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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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