Ambrose selected works 6312
06312 The kingdom of the Father and of the Son is one and undivided, so likewise is the Godhead of each.
92. I Would now ask how they suppose the kingdom of the Father and the Son to be divided, when the Lord hath said, as we showed above: “Every kingdom divided against itself shall be speedily overthrown.”170
93. Indeed, it was to debar the impious teaching of Arian enmity that Saint Peter himself asserted the dominion of the Father and the Son to be one, saying: "Wherefore, my brethren, labour to make your calling and election sure, for so doing you shall not go astray, for thus your entrance into the eternal realm of God and our Lord and Saviour171 Jesus Christ shall be granted with the greater abundance of grace.172
94. Now, if it be thought that Christ’s dominion alone is spoken of, and the place be therefore understood in such sense that the Father and the Son are regarded as divided in authority—yet it will be still acknowledged that it is the dominion of the Son, and that an eternal one, and thus not only will two kingdoms, separate, and so liable to fail, be brought in, but, furthermore, inasmuch as no kingdom is to be compared with God’s kingdom, which they cannot, however greatly they may desire to, deny to be the kingdom of the Son, they must either turn back upon their opinion, and acknowledge the kingdom of the Father and the Son to be one and the same; or they must ascribe to the Father the government of a lesser kingdom—which is blasphemy; or they must acknowledge Him, Whom they wickedly declare to be inferior in respect of Godhead, to possess an equal kingdom, which is inconsistent.
95. But this [their teaching] squares not, agrees not, holds not [with its premisses]. Let them confess, then, that the kingdom is one, even as we confess and prove, not indeed on our own evidence, but upon testimony vouchsafed from heaven.
96. To begin with, learn, from further testimonies [of Scripture], how that the kingdom of heaven is also the kingdom of the Son: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, that there are some amongst those which stand here with us, who shall not taste death, until they see the Son of Man coming into His kingdom.”173 There is therefore no room for doubt that the kingdom appertaineth to the Son of God.
97. Now learn that the kingdom of the Son is the very same as the kingdom of the Father: “Verily, I say unto you that there be some of those which stand around us, who shall not taste death until they see the kingdom of God coming in power.”174 So far, indeed, is it one kingdom, that the reward is one, the inheritor is one and the same, and so also the merit, and He Who promises [the reward].
98. How can it but be one kingdom, above all when the Son Himself hath said of Himself: “Then shall the righteous shine like the sun in the kingdom of My Father”?175 For that which is the Father’s, by fitness to His majesty, is also the Son’s, by unity in the same glory."176 The Scripture, therefore, hath declared the kingdom to be the kingdom both of the Father and of the Son.
99. Now learn that where the kingdom of God is named, there is no putting aside of the authority either of the Father or of the Son, because both the kingdom of the Father and the kingdom of the Son is included under the single name of God, saying: “When ye shall see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God.”177 Do we deny that the prophets are in the kingdom of the Son, when even to a dying robber who said, “Remember me, when Thou comest into Thy kingdom,” the Lord made answer: “Verily, I say unto thee, to-day shalt thou be with Me in paradise.”178 What, indeed, do we understand by being in the kingdom of God, if not the having escaped eternal death? But they who have escaped eternal death see the Son of Man coming into His kingdom.
100. How, then, can He not have in His power that which He gives, saying: “To thee will I give the keys of the kingdom of heaven”?179 See the gulf between [the one and the other]. The servant opens, the Lord bestows; the One through Himself, the other through Christ; the minister receives the keys, the Lord appoints powers: the one is the right of a giver, the other the duty of a steward.
101. See now yet another proof that the kingdom, the government, of the Father and the Son is one. It is written in the Epistle to Timothy: “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the government of God, our Saviour, and Christ Jesus, our Hope.”180 One, therefore, the kingdom of the Father and the Son is plainly declared to be, even as Paul the Apostle also asserted, saying: “For know this, that no shameless person, none that is impure, or covetous (which meaneth idolatry), hath inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.”181 It is, therefore, one kingdom, one Godhead).
