« Prev Chapter VIII Next »

Chapter VIII.

In the following way, also, we may conclude that they who came out of Egypt with Moses were not Egyptians; for if they had been Egyptians, their names also would be Egyptian, because in every language the designations (of persons and things) are kindred to the language.34563456    Συγγενεῖς εἰσιν αἱ προσηγορίαι.  But if it is certain, from the names being Hebrew, that the people were not Egyptians,—and the Scriptures are full of Hebrew names, and these bestowed, too, upon their children while they were in Egypt,—it is clear that the Egyptian account is false, which asserts that they were Egyptians, and went forth from Egypt with Moses.  Now it is absolutely certain34573457    Σαφῶς ἐναργές. that, being descended, as the Mosaic history records, from Hebrew ancestors, they employed a language from which they also took the names which they conferred upon their children.  But with regard to the Christians, because they were taught not to avenge themselves upon their enemies (and have thus observed laws of a mild and philanthropic character); and because they would not, although able, have made war even if they had received authority to do so,—they have obtained this reward from God, that He 468has always warred in their behalf, and on certain occasions has restrained those who rose up against them and desired to destroy them.  For in order to remind others, that by seeing a few engaged in a struggle for their religion, they also might be better fitted to despise death, some, on special occasions, and these individuals who can be easily numbered, have endured death for the sake of Christianity,—God not permitting the whole nation to be exterminated, but desiring that it should continue, and that the whole world should be filled with this salutary and religious doctrine.34583458    [Gibbon, in the sixteenth chapter of his Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, quotes the first part of this sentence as proving that “the learned Origen declares, in the most express terms, that the number of martyrs was very inconsiderable.”  But see Guizot’s note on the passage.  S.]  And again, on the other hand, that those who were of weaker minds might recover their courage and rise superior to the thought of death, God interposed His providence on behalf of believers, dispersing by an act of His will alone all the conspiracies formed against them; so that neither kings, nor rulers, nor the populace, might be able to rage against them beyond a certain point.  Such, then, is our answer to the assertions of Celsus, “that a revolt was the original commencement of the ancient Jewish state, and subsequently of Christianity.”

« Prev Chapter VIII Next »
Please login or register to save highlights and make annotations
Corrections disabled for this book
Proofing disabled for this book
Printer-friendly version


| Define | Popups: Login | Register | Prev Next | Help |