Lectures or Tractates on the Gospel according to St. John, 31-44

Author: Augustine

(NOTE: The electronic text obtained from The Electronic Bible Society was not completely corrected. EWTN has corrected all discovered errors.)

Transliteration of Greek words: All phonetical except: w = omega; h serves three puposes: 1. = Eta; 2. = rough breathing, when appearing initially before a vowel; 3. = in the aspirated letters theta = th, phi = ph, chi = ch. Accents are given immediately after their corresponding vowels: acute = ' , grave = `, circumflex = ^. The character ' doubles as an apostrophe, when necessary.



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


1. You remember, beloved, in the former discourses,--for it was both read in the Gospel and also discussed by us according to our ability,--how that the Lord Jesus went up to the feast-day, as it were in secret, not because He feared lest He should be laid hold of,--He who had the power not to be laid hold of,--but to signify that even in that very feast which was celebrated by the Jews He Himself was hidden, and that the mystery of the feast was His own. In the passage read to-day then, that which was supposed to be timidity appeared as power; for He spoke openly on the feast-day, so that the crowds marvelled, and said that which we have heard when the passage was read: "Is not this he whom they sought to kill? And, lo, he speaketh openly, and they say nothing. Do the rulers know indeed that this is the Christ?" They who knew with what fierceness He was sought after, wondered by what power He was kept from being taken. Then, not fully understanding His power, they fancied it was the knowledge of the rulers, that these rulers knew Him to be the very Christ, and that for this reason they spared Him whom they had with so much eagerness sought out to be put to death.

2. Then those same persons who had said, "Did the rulers know that this is the Christ?" proposed a question among themselves, by which it appeared to them that He was not the Christ; for they said in addition, "But we know this man whence he is: but when Christ cometh, no man knoweth whence he is." As to how this opinion among the Jews arose, that "when Christ comes, no man knoweth whence He is" (for it did not arise without reason), if we consider the Scriptures, we find, brethren, that the Holy Scriptures have declared of Christ that "He shall be called a Nazarene."(1) Therefore they foretold whence He is. Again, if we seek the place of His nativity, as that whence He is by birth, neither was this hidden from the Jews, because of the Scriptures which had foretold these things. For when the Magi, on the appearing of a star, sought Him out to worship Him, they came to Herod and told him what they sought and what they meant: and he, having called together those who had knowledge of the law, inquired of them where Christ should be born: they told him, "In Bethlehem of Judah," and also brought forward the prophetic testimony.(2) If, therefore, the prophets had foretold both the place where the origin of His flesh was, and the place where His mother would bring Him forth, whence did spring that opinion among the Jews which we have just heard, but from this, that the Scriptures had proclaimed beforehand, and had foretold both? In respect of His being man, the Scriptures foretold whence He should be; in respect of His being God, this was hidden from the ungodly, and it required godly men to discover it. Moreover, they said this, "When Christ comes, no man knoweth whence He is," because that which was spoken by Isaiah produced this opinion in them, viz. "And His generation, who shall tell?"(3) In short, the Lord Himself made answer to both, that they both did, and also did not know whence He was; that He might testify to the holy prophecy which before was predicted of Him, both as to the humanity of infirmity and also as to the divinity of majesty.

3. Hear, therefore, the word of the Lord, brethren; see how He confirmed to them both what they said, "We know this man whence he is," and also what they said, "When Christ cometh, no man knoweth whence He is. Then cried Christ in the temple, saying, Ye both know me, and ye know whence I am: and I am not come of myself, but He that sent me is true, whom ye know not." That is to say, ye both know me, and ye know me not; ye both know whence I am, and ye know not whence I am. Ye know whence I am: Jesus of Nazareth, whose parents also ye knew. For in this case, the birth of the Virgin alone was hidden, to whom, however, her husband was witness; for the same was able faithfully to declare this, who was also able as a husband to be jealous. Therefore, this birth of the Virgin excepted, they knew all that in Jesus pertains to man: His face was known, His country was known, His family was known; where He was born was to be known by inquiry. Rightly then did He say, "Ye both know me, and ye know whence I am," according to the flesh and form of man which He bore; but according to His divinity, "And I am not come of myself, but He that sent me is true, whom ye know not;" but yet that ye may know Him, believe on Him whom He has sent, and ye will know Him. For, "No man has seen God at any time, except the only- begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him:"(1) and, "None knoweth the Father but the Son, and he to whom the Son wills to reveal Him."(2)

4. Lastly, when He had said, "But He that sent me is true, whom ye know not," in order to show them whence they might know that which they did not know, He subjoined, "I know Him." Therefore seek from me to know Him. But why is it that I know Him? "Because I am from Him, and He sent me." Gloriously has He shown both. "I am from Him," said He; because the Son is from the Father, and whatever the Son is, He is of Him whose Son He is. Hence we say that the Lord Jesus is God of God: we do not say that the Father is God of God, but simply God: and we say that the Lord Jesus is Light of Light; we do not say that the Father is Light of Light, but simply Light. Accordingly, to this belongs that which He said "I am from Him." But as to my being seen of you in the flesh, "He sent me." When thou hearest "He sent me," do not understand a difference of nature to be meant, but the authority of Him that begets.

5. "Then they sought to take Him: but no man laid hands on Him, because His hour was not yet come;" that is, because He was not willing. For what is this. "His hour was not yet come"? The Lord was not born under fate. This is not to be believed concerning thee, much less concerning Him by whom thou wast made. If thy hour is His good will, what is His hour but His good will? He meant not therefore an hour in which He should be forced to die, but that in which He would deign to be put to death. But He was awaiting the time in which He should die, for He awaited also the time in which He should be born. The apostle, speaking of this time, says, "But when the fullness of time came, God sent His Son."(3) For this cause many say, Why did not Christ come before? To whom we must make answer, Because the fullness of time had not yet come, while He by whom the times were made sets their bounds; for He knew when He ought to come. In the first place, it was necessary that He should be foretold through a long series of times and years; for it was not something insignificant that was to come: He who was to be ever held, had to be for a long time foretold. The greater the judge that was coming, the longer the train of heralds that preceded him. In short, when the fullness of time came, He also came who was to deliver us from time. For being delivered from time, we shall come to that eternity where there is no time: there it is not said, When shall the hour come? for the day is everlasting, a day which is neither preceded by a yesterday, nor cut off by a morrow. But in this world days roll on, some are passing away, others come; none abides; and the moments in which we are speaking drive out one another in turn, nor stands the first syllable for the second to sound. Since we began to speak we are somewhat older, and without doubt I am just now older than I was in the morning; thus, nothing stands, nothing remains fixed in time. Therefore ought we to love Him by whom the times were made, that we may be delivered from time and be fixed in eternity, where there is no more changeableness of times. Great, therefore, is the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, in that for our sakes He was made in time, by whom the times were made; that He was made among all things, by whom all things were made; that He became what He made. For He was made what He had made; for He was made man who had made man, lest what He had made should perish. According to this dispensation, the hour of His birth had now come, and He was born; but not yet had come the hour of His suffering, therefore not yet had He suffered.

6. In short, that ye may know that the words refer, not to the necessity of His dying, but to His power,--I speak this for the sake of some who, when they hear "His hour was not yet come," are determined on believing in fate, and their hearts become infatuated;--that ye may know, then, that it was His power of dying, recollect the passion, look at Him crucified. While hanging on the tree, He said, "I thirst." They, having heard this, offered to Him on the cross vinegar by a sponge on a reed. He received it, and said, "It is finished;" and, bowing His head, gave up the ghost. You see His power of dying, that He waited for this--until all things should be fulfilled that had been foretold concerning Him--to take place before His death. For the prophet had said, "They gave me gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink."(4) He waited for all these things to be fulfilled: after they were completed, He said, "It is finished;" and He departed by power, because He came not by necessity. Hence some wondered more at this His power to die than at His ability to work miracles. For they came to the cross to take the bodies down from the tree, for the Sabbath was drawing near, and the thieves were found still living. The punishment of the cross was so much the harder because it tortured men so long, and all that were crucified were killed by a lingering death. But the thieves, that they might not remain on the tree, were forced to die by having their legs broken, that they might be taken down thence. The Lord, however, was found to be already dead,(1) and the men marvelled; and they who despised Him when living, so wondered at Him when dead, that some of them said, "Truly this was the Son of God."(2) Whence also that, brethren, where He says to those that seek Him, "I am He;" and they, going backward, all fell to the ground?(3) Consequently there was in Him supreme power. Nor was He forced to die at an hour; but He waited the hour on which His will might fittingly be done, not that on which necessity might be fulfilled against His will.

7. "But many of the people believed on Him." The Lord made whole the humble and the poor. The rulers were mad, and therefore they not only did not acknowledge the Physician, but even were eager to slay Him. There was a certain crowd of people which quickly saw its own sickness, and without delay recognized His remedy. See what that very crowd, moved by His miracles, said: "When Christ cometh will He do more signs than these?" Surely, unless there will be two Christs, this is the Christ. Consequently, in saying these things, they believed on Him.

8. But those rulers, having heard the assurance of the multitude, and that murmuring noise of the people in which Christ was being glorified, "sent officers to take Him." To take whom? Him not yet willing to be taken. Because then they could not take Him while He would not, they were sent to hear Him. teaching. Teaching what? "Then said Jesus, Yet a little while I am with you." What ye wish to do now ye will do, but not just now; because I am not just now willing. Why am I now as yet unwilling? Because "yet a little while I am with you; and then I go unto Him that sent me." I must complete my dispensation, and in this manner come to my suffering.

9. "Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me: and where I am, thither ye cannot come." Here He has already foretold His resurrection; for they would not acknowledge Him when present, and afterwards they sought Him when they saw the multitude already believing on Him For great signs were wrought, even when the Lord was risen again and ascended into heaven. Then mighty deeds were done by His disciples, but He wrought by them as He wrought by Himself: since, indeed, He had said to them, "Without me ye can do nothing."(4) When that lame man who sat at the gate rose up at Peter's voice, and walked on his feet, so that men marvelled, Peter spoke to them to this effect, that it was not by his own power that he did this, but in the virtue of Him whom they slew.(5) Many pricked in the heart said, "What shall we do?" For they saw themselves bound by an immense crime of impiety, since they slew Him whom they ought to have revered and worshipped; and this crime they thought inexpiable. A great wickedness indeed it was, the thought of which might make them despair; yet it did not behove them to despair, for whom the Lord, as He hung on the cross, deigned to pray. For He had said, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.(8) He saw some who were His own among many who were aliens; for these He sought pardon, from whom at the time He was still receiving injury. He regarded not that He was being put to death by them, but only that He was dying for them. It was a great thing that was forgiven them, it was a great thing that was done by them and for them, so that no man should despair of the forgiveness of his sin when they who slew Christ obtained pardon. Christ died for us, but surely He was not put to death by us? But those men indeed saw Christ dying by their own villany; and yet they believed on Christ pardoning their villanies. Until they drank the blood they had shed, they despaired of their own salvation. Therefore said He this: "Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me: and where I am, ye cannot come;" because they were to seek Him after the resurrection, being pricked in their heart with remorse. Nor did He say "where I will be," but "where I am." For Christ was always in that place whither He was about to return; for He came in such manner that He did not depart from that place. Hence He says in another place, "No man has ascended into heaven, but He who came down from heaven, the Son of man who is in heaven."(7) He said not, who was in heaven. He spoke on the earth, and declared that He was at the same time in heaven. He came in such wise that He departed not thence; and He so returned as not to abandon us. What do ye marvel at? This is God's doing. For man, as regards his body, is in a place, and departs from a place; and when he comes to another place, he will not be in that place whence he came: but God fills all things, and is all everywhere; He is not held in places according to space. Nevertheless the Lord Christ was, as regards His visible flesh, on the earth: as regards His invisible majesty, He was in heaven and on earth; and therefore He says, "Where I am, thither ye cannot come." Nor did He say, "Ye shall not be able." but "ye are not able to come;" for at that time they were such as were not able. And that ye may know that this was not said to cause despair, He said something of the same kind also to His disciples: "Whither I go ye cannot come."(1) Yet while praying in their behalf, He said, "Father, I will that where I am they also may be with me."(2) And, finally, this He expounded to Peter, and says to him, "Whither I go thou canst not follow me now, but thou shalt follow me hereafter."(3)

10. "Then said the Jews," not to Him, but "to themselves, Whither will this man go, that we shall not find him? will he go unto the dispersion among the Gentiles, and teach the Gentiles?" For they knew not what they said; but, it being His will, they prophesied. The Lord was indeed about to go to the Gentiles, not by His bodily presence, but still with His feet. What were His feet? Those which Saul desired to trample upon by persecution, when the Head cried out to him, "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?"(4) What is this saying that He said, "Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me: and where I am, thither ye cannot come?" Wherefore the Lord said this they knew not, and yet they did predict something that was to be without knowing it. For this is what the Lord said that they knew not the place, if place however it must be called, which is the bosom of the Father, from which Christ never departed; nor were they competent to conceive where Christ was, whence Christ never withdrew, whither He was to return, where He was all the while dwelling. How was it possible for the human heart to conceive this, least of all to explain it with the tongue? This, then, they in no wise understood; and yet by occasion of this they foretold our salvation, that the Lord would go to the dispersion of the Gentiles, and would fulfill that which they read but did not understand. "A people whom I have not known served me, and by the hearing of the ear obeyed me,"(5) They before whose eyes He was, heard Him not; those heard Him in whose ears He was sounded.

11. For of that Church of the Gentiles which was to come, the woman that had the issue of blood was a type: she touched and was not seen; she was not known and yet was healed. It was in reality a figure what the Lord asked: "Who touched me?" As if not knowing, He healed her as unknown: so has He done also to the Gentiles. We did not get to know Him in the flesh, yet we have been made worthy to eat His flesh, and to be members in His flesh. In what way? Because He sent to us. Whom? His heralds, His disciples, His servants, His redeemed whom He created, but whom He redeemed, His brethren also. I have said but little of all that they are: His own members, Himself; for He sent to us His own members, and He made us His members. Nevertheless, Christ has not been among us with the bodily form which the Jews saw and despised; because this also was said concerning Him, even as the apostle says: "Now I say that Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers.(6) He owed it to have come to those by whose fathers and to whose fathers He was promised. For this reason He says also Himself: "I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel."' But what says the apostle in the following words? "And that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy." What, moreover, saith the Lord Himself? "Other sheep I have which are not of this fold.(8) He who had said, "I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel," how has He other sheep to which He was not sent, except that He intimated that He was not sent to show His bodily presence but to the Jews only, who saw and killed Him? And yet many of them, both before and afterwards, believed. The first harvest was winnowed from the cross, that there might be a seed whence another harvest might spring up. But at this present time, when roused by the fame of the gospel, and by its goodly odor, His faithful ones among all nations believe, He shall be the expectation of the Gentiles, when He shall come who has already come; when He shall be seen by all, He who was then not seen by some, by some was seen; when He shall come to judge who came to be judged; when He shall come to distinguish who came not to be distinguished. For Christ was not discerned by the ungodly, but was condemned with the ungodly; for it was said concerning Him, "He was accounted among the wicked."(1) The robber escaped, Christ was condemned. He who was loaded with criminal accusations received pardon; He who has released from their crimes all who confess Him, was condemned. Nevertheless even the cross itself, if thou considerest it well, was a judgment-seat; for the Judge being set up in the middle, one thief who believed was delivered, the other who reviled was condemned.(2) Already He signified what He is to do with the quick and the dead: some He will set on His right hand and others on His left. That thief was like those that shall be on the left hand, the other like those that shall be on the right. He was undergoing judgment, and He threatened judgment.

TRACTATE XXXII: Chapter VII. 37-39.

1. Among the dissensions and doubtings of the Jews concerning the Lord Jesus Christ, among other things which He said, by which some were confounded, others taught: "On the last day of that feast" (for it was then that these things were done) which is called the feast of tabernacles; that is, the building of tents, of which feast you remember, my beloved, that we have already discoursed, the Lord Jesus Christ calls, not by speaking in any way soever, but by crying aloud, that whoso thirsts may come to Him. If we thirst, let us come; and not by our feet, but by our affections; let us come, not by removing from our place, but by loving. Although, according to the inner man, he that loves does also move from a place. But it is one thing to move with the body, another thing to move with the heart: he migrates with the body who changes his place by a motion of the body; he migrates with the heart who changes his affection by a motion of the heart. If thou lovest one thing, and didst love another thing before, thou art not now where thou wast.

2. Accordingly, the Lord cries aloud to us: for, "He stood and cried out, if any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the Scripture saith., out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." We are not obliged to delay to inquire what this meant, since the evangelist has explained it. For why the Lord said, "If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink;" and, "He that believeth on me, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water;" the evangelist has subsequently explained, saying: "But this spake He of the Spirit which they that believe on Him should receive. For the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified." There is therefore an inner thirst and an inner belly, because there is an inner man. And that inner man is indeed invisible, but the outer man is visible; but yet better is the inner than the outer. And this which is not seen is the more loved; for it is certain that the inner man is loved more than the outer. How is this certain? Let every man prove it in himself. For although they who live ill may surrender their minds to the body, yet they do wish to live, and to live is the property of the mind only; and they who rule, manifest themselves more than those things that are ruled. Now it is minds that rule, bodies are ruled. Every man rejoices in pleasure, and receives pleasure by the body: but separate the mind from it, and nothing remains in the body to rejoice; and if there is joy of the body, it is the mind that rejoices. If it has joy of its dwelling, ought it not to have joy of itself? And if the mind has whereof it may have delight outside itself, does it remain without delights within? It is quite certain that a man loves his soul more than his body. But further, a man loves the soul even in another man more than the body. What is it that is loved in a friend, where the love is the purer and more sincere? What in the friend is loved-- the mind, or the body? If fidelity is loved, the mind is loved; if benevolence is loved, the mind is the seat of benevolence: if this is what thou lovest in another, that he too loves thee, it is the mind thou lovest, because it is not the flesh, but the mind that loves. For therefore thou lovest, because he loves thee: ask why he loves thee, and then see what it is thou lovest. Consequently, it is more loved, and yet is not seen.

3. I would say something further, by which it may more clearly appear to you, beloved, how much the mind is loved, and how it is preferred to the body. Those wanton lovers even, who delight in beauty of bodies, and are charmed by shapeliness of limbs, love the more when they are loved. For when a man loves, and finds that he is regarded with hatred, he feels more anger than liking. Why does he feel anger rather than liking? Because the love that he bestows is not given him in return. If, therefore, even the lovers of bodies desire to be loved in return, and this delights them more when they are loved, what shall we say of the lovers of minds? And if the lovers of minds are great, what shall we say of the lovers of God who makes minds beautiful? For as the mind gives grace to the body, so it is God that gives grace to the mind. For it is only the mind that causes that in the body by which it is loved; when the mind has left it, it is a corpse at which thou hast a horror; and how much soever thou mayest have loved its beautiful limbs, thou makest haste to bury it. Hence, the ornament of the body is the mind; the ornament of the mind is God.

4. The Lord, therefore, cries aloud to us to come and drink, if we thirst within; and He says that when we have drunk, rivers of living water shall flow from our belly. The belly of the inner man is the conscience of the heart. Having drunk that water then, the conscience being purged begins to live; and drinking in, it will have a fountain, will be itself a fountain. What is the fountain, and what the river that flows from the belly of the inner man? Benevolence, whereby a man will consult the interest of his neighbor. For if he imagines that what he drinks ought to be only for his own satisfying, there is no flowing of living water from his belly; but if he is quick to consult for the good of his neighbor, then he becomes not dry, because there is a flowing. We will now see what it is that they drink who believe in the Lord; because we surely are Christians, and if we believe, we drink. And it is every man's duty to know in himself whether or not he drinks, and whether he lives by what he drinks; for the fountain does not forsake us if we forsake not the fountain.

5. The evangelist explained, as I have said, whereof the Lord had cried out, to what kind of drink He had invited, what He had procured for them that drink, saying, "But this spake He of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive: for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified." What spirit does He speak of, if not the Holy Spirit? For every man has in himself a spirit of his own, of which I spoke when I was commending to you the consideration of the mind. For every man's mind is his own spirit: of which the Apostle Paul says, "For what man knoweth the things of a man, but the spirit of the man which is in himself?" And then he added, "So also the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God."(1) None knows the things that are ours but our own spirit. I indeed do not know what are thy thoughts, nor dost thou know what are mine; for those things which we think within are our own, peculiar to ourselves; and his own spirit is the witness of every man's thoughts. "So also the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God." We with our spirit, God with His: so, however, that God with His Spirit knows also what goes on within us; but we are not able, without His own Spirit, to know what takes place in God. God, however, knows in us even what we know not in ourselves. For Peter did not know his own weakness, when he heard from the Lord that he would deny Him thrice: the sick man was ignorant of his own condition; the Physician knew him to be sick. There are then certain things which God knows in us, while we ourselves know them not. So far, however, as belongs to men, no man knows a man as he does himself: another does not know what is going on within him, but his own spirit knows it. But on receiving the Spirit of God, we learn also what takes place in God: not the whole, for we have not received the whole. We know many things from the pledge; for we have received a pledge, and the fullness of this pledge shall be given hereafter. Meanwhile, let the pledge console us in our pilgrimage here; because he who has condescended to bind himself to us by a pledge, is prepared to give us much. If such is the token, what must that be of which it is the token?

6. But what is meant by this which he says, "For the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified?" He is understood to say this in a sense that is evident. For the meaning is not that the Spirit of God, which was with God, was not in being; but was not yet in them who had believed on Jesus. For thus the Lord Jesus disposed not to give them the Spirit of which we speak, until after His resurrection; and this not without a cause. And perhaps if we inquire, He will favor us to find; and if we knock, He will open for us to enter. Piety knocks, not the hand though the hand also knocks, if it cease not from works of mercy. What then is the cause why the Lord Jesus Christ determined not to give the Holy Spirit until He should be glorified? which thing before we speak of as we may be able, we must first inquire, lest that should trouble any one, in what manner the Spirit was not yet in holy men, whilst we read in the Gospel concerning the Lord Himself newly born, that Simeon by the Holy Spirit recognized Him; that Anna the widow, a prophetess, also recognized Him;(1) that John, who baptized Him, recognized Him;(2) that Zacharias, being filled with the Holy Ghost, said many things; that Mary herself received the Holy Ghost to conceive the Lord.(3) We have therefore many preceding evidences of the Holy Spirit before the Lord was glorified by the resurrection of His flesh. Nor was it another spirit that the prophets also had, who proclaimed beforehand the coming of Christ. But still, there was to be a certain manner of this giving, which had not at all appeared before. For nowhere do we read before this, that men being gathered together had, by receiving the Holy Ghost, spoken in the tongues of all nations. But after His resurrection, when He first appeared to His disciples, He said to them: "Receive ye the Holy Ghost." Of this giving then it is said, "The Spirit was not given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. And He breathed upon their faces,"(4) He who with His breath enlivened them first man, and raised him up from the clay, by which breath He gave a soul to the limbs; signifying that He was the same who breathed upon their faces, that they might rise out of the mire and renounce their miry works. Then, after His resurrection, which the evangelist calls His glorifying, did the Lord first give the Holy Ghost to His disciples. Then having tarried with them forty days, as the book of the Acts of the Apostles shows, while they were seeing Him and companying with Him, He ascended into heaven in their sight. There at the end of ten days, on the flay of Pentecost, He sent the Holy Ghost from above. Which having received, they, who had been gathered together in one place, as I have said, being filled withal, spoke in the tongues of all nations.

7. How then, brethren, because he that is baptized in Christ, and believes on Him, does not speak now in the tongues of all nations, are we not to believe that he has received the Holy Ghost? God forbid that our heart should be tempted by this faithlessness. Certain we are that every man receives: but only as much as the vessel of faith that he shall bring to the fountain can contain, so much does He fill of it. Since, therefore, the Holy Ghost is even now received by men, some one may say, Why is it that no man speaks in the tongues of all nations? Because the Church itself now speaks in the tongues of all nations. Before, the Church was in one nation, where it spoke in the tongues of all. By speaking then in the tongues of all, it signified what was to come to pass; that by growing among the nations, it would speak in the tongues of all. Whoso is not in this Church, does not now receive the Holy Ghost. For, being cut off and divided from the unity of the members, which unity speaks in the tongues of all, let him declare for himself; he has it not. For if he has it, let him give the sign which was given then. What do we mean by saying, Let him give the sign which was then given? Let him speak in all tongues. He answers me: How then, dost thou speak in all tongues? Clearly I do; for every tongue is mine, namely, of the body of which I am a member. The Church, spread among the nations, speaks in all tongues; the Church is the body of Christ, in this body thou art a member: therefore, since thou art a member of that body which speaks with all tongues, believe that thou too speakest with all tongues. For the unity of the members is of one mind by charity; and that unity speaks as one man then spoke.

8. Consequently, we too receive the Holy Ghost if we love the Church, if we are joined together by charity, if we rejoice in the Catholic name and faith. Let us believe, brethren; as much as every man loves the Church of Christ, so much has he the Holy Ghost. For the Spirit is given, as the apostle saith, "to manifestation." To what manifestation? Just as the same apostle saith, "For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom, to another the word of knowledge after the same Spirit, to another faith in the same Spirit, to another the gift of healing in one Spirit, to another the working of miracles in the same Spirit."(5) For there are many gifts given to manifestation, but thou, it may be, hast nothing of all those I have said. If thou lovest, it is not nothing that thou hast: if thou lovest unity, whoever has aught in that unity has it also for thee. Take away envy, and what I have is thine too. The envious temper puts men apart, soundness of mind unites them. In the body, the eye alone sees; but is it for itself alone that the eye sees? It sees both for the hand and the foot, and for all the other members. If a blow be coming against the foot, the eye does not turn away from it, so as not to take precaution. Again, in the body, the hand alone works, but is it for itself alone the hand works? For the eye also it works: for if a coming blow comes, not against the hand, but only against the face, does the hand say, I will not move, because it is not coming to me? So the foot by walking serves all the members: all the other members are silent, and the tongue speaks for all. We have therefore the Holy Spirit if we love the Church; but we love the Church if we stand firm in its union and charity. For the apostle himself, after he had said that diverse gifts were bestowed on diverse men, just as the offices of the several members, saith, "Yet I show you a still more pre-eminent way;" and begins to speak of charity. This he put before tongues of men and angels, before miracles of faith, before knowledge and prophecy, before even that great work of mercy by which a man distributes to the poor all that he possesses; and, lastly, put it before even the martyrdom of the body: before all these so great things he put charity. Have it, and thou shalt have all: for without it, whatever thou canst have will profit nothing. But that thou mayest know that the charity of which we are speaking refers to the Holy Spirit (for the question now in hand in the Gospel is concerning the Holy Spirit), hear the apostle when he says, "The charity of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given to us."(1)

9. Why then was it the will of the Lord, seeing that the Spirit's benefits in us are the greatest, because by Him the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts, to give us that Spirit after His resurrection? Why did He signify by this? In order that in our resurrection our love may be inflamed, and may part from the love of the world to run wholly towards God. For here we are born and die: let us not love this world; let us migrate hence by love; by love let us dwell above, by that love by which we love God. In this sojourn of our life let us meditate on nothing else, but that here we shall not always be, and that by good living we shall prepare a place for ourselves there, whence we shall never migrate. For our Lord Jesus Christ, after that He is risen again, "now dieth no more;" "death," as the apostle says, "shall no more have dominion over Him."(2) Behold what we must love. If we live, if we believe on Him who is risen again, He will give us, not that which men love here who love not God, or love the more the less they love Him, but love this the less the more they love Him; but let us see what He has promised us. Not earthly and temporal riches, not honors and power in this world; for you see all these things given to wicked men, that they may not be highly prized by the good. Not, in short, bodily health itself, though it is He that gives that also, but that, as you see, He gives even to the beasts. Not long life; for what, indeed, is long that will some day have an end? It is not length of days that He has promised to His believers, as if that were a great thing, or decrepit old age, which all wish for before it comes, and all murmur at when it does come. Not beauty of person, which either bodily disease or that same old age which is desired drives away. One wishes to be beautiful, and also to live to be old: these two desires cannot agree together; if thou shalt be old, thou wilt not be beautiful; when old age comes, beauty will flee away; the vigor of beauty and the groaning of old age cannot dwell together in one body. All these things, then, are not what He promised us when He said, "He that believeth in me, let him come and drink, and out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." He has promised us eternal life, where we shall have no fear, where we shall not be troubled, whence we shall have no migration, where we shall not die; where there is neither bewailing a predecessor deceased, nor a hoping for a successor. Accordingly, because such is what He has promised to us that love Him, and glow with the charity of the Holy Spirit, therefore He would not give us that same Spirit until He should be glorified, so that He might show in His body the life which we have not now, but which we hope for in the resurrection.

