Fathers of the Church
Homilies 62-76 on the Gospel According to St. John
by John Chrysostom in 389 | translated by The Oxford Translation Edited By Rev. Philip Schaff, D.d., Ll.d
"Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, of the town of Mary and her sister Martha. It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment."
[1.] Many men, when they see any of those who are pleasing to God suffering anything terrible, as, for instance, having fallen into sickness, or poverty, and any other the like, are offended, not knowing that to those especially dear to God it belongeth to endure these things; since Lazarus also was one of the friends of Christ, and was sick. This at least they who sent said, "Behold, he whom Thou lovest is sick." But let us consider the passage from the beginning. "A certain man," It saith, "was sick, Lazarus of Bethany." Not without a cause nor by chance hath the writer mentioned whence Lazarus was, but for a reason which he will afterwards tell us. At present let us keep to the passage before us. He also for our advantage informeth us who were Lazarus' sisters; and, moreover, what Mary had more (than the other), going on to say, "It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment." Here some doubting say, "How did the Lord endure that a woman should do this?" In the first place then it is necessary to understand, that this is not the harlot mentioned in Matthew (Matt. xxvi. 7), or the one in Luke (Luke vii. 37), but a different person; they were harlots full of many vices, but she was both grave and earnest; for she showed her earnestness about the entertainment of Christ. The Evangelist also means to show, that the sisters too loved Him, yet He allowed Lazarus to die. But why did they not, like the centurion and the nobleman, leave their sick brother, and come to Christ, instead of sending? They were very confident in Christ, and had towards Him a strong familiar feeling. Besides, they were weak women, and oppressed with grief; for that they acted not in this way as thinking slightly of Him, they afterwards showed. It is then clear, that this Mary was not the harlot. "But wherefore," saith some one, "did Christ admit that harlot?" That He might put away her iniquity; that He might show His lovingkindness; that thou mightest learn that there is no malady which prevaileth over His goodness. Look not therefore at this only, that He received her, but consider the other point also, how He changed her. But, (to return,) why doth the Evangelist relate this history to us? Or rather, what doth he desire to show us by saying,
Ver. 5. "Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus."
That we should never be discontented or vexed if any sickness happen to good men, and such as are dear to God.
Ver. 3. "Behold, he whom thou lovest is sick."
They desired to draw on Christ to pity, for they still gave heed to Him as to a man. This is plain from what they say, "If thou hadst been here, he had not died," and from their saying, not, "Behold, Lazarus is sick," but "Behold, he whom thou lovest is sick." What then said Christ?
Ver. 4. "This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby."
Observe how He again asserteth that His glory and the Father's is One; for after saying "of God," He hath added, "that the Son of God might be glorified."
"This sickness is not unto death." Since He intended to tarry two days where He was, He for the present sendeth away the messengers with this answer. Wherefore we must admire Lazarus' sisters, that after hearing that the sickness was "not unto death," and yet seeing him dead, they were not offended, although the event had been directly contrary. But even so they came to Him, and did not think that He had spoken falsely.
The expression "that" in this passage denotes not cause, but consequence; the sickness happened from other causes, but He used it for the glory of God.
Ver. 6. "And having said this, He tarried two days."
Wherefore tarried He? That Lazarus might breathe his last, and be buried; that none might be able to assert that He restored him when not yet dead, saying that it was a lethargy, a fainting, a fit, but not death. On this account He tarried so long, that corruption began, and they said, "He now stinketh."
Ver. 7. "Then saith He to his disciples, Let us go into Judea."
Why, when He never in other places told them beforehand where He was going, doth He tell them here? They had been greatly terrified, and since they were is this way disposed, He forewarneth them, that the suddenness might not trouble them. What then say the disciples?
Ver. 8. "The Jews of late sought to stone Thee, and goest Thou thither again?"
They therefore had feared for Him also, but for the more part rather for themselves; for they were not yet perfect. So Thomas, shaking with fear, said, "Let us go, that we also may die with Him" (ver. 16), because Thomas was weaker and more unbelieving than the rest. But see how Jesus encourageth them by what He saith.
Ver. 9. "Are there not twelve hours of the day?"
He either saith this, that "he who is conscious to himself of no evil, shall suffer nothing dreadful; only he that doeth evil shall suffer, so that we need not fear, because we have done nothing worthy of death"; or else that, "he who 'seeth the light of this world' is in safety; and if he that seeth the light of this world is in safety, much more he that is with Me, if he separate not himself from Me." Having encouraged them by these words, He addeth, that the cause of their going thither was pressing, and showeth them that they were about to go not unto Jerusalem, but unto Bethany.
Ver. 11, 12. "Our friend Lazarus," He saith, "sleepeth, but I go that I may awake him out of sleep."
That is, "I go not for the same purpose as before, again to reason and contend with the Jews, but to awaken our friend."
Ver. 12. "Then said His disciples, Lord, if he sleep he shall do well."
This they said not without a cause, but desiring to hinder the going thither. "Sayest Thou," asks one of them, "that he sleepeth? Then there is no urgent reason for going." Yet on this account He had said, "Our friend," to show that the going there was necessary. When therefore their disposition was somewhat reluctant, He said,
[2.] Ver. 14. "He is dead."
The former word He spake, desiring to prove that He loved not boasting; but since they understood not, He added, "He is dead."
Ver. 15. "And I am glad for your sakes."
Why "for your sakes"? "Because I have forewarned you of his death, not being there, and because when I shall raise him again, there will be no suspicion of deceit." Seest thou how the disciples were yet imperfect in their disposition, and knew not His power as they ought? and this was caused by interposing terrors, which troubled and disturbed their souls. When He said, "He sleepeth," He added, "I go to awake him"; but when He said, "He is dead," He added not, "I go to raise him"; for He would not foretell in words what He was about to establish certainly by works, everywhere teaching us not to be vainglorious, and that we must not make promises without a cause. And if He did thus in the case of the centurion when summoned, (for He said, "I will come and heal him—Matt. viii. 7,) it was to show the faith of the centurion that He said this. If any one ask, "How did the disciples imagine sleep? How did they not understand that death was meant from His saying, 'I go to awake him?' for it was folly if they expected that He would go fifteen stadia to awake him"; we would reply, that they deemed this to be a dark saying, such as He often spake to them.
Now they all feared the attacks of the Jews, but Thomas above the rest; wherefore also he said,
Ver. 16. "Let us go, that we also may die with Him."
Some say that he desired himself to die; but it is not so; the expression is rather one of cowardice. Yet he was not rebuked, for Christ as yet supported his weakness, but afterwards he became stronger than all, and invincible. For the wonderful thing is this; that we see one who was so weak before the Crucifixion, become after the Crucifixion, and after having believed in the Resurrection, more zealous than any. So great was the power of Christ. The very man who dared not go in company with Christ to Bethany, the same while not seeing Christ ran well nigh through the inhabited world, and dwelt in the midst of nations that were full of murder, and desirous to kill him.
But if Bethany was "fifteen furlongs off," which is two miles, how was Lazarus "dead four days"? Jesus tarried two days, on the day before those two one had come with the message, (on which same day Lazarus died,) then in the course of the fourth day He arrived. He waited to be summoned, and came not uninvited on this account, that no one might suspect what took place; nor did those women who were beloved by Him come themselves, but others were sent.
Ver. 18. "Now Bethany was about fifteen furlongs off."
Not without cause doth he mention this, but desires to inform us that it was near, and that it was probable on this account that many would be there. He therefore declaring this adds,
Ver. 19. "Many of the Jews came to comfort them."
But how should they comfort women beloved of Christ, when they had agreed, that if any should confess Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue? It was either because of the grievous nature of the calamity, or that they respected them as of superior birth, or else these who came were not the wicked sort, many at least even of them believed. The Evangelist mentions these circumstances, to prove that Lazarus was really dead.
[3.] But why did not [Martha,] when she went to meet Christ, take her sister with her? She desired to meet with Him apart, and to tell Him what had taken place. But when He had brought her to good hopes, she went and called Mary, who met Him while her grief was yet at its height. Seest thou how fervent her love was? This is the Mary of whom He said, "Mary hath chosen that good part." (Luke x. 42.) "How then," saith one, "doth Martha appear more zealous?" She was not more zealous, but it was because the other had not yet been informed, since Martha was the weaker. For even when she had heard such things from Christ, she yet speaks in a groveling manner, "By this time he stinketh, for he hath been dead four days." (Ver. 39.) But Mary, though she had heard nothing, uttered nothing of the kind, but at once believing, saith,
Ver. 21. "Lord, if Thou hadst been here, my brother had not died."
See how great is the heavenly wisdom of the women, although their understanding be weak. For when they saw Christ, they did not break out into mourning and wailing and loud crying, as we do when we see any of those we know coming in upon our grief; but straightway they reverence their Teacher. So then both these sisters believed in Christ, but not in a right way; for they did not yet certainly know either that He was God, or that He did these things by His own power and authority; on both which points He taught them. For they showed their ignorance of the former, by saying, "If thou hadst
been here, our brother had not died"; and of the latter, by saying,
Ver. 22. "Whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, He will give it thee."
As though they spoke of some virtuous and approved mortal. But see what Christ saith;
Ver. 23. "Thy brother shall rise again."
He thus far refuteth the former saying, "Whatsoever thou wilt ask"; for He said not, "I ask," but what? "Thy brother shall rise again." To have said, "Woman, thou still lookest below, I need not the help of another, but do all of Myself," would have been grievous, and a stumblingblock in her way, but to say, "He shall rise again," was the act of one who chose a middle mode of speech. And by means of that which follows, He alluded to the points I have mentioned; for when Martha saith,
Ver. 24. "I know that he shall rise again in the last day," to prove more clearly His authority, He replieth,
Ver. 25. "I am the Resurrection and the Life."
Showing that He needed no other to help Him, if so be that He Himself is the Life; since if He needed another, how could He be "the Resurrection and the Life"? Yet He did not plainly state this, but merely hinted it. But when she saith again, "Whatsoever thou wilt ask," He replieth,
"He that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live."
Showing that He is the Giver of good things, and that we must ask of Him.
Ver. 26. "And whosoever liveth and believeth in Me, shall never die."
Observe how He leadeth her mind upward; for to raise Lazarus was not the only thing sought; it was necessary that both she and they who were with her should learn the Resurrection. Wherefore before the raising of the dead He teacheth heavenly wisdom by words. But if He is "the Resurrection," and "the Life," He is not confined by place, but, present everywhere, knoweth how to heal. If therefore they had said, as did the centurion, "Speak the word, and my servant shall be healed" (Matt. viii. 8), He would have done so; but since they summoned Him to them, and begged Him to come, He condescendeth in order to raise them from the humble opinion they had formed of Him, and cometh to the place. Still while condescending, He showed that even when absent He had power to heal. On this account also He delayed, for the mercy would not have been apparent as soon as it was given, had there not been first an ill savor (from the corpse). But how did the woman know that there was to be a Resurrection? They had heard Christ say many things about the Resurrection, yet still she now desired to see Him. And observe how she still lingers below; for after hearing, "I am the Resurrection and the Life," not even so did she say, "Raise him," but,
Ver. 27. "I believe that Thou art the Christ, the Son of God."
What is Christ's reply? "He that believeth on Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live," (here speaking of this death which is common to all.) "And whosoever liveth and believeth on Me, shall never die" (ver. 26), signifying that other death. "Since then I am the Resurrection and the Life, be not thou troubled, though thy brother be already dead, but believe, for this is not death." For a while He comforted her on what had happened; and gave her glimpses of hope, by saying, "He shall rise again," and, "I am the Resurrection"; and that having risen again, though he should again die, he shall suffer no harm, so that it needs not to fear this death. What He saith is of this kind: "Neither is this man dead, nor shall ye die." "Believest thou this?" She saith, "I believe that Thou art the Christ, the Son of God."
"Which should come into the world."
The woman seems to me not to understand the saying; she was conscious that it was some great thing, but did not perceive the whole meaning, so that when asked one thing, she answered another. Yet for a while at least she had this gain, that she moderated her grief; such was the power of the words of Christ. On this account Martha went forth first, and Mary followed. For their affection to their Teacher did not allow them strongly to feel their present sorrow; so that the minds of these women were truly wise as well as loving.
[4.] But in our days, among our other evils there is one malady very prevalent among our women; they make a great show in their dirges and wailings, baring their arms, tearing their hair, making furrows down their cheeks. And this they do, some from grief, others from ostentation and rivalry, others from wantonness; and they bare their arms, and this too in the sight of men. Why doest thou, woman? Dost thou strip thyself in unseemly sort, tell me, thou who art a member of Christ, in the midst of the market- place, when men are present there? Dost thou pluck thy hair, and rend thy garments, and wail loudly, and join the dance, and keep throughout a resemblance to Bacchanalian women, and dost thou not think that thou art offending God? What madness is this? Will not the heathen laugh? Will they not deem our doctrines fables? They will say, "There is no resurrection—the doctrines of the Christians are mockeries, trickery, and contrivance. For their women lament as though there were nothing after this world; they give no heed to the words engraven in their books; all those words are fictions, and these women show that they are so. Since had they believed that he who hath died is not dead, but hath removed to a better life, they would not have mourned him as no longer being, they would not have thus beaten themselves, they would not have uttered such words as these, full of unbelief, 'I shall never see thee more, I shall never more regain thee,' all their religion is a fable, and if the very chief of good things is thus wholly disbelieved by them, much more the other things which are reverenced among them." The heathen are not so womanish, among them many have practiced heavenly wisdom; and a woman hearing that her child had fallen in battle, straightway asked, "And in what state are the affairs of the city?" Another truly wise, when being garlanded he heard that his son had fallen for his country, took off the garland, and asked which of the two; then when he had learnt which it was, immediately put the garland on again. Many also gave their sons and their daughters for slaughter in honor of their evil deities; and Lacedaemonian women exhort their sons either to bring back their shield safe from war, or to be brought back dead upon it. Wherefore I am ashamed that the heathen show true wisdom in these matters, and we act unseemly. Those who know nothing about the Resurrection act the part of those who know; and those who know, the part of those who know not. And ofttimes many do through shame of men what they do not for the sake of God. For women of the higher class neither tear their hair nor bare their arms; which very thing is a most heavy charge against them, not because they do not strip themselves, but because they act as they do not through piety, but that they may not be thought to disgrace themselves. Is their shame stronger than grief, and the fear of God not stronger? And must not this deserve severest censure? What the rich women do because of their riches, the poor ought to do through fear of God; but at present it is quite the contrary; the rich act wisely through vainglory, the poor through littleness of soul act unseemly. What is worse than this anomaly? We do all for men, all for the things of earth. And these people utter words full of madness and much ridicule. The Lord saith indeed, "Blessed are they that mourn" (Matt. v. 4), speaking of those who mourn for their sins; and no one mourneth that kind of mourning, nor careth for a lost soul; but this other we were not bidden to practice, and we practice it. "What then?" saith some one, "Is it possible being man not to weep?" No, neither do I forbid weeping, but I forbid the beating yourselves, the weeping immoderately. I am neither brutal nor cruel. I know that our nature asks and seeks for its friends and daily companions; it cannot but be grieved. As also Christ showed, for He wept over Lazarus. So do thou; weep, but gently, but with decency, but with the fear of God. If so thou weepest, thou dost so not as disbelieving the Resurrection, but as not enduring the separation. Since even over those who are leaving us, and departing to foreign lands, we weep, yet we do this not as despairing.
[5.] And so do thou weep, as if thou wert sending one on his way to another land. These things I say, not as giving a rule of action, but as condescending (to human infirmity). For if the dead man have been a sinner, and one who hath in many things offended God, it behooveth to weep (or rather not to weep only, since that is of no avail to him, but to do what one can to procure some comfort for him by almsgivings and offerings;) but it behooveth also to rejoice at this, that his wickedness hath been cut short. If he have been righteous, it again behooveth to be glad, that what is his is now placed in security, free from the uncertainty of the future; if young, that he hath been quickly delivered from the common evils of life; if old, that he hath departed after taking to satiety that which is held desirable. But thou, neglecting to consider these things, incitest thy hand-maidens to act as mourners, as if forsooth thou wert honoring the dead, when it is an act of extreme dishonor. For honor to the dead is not wailings and lamentings, but hymns and psalmodies and an excellent life. The good man when he departeth, shall depart with angels, though no man be near his remains; but the corrupt, though he have a city to attend his funeral, shall be nothing profited. Wilt thou honor him who is gone? Honor him in another way, by alms-deeds, by acts of beneficence and public service. What avail the many lamentations? And I have heard also another grievous thing, that many women attract lovers by their sad cries, acquiring by the fervor of their wailings a reputation for affection to their husbands. O devilish purpose! O Satanic invention! How long are we but dust and ashes, how long but blood and flesh? Look we up to heaven, take we thought of spiritual things. How shall we be able to rebuke the heathen, how to exhort them, when we do such things? How shall we dispute with them concerning the Resurrection? How about the rest of heavenly wisdom? How shall we ourselves live without fear? Knowest not thou that of grief cometh death? for grief darkening the seeing part of the soul not only hindereth it from perceiving anything that it ought, but also worketh it great mischief. In one way then we offend God, and advantage neither ourselves nor him who is gone; in the other we please God, and gain honor among men. If we sink not down ourselves, He will soon remove the remains of our despondency; if we are discontented, He permitteth us to be given up to grief. If we are thankful, we shall not despond. "But how," saith some one, "is it possible not to be grieved, when one has lost a son or daughter or wife?" I say not, "not to grieve," but "not to do so immoderately." For if we consider that God hath taken away, and that the husband or son which we had was mortal, we shall soon receive comfort. To be discontented is the act of those who seek for something higher than their nature. Thou wast born man, and mortal; why then grievest thou that what is natural hath come to pass? Grievest thou that thou art nourished by eating? Seekest thou to live without this? Act thus also in the case of death, and being mortal seek not as vet for immortality. Once for all this thing hath been appointed. Grieve not therefore, nor play the mourner, but submit to laws laid on all alike. Grieve for thy sins; this is good mourning, this is highest wisdom. Let us then mourn for this cause continually, that we may obtain the joy which is there, through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
"Now Jesus was not yet come into the town, but was in that place where Martha met Him. The Jews then which were with her," and what follows.
[1.] A great good is philosophy; the philosophy, I mean, which is with us. For what the heathen have is words and fables only; nor have these fables anything truly wise in them; since everything among those men is done for the sake of reputation. A great good then is true wisdom, and even here returns to us a recompense. For he that despises wealth, from this at once reaps advantage, being delivered from cares which are superfluous and unprofitable; and he that tramples upon glory from this at once receives his reward, being the slave of none, but free with the real freedom; and he that desires heavenly things hence receives his recompense, regarding present things as nothing, and being easily superior to every grief. Behold, for example, how this woman by practicing true wisdom even here received her reward. For when all were sitting by her as she mourned and lamented, she did not wait that the Master should come to her, nor did she maintain what might have seemed her due, nor was she restrained by her sorrow, (for, in addition to the other wretchedness, mourning women have this malady, that they wish to be made much of on account of their case,) but she was not at all so affected; as soon as she heard, she quickly came to Him. "Jesus was not yet come into the town." He proceeded somewhat slowly, that He might not seem to fling Himself upon the miracle, but rather to be entreated by them. At least, it is either with an intention of implying this that the Evangelist has said the, "riseth up quickly," or else he showeth that she ran so as to anticipate Christ's arrival. She came not alone, but drawing after her the Jews that were in the house. Very wisely did her sister call her secretly, so as not to disturb those who had come together, and not mention the cause either; for assuredly many would have gone back, but now as though she were going to weep, all followed her. By these means again it is proved that Lazarus was dead.
Ver. 32. "And she fell at His feet."
She is more ardent than her sister. She regarded not the multitude, nor the suspicion which they had concerning Him, for there were many of His enemies, who said, "Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died?" (ver. 37); but cast out all mortal things in the presence of her Master, and was given up to one thing only, the honor of that Master. And what saith she?
"Lord, if Thou hadst been here, my brother had not died."
What doth Christ? He converseth not at all with her for the present, nor saith to her what He said to her sister, (for a great multitude was by, and this was no fit time for such words,) He only acteth measurably and condescendeth; and to prove His human nature, weepeth in silence, and deferreth the miracle for the present. For since that miracle was a great one, and such as He seldom wrought, and since many were to believe by means of it, lest to work it without their presence should prove a stumbling-block to the multitude, and so they should gain nothing by its greatness, in order that He might not lose the quarry, He draweth to Him many witnesses by His condescension, and showeth proof of His human nature. He weepeth, and is troubled; for grief is wont to stir up the feelings. Then rebuking those feelings, (for He "groaned in spirit" meaneth, "restrained His trouble,") He asked,
Ver. 34. "Where have ye laid him?"
So that the question might not be attended with lamentation. But why doth He ask? Because He desired not to cast Himself on (the miracle), but to learn all from them, to do all at their invitation, so as to free the miracle from any suspicion.
"They say unto Him, Come and see."
Ver. 35. "Jesus wept."
Seest thou that He had not as yet shown any sign of the raising, and goeth not as if to raise Lazarus, but as if to weep? For the Jews show that He seemed to them to be going to bewail, not to raise him; at least they said,
Ver. 36, 37. "Behold how he loved him! And some of them said, Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died?"
Not even amid calamities did they relax their wickedness. Yet what He was about to do was a thing far more wonderful; for to drive away death when it hath come and conquered, is far more than to stay it when coming on. They therefore slander Him by those very points through which they ought to have marveled at His power. They allow for the time that He opened the eyes of the blind, and when they ought to have admired Him on account of that miracle, they, by means of this latter case, cast a slur upon it, as though it had not even taken place. And not from this only are they shown to be all corrupt, but because when He had not yet come, nor exhibited any action, they prevent Him with their accusations without waiting the end of the matter. Seest thou how corrupt was their judgment?
[2.] He cometh then to the tomb; and again rebuketh His feelings. Why doth the Evangelist carefully in several places mention that "He wept," and that, "He groaned"? That thou mayest learn that He had of a truth put on our nature. For when this Evangelist is remarkable for uttering great things concerning Christ more than the others, in matters relating to the body, here he also speaketh much more humbly than they. For instance, concerning His death he hath said nothing of the kind; the other Evangelists declare that He was exceedingly sorrowful, that He was in an agony; but John, on the contrary, saith, that He even cast the officers backwards. So that he hath made up here what is omitted there, by mentioning His grief. When speaking of His death, Christ saith "I have power to lay down My life"(c. x. 18), and then He uttereth no lowly word; therefore at the Passion they attribute to Him much that is human, to show the reality of the Dispensation. And Matthew proves this by the Agony, the trouble, the trembling, and the sweat; but John by His sorrow. For had He not been of our nature, He would not once and again have been mastered by grief. What did Jesus? He made no defense with regard to their charges; for why should He silence by words those who were soon to be silenced by deeds? a means less annoying, and more adapted to shame them.
Ver. 39. "He saith, Take ye away the stone."
Why did not He when at a distance summon Lazarus, and place him before their eyes? Or rather, why did He not cause him to arise while the stone yet lay on the grave? For He who was able by His voice to move a corpse, and to show it again endowed with life, would much more by that same voice have been able to move a stone; He who empowered by His voice one bound and entangled in the grave-clothes to walk, would much more have been able to move a stone; why then did He not so? In order to make them witnesses of the miracle; that they might not say as they did in the case of the blind man, "It is he," "It is not he." For their hands and their coming to the tomb testified that it was indeed he. If they had not come, they might have deemed that they saw a vision, or one man in place of another. But now the coming to the place, the raising the stone, the charge given them to loose the dead man bound in grave-clothes from his bands; the fact that the friends who bore him from the tomb, knew from the grave-clothes that it was he; that his sisters were not left behind; that one of them said, "He now stinketh, for he hath been dead four days"; all these things, I say, were sufficient to silence the ill-disposed, as they were made witnesses of the miracle. On this account He biddeth them take away the stone from the tomb, to show that He raiseth the man. On this account also He asketh, "Where have ye laid him?" that they who said, "Come and see," and who conducted Him, might not be able to say that He had raised another person; that their voice and their hands might bear witness, (their voice by saying, "Come and see," their hands by lifting the stone, and loosing the grave- clothes,) as well as their eyes and ears, (the one by hearing His voice, the other by seeing Lazarus come forth,) and their smell also by perceiving the ill-odor, for Martha said, "He now stinketh, for he hath been dead four days."
Therefore I said with good reason, that the woman did not at all understand Christ's words, "Though he were dead, yet shall he live." At least observe, that she speaketh as though the thing were impossible on account of the time which had intervened. For indeed it was a strange thing to raise a corpse which had been dead four days, and was corrupt. To the disciples Jesus said, "That the Son of Man may be glorified," referring to Himself; but to the woman, "Thou shalt see the glory of God," speaking of the Father. Seest thou that the weakness of the hearers is the cause of the difference of the words? He therefore remindeth her of what He had spoken unto her, well nigh rebuking her, as being forgetful. Yet He did not wish at present to confound the spectators, wherefore He saith,
Ver. 40. "Said I not unto thee, that if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?"
