1.12: Of the fact that the God of the Jews, after the subjugation
of that people, was still not accepted by the Romans, because His commandment
was that he alone should be worshipped, and images destroyed.
Augustine declares that the Jews were defeated by the Romans and
expelled from Jerusalem because of “the most heinous sin” of putting Christ to
death. He adds that the Romans did not embrace the God of the Hebrews, because
he demanded that he alone be worshipped and that images would not be permitted.
He further notes that the Romans could not claim any moral superiority as to
why God gave them victory over the Jews. They had no “piety and manners” to commend
them, and, in fact, their early history reveals that Rome was originally an asylum
for criminals and that Romulus committed fratricide in striking down his
brother Remus. He closes by stressing the sovereignty of God, who acts as he
pleases “according to the fore-ordained order of the ages.”
1.13: Of the question why God suffered the Jews to be reduced
Why did God permit the Jews to be defeated by the Romans? For
Augustine the answer is simple: It came about, because in their “impious fury”
they put Christ to death.
1.14: Of the fact that the God of the Hebrews, although the
people were conquered, proved Himself to be unconquered, by overthrowing their idols,
and by turning all the Gentiles to His own service.
Augustine points out the fact that Christ is now being preached
and worshipped across the Roman Empire. This fulfills the promise made to
Abraham that all nations would be blessed through his seed (Gen 12). God took kingdom
and priesthood from the Jews, because Christ is the true King and Priest. This
was announced by the prophets (without the use of magical arts). Christ could
not have written books promoting magical arts, because his doctrine is so vehemently
opposed to it.