Ambrose selected works 24106

Chapter VI.

24106 Although we are baptized with water and the Spirit, the latter is much superior to the former, and is not therefore to be separated from the Father and-the Son.

76). There are, however, many who, because we are baptized with water and the Spirit, think that there is no difference in the offices of water and the Spirit, and therefore think that they do not differ in nature. Nor do they observe that we are buried in the element of water that we may rise again renewed by the Spirit. For in the water is the representation of death, in the Spirit is the pledge of life, that the body of sin may die through the water, which encloses the body as it were in a kind of tomb, that we, by the power of the Spirit, may be renewed from the death of sin, being born again in God.

77. And so these three witnesses are one, as John said: “The water, the blood, and the Spirit.”105 One in the mystery, not in nature. The water, then, is a witness of burial, the blood is a witness of death, the Spirit is a witness of life. If, then, there be any grace in the water, it is not from the nature of water, but from the presence of the Holy Spirit.

78. Do we live in the water or in the Spirit? Are we sealed in the water or in the Spirit. For in Him we live and He Himself is the earnest of our inheritance, as the Apostle says, writing to the Ephesians I “In Whom believing ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, Who is an earnest of our inheritance.”106 So we were sealed by the Holy Spirit, not by nature, but by God, for it is written: “He Who anointed us is God, Who also sealed us, and gave the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.”

79. We were then sealed with the Spirit by God. For as we die in Christ, in order to be born again, so, too, we are sealed with the Spirit, that we may possess His brightness and image and grace, which is undoubtedly our spiritual seal. For although we were visibly sealed in our bodies, we are in truth sealed in our hearts, that the Holy Spirit may portray in us the likeness of the heavenly image.

80. Who, then, can dare to say that the Holy Spirit is separated from the Father and the Son, since through Him we attain to the image and likeness of God, and through Him, as the Apostle Peter says, are partakers of the divine nature? In which there is certainly not the inheritance of carnal succession, but the spiritual connection of the grace of adoption. And in order that we may know that this seal is rather on our hearts than on our bodies, the prophet says: “The light of Thy countenance has been impressed upon us, O Lord, Thou hast put gladness in my heart.”107

Chapter VII.

24107 The Holy Spirit is not a creature, seeing that He is infinite, and was shed upon the apostles dispersed through all countries, and moreover sanctifies the Angers also, to whom He makes us equal. Mary was full of the same likewise, so too, Christ the Lord, and so far all things high and low. And all benediction has its origin from His operation, as was signified in the moving of the water at Bethesda.

81). Since then, every creature is confined within certain limits of its own nature, and inasmuch as those invisible operations, which cannot be circumscribed by place and bounds, yet are closed in by the property of their own substance; how can any one dare to call the Holy Spirit a creature, Who has not a limited and circumscribed power? because He is always in all things and everywhere, which assuredly is the property of Divinity and Lordship, for: “The earth is the Lord’s and the fulness thereof.”108

81. And so, when the Lord appointed His servants the apostles, that we might recognize that the creature was one thing and the grace of the Spirit another, He appointed them to different places, because all could not be everywhere at once. But He gave the Holy Spirit to all, to shed upon the apostles though separated the gift of indivisible grace. The persons, then, were different, but the accomplishment of the working was in all one, because the Holy Spirit is one of Whom it is said: “Ye shall receive power, even the Holy Spirit coming upon you, and ye shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and unto the ends of the earth.”109

82. The Holy Spirit, then, is uncircumscribed and infinite, Who infused Himself into the minds of the disciples throughout the separate divisions of distant regions, and the remote bounds of the whole world, Whom nothing is able to escape or to deceive. And therefore holy David says: “Whither shall I go from Thy Spirit, or whither shall I flee from Thy face.”110 Of what Angel does the Scripture say this? of what Dominion? of what Power? of what Angel do we find the power diffused over many? For Angels were sent to few, but the Holy Spirit was poured upon whole peoples. Who, then, can doubt that that is divine which is shed upon many at once and is not seen; but that that is corporeal which is seen and held by individuals?

