Writings of Augustine. On the Gospel According to St. John.

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St. Augustin:

Lectures or Tractates

On the Gospel According to St. John.

Translated by Rev. John Gibb, D.D., Professor in the Presbyterian Theological College at London
(Vol. I., Tractates 1-37)

and Rev. James Innes, of Panbride, near Dundee, Scotland
(Vol. II., Tractates 38 to 124)

Published for Dr. Dods, by T. & T. Clark, Edinburgh, 1873.


Augustin was an indefatigable preacher. He considered regular preaching an indispensable part of the duty of a bishop. To his homilies we owe most of his exegetical labors. The homilies were delivered extempore, taken down by scribes and slightly revised by Augustin. They retain their colloquial form, devotional tone, frequent repetitions, and want of literary finish. He would rather be deficient in rhetoric than not be understood by the people. He was cheered by the eager attention and acclamations of his hearers, but never fully satisfied with his performance. "My preaching," he says, "almost always displeases me. I eagerly long for something better, of which I often have an inward enjoyment in my thoughts before I can put them into audible words. Then when I find that my power of expression is not equal to my inner apprehension, I am grieved at the inability of my tongue to answer to my heart" (De Catech. Rudibus, ch. II. 3, in this Series, Vol. III. 284). His chief merit as an interpreter is his profound theological insight, which makes his exegetical works permanently useful. Comp. the introductory essay in the sixth volume.

This volume contains:

I. The Homilies or Tractates on the Gospel of John (In Joannis Evangelium Tractatus CXXIV). [1] Augustin delivered them to his flock at Hippo about A.D. 416 or later. The Latin text is in the third Tome of the Benedictine edition (in Migne's reprint, Tom. III. Part II. fol. 1379-1976). The first English translation appeared in the Oxford "Library of Fathers of the Holy Catholic Church," Oxford, 1848, in 2 Vols., and was prepared by Rev. H. Browne, M. A., of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. The present translation was made jointly by Rev. John Gibb, D.D., Professor in the Presbyterian Theological College at London (Vol. I., Tractates 1-37), and Rev. James Innes, of Panbride, near Dundee, Scotland (Vol. II., Tractates 38 to 124), for Dr. Dods' Series of Augustin's Works, published by T. & T. Clark, Edinburgh, 1873. Dr. Gibb was requested to revise it, but did not deem it necessary. The Indices of topics and texts are added to the American edition.

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II. The Homilies on the First Epistle of John (In Epistolam Joannis ad Parthos [2] Tractatus decem) were preached about the same time as those on the Gospel, or shortly after wards. They are also included in the third volume of the Benedictine edition (Migne, T. III. P. II. 1977-2062). The translation by Rev. H. Browne is taken from the Oxford Library of the Fathers (Clark's edition has none), and was slightly revised and edited with additional notes and an introduction by the Rev. Dr. Myers, of Washington.

III. The Soliloquies (in Vol. I., 869-905, Migne's ed.) were translated for this Library by the Rev. C. C. Starbuck, of Andover, Mass. They were written by Augustin shortly after his conversion (387), and are here added as a specimen of his earliest philosophical writings. Neither the Oxford nor the Clark Series give them a place. King Alfred translated parts of the Soliloquies into the Anglo-Saxon of his day, and a partial translation appeared in 1631, but I have not seen it.

This volume completes Augustin's exegetical writings on the New Testament. The eighth and last volume will contain his Homilies on the Psalms, as translated for the Oxford Library, and edited by Bishop Coxe. It will be ready for publication in July of this year.

Philip Schaff.

New York, March 23, 1888.


Preface by the General Editor.

Homilies on the Gospel of John.

Translated by Rev. John Gibb, Professor in the Presbyterian Theological College at London, and Rev. James Innes, Panbride.

Homilies on the First Epistle of John.

Translated by Rev. H. Browne, M.A., Canon of Waltham, and formerly Principal of the Chichester Diocesan College.

Revised and edited by Rev. Joseph H. Myers, D.D., Washington, D.C.


Translated by Rev. C. C. Starbuck, M.A., Andover, Mass.


[1] The manuscripts vary in their headings between Tractatus, Sermones, and Homiliæ. In three copies used by the Benedictine editors the title is thus given: "Aurelii Augustini Doctoris Hippon. Episc. Homiliæ in Evangelium Dom. Jesu secundum Joannem incipiunt, quas ipse colloqendo prius ad populum habuit, et inter loquendum a notariis exceptas, eo quo habitæ sunt ordine, verbum ex verbo postea dictavit."--Migne III. II. 1378. [2] Ad Parthosis a mistake which is found also in some mss. of the Vulgate and has led to different conjectures. See note to the Prologue, and Critical Introductions to the N.T., e.g. that of Weiss (1886), p. 468. He favors the conjecture pros parthenous, ad virgines, which Clement of Alex. gives as the superscription to the second Epistle of John. Others conjecture tou parthenou, (virginis), or Ad sparsos, etc.

Lectures or Tractates

On the Gospel According to St. John.

Translated by Rev. John Gibb, D.D., Professor in the Presbyterian Theological College at London

Published for Dr. Dods, by T. & T. Clark, Edinburgh, 1873.


Tractate I.

Chapter I. 1-5

1. When I give heed to what we have just read from the apostolic lesson, that "the natural man perceiveth not the things which are of the Spirit of God," [3] and consider that in the present assembly, my beloved, there must of necessity be among you many natural men, who know only according to the flesh, and cannot yet raise themselves to spiritual understanding, I am in great difficulty how, as the Lord shall grant, I may be able to express, or in my small measure to explain, what has been read from the Gospel, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God;" for this the natural man does not perceive. What then, brethren? Shall we be silent for this cause? Why then is it read, if we are to be silent regarding it? Or why is it heard, if it be not explained? And why is it explained, if it be not understood? And so, on the other hand, since I do not doubt that there are among your number some who can not only receive it when explained, but even understand it before it is explained, I shall not defraud those who are able to receive it, from fear of my words being wasted on the ears of those who are not able to receive it. Finally, there will be present with us the compassion of God, so that perchance there may be enough for all, and each receive what he is able, while he who speaks says what he is able. For to speak of the matter as it is, who is able? I venture to say, my brethren, perhaps not John himself spoke of the matter as it is, but even he only as he was able; for it was man that spoke of God, inspired indeed by God, but still man. Because he was inspired he said something; if he had not been inspired, he would have said nothing; but because a man inspired, he spoke not the whole, but what a man could he spoke.

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2. For this John, dearly beloved brethren, was one of those mountains concerning which it is written: "Let the mountains receive peace for thy people, and the hills righteousness." [4] The mountains are lofty souls, the hills little souls. But for this reason do the mountains receive peace, that the hills may be able to receive righteousness. What is the righteousness which the hills receive? Faith, for "the just doth live by faith." [5] The smaller souls, however, would not receive faith unless the greater souls, which are called mountains, were illuminated by Wisdom herself, that they may be able to transmit to the little ones what the little ones can receive; and the hills live by faith, because the mountains receive peace. By the mountains themselves it was said to the Church, "Peace be with you;" and the mountains themselves in proclaiming peace to the Church did not divide themselves against Him from whom they received peace, [6] that truly, not feignedly, they might proclaim peace.

3. For there are other mountains which cause shipwreck, on which, if any one drive his ship, she is dashed to pieces. For it is easy, when land is seen by men in peril, to make a venture as it were to reach it; but sometimes land is seen on a mountain, and rocks lie hid under the mountain; and when any one makes for the mountain, he falls on the rocks, and finds there not rest, but wrecking. So there have been certain mountains, and great have they appeared among men, and they have created heresies and schisms, and have divided the Church of God; but those who divided the Church of God were not those mountains concerning which it is said, "Let the mountains receive peace for thy people." For in what manner have they received peace who have severed unity?

4. But those who received peace to proclaim it to the people have made Wisdom herself an object of contemplation, so far as human hearts could lay hold on that which "eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither has ascended into the heart of man." [7] If it has not ascended into the heart of man, how has it ascended into the heart of John? Was not John a man? Or perhaps neither into John's heart did it ascend, but John's heart ascended into it? For that which ascends into the heart of man is from beneath, to man; but that to which the heart of man ascends is above, from man. Even so brethren, can it be said that, if it ascended into the heart of John (if in any way it can be said), it ascended into his heart in so far as he was not man. What means "was not man"? In so far as he had begun to be an angel. For all saints are angels, since they are messengers of God. Therefore to carnal and natural men, who are not able to perceive the things that are of God, what says the apostle? "For whereas ye say, I am of Paul, I of Apollos, are ye not men?" [8] What did he wish to make them whom he upbraided because they were men? Do you wish to know what he wished to make them? Hear in the Psalms: "I have said, ye are gods; and all of you are children of the Most High." [9] To this, then, God calls us, that we be not men. But then will it be for the better that we be not men, if first we recognize the fact that we are men, that is, to the end that we may rise to that height from humility; lest, when we think that we are something when we are nothing, we not only do not receive what we are not, but even lose what we are.

5. Accordingly, brethren, of these mountains was John also, who said, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." This mountain had received peace; he was contemplating the divinity of the Word. Of what sort was this mountain? How lofty? He had risen above all peaks of the earth, he had risen above all plains of the sky, he had risen above all heights of the stars, he had risen above all choirs and legions of the angels. For unless he rose above all those things which were created, he would not arrive at Him by whom all things were made. You cannot imagine what he rose above, unless you see at what he arrived. Dost thou inquire concerning heaven and earth? They were made. Dost thou inquire concerning the things that are in heaven and earth? Surely much more were they made. Dost thou inquire concerning spiritual beings, concerning angels, archangels, thrones, dominions, powers, principalities? These also were made. For when the Psalm enumerated all these things, it finished thus: "He spoke, and they were made; He commanded, and they were created." [10] If "He spoke and they were made," it was by the Word that they were made; but if it was by the Word they were made, the heart of John could not reach to that which he says, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God," unless he had risen above all things that were made by the Word. What a mountain this! How holy! How high among those mountains that received peace for the people of God, that the hills might receive righteousness!

6. Consider, then, brethren, if perchance John is not one of those mountains concerning whom we sang a little while ago, "I have lifted up mine eyes to the mountains, from whence shall come my help." Therefore, my brethren, if you would understand, lift up your eyes to this mountain, that is, raise yourselves up to the evangelist, rise to his meaning. But, because though these mountains receive peace he cannot be in peace who places his hope in man, do not so raise your eyes to the mountain as to think that your hope should be placed in man; and so say, "I have lifted up mine eyes to the mountains, from whence shall come my help," that you immediately add, "My help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth." [11] Therefore let us lift our eyes to the mountains, from whence shall come our help; and yet it is not in the mountains themselves that our hope should be placed, for the mountains receive what they may minister to us; therefore, from whence the mountains also receive there should our hope be placed. When we lift our eyes to the Scriptures, since it was through men the Scriptures were ministered, we are lifting our eyes to the mountains, from whence shall come our help; but still, since they were men who wrote the Scriptures, they did not shine of themselves, but "He was the true light, [12] who lighteth every man that cometh into the world." A mountain also was that John the Baptist, who said, "I am not the Christ," [13] lest any one, placing his hope in the mountain, should fall from Him who illuminates the mountain. He also confessed, saying, "Since of His fullness have all we received." [14] So thou oughtest to say, "I have lifted up mine eyes to the mountains, from whence shall come my help," so as not to ascribe to the mountains the help that comes to thee; but continue and say, "My help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth."

7. Therefore, brethren, may this be the result of my admonition, that you understand that in raising your hearts to the Scriptures (when the gospel was sounding forth, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God," and the rest that was read), you were lifting your eyes to the mountains. For unless the mountains said these things, you would not find out how to think of them at all. Therefore from the mountains came your help, that you even heard of these things; but you cannot yet understand what you have heard. Call for help from the Lord, who made heaven and earth; for the mountains were enabled only so to speak as not of themselves to illuminate, because they themselves are also illuminated by hearing. Thence John, who said these things, received them--he who lay on the Lord's breast, and from the Lord's breast drank in what he might give us to drink. But he gave us words to drink. Thou oughtest then to receive understanding from the source from which he drank who gave thee to drink; so that thou mayest lift up thine eyes to the mountains from whence shall come thine aid, so that from thence thou mayest receive, as it were, the cup, that is, the word, given thee to drink; and yet, since thy help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth, thou mayest fill thy breast from the source from which he filled his; whence thou saidst, "My help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth:" let him, then, fill who can. Brethren, this is what I have said: Let each one lift up his heart in the manner that seems fitting, and receive what is spoken. But perhaps you will say that I am more present to you than God. Far be such a thought from you! He is much more present to you; for I appear to your eyes, He presides over your consciences. Give me then your ears, Him your hearts, that you may fill both. Behold, your eyes, and those your bodily senses, you lift up to us; and yet not to us, for we are not of those mountains, but to the gospel itself, to the evangelist himself: your hearts, however, to the Lord to be filled. Moreover, let each one so lift up as to see what he lifts up, and whither. What do I mean by saying, "what he lifts up, and whither?" Let him see to it what sort of a heart he lifts up, because it is to the Lord he lifts it up, lest, encumbered by a load of fleshly pleasure, it fall ere ever it is raised. But does each one see that he bears a burden of flesh? Let him strive by continence to purify that which he may lift up to God. For "Blessed are the pure in heart, because they shall see God." [15]

8. But let us see what advantage it is that these words have sounded, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." We also uttered words when we spoke. Was it such a word that was with God? Did not those words which we uttered sound and pass away? Did God's Word, then, sound and come to an end? If so, how were all things made by it, and without it was nothing made? how is that which it created ruled by it, if it sounded and passed away? What sort of a word, then, is that which is both uttered and passes not away? Give ear, my beloved, it is a great matter. By everyday talk, words here become despicable to us, because through their sounding and passing away they are despised, and seem nothing but words. But there is a word in the man himself which remains within; for the sound proceeds from the mouth. There is a word which is spoken in a truly spiritual manner, that which you understand from the sound, not the sound itself. Mark, I speak a word when I say "God." How short the word which I have spoken--four letters and two syllables! [16] Is this all that God is, four letters and two syllables? Or is that which is signified as costly as the word is paltry? What took place in thy heart when thou heardest "God"? What took place in my heart when I said "God"? A certain great and perfect substance was in our thoughts, transcending every changeable creature of flesh or of soul. And if I say to thee, "Is God changeable or unchangeable?" thou wilt answer immediately, "Far be it from me either to believe or imagine that God is changeable: God is unchangeable." Thy soul, though small, though perhaps still carnal, could not answer me otherwise than that God is unchangeable: but every creature is changeable; how then wert thou able to enter, by a glance of thy spirit, into that which is above the creature, so as confidently to answer me, "God is unchangeable"? What, then, is that in thy heart, when thou thinkest of a certain substance, living, eternal, all-powerful, infinite, everywhere present, everywhere whole, nowhere shut in? When thou thinkest of these qualities, this is the word concerning God in thy heart. But is this that sound which consists of four letters and two syllables? Therefore, whatever things are spoken and pass away are sounds, are letters, are syllables. His word which sounds passes away; but that which the sound signified, and was in the speaker as he thought of it, and in the hearer as he understood it, that remains while the sounds pass away.

9. Turn thy attention to that word. Thou canst have a word in thy heart, as it were a design born in thy mind, so that thy mind brings forth the design; and the design is, so to speak, the offspring of thy mind, the child of thy heart. For first thy heart brings forth a design to construct some fabric, to set up something great on the earth; already the design is conceived, and the work is not yet finished: thou seest what thou wilt make; but another does not admire, until thou hast made and constructed the pile, and brought that fabric into shape and to completion; then men regard the admirable fabric, and admire the design of the architect; they are astonished at what they see, and are pleased with what they do not see: who is there who can see a design? If, then, on account of some great building a human design receives praise, do you wish to see what a design of God is the Lord Jesus Christ, that is, the Word of God? Mark this fabric of the world. View what was made by the Word, and then thou wilt understand what is the nature of the world. Mark these two bodies of the world, the heavens and the earth. Who will unfold in words the beauty of the heavens? Who will unfold in words the fruitfulness of the earth? Who will worthily extol the changes of the seasons? Who will worthily extol the power of seeds? You see what things I do not mention, lest in giving a long list I should perhaps tell of less than you can call up to your own minds. From this fabric, then, judge the nature of the Word by which it was made: and not it alone; for all these things are seen, because they have to do with the bodily sense. By that Word angels also were made; by that Word archangels were made, powers, thrones, dominions, principalities; by that Word were made all things. Hence, judge what a Word this is.

10. Perhaps some one now answers me, "Who so conceives this Word?" Do not then imagine, as it were, some paltry thing when thou hearest "the Word," nor suppose it to be words such as thou hearest them every day--"he spoke such words," "such words he uttered," "such words you tell me;" for by constant repetition the term word has become, so to speak, worthless. And when thou hearest, "In the beginning was the Word," lest thou shouldest imagine something worthless, such as thou hast been accustomed to think of when thou wert wont to listen to human words, hearken to what thou must think of: "The Word was God."

11. Now some unbelieving Arian may come forth and say that "the Word of God was made." How can it be that the Word of God was made, when God by the Word made all things? If the Word of God was itself also made, by what other Word was it made? But if thou sayest that there is a Word of the Word, I say, that by which it was made is itself the only Son of God. But if thou dost not say there is a Word of the Word, allow that that was not made by which all things were made. For that by which all things were made could not be made by itself. Believe the evangelist then. For he might have said, "In the beginning God made the Word:" even as Moses said, "In the beginning God made the heavens and the earth;" and enumerates all things thus: "God said, Let it be made, and it was made." [17] If "said," who said? God. And what was made? Some creature. Between the speaking of God and the making of the creature, what was there by which it was made but the Word? For God said, "Let it be made, and it was made." This Word is unchangeable; although changeable things are made by it, the Word itself is unchangeable.

12. Do not then believe that that was made by which were made all things, lest thou be not new-made by the Word, which makes all things new. For already hast thou been made by the Word, but it behoves thee to be new-made by the Word. If, however, thy belief about the Word be wrong, thou wilt not be able to be new-made by the Word. And although creation by the Word has happened to thee, so that thou hast been made by Him, thou art unmade by thyself: if by thyself thou art unmade, let Him who made thee make thee new: if by thyself thou hast been made worse, let Him who created thee re-create thee. But how can He re-create thee by the Word, if thou holdest a wrong opinion about the Word? The evangelist says, "In the beginning was the Word;" and thou sayest, "In the beginning the Word was made." He says, "All things were made by Him;" and thou sayest that the Word Himself was made. The evangelist might have said, "In the beginning the Word was made:" but what does he say? "In the beginning was the Word." If He was, He was not made; that all things might be made by it, and without Him nothing be made. If, then, "in the beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God;" if thou canst not imagine what it is, wait till thou art grown. That is strong meat: receive thou milk that thou mayest be nourished, and be able to receive strong meat.

