Ambrose selected works 24312
24312 From the fact that St. Paul has shown that the light of the Godhead which the three apostles worshipped in Christ is in the Trinity, it is made clear that the Spirit also is to be worshipped. It is shown from the words themselves that the Spirit is intended by the apostles. The Godhead of the same Spirit is proved from the fact that He has a temple wherein He dwells not as a priest, but as God: and is worshipped with the Father and the Son; whence is understood the oneness of nature in Them.
86). But does any one deny that the Godhead of the eternal Trinity is to be worshipped? whereas the Scriptures also express the inexplicable Majesty of the Divine Trinity, as the Apostle says elsewhere: “Since God, Who said that light should shine out of darkness, shined in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”119
87. The apostles truly saw this glory, when the Lord Jesus on the mount shone with the light of His Godhead: “The apostles,” it says, “saw it and fell on their face.”120 Do not you think that they even, as they fell, worshipped, when they could not with their bodily eyes endure the brightness of the divine splendour, and the glory of eternal light dulled the keenness of mortal sight? Or what else did they who saw His glory say at that time, except, “O come let us worship and fall down before Him”?121 For “God shined in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”122
88. Who is He, then, Who shined that we might know God in the face of Jesus Christ? For he said, “God shined,” that the glory of God might be known in the face of Jesus Christ. Whom else do we think but the manifested Spirit? Or who else is there besides the Holy Spirit to Whom the power of the Godhead may be referred? For they who exclude the Spirit must necessarily bring in another, who may with the Father and the Son receive the glory of the Godhead.
89. Let us then go back to the same words: “It is God Who shined in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” You have Christ plainly set forth. For Whose glory is said to give light but that of the Spirit? So, then, he set forth God Himself, since he spoke of the glory of God; if of the Father, it remains that “He who said that light should shine out of darkness, and shine in our hearts,” be understood to be the Holy Spirit, for we cannot venerate any other with the Father and the Son. If, then, you understand the Spirit, Him also has the Apostle called God; it is necessary, then, that you also confess the Godhead of the Spirit, who now deny it.
90. But how shamelessly do you deny this, since you have read that the Holy Spirit has a temple. For it is written: “Ye are the temple of God, and the Holy Spirit dwelleth in you.”123 Now God has a temple, a creature has no true temple. But the Spirit, Who dwelleth in us, has a temple. For it is written: “Your members are temples of the Holy Spirit.”124
91. But He does not dwell in the temple as a priest, nor as a minister, but as God, since the Lord Jesus Himself said: “I will dwell in them, and will walk among them, and will be their God, and they shall be My people.”125 And David says: “The Lord is in His holy temple.”126 Therefore the Spirit dwells in His holy temple, as the Father dwells and as the Son dwells, Who says: “I and the Father will come, and will make Our abode with him.”127
92. But the Father abides in us through the Spirit, Whom He has given us. How, then, can different natures abide together? Certainly it is impossible. But the Spirit abides with the Father and the Son. Whence, too, the Apostle joined the Communion of the Holy Spirit with the grace of Jesus Christ and the love of God, saying: “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the Communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”128
91. We observe, then, that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit abide in one and the same [subject] through the oneness of the same nature. Therefore, He Who dwells in the temple has divine power, for as of the Father and of the Son, so are we also the temple of the Holy Spirit; not many temples, but one temple, for it is the temple of one Power.
24313 To those who object that Catholics, when they ascribe Godhead to the Holy Spirit, introduce three Gods, it is answered, that by the same argument they themselves bring in two Gods, unless they deny Godhead to the Son; after which the orthodox doctrine is set forth.
92). But what do you fear? Is it that which you have been accustomed to carp at? lest you should make three Gods. God forbid; for where the Godhead is understood as one, one God is spoken of. For neither when we call the Son God do we say there are two Gods. For if, when you confess the Godhead of the Spirit, you think that three Gods are spoken of, then, too, when you speak of the Godhead of the Son because you are not able to deny it, you bring in two Gods. For it is necessary according to your opinion, if you think that God is the name of one person, not of one nature, that you either say that there are two Gods, or deny that the Son is God.
