Church Fathers: Post-Nicene Fathers Vol 10: 30.01.16 Tthe Holy Spirit Book I Pt 3

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Church Fathers: Post-Nicene Fathers Vol 10: 30.01.16 Tthe Holy Spirit Book I Pt 3

TOPIC: Post-Nicene Fathers Vol 10 (Other Topics in this Collection)
SUBJECT: 30.01.16 Tthe Holy Spirit Book I Pt 3

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Chapter IX.

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."hyperlink 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."hyperlink 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."hyperlink 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;"hyperlink 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,"hyperlink 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;"hyperlink and Christ is called Spirit, for Jeremiah said: "The Spirit before our face, Christ the Lord."hyperlink

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;"hyperlink 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."hyperlink

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,hyperlink of Whom Paul the Apostle wrote in his epistle: "Who knew no sin, but was made sin for us."hyperlink 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."hyperlink 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."hyperlink

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;"hyperlink 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."hyperlink

Chapter XI.

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."hyperlink

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.hyperlink

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,"hyperlink 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,hyperlink as not to be external to the Father, but with the Father; for "the Word was with God;"hyperlink and not only with God but also in God; for He says: "I am in the Father and the Father is in Me."hyperlink 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 treatisehyperlink there was set forth that the Father said: "Let us go down and confound their language,"hyperlink 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."hyperlink

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."hyperlink 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?"hyperlink 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."hyperlink

Chapter XII.

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."hyperlink 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."hyperlink 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,hyperlink 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."hyperlink 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."hyperlink 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,"hyperlink And what is the love of the Son, but that He offered Himself for us, and redeemed us with His own blood.hyperlink But the same love is in the Father, for it is written: "God so loved the world, that He gave His Only-begotten Son."hyperlink

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."hyperlink And of the Son he also says: "Who gave Himself for me."hyperlink "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."hyperlink 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."hyperlink

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."hyperlink And in another place: "The communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all."hyperlink 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?

Chapter XIII.

St. Ambrose shows from the Scriptures that the Name of the Three Divine Persons is one, and first the unity of the Name of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, inasmuch as each is called Paraclete and Truth.

132. Who, then, would dare to deny the oneness of Name, when he sees the oneness of the working. But why should I maintain the unity of the Name by arguments, when there is the plain testimony of the Divine Voice that the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit is one? For it is written: "Go, baptize all nations in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."hyperlink He said, "in the Name," not "in the Names." So, then, the Name of the Father is not one, that of the Son another, and that of the Holy Spirit another, for God is one; the Names are not more than one, for there are not two Gods, or three Gods.

132. And that He might reveal that the Godhead is one and the Majesty one, because the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit is one, and the Son did not come in one Name and the Holy Spirit in another, the Lord Himself said: "I am come in My Father's Name, and ye did not receive Me, if another shall come in his own name ye will receive him."hyperlink

133. And Scripture makes clear that that which is the Father's Name, the same is also that of the Son, for the Lord said in Exodus: "I will go before thee in My Name, and will call by My Name the Lord before thee."hyperlink So, then, the Lord said that He would call the Lord by His Name. The Lord, then, is the Name of the Father and of the Son.

134. But since the Name of the Father and of the Son is one, learn that the same is the Name of the Holy Spirit also, since the Holy Spirit came in the Name of the Son, as it is written: "But the Paraclete, even the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My Name, He shall teach you all things."hyperlink But He Who came in the Name of the Son came also certainly in the Name of the Father, for the Name of the Father and of the Son is one. Thus it comes to pass that the Name of the Father and of the Son is also that of the Holy Spirit. For there is no other Name given under heaven wherein we must be saved.hyperlink

155. At the same time He showed that the oneness of the Divine Name must be taught, not the difference, since Christ came in the oneness of the Name, but Antichrist will come in his own name, as it is written: "I am come in My Father's Name, and ye did not receive Me, if another shall come in his own name, ye will receive him."hyperlink

156. We are, then, clearly taught by these passages that there is no difference of Name in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; and that that which is the Name of the Father is also the Name of the Son, and likewise that which is the Name of the Son is also that of the Holy Spirit, when the Son also is called Paraclete, as is the Holy Spirit. And therefore does the Lord Jesus say in the Gospel: "I will ask My Father, and He shall give you another Paraclete, to be with you for ever, even the Spirit of Truth."hyperlink And He said well "another," that you might not suppose that the Son is also the Spirit, for oneness is of the Name, not a Sabellian confusion of the Son and of the Spirit.hyperlink

157. So, then, the Son is one Paraclete, the Holy Spirit another Paraclete; for John called the Son a Paraclete, as you find: "If any man sin, we have a Paraclete [Advocate] with the Father, Jesus Christ."hyperlink So in like manner as there is a oneness of name, so, too, is there a oneness of power, for where the Paraclete Spirit is, there is also the Son.