102. Oneness in Godhead the Law hath proved, which speaks of one God,182 as also the Apostle, by saying of Christ; “In Whom dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.”183 For if, as the Apostle saith, all the fulness of the Godhead, bodily, is in Christ, then must the Father and the Son be confessed to be of one Godhead; or if it is desired to sunder the Godhead of the Son from the Godhead of the Father, whilst the Son possesses all the fulness of the Godhead bodily, what is supposed to be further reserved, seeing that nothing remains over and above the fulness of perfection? Therefore the Godhead is one.
06313 The majesty of the Son is His own, and equal to that of the Father, and the angels are not partakers, but beholders thereof.
103. Now, we having already laid down that the Father and the Son are of one image and likeness,184 it remains for us to show that They are also of one majesty. And we need not go far afield for proof, inasmuch as the Son Himself has said of Himself: “When the Son of Man shall come in His majesty, and all the angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His majesty.”185 Behold, then, the majesty of the Son declared! What lacketh He yet, Whose uncreated majesty cannot be denied?186 Majesty, then, belongeth to the Son.
104. Let our adversaries now hold it proved beyond doubt that the majesty of the Father and of the Son is one, forasmuch as the Lord Himself hath said: “For he who shall be ashamed of Me and of My words, of Him shall the Son of Man be ashamed, when He cometh in His majesty and His Father’s, and the majesty of the holy angels.”187 What is the force of the words “and the majesty of the holy angels,” but that the servants derive honour from the worship of their Lord?
105. The Son, therefore, ascribed His majesty to His Father as well as to Himself, not, indeed, in such sort that the angels should share in that majesty on equal terms with the Father and the Son, but that they should behold the surpassing glory of God; for truly not even angels possess a majesty of their own, after the manner in which Scripture speaks of the Son: “When He shall sit upon the throne of His majesty,” but they stand in the presence, that they may see the glory of the Father and the Son, in such degrees of vision as they are either worthy of or able to bear.
106. Furthermore, the God-given words themselves declare their own meaning, that you may understand that glory of the Father and the Son not to be held in common with them by angels, for thus they run: “But when the Son of Man shall come in His majesty, and all the angels with Him.” Again, to show that His Father’s majesty and glory and His own majesty and glory are one and the same, our Lord Himself saith in another book: “And the Son of Man shall confound him, when He shall come in the glory of His Father, with the holy angels.”188 The angels come in obedience, He comes in glory: they are His retainers, He sits upon His throne: they stand, He is seated—to borrow terms of the daily dealings of human life, He is the Judge: they are the officers of the court. Note that He did not place first His Father’s divine majesty, and then, in the second place, His own and the angels’, lest He should seem to have made out a sort of descending order, from the highest to lower natures. He placed His own majesty first, and then spoke of His Father’s, and the majesty of the angels (because the Father could not appear lower than they), in order that He might not, by placing mention of Himself between that of His Father and that of the angels, seem to have made out some ascending scale, leading from angels to the Father through increase of His own dignity; nor, again, be believed to have, contrariwise, shown a descent from the Father to angels, entailing diminution of that dignity. Now we who confess one Godhead of the Father and the Son suppose no such order of distinction as the Arians do.189
06314 The Son is of one substance with the Father.
108). And now, your Majesty, with regard to the question of the substance, why need I tell you that the Son is of one substance with the Father, when we have read that the Son is the image of the Father’s substance, that you may understand that there is nothing wherein, so far as Godhead is regarded, the Son differs from the Father.
109. In virtue of this likeness Christ said: “All things that the Father hath are Mine.”190 We cannot, then, deny substance to God, for indeed He is not unsubstantial, Who hath given to others the ground of their being, though this be different in God from what it is in the creature. The Son of God, by Whose agency all things endure,191 could not be unsubstantial.
