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Chapter LXXVII.

But again, how did he who said, “Since a divine Spirit inhabited the body (of Jesus), it must certainly have been different from that of other beings in respect of grandeur, or voice, or strength, or impressiveness, or persuasiveness,” not observe the changing relation of His body according to the capacity of the spectators (and therefore its corresponding utility), inasmuch as it appeared to each one of such a nature as it was requisite for him to behold it?  Moreover it is not a subject of wonder that the matter, which is by nature susceptible of being altered and changed, and of being transformed into anything which the Creator chooses, and is capable of receiving all the qualities which the Artificer desires, should at one time possess a quality, agreeably to which it is said, “He had no form nor beauty,” and at another, one so glorious, and majestic, and marvellous, that the spectators of such surpassing loveliness—three disciples who had ascended (the mount) with Jesus—should fall upon their faces.  He will say, however, that these are inventions, and in no respect different from myths, as are also the other marvels related of Jesus; which objection we have answered at greater length in what has gone before.  But there is also something mystical in this doctrine, which announces that the varying appearances of Jesus are to be referred to the nature of the divine Word, who does not show Himself in the same manner to the multitude as He does to those who are capable of following Him to the high mountain which we have mentioned; for to those who still remain below, and are not yet prepared to ascend, the Word “has neither form nor beauty,” because to such persons His form is “without honour,” and inferior to the words given forth by men, which are figuratively termed “sons of men.”  For we might say that the words of philosophers—who are “sons of men”—appear far more beautiful than the Word of God, who is proclaimed to the multitude, and who also exhibits (what is called) the “foolishness of preaching,” and on account of this apparent “foolishness of preaching” those who look at this alone say, “We saw Him; but He had no form nor beauty.”  To those, indeed, who have received power to follow Him, in order that they may attend Him even when He ascends to the “lofty mount,” He has a diviner appearance, which they behold, if there happens to be (among them) a Peter, who has received within himself the edifice of the Church based upon the Word, and who has gained such a habit (of goodness) that none of the gates of Hades will prevail against him, having been exalted by the Word from the gates of death, that he may “publish the praises of God in the gates of the daughter of Sion,” and any others who have derived their birth from impressive preaching,46744674    καὶ εἴ τινές εἰσιν ἐκ λόγων την γένεσιν λαχόντες μεγαλοφώνων. and who are not at all inferior to “sons of thunder.”  But how can Celsus and the enemies of the divine Word, and those who have not examined the doctrines of Christianity in the spirit of truth, know the meaning of the different appearances of Jesus?  And I refer also to the different stages of His life, and to any actions performed by Him be610fore His sufferings, and after His resurrection from the dead.


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