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* thereh is no harm in being learned; for learning leads to 6 virtue.'

25. Ifj says Celsus, those idols are nothing, what harm • can there be to partake in their feasts? If they are demons, • then no doubt they are of God; and they are to be be• lieved and honoured according to the laws, and to be * prayed to, that they may be propitious to us.'

Origen, with good reason, supposeth, that Celsus bere has an eye to 1 Cor. viii. 4-10, 11, “ As concerning, therefore, thing's offered to idols, we kuow, that an idol is nothing in the world." And what follows.

26. • Notwithstandingk the many divisions and conten* tions wbich there are among them, says Celsus, you may • bear them all saying : “ The world is crucified unto me, . and I unto the world.” ? Which are the very words of Gal. vi. 14.

27. • Some of them, he says, will neither give, nor receive a reason of the things which they believe.

It is St. Peter's advice, 1 ep. iii. 15, “ And be always ready to give an answer to every one that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you." Whether Celsus alluded to that place, we cannot say positively; though it is not improbable.

28. After these things, says Origen, he speaks to us • in this manner; Surely, you will not say, that when he • could not persuade those that were here, he went to Hades, 'to persuade those who are there.'

St. Peter says, 1 ep. iii. 19, 20, “ By which also he went, and preached to the spirits in prison, which some time were disobedient," and what follows. There seems to be a reference to this text. And Celsus was aware, they would say something like to what he says, surely you will not say :' and his apprehension might be built upon this text. And in Origen's next section there follows a quotation from Celsus, wbich may confirm this supposition ; but it would be too prolix to enlarge farther here.

29. Celsus chargeth the christians with having gross apprehensions of God: He says, we expect to see God


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Το μεν αληθως πεπαιδευσθαι και κακον οδος γαρ επ' αρετην εσιν ή παιδευ-
Ib. sect. 49.

i L. viii, sect. 24. p. 393. k IIαντων δε, φησιν, ακgση- λεγοντων το, Εμοι κοσμος εςαυρωται κεγω Tu kogua. L. v. sect. 64. p. 273.

Φησι δε τινας, μηδε βελομενες διδοναι η λαμβανειν λογον περι ων πιςευασι. L. 1. sect. 9. p. 8. in L. ii. sect. 43. p. 85.

-λεγων προσδεχεσθαι ήμας οφθαλμοις σωματος θεον οψεσθαι, και ωσι της φωνης αυτ8 ακέεσθαι, και χερσιν alo0rpaus Yavelv aute. L. vii. sect 34. p. 374.


with the eyes of the body, and to hear his voice with our ears, and to handle biin with our sensible hands.'

St. John says, 1 ep. i. 1, " That which was from the beginning: which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands bave handled of the word of life." And iii. 2, “ We shall see him as he is.” Whether Celsus referred to either of those places, I cannot say positively.

30. I shall allege no more passages from Celsus concerning the books of the New Testament; many more references to them will appear in the next section. In those already cited are plain references to the gospels, and to several of St. Paul's epistles, if not also to the epistles of St. Peter and St. Jobn. We are assured by Celsus, that there were histories of Jesus, ' written by his disciples :' and that these books were well known, and in high esteem with christians. We have seen plain references to the gospels of Matthew, Luke, and John; and probably, he had read, and was acquainted with Mark's also. Nor is there so much as a pretence or insinuation, that the later christians, of Celsus's age, had forged those histories to do honour to Jesus. He only says, that they had altered some things: but of that he produced no proof.


Passages of Celsus concerning christian fucts, chiefly such

as are recorded in the New Testament.

1. • JT is but a few years, says Celsus, since he [Jesus] . delivered this doctrine, who is now reckoned by the chris«tians to be the Son of God.'

Never the worse for that; if Jesus had not been acknowledged to be the Son of God, soon after his coming, be ought never to have been so acknowledged. But he was esteemed to be so, when the evidences, which he produced, might be examined. As there were many in divers parts of the world, who soon owned his divine mission and character, notwithstanding many outward discouragements, there is reason to believe, that they had good evidences of it. Origen answers very well : “ That Jesus had by his doc6 trine so affected many in different parts of the world,

· L. i. sect. 26. p. 21.

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• Greeks and barbarians, wise and unwise, that they had . contended for christianity even unto death.'

2. In another place Celsus calls Jesus “ the first author 6 of this sedition,

3. • After this,'c says Origen,' he brings in his Jew, ar'guing against Jesus in this manner. First, that he pre• tended, he was born of a virgin ; then he reproacheth him • with his birth in a Jewish village, and of a poor woman of • that country, whod subsisted by the labour of her hands. · And he says, she was put away by her husband, who was

a carpenter by trade, he having found that she was guilty • of adultery. Then he says, that having been turned out . of doors by her husband, she wandered about in a shame' ful manner, till she had brought forth Jesus in an obscure • place, and that he, being in want, served in Egypt for a * livelihood; and having there learned some charms, such ' as the Egyptians are fond of, he returned home; and then ' valuing himself upon those charms, [powers,] he set up • himself for a God.'

4. Farther, Origen says, 'thate this fictitious person of a • Jew says, that the mother of Jesus, being great with child, ' was put away by the carpenter, who had espoused her, · he having convicted her of adultery with a soldier namned · Pantheras.' But Origen seems not to give us here the words of Celsus exactly. However, afterwards Celsus goes on : · Wasf the mother of Jesus handsome, that God should • be in love with her beauty ? It is unworthy of God, to ' suppose him to be taken with a corruptible body, or to • be in love with a woman, whether she be of royal descent, or otherwise.'