13. Give good heed to what follows, brethren, "All things were made by Him, and without Him was nothing made," so as not to imagine that "nothing" is something. For many, wrongly understanding "without Him was nothing made," are wont to fancy that "nothing" is something. Sin, indeed, was not made by Him; and it is plain that sin is nothing, and men become nothing when they sin. An idol also was not made by the Word;--it has indeed a sort of human form, but man himself was made by the Word;--for the form of man in an idol was not made by the Word, and it is written, "We know that an idol is nothing." [18] Therefore these things were not made by the Word; but whatever was made in the natural manner, whatever belongs to the creature, everything that is fixed in the sky, that shines from above, that flies under the heavens, and that moves in universal nature, every creature whatsoever: I will speak more plainly, brethren, that you may understand me; I will say, from an angel even to a worm. What more excellent than an angel among created things? what lower than a worm? He who made the angel made the worm also; but the angel is fit for heaven, the worm for earth. He who created also arranged. If He had placed the worm in heaven, thou mightest have found fault; if He had willed that angels should spring from decaying flesh, thou mightest have found fault: and yet God almost does this, and He is not to be found fault with. For all men born of flesh, what are they but worms? and of these worms God makes angels. For if the Lord Himself says, "But I am a worm and no man," [19] who will hesitate to say what is written also in Job, "How much more is man rottenness, and the son of man a worm?" [20] First he said, "Man is rottenness;" and afterwards, "The son of man a worm:" because a worm springs from rottenness, therefore "man is rottenness," and "the son of man a worm." Behold what for thy sake He was willing to become, who "in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God!" Why did He for thy sake become this? That thou mightest suck, who wert not able to chew. Wholly in this sense, then, brethren, understand "All things were made by Him, and without Him was nothing made." For every creature, great and small, was made by Him: by Him were made things above and things beneath; spiritual and corporeal, by Him were they made. For no form, no structure, no agreement of parts, no substance whatever that can have weight, number, measure, exists but by that Word, and by that Creator Word, to whom it is said, "Thou hast ordered all things in measure, and in number, and in weight." [21]

14. Therefore, let no one deceive you, when perchance you suffer annoyance from flies. For some have been mocked by the devil, and taken with flies. As fowlers are accustomed to put flies in their traps to deceive hungry birds, so these have been deceived with flies by the devil. Some one or other was suffering annoyance from flies; a Manichæan found him in his trouble, and when he said that he could not bear flies, and hated them exceedingly, immediately the Manichæan said, "Who made them?" And since he was suffering from annoyance, and hated them, he dared not say, "God made them," though he was a Catholic. The other immediately added, "If God did not make them, who made them?" "Truly," replied the Catholic, "I believe the devil made them." And the other immediately said, "If the devil made the fly, as I see you allow, because you understand the matter well, who made the bee, which is a little larger than the fly?" The Catholic dared not say that God made the bee and not the fly, for the case was much the same. From the bee he led him to the locust; from the locust to the lizard; from the lizard to the bird; from the bird to the sheep; from the sheep to the cow; from that to the elephant, and at last to man; and persuaded a man that man was not made by God. Thus the miserable man, being troubled with the flies, became himself a fly, and the property of the devil. In fact, Beelzebub, they say, means "Prince of flies;" and of these it is written, "Dying flies deprive the ointment of its sweetness." [22]

15. What then, brethren? why have I said these things? Shut the ears of your hearts against the wiles of the enemy. Understand that God made all things, and arranged them in their orders. Why, then, do we suffer many evils from a creature that God made? Because we have offended God? Do angels suffer these things? Perhaps we, too, in that life of theirs, would have no such thing to fear. For thy punishment, accuse thy sin, not the Judge. For, on account of our pride, God appointed that tiny and contemptible creature to torment us; so that, since man has become proud and has boasted himself against God, and, though mortal, has oppressed mortals, and, though man, has not acknowledged his fellowman,--since he has lifted himself up, he may be brought low by gnats. Why art thou inflated with human pride? Some one has censured thee, and thou art swollen with rage. Drive off the gnats, that thou mayest sleep: understand who thou art. For, that you may know, brethren, it was for the taming of our pride these things were created to be troublesome to us, God could have humbled Pharaoh's proud people by bears, by lions, by serpents; He sent flies and frogs upon them, [23] that their pride might be subdued by the meanest creatures.

16. "All things," then, brethren, "all things were made by Him, and without Him was nothing made." But how were all things made by Him? "That, which was made, in Him is life." It can also be read thus: "That, which was made in Him, is life;" and if we so read it, everything is life. For what is there that was not made in Him? For He is the Wisdom of God, and it is said in the Psalm, [24] "In Wisdom hast Thou made all things." If, then, Christ is the Wisdom of God, and the Psalm says, "In Wisdom hast Thou made all things:" as all things were made by Him, so all things were made in Him. If, then, all things were made in Him, dearly beloved brethren, and that, which was made in Him, is life, both the earth is life and wood is life. We do indeed say wood is life, but in the sense of the wood of the cross, whence we have received life. A stone, then, is life. It is not seemly so to understand the passage, as the same most vile sect of the Manichæans creep stealthily on us again, and say that a stone has life, that a wall has a soul, and a cord has a soul, and wool, and clothing. For so they are accustomed to talk in their raving; and when they have been driven back and refuted, they in some sort bring forward Scripture, saying, "Why is it said, `That, which was made in Him, is life'?" For if all things were made in Him, all things are life. Be not carried away by them; read thus "That which was made;" here make a short pause, and then go on, "in Him is life." What is the meaning of this? The earth was made, but the very earth that was made is not life; but there exists spiritually in the Wisdom itself a certain reason by which the earth was made: this is life.

17. As far as I can, I shall explain my meaning to you, beloved. A carpenter makes a box. First he has the box in design; for if he had it not in design, how could he produce it by workmanship? But the box in theory is not the very box as it appears to the eyes. It exists invisibly in design, it will be visible in the work. Behold, it is made in the work; has it ceased to exist in design? The one is made in the work, and the other remains which exists in design; for that box may rot, and another be fashioned according to that which exists in design. Give heed, then, to the box as it is in design, and the box as it is in fact. The actual box is not life, the box in design is life; because the soul of the artificer, where all these things are before they are brought forth, is living. So, dearly beloved brethren, because the Wisdom of God, by which all things have been made, contains everything according to design before it is made, therefore those things which are made through this design itself are not forthwith life, but whatever has been made is life in Him. You see the earth, there is an earth in design; you see the sky, there is a sky in design; you see the sun and the moon, these also exist in design: but externally they are bodies, in design they are life. Understand, if in any way you are able, for a great matter has been spoken. If I am not great by whom it is spoken, or through whom it is spoken, still it is from a great authority. For these things are not spoken by me who am small; He is not small to whom I refer in saying these things. Let each one take in what he can, and to what extent he can; and he who is not able to take in any of it, let him nourish his heart, that he may become able. How is he to nourish it? Let him nourish it with milk, that he may come to strong meat. Let him not leave Christ born through the flesh till he arrive at Christ born of the Father alone, the God-Word with God, through whom all things were made; for that is life, which in Him is the light of men.

18. For this follows: "and the life was the light of men;" and from this very life are men illuminated. Cattle are not illuminated, because cattle have not rational minds capable of seeing wisdom. But man was made in the image of God, and has a rational mind, by which he can perceive wisdom. That life, then, by which all things were made, is itself the light; yet not the light of every animal, but of men. Wherefore a little after he says, "That was the true light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world." By that light John the Baptist was illuminated; by the same light also was John the Evangelist himself illuminated. He was filled with that light who said, "I am not the Christ; but He cometh after me, whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose." [25] By that light he had been illuminated who said, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." Therefore that life is the light of men.

19. But perhaps the slow hearts of some of you cannot yet receive that light, because they are burdened by their sins, so that they cannot see. Let them not on that account think that the light is in any way absent, because they are not able to see it; for they themselves are darkness on account of their sins. "And the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not." Accordingly, brethren, as in the case of a blind man placed in the sun, the sun is present to him, but he is absent from the sun. So every foolish man, every unjust man, every irreligious man, is blind in heart. Wisdom is present; but it is present to a blind man, and is absent from his eyes; not because it is absent from him, but because he is absent from it. What then is he to do? Let him become pure, that he may be able to see God. Just as if a man could not see because his eyes were dirty and sore with dust, rheum, or smoke, the physician would say to him: "Cleanse from your eye whatever bad thing is in it, so that you may be able to see the light of your eyes." Dust, rheum, and smoke are sins and iniquities: remove then all these things, and you will see the wisdom that is present; for God is that wisdom, and it has been said, "Blessed are the pure in heart; for they shall see God." [26]


[3] 1 Cor. ii. 14. [4] Ps. lxxii. 3. [5] Hab. ii. 4; Rom. i. 17. [6] John xx. 19. [7] 1 Cor. ii. 9. [8] 1 Cor. iii. 4. [9] Ps. lxxxii. 6. [10] Ps. cxlviii. 5. [11] Ps. cxxi. 1, 2. [12] John i. 9. [13] John i. 30. [14] John i. 16. [15] Matt. v. 8. [16] Deus. [17] Gen. i. [18] 1 Cor. viii. 4. [19] Ps. xxii. 6. [20] Job xxv. 6. [21] Wisd. xi. 21. [22] Eccles. x. 1. [23] Ex. viii. [24] Ps. civ. 24. [25] John i. 26, 27. [26] Matt. v. 8. .

Tractate II.

Chapter I. 6-14

It is fitting, brethren, that as far as possible we should treat of the text of Holy Scripture, and especially of the Holy Gospel, without omitting any portion, that both we ourselves may derive nourishment according to our capacity, and may minister to you from that source from which we have been nourished. Last Lord's day, we remember, we treated of the first section; that is, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was nothing made. That which was made, in Him is life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not." So far, I believe, had I advanced in the treatment of the passage: let all who were present recall what was then said; and those of you who were not present, believe me and those who chose to be present. Now therefore,--because we cannot always be repeating everything, out of justice to those who desire to hear what follows, and because repetition of the former thought is a burden to them and deprives them of what succeeds,--let those who were absent on the former occasion refrain from demanding repetition, but, together with those who were here, listen to the present exposition.

2. It goes on, "There was a man sent from God whose name was John." Truly, brethren beloved, those things which were said before, were said regarding the ineffable divinity of Christ, and almost ineffably. For who shall comprehend "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God"? And do not allow the name word to appear mean to you, through the habit of daily words, for it is added, "and the Word was God." This Word is He of whom yesterday we spoke much; and I trust that God was present, and that even from only thus much speaking something reached your hearts. "In the beginning was the Word." He is the same, and is in the same manner; as He is, so He is always; He cannot be changed; that is, He is. This His name He spoke to His servant Moses: "I am that I am; and He that is hath sent me." [27] Who then shall comprehend this when you see that all mortal things are variable; when you see that not only do bodies vary as to their qualities, by being born, by increasing, by becoming less, by dying, but that even souls themselves through the effect of divers volitions are distended and divided; when you see that men can obtain wisdom if they apply themselves to its light and heat, and also lose wisdom if they remove themselves from it through some evil influence? When, therefore, you see that all those things are variable, what is that which is, unless that which transcends all things which are so that they are not? Who then can receive this? Or who, in what manner soever he may have applied the strength of his mind to touch that which is, can reach to that which he may in any way have touched with his mind? It is as if one were to see his native land at a distance, and the sea intervening; he sees whither he would go, but he has not the means of going. So we desire to arrive at that our stability where that which is, is, because this alone always is as it is: the sea of this world interrupts our course, even although already we see whither we go; for many do not even see whither they go. That there might be a way by which we could go, He has come from Him to whom we wished to go. And what has He done? He has appointed a tree by which we may cross the sea. For no one is able to cross the sea of this world, unless borne by the cross of Christ. Even he who is of weak eyesight sometimes embraces this cross; and he who does not see from afar whither he goes, let him not depart from it, and it will carry him over.

3. Therefore, my brethren, I would desire to have impressed this upon your hearts: if you wish to live in a pious and Christian manner, cling to Christ according to that which He became for us, that you may arrive at Him according to that which is, and according to that which was. He approached, that for us He might become this; because He became that for us, on which the weak may be borne, and cross the sea of this world and reach their native country; where there will be no need of a ship, for no sea is crossed. It is better then not to see with the mind that which is, and yet not to depart from the cross of Christ, than to see it with the mind, and despise the cross of Christ. It is good beyond this, and best of all, if it be possible, that we both see whither we ought to go, and hold fast that which carries us as we go. This they were able to do, the great minds of the mountains, who have been called mountains, whom the light of divine justice pre-eminently illuminates; they were able to do this, and saw that which is. For John seeing said, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." They saw this, and in order that they might arrive at that which they saw from afar, they did not depart from the cross of Christ, and did not despise Christ's lowliness. But little ones who cannot understand this, who do not depart from the cross and passion and resurrection of Christ, are conducted in that same ship to that which they do not see, in which they also arrive who do see.

4. But truly there have been some philosophers of this world who have sought for the Creator by means of the creature; for He can be found by means of the creature, as the apostle plainly says, "For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and glory; so they are without excuse." And it follows, "Because that, when they knew God;" he did not say, Because they did not know, but "Because that, when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened." How darkened? It follows, when he says more plainly: "Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools." [28] They saw whither they must come; but ungrateful to Him who afforded them what they saw, they wished to ascribe to themselves what they saw; and having become proud, they lost what they saw, and were turned from it to idols and images, and to the worship of demons, to adore the creature and to despise the Creator. But these having been blinded did those things, and became proud, that they might be blinded: when they were proud they said that they were wise. Those, therefore, concerning whom he said, "Who, when they had known God," saw this which John says, that by the Word of God all things were made. For these things are also found in the books of the philosophers: and that God has an only-begotten Son, by whom are all things. They were able to see that which is, but they saw it from afar: they were unwilling to hold the lowliness of Christ, in which ship they might have arrived in safety at that which they were able to see from afar and the cross of Christ appeared vile to them. The sea has to be crossed, and dost thou despise the wood? Oh, proud wisdom! thou laughest to scorn the crucified Christ; it is He whom thou dost see from afar: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God." But wherefore was He crucified? Because the wood of His humiliation was needful to thee. For thou hadst become swollen with pride, and hadst been cast out far from that fatherland; and by the waves of this world has the way been intercepted, and there is no means of passing to the fatherland unless borne by the wood. Ungrateful one! thou laughest Him to scorn who has come to thee that thou mayest return: He has become the way, and that through the sea: [29] thence He walked in the sea to show that there is a way in the sea. But thou who art not able in any way thyself to walk in the sea, be carried in a ship, be carried by the wood: believe in the crucified One, and thou shalt arrive thither. On account of thee He was crucified, to teach thee humility; and because if He should come as God, He would not be recognized. For if He should come as God, He would not come to those who were not able to see God. For not according to His Godhead does He either come or depart; since He is everywhere present, and is contained in no place. But, according to what did He come? He appeared as a man.

5. Therefore, because He was so man, that the God lay hid in Him, there was sent before Him a great man, by whose testimony He might be found to be more than man. And who is this? "He was a man." And how could that man speak the truth concerning God? "He was sent by God." What was he called? "Whose name was John." Wherefore did he come? "He came for a witness, that he might bear witness concerning the light, that all might believe through him." What sort of man was he who was to bear witness concerning the light? Something great was that John, vast merit, great grace, great loftiness! Admire, by all means, admire; but as it were a mountain. But a mountain is in darkness unless it be clothed with light. Therefore only admire John that you may hear what follows, "He was not that light;" lest if, when thou thinkest the mountain to be the light, thou make shipwreck on the mountain, and find not consolation. But what oughtest thou to admire? The mountain as a mountain. But lift thyself up to Him who illuminates the mountain, which for this end was elevated that it might be the first to receive the rays, and make them known to your eyes. Therefore, "he was not that light."

6. Wherefore then did he come? "But that he might bear witness concerning the light." Why so? "That all might believe through him." And concerning what light was he to bear witness? "That was the true light." Wherefore is it added true? Because an enlightened man is also called a light; but the true light is that which enlightens. For even our eyes are called lights; and nevertheless, unless either during the night a lamp is lighted, or during the day the sun goes forth, these lights are open in vain. Thus, therefore, John was a light, but not the true light; because, if not enlightened, he would have been darkness; but, by enlightenment, he became a light. For unless he had been enlightened he would have been darkness, as all those once impious men, to whom, as believers, the apostle said, "Ye were sometimes darkness." But now, because they had believed, what?--"but now are ye light," he says, "in the Lord." [30] Unless he had added "in the Lord," we should not have understood. "Light," he says, "in the Lord:" darkness you were not in the Lord. "For ye were sometimes darkness," where he did not add in the Lord. Therefore, darkness in you, light in the Lord. And thus "he was not that light, but was sent to bear witness of the light."

7. But where is that light? "He was the true light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world." If every man that cometh, then also John. The true light, therefore, enlightened him by whom He desired Himself to be pointed out. Understand, beloved, for He came to infirm minds, to wounded hearts, to the gaze of dim-eyed souls. For this purpose had He come. And whence was the soul able to see that which perfectly is? Even as it commonly happens, that by means of some illuminated body, the sun, which we cannot see with the eyes, is known to have arisen. Because even those who have wounded eyes are able to see a wall illuminated and enlightened by the sun, or a mountain, or a tree, or anything of that sort; and, by means of another body illuminated, that arising is shown to those who are not as yet able to gaze on it. Thus, therefore all those to whom Christ came were not fit to see Him: upon John He shed the beams of His light; and by means of him confessing himself to have been irradiated and enlightened, not claiming to be one who irradiates and enlightens, He is known who enlightens, He is known who illuminates, He is known who fills. And who is it? "He who lighteth every man," he says, "who cometh into the world." For if man had not receded from that light, he would not have required to be illuminated; but for this reason has he to be illuminated here, because he departed from that light by which man might always have been illuminated.

8. What then? If He came hither, where was He? "He was in this world." He was both here and came hither; He was here according to His divinity, and He came hither according to the flesh; because when He was here according to His divinity, He could not be seen by the foolish, by the blind, and the wicked. These wicked men are the darkness concerning which it was said, "The light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not." [31] Behold, both here He is now, and here He was, and here He is always; and He never departs, departs no-whither. There is need that thou have some means whereby thou mayest see that which never departs from thee; there is need that thou depart not from Him who departs no-whither; there is need that thou desert not, and thou shalt not be deserted. Do not fall, and His sun will not set to thee. If thou fallest, His sun setteth upon thee; but if thou standest, He is present with thee. But thou hast not stood: remember how thou hast fallen, how he who fell before thee cast thee down. For he cast thee down, not by violence, not by assault, but by thine own will. For hadst thou not consented unto evil, thou wouldest have stood, thou wouldest have remained enlightened. But now, because thou hast already fallen, and hast become wounded in heart,--the organ by which that light can be seen,--He came to thee such as thou mightest see; and He in such fashion manifested Himself as man, that He sought testimony from man. From man God seeks testimony, and God has man as a witness;--God has man as a witness, but on account of man: so infirm are we. By a lamp we seek the day; because John himself was called a lamp, the Lord saying, "He was a burning and a shining light; and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light: but I have greater witness than John." [32]

9. Therefore He showed that for the sake of men He desired to have Himself revealed by a lamp to the faith of those who believed, that by means of the same lamp His enemies might be confounded. There were enemies who tempted Him, and said, "Tell us by what authority doest thou these things?" "I also," saith He, "will ask you one question; answer me. The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men? And they were troubled, and said among themselves, If we shall say, From heaven, he will say unto us, Why did ye not believe him?" (Because he had borne testimony to Christ, and had said, I am not the Christ, but He. [33] "But if we shall say, Of men, we fear the people, lest they should stone us: for they held John as a prophet." Afraid of stoning, but fearing more to confess the truth, they answered a lie to the Truth; and "wickedness imposed a lie upon itself." [34] For they said, "We know not." And the Lord, because they shut the door against themselves, by professing ignorance of what they knew, did not open to them, because they did not knock. For it is said, "Knock, and it shall be opened unto you." [35] Not only did these not knock that it might be opened to them; but, by denying that they knew, they barred that door against themselves. And the Lord says to them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things." [36] And they were confounded by means of John; and in them were the words fulfilled, "I have ordained a lamp for mine anointed. His enemies will I clothe with shame." [37]

10. "He was in the world, and the world was made by Him." Think not that He was in the world as the earth is in the world, as the sky is in the world, as the sun is in the world, the moon and the stars, trees, cattle, and men. He was not thus in the world. But in what manner then? As the Artificer governing what He had made. For He did not make it as a carpenter makes a chest. The chest which he makes is outside the carpenter, and so it is put in another place, while being made; and although the workman is nigh, he sits in another place, and is external to that which he fashions. But God, infused into the world, fashions it; being everywhere present He fashions, and withdraweth not Himself elsewhere, nor doth He, as it were, handle from without, the matter which He fashions. By the presence of His majesty He maketh what He maketh; His presence governs what He made. Therefore was He in the world as the Maker of the world; for, "The world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not."

