ORIGEN AGAINST CELSUS -- BOOK VI (CHAP. I to CHAP. XXXVII)

ORIGEN AGAINST CELSUS.

BOOK VI.

CHAP. I.

IN beginning this our sixth book, we desire, my reverend Ambrosius, to answer in it those accusations which Celsus brings against the Christians, not, as might be supposed, those objections which he has adduced from writers on philosophy. For he has quoted a considerable number of passages, chiefly from Plato, and has placed alongside of these such declarations of holy Scripture as are fitted to impress even the intelligent mind; subjoining the assertion that "these things are stated much better among the Greeks (than in the Scriptures). and in a manner which is free from all exaggerations(1) and promises on the part of God, or the Son of God." Now we maintain, that if it is the object of the ambassadors of the truth to confer benefits upon the greatest possible number, and, so far as they can, to win over to its side, through their love to men, every one without exception--intelligent as well as simple--not Greeks only, but also Barbarians (and great, indeed, is the humanity which should succeed in converting the rustic and the ignorant(2)), it is manifest that they must adopt a style of address fitted to do good to all, and to gain over to them men of every sort. Those, on the other hand, who turn away(3) from the ignorant as being mere slaves,(4) and unable to understand the flowing periods of a polished and logical discourse, and so devote their attention solely to such as have been brought up amongst literary pursuits,(5) confine their views of the public good within very strait and narrow limits.

CHAP. II.

I have made these remarks in reply to the charges which Celsus and others bring against the simplicity of the language of Scripture, which appears to be thrown into the shade by the splendour of polished discourse. For our prophets, and Jesus Himself, and His apostles, were careful to adopt(6) a style of address which should not merely convey the truth, but which should be fitted to gain over the multitude, until each one, attracted and led onwards, should ascend as far as he could towards the comprehension of those mysteries which are contained in these apparently simple words. For, if I may venture to say so, few have been benefited (if they have indeed been benefited at all) by the beautiful and polished style of Plato, and those who have written like him;(7) while, on the contrary, many have received advantage from those who wrote and taught in a simple and practical manner, and with a view to the wants of the multitude. It is easy, indeed, to observe that Plato is found only in the hands of those who profess to be literary men;(8) while Epictetus is admired by persons of ordinary capacity, who have a desire to be benefited, and who perceive the improvement which may be derived from his writings. Now we make these remarks, not to disparage Plato (for the great world of men has found even him useful), but to point out the aim of those who said: "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 our faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God."(9) For the word of God declares that the preaching (although in itself true and most worthy of belief) is not sufficient to reach the human heart, unless a certain power be imparted to the speaker from God, and a grace appear upon his words; and it is only by the divine agency that this takes place in those who speak effectually. The prophet says in the sixty-seventh Psalm, that "the Lord will give a word with great power to them who preach."(1) If, then, it should be granted with respect to certain points, that the same doctrines are found among the Greeks as in our own Scriptures, yet they do not possess the same power of attracting and disposing the souls of men to follow them. And therefore the disciples of Jesus, men ignorant so far as regards Grecian philosophy, yet traversed many countries of the world, impressing, agreeably to the desire of the Logos, each one of their hearers according to his deserts, so that they received a moral amelioration in proportion to the inclination of their will to accept of that which is good.

CHAP. III.

Let the ancient sages, then, make known their sayings to those who are capable of understanding them. Suppose that Plato, for example, the son of Ariston, in one of his Epistles, is discoursing about the "chief good," and that he says, "The chief good can by no means be described in words, but is produced by long habit, and bursts forth suddenly as a light in the soul, as from a fire which had leapt forth." We, then, on hearing these words, admit that they are well said, for it is God who revealed to men these as well as all other noble expressions. And for this reason it is that we maintain that those who have entertained correct ideas regarding God, but who have not offered to Him a worship in harmony with the truth, are liable to the punishments which fall on sinners. For respecting such Paul says in express words: "The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath showed it unto them. For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: because that, when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-looted beasts, and creeping things."(2) The truth, then, is verily held (in unrighteousness), as our Scriptures testify, by those who are of opinion that "the chief good cannot be described in words," but who assert that, "after long custom and familiar usage,(3) a light becomes suddenly kindled in the soul, as if by a fire springing forth, and that it now supports itself alone."

CHAP. IV.

Notwithstanding, those who have written in this manner regarding the "chief good" will go down to the Piraeus and offer prayer to Artemis, as if she were God, and will look (with approval) upon the solemn assembly held by ignorant men; and after giving utterance to philosophical remarks of such profundity regarding the soul, and describing its passage (to a happier world) after a virtuous life, they pass from those great topics which God has revealed to them, and adopt mean and trifling thoughts, and offer a cock to AEsculapius!(4) And although they had been enabled to form representations both of the "invisible things" of God and of the "'archetypal forms" of things from the creation of the world, and from (the contemplation of) sensible things, from which they ascend to those objects which are comprehended by the understanding alone,--and although they had no mean glimpses of His "eternal power and Godhead,"(5) they nevertheless became "foolish in their imaginations," and their "foolish heart" was involved in darkness and ignorance as to the (true) worship of God. Moreover, we may see those who greatly pride themselves upon their wisdom and theology worshipping the image of a corruptible man, in honour, they say, of Him, and sometimes even descending, with the Egyptians, to the worship of birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things! And although some may appear to have risen above such practices, nevertheless they will be found to have changed the truth of God into a lie, and to worship and serve the "creature more than the Creator."(6) As the wise and learned among the Greeks, then, commit errors in the service which they render to God, God "chose the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and base things of the world, and things that are weak, and things which are despised, and things which are nought, to bring to nought things that are;" and this, truly, "that no flesh should glory in the presence of God."(7) Our wise men, however,--Moses, the most ancient of them all, and the prophets who followed him,--knowing that the chief good could by no means be described in words, were the first who wrote that, as God manifests Himself to the deserving, and to those who are qualified to behold Him,(8) He appeared to Abraham, or to Isaac, or to Jacob. But who He was that appeared, and of what form, and in what manner, and like to which of mortal beings,(1) they have left to be investigated by those who are able to show that they resemble those persons to whom God showed Himself: for He was seen not by their bodily eyes, but by the pure heart. For, according to the declaration of our Jesus, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."(2)

CHAP. V.

But that a light is suddenly kindled in the soul, as by a fire leaping forth, is a fact known long ago to our Scriptures; as when the prophet said, "Light ye for yourselves the light of knowledge."(3) John also, who lived after him, said, "That which was in the Logos was life, and the life was the light of men;"(4) which "true light lighteneth every man that cometh into the world" (i.e., the true world, which is perceived by the understanding(5)), and maketh him a light of the world: "For this light shone in our hearts, to give the light of the glorious Gospel of God in the face of Christ Jesus."(6) And therefore that very ancient prophet, who prophesied many generations before the reign of Cyrus (for he was older than he by more than fourteen generations), expressed himself in these words: "The LORD is my light and my salvation: whom shall I fear?"(7) and, "Thy law is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path;"(8) and again, "The light of Thy countenance, O LORD, was manifested towards us;"(9) and, "In Thy light we shall see light."(10) And the Logos, exhorting us to come to this light, says, in the prophecies of Isaiah: "Enlighten thyself, enlighten thyself, O Jerusalem; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee."(11) The same prophet also, when predicting the advent of Jesus, who was to turn away men from the worship of idols, and of images, and of demons, says, "To those that sat in the land and shadow of death, upon them hath the light arisen;"(12) and again, "The people that sat in darkness saw a great light."(12) Observe now the difference between the fine phrases of Plato respecting the "chief good," and the declarations of our prophets regarding the "light" of the blessed; and notice that the truth as it is contained in Plato concerning this subject did not at all help his readers to attain to a pure worship of God, nor even himself, who could philosophize so grandly about the "chief good," whereas the simple language of the holy Scriptures has led to their honest readers being filled with a divine spirit;(13) and this light is nourished within them by the oil, which in a certain parable is said to have preserved the light of the torches of the five wise virgins.(14)

CHAP. VI.

