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Chapter XV.

Celsus goes on to say:  “That I may give a true representation of their faith, I will use their own words, as given in what is called A Heavenly Dialogue:  ‘If the Son is mightier than God, 646and the Son of man is Lord over Him, who else than the Son can be Lord over that God who is the ruler over all things?  How comes it, that while so many go about the well, no one goes down into it?  Why art thou afraid when thou hast gone so far on the way?  Answer:  Thou art mistaken, for I lack neither courage nor weapons.’  Is it not evident, then, that their views are precisely such as I have described them to be?  They suppose that another God, who is above the heavens, is the Father of him whom with one accord they honour, that they may honour this Son of man alone, whom they exalt under the form and name of the great God, and whom they assert to be stronger than God, who rules the world, and that he rules over Him.  And hence that maxim of theirs, ‘It is impossible to serve two masters,’ is maintained for the purpose of keeping up the party who are on the side of this Lord.”  Here, again, Celsus quotes opinions from some most obscure sect of heretics, and ascribes them to all Christians.  I call it “a most obscure sect;” for although we have often contended with heretics, yet we are unable to discover from what set of opinions he has taken this passage, if indeed he has quoted it from any author, and has not rather concocted it himself, or added it as an inference of his own.  For we who say that the visible world is under the government to Him who created all things, do thereby declare that the Son is not mightier than the Father, but inferior to Him.  And this belief we ground on the saying of Jesus Himself, “The Father who sent Me is greater than I.”  And none of us is so insane as to affirm that the Son of man is Lord over God.  But when we regard the Saviour as God the Word, and Wisdom, and Righteousness, and Truth, we certainly do say that He has dominion over all things which have been subjected to Him in this capacity, but not that His dominion extends over the God and Father who is Ruler over all.48734873    [See note, book ii. cap. ix. p. 433.  S.]  Besides, as the Word rules over none against their will, there are still wicked beings—not only men, but also angels, and all demons—over whom we say that in a sense He does not rule, since they do not yield Him a willing obedience; but, in another sense of the word, He rules even over them, in the same way as we say that man rules over the irrational animals,—not by persuasion, but as one who tames and subdues lions and beasts of burden.  Nevertheless, he leaves no means untried to persuade even those who are still disobedient to submit to His authority.  So far as we are concerned, therefore, we deny the truth of that which Celsus quotes as one of our sayings, “Who else than He can be Lord over Him who is God over all?”


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