Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol VII:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Lactantius: Chap. VI.—Almighty God begat his Son; and the testimonies of the Sibyls and of Trismegistus concerning Him
Chap. VI.—Almighty God Begat His Son; And the Testimonies of the Sibyls and of Trismegistus Concerning Him.
God, therefore, the contriver and founder of all things, as we have said in the second book, before He commenced this excellent work of the world, begat a pure and incorruptible Spirit, whom He called His Son. And although He had afterwards created by Himself innumerable other beings, whom we call angels, this first-begotten, however, was the only one whom He considered worthy of being called by the divine name, as being powerful in His Fathers excellence and majesty. But that there is a Son of the Most High God, who is possessed of the greatest power, is shown not only by the unanimous utterances of the prophets, but also by the declaration of Trismegistus and the predictions of the Sibyls. Hermes, in the book which is entitled The Perfect Word, made use of these words: “The Lord and Creator of all things, whom we have thought right to call God, since He made the second God visible and sensible. But I use the term sensible, not because He Himself perceives (for the question is not whether He Himself perceives), but because He leads 519 to perception and to intelligence. Since, therefore, He made Him first, and alone, and one only, He appeared to Him beautiful, and most full of all good things; and He hallowed Him, and altogether loved Him as His own Son.” The Erythræan Sibyl, in the beginning of her poem, which she commenced with the Supreme God, proclaims the Son of God as the leader and commander of all, in these verses:—“The nourisher and creator of all things, who placed the sweet breath in all, and made God the leader of all.”
And again, at the end of the same poem:—“But whom God gave for faithful men to honour.”
And another Sibyl enjoins that He ought to be known:—“Know Him as your God, who is the Son of God.”
Assuredly He is the very Son of God, who by that most wise King Solomon, full of divine inspiration, spake these things which we have added: 520 , “God founded 521 me in the beginning of His ways, in His work before the ages. He set me up in the beginning, before He made the earth, and before He established the depths, before the fountains of waters came forth: the Lord begat me before all the hills; He made the regions, and the uninhabitable 522 boundaries under the heaven. When He prepared the heaven, I was by Him: and when He separated His own seat, when He made the strong clouds above the winds, and when He strengthened the mountains, and placed them under heaven; when He laid the strong foundations of the earth, I was with Him arranging all things. I was He in whom He delighted: I was daily delighted, when He rejoiced, the world being completed.” But on this account Trismegistus spoke of Him as “the artificer of God,” and the Sibyl calls Him “Counsellor,” because He is endowed by God the Father with such wisdom and strength, that God employed both His wisdom and hands in the creation of the world.
Literally, “sends.” The passage appears to be corrupt: ὑποπίπτει has been suggested instead of ὑποπέμπει, “falls under perception,” “is an object of perception.”105:520
Prov. viii. 22-31. Lactantius quotes from the Septuagint.105:521
According to the Hebrew, “possessed me in the beginning,” and so the authorized version.105:522
Fines inhabitabiles. Other editions read terras inhabitabiles, “uninhabitable lands.”
Next: Chap. VII.—Of the name of Son, and whence he is called Jesus and Christ
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