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But what promise did Jesus make which He did not perform? Let Celsus produce any instance of such, and make good his charge. But he will be unable to do so, especially since it is from mistakes, arising either from misapprehension of the Gospel narratives, or from Jewish stories, that he thinks to derive the charges which he brings against Jesus or against ourselves. Moreover, again, when the Jew says, “We both found him guilty, and condemned him as deserving of death,” let them show how they who sought to concoct false witness against Him proved Him to be guilty. Was not the great charge against Jesus, which His accusers brought forward, this, that He said, “I am able to destroy the temple of God, and after three days to raise it up again?”32463246 Matt. xxvi. 61. But in so saying, He spake of the temple of His body; while they thought, not being able to understand the meaning of the speaker, that His reference was to the temple of stone, which was treated by the Jews with greater respect than He was who ought to have been honoured as the true Temple of God—the Word, and the Wisdom, and the Truth. And who can say that “Jesus attempted to make His escape by disgracefully concealing Himself?” Let any one point to an act deserving to be called disgraceful. And when he adds, “he was taken prisoner,” I would say that, if to be taken prisoner implies an act done against one’s will, then Jesus was not taken prisoner; for at the fitting time He did not prevent Himself falling into the hands of men, as the Lamb of God, that He might take away the sin of the world. For, knowing all things that were to come upon Him, He went forth, and said to them, “Whom seek ye?” and they answered, “Jesus of Nazareth;” and He said unto them, “I am He.” And Judas also, who betrayed Him, was standing with them. When, therefore, He had said to them, “I am He,” they went backwards and fell to the ground. Again He asked them, “Whom seek ye?” and they said again, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I told you I am He; if then ye seek Me, let these go away.”32473247 John xviii. 4 sqq. Nay, even to Him who wished to help Him, and who smote the high priest’s servant, and cut off his ear, He said: “Put up thy sword into its sheath: for all they who draw the sword shall perish by the sword. Thinkest thou that I cannot even now pray to My Father, and He will presently give Me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that 435thus it must be?”32483248 Matt. xxvi. 52–54. And if any one imagines these statements to be inventions of the writers of the Gospels, why should not those statements rather be regarded as inventions which proceeded from a spirit of hatred and hostility against Jesus and the Christians? and these the truth, which proceed from those who manifest the sincerity of their feelings towards Jesus, by enduring everything, whatever it may be, for the sake of His words? For the reception by the disciples of such power of endurance and resolution continued even to death, with a disposition of mind that would not invent regarding their Teacher what was not true, is a very evident proof to all candid judges that they were fully persuaded of the truth of what they wrote, seeing they submitted to trials so numerous and so severe, for the sake of Him whom they believed to be the Son of God.
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