19. First of all, then, we must know that the doctrine of the Cross is not regarded by all in the same light. It is one thing to the Gentiles, to the Jews another, to Christians another; as also the Apostle says, “We preach Christ crucified,—to the Jews a stumbling-block, to the Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ, the power of God and the wisdom of God;” 3298 and, in the same place, “For the preaching of the Cross is to those who perish foolishness, but to those who are saved,” that is, to us, it is “the Power of God.” 3299 The Jews, to whom it had been delivered out of the Law, that Christ should abide for ever, were offended by His Cross, because they were unwilling to believe His resurrection. To the Gentiles it seemed foolishness that God should have submitted to death, because they were ignorant of the mystery of the Incarnation. But Christians, who had accepted His birth and passion in p. 551 the flesh and His resurrection from the dead, of course believed that it was the power of God which had overcome death.
First, therefore, hear how this very thing is prophetically declared by Isaiah, that the Jews, to whom the Prophets had foretold these things, would not believe, but that they who had never heard them from the Prophets, would believe them. “To whom He was not spoken of they shall see, and they that have not heard shall understand.” 3300 Moreover, this same Isaiah foretells that, while those who were engaged in the study of the Law from childhood to old age believed not, to the Gentiles every mystery should be transferred. His words are: “And the Lord of Hosts shall make a feast on this mountain unto all nations: they shall drink joy, they shall drink wine, they shall be anointed with ointment on this mountain. Deliver all these things to the nations.” 3301 This was the counsel of the Almighty respecting all the nations. But they who boast themselves of their knowledge of the Law will, perhaps, say to us, “You blaspheme in saying that the Lord was subjected to the corruption of death and to the suffering of the Cross.” Read, therefore, what you find written in the Lamentations of Jeremiah: “The Spirit of our countenance, Christ the Lord, was taken in our 3302 corruptions, of whom we said, we shall live under His shadow among the nations.” 3303 Thou hearest how the Prophet says that Christ the Lord was taken, and for us, that is, for our sins, delivered to corruption. Under whose shadow, since the people of the Jews have continued in unbelief, he says the Gentiles lie, because we live not in Israel, but among the Gentiles.
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