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

CHAPTER XI. 55-57; XII.

1. YESTERDAY'S lesson in the holy Gospel, on which we spake as the Lord enabled us, is followed by to-day's, on which we purpose to speak in the same spirit of dependence. Some passages in the Scriptures are so clear as to require a hearer rather than an expounder: over such we need not tarry, that we may have sufficient time for those which necessarily demand a fuller consideration.

2. "And the Jews' passover was nigh at hand." The Jews wished to have that feast-day crimsoned with the blood of the Lord. On it that Lamb was slain, who hath consecrated it as a feast-day for us by His own blood. There was a plot among the Jews about slaying Jesus: and He, who had come from heaven to suffer, wished to draw near to the place of His suffering, because the hour of His passion was at hand. Therefore "many went out of the country up to Jerusalem before the passover, to sanctify themselves." The Jews did so in accordance with the command of the Lord delivered by holy Moses in the law, that on the feast-day of the passover all should assemble from every part of the land, and be sanctified in celebrating the services of the day. But that celebration was a shadow of the future. And why a shadow? It was a prophetic intimation of the Christ to come, a prophecy of Him who on that day was to suffer for us: that so the shadow might vanish and the light come; that the sign might pass away, and the truth be retained. The Jews therefore held the passover in a shadowy form, but we in the light. For what need was there that the Lord should command them to slay a sheep on the very day of the feast, save only because of Him it was prophesied, "He is led as a sheep to the slaughter"? (1). The door-posts of the Jews were sealed with the blood of the slaughtered animal: with the blood of Christ are our foreheads sealed. And that sealing--for it had a real significance--was said to keep away the destroyer from the houses that were sealed: (2) Christ's seal drives away the destroyer from us, if we receive the Saviour into our hearts. But why have I said this? Because many have their door-posts sealed while there is no inmate abiding within: they find it easy to have Christ's seal in the forehead, and yet at heart refuse admission to His word. Therefore, brethren, I have said, and I repeat it, Christ's seal driveth from us the destroyer, if only we have Christ as an inmate of our hearts. I have stated these things, lest any one's thoughts should be turning on the meaning of these festivals of the Jews. The Lord therefore came as it were to the victim's place, that the true passover might be ours, when we celebrated His passion as the real offering of the lamb.

3. "Then sought they for Jesus:" but with evil intent. For happy are they who seek for Jesus in a way that is good. They sought for Him, with the intent that neither they nor we should have Him more: but in departing from them, He has been received by us. Some who seek Him are blamed, others who do so are commended; for it is the spirit animating the seeker that finds either praise or condemnation. Thence you have it also in the psalms, "Let them be confounded and put to shame that seek after my soul:" (3) such are those who sought with evil purpose. But in another place he says, "Refuge hath failed me, and there is no one that seeketh after my soul." (4) Those who sought, and those who did not, are blamed alike. Therefore let us seek for Christ, that He may be ours, that we may keep Him, and not that we may slay Him; for these men sought to get hold of Him, but only for the purpose of speedily getting quit of Him for ever. "Therefore they sought for Him, and spake among themselves: What think ye, that He will not come to the feast?"

4. "Now the chief priests and the Pharisees had given a commandment, that, if any man knew where He were, he should show it, that they might take Him." Let us for our parts show the Jews where Christ is. Would, indeed, that all the seed of those who had given commandment to have it shown them where Christ was, would but hear and apprehend! Let them come to the church and hear where Christ is, and take Him. They may hear it from us, they may hear it from the gospel. He was slain by their forefathers, He was buried, He rose again, He was recognized by the disciples, He ascended before their eyes into heaven, and there sitteth at the right hand of the Father; and He who was judged is yet to come as Judge of all: let them hear, and hold fast. Do they reply, How shall I take hold of the absent? how shall I stretch up my hand into heaven, and take hold of one who is sitting there? Stretch up thy faith, and thou hast got hold. Thy forefathers held by the flesh, hold thou with the heart; for the absent Christ is also present. But for His presence, we ourselves were unable to hold Him. But since His word is true, "Lo, I am with you alway, even to the end of the world," (1) He is away, and He is here; He has returned, and will not forsake us; for He has carried His body into heaven, but His majesty He has never withdrawn from the world.

5. "Then Jesus, six days before the passover, came to Bethany, where Lazarus was who had been dead, whom Jesus raised from the dead. And there they made Him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that reclined at the table." To prevent people thinking that the man had become a phantom, because he had risen from the dead, he was one of those who reclined at table; he was living, speaking, feasting: the truth was made manifest, and the unbelief of the Jews was confounded. The Lord, therefore, reclined at table with Lazarus and the others; and they were waited on by Martha, one of the sisters of Lazarus.

6. But "Mary," the other sister of Lazarus, "took a pound of ointment of pure nard, very precious, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the odor of the ointment." Such was the incident, let us look into the mystery it imported. Whatever soul of you wishes to be truly faithful, anoint like Mary the feet of the Lord with precious ointment. That ointment was righteousness, and therefore it was [exactly] a pound weight: but it was ointment of pure nard [nardi pistici], very precious. From his calling it "pistici," (2) we ought to infer that there was some locality from which it derived its preciousness: but this does not exhaust its meaning, and it harmonizes well with a sacramental symbol. The root of the word ["pure"] in the Greek is by us called "faith." Thou weft seeking to work righteousness: the just shall live by faith. (3) Anoint the feet of Jesus: follow by a good life the Lord's footsteps. Wipe them l with thy hair: what thou hast of superfluity, give to the poor, and thou hast wiped the feet of the Lord; for the hair seems to be the superfluous part of the body. Thou hast something to spare of thy abundance: it is superfluous to thee, but necessary for the feet of the Lord. Perhaps on this earth the Lord's feet are still in need. For of whom but of His members is He yet to say in the end, "Inasmuch as ye did it to one of the least of mine, ye did it unto me"? (4) Ye spent what was superfluous for yourselves, but ye have done what was grateful to my feet.

7. "And the house was filled with the odor." The world is filled with the fame of a good character: for a good character is as a pleasant odor. Those who live wickedly and bear the name of Christians, do injury to Christ: of such it is said, that through them "the name of the Lord is blasphemed." (5) If through such God's name is blasphemed, through the good the name of the Lord is honored. Listen to the apostle, when he says, "We are a sweet savor of Christ in every place." As it is said also in the Song of Songs, "Thy name is as ointment poured forth." (6) Attend again to the apostle: "We are a sweet savor," he says, "of Christ in every place, both in them that are saved, and in them that perish. To the one we are the savor of life unto life, to the other the savor of death unto death: and who is sufficient for I these things?" (7) The lesson of the holy Gospel before us affords us the opportunity of so speaking of that savor, that we on our part may give worthy utterance, and you diligent heed, to what is thus expressed by the apostle himself, "And who is sufficient for these things?" But have we any reason to infer from these words that we are qualified to attempt speaking on such a subject, or you to hear? We, indeed, are not so; but He is sufficient, who is pleased to speak by us what it may be for your profit to hear. The apostle, you see, is, as he calls himself, "a sweet savor:" but that sweet savor is "to some the savor of life unto life, and to others the savor of death unto death;" and yet all the while "a sweet savor" in itself. For he does not say, does he, To some we are a sweet savor unto life, to others an evil savor unto death? He called himself a sweet savor, not an evil; and represented himself as the same sweet savor, to some unto life, to others unto death. Happy they who find life in this sweet savor! but what misery can be greater than theirs, to whom the sweet savor is the messenger of death?

8. And who is it, says some one, that is thus slain by the sweet savor? It is to this the apostle alludes in the words, "And who is sufficient for these things?" In what wonderful ways God brings it about that the good savor is fraught both with life to the good, and with death to the wicked; how it is so, so far as the Lord is pleased to inspire my thoughts (for it may still conceal a deeper meaning beyond my power to penetrate),--yet so far, I say, as my power of penetration has reached, you ought not to have the information withheld. The integrity of the Apostle Paul's life and conduct, his preaching of righteousness in word and exhibition of it in works, his wondrous power as a teacher and his fidelity as a steward, were everywhere noised abroad: he was loved by some, and envied by others. For he himself tells us in a certain place of some, that they preached Christ not sincerely, but of envy; "thinking," he says, "to add affliction to my bonds." But what does he add? "Whether in pretence or in truth, let Christ be preached." (1) They preach who love me, they preach who hate me; in that good savor the former live, in it the others die: and yet by the preaching of both let the name of Christ be proclaimed, with this excellent savor let the world be filled. Hast thou been loving one whose conduct evidenced his goodness? then in this good savor thou hast lived. Hast thou been envying such a one then in this same savor thou hast died. But hast thou, pray, in thus choosing to die, converted this savor into an evil one? Turn from thine envious feelings, and the good savor will cease to slay thee.

9. And now, lastly, listen to what we have here, how this ointment was to some a sweet savor unto life, and to others a sweet savor unto death. When the pious Mary had rendered this grateful service to the Lord, straightway one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was yet to betray Him, said, "Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?" Alas for thee, wretched man! the sweet savor hath slain thee. For the cause that led him so to speak is disclosed by the holy evangelist. But we, too, might have supposed, had not the real state of his mind been revealed in the Gospel, that the care of the poor might have induced him so to speak. Not so. What then? Hearkeu to a true witness: "This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the money bag, and bare (2) what was put therein." Did he bear it about, or bear it away? For the common service he bore it, as a thief he bore it away.

10. Look now, and learn that this Judas did not become perverted only at the time when he yielded to the bribery of the Jews and betrayed his Lord. For not a few, inattentive to the Gospel, suppose that Judas only perished when he accepted money from the Jews to betray the Lord. It was not then that he perished, but he was already a thief, and a reprobate, when following the Lord; for it was with his body and not with his heart that he followed. He made up the apostolic number of twelve, but had no part in the apostolic blessedness: he had been made the twelfth in semblance, and on his departure, and the succession of another, the apostolic reality was completed, and the entireness of the number conserved. (3) What lesson then, my brethren, did our Lord Jesus Christ wish to impress on His Church, when it pleased Him to have one castaway among the twelve, but this, that we should bear with the wicked, and refrain from dividing the body of Christ? Here you have Judas among the saints,--that Judas, mark you! who was a thief, yea--do not overlook it--not a thief of any ordinary type, but a thief and a sacrilegist: a robber of money bags, but of such as were the Lord's; of money bags, but of such as were sacred. If there is a distinction made in the public courts between such crimes as ordinary theft and peculation,--for by peculation we mean the theft of public property; and private theft is not visited with the same sentence as public,--how much more severe ought to be the sentence on the sacrilegious thief, who has dared to steal, not from places of any ordinary kind, but to steal from the Church? He who thieves from the Church, stands side by side with the castaway Judas. Such was this man Judas, and yet he went in and out with the eleven holy disciples. With them he came even to the table of the Lord: he was permitted to have intercourse with them, but he could not contaminate them. Of one bread did both Peter and Judas partake, and yet what communion had the believer with the infidel? Peter's partaking was unto life, but that of Judas unto death. For that good bread was just like the sweet savor. For as the sweet savor, so also does the good bread give life to the good, and bring death to the wicked. "For he that eateth unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself:" (4) "judgment to himself," not to thee. If, then, it is judgment to himself, not to thee, bear as one that is good with him that is evil, that thou mayest attain unto the rewards of the good, and be not hurled into the punishment of the wicked.

