ambrose_of_milanDavid taught us that we should go about in our heart as though in a large house; that we should hold converse with it as with some trusty companion.

[…] Scipio…was not the first to know that he was not alone when he was alone, or that he was least at leisure when he was at leisure.

For Moses knew it before him, who, when silent, was crying out; who, when he stood at ease, was fighting, nay, not merely fighting but triumphing over enemies whom he had not come near.

So much was he at ease, that others held up his hands; yet he was no less active than others, for he with his hands at ease was overcoming the enemy, whom they that were in the battle could not conquer.

Thus Moses in his silence spoke, and in his ease laboured hard. And were his labours greater than his times of quiet, who, being in the mount for forty days, received the whole law?

And in that solitude there was One not far away to speak with him. Whence also David says: “I will hear what the Lord God will say within me.”

How much greater a thing is it for God to speak with any one, than for a man to speak with himself!

[…] Elisha rested in one place while the king of Syria waged a great war against the people of our fathers, and was adding to its terrors by various treacherous plans, and was endeavouring to catch them in an ambush.

But the prophet found out all their preparations, and being by the grace of God present everywhere in mental vigour, he told the thoughts of their enemies to his countrymen, and warned them of what places to beware.

[…] Elisha was ever active. In solitude he divided Jordan on passing over it, so that the lower part flowed down, whilst the upper returned to its source. On Carmel he promises the woman, who so far had had no child, that a son now unhoped for should be born to her.

He raises the dead to life, he corrects the bitterness of the food, and makes it to be sweet by mixing meal with it. Having distributed ten loaves to the people for food, he gathered up the fragments that were left after they had been filled. … He changes leprosy for cleanness, drought for rain, famine for plenty.

When can the upright man be alone, since he is always with God? When is he left forsaken who is never separated from Christ? “Who,” it says, “shall separate us from the love of Christ? I am confident that neither death nor life nor angel shall do so.”

Ambrose of Milan (c. 337-397): On the Duties of the Clergy 3,1.

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