Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol VII:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Lactantius: Chap. XLII.—Of religious wisdom: the name of Christ known to none, except himself and his father
Chap. XLII.—Of Religious Wisdom: the Name of Christ Known to None, Except Himself and His Father.
I will now say what wise religion, or religious wisdom, is. God, in the beginning, before He made the world, from the fountain of His own eternity, and from the divine and everlasting Spirit, 1512 begat for Himself a Son incorruptible, faithful, corresponding to His Fathers excellence and majesty. He is virtue, He is reason, He is the word of God, He is wisdom. With this artificer, as Hermes says, and counsellor, as the Sibyl says, He contrived the excellent and wondrous fabric of this world. In fine, of all the angels, whom the same God formed from His own breath, 1513 He alone was admitted into a participation of His supreme power, He alone was called God. For all things were through Him, and nothing was without Him. In fine, Plato, not altogether as a philosopher, but as a seer, spoke concerning the first and second God, perhaps following Trismegistus in this, whose words I have translated from the Greek, and subjoined: “The Lord and Maker of all things, whom we have thought to be called God, created 1514 a second God, who is visible and sensible. But by sensible I mean, not that He Himself receives sensation, but that He causes sensation and sight. When, therefore, He had made this, the first, and one, and only one, He appeared to Him most excellent, and full of all good qualities.” The Sibyl also says that God the guide of all was made by God, and another, that“God the Son of God must be known,”
as those examples which I have brought forward in my books declare. Him the prophets, filled with the inspiration of the Divine Spirit, proclaimed; of whom especially Solomon in the book of Wisdom, and also his father, the writer of divine hymns—both most renowned kings, who preceded the times of the Trojan war by a hundred and eighty years 1515 —testify that He was born of God. His name is known to none, except to Himself and the Father, as John teaches in the Revelation. 1516 Hermes says that His name cannot be uttered by mortal mouth. Yet by men He is called by two names—Jesus, which is Saviour, and Christ, which is King. He is called Saviour on this account, because He is the health and safety of all who believe in God through Him. He is called Christ on this account, because He Himself will come from p. 239 heaven at the end of this dispensation 1517 to judge the world, and, having raised the dead, to establish for Himself an everlasting kingdom.
[This refers to the Spirit of the Father, as Cyprian (vol. v. p. 516), “My heart hath breathed out a good Word.”]238:1513
De suis spiritibus.238:1514
[Plato does not speak dogmatically, but with a marvellous intuition of truth. The Son is “begotten, not made.”]238:1515
This is an error. Both David and Solomon lived after the supposed taking of Troy.238:1516
Rev. xix. 12.239:1517
In sæculi hujus consummatione.
Next: Chap. XLIII.—Of the name of Jesus Christ, and his twofold nativity
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