Ambrose selected works 6116
The Arians blaspheme Christ, if by the words “created” and “begotten” they mean and understand one and the same thing. If, however, they regard the words as distinct in meaning, they must not speak of Him, of Whom they have read that He was begotten, as if He were a created being. This rule is upheld by the witness of St. Paul, who, professing himself a servant of Christ, forbade worship of a created being. God being a substance pure and uncompounded, there is no created nature in Him; furthermore, the Son is not to be degraded to the level of things created, seeing that in Him the Father is well pleased.
100. Now will I enquire particularly of the Arians, whether they think that begotten and created are one and the same. If they call them the same, then is there no difference betwixt generation and creation. It follows, then, that forasmuch as we also are created, there is between us and Christ and the elements no difference. Thus much, however, great as their madness is, they will not venture to say.
101. Furthermore—to concede that which is no truth, to their folly—I ask them, if there is, as they think, no difference in the words, why do they not call upon Him Whom they worship by the better title? Why do they not avail themselves of the Father’s word?190 Why do they reject the title of honour, and use a dishonouring name?
102. If, however, there is—as I think there is—a distinction between “created” and “begotten,” then, when we have read that He is begotten, we shall surely not understand the same by the terms “begotten” and “created.” Let them therefore confess Him to be begotten of the Father, born of the Virgin, or let them say how the Son of God can be both begotten and created. A single nature, above all, the Divine Being, rejects strife (within itself).
103. But in any case let our private judgment pass: let us enquire of Paul, who, filled with the Spirit of God, and so foreseeing these questionings, hath given sentence against pagans in general and Arians in particular, saying that they were by God’s judgment condemned, who served the creature rather than the Creator. Thus, in fact, you may read: “God gave them over to the lusts of their own heart, that they might one with another dishonour their bodies, they who changed God’s truth into a lie, and worshipped and served the thing created rather than the Creator, Who is God, blessed for ever.”191
104. Thus Paul forbids me to worship a creature, and admonishes me of my duty to serve Christ. It follows, then, that Christ is not a created being. The Apostle calls himself “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ,”192 and this good servant, who acknowledges his Lord, will likewise have us not worship that which is created. How, then, could he have been himself a servant of Christ, if he thought that Christ was a created person? Let these heretics, then, cease either to worship Him Whom they call a created being, or to call Him a creature, Whom they feign to worship, lest under colour of being worshippers they fall into worse impiety. For a domestic is worse than a foreign foe, and that these men should use the Name of Christ to Christ’s dishonour increaseth their guilt.
105. What better expounder of the Scriptures do we indeed look for than that teacher of the Gentiles, that chosen vessel—chosen from the number of the persecutors? He who had been the persecutor of Christ confesses Him. He had read Solomon more, in any case, than Arius hath, and he was well learned in the Law, and so, because he had read, he said not that Christ was created, but that He was begotten. For he had read, “He spake, and they were made: He commanded, and they were created.”193 Was Christ, I ask, made at a word? Was He created at a command?
106. Moreover, how can there be any created nature in God? In truth, God is of an uncompounded nature; nothing can be added to Him, and that alone which is Divine hath He in His nature; filling all things,194 yet nowhere Himself confounded with aught; penetrating all things, yet Himself nowhere to be penetrated; present in all His fulness at one and the same moment, in heaven, in earth, in the deepest depth of the sea,195 to sight invisible, by speech not to be declared, by feeling not to be measured; to be followed by faith, to be adored with devotion; so that whatsoever title excels in depth of spiritual import, in setting forth glory and honour, in exalting power, this you may know to belong of right to God.
107. Since, then, the Father is well pleased in the Son; believe that the Son is worthy of the Father, that He came out from God, as He Himself bears witness, saying: “I went out from God, and am come;”196 and again: “I went out from God.”197 He Who proceeded and came forth from God can have no attributes but such as are proper to God.
06117 That Christ is very God is proved from the fact that He is God’s own Son, also from His having been begotten and having come forth from God, and further, from the unity of will and operation subsisting in Father and Son. The witness of the apostles and of the centurion—which St. Ambrose sets over against the Arian teaching—is adduced, together with that of Isaiah and St. John.
108). Hence it is that Christ is not only God, but very God indeed—very God of very God, insomuch that He Himself is the Truth,198 If, then, we enquire His Name, it is “the Truth;” if we seek to know His natural rank and dignity, He is so truly the very Son of God, that He is indeed God’s own Son; as it is written, “Who spared not His own Son, but gave Him up for our sakes,”199 gave Him up, that is, so far as the flesh was concerned. That He is God’s own Son declares His Godhead; that He is very God shows that He is God’s own Son; His pitifulness is the earnest of His submission, His sacrifice, of our salvation.
109. Lest, however, men should wrest the Scripture, that “God gave Him up,” the Apostle himself has said in another place,200 “Peace from God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave Himself for our sins;” and again:201 “Even as Christ hath loved us, and given Himself for us.” If, then, He both was given up by the Father, and gave Himself up of His own accord, it is plain that the working and the will of Father and Son is one.
110. If, then, we enquire into His natural pre-eminence, we find it to consist in being begotten. To deny that the Son of God is begotten [of God] is to deny that He is God’s own Son, and to deny Christ to be God’s own Son is to class Him with the rest of mankind, as no more a Son than any of the rest. If, however, we enquire into the distinctive property of His generation, it is this, that He came forth from God. For whilst, in our experience, to come out implies something already existent, and that which is said to come out seems to proceed forth from hidden and inward places, we, though it be presented but in short passages, observe the peculiar attribute of the Divine Generation, that the Son doth not seem to have come forth out of any place, but as God from God, a Son from a Father, nor to have had a beginning in the course of time, having come forth from the Father by being born, as He Himself Who was born said: “I came forth from the mouth of the Most High.”202
111. But if the Arians acknowledge not the Son’s nature, if they believe not the Scriptures, let them at least believe the mighty works. To whom doth the Father say, “Let us make man?”203 save to Him Whom He knew to be His true Son? In Whom, save in one who was true, could He recognize His Image? The son by adoption is not the same as the true Son; nor would the Son say, “I and the Father are one,”204 if He, being Himself not true, were measuring Himself with One Who is true. The Father, therefore, says, “Let us make.” He Who spake is true; can He, then, Who made be not true? Shall the honour rendered to Him Who speaks be withheld from Him Who makes?
112. But how, unless the Father knew Him to be His true Son, should He commend to Him His will, for perfect co-operation, and His works, for perfect bringing in out in actuality? Seeing that the Son worketh the works which the Father doeth, and that the Son quickens whom He will,205 as it is written, He is then equal in power and free in respect of His will. And thus is the Unity maintained, forasmuch as God’s power consists in that the Godhead is proper to each Person, and freedom lies not in any difference, but in unity of will.
