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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. V:
A Treatise on the Grace of Christ, and...: Chapter 49

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 49 [XLV.]—Ambrose Teaches with What Eye Christ Turned and Looked Upon Peter.

That repentance, indeed, itself, which beyond all doubt is an action of the will, is wrought into action by the mercy and help of the Lord, is asserted by the blessed Ambrose in the following passage in the ninth book of the same work: 1899 “Good, says he, “are the tears which wash away sin. They upon whom the Lord at last turns and looks, bewail. Peter denied Him first, and did not weep, because the Lord had not turned and looked upon him. He denied Him a second time, and still wept not, because the Lord had not even yet turned and looked upon him. The third time also he denied Him, Jesus turned and looked, and then he wept most bitterly.” Let these persons read the Gospel; let them consider how that the Lord Jesus was at that moment within, having a hearing before the chief of the priests; whilst the Apostle Peter was outside, 1900 and down in the hall, 1901 sitting at one time with the servants at the fire, 1902 at another time standing, 1903 as the most accurate and consistent narrative of the evangelists shows. It cannot therefore be said that it was with His bodily eyes that the Lord turned and looked upon him by a visible and apparent admonition. That, then, which is described in the words, “The Lord turned and looked upon Peter,” 1904 was effected internally; it was wrought in the mind, wrought in the will. In mercy the Lord silently and secretly approached, touched the heart, recalled the memory of the past, with His own internal grace visited Peter, stirred and brought out into external tears the feelings of his inner man. Behold in what manner God is present with His help to our wills and actions; behold how “He worketh in us both to will and to do.”



“In the ninth book of the same work,” says St. Augustin. The reference, however, is to book x. of the editions, c. 89, on Luke xxii. 61.


Matt. 26:69, 71.


Mark xiv. 66.


Luke xxii. 55.


John xviii. 16.


Luke xxii. 61.

Next: Chapter 50