Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Saint Ambrose, born Aurelius Ambrosius NULL

German-born Italian Bishop of Milan

"True repentance is to cease from sin."

"No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks."

"The wise man is free, since one who does as he wishes is free. Because he does what he wishes, the free man is wise. One who acts with wisdom has nothing to fear, for fear lives in sin. Where there is no fear there is liberty; where there is liberty there is power of doing what one wishes. Therefore, only the wise man is free."

"Prayer is the wing wherewith the soul flies to heaven, and meditation the eye wherewith we see God."

"All of us human beings are born under sin, and our very origin is in sin."

"And thus you see that everywhere the power of God cooperates with the labors of men, so that no one can build without the Lord, no one can take care of anything without the Lord, and no one can undertake anything without the Lord."

"As in Paradise, God walks in the Holy Scriptures, seeking man."

"As soon as the act of conception has occurred and pregnancy has resulted, the disease of lust begins."

"As often as you drink, you receive remission of sins and become drunk in the Spirit."

"Before we are born we are defiled with contagion, and before the enjoyment of light we receive the injury of our very origin. For we are conceived in iniquity… Birth itself has its contagions, and not only one, but nature itself has contagion."

"For I think that I shall seem arrogant if I conceive a desire to teach among sons. I hope to attain not the grace of the prophets nor the strength of the evangelists nor the foresight of the pastors, but only application to and love for the divine Scriptures."

"For this reason David, as a pilgrim, hastens to this common fatherland of all saints, seeking, on account of the uncleanness of this dwelling, that his sins be forgiven before he departs this life. For whoever has not received forgiveness of sins here will not be there. He will not be there because he will not be able to come to eternal life, because eternal life is the forgiveness of sins."

"Go to him and be absolved, because he is the forgiveness of sins. Do you ask who he is? Listen to him when he says [John 6:35], I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty."

"God by nature is uncompounded, joined to nothing, composed of nothing, to whom nothing happens by accident; but only possessing in His own nature that which is divine, enclosing all things, Himself closed out of nothing, penetrating all things, Himself never penetrable, everywhere complete, everywhere present at the same time, whether in heaven or on earth or in the depths of the sea, incapable of being seen or measured by our senses, to be followed only by faith and venerated in our religion."

"God knows the future with as much certainty as He knows the present."

"He took what is mine in order that He might impart to me what is His. He took it not to overturn it but to fill it."

"Feed him who is dying of hunger; if you have not fed him you have killed him."

"Every man is a liar, and no one is without sin except the one God. It has therefore been held that from man and woman, that is, through the mingling of their bodies, no one is thought to be without defect. But he who is without defect is also without this conception."

"I just believe that everybody has concerns and is interested in the educational process."

"If every time the blood is poured out it is poured out for the remission of sins, I ought to receive it always, that my sins may always be forgiven me; because I constantly sin, I constantly need to have the remedy."

"In some causes silence is dangerous; so if any know of conspiracies against their country or king, or any that might greatly prejudice their neighbor, they ought to discover it."

"In this matter [of the incarnation] my ignorance far surpasses my knowledge; but this one thing I know well, that I am ignorant of things which I cannot understand."

"It is a great mystery of divine love, that not even in Christ was exception made of the death of the body; and although He was the Lord of nature, He refused not the law of the flesh which He had taken upon Him. It is necessary for me to die; for Him it was not necessary."

"It is faith that covers up our sins."

"He is justified from sin to whom all sins are remitted through Baptism."

"He has deservedly become a great man whom the whole church has chosen [as its pastor], and it is rightly believed that he whom all the people requested has been elected according to the judgment of God."

"Let the Word of God come; let it enter the church; let it become a consuming fire, that it may burn the hay and stubble, and consume whatever is worldly; there is heavy lead of iniquity in many; let it be molten by divine fire; let the gold and silver vessels be made better, in order that understanding and speech, refined by the heat of suffering, may begin to be more precious."

"Lord, teach me to seek you, and reveal yourself to me when I seek you. For I cannot seek you unless you first teach me, nor find you unless you first reveal yourself to me. Let me seek you in longing and long for you in seeking. Let me find you in love, and love you in finding."

"Lust is a sharp spur to vice, which always putteth the affections into a false gallop."

"Neither angel, nor archangel, not yet even the Lord Himself (who alone can say I am with you), can, when we have sinned, release us, unless we bring repentance with us."

"Original concupiscence is that which makes an easy little entrance for lusting, and renders the adult lustful."

"Paul explains himself in most of his epistles in such a way that whoever treats them may find nothing of his own to add, or if he wants to say something, he performs the office of a grammarian rather than that of an expounder."

"Sin is the transgression of the divine law and disobedience of the heavenly precepts."

"That soul is not in the image of God in which God is not always present."

"Law is twofold -- natural and written. The natural law is in the heart, the written law on tables. All men are under the natural law."

"It was not by dialectic that it pleased God to save His people; for the kingdom of God consisteth in simplicity of faith, not in wordy contention.."

"The Church of the Lord is built upon the rock of the apostles among so many dangers in the world; it therefore remains unmoved. The Church's foundation is unshakable and firm against assaults of the raging sea. Waves lash at the Church but do not shatter it. Although the elements of this world constantly beat upon the Church with crashing sounds, the Church possesses the safest harbor of salvation for all in distress. There is a stream which flows down on God's saints like a torrent. There is also a rushing river giving joy to the heart that is at peace and makes for peace."

"The conflict between the flesh and the Spirit, because of the sinfulness of man, revolves around his [man’s] nature."

"The Devil tempts that he may ruin and destroy; God tests that He may crown."

"The devil's snare does not catch you, unless you are first caught by the devil's bait."

"The passions of the soul are pride, avarice, ambition, strife, envy; the vices that cling to the body are the desire for eating, prodigality of wantonness and licentiousness. Temperance greatly restrains the ardor of these passions. It first tempers the spirit with sobriety and moderation, and informs the mind; then it also reins in the bodily fierceness through abstinence from pleasures. Temperance is therefore a teacher who shows the way of corrective discipline, reining in desires."

"The pious mind distinguishes between what is written with reference to the deity and with reference to the flesh, and thus avoids sacrilege."

"The testimony of nature is weightier than the arguments of the learned."

"The Word of God forgives sins; the priest is the servant, performing his own office, not exercising the rights of the power of another person."

"There is no time of life past learning something."

"There is nothing evil save that which perverts the mind and shackles the conscience."

"Therefore it is proper to believe both that we are to repent and that we are to be pardoned, but in such a way as to expect pardon from faith just as faith obtains it from the written agreement."

"To the good man to die is gain. The foolish fear death as the greatest of evils, the wise desire it as a rest after labors and the end of ills."

"Virginity [remaining unmarried] is only something that can be recommended, but not commanded; it is voluntary rather than obligatory."

"We are free to be ignorant [about the day on which angels were created] because we neither must nor can know."