113. The apostles, being storm-tossed in the sea, as soon as they saw the waters leaping up round their Lord’s feet, and beheld His fearless footsteps on the water, as He walked amid the raging waves of the sea, and the ship, which was beaten upon by the waves, had rest as soon as Christ entered it, and they saw the waves and the winds obeying Him,—then, though as yet they did not believe in their hearts they believed Him to be God’s true Son, saying, “Truly Thou art the Son of God.”206
114. To the same effect the confession of the centurion, and others who were with him, when the foundations of the world were shaken at the Lord’s Passion,—and this, heretic, thou deniest! The centurion said, “Truly this was the Son of God.”207 “Was” said the centurion—“Was not” says the Arian. The centurion, then, with bloodstained hands, but devout mind, declares both the truth and the eternity of Christ’s generation; and thou, O heretic deniest its truth, and makest it matter of time! Would that thou hadst imbued thy hands rather than thy soul! But thou, unclean even of hand, and murderous of intent, seekest Christ’s death, so far as in thee lies, seeing that thou thinkest of Him as mean and weak; nay, and this is a worse sin, thou, albeit the Godhead can feel no wound, still wouldst do thy diligence to slay in Christ, not His Body, but His Glory.
115. We cannot then doubt that He is very God, Whose true Godhead even executioners believed in and devils confessed. Their testimony we require not now, but it is withal greater than your blasphemies. We have called them in to witness, to put you to the blush, whilst we have also cited the oracles of God, to the end that you should believe.
116. The Lord proclaimeth by the mouth of Isaiah: “In the mouth of them that serve Me shall a new name be called upon, which shall be blessed over all the earth, and they shall bless the true God, and they who swear upon earth shall swear by the true God.”208 These words, I say, Isaiah spake when he saw God’s Glory, and thus in the Gospel it is plainly said that he saw the Glory of Christ and spoke of Him.209
117. But hear again what Jn the Evangelist hath written in his Epistle, saying: “We know that the Son of God hath appeared, and hath given us discernment, to know the Father, and to be in His true Son Jesus Christ, our Lord. He is very God, and Life Eternal.”210 Jn calls Him true Son of God and very God. If, then, He be very God, He is surely uncreate, without spot of lying or deceit, having in Himself no confusion, nor unlikeness to His Father.
The errors of the Arians are mentioned in the Nicene Definition of the Faith, to prevent their deceiving anybody. These errors are recited, together with the anathema pronounced against them, which is said to have been not only pronounced at Nicaea, but also twice renewed at Ariminum.
118). Christ, therefore, is “God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten of the Father, not made; of one substance with the Father.”119. So, indeed, following the guidance of the Scriptures, our fathers declared, holding, moreover, that impious doctrines should be included in the record of their decrees, in order that the unbelief of Arius should discover itself, and not, as it were, mask itself with dye or face-paint.211 For they give a false colour to their thoughts who dare not unfold them openly. After the manner of the censor’s rolls, then, the Arian heresy is not discovered by name,212 but marked out by the condemnation pronounced, in order that he who is curious and eager to hear it should be preserved from falling by knowing that it is condemned already, before he hears, it set forth to the end that he should believe.
120. “Those,” runs the decree, “who say that there was a time when the Son of God was not, and that before He was born He was not, and who say that he was made out of nothing, or is of another substance or ousia,213 or that He is capable of changing, or that with Him is any shadow of turning,—them the Catholic and Apostolic Church declares accursed.”
121. Your sacred Majesty has agreed that they who utter such doctrines are rightly condemned. It was of no determination by man, of no human counsel, that three hundred and eighteen bishops met, as I showed above more at length,214 in Council, but that in their number the Lord Jesus might prove, by the sign of His Name and Passion, that He was in the midst, where His own were gathered together.215 In the number of three hundred was the sign of His Cross, in that of eighteen was the sign of the Name Jesus.
122. This also was the teaching of the First Confession in the Council of Ariminum, and of the Second Correction, after that Council. Of the Confession, the letter sent to the Emperor Constantine beareth witness, and the Council that followed declares the Correction.216
06119 Arius is charged with the first of the above-mentioned errors, and refuted by the testimony of St. John. The miserable death of the Heresiarch is described, and the rest of his blasphemous errors are one by one examined and disproved.
123). Arius, then, says: “There was a time when the Son of God existed not,” but Scripture saith: “He was,” not that “He was not.” Furthermore, St. Jn has written: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.”217 Observe how often the verb “was” appears, whereas “was not” is nowhere found. Whom, then, are we to believe?—St. John, who lay on Christ’s bosom, or Arius, wallowing amid the outgush of his very bowels?—so wallowing that we might understand how Arius in his teaching showed himself like unto Judas, being visited with like punishment.
124. For Arius’ bowels also gushed out—decency forbids to say where—and so he burst asunder in the midst, falling headlong, and besmirching those foul lips wherewith he had denied Christ. He was rent, even as the Apostle Peter said of Judas, because he bought a field with the price of evil-doing, and falling headlong he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out."218 It was no chance manner of death, seeing that like wickedness was visited with like punishment, to the end that those who denied and betrayed the same Lord might likewise undergo the same torment.
125. Let us pass on to further points. Arius says: “Before He was born, the Son of God was not,” but the Scripture saith that all things are maintained in existence by the Son’s office. How, then, could He, Who existed not, bestow existence upon others? Again, when the blasphemer uses the words “when” and “before,” he certainly uses words which are marks of time. How, then, do the Arians deny that time was ere the Son was, and yet will have things created in time to exist before the Son, seeing that the very words, “when,” “before,” and “did not exist once,” announce the idea of time?
126. Arius says that the Son of God came into being out of nought. How, then, is He Son of God—how was He begotten from the womb of the Father—how do we read of Him as the Word spoken of the heart’s abundance, save to the end that we should believe that He came forth, as it is written, from the Father’s inmost, unapproachable sanctuary? Now a son is so called either by means of adoption or by nature, as we are called sons by means of adoption.219 Christ is the Son of God by virtue of His real and abiding nature. How, then, can He, Who out of nothing fashioned all things, be Himself created out of nothing?
127. He who knows not whence the Son is hath not the Son. The Jews therefore had not the Son, for they knew not whence He was. Wherefore the Lord said to them: “Ye know not whence I came;”220 and again: “Ye neither have found out Who I am, nor know My Father,” for he who denies that the Son is of the Father knows not the Father, of Whom the Son is; and again, he knows not the Son, because he knows not the Father.
128. Arius says: “[The Son is] of another Substance.” But what other substance is exalted to equality with the Son of God, so that simply in virtue thereof He is Son of God? Or what right have the Arians for censuring us because we speak, in Greek, of the ousia, or in Latin, of the Substantia of God, when they themselves, in saying that the Son of God is of another “Substance,” assert a divine Substantia.
