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Chapter CXIV.—Some rules for discerning what is said about Christ. The circumcision of the Jews is very different from that which Christians receive.

“For the Holy Spirit sometimes brought about that something, which was the type of the future, should be done clearly; sometimes He uttered words about what was to take place, as if it was then taking place, or had taken place. And unless those who read perceive this art, they will not be able to follow the words of the prophets as they ought. For example’s sake, I shall repeat some prophetic passages, that you may understand what I say. When He speaks by Isaiah, ‘He was led as a sheep to the slaughter, and like a lamb before the shearer,’23762376    Isa. liii. 7. He speaks as if the suffering had already taken place. And when He says again, ‘I have stretched out my hands to a disobedient and gainsaying people;’23772377    Isa. lxv. 2. and when He says, ‘Lord, who hath believed our report?’23782378    Isa. liii. 1. —the words are spoken as if announcing events which had already come to pass. For I have shown that Christ is oftentimes called a Stone in parable, and in figurative speech Jacob and Israel. And again, when He says, ‘I shall behold the heavens, the works of Thy fingers,’23792379    Ps. viii. 3. unless I understand His method of using words,23802380    Literally, “the operation of His words.” Editors have changed τῶν λόγων into τὸν λόγον or τοῦ λόγου: but there is no need of change. I shall not understand intelligently, but just as your teachers suppose, fancying that the Father of all, the unbegotten God, has hands and feet, and fingers, and a soul, like a composite being; and they for this reason teach that it was the Father Himself who appeared to Abraham and to Jacob. Blessed therefore are we who have been circumcised the second time with knives of stone. For your first circumcision was and is performed by iron instruments, for you remain hard-hearted; but our circumcision, which is the second, having been instituted after yours, circumcises us from idolatry and from absolutely every kind of wickedness by sharp stones, i.e., by the words [preached] by the apostles of the corner-stone cut out without hands. And our hearts are thus circumcised from evil, so that we are happy to die for the name of the good Rock, which causes living water to burst forth for the hearts of those who by Him have loved the Father of all, and which gives those who are willing to drink of the water of life. But you do not comprehend me when I speak these things; for you have not understood what it has been prophesied that Christ would do, and you do not believe us who draw your attention to what has been written. For Jeremiah thus cries: ‘Woe unto you! because you have forsaken the living fountain, and have digged for yourselves broken cisterns that can hold no water. Shall there be a wilderness where Mount Zion is, because I gave Jerusalem a bill of divorce in your sight?’23812381    Jer. ii. 13.


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