11. What meaneth "the world was made by Him"? The heaven, the earth, the sea, and all things which are therein, are called the world. Again, in another signification, those who love the world are called the world. "The world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not." Did not the heavens know their Creator, or did the angels not know their Creator, or did the stars not know their Creator, whom the demons confess? All things from all sides gave testimony. But who did not know? Those who, for their love of the world, are called the world. By loving we dwell with the heart; but because of their loving the world they deserved to be called after the name of that in which they dwelt. In the same manner as we say, This house is bad, or this house is good, we do not in calling the one bad or the other good accuse or praise the walls; but by a bad house we mean a house with bad inhabitants, and by a good house, a house with good inhabitants. In like manner we call those the world who by loving it, inhabit the world. Who are they? Those who love the world; for they dwell with their hearts in the world. For those who do not love the world in the flesh, indeed, sojourn in the world, but in their hearts they dwell in heaven, as the apostle says, "Our conversation is in heaven." [38] Therefore "the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not."

12. "He came unto His own,"--because all these things were made by Him,--"and His own received Him not." Who are they? The men whom He made. The Jews whom He at the first made to be above all nations. Because other nations worshipped idols and served demons; but that people was born of the seed of Abraham, and in an eminent sense His own, because kindred through that flesh which He deigned to assume. "He came unto His own, and His own received Him not." Did they not receive Him at all? did no one receive Him? Was there no one saved? For no one shall be saved unless he who shall have received the coming Christ.

13. But John adds: "As many as received Him." What did He afford to them? Great benevolence! Great mercy! He was born the only Son of God, and was unwilling to remain alone. Many men, when they have not sons, in advanced age adopt a son, and thus obtain by an exercise of will what nature has denied to them: this men do. But if any one have an only son, he rejoices the more in him; because he alone will possess everything, and he will not have any one to divide with him the inheritance, so that he should be poorer. Not so God: that same only Son whom He had begotten, and by whom He created all things, He sent into this world that He might not be alone, but might have adopted brethren. For we were not born of God in the manner in which the Only-begotten was born of Him, but were adopted by His grace. For He, the Only-begotten, came to loose the sins in which we were entangled, and whose burden hindered our adoption: those whom He wished to make brethren to Himself, He Himself loosed, and made joint-heirs. For so saith the apostle, "But if a son, then an heir through God." And again, "Heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ." He did not fear to have joint-heirs, because His heritage does not become narrow if many are possessors. Those very persons, He being possessor, become His inheritance, and He in turn becomes their inheritance. Hear in what manner they become His inheritance: "The Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten Thee. Ask of me, and I will give Thee the nations for Thine inheritance." [39] Hear in what manner He becomes their inheritance. He says in the Psalms: "The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance, and of my cup." [40] Let us possess Him, and let Him possess us: let Him possess us as Lord; let us possess Him as salvation, let us possess Him as light. What then did He give to them who received Him? "To them He gave power to become sons of God, even to them that believe on His name;" that they may cling to the wood and cross the sea.

14. And how are they born? Because they become sons of God and brethren of Christ, they are certainly born. For if they are not born, how can they be sons? But the sons of men are born of flesh and blood, and of the will of man, and of the embrace of wedlock. But in what manner are they born? "Who not of bloods," as if of male and female. Bloods is not Latin; but because it is plural in Greek, the interpreter preferred so to express it, and to speak bad Latin according to the grammarian that he might make the matter plain to the understanding of the weak among his hearers. For if he had said blood in the singular number, he would not have explained what he desired; for men are born of the bloods of male and female. Let us say so, then, and not fear the ferule of grammarians, so long as we reach the solid and certain truth. He who understands it and blames it, is thankless for his having understood. "Not of bloods, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man." The apostle puts flesh for woman; because, when she was made of his rib, Adam said, "This is now bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh." [41] And the apostle saith, "He that loveth his wife loveth himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh." [42] Flesh, then, is put for woman, in the same manner that spirit is sometimes put for husband. Wherefore? Because the one rules, the other is ruled; the one ought to command, the other to serve. For where the flesh commands and the spirit serves, the house is turned the wrong way. What can be worse than a house where the woman has the mastery over the man? But that house is rightly ordered where the man commands and the woman obeys. In like manner that man is rightly ordered where the spirit commands and the flesh serves.

15. These, then, "were born not of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." But that men might be born of God, God was first born of them. For Christ is God, and Christ was born of men. It was only a mother, indeed, that He sought upon earth; because He had already a Father in heaven: He by whom we were to be created was born of God, and He by whom we were to be re-created was born of a woman. Marvel not, then, O man, that thou art made a son by grace, that thou art born of God according to His Word. The Word Himself first chose to be born of man, that thou mightest be born of God unto salvation, and say to thyself, Not without reason did God wish to be born of man, but because He counted me of some importance, that He might make me immortal, and for me be born as a mortal man. When, therefore, he had said, "born of God," lest we should, as it were, be filled with amazement and trembling at such grace, at grace so great as to exceed belief that men are born of God, as if assuring thee, he says, "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us." Why, then, dost thou marvel that men are born of God? Consider God Himself born of men: "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us."

16. But because "the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us," by His very nativity he made an eye-salve to cleanse the eyes of our heart, and to enable us to see His majesty by means of His humility. Therefore "the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us:" He healed our eyes; and what follows? "And we beheld His glory." His glory can no one see unless healed by the humility of His flesh. Wherefore were we not able to see? Consider, then, dearly beloved, and see what I say. There had dashed into man's eye, as it were, dust, earth; it had wounded the eye, and it could not see the light: that wounded eye is anointed; by earth it was wounded, and earth is applied to it for healing. For all eye-salves and medicines are derived from the earth alone. By dust thou wert blinded, and by dust thou art healed: flesh, then, had wounded thee, flesh heals thee. The soul had become carnal by consenting to the affections of the flesh; thus had the eye of the heart been blinded. "The Word was made flesh:" that Physician made for thee an eye-salve. And as He thus came by flesh to extinguish the vices of the flesh, and by death to slay death; therefore did this take place in thee, that, as "the Word became flesh," thou mayest be able to say, "And we beheld His glory." What sort of glory? Such as He became as Son of man? That was His humility, not His glory. But to what is the sight of man brought when cured by means of flesh? "We beheld His glory, the glory as of the Only-begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth." Of grace and truth we shall speak more fully in another place in this same Gospel, if the Lord vouchsafe us opportunity. Let these things suffice for the present, and be ye edified in Christ: be ye comforted in faith, and watch in good works, and see that ye do not depart from the wood by which ye may cross the sea.


[27] Ex. iii. 14. [28] Rom. i. 20-22. [29] Matt. xiv. 25. [30] Eph. v. 8. [31] John i. 5. [32] John v. 35. [33] John i. 20, 27. [34] Ps. xxvii. 12. [35] Matt. vii. 7. [36] Matt. xxi. 23-27; Mark xii. 28-33; Luke xx. 2-8. [37] Ps. cxxxii. 17. [38] Phil. iii. 20. [R.V.: "Our citizenship is in heaven."] [39] Ps. ii. 7, 8. [40] Ps. xv. 5. [41] Gen. ii. 23. [42] Eph. v. 28, 29. .

Tractate III.

Chapter I. 15-18

We undertook, in the name of the Lord, and promised to you, beloved, to treat of that grace and truth of God, full of which the only-begotten Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, appeared to the saints, and to show how, as a matter belonging to the New Testament, it is to be distinguished from the Old Testament. Give, then, your attention that what I receive in my measure from God you in your measure may receive and hear the same. For it will only remain if, when the seed is scattered in your hearts, the birds take it not away, nor thorns choke it, nor heat scorch it, and there descend upon it the rain of daily exhortations and your own good thoughts, by which that is done in the heart which in the field is done by means of harrows, so that the clod is broken, and the seed covered and enabled to germinate: that you bear fruit at which the husbandman may be glad and rejoice. But if, in return for good seed and good rain, you bring forth not fruit but thorns, the seed will not be blamed, nor will the rain be in fault; but for thorns due fire is prepared. [43]

2. I do not think that I need spend much time in endeavoring to persuade you that we are Christian men; and if Christians, by virtue of the name, belonging to Christ. Upon the forehead we bear His sign; and we do not blush because of it, if we also bear it in the heart. His sign is His humility. By a star the Magi knew Him; [44] and this sign was given by the Lord, and it was heavenly and beautiful. He did not desire that a star should be His sign on the forehead of the faithful, but His cross. By it humbled, by it also glorified; by it He raised the humble, even by that to which He, when humbled, descended. We belong, then, to the gospel, we belong to the New Testament. "The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." We ask the apostle, and he says to us, since we are not under the law but under grace. [45] "He sent therefore His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, that He might redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons." [46] Behold, for this end Christ came, that He might redeem those who were under the law; that now we may not be under the law, but under grace. Who, then, gave the law? He gave the law who gave likewise grace; but the law He sent by a servant, with grace He Himself came down. And in what manner were men made under the law? By not fulfilling the law. For he who fulfills the law is not under the law, but with the law; but he who is under the law is not raised up, but pressed down by the law. All men, therefore, being placed under the law, are by the law made guilty; and for this purpose it is over their head, that it may show sins, not take them away. The law then commands, the Giver of the law showeth pity in that which the law commands. Men, endeavoring by their own strength to fulfill that which the law commands, fell by their own rash and headstrong presumption; and not with the law, but under the law, became guilty: and since by their own strength they were unable to fulfill the law, and were become guilty under the law, they implored the aid of the Deliverer; and the guilt which the law brought caused sickness to the proud. The sickness of the proud became the confession of the humble. Now the sick confess that they are sick; let the physician come to heal the sick.

3. Who is the Physician? Our Lord Jesus Christ. Who is our Lord Jesus Christ? He who was seen even by those by whom He was crucified. He who was seized, buffeted, scourged, spit upon, crowned with thorns, suspended upon the cross, died, pierced by the spear, taken down from the cross, laid in the sepulchre. That same Jesus Christ our Lord, that same Jesus exactly, He is the complete Physician of our wounds. That crucified One at whom insults were cast, and while He hung on the cross His persecutors wagging the head, and saying, "If he be the Son of God, let him come down from the cross," [47] --He, and no other, is our complete Physician. Wherefore, then, did He not show to his deriders that He was the Son of God; so that if He allowed Himself to be lifted up upon the cross, at least when they said, "If he be the Son of God, let him come down from the cross," He should then come down, and show to them that He was the very Son of God whom they had dared to deride? He would not. Wherefore would He not? Was it because He could not? Manifestly He could. For which is greater, to descend from the cross or to rise from the sepulchre? But He bore with His insulters; for the cross was taken not as a proof of power, but as an example of patience. There He cured thy wounds, where He long bore His own; there He healed thee of death eternal, where He vouchsafed to die the temporal death. And did He die, or in Him did death die? What a death was that, which slew death!

4. Is it, however, our Lord Jesus Christ Himself--His whole self--who was seen, and held, and crucified? Is the whole very self that? It is the same, but not the whole, that which the Jews saw; this is not the whole Christ. And what is? "In the beginning was the Word." In what beginning? "And the Word was with God." And what word? "And the Word was God." Was then perhaps this Word made by God? No. For "the same was in the beginning with God." What then? Are the other things which God made not like unto the Word? No: because "all things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made." In what manner were all things made by Him? Because "that which was made in Him was life;" and before it was made there was life. That which was made is not life; but in the art, that is, in the wisdom of God, before it was made, it was life. That which was made passes away; that which is in wisdom cannot pass away. There was life, therefore, in that which was made. And what sort of life, since the soul also is the life of the body? Our body has its own life; and when it has lost it, the death of the body ensues. Was then the life such as this? No; but "the life was the light of men." Was it the light of cattle? For this light is the light of men and of cattle. There is a certain light of men: let us see how far men differ from the cattle, and then we shall understand what is the light of men. Thou dost not differ from the cattle except in intellect; do not glory in anything besides. Dost thou presume upon thy strength? By the wild beasts thou art surpassed. Upon thy swiftness dost thou presume? By the flies thou art surpassed. Upon thy beauty dost thou presume? How great beauty is there in the feathers of a peacock! Wherein then art thou better? In the image of God. Where is the image of God? In the mind, in the intellect. If then thou art in this respect better than the cattle, that thou hast a mind by which thou mayest understand what the cattle cannot understand; and therein a man, because better than the cattle; the light of men is the light of minds. The light of minds is above minds and surpasses all minds. This was that life by which all things were made.

5. Where was it? Was it here? was it with the Father, and was it not here? or, what is more true, was it both with the Father and here also? If then it was here, wherefore was it not seen? Because "the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not." Oh men, be not darkness, be not unbelieving, unjust, unrighteous, rapacious, avaricious lovers of this world: for these are the darkness. The light is not absent, but you are absent from the light. A blind man in the sunshine has the sun present to him, but is himself absent from the sun. Be ye not then darkness. For this is perhaps the grace regarding which we are about to speak, that now we be no more darkness, and that the apostle may say to us, "We were sometime darkness, but now light in the Lord." [48] Because then the light of men was not seen, that is, the light of minds, there was a necessity that a man should give testimony regarding the light, who was not in darkness, but who was already enlightened; and nevertheless, because enlightened, not the light itself, "but that He might bear witness of the light." For "he was not that light." And what was the light? "That was the true light which enlightened every man that cometh into the world." And where was that light? "In this world it was." And how was it "in this world?" As the light of the sun, of the moon, and of lamps, was that light thus in the world? No. Because "the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not;" that is to say, "the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not." For the world is darkness; because the lovers of the world are the world. For did not the creature acknowledge its Creator? The heavens gave testimony by a star; [49] the sea gave testimony, and bore its Lord when He walked upon it; [50] the winds gave testimony, and were quiet at His bidding; [51] the earth gave testimony, and trembled when He was crucified. [52] If all these gave testimony, in what sense did the world not know Him, unless that the world signifies the lovers of the world, those who with their hearts dwell in the world? And the world is evil, because the inhabitants of the world are evil; just as a house is evil, not because of its walls, but because of its inhabitants.

6. "He came unto His own;" that is to say, He came to that which belonged to Himself; "and His own received Him not." What, then, is the hope, unless that "as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God"? If they become sons, they are born; if born, how are they born? Not of flesh, "nor of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man; but of God are they born." Let them rejoice, therefore, that they are born of God; let them believe that they are born of God; let them receive the proof that they are born of God: "And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us." If the Word was not ashamed to be born of man, are men ashamed to be born of God? And because He did this, He cured us; and because He cured us, we see. For this, "that the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us," became a medicine unto us, so that as by earth we were made blind, by earth we might be healed; and having been healed, might behold what? "And we beheld," he says, "His glory, the glory as of the Only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth."

7. "John beareth witness of Him, and crieth, saying, This was He of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is made before me." He came after me, and He preceded me. What is it, "He is made before me"? He preceded me. Not was made before I was made, but was preferred before me, this is "He was made before me." Wherefore was He made before thee, when He came after thee? "Because He was before me." Before thee, O John! what great thing to be before thee! It is well that thou dost bear witness to Him; let us, however, hear Himself saying, "Even before Abraham, I am." [53] But Abraham also was born in the midst of the human race: there were many before him, many after him. Listen to the voice of the Father to the Son: "Before Lucifer I have begotten Thee." [54] He who was begotten before Lucifer Himself illuminates all. A certain one was named Lucifer, who fell; for he was an angel and became a devil; and concerning him the Scripture said, "Lucifer, who did arise in the morning, fell." [55] And why was he Lucifer? Because, being enlightened, he gave forth light. But for what reason did he become dark! Because he abode not in the truth. [56] Therefore He was before Lucifer, before every one that is enlightened; since before every one that is enlightened, of necessity He must be by whom all are enlightened who can be enlightened.

8. Therefore this follows: "And of His fullness have all we received." What have ye received? "And grace for grace." For so run the words of the Gospel, as we find by a comparison of the Greek copies. He does not say, And of His fullness have all we received grace for grace; but thus He says: "And of His fullness have all we received, and grace for grace,"--that is, have we received; so that He would wish us to understand that we have received from His fullness something unexpressed, and something besides, grace for grace. For we received of His fullness grace in the first instance; and again we received grace, grace for grace. What grace did we, in the first instance, receive? Faith: walking in faith, we walk in grace. How have we merited this? by what previous merits of ours? Let not each one flatter himself, but let him return into his own conscience, seek out the secret places of his own thoughts, recall the series of his deeds; let him not consider what he is if now he is something, but what he was that he might be something: he will find that he was not worthy of anything save punishment. If, then, thou wast worthy of punishment, and He came not to punish sins, but to forgive sins, grace was given to thee, and not reward rendered. Wherefore is it called grace? Because it is bestowed gratuitously. For thou didst not, by previous merits, purchase that which thou didst receive. This first grace, then, the sinner received, that his sins were forgiven. What did he deserve? Let him interrogate justice, he finds punishment; let him interrogate mercy, he finds grace. But God promised this also through the prophets; therefore, when He came to give what He had promised, He not only gave grace, but also truth. How was truth exhibited? Because that was done which had been promised.

9. What, then, is "grace for grace"? By faith we render God favorable to us; and inasmuch as we were not worthy to have our sins forgiven, and because we, who were unworthy, received so great a benefit, it is called grace. What is grace? That which is freely given. What is "freely given"? Given, not paid. If it was due, wages were given, not grace bestowed; but if it was reply due, thou wast good; but if, as is true, thou wast evil, but didst believe on Him who justifieth the ungodly [57] (What is, Who justifieth the ungodly? Of the ungodly maketh pious), consider what did by right hang over thee by the law, and what thou hast obtained by grace. But having obtained that grace of faith, thou shalt be just by faith (for the just lives by faith); [58] and thou shalt obtain favor of God by living by faith. And having obtained favor from God by living by faith, thou shalt receive immortality as a reward, and life eternal. And that is grace. For because of what merit dost thou receive life eternal? Because of grace. For if faith is grace, life eternal is, as it were, the wages of faith: God, indeed, appears to bestow eternal life as if it were due (To whom due? To the faithful, because he had merited it by faith); but because faith itself is grace, life eternal also is grace for grace.

10. Listen to the Apostle Paul acknowledging grace, and afterwards desiring the payment of a debt. What acknowledgment of grace is there in Paul? "Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious; but I obtained," saith he, "mercy." [59] He said that he who obtained it was unworthy; that he had, however, obtained it, not through his own merits, but through the mercy of God. Listen to him now demanding the payment of a debt, who had first received unmerited grace: "For," saith he, "I am now ready to be offered up, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness." [60] Now he demands a debt, he exacts what is due. For consider the following words: "Which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall render unto me in that day." That he might in the former instance receive grace, he stood in need of a merciful Father; for the reward of grace, of a just judge. Will He who did not condemn the ungodly man condemn the faithful man? And yet, if thou dost rightly consider, it was He who first gave thee faith, whereby thou didst obtain favor; for not of thine own didst thou so obtain favor that anything should be due to thee. Wherefore, then, in afterwards bestowing the reward of immortality, He crowns His own gifts, not thy merits. Therefore, brethren, "we all of His fullness have received;" of the fullness of His mercy, of the abundance of His goodness have we received. What? The remission of sins that we might be justified by faith. And what besides? "And grace for grace;" that is, for this grace by which we live by faith we shall receive another grace. What, then, is it except grace? For if I shall say that this also is due, I attribute something to myself as if to me it were due. But God crowns in us the gifts of His own mercy; but on condition that we walk with perseverance in that grace which in the first instance we received

11. "For the law was given by Moses;" which law held the guilty. For what saith the apostle? "The law entered that the offense might abound." It was a benefit to the proud that the offense abounded, for they gave much to themselves, and, as it were, attributed much to their own strength; and they were unable to fulfill righteousness without the aid of Him who had commanded it. God, desirous to subdue their pride, gave the law, as if saying: Behold, fulfill, and do not think that there is One wanting to command. One to command is not wanting, but one to fulfill.

