184 "Without division or diminution," i.e. the generation of the Son entails no division or partition of the Godhead, still less any diminution of it. The Father is none the less God. His Godhead loses nothing by His begetting His Eternal Son. Some manuscripts have "demutatam" instead of "deminutam" here-i.e. "changed" for "diminished." Certainly the begetting of the Son can make no change whatever in the Being of the Father, for the Divine Generation is "from everlasting to everlasting," and is necessarily implied in the very Fatherhood, the personal essence of the Father. Hurter quotes St. Hilary, De Trin. 6, 10. "The Church knows of no apportionment made to the Son, but knows Him as perfect God of perfect God, as One begotten of One, not shorn off from Him, but born: she knows the Nativity to entail no diminution of Him Who begets, nor weakness in Him Who is born." The fact is a spiritual relation, metaphysical in the highest sense, transcending our intelligence, and only to be apprehended by faith, simply as a fact-as the arxh, or principle, which is sufficient for us. The "how" we must wait to have revealed to us hereafter, if we shall ever be able to receive it.
195 The disasters here alluded to are the rout of the Roman army, in 378 a.d., at Hadrianople, and the miserable death of the Emperor Valens, who took refuge in a hut, which was surrounded and fired by the Goths, the emperor perishing in the flames. This reverse was regarded by the orthodox as a judgment upon the Arianism of Valens and others in high places.
198 The success of the Goths at Hadrianople encouraged the northern barbarians to fresh invasions of the empire, within which they from now began to form permanent lodgments, and it correspond ingly discouraged the subjects of the empire, and sapped the old belief-a legacy from paganism-in the fortune of Rome.
199 Orthodox bishops and priests were expelled from their sees and offices to make room for "betrayers of the faith," i.e. men who had apostatized to Arianism. The mingled tumult of blasphemy and foreign onslaughts is a description of the condition of the eastern provinces of the empire, where Arianism was rampant, and all was overrun by the Goths. The latter was regarded by some as the result of the former. Thus St. Jerome: "Our sins are the strength of the barbarians, our vices bring defeat upon the arms of Rome."-H. The provinces here mentioned lay along the right bank of the Danube, and took in what is now Lower Hungary, Servia, and Bulgaria. The result of the disaster of Hadrianople was to put all these countries in the power of the Goths.
200 The Goths had been driven in upon the Roman frontiers by the inroads of the Huns, who expelled them from their former habitations in S. & S. W. Russia. A treaty had been made between them and the Emperor Valens, who agreed to take them under his protection, but the bad faith with which the Goths soon found themselves treated led to hostilities, and so to the great overthrow at Hadrianople in 378.
201 No auguries-which were taken by observing the flight of birds, as omens were by noting their voices. These observances of course disappeared from the Roman army as soon as the empire became Christian. In saying that the Name of the Saviour leads the troops to war, St. Ambrose probably alludes to the Labarum or banner emblazoned with the monogram which is composed of the two first letters of the Name Xriostoj.
1 Lat. "In procinctu," which is primarily a military phrase, procinctus meaning "girding up" or "girdle," the expression having reference to the girding on of armour for the battle. "Testamen tum facere in procinctu" means "to make one's will on the eve of battle." The expression passed into a proverb for readiness in general. E.g. "clementiam in procinctu habere," "to be ready to show mercy." Here, however, St. Ambrose uses the phrase more in its original sense, with reference to the impending conflict of the Goths and Romans, in which Gratian was expecting to take part, though, as a matter of fact, the battle of Hadrianople had been fought, and Valens was dead, before he arrived on the scene of action.
3 Meaning that Paul, gifted with a prophet's insight into divine truth, recognized in these words of the heathen poet a testimony to God, and therefore had no scruples about citing them to this Athenian audience.
6 Isa. xiii. 22-a passage referring to the desolation of Babylon In this verse of Isaiah the LXX. has "onokentaupoi" and "exinoi" (onocentaurs and hedgehogs), the "sirens" (seirhnej) coming in ver. 21b, in combination with "demons" (daimonia). The Vulgate has in 22 "ululoe" (screechowls) and "sirenes," with "struthiones" (ostriches) and "pilosi" (hairy men) in 21b. A.V. has in 22 "wild beasts of the islands" and "dragons;" in 21b, "owls" (marg. "ostriches," the Hebrew meaning "daughters of the owl") and "satyrs." R.V. in 22, "wolves" and "jackals;" in 21b, "ostriches" and "satyrs" (marg. "he-goats"). The "sirens" then appear to be jackals-though the ground of the comparison is hard to find-the "daughters of sparrows" are ostriches (the Greek name for which means, literally, "sparrow-camel."
12 Ps. lxxxvii. 5. The R. V. renders "Yea of Zion it shall be said. This one and that one was born in her." The verse is rather prophetic of the universality of Christ's Church than of the Incarnation.
13 He could not "be made" God if we use the Name "God" in its proper sense, but St. Ambrose probably had in his mind the sense which the Arians attached to the name, as applicable to the Son. According to them, it was a sort of "courtesy-title."