Seeing, however, that Celsus quotes from an epistle of Plato another statement to the following effect, viz.: "If it appeared to me that these matters could be adequately explained to the multitude in writing and in oral address, what nobler pursuit in life could have been followed by me, than to commit to writing what was to prove of such advantage to human beings, and to lead the nature of all men onwards to the light?"--let us then consider this point briefly, viz., whether or not Plato were acquainted with any doctrines more profound than are contained in his writings, or more divine than those which he has left behind him, leaving it to each one to investigate the subject according to his ability, while we demonstrate that our prophets did know of greater things than any in the Scriptures, but which they did not commit to writing. Ezekiel, e.g., received a roll,(15) written within and without, in which were contained "lamentations," and "songs," and "denunciations;"(16) but at the command of the Logos he swallowed the book, in order that its contents might not be written, and so made known to unworthy persons. John also is recorded to have seen and done a similar thing.(17) Nay, Paul even heard "unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter."(18) And it is related of Jesus, who was greater than all these, that He conversed with His disciples in private, and especially in their sacred retreats, concerning the Gospel of God; but the words which He uttered have not been preserved, because it appeared to the evangelists that they could not be adequately conveyed to the multitude in writing or in speech. And if it were not tiresome to repeat the truth regarding these illustrious individuals, I would say that they saw better than Plato (by means of the intelligence which they received by the grace of God), what things were to be committed to writing, and how this was to be done, and what was by no means to be written to the multitude, and what was to be expressed in words, and what was not to be so conveyed. And once more, John, in teaching us the difference between what ought to be committed to writing and what not, declares that he heard seven thunders instructing him on certain matters, and forbidding him to commit their words to writing.(1)

CHAP. VII.

There might also be found in the writings of Moses and of the prophets, who are older not only than Plato, but even than Homer and the invention of letters among the Greeks, passages worthy of the grace of God bestowed upon them, and filled with great thoughts, to which they gave utterance, but not because they understood Plato imperfectly, as Celsus imagines. For how was it possible that they should have heard one who was not yet born? And if any one should apply the words of Celsus to the apostles of Jesus, who were younger than Plato, say whether it is not on the very face of it an incredible assertion, that Paul the tentmaker, and Peter the fisherman, and John who left his father's nets, should, through misunderstanding the language of Plato in his Epistles, have expressed themselves as they have done regarding God? But as Celsus now, after having often required of us immediate assent (to his views), as if he were babbling forth something new in addition to what he has already advanced, only repeats himself,(2) what we have said in reply may suffice. Seeing, however, he produces another quotation from Plato, in which he asserts that the employment of the method of question and answer sheds light on the thoughts of those who philosophize like him, let us show from the holy Scriptures that the word of God also encourages us to the practice of dialectics: Solomon, e.g., declaring in one passage, that "instruction unquestioned goes astray;"(3) and Jesus the son of Sirach, who has left us the treatise called "Wisdom," declaring in another, that "the knowledge of the unwise is as words that will not stand investigation."(4) Our methods of discussion, however, are rather of a gentle kind; for we have learned that he who presides over the preaching of the word ought to be able to confute gainsayers. But if some continue indolent, and do not train themselves so as to attend to the reading of the word, and "to search the Scriptures," and, agreeably to the command of Jesus, to investigate the meaning of the sacred writings, and to ask of God concerning them, and to keep "knocking" at what may be closed within them, the Scripture is not on that account to be regarded as devoid of wisdom.

CHAP. VIII.

In the next place, after other Platonic declarations, which demonstrate that "the good" can be known by few, he adds: "Since the multitude, being puffed up with a contempt for others, which is far from right, and being filled with vain and lofty hopes, assert that, because they have come to the knowledge of some venerable doctrines, certain things are true." "Yet although Plato predicted these things, he nevertheless does not talk marvels,(5) nor shut the mouth of those who wish to ask him for information on the subject of his promises; nor does he command them to come at once and believe that a God of a particular kind exists, and that he has a son of a particular nature, who descended (to earth) and conversed with me." Now, in answer to this we have to say, that with regard to Plato, it is Aristander, I think, who has related that he was not the son of Ariston, but of a phantom, which approached Amphictione in the guise of Apollo. And there are several other of the followers of Plato who, in their lives of their master, have made the same statement. What are we to say, moreover, about Pythagoras, who relates the greatest possible amount of wonders, and who, in a general assembly of the Greeks, showed his ivory thigh, and asserted that he recognised the shield which he wore when he was Euphorbus, and who is said to have appeared on one day in two different cities! He, moreover, who will declare that what is related of Plato and Socrates belongs to the marvellous, will quote the story of the swan which was recommended to Socrates while he was asleep, and of the master saying when he met the young man, "This, then, was the swan!"(6) Nay, the third eye which Plato saw that he himself possessed, he will refer to the category of prodigies.(7) But occasion for slanderous accusations will never be wanting to those who are ill-disposed, and who wish to speak evil of what has happened to such as are raised above the multitude. Such persons will deride as a fiction even the demon of Socrates. We do not, then, relate marvels when we narrate the history of Jesus, nor have His genuine disciples recorded any such stories of Him; whereas this Celsus, who professes universal knowledge, and who quotes many of the sayings of Plato, is, I think, intentionally silent on the discourse concerning the Son of God which is related in Plato's Epistle to Hermeas and Coriscus. Plato's words are as follows: "And calling to witness the God of all things--the ruler both of things present and things to come, father and lord both of the ruler and cause--whom, if we are philosophers indeed, we shall all clearly know, so far as it is possible for happy human beings to attain such knowledge."(1)

CHAP. IX.

Celsus quotes another saying of Plato to the following effect: "It has occurred to me to speak once more upon these subjects at greater length, as perhaps I might express myself about them more clearly than I have already done for there is a certain 'real' cause, which proves a hindrance in the way of him who has ventured, even to a slight extent, to write on such topics; and as this has been frequently mentioned by me on former occasions, it appears to me that it ought to be stated now. In each of existing things, which are necessarily employed in the acquisition of knowledge, there are three elements; knowledge itself is the fourth; and that ought to be laid down as the fifth which is both capable of being known and is true. Of these, one is 'name;' the second is 'word;' the third, 'image;' the fourth, 'knowledge.'"(2) Now, according to this division, John is introduced before Jesus as the voice of one crying in the wilderness, so as to correspond with the "name" of Plato; and the second after John, who is pointed out by him, is Jesus, with whom agrees the statement, "The Word became flesh;" and that corresponds to the "word" of Plato. Plato terms the third "image;" but we, who apply the expression "image" to something different, would say with greater precision, that the mark of the wounds which is made in the soul by the word is the Christ which is in each one of us and this mark is impressed by Christ the Word.(3) And whether Christ, the wisdom which is in those of us who are perfect, correspond to the "fourth" element--knowledge--will become known to him who has the capacity to ascertain it.

CHAP. X.

