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• knows of some, who are Simonians, who following Helena, or a master called Helenus, are called • Helenians.” But,” says Origen, · Celsus does not know that the Simonians do by no means • confess Jesus to be the Son of God, but say, that Simon is the power of God. Many strange
things are told us of that man, who thought, that if he could perform some wonders like to • those which Jesus had done, he should be honoured in the like manner that Jesus was. But * neither Celsus, nor Simon, were able to comprehend, how Jesus, as a good husbandman of • the word of God, ws nados yewpros doy8 ©£8, was able to sow a great part of Greece, and a great
part of the Barbarian world, and fill them with words, which convert the soul from every evil, • and lead them to the Creator of all. Celsus was also acquainted with the Marcellians, so • called from Marcellina, and the Harpocratians, who had their rise from Salome, and others • from Mariamne, and others from Martha: though I, who have made it my business to acquaint
myself with the different sects among us, as well as among the philosophers, never met with any • of these, denote 781015 wish you plav. Celsus has also made mention of the Marcionites, so called * from Marcion.'
4. • Anda then, that he may seem to be acquainted with others, beside those already named, • he adds, after his accustomed manner: “ and others form to themselves another master and • dæmon, walking in the greatest darkness, and practising more shameful and impious things * than the associates of Antinous in Egypt.””
5. In another place Origen observes, that the Simonians never were persecuted: and says, he believes, there could not at that time he found thirty Simonians in the world.
Celsus also brings in the Ophians, or Ophitæ, who, as 'Origen says, were no more Christians than himself. He "likewise seems to refer to the Valentinians, and to some other obscure people, whom Origen knew nothing of: and borrowing their sentiments, he forms an objection from them against all Christians in general.
However, the main disputes of Celsus is with our gospels, and those Christians that followed them, as is manifest from the whole of his work; so far as we can judge of it by those fragments that remain : and there are enough of them in Origen to give us a just idea of it.
8. It is not at all surprising, that Celsus should endeavour to make an advantage of the absurd opinions of those called heretics, for loading Christians in general, or Christianity itself with the reproach of them; or by setting them up against the more prevailing sentiments of the sounder part of the Christians, from which indeed proceeded all the fears and apprehensions of heathen people.
Passages in Celsus, containing calumnies, or injurious reflections upon the Christians.
He objects after this manner. • That 'I say nothing more severe than truth obliges me • to say, is manifest hence: when others invite men to the mysteries, they invite men after this * manner: “ Whoever has clean hands and a good understanding : or, whosoever is pure from • vice, whose soul is conscious of no evil, and lives according
to the law of righteousness, let • him come hither.” Now let us see whom they invite. Whoever, say they, is a sinner, who• ever is ignorant, whoever is silly, and in a word, whoever is miserable, these the kingdom of • God receives.” Whom do you mean by “ sinners. Do you not thereby intend
thieves, • house-breakers, poisoners, sacrilegious, and the like? And what else could men say who aim • to form a society of the worst of men ? To which Origen answers : . It is one thing to invite • sick souls to come to be healed, and another thing to call such as are cured to partake of • higher mysteries. We who know the difference of these two things, first invite men to come and • be healed, and we exhort sinners to attend to those who teach men not to sin: and the ignorant • and unwise we exhort to hearken to those who will teach them wisdom; the weak we exhort to
a Ib. sect. 63. p. 272.
L. vi. sect. 28. et 30. p. 294. &c. & L. vi, sect. 34. &c. p. 298.
• Και εν τούτοις δη παλιν, εκ οιδ' απο ποιας αιρεσεως ασημελαθης ταυλα λαβων, πασι Χριςιανoις απ' αυλων είκαλει. κ. λ. L. viii. seot. 15. p. 388. i L. iii. soct. 59. p. 147.
aim at manly wisdom, and the miserable we invite to accept of happiness, or, to speak more • properly, blessedness. And, when they whom we have admonished, have made some progress, • and have learned to live well, then they are initiated by us. “ For we -speak wisdom among • the perfect."' i Cor. ii. 6.
2. That the Christian doctrine gives no encouragement to wickedness, is apparent from the books of the New Testament, in which it is clearly taught: and that the general practice of Christians is here misrepresented appears from Justin Martyr, who lived about the same time with Celsus, who, in his first apology, giving an account of the Christian principles and worship, says: · Whenever any are persuaded of the truth of the things taught by us, and engage to the
utmost of their power to live accordingly, they are directed to pray, joining therewith fasting, * that they may obtain from God the forgiveness of their past sins, we also praying and fasting * with them: then they are brought by us to a place where there is water, and they are rege
nerated in the same manner that we were.' Nor were they admitted to the eucharist till afterwards, as he farther shews.
