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difficult, by the divine word to change wickedness naturalized (xaxlav Quoco atav), provided any one will but allow that he ought to commit himself to the Supreme God, and to do every thing with a reference to pleasing Hin, with whom the good and the bad are not held in the same estimation, and with whom the indolent and the active man do not meet with the same fate (b).' But if a change be very difficult to some, it must be said, that the cause is in the disposition of those, who will not allow that the Supreme God will be the best judge of all the actions done by every one in this life. For will and exertion have great weight in enabling a person to do those things which appear very difficult, and, to use a strong expression, almost impossible. Would a man be able by exertion and practice to walk upon a rope stretched on high from one side of a theatre to the other, with considerable weights upon him; and would he find it impossible to live virtuously when he desires it, although he has previously been very wicked ? But consider, whether a person who makes such assertions, does not accuse the Creator of the rational being, rather than the being himself, if he has poade man capable of doing things difficult, but
(b) Iliad, ix. 319, 320.
useless, and incapable of doing things conducive to his own happiness."-Vol. 1. p. 492.
“God always, by means of his word, which at all times descended into holy souls, and formed men friends of God, and Prophets, corrected those who were willing to listen to instruction ; and from the coming of Christ he corrects, by the Christian doctrine, not those who are unwilling, but those who prefer a good life, and one pleasing to God. But Celsus, wanting I know not what correction, asks, with some doubt, Was it not possible for him to correct by his di. vine power, without sending a person for that express purpose? Did he mean, that correction should take place by God's causing a complete change in the imaginations of men, and by his entirely removing all wickedness, and infusing virtue into them? Another person will ask, W'hether such a proceeding would be consistent with nature, or 'even possible ? But supposing that it is possible, what would become of free-will? Where would be the laudable adoption of truth, or the acceptable rejection of falsehood ? But if it should once be granted that this is possible, and might be done without impropriety, some one, following the example of Celsus, will ask, Was it not possible for God, by his divine power, originally
to make men such, that they should not want any correction, but that they should of themselves be diligent and perfect, without any wickedness (subsisting from the first? These things may impose upon the simple and weak, but not upon him who looks into the nature of things; for if you take away free-will from virtue, you destroy at once its very existence. But this subject would require a treatise ; and many things are declared concerning it by the Greeks in their books upon Providence, who are far from saying with Celsus, He does indeed know, but he does not correct, nor could he by his divine power. And we have in many places discussed these points, as far as we were able ; and the Scriptures say the same things to those who can understand them. What therefore Celsus addresses to us, and to the Jews, will be retorted upon himself, Does the Supreme God know what happens among men, or does he not know? But if you adnit that there is a God and a Providence, as your writings shew you do, he must necessarily know. But if he does know, why does he not correct? Is it necessary for us to give a reason, why God, although he knows, does not correct? and is it not equally incumbent upon you, not shewing yourself in your writings to be an Epicurean, but professing to acknowledge a Pro
vidence, vidence, to assign a reason why God, although he knows all human affairs, does not correct them, or by his divine power take away wickedness from every one ? But we do not scruple to say, that God does always send those who would correct. For there are among men words given by God, which invite to what is best; but there is a great difference in the ministers of God. And there are a few who entirely and purely preach truth, and labour to produce a perfect correction. Such were Moses and the Prophets. But among all these, the correction through Jesus
stands distinguished, who wished not merely those - in one corner of the world to be healed, but, as
far as he could, tbroughout the universe ; for he came to be the Saviour of all mankind."-Vol. 1. p. 503
" I assert that man is endowed with free-will, declaring that this is the greatest gift conferred upon him by God, because all other things are by necessity obedient to the command of God. For if you speak of the heaven, it stands bearing the Lord, not moved from its appointed place. And if you choose to speak of the sun, it performs its appointed motion, not refusing its course, but by necessity serving the Lord. And in like manner, you see the earth fixed, and bearing the command of him who ordered. In
like manner other things by necessity serve the Creator, not any one of them being able to do any other thing but that for which it was made. Wherefore we do not praise these things which are thus obedient to the Lord; nor is any hope of better things laid up for them, because they have voluntarily observed what they were commanded. But it is the will of God, that man should obey the understanding, and he has received power to subject himself, not being governed by the necessity of nature, or destitute of power ; which I say is being endowed with free-will, for the sake of better things; that he may receive better things from Him, who is more excellent (which is the consequence of obedience), and moreover, as it were a debt from the Creator. For I do not say that man was thus made to his injury, but for the sake of better things. For if he had been made like one of the elements, or any thing of that kind, there would have been a necessity that he should serve God; he would no longer receive a suitable reward of his choice, but man would be as an instrument of bis Creator, and he who uses it would be the cause of these things. But neither would man have arrived at superior knowledge, knowing nothing else but that only for which he was formed. I say therefore that God has thus honoured man; it being