He next continues: "You see how Plato, although maintaining that (the chief good) cannot be described, in words, yet, to avoid the appearance of retreating to an irrefutable position, subjoins a reason in explanation of this difficulty, as even 'nothing'(4) might perhaps be explained in words." But as Celsus adduces this to prove that we ought not to yield a simple assent, but to furnish a reason for our belief, we shall quote also the words of Paul, where he says, in censuring the hasty(5) believer, "unless ye have believed inconsiderately."(6) Now, through his practice of repeating himself, Celsus, so far as he can, forces us to be guilty of tautology, reiterating, after the boastful language which has been quoted, that "Plato is not guilty of boasting and falsehood, giving out that he has made some new discovery, or that he has come down from heaven to announce it, but acknowledges whence these statements are derived." Now, if one wished to reply to Celsus, one might say in answer to such assertions, that even Plato is guilty of boasting, when in the Timoeus(7) he puts the following language in the month of Zeus: "Gods of gods, whose creator and father I am," and so on. And if any one will defend such language on account of the meaning which is conveyed under the name of Zeus, thus speaking in the dialogue of Plato, why should not he who investigates the meaning of the words of the Son of God, or those of the Creator((8) in the prophets, express a profounder meaning than any conveyed by the words of Zeus in the Timoeus? For the characteristic of divinity is the announcement of future events, predicted not by human power, but shown by the result to be due to a divine spirit in him who made the announcement. Accordingly, we do not say to each of our hearers, "Believe, first of all, that He whom I introduce to thee is the Son of God;" but we put the Gospel before each one, as his character and disposition may fit him to receive it, inasmuch as we have learned to know "how we ought to answer every man."(9) And there are some who are capable of receiving nothing more than an exhortation to believe, and to these we address that alone; while we approach others, again, as far as possible, in the way of demonstration, by means of question and answer. Nor do we at all say, as Celsus scoffingly alleges, "Believe that he whom I introduce to thee is the Son of God, although he was shamefully bound, and disgracefully punished, and very recently(10) was most contumeliously treated before the eyes of all men;" neither do we add, "Believe it even the more (on that account)." For it is our endeavour to state, on each individual point, arguments more numerous even than we have brought forward in the preceding pages.

CHAP. XI.

After this Celsus continues: "If these (meaning the Christians) bring forward this person, and others, again, a different individual (as the Christ), while the common and ready cry(1) of all parties is, 'Believe, if thou wilt be saved, or else begone,' what shall those do who are in earnest about their salvation? Shall they cast the dice, in order to divine whither they may betake themselves, and whom they shall join?" Now we shall answer this objection in the following manner, as the clearness of the case impels us to do. If it had been recorded that several individuals had appeared in human life as sons of God in the manner in which Jesus did, and if each of them had drawn a party of adherents to his side, so that, on account of the similarity of the profession (in the case of each individual) that he was the Son of God, he to whom his followers bore testimony to that effect was an object of dispute, there would have been ground for his saying, "If these bring forward this person, and others a different individual, while the common and ready cry of all parties is, 'Believe, if thou wilt be saved, or else begone,'" and so on; whereas it has been proclaimed to the entire world that Jesus Christ is the only Son of God who visited the human race: for those who, like Celsus, have supposed that (the acts of Jesus) were a series of prodigies,(2) and who for that reason wished to perform acts of the same kind,(3) that they, too, might gain a similar mastery over the minds of men, were convicted of being utter nonentities.(4) Such were Simon, the Magus of Samaria, and Dositheus, who was a native of the same place; since the former gave out that he was the power of God that is called great,(5) and the latter that he was the Son of God. Now Simonians are found nowhere throughout the world; and yet, in order to gain over to himself many followers, Simon freed his disciples from the danger of death, which the Christians were taught to prefer, by teaching them to regard idolatry as a matter of indifference. But even at the beginning of their existence the followers of Simon were not exposed to persecution. For that wicked demon who was conspiring against the doctrine of Jesus, was well aware that none of his own maxims would be weakened by the teaching of Simon. The Dositheans, again, even in former times, did not rise to any eminence, and now they are completely extinguished, so that it is said their whole number does not amount to thirty. Judas of Galilee also, as Luke relates in the Acts of the Apostles,(6) wished to call himself some great personage, as did Theudas before him; but as their doctrine was not of God, they were destroyed, and all who obeyed them were immediately dispersed. We do not, then, "cast the dice in order to divine whither we shall betake ourselves, and whom we shall join," as if there were many claimants able to draw us after them by the profession of their having come down from God to visit the human race. On these points, however, we have said enough.

CHAP. XII.

Accordingly, let us pass on to another charge made by Celsus, who is not even acquainted with the words (of our sacred books), but who, from misunderstanding them, has said that "we declare the wisdom that is among men to be foolishness with God;" Paul having said that "the wisdom of the world is foolishness with God."(7) Celsus says that "the reason of this has been stated long ago." And the reason he imagines to be, "our desire to win over by means of this saying the ignorant and foolish alone." But, as he himself has intimated, he has said the same thing before; and we, to the best of our ability, replied to it. Notwithstanding this, however, he wished to show that this statement was an invention(8) of ours, and borrowed from the Grecian sages, who declare that human wisdom is of one kind, and divine of another. And he quotes the words of Heraclitus, where he says in one passage, that "man's method of action is not regulated by fixed principles, but that of God is;"(9) and in another, that "a foolish man listens to a demon, as a boy does to a man." He quotes, moreover, the following from the Apology of Socrates, of which Plato was the author: "For I, O men of Athens, have obtained this name by no other means than by my wisdom. And of what sort is this wisdom? Such, probably, as is human; for in that respect I venture to think that I am in reality wise."(10) Such are the passages adduced by Celsus. But I shall subjoin also the following from Plato's letter to Hermeas, and Erastus, and Coriscus: "To Erastus and Coriscus I say, although I am an old man, that, in addition to this noble knowledge of 'forms' (which they possess), they need a wisdom, with regard to the class of wicked and unjust persons, which may serve as a protective and repelling force against them. For they are inexperienced, in consequence of having passed a large portion of their lives with us, who are moderate(1) individuals, and not wicked. I have accordingly said that they need these things, in order that they may not be compelled to neglect the true wisdom, and to apply themselves in a greater degree than is proper to that which is necessary and human."

CHAP. XIII.

According to the foregoing, then, the one kind of wisdom is human, and the other divine. Now the "human" wisdom is that which is termed by us the wisdom of the "world," which is "foolishness with God;" whereas the "divine"--being different from the "human," because it is "divine"--comes, through the grace of God who bestows it, to those who have evinced their capacity for receiving it, and especially to those who, from knowing the difference between either kind of wisdom, say, in their prayers to God, "Even if one among the sons of men be perfect, while the wisdom is wanting that comes from Thee, he shall be accounted as nothing."(2) We maintain, indeed, that "human" wisdom is an exercise for the soul, but that "divine" wisdom is the "end," being also termed the "strong" meat of the soul by him who has said that "strong meat belongeth to them that are perfect,(3) even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil."(4) This opinion, moreover, is truly an ancient one, its antiquity not being referred back, as Celsus thinks, merely to Heraclitus and Plato. For before these individuals lived, the prophets distinguished between the two kinds of wisdom. It is sufficient for the present to quote from the words of David what he says regarding the man who is wise, according to divine wisdom, that "he will not see corruption when he beholds wise men dying."(5) Divine wisdom, accordingly, being different from faith, is the "first" of the so-called "charismata" of God; and the "second" after it--in the estimation of those who know how to distinguish such things accurately--is what is called "knowledge;"(6) and the "third"--seeing that even the more simple class of men who adhere to the service of God, so far as they can, must be saved--is faith. And therefore Paul says: "To one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit."(7) And therefore it is no ordinary individuals whom you will find to have participated in the "divine" wisdom, but the more excellent and distinguished among those who have given in their adherence to Christianity; for it is not "to the most ignorant, or servile, or most uninstructed of mankind," that one would discourse upon the topics relating to the divine wisdom.

CHAP. XIV.

