1. We have already, beloved, as the Lord was pleased to enable us, expounded to you those words of the Gospel, where the Lord, in washing His disciples' feet, says, "He that is once washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit." Let us now look at what follows. "And ye," He says, "are clean, but not all." And to remove the need of inquiry on our part, the evangelist has himself explained its meaning, by adding: "For He knew who it was that should betray Him; therefore said He, Ye are not all clean." Can anything be clearer? Let us therefore pass to what follows.

2. "So, after He had washed their feet, and had taken His garments, and was set down again, He said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you?" Now it is that the blessed Peter gets that promise fulfilled: for he had been put off when, in the midst of his trembling and asserting, "Thou shalt never wash my feet," he received the answer, "What I do, thou knowest not now, but thou shall know hereafter" (vers. 7, 8). Here, then, is that very hereafter; it is now time to tell what was a little ago deferred. Accordingly, the Lord, mindful of His foregoing promise to make him understand an act of His so unexpected, so wonderful, so frightening, and, but for His own still more terrifying rejoinder, impossible to be permitted, that the Master not only of themselves, but of angels, and the Lord not only of them, but of all things, should wash the feet of His own disciples and servants: having then promised to let him know the meaning of so important an act, when He said, "Thou shalt know afterwards," begins now to show them what it was that He did.

3. "Ye call me," He says, "Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am." "Ye say well," for ye only say the truth; I am indeed what ye say. There is a precept laid on man: "Let not thine own mouth praise thee, but the mouth of thy neighbor." (1) For self-pleasing is a perilous thing for one who has to be on his guard against falling into pride. But He who is over all things, however much He commend Himself, cannot exalt Himself above His actual dignity: nor can God be rightly termed arrogant. For it is to our advantage to know Him, not to His; nor can any one know Him, unless that self-knowing One make Himself known. If He, then, by abstaining from self-commendation, wish, as it were, to avoid arrogance, He will deny us the power of knowing Him. And no one surely would blame Him for calling Himself Master, even though believing Him to be nothing more than a man; seeing He only makes profession of what even men themselves in the various arts profess to such an extent, without any charge of arrogance, that they are termed professors. But to call Himself also the Lord of His disciples,--of men who, in an earthly sense, were themselves also free-born,--who would tolerate it in a man? But it is God that speaks. Here no elation is possible to loftiness so great, no lie to the truth: the profit is ours to be the subjects of such loftiness, the servants of the truth. That He calls Himself Lord is no imperfection on His side, but a benefit on ours. The words of a certain profane (1) author are commended, when he says, "All arrogance is hateful, and specially disagreeable is that of talent and eloquence;" (2) and yet, when the same person was speaking of his own eloquence, he said, "I would call it perfect, were I to pronounce judgment; nor, in truth, would I greatly fear the charge of arrogance." (3) If, then, that most eloquent man had in truth no fear of being charged with arrogance, how can the truth itself have such a fear? Let Him call Himself Lord who is the Lord, let Him say what is true who is the Truth; so that I may not fail to learn that which is profitable, by His being silent about that which is. The most blessed Paul--certainly not himself the only-begotten Son of God, but the servant and apostle of that Son; not the Truth, but a partaker of the truth--declares with freedom and consistency, "And though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I say the truth." (4) For it would not be in himself, but in the truth, which is superior to himself, that he was glorying both humbly and truly: for it is he also who has given the charge, that he that glorieth should glory in the Lord. (5) Could thus the lover of wisdom have no fear of being chargeable with foolishness, though he desired to glory? and would wisdom itself, in its glorying, have any fear of such a charge? He had no fear of arrogance who said, "My soul shall make her boast in the Lord;" (6) and could the power of the Lord have any such fear in commending itself, in which His servant's soul is making her boast? "Ye call me," He says, "Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am." Therefore ye say well, that I am so: for if I were not what ye say, ye would be wrong to say so, even with the purpose of praising me. How, then, could the Truth deny what the disciples of the Truth affirm? How could that which was said by the learners be denied by the very Truth that gave them their learning? How can the fountain deny what the drinker asserts? how can the light hide what the beholder declares?

4. "If I, then," He says, "your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, ye also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you." This, blessed Peter, is what thou didst not know when thou wert not allowing it to be done. This is what He promised to let thee know afterwards, when thy Master and thy Lord terrified thee into submission, and washed thy feet. We have learned, brethren, humility from the Highest; let us, as humble, do to one another what He, the Highest, did in His humility. Great is the commendation we have here of humility: and brethren do this to one another in turn, even in the visible act itself, when they treat one another with hospitality; for the practice of such humility is generally prevalent, and finds expression in the very deed that makes it discernible. And hence the apostle, when he would commend the well-deserving widow, says, "If she is hospitable, if she has washed the saints' feet." (7) And wherever Such is not the practice among the saints, what they do not with the hand they do in heart, if they are of the number of those who are addressed in the hymn of the three blessed men, "O ye holy and humble of heart, bless ye the Lord." (8) But it is far better, and beyond all dispute more accordant with the truth, that it should also be done with the hands; nor should the Christian think it beneath him to do what was done by Christ. For when the body is bent at a brother's feet, the feeling of such humility is either awakened in the heart itself, or is strengthened if already present.

5. But apart from this moral understanding of the passage, we remember that the way in which we commended to your attention the grandeur of this act of the Lord's, was that, in washing the feet of disciples who were already washed and clean, the Lord instituted a sign, to the end that, on account of the human feelings that occupy us on earth, however far we may have advanced in our apprehension of righteousness, we might know that we are not exempt from sin; which He thereafter washes away by interceding for us, when we pray the Father, who is in heaven, to forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors. (1) What connection, then, can such an understanding of the passage have with that which He afterwards gave Himself, when He explained the reason of His act in the words, "If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, ye also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you"? Can we say that even a brother may cleanse a brother from the contracted stain of wrongdoing? Yea, verily, we know that of this also we were admonished in the profound significance of this work of the Lord's, that we should confess our faults one to another, and pray for one another, even as Christ also maketh intercession for us. (2) Let us listen to the Apostle James, who states this precept with the greatest clearness when he says, "Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another." (3) For of this also the Lord gave us the example. For if He who neither has, nor had, nor will have any sin, prays for our sins, how much more ought we to pray for one another's in turn! And if He forgives us, whom we have nothing to forgive; how much more ought we, who are unable to live here without sin, to forgive one another! For what else does the Lord apparently intimate in the profound significance of this sacramental sign, when He says, "For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you;" but what the apostle declares in the plainest terms, "Forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye"? (4) Let us therefore forgive one another his faults, and pray for one another's faults, and thus in a manner be washing one another's feet. It is our part, by His grace, to be supplying the service of love and humility: it is His to hear us, and to cleanse us from all the pollution of our sins through Christ, and in Christ; so that what we forgive even to others, that is, loose on earth, may be loosed in heaven.



1. We have just heard in the holy Gospel the Lord speaking, and saying, "Verily, verily ,I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord, nor the apostle [he that is sent] greater than he that sent him: if ye know these things, blessed shall ye be if ye do them." He said this, therefore, because He had washed the disciples' feet, as the Master of humility both by word and example. But we shall be able, with His help, to handle what is in need of more elaborate handling, if we linger not at what is perfectly clear. Accordingly, after uttering these words, the Lord added, "I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but, that the Scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me, shall lift up his heel upon me." And what is this, but that he shall trample upon me? We know of whom He speaks: it is Judas, that betrayer of His, who is referred to. He had not therefore chosen the person whom, by these words, He setteth utterly apart from His chosen ones. When I say then, He continues "Blessed shall ye be if ye do them, I speak not of you all:" there is one among you who will not be blessed, and who will not do these things. "I know whom I have chosen." Whom, but those who shall be blessed in the doing of what has been commanded and shown as needful to be done, by Him who alone can make them blessed? The traitor Judas, He says, is not one of those that have been chosen. What, then, is meant by what He says in another place, "Have I not chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?" (1) Was it that he also was chosen for some purpose, for which he was really necessary; although not for the blessedness of which He has just been saying, "Blessed shall ye be if ye do these things"? He speaketh not so of them all; for He knows whom He has chosen to be associated with Himself in blessedness. Of such he is not one, who ate His bread in order that he might lift up his heel upon Him. The bread they ate was the Lord Himself; he ate the Lord's bread in enmity to the Lord: they ate life, and he punishment. "For he that eateth unworthily," says the apostle, "eateth judgment unto himself." (1) "From this time," (2) Christ adds, "I tell you before it come; that when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am He:" that is, I am He of whom the Scripture that preceded has just said, "He that eateth bread with me, shall lift up his heel upon me."

2. He then proceeds to say: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send, receiveth me; and he that receiveth me, receiveth Him that sent me." Did He mean us to understand that there is as little distance between one sent by Him, and Himself, as there is between Himself and God the Father? If we take it in this way, I know not what measurements of distance (which may God forbid!) we shall be adopting, in the Arian fashion. For they, when they hear or read these words of the Gospel, have immediate recourse to their dogmatic measurements, whereby they ascend not to life, but fall headlong into death. For they straightway say: The Son's messenger stands at the same relative distance from the Son, as expressed in the words, "He that receiveth whomsoever I send, receiveth me," as that in which the Son Himself stands from the Father, when He said, "He that receiveth me, receiveth Him that sent me." But if thou sayest so, thou forgettest, heretic, thy measurements. For if, because of these words of the Lord, thou puttest the Son at as great a distance from the Father as the messenger [apostle] from the Son, where dost thou purpose to place the Holy Spirit? Has it escaped thee, that ye are wont to place Him after the Son? He will therefore come in between the messenger and the Son; and much greater, then, will be the distance between the Son and His messenger, than between the Father and His Son. Or perhaps, to preserve that distinction between the Son and His messenger, and between the Father and His Son, at their equality of distance, will the Holy Spirit be equal to the Son? But as little will ye allow this. And where, then, do ye think of placing Him, if ye place the Son as far beneath the Father, as ye place the messenger beneath the Son? Restrain, therefore, your foolhardy presumption; and do not be seeking to find in these words the same distance between the Son and His messenger as between the Father and His Son. But listen rather to the Son Himself, when He says, "I and my Father are one." (3) For there the Truth hath left you no shadow of distance between the Begetter and the Only-begotten; there Christ Himself hath erased your measurements, and the rock hath broken your staircase to pieces.

