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Chapter LIII.

After these remarks of Celsus, which we have done our best to refute, he goes on to address us thus:  “Seeing you are so eager for some novelty, how much better it would have been if you had chosen as the object of your zealous homage some one of those who died a glorious death, and whose divinity might have received the support of some myth to perpetuate his memory!  Why, if you were not satisfied with Hercules or Æsculapius, and other heroes of antiquity, you had Orpheus, who was confessedly a divinely inspired man, who died a violent death.  But perhaps some others have taken him up before you.  You may then take Anaxarchus, who, when cast into a mortar, and beaten most barbarously, showed a noble contempt for his suffering, and said, ‘Beat, beat the shell of Anaxarchus, for himself you do not beat,’—a speech surely of a spirit truly divine.  But others were before you in following his interpretation of the laws of nature.  Might you not, then, take Epictetus, who, when his master was twisting his leg, said, smiling and. unmoved, ‘You will break my leg;’ and when it was broken, he added, ‘Did I not tell you that you would break it?’  What saying equal to these did your god utter under suffering?  If you had said even of the Sibyl, whose authority some of you acknowledge, that she was a child of God, you would have said something more reasonable.  But you have had the presumption to include in her writings many impious things,48224822    [See vol. i. p. 169, note 9, and cap. lvi. infra.] and set up as a god one who ended 634a most infamous life by a most miserable death.  How much more suitable than he would have been Jonah in the whale’s belly, or Daniel delivered from the wild beasts, or any of a still more portentous kind!”


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