93. But let us free you from the charge of ignorance, though we do not excuse you from fault For according to our opinion, because there is one God, one Godhead and oneness of power is understood. For as we say that there is one God, confessing the Father, and not denying the Son under the true Name of the Godhead; so, too, we exclude not the Holy Spirit from the Unity of the Godhead, and do not assert but deny that there are three Gods, because it is not unity but a division of power which makes plurality. For how can the Unity of the Godhead admit of plurality, seeing that plurality is of numbers, but the Divine Nature does not admit numbers?
24314 Besides the evidence adduced above, other passages can be brought to prove the sovereignty of the Three Persons. Two are quoted from the Epistles to the Thessalonians, and by collating other testimonies of the Scriptures it is shown that in them dominion is claimed for the Spirit as for the other Persons. Then, by quotation of another still more express passage in the second Epistle to the Corinthians, it is inferred both that the Spirit is Lord, and that where the Lord is, there is the Spirit.
94). God, then, is One, without violation of the majesty of the eternal Trinity, as is declared in the instance set before us. And not in that place alone do we see the Trinity expressed in the Name of the Godhead; but both in many places, as we have said also above, and especially in the epistles which the Apostle wrote to the Thessalonians, he most clearly set forth the Godhead and sovereignty of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. For you read as follows: “The Lord make you to increase and abound In love one toward another, and toward all men, as we also do toward you, to the stablishing of your hearts without blame in holiness before God and our Father at the coming of the Lord Jesus.”129
95. Who, then, is the Lord Who makes us to increase and abound before God and our Father at the coming of the Lord Jesus? He has named the Father and has named the Son; Whom, then, has he joined with the Father and the Son except the Spirit? Who is the Lord Who establishes our hearts in holiness. For holiness is a grace of the Spirit, as, too, is said farther on: “In holiness of the Spirit and belief of the truth.”130
96. Who, then, do you think is here named Lord, except the Spirit? And has not God the Father been able to teach you, Who says: “Upon Whomsoever thou shalt see the Spirit descending and abiding upon Him, this is He Who baptizeth in the Holy Spirit”?131 For the Spirit descended in the likeness of a dove,132 that He might both bear witness to His wisdom, and perfect the sacrament of the spiritual layer, and show that His working is one with that of the Father and the Son.
97. And that you should not suppose that anything had fallen from the Apostle by oversight, but that he knowingly and designedly and inspired by the Spirit designated Him Lord, Whom he felt to be God, he repeated the same in the second Epistle to the Thessalonians, saying: “But the Lord direct your hearts in the love of God and in the patience of Christ.”133 If love be of God and patience of Christ, it ought to be shown Who is the Lord Who directs, if we deny that the direction is of the Holy Spirit.
98. But we cannot deny it, since the Lord said of Him: “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. But when He, the Spirit of Truth, shall come, He will lead you into all truth.”134 And David says of Him: “Thy good Spirit shall lead me into the right way.”135
99. See what the voice of the Lord uttered concerning the Holy Spirit. The Son of God came, and because He had not yet shed forth the Spirit, He declared that we were living like little children without the Spirit. He said that the Spirit was to come Who should make of these little children stronger men, by an increase, namely, of spiritual age. And this He laid down not that He might set the power of the Spirit in the first place, but that He might show that the fulness of strength consists in the knowledge of the Trinity.
100. It is therefore necessary either that you mention some fourth person besides the Spirit of whom you ought to be conscious, or assuredly that you do not consider another to be Lord, except the Spirit Who has been pointed out.
101. But if you require the plain statement of the words in which Scripture has spoken of the Spirit as Lord, it cannot have escaped you that it is written: “Now the Lord is the Spirit.”136 Which the course of the whole passage shows to have been certainly said of the Holy Spirit. And so let us consider the apostolic statement: “As often as Moses is read,” says he, “a veil is laid over their heart; but when they shall be turned to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit; but where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”137
102. So he not only called the Spirit Lord, but also added: “But where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. So we all with unveiled face, reflecting the glory of the Lord, are formed anew into the same image from glory to glory, as from the Lord the Spirit;”138 that is, we who have been before converted to the Lord, so as by spiritual understanding to see the glory of the Lord, as it were, in the minor of the Scriptures, are now being transformed from that glory which converted us to the Lord, to the heavenly glory. Therefore since it is · the Lord to Whom we are converted, butthe Lord is that Spirit by Whom we are formed anew, who are converted to the Lord, assuredly the Holy Ghost is pointed out, for He Who forms anew receives those who are converted. For how should He form again those whom He had not received.
