Ante-Nicene Fathers/Volume V/Cyprian/The Treatises of Cyprian/Exhortation to Martyrdom/Part 5

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4. That God does not easily pardon idolaters.

Moses in Exodus prays for the people, and does not obtain his prayer, saying: “I pray, O Lord, this people hath sinned a great sin. They have made them gods of gold.  And now, if Thou forgivest them their sin, forgive it; but if not, blot me out of the book which Thou hast written. And the Lord said unto Moses, If any one hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.”[1]  Moreover, when Jeremiah besought for the people, the Lord speaks to him, saying: “And pray not thou for this people, and entreat not for them in prayer and supplication; because I will not hear in the time wherein they shall call upon me in the time of their affliction.”[2] Ezekiel also denounces this same anger of God upon those who sin against God, and says: “And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, whatsoever land sinneth against me, by committing an offence, I will stretch forth mine hand upon it, and will crush the support of the bread thereof; and I will send into it famine, and I will take away from it man and beast. And though these three men were in the midst of it, Noah, Daniel, and Job, they shall not deliver sons nor daughters; they themselves only shall be delivered.”[3] Likewise in the first book of Kings: “If a man sin by offending against another, they shall beseech the Lord for him; but if a man sin against God, who shall entreat for him?”[4]


  1. Ex. xxxii. 31–33.
  2. Jer. vii. 16.
  3. Ezek. xiv. 12–14.
  4. 1 Sam. ii. 25.