Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Series I/Volume III/Doctrinal Treatises of St. Augustin/Concerning Faith of Things Not Seen/Section 9
9. If they suspect this, let them examine carefully the copies of our enemies the Jews. There let them read those things of which we have made mention, foretold concerning Christ in Whom we believe, and the Church whom we discern from the toilsome beginning of faith even unto the eternal blessedness of the kingdom. But, whilst they read, let them not wonder that they, whose are the books, understand not by reason of the darkness of enmity. For that they would not understand was foretold beforehand by the same Prophets; which it behoved should be fulfilled in like manner as the rest, and that by the secret and just judgment of God due punishment should be rendered to their deserts. He indeed, Whom they crucified, and unto Whom they gave gall and vinegar, although when hanging upon the Tree, by reason of those whom He had been about to lead forth from darkness into light, He said unto the Father, “Forgive them, for they know not what they do;” yet by reason of those whom through more hidden causes He had been about to desert, by the Prophet so long before foretold, “They gave Me gall for My meat, and in My thirst they gave Me vinegar to drink; let their table become a snare before them, and a recompense, and a stumbling-block: let their eyes be darkened that they see not, and ever bow Thou down their back.” Thus, having with them the clearest testimonies of our cause, they walk round about with eyes darkened, that by their means those testimonies may be proved, wherein they themselves are disapproved. Therefore was it brought to pass, that they should not be so blotted out, as that this same sect should altogether exist not: but it was scattered abroad upon the earth, in order that, carrying with it the prophecies of the grace conferred upon us, more surely to convince unbelievers, it might every where profit us. And this very thing which I assert, receive ye after what manner it was prophesied of: “Slay them not,” saith He, “lest at any time they forget Thy law, but scatter them abroad in Thy might.” Therefore they were not slain, in that they forgot not those things which were read and heard among them. For if they were altogether to forget, albeit they understand not, the Holy Scriptures, they would be slain in the Jewish ritual itself; because, when the Jews should know nothing of the Law and of the Prophets, they would be unable to profit us. Therefore they were not slain, but scattered abroad; in order that, although they should not have in faith, whence they might be saved; yet they should retain in their memory, whence we might be helped; in their books our supporters, in their hearts our enemies, in their copies our witnesses.
- Luke xxiii. 34
- Ps. lxix. 21–23
- Ps. lix. 11