The seed form of sola fide in Ambrosiaster

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DTK

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Early on our Reformers attributed to Ambrose of Milan some commentaries on Paul that were not actually authored by him. It became apparent gradually that these commentaries were written by another . . . To this anonymous early church writer Erasmus gave the designation of "Ambrosiaster." Ever since then this anonymous early church writer is known by that designation. Here are the seed forms of sola fide in his writings. He is believed to have been a member of the Roman clergy in his day. However, one must be careful not to read back into Ambrosiaster the mature reflections of the Reformers regarding justification by faith alone. But one does find sola fide in seed form . . .

Ambrosiaster (fl. c. 366-384), on Rom. 1:11: For the mercy of God had been given for this reason: that they should give up the works of the law, as I have often said, because God, taking pity on our weakness, decreed that the human race was saved by faith alone, along with natural law. Ambrosiaster, Ancient Christian Texts, Gerald L. Bray, O.S.A., ed., trans., Romans and 1-2 Corinthians (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2009), p. 7.
Latin Text: Nam misericordia Dei ad hoc data est, ut Lex cessaret, quod saepe jam dixi; quia Deus consulens infirmitati humanae, sola fide addita legi naturali, hominum genus salvare decrevit. In Epistolam Ad Romanos, PL 17:53.

Ambrosiaster (fl. c. 366-384), on Rom. 2:12: If the law is given, not for the righteous but for the unrighteous, whoever does not sin is a friend of the law. For him, faith alone is the way by which he is made perfect, for avoiding evil will not gain him any advantage with God unless he also believes in God, so that he may be righteous on both counts. The one righteousness is temporal, but the other is eternal. Ambrosiaster, Ancient Christian Texts, Gerald L. Bray, O.S.A., ed., trans., Romans and 1-2 Corinthians (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2009), p. 18.
Latin Text: Si enim justo non est lex posita, sed injustis; qui non peccat, amicus legis est. Huic sola fides deest, per quam fiat perfectus quia nihil illi proderit apud Deum abstinere a contrariis, nisi fidem in Deum acceperit, ut sit justus per utraque; quia illa temporis justitia est, haec aeternitatis. In Epistolam Ad Romanos, PL 17:67.

Ambrosiaster (fl. c. 366-384), on Rom. 3:24: They are justified freely, because they have not done anything nor given anything in return, but by faith alone they have been made holy by the gift of God. Ambrosiaster, Ancient Christian Texts, Gerald L. Bray, O.S.A., ed., trans., Romans and 1-2 Corinthians (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2009), p. 29.
Latin Text: Justificati gratis per gratiam ipsius. Justificati sunt gratis, quia nihil operantes, neque vicem reddentes, sola fide justificati sunt dono Dei. In Epistolam Ad Romanos, PL 17:79.

Ambrosiaster (fl. c. 366-384), on Rom. 3:27: Paul tells those who live under the law that they have no reason to boast, basing themselves on the law and claiming either to be of the race of Abraham or to have accepted the precepts of God from Moses, seeing that no one is justified before God except by faith. Ambrosiaster, Ancient Christian Texts, Gerald L. Bray, O.S.A., ed., trans., Romans and 1-2 Corinthians (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2009), p. 30.
Latin Text: Ubi est ergo gloriatio tua? Exclusa est. Per quam legem? factorum? Non, sed per legem fidei. Reddita ratione, ad eos loquitur, qui agunt sub lege, quod sine causa glorientur, blandientes sibi de lege, et propter quod genus sint Abrahae, videntes non justificari hominem apud Deum, nisi per fidem. In Epistolam Ad Romanos, PL 17:80.

Ambrosiaster (fl. c. 366-384), on Rom. 4:5: How then can the Jews think that they have been justified by the works of the law in the same way as Abraham, when they see that Abraham was not justified by the works of the law but by faith alone? Therefore there is no need of the law when the ungodly is justified before God by faith alone. Ambrosiaster, Ancient Christian Texts, Gerald L. Bray, O.S.A., ed., trans., Romans and 1-2 Corinthians (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2009), p. 32.
Latin Text: Hoc dicit, quia sine operibus legis credenti impio, id est gentili, in Christum, reputatur fides ejus ad justitiam, sicut et Abrahae. Quomodo ergo Judaei per opera legis justificari se putant justificatione Abrahae; cum videant Abraham non per opera legis, sed sola fide justificatum? Non ergo opus est lex, quando impius per solam fidem justificatur apud Deum. In Epistolam Ad Romanos, PL 17:82-83.

Ambrosiaster (fl. c. 366-384), on Rom. 4:6, ‘righteousness apart from works’: Paul backs this up by the example of the prophet David, who says that those are blessed of whom God has decreed that, without work or any keeping of the law, they are justified before God by faith alone. Ambrosiaster, Ancient Christian Texts, Gerald L. Bray, O.S.A., ed., trans., Romans and 1-2 Corinthians (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2009), p. 32.
Latin Text: Hoc ipsum munit exemplo prophetae. Beatitudinem hominis, cui Deus accepto fert justitiam sine operibus. Beatos dicit de quibus hoc sanxit Deus, ut sine labore et aliqua observatione, sola fide justificentur apud Deum. In Epistolam Ad Romanos, PL 17:83.

Ambrosiaster (fl. c. 366-384), wrote while commenting on 1 Cor. 1:4b: He says that grace is given by God in Christ Jesus, because God has decreed that a person who believes in Christ can be saved without works; by faith alone he receives the forgiveness of his sins. Ambrosiaster, Ancient Christian Texts, Gerald L. Bray, O.S.A., ed., trans., Romans and 1-2 Corinthians (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2009), p. 120.
Latin Text: Datam dicit gratiam a Deo in Christo Jesu, quae gratia sic data est in Christo Jesu; quia hoc constitutum est a Deo, ut qui credit in Christum, salvus sit sine opere: sola fide gratis accipit remissionem peccatorum. In Epistolam B. Pauli Ad Corinthios Primam, PL 17:185.

DTK
 
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