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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature
Lactantius, Lucius Coelius (or Cecilius) Firmianus
Lactantius, Lucius Coelius (Or Cecilius) Firmianus,
one of the early Latin fathers, called by Jerome (Catal. c. 80) the most learned man of his time, and, on account of the fine and rhetorical culture which his writings evince, not unfrequently named the Christian Cicero (or, as Jerome has it, " Fluvius eloquentime Tullianse"), was formerly supposed to have been by birth an African, but is now generally believed to have been of Italian birth, a native of Firmum (Fermo), on the Adriatic, Italy. He was born probably near the middle of the 3d century; his parents, according to his own account, were heathens, and he only became a Christian at a somewhat mature age (comp. De Ira Dei, c. 2; Instit. Div. 7:2), certainly before the Diocletian persecution. Lactantius pursued his rhetorical studies in the school of the celebrated rhetorician and apologist Arnobius of Sicca, in proconsular Africa, and it is thus, in all probability, that arose the notion that Lactantius was of African birth. While yet a youth Lactantius gained celebrity by the publication of a poetical work called Symposion, a collection of a hundred riddles in hexameters for table amusement. But it was his eloquence that secured him really great renown, and he was heard of by Diocletian, and by him called to Nicomedia as professor of Latin eloquence. This city was, however, inhabited and visited mainly by Greeks, and Lactantius found but few pupils to instruct. This afforded him plenty of leisure, and he welcomed it as an opportunity to devote himself largely to authorship. Thus he continued at Nicomedia ten years, while the Christians were not only persecuted by the emperors with fire and sword, but also assailed by the heathen philosophers with the weapons of science, wit, and ridicule. Against so many outrages Lactantius felt impelled to undertake the defence of the hated and despised religion, and the more as he thought he had observed that they proceeded, at least in part, from ignorance and gross misunderstandings.
It was during this defence of Christianity, in all probability, that he became himself a convert to the true faith, and thus may it be accounted for that Constantine called him to his court in Gaul as preceptor (after 312 says Dr. Schaff, Ch. Hist. 3:956) of his son Crispus, whom Constantine afterwards (326) caused to be put to death. Eusebius tells us that even in this exalted position he remained so poor as often to want for the necessaries of life. He must have been quite old when he arrived in Gaul, for he is then already spoken of as a gray-haired old man, and lie is supposed to have died at the imperial residence in Treves shortly after his pupil Crispus, about 330. It has often been a matter of great perplexity to antiquarians to account for the fact that Lactantius escaped personal injury during the Diocletian persecution. Some think, and this seems to be reasonable, that Lactantius escaped suffering for his faith because he was generally regarded as a philosopher, and not as a Christian writer; and, indeed, to judge from his De Opificio Dei, he appears to have been more attracted by the moral and philosophical aspects of Christianity than by the supernatural and the dogmatic. In fact, in all the theological works of Lactantius is manifest the influence of his early studies of all the masterpieces of ancient rhetoric and philosophy, and he may be defined as a Christian pupil of Cicero and of Seneca. (Comp., on the inclination of the early Christian teachers in the Roman empire to style themselves "philosophers," Brit. Quart. Rev. July, 1871, p. 9, Colossians 1.) Jerome even says of him (Epist. 83, ad Paulinuns [alias 84 ad Magnum]), " Lactantius wrote seven books against the Gentiles, and two volumes on the work and the anger of God. If you wish to read these treatises, you will find in them a compendium of Cicero's Dialogues." He had entered more deeply into Christian morals than into Christian metaphysics, and his works offer none of those learned and profound expositions of the dogmas which we find in Clement of Alexandria or in Origen. Lactantius, however, has been called, as we already hinted, the Christian Cicero, on account of his resemblance to this celebrated classical writer in the elegance and finish of his style, but still more on account of having made himself the advocate and propagator of the great moral truth of Christianity, while carefully avoiding all dogmatic speculation; thus also did Cicero advocate all the great practical truths of the best philosophical systems of antiquity, but set little store by whatever was purely metaphysical.