12. If, then, there is one wanting to fulfill, whence does he not fulfill? Because born with the heritage of sin and death. Born of Adam, he drew with him that which was there conceived. The first man fell, and all who were born of him from him derived the concupiscence of the flesh. It was needful that another man should be born who derived no concupiscence. A man and a man: a man to death and a man to life. Thus saith the apostle: "Since, indeed, by man death, by man also the resurrection of the dead." By which man death, and by which man the resurrection of the dead? Do not make haste: he goes on to say, "For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive." [61] Who belong to Adam? All who are born of Adam. Who to Christ? All who were born through Christ. Wherefore all in sin? Because no one was born except through Adam. But that they were born of Adam was of necessity, arising from damnation; to be born through Christ is of will and grace. Men are not compelled to be born through Christ: not because they wished were they born of Adam. All, however, who are of Adam are sinners with sin: all who are through Christ are justified, and just not in themselves, but in Him. For in themselves, if thou shouldest ask, they belong to Adam: in Him, if thou shouldest ask, they belong to Christ. Wherefore? Because He, the Head, our Lord Jesus Christ, did not come with the heritage of sin; but He came nevertheless with mortal flesh.

13. Death was the punishment of sins; in the Lord was the gift of mercy, not the punishment of sin. For the Lord had nothing on account of which He should justly die. He Himself says, "Behold, the prince of this world cometh, and findeth nothing in me." Wherefore then dost Thou die? "But that all may know that I do the will of my Father, arise, let us go hence." [62] He had not in Himself any reason why He should die, and He died: thou hast such a reason, and dost thou refuse to die? Do not refuse to bear with an equal mind thy desert, when He did not refuse to suffer, to deliver thee from eternal death. A man and a man; but the one nothing but man, the other God-man. The one a man of sin, the other of righteousness. Thou didst die in Adam, rise in Christ; for both are due to thee. Now thou hast believed in Christ, render nevertheless that which thou owest through Adam. But the chain of sin shall not hold thee eternally; because the temporal death of thy Lord slew thine eternal death. The same is grace, my brethren, the same is truth, because promised and manifested.

14. This grace was not in the Old Testament, because the law threatened, did not bring aid; commanded, did not heal; made manifest, but did not take away our feebleness: but it prepared the way for that Physician who was to come with grace and truth; as a physician who, about to come to any one to cure him, might first send his servant that he might find the sick man bound. He was not sound; he did not wish to be made sound and lest he should be made sound, he boasted that he was so. The law was sent, it bound him; he finds himself accused, now, he exclaims against the bandage. The Lord comes, cures with somewhat bitter and sharp medicines: for He says to the sick, Bear; He says, Endure; He says, Love not the world, have patience, let the fire of continence cure thee, let thy wounds endure the sword of persecutions. Wert thou greatly terrified although bound? He, free and unbound, drank what He gave to thee; He first suffered that He might console thee, saying, as it were, that which thou fearest to suffer for thyself, I first suffer for thee. This is grace, and great grace. Who can praise it in a worthy manner?

15. I speak, my brethren, regarding the humility of Christ. Who can speak regarding the majesty of Christ, and the divinity of Christ? In explaining and speaking of the humility of Christ, to do so in any fashion we find ourselves not sufficient, indeed wholly insufficient: we commend Him entire to your thoughts, we do not endeavor to fill Him up to your hearing. Consider the humility of Christ. But who, thou sayest, may explain it to us, unless thou declare it? Let Him declare it within. Better does He declare it who dwelleth within, than he who crieth without. Let Himself show to you the grace of His humility, who has begun to dwell in your hearts. But now, if in explaining and setting forth His humility we are deficient, who can speak of His majesty? If "the Word made flesh" disturbs us, who shall explain "In the beginning was the Word"? Keep hold then, brethren, upon the entireness of Christ.

16. "The law was given by Moses: grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." By a servant was the law given, and made men guilty: by an Emperor was pardon given, and delivered the guilty. "The law was given by Moses." Let not the servant attribute to himself more than was done through him. Chosen to a great ministry as one faithful in his house, but yet a servant, he is able to act according to the law, but cannot release from the guilt of the law. "The law," then, "was given by Moses: grace and truth came by Jesus Christ."

17. And lest, perhaps, any one should say, And did not grace and truth come through Moses, who saw God, immediately he adds, "No one hath seen God at any time." And how did God become known to Moses? Because the Lord revealed Himself to His servant. What Lord? The same Christ, who sent the law beforehand by His servant, that He might Himself come with grace and truth. "For no one hath seen God at any time." And whence did He appear to that servant as far as he was able to receive Him? But "the Only-begotten," he says, "who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him." What signifieth "in the bosom of the Father?" In the secret of the Father. For God has not a bosom, as we have, in our garments, nor is He to be thought of sitting, as we do, nor is He girt with a girdle so as to have a bosom; but because our bosom is within, the secret of the Father is called the bosom of the Father. And He who knew the Father, being in the secret of the Father, He declared Him. "For no man hath seen God at any time." He then came and narrated whatever He saw. What did Moses see? Moses saw a cloud, he saw an angel, he saw a fire. All that is the creature: it bore the type of its Lord, but did not manifest the presence of the Lord Himself. For thou hast it plainly stated in the law: "And Moses spake with the Lord face to face, as a friend with his friend." [63] Following the same scripture, thou findest Moses saying: "If I have found grace in Thy sight, show me Thyself plainly, that I may see Thee." And it is little that he said this: he received the reply, "Thou canst not see my face." An angel then spake with Moses, my brethren, bearing the type of the Lord; and all those things which were done by the angel promised that future grace and truth. Those who examine the law well know this; and when we have opportunity to speak somewhat of this matter also, we shall not fail to speak to you, beloved brethren, as far as the Lord may reveal to us.

18. But know this, that all those things which were seen in bodily form were not that substance of God. For we saw those things with the eyes of the flesh: how is the substance of God seen? Interrogate the Gospel: "Blessed are the pure in heart; for they shall see God." [64] There have been men who, deceived by the vanity of their hearts, have said, The Father is invisible, but the Son is visible. How visible? If on account of His flesh, because He took flesh, the matter is manifest. For of those who saw the flesh of Christ, some believed, some crucified; and those who believed doubted when He was crucified; and unless they had touched the flesh after the resurrection, their faith would not have been recalled. If, then, on account of His flesh the Son was visible, that we also grant, and it is the Catholic faith; but if before He took flesh, as they say, that is, before He became incarnate, they are greatly deluded, and grievously err. For those visible and bodily appearances took place though the creature, in which a type might be exhibited: not in any fashion was the substance itself shown and made manifest. Give heed, beloved brethren, to this easy proof. The wisdom of God cannot be beheld by the eyes. Brethren, if Christ is the Wisdom of God and the Power of God; [65] if Christ is the Word of God, and if the word of man is not seen with the eyes, can the Word of God be so seen?

19. Expel, therefore, from your hearts carnal thoughts, that you may be really under grace, that you may belong to the New Testament. Therefore is life eternal promised in the New Testament. Read the Old Testament, and see that the same things were enjoined upon a people yet carnal as upon us. For to worship one God is also enjoined upon us. "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain" is also enjoined upon us, which is the second commandment. "Observe the Sabbath-day" is enjoined on us more than on them, because it is commanded to be spiritually observed. For the Jews observe the Sabbath in a servile manner, using it for luxuriousness and drunkenness. How much better would their women be employed in spinning wool than in dancing on that day in the balconies? God forbid, brethren, that we should call that an observance of the Sabbath. The Christian observes the Sabbath spiritually, abstaining from servile work. For what is it to abstain from servile work? From sin. And how do we prove it? Ask the Lord. "Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin." [66] Therefore is the spiritual observance of the Sabbath enjoined upon us. Now all those commandments are more enjoined on us, and are to be observed: "Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not commit adultery. Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not bear false witness. Honor thy father and thy mother. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's goods. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife." [67] Are not all these things enjoined upon us also? But ask what is the reward, and thou wilt find it there said: "That thine enemies may be driven forth before thy face, and that you may receive the land which God promised to your fathers." [68] Because they were not able to comprehend invisible things, they were held by the visible. Wherefore held? Lest they should perish altogether, and slip into idol-worship. For they did this, my brethren, as we read, forgetful of the great miracles which God performed before their eyes. The sea was divided; a way was made in the midst of the waves; their enemies following, were covered by the same waves through which they passed: [69] and yet when Moses, the man of God, had departed from their sight, they asked for an idol, and said, "Make us gods to go before us; for this man has deserted us." Their whole hope was placed in man, not in God. Behold, the man is dead: was God dead who had rescued them from the land of Egypt? And when they had made to themselves the image of a calf, they offered it adoration, and said, "These be thy gods, O Israel, which delivered thee out of the land of Egypt." [70] How soon forgetful of such manifest grace! By what means could such a people be held except by carnal promises?

20. The same things are commanded in the Decalogue as we are commanded to observe; but the same promises are not made as to us. What is promised to us? Life eternal. "And this is life eternal, that they know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent." [71] The knowledge of God is promised: that is, grace for grace. Brethren, we now believe, we do not see; for faith the reward will be to see what we believe. The prophets knew this, but it was concealed before He came. For a certain lover sighing, says in the Psalms: "One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after." And dost thou ask what he seeks? For perhaps he seeks a land flowing with milk and honey carnally, although this is to be spiritually sought and desired; or perhaps the subjection of his enemies, or the death of foes, or the power and riches of this world. For he glows with love, and sighs greatly, and burns and pants. Let us see what he desires: "One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after." What is it that he doth seek after? "That I may dwell," saith he, "in the house of the Lord all the days of my life." And suppose that thou dwellest in the house of the Lord, from what source will thy joy there be derived? "That I may behold," saith he, "the beauty of the Lord." [72]

21. My brethren, wherefore do you cry out, wherefore do you exult, wherefore do you love, unless that a spark of this love is there? What do you desire? I ask you. Can it be seen with the eyes? Can it be touched? Is it some fairness which delights the eyes? Are not the martyrs vehemently beloved; and when we commemorate them do we not burn with love? What is it that we love in them, brethren? Limbs torn by wild beasts? What is more revolting if thou askest the eyes of the flesh? what more fair if thou askest the eyes of the heart? How appears in your eyes a very fair young man who is a thief? How shocked are your eyes! Are the eyes of the flesh shocked? If you interrogate them, nothing is more shapely and better formed than that body; the symmetry of the limbs and the beauty of the color attract the eyes; and yet, when thou hearest that he is a thief, your mind recoils from the man. Thou beholdest on the other hand a bent old man, leaning upon a staff, scarcely moving himself, ploughed all over with wrinkles. Thou hearest that he is just: thou lovest and embracest him. Such are the rewards promised to us, my brethren: love such, sigh after such a kingdom, desire such a country, if you wish to arrive at that with which our Lord came, that is, at grace and truth. But if you covet bodily rewards from God, thou art still under the law, and therefore thou shalt not fulfill the law. For when thou seest those temporal things granted to those who offend God, thy steps falter, and thou sayest to thyself: Behold, I worship God, daily I run to church, my knees are worn with prayers, and yet I am constantly sick: there are men who commit murders, who are guilty of robberies, and yet they exult and have abundance; it is well with them. Was it such things that thou soughtest from God? Surely thou didst belong to grace. If, therefore, God gave to thee grace, because He gave freely, love freely. Do not for the sake of reward love God; let Him be the reward. Let thy soul say, "One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, that I may behold the beauty of the Lord." Do not fear that thine enjoyment will fail through satiety: such will be that enjoyment of beauty that it will ever be present to thee, and thou shalt never be satisfied; indeed thou shalt be always satisfied, and yet never satisfied. For if I shall say that thou shalt not be satisfied, it will mean famine; and if I shall say thou shalt be satisfied, I fear satiety: where neither satiety nor famine are, I know not what to say; but God has that which He can manifest to those who know not how to express it, yet believe that they shall receive.


[43] Matt. xiii. 3-25. [44] Matt. ii. 2. [45] Rom. vi. 14. [46] Gal. iv. 4, 5. [47] Matt. xxvii. 39, 40. [48] Eph. v. 8. [49] Matt. ii. 2. [50] Matt. xiv. 26. [51] Matt. xxiii. 27. [52] Matt. xxvii. 51. [53] John viii. 58. [54] Ps. cx. 3.--Vulgate. [55] Isa. xiv. 27. [56] John viii. 44. [57] Rom. iv. 5. [58] Hab. ii. 4; Rom. i. 17. [59] 1 Tim. i. 13. [60] 2 Tim. iv. 6-8. [61] 1 Cor. xv. 21, 22. [62] John xiv. 30, 31. [63] Ex. xxxiii. 11, 13, 20. [64] Matt. v. 8. [65] 1 Cor. i. 24. [66] John viii. 34. [67] Ex. xx. 3-17. [68] Lev. xxvi. 1-13. [69] Ex. xiv. 21-31. [70] Ex. xxxii. 1-4. [71] John xvii. 3. [72] Ps. xxvi. 4. .

Tractate IV.

Chapter I. 19-33

You have very often heard, holy brethren, and you know well, that John the Baptist, in proportion as he was greater than those born of women, and was more humble in his acknowledgment of the Lord, obtained the grace of being the friend of the Bridegroom; zealous for the Bridegroom, not for himself; not seeking his own honor, but that of his Judge, whom as a herald he preceded. Therefore, to the prophets who went before, it was granted to predict concerning Christ; but to this man, to point Him out with the finger. For as Christ was unknown by those who did not believe the prophets before He came, He remained unknown to them even when present. For He had come humbly and concealed from the first; the more concealed in proportion as He was more humble: but the people, despising in their pride the humility of God, crucified their Saviour, and made Him their condemner.

2. But will not He who at first came con cealed, because humble, come again manifested, because exalted? You have just listened to the Psalm: "God shall come manifestly, and our God shall not keep silence." [73] He was silent that He might be judged, He will not be silent when He begins to judge. It would not have been said, "He will come manifestly," unless at first He had come concealed; nor would it have been said, "He shall not keep silence," unless He had first kept silence. How was He silent? Interrogate Isaiah: "He was brought as a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before his shearer was dumb, so He opened not His mouth." [74] "But He shall come manifestly, and shall not keep silence." In what manner "manifestly"? "A fire shall go before Him, and round about Him a strong tempest." [75] That tempest has to carry away all the chaff from the floor, which is now being threshed; and the fire has to burn what the tempest carries away. But now He is silent; silent in judgment, but not silent in precept. For if Christ is silent, what is the purpose of these Gospels? what the purpose of the voices of the apostles, what of the canticles of the Psalms, what of the declarations of the prophets? In all these Christ is not silent. But now He is silent in not taking vengeance: He is not silent in not giving warning. But He will come in glory to take vengeance, and will manifest Himself even to all who do not believe on Him. But now, because when present He was concealed, it behoved that He should be despised. For unless He had been despised, He would not have been crucified; if He had not been crucified, He would not have shed His blood--the price by which He redeemed us. But that He might give a price for us, He was crucified; that He might be crucified, He was despised; that He might be despised, He appeared in humility.

3. Yet because He appeared as it were in the night, in a mortal body, He lighted for Himself a lamp by which He might be seen. That lamp was John, [76] concerning whom you lately heard many things: and the present passage of the evangelist contains the words of John; in the first place, and it is the chief point, his confession that he was not the Christ. But so great was the excellence of John, that men might have believed him to be the Christ: and in this he gave a proof of his humility, that he said he was not when he might have been believed to have been the Christ; therefore, "This is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites to him from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou?" But they would not have sent unless they had been moved by the excellence of his authority who ventured to baptize. "And he confessed, and denied not." What did he confess? "And he confessed, I am not the Christ."

4. "And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias?" For they knew that Elias was to precede Christ. For to no Jew was the name of Christ unknown. They did not think that he was the Christ; but they did not think that Christ would not come at all. When they were hoping that He would come, they were offended at Him when He was present, and stumbled at Him as on a low stone. For He was as yet a small stone, already indeed cut out of the mountain without hands; as saith Daniel the prophet, that he saw a stone cut out of the mountain without hands. But what follows? "And that stone," saith he "grew and became a great mountain and filled the whole face of the earth." [77] Mark then, my beloved brethren, what I say: Christ, before the Jews, was already cut out from the mountain. The prophet wishes that by the mountain should be understood the Jewish kingdom. But the kingdom of the Jews had not filled the whole face of the earth. The stone was cut out from thence, because from thence was the Lord born on His advent among men. And wherefore without hands? Because without the cooperation of man did the Virgin bear Christ. Now then was that stone cut out without hands before the eyes of the Jews; but it was humble. Not without reason; because not yet had that stone increased and filled the whole earth: that He showed in His kingdom, which is the Church, with which He has filled the whole face of the earth. Because then it had not yet increased, they stumbled at Him as at a stone: and that happened in them which is written, "Whosoever shall fall upon that stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever that stone shall fall, it will grind them to powder." [78] At first they fell upon Him lowly: as the lofty One He shall come upon them; but that He may grind them to powder when He comes in His exaltation, He first broke them in His lowliness. They stumbled at Him, and were broken; they were not ground, but broken: He will come exalted and will grind them. But the Jews were to be pardoned because they stumbled at a stone which had not yet increased. What sort of persons are those who stumble at the mountain itself? Already you know who they are of whom I speak. Those who deny the Church diffused through the whole world, do not stumble at the lowly stone, but at the mountain itself: because this the stone became as it grew. The blind Jews did not see the lowly stone: but how great blindness not to see the mountain!

5. They saw Him then lowly, and did not know Him. He was pointed out to them by a lamp. For in the first place he, than whom no greater had arisen of those born of women, said, "I am not the Christ." It was said to him, "Art thou Elias? He answered, I am not." For Christ sends Elias before Him: and he said, "I am not," and occasioned a question for us. For it is to be feared lest men, insufficiently understanding, think that John contradicted what Christ said. For in a certain place, when the Lord Jesus Christ said certain things in the Gospel regarding Himself, His disciples answered Him: "How then say the scribes," that is, those skilled in the law, "that Elias must first come?" And the Lord said, "Elias is already come, and they have done unto him what they listed;" and, if you wish to know, John the Baptist is he. [79] The Lord Jesus Christ said, "Elias is already come, and John the Baptist" is he; but John, being interrogated, confessed that he was not Elias, in the same manner that he confessed that he was not Christ. And as his confession that he was not Christ was true, so was his confession that he was not Elias. How then shall we compare the words of the herald with the words of the Judge? Away with the thought that the herald speaks falsehood; for that which he speaks he hears from the Judge. Wherefore then did he say, "I am not Elias;" and the Lord, "He is Elias"? Because the Lord Jesus Christ wished in him to prefigure His own advent, and to say that John was in the spirit of Elias. And what John was to the first advent, that will Elias be to the second advent. As there are two advents of the Judge, so are there two heralds. The Judge indeed was the same, but the heralds two, but not two judges. It was needful that in the first instance the Judge should come to be judged. He sent before Him His first herald; He called him Elias, because Elias will be in the second advent what John was in the first.

6. For mark, beloved brethren, how true it is what I say. When John was conceived, or rather when he was born, the Holy Spirit prophesied that this would be fulfilled in him: "And he shall be," he said, "the forerunner of the Highest, in the spirit and power of Elias." [80] What signifieth "in the spirit and power of Elias"? In the same Holy Spirit in the room of Elias. Wherefore in room of Elias? Because what Elias will be to the second, that John was to the first advent. Rightly therefore, speaking literally, did John reply. For the Lord spoke figuratively, "Elias, the same is John:" but he, as I have said, spoke literally when he said, "I am not Elias." Neither did John speak falsely, nor did the Lord speak falsely; neither was the word of the herald nor of the Judge false, if only thou understand. But who shall understand? He who shall have imitated the lowliness of the herald, and shall have acknowledged the loftiness of the Judge. For nothing was more lowly than the herald. My brethren, in nothing had John greater merit than in this humility, inasmuch as when he was able to deceive men, and to be thought Christ, and to have been received in the place of Christ (for so great were his grace and his excellency), nevertheless he openly confessed and said, "I am not the Christ." "Art thou Elias?" If he had said I am Elias, it would have been as if Christ were already coming in His second advent to judge, not in His first to be judged. As if saying, Elias is yet to come, "I am not," said he, "Elias." But give heed to the lowly One before whom John came, that you may not feel the lofty One before whom Elias came. For thus also did the Lord complete the saying: "John the Baptist is he which is to come." He came as a figure of that in which Elias is to come in his own person. Then Elias will in his own proper person be Elias, now in similitude he was John. Now John in his own proper person is John, in similitude Elias. The two heralds gave to each other their similitudes, and kept their own proper persons; but the Judge is one Lord, whether preceded by this herald or by that.

