She instinctively foresaw Julians in the way, and expected reactionary periods. She forbore to baptize the Emperor, and encouraged his disposition to postpone. Lactantius, moved, perhaps, by Hosius or Eusebius, undertakes the instruction of the Emperor, while seeming only to copy the example of Justin writing to Antoninus Pius. The Institutes, it is true, had been begun at an earlier date; but he economizes, for a new purpose, the material, in which, perhaps, he had only purposed to follow up the work of his teacher, in language better fitted to the polite, for refuting heathenism.
I cannot doubt that he aimed, in pure Latinity, to win the Emperor and his court to a deeper and purer conviction of divine truth: to more than a feeble and possibly superstitious idea that it was useless to contend with it, and that the gods of the empire were impotent to protect themselves against Christian progress and its masterly exposures of their shame and nothingness.
In language which has given him the title of the Christian Cicero, Lactantius employs Cicero himself as a defender of the truth; correcting him, indeed, and overruling his mistakes, rebuking his pusillanimity, and justly censuring him, 1 in philosophy, for declaring it no rule of action, however ennobling its precepts; and 2 in religion, for not venturing to profess conclusions to which his reasonings necessarily tend. All this is admirably adapted to carry on the work of Christian Fathers and Apologists under the change of times. He and Arnobius furnish but a supplement to the real teachers of the Church, and are not to be always depended on in statements of doctrine.
They write like earnest converts, but not like theologians; yet, although their loose expressions are often inconsistent one with another, it is manifest that their design is to support orthodoxy as it had been defined by abler expounders. I think the large respect which Lactantius pays to the testimony of the Sibyls was addressed to the class with which he had to deal.
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Constantine was greatly influenced by such testimonies, if we may judge from his own p. I have little doubt that Lactantius was of heathen parentage, and was converted late in life. In youth Consule Planco I brought to his pages an enthusiastic appreciation of the genius which had adorned the very dawn of Christian civilization by works of literary merit not inferior to those of the Augustan age.
Not words, but things, were their one concern. Lactantius has always held a very high place among the Christian Fathers, not only on account of the subject-matter of his writings, but also on account of the varied erudition, the sweetness of expression, and the grace and elegance of style, by which they are characterized. It appears, therefore, more remarkable that so little is known with certainty respecting his personal history. We are unable to fix with precision either the place or time of his birth, and even his name has been the subject of much discussion.
It is known that he was a pupil of Arnobius, who gave lectures in rhetoric at Sicca in Africa. Hence it has been supposed that Lactantius was a native of Africa, while others have maintained that he was born in Italy, and that his birthplace probably was Firmium, on the Adriatic. He was probably born about the middle of the third century, since he is spoken of as far advanced in life about a.
Some have even supposed that be received the name of Lactantius from the milky softness of his style. He attained to great eminence as a teacher of rhetoric, and his fame far outstripped the reputation of his master Arnobius. Such, indeed, was his celebrity, that he was invited by the Emperor Diocletian to settle at Nicomedia, and there practise his art. He appears, however to have met with so little success in that city, as to have been reduced to extreme indigence.
Abandoning his profession as a pleader, he devoted himself to literary composition. It was p. In these books, each of which has a distinct title, and constitutes a separate essay, he demonstrates the falsehood of the pagan religion, shows the vanity of the heathen philosophy, and undertakes the defense of the Christian religion against its adversaries. He also sets forth the nature of righteousness, gives instructions concerning the true worship of God, and treats of the punishment of the wicked, and the reward of the righteous in everlasting happiness. To the Institutions is appended an epitome dedicated to Pentadius.
The authorship of this abridgment has been questioned in modem times; but it is expressly assigned to Lactantius by Hieronymus. The greater part of the work was wanting in the earlier editions, and it was not until the beginning of the eighteenth century that it was discovered nearly entire. The treatise on The Anger of God is directed mainly against the tenets of the Epicureans and Stoics, who maintained that the deeds of men could produce no emotions of pleasure or anger in the Deity.
Lactantius holds that the love of the good necessarily implies the hatred of evil; and that the tenets of these philosophers, as tending to overthrow the doctrine of future rewards and punishments, are subversive of the principles of true religion.
14 Lactantius Philosophus?
In the treatise on The Workmanship of God , or The Formation of Man , the author dwells upon the wonderful construction of the human frame, and the adaptation of means to ends therein displayed, as proofs of the wisdom and goodness of God. Charlottesville, Virginia, United States. Ships to:. This amount is subject to change until you make payment.
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Report item - opens in a new window or tab. Seller assumes all responsibility for this listing. Unknown publisher. Bound in full red leather with raised bands and gilt lettering to spine. Leather worn and scuffed along the extremities with wormholing present to the spine, chipping at the crown of the spine. Text is clean and free of marks, binding tight and solid.
Text lightly age-toned pages with gilt edges. Final ten pages show light staining. This volume is a scarce edition of the works of early Christian author Lucius Caecilius Firmianus Lactantius ca. This work is edited with commentary by Dutch philologist Servatius Gallaeus - Last Exit Books lastexitbooks Shipping and handling. This item will ship to Germany , but the seller has not specified shipping options. Contact the seller - opens in a new window or tab and request a shipping method to your location. Shipping cost cannot be calculated. Please enter a valid ZIP Code. Item location: Charlottesville, Virginia, United States.
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