ORIGEN AGAINST CELSUS -- BOOK III (CHAP. I to CHAP. XXXIX)

ORIGEN AGAINST CELSUS.

BOOK III.

IN the first book of our answer to the work of Celsus, who had boastfully entitled the treatise which he had composed against us A True Discourse, we have gone through, as you enjoined, my faithful Ambrosius, to the best of our ability, his preface, and the parts immediately following it, testing each one of his assertions as we went along, until we finished with the tirade (1) of this Jew of his, feigned. to have been delivered against Jesus. And in the second book we met, as we best could, all the charges contained in the invective (1) of the said Jew, which were levelled at us who are believers in God through Christ; and now we enter upon this third division of our discourse, in which our object is to refute the allegations which he makes in his own person.

He gives it as his opinion, that "the controversy between Jews and Christians is a most foolish one," and asserts that "the discussions which we have with each other regarding Christ differ in no respect from what is called in the proverb, 'a fight about the shadow of an ass;' " (2) and thinks that "there is nothing of importance (3) in the investigations of the Jews and Christians: for both believe that it was predicted by the Divine Spirit that one was to come as a Saviour to the human race, but do not yet agree on the point whether the person predicted has actually come or not." For we Christians, indeed, have believed in Jesus, as He who came according to the predictions of the prophets. But the majority of the Jews are so far from believing in Him, that those of them who lived at the time of His coming conspired against Him; and those of the present day, approving of what the Jews of former times dared to do against Him, speak evil of Him, asserting that it was by means of sorcery (4) that he passed himself off for Him who was predicted by the prophets as the One who was to come, and who was called, agreeably to the traditions of the Jews, (5) the Christ.

CHAP. II.

But let Celsus, and those who assent to his charges, tell us whether it is at all like "an ass's shadow," that the Jewish prophets should have predicted the birth-place of Him who was to be the ruler of those who had lived righteous lives, and who are called the "heritage" of God; (6) and that Emmanuel should be conceived by a virgin; and that such signs and wonders should be performed by Him who was the subject of prophecy; and that His word should have such speedy course, that the voice of His apostles should go forth into all the earth; and that He should undergo certain sufferings after His condemnation by the Jews; and that He should rise again from the dead. For was it by chance (7) that the prophets made these announcements, with no persuasion of the truth in their minds, (8) moving them not only to speak, but to deem their announcements worthy of being committed to writing? And did so great a nation as that of the Jews, who had long ago received a country of their own wherein to dwell, recognise certain men as prophets, and reject others as utterers of false predictions, without any conviction of the soundness of the distinction? (8) And was there no motive which induced them to class with the books of Moses, which were held as sacred, the words of those persons who were afterwards deemed to be prophets? And can those who charge the Jews and Christians with folly, show us how the Jewish nation could have continued to subsist, had there existed among them no promise of the knowledge of future events? and how, while each of the surrounding nations believed, agreeably to their ancient institutions, that they received oracles and predictions from those whom they accounted gods, this people alone, who were taught to view with contempt all those who were considered gods by the heathen, as not being gods, but demons, according to the declaration of the prophets, "For all the gods of the nations are demons," (1) had among them no one who professed to be a prophet, and who could restrain such as, from a desire to know the future, were ready to desert I to the demons (1) of other nations? Judge, then, whether it were not a necessity, that as the whole nation had been taught to despise the deities of other lands, they should have had an abundance of prophets, who made known events which were of far greater importance in themselves, (3) and which surpassed the oracles of all other countries.

CHAP. III.

In the next place, miracles were performed in all countries, or at least in many of them, as Celsus himself admits, instancing the case of AEsculapius, who conferred benefits on many, and who foretold future events to entire cities, which were dedicated to him, such as Tricca, and Epidaurus, and Cos, and Pergamus; and along with AEsculapius he mentions Aristeas of Proconnesus, and a certain Clazomenian, and Cleomedes of Astypalaea. But among the Jews alone, who say they are dedicated to the God of all things, there was wrought no miracle or sign which might help to confirm their faith in the Creator of all things, and strengthen their hope of another and better life! But how can they imagine such a state of things? For they would immediately have gone over to the worship of those demons which gave oracles and performed cures, and deserted the God who was believed, as far as words went, (4) to assist them, but who never manifested to them His visible presence. But if this result has not taken place, and if, on the contrary, they have suffered countless calamities rather than renounce Judaism and their law, and have been cruelly treated, at one time in Assyria, at another in Persia, and at another under Antiochus, is it not in keeping with the probabilities of the case s for those to suppose who do not yield their belief to their miraculous histories and prophecies, that the events in question could not be inventions, but that a certain divine Spirit being in the holy souls of the prophets, as of men who underwent any labour for the cause of virtue, did move them to prophesy some things relating to their contemporaries, and others to their posterity, but chiefly regarding a certain personage who was to come as a Saviour to the human race?

CHAP. IV

And if the above be the state of the case, how do Jews and Christians search after "the shadow of an ass," in seeking to ascertain from those prophecies which they believe in common, whether He who was foretold has come, or has not yet arrived, and is still an object of expectation? But even suppose (6) it be granted to Celsus that it was not Jesus who was announced by the prophets, then, even on such a hypothesis, the investigation of the sense of the prophetic writings is no search after "the shadow of an ass," if He who was spoken of can be clearly pointed out, and it can be shown both what sort of person He was predicted to be, and what He was to do, and, if possible, when He was to arrive. But in the preceding pages we have already spoken on the point of Jesus being the individual who was foretold to be the Christ, quoting a few prophecies out of a larger number. Neither Jews nor Christians, then, are wrong in assuming that the prophets spoke under divine influence; (7) but they are in error who form erroneous opinions respecting Him who was expected by the prophets to come, and whose person and character were made known in their "true discourses."

CHAP. V.

Immediately after these points, Celsus, imagining that the Jews are Egyptians by descent, and had abandoned Egypt, after revolting against the Egyptian state, and despising the customs of that people in matters of worship, says that "they suffered from the adherents of Jesus, who believed in Him as the Christ, the same treatment which they had inflicted upon the Egyptians; and that the cause which led to the new state of things s in either instance was rebellion against the state." Now let us observe what Celsus has here done. The ancient Egyptians, after inflicting many cruelties upon the Hebrew race, who had settled in Egypt owing to a famine which had broken out in Judea, suffered, in consequence of their injustice to strangers and suppliants, that punishment which divine Providence had decreed was to fall on the whole nation for having combined against an entire people, who had been their guests, and who had done them no harm; and after being smitten by plagues from God, they allowed them, with difficulty, and after a brief period, to go wherever they liked, as being unjustly detained in slavery. Because, then, they were a selfish people, who hon-outer those who were in any degree related to them far more than they did strangers of better lives, there is not an accusation which they have omitted to bring against Moses and the Hebrews,--not altogether denying, indeed, the miracles and wonders done by him, but alleging that they were wrought by sorcery, and not by divine power. Moses, however, not as a magician, but as a devout man, and one devoted to the God of all things, and a partaker in the divine Spirit, both enacted laws for the Hebrews, according to the suggestions of the Divinity, and recorded events as they happened with perfect fidelity.

