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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. II:
On Christian Doctrine: Chapter 6

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 6.—Utility of the Bondage of the Jews.

10.  This bondage, however, in the case of the Jewish people, differed widely from what it was in the case of the other nations; because, though the former were in bondage to temporal things, it was in such a way that in all these the One God was put before their minds.  And although they paid attention to the signs of spiritual realities in place of the realities themselves, not knowing to what the signs referred, still they had this conviction rooted in their minds, that in subjecting themselves to such a bondage they were doing the pleasure of the one invisible God of all.  And the apostle describes this bondage as being like to that of boys under the guidance of a schoolmaster. 1855   And those who clung obstinately to such signs could not endure our Lord’s neglect of them when the time for their revelation had come; and hence their leaders brought it as a charge against Him that He healed on the Sabbath, and the people, clinging to these signs as if they were realities, could not believe that one who refused to observe them in the way the Jews did was God, or came from God.  But those who did believe, from among whom the first Church at Jerusalem was formed, showed clearly how great an advantage it had been to be so guided by the schoolmaster that signs, which had been for a season imposed on the obedient, fixed the thoughts of those who observed them on the worship of the One God who made heaven and earth.  These men, because they had been very near to spiritual things (for even in the temporal and carnal offerings and types, though they did not clearly apprehend their spiritual meaning, they had learnt to adore the One Eternal God,) were filled with such a measure of the Holy Spirit that they sold all their goods, and laid their price at the apostles’ feet to be distributed among the needy, 1856 and consecrated themselves wholly to God as a new temple, of which the old temple they were serving was but the earthly type.

11.  Now it is not recorded that any of the Gentile churches did this, because men who had for their gods idols made with hands had not been so near to spiritual things.



Gal. 3.24.  The word παιδαγωγός means strictly not a schoolmaster, but a servant who takes children to school.


Acts 4:34, 35.

Next: Chapter 7

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