« ÎnapoiContinuați »
• when his master bent forward his leg, with a smile, and
unmoved, said : “ You will break it." And when be bad • broke it, said to him : “ Did I not say, you would break • it ?” Did your God, when under punishment, say any
thing like this? There is also the Sibyl, whom some of ' your people quote, whom you might as well, or better, have called the daughter of God, But instead of that, though you have inserted many impious things into her writings, you will have him to be God who ended an infamous life with a miserable death. Had it not been bet*ter for you to take Jonas, who was in the whale's belly,
or Daniel, who was delivered from the beasts, or some 6 others more wonderful than they?'
To each of these instances Origen makes propers replies. I shall take only a part of what he says.
· He also sends us to Epictetus, extolling his fine saying ' when his leg was broke; which yet is not to be compared * with the wonderful works and words of Jesus, though they are so despised by Celsus; forasmuch as his words are accompanied with such a divine power, as to convert not * only many of the simple sort of people, but also many of • the more understanding:
• Then after bis catalogue of so many he says: Did your * God, when under punishment, say any thing like this? To • which we shall answer, that his silence under all the abuses 6 and reproaches which he met with, showed more fortitude
and patience, than any thing said by the Greeks under • their suffering's, provided Celsus will but believe what • has been written by men of the best credit; who, after
they had truly related his miracles, have also related his silence under his sufferings; and when derided, and • dressed in a purple robe, with a crown of thorns upon his • head, and a recd in his hand instead of a sceptre, was perfectly meek, saying nothing inean, nor any thing provoking, to those, who so many ways abused him.'
9. * Ift Celsus had alleged any kind of infamous actions in the life of Jesus, we would have done our best to answer • every thing that seemed to him to be so. As for the * miserable death of Jesus, the same may be objected to • Socrates, and Anaxarchus, just mentioned, and many * others. Was then the death of Jesus miserable, and theirs • not? Or was theirs not miserable, but that of Jesus misera. ble?' So writes Origen.
10. Again u Celsus argues: - If you tell them, that it is s Sect. 54, 55, 56, p. 368, 369.
Ibid. p. 369. fin. u L. viii. sect. 14. p. 387
not the Son of God, but he who is Father of all, whom men * ought to worship, they will not be satisfied, unless you • also worship bin who is the author of their sedition : not • that they exceed in the worship of God, but that they • above measure worship this man. Celsus had said somewhat to the like purpose
a little before ; in both which places Origen's answers may be seen.
11. • Afterwards," says Origen, · Celsus speaks to this . purpose. But if God at last, like Jupiter in the comedy, awaked out of a long sleep, will deliver mankind from the evils under which they labour, why did he send this spirit, . whom you speak of, into one corner only ? He should • have breathed in the like manner into many bodies, and • sent persons all over the world- And do you not think • it ridiculous to maintain, as you do, that the Son of God was sent to the Jews?'
This then was the christian account, that Jesus, the Christ, the Son of God, came among the Jewish people. Nor is there any absurdity in this. A messenger froin the true God is fitly sent, where God is known and worshipped, as he was by the Jews. To them also this special messenger, the Messiah, had been promised. And among them, by many wonderful appearances, God had preserved, for many ages, the knowledge of himself, and the expectation of that great person. And though the Christ came in person to them only, by him others were commissioned, and fully furnisbed to teach all the world: which was sufficient, and was the wisest method.
At the beginning of this passage Celsus bints an objection to the christian religion, taken from the late appearance of Jesus in the world. The same objection appears* in some other places of his argument; but I need not transcribe them.
God never neglected mankind; he was constantly teaching them in the works of creation, and in the ordinary inethods of his providence. Extraordinary messengers are a favour; several such had been sent of old to the Jews, and before their time to the patriarchs; at last he sent Jesus Cbrist. We have certain proofs of his mission, and great character. The seasonableness of his coming, and the wisdom of sending him at the time he came, ought not to be disputed; but the favour should be thaukfully received, and carefully improved, after due examination, and observing the evidences of his mission.
w L. vi. sect. 78. p. 329. * Vid. I. iv. sect. 7. p. 165
5 Hæc est igitur animæ liberandæ
" L. viii. sect. 12.
12. Thc? Jew in Celsus,' says Origen, blames the christians for alleging the prophets, who had foretold the * things concerning Jesus; whereas, lie says, the prophecies ' may be applied to many others more probably than to • Jesus,
We hence learn, that the writers of the New Testament, (to whom Celsus has an eye in most of his arguments,) and the christians after thiem, did make use of the prophets in arguing for Jesus : tlough Celsus, or his Jew, would not allow their arguments to be valid.
13. Celsus, with great indignation, says : The Pythian, the Dodonæan, the Clarian, the Branchidian, the Ammo. nian oracles, and many others, by whose directions colonies • have been successfully planted all over the world, must
pass for nothing: but the obscure Jewish predictions, said • or not said, the like to which are still practised in Phoeni* cia and Palestine, are thought to be wonderful, and im* mutably certain.'
Certainly the christians had some benefit by this argument: or Celsus would not have been so much provoked. It deserves our observation also, that those heathens, and even the Epicureans, (for such was Celsus, who had been wont to ridicule the most renowned oracles, were now willing to give them some repute. So liard pressed were they by the progress of christianity, that they were willing to set up again, as real and valuable, such things as they had before decried as cheats and impostures.
14. We have now seen what Celsus says of christian principles, and the grounds of them; as we had before seen what he says of their great facts. It may be worth the while, likewise, to observe some hints relating to the success of the christian doctrine.
