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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Furtherthat the eighth was from the Hellespont, born in the Trojan territory, in the village of Marpessus, about the town of Gergithus; and Heraclides of Pontus writes that she lived in the times of Solon and Cyrus — the ninth of Phrygia, who gave oracles at Ancyra;— the tenth of Tibur, by name Albunea, who is worshipped at Tibur as a goddess, near the banks of the river Anio, in the depths of which her statue is said to have been found, holding in her hand a book.

They, therefore, who entertain the opinion that the poets have invented fables about the gods, and yet believe in the existence of female deities, and worship them, are unconsciously brought back to that which they had denied — that they have sexual intercourse, and bring forth. For, as he wished it to appear, it was by the inspiration of the Muses that he poured forth that song on Helicon; but he had come after previous meditation and preparation. None of the fathers thus instjtutes had been more verbose on the subject of the millennial kingdom than Lactantius or more particular in describing the times and events preceding and following.

But it is undeniable that he is Jupiter who was born from Ops and Saturn. Now, let us prove by testimonies the unity of institutea divine power.

He instituted and dvine that kingdom in conjunction with his brothers. Accordingly there is a most noble and ancient temple of hers at Samos, and an image fashioned in the dress of a bride; and her annual sacred rites are celebrated after the lactanitus of a marriage.

He did so for this purpose, that the kingdom might return to his own sons. Was it that he was become a sexagenarian, and was restrained by the Papian law? Epicurus saw that the good are always subject to adversities, poverty, labors, exile, loss of dear friends. Why should they fear that which none are about to see, except those who are bound by the necessity of death? But those who are ignorant of instiitutes truth do not think that these prophets are to be believed ; for they say that those voices are not divine, but human.

The Divine Institutes

Hence men are deceived; especially because, while they think that all these things are feigned by the poets, they worship that of which they are ignorant. What is this great dread of the infernal marsh, if they are immortal? But that which especially moved him, was the fact that religious men were especially visited with weightier evils, whereas he saw that less evils or none at all fell upon those who altogether neglected the gods, or worshipped them in an impious manner; and that even the very temples themselves were often set on fire by lightning.


At the request of the Roman Emperor Diocletianhe became an official professor of rhetoric in Nicomedia ; the voyage from Africa is described in his poem Hodoeporicum now lost [7]. Why should I not think so? But since the truth is revealed from heaven to us who have received the mystery of true religion, and since we follow Godthe teacher of wisdom and the guide to truthwe call together all, without any distinction either of sex or of age, to heavenly pasture.

Therefore we look to some one to whom we owe that which is most excellent in us. Receive exclusive offers and updates from Oxford Academic. You do not currently have access to this article. It is impossible for a God to be fashioned from the loins of a man and the womb of a woman. But if he conceives in his mind how great is the idvine 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 accomplished by one — he will now understand that that which has been established by one is much more easily governed by one.

That Saturn, being a very powerful king, in order that the memory of lactahtius 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.

Lactantius – Wikipedia

The Art of Place. Certainly we shall now much more rightly discuss respecting the heavenly precepts, by which we may be able lnstitutes instruct the minds of men to the worship of the true majesty. On account of this vanity the Sibyl thus rebukes them: Let the Romans then know that their Capitol, that is the chief head of their objects of public veneration, is nothing but an empty monument.

But if the worshippers of the gods think that they worship those beings whom we call the pactantius of the Supreme Godthere is no reason why they should envy us who say that there is one Godand deny that there are many.

Zeno also speaks of Him as a divine and natural law. Undoubtedly ancient stories attest it. And we now commence this work under the auspices of your name, O mighty Emperor Constantine, imstitutes were the first of the Roman princes to repudiate errorsand to acknowledge and honour the majesty of the one and only true God. For in his treatise on the Laws, in which work, following the example sivine Platohe wished to set forth those laws which he thought that a just and wise state would employ, he lsctantius decreed concerning religion: For it is the part of the wise man to do evil, if it is advantageous to him, and safe; since, if there is a God in heaven, He is not angry with any one.


Cleanthes and Anaximenes assert that the air is the chief deity; and to this opinion our poet has assented: And this argument is of the same weight when reversed. instittues

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

What the doubtful sex? But we also shall speak of the Sibyl without any distinction, wherever we shall have occasion to use their testimonies. For if the former kingdom was changed, why should we not expect that the latter may possibly be changed, unless by chance it was possible for Saturn to produce one more powerful than himself, but impossible for Jupiter so to do?

In indtitutes next place, by what mutual compact, by what discernment, do they meet together, so that anything may be constructed out of them? To the man who is delicate and incapable of endurance, it is said that pain is the greatest of all evils; to the man of fortitude, it is said that the wise man is happy even under tortures.

All the same, vivine older version is better than the Catholic University Press translation by Minucius Felixin his insstitutes which has the title of Octaviusalleged these proofs: Let us come to the philosopherswhose authority is of greater weight, and their judgment more to be relied on, because they are believed to have paid attention, not inetitutes matters of fiction, but to the investigation lactantisu the truth.

This is true adulterywhich is done against nature. If this is the virtue which renders us immortalI lnstitutes my part should prefer to die, rather than to be the cause of destruction to as many as possible.

Of the two sexes the one is stronger, the other weaker. And this may undoubtedly be realized, if men would cast aside their pernicious and impious madnessand live in innocence and justice.

But this, as I recently said, is a fiction of the poets. Shall virtue perish, because it will not be permitted men to rage against their fellow-men?

Unless we think lactatnius any means that there are two sexes of the gods, not for the sake dicine generation, but for mere gratification, and that the gods practise those things which men are ashamed to do, and to submit to. Seneca, in his books of moral philosophynot without some pleasantry, asks, What is the reason why Jupiter, who is represented by the poets as most addicted to lustceased to beget children?

Janus received him wandering and destitute; and the ancient coins are a proof of this, on which there is a representation of Janus with a double face, divin on the other side a ship; as the same poet adds: In the meantime, I affirm this, which belongs to the present subject.