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. James Innes, of Panbride, near Dundee, Scotland

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

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Tractate C.

Chapter XVI. 13-15 (continued).

1. When our Lord gave the promise of the coming of His Holy Spirit, He said, "He shall teach you all truth," or, as we read in some copies, "He shall guide you into all truth. For He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak." On these Gospel words we have already discoursed as the Lord enabled us; and now give your attention to those that follow. "And He will show you," He said, "things to come." Over this, which is perfectly plain, there is no need to linger; for it contains no question that demands from us any regular exposition. But the words that He proceeds to add, "He shall make me clearly known; [1651] for He shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you," are not to be carelessly passed over. For by the words, "He shall make me clearly known," we may understand, that by shedding abroad [God's] love in the hearts of believers, and making them spiritual, He showed them how it was that the Son was equal to the Father, whom previously they had only known according to the flesh, and as men themselves had thought of Him only as man. Or at least that, filled themselves through that very love with boldness, and divested of all fear, they might proclaim Christ unto men; and so His fame be spread abroad through the whole world. So that He said, "He shall make me clearly known," as if meaning, He shall free you from fear, and endow you with a love that will so inflame your zeal in preaching me, that you will send forth the odor, and commend the honor of, my glory throughout the world. For what they were to do in the Holy Spirit, He said that the Spirit Himself would also do, as is implied in the words, "For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father that speaketh in you." [1652] The Greek word, indeed, which is doxasei, has been rendered by the Latin interpreters in their respective translations, clarificabit ("shall make clearly known") by one, and glorificabit ("shall glorify") by another: for the idea expressed in Greek by the one term doxa, from which is derived the verb doxasei, may be interpreted both by claritas (brightness) and gloria (glory). For by glory every one becomes bright, and glorious by brightness; and hence what is signified by both words, is one and the same thing. And, as the most famous writers of the Latin tongue in olden time have defined it, glory is the generally diffused and accepted fame of any one accompanied with praise. But when this happened in the world in regard to Christ, we are not to suppose that it was the bestowing of any great thing on Christ, but on the world. For to praise what is good is not of benefit to that which receives, but to those who give the commendation.

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2. But there is also a false glory, when the praise given is the result of a mistake, whether in regard to things or to persons, or to both. For men are mistaken in regard to things, when they think that to be good which is evil; and in regard to persons, when they think one to be good who is evil; and in regard to both, when what is actually a vice is esteemed a virtue; and when he who is praised for something is destitute of what he is supposed to have, whether he be good or evil. To credit vain-glorious persons [1653] with the things they profess, is surely a huge vice, and not a virtue; and yet you know how common is the laudatory fame of such; for, as Scripture says, "The sinner is praised in the desires of his soul, and he who practises iniquity is blessed." [1654] Here those who praise are not mistaken in the persons, but in the things; for that is evil which they believe to be good. But those who are morally corrupted with the evil of prodigality are undoubtedly such as those who praise them do not simply suspect, but perceive them to be. But further, if one feign himself a just man, and be not so, but, as regards all that he seems to do in a praiseworthy way in the sight of men, does it not for God's sake, that is, for the sake of true righteousness, but makes glory from men the only glory he seeks and hankers after; while those with whom his extolled fame is generally accepted think of him only as living in a praiseworthy way for God's sake,--they are not mistaken in the thing, but are deceived in the person. For that which they believe to be good, is good; but the person whom they believe to be good, is the reverse. But if, for example, skill in magical arts be esteemed good, and any one, so long as he is believed to have delivered his country by those same arts whereof all the while he is utterly ignorant, attain amongst the irreligious to that generally accepted renown which is defined as glory, those who so praise err in both respects; to wit, both in the thing, for they esteem that good which is evil; and in the person, for he is not at all what they suppose him. But when, in regard to any one who is righteous by God's grace and for God's sake, in other words, truly righteous, there is on account of that very righteousness a generally accepted fame of a laudatory kind, then the glory is indeed a true one; and yet we are not to suppose that thereby the righteous man is made blessed, but rather those who praise him are to be congratulated, because they judge rightly, and love the righteous. And how much more, then, did Christ the Lord, by His own glory, benefit, not Himself, but those whom He also benefited by His death?

3. But that is not a true glory which He has among heretics, with whom, nevertheless, He appears to have a generally accepted fame accompanied with praise. Such is no true glory, because in both respects they are mistaken, for they both think that to be good which is not good, and they suppose Christ to be what Christ is not. For to say that the only-begotten Son is not equal to Him that begat, is not good: to say that the only-begotten Son of God is man only, and not God, is not good: to say that the flesh of the Truth is not true flesh, is not good. Of the three doctrines which I have stated, the first is held by the Arians, the second by the Photinians, and the third by the Manicheans. But inasmuch as there is nothing in any of them that is good, and Christ has nothing to do with them, in both respects they are in the wrong; and they attach no true glory to Christ, although there may appear to be amongst them a generally accepted fame regarding Christ of a laudatory character. And accordingly all heretics together, whom it would be too tedious to enumerate, who have not right views regarding Christ, err on this account, that their views are untrue regarding both good things and evil. The pagans, also, of whom great numbers are lauders of Christ, are themselves also mistaken in both respects, saying, as they do, not in accordance with the truth of God, but rather with their own conjectures, that He was a magician. For they reproach Christians as being destitute of skill; but Christ they laud as a magician, and so betray what it is that they love: Christ indeed they do not love, since what they love is that which Christ never was. And thus, then, in both respects they are in error, for it is wicked to be a magician; and as Christ was good, He was not a magician. Wherefore, as we have nothing to say in this place of those who malign and blaspheme Christ,--for it is of His glory we speak, wherewith He was glorified in the world,--it was only in the holy Catholic Church that the Holy Spirit glorified Him with His true glory. For elsewhere, that is, either among heretics or certain pagans, the glory He has in the world cannot be a true one, even where there is a generally accepted fame of Him accompanied with praise. His true glory, therefore, in the Catholic Church is celebrated in these words by the prophet: "Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens; and Thy glory above all the earth." [1655] Accordingly, that after His exaltation the Holy Spirit was to come, and to glorify Him, the sacred psalm, and the Only-begotten Himself, promised as an event of the future, which we see accomplished.

4. But when He says, "He shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you," listen thereto with Catholic ears, and receive it with Catholic minds. For not surely on that account, as certain heretics have imagined, is the Holy Spirit inferior to the Son; as if the Son received from the Father, and the Holy Spirit from the Son, in reference to certain gradations of natures. Far be it from us to believe this, or to say it, and from Christian hearts to think it. In fine, He Himself straightway solved the question, and explained why He said so. "All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore, said I, that He shall take of mine, and shall show it unto you." What would you more? The Holy Spirit thus receives of the Father, of whom the Son receives; for in this Trinity the Son is born of the Father, and from the Father the Holy Spirit proceedeth. He, however, who is born of none, and proceedeth from none, is the Father alone. But in what sense it is that the only-begotten Son said, "All things that the Father hath are mine" (for it certainly was not in the same sense as when it was said to that son, who was not only begotten, but the elder of two, "Thou art ever with me; and all that I have is thine)," [1656] will have our careful consideration, if the Lord so will, in connection with the passage where the Only-begotten saith to the Father, "And all mine are Thine, and Thine are mine;" [1657] so that our present discourse may be here brought to a close, as the words that follow require a different opening for their discussion.

Footnotes

[1651] Clarificabit: see below. [1652] Matt. x. 20. [1653] Histrionibus, literally, play-actors. [1654] Ps. x. 3. Augustin here, as usual, follows the Septuagint. H+iL+uL+ (praise), however, is not passive, but, instead of its usual accusative, takes E+aL+ with the subject of praise, and is rendered with sufficient accuracy in the English version. B+uR+K%, also, must be translated actively, with "the covetous," or "the defrauder," as its nominative: and the verse should thus read, "The wicked boasteth of his soul's desire, and the defrauder blesseth [and] blasphemeth Jehovah." It would be natural enough in the defrauder to do both.--Tr. [1655] Ps. cviii. 5. [1656] Luke xv. 31. [1657] Chap. xvii. 10. .


Tractate CI.

Chapter XVI. 16-23.

1. These words of the Lord, when He says, "A little while, and ye shall no more see me: and again a little while, and ye shall see me; because I go to the Father," were so obscure to the disciples, before what He thus says was actually fulfilled, that they inquired among themselves what it was that He said, and had to confess themselves utterly ignorant. For the Gospel proceeds, "Then said some of His disciples among themselves, What is this that He saith unto us, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again a little while, and ye shall see me; and, Because I go to the Father? They said therefore, What is this that He saith, A little while? we know not what He saith." This is what moved them, that He said, "A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again a little while, and ye shall see me." For in what precedes, because He had not said, "A little while," but only, "I go to the Father and ye shall see me no more," [1658] He appeared to them to have spoken, as it were, quite plainly, and they had no inquiry among themselves, regarding it. But now, what was then obscure to them, and was shortly afterwards revealed, is already perfectly manifest to us: for after a little while He suffered, and they saw Him not; again, after a little while He rose, and they saw Him. But how the words are to be taken that He used, "Ye shall no more see me," inasmuch as by the word "more" [1659] He wished it to be understood that they would not see Him afterwards, we have explained at the passage where He said, The Holy Spirit "shall convince of righteousness, because I go to the Father, and ye shall see me no more;" [1660] meaning thereby, that they would never afterwards see Christ in His present state of subjection to death.

2. "Now Jesus knew," as the evangelist proceeds to say, "that they were desirous to ask Him, and said unto them, Ye inquire among yourselves of that I said, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again a little while, and ye shall see me. Verily verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice; and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy:" which may be understood in this way, that the disciples were thrown into sorrow over the death of the Lord, and straightway were filled with joy at His resurrection; but the world, whereby are signified the enemies that slew Christ, were, of course, in a state of rapture over the murder of Christ, at the very time when the disciples were filled with sorrow. For by the name of the world the wickedness of this world may be understood; in other words, those who are the friends of this world. As the Apostle James says in his epistle, "Whosoever will be a friend of this world, is become the enemy of God;" [1661] for the effect of that enmity to God was, that not even His Only-begotten was spared.

3. And then He goes on to say, "A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. And ye now therefore have sorrow; but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you." Nor does the metaphor here employed seem difficult to understand; for its key is at hand in the exposition given by Himself of its meaning. For the pangs of parturition are compared to sorrow, and the birth itself to joy; which is usually all the greater when it is not a girl but a boy that is born. But when He said, "Your joy no man taketh from you," for their joy was Jesus Himself, there is implied what was said by the apostle, "Christ, being raised from the dead, dieth no more; and death shall have no more dominion over Him." [1662]

4. Hitherto in this section of the Gospel, whereon we are discoursing to-day, the tenor of everything has been, I may say, of easy understanding: a much closer attention is needful in connection with the words that follow. For what does He mean by the words, "And in that day ye shall ask me nothing"? The verb to ask, used here, means not only to beg of, but also to question; and the Greek Gospel, of which this is a translation, has a word that may also be understood in both senses, so that by it the ambiguity is not removed; [1663] and even though it were so, every difficulty would not thereby disappear. For we read that the Lord Christ, after He rose again, was both questioned and petitioned. He was asked by the disciples, on the eve of His ascension into heaven, when He would be manifested, and when the kingdom of Israel would come; [1664] and even when already in heaven, He was petitioned [asked] by St. Stephen to receive his spirit. [1665] And who dare either think or say that Christ ought not to be asked, sitting as He does in heaven, and yet was asked while He abode on earth? or that He ought not to be asked in His state of immortality, although it was men's duty to ask Him while still in His state of subjection to death? Nay, beloved, let us ask Him to untie with His own hands the knot of our present inquiry, by so shining into our hearts that we may perceive what He saith.

5. For I think that His words, "But I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you," are not to be referred to the time of His resurrection, and when He showed them His flesh to be looked at and handled; [1666] but rather to that of which He had already said, "He that loveth me, shall be loved of my Father; and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him." [1667] For He had already risen, He had already shown Himself to them in the flesh, and He was already sitting at the right hand of the Father, when that same Apostle John, whose Gospel this is, says in his epistle, "Beloved, now are we the sons of God; and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall be manifested, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is." [1668] That vision belongs not to this life, but to the future; and is not temporal, but eternal. "And this is life eternal," in the words of Him who is that life, "that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent." [1669] Of this vision and knowledge the apostle says, "Now we see through a glass, in a riddle; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known." [1670] At present the Church is in travail with the longing for this fruit of all her labor, but then she shall bring to the birth in its actual contemplation; now she travails in birth with groaning, then shall she bring forth in joy; now she travails in birth through her prayers, then shall she bring forth in her praises. Thus, too, is it a male child; since to such fruit in the contemplation are all the duties of her present conduct to be referred. For He alone is free; because He is desired on His own account, and not in reference to aught besides. Such conduct is in His service; for whatever is done in a good spirit has a reference to Him, because it is done on His behalf; while He, on the other hand, is got and held in possession on His own account, and not on that of aught besides. And there, accordingly, we find the only end that is satisfying to ourselves. He will therefore be eternal; for no end can satisfy us, save that which is found in Him who is endless. With this was Philip inspired, when he said, "Show us the Father, and it sufficeth us." And in that showing the Son gave promise also of His own presence, when He said, "Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me?" [1671] Of that, therefore, which alone sufficeth us, we are very appropriately informed, "Your joy no man taketh from you."

6. On this point, also, in reference to what has been said above, I think we may get a still better understanding of the words, "A little while, and ye shall no more see me: and again a little while, and ye shall see me." For the whole of that space over which the present dispensation extends, is but a little while; and hence this same evangelist says in his epistle, "It is the last hour." [1672] For in this sense also He added, "Because I go to the Father," which is to be referred to the preceding clause, where He saith, "A little while, and ye shall no more see me;" and not to the subsequent, where He saith, "And again a little while, and ye shall see me." For by His going to the Father, He was to bring it about that they should not see Him. And on this account, therefore, His words did not mean that He was about to die, and to be withdrawn from their view till His resurrection; but that He was about to go to the Father, which He did after His resurrec tion, and when, after holding intercourse with them for forty days, He ascended into heaven. [1673] He therefore addressed the words, "A little while, and ye shall no more see me," to those who saw Him at the time in bodily form; because He was about to go to the Father, and never thereafter to be seen in that mortal state wherein they now beheld Him when so addressing them. But the words that He added, "And again a little while, and ye shall see me," He gave as a promise to the Church universal: just as to it, also, He gave the other promise, "Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the world." [1674] The Lord is not slack concerning His promise: a little while, and we shall see Him, where we shall have no more any requests to make, any questions to put; for nothing shall remain to be desired, nothing lie hid to be inquired about. This little while appears long to us, because it is still in continuance; when it is over, we shall then feel what a little while it was. Let not, then, our joy be like that of the world, whereof it is said, "But the world shall rejoice;" and yet let not our sorrow in travailing in birth with such a desire be unmingled with joy; but, as the apostle says, be "rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation;" [1675] for even the woman in travail, to whom we are compared, has herself more joy over the offspring that is soon to be, than sorrow over her present pains. But let us here close our present discourse, for the words that follow contain a very trying question, and must not be unduly curtailed, so that they may, if the Lord will, obtain a more befitting explanation.

Footnotes

[1658] Chap. xvi. 10. [1659] The English version has here, "Ye shall not see me," reading ou in the original, with the Alexandrine Codex. Several of the others, however (including the Sinaitic), have ouketi ("no more"), rendered by Augustin jam non, which has thus the greater weight of authority on its side.--Tr. [1660] Above, Tract. XCV. [1661] Jas. iv. 4. [1662] Rom. vi. 9. [1663] Greek, erotesete. [1664] Acts i. 6. [1665] Acts vii. 59. [1666] Chap. xx. 27. [1667] Chap. xiv. 21. [1668] 1 John iii. 2. [1669] Chap. xvii. 3. [1670] 1 Cor. xiii. 12. [1671] Chap. xiv. 8, 10. [1672] 1 John ii. 18. [1673] Acts i. 3, 9. [1674] Matt. xxviii. 20. [1675] Rom. xii. 12. .


Tractate CII.

Chapter XVI. 23-28.

1. We have now to consider these words of the Lord, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, If ye shall ask anything of the Father in my name, He will give it you." It has already been said in the earlier portions of this discourse of our Lord's, on account of those who ask some things of the Father in Christ's name and receive them not, that there is nothing asked of the Father in the Saviour's name that is asked in contrariety to the method of salvation. [1676] For it is not the sound of the letters and syllables, but what the sound itself imports, and what is rightly and truly to be understood by that sound, that He is to be regarded as declaring, when He says, "in my name." Hence, he who has such ideas of Christ as ought not to be entertained of the only Son of God, asketh not in His name, even though he may not abstain from the mention of Christ in so many letters and syllables; since it is only in His name he asketh, of whom he is thinking when he asketh. But he who has such ideas of Him as ought to be entertained, asketh in His name, and receiveth what he asketh, if he asketh nothing that is contrary to his own everlasting salvation. And he receiveth it when he ought to receive it. For some things are not refused, but are delayed till they can be given at a suitable time. In this way, surely, we are to understand His words, "He will give you," so that thereby we may know that those benefits are signified which are properly applicable to those who ask. For all the saints are heard effectively [1677] in their own behalf, but are not so heard in behalf of all besides, whether friends or enemies, or any others: for it is not said in a general kind of way, "He will give;" but, "He will give you."

2. "Hitherto," He says, "ye have not asked anything in my name. Ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full." This that He calls a full joy is certainly no carnal joy, but a spiritual one; and when it shall be so great as to be no longer capable of any additions to it, it will then doubtless be full. Whatever, then, is asked as belonging to the attainment of this joy, is to be asked in the name of Christ, if we understand the grace of God, and if we are truly in quest of a blessed life. But if aught different from this is asked, there is nothing asked: not that the thing itself is nothing at all, but that in comparison with what is so great, anything else that is coveted is virtually nothing. For, of course, the man is not actually nothing, of whom the apostle says, "He who thinketh himself to be something, when he is nothing." [1678] But surely in comparison with the spiritual man, who knows that by the grace of God he is what he is, he who makes vain assumptions is nothing. In this way, then, may the words also be rightly understood, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, if ye shall ask anything of the Father in my name, He will give [it] you;" that by the words, "if anything," should not be understood anything whatever, but anything that is not really nothing in connection with the life of blessedness. And what follows, "Hitherto ye have not asked anything in my name," may be understood in two ways: either, that ye have not asked in my name, because a name that ye have not known as it is yet to be known; or, ye have not asked anything, since in comparison with that which ye ought to have asked, what ye have asked is to be accounted as nothing. In order, then, that, they may ask in His name, not that which is nothing, but a full joy (since anything different from this that they ask is virtually nothing), He addresses to them the exhortation, "Ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full;" that is, ask this in my name, that your joy may be full, and ye shall receive. For His saints, who persevere in asking such a good thing as this, will in no wise be defrauded by the mercy of God.

3. "These things," said He, "have I spoken to you in proverbs: but the hour cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall show you plainly of my Father." I might be disposed to say that this hour, whereof He speaketh, must be understood as that future period when we shall see openly, as the blessed Paul says, "face to face;" that what He says, "These things have I spoken to you in proverbs," is one with what has been said by the same apostle, "Now we see through a glass, in a riddle:" [1679] and "I will show you," because the Father shall be seen through the instrumentality of the Son, is akin to what He says elsewhere, "Neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and [he] to whom the Son shall be pleased to reveal Him." [1680] But such a sense seems to be interfered with by that which follows: "At that day ye shall ask in my name." For in that future world, when we have reached the kingdom where we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is, [1681] what shall we then have to ask, when our desire shall be satisfied with good things? [1682] As it is also said in another psalm: "I shall be satisfied when Thy glory shall be revealed." [1683] For petition has to do with some kind of want, which can have no place there where such abundance shall reign.

4. It remains, therefore, for us, so far as my capacity to apprehend it goes, to understand Jesus as having promised that He would cause His disciples, from being carnal and natural, to become spiritual, although not yet such as we shall be, when a spiritual body shall also be ours; but such as was he who said, "We speak wisdom among them that are perfect;" [1684] and, "I could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal;" [1685] and, "We have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Spirit teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural [1686] man perceiveth not the things of the Spirit of God." And thus the natural man, perceiving not the things of the Spirit of God, hears in such a way whatever is told him of the nature of God, that he can conceive of nothing else but some bodily form, however spacious or immense, however lustrous and magnificent, yet still a body: and therefore he holds as proverbs all that is said of the incorporeal and immutable substance of wisdom; not that he accounts them as proverbs, but that his thoughts follow the same direction as those who habitually listen to proverbs without understanding them. But when the spiritual man begins to discern all things, and he himself is discerned by no man, he perceives, even though in this life it still be through a glass and in part, not by any bodily sense, and not by any imaginative conception which catches at or devises the likenesses of all sorts of bodies, but by the clearest understanding of the mind, that God is not material, but spiritual: in such a way does the Son show us openly of the Father, that He, who thus shows, is also Himself seen to be of the same substance. And then it is that those who ask, ask in His name; for in the sound of that name they understand nothing else than what the reality is that is called by that name, and harbor not, in vanity or infirmity of mind, the fiction of the Father being in one place, and the Son in another, standing before the Father and making request in our behalf, with the material substances of both occupying each its own place, and the Word pleading verbally for us with Him whose Word He is, while a definite space interposes between the mouth of the speaker and the ears of the hearer; and other such absurdities which those who are natural, and at the same time carnal, fabricate for themselves in their hearts. For any such thing, suggested by the experience of bodily habits, as occurs to spiritual men when thinking of God, they deny and reject, and drive away, like troublesome insects, from the eyes of their mind; and resign themselves to the purity of that light by whose testimony and judgment they prove these bodily images that thrust themselves on their inward vision to be altogether false. These are able to a certain extent to think of our Lord Jesus Christ, in respect of His manhood, as addressing the Father on our behalf; but in respect to His Godhead, as hearing [and answering] us along with the Father. And this I am of opinion that He indicated, when He said, "And I say not that I will pray the Father for you." But the intuitive perception of this, how it is that the Son asketh not the Father, but that Father and Son alike listen to those who ask, is a height that can be reached only by the spiritual eye of the mind.

5. "For the Father Himself," He says, "loveth you, because ye have loved me." Is it the case, then, that He loveth, because we love; or rather, that we love, because He loveth? Let this same evangelist give us the answer out of his own epistle: "We love Him," he says, "because He first loved us." [1687] This, then, was the efficient cause of our loving, that we were loved. And certainly to love God is the gift of God. He it was that gave the grace to love Him, who loved while still unloved. Even when displeasing Him we were loved, that there might be that in us whereby we should become pleasing in His sight. For we could not love the Son unless we loved the Father also. The Father loveth us, because we love the Son; seeing it is of the Father and Son we have received [the power] to love both the Father and the Son: for love is shed abroad in our hearts by the Spirit of both, [1688] by which Spirit we love both the Father and the Son, and whom we love along with the Father and the Son. God, therefore, it was that wrought this religious love of ours whereby we worship God; and He saw that it is good, and on that account He Himself loved that which He had made. But He would not have wrought in us something He could love, were it not that He loved ourselves before He wrought it.

6. "And ye have believed," He adds, "that I came out from God. I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again I leave the world, and go to the Father." Clearly we have believed. For surely it ought not to be accounted a thing incredible because of this, that in coming to the world He came forth in such a sense from the Father that He did not leave the Father behind; and that, on leaving the world, He goes to the Father in such a sense that He does not actually forsake the world. For He came forth from the Father because He is of the Father; and He came into the world, in showing to the world His bodily form, which He had received of the Virgin. He left the world by a bodily withdrawal, He proceeded to the Father by His ascension as man, but He forsook not the world in the ruling activity of His presence.

Footnotes

[1676] Above, Tract. LXXIII. [1677] Exaudiuntur, heard and answered. [1678] Gal. vi. 3. [1679] 1 Cor. xiii. 12. [1680] Matt. xi. 27. [1681] 1 John iii. 2. [1682] Ps. ciii. 5. [1683] Ps. xvii. 15. So the Septuagint translate #Sh:B+uE+oH+ B+H+oQ+iJ+Zj T+uM+W+uN+oT+K%o. The Hiphil intransitive form H+Q+iJ+Zj is used, however, only of "awaking" out of sleep, not of "appearing," or "being manifested;" and T+uM+W+uN+oH+ properly means, appearance, form, likeness, although "glory" may in the present connection be implied: so that while the rendering of the Septuagint may be grammatically defensible, "I shall be satisfied when Thy glory is manifested," yet the strict meaning of the words, the context, and the accentuation, favor that of the English version, "I shall be satisfied, on awaking, with Thy likeness."--Tr. [1684] 1 Cor. ii. 6. [1685] 1 Cor. iii. 1. [1686] Animalis. [1687] 1 John iv. 19. [1688] Rom. v. 5. .


Tractate CIII.

Chapter XVI. 29-33.

1. The inward state of Christ's disciples, when before His passion He talked with them as with children of great things, but in such a way as befitted the great things to be spoken to children, because, having not yet received the Holy Spirit, as they did after His resurrection, either by His own breathing upon them, or by descent from above, they had a mental capacity for the human rather than the divine,--is everywhere declared through the Gospel by numerous testimonies; and of a piece therewith, is what they said in the lesson before us. For, says the evangelist, "His disciples say unto Him: Lo, now speakest Thou plainly, and utterest no proverb. Now we are sure that Thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask Thee: by this we believe that Thou camest forth from God." The Lord Himself had said shortly before, "These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: the hour cometh, when I shall no more speak to you in proverbs." How, then, say they, "Lo, now speakest Thou plainly, and utterest no proverb"? Was the hour, indeed, already come, when He had promised that He would no more speak unto them in proverbs? Certainly that such an hour had not yet come, is shown by the continuation of His words, which run in this way: "These things," said He, have I spoken unto you in proverbs: the hour cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall show you plainly of my Father. At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you: for the Father Himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God. I came forth from the Father, and have come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father" (vers. 25-28). Seeing that throughout all these words He is still promising that hour when He shall no more speak in proverbs, but shall show them openly of the Father; the hour, when He says that they will ask in His name, and that He will not pray the Father for them, on the ground that the Father Himself loveth them, and that they also have loved Christ, and have believed that He came forth from the Father, and was come into the world, and was again about to leave the world and go to the Father: when thus that hour is still the subject of promise when He was to speak without proverbs, why say they, "Lo, now speakest Thou plainly, and utterest no proverb;" but just because those things, which He knows to be proverbs to those who have no understanding, they are still so far from understanding, that they do not even understand that they do not understand them? For they were babes, and had as yet no spiritual discernment of what they heard regarding things that had to do not with the body, but with the spirit.

2. And still further admonishing them of their age as still small and infirm in regard to the inner man, "Jesus answered them: Do ye now believe? Behold the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered every man to his own, and shall leave me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me." He had said shortly before, "I leave the world, and go to the Father;" now He says, "The Father is with me." Who goes to him who is with him? This is a word to him that understandeth, a proverb to him that understandeth not: and yet in such way that what at present is unintelligible to babes, is in some sort sucked in; and even though it yield them not solid food, which they cannot as yet receive, it denies them not at least a milky diet. It was from this diet that they drew the knowledge that He knew all things, and needed not that any one should ask Him: and, indeed, why they said this, is a topic worthy of inquiry. For one would think they ought rather to have said, Thou needest not to ask any one; not, "That any one should ask Thee." They had just said, We are sure that Thou knowest all things:" and surely He that knoweth all things is accustomed rather to be questioned by those who do not know, that in reply to their questions they may hear what they wish from Him who knoweth all things; and not to be Himself the questioner, as if wishing to know something, when He knoweth all things. What, then, are we to understand by this, that, when apparently they ought to have said to Him, whom they knew to be omniscient, Thou needest not to ask any man, they considered it more befitting to say, "Thou needest not that any man should ask Thee"? Yea, is it not the case that we read of both being done; to wit, that the Lord both asked, and was asked questions? But this latter is speedily answered: for this was needful not for Him, but for those rather whom He questioned, or by whom He was questioned. For He never questioned any for the purpose of learning anything from them, but for the purpose rather of teaching them. And for those who put questions to Him, as desirous of learning something of Him, it was assuredly needful to be made acquainted with some things by Him who knew everything. And doubtless on the same account also it was that He needed not that any man should ask Him. As it is the case that we, when questioned by those who wish to get some information from us, discover by their very questionings what it is that they wish to know, we therefore need to be questioned by those whom we wish to teach, in order that we may be acquainted with their inquiries that call for an answer: but He, who knew all things, had no need even of that, and as little need had He of discovering by their questions what it was that any one desired to know of Him, for before a question was put, He knew the intention of him who was to put it. But He suffered Himself to be questioned on this account, that He might show to those who were then present, or to those who should either hear the things that were to be spoken or read them when written, what was the character of those by whom He was questioned; and in this way we might come to know both the frauds that were powerless to impose upon Him, and the ways of approach that would turn to our profit in His sight. But to foresee the thoughts of men, and thus to have no need that any one should ask Him, was no great matter for God, but great enough for the babes, who said to Him, "By this we believe that Thou camest forth from God." A much greater thing it was, for the understanding of which He wished to have their minds expanded and enlarged, that, on their saying, and saying truly, "Thou camest forth from God," He replied, "The Father is with me;" in order that they should not think that the Son had come forth from the Father in any sense that would lead them to suppose that He had also withdrawn from His presence.

3. And then, in bringing to a close this weighty and protracted discourse, He said, "These things have I spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." The beginning of such tribulation was to be found in that whereof, in order to show that they were infants, to whom, as still wanting in intelligence, and mistaking one thing for another, all the great and divine things He had said were little better than proverbs, He had previously said, "Do ye now believe? Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own." Such, I say, was the beginning of the tribulation, but not in the same measure of their perseverance. For in adding, "and ye shall leave me alone," He did not mean that they would be of such a character in the subsequent tribulation, which they should have to endure in the world after His ascension, as thus to desert Him; but that in Him they should have peace by still abiding in Him. But on the occasion of His apprehension, not only did they outwardly abandon His bodily presence, but they mentally abandoned their faith. And to this it is that His words have reference, "Do ye now believe? Behold, the hour cometh, that ye shall be scattered to your own, and shall leave me:" as if He had said, You will then be so confounded as to leave behind you even what you now believe. For they fell into such despair and such a death, so to speak, of their old faith, as was apparent in the case of Cleophas, who, after His resurrection, unaware that he was speaking with Himself, and narrating what had befallen Him, said, "We trusted that it had been He who should have redeemed Israel." [1689] That was the way in which they then left Him, abandoning even the very faith wherewith they had formerly believed in Him. But in that tribulation, which they encountered after His glorification and they themselves had received the Holy Spirit, they did not leave Him: and though they fled from city to city, from Himself they did not flee; but in order that, while having tribulation in the world, they might have peace in Him, instead of being fugitives from Him, it was rather Himself that they made their refuge. For in receiving the Holy Spirit, there was wrought in them the very state described to them now in the words, "Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." They were of good cheer, and they conquered. But in whom, save in Him? For He had not overcome the world, were it still to overcome His members. Hence said the apostle, "Thanks be unto God, who giveth us the victory;" and immediately added, "through our Lord Jesus Christ:" [1690] through Him who had said to His own, "Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."