In learning and culture Lactantius excelled all the men of his time; in the words of Jerome, he was " omnium suo tempore. eruditissimus." His writings betray a noble unconsciousness which forgets itself in striving to reach its lofty aim. The modesty of his claims and of his estimate of himself is exhibited and embodied in the facts of his life. Although at the court of the greatest prince on earth, and by his position invited to luxurious indulgence, he voluntarily preferred a poverty which not only excluded superfluities, but also often dispensed with the necessaries of life. Some have represented that he pushed his austerities even to an unauthorized extreme. "I shall think that I have sufficiently lived," he writes, "and that I have sufficiently fulfilled the office of a man, if my labor shall have freed any from their errors, and directed them in the way to heaven."
Lactantius was a layman and a rhetorician, and vet he displays in his writings in general-and they were not few-such a depth and extent of theological knowledge as could scarcely have been expected. It is surprising with what penetration and precision he handles many intricate subjects. Warmth of feeling, richness of thought, and clearness of apprehension are impressed upon all his literary productions. His expressions are always lucid, considerate, and well arranged. Nowhere does the reader feel an unpleasant tone of pedantry or affectation; everywhere he is attracted by the impress of genuine learning and eloquence. In harmony and purity of style, in beauty and elegance of expression, he excels all the fathers of Christian antiquity, if we except Ambrose in some of his letters, and Sulpicius Severus. His reputation in this respect was so celebrated in the earliest times that men loved to call him the Christian Cicero. So much for form and diction. The case is quite otherwise with the exposition of the peculiar doctrines of Christianity in detail. In the midst of admirable philosophical developments, as with other writers of this class, we meet with many mistakes, many erroneous views and half-truths, for which Gelasius classed his writings with the Apocrypha. If the judgment above expressed is thus, in some measure, modified, yet is his merit not much diminished. That is to say, there are at bottom almost entirely such anomalies as he met in the older writers before him, and which the Church had not yet distinctly excluded by a more precise definition of the doctrines in question. What strikes us more unpleasantly is that we miss the establishment of Christianity by proof from its own dogmas, which he himself had promised to give; we sympathize with Jerome in the wish, " Utinam tam nostra confirmare potuisset, quam facile aliena distinxit."
Dr. Schaff gives the following summary of the doctrinal views of Lactantius (Church Hist. 3:957): "His mistakes and errors in the exposition of points of Christian doctrine do not amount to heresies, but are mostly due to the crude and unsettled state of the Church doctrine at the time. In the doctrine of sin he borders upon Manichaeism. In anthropology and soteriology he follows the synergism which, until Augustine, was almost universal. In the doctrine of the Trinity he was, like most of the ante- Nicene fathers, a subordinationist. He taught a duplex nativitas of Christ, one at the creation, and one at the incarnation. Christ went forth from God at the creation as a word from the mouth, yet hypostatically."
Works. — We will briefly notice his works in order: 1. Divinarum Institutionurn, libri vii (Divine Institutes, seven books), a comprehensive apology for the Christian religion, which, on account of the elegant style in which it is written, has been favorite reading, and is said to have appeared in more than a hundred editions. His motive for writing this work he thus assigns himself: Since men, by their own fault bewildered, can no longer find the way back to truth, his object is to point it out to them, and, at the same time, to confirm in it those who have already reached it. He feels himself the more impelled to this because his predecessors in this field-and names particularly Tertullian and Cyprian - had not, ill his opinion, satisfied the requirements of the case on all sides, and had performed their task neither with the requisite learning and thoroughness, nor with the suitable adornment of art and scientific depth. To this unfortunate circumstance he ascribes it that the Christian religion was held in such contempt, and with the educated classes was as good as totally unknown. When, with all the power of language and genius which he eminently possessed, Lactantius promises to make a defence of the faith, the precedence in this respect must by all means be conceded to him; in beauty of form and splendor of diction he surpasses all; but Jerome justly refuses to admit the same in respect to the weight of the contents and the solidity of the proofs. The work is dedicated to Constantine the Great-if the passage is not an interpolation-whom he extols with the highest reverence, and praises as the first Christian prince, and the restorer of righteousness. Consequently, it was written at the time when he, advanced in years, was already at court; but the Church was still sighing under a severe persecution, evidently that of Licinius, since the author refers to that of Diocletian as having long since died out. This brings us to the year 320, although he had, as elsewhere appears from his own words, formed the purpose and the plan at a much earlier period. Some suppose that the work was commenced in Bithynia and completed ill Gaul after a lapse of twenty years. Others, from an allusion which it contains to the Diocletian persecution-" Spectatae sunt enim spectanturque adhuc per orbem penme cultorum Dei," etc. (v, 17, § 5), suppose it to have been written before Lactantius went to Gaul.