103. Though why should we seek for the expression of words, where we see the expression of unity? For although you may distinguish between Lord and Spirit, you cannot deny that where the Lord is, there too is the Spirit, and he who has been converted to the Lord will have been converted to the Spirit. If you cavil at the letter, you cannot injure the Unity; if you wish to separate the Unity, you confess the Spirit Himself as the Lord of power).
Though the Spirit be called Lord, three Lords are not thereby implied; inasmuch as two Lords are not implied by the fact that the Son in the same manner as the Father is called Lord in many passages of Scripture; for Lordship exists in the Godhead, and the Godhead in Lordship, and these coincide without division in the Three Persons.
104). But perhaps, again, you may say: If I call the Spirit Lord, I shall set forth three Lords. Do you then when you call the Son Lord either deny the Son or confess two Lords? God forbid, for the Son Himself said: “Do not serve two lords.”139 But certainly He denied not either Himself or the Father to be Lord; for He called the Father Lord, as you read: “I thank Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth.”140 And the Lord spoke of Himself, as we read in the Gospel: “Ye call Me Master and Lord, and ye do well, for so I am.”141 But He spoke not of two Lords; indeed He shows that He did not speak of two Lords, when He warns them: “Do not serve two lords.” For there are not two Lords where the Lordship is but one, for the Father is in the Son and the Son in the Father, and so there is one Lord.
105. Such, too, was the teaching of the Law: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord thy God is one Lord,”142 that is, unchangeable, always abiding in unity of power, always the same, and not altered by any accession or diminution. Therefore Moses called Him One, and yet also relates that the Lord rained down fire from the Lord.143 The Apostle, too, says: “The Lord grant unto him to find mercy of the Lord.”144 The Lord rains down from the Lord; the Lord grants mercy from the Lord. The Lord is neither divided when He rains from the Lord, nor is there a separation when He grants mercy from the Lord, but in each case the oneness of the Lordship is expressed.
106. In the Psalms, too, you find: “The Lord said unto my Lord.”145 And he did not therefore deny that the Father was his Lord, because he spoke of the Son as his Lord; but therefore called the Son his Lord, that you might not think Him to be the Son, but the Lord of the prophet, as the Lord Himself showed in the Gospel, when He said: “If David in the Spirit called Him Lord, how is he his Son?”146 David, not the Spirit, calls Him Lord in the Spirit. Or if they falsely infer from this that the Spirit called Him Lord, they must necessarily by a like sacrilege seem to assert that the Son of God is also the Son of the Spirit.
107. So, as we do not say that there are two Lords, when we so style both the Father and the Son, so, too, we do not say that there are three Lords, when we confess the Spirit to be Lord. For as it is profane to say that there are three Lords or three Gods, so, too, is it utter profanity to speak of two Lords or two Gods; for there is one God, one Lord, one Holy Spirit; and He Who is God is Lord, and He Who is Lord is God, for the Godhead is in the Lordship, and the Lordship is in the Godhead.
108. Lastly, you have read that the Father is both Lord and God: “O Lord my God, I will call upon Thee, hear Thou me.”147 You find the Son to be both Lord and God, as you have read in the Gospel, that, when Thomas had touched the side of Christ, he said, “My Lord and my God.”148 So in like manner as the Father is God and the Son Lord, so too the Son is God and the Father Lord. The holy designation changes from one to the other, the divine nature changes not, but the dignity remains unchangeable. For they are not [as it were] contributions gathered from bounty, but free-will gifts of natural love; for both Unity has its special property, and the special properties are bound together in unity.
24316 The Father is holy, and likewise the Son and the Spirit, and so They are honoured in the same Trisagion: nor can we speak more worthily of God than by calling Him Holy; whence it is clear that we must not derogate from the dignity of the Holy Spirit. In Him is all which pertains to God, since in baptism He is named with the Father and the Son, and the Father has given to Him to be greater than all, nor can any one deprive Him of this. And so from the very passage of St. Jn which heretics used against His dignity, the equality of the Trinity and the Unity of the Godhead is established. Lastly, after explaining how the Son receives from the Father, St. Ambrose shows how various heresies are refuted by the passage cited.
109). So, then, the Father is holy, the Son is holy, and the Spirit is holy, but they are not three Holies;149 for there is one Holy God, one Lord. For the true holiness is one, as the true Godhead is one, as that true holiness belonging to the Divine Nature is one.
