LECTURES OR TRACTATES ON THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ST. JOHN
TRACTATE XXXII.

CHAPTER VII. 37-39.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TRACTATE XXXIII.

CHAPTER VII. 40-53; VIII. 1-11.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TRACTATE XXXIV.

CHAPTER VIII. 12.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TRACTATE XXXV.

CHAPTER VIII. 13, 14.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TRACTATE XXXVI.

CHAPTER VIII. 15-18.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TRACTATE XXXVII.

CHAPTER VIII. 19, 20.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TRACTATE XXXVIII.

CHAPTER VIII. 21-25.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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