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the disciples to have related it, and that an angel descended, and removed the stone from the door of the sepulchre, and that he is said by them to have shewn himself to one woman, and then to others, and to his disciples. He also observes, that the disciples have recorded, that Jesus foreknew and foretold the things that happened to himself, and which were to happen to them also after he had left them. So that we have in Celsus, in a manner, the whole history of Jesus, as recorded in the gospels: for we have traced in him the history of our Lord's birth, life, preaching, miracles, death, and resurrection; all as taken by him from the writings of Christ's own disciples. In this section, therefore, we have seen many testimonies to the antiquity and genuineness of our scriptures, additional to those alleged in the preceding section.
In the fifth section we have observed the notice which Celsus takes of some Christian principles, in particular, the general resurrection of the dead: as for the moral doctrine he was not able to find any fault with it; but he says, the like things had been before taught by the philosophers, and better expressed. He takes notice of the veneration which the Christians had for Jesus, as their master, and the Messiah promised of old. But he says, the Jews were mistaken in expecting such a person at all; and the Christians were mistaken in thinking that he was actually come: though, as he allows, they argued from the ancient Jewish prophets.
In the sixth section we have seen some passages bearing testimony to the great progress of the Christian religion in the world, notwithstanding many difficulties and discouragements
. Indeed, this whole work of Celsus is an evidence of the prevailing power of the Christian religion: he has sufficiently acknowledged the great numbers of Jews and Gentiles, who had been gained over to this belief: and if it had not been still spreading and prevailing, this learned and ingenious man would have saved himself the pains of this laborious argument to confute it: but how so many at that time should embrace this doctrine, under many worldly discouragements, without good reason, is a thing not easy to be accounted for.
Under this section, I suppose, may be observed some passages containing references to the book of the Acts of the apostles.
Under the seventh section we saw, how Celsus was disposed to charge the Christians with magical arts and practices; upon which I need not enlarge here: it is sufficient to remind the reader of what is there alleged.
In the eighth section are some passages relating to Christian worship. It appears from what Celsus says, that they worshipped the one God, Creator of all things, and had a high veneration for Jesus Christ: nor would they worship dæmons, or join in the public sacrifices and festivals of heathen people. He likewise speaks of Christian presbyters; though they had not then any altars, nor temples, nor other sumptuous buildings to meet in. He also reproacheth them with holding their religious assemblies privately, and contrary to law: nor was it without reason that they aimed at privacy; for, as he owns, they were then sought for to be put to death.
From the passages alleged under the ninth section we learn, that Celsus was not unacquainted with the absurd opinions of some who went under the Christian name: these he brings in, the more to reproach those who were the most rational in their belief. All the attacks of Celsus are against the more sober part of the believers : those others were sought for in order to disparage and expose them, if possible.
Finally, it is well known, that in early times, soon after the rise of Christianity, the followers of Jesus were loaded with many calumnies.
They were said to kill infants, and eat them, and when the lights were put out, to practise promiscuous lewdness in their assemblies. I do not perceive Celsus to insist upon these : 1* rather think he did not. These calumnies were not yet extinct, nor obsolete: the martyrs at Lyons and Vienne, in the reign of Marcus Antoninus about the year 177, were reproached with them; and they were in vogue after that time. But to me it seems probable, that Celsus thought those charges to be absurd and incredible; and to mention them with any marks of countenance and approbation, he supposed would be a prejudice to his argument. But though he has omitted them, he has brought in divers injurious reflections upon them, and thereby shewn his good will to expose them to general and public resentment; as may be seen in the passages alleged from him under this section. If therefore we now have any advantage from the work of Celsus, as we certainly have, and
a Vid. L. vi. $ 40. p. 302.
very considerable, it is altogether beside the intention of the author : so that we may here apply the words of Sampson's riddle, or ænigma : “ Out of the eater,” or devourer, “came meat, and out of the strong,” or the fierce, “ came sweetness.” Judges xiv. 14.
