(9) When the Jews hear the following words from the psalm, they answer with their heads held high: ‘We are they; the psalm is about us; it is said to us. We are Israel, the people of God; we recognize ourselves in the words of the speaker: “Hear, O my people, and I will speak to you: O Israel, and I will testify to you.”‘ What shall we say to these things? We know, of course, the spiritual Israel about which the Apostle says: ‘And whoever follows this rule, peace and mercy upon them, even upon the Israel of God.’ The Israel, however, about which the Apostle says: ‘Behold Israel according to the flesh,’ we know to be the natural Israel; but the Jews do not grasp this meaning and as a result they prove themselves indisputably natural. It may be well to address them for just a little while as if they were present: And so you belong to that people whom ‘the God of gods has called from the rising of the sun to the going down thereof’? Were you not brought from Egypt to the land of Canaan? Not thither were you called from the rising of the sun to its setting, but from there you were dispersed to the rising of the sun and to its setting. Do you not rather belong to His enemies referred to in the psalm; ‘My God shall let me see over my enemies: slay them not, lest at any time they forget your law. Scatter them by the power’? That is the reason why, not unmindful of the Law of God, but bearing that same Law about for a covenant to the Gentiles and a reproach to yourselves, you unknowingly are ministering the Law to a people that has been called from the rising to the setting of the sun. Or will you really deny it? Then, too, those events foretold with such great authority, fulfilled with such manifestation— do you either with great blindness fail to consider them, or with remarkable impudence refuse to acknowledge them? What reply, then, are you going to make to what the Prophet Isaiah proclaims: ‘And in the last days the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be prepared on the top of mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills, and all the nations shall come to it, and shall say: Come and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God Jacob, and he will teach us the way of salvation, and we will walk in it: for the law shall come forth from Sion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.’ Or here, too, are you going to say: ‘We are they,’ since you heard the house of Jacob and Sion and Jerusalem? As if we were denying that Christ the Lord according to the flesh is from the seed of Jacob, Christ who is represented by the mountain lifted high above the tops of the mountains because by His height He transcends all heights; or are we to deny that the Apostles and those Churches of Judaea, which after the Resurrection of Christ continued to believe in Him, belong to the house of Jacob; or is another people to be understood as the spiritual Jacob other than the Christian people themselves, who, although younger than the people of Judaea, have surpassed them in increases and have replaced them, that the Scripture might be fulfilled in the figure of the two brothers, ‘and the elder shall serve the younger’? Sion, however, and Jerusalem, although spiritually understood as the Church, are nevertheless a fitting witness against the Jews, because from that place where they crucified Christ the Law and the Word of God has proceeded to the Gentiles. The Law, in fact, which was given them through Moses, on account of which they are quite proudly exalted and by virtue of which they are far better convicted, is understood to have come forth from Mount Sinai, not from Sion and Jerusalem. After forty years, to be sure, they arrived with the Law itself at the land of promise where Sion is, which is called Jerusalem. They did not, however, receive it there or from there. The Gospel of Christ and the Law of faith certainly did proceed from there, just as the Lord Himself said after His Resurrection when speaking to His disciples and showing them that the prophecies of the divine Scriptures had been fulfilled in Himself: ‘Thus it is written; and thus the Christ should suffer, and should rise again from the dead on the third day; and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.’ See what Isaiah prophesied: ‘for the law shall come forth from Sion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.’ There according to the promise of the Lord, the Holy Spirit came down and filled those who were assembled in the one house and prompted them to speak in the native languages of all ‘the people’ gathered together. From there they went out and preached the Gospel to the understanding of all nations. Just as the Law which proceeded from Mount Sinai had been written by the Finger of God, signifying the Holy Spirit, fifty days after the celebration of the Pasch, in the same way, this Law which proceeded from Sion and Jerusalem is written on the tablets of the heart of the holy Evangelists by the Holy Spirit—not on tablets of stone—on the fiftieth day after the true Pasch of the Passion and Resurrection of the Lord Christ, on the day on which the Holy Spirit who had been promised before had been sent.
(10) Go now, O Israelites by nature, not by spirit; go now and even contradict this very apparent truth. When you hear: ‘Come and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob’ say: ‘We are of the house of Jacob,’ so that like blind men you may dash against the mountain, and with your face badly bruised you smash your head the worse. If you sincerely want to say: ‘We are they’ [the house of Jacob], say it when you hear: ‘for the wickedness of my people was he led to death.’ This is said about Christ whom you, in your parents, led to death; just like a sheep was led to sacrifice, that the Pasch which unknowingly you celebrate, unknowingly you fulfill in your madness. If you truly want to say: ‘We are the house of Jacob,’ then say it when you hear: ‘Blind the heart of this people, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes.’ Then say: ‘We are they,’ when you hear: ‘I have spread forth my hands all the day to an unbelieving and contradicting people.’ Say: ‘We are they,’ when you hear: ‘Let their eyes be darkened that they see not; and their back bend you down always.’ In these and other prophetic words of this kind say: ‘We are they.’ Without any doubt you are, but you are so blind that you say you are what you are not, and do not recognize yourselves for what you really are.