11. Lay to heart our Lord's example while living with man upon earth. Why had He a money bag, who was ministered unto by angels, save to intimate that His Church was destined thereafter to have her repository for money? Why gave He admission to a thief, save to teach His Church patiently to bear with thieves? But he who had formed the habit of abstracting money from the bag, did not hesitate for money received to sell the Lord Himself. But let us see what answer our Lord gave to such words. See, brethren: He does not say to him, Thou speakest so on account of thy thievishness. He knew him to be a thief, yet did not betray him, but rather endured him, and showed us an example of patience in tolerating the wicked in the Church. "Then said Jesus to him: Let her keep it against the day of my burial." (1) He announced that His own death was at hand.

12. But what follows? "For the poor ye have always with you, but me ye will not have always." We can certainly understand, "the poor ye have always;" what He has thus said is true. When were the poor wanting in the Church? "But me ye will not have always;" what does He mean by this? How are we to understand, "Me ye will not have always"? Don't be alarmed: it was addressed to Judas. Why, then, did He not say, thou wilt have, but, ye will have? Because Judas is not here a unit. One wicked man represents the whole body of the wicked; in the same way as Peter, the whole body of the good, yea, the body of the Church, but in respect to the good. For if in Peter's case there were no sacramental symbol of the Church, the Lord would not have said to him, "I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: whatsoever thou shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven." (2) If this was said only to Peter, it gives no ground of action to the Church. But if such is the case also in the Church, that what is bound on earth is bound in heaven, and what is loosed on earth is loosed in heaven,--for when the Church excommunicates, the excommunicated person is bound in heaven; when one is reconciled by the Church, the person so reconciled is loosed in heaven:--if such, then, is the case in the Church, Peter, in receiving the keys, represented the holy Church. If, then, in the person of Peter were represented the good in the Church, and in Judas' person were represented the bad in the Church, then to these latter was it said, "But me ye will not have always." But what means the "not always;" and what, the "always"? If thou art good, if thou belongest to the body represented by Peter, thou hast Christ both now and hereafter: now by faith, by sign, by the sacrament of baptism, by the bread and wine of the altar. Thou hast Christ now, but thou wilt have Him always; for when thou hast gone hence, thou wilt come to Him who said to the robber, "To-day shall thou be with me in paradise." (3) But if thou livest wickedly, thou mayest seem to have Christ now, because thou enterest the Church, signest thyself with the sign of Christ, art baptized with the baptism of Christ, minglest thyself with the members of Christ, and approachest His altar: now thou hast Christ, but by living wickedly thou wilt not have Him always.

13. It may be also understood in this way: "The poor ye will have always with you, but me ye will not have always." The good may take it also as addressed to themselves, but not so as to be any source of anxiety; for He was speaking of His bodily presence. For in respect of His majesty, His providence, His ineffable and invisible grace, His own words are fulfilled, "Lo, I am with you alway, even to the end of the world." (4) But in respect of the flesh He assumed as the Word, in respect of that which He was as the son of the Virgin, of that wherein He was seized by the Jews, nailed to the tree, let down from the cross, enveloped in a shroud, laid in the sepulchre, and manifested in His resurrection, "ye will not have Him always." And why? Because in respect of His bodily presence He associated for forty days with His disciples, and then, having brought them forth for the purpose of beholding and not of following Him, He ascended into heaven? and is no longer here. He is there, indeed, sitting at the right hand of the Father; and He is here also, having never withdrawn the presence of His glory. In other words, in respect of His divine presence we always have Christ; in respect of His presence in the flesh it was rightly said to the disciples, "Me ye will not have always." In this respect the Church enjoyed His presence only for a few days: now it possesses Him by faith, without seeing Him with the eyes. In whichever way, then, it was said, "But me ye will not have always," it can no longer, I suppose, after this twofold solution, remain as a subject of doubt.

14. Let us listen to the other few points that remain: "Much people of the Jews therefore knew that He was there: and they came not for Jesus' sake only, but that they might see Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead." They were drawn by curiosity, not by charity: they came and saw. Hearken to the strange scheming of human vanity. Having seen Lazarus as one raised from the dead,--for the fame of such a miracle of the Lord's had been accompanied everywhere with so much evidence of its genuineness, and it had been so openly performed, that they could neither conceal nor deny what had been done,--only think of the plan they hit upon. "But the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death; because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus." O foolish consultation and blinded rage! Could not Christ the Lord, who was able to raise the dead, raise also the slain? When you were preparing a violent death for Lazarus, were you at the same time denuding the Lord of His power? If you think a dead man one thing, a murdered man another, look you only to this, that the Lord made both, and raised Lazarus to life when dead, and Himself when slain.

TRACTATE LI.

CHAPTER XII. 12-26.

1. AFTER our Lord's raising of one to life, who had been four days dead, to the utter amazement of the Jews, some of whom believed on seeing it, and others perished in their envy, because of that sweet savor which is unto life to some, and to others unto death; (1) after He had sat down to meat with Lazarus--the one who had been dead and raised to life--reclining also at table, and after the pouring on His feet of the ointment which had filled the house with its odor; and after the Jews also had shown their own spiritual abandonment in conceiving the useless cruelty and the monstrously foolish and insane guilt of slaying Lazarus;--of all which we have spoken as we could, by the grace of the Lord, in previous discourses: let your Charity now notice how abundant before our Lord's passion was the fruit that appeared of His preaching, and how large was the flock of lost sheep of the house of Israel which had heard the Shepherd's voice.

2. For the Gospel, the reading of which yon have just been listening to, says: "On the next day much people that were come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took branches of palm trees and went forth to meet Him, and cried, Hosanna: blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord as the King of Israel." The branches of palm trees are laudatory emblems, significant of victory, because the Lord was about to overcome death by dying, and by the trophy of His cross to triumph over the devil, the prince of death. The exclamation used by the worshipping (2) people is Hosanna, indicating, as some who know the Hebrew language affirm, rather a state of mind than having any positive significance; (3) just as in our own tongue (4) we have what are called interjections, as when in our grief we say, Alas! or in our joy, Ha! or in our admiration, O how fine! where O! expresses only the feeling of the admirer. Of the same class must we believe this word to be, as it has failed to find an interpretation both in Greek and Latin, like that other, "Whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca." (5) For this also is allowed to be an interjection, expressive of angry feelings.

3. But when it is said, "Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord, [as] the King of Israel," by "in the name of the Lord" we are rather to understand "in the name of God the Father," although it might also be understood as in His own name, inasmuch as He is also Himself the Lord. As we find Scripture also saying in another place, "The Lord rained [upon Sodom fire] from the Lord." (1) But His own words are a better guide to our understanding, when He saith, "I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: another will come in his own name, and him ye will receive." (2) For the true teacher of humility is Christ, who humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. (3) But He does not lose His divinity in teaching us humility; in the one He is the Father's equal, in the other He is assimilated to us. By that which made Him the equal of the Father, He called us into existence; and by that in which He is like unto us, He redeemed us from ruin.

4. These, then, were the words of praise addressed to Jesus by the multitude, "Hosanna: blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord, the King of Israel." What a cross of mental suffering must the Jewish rulers have endured when they heard so great a multitude proclaiming Christ as their King! But what honor was it to the Lord to be King of Israel? What great thing was it to the King of eternity to become the King of men? For Christ's kingship over Israel was not for the purpose of exacting tribute, of putting swords into His soldiers' hands, of subduing His enemies by open warfare; but He was King of Israel in exercising kingly authority over their inward natures, in consulting for their eternal interests, in bringing into His heavenly kingdom those whose faith, and hope, and love were centred in Himself. Accordingly, for the Son of God, the Father's equal, the Word by whom all things were made, in His good pleasure to be King of Israel, was an act of condescension and not of promotion; a token of compassion, and not any increase of power. For He who was called on earth the King of the Jews, is in the heavens the Lord of angels.

5. "And Jesus, when He had found a young ass, sat thereon." Here the account is briefly given: for how it all happened may be found at full length in the other evangelists. (4) But there is appended to the circumstance itself a testimony from the prophets, to make it evident that He in whom was fulfilled all they read in Scripture, was entirely misunderstood by the evil-minded rulers of the Jews. Jesus, then, "found a young ass, and sat thereon; as it is written, Fear not, daughter of Zion: behold, thy King cometh, sitting on an ass's colt." Among that people, then, was the daughter of Zion to be found; for Zion is the same as Jerusalem. Among that very people, I say, reprobate and blind as they were, was the daughter of Zion, to whom it was said, "Fear not, daughter of Zion: behold, thy King cometh, sitting on an ass's colt." This daughter of Zion, who was thus divinely addressed, was amongst those sheep that were hearing the Shepherd's voice, and in that multitude which was celebrating the Lord's coming with such religious zeal, and accompanying Him in such warlike array. To her was it said, "Fear not:" acknowledge Him whom thou art now extolling, and give not way to fear when He comes to suffering; for by the shedding of His blood is thy guilt to be blotted out, and thy life restored. But by the ass's colt, on which no man had ever sat (for so it is found recorded in the other evangelists), we are to understand the Gentile nations which had not received the law of the Lord; by the ass, on the other hand (for both animals were brought to the Lord), that people of His which came of the nation of Israel, and was already so far subdued as to recognize its Master's crib.

6. "These things understood not His disciples at the first; but when Jesus was glorified," that is, when He had manifested the power of His resurrection, "then remembered they that these things were written of Him, and they had done these things unto Him," that is, they did nothing else but what had been written concerning Him. In short, mentally comparing with the contents of Scripture what was accomplished both prior tO and in the course of our Lord's passion, they found this also therein, that it was in accordance with the utterance of the prophets that He sat on an ass's colt.

7. "The people, therefore, that was with Him when He called Lazarus out of his tomb, and raised him from the dead, bare record. For this cause the crowd also met Him, for that they heard that He had done this miracle. The Pharisees, therefore, said among themselves: Perceive ye that we prevail nothing? Behold, the whole world is gone after Him." Mob set mob in motion. (5) "But why art thou, blinded mob that thou art, filled with envy because the world has gone after its Maker?"

8. "And there were certain Gentiles among them that had come up to worship at the feast: the same came therefore to Philip, who was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus. Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus." Let us hearken to the Lord's reply. See how the Jews wish to kill Him, the Gentiles to see Him; and yet those, too, were of the Jews who cried, "Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord, the King of Israel." Here, then, were they of the circumcision and they of the uncircumcision, like two house walls running from different directions and meeting together with the kiss of peace, in the one faith of Christ. Let us listen, then, to the voice of the Cornerstone: "And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come that the Son of man should be glorified." Perhaps some one supposes here that He spake of Himself as glorified, because the Gentiles wished to see Him. Such is not the case. But He saw the Gentiles themselves in all nations coming to the faith after His own passion and resurrection, because, as the apostle says, "Blindness in part has happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles should be come in." (1) Taking occasion, therefore, from those Gentiles who desired to see Him, He announces the future fullness of the Gentile nations, and promises the near approach of the hour when He should be glorified Himself, and when, on its consummation in heaven, the Gentile nations should be brought to the faith. To this it is that the prediction pointed, "Be Thou exalted, O God, above the heavens, and Thy glory above all the earth." (2) Such is the fullness of the Gentiles, of which the apostle saith, "Blindness in part is happened to Israel, till the fullness of the Gentiles come in."

9. But the height of His glorification had to be preceded by the depth of His passion. Accordingly, He went on to add, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a grain of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit." But He spake of Himself. He Himself was the grain that had to die, and be multiplied; to suffer death through the unbelief of the Jews, and to be multiplied in the faith of many nations.