Footnotes

[1689] Luke xxiv. 21. [1690] 1 Cor. xv. 57. .


Tractate CIV.

Chapter XVII. 1.

1. Before these words, which we are now, with the Lord's help, to make the subject of discourse, Jesus had said, "These things have I spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace;" which we are to consider as referring, not to the later words uttered by Him immediately before, but to all that He had addressed to them, whether from the time that He began to account them disciples, or at least from the time after supper when He commenced this admirable and lengthened discourse. He gave them, indeed, such a reason for speaking to them, that either all He ever spake to them may with the utmost propriety be referred to that end, or those especially, as His last words, which He now spake when on the eve of dying for them, after that he who was to betray Him had quitted their company. For He gave this as the cause of His discourse, that in Him they might have peace, just as it is wholly on this account that we are Christians. For this peace will have no temporal end, but will itself be the end of every pious intention and action that are ours at present. For its sake we are endowed with His sacraments, for its sake we are instructed by His works and sayings, for its sake we have received the earnest of the Spirit, for its sake we believe and hope in Him, and according to His gracious giving are enkindled with His love: by this peace we are comforted in all our distresses, by it we are delivered from them all: for its sake we endure with fortitude every tribulation, that in it we may reign in happiness without any tribulation. Fitly therewith did He bring His words to a close, which were proverbs to the disciples, who as yet had little understanding, but would afterwards understand them, when He had given them the Holy Spirit of promise, of whom He had said before: "These things have I spoken unto you being yet present with you. But the Comforter, the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." [1691] Such, doubtless, was to be the hour, wherein He promised that He would no more speak unto them in proverbs, but show them openly of the Father. For these same words of His, when revealed by the Holy Spirit, were no more to be proverbs to those who had understanding. For when the Holy Spirit was speaking in their hearts, there was not to be silence on the part of the only-begotten Son, who had said that in that hour He would show them plainly of the Father, which, of course, would no longer be a proverb to them when now endowed with understanding. But even this also, how it is that both the Son of God and the Holy Spirit speak at once in the hearts of their spiritual ones, yea the Trinity itself, which is ever inseparably at work, is a word to those who have, but a proverb to those who are without, understanding.

2. When, therefore, He had told them on what account He had spoken all things, namely, that in Him they might have peace while having distress in the world, and had exhorted them to be of good cheer, because He had overcome the world; having thus finished His discourse to them, He then directed His words to the Father, and began to pray. For so the evangelist proceeds to say: "These things spake Jesus, and lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: Father, the hour is come; glorify Thy Son." The Lord, the Only-begotten and coeternal with the Father, could in the form of a servant and out of the form of a servant, if such were needful, pray in silence; but in this other way He wished to show Himself as one who prayed to the Father, that He might remember that He was still our Teacher. Accordingly, the prayer which He offered for us, He made also known to us; seeing that it is not only the delivering of discourses to them by so great a Master, but also the praying for them to the Father, that is a means of edification to disciples. And if so to those who were present to hear what was said, it is certainly so also to us who were to have the reading of it when written. Wherefore in saying this, "Father, the hour is come; glorify Thy Son," He showed that all time, and every occasion when He did anything or suffered anything to be done, were arranged by Him who was subject to no time: since those things, which were individually future in point of time, have their efficient causes in the wisdom of God, wherein there are no distinctions of time. Let it not, then, be supposed that this hour came through any urgency of fate, but rather by the divine appointment. It was no necessary law of the heavenly bodies that tied to its time the passion of Christ; for we may well shrink from the thought that the stars should compel their own Maker to die. It was not the time, therefore, that drove Christ to His death, but Christ who selected the time to die: who also fixed the time, when He was born of the Virgin, with the Father, of whom He was born independently of time. And in accordance with this true and salutary doctrine, the Apostle Paul also says, "But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son;" [1692] and God declares by the prophet, "In an acceptable time have I heard Thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee;" [1693] and yet again the apostle, "Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation." [1694] He then may say, "Father, the hour is come," who has arranged every hour with the Father: saying, as it were, "Father, the hour," which we fixed together for the sake of men and of my glorification among them, "is come, glorify Thy Son, that Thy Son also may glorify Thee."

3. The glorification of the Son by the Father is understood by some to consist in this, that He spared Him not, but delivered Him up for us all. [1695] But if we say that He was glorified by His passion, how much more was He so by His resurrection! For in His passion our attention is directed more to His humility than to His glory, in accordance with the testimony of the apostle, who says, "He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross:" and then he goes on to say of His glorification, "Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name: that in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father." This is the glorification of our Lord Jesus Christ, that took its commencement from His resurrection. His humility accordingly begins in the apostle's discourse with the passage where he says, "He emptied Himself, and took upon Him the form of a servant;" and reaches "even to the death of the cross." But His glory begins with the clause where he says, "Wherefore God also hath exalted Him;" and reaches on to the words, "is in the glory of God the Father." [1696] For even the noun itself, if the language of the Greek codices be examined, from which the apostolic epistles have been translated into Latin, which in the latter is read, glory, is in the former read, doxa: whence we have the verb derived in Greek for the purpose of saying here, doxason (glorify), which the Latin translator renders by "clarifica" (make illustrious), although he might as well have said "glorifica" (glorify), which is the same in meaning. And for the same reason, in the apostle's epistle where we find "gloria," "claritas" might have been used; for by so doing, the meaning would have been equally preserved. But not to depart from the sound of the words, just as "clarificatio" (the making lustrous) is derived from "claritas" (lustre), so is "glorificatio" (the making glorious) from "gloria" (glory). In order, then, that the Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, might be made lustrous or glorious by His resurrection, He was first humbled by suffering; for had He not died, He would not have risen from the dead. Humility is the earning of glory; glory, the reward of humility. This, however, was done in the form of a servant; but He was always in the form of God, and always shall His glory continue: yea, it was not in the past as if it were no more so in the present, nor shall it be, as if it did not yet exist; but without beginning and without end, His glory is everlasting. Accordingly, when He says, "Father, the hour is come; glorify Thy Son," it is to be understood as if He said, The hour is come for sowing the seed-corn of humility, delay not the fruit of my glory. But what is the meaning of the words that follow: "That Thy Son may glorify Thee"? Was it that God the Father likewise endured the humiliation of the body or of suffering, out of which He must needs be raised to glory? If not, how then was the Son to glorify Him, whose eternal glory could neither appear diminished through human form, nor be enlarged in the divine? But I will not confine such a question within the present discourse, or draw the latter out to greater length by such a discussion.

Footnotes

[1691] Chap. xiv. 25, 26. [1692] Gal. iv. 4. [1693] Isa. xlix. 8. [1694] 2 Cor. vi. 2. [1695] Rom. viii. 32. [1696] Phil. ii. 7-11. So Augustin, with a few others of the early fathers, incorrectly renders the last clause instead of that given by our English version, which is alone grammatically and textually correct: "That Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory (eis doxan) of God the Father."--Tr. .


Tractate CV.

Chapter XVII. 1-5.

1. That the Son was glorified by the Father in His form of a servant, which the Father raised from the dead and set at His own right hand, is indicated by the event itself, and is nowhere doubted by the Christian. But as He not only said, "Father, glorify Thy Son," but likewise added, "that Thy Son may glorify Thee," it is worthy of inquiry how it was that the Son glorified the Father, seeing that the eternal glory of the Father neither suffered diminution in any human form, nor could be increased in respect of its own divine perfection. In itself, indeed, the glory of the Father could neither be diminished nor enlarged; but without any doubt it was less among men when God was known only in Judea: [1697] and as yet children [1698] praised not the name of the Lord from the rising of the sun to its going down. [1699] But inasmuch as this was effected by the gospel of Christ, to wit, that the Father became known through the Son to the Gentiles, assuredly the Son also glorified the Father. Had the Son, however, only died, and not risen again, He would without doubt have neither been glorified by the Father, nor have glorified the Father; but now having been glorified through His resurrection by the Father, He glorifies the Father by the preaching of His resurrection. For this is disclosed by the very order of the words: "Glorify," He says, "Thy Son, that Thy Son may glorify Thee;" saying, as it were, Raise me up again, that by me Thou mayest become known to all the world.

2. And then expanding still further how it was that the Father should be glorified by the Son, He says: "As Thou hast given Him power over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to all that Thou hast given Him." By all flesh, He meant every man, signifying the whole by a part; as, on the other hand, the whole man is signified by the superior part, when the apostle says, "Let every soul be subject to the higher powers." [1700] For what else did He mean by "every soul," save every man? And this, therefore, that power over all flesh was given to Christ by the Father, is to be understood in respect of His humanity; for in respect of His Godhead all things were made by Himself, and in Him were created all things in heaven and in earth, visible and invisible. [1701] "As," then, He says, "Thou hast given Him power over all flesh," so may Thy Son glorify Thee, in other words, make Thee known to all flesh whom Thou hast given Him. For Thou hast so given, "that He should give eternal life to all that Thou hast given Him."

3. "And this," He adds, "is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent." The proper order of the words is, "That they may know Thee and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent, as the only true God." Consequently, therefore, the Holy Spirit is also understood, because He is the Spirit of the Father and Son, as the substantial and consubstantial love of both. For the Father and Son are not two Gods, nor are the Father and Son and Holy Spirit three Gods; but the Trinity itself is the one only true God. And yet the Father is not the same as the Son, nor the Son the same as the Father, nor the Holy Spirit the same as the Father and the Son; for the Father and Son and Holy Spirit are three [persons], yet the Trinity itself is one God. If, then, the Son glorifies Thee in the same manner "as Thou hast given Him power over all flesh," and hast so given, "that He should give eternal life to all that Thou hast given Him," and "this is life eternal, that they may know Thee;" in this way, therefore, the Son glorifies Thee, that He makes Thee known to all whom Thou hast given Him. Accordingly, if the knowledge of God is eternal life, we are making the greater advances to life, in proportion as we are enlarging our growth in such a knowledge. And we shall not die in the life eternal; for then, when there shall be no death, the knowledge of God shall be perfected. Then will be effected the full effulgence of God, because then the completed glory, as expressed in Greek by doxa. For from it we have the word doxason, that is used here, and which some Latins have interpreted by "clarifica" (make effulgent), and some by "glorifica" (glorify). But by the ancients, glory, from which men are styled glorious, is thus defined: Glory is the widely-spread fame of any one accompanied with praise. But if a man is praised when the fame regarding him is believed, how will God be praised when He Himself shall be seen? Hence it is said in Scripture, "Blessed are they that dwell in Thy house; they will be praising Thee for ever and ever." [1702] There will God's praise continue without end, where there shall be the full knowledge of God; and because the full knowledge, therefore also the complete effulgence or glorification.

4. But God is first of all glorified here, while He is being made known to men by word of mouth, and preached through the faith of believers. Wherefore, He says, "I have glorified Thee on the earth: I have finished the work which Thou gavest me to do." He does not say, Thou orderedst; but, "Thou gavest:" where the evident grace of it is commended to notice. For what has the human nature even in the Only-begotten, that it has not received? Did it not receive this, that it should do no evil, but all good things, when it was assumed into the unity of His person by the Word, by whom all things were made? But how has He finished the work which was committed unto Him to do, when there still remains the trial of the passion wherein He especially furnished His martyrs with the example they were to follow, whereof, says the apostle Peter, "Christ suffered for us, leaving us an example, that we should follow His steps:" [1703] but just that He says He has finished, what He knew with perfect certainty that He would finish? Just as long before, in prophecy, He used words in the past tense, when what He said was to take place very many years afterwards: "They pierced," He says, "my hands and my feet, they counted [1704] all my bones;" [1705] He says not, They will pierce, and, They will count. And in this very Gospel He says, "All things that I have heard of my Father, I have made known unto you;" [1706] to whom He afterward declares, "I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now." [1707] For He, who has predestinated all that is to be by sure and unchangeable causes, has done whatever He is to do: as it was also declared of Him by the prophet, "Who hath made the things that are to be." [1708]

5. In a way similar, also, to this, He proceeds to say: "And now, O Father, glorify thou me with Thine own self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was." For He had said above, "Father, the hour is come; glorify Thy Son, that Thy Son may glorify Thee:" in which arrangement of the words He had shown that the Father was first to be glorified by the Son, in order that the Son might glorify the Father. But now He said, "I have glorified Thee on the earth: I have finished the work which Thou gavest me to do; and now glorify Thou me;" as if He Himself had been the first to glorify the Father, by whom He then demands to be glorified. We are therefore to understand that He used both words above in accordance with that which was future, and in the order in which they were future, "Glorify Thy Son, that Thy Son may glorify Thee:" but that He now used the word in the past tense of that which was still future, when He said, "I have glorified Thee on the earth: I have finished the work which Thou gavest me to do." And then, when He said, "And now, O Father, glorify Thou me with Thine own self," as if He were afterwards to be glorified by the Father, whom He Himself had first glorified; what did He intimate but that, when He said above, "I have glorified Thee on the earth," He had so spoken as if He had done what He was still to do; but that here He demanded of the Father to do that whereby the Son should yet do so; in other words, that the Father should glorify the Son, by means of which glorification of the Son, the Son also was yet to glorify the Father? In fine, if, in connection with that which was still future, we put the verb also in the future tense, where He has used the past in place of the future tense, there will remain no obscurity in the sentence: as if He had said, "I will glorify Thee on the earth: I will finish the work which Thou hast given me to do; and now, O Father, glorify Thou me with Thine own self." In this way it is as plain as when He says, "Glorify Thy Son, that Thy Son may glorify Thee:" and this is indeed the whole sentence, save that here we are told also the manner of that same glorification, which there was left unnoticed; as if the former were explained by the latter to those whose hearts it was able to stir, how it was that the Father should glorify the Son, and most of all how the Son also should glorify the Father. For in saying that the Father was glorified by Himself on the earth, but He Himself by the Father with the Father's very self, He showed them assuredly the manner of both glorifications. For He Himself glorified the Father on earth by preaching Him to the nations; but the Father glorified Him with His own self in setting Him at His own right hand. But on that very account, when He says afterward in reference to the glorifying of the Father, "I have glorified Thee," He preferred putting the verb in the past tense, in order to show that it was already done in the act of predestination, and what was with perfect certainty yet to take place was to be accounted as already done; namely, that the Son, having been glorified by the Father with the Father, would also glorify the Father on the earth.

6. But this predestination He still more clearly disclosed in respect of His own glorification, wherewith He was glorified by the Father, when He added, "With the glory which I had, before the world was, with Thee." The proper order of the words is, "which I had with Thee before the world was." To this apply His words, "And now glorify Thou me;" that is to say, as then, so also now: as then, by predestination; so also now, by consummation: do Thou in the world what had already been done with Thee before the world: do in its own time what Thou hast determined before all times. This, some have imagined, should be so understood as if the human nature, which was assumed by the Word, were converted into the Word, and the man were changed into God; yea, were we reflecting with some care on the opinions they have advanced, as if the humanity were lost in the Godhead. For no one would go the length of saying that out of such a transmutation of the humanity the Word of God is either doubled or increased, so that either what was one should now be two, or what was less should now be greater. Accordingly, if with His human nature changed and converted into the Word, the Word of God will still be as great as He was, and what He was, where is the humanity, if it is not lost?

7. But to this opinion, which I certainly do not see to be conformable to the truth, there is nothing to urge us, if, when the Son says, "And now, O Father, glorify Thou me with Thine own self, with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was," we understand the predestination of the glory of His human nature, as thereafter, from being mortal, to become immortal with the Father: and that this had already been done by predestination before the world was, as also in its own time it was done in the world. For if the apostle has said of us, "According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world," [1709] why should it be thought incongruous with the truth, if the Father glorified our Head at the same time as He chose us in Him to be His members? For we were chosen in the same way as He was glorified; inasmuch as before the world was, neither we nor the Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, [1710] were yet in existence. But He who, in as far as He is His Word, of His own self "made even those things which are yet to come," and "calleth those things which are not as though they were," [1711] certainly, in respect of His manhood as Mediator between God and men, was Himself glorified on our behalf by God the Father before the foundation of the world, if it be so that we also were then chosen in Him. For what saith the apostle? "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren: and whom He did predestinate, them He also called." [1712]

8. But perhaps we shall have some fear in saying that He was predestinated, because the apostle seems to have said so only in reference to our being made conformable to His image. As if, indeed, any one, faithfully considering the rule of faith, were to deny that the Son of God was predestinated, who yet cannot deny that He was man. For it is rightly said that He was not predestinated in respect of His being the Word of God, God with God. For how could He be predestinated, seeing He already was what He was, without beginning and without ending, everlasting? But that, which as yet was not, had to be predestinated, in order that it might come to pass in its time, even as it was predestinated so to come before all times. Accordingly, whoever denies predestination of the Son of God, denies that He was also Himself the Son of man. But, on account of those who are disputatious, let us also on this subject listen to the apostle in the exordium of his epistles. For both in the first of his epistles, which is that to the Romans, and in the beginning of the epistle itself, we read: "Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called [to be] an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, which He had promised afore by His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, concerning His Son, who was made for Him of the seed of David according to the flesh, who was predestinated [1713] the Son of God in power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead." [1714] In respect, then, of this predestination also, He was gloried before the world was, in order that His glory might be, by the resurrection from the dead, with the Father, at whose right hand He sitteth. Accordingly, when He saw that the time of this, His predestinated glorification, was now come, in order that what had already been done in predestination might also be done now in actual accomplishment, He said in His prayer, "And now, O Father, glorify Thou me with Thine own self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was:" as if He had said, The glory which I had with Thee, that is, that glory which I had with Thee in Thy predestination, it is time that I should have with Thee also in sitting at Thy right hand. But as the discussion of this question has already kept us long, what follows must be taken into consideration in another discourse.

Footnotes

[1697] Ps. lxxvi. 1. [1698] Ps. cxiii. 3, 1: pueri, from the LXX. paides. The Hebrew is E+aB+D+J+, "servants."--Tr. [1699] Ps. cxiii. 3, 1: pueri, from the LXX. paides. The Hebrew is E+aB+D+J+, "servants."--Tr. [1700] Rom. xiii. 1. [1701] Col. i. 16. [1702] Ps. lxxxiv. 4. [1703] 1 Pet. ii. 21. [1704] Ps. xxii. 16, 17. Dinumeraverunt (they counted), in accordance with a reading of the Septuagint--that found in the printed text--exerithmesan. A better reading, however, is also found in mss., exerithmesa, conforming in person, though not in tense, to the Hebrew #K+aP+uR+ (I may count).--Tr. [1705] Ps. xxii. 16, 17. Dinumeraverunt (they counted), in accordance with a reading of the Septuagint--that found in the printed text--exerithmesan. A better reading, however, is also found in mss., exerithmesa, conforming in person, though not in tense, to the Hebrew #K+aP+uR+ (I may count).--Tr. [1706] Chap. xv. 15. [1707] Chap. xvi. 12. [1708] Isa. xlv. 11, according to the Septuagint. See note, Tract. LXVIII. sec. 1. [1709] Eph. i. 4. [1710] 1 Tim. ii. 5. [1711] Rom. iv. 17. [1712] Rom. viii. 28-30. [1713] Rom. i. 1-4: horisthentos, determined, declared, not "predestinated," which is a mistake of the Latin version used by Augustin.--Tr. [1714] Rom. i. 1-4: horisthentos, determined, declared, not "predestinated," which is a mistake of the Latin version used by Augustin.--Tr. .


Tractate CVI.

Chapter XVII. 6-8.

1. In this discourse we purpose speaking, as He gives us grace, on these words of the Lord which run thus: "I have manifested Thy name unto the men whom Thou gavest me out of the world." If He said this only of those disciples with whom He had supped, and to whom, before beginning His prayer, He had said so much, it can have nothing to do with that clarification, or, as others have translated it, glorification, whereof He was previously speaking, and whereby the Son clarifies or glorifies the Father. For what great glory, or what like glory, was it to become known to twelve, or rather eleven mortal creatures? But if, in saying, "I have manifested Thy name unto the men whom Thou gavest me out of the world," He wished all to be understood, even those who were still to believe on Him, as belonging to His great Church which was yet to be made up of all nations, and of which it is said in the psalm, "I will confess to Thee in the great Church [congregation];" [1715] it is plainly that glorification wherewith the Son glorifies the Father, when He makes His name known to all nations and to so many generations of men. And what He says here, "I have manifested Thy name unto the men whom Thou gavest me out of the world," is similar to what He had said a little before, "I have glorified Thee upon the earth", (ver. 4); putting both here and there the past for the future, as One who knew that it was predestinated to be done, and therefore saying that He had done what He had still to do, though without any uncertainty, in the future.

2. But what follows makes it more credible that His words, "I have manifested Thy name to the men whom Thou gavest me out of the world," were spoken by Him of those who were already His disciples, and not of all who were yet to believe on Him. For after these words, He added: "Thine they were, and Thou gavest them me; and they have kept Thy word. Now they have known that all things, whatsoever Thou hast given me, are of Thee: for I have given unto them the words which Thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from Thee, and they have believed that Thou didst send me." Although all these words also might have been said of all believers still to come, when that which was now a matter of hope had been turned into fact, inasmuch as they were words that still pointed to the future; yet we are impelled the more to understand Him as uttering them only of those who were at that time His disciples, by what He says shortly afterwards: "While I was with them, I kept them in Thy name: those that Thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the Scripture might be fulfilled" (ver. 12); meaning Judas, who betrayed Him, for He was the only one of the apostolic twelve that perished. And then He adds, "And now come I to Thee," from which it is manifest that it was of His own bodily presence that He said, "While I was with them, I kept them," as if already that presence were no longer with them. For in this way He wished to intimate His own ascension as in the immediate future, when He said, "And now come I to Thee:" going, that is, to the Father's right hand; whence He is hereafter to come to judge the quick and the dead in the self-same bodily presence, according to the rule of faith and sound doctrine: for in His spiritual presence He was still, of course, to be with them after His ascension, and with the whole of His Church in this world even to the end of time. [1716] We cannot, therefore, rightly understand of whom He said, "While I was with them, I kept them," save as those only who believed on Him, whom He had already begun to keep by His bodily presence, but was now to leave without it, in order that He might keep them with the Father by His spiritual presence. Thereafter, indeed, He also unites with them the rest of His disciples, when He says, "Neither pray I for these alone, but for those also who shall believe on me through their word." Where He shows still more clearly that He was not speaking before of all who belonged to Him, in the passage where He saith, "I have manifested Thy name unto the men whom Thou gavest me," but of those only who were listening to Him when He so spake.

3. From the very outset, therefore, of His prayer, when "He lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify Thy Son, that Thy Son also may glorify Thee," on to what He said a little afterwards, "And now, O Father, glorify Thou me with Thine own self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was," He wished all His disciples to be understood, to whom He makes the Father known, and thereby glorifies Him. For after saying, "That Thy Son may glorify Thee," He straightway showed how that was to be done, by adding, "As Thou hast given Him power over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as Thou hast given Him: and this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent." For the Father cannot be glorified through any knowledge attained by men, unless He also be known by whom He is glorified, that is to say, by whom He is made known to the nations of the world. The glorification of the Father is not that which was displayed in connection with the apostles only, but that which is displayed in all men, of whom as His members Christ is the head. For the words cannot be understood as applied to the apostles only, "As Thou hast given Him power over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as Thou hast given Him;" but to all, assuredly, on whom, as believing on Him, eternal life is bestowed.

4. Accordingly, let us now see what He says about those disciples of His who were then listening to Him. "I have manifested," He says, "Thy name unto the men whom Thou gavest me." Did they not, then, know the name of God when they were Jews? And what of that which we read, "God is known in Judah; His name is great in Israel"? [1717] Therefore, "I have manifested Thy name unto these men whom Thou gavest me out of the world," and who are now hearing my words: not that name of Thine whereby Thou art called God, but that whereby Thou art called my Father: a name that could not be manifested without the manifestation of the Son Himself. For this name of God, by which He is called, could not but be known in some way to the whole creation, and so to every nation, before they believed in Christ. For such is the energy of true Godhead, that it cannot be altogether and utterly hidden from any rational creature, so long as it makes use of its reason. For, with the exception of a few in whom nature has become outrageously depraved, the whole race of man acknowledges God as the maker of this world. In respect, therefore, of His being the maker of this world that is visible in heaven and earth around us, God was known unto all nations even before they were indoctrinated into the faith of Christ. But in this respect, that He was not, without grievous wrong being done to Himself, to be worshipped alongside of false gods, God was known in Judah alone. But in respect of His being the Father of this Christ, by whom He taketh away the sin of the world, this name of His, previously kept secret from all, He now made manifest to those whom the Father Himself had given Him out of the world. But how had He done so, if the hour were not yet come, of which He had formerly said that the hour would come, "when I shall no more speak unto you proverbs, but I shall show you plainly of my Father"? [1718] Can it be supposed that the proverbs themselves contained such a plain anouncement? Why, then, is it said, "I will declare to you openly," but just because that "in proverbs" is not "openly"? But when it is no longer concealed in proverbs, but uttered in plain words, then without a doubt it is spoken openly. How, then, had He manifested what He had not as yet openly declared? It must be understood, therefore, in this way, that the past tense is put for the future, like those other words, "All things that I have heard of my Father, I have made known unto you:" [1719] as something He had not yet done, but spoke of as if He had, because His doing of it He knew to be infallibly pre-determined.

5. But what are we to make of the words, "Whom Thou gavest me out of the world"? For it is said of them that they were not of the world. But this they attained to by regeneration, and not by generation. And what, also, of that which follows, "Thine they were, and Thou gavest them me"? Was there a time when they belonged to the Father, and not to His only-begotten Son; and had the Father once on a time anything apart from the Son? Surely not. Nevertheless, there was a time when God the Son had something, which that same Son as man possessed not; for He had not yet become man of an earthly mother, when He possessed all things in common with the Father. Wherefore in saying, "Thine they were," there is thereby no self-disruption made by God the Son, apart from whom there was nothing ever possessed by the Father; but it is His custom to attribute all the power He possesses to Him, of whom He Himself is, who has the power. For of whom He has it that He is, of Him He has it that He is able; and both together He always had, for He never had being without having ability. Accordingly, what ever the Father could [do], always side by side with Him could the Son; since He, who never had being without having ability, was never without the Father, as the Father never was without Him. And thus, as the Father is eternally omnipotent, so is the Son co-eternally omnipotent; and if all-powerful, certainly all-possessing. [1720] For such rather, if we would speak exactly, is the word by which we translate what is called by the Greeks pantokrator which our writers would not interpret by the term omnipotent, seeing that pantokrator is all-possessing, were it not that they felt it to be equivalent in meaning. What, then, could the eternal all-possessing ever have, that the co-eternal all-possessing had not likewise? In saying, therefore, "And Thou gavest them me," He intimated that it was as man He had received this power to have them; seeing that He, who was always omnipotent, was not always man. Accordingly, while He seems rather to have attributed it to the Father, that He received them from Him, since all that is, is of Him, of whom He is; yet He also gave them to Himself, that is, Christ, God with the Father, gave men to the manhood of Christ, which had not its being with the Father. Finally, He who says in this place, "Thine they were, and Thou gavest them me," had already said in a previous passage to the same disciples, "I have chosen you out of the world." [1721] Here, then, let every carnal thought be crushed and annihilated. The Son says that the men were given Him by the Father out of the world, to whom He says elsewhere, "I have chosen you out of the world." Those whom God the Son chose along with the Father out of the world, the very same Son as man received out of the world from the Father; for the Father had not given them to the Son had He not chosen them. And in this way, as the Son did not thereby set the Father aside, when He said, "I have chosen you out of the world," seeing that they were simultaneously chosen by the Father also: as little did He thereby exclude Himself, when He said, "Thine they were," for they were equally also the property of the Son. But now that same Son as man received those who belonged not to Himself, because He also as God received a servant-form which was not originally His own.

6. He proceeds to say, "And they have kept Thy word: now they have known that all things, whatsoever Thou hast given me, are of Thee;" that is, they have known that I am of Thee. For the Father gave all things at the very time when He begat Him who was to have all things. "For I have given unto them," He says, "the words which Thou gavest me; and they have received them;" that is, they have understood and kept hold of them. For the word is received when it is perceived by the mind. "And they have known truly," He adds, "that I came out from Thee, and they have believed that Thou didst send me." In this last clause we must also supply "truly;" for when He said, "They have known truly," He intended its explanation by adding, "and they have believed." That, therefore, "they have believed truly" which "they have known truly;" just as "I came out from Thee" is the same as "Thou didst send me." When, therefore, He said, "They have known truly," lest any might suppose that such a knowledge was already acquired by sight, and not by faith, He subjoined the explanation, "And they have believed," so that we should supply "truly," and understand the saying, "They have known truly," as equivalent to "They have believed truly:" not in the way which He intimated shortly before, when He said, "Do ye now believe? The hour cometh, and is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone." [1722] But "they have believed truly," that is, in the way it ought to be believed, without constraint, with firmness, constancy, and fortitude: no longer now to go to their own, and leave Christ alone. As yet, indeed, the disciples were not of the character He here describes in words of the past tense, as if they were so already, but as thereby declaring beforehand what sort they were yet to be, namely, when they had received the Holy Spirit, who, according to the promise, should teach them all things. For how was it, before they received the Spirit, that they kept that word of His which He spake regarding them, as if they had done so, when the chief of them thrice denied Him, [1723] after hearing from His lips the future fate of the man who denied Him before men? [1724] He had given them, therefore, as He said, the words which the Father gave Him; but when at length they received them spiritually, not in an outward way with their ears, but inwardly in their hearts, then they truly received them, for then they truly knew them; and they truly knew them, because they truly believed.

7. But what human language will suffice to explain how the Father gave those words to the Son? The question, of course, will appear easier if we suppose Him to have received such words in His capacity as the Son of man. And yet, although thus born of the Virgin, who will undertake to relate when and how it was that He learned them, since even that very generation which He had of the Virgin who will venture to declare? But if our idea be that He received these words of the Father in His capacity as begotten of, and co-eternal with, the Father, let us then exclude all such thoughts of time as if He existed previous to His possessing them, and so received the possession of that which He had not before; for whatever God the Father gave to God the Son, He gave in the act of begetting. For the Father gave those things to the Son without which He could not be the Son, in the same manner as He gave Him being itself. For how otherwise would He give any words to the Word, wherein in an ineffable way He hath spoken all things? But now, in reference to what follows, you must defer your expectations till another discourse.

