ORIGEN AGAINST CELSUS -- REST OF BOOK VII

CHAP. XXXIV.

And we do not ask the question, "How shall we go to God?" as though we thought that God existed in some place. God is of too excellent a nature for any place: He holds all things in His power, and is Himself not confined by anything whatever. The precept, therefore, "Thou shall walk after the Lord thy God,"(5) does not command a bodily approach to God; neither does the prophet refer to physical nearness to God, when he says in his prayer, "My soul followeth hard after Thee."(6) Celsus therefore misrepresents us, when he says that we expect to see God with our bodily eyes, to hear Him with our ears, and to touch Him sensibly with our hands. We know that the holy Scriptures make mention of eyes, of ears, and of hands, which have nothing but the name in common with the bodily organs; and what is more wonderful, they speak of a diviner sense, which is very different from the senses as commonly spoken of. For when the prophet says, "Open Thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy law,"(7) or, "The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes,"(8) or, "Lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,"(9) no one is so foolish as to suppose that the eyes of the body behold the wonders of the divine law, or that the law of the Lord gives light to the bodily eyes, or that the sleep of death falls on the eyes of the body. When our Saviour says, "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear,"(10) any one will understand that the ears spoken of are of a diviner kind. When it is said that the word of the Lord was "in the hand" of Jeremiah or of some other prophet; or when the expression is used, "the law by the hand of Moses," or, "I sought the Lord with my hands, and was not deceived,(11)--no one is so foolish as not to see that the word "hands" is taken figuratively, as when John says, "Our hands have handled the Word of life."(12) And if you wish further to learn from the sacred writings that there is a diviner sense than the senses of the body, you have only to hear what Solomon says, "Thou shalt find a divine sense."(13)

CHAP. XXXV.

Seeking God, then, in this way, we have no need to visit the oracles of Trophonius, of Amphiaraus, and of Mopsus, to which Celsus would send us, assuring us that we would there "see the gods in human form, appearing to us with all distinctness, and without illusion." For we know that these are demons, feeding on the blood, and smoke, and odour of victims, and shut up by their base desires in prisons, which the Greeks call temples of the gods, but which we know are only the dwellings of deceitful demons. To this Celsus maliciously adds, in regard to these gods which, according to him, are in human form, "they do not show themselves for once, or at intervals, like him who has deceived men, but they are ever open to intercourse with those who desire it." From this remark, it would seem that Celsus supposes that the appearance of Christ to His disciples after His resurrection was like that of a spectre flitting before their eyes; whereas these gods, as he calls them, in human shape always present themselves to those who desire it. But how is it possible that a phantom which, as he describes it, flew past to deceive the beholders, could produce such effects after it had passed away, and could so turn the hearts of men as to lead them to regulate their actions according to the will of God, as in view of being hereafter judged by Him? And how could a phantom drive away demons, and show other indisputable evidences of power, and that not in any one place, like these so-called gods in human form, but making its divine power felt through the whole world, in drawing and congregating together all who are found disposed to lead a good and noble life?

CHAP. XXXVI.

After these remarks of Celsus, which we have endeavoured to answer as we could, he goes on to say, speaking of us: "Again they will ask, 'How can we know God, unless by the perception of the senses? for how otherwise than through the senses are we able to gain any knowledge?'" To this he replies: "This is not the language of a man; it comes not from the soul, but from the flesh. Let them hearken to us, if such a spiritless and carnal race are able to do so: if, instead of exercising the senses, you look upwards with the soul; if, turning away the eye of the body, you open the eye of the mind thus and thus only will you be able to see God. And if you seek one to be your guide along this way, you must shun all deceivers and jugglers, who will introduce you to phantoms. Otherwise you will be acting the most ridiculous part, if, whilst you pronounce imprecatious upon those others that are recognised as gods, treating them as idols, you yet do homage to a more wretched idol than any of these, which indeed is not even an idol or a phantom, but a dead man, and you seek a father like to him." The first remark which we have to make on this passage is in regard to his use of personification, by which he makes us m defend in this way the doctrine of the resurrection. This figure of speech is properly employed when the character and sentiments of the person introduced are faithfully preserved; but it is an abuse of the figure when these do not agree with the character and opinions of the speaker. Thus we should justly condemn a man who put into the mouths of barbarians, slaves, or uneducated'. people the language of philosophy; because we know that the philosophy belonged to the author, and not to such persons, who could not know anything of philosophy. And in like manner we should condemn a man for introducing persons who are represented as wise and well versed in divine knowledge, and should make them give expression to language which could only come out of the mouths of those who are ignorant or under the influence of vulgar passions. Hence Homer is admired, among other things, for preserving a consistency of character in his heroes, as in Nestor, Ulysses, Diomede, Agamemnon, Telemachus, Penelope, and the rest. Euripides, on the contrary, was assailed in the comedies of Aristophanes as a frivolous talker, often putting into the mouth of a barbarian woman, a wretched slave, the wise maxims which he had learned from Anaxagoras or some other philosophers.

CHAP. XXXVII.

Now if this is a true account of what constitutes the right and the wrong use of personification, have we not grounds for holding Celsus up to ridicule for thus ascribing to Christians words which they never uttered? For if those whom he represents as speaking are the unlearned, how is it possible that such persons could distinguish between "sense" and "reason," between "objects of sense" and "objects of the reason?" To argue in this way, they would require to have studied under the Stoics, who deny all intellectual existences, and maintain that all that we apprehend is apprehended through the senses, and that all knowledge comes through the senses. But if, on the other hand, he puts these words into the mouth of philosophers who search carefully into the meaning of Christian doctrines, the statements in question do not agree with their character and principles. For no one who has learnt that God is invisible, and that certain of His works are invisible, that is to say, apprehended by the reason,(1) can say, as if to justify his faith in a resurrection, "How can they know God, except by the perception of the senses?" or, "How otherwise than through the senses can they gain any knowledge?" For it is not in any secret writings, perused only by a few wise men, but in such as are most widely diffused and most commonly known among the people, that these words are written: "The invisible things of God from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made."(2) From whence it is to be inferred, that though men who live upon the earth have to begin with the use of the senses upon sensible objects, in order to go on from them to a knowledge of the nature of things intellectual, yet their knowledge must not stop short with the objects of sense. And thus, while Christians would not say that it is impossible to have a knowledge of intellectual objects without the senses, but rather that the senses supply the first means of obtaining knowledge, they might well ask the question, "Who can gain any knowledge without the senses?" without deserving the abuse of Celsus, when he adds, "This is not the language of a man; it comes not from the soul, but from the flesh."

CHAP. XXXVIII.

