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But let Celsus, and those who assent to his charges, tell us whether it is at all like “an ass’s shadow,” that the Jewish prophets should have predicted the birth-place of Him who was to be the ruler of those who had lived righteous lives, and who are called the “heritage” of God;34403440 τῶν χρηματιζόντων μερίδος Θεοῦ. and that Emmanuel should be conceived by a virgin; and that such signs and wonders should be performed by Him who was the subject of prophecy; and that His word should have such speedy course, that the voice of His apostles should go forth into all the earth; and that He should undergo certain sufferings after His condemnation by the Jews; and that He should rise again from the dead. For was it by chance34413441 ἆρα γὰρ ὡς ἔτυχε. that the prophets made these announcements, with no persuasion of the truth in their minds,34423442 σὺν οὑδεμιᾷ πιθανότητι. moving them not only to speak, but to deem their announcements worthy of being committed to writing? And did so great a nation as that of the Jews, who had long ago received a country of their own wherein to dwell, recognise certain men as prophets, and reject others as utterers of false predictions, without any conviction of the soundness of the distinction?34433443 σὺν οὑδεμιᾷ πιθανότητι. And was there no motive which induced them to class with the books of Moses, which were held as sacred, the words of those persons who were afterwards deemed to be prophets? And can those who charge the Jews and Christians with folly, show us how the Jewish nation could have continued to subsist, had there existed among them no promise of the knowledge of future events? and how, while each of the surrounding nations believed, agreeably to their ancient institutions, that they 466received oracles and predictions from those whom they accounted gods, this people alone, who were taught to view with contempt all those who were considered gods by the heathen, as not being gods, but demons, according to the declaration of the prophets, “For all the gods of the nations are demons,”34443444 Ps. xcvi. 5, δαιμόνια, “idols,” Auth. Vers. We have in this passage, and in many others, the identification of the δαίμονες or gods of the heathen with the δαίμονες or δαιμόνια, “evil spirits,” or angels, supposed to be mentioned in Gen. vi. 2. had among them no one who professed to be a prophet, and who could restrain such as, from a desire to know the future, were ready to desert34453445 The reading in the text is αὐτομολεῖν, on which Bohereau, with whom the Benedictine editor agrees, remarks that we must either read αὐτομολήσοντας, or understand some such word as ἑτοίμους before αὐτομολεῖν. to the demons34463446 Ps. xcvi. 5, δαιμόνια, “idols,” Auth. Vers. We have in this passage, and in many others, the identification of the δαίμονες or gods of the heathen with the δαίμονες or δαιμόνια, “evil spirits,” or angels, supposed to be mentioned in Gen. vi. 2. of other nations? Judge, then, whether it were not a necessity, that as the whole nation had been taught to despise the deities of other lands, they should have had an abundance of prophets, who made known events which were of far greater importance in themselves,34473447 τὸ μεῖζον αὐτόθεν. and which surpassed the oracles of all other countries.
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