10. And now, by way of exhortation to follow in the path of His own passion, He adds, "He that loveth his life shall lose it," which may be understood in two ways: "He that loveth shall lose," that is, If thou lovest, be ready to lose; if thou wouldst possess life in Christ, be not afraid of death for Christ. Or otherwise, "He that loveth his life shall lose it." Do not love for fear of losing; love it not here, lest thou lose it in eternity. But what I have said last seems better to correspond with the meaning of the Gospel, for there follow the words, "And he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal." So that when it is said in the previous clause, "He that loveth," there is to be understood in this world, he it is that shall lose it. "But he that hateth," that is, in this world, is he that shall keep it unto life eternal. Surely a profound and strange declaration as to the measure of a man's love for his own life that leads to its destruction, and of his hatred to it that secures its preservation! If in a sinful way thou lovest it, then dost thou really hate it; if in a way accordant with what is good thou hast hated it, then hast thou really loved it. Happy they who have so hated their life while keeping it, that their love shall not cause them to lose it. But beware of harboring the notion that thou mayest court self-destruction by any such understanding of thy duty to hate thy life in this world. For on such grounds it is that certain wrong-minded and perverted people, who, with regard to themselves, are murderers of a specially cruel and impious character, commit themselves to the flames, suffocate themselves in water, dash themselves against a precipice, and perish. This was no teaching of Christ's, who, on the other hand, met the devil's suggestion of a precipice with the answer, "Get thee behind me, Satan; for it is written, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God." (3) To Peter also He said, signifying by what death he should glorify God, "When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not;" (4)--where He made it sufficiently plain that it is not by himself but by another that one must be slain who follows in the footsteps of Christ. And so, when one's case has reached the crisis that this condition is placed before him, either that he must act contrary to the divine commandment or quit this life, and that a man is compelled to choose one or other of the two by the persecutor who is threatening him with death, in such circumstances let him prefer dying in the love of God to living under His anger, in such circumstances let him hate his life in this world that he may keep it unto life eternal.

11. "If any man serve me, let him follow me." What is that, "let him follow me," but just, let him imitate me? "Because Christ suffered for us," says the Apostle Peter, "leaving us an example that we should follow His steps." (1) Here you have the meaning of the words, "If any man serve me, let him follow me." But with what result? what wages? what reward? "And where I am," He says, "there shall also my servant be." Let Him be freely loved, that so the reward of the service done Him may be to be with Him. For where will one be well apart from Him, or when will one come to feel himself in an evil case in company with Him? Hear it still more plainly: "If any man serve me, him will my Father honor." And what will be the honor but to be with His Son? For of what He said before, "Where I am, there shall also my servant be," we may understand Him as giving the explanation, when He says here, "him will my Father honor." For what greater honor can await an adopted son than to be with the Only-begotten; not, indeed, as raised to the level of His Godhead, but made a partaker of His eternity?

12. But it becomes us rather to inquire what is to be understood by this serving of Christ to which there is attached so great a reward. For if we have taken up the idea that the serving of Christ is the preparation of what is needful for the body, or the cooking and serving up of food, or the mixing of drink and handing the cup to one at the supper table; this, indeed, was done to Him by those who had the privilege of His bodily presence, as in the case of Martha and Mary, when Lazarus also was one of those who sat at the table. But in that sort of way Christ was served also by the reprobate Judas; for it was he also who had the money bag; and although he had the exceeding wickedness to steal of its contents, yet it was he also who provided what was needful for the meal. (2) And so also, when our Lord said to him, "What thou doest, do quickly," there were some who thought that He only gave him orders to make some needful preparations for the feast-day, or to give something to the poor. (3) In no sense, therefore, was it of this class of servants that the Lord said, "Where I am, there shall also my servant be," and "If any man serve me, him will my Father honor;" for we see that Judas, who served in this way, became an object of reprobation rather than of honor. Why, then, go elsewhere to find out what this serving of Christ implies, and not rather see its disclosure in the words themselves? for when He said, "If any man serve me, let him follow me," He wished it to be understood just as if He had said, If any man doth not follow me, he serveth me not. And those, therefore, are the servants of Jesus Christ, who seek not their own things, but the things that are Jesus Christ's. (4) For "let him follow me" is just this: Let him walk in my ways, and not in his own; as it is written elsewhere, "He that saith he abideth in Christ, ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked." (5) For he ought, if supplying food to the hungry, to do it in the way of mercy and not of boasting, seeking therein nothing else but the doing of good, and not letting his left hand know what his right hand doeth; (6) in other words, that all thought of self-seeking should be utterly estranged from a work of charity. He that serveth in this way serveth Christ, and will have it rightly said to him, "Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of the least of those who are mine, ye did it unto me." (7) And thus doing not only those acts of mercy that pertain to the body, but every good work, for the sake of Christ (for then will all be good, because "Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth " (8)), he is Christ's servant even to that work of special love, which is to lay down his life for the brethren, for that were to lay it down also for Christ. For this also will He say hereafter in behalf of His members: Inasmuch as ye did it for these, ye have done it for me. And certainly it was in reference to such a work that He was also pleased to make and to style Himself a servant, when He says, "Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto [served], but to minister [serve], and to lay down His life for many." (9) Every one, therefore, is the servant of Christ in the same way as Christ also is a servant. And he that serveth Christ in this way will be honored by His Father with the signal honor of being with His Son, and having nothing wanting to his happiness for ever.

13. Accordingly, brethren, when you hear the Lord saying, "Where I am, there shall also my servant be," do not think merely of good bishops and clergymen. But be yourselves also in your own way serving Christ, by good lives, by giving alms, by preaching His name and doctrine as you can; and every father of a family also, be acknowledging in this name the affection he owes as a parent to his family. For Christ's sake, and for the sake of life eternal, let him be warning, and teaching, and exhorting, and correcting all his household; let him show kindliness, and exercise discipline; and so in his own house he will be filling an ecclesiastical and kind of episcopal office, and serving Christ, that he may be with Him for ever. For even that noblest service of suffering has been rendered by many of your class; for many who were neither bishops nor clergy, but young men and virgins, those advanced in years with those who were not, many married persons both male and female, many fathers and mothers of families, have served Christ even to the laying down of their lives in martyrdom for His sake, and have been honored by the Father in receiving crowns of exceeding glory.

TRACTATE LII.

CHAPTER XII. 27-36.

1. AFTER the Lord Jesus Christ, in the words of yesterday's lesson, had exhorted His servants to follow Him, and had predicted His own passion in this way, that unless a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit; and also had stirred up those who wished to follow Him to the kingdom of heaven, to hate their life in this world if their thought was to keep it unto life eternal,--He again toned down His own feelings to our infirmity and says, where our lesson to-day commenced, "Now is my soul (1) troubled." Whence, Lord, was Thy soul troubled? He had, indeed, said a little before, "He that hateth his life [soul] in this world shall keep it unto life eternal." Dost thou then love thy life in this world, and is thy soul troubled as the hour approacheth when thou shalt leave this world? Who would dare affirm this of the soul [life] of the Lord? We rather it was whom He transferred unto Himself; He took us into His own person as our Head, and assumed the feelings of His members; and so it was not by any others He was troubled, but, as was said of Him when He raised Lazarus, "He was troubled in Himself. " (2) For it behoved the one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, just as He has lifted us up to the heights of heaven, to descend with us also into the lowest depths of suffering.

2. I hear Him saying a little before, "The hour cometh that the Son of man should be glorified: if a corn of wheat die, it bringeth forth much fruit." I hear this also, "He that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal." Nor am I permitted merely to admire, but commanded to imitate, and so, by the words that follow, "If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be," I am all on fire to despise the world, and in my sight the whole of this life, however lengthened, becomes only a vapor; in comparison with my love for eternal things, all that is temporal has lost its value with me. And now, again, it is my Lord Himself, who by such words has suddenly transported me from the weakness that was mine to the strength that was His, that I hear saying, "Now is my soul troubled." What does it mean? How biddest Thou my soul follow Thee if I behold Thine own troubled? How shall I endure what is felt to be heavy by strength so great? What is the kind of foundation I can seek if the Rock is giving way? But me-thinks I hear in my own thoughts the Lord giving me an answer, saying, Thou shall follow me the better, because it is to aid thy power of endurance that I thus interpose. Thou hast heard, as addressed to thyself, the voice of my fortitude hear in me the voice of thy infirmity: I supply strength for thy running, and I check not thy hastening, but I transfer to myself thy causes for trembling, and I pave the way for thy marching along. O Lord our Mediator, God above us, man for us, I own Thy mercy For because Thou, who art so great, art troubled through the good will of Thy love, Thou preservest, by the richness of Thy comfort, the many in Thy body who are troubled by the continual experience of their own weakness, from perishing utterly in their despair.

3. In a word, let the man who would follow learn the road by which he must travel. Perhaps an hour of terrible trial has come, and the choice is set before thee either to do iniquity or endure suffering; the weak soul is troubled, on whose behalf the invincible soul [of Jesus] was voluntarily troubled; set then the will of God before thine own. For notice what is immediately subjoined by thy Creator and thy Master, by Him who made thee, and became Himself for thy teaching that which He made; for He who made man was made man, but He remained still the unchangeable God, and transplanted manhood into a better condition. Listen, then, to what He adds to the words, "Now is my soul troubled." "And what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. Father, glorify Thy name." He has taught thee here what to think of, what to say, on whom to call, in whom to hope, and whose will, as sure and divine, to prefer to thine own, which is human and weak. Imagine Him not, therefore, as losing aught of His own exalted position in wishing thee to rise up out of the depths of thy ruin. For He thought it meet also to be tempted by the devil, by whom otherwise He would never have been tempted, just as, had He not been willing, He would never have suffered; and the answers He gave to the devil are such as thou also oughtest to use in times of temptation. (1) And He, indeed, was tempted, but not endangered, that He might show thee, when in danger through temptation, how to answer the tempter, so as not to be carried away by the temptation, but to escape its danger. But when He here said, "Now is my soul troubled;" and also when He says, "My soul is sorrowful, even unto death;" and "Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me;" He assumed the infirmity of man, to teach him, when thereby saddened and troubled, to say what follows: "Nevertheless, Father, not as I will, but as Thou wilt." (2) For thus it is that man is turned from the human to the divine, when the will of God is preferred to his own. But to what do the words "Glorify Thy name" refer, but to His own passion and resurrection? For what else can it mean, but that the Father should thus glorify the Son, who in like manner glorifieth His own name in the similar sufferings of His servants? Hence it is recorded of Peter, that for this cause He said concerning him, "Another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not." because He intended to signify "by what death he should glorify God." (3) Therefore in him, too, did God glorify His name, because thus also does He glorify Christ in His members.

4. "Then came there a voice from heaven, [saying], I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again." "I have both glorified it," before I created the world, "and I will glorify it again," when He shall rise from the dead and ascend into heaven. It may also be otherwise understood. "I have both glorified it,"--when He was born of the Virgin, when He exercised miraculous powers; when the Magi, guided by a star in the heavens, bowed in adoration before Him; when He was recognized by saints filled with the Holy Spirit; when He was openly proclaimed by the descent of the Spirit in the form of a dove, and pointed out by the voice that sounded from heaven; when He was transfigured on the mount; when He wrought many miracles, cured and cleansed multitudes, fed so vast a number with a very few loaves, commanded the winds and the waves, and raised the dead;--"and I will glorify it again;" when He shall rise from the dead; when death shall have no longer dominion over Him; and when He shall be exalted over the heavens as God, and His glory over all the earth.