110. So everything which we esteem holy proclaims that Sole Holiness. Cherubim and Seraphim with unwearied voices praise Him and say: “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord God of Sabaoth.”150 They say it, not once, lest you should believe that there is but one; not twice, lest you should exclude the Spirit; they say not holies[in the plural], lest you should imagine that there is plurality, but they repeat thrice and say the same word, that even in a hymn you may understand the distinction of Persons in the Trinity, and the oneness of the Godhead and while they say this they proclaim God.
111. We too find nothing of more worth, whereby we are able to proclaim God, than the calling Him holy. Everything is too low for God, too low for the Lord. And therefore consider from this fact also whether one ought at all to derogate from the Holy Spirit, whose Name is the praise of God. For thus is the Father praised, thus is the Son also praised, in the same manner as the Spirit also is named and praised. The Seraphim utter praise, the whole company of the blessed utter praise, inasmuch as they call God holy, the Son holy, the Spirit holy.
112. How, then, does He not possess all that pertains to God, Who is named by priests in baptism with the Father and the Son, and is invoked in the oblations, is proclaimed by the Seraphim in heaven with the Father and the Son, dwells in the Saints with the Father and the Son, is poured upon the just, is given as the source of inspiration to the prophets? And for this reason in the divine Scripture all is called Qeopneusto", because God inspires what the Spirit has spoken.
113. Or if they are unwilling to allow that the Holy Spirit has all things which pertain to God, and can do all things, let them say what He has not, and what He cannot do. For like as the Son has all things, and the Father grudges not to give all things to the Son according to His nature, having given to Him that which is greater than all, as the Scripture bears witness, saying: “That which My Father hath given unto Me is greater than all.”151 So too the Spirit has of Christ that which is greater than all, because righteousness knows not grudging.
114. So, then, if we attend diligently, we comprehend here also the oneness of the Divine Power. He says: “That which My Father hath given unto Me is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and the Father are One.”152 For if we rightly showed above that the Holy Spirit is the Hand of the Father, the same is certainly the Hand of the Father which is the Hand of the Son, since the Same is the Spirit of the Father Who is the Spirit of the Son. Therefore whosoever of us receives eternal life in this Name of the Trinity, as he is not torn from the Father; so he is not torn from the Son, so too he is not torn from the Spirit.
115. Again, from the very fact that the Father is said to have given to the Son, and the Spirit to have received from the Son, as it is written: “He shall glorify Me, for He shall take of Mine, and shall declare it unto you”153 (which He seems to have said rather of the office of distributing, than of the prerogative of Divine Power, for those whom the Son redeemed the Spirit also, Who was to sanctify them, received), from those very words, I say, from which they construct their sophistry, the Unity of the Godhead is perceived, not the need of a gift.
116. The Father gave by begetting, not by adoption; He gave as it were that which was contained in the very prerogative of the Divine Nature, not what was lacking as it were by favour of His bounty. And so because the Son acquires persons to Himself as the Father does; so gives life as does the Father, He expressed His equality with the Father in the Unity of Power, saying: “I and the Father are One.” For when He says, “I and the Father,” equality is revealed; when He says, “are One,” Unity is asserted. Equality excludes confusion; Unity excludes separation. Equality distinguishes between the Father and the Son; Unity does not separate the Father and the Son.
117. Therefore, when He says, “I and the Father,” He rejects the Sabellian, for He says that He is one, the Father another; He rejects the Photinian, for He joins Himself with God the Father. With the former words He rejects those, for He said: “I and the Father;” with the latter words He rejects the Arians, for He says: “are One.” Yet in both the former and the latter words He refutes the heretical violence (1) of the Sabellians, for He said: “We are One [Substance],” not “We are One[Person].” And (2) of the Arians, for He said: “I and the Father,” not “the Father and I.” Which was certainly not a sign of rudeness, but of dutifulness and foreknowledge, that we might not think wrongly from the order of the words, For unity knows no order equality knows no gradation; nor can it be laid to the Son of God that the Teacher Himself of dutifulness should offend against dutifulness by rudeness.