[3.] A great blessing truly is faith, great, and one which makes great those who hold it rightly with (good) living. By this men (are enabled) to do the things of God in His name. And well did Christ say, "If ye have faith ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove, and it shall remove" (Matt. xvii. 20); anti again, "He that believeth on Me, the works that I do shall he do also, and greater works than these shall he do." (c. xiv. 12. ) What meaneth He by "greater"? Those which the disciples are seen after this to work. For even the shadow of Peter raised a dead man; and so the power of Christ was the more proclaimed. Since it was not so wonderful that He while alive should work miracles, as that when He was dead others should be enabled to work in His name greater than He wrought. This was an indisputable proof of the Resurrection; nor if (that Resurrection) had been seen by all, would it have been equally believed. For men might have said that it was an appearance, but one who saw that by His name alone greater miracles were wrought than when He conversed with men, could not disbelieve unless he were very senseless. A great blessing then is faith when it arises from glowing feelings, great love, and a fervent soul; it makes us truly wise, it hides our human meanness, and leaving reasonings beneath, it philosophizes about things in heaven; or rather what the wisdom of men cannot discover, it abundantly comprehends and succeeds in. Let us then cling to this, and not commit to reasonings what concerns ourselves. For tell me, why have not the Greeks been able to find out anything? Did they not know all the wisdom of the heathen? Why then could they not prevail against fishermen and tentmakers, and unlearned persons? Was it not because the one committed all to argument, the others to faith? and so these last were victorious over Plato and Pythagoras, in short, over all that had gone astray; and they surpass those whose lives had been worn out in astrology and geometry, mathematics and arithmetic, and who had been thoroughly instructed in every sort of learning, and were as much superior to them as true and real philosophers are superior to those who are by nature foolish and out of their senses. For observe, these men asserted that the soul was immortal, or rather, they did not merely assert this, but persuaded others of it.
The Greeks, on the contrary, did not at first know what manner of thing the soul was, and when they had found out, and had distinguished it from the body, they were again in the same case, the one asserting that it was incorporeal, the other that it was corporeal and was dissolved with the body. Concerning heaven again, the one said that it had life and was a god, but the fishermen both taught and persuaded that it was the work and device of God. Now that the Greeks should use reasonings is nothing wonderful, but that those who seem to be believers, that "they" should be found carnal, this is what may justly be lamented. And on this account they have gone astray, some saying that they know God as He knoweth Himself, a thing which not even any of those Greeks have dared to assert to others that God cannot beget without passion, not even allowing Him any superiority over men; others again, that a righteous life and exact conversation avail nothing. But it is not the time to refute these things now. [4.] Yet that a right faith availeth nothing if the life be corrupt, both Christ and Paul declare, having taken the more care for this latter part; Christ when He teacheth, "Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. vii. 21); and again, "Many will say unto Me in that day, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy Name? And I will profess unto them, I never knew you; depart from Me, ye that work iniquity" (Matt. xxii. 23); (for they who take not heed to themselves, easily slip away into wickedness, even though they have a right faith;) and Paul, when in his letter to the Hebrews he thus speaks and exhorts them; "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord." (Heb. xii. 14.) By "holiness," meaning chastity, so that it behooved each to be content with his own wife, and not have to do with any other woman; for it is impossible that one not so contented should be saved; he must assuredly perish though he have ten thousand right actions, since with fornication it is impossible to enter into the kingdom of heaven. Or rather, this is henceforth not fornication but adultery; for as a woman who is bound to a man, if she come together with another man, then hath committed adultery, so he that is bound to a woman, if he have another, hath committed adultery. Such an one shall not inherit the kingdom of heaven, but shall fall into the pit. Hear what Christ saith concerning these, "Their worm shall not die, and the fire shall not be quenched." (Mark ix. 44.) For he can have no pardon, who after (possessing) a wife, and the comfort of a wife, then acts shamelessly towards another woman; since this is henceforth wantonness. And if the many abstain even from their wives when it be a season of fast or prayer, how great a fire doth he heap up for himself who is not even content with his wife, but mingleth with another; and if it is not permitted one who has put away and cast out his own wife to mingle with another, (for this is adultery,) how great evil doth he commit who, while his wife is in his house, brings in another. Let no one then allow this malady to dwell in his soul; let him tear it up by the root. He doth not so much wrong his wife as himself. For so grievous and unpardonable is this offense, that if a woman separate herself from a husband which is an idolater without his consent, God punisheth her; but if she separate herself from a fornicator, not so. Seest thou how great an evil this is? "If," It saith, "any faithful woman have a husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him." (1 Cor. vii. 13.) Not so concerning a harlot; but what? "If any man put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, he causeth her to commit adultery." (Matt. v. 32.) For if the coming together maketh one body, he who cometh together with a harlot must needs become one body with her. How then shall the modest woman, being a member of Christ, receive such an one, or how shall she join to herself the member of an harlot. And observe the excess of the one (fornication) over the other (idolatry). The woman who dwelleth with an unbeliever is not impure; ("for," It saith, "the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife"—1 Cor. vi. 15;) not so with the harlot; but what? "Shall I then make the members of Christ the members of an harlot?" In the one case sanctification remains, and is not removed though the unbeliever dwelleth with his wife; but in the other case it departeth. A dreadful, a dreadful thing is fornication, and an agent for everlasting punishment; and even in this world it brings with it ten thousand woes. The man so guilty is forced to lead a life of anxiety and toil; he is nothing better off than those who are under punishment, creeping into another man's house with fear and much trembling, suspecting all alike both slave and free. Wherefore I exhort you to be freed from this malady, and if you obey not, step not on the sacred threshold. Sheep that are covered with the scab, and full of disease, may not herd with those that are in health; we must drive them from the fold until they get rid of the malady. We have been made members of Christ; let us not, I entreat, become members of an harlot. This place is not a brothel but a church; if then thou hast the members of an harlot, stand not in the church, lest thou insult the place. If there were no hell, if there were no punishment, yet, after those contracts, those marriage torches, the lawful bed, the procreation of children, the intercourse, how couldest thou bear to join thyself to another? How is it that thou art not ashamed nor blushest? Knowest thou not that they who after the death of their own wife, introduce another into their own house, are blamed by many? yet this action hath no penalty attached to it: but thou bringest in another while thy wife is yet alive. What lustfulness is this! Learn what hath been spoken concerning such men, "Their worm," It saith, "shall not die, and the fire shall not be quenched." (Mark ix. 44.) Shudder at the threat, dread the vengeance. The pleasure here is not so great as the punishment there, but may it not came to pass that any one (here) become liable to that punishment, but that exercising holiness they may see Christ, and obtain the promised good things, which may we all enjoy, through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom with the Father and the Holy Ghost be glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
"Jesus lifted up His eyes, and said, Father, I thank Thee that Thou hast heard Me; and I knew that Thou hearest Me always, hut because of the people which stand by, I said it." And what follows.
[1.] WHAT I have often said, I will now say, that Christ looketh not so much to His own honor as to our salvation; not how He may utter some sublime saying, but how something able to draw us to Him. On which account His sublime and mighty sayings are few, and those also hidden, but the humble and lowly are many, and abound through His discourses. For since by these men were the rather brought over, in these He continueth; and He doth not on the one hand utter these universally, lest the men that should come after should receive damage, nor, on the other hand, doth He entirely withhold those, lest the men of that time should be offended. Since they who have passed from lowmindedness unto perfection, will be able from even a single sublime doctrine to discern the whole, but those who were ever lowminded, unless they had often heard these lowly sayings, would not have come to Him at all. In fact, even after so many such sayings they do not remain firm, but even stone and persecute Him, and try to kill Him, and call Him blasphemer. And when He maketh Himself equal with God, they say, "This man blasphemeth" (Matt. ix. 3); and when He saith, "Thy sins be forgiven thee" (c. x. 20), they moreover call Him a demoniac. So when He saith that the man who heareth His words is stronger than death, or, "I am in the Father and the Father in Me" (c. viii. 51), they leave Him; and again, they are offended when He saith that He came down from heaven. (c. vi. 33, 60.) If now they could not bear these sayings, though seldom uttered, scarcely, had His discourse been always sublime, had it been of this texture, would they have given heed to Him? When therefore He saith, "As the Father commanded Me, so I speak" (c. xiv. 31); and, "I am not come of Myself" (c. vii. 28), then they believe. That they did believe then is clear, from the Evangelist signifying this besides, and saying, "As He spake these words, many believed on Him." (c. v. 30.) If then lowly speaking drew men to faith, and high speaking scared them away, must it not be a mark of extreme folly not to see at a glance how to reckon the sole reason of those lowly sayings, namely, that they were uttered because of the hearers. Since in another place when He had desired to say some high thing, He withheld it, adding this reason, and saying, "Lest we should offend them, cast a hook into the sea." (Matt. xvii. 27.) Which also He doth here; for after saying, "I know that Thou hearest Me always," He addeth. "but because of the multitude which standeth around I said it, that they might believe." Are these words ours? Is this a human conjecture? When then a man will not endure to be persuaded by what is written, that they were offended at sublime things, how, when he heareth Christ saying that He spake in a lowly manner that they might not be offended, how, after that, shall he suspect that the mean sayings belonged to His nature, not to His condescension? So in another place, when a voice came down from heaven, He said, "This voice came not because of Me, but for your sakes." (c. xii. 30.) who is exalted may be allowed to speak lowly things of himself, but it is not lawful for the humble to utter concerning himself anything grand or sublime. For the former ariseth from condescension, and has for its cause the weakness of the hearers; or rather (it has for its cause) the leading them to humblemindedness, and His being clothed in flesh, and the teaching the hearers to say nothing great concerning themselves, and His being deemed an enemy of God, and not being believed to have come from God, His being suspected of breaking the Law, and the fact that the hearers looked on Him with an evil eye, and were ill disposed towards Him, because He said that He was equal to God. But that a lowly man should say any great thing of Himself, hath no cause either reasonable or unreasonable; it can only be folly, impudence, and unpardonable boldness. Wherefore then doth Christ speak humbly, being of that ineffable and great Substance? For the reasons mentioned, and that He might not be deemed unbegotten; for Paul seems to have feared some such thing as this; wherefore he saith, "Except Him who did put all things under Him." (1 Cor. xv. 27.) This it is impious even to think of. Since if being less than Him who begat Him, and of a different Substance, He had been deemed equal, would He not have used every means that this might not be thought? But now He doth the contrary, saying, "If I do not the works of Him that sent Me, believe Me not." (c. x. 37.) Indeed His saying, that "I am in the Father and the Father in Me" (c. xiv. 10), intimateth to us the equality. It would have behooved, if He had been inferior, to refute this opinion with much vehemence, and not at all to have said, "I am in the Father and the Father in me" (c. x. 30), or that, "We are One," or that, "He that hath seen Me, hath seen the Father." (c. xiv. 9.) Thus also, when His discourse was concerning power, He said, "I and the Father are One"; and when His discourse was concerning authority, He said again, "For as the Father raiseth up the dead and quickeneth them, even so the Son quickeneth whom He wilt" (c. v. 21); which it would be impossible that He should do were He of a different substance; or even allowing that it were possible, yet it would not have behooved to say this, lest they should suspect that the substance was one and the same. Since if in order that they may not suppose Him to be an enemy of God, He often even uttereth words unsuited to Him, much more should He then have done so; but now, His saying, "That they should honor the Son even as they honor the Father" (c. v. 23); His saying, "The works which He doeth, I do also" (c. v. 19); His saying that He is "the Resurrection, and the Life, and the Light of the world" (c. xi. 25; c. viii. 12), are the expressions of One making Himself equal to Him who begat Him, and confirming the suspicion which they entertained. Seest thou how He maketh this speech and defense, to show that He broke not the Law, and that He not only doth not remove, but even confirmeth the opinion of His equality with the Father? So also when they said, "Thou blasphemest, because thou makest thyself God" (c. x. 33), from equality of works He established this thing.
[2.] And why say I that the Son did this, when the Father also who took not the flesh doeth the same thing? For He also endured that many lowly things should be said concerning Him for the salvation of the hearers. For the, "Adam, where art thou?" (Gen. iii. 9), and, "That I may know whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it" (Gen. xviii. 21); and, "Now I know that thou fearest God" (Gen. xxii. 12); and, "If they will hear"
(Ezek. iii. 11); and, "If they will understand" (Deut. v. 29); and, "Who shall give the heart of this people to be so?" and the expression, "There is none like unto Thee among the gods, O Lord" (Ps. lxxx. 29); these and many other like sentences in the Old Testament, if a man should pick them out, he will find to be unworthy of the dignity of God. In the case of Ahab it is said, "Who shall entice Ahab for Me?" (2 Chron. xviii. 19.) And the continually preferring Himself to the gods of the I heathen in the way of comparison, all these things are unworthy of God. Yet in another way they are made worthy of Him, for He is so kind, that for our salvation He careth not for expressions which become His dignity. Indeed, the becoming man is unworthy of Him, and the taking the form of a servant, and the speaking humble words, and the being clothed in humble (garments), unworthy if one looks to His dignity, but worthy if one consider the unspeakable riches of His lovingkindness. And there is another cause of the humility of His words. What is that? It is that they knew and confessed the Father, but Him they knew not. Wherefore He continually betaketh Himself to the Father as being confessed by them, because He Himself was not as yet deemed worthy of credit; not on account of any inferiority of His own, but because of the folly and infirmity of the hearers. On this account He prayeth, and saith, "Father, I thank Thee that Thou hast heard Me." For if He quickeneth whom He will, and quickeneth in like manner as doth the Father, wherefore doth He call upon Him?
But it is time now to go through the passage from the beginning? "Then they took up the stone where the dead man lay. And Jesus lifted up His eyes, and said, Father, I thank Thee that Thou hast heard Me. And I knew that Thou hearest Me always, but because of the people that stand by I said it, that they might believe that Thou hast sent Me." Let us then ask the heretic, Did He receive an impulse from the prayer, and so raise the dead man? How then did He work other miracles without prayer? saying, "Thou evil spirit, I charge thee, come out of him" (Mark ix. 25); and, "I will, be thou clean" (Mark i. 41); and, "Arise, take up thy bed" (c. v. 8); and, "Thy sins be forgiven thee" (Matt. ix. 2); and to the sea, "Peace, be still." (Mark iv. 39.) In short, what hath He more than the Apostles, if so be that He also worketh by prayer? Or rather I should say, that neither did they work all with prayer, but often they wrought without prayer, calling upon the Name of Jesus. Now, if His Name had such great power, how could He have needed prayer? Had He needed prayer, His Name would not have availed. When He wholly made man, what manner of prayer did He need? was there not then great equality of honor? "Let Us make," It saith, "man." (Gen. i. 26.) What could be greater sign of weakness, if He needed prayer? But let us see what the prayer was; "I thank Thee that Thou hast heard Me." Who now ever prayed in this manner? Before uttering any prayer, He saith, "I thank Thee," showing that He needed not prayer. "And I knew that Thou hearest Me always." This He said not as though He Himself were powerless, but to show that His will and the Father's is one. But why did He assume the form of prayer? Hear, not me, but Himself, saying, "For the sake of the people which stand by, that they may believe that Thou hast sent Me." He said not, "That they may believe that I am inferior, that I have need of an impulse from above, that without prayer I cannot do anything; but, "That Thou hast sent Me." For all these things the prayer declareth, if we take it simply. He said not, "Thou hast sent me weak, acknowledging servitude, and doing nothing of Myself"; but dismissing all these things, that thou mayest have no such suspicions, He putteth the real cause of the prayer, "That they may not deem Me an enemy of God; that they may not say, He is not of God, that I may show them that the work hath been done according to Thy will." All but saying, "Had I been an enemy of God, what is done would not have succeeded," but the, "Thou heardest Me," is said in the case of friends and equals. "And I knew that Thou hearest Me always," that is, "in order that My will be done I need no prayer, except to persuade men that to Thee and Me belongeth one will." "Why then prayest Thou?" For the sake of the weak and grosser sort.
Ver. 43. "And when He had thus spoken, He cried with a loud voice."
Why said He not, "In the name of My Father come forth"? Or why said He not, "Father, raise him up"? Why did he omit all these expressions, and after assuming the attitude of one praying, show by His actions His independent authority? Because this also was a part of His wisdom, to show condescension by words, but by His deeds, power. For since they had nothing else to charge Him with except that He was not of God, and since in this way they deceived many, He on this account most abundantly proveth this very point by what He saith, and in the way that their infirmity required. For it was in His power by other means to show at once His agreement with the Father and His own dignity, but the multitude could not ascend so far. And He saith, "Lazarus, come forth."
[3.] This is that of which He spake, "The hour is coming, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live." (c. v. 28.) For, that thou mightest not think that He received the power of working from another, He taught thee this before, and gave proof by deeds, and said not, Arise, but, "Come forth," conversing with the dead man as though living. What can be equal to this authority? And if He doth it not by His own strength, what shall He have more than the Apostles, who say, "Why look ye so earnestly on us as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?" (Acts iii. 12.) For if, not working by His own power, He did not add what the Apostles said concerning themselves, they will in a manner be more truly wise than He, because they refused the glory. And in another place, "Why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions as you." (Acts xiv. 15.) The Apostles since they did nothing of themselves, spoke in this way to persuade men of this; but He when the like opinion was formed concerning Him, would He not have removed the suspicion, if at least He did not act by His own authority? Who would assert this? But in truth Christ doeth the contrary, when He saith, "Because of the people which stand by I said it, that they might believe"; so that had they believed, there would have been no need of prayer. Now if prayer were not beneath His dignity, why should He account them the cause of His praying? Why said He not, "I do it in order that they may believe that I am not equal to Thee"; for He ought on account of the suspicion to have come to this point. When He was suspected of breaking the Law, He used the very expression, even when they had not said anything, "'Think not that I am come to destroy the Law" (Matt. v. 17); but in this place He establisheth their suspicion. In fact, what need was there at all of going such a round, and of using such dark sayings? It had been enough to say, "I am not equal," and to be rid of the matter. "But what," saith some one, "did He not say that, I do not My own will?" Even this He did in a covert way, and one suited to their infirmity, and from the same cause through which the prayer was made. But what meaneth "That Thou hast heard Me"? It meaneth, "That there is nothing on My part opposed to Thee." As then the, "That Thou hast heard Me," is not the saying of one declaring, that of Himself He had not the power, (for were this the case, it would be not only impotence but ignorance, if before praying He did not know that God would grant the prayer; and if He knew not, how was it that He said, "I go that I may awake him," instead of, "I go to pray My Father to awake him?") As then this expression is a sign, not of weakness, but of identity of will, so also is the, "Thou hearest Me always." We must then either say this, or else that it was addressed to their suspicions. If now He was neither ignorant nor weak, it is clear that He uttereth these lowly words, that thou mayest be persuaded by their very excess, and mayest be compelled to confess, that they suit not His dignity, but are from condescension. What then say the enemies of truth? "He spake not those words, Thou hast heard me," saith some one, "to the infirmity of the hearers, but in order to show a superiority." Yet this was not to show a superiority, but to humble Himself greatly, and to show Himself as having nothing more than man. For to pray is not proper to God, nor to the sharer of the Throne. Seest thou then that He came to this from no other cause than their unbelief? Observe at least that the action beareth witness to His authority.
"He called, and the dead man came forth wrapped." Then that the matter might not seem to be an appearance, (for his coming forth bound did not seem to be less marvelous than his resurrection,) Jesus commanded to loose him, in order that having touched and having been near him, they might see that it was really he. And He saith,
"Let him go."
Seest thou His freedom from boastfulness? He doth not lead him on, nor bid him go about with Him, lest He should seem to any to be showing him; so well knew He how to observe moderation.
When the sign had been wrought, some wondered, others went and told it to the Pharisees. What then did they? When they ought to have been astonished and to have admired Him, they took counsel to kill Him who had raised the dead. What folly! They thought to give up to death Him who had overcome death in the bodies of others.
Ver. 47. "And they said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles."
They still call Him "man," these who had received such proof of His divinity. "What do we?" They ought to have believed, and served, and bowed down to Him, and no longer to have deemed Him a man.
Ver. 58. "If we let him thus alone, the Romans will come, and will take away both our nation and city."
What is it which they counsel to do? They wish to stir up the people, as though they themselves would be in danger on suspicion of establishing a kingdom. "For if," saith one of them, "the Romans learn that this Man is leading the multitudes, they will suspect us, and will come and destroy our city." Wherefore, tell me? Did He teach revolt? Did He not permit you to give tribute to Cæsar? Did not ye wish to make Him a king, and He fly from you? Did He not follow a mean and unpretending life, having neither house nor anything else of the kind? They therefore said this, not from any such expectation, but from malice. Yet it so fell out contrary to their expectation, and the Romans took their nation and city when they had slain Christ. For the things done by Him were beyond all suspicion. For He who healed the sick, and taught the most excellent way of life, and commanded men to obey their rulers, was not establishing but undoing a tyranny. "But," saith some one, "we conjecture from former (impostors)." But they taught revolt, He the contrary. Seest thou that the words were but a pretense? For what action of the kind did He exhibit? Did He lead about with Him pompous guards? had He a train of chariots? Did He not seek the deserts? But they, that they may not seem to be speaking from their own ill feeling, say that all the city is in danger, that the common weal is being plotted against, and that they have to fear the worst. These were not the causes of your captivity, but things contrary to them; both of this last, and of the Babylonish, and of that under Antiochus which followed: it was not that there were worshipers among you, but that there were among you those who did unjustly, and excited God to wrath, this caused you to be given up into bondage. But such a thing is envy, allowing men to see nothing which they ought to see, when it has once for all blinded the soul. Did He not teach men to be meek? Did He not bid them when smitten on the right cheek to turn the other also? Did He not bid them when injured to bear it? to show greater readiness to endure evil, than others have to inflict it? Are these, tell me, the signs of one establishing a tyranny, and not rather of one pulling a tyranny down?
[4.] But, as I said, a dreadful thing is malice, and full of hypocrisy; this hath filled the world with ten thousand evils; through this malady the law courts are filled, from this comes the desire of fame and wealth, from this the love of rule, and insolence, through this the roads have wicked robbers and the sea pirates, from this proceed the murders through the world, through this our race is rent asunder, and whatever evil thou mayest see, thou wilt perceive to arise from this. This hath even burst into the churches, this hath caused ten thousand dreadful things from the beginning, this is the mother of avarice, this malady hath turned all things upside down, and corrupted justice. For "gifts," It saith, "blind the eyes of the wise, and as a muzzle on the mouth turn away reproofs." (Ecclus. xx. 29, LXX. and marg. of E.V.) This makes slaves of freemen, concerning this we talk every day, and no good comes of it, we become worse than wild beasts; we plunder orphans, strip widows, do wrong to the poor, join woe to woe. "Alas! that the righteous hath perished from the earth!" (Mic. vii. 1, 2.) It is our part too henceforth to mourn, or rather we have need to say this every day. We profit nothing by our prayers, nothing by our advice and exhortation, it remaineth therefore that we weep. Thus did Christ; after having many times exhorted those in Jerusalem, when they profiled nothing, He wept at their hardness. This also do the Prophets, and this let us do now. Henceforth is the season for mourning and tears and wailing; it is seasonable for us also to say now, "Call for the mourning women, and send for the cunning women, that they may cry aloud" (Jer. ix. 17); perhaps thus we shall be able to east out the malady of those who build splendid houses, of those who surround themselves with lands gotten by rapine. It is seasonable to mourn; but do ye take part with me in the mourning, ye who have been stripped and injured, by your mournings bring down my tears. But while mourning we will mourn, not for ourselves but for them; they have not injured you, but they have destroyed themselves; for you have the Kingdom of heaven in return for the injustice done you, they hell in return for their gain. On this account it is better to be injured than to injure. Let us bewail them with a lamentation not of man's making, but that from the Holy Scriptures with which the Prophets also wailed. With Isaiah let us wail bitterly, and say, "Woe, they that add house to house, that lay field to field, that they may take somewhat from their neighbor; will ye dwell alone upon the earth? Great houses and fair, and there shall be no inhabitants in them." (Isa. v. 8, 9.)