5. "The people therefore that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to Him. Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes." He thereby showed that the voice made no intimation to Him of what He already knew, but to those who needed the information. And just as that voice was uttered by God, not on His account, but on that of others, so His soul was troubled, not on His own account, but voluntarily for the sake of others.

6. Look at what follows: "Now," He says, "is the judgment of the world." What, then, are we to expect at the end of time? But the judgment that is looked for in the end will be the judging of the living and the dead, the awarding of eternal rewards and punishment. Of what sort, then, is the judgment now? I have already, in former lessons, as far as I could, put you in mind, beloved, that there is a judgment spoken of, not of condemnation, but of discrimination; (4) as it is written, "Judge me, O God, and plead [discern, discriminate] my cause against an unholy nation." (5) And many are the judgments of God; as it is said in the psalm. "Thy judgments are a great deep." (6)

And the apostle also says, "O the depth of the riches of the wisdom and the knowledge of God! how unsearchable are His judgments!" (1) To such judgments does that spoken of here by the Lord also belong, "Now is the judgment of this world;" while that judgment in the end is reserved, when the living and the dead shall at last be judged. The devil, therefore, had possession of the human race, and held them by the written bond of their sins as criminals amenable to punishment; he ruled in the hearts of unbelievers, and, deceiving and enslaving them, seduced them to forsake the Creator and give worship to the creature; but by faith in Christ, which was confirmed by His death and resurrection, and, by His blood, which was shed for the remission of sins, thousands of believers are delivered from the dominion of the devil, are united to the body of Christ, and under this great head are made by His one Spirit to spring up into new life as His faithful members. This it was that He called the judgment, this righteous separation, this expulsion of the devil from His own redeemed.

7. Attend, in short, to His own words. For just as if we had been inquiring what He meant by saying, "Now is the judgment of the world," He proceeded to explain it when He says, "Now shall the prince of this world be cast out." What we have thus heard was the kind of judgment He meant. Not that one, therefore, which is yet to come in the end, when the living and dead shall be judged, some of them set apart on His right hand, and the others on His left; but that judgment by which "the prince of this world shall be cast out." In what sense, then, was he within, and whither did He. mean that he was to be cast out? Was it this: That he was in the world. and was cast forth beyond its boundaries? For had He been speaking of that judgment which is yet to come in the end, some one's thoughts might have turned to that eternal fire into which the devil is to be cast with his angels, and all who belong to him;--that is, not naturally, but through moral delinquency; not because he created or begat them, but because he persuaded and kept hold of them: some one, therefore, might have thought that that eternal fire was outside the world, and that this was the meaning of the words, "he shall be cast out." But as He says, "Now is the judgment of this world," and in explanation of His meaning, adds, "Now shall the prince of this world be cast out," we are thereby to understand what is now being done, and not what is to be, so long afterwards, at the last day. The Lord, therefore, foretold what He knew, that after His own passion and glorification, many nations throughout the whole world, in whose hearts the devil was an inmate, would become believers, and the devil, when thus renounced by faith, is cast out.

8. But some one says, Was he then not cast out of the hearts of the patriarchs and prophets, and the righteous of olden time? Certainly he was. How, then, is it said, "Now he shall be cast out"? How else can we think of it, but that what was then done in the case of a very few individuals, was now foretold as speedily to take place in many and mighty nations? Just as also that other saying, "For the Spirit was not yet given, because that Jesus was not yet glorified," (2) may suggest a similar inquiry, and find a similar solution. For it was not without the Holy Spirit that the prophets predicted the events of the future; nor was it so that the aged Simeon and the widowed Anna knew by the Holy Spirit the infant Lord; (3) and that Zacharias and Elisabeth uttered by the Holy Spirit so many predictions concerning Him, when He was not yet born, but only conceived. (4) But "the Spirit was not yet given;" that is, with that abundance of spiritual grace which enabled those assembled together to speak in every language, (5) and thus announce beforehand in the language of every nation the Church of the future: and so by 'this spiritual grace it was that nations were gathered into congregations, sins were pardoned far and wide, and thousands of thousands were reconciled unto God.

9. But then, says some one, since the devil is thus cast out of the hearts of believers, does he now tempt none of the faithful? Nay, verily, he does not cease to tempt. But it is one thing to reign within, another to assail from without; for in like manner the best fortified city is sometimes attacked by an enemy without being taken. And if some of his arrows are discharged, and reach us, the apostle reminds us how to render them harmless, when he speaks of the breastplate and the shield of faith. (6) And if he sometimes wounds us, we have the remedy at hand. For as the combatants are told, "These things I write unto you, that ye sin not:" so those who are wounded have the sequel to listen to, "And if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, the righteous; and He is the propitiation for our sins." (7) And what do we pray for when we say, "Forgive us our debts," but for the healing of our wounds? And what else do we ask, when we say, "Lead us not into temptation," (1) but that he who thus lies in wait for us, or assails us from without, may fail on every side to effect an entrance, and be unable to overcome us either by fraud or force? Nevertheless, whatever engines of war he may erect against us, so long as he has no more a place in the heart that faith inhabits, he is cast out. But "except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain." (2) Presume not, therefore, about yourselves, if you would not have the devil, who has once been cast out, to be recalled within.

10. On the other hand, let us be far from supposing that the devil is called in any such way the prince of the world, as that we should believe him possessed of power to rule over the heaven and the earth. The world is so spoken of in respect of wicked men, who have overspread the whole earth; just as a house is spoken of in respect to its inhabitants, and we accordingly say, It is a good house, or a bad house; not as finding fault with, or approving of, the erection of walls and roofs, but the morals either of the good or the bad within it. In a similar way, therefore, it is said, "The prince of this world;" that is, the prince of all the wicked who inhabit this world. The world is also spoken of in respect to the good, who in like manner have overspread the whole earth; and hence the apostle says, "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself." (3) These are they out of whose hearts the prince of this world is ejected.

11. Accordingly, after saying, "Now shall the prince of this world be cast out," He added, "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all things (4) after me." And what "all" is that, but those out of which the other is ejected? But He did not say, All men, but "all things;" for all men have not faith. (5) And, therefore, He did not allude to the totality of men, but to the creature in its personal integrity, that is, to spirit, and soul, and body; or all that which makes us the intelligent, living, visible, and palpable beings we are. For He who said, "Not a hair of your head shall perish," (6) is He who draweth all things after Him. Or if by "all things" it is men that are to be understood, we can speak of all things that are foreordained to salvation: of all which He declared, when previously speaking of His sheep, that not one of them would be lost. (7) And of a certainty all classes of men, both of every language and every age, and all grades of rank, and all diversities of talents, and all the professions of lawful and useful arts, and all else that can be named in accordance with the innumerable differences by which men, save in sin alone, are mutually separated, from the highest to the lowest, and from the king to the beggar, "all," He says, "will I draw after me;" that He may be their head, and they His members. But this will be, He adds, "if I be lifted up from the earth," that is, when I am lifted up; for He has no doubt of the future accomplishment of that which He came to fulfill. He here alludes to what He said before: "But if the corn of wheat die, it bringeth forth much fruit." For what else did He signify by His lifting up, than His suffering on the cross? an explanation which the evangelist himself has not omitted; for he has appended the words, "And this He said signifying what death He should die."

12. "The people answered Him, We have heard out of the law that Christ abideth for ever: and how sayest Thou, The Son of man must be lifted up? And who is this Son of man?" It had stuck to their memory that the Lord was constantly calling Himself the Son of man. For, in the passage before us, He does not say, If the Son of man be lifted up from the earth; but had called Himself so before, in the lesson which was read and expounded yesterday, when those Gentiles were announced who desired to see Him: "The hour is come that the Son of man should be glorified" (ver. 23). Retaining this, therefore, in their minds, and understanding what He now said, "When I am lifted up from the earth," of the death of the cross, they inquired of Him, and said, "We have heard out of the law that Christ abideth for ever; and how sayest Thou, The Son of man must be lifted up? who is this Son of man?" For if it is Christ, He, they say, abideth for ever; and if He abideth for ever, how shall He be lifted up from the earth, that is, how shall He die through the suffering of the cross? For they understood Him to have spoken of what they themselves were meditating to do. And so He did not dissipate for them the obscurity of such words by imparting wisdom, but by stimulating their conscience.

13. "Then said Jesus unto them, Yet a little (8) light is in you." And by this it is you understand that Christ abideth for ever. "Walk, then, while ye have the light, test darkness come upon you." Walk, draw near, come to the full understanding that Christ shall both die and shall live for ever; that He shall shed His blood to redeem us, and ascend on high to carry His redeemed along with Him. But darkness will come upon you, if your belief in Christ's eternity is of such a kind as to refuse to admit in His case the humiliation of death. "And he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth." So may he stumble on that stone of stumbling and rock of offence which the Lord Himself became to the blinded Jews: just as to those who believed, the stone which the builders despised was made the head of the corner. (1) Hence, they thought Christ unworthy of their belief; because in their impiety they treated His dying with contempt, they ridiculed the idea of His being slain: and yet it was the very death of the grain of corn that was to lead to its own multiplication, and the lifting up of one who was drawing all things after Him. "While ye have the light," He adds, "believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light." While you have possession of some truth that you have heard, believe in the truth, that you may be born again in the truth.

14. "These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide Himself from them." Not from those who had begun to believe and to love Him, nor from those who had come to meet Him with branches of palm trees and songs of praise; but from those who saw and hated Him, for they saw Him not, but only stumbled on that stone in their blindness. But when Jesus hid Himself from those who desired to slay Him (as you need from forgetfulness to be often reminded), He had regard to our human weakness, but derogated not in aught from His own authority.

TRACTATE LIII.

CHAPTER XII. 37-43.

1. WHEN our Lord Christ, foretelling His own passion, and the fruitfulness of His death in being lifted up on the cross, said that He would draw all [things] after Him; and when the Jews, understanding that He spake of His death, put to Him the question how He could speak of death as awaiting Him, when they heard out of the law that Christ abideth for ever; He exhorted them, while still they had in them the little light, which had so taught them that Christ was eternal, to walk, to make themselves acquainted with the whole subject, lest they should be overtaken with darkness. And, when He had said this, He hid Himself from them. With these points you have been made acquainted in former Lord's day lessons and discourses.

2. The evangelist thereafter brings forward what has formed the brief subject of to-day's reading, and says, "But though He had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on Him: that the saying of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed?" Where he makes it sufficiently plain that the Son of God is Himself the arm of the Lord; not that the person of God the Father is determined by the shape of human flesh, and that the Son is attached to Him as a member of His body; but because all things were made by Him, and therefore He is designated the arm of the Lord. For as it is with thine arm that thou workest, so the Word of God is styled His arm; because by the Word He elaborated the world. For why does a man, in order to do some work, stretch forth his arm, but because the doing of it does not straightway follow his word? And if he was endowed with such pre-eminent power that what he said was done without any movement of his body, then would his word be his arm. But the Lord Jesus, the only-begotten Son of God the Father, as He is no mere member of the Father's body, so is He no mere thinkable, and audible, and transitory word; for, as all things were made by Him, He was the word of God.

