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Chapter LIX.

Immediately after this, Celsus, perceiving that he has slandered us with too great bitterness, as if by way of defence expresses himself as follows:  “That I bring no heavier charge than what the truth compels me, any one may see from the following remarks.  Those who invite to participation in other mysteries, make proclamation as follows:  ‘Every one who has clean hands, and a prudent tongue;’36083608    φωνὴν συνετός. others again thus:  ‘He who is pure from all pollution, and whose soul is conscious of no evil, and who has lived well and justly.’  Such is the proclamation made by those who promise purification from sins.36093609    [Much is to be gathered from this and the following chapters, of the evangelical character of primitive preaching and discipline.]  But let us hear what kind of persons these Christians invite.  Every one, they say, who is a sinner, who is devoid of understanding, who is a child, and, to speak generally, whoever is unfortunate, him will the kingdom of God receive.  Do you not call him a sinner, then, who is unjust, and a thief, and a housebreaker, and a poisoner, and a committer of sacrilege, and a robber of the dead?  What others would a man invite if he were issuing a proclamation for an assembly of robbers?”  Now, in answer to such statements, we say that it is not the same thing to invite those who are sick in soul to be cured, and those who are in health to the knowledge and study of divine things.  We, however, keeping both these things in view, at first invite all men to be healed, and exhort those 488who are sinners to come to the consideration of the doctrines which teach men not to sin, and those who are devoid of understanding to those which beget wisdom, and those who are children to rise in their thoughts to manhood, and those who are simply36103610    ἁπλῶς. unfortunate to good fortune,36113611    εὐδαιμονίαν. or—which is the more appropriate term to use—to blessedness.36123612    μακαριότητα.  And when those who have been turned towards virtue have made progress, and have shown that they have been purified by the word, and have led as far as they can a better life, then and not before do we invite them to participation in our mysteries.  “For we speak wisdom among them that are perfect.”36133613    Cf. 1 Cor. ii. 6.


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