7. "And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he said, No. And they said unto him, Art thou a prophet? and he answered, No! They said therefore unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself? He saith, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness." [81] That said Isaiah. This prophecy was fulfilled in John, "I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness." Crying what? "Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight the paths of our God." Would it not have seemed to you that a herald would have cried, "Go away, make room." Instead of the herald's cry "Go away," John says "Come." The herald makes men stand back from the judge; to the Judge John calls. Yes, indeed, John calls men to the lowly One, that they may not experience what He will be as the exalted Judge. "I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Isaiah." He did not say, I am John, I am Elias, I am a prophet. But what did he say? This I am called, "The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare the way for the Lord: I am the prophecy itself."

8. "And they which were sent were of the Pharisees," that is, of the chief men among the Jews; "and they asked him and said unto him, Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not the Christ, nor Elias, nor a prophet?" As if it seemed to them audacity to baptize, as if they meant to inquire, in what character baptizest thou? We ask whether thou art the Christ; thou sayest that thou art not. We ask whether thou perchance art His precursor, for we know that before the advent of Christ, Elias will come; thou answerest that thou art not. We ask, if perchance thou art some herald come long before, that is, a prophet, and hast received that power, and thou sayest that thou art not a prophet. And John was not a prophet; he was greater than a prophet. The Lord gave such testimony concerning him: "What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind?" Of course implying that he was not shaken by the wind; because John was not such an one as is moved by the wind; for he who is moved by the wind is blown upon by every seductive blast. "But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment?" For John was clothed in rough garments; that is, his tunic was of camel's hair. "Behold, they who are clothed in soft raiment are in kings' houses." You did not then go out to see a man clothed in soft raiment. "But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, one greater than a prophet is here;" [82] for the prophets prophesied of Christ a long time before, John pointed Him out as present.

9. "Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not the Christ, nor Elias, nor a prophet? John answered them, saying, I baptize with water; but there standeth One among you whom ye know not." For, very truly, He was not seen, being humble, and therefore was the lamp lighted. Observe how John gives place, who might have been accounted other than he was. "He it is who cometh after me, who is made before me" (that is, as we have already said, is "preferred before me"), whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose." How greatly did he humble himself! And therefore he was greatly lifted up; for he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. [83] Hence, holy brethren, you ought to note that if John so humbled himself as to say, "I am not worthy to unloose His shoe-latchet," what need they have to be humbled who say, "We baptize; what we give is ours, and what is ours is holy." He said, Not I, but He; they say, We. John is not worthy to unloose His shoe's latchet; and if he had said he was worthy, how humble would he still have been! And if he had said he was worthy, and had spoken thus, "He came after me who is made before me, the latchet of whose shoe I am only worthy to unloose," he would have greatly humbled himself. But when he says that he is not worthy even to do this, truly was he full of the Holy Spirit, who in such fashion as a servant acknowledged his Lord, and merited to be made a friend instead of a servant.

10. "These things were done in Bethany, beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing. The next day John saw Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God; behold Him who taketh away the sin of the world!" Let no one so arrogate to himself as to say that he taketh away the sin of the world. Give heed now to the proud men at whom John pointed the finger. The heretics were not yet born, but already were they pointed out; against them he then cried from the river, against whom he now cries from the Gospel. Jesus comes, and what says he? "Behold the Lamb of God!" If to be innocent is to be a lamb, then John was a lamb, for was not he innocent? But who is innocent? To what extent innocent? All come from that branch and shoot, concerning which David sings, even with groanings, "Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me." [84] Alone, then, was He, the Lamb who came, not so. For He was not conceived in iniquity, because not conceived of mortality; nor did His mother conceive Him in sin, whom the Virgin conceived, whom the Virgin brought forth; because by faith she conceived, and by faith received Him. Therefore, "Behold the Lamb of God." He is not a branch derived from Adam: flesh only did he derive from Adam, Adam's sin He did not assume. He who took not upon Him sin from our lump, He it is who taketh away our sin. "Behold the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world!"

11. You know that certain men say sometimes, We take away sin from men, we who are holy; for if he be not holy who baptizeth, how taketh he away the sin of another, when he is a man himself full of sin? In opposition to these disputations, let us not speak our own words, let us read what John says: "Behold the Lamb of God; behold Him who taketh away the sin of the world!" Let there not be presumptuous confidence of men upon men: let not the sparrow flee to the mountains, but let it trust in the Lord; [85] and if it lift its eyes to the mountains, from whence cometh aid to it, let it understand that its aid is from the Lord who made heaven and earth. [86] So great is the excellence of John, that to him it is said, "Art thou the Christ?" He says, No. Art thou Elias? He says, No. Art thou a prophet? He says, No. Wherefore then dost thou baptize? "Behold the Lamb of God; behold Him who taketh away the sin of the world! This is He of whom I spake, After me cometh a Man who was made before me; for He was before me." "Cometh after me," because He was born later; "was made before me," because preferred before me; "He was before me," because, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."

12. "And I knew Him not," he said; "but that He might be made manifest to Israel, therefore came I baptizing with water. And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon Him. And I knew Him not: but He that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and abiding upon Him, the same is He who baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God." Give heed for a little, beloved. When did John learn Christ? For he was sent to baptize with water. They asked, Wherefore? That He might be made manifest to Israel, he said. Of what profit was the baptism of John? My brethren, if it had profited in any respect, it would have remained now, and men would have been baptized with the baptism of John, and thus have come to the baptism of Christ. But what saith he? "That He might be made manifest to Israel,"--that is, to Israel itself, to the people Israel, so that Christ might be made manifest to it,--therefore he came baptizing with water. John received the ministry of baptism, that by the water of repentance he might prepare the way for the Lord, not being himself the Lord; but where the Lord was known, it was superfluous to prepare for Him the way, for to those who knew Him He became Himself the way; therefore the baptism of John did not last long. But how was the Lord pointed out? Lowly, that John might so receive a baptism in which the Lord Himself should be baptized.

13. And was it needful for the Lord to be baptized? I instantly reply to any one who asks this question: Was it needful for the Lord to be born? Was it needful for the Lord to be crucified? Was it needful for the Lord to die? Was it needful for the Lord to be buried? If He undertook for us so great humiliation, might He not also receive baptism? And what profit was there that he received the baptism of a servant? That thou mightest not disdain to receive the baptism of the Lord. Give heed, beloved brethren. Certain catechumens were to arise in the Church of higher grace. It sometimes comes to pass that you see a catechumen who practises continence, bids farewell to the world, renounces all his possessions, distributing them to the poor; and although but a catechumen, instructed in the saving doctrine better, perhaps, than many of the faithful. It is to be feared regarding such an one that he may say to himself about holy baptism, whereby sins are remitted, What more shall I receive? Behold, I am better than this faithful man, and this,--having in his mind those among the faithful who are either married, or who are perhaps ignorant, or who keep possession of their property, while he has given his to the poor,--and considering himself better than those who have been already baptized, he deigns not to come to baptism, saying, Am I to receive what this man has, and this thinking of persons whom he despises, and, as it were, considers it an indignity to receive that which inferiors have received, because he appears to himself to be already better than they; and, nevertheless, all his sins are upon him, and without coming to saving baptism, wherein all sins are remitted, he cannot, with all his excellence, enter into the kingdom of heaven. But the Lord, in order to invite such excellence to his baptism, that sins might be remitted, Himself came to the baptism of His servant; and although He had no sin to be remitted, nor was there anything in Him that needed to be washed, He received baptism from a servant; and by so doing, addressed Himself to the son carrying himself proudly, and exalting himself, and disdaining, perhaps, to receive along with the ignorant that from which salvation comes to him, and said to him: How dost thou extend thyself? How dost thou exalt thyself? How great is thy excellence? How great is thy grace? Can it be greater than mine? If I come to the servant, dost thou disdain to come to the Lord? If I have received the baptism of the servant, dost thou disdain to be baptized by the Lord?

14. But that you may know, my brethren, that not from a necessity of any chain of sin did the Lord come to this John, as the other evangelists say when the Lord came to him to be baptized, John himself said, "Comest Thou to me? I have need to be baptized of Thee." [87] What did He reply to him? "Suffer it to be so now: let all righteousness be fulfilled?" What meaneth this, "let all righteousness be fulfilled"? I came to die for men, have I not to be baptized for men? What meaneth "let all righteousness be fulfilled"? Let all humility be fulfilled. What then? Was not He to accept baptism from a good servant who accepted suffering at the hands of evil servants? Give heed then. The Lord being baptized, if John for this end baptized, that by means of his baptism the Lord might manifest His humility, should no one else have been baptized with the baptism of John? But many were baptized with the baptism of John. When the Lord was baptized with the baptism of John, the baptism of John ceased. John was forthwith cast into prison. Afterwards we do not find that any one is baptized with that baptism. If, then, John came baptizing for this end, that the humility of the Lord might be made manifest to us, in order that we might not disdain to receive from the Lord that which the Lord had received from a servant, should John have baptized the Lord alone? But if John had baptized the Lord alone, some would have thought that the baptism of John was more holy than that of Christ: as if Christ alone had been found worthy to be baptized with the baptism of John, but the human race with that of Christ. Give heed, beloved brethren. With the baptism of Christ we have been baptized, and not only we, but the whole world, and this will continue to the end. Which of us can in any respect be compared with Christ, whose shoe's latchet John declared himself unworthy to unloose? If, then, the Christ, a man of such excellence, a man who is God, had been alone baptized with the baptism of John, what were men likely to say? What a baptism was that of John! His was a great baptism, an ineffable sacrament; behold, Christ alone deserved to be baptized with the baptism of John. And thus the baptism of the servant would appear greater than the baptism of the Lord. Others were also baptized with the baptism of John, that the baptism of John might not appear better than the baptism of Christ; but baptized also was the Lord, that through the Lord receiving the baptism of the servant, other servants might not disdain to receive the baptism of the Lord: for this end, then, was John sent.

15. But did he know Christ, or did he not know Him? If he did not know Him, wherefore did He say, when Christ came to the river, "I have need to be baptized of Thee"? that is to say, I know who Thou art. If, then, he already knew Him, assuredly he knew Him when he saw the dove descending. It is evident that the dove did not descend upon the Lord until after He went up out of the water of baptism. "The Lord having been baptized, went up out of the water, and the heavens were opened, and he saw a dove descending on Him." If, then, the dove descended after the baptism, and if, before the Lord was baptized, John said to Him, "Comest Thou to me? I have need to be baptized of Thee;" that is to say, before he knew Him to whom he said, "Comest Thou to me? I have need to be baptized of Thee;"--how then said he, "And I knew Him not: but He who sent me to baptize with water, the same said to me, Upon whom thou seest the Spirit descending as a dove, and abiding upon Him, the same is He which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost?" It is not an insignificant question, my brethren. If you have seen the question, you have seen not a little; it remains that the Lord give the solution of it. This, however, I say, if you have seen the question, it is no small matter. Behold, John is placed before your eyes, standing beside the river. Behold John the Baptist. Behold, the Lord comes, as yet to be baptized, not yet baptized. Hear the voice of John, "Comest Thou to me? I have need to be baptized of Thee." Behold, already he knew the Lord, by whom He wishes to be baptized. The Lord, having been baptized, goes up out of the water; the heavens are opened, the Spirit descends; then John knows Him. If then for the first time he knew Him, why did he say before, "I have need to be baptized of Thee"? But if he did not then recognize Him for the first time, because he knew Him already, what is the meaning of what he said, "I knew Him not: but He that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and abiding upon Him, as a dove, the same is He which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost"?

16. My brethren, this question if solved today would oppress you, I do not doubt, for already have I spoken many words. But know that the question is of such a character that alone it is able to extinguish the party of Donatus. I have said thus much, my beloved, in order to gain your attention, as is my wont; and also in order that you may pray for us, that the Lord may grant to us to speak what is suitable, and that you may be found worthy to receive what is suitable. In the meantime, be pleased to defer the question for to-day. But in the meantime, I say this briefly, until I give a fuller solution: Inquire peacefully, without quarreling, without contention, without altercations, without enmities; both seek by yourselves, and inquire of others, and say, "This question our bishop proposed to us to-day, and he will resolve it at a future time, if the Lord will." But whether it be resolved or not, reckon that I have propounded what appears to me of importance; for it does seem of considerable importance. John says, "I have need to be baptized of Thee," as if he knew Christ. For if he did not know Him by whom he wished to be baptized, he spoke rashly when he said, "I have need to be baptized of Thee." Therefore he knew Him. If he knew Him, what is the meaning of the saying, "I knew Him not: but He that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and abiding upon Him, as a dove, the same is He which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost"? What shall we say? That we do not know when the dove came? Lest perchance they [88] take refuge in this, let the other evangelists be read, who have spoken of this matter more plainly, and we find most evidently that the dove then descended when the Lord came up out of the water. Upon Him baptized the heavens opened, and He saw the Spirit descending. [89] If it was when He was already baptized that John knew Him, how saith he to Him, coming to baptism, "I have need to be baptized of Thee"? Ponder this in the meantime with yourselves, confer upon it, treat of it, one with another. The Lord our God grant that before you hear it from me, the explanation may be revealed to some of you first. Nevertheless, brethren, know this, that by means of the solution of this question, the allegation of the party of Donatus, if they have any sense of shame, will be silenced, and their mouths will be shut regarding the grace of baptism, a matter about which they raise mists to confuse the uninstructed, and spread nets for flying birds.


[73] Ps. l. 3. [74] Isa. liii. 7. [75] Ps. xlix. 3. [76] John v. 35. [77] Dan. ii. 34, 35. [78] Luke xx. 18. [79] Matt. xvii. 10-13; Matt. xi. 14, Vulg. [80] Luke i. 17. [81] Isa. xl. 3. [82] Matt. xi. 7-9. [83] Luke xiv. 11. [84] Ps. li. 7. [85] Ps. x. 2. [86] Ps. cxii. 1, 2. [87] Matt. iii. 14, 15. [88] The Donatists. [89] Matt. iii. 16; Mark i. 10; Luke iii. 21, 22. .

Tractate V.

Chapter I. 33

We have arrived, as the Lord hath willed it, to the day of our promise. He will grant this also, that we may arrive at the fulfillment of the promise. For then those things which we say, if they are useful to us and to you, are from Him; but those things which proceed from man are false, as our Lord Jesus Christ Himself has said, "He that speaketh a lie speaketh of his own." [90] No one has anything of his own except falsehood and sin. But if man has any truth and justice, it is from that fountain after which we ought to thirst in this desert, so that being, as it were, bedewed by some drops from it, and comforted in the meantime in this pilgrimage, we may not fail by the way, but reach His rest and satisfying fullness. If then "he that speaketh a lie speaketh of his own," he who speaketh the truth speaketh of God. John is true, Christ is the Truth; John is true, but every true man is true from the Truth. If, then, John is true, and a man cannot be true except from the Truth, from whom was he true, unless from Him who said, "I am the truth"? [91] The Truth, then, could not speak contrary to the true man, or the true man contrary to the Truth. The Truth sent the true man, and he was true because sent by the Truth. If it was the Truth that sent John, then it was Christ that sent him. But that which Christ does with the Father, the Father does; and what the Father does with Christ, Christ does. The Father does nothing apart from the Son, nor the Son anything apart from the Father: inseparable love, inseparable unity: inseparable majesty, inseparable power, according to these words which He Himself propounded, "I and my Father are one." [92] Who then sent John? If we say the Father, we speak truly; if we say the Son, we speak truly; but to speak more plainly, we say the Father and the Son. But whom the Father and the Son sent, one God sent; because the Son said, "I and the Father are one." How, then, did he not know Him by whom he was sent? For he said, "I knew Him not: but He that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me." I interrogate John: "Who sent thee to baptize with water? what did He say to thee?" "Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending as a dove, and abiding upon Him, the same is He which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost." Is it this, O John, that He said to thee who sent thee? It is manifest that it was this; who, then, sent thee? Perhaps the Father. True God is the Father, and the Truth is God the Son: if the Father without the Son sent thee, God without the Truth sent thee; but if thou art true, because thou dost speak the truth, and dost speak of the Truth, the Father did not send thee without the Son, but the Father and the Son together sent thee. If, then, the Son sent thee with the Father, how didst thou not know Him by whom thou wast sent? He whom thou hadst seen in the Truth, Himself sent thee that He might be recognized in the flesh, and said, "Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending as a dove, and abiding upon Him, the same is He which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost."

2. Did John hear this that he might know Him whom he had not known, or that he might more fully know Him whom he had already known? For if he had been entirely ignorant of Him, he would not have said to Him when He came to the river to be baptized, "I have need to be baptized of Thee, and comest Thou to me?" [93] He knew Him therefore. But when did the dove descend? When the Lord had been baptized, and was ascending from the water. But if He who sent Him said, "Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending as a dove, and abiding upon Him, the same is He which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost," and he knew Him not, but when the dove descended he learned to know Him, and the time at which the dove descended was when the Lord was going up from the water; but John had known the Lord, when the Lord came to him to the water: it is made plain to us that John after a manner knew, and after a manner did not at first know the Lord. And unless we understand it so, he was a liar. How was he true acknowledging the Lord and saying, "Comest Thou to me to be baptized," and, "I have need to be baptized of Thee"? Is he true when he said this? And how is he again true when he saith, "I knew Him not: but He that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending as a dove, and abiding upon Him, the same is He who baptizeth with the Holy Ghost"? The Lord was made known by a dove, not to him who knew Him not, but to him who in a manner knew Him, and in a manner knew Him not. It is for us to discover what, in Him, John did not know, and learned by the dove.

3. Why was John sent baptizing? Already, I recollect, I have explained that to you, beloved, according to my ability. For if the baptism of John was necessary for our salvation, it ought even now to be used. For we cannot think that men are not saved now, or that more are not saved now, or that there was one salvation then, another now. If Christ has been changed, the salvation has also been changed; if salvation is in Christ, and Christ Himself is the same, there is the same salvation to us. But why was John sent baptizing? Because it behoved Christ to be baptized. Wherefore did it behove Christ to be baptized? Wherefore did it behove Christ to be born? Wherefore did it behove Christ to be crucified? For if He had come to point out the way of humility, and to make Himself the way of humility; in all things had humility to be fulfilled by Him. He deigned from this to give authority to His own baptism, that His servants might know with what alacrity they ought to run to the baptism of the Lord, when He Himself did not refuse to receive the baptism of a servant. This favor was bestowed upon John that it should be called his baptism.

4. Give heed to this, exercise your discrimination, and know it, beloved. The baptism which John received is called the baptism of John: alone he received such a gift. No one of the just before him and no one after him so received a baptism that it should be called his baptism. He received it indeed, for of himself he could do nothing: for if any one speaketh of his own, he speaketh of his own a lie. And whence did he receive it except from the Lord Jesus Christ? From Him he received power to baptize whom he afterwards baptized. Do not marvel; for Christ acted in the same manner in respect to John as in respect to His mother. For concerning Christ it was said, "All things were made by Him." [94] If all things were made by him, Mary also was made by Him, of whom Christ was afterwards born. Give heed, beloved; in the same manner that He did create Mary, and was created by Mary, so did He give the baptism of John, and was baptized by John.