CHAP. VI.

Celsus, therefore, not investigating in a spirit of impartiality the facts, which are related by the Egyptians in one way, and by the Hebrews in another, but being bewitched, as it were,[1] in favour of the former, accepted as true the statements of those who had oppressed the strangers, and declared that the Hebrews, who had been unjustly treated, had departed from Egypt after revolting against the Egyptians,--not observing how impossible it was for so great a multitude of rebellious Egyptians to become a nation, which, dating its origin from the said revolt, should change its language at the time of its rebellion, so that those who up to that time made use of the Egyptian tongue, should completely adopt, all at once, the language of the Hebrews! Let it be granted, however, according to his supposition, that on abandoning Egypt they did conceive a hatred also of their mother tongue,[2] how did it happen that after so doing they did not rather adopt the Syrian or Phoenician language, instead of preferring the Hebrew, which is different from both? But reason seems to me to demonstrate that the statement is false, which makes those who were Egyptians by race to have revolted against Egyptians, and to have left the country, and to have proceeded to Palestine, and occupied the land now called Judea. For Hebrew was the language of their fathers before their descent into Egypt; and the Hebrew letters, employed by Moses in writing those five books which are deemed sacred by the Jews, were different from those of the Egyptians.

CHAP. VII.

In like manner, as the statement is false "that the Hebrews, being (originally) Egyptians, dated the commencement (of their political existence) from the time of their rebellion," so also is this, "that in the days of Jesus others who were Jews rebelled against the Jewish state, and became His followers;" for neither Celsus nor they who think with him are able to point out any act on the part of Christians which savours of rebellion. And yet, if a revolt had led to the formation of the Christian commonwealth, so that it derived its existence in this way from that of the Jews, who were permitted to take up arms in defence of the members of their families, and to slay their enemies, the Christian Lawgiver would not have altogether forbidden the putting of men to death; and yet He nowhere teaches that it is right for His own disciples to offer violence to any one, however wicked. For He did not deem it in keeping with such laws as His, which were derived from a divine source, to allow the killing of any individual whatever. Nor would the Christians, had they owed their origin to a rebellion, have adopted laws of so exceedingly mild a character as not to allow them, when it was their fate to be slain as sheep, on any occasion to resist their persecutors. And truly, if we look a little deeper into things, we may say regarding the exodus from Egypt., that it is a miracle if a whole nation at once adopted the language called Hebrew, as if it had been a gift from heaven, when one of their own prophets said, "As they went forth from Egypt, they heard a language which they did not understand."[3]

CHAP. VIII.

In the following way, also, we may conclude that they who came out of Egypt with Moses were not Egyptians; for if they had been Egyptians, their names also would be Egyptian, because in every language the designations (of persons and things) are kindred to the language.[4] But if it is certain, from the names being Hebrew, that the people were not Egyptians,--and the Scriptures are full of Hebrew names, and these bestowed, too, upon their children while they were in Egypt,--it is clear that the Egyptian account is false, which asserts that they were Egyptians, and went forth from Egypt with Moses. Now it is absolutely certain[5] that, being descended, as the Mosaic history records, from Hebrew ancestors, they employed a language from which they also took the names which they conferred upon their children. But with regard to the Christians, because they were taught not to avenge themselves upon their enemies (and have thus observed laws of a mild and philanthropic character); and because they would not, although able, have made war even if they had received authority to do so,--they have obtained this reward from God, that He has always warred in their behalf, and on certain occasions has restrained those who rose up against them and desired to destroy them. For in order to remind others, that by seeing a few engaged in a struggle for their religion, they also might be better fitted to despise death, some, on special occasions, and these individuals who can be easily numbered, have endured death for the sake of Christianity,--God not permitting the whole nation to be exterminated, but desiring that it should continue, and that the whole world should be filled with this salutary and religious doctrine.[1] And again, on the other hand, that those who were of weaker minds might recover their courage and rise superior to the thought of death, God interposed His providence on behalf of believers, dispersing by an act of His will alone all the conspiracies formed against them; so that neither kings, nor rulers, nor the populace, might be able to rage against them beyond a certain point. Such, then, is our answer to the assertions of Celsus, "that a revolt was the original commencement of the ancient Jewish state, and subsequently of Christianity."

CHAP. IX.

But since he is manifestly guilty of falsehood in the statements which follow, let us examine his assertion when he says, "If all men wished to become Christians, the latter would not desire such a result." Now that the above statement is false is clear from this, that Christians do not neglect, as far as in them lies, to take measures to disseminate their doctrine throughout the whole world. Some of them, accordingly, have made it their business to itinerate not only through cities, but even villages and country houses,[2] that they might make converts to God. And no one would maintain that they did this for the sake of gain, when sometimes they would not accept even necessary sustenance; or if at any time they were pressed by a necessity of this sort, were contented with the mere supply of their wants, although many were willing to share (their abundance) with them, and to bestow help upon them far above their need. At the present day, indeed, when, owing to the multitude of Christian believers, not only rich men, but persons of rank, and delicate and high-born ladies, receive the teachers of Christianity, some perhaps will dare to say that it is for the sake of a little glory s that certain individuals assume the office of Christian instructors. It is impossible, however, rationally to entertain such a suspicion with respect to Christianity in its beginnings, when the danger incurred, especially by its teachers, was great; while at the present day the discredit attaching to it among the rest of mankind is greater than any supposed honour enjoyed among those who hold the same belief, especially when such honour is not shared by all. It is false, then, from the very nature of the case, to say that "if all men wished to become Christians, the latter would not desire such a result."

CHAP. X.

But observe what he alleges as a proof of his statement: "Christians at first were few in number, and held the same opinions; but when they grew to be a great multitude, they were divided and separated, each wishing to have his own individual party:[4] for this was their object from the beginning." That Christians at first were few in number, in comparison with the multitudes who subsequently became Christian, is undoubted; and yet, all things considered, they were not so very few.[5] For what stirred up the envy of the Jews against Jesus, and aroused them to conspire against Him, was the great number of those who followed Him into the wilderness,--five thousand men on one occasion, and four thousand on another, having attended Him thither, without including the women and children. For such was the charm[6] of Jesus' words, that not only were men willing to follow Him to the wilderness, but women also, forgetting[7] the weakness of their sex and a regard for outward propriety[8] in thus following their Teacher into desert places. Children, too, who are altogether unaffected by such emotions,[9] either following their parents, or perhaps attracted also by His divinity, in order that it might be implanted within them, became His followers along with their parents. But let it be granted that Christians were few in number at the beginning, how does that help to prove that Christians would be unwilling to make all men believe the doctrine of the Gospel?

CHAP. XI.