Let us mourn with Nahum, and say with him, "Woe to him that buildeth his house on high." (Perhaps Jer. xxii. 13.) Or rather let us mourn for them as Christ mourned for those of old. "Woe to you that are rich, for ye have received your consolation." (Luke vi. 24.) Let us, I beseech you, not cease thus lamenting, and if it be not unseemly, let us even beat our breasts for the carelessness of our brethren. Let us not weep for him who is already dead, but let us weep for the rapacious man, the grasping, the covetous, the insatiable. Why should we mourn for the dead, in whose case it is impossible henceforth to effect anything? Let us mourn for these who are capable even of change. But while we are lamenting, perhaps they will laugh. Even this is a worthy cause for lamentation, that they laugh when they ought to mourn. For had they been at all affected by our sorrows, it would have behooved us to cease from sorrowing on account of their promise of amendment; but since they are of an insensible disposition, let us continue to weep, not merely for the rich, but for the lovers of money, the greedy, the rapacious. Wealth is not an evil thing, (for we may use it rightly when we spend it upon those who have need,) but greediness is an evil, and it prepares deathless punishments. Let us then bewail them; perhaps there will be some amendment; or even if they who have fallen in do not escape, others at least will not fall into the danger, but will guard against it. May it come to pass that both they may be freed from their malady, and that none of us may ever fall into it, that we all may in common obtain the promised goods, through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
"And one of them, Caiaphas, being the High Priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all, nor consider that it is expedient that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not," &c.
[1.] "THE heathen are stuck fast in the destruction which they made; in the trap which they hid is their foot taken." (Ps. ix. 15, LXX.) This hath been the case with the Jews. They said that they would kill Jesus, lest the Romans should come and take away their place and nation; and when they had killed Him, these things happened unto them, and when they had done that by doing which they thought to escape, they yet did not escape. He who was slain is in Heaven, and they who slew have for their portion hell. Yet they did not consider these things; but what? "They desired," It saith, "from that day forth to kill Him" (ver. 53), for they said, "The Romans will come, and will take away our nation; and a certain one of them, Caiaphas, being High Priest that year, said," (being more shameless than the rest,) "Ye know nothing." What the others made matter of doubt, and put forth in the way of deliberation, this man cried aloud, shamelessly, openly, audaciously. For what saith he? "Ye know nothing, nor consider that it is expedient that one man should die, and that the whole nation perish not."
Ver. 51. "And this spake he not of himself, but being High Priest he prophesied."
Seest thou how great is the force of the High Priest's authority? for, since he had in any wise been deemed worthy of the High Priesthood, although unworthy thereof, he prophesied, not knowing what he said; and the grace merely made use of his mouth, but touched not his accursed heart. Indeed many others have foretold things to come, although unworthy to do so, as Nebuchadnezzar, Pharaoh, Balaam; and the reason of all is evident. But what he saith is of this kind. "Ye still sit quiet, ye give heed but carelessly to this matter, and know not how to despise one man's safety for the sake of the community." See how great is the power of the Spirit; from an evil imagination It was able to bring forth words full of marvelous prophecy. The Evangelist calleth the Gentiles "children of God," from what was about to be: as also Christ Himself saith, "Other sheep I have" (c. x. 16), so calling them from what should afterwards come to pass.
But what is, "being High Priest that year"? This matter as well as the rest lind become corrupt; for from the time that offices became matters of purchase, they were no longer priests for the whole period of their lives, but for a year. Notwithstanding, even in this state of things the Spirit was still present. But when they lifted up their hands against Christ, then It left them, and removed to the Apostles. This the rending of the veil declared, and the voice of Christ which said, "Behold, your house is left unto you desolate." (Matt. xxiii. 38.) And Josephus, who lived a short time after, saith, that certain Angels who yet remained with them, (to see) if they would alter their ways, left them. While the vineyard stood, all things went on; but when they had slain the Heir, no longer so, but they perished. And God having taken it from the Jews, as a glorious garment from an unprofitable son, gave it to right-minded servants of the Gentiles, leaving the others desolate and naked. It was, moreover, no small thing that even an enemy should prophesy this. This might draw over others also. For in respect of his will, matters fell out contrariwise, since, when He died, the faithful were on this account delivered from the punishment to come. What meaneth, "That He might gather together those near and those afar off" (ver. 52)? He made them one Body. The dweller in Rome deemeth the Indians a member of himself. What is equal to this "gathering together"? And the Head of all is Christ.
Ver. 53. "From that day forth the Jews took counsel to put Him to death."
And, in truth, had sought to do so before; for the Evangelist saith, "Therefore the Jews sought to kill Him"(c. v. 18); and, "Why seek ye to kill Me?" (c. vii. 19.) But then they only sought, now they ratified their determination, and treated the action as their business.
Ver. 54. "But Jesus walked no more openly in Jewry."
[2.] Again He saveth Himself in a human manner, and this He doth continually. But I have mentioned the reason for which He often departed and withdrew. And at this time He dwelt in Ephratah, near the wilderness, and there He tarried with His disciples. How thinkest thou that those disciples were confounded when they beheld Him saving Himself after the manner of a man? After this no man followed Him. For since the Feast was nigh, all were running to Jerusalem; but they, at a time when all others were rejoicing and holding solemn assembly, hide themselves, and are in danger. Yet still they tarried with Him. For they hid themselves in Galilee, at the time of the Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles; and after this again during the Feast, they only of all were with their Master in flight and concealment, manifesting their good will to Him. Hence Luke recordeth that He said, "I abode with you in temptations"; and this He said, showing that they were strengthened by His influence.
Ver. 55. "And many went up from the country to purify themselves."
Ver. 57. "And the High Priests and Pharisees had commanded that they should lay hands on Him."
A marvelous purification, with a murderous will, with homicidal intentions, and bloodstained hands!
Ver. 56. "And they said, Think ye that he will not come to the feast?"
By means of the Passover they plotted against Him, and made the time of feasting a time of murder, that is, He there would fall into their hands, because the season summoned Him. What impiety! When they needed greater carefulness, and to forgive those who had been taken for the worst offenses, then they attempted to ensnare One who had done no wrong. Yet by acting thus they had already not only profited nothing, but become ridiculous. For this end coming among them continually He escapeth, and restraineth them when they take counsel to kill Him, and maketh them to be in perplexity, desiring to prick them by the display of His power; that when they took Him, they might know that what had been done was done, not by their power, but by His permission. For not even at that time could they take Him, and this though Bethany was near; and when they did take Him, He cast them backwards.
Ch. xii. ver. 1, 2. "Then six days before the Passover He came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, and feasted with them; and Martha served, but Lazarus sat at meat."
This was a proof of the genuineness of his resurrection, that after many days he both lived and ate. "And Martha ministered"; whence it is clear that the meal was in her house, for they received Jesus as loving and beloved. Some, however, say, that it took place in the house of another. Mary did not minister, for she was a disciple. Here again she acted in the more spiritual manner. For she did not minister as being invited, nor did she afford her services to all alike. But she directeth the honor to Him alone, and approacheth Him not as a man, but as a God. On this account she poured out the ointment, and wiped (His feet) with the hairs of her head, which was the action of one who did not entertain the same opinion concerning Him as did others; yet Judas rebuked her, under the pretense forsooth of carefulness. What then saith Christ? "She hath done a good work for My burying." But why did He not expose the disciple in the case of the woman, nor say to him what the Evangelist hath declared, that on account of his own thieving he rebuked her? In His abundant longsuffering He wished to bring him to a better mind. For because He knew that he was a traitor, He from the beginning often rebuked him, saying, "Not all believe," and, "One of you is a devil." (c. vi. 64.) He showed them that He knew him to be a traitor, vet He did not openly rebuke him, but bare with him, desiring to recall him. How then saith another Evangelist, that all the disciples used these words? (Matt. xxvi. 70.) All used them, and so did he, but the others not with like purpose. And if any one ask why He put the bag of the poor in the hands of a thief, and made him steward who was a lover of money, we would reply, that God knoweth the secret reason; but that, if we may say something by conjecture, it was that He might cut off from him all excuse. For he could not say that he did this thing from love of money, (for he had in the bag sufficient to allay his desire,) but from excessive wickedness which Christ wished to restrain, using much condescension towards him. Wherefore He did not even rebuke him as stealing, although aware of it, stopping the way to his wicked desire, and taking from him all excuse. "Let her alone," He saith, "for against the day of My burying hath she done this." Again, He maketh mention of the traitor in speaking of His burial. But him the reproof reacheth not, nor doth the expression soften him, though sufficient to inspire him with pity: as if He had said, "I am burdensome and troublesome, but wait a little while, and I shall depart." This too he intended in saying,
Ver. 8. "But Me ye have not always."
But none of these things turned back that savage madman; yet in truth Jesus said and did far more than this, He washed his feet that night, made him a sharer in the table and the salt, a thing which is wont to restrain even the souls of robbers, and spake other words, enough to melt a stone, and this, not long before, but on the very day, in order that not even time might cause it to be forgotten. But he stood out against all.
[3.] For a dreadful, a dreadful thing is the love of money, it disables both eyes and ears, and makes men worse to deal with than a wild beast, allowing a man to consider neither conscience, nor friendship, nor fellowship, nor the salvation of his own soul, but having withdrawn them at once from all these things, like some harsh mistress, it makes those captured by it its slaves. And the dreadful part of so hitter a slavery is, that it persuades them even to be grateful for it; and the more they become enslaved, the more doth their pleasure increase; and in this way especially the malady becomes incurable, in this way the monster becomes hard to conquer. This made Gehazi a leper instead of a disciple and a prophet; this destroyed Ananias and her with him; this made Judas a traitor; this corrupted the rulers of the Jews, who received gifts, and became the partners of thieves. This hath brought in ten thousand wars, filling the ways with blood, the cities with wailings and lamentations. This hath made meals to become impure, and tables accursed, and hath filled food with transgression; therefore hath Paul called it "idolatry": (Col. iii. 5), and not even so hath he deterred men from it. And why calleth he it "idolatry"? Many possess wealth, and dare not use it, but consecrate it, handing it down untouched, not daring to touch it, as though it were some dedicated thing. And if at any time they are forced to do so, they feel as though they had done something unlawful. Besides, as the Greek carefully tends his graven image, so thou entrusteth thy gold to doors and bars; providing a chest instead of a shrine, and laying it up in silver vessels. But thou dost not bow down to it as he to the image? Yet thou showest all kind of attention to it.
Again, he would rather give up his eyes or his life than his graven image. So also would those who love gold. "But," saith one, "I worship not the gold." Neither doth he, he saith, worship the image, but the devil that dwelleth in it; and in like manner thou, though thou worship not the gold, yet thou worshipest that devil who springeth on thy soul, from the sight of the gold and thy lust for it. For more grievous than an evil spirit is the lust of money-loving, and many obey it more than others do idols. For these last in many things disobey, but in this case they yield everything, and whatever it telleth them to do, they obey. What saith it? "Be at war with all," it saith, "at enmity with all, know not nature, despise God, sacrifice to me thyself," and in all they obey. To the graven images they sacrifice oxen and sheep, but avarice saith, Sacrifice to me thine own soul, and the man obeyeth. Seest thou what kind of altars it hath, what kind of sacrifices it receiveth? The covetous shall not inherit the Kingdom of God, but not even so do they fear. (1 Cor. vi. 10.) Yet this desire is weaker than all the others, it is not inborn, nor natural, (for then it would have been placed in us at the beginning;) but there was no gold at the beginning, and no man desired gold. But if you will, I will tell you whence the mischief entered. By each man's envying the one before him, men have increased the disease, and he who has gotten in advance provokes him who had no desire. For when men see splendid houses, and extensive lands, and troops of slaves, and silver vessels, and great heaps of apparel, they use every means to outdo them; so that the first set of men are causes of the second, and these of those who come after. Now if they would be sober- minded, they would not be teachers (of evil) to others; yet neither have these any excuse. For others there are also who despise riches. "And who," saith one, "despises them?" For the terrible thing is, that, because wickedness is so general, this seems to have become impossible, and it is not even believed that one can act aright. Shall I then mention many both in cities and in the mountains? And what would it avail? Ye will not from their example become better. Besides, our discourse hath not now this purpose, that you should empty yourselves of your substance: I would that ye could do so; however, since the burden is too heavy for you, I constrain you not; only I advise you that you desire not what belongs to others, that you impart somewhat of your own. Many such we shall find, contented with what belongs to them, taking care of their own, and living on honest labor. Why do we not rival and imitate these? Let us think of those who have gone before us. Do not their possessions stand, preserving nothing but their name; such an one's bath, such an one's suburban seat and lodging? Do we not, when we behold them, straightway groan, when we consider what toil he endured, what rapine committed? and now he is nowhere seen, but others luxuriate in his possessions, men whom he never expected would do so, perhaps even his enemies, while he is suffering extremest punishment. These things await us also; for we shall certainly die, and shall certainly have to submit to the same end. How much wrath, tell me, how much expense, how many enmities these men incurred; and what the gain? Deathless punishment, and the having no consolation; and the being not only while alive, but when gone, accused by all? What? when we see the images of the many laid up in their houses, shall we not weep the more? Of a truth well said the Prophet, "Verily, every man living disquieteth himself in vain" (Ps. xxxix. 11, LXX.); for anxiety about such things is indeed disquiet, disquiet and superfluous trouble. But it is not so in the everlasting mansions, not so in those tabernacles. Here one hath labored, and another enjoys; but there each shall possess his own labors, and shall receive a manifold reward. Let us press forward to get that possession, there let us prepare for ourselves houses, that we may rest in Christ Jesus our Lord, with whom to the Father and the Holy Ghost be glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
"Much people of the Jews therefore knew that He was there, and they came, not for Jesus' sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom He had raised from the dead."
[1.] AS wealth is wont to hurl into destruction those who are not heedful, so also is power; the first leads into covetousness, the second into pride. See, for instance, how the subject multitude of the Jews is sound, and their rulers corrupt; for that the first of these believed Christ, the Evangelists continually assert, saying, that "many of the multitude believed on Him" (c. vii. 31, 48); but they who were of the rulers, believed not. And they themselves say, not the multitude, "Hath any of the rulers believed on Him?" But what saith one? "The multitude who know not God are accursed" (c. vii. 49); the believers they call accursed, and themselves the slayers, wise. In this place also, having beheld the miracle, the many believed; but the rulers were not contented with their own evil deeds, they also attempted to kill Lazarus. Suppose they did attempt to slay Christ because He broke the Sabbath, because He made Himself equal to the Father, and because of the Romans whom ye allege, yet what
charge had they against Lazarus, that they sought to kill him? Is the having received a benefit a crime? Seest thou how murderous is their will? Yet He had worked many miracles; but none exasperated them so much as this one, not the paralytic, not the blind. For this was more wonderful in its nature, and was wrought after many others, and it was a strange thing to see one, who had been dead four days, walking and speaking. An honorable action, in truth, for the feast, to mix up the solemn assembly with murders. Besides, in the one case they thought to charge Him concerning the Sabbath, and so to draw away the multitudes; but here, since they had no fault to find with Him, they make the attempt on the man who had been healed. For here they could not even say that He was opposed to the Father, since the prayer stopped their mouths. Since then the charge which they continually brought against Him was removed, and the miracle was evident, they hasten to murder. So that they would have done the same in the case of the blind man, had it not been in their power to find fault respecting the Sabbath. Besides, that man was of no note, and they cast him out of the temple; but Lazarus was a person of distinction, as is clear, since many came to comfort his sisters; and the miracle was done in the sight of all, and most marvelously. On which account all ran to see. This then stung them, that while the feast was going on, all should leave it and go to Bethany. They set their hand therefore to kill him, and thought they were not daring anything, so murderous were they. On this account the Law at its commencement opens with this, "Thou shall not kill" (Ex. xx. 13); and the Prophet brings this charge against them, "Their hands are full of blood." (Isa. i. 15.)
But how, after not walking openly in Jewry, and retiring into the wilderness, doth He again enter openly? Having quenched their anger by retiring, He cometh to them when they were stilled. Moreover, the multitude which went before and which followed after was sufficient to cast them into an agony; for no sign so much attracted the people as that of Lazarus. And another Evangelist saith, that they strewed their garments under His feet (Matt. xxi. 8), and that "the whole city was moved" (Matt. xxi. 10); with so great honor did He enter. And this He did, figuring one prophecy and fulfilling another; and the same act was the beginning of the one and the end of the other. For the, "Rejoice, for thy King cometh unto thee meek" (Zech. ix. 9), belonged to Him as fulfilling a prophecy, but the sitting upon an ass was the act of one prefiguring a future event, that He was about to have the impure race of the Gentiles subject to Him.
But how say the others, that He sent disciples, and said, "Loose the ass and the colt" (Matt. xxi. 2), while John saith nothing of the kind, but that "having found a young ass, He sat upon it"? Because it is likely that both circumstances took place, and that He after the ass was loosed, while the disciples were bringing it, found (the colt), and sat upon it. And they took the small branches of palm trees and olives, and strewed their garments in the way, showing that they now had a higher opinion concerning Him than of a Prophet, and said,
Ver. 13. "Hosannah, blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord."
Seest thou that this most choked them, the persuasion which all men had that He was not an enemy of God? And this most divided the people, His saying that He came from the Father. But what meaneth,
Ver. 15. "Rejoice greatly, daughter of Zion"?
Because all their kings had for the most part been an unjust and covetous kind of men, and had given them over to their enemies, and had perverted the people, and made them subject to their foes; "Be of good courage," It saith, "this is not such an one, but meek and gentle"; as is shown by the ass, for He entered not with an army in His train, but having an ass alone.
Ver. 16. "But this," saith the Evangelist, "the disciples knew not, that it was written of Him."
[2.] Seest thou that they were ignorant on most points, because He did not reveal to them? For when He said, "Destroy this Temple, and in three days I will raise it up" (c. ii. 19), neither then did the disciples understand. And another Evangelist saith, that "the saying was hid from them" (Luke xviii. 34), and they knew not that He should rise from the dead. Now this was with reason concealed from them, (wherefore another Evangelist saith, that as they heard it from time to time, they grieved and were dejected, and this because they understood not the saying concerning the Resurrection,) it was with reason concealed, as being too high for them: but why was not the matter of the ass revealed to them? Because this was a great thing also. But observe the wisdom of the Evangelist, how he is not ashamed to parade their former ignorance. That it was written they knew, that it was written of Him they knew not. For it would have offended them if He being a King were about to suffer such things, and be so betrayed. Besides, they could not at once have taken in the knowledge of the Kingdom of which He spake; for another Evangelist saith, that they thought the words were spoken of a kingdom of this world. (Matt. xx. 21.)
Ver. 17. "But the multitude bare witness that He had raised Lazarus."
For so many would not have been suddenly changed, unless they had believed in the miracle.
Ver. 19. "The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing? behold, the world is gone after Him."
Now this seems to me to be said by those who felt rightly, but had not courage to speak boldly, and who then would restrain the others by pointing to the result, as though they were attempting impossibilities. Here again they call the multitude "the world." For Scripture is wont to call by the name "world" both the creation, and those who live in wickedness; the one, when It saith, "Who bringeth out His world by number" (Isa. xl. 26); the other when It saith, "The world hateth not you, but Me it hateth." (c. vii. 7.) And these things it is necessary to know exactly, that we may not through the signification of words afford a handle to the heretics.
Ver. 20. "And there were certain of the Greeks that came up to worship at the Feast."
Being now near to become proselytes, they were at the Feast. When therefore the report concerning Him was imparted to them, they say, Ver. 21. "We would see Jesus."
Philip gives place to Andrew as being before him, and communicates the matter to him. But neither doth he at once act with authority; for he had heard that saying, "Go not into the way of the Gentiles" (Matt. x. 5): therefore having communicated with the disciple, he refers the matter to his Master. For they both spoke to Him. But what saith He?
Ver. 23, 24. "The hour is come, that the Son of Man should be glorified. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fill into the ground and die, it abideth alone."
What is, "The hour is come"? He had said, "Go not into the way of the Gentiles," (thus cutting away all excuse of ignorance from the Jews,) and had restrained the disciples. When therefore the Jews continued disobedient, and the others desired to come to Him, "Now," saith He, "it is time to proceed to My Passion, since all things are fulfilled. For if we were to continue to wait for those who are disobedient and not admit these who even desire to come, this would be unbefitting our tender care." Since then He was about to allow the disciples to go to the Gentiles after the Crucifixion, and beheld them springing on before, He said, "It is time to proceed to the Cross." For He would not allow them to go sooner, that it might be for a testimony unto them. Until that by their deeds the Jews rejected Him, until they crucified Him, He said not, "Go and make disciples of all nations" (Matt. xxviii. 19), but, "Go not into the way of the Gentiles" (Matt. x. 5), and, "I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Matt xv. 24), and, "It is not meet to take the children's bread and give it unto dogs." (Matt. xv. 26.) But when they hated Him, and so hated as to kill Him, it was superfluous to persevere while they repulsed Him. For they refused Him, saying, "We have no king but Caesar." (c. xix. 05.) So that at length He left them, when they had left Him. Therefore He saith, "How often would I have gathered your children together, and ye would not?" (Matt. xxiii. 37.)
What is, "Except a grain of corn fall into the ground and die"? He speaketh of the Cross, for that they might not be confounded at seeing, that just when Greeks also came to Him, then He was slain, He saith to them, "This very thing specially causeth them to come, and shall increase the preaching of Me." Then since He could not so well persuade them by words, He goeth about to prove this from actual experience, telling them that this is the case with corn; it beareth the more fruit when it hath died. "Now," saith He, "if this be the case with seeds, much more with Me." But the disciples understood not what was spoken. Wherefore the Evangelist continually putteth this, as making excuse for their flight afterwards. This same argument Paul also hath raised when speaking of the Resurrection.
[3.] What sort of excuse then will they have who disbelieve the Resurrection, when the action is practiced each day, in seeds, in plants, and in the case of our own generation? for first it is necessary that the seed die, and that then the generation take place. But, in short, when God doeth anything, reasonings are of no use; for how did He make us out of those things that were not? This I say to Christians, who assert that they believe the Scriptures; but I shall also say something else drawn from human reasonings. Of men some live in vice, others in virtue; and of those who live in vice, many have attained to extreme old age in prosperity, many of the virtuous after enduring the contrary. When then shall each receive his deserts? At what season? "Yea," saith some one, "but there is no resurrection of the body." They hear not Paul, saying, "This corruptible must put on incorruption." (1 Cor. xv. 53.) He speaks not of the soul, for the soul is not corrupted; moreover, "resurrection" is said of that which fell, and that which fell was the body. But why wilt thou have it that there is no resurrection of the body? Is it not possible with God? But this it were utter folly to say. Is it unseemly? Why is it unseemly, that the corruptible which shared the toil and death, should share also the crowns? For were it unseemly, it would not have been created at the beginning, Christ would not have taken the flesh again. But to show that He took it again and raised it up, hear what He saith: "Reach hither thy fingers" (c. xx. 27); and, "Behold, a spirit hath not bones and sinews." (Luke xxiv. 39.) But why did He raise Lazarus again, if it would have been better to rise without a body? Why doth He this, classing it as a miracle and a benefit? I Why did He give nourishment at all? Be not therefore deceived by the heretics, beloved: for there is a Resurrection and there is a Judgment, but they deny these things, who desire not to give account of their actions. For this Resurrection must be such as was that of Christ, for He was the first fruits, the first born of the dead. But if the Resurrection is this, a purifying of the soul, a deliverance from sin, and if Christ sinned not, how did He rise again? And how have we been delivered from the curse, if so be that He also sinned? And now saith He, "The prince of this world cometh, and had nothing in Me"? (c. xiv. 30.) They are the words of One declaring His sinlessness. According to them therefore He either did not rise again; or that He might rise, He sinned before His Resurrection. But He both rose again, and did no sin. Therefore He rose in the Body, and these wicked doctrines are nothing else than the offspring of vainglory. Let us then fly this malady. For, It is saith, "evil communications corrupt good manners." (1 Cor. xv. 33.) These are not the doctrines of the Apostles; Marcion and Valentius have newly invented them. Let us then flee them, beloved, for a pure life profits nothing when doctrines are corrupt; as on the other hand neither do sound doctrines, if the life be corrupt. The heathen were the parents of these notions, and those heretics reared them, having received them from Gentile philosophers, asserting that matter is uncreated, and many such like things. As then they asserted that there could be no Artificer unless there were some uncreated subject matter, so also they disallowed the Resurrection. But let us not heed them, as knowing that the power of God is all sufficient. Let us not heed them. To you I say this; for we will not decline the battle with them. But the man who is unarmed and naked, though he fall among the weak, though he be the stronger, will easily be vanquished. Had you given heed to the Scriptures, had you sharpened yourselves each day, I would not have advised you to flee the combat with them, but would have counseled you to grapple with them; for strong is truth. But since you know not how to use the Scriptures, I fear the struggle, lest they take you unarmed and cast you down. For there is nothing, there is nothing weaker than those who are bereft of the aid of the Spirit. If these heretics employ the wisdom of the Gentiles, we must not admire, but laugh at them, because they employ foolish teachers. For those men were not able to find out anything sound, either concerning God or the creation, and things which the widow among us is acquainted with, Pythagoras did not yet know, but said that the soul becomes a bush, or a fish, or a dog. To these, tell me, ought you to give heed? And how could it be reasonable to do so? They are great men in their district, grow beautiful curls, and are enfolded in cloaks; thus far goes their philosophy; but if you look within there is dust and ashes and nothing sound, but "their throat is an open sepulcher" (Ps. v. 9), having all things full of impurity and corruption, and all their doctrines (full) of worms. For instance, the first of them said that water was God, his successor fire, another one air, and they descended to things corporeal; ought we then, tell me, to admire these, who never even had the thought of the incorporeal God? and if they did ever gain it afterwards, it was after conversing in Egypt with our people. But, that we bring not upon you much confusion, let us here close our discourse. For should we begin to set before you their doctrine, and what they have said about God, what about matter, what about the soul, what about the body, much ridicule will follow. And they will not even require to be accused by us, for they have attacked each other; and he who wrote against us the book concerning matter, made away with himself. Therefore that we may not vainly delay you, nor wind together a labyrinth of words, leaving these things we will bid you keep fast hold of the listening to the Holy Scriptures, and not fight with words to no purpose; as also Paul exhorteth Timothy (2 Tim. 2, 14), filled though he was with much wisdom, and possessing the power of miracles. Let us now obey him, and leaving trifling let us hold fast to real works, I mean to brotherly-kindness and hospitality; and let us make much account of alms-giving, that we may obtain the promised good things, through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for endless ages. Amen.
