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Works And Letters Of St Ambrose by St. Ambrose

Chapter XV. An explanation of Acts ii.à

An explanation of Acts ii.36 and Proverbs viii.22, which are shown to refer properly to Christ's manhood alone.

95. To no purpose, then, is the heretics' customary citation of the Scripture, that |God made Him both Lord and Christ.| Let these ignorant persons read the whole passage, and understand it. For thus it is written. |God made this Jesus, Whom ye crucified, both Lord and Christ.| It was not the Godhead, but the flesh, that was crucified. This, indeed, was possible, because the flesh allowed of being crucified. It follows not, then, that the Son of God is a created being.

96. Let us despatch, then, that passage also, which they do use to misrepresent, -- let them learn what is the sense of the words, |The Lord created Me.| It is not |the Father created,| but |the Lord created Me.| The flesh acknowledgeth its Lord, praise declareth the Father: our created nature confesseth the first, loveth, knoweth the latter. Who, then, cannot but perceive that these words announce the Incarnation? Thus the Son speaketh of Himself as created in respect of that wherein he witnesseth to Himself as being man, when He says, |Why seek ye to kill Me, a man, Who have told you the truth?| He speaketh of His Manhood, wherein He was crucified, and died, and was buried.

97. Furthermore, there is no doubt but that the writer set down as past that which was to come; for this is the usage of prophecy, that things to come are spoken of as though they were already present or past. For example, in the twenty-first psalm you have read: |Fat bulls (of Bashan) have beset me,| and again: |They parted My garments among them.| This the Evangelist showeth to have been spoken prophetically of the time of the Passion, for to God the things that are to come are present, and for Him Who foreknoweth all things, they are as though they were past and over; as it is written, |Who hath made the things that are to be.|

98. It is no wonder that He should declare His place to have been set fast before all worlds, seeing that the Scripture tells us that He was foreordained before the times and ages. The following passage discovers how the words in question present themselves as a true prophecy of the Incarnation: |Wisdom hath built her an house, and set up seven pillars to support it, and she hath slain her victims. She hath mingled her wine in the bowl, and made ready her table, and sent her servants, calling men together with a mighty voice of proclamation, saying: He who is simple, let him turn in to me.'| Do we not see, in the Gospel, that all these things were fulfilled after the Incarnation, in that Christ disclosed the mysteries of the Holy Supper, sent forth His apostles, and cried with a loud voice, saying, |If any man thirst, let him come to Me and drink.| That which followeth, then, answereth to that which went before, and we behold the whole story of the Incarnation set forth in brief by prophecy.

99. Many other passages might readily be seen to be prophecies of this sort concerning the Incarnation, but I will not delay over books, lest the treatise appear too wordy

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