129. Howbeit, should they desire to dispute the use of the words “divine Substance” or “divine Nature,” they shall easily be refuted, for Holy Writ oft-times hath spoken of ousia in Greek, or Substantia in Latin, and St. Peter, as we read, would have us become partakers in the divine Nature. But if they will have it that the Son is of another “Substance,” they with their own lips confute themselves, in that they both acknowledge the term “Substance,” whereof they are so afraid, and rank the Son on a level with the creatures above which they feign to exalt Him.
130. Arius calls the Son of God a creature, but “not as the rest of the creatures.” Yet what created being is not different from another? Man is not as angel, earth is not as heaven, the sun is not as water, nor light as darkness. Arius’ preference, therefore, is empty—he hath but disguised with a sorry dye his deceitful blasphemies, in order to take the foolish.
131. Arius declares that the Son of God may change and swerve. How, then, is He God if He is changeable, seeing that He Himself hath said: “I am, I am, and I change not”?221
1 (1R 10,1,
2 (1R 5,1,
3 “By santification is meant the grace of regeneration, which com prises virtues inspired, including both the habit of faith and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Now these support especially the innocent soul, so that with pious affection it nurses the doctrine revealed to it, is inclined thereto, loves it, takes it to itself, and advances in it.”—Hurter ad loc. The Emperor’s constant zeal in defence of the Faith against the Arians is to be regarded as due to his habit of faith and to the gifts of the Spirit. The citation is from Jeremiah 1,5.
4 (Gn 14,14 ff.
5 The original form of the Cross was that of the letter T. The numerical value of the sign T (Tau), in Greek arithmetic was 300. Eighteen was represented by ih, the first two letters of the name ’Ihsou", Jesus. To St. Ambrose, therefore, it seemed that there was some mysterious power in the number 318, represented by the sign of the Cross and the first two letters of the Saviour’s name, thus —TIH.
6 Jos 6,6.
7 Jos 6,13 f.
8 sc. from Scripture.
9 See the note 2 on §3. St. Ambrose is here speaking of the Oecumenical Council held at Nicaea in Bithynia, a.d. 325. Different accounts are given of the numbers present). Eusebius says there were 250 bishops in the Council; Athanasius and Socrates, “more than 300;” Sozomen “about 320.” The number 318, however, is also given by Athanasius as well as by Theodoret and Epiphanius. See Robertson’s History of the Church, Bk. II. ch. 1,The victory over the infidel is, of course, the victory of the orthodox Catholics over Arius, and the Nicene Symbol may be regarded as the “trophy” commemorating the victory, the reality of which lay in getting the clause “of one substance with the Father” (omoousion tw Parri) subscribed to. The original Nicene Creed, it may be useful to observe, was not exactly the same in form as the sym bol which now is generally known by that name, and which is part of the Eucharistic office of the English Church. This latter is an enlargement of the original, and it appears to have been in use for a considerable time (not less than seventy years) before it was produced at the Council of Chalcedon in 451. It obtained general acceptance by the middle of the sixth century. Towards the end of that century (589 a.d.) an additional clause, proclaiming the proces sion of the Holy Ghost from the Son as well as the Father, was in serted at the Council of Toledo. This insertion was repudiated by the Church in the East, and became one of the causes of the separation of Eastern from Western Christendom.
10 Or “Gentiles.” The Christians regarded themselves as placed in the world much as the Hebrews had been planted in the midst of the “nations round about.”
11 The Latin word is natura, which, at first sight, seems less ab struse and metaphysical than the Greek ousia, or upostasi", or the Latin essentia and substantia, though it is not really so. A man’s natura, nature, is what he is at and from the beginning; “change of nature” means not an absolute change, but a reformation, a new guidance and treatment of tendencies, passions, powers—some receiving a precedence denied them before, others being suppressed and put in subjection. So God’s “nature” is what He is from and to all eternity, in Himself, unchangingly and unchangeably.
12 Lit. “the nations”—gentes, ta eqnh. The Romans of the Republic used to speak of foreign peoples—especially if subject to kings—as gentes exteroe, in contradistinction to the Populus Romanus. St. Ambrose of course means those who still clung to the ancient religions, who were foreigners to the commonwealth (res publica) of the Church.
13 The original is ante tempora—“before the ages”—"before time was.’ Cf. 1Co 8,6 (prwtotoko" pash" ktisew"—“first-born of all creation,” which Justin Martyr interprets as meaning pro pantwn twn ktismatwn—“before all created things.”) . Justin Martyr, Apology, II. 6; Dialogue with Tryphon, 61). Tempora answers to the Greek aiwne", rendered “worlds” in He 1,2.
14 Sabellius was a presbyter in the Libyan Pentapolis (Barca), who came to Rome and there ventilated his heretical teaching, early in the third century, a.d. (about 210). He appears to have maintained that there was no real distinction of Persons in the Godhead. God, he said, was one individual Person: when different divine Persons were spoken of, no more was meant than different aspects of, or the assumption of different parts by, the same subject. Sabellius thus started from the ordinary usages of the term proswron as denoting (1) a mask, (2) a character or part in a drama. The Latin persona was used in the same way. Sabellianism never counted many adherents; its professors were called Patripassians, because their doctrine was tantamount to asserting that God the Father was crucified.
15 Photinus was a Galatian, who became Bishop of Sirmium (Mitrovitz in Slavonia) in the fourth century. He taught that Jesus Christ did not exist before His mother Mary, but was begotten of her by Joseph. The man Jesus, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting, was enlightened and guided by the influence of the Logos, or Divine Reason, whereby He became the Son of God, preeminent over all other prophets and teachers.
16 Arius was a presbyter of Alexandria; the origin of his heresy, however, is, as Cardinal Newman has shown, to be sought in Syria rather than in Egypt, in the sophistic method of the Antiochene schools more than in the mysticism of the Alexandrian. It was in the year 319 that Arius began to attract attention by his heterodox teaching, which led eventually to his excommunication. He found favour, however, with men of considerable importance in the Church, such as Eusebius of Caesarea in Palestine, Eusebius of Nicomedia, Athanasius of Anazarbus, and others. The question was finally discussed in a synod of bishops convened, on the summons of the Emperor Constantine, at Nicaea in Bithynia. The acts of that Council condemned Arianism—notwithstanding which, the heresy prevailed in the East till the reign of Theodosius the Great (379–395 a.d.); and having won the acceptance of the Goths, it was predominant in Gaul and Italy during the fifth century, and in Spain till the Council of Toledo (589 a.d.), and its influence affected Christian thought for centuries afterwards—possibly it is not even yet dead.