3. When, therefore, we hear that the Son of God is the arm of God the Father, let no carnal custom raise its distracting din in our ears; but as far as His grace enables us, let us think of that power and wisdom of God by which all things were made. Surely such an arm as that is neither held out by stretching, nor drawn in by contracting it. For He is not one and the same with the Father, but He and the Father are one; and as equal with the Father, He is in all respects complete, as well as the Father: so that no room is left open for the abominable error of those who assert that the Father alone exists, but according to the difference of causes is Himself sometimes called the Son, sometimes the Holy Spirit; and so also from these words may venture to say, See you perceive that the Father alone exists, if the Son is His arm: for a man and his arm are not two persons, but one. Not understanding nor considering how words are transferred from one thing to another, on account of some mutual likeness, even in our daily forms of speech about things the most familiar and visible; and how much the more must it be so, in order that things ineffable may find some sort of expression in our speech, things which, as they really exist, cannot be expressed in words at all? For even one man styles another his arm, by whom he is accustomed to transact his business: and if he is deprived of him, he says in his grief, I have lost my arm; and to him who has taken him away, he says, You have deprived me of my arm. Let them understand, then, the sense in which the Son is termed the arm of the Father, as that by which the Father hath executed all His works; that they may not, by failing to understand this, and continuing in the darkness of their error, resemble those Jews of whom it was said, "And to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed?"

4. And here we meet with the second question, to treat of which, indeed, in any adequate manner, to investigate all its mysterious windings, and throw them open to the light in a befitting way, I think within the scope neither of my own powers, nor of the shortness of the time, nor of your capacity. Yet, as we cannot allow ourselves so far to disappoint your expectations as to pass on to other topics without saying something on this, take what we shall be able to offer you: and wherein we fail to satisfy your expectations, ask the increase of Him who appointed us to plant and to water; for, as the apostle saith, "Neither is he that planteth anything, nor he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase." (1) There are some, then, who mutter among themselves, and sometimes speak out when they can, and even break forth into turbulent debate, saying: What did the Jews do, or what fault was it of theirs, if it was a necessity "that the saying of Isaiah the prophet should be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed?" To whom our answer is, that the Lord, in His foreknowledge of the future, foretold by the prophet the unbelief of the Jews; He foretold it, but did not cause it. For God does not compel any one to sin simply because He knows already the future sins of men. For He foreknew sins that were theirs, not His own; sins that were referable to no one else, but to their own selves. Accordingly, if what He foreknew as theirs is not really theirs, then had He no true foreknowledge: but as His foreknowledge is infallible, it is doubtless no one else, but they themselves, whose sinfulness God foreknew, that are the sinners. The Jews, therefore, committed sin, with no compulsion to do so on His part, to whom sin is an object of displeasure; but He foretold their committing of it, because nothing is concealed from His knowledge And accordingly, had they wished to do good instead of evil, they would not have been hindered; but in this which they were to do they were foreseen of Him who knows what every man will do, and what He is yet to render unto such an one according to his work.

5. But the words of the Gospel also, that follow, are still more pressing, and start a question of more profound import: for He goes on to say, "Therefore they could not believe, because that Isaiah said again, He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them." For it is said to as: If they could not believe, what sin is it in man not to do what he cannot do? and if they sinned in not believing, then they had the power to believe, and did not use it. If, then, they had the power, how says the Gospel, "Therefore they could not believe, because that Isaiah said again, He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart;" so that (which is of grave import) to God Himself is referred the cause of their not believing, inasmuch as it is He who "hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart"? For what is thus testified to in the prophetical Scriptures, is at least not spoken of the devil, but of God. For were we to suppose it said of the devil, that he "hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart;" we have to undertake the task of being able to show what blame was theirs in not believing, of whom it is said, "they could not believe." And then, what reply shall we give touching another testimony of this very prophet, which the Apostle Paul has adopted, when he says: "Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded, according as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of remorse, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear, unto this day"? (1)

6. Such, as you have just heard, brethren, is the question that comes before us, and you can perceive how profound it is; but we shall give what answer we can. "They could not believe," because that Isaiah the prophet foretold it; and the prophet foretold it because God foreknew that such would be the case. But if I am asked why they could not, I reply at once, because they would not; for certainly their depraved will was foreseen by God, and foretold through the prophet by Him from whom nothing that is future can be hid. But the prophet, sayest thou, assigns another cause than that of their will. What cause does the prophet assign? That "God hath given them the spirit of remorse, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear; and hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart." This also, I reply, their will deserved. For God thus blinds and hardens, simply by letting alone and withdrawing His aid: and God can do this by a judgment that is hidden, although not by one that is unrighteous. This is a doctrine which the piety of the God-fearing ought to preserve unshaken and inviolable in all its integrity: even as the apostle, when treating of the same intricate question, says, "What shall we say then? is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid." (2) If, then, we must be far from thinking that there is unrighteousness with God, this only can it be, that, when He giveth His aid, He acteth mercifully; and, when He withholdeth it, He acteth righteously: for in all He doeth, He acteth not rashly, but in accordance with judgment. And still further, if the judgments of the saints are righteous, how much more those of the sanctifying and justifying God? They are therefore righteous, although hidden. Accordingly, when questions of this sort come before us, why one is dealt with in such a way, and another in such another way; why this one is blinded by being forsaken of God, and that one is enlightened by the divine aid vouchsafed to him: let us not take upon ourselves to pass judgment on the judgment of so mighty a judge, but tremblingly exclaim with the apostle, "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!" (3) As it is also said in the psalm, "Thy judgments are as a great deep." (4)

7. Let not then, brethren, the expectations of your Charity drive me to attempt the task of penetrating into such a deep, of sounding such an abyss, of searching into what is unsearchable. I own my own little measure of ability, and I think I have some perception of yours also, as equally small. This is too high for my stature, and too strong for my strength; and for yours also, I think. Let us, therefore, listen together to the admonition and to the words of Scripture: "Seek not out the things that are too high for thee, neither search the things that are above thy strength." (5) Not that such things are forbidden us, since the divine Master saith, "There is nothing hid that shall not be revealed:" (6) but if we walk up to the measure of our present attainments, then, as the apostle tells us, not only what we know not and ought to know, but also if we are minded to know anything else, God will reveal even this unto us. (7) But if we have reached the pathway of faith, let us keep to it with all constancy: let it be our guide to the chamber of the King, in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (8) For it was in no spirit of grudging that the Lord Jesus Christ Himself acted towards those great and specially chosen disciples of His, when He said, "I have many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now." (9) We must be walking, making progress, and growing, that our hearts may become fit to receive the things which we cannot receive at present. And if the last day shall find us sufficiently advanced, we shall then learn what here we were unable to know.

8. If, however, any one considers himself able, and has confidence enough, to give a clearer and better exposition of the question before us, God forbid that I should not be still more ready to learn than to teach. Only let no one dare to defend the freedom of the will in any such way as to attempt depriving us of the prayer that says, "Lead us not into temptation;" and, on the other hand, let no one deny the freedom of the will, and so venture to find an excuse for sin. But let us give heed to the Lord, both in commanding and in offering His aid; in both telling us our duty, and assisting us to discharge it. For some He hath let be lifted up to pride through an overweening trust in their own wills, while others He hath let fall into carelessness through a contrary excess of distrust. The former say: Why do we ask God not to let us be overcome by temptation, when it is all in our own power? The latter say: Why should we try to live well, when the power to do so is in the hands of God? O Lord, O Father, who art in heaven, lead us not into any of these temptations; but "deliver us from evil!" (1) Listen to the Lord, when He says, "I have prayed for thee, Peter, that thy faith fail not;" (2) that we may never think of our faith as so lying in our free will that it has no need of the divine assistance. Let us listen also to the evangelist, when he says, "He hath given them power to become the sons of God;" (3) that we may not imagine it as altogether beyond our own power that we believe: but in both let us acknowledge His beneficent acting. For, on the one side, we have to give Him thanks that the power is bestowed; and on the other, to pray that our own little strength may not utterly fail. It is this very faith that worketh by love, (4) according to the measure thereof that the Lord hath given to every man; (5) that he that glorieth may glory, not in himself, but in the Lord. (6)

9. It is no wonder, then, that they could not believe, when such was their pride of will, that, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, they wished to establish their own: as the apostle says of them, "They have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God." (7) For it was not by faith, but as it were by works, that they were puffed up; and blinded by this very self-elation, they stumbled against the stone of stumbling. And so it is said, "they could not," by which we are to understand that they would not; in the same way as it was said of the Lord our God, "If we believe not, yet He abideth faithful, He cannot deny Himself." (8) It is said of the Omnipotent, "He cannot." And so, just as it is a commendation of the divine will that the Lord "cannot deny Himself," that they "could not believe" is a fault chargeable on the will of man.

10. And, look you! so also say I, that those who have such lofty ideas of themselves as to suppose that so much must be attributed to the powers of their own will, that they deny their need of the divine assistance in order to a righteous life, cannot believe on Christ. For the mere syllables of Christ's name, and the Christian sacraments, are of no profit, where faith in Christ is itself resisted. For faith in Christ is to believe in Him that justifieth the ungodly; (9) to believe in the Mediator, without whose interposition we cannot be reconciled unto God; to believe in the Saviour, who came to seek and to save that which was lost; to believe in Him who said, "Without me ye can do nothing." (11) Because, then, being ignorant of that righteousness of God that justifieth the ungodly, he wishes to set up his own to satisfy the minds of the proud, such a man cannot believe on Christ. And so, those Jews "could not believe:" not that men cannot be changed for the better; but so long as their ideas run in such a direction, they cannot believe. Hence they are blinded and hardened; for, denying the need of divine assistance, they are not assisted. God foreknew this regarding these Jews who were blinded and hardened, and the prophet by His Spirit foretold it.

11. But when he added, "And they should be converted, and I should heal them," is there a "not" to be understood, that is, they should not be converted, connecting it with the clause before, where it is said, "that they should not see with their eyes and understand with their heart;" for here also it is certainly meant, "and should not understand "? For conversion itself is likewise a gift of His grace, as when it is said to Him, "Turn us, O God of Hosts." (12) Or may it be that we are to understand this also as actually taking place through the merciful experience of the divine method of healing, [namely this,] that, being of proud and perverse wills, and wishing to establish their own righteousness, they were left alone for the very purpose of being blinded; and thus blinded in order that they might stumble on the stone of stumbling, and have their faces filled with shame; and so, being thus humbled, might seek the name of the Lord, and no longer a righteousness of their own, that inflated their pride, but the righteousness of God, that justifieth the ungodly? For this very way turned out to the good of many of them, who were afterwards filled with remorse for wickedness, and believed on Christ; and on whose behalf He Himself had put up the prayer, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." (13) And it is of that ignorance of theirs also that the apostle says, "I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge:" for he then goes on also to add, "For they, being ignorant of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God." (14)

12. "These things said Isaiah, when he saw His glory, and spake of Him." What Isaiah saw, and how it refers to Christ the Lord, are to be read and learned in his book. For he saw Him, not as He is, but in some symbolical way to suit the form that the vision of the prophet had itself to assume. For Moses likewise saw Him, and yet we find him saying to Him whom he saw, "If I have found grace in Thy sight, show me now Thyself, that I may clearly see Thee;" (1) for he saw Him not as He is. But the time when this shall yet be our experience, that same Saint John the Evangelist tells us in his Epistle: "Dearly beloved, [now] are we the sons of God; and it hath not yet become manifest what we shall be: because we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is." (2) He might have said "for we shall see Him," without adding "as He is;" but because he knew that He was seen of some of the fathers and prophets, but not as He is, therefore after saying "we shall see Him," he added "as He is." And be not deceived, brethren, by any of those who assert that the Father is invisible, and the Son visible. This assertion is made by those who think that the latter is a creature, and whose understanding runs not in harmony with the words, "I and my Father one." (3) Accordingly, as respects the form of God wherein He is equal with the Father, the Son also is invisible: but, in order to be seen of men, He assumed the form of a servant, and being made in the likeness of men, (4) became visible to man. He showed Himself, therefore, even before His incarnation, to the eyes of men, as it pleased Him, in the creature-form at His command, but not as He is. Let us be purifying our hearts by faith, that we may be prepared for that ineffable and, so to speak, invisible vision. For "blessed are the pure in heart; for they shall see God." (5)

13. "Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on Him; but, because of the Pharisees, they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: for they loved the glory of men more than the glory of God." See how the evangelist marked and disapproved of some, who yet, he said, believed on Him: who, if ever they did advance though this gateway of faith, would thereby also overcome that love of human glory which had been overcome by the apostle, when he said, "God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world." (6) For to this end also did the Lord Himself, when derided by the madness of human pride and impiety, fix His cross on the foreheads of those who believed on Him, on that which is in a manner the abode of modesty, that faith may learn not to blush at His name, and love the glory of God more than the glory of men.