"He that loveth his life shall lose it, and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve Me, let him follow Me."
[1.] SWEET is the present life, and full of much pleasure, yet not to all, but to those who are riveted to it. Since, if any one look to heaven and see the beauteous things there, he will soon despise this life, and make no account of it. Just as the beauty of an object is admired while none more beautiful is seen, but when a better appears, the former is despised. If then we would choose to look to that beauty, and observe the splendor of the kingdom there, we should soon free ourselves from our present chains; for a kind of chain it is, this sympathy with present things. And hear what Christ saith to bring us in to this, "He that loveth his life shall lose it, and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal; if any man serve Me let him follow Me"; and, "Where I am, there is My servant also." The words seem like a riddle, yet they are not so, but are full of much wisdom. But how shall "he that loveth his life, lose it"? When he doeth its unseemly desires, when he gratifies it where he ought not. Wherefore one exhorteth us, saying, "Walk not in the desires of thy soul" (Ecclus. xviii. 30); for so wilt thou destroy it since it leadeth away from the path leading to virtue; just as, on the contrary, "he that hateth it in this world, shall save it." But what meaneth, "He that hateth it"? He who yields not to it when it commands what is pernicious. And He said not," he that yieldeth not to it," but, "He that hateth it"; for as we cannot endure even to hear the voice of those we hate, nor to look upon them with pleasure, so from the soul also we must turn away with vehemence, when it commands things contrary to what is pleasing to God. For since He was now about to say much to them concerning death, His own death, and saw that they were dejected and desponding, He spake very strongly, saying, "What say I? If ye bear not valiantly My death? Nay, if ye die not yourselves, ye will gain noticing." Observe also how He softens the discourse. It was a very grievous and sad thing to be told, that the man who loves life should die. And why speak I of old times, when even now we shall find many gladly enduring to suffer anything. in order to enjoy the present life, and this too when they are persuaded concerning things to come; who when they behold buildings, and works of art, and contrivances, weep, uttering the reflection," How many things man inventeth, and yet becometh dust! So great is the longing after this present life." To undo these bonds then, Christ saith, "He that hateth his soul in this world, shall keep it unto life eternal." For that thou mayest know that He spake as exhorting them, and dissipating their fear, hear what comes next.
"If any man serve Me, let him follow Me."
Speaking of death, and requiring the following which is by works. For certainly he that serveth must follow him who is served. And observe at what time He said these things to them; not when they were persecuted, but when they were confident; when they thought they were in safety on account of the honor and attention of the many, when they might rouse themselves and hear, "Let him take up his cross, and follow Me" (Matt. xvi. 24); that is, "Be ever," He saith, "prepared against dangers, against death, against your departure hence." Then after He had spoken what was hard to bear, He putteth also the prize. And of what kind was this? The following Him, and being where He is; showing that Resurrection shall succeed death. For, saith He,
"Where I am, there is My servant also."
But where is Christ? In heaven. Let us therefore even before the Resurrection remove thither in soul and mind.
"If any man serve Me, the Father shall love him."
Why said He not, "I"? Because they did not as yet hold a right opinion concerning Him, but held a higher opinion of the Father. For how could they imagine anything great concerning Him, who did not even know that He was to rise again? Wherefore He said to the sons of Zebedee, "It is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared by my Father" (Mark x. 40), yet He it is that judgeth. But in this passage He also establisheth His genuine sonship. For as the servants of His own Son, so will the Father receive them.
Ver. 27. "Now is My soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour."
"But surely this is not the expression of one urging them to go even to death." Nay, it is that of one greatly so urging them. For lest they should say, that "He being exempt from mortal pains easily philosophizes on death, and exhorts us being himself in no danger," He showeth, that although feeling its agony? on account of its profitableness He declineth it not. But these things belong to the Dispensation, not the Godhead. Wherefore He saith, "Now is My soul troubled"; since if this be not the case, What connection hath that which was spoken, and His saying, "Father, save Me from this hour"? And so troubled, that He even sought deliverance from death, if at least it were possible to escape. These were the infirmities of His human nature.
[2.] "But," He saith, "I have not what to say, when asking for deliverance."
"For for this cause came I unto this hour."
As though He had said, "Though we be confounded, though we be troubled, let us not fly from death, since even now I though troubled do not speak of flying; for it behooveth to bear what is coming on. I say not, Deliver Me from this hour," but what?
Ver. 28. "Father, glorify Thy Name."
"Although My trouble urges Me to say this, yet I say the opposite, 'Glorify Thy Name,' that is, Lead Me henceforth to the Cross"; which greatly shows His humanity, and a nature unwilling to die, but clinging to the present life, proving that He was not exempt from human feelings. For as it is no blame to be hungry, or to sleep, so neither is it to desire the present life; and Christ indeed had a body pure from sin, yet not free from natural wants, for then it would not have been a body. By these words also He taught something else. Of what kind is that? That if ever we be in agony and dread, we even then start not back from that which is set before us; and by saying, "Glorify Thy Name" He showeth that He dieth for the truth calling the action, "glory to God." And this fell out after the Crucifixion. The world was about to be converted, to acknowledge the Name of God, and to serve Him, not the Name of the Father only, but also that of the Son; yet still as to this He is silent.
"There came therefore a Voice from Heaven, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again."
When had He "glorified it"? By what had been done before; and "I will glorify it again" after the Cross. What then said Christ?
Ver. 30. "This Voice came not because of Me, but for your sakes."
They thought that it thundered, or that an Angel spake to Him. And how did they think this? Was not the voice clear and distinct? It was, but it quickly flew away from them as being of the grosser sort, carnal and slothful. And some of them caught the sound only," others knew that the voice was articulate, but what it meant, knew not. What saith Christ? "This Voice came not because of Me, but for your sakes." Why said He this? He said it, setting Himself against what they continually asserted, that He was not of God. For He who was glorified by God, how was He not from that God whose name by Him was glorified? indeed for this purpose the Voice came. Wherefore He saith Himself, "This Voice came not because of Me, but for your sakes," "not that I may learn by it anything of which I am ignorant, (for I know all that belongeth to the Father,) but for your sakes." For when they said, "An Angel hath spoken unto Him," or "It hath thundered," and gave not heed to Him, He saith, "it was for your sakes," that even so ye might be led to enquire what the words meant. But they, being excited, did not even so enquire, though they heard that the matter related to them. For to one who knew not wherefore it was uttered, the Voice naturally appeared indistinct. "The Voice came for your sakes." Seest thou that these lowly circumstances take place on their account, not as though the Son needeth help?
Ver. 31. "Now is the judgment of this world, now shall the prince of this world be cast down."
What connection hath this with, "I have glorified, and will glorify"? Much, and closely harmonizing. For when God saith, "I will glorify,' He showeth the manner of the glorifying. What is it? That one should be cast down. But what is, "the judgment of this world"? It is as though He said, "there shall be a tribunal and a retribution." How and in what way? "He slew the first man, having found him guilty of sin, (for 'by sin death entered'—Rom. v. 12 ;) but in Me this he found not. Why then did he spring upon Me and give Me over to death? Why did he put into the mind of Judas to destroy Me?" (Tell me not that it was God's dispensation, for this belongeth not to the devil, but His wisdom; for the present let the disposition of that evil one be enquired into.) "How then is the world judged in Me?" It shall be said, as if a court of justice were sitting, to Satan, "Well, thou hast slain all men, because thou didst find them guilty of sin. But why didst thou slay Christ? Is it not clear that thou didst it wrongfully?" Therefore in Him the whole world shall be avenged. But, that this may be still more clear, I will make it plain by an example. Suppose there is some cruel tyrant, bringing ten thousand evils on all those who fall into his hands. If such a one engaging with a king, or a king's son, slay him unjustly, his death will have power to get revenge for the others also. Suppose there is one who demands payment of his debtors, that he beats them and casts them into prison; then from the same recklessness that he leads to the same dungeon one who owes him nothing: such a man shall suffer punishment for what he hath done to the others. For that one shall destroy him.
[3.] So also it is in the case of the Son; for of those things which the devil hath done against us, of these shall the penalty be required by means of what he hath dared against Christ. And to show that He implieth this, hear what He saith; "Now shall the prince of this world be cast down," "by My Death."
Ver. 32. "And I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto Me."
That is, "even those of the Gentiles." And that no one may ask, "How shall he be cast down, if he is stronger even than Thou art?" He saith, "He is not stronger; how can he be stronger than One who draweth others to Him?" And He speaketh not of the Resurrection, but of what is more than the Resurrection, "I will draw all men to Myself." For had He said, "I shall rise again," it was not yet clear that they would believe; but by His saying, "they shall believe," both are proved at once, both this, and also that He must rise again. For had He continued dead, and been a mere man, no one would have believed. "I will draw all men to Myself." (c. vi. 44.) How then said He that the Father draweth? Because when the Son draweth, the Father draweth also. He saith, "I will draw them," as though they were detained by a tyrant, and unable of themselves alone to approach Him, and to escape the hands of him who keepeth hold of them. In another place He calleth this "spoiling; no man can spoil a strong man's goods, except he first bind the strong man, and then spoil his goods." (Matt. xii. 29.) This He said to prove His strength, and what there He calleth "spoiling," He hath here called "drawing."
Knowing then these things, let us rouse ourselves, let us glorify God, not by our faith alone, but also by our life, since otherwise it would not be glory, but blasphemy. For God is not so much blasphemed by an impure heathen, as by a corrupt Christian. Wherefore I entreat you to do all that God may be glorified; for, "Woe," it saith, "to that servant by whom the Name of God is blasphemed," (and wherever there is a "woe," every punishment and vengeance straightway follows,) "but blessed is he by whom that Name is glorified." Let us then not be as in darkness, but avoid all sins, and especially those which tend to the hurt of others, since by these. God is most blasphemed. What pardon shall we have, when, being commanded to give to others, we plunder the property of others? What shall be our hope of salvation? Thou art punished if thou hast not fed the hungry; but if thou hast even stripped one who was clothed, what sort of pardon shalt thou obtain? These things I will never desist from saying, for they who have not heard to-day perhaps will hear tomorrow, and they who take no heed to-morrow perhaps will be persuaded the next day; and even if any be so disposed as not to be persuaded, yet for us there will be no account to give of them at the Judgment. Our part we have fulfilled; may we never have cause to be ashamed of our words, nor you to hide your faces, but may all be able to stand with boldness before the judgment-seat of Christ, that we also may be able to rejoice over you, and to have some compensation of our own faults, in your being approved in Christ Jesus our Lord, with whom to the Father and the Holy Ghost be glory for ever. Amen.
"The people answered Him, We have heard out of the Law that Christ abideth for ever; and how sayest thou, The Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?"
[1.] Deceit is a thing easily detected, and weak, though it be daubed outside with ten thousand colors. For as those who whitewash decayed walls, cannot by the plastering make them sound, so too those who lie are easily found out, as in fact was the case here with the Jews. For when Christ said to them, "If I be lifted up I will draw all men unto Me; We have heard," saith one of them, "out of the Law, that Christ remaineth forever; and how sayest thou, that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?" Even they then knew that Christ was some Immortal One, and had life without end. And therefore they also knew what He meant; for often in Scripture the Passion and the Resurrection are mentioned in the same place. Thus Isaiah puts them together, saying, "He was led as a sheep to the slaughter" (Isa. liii. 7), and all that follows. David also in the second Psalm, and in many other places, connects these two things. The Patriarch too after saying, "He lay down, He couched as a lion," addeth, "And as a lion's whelp, who shall raise Him up?" (Gen. xlix. 9.) He showeth at once the Passion and the Resurrection. But these men when they thought to silence Him, and to show that He was not the Christ, confessed by this very circumstance that the Christ remaineth forever. And observe their evil dealing; they said not, "We have heard that Christ neither suffereth nor is crucified," but that "He remaineth forever." Yet even this which has been mentioned, would have been no real objection, for the Passion was no hindrance to His Immortality. Hence we may see that they understood many of the doubtful points, and deliberately went wrong. For since He had before spoken about death, when they now heard in this place the, "be lifted up," they guessed that death was referred to. Then they said, "Who is this Son of Man?" This too they did deceitfully. "Think not, I pray," saith one, "that we say this concerning thee, assert not that we oppose thee through enmity, for, lo, we know not concerning whom thou speakest, and still we declare our opinion." What then doth Christ? To silence them, and to show that the Passion is no impediment to His enduring forever, He saith,
Ver. 35. "Yet a little while," He saith, "is the light with you." Signifying that His death was a removal; for the light of the sun is not destroyed, but having retired for a while appears again.
"Walk while ye have the light."
Of what season doth He here speak? Of the whole present life, or of the time before the Crucifixion? I for my part think of both, for on account of His unspeakable lovingkindness, many even after the Crucifixion believed. And He speaketh these things to urge them on to the faith, as He also did before, saying, "Yet a little while I am with you." (c. vii. 33.)
"He that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth."
How many things, for instance, even now do the Jews, without knowing what they do, but walking as though they were in darkness? They think that they are going the right way, when they are taking the contrary; keeping the Sabbath, respecting the Law and the observances about meats, yet knowing not whither they walk. Wherefore He said,
Ver. 36. "Walk in the light, that ye may become children of the light."
That is, "My children." Yet in the beginning the Evangelist saith, "Were born, not of bloods, nor of the will of the flesh, but of God" (c. i. 13); that is, of the Father; while here Himself is said to beget them; that thou mayest understand that the operation of the Father and the Son is One. "Jesus having spoken these things," departed from them, and did hide Himself.
Why doth He now "hide Himself"? They took not up stones against Him, nor did they blaspheme Him in any such manner as before; why then did He hide Himself? Walking in men's hearts, He knew that their wrath was fierce, though they said nothing; He knew it boiling and murderous, and waited not till it issued into action, but hid Himself, to allay their ill-will. Observe how the Evangelist has alluded to this feeling; he has immediately added,
Ver. 37. "Though He had done so many miracles, they believed not on Him."
[2.] What "so many"? So many as the Evangelist hath omitted. And this is clear also from what follows. For when He had retired, and given in, and had come to them again, He speaketh with them in a lowly manner, saying, "He that believeth on Me, believeth not on Me, but on Him that sent Me." (Ver. 44.) Observe what He doeth. He beginneth with humble and modest expressions, and betaketh Himself to the Father; then again He raiseth His language, and when He seeth that they are exasperated, He retireth; then He cometh to them again, and again beginneth with words of humility. And where hath He done this? Nay, where hath He not done it? See, for instance, what He saith at the beginning, "As I hear, I judge." (c. v. 30.) Then in a loftier tone, "As the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them, so also the Son quickeneth whom He will" (c. v. 21); again, "I judge you not, there is another that judgeth." Then again He retireth. Then coming to Galilee, "Labor not," He saith, "for the meat that perisheth" (c. vi. 27); and after having said great things of Himself, that He came down from Heaven, that He giveth eternal life, He again withdraweth Himself. And He cometh in the Feast of Tabernacles also, and doth the same. And one may see Him continually thus varying His teaching, by His presence, by His absence, by lowly, by high discourses. Which He also did here. "Though He had done so many miracles," it saith, "they believed not on Him."
Ver. 38. "That the saying of Esaias might be fulfilled which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report, and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed?" And again,
Ver. 39—41. "They could not believe," it saith, "because that Esaias said, Ye shall hear with your ears, and not understand. These things he said, when he saw His glory, and spake of Him."
Here again observe, that the "because," and "spake," refer not to the cause of their unbelief, but to the event. For it was not "because" Isaiah spake, that they believed not; but because they were not about to believe, that he spake. Why then doth not the Evangelist express it so, instead of making the unbelief proceed from the prophecy, not the prophecy from the unbelief? And farther on he putteth this very thing more positively, saying, "Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said." He desires hence to establish by many proofs the unerring truth of Scripture, and that what Isaiah foretold fell not out otherwise, but as he said. For lest any one should say, "Wherefore did Christ come? Knew he not that they would give no heed to him?" he introduces the Prophets, who knew this also. But He came that they might have no excuse for their sin; for what things the Prophet foretold, he foretold as certainly to be; since if they were not certainly to be, he could not have foretold them; and they were certainly to be, because these men were incurable.
And if, "they could not," is put, instead of, "they would not," do not marvel, for He saith also in another place, "He that is able to receive it, let him receive it." (Matt. xix. 12.) So in many places He is wont to term choice, power. Again, "The world cannot hate you, but Me it hateth." (c. vii. 7.) This one may even see observed in common conversation; as when a man saith, "I cannot love this or that person," calling the force of his will, power. And again, "this or that person cannot be a good man." And what saith the Prophet? "If the Ethiopian shall change his skin, or the leopard his spots, this people also shall be able to do good, having learned evil." (Jer. xiii. 23, LXX.) He saith not that the doing of virtue is impossible to them, but that because they will not, therefore they cannot. And by what he saith the Evangelist means, that it was impossible for the Prophet to lie; yet it was not on that account impossible that they should believe. For it was possible, even had they believed, that he should remain true; since he would not have prophesied these things if they had been about to believe. "Why then," saith some one, "did he not say so?" Because Scripture hath certain idiomatic phrases of this kind, and it is needful to make allowance for its laws.
"The seethings he spake when he saw His glory." Whose? The Father's. How then doth John speak of the Son? and Paul of the Spirit? Not as confounding the Persons, but as showing that the Dignity is one, they say it. For that which is the Father's is the Son's also, and that which is the Son's is the Spirit's. Yet many things God spake by Angels, and no one saith, "as the Angel spake," but how? "as God spake." Since what hath been said by God through the ministry of Angels would be of God; yet not therefore is what is of God, of the Angels also. But in this place John saith that the words are the Spirit's.
"And spake of Him." What spake he? "I saw the Lord sitting upon a high throne" (Isa. vi. 1), and what follows. Therefore he there calleth "glory," that vision, the smoke, the hearing unutterable Mysteries, the beholding the Seraphim, the lightning which leaped from the throne, against which those powers could not took. "And spake of Him." What said he? That he heard a voice, saying, "Whom shall I send? who shall go? And I said, Here am I, send me. And He said, Ye shall hear with your ears, and shall not understand, and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive." (Isa. vi. 8, 10.) For,
Ver. 40. "He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart, lest they at any time should see with their eyes, and understand with their heart."
Here again is another question, but it is not so if we rightly consider it. For as the sun dazzles the eyes of the weak, not by reason of its proper nature, so it is with those who give not heed to the words of God. Thus, in the case of Pharaoh, He is said to have hardened his heart, and so it is with those who are at all contentious against the words of God. This is a peculiar mode of speech in Scripture, as also the, "He gave them over unto a reprobate mind" (Rom. i. 28), and the, "He divided them to the nations," that is, allowed, permitted them to go. For the writer doth not here introduce God as Himself working these things, but showeth that they took place through the wickedness of others. For, when we are abandoned by God, we are given up to the devil, and when so given up, we suffer ten thousand dreadful things. To terrify the hearer, therefore, the writer saith, "He hardened," and "gave over." For to show that He doth not only not give us over, but doth not even leave us, except we will it, hear what He saith, "Do not your iniquities separate between Me and you?" (Isa. lix. 2, LXX.). And again, "They that go far away from Thee shall perish." (Ps. lxxiii. 27, LXX.) And Hosea saith, "Thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, and I will also forget thee" (Hos. iv. 6, LXX.); and He saith Himself also in the Gospels, "How often would I have gathered your children—and ye would not." (Luke xiii. 34.) Esaias also again, "I came, and there was no man; I called, and there was none to hearken." (Isa. l. 2, LXX.) These things He saith, showing that we begin the desertion, and become the causes of our perdition; for God not only desireth not to leave or to punish us, but even when He punisheth, doth it unwillingly; "I will not," He saith, "the death of a sinner, so much as that he should turn and live." (Ezek. xviii. 32, LXX.) Christ also mourneth over the destruction of Jerusalem, as we also do over our friends.
[3.] Knowing this, let us do all so as not to remove from God, but let us hold fast to the care of our souls, and to the love towards each other; let us not tear our own members, (for this is the act of men insane and beside themselves,) but the more we see any ill disposed, the more let us be kind to them. Since we often see many persons suffering in their bodies from difficult or incurable maladies, and cease not to apply remedies. What is worse than gout in foot or hand? Are we therefore to cut off the limbs? Not at all, but we use every means that the sufferer may enjoy some comfort, since we cannot get rid of the disease. This also let us do in the case of our brethren, and, even though they be diseased incurably, let us continue to tend them, and let us bear one another's burdens. So shall we fulfill the law of Christ, and obtain the promised good things, through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, with whom to the Father and the Holy Ghost be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
"Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on Him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should he put out of the synagogue: for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God."
[1.] It is necessary for us to avoid alike all the passions which corrupt the soul, but most especially those, which from themselves generate numerous sins. I mean such as the love of money. It is in truth of itself a dreadful malady, but it becomes much more grievous, because it is the root and mother of all mischiefs. Such also is vainglory. See, for instance, how these men were broken off from the faith through their love of honor. "Many," it saith, "of the chief rulers also believed on Him, but because of the Jews they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue." As He said also to them before, "How can ye believe which receive honor one of another, and seek not the honor that cometh from God only?" (c. v. 44.) So then they were not rulers, but slaves in the utmost slavery. However, this fear was afterwards done away, for nowhere during the time of the Apostles do we find them possessed by this feeling, since in their time both rulers and priests believed. The grace of the Spirit having come, made them all firmer than adamant. Since therefore this was what hindered them from believing at this time, hear what He saith.
Ver. 44. "He that believeth on Me, believeth not on Me, but on Him that sent Me."
As though He had said, "Why fear ye to believe on Me? Faith passeth to the Father through Me, as doth also unbelief." See how in ever) way He showeth the unvaryingness of His Essence. He said not, He that believeth "Me," lest any should assert that He spake concerning His words; this might have been said in the case of mere men, for he that believeth the Apostles, believeth not them, but God. But that thou mightest learn that He speaketh here of the belief on His Essence, He said not, "He that believeth My words," but, "He that believeth on Me." "And wherefore," saith some one, "hath He nowhere said conversely, He that believeth on the Father, believeth not on the Father but on Me?" Because they would have replied, "Lo, we believe on the Father, but we believe not on thee." Their disposition was as yet too infirm. Anyhow, conversing with the disciples, He did speak thus: "Ye believe on the Father, believe also on Me" (c. xiv. 1); but seeing that these then were too weak to hear such words, He leadeth them in another way, showing that it is not possible to believe on the Father, without believing on Him. And that thou mayest not deem that the words are spoken as of man, He addeth,
Ver. 45. "He that seeth Me, seeth Him that sent Me."
What then! Is God a body? By no means. The "seeing" of which He here speaketh is that of the mind, thence showing the Consubstantiality. And what is, "He that believeth on Me"? It is as though one should say, "He that taketh water from the river, taketh it not from the river but from the fountain"; or rather this image is too weak, when compared with the matter before us.
Ver. 46. "I am come a light into the world."
For since the Father is called by this name everywhere both in the Old (Testament) and in the New, Christ useth the same name also; therefore Paul also calleth Him, "Brightness" (Heb. i. 3), having learnt to do so from this source. And He showeth here His close relationship with the Father, and that there is no separation between them, if so be that He saith that faith on Him is not on Him, but passeth on to the Father. And He called Himself "light," because He delivereth from error, and dissolveth mental darkness.
