Part 4
Chapter 2-Of Redemption

Section 13-Julius Firmicus. A.D. 350.

Julius Firmicus Maternus was a native of Sicily. He was brought up in the pagan religion, and wrote some books of astrology, A. D. 336 or 337, being still a heathen. After the year 340, he was converted to Christianity in his old age,[1] and is thought to have wrote his book, Of the Error of Profane Religions,about A. D. 350, which is inscribed to the emperors Constantius and Constans; and in it are these words,[2] speaking of Christ, the Lamb of God: "The reverend blood of this Lamb is shed for the salvation of men, ut sanctos suos Filius Dei profusione pretiosi sanguinis redimat, ‘that the Son of God, by the pouring out of his precious blood, might redeem his saints;' ut qui Christi sanguine liberantur,‘that those who are delivered by the blood of Christ' might he first consecrated with the immortal majesty of that blood." From whence it is evident, that he thought that some, and not all, are redeemed by the blood of Christ, and that those who are redeemed by it are his saints, who were set apart for himself, and are made holy by him, which cannot be said of all the sons and daughters of Adam. M. Daille has indeed cited[3] two passages from this writer, as testimonies for general redemption, but neither to the purpose. In the first, Firmicus says,[4] "Christ, the Son of God, that he might deliver humanum genus, ‘mankind from the snare of death, bore all these things;' that he might remove the yoke of the grievous captivity, that he might restore hominem,man to the Father, that, mitigating the offense, he might make up the difference between God and man, by a prosperous reconciliation." But he does not say, that Christ delivered or redeemed every individual of mankind, and restored every man to God, and reconciled every man to him: he may be truly said to have redeemed mankind, and to have restored and reconciled man to God, who has redeemed, restored, and reconciled such large numbers of mankind, though not all of them. In the other passage he says,[5] that "so it was by divine disposition, that whatever Adam lost Christ found; for after a long time, in the last age of the world, the Word of God joined himself to a human body, that he might deliver man, that he might conquer death, that he might join the frailty of a human body with divine immortality;" but he does not say, that all the individuals of mankind, which were lost in Adam, were found by Christ. By several expressions in the same page we learn, what that was he supposes Adam lost and Christ found; for he says, that Adam, "being deceived by the woman, that is Eve, through the persuasions of the devil, promissae sibi gloriae perdidit dignitatem,‘lost the dignity of the glory promised him.' There was a tree," adds he, "in paradise, quo promissorum a Deo praemiorum perdidit gratiam,by which he lost the grace of the rewards promised by God." And a little after, "Adam, being made out of the slime of the virgin earth, through his own transgression, promissam perdidit vitam,lost the promised life." Now it was this promised grace, life, glory, and happiness, Adam lost, which, he says, Christ found; but he nowhere says that Christ found this for all the individuals of mankind.


[1] Fabrici Biblioth. Latin. p. 147, 149.

[2] Julius Firmicus de Error. proph. Relig. p. 40.

[3] Page 776, 777.

[4] De Error. proph. Relig. p. 40.

[5] Ibid. p. 44.