TRACTATE XXXIII: Chapter VII. 40-53; VIII. 1-11.

1. You remember, my beloved, that in the last discourse, by occasion of the passage of the Gospel read, we spoke to you concerning the Holy Spirit. When the Lord had invited those that believe on Him to this drinking, speaking among those who meditated to lay hold of Him, and sought to kill Him, and were not able, because it was not His will: well, when He had spoken these things, there arose a dissension among the multitude concerning Him; some thinking that He was the very Christ, others saying that Christ shall not arise from Galilee. But they who had been sent to take Him returned clear of the crime and full of admiration. For they even gave witness to His divine doctrine, when those by whom they had been sent asked, "Why have ye not brought him?" They answered that they had never heard a man so speak: "For not any man so speaks." But He spake thus, because He was God and man. But the Pharisees, repelling their testimony, said to them: "Are ye also deceived?" We see, indeed, that you also have been charmed by his discourses. "Hath any one of the rulers or the Pharisees believed on him? But this multitude who know not the law are cursed." They who knew not the law believed on Him who had sent the law; and those men who were teaching the law despised Him, that it; might be fulfilled which the Lord Himself had said, "I am come that they who see not may see, and they that see may be made blind."(1) For the Pharisees, the teachers of the law, were made blind, and the people that knew not the law, and yet believed on the author of the law, were enlightened.

2. "Nicodemus," however, "one of the Pharisees, who had come to the Lord by night,"--not indeed as being himself unbelieving, but timid; for therefore he came by night to the light, because he wished to be enlightened and feared to be known;--Nicodemus, I say, answered the Jews, "Doth our law judge a man before it hear him, and know what he doeth?" For they perversely wished to condemn before they examined. Nicodemus indeed knew, or rather believed, that if only they were willing to give Him a patient hearing, they would perhaps become like those who were sent to take Him, but preferred to believe. They answered, from the prejudice of their heart, what they had answered to those officers, "Art thou also a Galilean?" That is, one seduced as it were by the Galilean. For the Lord was said to be a Galilean, because His parents were from the city of Nazareth. I have said "His parents" in regard to Mary, not as regards the seed of man; for on earth He sought but a mother, He had already a Father on high. For His nativity on both sides was marvellous: divine without mother, human without father. What, then, said those would-be doctors of the law to Nicodemus? "Search the Scriptures, and see that out of Galilee ariseth no prophet." Yet the Lord of the prophets arose thence. "They returned," saith the evangelist, "every man to his own house."

3. "Thence Jesus went unto the mount;" namely, to mount "Olivet,"--unto the fruitful mount, unto the mount of ointment, unto the mount of chrism. For where, indeed, but on mount Olivet did it become the Christ to teach? For the name of Christ is from chrism; chri^sma in the Greek, is called in Latin unctio, an anointing. And He has anointed us for this reason, because He has made us wrestlers against the devil. "And early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came unto Him; and He sat down and taught them." And He was not taken, for He did not yet deign to suffer.

4. And now observe wherein the Lord's gentleness was tempted by His enemies. "And the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman just taken in adultery: and they set her in the midst, and said to Him, Master, this woman has just been taken in adultery. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? But this they said, tempting Him, that they might accuse Him." Why accuse Him? Had they detected Himself in any misdeed; or was that woman said to have been concerned with Him in any manner? What, then, is the meaning of "tempting Him, that they might accuse Him"? We understand, brethren, that a wonderful gentleness shone out pre-eminently in the Lord. They observed that He was very meek, very gentle: for of Him it had been previously foretold, "Gird Thy sword upon Thy thigh, O most Mighty; in Thy splendor and beauty urge on, march on prosperously, and reign, because of truth, and meekness, and righteousness."(1) Accordingly, as a teacher, He brought truth; as a deliverer, He brought gentleness; as a protector, He brought righteousness. That He was to reign on account of these things, the prophet had by the Holy Spirit foretold. When He spoke His truth was acknowledged; when He was not provoked to anger against His enemies, His meekness was praised. Whilst, therefore, in respect of these two,--namely, His truth and meekness,--His enemies were tormented with malice and envy; in respect of the third,--namely, righteousness,--they laid a stumbling-block for Him. In what way? Because the law had commanded the adulterers to be stoned, and surely the law could not command what was unjust: if any man should say other than the law had commanded, he would be detected as unjust. Therefore they said among themselves, "He is accounted true, he appears to be gentle; an accusation must be sought against him in respect of righteousness. Let us bring before him a woman taken in adultery; let us say to him what is ordered in the law concerning such: if he shall approve her being stoned, he will not show his gentleness; if he consent to let her go, he will not keep righteousness. But, say they, that he may not lose the reputation of gentleness, for which he is become an object of love to the people, without doubt he will say that she must be let go. Hence we find an opportunity of accusing him, and we charge him as being a transgressor of the law: saying to him, Thou art an enemy to the law; thou answerest against Moses, nay, against Him who gave the law through Moses; thou art worthy of death: thou too must be stoned with this woman." By these words and sentiments they might possibly be able to inflame envy against Him, to urge accusation, and cause His condemnation to be eagerly demanded. But this against whom? It was perversity against rectitude, falsehood against the truth, the corrupt heart against the upright heart, folly against wisdom. When did such men prepare snares, into which they did not first thrust their own heads? Behold, the Lord in answering them will both keep righteousness, and will not depart from gentleness. He was not taken for whom the snare was laid, but rather they were taken who laid it, because they believed not on Him who could pull them out of the net.

5. What answer, then, did the Lord Jesus make? How answered the Truth? How answered Wisdom? How answered that Righteousness against which a false accusation was ready? He did not say, Let her not be stoned; lest He should seem to speak against the law. But God forbid that He should say, Let her be stoned: for He came not to lose, what He had found, but to seek what was lost. What then did He answer? See you how full it is of righteousness, how full of meekness and truth! "He that is without sin of you," saith He, "let him first cast a stone at her." O answer of Wisdom! How He sent them unto themselves! For without they stood to accuse and censure, themselves they examined not inwardly: they saw the adulteress, they looked not into themselves. Transgressors of the law, they wished the law to be fulfilled, and this by heedlessly accusing; not really fulfilling it, as if condemning adulteries by chastity. You have heard, O Jews, you have heard, O Pharisees, you have heard, O teachers of the law, the guardian of the law, but have not yet understood Him as the Lawgiver. What else does He signify to you when He writes with His finger on the ground? For the law was written with the finger of God; but written on stone because of the hard- hearted. The Lord now wrote on the ground, because He was seeking fruit. You have heard then, Let the law be fulfilled, let the adulteress be stoned. But is it by punishing her that the law is to be fulfilled by those that ought to be punished? Let each of you consider himself, let him enter into himself, ascend the judgment-seat of his own mind, place himself at the bar of his own conscience, oblige himself to confess. For he knows what he is: for "no man knoweth the things of a man, but the spirit of man which is in him." Each looking carefully into himself, finds himself a sinner. Yes, indeed. Hence, either let this woman go, or together with her receive ye the penalty of the law. Had He said, Let not the adulteress be stoned, He would be proved unjust: had He said, Let her be stoned, He would not appear gentle: let Him say what it became Him to say, both the gentle and the just, "Whoso is without sin of you, let him first cast a stone at her." This is the voice of Justice: Let her, the sinner, be punished, but not by sinners: let the law be fulfilled, but not by the transgressors of the law. This certainly is the voice of justice: by which justice, those men pierced through as if by a dart, looking into themselves and finding themselves guilty, "one after another all withdrew." The two were left alone, the wretched woman and Mercy. But the Lord, having struck them through with that dart of justice, deigned not to heed their fall, but, turning away His look from them, "again He wrote with His finger on the ground."

6. But when that woman was left alone, and all they were gone out, He raised His eyes to the woman. We have heard the voice of justice, let us also hear the voice of clemency. For I suppose that woman was the more terrified when she had heard it said by the Lord, "He that is without sin of you, let him first cast a stone at her." But they, turning their thought to themselves, and by that very withdrawal having confessed concerning themselves, had left the woman with her great sin to Him who was without sin. And because she had heard this, "He that is without sin. let him first cast a stone at her," she expected to be punished by Him in whom sin could not be found. But He, who had driven back her adversaries with the tongue of justice, raising the eyes of clemency towards her, asked her, "Hath no man condemned thee?" She answered, "No man, Lord." And He said, "Neither do I condemn thee;" by whom, perhaps, thou didst fear to be condemned, because in me thou hast not found sin. "Neither will I condemn thee." What is this, O Lord? Dost Thou therefore favor sins? Not so, evidently. Mark what follows: "Go, henceforth sin no more." Therefore the Lord did also condemn, but condemned sins, not man. For if He were a patron of sin, He would say, Neither will I condemn thee; go, live as thou wilt: be secure in my deliverance; how much soever thou wilt sin, I will deliver thee from all punishment even of hell, and from the tormentors of the infernal world. He said not this.

7. Let them take heed, then, who love His gentleness in the Lord, and let them fear His truth. For" The Lord is sweet and right."(1) Thou lovest Him in that He is sweet; fear Him in that He is right. As the meek, He said, "I held my peace;" but as the just, He said, "Shall I always be silent?"(2) "The Lord is merciful and pitiful." So He is, certainly. Add yet further, "Long-suffering;" add yet further, "And very pitiful:" but fear what comes last, "And true."(3) For those whom He now bears with as sinners, He will judge as despisers. "Or despisest thou the riches of His long-suffering and gentleness; not knowing that the forbearance of God leadeth thee to repentance? But thou, after thy hardness and impenitent heart, treasurest up for thyself wrath against the day of wrath and the revelation of the righteous judgment of God; who will render to every man according to his deeds.(4) The Lord is gentle, the Lord is long-suffering, the Lord is pitiful; but the Lord is also just, the Lord is also true. He bestows on thee space for correction; but thou lovest the delay of judgment more than the amendment of thy ways. Hast thou been a bad man yesterday? To-day be a good man. Hast thou gone on in thy wickedness to-day? At any rate change to-morrow. Thou art always expecting, and from the mercy of God makest exceeding great promises to thyself. As if He, who has promised thee pardon through repentance, promised thee also a longer life. How knowest thou what to-morrow may bring forth? Rightly thou sayest in thy heart: When I shall have corrected my ways, God will put all my sins away. We cannot deny that God has promised pardon to those that have amended their ways and are converted. For in what prophet thou readest to me that God has promised pardon to him that amends, thou dost not read to me that God has promised thee a long life.

8. From both, then, men are in danger; both from hoping and despairing, from contrary things, from contrary affections. Who is deceived by hoping? He who says, God is good, God is merciful, let me do what I please, what I like; let me give loose reins to my lusts, let me gratify the desires of my soul. Why this? Because God is merciful, God is good, God is kind. These men are in danger by hope. And those are in danger from despair, who, having fallen into grievous sins, fancying that they can no more be pardoned upon repentance, and believing that they are without doubt doomed to damnation, do say with themselves, We are already destined to be damned, why not do what we please? with the disposition of gladiators destined to the sword. This is the reason that desperate men are dangerous: for, having no longer aught to fear, they are to be feared exceedingly. Despair kills these; hope, those. The mind is tossed to and fro between hope and despair. Thou hast to fear lest hope slay thee; and, when thou hopest much from mercy, test thou fall into judgment: again, thou hast to fear lest despair slay thee, and, when thou thinkest that the grievous sins which thou hast committed cannot be forgiven thee, thou dost not repent, and thou incurrest the sentence of Wisdom, which says, "I also will laugh at your perdition."(5) How then does the Lord treat those who are in danger from both these maladies? To those who are in danger from hope, He says, "Be not slow to be converted to the Lord, neither put it off from day to day; for suddenly His anger will come, and in the time of vengeance, will utterly destroy thee.(1) To those who are in danger from despair, what does He say? "In what day soever the wicked man shall be converted, I will forget all his iniquities."(2) Accordingly, for the sake of those who are in danger by despair, He has offered us a refuge of pardon; and because of those who are in danger by hope, and are deluded by delays, He has made the day of death uncertain. Thou knowest not when thy last day may come. Art thou ungrateful because thou hast to-day on which thou mayest be improved? Thus therefore said He to the woman, "Neither will I condemn thee;" but, being made secure concerning the past, beware of the future. "Neither will I condemn thee:" I have blotted out what thou hast done; keep what I have commanded thee, that thou mayest find what I have promised.


1. What we have just heard and attentively received, as the holy Gospel was being read, I doubt not that all of us have also endeavored to understand, and that each of us according to his measure apprehended what he could of so great a matter as that which has been read; and while the bread of the word is laid out, no one can complain that he has tasted nothing. But again I doubt not that there is scarcely any who has understood the whole. Nevertheless, even should there be any who may sufficiently understand the words of our Lord Jesus Christ now read out of the Gospel, let him bear with our ministry, whilst, if possible, with His assistance, we may, by treating thereof, cause that either all or many may understand that which a few are joyful of having understood for themselves.

2. I think that what the Lord says, "I am the light of the world, "is clear to those that have eyes, by which they are made partakers of this light: but they who have not eyes except in the flesh alone, wonder at what is said by the Lord Jesus Christ, "I am the light of the world." And perhaps there may not be wanting some one too who says with himself: Whether perhaps the Lord Christ is that sun which by its rising and setting causes the day? For there have not been wanting heretics who thought this. The Manicheans have supposed that the Lord Christ is that sun which is visible to carnal eyes, exposed and public to be seen, not only by men, but by the beasts. But the right faith of the Catholic Church rejects such a fiction, and perceives it to be a devilish doctrine: not only by believing acknowledges it to be such, but in the case of whom it can, proves it even by reasoning. Let us therefore reject this kind of error, which the Holy Church has anathematized from the beginning. Let us not suppose that the Lord Jesus Christ is this sun which we see rising from the east, setting in the west; to whose course succeeds night, whose rays are obscured by a cloud, which removes from place to place by a set motion: the Lord Christ is not such a thing as this. The Lord Christ is not the sun that was made, but He by whom the sun was made. For "all things were made by Him, and without Him was nothing made."

3. There is therefore a Light which made this light of the sun: let us love this Light, let us long to understand it, let us thirst for the same; that, with itself for our guide, we may at length come to it, and that we may so live in it that we may never die. This is indeed that Light of which prophecy long ago going before thus sang in the psalm: "O Lord, Thou shalt save men and beasts; even as Thy mercy is multiplied, O God." These are the words of the holy psalm: mark ye what the ancient discourse of holy men of God did premise concerning such a light. "Men," saith it, "and beasts Thou shalt save, O Lord; even as Thy mercy is multiplied, O God." For since Thou art God, and hast manifold mercy, the same multiplicity of Thy mercy reaches not only to men whom Thou hast created in Thine own image, but even to the beasts which Thou hast made subservient to men. For He who gives salvation to man, the same gives salvation also to the beast. Do not blush to think this of the Lord thy God: nay, rather believe this and trust it, and see thou think not otherwise. He that saves thee, the same saves thy horse and thy sheep; to come to the very least, also thy hen: "Salvation is of the Lord,"(1) and God saves these. Thou art uneasy, thou questionest. I wonder why thou doubtest. Shall He disdain to save who deigned to create? Of the Lord is the saving of angels, of men, and of beasts: "Salvation is of the Lord." Just as no man is from himself, so no man is saved by himself. Therefore most truly and right well doth the psalm say, "O Lord, Thou shall save men and beasts." Why? "Even as thy mercy is multiplied, O God." For Thou art God, Thou hast created, Thou savest: Thou gavest being, Thou givest to be in health.

4. Since, therefore, as the mercy of God is multiplied, men and beasts are saved by Him, have not men something else which God as Creator bestows on them, which He bestows not on the beasts? Is there no distinction between the living creature made after the image of God, and the living creature made subject to the image of God? Clearly there is: beyond that salvation common to us with the dumb animals, there is what God bestows on us, but not on them. What is this? Follow on in the same psalm: "But the sons of men shall hope under the covert of Thy wings." Having now a salvation in common with their cattle, "the sons of men shall hope under the covert of Thy wings." They have one salvation in fact, another in hope. This salvation which is at present is common to men and cattle; but there is another which men hope for; and which they who hope for receive, they who despair of receive not. For it saith, "The sons of men shall hope under covert of Thy wings." And they that perseveringly hope are protected by Thee, lest they be cast down from their hope by the devil: "Under covert of Thy wings they shall hope." If they shall hope, what shall they hope for, but for what the cattle shall not have? "They shall be fully drunk with the fatness of Thy house; and from the torrent of Thy pleasure Thou shalt give them drink." What sort of wine is that with which it is laudable to be drunk? What sort of wine is that which disturbs not the mind, but directs it? What sort of wine is that which makes perpetually sane, and makes not insane by drinking? "They shall be fully drunk." How? "With the fatness of Thy house; and from the torrent of Thy pleasure Thou shalt give them drink." How so? "Because with Thee is the fountain of life." The very fountain of life walked on the earth, the same who said, "Whoso thirsts, let him come unto me." Behold the fountain! But we begin to speak about the light, and to handle the question laid down from the Gospel concerning the light. For we read how the Lord said, "I am the light of the world." Thence arose a question, test any one, carnally understanding this, should fancy this light to mean the sun: we came thence to the psalm, which having considered, we found meanwhile that the Lord is the fountain of life. Drink and live. "With Thee," it saith, "is the fountain of life;" therefore, "under the shadow of Thy wings the sons of men hope," seeking to be full drunk with this fountain. But we were speaking of the Light. Follow on, then; for the prophet, having said, "With Thee is the fountain of life," went on to add, "In Thy light shall we see light,"--God of God, Light of Light. By this Light the sun's light was made; and the Light which made the sun, under which He also made us, was made under the sun for our sake. That Light which made the sun, was made, I say, under the sun for our sake. Do not despise the cloud of the flesh; with that cloud it is covered, not to be obscured, but to be moderated.

5. That unfailing Light, the Light of wisdom, speaking through the cloud of the flesh, says to men, "I am the light of the world; he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." How He has withdrawn thee from the eyes of the flesh, and recalled thee to the eyes of the heart! For it is not enough to say, "Whoso followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have light;" He added too, "of life;" even as it was there said, "For with Thee is the fountain of life." See thus, my brethren, how the words of the Lord agree with the truth of that psalm: both there, the light is put with the fountain of life, and by the Lord it is said, "light of life." But for bodily use, light and fountain are different things: our mouths seek a fountain, our eyes light; when we thirst we seek a fountain, when we are in darkness we seek light; and if we chance to thirst in the night, we kindle a light to come to a fountain. Not so with God: light and fountain are the same thing: He who shines for thee that thou mayest see, the same flows for thee that thou mayest drink.

6. You see, then, my brethren, you see, if you see inwardly, what kind of light this is, of which the Lord says, "He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness." Follow the sun, and let us see if thou wilt not walk in darkness. Behold, by rising it comes forth to thee; it goes by its course towards the west. Perhaps thy journey is towards the east: unless thou goest in a contrary direction to that in which it travels, thou wilt certainly err by following it, and instead of east wilt get to the west. If thou follow it by land, thou wilt go wrong; if the mariner follow it by sea, he will go wrong. Finally, it seems to thee, suppose, that thou must follow the sun, and thou also travellest thyself towards the west, whither it also travels; let us see after it has set if thou wilt not walk in darkness. See how, although thou art not willing to desert it, yet it will desert thee, to finish the day by necessity of its service. But our Lord Jesus Christ, even when He was not manifest to all through the cloud of His flesh, was yet at the same time holding all things by the power of His wisdom. Thy God is whole everywhere: if thou fall not off from Him, He will never fall away from thee.

7. Accordingly, "He that followeth me," saith He," shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." What He has promised, He put in a word of the future tense; for He says not has, but "shall have the light of life." Yet He does not say, He that shall follow me; but, he that does fallow me. What it is our duty to do, He put in the present tense; but what He has promised to them that do it, He has indicated by a word of the future tense. "He that followeth, shall have." That followeth now, shall have hereafter: followeth now by faith, shall have hereafter by sight. For, "whilst we are in the body," saith the apostle, "we are absent from the Lord: for we walk by faith, not by sight."(1) When shall we walk by sight? When we shall have the light of life, when we shall have come to that vision, when this night shall have passed away. Of that day, indeed, which is to arise, it is said. "In the morning I will stand near thee, and contemplate thee."(2) What means "in the morning"? When the night of this world is over, when the terrors of temptations are over, when that lion which goeth about roaring in the night, seeking whom it may devour, is vanquished. "In the morning I will stand near thee, and contemplate." Now what do we think, brethren, to be our duty for the present time, but what is again said in the psalm, "Every night through will I wash my couch; I will moisten my bed with my tears"?(3) Every night through, saith he, I will weep; I will burn with desire for the light. The Lord sees my desire: for another psalm says to Him, "All my desire is before Thee; and my groaning is not hid from Thee."(4) Dost thou desire gold? Thou canst be seen; for, while seeking gold, thou wilt be manifest to men. Dost thou desire corn? Thou askest one that has it; whom also thou informest, while seeking to get at that which thou desirest. Dost thou desire God? Who sees, but God? From whom, then, dost thou seek God, as thou seekest bread, water, gold, silver, corn? From whom dost thou seek God, except from God? He is sought from Himself who has promised Himself. Let the soul extend her desire, and with more capacious bosom seek to comprehend that which "eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor hath entered into the heart of man."(5) Desire it we can, long for it we can, pant after it we can; but worthily conceive it, worthily unfold it in words, we cannot.

8. Wherefore, my brethren, since the Lord says briefly, "I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life;" in these words He has commanded one thing, promised another; let us do what He has commanded, that we may not with shameless face demand what He has promised; that He may not say to us in His judgment, Hast thou done what I commanded, that thou shouldest expect what I promised? What hast Thou commanded, then, O Lord our God? He says to thee, That thou shouldest follow me. Thou hast sought counsel of life? Of what life, but of that of which it is said, "With Thee is the fountain of life"? A certain man heard it said to him," Go, sell all that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me." He followed not, but went away sorrowful; he sought the "good Master," went to Him as a teacher, and despised His teaching; he went away sorrowful, tied and bound by his lusts; he went away sorrowful, having a great load of avarice on his shoulders. He toiled and fretted; and yet he thought that He, who was willing to rid him of his load, was not to be followed but forsaken. But after the Lord has, by the gospel, cried aloud, "Come unto me, all ye that labor, and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest; take my yoke upon you, and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart,"(6) how many, on hearing the gospel, have done what that rich man, on hearing from His own mouth, did not do? Therefore, let us do it now, let us follow the Lord; let us loose the fetters by which we are hindered from following Him. And who is sufficient to loose such bonds, unless He help, to whom it is said, "Thou hast burst asunder my bonds"?(1) Of whom another psalm says, "The Lord looseth them that are in bonds; the Lord raiseth up them that are crushed and oppressed."(2)

9. And what do they follow, who have been loosed and raised up, but the Light from which they hear, "I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness"? For the Lord gives light to the blind. Therefore we, brethren, having the eye-salve of faith, are now enlightened. For His spittle did before mingle with the earth, by which the eyes of him who was born blind were anointed. We, too, have been born blind of Adam, and have need of Him to enlighten us. He mixed spittle with clay: "The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us." He mixed spittle with earth; hence it was predicted, "Truth has sprung from the earth;"(3) and He said Himself, "I am the way, the truth, and the life." When we shall see face to face, we shall have the full fruition of the truth; for this also is promised to us. For who would dare hope for what God had not deigned either to promise or to give? We shall see face to face. The apostle says, "Now I know in part, now through a glass darkly; but then, face to face."(4) And the Apostle John says in his epistle, "Beloved, now are we the sons of God; and it has not yet appeared what we shall be: we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him even as He is."(5) This is a great promise; if thou lovest, follow. I do love, sayest thou, but by what way am I to follow? If the Lord thy God had said to thee, "I am the truth and the life," in desiring truth and longing for life, thou mightest truly ask the way by which thou mightest come to these, and mightest say to thyself: A great thing is the truth, a great thing is the life, were there only the means whereby my soul might come thereto! Dost thou ask by what way? Hear Him say at the first, "I am the way." Before He said whither, He premised by what way: "I am," saith He, "the way." The way whither? "And the truth and the life." First, He told thee the way to come; then, whither to come. I am the way, I am the truth, I am the life. Remaining with the Father, the truth and life; putting on flesh, He became the way. It is not said to thee, Labor in finding a way to come to the truth and life; this is not said to thee. Sluggard, arise: the way itself has come to thee, and roused thee from thy sleep; if, however, it has roused thee, up and walk. Perhaps thou art trying to walk, and art not able, because thy feet ache. How come thy feet to ache? Have they been running over rough places at the bidding of avarice? But the word of God has healed even the lame. Behold, thou sayest, I have my feet sound, but the way itself I see not. He has also enlightened the blind.

10. All this by faith, so long as we are absent from the Lord, dwelling in the body; but when we shall have traversed the way, and have reached the home itself, what shall be more joyful than we? What shall be more blessed than we? Because nothing more at peace than we; for there will be no rebelling against a man. But now, brethren, it is difficult for us to be without strife. We have indeed been called to concord, we are commanded to have peace among ourselves; to this we must give our endeavor, and strain with all our might, that we may come at last to the most perfect peace; but at present we are at strife, very often with those whose good we are seeking. There is one who goes astray, thou wishest to lead him to the way; he resists, thou strivest with him: the pagan resists thee, thou disputest against the errors of idols and devils; a heretic resists, thou disputest against other doctrines of devils; a bad catholic is not willing to live aright, thou rebukest even thy brother within; he dwells with thee in the house, and seeks the paths of ruin; thou art inflamed with eager passion to put him right, that thou mayest render to the Lord a good account of both concerning him. How many necessities of strife there are on every side! Very often one is overcome with weariness, and says to himself, "What have I to do with bearing with gainsayers, bearing with those who render evil for good? I wish to benefit them, they are willing to perish; I wear out my life in strife; I have no peace; besides, I make enemies of those whom I ought to have as friends, if they regarded the good will of him that seeks their good: what business is it of mine to endure this? Let me return to myself, I will be kept to myself, I will call upon my God. Do return to thyself, thou findest strife there. If thou hast begun to follow God, thou findest strife there. What strife, sayest thou, do I find? "The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh."(6) Behold thou art thyself, thou art alone, thou art with thyself; behold, thou art bearing with no other person, but yet thou seest another law in thy members warring against the law of thy mind, and taking thee captive in the law of sin, which is in thy members. Cry aloud, then, and cry to God, that He may give thee peace from the inner strife: "O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death? The grace of God through our Lord Jesus Christ."(1) Because, "He that followeth me," saith He, "shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." All strife ended, immortality shall follow; for "the last enemy, death, shall be destroyed." And what peace will this be? "This corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality."(2) To which that we may come (for it will then be in reality), let us now follow in hope Him who said, "I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life."