In designating others by the epithets of "uninstructed, and servile, and ignorant," Celsus, I suppose, means those who are not acquainted with his laws, nor trained in the branches of Greek learning; while we, on the other hand, deem those to be "uninstructed" who are not ashamed to address (supplications) to inanimate objects, and to call upon those for health that have no strength, and to ask the dead for life, and to entreat the helpless for assistance.(8) And although some may say that these objects are not gods, but only imitations and symbols of real divinities, nevertheless these very individuals, in imagining that the hands of low mechanics(9) can frame imitations of divinity, are "uninstructed, and servile, and ignorant;" for we assert that the lowest(10) among us have been set free from this ignorance and want of knowledge, while the most intelligent can understand and grasp the divine hope. We do not maintain, however, that it is impossible for one who has not been trained in earthly wisdom to receive the "divine," but we do acknowledge that all human wisdom is "folly" in comparison with the "divine." In the next place, instead of endeavouring to adduce reasons, as he ought, for his assertions, he terms us "sorcerers,"(11) and asserts that "we flee away with headlong speed(12) from the more polished(13) class of persons, because they are not suitable subjects for our impositions, while we seek to decoy(14) those who are more rustic." Now he did not observe that from the very beginning our wise men were trained in the external branches of learning: Moses, e.g., in all the wisdom of the Egyptians; Daniel, and Ananias, and Azariah, and Mishael, in all Assyrian learning, so that they were found to surpass in tenfold degree all the wise men of that country. At the present time, moreover, the Churches have, in proportion to the multitudes (of ordinary believers), a few "wise" men, who have come over to them from that wisdom which is said by us to be "according to the flesh;"(15) and they have also some who have advanced from it to that wisdom which is "divine."

CHAP. XV.

Celsus, in the next place, as one who has heard the subject of humility greatly talked about;(1) but who has not been at the pains to understand it,(2) would wish to speak evil of that humility which is practised among us, and imagines that it is borrowed from some words of Plato imperfectly understood, where he expresses himself in the Laws as follows: "Now God, according to the ancient account, having in Himself both the beginning and end and middle of all existing things, proceeds according to nature, and marches straight on.(3) He is constantly followed by justice, which is the avenger of all breaches of the divine law: he who is about to become happy follows her closely in humility, and becomingly adorned."(4) He did not observe, however, that in writers much older than Plato the following words occur in a prayer: "Lord, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty, neither do I walk in great matters, nor in things too wonderful for me; if I had not been humble,"(5) etc. Now these words show that he who is of humble mind does not by any means humble himself in an unseemly or inauspicious manner, falling down upon his knees, or casting himself headlong on the ground, putting on the dress of the miserable, or sprinkling himself with dust. But he who is of humble mind in the sense of the prophet, while "walking in great and wonderful things," which are above his capacity--viz., those doctrines that are truly great, and those thoughts that are wonderful--"humbles himself under the mighty hand of God." If there are some, however, who through their stupidity(6) have not clearly understood the doctrine of humiliation, and act as they do, it is not our doctrine which is to be blamed; but we must extend our forgiveness to the stupidity(6) of those who aim at higher things, and owing to their fatuity of mind(7) fail to attain them. He who is "humble and becomingly adorned," is so in a greater degree than Plato's "humble and becomingly adorned" individual: for he is becomingly adorned, on the one hand, because "he walks in things great and wonderful," which are beyond his capacity; and humble, on the other hand, because, while being in the midst of such, he yet voluntarily humbles himself, not under any one at random, but under "the mighty hand of God," through Jesus Christ, the teacher of such instruction, "who did not deem equality with God a thing to be eagerly clung to, but made Himself of no reputation, and took on Him the form of a servant, and being found in fashion as a man, humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."(8) And so great is this doctrine of humiliation, that it has no ordinary individual as its teacher; but our great Saviour Himself says: "Learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly of heart, and ye shall find rest for your souls."(9)

CHAP. XVI.

In the next place, with regard to the declaration of Jesus against rich men, when He said, "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God,"(10) Celsus alleges that this saying manifestly proceeded from Plato, and that Jesus perverted the words of the philosopher, which were, that "it was impossible to be distinguished for goodness, and at the same time for riches."(11) Now who is there that is capable of giving even moderate attention to affairs--not merely among the believers on Jesus, but among the rest of mankind--that would not laugh at Celsus, on hearing that Jesus, who was born and brought up among the Jews, and was supposed to be the son of Joseph the carpenter, and who had not studied literature--not merely that of the Greeks, but not even that of the Hebrews--as the truth-loving Scriptures testify regarding Him,(12) had read Plato, and being pleased with the opinion he expressed regarding rich men, to the effect that "it was impossible to be distinguished for goodness and riches at the same time," had perverted this, and changed it into, "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God!" Now, if Celsus had not perused the Gospels in a spirit of hatred and dislike, but had been imbued with a love of truth, he would have turned his attention to the point why a camel--that one of animals which, as regards its physical structure, is crooked--was chosen as an object of comparison with a rich man, and what signification the "narrow eye of a needle" had for him who saw that "strait and narrow was the way that leadeth unto life;(13) and to this point also, that this animal. according to the law, is described as "unclean," having one element of acceptability, viz. that it ruminates, but one of condemnation, viz., that it does not divide the hoof. He would have inquired, moreover, how often the camel was adduced as an object of comparison in the sacred Scriptures, and in reference to what objects, that he might thus ascertain the meaning of the Logos concerning the rich men. Nor would he have left without examination the fact that "the poor" are termed "blessed" by Jesus, while "the rich" are designated as "miserable;" and whether these words refer to the rich and poor who are visible to the senses, or whether there is any kind of poverty known to the Logos which is to be deemed "altogether blessed," and any rich man who is to be wholly condemned. For even a common individual would not thus indiscriminately have praised the poor, many of whom lead most wicked byes. But on this point we have said enough.

CHAP. XVII.

Since Celsus, moreover, from a desire to depreciate the accounts which our Scriptures give of the kingdom of God, has quoted none of them, as if they were unworthy of being recorded by him (or perhaps because he was unacquainted with them), while, on the other hand, he quotes the sayings of Plato, both from his Epistles and the Phoedrus, as if these were divinely inspired, but our Scriptures were not, let us set forth a few points, for the sake of comparison with these plausible declarations of Plato, which did not however, dispose the philosopher to worship in a manner worthy of him the Maker of all things. For he ought not to have adulterated or polluted this worship with what we call "idolatry," but what the many would describe by the term "superstition." Now, according to a Hebrew figure of speech, it is said of God in the eighteenth Psalm, that "He made darkness His secret place,"(1) to signify that those notions which should be worthily entertained of God are invisible and unknowable, because God conceals Himself in darkness, as it were, from those who cannot endure the splendours of His knowledge, or are incapable of looking at them, partly owing to the pollution of their understanding, which is clothed with the body of mortal lowliness, and partly owing to its feebler power of comprehending God. And in order that it may appear that the knowledge of God has rarely been vouch-safed to men, and has been found in very few individuals, Moses is related to have entered into the darkness where God was.(2) And again, with regard to Moses it is said: "Moses alone shall come near the LORD, but the rest shall not come nigh."(3) And again, that the prophet may show the depth of the doctrines which relate to God, and which is unattainable by those who do not possess the "Spirit which searcheth all things, even the deep things of God," he added: "The abyss like a garment is His covering."(4) Nay, our Lord and Saviour, the Logos of God, manifesting that the greatness of the knowledge of the Father is appropriately comprehended and known pre-eminently by Him alone, and in the second place by those whose minds are enlightened by the Logos Himself and God, declares: "No man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father but the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him."(5) For no one can worthily know the "uncreated"(6) and first-born of all created nature like the Father who begat Him, nor any one the Father like the living Logos, and His Wisdom and Truth.(7) By sharing in Him who takes away from the Father what is called "darkness," which He "made His secret place," and "the abyss," which is called His "covering," and in this way unveiling the Father, every one knows the Father who(8) is capable of knowing Him.

CHAP. XVIII.