Ver. 47. "If any man hear not Me, and believe not, I judge him not, for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world."
[2.] For lest they should think, that for want of power He passed by the despisers, therefore spake He the, "I came not to judge the world." Then, in order that they might not in this way be made more negligent, when they bad learned that "he that believeth is saved, and he that disbelieveth is punished," see how He hath also set before them a fearful court of judgment, by going on to say,
Ver. 48. "He that rejecteth Me, and receiveth not My words, hath One to judge him."
"If the Father judgeth no man, and thou art not come to judge the world, who judgeth him?" "The word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him." For since they said, "He is not from God," He saith this, that, "they shall not then be able to say these things, but the words which I have spoken now, shall be in place of an accuser, convicting them, and cutting off all excuse." "And the word which I have spoken." What manner of word?
Ver. 49. "For I have not spoken of Myself, but the Father which sent Me, He gave Me a commandment what I should say, and what I should speak." And other such like.
Surely these things were said for their sakes, that they might have no pretense of excuse. Since if this were not the case, what shall He have more than Isaiah? for he too saith the very same thing, "The Lord God giveth me the tongue of the learned, that I should know when I ought to speak a word." (Isa. 1. 4, LXX.) What more than Jeremiah? for he too when he was sent was inspired. (Jer. i. 9.) What then Ezekiel? for he too, after eating the roll, so spake. (Ezek. iii. 1.) Otherwise also, they who were about to hear what He said shall be found to be causes of His knowledge. For if when He was sent, He then received commandment what He should say, thou wilt then argue that before He was sent He knew not. And what more impious than these assertions? if (that is) one take the words of Christ in this sense, and understand not the cause of their lowliness? Yet Paul saith, that both he and those who were made disciples knew "what was that good and acceptable and perfect will of God" (Rom. xii. 2), and did the Son not know until He had received commandment? How can this be reasonable? Seest thou not that He bringeth His expressions to an excess of humility, that He may both draw those men over, and silence those who should come after. This is why He uttereth words befitting a mere man, that even so He may force us to fly the meanness of the sayings, as being conscious that the words belong not to His Nature, but are suited to the infirmity of the hearers.
Ver. 50. "And I know that His commandment is life everlasting; whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto Me, so I speak."
Seest thou the humility of the words? For he that hath received a commandment is not his own master. Yet He saith, "As the Father raiseth up the dead and quickeneth them, even so the Son quickeneth whom He will." (c. v. 21.) Hath He then power to quicken whom He will, and to say what He will hath He not power? What He intendeth then by the words is this; "The action hath not natural possibility, that He should speak one set of words, and I should utter another." "And I know that His commandment is life everlasting." He said this to those that called Him a deceiver, and asserted that He had come to do hurt. But when He saith, "I judge not," He showeth that He is not the cause of the perdition of these men. By this He all but plainly testifies, when about to remove from, and to be no more with, them, that "I converse with you, speaking nothing as of Myself, but all as from the Father." And for this cause He confined His discourse to them to humble expressions, that He might say, "Even until the end did I utter this, My last word, to them." What word was that? "As the Father said unto Me, so I speak." "Had I been opposed to God I should have said the contrary, that I speak nothing of what is pleasing to God, so as to attract the honor to Myself, but now I have so referred all things to Him, as to call nothing My own. Why then do ye not believe Me when I say that 'I have received a commandment,' and when I so vehemently remove your evil suspicion respecting rivalry? For as it is impossible for those who have received a commandment to do or say anything but what their senders wish, as long as they fulfill the commandment, and do not forge anything; so neither is it possible for Me to say or do anything except as My Father willeth. For what I do He doeth, because He is with Me, and 'the Father hath not left Me alone.' " (c. viii. 29.) Seest thou how everywhere He showeth Himself connected with Him who begat Him, and that there is no separation? For when He saith, "I am not come of Myself," He saith it not, as depriving Himself of power, but as taking away all alienation or opposition. For if men are masters of themselves, much more the Only- begotten Son. And to show that this is true, hear what Paul saith, "He emptied Himself, and gave Himself for us." (Phil. ii. 7.) But, as I said, a terrible thing is vainglory, very terrible (Eph. v. 2); for this made these men not to believe, and others to believe ill, so that the things which were said for the sake of those men, through lovingkindness, they turned to impiety.
[3.] Let us then ever flee this monster: various and manifold it is, and everywhere sheds its peculiar venom, in wealth, in luxury, in beauty of person. Through this we everywhere go beyond needful use; through this arises extravagance in garments, and a great swarm of domestics; through this the needful use is everywhere despised, in our houses, our garments, our table; and extravagance prevails. Wilt thou enjoy glory? Do alms-deeds, then shall Angels praise thee, then shall God receive thee. Now the admiration goes no farther than the goldsmiths and weavers, and thou departest without a crown, often seeing that thou receivest curses. But if thou put not these things about thy body, but expend them in feeding the poor, great will be the applause from all sides, great the praise. Then shall thou have them, when thou givest them to others; when thou keepest them to thyself, then thou hast them not. For a house is a faithless treasury, but a sure treasury are the hands of the poor. Why adornest thou thy body, while thy soul is neglected, possessed by uncleanness? Why bestowest thou not so much thought on thy soul, as thy body? Thou oughtest to bestow greater; but anyhow, beloved, we ought to bestow equal care upon it. For tell me, if any one asked thee which thou wouldest choose, that thy body should be fresh and of good habit and surpassing in beauty, and wear mean raiment, or having the body deformed and full of diseases, to wear gold and finery; wouldest thou not much prefer to have beauty depending on the nature of thy person, than on the raiment with which thou art clothed? And wilt thou choose this in the case of thy body, but the contrary in the case of thy soul; and, when thou hast that ugly and unsightly and black, dost thou think to gain anything from golden ornaments? What madness is this! Shift this adorning within, put these necklaces about thy soul. The things that are put about thy body help neither to its health nor to its beauty, for it will not make black white, nor what is ugly either beautiful or good looking. But if thou put them about thy soul, thou shalt soon make it white instead of black, instead of ugly and unsightly, thou shalt make it beautiful and well-favored. The words are not mine, but those of the Lord Himself, who saith, "Though thy sins be as scarlet, I will make them white as snow" (Isa. i. 18, LXX.); and, "Give alms—and all things shall be clean unto you" (Luke xi. 41); and by such a disposition thou shalt beautify not thyself only, but thy husband. For they if they see you putting off these outward ornaments, will have no great need of expense, and not having it, they will abstain from all covetousness, and will be more inclined to give alms, and ye too will be able boldly to give them fitting counsel. At present ye are deprived of all such authority. For with what mouth will ye speak of these things? with what eyes will ye look your husbands in the face, asking money for alms, when ye spend most upon the covering of your bodies? Then wilt thou be able boldly to speak with thy husband concerning alms-giving, when thou layest aside thine ornaments of gold. Even if thou accomplish nothing, thou hast fulfilled all thy part; but I should rather say, that it is impossible that the wife should not gain the husband, when she speaks by the very actions. "For what knowest thou, O woman, whether thou shalt save thy husband?" (1 Cor. vii. 16.) As then now thou shall give account both for thyself and for him, so if thou put off all this vanity thou shall have a double crown, wearing thy crown and triumphing with thy husband through those unalloyed ages, and enjoying the everlasting good things, which may we all obtain, through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
"Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour was come that He should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end."
"BE ye imitators of me," said Paul, "as I also am of Christ." (1 Cor. xi. 1.) For on this account He took also flesh of our substance, that by means of it He might teach us virtue. For ("God sending His own Son) in the likeness of sinful flesh," it saith, "and for sin condemned sin in the flesh." (Rom. viii. 3.) And Christ Himself saith, "Learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart." (Matt. xi. 29.) And this He taught, not by words alone, but by actions also. For they called Him a Samaritan, and one that had a devil, and a deceiver, and cast stones at Him; and at one time the Pharisees sent servants to take Him, at another they sent plotters against Him; and they continued also insulting Him themselves, and that when they had no fault to find, but were even being continually benefited. Still after such conduct He ceaseth not to do well to them both by words and deeds. And, when a certain domestic smote Him on the face, He said, "If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil, but if well, why smitest thou Me?" (c. xviii. 23.) But this was to those who hated and plotted against Him. Let us see also what He doeth now towards the disciples, or rather what actions He now exhibiteth towards the traitor. The man whom most of all there was reason to hate, because being a disciple, having shared the table and the salt, having seen the miracles and been deemed worthy of such great things, he acted more grievously than any, not stoning indeed, nor insulting Him, but betraying and giving Him up, observe in how friendly sort He receiveth this man, washing his feet; for even in this way He desired to restrain him from that wickedness. Yet it was in His power, had He willed it, to have withered him like the fig- tree, to have cut him in two as He rent the rocks, to have cleft him asunder like the veil; but He would not lead him away from his design by compulsion, but by choice. Wherefore He washed his feet; and not even by this was that wretched and miserable man shamed.
"Before the feast of the Passover," it saith, "Jesus knowing that His hour was come." Not then "knowing," but (it means) that He did what He did having "known" long ago. "That He should depart." Magnificently the Evangelist calleth His death, "departure." "Having loved His own, He loved them unto the end." Seest thou how when about to leave them He showeth greater love? For the, "having loved, He loved them unto the end," showeth that he omitted nothing of the things which it was likely that one who earnestly loved would do. Why, then did He not this from the beginning? He worketh the greatest things last, so as to render more intense their attachment, and to lay up for them beforehand much comfort, against the terrible things that were about to fall on them. St. John calls them "His own," in respect of personal attachment, since he calls others also "His own," in respect of the work of creation; as when he saith, "His own received Him not." (c. i. 11.) But what meaneth, "which were in the world"? Because the dead also were "His own," Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the men of that sort, but they were not in the world. Seest thou that He is the God both of the Old and New (Testament)? But what meaneth, "He loved them unto the end"? It stands for, "He continued loving them unceasingly," and this the Evangelist mentions as a sure proof of great affection. Elsewhere indeed He spake of another (proof), the laying down life for His friends; but that had not yet come to pass. And wherefore did He this thing "now"? Because it was far more wonderful at a time when He appeared more glorious in the sight of all men. Besides, He left them no small consolation now that He was about to depart, for since they were going to be greatly grieved, He by these means introduceth also comfort to the grief.
Ver. 2. "And supper being ended, the devil having now put it into the heart of Judas to betray Him."
This the Evangelist hath said amazed, showing that Jesus washed the man who had already chosen to betray Him. This also proves his great wickedness, that not even the having shared the salt restrained him, (a thing which is most able to restrain wickedness;) not the fact that even up to the last day, his Master continued to bear with him.
Ver. 3. "Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He was come from God, and went to God."
Here the Evangelist saith, even wondering, that one so great, so very great, who came from God and went to Him, who ruleth over all, did this thing, and disdained not even so to undertake such an action. And by the "giving over," methinks St. John means the salvation of the faithful. For when He saith, "All things are given over to Me of My Father" (Matt. xi. 27), He speaketh of this kind of giving over; as also in another place He saith, "Thine they were, and Thou gavest them Me" (c. xvii. 6); and again, "No man can come unto Me except the Father draw him" (c. vi. 44); and, "Except it be given him from heaven." (c. iii. 27.) The Evangelist then either means this, or that Christ would be nothing lessened by this action, since He came from God, and went to God, and possessed all things. But when thou hearest of "giving over," understand it in no human sense, for it showeth how He honoreth the Father, and His unanimity with Him. For as the Father giveth over to Him, so He to the Father. And this Paul declares, saying, "When He shall have given over the kingdom to God, even the Father." (1 Cor. xv. 24.) But St. John hath said it here in a more human sense, showing His great care for them, and declaring His unutterable love, that He now cared for them as for His own; teaching them the mother of all good, even humblemindedness, which He said was both the beginning and the end of virtue. And not without a reason is added the, "He came from God and went to God": but that we may learn that He did what was worthy of One who came thence and went thither, trampling down all pride.
Ver. 4. "And having risen from supper, and laid aside His garments."
[2.] Observe how not by the washing only, but in another way also He exhibiteth humility. For it was not before reclining, but after they had all sat down, then He arose. In the next place, He doth not merely wash them, but doth so, putting off His garments. And He did not even stop here, but girded Himself with a towel. Nor was He satisfied with this, but Himself filled (the basin), and did not bid another fill it; He did all these things Himself, showing by all that we must do such things, when we are engaged in well doing, not merely for form's sake, but with all zeal. Now He seemeth to me to have washed the feet of the traitor first from its saying,
Ver. 5. "He began to wash the disciples' feet," and adding,
Ver. 6. "Then cometh He to Simon Peter and Peter saith unto Him, Lord, dost Thou wash my feet?"
"With those hands," he saith, "with which Thou hast opened eyes, and cleansed lepers, and raised the dead?" For this (question) is very emphatic; wherefore He needed not to have said any more than the, "Thou"; for even of itself this would have sufficed to convey the whole. Some one might reasonably enquire, how none of the others forbade Him, but Peter only, which was a mark of no slight love and reverence. What then is the cause? He seemeth to me to have washed the traitor first, then to have come to Peter, and that the others were afterwards instructed from his case. That He washed some one other before him is clear from its saying, "But when He came to Peter." Yet the Evangelist is not a vehement accuser, for the "began," is the expression of one implying this. And even if Peter were the first, yet it is probable that the traitor, being a forward person, had reclined even before the chief. For by another circumstance also his forwardness is shown, when He dippeth with his Master in the dish, and being convicted, feels no compunction; while Peter being rebuked but once on a former occasion, and for words which he spake from loving affection, was so abashed, that being even distressed and trembling, he begged another to ask a question. But Judas, though continually convicted, felt not. (Ver. 24.) When therefore He came to Peter, he saith unto Him, "Lord, dost Thou wash my feet?"
Ver. 7. "He saith unto him, What I do thou knowest not now, but thou shall know here after."
That is "thou shall know how great is the gain from this, the profit of the lesson, and how it is able to guide us into all humblemindedness." What then doth Peter? He still hinders Him, and saith,
Ver. 8. "Thou shall never wash my feet." "What doest thou, Peter? Rememberest thou not those former words? Saidst thou not, 'Be merciful to Thyself,' and heardest thou not in return, 'Get thee behind Me, Satan'? (Matt. xvi. 22.) Art thou not even so sobered, but art thou yet vehement?" "Yea," he saith, "for what is being done is a great matter, and full of amazement." Since then he did this from exceeding love, Christ in turn subdueth him by the same; and as there He effected this by sharply rebuking him, and saying, "Thou art an offense unto Me," so here also by saying,
"If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with Me." What then saith that hot and burning one?
Ver. 9. "Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head."
Vehement in deprecation, he becometh yet more vehement in acquiescence; but both from love. For why said He not wherefore He did this, instead of adding a threat? Because Peter would not have been persuaded. For had He said, "Suffer it, for by this I persuade you to be humbleminded," Peter would have promised it ten thousand times, in order that his Master might not do this thing. But now what saith He? He speaketh of that which Peter most feared and dreaded, the being separated from Him; for it is he who continually asks, "Whither goest Thou?" (Ver. 36.) Wherefore also he said, "I will give even my life for Thee." (Ver. 37.) And if, after hearing, "What I do thou knowest not now, but thou shalt know hereafter," he still persisted, much more would he have done so had he learnt (the meaning of the action). Therefore said He, "but thou shalt know hereafter," as being aware, that should he learn it immediately he would still resist. And Peter said not, "Tell me, that I may suffer Thee," but (which was much more vehement) he did not even endure to learn, but withstands Him, saying, "Thou shalt never wash my feet." But as soon as He threatened, he straightway relaxed his tone. But what meaneth, "Thou shalt know after this"? "After this?" When? "When in My Name thou shall have cast out devils; when thou shalt have seen Me taken up into Heaven, when thou shalt have learnt from the Spirit that I sit on His right hand, then shall thou understand what is being done now." What then saith Christ? When Peter said, "not my feet only, but also my hands and my head," He replieth,
Ver. 10, 11. "He that is washed, needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whir; and ye are clean, but not all. For He knew who should betray Him."
"And if they are clean, why washeth He their feet?" That we may learn to be modest. On which account He came not to any other part of the body, but to that which is considered more dishonorable than the rest. But what is, "He that is washed"? It is instead of, "he that is clean." Were they then clean, who had not yet been delivered from their sins, nor deemed worthy of the Spirit, since sin still had the mastery, the handwriting of the curse still remaining, the victim not having yet been offered? How then calleth He them "clean"? That thou mayest not deem them clean, as delivered from their sins, He addeth, Behold, "ye are clean through the word that I have spoken unto you." That is, "In this way ye are so far clean; ye have received the light, ye have been freed from Jewish error. For the Prophet also saith, 'Wash you, make you clean, put away the wickedness from your souls' (Isa. i. 16, LXX.); so that such a one is washed and is clean." Since then these men had cast away all wickedness from their souls, and had companied with Him with a pure mind, therefore He saith according to the word of the Prophet, "he that is washed is clean already." For in that place also It meaneth not the "washing" of water, practiced by the Jews; but the cleansing of the conscience.
[3.] Be we then also clean; learn we to do well. But what is "well"? "Judge for the fatherless, plead for the widow; and come, let us reason together, saith the Lord." (Isa. i. 7.) There is frequent mention in the Scriptures of widows and orphans, but we make no account of this. Yet consider how great is the reward. "Though," it saith, "your sins be as scarlet, I will whiten them as snow; though they be red like crimson, I will whiten them as wool." For a widow is an unprotected being, therefore He taketh much care for her. For they, when it is even in their power to contract a second marriage, endure the hardships of widowhood through fear of God. Let us then all, both men and women, stretch forth our hands to them, that we may never undergo the sorrows of widow-hood; or if we should have to undergo them, let us lay up a great store of kindness for ourselves. Not small is the power of the widow's tears, it is able to open heaven itself. Let us not then trample on them, nor make their calamity worse, but assist them by every means. If so we do, we shall put around ourselves much safety, both in the present life, and in that which is to come. For not here alone, but there also will they be our defenders, cutting away most of our sins by reason of our beneficence towards them, and causing us to stand boldly before the judgment-seat of Christ. Which may it come to pass that we all obtain, through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
"And He took His garments, and having sat down again, said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you?" And what follows.
[1.] A GRIEVOUS thing, beloved, a grievous thing it is to come to the depths of wickedness; for then the soul becomes hard to be restored. Wherefore we should use every exertion not to be taken at all; since it is easier not to fall in, than having fallen to recover one's self. Observe, for instance, when Judas had thrown himself into sin, how great assistance he enjoyed, yet not even so was he raised. Christ said to him, "One of you is a devil" (c. vi. 71); He said, "Not all believe" (c. vi. 65); He said, "I speak not of all," and, "I know whom I have chosen" (c. xiii. 18); and not one of these sayings doth he feel. Now when He had washed their feet, and taken His garments, and sat down, He said, "Know ye what I have done unto you?" He no longer addresseth Himself to Peter only, but to them all.
Ver. 13. "Ye call Me Lord and Master, and ye say well, for so I am."
"Ye call Me." He taketh to Him their judgment, and then that the words may not be thought to be words of their kindness, He addeth, "for so I am." By introducing a saying of theirs, He maketh it not offensive, and by confirming it Himself when introduced from them, unsuspected. "For so I am," He saith. Seest thou how when He converseth with the disciples, He speaketh revealing more what belongeth unto Himself? As He saith, "Call no man master on earth, for One is your guide" (Matt. xxiii. 8, 9), so also, "And call no man father upon earth." But the "one" and "one" is spoken not of the Father only, but of Himself also. For had He spoken excluding Himself, how saith He, "That ye may become the children of the light"? And again, if He called the Father only, "Master," how saith He, "For so I am"; and again, "For one is your Guide, even Christ"? (c. xii. 26.)
Ver. 14, 15. "If I then," He saith, "your Lord and Master have washed your feet, ye ought also to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you."
And yet it is not the same thing, for He is Lord and Master, but ye are fellow- servants one of another. What meaneth then the "as"? "With the same zeal." For on this account He taketh instances from greater actions that we may, if so be, perform the less. Thus schoolmasters write the letters for children very beautifully, that they may come to imitate them though but in an inferior manner. Where now are they who spit on their fellow-servants? where now they who demand honors? Christ washed the feet of the traitor, the sacrilegious, the thief, and that close to the time of the betrayal, and incurable as he was, made him a partaker of His table; and art thou highminded, and dost thou draw up thine eyebrows? "Let us then wash one another's feet," saith some one, "then we must wash those of our domestics." And what great thing if we do wash even those of our domestics? In our case "slave" and" free" is a difference of words; but there an actual reality. For by nature He was Lord and we servants, yet even this He refused not at this time to do. But now it is matter for contentment if we do not treat free men as bondmen, as slaves bought with money. And what shall we say in that day, if after receiving proofs of such forbearance, we ourselves do not imitate them at all, but take the contrary part, being in diametrical opposition, lifted up, and not discharging the debt? For God hath made us debtors one to another, having first so done Himself, and hath made us debtors of a less amount. For He was our Lord, but we do it, if we do it at all, to our fellow-servants, a thing which He Himself implied by saying, "If I then your Lord and Master— so also do ye." 'It would indeed naturally have followed to say, "How much more should ye servants," but He left this to the conscience of the hearers.
[2.] But why hath He done this "now"? They were for the future to enjoy, some greater, some less honor. In order then that they may not exalt themselves one above the other, and say as they did before, "Who is the greatest'(Matt. xviii. 1), nor be angry one against the other, He taketh down the high thoughts of them all, by saying, that "although thou mayest be very great, thou oughtest to have no high thoughts towards thy brother." And He mentioned not the greater action, that "if I have washed the feet of the traitor, what great matter if ye one another's?" but having exemplified this by deeds, He then left it to the judgment of the spectators. Therefore He said, "Whosoever shall do and teach, the same shall be called great"(Matt. v. 19); for this is "to teach" a thing, actually to do it. What pride should not this remove? what kind of folly and insolence should it not annihilate! He who sitteth upon the Cherubim washed the feet of the traitor, and dost thou, O man, thou that art earth and ashes and cinders and dust, dost thou exalt thyself, and art thou highminded? And how great a hell wouldest thou not deserve? If then thou desirest a high state of mind, come, I will show thee the way to it; for thou dost not even know what it is. The man then who gives heed to the present things as being great, is of a mean soul; so that there can neither be humility without greatness of soul, nor conceit except from littleness of soul. For as little children are eager for trifles, gaping upon balls and hoops and dice. but cannot even form an idea of important matters; so in this case, one who is truly wise, will deem present things as nothing,(so that he will neither choose to acquire them himself, nor to receive them from others;) but he who is not of such a character will be affected in a contrary way, intent upon cobwebs and shadows and dreams of things less substantial than these.
Ver. 16—18. "Verily I say unto you, the servant is not greater than his lord, neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them. I speak not of you all—but that the Scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with Me hath lifted up his heel against Me."
What He said before, this He saith here also, to shame them; "For if the servant is not greater than his master, nor he that is sent greater than him that sent him, and these things have been done by Me, much more ought they to be done by you." Then, lest any one should say, "Why now sayest Thou these things? Do we not already know them?" He addeth this very thing, "I speak not to you as not knowing, but that by your actions ye may show forth the things spoken of." For "to know," belongeth to all but "to do," not to all. On this account He said, "Blessed are ye if ye do them"; and on this account I continually and ever say the same to you, although ye know it, that I may set you on the work. Since even Jews "know," but yet they are not "blessed"; for they do not what they know.
"I speak not," He saith, "of you all." O what forbearance! Not yet doth He convict the traitor, but veileth the matter, hence giving him room for repentance. He convicteth and yet doth not convict him when He saith thus, "He that eateth bread with Me hath lifted up his heel against Me." It seems to me that the, "The servant is not greater than his lord," was uttered for this purpose also, that if any persons should at any time suffer harm either from domestics or from any of the meaner sort, they should not be offended; looking to the instance of Judas, who having enjoyed ten thousand good things, repaid his Benefactor with the contrary. On this account He added, "He that eateth bread with Me," and letting pass all the rest, He hath put that which was most fitted to restrain and shame him; "he who was fed by Me," He saith, "and who shared My table." And He spake the words, to instruct them to benefit those who did evil to them, even though such persons should continue incurable.
But having said, "I speak not of you all," in order not to attach fear to more than one, He at last separateth the traitor, speaking thus; "He that eateth bread with Me." For the, "not of you all," doth not direct the words to any single one, therefore He added, "He that eateth bread with Me"; showing to that wretched one that He was not seized in ignorance, but even with full knowledge; a thing which of itself was most of all fitted to restrain him. And He said not, "betrayeth Me," but, "hath lifted up his heel against Me," desiring to represent the deceit, the treachery, the secrecy of the plot.