5. In another places Celsus says: · But if God would • send forth a spirit from himself, what need had he to • breathe him into the womb of a woman ? For, since he • knew how to make men, he might have formed a body for this spirit, and not cast bis own spirit into such filth.'

6. From all which we learn, that there did then obtain among christians such an account of the miraculous conception of Jesus, as we now have in the gospels; that he was born of a virgin, by the power of the Highest; that her busband was a carpenter, that Jesus was born in a village or town of Judea, which was not then of any great extent, and

2 Οσπερ εσιν αυτοις της τασεως αρχηγετης. L. viii. sect. 14. p. 387. c L. i. sect. 28. p. 22.

, πενιχρας, και χερνητιδος. Ιb.

e L. i. sect. 32. p. 25. Of this Pantheras see again, l. i. sect. 69. p. 54. f L. i. sect. 39. p. 30

8 L. vi. sect. 73. p. 325.


also that he was in Egypt, and returned thence; and that there were some extraordinary works related to be done by him afterwards; upon account of which he was in the highest veneration with many. See Matt. i. and ii; Luke and ii.

Origen" says very well, that the story of Pantheras is a silly and improbable fiction, the forgery of blind malice, to overthrow the credit of the miraculous conception of Jesus. And he appeals to Celsus, and all the Greeks and barbarians in general, whether it was at all likely, that a person, whose great design was to deliver men from the corruptions of this world, and who had succeeded to a great degree, in converting men from their vices, should not have so much as a legitimate birth? It was much more likely that it should be of an extraordinary kind, such as that received by christians.

However, it was no hard matter for malicious enemies, such as the Jews were, to whom Celsus had applied for scandal, to frame a different account from that of the disci, ples; concerning which I sball only say farther, that undoubtedly, at first, Mary only knew, that the child was conceived in her by a divine interposition, without the concurrence of a man. It is probable, that the account given by her is true, in that her husband was convinced of it, and fully satisfied about it, as appears from the evangelists. Their account is supported by all the great works done by Jesus, and by his resurrection from the dead, and by the miracles of bis apostles, and by the wonderful success and great effects of his doctrine in the world. This is said for the truth of the miraculous birth of the Lord Jesus.

As to the fitness of it, I would observe, that there is no absurdity in the evangelists' account of this matter : and we may do Celsus the justice to own, that he does not deny the possibility of it.

7. After these things,' says. Origen, 'the Jew in Celsus, • instead of the Magians in the gospels, says: It was given ' out by Jesus, that Chaldeans were moved at the time of his birth, to come, and worship him, as a God, when he was but a little child, and thatk this was told to Herod the tetrarch; » L. i. sect. 32, 33. p. 25.

-Χαλδαιες φησιν υπο τε Ιησε λελεχθαι κινηθεντας επι τη γενεσει αυτ8. κ. λ. L. i. sect. 58. p. 45.

k 6 And that this was told to Herod the tetrarch.' Και Ηρωδη τω Tetpapx? Toto deồndwkeval. I would here make two remarks upon Celsus mistaking Herod king of all Judea, in whose time Jesus was born, for his son Herod the tetrarch of Galilee. First, We see the great difficulty of any writer's taking upon himself the character of a more early age than that in which he lives, without committing some great mistakes. This instance may confirm


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who issued out an order to have all killed, who had been born there about that time, intending to kill him with the • rest, lest if he should live to mature age, he should take • the government.'

It cannot be questioned, but that here is a reference to the history in the second chapter of St. Matthew's gospel. We are not to wonder, that Celsus, who was pleased to consider Jesus as an impostor, should say, that this, or some other things in the gospels,' were given out,' or invented by Jesus hiinself, by whom therefore bis disciples were deceived. But that is only said, not proved; for it is unreasonable to suppose, that the disciples should preach Jesus at the hazard of their lives, without any good evidences of his divine mission and character. There are many great things related of Jesus in the gospels, which the disciples must have certainly known, whether they were true, or not. Moreover, it would have been in vain for Jesus, or his disciples, at that time, to tell a story of Chaldeans, or Wise Men of the East, coming to Jerusalem to worship a new-born child, and of Herod's thereupon putting to death a great number of children in an adjacent village, unless it had been true, and matter of fact; especially with so many circumstances as are put into the narrative by St. Matthew.

8. • Afterwards! the Jew in Celsus addresses Jesus, and 6 says: “ What occasion had you, when an infant, to be car' ried into Egypt, lest you should be killed? A God has no * reason to be afraid of death. And now an angel comes

from heaven to direct you and your relations to flee into · Egypt, lest you should be taken up and put to death; as • if the great God, who had already sent two angels upon * your account, could not have preserved you, his own Son, * in safety at home.”'

Here is another manifest reference to the history in the second chapter of St. Matthew; but there is nothing solid in this objection of Celsus. Jesus, being a man, born of a woman, he was exposed to dangers, as other men are. And it was more agreeable to divine wisdom and goodness, that Jesus should sometimes decline dangers, than that his enemies should be destroyed. See Matt, ii, 13, and compare ch, i.

the argument, so much insisted on for the credibility of the evangelical history, in the first part of this work: where the evangelists' freedom from all errors of this kind was largely shown. Secondly, Since so learned a inan as Celsus, about the middle of the second century, has made such a blunder in history, the christian writers, of the same age, or later, ought not to be too severely treated for any mistakes of the like kind. i L. i. sect. 66. p. 51.

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