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ANF04. Fathers of the Third Century: Tertullian, Part Fourth; Minucius Felix; Commodian; Origen, Parts First and Second
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Chapter LXII.

In a former passage, Celsus had spoken at length on the subject of oracles, and had referred us to their answers as being the voice of the gods; but now he makes amends, and confesses that “those who foretell the fortunes of men and cities, and concern themselves about mortal affairs, are earth-spirits, who are given up to fleshly lust, blood, odours, sweet sounds, and other such things, and who are unable to rise above these sensual objects.”  Perhaps, when we opposed the theological teaching of Celsus in regard to oracles, and the honour done to those called gods, some one might suspect us of impiety when we alleged that these were stratagems of demoniacal powers, to draw men away to carnal indulgence.  But any who entertained this suspicion against us, may now believe that the statements put forth by Christians were well-founded, when they see the above passage from the writings of one who is a professed adversary of Christianity, but who now at length writes as one who has been overcome by the spirit of truth.  Although, therefore, Celsus says that “we must offer sacrifices to them, in so far as they are profitable to us, for to offer them indiscriminately is not allowed by reason,” yet we are not to offer sacrifices to demons addicted to blood and odours; nor is the Divine Being to be profaned in our minds, by being brought down to the level of wicked demons.  If Celsus had carefully weighed the meaning of the word “profitable,” and had considered that the truest profit lies in virtue and in virtuous action, he would not have applied the phrase “as far as it is profitable” to the service of such demons, as he has acknowledged them to be.  If, then, health of body and success in life were to come to us on condition of our serving such demons, we should prefer sickness and misfortune accompanied with the consciousness of our being truly devoted to the will of God.  For this is preferable to being mortally diseased in mind, and wretched through being separate and outcasts from God, though healthy in body and abounding in earthly prosperity.  And we would rather go for help to one who seeks nothing whatever but the well-being of men and of all rational creatures, than to those who delight in blood and sacrificial odours.

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