3. But now that the heretical slander has been disposed of, in what sense are we to understand these words of the Lord: "He that receiveth whomsoever I send, receiveth me; and he that receiveth me, receiveth Him that sent me"? For if we were inclined to understand the words, "He that receiveth me, receiveth Him that sent me," as expressing the oneness in nature of the Father and the Son; the sequence from the similar arrangement of words in the other clause, "He that receiveth whomsoever I send, receiveth me," would be the unity in nature of the Son and His messenger. And there might, indeed, be no impropriety in so understanding it, seeing that a twofold substance belongeth to the strong man, who hath rejoiced to run the race; (4) for the Word was made flesh, (5) that is, God became man. And accordingly He might be supposed to have said, "He that receiveth whomsoever I send, receiveth me," with reference to His human nature; "and he that receiveth me" as God, "receiveth Him that sent me." But in so speaking, He was not commending the unity of nature, but the authority of the Sender in Him who is sent. Let every one, therefore, so receive Him that is sent, that in His person lie may give heed to Him who sent Him. If, then, thou lookest for Christ in Peter, thou wilt find the disciple's instructor; and if thou lookest for the Father in the Son, thou wilt find the Begetter of the Only-begotten: and so in Him who is sent, thou art not mistaken in receiving the Sender. What follows in the Gospel cannot be compressed within the shortness of the time remaining. And therefore, dearly beloved, let what has been said, if thought sufficient, be received in a healthful way, as pasture for the holy sheep; and if it is somewhat scanty, let it be ruminated over with ardent desire for more.



1. It is no light question, brethren, that meets us in the Gospel of the blessed John, when he says: "When Jesus had thus said, He was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me." Was it for this reason that Jesus was troubled, not in flesh, but in spirit, that He was now about to say, "One of you shall betray me"? Did this occur then for the first time to His mind, or was it at that moment suddenly revealed to Him for the first time, and so troubled Him by the startling novelty of so great a calamity? Was it not a little before that He was using these words, "He that eateth bread with me will lift up his heel against me"? And had He not also, previously to that, said, "And ye are clean, but not all"? where the evangelist added, "For He knew who should betray Him:" (1) to whom also on a still earlier occasion He had pointed in the words, "Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?" (2) Why is it, then, that He "was now troubled in spirit," when "He testified, and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me"? Was it because now He had so to mark him out, that he should no longer remain concealed among the rest, but be separated from the others, that therefore "He was troubled in spirit"? Or was it because now the traitor himself was on the eve of departing to bring those Jews to whom he was to betray the Lord, that He was troubled by the imminency of His passion, the closeness of the danger, and the swooping hand of the traitor, whose resolution was foreknown? For some such cause it certainly was that Jesus "was troubled in spirit," as when He said, "Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour; but for this cause came I unto this hour." (3) And accordingly, just as then His soul was troubled as the hour of His passion approached; so now also, as Judas was on the point of going and coming, and the atrocious villainy of the traitor neared its accomplishment, "He was troubled in spirit."

2. He was troubled, then, who had power to lay down His life, and had power to take it again.(4) That mighty power is troubled, the firmness of the rock is disturbed: or is it rather our infirmity that is troubled in Him? Assuredly so: let servants believe nothing unworthy of their Lord, but recognize their own membership in their Head. He who died for us, was also Himself troubled in our place. He, therefore, who died in power, was troubled in the midst of His power: He who shall yet transform (5) the body of our humility into similarity of form with the body of His glory, hath also transferred into Himself the feeling of our infirmity, and sympathizeth with us in the feelings of His own soul. Accordingly, when it is the great, the brave, the sure, the invincible One that is troubled, let us have no fear for Him, as if He were capable of failing: He is not perishing, but in search of us [who are]. Us, I say; it is us exclusively whom He is thus seeking, that in His trouble we may behold ourselves, and so, when trouble reaches us, may not fall into despair and perish. By His trouble, who could not be troubled save with His own consent, He comforts such as are troubled unwillingly.

3. Away with the reasons of philosophers, who assert that a wise man is not affected by mental perturbations. God hath made foolish the wisdom of this world; (6) and the Lord knoweth the thoughts of men, that they are vain. (7) It is plain that the mind of the Christian may be troubled, not by misery, but by pity: he may fear lest men should be lost to Christ; he may sorrow when one is being lost; he may have ardent desire to gain men to Christ; he may be filled with joy when such is being done; he may have fear of falling away himself from Christ; he may sorrow over his own estrangement from Christ; he may be earnestly desirous of reigning with Christ, and he may be rejoicing in the hope that such fellowship with Christ will yet be his lot. These are certainly four of what they call perturbations--fear and sorrow, love and gladness. And Christian minds may have sufficient cause to feel them, and evidence their dissent from the error of Stoic philosophers, and all resembling them: who indeed, just as they esteem truth to be vanity, regard also insensibility as soundness; not knowing that a man's mind, like the limbs of his body, is only the more hopelessly diseased when it has lost even the feeling of pain.

4. But says some one: Ought the mind of the Christian to be troubled even at the prospect of death? For what comes of those words of the apostle, that he had a desire to depart, and to be with Christ, (1) if the object of his desire can thus trouble him when it comes? Our answer to this would be easy, indeed, in the case of those who also term gladness itself a perturbation [of the mind]. For what if the trouble he thus feels arises entirely from his rejoicing at the prospect of death? But such a feeling, they say, ought to be termed gladness, and not rejoicing. (2) And what is that, but just to alter the name, while the feeling experienced is the same? But let us for our part confine our attention to the Sacred Scriptures, and with the Lord's help seek rather such a solution of this question as will be in harmony with them; and then, seeing it is written, "When He had thus said, He was troubled in spirit," we will not say that it was joy that disturbed Him; lest His own words should convince us of the contrary when He says, "My soul is sorrowful, even unto death." (3) It is some such feeling that is here also to be understood, when, as His betrayer was now on the very point of departing alone, and straightway returning along with his associates, "Jesus was troubled in spirit."

5. Strong-minded, indeed, are those Christians, if such there are, who experience no trouble at all in the prospect of death; but for all that, are they stronger-minded than Christ? Who would have the madness to say so? And what else, then, does His being troubled signify, but that, by voluntarily assuming the likeness of their weakness, He comforted the weak members in His own body, that is, in His Church; to the end that, if any of His own are still troubled at the approach of death, they may fix their gaze upon Him, and so be kept from thinking themselves castaways on this account, and being swallowed up in the more grievous death of despair? And how great, then, must be that good which we ought to expect and hope for in the participation of His divine nature, whose very perturbation tranquillizes us, and whose infirmity confirms us? Whether, therefore, on this occasion it was by His pity for Judas himself thus rushing into ruin, or by the near approach of His own death, that He was troubled, yet there is no possibility of doubting that it was not through any infirmity of mind, but in the fullness of power, that He was troubled, and so no despair of salvation need arise in our minds, when we are troubled, not in the possession of power, but in the midst of our weakness. He certainly bore the infirmity of the flesh,--an infirmity which was swallowed up in His resurrection. But He who was not only man, but God also, surpassed by an ineffable distance the whole human race in fortitude of mind. He was not, then, troubled by any outward plessure of man, but troubled Himself; which was very plainly declared of Him when He raised Lazarus from the dead: for it is there written that He troubled Himself, (4) that it may be so understood even where the text does not so express it, and yet declares that He was troubled. For having by His power assumed our full humanity, by that very power He awoke in Himself our human feelings whenever He judged it becoming.



1. This short section of the Gospel, brethren, we have in this lesson brought forward for exposition, as thinking that we ought also to say something of the Lord's betrayer, as now plainly enough disclosed by the dipping and holding out to him of the piece of bread. Of that indeed which precedes, (namely), that Jesus, when about to point him out, was troubled in spirit, we have treated in our last discourse; but what I perhaps omitted to mention there, the Lord, by His own perturbation of spirit, thought proper to indicate this also, that it is necessary to bear with false brethren, and those tares that are among the wheat in the Lord's field until harvest-time, because that when we are compelled by urgent reasons to separate some of them even before the harvest, it cannot be done without disturbance to the Church. Such disturbance to His saints in the future, through schismatics and heretics, the Lord in a way foretold and prefigured in Himself, when, at the moment of that wicked man Judas' departure, and of his thereby bringing to an end, in a very open and decided way, his past intermingling with the wheat, in which he had long been tolerated, He was troubled, not in body, but in spirit. For it is not spitefulness, but charity, that troubles His spiritual members in scandals of this kind; test perchance. in separating some of the tares, any of the wheat should also be uprooted therewith.

2. "Jesus," therefore, "was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said: Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me." "One of you," in number, not in merit; in appearance, not in reality; in bodily commingling, not by any spiritual tie; a companion by fleshly juxtaposition, not in any unity of the heart; and therefore not one who is of you, but one who is to go forth from you. For how else can this "one of you" be true, of which the Lord so testified, and said, if that is true which the writer of this very Gospel says in his Epistle, "They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us"? (1) Judas, therefore was not of them; for, had he been of them, he would have continued with them. What, then, do the words "One of you shall betray me" mean, but that one is going out from you who shall betray me? Just as he also, who said, "If they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us," had said before, "They went out from us." And thus it is true in both senses, "of us," and "not of us;" in one respect "of us," and in another "not of us;" "of us" in respect to sacramental communion, but "not of us" in respect to the criminal conduct that belongs exclusively to themselves.

3. "Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom He spake." For while they were imbued with a reverential love to their Master, they were none the less affected by human infirmity in their feelings towards each other. Each one's own conscience was known to himself; but as he was ignorant of his neighbor's, each one's self-assurance was such that each was uncertain of all the others, and all the others were uncertain of that one.

4. "Now there was leaning on Jesus'bosom, one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved." What he meant by saying "in His bosom," he tells us a little further on, where he says, "on the breast of Jesus." It was that very John whose Gospel is before us, as he afterwards expressly declares. (2) For it was a custom with those who have supplied us with the sacred writings, that when any of them was relating the divine history, and came to something affecting himself, he spoke as if it were about another; and gave himself a place in the line of his narrative becoming one who was the recorder of public events, and not as one who made himself the subject of his preaching. Saint Matthew acted also in this way, when, in coming in the course of his narrative to himself, he says, "He saw a publican named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom, and saith unto him, Follow me." (3) He does not say, He saw me, and said to me. So also acted the blessed Moses, writing all the history about himself as if it concerned another, and saying, "The Lord said unto Moses." (4) Less habitually was this done by the Apostle Paul, not however in any history which undertakes to explain the course of public events, but in his own epistles. At all events, he speaks thus of himself: "I knew a man in Christ fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up into the third heaven." (5) And so, when the blessed evangelist also says here, not, I was leaning on Jesus' bosom, but, "There was leaning one of the disciples," let us recognize a custom of our author's, rather than fall into any wonder on the subject. For what loss is there to the truth, when the facts themselves are told us, and all boastfulness of language is in a measure avoided? For thus at least did he relate that which most signally pertained to his praise.