5. For this purpose therefore did He receive baptism from John, in order that, receiving what was inferior from an inferior, He might exhort inferiors to receive that which was superior. But wherefore was not He alone baptized by John, if John, by whom Christ was baptized, was sent for this end, to prepare a way for the Lord, that is, for Christ Himself? This we have already explained, but we recur to it, because it is necessary for the present question. If our Lord Jesus Christ had been alone baptized with the baptism of John;--hold fast what we say; let not the world have such power as to efface from your hearts what the Spirit of God has written there; let not the thorns of care have such power as to choke the seed which is being sown in you: for why are we compelled to repeat the same things, but because we are not sure of the memory of your hearts?--and if then the Lord alone had been baptized with the baptism of John, there would be persons who would so reckon it, that the baptism of John was greater than is the baptism of Christ. For they would say, that baptism is so much the greater, that Christ alone deserved to be baptized with it. Therefore, that an example of humility might be given us by the Lord, that the salvation of baptism might be obtained by us, Christ accepted what for Him was not necessary, but on our account was necessary. And again, lest that which Christ received from John should be preferred to the baptism of Christ, others also were permitted to be baptized by John. But for those who were baptized by John that baptism did not suffice: for they were baptized with the baptism of Christ; because the baptism of John was not the baptism of Christ. Those who receive the baptism of Christ do not seek the baptism of John; those who received the baptism of John sought the baptism of Christ. Therefore was the baptism of John sufficient for Christ. How should it not be sufficient, when not even it was necessary? For to Him was no baptism necessary; but in order to exhort us to receive His baptism, He received the baptism of His servant. And lest the baptism of the servant should be preferred to the baptism of the Lord, other fellow-servants were baptized with the baptism of the servant. But it behoved those fellow-servants who were baptized with that baptism to be likewise baptized with the baptism of the Lord: but those who were baptized with the baptism of the Lord do not require the baptism of the fellow-servant.

6. Since, then, John had accepted a baptism which may be properly called the baptism of John, but the Lord Jesus Christ would not give His baptism to any, not that no one should be baptized with the baptism of the Lord, but that the Lord Himself should always baptize: that was done, that the Lord should baptize by means of servants; that is to say, those whom the servants of the Lord were to baptize, the Lord baptized, not they. For it is one thing to baptize in the capacity of a servant, another thing to baptize with power. For baptism derives its character from Him through whose power it is given; not from him through whose ministry it is given. As was John, so was his baptism: the righteous baptism of a righteous man; but of a man who had received from the Lord that grace, and so great grace, that he was worthy to be the forerunner of the Judge, and to point Him out with the finger, and to fulfill the saying of that prophecy: "The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way for the Lord." [95] As was the Lord, such was His baptism: the baptism of the Lord, then, was divine, because the Lord was God.

7. But the Lord Jesus Christ could, if He wished, have given power to one of His servants to give a baptism of his own, as it were, in His stead, and have transferred from Himself the power of baptizing, and assigned it to one of His servants, and have given the same power to the baptism transferred to the servant as it had when bestowed by the Lord. This He would not do, in order that the hope of the baptized might be in him by whom they acknowledged themselves to have been baptized. He would not, therefore, that the servant should place his hope in the servant. And therefore the apostle exclaimed, when he saw men wishing to place their hope in himself, "Was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?" [96] Paul then baptized as a servant, not as the power itself; but the Lord baptized as the power. Give heed. He was both able to give this power to His servants, and unwilling. For if He had given this power to His servants--that is to say, that what belonged to the Lord should be theirs--there would have been as many baptisms as servants; so that, as we speak of the baptism of John, we should also have spoken of the baptism of Peter, the baptism of Paul, the baptism of James, the baptism of Thomas, of Matthew, of Bartholomew: for we spoke of that baptism as that of John. But perhaps some one objects, and says, Prove to us that that baptism was called the baptism of John. I will prove it from the very words of the Truth Himself, when He asked the Jews, "The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men?" [97] Therefore, lest as many baptisms should be spoken of as there are servants who received power from the Lord to baptize, the Lord kept to Himself the power of baptizing, and gave to His servants the ministry. The servant says that he baptizes; he says so rightly, as the apostle says, "And I baptized also the household of Stephanas;" [98] but as a servant. Therefore, if even he be bad, and he happen to have the ministration of baptism, and if men do not know him, but God knows him, God, who has kept the power to Himself, permits baptism to be administered through him.

8. But this John did not know in the Lord. That He was the Lord he knew, and that he ought to be baptized by Him he knew; and he confessed that He was the Truth, and that he, the true man, was sent by the Truth: this he knew. But what was in Him which he knew not? That he was about to retain to Himself the power of His baptism, and was not to transmit or transfer it to any servant; but that, whether a good servant baptized in a ministerial manner, or whether an evil servant baptized, the person baptized should not know that he was baptized, unless by Him who kept to Himself the power of baptizing. And that you may know, brethren, what John did not know in Him, he learned it by means of the dove: for he knew the Lord; but that He was to retain to Himself the power of baptizing, and not to give it to any servant, he did not yet know. Regarding this he said, "I knew Him not." And that you may know that he there learnt this, give heed to what follows: "But He that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending as a dove, and abiding upon Him, the same is He." What same is He? The Lord? But he already knew the Lord. Suppose, then, that John had said thus far, "I knew Him not: but He that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me--" We ask, what He said? It follows: "Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending as a dove, and abiding upon Him." I do not say what follows. In the meantime give heed: "Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending as a dove, and abiding upon Him, the same is He." But what same is He? What did He who sent me mean to teach me by means of a dove? That He was Himself the Lord. Already I knew by whom I was sent; already I knew Him to whom I said, "Comest Thou to me to be baptized? I have need to be baptized of Thee." So far, then, did I know the Lord, that I wished to be baptized by Him, not that He should be baptized by me; and then He said to me, "Suffer it to be so now; for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness." [99] I came to suffer; do I not come to be baptized? "Let all righteousness be fulfilled," says my God to me. Let all righteousness be fulfilled; let me teach entire humility. I know that there will be proud ones in my future people; I know that some men then will be eminent in some grace, so that when they see ordinary persons baptized, they, because they consider themselves better, whether in continence, or in alms-giving, or in doctrine, will perhaps not deign to receive what has been received by their inferiors. It was needful that I should heal them, so that they should not disdain to come to the baptism of the Lord, because I came to the baptism of the servant.

9. Already, then, John knew this, and he knew the Lord. What then did the dove teach? What did He desire to teach by means of the dove--that is, by means of the Holy Spirit thus coming to teach who had sent him to whom He said, "Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending as a dove, and abiding upon Him, the same is He"? Who is this He? The Lord? I know. But didst thou already know this, that the same Lord having the power to baptize, was not to give that power to any servant, but to retain it to Himself, so that all who were baptized by the ministration of the servant, should not impute their baptism to the servant, but to the Lord? Didst thou already know this? I did not know this: so what did He say to me? "Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending as a dove, and abiding upon Him, the same is He who baptizeth with the Holy Ghost." He does not say, "He is the Lord;" He does not say, "He is the Christ;" He does not say, "He is God;" He does not say, "He is Jesus;" He does not say, "He is the One who was born of the Virgin Mary, after thee, before thee." This He does not say, for this John did already know. But what did he not know? That this great authority of baptism the Lord Himself was to have, and to retain to Himself, whether present in the earth or absent in body in the heaven, and present in majesty; lest Paul should say, my baptism; lest Peter should say, my baptism. Therefore see, give heed to the words of the apostles. None of the apostles said, my baptism. Although there was one gospel of all, yet thou findest that they said, my gospel: thou dost not find that they say, my baptism.

10. This, then, my brethren, John learned. What John learned by means of the dove let us also learn. For the dove did not teach John without teaching the Church, the Church to which it was said, "My dove is one." [100] Let the dove teach the dove; let the dove know what John learned by the dove. The Holy Spirit descended in the form of a dove. But this which John learned in the dove, wherefore did he learn it in the dove? For it behoved him to learn, and perhaps it did not so much behove him to learn as to learn by the dove. What shall I say, my brethren, concerning the dove? or when will faculty of tongue or heart suffice to speak as I wish? And perchance, my wish falls short of my duty in speaking; even if I were able to speak as I wish, how much less am I able to speak as I ought? I could wish to hear one better than myself speak this, rather than speak of it to you.

11. John learns to know Him whom he knew; but he learns in Him with regard to what he did not know; with regard to what he did know, he does not learn. And what did he know? The Lord. What did he not know? That the power of the Lord's baptism was not to pass from the Lord to any man, but that the ministration of it plainly would do so; the power from the Lord to no one, the ministration both to good and bad. Let not the dove shrink from the ministration of the bad, but have regard to the power of the Lord. What injury does a bad servant do to you where the Lord is good? What impediment can the malicious herald put in your way if the judge is well-disposed? John learned by means of the dove this. What is it that he learned? Let him repeat it himself. "The same said unto me," saith he, "Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending as a dove, and abiding on Him, this is He which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost." Let not those seducers deceive thee, O dove, who say, We baptize. Acknowledge, dove, what the dove has taught: "This is He which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost." By means of the dove we are taught that this is He; and dost thou think that thou art baptized by his authority by whose ministration thou art baptized? If thou thinkest this, thou art not as yet in the body of the dove; and if thou art not in the body of the dove, it is not to be wondered at that thou hast not simplicity; for by means of the dove, simplicity is chiefly designated.

12. Wherefore, my brethren, by the simplicity of the dove did John learn that "This is He which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost," unless to show that these are not doves who have scattered the Church? Hawks they were, and kites. The dove does not tear. And thou seest that they hold us up to hatred, for the persecutions, as they call them, which they have suffered. Bodily persecutions, indeed, if they are to be so called, they have suffered, since these were the scourges of the Lord, plainly administering temporal correction, lest He should have to condemn them eternally, if they did not acknowledge it and amend themselves. They truly persecute the Church who persecute by means of deceit; they strike the heart more heavily who strike with the sword of the tongue; they shed blood more bitterly who, as far as they can, slay Christ in man. They seem to be in fear, as it were, of the judgment of the authorities. What does the authority do to thee if thou art good? but if thou art evil, fear the authority; "For he beareth not the sword in vain," [101] saith the apostle. Draw not the sword wherewith thou dost strike Christ. Christian, what dost thou persecute in a Christian? What did the Emperor persecute in thee? He persecuted the flesh; thou in a Christian persecutest the Spirit. Thou dost not slay the flesh. And, nevertheless, they do not spare the flesh; as many as they were able, they slew with the sword; they spared neither their own nor strangers. This is known to all. The authority is hated because it is legitimate; he acts in a hated manner who acts according to the law; he acts without incurring hatred who acts contrary to the laws. Give heed, each one of you, my brethren, to what the Christian possesses. His humanity he has in common with many, his Christianity distinguishes him from many, and his Christianity belongs to him more strictly than his humanity. For, as a Christian, he is renewed after the image of God, by whom man was made after the image of God; [102] but as a man he might be bad, he might be a pagan, he might be an idolater. This thou dost persecute in the Christian, which is his better part; for this by which he lives thou wishest to take away from him. For he lives tempo rally according to the spirit of life, by which his body is animated, but he lives for eternity according to the baptism which he received from the Lord; thou wishest to take this away from him which he received from the Lord, this thou wishest to take away from him by which he lives. Robbers, with regard to those whom they wish to despoil, have the purpose to enrich themselves and to deprive their victims of all that they have; but thou takest from him, and with thee there will not be anything more, for there does not accrue more to thee because thou takest from him. But, truly, they do the same as those who take away the natural life: they take it away from another, and yet they themselves have not two lives.

13. What, then, dost thou wish to take away? What displeases thee in the man whom thou wishest to rebaptize? Thou art not able to give what he already has, but thou makest him deny what he has. What greater cruelty did the pagan persecutor of the Church commit? Swords were stretched out against the martyrs, wild beasts were let loose, fires were applied: for what purpose these things? In order that the sufferer might be induced to say, I am not a Christian. What dost thou teach him whom thou wishest to rebaptize, unless that he first say, I am not a Christian? For the same purpose for which the persecutor put forth the flame, thou puttest forth the tongue; thou dost by seducing what he did not do by slaying. And what is it thou dost give, and to whom art thou to give it? If he tells thee the truth, and does not lie, seduced by thee, he will say, I have. Thou askest, Hast thou baptism? I have, he says. As long as he says, I have, thou sayest, I will not give. And do not give, for that which thou wishest to give cannot cleave to me; because what I received cannot be taken away from me. But wait, nevertheless; let me see what thou wouldest teach me. Say, he said, in the first place, I have not. But this I have; if I shall say, I have not, I lie; for what I have I have. Thou hast not, he says. Teach me that I have it not. An evil man gave it to thee. If Christ is evil, an evil man did give it to me. Christ, he says, is not evil; but Christ did not give it to thee. Who then gave it to me? Reply, I know that I received it from Christ. He who gave it to thee, he says, was not Christ, but some traditor. I shall see to it who was the minister; I shall see who was the herald. Concerning the official, I do not dispute; I give heed to the Judge: and, perchance, in thy objection to the official, thou speakest falsely. But I decline to discuss it; let the Lord of both decide the cause of His own official. If, perhaps, I were to ask for proof, thou couldst give none; indeed, thou liest; it has been proved that thou wert not able to give proof. But I do not place my case on this, lest from my zealous defense of innocent men thou infer that I have placed my hope even on innocent men. Let the men be what they may, I received from Christ, I was baptized by Christ. No, he says; not Christ, but that bishop baptized thee, and that bishop communicates to them. By Christ I have been baptized, I know. How dost thou know? The dove taught me, which John saw. O evil kite, thou mayest not tear me from the bowels of the dove. I am numbered among the members of the dove, because what the dove taught, this I know. Thou sayest to me, This man or that baptized thee: by means of the dove it is said to me and to thee, "This is He which baptizeth." Which shall I believe, the kite or the dove?

14. Tell me certainly, that thou mayest be confounded by that lamp by which also were the former enemies confounded, who were like to thee, the Pharisees, who, when they questioned the Lord by what authority He did those things: "I also," said He, "will ask you this question, Tell me, the baptism of John, whence is it? from heaven, or of men?" And they, who were preparing to spread their wiles, were entangled by the question, and began to debate with themselves, and say, "If we shall answer, It is from heaven, He will say unto us, Wherefore did ye not believe him?" For John had said of the Lord, "Behold the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world!" [103] Why then do you inquire by what authority I act? O wolves, what I do, I do by the authority of the Lamb. But that you may know the Lamb, why do you not believe John, who said, "Behold the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world"? They, then, knowing what John had said regarding the Lord, said among themselves, "If we shall say that John's baptism is from heaven, He will say unto us, Wherefore then did ye not believe him? If we shall say, It is of men, the people will stone us; for they hold John as a prophet." Hence, they feared men; hence, they were confounded to confess the truth. Darkness replied with darkness; but they were overcome by the light. For what did they reply? "We know not;" regarding that which they knew, they said, "We know not." And the Lord said, "Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things." [104] And the first enemies were confounded. How? By the lamp. Who was the lamp? John. Can we prove that he was the lamp? We can prove it; for the Lord says: "He was a burning and a shining lamp." [105] Can we prove also that the enemies were confounded by him? Listen to the psalm: "I have prepared," he says, "a lamp for my Christ. His enemies I will clothe with shame." [106]

15. As yet, in the darkness of this life, we walk by the lamp of faith: let us hold also to the lamp John, and let us confound by him the enemies of Christ; indeed, let Christ Himself confound His own enemies by His own lamp. Let us put the question which the Lord put to the Jews, let us ask and say, "The baptism of John, whence is it? from heaven, or of men?" What will they say? Mark, if they are not as enemies confounded by the lamp. What will they say? If they shall say, Of men, even their own will stone them; but if they shall say, From heaven, let us say to them, Wherefore, then, did ye not believe him? They perhaps say, We believe him. Wherefore, then, do you say that you baptize, when John says, "This is He which baptizeth"? But it behoveth, they say, the ministers of so great a Judge who baptize, to be righteous. And I also say, and all say, that it behoveth the ministers of so great a Judge to be righteous; let the ministers, by all means, be righteous if they will; but if they will not be righteous who sit in the seat of Moses, my Master made me safe, of whom His Spirit said, "This is He which baptizeth." How did He make me safe? "The scribes and the Pharisees," He says, "sit in Moses' seat: what they say, do; but what they do, that do not ye: for they say, and do not." [107] If the minister is righteous, I reckon him with Paul, I reckon him with Peter; with those I reckon righteous ministers: because, in truth, righteous ministers seek not their own glory; for they are ministers, they do not wish to be thought judges, they abhor that one should place his hope on them; therefore, I reckon the righteous minister with Paul. For what does Paul say? "I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. Neither is he that planteth anything, nor he that watereth; but God who giveth the increase." [108] But he who is a proud minister is reckoned with the devil; but the gift of Christ is not contaminated, which flows through him pure, which passes through him liquid, and comes to the fertile earth. Suppose that he is stony, that he cannot from water rear fruit; even through the stony channel the water passes, the water passes to the garden beds; in the stony channel it causes nothing to grow, but nevertheless it brings much fruit to the gardens. For the spiritual virtue of the sacrament is like the light: both by those who are to be enlightened is it received pure, and if it passes through the impure it is not stained. Let the ministers be by all means righteous, and seek not their own glory, but His glory whose ministers they are; let them not say, The baptism is mine; for it is not theirs. Let them give heed unto John. Behold, John was full of the Holy Spirit; and he had his baptism from heaven, not from men; but how long had he it? He said himself, "Prepare ye the way for the Lord." [109] But when the Lord was known, Himself became the way; there was no longer need for the baptism of John to prepare the way for the Lord.

16. What, however, are they accustomed to say against us? "Behold, after John, baptism was given." For before that question was properly treated in the Catholic Church, many erred in it, both great and good men; but because they were members of the dove, they did not cut themselves off, and in their case that happened which the apostle said, "If in any thing ye are otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you." [110] Whence those who separated themselves became unteachable. What then are they wont to say? Behold, after John baptism was given; after heretical baptism is it not to be given? because certain who had the baptism of John were commanded by Paul to be baptized, [111] for they had not the baptism of Christ. Why then, say they, dost thou exaggerate the merit of John, and, as it were, underrate the misery of heretics? I also grant to you that the heretics are wicked; but the heretics gave the baptism of Christ, which baptism John did not give.

17. I go back to John, and say, "This is he which baptizeth." For John is better than a heretic, just as John is better than a drunkard, as John is better than a murderer. If we ought to baptize after the worse because the apostles baptized after the better, whosoever among them were baptized by a drunkard,--I do not say by a murderer, I do not say by the satellite of some wicked man, I do not say by the robber of other men's goods, I do not say by the oppressor of orphans, or a separater of married persons; I speak of none of these; I speak of what happens every year, of what happens every day; I speak of what all are called to, even in this city, when it is said to them, Let us play the part of the irrational, let us have pleasure, and on such a day as this of the calends of January we ought not to fast: these are the things I speak of, these trifling everyday proceedings;--when one is baptized by a drunkard, who is better? John or the drunkard? Reply, if thou canst, that the drunkard is better than John! This thou wilt never venture to do. Do you then, as a sober man, baptize after thy drunkard. For if the apostles baptized after John, how much more ought the sober to baptize after the drunkard? Or dost thou say, the drunkard is in unity with me? Was not John then, the friend of the Bridegroom, in unity with the Bridegroom?