Since we hold that the great God is in essence simple, invisible, and incorporeal, Himself pure intelligence, or something transcending intelligence and existence, we can never say that God is apprehended by any other means than through the intelligence which is formed in His image, though now, in the words of Paul, "we see in a glass obscurely, but then face to face."(1) And if we use the expression "face to face," let no one pervert its meaning; but let it be explained by this passage, "Beholding with open face the glory of the Lord, we are changed into the same image, from glory to glory," which shows that we do not use the word in this connection to mean the visible face, but take it figuratively, in the same way as we have shown that the eyes, the ears, and the other parts of the body are employed. And it is certain that a man--I mean a soul using a body, otherwise called "the inner man," or simply "the soul"--would answer, not as Celsus makes us answer, but as the man of God himself teaches. It is certain also that a Christian will not make use of "the language of the flesh," having learnt as he has "to mortify the deeds of the body"(2) by the spirit, and "to bear about in his body the dying of Jesus;"(3) and "mortify your members which are on the earth,"(4) and with a true knowledge of these words, "My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh,"(5) and again, "They that are in the flesh cannot please God,"(6) he strives in every way to live no longer according to the flesh, but only according to the Spirit.

CHAP. XXXIX.

Now let us hear what it is that he invites us to learn, that we may ascertain from him how we are to know God, although he thinks that his words are beyond the. capacity of all Christians. "Let them hear," says he, "if they are able to do so." We have then to consider what the philosopher wishes us to hear from him. But instead of instructing us as he ought, he abuses us; and while he should have shown his goodwill to those whom he addresses at the outset of his discourse, he stigmatizes as "a cowardly race" men who would rather die than abjure Christianity even by a word, and who are ready to suffer every form of torture, or any kind of death. He also applies to us that epithet "carnal" or "flesh-indulging," "although," as we are wont to say, "we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth we know Him no more,"(7) and although we are so ready to lay down our lives for the cause of religion, that no philosopher could lay aside his robes more readily. He then addresses to us these words: "If, instead of exercising your senses, you look upwards with the soul; if, turning away the eye of the body, you open the eye of the mind, thus and thus only you will be able to see God." He is not aware that this reference to the two eyes, the eye of the body and the eye of the mind, which he has borrowed from the Greeks, was in use among our own writers; for Moses, in his account of the creation of the world, introduces man before his transgression as both seeing and not seeing: seeing, when it is said of the woman, "The woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise;"(8) and again not seeing, as when he introduces the serpent saying to the woman, as if she and her husband had been blind, "God knows that on the day that ye eat thereof your eyes shall be opened;"(9) and also when it is said, "They did eat, and the eyes of both of them were opened."(10) The eyes of sense were then opened, which they had done well to keep shut, that they might not be distracted, and hindered from seeing with the eyes of the mind; and it was those eyes of the mind which in consequence of sin, as I imagine, were then closed, with which they had up to that time enjoyed the delight of beholding God and His paradise. This twofold kind of vision in us was familiar to our Saviour, who says," For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not, might see, and that they which see might be made blind,"(11)--meaning, by the eyes that see not; the eyes of the mind, which are enlightened by His teaching; and the eyes which see are the eyes of sense, which His words do render blind, in order that the soul may look without distraction upon proper objects. All true Christians therefore have the eye of the mind sharpened, and the eye of sense closed; so that each one, according to the degree in which his better eye is quickened, and the eye of sense darkened, sees and knows the Supreme God, and His Son, who is the Word, Wisdom, and so forth.

CHAP. XL.

Next to the remarks of Celsus on which we have already commented, come others which he addresses to all Christians, but which, if applicable to any, ought to be addressed to persons whose doctrines differ entirely from those taught by Jesus. For it is the Ophians who, as we have before shown,(1) have utterly renounced Jesus, and perhaps some others of similar opinions who are "the impostors and jugglers, leading men away to idols and phantoms;" and it is they who with miserable pains learn off the names of the heavenly doorkeepers. These words are therefore quite inappropriate as addressed to Christians: "If you seek one to be your guide along this way, you must shun all deceivers and jugglers, who will introduce you to phantoms." And, as though quite unaware that these impostors entirely agree with him, and are not behind him in speaking ill of Jesus and His religion, he thus continues, confounding us with them: "otherwise you will be acting the most ridiculous part, if, whilst you pronounce imprecations upon those other recognised gods, treating them as idols, you yet do homage to a more wretched idol than any of these, which indeed is not even an idol or a phantom, but a dead man, and you seek a father like to himself." That he is ignorant of the wide difference between our opinions and those of the inventors of these fables, and that he imagines the charges which he makes against them applicable to us, is evident from the following passage: "For the sake of such a monstrous delusion, and in support of those wonderful advisers, and those wonderful words which you address to the lion, to the amphibious creature, to the creature in the form of an ass, and to others, for the sake of those divine doorkeepers whose names you commit to memory with such pains, in such a cause as this you suffer cruel tortures, and perish at the stake." Surely, then, he is unaware that none of those who regard beings in the form of an ass a lion, or an amphibious animal, as the doorkeepers or guides on the way to heaven, ever expose themselves to death in defence of that which they think the truth. That excess of zeal, if it may be so called, which leads us for the sake of religion to submit to every kind of death, and to perish at the stake, is ascribed by Celsus to those who endure no such sufferings; and he reproaches us who suffer crucifixion for our faith, with believing in fabulous creatures--in the lion, the amphibious animal, and other such monsters. If we reject all these fables, it is not out of deference to Celsus, for we have never at any time held any such fancies; but it is in accordance with the teaching of Jesus that we oppose all such notions, and will not allow to Michael, or to any others that have been referred to, a form and figure of that sort.

CHAP. XLI.

But let us consider who those persons are whose guidance Celsus would have us to follow, so that we may not be in want of guides who are recommended both by their antiquity and sanctity. He refers us to divinely inspired poets, as he calls them, to wise men and philosophers, without mentioning their names; so that, after promising to point out those who should guide us, he simply hands us over in a general way to divinely inspired poets, wise men, and philosophers. If he had specified their names in particular, we should have felt ourselves bound to show him that he wished to give us as guides men who were blinded to the truth, and who must therefore lead us into error; or that if not wholly blinded, yet they are in error in many matters of belief. But whether Orpheus, Parmenides, Empedocles, or even Homer himself, and Hesiod, are the persons whom he means by "inspired poets," let any one show how those who follow their guidance walk in a better way, or lead a more excellent life, than those who, being taught in the school of Jesus Christ, have rejected all images and statues, and even all Jewish superstition, that they may look upward through the Word of God to the one God, who is the Father of the Word. Who, then, are those wise men and philosophers from whom Celsus would have us to learn so many divine truths, and for whom we are to give up Moses the servant of God, the prophets of the Creator of the world, who have spoken so many things by a truly divine inspiration, and even Him who has given light and taught the way of piety to the whole human race, so that no one can reproach Him if he remains without a share in the knowledge of His mysteries? Such, indeed, was the abounding love which He had for men, that He gave to the more learned a theology capable of raising the soul far above all earthly things; while with no less consideration He comes down to the weaker capacities of ignorant men, of simple women, of slaves, and, in short, of all those who from Jesus alone could have received that help for the better regulation of their lives which is supplied by his instructions in regard to the Divine Being, adapted to their wants and capacities.

CHAP. XLII.