5. But what mean the words, "whom Jesus loved"? As if He did not love the others, of whom this same John has said above, "He loved them to the end" (ver. 1); and as the Lord Himself, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." And who could enumerate all the testimonies of the sacred pages, in which the Lord Jesus is exhibited as the lover, not only of this one, or of those who were then around Him, but of such also as were to be His members in the distant future, and of His universal Church? But there is some truth, doubtless, underlying these words, and having reference to the bosom on which the narrator was leaning. For what else can be indicated by the bosom but some hidden truth? But there is another more suitable passage, where the Lord may enable us to say something about this secret that may prove sufficient.

6. "Simon Peter therefore beckons, and says to him." (1) The expression is noteworthy, as indicating that something was said not by any sound of words, but by merely beckoning with the head. "He beckons, and says;" that is, his beckoning is his speech. For if one is said to speak in his thoughts, as Scripture saith, "They said [reasoned] with themselves;" (2) how much more may he do so by beckoning, which expresses outwardly by some sort of signs what had previously been conceived within! What, then, did his beckoning mean? What else but that which follows? "Who is it of whom He speaks?" Such was the language of Peter's beckoning; for it was by no vocal sounds, but by bodily gestures, that he spake. "He then, having leaned back on Jesus' breast,"--surely the very bosom (3) of His breast this, the secret place of wisdom!--"saith unto Him, Lord, who is it? Jesus answered, He it is to whom I shall give a piece of bread, when I have dipped it. And when He had dipped the bread, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. And after the bread, Satan entered into him." The traitor was disclosed, the coverts of darkness were revealed. What he got was good, but to his own hurt he received it, because, evil himself, in an evil spirit he received what was good. But we have much to say about that dipped bread which was presented to the false-hearted disciple, and about that which follows; and for these we shall require more time than remains to us now at the close of this discourse.



1. I KNOW, dearly beloved, that some may be moved, as the godly to inquire into the meaning of, and the ungodly to find fault with, the statement, that it was after the Lord had given the bread, that had been dipped, to His betrayer that Satan entered into him. For so it is written: "And when He had dipped the bread, He gave it to Judas Iscariot, the Son of Simon. And after the bread, then entered Satan into him." For they say, Was this the worth of Christ's bread, given from Christ's own table, that after it Satan should enter into His disciple? And the answer we give them is, that thereby we are taught rather how much we need to beware of receiving. what is good in a sinful spirit. For the point of special importance is, not the thing that is received, but the person that receives it; and not the character of the thing that is given, but of him to whom it is given. For even good things are hurtful, and evil things are beneficial, according to the character of the recipients. "Sin," says the apostle, "that it might appear sin, wrought death to me by that which is good." (1) Thus, you see, evil is brought about by the good, so long as that which is good is wrongly received. It is he also that says: "Lest I should be exalted unduly through the greatness of my revelations, there was given to me a thorn in my flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me. For which thing I besought the Lord thrice, that He would take it away from me; and He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for strength is made perfect in weakness." (2) And here, you see, good was brought about by that which was evil, when the evil was received in a good spirit. Why, then, do we wonder if Christ's bread was given to Judas, that thereby he should be made over to the devil; when we see, on the other hand, that Paul was visited by a messenger of the devil, that by such an instrumentality he might be perfected in Christ? In this way, both the good was injurious to the evil man, and the evil was beneficial to the good. Bear in mind the meaning of the Scripture, "Whosoever shall eat the bread or drink the cup of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord." (1) And when the apostle said this, he was dealing with those who were taking the body of the Lord, like any other food, in an undiscerning and careless spirit. If, then, he is thus taken to task who does not discern, that is, does not distinguish from the other kinds of food, the body of the Lord, what condemnation must be his, who in the guise of a friend comes as an enemy to His table! If negligence in the guest is thus visited with blame, what must be the punishment that will fall on the man that sells the very person who has invited him to his table! And why was the bread given to the traitor, but as an evidence of the grace he had treated with ingratitude?

2. It was after this bread, then, that Satan entered into the Lord's betrayer, that, as now given over to his power, he might take full possession of one into whom before this he had only entered in order to lead him into error. For we are not to suppose that he was not in him when he went to the Jews and bargained about the price of betraying the Lord; for the evangelist Luke very plainly attests this when he says: "Then entered Satan into Judas, who was surnamed Iscariot, being one of the twelve; and he went his way, and communed with the chief priests." (2) Here, you see, it is shown that Satan had already entered into Judas. His first entrance, therefore, was when he implanted in his heart the thought of betraying Christ; for in such a spirit had he already come to the supper. But now, after the bread, he entered into him, no longer to tempt one who belonged to another, but to take possession of him as his own.

3. But it was not then, as some thoughtless readers suppose, that Judas received the body of Christ. For we are to understand that the Lord had already dispensed to all of them the sacrament of His body and blood, when Judas also was present, as very clearly related by Saint Luke; (3) and it was after this that we come to the moment when, in accordance with John's account, the Lord made a full disclosure of His betrayer by dipping and holding out to him the morsel of bread, and intimating perhaps by the dipping of the bread the false pretensions of the other. For the dipping of a thing does not always imply its washing; but some things are dipped in order to be dyed. But if a good meaning is to be here attached to the dipping, his ingratitude for that good was deservedly followed by damnation.

4. But still, possessed as Judas now was, not by the Lord, but by the devil, and now that the bread had entered the belly, and an enemy the soul of this man of ingratitude: still, I say, there was this enormous wickedness, already conceived in his heart, waiting to be wrought out to its full issue, for which the damnable desire had always preceded. Accordingly, when the Lord, the living Bread, had given this bread to the dead, and in giving it had revealed the betrayer of the Bread, He said, "What thou doest, do quickly." He did not command the crime, but foretold evil to Judas, and good to us. For what could be worse for judas, or what could be better for us, than the delivering up of Christ,--a deed done by him to his own destruction, but done, apart from him, in our behalf? "What thou doest, do quickly." Oh that word of One whose wish was to be ready rather than to be angry! That word! expressing not so much the punishment of the traitor as the reward awaiting the Redeemer! For He said, "What thou doest, do quickly," not as wrathfully looking to the destruction of the trust-betrayer, but in His own haste to accomplish the salvation of the faithful; for He was delivered for our offences, (4) and He loved the Church, and gave Himself for it. (5) And as the apostle also says of himself: "Who loved me, and gave Himself for me." (6) Had not, then, Christ given Himself, no one could have given Him up. What is there in Judas' conduct but sin? For in delivering up Christ he had no thought of our salvation, for which Christ was really delivered, but thought only of his money gain, and found the loss of his soul. He got the wages he wished, but had also given him, against his wish, the wages he merited. Judas delivered up Christ, Christ delivered Himself up: the former transacted the business of his own selling of his Master, the latter the business of our redemption. "What thou doest, do quickly," not because thou hast the power in thyself, but because He wills it who has all the power.

5. "Now no one of those at the table knew for what intent He spake this unto him. For some of them thought, because Judas had the money-bag, that Jesus said unto him, Buy those things which we have need of against the feast; or, that he should give something to the poor." The Lord, therefore, had also a money-box, where He kept the offerings of believers, and distributed to the necessities of His own, and to others who were in need. It was then that the custom of having church-money was first introduced, so that thereby we might understand that His precept about taking no thought for the morrow (1) was not a command that no money should be kept by His saints, but that God should not he served for any such end, and that the doing of what is right should not be held in abeyance through the fear of want. For the apostle also has this foresight for the future, when he says: "If any believer hath widows, let him give them enough, that the church may not be burdened, that it may have enough for them that are widows indeed." (2)

6. "He then, having received the morsel of bread, went immediately out: and it was night." And he that went out was himself the night. "Therefore when" the night "was gone out, Jesus said, Now is the Son of man glorified." The day therefore uttered speech unto the day, that is, Christ did so to His faithful disciples, that they might hear and love Him as His followers; and the night showed knowledge unto the night, (3) that is, Judas did so to the unbelieving Jews, that they might come as His persecutors, and make Him their prisoner. But now, in considering these words of the Lord, which were addressed to the godly, before His arrest by the ungodly, special attention on the part of the • hearer is required; and therefore it will be more becoming in the preacher, instead of hurriedly considering them now, to defer them till a future occasion.



1. Let us give our mind's best attention, and, with the Lord's help, seek after God. The language of the divine hymn is: "Seek God and your soul shall live." (1) Let us search for that which needs to be discovered, and into that which has been discovered. He whom we need to discover is concealed, in order to be sought after; and when found, is infinite, in order still to be the object of our search. Hence it is elsewhere said, "Seek His face evermore." (2) For He satisfies the seeker to the utmost of his capacity; and makes the finder still more capable, that he may seek to be filled anew, according to the growth of his ability to receive. Therefore it was not said, "Seek His face evermore," in the same sense as of certain others, who are "always learning, and never coming to a knowledge of the truth;" (3) but rather as the preacher saith, "When a man hath finished, then he beginneth;" (4) till we reach that life where we shall be so filled, that our natures shall attain their utmost capacity, because we shall have arrived at perfection, and no longer be aiming at more. For then all that can satisfy us will be revealed to our eyes. But here let us always be seeking, and let our reward in finding put no end to our searching. For we do not say that it will not be so always, because it is only so here; but that here we must always be seeking, lest at any time we should imagine that here we can ever cease from seeking. For those of whom it is said that they are "always learning, and never coming to a knowledge of the truth." are here indeed always learning; but when they depart this life they will no longer be learning, but receiving the reward of their error. For the words, "always learning, and never coming to a knowledge of the truth," mean, as it were, always walking, and never getting into the road. Let us, on the other hand, be walking always in the way, till we reach the end to which it leads; let us nowhere tarry in it till we reach the proper place of abode: and so we shall both persevere in our seeking, and be making some attainments in our finding, and, thus seeking and finding, be passing on to that which remains, till the very end of all seeking shall be reached in that world where perfection shall admit of no further effort at advancement. Let these prefatory remarks, dearly beloved, make your Charity attentive to this discourse of our Lord's, which He addressed to the disciples before His passion: for it is profound in itself; and where, in particular, the preacher purposes to expend much labor, the hearer ought not to be remiss in attention.

