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THE

APOLOGY OF ORIGEN

LGr 069

Yp
THE

APOLOGY OF ORIGEN
IN

REPLY TO

OELSTJS

A

CHAPTER IN

THE HISTORY OF APOLOGETICS

BY

JOHN PATKICK,
FORMERLY EXAMINKK

B.D.
J

MINISTER OF GREENSIDE PARISH, EDINBURGH IX DIVINITY, UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH

WILLIAM BLACKWOOD AND SONS
EDINBURGH AM* LONDON
MIm'ii
\
(
'

I

I

TO

ROBERT FLINT,
PROFESSOR OF DIVINITY
IN'

D.D.,

LL.D.

THE UNIVERSITY

OF EDINBURGH.

Digitized by the Internet Archive
in

2011 with funding from
University of Toronto

http://www.archive.org/details/apologyoforigeniOOpatr

PREFACE.

The aim
its
title.

of this
Its

monograph

is

indicated
is

by

primary object

to

give an

exposition of the principles and details of the

apology of Origen

;

but for that end

it

has been

deemed advisable

to give a full account of the to refute, as well as to

work which he sought

discuss the problems connected therewith.

The

analysis of the 'True

Word

'

is

the result of an

independent study of the fragments preserved

by Origen; but

I

have tested

my own
to the

con-

clusions by reference to all the relative literature to which
I

had access, aotably
Pelagaud.
of
It

works

of Keini, Aul>e, and

has been too

much

the

custom

Church historians (with
as

some conspicuous exceptions such

Baur) to

VI 11

PREFACE.

disparage the work of Celsus as a contemptible
tissue of sophistry
this
is

and slander

:

to

what extent

a true representation, every reader of
for

this

book may judge

himself.

According

to

the

view here presented, the key to the

philosophical and religious position of Celsus

may

be found in the similarity of his attack
of Julian.

to that

Both

revered the

same

theological master, both held the
of the national religions, the

same theory

same philosophy
both

of polytheism

;

and,

as

a

consequence,

adopted the same attitude towards Christianity.
Celsus was not the
first

of the

Greek thinkers

who

believed, or

professed to believe, in the

reconciliation of philosophical theism with the

worship of the gods of the people; but he was
tin-

first

who

had, at

tin-

same time, a compe-

tent

knowledge of Christianity, and saw clearly

that

between that view and
In

Christianity no
this consists the

compromise was possible
importance of Celsus
thought.
in

the history of religious

The work,

it

may

be

added,

was

almost

wholly written before the publication of Hatch's

PKEFACE.
1

IX

Hibbert Lecture

'

;

but indirectly

it

may

serve

to

throw some light on the question raised in

that fascinating book.
I

desire to acknowledge

my obligations

to the

Eev. William Patrick, B.D., Kirkintilloch, and
the Eev. George Gardiner, B.D., Kirknewton,

who have

read

the

proofs

and made many

valuable suggestions.

CONTENTS.

PART I.— THE ATTACK OF CELSUS.
:HAP.
I.

PAGE

THE 'TRUE WORD'— ITS DATE AND AUTHORSHIP,
ANALYSIS OF THE 'TRUE WORD,'

3 18

II.

III.

THE CULTURE OF CELSUS,

84

PART II.— THE REPLY OF ORIGEN.
I.

INTRODUCTION,

113
121

II.

DEFENCE OF THE SCRIPTURES,
DEFENCE OF THE
I.

III.

wA
ITS

I ;

NATION,

153
181

IV.
V.
\

THE PER80N AND WORK OF CHRIST, THE CHURCH AND
<

ADHERENTS,.

240

I.

llltivi

I

\NITY

AND THE EMPIRE,
ON
HELLENIC

vn. COUNTER-ATTACK

PHILOSOPHY

AND
I'D
I

RELIGION,

vm.

<

ONI LU8ION,

....

312

INDEX

PART

I.

THE ATTACK OF CELSUS

THE ATTACK OF CELSUS.

CHAPTER
THE 'TRUE WORD'

I.

— ITS
of

DATE AND AUTHORSHIP.

The
stage

'

True
in

Word

x

Celsus
of

marks an important
the
conflict

the

development

between

Hellenism and Christianity.
charges against

The vague monstrous
earlier apologists

which the

had

to

contend were no longer heard, or were repeated only
by superficial observers
rant fanaticism.

who echoed

the cry of igno-

With

the attack of Celsus the dis-

tinctive tenets of the Christian

system are seen to be

clearly
1

apprehended by a vigorous and subtle reprecalls
;

Origen
(ii.
1

it.

indifferently \6yos a\T)6i]s (Pref.,
;

c. i)
Lb

and a\-n6^s
adopted by

A070J

iii.

l

iv.

62;

viii.

76).

The

latter

form

the latest edil

etechau, in hie Prolegomena to a critical edition which hai doI yel appeared (Leipzig, 18S9 Pref., p. iv). have uaed
:
I

the editi
xviii.
I.

Cambridge,

L658

and Lommatnoh,

vols.

4

THE ATTACK OF CELSUS.
of

sentative

Greek

philosophy.

Herein

lies

the

unique significance of his work.
times confused what

That he has someto

we deem

be catholic truth

with the vagaries of Gnostic speculation, that he has
misinterpreted the details of some dogmas,
but, on the whole, he has
is

true
of

an accurate conception
its

the

great essentials

of

Christianity,

distinctive

position

and claims.

Even from

a purely historical

or literary point of view, few records are

more

inter-

esting

than this survival of an
:

ancient yet ever-

recurring conflict
of

to the student of apologetics it is

the deepest import.

The very
its

fact

of
is

such an

attack, apart altogether from
of the progress of Celsus that
of the

force, It
is

an index
the credit

Gospel.
first to

to

he was the

recognise that the

time for silence and contempt had passed, and that
the

new

faith

was not

to

be put in the same rank

with the numberless claimants on the credulity of
the populace, but was a
serious inquiry.

phenomenal

force

demanding
determined

The method

of attack has

the character of the defence, and some sections of both

have become antiquated, but in

its

leading ideas the

work

of

Celsus might have been written yesterday;
treatise takes its
it

and though every apologetic and colour from the age
in

form

which
it

was written, and
our analysis
of

the circumstances which called

forth,

and presentation

in systematic
if

form of the defence

Origen will be defective

it

does not show that the

THE 'TRUE WORD.'
great and
vital

5

principles

in

Christian Apologetics

were clearly formulated and developed by him.

The value and

interest of the
to

work depend

in great

measure on the date
probably assigned.
blindness, ascribed
writer,
2

which

it

can be definitely or

An
it

early inquirer, 1 with singular

to the

age of Nero

;

a recent

influenced by a dogmatic bias fatal to histori-

cal insight, holds that Celsus

was a contemporary

of

Origen, and

that

his

book was written about 240.

With one

exception, all the statements of Origen con-

cerning him are given as from hearsay, or are purely
hypothetical.

That exception
3

is

the statement that
therefore turn to
in the reply
in-

he was dead long ago.
the

We
it

must

work

itself,

as

we

find

embedded

of Origen.

There we find indications somewhat

definite, yet sufficient

to establish a reasonable prob-

ability that the
1

work was written between 169 and
sole ruler, or

70,

when Marcus Aurelius was

between

176 and ISO,

when

the empire was under the joint

sway
Tin-

of

Marcus Aurelius and Commodus. 4
of

position

the Church, both in

its

internal

and external
1

relations,

seems to point

to that period.

P. Faydit, 1695.

'

Volkmar—Der
^817 Kal iraKai

(Jrsprung uneerer Evangelien, pp. SO, 164, 165.

vtKpov

— Tref.,

c.

1.

Nd

lati

1

Muiiciit

can be baaed on the coincidencea be-

Celeua and Ifinucfru Felix, aa the date of the Latter and hia

ion to Tertnllian are matters of keen controversy.

For an

in-

the relative literature, aee

an article by Bfaaaebieau,
816.

lie

de

I'lli

rtoire d<

&

[ions,'

voL rv.

p.

THE ATTACK OF CELSUS.
Gnostic teaching
a
is

in full vigour.

Marcionitism

is

Living force. 1
its

Celsus speaks of a body which, be-

cause of
the
of
"

relative greatness or authority,
2

he

calls

Great Church,"

and yet

refers to the teaching

the Ophites as Christian. 3

Origen supposes that
faith,

this

was done by Celsus

in

ill

but in this he

erred.

We may

therefore think of a time

when

the

essentially unchristian character of the source of their

teaching had not yet been formally recognised.
reference
sects
to

The

to the

tenets of various obscure heretical
of

which had escaped the search
to a period

Origen tends

throw back the date
first

immediately subIn speaking
of

sequent to their

promulgation.
to

such as illustrating the tendency
in the Church, Celsus of Marcellina,
4

continuous schisms
of the followers

makes mention

who, according to Irenaeus, 6 came to

Rome

in the episcopate of Anicetus.
it is

From such

in-

dications

clear

that

the

'

True

Word

'

cannot

have been written before 170.
of

Against this in favour
allusion
to

an earlier date has been urged the

Antinous,
impossible

who was drowned
that

in 130,

it

being deemed
favourite
of

the

worship of
survive

that

Hadrian
J>ut
1

could

long

the

emperor

himself.

it

is

evident from the medals and inscriptions,

vi.

51-53, 74, 29.
dirb fjL(yd\r]s
10.

:;

twu
vii.

(KKAyaias rovro dfxoAoyovvTwv
'

v.

59.

v.

62.

Iren.

con.

B&rea.,

i.

25,
i.

6.

Anicetus was

bishop,

155-165

btfoot'a Clement, vol.

p.

327).

THE 'TRUE WORD.
and even from the words
of of Origen, that the

7

worship

Antinons had not ceased by the middle of the

third century. 1

This view

is

confirmed by a consideration of the

relation of the
of persecution. 2

Church

to the empire.

It

was a time

Keim may

be in error in holding that

there

is

convincing evidence of a general persecution

but the conditions are not satisfied by the theory of
a

few sporadic

cases.

The view that the passages
The endeavour
it

quoted only express a pious wish on the part of a
bitter
pitiate

enemy

is

grotesque. 3

to pro-

the Christians at the close, unless
is
;

be re-

garded as ironical,
general persecution
it

adverse to the supposition of a
or
it

may

be an indication that
to

had begun

to decline, or

had lasted long enough
its futility as

prove to an acute observer
suppressing Christianity.

a

method

of

When

the work was written, the barbarians were

threatening the stability of the empire. 4

The

lan-

guage suggests a measure of alarm greater than was
likely to be created

by the

first

threatened onset, but
of

which would be natural in view
1

former experience.

[n DietrichBon's monograph on " Antinooe " ample proof
lit-

maybe
least

found.

quotes inscriptions

(p.

327) of dates from 1S0-183, and
in

shows thai games were celebrated
221
i.

Ins

honour down at

bo

p.

881
ii.

.

a.
1.".;

iii.

86.
•')'•>,

:):

nil
I

49, 69.

Jachmann
Celse,
4

—D<

Philosopho (1836).

Pels

bude sur

p.

201.
68.

viii.

8

THE ATTACK OF CELSUS.
are therefore not to think of the collision with

We
in

the Marcomaniii in 166, bnt of a later attack which,

the judgment

of

one well qualified to read the
at hand.

signs of the times,

was near

The conditions
of

seem adapted

to

some date between the defeat

Avidius Cassius in 175, and the disasters that befell
the empire at the hands of the Parthians and Marco-

manni

in 178.
if

Celsus,

Origen quotes accurately, speaks now of
of

one
it

ruler,

now

more than

one. 1

By most
"

writers

has been assumed that the phrase

the present

rulers " points to a joint sovereignty.

It is doubtful to

whether the phrase necessarily refers
rulers,

the

chief

and not generally
enforcing the

to

persons

in

authority.

When

duty of loyalty, especially in

view of the irruptions of the barbarians, he speaks
of the danger of the king being left alone.

Would

a

writer have dared to speak of one

when two were

reigning

?

or to speak of
?

two when there was but

one sovereign

The

probabilities are in favour of the

view of a single ruler.
for a

Accustomed
is

to joint rulers

long series of years, the writer
slip

more

likely to

have made a
than

when

lie

spoke of more than one

when he spoke

of one.

Perhaps we

may

find a

solution by fixing on the transition period

when the

Emperor Aurelius was
of a colleague
J

sole ruler,

and the assumption

was on the eve

of being accomplished.

6

BaaiXevs

viii.

08, 73.

ol

vvv {SaaiXevovres

viii.

71.

THE 'TRUE WORD.'
In that case the
176.
'

9

True "Word

'

probably appeared in

In regard to the place of composition, the strength
of

the

imperial

instinct

everywhere revealed, the
the
aristocratic
all,

type of
spirit

Jew

personified,

tone,

the

of

his environment,

above

the knowledge

of heresies of

Western

origin, of which,

with
all

all his

love of knowledge and desire to
(

know

heresies,

Irigen

had never heard, 1

all

seem

to point to Borne.
little.

Of the writer himself we know
a

Celsus was

common name. 2

Our Celsus had

visited Phoenicia,
in Persia.

Palestine,

and Egypt, and may have been

He

obviously belonged to the class of which Plutarch

speaks,
ness,

who

visited foreign countries not to

do busi-

but to gather materials for theological studies. 3
there our positive knowledge ends.
lie

And
many

Accepting

the suggestion of Origen that

was an Epicurean,

writers have sought to identify

him with
'

that

friend of Lucian to

whom
lias

the

'

Pseudomantis

was

dedicated.

The theory

been elaborated by Keim

with

.ureal

industry and subtlety. 4

He

succeeds in

proving that Origen was thinking of that Celsus, but
1

V.

Spencer,
P<

Annot.,

2,

•') ;

Keim, Celsus' Wahrea Wort.,

p.

276

;

idf pp.

152 154.

Plutarch's description of Cleombrotua might pass for a portrail
elsus
:

<pi\odtdfiu)i/ Ka\ (pi\o/xa6y)S
.

.

.

.

Kal avvi)yev toTOpiai

v\i)v (piKocrofplas Qfokoy'iav

.

.

.

WXoi

txo\nTT)s.

l'lut itivli,

De

!.'

!-••.

vii.
'

6
'

1

S

I.

4

<

>i>.

<-u..

)'.

275

n

7.

10
that
is

THE ATTACK OF CELSUS.
is all.

For the evidence

of Oricjen in this

matter
to

of little value.

The

treatise

had heen sent
it.
1

him

by Ambrose, who desired him
Celsus —
in the

to reply to

Origen

had heard that there were two persons
"

of the

name

of

both Epicureans, the one of an earlier date

time of Nero, the other in the time of Hadrian
2

or later."

But the teaching

of the

book

is

at vari-

ance with this assumption, and the fact puzzles him
greatly.

He

seizes

on every point that can be con-

strued as showing any affinity to Epicureanism, not
solely for the purpose of discrediting the criticism of

Celsus, but partly to satisfy himself in regard to a

perplexing problem.
of Plato, that in

That Celsus was a great admirer
things he spoke as a Platonist,
as

many
Plato

that he quoted

an authority whether he

agreed with him or not, Origen plainly saw and admitted.8

And
of

on several occasions his own arguno validity unless on the assumption

ments are
ili; it

his opponent

was a

Platonist,
lie

and a believer

in

Providence.
tion.
"

In perplexity

suggests the true solu-

He

has studiously kept back his Epicurean

views, or, as

some one might

say,

had afterwards
might
4

changed

to a better system, or, as another

say,

had only the same name
last

as the

Epicurean."

The

seems the true view.

The arguments
'

in favour of

the identification of the author of the
1

True

Word

Pref.
vi.

1

and

1

;

viii.
i.

7<J.
4

"

i.

8.

:;

17; iv. 83

;

32.

iv. 54.

Cf.

i.

8

;

iii.

22, 35, 80; v. 8.

THE 'TRUE WORD/
with the friend of Lucian are briefly these
:

11

They

were contemporaries, they visited the same countries,
they both wrote on magic, they possessed the same

temperament and

intellectual characteristics.

That

they were contemporaries, and visited the same countries, is

true

;

but nothing else

is

established. 1

It is

a mistake to transform the

mere hypothesis

of Origen

into a direct affirmation.

Celsus, the friend of Lucian,

wrote a work on
utility
this,

magic, about

whose beauty and

Lucian speaks highly. 2

Origen had heard of
posihis

and finding an inconsistency between the

tion adopted in that

work and that assumed
it

in

attack on Christianity, attributed

to the unscrupu"

lous character of a bitter controversialist.

See here
!

how he seems
not

to

admit the existence

of limbic

I

do

know

if

he be the same who has written books
3

against magic."

But, apart from any other considera-

tion, a writer like Celsus,

vain of his universal culture

and impatient

of

second-hand knowledge, would cer-

tainly have alluded to his

own

studies on that subject,

and would not have

fortified his

own
his

conclusions by

referring to the views of

some physician

whom

he

bad met
1

with

in
"l!
'*

the

course of

travels. 4

The

Rfucfa stn

Polemique PaSenne
boul
<-i".
«

la

Fin du

put by Ceixn (pp. 290, 201) and Aubr II' Steele,' p. 172) on the parallel
in

1

1

1 -

Egyptian temples found

Lucian (Imagines,

<•.

11):
It

iii.

17.

But nothing can be based on
Lament
(Paid.,
iii.

a
t,

metaphor
I

so natural.

<.

2,

-.

lindorf).
68.
<

Pseudomanl
4

i-,
i.

-.

26.
:;•:,

i.

't'.

i.

8.

vi.

11.

Cf.

26, 28,

88

;

viii.

I

12

THE ATTACK OF CELSUS.
'

closing chapter of the
crucial

Pseudomantis

'

contains the
" I

passage

on the point in controversy. 1
it

have

deemed

fitting,"

says

Lucian, " to

write

these things, to
rade,

show

my
truth,

goodwill to a dear comall

whom

I

hold in honour above
of

men

for his

wisdom and love

his gentle manners, his
life,

moderation, his tranquillity of
tercourse with others
;

and courteous

in-

and, further, as a

work

pleas-

ing to thee, to defend Epicurus as a

man

truly holy

and divine

in nature,
is

who

alone

knew beauty along
who wait on
sees in this

with truth, and
his teaching."

the liberator of those

Keim, followed by Aube, 2

passage convincing evidence for the identification of
the two, and declares that one

must be almost blind
of

who

does

not see in

this

description

Lucian's

friend the very portrait of the author of the 'True

Word.'
gentle

Many
outside
of

a

bitter

controversialist
of

has

been

the

sphere

controversy,

but the

whole tone

the work of Celsus indicates an im-

passioned spirit strong in his love and keen in his
hate.
e

That Lucian and Celsus were both men of
tolerance

who might have
to the

retained their friendin

ship,
eal

however widely they
is

differed

their theologi-

views,

nothing

point, for the

words

of

Lucian assume that their views were identical.
curus
is

Epi-

described as one

"who had
knew
\>.

seen

into

the
3

nature of things and alone,
1

tlie

truth in them."
'

C. 61.

-

Keim,

p. 287.

Aube*,

168.

I'^euclo., c. 25.

THE 'TRUE WORD.'
Celsus never mentions his name.

13

He would

never
is

have assented to the estimate of him which he

assumed
is

to support.

In the eyes of Lucian, Epicurus

an emancipator.

A

thinker, who, though in one
is

point of view an agnostic,
dence,

yet a believer in Provioffend against

who would not have men

God

even in thought, who professes to believe in the immortality of the soul, and to be adverse to any teaching which weakens faith in a future state of reward

and punishment,
pator.

is

clearly no disciple of the emanciof a distinctively

The only passage

Epicurean

tone

is

the striking chapter in which he scoffs at the

Christian conception of God's special interest in man,

by maintaining that the animals are in some respects

more divine than man, and
him.

in all respects equal to
is

But the motive there

mainly controversial, no more

and on the ground
to be held

of such teaching Celsus is

an Epicurean than Arnobius, 1 who from

apologetic motives goes even further than he in de-

grading man.

It

is

altogether wide of the
of

mark

to

adduce the scurrilous nature
the attack

some

of the details of

on Christianity, as a testimony
to the
2

that he

could not have belonged
school of the
that

grave and dignified
say nothing of the

Platonists;

for, to

the mosl

abusive sections are put into the

.

.

I

lentee,
-'

ii.

16.

Ap,

Philippi

l»'-

Cain

.

.

.

philoaophandi genera*

— who,

how*

fully

acknowledge!

Celmis'i obligation! t" Plato.

14

THE ATTACK OF CELSUS.
of a

mouth

Jew, and are a true representation of the

Jewish slanders of Christianity, Celsus throughout
his

work

is

above
to

all

things an assailant, and does

not hesitate
destructive.

bring forward arguments mutually
to

The school

which he belonged cannot

be gathered from the details, but from the principles

which underlie them, and from his own positive teaching.

No

one can read the work
is

itself

and suppose
too independof his

that the writer
ent to belong to

an Epicurean.
school,

He

is

any

and had a system

own which he proposed
tone
is

to elaborate, 1

but the ground-

essentially Platonic.

In this respect, Celsus
of Julian is in

does not stand alone.

The attack
2

most

respects similar to his.

He

is

the intellectual de-

scendant of Celsus, and from his school we
the type of his progenitor.

may

learn

The author

of the

'True

Woid'

could not have been of the same school as the

friend of Lucian, for there could

be no intellectual

sympathy between Lucian and him.
philosophy by
ligions
its

Lucian saw that

interpretation of the national rebe-

had destroyed them irrecoverably; Celsus

lieved in the possibility of a

modus

vivendi.

Celsus
;

had great reverence
Lucian revelled
1

for the past

and abhorred novelty

in

sheer intellectual wantonness, and

viii.

76.
ii.

-•e notes to chap.

passim.

It

is

singular that Keiin, while

pointing out the influence of Celsus on
258,
2.VJ),

H

ml Porphyry (pp.

has nut noted the close connection between CelsuB and

Julian.

THE 'TRUE WORD.'

15

applied the scalping-knife with equal relish and keenness to the gods of Greece, the speculations of philosophers, and the

new

cults,

grotesque or monstrous.

That diversity
to

of national religions
is

which Celsus held
of

be divinely ordered,
is

in the

judgment

Lucian

a proof that there
all.
1

no sound basis

for a theology at

Tn a word, the identification can only be main-

tained on the supposition of Origen, that he renounced

Epicureanism and became a Platonist

;

or

Origen's

charge of wilful suppression of his opinions must be
sustained,

and

in

attacking

Christianity

from the

standpoint of Platonism he was only acting a part,
just as
to

when he assumed the mask
But

of a

Jew

or

seemed
no
indi-

acknowledge ma^ic.

of this there is
it,

cation,
for
it
it.

and there was no advantage in

nor necessity

The work
the

of Celsus is so valuable just

because

is

work

of a

Platonist.

An

antagonist like

Lucian,

who

regards Christianity as only one of the
is

many
who,

manifestations of religious folly,

of less inter-

est in the
it'

development

of Christian

thought than one

not a

consummate

hypocrite,

was a man

of

deeply

religious

temperament, and

was opposed
patriotism,

to
re

Christianity alike on the grounds of
Ligion,

and philosophy.
to

Whatever obscurity may attach
of tlio

our knowledge

man and
clear

liis

age,

our knowledge of the work Origen
12.

and

definite.
1

not

only makes

Z

16

THE ATTACK OF CELSUS.
it,

Large quotations from
order,

but he quotes as a rule in
alters

and

tells

us

when he
or

the order. 1

To

accuse

him

of mutilation or suppression is ridiculous.'2

With the

speculations

digressions of Celsus on

questions which had no direct reference to Christianity he was not

concerned

;

his only

aim was

to

render innocuous the poisonous shafts, so that by them
the

weak

in faith

might not be wounded.

Hence some

sections of the positive teaching

may

be imperfect, but
is lost.

no part

of his attack

on Christianity

Origen

expresses again and again his determination to leave

no statement untested, even those which seem childish.
3

To what extent the occasional want

of connecdifficult to

tion
say.

may

be due to Origen or Celsus

it is

Origen,

who had

the 'True

Word'

before him,
at-

frequently alludes to
tributes to passion

its

want

of order,

which he

and hatred. 4
skilful

But though Celsus

was an enemy, he was a
his

enemy, and marshalled
fitted for his end.

arguments in the manner best

He

marred the unity

of his

work by

sacrificing every-

thing to effectiveness.

He
but,

cannot be freed from the
apart

charge of repetition

;

from his peculiar

dislike of certain Christian

dogmas which are always

crossing his vision, this was a necessary consequence
1

v. 34.
v.

2
ii.

As Aube and Pelagaud.
(c.

:!

28

;

20

;

iv.

18

;

v. 53,

&c.

Cyril

Jul.,

ii.

38 D), on the

contrary, omits

some

of the charges of Julian as being too blas-

phemous.
4

<xvyK€X vtx ^ vus (IpVH-tw*

5tct tt\r)s ttjs

(3iflAov

i.

40.

THE 'TRUE WORD.'
of the

17

method

of attack

which he adopted.

To attack

Christ and Christianity in the person of a
a masterstroke of policy
;

Jew was
for

bnt

it

was impossible
sections,

Celsus to

make

this attack in

two

and

after-

wards, from his
Christianity,

own

philosophical position, to assail
disorder.

without repetition and some

As
its

the reply of Origen bears directly on the attack,
significance can only be fully understood after a

detailed account of the

work

of Celsus.

The following

analysis

is

the result of a careful study of the pass-

ages quoted or only obscurely suggested by Origen

an endeavour has been made to supply connecting
links

where they seemed necessary

;

and the aim
far

of

the writer has been to retain, so
possible in an analysis,

as

that was

somewhat
'

of the tone as well

as the substance of the

True Word.'

18

CHAPTER

IT.

ANALYSIS OF THE 'TRUE WORD.'

Any

division of the

work

of Celsus into

books

is

more

or less arbitrary.

The reply

of Origen is divided into

eight books

;

but this division proceeded on the simple

principle of securing a measure of uniformity in the

length of the various books, and had no reference to

any such divisions
formed
of

in the

'

True Word.'

1

The work

is

two unequal

parts.

The

first

part contains

the Preface and the attack on Christ in the person of a

Jew

2
;

the second part contains the objections brought

forward by Celsus in his
tions only are given

own

person. 3

Two

indica-

by Origen

in regard to the arrange-

ment
find

of this

second section.

From

hi. 1-v.

G5 we can

no suggestion in Origen bearing on the division
by Celsus:
this

adopted

section

is
4

directed chiefly

against the
1

Incarnation.
81
;

At
-

v.

65

he enters on an
avrov nal e^s

vii.

70
a-rrb

;

iii.

vi. 81.

rb

irpooi/xiov

iii

1.

'

ws

l8(ov TrpofTwirou

iii.

1.

4

££eTd£a)/jLCi/

rhv \6yov irpdrtpov 5h

ucra

v.

65.

ANALYSIS OF THE 'TRUE WORD.'

19

examination of the Christian dogmas as contrasted
with philosophy
point "
;

at

vii.

62

x

lie

" passes to

another


is

to the defence of

polytheism, partly on re-

ligions, partly

on

political grounds.

The plan

of his

book
bui

may

be represented in rough outline as follows
to

it

be noted that these are only the ruling

ideas in each division,

and that the same thoughts are
all.

often repeated

and found in
II.

Part

I

I.

The
on

Preface

(i.

1-27);
(i.

Attack by the Jew
71);
(b)
I.
;

(a)

Christ Himself
tians
(ii.

27-i.

on Jewish Chris-

1-ii. 79).

Part II
(iii.

The Incarnation and
II.

cognate questions

1-v. 65)

Contrast between
;

Christianity and philosophy

(v.

65-vii. 62)

III.
2

De-

fence of philosophical polytheism

(vii. 62-viii. 76).

Part

I
contrary to
is

Christian associations are secret, and
law."

Christianity depends on Judaism, which

a

barbarian
1

system of
5'

doctrine.

Barbarians deserve

Sro^fi/
Ivini

(K(79€v

vii.

62.
1.

-

divides the

second part thus:
(iii.

Refutation from the

standpoint of philosophy
pines
vii.
(52).

1-v. 05).

2.

Refutation of particular

3.

from the standpoint of the history of philosophy (v. 65Attempts to convert and reconcile the Christians (vii.
Aubt' divides thus:
1.

62-end).

Objections to the appearance

"l

God
(iii.

iii

the world, and polemic against the puerile legends of the Jews
41).
(v.

1-v.

2.

Objections
58).
8.

t<>

the Christian Beet
as

its

ethics and

theology
divisions,
i.

41-vil

Same

Keim.
;tt

Pelagaud gives no
i.

and regards the PreJ

ending

12,

1.

20
credit for

THE ATTACK OF CELSUS.

what they have found out

;

but in judging
in

and confirming what such have discovered, and
drawing
rules
for

virtuous

living

therefrom,

the

Greeks are superior. 1

Christians

do well to work

and teach

in secret

:

death hangs over them.
is,

In their

exposure to peril there

however, nothing singular

philosophers like Socrates incurred similar dangers. 2

Their ethical teaching
it is

is

neither very lofty nor

new

common

to all philosophers. 3
idols.

So

is it

with their

abhorrence of

They
of

rightly

hold that gods,

made by the hands
moral, are not gods.
said, "
lifeless

men

often worthless and im-

Long before them Heraclitus
4

As

well hold converse with walls as worship
as
deities."

things

Do you

point to
?

the

seeming testimony

of

miraculous powers

Christ

Himself, not less than His followers, owed His power
to the

names

of

demons and

incantations.

And

yet

with strange contradiction

He

expelled

from His

kingdom those who learned the same methods, and
boasted like
pelled
they,

Him

of

the power of God.

If Pie ex-

them

justly, while

He
if

Himself was guilty as

He was

worthless

;

He was
I

not worthless,

neither are they. 6

Though
I

hold them foolish in

running into

peril,

do not say that a
if

man who
is

adheres to a system of thought,

its

doctrine

good,

should become an apostate, or pretend that he has

done
1

so,

or openly
2
i.

deny
:;

it.

G

l>ut
4
i.

no one should adopt
B
i.

i.

2.

3.

i.

4.

5.

6.

(i

I

8.

ANALYSIS OF THE 'TRUE WORD.'
opinions without reason as a guide.
out a reason
is to

21

To believe with-

act like the devotees of

Demeter

or

Mithras, or those

who worship

the phantoms of Hecate.

In the case of both, wicked
those

men

take advantage of

who
will.

are easily deceived, and lead

them whither
?

they

For what say the Christians
1

"

Do

not

examine, but believe.

Thy

faith

will

save thee."
"

And

in utter

contempt
is

of reason
is

they add,
good."
2

in this

world
3

evil,

but folly
for

I

Wisdom know all
;

things,
if

and have no need
"

myself to inquire

but

they keep saying
is

Do

not examine," they must

teach what
speak, and

the nature of the things of which they
are drawn. 4

whence they

The wisest

of nations, cities,

and men in every age

have held by certain general principles of thought

and action

:

to

this ancient tradition the Egyptians,

Assyrians, Persians and Indians, Samothracians and

Druids, alike adhere

;

but the Jews and Moses have
I pass

no part nor

lot in

it.

by those who explain
plausible allegorising. 5

away the Mosaic records by
Tlif
La

Mosaic account in regard to the age of the world
the flood being in the time of Deucalion was

false:

comparatively recent.
in-tit ut inns

Neither the teaching nor the
to originality.6

of

Moses have any claim

Be appropriated

doctrines which he had heard

from

men and
1

nations of repute for wisdom.7
a\\a -niarevaov
otto.

He borrowed
i.

/jl))
;

^('to((,


i.

i.

!'.
'

9,
7
i.

ttolvto.

yap

i.

12.

4

12.

i.

11.

B

i.

19,

21

22
the rite of

THE ATTACK OF CELSUS.
circumcision

from the Egyptians. 1

He

deluded goatherds and shepherds into the belief that
there was one

God

— whom they called the Highest, or
to give
to this

Adonai, or the Heavenly, or Sabaoth, or whatever

names they please
their

world

— and
is

then

1

knowledge ceased.
all

It is of

no import whether
usual

the

God over

be called by the name that
or that

among the Greeks,
Jews were

which obtains among the

Indians or Egyptians.
led astray,

Because of their ignorance the

and under the training and the worship
the
distinctive

of

Moses

were addicted
Passing
by,

to sorcery

of angels. 2

meanwhile,
first

tenets

of

Judaism, I consider
least has

the claims of Christ.
;

He

at

none

of the prestige of antiquity

He

began

His teaching but a very few years ago. 3
Christians that

The

belief of

He was

the Son of
is

God

reposes in no

way on

reasoning, and

worthy

of its adherents,

men

almost without exception plebeian in rank and culture.

His religion claims
say of

to supersede
to

Judaism.
'

What

m i'jht a Jew

Him and

Him

'.

I.

1.

He

invented His birth from a virgin.
village, of a

He was
earned
witli

born in a Jewish

poor

woman who

her bread by spinning.

Convicted of adultery

one Panthera, a
1

soldier,

she was thrust out by her

i.

22.

-

i.

23-26.

a
4

itpb iravv b\iyu)v irut/ ttjs 8i5acr/caA.ias raurris KaOrjyrjrraaBai
i.

i.

26.

27.

ANALYSIS OF THE

'

TEUE WOED.'

23
to

husband, and wandering about secretly gave birth
Jesus. 1

Compelled by His poverty to leave His native

country,
there

He went

to

Egypt

as a hired servant,

and

learned

miraculous

arts.

Eeturning

home,

elated because of His powers,

He
is

gave out that
credible

He

was a God. 2
yours.
it

This account

more

than

God cannot
all

love a corruptible

body.

Was

at

likely that

He

should become enamoured

of

one

who was

neither wealthy nor of royal birth,
?

but utterly obscure
out in his hatred,
divine power
?

When
why was

the carpenter drove her

she

not

preserved by

Why
?

did her story not meet with

credence

?

What have
of

such things to do with the

kingdom
2.

heaven

3

The narrative
of

of the descent of the Spirit in the
is

form

a

dove at the baptism of Jesus
4

clearly

untrustworthy.

You

say

that
this

it

happened.
?

But

what credible witness beheld

appearance

5

Who
own God
Hof-

heard the voice from heaven adopting you as God's

Son

?

You

bring forward no evidence save your

word,''

and that of some one who was punished along

with you. 7
1

As
;i

a Jew, I believe that the

Son

of
in

This was
I'

common Jewish calumny.
en Jesu
.

See references

maun'

L

]..
'*

Harris nacb den Apocryphen, pp. 90, 343. 25) holds that "Panthera" is merely an

ram on
i.

tin-

word

Parthem
.
. .

iv Tals Hvvd/jLtai fxtya typovuv

Otbv avrbv avriyoptvcrt
l

i.

28

i.

10.
II.

.5<)/
,;

a^iuxptas fxaprvs rb

<pd(Tixa

i.

ir\i]v uri

ab

<p$s

— Mnn.

"

Mem.

24
will

THE ATTACK OF CELSUS.
come, for

my
of

prophet once said in Jerusalem
to

that "the

Son

God would come
x

judge the holy,

and

to

punish the unjust."

"Why do these prophecies
to

refer to

you rather than
prophecy
?

the myriads

who

lived

after

the

Other fanatics declared

that

they had descended

from heaven.

The prophecies

referred to the events of your life

may

fit

in with
of

other

events.

2

Moreover,
?

if

you were the Son

God,

why

did you suffer

Your Father did not help
yourself
3

you, and you could not help

Again,

if

according to you every

man
4

born according to divine

providence
differ
3.

is

a son of God, in
?

what respect do you

from any other

As an evidence

of

His divine Sonship, the naris

rative of the Chaldeans
it
is said,

of

no value.

They came,
to

under some mysterious impulse,

worship

the infant Jesus as God.
to Herod,

They gave intimation thereof
all

who

in his

alarm slew

the children that

had been born at the same time,
stroying Jesus along witli them,
that
if

witli the "aim of de-

—being

afraid, forsooth,

-Irsus

grew up
r'
!

to
If

manhood He might become
Herod acted on
this ground,

king in his stead

how happened
Sun
of

it

that you did not

become a king,

but,

God though you claim
fear,6

to be, lived so

meanly,
in

skulking in secret from
1

accompanied

your
HWots
61.

i.

49.

-

ei*

to

irepl

tovtov ava<pepofitv<x%

Trpo(pr)Telas

duvaaOai Ka\

i(papfxo^(iv Trpdy/xaai
:;

i.

50.
i.

[dem.

4

57.

'

i.

58.

,;

i.

ANALYSIS OF THE 'TRUE WORD.'
wanderings by some ten or eleven
character, publicans

25

men

of notorious
? x

and worthless
for
for

sailors

Further,
to be

what necessity was there
carried

you when a child
safety
?

away
?

into

Egypt

From

fear of
?

being slain

Why
say,

need a God be afraid

of death

An

angel,

you

came down from heaven warning
flee.

you and your kindred to
God,

Could not the great

who had

already sent two angels for your sake,
?

guard you, His own Son, on the spot
tends to show that your blood
flows in the blessed gods."
4.
2

Everything

is

not "such ichor as

The

old

myths attributed a divine
;

origin

to

Perseus,

Amphion, zEacus, and Minos
in

but we have

not

believed

them, even

though they wrought
their claims credible.

deeds truly superhuman to

make

But you

— what
deed? 3
your

have you done good or admirable in

word

or

When
4

challenged in

the temple,

you displayed nothing noteworthy.
Forward
reality

Do you

bring
the
of

miracles?

Even

if

we grant
raising

of

your works of healing, your
your
multiplication
of

the
is

dead,

the

loaves

— what

their

value?

They

are to be put exactly in the
of sorcerers
a

same rank with the works
•u

who, trained

were

in

Egypt,

make

display of their miracu-

lous
1

powers
62,

in tin'

market-place for the sake of a few

i.

Iliad, v. ::io.

lX&p
Of

oto\ iTfp t€ pttt fjLUKoipfaai 0to?criv—\. 66.
57;,

Cf,

I

liad, v. :*>10.

ti

Ka\hv

1)

Oavjxaaiou tpyep

1)

\6ycp ircwo'i^Kas;

i.

t'»7.

tdem.

26
obols.

THE ATTACK OF CELSUS.
They,
too,

drive

away

spirits

from men, cure

diseases
of

by blowing' upon

them, invoke the souls

heroes, set forth costly banquets that are purely

imaginary, and

make

lifeless

things

move

as

if

they

were in
sider
5.

life.

Are we bound on
be sons of

this account to conx

them

to

God
of

?

What an
of

outrage to speak of your body as the

body

God! 2

The body

God

could not be such

as yours, nor

formed as yours was, nor fed as yours,
require such a voice or such a

nor could

it

method
of Jesus
sor-

of persuasion. 3

The claims and pretensions

show that he was a God-hated and abandoned
cerer. 4

I

T.

Hear now what
It" re

this Jeiv ivould

say

to his fellow-

countrymen wlw
1.

Income adherents of Jesus.

For what reason have you abandoned the law
fathers, and, deserting

of
a

your

from

us,

have adopted
of living?
5

different

name and
dates

a different

manner

Your apostasy
punished

but from yesterday, when we

Him who
based?
It

imposed upon
rites

you.

Why
our

do

you dishonour the law and the

on which your
of

own who
men.

are

was the prophet

God
to

predicted that the Son of

God would come

As
1
i.

for Jesus, lie

was justly punished: there
69.
ital
:;

G8. deo/xiaovs 1\v

-

i.

i.

70. 71.

4
"

ravTa
ii.

nuus

/moxOripov jotjtos
,;

i.

1.

ii.

4.

ANALYSIS OF THE 'TRUE WORD.'
is

27

nothing new in His stale stories about a resurrection

from the dead and a judgment by God, a reward
of the righteous

and a
2

fire for

the unrighteous. 1

He
spirit

was a braggart,
of

spoke

falsely,

and acted in a

impiety.

3

Impostors easily dupe those

who

are

willing to be deceived.
2.

You charge

us with not believing in Jesus as we,

God.

How

could

who proclaimed
God, treat

to

all

men

the coining of one from

Him
that

with con-

tumely when
be

He came ?
with
greater

Was

it

we might
others
?

punished

severity

than

4

But how could we regard as a God one who
filled

ful-

none

of

His promises,
shamefully
called

— above
fled,

all,

one who on

His conviction

and was betrayed
?

by those
to
less

whom He

disciples

To

flee

and
Still

be

taken captive are unworthy of
of

God.

should a Saviour, a Son

the

Most

High,

have been abandoned and betrayed by those who

had intercourse with Him, from
back nothing,

whom He had kept and whose teacher He had been. 5 A
never betrayed

good general

is

—not
could

even a brigand
if

chief at the head of the lowest scoundrels,

they put

any value on his
3.
I

service

pass
iln-

by

many

things

I

tell

of

Jesa-.

not

like

fictions

recorded by the disciples,7 and
"

examine their chief apology.
1

He foreknew all
7.
ii.

things
7.

ii.
1

-

^afwc — ii.
"

s

ii.

ii.

?.

ii.

!'.

12,

7

ii.

L8.

28

THE ATTACK OF CELSUS.

that happened to
called just
is

Him "

1

When

a

man you have
is

seen to commit some act of injustice, or seen to be

one

whom
is it
?

you have called immortal
to say that

dead,

any explanation

things

You do

not even say that

He foretold these He only seemed
Is

to suffer

— you
? 2

admit that

He
?

actually suffered.

this prediction of

His credible
"What
Gocl,

Could the dead man

be immortal

or

demon, or

man

of

prudence, foreseeing such things, would not have kept

out of the
into

way
?

of dangers, instead of wilfully rushing

them

3

Why
4
?

did the traitor
all

when forewarned

not abandon his design, like
plots are detected

conspirators whose

On

all

these grounds our con-

clusion

is

:

These things

did

not

happen because
Their accom-

they were predicted

— that

is

impossible.

plishment, on the contrary, proves that the supposed
prediction
is

a falsehood. 5

For the disciples could not

possibly have carried out their intention to betray or

deny
4.

if

they had been warned beforehand. 6
at this theory in another way.
If a

Look

God

predicted these tilings, their accomplishment was inevitable.

God, then, instead of doing good to

men

as

He
to
1

ought, induced those with

whom He

ate

and drank

become unholy.
avrhv
ii.

He who

feasted with

God became
4

TravTCL TrpoeyvooKevai
:;


ii.

ii.

15.
ii.

2

16.

17.

18.

B

oftKovv (TTdlir) npoelprjTO
'

Tavra yeyovev abuvarov yap.

'AAA'

iire i8r}

y4yove, \p(v5os £Ae'7X 6Ta T ^ TpottprjKevai
6

ii.

19.

Idem.

ANALYSIS OF THE 'TRUE WORD.'
a conspirator against
all,

29
of

Him

!

Nay, most monstrous
guests and

God
1
!

plots

against His

makes them

traitors
5.

You

exalt His sufferings mainly on the ground

that

they were voluntary.

But

if

they

were the

voluntary sufferings of a God, they could not have

been grievous or

bitter.

2

"Why then does He cry
if

aloud,

and

wail,

and pray
this

for escape, "Father,
"
?

it

be pos-

sible, let

cup pass
air of

your

fictions

an

You have failed to give 4 credibility. Some of you, like
cor-

3

drunken men laying hands on themselves, have
rupted the
first

text of the Gospel in a threefold,

fourfold, or manifold fashion,

and modified
5

it

to en-

able you to
G.

meet

all

forms of objections.

The predictions

of the prophets

which you apply

to Jesus

may

be applied to thousands of others with

more

credibility than to

Him. 6

The coming one whom
all

they spoke of was a mighty prince, Lord of

nations

and armies.
Dounced. 8

7

Such a plague as Jesus they never an-

His divinity should have been self-evident,
which, while illuminating
9

like the sun,

all things, first

manifests

itself.

You

use

sophisms and define the
But, on your
:i

Son
1

of

God

as tin- absolute Logos.

own

ii.

20.
ret

-

ii.

28.

ii.

21.
ii.

4

ouSe
ii.

w\dafxaTa vuuv luQavus (irtKa\v\pai
'
ii.

7}5l»j/7J07JT€

26.

'

27.
.

28.
ttolutcou

'

fityau Ka\ SiWctttjj'
ii.
'_".'.

.

.

«al

tuiu IOvusv

Kcii

(TTpaTOirtSwi

1

Kvpiov
~

1.1.

in.

"

ii.

30

THE ATTACK OF CELSUS.
is

showing, your Logos
a

not a pure and holy Logos, but
crucified. 1
If

man most shameful who was
of

your

Logos were the Son
you.

God, we would be at one with

In your genealogies you represent Jesus as havfirst

ing sprung from the

man and
of

the Jewish kings.

If the carpenter's wife

had been

such noble lineage,
it.

she could not have been ignorant of
7.

2

What illustrious or godlike action was achieved by Jesus ? Did He put to scorn the men that attacked Him ? 3 Could He say, " The deity himself will set me free whenever I wish " 4 No god avenged Him the judge who condemned Him met with no fate like that of Pentheus, who became mad and was torn in pieces.
?
:

Those who put on His head the crown of thorns did so
witli

impunity. 5

If

not before,
of

why

does

He

not

now
does

give

some indication
not punish those

His divinity?
insult botli

Why

He
8.

who

Him

and His

Father? 6

In His suffering

He

did nothing like a God.

Was

the ichor that flowed from the body on the cross

akin to that which flows in the veins of the immortal

gods?

7

See

Him

greedily

gaping for the vinegar,

because

He

could not endure thirst like any ordinary
less

man,

still

like a

God. s

You condemn

us for

ignoring your explanation of His sufferings, that

He

endured these things
1

for the
: '

good of others, to teach us
33.
7
ii.
'

ii.
ii.

31. 34.

-

ii.

82.
,;

ii.

Eurip. Bacch., 498.
8
ii.

ii.

35.

36.

37.

ANALYSIS OF THE 'TRUE WORD.'
to despise

31

punishment. 1

Oh, most believing disciples

!

On

the contrary,

He was
own

punished and suffered withlife-

out having been able to persuade any one in His
time, not even His
disciples. 2

He was
You

not free

from

evils,

not even from reproach.

will hardly

He had failed to win over the people in this world, He went to Hades to secure disciples there 3 If such apologies satisfy you, why do you not regard as more godlike than He such as have died even more dishonourably ? Any robber or
dare to say that, after

murderer

of similar audacity

might boast that he was

a god on the ground that he foretold
suffered."1

what he actually

You now

die along with

Him

;

but His

disciples, so far

from dying with Him, openly denied
earth,

Him.6
sailors

AVhen on

He drew
is
6
!

to

His side only ten
type
:

and publicans

of the lowest

how

ridicu-

lous that,

now

that

He

dead, any one that wishes

can persuade thousands
9.

By what

process of reasoning were you induced
as the

to

regard

Him

Son

of

God?
7

Was

it

because
for the

you know that His punishment took place
destruction of the Father of evil
?

Have not many

others

been punished with not less ignominy than

He? 8
1

Or was
38.
18.
-

it

because
89, 41, 42.
4
ii.
1

He

healed the lame and the
\i.

ii.

ii.

Cf. Cyril oon. Julian.,
•''

218
,;

li.

('.
i-;.

ii.

I.

ii.

!.",.

ii.

'

t?;»/

KoAaaiv

clvtov

virtp

Kadaipffffuis

rov

irarphs

Ti]9

Kaiilas

yiyovvlav
-

ii.

17.

ii.

47

32
blind, and,

THE ATTACK OF CELSUS.
according to your statements, raised the
.

dead

?

x

Oh, light and truth

!

In your

own

records

He

expressly declares that

others will employ like

miracles

who
to

are yet wicked sorcerers.

In reveal-

ing the nature of the miracles of others, truth compelled

Him

condemn His own.

The same works

cannot prove one
sorcerer. 2
10.

man

to be a

God, another to be a

If not

by His miracles, was
rise again after

it

by His prediction

that

He would

His death that you
:>>

came

to believe in

His divinity

?

How many

charla-

tans have done the like to gain the ear of the populace

and make

profit

by

their error
;

?

Such were Zamolxis
in Egypt,

among

the Scythians

Ehampsinitus

who

is

said to have played with dice in

Hades with Demeter,
as a gift
at issue

and returned with a golden napkin
and many
others.

from her;

But the point
rise

is,

Did any
?

one who was truly dead
regard

with his

own body

You

these as myths, and fancy that in His voice

from the cross when

He

expired, in the earthquake

and the darkness, you have a graceful and plausible
catastrophe to the drama. 4

save Himself;
pierced

when dead

When alive He could He arose and displayed

not

His

hands!
as

Who
say, or

saw this?

A

half-frenzied
in

woman,
1

you

some one implicated
E.
:;

the

ii.

48.
19.

Cf. Cyril con. Julian., vi. 191

-

ii.

ii.

~<\.

4

rrjv KUTa<TTpo<pr]v

rov Spdfxaro? ivrrxv^vois

i)

iridavous

ii.

5. ).

r

ANALYSIS OF THE 'TRUE WORD.'

33

same imposture, who because

of

a peculiar tempera-

ment had dreamed
tom he desired
or
to

it,

or

whose fancy created a phanexperience,
lie

to see, 1

— a very common
2

more probably some one who wished by such a
form a basis
11. If

for like imposture.

Jesus desired to show that

He was

truly divine,

He

ought to have disappeared straightway from the
3
;

cross

or

when He

rose

He

ought to have appeared
to the

to the very persons that

had insulted Him,
to all

judge

who condemned Him, and

men

in general. 4

He

had no need to conceal Himself from fear of men. 5

When He was in the body, and made no converts, He preached to all men unrestrainedly when He had risen, He showed HimHis action was inconsistent.
;

self in secret to

one

woman

only and His

own
all,

troop of

followers.

His punishment was seen by

His

re-

surrection
."

by one

:

the opposite should have been the
to despise death,
aAAos

If

He
;

wished to teach us

He

1

rl$

tovto e?8e

Yvvr) irdpoitTTpos, Ids (pare, /col e? rts

tcou in

ttjs auTTJs yorjTelas, fJTOi Kara,

riva Siddeaiv uveipcc^as,

t)

Kara,

ryv avrov

fiouArjcriv 5o£t? ireirAaurifxeuy]
-

(pavTaaiuQels

ii.

55.
3
ii.

ii.

68.

4

auro7s to7s (TrrjpfdaatTi,

kcl\ rep

KaradiKaaavTi

k<x\ <>Alos ttuctlv b<pdi)vai

ii.
"'

Ii
"

tv\

pn')vti)

-yvvaicp kcl\ rols

kavrov Qiaawrais KpvfShriv irapecpaiveTo
fur
In

ii.

70.

Neumann (Jahrbucher
OiairuTui
I

word
thai
22.

ii

here used

Prot TheoL, 1885) thinks thai the it- technical sense, and that ii shows
communities
term
t<>

rded the Christian
In
v.

as diaaoi.

Cf.

in.

62 he

applies

t!i<'

-aim-

the worshippei

Antinous.
7
ii.

70.

C

34
ought,

THE ATTACK OF CELSUS.

when He

rose,

to

have summoned

all

men

openly to the
12.

light. 1

All these things are taken from your
further testimony
2

own books

:

we need no
<>\vn

—you are

slain with

your

weapons.

most

high

and heavenly one!
in-

what God, on appearing among men, meets with
credulity, especially

when He appears

to

those

who

have been waiting for
recognise

Him

so long

?

3

How

could

we

Him

who, by uttering threats and abuse,

plainly acknowledged
position not

His inability to persuade

worthy

of a

God, not even of a prudent

man
life

?

4

We

believe, indeed, that there will be a resur-

rection from the dead, and' that
;

we

shall enjoy eternal
will be the pat-

and we believe that our Messiah
and leader
of that, to

tern
is

show that with God nothing
is

impossible.

Where, then,
?

He, that we
for the
(i

may

see

and

believe

Him
is

5

Did He come
believe in

very purpose

that

we might not

Him?

No:

the only

conclusion

that Jesus was not the Messiah of God,

but a man, and such a

man

as truth itself reveals

and

on demonstrates.

7

Part II
I.

1.

The

conflict
it

between Jews and Christians
fitly
7.',.

is

a

-illy conflict:
1

may
;;

be compared to the pro'

ii.

73.

-

ii.

74.

ii.

ii.

76.

5

ii.

77.

8

ii.

78.

7

teal
7'.'.

toiovtos olov avrb rb a\7]6es

£ fx<pavi(,n

na\ 6 \6yos dtiicuvaiv

:

i.

ANALYSIS OF THE 'TRUE WORD.'
verbial fight about the
at issue is of

35

shadow
:

of

an

ass.

1

The point

no weight

both believe in the predicSaviour to mankind,

tions of the

coming

of a

— they

for

only differ as to whether
2.

He

has come or not.

2

The

revolt of the Egyptians under

Moses

the

Jews were Egyptians

finds its parallel in the re-

volt of the followers of Jesus
of worship. 3

from the Jewish form
domi-

The same

spirit of revolt is still
if all

nant

among them,

so that

men
it.

desired to become
4

Christians they would not desire

At the

outset,

when they were
their
tions.
5

few, they were of one

mind; but as
and
:

numbers increased they

split into sects
still

fac-

The process

of

division

goes on

they

have nothing in

common but
as

the name,

in all other

respects they are completely divided.
is

Their compact

all

the

more wonderful

it

rests

on no plausible

basis, unless

such a basis be found in revolt and the
it,

gain which springs from
out."

and the fear

of those with-

Why
I

speak of their misrepresentations of the
?

ancient traditions

8

of the terrors

they have invented

?

No1 that

would weaken the
and the reward

belief in the
of the just,

punishment

of tin- unjust
t<»

— only I object
whom
they

their methods.

As

the priests of Cybele with their
those

tambourines go booming around
initiate into their rit

do the Christians deal with

1

ui/uu (Tkuks fJ-dxv
ii

iii-

1-

"
' ;

>>>•
iii.

1-

" 7

'*'•

'•

«
"

iii.

in.

12.

iii.

1

I.

ra tuu naKaiov \6yuv

TrapaKou(Tiia.Ta <TviATrka.TTuvT(s—-\i\.

]t'<.

36
their votaries. 1

THE ATTACK OF CELSUS.
Their faith reminds one of the Egyp-

tian temples.

As yon approach yon mark

their splen-

did precincts, their groves, their majestic porticoes,
their forms of worship, full of piety

and mystery
is

;

but

when you

enter in you see that their deity

a cat, or
at the
is

an ape, or a crocodile, or a goat. 2

You laugh

Egyptians, though they say that their worship

not

directed to ephemeral animals but to eternal ideas.

In your accounts
erable.
3.
3

of

Jesus there

is

nothing more ven-

The Greeks believed that the Dioscuri, Heracles,

and Asclepius were men who became gods.

You do

not regard them as divine, though they achieved
noble deeds for the good of

many

men
it

;

yet you say that

Jesus after His death was seen by His
followers.
If

own

troop of

He

were seen,

was only a shadow. 4
have seen Asclepius
of heal-

Thousands
himself,

will testify that they

and no phantom, engaged in the work

ing

and doing good. 5

No

one regards Abaris the

Hyperborean as a god, though he was borne along
like

an arrow in his flight; 6 nor the Clazonieni;in
left his

whose soul often
less. 7

body and went about bodi-

In giving worship to a prisoner

who was put

to

death, the Christians are doing exactly like the Greta
in their

worship of Xamolxis, and like
2
:i

many
4

others.

8

1

iii.

16.

iii.

17.

ill.

19.

iii.

22.

5
,;

iii.

24.
31.

Cf. Cyril con. Julian., vi.
7
iii.

200 A,

B
8

;

vii.

235 C, D.

iii.

82.

iii.

34.

ANALYSIS OF THE 'TRUE "WORD.'

37

The worship paid

to the favourite of

Hadrian by the

inhabitants of the city of Antinous corresponds to the

worship paid to Jesus;

1

but the Egyptians will not
Blind-

2 brook his being compared to Zeus or Apollo.

ed by faith, the Christians accept the supernatural

dogmas about Jesus, 3 pay
though

Him homage

as

a

God,

He was formed of a mortal and corruptible Though He laid aside these corruptible elebody. 4 And if so, why ments would He therefore be a God
?

not

Dionysus

and Asclepius? 5

They

jest

at

the

worshippers of Zeus because the Cretans show his

tomb; yet they themselves worship a man from a
tomb.
4.

Their

teaching

is

plainly
its

condemned
adherents.

by the

want
their

of culture that

marks

Here

are
of

maxims

:

"

Let no

educated man, no
;

man

wisdom

or prudence, approach

but

if

any one be

ignorant, or stupid, or silly, let
confidence."
of their
7

him approach with
that such are worthy

By acknowledging

God, they prove that they have only the will

1

iii.

36.

Dietrichsoi)

makes

a .singular application of this allusion.

He regards
d,
i-

the death of Antinoua as a voluntary sacrifice, and repreIt'

the ground of his deification thus: "

the sacrificed Chrisl be
Celsus'a

why not
t'

the sacrificed Antinoua
Chrisl

.'

" (p. 90).

argument
wraa

precisely
t<<

could not

bea God, because He
''

put
-

death, whether voluntarily or not
iii.

iii
il

89.

l

iii.

41.
iii.

iii.

12.

o*i'

fyrTOP (TtfSontv

rhv

dirt)

rov rd<puv

18.

7

juTjSfis

TrpofTiTw 7r«7ra(5fL»fieVos, ^uTjSels <xoq>us, /U7j5els (ppuin/xos' aAA'
tl tis a.vuT)Tos,

tt Tif

duaOys,

u

tis

in)tr ios,

Qafyuv

7)k^tu<

iii.

I

1.

38

THE ATTACK OF CELSUS.
to

and the power
slaves,

win over the
children. 1
?

foolish, the ignoble,
is

women, and

What
it
? -

the evil

of

education and liberal culture

Instead of interfering
not aid in the

with the knowledge of God, does
higher attainment of divine truth
jugglers in the market-place,
their

They

are like

who make

a display of
slaves,

powers before senseless people, or

or

children, but will not enter into
of sense. 3
ers,

any gathering

of

men

We

can see in their

own homes

wool- workall

and shoemakers, and

fullers

—men
utter

devoid of
a
syllable

culture

— who

will

not dare to

in

presence of their masters,

men

of gravity

and insight

but

when they
all

get hold of
sorts

the children privately,

they recount
tell

of

marvellous things.
to

They
their

them

to

pay no heed

their father or

teachers, but to obey
tales,

them

;

that the former talk idle

— that

they alone can teach them
of happiness.
If

how

to live,

and the secret

they see any teacher or

the fathers approach as they are speaking, the more

cautious of

them

are alarmed.

But those
to

of greater
oil'

impudence stimulate the children
reins,

throw

the

and whisper that they cannot give them any

good instruction in presence of fatuous and corrupt

men who
attain
to

seek to punish them; but that they will
perfect

knowledge

if

they go

with the
apart-

women and
1

their playmates into the
44. 49.

women's

iii.

Cf. Cyril con. Julian., vi.

206 A, B.
3

2

iii.

Hi. 50.

ANALYSIS OF THE 'TRUE WORD.'

39

ments, or into the workshop of the fuller or the shoe-

maker.
5.

And

so saying they persuade them. 1
is

If
is

my
?

charge

harsh,
is

its

truth

is

my

defence.

Here

the proof.
" If
is

What

the invitation to other

mysteries

any one has clean hands and a pruall pollution,

dent tongue,
science,

pure from

has a good con-

and has lived well and
:

justly, let

him come."
is

Listen to their proclamation
ner,

" If

any one

a sinof

or senseless, or silly,
receive."

him

will the

kingdom

God

What

do you mean by a sinner but

the thief, the housebreaker, the poisoner, the plunderer
of churches

and tombs

?

man
6.

invite

who wished
is

to

What other classes would a summon a band of robbers ? 2
God was
?

Your defence
3

that

sent to sinners.
evil is it not

Why
to

not to those without sin
?

What
God

have sinned

You

say that

will receive the

unjust

man

if

he humble himself, but the just

man
is

who
tions

lias

always looked up to God with holy aspirawill not receive. 4

He

A

conscientious judge
;

unmoved by
La

the wailing of criminals
in
I

but your
flattery

God

influenced
6

His judgments by
repeat,

rather
special

than truth.

Whence

arises

this

preference for sinners?

Do you open

your doors

1

ill.

DO.
6.v

-

TiVas

6l\\ovs npoK-qpvTTwv Kriaras ^KaAetrc
vii.

;

iii.

59.

Cf. Cyril

OOXL .Julian.,

2

1">

B.
fi^j

ri ko.k<)v i<ni rb
'
i>

ruxapTtKtvai;

iii.

62.

4

iii.

62.
ii;

dtus
64.

5*

&pa ou

irpbs a\T}6(iav,

a\\a vpus KoKaKeiav

diK(i£ti

1

iii.

40

THE ATTACK OF CELSUS.

widely to the profligate, because you can bring no
influence to bear

upon the truly good
sins both

?

A

vain hope

Can any one who
The

by nature and habit be
?

completely transformed either by punishment or pity
sinless are partakers of the better
all things," is
is
life.
1

"

God
will

can do

your reply.

2

Be
if,

it so.

He

not desire what
pulsion,

wicked.

And

mastered by com-

He

lightens the lot of the wicked, and casts

aside the good

who

will not use such
is

means

to

evoke

His sympathy,
7.

He

guilty of the grossest injustice. 3
of

Hear other maxims
so
called,

theirs:
reject

"Enslaved by
our teaching/'
4
5

wisdom
They

wise

men

What man
act

of like

sense can adhere to such a system? charlatans

who promise
to

to

restore
to

health to the sick, but
skilled

warn them

pay no heed

physicians, to prevent the exposure of their

ignorance.
gets

"Avoid
"Attend

physicians."
soul,
I

"Knowledge

be-

an

unhealthy state of
to

and makes men
7

stumble." 6

me:

alone will save you."

They

are like persons suffering from ophthalmia, who,

in the presence of those similarly afflicted,

charge with

blindness

men

that see. 8

I say

no more about their

teachers, but affirm that they insult
Lead
evil

God;

that they

men
to

astray by

empty hopes, by persuadare

ing
1

them
iii.

contemn things which
'-'

superior on

05.
4
'

8vvr)(T(Tai iravra 6 6e6s
6
iii.

iii.

70.
75.

;;

Idem.
i/j.ui
iii.

iii.

72.
v/J-us crcoaco

'''

7-j.

iii.

7 8

7rpo7e'x €Te

tyw

fxovos

iii.

75.

76, 77.

ANALYSIS OF THE 'TRUE WORD.'

41

the "round that such abstinence will be better for

them. 1
8.

The

assertion

made by

the Christians that a God,

or Son of God, has descended to earth, by the

Jews that
it

such an one will descend,

is

so disgraceful that

needs

no lengthened refutation. 2

"What purpose was served
?

by such a descent
passing
(

of
?

God

among men

Was it to learn what was Does He not know all things ?
correct

)i

knowing, can

is

amiss unless
?

He not by divine power He send some one to be
make
it

what

born for this

purpose

3

Let God leave His throne empty, and everythe least change

thing would be overturned: to
is

to introduce chaos.

4

Or was

because

men

did

not
that

know God, and

so robbed

Him

of

His due honour,
to dis?

He came down

in order to be

known, and

criminate between believers and unbelievers
is

This

human vanity, to make Him act like a vulgar man who has risen to great wealth. 5 Xo, you say not for His own sake does God wish to make Himself known, but for our salvation. Why then, after so many ages, did He
to ascribe to

your God an altogether

;

remember
before?
1

to

justify

men, but think nothing
in
2.
/xr)

of

it

6

They chatter about God
-

an irreverent
riva

iii.

78.
<>vx

iv.

;

<*//

0W*

Tf auTcf}
iv. 8.

8vi>d/j.(i

Oe'ia

iiravopQovv, tav
iv.

(pvcrei

iir\

tovto
1

ir(fi\pi]


III

Cf. Cyril coil Julian.,

138 A.

iv.

'

KaOuTTfp

Vt/jnAoUTOl TU3V avQpUTTUIV tWl5(lKTlU!VT(S
. . .

\\

.

'•.

''

vvv apa fitTa toctovtov aiwva
I

irpurtpov 5t

?;/xe'Af t

iv.

7

Cf.

con. Julian.,

iii.

106

'

'.

42
fashion.

THE ATTACK OF CELSUS.

By

lies

about the punishment of sinners
Their

they wish to strike terror into the ignorant. 1
belief in the

burning up

of the

world

is

an echo and

misunderstanding of Greek traditions.

Conflagrations

and

floods

come

in cycles

;

the flood in the time of

Deucalion will therefore be followed by a conflagration
;

hence the Christians erroneously believe that a
lire

god will descend, armed with
9.

like a torturer. 2
?

"What

is

the true conception of Deity

Let us

examine
of view.
liefs

this alleged descent of
I state

God from
and

this point

nothing

new
is

— only

traditional bebeautiful,

long admitted. 3

God

good,

and
4

blessed,

and possesses these

qualities in

perfection.