Three summaries of the fragments of the work of Celsus preserved in Origen, inade by three
several learned men.
1. A summary of the Work of Celsus, by the late Rev. Dr. Philip Doddridge.
My late excellent friend, Dr. Doddridge, observed to me, that few learned men knew the importance of the remains of Celsus. He said, "An abridgment of the history of Christ may • be found in Celsus :' and he entreated, that when I should come to this writer, I would • labour the point.' I think I have shewn a regard to his advice, as I have also followed my own judgment and inclination.
Since his decease, I have understood that he had abridged the argument of the eight books of Origen against Celsus, and sent it to an honourable friend. A copy of it having been taken, I have procured it from the Rev. Mr. Ashworth of Daventry in Northamptonshire. I shall now transcribe it with references to the pages of Spencer's edition of Origen at Cambridge, in 1677.
· Of the proof of the genuineness of the New Testament, that may be derived from the • fragments of Celsus, as preserved by Origen.'
• The book of Celsus is unhappily lost: but there are large extracts made in Origen, and, as • it seems, with such exactness, that it is difficult to find more considerable remains of
any • ancient book, not now extant. The following collection is confined to the illustration of this · thought : “ What we may learn from him concerning the real existence of the New Testa* ment, in his age, and the regard in which it was held among Christians." ;
• Celsus is, no doubt, an evidence of great value, as he wrote so early. Origen observes, • p. 3. that he had been dead long before his undertaking to answer his book against Christianity,
which he calls “ The true word.” And it appears, from another passage of Origen, that • he lived in the days of Adrian and his successor, p. 8. So that his book must have been * written in the second century: which is farther confirmed by Lucian's dedicating to him one • of his works, entitled, Pseudomantis. It may be also observed, that he speaks of Christ, as' having taught and suffered very lately, p. 21, and p. 282.'
• As for the references to the gospels, we do not find that he quotes any of them by the name of the authors: but he speaks of the gospel, meaning, no doubt, the history of Christ, • as being changed three or four times, p. 77. He seems to speak of several of the evangelists, • as agreeing to write of Christ's predictions, p. 89, and of things written by the disciples of • Christ, p. 67. All which seem to make it evident, that he had more than the book of St. • Matthew in his hand : and though the greatest part of his references may be found there, yet • there are also many of them in the other gospels.
• He quotes from the gospels such a variety of particulars, that the enumeration of them will • almost prove an abridgment of the evangelists' history: particularly, That Jesus, who, he
says, was represented as the Word of God, p. 79, and who was the author of the Christian • name, p. 21, and also called himself the Son of God, ibid. was a man of Nazareth, p. 343. • That he was the reputed son of a carpenter, p. 30. That his mother's pregnancy was at first
suspected, ibid. but that it was pretended, that his body was formed in her womb by the Spirit • of God: or, as he elsewhere expresses it, produced by a divine operation, p. 30. And that * to remove the carpenter's prejudice, an angel appeared to him to inform him of this, p. 266. • That, when he was born, a star appeared in the east to certain Magi, who came to adore him, ‘p. 31, 45. The consequence of which was the slaughter of the infants by order of Herod,
a Gilbert West, Esq. Author of Observations on the History and Evidence of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, published in the year 1747.
• hoping thereby to destroy Jesus, and prevent his reign, p. 45. But that his parents were 'warned by an angel to fly into Egypt, to preserve his life, as if his Father could not have protected him at home, p. 51, and 266 ; and that he continued in Egypt for a while, where, he says, he had an opportunity of learning magic, p. 22.'