Footnotes

[1715] Ps. xxxv. 18. [1716] Matt. xxviii. 20. [1717] Ps. lxxvi. 1. [1718] Chap. xvi. 25. [1719] Chap. xv. 15. [1720] Omnitenens. [1721] Chap. xv. 19. [1722] Chap. xvi. 31, 32. [1723] Matt. xxvi. 69-74. [1724] Matt. x. 33. .


Tractate CVII.

Chapter XVII. 9-13.

1. When the Lord was speaking to the Father of those whom He already had as disciples, He said this also among other things: "I pray for them. I pray not for the world, but for those whom Thou hast given me." By the world, He now wishes to be understood those who live according to the lust of the word, and stand not in the gracious lot of such as were to be chosen by Him out of the world. Accordingly it is not for the world, but for those whom the Father hath given Him, that He expresses Himself as praying: for by the very fact of their having already been given Him by the Father, they have ceased to belong to that world for which He refrains from praying.

2. And then He adds, "For they are Thine." For the Father did not lose those whom He gave, in the act of giving them to the Son; since the Son still goes on to say, "And all mine are Thine, and Thine are mine." Where it is sufficiently apparent how it is that all that belongs to the Father belongs also to the Son; in this way, namely, that He Himself is also God, and, of the Father born, is the Father's equal: and not as was said to one of the two sons, to wit, the elder, "Thou art ever with me; and all that I have is thine." [1725] For that was said of all those creatures which are inferior to the holy rational creature, and are certainly subordinate to the Church; wherein its universal character is understood as including those two sons, the elder and the younger, along with all the holy angels, whose equals we shall be in the kingdom of Christ and of God: [1726] but here it was said, "And all mine are Thine, and Thine are mine," with this meaning, that even the rational creature is itself included, which is subject only to God, so that all beneath it are also subject to Him. As it then belongs to God the Father, it would not at the same time be the Son's likewise, were He not equal to the Father: for to it He was referring when He said, "I pray not for the world, but for those whom Thou hast given me: for they are Thine, and all mine are Thine, and Thine are mine." Nor is it morally admissible that the saints, of whom He so spake, should belong to any save to Him by whom they were created and sanctified: and for the same reason, everything also that is theirs must of necessity be His also to whom they themselves belong. Accordingly, since they belong both to the Father and to the Son, they demonstrate the equality of those to whom they equally belong. But when He says, speaking of the Holy Ghost, "All things that the Father hath are mine; therefore said I, that He shall take of mine, and shall show it unto you," [1727] He referred to those things which concern the actual deity of the Father, and in which He is equal to Him, in having all that He has. And no more was it of the creature, which is subject to the Father and the Son, that the Holy Spirit was to receive that whereof He said, "He shall receive of mine;" but most certainly of the Father, from whom the Spirit proceedeth, and of whom also the Son is born.

3. He proceeds: "And I am glorified in them." He now speaks of His glorification as already accomplished, although it was still future; while a little before He was demanding of the Father its accomplishment. But whether this be the same glorification, whereof He had said, "And now, O Father, glorify Thou me with Thine own self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was," is certainly a point worthy of examination. For if "with Thee," how can it be "in them"? Is it when this very knowledge is imparted to them, and, through them, to all who believe them as His witnesses? In such a way we may clearly understand Christ as having said of the apostles, that He was glorified in them; for in saying that it was already accomplished, He showed that it was already foreordained, and only wished what was future to be regarded as certain.

4. "And now," He adds, "I am no more in the world, and these are in the world." If your thoughts turn to the very hour in which He was speaking, both were still in the world; to wit, He Himself, and those of whom He was so speaking: for it is not in respect of the tendency of heart and life that we can or ought to understand it, so that they should be described as still in the world, on the ground that they still savored of the earthly; and that He was no longer in the world, because divine in the disposition of His mind. For there is one word used here, which makes any such understanding altogether inadmissible; because He does not say, And I am not in the world; but, "I am no more in the world:" thereby showing that He Himself had been in the world, but was no more so. And are we then at liberty to believe that He at one time savored of the worldly, and, delivered at length from such a mistake, no longer retained the old disposition? Who would venture to shut himself up in so profane a meaning. It remains, therefore, that in the same sense in which He Himself also was previously in the world, He declared that He was no longer in the world, that is to say, in His bodily presence; in other words, showing thereby that His own absence from the world was now in the immediate future, and theirs later, when He said that He was no longer here, and that they were so, although both He and they were still present. For He thus spake, as a man in harmony with men, in accordance with the prevailing custom of human speech. Do we not say every day, he is no longer here, of one who is on the very point of departure? And such in particular is the way we are wont to speak of those who are at the point of death. And besides all else, the Lord Himself, as if foreseeing the thoughts that might possibly be excited in those who were afterwards to read these words, added, "And I come to Thee:" explaining thereby in some measure why He said, "I am no more in the world."

5. Accordingly He commends to the Father's care those whom He was about to leave by His bodily absence, saying: "Holy Father, keep through Thine own name those whom Thou hast given me." That is to say, as man He prays to God in behalf of His disciples, whom He has received from God. But attend to what follows: "That they may be one," He says, "even as we." He does not say, That they may be one with us, or, that they and we may be one, as we are one; but He says, "That they may be one, even as we:" meaning, of course, that in their nature they may be one, even as we are one in ours, which certainly would not be spoken with truth, unless in this respect, that He, as God, is of the same nature as the Father also, in accordance with what He has said elsewhere, "I and the Father are one;" [1728] and not with what He also is as man, for in this respect He said, "The Father is greater than I." [1729] But since one and the same person is God and man, we are to understand the manhood in respect of His asking; but the Godhead, in as far as He Himself, and He whom He asks, are one. But there is still a passage in what follows, where we must have a more careful discussion of this subject.

6. But here He proceeds: "While I was with them, I kept them in Thy name." Since I am coming, He says, to Thee, keep them in Thy name, in which I myself have kept them while I was with them. In the Father's name, the Son as man kept His disciples, when placed side by side with them in human presence; but the Father also, in the name of the Son, kept those whom He heard and answered when praying in the name of the Son. For to them had it also been said by the Son Himself: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, He will give it you." [1730] But we are not to take this in any such carnal way, as that the Father and Son keep us in turn, with an alternation in the guardianship of both in guarding us, as if one succeeded when the other departed; for we are guarded all at once by the Father, and Son, and Holy Spirit, who is the one true and blessed God. But Scripture does not exalt us save by descending to us: as the Word, by becoming flesh, came down to lift us up, and fell not so as to remain Himself in the depths. If we have known Him who thus descendeth, let us rise with Him who lifteth us up; and let us understand, when He speaks thus, that He is marking a distinction in the persons, without making any separation of the natures. While, therefore, the Son in bodily presence was keeping His disciples, the Father was not waiting the Son's departure in order to succeed to the guardianship, but both were keeping them by Their spiritual power; and when the Son withdrew from them His bodily presence, He retained along with the Father the spiritual guardianship. For when the Son also as man assumed the office of their guardian, He did not withdraw them from the Father's guardianship; and when the Father gave them to the guardianship of the Son, in the very giving He acted not apart from Him to whom He gave them, but gave them to the Son as man, yet not apart from that same Son Himself as God.

7. The Son therefore goes on to say: "Those that Thou gavest me, I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the Scripture might be fulfilled." The betrayer of Christ was called the son of perdition, as foreordained to perdition, according to the Scripture, where it is specially prophesied of him in the 109th [1731] Psalm.

8. "And now," He says, "come I to Thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves." See! He says that He speaketh in the world, when He had said only a little before, "I am no more in the world:" the reason of which we have there explained, or rather have shown that He Himself explained it. Accordingly, on the one hand, as He had not yet departed, He was still here; and because He was on the very point of departure, in a kind of way He was no more here. But what this joy is whereof He says, "That they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves," has already been elucidated above, where He says, "That they may be one, even as we are." This joy of His that is bestowed on them by Him, was to be fulfilled, He says, in them; and for that very end declared that He had spoken in the world. This is that peace and blessedness in the world to come, for the attaining of which we must live temperately, and righteously, and godly in the present.

Footnotes

[1725] Luke xv. 31. [1726] Luke xx. 36. [1727] Chap. xvi. 15. [1728] Chap. x. 30. [1729] Chap. xiv. 28. [1730] Chap. xvi. 23. [1731] Augustin: "108th" (Vulg.). .


Tractate CVIII.

Chapter XVII. 14-19.

1. While the Lord is still speaking to the Father, and praying for His disciples, He says: "I have given them Thy saying; and the world hath hated them." That hatred they had not yet experienced in those sufferings of their own, which afterwards overtook them; but He speaks thus in His usual way, foretelling the future in words of the past tense. And then, subjoining the reason of their being hated by the world, He says, "Because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world." This was conferred on them by regeneration; for by generation they were of the world, as He had already said to them, "I have chosen you out of the world." [1732] It was therefore a gracious privilege bestowed upon them, that they, like Himself, should not be of the world, through the deliverance which He was giving them from the world. He, however, was never of the world; for even in respect of His servant-form He was born of that Holy Spirit of whom they were born again. For if on that account they were no more of the world, because born again of the Holy Spirit; on the same account He was never of the world, because born of the Holy Spirit.

2. "I pray not," He adds, "that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that Thou shouldest keep them from the evil." For they still accounted it necessary to be in the world, although they were no longer of it. Then He repeats the same statement: "They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth." For so are they kept from the evil, as He had previously prayed that they might be. But it may be inquired how they were no more of the world, if they were not yet sanctified in the truth; or, if they already were, why He requests that they should be so. Is it not because even those who are sanctified still continue to make progress in the same sanctification, and grow in holiness; and do not so without the aid of God's grace, but by His sanctifying of their progress, even as He sanctified their outset? And hence the apostle likewise says: "He who hath begun a good work in you, will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ." [1733] The heirs therefore of the New Testament are sanctified in that truth which was adumbrated in the purifications of the Old Testament; and when they are sanctified in the truth, they are in other words sanctified in Christ, who said in truth, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life." [1734] As also when He said, "The truth shall make you free," in explanation of His words, He added soon after, "If the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed;" [1735] in order to show that what He had previously called the truth, He a minute afterwards denominates the Son. And what else did He mean by the words before us, "Sanctify them in the truth," but, Sanctify them in me?

3. Finally, He proceeds, and doing so fails not to suggest the same with increasing clearness: "Thy speech (sermo) is truth." What else did He mean than "I am the truth"? For the Greek Gospel has logos, which is also the word that is found in the passage where it is said, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." And that Word at least we know to be the only begotten Son of God, which "was made flesh, and dwelt among us." [1736] Hence also there might have been put here as it actually has been put in certain copies, "Thy Word is truth;" just as in some copies that other passage is written, "In the beginning was the speech." But in the Greek without any variation it is logos in both cases. The Father therefore sanctifies in the truth, that is, in His own Word, in His Only begotten, His own heirs and His (the Son's) co-heirs.

4. But now He still goes on to speak of the apostles, for He proceeds to add, "As Thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world." Whom did He so send but His apostles? For even the very name of apostles, which is a Greek word, signifies in Latin nothing more than, those that are sent. God, therefore, sent His Son, not in sinful flesh, but in the likeness of sinful flesh; [1737] and His Son sent those who, born themselves in sinful flesh, were sanctified by Him from the defilement of sin.

5. But since, on the ground that the Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, has become Head of the Church, they are His members; therefore He says in the words that follow, "And for their sakes I sanctify myself." For what means He by the words, "And for their sakes I sanctify myself," but I sanctify them in myself, since they also are [part of] myself? [1738] For those of whom He so speaks are, as I have said, His members; and the head and body are one Christ, as the apostle teaches when he says of the seed of Abraham, "And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed," after having said before, "He saith not, And to seeds, as in many, but as in one, And to thy seed, which is Christ." [1739] If, then, the seed of Abraham is Christ, what else is declared to those to whom he says, "Then are ye Abraham's seed," but then are ye Christ? Of the same character is what this very apostle said in another place: "Now I rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is lacking of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh." [1740] He said not, of my afflictions, but "of Christ's;" for he was a member of Christ, and in his persecutions, such as it behoved Christ to suffer in the whole of His body, he also was filling up his own share of His afflictions. And to be assured of the certainty of this in the present passage, give heed to what follows. For after saying, "And for their sakes I sanctify myself," to let us understand that He thereby meant that He would sanctify them in Himself, He immediately added, "That they also may be sanctified in the truth." And what else is this but in me, in accordance with the fact that the truth is that Word in the beginning which is God? In whom also the Son of man was Himself sanctified from the beginning of His creation, when the Word was made flesh, for the Word and the man became one person. Then accordingly He sanctified Himself in Himself, that is, Himself the man in Himself the Word; for the Word and the man is one Christ, who sanctifies the manhood in the Word. But in behalf of His members He says, "And for their sakes I,"--that is, that the benefit may be also theirs, for they too are [included in the] I, just as it benefited me in myself, because I am man apart from them--"I sanctify myself," that is, I sanctify them as if it were my own self in me, since in me they also are I. "That they also may be sanctified in the truth." For what else mean the words "they also," but ["they"] in the same way as I; "in the truth," and that "truth" am I? After this He now begins to speak not only of the apostles, but also of the rest of His members, which we shall treat of, as grace may be granted us, in another discourse.

Footnotes

[1732] Chap. xv. 19. [1733] Phil. i. 6. [1734] Chap. xiv. 6. [1735] Chap. viii. 32-36. [1736] Chap. i. 1, 14. [1737] Rom. viii. 3. [1738] Cum et ipsi sint ego. [1739] Gal. iii. 29, 16. [1740] Col. i. 24. .


Tractate CIX.

Chapter XVII. 20.

1. The Lord Jesus, in the now close proximity of His passion, after praying for His disciples, whom He also named apostles, with whom He had partaken of that last supper from which His betrayer had taken his departure on being revealed by the sop of bread, and with whom, after the latter's departure, and before beginning His prayer in their behalf, He had already spoken at length, conjoined all others also who were yet to believe on Him, and said to the Father, "Neither pray I for these alone," that is, for the disciples who were with Him at the time, "but for them also," He adds, "who shall believe on me through their word." Whereby He wished all His own to be understood: not only such as were then in the flesh, but those also who were yet to come. For all that have since believed on Him have doubtless believed, and shall yet believe till He come, through the word of the apostles; for to themselves He had said, "And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning;" [1741] and by them was the gospel ministered even before it was written, and every one assuredly who believeth on Christ believeth the gospel. Accordingly, those who He says should believe on Him through their word, are not to be understood as referring only to such as heard the apostles themselves while they lived in the flesh; but others also after their decease, and we, too, born long afterwards, have believed on Christ through their word. For they that were then with Him preached to the others what they had heard from Him; and so their word, that we too might believe, has found its way to us, and wherever His Church exists, and shall yet reach down to posterity, whoever and wherever they be who shall hereafter believe on Him.

2. In this prayer, therefore, Jesus may seem to have omitted praying for some of His own, unless we carefully examine His words in the prayer itself. For if He prayed first for those, as we have already shown, who were then with Him, and afterwards for those also who should believe on Him through their word, it may be said that He prayed not for those who were neither with Him when He so spake, nor afterwards believed through their word, but had done so at some previous time either of themselves, or in some other supposable manner. For was Nathanael with Him at that time? [1742] Was Joseph of Arimathea, who begged His body from Pilate, and of whom this same evangelist John testifies that he was already His disciple? [1743] Were His mother, Mary, and other women who, we know from the Gospel, had been prior to that time His disciples? Were those with Him then, of whom this evangelist John frequently says, "Many believed on Him"? [1744] For whence came the multitude of those who, with branches of trees, partly preceded and partly followed Him as He sat on the ass, saying, "Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord;" and along with them the children of whom He Himself declared that the prophecy had been uttered, "Out of the mouth of babes and of sucklings Thou hast perfected praise"? [1745] Whence the five hundred brethren, to all of whom at once He would not have appeared after His resurrection [1746] had they not previously believed on Him? Whence that hundred and nine who, with the eleven, were a hundred and twenty, when, being assembled together after His ascension, they waited and received the promise of the Holy Spirit? [1747] Whence came all these, save from those of Whom it was said, "Many believed on Him"? For them, therefore, the Saviour did not at this time pray, seeing it was for those He prayed who were then with Him, and for others not who had already, but who were yet to believe on Him through their word. But these were certainly not with Him on that occasion, and had already believed on Him at some previous period. I say nothing of the aged Simeon, who believed on Him when an infant; of Anna the prophetess; [1748] of Zachariah and Elisabeth, who prophesied of Him before He was born of the Virgin; [1749] of their son John, His forerunner, the friend of the Bridegroom, who both recognized Him in the Holy Spirit, and preached Him in His absence, and pointed Him out when He was present to the recognition of others; [1750] --I say nothing of these, as it might be replied that He ought not to have prayed for such when dead, who had gone hence with their great merits, and having met with a welcome reception were now at rest; for a similar answer is also given in connection with the righteous of olden time. For which of them could have been saved from the damnation awaiting the whole mass of perdition, which has been caused by one man, had he not believed, through the revelation of the Spirit, in the one Mediator between God and men as yet to come in the flesh? But behoved He to pray for the apostles, and not to pray for so many who were still alive, but were not then with Him, and had already at some previous period been brought to the faith? Who is there that would say so?

3. We are therefore to understand that their faith in Him was not yet such as He wished it to be, inasmuch as even Peter himself, to whom, on making the confession, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God," He had borne so excellent a testimony, was disposed rather to hinder Him from dying than to believe in His resurrection when dead, and hence was called immediately thereafter by the same of Satan. [1751] Those, accordingly, are found to be the greater in faith who were long since deceased, and yet, through the revelation of the Spirit, had no manner of doubt that Christ would rise again, than those who, after attaining to the belief that He should redeem Israel, at the sight of His death lost all the hope they previously possessed regarding Him. The best thing for us, therefore, to believe is, that after His resurrection, when the Holy Spirit was bestowed, and the apostles taught and confirmed, and from its outset constituted teachers in the Church, others, through their word, attained the proper faith in Christ, or, in other words, that they then got firm hold of the faith of His resurrection. And in this way also, that all those who seemed to have already believed on Him really belonged to the number of those for whom He prayed, when He said, "Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also who shall believe on me through their word."

4. But we have still in reserve for the further solution of this question the blessed apostle, and that robber who was a villain in wickedness, but a believer on the cross. For the Apostle Paul tells us that he was made an apostle not of men, nor by man, but by Jesus Christ: and speaking of his own gospel, he says, "For I neither received it of man, neither did I learn it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ." [1752] How then was he among those of whom it is said, "They shall believe on me through their word"? On the other hand, the robber believed at the very time when in the case of the teachers themselves such faith as they previously possessed had utterly failed. Not even he, therefore, believed on Christ through their word, and yet his faith was such that he confessed that He whom he saw nailed to the cross would not only rise again, but would also reign, when he said, "Remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom." [1753]

5. Accordingly it remains that if we are to believe that the Lord Jesus, in this prayer, prayed for all of His own who either then were or should thereafter be in this life, which is a state of trial upon earth, [1754] we must so understand the expression, "through their word," as to believe that it here signified the word of faith itself which they preached in the world, and that it was called their word because it was primarily and principally preached by them. For it was already in the course of being preached by them in the earth when Paul received that same word of theirs by the revelation of Jesus Christ. Whence also it came about that he compared the Gospel with them, lest by any means he had run, or should run, in vain; and they gave him their right hand because in him also they found, although not given him by them, their own word which they were already preaching, and in which they were now established. [1755] And in regard to this word of the resurrection of Christ, it is said by the same apostle, "Whether it were I, or they, so we preach, and so ye believed;" [1756] and again, "This is the word of faith," he says, "which we preach, that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth that Jesus is the Lord, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." [1757] And in the Acts of the Apostles we read that in Christ, God hath marked out [the ground of] faith unto all men, in that He hath raised Him from the dead. [1758] Accordingly, this word of faith, because principally and primarily preached by the apostles who adhered to Him, was called their word. Not, however, on that account does it cease to be the word of God because it is called their word; for the same apostle says that the Thessalonians received it from him "not as the word of men, but, as it is in truth, the word of God." [1759] "Of God," for the very reason that it was freely given by God; but called "their word," because primarily and principally committed to them by God to be preached. In the same way also the thief mentioned above had in the matter of his own faith their word, which was called theirs precisely because the preaching of it primarily and principally pertained to the office they filled. And once more, when murmuring arose among the Grecian widows in reference to the serving of the tables, previous to the time when Paul was brought to the faith of Christ, the reply given by the apostles, who before then had adhered to the Lord, was: "It is not good that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables." [1760] Then it was that they provided for the ordination of deacons, that they themselves might not be drawn aside from the duty of preaching the word. Hence that was properly enough called their word which is the word of faith, whereby all, from whatever quarter they had heard it, believed on Christ, or, as yet to hear it, should thereafter believe. In this prayer, therefore, all whom He redeemed, whether then alive or thereafter to live in the flesh, were prayed for by our Redeemer when, praying for the apostles who were then with Him, He also conjoined those who were yet to believe on Him through their word. But what, after such conjunction, He then proceeds to say, must be reserved for discussion in another discourse.

Footnotes

[1741] Chap. xv. 27. [1742] The interrogative particle, numquid, beginning this and the following sentences, implies a negative answer. If Nathanael be identified with Bartholomew, the answer would be affirmative.--Tr. [1743] Chap. xix. 38. [1744] Chap. ii. 23, iv. 39, vii. 31, viii. 30, x. 42. [1745] Matt. xxi. 9; Ps. viii. 2. [1746] I Cor. xv. 6. [1747] Acts i. 15, and ii. 4. [1748] Luke ii. 25-38. [1749] Luke i. 41-45, 67-79. [1750] Chap. i. 19-36, and iii. 26-36. [1751] Matt. xvi. 16, 23. [1752] Gal. i. 1, 12. [1753] Luke xxiii. 42. [1754] Job vii. 1: Tentatio super terram, ZjR+#oL+E+a #B+oE+o; English version, "An appointed time (marg., warfare) upon earth." Rev. Ver. puts "warfare" into the text, and "time of service" on the margin. [1755] Gal. ii. 2, 9. [1756] 1 Cor. xv. 11. [1757] Rom. x. 8, 9. [1758] Acts xvii. 31. [1759] 1 Thess. ii. 13. [1760] Acts vi. 1-4. .


Tractate CX.

Chapter XVII. 21-23.

1. After the Lord Jesus had prayed for His disciples whom He had with Him at the time, and had conjoined with them others who were also His own, by saying, "Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also who shall believe on me through their word," as if we were inquiring what or wherefore He prayed for them, He straightway subjoined, "That they all may be one; as Thou, Father, [art] in me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in us." And a little above, while still praying for the disciples alone who were then with Him, He said, "Holy Father, keep in Thine own name those whom Thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are" (ver. 11). It is the same thing, therefore, that He now also prayed for in our behalf, as He did at that time in theirs, namely, that all--to wit, both we and they--may be one. And here we must take particular notice that the Lord did not say that we all may be one, but, "that they all may be one; as Thou Father, in me, and I in Thee" (where is to be understood are one, as is more clearly expressed afterwards); because He had also said before of the disciples who were with Him, "That they may be one, as we are." The Father, therefore, is in the Son, and the Son in the Father, in such a way as to be one, because they are of one substance; but while we may indeed be in them, we cannot be one with them; for they and we are not of one substance, in as far as the Son is God along with the Father. But in as far as He is man, He is of the same substance as we are. But at present He wished rather to call attention to that other statement which He made use of in another place, "I and the Father are one," [1761] where He intimated that His own nature was the same with that of the Father. And accordingly, though the Father and Son, or even the Holy Spirit, are in us, we must not suppose that they are of one nature with ourselves. And hence they are in us, or we are in them, in this sense, that they are one in their own nature, and we are one in ours. For they are in us, as God in His temple; but we are in them, as the creature in its Creator.

2. But then after saying, "That they also may be one in us," He added, "That the world may believe that Thou hast sent me." What does He mean by this? Is it that the world will then be brought to the faith, when we shall all be one in the Father and Son? Is not such a state the everlasting peace, and the reward of faith, rather than faith itself? For we shall be one not in order to our believing, but because we have believed. But although in this life, because of the common faith itself, all who believe in one are one according to the words of the apostle, "For ye are all one in Christ Jesus;" [1762] even thus we are one, not in order to our believing, but because we do believe. What, then, is meant by the words, "That they all may be one, that the world may believe"? This, doubtless, that the "all" are themselves the believing world. For those who shall be one are not of one class, and the world that is thereafter to believe on this very ground that these shall be one, of another; since it is perfectly certain that He says, "That they all may be one," of those of whom He had said before, "Neither pray I for these alone, but for those also who shall believe on me through their word," immediately adding as He does, "That they all may be one." And this "all," what is it but the world; not certainly that which is hostile, but that which is believing? For you see here that He who had said, "I pray not for the world," now prayeth for the world that it may believe. For there is a world whereof it is written, "That we might not be condemned with this world." [1763] For that world He prayeth not, for He is fully aware to what it is predestinated. And there is a world whereof it is written, "For the Son of man came not to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved;" [1764] and hence the apostle also says, "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself." [1765] For this world it is that He prayeth, in saying, "That the world may believe that Thou hast sent me." For through this faith the world is reconciled unto God when it believes in the Christ whom God has sent. How, then, are we to understand Him when He says, "That they also may be one in us, that the world may believe that Thou hast sent me," but just in this way, that He did not assign the cause of the world believing to the fact that those others are one, as if it believed on the ground that it saw them to be one; for the world itself here consisteth of all who by their own believing become one; but in His prayer He said, "That the world may believe," just as in His prayer He also said, "That they all may be one;" and still further in the same prayer, "That they also may be one in us." For the words, "they all may be one," are equivalent to "the world may believe," since it is by believing that they become one, perfectly one; that is, those who, although one by nature, had ceased to be so by their mutual dissensions. In fine, if the verb which He uses, "I pray," be understood in the third clause, or rather, to make the whole fuller, be everywhere supplied, the explanation of this sentence will be all the clearer: I pray "that they all may be one; as Thou, Father, in me, and I in Thee;" I pray "that they also may be one in us;" I pray "that the world may believe that Thou hast sent me." And, mark, He added the words "in us" in order that we may know that our being made one in that love of unchanging faithfulness is to be attributed to the grace of God, and not to ourselves: just as the apostle, after saying, "For ye were at one time darkness, but now are ye light," that none might attribute the doing of this to themselves, added, "in the Lord." [1766]

3. Furthermore, our Saviour in thus praying to the Father showed Himself to be man; while He now also shows that He Himself, as being God along with the Father, doeth that which He prayeth for, when He says, "And the glory which Thou gavest me, I have given them." And what was that glory but immortality, which human nature was henceforth to receive in Him? For not even He Himself had as yet received it, but in His own customary way, on account of the absolute fixedness of predestination, He intimates what is future in verbs of the past tense, because being now on the point of being glorified, or in other words, raised up again by the Father, He Himself is going to raise us up to the same glory in the end. What we have here is similar to what He says elsewhere, "As the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them, even so the Son quickeneth whom He will." And "whom," but just the same as the Father? "For what things soever the Father doeth," not other things, but "these also doeth the Son," not in a different way, but "in like manner." [1767] And in this way He also raised up even His own self. For to this effect he said, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up again." [1768] Accordingly the glory of immortality, which He says had been given Him by the Father, He must be also understood as having bestowed upon Himself, although He does not say it. For on this very account He more frequently says that the Father alone doeth, what He Himself also doeth along with the Father, that everything whatever He may attribute to Him of whom He is. But sometimes also He is silent about the Father, and says that He Himself doeth what He only doeth along with the Father: that we may thereby understand that the Son is not to be separated from the working of the Father, when He is silent about Himself, and ascribes some work or other to the Father; as, on the other hand, the Father is not separated from the working of the Son, when the Son is said, without any mention being made of [the Father] Himself, to be doing some work in which nevertheless both are equally engaged. When, therefore, in some work of the Father, the Son says nothing of His own working, He commends humility, that He may become the source of sounder health to us; but when, in turn, in the case of some work of His own, He says nothing of the working of the Father, He commends His own equality, that we may not suppose Him to be inferior. In this way, then, and in this passage, He neither estranges Himself from the Father's working, although He has said, "The glory which Thou gavest me;" for He also gave it to Himself: nor does He estrange the Father from His own working, although saying, "I have given to them;" for the Father also gave it to them. For the works not only of the Father and the Son, but also of the Holy Spirit, are inseparable. But just as, because of His praying the Father in behalf of all His people, it was His own pleasure that this should be done, "that they all may be one;" so also on the ground of His own beneficence, as expressed in the words, "The glory which Thou gavest me, I have given them," the doing of that was none the less His pleasure; for He immediately added, "That they may be one, as we also are one."

4. And then He added: "I in them, and Thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one." Here He briefly intimated Himself as the Mediator between God and men. Nor was this said in any such way as if the Father were not in us, or we were not in the Father; since He had also said in another place, "We will come unto him, and make our abode with him;" [1769] and a little before in this present passage He had not said, "I in them and Thou in me," as He said now; or, They in me, and I in Thee; but, "Thou in me, and I in Thee, and they in us." Accordingly, when He now says, "I in them, and Thou in me," the words take this form in reference to the person of the Mediator, like that other expression used by the apostle, "Ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's." [1770] But in adding, "That they may be made perfect in one," He showed that the reconciliation, which is effected by the Mediator, is carried to the very length of bringing us to the enjoyment of that perfect blessedness, which is thenceforth incapable of further addition. Hence the words that follow, "That the world may know that Thou hast sent me," are not, I think, to be taken as if He had again said, "That the world may believe;" for sometimes, to know, is also used in the same sense as to believe, as it is in the words He uttered some time before: "And they have known truly that I came out from Thee, and they have believed that Thou didst send me." He expressed the same thing by the later words, "they have believed," as He had done by the earlier, "they have known." But inasmuch as He here speaks of the consummation, the knowledge must be taken for such, as it shall then be by sight, and not, as it now is, by faith. For an order seems to have been preserved in reference to what He said a little before, "that the world may believe;" while here it is, "that the world may know." For although He said there, "that they all may be one," and "may be one in us," yet He did not say, "they may be made perfect in one," and so subjoined the words, "that the world may believe that Thou hast sent me;" but here He said, "That they may be made perfect in one," and then added, not, "that the world may believe," but, "that the world may know that Thou hast sent me." For so long as we believe what we do not see, we are not yet made perfect, as we shall be when we have merited the sight of that which we believe. Most correctly, therefore, did He say in that previous place, "That the world may believe," and here "That the world may know;" yet both there and here, "that Thou hast sent me;" that we may know, so far as belongs to the inseparable love of the Father and the Son, that at present we only believe what we are on the way, by believing, to know. And had He said, That they may know that Thou hast sent me, it would be just of the same force as what He actually does say, "that the world may know." For they are the world that abideth not in enmity, as doth the world that is foreordained to damnation; but one that out of an enemy has been transformed into a friend, and on whose account "God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself." Therefore said He, "I in them, and Thou in me;" as if He had said, I in those to whom Thou hast sent me; and Thou in me, reconciling the world unto Thyself through me.

