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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol VII:
Lactantius: Chap. XXVI.—Of the worship of the elements and stars

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chap. XXVI.—Of the Worship of the Elements and Stars.

Now let us refute those also who regard the elements of the world as gods, that is, the heaven, the sun, and the moon; for being ignorant of the Maker of these things, they admire and adore the works themselves. And this error belongs not to the ignorant only, but also to philosophers; since the Stoics are of opinion that all the heavenly bodies are to be considered as among the number of the gods, since they all have fixed and regular motions, by which they most constantly preserve the vicissitudes of the times which succeed them. They do not then possess voluntary motion, since they obey prescribed laws, and plainly not by their own sense, but by the workmanship of the supreme Creator, who so ordered them that they should complete unerring 1478 courses and fixed circuits, by which they might vary the alternations of days and nights, of summer and winter. But if men admire the effects of these, if they admire their courses, their brightness, their regularity, their beauty, they ought to have understood how much more beautiful, more illustrious, and more powerful than these is the maker and contriver Himself, even God. But they estimated the Divinity by objects which fall under the sight of men; 1479 not knowing that objects which come within the sight cannot be eternal, and that those which are eternal cannot be discerned by mortal eyes.  


Footnotes

231:1478

Inerrabiles. There is another reading, “inenarrabiles,” indescribable.  

231:1479

Humanis visibus.  


Next: Chap. XXVII.—Of the creation, sin, and punishment of man; and of angels, both good and bad

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