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Chapter XXIX.

But Celsus perhaps has misunderstood certain of those whom he has termed “worms,” when they affirm that “God exists, and that we are next to Him.”  And he acts like those who would find fault with an entire sect of philosophers, on account of certain words uttered by some rash youth who, after a three days’ attendance upon the lectures of a philosopher, should exalt himself above other people as inferior to himself, and devoid of philosophy.  For we know that there are many creatures more honourable37953795    τιμιώτερα. than man; and we have read that “God standeth in the congregation of gods,”37963796    Cf. Ps. lxxxii. 1. but of gods who are not worshipped by the nations, “for all the gods of the nations are idols.”37973797    δαιμόνια.  Cf. Ps. xcvi. 5.  We have read also, that “God, standing in the congregation of the gods, judgeth among the gods.”37983798    Cf. Ps. lxxxii. 1.  We know, moreover, that “though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth (as there be gods many and lords many), but to us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by Him.”37993799    1 Cor. viii. 5, 6.  And we know that in this way the angels are superior to men; so that men, when made perfect, become like the angels.  “For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but the righteous are as the angels in heaven,”38003800    Cf. Matt. xxii. 30. and also become “equal to the angels.”38013801    Cf. Luke xx. 36.  We know, too, that in the arrangement of the universe there are certain beings termed “thrones,” and others “dominions,” and others “powers,” and others “principalities;” and we see that we men, who are far inferior to these, may entertain the hope that by a virtuous life, and by acting in all things agreeably to reason, we may rise to a likeness with all these.  And, lastly, because “it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that when He shall appear, we shall be like God, and shall see Him as He is.”38023802    Cf. 1 John iii. 2.  And if any one were to maintain what is asserted by some (either by those who possess intelligence or who do not, but have misconceived sound reason), that “God exists, and we are next to Him,” I would interpret the word “we,” by using in its stead, “We who act according to reason,” or rather, “We virtuous, who act according to reason.”38033803    καὶ τοῦτό γ᾽ ἂν ἑρμηνεύοιμι, τὸ “ἡμεῖς” λέγων ἀντὶ τοῦ οἱ λογικοὶ, καὶ ἔτι μᾶλλον, οἱ σπουδαῖοι λογικοί.  For, in our opinion, the same virtue belongs to all the blessed, so that the virtue of man and of God is identical.38043804    ὥστε καὶ ἡ αὐτὴ ἀνθρώπου καὶ Θεοῦ.  Cf. Cicero, de Leg., i.:  “Jam vero virtus eadem in homine ac deo est, neque ullo alio in genio præterea.  Est autem virtus nihil aliud, quam in se perfecta, et ad summum perducta natura.  Est igitur homini cum Deo similitudo.”  Cf. also Clemens Alex., Strom., vii. c. 14:  Οὐ γὰρ, καθάπερ οἱ Στωϊκοὶ, ἁθέως, πάνυ τὴν αὐτὴν ἀρετὴν ἀνθρώπου λέγομεν καὶ Θεοῦ.  [See vol. ii. p. 549.  S.]  Cf. Theodoret, Serm., xi.—Spencer.  And therefore we are taught to become “perfect,” as our Father in heaven is perfect.38053805    Cf. Matt. v. 48.  No good and virtuous man, then, is a “worm rolling in filth,” nor is a pious man an “ant,” nor a righteous man a “frog;” nor could one whose soul is enlightened with the bright light of truth be reasonably likened to a “bird of the night.”


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