The seven books into which this work is divided form seven separate treatises. The first book is inscribed De fallsa religione. He designedly leaves untouched the principal question in regard to the existence of a supreme Providence, and takes his departure from the proposition that there is one God, and that, according to our idea of his essence, of his relation to the world under him, and of that to him, there can be but one. He proceeds then to confirm this dogma by the authority of the prophets (of which, however, he makes more use in his programme than in his performance; and which, indeed, would have been only a petitio principii), by the utterances of the poets, the philosophers, and the sibyls-all of whom consent in one and the same truth; and this, at least, is good as anl argumentum ad honminem,, though he seems to allege it as having a higher and proper force of proof. The last half of the book consists in the ludicrous exposure and sarcastic confutation of the mythological system of deities in general and in detail, as recognised by its advocates.
The second book, De orgiine erroris, demonstrates the manifold absurdity with which mankind, while all nature impels them to the knowledge of the one God, and a law of necessity teaches every one instinctively to seek him, are nevertheless so blinded as to wander away to the worship of idols. He confutes the spurious grounds by which particularly the educated class among the heathen sought to excuse or justify idolatry, and shows how this whole pagan religion, more closely considered, is only a reflex of their thoroughly materialized and secularized habit of mind. But since the heathen used especially to appeal to the antiquity of their cultus and to venerable tradition, the author meets them in this wise: In matters of religion every one must see for himself; error, though ever so full of years, has, by its old age, acquired no right, and must give way to the truth so soon as she establishes against it her primitive and indefeasible claims. He proceeds, with constant reference to the diverging opinions of the philosophers, to develop from the holy Scriptures the history of the creation and of the origin of idolatry. According to him, this originated in its first germ from Ham, who lay under his father's curse. Among his posterity the loss of the knowledge of the true God first prevailed; this passed over into Sabaism or Parseeism (worship of the heavenly bodies); spread itself in this form first in Egypt, and thence among the neighboring people. In its further progress it included the deification of men, an externally pompous worship, and finally developed itself into idolatry proper, which, cherished and promoted by the influence of daemons, and strengthened by means of other arts, by oracles, magic, etc., leavened the whole life of the pagan nations. The truth of this intimate connection of the daemon realm with the heathen polytheistic worship, and with the phenomena pertaining thereto, lies visibly before us, says Lactantius, in the Christian power of exorcism; and witth this he concludes.
The third book, De falsa sapientia, exposes the heathen philosophy as nugatory and false. The etymology of the word philosophy indicates, says he, not the possession of wisdom, but a striving after it; and in its ultimate result it leaves us nothing but mere opinions, upon whose grounds or groundlessness it can give us no trustworthy criterium, and consequently no certainty. The result of all philosophy, therefore, when brought into relation to our highest end, is unsatisfying and useless. Our heart thirsts after happiness, and this eager, fervent impulse no human wisdom can satiate. The reason why it cannot is this: because, torn away from its union with religion, the fundamental condition of happiness, it must necessarily become external, onesided, and abstract. He finally points out in detail this result of all philosophy in the history of the different schools, none of which has found the truth, or could find it, because their formal principle had already misplaced the way to the desired goal. Therefore-and this is the natural conclusion — to still his thirst for knowledge, man must not turn himself to these, but to God's own revelation.