A

descent

among men

implies a change, and of necesevil,

sity a

change from good to

from blessedness to
It is the

wretchedness, from best to worst.

nature of
to

a mortal to be liable to change, but of an

immortal

be immutable.
not undergo. 5
to

Such a change,
If,

therefore,

God

could

then,

it

be thus impossible for

God
does,

change into a mortal body,

He

does not really

change, but makes the beholders fancy that

He

and thus

is

guilty of deceit and

lying.

In dealing

with friends
1

who

are sick or mad, or in warding off

iv.

10,

:;

d dehs KaTafir] vera i SIktju fiacravHTTod Trvp tyspwv


-

iv.

11.

uvhiv naivhv, dAAa iraKai fieSoy/JLevu
Cf. Plato, Phsedo,
c.

— iv.

14.

4
8

20, p. 246 E.
ko.1


JO

3'

aBavaTU) Kara rd avra.

oocravroos
-

eX €lv

^^ K ^ v

°^ v
c.

°^ e
19,

ravT-nv TTjv fxeTafio\r]u 9ebs Zix oiT

°— iy

14

-

OL

Plato, ltespub.,

D, 381 B, C, E.

ANALYSIS OF THE 'TRUE WORD.'
attacks of enemies,
it

43

may

be legitimate to use such

methods

:

but

God
1

has no friend

who

is

sick or

mad,
re-

He

fears

no enemy, and therefore needs not have

course to deceit.
10.

A

descent

of

God being thus

impossible on

philosophical grounds, let us test the reasons assigned
for
it.

The Jews say that the wickedness
coming
of

of the

world
will

necessitates the

one from
all

God who

punish the unjust and purify
took place at the
of
first

things, 2 like

what

deluge, and the overthrowing

the tower of Babel.
is

To

this I

answer that the

story of Babel
Alcidse,

a corruption of the story of the
of

and the destruction

Sodom analogous

to

the story of Phaethon. 3

To these statements
of

of the

Jews the Christians add that the Son

God has

already been sent because of the sins of the Jews, and
that by giving Jesus bitter gall to drink they have

drawn upon themselves the
11.

bitter

wrath

of

God. 4
is

This conflict between Jews and Christians

supremely ridiculous.

They can only be compared

to

a cluster of bats, or ants, or frogs, holding an assembly
in a
hill,

marsh, 5 or

worms meeting

in a corner of a dungto

and disputing with one another as

who were

the greatest sinners,
1

and saying: "To us God reveals
-

iv.
iv.

18. 21.
ri]
l/

iv.

20.

con. Julian.,
iiri

iv.

186 A.

4

Ka\

x u ^h

iforicraures

atpds avrobs in dtov

x^ ov £irc<rird<ravTo

iv.

22.

Cf. Plato,

Phodo, 109

A. w.

44
all

THE ATTACK OF CELSUS.
things.

Abandoning the heavenly

regions,

and

overlooking the rest of the mighty world,

He

holds

intercourse with us alone, never ceasing to send and

inquire

how

our fellowship with

Him may
"

be eternal."

They are

like

worms who say

:

God

exists.

We

are

next to Him, and

He

has

made

us in all respects like

unto Him.

All things are for our sakes, and have
Since, however,

been ordained to be our servants.

some have transgressed, God
Son
to

will

come or send His
life

burn up the wicked, and give us eternal

along with Him."

Such a discussion would be more

tolerable on the part of

worms and

frogs than

between

Jews and
12.

Christians. 1

For who were these Jews, and what are their
?

records

They were runaway
to be. 2

slaves

from Egypt,

who have always been

held of no account, beloved of

God though they claim

They attempted

to

trace their origin to the first generation of jugglers

and impostors, bringing forward no evidence but obscure and

ambiguous sayings. 8
Egyptians
for

Other nations

—the
forth

Athenians and

example

— put

claims to antiquity, and bring

forward proofs that
'lews, crouching

they wen; earth-born. 4

But the

and

confined in a corner of Palestine,

who

liad

never heard
poets

what Hesiod and thousands
sung
long
1

of

inspired

had

before,
23.

manufactured an incredible and
-

to.

iv.

31.

::

iv.

32, 33.

4

Cf. Cyril con. Julian., vii. 221 E,

222 A.

ANALYSIS OF THE 'TRUE WORD.'
inartistic tale

45

about a

man formed by
life
;

the hand of

God

into

whom God
;

breathed

about a

woman

out

of the

man's side

about commandments of

God and

the opposition of a serpent. 1
is

What

old wives' fable

What impiety to represent God as so impotent that He could not secure the obedience of the one man whom He Himself had created 2 Then they
this
! !

tell

of a

deluge and a monstrous ark, and of a dove
of

and crow who played the part
this

messengers

:

what

is

but a fraudulent corruption of the story of Deu?

calion

3

They

tell

further of the begetting of children

out of season, the treacherous plotting of brothers, the
grief of a father,

and the fraud

of a mother.

They

represent

God

as giving presents of asses
to the righteous. 4
is

and sheep,
of

and giving wells

The story

Lot
of

and his daughters
Thyestes.5

more monstrous than that
to tell

What need
dreams

of brothers selling a

brother

;

of the

of a butler

and baker, as

also of

Pharaoh;

of their elucidation

by Joseph;

of his

ap-

pointment to high authority in Egypt;
gave to them

of the gifts

he

who

sold him, when, driven

by hunger,

they came to purchase food; of his going up with

pomp
of

to tlic

grave of his father?
to

This divine race
Egypt,

the

Jews was driven
i<»

the outskirts of

and compelled
district.8

pasture their Socks in the poorest

1

('i.

Cyril con. Julian.,

iii.

77.

A.
li.
,;

'

iv.
i-;.

II. 17.

4

iv.

[v.

iv.

i;>.

46
13.

THE ATTACK OF CELSUS.

No

doubt the more reasonable anion" the Jews
of these stories,
1

and the Christians are ashamed
give

and
at-

them an
to

allegorical interpretation.

But the

tempt
is

form into a whole things utterly incongruous
to

more monstrous than the very myth they seek

interpret.'2

As an

illustration,
3

take the

"

Dispute be-

tween Jason and Papiscus,"
hatred rather than ridicule.

which evokes pity and

The refutation

of

such

patent absurdities would be superfluous.
14.

The descent

of

God

to

men

is

disproved by a

consideration of God's relation to matter and of the

nature of

evil.
is

All the works of

God

are immortal.
is

The

soul

the

work

of

God, but the body
is

of a

different nature.

In this there

no difference beof a

tween the body
for the

of a bat or a frog
is

and that

man,

matter

the same, and the corruptible eleof the fore mentioned bodies

ment
is

similar. 4

The nature
and
it is

common

to all,

the one nature which passes

from one to another amid recurring changes. 5
ing born of matter
15.
is

Noth-

immortal. 6
of

There has been no increase or diminution
of
evils

the

sum

in

the universe. 7
it is

Unless one be
grasp the origin
a

given to philosophy,
1

difficult to

iv.
iv.

48. 52.

iv. 49, 51.

This work, which

is

Lost, is

usually attributed to Aristo
is

of

I'ella.

Donaldson thinks that there
ii.

no authority

for this

History of Christian Literature,
1

5G-61).

Lardner gives as date
13, p. 41 C.

10 (Credibility, vol.
4

ii.

j>.

.'511)

;

Donaldson, before 150.
ii.

iv.
iv.

52.
GO.

Cf. Cyril con. Julian.,
" ;

65 E.

Plato, Tim.,
7

c.

'

iv.

01.

iv.

G2.

ANALYSIS OF THE 'TRUE WORD.'
of evil

17

:

to the people

it

may

suffice to say that evils

1 are not from God, but are inherent in matter.

All

mortal things revolve in the same circuit from the

beginning to the end
cycles the
be.
2

;

and

in accordance with definite
are,

same things must have been,
visible
is

and

will

The

world has not been given to man, born and perishes for the preserva-

but everything

tion of the whole.

God
3

does not require to renew

and repair His work.
necessarily so
;

What you deem

evil

is it

not

for

you do not know whether

may

not be of service to you, or to another, or to the
whole. 4
16.
if

To attribute anger and threatening^
subject to

to

God

as

He were

absurd.5

If a

human passions is impious and man, who was angry at the Jews, defrom the youth upwards and burned

stroyed

them

all

their city,

is it

not ridiculous that the Most High God,

in carrying out

His anger and menaces, should send

Bis Son to suffer what
ever, Leave the

He

suffered?

Let me, howof the

Jews

alone,

and speak

whole of

nature.6
1

7.

Their creed rests on the hypothesis that
all

God
that

made
1

things

for

men."

Even

if

1

grant

(K QtUV

IJLtV

UVK

Z(TTl KUKOL,

vAlJ 5t TTpu(TK€tTai

IV.

65.

Of. Pl&tO,

Polit, 278 B.
-'
;

Iv. iv.

.

iv.

"

iv.

70.

Cf. Plato, Leg., 905 B.
D,

72.

GL

Cyril

ooii.

Julian.,

v.

155

E;
:

n. L60

D;

v.

171
'

h. K.
i\.
,

iv.

7

I.

48

THE ATTACK OF CELSUS.

thunders and rains are works of God

—which

I

do not

— I hold that they have been appointed for the sustenance of plants and herbs and thorns, not less than of

man.

If

you say that these spring up

for his use, I ask,

Why

for
?
x

us any more than for the most irrational

animals

We

with

all

our weary

toil

barely secure

a miserable sustenance; they neither plough nor
all

sow
If

things grow up spontaneously for them.
"

2

you

say with Euripides,

The sun and the night

are serv-

ants to mortals," I ask,

Why

to us rather

than to ants
of

and

flies?

3

If

you say that we are the masters

creation because
I

we hunt and

feed on other animals,
for

answer,

Why

have we not rather been made
?

them, seeing that they hunt and eat us
need nets and weapons and

Nay, we
dogs:

many men and
4

nature has supplied them with weapons.

Now

you

have the power to lay hold of and use the irrational
animals; but at a period when there were neither
cities,

nor

arts,
is

nor communities, nor weapons, the

likelihood
at first

that they hunted and ate men. 6
subject to wild beasts.
to
differ
6

Thus

man was
because

18. If

some men seem
of

from irrational
of
cities,
is

creatures
civil
1

their

building

their

constitutions
7:").

and governments, that
5'

nothing

iv.

a

/x6\is

teal

iirnrouajs Tpe<p6fJL(9a- to7s

&(nrapTa Kal aprjpoTa

iravTO.

(pvovrai
iv.

iv.

76.
Kuril*.

77.

Phcen., 546.

'

iv.

78.

>

iv.

79.

fl

iv.

80.

ANALYSIS OF THE 'TRUE WORD.'
to

49

the point,

for ants

and bees do

likewise.
;

Bees

have a leader, with trains and retinue
their

they have

wars and

victories,

their

cities

and suburbs

they pass judgment on the idle and the wicked. 1

In taking forethought for the
not a whit behind men.

future,

the ants are
of their
to carry

"When they see one

number worn out and weary, they help him
his load
;

they have special burial-grounds

;

when they
They have

meet they converse with one another.

reason in full measure, and general concepts, and the

power

of

speech.

If,

then,

some one were what

to look

down from heaven
bees
2
?

to

earth,

difference

would

he see between our actions and

those of

ants and

19.

Some

irrational animals

have a knowledge of

sor-

cery.

Men, then, cannot plume themselves on

this

ground, for in this respect serpents and eagles are
superior
:

they know,

too,

many charms

against poison
of

and sickness. 3

Or take the highest department

human knowledge,
d.

the power to grasp the notion of
plausibility

With

great

many
is

animals

may
from

claim this knowledge.
in

For what
the

more divine than
It
is

foreknow and

declare

future?

animals, from

birds especially, that
it

men

derive this

knowledge.

Does

not follow that these creatures

are by nature in closer fellowship with God, possessed
1

iv.

-1.

-

iv.

83, 84.

iv.

36

50
of greater
of

THE ATTACK OF CELSUS.
wisdom, and more beloved by

Him
is

?

x

Men

intelligence affirm that they

have forms
There

of inter-

course more sacred than ours.
to

no creature
elephant."2
child,

whom

an oath

is

more sacred than the

In piety, in the mutual affection of parent and
the stork
is

pre-eminent
8

:

all

men know

of the filial

love of the phoenix.

20. All points to the conclusion that the universe

was not made

for

man, any more than

for the lion,

the eagle, or the dolphin, but that the cosmos might

be absolutely perfect, as a work of

God

ought.

All

things have been created, not for any one, but for the

whole.

God

cares for the whole,
it
;

and His providence

never

forsakes

it

undergoes no change for the
not to restore
it

worse, and

God needs
is

after lapse of

time; nor
or
flies
;

He angry at men any more than nor does He threaten His creatures,
its

at apes

each of

which has
21.

own appointed
down
of to

place.

4

Ye Jews and
you speak
?

Christians, no
earth,

God
or

or Son of

God
their

has ever come

will

come down.
is

But

if

certain

angels,

what

nature

Do you
?

call

them

gods, or are they of

some

other race
1

Of some other
IV.

race,

and probably demons. 5

iyyvTepu)

ttjs Betas 6fxi\ias

tK(7va nzcpvutvai Kal slvai aocpcdrepa Kal

6fO(pi\ecrTepa
2
4

88.
:f

Idem.
Kal fx(\ei t<£ deep
.

iv. 98.

rod

6'Aou, Kal

tovt'

oti

ttotc a7roAei7rei irp6voia, ou5e

KaKiov ylverai

.

.

ou5e tovtois aireiAe?,

inv

tKaaTov iv

tcj;

/^e'pet

ttjv

avrov
"'

fxolpav
-1.

€/fAT?<^6

iv.

99.

v.

ANALYSIS OF THE 'TRUE WORD.'
22. It is strange that the

51

Jews should worship the

heavens and the angels therein, while they pass by
the most august parts of
it,

the sun, moon, and stars.

Is it reasonable to regard the

whole as God, and

its

parts as not divine

?

Is

it

reasonable to give great

reverence to beings that are said to draw nigh to
in

men

darkness or in dreams in the form of shadowy phan-

toms, and to regard as of no consequence the most con-

spicuous heralds of the upper sphere, the truly heavenly
angels,
23.

which

so brilliantly give prophetic signs to all
folly.

?

1

They have another

They suppose that
the rest of the

when God,

like a cook, brings

fire, all

race will be burned, and that they alone will remain

and that those
rise in their

of

them who have been long dead

will
for

very flesh from the earth,
of

— a hope
of

fit

worms

!

For what soul
?

man would
that

long for a

rotten body

2

I

am aware

some

you Chris-

tians regard this doctrine as

impure and impossible.
its

For what body utterly corrupted could regain
original nature

and the pristine constitution out

of

which

it

was dissolved?

"With God

all

things are

possible," is their absurd refuge.

But God cannot do
will

what
to

i>

disgraceful, nor does

He

what

is

contrary

nature.

He
is

will not

carry out our sinful inclina-

tions.

Be

not the author of disorder, but of a nature

.rued by rectitude and justice.
eternal
1

He

could bestow

life
6.

upon the soul; but dead
-

bodies, ae Eeracli-

v.

Ct*.

Cyril con. Julian., vii 250 B,

52

THE ATTACK OF CELSUS.

tus says, are cast out as worse than dung.

To speak

of

the flesh as eternal
fore
is

is

contrary to reason, and there-

God

will

not and cannot

make

it

so.

For

He

the reason of all things that are, and

He

cannot do

anything contrary to reason or contrary to Himself. 1
24.

The Jews,

like other separate nationalities,

have

established laws according to their national genius,

and preserve a form

of

worship which has at least the

merit of being ancestral and national,
has
be.
its

for each nation

own

institutions,

whatever they

may

chance to

This seems an expedient arrangement, not only

because different minds think differently, and because
it
is

our duty to preserve what has been established

in the interests of the state, but also because in all

probability the parts of the earth were originally allotted to different overseers,

and are now administered
is
:

accordingly. 2
seers
is

To do what
is

pleasing to these overto abolish the institu-

to

do what

right

tions that

have existed

in each place

from the

first

is

impiety. 3
position. 4
1

We may
Nations

cite
differ

Herodotus in favour

of this

very widely, but each thinks
uutcou Auyos'

Autos yap ianu 6
Trap'

ttolvtoov

twu

ovSev ovv olos Te napa

\6you, ovSe
-

kavTov ipydaaaOai
ixfpr] t?is yr\s e£

v. 14.

wj
.

fifths,

t&

apxv* &AAa #AAois

iir6irrais

i/eve/uLrj/JLiua

.

.

tcujtji

Kal Sioikutcu
;

v. 25.

Cf. Cyril con. Julian., iv. 115

D

;

iv.
::

143 A,

B

iv.

148 B.
to. {£

irapaXvziv 8e ovx ocriov tlvai

apxys Kara t6ttovs

vevofjuajxsua

v.

25.
4

Celsua quotes Herod.,
1

ii.

18,

where

it is

recorded that Amnion

re-

the request of the inhabitants of Marea and Apis to be ranked

as

Libyans and not as Egyptians in matters of religion.

ANALYSIS OF THE 'TRUE WOED.'
its

53

own

institutions

the

best.

Some worship one
as sacred
;

deity,

some another.

Some regard sheep
as

others abstain from goats, or crocodiles, or cows.

The

Scythians regard

it

an act
it

of

virtue to feast on

men

;

some Indians consider

an act of piety to eat

their fathers. 1

We may
is

say with Herodotus, 2 " The
is

judgment
all

of
3

Pindar

sound, that law

the king of
is

things."

The

conclusion, therefore,

that all

men

oimlit to live according to the

customs of their
;

country, and are not to be blamed for so doing
that Christians are to be

and

blamed

for leaving the cus-

toms of their
Jesus.
4

fathers,

and adhering

to the teaching of
if

We

do not then blame the Jews
;

they

adopt this attitude

but

if

they glory in their pos-

session of peculiar wisdom,

and avoid intercourse with

other nations as

if

they were not equally pure, we
nothing original in their
Their doctrine as to

say, as before, that there is

doctrine nor in their customs.

heaven and the Highest God has been long held by
the Persians.
"

They are wont," says Herodotus, 5

" to

go up to the tops of the mountains and offer sacrifices,

and they
it

call the

whole vault

of

heaven Zeus."
call the

For

makes no

difference

whether you

Highest
like

Zeus, or Zen, or Adonai, or Sabaoth, or

Ammoun,

the Egyptians, or Pappseus, like the Scythians.
practice of circumcision
1

The
:

is

do claim
B.

bo special sanctity

Cf. Cyril urn. .Julian., to.
.

188 A.
v.

Herod.,

iil

18.

34.

l

85.

Herod.. L 181.

54

THE ATTACK OF CELSUS.
So

the Egyptians and Colchians did so before them.
is
it

with their abstinence from swine and other un-

clean food.

There

is

no probability that they were

specially honoured

by God, or loved by

Him
them

with
only,
;

peculiar love, and that angels were sent to
as
if

they had obtained some region of the blessed

for

we
this

see both the people themselves

and the country
Let
:

which they receive according

to their deserts. 1

band then depart, duly punished

for its arrogance

they never

knew

the true God, but, enslaved by the

sorcery of Moses, became his disciples to no good end. 2

And,

as they depart, let the second

band come

for-

ward, and I will ask them whence they come, and

who

is

the author of their ancestral laws. 3

They

will

mention no one, inasmuch as they derive their origin
from the Jews, and from no other quarter
teacher and " choir-master."
25.
4

is

their

Waiving

all

charges against their teacher,
truly an angel.
?

let

us

suppose that

He was

Was He
so,

the

first

and only one that came
tradict themselves.

If

they say

they will con-

For they say that others came

sixty or seventy at a time

— who became wicked, and
their tears. 5

were punished by being chained and cast under the
earth
;

and they add that hot springs are

And
1

they assert that to the tomb of Jesus Himself an
2

Cf. Cyril con. Julian., v. Cf. Cyril con. Julian.,

17G B.
238 D.
5

v. 41.

vii.

4

x°P oa

" r °Lr Vi

v.

'','',.

Book

of

Enoch,

c.

x.

ANALYSIS OF THE 'TRUE WORD.'
angel came (some say one, others two),

55
told the
it

who
of

women

that

He had

risen.

For the Son

God, as

seems, was not able to open the tomb, but required

some one

to

remove the stone

!

So one angel came to

the carpenter about Mary, and another to tell

them

to

take up the child and

flee.

Why

recount in detail

those that are said to have been sent to
others
?

Moses and the

If others

were

sent, it is manifest that Jesus

came from the same God.

Let

it

be supposed that
if

He came
is

with a weightier message, as

the Jews

had been sinning or corrupting their

religion, still

He

not the only one that came to the race of man. 1
of

Though some
that

them think

otherwise, 2

it

is

plain

the
of

Jews and Christians have the same God.
the
"

Those

Great Church

"

receive as

true

the
rest-

accounts of the creation in six days, and of
ing on the seventh.

God

Botli agree in regard to the first

man, and deduce their genealogies from him.

Both

accept the narratives about the going of the children
of Israel into Egypt,

and

their flight

from

it.

3

I

know

that

some hold the Creator

—the God
to,

of the

Jews

to

be different from, and opposed

the

God from whom
are
endless.

Jesus came.

In truth, their divisions

They have "carnal" and "spiritual" men.

Some,
in
all

who
thin

call

themselves Christians, wish to live
the Jews.

There are among them Sibyllists
Barpocratians, disciples
v.
:.:•.

ami SimonianSj
1

Affarcellians,
'l'li"

v.

52, B

i

Marcionifc

56

THE ATTACK OF CELSUS.
call

who

themselves after Mariamne, and Martha, and

Afarcionites. 1

Some

of

them wallow about
them

in gross

darkness, more polluted than that of the troop

who
cau-

worship Antinous. 2
terised in the ears,"

Some
some

of
"

are called

"

enigmas," some

" sirens."

They
other,

utter unspeakable blasphemies against one an-

and

so bitter is their

mutual hatred that they

would not yield one jot
notwithstanding
troversies,
is

for the sake of concord.

But

all their divisions

and abusive con-

you may hear them

all saying, "
3

The world

crucified unto

me and

I

unto the world."

II.

1.

Even though

their
let

dogmas have no

basis
First,

no authoritative source

us examine them.

we speak

of truths

which they have corrupted from
Their views of God, as well

imperfect apprehension. 4
as

their ethical

teaching,

have been

far

better

ex-

pressed by the Greeks, and that without any arrogant
declarations as from

God

or a

Son

of God/'

Take the

teaching of Plato.
the Christians

Instead of the blind faith which

demand, Plato sought by questions and

answers to illumine the minds of those who studied his
1

v.

61, 62.

2

twc 'Avrivov rov nar' AXyvwrov Oiaawrcov
4

v. 63.

::

v. 63, 64.
vi. 3, 6.

v.

65.

5

vi.

1.

8

Celsus here quotes from the spurious Epistle,

vii.

341 C, D.

All his quotations

from Plato are given with perfect accuracy, and

agree almost literally with the text of

Hermann.

In this

way we

can test both the accuracy of Celsus and the care with which Origen

quotes the words of Celsus.
58
A,.
I

Cf. Cyril con. Julian.,

ii.

49 A,

D

;

57,

».

ANALYSIS OF THE 'TRUE WORD.'
philosophy. 1
of

57

He

does not swagger nor close the

mouth
has

any inquirer, nor does he bid them then and there
is

believe that there

such a God, and that

He

such a Son, and that
versed with him. 2
as inexpressible,

He has come down and conWhen he describes the chief good he gives the reason. 3 He does not

brag and say falsely that he has discovered something

new, or that he has come down from heaven to an-

nounce
in-.
first

it,

but acknowledges the sources of his teachdoes not like them say, "Believe in the

He
of

place that

Son

God,

He whom I though He was

introduce to you
disgracefully

is

the

bound and
of all

punished

—though but yesterday before the eyes
:

He was
believe
this

treated most dishonourably
it

on

this

account

all

the more."

4

Moreover, in regard to
if

demand

for implicit faith,

some introduce one
have the one ready
to

person,

some another, while
"

all

watchword,
go away
"

Believe
will

if

you wish

be saved, or
a true

— what

men

do

who have

desire to be saved?

Will they cast dice and divine

whither they should turn, and to
adhere
2.
1

whom

they should

B
\

They Bay that
7.

"

wisdom among men
lii.s

is

foolishE3pi&,
vii.

vi.

Celsufl

continues

quotation From

Plato,

:i

1

1

E.
vi.
:

-

8.
kcl\

vi.

:».

Cf. 10.

Plato, Episi,

vii.

S42 A.

B.

*

TavTT)

/j.uWoi> Ttiffrtvauv
J)

vi.

xuivhv 5( iravTwv

Kal irpdxfipov irlcntvcTov, tt (Tudrivai 64\as,

¥)

&iri9f ti iroiT)<Tovcriv ol a\7]9u>s cru^taQai OtXovTts;
^.auTivcrovTat, iru7 TpdircovTat, kui t'kti irpocrOuivrai

*H kv&ovs dva^ix^avTfs

vi.

11.

58

THE ATTACK OF CELSUS.

ness with God."

What

is

true in this saying
"

is

bor-

rowed from the Greek thinkers.
said Socrates, " I

Men

of Athens,"

have obtained
wisdom.
is

this reputation only

because of

my

What

kind of
:

wisdom

?

Such wisdom as
point of view I
wise."
x

attainable

by man

for in

this

am

inclined to believe that I
is

am

Their ground for such assertion

plain.

They

flee

away

in rapid flight

from

men

of taste, be-

cause such are not

easy dupes, and they catch in

their nets nothing but rustics. 2

Their much-talked-of

humility
"

is

a misunderstanding of a saying of Plato.

God, as the old tradition declares, holding in His hand
all

the beginning, middle, and end of

that

is,

moves

according to His nature in a straight line towards the

accomplishment of His end.

Justice always follows

Him, and

is

the punisher of those

who

fall

short of

the divine law.

To that law he who would be happy
it

holds

fast,

and follows

in all humility

and order."

3

But the humility which he inculcates does not consist in
kii(;es,

casting one's self on the ground with bended

putting on the dress of
4

men

in misery,
said,

and
is

sprinkling the head with ashes.
easier for a

Jesus

"It

camel to go through the eye

of a needle,

than for a rich
heaven."

man
is

to

enter into the

kingdom

of

What
"

this but a corruption of the say-

ing of Plato,
1

For a

man

to be at once rich in a high
2 4

vi.

12.

Plato, Apol., 20 D.

vi.

14.
15.

Leg., iv.

715 E, 716

A

(Jowett's translation).

vi.

ANALYSIS OF THE 'TRUE WORD.'
degree and good in a high degree
is

59
?
:

impossible "

The accounts given by the Christians abut the king-

dom

of

God

are not to be compared with the sayings

of Plato in his Epistles. 2

The theory held by some

Christians of a supercelestial
of the Jews, springs of Plato.
3

God beyond
for souls

the heaven

from misunderstanding a saying

Plato speaks of a

way

through the
thing-

planets, to
is

and from the

earth. 4

The same

represented by the Persians in the mysteries

of

Mithras. 5

From

the Persians they took their concep-

tion of the seven heavens.

Compared with those
mysteries
"
8

of

the Persians, the Christian
insane. 7

are silly

and
in-

In a certain

"

diagram

of theirs

they

troduce
1

among

other monstrous things one

whom

they

vi. 16.
vi.

Plato, Leg., v. 743 A.
Plato, Epis.,
ii.

-

17, 18. 19.

312 E.

3 4
D

vi.

Plato, Phaedrus, 247 C.

vi.
vi.

21.
22.

Spencer quotes Timseus, 41

E

;

Celsus describes the symbol at length.

Keim, Phaxlrus, 247 C, 1». It was meant

mbolise the revolution of the heavenly bodies.
figure of a ladder with high gates, seven in

They used the

number, with an eighth These seven gates were formed of different metals, and gate above. were assigned to Kronos, to Zeus, to Ares, &c, whose varied characters This arrangement was represented by the respective metals. qoI arbitrary, but in part determined by musical reasons.
,;

vi.

23.

r

vi.

24.

8

In regard to the nature and object of this diagram -which was

in

use

among
all

the Ophites

— there
p.

is

great diversity of opinion.

I

disclaims

responsibility for

it,

but had seen
to
|

it

:

he agrees sub-

stantially with Celsus,

but claim76)
of
light

i

more detailed knowif

Spec

not.,

thinks

that,

it

were extant, h

would throw a
discussion of
it,

flood

on the early history of the Church.
vol.
ii.

Hatter (Histoire du 4 Inosticisme,

pp. 106*486
ii

gives an elaborate

and

tries to

reproduce

(Plate

iii.)

He

thinks thai

60
call the

THE ATTACK OF CELSUS.
accursed god.

He

well deserved execration,

inasmuch as he cursed the serpent who introduced
to the first
all their

man

the knowledge of good and

evil.

1

In

pictures of the supercelestial world they give
to the tree of life

prominence

and resurrection

of flesh

Erom the tree

— on

the ground, I suppose, that their

teacher was nailed to the cross, and was a carpenter

by

trade.

So that

if

He had

been cast from a preci-

pice, or thrust into a pit, or

been strangled, or had

been a shoemaker, or a stone-mason, or a worker in
iron,

then there would have been invented above the
life,

heavens the precipice of
tion, or the

or the pit of resurrec-

cord of immortality, or the blessed stone,
of

or

the

iron

love,

or

holy

leather!

What
?

old

woman would
when
3.

not be ashamed to whisper such things

telling a fable to a child

by way

of lullaby

2

Many

of their
I

mysterious sayings are only magi-

cal

formulas.

have seen in the possession of some

presbyters of their creed barbarous books containing the

names

of

demons and

their jugglery

;

these presbyters

promised nothing that was good and everything that

would injure man. 8
Origen
v

I

have known,

too,

one Dionysius,

ibing the diagram

mi-Lakes.

He

holds that

it

from memory, and thus made was a part of the "mysteries" of the
their
p. 84)

Ophites,

and contained a symbolic summary of
of Christian Biography, vol. illustrate anything,
iv.

doctrines.

Salmon (Dictionary it was not meant to
some magical
1

thinks that

but was supposed to possess
93 D.
8

virtue.
Cf. Cyril con. Julian.,
iii.

vi.

25, 27, 28.
84.

'-'

vi.

vi.

39, 40.

ANALYSIS OF THE 'TRUE WORD.'

Gl

an Egyptian musician, who told

me

that magic had a
in
1

power over those who were uneducated and corrupt
life,

but could not influence those given to philosophy.

4.

In their dense ignorance they have erred im-

piously in other ways.
to God,

They have made an opponent

the devil

in

Hebrew

called Satan.
it is

Such
irrev-

statements are cast in a mortal mould, and
erent to say that the

Most High God

is

opposed by

one who thwarts His desire to benefit mankind.

The

Son

of

God,

too, foretold that

Satan would appear with

great display, and claim for himself the glory of God,

and warned His disciples against giving heed
I

to him.

llearly the

language of a sorcerer who wishes to antito his views.

cipate

and counteract opposition
adversary of

Their

belief in the

God

springs from a misinof a

terpretation of the
gods.

Greek tradition

war

of the

Heraclitus, for example, speaks of a period of

universal conflict

— saying that

all

things are born and

developed in
lie,

strife.

Pherecydes,

who was
Of

older than

tells of

opposing armies

— one

under the leaderlike mystic

ship of Kronos, one under Ophioneus.

import are the wars of the Titans and giants against
the
gods,

and

also

what the Egyptians
Osiris.

tell

about
to

Typhon, Boras, and

The words

of

Zeus

Hera

2

are to be interpreted as the words of Zeus to

matter
be
1

— as
"i'
\i.

indicating that

God
it

laid

li<>],l

of

matter

in

chaoe and bound
41.

by fixed laws.
Homer,
Ilia.l.

A.ccord18-24.

•-

w.

G2

THE ATTACK OF CELSUS.

ing to the Christians, the Son of

God

is

vanquished by

the devil, and teaches us thereby to endure
too are punished
to

when we
!

by him.

How

ridiculous

Better

punish the

devil,

and not threaten the men

whom

he deceives. 1
5.

They have derived the conception
in the

of

a Son of

God
ever
it

same way.

The men

of old called this

world, as having been born of God, His son. 2

What3

may

be the true theory of the origin of the world,

is

certain that their

cosmogony

is

extremely

silly.

Take the separate days

of their account.

When

the

heaven had not yet been formed or the earth consolidated, or the sun

begun

its
is

course,

how

could there

be days
light
to

?

4

The Creator

represented as asking for

"

Let there be

light."

Surely he did not require

ask light from above, like

men who
why did

light

their

torches at those of their neighbours.

If the

Creator

was opposed
liiiu

to the
5

Great God,

the latter lend

the light?

(Whether the world was uncreated

and indestructible, or created but indestructible, or the
reverse, I do not

now

Creator the Spirit,
it

to

one who was

When He gave the did He not know that He was giving evil and might work against Him V
discuss.
)
-

1

vi.

42.

vi.

47.

:;

vi. 49, vi.

50.

Cf. Cyril con. Julian.,

iii.

96 C, D.
5

* 8

60.
lie

vi. 51.

Elsewhere, according to Origen,

had said that the world was

uncreated and indestructible
7

iv.

79.

vi.

52.

ANALYSIS OF THE 'TRUE WORD.'

63

Why, then,

does
?

He

send secretly and destroy the works
does

of the Creator

Why

He

teach the followers of
?

another to run away from their master

Why
God

adopt

them without
majesty truly,

their father's consent

?

A

of great

who

desires to be the father of those
portionless, but

condemned by another, sinners and
yet

who cannot

get hold of and punish His messenger

who

revolted against

Him

1

The

conflicts

of

the

Supreme God and the Creator
the quails
:

are like the battle of

the fathers, being useless through old age,

take no part in the conflict, but allow their sons to do
the fighting. 2
6.

If,

however, as others among you say, this world

be the work of the Highest
create evil
? ?

God

Himself,

why

does

He

Why is He unable to persuade and admonish Why does He repent because of unthankful and wicked creatures Why does He blame His own
?

workmanship and threaten and destroy His own
spring
?

off-

Or whither does He withdraw them from

the world which
7.

He

Himself has made

?

3

Look

at their record of creation.

Is it not

absurd

to

speak of the First and Greatest
"

God

giving com-

mand,
so

Let this be done, or

let that

be done"

— doing
leisure

much work on
I

the second day, so

much on

the third

day, and SO OD

And
It

alter the six days' work, like a
is is
1.

very poor
to rest
1

workman Be

worn out and needs

Himself! 4

impiety to suppose that the
'

vi.

.7

vi.

I

vi.

GO.

64

THE ATTACK OF CELSUS.
is

Great God

weary, or works with His hands, or issues

commands. 1

He

has neither voice nor mouth, nor has

He
did

anything of those things which we know. 2

Nor

He make man in His image, for God is man, nor is He like any other form, for He
in

not such as
has no part

outward shape, or colour, or movement, or substance. 3
:

Him are all things He cannot be expressed by word. He has suffered nothing that can be appreOf hended by name, and
8. is

outside of all suffering. 4
cry, "

"

How,

then,"
to

you

am

I to

know God and

learn the
eyes,

way
I see

Him ?
who
is

You

cast darkness before

my

and
is

nothing clearly."

One always

fancies

that he

blinded,

led out of darkness into brilis

liant light. 5

Your answer

that, since

God

is

great

and

difficult to behold,

He

has put His

own

Spirit into

a body like unto ours, and sent

Him down
the.

hither that

we might be
if

able to hear and learn from

Him.

lint

the Spirit sent from

God

is

Son in a human

body, this very Son of
For Buch
a Spirit

God would not be immortal. could not abide for ever: God must
!

have given up the ghost
rise

Jesus therefore could not

with His body; for

God would

not have taken
after
7

back the Spirit which

He

had given,

it

had

been soiled through the nature of the body.
if

Again,

God wished
to

to

send down His
it

Spirit,
?

what need

was there
1

breathe
-

into
''•

a

woman
63, 64.
7

Knowing
4

vi.

Gl.
"'

vi.

G2.
,;

vi. vi.
(il».

vi.

65.

vi.

66.

vi.

72.

ANALYSIS OF THE 'TRUE WORD.'
already

65
a

how

to create

men,

He might have formed

body round about His own
into so great pollution.
this
If

Spirit, instead of casting it

way immediately from
so

met with
I

much

unbelief. 1

He had been fashioned in above, He would not have Further, since He was a

)ivine Spirit in a
all

human

body, His body must have

been in
size,

respects different from the rest of bodies in

or beauty, or strength, or voice, or majesty, or
to persuade.

power

But the body

of Jesus, it is said,

differed

not a whit from another, but on the conplain,

trary
9.

was small,
There
is

and ignoble. 2
If

another objection.

God, like Zeus in

the comedy, wakened up after a long sleep, and wished

why did He send tins spirit of His into one corner Would it not have been better to breathe it into many bodies at once,
to save the race of

men from

evils,
?

and send

it

through the whole world

?

The comic

poet sought to create a laugh by representing Zeus,

when
ami
a

In-

awoke, as sending Hermes to the Athenians
Is
it

Lacedajmonians.
of

not more absurd that
sent
of to to

Son

God should be
race,

the

Jews,

an

utterly

corrupt
like

instead

some inspired

nation
sians,

the

Chaldeans, the Egyptians, the Per3

or

Indians?
not

Yel

this

God, who knows

all

things,
1

did

know

that

lie

was

sending

His

vi.

78.
<pact, ^.iKphv Kat

-

tuvto 8f ovbfv &\\ov hi4ty(ptv, a\\\ ws
-f\v

SucreiSes

nal aytvts

vi.

7"'.

m. 78,

SO.

CI

Cyril con. Julian.,

v.

i:-: B, C.

66

THE ATTACK OF CELSUS.
to
1
!

Son

men who were
what

evil,

and about

to

punish

Him

10. Let us see

their defence
;

is.

Those who

introduce another

God have none

those

who admit
answer

only one and the same

God have
The

this sapient

— these

things must needs be so because they were
oracles
of

long ago predicted. 2
priestess, of

the

Pythian

Dodona, and thousands

of others at

whose

instance the whole earth has been colonised, are despised by

them

;

but those things that were

said, or
is

not said, by Jewish seers, in a fashion that

still

practised in Phoenicia and Palestine, are considered

marvellous and most unerring. 3
11.
id iccy.

To begin

with, there are

many forms

of pro-

Many

persons of no note prophesy on the

slightest occasion, without the least difficulty, both in

temples and outside of them
or camps,
oracles.

;

others frequent cities
if

and are moved, forsooth, as

delivering

And
Spirit.

word

of all

— "I

tin's

is

the ready and familiar watch-

Divine

I

am am

God, or the Son of God, or the
come, for the world
is

perishing,
iniquities.

and you men are perishing because of your
I

wish

to save you,

and you will see

me

again return-

ing witli heavenly power.

Blessed shall he be
all

who

now worships me, but upon
1

others will I cast

vi. 81.

2

4k(7uo

877

rb

cro(pbv, uti

yap ravra
:;

Trpoelpr]TO

^XP^ V outgo yeveffOai'

reK/x-ffpiov 5e, iraKai

vii.

2.

vii.

'',.

ANALYSIS OF THE 'TRUE WORD.'
eternal
fire.

67
the punishin

And men who
them

do not

know

ment
To

in store for

will then repent

and groan

vain, but those
this

who obey me

will I preserve for ever."

they add insane and
of

obscure sayings, the
sense

meaning

which no man

of

can

discern,

but every fool or impostor interprets them as he
wills. 1

I

have often heard such prophets, and when

I

confuted

them they always acknowledged

their

defects. 2

12.
rests,

In the prophetic writings on which their system

God

is

represented as doing that which

is

wicked,

shameful, and impure.

He

is

said to act

and

to suffer

most disgracefully, and

to be the minister of evil.

For
is

God

to eat the flesh of sheep, or
3

drink vinegar,

no

better than to feed on ordure.

Suppose that the pro-

phets had predicted that the Great
coarsely

God

—not
die,

to

put

it

—would be a
God
?

slave, or

be sick, or

must we
because
be-

believe that
it

died, or

was

sick, or a slave,

was

so predicted

Must He

die that

we may

lieve in

His divinity?

The prophets could not have
Moreover, the

foretold

things so evil and unholy.
is

question

not whether
is

it

has been predicted or not,
of

but whether the work

worthy
is

God, and beautiful.

We
men
1

must disbelieve what
in
;i

disgraceful,

though
it.
4

all
it

common madness seem
-

to predict

Is

vii.

'.».

vii.

11.

:;

vii.

12, 13.

*

rui 5'

alaxPV

K0" xaK(f,

K&y irdfTts
1.

6.v0po}iroi fxaivv/u.(voi

irpoXtyav

boKuxriu, airim-qriov

vii.

1

68

THE ATTACK OF CELSUS.

pious to regard what Jesus did and suffered as worthy
of

God? 1
13.

Will they not consider

this point

?

If the pro-

phets of the

God
did

of the

Jews predicted the coming

of

His Son,

why

He

enjoin
fill

them by Moses

to acquire

riches and power, to

the earth, and by example
to slay their enemies,

and threatenings exhort them

even to the youngest, while His Son, the Nazarene,
declares that there
rich
is

no access
of

to

His Father

for the
;

man, or the lover

power, riches, or glory

that

we should have no more anxiety about
that

food than the
lilies
;

ravens, and less care for clothing than the

and

we should

give to

him who has struck
?

once, the
or Jesus

opportunity to strike again
lied
?

Has Moses
Moses
His

Or did the Father, on sending Him,
to
?

forget the

commands which He had given
ing His mind, did

Or, changlaws,
2

He condemn

own

and

send a messenger to proclaim the opposite?
14. All their religious conceptions are

outward and

material.

They say
in

that

God

is

of a bodily nature,

and has a body
too, is their

form

like that of a

man. 3

Material,
to

conception of eternal

life.

Ask

what

place they are departing, or

and
tin's."

they

answer

— "To
of

what hope they have,
land
of

another
old
told

better

than
life

Divine
souls,

men
to

a

happy

for

happy

be passed in the "isles of the
plains
of
319

blest,"
1

or in
- vii.

the
18.

Klysian

which Homer
1), E.
3

Idem.

Cf. Cyril con. Julian., ix.

vii.

27.

ANALYSIS OF THE 'TRUE WORD.'
speaks. 1

69

Plato taught that the soul was immortal, and
place where
it

expressly calls the

is

sent "earth."
in the

"The

earth

is

very vast, and

we who dwell
section

region extending from the river Phasis to the Pillars
of

Heracles,

inhabit

a

small

only on

the

borders of the sea, like ants or frogs about a marsh,

and there are other inhabitants
places.

of

many
all

like other

For

I

should say that in

parts of the

earth there are hollows of various forms and sizes,
into

which the water, and the
;

mist,

and the lower

air

collect

and that the true earth
2

is

pure, and in the

pure heaven."

To understand

this saying of Plato,

we must understand what he adds
but that

—that we

through

weakness and sluggishness are not able
surface of the air
;

to pass to the

if

our nature could sustain
true

the

sight,

we would

recognise that to be the
light.
3

heaven and the true

Just as they have per-

verted the teaching of Plato in regard to this, so have

they come to believe in the resurrection of the body

through misunderstanding the doctrine of metempsychosis. 4

When
see

they are pressed haul and refuted, they

go back to the

same question
?

"

How

then shall we
to

know and

God

And how
God with
them

shall

we go

Him

?

"

"'

They expeel
His
vni.-c

to Bee

the bodily eye, to hear
to

with their ears, ami
Let

touch

Him

with

sensible hands.
1

go, then, to

the shrines of
Phwdo, L09 A.
:;-j.
'

Odyafc,
;

iv.

-

vii.
'

28.
\ii.

B.

vii.

31.

Phaedo, 109

I'.

E

(J.

.v..

rfi

70

THE ATTACK OF CELSUS.
There they will see gods in
j

Trophonius or Mopsus.

human
see

form, not deceptive but manifest
only,

they will

them not once

and slipping past them, like

Him who

seduced them, but always holding inter-

course with those

who

desire

it.

1

"

But how,
?

then,

can we know God without sensible perception
can be learned without perception
?

What
is

"

That

the
If

utterance not of a man, nor of a soul, but of
a race so craven
let

flesh.

and carnal can understand anything,
Give up your outward vision and

them give

ear.

look upwards with your

mind

;

turn aside from the
:

eye of the flesh and raise the eye of the soul
will

only so

you see God.

And

if

you seek a guide, you must

shun vagabonds and jugglers who recommend their

phantoms

;

you must not blaspheme

as idols those

who

prove themselves to be gods, while you worship one

who
sion,

is

not even an

idol,

but truly a dead man, and

seek out a father like unto Him. 2

For such a deludoorkeepers
3

and

for

the sake

of

the

divine

whose names you

so painfully learn,
4

you are miserably

plagued and crucified.

Instead of such guides, seek

divinely inspired poets and wise
phers. 5
1

men and
in

philoso-

Listen
35.

to

Plato,

a

master

theological

vii. 34,
^i7j5e

"

e?5w\ou en, a\A* uvrojs veupbu aefiovres, Kal irarepa

'6/moiov

avTc£ £r)TouvTes

vii.

36.

Probably referring (so Keim) to the "diagram" of the Ophites.

Spencer refers to the angels who presided over the 365 "local
tions," according to Basilides
4

posi-

Iren.,

i.

23.

ko.ku>s 5ai/j.ovaT€ Kal

ava(TKoKoTTi^aOe

vii.

40.

"

vii.

41.

ANALYSIS OF THE 'TRUE WORD.'
questions
"

71
of the

:

To

find out the

Maker and Father

universe
it is

is

a hard task, and

when we have found Him
all

impossible to speak of His nature to

men."

1

See

how

divine

men

seek after the

way

of truth.

By
first

synthesis, or analysis, or analogy, they try to give to

us some intelligible conception of

Him who

is

the

and unspeakable.
so

If I

sought to teach you,

who

are
is

bound up

in the flesh,
if

and see nothing that

pure, I

wonder

you could follow me. 2
intelligible
is

Distinguish
is

essence which
visible.

is

from becoming which

With essence
truth
is

truth, with

becoming
is

is error.

Around
There
vision

science,

around becoming
of

opinion.

is

an intellection
the visible.

the

intellectual,

and a

of

The

intelligence
visible.
is

knows the
the sun

intellectual,
is

and the eye the

What

among

visible things

(which

neither the eye nor
see,

sight,

but gives to the eye the power to

and

to

Bight existence,

and

to the things of sight visibility,
is

and to

all

the objects of sense becoming, and
its

at

the same time the cause of

among
ice,

things intellectual

is

own visibility), that he who is neither intelli-

nor intellection, nor science, but gives to in-

telligence i'<wer to perceive, to intellection existence,
to science the
to truth
isting,

power

bo

know,

10 all intellectual things,

itself, to

essence
is

itself,

the possibility of exall

while he himself
intelligible
-

above

things,
ineffable

and yet
power. 8

becomes
1

by
\ii.

a
l_\

certain

Plato, Tim., 28 C.

Of. Plato, Reepub., 507-509.

72

THE ATTACK OF CELSUS.

These things are spoken to
Spirit

men
as

of intelligence.

The

whom you
is

represent

having come

down

from God

really the
If

spirit

which inspired wise
of

men

of

old.
it is

you understand anything
;

these

truths,

well

if

not, be silent

and conceal your

ignorance, and
blind,

do not speak of those
as

who
it

see
is

as

and those who run

lame, while

you

who
dead.

are altogether lame and mutilated in soul, and

live only in
1

the body

— that

is,

with that which

is

15.

Since you had a passion for something novel,
did you not give your

why

homage

to

some one
a

of

the illustrious dead,

who might have been
?

fitting-

subject for a divine legend

If Heracles, Asclepius,

and the ancient worthies did not satisfy you, you

had Orpheus,
spirit,

a

man acknowledged
also died a

to possess a divine

and who

death of violence.

]>ut

perhaps others had taken him up before you.

Or
cast

you
into

might have had Anaxarchus, who, when
a

mortar and cruelly crushed, showed a lofty
for the

contempt
of

punishment

— "Beat,
What

beat the shell

Anaxarchus; him you are not beating,"
divine spirit.

— the saying

of a truly

But souk; physicists have
do you say to
bwisting his leg,

anticipated you in his case.

Epictetus?

When
it,

his

master kepi

he smiling said,
lie

"You
said,
1

are breaking it;"

and when

had broken

"Did
vii.

I

not

tell

you that you

r>.

ANALYSIS OF THE 'TRUE WORD.'
were breaking it?"
so noble

73

Did your God say anything
?

when He was being punished
and the Sibyl
also,

You
up
as a

pass

by
a

these,

and you

set
life

God

man who crowned an infamous

by a most

pitiable death. 1

Why

not have taken Jonah in the

whale's body or Daniel in the den of lions, or characters

more miraculous than these

?

2

Perhaps you will quote,

in opposition to these statements, the precept of Jesus

against the avenging of insult.
it

That

is

an old saying

is

onlv a rude rendering of what Plato said with
"

elegance.
not.
]S
T

Then we must do no wrong

?

Certainly

or

when

injured, injure in return, as the

many

imagine; for
not.

we must

injure no one at all?
evil
?

Clearly

Again, Crito,

may we do

Surely not,

Socrates.

And what
just.

of doing evil in return for evil,

which
not
?

is

the morality of the

many — is
evil

that just or
is

Xot
as

For doing

to

another

the

same

injuring

him

?

Very

true.

Then we ought

not to retaliate or render evil for evil to any one,

whatever
Tell
to

evil

we may have

suffered from

him.

.

.

.

me, then, whether you
first

agree with and

assent

my

principle, that neither injury, nor retali-

ation,

n<T warding off evil

by

evil,

is

ever

righl
\

'

And

shall that be the premiss of our

argument

Or
I

do you decline and
1

dissent

from this?

For this

ToV 8<

/3tOJ /J.'(U (TCtfl(>T]TUTa.TU',

QaVOLTU) 5f OlKTi<TT(f)

XP r (T(*lxiVov &&V
l i

Tiflecrfle
'-'

vii.

Mem.

7-4

THE ATTACK OF CELSUS.
still

have ever thought and
easily find

think."

1

Any inquirer

will

many such

illustrations. 2

III.

1.

Let us pass to another point.
altars,

They cannot

endure temples,
ians, the

and images. and
all

In this the Scythimpious and lawless

nomads

of Syria,

nations, are at one with them.

So are the Persians,
it

according to Herodotus.
foolish to pray to

Heraclitus says that

is

images without recognising what

gods or heroes
If

are.

But they

utterly despise images.

their reason be
is

that stone or brass wrought
is

by

human hands

not a god, that

ridiculous wisdom.

Who

but an absolute idiot considers them as gods, and
If their

not things dedicated to and statues of gods?

reason be that they are not truly divine images, as the

form

of the

Deity

is different,

they unconsciously re-

fute themselves

when they

say that

God made man

the

image of Himself, and

witli a

form like unto Himself.
to

They regard

statues as consecrated not

gods but

demons, and hold that the worshipper of God ought
not to serve demons; 8 while they themselves worship

one who
in; ni.
4

La

neither a god nor a demon, but a dead

I ask,
all

why
of

are

demons not

to be

worshipped

?

Are not

tilings

administered according to the will

and providence
or heroes ruled
1

God?

Is not the
of the

work

of

demons
Eas
58.

by the law

Most High?
2

Crito, 49 B, C,
vii.

D

(Jowett).
4

vii.

::

02.

Cf. Cyril con. Julian., vi.

194 D.

ANALYSIS OF THE 'TRUE WORD.'

75

not power been allotted to each as he was deemed

worthy

?

And
it is

does not the worshipper of

God

rightly
?

serve one

who has obtained power from Him
not possible to serve
the

No,

they say
2.

;

many

masters. 1

That

is

language of revolt,

of

those

who

separate

themselves

from the rest of men.

Those

who speak thus

ascribe their

own

affections to God.

Among men,

he that serves one master cannot well

serve another without wronging the former; but this

cannot be applied to God,

whom

no injury nor pain

can touch.

On

the contrary, he

who

serves any one

of those gods or

demons

in the universe

who belong

to the

Great God, does not grieve God but pleases
to

Him

:

honour what

is

His

is

to

honour Himself. 2
is

To say

in speaking of

God
of

that one

called Lord,

is

to divide the

kingdom

heaven and introduce

faction,

as

if

there were some other leader opposed to
if

Him. 3

Their position would be stronger

they themselves
4
;

worshipped no other than the one God
worship

but

now they

Him who but
if

recently appeared on earth. 5
it

Nay, even
but
tlic

you taught them that
all

is

not His Son

Father of

whom we
with

ought truly to rev-

erence, they would insist on the Leader of their faction
bein]

ociated

along

Him; and

Him

they

called

Son

of

God, not because of their intense rev-

1

vii

viii.

2.
;

:;

viii.

11,

I Cyril oon. Julian.,
•"'

v.

169 E
12.

\i.

201

E.
1

tuu tvayxos <pa.v<wra— viii.

Cf. Cyril COIL -Julian., vi. 191

>.

7G

THE ATTACK OF CELSUS.

erence for God, but from an intense desire to exalt
Jesus. 1

To show that

I

am
is

not speaking in an aim'

less fashion, let

me

refer to a passage in the

Heavenly

Dialogue.'

"If the Son

more powerful than God

the Father, and the Son of the Son of

man

is

His Lord, who but

man

can be Lord of the
?

God who

is

gov-

ernor of the universe
3.

"

2

They seek
is

to avoid altars, images,

and temples

that

the distinctive covenant of their secret and

mysterious fellowship. 8
is

Why

such avoidance

?

God

common
free

to all

;

He
:

is

good, has need of nothing, and
to
If

is

from envy

what hinders those devoted
in the public festivals?
is
4

Him
idols

from taking part
are nothing,

where

the evil?

If
it

they are demons,
our duty, thereto the laws,

manifestly they belong to God;
fore, to offer sacrifices to

is

them according
If,

and pray
national

for

their

favour/'

in accordance with

tradition,

they abstain

from such victims,
all

why

not abstain from the flesh of
If

living creatures

whatsoever?
along with

they
1

refrain

lest

they should eat

(lemons,

admire their wisdom in that
that

they have so slowly learned
eating with demons.
1

they are always

They

are on their guard against
tovtov
<r(pu8pa aij^ovcriv

oux

v Tl

T0V Q*^ v <r<p6Spa

crefiuvaiv, ciAA' uri

viii.
-

14.
15.

viii.

Of

fchifi

Gnostic production, which seems to have come
is

i

rmii the school of Marcion, aothing
it

known.

Keim

(p.

123) thinks

that
::

belonged to the Opine

atyavovs Kal airofyrjTov noivoovias oUtcli tlvai (TvuBrj/ma
viii.

viii.

17.

4

21.

B

viii.

24.

ANALYSIS OF THE 'TRUE WORD.'

77

this only in the case of sacrificial victims, forgetting
that,
fruit,

whenever they

eat bread, or drink wine, or taste

or even touch

the water

or breathe the

air,

they are indebted to some demon, to
things have been severally allotted.
1

whom

these

We

ought then

not to live at

all,

nor to have come into this world

or bavins come,

we ought

to oive

thanks to the de-

mons, and

offer

them

first-fruits

and prayers that they
If

may

be friendly and beneficent.

an earthly satrap

or governor, or even an official of lower position, can
injure those

who

treat

him with

disrespect, shall the

satraps and administrators of the air and the earth be powerless to injure
4.

when they
" I

are insulted

2
?

" See,"

they cry,

stand by the statue of Zeus
I

or Apollo, or
buffet
it,

any god whatsoever:
it

blaspheme

it,

I

and

takes no vengeance on

me

"
!

;}

Is not

your own demon not only blasphemed, but banished
from every land and sea
are consecrated to
4
?

And

are not you,

who
led

Him

like statues,

bound and

away and

crucified, while
8

your Son

of

God

in

no way
if

takes vengeance?

You abuse
in

their statues, but

you bad insulted Dionysus
have got
off

person you would not

with impunity.

Those who tortured and
in

punished your God have suffered no harm
quence;
1

conse-

Dor, in the Long period that has since elapsed,
-

viii.

28.
"

fill
'

:;

viii.

1

0&X fy?*
:

TL

Ka-l T ^ v a ^ v

Sai/jLOPa KaraiTTOLS tis oi

/8Aa<T^>7j/i«r jx6vuv

aAAd

Kal Tratr^s yi]s Kal Qak6.a(Ti)s tKK^pvTTti

vii

[dem.

78

THE ATTACK OF CELSUS.

has anything been done to indicate that

an impostor and a man, but a Son

of

He was not God. He who

sent His Son, paid no heed to the cruel punishment

which

He

endured, nor to His images that perished

along with Him, and for so

many

years continued
?

unconcerned.

Was

ever father so unnatural

"

But

He," you say, "willed what happened, and so was
outraged."

A

like rejoinder

may

be

made by

those

whom
inflict

you blaspheme and

revile.

But, in truth, they
those

very severe punishment on
so that they flee

who

blas-

pheme them,

and hide themselves

or are taken prisoners

and

perish. 1

Why

recount

all

the oracles that were delivered, partly by prophets and
prophetesses, partly by other inspired

men and women

?

Why

talk of the wonderful

announcements that have

come from the inner shrine
through
sacrifice or other

of the revelations given

miraculous symbols?

Ap-

paritions of the gods have plainly appeared to some.

The whole world

is

full of

them.

have been established through have miserably perished

How many cities How many oracles!
neglecting

through

them!

How many
princes,

colonies

have been founded and have

flourished in obedience to their orders!

How many

how many

private individuals, have fared well
!

or

ill

in consequence

gained their desire!
1

How many childless ones have How many have escaped the
tovto
ko.1
K<xl

(Tfp/jSpa

a/jLVvovTcu rbv fiAu(T<}>r)[j.ovuTa, ijToi (fievyovTu 5i<x

Kf)uTrr6fxevou,

^ a\t(TK6fX(i/ov

uttoWviazvov

viii.

41.

ANALYSIS OF THE 'TRUE WORD.'

79

wrath

of

demons, how
guilty of

many lame have been
sacrilege
loss of reason,

cured

How many
on the spot

have been punished

— some

by

some by

being-

driven to lay hands on themselves, some by incurable
disease
!

Nay, some have been killed by a
1

terrible

voice from the inner shrine.
5.

The
;

belief in eternal
is

punishments

is

not peculiar

to

you

it

held by those

who

initiate into

and

in-

terpret the sacred rites.

The punishments with which
Both parties
;

you threaten

others, they threaten you.

contend with vigour for their

own views

your oppo-

nents bring forward better evidence for their claims.
Y<
>u

contend even unto death rather than forswear your

teaching. 2

Your obstinacy does not exempt you from

being classed with robbers,
their crimes."

who

are justly punished for

How

ridiculous to cherish the desire
rise again, as if it
it

and hope that your body will
s<
>

were
if

very precious, and yet cause

to be

punished as

it

were worthless

!

It is not

worth while

to discourse

with

men who

believe this, so closely attached to the

body, boorish

and

impure.

I

speak

to

those

who
4

hope that the soul or understanding (whatever name

you may employ
will

to
life

designate

its

nature or origin)

enjoy eternal

with God.

They

rightly hold

that those

who

Lived well will be happy,

and
viii.
.'.

that

the

1

'-'

viii.

45.

viii.
ko.1

;

1.

4

flVf irvtvp.a votpbv, Hyiov

jxaKapinv, (trt ypuxv^ favav, fire Otias

Ka\ acrupLaTov (pvcrtws tuyovov virtpovpa.vi6v rt Kal &.<pdaprov

viii.

I'.

1 .

80

THE ATTACK OF CELSUS.

unjust will suitor everlasting punishment; and from
this

dogma

let

no one swerve, but continue steadfast

thereto. 1
G.

Since

men have been

attached to a body (whether
of the universe, or that

for the sake of the

economy

they

may pay

the penalty of sins, or by reason of the
it is

soul being oppressed with certain affections until
purified at the

appointed periods),
intrusted
to

we must
keepers

believe
of
this

that they are

certain

prison-house. 2
of
is

They must then
If

in reason choose one

two things.

they will not give the homage that
let

due to the demons in charge of these matters,
to

them cease

become men, or marry,
life,

or have children,
it

or do anything whatever in

but go out of

as
if

speedily as possible, leaving no seed behind.

But

they will marry, and partake of the good things in
this
life,

and endure

its

appointed evils (for nature
experience evils here),
let

wills that all

men should

them not be ungrateful and
demons
body
of
is

unjust, but render to the
tell

bheiT due. 8

The Egyptians

us that the

divided into thirty-six
is

different parts,

each

which

in charge of a separate

demon, whose names
propitiate these

they give. 4
others,
if

Why
we
be

should

we not
rather

and

desire

rather to be in health than in

sickness,

to

fortunate

than

unfortunate,

1

tovtov 5e rov Zoy^aros
r
4

.

.

.

/U7?5ei's

ttot( airoarfj

viii.

49.

''•

irapdbiZovTai riaiu iirijxiK-qrais ruvde too Sea/xuTriplov
viii.

viii.

?>'>.

0. ».

E.<J.< XuovfxTjv,

Xuaxov/xr}u, Kvar, Sikolt, &c.

ANALYSIS OF THE 'TRUE WORD.'

81

and as

far as possible
? 1

to be

free

from torture and

punishments
7.

It

is

necessary, however, to take care lest by

close association with

them we become
higher things.

lovers of the

body and forgetful

of

Perhaps we
say that

ought not to lose faith in the wise
terrestrial

men who

demons

are for the most part dissolved in

sensual pleasures, hold tenaciously to blood, are de-

voted to odours and songs and other things of that
sort,

and have no higher power than that

of healing

the body and of foretelling the destiny of
cities,

men and
to

and

of influencing
sacrifice to

human

concerns generally. 2
it is

We

must

them

so far as

expedient

:

do more

is

opposed to the dictates of reason. 3

It is

better to hold that the

demons are

in

want

of nothing,

but take pleasure in those

who show
way

piety towards

them.

"We must

never in any

neglect

God,

neither by day nor night, in public nor in
neither in
let

private,

word nor deed;

in

working and

in repose

the soul be continually directed to God.
8.

Since these things are
in

so,

what grievous wrong

is

there

propitiating the powers here, both the

demons
latter
!

and especially the princes and kings of men, as the

have no1 achieved dignity without demonic authority
Ii',

\

however, any worshipper of God be commanded

to

acl

impiously, or say anything unholy, he must endure
rather than obey.
viii.
::
I

torture and death
1

To sing praises
4

viii.

I

-

viii.

62,

viii.

6

V

82
to the

THE ATTACK OF CELSUS.
sun or Athena
is

not impiety but rather shows
;

reverence to the Great

God

for the

more numerous the
piety. 1
is

objects of reverence, the
like

more perfect the

In
all

manner, to swear by any earthly king
;

not at

grievous

for to his charge

have earthly
life

affairs

been

intrusted,

and whatever you receive in

you receive

from him. 2
ing, "

We

ought not to disbelieve the old sayking, he to
it."
3

One only

is

whom

the son of crafty
to overturn this

Kronos has given

If

you seek

dogma, the king will with good reason take vengeance

upon you.
be

For

if

all

were

to

do as you do, he would

left alone,

and barbarians the most lawless and

rude would come into power and rule, and the glory
of

your worship as well as of true wisdom among
lost.
4

men
the

would be

You

will not dare to say that

if

Romans

give

up

their recognised duties to gods
(or

and

men, and worship your Most High

by whatever
fight

name you invoke Him), He
for

will

come down and

them, and that they will require no other strength.

For the same God, according to you, formerly promised

much

greater things to those
see the issue of

who worshipped Him,
So far from

and you

His favours.

being masters of the whole world, the Jews have not
a plot of

ground or a home; 5 and

if

any one

of

you

1

viii.

66.
£tt\

2

SeOorai yap rovrcf ra

yijs' Kal o ri

tu>

Aa/uifidvys eV

fiicv,

irapa

tovtov \a/xf5dveis
'

viii.

67.
4

Qiad,

ii.

205.
I),

viii.

68.

Cf. Cyril con. Julian., vi. 209

E

;

210 A.

ANALYSIS OF THE 'TRUE WORD.'
(

83

Ihristians

wanders about

secretly,

he

is

sought out and

put to death. 1
that
if,

It is intolerable that

you should say

by obeying you, the present rulers are taken

captive,

you

will

persuade their successors, and

all

their successors in turn, to
ters

meet with the same

disas-

—unless

some power

shall arise, which, foreseeit

ing the issue, will utterly destroy you before
itself

is

destroyed. 2

If

indeed

it

were possible that

all

the

inhabitants

of

Asia

and Europe and Libya

Greek and barbarians alike
earth,

to the

very ends of the
;

were

to

agree

to

the
?

same law

—but

why

discuss such a hypothesis
possible
all

He who

regards this as

knows

nothing.

