Guide St. Ambrose: On the Holy Spirit

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Acts Who Is The Catholic Church? What Do Catholics Believe? For on him the Father, God, has set his seal. De Romestin.


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Paperback, 96 Pages. This item has not been rated yet. In his role as learned bishop of Milan in the 4th century, Saint Ambrose published this work concerning the holy trinity of Christ, God and the Holy Spirit. Though not formally educated or trained in a university or seminary, St. Ambrose possessed gifts of intuition for matters of faith.

His studies spanned wide, and he duly gained recognition and prominence as a scholar of great understanding and faith. Setting out to first define the tenets of the Christian Holy Trinity, Ambrose here uses his knowledge of Bible texts to support clear and well-founded explanation of what the holy spirit is and its subtle influence upon believers.

The establishment of a clear theology was a great concern of the early figures in Christianity. Ambrose spent years battling the rival doctrines of Arianism, at one point almost losing his own church to the movement. Eventually, he and fellow believers overcame the Arian faith; many of the writings and actions of St. Ambrose led to the formation of the Add to Cart. Lulu Sales Rank: Log in to rate this item.

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You must be logged in to post a review. Please log in. There are no reviews for the current version of this product Refreshing There are no reviews for previous versions of this product. First Name. Last Name. Additional Comments. Moderation of Questionable Content Thank you for your interest in helping us moderate questionable content on Lulu. Further, those who are unlike in age are often alike in virtues, as Peter and John prove.

St. Ambrose: On the Holy Spirit

To defend the weak, or to help strangers, or to perform similar duties, greatly adds to one's worth, especially in the case of tried men. Whilst one gets great blame for love of money; wastefulness, also, in the case of priests is very much condemned. We must observe a right standard between too great mildness and excessive harshness. They who endeavour to creep into the hearts of others by a false show of mildness gain nothing substantial or lasting. This the example of Absalom plainly enough shows. The good faith of those who are easily bought over with money or flattery is a frail thing to trust to.

We must strive for preferment only by right means. An office undertaken must be carried out wisely and with moderation. The inferior clergy should not detract from the bishop's reputation by feigned virtues; nor again, should the bishop be jealous of a cleric, but he should be just in all things and especially in giving judgment. Benefits should be conferred on the poor rather than on the rich, for these latter either think a return is expected from them, or else they are angry at seeming to be indebted for such an action. But the poor man makes God the debtor in his place, and freely owns to the benefits he has received.

To these remarks is added a warning to despise riches. How long standing an evil love of money is, is plain from many examples in the Old Testament. And yet it is plain, too, how idle a thing the possession of money is. In contempt of money there is the pattern of justice, which virtue bishops and clerics ought to aim at together with some others. A few words are added on the duty of not bringing an excommunication too quickly into force.

Mercy must be freely shown even though it brings an odium of its own. With regard to this, reference is made to the well-known story about the sacred vessels which were broken up by Ambrose to pay for the redemption of captives; and very beautiful advice is given about the right use of the gold and silver which the Church possesses. Next, after showing from the action of holy Lawrence what are the true treasures of the Church, certain rules are laid down which ought to be observed in melting down and employing for such uses the consecrated vessels of the Church.

The property of widows or of all the faithful, that has been entrusted to the Church, ought to be defended though it brings danger to oneself.

The Fruit of the Spirit Who is God: St. Ambrose on the Spirit’s Goodness

This is illustrated by the example of Onias the priest, and of Ambrose, bishop of Ticinum. The ending of the book brings an exhortation to avoid ill-will, and to seek prudence, faith, and the other virtues. We are taught by David and Solomon how to take counsel with our own heart. Scipio is not to be accounted prime author of the saying which is ascribed to him.


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  • The writer proves what glorious things the holy prophets accomplished in their time of quiet, and shows, by examples of their and others' leisure moments, that a just man is never alone in trouble. The discussions among philosophers about the comparison between what is virtuous and what is useful have nothing to do with Christians. For with them nothing is useful which is not just. What are the duties of perfection, and what are ordinary duties? The same words often suit different things in different ways. Lastly, a just man never seeks his own advantage at the cost of another's disadvantage, but rather is always on the lookout for what is useful to others.

