But they alleged other causes for their anger and envy, which they bore shut up 706 within in their hearts—namely, that He destroyed the obligation 707 of the law given by Moses; that is, that He did not rest 708 on the Sabbath, but laboured for the good 709 of men; that He abolished circumcision; that He took away the necessity of abstaining from the flesh of swine; 710 —in which things the mysteries of the Jewish religion consist. On this account, therefore, the rest of the people, who had not yet withdrawn 711 to Christ, were incited by the priests to regard Him as impious, because He destroyed the obligation of the law of God, though He did this not by His own judgment, but according to the will of God, and after the predictions of the prophets. For Micah announced that He would give a new law, in these terms: 712 “The law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And He shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations.” 713 For the former law, which was given by Moses, was not given on Mount Zion, but on Mount Horeb; 714 and the Sibyl shows that it would come to pass that this law would be destroyed by the Son of God:—“But when all these things which I told you shall be accomplished, then all the law is fulfilled with respect to Him.”
But even Moses himself, by whom the law was given which they so tenaciously maintain, though they have fallen away from God, and have not acknowledged God, had foretold that it would come to pass that a very great prophet would be sent by God, who should be above the law, and be a bearer of the will of God to men. In Deuteronomy he thus left it written: 715 “And the Lord said unto me, I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee; and I will put my word in His mouth, and He shall speak unto them all that I shall command Him. And whosoever will not hearken to those things which that Prophet shall speak in my name, I will require 716 it of him.” The Lord evidently announced by the law-giver himself that He was about to send His own Son—that is, a law alive, and present 717 in person, and destroy that old law given by a mortal, 718 that by Him who was eternal He might ratify afresh a law which was eternal.
In like manner, Isaiah 719 thus prophesied concerning the abolition of circumcision: “Thus saith the Lord to the men of Judah who dwell at Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns. Circumcise yourselves to the Lord your God, and take away the foreskins of your heart, lest my fury come forth like fire, and burn that none can quench it.” Also Moses himself says: 720 “In the last days the Lord shall circumcise thine heart to love the Lord thy God.” Also Jesus 721 the son of Nun, his successor, said: “And the Lord said unto Jesus, Make thee knives of flint very sharp, and sit and circumcise the children of Israel the second time.” He said that this second circumcision would be not of the flesh, as the first was, which the Jews practice even now, but of the heart and spirit, which was delivered by Christ, who was the true Jesus. For the prophet does not say, “And the Lord said unto me,” but “unto Jesus,” that he might show that God was not speaking of him, but of Christ, to whom God was then speaking. For that Jesus represented 722 Christ: for when he was at first called Auses, 723 Moses, foreseeing the future, ordered that he should be called Jesus; that since he had been chosen as the leader of the warfare p. 119 against Amalek, who was the enemy of the children of Israel, he might both subdue the adversary by the emblem 724 of the name, and lead the people into the land of promise. And for this reason he was also successor to Moses, to show that the new law given by Christ Jesus was about to succeed to the old law which was given by Moses. For that circumcision of the flesh is plainly irrational; since, if God had so willed it, He might so have formed man from the beginning, that he should be without a foreskin. But it was a figure of this second circumcision, signifying that the breast is to be laid bare; that is, that we ought to live with an open and simple heart, since that part of the body which is circumcised has a kind of resemblance to the heart, and is to be treated with reverence. On this account God ordered that it should be laid bare, that by this argument He might admonish us not to have our breast hidden 725 in obscurity; that is, not to veil any shameful deed within the secrets of conscience. This is the circumcision of the heart of which the prophets speak, which God transferred from the mortal flesh to the soul, which alone is about to endure. For being desirous of promoting our life and salvation in accordance with His own goodness, in that circumcision He hath set before us repentance, that if we lay open our hearts,—that is if we confess our sins and make satisfaction to God,—we shall obtain pardon, which is denied to those who are obstinate and conceal their faults, by Him who regards not the outward appearance, as man does, but the innermost secrets of the heart. 726
The forbidding of the flesh of swine also has the same intention; for when God commanded them to abstain from this, He willed that this should be especially understood, that they should abstain from sins and impurities. For this animal is filthy and unclean, 727 and never looks up to heaven, 728 but prostrates itself to the earth with its whole body and face: it is always the slave of its appetite and food; nor during its life can it afford any other service, as the other animals do, which either afford a vehicle for riding, 729 or aid in the cultivation of the fields, or draw waggons by their neck, or carry burthens on their back, or furnish a covering with their skins, 730 or abound with a supply of milk, or keep watch for guarding our houses. Therefore He forbade them to use the flesh of the pig for food, that is, not to imitate the life of swine, which are nourished only for death; lest, by devoting themselves to their appetite and pleasures, they should be useless for working righteousness, and should be visited with death. Also that they should not immerse themselves in foul lusts, as the sow, which wallows in the mire; 731 of that they do not serve earthly images, and thus defile themselves with mud: for they do bedaub themselves with mud who worship gods, that is, who worship mud and earth. Thus all the precepts of the Jewish law have for their object the setting forth of righteousness, since they are given in a mysterious 732 manner, that under the figure of carnal things those which are spiritual might be known.
Some read, “evincet et deliget validas nationes;” but the reading “deliget” seems to have arisen from a corrupt reading of the Septuagint,—ἐκλέξει, “he shall choose,” having been substituted for ἐξελεγξει, “he shall rebuke.”118:714
The scene of the giving of the law is sometimes spoken of as Horeb, as Ex. iii., and sometimes as Sinai, as Ex. xix. The difficulty of discriminating the two is very great. See Stanleys Sinai and Palestine [pp. 29, 32, 36–37, 40–42, etc. Robinson, vol. i. 177, 551.]118:715 118:716 118:717 118:718 118:719 118:720 118:721
i.e., Joshua See Josh. v. 2.118:722 118:723
i.e., Osee, Oshea, or Hoshea, as Joshua was first called. See Num. xiii. 8. [But note Num. xiii. 16. The change was significant. See Pearson On the Creed, art. ii. 125–128. Thus, “Jehovah-Saviour” = Jesus, and the change was prophetic of “the Name which is above every name.” Compare Gen. xxxii. 29 and Phil. 2:9, 10.]119:724 119:725 119:726
1 Sam. xvi. 7: “The Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.”119:727 119:728 119:729 119:730 119:731 119:732
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