Early Church Fathers
31 That is to say, God and Christ Jesus are united in the work of quickening.
32 Ps. lvi. 10.
33 1 Tim. vi. 13-16.
34 Ps. xxxii. 1.
35 1 Tim. i. 11.
36 Ps. lxxxix 19.
37 Wisd. viii. 13.
38 Ezek. xviii. 20.
39 "That is to say, immortality is not of the essential nature of an angel as it is of the essential Nature of God. For God's existence is such that He necessarily exists, He cannot but exist; His existence is not derived from another, but is from the power of His essential Nature, or rather is that very Nature. Not so with the angel, whose existence is a gift of God, and so the angel's existence is no part of the idea of an angel, but is a property which is, so to speak, added on from without and accessory to the conception of such a being. Hence, in so far as an angel's existence issues not of the mere force of his essential properties, but only of the Creator's Will, we may say that by virtue of the said Will, not by force of his own nature, he continues in existence, and so far is immortal, although in another sense immortality may be called a natural property of an angel, inasmuch as there is no created power whereby he may be destroyed, and nothing in him that renders him liable to be destroyed by God-nay rather, everything about him demands that, once he is created, he should be for ever preserved in being."-H.
40 Hurter observes that St. Ambrose understands mortality in a wide sense, as including the capacity of any and every sort of change. Immortality, then, in accordance with this definition, would connote perfect absence of change. Hurter cites St. Bernard, §81 in Cant.: "Omnis mutatio quoedam mortis imitatio ...Si tot mortes quot mutationes, ubi immortalitas?" and Plutarch, in Eusebius, Proepar. Ev. XI. 12. Plutarch's view perhaps owed something to study of the reliques of Herachtus. Many fathers expounded 1 Tim. vi. 16 on this definition of immortality as=immutability. This definition would exclude angels, who are naturally fallible (as the rebellion of Lucifer and the third part of the host of heaven proved)-or if they are now no longer fallible, they owe it not to their own natural constitution but to grace. In so far then as angels are mutable, whether for better or worse, they are not immortal.
41 Angels being by nature mutable, either for better or for worse, that is, capable of good or evil, and so of death, are de facto sinless, and hence need not, are not meet to be placed under, penal discipline. Or the meaning may be that the angelic nature was not created to be gradually taught in the way of holiness as human nature was.
42 Eccl. xii. 14. Hurter observes that Goal would not judge rational creatures, were they not capable of advance or retrogression, of becoming better or falling into degradation, and had, as a matter of fact, advanced or fallen back.
43 The Arians regarded the Son as immortal de gratia; the Orthodox esteem Him immortal de jure, with true, absolute immortality.
44 i.e. Is Christ God in the true sense of the Name, or not?
45 S. Matt. x. 24
46 1 John i. 5.
47 S. John i. I; John xvii. 5, John xvii. 21.
48 S. John xvi. 32.
49 l.c. S. John x. 30.
50 2 Cor. v. 16.
51 S. John viii 16.
52 S. John i. 18.
53 Greek echghsato, "explained," "expounded." The Incarnation has taught us something about God and about man that we never knew before and never could have known by ourselves.
54 Phil. ii. 7; Gal. iv. 4; S. John i. 1, John i. 2 cpd. with 14.
55 Ps. lxxxviii. 4. See the R.V.
56 "Due" by His own and the Father's Will. Some reference also, perhaps, to the preaching to the spirits in Hades, a necessary part of our Lord's work and ministry. 1 Pet. iii. 19.
57 Ps. lxxxix. 20. See ch. ii. p. 243.
58 1 Pet. iii. 19; Acts ii. 24.
59 1 Kings xvii. 20 ff.
60 2 Kings iv. 34.
61 Rom. viii. 3. Note "in the likeness of sinful flesh," not "in sinful flesh." Cf. Phil. ii. 7; for the miracle referred to, see 2 Kings xiii. 21.
62 Acts iii. 6; ix. 34.
63 See S. Mark xvi. 17, Mark xvi. 18.
64 S. John xi. 41.
65 S. Luke iv. 3.
66 Rom. i. 4.
67 1 Cor. ii. 8.
68 S. Mark i. 13. Cf. Eph. i. 21.
69 Rom. i. 3.
70 i.e. we are not to infer from the fact that the Word became flesh, that the Word is a created being. For that which becomes is already existing-that which is created did not exist before it was made.
71 Ps. xc. i. The R.V. runs: "Lord, thou hast been our refuge" (hast been, and still art).
72 Ps. cxviii. 14. The "becoming" is rather in us. It is we who have come into being, to find a refuge and salvation in the Lord.
73 Lat. "conversus and salutem."
74 1 Cor. i. 30.
75 Note that it is Christ Himself Who is our justification, etc., not a certain course of life; in other words the saving power is not so much in the mere example of Christ's life on earth, but primarily and necessarily in Himself, now seated in heaven at the Father's right hand, interceding for us, and communicating His grace, especially through the sacraments.
76 Cf. 1 Pet. i. 19-21; Eph. i. 4; Col. i. 26, Col. i. 27.
77 1 Cor. ii. 6 ff.
78 1 Pet. i. 19.
79 S. Mark ii. 8-12.
80 2 Cor. iii. 6.
81 Titus iii. 10.
82 Rom. iii. 4.
83 Because generation is quite distinct from absolute creation.
84 Ex. xv. 2.
85 Ps. xxxi. 3.
86 Isa. xxv. 4.
87 S. John i. 4. Observe that St. Ambrose follows a different punctuation to that of our Bible. St. Ambrose's stopping is the same as that adopted by Westcott (Commentary on S. John) and by Westcott and Hort in their edition of the Creek text of the N.T.
88 Acts xvii. 28.
89 Latin "substantia," which here seems to be used in the sense of the Greek "upostasij" The distinction of Persons without division of the Godhead is evidently what St. Ambrose here has in view.
90 Loc. cit.
91 S. John iii. 21.
92 Col. i. 16. See the Greek.