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529Chapter LXXI.

But as, in what follows, Celsus, not understanding that the language of Scripture regarding God is adapted to an anthropopathic point of view,39823982    [See note, p. 502, supra.] ridicules those passages which speak of words of anger addressed to the ungodly, and of threatenings directed against sinners, we have to say that, as we ourselves, when talking with very young children, do not aim at exerting our own power of eloquence,39833983    οὐ τοῦ ἑαυτῶν ἐν τῷ λέγειν στοχαζόμεθα δυνατοῦ. but, adapting ourselves to the weakness of our charge, both say and do those things which may appear to us useful for the correction and improvement of the children as children, so the word of God appears to have dealt with the history, making the capacity of the hearers, and the benefit which they were to receive, the standard of the appropriateness of its announcements (regarding Him).  And, generally, with regard to such a style of speaking about God, we find in the book of Deuteronomy the following:  “The Lord thy God bare with your manners, as a man would bear with the manners of his son.”39843984    Cf. Deut. i. 31.  Origen appears to have read, not ἐτροφόρησεν, the common reading (Heb. אשָֹנָ), but ἐτροποφόρησεν, the reading of the Codex Alex.  It is, as it were, assuming the manners of a man in order to secure the advantage of men that the Scripture makes use of such expressions; for it would not have been suitable to the condition of the multitude, that what God had to say to them should be spoken by Him in a manner more befitting the majesty of His own person.  And yet he who is anxious to attain a true understanding of holy Scripture, will discover the spiritual truths which are spoken by it to those who are called “spiritual,” by comparing the meaning of what is addressed to those of weaker mind with what is announced to such as are of acuter understanding, both meanings being frequently found in the same passage by him who is capable of comprehending it.


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