Arius urged the following dilemma: “Either the Son is an original Divine Essence; if so we must acknowledge two Gods. Or He was created, formed, begotten; if so, He is not God in the same sense as the Father is God.” Arius himself chose the latter alternative, which St. Ambrose regarded as a lapse into paganism, with its “gods many and lords many,” dii majores and dii minores, and divinities begotten of gods and goddesses.
Arius’s errors are summarized in the anathema appended to the original Nicene Creed. “But those who say that there was a time when the Son of God was not, or that He had no existence before He was begotten, or that He was formed of things non-existent, or who assert that the Son of God is of a different substance or essence, or is created, mutable, or variable, these men the Catholic and Apostolic Church of God holds accursed.”
17 Compare Ep 1,21 Col 1,16. Hierarchies of “Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Virtues, Powers,” were characteristic features of the Gnostic systems of the second century. The Gnostics generally thought that the world had been created by an inferior, secondary, limitary power, identified with the God of the Old Testament, whom they distinguished from the true Supreme God.
18 The A.V. of 1611 runs thus: “Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord” (Jahveh our God is one Jahveh).
19 (Ex 3,15,
20 “Ego Dominus; hoe est nomen meum.”— Vulg., Is. 42,8. “I am the Lord, that is My name.”—A.V. 1611, ibid.
21 The word Qeo", “God,” is derived by most authorities from qeasqai, which means “to look upon.” Here we have another derivation suggested, viz., from deo", “fear,” on this ground that God inspires fear.—H. Neither derivation is correct. The best perhaps is given by Herodotus (II. 52), viz., from the verb tiqhmi, to place, set, array, the idea being that God is the principal of all order and law).
22 S. Mt 28,19.
23 A similar argument in Ga 3,16.
24 S. Jn 10,30.
25 Cf. S. Mt 5,48.
26 Athanasian Creed, clause 4.
27 Or “perfect fulness of Divinity, and perfect unity of power.”
28 S. Mt 12,25.
29 S. Mt 7,21.
30 (Ps 69,9 Jn 2,17,
31 S. Jn 15,16 Lc 11,9-10.
32 S. Jn 16,23-24, and Jn 14,14 Mt 7,7-8 Mc 11,24.
33 S. Jn 5,19 Jn 5,30.
34 S. Jn 1,3.
35 Vide, e.g., Ps 25,8 Jr 10,10 Jc 1,17-18 Da 9,9-10 Lc 1,37.
36 (Da 9,7 Ex 34,6,
37 See Jc 1,13 Lc 18,27.
38 S. Jn 1,1 Jn 1,14 Jn 20,31 Rm 1,4 Mt 28,18 1Co 1,24 Col 2,3).
39 Begetter and begotten must be personally distinct.
40 (Col 1,19 Col 2,9,
41 (Ac 4,32,
42 (1Co 6,17,
43 (Gn 2,24 Mt 10,8,
44 (Ac 17,26 Ga 3,28,
45 (Rm 3,2 Ac 7,38, Hebrew word translated “burden” in the A.V.— Ac e Is 13,1 — may be rendered “oracle.” The “oracles” of the Hebrew prophets were of different order from those of Delphi or Lebadeia, which are rather comparable to the “oracles” of such persons as the witch of Endor.
46 Or “the Lord of Hosts.” Cf. Is 6,3, and the Te Deum, verse 5 (the Trisagion).
47 (Is 45,14, Ambrose’s version differs somewhat from the A.V.
48 S. Jn 14,10.
49 S. Jn 14,10.
50 Latin proprietas, Greek oikeioth".
51 (Is 45,18 1Co 8,4 1Co 8,6
52 or “Jehovah in Jehovah.”
53 S. Mt 6,24.
54 (Dt 6,4,
55 (Gn 19,24,
56 Gn 1,6-7,
57 Gn 1,26-27,
58 Nicene Creed.
59 (Ps 45,in Bible and Prayer-book.
60 (Ps 45,6,
61 (Ps 45,7).
62 S. Jn 10,38 Jn 14,11.
63 1Co 8,6. The Greek runs: “eie qe o sopathr, ex ou ta panta kai hmei" si" auton.” Vulg.—"Nobis tamen unus Deus Pater, ex quo omnia et nos in illum.
64 (Ps 100
65 The original is “non est Deus proeter te—per proprietatem substantioe.” It must be remembered St. Ambrose was a civil magistrate before he was made bishop. His mind would be disposed therefore to regard things under a legal aspect.
66 (1Co 1,27, “peasant” is Jeremiah. See Jr 24., but the prophet is not there spoken of as planting figs. The quotation in §28 is .
67 “In Jewry is God known.”— Ps 76,1. Yet they deny the Son, and therefore know not the Father.— Mt 11,27. Cf. S. Jn 1,18.
68 The Spirit here spoken of is, according to Hurter’s interpretation, not the Third Person of the Trinity, but the Triune God, Who is a Spirit (Jn 4,24 2Co 3,17).
69 Hymns A. and M. 76, stanza 4).
70 (Ph 2,7,
71 (Ap 1,16 Ap 22,16, S. Mt ii. Nb 24,17,
72 (Da 4,17,
73 (Da 4,22,
74 (Os 14,5 Os 14,
75 (Da 4,28,
76 S. Lc 22,43.
77 (Da 4,25, the number of the three children was shadowed forth the number of Persons in the Trinity, whilst in the Angel, who was one, was.shown the Unity of power or nature. In another way, too, St. Ambrose points out, was the Trinity typified in that event, inasmuch as God was praised, the Angel of God was present, and the Spirit, or the Grace of God spake in the children.—H.
78 In the original Catholic, i.e. “Catholics.” Heresies might become widespread—the Arian heresy, indeed, counted numerous adherents in the fourth, fifth, and sixth centuries—but they took their rise in some member or other of the ecclesiastical body, in some one of the many local churches which together made up the one oecumenical church. On the other hand, the primitive teaching, received from the apostolic age, had been delivered without difference in every place to which it had penetrated. It was acknowledged and established before sects and heresies; its original was divine, theirs only human; it rested on the rock of Christ’s authority, speaking through His apostles, whilst they were built on the sands of preeminence in sophistry and captious interpretation; it was for all times and places, therefore, but they were only for a season. In this belief those who clave to the teaching of the apostles claimed for themselves the name of “Catholics,” and for the oecumenical church of which they were members that of “Catholic and Apostolic.” To avoid any misunderstanding, I have used the term “orthodox,” which will stand very well for “Catholic,” inasmuch as “the right faith” is for all, without difference, to hold—in a word, universal, or, as it is in Greek, kaq olou (whence kaqoliko", Catholicus, Catholic).