3

Aid, then, the king with
is just,

your power, work along with him in what
him, march into battle with him
4

fight for

if

need

be,

and act as his generals.
country,
if

Take part in ruling your
to

it

be necessary

do this also for the

preservation of the laws and religion. 5

With

this appeal to the Christians to act the part of

loyal citizens,

which the reader, according

to his bias,

will interpret as the

impassioned utterance of a burn-

patriotism or the savage irony of bitter hostility,
tin'
'

True

Word comes
'

to a close.

1

viii.

69.
$7)

•-'

viii.

71.

•'

Ei

yap

olov rt

§1$

'iva

avix<ppovi)o~at

i>6/j.ov

tous t^v 'Aaiav Kal

Ei>pu>Trr)i>

Kal Aifivr]u KaroiKovvras,
ytvf/jLTifxtvovs
o?5cj>

ntpdruv
4

rovro olSfitvos
viii.

— abvvarov tovto ovZtv — 7-.
viii.

"EAA^as

re Kal fiapfidpovs,

&xp

l

vofxiaas

eirac

tTri<p(pti,

on

6

78.

\iii.

::..

84

CHAPTER

III.

THE CULTURE OF CELSUS.

Apart
work
fair

altogether from

its

refutation by Origen, the

of Celsus,

who, though an unsympathetic was a
is

and thorough inquirer,

indirectly a valuable

contribution to the history of Christian thought and
life

in

the second century.
critic,

To a philosopher who

was a hostile

questions of government and orlittle interest,

ganisation were of

partly because they

furnished no scope for attack; and hence, with the

exception of a passing reference to the

"

Great Church,"

and an uncomplimentary allusion
ters,
lie

to certain presby-

sheds no light on such problems.

But no-

where
tianity

else

do we see so clearly what

it

was in Chris-

that

aroused the hostility of the State, the
of

opposition

the

philosophers,
;

and

the

fanatical

attacks of the populace

nowhere

else

do we find

such unbiassed evidence for the source and nature
of

Christian dogmas, and for the facts and teaching
in

recorded

the

Gospels.

The

greater

and more

THE CULTURE OF CELSUS.
minute his knowledge
ity,

85

of the principles of Christianis

the

more important

the place occupied by his

work

in the history of Apologetics.

What, then, did
?

Celsus

know

of the sacred

books of the Christians

In particular, what, according to him, were the distinctive

dogmas

of the Christians in his age,

and from

what source were they drawn ?
I.

Regarding the accuracy and extent of his knowit is

ledge of the Old Testament Scriptures,
to

impossible

speak with confidence.

He

is

fully cognisant of

the claims of the Jews to be regarded as a chosen
people, specially beloved of God, to
tion

whom

a revela-

had been granted which gave their Scriptures a
x

unique character
ing
of

of the general tenor of the teachof the promises of

Moses and the prophets, 2

material prosperity given to Israel, 3 and of the place

and

characteristics
life.
4

of

the

Messianic

hope in

the

national

An

interested observer of the conflict

between Christianity and Judaism as represented by
the

system of

Marcion, he knows the
in their affinity

distinctive
in their
5

tenets of

Judaism both

and

apparenl antagonism to Christian doctrine;
ful
ni'

a care-

reader of the Gospel of St Matthew, and a student

Messianic literature,

he must have been familiar
if

with the Messianic prophecies,
at Least in

not

in

their context,

the form of
'-'

numerous quotations from the
vii.
.

1

v.

11

;

iv.

81.
ii.
2'.'.

18

;

IV.
_'.

71
1

:

vii.

12,

1:;

;

\ i.

m.

18.

7

;

v.

.

62.

86

THE ATTACK OF CELSUS.

various prophetic books.

He shows

a detailed
first

know-

ledge of the

Book

of Genesis

from the

chapter to

the last
of the

x

and from

his

minute and verbal criticism 2
it is

Mosaic cosmogony

plain that he has read

the Septuagint.

He
;

has read the Book of Exodus. 3
little

So much

is

certain

but

or nothing else can beof Isaiah

established.
4 or Micah.

He may
There
is

have known the Book

a possible allusion to the

Book

of

Job or Zechariah. 5 and Jonah,
legendary. 6
of

He

has read the Books of Daniel

at least those sections

which he regarded

as

He

quotes, without

naming

it,

the Book

Enoch

as

an authoritative Christian scripture. 7
turn from the Old Testament to the

When we
Testament,
Christians,

New
The

we we

are

on more certain ground.

learn from Celsus, were worshippers of

one Jesus, who had appeared but a few years before, 8

whom

they believed to be the Son of God, 9 the Word, 10

very God. 11

He was

held to be

God

in

such a sense

that Celsus could argue that the whole universe
1

would

Cf.

Gen.
;

L,
vii.

ii.,

with
:

i.

19

;

iv.

23

;

v.

50, 51, 59
;

;

vi.
:

29, 47, 50, 51,

60, 61, 63

62

Gen.
:

iii.

with

vi.

28, 42
iv. iv.

iv.

36

Gen.

vii., viii.,

with
iv.

i.

19
:

;

iv.

21, 41

(Jen. xi.

with with
iv.

21
11

:

Gen.

xviii., xxvii.,
iv.
1.,

with
45
:

43

Gen. xxx.,

xxxi., xxvi.,

:

Gen. xix. with
xl., xli., xlvii.,

Gen.
iv.

xxvii., xxxiv., xxxvii.,

with

46

:

Gen.

with

47.
2

Cf.

Gen.

i.

26

:

ttoi7](Tw/x(u

avOpioirov kot' uk6i/(l rjuerepav,

with
Of.

'6rav (poocriu otl 6 debs eiroi-qas rbi> &vQpu>Trov I5lau elfc6>>a
vi.
:;


;

vii.

62.

63.
i.
(i

22, 24

;

vii.

18
7

;

vi. 47.

4 8

vi.

55.
12, 14
vi.

8

vi.
;

42.
4.

vii. 53.
i.

v.

52.
10
ii.

i.

26

;

viii.

10

ii.

:

'

26.

31.

u

iv.

2

;

iii.

41, 42.

THE CULTURE OF CELSUS.
be thrown into disorder by His

87

descent to earth. 1

He came down
The

2 to earth for the salvation of sinners.

disciples regarded

Him

as a Saviour

— the
of

Son

of

the Most High. 3

In books which were written by

His

disciples, 4

it

was declared that He was conceived
5

by the Spirit of God

in

the

womb
to

a Jewish

woman, who, though
descent.

poor,

was held

be of royal

The suspicions
7

of her

husband,
visit of

who was

a

carpenter,

were dispelled by the

an angel. 8

At His

birth Chaldeans

came from the East under

divine inspiration, and by their questioning excited

the suspicion of Herod, who, in alarm, slew all the
children that had been born at the same time. 9

By

the visit of another angel His kindred were warned,

and

fled

with

Him
as

to

Egypt. 10

He

returned from

Egypt, 11 wrought
Xazarene.
13

a

carpenter, 12
it

was called the

At His baptism
and that
of

was averred on His

own

authority,

one who was punished

along with Him, that the Spirit appeared in the form
14 of a dove,

and that a voice from heaven was heard
as the

adopting
that

Him

Son

of

God. 15

It

was alleged

He
3

healed the

blind and the lame, multiplied

loaves and raised the dead. 10

Accompanied by ten

or

eleven publicans and sailors,
1

He went up and down
"
i:i

iv.

7
1
iii.

i.

28.

vi.

84.
18.

-'

iv.
ii.

;

62.
;

52.
'

vii.
i.

;

i.

58.
i.

11

40.
j

1

ii.

18, 16,

19,

71.

10
11

v
i.

66.

15

L 41
i.

ii.

72.
18.

vi.
,;

69,

7:;.

28.

68

:

ii.

ii.

88
the

THE ATTACK OF CELSUS.
country, living meanly, 1 preaching everywhere. 2

He
dom
tion

spoke with authority, and in opposition to the

religious beliefs of
of heaven,
4

His

age. 3

He

spoke of the king-

giving prominence to the virtues of

humility and faith, 5 to the doctrines of the resurrecof

the

dead,

and a judgment
suffer

to

come. 7

He
rise

predicted

that

He would
ate

and die

and

again; 8 that one disciple would betray and another

deny Him. 9

He

and drank with His

disciples. 10

On

the eve of His sufferings

He

prayed passionately

that the cup would pass from
prisoner,
12

Him. 11

He was

taken

and

treated

with

ignominy before
in

His

judges. 13
robe,

They put on Him
14

mockery a purple

on His head they put a crown of thorns, and
reed.

in

His hand a

cross

He
a

thirsted. 10

He was crucified. 15 On As He expired, He cried
He was
God

the out

with

loud voice; an earthquake and thick darkness
buried, 18 but

emphasised the catastrophe. 17

He

rose again.

An

angel of
forth,

rolled

away the
first to

stone,

and

He came

showing Himself

a frenzied

woman, and afterwards

to the disciples, to

whom He

displayed His pierced hands.

To others
The

than the disciples
1

He
'

did not
10
;

show Himself. 19
rj
;

i.

62;
70.
7.

ii.

46.

iv.

v.

14

ii. ii.

9, 34.

8
4

ii.
ii.

vii. 8
ii.
ii.

9.

14

34.

15, 16, 44. 18, 54.

]i

vi.
iv.
ii.

34

;

vii.
ii.

53.

i.
'

39

;

vi.
i.

17.

! '

"

;

22;
55. 43. 55,

37.

vi.

15;
6

9;
32.

vi.

'"

ii.

20.

u
18

10, 11.
6
ii.
;

u
1

ii.
ii.

21.
9
;

iii.
ii.

vii.

-

vi.

10.

!! '

70

;

iii.

22.

THE CULTURE OF CELSUS.
Christians

89

proclaimed

in

His own

words that

He

would return again with heavenly power. 1

The quotation

of these passages

may seem

to render

superfluous any discussion of the sources from which

Celsus drew his information.

He
own

claimed to possess

complete knowledge

of

Christian facts and dogmas
writings. 2

derived from a study of their

These

books contained a record of the words and deeds of
Jesus, 3 and were written by His disciples. 4
to

He

seems

regard these documents as based on an original

writing

—a

Gospel

— which

had undergone and was

undergoing repeated alterations at the hands of believers, in

some cases

at least from a dogmatic motive. 5
?

Were

these documents our Gospels

The testimony

of Origen is contradictory.
for

For the

most part he takes
Gospels before him.

granted that Celsus had the
accuses

He
of

him

of

misquoting
certain

and mutilating them,
passages,
7

wilfully

ignoring

of accepting arbitrarily

one part and reject-

in- others, s
1

and expressly says that Celsus has taken

vii.

9.

:;

ravTa
T7;
ii.

yiku

ovv vpuv €K t&v v/Aerepwv avyypafxjudTwv

ii.

7

1.

aurov
13, L6.

(pwvij Sia^-qSrjv KaOa, nal i^els

avyyeypaQare

ii.

49.

4
''

t'ivols

t6jv

nimtvuvTwv

a>9

(K

/xiOrjs

r)Kuvras

us to ecpuTTavai

clvto7s

fxiTaxo.p6.TTf tv tK tt)v irpu)TT]s ypcMpijs t& fvayytKiou Tpixv xal

TfTpaxv

nal

iroWaxv
27.
eir

k«} fj.(Tair\a.TT(ii/ "v

tx^iw

""pos

Tubs (\eyx ovs apvucrdai

ii.

Tertulliao aocusea the

Riarcionites of constantly retouoh;i

Gospel:

"Nam

ei

quotidie reformant Qlud proul
Man-.,
ii.

nobis

quotidie revincuntur."
"
i.

Aclv.

[v.

5.
B

18.

84.

ii.

61.

90

THE ATTACK OF CELSUS.
St Matthew,

certain particulars from the Gospel of

and perhaps from the

rest of the Gospels. 1

But, on the

other hand, he expresses a wish that all enemies of the
faith

were as ignorant as Celsus

of the bare letter of

Scripture, 2

and says that Celsus does not seem even

to

have read the Gospel accounts. 3

This parenthetical

suggestion has no weight in the face of the other state-

ments, and
sialist.

is

only the passing thrust of a controverlearn from Cyril
4

We
why

that one of the chief

causes

the attack of Julian tended to unsettle

the minds of believers was the seeming knowledge of
Scripture which
it

displayed

;

and

for a like reason

Origen might be inclined to minimise the knowledge
of the Gospels exhibited

by Celsus.

For there

is

ample

evidence to prove that he had an accurate knowledge
of the Gospel of St

Matthew, some knowledge

of St

Mark and
pels,

St Luke, and also of the fourth Gospel.

Celsus was aware of the existence of several Gos-

and had marked discrepancies in the narratives.
to the

Speaking of the angels who came he says,
"

tomb

of Jesus,
5

Some

say one angel, some say two."

The

plural form
at least

would seem

to indicate that he recognised
side.

two authorities on each
of one,

As

St

Matthew

and St Mark speak

and St Luke and St John

speak of two, the natural conclusion seems to be that
1

i.

40.
ot>s

2
i.

49.

'

(vayy(\iKo7s \6yois
I

ou8' dueyvwK^uai d KeAeros {paivercu
5

i.

62.

'vril

con. Jul.,

Prffif.,
;

4 A.
xvi. 5
;

ol /xeu eVa, ol 5e 5(y«

v.

52.

,;

Matt, xxviii. 2

Mark

Luke

xxiv. 4

;

John

xx. 12.

THE CULTURE OF CELSUS.
he was acquainted with
unless there
is

91

all

our canonical Gospels,

evidence that he had access to other

sources where similar statements were made.

He knew
iar

the Synoptic Gospels, and was most familIt is impossible to decide in

with St Matthew.
cases

many
thew
first

which

of the Synoptics

was

in his hand,

though from the prominent use he has made of St Matit is

probable that

we should
are

refer

them
2

to the

Gospel. 1

All the incidents recorded in the

first

two

chapters of St
St

Matthew

known

to Celsus.

From

Matthew he learned that Joseph was
of the circumstances

a carpenter. 3

Many

which attended the passion
hand, 4 the giving

of Jesus

— the putting a reed in His
away
of to St

Him

gall to drink, 5 the

earthquake at the crucifixion,
7

the rolling

the stone by an angel

all of

which are peculiar
Celsus.
it

Matthew, are alluded

to

by

Moreover, a close comparison of the text makes

plain that in various passages which are
1

common
;

to

Cf., e.g. t

ii.

46 with

Matt
vi.

iv.
;

18-22

;

Mark
13:
10
;

i.

16-20
i.

Luke

v.

2-11

:

viii.

15, 68,

with Matt.
58
:

24

Luke

xvi.

61 with Matt.
;

viii.

20
v.

Mark ii. 14, 15 Luke Mark v. 35-39 Luke vi. 42 with Matt xii. 26; Mark [ii. 23; Luke x. viii. 49-56: 19 68 with Matt xiv. 15-21 Mark vi. 35-44 Luke ix. 12-17: 18: it, 54 with Matt xvi. 21 ii. Mark viii. 31 Luke ix. 21, 22 15, 16, .Mark xiii. 21-28: ii. 6; iv. 10; vii. 19 with Matt niv. 24 6 Matt xiii. 12, 13 xxv. 81-46 Mark ix. 43-48 tfa 9, Luke xxii. with Matt xxvi. 20 25, 31-85; Mark xiv. 17-21, 27-81 Mark xiv. ii. 39 with Matt. xxvi. 56
;

Luke
30

ix.
i.

ii.

46 with Matt.

ix. 9,

29,

:

68

;

ii.

48 with Matt.

ix.

23-26

;

;

ii.

j

i.

;

;

;

;

:

i.

:

ii.

;

:

:

i

ii.

I

;

;

;

-

i.

2.s

;

ii.

82

:

v.

52

;

:

i.

ii.

82.
.

Cf. Matt.
Cf.

xiii.

55. 34.

4
,;

ii.
ii.

84.

Cf.
,

Man.

ixvii.

22.

Matt ixvii

Matt

xxvii. 51.

T

. 62.

Cf.

Matt

xxviii. 2.

02

THE ATTACK OF CELSUS.

the Synoptic Gospels he has followed chiefly the text
of St

Matthew.

This applies to the threatenings of

Jesus, 1 to the saying about the camel going through

the eye of a needle, 2 to the prayer of our Lord in

Gethsemane, 3
There
of the

to

His being bound and led away. 4
evidence of a separate use by Celsus

is little

Gospel of St Mark.

He

alone records that Jesus

was a carpenter. 5

This was

known

to

Celsus.

He

declares that Jesus appeared first

and alone

to a half-

frenzied

woman.

This

is

explicitly stated

only in

St

Mark and

St John. 6

If

the closing verses of St
this appearance

Mark be
to Alary

spurious, he

must have taken

Magdalene from the fourth Gospel.

Celsus has several references to incidents and precepts which are clearly traceable to St Luke.

He
7
;

9eems to allude to the sending of an angel to
scoffs at
8

Mary

lie

her royal descent, and at the carrying back
first

the genealogy of Christ to the St

man. 9

Either from

Luke 9
oval
x.

or St

John

10

he has learned that Jesus after

1

u/a7v,

Kal irpoAeyu vfxiv

ii.

76.

Cf.

Mutt.

xi.

21,

24

;

and

Luke
-

13-16.

Celsus reads irpoXeyco for ttAV Ae^co in Matt.

8to TpuTrrjfJLaTos ficxpiSos


;

vi. 16.

Cf. Matt. xix. 24,

who
21.

uses the

UUIie word.
:l

Mark

x. 25,

Luke

xviii.

25 read rpv/j.a\ias.

&

Trdrep el huvarai to iroTT]piov tovto napthQc'iu
:;'.»

ii.

Cf. Matt.

xxvi.
4

with Mark xiv. 36
SeOeura airdyecrdai

Luke
ii.
:

xxii. 42.

otfre

9.

Cf. Matt, xxvii. 2
. . .

:

Kal SrjaavTes

avTuu
"'

dir-qyayoi/.
vi.

Mark

xv. 1

SrjaavTes

anrjveyKai'.

Mark Mark
ii.

3.
;

Origen was ignorant of this reading

vi. 34.

xvi. 9

John xx. 14-18.
i.

7
!l

i.

66.
32.

Cf. Cf.

'

82.

Cf.

Luke

27.

ii.

Luke i. 26. Luke iii. 38.

w

xxiv. 10.

" xx.

27.

THE CULTURE OF CELSUS.
His resurrection showed His pierced hands
ciples.

93
to the dis-

He

has read in St Luke the saying of Jesus

about the ravens. 1

The form

in

which he quotes the

precept of Jesus with reference to not returning evil
for evil suggests St

Luke rather than

St Matthew. 2

The textual evidence
pel
is

for his use of the fourth

Gos-

not so convincing and complete as that for his
is

use of St Matthew, but

at least equal to that brought

forward for his knowledge of St Mark and St Luke.

He
is

says that Jesus was challenged in the temple to

establish

His claims

:

that lie

was

so challenged there
in the fourth

recorded only by St John. 3
is it

Only

Gos-

pel

told that the Baptist
;

saw the

Spirit descend on

Jesus at His baptism

Celsus
it.

knew

that one

who was
truth in

punished like Jesus saw
plea that Jesus

4

Celsus often attacks the
sufferer

was a voluntary

—a
is

regard to which the testimony of St John
phatic. 5

most em-

He

probably

knew

of

the water and blood

that

came from the

side of Christ.

St John alone

speaks of Christ thirsting on the cross; Celsus taunts

Him on

this

account with weakness. 7

He knows

that

the Christians believe Jesus to be the Absolute

Word. 8
of

But the proof
1

of the

knowledge possessed by Celsus

vii.

18.

::

vii.
i.

18, 58.

57.
:

,;

ii.
'

86. 81.

iii.

Luke xii. 24. Luke \i. 20, and Matt. 4 Of. John x. 24. n. x. 11, 17. vol Cf. John 7 ii. Cf. John xix. 84. 87. 1. Cf. John
Cf.
Cf,
i.

v.
i.

89.
10.

Cf.

John

i.

88.

Cf.

John

six. 28, 29.

9-4

THE ATTACK OF CELSUS.

the fourth Gospel does not rest on any mere quotation
of texts.

It is against the theology of that Gospel,

against the doctrine of

the
its

"

Word who was God
and necessity
the universe which
of Jesus,

becoming

flesh

— against
of

possibility

— against
underlies
a

the theory of
it

man and

— against the worship — that the consequence
it,

which was and most
Julian

greatest

powerful part of

his

polemic

is

directed.

might aver that the dogma of the Incarnation was an
afterthought, an invention of

John

;

*

Celsus ascribes

the claim of divinity to Christ Himself.

His whole

work takes

for granted that this

doctrine

had per-

meated the Christian consciousness, and was coeval
with the early promulgation of the truth:

though

widely travelled and widely read, though he had held
intercourse with
all

schools of Christian thought, he
of the Incarnation

nowhere suggests that the doctrine
is

a

recent invention.

I>y its

unconscious testimony

to

the continuity of Christian belief, even

more than

by the detailed passages of the Gospels which are
quoted or implied, the 'True
to the

Word'

is

of great value

student of historical theology.
of

The conclusion
i

most

critics

is,

that Celsus had

and read

all

the

lour Gospels;'2

but there

is

diversity of opinion witli reference to his

knowledge

1

Cyril con. Julian., x. 327 A,

V,

;

vi.

213 B, C.

-

K'ini

.-;i \

r

t

a

thai

we

find in

Celsus particulars which "ganz
"

und

gar euizelnen unserer Evangelien eigenthiimlich sind

p.

227.

THE CULTURE OF CELSUS.
and use
of other Gospels
it

95

and kindred writings.

Keim,

while admitting
sus had before

to

be a possible hypothesis that Celtheir sources,

him not our Gospels but
is

holds that there

no certain trace
l

of the use of apoc2

ryphal gospels

;

Tieuss

and Aube

hold that there

is

evidence of such use.
Celsus
"
is

aware of certain details concerning Jesus,
3

not like those recorded by the disciples,"

but he de-

signedly passes

them

by.

He

does not set

them

aside

because they furnished no materials for attack
absurdities of the apocryphal gospels he

— in the
in

had ample

scope for his biting satire

;

but he

is

too

much

earnest to waste time in refuting absurdities which

the Christians themselves would disclaim

:

he passes

them by because he seeks

to destroy Christianity at

the root, and therefore goes to the books on

which the

Christian religion was based.
ditions, if

An

attack on oral tra-

he had been acquainted with such, would

not have served his purpose.

An

argument founded

on the silence of a writer

is

seldom satisfactory; but

the silence of Celsus regarding the apocryphal gospels,

taken along with his deliberate setting aside of them
imilar documents,
-iii

is,

in the ease of

an enemy who

accurate investigator, hard to explain unless on
lie

tin-

supposition thai

had ascertained

thai there

were

1

History of the Canon
Op.
rlt.,

Eng. trans.

,

p. 74,

n

pp. 222-2

irapair\r\ata rols virh

twv

/xaO-qrwu tov 'lycrou ypa<p(~t<Tn-

\\.

13.

96

THE ATTACK OF CELSUS.
which were held by the Christians
to

certain writings

be of exclusive, or at least of paramount, authority.
Setting aside one or two allusions which are only
sinister
treatises,

exaggerations,1 CO
'

common

in all controversial

of

real

incidents or sayings found in the

Gospels,

we

find live passages

which have been

adof

duced

to

show that Celsus recognised other sources

Christian beliefs than the canonical Gospels.
of these

On two
man

— the charge

of adultery

brought against Mary, 2
of the

and the ignoble and contemptible aspect
Jesus
is
3

— no

discussion

is

necessary.
is
;

The
in

latter point

given as from hearsay, and
early ecclesiastical traditions

harmony with
is

all

the former

not
is

alleged by Celsus to be taken from

any Gospel, and

confessedly of Jewish origin.
are as follows.

The remaining passages

Celsus quotes as a saying of Jesus,
to

"Every man being born according
dence
is

divine Provi-

a son of

God;" 4 he speaks

of the disciples as
if

ten or eleven in
ties

number;

5

he speaks as

his authori-

recorded the genealogy not of Joseph but of Mary. 6
first

The

passage,

it

seems unnecessary
of
ii.

to say, belongs

to the very
1

rudiments
viii.

the teaching of
Cf.

Him who
Origen sug-

L 61.
(i.

Cf. Matt.
G-'5)

20

;

39.

Mark

xiv. 50.

gests

that Celsus derived his view of the disciples as notori-

ously wicked
a
'•'

men from
See note
c.

the Epistle of Barnabas

(c.

5).

i.

28.

vi.

75.

2,

p.

65.

Cf. Justin, 1st Apol.,

c.

52

;

Dial,

cum
4

Tryph.,
ft

14, 32, 36, 49, 88, &c.
irus &i>9pu)iros

rovro \4yets tfn

Kara Qtiav np6voiav yeyovuis
,;

vl6s

i(TTi
5

Oeou
i.


;

i.

57.
ii.

G2

ii.46.

32.

THE CULTURE OF CELSUS.
revealed " our Father in heaven "
itself, it
:

97
it

had

not stood by

might have been legitimate

to refer it in its

present form to the traditional sayings of our Lord

which were

still

current in the Church

;

but. apart
it

from the fact that Celsus seems to have deemed

advisable, in the interests of his polemic, in dealing

with the

life

and teaching

of Christ, to avail himself

of the written
it

documents rather than
if

oral traditions,

seems unlikely that,

he used other than written

authorities,

he would have quoted only one saying
It

out of many.
fect

may

be that Celsus, from imperinto

memory, transformed

a specific

saying of

Jesus what he

knew

to be a

fundamental principle in
little

His teaching. 1
nothing to the
other than
the

The second passage adds

or

evidence for the use by Celsus of
canonical
is

Gospels.

In

no extant

writing whatever

the
:

number

of the disciples given

as other than twelve

he speaks in one place of ten

publicans and sinners, in another of ten or eleven.

His knowledge, even
tails in

to verbal accuracy, of

many

de-

the Gospel of St Matthew, precludes the possi-

bility of his ignorance of the real tiun in his

number; the

varia-

own statements seems

to indicate that
<»!'

he

spoke generally and in a contemptuous way
fewness, as
ii it

their

were
or
\i.

of

no consequence whether the
less.
of
2

number were one
1

two more or
:;.">.

The

third
John

Cf. Mutt.
:

v.

:•

;

I.

ukc

The words

CeLnu

~u_'_r«--i

i.

1;}
1

in Qtou lyivvi)Qt)<Tav.
ii

it

just poatiblfl

th;it

Celtufl w;i^ only guilty

of inadvertence,

98

THE ATTACK OF CELSUS.
Like Justin Mar-

passage raises a difficult question.
tyr, 1

Celsus speaks as
to

if

the genealogies in the Gospels
of

known

him were the genealogies
it
2

Mary.

The

coincidence, though
of Celsus

does not prove the dependence
is

on Justin,

undoubtedly noteworthy.

In

both cases

3 critics interpret the reference differently.

It is a question of probabilities.

Are we

to

suppose
for

that in this reference by itself

we have evidence

the existence of other Gospels which, save on this
point, differed
ilic

not a jot from those

now
it

current in

Church

?

Or are we

to

account for

by the hypo-

thesis of a various reading in the
sus, or

manuscript of Cel-

simply by his having assumed without special

examination
it

— a natural
of
?

assumption in the case

— that
whole

was the genealogy

Mary which was
case,

recorded in
of the

the narrative
evidence,
it

In any
clear

on a review

is

that Celsus used the canonical
Christian

Gospels only, or other
differed

documents which

from them in no essential particular of fact

or principle or doctrine.

Of

his

knowledge

of

the

Epistles

we have

less

certain trace.
aii'l

Except in the case of the Gospels,

was misled by the narratives relating to the resurrection, in which lie "eleven" are frequently mentioned (Matt, xxviii. 16;
t

Murk
1
:

xvi. 14

;

Luke

xxiv.
c.

•'$•'}.

Cf.

Gospel of Nicodemus,
a

c.

xiv.)

Dial,

cum

Tryph.,

100 (Otto).
p.

As Aulx' and
it

I'elagaud.

ReuSB (History of the Canon,

53) holds that

proves that
as of
ii.

Justin used another Gospel, or at least some
equal authority.
]..

document regarded

Donaldson (History

<»t

Christian Literature, vol.

881) 'Iocs not
I

make

special allusion to this point,

but maintains

that there

QO evidence that Justin used any other Gospel.

THE CULTURE OF CELSUS.

99

Celsus does not profess to be making direct quotations

from any Christian document.

In his comparison of

the precepts of Christianity with the teaching of Plato,

he discusses a saying of St Paul

l

at the

same time

that he discusses the words of Jesns, and thus would

seem both
nise

to

know

the Epistles of St Paul and recog;

them

as authoritative

but as he forthwith procrudest and most

ceeds to cite illustrations of the

grotesque forms of Gnosticism, this conclusion cannot

be drawn.

He

is

familiar with the cardinal principles

and the prominent watchwords in the Pauline theology, and plainly
Si
testifies to

the currency and authority of

Paul's teaching in the Christian

community
it is

;

but,

ept in the case of one or
to

two passages,

difficult

decide whether he had read the Epistles themselves

or

knew them only
he

at second-hand.

Origen takes for

granted that he has read them, but in one case at
least
is

in error in

making

this

assumption. 2

If

he had not read the Epistle to the Pomans, he was
at least

well versed in

its

doctrinal

positions

3

lie

quotes witli verbal accuracy a passage from Galatians, 4

and with almost verbal accuracy a passage in 1st Corinthians
the
•*'

:

and various allusions scattered throughout
it

work render
1

very probable that he had read the

1

Cor.
64.

iii.

19.
l

Cf. \i. 12;

L 9

;

iii.

12.

-

v.

Cf.

Tim.
vl
1

Lv.

1-8.

Sec the passages quoted by Spencer
p. 72).
.

from [renseut
:l

;in<l

Bpiphanhu (Annot.,
7,

i.

9

;

iii.

39
Cf.

;

8, 11.
iii.

64.

Cf.

Gel

vi.

l

i.

vi.

12.

Cor.

1:'.

100
latter epistle. 1

THE ATTACK OF CELSUS.

He may

possibly have read the

Book

of Acts, 2 1st Epistle of St Peter, 3

and Hebrews. 4

II.

Celsus had undoubtedly an extensive knowledge

of the Christian literature of the first

two centuries

;

but, with few exceptions, the indications are too indefinite to enable us to decide with reasonable probability

what particular writings lay before him.
'

He

expressly

names only the Dispute between Jason and
5

Papiscus/
"

the 'Heavenly Dialogue,'
7

and the mystic
characteristic

diagram

of

the

Ophites.

With

acumen he has noted the Christian
the Sibylline Books. 8

interpolations in
of such

From

his

knowledge

works

it

may

be conjectured that he had studied the

Christian writings

which dealt with the question

of
lit-

prophecy, and was well versed in the Gnostic

erature, especially in the literature of the schools of

Valentinus and Marcion.

Is it possible to go further,

and
to

fix

on any extant works of the early Apologists
?

which he had access

Tzschirner does not discuss
it

the question, but declares

to be undeniable that he

had not only read some

of

the sacred books of the

Christians, but also the writings of the leading Apologists.
9

Keim, while acknowledging that the theology
is

against which the attack of Celsus
1

directed
4
;

is

very
1

iii.

44.

Cf. 1 Cor.

i.

2G

;

viii.

21

:

1

Cor.

viii.

v.

17

:

Cor.

xv. 51, 52.
-

iii.

10.

Cf. Acts
Cf.

ii.

44

;

iv.

32.

:;

ii.

43.

Cf. 1 Pet.
(i

iii.

19.

*

vii.
vi.

28. 24.

Heb.
B

xi.

16.
:i

iv.

52.

viii.

15.

7

vii.

53.

Der

Fall dee

Beidenthume,

p.

327.

THE CULTURE OF CELSUS.
similar to that of Justin

101

and

his followers, maintains

that there

is

no certain trace

of his

knowledge
*

of their
'

works. 1

According to Felagaud, the True
the
'

Word was
2

intended to he a refutation of

Dialogue with

Trypho

'

and

of the

two

"

Apologies

" of Justin.

The more prominent notes
of the Apologists with these.

in the writings or sayings

whom

Celsus was familiar were
stories

They regarded the Greek
4

as myths, 3
of

and threw special ridicule on the worship
Egyptians.

the

They

allegorised

the

Mosaic records, 5

explained most difficulties by appealing to prophecy,

emphasised

the apologetic

significance

of

the

fore-

knowledge

7 of Christ Himself,

and

of

the voluntary
to objections
fell

character of His sufferings. 8

In answer
refute,

which they could not otherwise
as a final expedient

they

back
It

on the omnipotence of God. 9
of their creed that
10

was a cardinal dogma
all

God made

things for the sake of man.

In their Christology
of the Incarnation
2

they spoke of the Absolute
I

Word, 11

Op. dt..
ii.

]i.

231, note.
43.
Cf. Justin, 1
1

P. 417

ct scq.

''•

55

;

iii.

ApoL,
c.

c.

54.

4

iii.
i.

19.
:

Cf. .Justin,
iv.

ApoL,

24.

11
ii.

48.

Cf. Justin, Dial,
1

cum
-"JO,

Tryph.,

c.

68.

-i.

Cf. Justin,
<.

ApoL,
Cf.

c.

31, 43, 48, 50, 53, 61;

Dial.

cum
7

Tryph.,
ii.

7.
"1

12,
;

B9, 96.
!_'.

15.
c.

II.

\i.

Justin,

1

ApoL,

C 12;
cum

Dial,

cum
15,

Tryph.,
ii.

35, 51,
17.

:<;.

82, 106.
v.

38,

Cf.

Justin, 2 ApoL,

6; Dial
s

Tryph.,o,

:

'

iii.

70;

v.

11.

Cf. Ju-tin.
1

1

ApoL,
c.

C.

I

:

aZvvarov

(xT)$tv 6(<p.
5.

'"
II

iv.
ii.

28, 71. 81.

Cf. Justin,

ApoL,
c.

10

;

2

ApoL,

c.

i,

Cf. DiaJ.

cum

Tryph.,

61.

102

THE ATTACK OF CELSUS.
GodIn

as a descent of God,1 as a representation of the

head in a form adapted to the capacities of men. 2

some teachers there was a tendency

to

an undue

exaltation of the place of implicit faith in the Christian

creed and

life,

and

a

corresponding depreciation

of the place of

knowledge. 3

From
it

the parallel paswill

sages referred to in the

notes,

be manifest

that

many

of

the positions to which Celsus alludes
to

can be referred
that

Justin, but there

is

also

much
of

cannot be so explained.
are quoted

Hardly one

the

maxims which
Christian

by Celsus as distinctively
to
I

can be traced

Justin

4

the
is

technical

term

autologos,5 so far as
;

have noted,
the

not used

by him

nor

is

the conception of

Incarnation

as a Lathodos of

God'

1

also a technical

term

used
to

by him.

And
in

even

in

cases
is

where Justin seems

be the authority, there
is

a suggestion of
;

more than
for

implied

his

apologetic ground

for while,

example, Justin frequently calls attention to Christ's

own

predictions of His suffering, he does not do so

precisely from the standpoint of the Christian apologetic that Celsus sought to overt urn,

which

in

some

respects

was

of a

subtler and

more developed order

than anything found in Justin.

The
1

editor of the recently discovered Syriac trans52.
'''

iv.

-2,

vi.

69.
B

i.

12;

iii.

75

;

vi. 7.

4 8

Bee previous note.

See Stephen's Thesaurus.

The

earliest quotations given

in

Suicer are from Eusebius and

Athanasius.

THE CULTURE OF CELSUS.
lalion
of

103
suggests
that

the

'

Apology

'

of

Aristides
x
;

Celsus

may have
in the

read that work

the editor of the
it

Greek text

same volume thinks
'

more prob-

able that he used rather the
is

Preaching of Peter,' and

almost certain that he used the one or the other. 2
to establish

But the evidence adduced cannot be held
what would have been an interesting
history.

fact in literary

Celsus deals with documents and views far
scientific

more dogmatic and
Aristides.

than the
built

'

Apology

'

of

Nothing can

be

on the

parallel

passages
verse, 3

concerning the place of

man

in the

uni-

for this

was a Christian commonplace, ami
chiefly because of its bearing

was attacked by Celsus

on the doctrine of the Incarnation.

The only passage

that gives any semblance of plausibility to the theory
is

the

reference
is

to

the

Jewish worship

of

angels,

which

common

to Aristides

and Celsus. 4

Origen

witli justice calls

on Celsus to point to any part of the
in

Mosaic writings
inculcated
5
;

which the worship of angels

is

but in whatever

way

it

was introduced,
sects,

angelolatry was a practice of
there
of
it

some Jewish

and

ia

no necessity for ascribing Celsus's knowledge
his

to

use
tin:

of

Aristides.6
is

And,

as

has been

pointed out,
1

same charge

brought against the
<t teq.

The Apology
Ibid.,
i.

of Aristides (Harris), p. 19

-

98
;

<t
'i.

$eq.

lee
o,
1

Dote

10, p. 101.
i.

4

26

v.
:i

ci. Aristides,

I,

p.

I> (Harris).

-J.;.

the Jewish worship of angels,

Lightfoo

I

I

ttius,

voL

ii.

i».

L64

;

sod

(

lolossians, p.

I

104

THE ATTACK OF CELSUS.
in the
'

Jews

Preaching of Peter.'

1

But from
it
;

this

source Celsus could not have taken
that

for while in

work the Jews

are

condemned

for "

worshipping

the angels and archangels, the the charge of Celsus
is

month and the moon," 2
Jews worshipped
"

that the

the

heaven and the angels therein, and passed by the

most venerable parts

of the

heaven

— the sun, moon,
is

and

stars."

3

A

survey of the limited materials at

our disposal seems to point to the conclusion that,
generally speaking, the position of Tzschirner
able
;

ten-

that there

is

no clear evidence that Celsus was
'

acquainted with the
'

Apology

'

of

Aristides or the

Preaching of Peter'; that a considerable section of

the apologetic principles criticised by Celsus can be

explained by

the

hypothesis

of

his

knowledge

of

Justin, but that there are indications of a dogmatic

school or schools different from his, and of an apologetic of

a

more advanced type than

his

;

that these

features

may
who,

be ascribed in part to teachers whose
to

works have perished, or
teachers

the oral statements of
their
intellectual sur-

by reason

of

roundings, had been led
to
i

to give greater definiteness

heir teaching, or

who, perhaps from their

inter-

course and controversy with Celsus himself, had been

compelled to give well-grounded reasons for the faith
that
1

was

in them.
vi.

Clem. Strom.,

5

;

Apol. of Aristides,

p. 88.
:i

'-'

KaTpfvovTes ayythois Koi apxayy^Aoiy,

fxr\v\ kol\ creKrivr).

v. 6.

THE CULTURE OF CELSUS.
III. It is not

105

necessary for our present purpose to

examine with

like

minuteness his various references to
Suffice
it

the poets ami thinkers of Greece.

to say that

the

'

True "Word
erudition

'

bears on every page the impress of
literary power.

great

and

Celsus

moves

with the freedom and ease of

a

master in

many

departments of thought

;

he

is

at once a student of

philosophy, of science, of music, of politics, and of comparative theology.

He

has not only grasped the gen-

eral features of the Christian faith, but has

mastered

many

of its details

;

he has studied

it

in its history, in

its divisions, in its

most obscure

heresies, in its authoriits

tative documents,
different schools.

by intercourse with
His work
is

teachers of

the

first scientific

attack

of Hellenic

culture on the Christian creed, and not
all

only strikes the keynote of

subsequent attacks,
letter,

but contains their arguments sometimes in the

always in germ.
culminating

The work

of Julian,

which was the
check
its tri-

effort of

Xeoplatonism

to

umphant
by
tli-'

foe,

only reiterated, with additions suggested

history of the

Church

in the interval, the rea-

Boning adduced by Celsus nearly two centuries before.

Julian repeated the Lessons which he had learned in
tin-

school of

the successors of

Celsus after he had
intellect.
evil,

assimilated them into his quick and subtle

To him,
j

as to Celsus, innovation

was the great

religious conservatism the only safeguard of national
vitality.

ami imperial

Hence, with both, there was

106

THE ATTACK OF CELSUS.
for

contemptuous tolerance
the Christians.
of Celsus

the Jews, but none for

Julian added nothing to the armoury

—there

was nothing

to

add

;

all

that could

be said against the religion of Christ, from a Platonic
standpoint, had been said once for
all.

In his com-

parison of the Scriptures with the teaching of Plato,
in his criticism of the in his scoffing at the

Mosaic record

of the creation, of

anthropomorphic conception

Deity therein and elsewhere presented, in his view
of the

dependence
his

of

Jewish fables upon Greek
for

tra-

ditions, in

contempt

the

Jews

as a race of

slaves, in

his discussion of miracles, in his scorn of

the folly of Christians in
in

worshipping a dead man,

his

mockery

of

the ignorant and

wretched char-

acter of the
little

adherents of Christianity, and even in
Julian
Plato
is

details.

anticipated by
of

Celsus.

As

a

disciple of

and a lover
the,

Greek

dialectic,

Celsus looked with
philosophic
culture

self-complacent contempt of
of

on the adherents
basis,

a religion

which rested od no rational
uncultivated, even

and admitted the

women and

slaves, into its ranks.

A-

tin-

typical representative of that

unmovable conis

servatism to which the past alone

sacred, he re-

garded Christianity as a revolutionary religion which
sought to interfere with established customs and obliterate national distinctions
rial.

which were designed
in

to

Asa
of

patriot,

who saw

the threatening

movements

the barbarians a necessity for the con-

THE CULTURE OF CELSUS.
solidation of the empire, he abhorred a religion

107

which

acted as a disintegrating force, and was a source of

weakness alike because of

its direct

teaching against
it

military service, and because the
to

God whom
divinities

desired

substitute for the victorious

of

Rome
of the

had shown His impotence in the past history
-lews

and

in the present

distress

of the

Christians.

As

a firm believer in a theocratic nationalism, in the

" right

divine of kings," he looked on those

who ignored
His

this doctrine as at

once impious and rebellious.

religious

and

political conservatism,

even more than

his pride of culture, blinded

him

to the

moral force
it

and beauty
ficant

of the

Gospel

of Christ;

and

is

signi-

of

his

mental attitude
of

that,

when he
religion

alludes

to

the possibility

a

universal

— though

only to dismiss such an absurd hypothesis with con-

tempt

— he

is

thinking not of the religious aspect of

the question, but of the political advantages of unity
of religious belief. 1

No one can read the work
struck

of Celsus without being of his

by

the

essentially
ideas,

modern character
parallel

attack:

analogous
all

even

phrases, will

occur to

interested in the theological literature of
It

the nineteenth century. 2

seem- sometimes

t<>

be

taken For granted by adherents a- well as opponents
that in tin- early centuries of
1

its

existence Christianity

viii.

72.

Hellenismui und Christenthum, pp. 134

d

108

THE ATTACK OF CELSUS.
criticism, or that at

had to face persecution but not
least the attack to-day differs

from anything hitherto
of

known, alike

in

the
it

conception
is

God and

the

universe on which

based, and in the scientific

method which
in

it

adopts; and the unspoken thought

many minds seems to be that Christianity, as set forth by the teachers who first gave scientific form to
its

dogmas, could never have arisen or advanced in a

world where modern ideas were dominant, but would

have been laughed out
faitli

of existence.
it

The simple

in

may

be reminded that

is

a poor compliment
if it

to

what they regard
its

as eternal truth, to speak as

could only hold
attack
;

own because

it

was not open

to

as

if

God's voice could only be heard
if

when

every other voice was put to silence; as
of Christ could only

the Gospel

make

progress
;

when nothing was

permitted

to

mar

its

growth

as

if

without a continual

and manifest miracle the Church could not "stand
four-square to
critic of the
all

the winds that blow."

The modern

Christian faith
all,

may

be asked to consider
in

whether, after
attack
is

the change

the

principles of
It

as greal as the apparent

change in form.

may

1 be extravagant, like an enthusiastic admirer, to

see in Celsus a

precursor of
is

Darwin

in

the second

century; but

it

plain that, so far as his view of

Christianity was determined by his root ideas con-

cerning

tin:

relation
!

between God and
I'elagaud, p. 447.

the

world,

THE CULTUKE OF CELSUS.
between

109
it

man and

the other animals,

led

him

to

the same position as that adopted by
to-day.

many

thinkers
in con-

Christian writers
of the

who have spoken
of Celsus

temptuous terms
little

work

have shown

insight into the worth, even the apologetic worth,

of the

book

;

for the stronger the first attack was, the

better for the true interests of Christian defence.

The

Church

of Christ has

no reason

to regret that its first

antagonist was animated by so keen a love of knowledge,

and that
-

his critical
It
its

method was
first
:

so thorough

and

far

reaching.

was the

onset of pagan
if

thought, and also
of Christ

most powerful

the Gospel
its

were not overthrown by such an attack,

victory was assured.

PART

II.

THE REPLY OF OEIGEN

THE REPLY OF ORIGEN.

CHAPTER
INTRODUCTION.

I.

The

'

True

Word remained unanswered
'

for seventy
1

years.

Whether
zeal

Ambrose,

his

" taskmaster,"

to

whose

we owe the

publication of so

many

of the
it,

W( irks of Origen,

had himself been perplexed by

or

had found
'not

it

a source of perplexity to others,
its

we do

know; but he recognised
its

importance and the

necessity of
sent
it

being answered, and with that aim
it in

to

Origen requesting him to refute

every

detail.in

The reply

of Origen,

which appeared probably
sixty years of age,4
in

248,a
1

when he was more than
in lii-

Origen bo describes Ambrose
i.

Comm.
5

Joann.,

\.

Lomm.,

v<»l.
-

p,

1

n:;
!
;

,

ifiyoliu.KTT]s.
ii.

See Rx.

iii.

L XX.

i'n-!..

20.
II

Eusebiu

I

ribes it to
d in
l

the reign of Philip (244-249).

B5

:

died 26
II

1.

114

THE REPLY OF ORIGEX.

contains his maturest thought on the problems pre-

sented by Christianity, and has met in every age with

almost absolute approval.
to Hierocles

Eusebius

1

begins his reply
as his

by a declaration that such a work
as all the objections

was superfluous,
stantially refuted
of

had been sub-

by anticipation in the eight books
It has
is

Origen against Celsus.

been characterised

as a golden

work which

it

impossible to praise too
all

highly;- as the best and most complete of

the

apologies of Christian antiquity; 3 as a rich storehouse
of arms. 4

For the work to which Ambrose summoned him
Origen was singularly well equipped, both by nature

and

training.

Eeared in Alexandria, the home

of all
its

liberal culture,

where every school
its

of thought

had

disciples

and every religion

devotees, he

was from

early years brought face to

face with the points of

divergence, as well as with the points of contact, be-

tween Christianity and the

oilier religions

which had

their representatives in that nursery of all forms of

eclecticism. 5

A

divorce of culture from Christianity

alight have been possible elsewhere, but
possibility at Alexandria:

was an im-

there a reconciliation was a

1

Adv. Eieroc,

vol. iv.

j>.

798 (Migne).

-

"Opus aureum

aec
I

facile

nunquam

satis
p.
<'>''>.

laudandum."
p.
1

— Voss,

quoted by Pabricius,
''

'dectus Argument.,

Du
Cf.

Pin, Biblioth. dea

Auteura
vol.
ii.

ESccl., vol.
j>.

i.

\i.

'

Redepenning, Origenes,

153.
p.

Cognat, Clement d' Alexandra,

179.

INTRODUCTION.
necessity.
first

115

As

a teacher in the Catechetical School, 1

under Pantsenus, then under Clement, and after
he was accustomed
to
all
if

his death as its sole head,

to teach

Christianity
ethical,

in

its

relation

truth

scientific,

and philosophical.

Even

the glowing pic-

ture of Gregory 2

be somewhat softened, and ample
for the exaggeration of a scholar

allowance be

made

who had

set himself to the delivery of a panegyric

on

the eve of his departure, there remains in outline the
portrait of a teacher of unequalled gifts
of sympathies.

and rare width

Christianity was set forth by Origen
of all
8

as the

crown

learning,

and

all

liberal arts as

handmaids.
the

Philosophy, in the widest sense of
as

term,
its
4

was upheld
as

the

prerogative

of

man,
true

and

pursuit

a

necessary

condition

of

piety.

He

carefully trained his scholars in the art
all

of

detecting

sophisms and

fallacies. 5

He
had

en-

couraged them to read everything that

been

written by philosophers and poets of old, with the

exception

of

the
for

works

of

atheists.

Narrowness

was avoided;
school
of

they were introduced not to one
all.
7

deck

thought only, but to

In pre-

senting the truths of natural science,

lie

expounded

Jchola quae Alex.

flor.,

].)>.

39,

100
,,

Thaumat. Panegyrics <>mt. Lomm., voL x.w.
i

pp.

:;:

:?S1).

Oe
<p-h(TaiTi.

(vatfiuu oAcuy Zvvarhv tlvai ityaaKtv, vp6ws
i

At^a-i',

yu?;

<pi\o<ro-

.)- ...

Pan<

g.,

C.

<•.

7

.

!•':.

[dem.

116

THE REPLY OF ORIGEN.

the principles which he had learned from others, and
likewise the results
of

his

own

investigation
into

;

and

transformed

their

irrational

wonder

rational

reverence for the " sacred economy of the universe." 1

Geometry was represented

as the "

immutable groundEthics

work

of all

branches of science." 2

rather than theoretical
speculation. 3

— was

— practical
all

the end and goal of

To

his scholars

he seemed to possess a

divine commission, as real as that of any prophet or
apostle,

to

be

the advocate

and interpreter

of

the

oracles of God.

He had

no esoteric doctrine,

— no

subject was forbidden, nothing was concealed or inaccessible:
it

was possible

for

them

to learn

every

form of doctrine, barbarian and Greek, spiritual and
political,

divine and

human

;

to enjoy to the full all

the sweets of intellect. 4

In the face of such state-

ments, which are supported
is

by other testimonies,

it

difficult to

understand the endeavours which have

been made to minimise the extent of the culture of
Origen. 5

He

did not,

it

is

true,

study either science

or philosophy for its

own

sake, but only in its direct

relationship

to

Christian

truth;

lie

borrowed from

philosophy not so

much

its

principles as its
in

method;

he ascribed to philosophy
the function
1

relation to Christianity
disciplines

which geometry and other
i^vpero

nod \6ycjv Ziv Te e/xadfv, Ziv re

irepl T7/y ru>y '6\oiv olfcouonias

Trjs Upcis

c.

8.
:J

-c.y>

Greg.,

c. 9.

4

Greg.,

c.

14.

See Denis,

De

la

Philosophic d'Origene, pp. 12-25.

INTRODUCTION.
occupied in relation to philosophy. 1
silver

117

As

the gold and

borrowed from the Egyptians were transformed

into holy vessels for the service of God, so, he held,

should

all

Greek wisdom
to

be
of

borrowed and
Christianity. 2

made
If
is

subservient

the

cause

the
less

friendliness of his attitude towards philosophy

pronounced than that

of

Clement,

3

may

not the reason

be that Clement had to justify the position which he
adopted, while his teaching had borne such fruit that

Origen

could
it

take

for

granted

what Clement had

found

necessary to justify?
for the
conflict as

Though armed

few have been,

Origen was very unwilling to enter into controversy.

He deemed
lie

it

to be unadvisable

on general grounds

held

it

to be superfluous in

view of the character-

istics of

the

work

of

Celsus.

The

silence of Christ

before the false witnesses should be the ideal of His
followers
in

presence

of

calumnious
continued

attacks. 4
silent,

As,

with

a
lilt-

noble contempt,

He

allowing

Hitian

and work

to

speak for themselves; so Chris-

facts

and doctrines are their own apology, and
to

any other apology tends insensibly

of this. 6

weaken the

Th<- feebleness of the attack of Celsus

Lends special force to tins rule of Bilence: Origen docs

not

know how
1

to classify

;i

man whose
"»0).

faith could

l»e

Bpis.
I

a«l

Greg.,

1

Lomm.,

vol. xvii, p.
\

.|.i-.

ad
1.

On

1

l'ret..

The i<\\ IV :.. 2,

of

I

tenia, p.
I

"_'"J.

!.

\in.

1.

118

THE REPLY OF ORIGEN.

shaken by such an attack. 1

He

writes, solely in def-

erence to the request of Ambrose, for those
feeble in faith, or do not
'

who

are

know what

faith

is.

2

Of the

True

Word

'

and

its

author he speaks with strong
exercise. 3

contempt.

His work was a schoolboy

He

was

prolix,

and seemed only anxious
In place
if

to swell out his of

book with many words. 4

weighty argu-

ments he dealt

in buffoonery, as
5

he were writing a
of erudition

farce or a jest-book.

His great show

was

only over-curious trifling and

silly talk.

So radically

weak was the

assault, that it could be
of a Marcionite.
7

overthrown even
This contempt

from the standpoint
for the
it

enemy

is

the one

weak point

in the reply; for

makes him

fail to

see the force of

some of the
satisfied

objec-

tions raised

by Celsus, and makes him

with im-

perfect answers.

Apart from

this,

Origen was a singu-

larly fair controversialist.
to

He

loved truth too well not

acknowledge that on some points the teaching

of Celsus

was sound. 8

He

called

God

to witness that

his conscientious
i]p'

aim was

to establish the divinity of

doctrine of Jesus by no false arguments, but by

varied and clear testimony. 9

His work,

as described

by himself, had a twofold aim,
of Celsus


1

to destroy the
;

arguments

and
to

to exhibit

the trutli

to uproot evil

germs and
:;

implant the

Pref., 4.
vi.

,;

I'ref., 6.
vi.

v.

58.

4

vi.

60

;

vii. 56.

7

t.

8

<t)i\i]

yap

7]

aKrjdeia

82.
iii.

7

vii. 2.
u
i.

16.

46.

INTRODUCTION.
divine
seed. 1

119
like

The words

of

Celsus,

poisoned

arrows, had

wounded the

souls of

some who were not

absolutely protected by the panoply of

God

:

Origen

sought to extract the dart, and apply a rational remedy
to the

wound. 2

In carrying out this object, he gives a

series of prescriptions,

but behind every prescription

there

is

a principle.

After he had finished the open-

ing section, for the sake of economising his time he
altered his plan. 3

His original intention was

to take

a note of the heads of the objections of Celsus and

reply to each head, and then to give a systematic form
to the

argument.

Instead of doing

so,

he takes up the
"

statements of Celsus one by one, and

wrestles with

them

specifically."

4

This change of plan destroys the

unity of the work, and gives rise to frequent repetitions
:

when Celsus
the

repeats himself, Origen as a rule
contradicts
himself,
result
is

does

same

;

when Celsus

Origen contradicts the contradiction.
that, as the

The

book stands, we have
lie

all

the materials lor

an apology, but they
it is

without order or proportion:
5

"a quarry

of

weighty dogmatic disquisitions,"
it

but not a symmetrical building; and
bringis
bher isolated
ascertain
"t'

is

only by

and

scattered thoughts that

we

'-.Hi

what

Origen

taught

on

the
first
.;.

great
bo last

problems
1

Christian Apologetics.
-

From
k<x0' ljfxwv

Prof.,

I.

iv.

1.

I'ivi..

4

(Tvyypa.(piKu>s ayuuiaaijdai
6.

wpbf ra KeAffou

(yK\y)/xaTa

Etedepenning,

\"1.

ii.

p.

1

1

.

120

THE REPLY OF OPJGEN.

the central figure of the Divine

Man

stands out conis

spicuous

;

in
;

every argument the ethical impulse

paramount
loudly

from beginning
clearly,
is

to

end one note rings out
of

and

the

note

certain

victory

x

throughout

dominant the conviction which he had

implanted in his disciple Gregory, that " nothing would
withstand the saving Word, which was and would be
*

the king of

all."

2

In this ever-present consciousness
of the cause

of the ultimate

triumph

which he repre-

sented probably lay the secret of his contempt for his
antagonist.
1

viii.

68.
c.

2

Greg., Paneg. in Orig.,
o ti avT(j>

6

iarii'

eWT^creTcu,

7t<zi/tcov

(Lomm., vol. xxv. p. 356) ov yap Kal uun Kal €<rojx4vu> fiaaiXti.
:

121

CHAPTER

II.

DEFENCE OF THE SCRIPTURES.

On
but

the threshold of his inquiry Celsus would learn

that Christianity

was not based on

floating traditions,

on a historic record which claimed to possess a

unique character. Jewish

The authority

of that record, of the

as well as of the Christian portions,

was recog-

nised by all sections of the
ers
of

Church except the followvalidity of its

MarcioD

;

and

to

impugn the
upon

claims was a necessary preliminary to the attack of
the system which was founded
it.

From

the

method
did not,
fashion
ity
in
:

of
ii

argumentation which he adopted, Celsus
is

true,

pursue this criticism in a logical
of author-

sometimes he attacked the principle
to

order

throw doubt

on

t

lie

details;

more

Frequently he attacked the details
the authority.

in

order to disprove

The reply
In

of

Origen to his criticism
I.

maybe
in
itself,

presented

two sections:
II.
(

Defence of the

idea of Revelation generally.

Defence of Judaism

and

in its relal ion to

'hristianity.

122
I.

THE REPLY OF ORIGEX.

A

Revelation
is

so

we may put
;

the thought

of
it

Celsus

not necessary

but

if

it

be necessary,

must be marked by
It

certain distinctive excellences.
;

must be

original, or it is superfluous
its

it

must be
be set

superior to other writings, or
aside
it
;

claims

may
tests

it

must present
-

a right conception of Deity, or

is

self

condemned.

Applying these

to the

Scriptures, Celsus found

them

utterly wanting.

There

was in them nothing original
claims,

to confirm their lofty

and much that was directly borrowed; they
all respects
;

were in

inferior

to

the writings of

the

Greek thinkers
irreverent

they presented an unworthy and
of
it

conception

Deity.
to be

As an

apologist,

Origen

acknowledged

imperative to mainthe venerable charof its parts,

lain not only the anfiquity but

acter of Scripture
to

and the consistency

explain

seeming incongruities, and to show that

there was in

them nothing

evil,

nor shameful, nor

unholy. 1
1.

A
is

Revelation

is

necessary, for the knowledge of
of

God

beyond the grasp
it

human

nature. 2

The

necessity of
pliers,

is

virtually acknowledged by philosoof the

when they speak

hardness of finding out

the Father and Creator of the universe.

Man must

himself use every effort to attain to this knowledge:
the revelation
is

granted to such as strive, and acknow-

ledge their need of aid. 3
1

A
-

Revelation must be
44.
:;

ori-

iv.

20;

vii.

12.

vii.

vii.

42.

DEFENCE OF THE SCRIPTURES.
ginal, but

123

by originality

is

not meant absolute novelty.

On

the contrary, the germs of those truths which arc

taught by

God

in Christ

and the prophets have been
men.

sown by Him

in the souls of all

The law was

written on the tablets of the hearts of

men
life
is

before

it

was written on

tables of stone.

1

All the principles by
higher
are Godto

which men are stimulated
given
2
:

to

all

truth in Plato or others

due

His
just,

inspiration.'"'

The common notions
in

of

good and

of evil

and unjust, are

no

man

utterly lost. 4

The
self-

beauty and piety of the Christian doctrines are
evident
•'
:

they are

in

harmony with the common

notions which have been implanted in men, and the
soul at once recognises their affinity to that which
is

highest in
of

itself.

Take

as

an

illustration the teaching
It
is

Scripture concerning idolatry.

contrary to
to

the
of

common
God
soul
it

consciousness

of

mankind
;

conceive

as corruptible

wood
what
it

or stone

and when the

rational

hears

in

Scripture
is

the condemnation
itself,

of idols, "

recognises

related to

casts

aside those things

which

has long regarded as divine,
its

and recovers
tor;"
1

its

natural affection towards

Crea-

7

and

in

consequence of that natural affection
f8i'5a£e

tov avrbv Otbv, airtp
rats
~i.

5ia

twc

irpo(priTu>u Kal
i.

rov
Cf.

<TUJTr)pos.

tyKa.TtrnrapKti'ai
;i<lv.
''

airavrcou

avdpdoTrwv ^u^cus

I.

Tcrtull.

Judseoe,
iv.
l.

c.

i

viii.

52.

Of.

viii.

I

.

65.

to. Tfjs iri<TT(U)s
10.
5'

7/fiuii',

reus koivcus tvvolais apx.i)6tv (rvvayopevovra

iii.

7

<pi\rpou

avuKa/xfidi'ti <pv<jiKov To -npbs

rov KTicravra

iii.

10.

124

THE REPLY OF OPJGEN.
it

towards God

receives Christ,

who
is

first

presented

these truths to all nations. 1
partial truth

God

the source of the
of the fuller

found outside Scripture, and
;

truth given there
ing of

and
it

it is

no objection

to the teach-

Moses that

is
2

in

harmony with

the wisest

teaching of

all nations,

or to Christianity that similar

sayings are found

among

the Greeks, provided the

teaching

itself

be wholesome

and

beneficial. 3
lies in their

The
moral

originality of the Christian
force.

dogmas
of the

Though the teaching
Word,
it

Greeks be the same

as that of the to

does not possess the same power

subdue the souls
This
is

of

men and

dispose their lives ac-

cordingly.
ity
:

the test both of truth and originallie

the truth must be held to
if

with those who in-

duce their hearers to live as

4 the dogmas were true.

The

assertion of Celsus that the Scriptures in

many

parts were only an echo of

Greek

traditions,

and that
writers,

certain passages were borrowed
ecially

from Greek

from Plato, Origen meets with a series of

counter-assertions.

No

Christian

dogma, no partic-

ular Baying, has been so borrowed.

The conception

of

Satan was not taken from Pherecydes. 5
tive of the

The narra-

Tower

of

Babel

is

not a corruption of the

story of
of
of

the Aloidae. 6
is

The Christian representation

heaven
Plato. 7
1

not a misunderstanding of the teaching

The same
i.

is

true of
:;

all

the sayings in
4

iii.

10.
13.

21.
,;

vii.

59.

viii.

48.
30.

vi.

iv.

12.

7

vii.

DEFENCE OF THE SCRIPTURES.
Scripture, the origin of
to passages in

125

which was ascribed by Celsus
For Moses was very
or Plato,

Greek

writings. 1

much more
he
is

ancient than

Homer

from

whom

alleged to have borrowed, and lived even before

the invention of the Greek letters. 2

The

apostles of
is
it

Christ no doubt were later than Plato.
incredible on the face of
it

But

not

that Paul the tentmaker,
"

and Peter the fisherman, and John
of his father,"

who

left

the nets

should have misinterpreted passages in

the 'Epistles' of Plato, and from that source trans-

mitted their teaching concerning
larity rather

God

?

3

The

simi-

shows that Plato was familiar with the

teaching of the Old Testament, whether by chance or

from intercourse during his residence in Egypt with
those

who gave
;

a speculative exposition of the Jewish
it

system

and Plato,

may

be, modified

what he heard

out of deference to the prejudices of his countrymen,

who were
polity. 4

in the habit of traducing the

Jews because

of the foreign features in their laws

and their peculiar

In one place Origen seems to propound an-

other theory by his suggestion that a passage in the
'

Phsedrus

'

was inspired by Satan as an intentional
tin-

parallel to
2.

teaching of Scripture'

In

maintaining the inferiority of the Scriptures
<

to the writings of the

l

recks,

(

Vlsus alluded contempof
(

tuously to the

allegorical

exposition

the

Jewish

books
1

;

and
15.

in
-

defending the Scriptures,
vi.

trigen assigns
39.
:'

vi.

12.

17

;

iv.

21,

\i.

7.

;

iv.

viii.

1.

12G
to that

THE REPLY OF ORIGEN.

method

a

prominent

place.

It

dominates and

vitiates a ureal

part of his apology. 1
allegorising

His argument

runs thus.

To attack the

method

is

to

prevent the best apology. 2
parts,

That Scripture, in many
is

was written

in

order to be allegorised,

so

manifest that elaborate proof would be superfluous. 3

Had

Celsus grasped the mystical sense, he would not
in-

have spoken of the Jewish tales as childish and
artistic,

nor condemned their
It is unfair to

"

vulgarity and simplicesoteric

ity."

4

assume an

meaning
5

in

the Egyptian worship of irrational animals, or to allow

the Greeks to interpret their fables figuratively, and
close against Christians the door of a consistent inter-

pretation of Scripture, in all respects in
its

harmony with

inspiration. 8

By his condemnation

of Philo, Celsus

only showed his ignorance; for even Greeks given to
speculation might be captivated by his finished style

and

carefully

elaborated
arc

opinions. 7
to

In

the

Word
greater

actual

histories

employed

represent
in

things, but the historical
truth.8
tion
1

narrative has

itself

some

If

the allegorical

method had been an invenof to-day, the charge of

of the

"modest" men

The most
9,

Btriking illustration of this allegorical bias is
a

vi.

where
17.
I'.'.