110. And therefore, the Psalmist saith: “My bones are not hidden, which Thou didst make in secret, and my substance in the underworld.”192 For to His power and Godhead, the things that before the foundation of the world were done, though their magnificence was [as yet] invisible, could not be hidden. Here, then, we find mention of “substance.”
111. But it may be objected that the mention of His substance is the consequence of His Incarnation. I have shown that the word “substance” is used more than once, and that not in the sense of inherited possessions, as you would construe it. Now, if it please you, let us grant that, in accordance with the mystic prophecy, the substance of Christ was present in the underworld—for truly He did exert His power in the lower world to set free, in the soul which animated His own body, the souls of the dead, to loose the bands of death, to remit sins.193
112. And, indeed, what hinders you from understanding, by that substance, His divine substance, seeing that God is everywhere, so that it hath been said to Him: “If I go up into heaven, Thou art there; if I go down into hell, Thou art present.”194
113. Furthermore, the Psalmist hath in the words following made it plain that we must understand the divine substance to be mentioned when he saith: “Thine eyes did see My being, [as] not the effect of working;”195 inasmuch as the Son is not made, nor one of God’s works, but the begotten Word of eternal power. He called Him “acatergston,” meaning that the Word neither made nor created, is begotten of the Father without the witnessing presence of any created being. Howbeit, we have abundance of testimony besides this. Let us grant that the substance here spoken of is the bodily substance, provided you also yourself say not that the Son of God is something effected by working, but confess His uncreated Godhead.
114. Now I know that some assert that the mystic incarnate form was uncreated, forasmuch as nothing was done therein through intercourse with a man, because our Lord was the offspring of a virgin. If, then, many have, on the strength of this passage, asserted that neither that which was brought forth of Mary was produced by creative operation, dare you, disciple of Arius, think that the Word of God is something so produced?
115. But is this the only place where we read of “substance”? Hath it not also been said in another passage: “The gates of the cities are broken down, the mountains are fallen, and His substance is revealed”?196 What, does the word mean something created here also? Some, I know, are accustomed to say that the substance is substance in money. Then, if you give this meaning to the word, the mountains fell, in order that some one’s possessions of money might be seen.
116. But let us remember what mountains fell, those, namely, of which it hath been said: “If ye shall have faith as a grain of mustard seed ye shall say to this mountain: Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea!”197 By mountains, then, are meant high things that exalt themselves.198
117. Moreover, in the Greek, the rendering is this: “The palaces are fallen.” What palaces, save the palace of Satan, of whom the Lord said: “How shall His kingdom stand?”199 We are reading, therefore, of the things which are the devil’s palaces as being very mountains, and therefore in the fall of those palaces from the hearts of the faithful, the truth stands revealed, that Christ, the Son of God, is of the Father’s eternal substance. What, again, are those mountains of bronze, from the midst of which four chariots come forth?200
118. We behold that height, lifting up itself against the knowledge of God, cast down by the word of the Lord, when the Son of God said: “Hold thy peace, and come forth, thou foul spirit.”201 Concerning whom the prophet also said: “Behold, I am come to thee, thou mount of corruption!”202
119). Those mountains, then, are fallen,203 and it is revealed that in Christ was the substance of God, in the words of those who had seen Him: “Truly Thou art the Son of God,”204 for it was in virtue of divine, not human power, that He commanded devils. Jeremiah also saith: “Make mourning upon the mountains, and beat your breasts upon the desert tracks, for they have failed; forasmuch as there are no men, they have not heard the word of substance: from flying fowl to beasts of burden, they trembled, they have failed.”205
120. Nor has it escaped us, that in another place also, setting forth the frailties of man’s estate, in order to show that He had taken upon Himself the infirmity of the flesh, and the affections of our minds, the Lord said, by the mouth of His prophet: “Remember, O Lord, what My substance is,”206 because it was the Son of God speaking in the nature of human frailty.207
121. Of Him the Scripture saith, in the passage cited,208 in order to discover the mysteries of the Incarnation: “But Thou hast rejected, O Lord, and counted for nought—Thou hast cast out Thy Christ.209 Thou hast overthrown the covenant made with Thy Servant, and trampled His holiness in the earth.”210 What was it, in regard whereof the Scripture called Him “Servant,” but His flesh?—seeing that “He did not hold equality with God as a prey, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being made into the likeness of men, and found in fashion as a man.”211 So, then, in that He took upon Himself My nature, He was a servant, but by virtue of His own power He is the Lord.