TRACTATE LIV

CHAPTER XII. 44-50.

1. Whilst our Lord Jesus Christ was speaking among the Jews, and giving so many miraculous signs, some believed who were foreordained to eternal life, and whom He also called His sheep; but some did not believe, and could not believe, because that, by the mysterious yet not unrighteous judgment of God, they had been blinded and hardened, because forsaken of Him who resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. (1) But of those who believed, there were some whose confession went so far, that they took branches of palm trees, and met Him as He approached, turning in their joy that very confession into a service of praise: while there were others, belonging to the chief rulers, who had not the boldness to confess their faith, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; and whom the evangelist has branded with the words, that "they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God "(ver. 43). Of those also who did not believe, there were some who would afterwards believe, and whom He foresaw, when He said," When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye acknowledge that I am He: " (2) but there were some who would remain in the same unbelief, and be imitated by the Jewish nation of the present day, which, being shortly afterwards crushed in war, according to the prophetic testimony which was written concerning Christ, has since been scattered almost through the whole world.

2. While matters were in this state, and His own passion was now at hand, " Jesus cried, and said," as our lesson to-day commences, "He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on Him that sent me; and he that seeth me, seeth Him that sent me." He had already said in a certain place, "My doctrine is not mine, but His that sent me." (1) Where we understood that He called His doctrine just what He is Himself, the Word of the Father; and in saying, "My doctrine is not mine, but His that sent me," implied this, that He was not of Himself, but had His being from another. (2) For He was God of God, the Son of the Father: but the Father is not God of God, but God, the Father of the Son. And now when He says, "He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on Him that sent me," how else are we to understand it, but that He appeared as man to men, while He remained invisible as God? And that none might think that He was no more than what they saw of Him, He indicated His wish to be believed on, as equal in character and rank with the Father, when He said, "He that believeth on me, believeth not on me," that is, merely on what he seeth of me, "but on Him that sent me," that is, on the Father. But he that believeth on the Father, must believe that He is the Father; and he that believeth on Him as the Father, must believe that He has a Son; and in this way, he that believeth on the Father, must believe on the Son. But let no one believe about the only-begotten Son just what they believe about those who are called the sons of God by grace and not by nature, as the evangelist says, "He gave them power to become the sons of God," (3) and according to what the Lord Himself also mentioned, as declared in the law, "I said, Ye are gods; and all of you children of the Most High: " (4) because He said, "He that believeth on me, believeth not on me," to show that the whole extent of our faith in Christ should not be limited by His manhood. He therefore, He saith, believeth on me, who doth not believe on me merely according to what he seeth of me, but on Him that sent me: so that, believing thus on the Father, he may believe that He has a Son co-equal with Himself, and then attain to a true faith in me. For if one should think that He has sons only according to grace, who are certainly no more than His creatures, and not the Word, but those made by the Word, and that He has no Son co-equal and co-eternal with Himself, ever born, alike incommutable, in nothing dissimilar and inferior, then he believes not on the Father who sent Him, for the Father who sent Him is no such conception as this.

3. And, accordingly, after saying, "He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on Him that sent me," that it might not be thought that He would have the Father so understood, as if He were the Father only of many sons regenerated by grace, and not of the only-begotten Word, His own co-equal, He immediately added, "And he that seeth me, seeth Him that sent me." Does He say here, He that seeth me, seeth not me, but Him that sent me, as He had said, "He that believeth me, believeth not on me, but on Him that sent me"? For He uttered the former of these words, that He might not be believed on merely as He then appeared, that is, as the Son of man; and the latter, that He might be believed on as the equal of the Father. He that believeth on me, believeth not merely on what He sees of me, but believeth on Him that sent me. Or, when he believeth on the Father, who begat me, His own co-equal, let him believe on me, not as he seeth me, but as [he believeth] on Him that sent me; for so far does the truth, that there is no distance between Him and me, reach, that He who seeth me, seeth Him that sent me. Certainly, Christ the Lord Himself sent His apostles, as their name implies: for as those who in Greek are called angeli are in Latin called nuntii [messengers], so the Greek apostoli [apostles] becomes the Latin missi [persons sent]. But never would any of the apostles have dared to say, "He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on Him that sent me;" for in no sense whatever would he say, "He that believeth on me." We believe an apostle, but we do not believe on him; for it is not an apostle that justifieth the ungodly. But to him that believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. (5) An apostle might say, He that receiveth me, receiveth Him that sent me; or, He that heareth me, heareth Him that sent me; for the Lord tells them so Himself: "He that receiveth you, receiveth me; and he that receiveth me, receiveth Him that sent me." (6) For the master is honored in the servant, and the father in the son: but then the father is as it were in the son, and the master as it were in the servant. But the only-begotten Son could rightly say, "Believe on God, and believe on me;" (1) as also what He saith here, "He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on Him that sent me." He did not turn away the faith of the believer from Himself, but only would not have the believer continue in the form of a servant: because every one who believeth in the Father that sent Him, straightway believeth on the Son, without whom he knoweth that the Father hath no existence as such, and thus reacheth in his faith to the belief of His equality with the Father, in conformity with the words that follow, "And he that seeth me, seeth Him that sent me."

4. Attend to what follows: "I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness." He said in a certain place to His disciples, "Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; that it may give light to all that are in the house: so let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven:" (2) but He did not say to them, Ye are come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on you should not abide in darkness. Such a statement, I maintain, can nowhere be met with. All the saints, therefore, are lights, but they are illuminated by Him through faith; and every one that becomes separated from Him will be enveloped in darkness. But that Light, which enlightens them, cannot become separated from itself; for it is altogether beyond the reach of change. We believe, then, the light that has thus been lit, as the prophet or apostle: but we believe him for this end, that we may not believe on that which is itself enlightened, but, with him, on that Light which has given him light; so that we, too, may be enlightened, not by him, but, along with him, by the same Light as he. And when He saith, "That whosoever believeth on me may not abide in darkness," He makes it sufficiently manifest that all have been found by Him in a state of darkness: but that they may not abide in the darkness wherein they have been found, they ought to believe on that Light which hath come into the world, for thereby was the world created.

5. "And if any man," He says, "hear my words, and keep them not, I judge him not." Remember what I know you have heard in former lessons; and if any of you have forgotten, recall it: and those of you who were absent then, but are present now, hear how it is that the Son saith, "I judge him not," while in another place He says, "The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son;" (3) namely, that thereby we are to understand, It is not now that I judge him. And why not now? Listen to the sequel: "For I am not come," He says, "to judge the world, but to save the world;" that is, to bring the world into a state of salvation. Now, therefore, is the season of mercy, afterwards will be the time for judgment: for He says, "I will sing to Thee, O Lord, of mercy and judgment." (4)

6. But see also what He says of that future judgment in the end: "He that despiseth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day." He says not, He that despiseth me, and receiveth not my words, I judge him not at the last day; for had He said so, I do not see how it could have been else than contradictory of that other statement, when He says, "The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son." But when He said, "He that despiseth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one to judge him," and, for the information of those who were waiting to hear who that one was, went on to add, "The word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day," He made it sufficiently manifest that He Himself would then be the judge. For it was of Himself He spake, Himself He announced, and Himself He set forth as the gate whereby He entered as the Shepherd to His sheep. In one way, therefore, will those be judged who have never heard that word, in another way those who have heard and despised. "For as many as have sinned without law," says the apostle, "shall also perish without law; and as many as have sinned in the law, shall be judged by the law." (5)

7. "For I have not," He says, "spoken of myself." He says that He has not spoken of Himself, because He is not of Himself. Of this we have frequently discoursed already; so that now, without any more instruction, we have simply to remind you of it as a truth with which you are familiar. "But the Father who sent me, He gave me a commandment what I should say, and what I should speak." We would not stay to elaborate this, did we know that we were now speaking with those with whom we have spoken on former occasions, and of these, not with all, but such only whose memories have retained what they heard: but because there are perhaps some now present who did not hear, and some in a similar condition who have forgotten what they heard, on their account let those who remember what they have heard bear with our delay. How giveth the Father a commandment to His only Son? With what words doth He speak to the Word, seeing that the Son Himself is the only-begotten Word? Could it be by an angel, seeing that by Him the angels were created? Was it by means of a cloud, which, when it gave forth its sound to the Son, gave it not on His account, as He Himself also tells us elsewhere, but for the sake of others who were needing to hear it (ver. 29)? Could it be by any sound issuing from the lips, where bodily form was wanting, and where there is no such local distance separating the Son from the Father as to admit of any intervening air, to give effect, by its percussion, to the voice, and render it audible? Let us put away all such unworthy notions of that incorporeal and ineffable subsistence. The only Son is the Word and the Wisdom of the Father, and therein are all the commandments of the Father. For there was no time that the Son knew not the Father's commandment, so as to make it necessary for Him to possess in course of time what He possessed not before. For what He has received from the Father, He received in being born, and was given it in being begotten. For the life He is, and life He certainly received in being born, while yet there was no antecedent time when life was wanting to His personal existence. For, on the one hand, the Father has life, and is what He has: and yet He received it not, because He is not of any one. But the Son received life as the Father's gift, of whom He is: and so He Himself is what He has; for He has life, and is the life. Listen to Himself when He says, "As the Father hath life in Himself, so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself." (1) Could He give it to one who was in being, and yet hitherto was destitute thereof? On the contrary, in the very begetting it. was given by Him who begat the life, and so life begat the life. And to show that He begat the life equal, and not inferior to Himself, it was said, "As He hath life in Himself, so hath He also given to the Son to have life in Himself." He gave life; for in begetting the life, what was it He gave Him, save to be the life? And as His nativity is itself eternal, there never was a time without that Son who is the life, and never was there a time when the Son Himself was without the life; and as His nativity is eternal, so He, who was thus born, is eternal life. And so the Father gave not to the Son a commandment which He had not already; but, as I said, in the Wisdom of the Father, that is, in the word of the Father, are laid up all the Father's commandments. And yet the commandment is said to have been given Him, because He, to whom it is thus given, is not of Himself: and to give that to the Son which He never was without, is the same in meaning as to beget that Son who never was without existence.