1. You who were present yesterday, bear in mind that we were a long while discoursing of the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, where He says, "I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life;" and if we wished to go on discoursing of that light, we might Still speak a long time; for it would be impossible for us to expound the matter in brief. Therefore, my brethren, let us follow Christ, the light of the world, that we may not be walking in darkness. We must fear the darkness,--not the darkness of the eyes, but that of the moral character; and even if it be the darkness of the eyes, it is not of the outer, but of the inner eyes, of those by which we discern, not between white and black, but between right and wrong.

2. When our Lord Jesus Christ had spoken these things, the Jews answered, "Thou bearest record of thyself; thy record is not true." Before our Lord Jesus Christ came, He lighted and sent many prophetic lamps before Him. Of these was also John Baptist, to whom the great Light itself, which is the Lord Christ, gave a testimony such as was given to no other man; for He said, "Among them that are born of women, there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist."(1) Yet this man, than whom none was greater among those born of women, said of the Lord Jesus Christ, "I indeed baptize you in water; but He that is coming is mightier than I, whose shoe I am not worthy to loose."(2) See how the lamps submits itself to the Day. The Lord Himself bears witness that the same John was indeed a lamp: "He was," saith He, "a burning and a shining lamp; and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light."(3) But when the Jews said to the Lord, "Tell us by what authority thou doest these things," He, knowing that they regarded John the Baptist as a great one, and that the same whom they regarded as a great one had borne witness to them concerning the Lord, answered them, "I also will ask you one thing; tell me, the baptism of John, whence is it? from heaven, or from men?" Thrown into confusion, they considered among themselves that, if they said, "From men," they might be stoned by the people, who believed John to be a prophet; if they said, "From heaven," He might answer them, "He whom ye confess to have been a prophet from heaven bore testimony to me, and ye have heard from him by what authority I do these things." They saw, then, that whichever of these two answers they made, they would fall into the snare, and they said, "We do not know." And the Lord answered them, "Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things."(4) "I tell you not what I know, because you will not confess what you know." Most justly, certainly, were they repulsed, and they departed in confusion; and that was fulfilled which God the Father says by the prophet in the psalm, "I have prepared a lamp for my Christ" (the lamp was John); "His enemies I will clothe with confusion."(5)

3. The Lord Jesus Christ, then, had the witness of prophets sent before Him, of the heralds that preceded the judge: He had witness from John; but He was Himself the greater witness which He bore to Himself. But those men with their feeble eyes sought lamps, because they were not able to bear the day; for that same Apostle John, whose Gospel we have in our hands, says in the beginning of his Gospel, concerning John the Baptist: "There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came for a witness, to bear witness of the light, that all men might believe through him. He was not the light, but was sent to bear witness of the light. That was the true light, that lighteth every man coming into the world." If "every man," therefore also lighteth John. Whence also the same John says, "We all have received out of His fullness." Wherefore discern ye these things, that your minds may profit in the faith of Christ, that ye be not always babes seeking the breasts and shrinking from solid food. You ought to be nourished and to be weaned by our holy mother the Church of Christ, and to come to more solid food by the mind, not by the belly. This discern ye then, that the light which enlighteneth is one thing, another that which is enlightened. For also our eyes are called lights;(1) and every man thus swears, touching his eyes, by these lights of his: "So may my lights live." This is a customary oath. Let these lights, if lights they are, be opened, and shine for thee in thy closed chamber, when the light is not there; they certainly cannot. Therefore, as these which we have in our face, and call lights, when they are both healthy and open, need the help of light from without,--which being removed or not brought in, though they are sound and are open, yet they do not see,--so our mind, which is the eye of the soul, unless it be irradiated by the light of truth, and wondrously shone upon by Him who enlightens and is not enlightened, will not be able to come to wisdom nor to righteousness. For to live righteously is for us the way itself. But how can he on whom the light does not shine but stumble in the way? And hence, in such a way, we have need of seeing, in such a way it is a great thing to see. Now Tobias had the eyes in his face closed, and the son gave his hand to the father; and yet the father, by his instruction, pointed out the way to the son.(2)

4. The Jews then answered, "Thou bearest witness of thyself; thy witness is not true." Let us see what they hear; let us also hear, yet not as they did: they despising, we believing; they wishing to slay Christ, we desiring to live through Christ. Let this difference distinguish our ears and minds from theirs, and let us hear what the Lord answers to the Jews. "Jesus answered and said to them, Though I bear witness of myself, my witness is true; because I know whence I came and whither I go." The light shows both other things and also itself. Thou lightest a lamp, for instance, to look for thy coat, and the burning lamp affords thee light to find thy coat; dost thou light the lamp to see itself when it burns? A burning lamp is indeed capable at the same time of exposing to view other things which the darkness covered, and also of showing itself to thine eyes. So also the Lord Christ distinguished between His faithful ones and His Jewish enemies, as between light and darkness: as between those whom He illuminated with the ray of faith, and those on whose closed eyes He shed His light. So, too, the sun shines on the face of the sighted and of the blind; both alike standing and facing the sun are shone upon in the flesh, but both are not enlightened in the eyesight. The one sees, the other sees not: the sun is present to both, but one is absent from the present sun. So likewise the Wisdom of God, the Word of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, is everywhere present, because the truth is everywhere, wisdom is everywhere. One man in the east understands justice, another man in the west understands justice; is justice which the one understands a different thing from that which the other understands? In body they are far apart, and yet they have the eyes of their minds on one object. The justice which I, placed here, see, if justice it is, is the same which the just man, separated from me in the flesh by ever so many days' journey, also Sees, and is united to me in the light of that justice. Therefore the light bears witness to itself; it opens the sound eyes and is its own witness, that it may be known as the light. But how about the unbelievers? Is it not present to them? It is present also to them, but they have not eyes of the heart with which to see it. Hear the sentence fetched from the Gospel itself concerning them: "And the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not."(3) Hence the Lord saith, and saith truly, "Though I bear witness of myself, my witness is true; because I know whence I came and whither I go." He meant us to understand the Father here: the Son gave glory to the Father. Himself the equal glorifies Him by whom He was sent. How ought man to glorify Him by whom he was created!

5. "I know whence I came and whither I go." He who speaks to you in person has what He has not left, and yet He came; for by coming He departed not thence, nor has He forsaken us by returning thither. Why marvel ye? It is God: this cannot be done by man; it cannot be done even by the sun. When it goes to the west it leaves the east, and until it returns to the east, when about to rise, it is not in the east; but our Lord Jesus Christ both comes and is there, both returns and is here. Hear the evangelist himself speaking in another place, and, if thou canst, understand it; if not, believe it: "God," saith he, "no man hath ever seen, but the only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him." He said not was in the bosom of the Father, as if by coming He had quitted the Father's bosom. Here He was speaking, and yet He declared that He was there; and when about to depart hence, what said He? "Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world."(1)

6. The witness of the light then is true, whether it be manifesting itself or other things; for without light thou canst not see light, and without light thou canst not see any other thing whatever that is not light. If light is capable of showing other things which are not lights, is it not capable of showing itself? Does not that discover itself, without which other things cannot be made manifest? A prophet spoke a truth; but whence had he it, unless he drew it from the fountain of truth? John spoke a truth; but whence he spoke it, ask himself: "We all," saith he "have received of His fullness." Therefore our Lord Jesus Christ is worthy to bear witness to Himself. But in any case, my brethren, let us who are in the night of this world hear also prophecy with earnest attention for now our Lord willed to come in humility to our weakness and the deep night- darkness of our hearts: He came as a man to be despised and to be honored, He came to be denied and to be confessed; to be despised and to be denied by the Jews, to be honored and confessed by us: to be judged and to judge; to be judged unjustly, to judge righteously. Such then He came that He behoved to have a lamp to bear witness to Him. For what need was there that John should, as a lamp, bear witness to the day, if the day itself could be looked upon by our weakness? But we could not look upon it: He became weak for the weak; by infirmity He healed infirmity; by mortal flesh He took away the death of the flesh; of His own body He made a salve for our eyes. Since, therefore, the Lord is come, and since we are still in the night of the world, it behoves us to hear also prophecies.

7. For it is from prophecy that we convince gainsaying pagans. Who is Christ? says the pagan. To whom we reply, He whom the prophets foretold. What prophets? asks he. We quote Isaiah, Daniel, Jeremiah, and other holy prophets: we tell him that they came long before Christ, by what length of time they preceded His coming. We make this reply then: Prophets came before Him, and they foretold His coming. One of them answers: What prophets? We quote for him those which are daily read to us. And, said he, Who are these prophets? We answer: Those who also foretold the things which we see come to pass. And he urges: You have forged these for yourselves, you have seen them come to pass, and have written them in what books you pleased, as if their coming had been predicted. Here in opposition to pagan enemies the witness of other enemies offers itself. We produce books written by the Jews, and reply: Doubtless both you and they are enemies of our faith. Hence are they scattered among the nations, that we may convince one class of enemies by another. Let the book of Isaiah be produced by the Jews, and let us see if it is not there we read, "He was led as a sheep to be slaughtered, and as a lamb before his shearer was dumb, so He opened not His mouth. In humility His judgment was taken away; by His bruises we are healed: all we as sheep went astray, and He was delivered up for our sins."(2) Behold one lamp. Let another be produced, let the psalm be opened, and thence, too, let the foretold suffering of Christ be quoted: "They pierced my hands and my feet, they counted all my bones: but they considered me and gazed upon me, they parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture they cast the lot. My praise is with Thee; in the great assembly will I confess to Thee. All the ends of the earth shall be reminded, and be converted to the Lord: all countries of the nations shall worship in His sight; for the kingdom is the Lord's, and He shall have dominion over the nations."(3) Let one enemy blush, for it is another enemy that gives me the book. But lo, out of the book produced by the one enemy, I have vanquished the other: nor let that same who produced me the book be left; let him produce that by which himself also may be vanquished. I read another prophet, and I find the Lord speaking to the Jews: "I have no pleasure in you, saith the Lord, nor will I accept sacrifice at your hands: for from the rising of the sun even to his going down, a pure sacrifice is offered to my name."(1) Thou dost not come, O Jew, to a pure sacrifice; I prove thee impure.

8. Behold, even lamps bear witness to the day, because of our weakness, for we cannot bear and look at the brightness of the day. In comparison, indeed, with unbelievers, we Christians are even now light; as the apostle says, "For ye were once darkness, but now light in the Lord: walk as children of light:"(2) and he says elsewhere, "The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast away the works of darkness, and put on us the armor of light; let us walk honestly as in the day."(3) Yet that even the day in which we now are is still night, in comparison with the light of that to which we are to come, listen to the Apostle Peter: he says that a voice came to the Lord Christ from the excellent glory, "Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. This voice," said he, "which came from heaven, we heard, when we were with Him in the holy mount." But because we were not there, and have not then heard this voice from heaven, the same Peter says to us, "And we have a more sure word of prophecy." You have not heard the voice come from heaven, but you have a more sure word of prophecy. For the Lord Jesus Christ, foreseeing that there would be certain wicked men who would calumniate His miracles, by attributing them to magical arts, sent prophets before Him. For, supposing He was a magician, and by magical arts caused that He should be worshipped after His death, was He then a magician before He was born? Hear the prophets, O man dead, and breeding the worms of calumny, hear the prophets: I read, hear them who came before the Lord. "We have," saith the Apostle Peter, "a more sure word of prophecy, to which ye do well to give heed, as to a lamp in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day-star arise in your hearts."(4)

9. When, therefore, our Lord Jesus Christ shall come, and, as the Apostle Paul also says, will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the thoughts of the heart, that every man may have praise from God;(5) then, in presence of such a day, lamps will not be needed: no prophet shall then be read to us, no book of an apostle shall be opened; we shall not require the witness of John, we shall not need the Gospel itself. Accordingly all Scriptures shall be taken out of the way,-- which, in the night of this world, were as lamps kindled for us that we might not remain in darkness,--when all these are taken away, that they may not shine as if we needed them, and the men of God, by whom these were ministered to us, shall themselves, together with us, behold that true and clear light. Well, what shall we see after these aids have been removed? Wherewith shall our mind be fed? Wherewith shall our gaze be delighted? Whence shall arise that joy which neither eye hath seen, nor ear heard, nor hath gone up into the heart of man? What shall we see? I beseech you, love with me, by believing run with me: let us long for our home above, let us pant for our home above, let us feel that we are strangers here. What shall we see then? Let the Gospel now tell us: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." Thou shalt come to the fountain from which a little dew has already besprinkled thee: thou shalt see that very light, from which a ray was sent aslant and through many windings into thy dark heart, in its purity, for the seeing and bearing of which thou art being purified. John himself says, and this I cited yesterday: "Beloved, we are the sons of God; and it hath not yet appeared what we shall be: we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him even as He is."(6) I feel that your affections are being lifted up with me to the things that are above: but the body, which is corrupt, weighs down the soul; and, the earthly habitation depresses the mind while meditating many things.(7) I am about to lay aside this book, and you too are going to depart, every man to his own house. It has been good for us to have been in the common light, good to have been glad therein, good to have rejoiced therein; but when we part from one another, let us not depart from Him.


1. In the four Gospels, or rather in the four books of the one Gospel, Saint John the apostle, not undeservedly in respect of his spiritual understanding compared to the eagle, has elevated his preaching higher and far more sublimely than the other three; and in this elevating of it he would have our hearts likewise lifted up. For the other three evangelists walked with the Lord on earth as with a man; concerning His divinity they have said but little; but this evangelist, as if he disdained to walk on earth, just as in the very opening of his discourse he thundered on us, soared not only above the earth and above the whole compass of air and sky, but even above the whole army of angels and the whole order of invisible powers, and reached to Him by whom all things were made; saying, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. This was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him, and without Him was nothing made." To this so great sublimity of his beginning all the rest of his preaching well agrees; and he has spoken concerning the divinity of the Lord as none other has spoken. What he had drank in, the same he gave forth. For it is not without reason that it is recorded of him in this very Gospel, that at supper he reclined on the Lord's bosom. From that breast then he drank in secret; but what he drank in secret he gave forth openly, that there may come to all nations not only the incarnation of the Son of God, and His passion and resurrection, but also what He was before His incarnation, the only Son of the Father, the Word of the Father, coeternal with Him that begat, equal with Him by whom He was sent; but yet in that very sending made less, that the Father might be greater.

2. Whatever, then, you have heard stated in lowly manner concerning the Lord Jesus Christ, think of that economy by which He assumed flesh; but whatever you hear, or read, stated in the Gospel concerning Him that is sublime and high above all creatures, and divine, and equal and coeternal with the Father, be sure that this which you read appertains to the form of God, not to the form of the servant. For if you hold this rule, you who can understand it (inasmuch as you are not all able to understand it, but you are all bound to trust it),--if, I say, you hold this rule, as men walking in the light, you will fight against the calumnies of heretical darkness without fear. For there have not been wanting those who, in reading the Gospel, followed only those testimonies that concern the humility of Christ, and have been deaf to those which have declared His divinity; deaf for this reason, that they may be full of evil words. There have likewise been some, who, giving heed only to those which speak of the excellency of the Lord, even though they have read of His mercy in becoming man for our sakes, have not believed the testimonies, but accounted them false and invented by men; contending that our Lord Jesus Christ was only God, not also man Some in this way, some in that: both in error. But the catholic faith, holding from both the truths which each holds and preaching the truth which each believes, has both understood that Christ is God and also believed Him to be man: for each is written and each is true. Shouldst thou assert that Christ is only God, thou deniest the medicine whereby thou wast healed: shouldst thou assert that Christ is only man, thou deniest the power whereby thou wast created. Hold therefore both. O faithful soul and catholic heart, hold both, believe both, faithfully confess both. Christ is both God and also man. How is Christ God? Equal with the Father, one with the Father. How is Christ man? Born of a virgin, taking upon Himself mortality from man, but not taking iniquity.

3 These Jews then saw the man; they neither perceived nor believed Him to be God: and you have already heard how, among all the rest, they said to Him, "Thou bearest witness of thyself; thy witness is not true." You have also heard what He said in reply, as it was read to you yesterday, and according to our ability discussed. To-day have been read these words of His, "Ye judge after the flesh." Therefore it is, saith He, that you say to me, "Thou bearest witness of thyself; thy witness is not true," because you judge after the flesh, because you perceive not God; the man you see, and by persecuting the man, you offend God hidden in Him. "Ye," then, "judge after the flesh." Because I bear witness of myself, I therefore appear to you arrogant. For every man, when he wishes to bear commendatory witness of himself, seems arrogant and proud. Hence it is written, "Let not thy own mouth praise thee, but let thy neighbor's" mouth praise thee.(1) But this was said to man. For we are weak, and we speak to the weak. We can speak the truth, but we can also lie; although we are bound to speak the truth, still we have it in our power to lie when we will. But far be it from us to think that the darkness of falsehood could be found in the splendor of the divine light. He spoke as the light, spoke as the truth; but the light was shining in the darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not: therefore they judged after the flesh. "Ye," saith He, "judge after the flesh."

4. "I judge not any man." Does not the Lord Jesus Christ, then, judge any man? Is He not the same of whom we confess that He rose again on the third day, ascended into heaven, there sits at the right hand of the Father, and thence shall come to judge the quick and the dead? Is not this our faith of which the apostle says, "With the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation?"(2) When, therefore, we confess these things, do we contradict the Lord? We say that He shall come a judge of the quick and the dead, whilst He says Himself, "I judge not any man." This question maybe solved in two ways: Either that we may understand this expression, "I judge not any man," to mean, I judge not any man now; in accordance with what He says in another place, "I am not come to judge the world, But to save the world;" not denying His judgment here, but deferring it. Or, otherwise, surely that when He said, "Ye judge after the flesh," He subjoined, "I judge not any man," in such manner that thou shouldst understand "after the flesh" to complete the sense. Therefore let no scruple of doubt remain in our heart against the faith which we hold and declare concerning Christ as judge. Christ is come, but first to save, then to judge: to adjudge to punishment those who would not be saved; to bring them to life who, by believing, did not reject salvation. Accordingly, the first dispensation of our Lord Jesus Christ is medicinal, not judicial; for if He had come to judge first, He would have found none on whom He might bestow the rewards of righteousness. Because, therefore, He saw that all were sinners, and that none was exempt from the death of sin, His mercy had first to be craved, and afterwards His judgment must be executed; for of Him the psalm had sung, "Mercy and judgment will I sin to Thee, O Lord."(3) Now, He says not judgment and mercy," for if judgment had been first, there would be no mercy; but it is mercy first, then judgment. What is the mercy first? The Creator of man deigned to become man; was made what He had made, that the creature He had made might not perish. What can be added to this mercy? And yet He has added thereto. It was not enough for Him to be made man, He added to this that He was rejected of men; it was not enough to be rejected, He was dishonored; it was not enough to be dishonored, He was put to death; but even this was not enough, it was by the death of the cross. For when the apostle was commending to us His obedience even unto death, it was not enough for him to say, "He became obedient unto death;" for it was not unto death of any kind whatever: but he added, "even the death of the cross."(4) Among all kinds of death, there was nothing worse than that death. In short, that wherein one is racked by the most intense pains is called cruciatus, which takes its name from crux, a cross. For the crucified, hanging on the tree, nailed to the wood, were killed by a slow lingering death. To be crucified was not merely to be put to death; for the victim lived long on the cross, not because longer life was chosen, but because death itself was stretched out that the pain might not be too quickly ended. He willed to die for us, yet it is not enough to say this; He deigned to be crucified, became obedient even to the death of the cross. He who was about to take away all death, chose the lowest and worst kind of death: He slew death by the worst of deaths. To the Jews who understood not, it was indeed the worst of deaths, but it was chosen by the Lord. For He was to have that very cross as His sign; that very cross, a trophy, as it were, over the vanquished devil, He was to put on the brow of believers, so that the apostle said, "God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified to me, and I to the world."(5) Nothing was then more intolerable in the flesh, nothing is now more glorious on the brow. What does He reserve for His faithful one, when He has put such honor on the instrument of His own torture? Now is the cross no longer used among the Romans in the punishment of criminals, for where the cross of the Lord came to be honored, it was thought that even a guilty man would be honored if he should be crucified. Hence, He who came for this cause judged no man: He suffered also the wicked. He suffered unjust judgment, that He might execute righteous judgment. But it was of His mercy that He endured unjust judgment. In short, He became so low as to come to the cross; yea, laid aside His power, but published His mercy. Wherein did He lay aside His power? In that He would not come down from the cross, though He had the power to rise again from the sepulchre. Wherein did He publish His mercy? In that, when hanging on the cross, He said, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do."(1) Whether, then, it be that He said, "I judge not any man," because He had come not to judge the world, out to save the world; or, that, as I have mentioned, when He had said, "Ye judge after the flesh," He added, "I judge not any man," for us to understand that Christ judgeth not after the flesh, like as He was judged by men.

5. But that you may know that Christ is judge even now, hear what follows: "And if I judge, my judgment is true." Behold, thou hast Him as thy judge, but acknowledge Him as thy Saviour, lest thou feel the judge. But why has He said that His judgment is true? "Because," saith He, "I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me." I have said to you, brethren, that this holy Evangelist John soars exceedingly high: it is with difficulty that he is comprehended. But we need to remind you, beloved, of the deeper mystery of this soaring. Both in the prophet Ezekiel, and in the Apocalypse of this very John whose Gospel this is, there is mentioned a fourfold living creature, having four characteristic faces; that of a man, of an ox, of a lion, and of an eagle. Those who have handled the mysteries of Holy Scripture before us have, for the most part, understood by this living creature, or rather, these four living creatures, the four evangelists. They have understood the lion as put for king, because he appears to be, in a manner, the king of beasts on account of his strength and terrible valor. This character is assigned to Matthew, because in the generations of the Lord he followed the royal line, showing how the Lord was, along the royal line, of the seed of David. But Luke, because he begins with the priesthood of Zacharias, mentioning the father of John the Baptist, is designated the ox; for the ox was an important victim in the sacrifice of the priests. To Mark is deservedly assigned the man Christ, because neither has he said anything of the royal authority, nor did he begin with the priestly function, but only set out with the man Christ. All these have departed but little from the things of earth, that is, from those things which our Lord Jesus Christ performed on earth; of His divinity they have said very little, like men walking with Him on the earth. There remains the eagle; this is John, the preacher of sublime truths, and a contemplator with steady gaze of the inner and eternal light. It is said, indeed, that the young eagles are tested by the parent birds in this way: the young one is suspended from the talons of the male parent and directly exposed to the rays of the sun; if it looks steadily at the sun, it is recognized as a true brood; if its eye quivers, it is allowed to drop off, as a spurious brood. Now, therefore, consider how sublime are the things he ought to speak who is compared to the eagle; and yet even we, who creep on the earth, weak and hardly of any account among men, venture to handle and to expound these things; and imagine that we can either apprehend when we meditate them, or be apprehended when we speak.

6. Why have I said this? For perhaps after these words one may justly say to me: Lay aside the book then. Why dost thou take in hand what exceeds thy measure? Why trust thy tongue to it? To this I reply: Many heretics abound; and God has permitted them to abound to this end, that we may not be always nourished with milk and remain in senseless infancy. For inasmuch as they have not understood how the divinity of Christ is set forth to our acceptance, they have concluded according to their will: and by not discerning aright, they have brought in most troublesome questions upon catholic believers; and the hearts of believers began to be disturbed and to waver. Then immediately it became a necessity for spiritual men, who had not only read in the Gospel anything respecting the divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, but had also understood it, to bring forth the armor of Christ against the armor of the devil, and with all their might to fight in most open conflict for the divinity of Christ against false and deceitful teachers; lest, while they were silent, others might perish. For whoever have thought either that our Lord Jesus Christ is of another substance than the Father is, or that there is only Christ, so that the same is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; whoever also have chosen to think that He was only man, not God made man, or God in such wise as to be mutable in His Godhead, or God in such wise as not to be man; these have made shipwreck from the faith, and have been cast forth from the harbor of the Church, lest by their inquietude they might wreck the ships in their company. Which thing obliged that even we, though least and as regards ourselves wholly unworthy, but in regard of His mercy set in some account among His stewards, should speak to you what either you may understand and rejoice with me, or, if you cannot yet understand, by believing it you may remain secure in the harbor.

7. I will accordingly speak; let him who can, understand; and let him who cannot understand, believe: yet will I speak what the Lord saith, "Ye judge after the flesh; I judge not any man," either now, or after the flesh. "But even, if I judge, my judgment is true." Why is Thy judgment true? "Because I am not alone," saith He, "but I and the Father that sent me." What then, O Lord Jesus? If Thou wert alone would Thy judgment be false: and is it because Thou art not alone, but Thou and the Father that sent Thee, that Thou judgest truly? How shall I answer? Let Himself answer: He saith, "My judgment is true." Why? "Because I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me." If He is with These, how has He sent Thee? And has He sent Thee, and yet is He also with Thee? Is it so that having been sent, Thou hast not departed from Him? And didst Thou come to us, and yet abode there? How is this to be believed? how apprehended? To these two questions I answer: Thou sayest rightly, how is it to be apprehended; how believed, thou sayest not rightly. Rather, for that reason is it right to believe it, because it is not immediately to be apprehended; for if it were a thing to be immediately apprehended, there would be no need to believe it, because it would be seen. It is because thou dost not apprehend that thou believest; but by believing thou art made capable of apprehending. For if thou dost not believe, thou wilt never apprehend, since thou wilt remain less capable. Let faith then purify thee, that understanding may fill thee. "My judgment is true," saith He, "because I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me." Therefore, O Lord our God, Jesus Christ, Thy sending is Thy incarnation. So I see, so I understand: in short, so I believe, in case it may smack of arrogance to say, so I understand. Doubtless the Lord Jesus Christ is even here; rather, was here as to His flesh, is here now as to His Godhead: He was both with the Father and had not left the Father. Hence, in that, He is said to have been sent and to have come to us, His incarnation is set forth to us, for the Father did not take flesh.

