophets, foretelling the preaching of the Gospel, "the Lord gave the word in great power to them who preached it, even the King of the powers of the Beloved,"[4] in order that the prophecy might be fulfilled which said, "His words shall run very swiftly."[5] And we see that "the voice of the apostles of Jesus has gone forth into all the earth, and their words to the end of the world,"[6] On this account are they who hear the word powerfully proclaimed filled with power, which they manifest both by their dispositions and their lives, and by struggling even to death on behalf of the truth; while some are altogether empty, although they profess to believe in God through Jesus, inasmuch as, not possessing any divine power, they have the appearance only of being converted to the word of God. And although I have previously mentioned a Gospel declaration uttered by the Saviour, I shall nevertheless quote it again, as appropriate to the present occasion, as it confirms both the divine manifestation of our Saviour's foreknowledge regarding the preaching of His Gospel, and the power of His word, which without the aid of teachers gains the mastery over those who yield their assent to persuasion accompanied with divine power; and the words of Jesus referred to are, "The harvest is plenteous, but the labourers are few; pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth labourers into His harvest."[7]

CHAP. LXIII.

And since Celsus has termed the apostles of Jesus men of infamous notoriety, saying that they were tax-gatherers and sailors of the vilest character, we have to remark, with respect to this charge, that he seems, in order to bring an accusation against Christianity, to believe the Gospel accounts only where he pleases, and to express his disbelief of them, in order that he may not be forced to admit the manifestations of Divinity related in these same books; whereas one who sees the spirit of truth by which the writers are influenced, ought, from their narration of things of inferior importance, to believe also the account of divine things. Now in the general Epistle of Barnabas, from which perhaps Celsus took the statement that the apostles were notoriously wicked men, it is recorded that "Jesus selected His own apostles, as persons who were more guilty of sin than all other evildoers."[8] And in the Gospel according to Luke, Peter says to Jesus, "Depart from me, O Lord, for I am a sinful man."[9] Moreover, Paul, who himself also at a later time became an apostle of Jesus, says in his Epistle to Timothy, "This is a faithful saying, that Jesus Christ came into, the world to save sinners, of whom I am the chief."[1] And I do not know how Celsus should have forgotten or not have thought of saying something about Paul, the founder, after Jesus, of the Churches that are in Christ. He saw, probably, that anything he might say about that apostle would require to be explained, in consistency with the fact that, after being a persecutor of the Church of God, and a bitter opponent of believers, who went so far even as to deliver over the disciples of Jesus to death, so great a change afterwards passed over him, that he preached the Gospel of Jesus from Jerusalem round about to Illyricum, and was ambitious to carry the glad tidings where he needed not to build upon another man's foundation, but to places where the Gospel of God in Christ had not been proclaimed at all. What absurdity, therefore, is there, if Jesus, desiring to manifest to the human race the power which He possesses to heal souls, should have selected notorious and wicked men, and should have raised them to such a degree of moral excellence, that they, became a pattern of the purest virtue to all who were converted by their instrumentality to the Gospel of Christ?

CHAP. LXIV.

But if we were to reproach those who have been converted with their former lives, then we would have occasion to accuse Phaedo also, even after he became a philosopher; since, as the history relates, he was drawn away by Socrates from a house of bad fame[2] to the pursuits of philosophy. Nay, even the licentious life of Polemo, the successor of Xenocrates, will be a subject of reproach to philosophy; whereas even in these instances we ought to regard it as a ground of praise, that reasoning was enabled, by the persuasive power of these men, to convert from the practice of such vices those who had been formerly entangled by them. Now among the Greeks there was only one Phaedo, I know, not if there were a second, and one Polemo, who betook themselves to philosophy, after a licentious and most wicked life; while with Jesus there were not only at the time we speak of, the twelve disciples, but many more at all times, who, becoming a band of temperate men, speak in the following terms of their former lives: "For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour towards man appeared, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost, which He shed upon us richly,"[3] we became such as we are. For "God sent forth His Word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions,"[4] as the prophet taught in the book of Psalms. And in addition to what has been already said, I would add the following: that Chrysippus, in his treatise on the Cure of the Passions, in his endeavours to restrain the passions of the human soul, not pretending to determine what opinions are the true ones, says that according to the principles of the different sects are those to be cured who have been brought under the dominion of the passions, and continues: "And if pleasure be an end, then by it must the passions be healed; and if there be three kinds of chief blessings, still, according to this doctrine, it is in the same way that those are to be freed from their passions who are under their dominion;" whereas the assailants of Christianity do not see in how many persons the passions have been brought under restraint, and the flood of wickedness checked, and savage manners softened, by means of the Gospel. So that it well became those who are ever boasting of their zeal for the public good, to make a public acknowledgement of their thanks to that doctrine which by a new method led men to abandon many vices, and to bear their testimony at least to it, that even though not the truth, it has at all events been productive of benefit to the human race.