The fourth book, De vera sapientia, proposes to prepare the way to this goal. Starting with the principle already enunciated, but here set forth more in detail, that (genuine) wisdom and religion are, in the last analysis, one, they may, only in our conception, be held asunder as distinct, abstract elements, but in reality and in life ought never to be separated. The heathen philosophy and religion, in which this unnatural antithesis and separation occurred, were therefore, for this simple reason, false. The true unity of the two is found only in Christianity. In order to exhibit this principle as a fact, he reviews the history of our religion. After having briefly, but as much as he deemed requisite for his purpose, spoken of the prophets, he proceeds to develop the doctrine, after his fashion, of the person of Jesus Christ, from the first, the eternal birth of the Logos from the Father, and from the second, his incarnation in time; he establishes the truth of these, together with his Deity and his Messianic office, from his life, his miracles, and the prophets, with reference almost always to the Jews only; but finally he shows to the heathen how the very idea of true ethical wisdom in some sort includes in itself the incarnation of the lawgiver, that so a perfect example may be given of the possibility of keeping the law. The necessities of man required this in order to a mediation between God and manl; and the lowly life of Christ, his sufferings, and even his death on the cross, are in perfect harmony with this design.
The fifth book, De justitia, unfolds first the author's motives and object. Then, entering upon the subject itself, he teaches how, anciently, in the times called by the heathen the Golden Age, the one God was honored, and with his worship justice bore sway; and how, in the sequel, in connection with polytheism, all sorts of vice came trooping in, but with Christ a kind of golden age has again appeared through the propagation of righteousness. He further shows how near this lies to all, and that only through wilfuhiess it can fail to be known; and how the heathen, in open contradiction to the idea of religion, to reason, and to every sentiment of right, hate the Christians, and persecute and torment them even to the death. Were the Christians fools, one should spare them; if wise, imitate them. That they are the latter is made clear by their virtuous behavior and their unflinching constancy. It is true the wisdom and righteousness of God condescend to clothe themselves in the appearance of folly, partly that thus the wisdom of the world may be convinced of its nothingness, and partly that the righteous man may be helped forward on the narrow way to his reward. The pretexts offered by the heathen in justification of their treatment of the Christians, as that they sought to bring them to a sober mind, etc., were, he maintains, utterly empty, because, in the first place, this treatment was in itself unsuitable, and, in respect to the Christians, who knew very well how to defend their cause with all soberness, it was contemptuous and destructive of its own object; but, in the second place, these pretexts were contradicted and falsified by the Romans' contrary practice of toleration towards other and extremely despicable and senseless religions. Rather it was abundantly clear that nothing but a fierce hatred against the truth impelled to those bloody deeds of violence and cruelty.
The sixth book, De vero cultu, treats of the practical side of true religion. A merely external worship, like that of the heathen, is absolutely worthless, and only that is true in which the human soul offers itself to God. As all the philosophers agree in saying there are two ways for man, one of virtue, the other of vice; the former narrow and toilsome, leading to immortality; the latter easy and pleasant, leading to destruction: the Christians call them the way to heaven and to hell, and eagerly prefer the former, that at the last they may attain the enjoyment of the blessedness in which it ends. The philosophers could not find the way of virtue, because at the outset they had formed to themselves an utterly different idea of good and evil, and therefore always sought it where it is never to be found — on earth instead of in heaven. The Christians, who walk in the light of revelation, have the clew of the truth, the eternal, unchangeable law of God, adapted to the nature of man. which unfolds our duties both towards God (officia pietatis) and towards man (officia humanitatis). Lactantius then proceeds to treat of the virtues which are embraced in the fundamental principle of genuine humanity-pity, liberality, care for the widow, the orphan, the sick, the dead, etc.; finally, of self-government and the moderation of the desires and appetites, particularly of chastity in wedlock and out of it; and, last of all, of penitence or penance (poenitentia), and the true service of God. The former he treats as a satisfaction, and in the latter he does not rise above the merely ethical, Rationalistic position, although, through his whole exposition, he makes references, by way of contrast, to the divergent views of the philosophers.