18. But I say to thee thyself, whoever thou art, Art thou better than John? Thou wilt not venture to say: I am better than John. Then let thine own baptize after thee if they are better. For if baptism was administered after John, blush that baptism is not administered after thee. Thou wilt say, But I have and teach the baptism of Christ. Acknowledge, then, now the Judge, and do not be a proud herald. Thou givest the baptism of Christ, therefore baptism is not administered after thee: after John it was administered, because he gave not the baptism of Christ, but his own; for he had in such manner received it that it was his own. Thou art then not better than John: but the baptism given through thee is better than that of John; for the one is Christ's, but the other is that of John. And that which was given by Paul, and that which was given by Peter, is Christ's; and if baptism was given by Judas it was Christ's. Judas gave baptism and after Judas baptism was not repeated; John gave baptism, and baptism was repeated after John: because if baptism was given by Judas, it was the baptism of Christ; but that which was given by John, was John's baptism. We prefer not Judas to John; but the baptism of Christ, even when given by the hand of Judas, we prefer to the baptism of John, rightly given even by the hand of John. For it was said of the Lord before He suffered, that He baptized more than John; then it was added: "Howbeit, Jesus Himself baptized not, but His disciples." [112] He, and not He: He by power, they by ministry; they performed the service of baptizing, the power of baptizing remained in Christ. His disciples, then, baptized, and Judas was still among his disciples: and were those, then, whom Judas baptized not again baptized; and those whom John baptized were they again baptized? Plainly there was a repetition, but not a repetition of the same baptism. For those whom John baptized, John baptized; those whom Judas baptized, Christ baptized. In like manner, then, they whom a drunkard baptized, those whom a murderer baptized, those whom an adulterer baptized, if it was the baptism of Christ, were baptized by Christ. I do not fear the adulterer, the drunkard, or the murderer, because I give heed unto the dove, through whom it is said to me, "This is He which baptizeth."

19. But, my brethren, it is madness to say that--I will not say Judas--but that any man was better than he of whom it was said, that "Among those that are born of women, there hath not arisen a greater than John the Baptist." [113] No servant then is preferred to him; but the baptism of the Lord, even when given through an evil servant, is preferred to the baptism even of a servant who was a friend. Listen to the sort of persons whom the Apostle Paul mentions, false brethren, preaching the word of God through envy, and what he says of them: "And I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice." [114] They proclaimed Christ, through envy indeed, but still they proclaimed Christ. Consider not the why, but the whom: through envy is Christ preached to thee. Behold Christ, avoid envy. Do not imitate the evil preacher, but imitate the Good One who is preached to thee. Christ then was preached by some out of envy. And what is envy? A shocking evil. By this evil was the devil cast down; this malignant pest it was which cast him down; and certain preachers of Christ were possessed by it, whom, nevertheless, the apostle permitted to preach. Wherefore? Because they preached Christ. But he who envies, hates; and he who hates, what is said concerning him? Listen to the Apostle John: "He who hateth his brother is a murderer." [115] Behold, after John baptism was given, after a murderer baptism was not given; because John gave his own baptism, the murderer gave the baptism of Christ. That sacrament is so sacred that not even the ministration of a murderer pollutes it.

20. I do not reject John, but rather I believe John. In what do I believe John? In that which he learned through the dove? What did he learn through the dove? "This is He which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost." Now therefore, brethren, hold this fast and impress it upon your hearts; for if I would more fully explain to-day, Wherefore through the dove? time fails. For I have, I think, to some extent made plain to you, holy brethren, that a matter which had to be learned was instilled into John by means of the dove, a matter with regard to Christ which John did not know, although he already knew Christ; but why it behoved this matter to be pointed out by means of the dove, I would say, were it possible to say it briefly: but because it would take long to say, and I am unwilling to burden you, since I have been helped by your prayers to perform my promise; with the renewed help of your pious attention and good wishes, it will likewise become clear to you, wherefore John with regard to that matter which he learned regarding the Lord, namely, that it is "He which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost," and that to none of His servants had he transferred the power of baptizing--why this it became him not to learn except through the dove.


[90] John viii. 44. [91] John xiv. 6. [92] John x. 30. [93] Matt. iii. 14. [94] John i. 3. [95] Isa. xl. 3. [96] 1 Cor. i. 13. [97] Matt. xxi. 25. [98] 1 Cor. i. 16. [99] Matt. iii. 15. [100] Cant. vi. 8. [101] Rom. xiii. 4. [102] Col. iii. 10. [103] John i. 29. [104] Matt. xxi. 23-27. [105] John v. 35. [106] Ps. cxxxi. 17, 18. [107] Matt. xxiii. 2, 3. [108] 1 Cor. iii. 6, 7. [109] John i. 23. [110] Phil. iii. 15. [111] Acts xix. 3-5. [112] John iv. 1, 2. [113] Matt. xi. 11. [114] Phil. i. 15-18. [115] 1 John iii. 15. .

Tractate VI.

Chapter I. 32, 33

1. I Confess to you, holy brethren, I was afraid the cold would have made you cold in assembling yourselves together; but since you prove by this, your crowded assembly, that you are fervent in spirit, I doubt not that you have also prayed for me, that I may pay you what I owe. For I promised you in the name of Christ that, as the shortness of the time prevented us from expounding it before, I would to-day discuss why God was pleased to manifest the Holy Ghost in the form of a dove. That this may be explained, this day has dawned on us; and I perceive that from eagerness to hear, and pious devotion, you have come together in greater number than usual. May God, by our mouth, fulfill your expectation. For your coming together is of your love; but love of what? If of us, even that is well; for we desire to be loved by you, but not in ourselves. Because we love you in Christ, do you love us in Christ in return, and let our love mutually sigh towards God; for the note of the dove is a sighing or moaning.

2. Now if the dove's note is a moaning, as we all know it to be, and doves moan in love, hear what the apostle says, and wonder not that the Holy Ghost willed to be manifested in the form of a dove: "For what we should pray for as we ought," says he, "we know not; but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings which cannot be uttered." [116] What then, my brethren? shall we say this, that the Spirit groans where He has perfect and eternal blessedness with the Father and the Son? For the Holy Spirit is God, even as the Son of God is God, and the Father God. I have said "God" thrice, but not three Gods; for indeed it is God thrice rather than three Gods; because the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost are one God: this you know full well. It is not then in Himself with Himself in that Trinity, in that blessedness, in that His eternal substance, that the Holy Spirit groans; but in us He groans because He makes us to groan. Nor is it a little matter that the Holy Spirit teaches us to groan, for He gives us to know that we are sojourners in a foreign land, and He teaches us to sigh after our native country; and through that very longing do we groan. He with whom it is well in this world, or rather he who thinks it is well with him, who exults in the joy of carnal things, in the abundance of things temporal, in an empty felicity, has the cry of the raven; for the raven's cry is full of clamor, not of groaning. But he who knows that he is in the pressure of this mortal life, a pilgrim "absent from the Lord," [117] that he does not yet possess that perpetual blessedness which is promised to us, but that he has it in hope, and will have it in reality when the Lord shall come openly in glory who came before in humility concealed; he, I say, who knows this doth groan. And so long as it is for this he groans, he does well to groan; it was the Spirit that taught him to groan, he learnt it from the dove. Many indeed groan by reason of earthly misery. They are shattered, it may be, by losses, or weighed down by bodily ailment, or shut up in prisons, or bound with chains, or tossed about on the waves of the sea, or hedged in by the ensnaring devices of their enemies. Therefore do they groan, but not with the moaning of the dove, not with love of God, not in the Spirit. Accordingly, when such are delivered from these same afflictions, they exult with loud voices, whereby it is made manifest that they are ravens, not doves. It was with good reason that a raven was sent forth from the ark, and returned not again; a dove was sent forth, and it returned. These two birds Noah sent forth. [118] He had there the raven, and also the dove. That ark contained both kinds; and if the ark was a figure of the Church, you see indeed that in the present deluge of the world, the Church must of necessity contain both kinds, as well the raven as the dove. Who are the ravens? They who seek their own. Who are the doves? They who seek the things that are Christ's. [119]

3. Therefore, when He sent the Holy Spirit He manifested Him visibly in two ways--by a dove and by fire: by a dove upon the Lord when He was baptized, by fire upon the disciples when they were gathered together. For when the Lord had ascended into heaven after His resurrection, having spent forty days with His disciples, and the day of Pentecost being fully come, He sent unto them the Holy Spirit as He had promised. Accordingly the Spirit coming at that time filled the place, and there was first a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, as we read in the Acts of the Apostles, and "there appeared unto them," it says, "cloven tongues as of fire, and it sat upon each of them; and they began to speak with tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance." [120] Here we have seen a dove descending upon the Lord; there, cloven tongues upon the assembled disciples: in the former, simplicity is shown; in the latter, fervency. Now there are who are said to be simple, who are only indolent; they are called simple, but they are only slow. Not such was Stephen, full of the Holy Ghost: he was simple, because he injured no one; he was fervent, because he reproved the ungodly. For he held not his peace before the Jews. His are those burning words: "Ye stiff-necked and uncircumcised of heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Spirit." Mighty impetuosity; but it is the dove without gall raging. For that you know that he was fierce without gall, see how, upon hearing these words, they who were the ravens immediately took up stones and rushed together upon this dove. They begin to stone Stephen; and he who a little before stormed and glowed with ardor of spirit,--who had, as it were, made an onset on his enemies, and like one full of violence had attacked them in such fiery and burning words as you have heard, "Ye stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears," that any one who heard those words might fancy that Stephen, if he were allowed, would have them consumed at once,--but when the stones thrown from their hands reached him, with fixed knee he saith, "Lord, lay not this sin to their charge." [121] He held fast to the unity of the dove. For his Master, upon whom the dove descended, had done the same thing before him; who, while hanging on the cross, said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." [122] Wherefore by the dove it is shown that they who are sanctified by the Spirit should be without guile; and that their simplicity should not continue cold is shown us by the fire. Nor let it trouble you that the tongues were divided; for tongues are diverse, therefore the appearance was that of cloven tongues. "Cloven tongues," it saith, "as of fire, and it sat upon each of them." There is a diversity of tongues, but the diversity of tongues does not imply schisms. Be not afraid of separation in the cloven tongues; in the dove recognize unity.

4. Hence in this manner it behoved the Holy Spirit to be manifested when coming upon the Lord, that every one might understand that if he has the Holy Spirit he ought to be simple as the dove, to have true peace with his brethren, that peace which the kisses of doves signify. Ravens have their kisses too; but in the case of the ravens it is a false peace, in that of the dove a true peace. Not every one, therefore, who says, "Peace be with you," is to be listened to as if he were a dove. How then are the kisses of ravens distinguished from those of doves? Ravens kiss, but they tear; the nature of doves is innocent of tearing. Where consequently there is tearing, there is not true peace in the kisses. They have true peace who have not torn the Church. Ravens feed upon carrion, it is not so with the dove; it lives on the fruits of the earth, its food is innocent. This, brethren, is really worthy of admiration in the dove. Sparrows are very small birds, but yet they kill flies at least. The dove does nothing of this sort, for it does not feed on what is dead. They who have torn the Church feed on the dead. God is mighty; let us pray that they who are devoured by them, and perceive it not, may come to life again. Many acknowledge that they do come to life again, for at their coming we daily express joy with them in the name of Christ. Be ye simple, but only in such wise that ye be fervent, and let your fervor be in your tongues. Hold not your peace, speak with glowing tongues, set those that are cold on fire.

5. For why, my brethren? Who does not see what they do not? And no wonder; for they who are unwilling to return from that are just like the raven that was sent forth from the ark. For who does not see what they see not? They are unthankful even to the Holy Spirit Himself. See, the dove descended upon the Lord, upon the Lord when baptized: and thereupon was manifested that holy and real Trinity, which to us is one God. For the Lord went up out of the water, as we read in the Gospel: "And, lo, the heavens were opened unto Him, and He saw the Spirit descending like a dove, and it abode upon Him: and immediately a voice followed, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." [123] The Trinity most manifestly appears: the Father in the voice, the Son in the man, the Spirit in the dove. In this Trinity let us see, as we do see, whereunto the apostles were sent forth, and what it is wonderful those men do not see. Not indeed that they really do not see, but that they really shut their eyes to that which strikes them in the very face: that whereunto the disciples were sent forth in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, by Him of whom it is said, "This is He that baptizeth:" it was said, in fact, to His ministers, by Him who has retained this authority to Himself.

6. Now this it was in Him that John saw, and came to know which he did not know. Not that he did not know Him to be the Son of God, or that he did not know Him to be the Lord, or not know Him to be the Christ; or that he did not know this too, that it was He who should baptize with water and with the Holy Ghost. This he did know; but that he should do this so as to retain the authority to Himself and transfer it to none of His ministers, this is what he learnt in the dove. For by this authority, which Christ has retained to Himself alone, and conferred upon none of His ministers, though He has deigned to baptize by His ministers; by this authority, I say, stands the unity of the Church, which is figured in the dove, concerning which it is said, "My dove is one, the only one of her mother." [124] For if, as I have already said, my brethren, the authority were transferred by the Lord to His minister, there would be as many baptisms as ministers, and the unity of baptism would no longer exist.

7. Mark, brethren; before our Lord Jesus Christ came to His baptism (for it was after the baptism that the dove descended, whereby John recognized something that was peculiar to Him, since he was told, "Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending like a dove, and remaining on Him, the same is He that baptizeth with the Holy Ghost"), John knew that He it was that baptizeth with the Holy Ghost; but that it should be with this peculiarity, that the authority should not pass from Him to another, notwithstanding He confers it, this is what he learnt there. And whence do we prove that John did already know that the Lord was to baptize with the Holy Ghost; so that what he must be understood to have learned by the dove is, that the Lord was to baptize with the Holy Ghost in such wise that the authority should not pass from Him to any other man? Whence do we prove this? The dove descended after the Lord was baptized; but before the Lord came to be baptized by John in the Jordan, we have said that John knew Him, on the evidence of those words, in which he says, "Comest Thou to me to be baptized? I have need to be baptized of Thee." Well, he did know Him to be the Lord, knew Him to be the Son of God; how do we prove that he knew already that the same was He who should baptize with the Holy Ghost? Before He came to the river, whilst many people were running together to John to be baptized, he says to them, "I indeed baptize you with water; but He that cometh after me is greater than I, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to loose; the same shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire." [125] Already he knew this also. What then did he learn from the dove, that he may not afterwards be found a liar (which God forbid we should think), if it be not this, that there was to be a certain peculiarity in Christ, such that, although many ministers, be they righteous or unrighteous, should baptize, the virtue of baptism would be attributed to Him alone on whom the dove descended, and of whom it was said, "This is He that baptizeth with the Holy Ghost"? Peter may baptize, but this is He that baptizeth; Paul may baptize, yet this is He that baptizeth; Judas may baptize, still this is He that baptizeth.

8. For if the sanctity of baptism be according to the diversity of merits in them that administer it, then as merits are diverse there will be diverse baptisms; and the recipient will imagine that what he receives is so much the better, the better he appears to be from whom he received it. The saints themselves--understand brethren, they that belong to the dove, that have their part in that city of Jerusalem, the good themselves in the Church, of whom the apostle says, "The Lord know eth them that are His" [126] --are endued with different graces, and do not all possess like merits. Some are more holy than others, some are better than others. Therefore if one receive baptism from him, for example, who is a righteous saint, another from another who is of inferior merit with God, of inferior degree, of inferior continence, of inferior life, how notwithstanding is that which they receive one, equal and like, if it be not because, "This is He that baptizeth"? Just, then, as when the good and the better administer baptism, one man does not receive a good thing, another a better; but, notwithstanding that the ministers were one good the other better, they receive what is one and equal, not a better in the one case and a worse in the other; so, too, when a bad man administers baptism, through the ignorance or forbearance of the Church (for bad men either are not known as such, or are borne with; the chaff is tolerated until the floor be fully purged at the last), that which is given is one, not unlike because the ministers are unlike, but like and equal because "This is He that baptizeth."

9. Therefore, beloved, let us see what those men desire not to see; not what they may not see, but what they grieve to see, as though it were shut against them. Whither were the disciples sent to baptize as ministers, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost? Whither were they sent? "Go," said He, "baptize the nations." You have heard, brethren, how that inheritance comes, "Ask of me, and I will give Thee the nations for Thine inheritance, and the utmost bounds of the earth for Thy possessions." [127] You have heard how that "from Sion went forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem." [128] For it was there the disciples were told, "Go, baptize the nations in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." [129] We became attentive when we heard, "Go, baptize the nations." In whose name? "In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." This is one God; for it says not in the "names" of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, but "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." Where thou hearest one name, there is one God; just as it was said of Abraham's seed, and the Apostle Paul expounds it, "In thy seed shall all nations be blessed; he said not, In seeds, as in many, but as in one, and in thy seed which is Christ." [130] Wherefore, just as the apostle wished to show thee that, because in that place it is not said "in seeds," Christ is one; so here too, when it is said, "in the name," not in the names, even as these, "in seed," not in seeds, is it proved that the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost are one God.

10. But lo, say the disciples to the Lord, we are told in what name we are to baptize; Thou hast made us ministers, and hast said to us, "Go, baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." Whither shall we go? Whither? Have you not heard? To Mine inheritance. You ask, Whither shall we go? To that which I bought with my blood. Whither then? To the nations, saith He. I fancied that He said, Go, baptize the Africans in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Thanks be to God, the Lord has solved the question the dove has taught us. Thanks be to God, it was to the nations the apostles were sent; if to the nations, then to all tongues. The Holy Spirit signified this, being divided in the tongues, united in the dove. Here the tongues are divided, there the dove unites them. The tongues of the nations agreed, perhaps that of Africa alone disagreed. What can be more evident, my brethren? In the dove the unity, in the tongues the community of the nations. For once the tongues became discordant through pride, and then of one became many tongues. For after the flood certain proud men, as if endeavoring to fortify themselves against God, as if aught were high for God, or aught could give security to pride, raised a tower, apparently that they might not be destroyed by a flood, should there come one thereafter. For they had heard and considered that all iniquity was swept away by a flood; to abstain from iniquity they would not; they sought the height of a tower as a defense against a flood; they built a lofty tower. "God saw their pride, and frustrated their purpose by causing that they should not understand one another's speech, and thus tongues became diverse through pride." [131] If pride caused diversities of tongues, Christ's humility has united these diversities in one. The Church is now bringing together what that tower had sundered. Of one tongue there were made many; marvel not: this was the doing of pride. Of many tongues there is made one; marvel not: this was the doing of charity. For although the sounds of tongues are various, in the heart one God is invoked, one peace preserved. How then should the Holy Spirit have been manifested when signifying a unity, if not by the dove, so that it might be said to the Church brought into a state of peace, "My dove is one"? How ought humility to have been represented but by an innocent, sorrowing bird; not by a proud, exulting bird like the raven?

11. But perhaps they will say: Well, as it is a dove, and the dove is one, baptism there cannot be apart from the one dove. Therefore if the dove is with thee, or if thou be thyself a dove, do thou give me, when I come to thee, that which I have not. You know that this is what they say; but you will presently see that it is not of the voice of the dove, but of the clamor of the raven. For attend a little, beloved, and fear their devices; nay, beware of them, and listen to the words of gainsayers only to reject them, not to swallow them and take them into your bowels. Do therein what the Lord did when they offered Him the bitter draught, "He tasted, and spat it out;" [132] so also you hear and cast away. What indeed say they? Let us see. Lo, says he, "Thou art the dove." O Catholic Church, it is to thee it is said, "My dove is one, the only one of her mother," to thee certainly is it said. Stop, do not question me; prove first whether to me it was said; if it was said to me, I would hear it at once. "To thee," saith he, "it was said." I answer, in the voice of the Catholic Church, "To me." And this answer, brethren, sounding forth from my mouth alone, has sounded, as I believe, also from your hearts, and we all affirmed together, yea, to the Catholic Church was it said, "One is my dove, the only one of her mother." Apart from this dove, says he further, there is no baptism: I was baptized apart from this dove, consequently have not baptism; if I have not baptism, why dost thou not give it me when I come to thee?