CHAP. LXV.

And since Jesus, in teaching His disciples not to be guilty of rashness, gave them the precept. "If they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another; and if they persecute you in the other, flee again into a third,"[5] to which teaching He added the example of a consistent life, acting so as not to expose Himself to danger rashly, or unseasonably, or without good grounds; from this Celsus takes occasion to bring a malicious and slanderous accusation,--the Jew whom he brings forward saying to Jesus, "In company with your disciples you go and hide yourself in different places." Now similar to what has thus been made the ground of a slanderous charge against Jesus and His disciples, do we say was the conduct recorded of Aristotle. This philosopher, seeing that a court was about to be summoned to try him, on the ground of his being guilty of impiety on account of certain of his philosophical tenets which the Athenians regarded as impious, withdrew from Athens, and fixed his school in Chalcis, defending his course of procedure to his friends by saying, "Let us depart from Athens, that we may not give the Athenians a handle for incurring guilt a second time, as formerly in the case of Socrates, and so prevent them from committing a second act of impiety against philosophy." He further says, "that Jesus went about with His disciples, and obtained His livelihood in a disgraceful and importunate manner." Let him show wherein lay the disgraceful and importunate element in their manner of subsistence. For it is related in the Gospels, that there were certain women who had been healed of their diseases, among whom also was Susanna, who from their own possessions afforded the disciples the means of support. And who is there among philosophers, that, when devoting himself to the service of his acquaintances, is not in the habit of receiving from them what is needful for his wants? Or is it only in them that such acts are proper and becoming; but when the disciples of Jesus do the same, they are accused by Celsus of obtaining their livelihood by disgraceful importunity?

CHAP. LXVI.

And in addition to the above, this Jew of Celsus afterwards addresses Jesus: "What need, moreover, was there that you, while still an infant, should be conveyed into Egygt? Was it to escape being murdered? But then it was not likely that a God should be afraid of death; and yet an angel came down from heaven, commanding you and your friends to flee, lest ye should be captured and put to death! And was not the great God, who had already sent two angels on your account, able to keep you, His only Son, there in safety?" From these words Celsus seems to think that there was no element of divinity in the human body and soul of Jesus, but that His body was not even such as is described in the fables of Homer; and with a taunt also at the blood of Jesus which was shed upon the cross, he adds that it was not "Ichor, such as flows in the veins of the blessed gods."[1] We now, believing Jesus Himself, when He says respecting His divinity, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life,"[2] and employs other terms of similar import; and when He says respecting His being clothed with a human body, "And now ye seek to kill Me, a man that hath told you the truth,"[3] conclude that He was a kind of compound being. And so it became Him who was making provision for His sojourning in the world as a human being, not to expose Himself unseasonably to the danger of death. And in like manner it was necessary that He should be taken away by His parents, acting under the instructions of an angel from heaven, who communicated to them the divine will, saying on the first occasion, "Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife; for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost;"[4] and on the second, "Arise, and take the young Child, and His mother, and flee into Egypt; and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him."[5] Now, what is recorded in these words appears to me to be not at all marvellous. For in either passage of Scripture it is stated that it was in a dream that the angel spoke these words; and that in a dream certain persons may have certain things pointed out to them to do, is an event of frequent occurrence to many individuals,--the impression on the mind being produced either by an angel or by some other thing. Where, then, is the absurdity in believing that He who had once become incarnate, should be led also by human guidance to keep out of the way of dangers? Not indeed from any impossibility that it should be otherwise, but from the moral fitness that ways and means should be made use of to ensure the safety of Jesus. And it was certainly better that the Child Jesus should escape the snare of Herod, and should reside with His parents in Egypt until the death of the conspirator, than that Divine Providence should hinder the free-will of Herod in his wish to put the Child to death, or that the fabled poetic helmet of Hades should have been employed, or anything of a similar kind done with respect to Jesus, or that they who came to destroy Him should have been smitten with blindness like the people of Sodom. For the sending of help to Him in a very miraculous and unnecessarily public manner, would not have been of any service to Him who, wished to show that as a man, to whom witness was borne by God, He possessed within that form which was seen by the eyes of men some higher element of divinity,--that which was properly the Son of God--God the Word--the power of God, and the wisdom of God--He who is called the Christ. But this is not a suitable occasion for discussing the composite nature of the incarnate Jesus; the investigation into such a subject being for believers, so to speak, a sort of private question.