The seventh and last book, De vita beata, has for its subject the chief end of man. He gives us briefly his own conception of the great end of our existence, thus: " The world was made that we might be born; we are born that we might know the Creator of the world and of ourselves; we know him that we may honor him; we honor him that we may receive immortality as the reward of our effort, because the honoring of God demands the highest effort; we are rewarded with immortality, that we, like the angels, may forever serve the supreme Father and Lord, and may form unto God an ever-during kingdom: that is the sum and substance of all things, the secret of God, the mystery of the world." After this follows the proof of the immortality of the soul, pursued through ten distinct arguments, with the refutation of objections. He then proceeds with an attempt to show under what condition the natural immortality of the soul becomes at the same time a blessed immortality. With this he connects his views in regard to the time and the signs of the end of the present world to the last judgment, to the millennial reign, to the general resurrection and the transformation of this world. On the superabounding delights and glories of the millennium he enlarges with special satisfaction and copious eloquence. In conclusion, he congratulates the Church upon the peace which Constantine has given her, and calls upon all to forsake the worship of idols and to do homage to the one true God.
2. An Epitome of the Institutes, dedicated to Pentadius, is appended to the larger work, and is attributed to Lactantius by Jerome, who describes it as being even in his time ἀκέφαλος. All the early editions of this abridgment begin at the sixteenth chapter of the fifth book of the original. But in the 18th century a MS. containing nearly the entire work was discovered in the royal library at Turin, and was published by C. NM. Pfaff, chancellor of the University of Tiibingen (Paris, 1712). Walchius and others have doubted the genuineness of this Epitomse, but Jerome's assertion appears to us conclusive.
3. De Ira Dei (On the Anger of God). It has often been. observed how the Greek philosophy, and, following its lead, the heretical Gnosis, could not reconcile justice and goodness. This had also struck Lactantius, and awakened in him the thought of proving in this treatise that the abhorrence of evil and primitive justice are necessary and fundamental attributes of the divine Being. In the judgment of Jerome, this work is composed with equal learning and eloquence. Its date is probably somewhat later than that of the Institutes.
The system both of the Epicureans and of the Stoics excluded all reaction of God against the wicked. The former, in order not to disturb God's indolent repose; the latter, in order not to transfer to the idea of God human characteristics, would know nothing of any vital or essential manifestation of the Deity in the course of the world or towards mankind. Lactantius showed how, on the contrary, in the worthy idea of God's essence and operation, the conception of providence cannot be wanting; and how, moreover, complacency towards the good has, as its natural counterpart, the detestation of its opposite, the evil. Besides, religion is incontestably founded in the nature of man; but, if we assume that God is not angry with the wicked, or does not avenge the transgressions of his commands, from religion are withdrawn, by consequence, its rational motive and all its foundations. If there is a moral distinction among actions, it is impossible that God should stand affected in the same manner towards the one as towards the other, and that without its being necessary, in consequence, to ascribe to God likewise passions or affections which consist in a weakness, as, for example, fear. When Epicurus objects that God could punish if punish he must-without any emotion within himself, Lactantius replies: the view of the evil must of itself provoke the will of any being who is good to a counter emotion, and it cannot be indifferent to the lawgiver how his precepts shall be observed. The disproportion of the external fortunes of the good and the bad in the present life proves nothing to the contrary when we consider the proper attitude and essence of virtue, etc. The whole he confirms by declarations of the prophets, and especially of the sibyls.