He says, in addition, that "all the Christians were of one mind," not observing, even in this particular, that from the beginning there were differences of opinion among believers regarding the meaning[10] of the books held to be divine. At all events, while the apostles were still preaching, and while eye-witnesses of (the works of) Jesus were still teaching His doctrine, there was no small discussion among the converts from Judaism regarding Gentile believers, on the point whether they ought to observe Jewish customs, or should reject the burden of clean and unclean meats, as not being obligatory on those who had abandoned their ancestral Gentile customs, and had become believers in Jesus. Nay, even in the Epistles of Paul, who was contemporary with those who had seen Jesus, certain particulars are found mentioned as having been the subject of dispute,--viz., respecting the resurrection,[1] and whether it were already past, and the day of the Lord, whether it were nigh at hand[2] or not. Nay, the very exhortation to "avoid profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: which some professing, have erred concerning the faith,"[3] is enough to show that from the very beginning, when, as Celsus imagines, believers were few in number, there were certain doctrines interpreted in different ways.[4]

CHAP. XII.

In the next place, since he reproaches us with the existence of heresies in Christianity as being a ground of accusation against it, saying that "when Christians had greatly increased in numbers, they were divided and split up into factions, each individual desiring to have his own party;" and further, that "being thus separated through their numbers, they confute one another, still having, so to speak, one name in common, if indeed they still retain it. And this is the only thing which they are yet ashamed to abandon, while other matters are determined in different ways by the various sects." In reply to which, we say that heresies of different kinds have never originated from any matter in which the principle involved was not important and beneficial to human life. For since the science of medicine is useful and necessary to the human race, and many are the points of dispute in it respecting the manner of curing bodies, there are found, for this reason, numerous heresies confessedly prevailing in the science of medicine among the Greeks, and also, I suppose, among those barbarous nations who profess to employ medicine. And, again, since philosophy makes a profession of the truth, and promises a knowledge of existing things with a view to the regulation of life, and endeavours to teach what is advantageous to our race, and since the investigation of these matters is attended with great differences of opinion,[5] innumerable heresies have consequently sprung up in philosophy, some of which are more celebrated than others. Even Judaism itself afforded a pretext for the origination of heresies, in the different acceptation accorded to the writings of Moses and those of the prophets. So, then, seeing Christianity appeared an object of veneration to men, not to the more servile class alone, as Celsus supposes, but to many among the Greeks who were devoted to literary pursuits,[6] there necessarily originated heresies,--not at all, however, as the result of faction and strife, but through the earnest desire of many literary men to become acquainted with the doctrines of Christianity. The consequence of which was, that, taking in different acceptations those discourses which were believed by all to be divine, there arose heresies, which received their names from those individuals who admired, indeed, the origin of Christianity, but who were led, in some way or other, by certain plausible reasons, to discordant views. And yet no one would act rationally in avoiding medicine because of its heresies; nor would he who aimed at that which is seemly[7] entertain a hatred of philosophy, and adduce its many heresies as a pretext for his antipathy. And so neither are the sacred books of Moses and the prophets to be condemned on account of the heresies in Judaism.

CHAP. XIII.

Now, if these arguments hold good, why should we not defend, in the same way, the existence of heresies in Christianity? And respecting these, Paul appears to me to speak in a very striking manner when he says, "For there must be heresies among you, that they who are approved may be made manifest among you."[8] For as that man is "approved" in medicine who, on account of his experience in various (medical) heresies, and his honest examination of the majority of them, has selected the preferable system,--and as the great proficient in philosophy is he who, after acquainting himself experimentally with the various views, has given in his adhesion to the best,--so I would say that the wisest Christian was he who had carefully studied the heresies both of Judaism and Christianity. Whereas he who finds fault with Christianity because of its heresies would find fault also with the teaching of Socrates, from whose school have issued many others of discordant views. Nay, the opinions of Plato might be chargeable with error, on account of Aristotle's having separated from his school, and founded a new one,--on which subject we have remarked in the preceding book. But it appears to me that Celsus has become acquainted with certain heresies which do not possess even the name of Jesus in common with us. Perhaps he had heard of the sects called Ophites and Cainites, or some others of a similar nature, which had departed in all points from the teaching of Jesus. And yet surely this furnishes no ground for a charge against the Christian doctrine.

CHAP. XIV.

After this he continues: "Their union is the more wonderful, the more it can be shown to be based on no substantial reason. And yet rebellion is a substantial reason, as well as the advantages which accrue from it, and the fear of external enemies. Such are the causes which give stability to their faith." To this we answer, that our union does thus rest upon a reason, or rather not upon a reason, but upon the divine working,[1] so that its commencement was God's teaching men, in the prophetical writings, to expect the advent of Christ, who was to be the Saviour of mankind. For in so far as this point is not really refuted (although it may seem to be by unbelievers), in the same proportion is the doctrine commended as the doctrine of God, and Jesus shown to be the Son of God both before and after His incarnation. I maintain, moreover, that even after His incarnation, He is always found by those who possess the acutest spiritual vision to be most God-like, and to have really come down to us from God, and to have derived His origin or subsequent development not from human wisdom, but from the manifestation[2] of God within Him, who by His manifold wisdom and miracles established Judaism first, and Christianity afterwards; and the assertion that rebellion, and the advantages attending it, were the originating causes of a doctrine which has converted and improved so many men was effectually refuted.

CHAP. XV.

But again, that it is not the fear of external enemies which strengthens our union, is plain from the fact that this cause, by God's will, has already, for a considerable time, ceased to exist. And it is probable that the secure existence, so far as regards the world, enjoyed by believers at present, will come to an end, since those who calumniate Christianity in every way are again attributing the present frequency of rebellion to the multitude of believers, and to their not being persecuted by the authorities as in old times. For we have learned from the Gospel neither to relax our efforts in days of peace, and to give ourselves up to repose, nor, when the world makes war upon us, to become cowards, and apostatize from the love of the God of all things which is in Jesus Christ. And we clearly manifest the illustrious nature of our origin, and do not (as Celsus imagines) conceal it, when we impress upon the minds of our first converts a contempt for idols, and images of all kinds, and, besides this, raise their thoughts from the worship of created things instead of God, and elevate them to the universal Creator; dearly showing Him to be the subject of prophecy, both from the predictions regarding Him--of which there are many--and from those traditions which have been carefully investigated by such as are able intelligently to understand the Gospels, and the declarations of the apostles.

CHAP. XVI.

"But what the legends are of every kind which we gather together, or the terrors which we invent," as Celsus without proof asserts, he who likes may show. I know not, indeed, what he means by "inventing terrors," unless it be our doctrine of God as Judge, and of the condemnation of men for their deeds, with the various proofs derived partly from Scripture, partly from probable reason. And yet--for truth is precious--Celsus says, at the close, "Forbid that either I, or these, or any other individual should ever reject the doctrine respecting the future punishment of the wicked and the reward of the good!" What terrors, then, if you except the doctrine of punishment, do we invent and impose upon mankind? And if he should reply that "we weave together erroneous opinions drawn from ancient sources, and trumpet them aloud, and sound them before men, as the priests of Cybele clash their cymbals in the ears of those who are being initiated in their mysteries; "[3] we shall ask him in reply, "Erroneous opinions from what ancient sources?" For, whether he refers to Grecian accounts, which taught the existence of courts of justice under the earth, or Jewish, which, among other things, predicted the life that follows the present one; he will be unable to show that we who, striving to believe on grounds of reason, regulate our lives in conformity with such doctrines, have failed correctly to ascertain the truth.[4]

CHAP. XVII.

