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581Chapter XV.

Celsus, in the next place, as one who has heard the subject of humility greatly talked about,43574357    ὡς περιηχηθεὶς τὰ περὶ ταπεινοφροσύνης. but who has not been at the pains to understand it,43584358    μὴ ἐπιμελῶς αὐτὴν νοήσας. would wish to speak evil of that humility which is practised among us, and imagines that it is borrowed from some words of Plato imperfectly understood, where he expresses himself in the Laws as follows:  “Now God, according to the ancient account, having in Himself both the beginning and end and middle of all existing things, proceeds according to nature, and marches straight on.43594359    εὐθείᾳ περαίνει κατὰ φύσιν παραπορευόμενος.  He is constantly followed by justice, which is the avenger of all breaches of the divine law:  he who is about to become happy follows her closely in humility, and becomingly adorned.”43604360    Plato, de Legibus, iv. p. 716.  He did not observe, however, that in writers much older than Plato the following words occur in a prayer:  “Lord, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty, neither do I walk in great matters, nor in things too wonderful for me; if I had not been humble,”43614361    Ps. cxxxi. 1, 2 (LXX.).  The clause, “If I had not been humble,” seems to belong to the following verse. etc.  Now these words show that he who is of humble mind does not by any means humble himself in an unseemly or inauspicious manner, falling down upon his knees, or casting himself headlong on the ground, putting on the dress of the miserable, or sprinkling himself with dust.  But he who is of humble mind in the sense of the prophet, while “walking in great and wonderful things,” which are above his capacity—viz., those doctrines that are truly great, and those thoughts that are wonderful—“humbles himself under the mighty hand of God.”  If there are some, however, who through their stupidity43624362    τῇ ἰδιωτείᾳ. have not clearly understood the doctrine of humiliation, and act as they do, it is not our doctrine which is to be blamed; but we must extend our forgiveness to the stupidity43634363    τῇ ἰδιωτείᾳ. of those who aim at higher things, and owing to their fatuity of mind43644364    διὰ τὸν ἰδιωτισμόν. fail to attain them.  He who is “humble and becomingly adorned,” is so in a greater degree than Plato’s “humble and becomingly adorned” individual:  for he is becomingly adorned, on the one hand, because “he walks in things great and wonderful,” which are beyond his capacity; and humble, on the other hand, because, while being in the midst of such, he yet voluntarily humbles himself, not under any one at random, but under “the mighty hand of God,” through Jesus Christ, the teacher of such instruction, “who did not deem equality with God a thing to be eagerly clung to, but made Himself of no reputation, and took on Him the form of a servant, and being found in fashion as a man, humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”43654365    Cf. Phil. ii. 6, 8.  And so great is this doctrine of humiliation, that it has no ordinary individual as its teacher; but our great Saviour Himself says:  “Learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly of heart, and ye shall find rest for your souls.”43664366    Cf. Matt. xi. 20.

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