4. De Opificio Dei, vel formatione hominis (On Creation).-This is thought to be the first-fruits of the Christian genius of Lactantius, since, judging from the introduction, the persecution was still in progress. The book is dedicated to a certain Demetrianus, who, having been his disciple, was now an officer of state; it is especially directed against the prevailing philosophy, and therefore the presentation of the subject is kept, in form and spirit, upon this basis. The subject of the treatise is the organization of human nature, which Cicero, he says, has more than once superficially touched upon in his philosophical writings, but never thoroughly investigated. He first draws a general parallel between the organism of the beasts and that of man; to the latter God, in connection with an apparently scantier outfit, has given, in his reason, a pre-eminence far outweighing all the superiority of the beasts in physical force. When philosophy, particularly the Epicurean, reminds us of the helplessness of human infancy, of man's weakness and early dissolution, the author shows, on the other hand, that these objections rest upon a one-sided mode of regarding, partly the phenomena in question considered absolutely, and partly the essence and the end of man and of his nature (c. 1-4). Having thus, in a preliminary way, disposed of these possible objections against his subsequent exhibition of the subject, he proceeds to his proper business, the consideration of the human body as the habitation and organ of the soul. He indulges in a detailed investigation and analysis of its wonderful structure; shows the beauty and symmetry of its several limbs, their adaptation to their corresponding functions, and their admirable connection with the totality of the organism. Hence he establishes, what the Epicureans denied, that a divine creation, and an ordering and guiding providence, are active throughout the universe (c. 5-17). In conclusion, he dilates upon the essence of our soul, upon its distinction from spirit (animus), and, finally, upon its propagation. He here reviews the opposing philosophical theories, and declares himself thoroughly opposed to generationism or traducianism (c. 17-20). In this treatise he has caught the grand idea, and furnished the leading materials of Paley's famous teleological argument; and, what is more surprising, has anticipated some of the most striking and comprehensive ideas of modern scientific and zoological classification.
5. De mortibus persecutorum (On Martyrdom). — Le Nourry was of opinion that this treatise does not belong to Lactantius. In the only codex which we have of it, it bears, not the inscription Firmiani Lactantii, but Lucii Caecilii, which is never given to our author by the ancient writers. We must confess that, without being aware of this judgment of Ie Nourry, we had already, upon a careful reading of the treatise, come to the same conclusion from internal evidence. Mohler, on the other hand, maintains its genuineness; in confirmation of which he refers to the facts:
(1) that Jerome refers to a work of Lactantius under the name De Perseculions, which, says he, indicates a similar subject matter with the work in question;
(2) that it is dedicated to a certain Donatmls, like that De Ira Dei, and the writer shows himself to have been an eyewitness of the transactions in Nicomedia under Diocletian. These reasons certainly are not very strong; but, meanwhile, it is a curious question whether the Donatus addressed in this treatise as a professor may not have been the first Donatus of heretical notoriety. Mohler further adds that the style is the same as that of Lactantius's other works. From this we must strongly dissent. The style is harsher, more rugged, and broken and irregular-often obscure. It frequently reminds one of Tacitus; whereas the genuine Lactantius rarely departs from an imitation of the clear, smooth, flowing, and copious style of Cicero, whom he had chosen for his special model of eloquence.
In the early editions of Lactantius De mortibus persecutorum is altogether wanting. It was first printed by Stephen Baluze in his Miscellanea, vol. ii (Paris, 1679), from a very ancient MS. in the Bibliotheca Colbertina. Its authenticity as the De Persecutione Liber Unus of Lactantius, mentioned by Jerome, is maintained by Baluze, Heumann, and others. Among the latest authorities in favor of accepting the production as a genuine work of Lactantius we count Mohler (see below) and Dr. Philip Schaff (Ch. Hist. 3:958, note 2). Against accrediting this treatise to Lactantius are prominent, besides Nourry (in the Append. to ii, 839 sq. of Migne's edition of Lactantius), Pfaff, Walch, Le Clerc, Lardner, Gibbon, Burckhardt, and others.
The object of this work is to show the truth of the Christian religion historically, from the tragical fate of all those who have persecuted the Church of Christ. It gives a very detailed description of several scenes in the persecutions of Nero, Domitian, and Valerian, but especially dwells upon the later times, those of Diocletian and his imperial colleagues Galerius and Maximin, and shows how avenging justice overtook them all. This work, if genuine, furnishes highly important contributions to ecclesiastical history. Among other things, its author, whoever he may be, declares that Peter and Paul preached the Gospel at Rome, and established a temple iof God there, where they both suffered martyrdom.