3. So writes Justin. The discipline of the church was much the same in the time of Origen: for some while before, in answer to another reflection of Celsus, not very different from this which we are now considering, he says : · But what ground is there to compare us with those • haranguers, and common strollers ? Is there any resemblance between them and us, Who by * readings, and by explications of those readings, excite men to piety toward the God of the
universe, and to other virtues of like excellence, [nu ouvOpoves teuing epelac] and who call men • off from a neglect of religion, and from all things contrary to right reason? Certainly the
philosophers would be well pleased to gather together such as are disposed to hear their dis· courses concerning what is good and honest. Nor ought such to be compared with the com'mon strollers above mentioned: nor is it reasonable to suppose, that Celsus would condemn · those philosophers, who from a principle of humanity, endeavour to instruct and improve the ignorant vulgar.'
• The Christians are more careful in distinguishing their hearers than any other men. • When the philosophers speak in public, all attend that will : the Christians carefully examine the
tempers and manners of those who come to them; nor are any received by us, till they have 'given some evidences of a progress in virtue. If afterwards they fall into sin, especially any
kind of intemperance, they are excluded from the community: if afterwards they repent, their * recovery is considered as a rising again from the dead. But now they are received again not * without more difficulty than at the first ; nor can they ever be admitted into any office or dig'nity in the church of God.'
4. Moreover, as Dr. Wall observes in his Notes upon John viii. at the beginning : . It is no discredit, but an excellence in any religion, that it has rules of pardon for great sins, provided • it lay conditions, and strong injunctions of amending, and doing so no more, such as here at ' ver. 11. For certain, the gospel promiseth not any special advantages to men who live in sin: such as sin, it calls to repentance; nor is there any pardon, nor salvation for sinners, unless they repent, and practise real holiness and virtue.
5. That charge of Celsus against Christianity, therefore, is altogether absurd and groundless; though it was afterwards renewed by the emperor Julian : 4 and I hope it will be excused, that I have so particularly considered this objection the first time it came in our way.
6. • Celsuse quotes, or seems to quote, words of a Dialogue, (if they are not his own in· vention) as written by some Christian, where mention is made of angels of light, and other · angels, and their prince' at the head, who is mentioned by a very opprobrious name. Then,' says Origen, • laying hold of those words, he deservedly censures those who say such things. • We also are very ready to join in censuring such as call the God of the Jews accursed, its • indeed there are any such' men: I mean the God that sends rain and thunder, the God of • Moses, and author of the creation described by him.' • Here,' adds Origen, Celsus seems to • have intended somewhat very unfair against us, proceeding from ill-wili, unbecoming a phi
Ap. i. p. 93. Paris. § 61. Bened. " Ib. p. 97. § 65. &c. • L. iii. $ 50, 51. p. 142, 143.
Των μεν τ8 φωλος, έλερων δε των ονομαζομενων αρχοντικων και λείει τον αρχονlα των ονομαζομενων αρχιγλικων λείεσθαι θεον καθηραμενον. Ιb. num. 27.
Julian. Cæs. in fin. p. 330 edit. Spanh. • L. vi. $ 27, 28, p. 293, 294.
8 Ει δη τινες εισι λετονιες θεον κατηραμενον τον Ιεδαιων. Num. 27
losopher. He intended, that they who read his book, to whom we are unknown, should declare war against us, as men who called the good creator of the world accursed: in which he resembleth the Jews, who, at the first rise of the Christian doctrine, spread abroad calumnies against it; giving out, that they killed a child and ate it, and that when the lights were put out, they practised promiscuous lewdness. Which calumny, however absurd, was of old cre• dited by many who differ from us : and even now there are some who are so deceived by it,
that for this reason they are so averse to all Christians, that they will have no discourse or I communication with any of them. Somewhat of this kind Celsus seems to have aimed at, · when he gave out, that the Christians call the creator of the world the accursed God: that • men believing such things of us, might be disposed to do their utmost to extirpate the : Christians, as the most impious of all men.'
By all which we may perceive, that Celsus was filled with enmity against the Christians of his time, and did not spare them.
7. There is yet one place more, which I must take notice of before I leave this article. • After this he insinuates, that the worship paid to Antinous, one of the beloved favourites of Adrian, at Antinopolis in Egypt, differs not from the respect which we have for Jesus. • Another instance this of his hatred of us! But what have we in common with men, whose 'manners are so vicious, as not to be exempt from that effeminacy which is contrary to nature? • What comparison can be made between them, and the venerable Jesus, whom we follow, against whom, though innumerable lies and calumnies have been forged, none have dared to charge him with any kind of intemperance whatever?'
Remarks upon the Work of Celsus against the Christians, and upon Origen's Answer to it.
says, • heb knows all things.' Which Origen treats as a very arrogant saying: but I think the coherence shews, that Celsus intended to say, he knew all things relating to the Christians. And perhaps he meant no more, than that he was well qualified for the work he had undertaken, of writing against them: and Origen himself, in some other places where he takes notice of this saying, leads us to understand it of his being well acquainted with the Christian affairs.