I thought it right to quote these few instances from a much larger number of passages, in which our sacred writers express their ideas regarding God, in order to show that, to those who have eyes to behold the venerable character of Scripture, the sacred writings of the prophets contain things more worthy of reverence than those sayings of Plato which Celsus admires. Now the declaration of Plato, quoted by Celsus, runs as follows: "All things are around the King of all, and all things exist for his sake, and he is the cause of all good things. With things of the second rank he is second, and with those of the third rank he is third. The human soul, accordingly, is eager to learn what these things are, looking to such things as are kindred to itself, none of which is perfect. But as regards the King and those things which I mentioned, there is nothing which resembles them."(9) I might have mentioned, moreover, what is said of those beings which are called seraphim by the Hebrews, and described in Isaiah,(10) who cover the face and feet of God, and of those called cherubim, whom Ezekiel(11) has described, and the postures of these, and of the manner in which God is said to be borne upon the cherubim. But since they are mentioned in a very mysterious manner, on account of the unworthy and the indecent, who are unable to enter into the great thoughts and venerable nature of theology, I have not deemed it becoming to discourse of them in this treatise.

CHAP. XIX.

Celsus in the next place alleges, that "certain Christians, having misunderstood the words of Plato, loudly boast of a 'super-celestial' God thus ascending beyond the heaven of the Jews." By these words, indeed, he does not make it clear whether they also ascend beyond the God of the Jews, or only beyond the heaven by which they swear. It is not our purpose at present, however, to speak of those who acknowledge another god than the one worshipped by the Jews, but to defend ourselves, and to show that it was impossible for the prophets of the Jews, whose writings are reckoned among ours, to have borrowed anything from Plato, because they were older than he. They did not then borrow from him the declaration, that "all things are around the King of all, and that all exist on account of him;" for we have learned that nobler thoughts than these have been uttered by the prophets, by Jesus Himself and His disciples, who have clearly indicated the meaning of the spirit that was in them, which was none other than the spirit of Christ. Nor was the philosopher the first to present to view the "super-celestial" place; for David long ago brought to view the profundity and multitude of the thoughts concerning God entertained by those who have ascended above visible things, when he said in the book of Psalms: "Praise God, ye heaven of heavens and ye waters that be above the heavens, let them praise the name of the LORD."(1) I do not indeed, deny that Plato learned from certain Hebrews the words quoted from the Phoedrus, or even, as some have recorded, that he quoted them from a perusal of our prophetic writings, when he said: "No poet here below has ever sung of the super-celestial place, or ever will sing in a becoming manner," and so on. And in the same passage is the following: "For the essence, which is both colourless and formless, and which cannot be touched, which really exists, is the pilot of the soul, and is beheld by the understanding alone; and around it the genus of true knowledge holds this place."(2) Our Paul, moreover, educated by these words, and longing after things "supra-mundane" and "super-celestial," and doing his utmost for their sake to attain them, says in the second Epistle to the Corinthians: "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are unseen are eternal."(3)

CHAP. XX.

Now, to those who are capable of understanding him, the apostle manifestly presents to view "things which are the objects of perception," calling them "things seen;" while he terms "unseen," things which are the object of the understanding, and cognisable by it alone. He knows, also, that things "seen" and visible are "temporal," but that things cognisable by the mind, and "not seen," are "eternal;" and desiring to remain in the contemplation of these. and being assisted by his earnest longing for them, he deemed all affliction as "light" and as "nothing," and during the season of afflictions and troubles was not at all bowed down by them, but by his contemplation of (divine) things deemed every calamity a light thing, seeing we also have "a great High Priest," who by the greatness of His power and understanding "has passed through the heavens, even Jesus the Son of God," who has promised to all that have truly learned divine things, and have lived lives in harmony with them, to go before them to the things that are supra-mundane; for His words are: "That where I go, ye may be also."(4) And therefore we hope, after the troubles and struggles which we suffer here, to reach the highest heavens,(5) and receiving, agreeably to the teaching of Jesus, the fountains of water that spring up unto eternal life, and being filled with the rivers of knowledge,(6) shall be united with those waters that are said to be above the heavens, and which praise His name. And as many of us(7) as praise Him shall not be carried about by the revolution of the heaven, but shall be ever engaged in the contemplation of the invisible things of God, which are no longer understood by us through the things which He hath made from the creation of the world, but seeing, as it was expressed by the true disciple of Jesus in these words, "then face to face;"(8) and in these, "When that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part will be done away."(9)

CHAP. XXI.

The Scriptures which are current in the Churches(10) of God do not speak of "seven" heavens, or of any definite number at all,(1) but they do appear to teach the existence of "heavens," whether that means the "spheres" of those bodies which the Greeks call "planets," or something more mysterious. Celsus, too, agreeably to the opinion of Plato,(2) asserts that souls can make their way to and from the earth through the planets; while Moses, our most ancient prophet, says that a divine vision was presented to the view of our prophet Jacob,(3)--a ladder stretching to heaven, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon it, and the Lord supported(4) upon its top,--obscurely pointing, by this matter of the ladder, either to the same truths which Plato had in view, or to something greater than these. On this subject Philo has composed a treatise which deserves the thoughtful and intelligent investigation of all lovers of truth.

CHAP. XXII.

After this, Celsus, desiring to exhibit his learning in his treatise against us, quotes also certain Persian mysteries, where he says: "These things are obscurely hinted at in the accounts of the Persians, and especially in the mysteries of Mithras, which are celebrated amongst them. For in the latter there is a representation of the two heavenly revolutions,--of the movement, viz., of the fixed(5) stars, and of that which take place among the planets, and of the passage of the soul through these. The representation is of the following nature: There is a ladder with lofty gates,(6) and on the top of it an eighth gate. The first gate consists of lead, the second of tin, the third of copper, the fourth of iron, the fifth of a mixture of metals,(7) the sixth of silver, and the seventh of gold. The first gate they assign to Saturn, indicating by the 'lead' the slowness of this star; the second to Venus, comparing her to the splendour and softness of tin; the third to Jupiter, being firm(8) and solid; the fourth to Mercury, for both Mercury and iron are fit to endure all things, and are money-making and laborious;(9) the fifth to Mars, because, being composed of a mixture of metals, it is varied and unequal; the sixth, of silver, to the Moon; the seventh, of gold, to the Sun,--thus imitating the different colours of the two latter." He next proceeds to examine the reason of the stars being arranged in this order, which is symbolized by the names of the rest of matter.(10) Musical reasons, moreover, are added or quoted by the Persian theology; and to these, again, he strives to add a second explanation, connected also with musical considerations. But it seems to me, that to quote the language of Celsus upon these matters would be absurd, and similar to what he himself has done, when, in his accusations against Christians and Jews, he quoted, most inappropriately, not only the words of Plato; but, dissatisfied even with these,(11) he adduced in addition the mysteries of the Persian Mithras, and the explanation of them. Now, whatever be the case with regard to these,--whether the Persians and those who conduct the mysteries of Mithras give false or true accounts regarding them,--why did he select these for quotation, rather than some of the other mysteries, with the explanation of them? For the mysteries of Mithras do not appear to be more famous among the Greeks than those of Eleusis, or than those in AEgina, where individuals are initiated in the rites of Hecate. But if he must introduce barbarian mysteries with their explanation, why not rather those of the Egyptians, which are highly regarded by many,(12) or those of the Cappadocians regarding the Comanian Diana, or those of the Thracians, or even those of the Romans themselves, who initiate the noblest members of their senate?(13) But if he deemed it inappropriate to institute a comparison with any of these, because they furnished no aid in the way of accusing Jews or Christians, why did it not also appear to him inappropriate to adduce the instance of the mysteries of Mithras?

CHAP. XXIII.