2. What is it, then, that the Lord says, after that Judas went out, to do quickly what he purposed doing, namely, betraying the Lord? What says the day when the night had gone out? What says the Redeemer when the seller had departed? "Now," He says, "is the Son of man glorified." Why "now"? It was not, was it, merely that His betrayer was gone out, and that those were at hand who were to seize and slay Him? Is it thus that He "is now glorified," to wit, that His deeper humiliation is approaching; that over Him are impending both bonds, and judgment, and condemnation, and mocking, and crucifixion, and death? Is this glorification, or rather humiliation? Even when He was working miracles, does not this very John say of Him, "The Spirit was not yet given, because that Jesus was not yet glorified"? (1) Even then, therefore, when He was raising the dead, He was not yet glorified; and is He glorified now, when drawing near in His own person unto death? He was not yet glorified when acting as God, and is He glorified in going to suffer as man? It would be strange if it were this that God, the great Master, signified and taught in such words. We must ascend higher to unveil the words of the Highest, who reveals Himself somewhat that we may find Him, and anon hides Himself that we may seek Him, and so press on step by step, as it were, from discoveries already made to those that still await us. I get here a sight of something that prefigures a great reality. Judas went out, and Jesus is glorified; the son of perdition went out, and the Son of man is glorified. He it was that had gone out, on whose account it had been said to them all, "And ye are clean, but not all" (ver. 10). When, therefore, the unclean one departed, all that remained were clean, and continued with their Cleanser. Something like this will it be when this world shall have been conquered by Christ, and shall have passed away, and there shall be no one that is unclean remaining among His people; when, the tares having been separated from the wheat, the righteous shall shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. (2) The Lord, foreseeing such a future as this, and in testimony that such was signified now in the separation of the tares, as it were, by the departure of Judas, and the remaining behind of the wheat in the persons of the holy apostles, said, "Now is the Son of man glorified:" as if He had said, See, so will it be in that day of my glorification yet to come, when none of the wicked shall be present, and none of the good shall be wanting. His words, however, are not expressed in this way: Now is prefigured the glorification of the Son of man; but expressly, "Now is the Son of man glorified:" just as it was not said, The Rock signified Christ; but, "That Rock was Christ." (3) Nor is it said, The good seed signified the children of the kingdom, or, The tares signified the children of the wicked one; but what is said is, "The good seed, these are the children of the kingdom; and the tares, the children of the wicked one." (4) According, then, to the usage of Scripture language, which speaks of the signs as if they were the things signified, the Lord makes use of the words, "Now is the Son of man glorified;" indicating that in the completed separation of that arch sinner from their company, and in the remaining around Him of His saints, we have the foreshadowing of His glorification, when the wicked shall be finally separated, and He shall dwell with His saints through eternity.

3. But after saying, "Now is the Son of man glorified," He added, "and God is glorified in Him." For this is itself the glorifying of the Son of man, that God should be glorified in Him. For if He is not glorified in Himself, but God in Him, then it is He whom God glorifies in Himself. And just as if to give them this explanation, He furthers adds: "If God is glorified in Him, God shall also glorify Him in Himself." That is, "If God is glorified in Him," because He came not to do His own will, but the will of Him that sent Him; "and God shall glorify Him in Himself," in such wise that the human nature, in which He is the Son of man, and which was so assumed by the eternal Word, should also be endowed with an eternal immortality. "And," He says, "He shall straightway glorify Him;" predicting, to wit, by such an asseveration, His own resurrection in the immediate future, and not, as it were, ours in the end of the world. For it is this very glorification of which the evangelist had previously said, as I mentioned a little ago, that on this account the Spirit was not yet in their case given in that new way, in which He was yet to be given after the resurrection to those who believed, because that Jesus was not yet glorified: that is, mortality was not yet clothed with immortality, and temporal weakness transformed into eternal strength. This glorification may also be indicated in the words, "Now is the Son of man glorified;" so that the word "now" may be supposed to refer, not to His impending passion, but to His closely succeeding resurrection, as if what was now so near at hand had actually been accomplished. Let this suffice your affection to-day; we shall take up, when the Lord permits us, the words that follow.



1. It becomes us, dearly beloved, to keep in view the orderly connection of our Lord's words. For after having previously said, but subsequently to Judas' departure, and his separation from even the outward communion of the saints, "Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in Him;"--whether He said so as pointing to His future kingdom, when the wicked shall be separated from the good, or that His resurrection was then to take place, that is, was not to be delayed, like ours, till the end of the world;--and having then added, "If God is glorified in Him, God shall also glorify Him in Himself, and shall straightway glorify Him," whereby without any ambiguity He testified to the immediate fulfillment of His own resurrection; He proceeded to say, "Little children, yet a little while I am with you." To keep them, therefore, from thinking that God was to glorify Him in such a way that He would never again be joined with them in earthly intercourse, He said, "Yet a little while I am with you:" as if He had said, Straightway indeed I shall be glorified in my resurrection; and yet I am not straightway to ascend into heaven, but "yet a little while I am with you." For, as we find it written in the Acts of the Apostles, He spent forty days with them after His resurrection, going in and out, and eating and drinking: (1) not indeed that He had any experience of hunger and thirst, but even by such evidences confirmed the reality of His flesh, which no longer needed, but still possessed the power, to eat and to drink. Was it, then, these forty days He had in view when He said, "Yet a little while I am with you," or something else? For it may also be understood in this way: "Yet a little while I am with you;" still, like you, I also am in this state of fleshly infirmity, that is, till He should die and rise again: for after He rose again He was with them, as has been said, for forty days in the full manifestation of His bodily presence; but He was no longer with them in the fellowship of human infirmity.

2. There is also another form of His divine presence unknown to mortal senses, of which He likewise says, "Lo, I am with you alway, even to the end of the world." (2) This, at least, is not the same as "yet a little while I am with you;" for it is not a little while until the end of the world. Or if even this is so (for time flies, and a thousand years are in God's sight as one day, or as a watch in the night,) (3) yet we cannot believe that He intended any such meaning on this occasion, especially as He went on to say, "Ye shall seek me, and as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come." That is to say, after this little while that I am with you, "ye shall seek me, and whither I go, ye cannot come." Is it after the end of the world that, whither He goes, they will not be able to come? And where, then, is the place of which He is going to say a little after in this same discourse, "Father, I will that they also be with me where I am "? (4) It was not then of that presence of His with His own which He is maintaining with them till the end of the world that He now spake, when He said, "Yet a little while I am with you;" but either of that state of mortal infirmity in which He dwelt with them till His passion, or of that bodily presence which He was to maintain with them up till His ascension. Whichever of these any one prefers, he can do so without being at variance with the faith.

3. That no one, however, may deem that sense inconsistent with the true one, in which we say that the Lord may have meant the communion of mortal flesh which He held with the disciples till His passion, when He said, "Yet a little while I am with you;" let those words also of His after His resurrection, as found in another evangelist, be taken into consideration, when He said, "These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you:" (1) as if then He was no longer with them, even at the very time that they were standing by, seeing, touching, and talking with Him. What does He mean, then, by saying, "while I was yet with you," but, while I was yet in that state of mortal flesh wherein ye still remain? For then, indeed, He had been raised again in the same flesh; but He was no longer associated with them in the same mortality. And accordingly, as on that occasion, when now clothed in fleshly immortality, He said with truth, "while I was yet with you," to which we can attach no other meaning than, while I was yet with you in fleshly mortality; so here also, without any absurdity, we may understand His words, "Yet a little while I am with you," as if He had said, Yet a little while I am mortal like yourselves. Let us look, then, at the words that follow.

4. "Ye shall seek me: and as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come; so say I to you now." That is, ye cannot come now. But when He said so to the Jews, He did not add the "now." (2) The former, therefore, were not able at that time to come where He was going, but they were so afterwards; because He says so a little afterwards in the plainest terms to the Apostle Peter. For, on the latter inquiring, "Lord, whither goest Thou?" He replied to him, "Whither I go thou canst not follow me now; but thou shalt follow me afterwards" (ver. 36). But what it means is not to be carelessly passed over. For whither was it that the disciples could not then follow the Lord, but were able afterwards? If we say, to death, what time can be discovered when any one of the sons of men will find it impossible to die; since such, in this perishable body, is the lot of man, that therein life is not a whit easier than death? They were not, therefore, at that time less able to follow the Lord to death, but they were less able to follow Him to the life which is deathless. For thither it was the Lord was going, that, rising from the dead, He should die no more, and death should no more have dominion over Him. (3) For as the Lord was about to die for righteousness' sake, how could they have followed Him now, who were as yet unripe for the ordeal of martyrdom? Or, with the Lord about to enter the fleshly immortality, how could they have followed Him now, when, even though ready to die, they would have no resurrection till the end of the world? Or, on the point of going, as the Lord was, to the bosom of the Father, and that without any forsaking of them, just as He had never quitted that bosom in coming to them, how could they have followed Him now, since no one can enter on that state of felicity but he that is made perfect in love? And to show them, therefore, how it is that they may attain the fitness to proceed, where He was going before them, He says, "A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another" (ver. 34). These are the steps whereby Christ must be followed; but any fuller discourse thereon must be put off till another opportunity.



1. The Lord Jesus declares that He is giving His disciples a new commandment, that they should love one another. "A new commandment," He says, "I give unto you, that ye love one another." But was not this already commanded in the ancient law of God, where it is written, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself"? (1) Why, then, is it called a new one by the Lord, when it is proved to be so old? Is it on this account a new commandment, because He hath divested us of the old, and clothed us with the new man? For it is not indeed every kind of love that renews him that listens to it, or rather yields it obedience, but that love regarding which the Lord, in order to distinguish it from all carnal affection, added, "as I have loved you." For husbands and wives love one another, and parents and children, and all other human relationships that bind men together: to say nothing of the blame-worthy and damnable love which is mutually felt by adulterers and adulteresses, by fornicators and prostitutes, and all others who are knit together by no human relationship, but by the mischievous depravity of human life. Christ, therefore, hath given us a new commandment, that we should love one another, as He also hath loved us. This is the love that renews us, making us new men, heirs of the New Testament, singers of the new song. It was this love, brethren beloved, that renewed also those of olden time, who were then the righteous, the patriarchs and prophets, as it did afterwards the blessed apostles: it is it, too, that is now renewing the nations, and from among the universal race of man, which overspreads the whole world, is making and gathering together a new people, the body of the newly-married spouse of the only-begotten Son of God, of whom it is said in the Song of Songs, "Who is she that ascendeth, made white?" (1) Made white indeed, because renewed; and how, but by the new commandment? Because of this, the members thereof have a mutual interest in one another; and if one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; and one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it. (2) For this they hear and observe, "A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another:" not as those love one another who are corrupters, nor as men love one another in a human way; but they love one another as those who are God's, and all of them sons of the Highest, and brethren, therefore, of His only Son, with that mutual love wherewith He loved them, when about to lead them on to the goal were all sufficiency should be theirs, and where their every desire should be satisfied with good things. (3) For then there will be nothing wanting they can desire, when God will be all in all. (4) An end like that has no end. No one dieth there, where no one arriveth save he that dieth to this world, not that universal kind of death whereby the body is bereft of the soul; but the death of the elect, through which, even while still remaining in this mortal flesh, the heart is set on the things which are above. Of such a death it is that the apostle said, "For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God." (5) And perhaps to this, also, do the words refer, "Love is strong as death." (6) For by this love it is brought about, that, While still held in the present corruptible body, we die to this world, and our life is hid with Christ in God; yea, that love itself is our death to the world, and our life with God. For if that is death when the soul quits the body, how can it be other than death when our love quits the world? Such love, therefore, is strong as death. And what is stronger than that which bindeth the world?

