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Chapter XXIII.

From what has been said, it is clear then that Jesus, “the man of Nazareth,” did not promulgate laws opposed to those just considered in regard to riches, when He said, “It is hard for the rich man to enter into the kingdom of God;”47224722    Matt. xix. 23. whether we take the word “rich” in its simplest sense, as referring to the man whose mind is distracted by his wealth, and, as it were, entangled with thorns, so that he brings forth no spiritual fruit; or whether it is the man who is rich in the sense of abounding in false notions, of whom it is written in the Proverbs, “Better is the poor man who is just, than the rich man who is false.”47234723    Prov. xxviii. 6.  Perhaps it is the following passages which have led Celsus to suppose that Jesus forbids ambition to His disciples:  “Whoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all;”47244724    Mark x. 44. “The princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them,”47254725    Matt. xx. 25. and “they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors.”47264726    Luke xxii. 25.  But there is nothing here inconsistent with the promise, “Thou shalt rule over many nations, and they shall not rule over thee,” especially after the explanation which we have given of these words.  Celsus next throws in an expression in regard to wisdom, as though he thought that, according to the teaching of Christ, no wise man could come to the Father.  But we would ask in what sense he speaks of a wise man.  For if he means one who is wise in “the wisdom of this world,” as it is called, “which is foolishness with God,”47274727    1 Cor. iii. 19. then we would agree with him in saying that access to the Father is denied to one who is wise in that sense.  But if by wisdom any one means Christ, who is “the power and wisdom of God,” far from such a wise man being refused access to the Father, we hold that he who is adorned by the Holy Spirit with that gift which is called “the word of wisdom,” far excels all those who have not received the same grace.


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