Which, I apprehend, cannot be disallowed: for Celsus had read the books of Moses, and perhaps all the other books of the Old Testament. He had read, as it seems, all the books of the New Testament: but when he had done that, he supposed, he needeu not to give himself much trouble about any of them, excepting the historical books, and particularly the gospels.
He had also made inquiries after those absurd people called heretics, and looked into some of their writings.
Beside all this, he had sent for some Jews to come to him, with whom he had a good deal of discourse. From them he learned their expectation of the Messiah, and their idea of him: by them he endeavoured to inform himself
, wherein lay the controversy between the Jewish people and the Christians : with their assistance he formed divers objections against the Christian doctrine: and from them, undoubtedly, he aimed to pick up all the scandal which they could furnish him with against the Christians: and from them he received the infamous account of our Saviour's nativity, before taken notice of.
And it may be well supposed, that there were some reasons, which induced this learned Epicurean to take so much pains to inform himself about the Christians, and then to write a large volume against them. Their principles were very different from his, and contrary to all
γαρ κοινον εχει ο γενόμενος εν τοις Αδριανα παιδικοις 5 Λεκλεον δε προς τα, σανία γαρ οιδα, αλαζωνικολατα υπ' βιος, εδε τον αρρενα απαθη γυναικειας νοσα φυλαξανθος, προς αυ7α αποτελολμημένον. L. 1. $ 12. p. υ. τον σεμνον ημων Ιησεν, και μηδε οι μυρια καθημoρησανίες, και • Ο παντ’ ειδεναι επαύγειλαμενος Κελσος τα ημετερα. L. 1. ψευδη όσα περι αυτο λείονες, δεδυνηνίαι καλειπείν, ως καν το και 40. p. 31. Ου γαρ ηδει ο αληθως αλαζων Κελσος, και τυχον ακολασιας καν επ' ολιγον γέυσαμεν8. L. iii. 6 36. επαγελλομενος ειδεναι πανlα τα Χριςιανων. L, ii. 32.
the established notions about the heathen deities: and their principles had already gained great ground, and were still spreading more and more to the detriment of Epicurism, and all idolatrous schemes; which could not but move his indignation. We see his resentments in the bitterness with which he has treated the Christians, and Jesus himself, whom they followed as their Lord and master. I am unwilling to insinuate, that Celsus was allured into this service, and that he encouraged himself with hopes of success in his design, by the afflictive circumstances of the Christians at that time: but I must say, it was not very generous in him to attack and oppose them in the manner he did, when they were under persecution, and liable to capital pu
Celsus* expressly quotes the Dispute or Dialogue of Papiscus and Jason, and speaks of it with great contempt, of which I took notice formerly. It is a work which may be allowed to be written by a catholic Christian. Excepting that one book, I do not recollect that Celsus has mentioned the name of any of our celebrated ancient Christians, or particularly referred to any of their writings: though there were several before, and about his time, who might have been mentioned; as Clement of Rome, Ignatius bishop of Antioch, Polycarp bishop of Smyrna, Quadratus, Aristides, Justin Martyr, Tatian, not to speak of any others, divers of whom were well versed in Greek literature: which silence about them may be ascribed to a scornful disdain, unwilling to do justice to the merit of a Christian : nor do we perceive from Origen, that Celsus had named any of the evangelists.
And by the way I would observe here, that we compute the Dialogue of Papiscus and Jason to have been written about the year of Christ 140: Celsus, therefore, could not publish his work against the Christians till after that time.
At the conclusion of his eight books in answer to Celsus, Origen observes, thatCelsus promised another work, in which he would shew men how to live. This work Origen seems to suppose to have been likewise designed in opposition to Christianity. Origen did not know whether Celsus had performed his promise: but he desires his friend Ambrose to send it to him, if he had met with it; and he engageth to examine it.
Origen's own work, as before shewn, has been greatly commended. Eusebius, entering upon his answer to Hierocles, considers • it as a needless performance; forasmuch as a confutation of him may be seen in Origen's books against Celsus, who had already said every thing that could be said upon the subject.
I do not judge it proper for me to indulge myself in any characters that should be reckoned extravagant: nevertheless I think I may say, that Origen's eight books against Celsus are an invaluable treasure. Every one is now able to judge of the importance of the fragments of the work of Celsus, preserved in it. Origen's answers to Celsus are also valuable. There are likewise many other things, of which good use may be made ; whence the curious may learn divers things hardly to be met with elsewhere. I suppose, I shall hereafter have opportunities for verifying this observation, by quotations out of it.