If one wished to obtain means for a pro-founder contemplation of the entrance of souls into divine things, not from the statements of that very insignificant sect from which he quoted, hut from books--partly those of the Jews, which are read in their synagogues, and adopted by Christians, and partly from those of Christians alone--let him peruse, at the end of Ezekiel's prophecies, the visions beheld by the prophet, in which gates of different kinds are enumerated,(14) which obscurely refer to the different modes in which divine souls enter into a better world;(15) and let him peruse also, from the Apocalypse of John, what is related of the city of God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and of its foundations and gates.(16) And if he is capable of finding out also the road, which is indicated by symbols, of those who will march on to divine things, let him read the book of Moses entitled Numbers, and let him seek the help of one who is capable of initiating him into the meaning of the narratives concerning the encampments of the children of Israel; viz., of what sort those were which were arranged towards the east, as was the case with the first; and what those towards the south-west. and south; and what towards the sea; and what the last were, which were stationed towards the north. For he will see that there is in the respective places a meaning(1) not to be lightly treated, nor, as Celsus imagines, such as calls only for silly and servile listeners: but he will distinguish in the encampments certain things relating to the numbers that are enumerated, and which are specially adapted to each tribe, of which the present does not appear to us to be the proper time to speak. Let Celsus know, moreover, as well as those who read his book, that in no part of the genuine and divinely accredited Scriptures are "seven" heavens mentioned; neither do our prophets, nor the apostles of Jesus, nor the Son of God Himself, repeat anything which they borrowed from the Persians or the Cabiri.

CHAP. XXIV.

After the instance borrowed from the Mithraic mysteries, Celsus declares that he who would investigate the Christian mysteries, along with the aforesaid Persian, will, on comparing the two together, and on unveiling the rites of the Christians, see in this way the difference between them. Now, wherever he was able to give the names of the various sects, he was nothing loth to quote those with which he thought himself acquainted; but when he ought most of all to have done this, if they were really known to him, and to have informed us which was the sect that makes use of the diagram he has drawn, he has not done so. It seems to me, however, that it is from some statements of a very insignificant sect called Ophites,(2) which he has misunderstood, that, in my opinion, he has partly borrowed what he says about the diagram.(3) Now, as we have always been animated by a love of learning,(4) we have fallen in with this diagram, and we have found in it the representations of men who, as Paul says, "creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts; ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth."(5) The diagram was, however, so destitute of all credibility, that neither these easily deceived women, nor the most rustic class of men, nor those who were ready to be led away by any plausible pretender whatever, ever gave their assent to the diagram. Nor, indeed, have we ever met any individual, although we have visited many parts of the earth, and have sought out all those who anywhere made profession of knowledge, that placed any faith in this diagram.

CHAP. XXV.

In this diagram were described ten circles, distinct from each other, but united by one circle, which was said to be the soul of all things, and was called "Leviathan."(6) This Leviathan, the Jewish Scriptures say, whatever they mean by the expression, was created by God for a plaything;(7) for we find in the Psalms: "In wisdom hast Thou made all things: the earth is full of Thy creatures; so is this great and wide sea. There go the ships; small animals with great; there is this dragon, which Thou hast formed to play therein."(8) Instead of the word "dragon," the term "leviathan" is in the Hebrew. This impious diagram, then, said of this leviathan, which is so clearly depreciated by the Psalmist, that it was the soul which had travelled through all things! We observed, also, in the diagram, the being named "Behemoth," placed as it were under the lowest circle. The inventor of this accursed diagram had inscribed this leviathan at its circumference and centre, thus placing its name in two separate places. Moreover, Celsus says that the diagram was "divided by a thick black line, and this line he asserted was called Gehenna, which is Tartarus." Now as we found that Gehenna was mentioned in the Gospel as a place of punishment, we searched to see whether it is mentioned anywhere in the ancient Scriptures, and especially because the Jews too use the word. And we ascertained that where the valley of the son of Ennom was named in Scripture in the Hebrew, instead of "valley," with fundamentally the same meaning, it was termed both the valley of Ennom and also Geenna. And continuing our researches, we find that what was termed "Geenna," or "the valley of Ennom," was included in the lot of the tribe of Benjamin, in which Jerusalem also was situated. And seeking to ascertain what might be the inference from the heavenly Jerusalem belonging to the lot of Benjamin and the valley of Ennom, we find a certain confirmation of what is said regarding the place of punishment, intended for the purification of such souls as are to be purified by torments, agreeably to the saying: "The Lord cometh like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap: and He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver and of gold."(9)

CHAP. XXVI.

It is in the precincts of Jerusalem, then, that punishments will be inflicted upon those who undergo the process of purification,(1) who have received into the substance of their soul the elements of wickedness, which in a certain place(2) is figuratively termed "lead," and on that account iniquity is represented in Zechariah as sitting upon a "talent of lead."(3) But the remarks which might be made on this topic are neither to be made to all, nor to be uttered on the present occasion; for it is not unattended with danger to commit to writing the explanation of such subjects, seeing the multitude need no further instruction than that which relates to the punishment of sinners; while to ascend beyond this is not expedient, for the sake of those who are with difficulty restrained, even by fear of eternal punishment, from plunging into any degree of wickedness, and into the flood of evils which result from sin.(4) The doctrine of Geenna, then, is unknown both to the diagram and to Celsus: for had it been otherwise, the framers of the former would not have boasted of their pictures of animals and diagrams, as if the truth were represented by these; nor would Celsus, in his treatise against the Christians, have introduced among the charges directed against them statements which they never uttered instead of what was spoken by some who perhaps are no longer in existence, but have altogether disappeared, or been reduced to a very few individuals, and these easily counted. And as it does not beseem those who profess the doctrines of Plato to offer a defence of Epicurus and his impious opinions, so neither is it for us to defend the diagram, or to refute the accusations brought against it by Celsus. We may therefore allow his charges on these points to pass as superfluous and useless,(5) for we would censure more severely than Celsus any who should be carried away by such opinions.

CHAP. XXVII.

After the matter of the diagram, he brings forward certain monstrous statements, in the form of question and answer,(6) regarding what is called by ecclesiastical writers the "seal," statements which did not arise from imperfect information; such as that "he who impresses the seal is called father, and he who is sealed is called young man and son;" and who answers, "I have been anointed with white ointment from the tree of life,"--things which we never heard to have occurred even among the heretics. In the next place, he determines even the number mentioned by those who deliver over the seal, as that "of seven angels, who attach themselves to both sides of the soul of the dying body; the one party being named angels of light, the others 'archontics;' "(7) and he asserts that the "ruler of those named 'archontics' is termed the 'accursed' god." Then, laying hold of the expression, he assails, not without reason; those who venture to use such language; and on that account we entertain a similar feeling of indignation with those who censure such individuals, if indeed there exist any who call the God of the Jews--who sends rain and thunder, and who is the Creator of this world, and the God of Moses, and of the cosmogony which he records--an "accursed" divinity. Celsus, however, appears to have had in view in employing these expressions, not a rational(8) object, but one of a most irrational kind, arising out of his hatred towards us, which is so unlike a philosopher. For his aim was, that those who are unacquainted with our customs should, on perusing his treatise, at once assail us as if we called the noble Creator of this world an "accursed divinity." He appears to me, indeed, to have acted like those Jews who, when Christianity began to be first preached, scattered abroad false reports of the Gospel, such as that "Christians offered up an infant in sacrifice, and partook of its flesh;" and again, "that the professors of Christianity, wishing to do the 'works of darkness,' used to extinguish the lights (in their meetings), and each one to have sexual intercourse with any woman whom he chanced to meet." These calumnies have long exercised, although unreasonably, an influence over the minds of very many, leading those who are aliens to the Gospel to believe that Christians are men of such a character; and even at the present day they mislead some, and prevent them from entering even into the simple intercourse of conversation with those who are Christians.

CHAP. XXVIII.