12. I also will put questions; let us meanwhile lay aside the inquiry as to whom this was said, "My dove is one, the only one of her mother;"--as yet we are inquiring;--it was said either to me or to thee; let us postpone the question as to whom it was said. This is what I ask, if the dove is simple, innocent, without gall, peaceful in its kisses, not fierce with its talons, I ask whether the covetous, the rapacious, the crafty, the sottish, the infamous, belong to the members of this dove? Are they members of this dove? Far be the thought, says he. And who would really say this, brethren? To speak of nothing else, if I mention the rapacious alone, members of the hawk they may be, not members of the dove. Kites seize and plunder, so do hawks, so do ravens; doves do not plunder nor tear, consequently they who snatch and rob are not members of the dove. Was there not even one rapacious person among you? Why abides the baptism, which in this case the hawk, not the dove, has given? Why do you not among yourselves baptize after robbers, after adulterers, after drunkards? Why not baptize after the avaricious among yourselves? Are these all members of the dove? You so dishonor your dove that you make those that have the nature of the vulture her members. What, then, brethren, what say we? There are the bad and the good in the Catholic Church, but with them the bad only. But perhaps I say this with a hostile feeling: let this too be afterwards examined. They do say, certainly, that among them are the good and the bad; for, should they assert that they have only the good, let their own credit it, and I subscribe. With us, let them say, there are none but holy, righteous, chaste, sober men; no adulterers, no usurers, no deceivers, no false swearers, no wine-bibbers;--let them say this, for I heed not their tongues, I touch their hearts. But since they are well known to us, and to you, and to their own, just as you are known both to yourselves in the Catholic Church and to them, neither let us find fault with them, nor let them flatter themselves. We confess that in the Church there are good and bad, yet as the grain and the chaff. Sometimes he who is baptized by the grain is chaff, and he who is baptized by the chaff is grain. Otherwise, if his baptism who is baptized by the grain stands good, and his who is baptized by the chaff not, then it is not true, "This is He that baptizeth." But if it is true "This is He that baptizeth," then what is given by the chaff stands good, and he baptizeth in like manner as the dove. For the bad man (who administers baptism) is not the dove, nor belongs to the members of the dove, nor can he possibly be affirmed to be so, either with us in the Catholic Church or with them, if they assert that their Church is the dove. What then are we to understand, brethren? Since it is evident, and known to all, and they must admit, though it be against their will, that when with them bad men give baptism, it is not given after those bad men; and with us, too, when the bad give baptism, it is not given after them. The dove does not baptize after the raven; why then would the raven baptize after the dove?

13. Consider, beloved, why also was there a something pointed out by means of the dove, as that the dove--namely, the Holy Spirit in the shape of a dove--came to the Lord on being baptized, and rested upon Him, whilst by the coming of the dove John learned this, that there dwelt in the Lord a power peculiarly His own to baptize? Because it was by this power peculiar to Himself, as I have said, the peace of the Church was made secure. And yet it may be that one may have baptism apart from the dove; but that baptism apart from the dove should do him good, is impossible. Consider, beloved, and understand what I say, for by this deception they mislead such of our brethren as are dull and cold. Let us be more simple and more fervent. See, say they, have I received, or have I not? I answer, Thou hast received. Well, if I have received, there is nothing which thou canst give me; I am safe, even on thine own evidence. For I affirm that I have received, and thou, too, dost confess that I have received: I am safe by the confession of both: what then dost thou promise me? Why wouldst thou make me a Catholic, when thou wouldst not give me anything further, seeing thou confessest that I have already received that which thou affirmest thyself to possess? But when I say, Come to me, I say that thou dost not possess, who yet confessest that I do. Why dost thou say, Come to me?

14. The dove teaches us. From the head of the Lord she answers, and says, Thou hast baptism, but the charity with which I groan thou hast not. How is this, says he, I have baptism, and have not charity? Have I the sacraments, and not charity? Do not shout: show me how can he who divides unity have charity? I, saith he, have baptism. Thou hast; but that baptism, without charity, profits thee nothing; because without charity thou art nothing. The baptism itself, even in him who is nothing, is not nothing. Baptism, indeed, is something, aye, something great, for His sake, of whom it is said, "This is He that baptizeth." But lest thou shouldst fancy that that which is great can profit thee aught, if thou be not in unity, it was after He was baptized that the dove descended, as if intimating, If thou hast baptism, be in the dove, lest what thou hast profit thee not. Come, then, to the dove, we say; not that thou mayest begin to have what thou hadst not before, but that what thou didst have may begin to profit thee. For thou didst have baptism to destruction without; if thou shalt have it within, it begins to profit thee to salvation.

15. For not only was baptism not profitable to thee, and not also hurtful. Even holy things may be hurtful. In the good, indeed, holy things are to salvation; in the evil, to judgment. For we certainly know, brethren, what we receive, and what we receive is at any rate holy, and no one says that it is not: and what says the apostle? "But he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself." [133] He does not say that the thing itself is bad, but that the evil man, by receiving it amiss, receives the good thing which he does receive to judgment. Was that morsel which the Lord delivered to Judas evil? God forbid. The physician would not give poison; it was health the physician gave; but by unworthily receiving it, he who received it not being at peace, received it unto destruction. So likewise also he who is baptized. I have (baptism), says he, for myself. Thou hast it, I admit. Give good heed to what thou hast; by that very thing which thou hast thou wilt be condemned. Wherefore? Because thou hast what belongs to the dove apart from the dove. If thou hast what is the dove's in the dove, thou art safe. Suppose thyself a soldier: if thou hast thy general's mark within the lines, thou servest in safety; but if thou hast it out of bounds, not only that mark will not be of advantage to thee for service, but thou wilt even be punished as a deserter. Come, then, come, and do not say, I have already, I have enough. Come; the dove is calling thee, calling thee by her sighing. My brethren, to you I say, call by groaning, not by quarreling; call by praying, by invitation, by fasting; let them by your charity understand that you pity them. I doubt not, my brethren, that if they see your sorrow they will be astonished, and will come to life again. Come, then, come; be not afraid; be afraid if thou do not come; nay, be not afraid, rather bewail thyself. Come, thou wilt rejoice if thou wilt come; thou wilt indeed groan in the tribulations of thy pilgrimage, but thou wilt rejoice in hope. Come where the dove is, to whom it was said, "My dove is one, the only one of her mother." Seest thou not the one dove upon the head of Christ, seest thou not the tongues throughout the whole world? It is the same Spirit by the dove and by the tongues: if by the dove the same Spirit, and by the tongues the same Spirit, then was the Holy Spirit given to the whole world, from which Spirit thou hast cut thyself off, that thou mightest clamor with the raven, not that thou mightest sigh with the dove. Come, then.

16. But thou art anxious, it may be, and sayest, I was baptized without; I fear lest therefore I am guilty, in that I was baptized without. Already thou beginnest to know what thou hast to bewail. Thou sayest truly that thou art guilty, not because of thy re ceiving, but because of thy receiving without. Keep then what thou hast received; amend thy receiving it without. Thou hast received what is the dove's apart from the dove. Here are two things said to thee: Thou hast received, and, Apart from the dove thou hast received. In that thou hast received, I approve; that thou hast received without, I disapprove. Keep then what thou hast received, it is not changed, but recognized: it is the mark of my king, I will not profane it. I will correct the deserter, not change the mark.

17. Boast not of thy baptism because I call it a real baptism. Behold, I say that it is so; the whole Catholic Church says that it is so; the dove regards it, and acknowledges it, and groans because thou hast it without; she sees therein what she may acknowledge, sees also what she may correct. It is a real baptism, come. Thou boastest that it is real, and yet wilt thou not come? What then of the wicked, who do not belong to the dove? Saith the dove to thee, Even the wicked, among whom I groan, who belong not to my members, and it must needs be that I groan among them, have not they that which thou boastest of having? Have not many drunkards baptism? Have not many covetous? Have not many idolaters, and, what is worse, who are such by stealth? Do not the pagans resort, or at least did resort, publicly to idols? And now Christians secretly seek out diviners and consult astrologers. And yet these have baptism; but the dove groans among ravens. Why then dost thou boast in the having it? This that thou hast, the wicked man also has. Have thou humility, charity, peace; have thou the good thing which as yet thou hast not, so that the good thing which thou hast may profit thee.

18. For what thou hast, even Simon Magus had: the Acts of the Apostles are witness, that canonical book which has to be read in the Church every year. You know that every year, in the season following the Lord's Passion, that book is read, wherein it is written, how the apostle was converted, and from a persecutor became a preacher; [134] also, how on the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit was sent in cloven tongues as of fire. [135] There we read that in Samaria many believed through the preaching of Philip: and he is understood to have been either one of the apostles or one of the deacons; for we read there that seven deacons were ordained, among whom is the name of Philip. Well, then, through the preaching of Philip the Samaritans believed; Samaria began to abound in believers. This Simon Magus was there. By his magical arts he had so befooled the people, that they fancied him to be the power of God. Impressed, however, by the signs which were done by Philip, he also believed; but in what manner he believed, the events that followed afterwards proved. And Simon also was baptized. The apostles, who were at Jerusalem, heard this. Peter and John were sent to those in Samaria; they found many baptized; and as none of them had as yet received the Holy Ghost,--in like manner as He at that time descended, so as that they on whom the Holy Spirit came should speak with tongues, for a manifest token that the nations would believe,--they laid their hands on them, praying for them, and they received the Holy Ghost. This Simon--who was not a dove but a raven in the Church, because he sought his own things, not the things which are Jesus Christ's; whence he loved the power which was in the Christians more than the righteousness--Simon, I say, saw that the Holy Spirit was given by the laying on of the hands of the apostles (not that it was given by them, but given in answer to their prayers), and he said to them, "How much money will ye that I give you, so that by the laying on of my hands also, the Holy Ghost may be given? And Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou thoughtest that the gift of God was to be bought with money." To whom said he, "Thy money perish with thee"? Undoubtedly to one that was baptized. Baptism he had already; but he did not cleave to the bowels of the dove. Understand that he did not; attend to the very words of the Apostle Peter, for he goes on, "Thou hast no part nor lot in this faith: for I see that thou art in the gall of bitterness." [136] The dove has no gall; Simon had, and for that reason he was separated from the bowels of the dove. What did baptism profit him? Do not therefore boast of thy baptism, as if that were of itself enough for thy salvation. Be not angry, put away thy gall, come to the dove. Here that will profit thee, which without not only did not profit thee, but even was prejudicial to thee.

19. Neither say, I will not come, because I was baptized without. So, begin to have charity, begin to have fruit, let there be fruit found in thee, and the dove will send thee within. We find this in Scripture. The ark was made of incorruptible wood. The incorruptible timbers are the saints, the faithful that belong to Christ. For as in the temple the living stones of which it is built are said to be faithful men, so likewise the incorruptible timbers are they who persevere in the faith. In that same ark, then, the timbers were incorruptible. Now the ark is the Church, it is there the dove baptizeth; for the ark was borne on the water, the incorruptible timbers were baptized within. We find that certain timbers were baptized without, such as all the trees that were in the world. Nevertheless the water was the same, not another sort; all had come from heaven, or from abysses of the fountains. It was the same water in which the incorruptible timbers which were in the ark were baptized, and in which the timbers that were without were baptized. The dove was sent forth, and at first found no rest for its feet; it returned to the ark, for all was full of water, and it preferred to return rather than be rebaptized. But the raven was sent out before the water was dried up. Rebaptized, it desired not to return, and died in those waters. May God avert from us that raven's death. For why did not the raven return, unless because it was taken off by the waters? But on the other hand, the dove not finding rest for its feet, whilst the water was crying to it on every side, "Come, come, dip thyself here;" just as these heretics cry, "Come, come, here thou hast it;" the dove, finding no rest for its feet, returned to the ark. And Noah sent it out a second time, just as the ark sends you out to speak to them; and what did the dove afterwards? Because there were timbers without that were baptized, it brought back to the ark an olive branch. That branch had both leaves and fruit. Let there not be in thee words only, nor leaves only; let there be fruit, and thou returnest to the ark, not of thyself, the dove calls thee back. Groan ye without, that ye may call them back within.

20. Moreover, as to this fruit of the olive, if the matter be examined, you will find what it was. The fruit of the olive signifies charity. How do we prove this? Just as oil is kept down by no liquid, but bursting through all, bounds up and overtops them; so likewise charity cannot be pressed to the bottom, but must of necessity show itself at the top. Therefore the apostle says of it, "Yet show I unto you a more excellent [137] way." Since we have said of oil that it overtops other liquids, in case it should not be of charity, the apostle said, "I show you a more excellent way," let us hear what follows. "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal." Go now, Donatus, and cry, "I am eloquent;" go now, and cry, "I am learned." How far eloquent? How far learned? Hast thou spoken with the tongues of angels? Yet though thou wert to speak with the tongues of angels, not having charity, I should hear only sounding brass and tinkling cymbals. I want solidity; let me find fruit among the leaves; let there be not words merely, let them have the olive, let them return to the ark.

21. But I have the sacrament, thou wilt say. Thou sayest the truth; the sacrament is divine; thou hast baptism, and that I confess. But what says the apostle? "If I should know all mysteries, [138] and have prophecy and all faith, so that I could remove mountains;" in case thou shouldest say this, "I believe; enough for me." But what says James? "The devils believe and tremble." [139] Faith is mighty, but without charity it profits nothing. The devils confessed Christ. Accordingly it was from believing, but not from loving, they said, "What have we to do with Thee?" [140] They had faith, but not charity; hence they were devils. Boast not of faith; so far thou art on a level with the devils. Say not to Christ, What have I to do with Thee? For Christ's unity speaks to thee. Come, learn peace, return to the bowels of the dove. Thou hast been baptized without; have fruit, and thou returnest to the ark.

22. But sayest thou, "Why do you seek us if we are bad men?" That you may be good. The reason why we seek you is, because you are bad; for if you were not bad, we should have found you, and would not be seeking you. He who is good is already found; he who is bad is still sought after. Consequently, we are seeking you; return ye to the ark. "But I have baptism already." "Though I should know all mysteries, [141] and have prophecy and all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not charity, I am nothing." Let me see fruit there; let me see the olive there, and thou art called back to the ark.

23. But what sayest thou? "Behold, we suffer many evils." Would that ye suffered these for Christ, not for your own honor! Hear what follows: They, indeed, boast sometimes, because they do many alms, give to the poor; because they suffer afflictions: but it is for Donatus, not for Christ. Consider how thou sufferest; for if thou sufferest for Donatus, it is for a proud man: thou art not in the dove if thou art suffering for Donatus. Donatus was not the friend of the Bridegroom; for had he been, he would have sought the glory of the Bridegroom, not his own. See the friend of the Bridegroom saying, "This is He that baptizeth." He, for whom thou art suffering, was not the friend of the Bridegroom. Thou hast not the wedding garment; and if thou art come to the feast, thou wilt be put out of doors; nay, thou hast been cast out of doors already, and for that reason thou art wretched: return at length, and do not boast. Hear what the apostle says: "Though I should distribute all my goods to the poor, and give my body to be burnt, but have not charity." See what thou dost not have. "Though," he saith, "I should give my body to be burnt;" and that, too, for the name of Christ; but since there are many who do this boastfully, not with charity, therefore, "Though I should give my body to be burnt, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing." [142] It was by charity those martyrs, who suffered in time of persecution, did this; but these men do it of their vanity and pride; for in the absence of a persecutor, they throw themselves headlong into destruction. Come, then, that thou mayest have charity. "But we have our martyrs." What martyrs? They are not doves; hence they attempted to fly, and fell over the rock.

24. You see then, my brethren, that all things cry against them, all the divine pages, all prophecy, the whole gospel, all the apostolic letters, every sigh of the dove, and yet they awake not, they do not yet rouse from their sleep. But if we are the dove, let us groan, let us persevere, let us hope; God's compassion will be with you, that the fire of the Holy Spirit may glow in your simplicity; and they will come. There must be no despairing; pray, preach, love; the Lord is able to the utmost. Already they begin to be sensible of their shame; many have become sensible of it, and blushed; Christ will aid, that the rest also may become sensible of it. However, my brethren, at least let the chaff alone remain there; let all the grain be gathered together; let whatever has borne fruit among them return to the ark by the dove.

25. Failing everywhere else, what do they now allege against us, not finding what to say? They have taken away our houses, they have taken away our estates. They bring forward wills. "See, Gaius Seius made a grant of an estate to the church over which Faustinus presided." Of what church was Faustinus bishop? What is the church? To the church over which Faustinus presided, said he. But Faustinus presided not over a church, but over a sect. The dove, however, is the Church. Why cry out? We have not devoured houses; let the dove have them. Let inquiry be made who the dove is, and let her have them. For you know, my brethren, that those houses of theirs are not Augustin's; and if you know it not, and imagine that I delight in the possession of them, God knows, yea, knows my judgment respecting those estates, and even what I suffer in that matter; He knows my groaning, since He has deigned to impart to me somewhat of the dove. Behold, there are those estates; by what right dost thou assert thy claim to them? By divine right, or by human? Let them answer: Divine right we have in the Scriptures, human right in the laws of kings. By what right does every man possess what he possesses? Is it not by human right? For by divine right, "The earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof." [143] The poor and the rich God made of one clay; the same earth supports alike the poor and the rich. By human right, however, one says, This estate is mine, this house is mine, this servant is mine. By human right, therefore, is by right of the emperors. Why so? Because God has distributed to mankind these very human rights through the emperors and kings of this world. Do you wish us to read the laws of the emperors, and to act by the estates according to these laws? If you will have your possession by human right, let us recite the laws of the emperors; let us see whether they would have the heretics possess anything. But what is the emperor to me? thou sayest. It is by right from him that thou possessest the land. Or take away rights created by emperors, and then who will dare say, That estate is mine, or that slave is mine, or this house is mine? If, however, in order to their possessing these things, men have received rights derived from kings, will ye that we read the laws, that you may be glad in having even a single garden, and impute it to nothing but the clemency of the dove that you are permitted to remain in possession even there? For there are to be read well known laws, in which the emperors have directed that those who, being outside the communion of the Catholic Church, usurp to themselves the name of Christians, and are not willing in peace to worship the Author of peace, may not dare to possess anything in the name of the Church.

26. But what have we to do with the emperor? But I have already said that we are treating of human right. And yet the apostle would have us obey kings, would have us honor kings, and said, "Honor the king." [144] Do not say, What have I to do with the king? as in that case, what have you to do with the possession? It is by the rights derived from kings that possessions are enjoyed. Thou hast said, What have I to do with the king? Say not then that the possessions are thine; because it is to those same human rights, by which men enjoy their possessions, thou hast referred them. But it is with divine right I have to do, saith he. Well, let us read the Gospel; let us see how far extends the Catholic Church of Christ, upon whom the dove came, which taught, "This is He that baptizeth." In what way, then, can he possess by divine right, who says, "I baptize;" whilst the dove says, "This is He that baptizeth;" whilst the Scripture says, "My dove is one, the only one of her mother"? Why have you torn the dove?--nay, rather, have torn your own bowels, for while you are yourselves torn to pieces, the dove continues entire. Therefore, my brethren, if, driven from every point, they have nothing to say, I will tell them what to do; let them come to the Catholic Church, and together with us, they will have not only the earth, but Him also who made heaven and earth.


[116] Rom. viii. 26. [117] 2 Cor. v. 6. [118] Gen. viii. 6, 9. [119] Phil. ii. 21. [120] Acts ii. 1, 4. [121] Acts vii. 51-59. [122] Luke xxiii. 34. [123] Matt. iii. 16. [124] Cant. vi. 8. [125] Matt. iii. 14. [126] 2 Tim. ii. 19. [127] Ps. ii. 8. [128] Isa. ii. 3. [129] Matt. xxviii. 19. [130] Gen. xxii. 18; Gal. iii. 16. [131] Gen. xi. 1-9. [132] Matt. xxvii. 34. [133] 1 Cor. xi. 29. [134] Acts ix. [135] Acts ii. [136] Acts viii. 5-23. [137] Supereminentiorem. [138] Sacramenta. [139] Jas. ii. 19. [140] Mark i. 24. [141] Sacramenta. [142] 1 Cor. xiii. 2, 3. [143] Ps. xxiv. i. [144] 1 Pet. ii. 17.

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