    The rule given about not seeking one's own gain is established, first by the examples of Christ, next by the meaning of the word, and lastly by the very form and uses of our limbs. Wherefore the writer shows what a crime it is to deprive another of what is useful, since the law of nature as well as the divine law is broken by such wickedness. Further, by its means we also lose that gift which makes us superior to other living creatures; and lastly, through it civil laws are abused and treated with the greatest contempt. As it has been shown that he who injures another for the sake of his own advantage will undergo terrible punishment at the hand of his own conscience, it is referred that nothing is useful to one which is not in the same way useful to all.

    Thus there is no place among Christians for the question propounded by the philosophers about two shipwrecked persons, for they must show love and humility to all. The upright does nothing that is contrary to duty, even though there is a hope of keeping it secret. To point this out the tale about the ring of Gyges was invented by the philosophers.

    Exposing this, he brings forward known and true examples from the life of David and John the Baptist. We ought not to allow the idea of profit to get hold of us. What excuses they make who get their gains by selling corn, and what answer ought to be made to them. In connection with this certain parables from the Gospels and some of the sayings of Solomon are set before our eyes.

    Strangers must never be expelled the city in a time of famine. In this matter the noble advice of a Christian sage is adduced, in contrast to which the shameful deed committed at Rome is given. By comparing the two it is shown that the former is combined with what is virtuous and useful, but the latter with neither. That those who put what is virtuous before what is useful are acceptable to God is shown by the example of Joshua, Caleb, and the other spies.

    St. Ambrose On the Holy Spirit (Book I) Pages 51 - 93 - Text Version | FlipHTML5

    Cheating and dishonest ways of making money are utterly unfit for clerics whose duty is to serve all. They ought never to be involved in a money affair, unless it is one affecting a man's life. For them the example of David is given, that they should injure none, even when provoked; also the death of Naboth, to keep them from preferring life to virtue. We are warned not only in civil law, but also in the holy Scriptures, to avoid fraud in every agreement, as is clear from the example of Joshua and the Gibeonites. Having adduced examples of certain frauds found in a few passages of the rhetoricians, he shows that these and all others are more fully and plainly condemned in Scripture.

    We may make no promise that is wrong, and if we have made an unjust oath, we may not keep it. It is shown that Herod sinned in this respect. The vow taken by Jephtha is condemned, and so are all others which God does not desire to have paid to Him.

    Lastly, the daughter of Jephtha is compared with the two Pythagoreans and is placed before them. Judith, after enduring many dangers for virtue's sake, gained very many and great benefits. How virtuous and useful was that which Elisha did. This is compared with that oft-recounted act of the Greeks.

    John gave up his life for virtue's sake, and Susanna for the same reason exposed herself to the danger of death. After mentioning a noble action of the Romans, the writer shows from the deeds of Moses that he had the greatest regard for what is virtuous. After saying a few words about Tobit he demonstrates that Raguel surpassed the philosophers in virtue. With what virtuous feelings the fathers of old hid the sacred fires when on the point of going into captivity.

    In the narration of that event already mentioned, and especially of the sacrifice offered by Nehemiah, is typified the Holy Spirit and Christian baptism. The sacrifice of Moses and Elijah and the history of Noah are also referred to the same. The crime committed by the inhabitants of Gibeah against the wife of a certain Levite is related, and from the vengeance taken it is inferred how the idea of virtue must have filled the heart of those people of old.

    After the terrible siege of Samaria was ended in accordance with Elisha's prophecy, he relates what regard the four lepers showed for what was virtuous.

    Come, Holy Ghost, With God the Son (Nunc Sancte)

    Esther in danger of her life followed the grace of virtue; nay, even a heathen king did so, when death was threatened to a man most friendly to him. For friendship must ever be combined with virtue, as the examples of Jonathan and Ahimelech show. Virtue must never be given up for the sake of a friend.

    If, however, one has to bear witness against a friend, it must be done with caution. Between friends what candour is needed in opening the heart, what magnanimity in suffering, what freedom in finding fault! Friendship is the guardian of virtues, which are not to be found but in men of like character. It must be mild in rebuking and averse to seeking its own advantage; whence it happens that true friends are scarce among the rich. What is the dignity of friendship? The treachery of a friend, as it is worse, so it is also more hateful than another's, as is recognized from the example of Judas and of Job's friends.

    On the Holy Spirit.