[3.] These things are written that we bear not malice towards those who injure us; but rebuke them and weep for them; for the fit subjects of weeping are not they who suffer, but they who do the wrong. The grasping man, the false accuser, and whoso worketh any other evil thing, do themselves the greatest injury, and us the greatest good, if we do not avenge ourselves. Such a case as this: some one has robbed thee; hast thou given thanks for the injury, and glorified God? by that thanksgiving thou hast gained ten thousand rewards, just as he hath gathered for himself fire unspeakable. But if any one say, "How then, if I 'could' not defend myself against him who wronged me, being weaker?" I would say this, that thou couldest have put into action the being discontented, the being impatient, (for these things are in our power,) the praying against him, who grieved you, the uttering ten thousand curses against him, the speaking ill of him to every one. He therefore who hath not done these things shall even be rewarded for not defending himself, since it is clear that even if he had had the power, he would not have done it. The injured man uses any weapon that comes to hand, when, being little of soul, he defends himself against one who has injured him, by curses, by abuse, by plotting. Do thou then not only not do these things, but even pray for him; for if thou do them not, but wilt even pray for him, thou art become like unto God. For, "pray," it saith, "for them, that despitefully use you—that ye may be like unto your Father which is in Heaven." (Matt. v. 44, 45.) Seest thou how we are the greatest gainers from the insolence of others? Nothing so delighteth God, as the not returning evil for evil? But what say I? Not returning evil for evil? Surely we are enjoined to return the opposite, benefits, prayers. Wherefore Christ also repaid him who was about to betray Him with everything opposite. He washed his feet, convicted him secretly, rebuked him sparingly, tended him, allowed him to share His table and His kiss, and not even by these was he made better; nevertheless (Christ) continued doing His own part.
But come, let us teach thee even from the example of servants, and (to make the lesson stronger) those in the Old (Testament), that thou mayest know that we have no ground of defense when we remember a wrong. Will you then that I tell you of Moses, or shall we go yet farther back? For the more ancient the instances that can be pointed out, the more are we surpassed. "Why so?" Because virtue was then more difficult. Those men had no written precepts, no patterns of living, but their nature fought, unarmed, by itself, and was forced to float in all directions unballasted. Wherefore also when praising Noah, God called him not simply perfect, but added, "in his generation" (Gen. vii. 1); signifying, "at that time," when there were many hindrances, since many others shone after him, yet will he have nothing less than they; for in his own time he was perfect. Who then before Moses was patient? The blessed and noble Joseph, who having shone by his chastity, shone no less by his long suffering. He was sold when he had done no wrong, but was waiting on others, and serving, and performing all the duties of domestics. They brought against him an evil accusation, and he did not defend himself, though he had his father on his side. Nay, he even went to carry food to them in the desert, and when he found them not, he did not despair or turn back, (yet he had an excuse for doing so had he chosen,) but remained near the wild beasts and those savage men, preserving the feeling of a true brother. Again, when he dwelt in the prison house, and was asked the cause, he spake no evil of them, but only, "I have done nothing," and, "I was stolen out of the land of the Hebrews"; and after this again, when he was made lord, he nourished them, and delivered them from ten thousand dangers. If we be sober, the wickedness of our neighbor is not strong enough to cast us out of our own virtue. But those others were not like him; they both stripped him, and endeavored to kill him, and reproach him with his dream, though they had even received their meat from him, and planned to deprive him of life and of liberty. And they ate, and cared not for their brother lying naked in the pit. What could be worse than such brutality? Were they not worse than any number of murderers? And after this, having drawn him up, they gave him over to ten thousand deaths, selling him to barbarian and savage men, who were on their journey to barbarians. Yet he, when he became ruler, not only remitted them their punishment, but even acquitted them, as far at least as relating to himself, of their sin, calling what had been done a dispensation of God, not any wickedness of theirs; and the things which he did against them he did not as remembering evil, but in all these he dissembled, for his brother's sake. After this, when he saw them clinging to him, he straightway threw away the mask, and wept aloud, and embraced them, as though he had received the greatest benefits, he, who formerly was made away with by them, and he brought them all down into Egypt, and repaid them with ten thousand benefits. What excuse then shall we have, if after the Law, and after grace, and after the addition of so much heavenly wisdom, we do not even strive to rival him who lived before grace and before the Law? Who shall deliver us from punishment? For there is nothing, there is nothing more grievous than the remembrance of injuries. And this the man hath showed that owed ten thousand talents; from whom payment was at one time not demanded, at another time again demanded; not demanded, because of the lovingkindness of God; but demanded, because of his own wickedness, and because of his malice toward his fellow-servant. Knowing all which things, let us forgive our neighbors their trespasses, and repay them by deeds of an opposite kind, that we too may obtain mercy from God, through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send, receiveth Me: and He that receiveth Me, receiveth Him that sent Me."
[1.] GREAT is the recompense of care bestowed upon the servants of God, and of itself it yieldeth to us its fruits. For, "he that receiveth you," it saith, "receiveth Me, and he that receiveth Me, receiveth Him that sent Me."(Matt. x. 40.) Now what can be equal to the receiving Christ and His Father? But what kind of connection hath this with what was said before? What hath it in common with that which He had said, "If ye do these things happy are ye," to add, "He that receiveth you"? A close connection, and very harmonious. Observe how. When they were about to go forth and to suffer many dreadful things, He comforteth them in two ways; one derived from Himself, the other derived from others. "For if," He saith, "ye are truly wise, ever keeping Me in mind, and bearing about all both what I said, and what I did, ye will easily endure terrible things. And not in this way only, but also from your enjoying great attention from all men." The first point. He declared when He said, "If ye do these things happy are ye"; the second when He said, "He that receiveth you receiveth Me." For He opened the houses of all men to them, so that both from the sound wisdom of their manners, and the zeal of those who would tend them, they might have twofold comfort. Then when He had given these directions to them as to men about to run through all the world, reflecting that the traitor was deprived of both of these things, and would enjoy neither of them, neither patience in toils, nor the service of kind entertainers, He again was troubled. And the Evangelist to signify this besides, and to show that it was on his account that He was troubled, adds,
Ver. 21. "When Jesus had thus said, He was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of yon shall betray Me."
Again He bringeth fear on all by not mentioning (the traitor) by name.
Ver. 22. "But they are in doubt"; although conscious to themselves of nothing evil; but they deemed the declaration of Christ more to be believed than their own thoughts, Wherefore they "looked one on another." By laying the whole upon one, Jesus would have cut short their fear, but by adding, "one of you," He troubled all. What then? The rest looked upon one another; but the ever fervent Peter "beckoneth" to John. Since he had been before rebuked, and when Christ desired to wash him would have hindered Him, and since he is everywhere found moved indeed by love, vet blamed; being on this account afraid, he neither kept quiet, nor did he speak, but wished to gain information by means of John. But it is a question worth asking, why when all were distressed, and trembling, when their leader was afraid, John like one at ease leans on Jesus' bosom, and not only leans, but even (lies) on His breast? Nor is this the only thing worthy of enquiry, but that also which follows. What is that? What he saith of himself, "Whom Jesus loved." Why did no one else say this of himself? yet the others were loved too. But he more than any. And if no other hath said this about him, but he about himself, it is nothing wonderful. Paul too does the samed when occasion calls, saying thus, "I knew a man fourteen years ago"; yet in fact he has gone through other no trifling praises of himself. Seems it to thee a small thing that, when he had heard, "Follow Me," he straightway left his nets, and his father, and followed; and that Christ took him alone with Peter into the mountain, (Matt. xvii. 1,) and another time again when He went into a house?(Luke viii. 51.) What high praise also has he himself passed on Peter without concealment, telling us that Christ said, "Peter, lovest thou Me more than these?" (c. xxi. 15), and everywhere he showeth him warm, and nobly disposed towards himself; for instance, when he said, "Lord, and what shall this man do?" he spake from great love. But why did no other say (this) concerning him? Because he would not himself have said it, unless he had come to this passage. For if after telling us that Peter beckoned to John to ask, he had added nothing more, he would have caused considerable doubt, and have compelled us to enquire into the reason. In order therefore himself to solve this difficulty, he saith, "He lay on the bosom of Jesus." Thinkest thou that thou hast learnt a little thing when thou hast heard that "he lay," and that their Master allowed such boldness to them? If thou desirest to know the cause of this, the action was of love; wherefore he saith, "Whom Jesus loved." I suppose also that John doth this for another reason, as wishing to show that he was exempt from the charge and so he speaks openly and is confident. Again, why did he use these words, not at any other point of time, but only when the chief of the Apostles beckoned? That thou mightest not deem that Peter beckoned to him as being greater, he saith that the thing took place because of the great love (which Jesus bare him). But why doth he even lie on His bosom? They had not as yet formed any high surmises concerning Him; besides, in this way He calmed their despondency; for it is probable that at this time their faces were overclouded. If they were troubled in their souls, much more would they be so in their countenances. Soothing them therefore by word and by the question, He makes a way beforehand, and allows him to lean on His breast. Observe too his modesty he mentions not his own name, but, "whom He loved." As also Paul, when he said, "I knew a man about fourteen years ago." Now for the first time Jesus convicted the traitor, but not even now by name; but how?
Ver. 26. "He it is, to whom I shall give a sop when I have dipped it."
Even the manner (of the rebuke) was calculated to put him to shame. He respected not the table, though he shared the bread; be it so; but the receiving the sop from His own hand, whom would not that have won over? yet him it won not.
Ver. 27. "Then Satan entered into him." Laughing at him for his shamelessness. As long as he belonged to the band of disciples he dared not spring upon him, but attacked him from without; but when Christ made him manifest and separated him, then he sprang upon him without fear. It was not fitting to keep within one of such a character, and who so long had remained incorrigible. Wherefore He henceforth cast him out, and then that other seized him when cut off, and he leaving them went forth by night.
"Jesus saith unto him, Friend, that thou doest, do quickly."
Ver. 28. "Now no man at the table knew with what intent He spake this unto him."
[3.] Wonderful insensibility! How could it be that he was neither softened nor shamed; but rendered yet more shameless, "went out." The "do quickly," is not the expression of one commanding, nor advising, but of one reproaching, and showing him that He desired to correct him, but that since he was incorrigible, He let him go. And this, the Evangelist saith, "no man of those that sat at the table knew." Some one may perhaps find here a considerable difficulty, if, when the disciples had asked, "Who is it?" and He had answered, "He to whom I shall give a sop when I have dipped it," they did not even so understand; unless indeed He spake it secretly, so that no man should hear. For John on this very account, leaning by His breast, asked Him almost close to His ear, so that the traitor might not be made manifest; and Christ answered in like manner, so that not even then did He discover him. And though He spake emphatically, "Friend, that thou doest, do quickly," even so they understood not. But he spake thus to show that the things were true which had been said by Him to the Jews concerning His death. For He had said to them, "I have power to lay down My life, and I have power to take it again": and, "No man taketh it from Me." (c. x. 18.) As long then as He would retain it, no man was able (to take it); but when He resigned it, theft the action became easy. All this He implied when He said, "That thou doest, do quickly." Yet not even then did He expose him, for perhaps the others might have torn him in pieces, or Peter might have killed him. On this account "no man at the table knew." Not even John? Not even he: for he could not have expected that a disciple would arrive at such a pitch of wickedness. For since they were far from such iniquity themselves, they could not suspect such things concerning others. As before He had told them, "I speak not of you all" (ver. 18), yet did not reveal the person; so here, they thought that it was said concerning some other matter.
"It was night," saith the Evangelist, when he went out. "Why tallest thou me the time?" That thou mayest learn his forwardness, that not even the time restrained him from his purpose. Yet not even did this make him quite manifest, for the others were at this time in confusion occupied by fear and great distress, and they knew not the true reason of what had been said but supposed that He spake thus, in order that Judas might give somewhat to the poor. For He cared greatly for the poor, teaching us also to bestow much diligence on this thing. But they thought this, not without a cause, but "because he bad the bag." Yet no one appears to have brought money to Him; that the female disciples nourished Him of their substance, it has said, but this it hath nowhere intimated. (Luke viii. 3.) But how did He who bade His disciples bear neither scrip, nor money, nor staff, Himself bear a bag to minister to the poor? That thou mayest learn, that it behooveth even him who is exceedingly needy and crucified, to be very careful on this point. For many things He did in the way of dispensation for our instruction. The disciples then thought that He said this, that Judas should give something to the poor; and not even this shamed him, His not being willing even to the last day to make him a public example. We too ought to do the like, and not parade the sins of our companions, though they be incurable. For even after this He gave a kiss to the man who came to betray Him, and endured, such an action as that was, and then proceeded to a thing of far greater daring, the Cross itself, to the death of shame, and there again He manifested His lovingkindness. And here He calleth it "glory," showing us that there is nothing so shameful and reproachful which makes not brighter him who goeth to it, if it be done according to the will of God. At least after the going forth of Judas to the betraying, He saith,
Ver. 31. "Now is the Son of Man glorified." In this way rousing the dejected thoughts of the disciples, and persuading them not only not to despond, but even to rejoice. On this account He rebuked Peter at the first, because for one who has been in death to overcome death, is great glory. And this is what He said of Himself, "When I am lifted up, then ye shall know that I Am" (c. viii. 28); and again, "Destroy this Temple" (c. ii. 19); and again, "No sign shall be given unto you but the sign of Jonas." (Matt. xii. 39.) For how can it be otherwise than great glory, the being able even after death to do greater things than before death? for in order that the Resurrection might be believed, the disciples did work greater things. But unless He had lived, and had been God, how could these men have wrought such things in His Name?
Ver. 32. "And God shall glorify Him."
What is, "And God shall glorify Him in Him: self"? It is "by means of Himself, not by means of another."
"And shall straightway glorify Him."
[4.] That is, "simultaneously with the Cross." "For it will not be after much time," He saith, "nor will He wait for the distant season of the Resurrection, nor will He then show Him glorious, but straightway on the Cross itself His glories shall appear." And so the sun was darkened, the rocks rent; the veil of the temple was parted asunder, many bodies of saints that slept arose, the tomb had its seals, the guards sat by, and while a stone lay over the Body the Body rose; forty days passed by, and the Gift of the Spirit came, and they all straightway preached Him. This is, "shall glorify Him in Himself, and shall straightway glorify Him"; not by Angels or Archangels, not by any other power, but by Himself. But how did He also glorify Him by Himself? By doing all for the glory of the Son. Yet the Son did all. Seest thou that He referreth to the Father the things done by Himself?
Ver. 33. "Little children, yet a little while I am with you—and as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go ye cannot come, so now I say to you."
He now begins words of sorrow after the supper. For when Judas went forth it was no longer evening, but night. But since they 14 were about to come shortly, it was necessary to set all things before the disciples, that they might have them in remembrance; or rather, the Spirit recalled all to their minds. For it is likely that they would forget many things, as hearing for the first time, and being about to undergo such temptations. Men who were weighed down to sleep, (as another Evangelist saith,- -Luke xxii. 45,) who were possessed by despondency, as Christ saith Himself, "Because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your hearts (c. xvi. 6), how could they retain all these things exactly? Why then were they spoken? It became no little gain to them with respect to their opinion of Christ, that in after times when reminded they certainly knew that they had long ago heard these things from Christ. But wherefore cloth He first cast down their souls, saying, "Yet a little while I am with you"? "To the Jews indeed it was said with reason, but wherefore dost Thou place us in just the same class with those obstinate ones?" He by no means did so. "Why then said He, 'As I said to the Jews?" He reminded them that He did not now, because troubles were upon them, warn them of these things, but that He had foreknown them from the first, and that they were witnesses who had heard that He had said these things to the Jews. Wherefore He added also the word, "little children," that when they heard, "As I said to the Jews," they might not deem that the expression was used in like sense towards themselves. It was not then to depress but to comfort them that He thus spake, that their dangers might not, by coming upon them suddenly, trouble them to excess.
"Whither I go, ye cannot come." He showeth that His death is a removal, and a change for the better to a place which admits not corruptible bodies. This He saith, both to excite their love towards Him, and to make it more fervent. Ye know that when we see any of our dearest friends departing from us, our affection is warmest, and the more so, when we see them going to a place to which it is not even possible for us to go. These things then He said, terrifying the Jews, but kindling longing in the disciples. "Such is the place, that not only not they, but not even you, My best beloved, can come there." Here He showeth also His Own dignity.
"So now I say to you." Why "now"? "In one way to them, to you in another way"; that is, "not with them." But when did the Jews seek Him, when the disciples? The disciples, when they fled the Jews, when they suffered miseries unendurable and surpassing all description at the capture of their city, when the wrath of God was borne down upon them from every side. To the Jews therefore He spake then, because of their unbelief, "but to you now, that troubles might not come upon you unexpected."
Ver. 34. "A new commandment I give unto you."
For since it was likely that they would be troubled when they heard these things, as though they were about to be deserted, He comforteth them, investing them with that which was the root of all blessings and a safeguard, love. As though He had said, "Grieve ye at My departure? Nay, if ye love one another, ye shall be the stronger." Why then said He not this? Because He said what profiled them more than this.
Ver. 35. "By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples."
[5.] By this He at the same time showed that the company should never be extinguished, when He gave them a distinguishing token. This He said when the traitor was cut off from them. But how calleth He that a new commandment which is contained also in the Old (covenant)? He made it new Himself by the manner; therefore He added, "As I have loved you." "I have not paid back to you a debt of good deeds first done by you, but Myself have begun," He saith. "And so ought you to benefit your dearest ones, though you owe them nothing"; and omitting to speak of the miracles which they should do, He maketh their characteristic, love. And why? Because it is this which chiefly shows men holy; it is the foundation of all virtue; by this mostly we are all even saved. For "this," He saith, "is to be a disciple; so shall all men praise you, when they see you imitating My Love." What then? Do not miracles much more show this? By no means. For "many will say, Lord, have we not in Thy Name cast out devils?" (Matt. vii. 22.) And again, when they rejoice that the devils obey them, He saith, "Rejoice not that the devils obey you, but that your names are written in heaven." (Luke x. 20.) And this indeed brought over the world, because that was before it; had not that been, neither would this have endured. This then straightway made them perfect, the having all one heart and one soul. But had they separated one from the other, all things would have been lost.
Now He spake this not to them only, but to all who should believe on Him; since even now, there is nothing else that causes the heathen to stumble, except that there is no love. "But," saith some one, "they also urge against us the absence of miracles." But not in the same way. "But where did the Apostles manifest their love?" Seest thou Peter and John inseparable from one another, and going up to the Temple? (Acts iii. 1.) Seest thou Paul disposed in a like way towards them, and dost thou doubt? If they had gained the other blessings, much more had they the mother of them all. For this is a thing that springs from a virtuous soul; but where wickedness is, there the plant withers away. For "when," it saith, "iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold." (Matt. xxiv. 12.) And miracles do not so much attract the heathen as the mode of life; and nothing so much causes a right life as love. For those who wrought miracles they often even called deceivers; but they could have no hold upon a pure life. While then the message of the Gospel was not yet spread abroad, miracles were with good reason marveled at, lint now men must get to be admired by their lives. For nothing so raises respect in the heathen as virtue, nothing so offends them as vice.
And with good reason. When one of them sees the greedy man, the plunderer, exhorting others to do the contrary, when he sees the man who was commanded to love even his enemies, treating his very kindred like brutes, he will say that the words are folly. When he sees one trembling at death, how will he receive the accounts of immortality? When he sees us fond of rule, and slaves to the other passions, he will more firmly remain in his own doctrines, forming no high opinion of us. We, we are the cause of their remaining in their error. Their own doctrines they have long condemned, and in like manner they admire ours, but they are hindered by our mode of life. To follow wisdom in talk is easy, many among themselves have done this; but they require the proof by works. "Then let them look to the ancients of our profession." But about them they by no means believe; they enquire concerning those now living. For, "show me," it saith, "thy faith by thy works " (Jas. ii. 18); but this is not the case; on the contrary, seeing us tear our neighbors worse than any wild beast, they call us the curse of the
world. These things restrain the heathen, and suffer them not to come over to our side. So that we shall be punished for these also; not only for what we do amiss ourselves, but because the name of God is blasphemed. How long shall we be given up to wealth, and luxury, and the other passions? For the future let us leave them. Hear what the Prophet saith of certain foolish ones, "Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die." (Isa. xxii. 31.) But in the present case we cannot even say this, so "many" gather round themselves what belongs to all. So chiding them also, the Prophet said, "Will ye dwell alone upon the earth?" (Isa. v. 8.) Wherefore I fear test some grievous thing come to pass, and we draw down upon us heavy vengeance from God. And that this may not come to pass, let us be careful of all virtue, that we may obtain the future blessings, through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom and with whom, to the Father and the Holy Ghost, be glory now and forever, and world without end. Amen.
"Simon Peter said unto Him, Lord, whither goest thou? Jesus answered him, Whither I go thou canst not follow Me now, but thou shalt follow Me afterwards."
[1.] A Great thing is love, and stronger than fire itself, and it goeth up to the very heaven; there is no hindrance which can restrain its tearing force. And so the most fervent Peter, when he hears, "Whither I go ye cannot come," what saith he? "Lord, whither goest thou?" and this he said, not so much from wish to learn, as from desire to follow. To say openly, "I go," he dared not yet, but, "Whither goest thou?" Christ answered, not to his words, but to his thoughts. For that this was his wish, is clear from what Christ said, "Whither I go thou canst not follow Me now. Seest thou that he longed for the following Him, and therefore asked the question? And when he heard, "thou shalt follow Me afterwards," not even so did he restrain his longing, and, though he had gained good hopes, he is so eager as to say,
Ver. 37. "Why cannot I follow Thee now? I will lay down my life for Thee."
When he had shaken off the dread of being the traitor, and was shown to be one of His own, he afterwards asked boldly himself, while the others held their peace. "What sayest thou, Peter? He said, 'thou canst not,' and thou sayest, 'I can'? Therefore thou shalt know from this temptation that thy love is nothing without the presence of the impulse from above." Whence it is clear that in care for him He allowed even that fall. He desired indeed to teach him even by the first words, but when he continued in his vehemence, He did not indeed throw or force him into the denial, but left him alone, that he might learn his own weakness. Christ had said that He must be betrayed; Peter replied, "Be it far from Thee, Lord; this shall not happen unto Thee." (Matt. xvi. 22.) He was rebuked, but not instructed. On the contrary, when Christ desired to wash his feet, he said, "Thou shall never wash my feet." (Ver. 8.) Again, when he hears, "Thou canst not follow Me now," he saith, "Though all deny Thee, I will not deny Thee." Since then it was likely that he would be lifted up to folly by his practice of contradiction, Jesus next teacheth him not to oppose Him. This too Luke implies, when he telleth us that Christ said, "And I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not" (Luke xxii. 32); that is, "that thou be not finally lost." In every way teaching him humility, and proving that human nature by itself is nothing. But, since great love made him apt for contradiction, He now sobereth him, that he might not in after times be subject to this, when he should have received the stewardship of the world, but remembering what he had suffered, might know himself. And look at the violence of his fall; it did not happen to him once or twice, but he was so beside himself, that in a short tithe thrice did he utter the words of denial, that he might learn that he did not so love as he was loved. And yet, to one who had so fallen He saith again, "Lovest thou Me more than these?" So that the denial was caused not by the cooling of his love, but from his having been stripped of aid from above. He accepteth then Peter's love, but cutteth off the spirit of contradiction engendered by it. "For if thou lovest, thou oughtest to obey Him who is beloved. I said to thee and to those with thee, 'Thou canst not'; why art thou contentious? Knowest thou what a thing it is to contradict God? But since thou wilt not learn in this way that it is impossible that what I say should not come to pass, thou shalt learn it in the denial." And yet this appeared to thee to be much more incredible. For this thou did, not even understand, but of that thou hadst the knowledge in thy heart. Yet still that came to pass which was not even expected.
"I will lay down my life for Thee." For since he had heard, "Greater love than this hath, no man," he straightway sprang forward, insatiably eager and desirous to reach even to the highest pitch of virtue. But Christ, to show that it belonged to Himself alone to promise these things with authority, saith,
Ver. 39. "Before the cock crow."
That is, "now"; there was but a little interval. He spake when it was late at night, and the first and second watch was past.
Chap. xiv. ver. I. "Let not your heart be troubled."
This He saith, because it was probable that when they heard they would be troubled. For if the leader of their band, one so entirely fervent, was told that before the cock crew he should thrice deny his Master, it was likely that they would expect to have to undergo some great reverse, sufficient to bend even souls of adamant. Since then it was probable that they considering these things would be astounded, see how He comforteth them, saying, "Let not your heart be troubled." By this first word showing the power of His Godhead, because, what they had in their hearts He knew and brought to light.
