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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. II:
City of God: Chapter 17

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 17.—Of Those Things in the 110th Psalm Which Relate to the Priesthood of Christ, and in the 22d to His Passion.

Just as in that psalm also where Christ is most openly proclaimed as Priest, even as He is here as King, “The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit Thou at my right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool.” 1091   That Christ sits on the right hand of God the Father is believed, not seen; that His enemies also are put under His feet doth not yet appear; it is being done, [therefore] it will appear at last:  yea, this is now believed, afterward it shall be seen.  But what follows, “The Lord will send forth the rod of Thy strength out of Sion, and rule Thou in the midst of Thine enemies,” 1092 is so clear, that to deny it would imply not merely unbelief and mistake, but downright impudence.  And even enemies must certainly confess that out of Sion has been sent the law of Christ which we call the gospel, and acknowledge as the rod of His strength.  But that He rules in the midst of His enemies, these same enemies among whom He rules themselves bear witness, gnashing their teeth and consuming away, and having power to do nothing against Him.  Then what he says a little after, “The Lord hath sworn and will not repent,” 1093 by which words He intimates that what He adds is immutable, “Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek,” 1094 who is permitted to doubt of whom these things are said, seeing that now there is nowhere a priesthood and sacrifice after the order of Aaron, and everywhere men offer under Christ as the Priest, which Melchizedek showed when he blessed Abraham?  Therefore to these manifest things are to be referred, when rightly understood, those things in the same psalm that are set down a little more obscurely, and we have already made known in our popular sermons how these things are to be rightly understood.  So also in that where Christ utters through prophecy the humiliation of His passion, saying, “They pierced my hands and feet; they counted all my bones.  Yea, they looked and stared at me.” 1095   By which words he certainly meant His body stretched out on the cross, with the hands and feet pierced and perforated by the striking through of the nails, and that He had in that way made Himself a spectacle to those who looked and stared.  And he adds, “They parted my garments among them, and over my vesture they cast lots.” 1096   How this prophecy has been fulfilled the Gospel history narrates.  Then, indeed, the other things also which are said there less openly are rightly understood when they agree with those which shine with so great clearness; especially because those things also which we do not believe as past, but survey as present, are beheld by the whole world, being now exhibited just as they are read of in this very psalm as predicted so long before.  For it is there said a little after, “All the ends of the earth shall remember, and turn unto the Lord, and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before Him; for the kingdom is the Lord’s, and He shall rule the nations.”


Footnotes

355:1091

Ps. 110.1.

355:1092

Ps. 110.2.

355:1093

Ps. 110.4.

355:1094

Ps. 110.4.

355:1095

Ps. 22:16, 17.

355:1096

Ps. 22:18, 19.


Next: Chapter 18

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