With some such object as this in view does Celsus seem to have been actuated, when he alleged that Christians term the Creator an "accursed divinity;" in order that he who believes these charges of his against us, should, if possible, arise and exterminate the Christians as the most impious Of mankind. Confusing, moreover, things that are distinct,(9) he states also the reason why the God of the Mosaic cosmogony is termed "accursed," asserting that "such is his character, and worthy of execration in the opinion of those who so regard him, inasmuch as he pronounced a curse upon the serpent, who introduced the first human beings to the knowledge of good and evil." Now he ought to have known that those who have espoused the cause of the serpent, because he gave good advice to the first human beings, and who go far beyond the Titans and Giants of fable, and are on this account called Ophites, are so far from being Christians, that they bring accusations against Jesus to as great a degree as Celsus himself; and they do not admit any one into their assembly(1) until he has uttered maledictions against Jesus. See, then, how irrational is the procedure of Celsus, who, in his discourse against the Christians, represents as such those who will not even listen to the name of Jesus, or omit even that He was a wise man, or a person of virtuous(2) character! What, then, could evince greater folly or madness, not only on the part of those who wish to derive their name from the serpent as the author of good,(3) but also on the part of Celsus, who thinks that the accusations with which the Ophites(4) are charged, are chargeable also against the Christians! Long ago, indeed, that Greek philosopher who preferred a state of poverty,(5) and who exhibited the pattern of a happy life, showing that he was not excluded from happiness although he was possessed of nothing,(6) termed himself a Cynic; while these impious wretches, as not being human beings, whose enemy the serpent is, but as being serpents, pride themselves upon being called Ophites from the serpent, which is an animal most hostile to and greatly dreaded by man, and boast of one Euphrates(7) as the introducer of these unhallowed opinions.

CHAP. XXIX.

In the next place, as if it were the Christians whom he was calumniating, he continues his accusations against those who termed the God of Moses and of his law an "accursed" divinity; and imagining that it is the Christians who so speak, he expresses himself thus: "What could be more foolish or insane than such senseless(8) wisdom? For what blunder has the Jewish lawgiver committed? and why do you accept, by means, as you say,(9) of a certain allegorical and typical method of interpretation, the cosmogony which he gives, and the law of the Jews, while it is with unwillingness, O most impious man, that you give praise to the Creator of the world, who promised to give them all things; who promised to multiply their race to the ends of the earth, and to raise them up from the dead with the same flesh and blood, and who gave inspiration(10) to their prophets; and, again, you slander Him! When you feel the force of such considerations, indeed, you acknowledge that you worship the same God; but when your teacher Jesus and the Jewish Moses give contradictory decisions,(11) you seek another God, instead of Him, and the Father!" Now, by such statements, this illustrious philosopher Celsus distinctly slanders the Christians, asserting that, when the Jews press them hard, they acknowledge the same God as they do; but that when Jesus legislates differently from Moses, they seek another god instead of Him. Now, whether we are conversing with the Jews, or are alone with ourselves, we know of only one and the same God, whom the Jews also worshipped of old time, and still profess to worship as God, and we are guilty of no impiety towards Him. We do not assert, however; that God will raise men from the dead with the same flesh and blood, as has been shown in the preceding pages; for we do not maintain that the natural(12) body, which is sown in corruption, and in dishonour, and in weakness, will rise again such as it was sown. On such subjects, however, we have spoken at adequate length in the foregoing pages.

CHAP. XXX.

He next returns to the subject of the Seven ruling Demons,(13) whose names are not found among Christians, but who, I think, are accepted by the Ophites. We found, indeed, that in the diagram, which on their account we procured a sight of, the same order was laid down as that which Celsus has given. Celsus says that "the goat was shaped like a lion," not mentioning the name given him by those who are truly the most impious of individuals; whereas we discovered that He who is honoured in holy Scripture as the angel of the Creator is called by this accursed diagram Michael the Lion-like. Again, Celsus says that the "second in order is a bull;" whereas the diagram which we possessed made him to be Suriel, the bull-like. Further, Celsus termed the third "an amphibious sort of animal, and one that hissed frightfully;" while the diagram described the third as Raphael, the serpent-like. Moreover, Celsus asserted that the "fourth had the form of an eagle;" the diagram representing him as Gabriel, the eagle-like. Again, the "fifth," according to Celsus, "had the countenance of a bear;" and this, according to the diagram, was Thauthabaoth,(1) the bear-like. Celsus continues his account, that the "sixth was described as having the face of a dog;" and him the diagram called Erataoth. The "seventh," he adds, "had the countenance of an ass, and was named Thaphabaoth or Onoel;" whereas we discovered that in the diagram he is called Onoel, or Thartharaoth, being somewhat asinine in appearance. We have thought it proper to be exact in stating these matters, that we might not appear to be ignorant of those things which Celsus professed to know, but that we Christians, knowing them better than he, may demonstrate that these are not the words of Christians, but of those who are altogether alienated from salvation, and who neither acknowledge Jesus as Saviour, nor God, nor Teacher, nor Son of God.

CHAP. XXXI.

Moreover, if any one would wish to become acquainted with the artifices of those sorcerers, through which they desire to lead men away by their teaching (as if they possessed the knowledge of certain secret rites), but are not at all successful in so doing, let him listen to the instruction which they receive after passing through what is termed the "fence of wickedness,"(2)-gates which are subjected to the world of ruling spirits.(3) (The following, then, is the manner in which they proceed): "I salute the one-formed(4) king, the bond of blindness, complete(5) oblivion, the first power, preserved by the spirit of providence and by wisdom, from whom I am sent forth pure, being already part of the light of the son and of the father: grace be with me; yea, O father, let it be with me." They say also that the beginnings of the Ogdoad(6) are derived from this. In the next place, they are taught to say as follows, while passing through what they call Ialdabaoth: "Thou, O first and seventh, who art born to command with confidence, thou, O Ialdabaoth, who art the rational ruler of a pure mind, and a perfect work to son and father, bearing the symbol of life in the character of a type, and opening to the world the gate which thou didst close against thy kingdom, I pass again in freedom through thy realm. Let grace be with me; yea, O father, let it be with me." They say, moreover, that the star Phaenon(7) is in sympathy(8) with the lion-like ruler. They next imagine that he who has passed through Ialdabaoth and arrived at Iao ought thus to speak: "Thou, O second Iao, who shinest by night(9) who art the ruler of the secret mysteries of son and father, first prince of death, and portion of the innocent, bearing now mine own beard as symbol, I am ready to pass through thy realm, having strengthened him who is born of thee by the living word. Grace be with me; father, let it be with me." They next come to Sabaoth, to whom they think the following should be addressed: "O governor of the fifth realm, powerful Sabaoth, defender of the law of thy creatures, who are liberated by thy grace through the help of a more powerful Pentad,(10) admit me, seeing the faultless symbol of their art, preserved by the stamp of an image, a body liberated by a Pentad. Let grace be with me, O father, let grace be with me." And after Sabaoth they come to Astaphaeus, to whom they believe the following prayer should be offered: "O Astaphaeus, ruler of the third gate, overseer of the first principle of water, look upon me as one of thine initiated,(11) admit me who am purified with the spirit of a virgin, thou who seest the essence of the world. Let grace be with me, O father, let grace be with me." After him comes Aloaeus, who is to be thus addressed: "O Aloaeus, governor of the second gate, let me pass, seeing I bring to thee the symbol of thy mother, a grace which is hidden by the powers of the realms.(12) Let grace be with me, O father, let it be with me." And last of all they name Horaeus, and think that the following prayer ought to be offered to him: "Thou who didst fearlessly overleap the rampart of fire, O Horaeus, who didst obtain the government of the first gate, let me pass, seeing thou beholdest the symbol of thine own power, sculptured(13) on the figure of the tree of life, and formed after this image, in the likeness of innocence. Let grace be with me, O father, let grace be with me."

CHAP. XXXII.

