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The Jew, moreover, in the treatise, addresses the Saviour thus: “If you say that every man, born according to the decree of Divine Providence, is a son of God, in what respect should you differ from another?” In reply to whom we say, that every man who, as Paul expresses it, is no longer under fear, as a schoolmaster, but who chooses good for its own sake, is “a son of God;” but this man is distinguished far and wide above every man who is called, on account of his virtues, a son of God, seeing He is, as it were, a kind of source and beginning of all such. The words of Paul are as follow: “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.”31803180 Rom. viii. 15. But, according to the Jew of Celsus, “countless individuals will convict Jesus of falsehood, alleging that those predictions which were spoken of him were intended of them.” We are not aware, indeed, whether Celsus knew of any who, after coming into this world, and having desired to act as Jesus did, declared themselves to be also the “sons of God,” or the “power” of God. But since it is in the spirit of truth that we examine each passage, we shall mention that there was a certain Theudas among the Jews before the birth of Christ, who gave himself out as some great one, after whose death his deluded followers were completely dispersed. And after him, in the days of the census, when Jesus appears to have been born, one Judas, a Galilean, gathered around him many of the Jewish people, saying he was a wise man, and a teacher of certain new doctrines. And when he also had paid the penalty of his rebellion, his doctrine was overturned, having taken hold of very few persons indeed, and these of the very humblest condition. And after the times of Jesus, Dositheus the Samaritan also wished to persuade the Samaritans that he was the Christ predicted by Moses; and he appears to have gained over some to his views. But it is not absurd, in quoting the extremely wise observation of that Gamaliel named in the book of Acts, to show how those persons above mentioned were strangers to the promise, being neither “sons of God” nor “powers” of God, whereas Christ Jesus was truly the Son of God. Now Gamaliel, in the passage referred to, said: “If this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought” (as also did the designs of those men already mentioned after their death); “but if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow this doctrine, lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.”31813181 Cf. Acts v. 38, 39. There was also Simon the Samaritan 422magician, who wished to draw away certain by his magical arts. And on that occasion he was successful; but now-a-days it is impossible to find, I suppose, thirty of his followers in the entire world, and probably I have even overstated the number. There are exceedingly few in Palestine; while in the rest of the world, through which he desired to spread the glory of his name, you find it nowhere mentioned. And where it is found, it is found quoted from the Acts of the Apostles; so that it is to Christians that he owes this mention of himself, the unmistakeable result having proved that Simon was in no respect divine.
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