!

found in Christian interpretation to a passage quoted
of Plato (vii.
-'!I2

by Celsus from the Epistles
:;

B).

i.

iv.

50.

tI

/xe

5f? iwl irKtiova

Ka.Ta(TKcva.£av

to

/j.tj

8eJ/x€fa

KaTa<TK€vr)s— iv. 50.
« iv.
7

42
51
;

''
.

i.

20.

,;

iv.
s

17,
II
;

28

;

vi.

28.

iv.

vi.

21.

iv.

v. 31.

DEFENCE OF THE SCRIPTURES.

127

Celsus would have been plausible; but the fathers of
the Christian doctrines themselves employed
it.

one who reads the Epistle to the Galatians can

Any see how
1
.

St Paul treated marriages, servants, &c., in a tropological way.'2

"f

i

Considered as such, the Scriptural myths
:

are superior to those of the Greeks

they keep in view

the multitude of the simpler class of believers. 3

What

was designed and

to

be immediately useful to the hearers,

to contribute to their

moral improvement, the pro;

phets spoke without any concealment
a mystic character,
initiated,

but matters of

and suitable

for the

more deeply
allegories,

they disclosed by enigmas
4

and

dark sayings and parables.

Greek philosophy takes
;

no account of the ordinary hearer
for

it

is

written only

those

who can

allegorise.

But Moses carefully

studied rhetorical form, and everywhere was careful
to introduce a twofold sense, so that the
-

mass

of the

have no occasion to err in questions of morals,

while the few with more insight into his meaning

End

his writings full of speculation."'

In other parts of his

argument on

this point,

Origen

occupies firmer ground.

Ee

discusses the relation of

philosophy

to Christianity in a catholic spirit.
a

Though

he maintains thai
in

diviner spirit dwelt
3

in

Moses than

Plato,

6

and

that the prophel

of

God and the apostles
in n
i.

of
to
1

Je
oppose
49.

poke diviner truths than he, he dues qo1 seek
tin-

teaching of philosophers
I

contentious
,;

iv.

it.

I.

'

vii.

10.

18.

i.

19.

128
spirit, 1

THE REPLY OF ORIGEN.
Christianity
is

the highest philosophy

:

to its

majestic heights all learning

In respect of the type of
phetic
gift, of

may be a stepping-stone. 2 men who received the proand

the conscience of the writers as revealed

in their works, of the ideal of future blessedness,
of the ethical results of
its

theological speculations,

Christianity

is

far superior to

Greek philosophy.

The

prophets varied in the measure of their apprehension
of truth
;

but only the holiest souls

who

lived in close

fellowship with

God were
if

inspired by

Him.

:{

They

record that which,
in their

it

be miraculous, has come with-

own

experience, and eagerly contend for their

convictions. 4

Did they

err in supposing that

it

was

the source of every blessing to believe in the

God

of all,

and not

to cherish

even a thought displeasing to Him?^
is

When
latter.

the truth

common

to

philosophy and Chris-

tianity, a

comparison reveals the superiority of the
of the soul:

Both acknowledge the immortality

taking as the test of truth the ideal of future blessedness,

which

lias

the better claim to be regarded as

the gift of God, and to have been spoken by the Divine
Spirit
\

Is

it

the end presented in the Gospel of Christ
lived
a life
of

to those

who have
that which

blameless purity,

and have given an undivided love

to the

supreme God?
of phil-

Or

is

it

is

set forth

by any sect

osophers, whether (heek or barbarian, or promised in

any
1

of the mysteries?
48.
-

Origen challenges proof that
51
;

vii.

iii.

58.

::

vii.

iv.

95, 96.

4

iv.

'>',.

5

Idem.

DEFENCE OF THE SCRIPTURES.
words acknowledged by
to
all

129
are superior

to be

human
and

words announced by divine inspiration. 1
be

Let their
ethical
force.
2

history
treatises

compared with

ours,

their

with our laws, in respect of moral
speculations
fruit.

The

loftiest

of

the Greeks

were only

theories,

and bore no

After writing about the
the Peirasus and

" chief good," they descended into

prayed to Artemis as a god

;

and

after philosophising

about the

soul,

they cherished petty thoughts and

would

sacrifice a

cock to Asclepius. 3

Their theorising

did not advance the genuine piety of the readers, not

even of the writers

;

but those

who

sincerely read the

Scriptures with their
a divine energy,
4

mean

diction are inspired with

for the style

adopted

is

determined
discourses

by moral

considerations.

Philosophical

marked by beauty

of composition
:

may have

turned

a few profligates into philosophers
of Scripture

the vulgar words

have acted like charms, and have trans-

formed whole masses of men, so that unmanly cowardice
death. 6
section,
is

supplanted by a moral courage that despises

The love
inspired

of

mankind, not
ambassadors

of

any one
of

class or
;

the

truth

hence
every

their
class

adoption of a style fitted to appeal
of

to

hearers.

To pass by the ignorant because

they cannol
course,

attend to the Logical sequence of a dist<>

and
in

think

only of those
all
i.

who have been
is

trained
1

rhetoric
i.

and

Libera] arts,
I.

to cherish a
iii.

iii.

81.

4

vi. 5.

68.

I

130

THE REPLY OF ORIGEN.

very restricted notion of our duty to others or of the
public good. 1
style,

You

will find Plato, with his beautiful

only in the hands of students of languages; you

will find Epictetus, with his simpler style, in the
of the

hands
more-

common

people.

The divine Word

is,

over, singular in this respect, that its sayings do not

touch the soul unless a certain power be granted from

God

to the speaker,

and

"

grace bloom on his words."

2

Origen declares that the style of the prophetic books
elegant according to the forms of the

is

Hebrew language

but on that

little stress is

put by him.

He

seeks to

prove the superiority of Scripture by an analogy of a

homely
food,

type.
let it
it

"

Take some healthy and invigorating

and

be prepared and dressed with such sea-

soning that

cannot be partaken of by peasants or by
:

the poor, but only by the rich and delicate

take the

same food and

let it

be prepared not for those

who
of

are

considered dainty, but in such a
poor,
If

way

as to suit the

and the peasants, and the vast majority

men.

from the former only the more dainty gain health,
it is

while

untouched by the mass

of the people,

and

from the latter the majority of
i'

men

gain healthy suspublic good, shall

nance,

— which, with a view to the
to be

we consider

wholesome

?

Provided both preparais it

tions are equally wholesome,

not manifest, on the

ground alike of humanity and
that the physician
1

of the

common

good,

who

takes forethought for the health
-

vi.

1.

vi.

21

;

vii.

61.

DEFENCE OF THE SCRIPTURES.
of the

131

many

is

a greater benefactor than he
?

who

thinks
of the

only of the few

1

Plato and the wise
;

men

Greeks are typified by the former method
prophets and the disciples,

the Jewish

who adapt
latter.

their style to
If the object

the majority, are typified by the
of food for the reason be to

make men

forbearing and

gentle, is that

word not better prepared which makes

multitudes forbearing and gentle rather than a very

few

— even

if it
?

be conceded that the polished method
If a

has this effect
doctrines
to

Greek desired

to

impart healthy
first

Egyptians or Syrians, he would
:

resolve to learn their language

he would rather be

a " barbarian
a

"

to use a

Greek phrase

—than continue
manner the

Greek, and be unable to say anything profitable to
"

the Egyptians or Syrians.

And

in like

Divine Nature, making provision not for those who
are instructed in Greek learning only, but for the rest
of

men, condescended

to the ignorance of the multi-

tude of the hearers, that by the use of familiar phrases
it

might appeal to the multitude."

Origen, however,

guards against the possibility of misconception: his
analogy
is

not meant to imply that there
to

is

not in the

Word
the

sufficient

gratify

the daintiest intellectual
into

appetite.

AYhen once men have been introduced

principles of Christianity

they become eager to

apprehend
to

the

secret

thoughts

which
t<»

are

revealed

those wlio devote themselves
1

the

investigation

vii.

59.

132

THE REPLY OF ORIGEN.
measure
of their toil

of the "Word, according to the

and study.
wants

1

It is in

making provision

alike for the

of the ignorant

and the enlightened that the
lies.
2

distinctive excellence of the Scripture
3.

A

more

serious charge than inferiority or

want

of

originality is

brought against the Scriptures by

Celsus.

Seeing clearly that the highest test of any

religious system is its representation of the character
of

God, he sought to show that the conception of God
Scripture was unworthy, degraded, and
It speaks of the invisible

set forth in

purely material.
visible,

God

as
It

of

the

unknowable God

as

knowable.

speaks of His voice, His hands, His image.
to

It ascribes
It

Him human

passions, anger,

and threatenings.

takes

away from His omnipotence by representing
of the

Him as unable to secure the obedience whom He Himself had made.
Ormen

one

man

agrees to a certain extent with Celsus in

regard to the limitations of man's knowledge of God.
Scripture speaks of

God "making darkness His

secret

place":

it

is

thus admitted that, so far as a perfect
is

apprehension

concerned,

He

is

unseen and un-

knowable, and that

He

conceals Himself from those

who cannot endure
and are unable
to

the splendours of His knowledge,

behold

Him;

partly because of the

understanding being polluted by being attached to
"

the body of humiliation," partly because of
1

its

re-

vii.

GO.

-

vii.

41.

DEFENCE OF THE SCRIPTURES.
stricted

133
All that

power

of

apprehending God. 1
:

we
yet

know
of

is less

than God

He

is

beyond the grasp not
2

human

nature only but of the superhuman
of

we know some

His
3

attributes, for

He

has virtue,

blessedness, divinity.

Even

in seeking to describe

natural qualities and distinctions,
imperfect.

human language

is

God cannot be named

in the sense that

we have any
His

signs or expressions fully to set forth

attributes.

Many

qualities are

unnamable

:

who

can distinguish by a name the difference between the
quality of sweetness in a date and a
fig
?

But He can
which

be named,

if

you regard the name as a means by
attribute,

which we can represent some divine
takes the hearer by the hand, as
it

were, and gives

him

a certain idea of God. 4

cause

He

has not a body,

He cannot be seen, bebut He can be seen with
;

the heart

—that

is,

with the understanding pure only.

not with
of
all

any

heart, but with the
is

The God

(who

Intelligence, or
is

One who transcends

intelli-

gence and essence)

simple, invisible, and bodiless,

and can only be apprehended by that intelligence

which
La

is

made

after the

image
is

of

His

intelligence. 5

It

the inner

man which
is

made

in the

image

of

God. G

The Christian
imperfection
1

thus the true agnostic: admitting the
hia

<»t'

knowledge
(pvais,

of

God, he holds that

it

vi.

17.
i)

-

ou h6vt)

rod avQpuTTov
4

dAAo
»

kcl\

ruv vwipavafifftiiKoTuv
,;

avTTjv
1

vi.

62.
vi.

vi

vii.

38.

vi.

134
is

THE REPLY OF ORIGEN.
it

true as far as

goes

:

the want of clearness

is

due in part to the narrow range of our
part
to

vision, in

the

mercy
to
us.

of

God, who veils the horizon
the lustre

with

clouds

soften

which otherwise

might blind

The power

of

God

to manifest

Himself

is

limited

both in matter and in form by the capacity of
receive the truth,

men

to

and by the moral aim

of Revelation.

This explains the obscurity of Scripture as well as the
ascription of

human

attributes to Deity.

The law-

giver

who was asked whether he had

prescribed the

best laws for the citizens, gave answer that he had not

given such laws as were absolutely the best, but the
best that they were able to receive: so
to the people the best

God has given
it

laws and teaching that
1

was

possible for

them

to receive.

As

a teacher discoursto their

ing to
ness,

young children adapts himself

weakability

and aims not

at the display of his

own

but at the moral training of his scholars, so the
of

Word

God adapts

its

message

to

the

capacity of the

Word to men, He did not assume a character befitting His own divinity; He assumed, as it were, the manners of a man for the
hearers.

When God

spoke in His

advantage

of

men.2

Expressions in which physical qualities or actions
1

iii.

79.

2

iv.

71

;

ii.

76.

olouel avdpuirov rp6irovs irpbs rb avdpwirois AixriTeAes

tyopwv 6 \6yos roiavra Xtyr).
5 0eos crov,

Cf. Dcut.

i.

81

:

erpoiro(p6pr]a€ ae Kvptos

us

it tis Tpoivocpopijcrai &vdp<jjwos

rbv vlbv abrov.

DEFENCE OF THE SCRIPTURES.
are ascribed to

135

God

are to be understood figuratively. 1

The eves

of the

Word have

nothing in

common with

the eyes of the body but the name. 2
are employed to express that which

Corporeal names
is

grasped by the
in the

understanding. 3

God comes down

to

men

same

sense that teachers condescend to children, or wise

men

to

beginners in philosophy. 4
arise

The threatenings
to the

and abuse
weakness
ing
it is
ui-

from a divine accommodation
;

of the hearers

they are applied as a heal-

drug.''

When God

sends outward evil of any kind,

by way

of discipline, like the action of a father,

a teacher, or a physician.

The wrath
:

of

God

is

not

a passion akin to that of

men His
happen

threatenings are a

declaration of

what

will

to the wicked,

and are

no more

threats, properly speaking,

than the words of

a physician

who should say
if

that he would apply the

knife or the cautery,
structions."
tire."

the patient disobeyed his in-

Scripture speaks of

God

as a "

consuming

But

what may God
its

fittingly

consume save

wickedness and
" refiner's
lire,*'

fruits

?

8

In like manner
the
rational

He

is

a

for

He
filled

refines

nature

which has become

with lead

— with the impure
''•

matters that adulterate the gold or silver of the soul.9

God
1 i.

applies
71
;

tin-

discipline of
'-'

lire,

as the benefactor of
ii.

vi. 64,

&
ii.

vii.

:'.

\

;

rl.

vi.
~

70.
72.

4

iv.

12.

:•;.

,;

vi.

56.
;

iv.
1

I

frlTovfxiv riva

npcnei

viru

6(ov Ka.Tava\i(TKf(r0ai

Kat

(pa/mi

tj]v

naxiav Kat to
.

air'
\i.

aurf/s TTparr6fxtva

iv.

II.

18.

Cf.

7^.

136
those

THE REPLY OF OKIGEX.

who need

it.

For the good

of those

who

could

not otherwise escape from the flood of wickedness, the

Word

speaks of such gloomy matters with a wise
;

obscurity

for

some

cannot

be

converted

except

through fear and a representation of punishments. 1
All objections to the Scriptural representation of

God

based on the disobedience of

man
2

are equally valid

against any theory of Providence.

We

have here only
evil. 3

one aspect of the problem of the existence of

Adam
<

is

man

:

when Moses speaks

of

Adam

he

is

theorising about the nature of man.
rod did not

As

well ask

why

by divine power create men who needed

no reformation, but were immediately good and perfect
?

All such problems find their solution in the

-ession

by

man

of free-will.

"They may perplex
you take

the ignorant and the foolish, but not one with any
insight into the nature of

things

;

for

if

away from

virtue the element of spontaneity, you take
4

away
II.

its

essence."

Like

many

of

his successors,

Celsus attacked

Christianity through

Judaism.
;

The Old Testament
the Mosaic cosmog;

records were full of absurdities

ony was childish and unphilosophical
rites

the religious
a miserable
its
40.

of the

Jews were borrowed; such

race could never have been beloved
1

by God, nor
;

v. 15,
'6rt

16

;

viii.
/u.(f

48;

iii.

78.

2

vi.

57

;

iv.

3

iii.

35.
tca\

:i

iv.

4

dpeT7/s

lav ave\T)s to eKOvaiov, avelAes avrrjs

ttjv

ovaiav

iv.

3.

DEFENCE OF THE SCRIPTUKES.
teachers truly inspired.
(

137

As

for the

Jews who became

hristians,

they were renegades from the law of their

fathers.

Christianity was dependent on Judaism, yet
ideals

in

its

and doctrines
it.

it

was

in

irreconcilable

conflict
1.

with

Ormen defends
inspiration of

the character of Moses as well
his

as

the

writings.

Moses was no

magician, but a pious
]

man who

participated in the

)ivine Spirit
is

;

his

laws were inspired by

God

;

his

record

true. 1

The antiquity and veracity

of

the

Mosaic record are confirmed by Assyrian writings,
as well as

by the testimony

of

Greeks and Egyptians,
in

and

of

those

who were

interested

Phoenician

history. 2

In the deference paid to them by Numenius

the Pythagorean, in current traditions respecting the

dependence

of

Pythagoras himself on Jewish philo-

sophy, and in the works of Josephus, further testi-

mony

as to the authority of the

Mosaic writings
of

may
left

be found.

The mythic lawgivers
life;

Greece have

no trace on the national
nation,

but to-day a whole

though
is

it

be

scattered

through the

whole
It is

world,

directed

by the

legislation of Moses. 3

a reckless charge to declare that
<>r

the books of Moses,

rather what was written by the Divine Spirit in
esoteric

Moses, are unintelligible and withoul
ing.
4

mean-

Take,

for

example, the
to

"

flaming sword, that
of the tree
5]
;

turned every way
1

keep the way
'
i.
1.".,

<»t'

lit'-."

iii.

.">.

-

i.

1

1

;

iv.

11.

16.

Cf.

iv.

viii. -17.

4

i\

.

138

THE REPLY OF ORIGEN.

Had Moses no clear idea when he wrote these words ? Was he acting like the poets of the Old Comedy,
when, with the view
of creating laughter, they jested
?

about Proitus slaying Bellerophon
that one

Is

it

credible

who sought

to

persuade a whole nation that
written without any

they were of

God should have

point these words or the other sections on the genesis
of

man

?

x

All will acknowledge this to be a sound
:

principle of literary criticism

divergence arises

when

we come

to the question, not

whether the writer meant

anything, but what he did mean.

To Origen

it

is

incredible that the Greeks and barbarians could pride

themselves on their mysteries, and that the Jewish
nation which had been taiudit to ascend to o

God

the

Uncreated

and

gaze

only

on

Him, should
2

have

received no share in divine esoterics.

It is

mainly

by the application

of these principles that

he disposes

of the criticism of Celsus.
2.

For

his views on the
(

Mosaic cosmogony he refers

to his exposition of

renesis. 8
it

That section

of the

com-

mentary

is lost

;

but

is

evident from the Homilies

extant that he got rid of the objections by allegorising
tin'

record, for he

says

here that in that work

lie

found fault with those who understood the six days
in their
1

apparent signification. 4
-

God

did not "rest"
::

&

vi.

49.
ttju

iv.

38.

vi.

51.

4

iyKahovvres ro7s Kara
dviirdvaaTo.

irpox^portpav €k5ox7?j>

<pr}cra(ri

XP 0V0VS

$£ 7i/A(pu>v 5i(\r}\vdei/ai els ttjv Koa/JLowouau
'

vi.

51, 60.

DEFENCE OF THE SCRIPTUEES.
from His work
;

139

He

only

"

ceased

"

from working. 1

The

difficulty arising

from the small dimensions of

the ark he solves by the adoption of what he else-

where
in

calls " the geometrical

method
"

of the Egyptians,
is,

which Moses was skilled

— that

by squaring

the figures given in the narrative. 2

The wells given

by God
literally
;

to

the
it

righteous are not to be interpreted

but

may

be observed that the truth of
is

the narrative in Genesis
of wells in Ascalon,

confirmed by the existence
in their struc-

which are foreign

ture

and

different

from the

rest of the wells in that

district. 3

The

story of the incest of Lot shows the

love of truth in those
tures,

who wrote

the divine Scrip:

since they did not conceal offensive matters
fact

this

of

itself

should

have induced Celsus to

acknowledge that the other and miraculous portions
were not invented.
philosophical

The

act itself Origen defends on
GJoocl
lie

grounds.
ethics,

and

evil,

according to
;

Greek writers on

in the

will only

and,

apart from the will, all actions are, strictly speaking,
indifferent.

In the order of things indifferent they
circumstances of the case) place

would

(in the special

such an action as that of Lot.
it

Some, indeed, say that
issue.

is

condemned by the accursed

As

a matter

of fact, Scripture

neither clearly approves
in

nor con-

demns
1

it.

;

and,

any

case,

it

may

1"'

explained

KaTtirauue
iv.

vi.

ill.
II' -in.
iii

'-'

il,

12,

Cf.

Genes.,

ii.

2.

i«.

li.

140
figuratively. 1

THE EEPLY OF ORIGEN.

The

silence

of

Joseph under a
;

false

accusation shows his magnanimity

and as

for the

sneer of Celsus at the story of his making himself

known

to

his brethren, Origen

says

that not even
it,

Momus
as,
is

himself could reasonably find fault with

apart

from

its

tropology,

it

contains

much

that

attractive. 2
3.

The

originality of the rite of circumcision in itself
It is practised
it is is

is

not maintained by Origen.
;

by the

Egyptians and Colchians

but as
it

practised by

the Jews for a different reason,
sidered the

not to be conof " the

same circumcision.

For in virtue

purpose, the law, and intention" of
cises,

him who circumcharacter. 3

the

act

assumes a different

As

righteousness
to the Stoics,

means one thing
and another
different

to Epicurus, another
cir-

to the Platonists, so

cumcision

is

according

to

the
4

different

opinions of those

who
to

are circumcised.

The same
swine's

argument applies
flesh,

the

abstinence

from

which
i

is

common

to the

Jews and the Egyptian

pries

9.

In his prohibition of augury Origen sees evidence
of the

wisdom
\~>.

of

Moses, and especially in his

classili-

1

iv.

-

iv.

46, 47.

H yap Trp6de(Tis Kal aWolov 7roter to wpuypia
4

6 vu/xos
v. 47.

Kal

to

fiouAri/xa

tov irspiTepLVOUTos,

v. v.

17.

'

19.

Cf.

vii.

64,

Abstinence from the

flesh of

animals
30.

is

not of

the same order as abstinence from wickedness

viii.

DEFENCE OF THE SCRIPTURES.
cation

141

among impure animals
Origen

of all

such as were held
divi-

by the Egyptians and others to be instruments of
nation. 1

attaches

great

importance to the
of

power shown by the use
a

of the

name
2

Abraham

as

charm

in casting out evil spirits.
all

Not the Jews
incantations and

alone but almost

who employed

magical rites use the formula
the

—the

God

of

Abraham,

God
in

of Isaac,

and the God
is

of Jacob. 3

Now who
?

were these men, and where

their history recorded

Not

any Greek or barbarian history or myth, but

in the

Book

of

Genesis.

Do

not the works accom-

plished by the
of the

names

establish the divine character

men

?

And

yet

we only read

of

them

in the

sacred books of the Jews.

The same holds

of other

formulas drawn from the Scripture narrative. 4
4.

In seeking to establish the separate nationality

of the Jews,
of

and their claims

to

be the chosen people
reaches a high level.

God, the argument of
all

Ormen

To
I

cavilling at the divine mission of the Jews,

Irigen replies

by pointing
the
of

to their

monotheism.

The
clear

greatness

of

Jews lay
the

in

their having a
of

apprehension
Persona] God.

existence
in

One,

Sovereign,

By

believing

One Sovereign God
this

they wen- true philosophers, as withoul

fundais

mental truth
;

no

understanding of the
t<>

universe

ible;

by presenting

men

the possibility of per-

sonal
1

communion with
95
L 22.

this

Personal Sovereign God,
iv.
:

iv.

iv.

34.

142

THE REPLY OF OKIGEX.
;

they proclaimed the true ideal of religion
holiness the condition of that
religion

by making

communion, they linked
together.

and

ethics

indissolubly

These

thoughts, under

various

forms, occur

repeatedly in

the apology of Origen.
If the

Jews were Egyptians,

as Celsus averred,

they

must have changed
place
:

their dialect

when

their revolt took

those
all at

who had
Hebrews

hitherto spoken the Egyptian

tongue

once gained complete mastery over the
!

dialect of the

*

In that case their names
for

would have been Egyptian,
are

names and languages
The

correlated

;

but the names are Hebrew. 2
of the Jews,

whole economy

and their venerable and
Before they acted
in-

ancient polity, were of God. 3
solently towards God,

and were abandoned by Him,

they were a philosophic nation. 4
of their polity

Any

close observer

may

see that they exhibited
life."
"

upon earth
recognition

the " pattern of a heavenly
of

By their

no God save the God over

all

—by the
of

banishment

of painters

and makers

of

images from the community
worship
the
hosts of

— by

abstaining from

the

heaven
harlots

— by

the expulsion of effeminate persons and
high, almost superhuman, standard of

— by the

morals and integrity which they exacted from their
judges, the divine character of the nation was manifested.
1

"There could be seen a whole nation given
6.
iii.

to

iii.

8

:

vi.

80.
tirl

'

viii.

47.

'

dvQpunroi

(tkiciv

ovpaviov (iiov TrapadeiKi/vvTes

yrjs

iv. 31.

DEFENCE OF THE SCRIPTURES.
philosophy. 1
laws, they

143

To secure

leisure for hearing the divine
festivals.

had their Sabbaths and other
the

Why

speak of

arrangements about priests and
truths
to

sacrifices,

which shadow forth countless
?

those given to study

2

A

comparison of the Jewish

polity with that of other nations compels admiration
of of

the former.

Everything not useful to the race
;

men was

taken from them

everything beneficial

was admitted.

They had neither games, nor dramatic
They had no women who
their tenderest years they
all sensible

contests, nor horse-races.

sold their beauty.

From

were taught the blessing of rising above
nature,

and seeking God
birth,

far

above

all

things material.

Almost from

and

as soon as they could speak

perfectly, they learned the doctrine of the immortality
of the soul, of
in a

rewards and punishments hereafter
to

veiled

and mystic form, no doubt, as

those

who were
of

children in understanding.

As

the "portion

the Lord" they despised soothsayers, and sought

their

knowledge

of

the future in the souls of those

who, because of their pre-eminent purity, received the
Spirit
tlif

of the

God over

8 all.

What need
a

to point out

reasonableness of the law that no one

who adhered
more than
they were
if

to the

Jewish system should be

slave for
that

six

\

The Jews would consider
excellence of their
in

insible to the

own law
the
-

they

thought that
1

it

had been enacted
u\ov
<biko(To(poiu>
iv.

same way as
81,
\.

Ka\

-f\v

Vbtiv tdvos

81

IV.

12.

144
the

THE REPLY OF
laws that obtain
of a

OltlGEN.

among other
of those

nations.

They
of the
to

know

wisdom not only higher than that

many, but even than that
philosophers
;

who seem

be

for the latter, after all their venerable

discourses, fall

back

to idols

and demons, while the

lowest of the Jews look to the one
all
:

God who

is

over
to be

and on

this account they

have good reason

proud, and to shun intercourse with others as polluted.

And would

that they had not sinned by slaying the

prophets, and afterwards by plotting against Jesus;
for in that case there

would have been seen on earth

the pattern of a heavenly city such as Plato sought to
delineate. 1

Because they were a chosen people and a

royal priesthood, they were isolated,

and avoided

in-

tercourse with others to
their

prevent the corruption of
ex-

morals.

They neither sought power by
boundaries,

tending their

nor did

their

smallness

expose them to attack, because they were protected

by God.

The guidance

of

God was accorded
of it
:

to

them

so long as they

were worthy

when they sinned

they were, abandoned
for a shorter

— now

for a longer period,

now

until, in

the time of

the

Komans, by

their commission of the greatest sin in slaying Jesus,

they were utterly forsaken. 2
1 -

v. 43.
Lv.

32.

In evidence of the divine protection, Origcn points out

that
alien

ilit;

Supreme God

from the Christian

the homage paid to

God of the Hebrews even by fcho le and quotes some legendary stories of the .Jewish high priest by Alexander of Macedoil
ia

called the
faith,

ii.

\

DEFENCE OF THE SCRIPTURES.

145

The most powerful argument

for the divine guid-

ance of the Jews, as well as for the divinity of their
sacred books,
prophecies.
itself,
is

to

be found in their prophets and

Scripture has a demonstration peculiar to
of a diviner character

and

than that furnished

by Greek

dialectic.
'

"

This diviner method was called

by St Paul the

demonstration of the Spirit and of
Spirit,

power

'

:

of

the

because of the prophecies,
the
Christ,

especially

those

with regard to

which
;

should suffice to convince those that read them

of

power, because of the miraculous powers whose reality
has been established by

many

other proofs, and also
in those
1

from the traces

of

them yet preserved

who
The

live according to the precepts of the Gospel."

Messianic prophecies will be discussed in connection

with Origen's defence of Jesus
sent
his

;

here

we only
in

pre-

view of

prophetic

testimony

general,

and

of its place

and function in Judaism.
foreknowledge does not infallibly
source.

livery

form

of

BUggest a divine

There
it

is is

a foreknowledge

which

is

in

itself

indifferent:

not always an
to

evidence of divinity, and
well as
t<>

may belong
Pilots

the bad as

the excellent.

8

can foretell storm-.

physicians can foretell the course of disease in virtue
of

their

professional

-kill,

whether their morals be

1

i.

2.

-

rd

to.

ixtKhovra TrpuytyudxTKfiu ov -navTus duow iari' Ka0' ai>To -)ap

fitauv ivTi

— i.

Cf.

vii.

.'. ;

iii.

K

146

THE EEPLY OF ORIGEN.

good or bad. 1
<

But though

for controversial purposes

Irigen thus

minimises the function of foreknowledge,

he repeatedly says that prophecies are to be tested by
their issues,

and that foreknowledge
possession
of

is

a convincing
spirit. 2

proof

of

the

a

divine

The

announcement

of future events

beyond the power of
verified

human nature
is

to foretell,
of

when

by the

results,

the

mark

divinity. 3

The fulfilment

of

pro-

phecies in regard to events which are past should

induce us to believe the prophets, or rather the Divine
Spirit in them, in regard to events yet future. 4

The prophets
from
all

of the

Jews

are clearly

marked out

the givers of heathen oracles.

They were not

driven into an ecstasy or frenzied condition
prophesied.
5

when they

They were the

first to

enjoy the advent

of the higher Spirit into

them, and by the touch of the
in

Holy

Spirit their understanding gained
in brightness.

clearness

and their soul
pi letic gift

Some

received the proof their

and inspiration because

wisdom

others became wise

when illumined by

the gift of pro-

phecy.

To them God intrusted His

Spirit

and words
lives, their

because of the inimitable character of their

high standard of moral force, nobility, and intrepidity. 7

Their insight Mas of the nature of a higher sense, by
1

iv.

96.

-

i.

35

;

viii.

48

;

vl 46.
iv.

'

rd yap

x a P aKr l\p' C0V T
' l
, .
.

V Q^^T-qra —
wi'tv/j.a.Tos

vi.

10.

'

21.

'

'AAAa
vii.

Kcd to (Is (Kcrraatv nal fxaviK7]v dyf.iv icaTaaraaiu ttju drjOti/

rrpo<pr)T(vou(Tav
8
1.

ou 6elou

Zpyov iariv
7

vii.

'>.

vii.

7.

DEFENCE OF THE SCRIPTUEES.

147

which they could see things higher than bodies, and
hear sounds other than those which have their substance in the
air.
1

The preservation

of their sayings

by

their contemporaries
:

shows the value attached to

them

the disappearance of other so-called prophecies

points as plainly in the opposite direction. 2
It is a favourite idea of

Origen that the existence

among
was

the Jews of prophets, in the sense of foretellers,
If their national

a necessity.
if

coherence was to be

secured,

their faith in the Creator

was

to be preserved,

and

all

inducements

for revolting to

polytheism re-

moved, prophets were absolutely necessary.

The Jews

were forbidden to practise the auguries in use among
the Gentiles
;

and when a natural longing

to

know

the

future took possession of them, they would have despised their
sess

own prophets

if

they had seemed to pos-

no evidence

of divinity,

and would have had

reit is

course to heathen soothsayers.
in

On

this account

no way monstrous that the prophets should not only

have foretold universal events relating to Christ and
the kingdoms of the world, but particular matters of

no great

moment.8

This somewhat grotesque fancy

may
ever

contain a truth.
e

He may mean
it.

that revelation at

was always superior
it

to the

thought of the

even when
believed
in

was limited by
it

In an age
a

which
took

augury,

was an advance when

man

the place of
1

some
"

bird or animal as the interpreter of
10, 11.
'.

i.

48.

vii.

Cf. in.

li.

148
the divine will.

THE REPLY OF ORIGEN.

He strikes

a higher note

by suggesting

that in the case of a nation to
tion, in

whom

a partial revela-

the form of a law, had been given, a succession

of prophets, in the sense of teachers,

was

natural.

It

was only natural that God did not overlook a people

who
of

served

Him and

suffered because of the

homage

they gave to His laws, and that

He

gave a revelation

Himself to

men who

despised the works of

art
all.

and strove
It

to ascend in

thought to the

human God over
served

was right that the common Father and Creator

of all

should apportion to those
fruit of

who sought and

Him some
5.

His sway, and should grant unto
of Himself. 1

them continuous and increasing knowledge
Christianity on Judaism.

Origen expressly acknowledges the dependence of

The sacred books
an introduction
is

of

Moses

and the prophets serve
anity,

as

to Christi-

and afterwards advance and

made by

Christians

in their explanation
-out

interpretation, as they seek
to revelation
2

"the mystery according

which has

been kept silent in eternal times."
prophets was no
other

The

Spirit in the

than the Spirit of Christ. 3
gave the law and the
its

Jesus

is

the Son of

Him who

prophets. 4

The Christian Church owed

origin to

God

in the prophets teaching

men

to

expect the coming

of Christ to save

men.
is

not really refuted,
1

And in so far as that fact is the Word established as the Word
avrov ivvoiav

'Lva
ii.

{xaKhov
4.

av^aiv ^v

airal; Trapei\ri<pa(ri irepl
3

viii.
4
ii.

53.
6.

2

Cf.

Rom.

xvi. 25.

vi. 19.

DEFENCE OF THE SCRIPTURES.
of

149

God, and Jesus shown to be the Son of God both

before His incarnation and

when He became

incarnate. 1

We

agree with the Jews as to the inspiration of their

2 Scriptures, but differ as to their interpretation.

We
in-

can defend them by a better apology than the Jews
themselves can furnish, because
telligent

we have
3

a

more

apprehension of their meaning.

Jews who
of their

become Christians do not dishonour the law
fathers.

In the narrative in

'

Acts

'

of his intercourse
is

with Cornelius, as well as by what
Epistle to the Galatians,

indicated in the

we

see

how

Peter had to be

taught to ascend from the letter of the law to the
spirit.
4

Christ

was unable

to

teach

His

disciples

"

many

things " in the true law, and the heavenly

realities of

which the Jewish service was only a type

and a shadow.

Had He

sought before the fitting time
of their very

to root out opinions

which were a part

being,

and which they held

to be divine, it

would have

tended to overturn their belief in

Him

as the Christ. 5

We,

then,

who

are " of the Church," do not transgress

the law, but escape the mythologies of the Jews by

being instructed in the mystic understanding of the

law and the prophets. 6

The law has a twofold sense
letter,

— one
1

according to the

one according to the

thought. 7

By means
2

of this principle

Origen seeks to
B

iii.

14.

v. 60.

3

ii.

76.

*

ii.

1.

ii.

2.

6

ii.

7

6 v6}xos

Sirros ear iv d fxev ris irpbs p-qrbv, 6 5e irpbs oiduoiav

6.

vii.

20.

150

THE REPLY OF ORIGEN.

show that there was no antagonism, between Moses and
Christ.

In interpreting the law

literally Celsus
1

was

subject to a very vulgar delusion.

How

could the

wealth promised by Moses be material wealth, when
the sight of

many

righteous

men

in extreme poverty

showed
sage
?

to the people the incredibility of

such a mes-

Would they have retained their faith and contended for the law, when they saw that according to
the letter he had plainly deceived

them

?

2

The

riches

promised

is
3

spiritual insight, riches in all

word and

knowledge.

The precept about slaying enemies canliterally.

not be taken

How

could the Psalmist, for

example, after giving expression to manly and good
thoughts, add a resolution to cut off all sinners from

the earth " in the morning
lon

"

?

4

The children

of

Baby-

who

are

to

be dashed to pieces are confusing
evil. 5
;

thoughts, the offspring of

The promised land
like the rest of the

was not the land
world,
is

of

Judea

for

it,

under a curse, and could not be such as Moses
it.
6

described

Moreover, for some of the precepts of

Jesus quoted by Celsus, passages exactly parallel could
be quoted from the Old Testament
ises to the
1
:

some

of the

prom-

Jews have been
.
.

fulfilled to

the letter. 7
18. 19. Cf. Ps.
ci.

ireiroude 877
vii.

.

Trpay/j.a
3

IdLCOTiKUTarov
21.

vii.
4 6

2
5

18.

vii.

vii.
vii.

8.

vii.

22.

Cf. Ps. cxxxvii. 9.

28.

The prophecy about the whole earth being filled with the seed of the Hebrews has been fulfilled though the literal fulfilment has come rather from the wrath of God than from His granting a blessing
7
;

vii.

19.

DEFENCE OF THE SCRIPTUEES.

151

When

untrammelled by his allegorical theorising

Origen displays keen insight into the true relation of
the older faith to Christianity, the causes of
its decline,

and the necessity
polity

of its being superseded.

The Judaic
which

was not exempt from that
all

instability

governs

the affairs of men, and gradually gave

way

to corruption

and degeneracy.

The venerable system

was remodelled by God
everywhere. 1

so as to be adapted to all

men
to

The Jewish laws were adapted only

one nation, whose princes were of their

own kindred
harmony

and kept similar customs

;

the

new laws

are in

with every existing constitution in every part of the
world. 2

With

the continuance of the polity according

to the letter of the
tiles

Mosaic law, the calling
the sway of the
;

of the

Gen-

who were under
of the

Eomans would

have been impossible

nor could the Jews obey the

law

Gospel had their polity remained unchanged.

Christians, for example,

may
so
;

not slay their enemies,

nor can the Jews

now do

but to deprive the ancient

Jews

of

such power would have been fatal to their

existence.

The destruction
and temple

of their city,

and with

it

their temple

service, proves that

God, who

gave both the

Law and

the Gospel, does not wish the

Jews
world.
1

to prevail. 3
4

Christ

came

to reform the

whole

By His

teaching

He

invites all to the pure

iv.

32.

2

voixovs Kaivovs Kal apfxo^ovras ttj ivavTaxov KaOecxruar) ttoAitzio.

iv. 22.
:;

vii.

26.

4

iv. 9.

152
service of God,

THE REPLY OF OPJGEN.
and in order
to benefit

many,

He

abro-

gated the burdensome code of external

ordinances,

which was an obstacle

to the acceptance of Judaism. 1
to the

The divine favour once granted
to the Christians
;

Jews has passed

the

Komans have
hand

failed to extermin-

ate

them

;

for a divine

fights for

them, whose will
of of
all

it is

to scatter the seed

from one corner in the land
2

Judea throughout the whole world.

The kingdom

heaven has passed from them to the Gentiles, and
the tenets of the Jews of to-day are only
trifles.
3

myths and
or signs, or

They no longer possess prophets,
"

other evidence of divinity; but such signs are with
the Christians
:

we speak from
was
its
;

experience."

4

In
its

brief,

Origen's position
stitution

this

:

Judaism, alike in

con-

and in

ceremonial code, was essentially a
is

national religion
ual religion.
letter,

Christianity
is

a universal and spirit-

The Christian

not concerned with the

but only with the spiritual truth, of Mosaism.
is

There

no more

conflict

between them than was

in-

evitable in the elimination of temporary and accidental

elements from Judaism, on

its

transformation from a

local into a world-wide religion^Tom a religion of cere-

monies into a religion
1

of principles. 5
2

viii.

24.
t<x 'lovfialtcv roov
5

v. 50.

3

irdura [xkv
ii.

vvu /mvOovs nod Aypovs

ii.

5.

4

8.

Cf. Tertull.

Adv. Judseos,

c.

4. 6.

153

CHAPTER

III.

DEFENCE OF THE INCARNATION.
Celsus made an elaborate attack on the doctrine
an Incarnation.
sible,

of

He

maintained that
nature of
;

it

was impos-

alike because of the

God Himself
its

and His relation
end
it

to the universe

that

professed

— the
;

salvation of sinners

— was

a chimaera; that a dignity in
real
insig-

assumed a divine relation

to

man and

him which was incompatible with man's
nificance

and that the time and method adopted were
of the

unworthy

goodness and greatness of God.

I.

The contention

of Celsus that the conception of a
is

divine descent was monstrous

disproved by the pop-

ular beliefs in all countries about the visitation of the
1 earth by gods.

not

God could have reformed men without coming down Himself,
Celsus asked whether

When

or sending His Son, to

what method

of reformation of

did he allude

?

"

Did he mean that the minds

men

should be so impressed by a divine vision that wicked1

v. 2.

154

THE REPLY OF ORIGEN.

ness would be at once taken

away and

virtue implantof

ed

?

If that
?

were possible, what becomes

our free-

will

Or how should we
?

praise assent to truth or
1

aversion from falsehood

"

The predicate
nipresent God. 2

of

change does not apply
is

to the

om-

God

higher than any place, and

embraces in Himself everything whatsoever. 3

When

men change
state

their position or condition, the previous
to

comes

an end

;

but

it

is

not so with Him.

"

Although the God

of the universe

by His own power
life of

should descend along with Jesus into the

men,

and although the Word who was
with God and was God
'

'

in the beginning
to us,

Himself should come
seat,

He

does not leave His
fill

own
of
it

nor leave His place

void and

one which formerly did not contain Him. 4

The power and divinity

God comes through whom
finds a place.

He

wills,

and

in

whom

Though we

speak of His leaving one place and
do not declare this topically
the soul of the
5

filling another,

we

but we will say that

man who

is

evil is

abandoned by God,
to live according to

and the soul

of

him who wishes

virtue becomes a participator in the Divine Spirit."

The descent
1

of

God, therefore, did not involve the
De Came
fitou
. . .

iv. 3.

2

Cf. Tert.

Christi,

c. 3.

3

vii.

34.

4

Khu

6

Oehs roivvv

twv

o\cov rfj kavrov §vvap.ti crvyKaTafiati/r) Tcp

'irjffov

els

tov twv dvdpcoirwv

ovk l'|e5pos ylverai, ovde Kara-

Aenret tt)v kavrov '48pav &s Tiva
TrArjpr),
5

/j.eu

t6ttov Ktvbv
«

avrov

elvai, 'drepov 8e

ov Trp6repou avrbu %x ovra
T07TOV (idem).

—v

5.

irtpi

DEFENCE OF THE INCARNATION.

155

abandonment
in substance,

of a greater seat. 1

Abiding unchanged
affairs of

He

condescends to the

men

in

providence.

2

The Incarnation

of the

Word
to

in Jesus

does not imply that His rays were confined to that
alone, or that the Light

which was able
3

produce

these rays

was nowhere
'

else.

"

That which descended
of

among men was
love of

in the

form

God/ and through

man He humbled Himself that He might be He suffered no change from good accessible to men. 4 to evil, for He knew no sin nor from blessedness to misery, for He was none the less blessed when He
;

humbled Himself
immortal God

for the

advantage of our race."

The

—the

mortal body and a

Word by the human soul is

assumption of a
not changed nor

transformed, but abiding the same in substance, suffers

none

of
5

those things

which the body or the soul
of the

suffers.

Yet the descent

Word was no mere
Here and there on
is

docesis,

but a true manifestation. 6

this subject the

language of Origen
:

somewhat vague

and fluctuating

some

of his illustrations support not

a real but a dynamical indwelling of

God

in

man

they prove the possibility of a theophany rather than

an Incarnation.

The Incarnation does show

a desire on the part of

God
1

to be

known by man, but
a

not a desire based on
8

iv. 5.

iv.

14;

v. 12.

vii. 17.

4

Tb

8e k ar a/3e /3tj kos els av9pu>Trovs, kv fxopcpfj 8eov inrrjpxe' Kal 5ta

(ptAavdpwTriav
iv. 15.

kavrbv tKevbxxsv
5

'Iva

xcoprj^Tjj/at

vir'

avQpdnroiv 8vvr]dfj
6

iv. 15.

iv.

18.

156

THE REPLY OF

ORIGEN".

the petty grounds assigned by Celsus.

The Father was
Only God

not
the
all.

known

before the coming of Christ.

Word
"

can lead up the soul of
of those

man

to the

God

over

Because

who were

joined to the flesh
flesh,
1

and were as

flesh,

the

Word became
Word and

that

He
to

might be apprehended by those who were not able
look upon

Him
flesh,

as the

God.

Announcing
flesh,

Himself as

He summoned

those

who were

that after forming

them according

to the

He might lead them to In great as He was before He became incarnate." 2 philanthropy the Word voluntarily condescended to the
became incarnate,
level of the

Word who see the Word

human
God

lot for the

good
all

of

men. 3

By

send-

ing His Christ,

frees

from

wretchedness those

who
all

believe and admit His divinity,
of excuse

and takes away
believe. 4

ground
is

from those who do not

There

no absurdity in supposing that God came
Being God,

down

to purify the world.

He

cannot but

seek to put a stop to the spread of wickedness, and

renew the world. 5

But from the
it

necessity of such

purification or renewal,

does not follow that
art,

God
were

created

the world without
of

in a defective way.
all

"At

the creation

the universe
;

things

arranged by
1

Him

in perfect beauty
rfj oaptii

yet none the less

oia robs

KoWrjdevras

kcu yevofxevovs onep <rap£, eyepero

crapi;
2 5

vi. 68.
3

vi. 68.

iv. 17, 18.
(XT)

4

iv.

6.
ical

Ov yap

Kara,

rbu 6e6v iari,

arrival ttju ttjs nanius vofxrjv

dvaKaiuooaai

ra

irpdyfX'XTa

iv.

20.

DEFENCE OF THE INCARNATION.
is it

157

necessary for

Him
is

to apply a certain healing art

to those

who

are sick with wickedness,

and

to

the

whole world which

infected by

it.

God never has
;

neglected nor will neglect His world

but at each
it

season

He

does what

it

behoves

Him

to do, as

be-

comes altered or out

of joint.

Like the husbandman

who

at different seasons of the year performs different

labours in the earth,
so to speak,

God

orders whole seons as years, 1

and does

at each

whatever

is itself

reason-

able in the interests of the whole.

By God

alone

is

the whole truly and clearly apprehended and carried out to perfection."
2

Upon the Christian conception of the coming of the Son of God to save sinners, Celsus cast the most savage scorn. He scoffed at penitence as a flattering of God or
II.

an invocation

of

His pity

;

he maintained that moral

reformation was impossible, that evil was a necessity.

Would any one
then should

censure a philanthropic monarch for
?

sending a physician to the sick in the city

Why
as
to

we censure God
?

for sending

His

Word

a physician to sinners
sin

To those who had ceased

He came

not as a physician but as a teacher of
"

divine mysteries.

No man — save
special

the

man

in Christ
3

Jesus

is

sinless in the sense of

never having sinned."

The Gospel gives no
1

preference to sinners.

6 debs olovel ivtavrovs Tivas

'iv

ovrcos 6fo/xdaoj

oIkovo/az'i

oAous

tovs alaivas
2

iv. 69.
a
iii.

Idem.

62.

158

THE REPLY OF ORIGEN.
if

But

a

man

is

conscious of sin and in penitence
is

humbles himself, he

preferred before one
is

who has no
of

consciousness of sin and

puffed
is

up because

some

seeming excellences.

There

no blasphemy in say-

ing that in comparison with the greatness of

God every
we should

man
our

is

conscious of shortcomings, and that
is

always ask God to supply that which

defective in

own

nature. 1

Moreover,

it is

not mere penitence,

but penitence attended by a moral change, that God

demands.

Virtue entering into the soul drives out

the wickedness which was in possession.

The wicked-

ness disappears in proportion to the advance of virtue. 2

In denying that
virtue, Celsus
lied

it

was possible

for

man

to recover

not only against Christians, but
"

against the nobler teachers of philosophy.
all

Though
some in

men

are born with a tendency to sin, and

addition to this natural bias have become sinners

by

habit, yet not all are incapable of receiving a complete

transformation."

For in every school

of philosophy,

as well as in the divine

Word, you

find the record of

men who were
of the highest as

so

changed that they became patterns
3

life.

Phsedo and Polemon

may

be cited

illustrations of sinners

who turned
of the
;

philosophers. 4

Some
power
souls
1

diseases

and wounds

body are beyond the
is

of all medical science

but there

no

evil in

which
64.

it

is

impossible for the Logos to cure. 5
iii.

iii.

2

71.

3

iii.

66.
6

4

iii.

67. 72.

TravTuv yap twv iv

rfj

tyvxxi Kanoov

dwaTwrepos wv

\6yos

viii.

DEFENCE OF THE INCARNATION.

159

The nature

of every rational soul is the
all.

same

;

none has

been created evil by the Creator of

In the case of

many, by reason

of their education, or their intercourse
is

with others, or their environment, evil
uralised
;

almost nat-

yet to transform even such by the divine

Word

is

not very hard

still

less

impossible.

The

will in such creates the difficulty;

for it is slow to

admit that God
life.

is

a just

Judge

of all that is
is

done in
next to
diligent

Will and practice can achieve what
" Is it in the

impossible.
practice to

power

of a

man by

walk on a rope stretched

aloft in the

midst

of a theatre, carrying

heavy weights, but impossible
bad
to live according to

for a nature formerly very

virtue

?

What

is

this

but to bring a charge against

the Creator in regard to the nature of the rational

animal rather than against the thing created,
can do things so
finds
it

if

man

difficult that serve

no good end, but
blessedness."

impossible to do so for his

own

It is not easy

even for philosophers to understand the

origin of evil, nor can they have a clear apprehension
of the question unless they are taught

by the

inspi-

ration of

God

the nature of

evil,

its

origin,
is

and the

method
evil

of its final destruction.
is

There

no greater

than that which

found even in philosophers
of the right

ignorance of
piety towards

God and
Him.
"

way

of

showing
be

The genesis

of evils will not

grasped by the

man who
1

does not understand about
69.

iii.

160

THE EEPLY OF OEIGEN.
is

him who
came a

called the devil,

and about his angels,
devil,

what he was before he became the
devil,

how he

be-

and how he made his angels apostatise
It is essential further to

along with him.

understand

the nature of demons, that they are not the creations
of

God

so far as they are demons, but only in so far as

they are rational, and to
conditions their

know how
1

in their

demonic
of the

mind
fall

exists."

The doctrine
is set

Evil Spirit and his

from heaven

forth in the
its

writings of Moses and Ezekiel. 2
tical

Stripped of

mys-

language about the wings of the soul and their

sustenance by the living bread, the teaching of Origen

seems substantially to be
tially

this.

God

alone

is

essenis

good

:

any

other,

whether Satan or man,

good

only by accident or communication.
ship with
or

By

close fellow-

God one may always
;

preserve this accidental

communicated good

if

he

fails, it is

because he has
its

neglected to use the means appointed for
tion.

preservafell

The

first

who

lost this divine gift
;

and

from

blessedness was Satan, the adversary
is

and every one
is

a Satan

who

chooses wickedness, for he

an adver-

sary of the Son of God,

who

is

Eighteousness, Truth,

and Wisdom.
for those

Evil

is

used by God as a gymnasium

who

are " striving lawfully " for the recovery
is

of virtue. 3
1

Evil
elcri,

not from God, nor
elffi,
.

is

matter the
rod 6eov, aA\a

on

re

[M]

KaQb Sal/xoves
Kal
iv. 65.
.

dr]/j.iovpy7]iJ.ara

/xovov

Kadd KoyiKoi Tives'
rd rjyefxopiKdv

.

kv /carao'Tao'et Sai/xovcov

avruv

inrocrrrivai
-

vi. 43.

3 vi.

44.

DEFENCE OF THE INCARNATION.
cause of
it.

161

"

The mind

of each is the cause of the
is
;

wickedness that exists in him, which
the actions that spring from
to us, to
it

the evil

;

and

are evil

and according
1

speak accurately, nothing else

is evil."

Evil

takes place according to the will of
that

God

in the sense

God

does not prevent

it.

A
is

distinction

must
the

be

made between
of
2

that which that

due directly

to

providence

God and
follow
that
evil

which

results

from

His providence.
it

Though God created the world,

does
evil
;

not
for

He
is

created

that

which
of

is

what

is

only by
the
is

way
just

con-

sequence and dependence

on

original

design. 3 as

God cannot do
or that

that

which
it

evil,

that

whose natural property
bitter,

is

to

sweeten cannot emit

whose natural property

is

to

pro-

duce light cannot produce darkness.
of doing evil is contrary to

The

potentiality

His Godhead and omnipowere made by God, how
final

tence. 4

If things really evil

could

men

preach with boldness a

judgment

?

No

doubt some passages in the Scriptures about God's

relation to evil

properly so

may perplex the ignorant. called God is not the author

"
;

Of

evils

but some

things, few in comparison

with the harmonious ar-

rangement

of the whole,

have followed His principal

works, just as shavings and sawdust attend the works
2

1

iv. 66.

vii. 68.

3
4

£k TrapaKohovOriaeojs yzyewqTai rrjs irpds
iii.

t<x Trpo-qyov/xeua

vi. 53.

70.

L

162

THE REPLY OF ORIGEN.
:

of the carpenter

God's relation to such evils

is

like

that of the architect to the rubbish and plaster that
lie

round the building like

filth."

1

This analogy might seem to suggest that evils were
a necessary element in the development of order, but
against such a misunderstanding Origen guards himself.

He

strongly contends against the idea of Celsus,

that evils are in their

own nature
are,

infinite,

and that
more.

they never have been, nor Just as those

nor will

be, less or

who maintain

the incorruptibility of the
is

world say that the equilibrium of the elements
preserved by the providence of God,

who

prevents
so

any one element from exceeding another,
would teach that a kind
evils

Celsus

of

Providence presides over
to

which are so many in number,
less
!

prevent them

becoming more or
forms of evil exist
sippus

History shows that various

now

that did not once exist.
first

Chry-

tells us, for

example, that at

prostitutes

were masked and kept outside the wards they cast
entered into the
"

city,

that after-

off their
city. 2

masks, and that later they

Though the nature
it

of the universe is

one and the

same,
is

does not at

all

follow that the genesis of evils

one and the same.
his

The nature

of

any one

is

one

and the same, but
1

mind, reason, and actions are

vi. iv.

55.
63.

2

not only of

Did Celsus maintain, as Origen supposes, that the amount evil as a whole, but of each separate evil, neither increased
?

nor diminished

DEFENCE OF THE INCARNATION.
not the same.

163

At one time

a

man

has not gained the

possession of reason, at another time

more or
he
is

less

wickedness exists along with

it

;

at another

stim-

ulated towards virtue, at another, after varied length
of contemplation,

he advances towards virtue

itself."

In like manner, though the nature

of the universe is

one and the same, neither the same things nor things
of the

same kind always happen

in

it

;

neither fertile

seasons nor barren seasons, neither rains nor drought,

occur continually.
souls
;

The same holds true

in regard to

they have no fixed seasons of

fertility or bar-

renness.

Providence purifies the earth and prevents

the amount of evil from abiding the same. 1

Along with

his theory of the

permanence and nekeep going
is

cessity of evil Celsus held that all things

in a circuit.
lated.
2

" If this

be true, our free-will

annihi-

It

will

follow, moreover, that

Socrates will

always be a philosopher, and be accused of bringing in
foreign deities
tus

and corrupting the young
will

!

And Any-

and Melitus

always accuse him, and the

Council in the Areopagus condemn him to death by

hemlock

!

So Moses at the appointed periods will
of

come out

Egypt with the people

of the Jews,

and

Jesus will again dwell with
things which

men and

do the same

He

has done not once but an infinite
at

number

of times

fixed

periods

!

And

Christians

will be the
1

same
2

at the appointed cycles,
iav y ak-qdes, rb
i(p' tj/luv

and Celsus

iv.

64.

'6-irep

avrjprjTai

iv. 67.

164

THE REPLY OF ORIGEN.
book which he has written before

will again write his

countless

times

!

x

The

Stoic

modification of this

view

is

open to the same objection.

Not

Socrates,

they say, but one altogether unchanged from Socrates,
will

come

again.

But,

if

persons or things are un-

changed, they must be the same. 2

There

is

a semblance of piety in the saying of Cel-

may be for the good of the whole. But though God without interfering with the free-will of each may use the wickedness of the worthless man so as to promote the interests of the whole,
sus that seeming evil

yet none the less

is

such an one

to

be censured.

The

man

who, because of certain transgressions, has been
to engage in public
is

condemned
community,

works useful
is

to the

no doubt doing that which
;

useful to

the whole city

but no

man

of

moderate intelligence

would wish

to take part in

such works. 3

The

overrulitself.

ing of evil does not alter the nature of the evil

III.

The doctrine

of the Incarnation

assumes that

there

is

a close affinity

between God and man, and in

virtue of that affinity that

man

has a unique place in

the universe.

Celsus saw this with great clearness,

and sought

to disprove this peculiar relationship

and

pre-eminence, by asserting that there was no difference

between the body
respects animals
1

of a

man and
2

a frog, that in
of

some

had the advantage
iv. 68.

man, that any
3

iv.

67.

iv. 70.

DEFENCE OF THE INCARNATION.
institution
riority

165

which seemed
its

to support his claim to supe-

had

parallel in the actions of

some animal
closer affin-

or another,
ity to

and that some animals had a
he.

God than

God

cares for the whole,

and not

specially for

any individual component.

Origen maintains as against Celsus the dignity of
the

human
x
;

body.

The nature

of the

body
it is

is

not pol-

luted

for

when

consecrated to

God

His temple. 2

Because of the soul which dwelt in

it

the body of a

man

is

not to be cast out but treated with respect. 3
as well as the soul is the

The body

work

of

God.

The

great art displayed in the bodies of animals proves, as

the Stoics show, that they are the work of the Primal
Intelligence.
"

A

Perfect Intelligence

is

manifested

by the

qualities

implanted in the nature of plants, and
of

by the ministration

animals to

man

—apart from any
be
explain
?

other end for which they

may exist.

If the soul alone

the work of God, and to inferior gods be delegated the
creation of all forms of bodies

— how shall we

the diversity of the gods of each created thing

"

If

Celsus had truly studied and examined each thing, he

would have observed that
of all things,
self
is

it

was one God, the Creator
in
it-

who has made everything an end
to

and yet related

some other end, and that there

nothing absurd in the conception of a world consist-

ing of things unlike having been
tect

made by one Archigood
of

who has formed
1
iii.

different species for the
2

42.

iv.

26.

3

v. 24.

166
the whole. 1

THE REPLY OF ORIGEN.
" If

there be a correspondence between

the body and the soul of an animal, the body whose
soul
is

the work of

God must
is

differ

from the body in
2

which dwells a soul which
For
if

not the work of God."

buildings are considered pure or polluted accordit

ing to the purpose for which they are adapted,

would

be monstrous that bodies of men should not

differ accord-

ing as they are inhabited by the virtuous or the worthless.

It is

on

this

ground that men have sometimes

deified the bodies of the

more

excellent,

and treated
In no
case,

with dishonour the bodies of the vicious.

indeed, was this done with sound judgment, but a

sound notion lay at the root

of

it.

Would any
3

wise

man bury

with equal reverence the body of Socrates
?

and Anytus, or give both the same monument

The degree

of

permanence
all

to be

assigned to
will
is

the

matter that underlies

phenomena

depend on

our conclusions as to whether matter
not. 4

uncreated or
is

" If, as Celsus says,
it

'

nothing born of matter
is

immortal,'

follows that the whole world
it is

immortal

and does not spring from matter, or
If it

not immortal.
it

be immortal,

let

Celsus show that
qualities.
?

was not
be not

produced from matter without

If it

immortal, does the world perish or not
as not being the

If it perish

work

of

God, in the perishing of the

cosmos what will the
it

soul, the

work

of

God, do

?

If

does not perish, but
1

is liable to
3

perish and yet
4

is

not

iv.

54.

2

iv.

58.

iv. 59.

iv. 53.

DEFENCE OF THE INCARNATION.
immortal
not die

167
it

— because
it is

capable of dying, though

does

at once mortal

and immortal

!

"

After

putting Celsus into this dilemma, Origen declares that
his ideas will not bear searching scrutiny. 1

The pas-

sage shows
attitude.

how he was hampered by
His deepest thought on

his controversial

this subject

must

be sought elsewhere.
bius, 2

In a passage preserved by Euse-

he shows with great lucidity that

He who

created

the qualities or form must have created the matter.

God

is

not like a carpenter

who

requires

wood

or an

architect

who

requires stones.

He who

gave matter
it.

the capacity of assuming form must have created

No Jew

or Christian

would say absolutely that God
the

made the whole cosmos and
especially for us. 3

vault

of

heaven

Yet in harmony with the philoso-

phers of the Porch
cipally "

we hold

that Providence has " prin-

made

all

things for our sake.

The keepers

of

the markets

make
and

provision for men, while dogs and

other irrational

creatures
in like

reap

the

benefit

of

the

abundance

;

manner the

irrational crea-

tures in the universe reap the benefit of the
of

abundance

good things prepared by Providence specially for

man. 4

The

dogs, in short, eat of the
table.

crumbs that

fall

from the master's

So

it is

with the design and
flies

uses of day and night.

Ants and
vii.

reap the benefit

1

iv. 61.

2

Procp. Evang.,

20 (Lomiu.,

viii. 5, 6).

3

iv.

27.

4

iv. 74.

Origen uses a singular analogy to illustrate the contrast

between rational and irrational creatures.

168
of that

THE REPLY OF ORIGEN. which has been made
for the sake of

men. 1

All things have been formed by the Creator to serve
the rational animal.
dogs, for others oxen.
fierce creatures

For some purposes we require
Lions and bears and other

are given to develop within us the

seeds of manliness. 2

The

filial

affection of the stork

men to the blush. 3 The comparison of men to worms is unreasonable in view of the fact that man possesses virtues in rudi-

may

be designed to put

mentary
thereof. 4

outline,

and cannot altogether
are

lose the seeds

We
origin

forbidden by our reason, which
is

takes

its

from the Reason who

with God, 5 to

conceive of the rational creature as altogether alien

from God.

Nor

are even bad

Jews

or Christians

who
to

are not really
It is a

Jews

or Christians

— to be compared
which

worms.

calumny on human nature which has

been formed for virtue to employ such a comparison. 6

Man's relation

to God, as exhibited in a piety

neither toil nor

danger

of

death can conquer, his

relation to himself as

seen in the mastery of that

sexual appetite which enervates the souls of many,
the justice and philanthropy revealed in his relation
to

others,

prove the
2

monstrosity
78.

of

such a com3

1

iv.

77.
ai

iv.

iv. 98.

4

Avrai yap

irpbs

apeTrjv viroTviruxreis ovk

ioocxi

gkw\7)ki irapaa"irep/xaTa avrrjs

fiaWecrdai robs

Svvd/J.ei

exovras

rtyv dperrjv,
iv. 25.
)

Kai

ra

Trdvrr) airoXeffai ov Svva/J.euovs
5 6

o

yap \6yos r^u apxhv

*X°° V " 7r ^ T0 ^

^"P^

@ e(?

^oyov (idem).

Idem.

DEFENCE OF THE INCARNATION.
parison. 1

169

Some

of the

speculations

of

Greek

phil-

osophers

may

be absurd, but

we

will not scoff at
is

them

;

even to enter on the investigation of truth

an evidence of man's pre-eminence. 2

Man

is little

in body.

But, with truth as arbiter,

excellence or defect will not be judged by a material

standard

;

for in that case vultures

and elephants
looking

will

be superior to man. 3

Would one
not rather
is

down from

heaven on the earth consider the bodies
ants?

of

men and
and
irra-

"Would he

mark

in the one case
reflection,
is

the rational

mind which

moved by

in the other the irrational
tionally

mind which

moved

by impulse and fancy, along with a certain
?

natural constitution
of all impulses,

For

if

he looked

to the spring

he would see the difference and the

excellence of man.
see

In irrational beings he would
than
irrationality
;

no other principle

but in

man he would see that common with divine and
was made
of

reason

which

he has in

heavenly beings, and per;

haps also with the Supreme God Himself
in

for

man
un-

the

image
4

of

God, and

the

image

God

is

His reason."

By

his possession of

derstanding

man though
tamed

feeble

in

body gains the
of a

mastery over animals, whether they are
that can be
or not. 5
is

nature

There

is

a great differ-

ence between what
of
1

accomplished by the savagery
of a
5

an animal and by the understanding
2

man.
iv.

iv. 26.

iv.

30.

:)

iv.

24.

4

iv.

85.

78.

170

THE REPLY OF ORIGEN.

History disproves the theory of Celsus that in the

men were the prey of beasts. From the very beginning men were under the guardianship of
earliest ages

the

higher

powers. 1

This

is

affirmed

by Hesiod
pro-

not less than by Moses.
gress in intelligence

Until

men had made
of arts

and in the invention

and

were able to

live of themselves, it is probable that

they received more immediate assistance from God. 2

Man's struggle
greatness.
"

for existence is the

secret of

his

To develop human

intelligence

which

otherwise would have remained without any conception of arts,

God

created

man

with

many

deficiencies, 3

that on account of that very deficiency he might be

compelled to find out arts
clothing.