5. In close relation to these come also His further words: "And Thou hast loved them as thou hast loved me." That is to say, in the Son the Father loveth us, because in Him He hath chosen us before the foundation of the world. [1771] For He who loveth the Only-begotten, certainly loveth also His members which, through His in strumentality, He engrafted into Him by adoption. But we are not on this account equal to the only-begotten Son, by whom we have been created and re-created, that it is said, "Thou hast loved them as [Thou hast] also [loved] me." For one does not always intimate equality when he says, As this, so also that other; but sometimes only, Because this is, so also is the other; or, That the one is, in order that the other may be also. For who could say that the apostles were sent by Christ into the world in exactly the same way as He Himself was sent by the Father? For, to say nothing of other differences, which it would be tedious to mention, they at all events were sent when they were already men; but He was sent in order that He might be man; and yet He said above, "As Thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I sent them into the world;" as if He had said, Because Thou hast sent me, I have sent them. So also in the passage before us He says, "Thou hast loved them, as Thou hast loved me;" which is nothing else than this, Thou hast loved them because that Thou hast also loved me. For He could not but love the members of the Son, seeing that He loveth the Son Himself; nor is there any other reason for loving His members, save that He loveth Himself. But He loveth the Son as regards His Godhead, because He begat Him equal with Himself; He loveth Him also in regard to what He is as man, because the Only-begotten Word was Himself made flesh, and on account of the Word is the flesh of the Word dear to Him; but He loveth us, inasmuch as we are the members of Him whom He loveth; and in order that we might be so, He loved us on this account before we existed.

6. The love, therefore, wherewith God loveth, is incomprehensible and immutable. For it was not from the time that we were reconciled unto Him by the blood of His Son that He began to love us; but He did so before the foundation of the world, that we also might be His sons along with His Only-begotten, before as yet we had any existence of our own. Let not the fact, then, of our having been reconciled unto God through the death of His Son be so listened to or so understood, as if the Son reconciled us to Him in this respect, that He now began to love those whom He formerly hated, in the same way as enemy is reconciled to enemy, so that thereafter they become friends, and mutual love takes the place of their mutual hatred; but we were reconciled unto Him who already loved us, but with whom we were at enmity because of our sin. Whether I say the truth on this, let the apostle testify, when he says: "God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." [1772] He, therefore, had love toward us even when we were practising enmity against Him and working iniquity; and yet to Him it is said with perfect truth, "Thou hatest, O Lord, all workers of iniquity." [1773] Accordingly, in a wonderful and divine manner, even when He hated us, He loved us; for He hated us, in so far as we were not what He Himself had made; and because our own iniquity had not in every part consumed His work, He knew at once both how, in each of us, to hate what we had done, and to love what He had done. And this, indeed, may be understood in the case of all regarding Him to whom it is truly said, "Thou hatest nothing that Thou hast made." [1774] For He would never have wished anything that He hated to exist, nor would aught that the Omnipotent had not wished exist at all, were it not that in what He hated there was also something that He loved. For He justly hateth and reprobateth vice as utterly repugnant to the principle of His procedure, yet He loveth even in the persons of the vitiated what is susceptible either of His own beneficence through healing, or of His judgment by condemnation. In this way God at the same time hateth nothing of what He has made; for as the Creator of natures, and not of vices, it was not He who made the evil that He hateth; and of these same evils, all is good that He really doeth, either by mercifully healing them, or by judicially regulating them. Seeing, then, that He hateth nothing that He hath made, who can worthily describe how much He loveth the members of His Only-begotten, and how much more the Only-begotten Himself, in whom are hid all things visible and invisible, which were ordained in their various classes, and which He loves in fullest harmony with such ordination? For the members of His Only-begotten He is leading on by the liberality of His grace to an equality with the holy angels; while the Only-begotten Himself, being Lord of all, is doubtless Lord of angels, being by nature, as God, the equal not of angels, but rather of the Father Himself; while through grace, in respect of which He is man, how can He otherwise than surpass all angelic excellence, seeing that in Him human flesh and the Word constitute but one personality?

7. Nevertheless there are not wanting some who place us likewise before the angels; because, they say, Christ died for us and not for angels. But what else is such a notion than the desire to glory over our very impiety? For "Christ," as the apostle says, "in due time died for the ungodly." [1775] Where it is not any desert of ours, but the mercy of God, that is commended. For what can be the character of the man who wishes himself to be lauded, because he has become so abominably diseased through his own wickedness, that he can only be healed by the death of his physician? That surely is not the glory of our deserts, but the medicine of our diseases. Or do we prefer ourselves to the angels on this account, that, while there are angels also who have sinned, there has been no such labor expended on their healing? As if something that was at least small in amount had been undertaken for them, and what was greater for us. But had even such been the case, it might still be a subject of inquiry whether it was so because we had once stood in a position of superior excellence, or because we were now lying in a more desperate condition. But knowing as we do that the Creator of all good has imparted no grace for the reparation of angelic evils, why do we not rather draw the inference that their fault was judged all the more damnable, that the nature of those who committed it was of a loftier sublimity? For to the same extent as they less than we ought to have fallen into sin, were they superior in nature to us. But now in offending against the Creator they became all the more detestably ungrateful for His beneficence, that they were created capable of exercising the greater beneficence; nor was it enough for them to become deserters from Him, but they must also become our deceivers. This, therefore, is the great goodness of which we are to be made the subjects by Him, who hath loved us even as He hath loved Christ, that, for His sake, whose members He wished us to be, we may be equal to the holy angels, [1776] to whom we were created with an inferiority of nature, and have by our sin fallen into such greater depths of unworthiness, as to make it incumbent that we should be in some sort their associates.

Footnotes

[1761] Chap. x. 30. [1762] Gal. iii. 28. [1763] 1 Cor. xi. 32. [1764] Chap. iii. 17. [1765] 2 Cor. v. 19. [1766] Eph. v. 8. [1767] Chap. v. 21, 19. [1768] Chap. ii. 19. [1769] Chap. xiv. 23. [1770] 1 Cor. iii. 23. [1771] Eph. i. 4. [1772] Rom. v. 8, 9. [1773] Ps. v. 5. [1774] Wisd. xi. 25. [1775] Rom. v. 6. [1776] Luke xx. 36. .


Tractate CXI.

Chapter XVII. 24-26.

1. The Lord Jesus raises up His people to a great hope, than which there could not possibly be a greater. Listen and rejoice in hope, that, since the present is not a life to be loved, but to be tolerated, you may have the power of patient endurance amid all its tribulation. [1777] Listen, I say, and weigh well to what it is that our hopes are exalted. Christ Jesus saith, The Son of God, the Only-begotten, who is co-eternal and equal with the Father, saith: He, who for our sakes became man, but became not, like every man besides, a liar, [1778] saith: the Way, the Life, the Truth saith: [1779] He who overcame the world, saith of those for whom He overcame it: listen, believe, hope, desire what He saith: "Father," He says, "I will that they also whom Thou hast given me be with me where I am." Who are these who He says were given Him by the Father? Are they not those of whom He says in another place, "No man cometh unto me, unless the Father, who hath sent me, draw him"? [1780] We already know if we have made any beneficial progress in this Gospel, how it is that the things which He says the Father doeth, He Himself doeth likewise along with the Father. They are those, therefore, whom He has received from the Father, whom He Himself has also chosen out of the world, and chosen that they may be no more of the world, even as He also is not of the world; and yet that they also may be a world that believeth and knoweth that Christ has been sent by God the Father that the world might be delivered from the world, and so, as a world that was to be reconciled unto God, might not be condemned with the world that lieth in enmity. For so He says in the beginning of this prayer: "Thou hast given Him power over all flesh," that is, over every man, "that He should give eternal life to as many as Thou hast given Him." Here He makes it clear that He has indeed received power over all men, that, as the future Judge of quick and dead, He may deliver whom He pleases, and condemn whom He pleases; but that these were given Him that to all of them He should give eternal life. For so He says: "That He should give eternal life to as many as Thou hast given Him." Accordingly they were not given Him that from them He should withhold eternal life; although over them also the power has been given Him, inasmuch as He has received it over all flesh, in other words, over every man. In this way the world that has been reconciled will be delivered from the hostile world, when He putteth into exercise His power over it, to send it away into death eternal; but the other He maketh His own that He may give it everlasting life. Accordingly, to every one, without fail, of His own sheep the Good Shepherd, as to every one of His members the great Head, hath promised this reward, that where He is, there also we shall be with Him; nor can that be otherwise which the omnipotent Son declared to be His will to the omnipotent Father. For there also is the Holy Spirit, equally eternal, equally God, the one Spirit of the two, the substance of the will of both. For the words that we read of Him as uttering on the eve of His passion, "Yet not, Father, as I will, but as Thou wilt," [1781] as if the Father has or had one will, and the Son another, are the echo of our infirmity, however faith-pervaded, which our Head transfigured in His own person, when He likewise bare our iniquities. But that the will of the Father and the Son is one, of both of whom also there is but one Spirit, by including whom we come to the knowledge of the Trinity, let piety believe, even though our infirmity meanwhile permitteth us not to understand.

2. But as we have already, in a way proportionate to the brevity of our discourse, spoken of the objects of the promise, and of its own stability; let us now look at this one point, as far as we are able, what it is that He was pleased to promise when He said, "I will that they also whom Thou hast given me be with me where I am." As far as pertains to the creaturehood wherein He was made of the seed of David according to the flesh, [1782] not even He Himself was yet where He would afterwards be: but He could say in this way, "where I am," to let us understand that He was soon to ascend into heaven, so that He spake of Himself as being already there, where He was presently to be. He could do so also in the same way as He had said on a former occasion, when speaking to Nicodemus, "No man ascendeth into heaven, save He that came down from heaven, even the Son of man who is in heaven." [1783] For there also He did not say, Will be, but "is," because of the oneness of person, wherein God is at once man, and man God. He promised, therefore, that we should be in heaven; for thither the servant-form, which He received of the Virgin, has been elevated, and set at the right hand of the Father. Because of the same blessed hope the apostle also says: "But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ; by whose grace we are saved; and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus." [1784] And so accordingly we may understand the Lord to have said, "That where I am, there they may be also." He, indeed, said of Himself that He was there already; but of us He merely declared that He wished us to be there with Him, without any indication that we were there already. But what the Lord said that He wished to be done, the apostle spake of as already accomplished. For he said not, He will yet raise us up, and make us sit in heavenly places; but, "hath raised us up, and made us sit in heavenly places:" for it is not without good grounds, but in believing assurance, that he reckons as already done what he is certain will yet be done. But if it is in respect of the form of God, wherein He is equal to the Father, that we would be inclined to understand His words, "I will that they also be with me, where I am," let our mind get quit of every thought of material images: whatever the soul has had presented to it, that is endowed with length, or breadth, or thickness, tinted by the light with any sort of bodily hue, or diffused through local space of any kind, whether finite or infinite, let it, as far as possible, turn away from all such notions the glance of its contemplation on the inward bent of its thoughts. And let us not be making inquiries as to where the Son, the Father's co-equal, is, since no one has yet found out where He is not. But if any one would inquire, let him inquire rather how he may be with Him; not everywhere as He is, but wherever He may be. For when He said to the man that was expiating his crimes on the tree, and making confession unto salvation, "Today shalt thou be with me in paradise," [1785] in respect to His human nature His own soul was on that very day to be in hell, [1786] His flesh in the sepulchre; but as respected His Godhead He was certainly also in paradise. And therefore the soul of the thief, absolved from his by-gone crimes, and already in the blessed enjoyment of His grace, although it could not be everywhere as He was, yet could on that very day be also with Him in paradise, from which He, who is always everywhere, had not withdrawn. On this account, doubtless, it was not enough for Him to say, "I will that they also be where I am;" but He added, "with me." For to be with Him is the chief good. For even the miserable can be where He is, since wheresoever any are, there is He also; but the blessed only are with Him, because it is only of Him that they can be blessed. Was it not truly said to God, "If I ascend into heaven, Thou art there; and if I go down into hell, Thou art present?" [1787] or is not Christ after all that Wisdom of God which "penetrateth everywhere because of its purity"? [1788] But the light shineth in darkness and the darkness comprehendeth it not. [1789] And similarly, to take a kind of illustration from what is visible, although greatly unlike, as the blind man, even though he be where the light is, is yet not himself with the light, but is really absent from that which is present; so the unbeliever and profane, or even the believer and pious, because not yet competent to gaze on the light of wisdom, although he cannot be anywhere that Christ is not there likewise, yet is not himself with Christ, I mean in actual sight. For we cannot doubt that the true believer is with Christ by faith; because in reference to this He saith, "He that is not with me is against me." [1790] But when He said to God the Father, "I will that they also whom Thou hast given me be with me where I am," He spake exclusively of that sight wherein we shall see Him as He is. [1791]

3. Let no one disturb the clearness of the meaning by any cloudy contradiction; but let what follows furnish its testimony to the words that precede. For after saying, "I will that they also be with me where I am," He went on immediately to add, "That they may behold my glory, which Thou gavest me: for Thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world." "That they may behold," He said; not, that they may believe. This is faith's wages, [1792] not faith itself. For if faith has been correctly defined in the Epistle to the Hebrews as "the assurance [conviction] of things that are not seen," [1793] why may not the wages of faith be defined, the beholding of things which were hoped for in faith? For when we shall see the glory which the Father hath given the Son, even though we may understand what is spoken of in this passage, not as that [glory] which the Father gave His co-equal Son in begetting Him, but as that which He gave Him, when become the Son of man, after the death of the cross;--when, I say, we shall see that glory of the Son, then of a certainty shall take place the judgment of the quick and the dead, and then shall the wicked be taken away that he may not behold the glory of the Lord; [1794] and what [glory], save that of His Godhead? For blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God: [1795] and because the wicked are not pure in heart, therefore they shall not see. Then shall they go away into everlasting punishment; for so shall the wicked be taken away, that he may not behold the glory of the Lord: but the righteous shall go into life eternal. [1796] And what is life eternal? "That they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent" (ver. 3): not, indeed, as those knew Him, who although impure in heart, yet were able to see Him as He sat in judgment in His glorified servant-form; but as He is yet to be known by the pure in heart, as the only true God, the Son along with the Father and Holy Spirit, because the Trinity itself is the only true God. If, then, it is in reference to His Godhead as the Son of God, equal and co-eternal with the Father, that we take the words, "I will that they also be with me where I am," we shall be with Christ in the Father; but He in His own way, we in ours, wherever we may be in body. For if localities are to be understood, and such as contain incorporeal beings, and everything has a place where it is, the eternal place of Christ where He always is, is the Father Himself, and the place of the Father is the Son; for "I," He said, "am in the Father, and the Father in me;" [1797] and in this prayer, "As Thou, Father, art in me, and I in Thee:" and they are our place, because there follows, "That they also may be one in us:" and we are God's place, inasmuch as we are His temple; even as He, who died for us and liveth for us, also prayeth for us, that we may be one in them; because "His [dwelling] place was made in peace, [1798] and His habitation in Zion," [1799] which we are. But who is qualified to think on such places or what is in them, apart from the idea of space-defined capacities and material masses? Yet no little progress is made, if at least, when any such idea presents itself to the eye of the mind, it is denied, rejected, and reprobated: and a certain kind of light is, as far as possible, thought of, in which such things are perceived as deserving only to be denied, rejected, and reprobated; and the certainty of that light is known and loved, so that from thence an upward movement is begun in us, and an effort made to reach into places farther within: and when the mind through its own infirmity and still inferior purity has failed to penetrate them it is driven back again, not without the sighings of love and the tears of ardent longing, and continues to bear in patience until it is purified by faith, and prepared by the holiness of the inward life to be able to take up its abode therein.

4. How, then, shall we not be with Christ where He is, when we shall be with Him in the Father in whom He is? On this, also, the apostle is not without something to say to us, although we are not yet in possession of the reality, but only cherishing the hope. For he says, "If ye be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God: set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye have died," he adds, "and your life is hid with Christ in God." Here, you see, our life is meanwhile in faith and hope with Christ, where He is; because it is with Christ in God. That, you see, is as if already accomplished for which He prayed, when He said, "I will that they also be with me where I am;" but now only by faith. And when will it be accomplished by actual sight? "When Christ," he says, "[who is] your life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory." [1800] Then shall we appear as that which we then shall be; for it shall then be apparent that it was not without good grounds that we believed and hoped we should become so, before it actually took place. He will do this, to whom the Son, after saying, "That they may behold my glory, which Thou gavest me," immediately added, "For Thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world." For in Him He loved us also before the foundation of the world, and then foreordained what He was to do in the end of the world.

5. "O righteous Father," He saith, "the world hath not known Thee." Just because Thou art righteous it hath not known Thee. It is as that world which has been predestined to condemnation really deserved, that it hath not known Him; while the world which He hath reconciled unto Himself through Christ hath known Him not of merit, but by grace. For what else is the knowing of Him, but eternal life which, while He undoubtedly withheld it from the condemned world, He bestowed on the reconciled. On that very account, therefore, the world hath not known Thee, because Thou art righteous, and hast rendered unto it according to its deserts, that it should not know Thee: while on the same account the reconciled world hath known Thee, because Thou art merciful, and, not for any merit of its own, but by grace, hast supplied it with the needed help to know Thee. And then there follows, "But I have known Thee." He is the Fountain of grace, who is by nature God, and, by grace ineffable, man also of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin: and then on His own behalf, because the grace of God is through Jesus Christ our Lord, He adds, "And these have known that Thou hast sent me." Such is the reconciled world. But it is because Thou hast sent me that they have known: by grace, therefore, have they known.

6. "And I have made known to them," He says, "Thy name, and will make it known." I have made it known by faith, I will make it known by sight: I have made it known to those whose present sojourn in a strange land has its appointed end, I will make it known to those whose reign as kings shall be endless. "That the love," He adds, "wherewith [literally, which] Thou hast loved me, [1801] may be in them, and I in them. (The form of speech is unusual, "the love, which Thou hast loved me, may be in them, and I in them;" for the common way of speaking is, the love wherewith thou hast loved me. Here, of course, it is a translation from the Greek: but there are similar forms also in Latin; as we say, He served a faithful service, He served as a soldier a strenuous soldier-service; when apparently we ought to have said, He served with a faithful service, he served as a soldier with a strenuous soldier-service. But such as the form of expression is, "the love which Thou hast loved me;" one similar to it is also used by the apostle, "I have fought a good fight;" [1802] he does not say, in a good fight, which would be the more usual and perhaps correcter form of expression.) But how else is the love wherewith the Father loved the Son in us also, but because we are His members and are loved in Him, since He is loved in the totality of His person, as both Head and members? Therefore He added, "and I in them;" as if saying, Since I am also in them. For in one sense He is in us as in His temple; but in another, because we are also Himself, seeing that, in accordance with His becoming man, that He might be our Head, we are His body. The Saviour's prayer is finished, His passion begins; let us, therefore, also finish the present discourse, that we may treat of His passion, as He granteth us grace, in others to follow.

Footnotes

[1777] Rom. xii. 12. [1778] Ps. cxvi. 11. [1779] Chap. xiv. 6. [1780] Chap. vi. 44. [1781] Matt. xxvi. 39. [1782] Rom. i. 3. [1783] Chap. iii. 13. [1784] Eph. ii. 4-6. [1785] Luke xxiii. 43. [1786] In inferno. [1787] Ps. cxxxix. 8. [1788] Wisd. vii. 24. [1789] Chap. i. 5. [1790] Matt. xii. 30. [1791] 1 John iii. 2. [1792] Merces. [1793] Heb. xi. 1. [1794] Isa. xxvi. 10. [1795] Matt. v. 8. [1796] Matt. xxv. 46. [1797] Chap. xiv. 10. [1798] Ps. lxxvi. 2: in pace, M%L+"ShoB+; rather as in English version, "in Salem" (Jerusalem).--Tr. [1799] Ps. lxxvi. 2: in pace, M%L+"ShoB+; rather as in English version, "in Salem" (Jerusalem).--Tr. [1800] Col. iii. 1-4. [1801] Quam dilexisti me. The part which follows, which we have enclosed within parentheses, may be omitted by the English reader, as it only deals with the Latin idiom.--Tr. [1802] 2 Tim. iv. 7. .


Tractate CXII.

Chapter XVIII. 1-12.

1. When the grand and lengthened discourse was concluded which the Lord delivered after supper, and on the eve of shedding His blood for us, to the disciples who were then with Him, and had added the prayer addressed to His Father, the evangelist John began thereafter the narrative of His passion in these words: "When Jesus had so spoken, He went forth with His disciples over the brook Cedron, where was a garden, into the which He entered, and His disciples. And Judas also, who betrayed Him, knew the place; for Jesus oft-times resorted thither with His disciples." What he here relates of the Lord entering the garden with His disciples did not take place immediately after He had brought the prayer to a close, of which he says, "When Jesus had spoken these words:" but certain other incidents were interposed, which are passed over by the present evangelist and found in the others; just as in this one are found many things on which the others are similarly silent in their own narratives. But any one who desires to know how they all agree together, and the truth which is advanced by one is never contradicted by another, may seek for what he wants, not in these present discourses, but in other elaborate treatises; [1803] but he will master the subject not by standing and listening, but rather by sitting down and reading, or by giving his closest attention and thought to one who does so. Yet let him believe before he know, whether he be able also to come to such a knowledge in this life, or find it impossible through some existing entanglements, that there is nothing written by any one evangelist, as far as regards those who have been received by the Church into canonical authority, that can be contrary to his own or another's equally veracious narrative. At present, therefore, let us look at the narrative of the blessed John, which we have undertaken to expound, without any comparison with the others, and without lingering over anything in it that is already sufficiently clear; so that where it is needful to do so, we may the better answer the demand. Let us, therefore, not take His words, "When Jesus had spoken these words, He went forth with His disciples over the brook Cedron, where was a garden, into the which He entered, and His disciples," as if it were immediately after the utterance of these words that He entered the garden; but let the clause, "When Jesus had spoken these words," bear this meaning, that we are not to suppose Him entering the garden before He had brought these words to a close.

2. "Judas also," he says, "who betrayed Him, knew the place; [1804] for Jesus oft-times resorted thither with His disciples." There, accordingly, the wolf, clad in a sheep's skin, and tolerated among the sheep by the profound counsel of the Father of the family, learned where he might opportunely scatter the slender flock, and lay his coveted snares for the Shepherd. "Judas then," he adds, "having received a cohort, and officers from the chief men and the Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns, and torches, and weapons." It was a cohort, not of Jews, but of soldiers. We are therefore to understand it as having been received from the governor, as if for the purpose of securing the person of a criminal, and by preserving the forms of legal power, to deter any from venturing to resist his captors: although at the same time so great a band had been assembled, and came armed in such a way as either to terrify or even attack any one who should dare to make a stand in Christ's defense. For only in so far was His power concealed and prominence given to His weakness, that these very measures were deemed necessary by His enemies to be taken against Him, for whose hurt nothing would have sufficed but what was pleasing to Himself; in His own goodness making a good use of the wicked, and doing what was good in regard to the wicked, that He might transform the evil into the good, and distinguish between the good and the evil.

3. "Jesus, therefore," as the evangelist proceeds to say, "knowing all things that should come upon Him, went forth and saith unto them, Whom seek ye? They answered Him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am [He]. And Judas also, who betrayed Him, stood with them. As soon then as He had said unto them, I am He, they went backward, and fell to the ground." Where now were the military cohort, and the servants of the chief men and the Pharisees? where the terror and protection of weapons? His own single voice uttering the words, "I am [He]," without any weapon, smote, repelled, prostrated that great crowd, with all the ferocity of their hatred and terror of their arms. For God lay hid in that human flesh; and eternal day was so obscured in those human limbs, that with lanterns and torches He was sought for to be slain by the darkness. "I am [He]," He says; and He casteth the wicked to the ground. What will He do when He cometh as judge, who did this when giving Himself up to be judged? What will be His power when He cometh to reign, who had this power when He came to die? And now everywhere through the gospel Christ is still saying, "I am [He];" and the Jews are looking for antichrist, that they may go backward and fall to the ground, as those who have abandoned what is heavenly, and are hankering after the earthly. It was for the very purpose of apprehending Jesus that His persecutors accompanied the traitor: they found the One they were seeking, for they heard, "I am [He]." Why, then, did they not seize Him, but went backward and fell, but just because so He pleased, who could do whatever He pleased? But had He never permitted them to apprehend Him, they would certainly not have done what they came to do, but no more would He be doing what He came to do. They, verily, in their mad rage, sought for Him to put Him to death; but He, too, in giving Himself to death, was seeking for us. Accordingly, having thus shown His power to those who had the will, but not the power, to hold Him; let them now hold Him that He may work His own will with those who know it not.

4. "Then asked He them again, Whom seek ye? And they said, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus answered, I have told you that I am [He]. If therefore ye seek me, let these go their way: that the saying might be fulfilled which He spake, That of those whom Thou hast given me I have lost none." "If ye seek me," He says, "let these go their way." He sees His enemies, [1805] and they do what He bids them: they let those go their way, whom He would not have perish. But were they not afterwards to die? How then, if they died now, should He lose them, were it not that as yet they did not believe in Him, as all believe who perish not?

5. "Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it, and smote the high priest's servant, and cut off his right ear. And the servant's name was Malchus." This is the only evangelist who has given us the very name of this servant, as Luke is the only one who tells us that the Lord touched his ear and healed him. [1806] The interpretation of Malchus is, one who is destined to reign. What, then, is signified by the ear that was cut off in the Lord's behalf, and healed by the Lord, but the renewed hearing that has been pruned of its oldness, that it may henceforth be in the newness of the spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter? [1807] Who can doubt that he, who had such a thing done for him by Christ, was yet destined to reign with Christ? And his being found as a servant, pertains also to that oldness that gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. [1808] But when healing came, liberty also was shadowed forth. Peter's deed, however, was disapproved of by the Lord, and He prevented Him from proceeding further by the words: "Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?" For in such a deed that disciple only sought to defend his Master, without any thought of what it was intended to signify. And he had therefore to be exhorted to the exercise of patience, and the event itself to be recorded as an exercise of understanding. But when He says that the cup of suffering was given Him by the Father, we have precisely the same truth as that which was uttered by the apostle: "If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not His own Son, but gave Him up for us all." [1809] But the originator of this cup is also one with Him who drank it; and hence the same apostle likewise says, "Christ loved us, and gave Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God of a sweet-smelling savor." [1810]

6. "Then the cohort, and the tribune, and the officers of the Jews, took Jesus, and bound Him." They took Him to whom they had never found access: for He continued the day, while they remained as darkness; neither had they given heed to the words, "Come unto Him, and be enlightened." [1811] For had they so approached Him, they would have taken Him, not with their hands for the purpose of murder, but with their hearts for the purpose of a welcome reception. Now, however, when they laid hold of Him in this way, their distance from Him was vastly in creased: and they bound Him by whom they themselves ought rather to have been loosed. And perhaps there were those among them who then fastened their fetters on Christ, and yet were afterwards delivered by Him, and could say, "Thou hast loosed my bonds." [1812] Let this be enough for to-day; we shall deal, God willing, with what follows in another discourse.

Footnotes

[1803] Augustin refers to his books "On the Harmony of the Evangelists." [1804] The text runs thus: Sciebat, inquit, et Judas, qui tradebat eum, locum. Ordo verborum est, Sciebat locum, qui tradebat eum; which could not be intelligibly translated into English.--Tr. [1805] Thomas Aquinas in the Casena reads here, He commands his enemies, and not altogether unsuitably.--Migne. [1806] Luke xxii. 51. [1807] Rom. vii. 6. [1808] Gal. iv. 24. [1809] Rom. viii. 31, 32. [1810] Eph. v. 2. [1811] Ps. xxxiv. 5. [1812] Ps. cxvi. 16. .


Tractate CXIII.

Chapter XVIII. 13-27.

1. After that His persecutors had, through the treason of Judas, taken and bound the Lord, who loved us, and gave Himself for us, [1813] and whom the Father spared not, but gave Him up for us all: [1814] that we may understand that there was no praise due to Judas for the usefulness of his treachery, but damnation for the willfulness of his wickedness: "They led Him," as John the evangelist tells us, "to Annas first." Nor does he withhold the reason for so doing: "For he was father-in-law to Caiaphas, who was the high priest that same year. Now Caiaphas was he," he says, "who gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people." And properly enough Matthew, when wishing to say the same in fewer words, tells us that He was led to Caiaphas; [1815] for He was also taken in the first place to Annas, simply because he was his father-in-law; and where we have only to understand that such was the very thing that Caiaphas wished to be done.

2. "But Jesus was followed," he says, "by Simon Peter, and another disciple." Who that other disciple is, we cannot affirm with confidence, because it is left unnoticed here. But it is in this way that John usually refers to himself, with the addition, "whom Jesus loved." [1816] Perhaps, therefore, it is he also in the present case; but whoever it is, let us look at what follows. "And that disciple," he says, "was known unto the high priest, and went in with Jesus into the palace of the high priest; but Peter stood at the door without. Then went out that other disciple, who was known unto the high priest, and spake unto her that kept the door, and brought in Peter. Then saith the damsel that kept the door unto Peter, Art thou also one of this man's disciples? He saith, I am not." Lo, the pillar of greatest strength has at a single breath of air trembled to its foundations. Where is now all that boldness of the promiser, and his overweening confidence in himself beforehand? What now of those words, when he said, "Why cannot I follow Thee now? I will lay down my life for Thy sake." [1817] Is this the way to follow the Master, to deny his own discipleship? is it thus that one's life is laid down for the Lord, when one is frightened at a maid-servant's voice, lest it should compel us to the sacrifice? But what wonder, if God foretold what was true, and man presumptuously imagined what was false? Assuredly in this denial of the Apostle Peter, which had now entered on its first stage, we ought to take notice that not only is Christ denied by one who says that He is not Christ, but by him also who, while really a Christian, himself denies that he is so. For the Lord said not to Peter, Thou shalt deny that thou art my disciple; but, "Thou shalt deny me." [1818] Him, therefore, he denied, when he denied that he was His disciple. And what else did such a form of denial imply, but that of his own Christianity? For although the disciples of Christ were not yet called by such a name,--because it was after His ascension, in Antioch, first that the disciples began to be called Christians, [1819] --yet the thing itself, that afterwards assumed such a name, already existed, those who were afterwards called Christians were already disciples; and this common name, like the common faith, they transmitted to their posterity. He, therefore, who denied that he was Christ's disciple, denied the reality of the thing, of which the being called a Christian was only the name. How many afterwards, not to speak of old men and women, whose satiated feelings as regards the present life might more easily enable them to brave death for the confession of Christ; and not merely the youth of both sexes, when of an age at which the exercise of fortitude seems to be fairly required; but even boys and girls could do--even as an innumerable company of holy martyrs with brave hearts and by a violent death entered the kingdom of heaven--what at that moment he was unable to do, who received the keys of that kingdom. [1820] It is here we see why it was said, "Let these go their way," when He, who hath redeemed us by His own blood, gave Himself for us; that the saying which He spake might be fulfilled, "Of those whom Thou hast given me I have lost none." For assuredly, had Peter gone hence after denying the Christ, what else would have awaited him but destruction?