He wishes, indeed, to compare the articles of our faith to those of the Egyptians; " among whom, as you approach their sacred edifices, are to be seen splendid enclosures, and groves, and large and beautiful gateways,[1] and wonderful temples, and magnificent tents around them, and ceremonies of worship full of superstition and mystery; but when you have entered, and passed within, the object of worship is seen to be a cat, or an ape, or a crocodile, or a goat, or a dog!" Now, what is the resemblance[2] between us and the splendours of Egyptian worship which are seen by those who draw near their temples? And where is the resemblance to those irrational animals which are worshipped within, after you pass through the splendid gateways? Are our prophecies, and the God of all things, and the injunctions against images,[3] objects of reverence in the view of Celsus also, and Jesus Christ crucified, the analogue to the worship of the irrational animal? But if he should assert this--and I do not think that he will maintain anything else--we shall reply that we have spoken in the preceding pages at greater length in defence of those charges affecting Jesus, showing that what appeared to have happened to Him in the capacity of His human nature, was fraught with benefit to all men, and with salvation to the whole world.

CHAP. XVIII.

In the next place, referring to the statements of the Egyptians, who talk loftily about irrational animals, and who assert that they are a sort of symbols of God, or anything else which their prophets, so termed, are accustomed to call them, Celsus says that "an impression is produced in the minds of those who have learned these things; that they have not been initiated in vain; "[4] while with regard to the truths which are taught in our writings to those who have made progress in the study of Christianity (through that which is called by Paul the gift consisting in the "word of wisdom" through the Spirit, and in the "word of knowledge" according to the Spirit), Celsus does not seem even to have formed an idea,[5] judging not only from what he has already said, but from what he subsequently adds in his attack upon the Christian system, when he asserts that Christians "repel every wise man from the doctrine of their faith, and invite only the ignorant and the vulgar;" on which assertions we shall remark in due time, when we come to the proper place.

CHAP. XIX.

He says, indeed, that "we ridicule the Egyptians, although they present many by no means contemptible mysteries[6] for our consideration, when they teach us that such rites are acts of worship offered to eternal ideas, and not, as the multitude think, to ephemeral animals; and that we are silly, because we introduce nothing nobler than the goats and dogs of the Egyptian worship in our narratives about Jesus." Now to this we reply, "Good sir,[7] (suppose that) you are right in eulogizing the fact that the Egyptians present to view many by no means contemptible mysteries, and obscure explanations about the animals (worshipped) among them, you nevertheless do not act consistently in accusing us as if you believed that we had nothing to state which was worthy of consideration, but that all our doctrines were contemptible and of no account, seeing we unfold s the narratives concerning Jesus according to the ' wisdom of the word' to those who are 'perfect' in Christianity. Regarding whom, as being competent to understand the wisdom that is in Christianity, Paul says: 'We speak wisdom among them that are perfect; yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, who come to nought, but we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory; which none of the princes of this world knew.'"[9]

CHAP. XX.

And we say to those who hold similar opinions to those of Celsus: "Paul then, we are to suppose, had before his mind the idea of no pre-eminent wisdom when he professed to speak wisdom among them that are perfect?" Now, as he spoke with his customary boldness when in making such a profession he said that he was possessed of no wisdom, we shall say in reply: first of all examine the Epistles of him who utters these words, and look carefully at the meaning of each expression in them--say, in those to the Ephesians, and Colossians, and Thessalonians, and Philippians, and Romans,--and show two things, both that you understand Paul's words, and that you can demonstrate any of them to be silly or foolish. For if any one give himself to their attentive perusal, I am well assured either that he will be amazed at the understanding of the man who can clothe great ideas in common language; or if he be not amazed, he will only exhibit himself in a ridiculous light, whether he simply state the meaning of the writer as if he had comprehended it, or try to controvert and confute what he only imagined that he understood!

CHAP. XI.

And I have not yet spoken of the observance[1] of all that is written in the Gospels, each one of which contains much doctrine difficult to be understood, not merely by the multitude, but even by certain of the more intelligent, including a very profound explanation of the parables which Jesus delivered to "those without," while reserving the exhibition of their full meaning, for those who had passed beyond the stage of exoteric teaching, and who came to Him privately in the house. And when he comes to understand it, he will admire the reason why some are said to be "without," and others "in the house." And again, who would not be filled with astonishment that is able to comprehend the movements[3] of Jesus; ascending at one time a mountain for the purpose of delivering certain discourses, or of performing certain miracles, or for His own transfiguration, and descending again to heal the sick and those who were unable to follow Him whither His disciples went? But it is not the appropriate time to describe at present the truly venerable and divine contents of the Gospels, or the mind of Christ--that is, the wisdom and the word--contained in the writings of Paul. But what we have said is sufficient by way of answer to the unphilosophic sneers[4] of Celsus, in Comparing the inner mysteries of the Church of God to the cats, and apes, and crocodiles, and goats, and dogs of Egypt.

CHAP. XXII.

But this low jester[5] Celsus, omitting no species of mockery and ridicule which can be employed against us, mentions in his treatise the Dioscuri, and Hercules, and AEsculapius, and Dionysus, who are believed by the Greeks to have become gods after being men, and says that "we cannot bear to call such beings gods, because they were at first men,[6] and yet they manifested many noble qualifies, which were displayed for the benefit of mankind, while we assert that Jesus was seen after His death by His own followers;" and he brings against us an additional charge, as if we said that "He was seen indeed, but was only a shadow!" Now to this we reply, that it was very artful of Celsus not here clearly to indicate that he did not regard these beings as gods, for he was afraid of the opinion of those who might peruse his treatise, and who might suppose him to be an atheist; whereas, if he had paid respect to what appeared to him to be the truth, he would not have feigner to regard them as gods.[7] Now to either of the allegations we are ready with an answer. Let us, accordingly, to those who do not regard them as gods reply as follows: These beings, then, are not gods at all; but agreeably to the view of those who think that the soul of man perishes immediately (after death), the souls of these men also perished; or according to the opinion of those who say that the soul continues to subsist or is immortal, these men continue to exist or are immortal, and they are not gods but heroes,--or not even heroes, but simply souls. If, then, on the one hand, you suppose them not to exist, we shall have to prove the doctrine of the soul's immortality, which is to us a doctrine of pre-eminent importance;[8] if, on the other hand, they do exist, we have still to prove[9] the doctrine of immortality, not only by what the Greeks have so well said regarding it, but also in a manner agreeable to the teaching of Holy Scripture. And we shall demonstrate that it is impossible for those who were polytheists during their lives to obtain a better country and position after their departure from this world, by quoting the histories that are related of them, in which is recorded the great dissoluteness of Hercules, and his effeminate bondage with Omphale, together with the statements regarding AEsculapius, that their Zeus struck him dead by a thunderbolt. And of the Dioscuri, it will be said that they die often--

"At one time live on alternate days, and at another

Die, and obtain honour equally with the gods."[10]

How, then, can they reasonably imagine that one of these is to be regarded as a god or a hero?

CHAP. XXIII.