122. Furthermore, what meaneth it that thou readest: “Who hath stood in the truth (substantia) of the Lord?” and again: “Now if they had stood in My truth, and had given ear to My words, and had taught My people, I would have turned them from their follies and transgressions”?212
06315 The Arians, inasmuch as they assert the Son to be “of another substance,” plainly acknowledge substance in God. The only reason why they avoid the use of this term is that they will not, as Eusebius of Nicomedia has made it evident, confess Christ to be the true Son of God.
123. How can the Arians deny the substance of God?213 How can they suppose that the word “substance” which is found in many places of Scripture ought to be debarred from use, when they themselves do yet, by saying that the Son is “eteroousio",” that is, of another substance, admit substance in God?
124. It is not the term itself, then, but its force and consequences, that they shun, because they will not confess the Son of God to be true [God].214 For though the process of the divine generation cannot be comprehended in human language, still the Fathers judged that their faith might be fitly distinguished by the use of such a term, as against that of “eteroousio",” following the authority of the prophet, who saith: “Who hath stood in the truth (substantia) of the Lord, and seen His Word?”215 Arians, therefore, admit the term “substance” when it is used so as to square with their blasphemy; contrariwise, when it is adopted in accordance with the pious devotion of the faithful, they reject and dispute against it.
125. What other reason can there be for their unwillingness to have the Son spoken of as “omoousio",” of the same substance, with the Father, but that they are unwilling to confess Him the true Son of God? This is betrayed in the letter of Eusebius of Nicomedia. “If,” writes he, “we say that the Son is true God and uncreate, then we are in the way to confess Him to be of one substance (omoousio") with the Father.” When this letter had been read before the Council assembled at Nicaea, the Fathers put this word in their exposition of the Faith. because they saw that it daunted their adversaries; in order that they might take the sword, which their opponents had drawn, to smite off the head of those opponents’ own blasphemous heresy.216
126. Vain, however, is their plea, that they avoid the use of the term, because of the Sabellians;217 whereby they betray their own ignorance, for a being is of the same substance (omoousion) with another, not with itself. Rightly, then, do we call the Son “omoousio"” (of the same substance), with the Father, forasmuch as that term expresses both the distinction of Persons and the unity of nature.
127. Can they deny that the term “ousia” is met with in Scripture, when the Lord has spoken of bread, that is, “epiousio",”218 and Moses has written “umei" esesqe moi lao" periousio"”?219 What does “ousia” mean, whence comes the name, but from “ousaaei,”220 "that which endures for ever? For He Who is, and is for ever, is God; and therefore the Divine Substance, abiding everlastingly, is called ousia. Bread is epiousio", because, taking the substance of abiding power from the substance of the Word, it supplies this to heart and soul, for it is written: “And bread strengtheneth man’s heart.”221
128. Let us, then, keep the precepts of our forefathers, nor with rude and reckless daring profane the symbols bequeathed to us. That sealed book of prophecy, whereof we have heard, neither elders, nor powers, nor angels, nor archangels, ventured to open; for Christ alone is reserved the peculiar right of opening it.222 Who amongst us dare unseal the book of the priesthood, sealed by confessors, and long hallowed by the testimony of many?223 They who have been constrained to unseal, nevertheless have since, respecting the deceit put upon them, sealed again; they who dared not lay sacrilegious hands upon it, have stood forth as martyrs and confessors. How can we deny the Faith held by those whose victory we proclaim?