83. But in like manner as the Spirit sanctifying the apostles is not a partaker of human nature; so, too, He sanctifying Angels, Dominions, and Powers, has no partnership with creatures. But if any think that the holiness of the Angels is not spiritual, but some other kind of grace belonging to the property of their nature, they will forsooth judge Angels to be inferior to men. For since themselves also confess that they would not dare to compare Angels to the Holy Spirit, and they cannot deny that the Holy Spirit is shed upon men; but the sanctification of the Spirit is a divine gift and favour, men who possess a better kind of sanctification will certainly be found to be preferred to the Angels. But since Angels come down to men to assist them, it must be understood that the nature of Angels is higher as it receives more of the grace of the Spirit, and that the favour awarded to us and to them comes from the same author.

84. But how great is that grace which makes even the lower nature of the lot of men equal to the gifts received by Angels, as the Lord Himself promised, saying: “Ye shall be as the Angels in heaven.” Nor is it difficult, for He Who made those Angels in the Spirit will by the same grace make men also equal to the Angels.

85. But of what creature can it be said that it fills all things, as is written of the Holy Spirit: “I will pour My Spirit upon all flesh.”111 This cannot be said of an Angel. Lastly, Gabriel himself, when sent to Mary, said: “Hail, full of grace,”112 plainly declaring the grace of the Spirit which was in her, because the Holy Spirit had come upon her, and she was about to have her womb full of grace with the heavenly Word.

86. For it is of the Lord to fill all things, Who says: “I fill heaven and earth.”113 If, then, it is the Lord Who fills heaven and earth, Who can judge the Holy Spirit to be without a share in the dominion and divine power, seeing that He has filled the world, and what is beyond the whole world, filled Jesus the Redeemer of the whole world? For it is written: “But Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, departed from Jordan,”114 Who, then, except one who possessed the same fulness could fill Him Who fills all things?

87. But test they should object that this was said according to the flesh, though He alone from Whose flesh went forth virtue to heal all, was more than all; yet, as the Lord fills all things, so, too, we read of the Spirit: “For the Spirit of the Lord filled the whole world.”115 And you find it said of all who had consorted with the Apostles that, “filled with the Holy Spirit they spoke the word of God with boldness.”116 You see that the Spirit gives both fulness and boldness, Whose operation the archangel announces to Mary, saying: “The Holy Spirit shall come on thee.”117

88. You read, too, in the Gospel that the Angel descended at the appointed time into the pool and troubled the water, and he who first went down into the pool was made whole,118 What did the Angel declare in this type but the descent of the Holy Spirit, which was to come to pass in our day, and should consecrate the waters when invoked by the prayers of the priest? That Angel, then, was a herald of the Holy Spirit, inasmuch as by means of the grace of the Spirit medicine was to be applied to our infirmities of soul and mind. The Spirit, then, has the same ministers as God the Father and Christ. He fills all things, possesses all things, works all and in all in the same manner as God the Father and the Son work.

89. What, then, is more divine than the working of the Holy Spirit, since God Himself testifies that the Holy Spirit presides over His blessings, saying: “I will put My Spirit upon thy seed and My blessings upon thy children.”119 For no blessing can be full except through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Wherefore, too, the Apostle found nothing better to wish us than this, as He himself said: “We cease not to pray and make request for you that ye may be filled with the knowledge of His will, in all wisdom and spiritual understanding walking worthily of God.”120 He taught, then, that this was the will of God, that rather by walking in good works and words and affections, we should be filled with the will of God, Who puts His Holy Spirit in our hearts. Therefore if he who has the Holy Spirit is filled with the will of God, there is certainly no difference of will between the Father and the Son.

Chapter VIII.

24108 The Holy Spirit is given by God alone, yet not wholly to each person, since there is no one besides Christ capable of receiving Him wholly. Charity is shed abroad by the Holy Spirit, Who, prefigured by the mystical ointment, is shown to have nothing common with creatures; and He, inasmuch as He is said to proceed from the mouth of God, must not be classed with creatures, nor with things divisible, seeing He is eternal.