But we, in proving the facts related of our Jesus from the prophetic Scriptures, and comparing afterwards His history with them, demonstrate that no dissoluteness on His part is recorded. For even they who conspired against Him, and who sought false witnesses to aid them, did not find even any plausible grounds for advancing a false charge against Him, so as to accuse Him of licentiousness; but His death was indeed the result of a conspiracy, and bore no resemblance to the death of AEsculapius by lightning. And what is there that is venerable in the madman Dionysus, and his female garments, that he should be worshipped as a god? And if they who would defend such beings betake themselves to allegorical interpretations, we must examine each individual instance, and ascertain whether it is well founded,[1] and also in each particular case, whether those beings can have a real existence, and are deserving of respect and worship who were torn by the Titans, and cast down from their heavenly throne. Whereas our Jesus, who appeared to the members of His own troop[2]--for I will take the word that Celsus employs--did really appear, and Celsus makes a false accusation against the Gospel in saying that what appeared was a shadow. And let the statements of their histories and that of Jesus be carefully compared together. Will Celsus have the former to be true, but the latter, although recorded by eye-witnesses who showed by their acts that they clearly understood the nature of what they had seen, and who manifested their state of mind by what they cheerfully underwent for the sake of His Gospel, to be inventions? Now, who is there that, desiring to act always in conformity with right reason, would yield his assent at random[3] to what is related of the one, but would rush to the history of Jesus, and without examination refuse to believe what is recorded of Him?[4]

CHAP. XXIV.

And again, when it is said of AEsculapius that a great multitude both of Greeks and Barbarians acknowledge that they have frequently seen, and still see, no mere phantom, but AEsculapius himself, healing and doing good, and foretelling the future; Celsus requires us to believe this, and finds no fault with the believers in Jesus, when we express our belief in such stories, but when we give our assent to the disciples, and eye-wit-nesses of the miracles of Jesus, who clearly manifest the honesty of their convictions (because we see their guilelessness, as far as it is possible to see the conscience revealed in writing), we are called by him a set of "silly" individuals, although he cannot demonstrate that an incalculable[5] number, as he asserts, of Greeks and Barbarians acknowledge the existence of AEsculapius; while we, if we deem this a matter of importance, can clearly show a countless multitude of Greeks and Barbarians who acknowledge the existence of Jesus. And some give evidence of their having received through this faith a marvellous power by the cures which they perform, revoking no other name over those who need their help than that of the God of all things, and of Jesus, along with a mention of His history. For by these means we too have seen many persons freed from grievous calamities, and from distractions of mind,[6] and madness, and countless other ills, which could be cured neither by men nor devils.

CHAP. XXV.

Now, in order to grant that there did exist a healing spirit named AEsculapius, who used to cure the bodies of men, I would say to those who are astonished at such an occurrence, or at the prophetic knowledge of Apollo, that since the cure of bodies is a thing indifferent,[7] and a matter within the reach not merely of the good,[8] but also of the bad; and as the foreknowledge of the future is also a thing indifferent--for the possessor of foreknowledge does not necessarily manifest the possession of virtue--you must show that they who practise healing or who forefell the future are in no respect wicked, but exhibit a perfect pattern of virtue, and are not far from being regarded as gods. But they will not be able to show that they are virtuous who practise the art of healing, or who are gifted with foreknowledge, seeing many who are not fit to live are related to have been healed; and these, too, persons whom, as leading improper lives, no wise physician would wish to heal. And in the responses of the Pythian oracle also you may find some injunctions which are not in accordance with reason, two of which we will adduce on the present occasion; viz., when it gave commandment that Cleomedes[9]--the boxer, I suppose--should be honoured with divine honours, seeing some great importance or other attaching to his pugilistic skill, but did not confer either upon Pythagoras or upon Socrates the honours which it awarded to pugilism; and also when it called Archilochus "the servant of the Muses"--a man who employed his poetic powers upon topics of the most wicked and licentious nature, and whose public character was dissolute and impure--and entitled him "pious,"[10] in respect of his being the servant of the Muses, who are deemed to be goddesses! Now I am inclined to think that no one would assert that he was a "pious" man who was not adorned with all moderation and virtue, or that a decorous[11] man would utter such expressions as are contained in the unseemly[12] iambics of Archilochus. And if nothing that is divine in itself is shown to belong either to the healing skill of AEsculapius or the prophetic power of Apollo, how could any one, even were I to grant that the facts are as alleged, reasonably worship them as pure divinities?--and especially when the prophetic spirit of Apollo, pure from any body of earth, secretly enters through the private parts the person of her who is called the priestess, as she is seated at the mouth of the Pythian cave![1] Whereas regarding Jesus and His power we have no such notion; for the body which was born of the Virgin was composed of human material, and capable of receiving human wounds and death.

CHAP. XXVI.

Let us see what Celsus says next, when he adduces from history marvellous occurrences, which in themselves seem to be incredible, but which are not discredited by him, so far at least as appears from his words. And, in the first place, regarding Aristeas of Proconnesus, of whom he speaks as follows: "Then, with respect to Aristeas of Proconnesus, who disappeared from among men in a manner so indicative of divine intervention,[2] and who showed himself again in so unmistakeable a fashion, and on many subsequent occasions visited many parts of the world, and announced marvellous events, and whom Apollo enjoined the inhabitants of Metapontium to regard as a god, no one considers him to be a god." This account he appears to have taken from Pindar and Herodotus. It will be sufficient, however, at present to quote the statement of the latter writer from the fourth book of his histories, which is to the following effect: "Of what country Aristeas, who made these verses, was, has already been mentioned, and I shall now relate the account I heard of him in Proconnesus and Cyzicus. They say that Aristeas, who was inferior to none of the citizens by birth, entering into a fuller's shop in Proconnesus, died suddenly, and that the fuller, having closed his workshop, went to acquaint the relatives of the deceased. When the report had spread through the city that Aristeas was dead, a certain Cyzi-cenian, arriving from Artace, fell into a dispute with those who made the report, affirming that he had met and conversed with him on his way to Cyzicus, and he vehemently disputed the truth of the report; but the relations of the deceased went to the fuller's shop, taking with them what was necessary for the purpose of carrying the body away; but when the house was opened, Aristeas was not to be seen, either dead or alive. They say that afterwards, in the seventh year, he appeared in Proconnesus, composed those verses which by the Greeks are now called Arimaspian, and having composed them, disappeared a second time. Such is the story current in these cities. But these things I know happened to the Metapontines in Italy 340 years after the second disappearance of Aristeas, as I discovered by computation in Proconnesus and Metapontium. The Metapontines say that Aristeas himself, having appeared in their country, exhorted them to erect an altar to Apollo, and to place near it a statue beating the name of Aristeas the Proconnesian; for he said that Apollo had visited their country only of all the Italians, and that he himself, who was now Aristeas, accompanied him; and that when he accompanied the god he was a crow; and after saying this he vanished. And the Metapontines say they sent to Delphi to inquire of the god what the apparition of the man meant; but the Pythian bade them obey the apparition, and if they obeyed it would conduce to their benefit. They accordingly, having received this answer, fulfilled the injunctions. And now, a statue beating the name of Aristeas is placed near the image of Apollo, and around it laurels are planted: the image is placed in the public square. Thus much concerning Aristeas."[3]

CHAP. XXVII.

