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Treatise 12 by St. Cyprian of Carthage. He was baptised in 264 A.D.
Treatise XII.1 Three Books of Testimonies Against the Jews.
Comment: He is against the Jews.
Cyprian to his son Quirinus, greeting. It was necessary, my beloved son, that I should obey your spiritual desire, which asked with most urgent petition for those divine teachings wherewith the Lord has condescended to teach and instruct us by the Holy Scriptures, that, being led away from the darkness of error, and enlightened by His pure and shining light, we may keep the way of life through the saving sacraments. And indeed, as you have asked, so has this discourse been arranged by me; and this treatise has been ordered in an abridged compendium, so that I should not scatter what was written in too diffuse an abundance, but, as far as my poor memory suggested, might collect all that was necessary in selected and connected heads, under which I may seem, not so much to have treated the subject, as to have afforded material for others to treat it. Moreover, to readers also, brevity of the same kind is of very great advantage, in that a treatise of too great length dissipates the understanding and perception of the reader, while a tenacious memory keeps that which is read in a more exact compendium. But I have comprised in my undertaking two books of equally moderate length: one wherein I have endeavoured to show that the Jews, according to what had before been foretold, had departed from God, and had lost God's favour, which had been given them in past time, and had been promised them for the future; while the Christians had succeeded to their place, deserving well of the Lord by faith, and coming out of all nations and from the whole world. The second book likewise contains the sacrament of Christ, that He has come who was announced according to the Scriptures, and has done and perfected all those things whereby He was foretold as being able to be perceived and known.2 And these things may be of advantage to you meanwhile, as you read, for forming the first lineaments of your faith. More strength will be given you, and the intelligence of the heart will be effected more and more, as you examine more fully the Scriptures, old and new, and read through the complete volumes of the spiritual books.3 For now we have filled a small measure from the divine fountains, which in the meantime we would send to you. You will be able to drink more plentifully, and to be more abundantly satisfied, if you also will approach to drink together with us at the same springs of the divine fulness.4 I bid you, beloved son, always heartily farewell.
1. That the Jews have fallen under the heavy wrath of God, because they have departed from the Lord, and have followed idols.
2. Also because they did not believe the prophets, and put them to death.
3. That it was previously foretold that they would neither know the Lord, nor understand nor receive Him.
4. That the Jews would not understand the Holy Scriptures, but that they would be intelligible in the last times, after Christ had come.
5. That the Jews could understand nothing of the Scriptures unless they first believed on Christ.
6. That they would lose Jerusalem, and leave the land which they had received.
7. That they would also lose the Light of the Lord.
8. That the first circumcision of the flesh was made void, and a second circumcision of the spirit was promised instead.
9. That the former law, which was given by Moses, was about to cease.
10. That a new law was to be given.
11. That another dispensation and a new covenant was to be given.
12. That the old baptism was to cease, and a new one was to begin.
13. That the old yoke was to be made void, and a new yoke was to be given.
14. That the old pastors were to cease, and new ones to begin.
15. That Christ should be God's house and temple, and that the old temple should pass away, and a new one should begin.
16. That the old sacrifice should be made void, and a new one should be celebrated.
17. That the old priesthood should cease, and a new priest should come who should be for ever.
18. That another prophet, such as Moses, was promised, to wit, who should give a new testament, and who was rather to be listened to.
19. That two peoples were foretold, the elder and the younger; that is, the ancient people of the Jews, and the new one which should be of us.
20. That the Church, which had previously been barren, should have more sons from among the Gentiles than the synagogue had had before.
21. That the Gentiles should rather believe in Christ.
22. That the Jews should lose the bread and the cup of Christ, and all His grace; while we should receive them, and that the new name of Christians should be blessed in the earth.
23. That rather the Gentiles than the Jews should attain to the kingdom of heaven.
24. That by this alone the Jews could obtain pardon of their sins, if they wash away the blood of Christ slain in His baptism, and, passing over into the Church, should obey His precepts.5
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