"Ye believe in God, believe also in Me." That is, "All dangers shall pass you by, for faith in Me and in My Father is more powerful than the things which come upon you, and will permit no evil thing to prevail against you." Then He addeth,
Ver. 2. "In My Father's house are many mansions."
As He comforteth Peter when bewildered by saying, "but thou shall follow afterwards," so also He gives this glimpse of hope to the others. For lest they should think that the promise was given to him alone, He saith, "In My Father's house are many mansions."
"If it were not so I would have said to you, I go to prepare a place for you."
That is, "The same place which receiveth Peter shall receive you." For a great abundance of dwellings is there, and it may not be said that they need preparation. When He said, "Ye cannot follow Me now," that they might not deem that they were finally cut off, He added,
Ver. 3. "That where I am, there ye may be also." "So earnest have I been concerning this matter, that I should already have been given up to it, had not preparation been made long ago for you." Showing them that they ought to be very bold and confident. Then that He may not seem to speak as though enticing them, but that they may believe the thing to be so, He addeth,
[2.] Ver. 4. "And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know."
Seest thou that He giveth them proof that these things were not said without a meaning? And He used these words, because He knew in Himself that their souls now desired to learn this. For Peter said what he said, not in order to learn, but that he might follow. But when Peter had been rebuked, and Christ had declared that to be possible which for the time seemed impossible, and when the apparent impossibility led him to desire to know the matter exactly, therefore He saith to the others, "And the way ye know." For as when He hath said, "Thou shalt deny Me," before any one spake a word, searching into their hearts, He said, "Be not troubled," so here also by saying "Ye know," He disclosed the desire which was in their heart, and Himself giveth them an excuse for questioning. Now the, "Whither goest Thou?" Peter used from a very loving affection, Thomas from cowardice.
Ver. 5. "Lord, we know not whither Thou goest."
"The place," he saith, "we know not, and how shall we know the way leading thither?" And observe with what submissiveness he speaks; he saith not, "tell us the place," but, "we know not whither Thou goest"; for all had long yearned to hear this. If the Jews questioned among themselves when they heard (of His departure), although desirous to be rid of Him much more would those desire to learn, who wished never to be separated from Him. They feared therefore to ask Him, but yet they asked Him, from their great love and anxiety. What then saith Christ?
Ver. 6. "I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me."
"Why then, when He was asked by Peter, Whither goest Thou,' did He not say directly, ' I go to the Father, but ye cannot come now'? Why did He put in a circuit of so many words, placing together questions and answers? With good reason He told not this to the Jews; but why not to these?" He had indeed said both to these and to the Jews, that He came forth from God, and was going to God, now He saith the same thing more clearly than before. Besides, to the Jews He spake not so clearly; for had He said, "Ye cannot come to the Father but by Me," they would straightway hard deemed the matter mere boasting; but now by concealing this, He threw them into perplexity. "But why," saith some one, "did He speak thus both to the disciples and to Peter?" He knew his great forwardness, and that he would by reason of this the more press on and trouble Him; in order therefore to lead him away, He hideth the matter. Having then succeeded in what He wished by the obscurity and by veiling His speech, He again discloseth the matter. After saying, "Where I am, no man can come," He addeth, "In My Father's house are many mansions"; and again, "No man cometh to the Father but by Me." This He would not tell them at first, in order not to throw them into greater despondency, but, now that He hath soothed them, He telleth them. For by Peter's rebuke He cast out much of their despondency; and dreading lest they should be addressed in the same way, they were the more
restrained. "I am the Way." This is the proof of the, "No man cometh to the Father but by Me"; and, "the Truth, and the Life," of this, "that these things shall surely be." "There is then no falsehood with Me, if I am 'the Truth'; if I am ' Life' also, not even death shall be able to hinder you from coming to Me. Besides; if I am 'the Way,' ye will need none to lead you by the hand; if I am also 'the Truth,' My words are no falsehoods; if I am also 'Life,' though ye die ye shall obtain what I have told you." Now His being "the Way," they both understood and allowed, but the rest they knew not. They did not indeed venture to say what they knew not. Still they gained great consolation from His being "the Way." "If," saith He, "I have sole authority to bring to the Father, ye shall surely come thither; for neither is it possible to come by any other way." But by saying before, "No man can come to Me except the Father draw him"; and again, "If I be lifted up from the earth, I shall draw all men unto Me" (c. xii. 32); and again, "No man cometh to the Father but by Me" (c. xiv. 6); He showeth Himself equal to Him who begat Him. But how after saying, "Whither I go ye know, and the way ye know," hath He added,
Ver. 7. "If ye had known Me, ye should have known My Father also; and from henceforth ye know Him, and have seen Him"?
He doth not contradict Himself; they knew Him indeed, but not so as they ought. God they knew, but the Father not yet. For afterwards, the Spirit having come upon them wrought in them all knowledge. What He saith is of this kind. "Had ye known My Essence and My Dignity, ye would have known that of the Father also; and henceforth ye shall know Him, and have seen Him," (the one belonging to the future, the other to the present,) that is, "by Me." By "sight," He meaneth knowledge by intellectual perception. For those who are seen we may see and not know; but those who are known we cannot know and not know. Wherefore He saith, "and ye have seen Him"; just as it saith, "was seen also of Angels." (1 Tim. iii. 16.) Yet the very Essence was not seen; yet it saith that He "was seen," that is, as far as it was possible for them to see. These words are used, that thou mayest learn that the man who hath seen Him knoweth Him who begat Him. But they beheld Him not in His unveiled Essence, but clothed with flesh. He is wont elsewhere to put "sight" for "knowledge"; as when He saith," Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."(Matt. v. 8.) By "pure," He meaneth not those who are free from fornication only, but from all sins. For every sin brings filth upon the soul.
[3.] Let us then use every means to wipe off the filthiness. But first the font cleanseth, afterwards other ways also, many and of all kinds. For God, being merciful, hath even after this given to us various ways of reconciliation, of all which the first is that by alms-doing. "By alms- deeds," it saith, "and deeds of faith sins are cleansed away." (Ecclus. iii. 30.) By alms-doing I do not mean that which is maintained by injustice, for this is not alms-doing, but savageness and inhumanity. What profits it to strip one man and clothe another? For we ought to begin the action with mercy, but this is inhumanity. If we give away everything that we have got from other people, it is no gain to us. And this Zacchæus shows, who on that occasion said, that he propitiated God by giving four times as much as he had taken. (Luke xix. 8.) But we, when we plunder unboundedly, and give but little, think that we make God propitious, whereas we do rather exasperate Him. For tell me, if thou shouldest drag a dead and rotten ass from the waysides and lanes, and bring it to the altar, would not all stone thee as accursed and polluted? Well then, if I prove that a sacrifice procured by plunder is more polluted than this, what defense shall we obtain? Let us suppose that some article has been obtained by plunder, is it not of fouler scent than a dead ass? Wouldest thou learn how great is the rottenness of sin? Hear the Prophet saying, "My wounds stank, and were corrupt." (Ps. xxxviii. 5, LXX.) And dost thou in words entreat God to forget thy misdeeds, and dost thou by what thou thyself doest, robbing and grasping, and placing thy sin upon the altar, cause Him to remember them continually? But now, this is not the only sin, but there is one more grievous than this, that thou defilest the souls of the saints. For the altar is but a stone, and is consecrated, but they ever bear with them Christ Himself; and darest thou to send thither any of such impurity? "No," saith one, "not the same money, but other." Mockery this, and trifling. Knowest thou not, that if one drop of injustice fall on a great quantity of wealth, the whole is defiled? And just as a man by casting dung into a pure fountain makes it all unclean, so also in the case of riches, anything ill-gotten entering in makes them to be tainted with the ill savor from itself. Then we wash our hands when we enter into church, but our hearts not so. Why, do our hands send forth a voice? It is the soul that utters the words: to that God looketh; cleanness of the body is of no use, while that is defiled. What profits it, if thou wipe clean thine outward hands, while thou hast those within impure? For the terrible thing and that which subverts all good is this, that while we are fearful about trifles, we care not for important matters. To pray with unwashed hands is a matter indifferent; but to do it with an unwashed mind, this is the extreme of all evils. Hear what was said to the Jews who busied themselves about such outward impurities. "Wash thine heart from wickedness, how long shall there be in thee thoughts of thy labors?" (Jer. iv. 14.) Let us also wash ourselves, not with mire, but with fair water, with alms-doing, not with covetousness. First get free from rapine, and then show forth alms-deeds. Let us "decline from evil, and do good." (Ps. xxxvii. 27.) Stay thy hands from covetousness, and so bring them to alms-giving. But if with the same hands we strip one set of persons, though we may not clothe the others with what has been taken from them, yet we shall not thus escape punishment. For that which is the groundwork of the propitiation is made the groundwork of all wickedness. Better not show mercy, than show it thus; since for Cain also it had been better not to have brought his offering at all. Now if he who brought too little angered God, when one gives what is another's, how shall not he anger Him? "I commanded thee," He will say, "not to steal, and honorest thou Me from that thou hast stolen? What thinkest thou? That I am pleased with these things?" Then shall He say to thee, "Thou thoughtest wickedly that I am even such an one as thyself; I will rebuke thee, and set before thy face thy sins." (Ps. 1. 21, LXX.) But may it not come to pass that any one of us hear this voice, but having wrought pure alms-deeds, and having our lamps burning, so may we enter into the bride-chamber by the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom with the Father and the Holy Ghost be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
"Philip saith unto Him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known Me, Philip? He who hath seen Me, hath seen the Father."
[1.] THE Prophet said to the Jews, "Thou hadst the countenance of a harlot, thou wert shameless towards all men." (Jer. iii. 3, LXX.) Now it seems fitting to use this expression not only against that city, but against all who shamelessly set their faces against the truth. For when Philip said to Christ, "Show us the Father," He replied, "Have I been so long time with you, and hast thou not known Me, Philip?" And yet there are some Who even after these words separate the Father from the Son. What proximity dost thou require closer than this? Indeed from this very saying some have fallen into the malady of Sabellius. But let us, leaving both these and those as involved in directly opposite error, consider the exact meaning of the words. "Have I been so long time with you, and hast thou not known Me, Philip?" He saith. What then? replieth Philip, "Art thou the Father after whom I enquire?" "No," He saith. On this account He said not, "hast thou not known Him," but," hast thou not known Me," declaring nothing else but this, that the Son is no other than what the Father is, yet continuing to be a Son. But how came Philip to ask this question? Christ had said, "If ye had known Me, ye should have known My Father also" (c. xiv. 7), and He had often said the same to the Jews. Since then Peter and the Jews had often asked Him, "Who is the Father?" since Thomas had asked Him, and no one had learnt anything clear, but His words were still not understood; Philip, in order that He might not seem to be importunateand to trouble Him by asking in his turn after the Jews, "Show us the Father," added, "and it sufficeth us," "we seek no more." Yet Christ had said, "If ye had known Me, ye should have known My Father also," and by Himself He declared the Father. But Philip reversed the order, and said, "Show us the Father," as though knowing Christ exactly. But Christ endureth him not, but putteth him in the right way, persuading him to gain the knowledge of the Father through Himself, while Philip desired to see Him with these bodily eyes, having perhaps heard concerning the Prophets, that they "saw God."
But those cases, Philip, were acts of condescension. Wherefore Christ said, "No man hath seen God at any time" (c. i. 18); and again, "Every man that hath heard and hath learned from God cometh unto Me." (c. vi. 45.) "Ye have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His shape." (c. v. 37.) And in the Old Testament, "No man shall see My face, and live." (Ex. xxxiii. 20.) What saith Christ? Very reprovingly He saith, "Have I been so long time with you, and hast thou not known Me, Philip?" He said not, "hast thou not seen," but, "hast thou not known Me." "Why," Philip might say, "do I wish to learn concerning Thee? At present I seek to see Thy Father, and Thou sayest unto me, hast thou not known Me?" What connection then hath this with the question? Surely a very close one; for if He is that which the Father is, yet continuing a Son, with reason He showeth in Himself Him who begat Him. Then to distinguish the Persons He saith, "He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father," lest any one should assert that the same is Father, the same Son. For had He been the Father, He would not have said, "He that hath seen Me hath seen Him." Why then did He not reply, "thou askest things impossible, and not allowed to man; to Me alone is this possible"? Because Philip had said, "it sufficeth us," as though knowing Christ, He showeth that he had not even seen Him. For assuredly he would have known the Father, had he been able to know the Son. Wherefore He saith, "He that hath seen Me, hath seen the Father." "If any one hath seen Me, he shall also behold Him." What He saith is of this kind: "It is not possible to see either Me or Him." For Philip sought the knowledge which is by sight, and since he thought that he had so seen Christ, he desired in like manner to see the Father; but Jesus showeth him that he had not even seen Himself, And if any one here call knowledge, sight, I do not contradict him, for, "he that bath known Me," saith Christ, "hath known the Father." Yet He did not say this, but desiring to establish the Consubstantiality, declared, "he that knoweth My Essence, knoweth that of the Father also." "And what is this?" saith some one; "for he who is acquainted with creation knoweth also God." Yet all are acquainted with creation, and have seen it, but all do not know God. Besides, let us consider what Philip seeks to see. Is it the wisdom of the Father? Is it His goodness? Not so, but the very whatever God is, the very Essence. To this therefore Christ answereth, "He that hath seen Me." Now he that hath seen the creation, hath not also seen the Essence of God. "If any one hath seen Me, he hath seen the Father," He saith. Now had He been of a different Essence, He would not have spoken thus. But to make use of a grosser argument, no man that knows not what gold is, can discern the substance of gold in silver. For one nature is not shown by another. Wherefore He rightly rebuked him, saying, "Am I so long with you?" Hast thou enjoyed such teaching, hast thou seen miracles wrought with authority, and all belonging to the Godhead, which the Father alone worketh, sins forgiven, secrets published, death retreating, a creation Wrought from earth, and hast thou not known Me? Because He was clothed with flesh, therefore He said, "Hast thou not known Me?"
[2.] Thou hast seen the Father; seek not to see more; for in Him thou hast seen Me. If thou hast seen Me, be not over-curious; for thou hast also in Me known Him.
Ver. 10. "Believest thou not that I am in the Father?"
That is, "I am seen in that Essence."
"The words that I speak, I speak not of Myself,"
Seest thou the exceeding nearness, and the proof of the one Essence?
"The Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works."
How, beginning with words, doth He come to works? for that which naturally followed was, that He should say, "the Father speaketh the words." But He putteth two things here, both concerning doctrine and miracles. Or it may have been because the words also were works. How then doeth He them? In another place He saith, "If I do not the works of My Father, believe Me not." (c. x. 37.) How then saith He here that the Father doeth them? To show this same thing, that there is no interval between the Father and the Son. What He saith is this: "The Father would not act in one way, and I in another." Indeed in another place both He and the Father work; "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work" (c. v. 17); showing in the first passage the unvaryingness of the works, in the second the identity. And if the obvious meaning of the words denotes humility, marvel not; for after having first said, "Believest thou not?" He then spake thus, showing that He so modeled His words to bring him to the faith; for He walked in their hearts.
Ver. 11. "Believe that I am in the Father and the Father in Me."
"Ye ought not, when ye hear of 'Father' and 'Son,' to seek anything else to the establishing of the relationship as to Essence, but if this is not sufficient to prove to you the Condignity and Consubstantiality, ye may learn it even from the works." Had the, "he that hath seen Me, hath seen My Father," been used with respect to works, He would not afterwards have said,
"Or else believe Me for the very works' sake." And then to show that He is not only able to do these things, but also other much greater than these, He putteth them with excess. For He saith not, "I can do greater things than these," But, what was much more wonderful, "I can give to others also to do greater things than these."
Ver. 12. "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do, because I go to the Father.'
That is, "it now remaineth for you to work miracles, for I go away." Then when He had accomplished what His argument intended, He saith,
Ver. 13. "Whatsoever ye shall ask in My Name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in Me."
Seest thou again that it is He who doeth it? "I," saith He, "will do it"; not, "I will ask of the Father," but, "that the Father may be glorified in Me." In another place He said, "God shall glorify Him in Himself" (c. xiii. 32), but here, "He shall glorify the Father"; for when the Son shall appear with great power, He who begat shall be glorified. But what is, "in My Name"? That which the Apostles said, "In the Name of Jesus Christ, arise and walk." (Acts iii. 6.) For all the miracles which they did He wrought in them, and "the hand of the Lord was with them." (Acts xi. 21.)
Ver. 14. "I will do it," He saith.
Seest thou His authority? The things done by means of others Himself doeth; hath He no power for the things done by Himself, except as being wrought in by the Father? And who could say this? But why doth He put it second? To confirm His own words, and to show that the former sayings were of condescension. But the, "I go to the Father," is this: "I shall not perish, but remain in My own proper Dignity, and Am in Heaven." All this He said, comforting them. For since it was likely that they, not yet understanding His discourses concerning the Resurrection, would imagine something dismal, He in other discourses promiseth that He will give them such things, soothing them in every way, and showing that He abideth continually; and not only abideth, but that He will even show forth greater power.
[3.] Let us then follow Him, and take up the Cross. For though persecution be not present, yet the season for another kind of death is with us. "Mortify," it saith, "your members which are upon earth." (Col. iii. 5.) Let us then quench concupiscence, slay anger, abolish envy. This is a "living sacrifice." (Rom. xii. 1.) This sacrifice ends not in ashes, is not dispersed in smoke, wants neither wood, nor fire, nor knife. For it hath both fire and a knife, even the Holy Spirit. Using this knife, circumcise the superfluous and alien portion of thy heart; open the closedness of thine ears, for vices and evil desires are wont to stop the way against the entrance of the word. The desire of money, when it is set before one, permits not to hear the word concerning almsgiving; and malice when it is present raises a wall against the teaching concerning love; and some other malady falling on in its turn, makes the soul yet more dull to all things. Let us then do away these wicked desires; it is enough to have willed, and all are quenched. For let us not, I entreat, look to this, that the love of wealth is a tyrannical thing, but that the tyranny is that of our own slackmindedness. Many indeed say that they do not even know what money is. For this desire is not a natural one; such as are natural were implanted in us from the first, from the beginning, but as for gold and silver, for a long time not even what it is was known. Whence then grew this desire? From vainglory and extreme slackmindedness. For of desires some are necessary, some natural, some neither the
one nor the other. For example, those which if not gratified destroy the creature are both natural and necessary, as the desire of meat and drink and sleep; carnal desire is natural indeed but not necessary, for many have got the better of it, and have not died. But the desire of wealth is neither natural nor necessary, but superfluous; and if we choose we need not admit its beginning. At any rate, Christ speaking of virginity saith, "He that is able to receive it, let him receive it." (Matt. xix. 12.) But concerning riches not so, but how? "Except a man forsake all that he hath, he is not worthy of Me." (Luke xiv. 33.) What was easy He recommended, but what goes beyond the many He leaveth to choice. Why then do we deprive ourselves of all excuse? The man who is made captive by some more tyrannical passion shall not suffer a heavy punishment, but he who is subdued by a weak one is deprived of all defense. For what shall we reply when He saith, "Ye saw Me hungry and fed Me not"? (Matt. xxv. 42); what excuse shall we have? We shall certainly plead poverty; yet we are not poorer than that widow, who by throwing in two mites overshot all the rest. For God requireth not the quantity of the offering, but the measure of the mind; and that He doth so, comes from His tender care. Let us then, admiring His lovingkindness, contribute what is in our power, that having both in this life and in that which is to come obtained in abundance the lovingkindness of God, we may be able to enjoy the good things promised to us, through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
"If ye love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever; even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him."
[1.] WE need everywhere works and actions, not a mere show of words. For to say and to promise is easy for any one, but to act is not equally easy. Why have I made these remarks? Because there are many at this time who say that they fear and love God, but in their works show the contrary; but God requireth that love which is shown by works. Wherefore He said to the disciples, "If ye love Me, keep My commandments." For after He had told them, "Whatsoever ye shall ask, I will do it," that they might not deem the mere "asking" to be availing, He added, "If ye love Me," "then," He saith, "I will do it." And since it was likely that they would be troubled when they heard that, "I go to the Father," He telleth them "to be troubled now is not to love, to love is to obey My words. I have given you a commandment that ye love one another, that ye do so to each other as I have done to you; this is love, to obey these My words, and to yield to Him who is the object of your love."
"And I will ask the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter." Again His speech is one of condescension. For since it was probable, that they not yet knowing Him would eagerly seek His society, His discourse, His presence in the flesh, and would admit of no consolation when He was absent, what saith He? "I will ask the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter," that is, "Another like unto Me." Let those be ashamed who have the disease of Sabellius, who hold not the fitting opinion concerning the Spirit. For the marvel of this discourse is this, that it hath stricken down contradictory heresies with the same blow. For by saying" another," He showeth the difference of Person, and by "Paraclete," the connection of Substance. But why said He, "I will ask the Father"? Because had He said, "I will send Him," they would not have so much believed and now the object is that He should be believed. For afterwards He declares that He Himselfsendeth Him, saying, "Receive ye the Holy Ghost" (c. xx. 22); but in this place He telleth them that He asketh the Father, so as to render His discourse credible to them. Since John saith of Him, "Of His fullness have all we received" (c. i. 16); but what He had, how receiveth He from another? And again, "He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire." (Luke iii. 16.) "But what had He more than the Apostles, if He was about to ask It of His Father in order to give It to others, when they often even without prayer appear to have done thus?" And how, if It is sent according to request from the Father, doth It descend of Itself? And how is that which is everywhere present sent by Another, that which "divideth to every man severally as He will" (1 Cor. xii. 11), and which saith with authority, "Separate Me Paul and Barnabas"? (Acts xiii. 2.) Those ministers were ministering unto God, yet still It called them authoritatively to Its own work; not that It called them to any different work, but in order to show Its power. "What then," saith some one, "is, 'I will ask the Fathers'?" (He saith it) to show the time of Its coming. For when He had cleansed them by the sacrifice, then the Holy Ghost lighted upon them. "And why, while He was with them, came it not?" Because the sacrifice was not yet offered. But when afterwards sin had been loosed, and they were being sent forth to dangers, and were stripping themselves for the contest, then need was that the Anointer should come. "But why did not the Spirit come immediately after the Resurrection?" In order that being greatly desirous of It, they might receive It with great joy. For as long as Christ was with them, they were not in tribulation; but when He departed, being made defenseless and thrown into much fear, they would receive It with much readiness.
"He remaineth with you." This showeth that even after death It departeth not. But lest when they heard of the "Paraclete," they should imagine a second Incarnation, and expect to see It with their eyes, He setteth them right by saying, "Whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not." "He will not be with you as I have been, but will dwell in your very souls"; for this is the, "shall be in you." He calleth it the "Spirit of truth"; thus explaining the types in the Old Testament. "That He may be with you." What is, "may be with you"? That which He saith Himself, that "I am with you." (Matt. xxviii. 20.) Besides, He also implieth something else, that "the case of the Spirit shall not be the same as Mine, He shall never leave you." "Whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not." "Why, what is there belonging to the other Persons that is visible?" Nothing; but He speaketh here of knowledge; at least He addeth, "neither knoweth Him." For He is wont, in the case of exact knowledge, to call it "sight"; because sight is clearer than the other senses, by this He always representeth exact knowledge. By "world," He here speaketh of "the wicked," thus too comforting the disciples by giving to them a special gift. See in how many particulars He raised His discourse concerning It. He said, "He is Another like unto Me"; He said, "He will not leave you"; He said, "Unto you alone He cometh, as also did I"; He said, that "He remaineth in you"; but not even so did He drive out their despondency. For they still sought Him and His society. To cure then this feeling, He saith,
Ver. 18. "I will not leave you orphans, I will come unto you."
[2.] "Fear not," He saith, "I said not that I would send you another Comforter, as though were Myself withdrawing from you for ever; I said not that He remaineth with you, as though I should see you no more. For I also Myself will come to you, I will not leave you orphans." Because when commencing He said, "Little children," therefore He saith also here, "I will not leave you orphans." At first then He told them, "Ye shall come whither I go"; and, "In My Father's house there are many mansions"; but here, since that time was long, He giveth them the Spirit; and when, not knowing what it could be of which He spoke, they were not sufficiently comforted, "I will not leave you orphans," He saith; for this they chiefly required. since the, "I will come to you," was the saying of one declaring a "presence," observe how in order that they might not again seek for the same kind of presence as before, He did not clearly tell them this thing, but hinted at it; for having said,
Ver. 19. "Yet a little while, and the world seeth Me not"; He added, "but ye see Me."
As though He had said, "I come indeed to you, but not in the same way as before, ever being with you day by day." And lest they should say, "How then saidst Thou to the Jews, Henceforth ye shall not see Me?" He solveth the contradiction by saying, "to you alone"; for such also is the nature of the Spirit.
