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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If a man hates his wife, the blessings of celibacy are enumerated to him; to one who has bad children, the happiness of those who are without children is proclaimed; against unnatural parents it is said that there is no bond of nature. Sign in via your Institution Sign in. And that is truewhich I have before related, that Seneca said in his Exhortations that God produced ministers of His kingdom.

Orpheus, who lived in more recent times than his, openly relates that Saturn reigned on earth and among men: On account of this regret they more readily believed Julius Proculus uttering falsehoods, who was suborned by the fathers to announce to the populace that he had seen the king in a form more majestic than that of a man; and that he had given command to the people lzctantius a temple should be built to his honourthat he was a god, and was called by the name of Quirinus.

According to Cicero, Caius Cotta the pontiff, while disputing against the Stoics concerning superstitionsand the variety of opinions which prevail respecting the gods, in order that he might, after the custom of the Academics, make everything uncertain, says that there were five Mercuries; and having enumerated four in order, says that the fifth was he by whom Argus was slain, and that on this account he fled into Egyptand gave laws and letters to the Egyptians.

For both religion itself, and prayersand hymnsand shrines, and images demonstrate this. It follows that all things are full of gods without number, since forsooth none of them dies. This is the lineage of Jupiter and his brothers, as these things are writtenand the relationship is handed down to us after this manner from the sacred narrative.

If they have divided their functions among themselves, the matter comes back to the same point, that any one of civine is unable to supply the place of all. Edited by Robert Institytes.

institues For since men lived in Italy after a rustic fashion, —. Ennius thus relates in his sacred history: Were they, therefore, who spoke such things deceitful? 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.

CHURCH FATHERS: The Divine Institutes (Lactantius)

And this may perhaps have happened in truth. For they measure them not by the divine power of which they are ignorantbut by the weakness of their own strength. That Saturn, being a very powerful king, in order that the memory of his parents might be preserved, gave their names to the heaven and earth, whereas these were before called by other names, for which reason we know that names were applied both to mountains and rivers.


If there is no providence, why do rains fall, fruits spring up, and trees put forth leaves? If any one has slain a single man, he is regarded as contaminated and wickednor do they think it lawful for him to be admitted to this earthly abode of the gods.


Or did he obtain the privileges conferred by having three children? From these we cannot fail in proving the unity of God ; not that they had ascertained the truthbut that the force of the truth itself is so great, that no one can be so blind as not to see the divine brightness presenting itself to his eyes. But we must explain from what source the whole of this system is derived, and what origin it has.

Bat if they are smooth and without hooks, they cannot cohere. But these things I put off for the present, because they are more suited to other parts of the subject. But this fear plainly denotes one who is both mortal and feeble, and of no weight: Pythagoras thus defined the being of Godas a soul passing to and fro, and diffused through all parts of the universeand through all nature, from which all living creatures which are produced derive their life.

But there is one only God of pre-eminent power, who made the heaven, and sun, and stars, and moon, and fruitful earth, and waves of the water of the sea. They saw, on the one hand, that which was truethat he, forsooth, concerning whom the poets speak, was man; but in the case of that natural Jupiter, led by the lwctantius practise of superstitionthey committed an errorinasmuch as they transferred the name of a man to Godwho, as we have already said, because He divihe one only, has no need of a name.

Divine Institutes, Book I (Of the False Worship of the Gods)

Being placed in heaven, why did he not see the things which were taking place on imstitutes And yet these great kings, on account of the celebrity of their name, were honoured in all provinces. His death was certainly more renowned, because he earned the distinction of being struck with lightning by a god. But if he conceives in his mind how great is the immensity of that divine work, when before it was nothing, yet that by the power and wisdom of God it was made out of nothing — a work which could only be commenced and divije by one — he will now understand that that which has been established by one is much more easily governed by one.

Does any one imagine him to be a god, who was driven into banishment, who fled, who lay hid? Upon this the excellent and mighty Jupiter, being bound by so great an oathwas not able to refuse; he, however, advised Minerva to oppose and defend her chastity. In other projects Wikimedia Commons Wikiquote Wikisource.

For Permissions, please email: Hesiod was able, for he comprised in the work of one book the generation of the gods; but yet he gave us no information, for he took his commencement not from God the Creator, but from chaos, which is a confused mass of rude and unarranged matter; whereas he ought first to have explained from what source, at what time, and in what manner, chaos itself had begun to exist or to have consistency.


The system of providence, he says, contrived nothing in the production of animals; for neither were the eyes made forseeing, nor the ears for hearing, nor the tongue for speaking, nor the feet for walking; inasmuch as these were produced before it was possible to speak, to hear, to see, and to walk.

And Seneca, an acute man, saw and expressed this in his Exhortations. Patrick Healy notes, “The strengths and the weakness of Lactantius are nowhere better shown than in his work.

Charlesworth, James Hamilton What did Mercury, a thief and spendthrift, leave to contribute to his fame, except the memory of his frauds? He brought the race to union first, Erewhile on mountain tops dispersed, And gave them statutes to obeyAnd willed the land wherein he lay Should Latium’s title bear. And when he had taken his father’s throne by violence and arms, he was attacked with war by the Titans, which was the beginning of evils to the human race ; and when these had been overcome and lasting peace procured, he spent the rest of his life in debaucheries and adulteries.

Undoubtedly He has ministers, whom we call messengers.

Lactantius – Wikipedia

But because they who hold this opinion are not deceived without causewe will presently lay open the cause of this error. Then Titan, who was inferior in person to Saturn, on that account, and because he saw that his mother and sisters were using their endeavours that Saturn might reign, yielded the kingdom to him.

Visions of the End. No one is so senseless. The demons who go about the earth and about the sea Without weariness, are subdued beneath the scourge of God.

And no wonder, since he was born from an adulterous intercourse with Alcmena. Now in these verses which the ambassadors brought to Romeare these testimonies respecting the one God: His Divinae Institutiones “Divine Institutes” were an early example of a systematic presentation of Christian thought.

Attempts to determine the time of the End were viewed as in contradiction to Acts 1: I have spoken on the subject of philosophy itself as briefly as I could; now let us come to the philosophers, not that we may contend with these, who cannot maintain their ground, but that we may pursue those who are in flight and driven from our battle-field. These, however, were most vigorously opposed by the other philosophersand especially by the Stoicswho taught that the universe could neither have been made without divine intelligence, nor continue to exist unless it were governed by the highest intelligence.