79 It would constitute an insult, as suggesting that the man was a bastard, or supposititious.
80 Thus the Arians were anathematized by the Nicene Council as “those who say that there was a time when the Son of God was not.”
81 The original was: “Cum conditor ipse sit temporum,” which, rendered more closely word for word, is, “whereas He Himself is the ordainer of times,” or “ages.” The Latin tempora is the equivalent of the Greek aiwne", which is commonly rendered “worlds” in the A.V. of the New Testament, e.g. He 1,2 Rm 12,2 1Co 1,20 1Co 2,6 1Co 2. But aiwn also means “age”—“for ever and ever” is the rendering of ei" aiwna" aiwnwn (“unto ages of ages”) or ei" ton aiwna. The term denotes the world as a complex, the parts of which are presented to us in succession of time, from which notion is derived its use to denote a selection of the parts so presented, collectively termed an “age” or “time.” Another word rendered “world” in the N.T. is kosmo", which frequently occurs in St. John; and St. Paul also has it, in conjunction with aiwn in Ep 2,2. “According to the course (aiwna) of this world (kosmou).” Kosmo" means the world as an ordered whole, as opposed to a chaos. The use of “world” to translate both kosmo" and aiwn may be justified on the ground that we cannot think of time void of objects and events, whilst, on the other hand, we know not—at least, have never observed—any objects and events not in time. For us “time” is a necessary form of thought.
82 The Arians asserted that the Son had no existence before He was begotten and that He was “formed out of nothing” or “out of things non-existent;” i.e. that He owed His existence to the Father’s absolute fiat, just as much as the light (Gn 1,3). Furthermore, the Son’s will was mutable; He might have fallen like Satan. The Father, foreseeing that the Son would not fall, bestowed on Him the titles of “Son” and “Logos.”
83 Arius’ arguments against believing in Christ as the Almighty Power of God were based on the N.T. records of Christ’s agony and prayer in view of death, which he thought must imply, not only changeableness of will, but also limitation of power. Had Christ been omnipotent, like the Father, He would bare had no fears for Himself, but would rather have imparted strength to others.
84 Arius’ teaching on this head appears to be fairly enough represented by Athanasius: “When God, being purposed to establish created Nature, saw that it could not bear the immediate touch of the Father’s hand, and His operation, He in the first place made and created a single Being only, and called Him ‘Son0’ and ‘Logos0’ to the end that by His intermediate ministry all things might henceforth be brought into existence.” Contra Arianos, Oratio II. §24).
85 Christ, according to the Arians, was not truly God, though He was called God. Again, He was only so called in virtue of communication of grace from the Father. Thus He obtained His title and dignity, though the name of God was used, in speaking of Him in a transference, such as we find in Ps 82,6; though Christ’s claim to such a title far transcended any other.
86 S. Jn 10,30.
87 (Nb 23,19,
88 It would, I think, be unfair to construe this passage into an absolute condemnation of all the results of human activity, arrived at without any conscious dependence on what we mean by revelation. We must remember, too, what “philosophy” was in the world into which St. Paul was born. It was no longer the golden age of philosophic activity—with the exception of Stoicism, there was hardly a school which exerted any elevating moral influence. Besides, the “philosophy” of which St. Paul was especially thinking when he wrote tile passage cited (Col 3,8, 9) was hardly worthy of the name. It was one of the earliest forms of Gnosticism, and among other practices inculcated worship of angels i.e. of created beings—“Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Virtues, Powers.” See . Such “philosophies,” falsely so-called, would tend to bring philosophy in general into disfavour with the teachers of the Church. Yet we find Eusebius, in the fourth century, calling the Faith “the true philosophy” (H. E. IV. 8). The adoption of the term to denote what St. Luc called “the way” (Ac 19,23) appears to have been due to the action of apologists like Justin Martyr, who set themselves to meet the wise of this world with their own weapons, on their own ground.
89 The original conception of Dialectic, as exhibited, for instance, in Plato’s Republic, hardly answers to this. According to Plato, the aim of Dialectic, so far from being destructive, was distinctly edifying. The Dialectic method, as its name implies, was one which took the external form of question and answer. It had a definite, positive object, viz., tile attainment by force of pure reason to the clear vision of the Absolute Good, the ultimate cause of knowledge and existence. The sphere of Dialectic was pure reason, then, and its object the ultimate truth of things. (Republic, VII. p. 532). The method which St. Ambrose here calls “Dialectic” would have been more correctly entitled “Elenchus.”
90 (1Co 4,20 1Co 2,4-5,
91 Eunomius, at one time Bishop of Cyzicus, came into prominence about 355 a.d. Like Arius, he taught that the Son was a creature, though the first and most perfect of God’s creatures; His office being to guide other creatures to knowledge of the source of their existence. Religion then in his view consisted in a right and complete intellectual apprehension of a metaphysical principle, and no more. The generation of the Son he regarded as an event in time, not supra-temporal. The point where Eunomius went beyond Arius was the assertion of the comprehensibility for the human mind of the Divine Essence. Those, he said, who declared God to be in His Essence incomprehensible, who taught that He could only know in part and by token, preached an unknown God, and denied all possible knowledge of God, and therefore, since without knowledge of God there could be no Christianity, did not even deserve the name of Christians.
92 Aëtius was Eunomius’ teacher. He became Bishop of Antioch, the see of which was secured for him by the Arian Eudoxius, who obtained Cyzicus for Eunomius. Aetius and Eunomius were, however, deposed about a.d. 360.
93 Demophilus was Bishop of Constantinople under Valens (d. 378 a.d.), but on the accession of Theodosius the Great lie was compelled to resign the see, which was given to Gregory of Nazianzus.
94 (1Co 1,13).
95 Hercules found it impossible to slay the Hydro (a monster water snake) of the Lernean marshes by merely striking off its head, inasmuch as whenever one was cut off, two immediately grew in its place. He was compelled to sear the wound with fire. One of the heads was immortal, and Hercules could only dispose of it by crushing it under a huge rock.
96 For Scylla and Charybdis, see Homer, Odyss. XI.; Virgil, Aen. III. 424 f. The strait, bestrewed with wreckage of the faith (1Tm 1,19) corresponds to the strait between the rock of Scylla and the whirlpool Charybdis. In order to avoid the latter, mariners were compelled to pass close under the former, whereupon the monster darted out and seized them, dragging them out of a ship as an angler whips a fish out of water (Odyss. XI. 251–255). The language of this passage shows plainly that St. Ambrose, in writing it, drew freely upon Virgil.
97 (Si 28,28,
98 (Ph 3,2,
99 (Tt 3,10-11,
100 Virgil, Aen. III. 692 f. (Aeneas’ coast-voyage routed Sicily).
101 i. e., of His Sonship. St. Ambrose refers to Col 1,15.