158. For as the Lord says in this place that the Spirit will be forever with the faithful, so, too, does He elsewhere show that He will Himself be forever with the apostles, saying: "Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the world."hyperlink Therefore the Son and the Spirit are one, the Name of the Trinity is one, and the Presence one and indivisible.

159. But as we show that the Son is called the Paraclete, so, too, do we show that the Spirit is called the Truth. Christ is the Truth, the Spirit is the Truth, for you find in John's epistle: "For the Spirit is Truth."hyperlink Not only, then, is the Spirit called the Spirit of Truth. but also the Truth, as the Son is also declared to be the Truth, Who says: "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life."hyperlink

Chapter XIV.

Each Person of the Trinity is said in the sacred writings to be Light. The Spirit is designated Fire by Isaiah, a figure of which Fire was seen in the bush by Moses, in the tongues of fire, and in Gideon's pitchers. And the Godhead of the same Spirit cannot be denied, since His operation is the same as that of the Father and of the Son, and He is also called the light and fire of the Lord's countenance.

160. But why should I argue that as the Father is light, so, too, the Son is light, and the Holy Spirit is light? Which certainly pertains to the power of God. For God is Light, as John said: "For God is Light, and in Him is no darkness."hyperlink

161. But the Son, too, is Light, because "the Life was the Light of men."hyperlink And the Evangelist, that he might show that he was speaking of the Son of God, says of John the Baptist: "He was not light, but [was sent] to be a witness of the Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into this world."hyperlink 2 So, then, since God is Light, and the Son of God the true Light, without doubt the Son of God is true God.

162. And you find elsewhere that the Son of God is Light: "The people that sat in darkness and in the shadow of death have seen a great light."hyperlink But, which is still more clear, it is said: "For with Thee is the fount of Life, and in Thy light we shall see light,"hyperlink which means that with Thee, O God the Father Almighty, Who art the Fount of Life, in Thy Son Who is the Light, we shall see the light of the Holy Spirit. As the Lord Himself shows, saying: "Receive ye the Holy Spirit,"hyperlink and elsewhere: "Virtue went out from Him."hyperlink

163. But who can doubt that the Father is Light, when we read of His Son that He is the Brightness of eternal Light? For of Whom but of the Father is the Son the Brightness, Who both is always with the Father, and always shines, not with unlike but with the same radiance.

164. And Isaiah shows that the Holy Spirit is not only Light but also Fire, saying: "And the light of Israel shall be for a fire."hyperlink So the prophets called Him a burning Fire, because in those three points we see more intensely the majesty of the Godhead; since to sanctify is of the Godhead, to illuminate is the property of fire and light, and the Godhead is wont to be pointed out or seen in the appearance of fire: "For our God is a consuming Fire," as Moses said.hyperlink

165. For he himself saw the fire in the bush, and had heard God when the voice from the flame of fire came to him saying: "I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob."hyperlink The voice came from the fire, and the voice was in the bush, and the fire did no harm. For the bush was burning but was not consumed, because in that mystery the Lord was showing that He would come to illuminate the thorns of our body, and not to consume those who were in misery, but to alleviate their misery; Who would baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire, that He might give grace and destroy sin.hyperlink So in the symbol of fire God keeps His intention.

166. In the Acts of the Apostles, also, when the Holy Spirit had descended upon the faithful, the appearance of fire was seen, for you read thus: "And suddenly there was a sound from heaven, as though the Spirit were borne with great vehemence, and it filled all the house where they were sitting, and there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire."hyperlink

167. For the same reason was it that when Gideon was about to overcome the Midianites, he commanded three hundred men to take pitchers, and to hold lighted torches inside the pitchers, and trumpets in their right hands. Our predecessors have preserved the explanation received from the apostles, that the pitchers are our bodies, fashioned of clay, which know not fear if they burn with the fervour of the grace of the Spirit, and bear witness to the passion of the Lord Jesus with a loud confession of the Voice.