"Because I live, ye shall live also."
For the Cross doth not finally separate us, but only hideth for a little moment; and by "life" He seemeth to me to mean not the present only, but the future also.
Ver. 20. "At that day ye shall know that am in the Father, and you in Me, and I in you."
With regard to the Father, these words refer to Essence; with regard to the disciples, to agreement of mind and help from God. "And how, tell me, is this reasonable?" saith some one. And how, pray, is the contrary reasonable? For great and altogether boundless is the interval between Christ and the disciples. And if the same words are employed, marvel not; for the Scripture is often wont to use in different senses the same words, when applied to God and to men. Thus we are called "gods," and "sons of God," yet the word hath not the same force when applied to us and to God. And the Son is called "Image," and "Glory"; so are we, but great is the interval between us. Again, "Ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's" (1 Cor. iii. 23), but not in like manner as Christ is God's are we Christ's. But what is it that He saith? "When I am arisen," He saith, "ye shall know that I am not separated from the Father, but have the same power with Him, and that I am with you continually, when facts proclaim the aid which cometh to you from Me, when your enemies are kept down, and you speak boldly, when dangers are removed from your path, when the preaching of the Gospel flourisheth day by day, when all yield and give ground to the word of true religion. "As the Father hath sent Me, so send I you." (c. xx. 21.) Seest thou that here also the word hath not the same force? for if we take it as though it had, the Apostles will differ in nothing from Christ. But why saith He, "Then ye shall know"? Because then they saw Him risen and conversing with them, then they learnt the exact faith; for great was the power of the Spirit, which taught them all things.
[3.] Ver. 21. "He that hath My commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me."
It is not enough merely to have them, we need also an exact keeping of them. But why doth He frequently say the same thing to them? as, "If ye love Me, ye will keep My commandments" (ver. 15); and, "He that hath My commandments and keepeth them"; and, "If any one heareth My word and keepeth it, he it is that loveth Me—he that heareth not My words, loveth Me not." (Ver. 24.) I think that He alluded to their despondency; for since He had uttered many wise sayings to them concerning death, saying, "He that hateth his life in this world shall save it unto life eternal" (c. xii. 25); and," Unless a man take his cross and follow Me, he is not worthy of Me" (Matt. x. 38); and is about to say other things besides, rebuking them, He saith, "Think ye that ye suffer sorrow from love? The not sorrowing would be a sign of love." And because He wished all along to establish this, as He went on He summed up His discourse in this same point; "If ye loved Me," He saith, "ye would have rejoiced, because—I go to My Father" (ver. 28), but now ye are in this state through cowardice. To be thus disposed towards death is not for those who remember My commandments; for you ought to be crucified, if you truly loved Me, for My word exhorteth you not to be afraid of those that kill the body. Those that are such both the Father loveth and I. "And I will manifest Myself unto him. Then saith Judas,
Ver. 22. "How is it that Thou wilt manifest Thyself unto us?"
Seest thou that their soul was close pressed with fear? For he was confounded and troubled, and thought that as we see dead men in a dream, so He also would be seen. In order therefore that they might not imagine this, hear what He saith.
Ver. 23. "I and the Father will come unto him, and make Our abode with him."
All but saying, "As the Father revealeth Himself, so also do I." And not in this way only He removed the suspicion, but also by saying, "We will make Our abode with him," a thing which doth not belong to dreams. But observe, I pray you, the disciple confounded, and not daring to say plainly what he desired to say. For he said not, "Woe to us, that Thou diest, and will come to us as the dead come"; he spake not thus; but, "How is it that Thou wilt show Thyself to us, and not unto the world?" Jesus then saith, that "I accept you, because ye keep My commandments." In order that they might not, when they should see Him afterwards, deem Him to be an apparition, therefore He saith these things beforehand. And that they might not deem that He would appear to them so as I have said, He telleth them also the reason, "Because ye keep My commandments"; He saith that the Spirit also will appear in like manner. Now if after having companied with Him so long time, they cannot yet endure that Essence, or rather cannot even imagine It, what would have been their case had He appeared thus to them at the first? on this account also He ate with them, that the action might not seem to be an illusion. For if they thought this when they saw Him walking on the waters, although His wonted form was seen by them, and He was not far distant, what would they have imagined had they suddenly seen Him arisen whom they had seen taken and swathed? Wherefore He continually telleth them that He will appear, and why He will appear, and how, that they may not suppose Him to be an apparition.
Ver. 24. "He that loveth Me not keepeth not My sayings; and the word which ye hear is not Mine, but the Father's which sent Me."
"So that he that heareth not these sayings not only doth not love Me, but neither doth he love the Father." For if this is the sure proof of love, the hearing the commandments, and these are of the Father, he that heareth them loveth not the Son only, but the Father also. "And how is the word 'thine' and 'not thine'?" This means, "I speak not without the Father, nor say anything of Myself contrary to what seemeth good to Him."
Ver. 25. "These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you."
Since these sayings were not clear, and since some they did not understand, and doubted about the greater number, in order that they might not be again confused, and say, "What commands?" He released them from all their perplexity, saying,
Ver. 26. "The Comforter, whom the Father shall send in My Name, He shall teach you."
"Perhaps these things are not clear to you now, but 'He' is a clear teacher of them." And the, "remaineth with you" (ver. 17), is the expression of One implying that Himself will depart. Then that they may not be grieved, He saith, that as long as He should remain with them and the Spirit should not come, they would be unable to comprehend anything great or sublime. And this He said to prepare them to bear nobly His departure, as that which was to be the cause of great blessings to them. He continually calleth Him "Comforter," because of the afflictions which then possessed them. And since even after hearing these things they were troubled, when they thought of the sorrows, the wars, His departure, see how He calmeth them again by saying,
Ver. 27. "Peace I leave to you."
All but saying, "What are ye harmed by the trouble of the world, provided ye be at peace with Me? For this peace is not of the same kind as that. The one is external, is often mischievous and unprofitable, and is no advantage to those who possess it; but I give you peace of such a kind that ye be at peace with one another, which thing rendereth you stronger." And because He said again, "I leave," which was the expression of One departing, and enough to confound them, therefore He again saith,
"Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."
Seest thou that they were affected partly by loving affection, partly by fear?
Ver. 28. "Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved Me, ye would rejoice because I said, I go unto the Father; for My Father is greater than I."
[4.] And what joy would this bring to them? What consolation? What then mean the words? They did not yet know concerning the Resurrection, nor had they right opinion concerning Him; (for how could they, who did not even know that He would rise again?) but they thought that the Father was mighty. He saith then, that "If ye are fearful for Me, as not able to defend Myself, and if ye are not confident that I shall see you again after the Crucifixion, yet when ye heard that I go to the Father, ye ought then to have rejoiced because I go away to One that is greater, and able to undo all dangers." "Ye have heard how I said unto you." Why hath He put this? Because, He saith, "I am so firmly confident about the things which come to pass, that I even foretell them, so far am I from fearing." This also is the meaning of what follows.
Ver. 29. "And now I have told you before it come to pass, that when it is come to pass, ye might believe that I Am." As though He had said, "Ye would not have known, had I not told you. And I should not have told you, had I not been confident." Seest thou that the speech is one of condescension? for when He saith, "Think ye that I cannot pray to the Father, and He shall presently give Me more than twelve legions of Angels" (Matt. xxvi. 53), He speaketh to the secret thoughts of the hearers; since no one, even in the height of madness, would say that He was not able to help Himself, but needed Angels; but because they thought of Him as a man, therefore He spoke of" twelve legions of Angels." Yet in truth He did but ask those who came to take Him a question, and cast them backwards. (c. xviii. 6.) (If any one say that the Father is greater, inasmuch as He is the cause of the Son, we will not contradict this. But this doth not by any means make the Son to be of a different Essence.) But what He saith, is of this kind: "As long as I am here, it is natural that you should deem that I am a in danger; but when I am gone 'there,' be confident that I am in safety; for Him none will be able to overcome." All these words were addressed to the weakness of the disciples, for, "I Myself am confident, and care not for death." On this account, He said, "I have told you these things before they come to pass"; "but since," He saith, "ye are not yet able to receive the saying concerning them, I bring you comfort even from the Father, whom ye entitle great." Having thus consoled them, He again telleth them sorrowful things,
Ver. 30. "Hereafter I will not talk with you." Wherefore? "For the ruler of this world cometh, and hath nothing in Me."
By "ruler of this world," He meaneth the devil, calling wicked men also by the same name. For he ruleth not heaven and earth, since he would have been subverted, and cast down all things, but he ruleth over those who give themselves up to him. Wherefore He calleth him, "the ruler of the darkness of this world," in this place again calling evil deeds, "darkness." "What then, doth the devil slay Thee?" By no means; "he hath nothing in Me." "How then do they kill Thee? "Because I will it, and,
Ver. 31. "'That the world may know that I love the Father.'"
"For being not subject," He saith, "to death, nor a debtor to it, I endure it through My love to the Father." This He saith, that He may again rouse their souls, and that they may learn that not unwillingly but willingly He goeth to this thing, and that He doth it despising the devil. It was not enough for Him to have said, "Yet a little while I am with you" (c. vii. 33), but He continually handleth this painful subject, (with good reason,) until He should make it acceptable to them, by weaving along with it pleasant things. Wherefore at one time He saith, "I go, and I come again"; and, "That where I there ye may be also"; and, "Ye cannot follow Me now, but afterwards ye shall follow Me"; and, "I go to the Father"; and, "The Father is greater than I"; and, "Before it come to pass, I have told you"; and, "I do not suffer these things from constraint, but from love for the Father." So that they might consider, that the action could not be destructive nor hurtful, if at least He who greatly loved Him, and was greatly loved by Him, so willed. On this account, while intermingling these pleasant words, He continually uttered the painful ones also, practicing their minds. For both the, "remaineth with you" (c. xvi. 7), and, "My departure is expedient for you," were expressions of One giving comfort. For this reason He spake by anticipation ten thousand sayings concerning the Spirit, the, "Is in you," and, "The world cannot receive," and, "He shall bring all things to your remembrance," and, "Spirit of truth," and, "Holy Spirit," and, "Comforter," and that "It is expedient for you," in order that they might not despond, as though there would be none to stand before and help them. "It is expedient," He saith, showing that It would make them spiritual.
[5.] This at least, we see, was what took place. For they who now trembled and feared, after they had received the Spirit sprang into the midst of dangers, and stripped themselves for the contest against steel, and fire, and wild beasts, and seas, and every kind of punishment; and they, the unlettered and ignorant, discoursed so boldly as to astonish their hearers. For the Spirit made them men of iron instead of men of clay, gave them wings, and allowed them to be cast down by nothing human. For such is that grace; if it find despondency, it disperses it; if evil desires, it consumes them; if cowardice, it casts it out, and doth not allow one who has partaken of it to be afterwards mere man, but as it were removing him to heaven itself, causes him to image to himself all that is there. (Acts iv. 32, and ii. 46.) On this account no one said that any of the things that he possessed was his own, but they continued in prayer, in praise, and in singleness of heart. For this the Holy Spirit most requireth, for "the fruit of the Spirit is joy, peace—faith, meekness." (Gal. v. 22, 23.) "And yet spiritual persons often grieve," saith some one. But that sorrow is sweeter than joy. Cain was sorrowful, but with the sorrow of the world; Paul was sorrowful, but with godly sorrow. Everything that is spiritual brings the greatest gain, just as everything that is worldly the utmost loss. Let us then draw to us the invincible aid of the Spirit, by keeping the commandments, and then we shall be nothing inferior to the Angels. For neither are they therefore of this character, because they are incorporeal, for were this the case, no incorporeal being would have become wicked, but the will is in every case the cause of all. Wherefore among incorporeal beings some have been found worse than men or things irrational, and among those having bodies some better than the incorporeal. All just men, for instance, whatever were their righteous deeds, did them while dwelling on earth, and having bodies. For they dwelt on earth as those who were pilgrims and strangers; but in heaven, as citizens. Then say not thou either, "I am clothed with flesh, I cannot get the mastery, nor undertake the toils which are for the sake of virtue." Do not accuse the Creator. For if the wearing the flesh make virtue impossible, then the fault is not ours. But that it does not make it impossible, the band of saints has shown. A nature of flesh did not prevent Paul from becoming what he was, nor Peter from receiving the keys of heaven; and Enoch also, having worn flesh, was translated, and not found So also Elias was caught up with the flesh. Abraham also with Isaac and his grandson shone brightly, having the flesh; and Joseph in the flesh struggled against that abandoned woman. But why speak I of the flesh? For though thou place a chain upon the flesh, no harm is done. "Though I am bound," saith Paul, yet "the word of God is not bound." (2 Tim. ii. 9.) And why speak I of bonds and chains? Add to these the prison, and bars, yet neither are these any hindrance to virtue; at least so Paul hath instructed us. For the bond of the soul is not iron but cowardice, and the desire of wealth, and the ten thousand passions. These bind us, though our body be free. "But," saith some one, "these have their origin from the body." An excuse this, and a false pretense. For had they been produced from the body, all would have undergone them. For as we cannot escape weariness, and sleep, and hunger, and thirst, since they belong to our nature; so too these, if they were of the same kind, would not allow any one to be exempt from their tyranny; but since many escape them, it is clear that such things are the faults of a careless soul. Let us then put a stop to this, and not accuse the body, but subdue it to the soul, that having it under command, we may enjoy the everlasting good things, through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
"Arise, let us go hence. I am the true Vine, (ye are the branches,) and My Father is the Husbandman."
[1.] IGNORANCE makes the soul timid and unmanly, just as instruction in heavenly doctrines makes it great and sublime. For when it has enjoyed no care, it is in a manner timid, not by nature but by will. For when I see the man who once was brave, now become a coward, I say that this latter feeling no longer belongs to nature, for what is natural is immutable. Again, when I see those who but now were cowards all at once become daring, I pass the same judgment, and refer all to will. Since even the disciples were very fearful, before they had learned what they ought, and had been deemed worthy of the gift of the Spirit; yet afterwards they became bolder than lions. So Peter, who could not bear the threat of a damsel, was hung with his head downwards, and was scourged, and though he endured ten thousand dangers, would not be silent, but enduring what he endured as though it were a dream, in such a situation spake boldly; but not so before the Crucifixion. Wherefore Christ said, "Arise, let us go hence." "But why, tell me? Did he not know the hour at which Judas would come upon Him? Or perhaps He feared lest he should come and seize them, and lest the plotters should be upon him before he had furnished his most excellent teaching." Away with the thought! these things are far from His dignity. "If then He did not fear, why did He remove them, and then after finishing His discourse lead them into a garden known to Judas? And even had Judas come, could He not have blinded their eyes, as He also did when the traitor was not present? Why did He remove them?" He alloweth the disciples a little breathing time. For it was likely that they, as being in a conspicuous place, would tremble and fear, both on the account of the time and the place, (for it was the depth of night,) and would not gives heed to His words, but would be continually turning about, and imagining that they heard those who were to set upon them; and that more especially when their Master's speech made them expect evil. For, "yet a little while," He saith, "and I am not with you," and, "the ruler of this world cometh." Since now when they heard these and the like words they were troubled, as though they should certainly be taken immediately, He leadeth them to another place, in order that thinking themselves in safety, they might listen to Him without fear. For they were about to hear lofty doctrines. Therefore He saith, "Arise, let us go hence." Then He addeth, and saith, "I am the Vine, ye are the branches." What willeth He to imply by the comparison? That the man who gives no heed to His words can have no life, and that the miracles about to take place, would be wrought by the power of Christ. "My Father is the Husbandman." "How then? Doth the Son need a power working within?" Away with the thought! this example does not signify this. Observe with what exactness He goeth through the comparison. He saith not that the "root" enjoys the care of the Husbandman, but, "the branches." And the foot is brought in in this place for no other purpose, but that they may learn that they can work nothing without His power, and that they ought to be united with Him by faith as the branch with the vine.
Ver. 2. "Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit the Father taketh away."
Here He alludeth to the manner of life, showing that without works it is not possible to be in Him.
"And every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth it."
That is, "causeth it to enjoy great care." Yet the root requires care rather than the branches, in being dug about, and cleared, yet about this He saith nothing here, but all about the branches. Showing that He is sufficient to Himself, and that the disciples need much help from the Husbandman, although they be very excellent. Wherefore He saith, "that which beareth fruit, He purgeth it." The one branch, because it is fruitless, cannot even remain in the Vine, but for the other, because it beareth fruit, He rendereth it more fruitful. This, some one might assert, was said with relation also to the persecutions then coming upon them. For the "purgeth it," is "pruneth," which makes the branch bear better. Whence it is shown, that persecutions rather make men stronger. Then, test they should ask concerning whom He said these things, and lest He should throw them back into anxiety, He saith,
Ver. 3. "Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you."
Seest thou how He introduceth Himself as tending the branches? "I have cleansed you," He saith; yet above He declareth that the Father doth this. But there is no separation between the Father and the Son. "And now your part also must be performed." Then to show that He did not this as needing their ministry, but for their advancement, He addeth,
Ver. 4. "As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself except it abide in the vine, so neither can he who abideth not in Me."
For that they might not be separated from Him by timidity, He fasteneth and glueth to Himself their souls slackened through fear, and holdeth out to them good hopes for the future. For the root remains, but to be taken away, or to be left, belongs to the branches. Then having urged them on in both ways, by things pleasant and things painful, He requireth first what is to be done on our side.
Ver. 5. "He that abideth in Me, and I in him."
Seest thou that the Son contributeth not less than the Father towards the care of the disciples? The Father purgeth, but He keepeth them in Himself. The abiding in the root is that which maketh the branches to be fruit-bearing. For that which is not purged, if it remain on the root, bears fruit, though perhaps not so much as it ought; but that which remains not, hears none at all. But still the "purging" also hath been shown to belong to the Son, and the "abiding in the root," to the Father, who also begat the Root. Seest thou how all is common, both the "purging," and the enjoying the virtue which is from the root?
[2.] Now it were a great penalty, the being able to do nothing, but He stayeth not the punishment at this point, but carrieth on His discourse farther.
Ver. 6. "He is cast forth," He saith.
No longer enjoying the benefit of the husbandman's hand. "And is withered." That is, if he had aught of the root, he loses it; if any grace, he is stripped of this, and is bereft of the help and life which proceed from it. And what the end? "He is cast into the fire." Not such he who abideth with Him. Then He showeth what it is to "abide," and saith,
Ver. 7. "If My words abide in you."
Seest thou that with reason I said above, that He seeketh the proof by works? For when He had said, "Whatsoever ye shall ask I will do it" (c. xiv. 14, 15), He added, "If ye love Me, ye will keep My commandments." And here, "If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you."
"Ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you."
This He said to show that they who plotted against Him should be burnt up, but that "they" should bear fruit. Then transferring the fear from them to the others, and showing that they should be invincible, He saith,
Ver. 8. "Herein is My Father glorified, that ye be My disciples, and bear much fruit."
Hence He maketh His discourse credible, for if the bearing fruit pertains to the glory of the Father, He will not neglect His own glory. "And ye shall be My disciples." Seest thou how he that beareth fruit, he is the disciple? But what is, "In this is the Father glorified"? "He rejoiceth when ye abide in Me, when ye bear fruit."
Ver. 9. "As the Father hath loved Me, so have I loved you."
Here at length He speaketh in a more human manner, for this, as spoken to men, has its peculiar force. Since what a measure of love did He manifest, who chose to die, who counted worthy of such honor those who were His slaves, His haters, His open enemies, and led them up to the heavens! "If then I love you, be bold; if it be the glory of My Father that ye bear fruit, imagine nothing ill." Then that He may not make them supine, observe how He braceth them again,
"Continue ye in My love."
"For this ye have the power to do." And how shall this be?
Ver. 10. "If ye keep My commandments, even as I have kept my Father's commandments."
Again, His discourse proceedeth in a human way; for certainly the Lawgiver would not be subject to commandments. Seest thou that here also, as I am always saying, this is declared because of the infirmity of the hearers? For He chiefly speaketh to their suspicions, and by every means showeth them that they are in safety, and that their enemies are being lost, and that all, whatever they have, they have from the Son, and that, if they show forth a pure life, none shall ever have the mastery over them. And observe that He discourseth with them in a very authoritative manner, for He said not, "abide in the love of My Father," but, "in Mine"; then, lest they should say, "when Thou hast set us at war with all men, Thou leavest us, and departest," He showeth that He doth not leave them, but is so joined to them if they will, as the branch in the vine. Then, lest from confidence they should become supine, He saith not that the blessing cannot be removed if they are slack-minded. And in order not to refer the action to Himself, and so make them more apt to fall, He saith, "Herein is My Father glorified." For everywhere He manifesteth His own and His Father's love towards them. Not the things of the Jews, then, were "glory," but those which they were about to receive. And that they might not say, "we have been driven from the possessions of our fathers, we have been deserted, we have become naked, and destitute of all things, "Look," He saith, "on Me. I am loved by the Father, yet still I suffer these things appointed. And so I am not now leaving you because I love you not. For if I am slain, and take not this for a proof of not being loved by the Father, neither ought ye to be troubled. For, if ye continue in My love, these dangers shall not be able to do you any mischief on the score of love."
[3.] Since then love is a thing mighty and irresistible, not a bare word, let us manifest it by our actions. He reconciled us when we were His enemies, let us, now that we have become His friends, remain so. He led the way, let us at least follow; He loveth us not for His own advantage, (for He needeth nothing,) let us at least love Him for our profit; He loved us being His enemies, let us at least love Him being our friend. At present we do the contrary; for every day God is blasphemed through us, through our plunderings, through our covetousness. And perhaps one of you will say, "Every day thy discourse is about covetousness." Would that I could speak about it every night too; would that I could do so, following you about in the market-place, and at your table; would that both wives, and friends, and children, and domestics, and tillers of the soil, and neighbors, and the very pavement and walls, could ever shout forth this word, that so we might perchance have relaxed a little. For this malady hath seized upon all the world, and occupies the souls of all, and great is the tyranny of Mammon. We have been ransomed by Christ, and are the slaves of gold. We proclaim the sovereignty of the one, and obey the other. Whatever "he" commands we readily obey, and we have refused to know family, or friendship, or nature, or laws, or anything, for him. No one looks up to Heaven, no one thinks about things to come. But there will be a time, when there will be no profit even in these words. "In the grave," it saith, "who shall confess to Thee?" Gold is a desirable thing, and procures us much luxury, and makes us to be honored, but not in like manner as doth Heaven. For from the wealthy man many even turn aside, and hate him, but him who lives virtuously they respect and honor. "But" saith some one "the poor man is derided, even though he be virtuous. Not among men, but brutes. Wherefore he ought not so much as to notice them. For if asses were to bray and daws chatter at us, while all wise men commended us, we should not, losing sight of this latter audience, have regard to clamors of the brutes; for like to daws, and worse than asses, are they who admire present things. Moreover, if an earthly king approve thee, thou makest no account of the many, though they all deride thee; but if the Lord of the universe praise thee, seekest thou the good words of beetles and gnats? For this is what these men are, compared with God, or rather not even this, but something viler, if there be aught such. How long do we wallow in the mire? How long do we set sluggards and belly-gods for our judges? They can prove dicers well, drunkards, those who live for the belly, but as for virtue and vice, they cannot imagine so much as a dream. If any one taunt thee because thou hast not skill to draw the channels of the watercourses, thou wilt not think it any terrible thing, but wilt even laugh at him who objects to thee ignorance of this kind; and dost thou, when thou desirest to practice virtue, appoint as judges those who know nothing of it? On this account we never reach that art. We commit our case not to the practiced, but to the unlearned, and they judge not according to the rules of art, but according to their own ignorance. Wherefore, I exhort you, let us despise the many; or rather let us desire neither praises, nor possessions, nor wealth, nor deem poverty any evil. For poverty is to us a teacher of prudence, and endurance, and all true wisdom. Thus Lazarus lived in poverty, and received a crown; Jacob desired to get bread only; and Joseph was in the extreme of poverty, being not merely a slave, but also a prisoner; and on this account we admire him the more, and we do not so much praise him when he distributed the corn, as when he dwelt in the dungeon: not when he wore the diadem, but when the chain; not when he sat upon the throne, but when he was plotted against and sold. Considering then all these things, and the crowns twined for us after the conflicts, let us admire not wealth, and honor, and luxury, and power, but poverty, and the chain, and bonds, and endurance in the cause of virtue. For the end of those things is full of troubles and confusion, and their lot is bound up with this present life; but the fruit of these, heaven, and the good things in the heavens, which neither eye hath seen, nor ear heard; which may we all obtain, through the grace and lovingkindness of I our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever. Amen.
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. (PNPF I/XIV, Schaff). The digital version is by The Electronic Bible Society, P.O. Box 701356, Dallas, TX 75370, 214-407-WORD.