— some
;

for food,

some

for

Men
to

were

not

then prepared to study
it

divine truth and philosophy
for

was better therefore

them

be in want that they might use their
of
arts,

understanding for the invention

than

to

neglect their understanding altogether because of an

abundant supply.
life gjave

The want

of

the

necessaries

of
cul-

birth to the art of husbandrv
;

and the

ture of the vine and horticulture

the tools useful for

these arts gave birth to the craft of the carpenter and

the smith.
of

The want

of covering introduced the art
;

weaving, wool-carding, and spinning
2

then

came

1

iv. 79.

iv. 80.
'iva
fx.rj

3 tt)v avOpooirivriv

avvecriv yv[xva£e<rdai /BovAS/jlcpos 6 6ebs

[x4vy

apyrj nal aveiri]/6r]TOS

t&u

t^xvoov, irerroiriKe rbu avOpooirov imSer)

iv.

76.

DEFENCE OF THE INCARNATION.
building,
tecture.

171

and

so intelligence rose to the art of archi-

To

transfer the useful produce of one coun-

try to another, the art of the sailor

and the

pilot

was

created

;

so that

on account

of these things

any one
ra-

would admire the Providence which makes the

tional animal defective in comparison with irrational

animals.

This defect

is

an advantage.

For other

animals have their nourishment ready at hand and
a natural covering, just because they have no impulse
in the direction of arts."
x

The

parallel

drawn by Celsus between the actions

of

men and

those of ants and bees does not establish

their equality.

They do by an

irrational nature

and

mere constitution what man does by reason and
tion.

reflec-

Their principle of action

is

not inherent reason.
"

They have been endowed by the

Most Ancient One,

who

is

also the

Son

of God,"

2

with an irrational nature
are held to be worthy

which

is fitted to assist

those

who

of reason.

Of

cities or polity,

properly so called, they
to

have none.

We

ought not

commend
power

ants, but

rather to admire the Divine Nature which extends as
far as to the irrational animals the to imitate,
to

as

it

were, rational creatures.
to

The aim may be
to

put

men

shame by inducing them
and do
3

be more active and

frugal,

their part as loyal citizens of the

com-

munity.
bees
1

In like manner the so-called wars of the
teach us

may
2

how

to carry

on just and orderly

iv. 76.

6 TrpecrfivTaTos 8e Ka\ vlds jx\v

rov 8eov

iv. 81.

3

iv. 81.

172
wars,
if

THE REPLY OF ORIGEN.
ever they should be necessary. 1

The

cells of

bees are not to be compared to the cities of men, but
are designed to store honey for
food.

human medicine and

Man

in this

way can

co-operate with God, and

can accomplish not only the works of Providence, but
also those
of

his

own
of

providence. 2

The encomium

pronounced by Celsus on irrational animals only serves
to

magnify the work

God who has ordered

all things,

and

to reveal the dexterity of
gifts

man who by

his reason

can control even the
creatures.
3

bestowed on irrational

Incidentally Origen departs from this representation
of the

world as a moral primer for the guidance of
of

man, and puts a singular objection into the mouth
one of the
" simple."

even when we
burdens,

assist

we differ in no way from ants those who are wearied with heavy
If

why

should

we

toil so

not this depreciation of

much in vain ? Might human sympathy lessen our
?
4

interest in our fellow-men

Origen surely here mis-

interprets the mental view of the simple.
for the

Sympathy

weak no doubt
if

springs from the sense of kinthat, the

ship,

and

you destroy
is

sympathy vanishes
not lessened, by the

but such sympathy
facts

intensified,

adduced by Celsus.
of fennel

The use

by serpents, or
is

of various anti-

dotes by other animals,
of reason.
1

no proof

of their possession

"

For

if

these gifts were the result of reason
2

ef TroTe

SeoL—iv. 82.

Idem.

3

iv. 84.

4

iv. 83.

DEFENCE OF THE INCARNATION.

173

and not

of

mere

constitution, one thing

would not

be definitely and exclusively found in serpents (or a

second or third thing,
the eagle, and so on
;

if

you

will),

and one thing in

but there would have been as
as

many discoveries among them
would not be
so exclusive

among men."

If

they

were impelled by reason, the range of their discoveries

and determined. 1
is

Man's

pre-eminence, in other words,

revealed not so

much

by what he has done

as

by

his infinite possibilities.
for birds

The superiority claimed

and other animals,
of divination,

on the ground of their use in the art

takes for granted that such an art exists. 2

Origen was
to

unwilling to admit

its

existence lest

it
3

might lead

the abandonment of the divine oracles,
positively say that he believed in
it
;

and does not

but as he ex-

plains the

method and source
4

of the inspiration of

mantic

birds, it is clear
it.

that he had a strong bias
of the order

towards belief in

Worthless demons,

of Titans or giants,

have fallen from heaven, and wallow

about the grosser parts of bodies and impure things on
the earth.

As they

are not clothed with earthly bodies

they have some insight into the future, and with the
design of turning

away men from the

true

God they
affinity
;

enter into rapacious and wicked animals and determine

the direction of their movements.

There

is

an

between certain demons and particular animals
1

in

iv. 86, 87.

2

iv.

88.

3

iv.

90.

4

For

his views

on a kindred subject, see his interpretation of the
i.

action of the Magi at the advent of Jesus,

59, 60.

174

THE REPLY OF ORIGEN.

gentler creatures their

power

is

lessened

;

the clearest

prognostications

are

given from the more savage. 1
;

Moses classed man tic animals among the impure
the wicked. 2

in

the prophets, such are always employed to symbolise

Even admitting the

existence of divination,

it is

no

evidence that the animals used for this end are superior to
tions,

man

still less

that they have diviner concephe.

and are more beloved by God than
of the future

If their

knowledge
profit

were so great that

man

could

by

their over-abundance,

they would foreknow

attacks against themselves, and would never be cap-

tured by
" If

men

or

become the prey

of other creatures. 3

they have clearer conceptions of divine things

than men, they must surpass not Christians only but
the

Greek philosophers,

for

they too were

men
him

!

Celsus, therefore, should adopt

them

as his teachers. 4 to

And, without any imprecation, we may say

may you

be beloved by

God along with
5
!

these animals,
to you, are

and become like unto those who, according

more beloved by God than men

Origen sums up the discussion thus
takes care of the whole

:

"

God not only

of the universe

—as Celsus

supposes, but besides the whole
of every rational being. 6

He

takes special care

Providence will at no time
3

1
(i

iv.

92.

a iv.

93.

iv.

90.
o'lerai.

4

iv.

89.

5

iv.

97.

^te'Aei

5e t<£ 6eq> oux, ws

KeAcos

jx6vov rod oAov,

dAAa napa

to

'6hov i^aipeTus iravrhs

KoyiKOv

iv. 99.

DEFENCE OF THE INCARNATION.

175

abandon the whole

;

for,

though
of

it

should become

worse because of the

sin

the rational animal

which

is

a part of

the whole
it,

— He

makes arrangetime the

ments

for purifying

and
is

for turning in

whole to Himself.
or
flies
;

He

not angry because of apes

but to men, inasmuch as they have not kept

themselves within their natural impulses, 1
justice

He

applies

and punishment, and threatens them through
and
through
the
Saviour,
of
it

the

prophets,

who was
the whole
is

present in the world for the benefit
race
of

men.

twofold object.

When He He aims at
He

threatens,

with

a

the conversion of those
of

who hear
becomes
universe."
If

;

and in the case

those

who pay no
it

heed to His words,

applies such correction as

Him who
2

wills

the

wood

of

the

whole

we

set aside

some temporary elements that are
both in
Celsus

naturally

found

and

Origen,

they

severally represent the

two opposite conceptions that

have always been held in regard to the place of
in the universe.

man

The dividing

line is the conception

that

is

formed

of evil, or rather of sin.

In the judg-

ment

of Celsus, the universe is a perfect universe, so

far as,
is

and inasmuch

as, it

is

the work of God.

God

only interested in the whole, and in any part as a

part of the whole.

Whatever imperfection there may
to the material of

seem
1

to

be

is

due

which the universe
2

a.T6

Trapa^aai ras (pvainas acpopfxas

iv.

99.

Idem.

176
is

THE EEPLY OF ORIGEN.
is

formed, and

therefore no accident, but inwrought

into the very constitution of things.

Hence there
of

is

no moral disorder requiring the intervention

God

sin being non-existent or necessary, salvation is super-

fluous or impossible.

In the thought of Origen the
This unity
it

universe

is is

a unity.
its

owes to the one
True unity

God who

Creator and Governor.

implies not only a relation of each part to the whole,

but of each part to other parts.

The

universe, then,

is

not a mere conglomeration of coexistent objects, but
of objects

correlated

and

interrelated.
is

Man

is

the

centre of the universe, in so far as he

the head of

created things

:

all

creatures are related to the cosmos,

but have besides a relation of subordination to him

and

he, while related to

them, stands in a unique relaGod's pecu-

tion to God.

That

affinity is the source of

liar interest in

man.

As God

orders the whole,
;

He

cannot but put an end to disorder

the rational being

by transgressing
moral confusion.

his

natural limits has introduced
this disorder,

To check
all

God

revealed

Himself to men, in
hearts,

by writing His law on their

in

an especial manner through the Jewish

prophets, and finally in His Son
in the fulness of time.

who became

incarnate

IV. Celsus cavilled at the time of the Incarnation as
well as at the method adopted.

long delay in the coming of

Why had there been so Why did He think God
?

DEFENCE OF THE INCARNATION.
of

177

making men righteous
?

after so

many

ages of indifferup, like Zeus in

ence to their needs

When He woke
did

the comedy, after a long sleep, and resolved to save

men from
corner,

evil,

why

He

send His Spirit into one

and become incarnate in one individual, and

that one a

Jew

?

In the divine judgments, replies Origen, there

is

no

doubt an element of mystery, which serves to explain
the erring of the uninstructed.

God never

sleeps,

but

administers the affairs of the world at the right times,
as reason

demands. 1

The time chosen

for the

coming

of Christ is

an illustration of the method of the divine
"

government.

By

the peace which began at His birth

God prepared

the nations for the teaching of Christ.
of the

The universal sway

Eomans rendered more
The existence
of

easy

the diffusion of the Gospel.

many

separate kingdoms would have acted as a hindrance.

Jesus was born in the reign of Augustus, by

many kingdoms on earth were levelled into there been many instead of one, men would have been
compelled to take service on behalf of their country.

whom the Had one.

How then was it possible for that doctrine, which inculcated peace and even forbade

men

to repel the attacks

of enemies, to gain the mastery, unless at the of Christ the

coming

whole world everywhere had been trans?

formed into a gentler mood
1

2

On

the deeper reasons

kclto.

Katpovs OLKovo/uLe? to rod

k6o~/j.ov

Trpdyixara 6 6(bs, ws aTraire?
2
ii.

rb €v\oyov

vi.

79.

30.

M

178

THE EEPLY OF OKI GEN.
inner history of
;

suggested by the

human thought
sufficient evi-

Origen does not here touch

he finds
in
this

dence

of

divine

ordering

— that

the

pro-

mulgation of a universal religion was coincident with
the

establishment

of

a

universal

empire, that

a

gospel of peace was fittingly inaugurated in a period
of peace.

The salvation
thought.

of

mankind was no divine

after-

There never was a time when God did not
righteous.

seek to

make men

He
"For

has always exercised

forethought for this end, by giving
of

men

opportunities

following after virtue.

in each generation,
it

the

Wisdom

of

God

passing into souls which

finds to
1

be holy makes them friends and prophets of God."

The Sacred Books

tell

of

such holy

men who were
The power
to re-

capable of receiving the Holy Spirit. 2

ceive the divine force being determined
of holiness, is it in

by the measure

any way wonderful that some prohaving lived for

phets,
of

by reason

of

many
"

years a

life

sinewy and vigorous morality, should have excelled
?

their contemporaries or successors

And

so

it is

not

wonderful that there was a time when something of
choice excellence

came

to the race of

men, which sur-

passed those before and those after
1

it." 3

Not that the
2

Cf.

Wisdom,

vii.

27.

iv.

7.

3

ovtcc 5e ov dav/jLaffTOV, koX riva Kaipbv yeyovevai
eTiSeS^/XTj/ce rep
fy

oV

i^aiperov ti
irapa robs

Xpvpu

yevei rcou avQpdnrwv,
Kal iierayevecrTtpovs

Kal

8ia(p€poi>

TTpoyevecrTepuvs aurov,

iv. 8.

DEFENCE OF THE INCARNATION.
beneficent activity of the
carnation.

179
at

Son

of

God began
'

His

in-

For the Son

of

God, the first-born of every
to

creature/ though

He seemed
"

become incarnate
1

re-

cently, is not at all

on that account new/'

We

do

not excessively reverence
as
'

if

He had

not existed

Him who lately appeared," " He called Himself before.
is

the Truth,' and none of us

so stupid as to suppose

that the substance of truth did not exist before the

times of the manifestation of Christ."

2

He has

always

been a benefactor to mankind.
has ever been done
of the divine

For nothing beautiful
the entrance

among men without

Word

into the souls of those

who

are

able though only for a little to receive His energy.

The coming
with reason.

of Jesus into It

one corner was in accordance

was necessary that

He who had
to those

been

the subject of prophecy should

come

who had

learned of the true God, and by reading His prophets

had been taught about the Christ who was proclaimed. 3
For the enlightenment
of

of the

whole world by the

Word
Sun

God

there was no necessity for

many

bodies and

many
Judea

spirits like that of Jesus.

For, being the "
sufficed;

of Eighteousness," the
it

one

Word
Him.
4

rising in
all

was able

to

send

its

rays to the souls of

who were

willing to receive

Neither then, in

the time nor in the method of the incarnation, was

anything capricious or arbitrary.
1

Not then
4

for
vi. 79.

the

v. 37.

2

viii.

12.

:3

vi. 78.

180
first

THE EEPLY OF OKIGEN.
time did God seek men.

The energy
of
all

of

the

divine

"Word

is

the

source
Christ

enlightenment
first

and moral

culture.

is

not the

mani-

festation of the divinity, but the culminating point

in a series

which found in

Him

its

completion and

consummation.

181

CHAPTER

IV.

THE PERSON AND WORK OF CHRIST.
As, on the principles of Celsus, an incarnation was
impossible,
it

followed that the divinity of Christ was
It

a

myth

or an invention.
;

was

asserted,

no doubt,

in the Gospels

but the Gospels were untrustworthy

records

:

there

were

many

contradictory

versions

much had been
Christ then

invented by the disciples.

God

could

not become incarnate without a pollution of His nature.

was not born

in

any supernatural way,

but was the offspring of an adulterous intercourse.

The
in

ascription of divinity to

Him had many
was unworthy

parallels

Greek mythology.
have

For a God to do and
suffered,

suffer

what

He is reported to
I.

of Deity.

On

the general question of the credibility of the
diffi-

Gospel narrative Origen points out the extreme

culty of proving the truth of any historical event or

presenting an intelligible conception of

it.

If a

man

denied, for example, that there had been a Trojan war,

182

THE EEPLY OF ORIGEN.

because of the interweaving of impossible events in
the history,

how would we
what he

convince him

?

The

fair

reader will guard against deceit, and judge to what he
will give credence,

will explain allegorically,

what he
pose.

will disbelieve as being written with a pur-

So with regard to the Gospel history Origen

does not

demand from men

of skill a bare

and unreason-

able faith, but maintains that the readers require to

be impartial, and to investigate carefully, and to enter
into the spirit of the writer, in order to

know
1

the

purpose for which each Gospel was written.

He
and

dismisses the idea of an oral tradition as incredible.

They would not surely
without writing, and

allege that the friends

pupils of Jesus transmitted the teaching of the Gospels
left

His disciples without written

memoirs

of

Him.

2

Though the Marcionites and the
Word, but only
it.

Valentinians have altered the text of the Gospels, that
is

no ground

of accusation against the

against those

who have dared
false teachers is

to corrupt

Just as

the existence of Sophists or Epicureans or Peripatetics
or

any other

no charge against phil-

osophy, so the action of those

who

alter the Gospels

and introduce heresies foreign

to the doctrine of Jesus

furnishes no ground of accusation against true Christianity. 3
1 2
i.

42.

ov yap 8^ rovs aurov 'Irjaov yvwpifxovs nal a/cpoards (prjaovai x°°P LS

ypa<pr\s tt]u
3
ii.

ruu evayyekicov

7rapa8e8a>/ceVcu SidacrnaXiap

ii.

13.

27.

THE PERSON AND WORK OF CHRIST.
Forgetful,

183
his

perhaps,

for

the

moment
calls

of

own

canon

of historical criticism,

Origen

upon Celsus

either to disbelieve or believe all the statements in

the Gospels. 1

Instead of refusing to believe in the

miraculous portions of the Gospels, he ought to have

marked the truthful

spirit of the writers,

and believed
as well as

them when they recorded things divine
matters of less moment. 2

In their love of truth and

honesty they have recorded insults against Jesus
they have not omitted in their miraculous history

what might

thus

seem

to
3

bring

disgrace

on the

doctrine of the Christians.

So far as writings re-

veal the conscience, the disciples
of the miracles of Jesus clearly

and eyewitnesses
their sincerity

show

and freedom from
is

guile.

4

This internal testimony

confirmed by their actions.
or fictions.
5

Men

do not die for

myths

The

disciples

showed the genuine-

ness of their disposition towards Jesus by enduring
all

hardships because of His words.

Such resolution

and endurance even unto death are not consistent
with the theory that they invented what they narrate
about their teacher, and clearly evince that they were

persuaded of the truth of what they wrote. 6
1 ii.

In con^ipov^u

33.

2

§4ov to (pi\d\r]9es ISovra

twv
t<£//

ypaipavTiov

e/c
i.

ttjs irepl tuiv

dvaypa<pr\s irKXTtixrai KaX irepl
8 4
iii.

Oeiorepuy

63.

28

;

ii.

34.
'6<rov

dptovres

to dirdvovpyov avTwv,
iii.

Zonv
,;

I8e?i>

avveiS'qaii'

dirb

ypafxfxdrwv
5
iii.

24.
ii.

27.

10.

184
trast

THE KEPLY OF OKI GEN.
with the legends of Dionysus, the histories of

Jesus were written by eyewitnesses. 1
records there
fictitious. 2
is

In the Gospel

nothing counterfeit, adulterated, or
of invention is further refuted

The theory

by

this consideration.

Men whose minds had

not been

trained in the subtle sophistries of the Greek schools
or in the arts of forensic rhetoric, could never

have

invented facts and words which had power of themselves to lead to faith
faith.
3

and

to a life in

harmony with
any

On

this

account Jesus employed such teachers
for

of

His doctrine that there might be no room
"

suspicion of plausible sophisms.

For

it is

abund-

antly clear to all

men

of intelligence that the

good

faith of the writers, joined, so to speak, to their great

simplicity, received a divine virtue

which has accomto

plished far
plish

more than

it

seemed possible
its

accom-

by Greek rhetoric with
style, its

graceful diction, its

elaborate
order."
4

logical divisions

and systematic

II.

A

great part

of

the arguments of

Celsus

is

based on an erroneous conception of the nature of
the incarnation. ing of
of a
1
iii.

He

conceived of

it

as

an indwell-

God

in

man, rather than as the assumption

human
23.
y

nature by a Divine Being.
2
iii.

He

did not

39.

3

5vvd[/.€va
fiiov

a<p

eavTcvv tx* iV T ^ npbs iricmv,

Kal rbv avaXoyov rfj

jriffrei
4

dycoySu (idem).

Idem.

THE PERSON AND WORK OF CHRIST.
think
of

185

God

"

emptying Himself

"

and becoming

thereby liable to

human
of

limitations a

and developtheory
of

ment.

A

presentation
is

true

the

incarnation

accordingly the best

answer to the

attack of Celsus.

Who

and what was

He who
of

be-

came incarnate

?

He was God He

from the

first

and the Son

God. the

very Word, and the very Wisdom, and the very Truth. 1
does not partake of righteousness, but
is

Kighteousthe very

ness. 2

Even
of the
to

in respect of greatness

He

is

image
sible

Father

;

otherwise

it

would not be posof

have a symmetrical and beautiful image
3

the unseen God.
fect

He

is

such a Son as
of

it is

in per-

harmony with the character
Priest

God

to have. 4
of
office,

As our High
rather than of

—in respect therefore nature — He midway between
is

the

nature

of

the

Uncreated

and
a

all

created

things. 5

By

speaking of

Him

as

second
all

God,

we mean
and the

only the Virtue that embraces

virtues,

Eeason
those
nature.
1

that

embraces

every

reason

whatever of
to

things which
6

have been made according
testified

The prophets
apxyQtv
7)

of

Him

as a

God
icrrl

7re7reicr/i60a
7]

eluai Oebv Kal vibv deov,

ovros o avroAoyos

Kai
2 4
3

avroao(pla nal
'

avToa\r)Qeia

iii.

41.

Cf. v. 39.
3

vi. 64.

vi. 69.

ovSk avap/uLoaTOV Geo) toiovtov vlbv /movoyevrj vcpicrravTi

viii.

14.

yueTa|u uvtos tt)s tov dyevrjTov Kal ttjs tSsv yevr)ru)v -Kavroiv (puaeoos

-iii. 34.
6

XcrTUHjav,

on

rbv deurepov 6ebv ovk dAAo

tl

Aeyofxev

$}

tt)v irepi-

(KTiKrjv 7ra<ra>f dp^Tcou dperr]v

v. 39.

186

THE REPLY OF ORIGEN.

next to the God and Father of the universe. 1

As
over

Word, Wisdom, and Eighteousness, He
all

rules

that are. subject to
are

Him.

2

The Father and the

Son

two

in

person,

but one in sameness of

thought, in concord, and in identity of will. 3

He
The
fear,

was the "immediate Creator"

of the

world.

4

man who
but

is

no longer under the discipline
its

of

but loves the good for

own

sake, is a son of

God

He
is,

differs
it

greatly from any other, inasmuch as

He
all

as

were, the fountain and primal source of

such sons. 5
This Divine Being became incarnate and was born

of the Virgin

Mary.

Isaiah had predicted this in the

words, " Behold, the virgin shall conceive, and bear a
son,

and thou shalt

call

His name Emmanuel."
of language,

Some
say

Jew, with sophistical
that the

command

may

Hebrew word should be rendered not
The contrary
6

" virgin"

but

"

young woman."

is

proved by other

passages of Scripture.

But, without putting stress on
to the context.

the

Hebrew word, look
Ahaz.
bringing forth

God

gives a

" sign " to

What
a

sign

was there in a young

woman
Ahaz
1
ii.

son?

Though spoken
;

to

it

could apply to no one in his time
2 3

what was
viii.

9.

viii. 15,

75.

12.

4

rhv

(xsv 7rpoo-ex&>s drj/xiovpyhu.

The Father was
toiovtoop

irpdorws drjfxiovpyos

vi.
5

60.
irrjyrj

wairepel

tis kcu

dpxv r & v
xxii. 23.

i.

57.

6

Origen quotes Deut.

He was

misled by the

LXX.

THE PERSON AND WORK OF CHRIST.
said to

187

Ahaz was

said to

him

as the representative of

the house of David. 1

In virtue

of this supernatural conception there

was

no pollution

of the Spirit of

God.

As

well say that

the rays of the sun become polluted and do not retain
their purity

when they come

into contact with anyof

thing of an evil odour. 2
a manifest
lie.

The charge

adultery

is

That one who was
to

to induce both

Greek and barbarian
be born
not.

abandon wickedness should
but
in

in

a miraculous

a shameful
It

fashion, is not in accordance with reason.

may

be

refuted even by the theory of Plato respecting the
correlation of souls
as

and

bodies.

Would

a soul such
dis-

His have been sent into the world by birth so
?

graceful
its

If

each soul receives a body according to

deserts,

His soul would rather require a body
all.
3

superior to the body of

" If
it

the body hinders or
is

furthers the soul into which

sent,

why

should
alto-

there not be

some soul which receives a body

gether miraculous, which has something in

common
continue

with the rest of

men
?

that

it

may

be able to live along
it

with them, and something unique that

may

untouched by sin

"

4

From

adulterous intercourse
fool, a

would rather have come some
1
i.

curse of

man-

34, 35. 73. ris

Cf. Tertull.

Adv. Judaeos,

c. 9.
3
i.

2 vi.

32.

4
tyvX'ft

* a Tai

'

TrdpTT] Tzapdho^ou
'tva

KOivhv irpbs tovs avOpaiirovs

auaAa/xfiduovaa aw/xa, %X 0V l*-* v TL nal avudiarpixpai avro?s SvutjOtj zx ov ^ e
tita/j.e'ipai

Tt koX i^aiperov 'iva ttjs KaKias fryevaros

dwrjOij

i.

33.

188

THE REPLY OF ORIGEN. and
injustice, not of

kind, a teacher of licentiousness

temperance and

justice.

1

The

stories about the birth

of Plato are inventions,

but they testify to an under-

lying assumption that one

who was more than man

must have been born
There
is

of

superior and divine seed. 2

nothing incredible in the supposition that
sent as a divine

God should have caused one who was
Teacher to the
natural way.

human

race to be

born in a superin the

Not that there was anything

appearance of the body of Jesus to compel belief in

His divinity.

There

is

no necessary visible relation

between the form
of that

of the
it

outward body and the nature
is

from which

born. 3

We

acknowledge,
of

therefore, that Scripture in

some passages speaks

the body of Jesus as

"

unshapely," but nowhere as

"ignoble"; nor

is

there any clear evidence that

He

was

"little."

4

III.

The incarnation being
of a

a real

and not a nominal

assumption
act, logically

human

nature, though a voluntary

involved a circumscription of the divine
of

attributes

and the introduction

human methods
re-

and

relations.

By

the application of this principle,

Origen disposed of the objections which Celsus
peated so often about a
ing,

God

fleeing, suffering, thirst-

and dying.
"

Jesus was a
1
i.

composite being," at once divine and
2
i.

33.

37.

3

vi.

73.

4

,vi.

75.

THE PERSON AND WORK OF CHRIST.

189

human. 1

The Word became the man

Jesus. 2

When
" first-

He

says, " I

am

the way,"
"
;

He

speaks as the
says, "

born of every creature
seek to kill me, a

when He

Now

ye

man who

has told you the truth,"

He

speaks with reference to His humanity. 3
literal sense

In the

most

He assumed

a

human

nature.

He

took upon
spirit."
4

Him

"

the flesh which lusteth against the

The immortal God, the Word, assumed a

mortal body and a

human

soul. 5

The

result of this
;

assumption was not a twofold personality
soul of Jesus

for the

and the Word are not two but

one. 6

This union

may

be illustrated by the conception of

the Church as the body of Christ.

As

the soul vivifies
life

and moves the body which has neither motion nor
of itself, so the
" If

Word moves and
is
it

energises the Church.

that be so,

hard

to believe that the soul of

Jesus, in virtue of its

supreme and incomparable comis

munion with the absolute Word,
the

not separated from

only -begotten, and
? 7

is

no longer different from

Him

By
of

this oneness, however, the

body was not

deified,

nor was the

Word

absolutely circumscribed.

The body
God.
1
:{

Jesus

—the
28.
kclI

seen and sensible

— was
2 6
ii.

not
said,

8

Christ did not refer to His body

when He

(ruvOerSv ri xpyp-a (pa/xev avrhv yeyovevai
ii.


;

i.

66.
2-9.

42.

25, 9.

4

iii.

B

iv.

15

iii.

vi. 47.

7

ri

xa\rnhv

rfj
.

aKpa
. .

avvrvcp^X-qrw Koivcovla irpbs rhv avrokoyou
5

tt]V 'lrjcrov t\/vxt)v

yurj

Kex&>piV0at tov (xovoyevovs

yUTjS

eTepov

en

rvyx'*- v(LV a vTOu
8
ii.

vi. 48.

9, 16.

190
"

THE REPLY OF ORIGEN.
that hath seen

He

me

hath seen the Father,"
cried, " Crucify

for

in that case those

who

Him," would
to

have seen God the Father. 1
ascribe divinity to the

Though thus refusing
of Christ,

body

and insisting

that the incarnation

was a

real

and not a seeming

manifestation, Origen at times ascribes a unique character to that body.

His form varied according

to the

varied capacity of the beholders.

At one time he
on their

seemed
glorious
faces. 2

to

have no beauty,
those

at another time to be so
fell

that
It

who beheld Him
by the

was not a change

of substance but a change
relative progress
is

of relation, being conditioned
of

each beholder. 3

Hence He was and
is

most divine
Jesus was

to those

whose mental vision

keenest. 4

verily one, but variously apprehended,

and was not

always seen alike by those who looked at Him.
about to be transfigured on the lofty mountain
not take
all

When He did

the disciples, but only Peter, James, and

John, as they alone were able to behold His glory.

The saying
same
is

of Judas, "

Whomsoever

I shall kiss, that

He," indicates that His form varied.

In a

word, His body was transformed

when and
which
"

to

whom
inter-

He

willed.

5

Nay, there

is

a sense in
it,

His mortal

body and the human soul in

by union and

mixture with the Word, received the greatest virtues
1

vii.

43.

2

vi. 77.

3

iv. 16, 18.

4
iii.

ro?s ^xovaiv ucp9a\/xovs \pvxvs o^vSepKeaTarovs d^oirp^ireffraros
14.

5

ii.

64.

THE PERSON AND WORK OF CHRIST.
and were changed into God."

191

According to the Greek
is

thinkers, matter, properly speaking,
ties,

without qualiit

and sometimes lays aside the qualities

formerly

possessed,

and assumes superior and

different qualities.

What

wonder, therefore, that the quality of the mortal
if

body in Jesus,

God

so willed

it,

should be changed
? l

into an ethereal

and divine quality

In like manner,

while maintaining that the soul and body of Jesus

became one with the Word
separate the Son of

of

God, and refusing
2

" to

God from

Jesus,"

Origen declares

that Christ was not so restricted as to be nowhere outside of the soul

and body

of Jesus.
if

Yet we

shall

do

injustice to his Christology,

we

represent either the

variation in the outward form of Jesus, or His free-

dom from

the limitation of place, as in his view in-

consistent with the real

humanity

of Christ, or

with

that kenosis which
incarnation.
It

was a necessary consequence

of the

was not a God who was

crucified,

but a man.

This too the prophets had declared.

Not

even the simplest Christian, unversed in the subtleties
of doctrine,

would

say, that the " truth died," or that
3

the " resurrection died."

In His
.

flight, then, as

a child from Herod, there

was nothing
4

ignoble,

when

the motive was not the

fear of death but a desire to benefit others in
life.

by abiding

Horn

as a child,

those
1

who were
iii.

bringing
2
ii.

He had to be led away by Him up. It is in no way
3

41, 42.

9.

vii. 16.

4
i.

61.

192

THE REPLY OF ORIGEN.
that,

wonderful
life

having once become incarnate, His
accordance with
It

should be ordered in

human
it

methods and arrangements.
possible that
it

was not indeed im-

could be otherwise.

But was

not

better to adopt such
position
"

means than by
the

a divine interof

to

interfere with

free-will

Herod

?

Help that was manifestly miraculous would have

hindered the cause of One
a

who wished

to teach, as

man

to

divinity
sense."
1

whom God bore in the man whom
nature which

witness, that there

was a

they saw with the eye of

Christ lived and died in consistency with

the

human
thirsty

He had

assumed. 2

Though

He
was

ate the Passover with the disciples,

though

He
ate

and drank

at Jacob's well,
of that
?

though

He

after the resurrection

—what

We

teach that

He

had a body as having been born
it

of

woman. 3

The
such

assumption of a body carried with
suffering as falls to

liability to

men when

in the

body

;

He had
at
for, if

no power in

this respect to avoid suffering

and pain
;

the hands of men. 4

His sufferings were real
suffer,

He

only seemed to

how

could

He

be a pattern

to those

who were

afterwards to endure hardships
?

because of their piety
to

5

In the case of such as wished

show a manly

spirit,

His suffering did not weaken
it.

their faith, but rather confirmed
1

6

And

as

He was
23.
ii.

2 5

%X* IV ti 6si6repov ev rc2 ^K^irofx^vu) avOpdircf 3 i. 70. viii. 42. i. 69 ii. 40
;

i.

66.
4
ii.

;

fX7]

Tra96vTi fxeu
42.

ra

avQpunriva jx6vov Se So^avTi ireirovdevai

25.

6

ii.

THE PERSON AND WORK OF CHRIST.
in
life,

193

so in death.

Being born

He had

to die

;

and

having, as a man, determined to endure the hanging

on the
can

cross, as

such

He had

to be buried. 1

No

one

fail to

see

how
to

thorough, in spite of occasional
of the

ambiguities,

was Origen's grasp

economy

of the

incarnation, or

acknowledge that the Scriptural
is

view of the incarnation

consistent with

itself.

IV. But such consistency might of

itself

only prove

dramatic truthfulness.
Jesus has

For the divinity ascribed to

many

parallels in

Greek mythology.

How
?

were His claims to be distinguished from others

How

was the divinity
?

of Christ

and

of

His teach-

ing to be established

Origen answers that he was
it.
2

induced by countless reasons to believe
times he assigns special

Some-

prominence

to

prophecy,
teaching
exercised

sometimes
of Jesus
;

to

miracles,
it is

sometimes to
the

the

but

to

moral force

by Christianity in the world that he recurs most
frequently,

and the theoretical precedence which he
is

accords to prophecy

always being set aside, and

the ultimate test of the validity even of the other
lines
of

defence
is

is

their

ethical

motive and

issue.

Christianity
of a
it

to

him pre-eminently the introduction
and he regards
that the results accomplished by

new moral

force into the world,

as self-evident

Jesus could not have been effected without divine
1
ii.

69.

2

&A\ois yap

fxvpiots

Trpoarjx^V^^

ii.

47.

Cf. viii. 52.

N

194
power. 1
the

THE EEPLY OF ORIGEN.

On
of
stories

the other hand there was nothing in

work

Minos

or Perseus to

command

our assent
of

to the
origin.

which recount the divinity

their

They achieved no splendid work,
for

useful to

men, or influential
followed. 2

good on the generations which

Origen casts a look over the world which

polytheism had failed to elevate, which philosophy

had been powerless

to benefit save

in very limited

measure, and sees everywhere uprising in the midst
of a corrupt society

communities of men and women
motives, and aims.

transfigured in

life,

This moral

transformation had been created by their acceptance
of

the

Gospel
belief.

of

Christ,

and

invariably
this
?

followed

genuine

Whence sprang
its

force so uniis

formly beneficent in
source of
spirit will
all

workings

God
"

the one
reverent

that

is

useful to man.

A
;

maintain that even a physician of bodies
Providence
is

comes

to cities or nations in of souls
is
!

how much

more a physician

whose aim

to turn

men

away from whatever

displeasing to

God

in deed,

word, thought, or desire "

The note
is

of

philanthropy
it

which characterises the Word

an evidence that

came from God.
of

3

If

even a hundred people are cured
injustice, is it reasonable to hold

intemperance and

that one without divine power could have implanted

1

real

avTris ttjs

ivapyeias'

SeiKPvrat

yap ovk aOeel ra rrjAiKavra
3

5e5ui/7j,ueVos
2
i.

v. 51.
i.

67.

9.

THE PERSON AND WORK OF CHRIST.
in so

195

many, doctrines that were
of

fitted to deliver
?

men

from diseases

such virulence

The increasing
for holiness

meekness and reverence, even the passion

displayed by many, demonstrate the power of Christ

and His

truth. 1

Every Church with

its

adherents

living in moral union with the Creator is a witness
of

His divinity, 2 a proof that there was at
3

least

"no

ordinary divinity in Him."
in check, savage natures
of the Gospel.

Evil passions are held
gentle,

become

by the agency

Those who profess to be interested in
this

the
of
if

common weal might recognise ridding men of evils, and testify

new method

that Christianity,

not true, was at least of advantage to the Celsus called Jesus a "plague."

human

race. 4

Can any one

show with any appearance
converts
life

of truth that a " plague

men from
is

a flood of wickedness
5
?

into the

which

according to nature

or that a system
orig-

by which so many are made better could have
inated in revolt or lust of gain
?

6

By
7

admitting the

Word

of

God

into their souls, the dissolute

become

temperate, and the superstitious pious.

It is a uni-

versal specific for the extirpation of evil. 8

For the

teaching of Jesus

is

equally powerful over Greek and

barbarian, and gains the mastery over every type of
1
i.

26.

2

ov ttjs OeiSrrjTOS fxaprvpes at rocravrai tu>p /m.eTa^a\6vToou dirb rr/s

Xvcrews rcov Ka,K&v iKKArjaiai
3 4

i.

47.

ovx V Tvxovaa
i.

6gi6tt)s i]v £p avr<£

iii.

31

;

i.

67.
6
ii#

64.

Cf.

iii.

29

;

vii.

26.
7

2 9.

6

iii.

14.

iv. 5.

*-y. 62.

196

THE EEPLY OF ORIGEN.
nature. 1
evil

human
session

Believing that in demoniacal posits

found

highest

embodiment, Origen

naturally gives special emphasis to the power of the

name

of Jesus

in the expulsion of demons.

They

acknowledge His superiority by fearing His name. 2
Especially

when

it is

is

spoken by a sound and truly

believing heart,

the adjuration, " in the

name

of

Jesus," all-powerful. 3

In the contempt

for

contumely

and death with which
moral force
philosopher

He

inspires

His followers, the

of Christ is not less conspicuous. 4

"No

could

cast

off

his

robe more readily,

than does the Christian lay down his body for the
sake of religion."
5

Jesus

is

the

King

of

men, though

not the founder of a kingdom according to the conception of Herod.

His kingdom was worthy

of

God

who gave
under
its

it.

It

aimed

at the wellbeing of those

sway, by training them and subjecting them

6 to laws truly of God.

We

seek not merely to have
to

an intellectual apprehension of this kingdom, but
possess
it

ourselves, to be ruled

by God

alone. 7

Chris-

tianity, thus, in the

judgment of Origen, wielded an

influence differing both in intensity and extent from

anything hitherto known.

It

was
of

at once universal

and

individual.

The progress

Christianity

was

a continuous moral miracle, attended by results far
1

iraaav yap

(pvcriv

avdpdoircov

6

fiera.

8vya.fj.icos

Aa\r)6els

\6yos

K€KpdrT)Ke
2
iii.

ii.

13.
3
G
i.

36.
39.

i.

6

;

viii.

58.

4
7

ii.

44. 11.

5

vii.

61.

viii.

THE PERSON AND WORK OF CHRIST.

197

more striking than any physical miracle.

"For the

eyes of the blind in soul are always being opened,

and ears which were deaf

to virtue listen

with eagerthe blessed

ness to the teaching concerning
life

God and

with Him."

1

The power exercised by Jesus was
2

not limited to the period of His incarnation not yet spent
itself,

it

had

but was always growing

;

and in

this ever-present

working

of a spiritual energy

which

was created by

Christ,

and everywhere attended the

promulgation of the Gospel, Origen sees a clear demonstration of His divinity.

V. Like

all

the early apologists, Origen assigns to
of Christ

prophecy a prominent place in the defence

and Christianity.
spirit "

3

It is that " demonstration of the
is

of

which St Paul speaks, and

a diviner

method
dialectic.

of
4

argument than any furnished by Greek
It gives the weightiest confirmation of the

claims of Jesus. 5 the Messiah
is

The prophetic teaching concerning
the basis of Christianity
;

its

proof

establishes the authority of the
as the divine Sonship of Christ. 6
1

Word

of

God

as well

ii.

48.
rrjs iu
cr u>jjl<xt

2

rov Se lyaov rb dv8payd6r]/j.a ov Kara rods avrovs

were cos

Houovs yzyove xpSvovs
''

i.

43.

Cf.

viii.

35.
4
i.

Cf. Tert. Apol.,

c.

20.

2.

5

rb fx4yi(TTOv

irepl rrjs

(rvaraaeoos rou'lrjauv Ke<pd\aiov

i.

49

;

ii.

28.

Harnack is in error when he says that Origen assigns the argument from prophecy to the sphere of faith rather than that of gnosis.
(Dogmengeschichte,
<;

vol.
iv.

i.

p.

573.)

iii.

14

;

v.

33;

1; viii. 9.

198

THE EEPLY OF ORIGEN.

Celsus was well aware of this argument, as presented

by the precursors
against
it

of Origen,

and brought objections
in the person of
alleges,

both in his

own name and

the Jew.

Against the Messianic prophecies he
is

that the character of the Messiah predicted

not in

harmony with that

of

Jesus

;

that the prophecies are

so general that they

may

be applied to thousands as
of the

well as to

Him
it

;

and that the unbelief

Jews

carries with

a presumption against His Messianic

claims.

Of

Christ's

own

prophecies he avers, that
;

they were invented by the disciples
case,

and

that, in

any

they prove nothing in favour of the authority of
it.

Jesus, but are rather adverse to

That the coming

of a

Messiah was predicted by
even by his predecessors,
or heretic. 1
is

Moses and

his successors,

not denied by any

Jew
;

The hope was

not limited to a few

the prophecies were so explicit

and manifold that the whole nation hun^ on the
expectation of His coming. 2

Whether Jesus were the

Messiah or

not, the investigation into the sense of the

prophetic writings ought not to be compared to the
"

shadow

of

an

ass," if it

can be demonstrated

"

who

the predicted one was, what he was to do,

when he

was
fitly

to come."

3

Was

this

contemptuous comparison

applied to the prediction by the Jewish prophets

of the birthplace of

One who was

to be the leader of
" portion of
4
;

those
1

who
i.

lived well
2

and were called the
iii.

49.

28.

3

iii.

iv. 52.

THE PERSON AND WORK OF CHRIST.

199

God "
of

?

or to the prophecies touching the conception

Emmanuel by

a virgin, the miracles

He would
all

perform, the speedy promulgation of His word in

the world, His sufferings at the hands of the Jews,

and His resurrection
things by chance
?

?

Did the prophets say such
of

"

Did they without the impulse

a strong assurance speak these words, and moreover

deem them worthy

of

being committed to writing

?

Did the Jewish nation without reasonable ground
approve of some as prophets, and reject others
it
?

Was
works
?

for

nothing that they numbered along with the Books
to be sacred the

of

Moses which were thought

of his successors

who were thought
phenomenon

to be prophets

"

1

According to Origen the national expectation

of

a

Messiah

is

a striking

in religious history,

and therefore a problem demanding serious study,
irrespective of the claims of Jesus.

Was
be
" a

Jesus the Messiah

?

Or was the Messiah

to
?

mighty prince, Lord

of every nation

and army "
it is

The seeming antagonism disappears when

observed

that the prophets speak of two comings of the Christ.

At

the

first

coming

He was

to

appear in lowly guise,

fettered

by human conditions, that being among men
to

He
a

might teach the way which leads
all

God, and take

away from
judgment

the excuse that they were ignorant of

to come.

At
1

the second coming

He was
human

to

appear in the glory of divinity only, no
iii.

2.

200

THE REPLY OF ORIGEN.
For con-

element being interwoven with the divine.

firmation of this solution Origen appeals to the 45th

Psalm. 1

That the Messianic prophecies can only be applied
to Jesus, is clear to Origen

on various grounds.

Not
all

one prophet, but many, foretold about the Christ in
kinds of ways
;

some by enigmas, some by
"

allegories,

some
if

in express terms.

Let any one refute them
of

he can, or overturn the faith
2

an intelligent be-

liever."

Micah

foretold the place of
to

His

birth. 3

This

prophecy cannot refer

any

of

the fanatics
it is

who

claimed to come from above, unless
that He,
"

demonstrated

who was born

at Bethlehem,

came

to be a

ruler over the people."

In support of the claims of

Jesus and of the truth of the Gospel narrative, Origen
says that, in Bethlehem was

shown the cave
which

in

which

He was
it is

born,

and the

stall in

He was

swaddled.

Even by those who

are aliens from the Christian faith,
fact,

admitted to be a notorious

that Jesus

who

is

worshipped by the Christians was born there.

Origen

thinks that the birth at Bethlehem of the Messiah was

taught by the priests and scribes before the coming of
Christ, but that after

His coming they ceased
c.

to teach

1

i.

56.

Cf. Tertull., Apol., Cf. vii. 7.
v. 2.

21; Adv. Jud.,

c.

14.

2

i.

50.

3

Micah

"

And

thou, Bethlehem, house of Ephrata, art not
;

among the thousands of Judah come forth unto me who is to be Ruler
the least
forth have been from the beginning, from

for out of thee shall
;

He

in Israel eternity "

and His goings
i.

51.

THE PERSON AND WORK OF CHRIST.
it.
1

201

" If

another clear prophecy be wanted, take what
to his sons."
2

Jacob said

How could

Jacob

fix
?

on one

tribe out of

the twelve as the ruling tribe

How
?

could he determine the end of the Jewish kingdom,

and

its

coincidence with the calling of the Gentiles
of

Such prophecies are true

Jesus and of no other.

3

By

Isaiah, the suffering as well as the cause of the
it,

suffering, the details of

and the

fruits of

it,

were

all

predicted.

Origen refers to a discussion which he had

held with some
the Lord
" as

Jew who

interpreted the " Servant of

a type of the Jewish people
of dispersion

when they
by

were in a state
that dispersion
lytes.

and

suffering, since

many

Gentiles would become prose-

He

pointed out to the

Jew

the words, " For the
led to death," as
to,

transgression of

my

people was

He

evidence that a person was clearly alluded
there was a

and that

marked

distinction

between the people
is this

and the person who

suffered. 4

Who

but Jesus

?

Many
dicted,

details in the life

and death
to

of Jesus

were preno other.

and are applicable

Him, and

to

His

thirst
6

was

predicted. 5
all

His resurrection was pre-

dicted.

Upon
Acts

other claimants to Messianic dignity
of failure. of

there

is

an unmistakable stamp
7

In the

Book
1
i.

of
51.

mention

is

made

Theudas who

2

Gen.
53.

xlix. 10.
h.v

ovk e/cAetyety &pxoura i^'lovSa nal riyov/xsvov e« tuv
eA0??

firfpuu
3 6
i.

avrov ews
62

ra
4
i.

airoKeiiASva. avrcv- Kal clvtos irpoadoKLa 49v&v.

55.

Cf. Isa.

liii.

5 7

ii.

28.

ii.

;

iv.

30.

Acts

v. 36, 37.

202

THE REPLY OF ORIGEN.
before

appeared
Galilean

the

birth of Jesus, of Judas

the

who appeared about was born. With the death of
followers were scattered
latter,
;

the time

when Jesus

the former, his deluded

with the punishment of the
at

his teaching

was abolished,

most abiding

among

a very few of the lowest classes.

Such too was

the case with Dositheus the Samaritan,
to

who claimed
Simon, a

be the Christ of

whom Moses

prophesied.

magician, wished to captivate some by his magic.

He

expected to scatter the fame of his
the whole world
;

name throughout
in Palestine they
of the prois

but to

-

day his followers are only

about thirty, perhaps not so
are extremely few. 1
phecies, in

many
the

;

From

harmony

a multiplicity of

details,

with what

recorded of Jesus, from the absolute failure of
rival

all

Messiahs, and the constant and ever-growing
it

victory of Jesus,

is

plain to Origen that the pre-

dictions are true of Jesus

and

of

Him

only.
reject

But, claims
?

if

that were

so,

why

did the

Jews

His

For the simple reason that prejudice makes

men

blind to the plainest truths, and prevents

them

from abandoning opinions with which their minds
have become imbued.

Men

will even

abandon a habit
people cling
easily
irra-

more readily than an opinion.

See

how

even to vain and shameful traditions.

Can you

persuade an Egyptian to cease regarding some
tional animal as divine
1 i.

?

2

Though the Jews expected
2
i.

57.

52.

THE PERSON AND WORK OF CHRIST.
a Messiah, there
belief.

203

was nothing unnatural

in their un-

Do

those

who
?

inculcate self-restraint never do

anything dissolute

Do

those

who have been am-

bassadors of righteousness never do anything unright-

eous?

Their inconsistency was quite in accordance
nature. 1

with

human

The Jews should

either believe

that Jesus was the subject of prophecy or defend their

unbelief by refuting our demonstrations. 2
belief,
tiles,

Their un-

and, as a consequence, the calling of the Gen-

were predicted.
it

Because

of the sins of the

He-

brew people,

was prophesied that God would choose

out " no particular nation, but chosen
quarters."
3

men from

all

The unbelief

of the

Jews was in keeping

with their character as revealed in their history.

God

wrought signs and wonders

for
;

them

in Egypt, at the

Bed

Sea,

and in the desert

and

yet,

when

the Dec-

alogue was proclaimed, they gave

way

to unbelief, else
calf.
4

they would not have fashioned the golden
in your

" If

judgment the miracles

of

Moses were greater

than the miracles of Christ,
of
it,

is it

not plain, on the face
for those
?

that

it

was perfectly consistent

who
you

disbelieved the greater to despise the less

If

hold them to be equal,
people

is it

in

any way strange that a

who

disbelieved the beginning of the old dis-

pensation should disbelieve the beginning of the

new ?

By
1

not believing in Jesus you testify that you are the
dudpdoTriuov
ovx).
-?\v

ii.

8.

a

ii.
ii.

38.
74.

3

ZQvos

aXXa Aoyddas irafTaxoOeu

ii.

78.

4

204
sons of those

THE REPLY OF OPJGEN.

who

disbelieved the divine manifesta1

tions in the desert."

The unbelief

of the

Jews

in

Jesus

is

then to be explained, partly on the general
of

ground

the strength of prejudice, partly by the

wonted contradiction exhibited in human nature between the ideal and the
real,

partly by the national

characteristics plainly presented in their history

which
of

contained
Jesus.

so

many

parallels

to

their

rejection

The

disciples did not invent the prophecies

which

are recorded to have been spoken by Jesus concerning

His suffering and death.

This

is

disproved generally

by the truthful character

of the writers, as well as If

by

certain features in the prophecies themselves.

they

had been writers
His prophecy

of fiction,

they would have omitted

of the denial of Peter

and

of the offence

of all the disciples.

Would

not our natural expectato teach those

tion

have been that men, who wished
fell

who

in with the Gospels to despise death for the

sake of Christianity, would have been silent about the
defection of the disciples
?

That they were not

silent

shows their faith in the victorious power

2 of the Gospel.

By

not recording them at

all

the writers could easily

have escaped the charge

of Celsus, of not giving their

fictions a credible character.

The

disciples cannot be

at once accused of being themselves deceived concern-

ing the divinity of Jesus, and of inventing what they
1
ii.

75.

2

ii.

15.

THE PEESON AND WORK OF CHRIST.

205

knew
other.

to be fictions.
"

The two

theories contradict each

Either they did not invent but told their
;

own

opinions in no spirit of falsehood

or they lied,

and recorded what were not their own opinions, and
were not deceived into thinking that
Disproof of the theory of invention
in the prophecies spoken
of
is

He was

God."

*

found, moreover,

by Jesus touching the destiny
Take
this pro-

His followers in

later generations.
"

phecy

of persecution.

And

ye shall be brought be-

fore governors

and kings

for

my
2

sake,

for a

testi-

mony
Is

to

them and the

Gentiles."

"For what

sort of
?

dogma current among men were
there

others punished
to

3

any room on

this

ground

allege

that

Jesus, foreseeing that His

dogmas would be attacked

on the ground of impiety and falsehood, thought to
gain glory by predicting
it
?

"

Persecution for

reli-

gious opinions was a novelty.

The

Christians,

and

they only, are brought before kings and governors,

simply for holding by the teaching of Jesus.
terference
is

No

in-

made with

the

Epicureans

who deny

Providence, or the Peripatetics
ers

who

declare that pray-

and

sacrifices are of

no

avail.

"The Samaritans,
ISTo
:

you

say, are

punished for their religious service."
is

in the case of the Sicarii, there

no question
is,

of reli-

gious opinions

;

the only question

whether, contrary

1

ii.

26.

Cf.

ii.

24, 34.

2

Matt.

x. 18.
/cat

!

5ta iTolov

yap 56y/xa ruv iu dudpuirois

yeyevrj/Atuocv koKcl^ovtoli

&K\oi

ii.

13.

206

THE EEPLY OF ORTGEN.
have undergone circumcision.
is

to the law, they

Only

on the Christians

pressure brought to induce
;

them
if

to forswear Christianity

they can live in security

they

sacrifice according to the

common

customs. 1

Ori-

gen here

rises

above the mechanical conception

of pro-

phecy which was too dominant in his thought, and
sets forth a

deep truth and argument in connection
This prophecy, spoken with

with the claims of Jesus.

a consciousness of authority, reveals a divine insight

into the hearts of men,
of the revolution

and a

clear understanding
create.

which His teaching would

Hitherto individuals might have been persecuted, but
not the representative of a system as such.
Antici-

pating the promulgation of His Gospel throughout the

Roman
collision

Empire,

He was under
State.

no illusion as to the

reception of the message, or as to the certainty of

with the

Enjoining the disciples to

preach in the whole world,
diate
flict.

He dreamed

of

no imme-

and peaceful

victory, but predicted certain conconfir-

In this prophetic insight Origen sees a
of the details of the prophecies.
is

mation

A

like super-

natural foresight

conspicuous in the prediction of
"

the destruction of Jerusalem.
to the

Go back

in thought

time

when

these prophecies were spoken and

yet unfulfilled.

Say

'

I will

not believe

:

he

is

talk-

ing idly, and his words will not be
'

fulfilled.'

Or say

I will not give

my

adherence to these words unless
1

ii.

13.

THE PERSON AND WORK OF CHRIST.
they be
that
fulfilled
;

207

but

if

they are, then I will believe

He

spoke these words with the consciousness of

one who had received great power from God to sow
the
it

Word among mankind, and
prevail."
1

in the conviction that

would

These prophecies are every day
:

finding continuous fulfilment
in admiration of

in this

way we

are lost

Him, and our

faith is daily confirmed. 2

Celsus had argued that the supposed predictions of

Jesus were refuted by the action of the disciples and
of Jesus Himself.

Had

the disciples been forewarned,

they would have abandoned their designs of treachery

and

denial.

If

Jesus foreknew, and did not frustrate
guilty of unparalleled imprudence.

their aims,

He was

Or,

if

He

were a God who foreknew, their action was

inevitable.

The charge
Origen
analogy.
as

of

imprudence
foolish,

is

characterised
is

by by

exceedingly

and

refuted

The unspoken thought
if

of Celsus
it.

was that

no one would die

he could avoid

Apart from

the death of Christ for

men

being of service to the
of

whole world,
"

it

was a necessary part
to

His mission. 3

As He presented

men

the pattern of the

way

in

which they ought

to live, it

was necessary that He

should also be a pattern of the

way
4
2

in

which men

ought
1
ii.

to die for the sake of piety."
;

The shrinking
ii.

13

i.

62.

42.

3

Xtop^s T0 ^ XP^I (ri lx ^ u TL T V "KavrX yeyovevcu rb virep avdpdoiroov avrbv

aTToQavetv
4

ii.

16.

Idem.

208

THE REPLY OF ORIGEN.
of a lofty

from death disappears before the inspiration
motive.
if

Socrates could have avoided the hemlock,
;

he had so desired

but he preferred to die like a

philosopher rather than to live unlike a philosopher. 1

The same holds true
the same principle.

of

Leonidas.

Paul

illustrates

Many

of us could obtain life

by

abjuring Christianity, but voluntarily choose death. 2

Dealing with the question, started by Celsus, of the
relation

between divine foreknowledge

and human

freedom, Origen says that the foretelling of an event
does not infallibly necessitate
its

occurrence.

"

The

person
is

who

foretells is not the cause of that
;

which

about to happen

but the event, which was about
it

to happen,

and would have happened though

had
it

not been foretold, furnished to him
the cause of foretelling
it.

who foreknew

He who
its

foreknows does

not take

away

the possibility of
if

happening or not
"

happening, as

he

said,

'

This will in any case be,

and

it

is

impossible that

it

can be otherwise.'

3

It

does not follow, then, that because Jesus foretold the

treachery of the disciples

He was
For

the cause of their

impiety and unholy action.
disposition of Judas
;

He saw
love
of

the evil
in

and,

knowing what was
for

man,

and seeing what he would do
and from the want
wards his teacher,
1

money

of

a steadfast sense of duty to-

He
$)

predicted that he would be a
£fjv

(pi\oa6<pws airoQavetv

dffnAoaocpws

ii.

17.

2

Idem.

3

r6Be iravTus Zgtcu

k<x\

ddwarou

kripois yevecrBai

ii.

20.

THE PERSON AND WOEK OF CHRIST.
traitor. 1

209

In like manner was
Jesus recognised
the

it

with the denial of

Peter.

weakness that would
it
;

issue in his denial

and foretold

but the weakness

was not immediately taken away by the foreknowledge. 2

Origen therefore

maintains

against

Celsus
;

that these things took place as being possible

and
is

because they took place, the fact of their prediction

shown

to be true

;

for

it is

by the issues that we judge
and future. 3

of the truth of things foreseen

VI. The possibility of miracles was not explicitly
denied by Celsus.

From

his

speculative standpoint,

a miracle (in the sense of an interference by

God

in

the realm of law) was impossible

;

but

it

suited his

polemic better to attack the miracles of Jesus from
the position of a seeming believer in
the

popular

mythology.

He

therefore puts those of Jesus on a

level with the tricks of jugglers,

and the marvellous

feats recorded of various legendary heroes.

The

dis-

cussion of Origen, though
thoughts,
1
:i

it

contains some fruitful

is

conditioned by the nature of the attack.
2

ii.
ii.

20.
"19.

,

ii.

18.

Origen discusses the same problem with great fulness in

various places, especially in his
vol. viii. p. 21),

Comm.
is
. .

in Genes,

iii.

3-6

and

his solution
.

substantially the same.

(Lomm., Ou rrjv

irpoyvooaiu alrlav roou yifOfievou

dAAa irapado^STepou
irepl

fxiu aArjOhs 5e

ipov/xeu, rb ia6jxiVov airiov rov Toidvde eTvai t\\v

avrov irpoyvcaaiu.

Cf.

Comm.

in

Roman,

past of the merit of each man,

impiety not to believe
future.''

(Lomm. vi. 18). "As men judge by the God judges by the future. It is that what we see in the past, God sees in the
i.

3

210

THE REPLY OF ORIGEN.

Incidentally he lays

down

a principle which goes to

the root of the matter. Celsus had said that
" contrary to

God
1

does not will anything
that
"

nature."

If

means anything
if

wicked or

irrational, it is true.

But

things done

according to the will of
to be not
'

God

are at once acknowledged
it

contrary to nature/

follows that things

done by God, though they
are not
'

may

be or seem incredible,

contrary to nature.'

And,

if

we use words
with refer-

with rigorous accuracy, we will say

that,

ence to nature commonly understood, there are some
things
do."
3
'

above nature

'

2

which God could

at

any time

Origen illustrates this distinction by a spiritual

miracle, the raising of a

man above

the nature of a

man, and making him a partaker

of a diviner nature

but the same principle can be applied to physical
miracles.

A miracle,
in the

being
is

"

above nature," though not

" con-

trary to nature,"

an evidence of supernatural power
it

man

by

whom

is

wrought.

Miracle

is
is

the

"demonstration of power," just as prophecy

the

"demonstration of

spirit." 4

By means

of

it,

God
5

wished to commend the teacher and his doctrine as
a divine,

saving doctrine to those

who beheld

it.

The same was true
1

of the revelation given to Moses.

irapa (piiaw.

2

virep rrjy (pvcriv.

3

v. 23.

4

i.

8.

5

reus deaip-qaaai Twiarr] rhu SiddaKaAou 6 tovt' ivepyyaas yeveadai

0€o's— iii. 31.

THE PERSON AND WORK OF CHRIST.

211

Jesus came to the Jews, because they were accus-

tomed

to

miraculous events. 1

If,

as the

Jews

ac-

knowledged, their own nation was
miracle,
is

established

by
2

this

not more manifest in
a

the case of
?

Jesus,

who wrought

greater

work than Moses
3

The miracles done by Jesus among the Jews showed

Him

to be the

"power

of God."

They prove that
Christianity
it

the descent of the Spirit was a reality. 4

was founded on
tended.
"

miracles,

and by miracles

was ex-

By

them, rather than by persuasive words,
to

men were induced

abandon ancestral customs, and
5

adopt others foreign to their own."
possession of such powers,

Without the

men

unlettered and igno-

rant would not have had the courage to proclaim the

Gospel to
hostile
6

men who had been

nurtured in traditions so

without this they could not have captivated
Traces of such powers are
still

their hearers. 7

pre-

served

among

the Christians.
cures. "

They drive out demons,

and accomplish many

Under the

influence of

some

spirit the reason of

men

has been turned instan-

taneously against their will."

From
it.

hating the truth,

they become ready to die for
returns to his prevalent

8

Elsewhere Origen

mode

of thought,

and attributes
of Christ (at
4
i.

more weight
1 5
ii.

to the
2
ii.

"word and character"
51, 52.
3
ii.

57.
tooi>

9.

46.

virb

Tepaarlcoy

fjirep

twp

TrporpeirTiKuv

T(f KaTaXiirzlv ixzv to. iraTpia. alpe7a6ai 8e
viii.
,;

Aoywv Trpoaayofx^uovs ra twc irarpioov aWorpia

47.

Idem.

7

i.

38.

8

i.

46.

Cf.

iii.

24.

212

THE EEPLY OF ORIGEN.
than the
it

least in the case of others

first

eyewitnesses),

than to the miracles.
reconcile

1

If

be deemed necessary to

the

contradictions
treatise

almost inevitable in a

controversial

with so unsystematic a plan,

the thought of Origen
his

may

be thus interpreted.
in Jesus

In

judgment the miraculous power

and the

apostles created a presumption in favour of His teaching.

This was confirmed by further knowledge of
as " the pattern of a perfect life "
2
;

Him

and thus the
miraculous,

moral argument took precedence

of the

which

lost

its

former prominence in the Christian

consciousness, and was superseded though not alto-

gether supplanted.

The miracles

of

Jesus were not invented by the

writers of the Gospels.

Had

the evangelists invented

them, they would have been more lavish in regard
both of number and magnitude.

They would have
the dead,

recounted

how he had
only.

raised

many from

and not three
those

They would have represented

who were

raised as having been a longer time

in their graves.

The paucity and freedom from exThose

travagance are a testimony to their reality.
alone were raised

whom

the Logos

knew

to be fitted

for the resurrection. 3
1

ot

\onro\ ir\£ov diSaxdei'res airb rov \6yov nal i)6ovs
L

v)

Kal toov

irapadS^wu ws XPV ft °v v 2 irapaZeiyixa aptarov
3

i-

68.

(iiov

— idem.
6

/jl6voi

avearrjcrav, ovs

eyvu

Aoyos

^TriTrjdeiovs irpos tt\v

avaaraaiu

ii.

48.

THE PERSON AND WORK OF CHRIST.

213

They were not the work
no motive.

of sorcery.

There was

What

motive could a magician have in

teaching a system which persuaded every
act as
if

man

to
?

God were judging him

for his every action
to

Would magicians expose themselves
to

great perils
l

introduce teaching which would abolish magic

?

Celsus

had quoted Jesus

as

warning His disciples
signs

against those
so

who might do
to

and wonders, and
destroyed
the

argued that Jesus Himself

had

validity of

any claim

divinity
If Jesus

which might be

based on the miraculous.

had simply told

the disciples to be on their guard against those

who
But

announced marvels, the suspicions suggested by Celsus might not have been altogether groundless.

He

only warns them against those

who

profess to be

the Christ, which sorcerers do not profess to be.
said that

He
is

men

of evil life

would work miracles, and
In such a case there

cast out devils in

His name.

no suspicion
the
divinity

of sorcery,

but rather a confirmation of

of

Christ

and that

of

His

disciples.

2

Moreover, the works of the Antichrist were declared
to be " lying signs
of

and wonders

"

;

but the miracles

Christ and His apostles have, as their fruit, not

deceit,

but the salvation of

souls.

Could a daily
?

increase in holiness be the offspring of deceit

3

Neither in nature, nor in aim, are the miracles of
Jesus to be compared with those of sorcerers, or such
1 i.

38.

-

ii.

49.

''

ii.

50, 44.

214
as are ascribed
" Celsus

THE REPLY OF ORIGEN.
to

the heroes of

Greek mythology.
are hetero-

makes things homogeneous which

geneous.

A wolf
is

has a certain likeness in voice and
it is

in bodily form to a dog, but
so there

not of the same kind
is

no likeness between that which

accom-

plished by the power of God, and that which takes

place from sorcery.
to be

If

you admit that miracles seem and
sorcerers,

wrought by

evil spirits

you must

admit the former.

For

it

may

be laid down as a uni-

versal postulate, that

when anything worse assumes
is better,

the form of that which

there infallibly
it
;

must

be the better which

is

opposed to

the accomplish-

ment

of

marvels by sorcery implies the existence of

miracles wrought by divine energy.