CHAP. LXVII.

After the above, this Jew of Celsus, as if he were a Greek who loved learning, and were well instructed in Greek literature, continues: "The old mythological fables, which attributed a divine origin to Perseus, and Amphion, and AEacus, and Minos, were not believed by us. Nevertheless, that they might not appear unworthy of credit, they represented the deeds of these personages as great and wonderful, and truly beyond the power of man; but what hast thou done that is noble or wonderful either in deed or in word? Thou hast made no manifestation to us, although they challenged you in the temple to exhibit some unmistakeable sign that you were the Son of God." In reply to which we have to say Let the Greeks show to us, among those who have been enumerated, any one whose deeds have been marked by a utility and splendour extending to after generations, and which have been so great as to produce a belief in the fables which represented them as of divine descent. But these Greeks can show us nothing regarding those men of whom they speak, which is even inferior by a great degree to what Jesus did; unless they take us back to their fables and histories, wishing us to believe them without any reasonable grounds, and to discredit the Gospel accounts even after the clearest evidence. For we assert that the whole habitable world contains evidence of the works of Jesus, in the existence of those Churches of God which have been founded through Him by those who have been converted from the practice of innumerable sins.[1] And the name of Jesus can still remove distractions from the minds of men, and expel demons, and also take away diseases; and produce a marvellous meekness of spirit and complete change of character, and a humanity, and goodness, and gentleness in those individuals who do not feign themselves to be Christians for the sake of subsistence or the supply of any mortal wants, but who have honestly accepted the doctrine concerning God and Christ, and the judgment to come.

CHAP. LXVIII.

But after this, Celsus, having a suspicion that the great works performed by Jesus, of which we have named a few out of a great number, would be brought forward to view, affects to grant that those statements may be true which are made regarding His cures, or His resurrection, or the feeding of a multitude with a few loaves, from which many fragments remained over, or those other stories which Celsus thinks the disciples have recorded as of a marvellous nature; and he adds: "Well, let us believe that these were actually wrought by you." But then he immediately compares them to the tricks of jugglers, who profess to do more wonderful things, and to the feats performed by those who have been taught by Egyptians, who in the middle of the market-place, in return for a few obols, will impart the knowledge of their most venerated arts, and will expel demons from men, and dispel diseases, and invoke the souls of heroes, and exhibit expensive banquets, and tables, and dishes, and dainties having no real existence, and who will put in motion, as if alive, what are not really living animals, but which have only the appearance of life. And he asks, "Since, then, these persons can perform such feats, shall we of necessity conclude that they are 'sons of God,' or must we admit that they are the proceedings of wicked men under the influence of an evil spirit?" You see that by these expressions he allows, as it were, the existence of magic. I do not know, however, if he is the same who wrote several books against it. But, as it helped his purpose, he compares the (miracles) related of Jesus to the results produced by magic. There would indeed be a resemblance between them, if Jesus, like the dealers in magical arts, had performed His works only for show; but now there is not a single juggler who, by means of his proceedings, invites his spectators to reform their manners, or trains those to the fear of God who are amazed at what they see, nor who tries to persuade them so to live as men who are to be justified[2] by God. And jugglers do none of these things, because they have neither the power nor the will, nor any desire to busy themselves about the reformation of men, inasmuch as their own lives are full of the grossest and most notorious sins. But how should not He who, by the miracles which He did, induced those who beheld the excellent results to undertake the reformation of their characters, manifest Himself not only to His genuine disciples, but also to others, as a pattern of most virtuous life, in order that His disciples might devote themselves to the work of instructing men in the will of God, and that the others, after being more fully instructed by His word and character than by His miracles, as to how they were to direct their lives, might in all their conduct have a constant reference to the good pleasure of the universal God? And if such were the life of Jesus, how could any one with reason compare Him with the sect of impostors, and not, on the contrary, believe, according to the promise, that He was God, who appeared in human form to do good to our race?