168. Who, then, can doubt of the Godhead of the Holy Spirit, since where the grace of the Spirit is, there the manifestation of the Godhead appears. By which evidence we infer not a diversity but the unity of the divine power. For how can there be a severance of power, where the effect of the working in all is one?

169. What, then, is that fire? Not certainly one made up of common twigs, or roaring with the burning of the reeds of the woods, but that fire which improves good deeds like gold, and consumes sins like stubble. This is undoubtedly the Holy Spirit, Who is called both the fire and light of the countenance of God; light as we said above: "The light of Thy countenance has been sealed upon us, O Lord."hyperlink What is, then, the light that is sealed, but that of the seal of the Spirit, believing in Whom, "ye were sealed," he says, "with the Holy Spirit of promise."hyperlink

170. And as there is a light of the divine countenance, so, too, does fire shine forth from the countenance of God, for it is written: "A fire shall burn in His sight."hyperlink For the grace of the day of judgment shines beforehand, that forgiveness may follow to reward the service of the saints. O the great fulness of the Scriptures, which no one can comprehend with human genius! O greatest proof of the Divine Unity For how many things are pointed out in these two verses!

Chapter XV.

The Holy Spirit is Life equally with the Father and the Son, in truth whether the Father be mentioned, with Whom is the Fount of Life, or the Son, that Fount can be none other than the Holy Spirit.

171. We have said that the Father is Light, the Son is Light, and the Holy Spirit is Light; let us also learn that the Father is Life, the Son Life, and the Holy Spirit Life. For John said: "That which was from the beginning, that which we have heard, and which we have seen, and have beheld with our eyes, and our hands have handled concerning the Word of Life; and the Life appeared, and we saw and testify, and declare to you of that Life which was with the Father."hyperlink He said both Word of Life and Life that he might signify both the Father and the Son to be Life. For what is the Word of Life but the Word of God? And by this phrase both God and the Word of God are shown to be Life. And as it is said the Word of Life, so, too, the Spirit of Life. Therefore, as the Word of Life is Life, so, too, the Spirit of Life is Life.

172. Learn now that as the Father is the Fount of Life, so, too, many have stated that the Son is signified as the Fount of Life;hyperlink so that, he says, with Thee, Almighty God, Thy Son is the Fount of Life. That is the Fount of the Holy Spirit,hyperlink for the Spirit is Life, as the Lord says: "The words which I speak unto you are Spirit and Life,"hyperlink for where the Spirit is, there also is Life; and where Life is, is also the Holy Spirit.

173. Many, however, consider that in this passage the Father only is signified by the Fount. Let them, however, notice what the Scripture relates: "With Thee is the Well of Life." That is, the Son is with the Father; since the Word was with God, Who was in the beginning, and was with God.

174. But whether in this place one understands the Fount to be the Father or the Son, we certainly do not understand a fount of that water which is created, but the Fount of that divine grace, that is, of the Holy Spirit, for He is the living water. Wherefore the Lord said: "If thou knowest the gift of God, and Who He is that saith to thee, Give me to drink, thou wouldst have asked Him, and He would have given thee living water."hyperlink

175. This was the water for which the soul of David thirsted. The hart desires the fountain of these waters,hyperlink not thirsting for the poison of serpents. For the water of the grace of the Spirit is living, that it may purify the inner parts of the mind, and wash away every sin of the soul, and purify the transgression of hidden faults.

Chapter XVI.

The Holy Spirit is that large river by which the mystical Jerusalem is watered. It is equal to its Fount, that is, the Father and the Son, as is signified in holy Scripture. St. Ambrose himself thirsts for that water, and warns us that in order to preserve it within us, we must avoid the devil, lust, and heresy, since our vessels are frail, and that broken cisterns must be forsaken, that after the example of the Samaritan woman and of the patriarchs we may find the water of the Lord.