8. There follow the words: "And I know that His commandment is life everlasting." If, then, the Son Himself is eternal life, and the Father's commandment the same, what else is expressed than this, I am the Father's commandment? And in like manner, in what He proceeds to say, "Whatsoever I speak, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak," let us not be taking the "said unto me" as if the Father used words in speaking to the only Word, or that the Word of God needed words from God. The Father spake to the Son in the same way as He gave life to the Son; not that He knew not the one, or had not the other, but just because He was the Son. What, then, do the words mean, "Even as He said unto me, so I speak;" but just, I speak the truth? So the former said as the Truthful One (2) what the latter thus spake as the Truth. The Truthful begat the Truth. What, then, could He now say to the Truth? For the Truth had no imperfection to be supplied by additional truth. He spake, therefore, to the Truth, because He begat the Truth. And in like manner the Truth Himself speaks what has been said to Him; but only to those who have understanding, and who are taught by Him as the God-begotten Truth. But that men might believe what they had not yet capacity to understand, words that were audible issued from His human lips; sounds passing rapidly away broke on the ear, and speedily completed the little term of their duration: but the truths themselves, of which the sounds are but signs, passed, as it were, into the memory of those who heard them, and have come down to us also by means of written characters as signs addressed to the eye. But it is not thus that the Truth speaks; He speaks inwardly to the souls of the intelligent; He needs no sound to instruct, but floods the mind with the light of understanding. And he, then, who in that light is able to behold the eternity of His birth, himself hears in the same way the Truth speaking, as He heard the Father telling Him what He should speak. He has awakened in us a great longing for that sweet experience of His presence within; but it is by daily growth that we acquire it; it is by walking that we grow, and it is by forward efforts we walk, so as to be able at last to attain it.

TRACTATE LV

CHARTER XIII. I-5.

1. THE Lord's Supper, as set forth in John, must, with His assistance, be unfolded in a becoming number of Lectures, and explained with all the ability He is pleased to grant us. "Now, before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that His hour was come that He should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them unto the end." Pascha (passover) is not, as some think, a Greek noun, but a Hebrew: and yet there occurs in this noun a very suitable kind of accordance in the two languages. For inasmuch as the Greek word paschein means to stiffer, therefore pascha has been supposed to mean suffering, as if the noun derived its name from His passion: but in its own language, that is, in Hebrew, pascha means passover; (1) because the pascha was then celebrated for the first time by God's people, when, in their flight from Egypt, they passed over the Red Sea. (2) And now that prophetic emblem is fulfilled in truth, when Christ is led as a sheep to the slaughter, (3) that by His blood sprinkled on our doorposts, that is, by the sign of His cross marked on our foreheads, we may be delivered from the perdition awaiting this world, as Israel from the bondage and destruction of the Egyptians; (4) and a most salutary transit we make when we pass over from the devil to Christ, and from this unstable world to His well-established kingdom. And therefore surely do we pass over to the ever-abiding God, that we may not pass away with this passing world. The apostle, in extolling God for such grace bestowed upon us, says: "Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His love."(5) This name, then, of pascha, which, as I have said, is in Latin called transitus (pass over), is interpreted, as it were, for us by the blessed evangelist, when he says, "Before the feast of pascha, when Jesus knew that His hour was come that He should pass out of this world to the Father." Here you see we have both pascha and pass-over. Whence, and whither does He pass? Namely, "out of this world to the Father." The hope was thus given to the members in their Head, that they doubtless would yet follow Him who was "passing" before. And what, then, of unbelievers, who stand altogether apart from this Head and His members? Do not they also pass away, seeing that they abide not here always? They also do plainly pass away: but it is one thing to pass from the world, and another to pass away with it; one thing to pass to the Father, another to pass to the enemy. For the Egyptians also passed over [the sea]; but they did not pass through the sea to the kingdom, but in the sea to destruction.

2. "When Jesus knew," then, "that His hour was come that He should pass out of this world unto the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them unto the end." In order, doubtless, that they also, through that love of His, might pass from this world where they now were, to their Head who had passed hence before them. For what mean these words, "to the end," but just to Christ? "For Christ is the end of the law," says the apostle, "for righteousness to every one that believeth." (6) The end that consummates, not that consumes; he end whereto we attain, not wherein we perish. Exactly thus are we to understand the passage, "Christ our passover is sacrificed." (7) He is our end; into Him do we pass. For I see that these gospel words may also be taken in a kind of human sense, that Christ loved His own even unto death, so. that this may be the meaning of "He loved them unto the end." This meaning is human, not divine: (1) for it was not merely up to this point that we were loved by Him, who loveth us always and endlessly. God forbid that He, whose death could not end, should have ended His love at death. Even after death that proud and ungodly rich man loved his five brethren; (2) and is Christ to be thought of as loving us only till death? God forbid, beloved. He would have come in vain with a love for us that lasted till death, if that love had ended there. But perhaps the words, "He loved them unto the end," may have to be understood in this way, That He so loved them as to die for them. For this He testified when He said, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." (3) We have certainly no objection that "He loved them unto the end" should be so understood, that is, it was His very love that carried Him on to death.

3. "And the supper," he says, "having taken place, (4) and the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray Him, [Jesus] knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He has come from God, and is going to God; He riseth from supper, and layeth aside His garments; and took a towel, and girded Himself. After that He poureth water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith He was girded." We are not to understand by the supper having taken place, as if it were already finished and over; for it was still going on when the Lord rose and washed His disciples' feet. For He afterwards sat down again, and gave the morsel [sop] to His betrayer, implying certainly that the supper was not yet over, or, in other words, that there was still bread on the table. Therefore, by supper having taken place, is meant that it was now ready, and laid out on the table for the use of the guests.

4. But when he says, "The devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray Him;" if one inquires, what was put into Judas' heart, it was doubtless this, "to betray Him." Such a putting [into the heart] is a spiritual suggestion: and entereth not by the ear, but through the thoughts; and thereby not in a way that is corporal, but spiritual. For what we call spiritual is not always to be understood in a commendatory way. The apostle knew of certain spiritual things [powers], of wickedness in heavenly places, against which he testifies that we have to maintain a struggle; (5) and there would not be spiritual wickednesses, were there not also wicked spirits. For it is from a spiritual being that spiritual things get their name. But how such things are done, as that devilish suggestions should be introduced, and so mingle with human thoughts that a man accounts them his own, how can he know? Nor can we doubt that good suggestions are likewise made by a good spirit in the same unobservable and spiritual way; but it is matter of concern to which of these the human mind yields assent, either as deservedly left without, or graciously aided by, the divine assistance. The determination, therefore, had now been come to in Judas' heart by the instigation of the devil, that the disciple should betray the Master, whom he had not learned to know as his God. In such a state had he now come to their social meal, a spy on the Shepherd, a plotter against the Redeemer, a seller of the Saviour; as such was he now come, was he now seen and endured, and thought himself undiscovered: for he was deceived about Him whom he wished to deceive. But He, who had already scanned the inward state of that very heart, was knowingly making use of one who knew it not.

5. "[Jesus] knowing that the Father has given all things into His hands." And therefore also the traitor himself: for if He had him not in His hands, He certainly could not use him as He wished. Accordingly, the traitor had been already betrayed to Him whom he sought to betray; and he carried out his evil purpose in betraying Him in such a way, that good he knew not of was the issue in regard to Him who was betrayed. For the Lord knew what He was doing for His friends, and patiently made use of His enemies: and thus had the Father given all things into His hands, both the evil for present use, and the good for the final issue. "Knowing also that He has come from God, and is going to God:" neither quitting God when He came from Him, nor us when He returned.

6. Knowing, then, these things, "He riseth from supper, and layeth aside His garments; and took a towel, and girded Himself. After that He poureth water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith He was girded." We ought, dearly beloved, carefully to mark the meaning of the evangelist; because that, when about to speak of the pre-eminent humility of the Lord, it was his desire first to commend His majesty. It is in reference to this that he says, "Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He has come from God, and is going to God." It is He, therefore, into whose hands the Father had given all things, who now washes, not the disciples' hands, but their feet: and it was just while knowing that He had come from God, and was proceeding to God, that He discharged the office of a servant, not of God the Lord, but of man. And this also is referred to by the prefatory notice he has been pleased to make of His betrayer, who was now come as such, and was not unknown to Him; that the greatness of His humility should be still further enhanced by the fact that He did not esteem it beneath His dignity to wash also the feet of one whose hands He already foresaw to be steeped in wickedness.

7. But why should we wonder that He rose from supper, and laid aside His garments, who, being in the form of God, made Himself of no reputation? (1) And why should we wonder, if He girded Himself with a towel, who took upon Him the form of a servant, and was found in the likeness of a man? (2) Why wonder, if He poured water into a basin wherewith to wash His disciples' feet, who poured His blood upon the earth to wash l away the filth of their sins? Why wonder, if with the towel wherewith He was girded He wiped the feet He had washed, who with the very flesh that clothed Him laid a firm path way for the footsteps of His evangelists? In order, indeed, to gird Himself with the towel, He laid aside the garments He wore; but when He emptied Himself [of His divine glory] in order to assume the form of a servant, He laid not down what He had, but assumed that which He had not before. When about to be crucified, He was indeed stripped of His garments, and when dead was wrapped in linen clothes: and all that suffering of His is our purification. When, therefore, about to suffer the last extremities [of humiliation,] He here illustrated beforehand its friendly compliances; not only to those for whom He was about to endure death, but to him also who had resolved on betraying Him to death. Because so great is the beneficence of human humility, that even the Divine Majesty was pleased to commend it by His own example; for proud man would have perished eternally, had he not been found by the lowly God. For the Son of man came to seek and to save that which was lost. (3) And as he was lost by imitating the pride of the deceiver, let him now, when found, imitate the Redeemer's humility.

TRACTATE LVI.

CHAPTER XIII. 6--10.

1. When the Lord was washing the disciples' feet, "He cometh to Simon Peter; and Peter saith unto Him, Lord, dost Thou wash my feet?" For who would not be filled with fear at having his feet washed by the Son of God? Although, therefore, it was a piece of the greatest audacity for the servant to contradict his Lord, the creature his God; yet Peter preferred doing this to the suffering of his feet to be washed by his Lord and God. Nor ought we to think that Peter was one amongst others who so expressed their fear and refusal, seeing that others before him had suffered it to be done to themselves with cheerfulness and equanimity. For it is easier so to understand the words of the Gospel, because that, after saying, "He began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith He was girded," it is then added, "Then cometh He to Simon Peter," as if He had already washed the feet of some, and after them had now come to the first of them all. For who can fail to know that the most blessed Peter was the first of the apostles? But we are not so to understand it, that it was after some others that He came to him; but that He began with him. (1) When, therefore, He began to wash the disciples' feet, He came to him with whom He began, namely, to Peter; and then Peter took fright at what any one of them might have been frightened, and said, "Lord, dost Thou wash my feet?" What is implied in this" Thou"? and what in "my"? These are subjects for thought rather than for speech; lest perchance any adequate conception the soul may have formed of such words may fail of explanation in the utterance.

2. But "Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now, but thou shalt know hereafter." And not even yet, terrified as he was by the sublimity of the Lord's action, does he allow it to be done, while ignorant of its purpose; but is unwilling to see, unable to endure, that Christ should thus humble Himself to his very feet. "Thou shalt never," he says, "wash my feet." What is this "never" [in oeternum]? I will never endure, never suffer, never permit it: that is, a thing is not done "in oeternum" which is never done. Then the Saviour, to terrify His reluctant patient with the danger of his own salvation, says, "If I wash thee not, thou shalt have no part with me." He speaks in this way, "If I wash thee not," when He was referring only to his feet; just as it is customary to say, You are trampling on me, when it is only the foot that is trampled on. And now the other, in a perturbation of love and fear, and more frightened at the thought that Christ should be withheld from him, than even to see Him humbled at his feet, exclaims, "Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head." Since this, indeed, is Thy threat, that my bodily members must be washed by Thee, not only do I no longer withhold the lowest, but I lay the foremost also at Thy disposal. Deny me not having a part with Thee, and I deny Thee not any part of my body to be washed.