• He farther represents it, as pretended in those books, that when Jesus was washed by John, • the appearance of a dove descended upon him, and that a voice was heard from heaven, de
claring him to be the Son of God, p. 31, and 105. That he was vexed by a temptation, and • the assaults of an evil spirit, 303." He calls Christ himself a carpenter, p. 300, and insults • his mean life, lurking from place to place, p. 47, gathering up ten or twelve poor men, pub• licans, and men that used the sea, of scandalous characters, and represents Christ as a beggar, • p. 47; that he was sometimes hungry and thirsty, p. 55; speaks of his being rejected by many • that heard him, and hints, though not very expressly, at an attempt to throw him down a precipice, p. 298.'
• He grants, that he wrought miracles, and particularly, that he cured some sick people, raised some that were dead, and multiplied some loaves : but speaks of others doing the like,
He also expressly mentions his curing the lame and the blind : and his raising the · dead is mentioned a second time, 87. He lampoons the expression, “thy faith hath saved
• He hints at several things concerning the doctrine of Christ, and the manner of his preaching, taken especially from St. Matthew's account of his sermon on the mount, particu• farly, that he promised, that his followers should inherit the earth : that if any strike them on
one cheek, they should turn the other, p. 343, and 370; that he declared, no man can serve • two masters, p. 380: and would have his disciples learn from the birds of the air, and the • lilies of the field, not to be excessively careful about food and raiment, p. 343. He also re• fers to some other discourses of Christ, as his saying, that it was easier for a camel to go * through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to be saved, 286 and 288.'
• He observes, that Jesus, however, was not generally attended to, and that he denounced • woes upon his hearers for their obstinate infidelity, p. 107.'
• He also says, that his disciples in their writings pretend, that he foretold all things which • he was to suffer, p. 67; and his resurrection, p. 93 : and likewise, that deceivers would come, • and work miracles, and speaks of the author of these wicked works by the name of Satan,
• He objects, that Jesus withdrew himself from those who sought to put him to death, p. 62, and yet afterwards did not avoid death, knowing it was to come, p. 70. He speaks of his • eating the flesh of a lamb, p. 340: and that he foretold to his disciples, they would give him
up to his enemies, thereby making them wicked, though they were the companions of his table, p. 72.'
• That before his sufferings he prayed in these words : “ Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass away,” p. 75. That he was betrayed by his disciples, though robbers are faithful to • their leaders, p. 62 and 66. That none of his disciples dared to suffer for him, p. 86, and • that he professed to undergo his sufferings in obedience to his Father, p.75, and said, that • “ these things ought to happen,” p. 332.'
- That he was denied by one who knew him to be God, p. 71, to whom, as well as to the • traitor, he had foretold, what he would do, p. 72.'
• It is intimated, that he spoke of coming again with an heavenly host, p. 337.
• He speaks of Jesus as ignominiously bound, p. 282 ; as scourged, p. 79; as crowned with thorns, with a reed in his hand, and arrayed in a scarlet robe, and as condemned, p. 81 ; as having gall given him to drink when he was led away to punishment, p. 174; as shamefully • treated in the sight of the whole world, p. 282; as distended on the cross, p. 82. He derides · him for not exerting his divinity to punish those outrages, p. 81 ; as taking no vengeance on
• The words of Celsus, to which Dr. Doddridge refers, are tliese: “Ο τα Θε8 ταις αρα ήτταλαι υπο το διαζολα και κόλαζομενος υπ' αυθα, διδασκει και ημας των υπο τελω κολασεων xalaopovely. L. vi. p. 303. Cantab. num. 42. p. 663. Bened.
The passages of Celsus, to which Dr. Doddridge here reters, may be seen, transcribed above, at p. 122, 123.
That is not exact, owing, perhaps, not to the author, but to the transcriber. The original is : xexobaitw. My pčelays, αλλα σιδευσον και, αισις σε σωσει σε. And see here at p. 119.
• his enemies, p. 404; as incapable to deliver himself, and not delivered by his Father in his * extremity, p. 41; and as greedily drinking gall and vinegar, through impatience of thirst, p. 82, 6 and 340.'