90). Observe at the same time that God gives the Holy Spirit. For this is no work of man, nor girl of man; but He Who is invoked by the priest is given by God, wherein is the gift of God and the ministry of the priest. For if the Apostle Paul judged that he was not able to give the Holy Spirit himself by his own authority, and considered himself so far unequal to this office that he wished us to be filled by God with the Spirit,121 who is sufficient to dare to arrogate to himself the conferring of this gift? So the Apostle uttered this wish in prayer, and did not claim a fight by any authority of his own; he desired to obtain, he did not presume to command. Peter, too, says that he is not capable of compelling or restraining the Holy Spirit. For he spoke thus: “Wherefore if God has granted them the same grace as to us, who was I that I could resist God?”122

91. But perchance they would not be moved by the example of apostles, and so let us use divine utterances; for it is written: “Jacob is My servant, I will uphold him; Israel is My elect, My soul hath upheld him, I put My Spirit upon him.”123 The Lord also said by Isaiah: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me.”124

92. Who, then, can dare to say that the substance of the Holy Spirit is created, at Whose shining in our hearts we behold the beauty of divine truth, and the distance between the creature and the Godhead, that the work may be distinguished from its Author? Or of what creature has God so spoken as to say: “I will pour out of My Spirit”?125 He said not Spirit, but “of My Spirit,” for we are not able to receive the fulness of the Holy Spirit, but we receive as much as our Master divides to us of His own according to His will.126 For as the Son of God thought it not robbery that He should be equal to God, but emptied Himself, that we might be able to receive Him in our minds; but He emptied Himself not that He was void of His own fulness, but in order that He, Whose fulness I could not endure, might infuse Himself into me according to the measure of my capacity, in like manner also the Father says that He pours out of the Spirit upon all flesh; for He did not pour Him forth wholly, but that which He poured forth abounded for all.

93. There was therefore a pouring out upon us of the Spirit, but upon the Lord Jesus, when He was in the form of man, the Spirit abode, as it is written: “Upon Whom thou shall see the Spirit descending from heaven, and abiding upon Him, He it is Who baptizeth in the Holy Spirit.”127 Around us is the liberality of the Giver in abundant provision, in Him abides for ever the fulness of the Spirit. He shed forth then what He deemed to be sufficient for us, and what was shed forth is not separated nor divided; but He has a unity of fulness wherewith He may enlighten the sight of our hearts according to what our strength is capable of. Lastly, we receive so much as the advancing of our mind acquires, for the fulness of the grace of the Spirit is indivisible, but is Shared in by us according to the capacity of our own nature.

94. God, then, sheds forth of the Spirit, and the love of God is also shed abroad through the Spirit; in which point we ought to recognize the unity of the operation and of the grace. For as God shed forth of the Holy Spirit, so also “the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts through the Holy Spirit;”128 in order that we may understand that the Holy Spirit is not a work, Who is the dispenser and plenteous Fount of the divine love.

95. In like manner that you may believe that that which is shed abroad cannot be common to the creatures but peculiar to the Godhead, the name of the Son is also poured forth, as you read: “Thy Name is as ointment poured forth.”129 Of which saying nothing can surpass the force. For as ointment closed up in a vase keeps in its perfume, so long as it is confined in the narrow space of that vase, though it cannot reach many, it yet preserves its strength. But when the ointment has been poured out of that vase wherein it was enclosed, it spreads far and wide; so, too, the Name of Christ before His coming amongst the people of Israel was enclosed in the minds of the Jews as in some vase. For “God is known in Judah, His Name is great in Israel;”130 that is, the Name which the vases of the Jews held confined in their narrow limits.