You must

take

away both
like

or acknowledge both.

Otherwise you are
of sophisms, but

men, who admit the existence
of truth.
If in

deny the existence
is

such miracles there
power,
their life
is

an admitted evidence

of divine

why

not

test those

who announce marvels by

and char-

acter,

and by marking whether the issue
or the reformation of morals
? 1

the injury
miracles

of

men

No
all

save those of Jesus stand this ultimate

test.

By

their

moral aim they are differentiated from

others.

The work
ends
1
:

of jugglers
is

ends when the demonstration
itself
:

the miracle

an end in

the performers

5ta rt ovxl nal liefiaaavi(Tfxevws robs eirayy eAo/nevovs ras 8vvd/j.eis

e^erdaofxeu airb rod fiiov Kal rov tfdovs Kai
dwdfieffiv tJtoi els fi\dfit)v
ii.

t&v eTraKoXovQovvrwv rats
77

twv avOpuirwu

els

"r\Q&v eitavopQwcriv

51.

THE PERSON AND WORK OF CHRIST.

215

do not incite the spectators to moral reform, nor lead

them

to the fear of

God

:

how

could they do
?

so,

when

they are themselves notorious sinners

But Jesus

by His miracles induced the spectators
lives

to reform their

and do
Is
it

all

things with reference to the will of

God.

reasonable therefore to compare

Him

with

the class of sorcerers, and not rather believe that "

He

was God manifested
of

in a

human body

for the welfare

our race

"

?

1

The same argument disposes The miracles

of the parallel

drawn

by Celsus between Jesus and Asclepius, Abaris and
others.
of

Greeks were wrought by
;

demons. 2

Not

that

they were really wrought

for

while some evil demons had power to procure the
recording of these marvels, they had not power to

procure their

actual

accomplishment. 3
?

With what
what

end were these marvels related
self in

4

"If you put youris

the position of an arbiter, and compare

recorded of both, and look to the relative improvement
in morals

and in

piety,

you

will

acknowledge that a

divine power was at

work

in Jesus

and not in

others."

5

In the

life of

these

men

there

is

no indication

of the

divinity ascribed to

them

in the story: they are re-

corded to have done innumerable actions contrary to
right reason.
It is

otherwise with Him. 6

In

brief,

the marvels of Greek mythology were only marvels,
1
i.

68. 28.

2

viii.
iii.

47.

3 6

iii.

32. 42, 33.

4

iii.

Cf.

iii.

25, 31.

5

27.

iii.

216

THE REPLY OF ORIGEN.
;

and had no higher end in view
no way benefited by them. 1
the

the

human

race was in

Apart from the marvels,
life

men had no

claim to divinity, and their
;

was

inconsistent with any divine character

but in Jesus
;

the miracles were only a means to an end
in turn testifies to their reality.

that end

His miracles do not
;

stand alone, but are only a link in a chain
in

they are

harmony with His teaching and
apart from their

life

which were not

less supernatural,

and they cannot be judged in themconsequences, nor even by
;

selves,

their

consequences alone

they must be treated as

parts of

what claims

to be a consistent whole.

VII. With unerring insight Celsus perceived that of
all

the miracles recorded in the Gospels, the resurrec-

tion

was the

final test

of the

claim of Jesus to be

divine.
of

The

objections are put mainly into the

mouth

his

Jew, but they are not distinctively Jewish.
is

Eather

the attack such as

we

are apt to consider
;

to be essentially

modern

in its

method

it

represents
of

both the coarser and the more
negative criticism.

scientific

weapons

Following his general principle,

he compares the narrative of the resurrection with
similar
belief

myths

in

Greek

story.

The

origin of the
It

may

be accounted for in various ways.

was

based on the statement of a half-frenzied woman, or
of

some one who,

like her, mistook
1

a phantasm for

iii.

29, 31, 34.

THE PERSON AND WORK OF CHRIST.
a reality.

217
dis-

Or

it

was a deliberate
cross,
;

lie.

Had He
if

appeared

from the

there

might have

been

some ground
appeared at
self,

for belief

or,

on the contrary,

He

all,

He

should not have concealed

Him-

but should have appeared before His judges and
generally.
little

men

Origen has

difficulty in

showing that there
of the objections

was a dramatic impropriety in some
coming from a Jew.

The Old Testament contained
;

records of persons being raised from the dead

but

the
"

unlikeness

evinced

the

superiority

of
;

Jesus.

Others were raised by prophets like Elijah

He was

raised

by no prophet, but by His Father in the heavens."

Hence from His resurrection greater consequences
flowed. 1

Upon

the legends of resurrections in Greek history

and philosophy Origen speaks with uncertain
say, contradictory

—not

to

voice.

Before he has noticed, or

after

having read has forgotten, this part of the attack
he sees in the writings
to of Plato

of Celsus,

and others
gives
it

parallels

the

Gospel narrative.

He

as

an argument to unbelievers (who believed in Greek
traditions),

and though, as such, successful
it

in its im-

mediate object,

tends to impair the force of the
after-

arguments which he brings forward immediately
wards.
told

He

recals to the

Greeks the beautiful story
'

by Plato

at the close of
1
ii.

The

Eepublic,' about

Er

58.

218

THE REPLY OF ORIGEN.

the son of Armenius rising from the funeral- pyre after

twelve

clays,

and announcing what he had learned

of

the condition of souls in Hades.

He

refers to others

who
that

are said to have risen not only on the
after,

same day

but on the day

He who

in life

What marvel then had done many miracles beyond
and
asks, "

the power of man, should have something superior

about His death, so that the soul might voluntarily
leave

the
x

body

and

return

again

when He

so

willed."

In admitting
desire of

this analogy,

he was carried

away by the
to

quoting Plato against those
of

whom
so

the teaching

Plato

was

authoritative,

and

forged

a

weapon which could be turned

against himself.

In replying afterwards to the statement
that

of Celsus,

many

heroes gave out that after death they had
his
of

come from Hades, he regains
power.

wonted insight and
comparison between
is

There

is

no ground
;

such heroes and Jesus
their having died.

for there

no evidence

of

They might have withdrawn them-

selves at will from the eyes of

men and
left
;

decided to

return again to those

whom

they had

but Jesus

was

crucified in the presence of all the

Jews and His

body openly taken down.

Had He

died by an obscure

death and then afterwards truly risen from the dead,
there might have been some suspicion of an apparent
parallel.

a

And

it

may
1

be that one ground for the
ii,

16.

THE PERSON AND WORK- OF CHRIST.
public
crucifixion
it

219

was

this

very

fact,

that

no one
volun-

might have
tarily

in his

power

to say that

He had

withdrawn from the sight
but did not really
die,

of

men, and seemed

to die

and then reappeared, and

made

a marvellous portent of His resurrection from
x

the dead."
real, so

As His

suffering

was not seeming but
For
if

was His resurrection.

dead,
die,

if

He

rose truly rose
rise.

;

but,

He who was truly He only seemed to
by Celsus breaks

He

did not really

2

If,

then, the parallel suggested

down, and the story of the resurrection cannot be
explained by the natural tendency of

men

to

rep-

resent a moral force as persistent after death,
is it to

how

be accounted

for, if

not acknowledged to be

truth

?

Celsus, like Eenan, declared

that

the

Church

of

Christ was founded on an illusion of

Mary Magdalene.
His appearance

The answer
tell of

of

Origen

is,

that the same Gospels, which

His appearance
others,

to

Mary,
to

tell of
:

to

many

and not
3

her only

both rest on the
that
a

same

authority.

The

allegation,

shadowy

phantom was transformed by

a disordered fancy into

a living person, is acknowledged by
certain plausibility
1

him

to

have a

and cleverness.

Such appearances
exv Keyeiv

avrov

iiria 7]fj.ws iir\
i»7re|e(rT7j

rod aravpov

a.iroT€dvt~K€vai, "va /r^Sets

OTi 4kojv

tt}s u\pecos

ruv avQpwnoov Kal e5o£ey
iTtparevaaTO
rrjv 4k

airoTe6vr}K4vai,

ovk airoTedvr]Ke Se aAA'

4-rt<pavi}\s

veKpwv avdo~Tao~iv

ii.

56.
ii.

2

16

;

iii.

43.

a

ii.

59, 70.

220

THE REPLY OF

ORIGEN".

help to substantiate, as Plato taught, 1 the existence of
the soul apart from the body.

"Ina dream by

night

such a confusion
vision, unless

is

intelligible,

but not in a waking

on the supposition that the beholders

are altogether out of their senses, or delirious, or mel-

ancholy-mad."

2

Of

this there is

no indication in the

recorded history.
theory.

The

action of

Thomas

refutes the

He

thought that the miracle was impossible.

He

assented to the statement of

Mary
it
;

that she had

seen Jesus, as he did not consider

impossible that

the soul of the dead could be seen
at all think that Jesus

but he did not

had

risen with a

body

in all

respects

alike

to

that which

He

had

before. 3

He

believed that the " body of a soul " might appear to the

eyes of sense, in

all

respects like unto the former form
fJLtyeOos re kou o^u/xara KaA.
ioiKVL7]<$

:

kol

cfyoivrjv.^

Wherefore Thomas did not merely
I

say, "

Unless I see

shall not believe," but added, " Unless I put

my

hand

into the print of the nails
5

and

feel

His side I

shall not believe."

Moreover,

how
God

could the passing

vision of a

phantom implant

in the souls of

men

a con6

viction of their responsibility to
1

as their

judge?

Phsedo, 69.
oirep ovap fxev TTKrreveiv ylyvecrdat,
t)

2

ovu

&\oyov
61.

virap 8e iirl rcov

/u))

TravTT) eK<pp6ucov Kal (ppeveri^ouTcov
3 5
6

iAtXayxoXwi>TO}V, ov iriQav6p

ii.

60.

ev adojxarL avrbu avTirvircf iyrjyepOcu

ii.

4

Iliad, xxiii. 66.
ii.

John
vii.

xx. 25.

nal

\pr]\a(pr](roj

avrov

ttjv TrAevpav

61.

35.

THE PERSON AND WORK OF CHRIST.

221

While maintaining the
of Christ,

reality of the resurrection
it

body

Origen holds that

differed

from that which

was His before the

crucifixion, that it

was something

intermediate between the grossness of the former body

and an unclothed bodiless
If then,
rative,

soul. 1

from the general tenor

of the

Gospel nar-

and especially from the
it

sceptical attitude of

Thomas,

is

clear that

the disciples were not the

victims of a fond illusion, they must have knowingly

and in unison invented the

story.

Their

own

action

proves the falsity of such an hypothesis.

They would

not have taught the truth with such firmness, nor

induced others to despise death, themselves leading
the way. 2

They laughed

at all the troubles in

life,

because of their persuasion of the truth of the resurrection. 3
" If the disciples did

not see Jesus after

rose from the dead,

and were not persuaded that

He He

was
did,

divine,

what induced them

to suffer as their teacher

and face danger, and leave their fatherland, in
fulfil

order to

the will of

God and
to

teach the doctrines
?

which

He had committed

them

Would they
of of

otherwise

have taught new truths in the face

impending destruction, with the certainty
the friendship of every
traditions
?

losing

man

that clung to the old

4

1

wffnepel iv /xtdopia} rivl rrjs iraxvTif)Tos rr)s irpb tov irdQovs o~u>fAUTOs

Ka\ tov yvfMvrjv toiovtov au/xaros (paiveadai ipvxyv
2
ii.

ii.

62.
4
i.

56.

3

ii.

77;

iii.

23.

31.

222
"

THE REPLY OF ORIGEN.

Why
fitly

then did

He

not disappear from the cross, or
all
?

appear openly before

"

A

charge of this kind

may

be compared to arguments brought against

Providence by

men who
if it

say that the world would

have been better

had been framed and ordered

according to their conceptions.
to

When they
when

are limited

what

is

possible, they describe a world not better
;

but worse than the present
fancy
is

the world of their

not worse, they are

convicted of desiring

things impossible in nature. 1

In either case they

incur ridicule.

And had

Jesus disappeared, as Celsus

suggested, no doubt he would have asked,

why

did

He
fore

disappear after the crucifixion, and not rather be-

He

suffered

?

He

could not so disappear, because
burial,

His death necessarily involved His

and

also

because every detail of the resurrection had a symbolic import.

The mere

letter does not

exhaust the

meaning.

In somewhat fantastic fashion, but with a
Origen shows that the resurrection
is

sound

instinct,

not to be regarded as an isolated or external factor in
Christianity, but a part of the truth itself. 2
It
for

was not imperative on Jesus, nor was
to appear before
all.

it

possible

Him,
it

It

was not imperative,

and

was from kindness

to

His enemies that

He

refrained.

He

wished to spare them and not smite
like the
to

them with blindness

showed His divine power
1
ii.

men in Sodom. He those who were able to
2
ii.

68.

69.

THE PERSON AND WORK OF CHRIST.
see

223

Him, and according

to their

measure
Before

of vision. 1

There was no other obstacle.

He

died,

all

were able to see

Him

;

but

it

was otherwise when
and powers."
2

"He had

cast off principalities

Not

even the apostles were able to endure His divinity
continuously.

Jesus

is

no more to be blamed for not
the resurrection, than for not

appearing to
taking
all to

all after

be witnesses of His transfiguration. 3

The

manifestation of

God

to

Abraham

or

any

of the saints

finds its counterpart in the manifestation of Christ to

men

after

His suffering

:

it

was not granted
:

to

all,

nor

uninterrupted in the case of any
factor in every instance

the determining
4

was

fitness to behold.

Celsus had marked the discrepancies in the Gospel
narratives, but he cannot

have emphasised them

;

for

he alludes to them only at a later stage in his work, by

way
some

of parenthesis. say, two/'

"

Some

say,

one angel appeared,
Origen, speak
6

Matthew and Mark, 5 says
of two.

of one angel;

Luke and John speak
of the
;

Those who

mention the one, speak
the stone from the tomb

one who rolled away

those

who mention

the two,

speak of those who appeared in shining raiment to
the

women who were
is

at the sepulchre, or

who were

seen within in white raiment. 7
vision of angels

The

reality of the

sufficiently attested

by the char;!

1

ii.

67.

2

ii.

64.
5

ii.

65.
xvi. 5.

4

ii.

66.

Matt, xxviii. 2
v. 56.

;

Mark

6

Luke

xxiv. 4

;

John xx.

12.

7

224
acter of the

THE REPLY OF ORIGEN.

men who

recorded

it,

—who would

rather

have died than utter one word

of falsehood

about God.

Neither in the announcement by angels of the resurrection, nor in their assistance to

the disciples, was
it,

anything unreasonable. 1

"

On

the face of

does

it

not seem more dignified that an inferior should

roll

away the
welfare of

stone,

than that

He who had
?

risen for the

men

should do so Himself

The men who
all

plotted against

Him

and sought

to

prove to

that

He was

dead, and brought to nothingness, did not

at all wish

His tomb

to be to

opened

;

but the Angel of

God who had come
of

this

world for the salvation
of another angel,

men, with the co-operation

was

stronger than His plotters and rolled
stone."

away the heavy

In this way, those who thought that the
died,

He was no with the dead but living, and that He had gone those who desire to follow Him, that He might
Word had
were persuaded that
to

longer
before

reveal

them the higher

aspects of truth which they were

unable to receive at the time of their entrance into
the school of Christ. 2
passionate love of

To the

soul of Origen, with its

truth, the
of

resurrection was thus
eternal
life

the pledge
essence
truth.
1

and earnest

that

whose

is

ever-growing knowledge of God and His

v. 57.
'Iva

2
iro)

e7rt8ei|77Tcu

ra

e|7js

ols

e7re5ei|aTo irpSrepov toTs
rr)s

fir\

x w P°^ <Jl

avToov fxsi^ova

Kara rbv irporepov

zicraywyris

avrwv xpSvov

v. 58.

THE PERSON AND WORK OF CHRIST.

225

VIII. Celsus attacked Jesus as a teacher, both in His
relation to the disciples,

and in respect

of the truths

which

He

taught.

As

a teacher

He

failed utterly;
faithless

He won

but a few adherents,
original.

who proved

His teaching was not

Origen maintains, on the contrary, that the ministry
of Jesus

by

its

unparalleled success stirred up the envy

of the chief priests, elders,

and
;

scribes.

Multitudes

followed

Him

into desert places

some captivated by
always adapted

the beauty of the words of

Him who

His teaching

to the hearers,

some who did not accept
Nay,

His doctrine being astonished by His miracles. 1
so powerful

was the magical charm

of

His words that
thousands of
eagerness to

He was followed into the desert not by men merely, but by women who in their

follow their teacher " were unmindful of the weakness
of their sex, or a regard for conventional propriety."
2

And

children too,
;

who

are " most apathetic " in spiritual
it

things, followed

whether

was that they came along

with their parents, or that they were attracted by the
divine power of Jesus, and wished their souls to be

imbued with that power. 3
tain the crowds of those

Only the desert could conbelieved in

who

God through
they had
to

Him. 4

The

disciples, it is true, before that

been fully trained into manly endurance, gave way
1 ii.

39, 43.

2

TocravTT]

yap

tls ?vy£

7\u

iu ro7s 'Irjaov \6yot9

.

.

.

aAAa
4

Kal yvvouKas
iii.

ovx
3

inrofA.€fj.vrjfj.^uas

tV

yvvainsiav aaOsveiav Kcd rd Sokovv

10.

Idem.

ii.

46.

226

THE EEPLY OF ORIGEN.

cowardice, for they were but

men
T

;

but they never
Celsus

gave up their faith that

He was

the Christ, 1

believes the record of their sin,

w hen

as yet they were

imperfect

;

why

does he pass over in silence their sub-

sequent rectitude, their boldness in presence of the Jews, their
countless
sufferings

and martyrdom
apostate.

2
?

Even

Judas

was

not

wholly

an

"He

gave way to conflicting views about his teacher, and

was not opposed

to

Him

with his whole heart, nor

with his whole heart did he preserve the reverence
for

Him

which a scholar ought

to

preserve."

The
of

kiss of betrayal

shows that he retained a measure

reverence

;

otherwise he would have boldly betrayed
affection.

Him
that

without any pretence of
his soul

It

proves
avarice,

was not wholly mastered by

but that some remnant of good mingled with the
evil.

For

if

Judas, the money-loving and dishonest,
silver,

gave back the thirty pieces of

manifestly the

instruction of Jesus had not been utterly rejected by

the traitor,
tence.

when

it

was able

to beget a certain peni-

So intensely passionate was his sorrow that
life
;

he could no longer endure

his self-condemnation
it

was a

tribute to the teaching of Jesus, since

could

act so powerfully in one

who was

a sinner, traitor,

and

thief. 3

It is ridiculous to

suppose that Jesus borrowed any

part of His teaching from Plato.
1
ii.

He was

born and
3
ii.

39.

2

ii.

45.

11.

THE PERSON AND WORK OF CHRIST.
brought
as

227
regarded
the

up
son

among
of

the Jews.

He was

the

Joseph the carpenter, and, as

truth -loving Scriptures testify,
letters

had not learned the
letters

of

the

Hebrews,
"

the

Greeks. 1

much less the What man of moderate
not,

of

capacity,
at Celsus
'

whether a believer or
for suggesting that O Go

would not laugh

one so trained had read Plato, and
of his sayings
?

changed and corrupted some

"

2

The

teaching of Jesus contains truth pure and unmixed

with

error.

3

He

carries

our minds far above every-

thing sensible and corruptible to the Supreme God,

bidding us combine prayer with holy living. 4

That
to

men
the
ing. 5

should strive after the
life of

life

which was akin

God, was a prominent note in His teachlive according to the precepts of Jesus, is

To

the pathway to friendship with God, and to fellowship

with Him. 6

IX. Even the character of Jesus was not, according
to Celsus, free

from reproach.

He was

a braggart and
of

impious.

His use

of threatenings

was a confession

impotence.

As Celsus brought forward no evidence
of these charges,

in support

Origen contents himself for the most
Jesus
5

part with a simple denial, and calls for proof.
1

John

vii.

15.

Cf. Matt. xiii. 54
3

;

Mark
4

vi. 2.

2
( '

vi. 16.

v. 51.

iii.

34.

ii.

45.

avdyovra

eir\ tt\v

irpbs

rdv Oedv (piXiav Kal

t)]v irpds inzivov Koivwviav,

irdvTa t6v Kara, ras

'It]<tov virodrjKas

favra

-iii.

28.

228

THE REPLY OF ORIGEN.
sinless,

was

and perfectly pure.

The
;

sinlessness

was

not attained without severe conflict
wrestler."
*

He was
own

a " great

Not even those who

plotted against

Him
any
His

could find in the testimony of their
nesses

false wit-

any plausible ground
of

for accusing

Him

of

form

intemperance. 2

What
of

Celsus

called

vagabondism was only a proof

His philanthropy

He

overlooked no

city,

not even any village of Judaea,
of

that

He

might everywhere proclaim the kingdom

God. 3

So far from being a braggart, Jesus avoided

self-reference,
ciples.
4

and often enforced silence on the
said, " I

dis-

Can He who

am meek and

lowly of

heart,"
"

who washed

the feet of the disciples,

who was

among them
?

as one that serveth," be accused of arro-

gance
of

Was

there any impiety in raising the minds

men above
spiritual

material rites and ordinances to the true

and

law

of

God

?

5

The charge that Jesus
lips of a
;

used threats comes strangely from the

Jew

whose God often used stronger menaces

but, waiving

that objection, Origen gives a better solution.

Christ
spiritual

spoke these words in

His capacity

of

a

physician, and they are to be interpreted as a concession to

human

weakness.

For, like God, in

whose

nature

He

shares, Christ in
is

His intercourse with men, His own nature, but adapts

thinks not of what

due

to

Himself to the individual character. 6
1

jizyav aywvHTTriv
iii.

i.

69.

Cf.

ii.

41, 42.
4
i.

2
6

23.

3

ii.

38.

48.

5

ii.

7.

e/cacrTO)

ye Kara rh vTroKeijxevov

r]6os dia\eye<rdai

ii.

76.

THE PERSON AND WORK OF CHRIST.
X. In no part of his work
is

229
of in-

Celsus's

want

sight so conspicuous as in his attack

on the suffering

and death

of Jesus.

It is a striking

commentary on
was unto

the words of St Paul that " Christ crucified

the Greeks foolishness."

x

He

applies to the suffering

Christ the test of an impassive stoicism, and naturally
finds

Him

wanting.

He

follows Christ into Geth;

semane

to scoff at

His apparent weakness

he stands

with the mockers around the cross to jeer at His impotence and desertion
;

he declares that,

if

He had

been

the Son of God, His death would have been avenged

on the

spot, or at least afterwards.

Jesus suffered willingly, and cannot therefore be
accused of weakness because of His suffering. 2

He

allowed Himself to be taken prisoner at the fitting
time, conscious that

He was

"

the

Lamb
3

of

God who

was

to take

away the
power

sin of the world,"

and that His

death would be of advantage to the whole of mankind, 4

and
for

of saving

to the

whole world. 5
6

men

a death

deemed dishonourable.

He endured He is " the
much
fruit
;

seed of corn which died and has borne

and the Father
that has sprung,

is is

always seeing in prospect the fruit
springing,

and

will spring

from the

death of this seed of corn. 7
of

His death was a pattern
" It first

death for piety, but not that alone.
to break, the
-

broke,

and continues
1

power

of that evil one, the
3

1

Cor.
17.

i.

23.

ii.

59, 32.
11.
7

ii.

10.

4

ii.

23. 24.

B

iii.

i.

viii.

43.

Cf.

John

xii.

230
devil, to

THE REPLY OF ORIGEN.

whom

the whole earth had been allotted."
of a voluntary death there
It

1

In this saving power
nothing monstrous.
case of

was

finds

its

counterpart in the

any who have died

for their

country in order to
disciples recognised
of

avert famine or pestilence.
this analogy.
"

The

That the voluntary dying

one just
off

man
is

for the

common weal

has power to drive

the

evil spirits

which create pestilence and kindred

evils,

probably a law inherent in the nature of things, in

accordance with certain principles of a mysterious
order,

hard for the multitude

to

grasp."
If

2

Illustra-

may be found in Greek histories. these, why not believe what is said
tions

you believe
Christ
to
?

about

Why

not believe that He,
for the

who was thought
kept in subjection
?

be

man, died

removal

of the great

Demon — even
all

the ruler of
souls of

demons
that

— who

the

men

come upon the earth

3

It

would

seem, then, according to Origen, that the difference

between the death
martyr
degree
;

of Christ,

and the death
is

of

any

for

country or for truth,
is

only a question of

that of Jesus

only the

more
is

efficacious

because

He was

sinless.

This, however,
;

only one

aspect of the doctrine of Origen

for its further de;

velopment we must look elsewhere
1

this contains that

vii.

17.

2

et/cos

yap

eivai

4v rrj (pvaei

rwv Trpay/xdruv

Kara, rivas a-Kopp-t)rovs

kuI Bv(rA7}7rTov<; ro7s 7roAAots \6yovs (pvaiv Toiavrrjv

ws eva Siaaiov
£/j.iroie7v

virep

rov
8

koivov

airoQavovra
i.

eKOvaicos,

airorpoinacrfjLOVs

(pavXwi

daijuoulcov

31.

Idem.

THE PERSON AND WORK OF CHRIST.
part which he

231

deemed

of

most service

for apologetic

purposes, in a discussion with a Greek
ridicule

who had

cast

upon the

cross.

Origen points to

many

of the

incidents that attended the death of Christ as revealing

His moral greatness.
bewail, nor give
ance. 1

When

condemned,

He

did not
utter-

way

to

any unworthy emotion or

The cruelty with which He was punished only

vividly brought out His manliness and gentleness. 2

His silence in the midst of scourges and many indignities displayed a higher degree of fortitude

than any

word spoken by the Greeks

in similar circumstances.

He

endured

all

with the utmost meekness, speaking no

ignoble nor angry words to those

who outraged Him.

He who was

silent

under the scourging, and endured

every insult with such meekness, could not in a spirit
of ignoble timidity, as
" Father, if it

some have
let this

fancied,

have

said,

be possible,

cup pass from me.

Nevertheless, not as I will, but as

Thou

wilt."

This

prayer was the prayer of true piety.
regards

For no one

a contingency as inevitable, though he

may

submit to that which
calls for
it.

may

befall

him when the time

Christ

spoke not as one who merely

endured, but as well pleased with that which might

happen
this

to

Him. 3

He

did not say absolutely, " Let
" if it

cup pass," but added with pious reserve,
Origen mentions

be

possible."
1
:i

another interpretation.
2

ii.

34.
-f\v,

viii.

43.

ovk eVSeSwK^ros

evapecrrovfxiuov 8e reus crv/jL^aivovai

vii.

55.

232

THE EEPLY OF ORIGEN.

Jesus spoke these words from a spirit of philanthropy

towards the Jews, knowing what miseries would

fall

upon them because
flicted

of the
if

outrages which they insaid, " Since

on Him.

As

He had
God
it

my

drink-

ing of this cup will cause
nation, I pray that,
if

to

abandon the whole

be possible, this cup

may

pass

;

so that

Thy

portion, for their insolence towards
*

me,

may

not be utterly forsaken by Thee."

Origen

does not say whether he accepts this interpretation or
not,

but he might consistently have clone

so.

For

while he maintains that in the miracles which attended
the crucifixion there
fied
is

proof that

He who was

cruci-

possessed something divine and superior to the
of

mass
fallen

men, 2 he sees

in the

calamities which have

upon the Jews a stronger and more abiding
It
is,

testimony.

indeed, not always possible to trace

a direct connection between defiance of

God and

the

punishment

of that defiance

;

for

God does not openly
3

punish even those

who

insult

His divinity and seek
but the death of

to annihilate faith in Providence

Jesus has been terribly and unmistakably avenged.

Within forty-two years

after the crucifixion

Jerusalem

was destroyed and the whole nation overthrown. 4 The
city

was overturned from the foundation and rendered

desolate.

The inhabitants were deemed by God
of civic
life.
5

to be

unworthy
and
1 ii.

With
4

the city

fell

the temple

its
25.

venerable worship. 6
2
ii.

Alone among the nations
iv.

33.

3

ii.

35.

22.

5

viii.

42.

6

ii.

78.

THE PERSON AND WORK OF CHRIST.

233

have the Jews been driven from their capital and the
place sacred to their national worship. 1
" Pilate

may

not have been punished as Pentheus was.
he,

It

was not
Christ

but the Jewish nation,
it

who condemned

and has

not been torn in pieces, and scattered

over the whole world, and mangled worse than Pen-

theus was mangled
of

?

"

2

If
is

they have neither a plot
only because of their
3

ground nor a home,

it

sin,

especially because of their sin against Jesus.

XI. For confirmation

of the claims of Jesus,

Origen

repeatedly appeals to the rapid and triumphant march
of the Gospel.

Hardly
it

less

wonderful than the trans-

formation which
gress
it

wrought was the miraculous proit

had made since
its

was

first

promulgated.

It

advanced by

own

inherent energy.

"When

the

sower went forth to sow," the mere teaching apart

from any external force

sufficed. 4

Jesus formed the

conception of a universal empire in the hearts of men,

and Origen gives special emphasis
simplicity of the
ised.
"

to the

nature and

weapons by which His
a

ideal

was

real-

Was He

man, who dared

to

sow throughout
?

the whole world His religion and teaching

Could

He
sign
1

without divine power have accomplished His de-

and vanquished
8.

all

opponents, kings and

all in

ii.

2

Hirep

/caTa5e5i/ca<TTcu

vnd deov <r7rapa%06i/

kclI

els iraaav ttjv yr\v

virep
3

rbv Hevdeus airapayfxbv Siaairapei/
viii.

ii.

34.
4

69.

Cf Tertull. Adv. Jud.,
.

c.

1 3.

iv. 9.

234
authority,

THE REPLY OF ORIGEN.
the

Eoman

Senate,

rulers,
it

and

people

?

Had

only the prudent been converted,
;

would be

less

wonderful

but

He

transforms the most irrational,
of

and such as are enslaved by passions, who because
their irrationality are converted with

more

difficulty
is

to a better
'

way
'

of

life.

But because Christ
'

the

power

of

God and

the

wisdom
is

of the Father,'

He
We,

has done such works and

still

doing them.

then, will not cease to believe in

God

according to the

teaching of Jesus, nor cease in our desire to convert

them who are

truly blind
us, if

to

the worship

of

God.

They may abuse
they,

they

will, for

our blindness
accuse us of
verily a noble

who

are the true seducers,
If it

may
it is

seducing men.
seduction
or enter
just, the
;

be seduction,

for

by

it

the intemperate become prudent,
to prudence, the unjust

upon the way

become

cowardly and unmanly become manly and

persevering in their conflict to maintain their piety to-

wards God, the Creator

of the universe."

1

The

resolu-

tion to present His doctrine to all

men

everywhere,
is

and not

in one corner of the globe merely,

an

evi-

dence of surpassing greatness of mind and divine magnanimity. 2

And

this

resolution,

superhuman

in

its

nature and aims, has proved no empty dream. 3
this respect

In

He

stands alone.

He

accomplished what

1

ii.

79.

2

jxtTa vTrepfiaWoucrris fxeyaXouolas kou detas /j.eya\o<ppo(rvvr]s
iv.

i.

11.

3

4

;

vi. 11.

THE PERSON AND WORK OF CHRIST.

235

He

dared to conceive in spite of the forces arrayed

against

Him. 1

He

has scattered the seeds of His pure

religion everywhere. 2
of every nature,
race. 3

His teaching has mastered

men
the

and been received by men
to

of every
it,

The more men have sought
it

crush

more powerful has

become. 4
its

Obstacles have been

transformed into material for

growth. 5

Taking up

the sneer of Celsus at the newness and poverty of
Jesus, Origen refutes

him with

his

own weapons.
?

Did
it

Jesus appear only a very few years ago

Be

so.

Could

He

then in these few years without divine aid
to so

have extended His teaching
barbarians, wise

many, Greeks and
in

and unthinking, and implanted

them

so great devotion to Christianity that they will rather

die than forswear
of opinion
is
?

it

a thing

unknown

in the history

6

We acknowledge that He

was poor
?

;'

but

not that very poverty a proof of His divinity

He

adopted no policy of concession like Simon,
that idolatry

who taught

was a matter

of indifference. 7

He had
men
in

none

of the adventitious

advantages which enable

to gain distinction.

He was

not the citizen of a great

country, nor the child of wealthy parents.

Born

poverty and narrow circumstances, without the advantage of any course of learning, untaught in the methods
of

argument by which men become popular leaders
1

i.

27, 3.

-

viii.

79.

3

ii.

13

;

viii.

59

;

v.

62

;

vii.

41

;

i.

28.

4 6

vii.

26

;

i.

3.

B

iv.

32.
i.

oirep ouSels

vwep tzAAov $6y/j.aTos

l<TT6p7]Tai tvoi^iv

26.

7

vi.

11.

236

THE REPLY OF ORIGEN.
of hearers,

and draw crowds
to the

He

yet devoted Himself

promulgation of new doctrines, introducing a
it

system which reverenced the prophets, while
stroyed the customs of the Jews, and, above
ished the Greek observances about the gods.
did
all,

de-

abol-

Whence

He

derive His knowledge of a judgment by God,
?

with punishment for the evil and reward for the good

He won

over to His doctrine not the uncultivated

merely, but others

who had

insight into the hidden

purport of what seemed to be paltry.

Origen quotes
to the Seriphian

from Plato the reply of Themistocles

who had

tauntingly told
to his

him

that his great reputation
gifts,

was not due

own

character and
:

but to the
should not
of Seriif

country in which he had been born

" I

have been so famous

if

I

had been a native

phus, nor would you have been a Themistocles

you

had been born an Athenian."

x

"

But Jesus, who was not
it

only a Seriphian, but the most ignoble, as
Seriphians, has stirred the whole world of

were, of

men more
excel

than Pythagoras, or Plato, or any wise man, or king,
or general, in
in
is

any part
;

of the world."

2

Few men
all

many

things

but He, apart from

other virtues,

admired for wisdom,

for miracles,

and leadership.

He won
1

over adherents not by the methods which a
i.

Repub.,

330 A.
ayevveararos 8e8uvr)Tai
<re7aai
/cat

2

dAAa

kou ^epKpiwv (wj Zgtiv siireiv) 6

ttjv iraaav

avdpwwoov olKov/xeur]u
ottoittotovv

.

.

.

U7rep

Ylvdayopav Kal YlKaroofa
cocpcoi/
$j

rivas

aWovs ruv

tyjs

olKovfxswqs

f&aai\4wv ^

(TTpaTTiyoov

i.

29.

THE PERSON AND WORK OF CHRIST.
tyrant or a robber or a rich

237

man might

pursue, but as

a Teacher of the doctrine touching the

God

over

all

and the worship due

to

Him, and

of all those ethical

precepts by living according to which a

man may
all

enjoy

communion with God.
stacles,
fixion.

In addition to

other ob-

He

died by the dishonourable death of cruci-

This was enough to extinguish the reputation

which

He had

acquired

;

and

if

the disciples had been

formerly deceived, this would have caused them to

abandon

their delusion
1

and condemn

Him who had

deluded them.
cans."
If

"

The

disciples

were worthless publi-

they were,

is

not this convincing evidence

to every fair inquirer that they taught Christianity

by

divine power
of

?

They did not gain hearers by power
artifice.

speech or rhetorical

In this way the
plain.

divinity of the message

was made

Had

Jesus

used the services of
the

men who were

wise according to

common

conception,

He might

with reason have
to that of

been suspected
philosophers

of adopting a

method akin

who

are the heads of a sect.

But who,

on looking to fishermen who had not learned the very
rudiments
Jesus,
of letters, 2

proclaiming boldly their faith in

would not

ask,
3

Whence

did they obtain this
it is

persuasive power?

If

they were worthless,

a

striking tribute to His healing efficacy.

For by His

power these notorious sinners made such progress that
they became patterns of holiest living to those
1
i.

who
Idem.

30.

2 /ATjSe tcl

Trpwra ypafx/xaTa /xefxaOriKuras

i.

62.

:!

238

THE REPLY OF ORIGEN.

embraced the Gospel through their instrumentality. 1
Jesus
or
is is

not to be classed along with the national O gods o
of the heathens, for

demons

He

has shown that

He
all

superior to

them
2

all

by taking adherents from
less

their provinces,

and not

by the very

loftiness of

His self-confidence.
vents

Xo

national god or

demon
no

pre-

men from giving honour to
to

other gods or demons;
rival,

He
we

alone, with conscious superiority, brooks

and forbids men
divest this

acknowledge others as divine. 3
of
its

If

thought of Origen
it

temporary
impatience

form,

we may put

in this way.

By His
to

of falsehood Christ

showed Himself

be the Truth
of

by the very absoluteness and exclusiveness

the

homage
divinity
;

which
to

He demanded, He
less

declared

His

claim
to
;

than

absolute

sovereignty

would have been
real

acknowledge that
as

claim to any
so

ask

much

;

as

the

He had no the Son of God He could Son of God He could ask

no

less.

XII. The union of God and
Jesus Christ
duction of a
is

man
"

in the person of

attested

by the creation and reproIn

new

spiritual type.

Him
so

began the
that

union

of

the

divine

and the human,

the

human by
1
i.

intercourse with the divine might become
all

divine not in Jesus only, but in
63.
2

who with
3
iii.

faith

viii.

4.

36.

THE PERSON AND WORK OF CHRIST.
take up the nation
is

239
incar;

life

which Jesus taught."

x

The

thus not altogether an isolated fact
life

God

has entered into the

of

humanity, and thereby
obtain moral yet real

made

it

possible

for

men
Christ

to
is

union with Him.

the

first

and perfect

embodiment

of

an ideal which

may

be reproduced

imperfectly in other men, but only through Him.
incarnation
1

The

is

the apotheosis of humanity.
Oe'ia
kclI

air'

€Keivov ^p^aro
rf)

avOpunrivr)

crvuvcpaiuecrdai (pvcrts-

'iv

r)

avdpcvrrivr]

irpds
teal

rd Oeiorepov

Kuivosvia. yevrjTaL

Oeta ovk ev /xouu)

tw

'Irjaov,

dAAd

iracri
iii.

ro?s fiera rov twjtgv&iv dvaXajxfidvovcn (iiov hv

'Irjaovs iSiSa^ev

28.

240

CHAPTER
THE CHURCH AND
ITS

V.

ADHERENTS.

The

attack

of

Celsus
is
;

on

the

Church

is

marked

by the insight that
scoffs

born of keen

hostility.

He
its

at its divisions

he attacks the principle of
it

blind unreasoning faith which
votaries
:

demanded from

he seeks to discredit the Christian system
intellectual

by aspersing the

and moral character
its

of its adherents, as well as

by assailing

peculiar

dogmas.

I.

To the eye

of Celsus the divisions in the

Church
which

were only an evidence
Christianity

of the spirit of revolt to

owed

its origin.
;

The sense

of a

common

danger at
grew,
arose.
its

first

enforced unity

but as the organisation
;

true spirit was revealed

endless divisions

These sects had nothing in
of Christians,

common

but the
jot for

name

and would not yield one
;

the sake of concord
of disunion in the

nay, so inherent was the spirit
its

Church and

followers, that

if

THE CHUECH AND
all

ITS

ADHERENTS.

241

men

desired to become Christians they themselves
it.

would not desire

In answer to the charge

of division,

Origen draws

a sharp line of distinction between the teaching of

the Church and that of the adherents of the various

forms of Gnosticism.

As

in

philosophy there are

Epicureans who, by their denial of Providence, show
that they are not true philosophers
;

so those

who
of

call

themselves Gnostics, and introduce monstrous fictions

which are not approved by the followers
are not true Christians.

Jesus,
if

They may divide men,
" spiritual,"

they
as
if

will, into "

carnal " and

and speak
:

they were saved or lost from natural constitution
is

what

that " to us of the
is

Church

"

by

whom
as
;

such

teaching

condemned
are
in

?

x

Many
so

charges
far

brought

forward

by Celsus
:

aimless,
his

we
for

are

concerned

we

join

condemnation
is

we,
after

who

are " of the

Church which alone
none
2 us, is true.

named

Christ," also say that

of these opinions,

which
this

he quotes against
distinction
to the

Mark, however,
:

between us and them

no one who adheres

Ophites or kindred sects will contend unto

death in defence of that which he deems to be the
truth. 3

This method of
rigid
1

disproof

might have

satisfied

a

upholder
teal

of

traditionalism
7]/u.as,

and

ecclesiastical

ri tovto irpds
16.

rous aird

ttjs e/c/cArjcrtay

v. 61.

2

viii.

3

vii.

40.

Q

242

THE REPLY OF ORIGEN.

authority, but could not satisfy a thinker like Origen.

He

goes to the root of the matter, and, instead of

denying the existence of heresies, virtually maintains
that they have always existed, that they sprang from

the working of the Greek

mind on Christian

truth,

that they testify to the importance and vitality of the

Christian faith, and that they are at once the symbol

and the result
in

of

an enlightened intellectual interest

Christianity.

The statement

of

Celsus, that

at

the outset there was absolute unity of religious belief

among

the diciples of Jesus, he shows
of

to

be

false.

Even among the eyewitnesses

Jesus, discussions

arose in regard to the relation of
tianity.

Judaism

to Chrisof

Paul indicates that on the doctrine

the

resurrection there were wide divergences of opinion.

The

allusion to " vain babblings,

and oppositions

of

gnosis falsely so called," points in the

same

direction. 1

And

such divisions, so far from being a ground of

cavil, are a tribute to Christianity,

to the

importance

of its principle, this
of

and

its

usefulness to men.
"

Only

in

way do
is

heresies spring up.

Because the art
to

healing

useful

and necessary
to

man, many
arise

discussions

in

regard

the art of

healing

and, as a consequence, in medical science

among

the

Greeks, and probably

among

the barbarians, there are
applies to philo-

many
sophy.

" heresies."

The same principle

By

its

promise of truth, by laying down the
1

iii.

11.

THE CHURCH AND
knowledge
ought to

ITS

ADHERENTS.

243

of things that are,

by prescribing how we
to teach

live,

and by attempting
it

what

is

useful to the race of men,

raises questions

which
this

admit

of

great

diversity

of

opinion,

and,

on

account,

many

" heresies " exist in

philosophy of more

or less repute.

Another

illustration is

found in Ju-

daism, with
writings

its

varied interpretation of the Mosaic

and

the

prophetic

discourses.
itself

In
to

like

manner, since Christianity presented
as an object

men
most

demanding veneration,

— not

to the

enslaved only, as Celsus supposes, but to

many

of the

Greeks who were

men

of learning,

— heresies
of

of neces-

sity arose, not at all
strife,

because of factions and the love of

but because of the eager desire of
to

many

of the

learned

understand

the

truths

Christianity.

Hence among those who were

at one in recognising

the books as divine, heresies sprang up.
their
of the

These took

name from men who
Word, but were
But

alike

admired the origin

led on various plausible grounds
as

to divergent views.

no one would with reason
its

shun the art

of healing

because of
for

heresies, nor

any one with any regard

the fitness of things

hate philosophy on such grounds, so

we should not
1

condemn the sacred books
because of the heresies

of

Moses and the prophets
the Jews."

among

Why

not accept a similar apology for the heresies of the
Christians
?

How

very wonderful was the language
1

iii.

12.

244
of

THE REPLY OF ORIGEN.
!

Paul concerning these

"

For there must be also
are approved
1

heresies

among

you, that they which

may

be made manifest among you."
of

As

in

the

science

medicine he

is

approved who has been

disciplined in various " heresies,"

and has chosen the

more excellent
in

after a fair

examination of

many
of
is

;

as

philosophy he holds an advanced position who,

after obtaining the

knowledge and discipline

many
com-

systems, has attached himself to that which

mended by most weighty reasons
ment
of Origen, "

;

so,

in the judg-

he who has carefully considered the
is

heresies of

Judaism and Christianity
2

the wisest

Christian."

The
was

assertion of Celsus that the spirit of division

so deeply rooted in the very constitution of the
if

Church, that

all

men wished
as a lie

to

become Christians,
it, is

the Christians themselves would not desire
acterised

char-

by Origen

on the face

of

it.

In

evidence he points to the enthusiasm with which they seek to propagate the Gospel in town and country, and
to the unselfish motives

by which that

activity

is

ani-

mated.

The motive

of gaining riches

cannot be charged

against them, as they get nothing for their support, or
at the

most the barest necessaries
its

;

and

if,

now

that

the Church contains within

ranks some adherents

1

1

Cor.

xi. 19.
tlirotfx
&!/

2

outcos

Kal t6v im/ieXus eviftouTa. reus 'lov5ai(Tfj.ov

K<xl

XpicrTiavicruov alpeaecri <ro<pwraTov Xpiffriavdv yevzadai

iii.

13.

THE CHUECH AND

ITS

ADHERENTS.

245

who

are rich or in

positions of

honour, and some

delicate
of the

and well-born women who receive the teachers
in the in-

Word, there may seem some point
which

sinuation that some become Christian teachers because
of the little glory
it

confers, such a suspicion

could not reasonably be entertained in regard to the
first

teachers.

And

to-day the credit which they are
their
is

supposed to receive from
especially
is

fellow

-

Christians,
all,

when such honour

not attained by

by no means an equivalent for the positive

dis-

credit

which they meet with from the

rest of

man-

kind. 1

II.

Though broken

up

into

many

factions,

the

Christians, according to Celsus, were at one in

demand-

ing from

their

adherents an irrational

faith.

He

declares that their

watchword was,

"

Do

not examine,

but believe

;

"

he accuses them of blind acceptance of
;

supernatural dogmas

he charges the teachers with

bringing forward no arguments as Plato did, and with
calling for immediate assent to
for a faith that increased

what was

incredible,

with the incredibility of the

message.

In response to this

charge,

which touched him
respect
like

keenly, Origen points out that in this

the
all

teachers

of the

Gospel

were only

acting

teachers of philosophy.
1

When
iii.

a

man

at first attaches

9.

246

THE REPLY OF ORIGEN.

himself to any school, he does so not after an examination of the arguments for and against the different

systems, but from a belief that one

is

superior,

from

an irrational impulse to adopt one and ignore the
others.
ist,

Thus one becomes a

Stoic,
1

another a Platon-

and another an Epicurean.

Since, then, belief in
is

the founder of some school or another
necessity,

a matter of

why

not rather believe in the supreme God,

and

in Christ
?

who has taught

us to reverence
is

God

alone

Faith, moreover, as a principle,

not limited
affairs

to the sphere of Christian truth.

All

human

depend on

faith.

Nobody ploughs
:

or marries without

hoping for the best
lies in

faith

emboldens men to do what

the sphere of things unseen,

it

holds

life to-

gether.
faith in

"What more reasonable, then, than to put

God

the Creator, and in
all

Him who
?

dared to

present this truth to
of

men

everywhere, in the face
2

danger and a dishonourable death

A

bare implicit faith, though capable of being deis

fended,

not to be regarded as a substitute for a
If all

reasoned knowledge, but as a necessity.

men
as

had

leisure

for

speculative

inquiry into

Christian

truth, this

method would be universally adopted

the best and only method. 3

In the Christian system
holds
a

speculation on matters of faith

prominent

1

i.

10.

2

i.

11.

''

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ra rod

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i.

9.

THE CHURCH AND
place.

ITS

ADHERENTS.

247

The

interpretation of enigmas in the Prophets
in the Gospels, as also of countless in-

and parables

cidents and laws which

had a symbolical meaning,

affords great scope for investigation.

Many

cannot

follow this path because of the necessities of existence
or other causes
irrational belief
acter,
:

better surely

for

such to give an
of char-

which issues in reformation
life.
1

than to continue in an evil

To
to

exalt faith at the expense of Scripture.

wisdom

is

opposed
special

the teaching of
to those

Christ gave

honour

who longed
Paul

after
"

His wisdom.

He
cenof

promised to send to believers

wise

men and
effect.
3

scribes." 2

The teaching
sures those

of

is

to the

same

He

who

believe " in vain."

In speaking

the gifts of God, he puts in the

first

rank "divine
rank,
that
it

wisdom
which

"

;

and next
called "

to

it,

in the second
"
;

is

knowledge

and third (since

is

necessary that even the simplest should be saved
attend to the service of
ity),
4

who

God

to the best of their abil-

" faith."

5

And on

the same principle he puts

the working of miracles and the charism of healing
in a lower position than the charism of words. 6

Yet

the absence or presence of these gifts does not affect

our standing in relation to God.

The

faith

of

the

ignorant not less than the rational piety of the more
3

1
i.

9

;

iii.

38, 39.

2

iii.

46.

vi. 10.

See

1 Cor. xv. 2.

4
5

iirel

(Tw^ffdac
xii.

XPV

Kai tovs airAov<rTepovs
6


vi.

vi. 13.

1

Cor.

8, 9.

13

;

iii.

37, 46.

248

THE REPLY OF ORIGEN.
by Him,
for
it

intelligent is accepted

is

through the
pure
ser-

High

Priest

who has
that

instructed

men

in the

vice of

God

both send up their prayers and

thanksgivings to the Creator of the universe. 1

Origen himself was wont to teach in harmony with
these principles.

In his discourses

to the

community
of Christian

he brought forward the divinest elements
doctrines,

when
but

intelligent

men were
is

present in large
of

numbers
simpler
" milk,"

;

when

those

assembled were
figuratively

the

class,

who

required what

termed

he concealed and passed by the deeper truths. 2

From

those

whom

he could influence by no other
faith only
;

appeal, he
stration

demanded

but

when

a demon-

by questions and answers was

possible,

he

adopted this method. 3

In regard to the end of the

world and a judgment to come, for example, he who

wished to present Christian truth in a philosophical
fashion would endeavour to establish
it

by

all sorts of

arguments, whether drawn from the divine Scriptures
or from a process of ratiocination
of the majority,
;

but

it

was the duty

who were

incapable of following the

varied speculations of the

wisdom

of God, to intrust

themselves to
to be satisfied
1

God and

to the Saviour of our race,
ipse dixit. 4
52.
fxr]
"

and

with His
2
iii.

Expediency de3

vii.

46.

vi.

10.

4

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5vvd/j.evov TrapaKo\ovd€?v

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11

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iv. 9.

THE CHURCH AND

ITS

ADHERENTS.
to

249
be taught

mands

this.

The multitude only required
would be punished:

that sinners

to interpret

what

that implied, and
ing,

commit such interpretation
for

to writ-

might be dangerous;

were there not many

who were hardly
disorders
1

restrained even by the fear of eternal

punishments from rushing into extreme wickedness and
?

Origen, then, does not deny the charge of

blind faith

:

he shows that such faith
it

is

limited in its
Irrational

range, and assigns to

a subordinate place.

belief in the Christian

system

is

not a thing in itself

desirable, but

is

rather a necessary evil in consequence

of the physical
it is justified

needs and mental weakness of men:
its

by expediency and

ethical results.

III.

For the prominent position assigned by the

Christian Church to unreasoning faith Celsus found
a

ready explanation.

Its

adherents were

mainly

plebeian in rank and culture.

As

if

education were

an
to

evil,

they sought out the unintelligent, invited
mysteries the ignorant and stupid, and in
off

their

this

way drove
off

wise men.
before

Like jugglers, they
slaves,

showed
children,

their

tricks

women, and

and caught nothing but

rustics.

With

reference to the general accusation, Origen

points out that in the

Church
of

of Christ, as elsewhere,

the more uncultivated

necessity

outnumber the
of

more

intelligent, 2
1

and disproves the charge
2
i.

pre-

vi. 26.

27.

250
ferring such

THE REPLY OF ORIGEN.
by appealing to the many passages which
"

inculcated

wisdom

in the

ancient Jewish writings
less in the

which Christians

also use,

and not

books

written after the time of Jesus which are believed

by the Churches
Psalms
is

of

God
secret

to

be divine."

The Book

of

full of

wise teaching.

In a prayer to God
of

David

says, "

The

and hidden things
1

Thy

wisdom Thou
of

didst manifest to me."

In the writings

Solomon, who put great thoughts in few words, are

found

many

praises of

wisdom and incitements

to its

attainment.

Enigmas, dark sayings, parables, and
for

problems were introduced

the very purpose of

training the understanding of believers and

making

them

wise. 2

So

of the parables of Christ it is recorded

that the crowd were

deemed worthy only

of exoteric

words, while the disciples learned the interpretation
in private. 3
as

So far
that to

is

Origen from regarding education
it

an

evil,

him

is

the pathway to virtue,
reality. 4

and knowledge the one stable and permanent

But who are the educated

?

Will even the wise
such those
will

among

the Greeks reckon
?

as

who

hold

erroneous opinions
it

All

men

acknowledge that
best

is

a good thing to

study the

words.

But

1

Ps.

li.

6,

as in the

LXX.
auveaip rcoy olkovovtoov ra
/xhv iv aiviyfiaai,

2

ovtco 5e /3oi>AeTc» ao<pohs eluai ev ro7s iriaTevovaiv 6 Aoyos, &o~re

virep

tov

yvfj.vd.aai

tt]v

to

5e iu rots KaAov/xtvois (TKoreii/ols Aoyois AeAaATjKeVai, to Se 8td irapafSoAoov, Kal
3
iii.

aAAa

5ta Trpo^Ky]fxdr(av

iii.

45.
4
iii.

46.

49, 72.

THE CHURCH AND ITS ADHERENTS.

251

what words can be

so described save such as are true
to

and give a stimulus
belong to
educated
"

virtue

? *

Only those who

God
and

are truly wise. 2

The

epithets

"un-

" slavish " are fittingly

applied, not to

men who are ignorant of Greek learning, but to those who address supplications for health to that which is powerless, who pray for life to that which is dead. From this condition of true ignorance the very lowliest
Christian
is

freed, 3 while the wisest
4

understand and

lay hold of the divine hope.

Instead of seeking out

by preference the
lies to

unintelligent,

we do
"

all

that in us

secure that our assembly be formed of
5

men

of

prudence.

If

you use the word

unintelligent " in a

moral sense, we acknowledge that we seek out such in
the same spirit that a philanthropic physician seeks

out the sick.
clever,'

" If

by

'

unintelligent

'

you mean
to

'

not

we acknowledge

that

we seek

improve

such as far as possible, but do not desire to form
of

such materials the Christian

Church.

On

the

contrary,

we

desire rather the clever

and acute who

are able to follow the elucidation of the enigmas and

words in the Law, the Prophets, and the Gospels,

which were spoken with a secret meaning."
despised these because he

Celsus

made no

effort to enter into

the
1

mind
iii.

of the writers. 7
2

49.
*v

viii.

10.
5
iii.
iii.

3
(>

tovs ia-^drovs T & v
oh
iii.

VH-w

vi. 14.

4

vi. 14.

52. 74.

fxr]v

e'/c

tovtwv f5ovAo/j.ai

<jvo~Trio~ai

to XpiaTiavcvv 'aQpoiajxa

7

74.

252

THE REPLY OF ORIGEN.

The idea cherished by some that the Gospel does
not desire to attract wise men,
the words of Paul.
1

is

probably due to
it

These words, be

noted, were

written

to

Greeks who were greatly puffed up on

account of their wisdom.
those

The Word declares that

who

are

occupied only with sensible things,
as
all,

and regard them

are wise in respect of this

world, but not wise in respect of the things intelligible, unseen,

and

eternal.

Because
;

it

is

a "
"

wisdom
wisdom
to

of this age " it

comes
soul

to

nought

but by the

of

God "
despise

the

turns

from things here

the

blessedness with
to

God and His kingdom, and
and
an
exercise
for

learns

as

transitory things seen
is

sensible. 2

Human wisdom
divine

the soul,

but

wisdom
"

is its

end. 3

Paul, moreover, does not
is

say that

no

"

wise

but

"

not many."

man after the flesh And in specifying the
prominence
to

called,

qualifica-

tions of bishops, he gives

aptness in

teaching, on

the ground that the

bishop must be
of

able to refute

gainsayers

and shut the mouths
is

vain talkers by the wisdom that
is

in

him.

What
for the

true in the taunt of Celsus

is

that the unlearned

as well as the instructed are invited

by us

;

Word

promises to heal such, and

make

all

worthy
its

of God. 4

But the Gospel
:

is

to

be judged by
is

intelligent expositors

the

Word
3

not to be cen-

sured though some in their ignorance
1

may

not have
4
iii.

1 Cor.

i.

18.

2

iii.

47.

vi.

13.

48.

THE CHUECH AND

ITS

ADHERENTS.

253

a clear perception of humility, or other virtues,
doctrines.

and
that

Why

not pardon those
if

who aim

at
?

which

is

superior, even
disciple

they miss the
lives
it

mark

1

If

any seeming
trary
to

of Christ

wantonly, con-

the

teaching of Jesus,
to

would be most
with
of

unreasonable
purity
:

charge
if

the the
it

in like manner,

Word Word
is

his

im-

God

invites

men

to

cultivate wisdom,
it

not responsible for

those that decry

and advocate ignorance. 2
and addressed
to

The
all,

Gospel

is

a universal Gospel,
slaves.

even to

They are ennobled by the Word
freedom
of

when they
to the

receive

thought.

The am-

bassadors of Christianity admit that they are " debtors

Greeks and the barbarians,

to the wise

and

the
to

foolish."

Do

not

philosophers
?

invite

slaves
to

the pursuit of philosophy

"

Are we then

condemn Pythagoras
or

for inciting
;

Zamolxis to virtue,
take a modern
Epic-

Zeno

in respect Of Persaeus

or, to

instance, are

we

to censure those
?

who induced
If

tetus

to

become a philosopher

not,

why

not

acknowledge that we are moved by a

spirit of phil-

anthropy when we seek to heal every rational nature

by the medicine

of

the

Word, and bring

it

into
?

fellowship with God, the Creator of the universe

3

To say that the ignorant character

of the

mass

of

the Christian adherents compels wise
aloof
1

men

to stand

is

ridiculous.
;

As
2
iii.

well say that no wise
44.

man
54.

iii.

72

vi. 15.

Cf. vi. 7, 37.

3

iii.

254

THE REPLY OF OPJGEN.
of

would obey the laws

Solon or Lycurgus, or any

other lawgiver, because the ignorant multitude were

under their authority.
if

The argument

is

stronger
of virtue.

by a man

of

sense you

mean

a

man

These lawgivers were guided in their legislation solely

by the consideration

of

what was expedient
:

in the

interests of the governed

so God, in enacting laws

through Jesus
to

Christ

for
to

men
a

everywhere, sought
life

lead the unthinking
to

better

in such a

way and
case.
1

such an extent as was possible in their

IV. In the

eyes

of

Celsus
less

the

moral nakedness

of the Christians

was not

conspicuous than their
essentially a carnal
evil

intellectual poverty.

They were

and sense -bound

race.

They exercised an

in-

fluence over the young.
invitation to

They gave an indiscriminate
and
-

the

dregs

rabble,

and called

for

adherents such as a robber

chief

would welcome.

What was

this

wide opening

of the gates to all, this

strange preference for sinners, but an admission that

they could not win over or influence the good

?

Such accusations may seem

to us

beneath notice,

but the refutation of them was not superfluous when
as yet great ignorance of the character of Christians

prevailed,

and absurd charges were

possible.

It

gave

Origen the opportunity to present the Christian ideal
1

iii.

73.

THE CHURCH AND
of

ITS

ADHERENTS.
it

255
in-

morals, and to

show how

was realised in

dividual believers as well

as in

the churches as a
carnal
is

whole.

The charge

of

being

dismissed
dwells in

quickly by him.
a
of

When

the Spirit of
flesh.

God

man, he
thought

is
is

no longer in the

Absolute purity

the goal of the Christian's efforts and
is

prayers. 1

Such

the power of the teaching of Jesus,

that

many who

are despised by Celsus as fools and

slaves

abstain even

from lawful intercourse.

They

require no

hemlock, like the Athenian hierophant,

to repress concupiscence. 2

Nay, even in the case

of

the ignorant and simple
rational piety, but
all
is

who have

not attained to a

simply believe in the God over

and
often

in

His only-begotten Son the Word, there
a

found

superior

gravity

and simplicity
of

of morals. 3

The mere declaration
is

faith in

God

through Jesus

vain, unless

it

be attended by a
life

divine moral force manifested in

and character. 4

The true Christian
or, if

fights for truth

unto the death

he

flies, it

is

not from selfish cowardice, but for
life.
5

the sake of benefiting others by continuing in
It
is

unreasonable to depart from
of piety; but
life

life

save on the
is

ground

when

the alternative

placed

before us, of
of Jesus

with disobedience to the commands

and death with obedience to His words, we For general testimony as
-

choose death.
1

to the true
:;

vii.
i.

45.

vii.
i.

48.
;

vii.

49.

4

62.

5

62

viii.

44.

6

viii.

55.

256

THE EEPLY OF OKI GEN.

character of Christians, Origen appeals with confidence
to their neighbours

and

associates. 1

Of the moral
less

influence

of

the

teachers

he speaks with not
force

assurance.

Is that
of

an

evil

which checks the

wantonness

women, and curbs
and

their furious passion

for theatres, dances,

superstition,

and which incul-

cates

on lads verging on manhood the value and the
?

duty of {self-restraint
induce

2

Is

it

the work of jugglers to

men

to cultivate piety

towards the God of the

universe,

and other kindred

virtues, or to convert

men

from despising the divine, and from doing whatever
is

contrary to right reason
it

3
?

In teaching the Gos-

pel to children,

is

true that a certain measure of
If the father or teacher be a
is

secrecy

is

employed.

lover of virtue, no secrecy

needed
is

;

from such, a

favourable hearing of the message

certain.

When

an opposite course

is

adopted,

we

are only following
seize every oppor-

the practice of philosophers

who

tunity to instil their secrets into the hearts of the

young, when the fathers,
as
idle

who

regard their teaching
If it

and unprofitable, are absent.

be an

offence to turn

away the young from

teachers whose

theme

is

unseemly comedies and licentious iambics,
profit the

which can neither

reader nor the hearers
spirit, to

unless they are perused in a philosophical

such charge we plead guilty.

4

In defence of the character
1

of the
3
iii.

Churches gener4
iii.

vi. 40.

2

iii.

56.

50.

58.

THE CHURCH AND
ally,

ITS

ADHERENTS.
its

257
preference

Origen replies to the taunt about

for sinners

by showing what
"

is

the attitude of the us to robbers,

Church
as
if

to the sinful.

By comparing

there were any likeness between our ideal and
enrols himself

their inclinations, Celsus

among

the

number
sors."
1

of those

who reckoned Jesus among

transgresof

Though the Christian may summon persons

the same class that a robber summons, he calls them to
a different calling,

—he seeks

to bind

up

their wounds,

and pour on their inflamed sores healing drugs from
the Word. 2

A

distinction, too,

must be made between
and

the the

summoning

of those that are sick to be cured, of those that are healthy to a

summoning
of

know-

ledge

divine

things.

We

begin
will

by exhorting
prevent them

sinners to learn doctrines

which

from sinning

;

we

seek to implant intelligence in the
children
blessed.

unintelligent, to
to

make

men

in understanding,

make

the

unhappy

Then, when they have

made

progress and increased in purity,

we

call

them
3

to the mysteries

which are reserved

for the " perfect."

Moreover, from the nature of the case, the number
of virtuous

converts

in

our assemblies far exceeds

the

number

of the wicked.

The truth
will

of a

recompense

and judgment by God, who

apportion to each
is

sinner punishment according to right reason,
rally held with

natu-

more firmness by the man who, from a
its

consciousness of virtue, has an interest in
1

truth,

viii.

54.

2

iii.

61.

3

iii.

59, 60, 37.

R

258

THE EEPLY OF ORIGEN.
is

than by him who

hindered by the very conscious-

ness of guilt from accepting this doctrine,

— especially
Yet

when, through a long course of sinning, the power to
return to a better
so great
is

life

is

almost extinguished. 1

the power of the

name

of Christ, that

we

see implanted in

many such
all

a philanthropic goodness

and gentleness, in
the

indeed that have truly received

Word

touching God

and Christ and

a

future

judgment, though not in such as make a hypocritical
profession of belief for the sake of temporal comforts. 2

Origen challenges a comparison
ecclesia with that of the Christians.

of

the

political

Compared with
to a

the assemblies in the

cities,

whose members are

great extent superstitious and
of

unjust, the churches

God

are as "lights in the world."

The worst

of

those in

the Church

are

superior
"
is
;

to

many
of

in

the
at

assemblies of the people. 3

The Church
to

God

Athens, whose only aim

please the

Supreme

God,

is

gentle

and orderly
is

but

the

assembly of
is

the Athenians
of

full of factions.

The same

true
of

Corinth and Alexandria.

The establishment

such churches of God in every city will create in
every
fair

and truth-loving inquirer admiration
conceived and
"

for

Him who

executed such a design."
"

A
1

comparison of
iii.

counsellors " and " rulers

reveals

65.
[AT)

2

iv ro7s
67.
iii.