8. For there are certain heretics called Sabellians, who are also called Patripassians, who affirm that it was the Father Himself that had suffered. Do not thou so affirm, O Catholic; for if thou wilt be a Patripassian, thou wilt not be sane. Understand, then, that the incarnation of the Son is termed the sending of the Son; and do not believe that the Father was incarnate, but do not yet believe that He departed from the incarnate Son. The Son carried flesh, the Father was with the Son. If the Father was in heaven, the Son on earth, how was the Father with the Son? Because both Father and Son were everywhere: for God is not in such manner in heaven as not to be on earth. Hear him who would flee from the judgment of God, and found not a way to flee by: "Whither shall I go," saith he, "from Thy Spirit; and whither shall I flee from Thy face? If I ascend up into heaven, Thou art there." The question was about the earth; hear what follows: "If I descend unto hell, Thou art there."(1) If, then, He is said to be present even in hell, what in the universe remains where He is not present? For the voice of God with the prophet is, "I fill heaven and earth."(2) Hence He is everywhere, who is confined by no place. Turn not thou away from Him, and He is with thee. If thou wouldst come to Him, be not slow to love; for it is not with feet but with affections thou runnest. Thou comest while remaining in one place, if thou believest and lovest. Wherefore He is everywhere; and if everywhere, how not also with the Son? Is it so that He is not with the Son, while, if thou believest, He is even with thee?

9. How, then, is His judgment true, but because the Son is true? For this He said: "And if I judge, my judgment is true; because I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me." Just as if He had said, "My judgment is true," because I am the Son of God. How dost Thou prove that Thou art the Son of God? "Because I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me." Blush, Sabellian; thou hearest the Salt, thou hearest the Father. Father is Father, Son is Son. He said not, I am the Father. and I the same am the Son; but He saith, "I am not alone." Why art Thou not alone? Because the Father is with me. "I am, and the Father that sent me;" thou hearest, "I am, and He that sent me." Lest thou lose sight of the person, distinguish the persons. Distinguish by understanding, do not separate by faithlessness; lest again, fleeing as it were Charybdis, thou rush Upon Scylla. For the whirlpool of the impiety of the Sabellians was swallowing thee, to say that the Father is the same who is Son: just now thou hast learned, "I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me." Thou dost acknowledge that the Father is Father, and that the Son is Son thou dost rightly acknowledge: but do not say the Father is greater, the Son is less; do not say, the Father is gold, the Son is silver. There is one substance, one Godhead, one co-eternity, perfect equality, no unlikeness. For if thou only believe that Christ is another, not the same person that the Father is, but yet imagine that in respect of His nature He is somewhat different from the Father, thou hast indeed escaped Charybdis, but thou hast been wrecked on the rocks of Scylla. Steer the middle course, avoid each of the two perilous sides. Father is Father, Son is Son. Thou sayest now, Father is Father, Son is Son: thou hast fortunately escaped the danger of the absorbing whirl; why wouldst thou go unto the other side to say, the Father is this, the Son that? The Son is another person than the Father is, this thou sayest rightly; but that He is different in nature, thou sayest not rightly. Certainly the Son is another person, because He is not the same who is Father and the Father is another person, because He is not the same who is Son: nevertheless, they are not different in nature, but the selfsame is both Father and Son. What means the self-same? God is one. Thou hast heard, "Because I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me:" hear how thou mayest believe Father and Son; hear the Son Himself, "I and the Father are one."(1) He said not, I am the Father; or, I and the Father is one person; but when He says, "I and the Father are one," hear both, both the one, unum, and the are, sumus, and thou shalt be delivered both from Charybdis and from Scylla. In these two words, in that He said one, He delivers thee from Arius; in that He said are, He delivers thee from Sabellius. If one, therefore not diverse; if are, therefore both Father and Son. For He would not say are of one person; but, on the other hand, He would not say one of diverse. Hence the reason why He says, "my judgment is true," is, that thou mayest hear it briefly, because I am the Son of God. But I would have thee in such wise believe that I am the Son of God, that thou mayest understand that the Father is with me: I am not Son in such manner as to have left Him; I am not in such manner here that I should not be with Him; nor is He in such manner there as not to be with me: I have taken to me the form of a servant, yet have I not lost the form of God; therefore He saith, "I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me."

10. He had spoken of judgment; He means to speak of testimony. "In your law," saith He, "it is written that the testimony of two men is true. I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me." He expounded the law to them also, if they were not unthankful. For it is a great question, my brethren, and to me it certainly appears to have been ordained in a mystery, where God said, "In the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall stand."(2) Is truth sought by two witnesses? Clearly it is; so is the custom of mankind: but yet it may be that even two witnesses lie. The chaste Susanna was pressed by two false witnesses: were they not therefore false because they were two? Do we speak of two or of three? A whole people lied against Christ.(3) If, then, a people, consisting of a great multitude of men, was found a false witness, how is it to be understood that "in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall stand," unless it be that in this manner the Trinity is mysteriously set forth to us, in which is perpetual stability of truth? Dost thou wish to have a good cause? Have two or three witnesses,--the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. In short, when Susanna, the chaste woman and faithful wife, was pressed by two false witnesses, the Trinity supported her in her conscience and in secret: that Trinity raised up from secrecy one witness, Daniel, and convicted the two.(4) Therefore, because it is written in your law that the witness of two men is true, receive our witness, test ye feel our judgment. "For I," saith He, "judge not any man; but I bear witness of myself:" I defer judgment, I defer not the witness.

11. Let us, brethren, choose for ourselves God as our judge, God as our witness, against the tongues of men, against the weak suspicions of mankind. For He who is the judge disdains not to be witness, nor is He advanced in honor when He becomes judge; since He who is witness will also Himself be judge. In what way is He witness? Because He asks not another to learn from Him who thou art. In what way is He judge? Because He has the power of killing and making alive, of condemning and acquitting, of casting down into hell and of raising up into heaven, of joining to the devil and of crowning with the angels. Since, therefore, He has this power, He is judge. Now, because He requires not another witness that He may know thee; and that He who will hereafter judge thee is now seeing thee, there is no means whereby thou canst deceive Him when He begins to judge. For there is no furnishing thyself with false witnesses who can circumvent that judge when He shall begin to judge thee. This is what God says to thee: When thou despisedst, I did see it; and when thou believedst not, I did not frustrate my sentence. I delayed it, not removed it. Thou wouldst not hear what I enjoined, thou shall feel what I foretold. But if thou hearest what I enjoined, thou shall not feel the evils which I have foretold, but thou shall enjoy the good things which I have promised.

12. Let it not by any means surprise any one that He says, "My judgment is true; because I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me;" whilst He has said in another place, "The Father judgeth not any man, but all judgment hath He given to the Son." We have already discoursed on these same words of the evangelist, and we remind you now that this was not said because the Father will not be with the Son when He comes to judge, but because the Son alone will be apparent to the good and the bad in the judgment, in that form in which He suffered, and rose again, and ascended into heaven. For at that moment, indeed, as they were beholding Him ascending, the angelic voice sounded in the ears of His disciples, "So shah He come in like manner as ye have seen Him going into heaven;"(1) that is, in the form of man in which He was judged, will He judge, in order that also that prophetic utterance may be fulfilled, "They shall look upon Him whom they pierced."(2) But when the righteous go into eternal life, we shall see Him as He is; that will not be the judgment of the living and the dead, but only the reward of the living.

13. Likewise, let it not surprise you that He says, "In your law it is written that the testimony of two men is true," that any man should hence suppose that this was not also the law of God, because it is not said, In the law of God: let him know that, when it is said thus, In your law, it is just as if He said, "In the law which was given to you;" given by whom, except by God? Just as we say, "Our daily bread;" and yet we say, "Give us this day."


1. What in the holy Gospel is spoken briefly ought not briefly to be expounded, so that what is read may he understood. The words of the Lord are few, but great; to be valued not by number, but by weight: not to be despised because they are few, but to be sought because they are great. You who were present yesterday have heard, as we discoursed according to our ability from that which the Lord said, "Ye judge after the flesh: I judge not any man. But yet if I judge, my judgment is true; because I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me. It is written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true. I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me." Yesterday, as I have said, from these words a discourse was delivered to your ears and to your minds. When the Lord had spoken these words, they who heard," Ye judge after the flesh," manifested the truth of what they had heard. For they answered the Lord, as He spoke of God His Father, and said to Him, "Where is thy Father?" The Father of Christ they understood carnally, because they judged the words of Christ after the flesh. But He who spoke was openly flesh, but secretly the Word: man visible, God hidden. They saw the covering, and despised the wearer: they despised because they knew not; knew not, because they saw not; saw not, because they were blind; they were blind, because they believed not.

2. Let us see, then, what answer the Lord made to this. "Where," say they, "is thy Father ?" For we have heard thee say, "I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me:" we see thee alone, we do not see thy Father with thee; how sayest thou that thou art not alone, but that thou art with thy Father? Else show us that thy Father is with thee. And the Lord answered them: Do ye know me, that I should show you the Father? This is indeed what follows; this is what He answered in His own words, the exposition of which we have already premised. For see what He said, "Ye neither know me nor my Father: if ye knew me, ye would perhaps know my Father also." Ye say then, "Where is thy Father?" As if already ye knew me; as if what you see were all that I am. Therefore because ye know not me, I do not show you my Father. Ye suppose me, in fact, to be a man; hence ye seek a man for my father, because "ye judge after the flesh." But because, according to what you see, I am one thing, and another thing according to what you see not, and that I as hidden from you speak of my Father as hidden, it is requisite that you should first know me, and then ye know my Father also.

3. "For if ye knew me, ye would perhaps know my Father also." He who knows all things is not in doubt when He says perhaps, but rebuking. Now see how this very word perhaps, which seems to be a word of doubting, may he spoken chidingly. Yea, a word expressive of doubt it is when used by man, for man doubts because he knows not; but when a word of doubting is spoken by God, from whom surely nothing is hid, it is unbelief that is reproved by that doubting, not the Godhead merely expressing an opinion. For men sometimes chidingly express doubt concerning things which they hold certain; that is, use a word of doubting, while in their heart they doubt not: just as thou wouldst say to thy slave, if thou weft angry with him, "Thou despisest me; but consider, perhaps I am thy master." Hence also the apostle, speaking to some who despised him, says: "And I think that I also have the Spirit of God."(1) When he says, "I think," he seems to doubt; but he is rebuking, not doubting. And in another place the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, rebuking the future unbelief of mankind, saith: "When the Son of man cometh, will He, thinkest thou, find faith on the earth?"(2)

4. You now, as I think, understand how the word perhaps is used here, in case any weigher of words and poiser of syllables, as if to show his knowledge of Latin, finds fault with a word which the Word of God spoke; and by blaming the Word of God, remain not eloquent, but mute. For who is there that speaks as doth the Word which was in the beginning with God? Do not consider these words as we use them, and from these wish to measure that Word which is God. Thou hearest the Word indeed, and despisest it; hear God and fear Him: "In the beginning was the Word." Thou referrest to the usage of thy conversation, and sayest within thyself, What is a word? What mighty thing is a word? It sounds and passes away; after beating the air, it strikes the ear and is no more. Hear further: "The Word was with God;" remained, did not by sounding pass away. Perhaps thou still despisest it: "The Word was God." With thyself, O man, a word in thy heart is a different thing from sound; but the word that is with thee, in order to pass to me, requires sound for a vehicle as it were. It takes to itself sound, mounts it as a vehicle, runs through the air, comes to me and yet does not leave thee. But the sound, in order to come to me, left thee and yet did not stay with me. Now has the word that was in thy heart also passed away with the passing sound? Thou didst speak thy thought; and, that the thought which was hid with thee might come to me, thou didst sound syllables; the sound of the syllables conveyed thy thought to my ear; through my ear thy thought descended into my heart, the intermediate sound flew away: but that word which took to itself sound was with thee before thou didst sound it, and is with me, because thou didst sound it, without quitting thee. Consider this, thou nice weigher of sounds, whoever thou be. Thou despisest the Word of God, thou who comprehendest not the word of man.

5. He, then, by whom all things were made knows all things. and yet He rebukes by doubting: "If ye knew me ye would perhaps know my Father also." He rebukes unbelievers. He spoke a like sentence to the disciples, but there is not a word of doubting in it, because there was no occasion to rebuke unbelief. For this, "If ye knew me, ye would perhaps know my Father also," which He said to the Jews, He said also to the disciples, when Philip asked, or rather, demanded of Him, saying, "Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us:" just as if he said, We already know Thee even ourselves; Thou hast been apparent to us; we have seen Thee; Thou hast deigned to choose us; we have followed Thee, have seen Thy marvels, heard Thy words of Salvation, have taken Thy precepts upon us, we hope in Thy promises: Thou hast deigned to confer much upon us by Thy very presence: but still, while we know Thee, and we do not yet know the Father, we are inflamed with desire to see Him whom we do not yet know; and thus, because we know Thee, but it is not enough until we know the Father, show us the Father and it sufficeth us. And the Lord, that they might understand that they knew not what they thought they did already know, said, "Am I so long time with you, and ye know me not, Philip? he who hath seen me hath seen the Father."(1) Has this sentence a word of doubting in it? Did He say, He that hath seen me hath perhaps seen the Father? Why not? Because it was a believer that listened to Him, not a persecutor of the faith: hence did the Lord not rebuke, but teach. "Whoso hath seen me hath seen the Father also:" and here, "If ye knew me, ye would know my Father also," let us remove the word which indicates the unbelief of the hearers, and it is the same sentence.

6. Yesterday we commended it to your consideration, beloved, and said that the sentences of the Evangelist John, in which he narrates to us what he learned from the Lord, had not required to be discussed, were that possible, except the inventions of heretics had compelled us. Yesterday, then, we briefly intimated to you, beloved, that there are heretics who are called Patripassians, or Sabellians after their founder: these say that the same is the Father who is the Son; the names different, but the person one. When He wills, say they, He is Father; when He wills, He is Son: still He is one. There are likewise other heretics who are called Arians. They indeed confess that our Lord Jesus Christ is the only Son of the Father; the one, Father of the Son; the other, Son of the Father; that He who is Father is not Son, nor He who is Son is Father; they confess that the Son was begotten, but deny His equality. We, namely, the catholic faith, coming from the doctrine of the apostles planted in us, received by a line of succession, to be transmitted sound to posterity,--the catholic faith, I say, has, between both those parties, that is, between both errors, held the truth. In the error of the Sabellians, He is only one; the Father and Son is the same person: in the error of the Arians, the Father and the Son are indeed different persons; but the Son is not only a different person, but different in nature. Thou midway between these, what sayest thou? Thou hast shut out the Sabellian, shut out the Arian also. The Father is Father, the Son is Son; another person, not another in nature; for, "I and the Father are one," which, so far as I could, I pressed on your thoughts yesterday. When he hears that word, we are, let the Sabellian go away confounded; when he hears the word one, let the Arian go away confounded. Let the catholic steer the bark of his faith between both, since in both he must be on his guard against shipwreck. Say thou, then, what the Gospel saith, "I and the Father are one." Not different in nature, because one; not one person, because are.

7. A little before He said, "My judgment is true; because I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me:" as if He said, The reason why my judgment is true is, because I am the Son of God, because I speak the truth, because I am truth itself. Those men, understanding Him carnally, said, "Where is thy Father?" Now hear, O Arian: "Ye neither know me, nor my Father;" because, "If ye knew me, ye would know my Father also." What doth this mean, except "I and the Father are one"? When thou seest some person like some other,--give heed, beloved, it is a common remark; let not that appear to you difficult which you see to be customary,--when, I say, thou seest some person like another, and thou knowest the person to whom he is like, thou sayest in wonder, "How like this person is to that!" Thou wouldst not say this unless there were two. Here one who does not know the person to whom thou sayest the other is like remarks, "Is he so like him?" And thou answerest him: What? dost thou not know that person? Saith he, "No, I do not." Immediately thou, in order to make known to him the person whom he does not know by means of the person whom he observes before him, answerest, saying, Having seen this man, thou hast seen the other. Thou didst not, surely, assert that they are one person in saying this, or that they are not two; but made such answer because of the likeness: "If thou knowest the one, thou knowest the other; for they are very like, and there is no difference whatever between them." Hence also the Lord saith, "If ye knew me, ye would know my Father also;" not that the Son is the Father but like the Father. Let the Arian blush. Thanks be to the Lord that even the Arian is separate from the Sabellian error, and is not a Patripassian: he does not affirm that the Father assumed flesh and came to men, that the Father suffered, rose again, and somehow ascended to Himself; this he does not affirm; he acknowledges with me the Father to be Father, the Son to be Son. But, O brother, thou hast escaped that shipwreck, why go to the other? Father is Father, Son is Son; why dost thou affirm that the Son is unlike, that He is different, another substance? If He were unlike, would He say to His disciples, "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father"? Would He say to the Jews, "If ye knew me, ye would know my Father also"? How would this be true, unless that other was also true, "I and the Father are one"?

8. "These words spake Jesus in the treasury, speaking in the temple:" great boldness, without fear. For He could not suffer if He did not will it, since He were not born if He did not will it. What follows then? "And no man laid hold of Him, because His hour was not yet come." Some, again, when they hear this, believe that the Lord Christ was subject to fate, and say: Behold, Christ is held by fate! O, if thy heart were not fatuous, thou wouldst not believe in fate. If fate, as some understand it, is derived from fando, that is from speaking, how can the Word of God be held by fate, whilst all things that are made are in the Word itself? For God has not ordained anything which He did not know beforehand; that which was made was in His Word. The world was made; both was made and was there. How both was made and was there? Because the house which the builder rears, was previously in his art; and there, a better house, without age, without decay: however, to show forth his art, he makes a house; and so, in a manner, a house comes forth from a house; and if the house should fall, the art remains. So were all things that are made with the Word of God; because God made all things in wisdom,(1) and all that He made were known to Him: for He did not learn because He made, but made because He knew. To us they are known, because they are made: to Him, if they had not been known, they would not have been made Therefore the Word went before. And what was before the Word? Nothing at all For were there anything before it, it would not have been said, "In the beginning was the Word;" but, In the beginning was the Word made. In short, what says Moses concerning the world? "In the beginning God made the heavens and the earth." Made what was not: well, if He made what was not, what was there before? "In the beginning was the Word." And whence came heaven and earth? "All things were made by Him." Dost thou then put Christ under fate? Where are the fates? In heaven, sayest thou, in the order and changes of the stars. How then can fate rule Him by whom the heavens and the stars were made; whilst thy own will, if thou thinkest rightly, transcends even the stars? Or, because thou knowest that Christ's flesh was under heaven, is that the reason why thou thinkest that Christ's power was put under the heavens?

9. Hear, thou fool: "His hour was not yet come;" not the hour in which He should be forced to die, but that in which He would deign to be put to death. For Himself knew when He should die: He considered all things that were foretold of Him, and awaited all to be finished that was foretold to be before His suffering; that when all should be fulfilled, then should come His suffering in set order, not by fatal necessity. In short, hear that yon may prove. Among the rest that was prophesied of Him, it is also written: "They gave me gall for meat, and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink."(2) How this happened, we know from the Gospel. First, they gave Him gall; He received it, tasted it, and spat it out. Thereafter, as He hung on the cross, that all that was foretold might be fulfilled, He said, "I thirst." They took a sponge filled with vinegar, bound it to a reed, and put it to His mouth; He received it, and said, "It is finished." What did that mean? All things which were prophesied before my death are completed, then what do I here any longer? In a word, when He said "It is finished, He bowed His head, and gave up the ghost." Did the thieves, who were nailed beside Him, expire when they would? They were held by the bonds of flesh, for they were not the creators of the flesh; fixed by nails, they were a long time tormented, because they had not lordship over their weakness. The Lord, however, when He would, took flesh in a virgin's womb: came forth to men when He would; lived among men so long as He would; and when He would He quilted the flesh. This is the part of power, not of necessity. This hour, then, He awaited; not the fated, but the fitting and voluntary hour; that all might first be fulfilled which behoved to be fulfilled before His decease. How could he have been under necessity of fate, when He said in another place, "I have power to lay down my life, and I have power lo take it again: no man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself and take it again?"(3) He showed this power when the Jews sought Him. "Whom seek ye?" saith He. "Jesus," said they. And He answered," I am He." When they heard this voice, "they went back and fell to the ground."(4)

10. Says one, If he had this power, why, when the Jews insulted him on the cross and said, "If he be the Son of God let him come down from the cross," did he not come down, to show them his power by coming down? Because He was teaching us patience, therefore He deferred the demonstration of His power. For if He came down, moved as it were at their words, He would be thought to have been overcome by the sting of their insults. He did not come down; there He remained fixed, to depart when He would. For what great matter was it for Him to descend from the cross, when He could rise again from the sepulchre? Let us, then, to whom this is ministered, understand that the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, then concealed, will be made manifest in the judgment, of which it is said, "God will come manifest; our God, and He will not be silent."(1) Why is it said, "will come manifest"? Because He, our God,--namely, Christ,--came hidden, will come manifest. "And will not be silent:" why this "will not be silent"? Because at first He did keep silence. When? When He was judged; that this, too, might be fulfilled which the prophet had foretold: "As a sheep He was led to the slaughter, and as a lamb before his shearer is dumb, so He opened not His mouth."(2) He would not have suffered did He not will to suffer: did He not suffer, that blood had not been shed; if that blood were not shed, the world would not be redeemed. Therefore let us give thanks to the power of His divinity, and to the compassion of His infirmity; both concerning the hidden power which the Jews did not recognize, whence it is now said to them, "Ye neither know me nor my Father," and also concerning the flesh assumed, which the Jews did not recognize, and yet knew His lineage: whence He said to them elsewhere, "Ye both know me, and ye know whence I am." Let us know both in Christ, both wherein He is equal to the Father and wherein the Father is greater than He. That is the Word, this is the flesh; that is God, this is man; but yet Christ is one, God and man.

[The remaining tractates were translated by the Rev. James Innes, minister at Panbride, near Dundee, Scotland.]


1. The lesson of the holy Gospel which preceded to-day's had concluded thus: that "the Lord spake, teaching in the treasury," what it pleased Him, and what you have heard; "and no one laid hands on Him, for His hour was not yet come."(1) Accordingly, on the Lord's day we made our subject of discourse what He Himself thought fit to give us. We indicated to your Charity why it was said, "His hour was not yet come," lest any in their impiety should have the effrontery to suspect Christ as laid under some fatal necessity. For the hour was not yet come when by His own appointment, in accordance with what was predicted regarding Him, He should not be forced to die unwillingly, but be ready to be slain.

2. But of His own passion itself, which lay not in any necessity He was under, but in His own power, all that He said in His discourse to the Jews was, "I go away." For to Christ the Lord's death was His proceeding. to the place whence He had come, and from which He had never departed. "I go away," said He, "and ye shall seek me," not from any longing for me, but in hatred. For after His removal from human sight, He was sought for both by those who hated Him and those who loved Him; by the former in a spirit of persecution, by the latter with the desire of having Him. In the Psalms the Lord Himself says by the prophet, "A place of refuge hath failed me, and there is none that seeketh after my life;"(2) and again He says in another place in the Psalms, "Let them be confounded and ashamed who seek after my life."(3) He blamed the former for not seeking, He condemned the latter because they did. For it is wrong not to seek the life of Christ, that is, in the way the disciples sought it; and it is wrong to seek the life of Christ, that is, in the way the Jews sought it: for the former sought to possess it, these latter to destroy it. Accordingly, because these men sought it thus in a wrong way, with a perverted heart, what next did He add? "Ye shall seek me, and "--not to let you suppose that ye will seek me for good--" ye shall die in your sin." This comes of seeking Christ wrongly, to die in one's sin; this of hating Him, through whom alone salvation could be found. For, while men whose hope is in God ought not to render evil even for evil, these men were rendering evil for good. The Lord therefore announced to them beforehand, and in His foreknowledge uttered the sentence, that they should die in their sin. And then He adds, "Whither I go, ye cannot come." He said the same to the disciples also in another place; and yet He said not to them, "Ye shall die in your sin." But what did He say? The same as to these men: "Whither I go, ye cannot come."(1) He did not take away hope, but foretold delay. For at the time when the Lord spake this to the disciples, they were not able to come whither He was going, yet were they to come afterwards; but these men never, to whom in His foreknowledge He said, "Ye shall die in your sin."

3. But on hearing these words, as is usual with those whose thoughts are carnal, who judge after the flesh, and hear and apprehend everything in a carnal way, they said, "Will he kill himself? because he said, Whither I go ye cannot come." Foolish words, and overflowing with stupidity! For why? could they not go whither He would have proceeded had He killed Himself? Were not they themselves to die? What, then, means, "Will he kill himself? because he said, Whither I go ye cannot come?" If He spake of man's death, what man is there that does not die? Therefore, by "whither I go" He meant, not the going to death, but whither He was going Himself after death. Such, then, was their answer, because they did not understand.

4. And what said the Lord to those who savored of the earth? "And He said unto them, Ye are from beneath." For this cause ye savor of the earth, because ye lick dust like serpents. Ye eat earth! What does it mean? Ye feed on earthly things, ye delight in earthly things, ye gape after earthly things, ye have no heart for what is above. "Ye are from beneath: I am from above. Ye are of this world: I am not of this world." For how could He be of the world, by whom the world was made? All that are of the world come after the world, because the world preceded; and so man is of the world. But, Christ was first, and then the world; and since Christ was before the world, before Christ there was nothing: because "In the beginning was the Word; all things were made by, Him."(2) He, therefore, was of that which is above. But of what that is above? Of the air? Perish the thought! there the birds wing their flight. Of the sky that we see? Again I say, Perish the thought! it is there that the stars and sun and moon revolve. Of the angels? Neither is this to be understood: by Him who made all things were the angels also made. Of what, then, above is Christ? Of the Father Himself. Nothing is above that God who begat the Word equal with Himself, co-eternal with Himself, only-begotten, timeless, that by Him time's own foundations should be laid. Understand, then, Christ as from above, so as in thy thought to get beyond everything that is made,--the whole creation together, every material body, every created spirit, everything in any way subject to change: rise above all, as John rose, in order to reach this: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."

5. Therefore said He, "I am from above. Ye are of this world: I am not of this world. I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins." He bas explained to us, brethren, what He wished to be understood by "ye are of this world." He said therefore in fact, "Ye are of this world," because they were sinners, because they were unrighteous, because they were unbelieving, because they savored of the earthly. For what is your opinion as regards the holy apostles? What difference was there between the Jews and the apostles? As great as between darkness and light, as between faith and unbelief, as between piety and impiety, as between hope and despair, as between love and avarice: surely the difference was great. What then? because there was such a difference, were the apostles not of the world? If thy thoughts turn to the manner of their birth, and whence they came, inasmuch as all of them had come from Adam, they were of this world. But what said the Lord Himself to them? "I have chosen you out of the world." a Those, then, who were of the world, became not of the world, and began to belong to Him by whom the world was made. But these men continued to be of the world, to whom it was said, "Ye shall die in your sins."

6. Let none then, brethren, say, I am not of this world. Whoever thou art as a man, thou art of this world; but He who made the world came to thee, and delivered thee from this world. If the world delights thee, thou wishest always to be unclean (immundus); but if this world no longer delight thee, thou art already clean (mundus). And yet, if through some infirmity the world still delight thee, let Him who cleanseth (mundat) dwell in thee, and thou too shalt be clean.(1) But if thou art once clean, thou wilt not continue in the world; neither wilt thou hear what was heard by the Jews, "Ye shall die in your sins." For we are all born with sin; we have all in living added to that wherein we were born, and have since become more of the world than when we were born of our parents. And where should we be, had He not come, who was wholly free from sin, to expiate all sin? And so, because in Him the Jews believed not, they deservedly heard [the sentence], "Ye shall die in your sins;" for in no way could ye, who were born with sin, be without sin; and yet, said He, if ye believe in me, although it is still true that ye were born with sin, yet in your sin ye shall not die. The whole misery, then, of the Jews was just this, not to have sin, but to die in their sins. From this it is that every Christian ought to seek to escape; because of this we have recourse to baptism; on this account do those whose lives are in danger from sickness or any other cause become anxious for help; for this also is the sucking child carried by his mother with pious hands to the church, that he may not go out into the world without baptism, and die in the sin wherein he was born. Most wretched surely the condition and miserable the lot of these men, who heard from those truth-speaking lips," Ye shall die in your sins!"