24317 St. Ambrose shows by instances that the places in which those words were spoken help to the understanding of the words of the Lord; he shows that Christ uttered the passage quoted from St. Jn in Solomon’s porch, by which is signified the mind of a wise man, for he says that Christ would not have uttered this saying in the heart of a foolish or contentious man. He goes on to say that Christ is stoned by those who believe not these words, and as the keys of heaven were given to Peter for his confession of them, so Iscariot, because he believed not the same, perished evilly. He takes this opportunity to inveigh against the Jews who bought the Son of God and sold Joseph. He explains the price paid for each mystically; and having in the same manner expounded the murmuring of the traitor concerningMagdalene’s ointment, he adds that Christ is bought in one way by heretics in another way by Catholics,and that those in vain take to themselves the name of Christians who sever the Spirit from the Father.
118). It is worth while to notice in what place the Lord held this discussion, for His utterances are often[better] estimated by the kind of places in which He conversed. When about to fast, He is led(as we read) into the wilderness to render vain the devil’s temptations. For although it deserves praise to have lived temperately in the midst of abundance, yet the enticements of temptation are more frequent amongst riches and pleasures. Then the tempter, in order to try Him, promises Him abundance, and the Lord in order to overcome cherishes hunger. Now I do not deny that temperance can exist in the midst of riches; but although he who navigates the sea often escapes, yet he is more exposed to peril than he who will not go to sea.
119. Let us consider some other points. When about to promise the kingdom of heaven, Jesus went up into a mountain. At another time He leads His disciples through the corn-fields, when about to sow in their minds the crop of heavenly precepts. so that a plentiful harvest of souls should ripen. When about to consummate the work of the flesh which He had taken, having now seen perfection in His disciples, whom He had established upon the root of His words, He enters a garden, that He might plant the young olive-trees154 in the house of the Lord, and that He might water the just flourishing like a palm-tree,155 and the fruitful vine with the stream of His Blood.
120. In this passage too He was walking, as we read, in Solomon’s porch on the day’ of the dedication, that is, Christ was walking in the breast of the wise and prudent, to dedicate his good affection to Himself. What that porch was the prophet teaches, saying: “I will walk in the midst of Thy house in the innocency of my heart.”156 So, then, we have in our own selves the house of God, we have the halls, we have also the porches, and we have the cents, for it is written: “Let thy waters flow abroad in thy courts.”157 Open, then, this porch of thy heart to the Word of God, Who says to thee: “Open thy mouth wide and I will fill it.”158
121. Let us, therefore, hear what the Word of God, walking in the heart of the wise and peaceful, says: “I and My Father are One.”159 He will not say this in the ’breast of the unquiet and foolish, for “the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him.”160 The narrow breasts of sinners do not take in the greatness of the faith. Lastly, the Jews hearing, “I and the Father are One, took up stones to stone Him.”161
122. He who cannot listen to this is a Jew; he who cannot listen to this stones Christ with the stones of his treachery,rougher than any rock, and if you believe me, he wounds Christ. For although He cannot now feel a wound: “For now henceforth we know not Christ after the flesh,”162 yet He Who rejoices in the love of the Church is stoned by the impiety of the Arians.
123. “The law of Thy mouth, O Lord, is good unto me, I keep Thy commandments.”163 Thou hast Thyself said that Thou art one with the Father. Because Peter believed this, he received the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and without anxiety for himself forgave sins. Judas, because he believed not this, strangled himself with the cord of his own wickedness. O the hard stones of unbelieving words! O the unseemly cord of the betrayer, and the still more hideous purchase-money of the Jews! O hateful money wherewith either the just is bought for death, or sold! Joseph was sold, Jesus Christ was bought, the one to slavery, the Other to death. O detestable inheritance, O deadly sale, which either sells a brother to suffering or sets a price on the Lord to destroy Him, the Purchaser of the salvation of all.
124. The Jews did violence to two things which are chief of all, faith and duty, and in each to Christ the Author of faith and duty. For both in the patriarch Joseph was there a type of Christ, and Christ Himself came in the truth of His Body, “Who counted it not robbery that He should be equal with God, but took on Him the form of a servant,”164 because of our fall,that is to say, taking slavery upon Himself and not shrinking from suffering.
125. In one place the sale is for twenty pieces, in the other for thirty. For how could His true price be apprehended, Whose value cannot be limited? There is error in the price because there is error in the inquiry. The sale is for twenty pieces in the Old Testament, for thirty in the New; for the Truth is of more value than the type, Grace is more generous than training, the Presence is better than the Law, for the Law promised the Coming, the Coming fulfilled the Law.
