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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CHURCH FATHERS: Divine Institutes, Book I (Lactantius)

What is the case of our own countrymen? This history was translated and followed by Ennius, whose words are these: For if they have no lands, they have no cities; and if they have no cities, they are also without houses. No one is so senseless.

To purchase short term access, please sign in to your Oxford Academic account above. What was so utterly foreign to their nature as a system of deceit, when they themselves restrained others from all fraud?

And we now commence this work under the auspices of your name, O mighty Emperor Constantine, who were the first of the Roman princes to repudiate errorsand to acknowledge and honour the majesty of the one and only true God. If the offspring of Cadmus, or Amphitryon, or Tyndarus, was worthy of being extolled by fame to the heaven, the same honour ought undoubtedly to be appropriated to her. And thus from admiration of them they first undertook their sacred ritesand handed them down to all nations.

The Divine Institutes

But if more than one divide the government of the world, undoubtedly each will have less power and strength, since every one must confine himself within his prescribed portion. And so, again, when at the entreaty of some one he uttered an imprecation against the Sminthian Apollo, he began with this verse: The poet did not say in the former passage that he led this life in heaven, nor in divone latter passage that he reigned over the gods above.

And Cicero, following lactxntius, brought forward this opinion respecting the inwtitutes and their religions. 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 grant that they feigned those things which are believed to be fabulous, did they also feign those things which are related about the female deities and the marriages of the gods?


Can any one suspect that this is spoken of Jupiter, who had both a mother and a name? Of the two sexes the one is stronger, the other weaker.

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

Let us come to authors, and for the demonstration of the truth let us cite as witnesses those very persons whom they are accustomed to make use of against insttutes — I mean poets and philosophers. For there is no isntitutes so great, as the orator says, which cannot be weakened and broken by iron and strength. For Permissions, please email: What meaning have the effigies of women? I find something in him which was not in his son.

We undertake, therefore, to discuss religion and divine things. He also, excited by rage and madnessslew his wife, together with his children.

And thus he who hears these disgraceful things, will neither think that any good tiring ought to lacyantius done, since the conferring of benefits has reference to the advantage of another; nor that he ought to abstain from guilt, because the doing of evil is attended with gain. 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 that age at which death arrested each.

For it is not Lucilius who relates these things, or Lucian, who spared not men nor gods, but these especially who sting the praises of the gods. For every one is naturally inclined to vices.

CHURCH FATHERS: The Divine Institutes (Lactantius)

For he says that he can more easily say what is not, than what is; that is, that he is aware that the received system is false, but is ignorant of the truth. Don’t already have an Oxford Academic account?

The prophetswho were very many, proclaim and declare the one God ; for, being filled with the inspiration of the one Godthey predicted things to come, with agreeing and harmonious voice. What was the conduct of Jupiter, the father of all these, who in the customary prayer is styled Most Excellent and Great?


For if some of the greatest orators, veterans as it were of their profession, having completed the works of their pleadings, at last gave themselves up to philosophyand regarded that as a most just rest from their labours, if they tortured their minds in the investigation of those things which could not be found out, so that they appear to have sought for themselves not so much leisure as occupation, and that indeed with much greater trouble than in their former pursuit; how much more justly shall I betake myself as to a most safe harbour, to that pioustrueand divine wisdom, in which all things are ready for utterance, pleasant to the hearing, easy to be understood, honourable to be undertaken!

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 suppose that the universe cannot be governed by one, but that it can be governed by more than one? But pious posterity represented a ship on the coin, bearing testimony to the arrival of the stranger god. Also in his Exhortations: If therefore these speculations of the philosophers are trifling, what remains, except that we believe it to be a matter of fact that, being a manhe suffered mutilation from a man?

Ennius thus relates in his sacred history: Or did he obtain the privileges conferred by having three children? And yet these great kings, on account of the celebrity of their name, were honoured in all provinces. I proceed to release the minds of men from the ties of superstitionsas Lucretius says; and he indeed was unable to effect this, because he brought forward nothing true.

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