Passages concerning the progress of the christian religion.
1. · Ata first,' says Celsus, they were few in number, and then they agreed, [or were of one mind.] But being in
universalis via, id est, universis gentibus divinâ miseratione concessa- -Nec debuit, nec debebit ei dici : Quare modo, et quare tam sero ? quoniam mittentis consilium non est humano ingenio penetrabile. Aug. de Civ. Dei, 1. x. cap. 32. n. 2. 2 L. vii. sect. 1, 2.
* L. vii. sect. 3. p. 333. Αρχομενοι μεν, φησιν, ολιγοι τε ησαν, και εν εφρoναν" ες πληθος δε σπαρεντες, αυθις αν τεμνονται, και σχιζονται, και σασεις ιδιας εχειν έκασοι θελεσι. rod. L. iii. sect. 10.
creased, and spread abroad, they divide again and again, and every one will have a party of his own; which is what ' they were disposed to of old.'
I cannot but think, that Celsus has an eye to some things in the Acts of the Apostles, where the wonderful unanimity of the first christians is recorded, as Acts ii. 44_47; iv. 32 -37. In his time there were many sects and divisions among them, he says. He adds: Which is what they
were disposed to of old,' or from the beginning, apx?oev. Here he may refer to the early divisions in the church of Corinth, 1 Cor.i. 11–17; ii. 3—6; xi. 17, 18, and, perhaps, to some of St. Paul's exhortations to concord and harmony. He may refer likewise to contentions about the method of receiving the Gentile converts, Acts xv, and other places. For it appears to ine very probable, that he has here an eye to some things recorded in the New Testament,
However, he owns, that the christians were now much increased : and, with regard to the divisions which were then among them, it may be observed, that they were foretold by Christ's apostles. But such things are not the fault of the gospel itselt, but of men: vor is perfection to be attained or expected in this world. Origen says very well, there never was any thing useful, and considerable, about which men have not differed. In medicine, in philosophy, among Jews, Greeks, and barbarians, there are different sects and opinions.
2, Celsus,' says " Origen, brings in his fictitious person • of a Jew, bespeaking the Jewish believers in this manner: * What ailed you, fellow-citizens, that ye left the law of your
country, and seduced by him, to whom we spoke just now, you have deserted us, to go to another name, and another way of living ?' Again, When we had taken, and punished him, wlio led you about like brute beasts, you • lave notwithstanding forsaken the law of your country. • How can you begin upon our sacred books, and afterwards • disregard them ? when you have no other foundation but our law ?
It was well known, therefore, that there were Jews who believed in Jesus, and that they fetched arguments for their belief from the Jewish scriptures; and why might not those Jews who believed in Jesus, understand their books, as well as they who rejected him?
It is to be observed likewise, that after Jesus was crucified, or punished, as be expresseth it, there were Jews who were persuaded to believe in Jesus, and to profess his L. ii. sect. l. fin. p. 57.
c L. ii. sect. 4. p. 59.
religion. And I pray, how is that to be accounted for, but upon the supposition of soine good proofs and evidences afforded of his great character after his crucifixion ?
It appears to be very probable, that when Celsus wrote this, he had before hin the books of the Acts of the Apostles; and there he might have seen sufficient grounds of a faith in Jesus after he was put to death by the Jews.
3. • Hed says, that the Hebrews were originally Egyptians, and owed their rise to a sedition from the rest of • that people; so some Jews in the time of Jesus made a * sedition against the body of the Jewish nation, and follow«ed Jesus.
So that there was a good number of Jews who believed in Jesus, and followed him, though the body of the people did not, as we readily allow; but it was not a sedition, as Celsus calls it. Here again, I cannot but think, that Celsus had an eye to the book of the Acts,
4. In order the better to judge of the progress of the gospel, and the sincerity and steadiness of those who cmbraced it, it will be of use to observe what Celsus says of any difficulties and hardships which they lay under who professed these principles, and bore the name of christians.
5. • Thee first head of accusation with Celsus against christianity,' says Origen at the beginning of his work, • is, that christians secretly hold assemblies together con
trary to law.'
Origen supposeth bim to refer particularly to their agapæ, or love-feasts. I should think he might intend all their assemblies in general, for divine worship.
6. “Afterwards," says Origen," he speaks of the christians * performing and teaching those things which are agreeable
to their sentiments privately; and that therein they did • not act without reason, for avoiding the punishment of · death hanging over them. And he compares their dangers * to the dangers which men have been liable to on account • of philosophy; and he instanceth particularly in the case of Socrates; he might have added Pythagoras, and other philosophers. d L. iii. sect. 7. p. 115. Conf. sect. 5, 6. p. 114.
Πρωτον τα Κελση κεφαλαιον εσι, βελομενω διαβαλειν χρισιανισμον, ως συνθηκας κρυβδην προς αλληλες ποιεμενων χρισιανων παρα τα νενομισμενα. . Orig. contr. Cels. L. i. sect. 1. Bened. p. 4. Cantab.
Μετα ταυτα περι το κρυφα τα αρεσκοντα εαυτοις ποιειν και διδασκειν ειπων, , και ότι 8 ματην τετο ποιασιν, άτε διαθεμενοι την επηρτημενην αυτοις δικην τ8 θανατο όμοιοι τον κινδυνον κινδυνοις τοις συμβεβηκοσιν επι φιλοσοφια, ως Σωκρατει, κ. λ. L. i. sect. 3. p. 5.