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Chapter XXIV.

After this, wishing to prove that the occurrences which befell Him were painful and distressing, and that it was impossible for Him, had He wished, to render them otherwise, he proceeds:  “Why does he mourn, and lament, and pray to escape the fear of death, expressing himself in terms like these:  ‘O Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me?’”32803280    Matt. xxvi. 39.  Now in these words observe the malignity of Celsus, how not accepting the love of truth which actuates the writers of the Gospels (who might have passed over in silence those points which, as Celsus thinks, are censurable, but who did not omit them for many reasons, which any one, in expounding the Gospel, can give in their proper place), he brings an accusation against the Gospel statement, grossly exaggerating the facts, and quoting what is not written in the Gospels, seeing it is nowhere found that Jesus lamented.  And he changes the words in the expression, “Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me,” and does not give what follows immediately after, which manifests at once the ready obedience of Jesus to His Father, and His greatness of mind, 442and which runs thus:  “Nevertheless, not as I will, but as Thou wilt.”32813281    Matt. xxvi. 39.  Nay, even the cheerful obedience of Jesus to the will of His Father in those things which He was condemned to suffer, exhibited in the declaration, “If this cup cannot pass from Me except I drink it, Thy will be done,” he pretends not to have observed, acting here like those wicked individuals who listen to the Holy Scriptures in a malignant spirit, and “who talk wickedness with lofty head.”  For they appear to have heard the declaration, “I kill,”32823282    Deut. xxxii. 39. and they often make it to us a subject of reproach; but the words, “I will make alive,” they do not remember,—the whole sentence showing that those who live amid public wickedness, and who work wickedly, are put to death by God, and that a better life is infused into them instead, even one which God will give to those who have died to sin.  And so also these men have heard the words, “I will smite;” but they do not see these, “and I will heal,” which are like the words of a physician, who cuts bodies asunder, and inflicts severe wounds, in order to extract from them substances that are injurious and prejudicial to health, and who does not terminate his work with pains and lacerations, but by his treatment restores the body to that state of soundness which he has in view.  Moreover, they have not heard the whole of the announcement, “For He maketh sore, and again bindeth up;” but only this part, “He maketh sore.”  So in like manner acts this Jew of Celsus who quotes the words, “O Father, would that this cup might pass from Me;” but who does not add what follows, and which exhibits the firmness of Jesus, and His preparedness for suffering.  But these matters, which afford great room for explanation from the wisdom of God, and which may reasonably be pondered over32833283    καὶ ταῦτα δὲ πολλὴν ἔχοντα διήγησιν ἀπὸ σοφίας Θεοῦ οἷς ὁ Παῦλος ὠνόμασε τελείοις εὐλόγως παραδοθησέμένην. by those whom Paul calls “perfect” when he said, “We speak wisdom among them who are perfect,”32843284    1 Cor. ii. 6. we pass by for the present, and shall speak for a little of those matters which are useful for our present purpose.


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