5ia to. (iiaiTUca.

ij

Tivas

XP €Las

dvOpcoTriKas viroKpiixxfxzvois

-i.
3

29.

THE CHURCH AND
the marked
superiority
of

ITS

ADHERENTS.
officials

259
in

similar

the

Church.
"

Nay, even in the case

of " counsellors "

and

rulers " in the

Church who

are,

comparatively speak-

ing,

very remiss in duty, will be found generally a

higher

and

growing

standard of virtue. 1

Among
common
even for

Christians, properly so called, wicked persons do not
exist.

In any

case,

they do not come to the
if

prayers, or are excluded

they do come

:

such to intrude secretly
This result
to
is

is

a very rare occurrence. 2

accomplished by the measures adopted
standard in the adherents.

secure a high moral
like

Philosophers

the

Cynics discourse publicly to
sift
it

chance hearers, and do not
wills,

them

;

any one who

stands
"

and

listens

:

is

otherwise with the

Christians.

Before they admit any one into their
test

community, they
to hear, teach

the souls of those

who wish

them

privately,

and only admit them
consecration

when they have proved by growing
their desire to live a better
life.

Among
of

those ad-

mitted are two classes

— those
utmost

just introduced

who
have

have not yet received the symbol

purification, 3

and those who,

to the

of their ability,

shown that they
that

are resolved only to will and to do

which

the

Christians

approve.

To

prevent

persons of evil character from coming to our

common

1

eir\

toov a<p68pa b.TtoTvyx avo lx * V(* iV

fiovAevTwv Kal dpx^VTwv

iii.

30.

2 3

iv.

27.
<rv/j.fio\ov

ouSeVw to

tov aTrofceKaOdpOai duei\r]<p6Tcou

iii.

51.

260
assemblies,

THE REPLY OF ORIGEN.

we appoint some whose duty
the lives

it

is

to

inquire carefully into

and ways
are
free

of

those

who approach

;

but those

who

from vice
strive
clay

we welcome with our whole by day to make them better.
the licentious, are driven out.
the Pythagoreans
tised,
1

heart,

and

All that

sin, especially

The holy school

of

reckoned as dead those
for

who

aposta-

and

set

up cenotaphs

them

;

so the Christians lust or
for

look on those

who have been mastered by

any

monstrous sin as dead to God, and mourn
as

them

dead

:

if

they show a noteworthy change of con-

duct, they regard

them

as having risen

from the dead,

and readmit them
later period

after a longer interval
first
;

and

at

a

than those admitted at

but those

who

lapse are excluded from all rule or office in the
of God."
2

Church

V. In their doctrine of the resurrection of the body
Celsus saw the clearest evidence that the Christians

were carnal.
not for men.

It

was a hope
criticism

for

worms

to

cherish,
to

Such

might be applied

some theories
Origen.

of the resurrection,

but not to that of
of

He was

equally opposed to the views

those
"

who

held there was no resurrection, and of the
"
3

simple and flesh-lovers
1

who

fancied that the re-

rd

jxkv ruiv

Uvdayopeiwv asfxvov 8i8a<rKaAe?ov

iii.

51.

2

Idem.

3

"Simplices et philosarcas."
xvii. 61, 62.

— (Letter

of

Jerome to Pammachius.)

Lomm.,

THE CHURCH AND
surrection-body would be in
the present.

ITS ADHERENTS.

261

all respects

the same as
be,

A

resurrection

there

must

as

it

would be a proof that God was unjust or impotent
if

the body, which was the partner of the soul in

tortures

and

sufferings,

were not to share in the

re-

ward
fair

x
:

identity there

must

be,

for

it

would not be

that

one body should

suffer

and another be
?

crowned. 2

But

in

what

consists this identity

It is

not the teaching of Scripture that the dead will rise

with the same flesh which has undergone no change
for the better. 3
is

St Paul teaches that the body which

sown

is

not the body that shall be. 4
its

God

gives to
is
it

each seed

own
"

body, and, from that which
earth, a resurrection, as

sown
were,

and

cast

naked into the

takes place. 5

We

do not say, then, that the corrupted

body

will return to its original nature, for the corrupted
its original state.

grain of corn does not return to

But

we

say that as in the case of the grain of corn a stalk

arises, so a certain principle of relation is

implanted

in the body,

and

that,

from this which
6

is

not corrupted,

the body will rise in incorruption."
1

Lomm.,
i.)

xvii.

55.

— (Fragment
ovre ra

from

lost treatise,

De

Resurrec-

tione,
2

Lomm.,
ovtc
jxkv

xvii. 62.

3

ovv

7]/j.e?s,

Qua ypajxixwra
rd fStXriov

clvtous
v. 18.

<f)7)o~i

aap£) [xridefxiap

yu.6Toj8oA.7jj/
4 5

aveiAr)(pvicus

ttV

€7r}

1

Cor. xv. 37.

diro

tov aireipofxevou

teal

yv/xvov jSaAAoyueVou

cttI

tt\v yrju

.

.

.

olovsl

avaaraaiv yiyveadcu
6

v. 18.

Aeyo/jiev yap,

uxrirep iwl

tov k6kkov tov vItov iyeiptTcu o~Taxvs,

262

THE KEPLY OF ORIGEN.
the nature of this seminal
:

What
capable
wills. 1

germ

is

Origen
is

does not distinctly say
of

it is

a substratum which

receiving

such qualities as the Creator
will vary according to

The resurrection-body

the deserts of the individual. 2

Origen holds that his

theory

is
;

not borrowed from the doctrine of metem3

psychosis

that

it is

in

harmony both with the

teach-

ing of the Church of Christ and the greatness of the
divine promise. 4
ovtco

Aoyos ris

tyKeirciL

tw

aocfxari, a<p' ov

fli}

(p6eipo/j.evov iyeiperui

rd

acofia ip CMpdapata
1


:

v. 23.

iv.

57

;

v. 19.

2

"

Qui beatius hie
. .

vixerit,
.

corpus ejus in resurrectione diviniore

splendore fulgebit

huic vero qui in malitia consumpserit tempus

sibi vita3 prsesentis

indultum, tale dabitur corpus, quod sufficere et

perdurare tantummodo possit in poenis. "
3

— Lomm,,

xvii. 58.
4

vii.

32.

v. 22.

263

CHAPTEK

VI.

CHRISTIANITY AND THE EMPIRE.

Christianity came into collision with the State chiefly

on two grounds

— one external and general, one internal
was an unlawful guild whose members,
and
were held
it

and

special.

It

by refusing
and

to take part in the public sacrifices to
to

for the emperor,

be guilty of treason
of distinctive

as a religion

was possessed
it

and

novel characteristics, inasmuch as
in
its origin,

was not national
of all others.

and was moreover intolerant

A brief survey of the relation of Eome to other religions
will help to

throw light on these charges.
of

The introduction
lic,

new gods

was, during the Eepub-

and even

in the early days of the Empire, regarded

with keen jealousy.
in

The worship

of foreign

gods even

private

was forbidden. 1

The emperor was not

allowed to consecrate a god without the approval of
1

"Separatim nemo habessit deos

;

neve novos sive advenas
ii.

nisi

publiee adscitos privatim colunto."

— Cicero, De Leg.,

8.

264
the Senate. 1
of

THE EEPLY OF ORIGEN.
This jealousy was intensified in the case

any

religion
of

which had a tendency

to excite the

minds

men. 2

Even permission
:

to establish a guild

not religious was often refused
tive to the

Trajan was so sensi-

danger of faction arising from such a cause,

that he refused his consent to a proposal of Pliny to
institute a guild of firemen in

Mcomedia. 3

In

all

these respects, the
into
"

Church
the

as a corporate

body came
of

conflict

with
is

traditional
4

policy

Eome.
to

Your

existence

not lawful,"

was the response

all

the early appeals of the Christians.

The Church
and

was a

religious guild worshipping a strange god,

the hostility of the authorities was increased by the

circumstance that the adherents were largely drawn

from the lower classes in the community, and spoke
of

themselves as a brotherhood.

With

the deification

of

the emperor, the general charge of illegality de;

veloped into a charge of overt treason
to sacrifice to

for

by refusing

him they were adjudged

guilty of the

crime of

Icesa majestas.

Apart from

this

general ground, Christianity was

marked by

distinctive features which, to the official
of

mind, constituted a source
a
national religion.
history.

danger.
a

It

was not

This was

new phenomenon

in religious
1

To the Eomans national and

"

Ne

qui deus ab imperatore consecraretur, nisi a senatu proc. 5.
3

batus."
2
4

— Tert., Apul.,
;

Livy, xxv. 1

xxxix.

8.

Epist. ad Traj., 34 (Keil).

"Non

licet esse vos."

Tert., Apol., 4.

CHRISTIANITY AND THE EMPIRE.
traditional

265

were convertible terms.
its

Each province,

each town, had
religious rites

own

god. 1

The idea was, that

were to be carried out because their
it,

ancestors had wished
to

and there was no necessity
Lacking these essential

give any other reason. 2

notes, Christianity in the eyes of statesmen

and

phil-

osophers needed no other reason for condemnation
for its existence destroyed the basis of all other religions,

and

it

could not be propagated without creating

social disorder.

For Christianity refused, as

it

could

not but refuse, to tolerate any form of polytheism.

The law against
was
at
first

foreign forms of worship which
fell

rigorously enforced gradually

into

desuetude.

As

the Empire extended by conquest, the
its

number
creased.

of

gods within

pale proportionately in-

To the capital flocked the representatives

of the separate nationalities, bringing their

own gods
over-

along with them.
in

Their worship was only suppressed
immorality, or

cases

of

flagrant

when by

activity

on the part

of the devotees it threatened to

become dangerous. 3

The various forms
;

of polytheism,

as a rule, tolerated each other
1

but there was no merit

Apol., 20.

"Unicuique etiam provincial et civitati suus deus " Sua cuique civitati religio, nostra nobis."
"

—Tert., — Cicero, Pro
est."

Flacco, 28.
2

Nee me ex ea

opinione,

immortalium, ullius
Cicero,
3

quam a majoribus accepi de cultu deorum unquam oratio aut docti aut indocti movebit."
iii.

De

Nat. Deor.,
e.g.,

2.

Tiberius,

destroyed the temple of

Isis.

— Joseph.,

Autiq.,

xviii. 3, 4.

266

THE EEPLY OF ORIGEN.

in such toleration.

The worship

of the

One God, the
was other-

Creator of the universe, postulated a universal and
therefore an intolerant religion.

But

it

wise with polytheism.

If

more than one god be ad-

mitted, the possibility of a limitation of gods disappears.

Each, no doubt, claimed the highest attributes for his
deity
;

but there was no conflict of principle, for the

dogmatic basis of each was the same.
great diversities of ritual
;

There might be

but proselytism, save with

a view to the material aggrandisement of a particular

temple, was an anomaly.

There was no jealousy on

the part of the gods themselves, nor on the part of
their worshippers.

By

the close of the Eepublic the

gods of Egypt found a

home
x

in

the
"

Capitol.

"A

vacant pedestal," says Jules Simon,

could always be

found for every new divinity."

Augustus sent pres-

ents to the temple at Jerusalem, and pardoned Alex-

andria

in

honour

of

Serapis.

Vespasian received
Trajan

miraculous powers from the gods of Egypt.
consulted the gods of Heliopolis.

This liberality on

the part of the emperors might be ascribed to political
or

imperial exigencies, but their

subjects were

not

less cosmopolitan.

We

see from inscriptions that the

worshipper of Serapis might be a worshipper of Bellona,
that the priest of Isis could be a priest of Cybele, that

sometimes one temple was dedicated to two gods, and
that the gods themselves gave orders for the consecra1

La Liberte de Conscience,

p. 28.

CHRISTIANITY AND THE EMPIRE.
tion of temples to others. 1
of

267

The

secret of this attitude
fact
;

mutual conciliation and tolerance lay in the

that paganism was in essence a ceremonial, not a creed

and even

after Christianity

had become the State
still

reli-

gion, the adherents of

paganism
2

retained the same

catholicity of worship.

It is easy to

understand
its

how

a monotheistic religion, believed by

adherents to

be destined to become universal, came into necessary

antagonism

with such syncretism, and evoked the
all

united hostility of
State,

others,

and therefore

of the

under whose authority, or with whose

tacit con-

nivance the various forms of worship were practised,

and which naturally saw

in Christianity a revolution-

ary force likely to disturb social order.

Tor whatever

the attitude of the cultivated minority might be, the

majority of every community were sincere, often fanatical,

worshippers of their particular gods.

This

is

manifest from the unimpeachable testimony of Lucian.

At the

close of the

'

Zeus Tragcedus,' in which, with
listening-

a running

commentary from the unseen but

gods, an Epicurean puts a Stoic to rout,
to console
1

Hermes

tries

Zeus with the thought

that, after all, the evil

La
vol. vol.
2

Religion

For the above details I am indebted to the work of Boissier, Romaine d'Auguste aux Antonins, vol. i. pp. 334-403 ii. and to Friedlander, Sittengeschichte Roms, pp. 110-147
;

;

iii.

p.

450

ct scq.

Beugnot

cpiotes

an inscription showing that Pnetextatus, the
was,

friend of Syminachus,

among
i.

other things, Pontifex Vesta:,

Pontifex

Solis,

Tauroboliatus, and Pater iSaerorum (Histoire de la
vol.

Destruction du Paganisme,

p. 444).

268

THE KEPLY OF OPJGEN.
serious, seeing that only a

was not very

few had adop-

ted such teaching, while

many

held opposite opinions

— the majority
I.

of the Greeks, the

mass
1

of the people,

the lowest rabble, and all barbarians.

In the forefront of his attack Celsus sought to

create a presumption against Christianity

by declaring

that

it

was an unlawful and

secret association.
is

The

charge of secrecy, says Origen,
ity, it is

absurd.

Christian-

true, like the schools of philosophy,
;

has

its

esoteric teaching

but Christian dogmas are better

known than

philosophical principles.

Who

does not

know
been
true.
tests

of the birth of Jesus

from a
? 2

virgin, of

His cruhas just

cifixion,

and His resurrection
the

From what
illegality,

said,

charge of illegality

was manifestly
but pro-

Origen admits the formal
against
it,

and

justifies

the Christian position.

Christians

alone

meet with exceptional treatment,
of serving

and are denied the liberty
to

God

according
of

their convictions.
If

3

They must obey the law
forced to live

truth.
ians,

men were

among

the Scyth-

they would do right to form associations united
of
hostility
to

by a common bond

barbaric ways.

But worse than the Scythian customs are the laws
of atheistic polytheism, if truth

be taken as umpire.

1

irhelovs 'EAArivcov, 6 ttoAvs Aews, koX 6 avpcpai;, fidp&apot re airavTes

c.
2

53.
i.

7.

3

ii.

44, 13.

CHRISTIANITY AND THE EMPIRE.
If it

269
it is

be right to conspire against a usurper,

right

that

men

should band themselves together to save

themselves and others from the tyranny of Satan

and falsehood. 1
in

We

can obey no laws that are not
laws.

harmony with divine

The

diversity of laws

which obtain in various communities proves that they
are not laws

properly so called,

— only
is is

conventional
a law

standards, not absolute rules. 2
is

There

which

by nature
of

"

king of

all."

That law

one with the
fare-

law

God.

By

it

the Christians

live,

and bid

well to lawless laws. 3

In language which anticipates

the teaching of the eighteenth century, Origen boldly

maintains the supremacy of the individual conscience.
"

There are two laws,
is

—the
is

law of nature,

of

which
cities.

God
God,
it

the enacter, and the written the written law
is

law of

When
it

not opposed to the law of

right that the citizens should not
of

abandon

under pretext

any foreign prescriptions.

But

when
we

the law of nature
is

— that

is,

the law of

God

ordains what

opposed to the written law, shall
with the claims of reason, re-

not, consistently

nounce the written law and take God as our lawgiver,

and resolve
if

to

live

according

to

His word,

even,

need
?

be, at the cost of dangers, toils, death,
"

and disgrace which
is

Would

it

not be monstrous to do that
are not laws,

in

harmony with laws which
of those
2

and with the wishes
1
i.

who uphold them, and
3

1.

viii.

26, 56.

v. 40.

270

THE REPLY OF OPJGEN.
is
if

despise that which

pleasing to the Creator of the
in other matters
it is

universe

?

"

And
law

reasonable

to prefer the

of nature,

which

is

the law of God,

to

the written law enacted

by men, does not the
to

principle apply with

more

force

laws about

God

Himself
eyes of

?

1

Christianity might be unlawful in the
law, but
it

Eoman

was in unison with a

higher law, not temporary but eternal, not accidental

but absolute,

— the law of truth, which was
to

the law of

nature, which was the law of God.

Though resolved
law
stir

do nothing contrary to the

of

God, the Christians are not fanatics eager to
of kings

up the wrath

and rulers

;

but

still

less

will they seek to

win the favour
vices,

of those in

power
servile

by participation in their
flattery to

or

by that
2

which no manly

spirit will stoop.

Origen
of

passes

by the general question

of

the

relation

subjects to tyrannical or
its

immoral
;

rulers,

because of

demanding much investigation

but his

own

solu-

tion of the problem,

though not distinctly

stated, is

clearly implied.

Christians are loyal, for they are

the followers

of

Him who was
for

not the author of
into mili" putting

sedition but of peace. 3

They do not enter
the

tary

service,

but fight
of

king

by

on the panoply
to the

God."

They do
"

so in obedience

word

of the apostle.

You do
they

not

your priests

to fight, in order that
sacrifices
3

summon may offer to
8
v. 33.

your gods the wonted
1

with pure hands, unviii.

v. 37.

2

viii.

65.

14.

Cf.

iii.

;

CHRISTIANITY AND THE EMPIRE.
stained

271

by blood.

As

priests, the Christians wrestle

in prayer for those

who

fight in

a righteous cause,

and

for

him who

rules in righteousness, that all un-

righteousness
the

may

be overthrown.

They vanquish
to be
for

demons who

stir

up war and cause oaths

broken and disturb the peace."
the

They co-operate

common good by

teaching

men

to despise pleasures

that injure the body politic.
battle,
is

They cannot enter They

into

but they organise a special army whose bond

piety,

whose weapons are prayers. 1
of

are true

benefactors

their

country

when they

train

the

citizens in piety

towards God, and induce them to be

faithful as citizens here

by inspiring them with the
Except in
this
in-

hope

of

heavenly citizenship. 2

direct way, Christians do not take part in political
life.

To

their duty as citizens of

heaven everything
this

else

must be subordinated.

For

end they sever

themselves
divine

from those who are estranged from the
3

commonwealth

they dare not lose their inall.

heritance in the

God over

If the

Lacedaemonian
of

ambassadors refused to do obeisance at the court

Persia on account of their reverence for their only

master

— the

law
of

of

Lycurgus

— much
office
is

less

can the

ambassadors
diviner, do
city

Christ,
to

whose

greater and

homage

any other authority. 4

In each

we

recognise another national organisation

—a

1

Yhiou

arpar6iv^ov ev&efieias crvyKpoTOuvTes,

5m twc

irpbs

rb 6e7ou

ivTev£(a)v
2

viii.

73.
3
viii. 5.
4

viii.

74.

viii.

6.

272
divine country
of God. 1

THE KEPLY OF OPJGEN.

—which

has been formed by the

Word

Its rulers are

men

powerful in word and

pure in

life.

They

are appointed, not because of their

anxiety for power, but rather

when from

excess of

modesty they are unwilling
the churches.
office at
"

to

undertake the care of

The

rulers themselves discharge their

the impulse of the great
of

King

—the

Son

of

God.
tians
life,

The law

God

is

their only standard.

Chrisof

have no desire to avoid the common duties
but they must
reserve
their

energies

for

the

diviner and
of

more imperative

service of the

Church
2

God, with a view to the salvation of men."
If,

then, said Celsus, arguing against teaching akin

to this, your religion

were to become universal, and

men

refused to take part either in military or civic

affairs,

the
;

empire would go to pieces.
it

No, said
it
is

Origen

if

were to become universal, as

fast

becoming and will one day

be, 3 the barbarians

would
in

become law-abiding and humane.
the

God
if

rejoices

harmony

of rational souls;

and

not "two or
to agree,

three" but the whole

Eoman Empire were

God would
assured.

fight for

them, and their victory would be

If

God's promises of victory to the Jewish
fulfilled, it is

nation have not been

not because

God

has

lied,

but because these promises were given condi-

1

eV €KacrTT) ir6Xei

&AAo

(TvaTq^ia irarplSos

viii.
r)

75.

2

viii.

75.

3

7racra jxkv dpr)(TKeia KaTaKvdrjaeTai,
/J.OV7J

fx6vr]

5e

yLpi(niavu>v Kpar-qaei-

rjTis Kal

7roTf Kparr^aei

viii.

68.

CHRISTIANITY AND THE EMPIKE.
tionally on their keeping that
If all

273
violated. 1

law which they

Eomans become

Christians, they will pray
;

and

overcome their adversaries

or rather they will not

war
of

at

all,

being protected by divine power.
:

The men

God

are the salt of the earth

they give to earth-

ly affairs unity

and

solidarity.
is

2

Do you

say that

a universal religion or law

a dream of ignorant
it

fanaticism
is

?

Not only

is

such a law possible, but

certain that all rational beings will agree to follow
;

one law
of the

that " the

Word

will one

day become master

whole rational creation, and transform every

soul into His
to,

own

perfection."

3

It

was by

this claim

and prophecy

of,

universal rule, that Christianity

came

into open collision with the old-world theory of

local or national religions.

II.

Long before the appearance

of the

'

True

Word

'

attempts had been

made by

thinkers of various schools

to effect a reconciliation
of

between the manifold forms

polytheism and the philosophical conceptions of

God. 4

Harmony was
them

established between the different
their affinity,

cults themselves

by acknowledging
all as

and

representing
of

only different embodiments
;

the

one universal

truth

and

by writers who

were eager at once to conserve the national worship
1

viii.

69.
cit.
:

2

viii.

70.

3

viii.
;

72.

4

See Boissier, opus
vol.
i.

Hild's

Etude sur
;

les

Demons

Champagny,
p. 430.

Les Antonins,

p.

395

ct seq.

Friedliinder, vol.

iii.

S

274

THE REPLY OF OPJGEN.
of

and hold by the teaching

Plato, a

solution

was

sought in a development of the theory of demons.

The usual method was

to ascribe

supreme authority

to

One and

divide his functions

among many. 1

By

rep-

resenting the
or the gods

demons

as intermediaries between

God

and men, they hoped

to reconcile religion

and philosophy.
several treatises
;

Plutarch 2 set this view forth in

but the view most akin to that of

Celsus
or

is

that elaborated by his immediate precursor

contemporary,

Apuleius

of

Madaura. 3

Of the

worship of the crowd, ignorant of philosophy, with

no grasp of truth, he speaks with keen contempt. 4 Following Plato, he places at the head of
all

things the
is

Father and Architect of this universe.
gether inaccessible to man.
If a

God

alto-

man, when raised

to

the tottering height of a throne, becomes reserved, and
passes his
life

in the inner sanctuary of his dignity,

why need
ment
?

the inaccessibility of

God

excite astonish-

5

Between God or the

chief gods

and men are

demons who

act as interpreters

and messengers. 6

He

can undergo no emotion, whether of hatred or love,
1

" Sic plerique disponunt divinitatem, ut

imperium

summum dom-

inationis esse penes

unum,

officia

ejus penes multa velint."

Tert.,

ApoL,
2

24.

De

Orac. Defectu,

De

Iside et Osirid., passim.

See Hild,

p.

303

ct seq.
3

De Dogmat.

Plat.,

de Deo Socrat.
p. 960,

Cf. August.,

De
Vol.

Civit. Dei,

vii.-ix.
4
6

De Deo

Socrat, vol.

ii.

Valpy's edit.
ii.

5

ii.

p. 968.

" Interpretes et salutigeri."

—Vol.

p. 974.

CHKISTIANITY AND THE EMPIKE.

275

can be touched neither by anger nor pity, can show
neither anguish nor joy fulness, can

display neither

sudden liking nor aversion. 1

It is different

with the

demons

;

for while they

have something in common

with the immortal gods, unlike them they are liable
to

human

passions.

The great variety

in forms of

worship and

sacrifices is to

be ascribed to the varied

susceptibilities

of the

demons.

Some
;

prefer to

be

worshipped by night, some by day
adored publicly, some in secret;
rites,

some wish

to be

some prefer joyous

some prefer

austere.

The Egyptian gods love
for

to be

honoured by loud wailings, the Greek gods

the most part by dances, the barbarian gods by the

clanging of cymbals and tambourines.

To the same

cause

is

due the diversity in the

details of the services

in different countries

— in the processions, the mysteries,
of

the priestly functions, the sacrificial ritual, the images
of gods, the consecration
victims.

temples, the

colour

of

All these things are duly regulated accord-

ing to the custom of each country, and by dreams or

prophecies or oracles the demons

make
2

their anger
of

known, when through the carelessness or arrogance

men any

detail has

been neglected.

This

is

precisely

the theory which
1

we

find in Celsus, but, like Julian

Vol.
Vol.

ii. ii.

p.

993.
" Uncle etiam religionum diversis observationibus,

2

p. 997.

et sacrorum

variis suppliciis fides

impertienda

est.

.

.

.

Itidein pro
.

regionibus et csctera in sacris differunt longa varietate.

.

.

Quic

omnia pro cujusque more

loci

solemnia et rata sunt."

276
after

THE REPLY OF ORIGEN.
him, he emphasises a point which,
if

not so

explicitly

enunciated by former writers, was clearly
This reverence in each

involved in the hypothesis.

country for

its

own forms

of

worship

is

to be traced
as-

back to a period when each country or city was
signed to
If

the guardianship of a

particular demon. 1

Judaism were willing
national religions,
it

to take its place as

one of
but for

many
revolt,
its

might be tolerated

;

Christianity,

which had a recent origin in a Jewish

no place could be found in such a system.
claims
it

By
It

own admission and
dared to assert for

stood condemned.

was not venerable because
it

of its antiquity,

and yet

itself

absolute supremacy and
of the

exclusive authority.
able

It

was guilty
It

unpardonto

crime of innovation. 2

was impiety

the

overseers
cities

—to

the demons

who

ruled over nations or

to abolish laws

and customs that were coeval

with the national existence and were the reflex of the
character of their guardian deity,
his province in
1

who

administered

harmony with
iiroirrai

his

own

nature.
Stdnovoi

Origen

Celsus calls

them

v.

25

;

cra.Tpd.irai teal

viii.

35.

Julian says that the Creator was the

and that the nations were
deols (Cyril con. Jul., iv.

allotted

common Father and King of all, by Him iOvdpxais ical TroXiovpxois
Julian's authority
is

115 D.)
c.

Clement has a similar theory to that
157.
clearly

of Origen

— Strom.,
nal
k6(tixov

vi.

17,

s.

Plato, Polit., p. 271 D.

God superintended

the whole revolution of
adds,

the universe
i\v to,

Kara

roirovs ravrbu tovto vtto Qt&v dpx^VToov -navr

rod

/j.4pr) 5tei\7]iJ./j.4va.

But that arrangement, Plato
.

belonged chiefly not to the present but to the previous cycle.
2

Cf. Julian

:

(pevyu rr)v Kaivorofxiav

.

.

I5ia Se iv Toty irpbs toi>v

dcovs

—Epist.

lxiii., p.

453 B.

CHRISTIANITY AND THE EMPIRE.

277

has no difficulty in showing the radical weakness of
this theory of national piety

and

ethics.

All piety

becomes conventional.
to

It is right for the Scythians

murder

their fathers, for the Indians to eat them.

Incest as practised
holy.

by the Persians
its

is

lawful

and

Piety

is

not divine in

own

nature, but only

by some arbitrary arrangement
principle divine sanction

or custom.

On

this

may
is

be claimed for the most
eats

contradictory laws. 1
adores.

One nation
act

what another

The same

holy here, unholy there.
is

And

if

there be no absolute standard of piety, there
:

equally no canon of morals

temperance, manliness,

prudence, are only virtues relative and comparative. 2

This theory
ing views.

is

powerless to mediate between conflict-

Celsus admitted with scornful complaisance

that on this basis Judaism as a national religion

had

equal claims to respect with others.

By whom,
?

then,
it

were the parts of the earth

first

allotted

"

Was

Zeus who allotted to some overseer or overseers the
nation and country of the
that

Jews

?

And

were the laws
with the

obtain

among the Jews

established
?

consent of Zeus, or contrary to his will

" 3

And

if it

be right to hold by ancestral laws,

is it

right for the

Jew

to violate the

law that forbade him to worship
of the universe
?

any other god than the Creator

4

The tenacity with which

this conception of national

overseers kept hold of the minds of
1

men

is

illustrated
4

v. 27, 36.

2

v. 28.

3

v. 26.

v. 27.

278

THE REPLY OF ORIGEN.
its

by

promulgation by Julian nearly two centuries

later in almost the
cal

same words, partly from a polemi-

motive akin to that of Celsus, partly as an apology

for Hellenism,

and not
it

less

by the circumstance that
his belief in a

Origen in refuting

was hampered by
it,

theory which, on the face of
that of Celsus.

differed very little

from

He

too believed in an allocation of

the nations to overseers, but he differed from Celsus

with respect to the principle, method, and consequences of this allocation
cation
:

to

suppose that the
is

allo-

was

fortuitous or aimless

to insult the provifore-

dence of God. 1

Though Origen acknowledges

gleams of his view in Greek and Egyptian traditions, he professes to base
it

on the authority of Scripture.

He

finds

it

in a passage of

Deuteronomy which
:

is

thus rendered in the Septuagint
divided the nations,

"

When the Most High

when He

scattered the sons of

Adam, He
to the

set the

boundaries of the nations according

number
2

of the angels of God,

and the Lord's

portion was His people Jacob, Israel the cord of His
inheritance."

Taking

this

passage along with the

narrative of Babel in Genesis, 3 he builds
superstructure.

up a

fantastic
lan-

All

men

at first

had one divine

guage, and dwelt " in the east " so long as they loved

the light of
1

God and His

truth.

Losing their love for

v.

26.

Julian makes the same remark

— Cyril

con. Julian.,

iv.

116 B.
2

Deut. xxxii.

8, 9.

iaTf\av opia iQvwv Kara

apidfxov ayyeA(x)i> 6eo€.

s

Gen.

xi. 1, 2, 5-9.

CHRISTIANITY AND THE EMPIRE.

279

the light, they removed from the east, their loss of
divine nourishment being symbolised
to " Shinar. 1
effect

by

their

coming

Hoping by means

of material things to
latter,

union with immaterial and attack the

they resolved to
asphalt,

make

brick into stone and clay into

and build a tower.

In proportion to the de-

gree of their departure from the east, and in proportion to the

amount and height

of their building (in

proportion, perhaps, to the degree of their alienation

from God and the substitution of material

for spiritual

means and
to angels

aims), were they consigned for
less severe.

punishment
to his

more or

Each angel gave

own

portion his

own

language, and each portion was

led according to its merits to different parts

—one
;

to

a region of heat, another to a region of cold

one to

poor

soil,

another to less poor. 2

Those who continued
of the Lord."

to abide in the east

were the "portion

Others received superintendents to punish them, but

His portion did not.

In their

case, too, sin followed,

and with

it

punishment proportionate

to the

measure

of their sin.

They were handed over

to the
;

powers to
as sin in-

whom

the other nations had been allotted

creased and the former discipline failed, they were

consigned to harsher rulers
alternated, until at last they

:

healing and punishment

were completely dispersed

among

the

districts

superintended by other rulers.

He
1

to

whom

were allotted those who had not sinned
2

Interpreted by Origen as "gnashing of teeth."

v.

30.

280
at first is

THE REPLY OF OPJGEN.

much more powerful than
them the true law and goal
follow the law of those

the others, and

has authority to draw away their subjects to Himself,

and give
fore

to

of

life.

Wheredemon-

we cannot

who

are

strated to be inferior, but

must obey the higher and

diviner law of Jesus. 1

Even when heavily
fanciful speculation, in

fettered

by adherence

to this

which history and symbolism
did not forget what

are

strangely mingled, Origen
to the claims of liberty

was due

and progress.

Accord-

ing to him, this distribution of the nations was not
arbitrary nor accidental.
tiality in

There was no divine par"

the choice of Israel as the

portion of the

Lord
it

"
:

it

was

so chosen because of its fitness,

—because
Nor

had continued

to dwell in the light of God.

was there any
nations
:

partiality in

the allotment of other

they received superintendents appropriate

to themselves, because they chose to sin.

Thus there

was no interference with freedom.

The superintend-

ent was appointed because of the affinity between the
nation and

him
:

;

it

received a ruler in

harmony with

its

own

character

whereas, on the Hellenic theory, the

superintendent stamped his character on the particular
nation,

which was thus brought into harmony with

him.
Celsus

The only point
is,

of contact

between Origen and
his

that Origen

makes the angel give
;

own

language to the several classes
1

and

this,

on his own

v. 31, 32.

CHRISTIANITY AND THE EMPIRE.
theory of language, must have carried with
ure of interference with liberty.
Celsus, all
it

281
a meas-

By

the theory of

national virtues

and defects were alike

crystallised, nations

and men were endowed with a

natural capacity or incapacity of thinking or doing

the right, the perpetual isolation of nations and cities
in matters of religion

was ordered by divine appoint-

ment

;

progress or change was an anomaly and a crime.

On

the theory of Origen, there were no impassable

barriers

between men

of different nationalities
it

:

it

was

possible for all
to

— nay,

was the duty
the one

of all

to return

their allegiance to

Superintendent,

who
life.

alone could give an absolute and eternal law of
It

was not a mere question

of

names

:

in their relation

to the sovereign God, in their relation to nations, in

the extent of the powers conferred, and in the ends
for

which the powers were granted, the superintend-

ents of Origen differed essentially from the national

demons

of

Celsus.
of

And

hence in the subsequent

development

the theory the seeming parallelism

passed into pronounced antagonism.

The

principle of intermediaries being once admitted,
it

further development of

was natural and

inevitable,

for the process of specialisation of functions

was capillusion

able of indefinite expansion.
for the Christians to

It

was a vain

suppose, said Celsus, triumphidol-festivals they
;

antly, that

by keeping away from

could avoid intercourse with demons

for the

demons

282

THE REPLY OF ORIGEN.
of life,

were everywhere, superintending every relation
indissolubly associated with the

commonest
;

actions.

Air, water, fruits, were under their control
in birth

every stage
;

and marriage had

its

separate

demon

health

and

sickness, prosperity

and adversity, were depend-

ent on their goodwill.
rid of

The Christians could only
altogether.

get

demons by leaving the world

Such

teaching as this enables us better to understand the
attitude of hostility to the world

which was inculcated
shows

by the early Christian writers
promise was possible,
as essentially evil,

:

it

why no com-

—why

the world was regarded
to the true God.

and antagonistic

Polytheism might now be impotent as a religious and

moral
still

force,

but in the social and family
factor.

life it

was

an omnipresent

The fundamental

difference

between Celsus
lies in

and

Origen on the question of demons

the repre-

sentation of the relation in which the

demons stand

towards God.
of God,

According to Celsus, they are servants

and

as such

worthy

of grateful

homage

:

they

can do good and harm to men, and therefore ought
to be propitiated.

Demons, says Origen, are not the
There are good angels and bad
all

servants

of

God. 1

angels, good

men and bad men, but

demons are

bad. 2

It is true that there are invisible to the

husbandmen
fruits
of

and administrators who attend
earth, to
1

the
air

springs
viii.

and

rivers,

and who keep the
2

13.

viii.

25.

CHRISTIANITY AND THE EMPIRE.
pure and
life
-

283
of

giving.

But

this is the

work not

demons but
the

of angels,
is

who

neither deserve nor desire

homage which

due only to God.

The demons,

on the contrary, are the source of famine, barrenness,
drought, and the corruption of the air that destroys
fruit

and animals, and creates

pestilence.

They

dis-

charge the functions of public executioners, receiving

by the will

of

God power

to carry out

such work with
of

a view to the warning

and discipline

mankind. 1

Whether, in

fulfilling this task, the

demons have any

power

to initiate disciplinary procedure, Origen does

not explicitly say.
large
one,

He

speaks of the
for

subject as a

and

difficult

human

nature to grasp,

and

of greater speculative subtlety
2

than Celsus supof Celsus

posed.
loses

His own criticism on the theory
of its force if

much

he acknowledged that the

demons had power
Sometimes he

to go

beyond

their

commission.
previ-

says, in

harmony with the theory

ously propounded by him, that the
isters the

Word who

admin-

whole appointed the demons

to rule over

those
to

who

subject themselves to wickedness

and not

God, and compares their work to that of State
appointed to execute sinister but necessary
3

officials

duties

sometimes he suggests that, like bands

of

brigands, they appoint a leader to steal
souls of

and rob the
they sought
a divinely
3

men, and that in a lawless
of
67;

spirit

places where the knowledge
1

God and
viii.

viii.

57, 31.

2

viii.

7;

vii.

32.

viii.

33.

284
ordered
life

THE EEPLY OF OEIGEN.

was banished, and where
1

many were
liberty,

hostile to God.

But on two points he never wavers
no interference with human
demons, whether appointed by God

—that there was
inasmuch
as the

or self-appointed, were allotted to those

who had

al-

ready sinned
jure those
to

;

and that demons were powerless
their side.

to in-

who had God on
to
"

To pay homage
to

them would be

show ingratitude

God, and was,
of the

moreover, superfluous.

For as the movement

shadow follows the movement
the favour of the
of all

of the body, to secure

God

over

all is to
2

secure the favour

His friends and servants."
first,

The demons were

not demons at

but became so by falling away
;

from the path that leads to good
tastes

but their habits and
Their sole
:

now prove
is

their essential badness. 3

desire

to feed

on blood, incense, and smoke
4

this,

and not
is

virtue, gains their favour.
5

To

propitiate

them

really impossible.

It is not certain that

they can

do any good to the bodies of men.
majority of

Better for the
;

men

to trust to

medical science

the few
to God. 6
for

may

find a better

remedy

in piety

and prayer

For God has universal power, and can take action

the wellbeing of men, whether as regards the soul or

the body.

There

is

no guarantee that the demons
offer sacrifice to

will

keep their faith to those who
but rather the likelihood
1

them,

is

that they will be bribed
64.
3
6

vii.

70. 35.

2
5

viii. viii.

vii.
viii.

69.
60.

4

vii. 6,

26.

CHRISTIANITY AND THE EMPIRE.

285
but yester-

by richer

offerings to attack the

man who
even
if

day paid them homage. 1

And

bodily health

and temporal prosperity were
service, rather

to

be secured by such

would we choose sickness and adversity

along with a pure conscience towards the sovereign

God, than health and prosperity along with a sick and

unprosperous soul. 2

As

the

demons can do no good,
give His servants

neither can they do harm.

God can
3

power

to

ward

off their assaults.

He

has put them
to

in charge of divine angels

who themselves pray
If

God, and, recognising the pious as kindred, co-operate

with them in prayer and service. 4

the demons

could do harm, they would be unworthy of homage.

The conversion and reformation
be the aim of rulers
;

of the people

should

and

if

the demonic satraps of

Celsus did seek to injure men, they would be inferior
to

Lycurgus or Zeno. 5

But they can do no injury

they can be driven out without any magical formulas
or incantations
;

they are so contemptibly impotent

that

even the ignorant can expel them by prayer

and some simple adjuration. 6

Because of being thus

driven out from statues and the souls and bodies of

men. the demons are eager
the Christians. 7

to

avenge themselves on
of Christ,

They opposed the teaching
The
58.

because their loved libations and odours were taken

away by
1

its

victorious advance. 8
2 6

souls of martyrs
4
.

viii.
viii.

61.
35.

viii.

62.

3

viii.

viii.
iii.

27, 34, 36.

5

vii. 4.

7

viii.

43.

8

29.

286

THE EEPLY OF ORIGEN.

destroy their power and weaken their attack
the present cessation of persecution
;

—hence
there

"

and until the

demons have forgotten
will probably be peace
tians.

their sufferings

and

toil,

between the world and Christheir forces,

But when they regather

and in

blind malice again persecute the Christians, they will

again be destroyed by the spirits of the pious martyrs."
This consciousness of their power being undermined
is

seen

when

Christians are on their trial

:

they show
confesrelief.

that they are eager partisans, for to
sion of Christianity
is

them the

a torture, and denial a

The exultant bearing

of the judges,

when any

Christian
direction.
to

succumbs and recants, points in the same

And

yet, after all, "

though the tongue give way
not forsworn."
1

torture, the

mind

is

Holding these
demons, the
to

views respecting the nature and
Christians cannot pray to them.

office of

"
'

We

must pray

the one sovereign God, and to the
First-born of every creature,' the

Only-begotten and
of

Word

God, and

ask

Him

as

High

Priest to present our prayers to His
to

God and our God,

His Father and the Father

of all

that live according to the

Word

of God."

2

Nor can
Origen on

the Christians take part in idol-festivals. 3
this point quotes the

arguments

of St Paul,

and shows

that such participation was not consistent with loyalty
to the

one

God.
1

These feasts did not owe their
44.

viii.
viii.

Cf. Eurip. Hipp., 612.
3

2

26.

vii. 24.

CHRISTIANITY AND THE EMPIRE.
origin to a true theory concerning God, but

287

were

in-

vented by the
time.
of

men who

instituted

them from time

to

Some were founded on events
;

in the histories

men

some on the explanation
of water, earth,

of the natural phe-

nomena
the

and the

fruits thereof.

(For

moment Origen

thus seems to give his adherence

to the interpretations of

mythology suggested respec-

tively

by Euhemerus and Varro.)
an
idol-festival
is

And
by an

in

either

case, participation in

intelligent

worshipper of the Godhead
over, as one of the wise
is "

unreasonable.

More-

Greeks has well
"
;

said, a feast

nothing else than to do one's duty

and he truly

keeps festival who prays always, offering up continually bloodless sacrifices to God. 1

"Why,

then, do

you keep the Lord's Day, or the
"
?

Preparation, or the Paschal Feast, or the Pentecost

These appointed days are a mere concession to the
imperfect spiritual nature.

The perfect man, who

is

always in everything devoted to the God-Word, his
natural Lord,
is

always keeping the Lord's Day.

He

who
his

does not " feed the will of the flesh," but " keeps

body under,"

is

always keeping the Preparation

day.

He who

perceives that Christ the Passover was

crucified for us,

and

eats

the flesh of the

Word,

is

always keeping the Paschal Feast, for he

is "

passing

over " in every word and thought from the affairs of
life

unto God.

He who
1

"
21.

has

risen

together with

viii.

288
Christ
cially
" is

THE REPLY OF ORIGEN.
always keeping the day of Pentecost, espein

when

the
"

"

upper chamber

" "

he becomes

worthy of the
utterly sweep

rushing mighty wind
evil in

which can
of

away the

men.

1

The majority

men

cannot or will not keep

all

days in such wise, and

require to be reminded by sensible symbols of those
spiritual conceptions
slip

which otherwise would altogether
Eternal
life,

from their grasp. 2

according to the

divine

Word,

lies

not "in part of a feast," 3 but in a
feast." 4

complete and incessant

III.

As

a secret and mysterious association, Chris-

tianity, according to Celsus,

had a

distinctive

symbol

the absence or avoidance of altars, temples, and statues.
races.

In this respect

it

agreed with the most barbarous

This novel feature must have aroused the sus-

picion of the State, and

weakened the

force of the
altars nor

Christian plea for toleration.

Having no

temples, had Christianity any right to be considered a
religion at all
?

The Christian can pray
the whole cosmos
is

in every place, for to

him

a temple of God. 5

Our avoidance

of temples is not the

same

as that of the Scythians,

for it springs
1

from a different principle, which gives

viii.

22.
(jlt)

2 3

diaOrfrcov irapaoz ry^xdrcav "va

reheov irapappvfj

viii.

23.

Origen, like Chrysostom, thus interprets Col.
5

ii.

16

h

/uepei

kopT7]S.
4

viii.

23.

vii.

44.

CHRISTIANITY AND THE EMPIRE.
to the act a different character.

289

By
is

the motive that

governs the abstinence must
case

it

be determined in any
to

whether praise or censure

be awarded. 1

The Scythian does not

refrain from- such

from any fear

that he will degrade the worship of God, or from any
right conception regarding the nature

and habits

of

demons.
obedience

But the Christians and the Jews do
to

so in

the divine

commandments, 2 and hence

they will rather die than by such a lawless act defile
their conception of the

Supreme God. 3

The Persians

avoid

altars,

but they worship the sun and other
:

works

of

God

this

we

are forbidden to do. 4

We
"

have

altars,

statues,

and temples
is

of our

own.

The

soul of every just

man

an

altar.

From
Our

it rise

the prayers of a pure conscience
incense, spiritually

—a

sweet-smelling
statues

and in very

truth."

are not
in us

made by

worthless artisans, but are 'fashioned
of God.

by the Word

These statues are the
of

virtues

which are imitations

the

First-born

of

every creature, " in
virtues."
5

whom

are the ideals of all the

With such

statues

He who
is

is

the protofitly

type of

all statues

—the only-begotten God—may
just as there

be honoured.

And

great difference in

the fashioning of images and statues, as some are wonderfully perfect, like the statues of Phidias and Poly-

1

vii.

63.
(f

2

Deut.

vi.
.

13
.

;

Ex. xx.
Kal

3-5.

3

vii.

64.

4

vii.

65.

5

iv
17.

icrri diKaioavvrjs

.

rwu Xonrwv aperoov irapaSeiy/aaTa

viii.

T

290
cleitus, so is it

THE REPLY OF ORIGEN.
with the making of spiritual statues.
is

Some

are wrought with such perfect skill that there

no comparison between them and the Olympian Zeus
of Phidias
;

but surpassing

all in

the whole creation
said, "

is

the image in the Saviour,

who

The Father in
according to

me."
his

1

And any
is

one who imitates

Him

power

raising a statue after the image of the
of

Creator,

becoming an imitator

God by

looking upon

Him
those

with a pure heart.

These altars and temples are
God, who dwells in
altars

for the reception of the spirit of

akin to

Himself.

Compare our

with

others,

and our statues with those

of Phidias,

and you

will see that these are lifeless

and corrupted by time,
So
is it

while those abide in the immortal soul. 2
temples.

with

We

have been taught that our bodies are

the temple of

God which

it is

impious to corrupt, and

do not, therefore, build

" soulless all life."

and dead temples
Of
all

to

the bountiful supplier of
best

temples the

and most excellent was the pure and holy body

of our Saviour.

And

every true follower of His

is

a

precious stone in the universal temple of God. 3

Our
It is

temples are alone worthy of the divine majesty.
not, then, as the distinctive

mark

of a secret society

we shrink from through Jesus, who is
that

building temples, but because
the only

way
3

of piety,

we have
4

learned the true form of serving God. 4
1

viii. 17.

Cf.

John

xiv. 10.

2

viii.

18.

viii.

19.

viii.

20.

291

CHAPTEE

VII.

COUNTER-ATTACK ON HELLENIC PHILOSOPHY

AND RELIGION.
Hellenic culture
critic

found in

Origen

a

sympathetic

and interpreter.

In this respect he was a true
assigned to Greek philosophy

disciple of Clement,

who

a divine function in the education of the world.

What
to
It

the law was to the Hebrews, a tutor to bring
Christ, that philosophy
to

them

was

to the Greeks.

1

was

them a covenant, 2 a preparatory training
It is of
It is a

for the

truth. 3

God, for understanding
of the

is

the gift of

God.
the

4

fragment
of

one eternal truth, from
God's

theology

the

ever- existent Word. 5

peculiar relation to the people of Israel does not ex-

clude His relationship to other peoples. 6
absolutely, but specially into those

Into

all

men

who

are devoted to

philosophy, a divine emanation

has been instilled. 7
is

Since the coming of the Word, philosophy
1

sup67. 57.

Strom.,

i.

c.

5, s.

28 (Dindorf).
4

-

Idem, Idem,

vi. c. 8, s.
i.

3 6

Idem, Idem,

s.

62.

Idem,

8.

63.
cxlvii. 20.

5

c.

13,

s.

vi. c. 8, s. 63.

Cf.

Psalm

7

Cohort,,

c. 6, s.

68.

292

THE REPLY OF OKIGEN.
it is

planted by Christianity, so that
sary to go to Athens for
serves the

no longer necesPhilosophy
:

human
is

learning. 1

purpose of sauce and dessert

the truth
life,

which
bread.
2

is

according to faith

necessary to
still,

like

Yet philosophy may

like
"
;

a
it

flight

of

steps, help

men

into the

"

upper room

may,

too,

be a buttress to Christianity, as the " fence and wall
of the

vineyard

"

against sophistical attacks. 3
fruit

These
of

conceptions of
Origen.

Clement bore

in

the

mind

They both stand

in this respect in striking

contrast with Tertullian.

To him there was and could
Jeruillus-

be nothing in
salem, the

common " between Athens and Academy and the Church " 4 One
varied mental

tration will set forth their

attitude.

Clement, Tertullian, and Origen agree in ascribing
the origin of heresies to Greek philosophy, but their

view

of this relation differs widely.
is

In the eyes of

Tertullian philosophy
all

the source and instigator of
self
-

heresies,

and as

such stands

condemned. 5
Plato the

Clement admits that Marcion found

in

pretext for his foreign doctrines, but holds that in so

doing he acted in a thankless and ignorant way. 6

According to Origen, heresy was the natural
1

result,

Cohort.,

c.
i.

11,
c. c.

s.

112.
s.

2 3 5

Strom., Strom.,

20, 20,

100. 100.

Cf. vi.

c.

18,
4

s.

162.

i.

s.

De

Pncsc. Adv. Hseret.,

7.

" Hsereses a pliilosophia subornantur."

— Idem.

6

Strom.,

iii.

c. 3, s.

21.

Tertullian ascribes the doctrine of Marcion

to the Stoics.

COUNTER- ATTACK ON HELLENIC PHILOSOPHY.

293

at least in the preliminary stages, of applying philo-

sophical forms and methods to the study of Christi-

anity

;

but to him philosophy was not on this account
the study of the different heretical theories
intellectual discipline

evil, as

was an

essential to

a higher

grasp of Christian truth. 1

I.

In the judgment of Origen, not only was there no

necessary antagonism between Christianity and Hellenic philosophy, but reconciliation

and co-operation

between them, so
reconciliation

far as possible,

was a duty. 2
is

The

which he desiderates

a reconciliation

in the sphere of ethics rather than in that of metaphysics.

Co-operation
in

is

possible, for they

have many

dogmas
opinions

common.

3

With
has

sound

philosophical

Christianity
is

no

controversy. 4

This

policy of conciliation
considerations.

commended by philanthropic
from prejudice refuse
to

When men

listen to Christian teachers, or to accept the Christian

system in

its

entirety, it is right

to

enforce those

common
life,

doctrines which tend to produce a healthy
to

and

appeal to the indestructible instinct of

right

and wrong. 5

What

philosophy was historically

—a
may

preliminary discipline for Christianity
still

— that
it

it

be to the individual adherent. 6
;

So

may

be the handmaid of the Gospel
1

for
3
6

one who has been
81
;

iii.

13
49.

5

iv.

83.

iii.
iii.

iv.

81, 74.

4

vii.

viii.

52.

58.

294

THE REPLY OF ORIGEN.

trained in the views and schools of the Greeks will

confirm

Christian

truths

with

all

the resources of
;

Greek

dialectic. 1

Such

is

Origen's general position

but in seeking to refute one
at the

who

exalted philosophy

expense of Christian

teaching, he

found

it

necessary to maintain the pre-eminence of

Christi-

anity by showing that in no respect was philosophy
superior,

and that in many respects

it

was

inferior as

a moral force

and

discipline.

All the charges brought by Celsus against Christ
in respect of
disciples
lel cases

His teaching or of His dealings with the
be answered by bringing forward paral-

may

from the history or teaching of the Greek
Is it to be a

thinkers.

ground of accusation against
?

Jesus that

He was
who was

betrayed by a disciple
tutor

Did not

Chrysippus attack his
Aristotle,
for

Cleanthes

?

What

of

twenty years a disciple
" ideas "

of
?

Plato,

and yet called
to

his

mere chattering

Did Plato cease

be powerful in argument when

Aristotle seceded from

him

?

Did the

secession argue

the falsehood of the Platonic doctrines, or ingratitude

on the part
years the

of Aristotle of

?

He
;

attended for twenty

lectures

Plato

Judas was not three

years with Jesus. 2

It is false that Jesus

wandered

up and down, skulking from
so,

fear

;

but had

He

done

did not Aristotle go from Athens to Chalcis, lest

the Athenians should a
1
i.

second time show impiety
ii.

2.

12.

COUNTER-ATTACK ON HELLENIC PHILOSOPHY.
towards philosophy
did Plato.
birth.
? 1

295
?

Did Jesus talk marvels

So

Aristander ascribes to

him
the

a miraculous

What

of the third eye of Plato, or the golden
?

thigh of Pythagoras
heresies.
It is the

2

You condemn

Word
4

for its

same with philosophy. 3

From

the

teaching of Socrates

many
of the

schools

arose.

Is Jesus

/

to be despised because

He was

not free from poverty

and

suffering

?

Many

Greek philosophers were

poor,

— witness
as

Democritus and Diogenes. 5
apostates

We

are

condemned
If

from the national
risen

religion.

philosophers

who have
not

above superstition
of religious
is

may

refuse compliance with

some form

abstinence,

why may
?

we do what
manner
Celsus.

analogous

without censure

6

These passages

may more
in

than

suffice for illustration of the

which Origin
it

met the

flimsier

cavils

of

Though

well

served his immediate object, this method of discussion

was

of

no permanent value, and in some parts was

prejudicial to his

own

cause.

Following out a similar method of argument, Origen
retorts against Celsus

some

of the charges

which he

had brought against Christianity.

His accusations

have no validity against Christian teachers and their
dogmas, but are true of
speculations.
" senseless,"
1

many

philosophers and their
are not " babblers " or
" old wives' fables,"
3 6

The Christians
nor do they utter
2
5

nor

i.

65.
13.

vi. 8.
ii.

Cf. v. 57.

ii.

17.

4

iii.

41.

v. 37.

296

THE REPLY OF ORIGEN.

are they to be likened to "

worms

or ants rolling in

a dunghill " sayings

;

but of some philosophers these scornful

may

with truth be spoken.

Are not they
young
into

really " senseless babblers "

who
to

drive the

moral disorders, and incite
not

women

to superstition,

and

we who induce them
for the piety

abandon philosophical
cultivate,
? 1

dogmas
ing
its

which we

by commend-

excellence and genuine purity

Men

not to

be despised for speculative power have propounded
opinions which might fittingly be described as "old
wives' fables."

What more

ridiculous than the Stoic
of

theory of the recurrence

cycles

and

events

?

2

Tested by their moral character, the effects of their
teaching, and their ignorance of God,

many

of

them

may

truly be compared to "
3

worms

rolling in the corner

of a dunghill."

The rashness with which some

philo-

sophers pronounce on the creation of the universe and

kindred problems, on the nature of souls in relation
to

God and

their connection with bodies, as

if,

for-

getful of the limited

measure

of their capacities,

they

had

fully grasped the question,

might tempt one who

was inclined

to scoff to repeat this taunt of Celsus. 4

The

" inspired poets

and philosophers

"

to

whom

he

directs us

are

blind guides in

regard to the truth,
If

and their followers must stumble.

not entirely

blind, they are at least blind in respect of

many dogmas.
4

Does he allude
1
iii.

to

Orpheus, or Parmenides, or Homer, or
2

57.

v.

20.

3

iv.

25.

iv.

30.

COUNTER-ATTACK ON HELLENIC PHILOSOPHY.
Hesiod
?

297

Which
is

will

walk with greater steadfastness
?

and learn what

useful to life

Those who accept

such guides, or those who, by following the teaching
of Jesus,
all

have

left

behind

all

images and statues, and

Judaic superstition, and look up through the

Word

of

God

to

God

only, the Father of the
" skilled

Word ? l From

such so-called

physicians "

we do keep away
to introduce

men.

When

there

is

implanted in the mind a belief

which seeks

to take

away Providence, and
a serious disease,
act in

pleasure as a good,

it is

and when we

seek to extirpate
est reason.

it,

we

harmony with the high-

In like manner, by inspiring

men with

a

devotion to the
grievous

God

over

all,

we aim
The

at curing the

wounds induced by
and the
attested
Stoics. 2

certain doctrines of the
inferiority of philof their gifts.

Peripatetics

osophers

is

by the limitation

They were only men, and had nothing but the nature
of

men

;

the exposition of their principles was attended

by results very different from those which attended
the preaching of the
first

ambassadors of the Word. 3
is

Putting aside

much

that

of little interest, unless

by way
gist,
1

of illustrating the idiosyncrasies of the apolo-

4

we may
e.g., vi.
6,

note two points which emphasise the
2
iii.

vii. 41.

75.

Cf. iv. 27.

3

iii.

68.

where he argues that Plato was inferior to Jesus, and also to St John (in the Apocalypse), because Plato wrote and could write all that he knew, while it was impossible for them to do so or vi. 41, where he maintains against Celsus that magic had power
See,
;

4

over philosophers, and quotes illustrations from Moiragenes's Life of

Apollonius of Tyana.

298

THE REPLY OF

ORIGEN".

contrast between the philosophic and the Christian
ideal of teaching

and

life.

Philosophy

is

lacking in

philanthropy.
teristic of the

This was the most prominent charac-

Word.

By

this principle the

form and

method

of revelation

were determined.

Philosophy,

as represented

by Celsus, refused
if

to hold intercourse

with the rustic and impure, as
different

they belonged to a
barriers

order of beings.

But the

which
do
not

separate

us

from the

irrational

creatures
;

separate us from the ruder of

mankind

for all
level,

men
with

have been formed by God on a common

the capacity of holding fellowship with each other.
It is right, therefore, to lead the
sible

rude as far as pos-

to

refinement,

to

make

the

impure pure,

to

convert those

who

cherish irrational and unhealthy

sentiments to rational action and healthiness of soul. 1

In respect

of love of

mankind, even the nobler sayings
the divine Word.

of Plato fall short of

The Word

became

flesh that

God might be
of the

accessible to all men.

If Plato or

any other

Greeks had truly found
else,

God, he would not have reverenced anything
called
it

and

God, and worshipped
After

it.

2

Philosophers, again,

are inconsistent.

all their lofty discourses,

they

look upon images and pray to them, or at least fancy
that by that which
to that of
is
is

seen they can rise in thought

which

it

supposed to be a symbol. 3

To

the Christian, things that are seen and temporal serve
1

viii.

50.

2

vii.

42.

3

vii.

44, 47.

COUNTER-ATTACK ON HELLENIC PHILOSOPHY.
as stepping-stones for the apprehension of that

299

which

transcends the senses, but he needs no image for that
end.
If philosophers

pretend to pray to images as a

mere concession
their
folly
is

to the prejudices of the multitude,
;

not the less

accommodation

of

this

sort is not consistent with true piety towards

God

in the soul of one truly pious nothing spurious should
dwell. 1
belief in
of

Thus the Christian could not be

false to his

God by giving an apparent homage

to images

gods

;

with him such a compromise was impossible.

In this lay the fundamental distinction between a
theism which was purely speculative in origin, and
that Christian

monotheism which was dominated by

a religious impulse.

II.

In regard to polytheism, Origen takes higher
of the Christian apologists.

ground than most

With

that almost savage gloating over the immoralities of

heathen worship which so conspicuously disfigures the
attack of Arnobius he had
little

sympathy.

Dealing

not so

much with paganism
it,

itself as

with a philosoroot,

phical defence of

he strikes at the

not at the

putrid branches.

The order that reigns
cilable

in the universe

is

irrecon-

with any system of polytheism.

The

universe,

1

ovdtv yap v6Qov xpV ivvTrapxeiv Ty tyvxfi toD olXtjOws

(Is

rb delov

evcrefiovs

vii.

66.

Cf.

Seneca

(vol.

iii.

p.

426, edit. Haase).

He

did

as a citizen

what he disclaimed

as a philosopher.

300

THE REPLY OF OPJGEN.

as a unity in absolute

harmony with

itself,

must have

derived

its

origin

from one Creator. 1

To give coherwhole heaven

ence and symmetry of
requires
suffices.

movement

to the

not the impulse of

many
is

souls,

— one

soul

No

part of the cosmos

absolutely inde;

pendent,

all

things are parts of a cosmos

but God

is

no part of the whole.
as a part is imperfect.

For God cannot be imperfect

And

as
is

speaking, a part, so neither

He He

is not,

properly

the whole, as a

whole consists of
conceive of the

parts.

It is contrary to reason to
all as consisting

God over

of parts,

each of which has not the same potency as the other
parts.
2

The natural conception

of

God

is

that of

One
and

absolutely incorruptible,
indivisible. 3

simple, non-composite,

By

these characteristics

He

is

clearly

marked

off

not only from the gods of the Epicureans,
of the Stoics.

but from the God

The

Stoics represent

God

as a Spirit

who

penetrates everything, and em"

braces everything in Himself.

We

teach that Pro-

vidence does contain and embrace
as a

all its objects,

not

body contains that which

is

itself a

body, but as

a divine

power embracing things contained.

Accordhold that

ing to the doctrine of the Stoics

— who
23.

1

Kara

rrju ebra^'iav

rou

k6o~jxov aefieiv

rbv drj^iovpybu avTOv, eubs

ovtos eVa, Kal
2

o~v/j.itv4oj/tos

avTOv okw kavrtS
iirl

i.

Kal ovk epe? \6yos 7rapa8e|acrffat rdv

Trdai Q?ov elvai

e'/c

fxepcov,

wv

%kol<jtov ov o~vvarai OTrep to.
3

a\Xa

fxepy]

— Idem.
iravrr)

rrjv (pvo~iKT)v

rov 6eov %vvoiav

a>s

a<pddpTOv Kal air\ov Kal

aavvdtTov Kal aSiaiperov

iv. 14.

COUNTER-ATTACK ON HELLENIC PHILOSOPHY.
principles are
corruptible,

301
things

corporeal,
in
this

and thus make

all

and

way (were

it

not

for the

manifest incongruity) run the risk of making the

God

over

all

corruptible

— the

Word
to
to

of

God who
hold

condescends to men, even the
a corporeal spirit.

least, is

no other than
us

But according
soul
is

— who

that

the

rational

superior

all
its

corporeal
essence

nature, and invisible and immaterial in

God

the Word, by

whom

all

things were made,

who

ap-

peared that not
administered

man

alone but the least of the things

by nature might be formed through
1

reason, could not possibly be a body."

The world,

then,
"

is

a reality distinct

and separate from God,
:

not only logically, but substantially

it is

not a

mode
The
is

of

His substance."

2

God

administers the universe

without interfering with the free-will of man.
universe does not

move

in one recurrent cycle, but

always moving towards higher perfection, according
to the capacity of each free-will.

For free-will in

man

admits that which

is

contingent, and cannot attain to

the absolute immutability of God. 3

Man

is

thus free

to forward or to thwart the progress of the world, to

worship God or to defy Him.

Only in an

infinite Creator

can the

spirit of

man

find satisfaction.

Man

ought not to worship anything,

however
cosmos
1

beautiful, but ascend

from the beauty

of the

to

Him who made
2

the universe.
d'Origene,
p.

None but He
151.
;i

vi. 71.

Denis,

La Philosophie

v. 21.

302
can satisfy
all,

THE REPLY OF ORIGEN.
all

things that are, see into the thoughts of
of all.

and hear the prayers

To such

a one

we
is

can intrust ourselves, but not to one whose power
limited. 1

He who

cannot satisfy the whole cannot

truly satisfy any part.

As the Creator
divided homage.

of the universe,

God cannot admit

a

We

cannot worship anything along

with Him. 2

We
is

cannot worship anything that

He

has

made, or that

made by man.

Man may

begin with

sensible things, but cannot abide in them. 3

We

dare

not worship even the noblest of things created

— the sun,
for those

moon, and

stars.

It

would be unreasonable

who had

obtained the brightness of the Eternal Light

to prostrate themselves in

admiration and obeisance

before a merely sensible light. 4

Not even

if

the stars
free-

are rational and moral beings, and
will,

endowed with

can we worship them

;

for they, like ourselves,

only participate in the true Light.
of the heavens

The worshippers
of

would never dream

worshipping a

spark of

fire

or a

lamp
is

;

and in

like

manner those who
of

believe that
"

God

Light,

and that the Son

God

is

the Light that lighteneth every

man

that cometh
is

into the world," will never worship

what

intellec-

tually only a brief spark.

We

cannot worship those
to

who themselves
share with
1

give worship,
"

and who do not wish
5

God our

power
2 5
iii.

of prayer."
77.

Divested of
:J

iv. v.

26. 10.

vii.

37.

4

rrjy evKTiKTju dvfa/niu

v. 11, 12.