3. "And the servants and officers stood beside the fire of burning coals, for it was cold, and warmed themselves." Though it was not winter, it was cold: which is sometimes wont to be the case even at the vernal equinox. "And Peter was standing with them, and warming himself. The high priest then asked Jesus of His disciples, and of His doctrine. Jesus answered him, I spake openly to the world; I always taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither all the Jews resort, and in secret have I said nothing. Why askest thou me? ask those who heard me, what I have said unto them: behold, they know what I said." A question occurs that ought not to be passed over, how it is that the Lord Jesus said, "I spake openly to the world;" and in particular that which He afterwards added, "In secret have I said nothing." Did He not, even in that latest discourse which He delivered to the disciples after supper, say to them, "These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs; but the hour cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall show you plainly of my Father?" [1821] If, then, He spake not openly even to the more intimate company of His disciples, but gave the promise of a time when He would speak openly, how was it that He spake openly to the world? And still further, as is also testified on the authority of the other evangelists, to those who were truly His own, in comparison with others who were not His disciples, He certainly spake with much greater plainness when He was alone with them at a distance from the multitudes; for then He unfolded to them the parables, which He had uttered in obscure terms to others. What then is the meaning of the words, "In secret have I said nothing"? It is in this way we are to understand His saying, "I spake openly to the world;" as if He had said, There were many that heard me. And that word "openly" was in a certain sense openly and in another sense not openly. It was openly, because many heard Him; and again it was not openly, because they did not understand Him. And even what He spake to His disciples apart, He certainly spake not in secret. For who speaketh in secret, that speaketh before so many persons; as it is written, "At the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established:" [1822] especially if that be spoken to a few which he wisheth to become known to many through them; as the Lord Himself said to the few whom He had as yet, "What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light; and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the house-tops"? [1823] And accordingly the very thing that seemed to be spoken by Himself in secret, was in a certain sense not spoken in secret; for it was not so spoken to remain unuttered by those to whom it was spoken; but rather so in order to be preached in every possible direction. A thing therefore may be uttered at once openly, and not openly; or at the same time in secret, and yet not in secret, as it is said, "That seeing, they may see, and not see." [1824] For how "may they see," save only because it is openly, and not in secret; and again, how is it that the same parties "may not see," save that it is not openly, but in secret? Howbeit the very things which they had heard without understanding, were such as could not with justice or truth be turned into a criminal charge against Him: and as often as they tried by their questions to find something whereof to accuse Him, He gave them such replies as utterly discomfited all their plots, and left no ground for the calumnies they devised. Therefore He said, "Why askest thou me? ask those who heard me, what I have said unto them: behold, they know what I said."

4. "And when He had thus spoken, one of the officers who stood by gave Jesus a blow with his open hand, saying, Answerest thou the high priest so? Jesus answered him, If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil; but if well, why smitest thou me?" What could be truer, meeker, juster, than such an answer? For it is His [reply], from whom the prophetic voice had issued before, "Make for thy goal (literally, take aim), and advance prosperously and reign, because of truth, and meekness, and righteousness." [1825] If we con sider who it was that received the blow, might we not well feel the wish that he who struck it were either consumed by fire from heaven, or swallowed up by the gaping earth, or seized and carried off by devils, or visited with some other or still heavier punishment of this kind? For what one of all these could not He, who made the world, have commanded by His power, had He not wished rather to teach us the patience that overcometh the world? Some one will say here, Why did He not do what He Himself commanded? [1826] for to one that smote Him, He ought not to have answered thus, but to have turned to him the other cheek. Nay, more than this, did He not answer truthfully, and meekly, and righteously, and at the same time not only prepare His other cheek to him who was yet again to smite it, but His whole body to be nailed to the tree? And hereby He rather showed, what needed to be shown, namely, that those great precepts of His are to be fulfilled not by bodily ostentation, but by the preparation of the heart. For it is possible that even an angry man may visibly hold out his other cheek. How much better, then, is it for one who is inwardly pacified to make a truthful answer, and with tranquil mind hold himself ready for the endurance of heavier sufferings to come? Happy is he who, in all that he suffers unjustly for righteousness' sake, can say with truth, "My heart is ready, O God, my heart is ready;" for this it is that gives cause for that which follows: "I will sing and I give praise;" [1827] which Paul and Barnabas [1828] could do even in the cruellest of bonds.

5. But let us return to what follows in the Gospel narrative. "And Annas sent Him bound unto Caiaphas the high priest." To him, according to Matthew's account, He was led at the outset, because he was the high priest that year. For both the pontiffs are to be understood as in the habit of acting year by year alternately, that is, as chief priests; and these were at that time Annas and Caiaphas, as recorded by the evangelist Luke, when telling of the time when John, the Lord's forerunner, began to preach the kingdom of heaven and to gather disciples. For he speaks thus: "Under the high priests Annas and Caiaphas, the word of the Lord came upon John, the son of Zacharias, in the wilderness," [1829] etc. Accordingly these two pontiffs fulfilled their years in turn: and it was the year of Caiaphas when Christ suffered. And so, according to Matthew, when He was apprehended, He was taken to him; but first, according to John, they came with Him to Annas; not because he was his colleague, but his father-in-law. And we must suppose that it was by Caiaphas' wish that it was so done; or that their houses were so situated, that Annas could not properly be overlooked by them as they passed on their way.

6. But the evangelist, after saying that Annas sent Him bound unto Caiaphas, returns to the place of his narrative, where he had left Peter, in order to explain what had taken place in Annas' house in regard to his threefold denial. "But Peter was standing," he says, "and warming himself." He thus repeats what he had already stated before; and then adds what follows. "They said therefore unto him, Art thou also one of his disciples? He denied, and said, I am not." He had already denied once; this is the second time. And then, that the third denial might also be fulfilled, "one of the servants of the high priest, being his kinsman whose ear Peter cut off, saith, Did I not see thee in the garden with him? Peter then denied again, and immediately the cock crew." Behold, the prediction of the Physician is fulfilled, the presumption of the sick man is brought to the light. For there is no performance of what the latter had asserted, "I will lay down my life for Thy sake;" but a performance of what the former had predicted, "Thou shalt thrice deny me." [1830] But with the completion of Peter's threefold denial, let the present discourse be also now completed, that hereafter we may make a fresh start with the consideration of what was done respecting the Lord before Pontius Pilate the governor.

Footnotes

[1813] Eph. v. 2. [1814] Rom. viii. 32. [1815] Matt. xxvi. 57. [1816] Chap. xiii. 23, and xix. 26. [1817] Chap. xiii. 37. [1818] Matt. xxvi. 34. [1819] Acts xi. 26. [1820] Matt. xvi. 19. [1821] Chap. xvi. 25. [1822] Deut. xix. 15. [1823] Matt. x. 27. [1824] Mark. iv. 12. [1825] Ps. xlv. 4. In the Hebrew text, at the close of verse 4 and beginning of verse 5 (Eng. Ver. verses 3 and 4), there is a repetition of the word W+H+D+R+K%, which in both cases is rendered in our English Version, "and [in] Thy majesty." By the Septuagint, however, and the Vulgate, and here by Augustin, the latter of the two has been differently read as a verb, as if pointed W+H+aD+R+K%, in the sense of "Bend thy bow," "Take aim," with the acc. omitted. Our English Version combines the next two verbs ZJL+aX+ R+K+aB+, "ride prosperously" while in the above the distinction is preserved, "advance prosperously, ride (as a king, reign)."--Tr. [1826] Matt. v. 39. [1827] Ps. lvii. 7. [1828] Here probably we should read Silas, according to Acts xvi. 25.--Migne. [1829] Luke iii. 2. [1830] Chap. xiii. 38. .


Tractate CXIV.

Chapter XVIII. 28-32.

1. Let us now consider, so far as indicated by the evangelist John, what was done with, or in regard to, our Lord Jesus Christ, when brought before Pontius Pilate the governor. For he returns to the place of his narrative where he had left it, to explain the denial of Peter. He had already, you know, said, "And Annas sent Him bound unto Caiaphas the high priest:" and having returned from where he had dismissed Peter as he was warming himself at the fire in the hall, after completing the whole of his denial, which was thrice repeated, he says, "Then they bring Jesus unto Caiaphas [1831] into the hall of judgment (pretorium);" for he had said that He was sent to Caiaphas by his colleague and father-in-law Annas. But if to Caiaphas, why into the hall of judgment? Nothing else is thereby meant to be understood than the place where Pilate the governor dwelt. And therefore, either for some urgent reason Caiaphas had proceeded from the house of Annas, where both had met to give Jesus a hearing, to the governor's pretorium, and had left the hearing of Jesus to his father-in-law; or Pilate had made his pretorium in the house of Caiaphas, which was so large as to contain separate apartments for its own master, and the like for the judge.

2. "And it was morning; and they themselves," that is, those who brought Jesus, "went not into the judgment hall," to wit, into that part of the house which Pilate occupied, supposing it to be Caiaphas' house. And then in explanation of the reason why they went not into the judgment hall, he says, "lest they should be defiled; but that they might eat the passover." For it was the commencement of the days of unleavened bread: on which they accounted it defilement to enter the abode of one of another nation. Impious blindness! Would they, forsooth, be defiled by a stranger's abode, and not be defiled by their own wickedness? They were afraid of being defiled by the pretorium of a foreign judge, and had no fear of defilement from the blood of an innocent brother: not to say more than this meanwhile, which was enough to fix guilt on the conscience of the wicked. For the additional fact, that it was the Lord who was led to death by their impiety, and the giver of life that was on the way to be slain, may be charged, not to their conscience, but to their ignorance.

3. "Pilate then went out unto them, and said, What accusation bring ye against this man? They answered and said unto him, If he were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered him up unto thee." Let the question be put to, and the answer come from, those who had been delivered from foul spirits, from the sickly who had been healed, the lepers who had been cleansed, the deaf who were hearing, the dumb who were speaking, the blind who were seeing, the dead who were raised to life, and, above all, the foolish who were become wise, whether Jesus were a malefactor. But these things were said by those of whom He Himself had already foretold by the prophet, "They rewarded me evil for good." [1832]

4. "Then said Pilate unto them, Take ye him, and judge him according to your law. The Jews therefore said unto him, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death." What is this that their insane cruelty saith? Did not they put Him to death, whom they were here presenting for the very purpose? Or does the cross, forsooth, fail to kill? Such is the folly of those who do not pursue, but persecute wisdom. What then mean the words, "It is not lawful for us to put any man to death"? If He is a malefactor, why is it not lawful? Did not the law command them not to spare malefactors, especially (as they accounted Him to be) those who seduced them from their God? [1833] We are, however, to understand that they said that it was not lawful for them to put any man to death, on account of the sanctity of the festal day, which they had just begun to celebrate, and on account of which they were afraid of being defiled even by entering the pretorium. Had you become so hardened, false Israelites? Were you by your excessive malice so lost to all sense, as to imagine that you were unpolluted by the blood of the innocent, because you gave it up to be shed by another? Was even Pilate himself going to slay Him with his own hands, when made over by you into his power for the very purpose? If you did not wish Him to be slain; if you did not lay snares for Him; if you did not get Him to be betrayed to you for money; if you did not lay hands upon Him, and bind Him, and bring Him there; if you did not with your own hands present Him, and with your voices demand Him to be slain,--then boast that He was not put to death by you. But if in addition to all these former deeds of yours, you also cried out, "Crucify, crucify [him];" [1834] then hear what it is against you that the prophet proclaims: "The sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword." [1835] These, look you, are the spears, the arrows, the sword, wherewith you slew the righteous, when you said that it was not lawful for you to put any man to death. Hence it is also that when for the purpose of apprehending Jesus the chief priests did not themselves come, but sent; yet the evangelist Luke says in the same passage of his narrative, "Then said Jesus unto those who were come to him, [namely] the chief priests, and captains of the temple, and elders, Be ye come out, as against a thief," etc? [1836] As therefore the chief priests went not in their own persons, but by those whom they had sent, to apprehend Jesus, what else was that but coming themselves in the authority of their own order and so all, who cried out with impious voices for the crucifixion of Christ, slew Him, not, indeed, directly with their own hands, but personally through him who was impelled to such a crime by their clamor.

5. But when the evangelist John adds, "That the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled, which He spake, signifying what death He should die:" if we would understand such words as referring to the death of the cross, as if the Jews had said, "It is not lawful for us to put any man to death," for this reason that it was one thing to be put to death, and another to be crucified: I do not see how such can be understood as a consequence, seeing that this was their answer to the words that Pilate had just addressed to them, "Take ye him, and judge him according to your law." If it were so, could they not then have taken Him, and crucified Him themselves, had they desired by any such form of punishment to avoid the putting of Him to death? But who is there that may not see the absurdity of allowing those to crucify any one, who were not allowed to put any one to death? Nay more, did not the Lord Himself call that same death of His, that is, the death of the cross, a putting to death, as we read in Mark, where he says, "Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be delivered unto the chief priests, and unto the scribes; and they shall condemn Him to death, and shall deliver Him to the Gentiles: and they shall mock Him, and shall spit upon Him, and shall scourge Him, and shall put Him to death, and the third day He shall rise again"? [1837] There is no doubt, therefore, that in so speaking the Lord signified what death He should die: not that He here meant the death of the cross to be understood, but that the Jews were to deliver Him up to the Gentiles, or, in other words, to the Romans. For Pilate was a Roman, and had been sent by the Romans into Judea as governor. That, then, this saying of Jesus might be fulfilled, namely, that, being delivered up to them, He should be put to death by the Gentiles, as Jesus had foretold would happen; therefore when Pilate, who was the Roman judge, wished to hand Him back to the Jews, that they might judge Him according to their law, they refused to receive Him, saying, "It is not lawful for us to put any man to death." And so the saying of Jesus was fulfilled, which He foretold concerning His death, that, being delivered up by the Jews, He should be put to death by the Gentiles: whose crime was less than that of the Jews, who sought by this method to make themselves appear averse to His being put to death, to the end that, not their innocence, but their madness might be made manifest.

Footnotes

[1831] This reading of the text is also found in "The Harmony of the Evangelists," Book iii. chap. 7; but the true biblical reading is now ascertained to be, apo tou Kaiapha, "from Caiaphas."--Migne. [1832] Ps. xxxv. 12. [1833] Deut. xiii. 5. Augustin evidently attaches a wrong meaning to the words, Nobis non licet interficere quenquam; as if these Jews thereby insinuated that they did not themselves wish Christ's death: unaware, seemingly, of the fact, that, on their subjugation by the Romans, their own rulers were still allowed to try minor offenses, but were deprived of the power of inflicting capital punishment; and that, consequently, it was because they were actually bent on putting Him to death, and no less penalty would satisfy them, that they thus brought Him before the Roman governor.--Tr. [1834] Chap. xix. 6. [1835] Ps. lvii. 4. [1836] Luke xxii. 52. [1837] Mark x. 33, 34. .


Tractate CXV.

Chapter XVIII. 33-40.

1. What Pilate said to Christ, or what He replied to Pilate, has to be considered and handled in the present discourse. For after the words had been addressed to the Jews, "Take ye him, and judge him according to your law," and the Jews had replied, "It is not lawful for us to put any man to death, Pilate entered again into the judgment hall, and called Jesus, and said unto Him, Art thou the King of the Jews? And Jesus answered, Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me?" The Lord indeed knew both what He Himself asked, and what reply the other was to give; but yet He wished it to be spoken, not for the sake of information to Himself, but that what He wished us to know might be recorded in Scripture. "Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Thine own nation, and the chief priests, have delivered thee unto me: what hast thou done? Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence." This is what the good Master wished us to know; but first there had to be shown us the vain notion that men had regarding His kingdom, whether Gentiles or Jews, from whom Pilate had heard it; as if He ought to have been punished with death on the ground of aspiring to an unlawful kingdom; or as those in the possession of royal power usually manifest their ill-will to such as are yet to attain it, as if, for example, precautions were to be used lest His kingdom should prove adverse either to the Romans or to the Jews. But the Lord was able to reply to the first question of the governor, when he asked Him, "Art thou the King of the Jews?" with the words, "My kingdom is not of this world," etc.; but by questioning him in turn, whether he said this thing of himself, or heard it from others, He wished by his answer to show that He had been charged with this as a crime before him by the Jews: laying open to us the thoughts of men, which were all known to Himself, that they are but vain; [1838] and now, after Pilate's answer, giving them, both Jews and Gentiles, all the more reasonable and fitting a reply, "My kingdom is not of this world." But had He made an immediate answer to Pilate's question, His reply would have appeared to refer to the Gentiles only, without including the Jews, as entertaining such an opinion regarding Him. But now when Pilate replied, "Am I a Jew? Thine own nation, and the chief priests, have delivered thee to me;" he removed from himself the suspicion of being possibly supposed to have spoken of his own accord, in saying that Jesus was the king of the Jews, by showing that such a statement had been communicated to him by the Jews. And then by saying, "What hast thou done?" he made it sufficiently clear that this was charged against Him as a crime: as if he had said, If thou deniest such kingly claims, what hast thou done to cause thy being delivered unto me? As if there would be no ground for wonder that one should be delivered up to a judge for punishment, who proclaimed himself a king; but if no such assertion were made, it became needful to inquire of Him, what else, if anything, He had done, that He should thus deserve to be delivered unto the judge.

2. Hear then, ye Jews and Gentiles; hear, O circumcision; hear, O uncircumcision; hear, all ye kingdoms of the earth: I interfere not with your government in this world, "My kingdom is not of this world." Cherish ye not the utterly vain terror that threw Herod the elder into consternation when the birth of Christ was announced, and led him to the murder of so many infants in the hope of including Christ in the fatal number, [1839] made more cruel by his fear than by his anger: "My kingdom," He said, "is not of this world." What would you more? Come to the kingdom that is not of this world; come, believing, and fall not into the madness of anger through fear. He says, indeed, prophetically of God the Father, "Yet have I been appointed king by Him upon His holy hill of Zion;" [1840] but that hill of Zion is not of this world. For what is His kingdom, save those who believe in Him, to whom He says, "Ye are not of the world, even as I am not of the world"? And yet He wished them to be in the world: on that very account saying of them to the Father, "I pray not that Thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that Thou shouldest keep them from the evil." [1841] Hence also He says not here, "My kingdom is not" in this world; but, "is not of this world." And when He proved this by saying, "If my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews," He saith not, "But now is my kingdom not" here, but, "is not from hence." For His kingdom is here until the end of the world, having tares intermingled therewith until the harvest; for the harvest is the end of the world, when the reapers, that is to say, the angels, shall come and gather out of His kingdom everything that offendeth; [1842] which certainly would not be done, were it not that His kingdom is here. But still it is not from hence; for it only sojourns as a stranger in the world: because He says to His kingdom, "Ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world." [1843] They were therefore of the world, so long as they were not His kingdom, but belonged to the prince of this world. Of the world therefore are all mankind, created indeed by the true God, but generated from Adam as a vitiated and condemned stock; and there are made into a kingdom no longer of the world, all from thence that have been regenerated in Christ. For so did God rescue us from the power of darkness, and translate us into the kingdom of the Son of His love: [1844] and of this kingdom it is that He saith, "My kingdom is not of this world;" or, "My kingdom is not from hence."

3. "Pilate therefore said unto Him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king." Not that He was afraid to confess Himself a king, but "Thou sayest" has been so balanced that He neither denies Himself to be a king (for He is a king whose kingdom is not of this world), nor does He confess that He is such a king as to warrant the supposition that His kingdom is of this world. For as this was the very idea in Pilate's mind when he said, "Art thou a king then?" so the answer he got was, "Thou sayest that I am a king." For it was said, "Thou sayest," as if it had been said, Carnal thyself, thou sayest it carnally.

4. Thereafter He adds, "To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth."** [1845] Whence it is evident that He here referred to His own temporal nativity, when by becoming incarnate He came into the world, and not to that which had no beginning, whereby He was God through whom the Father created the world. For this, then, that is, on this account, He declared that He was born, and to this end He came into the world, to wit, by being born of the Virgin, that He might bear witness unto the truth. But because all men have not faith, [1846] He still further said, "Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice." He heareth, that is to say, with the ears of the inward man, or, in other words, He obeyeth my voice, which is equivalent to saying, He believeth me. When Christ, therefore, beareth witness unto the truth, He beareth witness, of course, unto Himself; for from His own lips are the words, "I am the truth;" [1847] as He said also in another place, "I bear witness of myself." [1848] But when He said, "Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice," He commendeth the grace whereby He calleth according to His own purpose. Of which purpose the apostle says, "We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to those who are called according to the purpose of God," [1849] to wit, the purpose of Him that calleth, not of those who are called; which is put still more clearly in another place in this way, "Labor together in the gospel according to the power of God, who saveth us and calleth us with His holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace." [1850] For if our thoughts turn to the nature wherein we have been created, inasmuch as we were all created by the Truth, who is there that is not of the truth? But it is not all to whom it is given of the truth to hear, that is, to obey the truth, and to believe in the truth; while in no case certainly is there any preceding of merit, lest grace should cease to be grace. For had He said, Every one that heareth my voice is of the truth, then it would be supposed that he was declared to be of the truth because he conforms to the truth; it is not this, however, that He says, but, "Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice." And in this way he is not of the truth simply because he heareth His voice; but only on this account he heareth, because he is of the truth, that is, because this is a gift bestowed on him of the truth. And what else is this, but that by Christ's gracious bestowal he believeth on Christ?

5. "Pilate said unto Him, What is truth?" Nor did he wait to hear the answer; but "when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and said unto them, I find in him no fault. But ye have a custom that I should release unto you one at the passover: will ye therefore that I release unto you the King of the Jews?" I believe when Pilate said, "What is truth?" there immediately occurred to his mind the custom of the Jews, according to which he was wont to release unto them one at the passover; and therefore he did not wait to hear Jesus' answer to his question, What is truth? to avoid delay on recollecting the custom whereby He might be released unto them during the passover--a thing which it is clear he greatly desired. It could not, however, be torn from his heart that Jesus was the King of the Jews, but was fixed there, as in the superscription, by the truth itself, whereof he had just inquired what it was. "But on hearing this, they all cried again, saying, Not this man, but Barabbas. Now Barabbas was a robber." We blame you not, O Jews, for liberating the guilty during the passover, but for slaying the innocent; and yet unless that were done, the true passover would not take place. But a shadow of the truth was retained by the erring Jews, and by a marvellous dispensation of divine wisdom the truth of that same shadow was fulfilled by deluded men; because in order that the true passover might be kept, Christ was led as a sheep to the sacrificial slaughter. Hence there follows the account of the injurious treatment received by Christ at the hands of Pilate and his cohort; but this must be taken up in another discourse.

Footnotes

[1838] Ps. xciv. 11. [1839] Matt. ii. 3, 16. [1840] Ps. ii. 6. [1841] Chap. xvii. 16, 15. [1842] Matt. xiii. 38-41. [1843] Chap. xv. 19. [1844] Col. i. 13. [1845] The verse quoted reads in Latin, "Ego in hoc natus sum, et ad hoc veni," etc.; and in reference to the words, in hoc, Augustin goes on to say, in the passage marked * * . "We are not to lengthen the syllable [vowel] of this pronoun when He says, In hoc natus sum, as if He meant to say, In this thing was I born; but to shorten it, as if He had said, Ad hanc rem natus sum, vel ad hoc natus sum (for this thing was I born), just as He says, Ad hoc veni in mundum (for this came I into the world). For in the Greek Gospel there is no ambiguity in this expression," the Greek having eis touto. This passage is interesting only to Latin scholars, as showing that in ordinary parlance they marked, in Augustin's time, the distinction between hoc of the abl. and hoc of the nom. or acc.--Tr. [1846] 2 Thess. iii. 2. [1847] Chap. xiv. 6. [1848] Chap. viii. 18. [1849] Rom. viii. 28. [1850] 2 Tim. i. 8, 9. .


Tractate CXVI.

Chapter XIX. 1-16.

1. On the Jews crying out that they did not wish Jesus to be released unto them at the passover, but Barabbas the robber; not the Saviour, but the murderer; not the Giver of life, but the destroyer,--"then Pilate took Jesus and scourged Him." We must believe that Pilate acted thus for no other reason than that the Jews, glutted with the injuries done to Him, might consider themselves satisfied, and desist from madly pursuing Him even unto death. With a similar intention was it that, as governor, he also permitted his cohort to do what follows, or even perhaps ordered them, although the evangelist is silent on the subject. For he tells us what the soldiers did thereafter, but not that Pilate ordered it. "And the soldiers," he says, "platted a crown of thorns, and put it on His head, and they clothed Him with a purple robe. And they came to Him and said, Hail, King of the Jews! And they smote Him with their hands." Thus were fulfilled the very things which Christ had foretold of Himself; thus were the martyrs moulded for the endurance of all that their persecutors should be pleased to inflict; thus, by concealing for a time the terror of His power, He commended to us the prior imitation of His patience; thus the kingdom which was not of this world overcame that proud world, not by the ferocity of fighting, but by the humility of suffering; and thus the grain of corn that was yet to be multiplied was sown amid the horrors of shame, that it might come to fruition amid the wonders of glory.

2. "Pilate went forth again, and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth, that ye may know that I find no fault in him. Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And he saith unto them, Behold the man!" Hence it is apparent that these things were done by the soldiers not without Pilate's knowledge, whether it was that he ordered them or only permitted them, namely, for the reason we have stated above, that His enemies might all the more willingly drink in the sight of such derisive treatment, and cease to thirst further for His blood. Jesus goes forth to them wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, not resplendent in kingly power, but laden with reproach; and the words are addressed to them, Behold the man! If you hate your king, spare him now when you see him sunk so low; he has been scourged, crowned with thorns, clothed with the garments of derision, jeered at with the bitterest insults, struck with the open hand; his ignominy is at the boiling point, let your ill-will sink to zero. But there is no such cooling on the part of the latter, but rather a further increase of heat and vehemence.

3. "When the chief priests, therefore, and attendants saw Him, they cried out, saying, Crucify, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them Take ye him and crucify him; for I find no fault in him. The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by the law he ought to die because he made himself the Son of God." Behold another and still greater ground of hatred. The former, indeed, seemed but a small matter, as that shown towards the usurpation, by an unlawful act of daring, of the royal power; and yet of neither did Jesus falsely claim possession, but each of them is truly His as both the only-begotten Son of God, and by Him appointed King upon His holy hill of Zion; and both might He now have shown to be His, were it not that in proportion to the greatness of His power, He preferred to manifest the corresponding greatness of His patience.

4. "When Pilate, therefore, heard that saying, he was the more afraid; and entered again into the judgment hall, and saith unto Jesus, Whence art thou? But Jesus gave him no answer." It is found, in comparing the narratives of all the evangelists, that this silence on the part of our Lord Jesus Christ took place more than once, both before the chief priests and before Herod, to whom, as Luke intimates, Pilate had sent Him for a hearing, and before Pilate himself; [1851] so that it was not in vain that the prophecy regarding Him had preceded, "As the lamb before its shearer was dumb, so He opened not His mouth," [1852] especially on those occasions when He answered not His questioners. For although He frequently replied to questions addressed to Him, yet because of those in regard to which He declined making any reply, the metaphor of the lamb is supplied, in order that in His silence He might be accounted not as guilty, but innocent. When, therefore, He was passing through the process of judgment, wherever He opened not His mouth it was in the character of a lamb that He did so; that is, not as one with an evil conscience who was convicted of his sins, but as one who in His meekness was sacrificed for the sins of others.

5. "Then saith Pilate unto Him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? Jesus answered: Thou wouldest have no power against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin." Here, you see, He replied; and yet wherever He replied not, it is not as one who is criminal or cunning, but as a lamb; that is, in simplicity and innocence He opened not His mouth. Accordingly, where He made no answer, He was silent as a sheep; where He answered, He taught as the Shepherd. Let us therefore set ourselves to learn what He said, what He taught also by the apostle, that "there is no power but of God;" [1853] and that he is a greater sinner who maliciously delivereth up to the power the innocent to be slain, than the power itself, if it slay him through fear of another power that is greater still. Of such a sort, indeed, was the power which God had given to Pilate, that he should also be under the power of Cæsar. Wherefore "thou wouldest have," He says, "no power against me," that is, even the little measure thou really hast, "except" this very measure, whatever its amount, "were given thee from above." But knowing as I do its amount, for it is not so great as to render thee altogether independent, "therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin." He, indeed, delivered me to thy power at the bidding of envy, whilst thou art to exercise thy power upon me through the impulse of fear. And yet not even through the impulse of fear ought one man to slay another, especially the innocent; nevertheless to do so by an officious zeal is a much greater evil than under the constraint of fear. And therefore the truth-speaking Teacher saith not, "He that delivered me to thee," he only hath sin, as if the other had none; but He saith, "hath the greater sin," letting him understand that he himself was not exempt from blame. For that of the latter is not reduced to nothing because the other is greater.

6. "Hence Pilate sought to release Him." What is to be understood by the word here used, "hence," [1854] as if he had not been seeking to do so before? Read what precedes, and thou wilt find that he had already for some time been seeking to release Jesus. By the original word, [1855] therefore, we are to understand, on this account, that is, for this reason, that he might not contract sin by slaying an innocent man who had been delivered into his hands, even though his sin would be less than that of the Jews, who delivered Him to him to be put to death. "From thence," [1856] therefore, that is, for this reason, that he might not commit such a sin, "he sought" not now for the first time, but from the beginning, "to release Him."