7. But He explains whence this should befall them: "For if ye believe not that I am [He], ye shall die in your sins." I believe, brethren, that among the multitude who listened to the Lord, there were those also who should yet believe. But against all, as it were, had that most severe sentence gone forth, "Ye shall die in your sin;" and thereby even from those who should yet believe had hope been withdrawn: the others were roused to fury, they to fear; yea, to more than fear, they were brought now to despair. But He revived their hope; for He added, "If ye believe not that I am, ye shall die in your sins." Therefore if ye do believe that I am, ye shall not die in your sins. Hope was restored to the desponding, the sleeping were: aroused, their hearts got a fresh awakening; and thereafter very many believed, as the Gospel itself attests in the sequel. For members of Christ were there, who had not yet become attached to the body of Christ; and among that people by whom He was crucified, by whom He was hanged on a tree, by whom when hanging He was mocked, by whom He was wounded with the spear, by whom gall and vinegar were given Him to drink, were the members of Christ, for whose sake He said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." And what will a convert not be forgiven, if the shedding of Christ's blood is forgiven? What murderer need despair, if he was restored to hope by whom even Christ was slain? After this many believed; they were presented with Christ's blood as a gift, that they might drink it for their salvation, rather than be held guilty of shedding it. Who can despair? And if the thief was saved on the cross,--a murderer shortly before, a little afterwards accused, convicted, condemned, hanged, delivered,-wonder not. The place of his conviction was that of his condemnation; while that of his conversion was the place also of his deliverance.(2) Among this people, then, to whom the Lord was speaking, were those who should yet die in their sin: there were those also who should yet believe on Him who spake, and find deliverance from all their sin.

8. But look at this which is said by Christ the Lord: "If ye believe not that I am, ye shall die in your sins." What is this, "If ye believe not that I am?" "I am" what? There is nothing added; and because He added nothing, He left much to be inferred. For He was expected to say what He was, and yet He said it not. What was He expected to say? Perhaps, "If ye believe not that I am" Christ; "if ye believe not that I am" the Son of God; "if ye believe not that I am" the Word of the Father: "if ye believe not that I am" the founder of the world; "if ye believe not that I am" the former and re-former, the creator and re-creator, the maker and re-maker of man;--" if ye believe not that I am" this, "ye shall die in your sins." There is much implied in His only saying "I am;" for so also had God said to Moses, "I am who am." Who can adequately express what that AM means? God by His angel sent His servant Moses to deliver His people out of Egypt (you have read and know what you now hear; but I recall it to your minds); He sent him trembling, self-excusing, but obedient. And while thus excusing himself, he said to God, whom he understood to be speaking in the person of the angel: If the people say to me, And who is the God that hath sent thee? what shall I say to them? And the Lord answered him, "I am who am;" and added, "Thou shalt say to the children of Israel, He who is hath sent me to you." There also He says not, I am God; or, I am the framer of the world; or, I am the creator of all things; or, I am the multiplier of the very people to be delivered: but only this, "I am who am;" and, "Thou shall say to the children of Israel, He who is." He added not, Who is your God, who is the God of your fathers; but said only this: "He who is hath sent me to you." Perhaps it was too much even for Moses himself, as it is too much for us also, and much more so for us, to understand the meaning of such words, "I am who am;" and, "He who is hath sent me to you." And supposing that Moses comprehended it, when would those to whom he was sent comprehend it? The Lord therefore put aside what man could not comprehend, and added what he could; for He said also besides, "I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob."(1) This thou canst comprehend; for "I am who am," what mind can comprehend?

9. What then of us? Shall we venture to say anything on such words, "I am who am;" or rather on this, that you have heard the Lord saying, "If ye believe not that I am, ye shall die in your sins"? Shall I venture with these feeble and scarcely existing powers of mine to discuss the meaning of that which Christ the Lord hath said, "If ye believe not that I am"? I shall venture to ask the Lord Himself. Listen to me as one asking rather than discussing, inquiring rather than assuming, learning rather than teaching, and fail not yourselves also to be asking with me or through me. The Lord Himself, who is everywhere, is also at hand. Let Him hear the feeling that prompts to ask, and grant the fruit of understanding. For in what words, even were it so that I comprehend something, can i convey to your hearts what I comprehend? What voice is adequate? what eloquence sufficient? what powers of intelligence? what faculty of utterance?

10. I shall speak, then, to our Lord Jesus Christ; I shall speak and may He be pleased to hear me. I believe He is present, I am fully assured of it; for He Himself has said, "Lo, I am with you even to the end of the world."(2) O Lord our God, what is that which Thou saidst, "If ye believe not that I am"? For what is there that belongs not to the things Thou hast made? Does not heaven so belong? Does not the earth? Does not everything in earth and heaven? Does not man himself to whom Thou speakest? Does not the angel whom Thou sendest? If all these are things made by Thee, what is that existence(3) Thou hast retained as something exclusively Thine own, which Thou hast given to none besides, that Thou mightest be such Thyself alone? For how do I hear "I am who am," as if there were none besides? and how do I hear "If ye believe not that I am"? For had they no existence who heard Him? Yea, though they were sinners, they were men. What then can I do? What that existence is, let Him tell my heart, let Him tell, let Him declare it within; let the inner man hear, the mind apprehend this true existence; for such existence is always unvarying in character.(4) For a thing, anything whatever (I have begun as it were to dispute, and have left off inquiring. Perhaps I wish to speak what I have heard. May He grant enlargement to my hearing, and to yours, while I speak);--for anything, whatever in short be its excellence, if it is changeable, does not truly exist; for there is no true existence wherever non-existence has also a place. For whatever can be changed, so far as changed, it is not that which was: if it is no longer what it was, a kind of death has therein taken place; something that was there has been eliminated, and exists no more. Blackness has died out in the silvery locks of the patriarch, comeliness in the body of the careworn and crooked old man, strength in the body of the languishing, the [previous] standing posture in the body of one walking, walking in the body of one standing, walking and standing in the body of one reclining, speech in the tongue of the silent;--whatever changes, and is what it was not, I see there a kind of life in that which is, and death in that which was. In fine, when we say of one deceased, Where is that person? we are answered, He was O Truth, it is thou [alone] that truly art! For in all actions and movements of ours, yea, in every activity of the creature, I find two times, the past and the future. I seek for the present, nothing stands still: what I have said is no longer present; what I am going to say is not yet come: what I have done is no longer present; what I am going to do is not yet come: the life I have lived is no longer present; the life I have still to live is not yet come. Past and future I find in every creature- movement: in truth, which is abiding, past and future I find not, but the present alone, and that unchangeably, which has no place in the creature. Sift the mutations of things, thou wilt find WAS and WILL BE: think on God, thou wilt find the IS, where WAS and WILL BE cannot exist. To be so then thyself, rise beyond the boundaries of time. But who can transcend the powers of his being? May He raise us thither who said to the Father, "I will that they also be with me where I am." And so, in making this promise, that we should not die in our sins, the Lord Jesus Christ, I think, said nothing else by these words, "If ye believe not that I am;" yea, by these words I think He meant nothing else than this, "If ye believe not that I am" God, "ye shall die in your sins." Well, God be thanked that He said, "If ye believe not," and did not say, If ye comprehend not. For who can comprehend this? Or is it so, since I have ventured to speak and you have seemed to understand, that you have indeed comprehended somewhat of a subject so unspeakable? If then thou comprehendest not, faith sets thee free. Therefore also the Lord said not, If ye comprehend not that I am; but said what they were capable of attaining, "If ye believe not that I am, ye shall die in your sins."

11. And savoring as these men always did of the earth, and ever hearing and answering according to the flesh, what did they say to Him? "Who art thou?" For when thou saidst, "If ye believe not that I am," thou didst not tell us what thou wert. Who art thou, that we may believe? He answered "The Beginning." Here is the existence that [always] is. The beginning cannot be changed: the beginning is self-abiding and all-originating; that is, the beginning, to which it has been said, "But thou Thyself art the same, and Thy years shall not fail."(1) "The beginning," He said, "for so I also speak to you." Believe me [to be] the beginning, that ye may not die in your sins. For just as if by saying, "Who art thou?" they had said nothing else than this, What shall we believe thee to be? He replied, "The beginning;" that is, Believe me [to be] the "beginning." For in the Greek expression we discern what we cannot in the Latin. For in Greek the word "beginning" (principium, archh'), is of the feminine gender, just as with us "law" (lex) is of the feminine gender, while it is of the masculine (no'mos) with them; or as "wisdom" (sapientia, sophi'a) is of the feminine gender with both. It is the custom of speech, therefore, in different languages to vary the gender of words, because in things themselves there is no place for the distinction of sex. For wisdom is not really female, since Christ is the Wisdom of God,(2) and Christ is termed of the masculine gender, wisdom of the feminine. When then the Jews said, "Who art thou?" He, who knew that there were some there who should yet believe, and therefore had said, Who art thou? that so they might come to know what they ought to believe regarding Him, replied, "The beginning:" not as if He said, I am the beginning; but as if He said, Believe me [to he] the beginning. Which, as I said, is quite evident in the Greek language, where beginning (archh') is of the feminine gender.(3) Just as if He had wished to say that He was the Truth, and to their question, "Who art thou?" had answered, Veritatem(4) [the Truth]; when to the words, "Who art thou?" He evidently ought to have replied, Veritas(5) [the Truth]; that is, I am the Truth. But His answer had a deeper meaning, when He saw that they had put the question, "Who art thou?" in such a way as to mean, Having heard from thee, "If ye believe not that I am, what shall we believe thee to be? To this He replied, "The beginning:" as if He said, Believe me to be the beginning. And He added "for [as such] I also speak to you;" that is, having humbled myself on your account, I have condescended to such words. For if the beginning as it is in itself had remained so with the Father, as not to receive the form of a servant and speak as man with men; how could they have believed in Him, since their weak hearts could not have heard the Word intelligently without some voice that would appeal to their senses? Therefore, said He, believe me to be the beginning; for, that you may believe, I not only am, but also speak to you.(6) But on this subject I have still much to say to you; may it therefore please your Charity that we reserve what remains, and by His gracious aid deliver it tomorrow.


1. The words of our Lord Jesus Christ, which He had addressed to the Jews, so regulating His discourse that the blind saw not, and believers' eyes were opened, are these, which have been read to-day from the holy Gospel: "Then said the Jews, Who art thou?" Because the Lord had said before, "If ye believe not that I am, ye shall die in your sins."(1) To this accordingly they rejoined, "Who art thou?" as if seeking to know on whom they ought to believe, so as not to die in their sin. He replied to those who asked Him: "Who art thou?" by saying, "The beginning, for [so] also I speak to you." If the Lord has called Himself the beginning, it may be inquired whether the Father also is the beginning. For if the Son who has a Father is the beginning, how much more easily must God the Father be understood as the beginning, who has indeed the Son whose Father He is, but has no one from whom He Himself proceedeth? For the Son is the Son of the Father, and the Father certainly is the Father of the Son; but the Son is called God of God,--the Son is called Light of Light; the Father is called Light, but not, of Light,--the Father is called God, but not, of God. If, then, God of God, Light of Light, is the beginning, how much more easily may we understand as such that Light, from whom the Light [cometh], and God, of whom is God? It seems, therefore, absurd, dearly beloved, to call the Son the beginning, and not to call the Father the beginning also.

2. But what shall we do? Are there, then, two beginnings? Let us beware of saying so. What then? if both the Father is the beginning and the Son the beginning, how are there not two beginnings? In the same way that we call the Father God, and the Son God, and yet say not that there are two Gods; and yet He who is the Father is not the Son, He who is the Son is not the Father; and the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the Father and of the Son, is neither the Father nor the Son. Although, then, as Catholic ears have been taught in the bosom of mother Church, neither He who is the Father is the Son, nor He who is the Son is the Father, nor is the Holy Spirit, of the Father and of the Son, either the Son or the Father, yet we say not that there are three Gods; although, if we are asked of each apart, we must, of whichever we are questioned, confess that He is God.

3. But all this seems absurd to those who drag up familiar things to a level with things little known, visible things with invisible, and compare the creature to the Creator. For unbelievers sometimes question us and say: Whom you call the Father, do you call him God? We answer, God. Whom you call the Son, do you call him God? We answer, God. Whom you call the Holy Spirit, do you call him God? We answer, God. Then, say they, are the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit three Gods? We answer, No. They are confounded, because they are not enlightened; they have their heart shut up, because they want the key of faith. Let us then, brethren, by an antecedent faith that heals the eye of our heart, receive without obscurity what we understand,--and what we understand not, believe without hesitation; let us not quit the foundation of faith in order to reach the summit of perfection. The Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Spirit is God: and yet He is not the Father who is the Son, nor He the Son who is the Father, and the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the Father and the Son, is neither the Father nor the Son. The Trinity is one God. The Trinity is one eternity, one power, one majesty;--three, but not three] Gods. Let not the reviler answer me: "Three what, then? For," he adds, "if there are three, you must say, three what?" I reply: The Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. "See," he says, "you have named three; but express what the three are?" Nay, count them yourself; for I make out three when I say, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. For the Father is God as respects Himself, but [He is] the Father as respects the Son; the Son is God as respects Himself, but He is the Son as regards the Father.

4. What I say you may gather from daily analogies. So it is with one man and another, if the one be a father, the other his son. He is man as regards himself, but a father as regards his son; and the son man as respects himself, but a son as respects his father. For father is a name given relatively, and so with son; but these are two men. And certainly God the Father is Father in a relative sense, that is, in relation to the Son; and God the Son is Son relatively, that is, in relation to the Father; but not as the former are two men are these two Gods. Why is it not so here? Because that belongs to one sphere and this to another; for this is divine. There is here something ineffable which cannot be explained in words, that there should both be, and not be, number. For see if there appear not a kind of number, Father, and Son, and Holy Ghost--the Trinity. If three, three what? Here number fails. And so God neither keeps apart from number, nor is comprehended by number. Because there are three, there is a kind of number. If you ask three what, number ceases. Hence it is said, "Great is our Lord, and great His power; and of His understanding there is no number."(1) When you have begun to reflect, you begin to number; when you have numbered, you cannot tell what you have numbered. The Father is Father, the Son is Son, the Holy Spirit is the Holy Spirit. What are these three, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit? Are They not three Gods? No. Are They not three Almighties? No. Not three Creators of the world? No. Is the Father then almighty? Manifestly almighty. And is the Son then not almighty? Clearly the Son. is also almighty. And is the Holy Spirit then not almighty? He, too, is almighty. Are there then three Almighties? No; only one Almighty. Only in Their relation to each other do They suggest number, not in Their essential existence. For though God the Father is, as respects Himself, God along with the Son and the Holy Spirit, there are not three Gods; and, though as respects Himself He is omnipotent, as well as the Son and the Holy Spirit, there are not three omnipotents; for in truth He is the Father not in respect to Himself, but to the Son; nor is the Son so in respect to Himself, but to the Father; nor is the Spirit so as regards Himself, in as far as He is called the Spirit of the Father and of the Son. I have no name to give the three, save the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, one God, one Almighty. And so one beginning.

5. Take an illustration from the Holy Scriptures, whereby you may in some measure comprehend what I am saying. After our Lord Jesus Christ rose again, and was pleased to ascend into heaven, at the end of ten days He sent from thence the Holy Spirit, by whom those who were present in that one chamber were filled, and began to speak in the languages of all nations. The Lord's murderers, terrified by the miracle, were pricked to the heart and sorrowed; sorrowing, were changed; and being changed, believed. There were added to the Lord's body, that is, to the number of believers, three thousand people. And so also by the working of another miracle there were added other five thousand. A considerable community was created, in which all, receiving the Holy Spirit, by whom spiritual love was kindled, were by their very love and fervor of spirit welded into one, and began in the very unity of fellowship to sell all that they had, and to lay the price at the apostles' feet, that distribution might be made to every one as each had need. And the Scripture says this of them, that "they were of one soul and one heart toward God."(2) Give heed then, brethren, and from this acknowledge the mystery of the Trinity, how it is we say, There is both the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and yet there is one God. See! there were so many thousands of these, and yet there was one heart; there were so many thousands, and one soul. But where? In God. How much more so God Himself? Do I err at all in word when I call two men two souls, or three men three souls, or many men many souls? Surely I speak correctly. Let them approach God, and one soul belongs to all. If by approaching God many souls by love become one soul, and many hearts one heart, what of the very fountain of love in the Father and Son? Is it not still more so here that the Trinity is one God? For thence, of that Holy Spirit, does love come to us, as the apostle says: "The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, which is given unto us."(3) If then the love of God, shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us, makes many souls one soul, and many hearts one heart, how much rather are the Father and Son and Holy Spirit, one God, one light, and one beginning?

6. Let us hear, then, the Beginning who speaks to us: "I have," said He, "many things to say of you and to judge." You remember that He said, "I do not judge any one."(4) See, now He says, "I have many things to say of you and to judge." But, "I do not judge" is one thing: "I have to judge" is another; for He had come to save the world, not to judge the world.(5) In saying, "I have many things to say of you and to judge," He speaks of the future judgment. For therefore did He ascend, that He may come to judge the living and the dead. No one will judge more justly than He who was unjustly judged. "Many things," said He, "have I to say of you and to judge; but He that sent me is true." See how the Son, His equal, gives glory to the Father. For He sets us an example, and says as it were in our hearts: O believer, if thou hearest my gospel, the Lord thy God saith to thee, when I, in the beginning God the Word with God, equal with the Father, coeternal with Him that begat, give glory to Him whose Son I am, how canst thou be proud before Him, whose servant thou art?

7. "I have many things," He said, "to say of you and to judge: but He that sent me is true;" as if He had said, Therefore I judge the truth, because, as the Son of the True One, I am the truth. The Father true, the Son the truth,--which do we account the greater? Let us reflect, if we can, which is the greater, the True One or the Truth.(1) Take some other instances. Is a pious man, or piety, the more comprehensive? Surely piety itself; for the pious is derived from piety, not piety from the pious. For piety may still exist, though he who was pious became impious. He has lost his piety, but has taken nothing from piety itself. What also of comely and comeliness? Comeliness is more than comely; for comeliness gives existence to the comely, not the comely to comeliness. And so of chaste and chastity. Chastity is clearly something more than chaste. For if chastity had no existence, one would have no ground to be chaste; but though one may refuse to be chaste, chastity remains entire. If then the term piety implies more than the term pious, comeliness more than comely, chastity than chaste, shall we say that the Truth is more than the True One? If we say so, we shall begin to say that the Son is greater than the Father. For the Lord Himself says most distinctly, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life."(2) Therefore, if the Son is the truth, what is the Father but what the Truth Himself says, "He that sent me is true"? The Son is the truth, the Father true. I inquire which is the greater, but find equality. For the true Father is true not because He contained a part of that truth, but because He begat it entire.

8. I see I must speak more plainly. And, not to detain you long, let me treat only of this point to-day. When I have finished what, with God's help, I wish to say, my discourse shall close. I have said this, then, to enlist your attention. Every soul, as being a thing, is mutable; and although a great creature, yet a creature; though superior to the body, yet made. Every soul, then, since it is changeable--that is, sometimes believes, sometimes disbelieves; at one time wishes, at another time refuses; at one time is adulterous, at another chaste; now good, and again wicked, --is changeable. But God is that which is, and so has retained as His own peculiar name, "I am who am."(3) Such also is the Son, when He says, "If ye believe not that I am;" and thereto pertains also, "Who art thou? The Beginning" (ver. 25). God therefore is unchangeable, the soul changeable. When the soul receives from God the elements of its goodness it becomes good by participation, just as by participation thine eye seeth. For it sees not when the light is withdrawn, while so long as it shares in the light it sees. Since then by participation the soul is made good, if it changes and becomes bad, the goodness remains that made it good. For there is a goodness of which it partook when good; and when it has turned to evil, that goodness continues entire. If the soul fall away and become evil, there is no lessening of goodness; if it return and become good, that goodness is not enlarged. Thine eye participates in this light, and thou seest. Is it shut? Then thou hast not diminished the light. Is it open? Thou hast not increased the light. By this illustration, brethren understand that if the soul is pious, there is piety with God, of which the soul is partaker; if the soul is chaste, there is chastity with God, of which it partakes; if it is good, there is goodness with God, of which it partakes; if it is true, there is truth with God, of which the soul is partaker. Whereof if the soul is no partaker, every man is false;(4) and if every man may be false, no man is true of himself.(5) But the true Father is true of Himself,(5) for He begat the Truth. It is one thing to say, That man is true, for he has taken in the truth: it is another, God is true, for He begat the Truth. See then how God is true,--not by participating in, but by generating the Truth. I see you have understood me, and am glad. Let this suffice you to-day. The rest, according as He gives it, we shall expound when the Lord pleases.


1. OF the holy Gospel according to John, which you see in our hand, your Charity has already heard much, whereon by God's grace we have discoursed according to our ability, pressing on your notice that this evangelist, specially, has chosen to speak of the Lord's divinity, wherein He is equal with the Father and the only Son of God; and on that account he has been compared to the eagle, because no other bird is understood to take a loftier flight. Accordingly, to what follows in order, as the Lord enables us to treat of it, listen with all your attention.

2. We have spoken to you on the preceding passage, suggesting how the Father may be understood as True, and the Son as the Truth. But when the Lord Jesus said, "He that sent me is true," the Jews understood not that He spake to them of the Father. And He said to them, as you have just heard in the reading, "When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am, and [that] I do nothing of myself; but as the Father hath taught me, I speak these things." What means this? For it looks as if all He said was, that they would know who He was after His passion. Without doubt, therefore, He saw that some there, whom He Himself knew, whom with the rest of His saints He Himself in His foreknowledge had chosen before the foundation of the world, would believe after His passion. These are the very persons whom we are constantly commending, and with much entreaty setting forth for your imitation. For on the sending down of the Holy Spirit after the Lord's passion, and resurrection, and ascension, when miracles were being done in the name of Him whom, as if dead, the persecuting Jews had despised, they were pricked in their hearts; and they who in their rage slew Him were changed and believed; and they who in their rage shed His blood, now in the spirit of faith drank it; to wit, those three thousand, and those five thousand Jews(1) whom now He saw there, when He said, "When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am [He]." It was as if He had said, I let your recognition lie over till I have completed my passion: in your own order ye shall know who I am. Not that all who heard Him were only then to believe, that is, after the Lord's passion; for a little after it is said, "As He spake these words, many believed, on Him;" and the Son of man was not yet lifted up. But the lifting up He is speaking of is that of His passion, not of His glorification; of the cross, not of heaven; for He was exalted there also when He hung on the tree. But that exaltation was His humiliation; for then He became obedient even to the death of the cross.(2) This required to be accomplished by the hands of those who should afterwards believe, and to whom He says, "When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am [He]." And why so, but that no one might despair, however guilty his conscience, when he saw those forgiven their homicide who had slain the Christ?

3. The Lord then, recognizing such in that crowd, said, "When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am [He]." You know already what "I am" signifies; and we must not be continually repeating, lest so great a subject beget distaste. Recall that, "I am who am," and "He who is hath sent me,"(3) and you will recognize the meaning of the words, "Then shall ye know that I am." But both the Father is, and the Holy Spirit is. To the same is belongs the whole Trinity. But because the Lord spake as the Son, in order that, when He says, "Then shall ye know that I am," there might be no chance of entrance for the error of the Sabellians, that is, of the Patripassians,--an error which I have charged you not to hold, but to beware of,--the error, I mean, of those who have said, The Father and Son are one and the same; two names, but one reality;--to guard them against that error, when the Lord said, "Then shall ye know that I am," that He might not be understood as Himself the Father, He immediately added, "And I do nothing of myself; but as my Father taught me, I speak these things." Already was the Sabellian beginning to rejoice over the discovery of a ground for his error; but immediately on showing himself as it were in the shade, he was confounded by the light of the following sentence. Thou thoughtest that He was the Father, because He said, "I am." Hear now that He is the Son: "And I do nothing of myself." What means this, "I do nothing of myself"? Of myself I am not. For the Son is God, of(1) the Father; but the Father is God, yet not of the Son. The Son is God of God, and the Father is God, but not of God. The Son is light of light; and the Father is light, but not of light. The Son is, but there is [One] of whom He is; and the Father is, but there is none of whom He is.

4. Let not then, my brethren, His further words, "As my Father hath taught me, I speak these things," be the occasion of any carnal thought stealing into your minds. For human weakness cannot think, but as it is accustomed to act and to hear. Do not then set before your eyes as it were two men, one the father, the other the son, and the father speaking to the son; as any one of you may do, when you say something to your son, admonishing and instructing him how to speak, to charge his memory with what you have told him, and, having done so, to express it in words, to enunciate distinctly, and convey to the ears of others what he has apprehended with his own. Think not thus, lest you be fabricating idols in your heart. The human shape, the outlines of human limbs, the form of human flesh, the outward senses, stature and motions of the body, the functions of the tongue, the distinctions of sounds,--think not of such as existing in that Trinity, save as they pertain to the servant-form, which the only- begotten Son assumed, when the Word was made flesh to dwell among us.(2) Thereof I forbid thee not, human weakness, to think according to thy knowledge: nay, rather I require thee. If the faith that is in thee be true, think of Christ as such; but as such of the Virgin Mary, not of God the Father. He was an infant, He grew as a man, He walked as a man, He hungered, He thirsted as a man, He slept as a man; at last He suffered as a man, hung on the tree, was slain and buried as a man. In the same form He rose again; in the same, before the eyes of His disciples, He ascended into heaven; in the same will He yet come to judgment. For angel lips have declared in the Gospel, "He shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven."(3) When then you think of the servant-form in Christ, think of a human likeness, if you have faith; but when you think, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God,"(4) away with all human fashioning from your heart. Banish from your thoughts everything bounded by corporeal limits, included in local measurement, or spread out in a mass, how great soever its size. Perish utterly such a figment from your heart. Think, if you can, on the beauty of wisdom, picture to yourself the beauty of righteousness. Has that a shape? a size? a color? It has none of these, and yet it is; for if it were not, it would neither be loved nor worthy of praise, nor be cherished in our heart and life as an object of honor and affection. But men here become wise; and whence would they so, had wisdom no existence? And further, O man, if thou canst not see thine own wisdom with the eyes of the flesh, nor think of it by the same mental imagery as thou canst of bodily things, wilt thou dare to thrust the shape of a human body on the wisdom of God?