06316 In order to forearm the orthodox against the stratagems of the Arians, St. Ambrose discloses some of the deceitful confessions used by the latter, and shows by various arguments, that though they sometimes call the Son “God,” it is not enough, unless they also admit His equality with the Father.
129). Let none fear, let none tremble; he who threatens gives the advantage to the faithful. The soothing balms of deceitful men are poisoned—then must we be on our guard against them, when they pretend to preach that they do deny. Thus were those aforetime, who lightly trusted to them, deceived, so that they fell into the snares of treachery, when they thought all was good faith.
130. “Let him be accursed,” say they, “who says that Christ is a creature, after the manner of the rest of created beings.” Plain folks have heard this, and put faith in it, for, as it is written, “the simple man believes every word.”224 Thus have they heard and believed, being taken in by the first sound thereof, and, like birds, eager for the bait of faith, have not noted the net spread for them, and so, pursuing after faith, have caught the hook of ungodly deceit. Wherefore “be ye wise as serpents,” saith the Lord, “and harmless as doves.”225 Wisdom is put foremost, in order that harmlessness may be unharmed.
131. For those are serpents, such as the Gospel intends, who put off old habits, in order to put on new manners: “Putting off the old man, together with his acts, and putting on the new man, made in the image of Him Who created him.”226 Let us learn then, the ways of those whom the Gospel calls the serpents, throwing off the slough of the old man, that so, like serpents, we may know how to preserve our life and beware of fraud.
132. It would have been sufficient to say, “Accursed be he who saith that Christ is a created being.” Why, then, Arian, dost thou mingle poison with the good that is in thy confession, and so defile the whole body of it? For by addition of “after the manner of the rest of created beings,” you deny not that Christ is a being created, but that He is a created being like [all] others—for created being you do entitle Him, albeit you assign to Him dignity transcending the rest of creation. Furthermore, Arius, the first teacher of this ungodly doctrine, said that the Son of God was a perfect created being, and not as the rest of created beings. See you, then, how that you have adopted language bequeathed you from your father. To deny that Christ is a being created is enough: why add “but not as the rest of beings created”? Cut away the gangrened part, lest the contagion spread—it is poisonous, deadly.
133. Again, you say sometimes that Christ is God. Nay, but so call Him true God, as meaning, that you acknowledge Him to possess the fulness of the Father’s Godhead—for there are gods, so called, alike in heaven or upon earth. The name “God,” then, is not to be used as a mere manner of address and mention, but with the understanding that you affirm, of the Son, that same Godhead which the Father hath, as it is written: “For as the Father hath life in Himself, so hath He given to the Son also to have life in Himself;”227 that is to say, He hath given it to Him, as to His Son, through begetting Him—not by grace, as to one indigent.
134. “And He hath given Him power to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man.”228 Note well this addition, that you may not take occasion, upon a word, to preach falsehood. You read that He is the Son of Man; do you therefore deny that He accepts [the power given]? Deny God, then, if all things proper to God are not given to the Son, for whereas He has said, “All things that the Father hath are Mine,”229 why not acknowledge that all the properties and attributes of Divinity are in the Son [as they are in the Father]? For He who saith, “All things that the Father hath are Mine,” what does He except as having not?
135. Why is it that you recount “with insistence” and in such sincere language, Christ’s raising the dead to life, walking upon the waters, healing the sicknesses of men? These powers, indeed, He has given to His bondmen to display as well as Himself. They do the more arouse my wonder when seen present in men, forasmuch as God hath given them power sogreat. I would hear somewhat concerning Christ that is His distinctly and peculiarly, and cannot be held in common with Him by created beings, now that He is begotten, the only Son of God, very God of very God, sitting at the Father’s right hand.