102 (He 1,2,
103 (Ps 36,9,
104 Ap 7,26.
105 Cf. S. Jn 12,45.
106 The brightness or effulgence of a body lasts as long as that body exists; seeing, then, that the Father is eternal, the Son, Who is His brightness, must be eternal also (H)..
107 S. .
108 Or “He who beholds the Father in the Son, beholds Him in a portrait.”
109 Christ the Truth: S. ). Righteousness: Jr 33,16 Jr 23,6 1Co 1,30). Power of God: 1Co 1,24.
110 Christ the Word: S. ). Wisdom: 1Co 1,24 1Co 1,30). Lift and Resurrection: S. Jn 11,25).
111 (Gn 1,26,
112 (2Jn 3,2,
113 The Father.
114 The Son.
115 (Is 43,10,
116 This holds good also of human fatherhood and sonship. The terms of a relation involve each the existence of the other—no father, no son, and equally, no son, no father.
117 S. Jn 1,1 f. St. Ambrose notices especially the quadruple “was” as unmistakably signifying the Son’s eternity. We may also notice the climax “The Word was in the beginning. …was with God . …was God.”
118 (1Jn 1,1,
119 Hurter cites similar passages from the Fathers of the Church, proving the Son’s pre-existence and eternity. “What is the force of those words ‘In the beginning0’? Centuries are o’erleaped, ages are swallowed up. Take any beginning you will, yet you cannot include it in time, for that, whence time is reckoned, already was.”—Hilary.
“Although the word ‘was0’ contains the notion of time past, frequently with a beginning, here it must be understood without the thought of a beginning, inasmuch as the text runs ‘was in the beginning.0’”—Victorinus.
If we render the Greek en arch and the Latin in principio by “at the beginning,” in place of the phrase used in the A. V. “in the beginning,” we shall perhaps better apprehend its full force and understand these Patristic interpretations.
Other passages cited by Hurter are:
“Thought cannot escape the dominion of the word ‘was,0’ nor can the imagination pass beyond the ‘beginning,0’ for however far back you press in thought, you find no point where the ‘was0’ ceases to hold away, and however diligently you set yourself to see what is beyond the Son, you will not any the more be able to get to aught above the beginning.”—Basil.
“For this which was, without any beginning of existence, was truly at the beginning, for if it had begun to be, it would not have been ‘at the beginning,0’ whereas that in which absolute existence without beginning is essential, is truly spoken of as existing ‘at the beginning.0’ And so the Evangelist in saying ‘In the beginning was the Word0’ said much the same as if he had said ‘The Word was in eternity.0’”—Fulgentius.
“If the Word Was, the Word was not made: if the Word was made, He was not” [absolutely existent]. “But since He ‘was0’ He was not made: for whatsoever already is and subsists and so is ‘in the beginning0’ cannot be said to become or to have been made.”—Cyril.
"Nothing before a beginning, so the beginning be one really and truly, for of a beginning there can in no way be any beginning, and if anything else before it is supposed or arises, it ceases to be a true beginning).
“If the Word was ‘in the beginning,0’ what mind, I would ask, can prevail against the power of that verb ‘was0’? When, indeed, will that verb find its limit, and there, as it were, come to a halt, seeing that it even eludes the pursuit of thought and outstrips the fleetness of the mind.”—Cyril.
120 The Arian teaching concerning the Son was—hn pote ote ouk hn.AEAE “There was a time when He was not.” This, St. Ambrose says, is irreconcilable with St. John’s en arch hn o logo". “The Word was ‘in0’ or ‘at the beginning.0’”
121 Sabellianism reduced the distinction of three Persons in the Godhead to a distinction of several aspects of the same Person. They did not “divide the substance,” but they “confounded the Persons.”
122 Non in prolatione sermonis hoc Verbum est. That is to say, the Divine Word or Logos was not such in the sense of logo" proforiko"—i.e. uttered spoken word, and so a creature, but rather in the sense of logo" endiaqeto"—the inherent eternal object of the Divine Consciousness.
Cf. Eunomius (v. s. §44), was a leading Arian teacher. The argument levelled against him here would also have been fitly directed against Arius himself.
123 The heresy of Manes or Maul made its first appearance in Persia, in the reign of Shapur I. (240–272 a.d.). According to the Persian historian Mirkhond, Mani was a member of an ancient priestly house which had preserved the holy fire and the religion of Zoroaster during the dark age of Parthian domination. He attracted the notice of Shapur by pretensions to visions and prophetic powers, and sought to establish himself as another Daniel at the Persian Court. When the king, however, discovered Mani’s hostility to the established Zoroastrianism and the Magian hierarchy, the prophet was obliged to flee. Northern India appears to have been Mani’s refuge for a season, and thence, after some years of retirement, he reappeared, with an illustrated edition of his doctrines, composed and executed, as he said, by divine hands. Shapur was now dead and his successor Hormuz (272–274) was favourably disposed to Mani. But Hormuz only reigned two years, and was succeeded by a king who was a sworn foe to the new doctrine. Mani was challenged to a public disputation by the Magi. The king presided, so that Mani doubtless knew from the first what the issue would be. He was rayed alive, but he left numerous converts, and his death, which cast a certain halo of martyrdom around him, and their sufferings in persecution, really proved—as in the case of Christianity—conducive to the spread of Manichaean doctrine. The fundamental principle of Mani’s system was Dualism—the opposition of mind and matter, and the hypothesis of two co-eternal co-existent powers of good and of evil. In opposition to the Divine Essence, the Good Principle, was placed uncreated Evil, and thus the problem of sin and evil was solved. The purposes of creation and redemption were, in the Manichaean view, entirely self-seeking on the part of the Deity. The world was created by God, not out of free love, but out of the wish to protect Himself against evil, embodied in matter, which in its essence is chaotic. Redemption was the rescue of particles of the ethereal Light, buried amidst the gross darkness of matter, and yet leavening and informing it. Christ was identified with the Divine Principle and the sufferings of His members, the particles of divine Light buried in matter, were the Crucifixion, thus represented as an age-long agony. Jesus Christ was “crucified in the whole world.” Mani adopted the story of Eden, but he represented the eating of the fruit of the tree of knowledge not as the cause of Man’s fall, but as the first step in redemption, for Jehovah, the God of the Old Testament, was not the true God, but the evil Demon, from whose tyranny man had to be rescued. In order to attain salvation, the body, material and therefore essentially evil, must be mortified and starved. Man really fell when Eve tempted him to indulge fleshly lust, not when he ate the forbidden fruit. The stricter sort of the Manichaeans practised a severe asceticism, abstaining from flesh meat and marriage. They would not even grind corn or make bread, for in grain there was life—i.e. an emanation of the Divine Light—though they would eat bread, quieting their conscience, however, by saying before they took it, “It was not I who reaped or ground the corn to make this bread.” At the end of time they held the world was to be destroyed by fire, but matter being, on the Manichaean hypothesis, eternal, the proper inference appears to be that the conflict of Light and Chaotic Darkness would recommence, and proceed usque ad infinitum. The Manichaean system was a strange eclectic farrago, embodying, in chimerical monstrosity, features of Zoroastrianism, Judaism (in so far as the story of Eden was taken over), Gnosticism (appearing in the theory that Jehovah was the Demon and that the eating of forbidden fruit did not cause the Fall), Christianity, and Pantheism (the last, doubtless, an importation from Hindostan). The disciples of the school made their way into the Roman Empire, and we find them, 150 years after the death of Mani, opposed by Augustine of Hippo, who indeed had at one time actually numbered himself amongst them.