96. Even then that Name was indeed great, when it remained in the narrow limits of the weak and few, but it had not yet poured forth its greatness throughout the hearts of the Gentiles, and to the ends of the whole world. But after that He by His coming had shone throughout the whole world, He spread abroad that divine Name of His throughout all creatures, not filled up by any addition (for fulness admits not of increase), but filling up the empty spaces, that His Name might be wonderful in all the world. The pouring forth, then, of His Name signifies a kind of abundant exuberance of graces and copiousness of heavenly goods, for whatever is poured forth flows over from abundance.

97. So as wisdom which proceeds from the mouth of God cannot be said to be created, nor the Word Which is uttered from His heart, nor the power in which is the fulness of the eternal Majesty; so, too, the Spirit which is poured forth from the mouth of God cannot be considered to be created, since God Himself has shown their unity to be such that He speaks of His pouring forth of His Spirit. By which we understand that the grace of God the Father is the same as that of the Holy Spirit, and that without an y division or loss it is divided to the hearts of each. That, then, which is shed abroad of the Holy Spirit is neither severed, nor comprehended in any corporeal parts, nor divided.

98. For how can it be credible that the Spirit should be divided. by any parcelling out? John says of God: “Hereby know we that He abides in us by the Spirit which He hath given us.”131 But that which abides always is certainly not changed, therefore if it suffers no change it is eternal. And so the Holy Spirit is eternal, but the creature is liable to fault, and therefore subject to change. But that which is subject to change cannot be eternal, and there cannot therefore be anything in common between the Spirit and the creature, because the Spirit is eternal, but every creature is temporal.

99. But the Apostle also shows that the Holy Spirit is eternal, for: “If the blood of bulls and of goats, and the sprinkling the ashes of an heifer sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh, how much more the blood of Christ, Who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God?”132 Therefore the Spirit is eternal.

Chapter IX.

24109 The Holy Spirit is rightly called the ointment of Christ, and the oil of gladness; and why. Christ Himself is not the ointment, since He was anointed with the Holy Spirit. It is not strange that the Spirit should be called Ointment, since the Father and the Son are also called Spirit. And there is no confusion between them, since Christ alone suffered death, Whose saving cross is then spoken of.

100). Now many have thought that the Holy Spirit is the ointment of Christ, And well it is said ointment, because He is called the oil of gladness, the joining together of many graces giving a sweet fragrance. But God the Almighty Father anointed Him the Prince of priests, Who was, not like others anointed in a type under the Law, but was both according to the Law anointed in the body, and in truth was full with the virtue of the Holy Spirit from the Father above the Law.

101. This is the oil of gladness, of which the prophet says: “God, even Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows.”133 Lastly, Peter says that Jesus was anointed with the Spirit, as you read: “Ye know that word which went through all Judea beginning from Galilee after the baptism which John preached, even Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit.”134 The Holy Spirit is, then, the oil of gladness.

102. And well did he say oil of gladness, lest you should think Him a creature; for it is the nature of this sort of oil that it will by no means mingle with moisture of another kind. Gladness, too, does not anoint the body, but brightens the inmost heart, as the prophet said: “Thou hast put gladness in my heart.”135 So as he loses his pains who wishes to mix oil with moister matter, because since the nature of oil is lighter than others, when the others settle, it rises and is separated. How do those wretched pedlars think that the oil of gladness can by their tricks be mingled with other creatures, since of a truth corporeal things cannot be mingled with in corporeal, nor things created with uncreated?

102. And well is that called oil of gladness wherewith Christ was anointed; for neither was usual nor common oil to be sought for Him, wherewith either wounds are dressed or heat assuaged; since the salvation of the world did not seek alleviation for His wounds, nor the eternal might of His wearied Body demand refreshment.

103. Nor is it wonderful if He have the oil of gladness, Who made those about to die rejoice, put off sadness from the world, destroyed the odour of sorrowful death. And so the Apostle says: “For we are the good odour of Christ to God;”136 certainly showing that he is speaking of spiritual things. But when the Son of God Himself says: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me,”137 He points out the ointment of the Spirit. Therefore the Spirit is the ointment of Christ.