5. What shall we say then, brethren? How spake the Father to the Son, seeing that the Son says, "As the Father taught me, I speak these things"? Did He speak to Him? When the Father taught the Son, did He use words, as you do when you teach your son? How could He use words to the Word! What words, many in number, could be used to the one Word? Did the Word of the Father approach His ears to the Father's mouth? Such things are carnal: banish them from your hearts. For this I say, if only you have understood my words, I certainly have spoken and my words have sounded, and by their sound have reached your ears, and through your sense of hearing have carried their meaning to your mind, if so be you have understood. Suppose that some person of Latin(5) speech has heard, but has only heard without understanding, what I have said. As regards the noise issuing from my mouth, he who has understood not has been a sharer therein just like yourselves. He has heard that sound; the same syllables have smote on his ears, but they have produced no effect on his mind. Why? Because he understood not. But if you have understood, whence comes your understanding? My words have sounded in the ear: have I kindled any light in the heart? Without doubt, if what I have said is true, and this truth you have not only heard, but also understood, two things have there been wrought (distinguish between them), hearing and intelligence. Hearing has been wrought by me, but by whom has understanding? I have spoken to the ear, that you might hear; who has spoken to your heart for understanding? Doubtless some one has also said something to your heart, that not only the noise of words might strike your ear, but something also of the truth might descend into your heart. Some one has spoken also to your heart, but you do not see him. If, brethren, you have understood, your heart also has been spoken to. Intelligence is the gift of God. And who, if you have understood, has spoken so in your heart, but He to whom the Psalm says, "Give me understanding, that I may learn Thy commandments?"(1) For example, the bishop has spoken. What has he said? some one asks. You repeat what he has spoken, and add, He has said the truth. Then another, who has not understood, says, What has he said, or what is it you are praising? Both have heard me; I have spoken to both; but to one of them God has spoken. If we may compare small things with great (for what are we to Him?), something, I know not what, of an incorporeal and spiritual kind God works in us, which is neither sound to strike the ear, nor color to be discerned by the eyes, nor smell to enter the nostrils, nor taste to be judged of by the mouth, nor anything hard or soft to be sensible to the touch; yet something there is which it is easy to feel,--impossible to explain. If then God, as I was saying, speaks in our hearts without sound, how speaks He to His Son? Thus then, brethren, think thus as much as you can, if, as I have said, we may in some measure compare small things with great: think thus. In an incorporeal way the Father spoke to the Son, because in an incorporeal way the Father begot the Son. Nor did He so teach Him as if He had begotten Him untaught; but to have taught Him is the same as to have begotten Him full of knowledge; and this, "The Father hath taught me," is the same as, The Father hath begotten me already knowing. For if, as few understand, the nature of the Truth is simple, to be is to the Son the same as to know. From Him therefore He has knowledge, from whom He has being.(2) Not that from Him He had first being, and afterwards knowledge; but as in begetting He gave Him to be, so in begetting He gave Him to know; for, as was said, to the simple nature of the Truth, being is not one thing and knowing another, but one and the same.

6. Thus then He spoke to the Jews, and added, "And He that sent me is with me." He had already said this also before, but of this important point He is constantly reminding them,--"He sent me," and "He is with me." If then, O Lord, He is with Thee, not so much hath the One been sent by the other, but ye Both have come. And yet, while Both are together, One was sent, the Other was the sender; for incarnation is a sending, and the incarnation itself belongs only to the Son and not to the Father. The Father therefore sent the Son, but did not withdraw from the Son. For it was not that the Father was absent from the place to which He sent the Son. For where is not the Maker of all things? Where is He not, who said, "I fill heaven and earth"?(3) But perhaps the Father is everywhere, and the Son not so? Listen to the evangelist: "He was in this world, and the world was made by Him."(4) Therefore said He, "He that sent me," by whose power as Father I am incarnate, "is with me,--hath not left me." Why hath He not left me? "He hath not left me," He says, "alone; for I do always those things that please Him." That equality exists always; not from a certain beginning, and then onwards; but without beginning, without end. For Divine generation has no beginning in time, since time itself was created by the Only-begotten.

7. "As He spake these words, many believed on Him." Would that, while I speak also, many, who before this were otherwise disposed, understood and believed on Him! For perhaps there are some Arians in this large assembly. I dare not suspect that there are any Sabellians, who say that the Father Himself is one with the Son, seeing that heresy is too old, and has been gradually eviscerated. But that of the Arians seems still to have some movement about it, like that of a putrefying carcase, or certainly, at the most, like a man at the last gasp; and from this some still require deliverance, just as from that other many were delivered. This province, indeed, did not use to have such; but ever since the arrival of many foreigners, some of these have also found their way to our neighborhood. See then, while the Lord spoke these words, many Jews believed on Him. May I see also that, while I am speaking, Arians are believing, not on me, but with me!

8. "Then said the Lord to those Jews who believed on Him, If ye continue in my word." "Continue," I say, for you are now initiated and have begun to be there. "If ye continue," that is, in the faith which is now begun in you who believe, to what will you attain? See the nature of the beginning, and whither it leads. You have loved the foundation, give heed to the summit, and out of this low condition seek that other elevation. For faith has humility, but knowledge and immortality and eternity possess not lowliness, but loftiness; that is, upraising, all-sufficiency, eternal stability, full freedom from hostile assault, from fear of failure. That which has its beginning in faith is great, but is despised. In a building also the foundation is usually of little account with the unskilled. A large trench is made, and stones are thrown in every way and everywhere. No embellishment, no beauty are apparent there; just as also in the root of a tree there is no appearance of beauty. And yet all that delights you in the tree has sprung from the root. You look at the root and feel no delight: you look at the tree and admire it. Foolish man! what you admire has grown out of that which gave you no delight. The faith of believers seems a thing of little value,--you have no scales to weigh it. Hear then to what it attains, and see its greatness: as the Lord Himself says in another place, "If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed."(1) What is there of less account than that, yet what is there pervaded with greater energy? What more minute, yet what more fervidly expansive? And so "ye" also, He says, "if ye continue in my word," wherein ye have believed, to what will ye be brought? "ye shall be my disciples indeed." And what does that benefit us? "and ye shall know the truth."

9. What, brethren, does He promise believers? "And ye shall know the truth." Why so? Had they not come to such knowledge when the Lord was speaking? If they had not, how did they believe? They believed, not because they knew, but that they might come to know. For we believe in order that we may know, we do not know in order that we may believe. For what we shall yet know, neither eye hath seen, nor ear heard, nor hath it entered the heart of man.(2) For what is faith, but believing what you see not? Faith then is to believe what you see not; truth, to see what you have believed, as He Himself saith in a certain place. The Lord then walked on earth, first of all, for the creation of faith. He was man, He was made in a low condition. He was seen by all, but not by all was He known. By many was He rejected, by the multitude was He slain, by few was He mourned; and yet even by those who mourned Him, His true being was still unrecognized. All this is the beginning as it were of faith's lineaments and future up- building. As the Lord, referring thereto, saith in a certain place, "He that loveth me keepeth my commandments; and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him."(3) They certainly already saw the person to whom they were listening; and yet to them, if they loved Him, does He give it as a promise that they should see Him. So also here, "Ye shall know the truth." How so? Is that not the truth which Thou hast been speaking? The truth it is, but as yet it is only believed, not beheld. If you abide in that which is believed, you shall attain to that which is seen. Hence John himself, the holy evangelist, says in his epistle, "Dearly beloved, we are the sons of God; but it is not yet apparent what we shall be." We are so already, and something we shall be. What more shall we be than we are? Listen: "It is not yet apparent what we shall be: [but] we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him." How? "For we shall see Him as He is."(4) A great promise, but the reward of faith. You seek the reward; then let the work precede. If you believe, ask for the reward of faith; but if you believe not, with what face can you seek the reward of faith? "If" then "ye continue in my word, ye shall be my disciples indeed," that ye may behold the very truth as it is, not through sounding words, but in dazzling light, wherewith He shall satisfy(5) us: as we read in the psalm, "The light of Thy countenance is impressed upon us."(6) We are God's money: we have wandered away as coin from the treasury. The impression that was stamped upon us has been rubbed out by our wandering. He has come to refashion, for He it was that fashioned us at first; and He is Himself asking for His money, as Caesar for his. Therefore He says, "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's:"(7) to Caesar his money, to God yourselves. And then shall the truth be reproduced in us.

10. What shall I say to your Charity? Oh that our hearts were in some measure aspiring after that ineffable glory! Oh that we were passing our pilgrimage in sighs, and loving not the world, and continually pushing onwards with pious minds to Him who hath called us! Longing is the very bosom of the heart. We shall attain, if with all our power we give way to our longing. Such in our behalf is the object of the divine Scriptures, of the assembling of the people, of the celebration of the sacraments, of holy baptism, of singing God's praise, and of this our own exposition,--that this longing may not only be implanted and germinate, but also expand to such a measure of capacity as to be fit to take in what eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor hath entered into the heart of man. But love with me. He who loves God is not much in love with money, And I have but touched on this infirmity, not venturing to say, He loves not money at all, but, He loves not money much; as if money were to be loved, but not in a great degree. Oh, were we loving God worthily, we should have no love at all for money! Money then will be thy means of pilgrimage, not the stimulant of lust; something to use for necessity, not to joy over as a means of delight. Love God, if He has wrought in thee somewhat of that which thou hearest and praisest. Use the world: let not the world hold thee captive. Thou art passing on the journey thou hast begun; thou hast come, again to depart, not to abide. Thou art passing on thy journey, and this life is but a wayside inn. Use money as the traveller at an inn uses table, cup, pitcher, and couch, with the purpose not of remaining, but of leaving them behind. If such you would be, you, who can stir up your hearts and hear me; if such you would be, you will attain to His promises. It is not too much for your strength, for mighty is the hand of Him who hath called you. He hath called you. Call upon Him, say to Him, Thou hast called us, we call upon Thee; see, we have heard Thee calling us, hear us calling upon Thee: lead us whither Thou hast promised; perfect what Thou hast begun; forsake not Thine own gifts; leave not Thine own field; let Thy tender shoots yet be gathered into Thy barn. Temptations abound in the world, but greater is He who made the world. Temptations abound, but he fails not whose hope reposes in Him in whom there is no deficiency.

11. I have been exhorting you, brethren, to this in such words, because the freedom of which our Lord Jesus Christ speaks belongs not to this present time. Look at what He added: "Ye shall be my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free." What means that--"shall set you free"? It shall make you freemen. In a word, the carnal, and fleshly-minded Jews--not those who had believed, but those in the crowd who believed not--thought that an injury was done them, because He said to them, "The truth shall make you free." They were indignant at being designated as slaves. And slaves truly they were; and He explains to them what slavery it is, and what is that future freedom which is promised by Himself. But of this liberty and of that slavery it were too long to speak to-day.


1. Of what follows of the previous lesson, and has been read publicly to us to-day from the holy Gospel, I then deferred speaking, because I had already said much, and of that liberty into which the grace of the Saviour calleth us it was needful to treat in no cursory or negligent way. Of this, by the Lord's help, we purpose speaking to you to-day. For those to whom the Lord Jesus Christ was speaking were Jews. in a large measure indeed His enemies, but also in some measure already become, and yet to be, His friends; for some He saw there, as we have already said, who should yet believe after His passion. Looking to these, He had said, "When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am [He]." (1) There also were those who, when He so spake. straightway believed. To them He spake what we have heard to-day: "Then said Jesus to those Jews who believed on Him, If ye continue in my word, ye shall be my disciples indeed." By continuing ye shall be so; for as now ye are believers, by so continuing ye shall be beholders. Hence there follows, "And ye shall know the truth." The truth is unchangeable. The truth is bread, which refreshes our minds and fails not; changes the eater, and is not itself changed into the eater. The truth itself is the Word of God, God with God, the only- begotten Son. This Truth was for our sake clothed with flesh, that He might be born of the Virgin Mary, and the prophecy fulfilled, "Truth has sprung from the earth." (1) This Truth then, when speaking to the Jews, lay hid in the flesh. But He lay hid not in order to be denied, but to be deferred [in His manifestation]; to be deferred, in order to suffer in the flesh; and to suffer in the flesh, in order that flesh might be redeemed from sin. And so our Lord Jesus Christ, standing full in sight as regards the infirmity of flesh, but hid as regards the majesty of Godhead, said to those who had believed on Him, when He so spake, "If ye continue in my word, ye shall be my disciples indeed." For he that endureth to the end shall be saved. (2) "And ye shall know the truth," which now is hid from you, and speaks to you. "And the truth shall free you." This word, liberabit [shall free], the Lord hath taken from libertas [freedom]. For liberal [frees, delivers] is properly nothing else but liberum facit [makes free]. As salvat [he saves] is nothing else but salvum facit [he makes safe]; as he heals is nothing else but he makes whole; he enriches is nothing else but he makes rich; so liberat [he frees] is nothing else but liberum facil [he makes free]. This is clearer in the Greek word. (3) For in Latin usage we commonly say that a man is delivered (liberari), in regard not to liberty, but only to safety, just as one is said to be delivered from some infirmity. So is it said customarily, but not properly. But the Lord made such use of this word in saying, "And the truth shall make you free (liberabit)," that in the Greek tongue no one could doubt that He spake of freedom.

2. In short, the Jews also so understood and "answered Him;" not those who had already believed, but those in that crowd who were not yet believers. "They answered Him, We are Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be free?" But the Lord had not said, "Ye shall be free," but, "The truth shall make you free." That word, however, they, because, as I have said, it is clearly so in the Greek, understood as pointing only to freedom, and puffed themselves up as Abraham's seed, and said, "We are Ahraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be free?" O inflated skin! such is not magnanimity, but windy swelling. For even as regards freedom in this life, how was that the truth when you said, "We were never in bondage to any man"? Was not Joseph sold? (4) Were not the holy prophets led into captivity? (5) And again, did not that very nation, when making bricks in Egypt, also serve hard rulers, not only in gold and silver, but also in clay? (6) If you were never in bondage to any man, ungrateful people, why is it that God is continually reminding you that He delivered you from the house of bondage? (7) Or mean you, perchance, that your fathers were in bondage, but you who speak were never in bondage to any man? How then were you now paying tribute to the Romans, out of which also you formed a trap for the Truth Himself, as if to ensnare Him, when you said, "Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar?" in order that, had He said, It is lawful, you might fasten on Him as one ill-disposed to the liberty of Abraham's seed; and if He said, It is not lawful, you might slander Him before the kings of the earth, as forbidding the payment of tribute to such? Deservedly were you defeated on producing the money, and compelled yourselves to concur in your own capture. For there it was told you, "Render to Cæsar the things that are Cæsar's, and to God the things that are God's," after your own reply, that the money-piece bore the image of Cæsar. (8) For as Cæsar looks for his own image on the coin, so God looks for His in man. Thus, then, did He answer the Jews. I am moved, brethren, by the hollow pride of men, because even of that very freedom of theirs, which they understood carnally, they lied when they said, "We were never in bondage to any man."

3. But to the Lord's own answer, let us give better and more earnest heed, lest we ourselves be also found bondmen. For "Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that every one who committeth sin is the servant of sin." He is the servant--would that it were of man, and not of sin! Who will not tremble at such words? The Lord our God grant us, that is, both you and me, that I may speak in fitting terms of this freedom to be sought, and of that bondage to be avoided. "Amen, amen [verily, verily], I say unto you." The Truth speaks: and in what sense does the Lord our God claim it as His to say, "Amen, amen, I say unto you"? His charge is weighty in so announcing it. In some sort, if lawful to be said, His form of swearing is, "Amen, amen, I say unto you." Amen in a way may be interpreted, [It is] true [truly, verily]; and yet it is not interpreted, though it might have been said, What is true [verily] I say unto you. Neither the Greek translator nor the Latin has dared to do so; for this word Amen is neither Greek nor Latin, but Hebrew. So it has remained without interpretation, to possess honor as the covering of something hidden; not in order to be disowned, but that it might not, as a thing laid bare to the eye, fall into disrepute. And yet it is not once, but twice uttered by the Lord, "Amen, amen, I say unto you." And now learn from the very doubling, how much was implied in the charge before us.

4. What, then, is the charge given? Verily, verily, I say unto you, saith the Truth who surely, though He had not said, Verily, I say, could not possibly lie. Yet [thereby] He impresses, inculcates His charge, arouses in a way the sleeping, makes them attentive, and would not be contemned. What does He say? "Verily, verily, I say unto you, that every one who committeth sin is the servant of sin." Miserable slavery! Men frequently, when they suffer under wicked masters, demand to get themselves sold, not seeking to be without a master, but at all events to change him. What can the servant of sin do? To whom can he make his demand? To whom apply for redress? Of whom require himself to be sold? And then at times a man's slave, worn out by the commands of an unfeeling master, finds rest in flight. Whither can the servant of sin flee? Himself he carries with him wherever he flees. An evil conscience flees not from itself; it has no place to go to; it follows itself. Yea, he cannot withdraw from himself, for the sin he commits is within. He has committed sin to obtain some bodily pleasure. The pleasure passes away; the sin remains. What delighted is gone; the sting has remained behind. Evil bondage! Sometimes men flee to the Church, and we generally permit them, uninstructed as they are--men, wishing to be rid of their master, who are unwilling to be rid of their sins. But sometimes also those subjected to an unlawful and wicked yoke flee for refuge to the Church; for, though free-born men, they are retained in bondage: and an appeal is made to the bishop. And unless he care to put forth every effort to save free-birth from oppression, he is accounted unmerciful. Let us all flee to Christ, and appeal against sin to God as our deliverer. Let us seek to get ourselves sold, that we may be redeemed by His blood. For the Lord says, "Ye were sold for nought, and ye shall be redeemed without money." (1) Without price, that is, of your own; because of mine. So saith the Lord; for He Himself has paid the price, not in money, but His own blood. Otherwise we had remained both bondmen and indigent.

5. From this bondage, then, we are set free by the Lord alone. He who had it not, Himself delivers us from it; for He alone came without sin in the flesh. For the little ones whom you see carried in their mothers' hands cannot yet walk, and are already in fetters; for they have received from Adam what they are loosened from by Christ. To them also, when baptized, pertains that grace which is promised by the Lord; for He only can deliver from sin who came without sin, and was made a sacrifice for sin. For you heard when the apostle was read: "We are ambassadors," he says, "for Christ, as though God were exhorting you by us; we beseech you in Christ's stead,"--that is, as if Christ were beseeching you, and for what? --"to be reconciled unto God." If the apostle exhorts and beseeches us to be reconciled unto God, then were we enemies to God. For no one is reconciled unless from a state of enmity. And we have become enemies not by nature, but by sin. From the same source are we the servants of sin, that we are the enemies of God. God has no enemies in a state of freedom. They must be slaves; and slaves will they remain unless delivered by Him to whom they wished by their sins to be enemies. Therefore, says be, "We beseech you in Christ's stead to be reconciled unto God." But how are we reconciled, save by the removal of that which separates between us and Himself? For He says by the prophet, "He hath not made the ear heavy that it should not hear; but your iniquities have separated between you and your God." (2) And so, then, we are not reconciled, unless that which is in the midst is taken away, and something else is put in its place. For there is a separating medium, and, on the other hand, there is a reconciling Mediator. The separating medium is sin, the reconciling Mediator is the Lord Jesus Christ: "For there is one God and Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." (3) To take then away the separating wall, which is sin, that Mediator has come, and the priest has Himself become the sacrifice. And because He was made a sacrifice for sin, offering Himself as a whole burnt-offering on the cross of His passion, the apostle, after saying, "We beseech you in Christ's stead to be reconciled unto God,"--as if we had said, How shall we be able to be reconciled?--goes on to say, "He hath made Him," that is, Christ Himself, "who knew no sin, [to be] sin for us, that we may be the righteousness of God in Him," (1) "Him," he says, Christ Himself our God, "who knew no sin." For He came in the flesh, that is, in the likeness of sinful flesh, (2) but not in Sinful flesh, because He had no sin at all; and therefore became a true sacrifice for sin, because He Himself had no sin.

6. But perhaps, through some special perception of my own, I have said that sin is a sacrifice for sin. Let those who have read it be free to acknowledge it; let not those who have not read it be backward; let them not, I say, be backward to read, that they may be truthful in judging. For when God gave commandment about the offering of sacrifices for sin, in which sacrifices there was no expiation of sins, but the shadow of things to come, the self-same sacrifices, the self-same offerings, the self-same victims, the self-same animals, which were brought forward to be slain for sins, and in whose blood that [true] blood was prefigured, are themselves called sins (3) by the law; and that to such an extent that in certain passages it is written in these terms, that the priests, when about to sacrifice, were to lay their hands on the head of the sin, that is, on the head of the victim about to be sacrificed for sin. Such sin, then, that is, such a sacrifice for sin, was our Lord Jesus Christ made, "who knew no sin."

7. With efficacious merit does He deliver from this bondage of sin, who saith in the psalms: "I am become as a man without help, free among the dead." (4) For He only was free, because He had no sin. For He Himself says in the Gospel, "Behold, the prince of this world cometh," meaning the devil about to come in the persons of the persecuting Jews;--"behold," He says, "he cometh, and shall find nothing in me." (5) Not as he found some measure of sin in those whom he also slew as righteous; in me he shall find nothing. And just as if He were asked, If he shall find nothing in Thee, wherefore will he slay Thee? He further said, "But that all may know that I do the will of my Father, rise and let us go hence." I do not, He says, pay the penalty of death as a necessity of my sinfulness; but in the death I die, I do the will of my Father. And in this, I am doing rather than enduring it; for, were I unwilling, I should not have had the suffering to endure. You have Him saying in another place, "I have power to lay down my life, and I have power to take it up again." (6) Here surely is one "free among the dead."

8. Since, then, every one that committeth sin is the servant of sin, listen to what is our hope of liberty. "And the servant," He says, "abideth not in the house for ever." The church is the house, the servant is the sinner. Many sinners enter the church. Accordingly He has not said, "The servant" is not in the house, but "abideth not in the house for ever." If, then, there shall be no servant there, who will be there? For "when" as the Scripture speaketh, "the righteous king sitteth on the throne, who will boast of having a clean heart? or who will boast that he is pure from his sin?" (7) He has greatly alarmed us, my brethren, by saying, "The servant abideth not in the house for ever." But He further adds, "But the Son abideth ever." Will Christ, then, be alone in His house? Will no people remain at His side? Whose head will He be, if there shall be no body? Or is the Son all this, both the head and the body? For it is not without cause that He has inspired both terror and hope: terror, in order that we should not love sin; and hope, that we should not be distrustful of the remission of sin. "Every one," He says, "that committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever." What hope, then, have we, who are not without sin? Listen to thy hope: "The Son abideth for ever. If the Son, therefore, shall make you free, then shall ye be free indeed." Our hope is this, brethren, to be made free by the free One; and that, in setting us free, He may make us His servants. For we were the servants of lust; but being set free, we are made the servants of love. This also the apostle says: "For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only Use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another." (8) Let not then the Christian say, I am free; I have been called unto liberty: I was a slave, but have been redeemed, and by my very redemption have been made free, I shall do what I please: no one may balk me of my will, if I am free. But if thou committest sin with such a will, thou art the servant of sin. Do not then abuse your liberty for freedom in sinning, but use it for the purpose of sinning not. For only if thy will is pious, will it be free. Thou wilt be free, if thou art a servant still,--free from sin, the servant of righteousness: as the apostle says, "When ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. But now, being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life." (1) Let us be striving after the latter, and be doing the other.

9. The first stage of liberty is to be free from crimes. Give heed, my brethren, give heed, that I may not by any means mislead your understanding as to the nature of that liberty at present, and what it will be. Sift any one soever of the highest integrity in this life, and however worthy he may already be of the name of upright, yet is he not without sin. Listen to Saint John himself, the author of the Gospel before us, when he says in his epistle, "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." (2) He alone could say this who was "free among the dead:" of Him only could it be said, who knew no sin. It could be said only of Him, for He also "was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin." (3) He alone could say, "Behold, the prince of this world cometh, and shall find nothing in me." Sift any one else, who is accounted righteous, yet is he not in all respects without sin; not even such as was Job, to whom the Lord bore such testimony, that the devil was filled with envy, and demanded that he should be tempted, and was himself defeated in the temptation, to the end that Job might be proved. (4) And he was proved for this reason, not that the certainty of his carrying off the conqueror's wreath was unknown to God, but that he might become known as an object of imitation to others. And what says Job himself? "For who is clean? not even the infant whose life is but a day's span upon the earth." (5) But it is plain that many are called righteous without opposition, because the term is understood as meaning, free from crime; for in human affairs there is no just ground of complaint attaching to those who are free from criminal conduct. But crime is grievous sin, deserving in the highest measure to be denounced and condemned. Not, however, that God condemns certain sins, and justifies and praises certain others. He approves of none. He hates them all. As the physician dislikes the ailment of the ailing, and works by his healing measures to get the ailment removed and the ailing relieved; so God by his grace worketh in us, that sin may be consumed, and man made free. But when, you will be saying, is it consumed? If it is lessened, why is it not consumed? That is growing less in the life of those who are advancing onwards, which is consumed in the life of those who have attained to perfection.

10. The first stage of liberty, then, is to be free from crimes [sinful conduct]. And so the Apostle Paul, when he determined on the ordination of either elders or deacons, or whoever was to be ordained to the superintendence of the Church, says not, If any one is without sin; for had he said so, every one would be rejected as unfit, none would be ordained: but he says, "If any one is without crime" [E.V. blame], (6) such as, murder, adultery, any uncleanness of fornication, theft, fraud, sacrilege, and others of that sort. When a man has begun to be free from these (and every Christian man ought to be so), he begins to raise his head to liberty; but that is liberty begun, not completed. Why, says some one, is it not completed liberty? Because, "I see another law in my members warring against the law of my mind;" "for what I would," he says, "that do I not; but what I hate, that do I." (7) "The flesh," he says, "lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh; so that ye do not the things that ye would." (8) In part liberty, in part bondage: not yet entire, not yet pure, not yet full liberty, because not yet eternity. For we have still infirmity in part, in part we have attained to liberty. Whatever has been our sin, was previously wiped out in baptism. But because all our iniquity has been blotted out, has there remained no infirmity? If there had not, we should be living here without sin. Yet who would venture to say so, but the proud, but the man unworthy of the Deliverer's mercy, but he who wishes to be self-deceived, and who is destitute of the truth? Hence, from the fact that some infirmity remains, I venture to say that, in what measure we serve God, we are free; in what measure we serve the law of sin, we are still in bondage. Hence says the apostle, what we began to say, "I delight in the law of God after the inward man. "(9) Here then it is, wherein we are free, wherein we delight in the law of God; for liberty has joy. For as long as it is from fear that thou doest what is right, God is no delight to thee. Find thy delight in Him, and thou art free. Fear not punishment, but love righteousness. Art thou not yet able to love righteousness? Fear even punishment, that thou mayest attain to the love of righteousness.

11. In the measure then spoken of above, he felt himself to be already free, and therefore said, "I delight in the law of God after the inward man." I delight in the law, I delight in its requirements, I delight in righteousness itself. "But I see another law in my members"--this infirmity which remains--"warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin, which is in my members." On this side he feels Iris captivity, where righteousness has not been perfected; for where he delights in the law of God, he is not the captive but the friend of the law; and therefore free, because a friend. What then is to be done with that which so remains? What, but to look to Him who has said, "If the Son shall make you free, then shall ye be free indeed"? Indeed he also who thus spake so looked to Him: "O wretched man that I am," he says, "who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God, through Jesus Christ our Lord." Therefore "if the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." And then he concluded thus: "So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin." (1) I myself, he says; for there are not two of us contrary to each other, coming from different origins; but "with the mind I myself serve the law of God, and with the flesh the law of sin," so long as languor struggles against salvation.