124 Time. We should take this term in its fullest meaning, as signifying all that exists in time—the created universe, and all that therein has been, and is, and is to come).
125 The Arians fell into the popular error of supposing that a father, as a father, existed before his son. They also required men to apply to Divine Persons, what only holds good of human beings—to impose on the Being of God those limits to which human existences (as objective facts) are subjected. The existence of the Divine Father and the Divine Son is without, beyond, above time—with the Godhead there is neither past nor future, but an everlasting present. But with man, time-categories are necessary forms of thought—everything is seen as past, present, or to come—and to the human consciousness all objects are presented in time, though the spiritual principle in man which perceives objects as related in succession, is itself supra-temporal, beholding succession, but not itself in succession.
Now it can hardly be denied with any show of reason that a man is not a father until his son begins to exist, is born, though the father, as a person distinct from his son, is in existence before the latter. Again, father and son must be of the same nature—they must both possess the elementary, essential attributes of humanity. Otherwise there is no fatherhood no sonship, properly speaking.
God has revealed Himself as a Father—even in the pagan mythologies we see the idea of Fatherhood implicit in Godhead. If the gods of the heathen did not beget after their kind, they begat heroes and demigods. But created existences cannot claim to be the first and proper object of the Divine Father’s love. They are for a time only, and with them Eternal Love could not be satisfied. If God be a true Father, then, He must beget His Like—His Son must be equal to Him in nature, that is, what is true of the Father, what is essential in the Father, as God, must be true or essential in the Son also. Therefore the son must be divine, eternal. But the generation (gennhsi") of the Son is not an event in time. It is a fact, a truth, out of, beyond time, belonging to the divine and eternal and spiritual, not to the temporal and created, order. “To whom amongst the angels does He ever say, Thou art My Son; this day have I begotten Thee? and again, I will be a Father to Him, and He shall be a Son to Me? when, again, He brings His first-be-gotten into the world” (i.e., reveals Him to the created universe as its King), He says: “And let all God’s angels worship Him” (He i. 5–6). Since the Divine Son, then, is eternal, even as the Divine Father, the one cannot be before or after the other; the two Persons are co-existent, co-eternal, co-equal. And the mysterious genesis, also, is not an event that happened once, taking place in a series of events, it is ever happening, it is always and for ever.
126 i.e., how do you deal with such Scriptures as “Thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.”—“I am the Lord: I change not, therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.”—“The Father of lights, with Whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”
127 S. Jn 5,23.
128 (Rm 1,20 —“His eternal power and Godhead.” —“We preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling-block and to the Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are called, and to none other, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.”
129 (Ps 145,3,
130 S. Jn 14,6.
131 S. Mt 17,5 Mc 9,7 Lc 9,35).
132 (Ps 119,89,
133 (Ps 139,5,
134 (Ph 4,7, better-known version “The peace of God” is supported by stronger ms. authority.
135 Cf. Is 6,2 Ex 3,6. But perhaps the reference is to —“If I beheld the sun when it shined, or the moon walking in brightness, and my heart hath been secretly enticed, and my mouth hath kissed my hand, this also were an iniquity to be punished by the judge, for I should have denied the God that is above.” Another passage to which reference may be made is Jb 40,4 — “Behold, I am vile, what shall I answer thee? I will lay my hand on my mouth.”
136 (2Co 12,2–5.
137 The analogy, as made by the Arians, certainly was open to St. Ambrose’s censure. We should remember, however, that a man is not properly a father until his child is born.
138 St. Ambrose perhaps thought that the curse laid upon human conception and birth (Gn 3,16) displayed itself as well in the initial as in the final stages.
139 Questionum tormenta. The use of racks and such-like machines (tormenta, fr). torqueo—wist) was resorted to, in the old Roman practice, in the examination (quoestio)of slaves.
140 The ref. is perhaps to Is 49,5.
141 1S 13,14 2S 7,21.
142 (Ps 98,2.
143 (Ps 27,9,
144 Without suffering any change in Himself.
145 S. Jn 5,20.
146 S. Mt 3,17 Mc 1,11 Lc 3,22.
147 S. Jn 5,22-23 Jn 3,35 Jn 17,1-2 Jn 17,5.
148 S. Lc 23,36-37
149 (Ps 81,9-10
150 (Rm 9,5,
151 i.e. a priori determinations respecting any matter cannot be maintained if they are traversed by the statements of eye-witnesses and participators in the affair.
152 St. Ambrose here uses causa in the sense of causa efficiens—arch th" kinhsew").
153 Cf. Nicene Creed.
154 (Is 46,5,
155 (Nb 23,19,
156 (Ps 148,5 Ps 33,6,
157 (Gn 15,6,
158 (Ps 33,4,
159 (He 1,3,
160 (Da 3,25).
162 S. Mt 17,5.
163 S. .
164 S. Mt 17,8.
165 (Ex 3,14,
166 (Ac 7,38,
167 i.e., the pagans worship false gods, but they at least have the decency to regard them as a higher order than human creatures, and not to wilfully depreciate them.
168 proesens. Cf. Acts. 7,38—“lively oracles.”
169 S. Mc 16,15.
170 (Rm 8,20,
171 (Rm 8,21–22.
172 (2Co 3,17,
173 S. Jn 1,3.
174 (Ps 104,24,
175 (Ps 110,3,
176 (Col 1,15,
177 S. Jn 1,14.
178 (Is 53,8,
179 S. Jn 20,17. The “grace” of which St. Ambrose speaks is the grace of adoption. Jesus Christ is the Son of God fusei, we are sons uioqesia “by adoption.”
180 (Ps 22,1). Cf. S. Mt 27,46 Mc 15,24.
181 (Ps 22,11,
182 (Ga 4,4, Note p. 217).
183 (Ac 2,36). Cf. 1Jn 4,3.
184 (Pr 8,22, Note below.