126. The Ishmaelites made their purchase for twenty pieces, the Jews for thirty. And this is no trivial figure. The faithless are more lavish for iniquity than the faithful for salvation. It is, however, fitting to consider the quality of each agreement. Twenty pieces are the price of him sold to slavery, thirty pieces of Him delivered to the Cross. For although the Mysteries of the Incarnation and of the Passion must be in like manner matters of amazement, yet the fulfilment of faith is in the Mystery of the Passion. I do not indeed value less the birth from the holy Virgin, but I receive even more gratefully the Mystery of the sacred Body. What is more full of mercy than that He should forgive me the wrongs done to Himself? But it is even fuller measure that He gave us so great a gift, that He Who was not to die because He was God, should die by our death, that we might live by His Spirit.
127. Lastly, it was not without meaning that Judas Iscariot valued that ointment at three hundred pence, which seems certainly by the statement of the price itself to set forth the Lord’s cross. Whence, too, the Lord says: “For she, pouring this ointment on My body, did it for My burial.”165 Why, then, did Judas value this at so high a rate? Because remission of sins is of more value to sinners, and forgiveness seems to be more precious. Lastly, you find it written: “To whom much is forgiven the same loveth more.”166 Therefore sinners themselves also confess the grace of the Lord’s Passion which they have lost, and they bear witness to Christ who persecuted Him.
128. Or because, “into a malicious soul wisdom does not enter,”167 the evil disposition of the traitor uttered this@ and he valued the suffering of the Lord’s body at a dearer rate, that by the immensity of the price he might draw all away from the faith. And therefore the Lord offered Himself without price, that the necessity of poverty might hold no one hack from Christ. The patriarchs sold Him for a small price that all might buy. Isaiah said: “Ye that have no money go buy and drink; eat ye without money,”168 that he might gain him who had no money. O traitor Judas, thou valuest the ointment of His Passion at three hundred pence, and sellest His Passion for thirty pence.169 Profuse in valuing, mean in selling.
129. So, then, all do not buy Christ at the same price; Photinus, who buys Him for death, buys Him at one price; the Arian, who buys Him to wrong Him, at another price; the Catholic, who buys Him to glorify Him, at another. But he buys Him without money according to that which is written: “He that hath no money let him buy without price.”170
130. “Not all,” says Christ, “that say unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven!”171 Although many call themselves Christians, and make use of the name, yet not all shall receive the reward. Both Cain offered sacrifice, and Judas received the kiss, but it was said to him, “Judas, betrayest thou the Son of Man with a kiss?”172 that is, thou fillest up thy wickedness with the pledge of affection, and sowest hatred with the implement of peace, and inflictest death with the outward token of love.
131. Let not, then, the Arians flatter themselves with the employment of the name, because they call themselves Christians. The Lord will answer them: You set forward My Name, and deny My Substance, but I do not recognize My Name where My eternal Godhead is not. That is not My Name which is divided from the Father, and separated from the Spirit; I do not recognize My Name where I do not recognize My doctrine; I do not recognize My Name where I do not recognize My Spirit. For he knows not that he is comparing the Spirit of the Father to those servants whom He created. Concerning which point we have already spoken at length.173
As he purposes to establish the Godhead of the Holy Spirit by the points already discussed, St. Ambrose touches again on some of them; for instance, that He does not commit but forgives sin; that He is not a creature but the Creator; and lastly, that He does not offer but receives worship.
132). But to sum up, in order at the end more distinctly to gather up the arguments which have been used here and there, the evident glory of the Godhead is proved both by other arguments, and most especially by these four. God is known by these marks: either that He is without sin; or that He forgives sin; or that He is not a creature but the Creator; or that He does not give but receives worship.
133. So, then, no one is without sin except God alone, for no one is without sin except God.174 Also, no one forgives sins except God alone, for it is also written: “Who can forgive sins but God alone?”175 And one cannot be the Creator of all except he be not a creature, and he who is not a creature is without doubt God; for it is written: “They worshipped the creature rather than the Creator, Who is God blessed for ever.”176 God also does not worship, but is worshipped, for it is written: “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shall thou serve.”177
134. Let us therefore consider whether the Holy Spirit have any of these marks which may bear witness to His Godhead. And first let us treat of the point that none is without sin except God alone, and demand that they prove that the Holy Spirit has sin.