176. But lest perchance any one should speak against as it were the littleness of the Spirit, and from this should endeavour to establish a difference in greatness, arguing that water seems to be but a small part of a Fount, although examples taken from creatures seem by no means suitable for application to the Godhead; yet lest they should judge anything injuriously from this comparison taken from creatures, let them learn that not only is the Holy Spirit called Water, but also a River, as we read: "From his belly shall flow rivers of living water. But this He said of the Spirit, Whom they were beginning to receive, who were about to believe in Him."hyperlink

177. So, then, the Holy Spirit is the River, and the abundant River, which according to the Hebrews flowed from Jesus in the lands, as we have received it prophesied by the mouth of Isaiah.hyperlink This is the great River which flows always and never fails. And not only a river, but also one of copious stream and overflowing greatness, as also David said: "The stream of the river makes glad the city of God."hyperlink

178. For neither is that city, the heavenly Jerusalem, watered by the channel of any earthly river, but that Holy Spirit, proceeding from the Fount of Life, by a short draught of Whom we are satiated, seems to flow more abundantly among those celestial Thrones, Dominions and Powers, Angels and Archangels, rushing in the full course of the seven virtues of the Spirit. For if a river rising above its banks overflows, how much more does the Spirit, rising above every creature, when He touches the as it were low-lying fields of our minds, make glad that heavenly nature of the creatures with the larger fertility of His sanctification.

179, And let it not trouble you that either here it is said "rivers,"hyperlink or elsewhere "seven Spirits,"hyperlink for by the sanctification of these seven gifts of the Spirit, as Isaiah said,hyperlink is signified the fulness of all virtue; the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and strength, the Spirit of knowledge and godliness, and the Spirit of the fear of God. One, then, is the River, but many the channels of the gifts of the Spirit. This River, then, goes forth from the Fount of Life.

180. And here, again, you must not turn aside your thoughts to lower things, because there seems to be some difference between a Fount and a River, and yet the divine Scripture has provided that the weakness of human understanding should not be injured by the lowliness of the language. Set before yourself any river, it springs from its fount, but is of one nature, of one brightness and beauty. And do you assert rightly that the Holy Spirit is of one substance, brightness, and glory with the Son of God and with God the Father. I will sum up all in the oneness of the qualities, and shall not be afraid of any question as to difference of greatness. For in this point also Scripture has provided for us; for the Son of God says: "He that shall drink of the water which I will give him, it shall become in him a well of water springing up unto everlasting life."hyperlink This well is clearly the grace of the Spirit, a stream proceeding from the living Fount. The Holy Spirit, then, is also the Fount of eternal life.

181. You observe, then, from His words that the unity of the divine greatness is pointed out, and that Christ cannot be denied to be a Fount even by heretics, since the Spirit, too, is called a Fount. And as the Spirit is called a river, so, too, the Father said: "Behold, I come down upon you like a river of peace, and like a stream overflowing the glory of the Gentiles."hyperlink And who can doubt that the Son of God is the River of life, from Whom the streams of eternal life flowed forth?

182. Good, then, is this water, even the grace of the Spirit. Who will give this Fount to my breast? Let it spring up in me, let that which gives eternal life flow upon me. Let that Fount overflow upon us, and not flow away. For Wisdom says: "Drink water out of thine own vessels, and from the founts of thine own wells, and let thy waters flow abroad in thy streets."hyperlink How shall I keep this water that it flow not forth, that it glide not away? How shall I preserve my vessel, lest any crack of sin penetrating it, should let the water of eternal life exude? Teach us, Lord Jesus, teach us as Thou didst teach Thine apostles, saying: "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon the earth, where rust and moth destroy, and where thieves break through and steal."hyperlink

182. For He intimates that the thief is the unclean spirit, who cannot find entrance into those who walk in the light of good works, but if he has caught any one in the darkness of earthly desires, and in the midst of the enjoyment of earthly pleasures, he spoils them of all the flower of eternal virtue. And therefore the Lord says: "Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither rust nor moth destroy, and where thieves do not break through and steal. For where thy treasure is, there will thy heart be also."

183. Our rust is wantonness, our rust is lust, our rust is luxury, which dim the keen vision of the mind with the filth of vices. Again, our moth is Arius, our moth is Photinus, who rend the holy vesture of the Church with their impiety, and desiring to separate the indivisible unity of the divine power, gnaw the precious veil of faith with sacrilegious tooth. The water is spilt if Arius has imprinted his tooth, it flows away if Photinus has planted his sting in any one's vessel. We are but of common clay, we quickly feel vices. But no one says to the potter, "Why hast Thou made me thus?"hyperlink For though our vessel be but common, yet one is in honour, another in dishonour.hyperlink Do not then lay open thy pool, dig not with vices and crimes, lest any one say: "He hath opened a pool and digged it, and is fallen into the pit which he made."hyperlink

184. If you seek Jesus, forsake the broken cisterns, for Christ was wont to sit not by a pool but by a well. There that Samaritan romanhyperlink found Him, she who believed, she who wished to draw water. Although you ought to have come in early morning, nevertheless if you come later, even at the sixth hour, you will find Jesus wearied with His journey. He is weary, but it is through thee, because He has long sought thee, thy unbelief has long wearied Him. Yet He is not offended if thou only comest, He asks to drink Who is about to give. But He drinks not the water of a stream flowing by, but thy salvation; He drinks thy good dispositions, He drinks the cup, that is, the Passion which stoned for thy sins, that thou drinking of His sacred blood mightest quench the thirst of this world.