2. Think not then, my brethren, that when the Lord says, "A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another," there is any overlooking of that greater commandment, which requires us to love the Lord our God with all our heart, and with all our soul, and with all our mind; for along with this seeming oversight, the words "that ye love one another" appear also as if they had no reference to that second commandment, which says, "Thou shall love thy neighbor as thyself." For "on these two commandments," He says, "hang all the law and the prophets." (7) But both commandments may be found in each of these by those who have good understanding. For, on the one hand, he that loveth God cannot despise His commandment to love his neighbor; and on the other, he who in a holy and spiritual way loveth his neighbor, what doth he love in him but God? That is the love, distinguished from all mundane love, which the Lord specially characterized, when He added, "as I have loved you." For what was it but God that He loved in us? Not because we had Him, but in order that we might have Him; and that He may lead us on, as I said a little ago, where God is all in all. It is in this way, also, that the physician is properly said to love the sick; and what is it he loves in them but their health, which at all events he desires to recall; not their sickness, which he comes to remove? Let us, then, also so love one another, that, as far as possible, we may by the solicitude of our love be winning one another to have God within us. And this love is bestowed on us by Him who said, "As I have loved you, that ye also love one another." For this very end, therefore, did He love us, that we also should love one another; bestowing this on us by His own love to us, that we should be bound to one another in mutual love, and, united together as members by so pleasant a bond, should be the body of so mighty a Head.

3. "By this," He adds, "Shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another:" as if He said, Other gifts of mine are possessed in common with you by those who are not mine,--not only nature, life, perception, reason, and that safety which is equally the privilege of men and beasts; but also languages, sacraments, prophecy, knowledge, faith, the bestowing of their goods upon the poor, and the giving of their body to the flames: but because destitute of charity, they only tinkle like cymbals; they are nothing, and by nothing are they profited. (1) It is not, then, by such gifts of mine, however good, which may be alike possessed by those who are not my disciples, but "by this it is that all men shall know that ye are my disciples, that ye have love one to another." O thou spouse of Christ, fair amongst women! O thou who ascendest in whiteness, leaning upon thy Beloved! for by His light thou art made dazzling to whiteness, by His assistance thou art preserved from falling. How well becoming thee are the words in that Song of Songs, which is, as it were, thy bridal chant, "That there is love in thy delights"! (2) This it is that suffers not thy soul to perish with the ungodly; it is this that judges thy cause, and is strong as death, and is present in thy delights. How wonderful is the character of that death, which was all but swallowed up in penal sufferings, had it not been over and above absorbed in delights! But here this discourse must now be closed; for we must make a new commencement in dealing with the words that follow.



1. While the Lord Jesus was commending to the disciples that holy love wherewith they should love one another, "Simon Peter saith unto Him, Lord, whither goest Thou?" So, at all events, said the disciple to his Master, the servant to his Lord, as one who was prepared to follow. Just as for the same reason the Lord, who read in his mind the purpose of such a question, made him this reply: "Whither I go, thou canst not follow me now;" as if He said, In reference to the object of thy asking, thou canst not now. He does not say, Thou canst not; but "Thou canst not now." He intimated delay, with out depriving of hope; and that same hope, which He took not away, but rather bestowed, in His next words He confirmed, by proceeding to say, "Thou shall follow me afterwards." Why such haste, Peter? The Rock (petra) has not yet solidified thee by His Spirit. Be not lifted up with presumption, "Thou canst not now;" be not cast now into despair, "Thou shalt follow afterwards." But what does he say to this? "Why cannot I follow Thee now? I will lay down my life for Thy sake." He saw what was the kind of desire in his mind; but what the measure of his strength, he saw not. The weak man boasted of his willingness, but the Physician had an eye on the state of his health; the one promised, the Other foreknew: the ignorant was bold; He that foreknew all, condescended to teach. How much had Peter taken upon himself, by looking only at what he wished, and having no knowledge of what he was able! How much had he taken upon himself, that, when the Lord had come to lay down His life for His friends, and so for him also, he should have the assurance to offer to do the same for the Lord; and while as yet Christ's life was not laid down for himself, he should promise to lay down his own life for Christ! "Jesus" therefore "answered him, Wilt thou lay down thy life for my sake?" Wilt thou do for me what I have not yet done for thee? "Wilt thou lay down thy life for my sake?" Canst thou go before, who art unable to follow? Why dost thou presume so far? what dost thou think of thyself? what dost thou imagine thyself to be? Hear what thou art: "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice." See, that is how thou wilt speedily become manifest to thyself, who art now talking so loftily, and knowest not that thou art but a child. Thou promisest me thy death, and thou wilt deny me thy life. Thou, who now thinkest thyself able to die for me, learn to live first for thyself; for in fearing the death of thy flesh, thou wilt occasion the death of thy soul. Just as much as it is life to confess Christ, it is death to deny Him.

2. Or was it that the Apostle Peter, as some with a perverse kind of favor strive to excuse him, (1) did not deny Christ, because, when questioned by the maid, he replied that he did not know the man, as the other evangelists more expressly affirm? As if, indeed, he that denies the man Christ does not deny Christ; and so denies Him in respect of what He became on our account, that the nature He had given us might not be lost. Whoever, therefore, acknowledges Christ as God, and disowns Him as man, Christ died not for him; for as man it was that Christ died. He who disowns Christ as man, finds no reconciliation to God by the Mediator. For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. (2) He that denies Christ as man is not justified: for as by the disobedience of one man, many were made sinners; so also by the obedience of one man shall many be made righteous. (3) He that denies Christ as man, shall not rise again into the resurrection of life; for by man is death, and by man is also the resurrection of the dead: for as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. (4) And by what means is He the Head of the Church, but by His manhood, because the Word was made flesh? that is, God, the Only-begotten of God the Father, became man. And how then can one be in the body of Christ who denies the man Christ? Or how can one be a member who disowns the Head? But why linger over a multitude of reasons when the Lord Himself undoes all the windings of human argumentation? For He says not, The cock shall not crow till thou hast denied the man; or, as He was wont to speak in His more familiar condescension with men, The cock shall not crow till thou hast thrice denied the Son of man; but He says, "till thou hast denied me thrice." What is that "me," but just what He was? and what was He but Christ? Whatever of Him, therefore, he denied, he denied Himself, he denied the Christ, he denied the Lord his God. For Thomas also, his fellow-disciple, when he exclaimed, "My Lord and my God," did not handle the Word, but only His flesh; and laid not his inquisitive hands on the incorporeal nature of God, but on His human body. (5) And so he touched the man, and yet recognized his God. If, then, what the latter touched, Peter denied; what the latter invoked, Peter offended. "The cock shall not crow till thou hast denied me thrice." Although thou say, "I know not the man;" although thou say, "Man, I know not what thou sayest;" although thou say, "I am not one of His disciples;" (6) thou wilt be denying me. If, which it were sinful to doubt, Christ so spake, and foretold the truth, then doubtless Peter denied Christ. Let us not accuse Christ in defending Peter. Let infirmity acknowledge its sin; for there is no falsehood in the Truth. When Peter's infirmity acknowledged its sin, his acknowledgment was full; and the greatness of the evil he had committed in denying Christ, he showed by his tears. He himself reproves his defenders, and for their conviction, brings his tears forward as witnesses. Nor have we, on our part, in so speaking, any delight in accusing the first of the apostles; but in looking on him, we ought to take home the lesson to ourselves, that no man should place his confidence in human strength. For what else had our Teacher and Saviour in view, but to show us, by making the first of the apostles himself an example, that no one ought in any way to presume of himself? And that, therefore, really took place in Peter's soul, for which he gave cause in his body. And yet he did not go before in the Lord's behalf, as he rashly presumed, but did so otherwise than he reckoned. For before the death and resurrection of the Lord, he both died when he denied, and returned to life when he wept; but he died, because he himself had been proud in his presumption, and he lived again, because that Other had looked on him with kindness.



1. Our special attention, brethren, must be earnestly turned to God, in order that we may be able to obtain some intelligent apprehension of the words of the holy Gospel, which have just been ringing in our ears. For the Lord Jesus saith: "Let not your heart be troubled. Believe (1) in God, and believe [or, believe also] in me." That they might not as men be afraid of death, and so be troubled, He comforts them by affirming Himself also to be God. "Believe," He says, "in God, believe also in me." For it follows as a consequence, that if ye believe in God, ye ought to believe also in me: which were no consequence if Christ were not God. "Believe in God, and believe in" Him, who, by nature and not by robbery, is equal with God; for He emptied Himself; not, however, by losing the form of God, but by taking the form of a servant. (2) You are afraid of death as regards this servant form, "let not your heart be troubled," the form of God will raise it again.

2. But why have we this that follows, "In my Father's house are many mansions," but that they were also in fear about themselves? And therein they might have heard the words, "Let not your heart be troubled." For, was there any of them that could be free from fear, when Peter, the most confident and forward of them all, was told, "The cock shall not crow till thou hast denied me thrice"? (3) Considering themselves, therefore, beginning with Peter, as destined to perish, they had cause to be troubled: but when they now hear, "In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you," they are revived from their trouble, made certain and confident that after all the perils of temptations they shall dwell with Christ in the presence of God. For, albeit one is stronger than another, one wiser than another, one more righteous than another, "in the Father's house there are many mansions;" none of them shall remain outside that house, where every one, according to his deserts, is to receive a mansion. All alike have that penny, which the householder orders to be given to all that have wrought in the vineyard, making no distinction therein between those who have labored less and those who have labored more: (4) by which penny, of course, is signified eternal life, whereto no one any longer lives to a different length than others, since in eternity life has no diversity in its measure. But the many mansions point to the different grades of merit in that one eternal life. For there is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory; and so also the resurrection of the dead. The saints, like the stars in the sky, obtain in the kingdom different mansions of diverse degrees of brightness; but on account of that one penny no one is cut off from the kingdom; and God will be all in all (5) in such a way, that, as God is love, (6) love will bring it about that what is possessed by each will be common to all. For in this way every one really possesses it, when he loves to see in another what he has not himself. There will not, therefore, be any envying amid this diversity of brightness, since in all of them will be reigning the unity of love.