12. But if with the flesh thou servest the law of sin, do as the apostle himself says: "Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lust thereof: neither yield ye your members as weapons of unrighteousness unto sin." (2) He says not, Let it not be; but, "Let it not reign." So long as sin must be in thy members, let its reigning power at least be taken away, let not its demands be obeyed. Does anger rise? Yield not up thy tongue to anger for the purpose of evil- speaking; yield not up thy hand or foot to anger for the purpose of striking. That irrational anger would not rise, were there no sin in the members. But take away its ruling power; let it have no weapons wherewith to fight against thee. Then also it will learn not to rise, when it begins to find the lack of weapons. "Yield not your members as weapons of unrighteousness unto sin," else will ye be entirely captive, and there will be no room to say, "With the mind I serve the law of God." For if the mind keep possession of the weapons, the members are not roused to the service of raging sin. Let the inward ruler keep possession of the citadel, because it stands there under a greater ruler, and is certain of assistance. Let it bridle anger; let it restrain evil desire. There is within something that needs bridling, that needs restraining, that needs to be kept in command. And what did that righteous man wish, who with the mind was serving the law of God, but that there should be a complete deliverance from that which needed to be bridled? And this ought every one to be striving after who is aiming at perfection, that lust itself also, no longer receiving the obedience of the members, may every day be lessened in the advancing pilgrim. "To will," he says, "is present with me; but not so, how to perfect that which is good." (3) Has he said, To do good is not present with me? Had he said so, hope would be wanting. He does not say, To do is not present with me, but, "To perfect is not present with me." For what is the perfecting of good, but the elimination and end of evil? And what is the elimination of evil, but what the law says, "Thou shalt not lust [covet]"? (4) To lust not at all is the perfecting of good, because it is the eliminating of evil. This he said, "To perfect that which is good is not present with me," because his doing could not get the length of setting him free from lust. He labored only to bridle lust, to refuse consent to lust, and not to yield his members to its service. "To perfect," then, he says, "that which is good is not present with me." I cannot fulfill the commandment, "Thou shalt not lust." What then is needed? To fulfill this: "Go not after thy lusts." (5) Do this meanwhile so long as unlawful lusts are present in thy flesh; "Go not after thy lusts." Abide in the service of God, in the liberty of Christ. With the mind serve the law of thy God. Yield not thyself to thy lusts. By following them, thou addest to their strength. By giving them strength, how canst thou conquer, when on thine own strength thou art nourishing enemies against thyself?

13. What then is that full and perfect liberty in the Lord Jesus, who said, "If the Son shall make you free, then shall ye be free indeed;" and when shall it be a full and perfect liberty? When enmities are no more; when "death, the last enemy, shall be destroyed." "For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.--And when this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written. Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy struggle?" (6) What is this, "O death, where is thy struggle"? "The flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh," but only when the flesh of sin was in vigor. "O death, where is [now] thy struggle?" Now shall we live, no more shall we die, in Him who died for us and rose again: "that they," he says, "who live, should no longer live unto themselves, but unto Him who died for them and rose again." (1) Let us be praying, as those who are wounded, for the physician; let us be carried into the inn to be healed. For it is He who promises salvation, who pitied the man left half-alive on the road by robbers. He poured in oil and wine, He healed the wounds, He put him on his beast, He took him to the inn, He commended him to the innkeeper's care. To what innkeeper? Perhaps to him who said, "We are ambassadors for Christ." He gave also two pence to pay for the healing of the wounded man. (2) And perhaps these are the two commandments, on which hang all the law and the prophets. (3) Therefore, brethren, is the Church also, wherein the wounded is healed meanwhile, the traveller's inn; but above the Church itself, lies the possessor's inheritance.


1. OUR Lord, in the form of a servant, yet not a servant, but even in servant-form the Lord (for that form of flesh was indeed servant-like; but though He was "in the likeness of sinful flesh," (1) yet was He not sinful flesh) promised freedom to those who believed in Him. But the Jews, as if proudly glorying in their own freedom, refused with indignation to be made free, when they were the servants of sin. And therefore they said that they were free, because Abraham's seed. What answer, then, the Lord gave them to this, we have heard in the reading of this day's lesson. "I know," He said, "that ye are Abraham's children; but ye seek to kill me, because my word taketh no hold in you." I recognize you, He says; "Ye are the children of Abraham, but ye seek to kill me." I recognize the fleshly origin, not the believing heart. "Ye are the children of Abraham," but after the flesh. Therefore He says, "Ye seek to kill me, because my word taketh no hold in you." If my word were taken, it would take hold: if ye were taken, ye would be enclosed like fishes within the meshes of faith. What then means that-- "taketh no hold in you"? It taketh not hold of your heart, because not received by your heart. For so is the word of God, and so it ought to be to believers, as a hook to the fish: it takes when it is taken. No injury is done to those who are taken; since they are taken for salvation, and not for destruction. Hence the Lord says to His disciples: "Come after me, and I shall make you fishers of men." (2) But such were not these; and yet they were the children of Abraham,--children of a man of God, unrighteous themselves. For they inherited the fleshly genus, but were become degenerate, by not imitating the faith of him whose children they were.

2. You have heard, indeed, the Lord saying, "I know that ye are Abraham's children." Hear what He says afterwards: "I speak that which I have seen with my Father; and ye do that which ye have seen with your father." He had already said, "I know that ye are Abraham's children." What is it, then, that they do? What He told them: "Ye seek to kill me." This they never saw with Abraham. But the Lord wishes God the Father to be understood when He says, "I speak that which I have seen with my Father." I have seen the truth: I speak the truth, because I am the Truth. For if the Lord speaks the truth which He has seen with the Father, He has seen Himself--He speaks Himself; because He Himself is the Truth of the Father, which He saw with the Father. For He is the Word--the Word which was with God. The evil, then, which these men do, and which the Lord chides and reprehends, where have they seen it? With their father. When we come to hear in what follows the still clearer statement who is their father, then shall we understand what kind of things they saw with such a father; for as yet He names not their father. A little above He referred to Abraham, but in regard to their fleshly origin, not their similarity of life. He is about to speak of that other father of theirs, who neither begat them nor created them to be men. But still they were his children in as far as they were evil, not in as far as they were men; in what they imitated him, and not as created by him.

3. "They answered and said unto Him, Abraham is our father;" as if, What hast thou to say against Abraham? or, If thou canst, dare to find fault with Abraham. Not that the Lord dared not find fault with Abraham; but Abraham was not one to be found fault with by the Lord, but rather approved. But these men seemed to challenge Him to say some evil of Abraham, and so to have some occasion for doing what they purposed. "Abraham is our father."

4. Let us hear how the Lord answered them, praising Abraham to their condemnation. "Jesus saith unto them, If ye are Abraham's children, do the works of Abraham. But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham." See, he was praised, they were condemned. Abraham was no manslayer. I say not, He implies, I am Abraham's Lord; though did I say it, I would say the truth. For He said in another place, "Before Abraham was, I am" (ver. 58); and then they sought to stone Him. He said not so. But meanwhile, as you see me, as you look upon me, as alone you think of me, I am a man. Wherefore, then, wish you to kill a man who is telling you what he has heard of God, but because you are not the children of Abraham? And yet He said above, "I know that ye are Abraham's children." He does not deny their origin, but condemns their deeds. Their flesh was from him, but not their life.

5. But we, dearly beloved, do we come of Abraham's race, or was Abraham in any sense our father according to the flesh? The flesh of the Jews draws its origin from his flesh, not so the flesh of Christians. We have come of other nations, and yet, by imitating him, we have become the children of Abraham. Listen to the apostle: "To Abraham and to his seed were the promises made. He saith not," he adds, "And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." (1) We then have become Abraham's seed by the grace of God. It was not of Abraham's flesh that God made any co-heirs with him. He disinherited the former, He adopted the latter; and from that olive tree whose root is in the patriarchs, He cut off the proud natural branches, and engrafted the lowly wild olive. (2) And so, when the Jews came to John to be baptized, he broke out upon them, and addressed them, "O generation of vipers." Very greatly indeed did they boast of the loftiness of their origin, but he called them a generation of vipers,--not even of human beings, but of vipers. He saw the form of men, but detected the poison. Yet they had come to be changed, (3) because at all events to be baptized; and he said to them, "O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance. And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father; for God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham." (4) If ye bring not forth fruits meet for repentance, flatter not yourselves about such a lineage. God is able to condemn you, without defrauding Abraham of children. For He has a way to raise up children to Abraham. Those who imitate his faith shall be made his children. "God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham." Such are we. In our parents we were stones, when we worshipped stones for our god. Of such stones God has created a family to Abraham.

6. Why, then, does this empty and vain bragging exalt itself? Let them cease boasting that they are the children of Abraham. They have heard what they ought to have heard: "If ye are the children of Abraham," prove it by your deeds, not by words. "Ye seek to kill me, a man;"--I say not, meanwhile, the Son of God; I say not God; I say not the Word, for the Word dies not I say merely this that you see; for only what you see can you kill, and whom you see not can you offend. "This," then, "did not Abraham." "Ye do the works of your father." And as yet He says not who is that father of theirs.

7. And now what answer did they give Him? For they began somewhat to realize that the Lord was not speaking of carnal generation, but of their manner of life. And because it is the custom of the Scriptures, which they read, to call it, in a spiritual sense, fornication, when the soul is, as it were, prostituted by subjection to many false gods, they made this reply:" Then said they to Him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God." Abraham has now lost his importance. For they were repulsed as they ought to have been by the truthspeaking mouth; because such was Abraham, whose deeds they failed to imitate, and yet gloried in his lineage. And they altered their reply, saying, I believe, with themselves, As often as we name Abraham, he goes on to say to us, Why do ye not imitate him in whose lineage ye glory? Such a man, so holy, just, and guileless, we cannot imitate. Let us call God our Father, and see what he will say to us.

8. Has falsehood indeed found something to say, and should not truth find its fitting reply? Let us hear what they say: let us hear what they hear. "We have one Father," they say, "even God. Then said Jesus unto them, If God were your Father, ye would [doubtless] love me; for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but He sent me." Ye call God Father; recognize me, then, as at least a brother. At the same time He gave a stimulus to the hearts of the intelligent, by touching on that which He has a habit of saying, "I came not of myself: He sent me. I proceeded forth and came from God." Remember what we are wont to say: From Him He came; and from whom He came, with Him He came. The sending of Christ, therefore, is His incarnation. But as respects the proceeding. forth of the Word from God, it is an eternal procession. Time holds not Him by whom time was created. Let no one be saying in his heart, Before the Word was, how did God exist? Never say, Before the Word of God was. God was never without the Word, because the Word is abiding, not transient; God, not a sound; by whom the heaven and earth were made, and which passed not away with those things that were made upon the earth. From Him, then, He proceeded forth as God, the equal, the only Son, the Word of the Father; and came to us. for the Word was made flesh that He might dwell among us. His coming indicates His humanity; His abiding, His divinity. It is His Godhead towards which, His humanity whereby, we make progress. Had He not become that whereby we might advance, we should never attain to Him who abideth ever.

9. "Why," He says, "do ye not understand my speech? Even because ye cannot hear my word." And so they could not understand, because they could not hear. And whence could they not hear, but just because they refused to be set right by believing? And why so? "Ye are of your father the devil." How long do ye keep speaking of a father? How often will ye change your fathers, -- at one time Abraham, at another God? Hear from the Son of God whose children ye be: "Ye are of your father the devil."

10. Here, now, we must beware of the heresy of the Manicheans, which affirms that there is a certain principle of evil, and a certain family of darkness with its princes, which had the presumption to fight against God; but that God, not to let His kingdom be subdued by the hostile family, despatched against them, as it were, His own offspring, princes of His own [kingdom of] light; and so subdued that race from which the devil derives his origin. From thence, also, they say our flesh derives its origin, and accordingly think the Lord said, "Ye are of your father the devil," because they were evil, as it were, by nature, deriving their origin from the opposing family of darkness. So they err, so their eyes are blinded, so they make themselves the family of darkness, by believing a falsehood against Him who created them. For every nature is good; but man's nature has been corrupted by an evil will. What God made cannot be evil, if man were not [a cause of] evil to himself. But surely the Creator is Creator, and the creature a creature [a thing created]. The creature cannot be put on a level with the Creator. Distinguish between Him who made, and that which He made. The bench cannot be put on a level with the mechanic, nor the pillar with its builder; and yet the mechanic, though he made the bench, did not himself create the wood. But the Lord our God, in His omnipotence and by the Word, made what He made. He had no materials out of which to make all that He made, and yet He made it. For they were made because He willed it, they were made because He said it; but the things made cannot be compared with the Maker. If thou seekest a proper subject of comparison, turn thy mind to the only-begotten Son. How, then, were the Jews the children of the devil? By imitation, not by birth. Listen to the usual language of the Holy Scriptures. The prophet says to those very Jews, "Thy father was an Amorite, and thy mother a Hittite." (1) The Amorites were not a nation that gave origin to the Jews. The Hittites also were themselves of a nation altogether different from the race of the Jews. But because the Amorites and Hittites were impious, and the Jews imitated their impieties, they found parents for themselves, not of whom they were born, but in whose damnation they should share, because following their customs. But perhaps you inquire, Whence is the devil himself? From the same source certainly as the other angels. But the other angels continued in their obedience. He, by disobedience and pride, fell as an angel, and became a devil.

11. But listen now to what the Lord says: "Ye," said He, "are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do." This is how ye are his children, because such are your lusts, not because ye are born of him. What are his lusts? "He was a murderer from the beginning." This it is that explains, "the lusts of your father ye will do." "Ye seek to kill me, a man that telleth you the truth." He, too, had ill-will to man, and slew man. For the devil, in his ill-will to man, assuming the guise of a serpent, spoke to the woman, and from the woman instilled his poison into the man. They died by listening to the devil, (1) whom they would not have listened to had they but listened to the Lord; for man, having his place between Him who created and him who was fallen, ought to have obeyed the Creator, not the deceiver. Therefore "he was a murderer from the beginning." Look at the kind of murder brethren. The devil is called a murderer not as armed with a sword, or girded with steel. He came to man, sowed his evil suggestions, and slew him. Think not, then, that thou art not a murderer when thou persuadest thy brother to evil. If thou persuadest thy brother to evil, thou slayest him. And to let thee know that thou slayest him, listen to the psalm: "The sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword." (2) Ye, then, "will do the lusts of your father;" and so ye go madly after the flesh, because ye cannot go after the spirit. "He was a murderer from the beginning;" at least in the case of the first of mankind. From the very time that murder [manslaughter] could possibly be committed, he was a murderer [manslayer]. Only from the time that man was made could manslaughter be committed. For man could not be slain unless man was previously made. Therefore, "he was a murderer from the beginning." And whence a murderer? "And he stood [abode] not in the truth." Therefore he was in the truth, and fell by not standing in it. And why "stood he not in the truth"? "Because the truth is not in him;" not as in Christ. In such a way is the truth [in Him], that Christ Himself is the Truth. If, then, he had stood in the truth, he would have stood in Christ; but "he abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him."

12. "When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it." (3) What is this? You have heard the words of the Gospel: you have received them with attention. Here now, I repeat them, that you may clearly understand the subject of your thoughts. The Lord said those things of the devil which ought to have been said of the devil by the Lord. That "he was a murderer from the beginning" is true, for he slew the first man; "and he abode not in the truth," for he lapsed from the truth. "When he speaketh a lie," to wit, the devil himself, "he speaketh of his own;" for he is a liar, and its [his] father." From these words some have thought that the devil has a father, and have inquired who was the father of the devil. Indeed this detestable error of the Manicheans has found means down to this present time wherewith to deceive the simple. For they are wont to say, Suppose that the devil was an angel, and fell; and with him sin began as you say; but, Who was his father? We, on the contrary, reply, Who of us ever said that the devil had a father? And they, on the other hand, rejoin, The Lord saith, and the Gospel declares, speaking of the devil, "He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and his father."

13. Hear and understand. I shall not send thee far away [for the meaning]; understand it from the words themselves. The Lord called the devil the father of falsehood. What is this? Hear what it is, only revolve the words themselves, and understand. It is not every one who tells a lie that is the father of his lie. For if thou hast got a lie from another, and uttered it, thou indeed hast lied in giving utterance to the lie; but thou art not the father of that lie, because thou hast got it from another. But the devil was a liar of himself. He begat his own falsehood; he heard it from no one. As God the Father begat as His Son the Truth, so the devil, having fallen, begat falsehood as his son. Hearing this, recall now and reflect upon the words of the Lord. Ye catholic minds, consider what ye have heard; attend to what He says. "He"--who? The devil--"was a murderer from the beginning." We admit it,--he slew Adam. "And he abode not in the truth." We admit it, for he lapsed from the truth. "Because there is no truth in him." True: by falling away from the truth he has lost its possession. "When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it." He is both a liar, and the father of lies. For thou, it may be, art a liar, because thou utterest a lie; but thou art not its father. For if thou hast got what thou sayest from the devil, and hast believed the devil, thou art a liar, but not the father of the lie. But he, because he got not elsewhere the lie wherewith in serpent-form he slew man as if by poison, is the father of lies just as God is Father of truth. Withdraw, then, from the father of lies: make haste to the Father of truth; embrace the truth, that you may enter into liberty.

14. Those Jews, then, spake what they saw with their father. And what was that but falsehood? But the Lord saw with His Father what He should speak; and what was that, but Himself? What, but the Word of the Father? What, but the truth of the Father, eternal itself, and co-eternal with the Father? He, then, "was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him; when he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own, for he is a liar,"--and not only a liar, but also "the father of it;" that is, of the very lie that he speaks he is the father, for he himself begat his lie. "And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. Which of you convicteth me of sin," as I convict both you and your father? "If I say the truth, why do ye not believe me," but just because ye are the children of the devil?

15. "He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God." Here, again, it is not of their nature as men, but of their depravity, that you are to think. In this way they are of God, and yet not of God. By nature they are of God, in depravity they are not of God. Give heed, I pray you. In the gospel you have the remedy against the poisonous and impious errors of the heretics. For of these words also the Manicheans are accustomed to say, See, here there are two natures, (1)--the one good and the other bad; the Lord says it. What says the Lord? "Ye therefore hear me not, because ye are not of God." This is what the Lord says. What then, he rejoins, dost thou say to that? Hear what I say. They are both of God, and not of God. By nature they are of God: by depravity they are not of God; for the good nature which is of God sinned voluntarily by believing the persuasive words of the devil, and was corrupted; and so it is seeking a physician, because no longer in health. That is what I say. But thou thinkest it impossible that they should be of God, and yet not of God. Hear why it is not impossible. They are of God, and yet not of God, in the same way as they are the children of Abraham, and yet not the children of Abraham. Here you have it. It is not as you say. Hearken to the Lord Himself; it is He that said to them, "I know that ye are the children of Abraham." Could there be any lie with the Lord? Surely not. Then is it true what the Lord said? It is true. Then it is true that they were the children of Abraham? It is true. But listen to Himself denying it. He who said, "Ye are the children of Abraham," Himself denied that they were the children of Abraham. "If ye are Abraham's children, do the deeds of Abraham. But now ye seek to kill me, a man that telleth you the truth, which I have heard from God: this did not Abraham. Ye do the works of your father," that is, of the devil. How, then, were they both Abraham's children, and yet not his children? Both states He showed in them. They were both Abraham's children in their carnal origin, and not his children in the sin of following the persuasion of the devil. So, also, apply it to our Lord and God, that they were both of Him, and not of Him. How were they of Him? Because He it was that created the man of whom they were born. How were they of Him? Because He is the Architect of nature,--Himself the Creator of flesh and spirit. How, then, were they not of Him? Because they had made themselves depraved. They were no longer of Him, because, imitating the devil, they had become the children of the devil.

16. Therefore came the Lord God to man as a sinner, Thou hast heard the two names, both man and sinner. As man, he is of God; as a sinner, he is not of God. Let the moral evil (2) in man be distinguished from his nature. Let that nature be owned, to the praise of the Creator; let the evil be acknowledged, that the physician may be called in to its cure. When the Lord then said, "He that is of God heareth the words of God: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God." He did not distinguish the value of different natures, or find, beyond their own soul and body, any nature in men which had not been vitiated by sin; but foreknowing those who should yet believe, them He called of God, because yet to be born again of God by the adoption of regeneration. To these apply the words "He that is of God heareth the words of God." But that which follows, "Ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God," was said to those who were not only corrupted by sin (for this evil was common to all), but also foreknown as those who would not believe with the faith that alone could deliver them from the bondage of sin. On this account He foreknew that those to whom He so spake would continue in that which they derived from the devil, that is, in their sins, and would die in the impiety in which they resembled him; and would not come to the regeneration wherein they would be the children of God, that is, be born of the God by whom they were created as men. In accordance with this predestinating purpose did the Lord speak; and not that He had found any man amongst them who either by regeneration was already of God, or by nature was no longer of God.


1. IN that lesson of the holy Gospel which has been read to-day, from power we learn patience. For what are we as servants to the Lord, as sinners to the Just One, as creatures to the Creator? Howbeit, just as in what we are evil, we are so of ourselves; so in whatever respects we are good, we are so of Him, and through Him. And nothing does man so seek as he does power. He has great power in the Lord Christ; but let him first imitate His patience, that he may attain to power. Who of us would listen with patience if it were said to him, "Thou hast a devil"? as was said to Him, who was not only bringing men to salvation, but also subjecting devils to His authority.

2. For when the Jews had said, "Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil?" of these two charges cast at Him, He denied the one, but not the other. For He answered and said, "I have not a devil" He did not say, I am not a Samaritan; and yet the two charges had been made. Although He returned not cursing with cursing, although He met not slander with slander, yet was it proper for Him to deny the one charge and not to deny the other. And not without a purpose, brethren. For Samaritan means keeper. (1) He knew that He was our keeper. For "He that keepeth Israel neither slumbereth nor sleepeth;" (2) and, "Except the Lord keep the city, they wake in vain who keep it." (3) He then is our Keeper who is our Creator. For did it belong to Him to redeem us, and would it not be His to preserve us? Finally, that you may know more fully the hidden reason (4) why He ought not to have denied that He was a Samaritan, call to mind that well-known parable, where a certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who wounded him severely, and left him half dead on the road. A priest came along and took no notice of him. A Levite came up, and he also passed on his way. A certain Samaritan came up -- He who is our Keeper. He went up to the wounded man. He exercised mercy, and did a neighbor's part to one whom He did not account an alien. (5) To this, then, He only replied that He had not a devil, but not that He was not a Samaritan.

3. And then after such an insult, this was all that He said of His own glory: "But I honor," said He, "my Father, and ye dishonor me." That is, I honor not myself, that ye may not think me arrogant. I have One to honor; and did ye recognize me, just as I honor the Father, so would ye also honor me. I do what I ought; ye do not what ye ought.

4. "And I," said He, "seek not mine own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth." Whom does He wish to be understood but the Father? How, then, does He say in another place, "The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son," (6) while here He says, "I seek not mine own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth"? If, then, the Father judgeth, how is it that He judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son?

5. In order to solve this point, attend. It may be solved by [quoting] a similar mode of speaking. Thou hast it written, "God tempt not any man;"(1) and again thou hast it written, "The Lord your God tempt you, to know whether you love Him."' Just the point in dispute, you see. For how does God tempt not any man, and how does the Lord your God tempt you, to know whether ye love Him? It is also written, "There is no fear in love but perfect love casteth out fear;"(3) and in another place it is written, "The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever."(4) Here also is the point in dispute. For how does perfect love cast out fear, if the fear of the Lord, which is clean, endureth for ever?

6. We are to understand, then, that there are two kinds of temptation: one, that deceives; the other, that proves. As regards that which deceives, God tempteth not any man; as regards that which proves, the Lord your God tempteth you, that He may know whether ye love Him. But here again, also, there arises another question, how He tempteth that He may know, from whom, prior to the temptation, nothing can be hid. It is not that God is ignorant; but it is said, that He may know, that is, that He may make you to know. Such modes of speaking are found both in our ordinary conversation, and in writers of eloquence. Let me say a word on our style of conversation. We speak of a blind ditch, not because it has lost its eyes, but because by lying hid it makes us blind to its existence. One speaks of "bitter lupins." that is, "sour;" not that they themselves are bitter, but because they occasion bitterness to those who taste them.(5) And so there are also expressions of this sort in Scripture. Those who take the trouble to attain a knowledge of such points have no trouble in solving them. And so "the Lord your God tempts you, that He may know." What is this, "that He may know"? That He may make you to know "if you love Him." Job was unknown to himself, but he was not unknown to God. He led the tempter into [Job], and brought him to a knowledge of himself.

7. What then of the two fears? There is a servile fear, and there is a clean [chaste] fear: there is the fear of suffering punishment, there is another fear of losing righteousness. That fear of suffering punishment is slavish. What great thing is it to fear punishment? The vilest slave and the cruelest robber do so. It is no great thing to fear punishment, but great it is to love righteousness. Has he, then, who loves righteousness no fear? Certainly he has; not of incurring of punishment, but of losing righteousness. My brethren, assure yourselves of it, and draw your inference from that which you love. Some one of you is fond of money. Can I find any one, think you, who is not so? Yet from this very thing which he loves he may understand my meaning. He is afraid of loss: why is he so? Because he loves money. In the same measure that he loves money, is he afraid of losing it. So, then, some one is found to be a lover of righteousness, who at heart is much more afraid of its loss, who dreads more being stripped of his righteousness, than thou of thy money. This is the fear that is clean--this [the fear] that endureth for ever, It is not this that love makes away with, or casteth out, but rather embraces it, and keeps it with it, and possesses it as a companion. For we come to the Lord that we may see Him face to face. And there it is this pure fear that preserves us; for such a fear as that does not disturb, but reassure. The adulterous woman fears the coming of her husband, and the chaste one fears her husband's departure.

8. Therefore, as, according to one kind of temptation, "God tempteth not any man;" but according to another, "The Lord your God tempteth you;" and according to one kind of fear, "there is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear;" but according to another, "the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever;"--so also, in this passage, according to one kind of judgment, "the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son;" and according to another, "I," said He, "seek not mine own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth."

9. This point may also be solved from the word itself. Thou hast penal judgment spoken of in the Gospel: "He that believeth not is judged(6) already;" and in another place, "The hour is coming, when those who are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of judgment."(7) You see how He has put judgment for condemnation and punishment. And yet if judgment were always to be taken for condemnation, should we ever have heard in the psalm, "Judge me, O God"? In the former place, judgment is used in the sense of inflicting pain; here, it is used in the sense of discernment.(1) How so? Just because so expounded by him who says, "Judge me, O God." For read, and see what follows. What is this "Judge me, O God," but just what he adds, "and discern' my cause against an unholy nation"?(3) Because then it was said, "Judge me, O God, and discern [the true merits of] my cause against an unholy nation;" similarly now said the Lord Christ, "I seek not mine own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth." How is there "one that seeketh and judgeth"? There is the Father, who discerns and distinguishes l between my glory and yours. For ye glory in the spirit of this present world. Not so do I who say to the Father, "Father, glorify Thou me with that glory which I had with Thee before the world was."(4) What is "that glory"? One altogether different from human inflation. Thus doth the Father judge. And so to "judge" is to "discern."(1) And what does He discern? The glory of His Son from the glory of mere men; for to that end is it said, "God, Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows."(5) For not because He became man is He now to be compared with us. We, as men, are sinful, He is sinless; we, as men, inherit from Adam both death and delinquency, He received from the Virgin mortal flesh, but no iniquity. In fine, neither because we wish it are we born, nor as long as we wish it do we live, nor in the way that we wish it do we die: but He, before He was born, chose of whom He should be born; at His birth He brought about the adoration of the Magi; He grew as an infant, and showed Himself God by His miracles, and surpassed man in His weakness. Lastly, He chose also the manner of His death, that is, to be hung on the cross, and to fasten the cross itself on the foreheads of believers, so that the Christian may say, "God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ."(6) On the very cross, when He pleased, He made His body be taken down, and departed; in the very sepulchre, as long as it pleased Him, He lay; and, when He pleased, He arose as from a bed. So, then, brethren, in respect to His very form as a servant (for who can speak of that other form as it ought to be spoken of, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God"?)--in respect, I say, to His very form as a servant, the difference is great between the glory of Christ and the glory of other men. Of that glory He spoke, when the devil-possessed heard Him say, "I seek not mine own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth."