Celsus next refers us to Plato as to a more effective teacher of theological truth, and quotes the following passage from the Timaeus: "It is a hard matter to find out the Maker and Father of this universe; and after having found Him, it is impossible to make Him known to all." To which he himself adds this remark: "You perceive, then, how divine men seek after the way of truth, and how well Plato knew that it was impossible for all men to walk in it. But as wise men have found it for the express purpose of being able to convey to us some notion of Him who is the first, the unspeakable Being,--a notion, namely; which may represent Him to us through the medium of other objects,--they endeavour either by synthesis, which is the combining of various qualities, or by analysis, which is the separation and setting aside of some qualities, or finally by analogy;--in these ways, I say, they endeavour to set before us that which it is impossible to express in words. I should therefore be surprised if you could follow in that course, since you are so completely wedded to the flesh as to be incapable of seeing ought but what is impure." These words of Plato are noble and admirable; but see if Scripture does not give us an example of a regard for mankind still greater in God the Word, who was "in the beginning with God," and "who was made flesh," in order that He might reveal to all men truths which, according to Plato, it would be impossible to make known to all men, even after he had found them himself. Plato may say that "it is a hard thing to find out the Creator and Father of this universe;" by which language he implies that it is not wholly beyond the power of human nature to attain to such a knowledge as is either worthy of God, or if not, is far beyond that which is commonly attained (although if it were true that Plato or any other of the Greeks had found God. they would never have given homage and worship, or ascribed the name of God, to any other than to Him: they would have abandoned all others, and would not have associated with this great God objects which can have nothing in common with Him).(1) For ourselves, we maintain that human nature is in no way able to seek after God, or to attain a clear knowledge of Him without the help of Him whom it seeks. He makes Himself known to those who, after doing all that their powers will allow, confess that they need help from Him, who discovers Himself to those whom He approves, in so far as it is possible for man and the soul still dwelling in the body to know God.

CHAP. XLIII.

Observe that when Plato says, that "after having found out the Creator and Father of the universe, it is impossible to make Him known to all men," he does not speak of Him as unspeakable, and as incapable of being expressed in words. On the contrary, he implies that He may be spoken of, and that there are a few to whom He may be made known. But Celsus, as if forgetting the language which he had just quoted from Plato, immediately gives God the name of "the unspeakable." He says: "since the wise men have found out this way, in order to be able to give us some idea of the First of Beings, who is unspeakable." For ourselves, we hold that not God alone is unspeakable, but other things also which are inferior to Him. Such are the things which Paul labours to express when he says, "I heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter,"(2) where the word "heard" is used in the sense of "understood;" as in the passage, "He who hath ears to hear, let him hear." We also hold that it is a hard matter to see the Creator and Father of the universe; but it is possible to see Him in the way thus referred to, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God;"(3) and not only so, but also in the sense of the words of Him "who is the image of the invisible God; "He who hath seen Me hath seen the Father who sent Me."(4) No sensible person could suppose that these last words were spoken in reference to His bodily presence, which was open to the view of all; otherwise all those who said, "Crucify him, crucify him," and Pilate, who had power over the humanity of Jesus, were among those who saw God the Father, which is absurd. Moreover, that these words, "He that hath seen Me, hath seen the Father who sent Me," are not to be taken in their grosser sense, is plain from the answer which He gave to Philip, "Have I been so long time with you, and yet dost thou not know Me, Philip?" after Philip had asked, "Show us the Father, and it sufficeth us." He, then, who perceives how these words, "The Word was made flesh," are to be understood of the only-begotten Son of God, the first-born of all creation, will also understand how, in seeing the image of the invisible God, we see "the Creator and Father of the universe."

CHAP. XLIV.

Celsus supposes that we may arrive at a knowledge of God either by combining or separating certain things after the methods which mathematicians call synthesis and analysis, or again by analogy, which is employed by them also, and that in this way we may as it were gain admission to the chief good. But when the Word of God says, "No man knoweth the Father but the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him,"(1) He declares that no one can know God but by the help of divine grace coming from above, with a certain divine inspiration. Indeed, it is reasonable to suppose that the knowledge of God is beyond the reach of human nature, and hence the many errors into which men have fallen in their views of God. It is, then, through the goodness and love of God to mankind, and by a marvellous exercise of divine grace to those whom He saw in His foreknowledge, and knew that they would walk worthy of Him who had made Himself known to them, and that they would never swerve from a faithful attachment to His service, although they were condemned to death or held up to ridicule by those who, in ignorance of what true religion is, give that name to what deserves to be called anything rather than religion. God doubtless saw the pride and arrogance of those who, with contempt for all others, boast of their knowledge of God, and of their profound acquaintance with divine things obtained from philosophy, but who still, not less even than the most ignorant, run after their images, and temples, and famous mysteries; and seeing this, He "has chosen the foolish things of this world"(2)--the simplest of Christians, who lead, however, a life of greater moderation and purity than many philosophers--"to confound the wise," who are not ashamed to address inanimate things as gods or images of the gods. For what reasonable man can refrain from smiling when he sees that one who has learned from philosophy such profound and noble sentiments about God or the gods, turns straightway to images and offers to them his prayers, or imagines that by gazing upon these material things he can ascend from the visible symbol to that which is spiritual and immaterial.(3) But a Christian, even of the common people, is assured that every place forms part of the universe, and that the whole universe is God's temple. In whatever part of the world he is, he prays; but he rises above the universe, "shutting the eyes of sense, and raising upwards the eyes of the soul." And he stops not at the vault of heaven; but passing in thought beyond the heavens, under the guidance of the Spirit of God, and having thus as it were gone beyond the visible universe, he offers prayers to God. But he prays for no trivial blessings, for he has learnt from Jesus to seek for nothing small or mean, that is, sensible objects, but to ask only for what is great and truly divine; and these things God grants to us, to lead us to l that blessedness which is found only with Him through His Son, the Word, who is God.

CHAP. XLV.

But let us see further what the things are which he proposes to teach us, if indeed we can comprehend them, since he speaks of us as being "utterly wedded to the flesh;" although if we live well, and in accordance with the teaching of Jesus, we hear this said of us: "Ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if the Spirit of God dwelleth in you."(4) He says also that we look upon nothing that is pure, although our endeavour is to keep even our thoughts free from all defilement of sin, and although in prayer we say, "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me,"(5) so that we may behold Him with that "pure heart" to which alone is granted the privilege of seeing Him. This, then, is what he proposes for our instruction: "Things are either intelligible, which we call substance--being; or visible, which we call becoming:(6) with the former is truth; from the latter arises error. Truth is the object of knowledge; truth and error form opinion. Intelligible objects are known by the reason, visible objects by the eyes; the action of the reason is called intelligent perception, that of the eyes vision. As, then, among visible things the sun is neither the eye nor vision, but that which enables the eye to see, and renders vision possible, and in consequence of it visible things are seen, all sensible things exist and itself is rendered visible; so among things intelligible, that which is neither reason, nor intelligent perception, nor knowledge, is yet the cause which enables the reason to know, which renders intelligent perception possible; and in consequence of it knowledge arises, all things intelligible, truth itself and substance have their existence; and itself, which is above all these things, becomes in some ineffable way intelligible. These things are offered to the consideration of the intelligent; and if even you can understand any of them, it is well. And if you think that a Divine Spirit has descended from God to announce divine things to men, it is doubtless this same Spirit that reveals these truths, and it was under the same influence that men of old made known many important truths. But if you cannot comprehend these things, then keep silence; do not expose your own ignorance, and do not accuse of blindness those who see, or of lameness those who run, while you yourselves are utterly lamed and mutilated in mind, and lead a merely animal life--the life of the body, which is the dead part of our nature."