3. "Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit." Some one perhaps may be aroused at this, and say: Nay, but if he is every whit clean, what need has He even to wash his feet? But the Lord knew what He was saying, even though our weakness reach not into His secret purposes. Nevertheless, so far as He is pleased to instruct and teach us out of His law, up to the little measure of my apprehension, I would also, with His help, make some answer bearing on the depths of this question: and, first of all, I shall have no difficulty in showing that there is no self-contradiction in the manner of expression. For who may not say, as here, with the greatest propriety, He is all clean, except (1) his feet?--although he would speak with greater elegance were he to say, He is all clean, save (1) his feet; which is equivalent in meaning. Thus, then, doth the Lord say, "He needeth not save to wash his feet, but is all clean." All, that is, except, or save (1) his feet, which he still needs to wash.

4. But what is this? what does it mean? and what is there in it we need to examine? The Lord says, The Truth declares that even he who has been washed has need still to wash his feet. What, my brethren, what think you of it? save that in holy baptism a man has all of him washed, not all save his feet, but every whit; and yet, while thereafter living in this human state, he cannot fail to tread on the ground with his feet. And thus our human feelings themselves, which are inseparable from our mortal life on earth, are like feet wherewith we are brought into sensible contact with human affairs; and are so in such a way, that if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.(2) And every day, therefore, is He who intercedeth for us s washing our feet: and that we,too have daily need to be washing our feet, that is ordering aright the path of our spiritual foot. steps, we acknowledge even in the Lord': prayer, when we say, "Forgive us our debts as we also forgive our debtors." (4) For "if,' as it is written, "we confess our sins," then verily is He, who washed His disciples' feet, "faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness," (5) that is, even to our feet wherewith we walk on the earth.

5. Accordingly the Church, which Christ cleanseth with the washing of water in the word, is without spot and wrinkle, (6) not only in the case of those who are taken away immediately after the washing of regeneration from the contagious influence of this life, and tread not the earth so as to make necessary the washing of their feet, but in those also who have experienced such mercy from the Lord as to be enabled to quit this present life even with feet that have been washed. But although the Church be also clean in respect of those who tarry on earth, because they live righteously; yet have they need to be washing their feet, because they assuredly are not without sin. For this cause is it said in the Song of Songs, "I have washed my feet; how shall I defile them?" (7) For one so speaks when he is constrained to come to Christ, and in coming has to bring his feet into contact with the ground. But again, there is another question that arises. Is not Christ above? hath He not ascended into heaven, and sitteth He not at the Father's right hand? Does not the apostle expressly declare, "If ye, then, be risen with Christ, set your thoughts on those things which are above, where Christ is sitting on the right hand of God. Seek the things which are above, not things which are on earth?" (1) How is it, then, that to get to Christ we are compelled to tread the earth, since rather our hearts ought to be turned upwards toward the Lord, that we may be enabled to dwell in His presence? You see, brethren, the shortness of the time to-day curtails our consideration of this question. And if you perhaps fail in some measure to do so, yet I for my part see how much clearing up it requires. And therefore I beg of you to suffer it rather to be adjourned, than to be treated now in too negligent and restricted a manner; and your expectations will not be defrauded, but only deferred. For the Lord who thus makes us your debtors, will be present to enable us also to pay our debts.

TRACTATE LVII.

CHAPTER XIII. 6-10 (continued), and Song of Sol. V. 2, 3.

IN WHAT WAY THE CHURCH SHOULD FEAR TO DEFILE HER FEET, WHILE PROCEEDING ON HER WAY TO CHRIST.

1. I HAVE not been unmindful of my debt, and acknowledge that the time of payment has now come. May He give me wherewith to pay, as He gave me cause to incur the debt. For He has given me the love, of which it is said, "Owe no man anything, but to love one another." (1) May He give also the word, which I feel myself owing to those I love. I put off your expectations till now for this reason, that I might explain as I could how it is we come to Christ along the ground, When we are commanded rather to seek the things which are above, not the things which are upon the earth. (2) For Christ is sitting above, at the right hand of the Father: but He is assuredly here also; and for that reason said also to Saul, as he was raging on the earth, "Why persecutest thou me?" (3) But the topic on which we were speaking, and which led to our entering on this inquiry, was our Lord's washing His disciples' feet, after the disciples themselves had already been washed, and needed not, save to wash their feet. And we there saw it to be understood that a man is indeed wholly washed in baptism; but while thereafter he liveth in this present world, and with the feet of his human passions treadeth on this earth, that is, in his life-intercourse with others, he contracts enough to call forth the prayer, "Forgive us our debts." (4) And thus from these also is he cleansed by Him who washed His disciples' feet, (3) and ceaseth not to make intercession for us.(6) And here occurred the words of the Church in the Song of Songs, when she saith, "I have washed my feet; how shall I defile them?" when she wished to go and open to that Being, fairer in form than the sons of men, (7) who had come to her and knocked, and asked her to open to Him. This gave rise to a question, which we were unwilling to compress into the narrow limits of the time, and therefore deferred till now, in what sense the Church, when on her way to Christ, may be afraid of defiling her feet, which she had washed in the baptism of Christ.

2. For thus she speaks: "I sleep, but my heart waketh: it is the voice of my Beloved (8) that knocketh at the gate." And then He also says: "Open to me, my sister, my nearest, my dove, my perfect one; for my head is filled with dew, and my hair with the drops of the night." And she replies: "I have put off my dress; how shall I put it on? I have washed my feet; how shall I defile them?" (9) O wonderful sacramental symbol! O lofty mystery! Does she, then, fear to defile her feet in coming to Him who washed the feet of His disciples? Her fear is genuine; for it is along the earth she has to come to Him, who is still on earth, because refusing to leave His own who are stationed here. Is it not He that saith, "Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world"? (10) Is it not He that saith, "Ye shall see the heavens opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man"? (1) If they ascend to Him because He is above, how do they descend to Him, but because He is also here? Therefore saith the Church: "I have washed my feet; how shall I defile them?" She says so even in the case of those who, purified from all dross. can say: "I desire to depart, and to be with Christ; nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you." (2) She says it in those who preach Christ, and open to Him the door, that He may dwell by faith in the hearts of men. (3) In such she says it, when they deliberate whether to undertake such a ministry, for which they do not consider themselves qualified, so as to discharge it blamelessly, and so as not, after preaching to others, themselves to become castaways. (4) For it is safer to hear than to preach the truth: for in the hearing, humility is preserved; but when it is preached, it is scarcely possible for any man to hinder the entrance of some small measure of boasting, whereby the feet at least are defiled.

3. Therefore, as the Apostle James saith, "Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak." (5) As it is also said by another man of God, "Thou wilt make me to hear joy and gladness; and the bones Thou hast humbled will rejoice." (6) This is what I said: When the truth is heard, humility is preserved. And another says: "But the friend of the bridegroom standeth and heareth him, and rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice." (7) Let us rejoice in the hearing that comes from the noiseless speaking of the truth within us. For although, when the sound is outwardly uttered, as by one that readeth; or proclaimeth, or preacheth, or disputeth, or commandeth, or comforteth, or exhorteth, or even by one that sings or accompanies his voice on an instrument, those who do so may fear to defile their feet, when they aim at pleasing men with the secretly active desire of human applause. Yet the one who hears such with a willing and pious mind, has no room for self-gratulation in the labors of others; and with no self-inflation, but with the joy of humility, rejoices because of the Master's words of truth. Accordingly, in those who hear with willingness and humility, and spend a tranquil life in sweet and wholesome studies, the holy Church will take delight, and may say, "I sleep, and my heart waketh." And what is this, "I sleep, and my heart waketh," but just I sit down quietly to listen? My leisure is not laid out in nourishing slothfulness, but in acquiring wisdom. "I sleep, and my heart waketh." I am still, and see that Thou art the Lord: (8) for "the wisdom of the scribe cometh by opportunity of leisure; and he that hath little business shall become wise." (9) "I sleep, and my heart waketh:" I rest from troublesome business, and my mind turns its attention to divine concerns (or communications). (10)

4. But while the Church finds delightful repose in those who thus sweetly and humbly sit at her feet, here is one who knocks, and says: "What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light; and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the house-tops." (11) It is His voice, then, that knocks at the gate, and says: "Open to me, my sister, my neighbor, my dove, my perfect one; for my head is filled with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night." As if He had said, Thou art at leisure, and the door is closed against me: thou art caring for the leisure of the few, and through abounding iniquity the love of many is waxing cold. (12) The night He speaks of is iniquity: but His dew and drops are those who wax cold and fall away, and make the head of Christ to wax cold, that is, the love of God to fail. For the head of Christ is God. (13) But they are borne on His locks, that is, their presence is tolerated in the visible sacraments; while their senses never take hold of the internal realities. He knocks, therefore, to shake off this quiet from His inactive saints, and cries, "Open to me," thou who, through my blood, art become "my sister;" through my drawing nigh, "my neighbor;" through my Spirit, "'my dove;" through my word which thou hast fully learned in thy leisure, "my perfect one:" open to me, go and preach me to others. For how shall I get in to those who have shut their door against me, without some one to open? and how shall they hear without a preacher? (14)

5. Hence it happens that those who love to devote their leisure to good studies, and shrink from encountering the troubles of toilsome labors, as feeling themselves unsuited to undertake and discharge such services with credit, would prefer, were it possible, to have the holy apostles and ancient preachers of the truth again raised up against that abounding of iniquity which hath so reduced the warmth of Christian love. But in regard to those who have already left the body, and put off the garment of the flesh (for they are not utterly parted), the Church replies, "I have put off my dress; how shall I put it on?" That dress shall, indeed, yet be recovered; and in the persons of those who have meanwhile laid it aside, shall the Church again put on the garment of flesh: only not now, when the cold are needing to be warmed; but then, when the dead shall rise again. Realizing, then, her present difficulty through the scarcity of preachers, and remembering those members of her own who were so sound in word and holy in character, but are now disunited from their bodies, the Church says in her sorrow, "I have put off my dress; how shall I put it on?" How can those members of mine, who had such surpassing power, through their preaching, to open the door to Christ, now return to the bodies which they have laid aside?

6. And then, turning again to those who preach, and gather in and govern the congregations of His people, and so open as they can to Christ, but are afraid, amid the difficulties of such work, of falling into sin, she says, "I have washed my feet; how shall I defile them?" For whosoever offendeth not in word, the same is a perfect man. And who, then, is perfect? Who is there that offendeth not amid such an abounding of iniquity, and such a freezing of charity? "I have washed my feet; how shall I defile them?" At times I read and hear: "My brethren, be not many masters, seeing that ye shall receive the greater condemnation: for in many things we offend all." (1) "I have washed my feet; how shall I defile them?" But see, I rise and open. Christ, wash them. "Forgive us our debts," because our love is not altogether extinguished: for "we also forgive our debtors."(2) When we listen to Thee, the hones which have been humbled rejoice with Thee in the heavenly places. (3) But when we preach Thee, we have to tread the ground in order to open to Thee: and then, if we are blameworthy, we are troubled; if we are commended, we become inflated. Wash our feet, that were formerly cleansed, but have again been defiled in our walking through the earth to open unto Thee. Let this be enough today, beloved. But in whatever we have happened to offend, by saying otherwise than we ought, or have been unduly elated by your commendations, entreat that our feet may be washed, and may your prayers find acceptance with God.

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