Divine Institutes, Book I (Of the False Worship of the Gods) And because it was impossible that the divine method of procedure should become known to man. – Lactantius – Divinarum Institutionum [Omnes Libri Collecti] . up in writing the divine Institutions, in which we shall not speak about rain-droppings. These criticisms apart, the new Liverpool translation of Lactantius’ Divine Institutes is an important achievement. The introduction provides a.
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In return for which action God will grant to you happinessvirtueand length of days, that even when old you may govern the state with the same justice with which you began in youth, and may hand down to your children the guardianship of the Roman name, as you yourself received it from your father.
And if this is trueas it really is, it is evident that Hercules, Apollo, Bacchus, Mercury, and Jupiter, with the rest, were but men, since they were born from the two sexes. Those men were indeed most deserving of the knowledge of the truthwhich they so greatly desired to knowthat they even preferred it to all things. On the contrary, he saw that the wicked were happy; that they were exalted with influence, and loaded with honors; he saw that innocence was unprotected, that crimes were committed with impunity: The early humanists called him the “Christian Cicero ” Cicero Christianus.
Juno violently persecuted harlots, because she was not able to conceive by her brother. Therefore, if the gods are immortal and eternalwhat need is there lactwntius the other sex, when they themselves do not require succession, since they are always about to exist?
And this indeed I will do; and with the approbation of the gods, I will place you the best and most learned of all women in their assembly, and will consecrate you to the estimation of all men. For what other conclusion does the image of Ganymede and the effigy of the eagle admit of, when they are placed before the feet of Jupiter in the temples, and are divnie equally with himself, except that the memory of impious guilt and debauchery remains for ever?
Is this he whom men consider a god? For why did he receive an oracle from another, and not from himself? Why this secret abode?
And on this account also different ages and established representations of form are assigned to each, because their images were fashioned in that dress and of insitutes age at which death arrested each.
Thus the crafty man collects an assembly from various and differing characters; and while he lays himself out to please all, he is more at variance with himself than they all are with one another.
The persecution forced him to leave Nicomedia and from the outbreak of hostilities until perhaps or he had to live elsewhere. Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford.
Therefore they are mortal. Then in that struggle they say that Vulcan shed his seed upon the earth, from which source Erichthonius was born: Is there, divime, some mighty power which may punish the gods who commit perjury?
The poet did not say in the former divne that he led this life in heaven, nor in the latter passage that he reigned over the gods above.
Lactantius – The Divine Institutes
Thus by degrees religious honours began to be paid to them; while those who had known them, first instructed their own children and grandchildren, and afterwards all their posterity, in the practice of this rite. One who is too sparing, learns that life can be sustained on water and meal. If they are without intelligence, they cannot come together in such order and arrangement; for nothing but reason can bring to accomplishment anything in accordance with reason.
They, therefore, who had no desire for gain, had neither the inclination nor the motive for deceit. Let us see what there was in him worthy of a god, especially that he is related to have had the golden age, because in his reign there was justice in the earth.
From what source, therefore, do they arise, or how are all things which are carried on brought about? Wherefore, if both from his actions and character we have proved that Jupiter was a manand reigned on earth, it only remains that we should also investigate his death.
CHURCH FATHERS: Divine Institutes, Book I (Lactantius)
Without doubtas all things were placed in order, arranged, and made by some artificer, so matter itself must of necessity have been formed by some being.
He also, excited by rage and madnessslew his wife, together with his children. Whether he who committed these crimes can be called Greatest is a matter of question, undoubtedly he is not the Best; to which name corrupters, adulterers, and incestuous persons have no claim; unless it happens that we men are mistaken in terming those who do such things wicked and abandoned, and in judging them most deserving of every kind of punishment.
Like many writers in the first few centuries of the early church, Lactantius took a premillennialist view, holding that the second coming of Christ will precede a millennium or a thousand-year reign of Christ on earth. But if in one body one mind possesses the government of so many things, and is at the same time occupied with the whole, why should any one lactantiu that the universe cannot be governed by one, but that it can be governed by more than one?
He was a pupil of Arnobius who taught at Sicca Veneriaan important city in Numidia. Shall no one, then, be worthy of heaven? Therefore men formed images of them, that they lactxntius derive some consolation from the contemplation of their likenesses; and proceeding further through love of their worth, they began to reverence the memory institutds the deceased, that they might appear to be grateful for their services, and might attract their successors to a desire of ruling well.
Divine Institutes, Book I (Of the False Worship of the Gods)
Let him who thinks that these speak falsely produce other authors on whom we may rely, who may teach us who these gods are, in what manner and from what source they had their origin, what is their strength, what their number, what their power, what there is in them which is admirable and worthy of adoration — what mysteryin short, more to be relied on, and more true. Can any one suspect that this is spoken of Jupiter, who had both a mother and a name? For both religion itself, and prayersand hymnsand shrines, and images demonstrate this.
Can we surpass Cicero in eloquence? Orpheus, who is the most ancient of the poets, and coeval with the gods themselves — since it is reported that he sailed among the Argonauts together with the sons of Tyndarus and Hercules, — speaks of the true and great God as the first-bornbecause nothing was produced before Him, but all things sprung from Him.
Pluto in Latin is Dispater; others call him Orcus. The system of Epicurus was much more generally followed than those of the others; not because it brings forward any truth, but because the attractive name of pleasure invites many.
Inquire whose sepulchres are pointed out in Greece: Anaxagoras said that God was an infinite mindwhich moves by its own lactntius. It is impossible for a God to be fashioned from the loins of a man and the womb of a woman.