CHAP. XLVI.

We are careful not to oppose fair arguments even if they proceed from those who are not of our faith; we strive not to be captious, or to seek to overthrow any sound reasonings. But here we have to reply to those who slander the character of persons wishing to do their best in the service of God, who accepts the faith which the meanest place in Him, as well as the more refined and intelligent piety of the learned; seeing that both alike address to the Creator of the world their prayers and thanksgivings through the High Priest who has set before men the nature of pure religion. We say, then, that those who are stigmatized as "lamed and mutilated in spirit," as "living only for the sake of the body which is dead," are persons whose endeavour it is to say with sincerity: "For though we live' in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh; for the weapons of our warfare are not fleshly, but mighty through God." It is for those who throw out such vile accusations against men' who desire to be God's servants, to beware lest, by the calumnies which they cast upon others who strive to live well, they "lame" their own souls, and "mutilate" the inner man, by severing from it that justice and moderation of mind which the Creator has planted in the nature of all His rational creatures. As for those, however, who, along with other lessons given by the Divine Word, have learned and practised this, "when reviled to bless, when persecuted to endure, when defamed to entreat,"(2) they may be said to be walking in spirit in the ways of uprightness, to be purifying and setting in order the whole soul. They distinguish--and to them the distinction is not one of words merely--between "substance," or that which is, and that which is "becoming;" between things apprehended by reason, and things apprehended by sense; and they connect truth with the one, and avoid the errors arising out of the other; looking, as they have been taught, not at the things "becoming" or phenomenal, which are seen, and therefore temporary, but at better things than these, whether we call them "substance," or "spiritual" things, as being apprehended by reason, or "invisible," because they lie out of the reach of the senses. The disciples of Jesus regard these phenomenal things only that they may use them as steps to ascend to the knowledge of the things of reason. For "the invisible things of God," that is, the objects of the reason, "from the creation of the world are clearly seen" by the reason, "being understood by the things that are made." And when they have risen from the created things of this world to the invisible things of God, they do not stay there; but after they have sufficiently exercised their minds upon these, and have understood their nature, they ascend to "the eternal power of God," in a word, to His divinity. For they know that God, in His love to men, has "manifested" His truth, and "that which is known of Him," not only to those who devote themselves to His service, but also to some who are far removed from the purity of worship and service which He requires; and that some of those who by the providence of God had attained a knowledge of them truths, were yet doing things unworthy of, that knowledge, and "holding the truth in unrighteousness," and who are unable to find any excuse before God after the knowledge of such great truths which He has given them.

CHAP. XLVII.

For Scripture testifies, in regard to those who have a knowledge of those things of which Celsus speaks, and who profess a philosophy founded on these principles, that they, "when they knew God, glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful, but became vain in their imaginations;" and notwithstanding the bright light of knowledge with which God had enlightened them, "their foolish heart" was carried away, and became "darkened."(3) Thus we may see how those who accounted themselves wise gave proofs of great folly, when, alter such grand arguments delivered in the schools on God and on things apprehended by the reason, they "changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things."(4) As, then, they lived in a way unworthy of the knowledge which they had received from God, His providence leaving them to themselves, they were given "up to uncleanness, through the lusts of their own hearts to dishonour their own bodies,"(5) in shamelessness and licentiousness, because they "changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator."

CHAP. XLVIII.

But those who are despised for their ignorance, and set down as fools and abject slaves, no sooner commit themselves to God's guidance by accepting the teaching of Jesus, than, so far from defiling themselves by licentious indulgence or the gratification of shameless passion, they in many cases, like perfect priests, for whom such pleasures have no charm, keep themselves in act and in thought in a state of virgin purity. The Athenians have one hierophant, who, not having confidence in his power to restrain his passions within the limits he, prescribed for himself, determined to check them at their seat by the application of hemlock; and thus he was accounted pure, and fit for the celebration of religious worship among the Athenians. But among Christians may be found men who have no need of hemlock to fit them for the pure service of God, and for whom the Word in place of hemlock is able to drive all evil desires from their thoughts, so that they may present their prayers to the Divine Being. And attached to the other so-called gods are a select number of virgins, who are guarded by men, or it may be not guarded (for that is not the point in question at present), and who are supposed to live in purity for the honour of the god they serve. But among Christians, those who maintain a perpetual virginity do so for no human honours, for no fee or reward, from no motive of vainglory;(1) but "as they choose to retain God in their knowledge,"(2) they are preserved by God in a spirit well-pleasing to Him, and in the discharge of every duty, being filled with all righteousness and goodness.

CHAP. XLIX.

What I have now said, then, is offered not for the purpose of cavilling with any right opinions or sound doctrines held even by Greeks, but with the desire of showing that the same things, and indeed much better and diviner things than these, have been said by those divine men, the prophets of God and the apostles of Jesus. These truths are fully investigated by all who wish to attain a perfect knowledge of Christianity, and who know that "the mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment; the law of his God is in his heart."(3) But even in regard to those who, either from deficiency or knowledge or want of inclination, or from not having Jesus to lead them to a rational view of religion, have not gone into these deep questions, we find that they believe in the Most High God, and in His Only-begotten Son, the Word and God, and that they often exhibit in their character a high degree of gravity, of purity, and integrity; while those who call themselves wise have despised these virtues, and have wallowed in the filth of sodomy, in lawless lust, "men with men working that which is unseemly."(4)

CHAP. L.

Celsus has not explained how error accompanies the "becoming," or product of generation; nor has he expressed himself with sufficient clearness to enable us to compare his ideas with ours, and to pass judgment on them. But the prophets, who have given some wise suggestions on the subject of things produced by generation, tell us that a sacrifice for sin was offered even for new-born infants, as not being free from sin.(5) They say, "I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me;"(6) also, "They are estranged from the womb;" which is followed by the singular expression, "They go astray as soon as they are born, speaking lies."(7) Besides, our wise men have such a contempt for all sensible objects, that sometimes they speak of all material things as vanity: thus, "For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him that subjected the same in hope;"(8) at other times as vanity of vanities, "Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, all is vanity."(9) Who has given so severe an estimate of the life of the human soul here on earth, as he who says: "Verily every man at his best estate is altogether vanity?"(10) He does not hesitate at all as to the difference between the present life of the soul and that which it is to lead hereafter. He does not say, "Who knows if to die is not to live, and if to live is not death"(11) But he boldly proclaims the truth, and says, "Our soul is bowed down to the dust;"(12) and, "Thou hast brought me into the dust of death;"(13) and similarly, "Who will deliver me from the body of this death?"(14) also, "Who will change the body of our humiliation."(15) It is a prophet also who says, "Thou hast brought us down in a place of affliction;"(16) meaning by the "place of affliction" this earthly region, to which Adam, that is to say, man, came after he was driven out of paradise for sin. Observe also how well the different life of the soul here and hereafter has been recognised by him who says, "Now we see in a glass, obscurely, but then face to face;"(17) and, "Whilst we are in our home in the body, we are away from our home in the Lord;" wherefore "we are well content to go from our home in the body, and to come to our home with the Lord."(18)

CHAP. LI.

