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Chapter XLIV.

After these points Celsus quotes some objections against the doctrine of Jesus, made by a very few individuals who are considered Christians, not of the more intelligent, as he supposes, but of the more ignorant class, and asserts that “the following are the rules laid down by them.  Let no one come to us who has been instructed, 482or who is wise or prudent (for such qualifications are deemed evil by us); but if there be any ignorant, or unintelligent, or uninstructed, or foolish persons, let them come with confidence.  By which words, acknowledging that such individuals are worthy of their God, they manifestly show that they desire and are able to gain over only the silly, and the mean, and the stupid, with women and children.” 35703570     [The sarcastic raillery of Celsus in regard to the ignorance and low social scale of the early converts to Christianity is in keeping with his whole tone and manner.  On the special value of the evidence of early Christian writers, such as Justin Martyr , Clement, Origen, etc., to the truth and power, among men of all classes, of the Gospel of our Lord, see Rawlinson’s Bampton Lectures, The Historical Evidences of the Truth of the Scripture Records, Lect. viii. pp. 207, 420, et seqq. (Amer. ed. 1860).  S.]   In reply to which, we say that, as if, while Jesus teaches continence, and says, “Whosoever looketh upon a woman to lust after her, hath already committed adultery with her in his heart,” one were to behold a few of those who are deemed to be Christians living licentiously, he would most justly blame them for living contrary to the teaching of Jesus, but would act most unreasonably if he were to charge the Gospel with their censurable conduct; so, if he found nevertheless that the doctrine of the Christians invites men to wisdom, the blame then must remain with those who rest in their own ignorance, and who utter, not what Celsus relates (for although some of them are simple and ignorant, they do not speak so shamelessly as he alleges), but other things of much less serious import, which, however, serve to turn aside men from the practice of wisdom.


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