CHAP. LXIX.

After this, Celsus, confusing together the Christian doctrine and the opinions of some heretical sect, and bringing them forward as charges that were applicable to all who believe in the divine word, says: "Such a body as yours could not have belonged to God." Now, in answer to this, we have to say that Jesus, on entering into the world, assumed, as one born of a woman, a human body, and one which was capable of suffering a natural death. For which reason, in addition to others, we say that He was also a great wrestler;[1] having, on account of His human body, been tempted in all respects like other men, but no longer as men, with sin as a consequence, but being altogether without sin. For it is distinctly clear to us that "He did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth; and as one who knew no sin,"[2] God delivered Him up as pure for all who had sinned. Then Celsus says: "The body of god would not have been so generated as you, O Jesus, were." He saw, besides, that if, as it is written, it had been born, His body somehow might be even more divine than that of the multitude, and in a certain sense a body of god. But he disbelieves the accounts of His conception by the Holy Ghost, and believes that He was begotten by one Panthera, who corrupted the Virgin, "because a god's body would not have been so generated as you were." But we have spoken of these matters at greater length in the preceding pages.

CHAP. LXX.

He asserts, moreover, that "the body of a god is not nourished with such food (as was that of Jesus)," since he is able to prove from. the Gospel narratives both that He partook of food, and food of a particular kind. Well, be it so. Let him assert that He ate the passover with His disciples, when He not only used the words, "With desire have I desired to eat this passover with you," but also actually partook of the same. And let him say also, that He experienced the sensation of thirst beside the well of Jacob, and drank of the water of the well. In what respect do these facts militate against what we have said respecting the nature of His body? Moreover, it appears indubitable that after His resurrection He ate a piece of fish; for, according to our view, He assumed a (true) body, as one born of a woman. "But," objects Celsus, "the body of a god does not make use of such a voice as that of Jesus, nor employ such a method of persuasion as he." These are, indeed, trifling and altogether contemptible objections. For our reply to him will be, that he who is believed among the Greeks to be a god, viz., the Pythian and Didymean Apollo, makes use of such a voice for his Pythian priestess at Delphi, and for his prophetess at Miletus; and yet neither the Pythian nor Didymean is charged by the Greeks with not being a god, nor any other Grecian deity whose worship is established in one place. And it was far better, surely, that a god should employ a voice which, on account of its being uttered with power, should produce an indescribable sort of persuasion in the minds of the hearers.

CHAP. LXXI.

Continuing to pour abuse upon Jesus as one who, on account of his impiety and wicked opinions, was, so to speak, hated by God, he asserts that "these tenets of his were those of a wicked and God-hated sorcerer." And yet, if the name and the thing be properly examined, it will be found an impossibility that man should be hated by God, seeing God loves all existing things, and "hateth nothing of what He has made," for He created nothing in a spirit of hatred. And if certain expressions in the prophets convey such an impression, they are to be interpreted in accordance with the general principle by which Scripture employs such language with regard to God as if He were subject to human affections. But what reply need be made to him who, while professing to bring foreward credible statements, thinks himself bound to make use of calumnies and slanders against Jesus, as if He were a wicked sorcerer? Such is not the procedure of one who seeks to make good his case, but of one who is in an ignorant and unphilosophic state of mind, inasmuch as the proper course is to state the case, and candidly to investigate it; and, according to the best of his ability, to bring forward what occurs to him with regard to it. But as the Jew of Celsus has, with the above remarks, brought to a close his charges against Jesus, so we also shall here bring to a termination the contents of our first book in reply to him. And if God bestow the gift of that truth which destroys all falsehood, agreeably to the words of the prayer, "Cut them off in thy truth,"[3] we shall begin, in what follows, the consideration of the second appearance of the Jew, in which he is represented by Celsus as addressing those who have become converts to Jesus.

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