Now, in answer to this account of Aristeas, we have to say, that if Celsus had adduced it as history, without signifying his own assent to its truth, it is in a different way that we should have met his argument. But since he asserts that he "disappeared through the intervention of the divinity," and "showed himself again in an unmistakeable manner," and "visited many parts of the world," and "made marvellous announcements;" and, moreover, that there was "an oracle of Apollo, enjoining the Metapontines to treat Aristeas as a god," he gives the accounts relating to him as upon his own authority, and with his full assent. And (this being the case), we ask, How is it possible that, while supposing the marvels related by the disciples of Jesus regarding their Master to be wholly fictitious, and finding fault with those who believe them, you, O Celsus, do not regard these stories of yours to be either products of jugglery[4] or inventions? And how,[5] while charging others with an irrational belief in the marvels recorded of Jesus, can you show yourself justified in giving credence to such statement as the above, without producing some proof or evidence of the alleged occurrences having taken place? Or do Herodotus and Pindar appear to you to speak the truth, while they who have made it their concern to die for the doctrine of Jesus, and who have left to their successors writings so remarkable on the truths which they believed, entered for the sake of "fictions" (as you consider them), and "myths," and "juggleries," upon a struggle which entails a life of danger and a death of violence? Place yourself, then, as a neutral party, between what is related of Aristeas and what is recorded of Jesus, and see whether, from the result, and from the benefits which have accrued from the reformation of morals, and to the worship of the God who is over all things, it is not allowable to conclude that we must believe the events recorded of Jesus not to have happened without the divine intervention, but that this was not the case with the story of Aristeas the Proconnesian.

CHAP. XXVIII.

For with what purpose in view did Providence accomplish the marvels related of Aristeas? And to confer what benefit upon the human race did such remarkable events, as you regard them, take place? You cannot answer. But we, when we relate the events of the history of Jesus, have no ordinary defence to offer for their occurrence;--this, viz., that God desired to commend the doctrine of Jesus as a doctrine which was to save mankind, and which was based, indeed, upon the apostles as foundations of the rising(1) edifice of Christianity, but which increased in magnitude also in the succeeding ages, in which not a few cures are wrought in the name of Jesus, and certain other manifestations of no small moment have taken place. Now what sort of person is Apollo, who enjoined the Metapon-tines to treat Aristeas as a god? And with what object does he do this? And what advantage was he procuring to the Metapontines from this divine worship, if they were to regard him as a god, who a little ago was a mortal? And yet the recommendations of Apollo (viewed by us as a demon who has obtained the honour of libation and sacrificial odours(2)) regarding this Aristeas appear to you to be worthy of consideration; while those of the God of all things, and of His holy angels, made known beforehand through the prophets--not after the birth of Jesus, but before He appeared among men--do not stir you up to admiration, not merely of the prophets who received the Divine Spirit, but of Him also who was the object of their predictions, whose entrance into life was so clearly predicted many years beforehand by numerous prophets, that the whole Jewish people who were hanging in expectation of the coming of Him who was looked for, did, after the advent of Jesus, fall into a keen dispute with each other; and that a great multitude of them acknowledged Christ, and believed Him to be the object of prophecy, while others did not believe in Him, but, despising the meekness of those who, on account of the teaching of Jesus, were unwilling to cause even the most trifling sedition, dared to inflict on Jesus those cruelties which His disciples have so truthfully and candidly recorded, without secretly omitting from their marvellous history of Him what seems to the multitude to bring disgrace upon the doctrine of Christianity. But both Jesus Himself and His disciples desired that His followers should believe not merely in His Godhead and miracles, as if He had not also been a partaker of human nature, and had assumed the human flesh which "lusteth against the Spirit;"(3) but they saw also that the power which had descended into human nature, and into the midst of human miseries, and which had assumed a human soul and body, contributed through faith, along with its divine elements, to the salvation of believers,(4) when they see that from Him there began the union of the divine with the human nature, in order that the human, by communion with the divine, might rise to be divine, not in Jesus alone, but in all those who not only believe, but s enter upon the life which Jesus taught, and which elevates to friendship with God and communion with Him every one who lives according to the precepts of Jesus.

CHAP. XXIX.

According to Celsus, then, Apollo wished the Metapontines to treat Aristeas as a god. But as the Metapontines considered the evidence in favour of Aristeas being a man--and probably not a virtuous one--to be stronger than the declaration of the oracle to the effect that he was a god or worthy of divine honours, they for that reason would not obey Apollo, and consequently no one regarded Aristeas as a god. But with respect to Jesus we would say that, as it was of advantage to the human race to accept him as the Son of God--God come in a human soul and body--and as this did not seem to be advantageous to the gluttonous appetites(6) of the demons which love bodies, and to those who deem them to be gods on that account, the demons that are on earth (which are supposed to be gods by those who are not instructed in the nature of demons), and also their worshippers, were desirous to prevent the spread of the doctrine of Jesus; for they saw that the libations and odours in which they greedily delighted were being swept away by the prevalence of the instructions of Jesus. But the God who sent Jesus dissipated all the conspiracies of the demons, and made the Gospel of Jesus to prevail throughout the whole world for the conversion and reformation of men, and caused Churches to be everywhere established in opposition to those of superstitious and licentious and wicked men; for such is the character of the multitudes who constitute the citizens(1) in the assemblies of the various cities. Whereas the Churches of God which are instructed by Christ, when carefully contrasted with the assemblies of the districts in which they are situated, are as beacons(2) in the world; for who would not admit that even the inferior members of the Church, and those who in comparison with the better are less worthy, are nevertheless more excellent than many of those who belong to the assemblies in the different districts?

CHAP. XXX.

For the Church(3) of God, e.g., which is at Athens, is a meek and stable body, as being one which desires to please God, who is over all things; whereas the assembly(4) of the Athenians is given to sedition, and is not at all to be compared to the Church of God in that city. And you may say the same thing of the Church of God at Corinth, and of the assembly of the Corinthian people; and also of the Church of God at Alexandria, and of the assembly of the people of Alexandria. And if he who hears this be a candid man, and one who investigates things with a desire to ascertain the truth, he will be filled with admiration of Him who not only conceived the design, but also was able to secure in all places the establishment of Churches of God alongside s of the assemblies of the people in each city. In like manner, also, in comparing the council(6) of the Church of God with the council in any city, you would find that certain councillors(7) of the Church are worthy to rule in the city of God, if there be any such city in the whole world;(8) whereas the councillors in all other places exhibit in their characters no quality worthy of the conventional(9) superiority which they appear to enjoy over their fellow-citizens. And so, too, you must compare the ruler of the Church in each city with the ruler of the people of the city, in order to observe that even amongst those councillors and rulers of the Church of God who come very far short of their duty, and who lead more indolent lives than others who are more energetic, it is nevertheless possible to discover a general superiority in what relates to the progress of virtue over the characters of the councillors and rulers in the various cities.(10)

CHAP. XXXI.