7. "But the Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Cæsar's friend: whosoever maketh himself a king, speaketh against Cæsar." They thought to inspire Pilate with greater fear by terrifying him about Cæsar, in order that he might put Christ to death, than formerly when they said, "We have the law, and by the law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God." It was not their law, indeed, that impelled him through fear to the deed of murder, but rather it was his fear of the Son of God that held him back from the crime. But now he could not set Cæsar, who was the author of his own power, at nought, in the same way as the law of another nation.

8. As yet, however, the evangelist proceeds to say: "But when Pilate heard these sayings, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down before the tribunal, in a place that is called the Pavement, [1857] but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha. And it was the preparation [1858] of the passover, and about the sixth hour." The question, at what hour the Lord was crucified, because of the testimony supplied by another evangelist, who says, "And it was the third hour, and they crucified Him," [1859] we shall consider as we can, if the Lord please, when we are come to the passage itself where His crucifixion is recorded. [1860] When Pilate, therefore, had sat down before the tribunal, "he saith unto the Jews, Behold your king! But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate said unto them, Shall I crucify your king?" As yet he tries to overcome the terror with which they had inspired him about Cæsar, by seeking to break them from their purpose on the ground of the ignominy it brought on themselves, with the words, "Shall I crucify your king?" when he failed to soften them on the ground of the ignominy done to Christ; but by and by he is overcome by fear.

9. For "the chief priests answered, We have no king but Cæsar. Then delivered he Him therefore unto them to be crucified." For he would have every appearance of acting against Cæsar if, on their declaration that they had no king but Cæsar, he were wishing to impose on them another king by releasing without punishment one whom for these very attempts they had delivered unto him to be put to death. "Therefore he delivered Him unto them to be crucified." But was it, then, anything different that he had previously desired when he said, "Take ye him, and crucify him;" or even earlier still, "Take ye him, and judge him according to your law?" And why did they show so great reluctance, when they said, "It is not lawful for us to put any man to death," [1861] and were in every way urgent to have Him slain not by themselves, but by the governor, and therefore refused to receive Him for the purpose of putting Him to death, if now for the same purpose they actually do receive Him? Or if such be not the case, why was it said, "Then delivered he Him therefore unto them to be crucified?" Or is it of any importance? Plainly it is. For it was not said, "Then delivered he Him therefore unto them" that they might crucify Him, but "that He might be crucified," that is, that He might be crucified by the judicial sentence and power of the governor. But it is for this reason that the evangelist has said that He was delivered to them, that he might show that they were implicated in the crime from which they tried to hold themselves aloof; for Pilate would have done no such thing, save to implement what he perceived to be their fixed desire. The words, however, that follow, "And they took Jesus, and led Him away," may now refer to the soldiers, the attendants of the governor. For it is more clearly stated afterwards, "When the soldiers therefore had crucified Him," [1862] although the evangelist properly does so even when he attributes the whole to the Jews, for they it was that received what they had with the utmost greediness demanded, and they it was that did all that they compelled to be done. But the events that follow must be made the subject of consideration in another discourse.

Footnotes

[1851] Matt. xxvi. 63, xxvii. 14; Mark xiv. 61, xv. 5; Luke xxiii. 7-9; John xix. 9. [1852] Isa. liii. 7. [1853] Rom. xiii. 1. [1854] Exinde: Greek, ektoutou; literally. "therefrom."--Tr. [1855] Exinde: Greek, ektoutou; literally. "therefrom."--Tr. [1856] Exinde: Greek, ektoutou; literally. "therefrom."--Tr. [1857] Lithostrotos. [1858] Parasceve; Greek, paraskeue. [1859] Mark xv. 25. [1860] See below, Tract. CXVII. secs. 1, 2. [1861] Chap. xviii. 31. [1862] Chap. xix. 23. .


Tractate CXVII.

Chapter XIX. 17-22.

1. On Pilate's judgment and condemnation before the tribunal, they took the Lord Jesus Christ, about the sixth hour, and led Him away. "And He, bearing His cross, went forth into the place that is called Calvary, but in Hebrew, Golgotha; where they crucified Him." What else, then, is the meaning of the evangelist Mark saying, "And it was the third hour, and they crucified Him," [1863] but this, that the Lord was crucified at the third hour by the tongues of the Jews, at the sixth hour by the hands of the soldiers? That we may understand that the fifth hour was now completed, and there was some beginning made of the sixth, when Pilate took his seat before the tribunal, which is expressed by John as "about [1864] the sixth hour;" and when He was led forth, and nailed to the tree with the two robbers, and the events recorded were enacted beside His cross, the completion of the sixth hour was fully reached, being the hour from which, on to the ninth, the sun was obscured, and the darkness took place, we have it jointly attested on the authority of the three evangelists, Matthew, Mark, and Luke. [1865] But as the Jews attempted to transfer the crime of slaying Christ from themselves to the Romans, that is to say, to Pilate and his soldiers, therefore Mark suppresses the hour at which Christ was crucified by the soldiers, and which then began to enter upon the sixth, and remembers rather to give an express place to the third hour, at which they are understood to have cried out before Pilate, "Crucify, crucify him" (verse 6), that it not only may be seen that the former crucified Jesus, namely, the soldiers who hung Him on the tree at the sixth hour, but the Jews also, who at the third hour cried out to have Him crucified.

2. There is also another solution of this question, that we should not here understand the sixth hour of the day, because John says not, And it was about the sixth hour of the day, or about the sixth hour, but says, "And it was the parasceve of the passover, about the sixth hour" (ver. 14). And parasceve is in Latin præparatio (preparation); but the Jews are fonder of using the Greek words in observances of this sort, even those of them who speak Latin rather than Greek. It was therefore the preparation of the passover. But "our passover, Christ," as the apostle says, "has been sacrificed;" [1866] and if we reckon the preparation of this passover from the ninth hour of the night (for then the chief priests seem to have given their verdict for the sacrifice of the Lord, when they said, "He is guilty of death," [1867] and when the hearing of His case was still proceeding in the high priest's house: whence there is a kind of harmony in understanding that therewith began the preparation of the true passover, whose shadow was the passover of the Jews, that is, of the sacrificing of Christ, when the priests gave their sentence that He was to be sacrificed), certainly from that hour of the night, which is conjectured to have been then the ninth, on to the third hour of the day, when the evangelist Mark testifies that Christ was crucified, there are six hours, three of the night, and three of the day. Hence in the case of this parasceve of the passover, that is, the preparation of the sacrifice of Christ, which began with the ninth hour of the night, it was about the sixth hour; that is to say, the fifth hour was completed, and the sixth had already begun to run, when Pilate ascended the tribunal: for that same preparation, which had begun with the ninth hour of the night, still continued till the sacrifice of Christ, which was the event in course of preparation, was completed, which took place at the third hour, according to Mark, not of the preparation, but of the day; while it was also the sixth hour, not of the day, but of the preparation, by reckoning, of course, six hours from the ninth hour of the night to the third of the day. Of these two solutions of this difficult question let each choose the one that pleases him. But one will judge better what to choose who reads the very elaborate discussions on "The Harmony of the Evangelists." [1868] And if other solutions of it can also be found, the stability of gospel truth will have a more cumulative defense against the calumnies of unbelieving and profane vanity. And now, after these brief discussions, let us return to the narrative of the evangelist John.

3. "And they took Jesus," he says, "and led Him away; and He, bearing His cross, went forth unto the place that is called Calvary, in the Hebrew, Golgotha; where they crucified Him." Jesus, therefore, went to the place where He was to be crucified, bearing His cross. A grand spectacle! but if it be impiety that is the onlooker, a grand laughing-stock; if piety, a grand mystery: if impiety be the onlooker, a grand demonstration of ignominy; if piety, a grand bulwark of faith: if it is impiety that looketh on, it laughs at the King bearing, in place of His kingly rod, the tree of His punishment; if it is piety, it sees the King bearing the tree for His own crucifixion, which He was yet to affix even on the foreheads of kings, exposed to the contemptuous glances of the impious in connection with that wherein the hearts of saints were thereafter to glory. For to Paul, who was yet to say, "But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ," [1869] He was commending that same cross of His by carrying it on His own shoulders, and bearing the candelabrum of that light that was yet to burn, and not to be placed under a bushel. [1870] "Bearing," therefore, "His cross, He went forth into the place that is called Calvary, in the Hebrew, Golgotha; where they crucified Him, and two others with Him on either side one, and Jesus in the midst." These two, as we have learned in the narrative of the other evangelists, were thieves with whom He was crucified, and between whom He was fixed, [1871] whereof the prophecy sent before had declared, "And He was numbered among the transgressors." [1872]

4. "And Pilate wrote a title also, and put it on the cross, and the writing was, Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews. This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, The King of the Jews." For these three languages were conspicuous in that place beyond all others: the Hebrew on account of the Jews, who gloried in the law of God; the Greek, because of the wise men among the Gentiles; and the Latin, on account of the Romans, who at that very time were exercising sovereign power over many and almost all countries.

5. "Then said the chief priests of the Jews unto Pilate, Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am King of the Jews. Pilate answered, What I have written I have written." Oh the ineffable power of the working of God, even in the hearts of the ignorant! Was there not some hidden voice that sounded through Pilate's inner man with a kind, if one may so say, of loud-toned silence, the words that had been prophesied so long before in the very letter of the Psalms, "Corrupt not the inscription of the title"? [1873] Here, then, you see, he corrupted it not; what he has written he has written. But the high priests, who wished it to be corrupted, what did they say? "Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am King of the Jews." What is it, madmen, that you say? Why do you oppose the doing of that which you are utterly unable to alter? Will it by any such means become the less true that Jesus said, "I am King of the Jews"? If that cannot be tampered with which Pilate has written, can that be tampered with which the truth has uttered? But is Christ king only of the Jews, or of the Gentiles also? Yes, of the Gentiles also. For when He said in prophecy, "I am set king by Him upon His holy hill of Zion, declaring the decree of the Lord," that no one might say, because of the hill of Zion, that He was set king over the Jews alone, He immediately added, "The Lord said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten Thee. Ask of me, and I will give Thee the Gentiles for Thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for Thy possession." [1874] Whence He Himself, speaking now with His own lips among the Jews, said, "Other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice, and there shall be one flock and one Shepherd." [1875] Why then would we have some great mystery [1876] to be understood in this superscription, wherein it was written, "King of the Jews," if Christ is king also of the Gentiles? For this reason, because it was the wild olive tree that was made partaker of the fatness of the olive tree, and not the olive tree that was made partaker of the bitterness of the wild olive tree. [1877] For inasmuch as the title, "King of the Jews," was truthfully written regarding Christ, who are they that are to be understood as the Jews but the seed of Abraham, the children of the promise, who are also the children of God? For "they," saith the apostle, "who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted for the seed." [1878] And the Gentiles were those to whom he said, "But if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." [1879] Christ therefore is king of the Jews, but of those who are Jews by the circumcision of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God; [1880] who belong to the Jerusalem that is free, our eternal mother in heaven, the spiritual Sarah, who casteth out the bond maid and her children from the house of liberty. [1881] And therefore what Pilate wrote he wrote, because what the Lord said He said.

Footnotes

[1863] Mark xv. 25. [1864] Quasi. [1865] Matt. xxvii. 45; Mark xv. 33; and Luke xxiii. 44. [1866] 1 Cor. v. 7. [1867] Matt. xxvi. 66. [1868] "On the Harmony of the Evangelists," Book iii. chap. xiii. secs. 40-50. [1869] Gal. vi. 14. [1870] Matt. v. 15. [1871] Matt. xxvii. 38; Mark xv. 27; and Luke xxiii. 33. [1872] Isa. liii. 12. [1873] Ps. lvii., lviii. [1874] Ps. ii. 6-8. [1875] Chap. x. 16. [1876] Sacramentum. [1877] Rom. xi. 17. [1878] Rom. ix. 7, 8. [1879] Gal. iii. 29. [1880] Rom. ii. 29. [1881] Gal. iv. 22-31. .


Tractate CXVIII.

Chapter XIX. 23, 24.

1. The things that were done beside the Lord's cross, when at length He was now crucified, we would take up, in dependence on His help, in the present discourse. "Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Him, took His garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also His coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout. They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be: that the scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots." It was done as the Jews wished; not that it was they themselves, but the soldiers who obeyed Pilate, who himself acted as judge, that crucified Jesus: and yet if we reflect on their wills, their plots, their endeavors, their delivering up, and, lastly, on their extorting clamors, it was the Jews certainly, more than any else, who crucified Jesus.

2. But we must not speak in a mere cursory way of the partition and dividing by lot of His garments. For although all the four evangelists make mention thereof, yet the others do so more briefly than John: and their notice of it is obscure, while his is in the plainest manner possible. For Matthew says, "And after they crucified Him, they parted His garments, casting lots." [1882] Mark: "And they crucified Him, and parted His garments, casting lots upon them, what every man should take." [1883] Luke: "And they parted His raiment, and cast lots." [1884] But John has told us also how many parts they made of His garments, namely, four, that they might take one part apiece. From which it is apparent that there were four soldiers, who obeyed the governor's orders in crucifying Him. For he plainly says: "Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Him, took His garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and likewise the coat," where there is understood, they took: so that the meaning is, they took His garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and they took also His coat. And he so spake, that we might see that there was no lot cast on His other garments; but His coat, which they took along with the others, they did not similarly divide. For in regard to it he proceeds to explain, "Now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout." And then telling us why they cast lots on it, he says, "They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be." Hence it is clear that in the case of the other garments they had equal parts, so that there was no need to cast lots: but that as regards this one, they could not have had a part each without rending it, and thereby possessing themselves only of useless fragments of it; to prevent which, they preferred letting it come to one of them by lot. The account given by this evangelist is also in harmony with the testimony of prophecy, which he likewise immediately subjoins, saying, "That the scripture might be fulfilled which saith, They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots." For He says not, they cast lots, but "they parted:" nor does He say, casting lots they parted; but while making no mention whatever of the lot in regard to the rest of the garments, He afterwards said, "and for my vesture they did cast lots," in reference solely to the coat that remained. On which I shall speak as He Himself enables me, after I have first refuted the calumny, which may possibly arise, as if the evangelists disagreed with one another, by showing that the words of none of the others are inconsistent with the narrative of John.

3. For Matthew, in saying, "They parted His garments, casting lots," wished it to be understood, that in the whole affair of parting the garments, the coat was also included, on which they cast lots; for in course of parting all the garments, of which it also was one, on it alone they cast lots. To the same purpose also are the words of Luke: "Parting His garments, they cast lots;" for in the process of parting they came to the coat whereon the lot was cast, that the entire parting of His garments among them might be completed. And what difference is there whether it is said, "Parting they cast lots," according to Luke; or, "They parted, casting the lot," according to Matthew: unless it be that Luke, in saying "lots," used the plural for the singular number,--a form of speech that is not unusual in the Holy Scriptures, although some copies are found to have "lot," [1885] and not "lots"? Mark, therefore, is the only one who seems to have introduced any kind of difficulty; for in saying, "Casting the lot upon them, what every man should take," his words seem to imply, as if the lot was cast on all the garments, and not on the coat alone. But here also brevity is the cause of the obscurity; for the words, "Casting the lot upon them," are as if it were said, Casting the lot when they were in the process of division; which was also the case. For the partition of all His garments would not have been complete, had it not been declared by lot which of them also should get possession of the coat, so as thereby to bring any contention on the part of the dividers to an end, or rather prevent any such from arising. In saying, therefore, "What every man should take," so far as that has to do with the lot, we must not take it as referring to all the garments that were divided; for the lot was cast, who should take the coat: whereof having omitted to describe the particular form, and how, in the equal division that was made of the parts, it remained by itself, in order, without being rent, to be awarded by lot, he therefore made use of the expression, "what every man should take," in other words, who it was that should take it: as if the whole were thus expressed, They parted His garments, casting the lot upon them, who should take the coat, which had remained over in addition to their equal shares of the rest.

4. Some one, perhaps, may inquire what is signified by the division that was made of His garments into so many parts, and of the casting of lots for the coat. The raiment of the Lord Jesus Christ parted into four, symbolized His quadripartite Church, as spread abroad over the whole world, which consists of four quarters, and equally, that is to say, harmoniously, distributed over all these quarters. On which account He elsewhere says, that He will send His angels to gather His elect from the four winds: [1886] and what is that, but from the four quarters of the world, east, west, north, and south? But the coat, on which lots were cast, signifies the unity of all the parts, which is contained in the bond of charity. And when the apostle is about to speak of charity, he says, "I show you a more excellent way;" [1887] and in another place, "To know also the love of Christ, which far excelleth knowledge;" [1888] and still further elsewhere, "And above all these things charity which is the bond of perfectness." [1889] If, then, charity both has a more excellent way, and far excelleth knowledge, and is enjoined above all things, it is with great propriety that the garment, by which it is signified, is represented as woven from the top. [1890] And it was without seam, that its sewing might never be separated; and came into the possession of one man, because He gathereth all into one. Just as in the case of the apostles, who formed the exact number of twelve, in other words, were divisible into four parts of three each, when the question was put to all of them, Peter was the only one that answered, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God;" and to whom it was said, "I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven," [1891] as if he alone received the power of binding and loosing: seeing, then, that one so spake in behalf of all, and received the latter along with all, as if personifying the unity itself; therefore one stands for all, because there is unity in all. Whence, also, after here saying, "woven from the top," he added, "throughout." [1892] And this also, if referred to its meaning, implies that no one is excluded from a share thereof, who is discovered to belong to the whole: from which whole, as the Greek language indicates, the Church derives her name of Catholic. And by the casting of lots, what else is commended but the grace of God? For in this way in the person of one it reached to all, since the lot satisfied them all, because the grace of God also in its unity reacheth unto all; and when the lot is cast, the award is decided, not by the merits of each individual, but by the secret judgment of God.

5. And yet let no one say that such things had no good signification because they were done by the bad, that is to say, not by those who followed Christ, but by those who perse cuted Him. For what could we have to say of the cross itself, which every one knows was in like manner made and fastened to Christ by enemies and sinners? And yet it is to it we may rightly understand the words of the apostle to be applicable, "what is the breadth, and the length, and the height, and the depth." [1893] For its breadth lies in the transverse beam, on which the hands of the Crucified are extended; and signifies good works in all the breadth of love: its length extends from the transverse beam to the ground, and is that whereto the back and feet are affixed; and signifies perseverance through the whole length of time to the end: its height is in the summit, which rises upwards above the transverse beam; and signifies the supernal goal, to which all works have reference, since all things that are done well and perseveringly, in respect of their breadth and length, are to be done also with due regard to the exalted character of the divine rewards: its depth is found in the part that is fixed into the ground; for there it is both concealed and invisible, and yet from thence spring up all those parts that are outstanding and evident to the senses; just as all that is good in us proceeds from the depths of the grace of God, which is beyond the reach of human comprehension and judgment. But even though the cross of Christ signified no more than what was said by the apostle, "And they who are Jesus Christ's have crucified the flesh with the passions and lusts," [1894] how great a good it is! And yet it does not this, unless the good spirit be lusting against the flesh, seeing that it was the opposing, or, in other words, the evil spirit that constructed the cross of Christ. And lastly, as every one knows, what else is the sign of Christ but the cross of Christ? For unless that sign be applied, whether it be to the foreheads of believers, or to the very water out of which they are regenerated, or to the oil with which they receive the anointing chrism, or to the sacrifice that nourishes them, none of them is properly administered. How then can it be that no good is signified by that which is done by the wicked, when by the cross of Christ, which the wicked made, every good thing is sealed to us in the celebration of His sacraments? But here we stop; and what follows we shall consider at another time in the course of dissertation, as God shall grant us assistance.

Footnotes

[1882] Matt. xxvii. 35. [1883] Mark xv. 24. [1884] Luke xxiii. 34. [1885] As it now is in the Greek [Textus receptus], kleron.--Migne. [1886] Matt. xxiv. 31. [1887] 1 Cor. xii. 31. [1888] Eph. iii. 19. [1889] Col. iii. 14. [1890] Desuper. [1891] Matt. xvi. 15, 16, 19. [1892] Per totum. [1893] Eph. iii. 18. [1894] Gal. v. 24. .


Tractate CXIX.

Chapter XIX. 24-30.

1. The Lord being now crucified, and the parting of His garments having also been completed by the casting of the lot, let us look at what the evangelist John thereafter relates. "And these things," he says, "the soldiers did. Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother's sister, Mary [the wife] of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple standing by whom He loved, He saith unto His mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith He to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour the disciple took her unto his own home." This, without a doubt, was the hour whereof Jesus, when about to turn the water into wine, had said to His mother, "Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come." [1895] This hour, therefore, He had foretold, which at that time had not yet arrived, when it should be His to acknowledge her at the point of death, and with reference to which He had been born as a mortal man. At that time, therefore, when about to engage in divine acts, He repelled, as one unknown, her who was the mother, not of His divinity, but of His [human] infirmity; but now, when in the midst of human sufferings, He commended with human affection [the mother] by whom He had become man. For then, He who had created Mary became known in His power; but now, that which Mary had brought forth was hanging on the cross. [1896]

2. A passage, therefore, of a moral character is here inserted. The good Teacher does what He thereby reminds us ought to be done, and by His own example instructed His disciples that care for their parents ought to be a matter of concern to pious children: as if that tree to which the members of the dying One were affixed were the very chair of office from which the Master was imparting instruction. From this wholesome doctrine it was that the Apostle Paul had learned what he taught in turn, when he said, "But if any provide not for his own, and especially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel." [1897] And what are so much home concerns to any one, as parents to children, or children to parents? Of this most wholesome precept, therefore, the very Master of the saints set the example from Himself, when, not as God for the hand-maid whom He had created and governed, but as a man for the mother, of whom He had been created, and whom He was now leaving behind, He provided in some measure another son in place of Himself. And why He did so, He indicates in the words that follow: for the evangelist says, "And from that hour the disciple took her unto his own," speaking of himself. In this way, indeed, he usually refers to himself as the disciple whom Jesus loved: who certainly loved them all, but him beyond the others, and with a closer familiarity, so that He even made him lean upon His bosom at supper; [1898] in order, I believe, in this way to commend the more highly the divine excellence of this very gospel, which He was thereafter to preach through his instrumentality.

3. But what was this "his own," unto which John took the mother of the Lord? For he was not outside the circle of those who said unto Him, "Lo, we have left all, and followed Thee." No, but on that same occasion he had also heard the words, Every one that hath forsaken these things for my sake, shall receive an hundred times as much in this world. [1899] That disciple, therefore, had an hundredfold more than he had cast away, whereunto to receive the mother of Him who had graciously bestowed it all. But it was in that society that the blessed John had received an hundredfold, where no one called anything his own, but they had all things in common; even as it is recorded in the Acts of the Apostles. For the apostles were as if having nothing, and yet possessing all things. [1900] How was it, then, that the disciple and servant received unto his own the mother of his Lord and Master, where no one called anything his own? Or, seeing we read a little further on in the same book, "For as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of them, and laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need," [1901] are we not to understand that such distribution was made to this disciple of what was needful, that there was also added to it the portion of the blessed Mary, as if she were his mother; and ought we not the rather so to take the words, "From that hour the disciple took her unto his own," that everything necessary for her was entrusted to his care? He received her, therefore, not unto his own lands, for he had none of his own; but to his own dutiful services, the discharge of which, by a special dispensation, was entrusted to himself.

4. He then adds: "After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a sponge with vinegar, and fixed it upon hyssop, and put it to His mouth. When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, He said, It is finished: and He bowed His head, and gave up the ghost." Who has the power of so adjusting what he does, as this Man had of arranging all that He suffered? But this Man was the Mediator between God and men; the Man of whom we read in prophecy, He is man also, and who shall acknowledge Him? for the men who did such things acknowledged not this Man as God. For He who was manifest as man, was hid as God: He who was manifest suffered all these things, and He Himself also, who was hid, arranged them all. He saw, therefore, that all was accomplished that required to be done before He received the vinegar, and gave up the ghost; and that this also might be accomplished which the scripture had foretold, "And in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink," [1902] He said, "I thirst:" as if it were, One thing still you have failed to do, give me what you are. For the Jews were themselves the vinegar, degenerated as they were from the wine of the patriarchs and prophets; and filled like a full vessel with the wickedness of this world, with hearts like a sponge, deceitful in the formation of its cavernous and tortuous recesses. But the hyssop, whereon they placed the sponge filled with vinegar, being a lowly herb, and purging the heart, we fitly take for the humility of Christ Himself; which they thus enclosed, and imagined they had completely ensnared. Hence we have it said in the psalm, "Thou shalt purge me with hyssop, and I shall be cleansed." [1903] For it is by Christ's humility that we are cleansed; because, had He not humbled Himself, and became obedient unto the death of the cross, [1904] His blood certainly would not have been shed for the remission of sins, or, in other words, for our cleansing.

5. Nor need we be disturbed with the question, how the sponge could be applied to His mouth when He was lifted up from the earth on the cross. For as we read in the other evangelists, what is omitted by this one, it was fixed on a reed, [1905] so that such drink as was contained in the sponge might be raised to the highest part of the cross. By the reed, however, the scripture was signified, which was fulfilled by this very act. For as a tongue is called either Greek or Latin, or any other, significant of the sound, which is uttered by the tongue; so the reed may give its name to the letter which is written with a reed. We most usually, however, call those tongues that express the sounds of the human voice: while in calling scripture a reed, the very rareness of the thing only enhances the mystical nature of that which it symbolizes. A wicked people did such things, a compassionate Christ suffered them. They who did them, knew not what they did; but He who suffered, not only knew what was done, and why it was so, but also wrought what was good through those who were doing what was evil.

6. "When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, He said, It is finished." What, but all that prophecy had foretold so long before? And then, because nothing now remained that still required to be done before He died, as if He, who had power to lay down His life and to take it up again, [1906] had at length completed all for whose completion He was waiting, "He bowed His head, and gave up the ghost." Who can thus sleep when he pleases, as Jesus died when He pleased? Who is there that thus puts off his garment when he pleases, as He put off His flesh at His pleasure? Who is there that thus departs [1907] when he pleases, as He departed this life [1908] at His pleasure? How great the power, to be hoped for or dreaded, that must be His as judge, if such was the power He exhibited as a dying man!

Footnotes

[1895] Chap. ii. 4. [1896] See Tract. VIII. [1897] 1 Tim. v. 8. [1898] Chap. xiii. 23. [1899] Matt. xix. 27, 29. [1900] 2 Cor. vi. 10. [1901] Acts iv. 32-35. [1902] Ps. lxix. 21. [1903] Ps. li. 7. [1904] Phil. ii. 8. [1905] Matt. xxvii. 48, and Mark xv. 36. [1906] Chap. x. 18. [1907] Abit...obiit. [1908] Abit...obiit. .


Tractate CXX.

Chapter XIX. 31-42, and XX. 1-9.

1. After that the Lord Jesus had accomplished all that He foreknew required accomplishment before His death, and had, when it pleased Himself, given up the ghost, what followed thereafter, as related by the evangelist, let us now consider. "The Jews therefore," he says, "because it was the preparation (parasceve), that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the Sabbath-day (for that Sabbath-day was an high day), besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away." Not that their legs might be taken away, but the persons themselves whose legs were broken for the purpose of effecting their death, and permitting them to be detached from the tree, lest their continuing to hang on the crosses should defile the great festal day by the horrible spectacle of their day-long torments.

2. "Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other who was crucified with Him. But when they came to Jesus, and saw that He was dead already, they brake not His legs: but one of the soldiers with a spear laid open [1909] His side, and forthwith came there out blood and water." A suggestive [1910] word was made use of by the evangelist, in not saying pierced, or wounded His side, or anything else, but "opened;" [1911] that thereby, in a sense, the gate of life might be thrown open, from whence have flowed forth the sacraments of the Church, without which there is no entrance to the life which is the true life. That blood was shed for the remission of sins; that water it is that makes up the health-giving cup, and supplies at once the laver of baptism and water for drinking. This was announced beforehand, when Noah was commanded to make a door in the side of the ark, [1912] whereby the animals might enter which were not destined to perish in the flood, and by which the Church was prefigured. Because of this, the first woman was formed from the side of the man when asleep, [1913] and was called Life, and the mother of all living. [1914] Truly it pointed to a great good, prior to the great evil of the transgression (in the guise of one thus lying asleep). [1915] This second Adam bowed His head and fell asleep on the cross, that a spouse might be formed for Him from that which flowed from the sleeper's side. O death, whereby the dead are raised anew to life! What can be purer than such blood? What more health-giving than such a wound?

3. "And he that saw it," he says, "bare record, and his record is true; and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye also might believe." He said not, That ye also might know, but "that ye might believe;" for he knoweth who hath seen, that he who hath not seen might believe his testimony. And believing belongs more to the nature of faith than seeing. For what else is meant by believing than giving to faith a suitable reception? "For these things were done," he adds, "that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of Him ye shall not break. And again, another scripture saith, They shall look on Him whom they pierced." He has furnished two testimonies from the Scriptures for each of the things which he has recorded as having been done. For to the words, "But when they came to Jesus, and saw that He was dead already, they brake not His legs," belongeth the testimony, "A bone of Him ye shall not break:" an injunction which was laid upon those who were commanded to celebrate the passover by the sacrifice of a sheep in the old law, which went before as a shadow of the passion of Christ. Whence "our passover has been offered, even Christ," [1916] of whom the prophet Isaiah also had predicted, "He shall be led as a lamb to the slaughter." [1917] In like manner to the words which he subjoined, "But one of the soldiers laid open His side with a spear," belongeth the other testimony, "They shall look on Him whom they pierced;" where Christ is promised in the very flesh wherein He was afterwards to come to be crucified.

4. "And after this, Joseph of Arimathea (being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews) besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus. And there came also Nicodemus, who came to Jesus by night at first, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight." We are not to explain the meaning by saying, "first bringing a mixture of myrrh," but by attaching the word "first" to the preceding clause. For Nicodemus had at first come to Jesus by night, as recorded by this same John in the earlier portions of his Gospel. [1918] By the statement given us here, therefore, we are to understand that Nicodemus came to Jesus, not then only, but then for the first time; and that he was a regular comer afterwards, in order by hearing to become a disciple; which is certified, nowadays at least, to almost all nations in the revelation of the body of the most blessed Stephen. [1919] "Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury." The evangelist, I think, was not without a purpose in so framing his words, "as the manner of the Jews is to bury;" for in this way, unless I am mistaken, he has admonished us that, in duties of this kind, which are observed to the dead, the customs of every nation ought to be preserved.

5. "Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid." As in the womb of the Virgin Mary no one was conceived before Him, and no one after Him, so in this sepulchre there was no one buried before Him, and no one after Him. "There laid they Jesus therefore, because of the Jews' preparation; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand." He would have us to understand that the burial was hurried, lest the evening should overtake them; when it was no longer permitted to do any such thing, because of the preparation, which the Jews among us are more in the habit of calling in Latin, coena pura (the pure meal).