104. Or since the Name of Jesus is as ointment poured out, if they wish to understand Christ Himself, and not the Spirit of Christ to be expressed under the name of ointment, certainly when the Apostle Peter says that the Lord Jesus was anointed with the Holy Spirit, it is without doubt plain that the Spirit also is called ointment.

105. But what wonder, since both the Father and the Son are said to be Spirit. Of which we shall speak more fully when we begin to speak of the Unity of the Name. Yet since most suitable place occurs here, that we may not seem to have passed on without a conclusion, let them read that both the Father is called Spirit, as the Lord said in the Gospel, “for God is Spirit;”138 and Christ is called Spirit, for Jeremiah said: “The Spirit before our face, Christ the Lord.”139

106. So, then, both the Father is Spirit and Christ is Spirit, for that which is not a created body is spirit, but the Holy Spirit is not commingled with the Father and the Son, but is distinct from the Father and from the Son. For the Holy Spirit did not die, Who could not die because He had not taken flesh upon Him, and the eternal Godhead was incapable of dying, but Christ died according to the flesh.

107. For of a truth He died in that which He took of the Virgin, not in that which He had of the Father, for Christ died in that nature in which He was crucified. But the Holy Spirit could not be crucified, Who had not flesh and bones, but the Son of God was crucified, Who took flesh and bones, that on that cross the temptations of our flesh might die. For He took on Him that which He was not that He might hide that which He was; He hid that which He was that He might be tempted in it, and that which He was not might be redeemed, in order that He might call us by means of that which He was not to that which He was.

108. O the divine mystery of that cross, on which weakness hangs, might is free, vices are nailed, and triumphal trophies raised. So that a certain saint said: “Pierce my flesh with nails for fear of Thee;”140 he says not with nails of iron, but of fear and faith. For the bonds of virtue are stronger than those of punishment. Lastly, his faith bound Peter, when he had followed the Lord as far as the hall of the high priest, whom no one had bound, and punishment loosened not him, whom faith bound. Again, when he was bound by the Jews, prayer loosed him, punishment did not hold him, because he had not gone back from Christ.

109. Therefore do you also crucify sin, that you may die to sin; he who dies to sin lives to God; do you live to Him Who spared not His own Son, that in His body He might crucify our passions. For Christ died for us, that we might live in His revived Body. Therefore not our life but our guilt died in Him, “Who,” it is said, “bare our sins in His own Body on the tree; that being set free from our sins we might live in righteousness, by the wound of Whose stripes we are healed.”141

110. That wood of the cross is, then, as it were a kind of ship of our salvation, our passage, not a punishment, for there is no other salvation but the passage of eternal salvation. Whilst expecting death I do not feel it; whilst thinking little of punishment I do not suffer; whilst careless of fear I know it not.

111. Who, then, is He by the wound of Whose stripes we are healed but Christ the Lord? of Whom the same Isaiah prophesied His stripes were our healing,142 of Whom Paul the Apostle wrote in his epistle: “Who knew no sin, but was made sin for us.”143 This. indeed, was divine in Him, that His Flesh did no sin, nor did the creature of the body take in Him sin. For what wonder would it be if the Godhead alone sinned not, seeing It had no incentives to sin? But if God alone is free from sin, certainly every creature by its own nature can be, as we have said, liable to sin.

Chapter X.

That the Spirit forgives sin is common to Him with the Father and the Son, but not with the Angels.

112). Tell me, then, whoever you are who deny the Godhead of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit could not be liable to sin, Who rather forgives sin. Does an Angel forgive? Does an Archangel? Certainly not, but the Father alone, the Son alone, and the Holy Spirit alone. Now no one is unable to avoid that which he has power to forgive.