But what need is there to quote any more passages against Celsus, in order to prove that his words contain nothing which was not said long before among themselves, since that has been sufficiently established by what we have said? It seems that what follows has some reference to this: "If you think that a Divine Spirit has descended from God to announce divine things to men, it is doubtless this same Spirit that reveals these truths; and it was under the same influence that men of old made known many important truths." But he does not know how great is the difference between those things and the clear and certain teaching of those who say to us, "Thine incorruptible spirit is in all things, wherefore God chasteneth them by little and little that offend;"(1) and of those who, among their other instructions, teach us that words, "Receive ye the Holy Ghost,"(2) refer to a degree of spiritual influence higher than that in the passage, "Ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence."(3) But it is a difficult matter, even after much careful consideration, to perceive the difference between those who have received a knowledge of the truth and a notion of God at different intervals and for short periods of time, and those who are more fully inspired by God, who have constant communion with Him, and are always led by His Spirit. Had Celsus set himself to understand this, he would not have reproached as with ignorance, or forbidden us to characterize as "blind" those who believe that religion shows itself in such products of man's mechanical art as images. For every one who sees with eyes of his soul serves the Divine Being in no other way than in that which leads him ever to have regard to the Creator of all, to address his prayers to Him alone, and to do all things as in the sight of God, who sees us altogether, even to our thoughts. Our earnest desire then is both to see for ourselves, and to be leaders of the blind, to bring them to the Word of God, that He may take away from their minds the blindness of ignorance. And if our actions are worthy of Him who taught His disciples, "Ye are the light of the world,"(4) and of the Word, who says, "The light shineth in darkness,"(5) then we shall be light to those who are in darkness we shall give wisdom to those who are without it, and we shall instruct the ignorant.

CHAP. LII.

And let not Celsus be angry if we describe as Fame and mutilated in soul those who run to the temples as to places having a real sacredness and who cannot see that no mere mechanical work of man can be truly sacred. Those whose piety is grounded on the teaching of Jesus also run until they come to the end of their course, when they can say in all truth and confidence: "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course I have kept the faith; henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness."(6) And each of us runs "not as uncertain," and he so fights with evil "not as one beating the air," (7) but as against those who are subject to "the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience."(8) Celsus may indeed say of us that we "live with the body which is a dead thing;" but we have learnt, "If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die; but if ye by the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live;"(9) and, "If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit."(10) Would that we might convince him by our actions that he did us wrong, when he said that we "live with the body which is dead!"

CHAP. LIII.

After these remarks of Celsus, which we have done our best to refute, he goes on to address us thus: "Seeing you are so eager for some novelty, how much better it would have been if you had chosen as the object of your zealous homage some one of those who died a glorious death, and whose divinity might have received the support of some myth to perpetuate his memory! Why, if you were not satisfied with Hercules or Aesculapius, and other heroes of antiquity, you had Orpheus, who was confessedly a divinely inspired man, who died a violent death. But perhaps some others have taken him up before you. You may then take Anaxarchus, who, when cast into a mortar, and beaten most barbarously, showed a noble contempt for his suffering, and said, 'Beat, beat the shell of Anaxarchus, for himself you do not beat,'--a speech surely of a spirit truly divine. But others were before you in following his interpretation of the laws of nature. Might you not, then, take Epictetus, who, when his master was twisting his leg, said, smiling and. unmoved, 'You will break my leg;' and when it was broken, he added, Did I not tell you that you would break it?' What saying equal to these did your god' utter under suffering? If you had said even of the Sibyl, whose authority some of you acknowledge, that she was a child of God, you would have said something more reasonable. But you have had the presumption to include in her writings many impious things,(11) and set up as a god one who ended a most infamous life by a most miserable death. How much more suitable than he would have been Jonah in the whale's belly, or Daniel delivered from the wild beasts, or any of a still more portentous kind!"

CHAP. LIV.

But since he sends us to Hercules, let him repeat to us any of his sayings, and let him justify his shameful subjection to Omphale. Let him show that divine honours should be paid to one who, like a highway robber, carries off a farmer's ox by force, and afterwards devours it, amusing himself meanwhile with the curses of the owner; in memory of which even to this day sacrifices offered to the demon of Hercules are accompanied with curses. Again he proposes Aesculapius to us, as if to oblige us to repeat what we have said already; but we forbear. In regard to Orpheus, what does he admire in him to make him assert that, by common consent, he was regarded as a divinely inspired man, and lived a noble life? I am greatly deceived if it is not the desire which Celsus has to oppose us and put down Jesus that leads him to sound forth the praises of Orpheus; and whether, when he made himself acquainted with his impious fables about the gods, he did not cast them aside as deserving, even more than the poems of Homer, to be excluded from a well-ordered state. For, indeed, Orpheus says much Worse things than Homer of those whom they call gods. Noble, indeed, it was in Anaxarchus to say to Aristocreon, tyrant of Cyprus, "Beat on, beat the shell of Anaxarchus," but it is the one admirable incident in the life of Anaxarchus known to the Greeks; and although, on the strength of that, some like Celsus might deservedly honour the man for his courage, yet to look up to Anaxarchus as a god is not consistent with reason. He also directs us to Epictetus, whose firmness is justly admired, although his saying when his leg was broken by his master is not to be compared with the marvellous acts and words of Jesus which Celsus refuses to believe; and these words were accompanied by such a divine power, that even to this day they convert not only some of the more ignorant and simple, but many also of the most enlightened of men.

CHAP. LV.

When, to his enumeration of those to whom he would send us, he adds, "What saying equal to these did your god utter under sufferings?" we would reply, that the silence of Jesus under scourgings, and amidst all His sufferings, spoke more for His firmness and submission than all that was said by the Greeks when beset by calamity. Perhaps Celsus may believe what was recorded with all sincerity by trustworthy men, who, while giving a truthful account of all the wonders performed by Jesus, specify among these the silence which He preserved when subjected to scourgings; showing the same singular meekness Under the insults which were heaped upon Him, when they put upon Him the purple robe, and set the crown of thorns upon His head, and when they put in His hand a reed in place of a sceptre: no unworthy or angry word escaped Him against those who subjected Him to such outrages. Since, then, He received the scourgings with silent firmness, and bore with meekness all the insults of those who outraged Him, it cannot be said, as is said by some, that it was in cowardly weakness that He uttered the words: "Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as Thou wilt."(1) The prayer which seems to be contained in these words for the removal of what He calls "the cup" bears a sense which we have elsewhere examined and set forth at large. But taking it in its more obvious sense, consider if it be not a prayer offered to God with all piety. For no man naturally regards anything which may befall him as necessary and inevitable; though he may submit to what is not inevitable, if occasion requires. Besides, these words, "nevertheless, not as I will, but as Thou wilt," are not the language of one who yielded to necessity, but of one who was contented with what was befalling Him, and who submitted with reverence to the arrangements of Providence.

CHAP. LVI.

