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Chapter LXXIX.

And therefore there was no need that there should everywhere exist many bodies, and many spirits like Jesus, in order that the whole world of men might be enlightened by the Word of God.  For the one Word was enough, having arisen as the “Sun of righteousness,” to send forth from Judea His coming rays into the soul of all who were willing to receive Him.  But if any one desires to see many bodies filled with a divine Spirit, similar to the one Christ, ministering to the salvation of men everywhere, let him take note of those who teach the Gospel of Jesus in all lands in soundness of doctrine and uprightness of life, and who are themselves termed “christs” by the holy Scriptures, in the passage, “Touch not Mine anointed,46754675    τῶν χριστῶν μου. and do not My prophets any harm.”46764676    Cf. 1 Chron. xvi. 22 and Ps. cv. 15.  For as we have heard that Antichrist cometh, and yet have learned that there are many antichrists in the world, in the same way, knowing that Christ has come, we see that, owing to Him, there are many christs in the world, who, like Him, have loved righteousness and hated iniquity, and therefore God, the God of Christ, anointed them also with the “oil of gladness.”  But inasmuch as He loved righteousness and hated iniquity above those who were His partners,46774677    τοὺς μετόχους αὐτοῦ. He also obtained the first-fruits of His anointing, and, if we must so term it, the entire unction of the oil of gladness; while they who were His partners shared also in His unction, in proportion to their individual capacity.  Therefore, since Christ is the Head of the Church, so that Christ and the Church form one body, the ointment descended from the head to the beard of Aaron,—the symbols of the perfect man,—and this ointment in its descent reached to the very skirt of his garment.  This is my answer to the irreverent language of Celsus when he says, “He ought to have breathed (His Spirit) alike into many bodies, and have sent it forth into all the world.”  The comic poet, indeed, to cause laughter, has represented Jupiter asleep and awaking from slumber, and despatching Mercury to the Greeks; but the Word, knowing that the nature of God is unaffected by sleep, may teach us that God administers in due season, and as right reason demands, the affairs of the world.  It is not, however, a matter of surprise that, owing to the greatness and incomprehensibility46784678    δυσδιηγήτους τὰς κρίσεις. of the divine judgments, ignorant persons should make mistakes, and Celsus among them.  There is therefore nothing ridiculous in the Son of God having been sent to the Jews, amongst whom the prophets had appeared, in order that, making a commencement among them in a bodily shape, He might arise with might and power upon a world of souls, which no longer desired to remain deserted by God.

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