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Chapter LVIII.

But Celsus challenges the account also that an angel rolled away the stone from the sepulchre where the body of Jesus lay, acting like a lad at school, who should bring a charge against any one by help of a string of commonplaces.  And, as if he had discovered some clever objection to the narrative, he remarks:  “The Son of God, then, it appears, could not open his tomb, but required the aid of another to roll away the stone.”  Now, not to overdo the discussion of this matter, or to have the appearance of unreasonably introducing philosophical remarks, by explaining the figurative meaning at present, I shall simply say of the narrative alone, that it does appear in itself a more respectful proceeding, that the servant and inferior should have rolled away the stone, than that such an act should have been performed by Him whose resurrection was to be for the advantage of mankind.  I do not speak of the desire of those who conspired against the Word, and who wished to put Him to death, and to show to all men that He was dead and non-existent,42544254    καὶ τὸ μηδὲν τυγχάνοντα. that His tomb should not be opened, in order that no one might behold the Word alive after their conspiracy; but the “Angel of God” who came into the world for the salvation of men, with the help of another angel, proved more powerful than the conspirators, and rolled away the weighty stone, that those who deemed the Word to be dead might be convinced that He is not with the “departed,” but is alive, and precedes those who are willing to follow Him, that He may manifest to them those truths which come after those which He formerly showed them at the time of their first entrance (into the school of Christianity), when they were as yet incapable of receiving deeper instruction.  In the next 569place, I do not understand what advantage he thinks will accrue to his purpose when he ridicules the account of “the angel’s visit to Joseph regarding the pregnancy of Mary;” and again, that of the angel to warn the parents “to take up the new-born Child, whose life was in danger, and to flee with it into Egypt.”  Concerning these matters, however, we have in the preceding pages answered his statements.  But what does Celsus mean by saying, that “according to the Scriptures, angels are recorded to have been sent to Moses, and others as well?”  For it appears to me to contribute nothing to his purpose, and especially because none of them made any effort to accomplish, as far as in his power, the conversion of the human race from their sins.  Let it be granted, however, that other angels were sent from God, but that he came to announce something of greater importance (than any others who preceded him); and when the Jews had fallen into sin, and corrupted their religion, and had done unholy deeds, transferred the kingdom of God to other husbandmen, who in all the Churches take special care of themselves,42554255    ἑαυτῶν.  Guietus would read αὐτῶν, to agree with τῶν ἐκκλησιῶν. and use every endeavour by means of a holy life, and by a doctrine conformable thereto, to win over to the God of all things those who would rush away from the teaching of Jesus.42564256    Instead of τὰς ἀπὸ τῆς διδασκαλίας τοῦ ᾽Ιησοῦ ἁφορμάς, Boherellus conjectures τοὺςἀφορμῶντας, which has been adopted in the translation.


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