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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 LXVIII.

Celsus goes on to say:  “We must not disobey the ancient writer, who said long ago, ‘Let one be king, whom the son of crafty Saturn appointed;’”49644964    Homer’s Iliad, ii. 205. and adds:  “If you set aside this maxim, you will deservedly suffer for it at the hands of the king.  For if all were to do the same as you, there would be nothing to prevent his being left in utter solitude and desertion, and the affairs of the earth would fall into the hands of the wildest and most lawless barbarians; and then there would no longer remain among men any of the glory of your religion or of the true wisdom.”  If, then, “there shall be one lord, one king,” he must be, not the man “whom the son of crafty Saturn appointed,” but the man to whom He gave the power, who “removeth kings and setteth up kings,”49654965    Dan. ii. 21. and who “raiseth up the useful man in time of need upon earth.”49664966    Ecclus. x. 4. (LXX.).  For kings are not appointed by that son of Saturn, who, according to Grecian fable, hurled his father from his throne, and sent him down to Tartarus (whatever interpretation may be given to this allegory), but by God, who governs all things, and who wisely arranges whatever belongs to the appointment of kings.  We therefore do set aside the maxim contained in the line,

“Whom the son of crafty Saturn appointed;”

for we know that no god or father of a god ever devises anything crooked or crafty.  But we are far from setting aside the notion of a providence, and of things happening directly or indirectly through the agency of providence.  And the king will not “inflict deserved punishment” upon us, if we say that not the son of crafty Saturn gave him his kingdom, but He who “removeth and setteth up kings.”  And would that all were to follow my example in rejecting the maxim of Homer, maintaining the divine origin of the kingdom, and observing the precept to honour the king!  In these circumstances the king will not “be left in utter solitude and desertion,” neither will “the affairs of the world fall into the hands of the most impious and wild barbarians.”  For if, in the words of Celsus, “they do as I do,” then it is evident that even the barbarians, when they yield obedience to the word of God, will become most obedient to the law, and most humane; and every form of worship will be destroyed except the religion of Christ, which will alone prevail.  And indeed it will one day triumph, as its principles take possession of the minds of men more and more every day.


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