185. So Abraham gained God after he had dug the well.hyperlink So Isaac, while walking by the well, received that wifehyperlink who was coming to him as a type of the Church. Faithful he was at the well, unfaithful at the pool. Lastly, too, Rebecca, as we read, found him who sought her at the well, and the harlots washed themselves in the blood in the pool of Jezebel.hyperlink


133 Ps. xlv. [xliv.] 8.

134 Acts x. 37, Acts x. 38.

135 Ps. iv. 7.

136 2 Cor. ii. 15.

137 S. Luke iv. 18.

138 S. John iv. 24.

139 Lam. iv. 20.

140 Ps. cxix. [cxviii.] 120.

141 1 Pet. ii. 24.

142 Is. liii. 5.

143 2 Cor. v. 21.

144 Is. vi. 7.

145 Zech. iii. 2, Zech. iii. 3.

146 Ibid. 4.

147 Is. vi. 6.

148 S. John xv. 26.

149 S. John iii. 8.

150 Ibid. xvi. 28.

151 Eccles. xxiv. 5.

152 S. John i. 1.

153 Ibid. xiv. 10.

154 De Fide, V. 7.

155 Gen. xi. 7.

156 S. John xiv. 23.

157 S. John xiv. 23.

158 1 Cor. xii. 3.

159 S. Matt. xi. 25.

160 Rom. i. 7.

161 Gal. v. 22.

162 Zech. xii. 10.

163 Acts ii. 38.

164 2 Cor. xiii. 14.

165 S. John xiv. 21.

166 Eph. v. 2.

167 S. John iii. 16.

168 Rom. viii. 32.

169 Gal. ii. 20.

170 S. Matt. iv. 1.

171 Gal. v. 22.

172 1 John i. 3.

173 2 Cor. xiii. 14.

174 S. Matt. xxviii. 19.

175 S. John v. 43.

176 Ex. xxxiii. 19.

177 S. John xiv. 26.

178 Acts iv. 12.

179 S. John v. 43.

180 S. John xiv. 16.

181 The Sabellians, anxious to maintain the Unity of God, denied the distinction of Persons, identifying the Father and the Son. See D. Chr. B. III. 568, and Blunt, Dict. of Sects, etc., sub voc.

182 1 John ii. 1.

183 S. Matt. xxviii. 20.

184 1 John v. 7.

185 S. John xiv. 6.

186 1 John i. 5.

187 S. John i. 8.

188 S. John i. 9.

189 Isa. ix. 2.

190 Ps. xxxvi. [xxxv.] 9.

191 S. John xx. 22.

192 S. Luke vi. 19.

193 Isa. x. 17.

194 Deut. iv. 24.

195 Ex. iii. 6.

196 S. Matt. iii. 11.

197 Acts ii. 2, Acts ii. 3.

198 Ps. iv. 6.

199 Eph. i. 13.

200 Ps. l. [xlix.] 3.

201 1 John i. 1, 1 John i. 2.

202 Ps. xxxvi. [xxxv.] 9.

203 In these words St. Ambrose appears plainly to set forth the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Son, though he admits that some consider the Father to be the Fount of Life, but he argues even in this case the Son was with Him.

204 S. John vi. 64.

205 S. John iv. 10.

206 Ps. xlii. [xli.] 3.

207 John vii. 38, John vii. 39.

208 Is. lxvi. 12.

209 Ps. xlvi. [xlv.] 4.

210 S. John. vii. 38.

211 Rev. v. 6.

212 Isa. xi. 2.

213 S. John iv. 14.

214 Isa. lxvi. 12.

215 Prov. v. 15, Prov. v. 16.

216 S. Matt. vi. 19.

217 Rom. ix. 20.

218 Rom. ix. 21.

219 Ps. vii. 15.

220 S. John iv. 6.

221 Gen. xxi. 30.

222 Gen. xxiv. 62.

223 1 [3] Kings xxii. 36.