COUNTER-ATTACK ON HELLENIC PHILOSOPHY.
its

303

peculiar phraseology, the thought of Origen

may
can-

be thus interpreted.

A

spiritual being like

man
the

not worship anything material, however vast and magnificent.

He who
life,

has been taught to

know
being,

Most

High God cannot worship any created
lofty,

however

whose

like his

own,

is

derived from

God and
to

not self-originated.

Worship cannot be accorded

that which itself worships a Higher, but only to one

whose supremacy

is

absolute and universal.

With

the
fel-

possibility presented

by Christianity

of

immediate

lowship between Gocl and the spirit of man, the basis
for

even the purest form of polytheism disappears.

This does not involve any disrespect or dishonour to
the works of God, but only emphasises His ineffable
excellence. 1
If the

worship of the heavens be thus

unreasonable, the worship of anything formed by the

hands

of

man

is

the veriest blindness.

No work
of God,

of

mechanics can be holy, or give sacreclness to any
place. 2
is

No

image can represent the form

who

invisible

and incorporeal. 3

If the existence of a

supreme God be admitted, by
?

what name should He be invoked

Celsus had said

that this was a matter of indifference

— that the Aclonai
Amnion
Ori-

of the Hebrews, the Zeus of the Greeks, the
of the Egyptians, the

Pappaeus of the Scythians, were

only different names for the one sovereign God.

gen maintains the opposite partly on moral, mainly on
1

v. 13.

2

vii.

52

;

vi.

66.

3

vii.

66.

304

THE REPLY OF ORIGEN.

mystical grounds. The Christian cannot call the
of the "

name

God over

all "

Zeus, but will die rather than
is

do

so,

because that

name

associated in the minds of

men

with shameful deeds.

And
fair

for a similar reason of God,

he will not dishonour the

works

even in

name, by speaking of the sun as Apollo or
as Artemis. 1
for

of the

moon

When we

use the Greek

common name
" the

God, we add some phrase such as

Maker
2

of

heaven and earth," or " the Creator
or "

of the universe,"

who

sent wise

men

to the

human

race."

The

mystical argument to which he attached most weight
is

derived from his theory of the nature of names.
are not conventional nor arbitrary signs.

Names

From
name
trans-

the power of particular

names

in exorcism

and magical

incantations, especially from the fact that the

powerful in one language loses
lated, it is manifest that the

its force
is

when

power

inherent in the

qualities

and peculiar properties Say
"

of the sounds, not in

the things signified. 3

the

God

of

Abraham, the

God

of Isaac, the
;

God
the

of Jacob,"

and the demons are

overcome
echo, the

say

"

God

of the chosen father of the

God

of laughter, the
is

God

of the supplanter,"

and the virtue

gone. 4

The names Sabaoth and
created and acci-

Adonai are not related

to things

dental, but belong to a sacred theology

which
5

is to

be

traced back to the Creator of the universe.
their
1

From
5

knowledge
48.
2
i.

of the
3

mysterious power and nature
i.

iv.

25.

24, 25.

4

v. 45.

i.

24.

COUNTER-ATTACK ON HELLENIC PHILOSOPHY.
of

305

names, Moses and the prophets forbade the people,
to serve the only

who were anxious
name
as Sabaoth, nor

supreme God,
is

to

the names of other gods.
is

Zeus

not the same
;

he in any respect divine

but a cer-

tain

demon not

friendly to

men

or the true

God has

assumed that name.
to call

No

threatenings will induce us

Amnion God,
only the

as he is but a

demon invoked by
In like manner
to

the Egyptians under that name.

Pappseus

is

name

of a

demon

whom

were
of

allotted the desert, the nation,

and the language

the Scythians.

Yet

it

is

no sin for any one to

call

God by His name "appellative"
other language in which he

in the Scythian or

may have been

nurtured. 1

In praying to God,

it is

not necessary to use the proper
in Scripture to designate

names which
God.
use

are

employed

The Greeks use Greek names and the Romans

Roman

names.

Each prays

to

God
;

in

his

own
is

language and praises

Him

as he can

and He, who

the Lord of every language, hears those

who pray

in

every language, hearing, as
the various languages.
2

it

were, but one voice from

III.

In place

of

this all-sovereign
?

God, what had

polytheism to

offer

Beings whose existence had to
in all respects worthless

be demonstrated

—beings
3
2

at

best only demons.

While compelled by the polemic
1

of Celsus to attack
8
i.

v. 46.

viii.

37.

25

;

viii.

11, 59.

U

306

THE EEPLY OF ORIGEN.
its

the details of polytheism as one method of testing
principles,

Origen disclaims

all

sympathy with that

fanatical reviling of images

which Celsus had marked

in

some

of the adherents of Christianity.

Abuse

of

any kind, even when naturally evoked by

injustice, is

foreign to the spirit of the Gospel: to abuse lifeless

images were sheer
for the

silliness. 1

It was,

moreover, useless

purpose of destroying the judgments of

men

in
of

regard to their gods.

Men who
suffer

deny the existence
or

God and providence
commonly regarded

no

evil,

what

at least is

as evil, but, on the contrary, enjoy

health and worldly prosperity.

True

evil,

moral

loss

and deterioration, they do

suffer.

Can any injury be

greater than not to perceive from the order of the

world

Him who

formed

it

?

Can any misery be
and not
? 2

greater than to be blinded in intelligence,
see the Creator

to

and Father

of every intelligence

The gods worshipped among the Greeks

are con-

demned by

the testimony of their

own

writers.

The

men

for

whom

Celsus claimed inspiration ascribed to
absurdities
;

the gods generation and countless

and

with good reason Plato expelled such from his com-

monwealth on the ground that they corrupted youth. 3

The fabled miracles were
Greek
philosophers
;

rejected as

myths by the
with

but had they fallen in

Moses or Jesus Himself, they might have acknowledged the cogency of the evidence for our miracles. 4
1

viii.

41.

2

viii.

37.

a

iv.

36

;

i.

17

;

iii.

43.

4

viii.

45.

COUNTER-ATTACK ON HELLENIC PHILOSOPHY.

307

The sods were
with Omphale. 1

dissolute

in

character.

Kecall the

licentious record of Heracles
Is there

and his effeminate slavery

anything worthy of divine
of the

honour in his stealing the ox
enjoying his curses
?

husbandman, and

2

Is there

anything to

command

our homage in the
nine garments
?

madman Dionysus
Or

with his femi-

3

in the legends of his deception

by the Titans, his

falling

from the throne

of Zeus, his
?

being torn in pieces, and being put together again
If a healing

4

demon

resided in Asclepius,

what does

it

prove
ent,
5

?

The power

to heal is in itself a thing indiffer-

and

his divinity

must be

attested

—which

it

can-

not be

— by his
who

goodness, by the nature of the cures

wrought, and by the character of the persons cured. 6

When
ish

Celsus attributed to such gods a desire to puninsulted them, he virtually acknowIt is

those

ledged that they were worthless.

unworthy

of a

god to punish

men from
of

a vindictive spirit, and not

with a view to their moral improvement. 7

A

like

want

moral sense and moral

fitness

is

conspicuous in Apollo and his oracles.

The

oracle
;

ascribed divine honours to Cleomedes the boxer

by

ignoring Pythagoras and Socrates

it

refused to philo-

sophy what

it

gave to pugilism.

Archilochus prosti;

tuted his poetic art to licentious themes

yet

it

called

1

iii.

22.
t)

2

vii.

54.

3

iii.

23.
25.
7

4

iv.

17.

5

fieaou £<n\v
iii.

ruv

crwjxaroov larpiKT]

iii.

viii.

42.

308

THE REPLY OF ORIGEN.
of the
If to

him pious because he was the servant

Muses,

who were thought
means
to

to be goddesses

!

be pious
virtue,

be possessed of

moderation
1

and

Archilochus had no claim to the name.

The

oracles

were assailed by Aristotle and the Peripatetics, as well
as

by Epicurus and

his school.

Even

if

it

be granted

that they were not fictions devised

by men who only

pretended to be inspired, they are not to be attributed
to

any deity but
it is

to

some demons

hostile to

men, whose

aim

to

prevent

men from
in

returning to true piety.
of

The impious and profane character
disclosed

the spirit

is

by the manner

which

it is

represented as

entering into the Pythian prophetess. 2

So with the
is

method
and

of inspiration.

The prophetess

deranged

loses self-consciousness
spirit

when

giving forth oracles

can that
darkness
priestess,

be other than a
the

demon which pours
?

over
too,

understanding
be bribed. 4

3

The Pythian
Apollo were a

could

If

god,

why

did he not choose a wise
?

man
If

for his in-

strument rather than a prophetess
could be found,

no wise

man
5

why

not one

who was

progressing in

wisdom
If

?

Why

not a

man

rather than a

woman

?

he preferred the female sex,

why

not choose a

woman of philosophic culture rather than a common woman ? Were men of a better type too good to receive the inspiration of his energy? Had
virgin or a

he been a god, he would have employed his foreknow1

iii.

25.

2

vii. 3.

Cf.

iii.

25.

3

vii.

4.

4

viii.

46.

5

vii.

5.

COUNTER-ATTACK ON HELLENIC PHILOSOPHY.

309

ledge as a bait for the conversion and moral refor-

mation

of

men; but

this

is

not supported by the

1 historic traditions concerning him.

The
;

oracle,
it
:

it

is

true, called Socrates the wisest of

men

but

blunted

the edge of that eulogy by
Sophocles, but wiser
is is

its

comparison
;

"

Wise

is

Euripides

but wiser than
is

all

Socrates."

His wisdom, then,

compared with

those

who contend on

the stage for an ordinary prize,
pity,

and create in the beholders now tears and

now

unseemly laughter
other aim.

;

for

the

satyric

drama has no
of

To Origen, who had no sense

humour,

as the only jest in his apology shows, 2

and no sym-

pathy with art for

its

own

sake,

the absence of a
a fatal

directly didactic element in the
flaw.

drama was

Might

it

not, then, be that the oracle declared

Socrates to be worthy of reverence not solely because
of his philosophy

and

his grasp of truth

?

Might

it

not be that the victims which he offered had some-

thing to do with their judgment

?

3

The

allegorical interpretation of

Greek and Egyptian

mythology does not meet with so much sympathy
from Origen as we might have expected from his

own

love

of

that

method.

He condemns
of

it

as

defective
religion.

from the standpoint both

ethics

and
ex-

The
teal

allegorical

explanations must be
avrdv
6.
3

1

"Edei 5e
.

efirep

Beds ^u,

ttj irpoyvuxrei

xp77<rao-0az deAeari

.

.

irpds rr\v iiricrTpocpTiv ncd Pepa-Tre'iav
2

vii.

v. 55.

vii. 6.

310

THE REPLY OF ORIGEN.
to see if

amined individually,
that
is

they contain anything
Osiris be interpreted as

wholesome. 1

Though
land,

water

and
to

Isis

as

we

are

enjoined
is

by the
and

allegory
land,

reverence water, which
is

lifeless,

which
if

the servant of

man and

all animals. 2

Even

the monstrous stories of the Greek gods are

explained in such fashion, they ought to evoke at

once a feeling of shame.

Take the explanation given
of

by Chrysippus

of

Soli

the picture of Zeus and

Hera

at Samos.

It is said to be a representation of

matter receiving from God the spermatic principles
for the

adornment
as

of the universe.

Allegorise such

stories

you

will,

you cannot prevent them from

doing injury to youth. 3

Polytheism had

its festivals, its

forbidden meats,

its

theory of future rewards and punishments.
Christian festivals are far more venerable
others the
;

But the
for in the

"mind

of

the flesh" keeps festival and

runs

riot,

turning to drunkenness and licentiousness. 4
is

Their abstinence
ciple.

not based on any rational prinfor example, enjoined abstinence
of

Had Ammon,
flesh
of

from the

cows because

their service in

agriculture, there
for

would have been plausible ground

the

prohibition.
as

But
to

to

spare

crocodiles,

and

regard them
another,
is

sacred

some

mythical
it
is

god or

the height of folly.

For

sheer mad-

ness to spare animals which do not spare us, and be
1

iii.

23.

2

v. 38.

3

iv. 48.

4

viii.

23.

COUNTER-ATTACK ON HELLENIC PHILOSOPHY.
concerned,
for

311

animals

which
is

feast

on man. 1

Our

conception of punishment
set forth "

in no

way akin
a

to that

by phantoms and

terrors

in the Bacchic
is

mysteries."

Punishment
:

in
it

our case
to

means

of

reformation

we

believe

be necessary for the
of

good

of the

whole world, and perhaps
suffer
it.
2

advantage

to those
1

who

v. 36, 39.
e'iVe

2

5m
;

tu>v irepl KoXaaecov direi\coi' ) &s TreTrda/xeOa

dvayKalas elVcu

t<£ iraurl,

Ta%a
v.

8e

iced

to?s
72.

ireLcro/ULevois

auras ovk dxpr]0~T0vs

iv.

10.

Cf. iv. 69

16

;

viii.

312

CHAPTER

VIII.

CONCLUSION.
In the modern sense
gen
is

of the

term the apology

of Ori-

the

first

apology for Christianity.

Up

to this
of

period the scientific demonstration of
Christianity
cipal aim.

the truth

had only been an

accessory, not a prin-

The great

object of the apologists

had been
:

to check persecution

by showing

its

unreasonableness

they sought rather to establish the innocence of Christians in relation to the State than to prove the truth
of Christianity
;

to protest against the persecution of

the truth rather than to ward off intellectual assaults

upon

it.

The

first

attack on Christianity as a religion

came naturally from the Jews.
earlier apologies

Hence

in all

the

we

find

two main

lines of defence.

Charged with nonconformity

to the rites of the na-

tional religion, they defend their attitude
sition

by an expoof

and criticism
:

of the errors

and insufficiency

heathenism
the

accused at once of their connection with
of

Jews and

their

secession

from them, they

CONCLUSION.

313

attach almost exclusive importance to the function of

prophecy, seeking by means of

it

to establish, in op-

position to their heathen assailants, the divinity of

Judaism, and to maintain against the Jews the

fulfil-

ment

of their

Messianic hopes in the person of Jesus.
of a higher apology

The foundations

were laid when

the Church was compelled by the intellectual unrest

within to examine
tials.

its

treasures and test

its

creden-

But such movements within the Church sprang

rather from an attempt to define the truth than from
hostility towards it
out,
:

they were not attacks from with-

but rival plans of building up the citadel from
Apologetics proper could not exist
till

within.

Chris-

tianity itself,

and not Christians merely, had been put
competent tribunal.

upon

trial before a

As an

attack

not on the outworks but on the very foundations of the
Christian faith, the
possibility
'

True

Word

'

of Celsus created the

and the necessity

of a scientific apology.

Probably no apology could have been more effective
for the

purpose and for the age for which

it

was writ-

ten than the apology of Origen.
acter of the reply, though
it

The

detailed char-

interfered with the logical

order and

symmetry

of the defence,

might the more
the perplexed.

convincingly reassure

the

minds

of

But

it

has more than once happened that the most

successful defence has
obsolete
:

by

its

very success become

dealing with a passing

mode

of thought, it

has died with the disappearance of that

mode

;

and we

314

THE EEPLY OF ORIGEN.
less

sometimes forget that the fighting was none the
real although the

armour has long ago become

anti-

quated.

In Origen there are such temporary elements,

arising in part from the

common
the

beliefs of his age, in

part from his idiosyncrasies.

The

latter

are of

no

value except historically
principles capable of

;

former

may

contain
restate-

modern application and
is

ment

:

a great writer

often fruitful and suggestive,

even when his theories are fanciful and erroneous.

To expect from Origen a

full

and adequate solution

of

modern problems would be a grotesque anachronism.

His view

of the

magical power inherent in par-

ticular

names and formulas, the prominence which he
which that involved, the analogies
of natural history to

gives to the theory of demons, with the conceptions
of the universe

which he found in the sphere

the supernatural birth of Jesus, 1 remind us that he

was a thinker

of the third century.

On most
he
is of

of the

questions of criticism that occupy the minds of theologians to-day Origen
is

silent, or

no service

because of his fantastic exegesis, his external conception
of

prophecy, his

esoteric

theory

of Scripture.

But on those

characteristics of the

Christian

faith

which are independent

of all critical theories,

— the inmen

ternal testimony, the witness of history, the moral
force of Christianity as incarnated in Christian

and women,

— few writers
1

of
i.

any age have spoken with

37.

CONCLUSION.

315

more suggestiveness than
grasp of Christianity in
tions,

he.

His comprehensive
in its historical rela-

itself,

and

as a system of thought

and

life, is

in

some

respects the

most valuable part of his apology.
if

He

does not use the word, but
ciples into

we may put

his prin-

modern phraseology, we would say that he
one essential mark

regards Christianity as the absolute religion.

Of
sality.

this absoluteness

is

univer-

Origen never ceases to insist on this feature,
point out
its

and
all

to

continuous realisation. 1

That

men

of every nationality, that all classes of

men

differing in race, in rank, in culture, in intellectual

and moral
a

characteristics,

could ever be united by

common bond

of religious belief,
2
:

was

to Celsus

an

utterly impossible conception
of impatience at

a strong undercurrent

such an idea runs through a great

part of his polemic; and in this respect, as in most,

he was an exponent of the thought of his age.
him, at
least,

To

the existence

of

a

universal empire

did not suggest the possibility of a universal religion

the crowding of the Pantheon gave no hint of
all

it,

for

the gods were placed there on a footing of equality,
to the

and every addition

number brought no nearer
it

the thought of universalism, for
dition of another for

was only the ad-

whom

no exclusive sovereignty

was claimed
which was
i

:

the conception of a universal religion,

at the
ii.

same time a universal
11
;

ethic,
2

was

v.

62

;

13

;

i.

vi.

11

;

vii.

41, &c.

viii.

72.

316

THE EEPLY OF ORIGEN.

absolutely new, and could only arise

when worship

was held

to be

independent

of ritual

;

when

the belief
the belief

in one supreme

God was accompanied by
Him, and

in man's relation to

in the possibility of his

fellowship with Him.

As

the absolute religion, Christianity

is

the "heir

of all the ages,"

of all the past, of all its thought, its

blind groping,
as well as

its

unconscious preparation.

Hellenism

Judaism was a preliminary
1

discipline for

Christianity.

Christ,

whether consciously acknow-

ledged or not, was " the Light that lighteneth every

man

that cometh into the world "

;

and

all

truth,

of the future as well as of the past, is His.

Chris-

tianity

is

not novel in the sense of being unrelated
;

to other truth
closest

between

it

and

all

truth there

is

the

interrelation.

This

was a leading thought

with Origen, and in the interests of his apologetic
a fruitful principle.
It enabled

him

to claim origi-

nality for Christianity without putting forth the un-

natural and

impossible

claim

of

absolute

novelty

to acknowledge the affinity of all other truths, while

maintaining for Christianity uniqueness and finality
to recognise in the unfulfilled

dreams

of

heathenism
It

an unconscious prophecy

of Christianity.
;

enabled

him

to claim all thought as Christian

to

admit in
he

the intellectual

sphere that
life.
iii.

co-operation which
It

did not admit in civic
1

enabled him
83.

— in some

58

;

iv.

CONCLUSION.
respects the most valuable lesson of all

317

to

meet

other systems

half

-

way

;

to

meet on the common

ground

of

practical

morals those
of

who

refused

to

meet him on the ground
long as
it

supernaturalism. 1

So

was moral
:

in its

aim and

issue, all truth

was

to be recognised

half-truths were to be regarded

as truth, not as errors, unless

when they were
Christianity,
say, " I

repre-

sented as the whole truth.
to the conception of Origen,

according
of

might

am
in

God

nothing divine

is

alien to me."
is

As

the absolute religion, Christianity

harmony
for every

with the demands of the reason and heart of man,
satisfies all his aspirations,

makes provision

side of

human
comes

nature, and claims to control
to a soil

it.

Chris-

tianity

prepared for

it.

Between the
is

soul of
affinity
:

man and
it

Christian truth there

a natural

never clings to error wilfully, but in blind
it

passion, because

invests error with the beauty of
of Christianity it at

truth

:

on the presentation
its

once

recognises

true kindred. 2

In

this natural relation-

ship between

man and
its

Christianity are to be found

the possibility of
of its

becoming universal, and the secret

permanence.
is

Christianity

absolute in idea, and therefore

final.

The goal

of all religion,
is

whether consciously or un-

consciously defined,

to bring

man

into union with
its

God.

Christianity
1

fulfils

this

end by
2

ideal

of

viii.

52.

Hi. 40.

318
worship,

THE REPLY OF ORIGEN.

— by

bringing

man

into fellowship with no
fate,

impotent demon, no impersonal

but with

"

the

God

over

all."

It

fulfils

this

desire for union not

only in idea but in the sphere of history.
incarnation the essential
affinity of

By

the

the divine and

the
in

human
Christ
of

is

manifested, for the incarnation of
a
real incarnation.
It
fulfils

God
the

is

all

dreams

an incarnation

all

the yearnings that found

expression in the glorification of

men

into gods, or in
It

the legends about the descent of gods

among men.

brings the doctrine of the incarnation into

harmony
all

with the ethical

life of

man

by presenting to

men

the possibility of a moral incarnation.

From what

has been said

it

will be manifest that

for the truth of revelation generally, as of Christianity

in particular, Origen attaches

most importance

to the

internal evidence.
is

The ultimate ground

of revelation

the philanthropy of
of

God
in

;

its

aim

is

the moral sal-

vation

mankind. 1

All revelation, including the
Christ, is an act of divine

manifestation of

God

condescension to the needs and capacities of
is

men

:

it

a putting of the treasure in earthen vessels, a

manby a

ifestation of the

supernatural within the boundaries

of the natural, a limitation of the truth revealed

material embodiment.

To be

consistent, Origen should

have recognised in the written word a kenosis similar
to that

which he clearly acknowledged in the incarnate
1

vii.

41

;

iv. 19.

CONCLUSION.

319

Word.

But

here, as elsewhere in Origen,

we

see the

coexistence of

contradictory principles, or rather of

principles the one of

which would have been rendered
development
of

superfluous

by the

logical

the other.

By
in a

his theory, for example, of the universal activity

of the Logos,

he had a principle which fully explained
consistent with the unique claims of rev-

manner

elation the parallels

and analogies in Greek philos;

ophy and

religion to the Christian Scriptures
it

but he

supplemented
allels

by the theory that some

of the par-

were due to demonic agency, which thus sought
to

by anticipation
His theory
of

throw discredit on Christianity. 1

demonic influence was never brought
to

into relation

his

view

of

ethnic inspiration.

So

was

it

with his conception of the Scriptures.

In his

view of the self-limitation of God in His Word, he had
a grasp of the principle of development which would

have accounted

for all that

was perplexing in a reve:

lation of divine truth to his
to

men

for

had he followed out

own

principle,
" as

he would have seen that God spoke
it "
;

men

they were able to hear

that

He was

limited not only by the capacities of

men

in general,

but by the age and characteristics of the particular
nation or

men

to

whom

His truth was communicated

but he was prevented by his allegorical bias from
giving due force to this thought.
to regret this, as,
1

It is idle,

however,

whether Origen adopted the esoteric
viii.

4

;

vii.

30.

Cf. vi. 9.

320

THE REPLY OF ORIGEN.
or, as is

theory from apologetic motives,

more probable,

found in

its

apologetic value a strong argument for

the necessity and truth of the theory, Scripture would

not have been to Origen what
interpretation of
it.
1

it

was but

for his

mystic

While revelation was thus due
for

to the love of

God

man,

it

was the love

of a holy God,

and accord-

ingly morality was necessarily associated with phil-

anthropy.
vient.

To

this

end everything was made subserof the

The prophets

Jews were worthy

to

be

inspired because of their moral beauty and strength. 2

The

test

of

their inspiration

is

the measure of the

reformation which was created by the truth which

they spoke

:

the perfect ambassador of truth
a complete reformation. 3

is

he

who produces
tion of

The

inspira-

words which urged men

to forsake sin is the

same
was

as the inspiration of
foretold.
4

words in which the future

in the persons
of the

And as who were

morality was a prerequisite
inspired,

and the touchstone

words

for

which inspiration was claimed, so
essential for their interpretation. 5
to his defence of Christ

was moral purity
It is

only

when we turn

and Christianity that we

see of

how supreme

import-

ance in the eyes of Origen was the moral argument.

To him the great problem
1

of Christianity, as well as

"Without
vii. 7.

it,

he himself would have been a sceptic."
p. 77.
3 4

— Hatch's
vii. 30.

Hibbert Lecture,
2

iv. 4.

vii.

10.

5

CONCLUSION.
its

321

chief apology,

was Christ Himself.

He

does not

ignore the value of the evidence of miracle and pro-

phecy

;

but he

is

conscious of the limitations of the
in-

argument from the miraculous, and with a true
stinct

he

fixes

on that aspect which

is of

most abiding

force in the

argument from prophecy.

The miracles
of

wrought by Christ as an attestation by God

Him

and His teaching were natural elements in a supernatural mission
:

by the moral

test

they were easily

discriminated from the physical marvels of heathenism.

But the

greatest miracle

was the

spiritual trans-

formation which was produced by His Gospel in the
hearts

and

lives

of
its

men,

to

the reality
of

of

which

every day added

increase

testimony.

From
progress,

the supernatural results of Christianity, as revealed
in this

moral revolution which attended

its

he argued for the divine origin of the Founder
created
a
force
so

who
its

constant and

invariable
of

in

working, which showed no symptom

exhaustion

but was daily growing in strength, which was not
diminished by being shared, which owed nothing to
the agencies by which
vitality to
it

was transmitted, which gave

moral truths that had been lying dormant

and inoperative, and which in the two centuries that

had elapsed had proved

its

universal adaptiveness.

With supernatural
tion, the obstacles

foresight Christ

had predicted both
its

the intensity of this force and the method of

operaits

with which

it

would meet, and

x

322

THE EEPLY OF OKIGEN.

victorious advance.

The progress

of the

Gospel was
Christ

thus a continuous attestation of the prophecy.
is

exhibited by Origen as a spiritual physician

who
des-

possessed a radical cure for the moral maladies of men,

and

as the

Founder

of

a

kingdom which was
its

tined to embrace all

mankind under
And,

sovereignty.

Humanity had already acknowledged, and was every
day vindicating, His claims.
the Christian
life

as a consequence,

was the best apology.

This was
its

the test of Christ Himself.
sure

Apologetics had for
ethics.

foundation

Christian

To

lives

which

were clearly supernatural in their aspirations and aims,

which were reproductions

of a divine archetype,

which

like a temple revealed the

beauty

of the divine ideal,

which were originated and maintained by

Him
left

and
the

would

find completion only in

Him, Christ

defence of Himself and His truth.

The apology
principles

of

Origen contains the germs of

many

which subsequent apologists have developed.
of its

That Christianity, in respect

fundamental prob-

lems, presents no greater difficulty than theism, while
it

gives a solution
is

which

to

mere theism

is

impossible

that faith

not a principle limited to the sphere of
;

Christianity, but of universal application
tianity
is

that Chris-

to be

judged by

its ideals, especially

by

its

ideal of eternal
tion. 1

life,

—may be quoted by way
iv.

of illustra-

One

principle
1
iii.

which has not generally received
3;
vi.

35;

57;

i.

11;

iii.

81.

CONCLUSION.
the
is

323
of

same recognition from an apologetic point
meaning

view

his interpretation of the

of heresy or diviits

sion in the Church.

His insight into
less

historical

source was sound,

—not
it

sound into

its

function.

Absolute uniformity of opinion never existed in the

Church

:

if it

did, it

would be the death

of religion,

— an

evidence rather that
est to

was dead, and

of

no living

inter-

men.

Heresy

is

a strong testimony that spiritual
;

ailments are as real as physical evils

that the prob-

lems of religion

call for solution

as imperatively as

the problems of ethics and philosophy.
creates

That which
:

no antagonism creates no enthusiasm
is

criti-

cism of the truth
acquiescence in
it
;

a higher tribute than passive

the history of heresy an invaluable

aid to the study of the development of Christian doctrine.

The dream

of a united

Church, of a vast body

of

men marching under
evil,

the same banner for the "con-

quest of

with discipline perfect, with ranks un-

broken, armed from age to age with the same weapons,

ever repeating the same watchwords with monotonous
accent,
is

a

dream which has always exercised
it is

a natural

fascination for men, but

a fascination which dis-

appears before the cold light of history.
is

Much

truer

the conception which underlies the illustration of

Origen, that absolute oneness in Christian belief can

only exist where the souls of

men

are asleep or dying

that to each section of the Church, to each interpreter,

has been given the elucidation of some aspects of truth

324

THE REPLY OF ORIGEN.
;

which others had ignored or forgotten
evil lies not so

and that the

much

in the division itself as in at-

taching exaggerated emphasis to the importance of

some

little

dividing-line

;

that

"

God

reveals Himself in

many

ways,

Lest one good custom should corrupt the world."

Celsus has done a signal service to the history of
the Church by showing

how

Christianity appeared to

the eyes of an outsider

;

but he has done

much
to

more.

He was
tianity

an outsider who had a philosophy
he
exhibited
as

of poly-

theism which
;

superior

Chris-

for while it satisfied the

demands
God,
it

of reason

by acknowledging

the

unity of

did

not

openly break with the religious beliefs and ceremonies
of

the people.

The teaching

of

Celsus

is

virtually

presented by him as a rival system of religion and
morals,

and Origen accepts the challenge.
Origen leaves
it

At the

close of his reply,

to the reader to

decide whether his

work
of

or that of Celsus breathes

more

of

the

spirit

the

true

God, and

is

more

animated by that truth which by sound doctrines
stimulates

men

to the highest

life. 1

Both Celsus and
;

Origen recognised a certain affinity of ideas

once or

twice the question at issue between them seems to

narrow almost
blance
is

to a vanishing-point
real.

;

but the resem-

more apparent than
1

There are passages

viii.

76.

CONCLUSION.

325
says, 1

which seem

to

show,

as

Harnack

that the

Christian teaching concerning the Son of

God might

very easily have been made acceptable to the educated heathen by means of the doctrine of the Logos

but the very passage quoted plainly indicates that the
distinctively Christian
flesh "

dogma

of the

Word

"

becoming

was utterly repugnant

to all Hellenic

ways

of

thinking.

Detached thoughts in each writer might be
;

transferred to the other

but in regard to their con-

ceptions of God, the universe,

and man, Celsus and
If Celsus

Origen stand in fundamental antagonism.

were a true interpreter
alike to his precursors

of

Hellenism

—and

his relation

and

his successors

marks him
a

out as

a representative

man

— the

possibility of

meeting-point between

Hellenism and Christianity,

or of an assimilation of the one by the other,

was

almost unthinkable.

The

theological

watchword
of Plato, "

of

Hellenism was the
find out the

much-quoted saying
and Father

To

Maker

of the universe is a
it is

hard task, and when

we have found Him
nature to
all."
2

impossible to speak of His
of Celsus is hid-

The supreme God
;

den and inaccessible

the

God
It

of Christianity is selffor a

revealing and accessible.

might be possible

philosopher to rise to the lofty uplands where
1

God

ii.

31.

Harnack, Dogmengeschichte,
Cf. Justin, Cohort.,
c. 6, s.

vol.
c.

i.

p. 609.
;

2

Timtcus, 28 C.
;

38 (37 B)

2 Apol.,
i.

c.

10 (48 E)

Clement, Cohort.,

68

;

Cyril con. Julian.,

30 D.

326
dwells,

THE REPLY OF OPJGEN.
break in on
the solitary grandeur of
of truth,

the

Eternal,

and catch up some fragment
to

but

he could not bring back
his toil
;

his fellows the fruit of

it

remained a solitary possession, which he

could not impart to others.

But man's

interest in
will to

God

is

conditioned by His power and His
If

manifest Himself.
Himself,

He

is,

so far

He cannot or will not unveil as man is concerned, non-existThe unknown
quoted by Celis

ent, at least

impersonal and non-moral.

Christian teachers whose doctrine

sus had a clear perception of this principle. 1

They

saw that
festation

to

deny
to

to

God

the attribute of self-mani-

was

destroy His moral relationship to
unveil Himself
;

man

;

that

God cannot but
for

and that
it

the incarnation, as a revelation of

God

—the highest
a

was possible

man

to receive,

and in the form best

adapted to the capacities of
Christianity called on

man

— was

a necessity.

who

visited the

men to put their faith in human race, and exercised a
2

God

provi-

dence over every individual
neither position, as
it

Hellenism could admit

was more concerned about the

dignity than the goodness of God.

Not

less

antagonistic were their

views

of

God's
of

relation to the universe

and

to

man.

The God
;

Hellenism was transcendent but not immanent

the

God

of

Christianity

is

transcendent and immanent.

Holding by a dualistic theory, Celsus taught that the
1

vi.

69.

2

v. 3.

CONCLUSION.

327

seeming evil in the universe was due to matter, and
therefore independent of

God

:

he had no solution

for

the moral disorder in the world, because he ignored

the individual character of that

disorder.

In this

Hellenism was consistent with
in every
as

itself:

individualism
"

form was the great stumbling-block.
nothing in antiquity
;

Man
was

man was

the

State

everything."

Religion was a national concern, and

only related to the individual as one of a nation.
Christianity,

by

its

conception of

man

as a spiritual

being capable of direct fellowship with God, created or

gave a
rights

new prominence
;

to the

thought of individual
to

and duties
life,

and

at the

same time gave unity

the moral

by bringing into harmony the

religious

and moral spheres, which in Hellenism stood apart

and unrelated.

Origen might well challenge a com;

parison between Hellenism and Christianity

for

he

saw everywhere around him that the Christian
life,

ideal of
it

however imperfectly

realised, carried

with

an

in-

tensity

and universality

of

moral influence which was
In
brief,

altogether unparalleled.

Hellenism offered

to the soul thirsting after

God, a hidden God,

who

therefore
interest in

could

have no claim upon man, and no
;

him

for

an explanation

of the

mystery in

the universe, a theory which could only issue in moral
paralysis, for
for
it

said that

no explanation was possible
a
fluctuating

an

ethical

standard,
external,

law,

whose
no

authority was

and which could

take

328

THE EEPLY OF ORIGEN.

cognisance of the inner spring of

human

actions

;

for

the unquenchable hope of immortality, a denial or a

mocking shadow.
set forth

Christianity,
to

on the contrary, as

by Origen, presented

man

a revealing and

revealed God, whose essence was love, and whose love

had been eternally operative

;

for

an explanation

of

the universe, the assurance that there was advance

even in seeming retrogression, and that
finally be

evil

would

overthrown

;

for its

moral

ideal, the pattern

of a divine life lived

under human limitations, and
;

therefore within the reach of all

for the

hope

of

immortality, the certainty

of

its

attainment under

conditions which implied the eternal progress of the
intellectual

and moral nature
is

of

man.
fundamental princi-

A

striking light

cast on the

ples of the Hellenism represented

by Celsus by the

apologies which paganism put forth, when,

more than

two centuries
ation.

after, it in

turn had to plead for tolerso plainly its

Nothing reveals

own

hopeless

decadence, as well as
it

the
It

radical contrast

between

and Christianity.

had

learned

nothing and

forgotten nothing.
in

The dying paganism was defended
the
patriotic

the

West by Symmachus,
;

repre-

sentative of national religions
nius,

in the East

by LibaIn

an exponent

of

philosophical polytheism.

384
in

Symmachus,

the

Prefect
a

of

Eome, presented,
to

name

of

the

Senate,

petition

Valentinian

praying that the altar of Victory might be restored

CONCLUSION.
to the senate-house.

329
of

With something

the impa-

tience of a statesman for the discussions of cultivated
leisure,

he repeats the theory of the one God

being-

worshipped
is

under

many forms

x
,

his

real

ground

the old view of gods of nations and gods of cities

who were
strongest
tradition
:

assigned to each by the divine mind. 2
point
in

The

his

own

eyes

is

the

appeal to

he makes

Eome

herself plead for reverence

to her age,

for the use of the ancestral rites

by the

ministry of which she had subdued the world. 3

He

makes one
is

fatal

concession.

If

Victory, he pleads,
let

denied the honour of a god,

honour

at least

be paid to the name. 4
of the

When

a passionate worshipper
to plead that

ancestral religions

was willing

his gocl

might be tolerated as a metaphor, his defence
hasten
its

could

only

downfall.

The apology

of

Libanius, which was addressed to Theodosius a few

years later, 5
of

is

in

some respects

feebler than the appeal

Symmachus.

Like Celsus, the tutor of Julian

speaks with the scorn of one on a higher platform
of

men

"

who have

left

the fire-tongs, the hammer,

and the
1

anvil,
est,

and arrogantly discourse about heaven
quicquid omnes colunt,

"zEquum

unum
iii.

putari.
10, edit.

.

.

.

Sed

otiosorum disputatio est hrcc."
2 c. 8.

— Relationes,

c.

Meyer.

" Varios custodes urbibus cultus mens divina distribuit."— Idem,
" Utar cerimoniis

avitis." Idem. c. 9. " lleddatur saltern nomini honor, qui numini denegatus Idem, c. 3. 5 Between 388 and 391 Sievers, Das Leben des Libanius,
1

3

est."

p. 192.

330

THE EEPLY OF ORIGEN.
in
it."
1

and those who dwell

He

prays that the

temple should not be destroyed on the ground that
the gods worshipped therein had been useful to Kome,

even the source

of its power,

and avers that

to destroy

the temples would be to destroy the very soul of the
country. 2

His chief plea
It

is
is,

unconsciously a condemthat the law had not
;

nation of Hellenism.

explicitly ordered the destruction of the temples

had

the king enjoined

it,

the destroyers of the temples
;

would have done no wrong

no one was so audacious

as to claim to be superior to the law. 3

The

difference

between this abject surrender

to the will of the State

and the
of

clear declaration of Origen for the

supremacy
is

the divine

law above
of

all

human enactments
between

the

measure

the

difference

Hellenism

and Christianity, between a religion which was only
national

and one which was truly individual, bespiritual faith.

tween a philosophical theory and a
Christianity
directly

was influenced by Hellenic ideas both
to

and indirectly; but Hellenism was

the

very end unconscious of any relationship, and continued to repeat
tianity
is

its

exploded watchwords as

if

Chris-

had never

existed.

The theology

of Libanius

not one step in advance of that of Celsus.
1

And

Libanius, 'Yirep toov lepwv

— Reiske,

vol.

ii.

pp. 179, 180.
kclI

2

Idem, Idem,

vol.

ii.

p.

167

tovtc? rervcpAoorai Te

Ke7rai Kal TeOvrjice

tyvxh.
3

vol.

ii.

pp. 163, 172, 174, 176.
)3a(rtAe7 iroitlv

ovkovv
vol.
ii.

ol

KaQaipovvTes ovk

tj^Ikovu

tw to doKovura rw

p. 201.

CONCLUSION.
this
lar

331
Neither in
its

was necessarily the

case.

popu-

form nor as interpreted by philosophy did paof

ganism contain any principle
held by the populace,
its

development.

As

development was a contra-

diction in terms,. for its strongest

argument was the

appeal to the past.

Its interpretation

by philosophy

was

futile, like all

unreal compromises, and killed the
professed to save
;

religion

which

it

for the

one

God
its

of the philosophers

was never

really brought into re-

lation to the inferior deities of the

many.

As

if

only chance of survival was the absolute isolation of
its

own

ideas,

to

the last Hellenism
as

regarded
:

the

Christian

conceptions
life,
it

utterly

alien

having no

principle of

lacked the power to assimilate
it

while by
destroyed
to

its its

concessions to the popular religions

own

coherence.

Christianity claimed

be at once a philosophy for the few and a saving

faith for the

many, and in both forms equally divine
:

and authoritative
and transformed
for, like

it

took captive Hellenic culture,

it

from an enemy into a servant
it

a living organism,

had power

to assimilate

all

that was akin to itself without

beino-

faithless

to the

law
1

of its

own

inner development.
vol.
i.

Cf.

Harnack, Dogmengeschichte,

p.

567.

INDEX OF PEINCIPAL SUBJECTS

AND NAMES.

Abaris, 36, 215.

Abraham, use of

his name in casting out demons, 141, 304. Abstinence, pagan and Christian, 54, 140, 289, 310. Adam, 45, 136. Advents of Christ, 199. Alexandria, 114. Allegorical interpretation, of Scripture, condemned by Celsus, 21, 46 applied by him to Greek and Egyptian traditions, 36, 61

.

125-127, — Origen's defence 137, 138, 149, 150, 222, 247, 248, 250, 251 — Origen condemns
of,

Apologists, position of those known to Celsus, 101,102 before Origen, 312, 313. Apology of Origen, its place in Apologetics, 5, 114— temporary elements in, 314 leading aspects of, 314-324. See Origen. Apuleius on the function and worship of demons, 274, 275. Archilochus, 307. Aristides, Apology of, in relation to Celsus, 103, 104. Aristo, 46.

its

application to Greek and tian mythology, 309, 310. Aloidse, 43, 124. Altars, Christians charged

Egyp-

having none, 74, answered, 288-290.

76

— charge

with

Aristotle, 294. Ark of Noah, 45, 139. Arnobius, 13, 299. Asclepius, 36, 37, 72, 215, 307. Aube quoted or referred to, 11, 12, 16 19 98. Augiiry,'49,'l40, 147, 173, 174.

Aurelius,

8.

Ambrose,

10, 113.

Ammon,

52, 53, 305, 310. 72. Angels, 50, 54, 55, 285. Anger of God, 47, 135.

Anaxarchus,

Babel, 43, 124, 278, 279. Barnabas, Epistle of, 96. Bees, 48, 49, 171, 172.

Body

Animals, their relation to man, according to Celsus, 13, 48-50, 109 according to Origen, 164-175-

of Celsus, 166.

man, how regarded by 46, 51 by Origen, 165,

Boissier, 267, 273.

and unclean, 141. Anthropopathy of Scripture,
clean

41, 45, 47, 61, 63, 64, 67, 68, 132-136,

138, 254, 318. Antinous, 7, 37, 56. Ants, 43, 48, 49, 167, 171, 172. Apocryphal Gospels, 23, 95, 96.

Celsus, character of his attack, 4, 108 date of his work, 5-9 common name, 9 his character,

ib.,

15 not an; Epicurean, not the friend of Lucian, 9-15 a Platonist like Julian, 14, 106 analysis

— —

334

INDEX.

of his work, 18-83 quoted Plato accurately, 56 his knowledge of the Old Testament, 85, 86— of the New Testament, 88-94, 98-

100 did he use the apocryphal Gospels 1 95-98 his knowledge

of Justin, 101, 102— of Aristides, 103, 104 general characteristics, 105-108 Origen's contempt for, 117, 118 summary of his attack on the Scriptures, 122 -on Judaism, 136, 137 on the incarnation, 153, 157, 176, 177—on evil, on the place 159, 163, 175, 327 of men and animals, 108, 164-176 summary of his attack on the Person of Christ, 181 erroneous conception of the incarnation, summary of his 184, 185, 188

— — —

136, 148-152 as theism, 136, 322 the teaching of heretics no ground of accusation against, 182 moral force of, 193-197 its progress a continuous miracle, 196 founded on miracles, 211 its divisions a tribute to it, 242 its collision with the Empire, 263 grounds of this collision, 264, 265, 267, 273, 288— basis of co-

and explained, same difficulties


operation Avith philosophy, 293 the absolute religion, 315-318 Christ, the great problem and defence of, 321 compared and contrasted with Hellenism, 325328, 330, 331 See also Christians

.

on prophecy, i98 on miracles, 209 on the resurrection of Christ, 217 on Jesus as a teacher, 225 on the character of Jesus, 227— his want of moral insight, 229 summary of his attack on the Christians, 240
attack

— — — —

and Church.
Christians,

their divisions, ib. their irrational faith, 245 their want of culture, 249 their love of sinners, 254 their doctrine of a resurrection, 260 charges Christians with disloyalty, 268-272 his theory of the national demons, 276, 277 his theory in relation to Julian's, 276— to Origen's, 280, 281 on the worship of demons, 282 his view of demons compared with Origen's, 282 - 286 his charges against Christians his religion retorted, 294 - 297 compared with Christianity, 324328. See also the True Word.' Christ. See Jesus Christ. Christianity, essentials of, known to Celsus, 4 on what conception of man founded, 47 alleged by Celsus to have borrowed from Plato, 56-59, 73 to be contrary why Celsus to Judaism, 68 Christianity hostile to, 106, 107 its relation at Alexandria, 114 its to other studies, 115-117 relation to Platonism, 123 not borrowed, 124, 125 its relation to philosophy, 127, 128— wherein superior to philosophy, 129, 298, 299 relation to Judaism defined

— —

— —


'

accused by Celsus of being an unlawful and secret association, 19 of irrational belief, 21 of abandoning the Jewish law, 26, 53, 54 how differ from Jews, 34, 43 their faith compared to Egyptian temples, 36 likened to worshippers of Antinous, 37 their want of culture, ib. compared to jugglers, 38 invite sinners, 39 -their maxims quoted, 40 their conceptions of God, 41, 68 have the same God as the Jews, 55 their many divisions, 55, 56 their strange humility, 58 silly mysteries of, 59 use barbarous books, 60 crucified and persecuted, 70, 77, 83 their passion for novelty, 72, 276 cannot endure temples, 7476 insult statues, 77 their obstinacy, 79 exhorted to take part in civic duties, 83 dogmas of, 85 true agnostics, 133 not concerned with the letter of

— —

— —

— — — —

— —

— —

196

Mosaism, 149, 152— die willingly, how marked off from here-

— — —

— —

— — their dogmas not secret, 268 — are not disloyal, 268-273— why keep no 286, 287 —why avoid temples, 288-290 — cannot the supreme God Zeus, 304 —lives
feasts,
call
of,

241 their divisions defended, 242-244, 323— place they assign to implicit faith, 245-247 to wisdom, 247 their intelligence defended, 249-254 their morality defended, 254-258 how they test candidates, 259, 260
tics,

INDEX.
See also Christianity and Church. Church, the, position of, when Celsus wrote, 6, 7 the "Great
the best apology, 322.

335

— why not worshipped along with God, 302 — Zeus, Amnion, and
Pappams only names
prominence
of, in

Church,"

6,

— 55, 84 — every Church
— —

of,

305

Origen, 314.

a witness to a divine Christ, 195 its teaching distinguished from devotion of false systems, 241 not to be its adherents, 244 formed of the unintelligent, 251 its methods of conversion defended, 256 compared with the way of political assembly, 258 testing candidates, 259, 260 an unlawful guild, 264 its service has first claim on Christians, 272 dream of a united Church, 323. See also Christianity and Chris-

Denis, 116, 117, 301. Devil, the, 61, 62, 159, 160, 230. Diagram of the Ophites, 59, 60, 100. Dietrichson, 7, 37.

Dionysius, 61.
Disciples of Christ, attacked by Celsus, 27, 28, 29, 31, 33— their records, 89 their number, 96, 97 their character as revealed in the Gospels, 182, 183, 184— did not invent the prophecies of Christ, 204, 205, 207 nor His miracles, 212 nor the resurrection, 221, 223 their relation to Jesus, 225, 226, 237. ' Dispute between Jason and Papiscus,' 46, 100.

— —

tians.

Cicero, 263, 265.

Circumcision, 53, 140.

Clement of Alexandria,

11, 104, 114, 115, 117, 276, 325— his view of the relation of Greek philosophy to Christianity, 291, 292. Condescension of God, 134, 135, 156, 192, 228, 254, 318. Cosmogony, Mosaic, 55, 62, 63, 138, 139. Cycles, theory of, 42, 47, 163, 164.

Donaldson, 46, 98.

Egypt and the Egyptians, did Moses borrow from ? 22, 140
Christ alleged to have learned miraculous arts there, 23, 25 relation of Jews to, 35, 142 temples and worship of, 36

mythology of, 61, 309, 310— Plato and Egypt, 125 other ref-

Daniel, 73, 86. Days, holy, 287, 288.

erences, 44, 52, 54, 65, 140, 141.

Demons,

relation of, to national reworship of, deligions, 52, 53 Christians, fended, 74, 75, 80 like all others, dependent on them, 76, 77, 282 punish those who insult them, 77 Egyptians assign thirty-six demons to body, 80 not to be worshipped to neglect of God, 81 limited in

— ——

Empire, the Eoman, condition of, in time of Celsus, 7, 8, 82, 83, 107— Christianity useful to, 195
relation to religions gener263, 264— its toleration of polytheism, 265, 266 why it did not tolerate Christianity, 267, 272, 276 its toleration of Judaism, 276.
its

ally,

Enoch, Book

of, 54, 86.

power, ib.— nothing grievous in propitiating them, ib. demons and divination, 173, 174 miracles of Greeks and demons, 215 source of pestilence, 230 theory of, applied to the national gods of polytheism, 274 views of Plutarch and Apuleius, 274, Origen's criticism of tins 275 theory, 277-287 his own theory, 278-282 demons not servants of God, 282 all bad, ib. discharge function of executioners, 283 feed on blood and smoke, 284, 285 destroyed by martyrs, 286

Epictetus, 72, 130, 253. Epicurus, Lucian's view of, 12, 13 not named by Celsus, 12. Esoteric Christianity, 126, 127, 137, See 138, 150, 248, 257, 268, 320. Allegorical interpretation. Euripides, 30, 48, 286. Eusebius, 114, 167.

Eve, 45. Evil, according to Celsus, 46, 47 criticism of Origen, 136, 157-161,
161.

Faith, its place in Christianity, 21, 57, 246, 322.

336

INDEX.
principle

Foreknowledge of God and human
freedom, 28, 208, 209.
Gnosticism, allusions
to,
4, 6,

of development, 331. See Philosophv and Plato.

59,

60, 62, 70, 76, 99, 241.

God, various names

of, 22, 53 criticism by Celsus of the Christian representation of God, 39, 40, 41, 44, 51, 63, 65, 67, 68, 69 his conception of, 42, 47, 58,

Heracles, 36, 72," 307. Heraclitus, 20, 74. Heresies, 241-244, 292, 323. Herodotus quoted by Celsus, 52,
53.

Hierocles, 14, 114.

Homer,

25, 61, 69, 296.

64, 71,
tal,

46 He cares only for the whole, 50 can do nothing condemons trary to reason, 52 under Him, 74, 75 never to be neglected, 81 the one source of the Scriptural conall truth, 124 ception of, defended, 132-136 alone essentially good, 160 His relation to evil, 161 takes special care of the rational creature, must put an end to 174, 175 disorder, 176 nothing good save can do things from Him, 194

76— all

His works immor-

— —

Idolatry, 20, 74, 76, 286. Incarnation, declared by Celsus to serve no purpose, 41, 153 to be impossible because of nature of God, 42 not necessary, 43 how the early apologists accounted for it, 64 why was it delayed? 65

is

— — Hislaw to be obeyed, 269 —the one object of worship, 289 — only one God, 299, 300 — natural conception 300 — relation to the universe, 300, 301 — cannot admit a divided homage, 302 — various names
"above nature, "210
first

— —involved no change God, 154, 155 — necessary because God a moral God, 156 — implies between God and man, 164 — of the time, 177 fitness of method and place adopted, 179 — erroneous view
in affinity fitness

of,

held by Celsus, 184— Who became incarnate, 185, 186—involved no pollution of the Spirit of God, 186, 187 was a real assumption of a human nature,
of,

of,

hence kenosis, 188-193 the beginning of a new type, 238—
place of, in Christianity, 318. Inspiration, to whom granted, 128, 146 in a sense universal, 124, 178 of the Scriptures proved by the mark of philanthropy, 194 test of, 320. See Kevelation and Scriptures. Irenseus, 6, 70. Isis, 61, 309.

not indifferent, 303, 304— Christian and Hellenic view compared,
325, 326.

Gospels, the, attack of Celsus on,
28, 29, 32, 34—his knowledge of, 89-94— of St Matthew, 91, 92— St Mark, 92— St Luke, 92, 93—

— —

St John, 93, 94 Origen's defence of, 181-184, 204, 212, 221. Greeks superior to Jews, 20, 56 wherein their teaching inferior to Christianity, 124-131, 297, 298. See Philosophy and Plato. Gregory Thaumaturgus, his porquoted, trait of Origen, 115-117 120.

Jesus Christ, attacked by Celsus in person of a Jew, 17, 22-26 said
to have wrought miracles by incantations, 20, 25, 31, 32 began His teaching but a few years ago, 22 invented the virgin-birth, 22 learned miraculous arts in

— —


Harnack, 197, 325, 331.
Harpocratians, 55.
'

Egypt, 23

Heavenly Dialogue,'

the, 76, 100.

Hellenism, spirit of, as revealed in Celsus, 71, 325 its philosophy of polytheism, 273-277 its demonic theory compared with Origen's, 280, 281— contrasted with Chrishad no real tianity, 325-328

to others, 24, 29 His choice of disciples, 25, 31 a sorcerer, 26 nothing new in His teaching, 27 why the Jews do not believe in Him, 27 His pretended fore-

—prophecies may apply — — — 28, 29 — His voluntary 29 — defined by ChrisWord, 29

knowledge,
suffering,

tians as the absolute

INDEX.

337

— did not suffer
the
story

— — His

like a God, 30 of the resurrection only a man, criticised, 32-34, 36 34— compared to Zamolxis and others, 36, 37 formed of a mortal body, 37 angels at His tomb, 55 faith in Him condemned, 57

320

—why

Judaism not perma-

— —

teaching

borrowed from

nent, 151, 152 expected a Messiah, why rejected 198, 199 Christ, 202, 203 toleration of, 276 not alone the care of God, 291. Other references, 23, 26, 34, 47, 85, 86, 137, 231, 289, 312. John, St, 93, 94, 297.

— —

Plato, 58, 73 His teaching about Satan, 61 why born of a woman ? why sent to the Jews ? 64, 65 65 in conflict with Moses, 68

— — —

Jonah, 73. Joseph, 22, 23. Judas, 28, 226.
Julian, his relation to Celsus, 14 parallel passages referred to, 31,
32, 36, 38, 39, 41, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 51, 52, 53, 54, 56, 60, 62, 65, his knowledge of 68, 74, 75, Scripture, 90 said that John invented the divinity of Christ, 94 repeated criticism of Celsus,

with Epictetus and others, 72 revered by Christians, 75 His enemies never punished, 77 sayings of, quoted by Celsus, discussed, 96 the Christology of His siearly apologists, 101 lence, 117 prominence of, in Origen's apology, 120 the Son of Him who gave the Law, 148 the reformer of the whole world, 151 not the first manifestation of God, 180 His super-

compared

— —

82—

— —

— natural birth, 186, 187, 188— composite being, 189 — His form varied, 190 — Origen's Christology, 191 — His kenosis, 192 — why buried 193 — arguments for
?

his theory of the gods, 275, 276 other references, 16, 278.
105,

106

national

Justin Martyr, 96, 98,

325— his relation to Celsus, 101, 102, 104.
or referred to, 7, 9,
19, 59, 11,
12,

Keim quoted
14,

70,

76, 94,

100.

His divinity, 193-239, 321, 322— from moral influence, 193-197 from miracles, 209-216 His resurrection, 216-224 His teaching, 227— His character, 227, 228 His suffering and death, 229233 argument from rapid pro-

Law

gress of Christianity, 233-238 new type, 238 His teaching op-

of nature and the written law, 269, 270. Libanius, his defence of Hellenism, 328-330. Lot, story of, 45, 139. Lucian held by Keim to be a friend of Celsus, 9 discussion of this view, 10-15 quoted, 267.

— —

posed by demons, 285 our High Priest, 286 only way of piety, 290 Himself the great problem and apology of Christianity, 321. Jews, their alleged worship of

Magi, the, and Christ, 24, 173.
Marcellians,
6, 55.

Marcion and the Marcionites,
63, 68, 76, 85, 89, 182, 292.

6, 55,

angels, 22, 51, 103— points at issue between them and Chriswere Egyptians, tians, 34, 43, 44 35 a race of no repute, 44, 45, 54 their religion national, 52 nothing original in customs of, 53 same God as the Christians', 55 why was Jesus sent to ? 65, 211 have not a plot of ground, their books defended, 126 82 originality of rites, 140 greatness of Jews, 141, 142, 143 -why abandoned by God, 144, their prophets, 146, 147, 233

Matter the source of evil, according to Celsus, 47 matter and its

qualities, 167. Matter quoted, 59. Minucius Felix, 5.

Miracles, attacked

— — —

23

— —

the works of sorcerers, 25, 26, 32— like those recorded of Greek heroes, 36 defended by Origen as possible, as necessary to the estab210 lishment of Christianity, 211 not invented by the evangelists, 212 not the work of sorcery, 213 not like the Greek legends, 215

—ranked —

by

Celsus,

20,

with

338

INDEX.
tried

—to be
214, 216

— significance
-

by the moral
of,

test,

321.
its

Mithras, 21, 59.

Moral argument, 193-197
tion to others, 193
of,

320

— rela—pre-eminence 322 — other references,

251 on the resurrection of the body, 261, 262 on the national gods, 277 his own theory of superintendents, 278 - 281 on heathen feasts, 287 on holy days, ib. on philosophy and

234, 237, 254-260, 271, 290. Moses, attacked for want of originality, 21 for deceiving the Jews, in conflict with Jesus, 68 22, 54 charge of want of originality refuted, 124 older than Plato, 125 character and influence of, 137, 138 his books an introduction to Christianity, 148 miracles of, and Christ compared, 203.

Christianity, 292-294, 298, 299— his idiosyncrasies, 297 on polytheism, 299, 306 on worship, 302, 303, 305— on the nature of

See Cosmogony.

names, 304 had no humour, 309 on the allegorising of mythology, 309, 310 on punishment, 311 relation of, to former apologists, 312 temporary and permanent elements in his apology, 313-315, 322— on Christianity as

Names, Origen's theory
314.

of,

303-305,

Nature, distinction between "above" and " contrary to," 210. New Testament. See Gospels and
Scriptures.

the absolute religion, 315-318 on the internal evidence, 318 his seeming contradictions, 319 place of Christ in his apology, 321, 322 points of contact with Celsus, 324, 325 his presenta-

tion of Christianity, 328.

Orpheus, 72.

Old Testament.

See Scriptures.
Panthera, 22, 23. Pappseus, 53, 305. Paul, St, 56, 99, 125, 242, 247, 252,
261, 286.

Ophites, 6, 59, 60, 241. Oracles, pagan, 78, 146, 307-309. Origen, knew little about Celsus, 5, blames Celsus for disorder, 9, 10 16 his reply to Celsus in eight books, 18— the 'True Word' sent to him by Ambrose, 113 when reply written, ib. estimates of his apology, 114 his qualificahis portions for the work, ib. held trait as a teacher, 115-117 apology to be superfluous, 117 his contempt for Celsus, 117, 118 aim and form of apology, 119 consciousness of victory, 120 his love of allegory, 126, 320 his defence of the Scriptures, 121136— of Judaism, 136-152— of the incarnation generally, 153-180 his teaching as to evil, 160 as to matter, 167 as to man and the his Christoluniverse, 167-176 on the moral arguogy, 184-191 ment, 193-197 on prophecy, 197on on miracles, 209-216 209 the resurrection of Christ, 216224 on His passion, 229-233, on the Church, 241 on here241-244 on faith, 245sies, his methods of teaching, 247 248, 249—his esoteric theory, 250,

Pelagaud quoted or referred
9, 16, 19, 98, 101, 108.

to, 7,

— —

— —

— —

— — — —

Peter, St, 100, 125, 209. Philo, 126. Philosophy, Celsus a votary of, 46, 71 the handmaid of Christianity, 117, 292 compared with Christianity, 124, 127, 128, 129, 130— teachers of, inconsistent, 144, 299 demands divisions in, 242 source of heresy, 292 faith, 246 its reconciliation with Chrisabsurd speculatianity, 293 inferior to tions of, 294-296 Christianity, 297, 298. Plato, admired by Celsus, 10, 13 his teaching compared with ChrisChristianity altianity, 56, 57 leged to have borrowed from, 58, 59, 69, 73, 74— reply of Origen to this charge, 124, 125, 226, 227— master in theology, 70 all truth

— —

in Plato God-inspired, 123

gorised by Origen, to the theory of the national gods, 274, 276 inferior to Jesus, 297 did not truly find out God, 298

— — 126 —relation

alle-

INDEX.
quoted or referred to, 42, 43, 46, 47, 71, 106, 127, 144, 187, 217, 236, 274, 292, 295, 325. Plutarch quoted, 9 his philosophy

339

ancies in the narratives of, 55

of polytheism, 274.

Polytheism, defended by Celsus, 7482 its moral failure, 194 its toleration, 264-267 its prevalence, endeavours to reconcile it 268 with philosophy, 14, 273-276, 324 Origen's criticism of, 299 opposed to unity of the universe, 299, 300 condemned by Origen, 302-309 defence of, by Symmachus and Libanius, 328-330. ' Preaching of Peter,' 103, 104. Presbyters, 60. Prophecy, attack by Celsus on Messianic prophecies generally, may be applied to 26, 66-68 others as well as Jesus, 24, 29 on the prophecies of Christ Himself, 27, 28— not credible, 28— if true, an argument against Christ, 28— on the prediction of the resurrection, 32 value of heathen prophecies, 78 Origen's defence of, importance of argument, 145, 197 place of, in Judaism, 145148 defence of Messianic prophecies, 197-204 of Christ's own prophecies, 204-209, 321 not invented, 204, 205— still being ful-

— —

defended by Origen, 216-224 contrasted with Old Testament and Greek records, 217, 218 not founded on illusion, 219, 220 not invented, 221 why Christ did not appear before all, 222, 223 discrepancies reconciled, 223, 224 nature of the resurrection-body, 221 other references,

28, 64.

— —

Resurrection of the body, attacked by Celsus, 51, 79 how defended by Origen, 260-262. Reuss, 95, 98. Revelation, why necessary, 122 in what sense original, 123, 124

determined by moral due to the philanthropy of God, 318, 319. See

form

of,

aim, 131, 134

Rome.

Inspiration and Scriptures. See the Empire.

— —

— —

filled,

206,

207—relation

of fore-

knowledge to human freedom, heathen prophecies, 208, 209

Satan, 61, 62, 160. Scriptures, Old Testament criticised by Celsus, 45, 46 how far they were known to Celsus, 85100— defended by Origen, 122-136 claims of, proved by prophecy, twofold sense of, 149 145, 197 their dark sayings, 250, 251 internal evidence for, 318. See Allegorical interpretation, Inspiration, and Revelation. Septuagint, 86, 113, 186. Sibylline books, 100.

— —

308.

Providence of God, nature' of, according to Celsus, 50 according to Origen, 174, 175, 300, 326— the objections of Celsus likened to objections to Providence, 136, 222. See God. Punishment, future, 42, 79, 135,

Sibyllists, 55. Sicarii, 205.

136, 248, 249, 310, 311.

Pythagoras, 236, 260, 295.

Redepenning, 114, 119. Penan, 219.
Resurrection of Christ, compared by Celsus to that of other charlatans, 32 witnessed only by a half-frenzied Avoman, 33 or invented by disciples, 34 Christ, when risen, should have appeared to His judges and others, ib. only a phantom, 36, 70 discrep-

in Christian to Celsus, 39 incurable, 40 criticism of Origen, 156, 157 view of sin determines opposite theories of the universe, 175, 327. See Evil. Sinners invited by Christians, 39, 40, 157, 158, 194, 257, 258. Socrates, 20, 208, 309.
Sin,
of,

Simon, 202, 235. prominence
teaching

known

— —

— —

See Incarnation and Jesus Christ. World so called by some, 62. Sorcery, the miracles of Christ and,
32, 213, 214. Soul, the, according to Celsus, 46, 79.

Son of God.

Symniachus, 267 his defence of paganism, 328-330.

340
Temples,

INDEX.
years, 113 Origen's contempt for, 117, 118, 120 value of, in history of Apologetics, 84, 109, 313. See Celsus. Tzschirner, 100.

why Christians avoid, 288-293. Tertullian, accuses the Marcionites of retouching the Gospels, 89 on heresies and philosophy, 292 —referred to, 5, 123, 152, 154, 187, 197, 200, 233, 264. Thomas, doubt of, 220. Trajan, 264. 'True Word,' the, its date, 5-9— place where written, 9 its author, 9-15 to what extent preserved, 16 charge of disorder, 16, 17 analysis of, 18-83 its divisions, 19 Part I., 19-

Universal religion,
315.

a, 83,

107, 253,

Universe, man's place in the, 47,
50, 108, 167, 175, 176.

— — —
it

Valentinians, 100, 182. Virgin Mary, Jewish slanders

of,

23—refuted,

187, 188.

34— Part

II.,

34-83—knowledge
exhibits, 85-100
litera-

—knowledge of Christian ture, 100-104 — learning, 105 —modern in criticism, 108,
its

of Scriptures

Word, the (Logos). See Incarnation and Jesus Christ. Word, the. See Eevelation and
Scriptures.

109

— not

its

4,

Worship, according to Celsus, 82
according to Origen, 301-303.

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