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ANF01. The Apostolic Fathers with Justin Martyr and Irenaeus
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Chapter XIII.—Christians, and not Jews, the heirs of the covenant.

But let us see if this people16301630    That is, “Christians.” is the heir, or the former, and if the covenant belongs to us or to them. Hear ye now what the Scripture saith concerning the people. Isaac prayed for Rebecca his wife, because she was barren; and she conceived.16311631    Gen. xxv. 21. Furthermore also, Rebecca went forth to inquire of the Lord; and the Lord said to her, “Two nations are in thy womb, and two peoples in thy belly; and the one people shall surpass the other, and the elder shall serve the younger.”16321632    Gen. xxv. 23. You ought to understand who was Isaac, who Rebecca, and concerning what persons He declared that this people should be greater than that. And in another prophecy Jacob speaks more clearly to his son Joseph, saying, “Behold, the Lord hath not deprived me of thy presence; bring thy sons to me, that I may bless them.”16331633    Gen. xlviii. 11, 9. And he brought Manasseh and Ephraim, desiring that Manasseh16341634    Cod. Sin. reads each time “Ephraim,” by a manifest mistake, instead of Manasseh. should be blessed, because he was the elder. With this view Joseph led him to the right hand of his father Jacob. But Jacob saw in spirit the type of the people to arise afterwards. And what says [the Scripture]? And Jacob changed the direction of his hands, and laid his right hand upon the head of Ephraim, the second and younger, and blessed him. And Joseph said to Jacob, “Transfer thy right hand to the head of Manasseh,16351635    Cod. Sin. reads each time “Ephraim,” by a manifest mistake, instead of Manasseh. for he is my first-born son.”16361636    Gen. xlviii. 18. And Jacob said, “I know it, my son, I know it; but the elder shall serve the younger: yet he also shall be blessed.”16371637    Gen. xlviii. 19. Ye see on whom he laid16381638    Or, “of whom he willed.” [his hands], that this people should be first, and heir of the covenant. If then, still further, the same thing was intimated through Abraham, we reach the perfection of our knowledge. What, then, says He to Abraham? “Because thou hast believed,16391639    Cod. Sin. has, “when alone believing,” and is followed by Hilgenfeld to this effect: “What, then, says He to Abraham, when, alone believing, he was placed in righteousness? Behold,” etc. it is imputed to thee for righteousness: behold, I have made thee the father of those nations who believe in the Lord while in [a state of] uncircumcision.”16401640    Gen. xv. 6, Gen. xvii. 5; comp. Rom. iv. 3.


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