Celsus then adds, for what reason I know not, that instead of calling Jesus the Son of God, we had better have given that honour to the Sibyl, in whose books he maintains we have interpolated many impious statements, though he does not mention what those interpolations are.(2) He might have proved his assertion by producing some older copies which are free from the interpolations which he attributes to us; but he does not do so even to justify his statement that these passages are of an impious character. Moreover, he again speaks of the life of Jesus as "a most infamous life," as he has done before, not once or twice, but many times, although he does not stay to specify any of the actions of His life which he thinks most infamous. He seems to think that he may in this way make assertions without proving them, and rail against one of whom he knows nothing. Had he set himself to show what sort of infamy he found in the actions of Jesus, we should have repelled the several charges brought against Him. Jesus did indeed meet with a most sad death; but the same might be said of Socrates, and of Anaxarchus, whom he had just mentioned, and a multitude of others. If the death of Jesus was a miserable one, was not that of the others so too? And if their death was not miserable, can it be said that the death of Jesus was? You see from this, then, that the object of Celsus is to vilify the character of Jesus; and I can only suppose that he is driven to it by some spirit akin to those whose power has been broken and vanquished by Jesus, and which now finds itself deprived of the smoke and blood on which it lived, whilst deceiving those who sought for God here upon earth in images, instead of looking up to the true God, the Governor of all things.

CHAP. LVII.

After this, as though his object was to swell the size of his book, he advises us "to choose Jonah rather than Jesus as our God;" thus setting Jonah, who preached repentance to the single city of Nineveh, before Jesus, who has preached repentance to the whole world, and with much greater results. He would have us to regard as God a man who, by a strange miracle, passed three days and three nights in the whale's belly; and he is unwilling that He who submitted to death for the sake of men, He to whom God bore testimony through the prophets, and who has done great things in heaven and earth, should receive on that ground honour second only to that which is given to the Most High God. Moreover, Jonah was swallowed by the whale for refusing to preach as God had commanded him; while Jesus suffered death for men after He had given the instructions which God wished Him to give. Still further, he adds that Daniel rescued from the lions is more worthy of our adoration than Jesus, who subdued the fierceness of every opposing power, and gave to us "authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy."(1) Finally, having no other names to offer us, he adds, "and others of a still more monstrous kind," thus casting a slight upon both Jonah and Daniel, for the spirit which is in Celsus cannot speak well of the righteous.

CHAP. LVIII.

Let us now consider what follows. "They have also," says he, "a precept to this effect, that we ought not to avenge ourselves on one who injures us, or, as he expresses it, 'Whosoever shall strike thee on the one cheek, turn to him the other also.' This is an ancient saying, which had been admirably expressed long before, and which they have only reported in a coarser way. For Plato introduces Socrates conversing with Crito as follows: 'Must we never do injustice to any?' 'Certainly not.' 'And since we must never do injustice, must we not return injustice for an injustice that has been done to us, as most people think?' 'It seems to me that we should not.' 'But tell me, Crito, may we do evil to any one or not?' 'Certainly not, O Socrates.' 'Well, is it just, as is commonly said, for one who has suffered wrong to do wrong in return, or is it unjust?' 'It is unjust. Yes; for to do harm to a man is the same as to do him injustice.' 'You speak truly. We must then not do injustice in return for injustice, nor must we do evil to any one, whatever evil we may have suffered from him.' Thus Plato speaks; and he adds, 'Consider, then, whether you are at one with me, and whether, starting from this principle, we may not come to the conclusion .that it is never right to do injustice, even in return for an injustice which has been received; or whether, on the other hand, you differ from me, and do not admit the principle from which we started. That has always been my opinion, and is so still.'(2) Such are the sentiments of Plato, and indeed they were held by divine men before his time. But let this suffice as one example of the way in which this and other truths have been borrowed and corrupted. Any one who wishes can easily by searching find more of them."

CHAP. LIX.

When Celsus here or elsewhere finds himself unable to dispute the truth of what we say, but avers that the same things were said by the Greeks, our answer is, that if the doctrine be sound, and the effect of it good, whether it was, made known to the Greeks by Plato or any of the wise men of Greece, or whether it was delivered to the Jews by Moses or any of the prophets, or whether it was given to the Christians in the recorded teaching of Jesus Christ, or in the instructions of His apostles, that does not affect the value of the truth communicated. It is no objection to the principles of Jews or Christians, that the same things were also said by the Greeks, especially if it be proved that the writings of the Jews are older than those of the Greeks. And further, we are not to imagine that a truth adorned with the graces of Grecian speech is necessarily better than the same when expressed in the more humble and unpretending language used by Jews and Christians, although indeed the language of the Jews, in which the prophets wrote the books which have come down to us, has a grace of expression peculiar to the genius of the Hebrew tongue. And even if we were required to show that the same doctrines have been better expressed among the Jewish prophets or in Christian writings, however paradoxical it may seem, we are prepared to prove this by an illustration taken from different kinds of food, and from the different modes of preparing them. Suppose that a kind of food which is wholesome and nutritious has been prepared and seasoned in such a way as to be fit, not for the simple tastes of peasants and poor labourers, but for those only who are rich and dainty in their tastes. Suppose, again, that that same food is prepared not to suit the tastes of the more delicate, but for the peasants, the poor labourers, and the common people generally, in short, so that myriads of persons might eat of it. Now if, according to the supposition, the food prepared in the one way promotes the health of those only who are styled the better classes, while none of the others could taste it, whereas when prepared in the other way it promoted the health of great multitudes of men, which shall we esteem as most contributing to the public welfare,--those who prepare food for persons of mark, or those who prepare it for the multitudes?--taking for granted that in both cases the food is equally wholesome and nourishing; while it is evident that the welfare of mankind and the common good are promoted better by that physician who attends to the health of the many, than by one who confines his attention to a few.

CHAP. LX.

Now, after understanding this illustration, we have to apply it to the qualities of spiritual food with which the rational part of man is nourished. See, then, if Plato and the wise men among the Greeks, in the beautiful things they say, are not like those physicians who confine their attentions to what are called the better classes of society, and despise the multitude; whereas the prophets among the Jews, and the disciples of Jesus, who despise mere elegances of style, and what is called in Scripture "the wisdom of men," "the wisdom according to the flesh," which delights in what is obscure, resemble those who study to provide the most wholesome food for the largest number of persons. For this purpose they adapt their language and style to the capacities of the common people, and avoid whatever would seem foreign to them, lest by the introduction of strange forms of expression they should produce a distaste for their teaching. Indeed, if the true use of spiritual food, to keep up the figure, is to produce in him who partakes of it the virtues of patience and gentleness, must that discourse not be better prepared when it produces patience and gentleness in multitudes, or makes them grow in these virtues, than that which confines its effects to a select few, supposing that it does really make them gentle and patient? If a Greek wished by wholesome instruction to benefit people who understood only Egyptian or Syriac, the first thing that he would do would be to learn their language; and he would rather pass for a Barbarian among the Greeks, by speaking as the Egyptians or Syrians, in order to be useful to them, than always remain Greek, and be without the means of helping them. In the same way the divine nature, having the purpose of instructing not only those who are reputed to be learned in the literature of Greece, but also the rest of mankind, accommodated itself to the capacities of the simple multitudes whom it addressed. It seeks to win the attention of the more ignorant by the use of language which is familiar to them, so that they may easily be induced, after their first introduction, to strive after an acquaintance with the deeper truths which lie hidden in Scripture. For even the ordinary reader of Scripture may see that it contains many things which are too deep to be apprehended at first; but these are understood by such as devote themselves to a careful study of the divine word, and they become plain to them in proportion to the pains and zeal which they expend upon its investigation.