The supposed great learning of Celsus, which is composed, however, rather of curious trifles and silly talk than anything else, has made us touch upon these topics, from a wish to show to every one who peruses his treatise and our reply, that we have no lack of information on those subjects, from which he takes occasion to calumniate the Christians, who neither are acquainted with, nor concern themselves about, such matters. For we, too, desired both to learn and set forth these things, in order that sorcerers might not, under pretext of knowing more than we, delude those who are easily carried away by the glitter(1) of names. And I could have given many more illustrations to show that we are acquainted with the opinions of these deluders,(2) and that we disown them, as being alien to ours, and impious, and not in harmony with the doctrines of true Christians, of which we are ready to make confession even to the death. It must be noticed, too, that those who have drawn up this array of fictions, have, from neither understanding magic, nor discriminating the meaning of holy Scripture, thrown everything into confusion; seeing that they have borrowed from magic the names of Ialdabaoth, and Astaphaeus, and Horaeus, and from the Hebrew Scriptures him who is termed in Hebrew Iao or Jah, and Sabaoth, and Adonaeus, and Eloaeus. Now the names taken from the Scriptures are names of one and the same God; which, not being understood by the enemies of God, as even themselves acknowledge, led to their imagining that Iao was a different God, and Sabaoth another, and Adonaeus, whom the Scriptures term Adonai, a third besides, and that Eloaeus, whom the prophets name in Hebrew Eloi, was also different.

CHAP. XXXIII.

Celsus next relates other fables, to the effect that "certain persons return to the shapes of the archontics,(3) so that some are called lions, others bulls, others dragons, or eagles, or bears, or dogs." We found also in the diagram which we possessed, and which Celsus called the "square pattern," the statements(4) made by these unhappy beings concerning the gates of Paradise. The flaming sword was depicted as the diameter of a flaming circle, and as if mounting guard over the tree of knowledge and of life. Celsus, however, either would not or could not repeat the harangues which, according to the fables of these impious individuals, are represented as spoken at each of the gates by those who pass through them; but this we have done in order to show to Celsus and those who read his treatise, that we know the depth of these unhallowed mysteries,(5) and that they are far removed from the worship which Christians offer up to God.

CHAP. XXXIV.

After finishing the foregoing, and those analogous matters which we ourselves have added, Celsus continues as follows: "They continue to heap together one thing after another,--discourses of prophets, and circles upon circles, and effluents(6) from an earthly church, and from circumcision; and a power flowing from one Prunicos, a virgin and a living soul; and a heaven slain in order to live, and an earth slaughtered by the sword, and many put to death that they may live, and death ceasing in the world, when the sin of the world is dead; and, again, a narrow way, and gates that open spontaneously. And in all their writings (is mention made) of the tree of life, and a resurrection of the flesh by means(7) of the 'tree,' because, I imagine, their teacher was nailed to a cross, and was a carpenter by craft; so that if he had chanced to have been cast from a precipice, or thrust into a pit, or suffocated by hanging, or had been a leather-cutter, or stone-cutter, or worker in iron, there would have been (invented) a precipice of life beyond the heavens, or a pit of resurrection, or a cord of immortality, or a blessed stone, or an iron of love, or a sacred leather! Now what old woman would not be ashamed to utter such things in a whisper, even when making stories to lull an infant to sleep?" In using such language as this, Celsus appears to me to confuse together matters which he has imperfectly heard. For it seems likely that, even supposing that he had heard a few words traceable to some existing heresy, he did not clearly understand the meaning intended to be conveyed; but heaping the words together, he wished to show before those who knew nothing either of our opinions or of those of the heretics, that he was acquainted with all the doctrines of the Christians. And this is evident also from the foregoing words.

CHAP. XXXV.

It is our practice, indeed, to make use of the words of the prophets, who demonstrate that Jesus is the Christ predicted by them, and who show from the prophetic writings the events in the Gospels regarding Jesus have been fulfilled. But when Celsus speaks of "circles upon circles," (he perhaps borrowed the expression) from the aforementioned heresy, which includes in one circle (which they call the soul of all things, and Leviathan) the seven circles of archontic demons, or perhaps it arises from misunderstanding the preacher, when he says: "The wind goeth in a circle of circles, and returneth again upon its circles."(8) The expression, too, "effluents of an earthly church and of circumcision," was probably taken from the fact that the church on earth was called by some an effluent from a heavenly church and a better world; and that the circumcision described in the law was a symbol of the circumcision performed there, in a certain place set apart for purification. The adherents of Valentinus, moreover, in keeping with their system of error,(1) give the name of Prunicos to a certain kind of wisdom, of which they would have the woman afflicted with the twelve years' issue of blood to be the symbol; so that Celsus, who confuses together all sorts of opinions--Greek, Barbarian, and Heretical--having heard of her, asserted that it was a power flowing forth from one Prunicos, a virgin. The "living soul," again, is perhaps mysteriously referred by some of the followers of Valentinus to the being whom they term the psychic(2) creator of the world; or perhaps, in contradistinction to a "dead" soul, the "living" soul is termed by some, not inelegantly,(3) the soul of "him who is saved." I know nothing, however, of a "heaven which is said to be slain," or of an "earth slaughtered by the sword," or of many persons slain in order that they might live; for it is not unlikely that these were coined by Celsus out of his own brain.

CHAP. XXXVI.

We would say, moreover, that death ceases in the world when the sin of the world dies, referring the saying to the mystical words of the apostle, which run as follows: "When He shall have put all enemies under His feet, then the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death."(4) And also: "When this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory."(5) The "strait descent,"(6) again, may perhaps be referred by those who hold the doctrine of transmigration of souls to that view of things. And it is not incredible that the gates which are said to open spontaneously are referred obscurely by some to the words, "Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may go into them, and praise the LORD; this gate of the LORD, into it the righteous shall enter;"(7) and again, to what is said in the ninth psalm, "Thou that liftest me up from the gates of death, that I may show forth all Thy praise in the gates of the daughter of Zion."(8) The Scripture further gives the name of "gates of death" to those sins which lead to destruction, as it terms, on the contrary, good actions the "gates of Zion." So also "the gates of righteousness," which is an equivalent expression to "the gates of virtue," and these are ready to be opened to him who follows after virtuous pursuits. The subject of the "tree of life" will be more appropriately explained when we interpret the statements in the book of Genesis regarding the paradise planted by God. Celsus, moreover, has often mocked at the subject of a resurrection,--a doctrine which he did not comprehend; and on the present occasion, not satisfied with what he has formerly said, he adds, "And there is said to be a resurrection of the flesh by means of the tree;" not understanding, I think, the symbolical expression, that "through the tree came death, and through the tree comes life,"(9) because death was in Adam, and life in Christ. He next scoffs at the "tree," assailing it on two grounds, and saying, "For this reason is the tree introduced, either because our teacher was nailed to a cross, or because he was a carpenter by trade;" not observing that the tree of life is mentioned in the Mosaic writings, and being blind also to this, that in none of the Gospels current in the Churches(10) is Jesus Himself ever described as being a carpenter.(11)

CHAP. XXXVII.

Celsus, moreover, thinks that we have invented this "tree of life" to give an allegorical meaning to the cross; and in consequence of his error upon this point, he adds: "If he had happened to be cast down a precipice, or shoved into a pit, or suffocated by hanging, there would have been invented a precipice of life far beyond the heavens, or a pit of resurrection, or a cord of immortality." And again: "If the 'tree of life' were an invention, because he--Jesus--(is reported) to have been a carpenter, it would follow that if he had been a leather-cutter, something would have been said about holy leather; or had he been a stone-cutter, about a blessed stone; or if a worker in iron, about an iron of love." Now, who does not see at once(12) the paltry nature of his charge, in thus calumniating men whom he professed to convert on the ground of their being deceived? And after these remarks, he goes on to speak in a way quite in harmony with the tone of those who have invented the fictions of lion-like, and ass-headed, and serpent-like ruling angels,(13) and other similar absurdities, but which does not affect those who belong to the Church. Of a truth, even a drunken old woman would be ashamed to chaunt or whisper to an infant, in order to lull him to sleep, any such fables as those have done who invented the beings with asses' heads, and the harangues, so to speak, which are delivered at each of the gates. But Celsus is not acquainted with the doctrines of the members of the Church, which very few have been able to comprehend, even of those who have devoted all their lives, in conformity with the command of Jesus, to the searching of the Scriptures, and have laboured to investigate the meaning of the sacred books, to a greater degree than Greek philosophers in their efforts to attain a so-called wisdom.

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