Now if these things be so, why should it not be consistent with reason to hold with regard to Jesus, who was able to effect results so great, that there dwelt in Him no ordinary divinity? while this was not the case either with the Proconnesian Aristeas (although Apollo would have him regarded as a god), or with the other individuals enumerated by Celsus when he says, "No one regards Abaris the Hyperborean as a god, who was possessed of such power as to be borne along like an arrow from a bow."(11) For with what object did the deity who bestowed upon this Hyperborean Abaris the power of being carried along like an arrow, confer upon him such a gift? Was it that the human race might be benefited thereby,(12) or did he himself obtain any advantage from the possession of such a power?--always supposing it to be conceded that these statements are not wholly inventions, but that the thing actually happened through the co-operation of some demon. But if it be recorded that my Jesus was received up into glory,(13) I perceive the divine arrangement(14) in such an act, viz., because God, who brought this to pass, commends in this way the Teacher to those who witnessed it, in order that as men who are contending not for human doctrine, but for divine teaching, they may devote themselves as far as possible to the God who is over all, and may do all things in order to please Him, as those who are to receive in the divine judgment the reward of the good or evil which they have wrought in this life.

CHAP. XXXII.

But as Celsus next mentions the case of the Clazomenian, subjoining to the story about him this remark, "Do they not report that his soul frequently quitted his body, and flitted about in an incorporeal form? and yet men did not regard him as a god," we have to answer that probably certain wicked demons contrived that such statements should be committed to writing (for I do not believe that they contrived that such a thing should actually take place), in order that the predictions regarding Jesus, and the discourses uttered by Him, might either be evil spoken of, as inventions like these, or might excite no surprise, as not being more remarkable than other occurrences. But my Jesus said regarding His own soul (which was separated from the body, not by virtue of any human necessity, but by the miraculous power which was given Him also for this purpose): "No one taketh my life from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again."(1) For as He had power to lay it down, He laid it down when He said, "Father, why hast Thou forsaken Me? And when He had cried with a loud voice, He gave up the ghost,"(2) anticipating the public executioners of the crucified, who break the legs of the victims, and who do so in order that their punishment may not be further prolonged. And He "took His life," when He manifested Himself to His disciples, having in their presence foretold to the unbelieving Jews, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up again,"(3) and "He spake this of the temple of His body;" the prophets, moreover, having predicted such a result in many other passages of their writings, and in this, "My flesh also shall rest in hope: for Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt Thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption."(4)

CHAP. XXXIII.

Celsus, however, shows that he has read a good many Grecian histories, when he quotes further what is told of Cleomedes of Astypalaea, "who," he relates, "entered into an ark, and although shut up within it, was not found therein, but through some arrangement of the divinity, flew out, when certain persons had cut open the ark in order to apprehend him." Now this story, if an invention, as it appears to be, cannot be compared with what is related of Jesus, since in the lives of such men there is found no indication of their possessing the divinity which is ascribed to them; whereas the divinity of Jesus is established both by the existence of the Churches of the saved,(5) and by the prophecies uttered concerning Him, and by the cures wrought in His name, and by the wisdom and knowledge which are in Him, and the deeper truths which are discovered by those who know how to ascend from a simple faith, and to investigate the meaning which lies in the divine Scriptures, agreeably to the injunctions of Jesus, who said, "Search the Scriptures,"(6) and to the wish of Paul, who taught that "we ought to know how to answer every man;"(7) nay, also of him who said, "Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh of you a reason of the faiths that is in you."(9) If he wishes to have it conceded, however, that it is not a fiction, let him show with what object this supernatural power made him, through some arrangement of the divinity, flee from the ark. For if he will adduce any reason worthy of consideration, and point out any purpose worthy of God in conferring such a power on Cleomedes, we will decide on the answer which we ought to give; but if he fail to say anything convincing on the point, clearly because no reason can be discovered, then we shall either speak slightingly of the story to those who have not accepted it, and charge it with being false, or we shall say that some demoniac power, casting a glamour over the eyes, produced, in the case of the Astypalaean, a result like that which is produced by the performers of juggling tricks,(10) while Celsus thinks that with respect to him he has spoken like an oracle, when he said that "by some divine arrangement he flew away from the ark."

CHAP. XXXIV.

I am, however, of opinion that these individuals are the only instances with which Celsus was acquainted. And yet, that he might appear voluntarily to pass by other similar cases, he says, "And one might name many others of the same kind." Let it be granted, then, that many such persons have existed who conferred no benefit upon the human race: what would each one of their acts be found to amount to in comparison with the work of Jesus, and the miracles related of Him, of which we have already spoken at considerable length? He next imagines that, "in worshipping him who," as he says, "was taken prisoner and put to death, we are acting like the Getae who worship Zamolxis, and the Cilicians who worship Mopsus, and the Acarnanians who pay divine honours to Amphilochus, and like the Thebans who do the same to Amphiaraus, and the Lebadians to Trophonius." Now in these instances we shall prove that he has compared us to the foregoing without good grounds. For these different tribes erected temples and statues to those individuals above enumerated, whereas we have refrained from offering to the Divinity honour by any such means (seeing they are adapted rather to demons, which are somehow fixed in a certain place which they prefer to any other, or which take up their dwelling, as it were, after being removed (from one place to another) by certain rites and incantations), and are lost in reverential wonder at Jesus, who has recalled our minds from all sensible things, as being not only corruptible, but destined to corruption, and elevated them to honour the God who is over all with prayers and a righteous life, which we offer to Him as being intermediate between the nature of the uncreated and that of all created things,(1) and who bestows upon us the benefits which come from the Father, and who as High Priest conveys our prayers to the supreme God.

CHAP. XXXV.

But I should like, in answer to him who for some unknown reason advances such statements as the above, to make in a conversational way(2) some such remarks as the following, which seem not inappropriate to him. Are then those persons whom you have mentioned nonentities, and is there no power in Lebadea connected with Trophonius, nor in Thebes with the temple of Amphiaraus, nor in Acarnania with Amphilochus, nor in Cilicia with Mopsus? Or is there in such persons some being, either a demon, or a hero, or even a god, working works which are beyond the reach of man? For if he answer that there is nothing either demoniacal or divine about these individuals more than others, then let him at once make known his own opinion, as being that of an Epicurean, and of one who does not hold the same views with the Greeks, and who neither recognises demons nor worships gods as do the Greeks; and let it be shown that it was to no purpose that he adduced the instances previously enumerated (as if he believed them to be true), together with those which he adds in the following pages. But if he will assert that the persons spoken of are either demons, or heroes, or even gods, let him notice that he will establish by what he has admitted a result which he does not desire, viz., that Jesus also was some such being; for which reason, too, he was able to demonstrate to not a few that He had come down from God to visit the human race. And if he once admit this, see whether he will not be forced to confess that He is mightier than those individuals with whom he classed Him, seeing none of the latter forbids the offering of honour to the others; while He, having confidence in Himself, because He is more powerful than all those others, forbids them to be received as divine(3) because they are wicked demons, who have taken possession of places on earth, through inability to rise to the purer and diviner region, whither the grossnesses of earth and its countless evils cannot reach.

CHAP. XXXVI.

