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should compare the presidents of the churches of God with ‘the presidents of the people in the cities, you will find the “senators and governors of the churches, though some may ‘ be inferior to others who are more perfect, nevertheless “you will find them to excel in virtue the senators and * governors of the cities.’
Passages in Celsus concerning those called heretics.
CELSUS was not unacquainted with those particular opinions called heresies, which arose early in the world under the christian name. 1. I shall transcribe at length a part of what Origen says upon this subject. “Then" he says; Let not any man “think me ignorant, that some of them will allow that “ their God is the same with the God of the Jews; whilst * others believe in another, and contrary to him, and by “whom, as they say, the Son of God was sent.’ Here, I think, Celsus must mean the Marcionites, though Origen does not expressly say so. . 2. ‘He'" adds, that some are Sibyllists. Perhaps he “ had heard of some, who blamed those who accounted the Sibyl a prophetess, and who therefore called them Sibyllists.” 3. Origen goes on. ‘Then" heaping up the names of many among us, he says, “ he 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, tos ca)\os qewpyos Noose €ee 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 * L. v. sect. 61. p. 271. b Ibid. ° L. v. sect. 62, p. 272.
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, e&etote, Tarots waixma'apev. Celsus has also made inention of the Marcionites, so called from Marcion.” 4. “And " 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 demon, walking in the greatest dark‘ness, 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 Ophitae, 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 dispute 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. 6. 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.
* Ib. sect. 63. p. 272. * L. vi. sect. 11. p. 282. Et conf. l. i.
Sect. 57. p. 44. * L. vi. sect. 28, et 30. p. 294, &c. & L. vi. Sect. 34, &c. p. 298. * Kat sv rovroug on traXtv, ak
otò' atro trouac aipeosog aanuorarmc, tavra Aagov, tragi Xptstavoic at' avrov syka)\et. K. A. L. viii. Sect. 15. p. 388.
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, whoever 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 o' 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 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 per‘ fect,”’ 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 per‘suaded of the truth of the things taught by us, and en“gage to the utmost of their power to live accordingly, they * are directed to pray, joining therewith fasting, that they
* L. iii. Sect. 59. p. 147. * Ap. i. p. 93. Paris, sect. 61. Bened.
“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 re‘generated in the same manner that we were.' Nor were they admitted to the eucharist till afterwards,” as he farther shows. 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 resem‘blance 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, [cal tas ovv0poves Tavt m apetas] 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 discourses concerning what is good and honest. Nor ought such to be compared with the common 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 dignity 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 ex“ cellence in any religion, that it has rules of pardon for ‘great sins, provided it lay conditions, and strong injunc‘tions of amending, and doing so no more, such as here at “ver. II. For certain, the gospel promiseth not any special advantages to men who live in sin; such as sin, it
° Ib. p. 97. sect. 65, &c. " I., iii. sect, 50, 51, p. 142, 143,
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:" and I hope it will be excused, that I have so particularly considered this objection the first time it came in our way.
6. ‘Celsus' quotes, or seems to quote, words of a Dia‘logue, (if they are not his own invention,) as written by “some christian, where mention is made of angels of light, ‘and other angels, and their princes 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 ac‘cursed, if" 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 un“fair against us, proceeding from ill-will, unbecoming a “ philosopher. 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 credited 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 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.
* Julian. Caes, in fin. p. 336. e.'it. Spanh. f L. vi. Sect. 27, 28. p. 293,294. * Tov pleu ra 'pwrog, repov Ós row ovopažopievww apxovrtkov' kat Asyst row apxovra row ovopačopsvov apxovrukov Asyegbai 6sov rarmpapusvov. Ib. num. 27. " El &m rivec stat Asyovreg 0801. karmpapuśvov Tov Iačawy. Num, 27.