It is a large extract which I have now made out of Origen's eight books against the work of Celsus, entitled The True Word: it is fit, that we should now recapitulate what we have seen in several articles.
And it is a great deal. All these things have we seen in Celsus distinctly and clearly, What greater advantage could we expect from the writings of an adversary, who flourished, and wrote not long after the middle of the second century of the Christian epoch; and not much above 130 years after our Saviour's ascension ?
φησιν οίαν δη και Παπισκε τινος και Ιασονος αντιλοδιαν εγνων, 8 γελωτος, αλλα μαλλον ελεες και μισες αξιαν. L. iv, $ 52. p. 199.
τελο ποιησειν, εν ω διδαξειν επηύγειλείο, όπη βιωτεον τας βελομενες αυλω και δυναμενες σειθεσθαι. L, viii. 5 76. p. 428.
b See Vol. i. p. 438, • Ισθι μεν του επαγελομενον τον Κελσον αλλο συνδαλμα μελα
a Conır. Hier. p. 511.
In the passages alleged under the second section we have seen good proofs that the Jewish people had expectations of that great person the Messiah.
In the passages cited under the third section, we have seen many plain references to the gospels, and to several of St. Paul's epistles, if not also to St. Peter's and St. John's. We are assured by Celsus, that there were histories of Jesus written by his disciples, meaning his apostles and their companions; and that those books were well known, and in high esteem with Christians.
We have seen in his fragments plain references to the gospels of St. Matthew, St. Luke, and St. John : it appears also highly probable, or even certain, that he was not unacquainted with the gospel according to St. Mark; but he has not expressly mentioned the books themselves, nor the names of the writers : nor is there so much as an insinuation, that the later Christians, of Celsus's own time, or thereabout, had forged these histories to do honour to Jesus. He only says, that they had altered some things; but of that he produced no proof; nor did he allege any particular instances : he only says, in the place referred to, if Origen has taken the words of Celsus exactly, that some of the believers had taken the liberty to alter the gospel from the • first writing.'
I presume I have now particularly shewn, from numerous passages above alleged, the truth of St. Chrysostom's observation : • That Celsus bears witness to the antiquity of our writings.'
And, as it was in those times a common method to quote authors in a loose manner, and as it is reasonable to believe that Celsus was far from being scrupulously exact in his citations of Christian books, or in his allusions to them ; it may be well reckoned somewhat extraordinary, that we discern in him so many evident traces of quotations from the books of the New Testament, or references to them.
In the fourth section are many passages of Celsus bearing testimony to the books of the New Testament, and the facts contained in them.
He lets us know that Jesus was the author of the Christian institution, and that he had lived and taught not very long ago. We learn from him also, that according to the accounts given by his disciples, he was born of a virgin, in a small village of " Judea, supposed to have been descended from the Jewish kings: that she was married to a carpenter: that for some while her husband was doubtful about her chastity: that Chaldeans, or other wise men from the east, came to Jerusalem, soon after his nativity, to do him homage as king of the Jews, having been excited to that journey by the appearance of a star: that Herod, moved by jealousy, put to death many young children, hoping to kill Jesus with them: that by direction of an angel, he was carried by his parents into Egypt for the preservation of his life; where, as Celsus insinuates, Jesus learned the charms practised in that country. He calls Jesus the Nazarean man, or man of Nazareth, from the place where he was brought up, and chiefly resided, before his appearance in a public character. He takes notice of our Lord's baptism, and of the descent of the Holy Spirit in the shape of a dove, and of a voice from heaven declaring Jesus to be the beloved Son of God. In another place he speaks again of a like voice from heaven, which seems to be what happened when our Lord was transfigured on the mount. He afterwards takes notice, that when Jesus appeared in a public character, as a teacher of religion, he went about attended by ten or eleven disciples, publicans, and sailors
, or mariners, as he generally calls them. In the history of Jesus, written by his disciples, he is said to have healed the lame, and the blind, and to have raised some dead persons to life: and though he is unwilling to allow that these were real miracles done by the power of God, he dares not to deny their truth, and is troubled to account for them, and was almost reduced to the necessity of allowing the power of magic, though he is supposed to have formerly written against it. He has taken notice of our Lord's death on the cross, and almost all the circumstances of his last sufferings: that he was betrayed by one of his disciples, and denied by another : that he was condemned by a judge, and prosecuted by the Jews. He mentions our Lord's deriders, and the reproaches he underwent, the crown of thorns, the purple robe, the reed in his hand. Nor has he omitted the wine mingled with gall, when our Lord was going to be crucified, and the vinegar, when he was near expiring on the cross. He also takes notice of the darkness during our Lord's crucifixion, and the earthquake at the same time, or soon after it. And though he will not admit, that Jesus rose from the dead, he acknowledgeth
a The first section is not recapitulated here, as it contains only the history of Celsus, and his work.