But as he next introduces the case of the favourite of Adrian (I refer to the accounts regarding the youth Antinous, and the honours paid him by the inhabitants of the city of Antinous in Egypt), and imagines that the honour paid to him falls little short of that which we render to Jesus, let us show in what a spirit of hostility this statement is made. For what is there in common between a life lived among the favourites of Adrian, by one who did not abstain even from unnatural lusts, and that of the venerable Jesus, against whom even they who brought countless other charges, and who told so many falsehoods, were not able to allege that He manifested, even in the slightest degree, any tendency to what was licentious?(4) Nay, further, if one were to investigate, in a spirit of truth and impartiality, the stories relating to Antinous, he would find that it was due to the magical arts and rites of the Egyptians that there was even the appearance of his performing anything (marvellous) in the city which bears his name, and that too only after his decease,--an effect which is said to have been produced in other temples by the Egyptians, and those who are skilled in the arts which they practise. For they set up in certain places demons claiming prophetic or healing power, and which frequently torture those who seem to have committed any mistake about ordinary kinds of food, or about touching the dead body of a man, that they may have the appearance of alarming the uneducated multitude. Of this nature is the being that is considered to be a god in Antinoopolis in Egypt, whose (reputed) virtues are the lying inventions of some who live by the gain derived therefrom;(5) while others, deceived by the demon placed there, and others again convicted by a weak conscience, actually think that they are paying a divine penalty inflicted by Antinous. Of such a nature also are the mysteries which they perform, and the seeming predictions which they utter. Far different from such are those of Jesus. For it was no company of sorcerers, paying court to a king or ruler at his bidding, who seemed to have made him a god; but the Architect of the universe Himself, in keeping with the marvellously persuasive power of His words,(6) commended Him as worthy of honour, not only to those men who were well disposed, but to demons also, and other unseen powers, which even at the present time show that they either fear the name of Jesus as that of a being of superior power, or reverentially accept Him as their legal ruler.[1] For if the commendation had not been given Him by God, the demons would not have withdrawn from those whom they had assailed, in obedience to the mere mention of His name.

CHAP. XXXVII.

The Egyptians, then, having been taught to worship Antinous, will, if you compare him with Apollo or Zeus, endure such a comparison, Antinous being magnified in their estimation through being classed with these deities; for Celsus is clearly convicted of falsehood when he says, "that they will not endure his being compared with Apollo or Zeus." Whereas Christians (who have learned that their eternal life consists in knowing the only true God, who is over all, and Jesus Christ, whom He has sent; and who have learned also that all the gods of the heathen are greedy demons, which flit around sacrifices and blood, and other sacrificial accompaniments,[2] in order to deceive those who have not taken refuge with the God who is over all, but that the divine and holy angels of God are of a different nature and will[3] from all the demons on earth, and that they are known to those exceedingly few persons who have carefully and intelligently investigated these matters) will not endure a comparison to be made between them and Apollo or Zeus, or any being worshipped with odour and blood and sacrifices; some of them, so acting from their extreme simplicity, not being able to give a reason for their conduct, but sincerely observing the precepts which they have received; others, again, for reasons not to be lightly regarded, nay, even of a profound description, and (as a Greek would say) drawn from the inner nature of things;[4] and amongst the latter of these God is a frequent subject of conversation, and those who are honoured by God, through His only-begotten Word, with participation in His divinity, and therefore also in His name. They speak much, too, both regarding the angels of God and those who are opposed to the truth, but have been deceived; and who, in consequence of being deceived, call them gods or angels of God, or good demons, or heroes who have become such by the transference into them of a good human soul.[5] And such Christians will also show, that as in philosophy there are many who appear to be in possession of the truth, who have yet either deceived themselves by plausible arguments, or by rashly assenting to what was brought forward and discovered by others; so also, among those souls which exist apart from bodies, both angels and demons, there are some which have been induced by plausible reasons to declare themselves gods. And because it was impossible that the reasons of such things could be discovered by men with perfect exactness, it was deemed safe that no mortal should entrust himself to any being as to God, with the exception of Jesus Christ, who is, as it were, the Ruler over all things, and who both beheld these weighty secrets, and made them known to a few.

CHAP. XXXVIII.

The belief, then, in Antinous,[5] or any other such person, whether among the Egyptians or the Greeks, is, so to speak, unfortunate; while the belief in Jesus would seem to be either a fortunate one, or the result of thorough investigation, having the appearance of the former to the multitude, and of the latter to exceedingly few.[7] And when I speak of a certain belief being, as the multitude would call it, unfortunate, I in such a case refer the cause to God, who knows the reasons of the various fates allotted to each one who enters human life. The Greeks, moreover, will admit that even amongst those who are considered to be most largely endowed with wisdom, good fortune has had much to do, as in the choice of teachers of one kind rather than another, and in meeting with a better class of instructors (there being teachers who taught the most opposite doctrines), and in being brought up in better circumstances; for the bringing up of many has been amid surroundings of such a kind, that they were prevented from ever receiving any idea of better things, but constantly passed their life, from their earliest youth, either as the favourites of licentious men or of tyrants, or in some other wretched condition which forbade the soul to look upwards. And the causes of these varied fortunes, according to all probability, are to be found in the reasons of providence, though it is not easy for men to ascertain these; but I have said what I have done by way of digression from the main body of my subject, on account of the proverb, that "such is the power of faith, because it seizes that which first presents itself."[8] For it was necessary, owing to the different methods of education, to speak of the differences of belief among men, some of whom are more, others less fortunate in their belief; and from this to proceed to show that what is termed good or bad fortune would appear to contribute even in the case of the most talented, to their appearing to be more fully endowed with reason and to give their assent on grounds of reason to the majority of human opinions. But enough on these points.

CHAP. XXXIX.

We must notice the remarks which Celsus next makes, when he says to us, that "faith, having taken possession of our minds, makes us yield the assent which we give to the doctrine of Jesus;" for of a truth it is faith which does produce such an assent. Observe, however, whether that faith does not of itself exhibit what is worthy of praise, seeing we entrust ourselves to the God who is over all, acknowledging our gratitude to Him who has led us to such a faith, and declaring that He could not have attempted or accomplished such a result without the divine assistance. And we have confidence also in the intentions of the writers of the Gospels, observing their piety and conscientiousness, manifested in their writings, which contain nothing that is spurious, or deceptive,[1] or false, or cunning; for it is evident to us that souls unacquainted with those artifices which are taught by the cunning sophistry of the Greeks (which is characterized by great plausibility and acuteness), and by the kind of rhetoric in vogue in the courts of justice, would not have been able thus to invent occurrences which are fitted of themselves to conduct to faith, and to a life in keeping with faith. And I am of opinion that it was on this account that Jesus wished to employ such persons as teachers of His doctrines, viz., that there might be no ground for any suspicion of plausible sophistry, but that it might clearly appear to all who were capable of understanding, that the guileless purpose of the writers being, so to speak, marked with great simplicity, was deemed worthy of being accompanied by a diviner power, which accomplished far more than it seemed possible could be accomplished by a periphrasis of words, and a weaving of sentences, accompanied by all thee distinctions of Grecian art.

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