3. Every Christian heart, therefore, must utterly reject the idea of those who imagine that there are many mansions spoken of, because there will be some place outside the kingdom of heaven, which shall be the abode of those blessed innocents who have departed this life without baptism, because without it they cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. Faith like this is not faith, inasmuch as it is not the true and catholic faith. Are you not so foolish and blinded with carnal imaginations as to be worthy of reprobation, if you should thus separate the mansion, I say not of Peter and Paul, or any of the apostles, but even of any baptized infant from the kingdom of heaven; do you not think yourselves deserving of reprobation in thus putting a separation between these and the house of God the Father? For the Lord's words are not, In the whole world, or, In all creation, or, In everlasting life and blessedness, there are many mansions; but He says, "In my Father's house are many mansions." Is not that the house where we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens? (7) Is not that the house whereof we sing to the Lord, "Blessed are they that dwell in Thy house; they shall praise Thee for ever and ever"? (1) Will you then venture to separate from the kingdom of heaven the house, not of every baptized brother, but of God the Father Himself, to whom all we who are brethren say, "Our Father, who art in heaven,"(2) or divide it in such a way as to make some of its mansions inside, and some outside, the kingdom of heaven? Far, far be it from those who desire to dwell in the kingdom of heaven, to be willing to dwell in such folly with you: far be it, I say, that since every house of sons that are reigning can be nowhere else but in the kingdom, any part of the royal house itself should be outside the kingdom.

4."And if I go," He says "and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know." O Lord Jesus, how goest Thou to prepare a place, if there are already many mansions in Thy Father's house, where Thy people shall dwell with Thyself? Or if Thou receivest them unto Thyself, how wilt Thou come again, who never withdrawest Thy presence? Such subjects as these, beloved, were we to attempt to explain them with such brevity as seems within the proper bounds of our discourse to-day, would certainly suffer in clearness from compression, and the very brevity would become itself a second obscurity; we shall therefore defer this debt, which the bounty of our Family head will enable us to repay at a more suitable opportunity.



1. We acknowledge, beloved brethren, that we are Owing you, and ought now to repay, what was left over for consideration, how we can understand that there is no real mutual contrariety between these two statements, namely, that after saying, "In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you, that I go to prepare a place for you;"--where He makes it clear enough that He said so to them for the very reason that there are many mansions there already, and there is no need of preparing any; (1)--the Lord again says: "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." How is it that He goes and prepares a place, if there are many mansions already? If there were not such, He would have said, "I go to prepare." Or if the place has still to be prepared, would He not then also properly have said, "I go to prepare"? Are these mansions in existence already, and yet needing still to be prepared? For if they were not in existence, He would have said, "I go to prepare." And yet, because their present state of existence is such as still to stand in need of preparation, He does not go to prepare them in the same sense as they already exist; but if He go and prepare them as they shall be hereafter, He will come again and receive His own to Himself: that where He is, there they may be also. How then are there mansions in the Father's house, and these not different ones but the same, which already exist in a sense in which they can admit of no preparation, and yet do not exist, inasmuch as they are still to be prepared? How are we to think of this, but in the same way as the prophet, who also declares of God, that He has [already] made that which is yet to be. For he says not, Who will make what is yet to be, but, "Who has made what is yet to be." (2) Therefore He has both made such things and is yet to make them. For they have not been made at all if He has not made them; nor will they ever be if He make them not Himself. He has made them therefore in the way of fore-ordaining them; He has yet to make them in the way of actual elaboration. Just as the Gospel plainly intimates when He chose His disciples, that is to say, at the time of His calling them; (1) and yet the apostle says, "He chose us before the foundation of the world," (2) to wit, by predestination, not by actual calling. "And whom He did predestinate, them He also called;" (3) He hath chosen by predestination before the foundation of the world, He chooses by calling before its close. And so also has He prepared those mansions, and is still preparing them and He who has already made the things which are yet to be, is now preparing, not different ones, but the very mansions He has already prepared: what He has prepared in predestination, He is preparing by actual working. Already, therefore; they are, as respects predestination; if it were not so, He would have said, I will go and prepare, that is, I will predestinate. But because they are not yet in a state of practical preparedness He says, "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself."

2. But He is in a certain sense preparing the dwellings by preparing for them the dwellers. As, for instance, when He said, "In my Father's house are many dwellings," what else can we suppose the house of God to mean but the temple of God? And what that is, ask the apostle, and he will reply, "For the temple of God is holy, which [temple] ye are" (4) This is also the kingdom of God, which the Son is yet to deliver up to the Father; and hence the same apostle says, "Christ, the beginning, and then they that are Christ's in His presence; then [cometh] the end, when He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father;" (5) that is, those whom He has redeemed by His blood, He shall then have delivered up to stand before His Father's face. This is that kingdom of heaven whereof it is said, "The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man who sowed good seed in his field. But the good seed are the children of the kingdom;" and although now they are mingled with tares, at the end the King Himself shall send forth His angels, "and they shall gather out of His kingdom all things that offend. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father." (6) The kingdom will shine forth in the kingdom when [those that are] the kingdom shall have reached the kingdom; just as we now pray when we say, "Thy kingdom come." (7) Even now, therefore, already is the kingdom called, but only as yet being called together. For if it were not now called, it could not be then said, "They shall gather out of His kingdom everything that offends." But the realm is not yet reigning. Accordingly it is already so far the kingdom, that when all offences shall have been gathered out of it, it shall then attain to sovereignty, so as to possess not merely the name of a kingdom, but also the power of government. For it is to this kingdom, standing then at the right hand, that it shall be said in the end, "Come, ye blessed of my Father, receive the kingdom;" (8) that is, ye who were the kingdom, but without the power to rule, come and reign; that what you formerly were only in hope, you may now have the power to be in reality. This house of God, therefore, this temple of God, this kingdom of God and kingdom of heaven, is as yet in the process of building, of construction, of preparation, of assembling. In it there will be mansions, even as the Lord is now preparing them; in it there are such already, even as the Lord has already ordained them.

3. But why is it that He went away to make such preparation, when, as it is certainly we ourselves that are the subjects in need of preparation, His doing so will be hindered by leaving us behind? I explain it, Lord, as I can: it was surely this Thou didst signify by the preparation of those mansions, that the just ought to live by faith. (9) For he who is sojourning at a distance from the Lord has need to be living by faith, because by this we are prepared for beholding His countenance. (10) For "blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God;" (11) and "He purifieth their hearts by faith." (12) The former we find in the Gospel, the latter in the Acts of the Apostles. But the faith by which those who are yet to see God have their hearts purified, while sojourning at a distance here, believeth what it cloth not see; for if there is sight, there is no longer faith. Merit is accumulating now to the believer, and then the reward is paid into the hand of the beholder. Let the Lord then go and prepare us a place; let Him go, that He may not be seen; and let Him remain concealed, that faith may be exercised. For then is the place preparing, if it is by faith we are living. Let the believing in that place be desired, that the place desired may itself be possessed; the longing of love is the preparation of the mansion. Prepare thus, Lord, what Thou art preparing; for Thou art preparing us for Thyself, and Thyself for us, inasmuch as Thou art preparing a place both for Thyself in us, and for us in Thee. For Thou hast said, "Abide in me, and I in you." (10 As far as each one has been a partaker of Thee, some less, some more, such will be the diversity of rewards in proportion to the diversity of merits; such will be the multitude of mansions to suit the inequalities among their inmates; but all of them, none the less, eternally living, and endlessly blessed. Why is it that Thou goest away? Why is it Thou comest again? If I understand Thee aright, Thou withdrawest not Thyself either from the place Thou goest from, or from the place Thou comest from: Thou goest away by becoming invisible, Thou comest by again becoming manifest to our eyes. But unless Thou remainest to direct us how we may still be advancing in goodness of life, how will the place be prepared where we shall be able to dwell in the fullness of joy? Let what we have said suffice on the words which have been read from the Gospel as far as "I will come again, and receive you to myself." But the meaning of what follows, "That where I am, there ye may be also; and whither I go ye know, and the way ye know," we shall be in a better condition--after the question put by the disciple, that follows, and which we also may be putting, as it were, through him--for hearing, and more suitably situated for making the subject of our discourse.



1. We have now the opportunity, dearly, beloved, as far as we can, of understanding the earlier words of the Lord from the later, and His previous statements by those that follow, in what you have heard was His answer to the question of the Apostle Thomas. For when the Lord was speaking above of the mansions, of which He both said that they already were in His Father's house, and that He was going to prepare them; where we understood that those mansions already existed in predestination, and are also being prepared through the purifying by faith of the hearts of those who are hereafter to inhabit them, seeing that they themselves are the very house of God; and what else is it to dwell in God's house than to be in the number of His people, since His people are at the same time in God, and God in them? To make this preparation the Lord departed, that by believing in Him, though no longer visible, the mansion, whose outward form is always hid in the future, may now by faith be prepared: for this reason, therefore, He had said, "And if I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come i again, and receive you to myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know." In reply to this "Thomas saith unto Him Lord, we know not whither Thou goest: and how can we know the way?" Both of these the Lord had said that they knew; both of them this other declares that he does not know, to wit, the place to which, and the way whereby, He is going. But he does not know that he is speaking falsely; they knew, therefore, and did not know that they knew. He will convince them that they already know what they imagine themselves still to be ignorant of. "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life." What, brethren, does He mean? See, we have just heard the disciple asking, and the Master instructing, and we do not yet, even after His voice has sounded in our ears, apprehend the thought that lies hid in His words. But what is it we cannot apprehend? Could His apostles, with whom He was talking, have said to Him, We do not know Thee? Accordingly, if they knew Him, and He Himself is the way, they knew the way; if they knew Him who is Himself the truth, they knew the truth; if they knew Him who is also the life, they knew the life. Thus, you see, they were convinced that they knew what they knew not that they knew.