6. "And on the first of the week came Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and saw the stone taken away from the sepulchre." The first of the week [1920] is what Christian practice now calls the Lord's day, because of the resurrection of the Lord. [1921] "She ran, therefore, and came to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid Him." Some of the Greek codices have, "They have taken my Lord," which may likely enough have been said by the stronger than ordinary affection of love and handmaid relationship; but we have not found it in the several codices to which we have had access.

7. "Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre. So they ran both together: and that other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre." The repetition here is worthy of notice and of commendation for the way in which a return is made to what had previously been omitted, and yet is added just as if it followed in due order. For after having already said, "they came to the sepulchre," he goes back to tell us how they came, and says, "so they ran both together," etc. Where he shows that, by outrunning his companion, there came first to the sepulchre that other disciple, by whom he means himself, while he relates all [1922] as if speaking of another.

8. "And he stooping down," he says, "saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in. Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and saw the linen clothes lying, and the napkin, which had been about His head, not lying with the linen clothes, but folded up in one place by itself." Do we suppose these things have no meaning? I can suppose no such thing. But we hasten on to other points, on which we are compelled to linger by the need there is for investigation, or some other kind of obscurity. For in such things as are self-manifest, the inquiry into the meaning even of individual details is, indeed, a subject of holy delight, but only for those who have leisure, which is not the case with us.

9. "Then went in also that other disciple who had come first to the sepulchre." He came first, and entered last. This also of a certainty is not without a meaning, but I am without the leisure needful for its explanation. "And he saw, and believed." Here some, by not giving due attention, suppose that John believed that Jesus had risen again; but there is no indication of this from the words that follow. For what does he mean by immediately adding, "For as yet they knew not the scripture, that He must rise again from the dead"? He could not then have believed that He had risen again, when he did not know that it behoved Him to rise again. What then did he see? what was it that he believed? What but this, that he saw the sepulchre empty, and believed what the woman had said, that He had been taken away from the tomb? "For as yet they knew not the scripture, that He must rise again from the dead." Thus also when they heard of it from the Lord Himself, although it was uttered in the plainest terms, yet from their custom of hearing Him speaking by parables, they did not understand, and believed that something else was His meaning. But we shall put off what follows till another discourse.

Footnotes

[1909] Aperuit. [1910] Vigilans. [1911] Aperuit. [1912] Gen. vi. 16. [1913] Gen. ii. 22. [1914] Gen. iii. 20. [1915] This last clause is found only in three of the Augustinian mss. [1916] 1 Cor. v. 7. [1917] Isa. liii. 7. [1918] Chap. iii. 1, 2. [1919] This revelation, whereby the body of Nicodemus was discovered, is referred to the close of the year 415, by those who trust in the authority of the Presbyter Lucian, in a small book written on the subject.--Migne. [1920] Una Sabbati. [1921] Augustin here adds, quem Matthæus solus in Evangelistis primam Sabbati nominavit (Matt. xxviii. 1) contrasting primam with una. [1922] Some editions here insert into the text, More sanctæ Scripturæ, "after the manner of Holy Scripture." Others enclose it within brackets.--Migne. .


Tractate CXXI.

Chapter XX. 10-29.

1. Mary Magdalene had brought the news to His disciples, Peter and John, that the Lord was taken away from the sepulchre; and they, when they came thither, found only the linen clothes wherewith the body had been shrouded; and what else could they believe but what she had told them, and what she had herself also believed? "Then the disciples went away again unto their own" (home); that is to say, where they were dwelling, and from which they had run to the sepulchre. "But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping." For while the men returned, the weaker sex was fastened to the place by a stronger affection. And the eyes, which had sought the Lord and had not found Him, had now nothing else to do but weep, deeper in their sorrow that He had been taken away from the sepulchre than that He had been slain on the tree; seeing that in the case even of such a Master, when His living presence was withdrawn from their eyes, His remembrance also had ceased to remain. Such grief, therefore, now kept the woman at the sepulchre. "And as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre." Why she did so I know not. For she was not ignorant that He whom she sought was no longer there, since she had herself also carried word to the disciples that He had been taken from thence; while they, too, had come to the sepulchre, and had sought the Lord's body, not merely by looking, but also by entering, and had not found it. What then does it mean, that, as she wept, she stooped down, and looked again into the sepulchre? Was it that her grief was so excessive that she hardly thought she could believe either their eyes or her own? Or was it rather by some divine impulse that her mind led her to look within? For look she did, "and saw two angels in white, sitting, the one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain." Why is it that one was sitting at the head, and the other at the feet? Was it, since those who in Greek are called angels are in Latin nuntii [in English, news-bearers], that in this way they signified that the gospel of Christ was to be preached from head to foot, from the beginning even to the end? "They say to her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid Him." The angels forbade her tears: for by such a position what else did they announce, but that which in some way or other was a future joy? For they put the question, "Why weepest thou?" as if they had said, Weep not. But she, supposing they had put the question from ignorance, unfolded the cause of her tears. "Because," she said, "they have taken away my Lord:" calling her Lord's inanimate body her Lord, meaning a part for the whole; just as all of us acknowledge that Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, our Lord, who of course is at once both the Word and soul and flesh, was nevertheless crucified and buried, while it was only His flesh that was laid in the sepulchre. "And I know not," she added, "where they have laid Him." This was the greater cause of sorrow, because she knew not where to go to mitigate her grief. But the hour had now come when the joy, in some measure announced by the angels, who forbade her tears, was to succeed the weeping.

2. Lastly, "when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing Him to be the gardener, saith unto Him, Sir, If thou hast borne Him hence, tell me where thou hast laid Him, and I will take Him away. Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto Him, Rabboni, which is to say, Master." Let no one speak ill of the woman because she called the gardener, Sir (domine), and Jesus, Master. For there she was asking, here she was recognizing; there she was showing respect to a person of whom she was asking a favor, here she was recalling the Teacher of whom she was learning to discern things human and divine. She called one lord (sir), whose handmaid she was not, in order by him to get at the Lord to whom she belonged. In one sense, therefore, she used the word Lord when she said, "They have taken away my Lord; and in another, when she said, Sir (lord), if thou hast borne Him hence." For the prophet also called those lords who were mere men, but in a different sense from Him of whom it is written, "The Lord is His name." [1923] But how was it that this woman, who had already turned herself back to see Jesus, when she supposed Him to be the gardener, and was actually talking with Him, is said to have again turned herself, in order to say unto Him "Rabboni," but just because, when she then turned herself in body, she supposed Him to be what He was not, while now, when turned in heart, she recognized Him to be what He was.

3. "Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; to my God, and your God." There are points in these words which we must examine with brevity indeed, but with somewhat more than ordinary attention. For Jesus was giving a lesson in faith to the woman, who had recognized Him as her Master, and called Him so in her reply; and this gardener was sowing in her heart, as in His own garden, the grain of mustard seed. What then is meant by "Touch me not"? And just as if the reason of such a prohibition would be sought, He added, "for I am not yet ascended to my Father." What does this mean? If, while standing on earth, He is not to be touched, how could He be touched by men when sitting in heaven? For certainly, before He ascended, He presented Himself to the touch of the disciples, when He said, as testified by the evangelist Luke, "Handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have;" [1924] or when He said to Thomas the disciple, "Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and put forth thy hand, and thrust it into my side." And who could be so absurd as to affirm that He was willing indeed to be touched by the disciples before He ascended to the Father, but refused it in the case of women till after His ascension? But no one, even had any the will, was to be allowed to run into such folly. For we read that women also, after His resurrection and before His ascension to the Father, touched Jesus, among whom was Mary Magdalene herself; for it is related by Matthew that Jesus met them, and said, "All hail. And they approached, and held Him by the feet, and worshipped Him." [1925] This was passed over by John, but declared as the truth by Matthew. It remains, therefore, that some sacred mystery must lie concealed in these words; and whether we discover it or utterly fail to do so, yet we ought to be in no doubt as to its actual existence. Accordingly, either the words, "Touch me not, for I am not yet ascended to my Father," had this meaning, that by this woman the Church of the Gentiles was symbolized, which did not believe on Christ till He had actually ascended to the Father, or that in this way Christ wished Himself to be believed on; in other words, to be touched spiritually, that He and the Father are one. For He has in a manner ascended to the Father, to the inward perception of him who has made such progress in the knowledge of Christ that he acknowledges Him as equal with the Father: in any other way He is not rightly touched, that is to say, in any other way He is not rightly believed on. But Mary might have still so believed as to account Him unequal with the Father, and this certainly is forbidden her by the words, "Touch me not;" that is, Believe not thus on me according to thy present notions; let not your thoughts stretch outwards to what I have been made in thy behalf, without passing beyond to that whereby thou hast thyself been made. For how could it be otherwise than carnally that she still believed on Him whom she was weeping over as a man? "For I am not yet ascended," He says, "to my Father:" there shalt thou touch me, when thou believest me to be God, in no wise unequal with the Father. "But go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father." He saith not, Our Father: in one sense, therefore, is He mine, in another sense, yours; by nature mine, by grace yours. "And my God, and your God." Nor did He say here, Our God: here, therefore, also is He in one sense mine, in another sense yours: my God; under whom I also am as man; your God, between whom and you I am mediator.

4. "Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples, I have seen the Lord, and He hath spoken these things unto me. Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus, and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. And when He had so said, He showed unto them His hands and His side." For nails had pierced His hands, a spear had laid open His side: and there the marks of the wounds are preserved for healing the hearts of the doubting. But the shutting of doors presented no obstacle to the matter of His body, wherein Godhead resided. He indeed could enter without their being opened, by whose birth the virginity of His mother remained inviolate, "Then were the disciples glad when they saw the Lord. Then said He unto them again, Peace be unto you." Reiteration is confirmation; for He Himself gives by the prophet a promised peace upon peace. [1926] "As the Father hath sent me," He adds, "even so send I you." We know the Son to be equal to the Father; but here we recognize the words of the Mediator. For He exhibits Himself as occupying a middle position when He says, He me, and I you. "And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost." By breathing on them He signified that the Holy Spirit was the Spirit, not of the Father alone, but likewise His own. "Whose soever sins," He continues, "ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever ye retain, they are retained." The Church's love, which is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, discharges the sins of all who are partakers with itself, but retains the sins of those who have no participation therein. Therefore it is, that after saying "Receive ye the Holy Ghost," He straightway added this regarding the remission and retention of sins.

5. "But Thomas, one of the twelve, who is called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe. And after eight days, again His disciples were within, and Thomas with them. Then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then saith He to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and put it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. Thomas answered and said unto Him, My Lord and my God." He saw and touched the man, and acknowledged the God whom he neither saw nor touched; but by the means of what he saw and touched, he now put far away from him every doubt, and believed the other. "Jesus saith unto him, Because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed." He saith not, Thou hast touched me, but, "Thou hast seen me," because sight is a kind of general sense. For sight is also habitually named in connec tion with the other four senses: as when we say, Listen, and see how well it sounds; smell it, and see how well it smells; taste it, and see how well it savors; touch it, and see how hot it is. Everywhere has the word, See, made itself heard, although sight, properly speaking, is allowed to belong only to the eyes. Hence here also the Lord Himself says, "Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands:" and what else does He mean but, Touch and see? And yet he had no eyes in his finger. Whether therefore it was by looking, or also by touching, "Because thou hast seen me," He says, "thou hast believed." Although it may be affirmed that the disciple dared not so to touch, when He offered Himself for the purpose; for it is not written, And Thomas touched Him. But whether it was by gazing only, or also by touching that he saw and believed, what follows rather proclaims and commends the faith of the Gentiles: "Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed." He made use of words in the past tense, as One who, in His predestinating purpose, knew what was future, as if it had already taken place. But the present discourse must be kept from the charge of prolixity: the Lord will give us the opportunity to discourse at another time on the topics that remain.

Footnotes

[1923] Ps. lxviii. 4. [1924] Luke xxiv. 39. [1925] Matt. xxviii. 9. [1926] Isa. xxvi. 3, margin. .


Tractate CXXII.

Chapter XX. 30-31, and XXI. 1-11.

1. After telling us of the incident in connection with which the disciple Thomas had offered to his touch the places of the wounds in Christ's body, and saw what he would not believe, and believed, the evangelist John interposes these words, and says: "And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book: but these are written that ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye may have life through His name." This paragraph indicates, as it were, the end of the book; but there is afterwards related how the Lord manifested Himself at the sea of Tiberias, and in the draught of fishes made special reference to the mystery of the Church, as regards its future character, in the final resurrection of the dead. I think, therefore, it is fitted to give special prominence thereto, that there has been thus interposed, as it were, an end of the book, and that there should be also a kind of preface to the narrative that was to follow, in order in some measure to give it a position of greater eminence. The narrative itself begins in this way: "After these things Jesus showed Himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise showed He (Himself). There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of His disciples. Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee."

2. The inquiry is usually made in connection with this fishing of the disciples, why Peter and the sons of Zebedee returned to what they were before being called by the Lord; for they were fishers when He said to them, "Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men." [1927] And they put such reality into their following of Him then, that they left all in order to cleave to Him as their Master: so much so, that when the rich man went away from Him in sorrow, because of His saying to him, "Go sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven, and come follow me," Peter said unto Him, "Lo, we have forsaken all, and followed Thee." [1928] Why is it then that now, by the abandonment as it were of their apostleship, they become what they were, and seek again what they had forsaken, as if forgetful of the words they had once listened to, "No man, putting his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of heaven"? [1929] Had they done so when Jesus was lying in the grave, before He rose from the dead,--which of course they could not have done, as the day whereon He was crucified kept them all in closest attention till His burial, which took place before evening; while the next day was the Sabbath, when it was unlawful for those who observed the ancestral custom to work at all; and on the third day the Lord rose again, and re called them to the hope which they had not yet begun to entertain regarding Him;--yet had they then done so, we might suppose it had been done under the influence of that despair which had taken possession of their minds. But now, after His restoration to them alive from the tomb, after the most evident truth of His revivified flesh offered to their eyes and hands, not only to be seen, but also to be touched and handled; after inspecting the very marks of the wounds, even to the confession of the Apostle Thomas, who had previously declared that he would not otherwise believe; after the reception by His breathing on them of the Holy Spirit, and after the words poured from His lips into their ears, "As the Father hath sent me, even so send I you: whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever ye retain, they are retained:" they suddenly become again what they had been, fishers, not of men, but of fishes.

3. We have therefore to give those who are disturbed by this the answer, that they were not prohibited from seeking necessary sustenance by their manual craft, when lawful in itself, and warranted so long as they preserved their apostleship intact, if at any time they had no other means of gaining a livelihood. Unless any one have the boldness to imagine or to affirm, that the Apostle Paul attained not to the perfection of those who left all and followed Christ, seeing that, in order not to become a burden to any of those to whom he preached the gospel, he worked with his own hands for his support: [1930] wherein we find rather the fulfillment of his own words, "I labored more abundantly than they all;" and to which he added, "yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me:" [1931] to make it manifest that this also was to be imputed to the grace of God, that both with mind and body he was able to labor so much more abundantly than they all, that he neither ceased from preaching the gospel, nor drew, like them, his present support out of the gospel; while he was sowing it much more widely and fruitfully through multitudes of nations where the name of Christ had never previously been proclaimed. Whereby he showed that living, that is, deriving their subsistence, by the gospel, was not imposed on the apostles as a necessity, but conferred on them as a power. And of this power the same apostle makes mention when he says: "If we have sown to you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we reap your carnal things? If others are partakers of this power among you, are not we rather? But," he adds, "we have not used this power." And a little afterwards he says: "They who serve the altar are partakers with the altar: even so hath the Lord ordained, that they who preach the gospel should live of the gospel; but I have used none of these things." It is clear enough, therefore, that it was not enjoined on the apostles, but put in their power, not to find their living otherwise than by the gospel, and of those to whom by preaching the gospel they sowed spiritual things, to reap their carnal things; that is, to take their bodily support, and, as the soldiers of Christ, to receive the wages due to them, as from the inhabitants of provinces subject to Christ. [1932] Hence that same illustrious soldier had said a little before, in reference to this matter, "Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges?" [1933] Which he nevertheless did himself; for he labored more abundantly than they all. If, then, the blessed Paul--that he might not use with them the power which he certainly possessed along with the other preachers of the gospel, but went a warfare at his own charges, that the Gentiles, who were utterly averse to the name of Christ, might not take offense at his teaching, as something offered them for a money equivalent,--in a way very different from that in which he had been educated, learned an altogether new art, that while the teacher supports himself with his own hands, none of his hearers might be burdened; how much rather did the blessed Peter, who had beforetimes been a fisherman, do what he was already acquainted with, if at that present time he found no other means of gaining a livelihood?

4. But some one will reply, And why did he not find them, when the Lord had promised, saying, "Seek first the kingdom and righteousness of God, and all these things shall be added unto you"? [1934] Precisely also in this very way did the Lord fulfill His promise. For who else placed there the fishes that were to be caught, but He, who, we are bound to believe, threw them into the penury that compelled them to go a fishing, for no other reason than that He wished to show them the miracle He had prepared, that so He might both feed the preachers of His gospel, and at the same time enhance that gospel itself, by the great mystery which He was about to impress on their minds by the number of the fishes? And on this subject we also ought now to be telling you what He Himself has set before us.

5. "Simon Peter," therefore, "saith, I go a fishing." Those who were with him "say unto him, We also go with thee. And they went forth, and entered into a ship; and that night they caught nothing. But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore; but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus. Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat? They answered Him, No. He saith unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes. Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord. When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his coat unto him, for he was naked, and did cast himself into the sea. And the other disciples came in a little ship (for they were not far from the land, but as it were two hundred cubits), dragging the net with fishes. As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals laid, and a fish laid thereon, and bread. Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish which ye have now caught. Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken."

6. This is a great mystery in the great Gospel of John; and to commend it the more forcibly to our attention, the last chapter has been made its place of record. Accordingly, inasmuch as there were seven disciples taking part in that fishing, Peter, and Thomas, and Nathaneal, and the two sons of Zebedee, and two others whose names are withheld, they point, by their septenary number, to the end of time. For there is a revolution of all time in seven days. To this also pertains the statement, that when the morning was come, Jesus stood on the shore; for the shore likewise is the limit of the sea, and signifies therefore the end of the world. The same end of the world is shown also by the act of Peter, in drawing the net to land, that is, to the shore. Which the Lord has Himself elucidated, when in a certain other place He drew His similitude from a fishing net let down into the sea: "And they drew it," He said, "to the shore." And in explanation of what that shore was, He added, "So will it be in the end of the world." [1935]

7. That, however, is a parable in word, not one embodied in outward action; and just as in the passage before us the Lord indicated by an outward action the kind of character the Church would have in the end of the world, so in the same way, by that other fishing, He indicated its present character. In doing the one at the commencement of His preaching and this latter after His resurrection, He showed thereby in the former case that the capture of fishes signified the good and bad presently existing in the Church; but in the latter, the good only, whom it will contain everlastingly, when the resurrection of the dead shall have been completed in the end of this world. Furthermore, on that previous occasion Jesus stood not, as here, on the shore, when He gave orders for the taking of the fish, but "entered into one of the ships, which was Simon's, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land; and He sat down therein, and taught the crowds. And when He had left speaking, He said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught." There also they put the fishes that were caught into the ship, and did not, as here, draw the net to the shore. By these signs, and any others that may be found, on the former occasion the Church was prefigured as it exists in this world, and on the other, as it shall be in the end of the world: the one accordingly took place before, and the other subsequently to the resurrection of the Lord; because there we were signified by Christ as called, and here as raised from the dead. On that occasion the nets are not let down on the right side, that the good alone might not be signified, nor on the left, lest the application should be limited to the bad; but without any reference to either side, He says, "Let down your nets for a draught," that we may understand the good and bad as mingled together: while on this He says, "Cast the net on the right side of the ship," to signify those who stood on the right hand, the good alone. There the net was broken on account of the schisms that were meant to be signified; but here, as then there will be no more schisms in that supreme peace of the saints, the evangelist was entitled to say, "And for all they were so great," that is, so large, "yet was not the net broken;" as if with reference to the previous time when it was broken, and a commendation of the good that was here in comparison with the evil that preceded. There the multitude of fishes caught was so great, that the two vessels were filled and began to sink, [1936] that is, were weighed down to the point of sinking; for they did not actually sink, but were in extreme jeopardy. For whence exist in the Church the great evils under which we groan, save from the impossibility of withstanding the enormous multitude that, almost to the entire subversion of discipline, gain an entrance, with their morals so utterly at variance with the pathway of the saints? Here, however, they cast the net on the right side, "and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes." What is meant by the words, "Now they were not able to draw it," but this, that those who belong to the resurrection of life, that is to say, to the right hand, and depart this life within the nets of the Christian name, will be made manifest only on the shore, in other words, when they shall rise from the dead at the end of the world? Accordingly, they were not able to draw the nets so as to discharge into the vessel the fishes they had caught, as was done with all of those wherewith the net was broken, and the boats laden to sinking. But the Church possesses those right-hand ones after the close of this life in the sleep of peace, lying hid as it were in the deep, till the net reach the shore whither it is being drawn, as it were two hundred cubits. And as on that first occasion it was done by two vessels, with reference to the circumcision and the uncircumcision; so in this place, by the two hundred cubits, I am of opinion that there is symbolized, with reference to the elect of both classes, the circumcision and the uncircumcision, as it were two separate hundreds; because the number that passes to the right hand is represented summarily by hundreds. And last of all, in that former fishing the number of fishes is not expressed, as if the words were there acted on that were uttered by the prophet, "I have declared and spoken; they are multiplied beyond number:" [1937] while here there are none beyond calculation, but the definite number of a hundred and fifty and three; and of the reason of this number we must now, with the Lord's help, give some account.

8. For if we determine on the number that should indicate the law, what else can it be but ten? For we have absolute certainty that the Decalogue of the law, that is, those ten well-known precepts, were first written by the finger of God on two tables of stone. [1938] But the law, when it is not aided by grace, maketh transgressors, and is only in the letter, on account of which the apostle specially declared, "The letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life." [1939] Let the spirit then be added to the letter, lest the letter kill him whom the spirit maketh not alive, and let us work out the precepts of the law, not in our own strength, but by the grace of the Saviour. But when grace is added to the law, that is, the spirit to the letter, there is, in a kind of way, added to ten the number of seven. For this number, namely seven, is testified by the documents of holy writ given us for perusal, to signify the Holy Spirit. For example, sanctity or sanctification properly pertains to the Holy Spirit, whence, as the Father is a spirit, and the Son a spirit, because God is a spirit, [1940] so the Father is holy and the Son holy, yet the Spirit of both is called peculiarly by the name of the Holy Spirit. Where, then, was there the first distinct mention of sanctification in the law but on the seventh day? For God sanctified not the first day, when He made the light; nor the second, when He made the firmament; nor the third, when He separated the sea from the land, and the land brought forth grass and timber; nor the fourth, wherein the stars were created; nor the fifth, wherein were created the animals that live in the waters or fly in the air; nor the sixth, when the terrestrial living soul and man himself were created; but He sanctified the seventh day, wherein He rested from all His works. [1941] The Holy Spirit, therefore, is aptly represented by the septenary number. The prophet Isaiah likewise says, "The Spirit of God shall rest on Him;" and thereafter calls our attention to that Spirit in His septenary work or grace, by saying, "The spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and piety; and He shall be filled with the spirit of the fear of God." [1942] And what of the Revelation? Are they not there called the seven Spirits of God, [1943] while there is only one and the same Spirit dividing to every one severally as He will? [1944] But the septenary operation of the one Spirit was so called by the Spirit Himself, whose own presence in the writer led to their being spoken of as the seven Spirits. Accordingly, when to the number of ten, representing the law, we add the Holy Spirit as represented by seven, we have seventeen; and when this number is used for the adding together of every several number it contains, from 1 up to itself, the sum amounts to one hundred and fifty-three. For if you add 2 to 1, you have 3 of course; if to these you add 3 and 4, the whole makes 10; and then if you add all the numbers that follow up to 17, the whole amounts to the foresaid number; that is, if to 10, which you had reached by adding all together from 1 to 4, you add 5, you have 15; to these add 6, and the result is 21; then add 7, and you have 28; to this add 8, and 9, and 10, and you get 55; to this add 11 and 12, and 13, and you have 91; and to this again add 14, 15, and 16, and it comes to 136; and then add to this the remaining number of which we have been speaking, namely, 17, and it will make up the number of fishes. But it is not on that account merely a hundred and fifty-three saints that are meant as hereafter to rise from the dead unto life eternal, but thousands of saints who have shared in the grace of the Spirit, by which grace harmony is established with the law of God, as with an adversary; so that through the life-giving Spirit the letter no longer kills, but what is commanded by the letter is fulfilled by the help of the Spirit, and if there is any deficiency it is pardoned. All therefore who are sharers in such grace are symbolized by this number, that is, are symbolically represented. This number has, besides, three times over, the number of fifty, and three in addition, with reference to the mystery of the Trinity; while, again, the number of fifty is made up by multiplying 7 by 7, with the addition of 1, for 7 times 7 make 49. And the 1 is added to show that there is one who is expressed by seven on account of His sevenfold operation; and we know that it was on the fiftieth day after our Lord's ascension that the Holy Spirit was sent, for whom the disciples were commanded to wait according to the promise. [1945]

9. It was not, then, without a purpose that these fishes were described as so many in number, and so large in size, that is, as both an hundred and fifty-three, and large. For so it is written, "And He drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three." For when the Lord said, "I am not come to destroy the law, but to fulfill," because about to give the Spirit, through whom the law might be fulfilled, and to add thereby, as it were, seven to ten; after interposing a few other words He proceeded, "Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. The latter, therefore, may possibly belong to the number of great fishes. But he that is the least, who undoes in deed what he teaches in word, may be in such a church as is signified by that first capture of fishes, which contains both good and bad, for it also is called the kingdom of heaven, as He says, "The kingdom of heaven is like unto a net that was cast into the sea, and gathered of ever kind;" [1946] where He wishes the good as well as the bad to be understood, and of whom He declares that they are yet to be separated on the shore, to wit, at the end of the world. And lastly, to show that those least ones are reprobates who teach by word of mouth the good which they undo by their evil lives, and that they will not be even the least, as it were, in the life that is eternal, but will have no place there at all; after saying, "He shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven," He immediately added, "For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed [the righteousness] of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." [1947] Such, doubtless--these scribes and Pharisees--are those who sit in Moses' seat, and of whom He says, "Do ye what they say, but do not what they do; for they say, and do not." [1948] They teach in sermons what they undo by their morals. It therefore follows that he who is least in the kingdom of heaven, as the Church now exists, shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven, as the Church shall be hereafter; for by teaching what he himself is in the habit of breaking, he can have no place in the company of those who do what they teach, and therefore will not be in the number of great fishes, seeing it is he "who shall do and teach that shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven." And because he will be great here, therefore shall he be there, where he that is least shall not be. Yea, so great will they certainly be there, that he who is less there is greater than the greatest here. [1949] And yet those who are great here, that is, who do the good that they teach in that kingdom of heaven into which the net gathereth good and bad, shall be greater still in that eternal state of the heavenly kingdom,--those, I mean, who are indicated by the fishes here as belonging to the right hand and to the resurrection of life. We have still to discourse, as God shall grant us ability, on the meal that the Lord took with those seven disciples, and on the words He spake after the meal, as well as on the close of the Gospel itself; but these are topics that cannot be included in the present lecture.

Footnotes

[1927] Matt. iv. 19. [1928] Matt. xix. 21, 22, 27. [1929] Luke ix. 62. [1930] 2 Thess. iii. 8. [1931] 1 Cor. xv. 10. [1932] Sicut a provincialibus Christi. [1933] 1 Cor. ix. 11-15, 7. [1934] Matt. vi. 33. [1935] Matt. xiii. 48, 49. [1936] Luke v. 3-7. [1937] Ps. xl. 5. [1938] Deut. ix. 10. [1939] 2 Cor. iii. 6. [1940] Chap. iv. 24. [1941] Gen. i., ii. 3. [1942] Isa. xi. 2, 3. [1943] Rev. iii. 1. [1944] 1 Cor. xii. 11. [1945] Acts i. 4; ii. 2-4. [1946] Matt. xiii. 47. [1947] Matt. v. 17-20. [1948] Matt. xxiii. 2, 3. [1949] Matt. xi. 11. .


Tractate CXXIII.

Chapter XXI. 12-19.

1. With this third manifestation of Himself by the Lord to His disciples after His resurrection, the Gospel of the blessed Apostle John is brought to a close, of which we have already lectured through the earlier part as we were able, on to the place where it is related that an hundred and fifty-three fishes were taken by the disciples to whom He showed Himself, and for all they were so large, yet were not the nets broken. What follows we have now to take into consideration, and to discuss as the Lord enables us, and as the various points may appear to demand. When the fishing was over, "Jesus saith unto them, Come [and] dine. And none of those who sat down dared to ask Him, Who art Thou? knowing that it was the Lord." If, then, they knew, what need was there to ask? and if there was no need, wherefore is it said, "they dared not," as if there were need, but, from some fear or other, they dared not? The meaning here, therefore, is: so great was the evidence of the truth that Jesus Himself had appeared to these disciples, that not one of them dared not merely to deny, but even to doubt it; for had any of them doubted it, he ought certainly to have asked. In this sense, therefore, it was said, "No one dared to ask Him, Who art Thou?" as if it were, No one dared to doubt that it was He Himself.

2. "And Jesus cometh, and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish likewise." We are likewise told here, you see, on what they dined; and of this dinner we also will say something that is sweet and salutary, if we, too, are made by Him to partake of the food. It is related above that these disciples, when they came to the land, "saw a fire of coals laid, and a fish laid thereon, and bread." Here we are not to understand that the bread also was laid upon the coals, but only to supply, They saw. And if we repeat this verb in the place where it ought to be supplied, the whole may read thus: They saw coals laid, and fish laid thereon, and they saw bread. Or rather in this way: They saw coals laid, and fish laid thereon; they saw also bread. At the Lord's command they likewise brought of the fishes which they themselves had caught; and although their doing so might not be actually stated by the historian, yet there has been no silence in regard to the Lord's command. For He says, "Bring of the fishes which ye have now caught." And when we have such certainty that He gave the order, will any suppose that they failed to obey it? Of this, therefore, the Lord prepared the dinner for these His seven disciples, namely, of the fish which they had seen laid upon the coals, with an addition thereto from those which they had caught, and of the bread which we are told with equal distinctness that they had seen. The fish roasted is Christ having suffered; He Himself also is the bread that cometh down from heaven. [1950] With Him is incorporated the Church, in order to the participation in everlasting blessedness. For this reason is it said, "Bring of the fish which ye have now caught," that all of us who cherish this hope may know that we ourselves, through that septenary number of disciples whereby our universal community may in this passage be understood as symbolized, partake in this great sacrament, and are associated in the same blessedness. This is the Lord's dinner with His own disciples, and herewith John, although having much besides that he might say of Christ, brings his Gospel, with profound thought and an eye to important lessons, to a close. For here the Church, such as it will be hereafter among the good alone, is signified by the draught of an hundred and fifty-three fishes; and to those who so believe, and hope, and love, there is demonstrated by this dinner their participation in such super-eminent blessedness.

