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Chapter LXVI.

And in addition to the above, this Jew of Celsus afterwards addresses Jesus:  “What need, moreover, was there that you, while still an infant, should be conveyed into Egypt?  Was it to escape being murdered?  But then it was not likely that a God should be afraid of death; and yet an angel came down from heaven, commanding you and your friends to flee, lest ye should be captured and put to death!  And was not the great God, who had already sent two angels on your account, able to keep you, His only Son, there in safety?”  From these words Celsus seems to think that there was no element of divinity in the human body and soul of Jesus, but that His body was not even such as is described in the fables of Homer; and with a taunt also at the blood of Jesus which was shed upon the cross, he adds that it was not

“Ichor, such as flows in the veins of the blessed gods.”32003200    Cf. Iliad, v. 340.

We now, believing Jesus Himself, when He says respecting His divinity, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life,”32013201    John xiv. 6. and employs other terms of similar import; and when He says respecting His being clothed with a human body, “And now ye seek to kill Me, a man that hath told you the truth,”32023202    Cf. John viii. 40. conclude that He was a kind of compound being.  And so it became Him who was making provision for His sojourning in the world as a human being, not to expose Himself unseasonably to the danger of death.  And in like manner it was necessary that He should be taken away by His parents, acting under the instructions of an angel from heaven, who communicated to them the divine will, saying on the first occasion, “Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife; for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost;”32033203    Cf. Matt. i. 20. and on the second, “Arise, and take the young Child, and His mother, and flee into Egypt; and be thou there until I bring thee word:  for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.”32043204    Cf. Matt. ii. 13.  Now, what is recorded in these words appears to me to be not at all marvellous.  For in either passage of Scripture it is stated that it was in a dream that the angel spoke these words; and that in a dream certain persons may have certain things pointed out to them to do, is an event of frequent occurrence to many individuals,—the impression on the mind being produced either by an angel or by some other thing.  Where, then, is the absurdity in believing that He who had once become incarnate, should be led also by human guidance to keep out of the way of dangers?  Not indeed from any impossibility that it should be otherwise, but from the moral fitness that ways and means should be made use of to ensure the safety of Jesus.  And it was certainly better that the Child Jesus should escape the snare of Herod, and should reside with His parents in Egypt until the death of the conspirator, than that Divine Providence should hinder the free-will of Herod in his wish to put the Child to death, or that the fabled poetic helmet of Hades should have been employed, or anything of a similar kind done with respect to Jesus, or that they who came to destroy Him should have been smitten with blindness like the people of Sodom.  For the sending of help to Him in a very miraculous and unnecessarily public manner, would not have been of any service to Him who wished to show that as a man, to whom witness was borne by God, He possessed within that form which was seen by the eyes of men some higher element of divinity,—that which was properly the Son of God—God the Word—the power of God, and the wisdom of God—He who is called the Christ.  But this is not a suitable occasion for discussing the composite nature of the incarnate Jesus; the investigation into such a subject being for believers, so to speak, a sort of private question.


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