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Home > Fathers of the Church > The Harmony of the Gospels (Augustine) > Book I, Chapter 22

The Harmony of the Gospels, Book I

Chapter 22. Of the Opinion Entertained by the Gentiles Regarding Our God.

30. But why do I interrogate men whose native wit has deserted them in answering the question as to who this God is? Some say that He is Saturn. I fancy the reason of that is found in the sanctification of the Sabbath; for those men assign that day to Saturn. But their own Varro, than whom they can point to no man of greater learning among them, thought that the God of the Jews was Jupiter, and he judged that it mattered not what name was employed, provided the same subject was understood under it; in which, I believe, we see how he was subdued by His supremacy. For, inasmuch as the Romans are not accustomed to worship any more exalted object than Jupiter, of which fact their Capitol is the open and sufficient attestation, and deem him to be the king of all gods; when he observed that the Jews worshipped the supreme God, he could not think of any object under that title other than Jupiter himself. But whether men call the God of the Hebrews Saturn, or declare Him to be Jupiter, let them tell us when Saturn dared to prohibit the worship of a second deity. He did not venture to interdict the worship even of this very Jupiter, who is said to have expelled him from his kingdom,— the son thus expelling the father. And if Jupiter, as the more powerful deity and the conqueror, has been accepted by his worshippers, then they ought not to worship Saturn, the conquered and expelled. But neither, on the other hand, did Jove put his worship under the ban. Nay, that deity whom he had power to overcome, he nevertheless suffered to continue a god.

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Source. Translated by S.D.F. Salmond. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, Vol. 6. Edited by Philip Schaff. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1888.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1602122.htm>.

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