136. Wheresoever I read of the Father and Son sitting side by side, I find the Son always upon the right hand. Is that because the Son is above the Father? Nay, we say not so; but He Whom God’s love honours is dishonoured by man’s ungodliness. The Father knew that doubts as concerning the Son must needs be sown, and He hath given us an example of reverence for us to follow after, lest we dis-honour the Son.
06317 An objection based on St. Stephen’s vision of the Lord standing is disposed of, and from the prayers of the same saint, addressed to the Son of God, the equality of the Son with the Father is shown.
137). There is just one place, in which Stephen hath said that he saw the Lord Jesus standing at the right hand of God.230 Learn now the import of these words, that you may not use them to raise a question upon. Why (you would ask) do we read every where else of the Son as sitting at the right hand of God, but in one place of His standing? He sits as Judge of quick and dead; He stands as His people’s Advocate. He stood, then, as a Priest, whilst He was offering to His Father the sacrifice of a good martyr; He stood, as the Umpire, to bestow, as it were, upon a good wrestler the prize of so mighty a contest.
138. Receive thou also the Spirit of God, that thou mayest discern those things, even as Stephen received the Spirit; and thou mayest say, as the martyr said: “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”231 He who hath the heavens opened to him, seeth Jesus at the right hand of God: he whose soul’s eye is closed, seeth not Jesus at the right hand of God. Let us, then, confess Jesus at God’s right hand, that to us also the heavens may be opened. They who confess otherwise close the gates of heaven against themselves.
139. But if any urge in objection that the Son was standing, let them show upon this passage that the Father was seated, for though Stephen said that the Son of Man was standing, still he did not further say here that the Father was sitting.
140. Howbeit, to make it more abundantly clear and known that the standing implied no dishonour, but rather sovereignty, Stephen prayed to the Son, being desirous to commend himself the more to the Father, saying: “Lord Jesu, receive my spirit.”232 Again, to show that the sovereignty of the Father and of the Son is one and the same, he prayed again, saying, “Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.”233 These are the words that the Lord, in His own Passion, speaks to the Father, as the Son of Man—these the words of Stephen’s prayer, in his own martyrdom to the Son of God. When the same grace is sought of both the Father and the Son, the same power is affirmed of each.
141. Otherwise, if our opponents will have it that Stephen addressed himself to the Father, let them consider what, on their own showing, they affirm. We indeed are unmoved by their arguments; howbeit, let them, to whom the letter and sequence is all important, take notice that the first petition is addressed to the Son. Now we, even on their understanding of the passage, prove from it the unity of the Father’s and the Son’s majesty; for when the Son is addressed in prayer as well as the Father, the equality which the prayer assigns points to unity in action. But if they will not allow that the Son was addressed with the title “Lord,” we see that they do indeed seek to deny that He is Lord.
142. Seeing, however, that so great a martyr’s crown has been brought forth, let us abate the eagerness of disputation, and bring to-day’s discourse to a close. Let us sing the praises of the holy martyr, as is fitting always after a mighty conflict—the martyr bleeding indeed from the enemy’s blows, but rewarded with the crown bestowed by Christ.
137 (Ex 3,5,
138 (Jos 5,16,
139 S. Jn 3,29.
140 S. Jn 1,27.
141 (Ps 126,7,
142 Song of Solomon 4,8.
143 Song of Solomon 5,26.
144 Song of Solomon 5,15).
145 Or, as E.V.—“Thine Anointed” (cristo" from criw=anoint).
146 (Ps 89,37 and Ps 89,40.
147 (1Co 6,17,
148 (1Co 1,23,
149 (He 1,3-4,
150 (He 7,22 He 11,16
151 (He 7,26-27,
152 (Ph 2,7-8,
153 (Ps 148,5,
154 (Rm 1,25,
155 Viz.: the complete section He 2,14-3,2.
156 (He 2,14,
157 Particeps noster—our partner, companion, sharing all our labours (and taking the lion’s share, too). Is 53,4.
158 (1Co 15,54, 1Co 15,55,
159 (He 2,16—He 3,2.
