St. Ambrose – Bk 2 – Chapter 2

christusThe goodness of the Son of God is proved from His works, namely, His benefits that He showed towards the people of Israel under the Old Covenant, and to Christians under the New. It is to one’s own interest to believe in the goodness of Him Who is one’s Lord and Judge. The Father’s testimony to the Son. No small number of the Jewish people bear witness to the Son; the Arians therefore are plainly worse than the Jews. The words of the Bride, declaring the same goodness of Christ.

20. Howbeit, I would not that the Son should rely on the mere prerogative of His nature and the claims of peculiar rights of His Majesty. Let us not call Him good, if He merit not the title; and if He merit not this by works, by acts of lovingkindness, let Himwaive the right He enjoys by virtue of His nature, and be submitted to our judgment. He Who is to judge us disdains not to be brought to judgment, that He may be justified in His saying, and clear when He is judged.

21. Is He then not good, Who has shown me good things? Is He not good, Who when six hundred thousand of the people of theJews fled before their pursuers, suddenly opened the tide of the Red Sea, an unbroken mass of waters?— so that the waves flowed round the faithful, and were walls to them, but poured back and overwhelmed the unbelievers.

22. Is He not good, at Whose command the seas became firm ground for the feet of them that fled, and the rocks gave forth water for the thirsty? so that the handiwork of the true Creator might be known, when the fluid became solid, and the rock streamed with water? That we might acknowledge this as the handiwork of Christ, the Apostle said: And that rock was Christ.1 Corinthians 10:4

23. Is He not good, Who in the wilderness fed with bread from heaven such countless thousands of the people, lest any famine should assail them, without need of toil, in the enjoyment of rest?— so that, for the space of forty years, their raiment grew not old, nor were their shoes worn, a figure to the faithful of the Resurrection that was to come, showing that neither the glory of great deeds, nor the beauty of the power wherewith He has clothed us, nor the stream of human life is made for nought?

24. Is He not good, Who exalted earth to heaven, so that, just as the bright companies of stars reflect His glory in the sky, as in a glass, so the choirs of apostles, martyrs, and priests, shining like glorious stars, might give light throughout the world.

25. Not only, then, is He good, but He is more. He is a good Shepherd, not only for Himself, but to His sheep also, for the goodshepherd lays down his life for his sheep. Aye, He laid down His life to exalt ours— but it was in the power of His Godhead that He laid it down and took it again: I have power to lay down My life, and I have power to take it. No man takes it from Me, but Ilay it down of Myself.

26. You see His goodness, in that He laid it down of His own accord: you see His power, in that He took it again— do you deny His goodness, when He has said of Himself in the Gospel, If I am good, why is your eye evil? Ungrateful wretch what are you doing? Do you deny His goodness, in Whom is your hope of good things— if, indeed, you believe this? Do you deny His goodness, Who has given us what eye has not seen, nor ear heard?

27. It concerns my interest to believe Him to be good, for It is a good thing to trust in the Lord. It is to my interest to confessHim Lord, for it is written: Give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good.

28. It is to my interest to esteem my Judge to be good, for the Lord is a righteous Judge to the house of Israel. If, then, the Son of God is Judge, surely, seeing that the Judge is the righteous God and the Son of God is Judge, [it follows that] He who is Judge and Son of God is the righteous God.

29. But perchance you believe not others, nor the Son. Hear, then, the Father saying: My heart has brought forth out of its depth the good Word. The Word, then, is good— the Word, of Whom it is written: And the Word was with God, and the Word wasGod. John 1:1 If, therefore, the Word is good, and the Son is the Word of God, surely, though it displease the Arians, the Son of God is God. Let them now at least blush for shame.

30. The Jews used to say: He is good. Though some said: He is not, yet others said: He is good,— and you do all deny Hisgoodness.

31. He is good who forgives the sin of one man; is He not good Who has taken away the sin of the world? For it was of Him that it was said: Behold the Lamb of God, behold Him Who takes away the sin of the world.

32. But why do we doubt? The Church has believed in His goodness all these ages, and has confessed its faith in the saying: Let Him kiss me with the kisses of His mouth; for your breasts are better than wine; Song of Songs 1:1 and again: And your throat is like the goodliest wine. Of His goodness, therefore, He nourishes us with the breasts of the Law and Grace, soothing men’s sorrows with telling them of heavenly things; and do we, then, deny His goodness, when He is the manifestation of goodness, expressing in His Person the likeness of the Eternal Bounty, even as we showed above that it was written, that He is the spotless reflection and counterpart of that Bounty? Song of Songs 7:9

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