CHAP. LXI.

From these remarks it is evident, that when Jesus said "coarsely," as Celsus terms it, "To him who shall strike thee on the one cheek, turn the other also; and if any man be minded to sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also,"(1) He expressed Himself in such a way as to make the precept have more practical effect than the words of Plato in the Crito; for the latter is so far from being intelligible to ordinary persons, that even those have a difficulty in understanding him, who have been brought up in the schools of learning, and have been initiated into the famous philosophy of Greece. It may also be observed, that the precept enjoining patience under injuries is in no way corrupted or degraded by the plain and simple language which our Lord employs, but that in this, as in other cases, it is a mere calumny against our religion which he utters when he says: "But let this suffice as one example of the way in which this and other truths have been borrowed and corrupted. Any one who wishes can easily by searching find more of them."

CHAP. LXII.

Let us now see what follows. "Let us pass on," says he, "to another point. They cannot tolerate temples, altars, or images.(1) In this they are like the Scythians, the nomadic tribes of Libya, the Seres who worship no god, and some other of the most barbarous and impious nations in the world. That the Persians hold the same notions is shown by Herodotus in these words: 'I know that among the Persians it is considered unlawful to erect images, altars, or temples; but they charge those with folly who do so, because, as I conjecture, they do not, like the Greeks, suppose the gods to be of the nature of men.'(2) Heraclitus also says in one place: 'Persons who address prayers to these images act like those who speak to the walls, without knowing who the gods or the heroes are.' And what wiser lesson have they to teach us than Heraclitus? He certainly plainly enough implies that it is a foolish thing for a man to offer prayers to images, whilst he knows not who the gods and heroes are. This is the opinion of Heraclitus; but as for them, they go further, and despise without exception all images. If they merely mean that the stone, wood, brass, or gold which has been wrought by this or that workman cannot be a god, they are ridiculous with their wisdom. For who, unless he be utterly childish in his simpliCity, can take these for gods, and not for offerings consecrated to the service of the gods, or images representing them? But if we are not to regard these as representing the Divine Being, seeing that God has a different form, as the Persians concur with them in saying, then let them take care that they do not contradict themselves; for they say that God made man His own image, and that He gave him a form like to Himself. However, they will admit that these images, whether they are like or not, are made and dedicated to the honour of certain beings. But they will hold that the beings to whom they are dedicated are not gods, but demons, and that a worshipper of God ought not to worship demons."

CHAP. LXIII.

To this our answer is, that if the Scythians, the nomadic tribes of Libya, the Seres, who according to Celsus have no god, if those other most barbarous and impious nations in the world, and if the Persians even cannot bear the sight of temples, altars, and images, it does not follow because we cannot suffer them any more than they, that the grounds on which we object to them are the same as theirs. We must inquire into the principles on which the objection to temples and images is rounded, in order that we may approve of those who object on sound principles, and condemn those whose principles are false. For one and the same thing may be done for different reasons. For example, the philosophers who follow Zeno of Citium abstain from committing adultery, the followers of Epicurus do so too, as well as others again who do so on no philosophical principles; but observe what different reasons determine the conduct of these different classes. The first consider the interests of society, and hold it to be forbidden by nature that a man who is a reasonable being should corrupt a woman whom the laws have already given to another, and should thus break up the household of another man. The Epicureans do not reason in this way; but if they abstain from adultery, it is because, regarding pleasure as the chief end of man, they perceive that one who gives himself up to, adultery, encounters for the sake of this one pleasure a multitude of obstacles to pleasure, such as imprisonment, exile, and death itself. They often, indeed, run considerable risk at the outset, while watching for the departure from the house of the master and those in his interest. So that, supposing it possible for a man to commit adultery, and escape the knowledge of the husband, of his servants, and of others whose esteem he would forfeit, then the Epicurean would yield to the commission of the crime for the sake of pleasure. The man of no philosophical system, again, who abstains from adultery when the opportunity comes to him, does so generally from dread of the law and its penalties, and not for the sake of enjoying a greater number of other pleasures. You see, then, that an act which passes for being one and the same--namely, abstinence from adultery--is not the same, but differs in different men according to the motives which actuate it: one man refraining for sound reasons, another for such bad and impious ones as those of the Epicurean, and the common person of whom we have spoken.

CHAP. LXIV.

As, then, this act of self-restraint, which in appearance is one and the same, is found in fact to be different in different persons, according to the principles and motives which lead to it; so in the same way with those who cannot allow in the worship of the Divine Being altars, or temples, or images. The Scythians, the Nomadic Libyans, the godless Seres, and the Persians, agree in this with the Christians and Jews, but they are actuated by very different principles. For none of these former abhor altars and images on the ground that they arc afraid of degrading the worship of God, and reducing it to the worship of material things wrought by the hands of men.(3) Neither do they object to them from a belief that the demons choose certain forms and places, whether because they are detained there by virtue of certain charms, or because for some other possible reason they have selected these haunts, where they may pursue their criminal pleasures, in partaking of the smoke of sacrificial victims. But Christians and Jews have regard to this command, "Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, and serve Him alone;"(1) and this other, "Thou shalt have no other gods before Me: thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them;"(2) and again, "Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve."(3) It is in consideration of these and many other such commands, that they not only avoid temples, altars, and images, but are ready to suffer death when it is necessary, rather than debase by any such impiety the conception which they have of the Most High God.

CHAP. LXV.

In regard to the Persians, we have already said that though they do not build temples, yet they worship the sun and the other works of God. This is forbidden to us, for we have been taught not to worship the creature instead of the Creator, but to know that "the creation shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the children of God;" and "the earnest expectation of the creation is waiting for the revelation of the sons of God;" and "the creation was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by; reason of him who made it subject:, in hope."(4) We believe, therefore, that things "under the bondage of corruption," and "subject to vanity," which remain in this condition "in hope" of a better state, ought not in our worship to hold the place of God, the all-sufficient, and of His Son, the First-born of all creation. Let this suffice, in addition to what we have already said of the Persians, who abhor altars and images, but who serve the creature instead of the Creator. As to the passage quoted by Celsus from Heraclitus, the purport of which he represents as being, "that it is childish folly for one to offer prayers to images, whilst he knows not who the gods and heroes are," we may reply that it is easy to know that God and the Only-begotten Son of God, and those whom God has honoured with the title of God, and who partake of His divine nature, are very different from all the gods of the nations which are demons; but it is not possible at the same time to know God and to address prayers to images.(5)

CHAP. LXVI.

