Sermon by St. Ambrose the Bishop
When the Lord wrought so many works of healing, neither time nor place could restrain the people from seeking health. Evening came, and they still followed him; he went down to the lake, and they still pressed upon him; for which reason he entered into Peter's ship. This is that ship, which spiritually up to this very hour, according to the expression of Matthew, is buffeted by tempests; but still, according to Luke, is filled with fishes. By all this is signified that for a while things are troublous for the Church, but afterwards fruitful. And the fishes are those Christians which are as yet in the troublous waters of human life. In this ship also spiritually doth Christ, for the sake of his disciples, still sleep, and still command, for he sleepeth for the lukewarm, and watcheth for the perfect.
No fear, then, for the ship where wisdom steereth, where false teaching is not known, where faith swelleth the sails. How shall she be troubled, whose Lord is himself the Church's sure Foundation? It is where faith is weak that there is fear; where love is perfect, there is safety. To many it is commanded to loose their nets, but to Peter also is said: Launch out into the deep: which may be interpreted as the depths of doctrine. What indeed is there so deep, as to gaze upon the depth of all riches, to recognize the Son of God, and to take up the confession of his divine generation? This is a thing which the mind is not able to grasp by the searchings of man's reason, but which is embraced by a hearty faith.
For, albeit, it is not given unto me to know how the Son of God was born, yet of the fact that he was begotten, I may not be ignorant. What the order of his generation was, I know not, but the Source of his generation, I do acknowledge. None hath beheld the Begetting of the Son of God by the Father, but the Church hath stood by to hear the Father testify that this is his beloved Son. If we believe not God, whom shall we believe? For whatsoever we believe cometh either by sight or hearing; sight is oftentimes deceived, but faith cometh by hearing.