Remember your congregation, which you have purchased of old; the tribe of your inheritance, which you have redeemed; this mount Zion, where you have dwelt.
Read Chapter 74
Augustine of Hippo
4. "Remember Thou Thy congregation, which Thou hast possessed from the beginning" (ver. 2). Can this by any means be the voice of the Gentiles? Hath He possessed the Gentiles from the beginning? Nay, but He hath possessed the seed of Abraham, the people of Israel even according to the flesh, born of the Patriarchs our fathers: of whom we have become the sons, not by coming out of their flesh, but by imitating their faith. But those, possessed by God from the beginning, what befell them? "Remember Thy congregation which Thou hast possessed from the beginning. Thou hast redeemed the rod of Thine inheritance." That same congregation of Thine, being the rod of Thine inheritance, Thou hast redeemed. This same congregation he hath called "the rod of the inheritance." Let us look back to the first thing that was done, when He willed to possess that same congregation, delivering it from Egypt, what sign He gave to Moses, when Moses said to Him, "What sign shall I give that they may believe me, that Thou hast sent me? And God saith to him, What dost thou bear in thine hand? A rod. Cast it on to the ground," etc. What doth it intimate? For this was not done to no purpose. Let us inquire of the writings of God. To what did the serpent persuade man? To death. Therefore death is from the serpent. If death is from the serpent, the rod in the serpent is Christ in death. Therefore also when by serpents in the desert they were being bitten and being slain, the Lord commanded Moses to exalt a brazen serpent in the desert, and admonish the people that whosoever by a serpent had been bitten, should look thereupon and be made whole. Thus also it was done: thus also men, bitten by serpents, were made whole of the venom by looking upon a serpent. To be made whole of a serpent is a great Sacrament. What is it to be made whole of a serpent by looking upon a serpent? It is to be made whole of death by believing in one dead. And nevertheless Moses feared and red. What is it that Moses fled from that serpent? What, brethren, save that which we know to have been done in the Gospel? Christ died and the disciples feared, and withdrew from that hope wherein they had been. ...But, at that time some thousands of the Jews themselves, the crucifiers of Christ, believed: and because they had been found at hand, they so believed as that they sold all that they had, and the price of their goods before the feet of the Apostles they laid. Because then this thing was hidden, and the redemption of the rod of God was to be more conspicuous in the Gentiles: he explaineth of what he saith that which he hath said, "Thou hast redeemed the rod of Thine inheritance." This he hath said not of the Gentiles in whom it was evident. But of what? "Mount Sion." Yet even Mount Sion can be otherwise understood. "That one which Thou hast dwelled in the same." In the place where the People was aforetime, where the Temple was set up, where the Sacrifices were celebrated, where at that time were all those necessary things giving promise of Christ. A promise, when the thing promised is bestowed is now become superfluous. ...