And the charge of folly applies not only to those who offer prayers to images, but also to such as pretend to do so in compliance with the example of the multitude: and to this class belong the Peripatetic philosophers and the followers of Epicurus and Democritus. For there is no falsehood or pretence in the soul which is possessed with true piety towards God. Another reason also why we abstain from doing honour to images, is that we may give no support to the notion that the images are gods. It is on this ground that we condemn Celsus, and all others who, while admitting that they are not gods, yet, with the reputation of being wise men, render to them what passes for homage. In this way they lead into sin the multitude who follow their example, and who worship these images not simply out of deference to custom, but from a belief into which they have fallen that they are true gods, and that those are not to be listened to who hold that the objects of their worship are not true gods. Celsus, indeed, says that "they do not take them for gods, but only as offerings dedicated to the gods." But he does not prove that they are not rather dedicated to men than, as he says, to the honour of the gods themselves; for it is clear that they are the offerings of men who were in error in their views of the Divine Being. Moreover, we do not imagine that these images are representations of God, for they cannot represent a being who is invisible and incorporeal.(6) But as Celsus supposes that we fall into a contradiction, whilst on the one hand we say that God has not a human form, and on the other we profess to believe that God made man the image of Himself, and created man the image of God; our answer is the same as has been given already, that we hold the resemblance to God to be preserved in the reasonable soul, which is formed to virtue, although Celsus, who does not see the difference between "being the image of God," and "being created after the image of God," pretends that we said, "God made man His own image, and gave him a form like to His own." But this also has been examined before.

CHAP. LXVII.

His next remark upon the Christians is: "They will admit that these images, whether they are like or not, are made and dedicated to the honour of certain beings; but they will hold that the beings to whom they are dedicated are not gods, but demons, and that a worshipper of God ought not to worship demons." If he had been acquainted with the nature of demons, and with their several operations, whether led on to them by the conjurations of those who are skilled in the art, or urged on by their own inclination to act according to their power and inclination; if, I say, he had thoroughly understood this subject, which is both wide in extent and difficult for human comprehension, he would not have condemned us for saying that those who worship the Supreme Being should not serve demons. For ourselves, so far are we from wishing to serve demons, that by the use of prayers and other means which we learn from Scripture, we drive them out of the souls of men, out of places where they have established themselves, and even sometimes from the bodies of animals; for even these creatures often suffer from injuries inflicted upon them by demons.

CHAP. LXVIII.

After all that we have already said concerning Jesus, it would be a useless repetition for us to answer these words of Celsus: "It is easy to convict them of worshipping not a god, not even demons, but a dead person." Leaving, then, this objection for the reason assigned, let us pass on to what follows: "In the first place, I would ask why we are not to serve demons? Is it not true that all things are ordered according to God's will, and that His providence governs all things? Is not everything which happens in the universe, whether it be the work of God, of angels, of other demons, or of heroes, regulated by the law of the Most High God? Have these not had assigned them various departments of which they were severally deemed worthy? it not just, therefore, that he who worships God should serve those also to whom God has assigned such power? Yet it is impossible, he says, for a man to serve many masters." Observe here again how he settles at once a number of questions which require considerable research, and a profound acquaintance with what is most mysterious in the government of the universe. For we must inquire into the meaning of the statement, that "all things are ordered according to God's will," and ascertain whether sins are or are not included among the things which God orders. For if God's government extends to sins not only in men, but also in demons and in any other spiritual beings who are capable of sin, it is for those who speak in this manner to see how inconvenient is the expression that "all things are ordered by the will of God." For it follows from it that all sins and all their consequences are ordered by the will of God, which is a different thing from saying that they come to pass with God's permission. For if we take the word "ordered" in its proper signification, and say that "all the results of sin were ordered," then it is evident that all things are ordered according to God's will, and that all, therefore, who do evil do not offend against His government. And the same distinction holds in regard to "providence." When we say that "the providence of God regulates all things," we utter a great truth if we attribute to that providence nothing but what is just and right. But if we ascribe to the providence of God all things whatsoever, however unjust they rusty be, then it is no longer true that the providence of God regulates all things, unless we refer directly to God's providence things which flow as results from His arrangements. Celsus maintains also, that "whatever happens in the universe, whether it be the work of God, of angels, of other demons, or of heroes, is regulated by the law of the Most High God." But this also is incorrect; for we cannot say that transgressors follow the law of God when they transgress; and Scripture declares that it is not only wicked men who are transgressors, but also wicked demons and wicked angels.

CHAP. LXIX.

And it is not we alone who speak of wicked demons, but almost all who acknowledge the existence of demons. Thus, then, it is not true that all observe the law of the Most High; for all who fall away from the divine law, whether through heedlessness, or through depravity and vice, or through ignorance of what is right, all such do not keep the law of God, but, to use a new phrase which we find in Scripture, "the law of sin. I say, then, that in the opinion of most of those who believe in the existence of demons, some of them are wicked; and these, instead of keeping the law of God, offend against it. But, according to our belief, it is true of all demons, that they were not demons originally, but they became so in departing from the true way; so that the name "demons" is given to those beings who have fallen away from God. Accordingly, those who worship God must not serve demons. We may also learn the true nature of demons if we consider the practice of those who call upon them by charms to prevent certain things, or for many other purposes. For this is the method they adopt, in order by means of incantations and magical arts to invoke the demons, and induce them to further their wishes. Wherefore, the worship of all demons would be inconsistent in us who worship the Supreme God; and the service of demons is the service of so-called gods, for "all the gods of the heathen are demons.''(1) The same thing also appears from the fact that the dedication of the most famous of the so-called sacred places, whether temples or statues, was accompanied by curious magical incantations, which were performed by those who zealously served the demons with magical arts. Hence we are determined to avoid the worship of demons even as we would avoid death; and we hold that the worship, which is supposed among the Greeks to be rendered to gods at the altars, and images, and temples, is in reality offered to demons.

CHAP. LXX.

His next remark was, "Have not these inferior powers had assigned to them by God different departments, according as each was deemed worthy?" But this is a question which requires a very profound knowledge. For we must determine whether the Word of God, who governs all things, has appointed wicked demons for certain employments, in the same way as in states executioners are appointed, and other officers with creel but needful duties to discharge; or whether as among robbers, who infest desert places, it is customary for them to choose out of their number one who may be their leader,--so the demons, who are scattered as it were in troops in different parts of the earth, have chosen for themselves a chief under whose command they may plunder and pillage the souls of men. To explain this fully, and to justify the conduct of the Christians in refusing homage to any object except the Most High God, and the First-born of all creation, who is His Word and God, we must quote this from Scripture, "All that ever came before Me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them;" and again, "The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy;"' and other similar passages, as, "Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power. of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you;"(2) and again, "Thou shall tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shall thou trample under feet."(3) But of these things Celsus knew nothing, or he would not have made use of language like this: "Is not everything which happens in the universe, whether it be the work of God, of angels, of other demons, or of heroes, regulated by the law of the Most High God? Have these not had assigned to them various departments of which they were severally deemed worthy? Is it not just, therefore, that he who serves God should serve those also to whom God has assigned such power?" To which he adds, "It is impossible, they say, for a man to serve many masters." This last point we must postpone to the next book; for this, which is the seventh book which we have written in answer to the treatise of Celsus, is already of sufficient length.

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