113. But perhaps some one will say that the Seraph said to Isaiah: “Behold, this hath touched thy lips, and shall take away thine iniquities, and purge away thy sins.”144 Shall take away, he says, and shall purge, not I will take away, but that fire from the altar of God, that is, the grace of the Spirit. For what else can we piously understand to be on the altar of God but the grace of the Spirit? Certainly not the wood of the forests, nor the soot and coals. Or what is so in accordance with piety as to understand according to the mystery that it was revealed by the mouth of Isaiah that all men should be cleansed by the passion of Christ, Who as a coal according to the flesh burnt up our sins, as you read in Zechariah: “Is not this a brand cast forth from the fire? And that was Joshua clothed in filthy garments.”145

114. Lastly, that we may know that this mystery of the common redemption was most clearly revealed by the prophets, you have also in this place: “Lo, it hath taken away thy sins;”146 not that Christ put aside His sins Who did no sin, but that in the flesh of Christ the whole human race should be loosed from their sins.

115. But even if the Seraph had taken away sin, it would have been as one of the ministers of God appointed to this mystery. For thus said Isaiah: “For one of the Seraphim was sent to me.”147

Chapter XI.

24111 The Spirit is sent to all, and passes not from place to place, for He is not limited either by time or space. He goes forth from the Son, as the Son from the Father, in Whom He ever abides: and also comes to us when we receive. He comes also after the same manner as the Father Himself, from Whom He can by no means be separated.

116). The Spirit, also, is indeed said to be sent, but the Seraph to one, the Spirit to all. The Seraph is sent to minister, the Spirit works a mystery. The Seraph performs what is commanded, the Spirit divides as He wills. The Seraph passes from place to place, for he does not fill all things, but is himself filled by the Spirit. The Seraph comes down with a certain mode of passage according to his nature, but we cannot think this of the Spirit, of Whom the Son of God says: “When the Paraclete shall come, even the Spirit of Truth, Whom I send unto you, Who proceedeth from the Father.”148

117. For if the Spirit proceeds from a place and passes to a place, both the Father Himself will be found in a place, and the Son likewise. If He goes forth from a place, Whom the Father or the Son sends, certainly the Spirit passing from a place, and making progress, seems to leave, according to those impious interpretations, both the Father and the Son like some material body.

118. I am saying this with reference to those who say that the Spirit comes down by movement. But neither the Father, Who is above all not only of corporeal nature, but also of the invisible creation, is circumscribed in any place; nor is the Son, Who, as the Worker of all creation, is above every creature, enclosed by the places or times of His own works; nor is the Spirit of Truth as being the Spirit of God, circumscribed by any corporeal limits, Who since He is incorporeal is far above the whole rational creation through the ineffable fulness of His Godhead, having over all things the power of breathing where He wills, and of inspiring as He wills.149

119. The Spirit is not, then, sent as it were from a place, nor does He proceed as from a place, when He proceeds from the Son, as the Son Himself, when He says, “I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world,”150 destroys all fancies, which can be reckoned as from place to place. In like manner, also, when we read that God is within or without, we certainly do not either enclose God within anybody or separate Him from anybody, but weighing these things in a deep and ineffable estimation, we comprehend the hiddenness of the divine nature.

120. Lastly, Wisdom so says that she came forth from the mouth of the Most High,151 as not to be external to the Father, but with the Father; for “the Word was with God;”152 and not only with God but also in God; for He says: “I am in the Father and the Father is in Me.”153 But neither when He goes forth from the Father does He retire from a place, nor is He separated as a body from a body; nor when He is in the Father is He as if a body enclosed as it were in a body. The Holy Spirit also, when He proceeds from the Father and the Son, is not separated from the Father nor separated from the Son. For how could He be separated from the Father Who is the Spirit of His mouth? Which is certainly both a proof of His eternity, and expresses the Unity of this Godhead.

121. He exists then, and abides always, Who is the Spirit of His mouth, but He seems to come down when we receive Him, that He may dwell in us, that we may not be alien from His grace. To us He seems to come down, not that He does come down, but that our mind ascends to Him. Of which we would speak more fully did we not remember that in the former treatise154 there was set forth that the Father said: “Let us go down and confound their language,”155 and that the Son said: “He that loveth Me will keep My saying, and My Father will love him, and We will come to Him and make Our abode with Him.”156

122. The Spirit, then, so comes as does the Father, for where the Father is there is also the Son, and where the Son is there is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit, therefore, is not to be supposed to come separately. But He comes not from place to place, but from the disposition of the order to the safety of redemption, from the grace of giving life to that of sanctification, to translate us from earth to heaven, from wretchedness to glory, from slavery to a kingdom.