185 The 22d in the Prayer-Book and Bible. See Ps 22,13 —compare S. Mt 27,36 Lc 23,35.
186 (Ps 22,19). Cf. S. Mt 27,35 Mc 15,24 Lc 23,34.
187 (Is 45,11, V.—“Ask me of things to come.” Vulgate, l.c. Ventura interrogate me.
188 1Tm 1,9 Pr 9,1 f.
189 S. Jn 7,37.
Note on Ga 4,4, cited in §94.—St. Ambrose has factum where St. Paul originally wrote genomenon, rendered “born” in the A.V. St. Paul designedly, perhaps, wrote genomenon, not gegennhqenta, the more usual word for “born.” For gignesqai is used to denote other modes of beginning to exist, besides that in which animals are brought into life; it is used of inanimate, as well as animate existence—e.g., Mc 4,37: “There ariseth (ginetai) a great storm of wind;” and thus we get the impersonal egeneto, “it came to pass,” simply signifying an order of events. The import, then, of the words factum ex muliere, genomenon ekgnnaiko", is that Christ, in being born in human form, “in the likeness of men,” subjected Himself to the limits of human existence, “came into being,” that is, in the sensual world. This was his self-emptying (Ph 2,7). Jesus, the man, the human person was made—“made man” (Nicene Creed)—was made “man of the substance of His mother” (Atlantas. Creed); but by this “making,” St. Ambrose points out, we must understand no more than the taking on of fleshly form. The Son, on the other hand, Who is God, never began to exist, as He will never cease; and even if He had not existed from eternity, He must have been pre-existent, in order to assume a fleshly form so that, in any case, birth of the Virgin does not affect His pre-existence as Son of God, whilst to say that He was ever “made” is to confound that birth with the Son’s generation of the Father, eternity with time, the divine with the human order, the self-existent with the created.
Note on Pr 8,22, cited in §96.—The A.V. is “The Lord possessed me,” and the Vulgate likewise Dominus possedit me. The Greek versions of the passage appear to have presented two readings.which might exhibit little difference to the eye in a closely-written ms., though the difference in meaning was by no, means small. The two readings were: (1) ektise me and (2) ekthsato me: the former meaning “founded,” “established,” or “created” me, the latter “acquired me.” The strict Greek equivalent of possedit (Vulgate) or “possessed” (A.V). would be ekekthto).
190 or “of the name of Father,” i.e., of all the consequences of that Name.
191 (Rm 1,24-25,
192 (Rm 1,1,
193 (Ps 33,9 Ps 148,5,
194 (Nb 14,21 Ps 72,19 Is 6,3 Za 14,9,
196 S. Jn 8,42.
197 S. Jn 16,27).
198 S. Jn 14,6.
199 (Rm 8,32,
200 (Ga 1,3-4,
201 (Ep 5,2,
202 (Si 24,3,
203 (Gn 1,26,
204 S. Jn 10,30.
205 S. Jn 5,19 Jn 5,21.
206 S. Mt 14,33.
207 S. Mt 27,54).
208 (Is 65,16,
209 S. Jn 12,41.
210 (Jn 5,20,
211 Fucus, the word used by St. Ambrose, denoted face-paint in general, but it seems to have also had the especial meaning of a red pigment, or rouge for the cheeks. The custom of face-painting was known of old in the East (2R ix. 30; Ez 23,40), whence, most probably, it passed into Greece—it was known, in Ionia at least, when the Odyssey was written (say 900 b.c.)—and thence to Rome. See Dict. Antiq. art. “Fucus.”
212 An allusion to the practice of the nota censoria. The censors, under the Republic, were vested with the power of appointing properly qualified citizens to vacancies in the Senate, and it was their duty to make up the roll of senators for each lustrum, or period of five years. Exclusion from the Senate was simply effected by omitting a senator’s name from the new list, and senators so “unseated” were called proeteriti, since their names had been passed over and not read out with the rest. The decrees of the Fathers of the Church laid down, as it were, the qualification for membership: all who came under the description established by these decrees were regarded as admitted—whilst those who, like the Arians, did not were tacitly excluded. Or we might say that the Anathema, appended to the Nicene symbol, excluded the Arians, not by name, but by description. In either way, the exclusion was tacit, like the censorial, in so far as no names were mentioned. In the case of exclusion from the Senate by the censors, it was understood that the reason for exclusion was grave immorality.
213 St. Ambrose has here rendered into Latin the anathema appended to the original Nicene Creed of 325 a.d. Notice “substance or ovsia.” The original is substantia vel ovsia. The closer Greek equivalent of substantia is upostasiz (found in He 1,3, and translated “person” in A.V)., whilst the Latin for ovsia is essentia (“essence”). St. Ambrose appears to regard ovsia as a proper equivalent of substantia, whence we may perhaps infer that he also identified ovsia and upostasi" in meaning. But some distinguished the two, using the term ovsia in the sense of “essence” or “substance” (i.e., the Godhead) and upostasi" in that of “person”—so that, according to them, there would be three “hypostases” in the unity of the Godhead.
214 Cf. §§3 and 5.
215 S. Mt 18,20).
216 The Council of Ariminum (Rimini on the Adriatic coast of Italy) was held in 359 a.d., Constantius being Emperor. “The Bishops who attended the Council of Ariminum,” observes Hurter, “to the number of more than 400, informed the Emperor that they had resolved to allow no change in what had been determined upon at Nicaea. This is the ‘first confession.0’ That great confession, however, was not maintained for long. Partly overawed by the Emperor partly deceived by the Arians, the Bishops agreed to strike out the words ‘substance0’ and ‘consubstantial.0’ After this came the ‘correction,0’ which Ambrose calls the ‘second,0’ being made either by those Bishops who, recognizing their error, withdrew the decrees of the Council held at riminum, or by the Councils that followed—namely, the Councils of Alexandria (presided over by Athanasius), of Paris (362 a.d.), and of Rome (held under Pope Damasus, in a.d. 369).”
217 S. .
218 (Ac 1,18, seems to have been carried off by a terrible attack of cholera or some kindred malady. See Newman, Arians of the Fourth Century, Ch. 3 and Robertson, History of the Christian Church, vol 1, 301–2, ed 1875
219 (1) “the word spoken,” etc.—Ps. xlv. 1). Eructavit cor meum verbum bonum.—Vulg). exhreuxato h kardia mou logon agaqon.—LXX. (2) “sons by adoption.”— Ga 4,4-5.
220 S. Jn 8,14).
221 St. Ambrose’ version differs in expression from the Vulg.—Ego enim Dominus et non mutor (Ml iii. 6)—but not in substance, for Ego sum Dominus and “I am the Lord” both mean “I am He who is”—(o wn)—which is very well represented by Ego sum, Ego sum—“I am, I am.”—Cf. Ex 3,14.
Ambrose selected works 6116