2. What is it, then, that we also have not apprehended in this discourse? What else, think you, brethren, but just that He said, "And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know"? And here we have discovered that they knew the way, because they knew Him who is the way: the way is that by which we go; but is the way the place also to which we go? And yet each of these He said that they knew, both whither He was going, and the way. There was need, therefore, for His saying, "I am the way," in order to show those who knew Him that they knew the way, which they thought themselves ignorant of; but what need was there for His saying, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life," when, after knowing the way by which He went, they had still to learn whither He was going, but just because it was to the truth and to the life He was going? By Himself, therefore, He was going to Himself. And whither go we, but to Him? and by what way go we, but by Him? He, therefore, went to Himself by Himself, and we by Him to Him; yea, likewise both He and we go thus to the Father. For He says also in another place of Himself, "I go to the Father;" (1) and here on our account He says, "No man cometh unto the Father but by me." And in this way, He goeth by Himself both to Himself and to the Father, and we by Him both to Him and to the Father. Who can apprehend such things save he who has spiritual discernment? and how much is it that even he can apprehend, although thus spiritually discerning? Brethren, how can you desire me to explain such things to you? Only reflect how lofty they are. You see what I am, I see what you are; in all of us the body, which is corrupted, burdens the soul, and the earthly tabernacle weigheth down the mind that museth upon many things. (2) Do we think we can say, "To Thee have I lifted up my soul, O Thou that dwellest in the heavens"? (3) But burdened as we are with so great a weight, under which we groan, how shall I lift up my soul unless He lift it with me who laid His own down for me? I shall speak then as I can, and let each of you who is able receive it. As He gives, I speak; as He gives, the receiver receiveth; and as He giveth, there is faith for him who cannot yet receive with understanding. For, saith the prophet, "If ye will not believe, ye shall not understand." (4)

3. Tell me, O my Lord, what to say to Thy servants, my fellow-servants. The Apostle Thomas had Thee before him in order to ask Thee questions, and yet could not understand Thee unless he had Thee within him; I ask Thee because I know that Thou art over me; and I ask, seeking, as far as I can, to let my soul diffuse itself in that same region over me where I may listen to Thee, who usest no external sound to convey Thy teaching. Tell me, I pray, how it is that Thou goest to Thyself. Didst Thou formerly leave Thyself to come to us, especially as Thou camest not of Thyself, but the Father sent Thee? I know, indeed, that Thou didst empty Thyself; but in taking the form of a servant, (5) it was neither that Thou didst lay down the form of God as something to return to, or that Thou lost it as something to be recovered; and yet Thou didst come, and didst place Thyself not only before the carnal eyes, but even in the very hands of men. And how otherwise save in Thy flesh? By means of this Thou didst come, yet abiding where Thou wast; by this means Thou didst return, without leaving the place to which Thou hadst come. If, then, by such means Thou didst come and return, by such means doubtless Thou art not only the way for us to come unto Thee, but wast the way also for Thyself to come and to return. For when Thou didst return to the life, which Thou art Thyself, then of a truth that same flesh of Thine Thou didst bring from death unto life. The Word of God, indeed, is one thing, and man another; but the Word was made flesh, or became man. And so the person of the Word is not different from that of the man, seeing that Christ is both in one person; and in this way, just as when His flesh died. Christ died, and when His flesh was buried, Christ was buried (for thus with the heart we believe unto righteousness, and thus with the mouth do we make confession unto salvation (6)); so when the flesh came from death unto life, Christ came to life. And because Christ is the Word of God, He is also the life. And thus in a wonderful and ineffable manner He, who never laid down or lost Himself, came to Himself. But God, as was said, had come through the flesh to men, the truth to liars; for God is true, and every man a liar. (7) When, therefore, He withdrew His flesh from amongst men, and carried it up there where no liar is found, He also Himself--for the Word was made flesh--returned by Himself, that is, by His flesh, to the truth, which is none other but Himself. And this truth, we cannot doubt, although found amongst liars, He preserved even in death; for Christ was once dead, but never false.

4. Take an example, very different in character and wholly inadequate, yet in some little measure helpful to the understanding of God, from things that are in peculiarly intimate subjection to God. See here in my own case, while as far as pertains to my mind I am just the same as yourselves, if I keep silence I am so to myself; but if I speak to you something suited to your understanding, in a certain sense I go forth to you without leaving myself, but at the same time approach you and yet quit not the place from which I proceed. But when I cease speaking, I return in a kind of way to myself, and in a kind of way I remain with you, if you retain what you have heard in the discourse I am delivering. And if the mere image that God made is capable of this, what may not God, the very image of God, not made by, but born of God; whose body, wherein He came forth to us and returned from us, has not ceased to be, like the sound of my voice, but abides there, where it shall die no more, and death shall have no more dominion over it? (1) Much more, perhaps, might and ought to have been said on these words of the Gospel; but your souls ought not to be burdened with spiritual food, however pleasant, especially as the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. (2)



1. The words of the holy Gospel, brethren, are rightly understood only if they are found to be in harmony with those that precede; for the premises ought to agree with the conclusion, when it is the Truth that speaks. The Lord had said before, "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also:" and then had added, "And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know;" and showed that all He said was that they knew himself. What, therefore, the meaning was of His going to Himself by Himself,--for He also lets the disciples see that it is by Him that they are to come to Him,--we have already told you, as we could, in our last discourse. When He says, therefore, "That where I am, there ye may be also," where else were they to be but in Himself? In this way is He also in Himself, and they, therefore, are just where He is, that is, in Himself. Accordingly, He Himself is that eternal life which is yet to be ours, when He has received us unto Himself; and as He is that life eternal, so is it in Him, that where He is there shall we be also, that is to say, in Himself. "For as the Father hath life in Himself," and certainly that life which He has is in no wise different from what He is Himself as its possessor, "so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself," (1) inasmuch as He is the very life which He hath in Himself. But shall we then actually be what He is, (namely), the life, when we shall have begun our existence in that life, that is, in Himself? Certainly not, for He, by His very existence as the life, hath life, and is Himself what He hath; and as the life, is in Him, so is He in Himself: but we are not that life, but partakers of His life, and shall be there in such wise as to be wholly incapable of being in ourselves what He is, but so as, while ourselves not the life, to have Him as our life, who has Himself the life on this very account that He Himself is the life. In short, He both exists unchangeably in Himself and inseparably in the Father. But we, when wishing to exist in ourselves, were thrown into inward trouble regarding ourselves, as is expressed in the words, "My soul is cast down within me:" (2) and changing from bad to worse, cannot even remain as we were. But when by Him we come unto the Father, according to His own words, "No man cometh unto the Father but by me," and abide in Him, no one shall be able to separate us either from the Father or from Him.

2. Connecting, therefore, His previous words with those that follow, He proceeded to say, "If ye had known me, ye should certainly have known my Father also." This conforms to His previous words, "No man cometh unto the Father but by me." And then He adds: "And from henceforth ye know Him, and have seen Him." But Philip, one of the apostles, not understanding what he had just heard, said, "Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us." And the Lord replied to him, "Have I been so long time with you, and yet have ye not known me, Philip? he that seeth me, seeth also the Father." Here you see He complains that He had been so long time with them, and yet He was not known. But had He not Himself said, "And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know;" and on their saying that they knew it not, had convinced them that they did know, by adding the words: "I am the way, and the truth, and the life"? How, then, says He now, "Have I been so long time with you, and have ye not known me?" when, in fact, they knew both whither He went and the way, on no other grounds save that they really knew Himself? But this difficulty is easily solved by saying that some of them knew Him, and others did not, and that Philip was one of those who did not know Him; so that, when He said, "And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know," He is understood as having spoken to those that knew, and not to Philip, who has it said to him, "Have I been so long time with you, and have ye not known me, Philip?" To such, then, as already knew the Son, was it now also said of the Father, "And from henceforth ye know Him, and have seen Him:" for such words were used because of the all-sided likeness subsisting between the Father and the Son; so that, because they knew the Son, they might henceforth be said to know the Father. Already, therefore, they knew the Son, if not all of them, those at least to whom it is said, "And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know;" for He is Himself the way. But they knew not the Father, and so have also to hear, "If ye have known me, ye have known my Father also;" that is, through me ye have known Him also. For I am one, and He another. But that they might not think Him unlike, He adds, "And from henceforth ye know Him, and have seen Him." For they saw His perfectly resembling Son, but needed to have the truth impressed on them, that exactly such as was the Son whom they saw,was the Father also whom they did not see. And to this points what is afterwards said to Philip, "He that seeth me, seeth also the Father." Not that He Himself was Father and Son, which is a notion of the Sabellians, who are also called Patripassians, (1) condemned by the Catholic faith; but that Father and Son are so alike, that he who knoweth one knoweth both. For we are accustomed to speak in this way of two who closely resemble each other, to those who are in the habit of seeing one of them, and wish to know what like the other is, so that we say, In seeing the one, you have seen the other. In this way, then, is it said "He that seeth me, seeth also the Father." Not, certainly, that He who is the Son is also the Father, but that the Son in no respect disagrees with the likeness of the Father. For had not the Father and Son been two persons, it would not have been said, "If ye have known me, ye have known my Fatheralso"Such is certainly the case for "no one," He says, "cometh unto the Father but by me: if ye have known me, ye have known my Father also;" because it is I, who am the only way to the Father, that will lead you to Him, that He also may Himself become known to you. But as I am in all respects His perfect image, "from henceforth ye know Him" in knowing me; "and have seen Him," if you have seen me with the spiritual eyesight of the soul.

3. Why, then, Philip, dost thou say," Show us the Father, and it sufficeth us? Have I been so long time with you, and yet have ye not known me, Philip? He that seeth me, seeth the Father also." If it interests thee much to see this, believe at least what thou seest not. For "how," He says, "sayest thou, Show us the Father?" If thou hast seen me, who am His perfect likeness, thou hast seen Him to whom I am like. And if thou canst not directly see this, "believest thou not," at least, "that I am in the Father, and the Father in me?" But Philip might say here, "I see Thee indeed, and believe Thy full likeness to the Father; but is one to be reproved and rebuked because, when he sees one who bears a likeness to another, he wishes to see that other to whom he is like? I know, indeed, the image, but as yet I know only the one without the other; it is not enough for me, unless I know that other whose likeness he bears. Show us, therefore, the Father, and it sufficeth us." But the Master really reproved the disciple because He saw into the heart of his questioner. For it was with the idea, as if the Father were somehow better than the Son, that Philip had the desire to know the Father: and so he did not even know the Son, because believing that He was inferior to another. It was to correct such a notion that it was said, "He that seeth me, seeth the Father also. How sayest thou, Show us the Father?" I see the meaning of thy words: it is not the original likeness thou seekest to see, but it is that other thou thinkest the superior. "Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me?" Why desirest thou to discover some distance between those who are thus alike? why cravest thou the separate knowledge of those who cannot be separated? What, after this, He says not only to Philip, but to all of them together, must not now be thrust into a corner, in order that, by His help, it may be the more carefully expounded.



