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The 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 Him waive 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.”19231923 Ps. li. 4 (Prayer-book).
21. Is He then not good, Who hath shown me good things? Is He not good, Who when six hundred thousand of the people of the Jews 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.19241924 “Hath shown me good things.”—Ps. xiii. 6. For the passage of the Red Sea, vide Ex. xiv.
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?19251925 Ex. xvii. 6: Num. xx. 8, 11. 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.”19261926 1 Cor. x. 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,19271927 Ex. xvi. 12 ff.; Deut. viii. 3, 4; xxix. 5; Ps. lxxviii. 24, 25; cv. 40; S. John vi. 31; 1 Cor. x. 3. 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 hath 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.19281928 Cf. S. Matt. xiii. 43; Dan. xii. 3. The radiance of these heavenly choirs is the reflection of Him Who is the Light of the World, the True Light.—S. John i. 9; viii. 12; xii. 46; Rev. xxi. 23; xxii. 5.
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 good shepherd layeth 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 taketh it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself.”19291929 S. John x. 11, 17, 18.
26. Thou seest His goodness, in that He laid it down of His own accord: thou seest His power, in that He took it again—dost thou deny His goodness, when He has said of Himself in the Gospel, “If I am good, why is thine eye evil”?19301930 S. Matt. xx. 15 (the rendering in the Bible is slightly different). Ungrateful wretch what doest thou? Dost thou deny His goodness, in Whom is thy hope of good things—if, indeed, thou believest this? Dost thou deny His goodness, Who hath given us what “eye hath not seen, nor ear heard?”19311931 1 Cor. ii. 9; Isa. lxiv. 4.
27. It concerns my interest to believe Him to be good, for “It is a good thing to trust in the Lord.”19321932 Ps. cxviii. 8. It is to my interest to confess Him Lord, for it is written: “Give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good.”19331933 Ps. cxviii. 1; cxxxvi. 1; cvi. 1; cvii. 1.
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.19341934 St. Ambrose’s syllogism appears to be: The Judge is the righteous God, the Son of God is the Judge; therefore, the Son of God is the righteous God.
29. But perchance thou believest not others, nor the Son. Hear, then, the Father saying: “My heart hath brought forth out of its depth the good Word.”19351935 Ps. xlv. 1. The Word, then, is good—the Word, of Whom it is written: “And the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”19361936 S. John i. 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 ye do all deny His goodness.
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 taketh away the sin of the world.”19371937 The reff. in §§ 30 and 31 are to S. John vii. 12 and i. 29.
32. But why do we doubt? The Church hath believed in His goodness all these ages, and hath confessed its faith in the saying: “Let Him kiss me with the kisses of His mouth; for thy breasts are better than wine;”19381938 Song of Solomon i. 1. and again: “And thy throat is like the goodliest wine.” Of His goodness, therefore, He nourisheth 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?19391939 Song vii. 9.
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