• He observes, it was pretended, that when Jesus expired upon the cross, there was darkness ! and an earthquake, p. 94 ; that when he arose, he needed an angel to remove the stone of the
sepulchre, though he was said to be the Son of God, p. 266. And according to some, one, * according to others, two angels came to the sepulchre to inform the women of his resurrection, • p. 266. That after his resurrection he did not appear to his enemies, p. 98 ; but first to a • woman whom he had dispossessed, p. 94, and 101 ; that he appeared to a few of his disciples, • shewing them the marks of crucifixion, and appeared and disappeared on a sudden, p. 91, &c. • and 104. And he says : We take these things from your own writings, to wound you with your own weapons, p. 106.'
• Beside all these circumstances produced from the gospels, he speaks of Christ's pretending, • that he should come again to burn the wicked, and to receive the rest to eternal life with him* self, p. 175. He refers to the Christian doctrine, of the fall of the angels, and their being • reserved in bonds under the earth, p. 266.
• It is observable, that ‘nothing is quoted by him from the Acts in his whole book : nor • does he name St. Paul: but he quotes his epistles, particularly these words from the epistle to • the Galatians, iv. 14. “ The world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world,” p. 273, which
Origen says is all that he had taken from St. Paul. However, he has also these words of 1 Cor. iii. • 29, “ the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God,” p. 283, and “ an idol is nothing," • 1 Cor. viii. 4. p. 293. But it is observable, that in the first of these quotations Celsus reproacheth the Christians with their many divisions; and yet says, that however they differed, they agreed in using that expression. He seems also, p. 242, expressly to refer to i Cor. xv. • 51, 52, and 1 Thess. iv. 15–17. when he says, that the Christians expected, that they only • should escape in the burning of the world, and that not only they who are alive when it happens, but those also who have been a long time dead.'
Upon the whole, there are in Celsus about eighty quotations from the books of the New • Testament, or reference to them, of which Origen has taken notice. And whilst he argues • from them, sometimes in a very perverse and malicious manner, he still takes it for granted, • as the foundation of his argument, that whatever absurdities could be fastened upon any words, • or actions of Christ, recorded in the evangelists, it would be a valid objection against • Christianity: thereby in effect assuring us, not only that such a book did really exist, but that
it was universally received by Christians in those times as credible and divine. Who can for• bear adoring the depth of Divine wisdom, in laying such a firm foundation for our faith in the
gospel-history, in the writings of one who was so inveterate an enemy to it, and so indefatiga• ble in his attempts to overthrow it!'
• To conclude: Celsus does not appear to have founded any single objection against : Christianity upon any of the spurious gospels, Acts, or Revelations ; which, considering his • malice on the one hand, and the many foolish and exceptionable things to be found in them ' on the other, seems to be a good argument that he never saw them. Else he had hardly can.. dour enough to forbear pleading such arguments as they might have afforded him; even • though he had known that the Christians did not esteem them of equal authority with those, * which he has so furiously, but at the same time so impotently assaulted.' So far Dr. Doddridge.
I shall now take another summary of the argument of Celsus, from Dr. John Leland of Dublin, in his Answer to Christianity as old as the Creation, Vol. ii. ch. v. p. 150–154, omitting for the most part the references to the pages.
* Celsus, a most bitter enemy of Christianity, who lived in the second century, produces many passages out of the gospels. He represents Jesus to have lived but a few years ago : he * mentions his being born of a virgin ; the angel's appearing to Joseph on occasion of Mary's
· I think that Celsus was acquainted with the book of the Origen is Bot to be understood strictly, but rather in this Acts. And I would entreat the reader to observe the
passages manner : • That Celsus had seldomi quoted Paul : and now quoted from him above, at p. 130, 131, 134.