10. But what sayest Thou, O Lord, of Thyself? "Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death." Ye say, "Thou hast a devil." I call you to life: keep my word and ye shall not die. They heard, "He shall never see death who keepeth my word," and were angry, because already dead in that death from which they might have escaped. "Then said the Jews, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death." See how Scripture speaks: "He shall not see," that is, "taste of death." "He shall see death--he shall taste of death." Who seeth? Who tasteth? What eyes has a man to see with when he dies? When death at its coming shuts up those very eyes from seeing aught, how is it said, "he shall not see death"? With what palate, also, and with what jaws can death be tasted, that its savor may be discovered? When it taketh every sense away, what will remain in the palate? But here, "he will see," and "he will taste," are used for that which is really the case, he will know by experience.

11. Thus spake the Lord (it is scarcely sufficient to say), as one dying to dying men; for "to the Lord also belong the issues from death,"(7) as saith the psalm. Seeing, then, He was both speaking to those destined to die, and speaking as one appointed to death Himself, what mean His words, "He who keepeth my saying shall never see death;" save that the Lord saw another death, from which He was come to deliver us--the second death, death eternal, the death of hell,(8) the death of damnation with the devil and his angels? This is real death; for that other is only a removal. What is that other death? The leaving of the body--the laying down of a heavy burden; provided another burden be not carried away, to drag the man headlong to hell. Of that real death then did the Lord say, "He who keepeth my saying shall never see death."

12. Let us not be frightened at that other death, but let us fear this one. But, what is very grievous, many, through a perverse fear of that other, have fallen into this. It has been said to some, Adore idols; for if you do it not, you shall be put to death: or, as Nebuchadnezzar said, If you do not, you shall be thrown into the furnace of flaming fire. Many feared and adored. Shrinking from death, they died. Through fear of the death which cannot be escaped, they fell into that which they might happily have escaped, had they not, unhappily, been afraid of that which is inevitable. As a man, thou art born--art destined to die. Whither wilt thou go to escape death? What wilt thou do to escape it? That thy Lord might comfort thee in thy necessary subjection to death, of His own good pleasure He condescended to die. When thou seest the Christ lying dead, art thou reluctant to die? Die then thou must; thou hast no means of escape. Be it today, be it tomorrow; it is to be--the debt must be paid. What, then, does a man gain by fearing, fleeing, hiding himself from discovery by his enemy? Does he get exemption from death? No, but that he may die a little later. He gets not security against his debt, but asks a respite. Put it off as long as you please, the thing so delayed will come at last. Let us fear that death which the three men feared when they said to the king, "God is able to deliver us even from that flame; and if not," etc.(1) There was there the fear of that death which the Lord now threatens, when they said, But also if He be not willing openly to deliver us, He can crown us with victory in secret. Whence also the Lord, when on the eve of appointing martyrs and becoming the head-martyr Himself, said, "Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do." How "have they no more that they can do"? What if, after having slain one, they threw his body to be mangled by wild beasts, and torn to pieces by birds? Cruelty seems still to have something it can do. But to whom is it done? He has departed. The body is there, but without feeling. The tenement lies on the ground, the tenant is gone. And so "after that they have no more that they can do;" for they can do nothing to that which is without sensation. "But fear Him who hath power to destroy both body and soul, in hell fire."(2) Here is the death that He spake of when He said, "He that keepeth my saying shall never see death." Let us keep then, A brethren, His own word in faith, as those who are yet to attain to sight, when the liberty we receive has reached its fullness.

13. But those men, indignant, yet dead, and predestinated to death eternal, answered with insults, and said, "Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets." But not in that death which the Lord meant to be understood was either Abraham dead or the prophets. For these were dead, and yet they live: those others were alive, and yet they had died. For, replying in a certain place to the Sadducees, when they stirred the question of the resurrection, the Lord Himself speaks thus: "But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read how the Lord said to Moses from the bush, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? He is not the God of the dead, but of the living."(3) If, then, they live, let us labor so to live, that after death we may be able to live with them. "Whom makest thou thyself," they add, that thou sayest, "he shall never see death who keepeth my saying," when thou knowest that both Abraham is dead and the prophets?

14. "Jesus answered, If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing: it is my Father that glorifieth me." He said this on account of their saying, "Whom makest thou thyself?" For He refers His glory to the Father, of whom it is that He is God. From this expression also the Arians sometimes revile our faith, and say, See, the Father is greater; for at all events He glorifies the Son. Heretic, hast thou not read of the Son Himself also saying that He glorifies His Father?(4) If both He glorifieth the Son, and the Son glorifieth the Father, lay aside thy stubbornness, acknowledge the equality, correct thy perversity.

15. "It is." then, said He, "my Father that glorifieth me; of whom ye say, that He is your God: and ye have not known Him." See, my brethren, how He shows that God Himself is the Father of the Christ, who was announced also to the Jews. I say so for his reason, that now again there are certain heretics who say that the God revealed in the Old Testament is not the Father of Christ. but some prince or other, I know not what, of evil angels. There are Manicheans who say so; there are Marcionites who say so. There are also, perhaps, other heretics, whom t is either unnecessary to mention, or all of whom I cannot at present recall; yet there have not been wanting those who said this. Attend, then, that you may have something also to affirm against such. Christ the Lord calleth Him His Father whom they called their God, and did not know; for had they known [that God] Himself they would have received His Son. "But I," said He, "know Him." To those judging after the flesh He might have seemed from such words to be self- assuming, because He said, "I know Him." But see what follows: "If I should say that I know Him not, I shall be a liar like unto you." Let not, then, self-assumption be so guarded against as to cause the relinquishment of truth. "But I know Him, and keep His saying." The saying of the Father He was speaking as Son; and He Himself was the Word of the Father, that was speaking to men.

16. "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day; and he saw, and was glad." Abraham's seed, Abraham's Creator, bears a great testimony to Abraham. "Abraham rejoiced," He says, "to see my day." He did not fear, but "rejoiced to see it." For in him there was the love that casteth out fear.(1) He says not, rejoiced because he saw; but "rejoiced that he might see." Believing, at all events, he rejoiced in hope to see with the understanding. "And he saw." And what more could the Lord Jesus Christ say, or what more ought He to have said? "And he saw," He says, "and was glad." Who can unfold this joy, my brethren? If those rejoiced whose bodily eyes were opened by the Lord, what joy was his who saw with the eyes of his soul the light ineffable, the abiding Word, the brilliance that dazzles the minds of the pious, the unfailing Wisdom, God abiding with the Father, and at some time come in the flesh and yet not to withdraw from the bosom of the Father? All this did Abraham see. For in saying "my day," it may be uncertain of what He spake; whether the day of the Lord in time, when He should come m the flesh, or that day of the Lord which knows not a dawn, and knows no decline. But for my part I doubt not that father Abraham knew it all. And where shall I find it out? Ought the testimony of our Lord Jesus Christ to satisfy us? Let us suppose that we cannot find it out, for perhaps it is difficult to say in what sense it is clear that Abraham "rejoiced to see the day" of Christ, "and saw it, and was glad." And though we find it not, can the Truth have lied? Let us believe the Truth, and cherish no doubt of Abraham's merited rewards.(2) Yet listen to one passage that occurs to me meanwhile. When father Abraham sent his servant to seek a wife for his son Isaac, he bound him by this oath, to fulfill faithfully what he was commanded, and know also for himself what to do. For it was a great matter that was in hand when marriage was sought for Abraham's seed. But that the servant might apprehend what Abraham knew, that it was not offspring after the flesh he desired, nor anything of a carnal kind concerning his race that was referred to, he said to the servant whom he sent, "Put thy hand under my thigh, and swear by the God of heaven.(3) What connection has the God of heaven with Abraham's thigh? Already you understand the mystery:(4) by thigh is meant race. And what was that swearing, but the signifying that of Abraham's race would the God of heaven come in the flesh? Fools find fault with Abraham because he said, Put thy hand under my thigh. Those who find fault with Christ's flesh find fault with Abraham's conduct. But let us, brethren, if we acknowledge the flesh of Christ as worthy of veneration, despise not that thigh, but receive it as spoken of prophetically. For a prophet also was Abraham. Whose prophet? Of his own seed, and of his Lord. To his own seed he pointed in saying, "Put thy hand under my thigh." To his Lord he pointed in adding, "and swear by the God of heaven."

17. The angry Jews replied, "Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?" And the Lord: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was made, I am."(5) Weigh the words, and get a knowledge of the mystery. "Before Abraham was made." Understand, that "was made" refers to human formation; but "am" to the Divine essence. "He was made," because Abraham was a Creature. He did not say, Before Abraham was, I was; but, "Before Abraham was made," who was not made save by me, "I am." Nor did He say this, Before Abraham was made I was made; for "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth;"(6) and "in the beginning was the Word."(7) "Before Abraham was made, I am." Recognize the Creator-- distinguish the creature. He who spake was made the seed of Abraham; and that Abraham might be made, He Himself was before Abraham.

18. Hence, as if by the most open of all insults thrown at Abraham, they were now excited to greater bitterness. Of a certainty it seemed to them that Christ the Lord had uttered blasphemy in saying, "Before Abraham was made, I am." "Therefore took they up stones to cast at Him." To what could so great hardness have recourse, save to its like? "But Jesus" [acts] as man, as one in the form of a servant, as lowly, as about to suffer, about to die, about to redeem us with His blood; not as He who is--not as the Word in the beginning, and the Word with God. For when they took up stones to cast at Him, what great thing were it had they been instantly swallowed up in the gaping earth, and found the inhabitants of hell in place of stones? It were not a great thing to God; but better was it that patience should be commended than power exerted. Therefore "He hid Himself" from them, that He might not be stoned. As man, He fled from the stones; but woe to those from whose stony hearts God has fled?


1. WE have just read the long lesson of the man born blind, whom the Lord Jesus restored to the light; but were we to attempt handling the whole of it, and considering, according to our ability, each passage in a way proportionate to its worth, the day would be insufficient. Wherefore I ask and warn your Charity not to require any words of ours on those passages whose meaning is manifest; for it would be too protracted to linger at each. I proceed, therefore, to set forth briefly the mystery of this blind man's enlightenment. All, certainly, that was done by our Lord Jesus Christ, both works and words, are worthy of our astonishment and admiration: His works, because they are facts; His words, because they are signs. If we reflect, then, on what is signified by the deed here done, that blind man is the human race; for this blindness had place in the first mar, through sin, from whom we all draw our origin, not only in respect of death, but also of unrighteousness. For if unbelief is blindness, and faith enlightenment, whom did Christ find a believer at His coming? seeing that the apostle, belonging himself to the family of the prophets, says: "And we also in times past were by nature the children of wrath, even as others."(1) If "children of wrath," then children of vengeance, children of punishment, children of hell. For how is it "by nature," save that through the first man sinning moral evil rooted itself in us as a nature? If evil has so taken root within us, every man is born mentally blind. For if he sees, he has no need of a guide. If he does need one to guide and enlighten him, then is he blind from his birth.

2. The Lord came: what did He do? He set forth a great mystery. "He spat on the ground," He made clay of His spittle; for the Word was made flesh? "And He anointed the eyes of the blind man." The anointing had taken place, and yet he saw not. He sent him to the pool which is called Siloam. But it was the evangelist's concern to call our attention to the name of this pool; and he adds, "Which is interpreted, Sent." You understand now who it is that was sent; for had He not been sent, none of us would have been set free from iniquity. Accordingly he washed his eyes in that pool which is interpreted, Sent--he was baptized in Christ. If, therefore, when He baptized him in a manner in Himself, He then enlightened him; when He anointed Him, perhaps He made him a catechumen.(3) In many different ways indeed may the profound meaning of such a sacramental act be set forth and handled; but let this suffice your Charity. You have heard a great mystery. Ask a man, Are you a Christian? His answer to you is, I am not, if he is a pagan or a Jew. But if he says, I am; you inquire again of him, Are you a catechumen or a believer? If he reply, A catechumen; he has been anointed, but not yet washed. But how anointed? Inquire, and he will answer you. Inquire of him in whom he believes. In that very respect in which he is a catechumen he says, In Christ. See, I am speaking in a way both to the faithful and to catechumens. What have I said of the spittle and the clay? That the Word was made flesh. This even catechumens hear; but that to which they have been anointed is not all they need; let them hasten to the font if they are in search of enlightenment.

3. And now, because of certain points in the lesson before us, let us run over the words of the Lord, and of the whole lesson itself rather than make them a theme of discourse. "As He passed out, He saw a man who was blind;" blind, not from any cause whatever, but "from his birth." "And His disciples asked Him, Rabbi." You know that "Rabbi" is Master. They called Him Master, because they desired to learn. The question, at all events, they proposed to the Lord as a master, "Who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?" Jesus answered, "Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents," that he was born blind. What is this that He has said? If no man is sinless, were the parents of this blind man without sin? Was he himself either born without original sin, or had he committed none in the course of his lifetime? Because his eyes were closed, had his lusts lost their wakefulness? How many evils are done by the blind? From what evil does an evil mind abstain, even though the eyes are closed? He could not see, but he knew how to think, and perchance to lust after something which his blindness hindered him from attaining, and so still in his heart to be judged by the searcher of hearts. If, then, both his parents had sin, and the man himself had sin, wherefore said the Lord, "Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents," but only in respect to the point on which he was questioned, "that he was born blind"? For his parents had sin; but not by reason of the sin itself did it come about that he was born blind. If, then, it was not through the parents' sin that he was born blind, why was he born blind? Listen to the Master as He teaches. He seeks one who believes, to give him understanding. He Himself tells us the reason why that man was born blind: "Neither hath this man sinned," He says, "nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him."

4. And then, what follows? "I must work the works of Him that sent me." See, here is that sent one [Siloam], wherein the blind man washed his face. And see what He said: "I must work the works of Him that sent me, while it is day." Recall to thy mind the way in which He gives universal glory to Him of whom He is:(1) for that One has the Son who is of Him; He Himself has no One of whom He is.(1) But wherefore, Lord, saidst Thou, "While it is day"? Hearken why He did so. "The night cometh when no man can work." Not even Thou, Lord. Will that night have such power that not even Thou, whose work the night is, wilt be able to work therein? For I think, Lord Jesus, nay I do not think, but believe and hold it sure, that Thou wast there when God said, "Let there be light, and there was light."(2) For if He made it by the Word, He made it by Thee: and therefore it is said, "All things were made by Him; and without Him was nothing made."(3) "God divided between the light and the darkness: the light He called Day, and the darkness He called Night."(4)

5. What is that night wherein, when it comes, no one shall be able to work? Hear what the day is, and then thou wilt understand what the night is. But how shall we hear what the day is? Let Himself tell us: "As long as I am in this world, I am the light of the world." See, He Himself is the day. Let the blind man wash his eyes in the day, that he may behold the day. "As long," He says, "as I am in the world, I am the light of the world." Then will it be night of a kind unknown to me, when Christ will no longer be there; and so no one will be able to work. An inquiry remains, my brethren; patiently listen to me as I inquire. With you I inquire: With you shall I find Him to whom my inquiry is addressed. We are agreed; for it is expressly and definitely stated that the Lord proclaimed Himself in this place as the day, that is, the light of the world. "As long," He says, "as I am in this world, I am the light of the world." Therefore He Himself works. But how long is He in this world? Are we to think, brethren, that He was here then, and is here no longer? If we think so, then already, after the Lord's ascension, did that fearful night begin, when no one can work. If that night began after the Lord's ascension, how was it that the apostles wrought so much? Was that the night when the Holy Spirit came, and, filling all who were in one place, gave them the power of speaking in the tongues of every nation?(5) Was it night when that lame man was made whole at the word of Peter, or rather, at the word of the Lord dwelling in Peter?(6) Was it night when, as the disciples were passing by, the sick were laid in couches, that they might be touched at least by their shadow as they passed?(7) Yet, when the Lord was here, there was no one made whole by His shadow as He passed; but He Himself had said to the disciples, "Greater things than these shall ye do."(8) Yes, the Lord had said, "Greater things than these shall ye do;" but let not flesh and blood exalt itself: let such hear Him also saying, "Without me ye can do nothing." (1)

6. What then? What shall we say of that night? When will it be, when no one shall be able to work? It will be that night of the wicked, that night of those to whom it shall be said in the end, "Depart into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels." But it is here called night, not flame, nor fire. Hearken, then, why it is also night. Of a certain servant He says, "Bind ye him hand and foot, and cast him into outer darkness."(2) Let man, then, work while he liveth, that he may not be overtaken by that night when no man can work. It is now that faith is working by love; and if now we are working, then this is the day--Christ is here. Hear His promise, and think Him not absent. It is Himself who hath said, "Lo, I am with you." How long? Let there be no anxiety in us who are alive; were it possible, with this very word we might place in perfect security the generations still to come. "Lo," He says," I am with you always, even to the end of the world."(3) That day, which is completed by the circuit of yonder sun, has but few hours; the day of Christ's presence extends even to the end of the world. But after the resurrection of the living and the dead, when He shall say to those placed at His right hand, "Come, ye blessed of my Father, receive the kingdom;" and to those at His left, "Depart into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels;"(4) then shall be the night when no man can work, but only get back what he has wrought before. There is a time for working, another for receiving; for the Lord shall render to every one according to his works.(5) While thou livest, be doing, if thou art to be doing at all; for then shall come that appalling night, to envelope the wicked in its folds. But even now every unbeliever, when he dies, is received within that night: there is no work to be done there. In that night was the rich man burning, and asking a drop of water from the beggar's finger; he mourned, agonized, confessed, but no relief was vouchsafed. He even endeavored to do good; for he said to Abraham, "Father Abraham, send Lazarus to my brethren, that he may tell them what is being done here, lest they also come into this place of torment."(6) Unhappy man! when thou weft living, then was the time for working: now thou art already in the night, in which no man can work.

7. "When He had thus spoken, He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and He spread the clay upon his eyes, and said unto him, Go and wash in the pool of Siloam (which is, by interpretation, Sent). He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing." As these words are clear, we may pass them over.

8. "The neighbors therefore, and those who saw him previously, for he was a beggar, said, Is not this he who sat and begged? Some said, It is he: others, No; but he is like him." The opening of his eyes had altered his countenance. "He said, I am he." His voice utters its gratitude, that it might not be condemned as ungrateful. "Therefore said they unto him, How were thine eyes opened? He answered, The man who is called Jesus made clay, and anointed mine eyes, and said unto me, Go to the pool of Siloam, and wash: and I went and washed, and saw." See, he is become the herald of grace; see, he preaches the gospel; endowed with sight, he becomes a confessor. That blind man makes confession, and the heart of the wicked was troubled; for they had not in their heart what he had now in his countenance. "They said to him, Where is he who hath opened thine eyes? He said, I know not." In these words the man's own soul was like that of one only as yet anointed, but not yet seeing. Let us so put it, brethren, as if he had that anointing in his soul. He preaches, and knows not the Being whom he preaches.

9. "They brought to the Pharisees him who had been blind. And it was the Sabbath when Jesus made the clay, and opened his eyes. Then again the Pharisees also asked how he had received his sight. And he said unto them, He put clay upon mine eyes, and I washed, and do see. Therefore said some of the Pharisees;" not all, but some; for some were already anointed. What then said those who neither saw nor were anointed? "This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the Sabbath." He it was rather who kept it, who was without sin. For this is the spiritual Sabbath, to have no sin. In fact, brethren, it is of this that God admonishes us, when He commends the Sabbath to our notice: "Thou shalt do no servile work"(7) These are God's words when commending the Sabbath, "Thou shalt do no servile work." Now ask the former lessons, what is meant by servile work;(8) and listen to the Lord: "Every one that committeth sin is the servant of sin."(9) But these men, neither seeing, as I said, nor anointed, kept the Sabbath carnally, and profaned it spiritually. "Others said, How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles?" These were the anointed ones. "And there was a division among them." The day had divided between the light and the darkness. "They say then unto the blind man again, What sayest thou of him who hath opened thine eyes?" What is thy feeling about him? what is thine opinion? what is thy judgment? They sought how to revile the man, that he might be cast out of the synagogue, but be found by Christ. But he steadfastly expressed what he felt. For he said, "That he is a prophet." As yet, indeed, anointed only in heart, he does not thus far confess the Son of God, and yet he speaks not untruthfully. For the Lord saith of Himself, "A prophet is not without honor, save in his own country."(1)

10. "Therefore the Jews did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind, and received his sight, till they called the parents of him that received his sight;" that is, who had been blind, and had come to the possession of sight. "And they asked them, saying, Is this your son, who ye say was born blind? how then doth he now see? His parents answered them, and said, We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind: but how he now seeth, we know not; or who hath opened his eyes, we know not. And they said, Ask himself; he is of age, let him speak of himself." He is indeed our son, and we might justly be compelled to answer for him as an infant, because then he could not speak for himself: from of old he has had power of speech, only now he sees: we have been acquainted with him as blind from his birth, we know him as having speech from of old, only now do we see him endowed with sight: ask himself, that you may be instructed; why seek to calumniate us? "These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had conspired already, that if any man did confess that He was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue." It was no longer a bad thing to be put out of the synagogue. They cast out, hut Christ received. "Therefore said his parents, He is of age, ask himself."

11. "Then again called they the man who had been blind, and said unto him, Give God the glory." What is that, "Give God the glory"? Deny what thou hast received. Such conduct is manifestly not to give God the glory, but rather to blaspheme Him. "Give God," they say, "the glory: we know that this man is a sinner. Then said he, If he is a sinner, I know not: one thing I know, that whereas I was blind, now I see. Then said they to him, What did he to thee? how opened he thine eyes?" And he, indignant now at the hardness of the Jews, and as one brought from a state of blindness to sight, unable to endure the blind, "answered them, I have told you already, and ye have heard: wherefore would ye hear it again? Will ye also become his disciples?" What means, "Will ye also," but that I am one already? "Will ye also be so?" Now I see, but see not askance.

12. "They cursed him, and said, Thou art his disciple." Such a malediction be upon us, and upon our children! For a malediction it is, if thou layest open their heart, not if thou ponderest the words. "But we are Moses' disciples. We know that God spake unto Moses: as for this fellow, we know not from whence he is." Would ye had known that "God spake to Moses!" ye would have also known that God preached by Moses. For ye have the Lord saying, "Had ye believed Moses, ye would have also believed me; for he wrote of me."(2) Is it thus ye follow the servant, and turn your back against the Lord? But not even the servant do ye follow; for by him ye would be guided to the Lord.

13. "The man answered and said unto them, Herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not from whence he is, and yet he hath opened mine eyes. Now we know that God heareth not sinners; but if any man is a worshipper of God, and doeth His will, him He heareth." He speaks still as one only anointed. For God heareth even sinners. For if God heard not sinners, in vain would the publican, casting his eyes on the ground, and smiting on his breast, have said, "Lord, be merciful to me a sinner." And that confession merited justification, as this blind man enlightenment. "Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind. If this man were not of God, he could do nothing." With frankness, constancy, and truthfulness [he spoke]. For these things that were done by the Lord, by whom were they done but by God? Or when would such things be done by disciples, were not the Lord dwelling in them?

14. "They answered and said unto him, Thou wast wholly born in sins." What means this "wholly"? Even to blindness of the eyes. But He who has opened his eyes, also saves him wholly: He will grant a resurrection at His right hand, who gave enlightenment to his countenance. "Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out." They had made him their master; many questions had they asked for their own instruction, and they ungratefully cast forth their teacher.

15. But, as I have already said before, brethren, when they expel, the Lord receiveth; for the rather that he was expelled, was he made a Christian. "Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when He had found him, He said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God?" Now He washes the face of his heart. "He answered and said," as one still only anointed, "Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him? And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen Him, and it is He that talketh with thee." The One is He that is sent; the other is one washing his face in Siloam, which is interpreted, Sent. And now at last, with the face of his heart washed, and a conscience purified, acknowledging Him not only as the son of man, which he had believed before, but now as the Son of God, who had assumed our flesh, "he said, Lord, I believe." It is but little to say, "I believe:" wouldst thou also see what he believes Him?"He fell down and worshipped Him."

16. "And Jesus said to him." Now is He, the day, discerning between the light and the darkness. "For judgment am I come into this world; that they who see not might see, and they who see might be made blind." What is this, Lord? A weighty subject of inquiry hast Thou laid on the weary; but revive our strength that we may be able to understand what Thou hast said. Thou art come "that they who see not may see:" rightly so, for Thou art the light: rightly so, for Thou art the day: rightly so, for Thou deliverest from darkness: this every soul accepts, every one understands. What is this that follows, "And those who see may be made blind?" Shall then, because Thou art come, those be made blind who saw? Hear what follows, and perhaps thou wilt understand.

17. By these words, then, were "some of the Pharisees" disturbed, "and said unto Him, Are we blind also?" Hear now what it is that moved them, "And they who see may be made blind." "Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin;" while blindness itself is sin. "If ye were blind," that is, if ye considered yourselves blind, if ye called yourselves blind, ye also would have recourse to the physician: "if" then in this way "ye were blind, ye should have no sin;" for I am come to take away sin. "But now ye say, We see; [therefore] your sin remaineth." Wherefore? Because by saying, "We see:" ye seek not the physician, ye remain in your blindness. This, then, is that which a little above we did not understand, when He said, "I am come, that they who see not may see;" for what means this, "that they who see not may see"? They who acknowledge that they do not see, and seek the physician, that they may receive sight. And they who see may be made blind:" what means this, "they who see may be made blind"? That they who think they see, and seek not the physician, may abide in their blindness. Such discerning therefore of one from another He called judgment, when He said, "For judgment I am come into this world," whereby He distinguishes the cause of those who believe and make confession from the proud, who think they see, and are therefore the more grievously blinded: just as the sinner, making confession, and seeking the physician, said to Him, "Judge me, O God, and discern my cause against the unholy nation,"(1)--namely, those who say, "We see," and their sin remaineth. But it was not that judgment He now brought into the world, whereby in the end of the world He shall judge the living and the dead. For in respect to this He had said, "I judge no man;"(2) seeing that He came the first time, "not to judge the world, but that the world through Him might be saved."(3)

Taken from "The Early Church Fathers and Other Works" originally published by Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co. in English in Edinburgh, Scotland, beginning in 1867. (LNPF I/VII, Schaff). The digital version is by The Electronic Bible Society, P.O. Box 701356, Dallas, TX 75370, 214-407-WORD.