3. "This was now," he says, "the third time that Jesus showed Himself to His disciples after that He was risen from the dead." And this we are to refer not to the manifestations themselves, but to the days (that is to say, taking the first day when He rose again, and the [second] eight days after, when the disciple Thomas saw and believed, and [the third] on this day when He so acted in connection with the fishes, although how many days afterwards it was that He did so we are not told); for on that first day He was seen more than once, as is shown by the collated testimonies of all the evangelists: but, as we have said, it is in accordance with the days that His manifestations are to be calculated, making this the third; for that [manifestation] is to be reckoned the first, and all one and the same, as included in one day, however often and to however many He showed Himself on the day of His resurrection; the second eight days afterwards, and this the third, and thereafter as often as He pleased on to the fortieth day, when He ascended into heaven, although all of them have not been recorded in Scripture.

4. "So when they had dined, He saith to Simon Peter, Simon, [son] of John, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto Him, Yea, Lord; Thou knowest that I love Thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. He saith to him again, Simon, [son] of John, lovest thou me? He saith unto Him, Yea, Lord; Thou knowest that I love Thee. He saith unto Him, Feed my lambs. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, [son] of John, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because He said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto Him, Lord, Thou knowest all things; Thou knowest that I love Thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wilt not. And this spake He, signifying by what death he should glorify God." Such was the end reached by that denier and lover; elated by his presumption, prostrated by his denial, cleansed by his weeping, approved by his confession, crowned by his suffering, this was the end he reached, to die with a perfected love for the name of Him with whom, by a perverted forwardness, he had promised to die. He would do, when strengthened by His resurrection, what in his weakness he promised prematurely. For the needful order was that Christ should first die for Peter's salvation, and then that Peter should die for the preaching of Christ. The boldness thus begun by human temerity was an utter inversion of the order that had been instituted by the Truth. Peter thought to lay down his life for Christ, [1951] the one to be delivered in behalf of the Deliverer, seeing that Christ had come to lay down His life for all His own, including Peter also, which, you see, was now done. Now and henceforth a true, because graciously bestowed, strength of heart may be assumed for incurring death itself for the name of the Lord, and not a false one presumptuously usurped through an erroneous estimate of ourselves. Now there is no need that we should any more fear the passage out of the present life, because in the Lord's resurrection we have a foregoing illustration of the life to come. Now thou hast cause, Peter, to be no longer afraid of death, because He liveth whom thou didst mourn when dead, and whom in thy carnal love thou didst try to hinder from dying in our behalf. [1952] Thou didst dare to step in before the Leader, and thou didst tremble before His persecutor: now that the price has been paid for thee, it is thy duty to follow the Buyer, and follow Him even to the death of the cross. Thou hast heard the words of Him whom thou hast already proved to be truthful; He Himself hath foretold thy suffering, who formerly foretold thy denial.

5. But first the Lord asks what He knew, and that not once, but a second and a third time, whether Peter loved Him; and just as often He has the same answer, that He is loved, while just as often He gives Peter the same charge to feed His sheep. To the threefold denial there is now appended a threefold confession, that his tongue may not yield a feebler service to love than to fear, and imminent death may not appear to have elicited more from the lips than present life. Let it be the office of love to feed the Lord's flock, if it was the signal of fear to deny the Shepherd. Those who have this purpose in feeding the flock of Christ, that they may have them as their own, and not as Christ's, are convicted of loving themselves, and not Christ, from the desire either of boasting, or wielding power, or acquiring gain, and not from the love of obeying, serving, and pleasing God. Against such, therefore, there stands as a wakeful sentinel this thrice inculcated utterance of Christ, of whom the apostle complains that they seek their own, not the things that are Jesus Christ's. [1953] For what else mean the words, "Lovest thou me? Feed my sheep," than if it were said, If thou lovest me, think not of feeding thyself, but feed my sheep as mine, and not as thine own; seek my glory in them, and not thine own; my dominion, and not thine; my gain, and not thine; lest thou be found in the fellowship of those who belong to the perilous times, lovers of their own selves, and all else that is joined on to this beginning of evils? For the apostle, after saying, "For men shall be lovers of their own selves," proceeded to add, "Lovers of money, boastful, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, wicked, irreligious, without affection, false accusers, incontinent, implacable, with out kindness, traitors, heady, blinded; [1954] lovers of pleasures more than of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof." [1955] All these evils flow from that as their fountain which he stated first, "lovers of their own selves." With great propriety, therefore, is Peter addressed, "Lovest thou me?" and found replying, "I love Thee:" and the command applied to him, "Feed my lambs," and this a second and a third time. We have it also demonstrated here that love and liking are one and the same thing; for the Lord also in the last question said not Diligis me? but, Amas me? Let us, then, love not ourselves, but Him; and in feeding His sheep, let us be seeking the things which are His, not the things which are our own. For in some inexplicable way, I know not what, every one that loveth himself, and not God, loveth not himself; and whoever loveth God, and not himself, he it is that loveth himself. For he that cannot live by himself will certainly die by loving himself; he therefore loveth not himself who loves himself to his own loss of life. But when He is loved by whom life is preserved, a man by not loving himself only loveth the more, when it is for this reason that he loveth not himself [namely] that he may love Him by whom he lives. Let not those, then, who feed Christ's sheep be "lovers of their own selves," lest they feed them as if they were their own, and not His, and wish to make their own gain of them, as "lovers of money;" or to domineer over them, as "boastful;" or to glory in the honors which they receive at their hands, as "proud;" or to go the length even of originating heresies, as "blasphemers;" and not to give place to the holy fathers, as those who are "disobedient to parents;" and to render evil for good to those who wish to correct them, because unwilling to let them perish, as "unthankful;" to slay their own souls and those of others, as "wicked;" to outrage the motherly bowels of the Church, as "irreligious;" to have no sympathy with the weak, as those who are "without affection;" to attempt to traduce the character of the saints, as "false accusers;" to give loose reins to the basest lusts, as "incontinent;" to make lawsuits their practice, as "implacable;" to know nothing of loving service, as those who are "without kindness;" to make known to the enemies of the godly what they are well aware ought to be kept secret, as "traitors;" to disturb human modesty by shameless discussions, as "heady;" to understand neither what they say nor whereof they affirm, [1956] as "blinded;" and to prefer carnal delights to spiritual joys, as those who are "lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God." For these and such like vices, whether all of them meet in a single individual, or whether some dominate in one and others in another, spring up in some form or another from this one root, when men are "lovers of their own selves." A vice which is specially to be guarded against by those who feed Christ's sheep, lest they be seeking their own, not the things that are Jesus Christ's, and be turning those to the use of their own lusts for whom the blood of Christ was shed. Whose love ought, in one who feedeth His sheep, to grow up unto so great a spiritual fervor as to overcome even the natural fear of death, that makes us unwilling to die even when we wish to live with Christ. For the Apostle Paul also says that he had a desire to be dissolved, and to be with Christ, [1957] and yet he groans, being burdened, and wishes not to be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality may be swallowed up of life. [1958] And so to His present lover the Lord said, "When thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not. For this He said to him, signifying by what death he should glorify God." "Thou shalt stretch forth thy hands," He said; in other words, thou shalt be crucified. But that thou mayest come to this, "another shall gird thee, and carry thee," not whither thou wouldest, but "whither thou wouldest not." He told him first what would happen, and then how it should come to pass. For it was not after being crucified, but when actually about to be crucified, that he was carried whither he would not; for after being crucified he went his way, not whither he would not, but rather whither he would. And though when set free from the body he wished to be with Christ, yet, were it only possible, he had a desire for eternal life apart from the grievousness of death, to which grievous experience he was unwillingly carried, but from it [when all was over] he was willingly carried away; unwillingly he came to it, but willingly he conquered it, and left this feeling of infirmity behind that makes every one unwilling to die,--a feeling so permanently natural, that even old age itself was unable to set the blessed Peter free from its influence, even as it was said unto him, "When thou shalt be old," thou shall be led "whither thou wouldest not." For our consolation the Saviour Himself transfigured also the same feeling in His own person when He said, "Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me;" [1959] and He certainly had come to die without having any necessity, but only the willingness to die, with power to lay down His life, and with power to take it again. But however great be the grievousness of death, it ought to be overcome by the power of that love which is felt to Him who, being our life, was willing to endure even death in our behalf. For if there were no grievousness, even of the smallest kind, in death, the glory of the martyrs would not be so great. But if the good Shepherd, who laid down His own life for His sheep, [1960] has raised up so many martyrs for Himself out of the very sheep, how much more ought those to contend to death for the truth, and even to blood against sin, who are entrusted by Him with the feeding, that is, with the teaching and governing of these very sheep? And on this account, along with the preceding example of His own passion, who can fail to see that the shepherds ought all the more to set themselves closely to imitate the Shepherd, if He was so imitated even by many of the sheep under whom, as the one Shepherd and in the one flock, the shepherds themselves are likewise sheep? For He made all those His sheep for [all of] whom He died, because He Himself also became a sheep that He might suffer for all.

Footnotes

[1950] Chap. vi. 41. [1951] Chap. xiii. 37. [1952] Matt. xvi. 21, 22. [1953] Phil. ii. 21. [1954] Coecati. [1955] 2 Tim. iii. 1-5. [1956] 1 Tim. i. 7. [1957] Phil. i. 23. [1958] 2 Cor. v. 4. [1959] Matt. xxvi. 39. [1960] Chap. x. 18, 11. .


Tractate CXXIV.

Chapter XXI. 19-25.

1. It is no unimportant question why the Lord, when He manifested Himself for the third time to the disciples, said unto the Apostle Peter, "Follow me;" but of the Apostle John, "Thus I wish him to remain [1961] till I come, what is that to thee?" To the discussion or solution of this question, according as the Lord shall grant us ability we devote the last discourse of this work. When the Lord, then, had announced beforehand to Peter by what death he was to glorify God, "He saith unto him, Follow me. Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; who also leaned on His breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that shall betray Thee? Peter, therefore, seeing him, saith to Jesus, Lord, and what [of] this man? Jesus saith unto him, Thus do I wish him to remain till I come, what is that to thee? Follow thou me. Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple dieth not: yet Jesus said not unto him, He dieth not; but, Thus do I wish him to remain till I come, what is that to thee?" You see the great extent in this Gospel of a question which, by its depth, must exercise in no ordinary way the mind of the inquirer. For why is it said to Peter, "Follow me," and not to the others who were likewise present? Surely the disciples followed Him also as their Master. But if it is to be understood only in reference to his suffering, was Peter the only one that suffered for the truth of Christianity? Was there not present there amongst those seven, another son of Zebedee, the brother of John, who, after His ascension, is plainly recorded to have been slain by Herod? [1962] But some one may say that, as James was not crucified, it was properly enough said to Peter, "Follow me," inasmuch as he underwent not only death, but, like Christ, even the death of the cross. Be it so, if no other explanation can be found that is more satisfactory. Why, then, was it said of John, "Thus do I wish him to remain till I come, what is that to thee?" and the words repeated, "Follow thou me," as if that other, therefore, were not to follow, seeing He wished him to remain till He comes. Who can readily believe that anything else was meant than what the brethren who lived at the time believed, namely, that that disciple was not to die, but to abide in this life till Jesus came? But John himself removed such an idea, by giving a flat contradiction to the report that the Lord had said so. For why should he add, "Jesus saith not, He dieth not," save to prevent what was false from taking hold of the hearts of men?

2. But let any one who so listeth still refuse his assent, and declare that what John asserts is true enough, that the Lord said not that that disciple dieth not, and yet that this is the meaning of such words as He is here recorded to have used; and further assert that the Apostle John is still living, and maintain that he is sleeping rather than lying dead in his tomb at Ephesus. Let him employ as an argument the current report that there the earth is in sensible commotion, and presents a kind of heaving appearance, and assert whether it be steadfastly or obstinately that this is occasioned by his breathing. For we cannot fail to have some who so believe, if there is no want of those also who affirm that Moses is alive; because it is written that his sepulchre could not be found, [1963] and that he appeared with the Lord on the mountain along with Elias, [1964] of whom we read that he did not die, but was translated. [1965] As if Moses' body could not have been hid somewhere in such a way as that its position should altogether escape discovery by men, and be raised up therefrom by divine power at the time when Elias and he were seen with Christ just as at the time of Christ's passion many bodies of the saints arose, and after His resurrection appeared, according to Scripture, to many in the holy city. [1966] But still, as I began to say, if some deny the death of Moses, whom Scripture itself, in the very passage where we read that his sepulchre could nowhere be found, explicitly declares to have died; how much more may occasion be taken from these words where the Lord says, "Thus do I wish him to stay till I come," to believe that John is sleeping, but still alive, beneath the ground? Of whom we have also the tradition (which is found in certain apocryphal scriptures), that he was present, in good health, when he ordered a sepulchre to be made for him; and that, when it was dug and prepared with all possible care, he laid himself down there as in a bed, and became immediately defunct: yet as those think who so understand these words of the Lord, not really defunct, but only lying like one in such a condition; and, while accounted dead, was actually buried when asleep, and that he will so remain till the coming of Christ, making known meanwhile the fact of his life by the bubbling up of the dust, which is believed to be forced by the breath of the sleeper to ascend from the depths to the surface of the grave. I think it quite superfluous to contend with such an opinion. For those may see for themselves who know the locality whether the ground there does or suffers what is said regarding it, because, in truth, we too have heard of it from those who are not altogether unreliable witnesses.

3. Meanwhile let us yield to the opinion, which we are unable to refute by any certain evidence, lest we stir up still another question that may be put to us, Why the very ground should seem in a kind of way to live and breathe upon the interred corpse? But can so great a question as the one before us be settled on such grounds as these, if by a great miracle, such as can be wrought by the Almighty, the living body lies so long asleep beneath the ground, till the coming of the end of the world? Nay, rather, does there not arise a wider and more difficult one, why Jesus bestowed on the disciple, whom He loved beyond the others to such an extent that he was counted worthy to recline on His breast, the gift of a protracted sleep in the body, when He delivered the blessed Peter, by the eminent glory of martyrdom, from the burden of the body itself, and vouchsafed to him what the Apostle Paul said that he desired, and committed to writing, namely, "to be let loose, and to be with Christ"? [1967] But if, what is rather to be believed, Saint John declared that the Lord said not, "He dieth not," for the very purpose that no such meaning might be attached to the words which He used; and his body lieth in its sepulchre lifeless like those of others deceased; it remains, if that really takes place which report has spread abroad regarding the soil, which grows up anew, though continually carried away, that it is either so done for the purpose of commending the preciousness of his death, seeing it wants the commendation of martyrdom (for he suffered not death at a persecutor's hand for the faith of Christ), or on some other account that is concealed from our knowledge. Still there remains the question, why the Lord said of one who was destined to die, "Thus I wish him to remain till I come."

4. And who, besides, would not be disposed, in the case of these two apostles, Peter and John, to make this further inquiry, why the Lord loved John better, when He Himself was better loved by Peter? For wherever John has something to say of himself, in order that the reference may be understood without any mention of his name, he adds this, that Jesus loved him, as if he were the only one so loved, that he might be distinguished by this mark from the others, who were all of them certainly loved by Christ: and what else, when he so spake, did he wish to be understood but that he himself was more abundantly loved? and far be it that he should utter a falsehood. And what greater proof could Jesus have given of His own greater love to him than that this man, who was only a partner with the rest of his fellow-disciples in the great salvation, should be the only one that leaned on the breast of the Saviour Himself? And further, that the Apostle Peter loved Christ more than the others, may be adduced from many documentary evidences; but to go no further after others, it is plainly enough apparent in the lesson almost immediately preceding the present, in connection with that third manifestation of the Lord, when He put to him the question, "Lovest thou me more than these?" He knew it, of course, and yet asked, in order that we also, who read the Gospel, might know Peter's love to Christ, both from the questions of the One and the answers of the other. But when Peter only replied, "I love Thee," without adding, "more than these," his answer contained all that he knew of himself. For he could not know how much He was loved by any other, not being able to look into that other's heart. But by saying in the earliest of his answers, "Yea, Lord, Thou knowest," he stated in clear enough terms, that it was with perfect knowledge of all that the Lord asked what He asked. The Lord therefore knew, not only that Peter loved Him, but also that he loved Him more than the others. And yet if we propose to ourselves, in the way of inquiry, which of the two is the better, he that loveth Christ more or he that loveth Him less, who will hesitate to answer, he is the better that loveth Him more? If, on the other hand, we propose this question, which of the two is the better, he that is loved less or he that is loved more by Christ, without any doubt we shall reply that he is the better who is loved the more by Christ. In the comparison therefore which I drew first, Peter is superior to John; but in the latter, John is preferred to Peter. Accordingly, we have a third to propose in this form: Which of the two disciples is the better, he that loveth Christ less than his fellow-disciple [does], and is loved more than his fellow-disciple by Christ? or he who is loved less than his fellow-disciple by Christ, while he, more than his fellow-disciple, loveth Christ? Here it is that the answer plainly halts, and the question grows in magnitude. As far, however, as my own wisdom goes, I might easily reply, that he is the better who loveth Christ the more, but he the happier who is loved the more by Christ; if only I could thoroughly see how to defend the justice of our Deliverer in loving him the less by whom He is loved the more, and him the more by whom He is loved the less.

5. I shall therefore, in the manifested mercy of Him whose justice is hidden, set about the discussion, in order to the solution of a question of such importance, in accordance with the strength which He may graciously bestow: for hitherto it has only been proposed, not expounded. Let this, then, be the commencement of its exposition, namely, that we bear in mind that in this corruptible body, which burdens the soul, [1968] we live a miserable life. But we who are now redeemed by the Mediator, and have received the earnest of the Holy Spirit, have a blessed life in prospect, although we possess it not as yet in reality. But a hope that is seen is not hope; for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. [1969] And it is in the evils that every one suffers, not in the good things that he enjoys, that he has need of patience. The present life, therefore, whereof it is written, "Is not the life of man a term of trial upon earth?" [1970] in which we are daily crying to the Lord, "Deliver us from evil," [1971] a man is compelled to endure, even when his sins are forgiven him, although it was the first sin that caused his falling into such misery. For the penalty is more protracted than the fault; lest the fault should be accounted small, were the penalty to end with itself. On this account it is also, either for the demonstration of our debt of misery, or for the amendment of our passing life, or for the exercise of the necessary patience, that man is kept through time in the penalty, even when he is no longer held by his sin as liable to everlasting damnation. This is the truly lamentable but unblameable condition of the present evil days we pass in this mortal state, even while in it we look with loving eyes to the days that are good. For it comes from the righteous anger of God, whereof the Scriptures say, "Man, that is born of woman, is of few days and full of anger:" [1972] for the anger of God is not like that of man, the disturbance of an excited man, but the calm fixing of righteous punishment. In this anger of His, God restraineth not, as it is written, His tender mercies; [1973] but, besides other consolations to the miserable, which He ceaseth not to bestow on mankind, in the fullness of time, when He knew that such had to be done, He sent His only-begotten Son, [1974] by whom He created all things, that He might become man while remaining God, and so be the Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus: [1975] that those who believe in Him, being absolved by the laver of regeneration from the guilt of all their sins,--to wit, both of the original sin they have inherited by generation, and to meet which, in particular, regeneration was instituted, and of all others contracted by evil conduct,--might be delivered from perpetual condemnation, and live in faith and hope and love while sojourning in this world, and be walking onward to His visible presence amid its toilsome and perilous temptations on the one hand, but the consolations of God, both bodily and spiritual, on the other, ever keeping to the way which Christ has become to them. And because, even while walking in Him, they are not exempt from sins, which creep in through the infirmities of this life, He has given them the salutary remedies of alms whereby their prayers might be aided when He taught them to say, "Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors." [1976] So does the Church act in blessed hope through this troublous life; and this Church symbolized in its generality, was personified in the Apostle Peter, on account of the primacy of his apostleship. For, as regards his proper personality, he was by nature one man, by grace one Christian, by still more abounding grace one, and yet also, the first apostle; but when it was said to him, "I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, shall be loosed in heaven," he represented the universal Church, which in this world is shaken by divers temptations, that come upon it like torrents of rain, floods and tempests, and falleth not, because it is founded upon a rock (petra), from which Peter received his name. For petra (rock) is not derived from Peter, but Peter from petra; just as Christ is not called so from the Christian, but the Christian from Christ. For on this very account the Lord said, "On this rock will I build my Church," because Peter had said, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." [1977] On this rock, therefore, He said, which thou hast confessed, I will build my Church. For the Rock (Petra) was Christ; [1978] and on this foundation was Peter himself also built. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Christ Jesus. [1979] The Church, therefore, which is founded in Christ received from Him the keys of the kingdom of heaven in the person of Peter, that is to say, the power of binding and loosing sins. For what the Church is essentially in Christ, such representatively is Peter in the rock (petra); and in this representation Christ is to be understood as the Rock, Peter as the Church. This Church, accordingly, which Peter represented, so long as it lives amidst evil, by loving and following Christ is delivered from evil. But its following is the closer in those who contend even unto death for the truth. But to the universality [1980] [of the Church] is it said, "Follow me," even as it was for the same universality that Christ suffered: of whom this same Peter saith, "Christ suffered for us, leaving us an example, that we should follow His footsteps." [1981] This, then, you see is why it was said to him, "Follow me." But there is another, an immortal life, that is not in the midst of evil: there we shall see face to face what is seen here through a glass and in a riddle, [1982] even when much progress is made in the beholding of the truth. There are two states of life, therefore, preached and commended to herself from heaven, that are known to the Church, whereof the one is in faith, the other in sight; one in the temporal sojourn in a foreign land, the other in the eternity of the [heavenly] abode; one in labor, the other in repose; one on the way, the other in the fatherland; one in active work, the other in the wages of contemplation; one declines from evil and makes for good, the other has no evil to decline from, and has great good to enjoy; the one fights with a foe, the other reigns without a foe; the one is brave in the midst of adversities, the other has no experience of adversity; the one is bridling its carnal lusts, the other has full scope for spiritual delights; the one is anxious with the care of conquering, the other secure in the peace of victory; the one is helped in temptations, the other, free from all temptations, rejoices in the Helper Himself; the one is occupied in relieving the indigent, the other is there, where no indigence is found; the one pardons the sins of others, that its own may be pardoned to itself, the other neither has anything to pardon nor does aught for which pardon has to be asked; the one is scourged with evils that it may not be elated with good things, the other is free from all evil by such a fullness of grace that, without any temptation to pride, it may cleave to that which is supremely good; the one discerneth both good and evil, the other has only that which is good presented to view: therefore the one is good, but miserable as yet; the other, better and blessed. This one was signified by the Apostle Peter, that other by John. The whole of the one is passed here to the end of this world, and there finds its termination, the other is deferred for its completion till after the end of this world, but has no end in the world to come. Hence it is said to the latter, "Follow me;" but of the former, "Thus I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me." For what means this last? So far as my wisdom goes, so far as I comprehend, what is it but this, Follow thou me by imitating me in the endurance of temporal evils; let him remain till I come to restore everlasting good? And this may be expressed more clearly in this way: Let perfected action, informed by the example of my passion, follow me; but let contemplation only begun remain [so] till I come, to be perfected when I come. For the godly plenitude of patience, reaching forward even unto death, followeth Christ; but the fullness of knowledge tarrieth till Christ come, to be manifested then. For here the evils of this world are endured in the land of the dying, while there shall be seen the good things of the Lord in the land of the living. For in saying, "I wish him to tarry till I come," we are not to understand Him as meaning to remain on, or abide permanently, but to wait; seeing that what is signified by him shall certainly not be fulfilled now, but when Christ is come. But what is signified by him to whom it was said, "Follow thou me," unless it be done now, will never attain to the expected end. And in this life of activity, the more we love Christ the more easily are we delivered from evil. But He loveth us less as we now are, and therefore delivers from it, that we may not be always such as we are. There, however, He loveth us more; for we shall not have aught about us to displease Him, or aught that He will have to separate us from: nor is it for aught else that He loveth us here but that He may heal and translate us from everything He loveth not. Here, therefore, [He loveth us] less, where He would not have us remain; there in larger measure, whither He would have us to be passing, and out of that wherein He would not that we should perish. Let Peter therefore love Him, that we may obtain deliverance from our present mortality; let John be loved by Him, that we may be preserved in the immortality to come.

6. But by this line of argument we have shown why Christ loved John more than Peter, not why Peter loved Christ more than John. For if Christ loveth us more in the world to come, where we shall live unendingly with Him, than in the present, from which we are in the course of being rescued, that we may be always in the other, it does not follow on that account that we shall love Him less when better ourselves; since we can in no possible way be better ourselves, save by loving Him more. Why was it, then, that John loved Him less than Peter, if he signified that life, wherein He must be more abundantly loved, but because on that very account it was said, "I will that he tarry," that is wait, "till I come;" for we have not yet the love itself, which will then be greater far, but are expecting that future, that we may have it when He shall come? Just as in his own epistle the same apostle declares, "It has not yet appeared what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is." [1983] Then accordingly shall we love the more that which we shall see. But the Lord Himself, in His predestinating knowledge, loveth more that future life of ours that is yet to come, such as He knows it will be hereafter in us, in order that by so loving us He may draw us onward to its possession. Wherefore, as all the ways of the Lord are mercy and truth, [1984] we know our present misery, because we feel it; and therefore we love more the mercy of the Lord, which we wish to be exhibited in our deliverance from misery, and we ask and experience it daily, especially in the remission of sins: this it is that was signified by Peter, as loving more, but less beloved; because Christ loveth us less in our misery than in our blessedness. But the contemplation of the truth, such as it then shall be, we love less, because as yet we neither know nor possess it: this was signified by John as loving less, and therefore waiting both for that state itself, and for the perfecting in us of that love to Him, to which He is entitled, till the Lord come; but loved the more, because that it is, which is symbolized by him, that maketh him blessed.

7. Let no one, however, separate these distinguished apostles. In that which was signified by Peter, they were both alike; and in that which was signified by John, they will both be alike hereafter. In their representative character, the one was following, the other tarrying; but in their personal faith they were both of them enduring the present evils of the misery here, both of them expecting the future good things of the blessedness to come. And such is the case, not with them alone, but with the holy universal Church, the spouse of Christ, who has still to be rescued from the present trials, and to be preserved in the future happiness. And these two states of life were symbolized by Peter and John, the one by the one, the other by the other; but in this life they both of them walked for a time by faith, and the other they shall both of them enjoy eternally by sight. For the whole body of the saints, therefore, inseparably belonging to the body of Christ, and for their safe pilotage through the present tempestuous life, did Peter, the first of the apostles, receive the keys of the kingdom of heaven for the binding and loosing of sins; and for the same congregation of saints, in reference to the perfect repose in the bosom of that mysterious life to come did the evangelist John recline on the breast of Christ. For it is not the former alone but the whole Church, that bindeth and looseth sins; nor did the latter alone drink at the fountain of the Lord's breast, to emit again in preaching, of the Word in the beginning, God with God, and those other sublime truths regarding the divinity of Christ, and the Trinity and Unity of the whole Godhead. which are to be yet beheld in that kingdom face to face, but meanwhile till the Lord's coming are only to be seen in a mirror and in a riddle; but the Lord has Himself diffused this very gospel through the whole world, that every one of His own may drink thereat according to his own individual capacity. There are some who have entertained the idea--and those, too, who are no contemptible handlers of sacred eloquence--that the Apostle John was more loved by Christ on the ground that he never married a wife, and lived in perfect chastity from early boyhood. [1985] There is, indeed, no distinct evidence of this in the canonical Scriptures: nevertheless it is an idea that contributes not a little to the suitableness of the opinion expressed above, namely, that that life was signified by him, where there will be no marriage.

8. "This is the disciple who testifieth of these things, and wrote these things; and we know that his testimony is true. And there are also," he adds, "many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written." We are not to suppose that in regard to local space the world would be unable to contain them; for how could they be written in it if it could not bear them when written? but perhaps it is that they could not be comprehended by the capacity of the readers: although, while our faith in certain things themselves remains unharmed, the words we use about them may not unfrequently appear to exceed belief. This will not take place when anything that was obscure or dubious is in course of exposition by the setting forth of its ground and reason, but only when that which is clear of itself is either magnified or extenuated, without any real departure from the pathway of the truth to be intimated; for the words may outrun the thing itself that is indicated only in such a way, that the will of him that speaketh, but without any intention to deceive, may be apparent, so that, knowing how far he will be believed, he, orally, either diminishes or magnifies his subject beyond the limit to which credit will be given. This mode of speaking is called by the Greek name hyperbole, by the masters not only of Greek, but also of Latin literature. And this mode is found not only here, but in several other parts also of the divine literature: as, "They set their mouths against the heavens;" [1986] and, "The top of the hair of such as go on in their trespasses;" [1987] and many others of the same kind, which are no more wanting in the sacred Scriptures than other tropes or modes of speaking. Of these I might give a more elaborate discussion, were it not that, as the evangelist here terminates his Gospel, I am also compelled to bring my discourse to a close.

Footnotes

[1961] Sic eum volo manere donec veniam. [1962] Acts xii. 2. [1963] Deut. xxxiv. 6. [1964] Matt. xvii. 3. [1965] 2 Kings ii. 11. [1966] Matt. xxvii. 52, 53. [1967] Phil. i. 23. [1968] Wisd. ix. 15. [1969] Rom. viii. 24, 25. [1970] Job vii. 1. [1971] Matt. vi. 13. [1972] Job xiv. 1. [1973] Ps. lxxvii. 9. [1974] Gal. iv. 4. [1975] 1 Tim. ii. 5. [1976] Matt. vi. 12. [1977] Matt. xvi. 16-19. [1978] 1 Cor. x. 4. [1979] 1 Cor. iii. 11. [1980] Universitati. [1981] 1 Pet. ii. 21. [1982] 1 Cor. xiii. 12. [1983] 1 John iii. 2. [1984] Ps. xxv. 10. [1985] Jerome, Book I., Against Jovinian. [1986] Ps. lxxiii. 9. [1987] Ps. lxviii. 21.


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