160 “Priestly nation.”—Ex 19,5; 1 Pet. 2,9. We must not understand especial reference to the priestly tribe of Levi only, but to the whole people of Israel. Cf. He 7,
161 (Ps 110,4,
162 (Gn 14,18 ff.
163 Orig. “typum gerens Domini”—“bearing the stamp of our Lord,” marked with His mark, as a coin is stamped with the image and superscription of the king or other authority who issues it.
164 (He 7,1 ff.
165 (Is 53,8,
166 (2Co 5,19,
167 Lat). substantia.
168 S. Jn 14,10.
169 S. Jn 14,12.
170 Matth. 12,25).
171 Orig. “conservator.” This title must have reference to the present work of Christ.
172 (1P 2,10, 1P 2,11,
173 S. Mt 16,28.
174 S. Mc 8,39.
175 S. Mt 13,43.
176 S. Jn 17,5.
177 S. Lc 13,28.
178 S. Lc 23,42-43.
179 S. Mt 16,19.
180 (1Tm 1,1,
181 (Ep 5,5).
182 (Dt 6,4,
183 (Col 2,9, i. in bodily form, in human flesh and blood.
184 Bk. I. 7,
185 S. Mt 25,31.
186 The majesty of the Universal Judge cannot take its rise in or be derived from any human or any created source—it must transcend all created existences, even angels and archangels, cherubim and seraphim—it must be eternal, divine.
187 S. Lc 9,26.
188 S. Mc 8,38.
189 i.e. no such gradation as will lead without a break from angels to the Father through the Son, ignoring the difference of creature and Creator).
190 S. Jn 16,15.
191 Latin, “subsistunt” subsists persist, last through changes. Even the ephemeris thus persists, subsists, or endures, for its few hours of life.
192 “Non est occultatum os meum quod fecisti in abscondito, et substantia mea in inferioribus terroe.” The Prayer-book version runs: “My bones are not hid from Thee, though I be made secretly, and fashioned beneath in the earth.”—Ps 139,14. “My bones were not hid from Thee, when I was made in secret, [when] I was curiously wrought [as] in the lower parts of the earth.”—Perowne.
193 (1P 3,19,
194 (Ps 139,7, R.V. “Hell” is “Sheol,” word also rendered “grave.” It means the “place of darkness,” the gloomy underworld, where the spirits of the departed were believed to abide. It is the place from which Samuel’s spirit was called up by the witch of Endor.—1 Sam. xxviii.
195 (Ps 139,15,
196 (Na 2,6, LXX. shows—“pulai twn polewn dihnocqhsan kai ta basileia diepese. kai h upostasi" apekalufuh.” The Vulg.—“Portoe fluviorum apertoe sunt, et templum solum dirutum. Et miles captivus adductus est.” R.V.—“The gates of the rivers are opened and the palace is dissolved, and Huzzab is uncovered, and it is decreed; she is uncovered, she is carried away,” etc.
197 S. Mt 17,19.
198 (2Co 10,5,
199 Regnum is used in Latin to denote a domain as well as in the general sense of “kingdom.” Virg., Qo 1,70; S. Mt 12,26).
200 (Za 6,1,
201 S. Mc 1,25.
202 (Jr 51,25, “mount of corruption” is Babylon.
203 i.e. those cities and nations and persons who have exalted themselves, lifted themselves up as high mountains, challenging, as it were, the majesty of heaven. Cf. Ps 68,16, R.V.
204 S Lc 4,41.
205 (Jr 9,10, Ambrose follows the text of the LXX. with one or two variations in the punctuation. What St. Ambrose renders as “vox substantioe” (“word of substance” or “voice of substance”) appears in the LXX. as “fwnh uparxew"” (which vox substantioe represents verbatim), and in Vulg. as “vox possidentis” (“the voice of the possessor”—i.e. landowner); in the A.V. and R. V. as “the voice of the cattle.”—uparxi" and substantia should taken in the concrete sense (as they clearly represent a concrete term), like our “substance,” or “possessions.” Now in primitive society—like, , that of the nomad Tartars—possessions consist mainly in horses and cattle. Cf. the evollution of the term pecunia=money.