1. Give close attention, and try to understand, beloved; for while it is we who speak it is He Himself who never withdraweth His presence from us who is our Teacher. The Lord saith, what you have just heard read "The words that I speak unto you, I speak not of myself: but the Father, that dwelleth in me, He doeth the works." Even His words, then, are works? Clearly so. For surely he that edifies a neighbor by what he says, works a good work. But what mean the words, "I speak not of myself," but, I who speak am not of myself? Hence He attributes what He does to Him, of whom He, that doeth them, is. For the Father is not God [as born, etc.] of any one else, while the Son is God, as equal, indeed, to the Father, but [as born] of God the Father. Therefore the former is God, but not of God; and the Light, but not of light: whereas the latter is God of God, Light of Light.

2. For in connection with these two clauses,--the one where it is said, "I speak not of myself;" and the other, which runs, "but the Father that dwelleth in me, He doeth the works,"--we are opposed by two different classes of heretics, who, by each of them holding only to one clause, run off, not in one, but opposite directions, and wander far from the pathway of truth. For instance, the Arians say, See here, the Son is not equal to the Father, He speaketh not of Himself. The Sabellians, or Patripassians, on the other hand, say, See, He who is the Father is also the Son; for what else is this, "The Father that dwelleth in me, He doeth the works," but I that do them dwell in myself? You make contrary assertions, and that not only in the sense that any one thing is false, that is, contrary to truth, but in this also, when two things that are both false contradict one another. In your wanderings you have taken opposite directions; midway between the two is the path you have left. You are a far longer distance apart from each other than from the very way you have both forsaken. Come hither, you from the one side, and you from the other: pass not across, the one to the other, but come from both sides to us, and make this the place of your mutual meeting. Ye Sabellians, acknowledge the Being you overlook; Arians, set Him whom you subordinate in His place of equality, and you will both be walking with us in the pathway of truth. For you have grounds on both sides that make mutual admonition a duty. Listen, Sabellian: so far is the Son from being the same as the Father, and so truly is He another, that the Arian maintains His inferiority to the Father. Listen, Arian: so truly is the Son equal to the Father, that the Sabellian declares Him to be identical with the Father. Do thou restore the personality thou hast abstracted, and thou, the full dignity thou hast lowered, and both of you stand together on the same ground as ourselves: because the one of you [who has been an Arian], for the conviction of the Sabellian, never lets out of sight the personality of Him who is distinct from the Father, and the other [who has been a Sabellian] takes care, for the conviction of the Arian, of not impairing the dignity of Him who is equal with the Father. For to both of you He cries, "I and my Father are one." (2) When He says "one," let the Arians listen; when He says, "we are," let the Sabellians give heed, and no longer continue in the folly of denying, the one, His equality [with the Father], the other, His distinct personality. If, then, in saying, "The words that I speak unto you, I speak not of myself," He is thereby accounted of a power so inferior, that what He doeth is not what He Himself willeth; listen to what He also said, "As the Father raiseth up the dead and quickeneth them, even so the Son quickeneth whom He will." And so likewise, if in saying, "The Father that dwelleth in me, He doeth the works," He is on that account not to be regarded as distinct in person from the Father, let us listen to His other words, "What things soever the Father doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise;" (1) and He will be understood as speaking not of one person twice over, but of two who are one. But just because their mutual equality is such as not to interfere with their distinct personality, therefore He speaketh not of Himself, because He is not of Himself and the Father also, that dwelleth in Him, Himself doeth the works, because He, by whom and with whom He doeth them, is not, save of [the Father] Himself. And then He goes on to say, "Believe ye not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? Or else believe me for the very works' sake." Formerly it was Philip only who was reproved, but now, it is shown that he was not the only one there that needed reproof. "For the very works' sake," He says, "believe ye that I am in the Father, and the Father in me:" for had we been separated, we should have been unable to do any kind of work inseparably.

3. But what is this that follows? "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it." And so He promised that He Himself would also do those greater works. Let not the servant exalt himself above his Lord, or the disciple above his Master. (2) He says that they will do greater works than He doeth Himself; but it is all by His doing such in or by them, and not as if they did them of themselves. Hence the song that is addressed to Him, "I will love Thee, O Lord, my strength." (3) But what, then, are those greater works? Was it that their very shadow, as they themselves passed by, healed the sick? (4) For it is a mightier thing for a shadow, than for the hem of a garment, to possess the power of healing. (5) The one work was done by Christ Himself, the other by them; and yet it was He that did both. Nevertheless, when He so spake, He was commending the efficacious power (6) of His own words: for it was in this sense He had said, "The words that I speak unto you, I speak not of myself; but the Father that dwelleth in me, He doeth the works." What works was He then referring to, but the words He was speaking? They were hearing and believing, and their faith was the fruit of those very words: howbeit, when the disciples preached the gospel, it was not small numbers like themselves, but nations also that believed; and such, doubtless, are greater works. And yet He said not, Greater works than these shall ye do, to lead us to suppose that it was only the apostles who would do so; for He added, "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do." Is the case then so, that he that believeth on Christ doeth the same works as Christ, or even greater than He did? Points like these are not to be treated in a cursory way, nor ought they to be hurriedly disposed of; and, therefore, as our present discourse must be brought to a close, we are obliged to defer their further consideration.



1. It is no easy matter to comprehend what is meant by, or in what sense we are to receive, these words of the Lord, "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also:" and then, to this great difficulty in the way of our understanding, He has added another still more difficult, "And greater things than these shall he do." What are we to make of it? We have not found one who did such works as Christ did; and are we likely to find one who will do even greater? But we remarked in our last discourse, that it was a greater deed to heal the sick by the passing of their shadow, as was done by the disciples, than as the Lord Himself did by the touch of the hem of His garment; and that more believed on the apostles than on the Lord Himself, when preaching with His own lips; so that we might suppose works like these to be understood as greater: not that the disciple was to be greater than his Master, or the servant than his Lord, or the adopted son than the Only-begotten, or man than God, but that by them He Himself would condescend to do these greater works, while telling them in another passage, "Without me ye can do nothing." (1) While He Himself, on the other hand, to say nothing of His other works, which are numberless, made them without any aid from themselves, and without them made this world; and because He Himself thought meet to become man, without them He made also Himself. But what have they [made or done] without Him, save sin? And last of all, He straightway also withdrew from the subject all that could cause us agitation; for after saying, "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do;" He immediately went on to add, "Because I go unto the Father; and whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do." He who had said, "He will do," afterwards said, "I will do;" as if He had said, Let not this appear to you impossible; for he that believeth on me can never become greater than I am, but it is I who shall then be doing greater things than now; greater things by him that believeth on me, than by myself apart from him; yet it is I myself apart from him, (2) and I myself by him [that will do the works]: and as it is apart from him, it is not he that will do them; and as, on the other hand, it is by him, although not by his own self, it is he also that will do them. And besides, to do greater things by one than apart from one, is not a sign of deficiency, but of condescension. For what can servants render unto the Lord for all His benefits towards them? (3) And sometimes He hath condescended to number this also amongst His other benefits towards them, namely, to do greater works by them than apart from them Did not that rich man go away sad from His presence, when seeking counsel about eternal life? He heard, and cast it away: and yet in after days the counsel that fell on his ears was followed, not by one, but by many, when the good Master was speaking by the disciples; He was an object of contempt to the rich man, when warned by Himself directly, and of love to those whom by means of poor men He transformed from rich into poor. Here, then, you see, He did greater works when preached by believers, than when speaking Himself to hearers.

2. But there is still something to excite thought in His doing such greater works by the apostles; for He said not, as if merely with reference to them, The works that I do shall ye do also; and greater works than these shall ye do: but wishing to be understood as speaking of all that belonged to His family, said, "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do." If, then, he that believeth shall do such works, he that shall do them not is certainly no believer: just as "He that loveth me, keepeth my commandments," (4) implies, of course, that he who keepeth them not, loveth not. In another place, also, He says, "He that heareth these sayings of mine and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, who buildeth his house ripen a rock;" (5) and he, therefore, who is unlike this wise man, without doubt either heareth these sayings and doeth them not, or faileth even to hear them. "He that believeth in me," He says, "though he die, yet shall he live;" (6) and he, therefore, that shall not live, is certainly no believer now. In a similar way, also, it is said here, "He that believeth in me shall do [such works]:" he is, therefore, no believer who shall not do so. What have we here, then, brethren? Is it that one is not to be reckoned among believers in Christ, who shall not do greater works than Christ? It were hard, unreasonable, intolerable, to suppose so; that is, unless it be rightly understood. Let us listen, then, to the apostle, when he says, "To him that believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness." (7) This is the work in which we may be doing the works of Christ, for even our very believing in Christ is the work of Christ. It is this He worketh in us, not certainly without us. Hear now, then, and understand, "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also:" I do them first, and he shall do them afterwards; for I do such works that he may do them also. And what are the works, but the making of a righteous man out of an ungodly one?

3. "And greater works than these shall he do." Than what, pray? Shall we say that one is doing greater works than all that Christ did who is working out his own salvation with fear and trembling? (8) A work which Christ is certainly working in him, but not without him; and one which I might, without hesitation, call greater than the heavens and the earth, and all in both within the compass of our vision. For both heaven and earth shall pass away, (9) but the salvation and justification of those predestinated thereto, that is, of those whom He foreknoweth, shall continue forever. In the former there is only the working of God, but in the latter there is also His image. But there are also in the heavens, thrones, governments, principalities, powers, archangels, and angels, which are all of them the work of Christ; and is it, then, greater works also than these that he doeth, who, with Christ working in him, is a co-worker in his own eternal salvation and justification? I dare not call for any hurried decision on such a point: let him who can, understand, and let him who can, judge whether it is a greater work to create righteous beings than to make righteous the ungodly. For at least, if there is equal power employed in both, there is greater mercy in the latter, For "this is the great mystery of godliness which was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory." (1) But when He said, "Greater works than these shall he do," there is no necessity requiring us to suppose that all of Christ's works are to be understood. For He spake, perhaps, only of these He was now doing; and the work He was doing at that time was uttering the words of faith, and of such works specially had He spoken just before when He said, "The words that I speak unto you, I speak not of myself: but the Father, that dwelleth in me, He doeth the works." His words, accordingly, were His works. And it is assuredly something less to preach the words of righteousness, which He did apart from us, than to justify the ungodly, which He does in such a way in us that we also are doing it ourselves. It remains for us to inquire how the words are to be understood, "Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, I will do it." Because of the many things His believing ones ask, and receive not, there is no small question claiming our attention; but as this discourse must now be concluded, we must allow at least a little delay for its consideration and discussion.

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