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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The mother of the gods both loved a beautiful youth, and also mutilated him when found in company with a harlot; and on this account her sacred rites are now celebrated by the Galli as priests. Now I return to another subject which I had omitted.

And thus he who hears these disgraceful things, will neither think that any good tiring ought to be 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 so it comes to pass, that for the government of the universe there is more need of the perfect excellence of one than of the imperfect powers of many. For it is plain that some gave up their property, and altogether abandoned the pursuit of pleasures, that, being disengaged and without impediment, they might follow the simple truthand it alone.

By what argument, then, can it be proved that Europa did not sit on the bull, and that Io was not changed into a heifer? What is this great dread of the infernal marsh, if they are immortal? institutfs

In the obstinacy of their folly, therefore, they not only did not understand the power and majesty of the true God, but they even increased the impiety of their error, in endeavoring against all divine law to restore a temple so often condemned by the judgment of Heaven. Lactanrius from him first the perfidious king learned to refuse to carry out whatever contract he had made with gods.


The Divine Institutes – Wikipedia

But since few make use of this heavenly benefit and gift, because the truth lies hidden veiled in obscurity; and it is either an object of contempt to the learned because it has not suitable defenders, or is hated by the unlearned on account of its natural severity, which the nature of diviine inclined to vices cannot endure: Then, when a son was first born to Saturn, they slew him. For in his treatise on the Laws, in which work, following the example of Platohe wished to set forth those laws which he thought insitutes a just and wise state would employ, he thus decreed concerning religion: Charlesworth, James Hamilton Isis lost her son; Ceres her daughter; Latona, expelled and driven about over the earth, with difficulty found a small island where she might bring forth.

Who, when he hears this affirmed, would abstain from the practice of vice and wickedness? It is so undoubtedly. Now, let us prove by testimonies the unity of the divine power. But he who does this assuredly knows inztitutes he is not the lctantius, since something greater can exist. For when he was discussing the subject of premature death, he said You do not understand the authority and majesty instiutes your Judge, the Ruler of the world, and the God of heaven and of all gods, on whom those deities which we separately worship and honour are dependent.

For the whole of his third book respecting the Nature of the Gods altogether overthrows and destroys all religion. For it was divnie that the senseless elements, which are separated by so long an interval, should meet together and give birth to a son, or that he who was born should not at all resemble his parentsbut should have a form which his parents did not possess.

Or who presided over the universe before the birth of Saturn? 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.



And yet Homer, differing from the other poets, simply records that they both died. Who, then, is so senseless as to imagine that he reigns in heaven who ought not even to have reigned on earth?

For both the forms of the gods, and their ages, and clothing and ornaments, are known to us; and moreover their races, unstitutes marriages, and all their relationships, and all things reduced to the similitude of human infirmity. Lactantius and RomeIthaca: Please help support the mission of New Advent and get the full contents of this website as an instant download.

And thus within the compass of a few verses he has presented us with two facts.

To purchase short term access, please sign in to your Oxford Academic account above. And this circumstance gave rise to false opinions and turbulent errorsand almost old-womanly superstitions.

The Divine Institutes

How can this be proved? In which, lactanius this Jupiter is represented, the very stones will confess that he is a man. Why should I say that the peculiar meaning of this name does not express a divine, but human power? The demons who go about the earth and about the sea Without weariness, are subdued beneath the scourge of God.

But unstitutes he is not divine, he is not indeed a god; for the name of divinity is derived from god, as humanity is from man. If you originally registered with a username please use that to sign in. And Trismegistus attests the truth of lnstitutes for when he said that very few had existed in whom there was perfect learning, he mentioned by name among these his relativesUranus, Saturn, and Mercury.