135. But they are unable to show us this, and demand our authority from us, namely, that we should show by texts that the Holy Spirit has not sinned, as it is said of the Son that He did no sin.178 Let them learn that we teach by authority of the Scriptures; for it is written: “For in Wisdom is a Spirit of understanding, holy, one only, manifold, subtle, easy to move, eloquent, undefiled.”179 The Scripture says He is undefiled, has it lied concerning the Son, that you should believe it to have lied concerning the Spirit?For the prophet said in the same place concerning Wisdom, that nothing that defiles enters into her. She herself is undefiled, and her Spirit is undefiled. Therefore if the Spirit have not sin, He is God.
136. But how can He be guilty of sin Who Himself forgives sins?Therefore He has not committed sin, and if He be without sin He is not a creature. For every creature is exposed to the capability of sin, and the eternal Godhead alone is free from sin and undefiled.
137. Let us now see whether the Spirit forgives sins. But on this point there can be no doubt, since the Lord Himself said: “Receive ye the Holy Spirit. Whosesoever sins ye forgive they shall be forgiven.”180 See that sins are forgiven through the Holy Spirit. But men make use of their ministry for the forgiveness of sins, they do not exercise the right of any power of their own. For they forgive sins not in their own name but in that of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. They ask, the Godhead gives, the service is of man, the gift is of the Power on high.
138. And it is not doubtful that sin is forgiven by means of baptism, but in baptism the operation is that of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. If, therefore, the Spirit forgives sin, since it is written, “Who can forgive sins except God alone?”181 certainly He Who cannot be separated from the oneness of the name of the Nature is also incapable of being severed from the power of God. Now if He is not severed from the power of God, how is He severed from the name of God.
139. Let us now see whether He be a creature or the Creator. But since we have above182 most clearly proved Him to be the Creator, as it is written: “The Spirit of God Who hath made me;”183 and it has been declared that the face of the earth is renewed by the Spirit, and that all things languish without the Spirit,184 it is clear that the Spirit is the Creator. But who can doubt this, since, as we have shown above, not even the generation of the Lord from the Virgin, which is more excellent than all creatures, is without the operation of the Spirit?
140. Therefore the Spirit is not a creature, but the Creator, and He Who is Creator is certainly not a creature. And because He is not a creature, without doubt He is the Creator Who produces all things together with the Father and the Son. But if He be the Creator, certainly the Apostle, by saying in condemnation of the Gentiles, “Who served the creature rather than the Creator, Who is God blessed for ever,”185 and by warning men, as I said above, that the Holy Spirit is to be served, both showed Him to be the Creator, and because He is the Creator demonstrated that He ought to be called God. Which he also sums up In the Epistle written to the Hebrews, saying: “For He that created all things is God.”186 Let them, therefore, either say what it is which has been created without the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, or let them confess that the Spirit also is of one Godhead with the Father and the Son.
141. The writer taught also that He was to be worshipped, Whom he called Lord and God. For He Who is the God and Lord of the Universe is certainly to be worshipped by all, for it is thus written: “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shall thou serve.”187
142. Or let them say where they have read that the Spirit worships. For it is said of the Son of God: “Let all the Angels of God worship Him;”188 we do not read, Let the Spirit worship Him. For how can He worship Who is not amongst servants and ministers, but, together with the Father and the Son, has the service of the just under Him, for it is written: “We serve the Spirit of God.”189 He is, therefore, to be worshipped by us, Whom the Apostle taught that we must serve, and Whom we serve we also adore, according to that which is written, to repeat the same words again: “Thou shall worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.”
143. Although the Apostle has not omitted even this point, so as to omit to teach us that the Spirit is to be worshipped. For since we have demonstrated that the Spirit is in the prophets, no one can doubt that prophecy is given by the Spirit, and plainly when He Who is in the prophets is worshipped, the same Spirit is worshipped. And so you find: “If the whole Church be assembled together, and all speak with tongues, and there come in one unlearned or unbelieving, will he not say that ye are mad? But if all prophesy, and there come in one unlearned and unbelieving, he is convicted by all, he is judged by all. For the secrets of his heart are made manifest, and so falling down on his face he will worship God, declaring that God is in truth among you.”190 It is, therefore, God Who is worshipped, God Who abides and Who speaks in the prophets; but the Spirit thus abides and speaks, therefore, also, the Spirit is worshipped.
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