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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Therefore, if the gods are immortal and eternalwhat need is there of the other sex, when they themselves do not require succession, since they are always about to exist?
These are the words of Cicero, setting forth the opinion of the Stoics: In Latium, also, Aventinus gave his name to the mountain on which he was buried; and Tiberinus, or Tiber, gave his name to the river in which he was drowned. But he was so called because he was divibe first who lived of the male children of Saturn.
O Romulus, Romulus, say what a guardian of your country the gods produced you?
Lactantius – The Divine Institutes
Does divinr one imagine him to be a god, who was driven into banishment, who fled, who lay hid? Doubtless because they were very great and powerful kings; and since, on account of the merits of their virtuesor offices, or the arts diine they discovered, they were beloved by those over whom they had ruled, they were consecrated to lasting memory.
For if this is the Jupiter who is called by you a lactantiius, if it is not he who was born from Saturn and Ops, no other image but his alone ought to have been placed in all the temples. Difine this he whom men consider a god? The first-bornPhaethon, son of the extended air; for he had nothing more to say. The demons who go about the earth and about the sea Without weariness, are subdued beneath the scourge of God.
Therefore she is truly a virginfor she lactantkus forth no seed, nor receives it, and loves the attendants of virginity. 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. Godindeed, may have left these things to be drawn out by the ingenuity of man; yet all things must belong to Him, who gave to man both wisdom to discover, and those very things which might be discovered.
The poets, therefore, however much they adorned the gods in their lactanius, and amplified their exploits with the highest praises, yet very frequently confess that all things are held together and governed by one spirit or mind. And she first instituted insitutes art of courtesanship, as is contained in the sacred history; and taught women in Cyprus to seek gain by prostitution, which she commanded for this purpose, that she alone might not appear unchaste and a courter of men beyond other females.
Not only therefore all the poets, but the writers also of ancient histories and events, agree that he was a maninasmuch as they handed down to memory his actions in Italy: But he either carried him off by a legion, which has an eagle for its standard; or the ship on board of which he was placed had its tutelary deity in the shape of an eagle, just as it had the effigy of a bull when he seized Europa and conveyed her across the sea.
In the same manner also, if there are more gods than one, they will be of less weight, others having in themselves the same power. Therefore they can be cut and divided, if there is in them any part which projects.
What is this object of religious dread?
From which it appears that he was a king on earth; and this he declares more plainly in another place: And no wonder, since he was born from an adulterous intercourse with Alcmena. He instituted and prepared that kingdom in conjunction with his brothers. But such was the price at which pleasure was valued. Otherwise there would be no difference between God and manif human thought could reach to the counsels and arrangements of that eternal majesty.
For although, by destroying the principal part of superstitionsI have taken away the whole, yet it pleases me to follow up the remaining parts, and more fully to refute so inveterate a persuasion, that men may at length be ashamed and repent of their errors.
They held, he says, that the highest and ethereal nature of heaven, that is, of fire, which by itself produced all things, was without that part of the body which contained the productive organs. For Permissions, please email: Therefore it appears that Saturn was not born from heaven, which is impossible, but from that man who bore the name of Uranus.
The Works of Lactantius. But the nature of excellence admits of greater perfection in him in whom the whole is, than in him in whom there is only a small part of the whole. This consideration led him to that first-born god, to whom he assigns and gives the first place. And first of all there was in him a want of foreknowledge not befitting a god; for had not Themis related to him future events, he would not have known them of his own accord.
In the same manner, it is related that he changed Io, the daughter of Inachus, into a heifer. The conferring of benefits gave the name of gods to Ceres and Liber.
He sailed, then, with the Argonauts, and sacked Troy, being enraged with Laomedon on account of the reward refused to him, instktutes Laomedon, for the preservation of his daughter, from which circumstance it is evident at what time he lived. And thus the most vain poet, I do not say adorned, but overwhelmed and crushed, the mouse with the praises of the lion. 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 Lacrantius and Hercules, — speaks of the true and great God as the first-bornbecause nothing was produced before Him, but all things sprung from Him.
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. Therefore Jupiter is freed from the charge of the greatest wickednessaccording to which he is reported to have bound his father with fetters; for this was the deed of his uncle Titan, because he, contrary to his promise and oathhad brought up male children.
Thus all the maritime coasts, together with the islands, fell to the lot of Neptune. They ought therefore to he hooked, that they may be linked together one with another. Let us therefore inquire what degree of truth lies lacantius under this figure. Pluto in Latin is Dispater; others call him Orcus.
The Divine Institutes – Wikipedia
And yet the divine government is always unchangeable; or if it is changeable, which is an impossibility, it is undoubtedly changeable at all times. But even Marcus Tullius, although he was a defender of the Academic system, discussed at length and on many occasions respecting the providence which governs affairs, confirming the arguments of the Stoicsand himself adducing many new ones; and this he does both in all the books of his own philosophyand especially in those which treat of the nature of the gods.
Liverpool University Press, Shall virtue perish, because it will not be permitted men to rage against their fellow-men? Lactantius, a Latin -speaking North African of Berber origin,     was not born into a Christian family. Although he does not say this in word, yet he teaches it in fact. The early humanists called him the “Christian Cicero ” Cicero Christianus. To this is added that last conclusion of the former argument, that there are no gods, since there are females also among the gods.
And how many other things like to divone own writers did he speak on the subject of God! The others, therefore, on this principle, will not be gods, but attendants and ministers, whom that one most mighty and omnipotent appointed to institute offices, and they themselves will be subservient to his authority and command. What can be said more plain, more true?