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Chapter XLII.

There is an inconsistency into which, strangely enough, Celsus has fallen unawares.  Those demons or gods whom he extolled a little before, he now shows to be in fact the vilest of creatures, punishing more for their own revenge than for the improvement of those who revile them.  His words are, “If you had reviled Bacchus or Hercules when present in person, you would not have escaped with impunity.”  How any one can hear without being present in person, I leave 656any one who will to explain; as also those other questions, “Why he is sometimes present, and sometimes absent?” and, “What is the business which takes demons away from place to place?”  Again, when he says, “Those who crucified your God himself, suffered no harm for doing so,” he supposes that it is the body of Jesus extended on the cross and slain, and not His divine nature, that we call God; and that it was as God that Jesus was crucified and slain.  As we have already dwelt at length on the sufferings which Jesus suffered as a man, we shall purposely say no more here, that we may not repeat what we have said already.  But when he goes on to say that “those who inflicted death upon Jesus suffered nothing afterwards through so long a time,” we must inform him, as well as all who are disposed to learn the truth, that the city in which the Jewish people called for the crucifixion of Jesus with shouts of “Crucify him, crucify him,”49334933    Luke xxiii. 21, 25. preferring to have the robber set free, who had been cast into prison for sedition and murder, and Jesus, who had been delivered through envy, to be crucified,—that this city not long afterwards was attacked, and, after a long siege, was utterly overthrown and laid waste; for God judged the inhabitants of that place unworthy of living together the life of citizens.  And yet, though it may seem an incredible thing to say, God spared this people in delivering them to their enemies; for He saw that they were incurably averse to any amendment, and were daily sinking deeper and deeper into evil.  And all this befell them, because the blood of Jesus was shed at their instigation and on their land; and the land was no longer able to bear those who were guilty of so fearful a crime against Jesus.


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