206 (Ps 89,46.
207 The text will then be prophetic of the Agony in the Garden and upon the Cross.
208 (Ps 89,37-38.
209 Or, “thine Anointed.” Cf. Ps 22,1 Mt 27,46.
210 “Holiness.” E. V.—“crown.”
211 (Ph 2,6-7,
212 St. Ambrose’s “substantia” is, in the LXX., uposthma—“standing-ground.” R.V. “council.”— .
213 i.e. how can they say there is no Divine Substance, that the use of the term “substance” is illegitimate?
214 Or to be the true Son of God, Son by nature, not by adoption.
215 (Jr 23,18).
216 Cf. 1S 17,51.
217 The Sabellians reduced the distinction of Persons in the Trinity to a distinction of three different self-manifestations of one and the same Person, appearing at different times in different aspects or characters, as “one man in his time plays many parts.” They, therefore, would mean, if they said that the Son was omoousio" with the Father, that He was identical with Him. Another perverse use of the term supervened upon the argument that if the Father and the Son were omoovsioi there must be some ousia, identical with neither, but in which both, so to speak, had a share, by virtue of participation in which they existed and were what they were—a theory which adapted the Platonic doctrine of Universal Ideas to expound the mysteries of the Godhead. It was the perverse use of the term by such persons as Paul of Samosata (condemned by the Synod of Antioch, 269 a.d.) that caused it to be received at first with suspicion even by the orthodox at the Nicene Synod in 325 a.d. The true doctrine would be to this effect, that in relation to the Persons, the Godhead is not a separate, more comprehensive entity, existingin-dependently, and the fount of existence to each and all of the Persons—not as the Platonic autanurwpo" (ideal or archetypal man), for example, to the polloia anurwpoi (sundry individuals), but is in each of the Persons fully and completely, yet without destruction of its unity. The Godhead is a prwth, a single, individual substance. So also is each One of the Three Persons—but their inter-relation is such that neither is the Godhead anything apart from them, nor they anything apart from the Godhead or from each other. It is the Three together that constitute the One Ousia or Essence, it is the definition of this Essence that applies to Each of them equally, without difference, whilst Each Person retains His Personal characteristics and Personal (not natural or substantial) “differentia.” Speaking logically, the Three Persons are “of one definition;” speaking metaphysically, they are “of one Essence” Now both “of one definition” and “of one essence” may be rendered by omoousioi.
218 S. Mt 6,11). epiousio"=“required for our subsistence, proper for our sustenance.” See Alford in loc.
219 (Ex 19,6,
220 The derivation is philologically incorrect, for ousia is formed upon the fem. of the pres. part. of einai, but for all that it embodies a certain truth, inasmuch as ousia in its abstract use denotes simple existence, without reference to conditions.
221 (Ps 104,15, term epiousio" has spiritual import, inasmuch as the life of the body, supported by bread, is not all but should subordinate to the spiritual life—the healthy body to the instrument and vehicle of the healthy soul for man’s real life (though he is not apt to think it such) is not dependent on bread alone—his whole existence is not material, though one side of it is. St. Ambrose, however, seems rather disposed to overlook the physical material bread (which we are certainly taught to pray for) for the sake of the supra.sensible Bread of Heaven and Food of Angels.
222 (Ap 5,5,
223 A reference to the Synod of Ariminum. See Bk. I. 13,122.
224 (Pr 14,15).
225 S. Mt 10,16.
226 (Col 3,9, Col 3,10,
227 S. Jn 5,26.
228 S. Jn 5,27.
229 S. Jn 16,15.
230 (Ac 7,55).
231 (Ac 7,55,
232 (Ac 7,58,
233 (Ac 7,51,
Ambrose selected works 6312