Ante-Nicene Fathers/Volume IV/Minucius Felix/The Octavius of Minucius Felix/Chapter 33

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Chapter XXXIII.—Argument:  That Even If God Be Said to Have Nothing Availed the Jews, Certainly the Writers of the Jewish Annals are the Most Sufficient Witnesses that They Forsook God Before They Were Forsaken by Him.

“Neither let us flatter ourselves concerning our multitude.  We seem many to ourselves, but to God we are very few.  We distinguish peoples and nations; to God this whole world is one family.  Kings only know all the matters of their kingdom by the ministrations of their servants:  God has no need of information.  We not only live in His eyes, but also in His bosom.  But it is objected that it availed the Jews nothing that they themselves worshipped the one God with altars and temples, with the greatest superstition.  You are guilty of ignorance if you are recalling later events while you are forgetful or unconscious of former ones.  For they themselves also, as long as they worshipped our God—and He is the same God of all—with chastity, innocency, and religion, as long as they obeyed His wholesome precepts, from a few became innumerable, from poor became rich, from being servants became kings; a few overwhelmed many; unarmed men overwhelmed armed ones as they fled from them, following them up by God’s command, and with the elements striving on their behalf.  Carefully read over their Scriptures, or if you are better pleased with the Roman writings,[1] inquire concerning the Jews in the books (to say nothing of ancient documents) of Flavius Josephus[2] or Antoninus Julianus, and you shall know that by their wickedness they deserved this fortune, and that nothing happened which had not before been predicted to them, if they should persevere in their obstinacy.  Therefore you will understand that they forsook before they were forsaken, and that they were not, as you impiously say, taken captive with their God, but they were given up by God as deserters from His discipline.


  1. [Minucius is blamed for not introducing more Scripture!  He relates his friend’s argument with a scoffing Pagan.  How could Octavius have used the Scriptures with such an antagonist?]
  2. [Wars of the Jews, b. v. cap. 9, etc.]