• took notice of that expression with a design to expose it, so Origen's words are these, p. 273, f. 7870 yag fogvoy ATO * far as he was able.' Τα Παυλο εοικε μεμνημονευκεναι ο Κελσος. But 1 suppose,
being with child; the star that appeared at his birth ; the wise men that came to worship him, · when an infant, and Herod's massacring the children ; Joseph's fleeing with the child into
Egypt by the admonition of an angel; the Holy Ghost's descending on Jesus like a dove when "he was baptized by John, and the voice from heaven, declaring him to be “the Son of God;" • his going about with his disciples; his healing the sick, and lame,'and raising the dead ; his fore
telling his own suffering, and resurrection ; his being betrayed and forsaken by his own disci• ples; his suffering, both of his own accord, and in obedience to his heavenly Father ; his grief • and trouble, and his praying, “ Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me;" the ig. * nominious treatment he met with, the robe that was put upon him, the crown of thorns, the • reed put into his hand, his drinking vinegar and gall
, and his being scourged and crucified : • his being seen after his resurrection by a fanatical woman, (as he calls her, meaning Mary • Magdalene) and by his own companions and disciples; his shewing them his hands that were • pierced, the marks of his punishment. He also mentions the angel's being seen at his sepulchre, and that some said, it was one angel, others, that it was two: by which he hints at the seeming variation in the accounts given of it by the evangelists.'
• It is true, he mentions all these things with a design to ridicule and expose them ; but they * furnish us with an uncontested proof, that the gospels were then extant. Accordingly, he ex* pressly tells the Christians: “ These things we have produced out of your own writings," p. 106. • And he all along supposeth them to have been written by Christ's own disciples, that lived
and conversed with him; though he pretends, they feigned many things for the honour of • their master, p. 69, 70. And he pretends, that he could tell many other things relating to Jesus, beside those things that were written of him by his own disciples; but that he willingly passed them by, p.
67. We may conclude from his own expressions, both that he was sensible, that these accounts were written by Christ's own disciples, (and indeed he never pre• tends to contest this ;) and that he was not able to produce any contrary accounts to invalidate • them, as he certainly would have done if it had been in his power: since no man ever wrote • with greater virulence against Christianity than he. And indeed, how was it possible, for “ten • or eleven publicans and boatmen,” as he calls Christ's disciples by way of contempt, p. 47, • to have imposed such things on the world, if they had not been true, so as to persuade such • vast multitudes to embrace a new and despised religion, contrary to all their prejudices, and • interests, and to believe in one that had been crucified ?
• There are several other things which shew, that Celsus was acquainted with the gospels, • He produces several of our Saviour's sayings there recorded, as “ that it is easier for a camel * to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God :" " that “to him, who smites us on one cheek, we must turn the other:" that it is not possible * to serve two masters :” his precepts “ against thoughtfulness for to-morrow," by a comparison
drawn from “crows and lilies :” his foretelling, that “false prophets should arise, and work * wonders :” his saying, “Woe unto you,"
”—&c. He mentions also some passages of the apostle • Paul, such as these : “ The world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. The wisdom of men is foolishness with God: an idol is nothing.”'
• The use I would make of all this is, that it appears here with an uncontested evidence, by • the testimony of one of the most malicious and virulent adversaries the Christian religion ever had, and who was also a man of considerable parts and learning, that the writings of the evangelists were extant in his time : which was in the next century to that in which the apostles • lived: and that those accounts were written by Christ's own disciples, and consequently that
they were written in the very age in which the facts there related were done, and when there• fore it would have been the easiest thing in the world to have convicted them of falsehood, if they had not been true.' So far that learned author.
A third Summary of the Argument of Celsus. Once more, Dr. Sherlock, or whoever is the ingenious author of the Evidence of the Re*surrection cleared up,' has these following observations at p. 19 and 20.
· For Celsus lived at no great distance from the apostolic age, at a time when all religions ' were tolerated but the Christian : when no evidence was stifled, no books destroyed, but the • Christian. And yet Celsus laboured under the same want of evidence, as Woolston and his