123. The Spirit comes, then, as the Father comes. For the Son said, “I and the Father will come, and will make Our abode with Him.”157 Does the Father come in a bodily fashion? Thus, then, comes the Spirit in Whom, when He comes, is the full presence of the Father and the Son.

124. But who can separate the Spirit from the Father and the Son, since we cannot even name the Father and the Son without the Spirit? “For no one saith Lord Jesus, except in the Holy Spirit?”158 If, then, we cannot call Jesus Lord except in the Holy Spirit, we certainly cannot proclaim Him without the Spirit. But if the Angels also proclaim Jesus to be Lord, Whom no one can proclaim except in the Spirit, then in them also the office of the Holy Spirit operates.

125. We have proved, then, that the presence and the grace of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are one, which is so heavenly and divine that the Son gives thanks therefore to the Father, saying, “I give thanks to Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because Thou hast hidden these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.”159

Chapter XII.

24112 The peace and grace of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are one, so also is Their charity one, which showed itself chiefly in the redemption of man. Their communion with man is also one.

126). Therefore since the calling is one, the grace is also one. Lastly, it is written: “Grace unto you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.”160 You see, then, that we are told that the grace of the Father and the Son is one, and the peace of the Father and the Son is one, but this grace and peace is the fruit of the Spirit, as the Apostle taught us himself, saying: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience.”161 And peace is good and necessary that no one be troubled with doubtful disputations, nor be shaken by the storm of bodily passions, but that his affections may remain quietly disposed as to the worship of God, with simplicity of faith and tranquillity of mind.

127. As to peace we have proved the point; but as to grace the prophet Zechariah says, that God promised to pour upon Jerusalem the spirit of grace and mercy,162 and the Apostle Peter says: “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the grace of the Holy Spirit.”163 So grace comes also of the Holy Spirit as of the Father and the Son. For how can there be grace without the Spirit, since all divine grace is in the Spirit?

128. Nor do we read only of the peace and grace of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, but also, faithful Emperor, of the love and communion. For of love it has been said: “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God.”164 We have heard of the love of the Father. The same love which is the Father’s is also the Son’s. For He Himself said: “He that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him,”165 And what is the love of the Son, but that He offered Himself for us, and redeemed us with His own blood.166 But the same love is in the Father, for it is written: “God so loved the world, that He gave His Only-begotten Son.”167

129. So, then, the Father gave the Son, and the Son gave Himself. Love is preserved and due affection is not wronged, for affection is not wronged where there is no distress in the giving up. He gave one Who was willing, He gave One Who offered Himself, the Father did not give the Son to punishment but to grace. If you enquire into the merit of the deed, enquire into the description of the affection. The vessel of election shows plainly the unity of this divine love, because both the Father gave the Son and the Son gave Himself. The Father gave, Who “spared not His own Son, but gave Him up for us all.”168 And of the Son he also says: “Who gave Himself for me.”169 “Gave Himself,” he says. If it be of grace, what do I find fault with. If it be that He suffered wrong, I owe the more.

130. But learn that in like manner as the Father gave the Son, and the Son gave Himself, so, too, the Holy Spirit gave Him. For it is written: “Then was Jesus led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.”170 So, too, the loving Spirit gave the Son of God. For as the love of the Father and the Son is one, so, too, we have shown that this love of God is shed abroad by the Holy Spirit, and is the fruit of the Holy Spirit, because “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience.”171

131. And that there is communion between the Father and the Son is plain, for it is written: “And our communion is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.”172 And in another place: “The communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”173 If, then, the peace of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit is one, the grace one, the love one, and the communion one, the working is certainly one, and where the working is one, certainly the power cannot be divided nor the substance separated. For, if so, how could the grace of the same working agree?

Ambrose selected works 24106