6. Lost Writings. — The Symposium of Lactantius has probably perished, though some have surmised that the AEnigmcata, published under the name of Symposius, is really the youthful composition of Lactantius. Jerome mentions besides an Itinerarium in hexameters, two books to Asclepiades, eight books of letters to Probus, Severus, and Domitian, all of which are lost. It appears from his own words (Instit. 7:1, sub fin.) that he had formed the design of drawing up a work against the Jews, but we cannot tell whether he ever accomplished his purpose.
Several other pieces still extant, but which have been erroneously ascribed to Lactantius, are, De Phaenice, in elegiacs, a compilation of tales and legends on the farfamed Arabian bird; it is probably of a later date (see Wernsdorff, Poetce Lat. Minores, 3:283): — Symposium, a collection of one hundred riddles, more likely the work of a certain Caelius Firmianus:- De Pascha ad Felicem Episcopum, now generally considered as the work of Venantius Honorianus Clementianus Fortunatus, in the 6th century: — De Passione Domini (printed in G. Fabricius's Poet. Vet. Eccles. Op. Christiana, Basle, 1564; and in Bibl. Patr. Lugdun. 1677), in hexameters, worthy of Lactantius, but bearing in its language the impress of a much later age.
The Editio Princeps of Lactantius was printed at the monastery of Subiaco, by Sweynheym and Pannartz, in 1465, and is one of the earliest specimens of typographical art; the same printers published two other editions (Rome, 1468, 1470), the latter under the direction of Andrew, bishop of Aleria. A number of editions have been published since; the most important are by Gallseus (Lugd. Bat. 1660, in a series of Variorum Classics, 8vo), C. Cellarius (Lpz. 1698, 8vo), Walchius (Lpz. 1715, 8vo), Heumann (Gitting. 1736, 8vo), Btinemann (Lpzg. 1739, 8vo), Le Brun and Lenglet du Fresnoy (Paris, 1748, 2 vols. 4to), F. Ea St. Xaverio (Rome, 1754-9), and Migne (Paris, 1844, 2 vols. royal 8vo). A convenient manual edition was prepared by O. F. Fritzsche for Gersdorfs Bibliotheca Patrum eccles. selecta (Lips. 1842), vols. 10:xi. See Jerome, De Viris Il1. p. 79, 80; Chronic. Euseb. ad ann. cccxviii, Comment. in Eccles. c. 10; Comment. in Ephes. c. 4, Ad Paulin. Epist.; Lactant. Divin. Instit. i, 1, § 8; 5:2, § 2; 3:13, § 12; Schrockh, Kirchengesch. 5:232; Schonemann, Bibl. Patr. Lat. vol. i, § 2; Bahr, Gesch. d. Romisch. Litterat. Suppl. Band, le Abtheil. § 9; 2e Abtheil. § 38-46; Bahr, Die christlich-rom. Theologie, p. 72 sq.; Franciscus Floridus, Subcesivarumm. Lect. liber ii, ch. iv; Lenain de Tillemont, Histoire Eccles. vol. vi; Dupin, Biblioth. des Auteurs eccles. i, 295; Brooke Mountain, A Summary of the Writings of Lacltantius (Lond. 1839); Mohler, Patrologie, i, 917-933; Ceillier, Hist. des Aut. sacres, ii, 494 sq.; Schaff, Ch. Hist. vol. 3:§ 173; Riddle, Christian Antiquities, p. 160-163; Christian Review, 1845, p. 415 sq.; Woodham, Tertullian, p. liii; Leckey, Hist. Europ. Morals, i, 493 sq. Excellent articles may also be found, especially on the writings of Lactantius, in Smith, Dict. of Greek and Roman Biog. ii, 701; and Herzog, Real-Encyklop. 8:158. On the Christology of Lactantius, consult Dorner, Doctrine of the Person of Christ, div. i, vol. ii, p. 192 sq.; Lamson, The Church in the first three Centuries, p. 183 sq.; Bull, On the Trinity (ii, Index); Neander, Chr. Dogmas; Zeitschr. f. d. hist. Theol. 1871, vol. 4:art. xiii.
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McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Lactantius, Lucius Coelius (or Cecilius) Firmianus'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/l/lactantius-lucius-coelius-or-cecilius-firmianus.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.
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